Here is what is purported to be our nation’s first national transsexual rights organizations had to say about building a community of people of non-cisgender history, experience and/or expression in order to fight for common purpose:
Looking Toward the Future
by Cynthia Platt
As TAO secretary I would like to discuss how a transexual should approach like – both before and after surgery. Firstly, the transexual must give some thought to the future, and what kind of a life the person wants to live. Most pre-operative and many transvestites want to have surgery, but being a “post-operative transexual” also isn’t all there is to it. It also means trying to find acceptance in society as a normal happening – a member of a true third sex. We must all work towards improving the legal aspects of our lives, and try to end the attitudes which will not permit us to be teachers or nurses. Someday we will have more access to the political structure and take part in it as candidates and seek elective offices.
In order to do all of this, we must co-operate with each other, and not turn against each other in our desperation. The TAO is one of many organizations helping all transexuals and transvestites, and is all of us can join together there goals will be accomplished sooner. We should also reach out to non-transexuals so that can understand us better.
The reason so many transexuals become drug addicts and suicidal is not only because the rejection be society but that government services are also often denied to us – help of any kind. There are government programs for addicts, alcoholics, mentally retarded, physically handicapped, but really none for us and some of us need the help. Transexuals and transvestites have a lot of talent which society has lost because society will not let us in political affairs, but prejudice denied me a complete education and the super-discrimination against us is far worse than that against people because of their race or religion It might seem impossible that we will ever overcome these prejudices. I hope that in the near future there will be many collective efforts for those who would like to achieve greater status in society and we can help build one to provide many services for our people.
As you read the above statement, think about what you’ve head from the transgender community over the past 20 years. TAO was our nation’s leading transsexual organization and eventually spread into several other countries. In fact, Stephen Whittle was very active with the British chapter of TAO.
On the West Coast, militant transgender activism found its leading figure in the person of Angela Douglas, a contentious yet effective advocate of transgender rights. Douglas had been active in GLF-Los Angeles in 1969 and wrote extensively about sexual liberation issues for Southern California’s counter-cultural press. In 1970 she founded TAO (Transsexual/Transvestite Action Organization), which published the Moonshadow and Mirage newsletters. Douglas moved TAO to Miami in 1972, where it came to include several Puerto Rican and Cuban members, and soon grew into the first truly international transgender community organization.