Gawd, I hate politics.
I used to be quite a hack, running towns in congressional campaigns, being out there, really trying to make change, lobbying and such.
But after sitting over a bad vegan dinner with the young activists from HRC (left early, no surprise), NGLTF, Lamba Legal (Go Cole!) and NCTE (ah, Mara) I came away with one sure and unshakable truth: I’m never going to be that young and idealistic again.
I liked Joe Solmonese’s professional speech to SCC. I knew he had the issue. I also knew that the people in that room weren’t paying for those pricey suits, and as a pragmatist, he was only going to do the best he could to balance his constituencies. It’s the golden rule in politics; he who has the gold makes the rules.
I’ve seen ESPA sell out trannys on employment, and then pay lip service, telling us that we need to build our own constituencies, our own power base, which we should sign over to them.
To be a good gay or lesbian person you really have to hook up with other gays and lesbians. You want to become part of a circle.
Transpeople, though, we want to claim ourselves. We are the wiggly bits, the flex joints, and while we are important in any construction, you can’t build stability out of just connectors.
Some people want to know when trannys became part of the gay community. I want to know when gays decided that they weren’t gender variant anymore.
Governing big groups, well, it requires firm and fixed rules. Handling the exceptional, and trannys will pretty much always be the exceptional, well, that seems to be done best by exception. That’s why I don’t think our future is in laws, it’s in making sure that every exceptional person, every queer, is respected and treated well.
But I have to admit being upset with the Democrats this week, who know that they can give those nice gays what they want (even without being able to keep it from being vetoed) if they just cut out the too queer, the trannys. That’s not addressing a challenge from the radical right, since they think we are all too queer, rather it’s addressing an inside baseball challenge from the soft liberals who just get squicked.
I’m not surprised by this betrayal by those who claim to be friends and allies, who say they do this for our own good, so we take one step at a time towards the day when even those trannies can be assured employment rights.
But I am saddened by Donna Rose’s choice to step down from the HRC board. I’m not part of her thin, blond, successful clique, but I do support their right to be assimilatingly cute, no matter how much Ousterhout that takes. I want her and the pack to be successful, to do what they need to do. I was pleased she formed an intersection between the interlocking trans-communities and the HRC gang.
But now, she says, she can’t stay, can’t be their bendy bit anymore. It’s just too much of a stretch, too close to breaking point.
And I feel compassion for her, and pain for all of us, that one of the best of us for that role couldn’t even make it work.
Politics is the art of the possible, the essence of compromise, the playground of power. And I hate it.
But it still is sad when good people get chewed up by it.