Change Your World-NOT your Body

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

NCLR aka Trans/Gay Male Rights Org. Part (1)

ncI have been meaning to write something on the NCLR for a while now. If you arent familiar the NCLR is The National Center for Lesbian Rights. Sounds great right? LESBIAN rights and a NATIONAL center devoted to the multitude of ways lesbians are discriminated against daily, from jobs, to housing to lesbian mothers who are losing their children everyday in this country alone. Well, do not let the name fool you, this organization does very little for lesbians, this org. has buried lesbian issues and drowned our lesbian presence beneath the same QUEER alphabet soup that has been drowning us for the last 20 years.

I joined the NClR's Facebook page recently to see if their FB ran anything like their website, i.e. concerned primarily with gay men and trans issues. Their FB page does regular posts about issues the org is currently dealing with or interested in. I joined a few weeks ago, and have yet to see any post that is specifically lesbian oriented! That to me says either one of two things, nothing is happening for lesbians everywhere or queer/trans/gay issues are being placed above lesbian issues therefore lesbians arent making any progress anywhere. At any rate I made a few comments on a few of their posts asking why the gay male or trans posts were being posted on an organizations page that calls itself a national center for LESBIAN rights. I received this message from a MAN no less:

Interestingly HE lists "lesbian" first, yet if you check their past and present case load it consists of nearly every case being either gay male related or trans related with a few token dyke cases thrown in.The L very often is placed at the front of the queer alphabet soup mix yet over and over and over again "lesbian" figures last or more often recently not at all among the mix. It is a deliberate queer ploy used to give lesbians the impression that they/we figure in when in truth we figure no where. Lesbians are the biggest threat to patriarchy and its misogynistic systems, our very natures are an affront to maintaining those systems, which is why we continue getting buried or erased by "queer progress". Queer ideology in the face of patriarchy and misogyny is just more of the same, it is merely another branch on the patriarchy tree. A branch that uses instead of an ugly in your face brute force, flat out shame or blatant sexism, deceptively uses buzz words like "queer", "feminism", "homophobia", "butch", "femme", "queer rights" etc, that early on lulled lesbians into a false sense of solidarity. 

A sense of solidarity that created a "we're all in this together" queer atmosphere that led lesbians to believe if they/we gave our time and money to queer causes and queer rights groups OUR causes, OUR needs, OUR rights were being looked into, supported and changed for the better. We were also led to believe that the more letters added on to the queer alphabet soup meant more folks are going to be there fighting for our causes, our needs and our rights with their time and their money and their passion in the same way we have for theirs. Instead we've woken up some twenty years later like some lesbian Rip Van Winkles to find we've made no major gains in lesbian visibility, lesbian rights or political lesbian presence. What we've also woken up to find is that we are the smallest letter of and at the bottom of, the queer alphabet soup bowl!

And before someone yells what about DADT or "gay" marriage in some states. Had even half of the gays and lesbians in the military came out since we invaded Iraq the military would have repealed DADT itself because it couldnt afford to lose that many soldiers! And personally I do not consider it progress because now gays and lesbians can freely serve in the military. The male military machine was created to enforce male centered politics and privilege with as much gusto (or more) as "defending" our country. The military has long been an area that has given lesbians a place/paying wage, but it is and remains at a high price to both women and lesbians! Becoming a cog in the male military machine isnt progress, progress would be creating or opening up womencentric/lesbiancentric jobs.

And "gay marriage" is a joke! Marriage historically and in many places still is today if not in legal practice than in ideology a patriarchal system utilized to hold women down, keep women down, keep women under the power of males, legally allow men to take ownership of their property and whatever rights they had/have. Now I don't know about any other lesbian out there but personally when I meet the lesbian I give my whole too and received hers in return, I do NOT want that tainted with anything that past, present or future was/is used against women or used to harm women! Gay marriage isnt "progress" for lesbians, progress for lesbian unions would not only recognize and celebrate the unique love between two lesbian females, it would do so while giving us the basics rights and benefits available to any other legal couple.

Getting back to the NClR, I responded to (Erik's) message asking him did the org have any plans on changing their name to reflect who they truly are representing because their name as it stands is quite deceptive, and two days later I havent heard anything back, which to me speaks volumes.

I will write more about the org itself, what it espouses and who is working for them in part (2) of this subject coming in the next day or so.

dirt

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40 comments:

  1. Dirt, I am just shocked as usual by the hidden truth you disclose out and clear !
    I am just shocked because it is a violation to this organisation mission to serve other audience than lesbians.
    I am shocked because you are the only one here to stand up and fight for our rights !
    Can you organize a poll in order we all vote about "do you think that NCLR should adress only lesbian issues" ?

    Thank you !

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  2. Consider it done anon.

    Poll, posted!

    dirt

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  3. Awesome post, Dirt! Succinct, powerful, honest, well-written. Good job.

    PS: I'm encouraged that they contacted you directly based on your FB posts. That means they've got their ears to the rails. Maybe we can organized a group [digital] protest? (Tiger Beatdown recently had some success with a Twitter protest against Michael Moore...)

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  4. The NCLR used to do what it claims to do, that is, work for lesbian rights. I have the impression that it morphed into a trans/queer organization over the course of the mid-nineties. If I am not mistaken, this is also when the NCLR's former director, Shannon Minter, transitioned. (Minter is FTM.)

    It always struck me as odd that someone who considered themself male would have wanted to continue working in a lesbian organization -- in a leadership capacity, no less. In fact, it seemed a little opportunistic -- and that was before I realized that the NCLR had quietly shifted its focus to trans issues.

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  5. They should have changed the name; it's misleading with their intent, like saying The National Center for Somewhat Lesbian Rights. I do agree that the leaders should not be men with a name like that.

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  6. Dirt I can't TELL you how pleased I am that you've taken on this issue. It is TOTALLY deceptive. My response is too long for a comment and can be seen here:
    http://gendertrender.wordpress.com/2011/01/05/lesbians-are-women/

    THANK YOU DIRT.
    Looking forward to Part 2.
    :)

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  7. I wholeheartedly agree with everything you said in this post, Dirt. I look forward to seeing your further posts on NCLR.

    I also like how you confronted the marriage and military myths.

    as usual, you have my support!

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  8. This pisses me off and Im NOT a lesbian! I guess I see it like accessibility issues. My Mom was a spinal cord injury rehab nurse so I grew up always aware of handicapped access, ramps, door openers, elevators etc. When I started having kids I realised wheelchair access is also stroller access. So, it pays to make everyhwhere wheelchair accessible so that it's accessible to everyone else too. I see Lsbian rights the same. If women fight for Lesbian rights, all the other women are given the best scenario rightswise along with them. Only when the Lesbians are free and safe can us straight chicks have a snowball's chance in hell of being OK. And yet now we have the effin menz stickin it in where it ain't wanted! in Lesbian space! FFS. one step forward, a giant dick in the face forcing us twenty steps back!

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  9. Clearly the group has become much too general. While, I think supporting the LGBT community as a whole is a good thing. I also believe that each group should have their own supporters, leaders, and role models available to suit their specific needs and rights. Pleasing everyone all at once doesn't work. At all. Especially when you are ignoring and down playing the importance of some of the groups you are supposed to represent and protect.

    It is upsetting for me that the focus of this group has shifted away from it's original goal. Abandoning it's original supporters, while also leaving itself it a deceptive state for any new supporters. They are in the wrong.

    Keep on them Dirt!

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  10. I think the organization should put lesbian needs first, but shouldn't be averse to supporting general feminist or gay or bisexual causes when they correspond with lesbian ones. I think the leadership should be lesbian, or at least female, and solidly feminist.

    I think it's odd that they only refer to "all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their families." It's like they forget that we still face a woman-hating culture, the wage gap, and attacks on reproductive rights. Those things are every bit as important to LESBIAN rights as anything we have in common with gay/bisexual men.

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  11. like saying The National Center for Somewhat Lesbian Rights.

    Okay that cracked me up. :) But really, if the label on the tin says lesbian then that's what you'd expect inside. They should change their name to reflect their exclusive focus on transqueer news. And seriously, any person who claims to be a man is really NOT the appropriate person to head an organization called "National Center for Lesbian Rights".

    This is a perfect example of what radical feminists have been saying all along: men are simply using lesbians to further their own agenda.

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  12. Wow, you really rate, Dirt! I started commenting on their posts regularly when they had something up about how great it was that a delusional man could finally compete on the women's pro golf tour, but never heard anything back from them. I finally got sick of seeing their garbage and unliked them. There's no way that gay men or bi men have any interest in that org. The whole derailing of the organization was to be a cover for trans issues. And how oh so proud they must be to have co-opted lesbian space. Think they'd ever dare take over the gay men's chorus? Hell no.

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  13. Anon at 5:58 here, with a correction to my earlier post. Shannon Minter is the current, not former, legal director of the NCLR.

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  14. DIRT!!! My big butch heroine!!! I was just furious at the misrepresentation the center for lesbian rights now practices. I got a fundraising letter and list of cases they've fought for a couple of decades, and was shock to see gay male custody cases, trans cases, and Shannon Minter has head of it as FTM--just opportunistic. Why can't a center like this be 100% for lesbian rights, lesbian case law, and lesbian clients and employees? I see this all over the place--lesbian is in the name but actual lesbians who need the most legal help, the most resources get dissed by organizations like this. I'm spitting mad about this, and was shocked to hell when I read that fundraising letter!!! SHOCKED. So let's really yell loudly on this because these organizations need to serve lesbians only, and to have community accountability. Even since every lesbian group went from collectives to non-profit tax status, we've had continuing attrocities. Shannon Minter even argued before the CA Supreme Court on Prop 8, was interviewed on NPR...it's a very WTF world out there!!! And a MAN writes you back Dirt, geez... rub a little more penis salt into the wound why don't cha!!!

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  15. Has anyone checked the poll? Pretty fucking telling if you ask me! While clearly lesbians conclude a LESBIAN org should be for/about lesbians, half the voters say no or they dont give a fuck.

    This is the more of the same, its like feminism in the 70's. Lesbians were good enough to do odd shit jobs for them but never good enough to put a face on and consider their/our rights/needs.

    This queer fucking mix is no different, lesbians are fine as longs as we can be used in some way for each letter of the queer alphabet but when we insist on being human, having our own fucking issues, our own fucking needs, our own fucking ways of communicating, our own fucking ways of loving then its a big FUCK YOU DYKES!

    We're suddenly selfish bitches for wanting to devote our lesbian time and our lesbian money to issues that have been repeatedly ignored, forgot or plain brushed under the fucking carpet since lesbians join the GLF!

    There is a MALE in Mtf, there is a MALE in ftM, there is a MALE in gay MALE, there are MALES in bisexual and there are MALES in queer. Logically why would lesbians think that within all that maledom our needs were ever going to be understood and supported?

    The proof is in the puddin ladies, we've gained nothing and have lost everything, its time to take the L back!

    dirt

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  16. Only in the US :)

    Whose other lesbian center in the world will have appointed a bald guy with a beard as its director ?

    http://www.nclrights.org/site/PageServer?pagename=About_Staff_ShannonMinter

    You American people are so fucked up ! You are so ridiculous !

    Let me tell you something a lesbian is a woman.
    A man cannot be the director of a lesbian center...

    Joker !

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  17. [There's no way that gay men or bi men have any interest in that org. The whole derailing of the organization was to be a cover for trans issues.]

    It's more overall 'queer' than anything; seems like they want to be every color of the rainbow but the lesbian one, which is seriously ironic given the name. The only reason there's any trans anything there at all is likely the few trans people on the staff there.

    Also, do you really think they are doing us all that much good when their time and money is spent advocating a trans golfer and trans people in prison? How the hell does that help any of the rest of us? Do you think that we give two shits if an individual MTF can play golf?

    If you think that gay men do not have a controlling interest in the NCLR, you've got another thing coming. Gay men have some control over every 'LGBT' organization in the money; that's why it's called Gay Inc. Take a look at how the NCLR is just falling over themselves to support gay marriage, for example. Katey herself stated that, "I truly believe that a game-changing moment on marriage will help with employment, DADT, violence and homo and trans-phobia."

    ...and another comment from Katey over at The Bilerico Project:

    "I have had the pleasure of speaking with this litigation team on many occasions and as I told Ted Olson, I consider him an honorary lesbian."

    Apparently, she can dub honorary lesbians. Isn't that cute? Guess why she did that? He is a staunch supporter of gay marriage. Yeah, you shouldn't be surprised.

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  18. All the women working in this organisation in the staff should be ashamed to work for male domination under a lesbian undercover which is apparently here only for fundraising ! Give us our money back ! You don't use it for L purpose but for FTM policy ! The women who transition here should be fired ! It is a women/L center not a FTM center ! You are a man: grab your balls and find a juicy paycheck elsewhere !

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  19. I was wondering if the whole article was a joke so I checked on the NCLR staff and board page. You can find it here: http://www.nclrights.org/site/PageServer?pagename=about_staff

    And I could not believe it: you have 70% of the staff & board who are males (either bio or FTM).

    I am just speechless: too shocking to be true o_O !

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  20. I proudly married my wife in a civil ceremony Washington, D.C., in May 2010. We own our home together, and have two daughters. Marriage may have been used, historically, to oppress women in the past, but MY marriage is uplifting and securing the lives of four bio women in significant and loving ways. I just needed to say that.

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  21. Can we legally prosecute the NCLR board for misuse of our money ?

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  22. JB,

    If it took a legal document for you to have all that, then what you have wasnt real to begin with.

    dirt

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  23. This Erik is a male ? What is he doing at a lesbian center and at such management position ? Is it a whole joke ? Are you kidding us ? How can it happened ? it is like having tobacco companies at a lung cancer association...

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  24. Anon@11:48

    Hmmm doubt it. Any lawyers in da house?

    dirt

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  25. Hey gals, mariage is just those kind of princess dreams you were brainwashed with ! Come clean ! Get over it ! women do not need official or social validation of their love !

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  26. I think the gay males in the staff (either bio or FTM) should join gay males centers and the trans FTM in the staff should join transgender centers or create a separate center for straight FTM or join straight guys alliances...
    I don't know what they are doing here as gay males are not lesbian and straight FTM are straight guys (or at least they claim to be).

    If I were a woman working in such a center and if I may consider transitioning to male, I would have found another job as part of my new gender identity transition process...

    You the cake thing (:

    ReplyDelete
  27. Woa 70% of the payroll of a Lesbian center devoted to males.

    Woa, woa !
    Are lesbians total morons ?

    Hey lesbo, I want to create a lesbian center and will in fact hire only religious anti-lesbo biggots : I will call it the "lesbian advocacy center".

    Are you ok ? Will you fund it ?

    lol lol

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  28. I voted "no" in the poll because I think the NCLR should support some related causes - if and only if these causes further lesbian rights, and if and only if women are actually making the decisions.

    But it looks like the NCLR is run by men for men's interests.

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  29. And they even have a male as a spokesperson :) you made my day !

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  30. Hey Anon who's posted like five times in this thread: there's no space at the end of a sentence before the punctuation. It makes all your posts obviously written by the same person.

    Wrong:
    You lesbian are moron !

    Right:
    You lesbians are morons!

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  31. Anon@12:20. Completely agree. What's so damned hard about having priorities? It's not rocket science.

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  32. I think it would be helpful to separate the issue of whether the NCLR should be a lesbian or QWERTYUIOPGBTIAA organization from the issue of whether or not lesbians should want the right to get married.

    The rights conferred by marriage have a direct, material effect on a person's quality of life. You do not EVER want to face the problems with hospital visitation rights that some gay couples have had to face. (Google Pond-Langhen and Jackson Memorial Hopsital for a particularly nightmarish example.) I'm pretty sure you also don't want to work your ass off your whole life to provide some measure of security for you significant other (and any children you and she may be responsible for) after you die, and have her homophobic relatives swoop in and break your last will and testament. Or have the IRS take more than it would from a heterosexual married couple. Then there are the extra taxes you pay if your same-sex partner collects benefits because they're covered by your employer's health plan. Then there's the social security tax you pay, for benefits that your partner will never receive after you die, but the spouse of a married straight couple will.

    Right now, those bundles of rights and protections are referred to as "marriage" in our society. This is unlikely to change anytime soon. I am not willing to forgo them because I don't care for some of the history behind the word marriage.

    On a related note, the military as it exists today is a patriarchal institution. However, even if all the men in the world buggered off to their own planet, we would still have the problem of some people trying to take other people's resources by force, because women do this too. Men have historically done it more, because they can -- it's the whole size, strength, and not getting pregnant thing -- but they don't have a monopoly on it. There will always be a need for self defense at both the individual and the societal level. I think it's unrealistic to think we will ever be able to dispense with militaries completely. The horrible truth is that it only takes one side to start a war, and there will always be somebody willing to start one. (In other words, I think Einstein was just plain wrong when he said that you cannot simultaneously have peace and prepare for war.)

    So my gripe with the NCLR is not that they advocate for gay marriage and DADT repeal, it's that it appears to be run by and for transsexuals and gay men, with lesbians coming a distant third. I would like to see a strong feminist organization working to ensure that lesbians and women in general have equal rights in the world that actually exists, not some future utopia.

    Btw, Shannon Minter the NCLR picked the losingest possible strategy for opposing Prop. 8 -- they based their argument on a legal technicality that did not address the underlying issue of anti-gay hatred. I don't have to declare Ted Olsen and David Boies honorary lesbians to consider them genuine allies, because they were willing to put the blame for Prop. 8 squarely where it belongs -- on bigotry, and yes, on sexism. I happen to think those two are worth a thousand HRCs, NCLRs, and similar Gay, Inc., organizations, as those seem to exist only to provide jobs for a few people who are too timid to challenge the status quo.

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  33. The NCLR is a non-profit. That means they cant discriminate against anyone who is male and unfortunately have to hire them even though its for Lesbians. Its kind of like the Affirmative Action policy, but in reverse.

    They cant exclude males or people who are male identified, otherwise they can lose their non-profit status and all funding.

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  34. @ASUFTM2010. You are no doubt correct on points technical..however, isn't it funny how all that legally required non-discrimination has resulted in a lesbian rights organization being run by everyone BUT lesbians?

    There's always a way around anti-discrimination laws if you look hard enough. And they're enforced weakly at best. That's why discrimination is still so common. My guess is the lesbians at the NCLR felt like they had to be nice and play by the rules, even when nobody else does. That's what you get for being idealistic sometimes.

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  35. "The NCLR is a non-profit. That means they cant discriminate against anyone who is male and unfortunately have to hire them even though its for Lesbians. Its kind of like the Affirmative Action policy, but in reverse.

    They cant exclude males or people who are male identified, otherwise they can lose their non-profit status and all funding"

    Hmmm and yet when the org began it was an all LESBIAN staff working on all LESBIAN cases. And I dont recall nor can I find a single law suit where gay males sued to work the NCLR. Hmmm...

    dirt

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  36. "And I dont recall nor can I find a single law suit where gay males sued to work the NCLR. "

    yes this non-profit/anti-discriminate stuff is not backed-up by any law.
    And they can be prosecuted because they claim being a "lesbian rights center" , they have their non-profit status based on this lesbian rights mission but in fact they don't respect the mission they committed to and moreover they dicriminate women and lesbo within their organisation.

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  37. Married my wife LEGALLY in Iowa in '09 and so happy that we did. A marriage between two women has no man to me in it.

    Also repealing the DADT policy has put the twinkle in her eyes again. She loved her profession and has always respected her kids.

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  38. We really don't care about the marriage comments. We comment here NCLR. Got it?

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  39. I think we should start our own organization for our own interest. Are there any organization's right now devoted exclusively to butch dyke bitches on a mission? Not! We should do it! Dirt can be our CEO.

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  40. Yes the real National Center for Lesbian rights need to be created.

    Because the organization you describe in your article and the one which has this website: http://www.nclrights.org/ is not an organization devoted to lesbian rights but to males rights (either gay bio & FTM males or straight FTM males).

    The organization at http://www.nclrights.org/ is not an organization dealing with women to women sexual orientation and what it implies fo the women who has this sexual orientation.


    Moreover it is not staffed with dykes but with gay & ftm males.

    So no offense, nothing against FTM & gay males rights but a national center devoted to lesbian rights should be created and the budget given to the NCLR should be used to fund this new center!

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