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As transgenders push for respect, a rift grows with traditional gay leadership

Posted by invizweb on June 22, 2008

Michael Lavers wrote for the Village Voice:

Angel’s performance at the Black Party was a direct challenge to the men who have pretty much run the gay-rights movement for decades. The transgendered—which encompasses anyone whose gender identity and expression doesn’t fit into traditional masculine or feminine roles—may have helped instigate the 1969 police riots at the Stonewall Inn. But since then, the movement has endured an ongoing struggle to find its place at the table, even as it continues to become more institutionalized and more an accepted part of mainstream America.

Transpeople present a threat to the conformity of today’s gay leaders. The faces of contemporary gay activism are the well-scrubbed visages of Ellen DeGeneres and gal pal (and soon wife) Portia de Rossi; Rosie O’Donnell and Kelli Carpenter; and such folks as Nathan Lane, Episcopal Bishop V. Gene Robinson, and TV judge David Young. The Human Rights Campaign and the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation—two of the largest and most powerful national gay-rights groups in the country—put forward these trained spokespeople to mouth carefully crafted messages and talking points that effectively market their brand of lesbian and gay identity to a largely straight audience.
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