A recent anthology review of  Balancing on the Mechitza: Transgender in the Jewish Community edited by Noach Dzmura, contained some serious and insensitive errors in the misuse of pronouns referring to trans people discussed in the review.

The author of the review also made comments which understandably offended many of our friends and allies of the trans community. We sincerely apologize for this.  Since our launch, we have been committed to culturally competent content on our website, to reviewing more trans literature and featuring more trans articles on LambdaLiterary.org.  This will continue.

We regret any hurt and anger caused by our error in judgment.  We expect to be held accountable by all members of our LGB & T community and always welcome critique and dialogue.  This makes for a stronger Lambda Literary, and a stronger community overall.

Tony Valenzuela
Executive Director

  • Growing Old With Grace

20 Responses to “Public Apology to Trans Community and Allies”

  1. Evan Gorman 30 October 2010 at 5:40 PM #

    Thanks for the apology. I felt that it was a teachable moment. The reviewer didn’t know any better. He was speaking from his experience and that is fine in and of itself but because it was both a review of a book about Transgender folk and it here on Lambda Literary it was problematic.

    *sigh* We live and learn.

  2. Zev 30 October 2010 at 8:13 PM #

    Tony, I’m glad you’re moving forward with making sure that trans literature is given the attention it deserves. Let this not be one of those apologies that regrets the choice of words and does not address the underlying issue.

    The author of that article, Thom Nickels – a contributor and member of your editorial team – did not just reveal himself as someone with serious misconceptions about and discomfort with trans people. He also used his privileged position as a pulpit from which to speak about and process those issues in an exceedingly disrespectful way. Totally not okay, and I’m glad you address that. I’m glad you’re correcting the issue of a lack of trans reviews and articles on your site.

    But how could you have someone on your team who holds such transphobic beliefs? What if Mr. Nickels were anti lesbian, and had written an equally unacceptable review about a lesbian book, complete with personal anecdotes about lesbians, who were pathetic and deceitful and all trying to sleep with him?

    This is not a witchhunt, and I am not calling for Mr. Nickels’ resignation.

    However, I do think some serious trans education for ALL your team members would be a good start, followed by trans representation on your team. Between S. Bear Bergman, Kate Bornstein, Scott Turner Schofield and many other professional trans authors/writers/educators, you should not have any trouble making this happen. A good thing, too, as this unfortunate incident has shown exactly how much you have your work cut out for you. Please, for all our sakes, get to it.

  3. Bug 31 October 2010 at 8:24 AM #

    The problem is that you “regret any hurt and anger” suffered by your “friends and allies of the trans community” caused by being “understandably offended.”

    You’re supposed to be those friends and allies. You’re supposed to also be hurt and angry.

    This was more than one writer. This made it through a process… An entire process… Proof reading, editing, typesetting, layout… Not ONE person on your staff objected?

    And you seriously believe your organization still has credibility? Amazing.

    I’d say you have a lot of work to do if you want to win back any esteem in my eyes. I am heartbroken by–and ashamed of–you.

    I’ve been following LLR since the 90’s.


    Portland, Or

  4. Joe Clark 31 October 2010 at 9:53 AM #

    This isn’t a newspaper. If there was something wrong with the original post, which is not a settled issue even if your complainants think it is, fix the original post. You don’t have to run a mea culpa.

    Then again, if you didn’t, they’d file a human-rights complaint against you or sue you or just vilify you in perpetuity for crimes against what self-appointed leaders insist are integral members of our diverse LGBTTQQI2S* communities.

    Grovelling reflects poorly on you, I’d say.

  5. Rosa Jurjevics 31 October 2010 at 10:06 AM #

    I am of the opinion that this apology falls under the catagory of ‘too little, too late.’ The “insensitivities” displayed by Mr. Nichols are beyond insulting. Take the following statement:

    “That division didn’t exist when we were operating as two males, but once the gender difference was announced, my attitude towards Milo changed considerably. Milo, you see, was a woman interested in becoming a man so that she could have relationships with men as a gay man.”

    Mr. Nichols misses the point entirely, and clearly appears to think that trans folks’ identities are dictated by their cisgenders. At the same time, in a single paragraph, he insinuates that the trans journey is the result of one’s mere “interest” in “becoming” (rather than actually BEING) a gender other than what he would argue is their own. He also manages to suggest that Milo is making his transition purely to satisfy a need for romantic and/or sexual partners and an orientation/identity Mr. Nichols sees as A) not available to Milo and B) one he is co-opting. He takes every opprotunity to minimize the weight of Milo’s transition, invalidating the other man’s gender identity and the depth of what it means to be transgender.

    Perhaps the worst part of this is the way in which Mr. Nichols used his interactions with trans/genderqueer people as platform to showcase his bigotry. The personal stories he included, while illuminating in and of the fact that they illustrate Mr. Nichols’ flawed and insulting theories on gender identity, are not necessary to the evaluation of the book he reviewed.

    But he displayed them — prominantly. I am appauled that his editors did not intervene. Did anyone object? If they did so, they were not nearly loud enough. This — both Mr. Nichols’ treatment of the trans community and the ease with which his inexcusable bigotry slipped past the staff here — is inherently problematic for a publication that strives to be inclusive not just in practice but in genuine interest and desire. I have not read the articles on this site until now and, for what it’s worth, I assure you I will no longer.

    Shame on you.

  6. rapid_butterfly 31 October 2010 at 10:46 AM #

    Thanks for the apology . I think I was the first commenter to object to the review, and its incredibly offensive ungendering and misgendering of the trans people Mr. Nickels mentioned (becky, a trans woman, and milo, a trans man). I was warmed to see the number of subsequent posters who pointed out the same (though there was one whotrotted out the old “trans people are deceivers” trope, and seemed not to know what “cis” even means). And I do appreciate, as a woman who is trans, the apology.

    It’s still pretty troubling that it occurred, as Rosa, Bug, and Zev pointed out in this thread. That it did indicates a lack of general competence with trans people, not just with the reviewer, but with the rest of the people who should have seen that review, and known, and done something, before it was published.

    That we can get a comment like Joe Clark’s above – sheesh, why did you apologize, LL, and besides, what are trans people so offended about anyway, it’s not a “settled issue” that there was anything wrong with the article – here in a supposed haven for the “intellectual” side of the LGBT community, is also pretty saddening. It tends to show the truth of the proposition that trans people are among the last groups whom virtually everyone thinks it’s okay to dismiss, ridicule, erase, and silence. Cis believe they’re entitled to dictate the terms of our existence to us. And respectfully, they’re not, no more than straight people can dictate the same to lesbian women, gay men, or bi men and women.

    I hope I see better from LL. As I said in my original comment, it is not difficult to know how to interact with, write about, or generally think about trans people. Listen to what we tell you, and show you, about who we are, understand that we are who we say we are, and act accordingly. Just the same as you would wish for yourself and those you about whom you care.

    very respectfully,
    rapid butterfly

  7. Coren 31 October 2010 at 2:50 PM #

    I agree with previous posters. This apology is simply too little, too late. While there is little excuse for the type of bigotry Mr. Nichols displayed in this review, there is none whatsoever for Lambda’s failure to recognize, at any point in the publication process how profoundly flawed a piece of writing this was. And to be clear, this review was quite simply the single most offensive piece of writing I have encountered in recent memory, which is saying quite a lot given the generally shamefully poor standards most publications apply when discussing trans people.

    This piece of writing was not only offensive in its content, as you have noted and other commenters have already quite eloquently pointed out. It also failed profoundly by conspicuously neglecting to engage in any substantive review of an incredibly valuable and important anthology. This reduction of any discussion of the thought and achievements of trans people to a platform for the airing of cisgender anxieties about transness is one of the most insidious faces of transphobia. It is dehumanizing and demoralizing and it is, or should be beneath you as an organization.

    You may apologize until you’re blue in the face, but if you wish to repair the damage done here, you must take actual action to make real changes within your organization- to your staff and your publication standards, among other things. You must actually DO better.

  8. Prod 31 October 2010 at 5:15 PM #

    It’s difficult to have a dialogue when the article in question isn’t available on the site. A better way to engage this dialogue would be to hyperlink it within the statement. I’m interested enough in this topic that I searched the review and found it on Thom Nickels site. One comment references the term “cis,” and it’s great to assume all readers are up on terminology, but it’s also kind of elitist and – presuming you’re speaking to a friendly audience – unappealing. I can’t help but wonder if another commentor’s observation – that this is a teachable moment – could actually be enlarged upon. This review pissed a lot of people off. But if, in the process of getting angry at the reviewer, those people end up alienating people who are logical allies with an assumption of phrases, knowledge, etc. what’s the point? This apology on “behalf” of the author is, likewise, kind of lame, too. Mr. Nickels is still listed on the editorial board: is he unable / unavailable to speak for himself? To speak on behalf of LAMBDA is one thing, to speak on behalf of the writer is censorious. If anything, I feel less engaged by all of this were the tactics – limned by shaming – had been inclusive of everyone in question. Otherwise, people, you’re just preaching to the converted, and your megaphone is tiny.

    • Rosa Jurjevics 31 October 2010 at 5:38 PM #

      I’m assuming I was the commenter that used “cis.” I figured it was all right since the term “bio” (biomale, biofemale) is a misnomer for some and a bad descriptor overall. I’m not a big fan of the “cis” deliniation myself (I honestly just don’t like how it sounds), but thought it was the most apt word available at the moment. Not sure what the better alternative is at this point — though I would very much like to know, because “cis” kind of sucks.

      Also, this is an online forum and Google is right next door… “Cisgender” yields many page results.

  9. Prod 31 October 2010 at 10:02 PM #

    @Rosa, yes, yours was the “cis” comment. And, yes, I googled it before I posted the comment. AND I reread the Wikipedia definition several times, and wouldn’t feel comfortable using it. Perhaps you’ll think I’m stupid or bigoted for not grasping it – I’m assuming you will – but if something that essential, and meaningful to you, doesn’t make sense to me (a transfriendly gay man, & even writing that, I wonder, will be called out for misuse of trans) … the whole thing gives me a headache. If the terms as so exclusive and not easily referenced, you’re already excluding potential allies. “Cis” maybe a common term for you, but I’m pretty sure, if LAMBDA readers were polled, it wouldn’t be widely known or commonly used. Which brings me back to the article: is this about accountability? Or are those who are critical of the writer (who has no voice in all this, and who’s review has been “erased” from the site) using this to parse terms and phrases and ideologies that aren’t, in the main, that well known to the begin with? I think it’s great that LAMBDA is, publically, so sensitive to causing offense, but unless there’s an open, honest discussion that includes the writer, and makes his work available on the site for discussion, it feels like another sort of censorship, and just as offensive as what’s been posted(and removed.)

  10. Karen 1 November 2010 at 2:54 PM #

    A very classy apology. Thanks!

  11. Rosa Jurjevics 2 November 2010 at 12:22 AM #

    “Perhaps you’ll think I’m stupid or bigoted for not grasping it – I’m assuming you will – but if something that essential, and meaningful to you, doesn’t make sense to me (a transfriendly gay man, & even writing that, I wonder, will be called out for misuse of trans) … the whole thing gives me a headache.”

    I don’t think you’re bigoted for it not making sense to you. You’re muddling through. I’m muddling through.

    I used ‘cis’ merely to try and describe a tough thing to capture in a single word, not to placate or, alternately, be difficult. I probably should have not been lazy and explained more of what I meant as opposed to using the new buzzword descriptor. Here is where language — or lack thereof– gets the best of us. Truthfully, the whole thing gives ME a headache, too.

    “If the terms as so exclusive and not easily referenced, you’re already excluding potential allies.”

    I think it’s on its way up, but you have a good point; ‘cis’ isn’t super referenced yet. The allies comment is a good point as well; confuse ’em and lose ’em.

    “Which brings me back to the article: is this about accountability? Or are those who are critical of the writer (who has no voice in all this, and who’s review has been “erased” from the site) using this to parse terms and phrases and ideologies that aren’t, in the main, that well known to the begin with?”

    Nope, I’ve got no external, term-pushing motives. I use ’em with no other goal than to be clear and get my point across, which I seem to have in part failed at. For me this IS about accountability.

    “But unless there’s an open, honest discussion that includes the writer, and makes his work available on the site for discussion, it feels like another sort of censorship, and just as offensive as what’s been posted(and removed.)”

    Another good point. The other side, though, is that the offensive material Mr. Nickels provided is bad, bad, bad PR for a site that promotes inclusiveness. Also, it struck me as needlessly offensive — that is, offensive without making much of a point. But that’s just me.

  12. rapid_butterfly 2 November 2010 at 7:29 AM #

    If I may just add a few things.

    Prod, I’ll take you at your word that you’re an ally and well intentioned. But are you familiar at all with the concept of privilege from feminist thought? When you say, in effect, “oh dear, the whole thing gives me a headache,” it’s hard for me to understand what exactly gives you a headache. Is it the reasons why “cis” is a common word among those who are familiar with gender issues? Do you understand the reasons for this (i.e. a change to the state of affairs in which trans people are the “abnormal” and non-trans people are “normal” – a way to linguistically equalize things? Do you get a headache from actually having to consider the possibility that trans people are just as normal as you?

    I am not too sure how “polls” or “honest discussions” have anything to do with the erasure of trans identities or the misuse of pronouns that occurred in the original review. Do you think your identity as a gay man is legitimately subject to “polls” or “honest discussions” about, say, whether you’re really a self-deluded straight man, or perhaps satan’s minion, etc. etc.?

    The book reviewed was about trans people and trans identities. I think it’s certainly possible to discuss trans people and trans identities in a book review without using terms like “cis”, but one prerequisite for doing so is to respect trans people and trans identities, which the reviewer did not. The process of explaining why and how he did not almost inevitably requires the use of a term like “cis.”

    I’ve said before and will not tire of saying, it is easy as pie to know how to deal with, think about, and write about trans people. Listen to what we tell you and show you about who we are, and accept that we are who we say we are, that we are the owners of our identities just as you are of yours. Show us the courtesy and respect you wish for yourself.

    very respectfully,
    rapid butterfly

  13. Prod 2 November 2010 at 11:56 AM #

    @ Rapid Butterfly & Rosa, sorry, but “easy as pie” to understand trans issues? Maybe if you’re trans all of this is at your fingertips, but I am not trans, though like I said, ultra open and interested and supportive of trans people … it’s all one cause to. I came of age in the 80’s/90’s, in S.F., took a lot of feminist classes, etc. So I’m not exactly unfamiliar with gender issues (as they’re discussed academically, which seems like where this is going), or experientially. This gives me a headache because terms are being thrown around that I, as someone who is pretty aggressive about keeping up on things, don’t know about and/or don’t grasp. And, again, if in the process of this dialogue, you’re excluding me, someone who is fairly well educated with terms and language I don’t get, that’s even worse “p.r.” I really really disagree with expunging a writer’s work, esp. if it’s controversial.

    Offense should not be the primary goal of LAMBDA: the difficult process working towards some sort of resolution, I think, is, and that requires including the piece under discussion AND the writer. Otherwise, you’re slamming the door on someone, just the way we’ve all had doors slammed on us. I’m put off by the fact that Mr. Nickels has been totally silenced in this thread/discourse. Butterfly you mention mutual respect as being the baseline for trans people: well, it works both ways, and, again, ***easy as pie*** the gesture of rendering Mr. Nickels invisible runs contrary to that objective. You may not like his review – and I need to reread again (and the book, which I haven’t) – but that discomfort or offense .. I think unless he’s given a fair and equal opportunity to respond, it’s just as unequal. So you have the last word. Is that progress?

    At this year’s OUTfest, I made a point of going to all the trans films on the schedule, and the discussions afterwards. What struck me most, as gay identified/gendered/born man (whatever) is the panelists basically voiced what you voiced (or what I understand) feeling marginalized in the larger community. If we’re all going to be a community, throwing down the gauntlet and silencing writers who may (or may not) have good intentions, doesn’t seem to me like a good way to go.

  14. Prod 2 November 2010 at 12:12 PM #

    @Rapid, re: feminism, the last book I read was Paula Martinac’s “Chicken.” I’m currently reading, “Power of Desire: the politics of Sexuality” (Snitow, Stansell & Thompson.) So, contrary to your assumptions, I’m not person you seem to have conceived me as. Trans as an area of study, or focused interested is pretty new to me. I think the coming up generation is putting forth a whole different – confidence? something – and that’s not a way of thinking that I can, instantly, be expected to apprehend. I’m not in a university setting so what I think and read is completely self-directed. You might want to consider that – assuming you’re newly out of school or in school – before making comments that could be construed as diminishing.

    Also, am I understanding you to say that you believe or consider history/herstory of feminism a trans issue? Or somehow interrelated? I would be interested to know where and how you see feminism and trans people today intersecting. Instinctively, I want to make those connections, where do butch trans-men, for example, fit into, for example, lesbian separatist feminism (The VanDykes et al)?

    As for the poll on the word “cis”: I meant that as a hypothetical, but I think it would be interesting to know, given my ignorance and struggle with the term, how commonly known it is to readers of LAMBDA. You talk about “pr: – well part of that, IMO, are the reviews being accessible to the widest range of readers, and explaining your terms if that

  15. rapid_butterfly 2 November 2010 at 12:57 PM #


    I hear you, and I thank you for the conversation. A few points in response.

    1. Yeah, it is easy to know how to think about / deal with / interact with trans people. You listen. You respect. You don’t pretend to dictate their identity to them, just as I don’t do that to you. What is so complicated about this? Should we be ashamed? Should be we held under a microscope, literally or figuratively, so that others can decide for us what and who we are? Why is my lack of shame about my identity, and by extension, a lack of shame for other trans people who lack it, “difficult to apprehend”?

    2. I am not an academic (at least not now, have been out of grad school for more than a decade), and my academic training was not in feminist theory. I am actually a practicing attorney and have been for going on 8 years now. My reading, too, is self directed, but the thing is, I know from dealing with the public as a trans woman – respect of trans identities is NOT an academic issue. We don’t need to read a book to know what respect means. I think that the concept of privilege applies here – cis people have a kind of privilege about gender that is, as privileges so often are, at least initially invisible to them. I have no doubt that feminist theory isn’t the only place one finds discussions of privilege, but it is a primary place or a common place, at least. That’s the primary connection I’m making here; I appropriate nothing and claim ownership of nothing – I merely state the concept is apposite here.

    3. I had no say whatsoever in the decision to remove Mr. Nickels’ review. I posted under his review and so I cannot be said to have silenced anybody.

    4. Nothing I said was meant to diminish. I have reacted to seeing trans identities diminished in the OP, and I have reacted to the supposed “complexity” you seem to want to invoke about how to deal with trans folks. It is not complex and it’s not hard to listen or to ask trans people – wherever they may be on the spectrum (including non binary identities). I actually view this as an empowering realization, rather than a diminishing one. You don’t need a PHD to deal with trans folks – merely to listen.

    very respectfully,
    rapid butterfly
    (if you would like to continue the discussion off list that’s cool, let me know and I’ll figure out a way to get you an email address)

  16. prod 2 November 2010 at 5:38 PM #

    Dear Butterfly

    Thank you for your thoughtful response.

    What I don’t want to put forth are the sort of words that are crazy, and in other threads have nothing to do with the original post. So please keep that in mind if you read further (I don’t want length to indicate argument: I’m not trying to win anything here.)

    First, it would be REALLY helpful to me – no polling of anyone needed – if someone could provide an easy to understand definition and commonly held (by the trans community) of the term “cis.” The wikipedia entry reference the original usage was, then as now, put forth without explanation. To presume I or anyone else who isn’t trans, or tapped into their trans self, axiomatically grasps that term, is kind of presumptuous.

    Secondly, trans’ness maybe simple for you – and I get what you’re saying about listening – but it’s not simple for me. The gesture of claiming trans as identity, to me as an outsider of that experience, is profound. I think by saying that you diminish the trans experience. Sorry, but what you take for granted (and I like that), I cannot help but marvel at (in admiration, not objectification.)

    Like I said, I’ve been around transpeople my whole gay life (since I was fifteen; I’m thirty-nine now.) I’ve observed an evolution of thought, presentation, everything between how the trans community presented it self in S.F. circa 1995, and today. IMO dialogue needs to be ongoing and not so pop up.

    One thing I heard voiced at the OUTFest panels was the feeling, esp. by transwomen, of being objectified by gay men: why, in a moment that is potentially enlarging for all of us, would you retreat into a stance of, ” just listen”? If the trans community wants to engage – and be engaged – I think it’s reasonable to expect a dialogue. Just listening to my mind, at least, is pedagological and given that I want to be more than an observer of your life (and you mine), I mean, how can we as a community have these difficult conversations if the dialogue only flows one way?

    I am still – more so as this conversation as gone on – demoralized by the decision to redact Shields review: for a site that is, even nominally committed to ideas, and discussion thereof, it is a profoundly anti-intellectual gesture. Although it maybe satisfying to see someone who people find offensive obliderated, the gesture negates discussion. I don’t see the diminishment of a writer in the name of offense / political correctness achieving all that much. Shields wrote this review therefore he is _____. Again, where is he in this discourse? Why did he write this review? Why isn’t there another review, perhaps by Kate Bornstein, to counter the original one?

    lastly, I think this discussion needs to take place in the open. It was a while ago but Barney Frank refused to include “T” in the rights bill. I was nauseated by this failure (but also semi recall some in the trans community not really being interested in being lumped into the LGBT deli sandwich?) To keep the discussion in a public sphere is vital (right now, I feel like … Gloria Steinheim): there are political implications for not voicing information (however basic it may seem to you) about the trans community and that’s continued invisibility. I cannot be a credible ally / friend / advocate / whatever, if my information isn’t relevant.

    Thank you.

  17. rapid_butterfly 2 November 2010 at 6:11 PM #


    Others more talented and able than I may be willing to take up some of the threads you have suggested you’d like to be taken up. I apologize for taking up so much bandwidth – that’s why I offered to go off list – and I renew that offer in full awareness that my voice is only one among many, as it should be.

    But if I may – I do NOT claim transness as an identity. I claim female as an identity, and recognize trans as a facet of my history and origin (as I recognize irish canadian, as I recognize ex-catholic, etc.). I wish to be treated the same as any other woman. That includes pronouns. I do NOT wish to be marveled at or remarked upon, particularly. I am not a specimen, and don’t wish to be exoticized or treated as one.

    Many other trans women and trans men (and I’ve come to think and recognize that the separation between the words is important – no one calls you a “gayman” or a “whitemale”) would tell you the same. In the original review, one trans woman asked to be called Becky and it seems clear she was on estrogen. Milo, from the OP, clearly wished to be regarded as male. The reviewer did not respect either of these people, and THAT is what caused the difficulty.

    Do you feel that misgendering isn’t a big deal? Do you think it’s merely “PC” that trans people want to have the correct pronouns used?

    Re: “cis” – I’d have a look here if you haven’t already – http://juliaserano.livejournal.com/14700.html

    Ms. Serano’s book, “Whipping Girl,” is in my view essential reading for anyone who wants to learn more about these issues, from a trans female perspective. Not that, of course, we are a monolith. We’re not, any more than gay men are.

    It is precisely because of the multiplicity of viewpoints and perspectives that I enjoin listening as the most important thing, Prod. I’ve told you where I’m coming from. I think some trans women and trans men would agree with much of what I’ve said. Some would not., and some people who ID outside the m / f binary wouldn’t. I’d say, ask them and listen to what they say regarding their points of view.

    If I may, the whole topic should be focused on this: the OP basically saw fit to ungender two trans people. The OP in effect said – a trans woman is not “really” a woman; a trans man is not “really” a man. I say – we are. I still do not see what is complex or difficult about this.

    If you insist that it is complex and difficult, I’d like to know why. I think you’ll have a tough time answering in any way other than that you’d like to reserve judgment on the legitimacy of trans identities – and to say that is to confirm that you cannot bear to listen and accept our identities in the way we present them to you.

    very respectfully,
    rapid butterfly

  18. Prod 3 November 2010 at 3:23 AM #

    @ Butterfly … I would never question the legitimacy of trans identities. I don’t know where in my comments you’re getting that from, but that’s not my intent. I could care less: people should be able to define themselves however they want. The problem – for me – comes with the intricacies of definitions that trans people are putting forth. In a sense, this thread illustrates that:

    – reviewer perceived as clueless / offensive
    – definition(s) put forth which some subscribe to but not all
    – a very real need for people to listen to what people are saying, not what they’re projecting.

    I love that you use the word “monolithic” (or monolith.) I think what I’m observing / hearing is an emergence of a multiplicity of voices. It’s the “something” that I was struggling to express plus the sense of confidence to say it.

    Again, I’ll just speak for myself but back to what I’ve known (past tense) and what is emerging (present tense.) Most of the media images that I’ve taken in – Almodavor esp. – of transwomen are now somehwat obsolete. The trans community, rightly so, has felt assailed, and is only recently emerging or defining a multiplicity of identities. <<< that's my perception. If anyting, I'm embarassed I didn't was familiar with "cis." Also, I'm not coming at this as "friendly" transphobia (like, friendly racism ie., "OH, that's so cool you're _______") but with genuine interest. If taking in the range of identities that you put forth as examples takes a minute and requires some rudimentary education, bear with me (you are, and I appreciate that.)

    Your explanatory paragraphs are excellent. Those are the answers that I was looking for (and I think should have been put forth to being with.)

    I like your references too. I'm going to look into them.

    I still strongly disagree with the redaction of the original article. The "apology" claims an interest in a dialogue, but that's impossible to take seriously given that the point of discussion has been summarily erased. I agree with you, Mr. Shields' take isn't great. However, rather than castigating him, what about including him in the dialogue? I don't see that happening, just more shaming, and I, for one, have had enough of that, seeing it happen to others, etc.

    I'm glad to have participated in this thread but I think it's time for me to step away, and think about this. Thank for an illuminating series of posts.

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