Yesterday, I received the latest issue of the Lesbian Connection magazine, and promptly canceled my subscription.
I have always identified, at least partially, as lesbian. As my sexuality blossomed in my teenage years and as I began transitioning two years ago, I began to open myself to the possibility of sex with men, but throughout this time I have defined myself as primarily preferring women. Thus, when I began to transition and present as female, I was excited to finally feel that I had the right to include myself in women-only circles. Boy, was that a mistake.
Little did I know about the group of people commonly known as radical feminists. I find that name a little bizarre, since one would think it would imply that they believe in equal rights and treatment for all women, but apparently that is far from the case. Many radical feminists, or 'radfems,' believe that transsexual women are simultaneously men with 'hollowed-out fuck holes' for men to sleep with AND trying to 'rape' lesbians by not revealing our 'true nature' (presumably of being eeeeevil agents of the patriarchy or something equally fallacious).
Thankfully, radfems are few and far between. Most feminists follow the belief that feminism is, as I said before, about equal rights and treatment for all women. But the few that exist have a wide reach. And a few issues into my subscription to the Lesbian Connection, I was shocked to discover that a magazine that I thought was about love and connectivity defined itself as being for 'women-born-women' (and here I thought everyone was born a child...) only, and regularly printed slanderous and hateful letters from radfems.
'But Alisha,' I thought, 'take hope! Maybe they are trying to paint a broad picture of the community! After all, they have printed letters from trans women as well!' And so I sat back and said nothing. With each round of letters from both sides, the magazine issued a statement that they were not going to touch on the issue again and that it'd had enough coverage.
Fast forward to two months ago, when the magazine printed a letter by Bev Jo, a particularly virulent woman whose hatred of transsexuals could put Rick Santorum to shame (rim shot!). I'm not going to reprint it here as it would probably scar the psyche of my readers, but I immediately felt the need to write a letter to the magazine and rebut her ridiculous claims. 'Surely,' I thought, 'being the bastion of love and connectivity the magazine is, it will at least print SOMEONE'S letter in response to those wild allegations! I can't have been the only one to be hurt by her hate!'
I really ought to stop expecting people to be decent.
This month's issue had TWO letters about how transsexual people are egotistical, self-centered, childish. And NOTHING from the other side of the aisle. So, enough was enough. I cut my ties with the magazine, and my life will most likely be better for it.
But I've got to say. There is only ONE person who can determine an individual's gender. And that person is the individual. I have been on the receiving end of hate from Christian fundamentalists, social conservatives, lesbians, and Pagans, all for something that I had no control over. All trying to tell me that it is wrong to be who and what I am. I've come to expect this kind of behavior from people like Rick Santorum, or Pat Buchanan, or Rush Limbaugh. I've grown numb to the hate that these people sling at the LGBT community, because it is easily explained by ignorance, or greed, or stupidity, or evil.
But this is worse. This is a community eating itself from the inside. Hatred from lesbians toward transsexuals for our very existence does nothing but bring down the LGBT community as a whole. This behavior is shameful, it is degrading, and it is just plain WRONG.