I retired and moved to the SoCal desert at the beginning of February 2016. From January 2017 until the end of March 2019 I was a board member for our local trans organization. I resigned due to a falling out with the leader of the organization. While I knew that there were many that had issues with her, I thought that it was largely due to trans and other phobias. Eventually I came to the conclusion that the problem was not them; it was her.
I say this because it reinforced the notion of the trans community being unstable, not being able to work with each other, etc. In other words, it made us look even more unworthy. In terms of the rest of the community here (greater Palm Springs, CA), I am an outlier. At 72, I am much older than the vast majority of the community here. Intellectually I understand the challenges that younger folks have, but it is not part of my experience. My official and very public coming out was just 6 years ago; a few months before I retired. The ideas of job loss, home loss, no income, etc. were not part of my gender discovery and journey.
Personally I don’t see a Transgender Agenda beyond folks having the same rights, privileges and freedoms as anyone else. There is no reason that trans folks should be subject to discrimination, job loss, etc. I’m on a motorsports forum with a political section. A few years ago someone asked how many trans people lived in the US. I quoted the data from the Williams Institute and added their caveat that there is likely some degree of under reporting in the numbers. One of the members couldn’t understand why there was under reporting. I had to explain to him that there were no protections for trans people in most of the states (something like 2/3 I think). What that says is that those in the majority of US states don’t care about trans people. I suspect that it also means they wish that they didn’t have to deal with trans people and wouldn’t lift a finger to try to understand the situation.
If anyone has an agenda, it is conservatives. They have consciously chosen to attack trans people (eliminating trans related healthcare for trans youth, bathroom bills, athletic competition restrictions, etc.) because we are the most vulnerable. At a conservative 5% there are roughly 16,000,000 lesbians, gay men and bisexuals compared to about 2,000,000 trans adults and trans youth. It’s a lot easier to attack us and if successful, it becomes leverage: “Look at what we did to this bunch of sinners. Imagine what we can do to the rest of them (L’s, G’s and B’s).”. These are also the folks who think that conversion therapy works. The mental health community knows that it doesn’t and have said so. Further, 9 leaders and founders of ex-gay organizations released a public statement in 2016, I think, that says that they now realize the harm that they caused and that the process doesn’t work. Yet, that does not deter conservatives.
Anyway, to shorten this, after I left the trans organization it occurred to me that I can leverage being out in the world and representing trans people in non-trans organizations. Every time they see me or hear me speak, it is a reminder that trans people exist and a group to be reckoned with. Currently I am the Volunteer Coordinator for Palm Springs Pride, Chair of the Cathedral City Public Arts Commission, Steering Committee Member of Desert Stonewall Democrats, Community Liaison Officer for my car club and Board Member for the LGBT Community Center of the Desert. So, for all the folks who want to think ill of trans people, I represent a contrary data point.
As it relates to this site, I want to help those who show up at our door to realize that they are good people and that they can function well in this society. But, in order to do this, they must be in a good place mentally. Therefore, my goal is to assist this process based on my life experiences and a multitude of identities that are pretty different from the majority of the members here.
One final point:
A very thorough treatise of conservative political strategies and the trans community is contained in a book by trans woman Brynn Tannehill:
Everything You Wanted To Know About Trans* (but were afraid to ask)
The bibliography of the book is over 100 pages so there was a massive amount of research that went into putting it together…