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social sciences

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In 1992, festival organizers made their ban on transsexuals explicit by stating in their promotional materials that only "womyn-born womyn" were permitted to attend. In protest of the policy, a small number of women at that year's festival set up an information table and provided literature about gender issues to attendees.

Beginning in 1993, and for several years afterwards, transgender activists and their allies set up their own site--dubbed Camp Trans--across from the entrance to the festival and advocated for transsexual inclusion in the festival. However, in spite of protests, festival organizers have refused to modify the "womyn-born womyn" policy.

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Bisexual Exclusion

People who identify as bisexual have faced exclusion in both the heterosexual and lesbian/gay communities. Many heterosexuals regard a person who indulges in even a single homosexual episode as "gay" or "lesbian," regardless of the individual's self-definition. At the same time, some lesbians and gay men have criticized those who identify as bisexual as being too to fully come out of the closet, or as cowardly for not wanting to abandon their heterosexual privilege. Bisexuality is often regarded by gays and straight alike as simply a denial of homosexuality or as a transitional stage before coming out as a homosexual.

Because they were often viewed as "indecisive," "morally weak," or "confused," bisexuals were not welcome among many social groups, particularly gay and lesbian activists who believed that bisexuals could not be fully committed to gay liberation because of their ties to "the enemy." Even to this day, many gay and lesbian organizations only pay lip service to bisexual issues. This situation has led to the creation of social and political groups devoted strictly to bisexual concerns.

Transgender Exclusion

Separatism also exists within the transgender community itself. Virginia Prince, who pioneered the development of an organized movement of transvestites during the 1960s and 1970s, believed that the definition of a transvestite was a heterosexual man who enjoyed wearing women's clothing in order to access his feminine side. One of Prince's main concerns was to emphasize that cross dressing did not necessarily correlate with homosexuality.

Prince wanted to reassure the wives of transvestites that their husbands were not gay. Accordingly, she advocated that gay cross dressers (whether identifying as transvestites or drag queens) be excluded from transvestite social and support groups. Even today, transvestite groups influenced by Prince often restrict membership based on sexual orientation. In addition, with a membership that tends to be white and middle-class, organized transvestite support and social groups have generally not been interested in outreach to those who are sex workers, who are from the working and lower classes, who are people of color, or who are women.

Trans-exclusion and the GLBTQ Community

Transgendered and gender-variant people have often faced exclusion from events and marches organized by the lesbian and gay community. For example, the Gay Games of 1994, which took place in New York, initially had very restrictive rules regarding the participation of transgendered athletes, who had to prove that they had had sex reassignment surgery or had been living full time with hormones in their chosen gender. Athletes who identified or presented as transgendered, but did not meet these requirements, were not eligible to participate.

Transgender activists protested this policy, which led the Gay Games organizers to rescind their standards and allow unrestricted participation. In 1998, however, the organizers of the Gay Games, held in the Netherlands, reinstated the stringent rules regarding transgender participation, and refused to alter them, in spite of renewed protests.

Transgendered people also had to fight to be included in the 1994 New York City march commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. Plans by the organizers of the celebration to minimize the presence of transgendered participants was ironic, considering the major role transgendered people played in the Riots themselves. It was only after protests by the Transexual Menace activist group that parade organizers agreed to be trans-inclusive. However, transgendered people had been struggling to be included in pride marches since the early 1970s, as many lesbian and gay activists felt that public displays of gender variance only served to alienate straight observers and embarrass the gay rights movement.

Since the 1970s transgender and gay and lesbian activists have struggled over exclusionary wording in proposed employment non-discrimination policies. Such bills typically propose making workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation illegal. Transgender leaders have fought for the inclusion of gender identity or gender expression in this type of legislation, but with relatively little success.

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