Ever since cross dressing men and transvestites co-opted the transsexual movement, TS folks have actually LOST already pre-existing rights.
~Ashley Love, in the Trans Forming Media essay Attention all Women Born with a Transsexual and/or Intersex Birth Challenge: You Have The Right to Vote Too! Happy Women’s Equality Day! (August 17, 2010)
I met Ashley Love a number of years back, having eaten meals with her at a couple of the California Transgender Leadership Summits in past years in Los Angeles and San Diego. She’s young and very attractive, and had ambitious goals for herself and her community. I was impressed by her goals and her determination.
And Love is a visible member of community. Love has been on Logo; she writes for the Huffington Post, she’s done modeling; she has a blog called Trans Forming Media; she’s formed an anti-defamation group, and she was quoted in mainstream media as an activist who organized protests against the film Ticked Off Tra**ies With Knives. In other words, she has mainstream media, social media, and web presences that are significant — Love has a significant public profile.
It’s been over two years since Love and I have been at the same event or conference at the same time, and times have certainly changed us both. I’ve grown into a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community activist who engaged in arrestable direct actions, while Love, as mentioned above has organized public protests over the use of the derogatory term tra**y in the film Ticked Off Tra**ies With Knives. And just last November, Love was afforded the honor of introducing keynote speaker Amanda Simpson at Washington DC’s Transgender Day Of Remembrance memoriam on November 20, 2010:
Love has framed her activism in terms of anti-defamation. Love organized Media Advocates Giving National Equality to Transsexual & Transgender People, or MAGNET specifically to address defamation of trans people. From Ashley Love’s Blogger biography (emphasis added):
Ashley Love is a woman born with chromosomical and anatomy diversity (which transpired into a medical condition), and is an advocate for LGBT humanity. Ashley is a poet, novelist, activist, journalist, host, media specialist, film maker and spoken word performer. She is the Organizer of Media Advocates Giving National Equality to Transsexual & Transgender People (MAGNET). MAGNET is an anti-defamation organization dedicated to educating the media about transsexual and transgender issues, as well as pushing for more authentic and positive portrayals of trans people in the media.
But, she’s been using derogatory language for some subgroups in transgender community since January of 2010 — the opening quote from this Pam’s House Blend essay is one example. Another example is something she said as recently as January 3, 2011, where she stated this about trans community diversity:
[I]ts times to stop living in a fantasy, and face the facts. Sweeping diversity and individuality under the rug has done nothing for the sex and gender diverse communities, or at least nothing for the transsexual and intersex communities. Perhaps its done a lot for white cross dressing males and white gender queer FTMs, but it has only served white trans masculine people, and thats it. I have more in common with a non-trans woman than I do with a cross dresser or drag queen. Many TS/IS people are fed up of being bullied by PC BS. We are tired of being muzzled by late transitioning white CD and TG male bodied people who run the TG Facista non-profit world and buy their way onto the Gay(lgbt) non profit boards. Did we go through all we went through to be told we are the same thing as men in dresses? We think not.
Her mission and vision reads as quite nobly, but what I’ve found in looking at Ashley Love’s writings over the past year is that although Love claims to be an anti-defamation advocate, she has on multiple occasions done her work by defaming others. This includes deriding and defaming subgroups that fall under the transgender community umbrella, as well as deriding and defaming individual trans identified people who have points of view different from her point of view. The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) doesn’t do their anti-defamation work in that way, nor does the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). The tactics and language that Love has been using for the past year are more akin with how the Traditional Values Coalition (TVC) and the Family Research Council (FRC) do their work.
In other words, Love’s significant profile as a transsexual woman and activist puts her in the position of being a significant positive force for trans community members, as well as a significant negative force. Over the past year, the thrust of her evolving message has become significantly more negative for trans people and community who don’t fit into Love’s narrowing view of who counts in community. This is in large part because she’s been engaging in deriding and defaming others in community.
Tomorrow begins a series of essays on what Ashley Love has been saying about transgender community over the past year. I remember former International Federation For Gender Education president Dallas Denny’s famous commentary about how well the trans community eats their own, so I don’t take on web publishing this series of essays lightly.
However, I can’t help but feel that Ashley Love’s pattern of writing derogatory and defamatory commentary needs to be exposed to the light of day. It seems to me that her views are outlier viewpoints, and she’s too much of a public figure — both in and out of trans community — to ignore what she’s been writing over the past year about transgender identified people.
* Part Two: Ashley Love And Anti-Defamation