We are the Trans Community
United we stand, divided we fall.
by Laura Amato
One of the marvels of the early 1990's was the invention of the internet I quickly became a fan of usenet news groups because there were so many new communities. There were even trans support groups. What I wasn't prepared for was the vicious trans politics I encountered. I was accepted because I was diagnosed transsexual and my biography backed it up. I noticed though that new trans people who were uncertain or asked simple questions seeking information were attacked and called vile names. Now that I think about it their numbers were small but they acted like experts even though they had no training whatsoever. They proclaimed themselves "True Transsexuals" while calling all who didn't fit their "diagnosis" as perverts or fetishists. I'll never forget one MTF who came into the group after having had two previous suicide attempts. Instead of comforting and listening to her they denigrated her and put her down as not being "True". Despite their protests I befriended her and gave her my email address so I could support her. Then the tables turned on me. I received dozens of hate mails calling me names from traitor, transgender, Transvestite, fetishist and pervert for helping someone else. What I didn't notice is that they were from a small handfull of bigots. Since no one else supported my actions I took it as rejection and dropped our of the groups. Before that though the trans wars had heated up and escalated to publically stalking and outing each other to friends family and work places. Many lives were destroyed.
In 2003 I came back to the Internet looking for support and friendship with others like me. There were few support sites out there but little had changed. There was still a small handful of expert bigots who did all the bullying. New people still weren't getting help and were getting chased off the sites. I wondered why no one had any suggestions for people just asking simple questions. Where were they suppossed to go for real support? In 2004 I started a Transsexual Support site. It quickly became apparrant that in order to support one group I had to support all groups. The transgendered spectrum is so large and symptoms intermixed I couldn't ignore it. I vowed to keep the trans wars off the site.
Later in 2004 HBS Harry Benjamin's Syndrome was born. I was so impressed I started a second HBS support site about it. I mistakenly believed it was an update to the HBIGDA Standards of Care by medical people. In truth it was invented by laymen with no medical or psychological training whatsoever. They hated being called Transsexual so they changed all the medical terms on their own. While Wpath (formerly HBIGDA) still uses the term Transgender the HBS group has dropped the term and has in fact denigrated it to the point of vicous bigotry. How can a layperson with no medical experience at all suggest dropping medical treatment for an entire class of human beings, the transgendered? They would strip medical treatment approved by Doctors and Psychologists for these people. In fact they denigrate gender therapists in general, some of whom have signed HBIGDA SOC. The HBS SOC has not one medical or Psychologist signature on it. Yet these uneducated morons are attempting to change medical terminology and approved treatments that many depend upon.
My HBS site is now a HBS medical fraud site because that is what HBS is A fraud. Users I sent to the Yahoo HBS Group were attacked for asking questions. The evidence will be published on the site by weeks end from their email digests I received long ago which they recently erased. As a banned member I am no longer bound by any agreements. In addition HBS members caused at least 3 suicide attempts that we know of with their attacks.
The 31 (yep that's all) yahoo group members have determined that they are the only ones likely to have HBS, though thousands of transsexuals have the same symptoms. Only their uneducated members are qualified to diagnose you. Doctor's and Psychologists aren't qualified to do so according to them. They have stated that Transmen, FTM's who have not had phalloplasty cannot have HBS and are transgender. If your married or have ever had sex with the opposite gender you can't have HBS. According to them if you felt you were born in the wrong body and remember this from the ages of 3 to 6 you don't have HBS unless they say you do otherwise you are transgender. So the rest are all perverts or fetishists. That's interesting because a site survey of a thousand plus transsexuals have had at least 1 suicide attempt by their 20th birthday. Where does HBS expect them to go for support? In addition according to them ALL HBS members pass. If you don't pass they consider you transgendered. The fact that only 31 loudmouth purists can sound like a thousand and tell a whole community that HBSers are the only ones suffering is utter baloney. With 3 million plus transgender people and a million bonafide Transsexuals they expect us to believe that only 31 need help. As A transgender support site with over 4 million users we have communicated with I can tell you that is not true. We have saved thousands of lives here and dealt with thousands of severe crisis's. Our staff of 65 is very busy helping those who HBS would reject.
In any conventional war if you line up 4 million on one side and 31 on the other there is no question who is going to win. While the rest of us are in real life, HBS malcontents are playing video games on a one inch screen. Their view is so narrow, bigoted and self centered that they see no one else or their heart wrentching issues and problems. What's worse is they quote old research and not the new that puches huge holes in HBS. Are we really going to allow 31 people to divide a close knit community unchallenged. They have taken a brilliant theory and detroyed it by telling us what HBS is not, rather than it is, with their bigotry. It's time to fight for our community. If you're a site owner ban the loud mouths if they are hurting your support site. If you are a crossdresser, transgender, transgenderist, transsexual, FTM or MTF stand up for yourselves. Don't let this handfull push you around. HBS Yahoo group are all mouth with little usefull substance. You have every right to get support no matter which group you belong to. I still believe in the principles of HBS and many others do to though without the anti-transgender diatribes. HBS should stand on it's own not blame everyone else and put them down. The fact is no one can diagnose you without a psychology or medical degree. Often it can take several sessions to accurately dignose you. What is more important is what you think you are, not what they think you are..
It is also important that other groups try to understand those Transsexuals who feel they were born with it. Some of them have felt this way since their first remembered thought at the age of 4 or 5. Their experiences will be different than those who felt this way at a later age. It's also important to understand non-ops who either cannot or will not likely get genital surgery. We have had many transsexuals suicidal because they were excluded from surgery due to medical or monetary issues. Their pain is as real as any transsexual's before surgery. HBS says no excuses or you are transgender. I wonder what they'd do if a medical or monetary issue happened to them? Would they be as quick to condemn? Psychologists often recommend RLT or transition for suffering non-ops. It has been effective for many users. It is wrong to assume that all non-ops are happy with their status or with their genetalia. They are not. Those that are, are not transsexual.
HRC's betrayal of the Transgender Community during the ENDA hearings was calculated and cold. What they did affects ALL of us. The enemy is not each other or even other groups. It is those in the public who would do us harm. There are thousands in our community that cannot make a living due to discrimination. There are many who have lost their apartments due to discrimination and forced to live with others or on the streets. Even more are lucky to get a meal today. Last month 104 here had no electricity or heat. There are thousands who have been victims of violence and abuse. Many have died from violence or by their own hand. Is it any wonder that some who are down and out will turn to the dangerous sex trades so they can eat? This will not stop unless we as a community band together and do something about it.
It doesn't matter why we are transgendered, transsexual or have HBS. That is in the past and has already happened to each of us. We are what we are. There is no point in arguing about it now and point fingers at each other hurling insults. Those insults are bad enough to get from the public. Within the community those remarks have more bite especially for the new trans person who is scared to death of being rejected by their own community. Those who do this are heartless and cruel. Please respect each other and let's work together not against each other.
Since 1990 little has changed in the Transgender Community. The same arguements, theories and insults are still going on. Let's hope some other trans person doesn't have to write this letter another 18 years from now because things then are exactly the same as now. I say lets change things as a United Community.
Discrimination and hate of anyone is still discrimination and hate, There is no good moral reason for it, of all the people who should understand that we should. Instead of calling each other names we should be directing our anger at those who would do us harm. We should be after those who deny us jobs and throw us out of our homes and keep our suicide rate the highest of any group from their bigotry. From the trans wars on the net this week I thought I was listening to the religous right attacking the community. It Certainly couldn't have been coming from our ranks, could it? Yet it was and I wept. United we stand, divided we fall.