Orangeban asked: "What are your thoughts on trans* invisibility within the LGBT movement?"
Invisiblity within the trans* movement is a topic which could have any one of a few different causes (or at least a combination of them). Some of them are within our control, and others require the LGB of LGBT groups to stand up. And even though some are within our control, it winds up being a lot to ask of those trans people who can affect this.
The first reason is sheer numbers. By and large, we're not a big group. There were only a handful of us, if that, at my local LGBT group (compared to the tons and tons of LG people). The numbers game means that at any LGBT support group, we will be a minority, unless it's specifically targeted at trans* people. There are just more gay and lesbian identified men and women than there are trans women and men. So, even at the outset, we're already fighting an uphill battle.
The next issue is a beef with many of the LGBT organizations out and about. In a lot of cases, the trans related issues, discussion topics, and so on are either few and far between at best, or nonexistent at worst. This stems from problem one, that we're not nearly as large a group as the LGB, so naturally, most LGBT organizations tend to give the T events, topics, etc. proportional to their numbers within the group. Small numbers, few meetings focused on our issues. (I want to give a shout out to the Akron LGBTU group at my college - they break this trend and give trans issues a larger chunk of time).
So even within these groups, we're often pushed aside because we're a minority within the minority. This deserves a mention, because right now, we're FAR behind LGB rights in terms of social acceptance, protections, rights, and so on. We still have U.S. Senators getting away with promoting violence towards us. The murders of trans women are in many cases not appearing in the media. CeCe McDonald's self-defense resulting in jail. We are YEARS behind LGB rights, and even despite this, many LGBT organizations fail to adequately inform and educate their memberships on trans issues. I've heard many stories of lesbian, gay, and/or bisexual people being just as ignorant of trans issues as heteronormative people. Considering that they are supposed to be our allies, it's not asking much, I think, that they be informed on our issues. Especially considering we're so far behind them. We need them to be educated, and we need their support. These are still dark times to be a trans* person, and if we can't even count on the LGB part of LGBT, then who can we count on? Are we expected to be used as a voting base for gay and lesbian rights while we get thrown under the bus to advance LGB-related legislation at the expense of trans protections? This comic comes to mind. Don't be like this, seriously. If your group is like this, please don't hesitate to bring this up to them. If they worry about losing gay and lesbian membership if trans-related information and activities are increased - ask them if those who would leave were ever really trans allies in the first place. We're years behind, and quite vulnerable, we NEED those who claim to be our allies to be educated and involved.
Okay, back to the main topic. Another reason trans people tend to be invisible, is that many trans people simply cease all action within trans/LGBT circles once they've finished transition, especially if they pass. They no longer need the emotional support group, and are capable of living a normal, fulfilling life without the need for the LGBT organization. As many LGBT groups are very lesbian/gay focused anyway, and tend to serve their interests and needs instead of those of trans people, its no surprise that many decide to just stop going to these groups. Especially since they no longer need most of the support that the few trans-related events offer.
And finally, you have the last, and probably most obvious reason for trans invisibility - "stealth". Stealth of course refers to the practice of a trans person living as a cis person, actively hiding their trans status in an attempt to avoid anti-trans related issues / enjoy cis privilege. While it's obviously understandable why many trans people choose this, it has some consequences. For one, when people think of someone who's transsexual/transgender, they're usually think of drag queens, or the stereotypical late transitioners who's trans* status is apparent. That is because these are the only trans people that they "see". You have your outliers like Jenna Talackova, and Chaz Bono, but that's only recently, and even then they're seen as the exception to the rule. This is because, explicitly, of passing/stealth. It's confirmation bias. The only trans people that 'exist' are those who don't pass. Those who do pass are rendered invisible to the public, and thus don't 'exist', becoming literally invisible. That said, it's hard to ask any of them to stand up and be loud and proud when doing so is likely to result in violent action, discrimination, and other negative consequences. Once more legal protections and rights, and more social progress has been made, it will be safer for those among us who appear cisgender to speak out for trans rights.
All of the above contributes to this. We're a minority already, but many of us pass, and in doing so, we literally become invisible. This means the number of 'visible' trans people is even smaller. It's only recently that we've had much visibility, and even with the somewhat growing acceptance, many would rather hide in stealth.
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