I also believe that transgender people are not afforded the respect they deserve. Both of these issues I attribute to academia having failed the feminist movement. People are people who need housing and food just like you and me. Opposition to this fact is a common thread in US and Western academia, heavily suppressed by ideology.
Feminists are not immune to this. According to a review in The New Yorker, leading 2nd wave activist Julie Bindel wrote an “admiring feature” in the British Guardian about a so-called expert on transgender perversion, who believes “The core is, it’s really exciting for guys to imagine themselves with female breasts, or female breasts and a vulva.” This is an old gimmick of Freud to declare anyone who disagrees a sexual pervert who is blinded by her hysterical libido. Another ally is a crank writer Thomas Szasz who demands that schizophrenics reclaim their God-given rights to serve as mystic seers, rejecting medical help.
Transgender has a far different history than this cold pathology. As O. Oyewumi wrote in “The Invention of Women,” “The splitting of hairs over the relationship between gender and sex, the debate on essentialism, the debates about differences among women, and the preoccupation with gender bending/blending that have characterized feminism are actually feminist versions of the enduring debate on nature vs nurture that is inherent in Western thought and in the logic of its social hierarchies.” The book is an important one in that it describes “anatomical females” practicing behavior afforded in some societies to anatomical men. An anthropologist cited by Oyewumi noted how a certain anatomical female was treated in Yoruba society “The king looks upon her as his father, and addresses her as such, being the worshipper of the spirit of his ancestors. He kneels in saluting her, and she also returns the salutation, kneeling, never reclining, on her elbow as is the custom of the women in saluting their superiors. The king kneels for no one else but her...” (Oyewumi, The Invention of Women p37) In other words, transgenderism is not a fetish, but a human practice.
While I respect a certain amount of defensiveness from anyone in LGBT, the membership card system clearly does not pave the way for more education and knowledge. Criticism of gender from a LGB perspective without this look at pre-colonial society is a recipe for chaos. Citing a Western academic, the advice columnist Dan Savage wrote that “Letting same-sex couples make the same gender-neutral commitment that opposite-sex couples make doesn't open the doors to polygamy.” In interviews, he has said that polygamy allows men to monopolize women. I don't find it at all coincidental that Dan Savage supported the Iraq war and prostitution, while Chris Hedges opposes both. It is mainly through the anger at the Middle Eastern backwardness that Savage rallied himself to support war, and continues to support only one-on-one marriage against polyamory relationships. The fear is outwardly Orientalist. “Developed” (read: Western) cultures have overcome the hurdle of polygamy and deserve to spread the freedom to others. What polyamorists want sounds much more innocuous than a foreign occupation to me (http://www.
Without a challenge to Orientalism, the people in the LGBT community risk continuing to support other systems of patriarchy and domination.
Prostitution similarly is afforded greater respect through hate of state power. Regarding a common LGBT issue, AIDS, according to an interview with author Craig Timberg on NPR, “were it not for the intrusions of colonialism, it’s unlikely that the epidemic we know today would have come out in the way that we have seen.” The writer Luna Celeste who defends prostitution on shaky class ideology grounds nevertheless has a point that “racial profiling, raids, invasive searches, forced placement into factories and “rehabilitation centers,” deportation, State acquisition of sex workers’ children” are real concerns.
The Swedish Nordic model does address these concerns but as the state response to the industry in the US and other parts of the West, these are not being implemented.