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Bystander Effect of Biphobia and Transphobia within "Gay Liberation"

professing to be "uncomfortable" is not enough

Date: 04/19/2011

On Tue, Apr 19, 2011 at 10:48 AM, John Lauritsen wrote:

If a gay man is defined *positively* -- as one who is aware of and accepts his attraction to other males -- then there is no need for the "B", since a bisexual man is a gay man. [...]

We in the Gay Liberation movement wanted to liberate sexuality, to free the homoerotic potential in all men and women. It should be obvious that we are therefore opposed to "sex- change" surgery, which destroys sexuality. You do not liberate a man's sexuality by castrating him. And, if we are committed to the truth, we should admit that it is not possible, surgically or otherwise, to transform a man into a women, or a woman into a man. Every cell in the body either has, or does not have, a "Y" chromosome.

On Apr 19, 2011, at 2:29 PM, benjamin eleanor adam wrote:

Are there agreed-upon posting guidelines for this list - which might, for example, have something to say about posting transphobic nonsense? If not, should there be?

On Apr 19, 2011, at 2:42 PM, White, Phillip wrote:

while i'm not comfortable with Lauritsen's positions - i'm even more uncomfortable with labeling, as in "transphobic nonsense". [...] censoring is the practice of totalitarian states.


That means you are being too comfortable with his statements, which can be safely described as anti-bisexual and anti-trans. How can you find it more offensive to call out an anti-trans statement than to make one? I somehow doubt that members of this list would be equally as sympathetic if patently anti-gay statements are posted here.

I am addressing you (instead of responding directly to the people who write anti-bisexual and anti-trans comments) because bystanders who tolerate offensive actions or statements (whether it is homophobic comments, bullying, or sexual harassment) are often the most important point of intervention.

I understand that you oppose "censorship" on this list, and I'm sure we will have the opportunity to discuss that when we start talking further about whether or not we need a guideline. But the fact is that statements are being made now that are so offensive and harmful that some people are starting to feel a need for one. Why do you feel more uncomfortable with someone expressing that, over statements that are patently anti-bisexual and anti-trans?

John Lauritsen and Terry Goldie at least are honest and straightforward about their anti-bisexual and/or anti-trans views. You, on the other hand, seem to want it both ways: you say that you are "not comfortable" with Lauritsen's positions, shielding yourself from the criticism that you are a big biphobe or transphobe, while at the same time you actually don't seem to be that uncomfortable after all. Personally, I'm most offended by this sort of enabling of anti-bisexual and/or anti-trans politics.

Emi Koyama