The Continuing Battle Of How We Are Labeled And By Who Does It

Labels .. for some it is important, for others not so.

Some are biological in nature while others are political.

Some find offense in labeling while others could care less.

But for many LGBTs and the continuing inclusive list of the alphabet not only do labels and incorrect ones cause great consternation but even cause at times an all out “war” pitting LGBT against one another.

Two things have brought me to write about this today, one more significant than the other. First, several days ago I did a search of myself, not for vanity sake but for some “research” in past writings I had done and who or what website may have linked to the postings.

One of the postings done back in 2010 when the first version of Focus On The Rainbow was carried on four websites in Connecticut by Hearst Newspapers I wrote an expose on the website Man Crunch which was trying to advertise in the 2010 Super Bowl on CBS-TV.

Some of the websites which took notice including Queerty and TransGriot  wrote as an introduction to this writer, “gay blogger”.

Now with having a male name and a photo here and there on the Internet which shows my face and with me putting out a blog geared towards the LGBT community it would be a natural assumption that I’m gay. But what if I were transgender or transsexual, intersex or hermaphrodite, or for that matter even straight or asexual ?

None of which are correct because I “label” myself as bisexual.

The second and most important drive to do this writing is something which caught my eye about a “rag” Brit newspaper the People which recently did an article with the overly tantalizing and grab for readers headline which reads, Metropolitan Police Recruits Eight Hermaphodite Cops.

While the use of the term hermaphrodite, even to sensationalize a story is correct, there are those who have taken offense to the term in particular the website (not always known for its accuracy in reporting) Pink News.

In an article blasting the People article, Jane Fae writes in part, The People newspaper has said there is no difference between the term “hermaphrodite” and “intersex” – and therefore has not apologised for its substitution of the h-word in a story last month.

According to Drs Milton Diamond and Connie Brinton-Diamond of the University of Hawaii’s Center for Sex and Society: “Use of certain terms represents a sensitivity to the needs and desires of the group spoken about.

“At one time it was true that the term hermaphrodite was used to mean the same as intersex. However, the designation intersex was not generally known or understood, while the term hermaphrodite was often used as a derogatory term and one commonly associated with circus side show.

So today it is more affirming or politically correct to use the word intersex rather than hermaphrodite the definition of which not only applies to humans but also animals as the word intersex does too.

There is also great debate, which has been going on for several years, over transgender and transsexual, both of which terms have their own defenders in use and proper identification. However this debate on one side has come to the point to vilify the use of one of the two terms.

Among the most vocal of the term transgender, who would also like the word transsexual erased from the world of vocabulary and sees transgender not only as an identification but political statement is Autman Sandeen of Pam’s House Blend fame. While Sandeen is not alone in her beliefs she is oft the most vocal in the cause of erasing the word transsexual and has her critics.

There is a difference,(equal, but different), between a woman with both intersex and transsexual birth challenges, and this social political term “transgender” that all of a sudden encompasses gender queer identified individuals, gay and lesbian gender non-conforming people, cross dressers, drag queens, etc. One noted transgender blogger employed by Gay Inc. was uncomfortable with the discussion of diversity in the transsexual, transgender umbrella and intersex communities, for reasons she knows. The high majority of intersex people are not even remotely transgender (intersex people are of a biological condition, not an “identity or expression”), and neither do a lot of transsexual people (many them with an intersex condition).

On the other side of the spectrum of the transgender/transsexual debate along with others is Ashley Love who oft has become a target of Sandeen over the years.

Note an important difference between these two people: Ashley Love devotes herself to the service of others while Autumn Sandeen serves only herself.

While Ashley takes setbacks as challenges to try harder, Sandeen mouths the seemingly proper and politically correct social slogans while ensuring the media spotlight is on her.

Ms. Love wrote in part in a recent posting on her blog the following.

Don’t judge or resent me because I am perceived by the world as a woman, period

Don’t censor me because I am a heterosexual woman of transsexual and intersex experience

Don’t bully me because you won’t have a gentle and rational debate

Don’t misgender me to cater to your social engineering and gender deconstructionism agenda

And then we have the battle between some in the lesbian community such as Cathy Brennan purveyor of the website Pretendbians who along with her like-minded followers take exception to the “wannabees” to feel it is right to fall under the umbrella of lesbians and lesbian rights.

I am the public face of Pretendbians because we need to have a public discussion about the issue of gender identity and how it impacts – negatively – Lesbians and Lesbian Community. I am willing to be this public face because I am able to do so, and I could not live with myself if I didn’t try to impact this conversation in a manner that allowed the Lesbian perspective to be heard.

And of course there are some lesbians and gays who disavow the term bisexual, some quite strongly, and insist one can not be and there is no such thing.

With all the internal bickering which goes on when it comes to labels it’s a wonder that the LGBT community has made the strives it has since Stonewall and creates only foder for those who oppress us and would see us gone.

About Lyndon Evans
Associated Press Award Winner

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