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social sciences

Alpha Index:  A-B  C-F  G-K  L-Q  R-S  T-Z

Subjects:  A-E  F-L  M-Z

     
Transgender Activism  
 
page: 1  2  3  

Lou Sullivan, a gay-identified, HIV-positive San Francisco-based FTM activist, played a leading part in this effort. In 1986, inspired by the leadership of FTM pioneers such as Mario Martino, Steve Dain, Rupert Raj, and Jude Patton, he founded the FTM support group that grew into FTM International, the leading advocacy group for female-to-male individuals, and began publishing The FTM Newsletter.

Sullivan was an important community-based historian of transgenderism and also played an instrumental role in persuading medical and psychotherapeutic professionals to provide services to transgender individuals like himself who identified as gay or lesbian in their preferred social genders. In the years since Sullivan's untimely death in 1991, his successor Jamison Green has emerged as the most vocal and influential FTM activist in the United States.

Sponsor Message.

The Effects of AIDS Activism

The AIDS crisis provoked a profound reorientation of sexual identity politics in the later 1980s and early 1990s that ultimately worked to the advantage of transgender activism. AIDS activism required alliances between different social groups affected by the epidemic, such as gay men, hemophiliacs, Haitians, and injection-drug users. An effective response to the epidemic meant addressing systemic social problems such as poverty and racism that transcended narrow sexual identity politics.

In the context of this public health crisis, transgender issues once again began to resonate within broader struggles for justice and equality. Leslie Feinberg's influential pamphlet, Transgender Liberation: A Movement Whose Time Has Come, published in 1992, heralded a new era in transgender politics.

Militant groups such as ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) and Queer Nation crafted a highly visible, playfully ironic, angry style of media-oriented, direct-action politics that proved congenial to a new generation of transgender activists. The first transgender activist group to embrace the new politics was Transgender Nation, founded in 1992 as an offshoot of Queer Nation's San Francisco chapter.

Transgender Nation

Transgender Nation noisily dragged transgender issues to the forefront of San Francisco's queer community, and at the local level successfully integrated transgender concerns with the political agendas of lesbian, gay, and bisexual activists to forge a truly inclusive glbtq community. Transgender Nation organized a media-grabbing protest at the 1993 annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association to call attention to the official pathologization of transgender phenomena.

Transgender Nation paved the way for subsequent similar groups such as Transexual Menace and It's Time America that went on to play a larger role in the national political arena.

Anti-Transgender Hate Crimes

Transexual Menace, founded by Riki Wilchins in 1994, the year that Transgender Nation folded, tapped into and provided an outlet for the outrage many transgender people experienced in the brutal murder of Brandon Teena, a transgender youth, and two of his friends in a farmhouse in rural Nebraska on December 31, 1993. The murders, depicted in Kimberly Peirce's Academy Award-winning feature film Boys Don't Cry (2000), called dramatic attention to the serious, on-going problem of anti-transgender violence and hate crimes.

The website Remembering Our Dead, compiled by activist Gwen Smith and hosted by the Gender Education Association, honors the memory of the transgender murder victims--roughly one person a month. The Remembering Our Dead project spawned the National Day of Remembrance, an annual event begun in 1999, which is now observed in dozens of cities around the world.

GenderPAC

Riki Wilchins, whom Time Magazine selected in 2001 as one of its "100 Civic Innovators for the 21st Century," went on to found GenderPAC (Gender Public Advocacy Coalition), the largest national organization in the United States devoted to ending discrimination against gender diversity. GenderPAC, which has sponsored an annual lobbying day in Washington, D. C., since the late 1990s, is but the most visible of many transgender political groups to emerge over the last decade.

More than 30 cities, and a handful of states, have now passed transgender civil rights legislation. While the transgender movement still faces many significant challenges and obstacles to gaining full equality, the wave of activism that began in the early 1990s has not yet peaked.

Susan Stryker

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   Related Entries
  
literature >> Overview:  Autobiography, Transsexual

Transgendered individuals have published autobiographies not only to tell or to clarify the stories of their lives, but also to educate others in an effort to gain greater acceptance for transgender people.

social sciences >> Overview:  Cross-Dressing

Cross-dressers have often been misunderstood and maligned, especially in societies with rigid gender roles.

social sciences >> Overview:  Gay Rights Movement, U. S.

The U.S. gay rights movement has made significant progress toward achieving equality for glbtq Americans, and in the process has become more inclusive and diverse, but much remains to be done.

social sciences >> Overview:  Gaybashing

Violence perpetrated against people thought by their attackers to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered occurs with disturbing frequency in the United States and other countries.

social sciences >> Overview:  Hate Crimes

Hate Crimes are crimes towards persons or groups motivated by the victim's race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

social sciences >> Overview:  Intersexuality

Intersexuality (formerly referred to as hermaphroditism) is a congenital anomaly in which an individual's external genitalia or internal reproductive systems fall outside the norms for either male or female bodies.

social sciences >> Overview:  Patriarchy

Patriarchy, literally "the rule of the fathers," is a social system in which men hold positions of power and women are oppressed and glbtq people are treated negatively.

social sciences >> Overview:  San Francisco

San Francisco has enjoyed a reputation as a "gay mecca" since World War II.

arts >> Overview:  Sports: Transgender Issues

Fears and misconceptions about transgendered and intersexed athletes abound.

social sciences >> Overview:  Transgender Issues in Education

Transgender people are becoming increasingly visible at secondary and post-secondary schools; if institutions are to be welcoming to people of all genders, issues of discrimination and equal access to facilities and health care need to be addressed.

social sciences >> Overview:  Transgender Issues in the Law

Despite some recent progress, people who do not conform to society's gender norms continue to experience discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, marriage and family litigation, medical care, prisons, schools, and hate crimes protection.

arts >> Overview:  Transsexuality in Film

Representations of transsexuality in films range from freak-show exploitation, to dramatic and documentary depictions, to the use of transsexuality as a metaphor for exploring the crossing of all kinds of borders.

social sciences >> ACT UP

Using bold images and confrontational tactics, ACT UP worked to promote awareness of AIDS and challenge the complacency of politicians and government officials in the early years of the epidemic.

arts >> Ashley, April

Outed as a transsexual in 1961, the indomitable April Ashley rose from poverty to become a glamorous entertainer and top model who married into the British aristocracy and later became a transgender activist.

social sciences >> Beyer, Georgina

As the first open transgender person in New Zealand to be elected to the offices of mayor and Member of Parliament, Georgina Beyer has evinced courage, humor, and personal honesty.

social sciences >> Bono, Chaz

The child of a famous show business couple, Chaz Bono has had to cope with family resistance and intense public scrutiny as he came out, first as a lesbian, then as a transgender man.

social sciences >> Bornstein, Kate

One of the best-known transgender activists, Kate Bornstein, in works that are accessible and frequently humorous, challenges audiences to buck the gender system.

social sciences >> Chase, Cheryl

Activist Cheryl Chase has led efforts to educate both medical professionals and parents of intersexed children so that unnecessary surgeries may be avoided and intersexed people may have happier and healthier lives.

social sciences >> Daughters of Bilitis

The first national lesbian political and social organization in the United States, the Daughters of Bilitis was a significant part of the pre-Stonewall lesbian and gay rights movement.

social sciences >> Erickson, Reed

An early female-to-male transsexual, Reed Erickson is best known for his philanthropy, which greatly benefited glbtq causes in the 1960s and 1970s.

literature >> Feinberg, Leslie

Political organizer, grassroots historian, and accomplished writer, Leslie Feinberg is a pioneer of transgender activism and culture.

social sciences >> Gay Activists Alliance

An important organization of the early post-Stonewall era, the Gay Activists Alliance, which flourished from 1969 to 1974, strove to give gay men and lesbians visibility in American politics.

social sciences >> Gay Liberation Front

Formed soon after the Stonewall Riots of 1969, the short-lived but influential Gay Liberation Front brought a new militancy to the movement that became known as gay liberation.

social sciences >> Gender Public Advocacy Coalition (GenderPAC)

The Gender Public Advocacy Coalition (GenderPAC) worked to end discrimination and violence prompted by gender identification and stereotypes.

social sciences >> Genderqueer

Genderqueer is a term for people who feel that their gender identities or gender expression do not correspond to the gender assigned to them at birth, but who do not want to transition to the "opposite" gender.

social sciences >> Hirschfeld, Magnus

German-born Magnus Hirschfeld deserves recognition as a significant theorist of sexuality and the most prominent advocate of homosexual emancipation of his time.

arts >> Jorgensen, Christine

Actress, singer, and writer Christine Jorgenson was not the first male-to-female transsexual to undergo sex reassignment surgery, but the publicity surrounding her case enabled her to educate the public about the differences between homosexuality, transvestism, and transsexualtiy.

social sciences >> Kinsey, Alfred C.

The most important sex researcher of the twentieth century, Alfred C. Kinsey contributed groundbreaking studies of male and female sexual behavior in America.

literature >> Nestle, Joan

Through her writing, teaching, editing, and activism, Joan Nestle has devoted her life to promoting awareness of glbtq culture and advancing glbtq equality.

social sciences >> Prince, Virginia Charles

Virginia Charles Prince has been a pioneer in organizing social and support groups for heterosexually-identified male cross-dressers.

social sciences >> Queer Nation

The short-lived militant group Queer Nation, which emerged in 1990, made a lasting impact on sexual identity politics in the United States.

social sciences >> Rivera, Sylvia

A legendary veteran of the Stonewall Riots, Sylvia Rivera is notable for helping to spark the event that ushered in the modern-day Gay Rights Movement.

social sciences >> Sissy Boy Syndrome

When the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses, it added in its place "Gender Identity Disorder in Childhood," or "The Sissy Boy Syndrome."

social sciences >> Stonewall Riots

The confrontations between police and demonstrators at the Stonewall Inn in New York City the weekend of June 27-29, 1969 mark the beginning of the modern glbtq movement for equal rights.

social sciences >> Teena, Brandon

Twenty-year-old Brandon Teena was brutally murdered on December 31, 1993 on account of gender non-conformity.

social sciences >> Transsexuals of Brazil

Transgender people--more specifically, people who were born male but present themselves as female--are Brazil's single most marginalized group.

social sciences >> Ulrichs, Karl Heinrich

Nineteenth-Century German activist Karl Heinrich Ulrichs was both the first modern theorist of homosexuality and the first homosexual to "come out" publicly.


    Bibliography
   

Currah, Paisley, and Shannon Minter. Transgender Equality: A Handbook for Activists and Policymakers. New York: Policy Institute of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, 2000.

Feinberg, Leslie. Transgender Liberation: A Movement Whose Time Has Come. New York: World View Forum, 1992.

Gender Public Advocacy Coalition (GenderPAC). www.gpac.org.

Hirschfeld, Magnus. Transvestites: The Erotic Drive to Cross-Dress. Michael A. Lombardi-Nash, trans. New York: Prometheus Books, 1991.

Jorgensen, Christine. A Personal Autobiography. New York: Erikson, 1967; San Francisco: Cleis Press, 2000.

Kennedy, Hubert. Ulrichs: The Life and Works of Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, Pioneer of the Modern Gay Movement. Boston: Alyson, 1988.

Members of the Gay and Lesbian Historical Society. "MTF Transgender Activism in the Tenderloin and Beyond: Commentary and Interview with Elliot Blackstone." GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 4.2 (1998): 349-72.

Meyerowitz, Joanne. How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2002.

Raymond, Janice G. Transsexual Empire: The Making of the She-Male. Boston: Beacon Press, 1978.

Remembering Our Dead Website: www.gender.org/remember.

Stryker, Susan. "Portrait of a Transfag Drag Hag as a Young Man: The Activist Career of Louis G. Sullivan." Reclaiming Genders: Transsexual Grammars at the Fin de Siecle. Kate More and Stephen Whittle, eds. London: Cassell, 1999. 62-82.

 

    Citation Information
         
    Author: Stryker, Susan  
    Entry Title: Transgender Activism  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
 
    Publication Date: 2004  
    Date Last Updated June 24, 2005  
    Web Address www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/transgender_activism.html  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
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Chicago, IL   60607
 
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    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2004, glbtq, inc.  
 

 

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