Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
Full post here. Excerpts here:
As you may and may not know, Apple Computer exercises editorial control over the content of the Apple Store, through which music, ebooks, and iPhone and iPad applications are sold. It’s been called – somewhat derisively – a Disneyland development platform, and many people prefer Android-based phones specifically because they want an open development environment. I have sympathy for this position, but this post isn’t about that argument.
One of the risks of exercising this kind of control is that if you do it, you’re effectively endorsing all the applications put online on that store. You’re exercising editorial control, and you’re making judgement calls.
And if that judgement call happens to include approving an application called “PeekABooTranny,” that makes fake photobombs of “fierce trannies in hilarious poses” and promising “a tranny surprise in every shot!” then, well, Apple has endorsed that, as well. (The company behind this application issued a press release today promoting the application that rollick posted about here.)
. . .
I cannot urge you strongly enough to let Apple know what you think of this particular judgement call. Apple Public Relations is at +1 (408) 974-2042. If you have an iPhone, ring them up from it, and let them know about that part as well. Ms. A. didn’t say “we’ll need a bunch of complaints for this to gain any traction,” but she implied it. Make those complaints.
Unless you’re for this kind of thing, in which case, get the fuck off my friendslist. Now.
Again, Apple Public Relations: +1 (408) 974-2042.
So Lisa and I have been talking about economics a lot lately, for obvious reasons. In the light of this, we’ve started a new blog addressing economic inequality from an intersectional social justice perspective called Socialism And…. There’s a bunch of other folks you might familiar with, including Sarah Jaffe (currently blogging up a storm about music at Bitch) and s.e. smith from FWD/Feminists With Disabilities For a Way Forward, as well as more exciting stuff hopefully coming up soon.
Here’s my welcome spiel from the first post:
The idea of this blog is simple: as an accumulator of the work of those people interested in social justice in its many forms (feminism, womanism, GLBTQIA, disability, anti-war, anti-racist, indigenous rights, immigrant rights, Muslim rights, Judaism, and so on) and a broader focus on the ways in which capitalism creates the conditions for those oppressions. The so-called Leftist turn of “identity politics” has often put the economy off the table in all but the most aspirational, liberal ways, but we will foreground it while remembering that some of us suffer much more than others because of capitalism. We’re interested in how gender, race, disability, sexuality etc interact with capitalism, how our oppression occurs through the economic and the political, and how we change this.
We propose that there are juster, fairer better ways to organize human society than the one we have, and it is high time we started building broad coalitions to do so.“Socialism and…” is about building community, sharing our experiences and theories about the present day and strategies to make a better world. What are the socio-politico-economic causes of oppression, and what are its consequences?
Liberation for all, oppression for none.
We hope you’ll join us.
Jayinchicago is a queer man and pet reptile enthusiast living, as may be obvious, in Chicago. He procrastinates like hell, and occasionally writes and posts blogs here and there. He is an organizer for http://www.jointheimpactchicago.com.
Within minutes of “outing”myself as trans (pre-transition) to the first trans man I ever knowingly met, I heard something my naive mind latched onto for years: “Don’t even think about phallo[plasty]–it just gives you a frankendick, totally ugly and totally useless.” That’s quite a statement, and something I repeated myself without critical thought for a few years after that. If that’s trans male oral tradition, count me out.
It wasn’t until more than a couple contentious discussions on the website that raised me from baby ftm to full fledged man (livejournal.com, for better and for worse) that something pierced through this layer of common sense that is actually anything but. It was hearing the words of men who have researched for months, years, tracking down obscure medical journals and working out translations. Men who have fought their private insurers for years (or did the gatekeeper dance with national or provincial insurance) to finally come out the other side with funding. Men who have corresponded with each other for years and earned the trust that can get them detailed information from a man who has had surgery. Men who have traveled halfway across the world just to get a consultation with a particularly good surgeon, then turn around and figure out how to raise those tens of thousands of dollars needed when their fight with their private insurer comes to a dead end. Even hearing the desperate words of poor men who can only only dream of a surgery that is medically necessary.
I don’t even pretend to know why trans male genital reconstruction, particularly phalloplasty, gets the cannibal treatment in our own communities. Partially it is a reaction to completely unjust rules that can require it to change sex on identification, like my own state Illinois and my own birth certificate–which, we can certainly protest those arbitrary and unjust rules without demonizing something a segment of our population needs. Possibly also it comes from this tendency to overgeneralize trans male experience as a monolith–not all trans men need or want genital reconstruction (and not all trans men have dysphoria around their genitals), so it becomes something “we”have rejected. Obviously a lot of it is ignorance and cissexism internalized as it must be. Literal ignorance too, because if someone isn’t interested in phalloplasty, it’s unlikely they are going to be putting the work into meeting farflung surgeons and reading and collecting often nearly inscrutable medical journals. They might have made a google search and found some images from surgeries done years ago, often gory immediately post (or even during) surgery images–taken out of context, some without even the skin grafts in place. Or pictures of a first surgery when multiple surgery stages are necessary.
Regardless of how one feels about phalloplasty for oneself, something I’ve learned to do is imagine is how I would feel if I made an anti-phallo statement and someone in my audience was a man who’d had phalloplasty. I’ve been in spaces where that has happened–how often must that happen.
When we flippantly discuss phalloplasty, we often refer to “results”and “surgeries”as if what we are talking about isn’t someone’s actual genitals. I think that’s the only way the franken-references can live on. As for discussion of function-let’s leave that for the men and their doctors (and partners) to work out. Certainly there are fairly accessible reports of post-surgery men happy with their surgery. Likewise there are reports of greatly improved function and ability to be present in sex and in life.
But it’s very easy to fix this, and in fact is applicable to many discussions of argumentation and rhetoric. Use “I statements”: I don’t need phalloplasty as part of my medical transition. Don’t make easily falsifiable statements, such as: No one is satisfied by the results of phalloplasty. The presence of ONE man satisfied by the results of phalloplasty makes that statement completely false. Finally I would add, don’t confuse wanting or needing phalloplasty to be prescriptive to all trans men, and in turn don’t force anti-phallo views on anyone else.
But matter doesn’t care if you took the pill or estradiol, a body with a certain estrogen level is a body with a certain estrogen level. You don’t get a free pass from blood clots, migraines and breast cancer to name just a few because you are supposedly “not a real woman.”
A penis is not inherently male, a vagina is not inherently female. If she has one, a trans women’s penis is female. Similarly, if he has one, a trans man’s vagina is male. Therefore, “female genitals” do not automatically exclude a penis, and automatically include a vagina. An analogy would be the changing fortunes of the word “marriage”–where “marriage” once implicitly and only referred to heterosexual relationships (as it continue to in many parts of the world), with the introduction of gay marriage in some areas this is no longer strictly the case. So it is with “male genitals” and “female genitals”–an overwhelming majority does indeed have one kind, but this does not apriori exclude the alternate configurations of some trans people.
“Male” and “female” are broader, fuzzy concepts that include all kinds of things – including genitals, body shape, skin depth, facial hair and body hair, hair softness, fat distribution, voice pitch, chromosomes, the social experience of being treated as your sex, and so on. Many of these are presumed rather than known–is there a genital check for day-to-day life? How many people do you know who’ve had a karotype to check to make sure they are indeed XX or XY? It is ridiculous to suggest that genitals are necessarily only and solely determinative of gender, when many trans people share so many of these as to go un-noticed in their day-to-day lives. Clearly, “male” and “female” precede any given genital/body configuration and therefore must include the totality of body expressions in those groups
Shamlessly nicked and badly paraphrased from Nix.
We’ve written a lot of the past couple years about the struggle of two West Australian men to get their birth certificates changed, and after the most recent legal loss, a new letter writing campaign has been launched by the pair. The Out of the Box facebook group has been set up with details and instructions for the next round of the campaign – a letter writing campaign to the WA Attorney General. The group is visible to non-facebook users, but following Nix I’ve copied the letter-writing directions in full.
Please get your pens out, write a letter, get your friends on board, forward this information widely.
In the wake of the Gender Reassignment decision handed down by the WA Supreme Court two lines of action have been started up.
The first is a legal challenge – steps have been taken to seek leave to appeal the Court’s decision in the High Court. This will be a lengthy process, but one that has a good chance of success.
The second front that has is just starting up, is a political campaign. To kick start it, we’re looking for people to write to the West Australian Attorney-General, Christian Porter. Emails are good, old-fashioned letter-in-envelopes are even better. This correspondence will have the most impact if each one is personally written, but to help you build your letter, there’s a few points at the end of this you might want to pick out to include.
If you are a trans* person who lives in Western Australia (or who’s birth is registered here), it will be very powerful if you talk about the impact that the Supreme Court decision will have on your life, personally.
If you are writing from outside of Western Australia, your letter probably should be couched along the lines of wanting the Attorney-General to know that the rest of Australia is watching what’s going on, and is not impressed. If you live in a State – say South Australia! – where people are able to obtain legal recognition much more easily, you may want to point this out.
If you are not a trans* person you may want to talk about how this decision will affect the trans* people you do know, or else the fact that as a ‘member of the community’ you want to see trans* people obtain legal recognition on the basis of how they present, not on the basis of some arbitrary surgical requirements.
Most importantly, if you want a response, make sure your letter requests that particular information, or that a particular response be provided. Ask Porter questions. And then let’s see (and if you all want, share) how he answers.
The Attorney-General’s contact details are as follows:
Office of Attorney General
29th Floor, Allendale Square
77 St Georges Terrace
Perth, WA, 6000
In solidarity, and thank you in advance.
The Out of the Box Crew
P.S. Keep copies of your letters, you might want to reference them in the future if we need to write to the Shadow AG, or the Federal AG, or anyone else!
Suggested points and questions to include in your letter. These focus on trans people and particularly on trans men, but you might also have questions about how this will affect trans women and intersex people.
- The recent Private Lives Report 2007 showed that transgender people suffer a high level of discrimination in their daily life due to not having their gender recognised, including loss of employment, denial of career advancement, and abuse and harassment.
- People experiencing gender dysphoria will often undergo various medical procedures to align their bodies with their identities, and gender reassignment laws should then allow such people to be legally recognised. It should NOT be that the law dictates to people what they must do with their body in order to obtain this recognition.
- The effect of this decision is that people suffering from gender dysphoria who wish to apply for a recognition certificate will have to undergo invasive, dangerous and expensive surgery, which is not even available in Australia.
- This decision sets the hurdle so high that it cannot be realistically achieved by female-to-male people.
- No other jurisdiction in Australia places such demands on trans* people seeking recognition of their sex.
- The decision is contrary to the recent recommendations of the Australian Human Rights Commission (in the ‘Sex Files’ Report) in relation to the legal recognition of sex.
- People should be recognised for who they are, based on how they identify and are accepted in society, not solely on the basis of required surgeries.
- If this is how the law is interpreted, then the the law needs to be changed, with amendments developed in consultation with trans* people and taking up the recommendations of the Sex Files Report. (Are you, Mr AG going to do this?)
- This decision has also highlights the fact that a person going through gender reassignment is not currently protected from discrimination in WA, because the ground of Gender History under the state’s current equal opportunity laws requires a Gender Reassignment Certificate for a person to be able to lodge a complaint of discrimination.
- WA is the only state or territory in Australia to not recognise gender identity or transsexuality discrimination, which makes it harder for the trans* folk in WA to claim discrimination than anywhere else in the country.
- The Equal Opportunity Act needs to be changed to include protections on the grounds of gender identity, in particular to protect people whilst they are transitioning or if they are unable to obtain legal recognition. (Are you, Mr AG, going to do so?)
Originally posted here. For whatever technical reason, WordPress will not let me quote the entire piece at once, although I have permission to do so. I strongly suggest reading there.
Filed by: Alex Blaze
September 29, 2010 6:00 PM
Many transsexual and transgender people purchase their prescriptions from non-US based pharmacies. We do this for numerous reasons including concern regarding being denied Medical Insurance should these prescriptions be discovered by the Health Insurance companies that have written exclusionary policies and so often deny coverage to people based on the flimsiest of excuses and also have a history of dropping coverage at times when patients most need it.
The other major reason many non-insured people have shopped the global pharmaceutical markets is cost. The monopoly practices of the drug manufacturing corporations in the US gouge the patients charging many times the prices charged for the same drugs by our neighbor to the north. The huge charges many well enhance the lifestyle and cash flow rich pigs who are the CEOs and investors in these corporations as well as finance a huge volume of advertising for drugs of dubious merit marketed for socially constructed “disorders” such as male sexual dysfunction. (a natural part of aging)
At the same time denying us access to lower priced drugs available through off-shore pharmacies is a method of preventing access to drugs available from countries where the government negotiates and sets the legitimate prices for those drugs.
See Michael Moore’s movie “Sicko”
Such pharmacies (and Inhouse specifically) are a significant source of medications, especially estrogen and anti-androgens for trans women, especially given the often arbitrary whims of medical professionals who do not understand trans people and who fail to provide us with the medications we need.
I’ll also throw this out there:
By David Segal and Aaron Swartz
When it really matters to them, Congressmembers can come together — with a panache and wry wit you didn’t know they had. As banned books weekgets underway, and President Obama admonishes oppressive regimes for their censorship of the Internet, a group of powerful Senators — Republicans and Democrats alike — have signed onto a bill that would vastly expand the government’s power to censor the Internet.
The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA) was introduced just one week ago, but it’s greased and ready to move, with a hearing in front of the Judiciary Committee this Thursday. If people don’t speak out, US citizens could soon find themselves joining Iranians and Chinese in being blocked from accessing broad chunks of the public Internet.
Aimed at torrenting/pirate sites mostly, but I have little doubt it will also be aimed at mail order pharmacies.
Edit: Locked comments for the time being. The post has all available information and we don’t really need to debate sins that Inhouse has never committed.
While I’m posting things, Marxist philosopher Slavoj Zizek recently published a good article about the permanent state of crisis in New Left Review recently. I don’t agree with everything, but there’s lots of good food for thought there. I particularly like this passage, which is worth quoting in its entirety:
In such a constellation, the very idea of a radical social transformation may appear as an impossible dream—yet the term ‘impossible’ should make us stop and think. Today, possible and impossible are distributed in a strange way, both simultaneously exploding into excess. On the one hand, in the domains of personal freedoms and scientific technology, we are told that ‘nothing is impossible’: we can enjoy sex in all its perverse versions, entire archives of music, films and tv series are available to download, space travel is available to everyone (at a price). There is the prospect of enhancing our physical and psychic abilities, of manipulating our basic properties through interventions into the genome; even the tech-gnostic dream of achieving immortality by transforming our identity into software that can be downloaded into one or another set of hardware.
On the other hand, in the domain of socio-economic relations, our era perceives itself as the age of maturity in which humanity has abandoned the old millenarian utopian dreams and accepted the constraints of reality—read: capitalist socio-economic reality—with all its impossibilities. The commandment you cannot is its mot d’ordre: you cannot engage in large collective acts, which necessarily end in totalitarian terror; you cannot cling to the old welfare state, it makes you non-competitive and leads to economic crisis; you cannot isolate yourself from the global market, without falling prey to the spectre of North Korean juche.
Zizek is using the word “perversion” in the Freudian sense I gather, though it is a bit dodgy still so mentally replace “plurality” if you want. He can be a bit of a prat, and there are numerous mindnumbing “controversial” “anti-PC” bits in his books (eg the transphobic comments at the start of Violence).
Still, I like the broader point of the passage- that we live in an age that encourages some forms of individualist self-expression generally (the ubiquitous “make-over,” and Zizek of course minimises the kinds of policing and violence on those), but at the same time, many collective solutions to human suffering are off the table. Which is worth thinking about given that collective solutions to problems like poverty and the environment seem increasingly important given the utter failure of the neoliberalist public-private-partnership ethos that mostly just allows companies to permeate the public sphere in every possible way. There’s a certain strain of thinking that offers the right kind of shopping and consumption as an individualist solution to these problems (that is, shopping at your local farmer’s market rather than at Walmart, becoming a vegan rather than eating meat, buying Fair Trade coffee etc), but Zizek is quite right in pointing out that we need much much more than that, we need collective solutions and collectivist strategies, and we need to remove the idea that “the market” is the ultimate arbiter of what is useful and politically viable, that the only things of value can be measured by profitability.
When we start down that road, we start measuring is it worth it to save this person’s life, or will it discourage investment if we dare put in minimal checks on bankers or environmental protections to prevent catastrophe. And as soon as we do that, we’re already fucked. No, the market will not fix anything itself unless compelled, and neither will governments making reforms by inches when the situation demands miles.
“may all your days be gold, my child” – Sparklehorse, Gold Day.
As we all know, Lisa is wrong and videos belong at the top of an open post. This week’s links, compiled by the collective QT Giant Squelchy Brain:
Great moments in history… on an Etch-o-sketch
Fuck you and your fucking thesis: why I will not participate in trans studies. An oldy but a goody. Anne’s mantra about our needs “decriminalization, housing, education and employment” works for me.
The Australian Defence Force dropped its ban on trans soldiers, 14 years after the gay ban went. Between that and having a comparatively functioning health care system, the conservative apocalpytic nightmare world is coming along. Should degenerate into utter chaos any.. minute… now… [jerk warning on the comments, and yeah anti-imperialist critique of the ADF welcome in the comments given our own input into the War of Terror]
A nice zine about queer femmes that includes several bits from trans women [warning: not a high resolution, may be difficult to read for some people]
Ezra Klein in The Washington Post wrote about the stready growth of the American poverty rate before the economic crash of 2008. “Between 2001 and 2007, the poverty rate increased from 11.7 percent to 12.5 percent. But the economy grew in every one of those years. This was the first period since we began keeping records in which the economy expanded but poverty went up.” Something worth thinking about in the light of increasing savage austerity measures against social programs–the system was failing us when it was supposedly working.
Erik Loomis at Global Comment wrote about Leftist activism in the US and the failures of activists to formulate coherent resistances to global capitalism.
I wrote about the Australian election, and how the political climate was “more volatile than an AFL team’s night out drinking.”
And finally, trans academics and sexism riffs off that piece from awhile back about Joan Roughgarden and Ben Barres in talking about how trans academics’ ideas are received.
I’m currently at the Liberal Democrat conference in Liverpool, which is proving to be fascinating. I’ve been elected to serve on the executive of DELGA, the Lib Dem LGBT group, for 2011, talked one-on-one to Lynne Featherstone, Equality Minister, and attended some excellent fringe events on subjects as diverse as the role of faith and secularism in society and nuclear power (where I found out, to my surprise, that the chief exec of Renewables UK supports the building of new nuclear power stations, for reasons I found myself agreeing with).
Anyway, perhaps the most astonishing thing was this evening, at the DELGA fringe, jointly hosted with Stonewall, who are not very popular here, it seems. The panel consisted of Stonewall head honcho Ben Summerskill, Equality Minister Lynne Featherstone, Lib Dem gay MP, Stephen Gilbert and DELGA president and former MP, Dr Evan Harris. It was astonishing for what happened on the hotly debated subject of marriage equality in the UK, which Stonewall have been eerily silent on. For those not in the UK, this is an issue of particular interest to married trans people because of the odd way the Gender Recognition Act interacts with marriages and civil partnerships – a relationship that Equality Minister Lynne Featherstone described as, “cruel and unusual”.
Before I go on, I should state that I appreciate that there are views that marriage itself is a problematic institution, but I think if we’re going to have it, and afford special privileges based on it, it should be available equally to everyone.
To cut a long story short, Ben Summerskill broke Stonewall’s silence by suggesting that marriage equality was too expensive, and that we would be better employed worrying about homophobic murder instead, and as he confided to me and my girlfriend, Zoe, there are feminist arguments that marriage is inherently wrong and they need to be taken into account (last I checked, Stonewall are still claiming to be an LGB charity, not a radical feminist charity).
Anyway, Zoe has blogged about the whole thing here. You should go and read it if you are at all interested in LGBT marriage equality in the UK (and possibly elsewhere), seriously. It’s astonishing stuff and calls into question whether someone like Summerskill should be at all involved in being a gay rights representative in the UK. I think he is deeply out of touch, and probably a liability at this point.
I am pleased that of the two major parties, the less evil one has managed to form a minority government. Labor was typically uninspiring but thankfully arch-conservative Tony Abbott was kept from power. An Abbott government frankly terrified me on all possible grounds, from economic to the social. Abbott has spent much of his career aiming at women’s and/or GLBT rights, from that angle alone a Liberal government would have been an unmitigated disaster (let alone, his scorched-earth economic neoliberalism).
I’m sure the first hung parliament won’t do Julia Gillard’s misogynistic “Lady MacBeth” parliament image any good, but frankly Tony Abbott’s wooing of the independents was his usual arrogant, ham-fisted politicking, and if the press wasn’t so immensely right-wing he should have been rightly mocked for it. Refusing to hand the three independents his figures – and then having his election promises to have been 10.6 BILLION over – was pathetic, really. The Liberals’ image as the party of sober economicists is frankly laughable. Of course, I have faith in the Australian electorate to ignore all that come next election.
Still, hurrah! First Australian female PM! I hope Labor have learnt something from the fact that it was a Left swing to the Greens (3.5%) that kept them from winning the election, and will cease edging ever so-slowly to the Right. And I hope the Liberals mutiny at Abbott’s incompetence. Even with an opponent who came in at the very last minute, he couldn’t pull a clear win, and with three former National independents to woo, he failed.
But both of those are probably just me getting a bit too hopeful. Thoughts, Australians?