CQ Flashback: 1991

1991 saw two remarkable documents for the trans community: the Gender Activist Declaration of Independence, produced and distributed by Napa, CA’s short-lived Gender Activist League and JoAnn Roberts’ Bill of Gender Rights. Both are remarkable documents.

We published them in the second issue of Chrysalis on heavy paper colored and textured and artificially aged to look like vellum the hemp paper on which the U.S. Bill of Rights was printed. We identified and used a font that looked a bit like handwriting from the 18th Century.


Genderist Declaration of Independence and Gender Bill of Rights




There are signs the gender community is organizing to take positive action to safeguard the rights of transgendered persons.

JoAnn Roberts, who is active with Renaissance Education Association in Pennsylvania, has mailed “A Bill of Gender Rights” to the gender community. Roberts writes, “The intent of the U.S. Constitution is to guarantee equal treatment under the law and the role of the Constitution is to protect minorities from the majority when the majority is clearly and patently wrong. It is wrong to think that one’s physical sex (arid, therefore, one’s sex role) is more important than one’s intellectual or physical capabilities. Under this logic, women are ‘inferior,’ homosexuals are ‘inferior,’ and all transgendered people are ‘inferior’ to the average, white, adult American male.”

In a similar vein, the newly formed Gender Alternatives League of Napa, CA, has published “The Gender Activist Declaration of Independence.” Cynthia Howard, the Executive Director of the League, writes, “Today marks a historic event for the gender community. It is a day that marks the beginning of a full commitment by members of our community to freedom of gender expression and the attainment of our Civil and Human Rights. Today the Board of Directors and founders of the Gender Alternatives League signed the ‘Gender Activist Declaration of Independence.’ The Advisory Council, which consists of leaders of various transgender organizations, will be signing this Declaration shortly. This document marks for us an evolutionary point in our history.”

Ms. Howard urges all organizations to sign and return the declaration to her.

AEGIS supports both the “Gender Activist Declaration of Independence” and the “Gender Bill of Rights,” which follow in their entirety.


A Bill of Gender Rights


It is time for the transgendered community to stand a strong stand against all gender-based discrimination simply because some people are different and simply because some people do not fit into current social norms of gender roles. It is time to stand alongside other minority rights movements to declare these gender rights as follows.

The Right to Choose a Gender Role

Every human being has within themselves an idea of who they are and what they are capable of achieving. That identity and capability shall not be limited by a person’s physical sex, nor by what any society may deem as “masculine” or “feminine” behavior. It is fundamental, then, that each individual has the right to choose a gender role that is comfortable for them, regardless of their genetic sex or sex role.

Therefore, no person shall be denied their Human or Civil Rights on the basis that their chosen gender or perceived gender role is not congruent with the genetic sex or sex role.

The Right to Freely Express a Gender Role

Given that each individual has the right to choose a gender role, it then follows that each individual has the right to freely express their gender role in any manner that does not infringe on the freedom of another individual.

Therefore, no peron shall be denied their Human or Civil Rights on the basis that a private or public expression of their chosen gender role or perceived gender role is not congruent with their genetic sex or sex role.

The Right to Make One’s Body Congruent With Gender Role

Given that each individual has the right to choose a gender role, it then follows that each individual has the right to change their body or alter its physiology to better fit their chosen gender role. These changes may be cosmetically, chemically or surgically induced, provided these changes are supervised by the appropriate licensed professional and the individual accepts sole responsibility for their actions in this regard.

Therefore, no person shall be denied their Human or Civil Rights on the basis that they changed or wish to change their body, cosmetically, chemically, surgically or by any combination of these, to better fit their gender role.

The Right to Sexual Expression Congruent with Gender Role

Given that each individual has the right to choose a gender role, it then follows that each individual has the right to express their sexuality within their chosen gender role.

Therefore, no person shall be denied their Human or Civil Rights on the basis of sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation. Further, no individual shall be denied their Human or Civil Rights for expressing their chosen gender role through private sexual acts between consenting adults.


The Gender Activist Declaration of Independence


We, the members of the gender community, being of sound mind and sound conviction, do declare the following:

We are members of the human race and are of every religious creed, color, nationality, ancestry, physical condition, social status, marital status, age, gender, sex, and sexual orientation.

Our community is composed of people who wish to emulate the opposite gender or become members of the opposite sex. It also includes their spouses, domestic partners, relatives, friends, and associates.

Those people in our community who are not mentally ill, who forsake the old labels, who reject the old standards of allowing denigration and discrimination against our community, who choose to fight for their freedom and rights, and the freedom and rights of others, shall be known simply as “Genderists.”

The term “Genderist” shall mean to be characterized by an attraction of predisposition toward the other gender role or the activities of the other gender. More specifically, it means to cross the gender line and appear as the gender of one’s choice. It may or may not mean changing the sex of the body in order to accomplish that goal fully. The term is meant to include everyone in the gender community. It is universal and has no negative connotations. It is a name for our community that allows us our new future without perpetuating an old past.

We choose the name “Genderist” to show our dedication to our activist cause. We choose this name as a standard for our pride and as our unifying banner, not as a new label. No one will be labeled a Genderist, yet anyone can become one. A label is comething someone else places upon you that is derogatory in some fashion or that has disparaging connotations. “Feminist,” “Gay,” “Lesbian,” and “Black” are all standards of pride adopted by the members of those minorities to show that they are fighting for their freedom and true equality. The name “Genderist” is our standard of pride and shows unity of purpose and our commonality with other minorities. We have no more insanity, criminality, or differences in sexual preference than does the rest of humanity. The only similarity between us and the tiny minority of mentally ill persons in the gender community is that we once suffered from a common past of self-denigration, labels, bigotry, discrimination, and hate. There is no difference between members of our community and society. We are moral, ethical, capable, and productive people who do different things and have other preferences, just like other members of society.

We, the majority, intend to create a new future. We will not allow our activity to be labeled and listed in the mental illness manuals or to have our name used in a derogatory fashion by anyone. By these words we give notice that any slander, libel, or defamation against our community, or a member of our community, will be taken as an intentional attack against our whole minority. The individuals in our community will act in unison to stop any such attack against our integrity.

We have no need for the degrading labels or their negative connotations. The statements from the mental health profession and others that we are sexual deviates, perverts, abnormal, sick, criminal, et al., are unjustifiable, false, and derogatory. The mental illness designation is based on a biased examination of only 2% of our group, and thereby has no validity. The other labels are based on intolerance, hate, fear of difference, and religious and educational misinformation, and have no validity. We reject the old notions that we are not part of the normal society or that we have no rights.

We reject the old line of thinking that says that we should hide our behavior as though we were somehow criminal. We have the right to choose and express our preferred gender publicly and freely and to be treated as first-class citizens without discrimination in any form against us. We have the same right as anyone else to change our physical imperfections and to be treated by the medical profession without judgement because of our choice. We have an unquestionable and bona fide right to our Civil Liberties and Human Rights. No other person has the right to deny our minority those rights which they do not deny to themselves.

We recognize that the normal practice of discrimination and denigration foments strife and unrest, retards the evolution of civilization, and adversely affects the interest of all people in our society. We oppose this malevolent pattern of behavior against us or anyone else, as it is destructive. We oppose those who feel they must keep us and others from freedom and equality. We vow to fight to attain our goals and back those, who, like ourselves, must wage a fight against oppression. We will do for ourselves what no one else is willing to do for us. We believe that all people should be treated equally and deem that Human Rights and Civil Rights are meant for everyone. By our own hand we seal this Declaration on this day and stand by it with pride in ourselves, our community, and our league.