Most Americans are aware that gay activism rarely presents itself as a movement solely for the rights of gays. For example, the acronym for the gay rights movement is "GLBT," meaning Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender.
Interestingly, few people ever ask about the "T." What do transgendered have to do with gays? How and why are they connected by activists, gay and straight, on the Left? Strictly speaking, gays have no more in common with transgendered people than straights do.
To understand the answer is to understand much of what animates the Sexual Left.
The aim of GLBT is not merely that society not persecute gays and accept them as equal fellow citizens. If it were, the movement could largely disband. The battle for acceptance of gay people has largely been won. And deservedly so: The persecution of people for being sexually attracted to the same sex has been as morally wrong as it has been consistent. I am among the majority of Americans, and presumably non-Americans, who still hold to the male-female sexual ideal and who seek to retain the man-woman definition of marriage. But I fully recognize there have always been individuals who are no more capable of sexual attraction to the opposite sex than men like me are capable of being sexually aroused by the same sex. They should not be ridiculed, let alone persecuted, for their sexual orientation.
And few people, conservative or liberal, have any trouble accepting a transsexual, i.e., someone who has surgically changed his or her sex.
But what does any of this have to do with the transgendered, i.e., people who do not psychologically identify themselves with their biological sex, who act as if they were a member of the opposite sex, and who have not changed their biology? Why does the Left include the transgendered in its activism on behalf of gays?
The latest example occurred this month in New York State when Attorney General Andrew Cuomo forced American Eagle Outfitters to rescind its right to enforce a dress code among its employees. This code included a ban on male employees from wearing dresses or other women's clothing and a ban on women employees from dressing as men.
To the Left, this is just another example of fighting discrimination -- how dare society ask men who prefer to wear women's clothing not to do so at work? As New York Times columnist Frank Rich recently wrote with regard to changing the definition of marriage to include members of the same sex, Americans regard all this with a "shrug."