Donna mentioned recently that she won’t join some organization (I think it was an alumnae association) until they add the T for Transgender as right now the group’s title is the Gay and Lesbian ________.
And it got me thinking that one of the ironies of being someone who writes about trans issues but isn’t trans myself is that I can’t join the LGBT Writers’ Group, or Authors Group, or Alumni Association, or really anything. I’m not, per se, LGBT. And yet obviously I am by association – actually by marriage, which is even more ironic – and maybe even embarassing – in LGBT groups. It occurred to me that there is something odd, & mayhaps political, about this issue, because in some ways it’s not just about social groups, but about interest, and that because membership in groups that discuss LGBT issues are generally only joined by people who are LGBT themselves, there is an assumption that no one who isn’t LGBT would be interested in LGBT issues.
I’m not quite sure what to think of that.
I’ve been asked if men can join feminist organizations, and for the most part, they can (unless the org in question is a radical lesbian or separatist or both type of feminist organization). Because there’s no requirement that you have to be a woman to be a feminist: you simply have to believe that women are equal to men and should be treated so economically, educationally, legally, etc.
Having been to a very multi-culti college, it never occurred to me, at the time, that many people I knew belonged to student associations that had to do with their identity, as the ones I belonged to were based on interest – things like NYPIRG, or the fiction magazine editorial team, and later, PBK. I can’t say I sought hard for a Suburban-but-Working-Class Women Writers of Polish extraction group, or a Youngest Daughters of Large Catholic Families group, or some other group of which I could have been a member because of my identity, and I certainly didn’t start any.
But it is odd, isn’t it? Maybe I should just start a group for Allies of Causes Not Directly Influenced by Said Ally’s Identity, or The Underdog Society, or even a group for Partners of People with Important Minority Identities.
But maybe not. Maybe I should just get one of those I’m not a lesbian but my girlfriend is t-shirts and call it a day.