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August 23, 1994: Trans visibility.

Five years ago transgender activist Riki Anne Wilchins told Advocate reporter John Gallagher, "It was our Stonewall this year. For transsexuals, 1994 is 1969."

That indeed appeared to be the case. Activists had fought for recognition of transgendered people at that year's Stonewall 25 celebration and had persuaded Gay Games organizers to let athletes participate in whatever gender category they declared.

But even these gains caused friction. Lesbian activist Ann Northrup explained to Gallagher why some gay people felt threatened by this new visibility: "Conservatives want a homogenous image and are afraid to embrace the transgender community because they think that's going to screw up our ability to gain civil rights." Gallagher noted that it was not just conservatives excluding the transgendered population. The Michigan Womyn's Music Festival had barred transgendered women. In response, activists were planning Camp Trans, a celebration of all types of women.

Commenting on the tension, Dallas Denny, executive director of the American Educational Gender Information Service said, "[Religions right groups] don't distinguish between us. We have to come together to work for the common good."
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Author:Romesburg, Don
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Date:May 25, 1999
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