This is a post I made to the PlanetOut Millennium March on Washington board, in response to a thread where mainstream gays were criticizing trannies for complaining that we were underrepresented and excluded.

gymguy21 wrote:
>>> I agree completely. If people complained of not being represented on the "official" program (as if there was one which governed all the events this weekend) then show up and make yourself heard. If you want visibility, show up.
Someone's feelings hurt because they weren't "consulted"? - exactly what did you want added? I don't recall anyone getting up and saying transgenders shouldn't have equality, that people of color arenít a part of the movement, that anyone is less equal, - no one was kept off the Mall. <<<

But that's like saying that because nobody got up and said fundamentalist right-wing Christians shouldn't have equality, that Nazis aren't part of the movement, that because nobody said anyone was less equal or kept them off the Mall, that those groups were included too. Many, many, many, many bisexuals, and transgendered people, and people of color, and youth showed up. I know a /lot/ of people who had problems with the March's organization who came anyway because they agreed with you that they needed to show up and be counted in Washington. The very people you're arguing with about representation and inclusiveness came, for their own visibility and for yours as well, as part of this big queer family we share. It's not about not having shown up and not putting effort into this event.

In fact, I hear this argument going on all around me in the queer media - those of us who are not mainstream gays for whatever reason saying "I don't feel like I was represented/included" and getting the reply "We were willing to include you, but you have to come do the work to be included." It's great that First Nations (native american) queers could come and put up a big tipi in the middle of everything, and that Dana Rivers and James Green and Riki Wilchins spoke - we're willing to do the work and get ourselves on stage, you know. But what I'm hearing from many people in underrepresented communities is that they/we don't feel like the gay community is all that interested in building these coalitions with us.

For example, I watched Dana Rivers' speech (on CSPAN, because I couldn't afford to go in person) and she said that in the entire pre-march rally the night before, not one speaker had said the word "transgendered." Not even, apparently, in that "gaylesbianbisexualtransgendered rights" way that people often use to mean "gay rights." What does it mean if an entire night of MMOW can go by without anyone mentioning such a large part of the community? For another example, MMOW was publicized all over the bi and trans media as well as gay/lesbian media, but the g/l media didn't give a moment's thought to b and t stuff. Bisexual Insurgence held a conference of their own on the 29th specifically so that they could get attendees to go to the March, and so that they could offer people from the March a big bi event alongside all the stuff in the MMOW schedule, but it wasn't covered or mentioned in any of the gay/lesbian media I've seen, so I didn't even hear about it till yesterday. Then there are all the little things that tell us over and over that this is just a gay march for gay rights, like PlanetOut's poll - "Now that the march is over, what's on your gay agenda?" or like all the headlines - "Gays gather in Washington, demanding right to live, love," "A Gay Rights Movement In the New Millennium," and my favorite, "Thousands Rally in Washington for Gay Rights."

Nobody is saying that this is intentional, that the gay community plans to exclude people, or that the burden of including us rests solely on gay organizers to run after us begging us to come speak.

We are only saying that we are tired of always being mentioned in a blur of words that means same-sex marriage - but not between a pre-op and post-op MTF; or Matthew Shepard - but not Tyra Hunter; or protection against discrimination in the workplace - but only if you're not obviously genderqueer. And we're tired of working to support things like the March on Washington, or the HRC, or PlanetOut, and having to settle for only marginal rights and representation in return.