“Being queer means pushing the parameters of sex, sexuality and family; and, in the process, transforming the very fabric of society. We must keep our eyes on the goals of providing true alternatives to marriage and of radically reordering society’s view of reality.”
— Paula Ettelbrick, Law Professor and Homosexual Activist
In the past few years, the push toward transgender acceptance has accelerated, and is being mainlined into every area of our lives:
- The Toronto Star published a story — that become an Internet sensation — about a couple raising their infant, Storm, without telling the baby’s gender. They are attempting to raise a “gender neutral baby.” The parents “believe they are giving their children the freedom to choose who they want to be, unconstrained by social norms about males and females.”
- Sonny and Cher’s daughter, Chastity, “transitioned” into living as a man, “Chaz.” In 2011, the activist competed in the reality show “Dancing with the Stars,” and published a book Transition: The Story of How I Became a Man.
- FOX News featured an article, “Androgynous male model dominates fashion week runways as both a man and a woman;” “America’s Next Top Model” celebrated a transgender contestant; and Lea T, a transgender model, has appeared on runways, magazine covers and ad campaigns.
- In a multi-part series on transgenderism, ABC’s “20/20” profiled: a man working as a prostitute to pay for “Sexual Reassignment Surgery” (SRS); a 10-year-old Ohio boy who lives as a girl; a “Princess Boy” who loves glittery clothes; a 19-year-old German pop star who was born male, but had hormone blockers at 11, estrogen hormones at 13, and “SRS” at 16; and a man who lived as a transgender, regretted the surgery and went back to living as a male.
From Culture to Classrooms
But this trend isn’t just making itself known in the popular culture. It’s also impacting students in the public education system:
- The California Legislature passed a law last year requiring schools to teach about the contributions of LGBT Americans throughout history. Even before the California law went into effect, an elementary school in Oakland began teaching “gender diversity” to its students, because, as the education director said, “It turns out that there are not just two options” to gender.
- A Seattle group tours the country with fresh-faced young people who are “Re-teaching Gender & Sexuality” at churches, corporations, universities and government agencies. They help people rethink “popular narratives about gender and sexuality,” including “heteronormative practices and institutions.” According to the group’s website, “heteronormativity” is the assumption “that people fall into only one of two distinct sexes.”
- GLSEN claims to have more than 3,000 Gay-Straight Alliances in schools across the U.S., and encourages educators and students to recognize, among other events, the Transgender Day of Remembrance in November and LGBT History Month in February.
In addition to education and the media, the issue has also entered the political realm:
- GLAAD (The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) and MAP (the Movement Advancement Project) lists 15 states and more than 125 cities and counties that have anti-discrimination laws that include transgender-identified individuals, usually under the terms “gender identity” and “gender expression.”
- eQuality Giving, an online donor organization, has as one of its seven goals as the “freedom of gender embraces transgender rights and then goes beyond to what is called Genderqueer and Gender Non-Conforming.” They view gender as a “spectrum from male to female,” some people will identify as both sexes, some as neither, and some want to live outside of gender constraints.
- With the repeal of the measure commonly known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” Outserve, the Association of Actively Serving LGBT Military Personnel, has a new initiative to end the military’s ban on transgender service.