August 29, 2015
One of the things I talked about in my recent discussion of white cis gays and ‘cis’ was a prediction that, post gay marriage in the US, we’ll likely see a consolidation between Gay Inc and current (smaller) trans organizations.
Already we are seeing that funding is disappearing now that Gay Inc has accomplished its main homonationalist goal. Already we are seeing piece after piece claim that trans rights is the ‘next gay rights movement’ (or that the time for trans rights is now). We also recently saw that the HRC had a report confirm what people have been saying for years about its lack of diversity. We are also seeing white trans women leaders doubling down on trans*nationalism.
I think part of the reason why we are seeing a rise in high profile white cis gays flipping out about being called ‘cis’ is the dawning realization that in the post gay marriage era of ‘gay rights’ cis white gays are in a more precarious situation as the demands of groups they’ve been ignoring for decades are increasingly loud and they have increasingly fewer reasons not to listen. And despite decades of building castles of shit on foundations of sand, they are starting to remember that their experiences of oppression extended beyond not being able to get married.
While I think that a lot of white cis gays will not take this tactic, because who wants to become Jeff White? Indeed, I guarantee you that many white cis gays currently in charge of Gay Inc took note of what happened to White. They’ll have learned that stuff they could easily get away with even just a few years ago aren’t going to be tolerated any more. Add this knowledge to the clear conciliatory and assimilationist design of white trans leaders, and we’ll begin to see consolidation between the two movements.
Of course, the consolidation will often run in one direction, with larger Gay Inc orgs swallowing up smaller trans-focused ones. This will happen with excuses about how Gay Inc is really sorry for side-lining (read: purposefully and tactically pushing trans ppl out), how doing this will ensure that Gay Inc diversifies, how this will help both groups by pooling resources and working collectively…
None of which, of course, sounds like a bad idea. Except that, in many cases, the trans ppl will be tokenized within the organizations they join and those trans people who benefit most will be the older, established white trans leadership, ultimately doing nothing (again) to actually benefit the lives of trans women of colour while exploiting our labour and experiences for their own gain. The white trans leaders will go along with this because they are (have always been) conciliatory with Gay Inc. They will do this because they will want access to the greater resources and infrastructure that Gay Inc has built on the backs of twoc.
This all might take several years to play out, but it’ll happen. Post gay marriage there’ll be fewer resources and a greater need from white cis gays to ensure that they maintain as much control over the resources as possible, as some funding and resources will be ‘diverted’ towards trans groups.
Basically, if you want to picture what this’ll look like. Recall the image of a bunch of white trans and white gay leaders booing Jennicet Gutiérrez when she engaged in direct action to talk about something most of them don’t give a shit about and never will (re: the plight of trans immigrants and refugees). This exact same group of people will be happily working together in the near to mid future for lgbt organizing in the US.