Understanding that TQI and LGB are not one and the same
Gender diverse people need to speak up for themselves and stand out from the LGBtqi pack, says Kristyana Finch.
We, the LGBtqi, are a minority of many kinds and we are put in the one political bucket. The bucket has settled and the separation of the contents leaves gender firmly at the bottom.
Sexuality isn't a preference, it is a matter of fact that you desire a particular kind of partner for intimate activities. Gender is also not a choice, it's the reality you are psychologically born with and live with every day.
In spite of what some want to believe, the two are indivisible because we all have both. However, when it comes to issues, we may have little in common other than being minorities. The legal situation, although intertwined in the Marriage Act, is otherwise totally different. The reality of the experience is also so removed as to have no similarity. So why are we not separate in the political environment?
Original thought was once that sexuality and gender were one and the same thing because your gender was your sex so no division was required. Biological features dictated your sex and should, they believed, dictate your sexual needs. This wasn't congruent with the reality some most certainly knew, so change was needed. Those who wanted to change the world were oppressed and activists were small in number, gender issues were even further oppressed and so the number of activists were smaller still.
Weight of numbers was required and initially gender issues had virtually none. So the birth of the equal rights movement was basically an LGB show. As the members of the even more deeply oppressed gender diverse population still had a sexuality, it was logical to join with the growing movement – but influence would be a long time coming. Influence came and inclusion was recognised in the acronym, if not the political structure.
That recognition however hasn't added any political weight to the problems gender diverse people face. We are seen through the same policy looking glass as LGB people but we are definitely not the same. Truth is, who you love is not who you are! Some affinity is fine, but being subservient to the broad church of minority is not. The power of perception dictates that under this banner policy makers can assert that they are supportive of gender diverse people without ever having to act directly for them. It fails us!
Then why do we persist in the connection? We are gender divergent we are TQI we can be LGB or simply heterosexual, our issues are not about sexuality as much as gender. Gender is not a stone cold certainty based on genital structure, it is not about what clothes we wear or what interests we have, it is the person, the mind. We haven't a single way of being and it is a difficult group of individuals to contain in a word or an acronym.
The one over-arching thing that we require is simply to be accepted as who we are. The obstacles to acceptance are best expressed by our diversity and the fact that difference is still an obstacle to success in our world. It is only TQI people who are in a position to articulate the obstacles we face. We can do it, we don't need representation from others, we can speak for ourselves.
What we need are coherent efforts to achieve the normalisation of diversity! We need to accept difference ourselves and bury the hostilities to difference in our own group. We need to lead by example. TQI must be seen as equally important, no longer subservient to others.