Transgender conversation hijacked?

Do you think Rachel Dolezal “hijacked the conversation about trans people,” as LGBT activist Danielle Moodie-Mills says in an interview with The Wrap.

Personally, I’m not convinced she has.

Dolezal, you may recall, is a Caucasian woman at the centre of controversy — and scandal — after presenting herself as an African-American while working as an NCAA chapter president in the United States.

In an interview, she said she identifies as an African-American, and she compared her experience as a “transracial” woman to that of trans woman Caitlyn Jenner, which has angered many LGBT activists, particularly trans people.

There’s no doubt that the mainstream media has picked up on the comparison, though I’m not sure how many mainstream media commentators feel it is a credible idea. They are merely reporting what has been said.

And, no, I don’t consider Fox’s Keith Ablow — who used the comparison by Dolezal to fearmonger about trans people, according to Media Matters — to be  credible. I don’t consider Fox to be a serious mainstream media entity, either, even if it tries to present itself as one.

But right-wingers will run with Dolezal’s transracial/transgender comparison because that’s their modus operandi. They oppose anything that doesn’t fit into their narrow Christian parameters, and will twist and turn any bit of news to make LGBT people look bad.

Witness the ridiculous statement by another Fox News “pundit,” Erick Erickson, who said the recent shootings in a black church in Charleston, S.C., happened because society accepts transgender people like Caitlyn Jenner, according to Pink News. The shootings had nothing to do with the gun culture in the U.S. or plain old racial bigotry, of course. Blame transgenderism.

Have any of these nitwits really hurt the growing acceptance of trans people?

Probably not, in my opinion. And I don’t think they or Dolezal have hijacked the broader conversation about transgender rights.

Rachel Dolezal is probably a one-off, and should be treated as an isolated case.

We are highly unlikely to see large numbers — or any numbers — of people claiming to be “transracial” and comparing themselves to transgender people.

But I do think the stupid statements by the likes of the aforementioned Fox News commentators could lead to more isolated cases of attacks on transgender people, both verbally and physically.

I recommend to trans people that they don’t beat the drums too loudly about Balezal and related right-wing anti-trans comments, because that would appear to give them more importance and validity than they deserve.

– Jillian Page, LGBT Perspectives editor


“Let harmlessness be the keynote of your life.” — Alice Bailey


6 thoughts on “Transgender conversation hijacked?”

  1. The shootings in SC were committed by a racist nutcase; end of story. This has been turned into a political football by everyone with an agenda to promote, both left and right. EVERYTHING nowadays becomes purely a left vs right argument, as if we aren’t allowed to hold beliefs that may cross over. ‘Discussion’ is limited to adamantly supporting one ideology or another, with no exceptions and often with the most absurd assertions.

    If I own a gun, I can’t be a liberal. If I don’t hate gays, I can’t be a conservative. No way I’m permitted to hold both opinions and be accepted by those of either side!

    Much has been said, derogatorily, about the ‘middle-of-the roaders’ who don’t mindlessly adhere to either political persuasion and choose to make their own determinations on each issue. To me, these are the most responsible voters in the country; they THINK rather than merely spouting party rhetoric while following party lines.

    That’s one of the things I enjoy most about your columns, Jillian. I don’t always agree with you, but I respect you because you THINK! But I guess that’s kind of a middle-of-the road sort of idea…


  2. What would happen if we all started embracing what unites us, being human-beings, rather than embracing the myriad of things that divide us? What if we all started working toward HUMAN-RIGHTS, rather than toward X-rights, Y-rights or Z-rights? Imagine the confusion if we had an NAA_P, with the “_” being filled in with all the letters of the alphabet representing ever possible individual ethnic identity in the world. It would be alphabet-soup at its worst. If I am trapped in a building collapse, I don’t care what color my rescuer is or what is between their legs as long as they get me out alive.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This may be a repost … WordPress decided to botch my login on the way by …

    I agree with Jillian’s overall theme that we shouldn’t pay too much attention to the Dolezal story. Largely, I see it as a distraction.

    However, for those of us in the situation of discussing transgender identities, the Dolezal story cannot be ignored entirely. I recently found myself in the awkward position of having a peer in a graduate course I am taking bring up both the Dolezal and Jenner stories as if they were equivalents. (Based largely on the idea that both were tied to social constructs).

    While the wingnut far right commentators are doing precisely what we would predict, namely tying together two unrelated stories to reinforce their current attack narrative that being transgender is a delusion, we cannot ignore the fact that Dolezal herself has appropriated the language used by transgender activists to justify her own experience and actions.

    We have to be aware of how much traction this conflation of distinct ideas gains in the public imagination, and prepare to counter it. I do agree that Dolezal is likely a “one-off”, but that does not mean that our political adversaries will not try to use this as a “chink in the armour” through which to attack the transgender community as a whole.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s