Have we ever had a real roundtable/community-building moment, trans women & sex workers & women of color, to reckon w/ all this history? Again, like the anti-choice Idaho legislator who compared abortion and prostitution this week (and the pro-choice ACLU staffer who went to lengths to make a big difference between the two), it’s all connected, and it keeps coming.
“We (Lesbian Feminist Liberation) found out there were plans to have a transvestite as part of the entertainment for the 1973 Gay Pride rally in Washington Square following the march and we decided to make a statement critical of transvestites…we decided we were going to stand up on that stage and tell everybody what we thought. We stayed up the whole night before the rally and typed up this little statement. We thought it was very important. You see, we were creating theory at the time.” Jean O’Leary, founder of Lesbian Feminist Liberation, later the first president of the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF)
“The transgender community was silenced because of a radical lesbian named Jean O’Leary, who felt that the transgender community was offensive to women because we liked to wear makeup and we liked to wear miniskirts. Excuse me! It goes with the business that we’re in at the time! Because people fail to realize that -not trying to get off the story -everybody thinks that we want to be out on them street corners. No we do not. We don’t want to be out there sucking dick and getting fucked in the ass. But that’s the only alternative that we have to survive because the laws do not give us the right to go and get a job the way we feel comfortable. I do not want to go to work looking like a man when I know I am not a man” Sylvia Rivera
“A case could be made that we should have included transvestites rights but I don’t think that gay people wanted to be identified with that. We were trying to get away from that image. And we were trying to get the bill passed. So the transvestites were excluded from the bill and they never got reinstated.” Jean O’Leary
“I thought free loving was the thing, I found it doesn’t pay the rent…During the daytime they all call us fags and freaks. At night I get even. I freak on them. I make them pay for all the insults they gave me. I can have a nice conversation with them, give them words of wisdom. But I’m getting back at them. My way.” Marsha P Johnson