Trans Activism and LGB Movements

Odd Bedfellows?

Authored by: Janneke van der Ros Joz Motmans

The Ashgate Research Companion to Lesbian and Gay Activism

Print publication date:  August  2015
Online publication date:  March  2016

Print ISBN: 9781409457091
eBook ISBN: 9781315613147
Adobe ISBN: 9781317042914


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In many countries in Europe, as well as in the United States and at the pan-European level, we see a tendency to add a “T” to issues relating to LGB communities and politics. The motives that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans people have for forming such political and social coalitions are numerous. Practical considerations, political advantages, and the local and political environment have encouraged cooperation between these minority groups (Stone 2009; Weiss 2008). Another reason is that LGB and T people tend to face similar difficulties, thus making them in some sense “natural allies.” Both groups experience stigmatization and discrimination emerging from narrow views on gender and sexuality, heterosexist assumptions, and rigid binary gender norms in society (Morrison 2010; Stone 2009; Weiss 2008; Worthen 2013). Furthermore, minorities based on sexual and gender orientation challenge welfare state policies that assume heterosexual citizens who are either male or female, as indicated on their birth certificates, and who live and love accordingly. Both groups—LGBs and Ts—constitute minorities with regard to sensitive issues and social taboos relating to sexuality and sex/gender. Both groups have historically been pathologized and outlawed. Formal recognition and acknowledgement of one’s gender identity may require a mental diagnosis, medical adaptations (e.g., castration/forced sterilization), and even divorce. 1

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