Archive for the ‘injustice’ Category
CALL TO ACTIVISM – Many people with disabilities to be excluded from accessible parking under proposed scheme
I received this call for action from Lauredhel at Hoyden About Town, about how the Australian Federal government is planning a re-structuring of disability parking permits that will exclude a lot of people. If you’re in Australia, please submit your feedback about how appalling this is.
Lauredhel’s post is below, which she says to feel free to copy n paste and pass along:
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The government is proposing a national harmonisation of disabled parking schemes. Sounds great on the surface, doesn’t it? But they’re going to throw independent people with disabilities (PWD) who aren’t wheelchair or scooter users to the wolves. People who can walk without physical assistance from another person, with or without a cane, no matter how restricted their walking distance, will no longer have access to accessible parking.
Unless you intervene. Please, give your feedback to the government about this scheme, right now, and spread the word.
You can email your completed submission to email@example.com or post it to:
Australian Disability Parking Scheme submissions (East Wing)
PO Box 7576
Canberra Business Centre ACT 2610
Submissions must be received by 5pm AEST Friday 31 July 2009.
You can read the full discussion paper in PDF here: “Harmonisation of disability parking
permit schemes in Australia“. Alternative versions of the discussion paper are available from the call centre in Easy English, on CD, in Braille or in another language: 1800 630 740, 1800 555 677 (TTY).
Read on to hear about how this will affect real people.
The proposed nationally consistent eligibility criteria are on page 10 of the discussions paper, and are as follows:
Under the proposed scheme, you would be eligible for a permanent permit if:
* Criteria 1: You are unable to walk and always require the use of a manual wheelchair or powered mobility device, or
* Criteria 2: Your ability to walk is permanently and severely restricted and you sometimes require the use of a mobility or medical aid. This does not include a walking stick, shopping trolley or pram, or
* Criteria 3: You do not use a mobility or medical aid but your ability to walk is permanently restricted by a significant medical condition or disability, which sometimes requires the physical assistance of another person and limits your access to the community.
Under the proposed scheme, you would be eligible for a temporary permit if:
* Criteria 1: Your ability to walk is significantly restricted on a temporary (rather than permanent) basis and you sometimes require use of a mobility or medical aid. This does not include a walking stick, shopping trolley or pram, or
* Criteria 2: You do not use a mobility or medical aid but your ability to walk is restricted by a significant medical condition or disability, which requires the physical assistance of another person and limits your access to the community for the temporary period.
 note to non-Australians: a “walking stick” is a cane, here.
Who does this exclude? Everyone who walks, with or without a cane, and who does not require the physical assistance of another person.
Every single independent person with an invisible disability.
What could this mean for me? Right now, I have a parking permit because my walking distance is severely limited, so I need proximity parking. Unless I buy a scooter – something that I’m thinking about, but haven’t yet (I’m not eligible for government assistance) – I’ll become much, much more dependent.
Could I argue that I “sometimes require physical assistance”, under the last criterion? Maybe. But “arguable” isn’t good enough. “Arguable” means people on the street will harass me if they see me getting out of the car without someone on my arm. “Arguable” means Today Tonight or A Current Affair will film me and ridicule me on national television if I go out. “Arguable” means if the next doctor can’t be bothered, I don’t get a permit. “Arguable” means that a government auditor can decide “no”.
** It is absolutely unacceptable to require PHYSICAL DEPENDENCE of people with disabilities, before they can access the community. **
This is the opposite of accessibility.
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Final note (ie rant) from Queen Emily:
This is bloody stupid. That can’t be said enough. I’m not the only who sees the spectre of tabloid news behind this, am I? It’s not based on the needs of people with disabilities, it’s instead premised on their being easily visually identifiable. Those damn bludgers who we can’t even what’s wrong with them are stealing disabled parking spots!!111! People ripping off the system for disability benefits (usually workmen’s comp) is as strong a meme on A Current Affair and Today Tonight as anything else.
This defines disability in the most restrictive terms – even a person who walks with a cane, or needs a shopping trolley to lean on to walk any distance (like my Nanna, who currently has a disability sticker) loses their permit? Bull. Shit.
Cos the thing is, you can’t always tell from appearance – that’s the whole point of the term invisible disability. Just walking through the parking lot could use up someone’s entire day’s worth of energy. The people defining this idea have no idea of the lived realities of disability. To make people’s lives that much more difficult, to rob them of their independence, under the guise of “helping?” That’s just monstrous.
Apparently moral panics about the Northern Territory in Australia didn’t go out of style with the Howard government. The Northern Territory government has decided to make it mandatory for everyone to report underage sexual activity, and anyone having sex with a minor can be charged for –even another minor (that’s right, two minors could be found guilty of abusing each other).
This law has mostly been directed at doctors and health care workers, and it is there that we’ll see much of the results. From the ABC:
Until now, NT laws were similar to what operates in the other states; it was mandatory to report suspected child sexual abuse.
But now health workers must report sexual activity among under-16s to a team that includes police and staff in the Territory’s department of health and families.
Failure to do so could result in a fine of up to around $20,000. And it is not just doctors who will have to report.
“This applies to everybody,” Dr Bauert said. “Parents, brothers and sisters, mates.”
The legislation has been in place for months but it was only late last week that the Northern Territory Health Department told staff to comply.
They were told to report anyone under 16 who is sexually active, even if that person’s sexual partner is also under 16 or of the same age, and regardless of consent.
“Any person who has sexual intercourse with someone under the age of 16 is guilty of a crime and liable to imprisonment for 16 years,” Dr Bauert said.
“There’s no age defence, so if the person who was having sex with somebody under the age of 16 is 15, that is no defence.
“We are going to have young people not prepared to come seeking help in terms of contraception advice; they won’t be coming seeking advice in early pregnancy, if themselves or their partner are likely to be charged with a crime.”
Dr Bauert says patients will also think twice before seeking treatment for sexually transmitted infections.
Though it lacks the specificity of the “intervention” targeted at indigenous communities (cos nothing helps health issues like sending in the army), this law is clearly targeted at indigenous teenagers, and given the already existing difficulty for indigenous people accessing proper health care in the NT, is only likely to make things much, much worse. Because why on earth would a teenager go to the doctor for contraception advice knowing that their partner would get locked up as a result? A substantial amount of teenagers are likely to have sex no matter what, all this does is make the chances of their having unsafe sex that much higher–and as with anything sex-related, girls are going to get the worse of it.
This is not a preventative law, it is punitive and it is aimed at policing indigenous teenagers’ sexuality. Not only that, it will be counter-productive and utterly pointless.
via cheshire bitten
So yesterday, the Bush administration yesterday granted sweeping new protections to health workers who refuse to provide care that violates their personal beliefs. Jill at Feministe has pointed out that while this undoubtedly chiefly aimed at women’s reproductive freedoms, this is actually not about abortion–which depressingly already has this exception–but easy access to contraception.
One point I want to make about that, which I’ve stolen from Lee Edelman’s No Future, is that America is being organised around the figure of The Child. Not actual children, let alone the adults those children grow into, but a rhetorical child who must be protected at all costs–from the corrupting influence of gay marriages, porn on the internet etc and who must always be allowed to exist.
The rights of the Child, who is figured as a full person and not as a body of cells or ffs an egg and a sperm, supercedes the rights of adult women to have control over their bodies. Never mind that people (and I want to make the point that it’s not just women, eg some trans men use birth control too. Seriously, pay attention cis feminists and stop making the normative assumption that reproductive health equals het cis woman) use the pill primarily for other health reasons–to regulate their periods, to moderate PMS and PMDD etc etc. And needless to say, The Child does not grow up to be queer, or trans, or sexually active outside the sanctity of marriage. And The Child is clearly normatively white.
But whilst it is clearly aimed at heterosexual cis women, it will have a massive impact on other groups–especially trans men and women.
From the Washington Post:
“The far-reaching regulation cuts off federal funding for any state or local government, hospital, health plan, clinic or other entity that does not accommodate doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other employees who refuse to participate in care they find ethically, morally or religiously objectionable.”
Ok, let that sink in a bit. Care they find ethically, morally or religiously objectionable. Now, where is that going to leave trans people? Sex workers? People they think are drug users (a highly racialized image after all)? People with disabilities?
Like queerness, being trans has been framed by many on the Religious Right as a moral issue. To be trans is to be, by definition, immoral. By situating health care as a “conscience” issue, this law allows transphobic health care workers–not just doctors, but pharmacists, emergency medics etc etc–full license to indulge their bigotry and to not treat us. So, even if you can get through the knife lined obstacle course that is the gatekeeper process and get through to a hormone prescription, the bloody pharmacist might not even give them to you.
We all know health care for trans people is already shitty, let alone giving health care providers carte blanche to treat us worse. Remember Tyra Hunter, who died because firefighters decided not to perform emergency resuscitation on her when they discovered she was trans, and then a doctor at Washington General decided not to treat her. Because she was trans, because she was a woman of color, because she was not a person, she was an “it.” And, because some people consider that our existence is immoral and must be squashed out.
This is a nightmare of a ruling that potentially allows any person in the health-care business to rule that treating trans people goes against their conscience, and when something serious is occuring, you don’t have the time to shop around for someone who will treat you.
And the intersection between transness and race here will be even more deadly. Medicine has a long history of being used against people of color in the US, and this gives health care people legal protections to further that. As Kristin “the mean one on Feministe” just said to me, making the horrid implications of this explicitly clear:
“I didn’t quite make the connection as to why doctors would want to refuse anyone treatment in the context of a miscarriage at first. It just clicked. Why would they want to do that other than to refuse treatment to people they judge to be the “cause” of the miscarriage? You know, people like, say, possible drug users. Or people otherwise marked as “unworthy” of care. Say, homeless people, immigrants… Fuck. I mean, why else would anyone demand that kind of “right”? Fuck fuck fuck… I think this is going to be even more evil in practice than it looks on the surface. If that kind of “protection” becomes a fucking protocol, oh my god… If this becomes widespread… Organized against a specific group, that’s genocidal.”
I have been thinking about hope a lot lately, and its relationship to oppression, to the transphobia I deal with every time I leave the house.
As Little Light so eloquently put it in this post:
I think it does something to people, to grow up transgendered in this world. It does something to grow up knowing you are considered expendable if not an abomination, that crimes committed against you don’t matter, that laws aren’t for you, that futures aren’t. It does something knowing that in most places the best you can hope for is to be a punchline, and the worst a pulped, shattered, ragged statistic. It does something to grow up constantly having your perceptions of reality called delusional until the only way to survive is to convince yourself that you are indeed insane. It does something to go so far off the map, even leaving aside our own experiences, the batterings small and large, whether we have families who look out for us or families who cut us deeper than anyone, the endless funerals for people we’ll never be.
I think that “something” is, as much as anything, the extinguishing of hope for something better. Oppression is not just an abstract thing, it’s something you live with, day by day. It’s that cold feeling in your chest when you walk into the room and you know you’ve been scanned, the constant threat of violence, the fear in the back of your mind that you could be the next trans woman is murdered. The frustration of dealing with institutions that don’t recognise your gender, the way it affects you in ways you’d never imagined, having to fight for rights you used to take for granted–housing, employment, adequate medical care, traveling.
And politics? There’s the bone-crushing inevitability of yet another bloody feminist conversation denying our genders, the blatant tokenism of most GLB activism.
It’s the expectation that this is how life is, that you have no right to happiness. The constant waiting for the next thing to happen.
Part of the way oppression works is by convincing you to accept it as the “natural” state of being, that you’re presumptuous or angry because you dare to expect to be treated as a full human being. That you deserve this. That you don’t have the right to expect people to do better. That there are no alternatives.
And yet. We dare to exist in a world that tells us we shouldn’t, we couldn’t, we don’t. Hell, we dare to take joy in our identities. And slowly–way too slowly–we’re making some headway, and that gives me hope too. But more than anything else, it gives me hope to see how fierce, intelligent, brave and talented my community can be, to see those talents put to use in making life more liveable for all of us.
Terrance of The Republic of T has a couple of great posts about ENDA, which he’s also cross-posted to Pam’s House Blend. For that matter, Pam’s House Blend is filled to the brim with ENDA-related posts that are worth reading.
In Terrance’s first post, LGB-T = ENDA, pt. 1, he discusses his experiences with the kind of incrementalism used to justify the removal of gender protections. He says, about the statement, “the implication of gradualism is that some people will have to continue to endure injustice without remedy,”
Its one thing to be an incrementalist and at least be honest about that last sentence. It’s quite another to declare that it is the right thing to do to ask others to continue to suffer injustice without remedy is the right thing to do, that they ought to be glad to do it, and that they are wrong for objecting to it.
That’s what’s asked of of gay folks by progressives on the marriage issue. And now that’s what gay folks are asking of transgender folks on employment discrimination, which for some transgender people is literally a matter of life and death.
That’s it in a nutshell. GLB-rights activists (for they are surely not *T rights activists) who magnanimously sacrifice someone else’s chance at fairness or equality to get theirs first aren’t really making concessions – a true concession requires you to give up something that matters to you.
Terrance continues with LGB-T = ENDA, pt. 2. Here he nails down just what workplace discrimination against trans people means. Seriously, even in San Francisco where trans people have a large number of civil rights protections, you’re looking at something like 75% unemployment. Looking at numbers like that, it’s hard to see how anyone could argue that we don’t need our civil rights yet if it means everyone else waiting an extra year or two. Because, really, unlike John Aravosis’ belief that including T could set his civil rights back decades, we were really close to having enough votes to get a trans-inclusive ENDA passed in the House, and we don’t even know for sure if we didn’t have those votes. People have observed a few irregularities surrounding the alleged whip count.
Terrance mentions how getting employment can be a matter of life or death for trans people, and specifically mentions trans women who had been murdered by men who discovered their trans status, who were in sex work to support themselves because of the difficulty in finding employment. This is called “survival prostitution.” The four women he names are trans women of color, who not only had to deal with transmisogyny, but also racism and sexism. Since transphobia and transmisogyny barely register as unacceptable to many people, it’s also more acceptable to turn up the heat on the racism and sexism.
Terrance highlights that the lack of protection for transgender people really is a matter of life or death. To call us selfish, to tell us we’re holding the gay rights movement back because we are very clear on how badly we need those rights, demonstrates a profound lack of compassion. I would like to know how many trans women have to turn to prostitution to survive, have to live on the edge of homelessness, how many have to die before we’ve earned our place at the table. Is it because the trans people who suffer most – who die most often – are trans women of color? Why is this lack of protection acceptable to civil rights “activists” like Joe Solmonese? Why does John Aravosis constantly characterize our need for these protections as selfish and demanding?
LGB-T = ENDA, pt. 3 further condemns incrementalism as a political strategy, emphasizing the cost to those whose rights are sacrificed “for the greater good.” As he states in these two paragraphs:
If Democrats and progressives are convinced that righting for legal marriage isn’t effective right now, then we need to find another way to protect our families right now, not ten or twenty or thirty years down the line. We need to do more than shake our heads and say it’s a shame that happens. If civil unions are the answer, then great. Let’s craft legislation, or pour resources into states where it’s achievable. But let’s do something besides “just wait.”
If we believe that employment discrimination transgender persons is wrong and shouldn’t happen, and an inclusive ENDA isn’t gongi to work right now, then we need to find another way to protect transgender persons right now, not ten or twenty or thirty years down the line. We need to do more than shake our heads and say it’s a shame that happens. Let’s start educating Congress on transgender issues now, get a panel of transgender persons who’ve experienced workplace discrimination in front of a committee hearing, or sitting down with key members of congress, or pour some resources into public education campaigns in key states or districts where legislators might be influenced. But let’s do something besides “just wait.”
I wish we had more voices like his.
On Pam’s House Blend, AHiddenSaint tells her personal story.
Autumn Sandeen discusses the dilemma for some representatives – whether it was worth voting against civil rights legislation in order to oppose the trans-exclusive ENDA.
Daimeon talks about picking up the pieces now that we’ve been thoroughly backstabbed and thrown under the bus.
Also, keep an eye on Donna’s ENDABlog as she posts post-mortem analysis. Donna Rose was on the HRC board until HRC voted to not oppose the trans-exclusive ENDA, at which point she resigned.
This made the news a couple of weeks ago. A 20-year old prostitute was raped multiple times at gunpoint. She did negotiate to have sex for money, but she wasn’t paid, and having four men rape her while pointing a gun at her isn’t something anyone should have to endure just because she did negotiate sex for money. Bound Not Gagged has asked bloggers – sex workers and allies – to post about this, to hold a virtual rally. I’m posting for three reasons: This is an abhorrent way to treat rape and rape victims, this encourages the treatment of cis women who are sex workers as less than human, and I can’t help but wonder what would happen if a trans woman sex worker were brought before this judge or one of a similar mindset. Hell, I wonder about the even more likely case of a trans prostitute’s murder brought before this woman. If this is her attitude, she shouldn’t be sitting on the bench. Thanks to Elizabeth McClung, I don’t have to worry about that last any more. It’s no surprise, though.
Philadelphia Judge Teresa Carr Deni dismissed the assault and rape charges in a preliminary hearing, referring to the crime as “theft of services” and saying “She consented and didn’t get paid . . . I thought it was a robbery.” She goes on to say “A case like this minimizes true rape cases and demeans women who are really raped.”
I admit, I’m appalled that any judge – man or woman – could say this about another human being. As Renegade Evolution says today:
I’d like to say I am shocked about this ruling, but I’m not. Outrage, pissed, annoyed, but shocked? No, not in the least. Hell, I watch the news. All this “I can’t believe a woman judge would do this?” All the stunned reactions? That, honestly, is what surprises me. Not her stupid ass ruling, but the fact that people are surprised by it. Sex workers get the short end from just about everyone; society, the law, the media, religion, women and men alike, so it’s not hard at all for me to believe that a judge (even a woman one!) would pass down such an obviously inhuman and downright asinine ruling. Though it does make me want to say “Murder is a job related risk of being a judge, so if it should happen to judges, it should be looked at as an occupational hazard and reduced to crime of passion/assault in those cases”?
It also makes me wonder where this clown went to law school. See, if I take my car to get repaired and I drive off without paying the mechanic, THAT is theft of services. If I pull a gun on the mechanic, beat him, force him to repair my friend’s cars, then it becomes robbery with a deadly weapon, assault and battery, and assault with a deadly weapon. Oh yeah, and if I force him to have sex with me, its RAPE…even if he was hittin’ on me earlier.
Oh yes, but I hear you know…but Ren, prostitutes sell sex, and doing so is, in most areas, an illegal activity! Well, yeah, so what? When it’s sold, it’s a business transaction (Which, for fucks sake, should not be illegal). When it’s taken forcibly and against her will, it’s rape. Even when the victim is a prostitute. How hard is that to grasp? Sex itself is not illegal, any woman can have sex anytime she wants (as long as she’s not selling it!) and if she were to get raped, well, it’s a crime… same goes for prostitutes, bonehead judge and bonehead supporters of the judge.
Sex against someone’s will is rape, plain and simple, no matter what services that person provides for a living.
As for the defendent, Dominique Gindraw? He went on to repeat this same crime four days after the charges were dismissed, and Deni dismissed this case entirely for “failure to prosecute.”
I don’t really know if the Deni is just an idiot, or if she believes she’s upholding some kind of
radical faux feminist anti-pornstitution, or if she’s just into the whole misogynistic “blame the victim” mentality when it comes to rape, or at least when it comes to raping prostitutes. I don’t think he motives really matter, the results do – and this result is bad for all of us. If rape is excusable in some circumstances, that sabotages any work to end rape culture. It leaves a crack. “Well, rape is bad…except for prostitutes. And women of color. And we could probably get away with raping institutionalized women, because it’s not like they’re aware or have rights.” Rape is not an occupational hazard. Judge Deni should not be sitting on the bench if these are the kinds of irresponsible, inhumane, and contemptuous decisions she makes.
For immediate release
Contact: 877-776-2004 info@DesireeAlliance.org
Rape is NOT an Occupational Hazard!
Sex Workers Join Women’s Groups and Sexual Assault Survivors’ Groups to Urge PA Voters to Vote ‘No’ on the Retention of Judge Teresa Carr Deni
Judge Teresa Carr Deni spawned outrage from all directions after ruling on October 4th that a sex worker that was raped at gunpoint by multiple men was NOT sexually assaulted, rather she was just robbed. Deni commented in an Oct. 12th interview that this case “minimizes true rape cases and demeans women who are really raped.”
Grassroots activists around the country, including nationwide sex worker-led organizations such as the Desiree Alliance and regional advocacy groups from coast to coast responded with anger and disgust for Deni’s disregard of the basic human rights of the rape victim in this case. “Deni’s decision in this case sends a message that sex workers can be targeted for violence with impunity. Rape of sex workers is common, alarmingly under-reported, and rarely taken seriously by authorities,” Kitten Infinite of Sex Workers’ Outreach Project said. “Violence against sex workers is perpetuated by the state through discriminatory laws and judicial rulings such as this.”
Sex workers in the US and abroad are organizing and becoming more vocal about the violence and discrimination that they face. “Because prostitution is criminalized, our human rights and our boundaries are clearly not respected,” Mariko Passion, a board member from the Desiree Alliance commented, she continues, ”…forcing or manipulating sexual intercourse by fraud, fear or coercion is rape.” On Oct 30th, after considerable pressure from sex workers and feminists around the country, the PA Bar Association issued a statement condemning Deni’s action, stating that, “The victim has been brutalized twice in this case: first by the assailants, and now by the court.”
The Desiree Alliance applauds Association Chancellor Jane Dalton’s review of the matter and we find some satisfaction in the fact that the District Attorney’s office has re-filed rape charges against the perpetrator of this despicable crime. However, we still call on voters to vote ‘No’ on retaining Deni in the election on November 6th. The Desiree Alliance will hold a virtual press conference and rally on Monday, November 5th at 5pm Eastern for sex workers and allies to comment publicly about this case and how to prevent further discrimination against sex workers.
Who: Desiree Alliance and Affiliates
What: “Rape is NOT an Occupational Hazard!” Virtual rally
Why: Judge Teresa Carr Deni should not be retained as a Municipal Court Judge in Philadelphia
When: Monday, November 5, 2007 5pm Eastern, 2pm Pacific