About Pauline Park
Riki Anne Wilchins was the executive director of GenderPAC for the entire 14 years of its organizational life, from 1995 until 2009; in that capacity, she called for the creation of “a post-identity politics national gender rights movement for all Americans.” By way of a critique of that call, I will argue here that the discourse of a post-identity politics movement – far from providing a unifying philosophy and political strategy – is intellectually incoherent and politically counterproductive. It is my aim here to articulate what I see as the racial politics implicit in the discourse and to offer an alternative conception of identity formation and transgender movement politics based on notions of community.
GenderPAC was founded in November 1996 to be the national voice of the transgender community. A number of different individuals and organizations came together to establish the organization in order to educate society on transgender issues and to advance a legislative agenda in Congress. Wilchins, a white transsexual woman, took the organization in a very different direction. By the end of 1999, Wilchins shifted GenderPAC from the original vision of its founders to a very different organization with a very different mission. With Gina Reiss as managing director, Wilchins then went public with her intention to reject the original conception of a transgender advocacy organization in favor of a vague, rather inchoate concept of a ‘gender rights’ organization.
It was with some shock that I discovered my name on a list of ‘LGBT anti-Israel hate organizations’ on a Facebook ’cause page called ‘Queer Support for Israel.’ First, I do not hate Israel — though I have serious issues with the brutal, illegal and immoral Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories. Second, I’ve been called many things in my life, but I’ve never been called an organization, nor am I one. Third, I couldn’t find any identifiers on the page to indicate who put me on this list of supposed ‘Israel haters.’
Only later did I discover the source of this ‘information’ about me: a ‘public relations professional since 1994′ named Scott Piro who advertises the professional services he provides as including social media, public relations and copywriting to “an eclectic range of clients” — including Caroline Kennedy, Sarah Ferguson (the Duchess of York, presumably), Merrill Lynch, and Tylenol, among others.