The Transexual Menace
The Transexual Menace, or The Menace, was a transgender rights activist organization founded in New York City in 1993. It was the first direct action group of its kind, and grew to be a national organisation with 24 chapters.
History and activities
The Transexual Menace organized groups of demonstrators outside courthouses during trials involving anti-transgender crimes, for instance in the rape and murder of Brandon Teena. The movement became the subject of iconic gay liberation filmmaker Rosa von Praunheim's documentary "Transexual Menace".
The trademark image for the Transexual Menace was a Goth-styled black T-shirt with the group's name in blood-dripping red letters. The Menace T-shirts were designed by Wilchins and Wilchins‘ then partner Montine Jordan, with a design emulating the Rocky Horror Picture Show logo. The T-shirts were significant in that they allowed transgender visibility at a time when passing as cis was highly encouraged and desired. As described by Wilchins in the book TRANS/gressive, "If you passed [as cis], you were safe. But pulling on the T-shirt screwed all of that forever".
Esquire interview and response
Esquire approached the group to do a piece about transgender activism. It was published under the title "The Third Sex - Now the men who have decided they are actually women are on the march. Welcome to the transgender revolution" on April 1, 1995.
The Menace members were angry and the group immediately picketed Esquire's offices; eventually the writer of the story came down to apologise. In her book TRANS/gressive, Riki Wilchins describes the incident as reflective of the climate at the time, with "friendly fire" coming from people or institutions that were not even actively hostile.
The Gay Games
The Menace protested transgender women's exclusion from the Gay Games. Wilchins describes how transgender women, unlike the other participants, had to "jump through a series of demeaning hoops" including providing medical records, a hormone test and a full gender verification regime. Six members of the NYC chapter crashed the board meeting of the Gay Games and instantiated a change of these regulations. The transgender-exclusionary regulations were re-instated four years later.
- Fort Wayne
- Los Angeles
- New Jersey
- New Orleans
- New York
- San Antonio
- San Francisco
- San Jose
- Tampa-St Pete
- "Denise Norris - Andes, NY". MEUSA. Retrieved 2018-04-15.
- Stryker, Susan (2009-01-07). Transgender History. Da Capo Press. ISBN 9780786741366.
- "Transexual Menace | UC Berkeley Library". www.lib.berkeley.edu. Retrieved 2018-04-16.
- Wilchins, Riki (2017-05-31). TRANS/gressive: How Transgender Activists Took on Gay Rights, Feminism, the Media & Congress… and Won!. Riverdale Avenue Books LLC. ISBN 9781626013674.
- Taylor, John. "The Third Sex". Esquire Classic. Retrieved 2019-10-25.Taylor, John. "The Third Sex". Esquire Classic. Retrieved 2019-10-25.