Wednesday, December 3, 2008

"Prop 8 affects homosexuals more than bisexuals and transgender people"

I got in an argument about my last post with someone who I'd previously thought was intelligent and well-informed. Quoth that man (who is gay) upon hearing of my desire for the use of inclusive language when talking about marriage equality:

Considering Prop 8 is specifically tied to an issue that either does not affect bisexuals or affects "gay and lesbian marriages" between them in the same way it affects homosexuals, and I'm not clear on how Prop 8 directly affects transsexuals at all, I'm kind of confused here... Prop 8 doesn't affect bi people as much as it affects gay people. Sorry, when you're stripped of the right to marry anyone you're in love with instead of half the pool, I'll agree with you.

As I tried to reason with him ("I know so many bisexuals [and, frankly, many gays and lesbians] who are offended by their marriage to a same-sex partner being called a 'gay marriage'...How this issue affects transgender people should be obvious."), he kept digging himself deeper:

Prop 8 affects homosexuals more than bisexuals and transgender people because it completely cuts off their options. If you're going to argue that it's all equivalent, you might as well argue that Prop 8 limits the rights of straight people because they might want to marry their best buddy for a tax break... I'm "suggesting" that for bisexuals there is at least some option of marriage currently. You're "subjugating" half of your "sexuality" by a monogamous marriage anyway, unless you're married to an androgynous hermaphrodite. A post-transition trans person who is attracted to a person of the same gender is homosexual. Or possibly bisexual. Whether or not they've gone through sex change procedures is irrelevant.

Way to not show any sensitivity to the experience of transgender people. I strongly doubt that those who are trans who have a desire to undergo sex change procedures would say that those procedures are "irrelevant." Also, in the eyes of the law in many states, whether or not a trans person has undergone those procedures is, sadly, the only thing that's relevant to their right (or non-right) to marry their partner.

How can someone who supports the right of gay men and lesbians to marry argue that gay people don't choose who they love, but bisexuals can, or should? I don't know who I might end up with any more than he does. If I, as a bisexual woman, fall in love with another woman or a trans person, and I want to marry that person but live in a state where I can't, I'm in the same exact position as he is as a gay man. Just because I could technically still marry a man doesn't mean I want to, any more than he would want to marry a woman. Just because I might want to get married someday, I'm not going to choose to ignore the full range of my sexuality and only date cisgendered men. Furthermore, "bisexual" does not necessarily mean, "50% attracted to women, 50% attracted to men."

Because his statements show that he is clearly misinformed when it comes to bi and trans issues, I told him that he needs to educate himself about the basics of the LGBT community. His response was to tell me I'm "elitist and self righteous" and to unfriend me on Facebook. Ooh, I'm sure hurt by that one.

I wish that I could have spent more time talking instead of arguing with him, but it became obvious he had no interest in learning where he might be misinformed.

What is most frustrating to me about the whole argument is that he is gay. I wish that could say that I have not encountered his attitude before, but it would be a lie to do so.
You would hope that gays and lesbians, who have most likely tried to educate friends and family about their sexual orientation, would be open to learning more about those whose sexual orientation and/or gender identity differs from their own - but some are not.
You would hope that those who have almost assuredly experienced at least some discrimination based on their sexual orientation would not turn around and perpetrate discrimination against someone else based on that person's sexual orientation or gender identity - but they sometimes do.

My straight friends who don't know that much about queer issues are often surprised to learn that some of the worst discrimination and badmouthing of bi people that I've heard has come from lesbians and gay men. Biphobia and transphobia among gays and lesbians is truly saddening.