IFGE promotes acceptance for transgender people. We advocate for freedom of gender expression and promote the understanding and acceptance of All People: Transgender, Cis-gender, Transsexual, Crossdresser, Agender, Gender Queer, Intersex, Two Spirit, Hijra, Kathoey, Drag King, Drag Queen, Queer, Lesbian, Gay, Straight, Butch, Femme, Faerie, Homosexual, Bisexual, Heterosexual, and of course - You!

Our Accelerating Civil Rights Movement

Originally appeared in Transgender Tapestry #105, Spring 2004.

by Lisa Mottet

We now have four states ...and more than 60 cities and counties with transgender protections clearly written into the law.

It has been an amazing two years in transgender civil rights! At the beginning of 2002, only 6.5% of the country (by population) was covered by anti-discrimination law with language clearly covering the transgender community. Two years later, we find ourselves with more than 24% of the country covered. Wow!
We now have four states (California, New Mexico, Minnesota, and Rhode Island) and more than 60 cities and counties with transgender protections clearly written into the law.

Poetry - Either Or

Originally appeared in Transgender Tapestry #105, Spring 2004.


Originally appeared in Transgender Tapestry #105, Spring 2004.

T Girl in a Queer World

Originally appeared in Transgender Tapestry #105, Spring 2004.

by Melissa Clark

Okay, so I?ve read the biographies,
the autobiographies, the novels, and the revelatory nonfiction pieces that define what we are. They tell us that gender and sexual orientation are not necessarily the same thing; in fact, they go way out of their way to emphasize exactly that point. The problem, then, is not in defining
our gender or how we feel the need to express it, but rather how expressing our gender impacts the rest of our lives. For example, I?m a transsexual woman, male-to-female, and I?ve heard a box full of theories on why it is I ?chose? to transition. They range from, ?Didn?t you just want to be with a man?? to ?You did this to embarrass us? (?us? being my family
of origin, from whom I have not heard
a word in nearly a year). The answer to each of those is ?No!??but that hardly addresses the clouded notion of why transpeople do what we do. The National Enquirer?s ?Inquiring minds want to know? motto may be a bit overrated,
but in this case, perhaps it?s exactly what needs to be addressed to simply answer the question.
Without sounding like every other attempt to describe one?s own situation, my journey began with the difficult attempt to understand why, if I was
sexually attracted to women, I felt the need to express myself as a woman. When I finally reached the point in my life where I thought I needed to figure that one out or lose what little sanity
I had, I was already struggling with my marriage. Why not? My wife had expected to marry a male and was accustomed to male behavior and simply couldn?t understand why I was so different from her expectations. Neither could I, but I had no idea what to expect from a male, either. There were things ?guys did.? I tried to do those things, enjoy those things, but often felt as baffled as Nathan Lane and Robin Williams did in the scene from ?Birdcage,? when they were trying to discuss the Dolphins. Yet I understood and actually appreciated the concept of sports. It was the other parts of being a guy and the enjoyment of white male privilege that confused me?for I?d always been a feminist, even before I
fully realized why being a feminist made survival sense to me personally, as well
as good sense to women in general.

The Power of Clothing

Originally appeared in Transgender Tapestry #105, Spring 2004.

by Miqqi Alicia Gilbert

Part 2 of 2

When we left off I was pontificating on the importance clothing plays in establishing who and what we are. We all know this and act accordingly, as, for example, when we carefully choose just the right clothes for a job interview. For the interview, you want your choice of clothing to establish that you are the sort of person being sought. You?ll dress one way for a corporate position and quite another for a job as a salesclerk in a grunge clothing store. Clothing expresses who you are and also what you know. By applying for the grunge job while wearing a J. Crew outfit, you?ve clearly shown you?re not the right person for them?you don?t know enough. A male going on an interview or a first date often takes a fair bit of time and care with his appearance, while most women take that time and care most of the time. They?re taught they are always under scrutiny, always being judged, always on display.

The Power of One Little Pronoun

Originally appeared in Transgender Tapestry #105, Spring 2004.

by Kathleen L. Farrell, Ph.D.

It has been more than two months since I experienced one of my most embarrassing moments as a therapist, and the memory still stings. In group therapy, I made the mistake of using the wrong pronoun. Strangely, I didn?t hear myself do it, but I noticed her retreat. Since it was her first time in the group, after trying unsuccessfully to pull her into the discussion, I decided it was related to a low comfort level and let it go.

After the meeting, she asked to speak to me. She seemed angry. I was tired after a long day, but I tried to listen. Despite years of experience in dealing with every kind of emotion aimed at me, including anger and disappointment, I felt myself become defensive. At first I couldn?t believe I had used ?him? instead of ?her.? I was in denial. I said, ?Are you sure that was what you heard? I am extremely sensitive to this issue. I don?t think of you as male. I think of you as female.?

The Riot at Compton?s Cafeteria: Coming Soon to a Theater Near You!

Originally appeared in Transgender Tapestry #105, Spring 2004.

by Tapestry Staff

Almost everybody has heard of Stonewall, the bar in New York?s Greenwich Village where drag queens sparked a riot in 1969, and the modern GLBT movement is supposed to have begun. Almost nobody has heard of Compton?s Cafeteria, but that?s about to change, with the impending release of ?Screaming Queens,? a new documentary film by transgender scholar Susan Stryker and historian Victor Silverman.
In August 1966, three years before Stonewall, transgendered people banded together and fought back at Compton?s against the routine and often violent police harassment they experienced on a daily basis. The riot at Compton?s Cafeteria marks the beginning of the transgender struggle for human rights and social dignity.

The Struggle to Find Safe Shelter

Originally appeared in Transgender Tapestry #105, Spring 2004.

Local Efforts Underway to Open Homeless Shelters to Transgender People

by Lisa Mottet

Legislative Lawyer,

Transgender Civil Rights Project

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

Ann remembers vividly having to
stay at a men?s shelter in downtown Manhattan. Men would bang on her door. She knew if they got through they would try to kill her again. Staff would rifle through her and other transgender women?s belongings and take away their women?s clothing. ?I don?t know what they did with it, threw it away, burned it, whatever. Regardless, we couldn?t get it back.? Latina and transgender in New York, Ann has been unable to keep a
roof over her head by herself for over six years. At her most recent job at a factory, her female boss fired her after a week for something she didn?t do, her boss indicating she ?didn?t want people like you working here.?

Transcending Genders #2

Originally appeared in Transgender Tapestry #105, Spring 2004.

How is it that Cher could alter her nose, breasts, thighs and buttocks to little public comment while dentist Richard Raskind
underwent a little plastic surgery, hidden from all but the most intimate social intercourse, and caused a furor? What is unusual
about the bell curve of economic success as it describes transgenders?

Harry Benjamin Was a Hero

by Judy Osborne

For people old enough to remember the sixties, news of Kennedy?s assassination arrived with such emotional force that almost everyone recalls exactly what he or she was doing at that moment. Transgender people who were alive and aware a decade earlier have another such memory filed away.
?Ex-GI Becomes Blond Beauty? the New York Daily News headline screamed on a day in October of 1952. Radio stations and newspapers repeated ever more sensationalistic versions of the story. By nightfall, people everywhere had heard the news. Transgender people mired in lifelong isolation discovered suddenly that there was someone else; that others like us existed somewhere. So emotional was the news that each of us remembers exactly what we were doing at the moment we heard.

Transgender Spirituality and Activism

Originally appeared in Transgender Tapestry #105, Spring 2004.

by Vanessa Sheridan

It doesn?t take a rocket scientist to
see that many obstacles confront trans people as we work toward achieving greater acceptance, respect, and legitimate civil and human rights within
society. For example, it?s a fact that along with gay, lesbian, and bisexual persons, the spiritual lives and concerns of the transgendered have traditionally been relegated to the back burner or, even worse, to the trash heap by most mainstream religious denominations. It?s sad to be marginalized by society, but it?s even more troubling when it occurs
within the paradigm of religion, an institution that is supposedly built around the ideas of love and acceptance.

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