The institutional bigotry and oppression we face today have not always existed. They arose with the division of society into exploiter and exploited. Divide-and-conquer tactics have allowed the slave-owners, feudal landlords and corporate ruling class to keep for themselves the lion’s share of wealth created by the laboring class.
Like racism and all forms of prejudice, bigotry toward transgendered people is a deadline carcinogen. We are pitted against each other in order to keep us from seeing each other as allies.
Genuine bonds of solidarity can be forged between people who respect each other’s differences and are willing to fight their enemy together. We are the class that does the work of the world, and can revolutionize it. We can win true liberation.
The struggle against intolerable conditions is on the rise around the world. And the militant role of transgendered women, men and youths in today’s fight-back movement is already helping to shape the future."
From peasant uprisings against feudalism in the Middle Ages to the Stonewall Inn Rebellion in the 20th century, transvestites and other transgendered people have figured in many militant struggles, both in defense of the right of personal expression and as a form of political rebellion.
But from the violence on the streets to the brutality of the police, from job discrimination to denial of health care and housing—survival is still a battled for the transgendered population."
Even after the rise of feudalism, remnants of the old pagan religion remained. It was joyously prosexual—lesbian, gay, bisexual and straight. And transvestitism was still a part of virtually all rural festivals and rituals.
In the medieval Feast of Fools, laymen and clergy alike dressed as women. The Faculty of Theology at the University of Paris reported priests “who danced in the choir dressed like women.”
But in order for the land-owning Catholic church to rule, it had to stamp out the old beliefs that persisted from pre-class communal societies, because they challenged private ownership of the land.
Ancient respect for transgendered people still had roots in the peasantry. Transvestism played an important role in rural cultural life. May pagan religious leaders were transgendered. So it was not surprising that the Catholic church hunted down male and female transvestites, labeling them as heretics, and tried to ban and suppress transvestism from all peasant rituals and celebrations.
By the 11th century, the Catholic church—by then the largest landlord in Western Europe—gained the organizational and military strength to wage war against the followers of the old beliefs. The campaign was carried out under a religious banner—but it was a class war against the vestiges of the older communal societies."