There is currently a great schism within the LGBT community and this can be attributed solely to the actions of the transgender movement.
In a 2007 article for Salon, John Aravosis, a longtime gay rights advocate, writes:
“In simpler times we were all gay. But then the word “gay” started to mean “gay men” more than women, so we switched to the more inclusive “gay and lesbian.” Bisexuals, who were only part-time gays, insisted that we add them too, so we did (not without some protest), and by the early 1990s we were the lesbian, gay and bisexual, or LGB community. Sometime in the late ’90s, a few gay rights groups and activists started using a new acronym, LGBT — adding T for transgender/transsexual. And that’s when today’s trouble started.”
Anyone who follows LGBT news is aware of the troubles of which Aravosis talked about back in 2007. Troubles between the LGBT movement and, in particular between the LGB and the T, have created tension in the movement; tension which has brought the movement at the brink of a schism.
A particular incident that revealed the schism which exists between the LGBT community took place at London Pride 2018. At London Pride 2018, a group of lesbians, who were part of the group ‘Get the L out’ had protested against the inclusion of transwomen in their community. More specifically, disillusioned by the attempt of organizations who traditionally campaigned for LGB rights, such as Stonewall, to exclude LGB individuals, such lesbian groups call for the L to be taken out of LGBT in order to protect female homosexuals.
According to the transactivist narrative, a lesbian is not a female homosexual, but any individual who identifies as a woman and is also attracted to women. By this definition, a heterosexual male is allowed to define himself as a lesbian if he identifies as a woman, even if he keeps his genitals, thus hijacking the lesbian movement. Following this, a female homosexual is deemed a ‘transphobe’ if she is not attracted to someone who has a penis or if she is strictly attracted to other female homosexuals.
However, the schism has not only happened recently out of some accidental events. The schism was determined to happen since the late 1980s, when the T was added to the LGB. Examining the inclusion in a solely definitional manner, it is easy to see how tensions would arise within the movement. The terms Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual (LGB) describe an individual’s sexual orientation. Lesbians are female homosexuals, gays are male homosexuals, and bisexuals are individuals from both sexes who are attracted to other individuals of both sexes. It can’t get more complex than this.
Nevertheless, the basic philosophy of the transgender movement is inherently opposed to the above terms. To begin with, the transgender movement opposes the term bisexual as it does not recognize sexual dimorphism, the fact that humans are either male or female, with a small proportion of them being intersex. Thus, the insistence of the transgender movement that “there are more than two genders” has established a belief that to refer to anything as bi- is transphobic as it is exclusive towards individuals who identify as “non-binary” and does not adhere to the mantra that gender is fluid. This is despite the fact that the term ‘gender’ is loosely defined, does not have any biological basis, enforces societal stereotypes about men and women, and its constructions (such as made-up genders and pronouns) lack any concrete definition. In contrast, the term ‘sex’ has a solid definition, has a biological basis, and states facts about the differences between males and females – it does not try to enforce those differences, nor it claims that an individual can change their sex simply by adhering to any of those differences, either biological or social.
From the transgender movement’s stance towards bisexuality, one can predict how it might treat gays and lesbians. Simply put, the case that an individual is only attracted to individuals of the other sex, is found to be transphobic and exclusive to trans individuals as it “enforces” the sex binary.
In contrast, the term transgender has nothing to do with sexual orientation, but is a term for individuals whose ‘gender identity’ does not align with the sex ‘they were assigned at birth’. Trying to define what ‘gender identity’ remains an extremely difficult task solely due to its loose and subjective nature. However, it is difficult to define it without enforcing particular stereotypes of what it is to be a woman or a man, or what it means to have feminine or masculine traits. As for the belief that sex is simply “assigned at birth”, I have nothing to add to address this unscientific claim. Sex is binary, and some individuals have characteristics of both sexes. Period.
Enforcing these stereotypes is harmful to the LGB community. Homosexual men have some ‘feminine’ traits and homosexual women have some ‘masculine’ traits, but this does not make someone more of a man or more of a woman. Accepting that it does would simply enforce the belief that in order to belong to a gender, one also has to adopt the biological or societal stereotypes associated with that gender.
The issue is not only definitional, however. Enabling males and females to change their sex or gender simply by uttering the magic words “I identify as X” has a number of real-life implications, such as allowing males into women’s bathrooms, women’s prisons, or having crimes committed by males being classified as crimes committed by women simply because the perpetrator identified as a woman.
Despite the fact that transgender activists campaign for those changes arguing that they belong in the same category with changes that were brought for LGB people in the past 50 years, such as marriage between homosexuals, the reality is that the changes that transactivists want to bring about, such as self-ID (which is the basis of all the negative implications mentioned above), affect society and marginalized groups within it, such as females. In contrast, LGB individuals lacked, and still lack, some basic human rights – they are denied such rights simply because of their sexual orientation. It is impossible, however, to find a human right that is not enjoyed by trans individuals simply because they are trans. Transgender individuals do not have the right to identify with the sex they wish to be identified. Neither does anyone. One’s biological sex is not part of one’s human rights – it is a fact about one’s self.
The LGBT+ movement has its foundations in the gay liberation movement of the 1960s. Since the Stonewall Riots in New York City in 1969, the gay liberation movement has been fighting a strong battle to achieve equal rights and recognition. The way that it has done this highlights what made the civil rights movement successful and it is what differentiates the civil rights movement from today’s social justice movement.
The civil rights movement, of which the gay liberation movement was part, had put particular emphasis in the similarities between people – in how all individuals, irrespective of race, sex, class, or sexual orientation can coexist peacefully in society, enjoying the same rights. In contrast, today’s social justice movement emphasizes the differences between people. In fact, its very existence and survival are based on maintaining those differences between people. It creates a division of “us” and “them” – a division which takes identity to its limits by making it the only considerable aspect of an individual’s personality; it creates a narrative of “good people” and “bad people” – a narrative whose only criterion is the identity of those individuals. If you are a white heterosexual middle-class male I have bad news for you; you belong to the “bad people”, no matter how much you try to save yourself from the mob.
The LGBT movement has now been overtaken by the T, which utilizes the current structure of victimhood culture to its fullest, not only going against anyone who does not identify as LGBT, but towards LGB members of the movement. More specifically, the transgender movement publicly shames, on a regular basis, LGB individuals who adhere to a sex-based definition of their group. It is the case that “many transgender activists are aware of this gender-essentialist divide to varying degrees, but they are in denial about the likelihood that shaming LG activists will successfully change that reality.”
Societal structures cannot be changed through force. The reason certain societal structures exist lies much deeper in the societal mechanism – the societal mechanism which produced those structures. Even if it is the case that the transgender movement is right, their tactics are not conducive to advancing a gradual change in society. The tactics of the transgender movement include calling for people to be fired, advancing violence against certain groups (in particular, ‘TERFs’), promoting unscientific beliefs, and forcing individuals and organizations to abide by their beliefs ‘or else’.
As Aravosis further mentions,
I have a sense that over the past decade the trans revolution was imposed on the gay community from outside, or at least above, and thus it never stuck with a large number of gays who weren’t running national organizations, weren’t activists, or weren’t living in liberal gay enclaves like San Francisco and New York. Sure, many of the rest of us accepted de facto that transgendered people were members of the community, but only because our leaders kept telling us it was so. A lot of gays have been scratching their heads for 10 years trying to figure out what they have in common with transsexuals, or at the very least why transgendered people qualify as our siblings rather than our cousins. It’s a fair question, but one we know we dare not ask. It is simply not p.c. in the gay community to question how and why the T got added on to the LGB, let alone ask what I as a gay man have in common with a man who wants to cut off his penis, surgically construct a vagina, and become a woman.
Aravosis speaks as a leftist who is disappointed with the approach that the Left has taken towards transgender activism, and with social justice more generally. It is not that the Right has won the culture wars, but, in fact, the Left has, allowed the Right to emerge victorious from the culture wars. “Conservatives understand that cultural change is a long, gradual process of small but cumulatively deadly victories. Liberals want it all now”, Aravosis continues.