Archive for November, 2007
HRC took a poll at the 11th hour before the ENDA vote to prove that GLB
doesn’t really support T rights wanted to push ENDA through now and stick with the incremental model that means cutting some people out of the political process. This isn’t really news, of course. It happened weeks ago, and there was much discussion about it.
Two days ago, the Washington Blade posted the story Experts question HRC’s ENDA survey:
Experts question HRC’s ENDA survey
Researcher says methodology ‘doesn’t make sense’
By JOSHUA LYNSEN | Nov 28, 4:47 PM
Polling experts are questioning a recent Human Rights Campaign survey that asked gays about the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
The survey’s results, circulated last month by HRC when many gays were locked in heated debate over the measure’s lack of transgender protections, show most people who responded support the bill as written.
But John Stahura, who specializes in survey research and directs the Purdue University Social Research Institute, said the survey’s methodology is problematic.
“They’re playing games,” he said after reviewing survey excerpts at the Blade’s request. “It doesn’t make sense.”
The questions were leading and designed to get HRC the results they wanted – which are the results they received, unsurprisingly.
In this post at TransGriot, one of the commenters asks:
OK, How do you explain this Hunter College poll, conducted by the same group (Knowledge Networks), also funded by HRC, which showed that, “when asked about the proposed federal law making it illegal to discriminate against lesbians, gays, and bisexuals in employment, LGBs (by a margin of 60 to 37 percent) said that those seeking to pass the law were wrong to remove protections for transgendered people in order to get the votes necessary for passage in Congress.”
Quoting the specific passage:
When asked about the proposed federal law making it illegal to discriminate against lesbians, gays, and bisexuals in employment, LGBs (by a margin of 60 to 37 percent) said that those seeking to pass the law were wrong to remove protections for transgendered people in order to get the votes necessary for passage in Congress.
The Hunter College Poll was funded by a grant from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. Sole control over the design of the study’s questionnaire and analysis of the data were maintained by the study’s investigators. The survey was conducted among those who identified themselves as lesbian, gay or bisexual to Knowledge Networks, which recruits its nationally representative sample of respondents by telephone and administers surveys to them via the Internet. The survey has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 4 percentage points.
This poll was funded by HRC, has a larger sample, lists a margin of error (unlike the HRC poll), and gives results practically opposite what HRC published a month ago, and was taken only 2-3 weeks afterward. What’s wrong with this picture?
It’s completely within the realm of possibility (and probability, based on this information) that HRC intentionally manipulated statistics to justify removing gender protections from ENDA. It’s not even controversial to propose this, and I doubt many held any illusions that it was otherwise. The main reason I’m posting this is because of this second survery which – I might add – is explicitly about “GLB” people and not GLBT.
That “GLB” language in the Hunter poll bothers me, as it implies a certain assumption about HRC’s current approach – are they going ahead and dropping the T from their work? Are we going to see HRC continue to try to exclude trans people from future activism? Perhaps as punishment for not quietly going along with Barney Frank’s revised ENDA?
Honestly, it looks like HRC is up to business as usual.
Also, they’re forming a new organization.
November 27, 2007
An Open Letter To:
Daryl Herrschaft, Director, HRC Workplace Project,
Staff of the HRC Workplace Project,
Members of the HRC Business Council,
Joe Solmonese, E.D., Human Rights Campaign (HRC),
Members of the HRC Board of Directors,
Members of the Transgender Community:
It has been an honor and a privilege for both of us to serve on the Human Rights Campaign Business Council. Since joining the Business Council in 2002 we have both played active roles in advancing workplace equality, providing education, guidance and leadership, and ensuring that workplaces in America are fair for ALL employees. Our collective work has been at the forefront of the successes that HRC has enjoyed in recent years, has affected the daily lives of GLBT employees throughout this country in profound and substantive ways, and is a continuing source of pride for us both.
Rather than rest on past achievements, the Business Council continues to develop critical new initiatives to support transgender employees. We are working to raise the bar on the Corporate Equality Index. We are planning to revise and re-publish the booklet Transgender In the Workplace: A Tool For Managers. We are planning a Female-to-Male educational DVD. We have been working on insurance issues affecting transgender employees. Never before have so many important efforts for transgender workers been underway and we are both heavily involved in all of them. That is why the decision we are announcing today is an extremely difficult one.
Recent HRC policy decisions – to actively support a version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) that excludes our transgender brothers and sisters as well as gender-variant lesbian, gay, and bisexual people – have placed us in an untenable position. On November 8, the day after the ENDA vote in the House of Representatives, we requested an opportunity to meet personally with HRC President Joe Solmonese to share our concerns and to discuss HRC’s strategy for addressing recent legislative shortcomings before making a decision to stay or go. As the only transgender representatives on the Business Council our community expects us to have some influence, or at least to receive the courtesy of a consultation. Almost 3 weeks have passed since that request and we have heard nothing in response. This lack of response speaks volumes, so we feel compelled to take this stand today.
We are announcing our resignations from the HRC Business Council, effective immediately. Considering recent broken promises, the lack of credibility that HRC has with the transgender community at large, and HRC’s apparent lack of commitment to healing the breach it has caused, we find it impossible to maintain an effective working relationship with the organization.
We have truly enjoyed working with the amazing group of corporate leaders who comprise the Business Council. We thank Daryl Herrschaft, Eric Bloem, Samir Luther, and the rest of the Workplace Project team for their steadfast support, their passion for full equality and inclusion, and their friendship. We are extremely disappointed that HRC legislative decisions have contradicted Business Council efforts to enact only fully-inclusive policies and that we must leave the important work we have been planning unfinished. But principles are not for compromise, so today we do what we feel we must.
The need for education on transgender issues in this country has never been greater or more apparent. In addition, a significant learning from recent events is that, while alliances are necessary, valuable, and often crucial, the transgender community cannot rely excessively on others for success and must assert greater control over its own destiny. Our resignation from the Business Council in no way diminishes our commitment either to the transgender community or to ensuring that workplaces have access to professional training, support and guidance on transgender issues. Rather, it provides new challenges and opportunities.
Since we cannot in good conscience continue these critical efforts in the name of HRC through its Business Council, we will be forming an organization whose sole purpose is to provide ongoing education on transgender issues for businesses, governmental agencies, NGOs, and educational institutions. Our Transgender Education Partnership – TransEducate.com – will be a platform from which we can engage community leaders, develop tools and publications, and establish partnerships with like-minded organizations to work for ALL gender-variant people everywhere.
Although it saddens us to say good-bye to our colleagues on the Business Council we are energized by our vision of the future. We look forward to being a pre-eminent voice in the ongoing effort to provide education about the transgender community. We look forward to the day when the LGBT community can address its issues with a unified voice, and without diminishing any of its constituents. And, we look forward to a day when gender-variance is appreciated as ordinary and non-threatening, and education on these topics will no longer be necessary.
In Solidarity for Equality,
Jamison Green and Donna Rose
First, Holly at Feministe has posted a Trans 101 thread for questions and answers about trans people. Most of the discussion is about transsexualism, but there’s good stuff to be found there. I’ve also added a permanent link to my blogroll. If anyone has other good Trans 101 links, I’d be happy to add those, although I will also be looking for them myself.
The DHS rules would have required employers to either fire employees or face stiff penalties when employee records do not match information in the Social Security Administration (SSA) database, such as name, Social Security number, or gender. Transgender employees who are listed as one gender in SSA records, but who live and work in another gender, would have been one of the groups at greater risk of losing their jobs as a result of the DHS enforcement procedures.
Sadly, Social Security is still required to notify employers of no matches, meaning that trans people who have not had the proper surgery can and will be outed within two months of starting a new job. Also, DHS is planning to introduce new enforcement procedures.
Nix Williams, polymath and genius, has written and recorded a song about a particular divisive argument in feminism.
Go listen now.
Holly posted this story about the Transgender Day of Remembrance and Thanksgiving on Feminist.
I know, I know. I’ll try to refrain from saying anything again before I hit 25k or 50k views. :)
My best day before yesterday was when Drakyn posted the URL to some LJ communities. Then yesterday was the best day when Feministe linked here, then today was even better because Feministe is still linking here. :) Plus, many many hits from Renegade Evolution.
I’m surprised people kept coming over the holiday, when I wasn’t really posting beyond NaBloPoMo quotas. Thanks again. :)
[W]e all get told how much our activism of any sort does not matter. If you happen to not be against, or are even ambivalent towards, or maybe involved in sex work (and not the perfect poster girl victim), what you do doesn’t mean shit. It’s nothing, not good enough; after all, you haven’t seen what they’ve seen, and you are enabling it, even personally making it happen! It doesn’t matter if you bust your ass every day trying to find a woman on the run from an abusive ex a place she can afford to live. It doesn’t matter if you spend hours working with lesbians who have been kicked repeatedly by society trying to help them feel comfortable in their own skins. It doesn’t matter if you’ve scrubbed the blood and grey matter of a woman shot by her boyfriend off your floors or stood over the casket of a co-worker killed by her boyfriend in a jealous rage. It does not matter if you’re a transwoman who has been beaten or raped. It doesn’t matter if you’ve fucking lived aspects of any of these lives on your own in order to put food on the table and come through it realizing that every persons situation is different and that there is no universal experience when it comes to all women. It does not matter. You’re not good enough. Right enough. Pure enough. What you do means nothing, no matter how much of that nothing you do or how much of that nothing you’ve lived or how much of that nothing has helped other people.
The radical feminists I talk about in this blog, who write the most transphobic things are the same radical feminists who say the above – who dismiss the work Ren does because Ren does sex work – because she’s a stripper. Their bigotry is not limited to just one or two things, but a spectrum of experiences and lives that they vehemently disapprove of – BDSM, pornography, women of color who actually speak for themselves, women with disabilities. Anyone who raises uncomfortable questions about the definition of oppression in radical feminist terms – that the root of all oppressions is gender, that women are invariably oppressed, and that all these things represent oppression. BDSM reifies heteronormative patriarchal sex roles. Transsexualism reifies the patriarchal gender binary. Pornography makes women nothing more than sex objects. All women have a common experience of oppression as women, and so the pain that a black woman suffers when the violation she suffers is defined as “not really rape” and “a theft of services” is the same pain that a black woman from Mali suffers when she is refused political asylum to protect her daughters from FGM. It’s the same pain that a Russian woman who’s been trafficked into sex slavery suffers. It is the same pain that a latina woman suffers when she is separated from her daughter before deportation. These are all the same pain that a white middle-class woman feels when she reads about these stories. Or so some radical feminists might say.
This denies that all women have our own diverse experiences, that we experience life differently, that we’re oppressed in many ways because of race, disability, class, and sexual orientation. That my experience as a white woman is not the same as a black woman’s, or that black woman’s experiences are not the same as mine because she is cissexual and I am transsexual. That we have intersections that stack and multiply the social complications we face, and that it is impossible to separate “race” from “gender” for women of color, or “disability” from “gender” for women with disabilities.
Instead of looking for a common thread that binds all women together, we’re better served trying to address the real experiences that real women live. A form of feminism that runs women who don’t share that common thread out on a rail isn’t really a feminism I can get behind. Especially not one whose proponents try to silence voices like these.
Not so random, actually. PZ Myers at Pharyngula posts about how Sal Cordova attacked Joan Roughgarden for being a Christian evolutionary biologist who was born male.
As Myers quotes,
Will other Darwinists follow suit and have themselves neutered like Roughgarden? How about it PZ or Ed Brayton, or the boys at ATBC? Of course, this will inhibit the passing of their genes, and thus, such Darwinists evidence themselves as being biologically unfit. The irony is that with a high incidence of homosexuality in Darwinian circles, they demonstrate themselves to be biologically unfit.
Oh, the comedy, the laughter, over this. Yeah, disagree with a woman’s science, attack her genitalia. Great work, Sal. You’re a credit to your kind.
A reminder to everyone that the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence begins today.
Violence against women is something that cuts across all ages, nationalities, religions and cultures. Most of us have either experienced violence or know someone who has but still there remains a SILENCE around violence against women mainly because it more often takes place in the domestic sphere. I spoke about my own experience here
One fundamental problem is that because gender based violence is so common across the world that it has been “normalised” – through actions, language, imagery, pornography – and it is this “normalisation” that has to be broken. I spoke of my own personal experience of domestic violence. But the violence didn’t start there. I have had a life time of it from my child hood, of sexual harassment – touching, misogynist language, presumptions, jokes, looks, homophobia – it becomes a constant battle not to internalise the abuse. As a teenager I used to think it must be my fault – I am to sexual and that’s why this is happening. There was also the added racial element which expressed itself differently depending on whether in Africa or in the West. I did not know where to turn or how to deal with any of this. All of us girls were experiencing similar abuse. With my father acting like a prison guard when it came to boys/men, I was way too scared to talk to my parents about it – even too my mother. The strict environment left no doors open in which to try to discuss this with family members for fear of being grounded to the house. Looking back I probably thought it was normal – we girls and women are the one’s responsible for arousing men who then cannot help themselves. Unfortunately much of society still believes and accept this ridiculous explanation for acts of violence against women.
All our denials – women, men, parents, families, communities – will certainly not protect us. On the contrary it sustains and even encourages acts of violence against women………Continue
Estimates are one in three women have experienced beatings and or sexual abuse. Violence against women
It is a scourge that preys on women and girls of ALL nations, of ALL cultures. It is gender-based violence — and it continues to grow, encouraged by the silence surrounding the issue and excused by reference to cultural norms. At the dawn of the 21st Century it is a very negative reflection of global society that violence against women is increasing throughout the world. Gender-based violence is the social, psychological and economic subordination of women and occurs in ALL societies. Violence against women is a complex phenomenon deeply rooted in the way society is composed — cultural beliefs, power relations, economic power imbalances, and the masculine ideal of male dominance
The 16 days will run from November 25th to December 10th and will incorporate the following:
November 25th: The International Day Against Violence Against Women
November 29th: International Women Human Rights Defenders Day
December 1st: World Aids Day
December 10th: International Human Rights Day
Local actions are taking place across the world -
Carnival Against Violence Against Women
To participate please fill in the Carnival form or email me at info at blacklooks dot org with the link to your post before December 6th. The post can be anything from a personal story, images, thoughts, a link anything that highlights and informs violence against women.
This year’s theme is “Demanding Implementation, Challenging Obstacles: End Violence Against Women”
Drakyn posted recently about Heart’s/womensspace’s snipe at the Transgender Day of Remembrance:
“My gut, experience, knowledge tell me that the group of persons which will receive the absolute least sympathy and concern is female persons. We are trafficked, prostituted, enslaved, raped, all of the time by all sorts of men, ho hum, no big deal. But if it’s a boy or a transgender person, suddenly that’s a whole nother level.”
As I said in Drakyn’s discussion:
There are some lines cis women shouldn’t cross. You can participate in the Day of Remembrance, or you can ignore it, but don’t you dare begrudge it.
We have the Transgender Day of Remembrance is because it is a whole ‘nother level when a trans person is killed. A level down. As in trans panic defense actually working, as in massive victim blaming, as in society seeing trans lives as disposable. As in the murders being a matter of brutal overkill. I am not sure what world Heart lives on, but it’s not one where trans lives are valued over cis women’s lives.
Unfortunately, Heart sees everything trans women gain as something stolen from her – from all cis women. She accuses us of appropriating and colonizing womanhood, but she uses both words inappropriately. Talking about colonization the way she does is appropriation: If trans women aren’t marching on Women’s Country, with guns, sabers, diseased blankets and a mandatory religion, using “colonization” in this context is naked appropriation. You don’t colonize by becoming, you colonize by dominating, disenfranchising, othering, enslaving, and murdering.
While I wouldn’t accuse Heart of trying to colonize trans women experiences (she wants to deny that our experiences are valid, not claim them for her own – she only appropriates cis women experiences), she does try to dominate, disenfranchize, and other trans women whenever possible. She aggressively shouts us down when we claim to have experiences in common with cis women. She tells us that we’re not allowed to use goddess symbolism, she insists (sometimes) that we are men, or acting as men, or acting on male privilege. Further, she cheers on regular posters who make even more outrageous and transphobic statements, while claiming all along that she doesn’t believe or think those things because she never said them.
But she whines that trans people dare to remember our dead.