So, prior to the 1990s, did the TS and non-TS groups work together to form a larger group in order to pursue “common social, economic, and political interests” (see definition of “community”)? I can unequivocally say YES. In fact, that drive to pull different types of trans people together in order to, as a community of diverse people, improve our quality of life for everyone seems to be an idea that predates 1990 by a number of decades.
Consider this plea from a national transsexual organization to the transvestite and drag community in 1975:
… The courts and legislative people refuse to rule in favor of transsexual persons even when they are legally right. These so-called professional people act solely on the basis of their own emotions and repulsions rather than medical or legal reasons. We consider their actions to be arbitrary, capricious and prejudicial be denying people their God-given right to live in happiness and peace as a human being.
Chrysalis, an organization of transsexual persons, has decided to fight. In order to do this we need your help and support. You many not consider this your fight. However, whenever any person of any sexual minority is denied their right, we all begin to lose those things we have. It wasn’t long that none of us could be proud and stand up for what we are.
Its about time the gays, TVs and TSs break down the barriers between us and work together. United we stand; derived we stand still wishing something would happen.
– Drag Magazine, 1975
That 36 year old statement by a transsexual sounds an awful lot like the tune the current transgender community sings.
In the mid 1970s, another inclusive organization formed. This one was called the United Transvestite and Transsexual Society (UTTS).
Years before that in 1970, the Transvestite/Transsexual Action Organization formed.
In 1971, the “Androgynous Organization” set up a “transsexual help center” that was sponsored by the Gay Liberation Front.
In the mid-1970s, a Los Angeles political group called the Transsexual/Trans-Gender Rap Group” was formed.
Another 1970s group called themselves simply “Transsexuals and Transvestites”.
Lets not forget about the long, yet explicitly inclusively named “Transvestite, Transsexual, Female Impersonator and Gender Identity Program of Gay Community Services” in California.
In fact in 1974, UTTS said, “None of us want to split the transvestite and transsexuals from within…” They went on to state that they believe in “change through the channels and informing the public…”
Again, all of these sentiments sound rather familiar in the modern post-1990s transgender community.
Categories: Historical Report