About the ‘transgender umbrella’Bottom Highlights, Conversations with the Mayor of Hillcrest Thursday, May 29th, 2014
Commentary: Conversations with the Mayor of Hillcrest
When I nominated six-year-old Ryland Whittington and his wonderful parents for this year’s Harvey Milk Inspirational Award, I knew the 1,000+ people attending the Sixth Annual Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast would react in the same way as I did when first meeting the Whittington family … I cried, getting emotional over this beautiful story of unconditional love these two parents share and have for their now transgender boy. Although I was not at the breakfast last Thursday, reports quickly spread that there was not a single dry eye in the hotels’ enormous ballroom.
When I was growing up in the late 1960s and early ‘70s, I lived as a pre-operative transsexual, first in Hollywood, then making the move to San Diego. Thank goodness I realized in time that I was not truly transgendered, but just a gay man who liked to do drag – a lot!
I was ridden with Catholic guilt as a teen and believed God would only love and accept me if I was a woman, not a homosexual. I even came close to having a full sex change operation before finally realizing that I was not actually a transsexual. At that pivotal moment in my life, I stopped living as a woman 24/7.
Transgender leaders of decades past unveiled what they called a ‘transgender umbrella’. Under it, they placed transsexuals, transvestites and even drag queens. The reality is that drag queens are gay men, while transvestites are straight. In my opinion, the inclusion of those communities should not be categorized under this so called transgender umbrella. We do not belong there.
The issues facing the transgender community are too important, serious and life changing. True transgender individuals need to be the primary focus. Drag queens and transvestites wind up confusing the masses. This does not help when it comes to acceptance and educating others about the transgender community and their specific issues.
I will always remain a strong advocate for the transgender community because of my own life experience. Six-year-old Ryland, and other youth like him, do not need to have drag queens and transvestites included in the same category, they only wind up clouding and confusing the struggling journey they are on. This is my humble opinion, one that comes from decades of being involved in this most serious issue.
Mayor Faulconer to announce his GLBT Advisory Board
A bit of San Diego history. It was Mayor Maureen O’Connor who first established this city’s GLBT Advisory Board which I co-chaired with the late Barbara Crusberg. I also held the position of vice chair on Mayor Golding’s Advisory Board, as well as serving on Mayor Murphy’s.
Mayor Sanders pledged to name someone during his campaign but it did not come to fruition. He deemed it unnecessary, having a group of close GLBT friends in his circle, as well as his wonderful daughter Lisa. He knew these smart, qualified individuals would be by his side to help educate him on GLBT issues. I was working with Mayor Bob Filner, helping him on the development of his GLBT Advisory Board, but as you know, he had to resign.
During our city’s last mayoral campaign, Kevin Faulconer pledged to name an Advisory Board and I am pleased to know that in a few weeks, our new mayor will fulfill that commitment. The board will consist primarily of GLBT Democrats and some Republicans. It will be a very diverse board which will include gay persons of color and have transgender representation.
Our Mayor Faulconer is a man of his word! Sadly, that is rare in the world of politics today. He has announced his plan to march in this year’s Pride Parade as the national co-chair of Mayors for Marriage Equality, a group of distinguished city leaders that has a membership of nearly 500 mayors from across these United States.
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