Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
I received an e-mail yesterday from Sin Nombre regarding a trans woman who’s been staying with him:
I’m not sure how active you are on Facebook and I haven’t been on LJ in ages, so I’m sending this to you in the hopes that you’ll have the inclination and ability to post this on QT and/or other resources that you know of or have access to.
To make a long story short, Ada, a trans woman whom I met through a close friend, has been staying with me for the past couple of months. She’s actually leaving tomorrow because the property manager of my apt complex found out she and her pets are staying with me and wanted to charge me/us $325, which is money that neither of us has. She just managed to secure temporary housing through the 15th, which is when she’s due to go back to grad school. In the meantime, she’s not been able to find steady employment that pays a living wage or stable housing due to her trans status. She just started a GoFundMe acct to assist with the cost of living since her only means of income has been food stamps and the occasional check from her mother, who is in similar financial straits. The link is here:http://www.gofundme.com/ynipk
She needs enough to be able to purchase basic supplies that EBT won’t cover (doctors’ appts, prescriptions, pet food, personal care supplies, gas, emergency expenses, etc). She just found housing three hours away, in Memphis, and that should be sufficient until she can go back to school in Asheville around 8/15, so the hotel part isn’t applicable. The most important part is that she’ll need enough money to drive from Memphis to Asheville, NC (~500 mi) in order to access student loans and go back to school. All funds collected will only go for the aforementioned purposes. I’d appreciate any help or e-blasts you can provide.
At this point, she has enough gas to make it there and about $20 in cash. Given the abysmal job market and her impending return to school, as well as employer discrimination, it’s highly unlikely that she’ll have any source of cash income until around August 25th, since her loans won’t come until about a week after the semester starts. She has (most likely) secured housing for the school year, but since disclosing her status has not yet heard from the property management office. Any knowledge of affordable non-discriminatory rental agencies or apartment complexes in Asheville, NC would also be greatly appreciated, in the event that the property management office changes its mind about accepting her.
Any housing in Asheville would need to be pet-friendly as well, since her pets are her family and fostering them or giving them up is not an option.
Since it took me more time than is really reasonable for me to put this up, tomorrow in that post actually means today.
My understanding of the gofundme page is that the housing issue for the next couple of weeks was resolved last night, but she still needs assistance with the other things listed.
Judas is a fem trans person of color who is currently homeless and lives out of their car and is unemployed and looking for work. Unfortunately, they’re running out of money for gas and to keep their phone active (and will be out by the end of June). Without gas and phone, looking for work will be extremely difficult, if not impossible. This is in addition to not being about to get around for other reasons, such as buying food.
They’re in a really desperate situation at this point, and I know this has helped others in the past, so I am asking if anyone can help Judas so they don’t lose their mobility and communication, and other needs. As on previous occasions, I ask because they are looking at a very grim situation.
I have also added the button to my sidebar.
Edit to add: Judas also does a lot of volunteer work – which is very important to them – and will also be very difficult to manage without transportation.
Hello all. As shown by my recent important post on ponies, I am still vaguely alive. Hurrah me. Ok, so as my title might suggest: I am not entirely sure that transness exists as a particular identity mode all the time. That’s kind of an odd statement I realise, so let me unpack it a bit.
Tobi Hill-Meyer has proposed what I think is the only really plausible and useful definition of transness which presumes that trans people are as real and authentic as cis, which is: a trans person is someone whose sex/gender is not universally recognised as valid. Other definitions premised on a transition “from” one sex to another unwittingly reify cis sexes as static and homogenous sets of physical and emotional characteristics and behaviours. This premise of binary sexes is both inaccurate – point to almost any characteristic and there’s exceptions which are not considered trans – and arbitrary, repressing the diversity of human sex and gender morphologies, histories and behaviours.
That it exists in the first place is, I think, an effect of the ideological power of cis narratives to construct “truth” in its own image (and of trans relative powerlessness). There are in a cissexist and transphobic society only two real, authentic, legimate sexes; that is, men and women (and they only ever cis). Everyone else is really their assigned sex, forever and ever amen. And any time you hear the word “really,” you are hearing an ontological argument about essence and truth. Platonic essences, a story just about as old as humanity, and one that lives on despite its thorough philosophical rebuttal over the years.
For those of us who live and are correctly gendered as part of the binary at least some of the time as the other sex as the one we were assigned, we are almost entirely gendered correctly on the assumption that we are not known to be trans. To be known to be trans is in a cissexist world is to no longer be considered wholly and only the sex/gender you live as – it is an invalidation of the present in favour of an imagined, inaccurate cis origin story. For non-binaries, this occurs almost constantly, because there are few spaces where non-binaries are accepted as real, true sexes and/or genders.
Under this regime, then, it seems to me that “transness” is not something that I personally experience all of the time, or is something that any binary person necessarily experiences all the time (and there is scope for non-binary accepting spaces to broaden out this same pattern for non-binary folks, though it remains in the extreme minority right now). I experience “transness” only in the moment of transphobia – and in the psychic legacy of fear of that appearing again. And if we ask when we are “trans” in this sense, we might also ask to whom. Because I don’t identify as a trans woman, and I don’t “identify” as a woman. I simply am a woman, but in this society because of my sex assignment at birth that means I am considered trans whether I like it or not.
One thing that I think many of us do is act diffidently, implicitly accepting a subordinate symbolic position as simulations, copies of cis originals. How often do allies tack an obligatory “trans” before man or woman even when it’s not required? How often are the links from this blog – primarily written by a group of feminist-identified or friendly women – filed under GLBT but never feminism? These and a million other actions construct a cis centre and a trans margin.
I want to know: When are we real? Where are we real? For whom? Why are we not considered real, when we are not? What would we need to change materially and culturally to become considered real as we are?
What we currently have is an intellectual failure, a failure to truly include the totality of human sex and gender expression in our cultural imaginary, a failure to truly consider trans men as men, trans women as women, and non-binaries as whatever particular sex-gender they live their lives as. There would be no need for “trans” to mark our invalidation then, because we would have already been included in the definitions of “real” from the start. Because we’re not copies.
I hesitate to jump into these shark-infested waters, but here goes.
I certainly have my own opinion on the “transsexual” vs. “transgender” debate that has ignited many a flame war on the internet over the last few months between those who want to separate our community based on those who have had or, at least, want to have, SRS, from everyone else, but I’m not going to express that here. Instead, I’m going to take a position that I’ve never seen expressed by anyone else, although some have come close. My position comes from my background as an attorney and my understanding of how anti-discrimination laws are written and are intended to operate.
Here’s what I know to be true: the dispute about who is transsexual and who isn’t is irrelevant to the fight for protections for transsexual, transgender, genderqueer and every other gender variant or gender nonconforming person in this country. Why? Because of how anti-discrimination laws are written for both practical and constitutional reasons.
Toronto couple Kathy Witterick and David Stocker did the usual thing that any parents do when their new child is born, they sent out an email notice noting their new baby’s vital statistics and eye color. But what they did differently was to leave short, simple statement about their baby, named Storm.
“We’ve decided not to share Storm’s sex for now — a tribute to freedom and choice in place of limitation, a stand up to what the world could become in Storm’s lifetime (a more progressive place? …”
Essentially what Witterick and Stoker have decided is to not assume that Storm is cisgender and to leave it to Storm to figure out whom zie is for zimself in the spirit of self determination and autonomy, free of coercive gender stereotyping.
As explained in their own words their choice was as simple as that.
On May 21st, 2011 the family was featured in The Toronto Star in a story about their decision not to coercively gender Storm. In the proceeding days the story was quickly picked up by other news outlets. Men’s Health, local Fox news affiliates, Human Events, and even The Times of India re-posted the story on their websites.
Predictably, the backlash against this act not in compliance with coercive gendering came to a head and Internet Shitstorm Machine sprang to life.
As one can imagine in our cis-centric society, the family has received an enormous amount of criticism and little praise for their parenting choices. They have been accused of making their baby in to a “social experiment”, of “borderline child abuse”, and “being amoral hippies” in commentary from a multitude of sources. This fire storm of controversy and personal accusation have all come in the name of the “the good of the baby”.
But it’s hard for me to believe that any of this criticism can be counted on as being intellectually honest or in the best interest of Storm. Storm and zir’s parents are experiencing what trans people are well used to, namely, they’re receiving criticism that is not about Strom at all. Instead, Storm and zir parents are being used by cis people as foils for their own personal conflicts, confusion and stereotypes about gender and gender relations.
Both Storm and trans people are treated as kind of an abstract concept that cis people can project their own conflicts, fears and anxieties upon. But in either case, it’s not about Storm or trans people; it’s about cisgender people’s anxieties and keeping cis -supremacy in order.
As for the criticisms and “concerns”, let’s go through the three most prevalent objections I’ve seen.
1. “This will confuse the baby and damage zim”
This argument is obviously flawed in the fact that it assumes that Storm will grow up to be cis or have a binary gender identity/expression, which of course is not to be taken for granted. It also assumes that coercively raising a child as male or female as people usually do is inherently “natural” and doesn’t do damage to people when it fact it can have the opposite effect, as borne out by the lived experiences of both cis and trans people. What Storm’s parents are doing is the opposite of coercion, they’re letting Storm to figure out zir own gender for zirself. How could allowing a child a carefully considered range of freedom be damaging?
2. “This is social experiment with a political agenda.”
Again we see the effects of cis-centric thinking at work here. The truth is that I’m an experiment, you’re an experiment and we’re all experiments of a cis-supremacist and misogynistic society. Saying this ignores that children are influenced by gender stereotypes and depictions of gendered behavior dozens, perhaps hundreds of times a day. People only notice this when someone refuses to conform to these stereotypes or decides not to teach them to their children, as Storm’s parents are doing.
Socialization can come in good and bad forms. For example many kids today are socialized in to racist ideology and behavior. Yet we don’t talk about the evils of that kind of socialization because it would challenge white supremacy prevalent in American society. And in this case, we don’t hear about objections over gender socialization until people are giving their children the free will in a challenge to cis-supremacy.
And our normative gender relations and stereotyping have an enormous political agenda, namely in defending patriarchy, heterosexism and cis-supremacy to the bitter end.
3. “The child will be bullied and harmed by others”
This is about the only argument I’ve seen that actually could honestly have concern for Storm’s welfare as a top priority. But the logic is still broken, it puts the onus on an individual who somehow different to avoid being abused on compromising their integrity at their own expense. The logic privileges that “fact” that bullies will bully over the safety of the abused and that the parents are “asking for trouble”.
Of course Storm could be bullied for not being assigned a gender at birth. But that’s far down the road and as zir’s parents point out, people could bully zim for other reasons. Bullies don’t need a reason to bully. Storm’s parents acknowledge this danger in the story and seem to be on alert for anyone who might marginalize Storm. In the end the problems with bullies are bullies, not Storm or how zir’s parents raise zim.
Though the ugly face of cis-supremacy has revealed itself with its usual speed in this episode, we need to support and honor the parenting choices of Storm’s parents. To overcome cis-supremacy we need to support parenting choices that offer the most constructive forms of freedom and flexibility to our children in order to enjoy their life to the fullest extent possible.
The saddest fact about Storm’s and zir’s parent’s story is that they simply cannot win in the cis-supremacist Catch-22. If Storm grows up to be cisgender/cissexual and of a binary gender expression people will then hail that as an example of the triumph of gender essentialism. If Storm grows up to have a non-binary identity or is transsexual, then the parents will be further demonized and denounced for somehow “brainwashing” or “damaging” Storm.
And this is what you get for non-compliance with society’s ultimate cis-supremacist agenda.
IMPORTANT EDIT: Due to overwhelming demand, Girl Talk has been moved one floor down in the same building, from the Ceremonial Room to the Rainbow Room, where there are fifty more seats. To my knowledge the Rainbow Room will have the same accessibility as the Ceremonial Room. See you tomorrow night! –ll.
I’ll be performing on the 24th in San Francisco, and I would love to see you there! This has been a lovely and powerful event for two years in a row, and I’m proud to share it with the community. Details and event promo below. –little light
Girl Talk: A Trans & Cis Woman Dialogue
Thursday, March 24th, 2011
7:00pm – 10:00pm
San Francisco LGBT Community Center – Rainbow Room
1800 Market Street between Octavia & Laguna
Tickets: $12-$20 (no one turned away!)
(Link to BrownPaperTickets site: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/163744 I strongly recommend that you get tix in advance — we sold out very fast last year.)
Queer cisgender women and queer transgender women are allies, friends, support systems, lovers, and partners to each other. Trans and cis women are allies to each other every day — from activism that includes everything from Take Back the Night to Camp Trans; to supporting each other in having “othered” bodies in a world that is obsessed with idealized body types; to loving, having sex, and building family with each other in a world that wants us to disappear.
Girl Talk is a spoken word show fostering and promoting dialogue about these relationships. Trans and cis women will read about their relationships of all kinds – sexual and romantic, chosen and blood family, friendships, support networks, activist alliances. Join us for a night of stories about sex, bodies, feminism, activism, challenging exclusion in masculine-centric dyke spaces, dating and breaking up, finding each other, and finding love and family.
Gina de Vries
Elena Rose, aka little light
***Curated & hosted by Gina de Vries, Elena Rose, & Julia Serano.***
The redoubtable Sady Doyle and a bunch of other people are organising a Twitter campaign using the hashtag #DearJohn. The reason?
For years, federal laws restricting the use of government funds to pay for abortions have included exemptions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest. (Another exemption covers pregnancies that could endanger the life of the woman person with a uterus.) But the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” a bill with 173 mostly Republican co-sponsors that House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has dubbed a top priority in the new Congress, contains a provision that would rewrite the rules to limit drastically the definition of rape and incest in these cases. With this legislation, which was introduced last week by Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), Republicans propose that the rape exemption be limited to “forcible rape.” This would rule out federal assistance for abortions in many rape cases, including instances of statutory rape, many of which are non-forcible. For example: If a 13-year-old girl is impregnated by a 24-year-old adult, she would no longer qualify to have Medicaid pay for an abortion.
That’s right. This would refine rape to its narrowest form (by “force”), as well as restrict the funding of abortions to rape survivors, enabling statutory child abuse, and partner abuse via pregnancy, codify the yearly renewable Hyde Amendment and effectively end employer insurance funding of abortions in the United States (busy little bill, isn’t it).
I know–as do many of you–how problematic and alienating the ingrained cissexism and binarism of much mainstream cis feminist and pro-choice politics can be, yet this is an attack on trans communities too. If it’s being framed as a means of controlling “womens’” reproductive capabilities, it’s also an attack on some trans men, non-binary and genderqueers’ reproductive rights–as well as a broader attack on rape and incest survivors. The breathtaking dehumanisation of survivors in this legislation affects us all, even those of us who don’t require abortions.
So this is where you, people of the Internet, come in, to voice your opposition to a sexist, classist, rape apologist bill. First, with #DearJohn. But there is much, much more you lot in the United States can do. Jill at Feministe suggests donating to the National Network of Abortion Funds, to help women in need. Sady lays out even more steps you can take:
we also can’t just be outraged about it on the Internet. It’s essential that we make the huge public opposition to this bill as visible as possible: That’s why we’re Tweeting at Boehner and others at #DearJohn. But we also absolutely have to make sure our representatives hear us in person. It’s the beginning of the work week. And that means that all those Congresspeople need to hear from us, on the freakin’ phone, until they get the message that their jobs are going to be very, very hard until they acknowledge the massive public opposition to HR3. We need to reach out to the people who might stand for us, like the Victims’ Rights Caucus and the Pro-Choice Caucus, to applaud them for standing up for us and to ask them to make defeating this bill a crucial mission. We need to put massive amounts of pressure on the people who clearly don’t stand with us, like Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey, whose bill this is, and all of its co-sponsors, particularly those (male) few who happen to be Democrats: Our party is not allowed to sell out to those who deny medical care to survivors and attack people who need abortions, ever. We need to reach out to the Ways and Means Committee, which is currently handling this bill, and which has one — ONE! — Democratic woman on board. We need to reach out to Shelley Berkley, that one Democratic woman, and ask her to be our champion.
Click on this, and it should take you to a page where you can find out exactly who your rep is, and what their contact information is. Look that person up on Wikipedia, to get a sense of who they are, if you don’t already know. Then, CALL THEM. Be polite; be professional; do not threaten or use violent or abusive language under any circumstances. Explain to them that their constituents don’t support this bill, explain how and why it’s a bad bill, and let them know that if they support or fail to oppose this bill, they can expect that to impact them in a very bad way when it comes to the matter of keeping their jobs. We hired them; we can fire them. We want to flood them with calls, today and tomorrow. We need to stand up and be counted. And we can. But we need to make sure they don’t just see us talking on the Internet. We need to make sure they hear our voices, one by one by one.
ETA: don’t forget to sign the petition being presented to the Ways and Means Committee
(15 January: edited to include a link to Catherine Ryan Hyde’s response, now at the bottom of the post. –little light.)
by Leslie Feinberg on Friday, January 14, 2011 at 12:46pm, and reposted by Little Light.
In autumn 2010, Knopf published a “transgender” themed young adult novel. The author, Catherine Ryan Hyde, is an estranged relative of mine.
The analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of Hyde’s young adult fiction novel will come from those who are living the identities, and oppressions to which she has applied her imagination.
However, as part of the media coverage and publicity tour for the release of the young adult novel, Hyde claims much of her expertise and authority for writing her “transgender”-themed young adult novel as based on my life and identity.
The author is a relative with an axe to grind. When she claims me as kin in order to counter-narrate my life, I am forced to get up out of a sick bed in order to respond in writing.
Since I became acutely ill in October 2007, it has been very hard for me to write, or to speak. So it is opportunistic and unconscionable that a hostile relative would take this opportunity to re-tell my life in a way that changes my sex, mis-describes my gender expression, and closets my sexuality. Hyde also attempts to silence me politically as a revolutionary, reasserts the dominant legal control of the biological family, and ignores and disrespects my chosen family.
My verbal and written request for no further contact has been violated by my relatives numerous times over the last forty years. So I do not rely on them to respect my wishes. Instead, I have clarified and strengthened my legal papers, and I am making this statement public: My living biological relatives—Irving David Feinberg, Betty Vance Hyde, and Catherine Ryan Hyde—are not my family. They do not speak for me.
The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) defines “family” as: “The person(s) who plays a significant role in the individual’s [patient’s] life. This may include a person(s) not legally related to the individual.”
Irving David Feinberg, Betty Vance Hyde, and Catherine Ryan Hyde have not played any significant role in my adult life. I have not seen or spoken to my parents in 40 years. Catherine Ryan Hyde was a child when I left home as a youth, and has only met me a handful of times in her adult lifetime.
Catherine Ryan Hyde’s narrations about my identity and early family life to audiences and media on her young adult novel book tour is not the first time that she or other relatives have narrated hostile accounts of my life–in person and in print.
[Marz - "Everybody Had A Hard Year"]
Happy Gregorian New Year, dear readers. May next year be a good one.
ETA: Worst New Year’s ever. My partner and I had our apartment robbed while we were out grabbing a bite to eat. Our laptop – with months work on a book that of course I never saved anywhere else – was taken, as was jewelrey we’d bought when we first got together, a bracelet my Nanna gave me when I came out.. and rubbish bags and toilet paper.
Worst bloody New bloody Year’s bloody Eve ever.