Archive for April, 2009
To say “cis requires too much education to understand” is, as Lucypaw put it recently, a version of concern trolling. Cos the thing is, the people saying that? ALREADY FUCKING UNDERSTAND THE CONCEPT. So, paradoxically, they’re writing about how other (hypothetical) people can’t understand a concept that they themselves can. As though basic comprehension, reading around an unfamiliar word and googling aren’t something that practically anyone can really work out.
To clarify, once more with feeling. Cis is an abbreviation of cissexual and/or cisgendered and means:
* not transsexual and/or transgendered
* not subject to the same kinds of discrimination that transsexual and/or transgendered people receive. That doesn’t mean not discriminated against, but it does mean not discriminated against in the exact same ways, the same contexts or by the same laws.
It’s not really that hard. It’s not reading comprehension that’s the problem, it’s the willingness to admit that trans people face inequity for being trans and that cis people generally do not get discriminated against for being cis. Complex like quantum physics and Heideggerian phenomenology innit.
And trans people, FFS can we stop patting our cis mates on the head and telling them “there there, you don’t need to worry about how discrimination and violence against trans people specifically occur, cos you and me are the same. Except how you’re more authentic than me.”
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
Via In The Life comes this useful overview of “the controversy raging over the inclusion of Gender Identity Disorder in the American Psychiatric Associations Diagnostic and Statistical Manual“, examining whether GID should be removed from the forthcoming DSM-V, or reclassified.
At the risk of oversimplifying and making sweeping generalisations, TS/TG adults are as reliant on a diagnosis of GID as we are pathologised by it, because healthcare systems around the world require the diagnosis before we can access hormones, surgery, etc. The challenge seems to be how to balance those needs with the destigmatisation of TS/TG people by both the medical profession and mainstream cis society.
That same pathologisation results in gender variant children being subjected to so-called reparative therapies by parents and mental health professionals that regard adult transsexuality or homosexuality as a “bad outcome”.
(Cross-posted at Bird of Paradox)
A possibly interesting development (or is it a stitch-up?) with regard to the DSM revision process seems to be suggested by this press release from the APA yesterday (link here to PDF):
ARLINGTON, Va. (April 28, 2009) – The American Psychiatric Association (APA) Board of Trustees has established a task force on the treatment of Gender Identity Disorders (GID) to address concerns about the relative lack of evidence-based treatment guidelines and to determine if guidelines should be developed. The task force was created on a recommendation by the APA Committee on Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Issues.
The board asked the task force to review the literature on the treatment of Gender Identity Disorder at different ages and to report back with “an opinion as to whether or not there is sufficient credible literature to take the next step and develop treatment recommendations.”
The board asked the task force to communicate with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) work group on Gender Identity Disorder, which can serve as a resource on diagnostic issues during the term of the task force.
After the May 2008 announcement of DSM-V work group membership, the APA received many inquiries regarding the Gender Identity Disorders work group on treatment. These inquiries most often dealt with treatment controversies for GID in children, rather than issues related specifically to the DSM text and diagnostic criteria. While the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders are inextricably linked, separation of the diagnostic mission of the DSM work groups from the evaluation of treatment issues is especially important.
At first reading it suggests that the APA is actually taking seriously the criticism received regarding (a) “the relative lack of evidence-based treatment guidelines” and (b) “treatment controversies for GID in children“.
Both these points seem to refer to reparative treatments for the condition – treatments which don’t appear to have had any meaningful success and indeed may have caused more harm than good.
But, of course, when the Task Force has been asked “to communicate with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) work group on Gender Identity Disorder” – chaired by Ken Zucker – whose reparative techniques are under criticism here – and with Ray Blanchard (chair of the Paraphilias Subcommittee and inventor of the mental illness he terms autogynephilia) – well, it doesn’t really inspire confidence that this will be an unbiased, objective and independent review.
Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose…
(Cross-posted at Bird of Paradox)
From the Transgender LJ community:
Please spread the word about the upcoming protest and rally at the American Psychiatric Association meeting in San Francisco.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Time: 6:00pm – 7:30pm
Location: Moscone Center 747 Howard St, San Francisco, CA 94103
Email: protestgenderdx at gmail dot com
The APA appointed Kenneth Zucker and Ray Blanchard to determine how trans people will be categorized in the next version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Metal Disorder (DSM-V). On the 18th, trans community leaders will be speaking on a panel:
“In or Out?”: A Discussion About Gender Identity Diagnoses and the DSM
1. The DSM-V Revision Process: Principles and Progress William E. Narrow, M.D.
2. Beyond Conundrum: Strategies for Diagnostic Harm Reduction Kelley Winters, Ph.D.
3. Aligning Bodies With Minds: The Case for Medical and Surgical Treatment of Gender Dysphoria Rebecca Allison, M.D.
4. The Role of Medical and Psychological Discourse in Legal and Policy Advocacy for Transgender Persons in the U.S. Shannon P. Minter, J.D.
We need to stand up and be heard! This DSM-V revision will affect an entire generation of trans people and will be a historically significant factor in how our legal status is determined during the next 15 to 20 years.
Please join this Facebook event to help us plan the event. Questions? Contact Lore M. Dickey at the contact information above.
There’s a new Facebook group (link here) aimed at highlighting the controversial policies and practises which are carried out at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto.
Lynn Conway has also posted a wealth of information on the TSRoadmap site (link here) about CAMH and its staff, including Ken Zucker and Ray Blanchard. In addition to their favoured ‘reparative therapy’ approach at CAMH, they have also been the subjects of some controversy following their appointments to the American Psychiatric Association’s Sexual & Gender Identity Disorders Work Group, which is charged with reviewing the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) – a hugely influential document which includes five different diagnoses for ‘Gender Identity Disorder’ (GID).
The Clarke Institute is a Toronto mental institution charged with serving gender-variant clients in the area. Under the direction of Ray Blanchard, it has become widely known as one of the most notorious facilities in the world in terms of controlling access to medical services.
According to their website they offer services, including for “those who wish to manage their cross-gender feelings and the expression of those feelings while remaining in their original gender role.” This is another way to describe reparative therapy similar to groups who claim to “cure” gays and lesbians.
Much of the anti-trans thinking in the world today emanates from The Clarke, long nicknamed “Jurassic Clarke” in the trans community for its regressive policies.
However, even a recent internal report has voiced concerns about “dismissive, condescending and authoritarian attitudes” at CAMH and cites the following key concerns:
1. Homophobia has been cited as one of 3 major internal issues
2. LGBTTTQQI issues are not part of the cultural competency of all staff
3. Although there are Queer & Trans-specific services in the Addictions program, these are not offered in Mental Health
4. The Gender Identity Clinic (GIC) and the Gender Identity Disorder Service (GIDS) have not been well regarded by some members of LGBTTTQQI communities due to negative experiences, underlying operational theories, approach, and treatment philosophy.
(Cross-posted at Bird of Paradox)
I’ve seen this a bunch of times recently in the various threads trying to make sense of the various trans/feminist blog thrashes. “What is this cis term? It seems so academic.” etc
Well, the thing is. It’s not. I’ve seen it used by Julia Serano, and Riki Wilchins, and not much else. I suspect that the academic usage will grow given the influence of Serano in trans communities, but the point is – it’s not a bloody academic term. As the wikipedia article states, correctly as far as I know, “cis” emerged as a primarily internet usage amongst activists in the mid 90s, a full decade before it appeared in academia. Even now this is overwhelmingly the truth.
So why this perception that cis (and I prefer cissexual than cisgender, given that it places the institutional dimensions of cis privilege with regard to legal sex front and center, rather than those related to gender presentation) is an arcane, academic term? More importantly, what is this resistance to the term, especially in threads specifically demarcated as not 101–and to just fucking googling it–doing?
Now obviously, cissexual isn’t a common, everyday term. But neither are other terms commonly used in feminist discussions online, like essentialism and heteronormativity. None of these are very difficult to make sense of, to read around, or to just fucking google it. For those unaware, Julia Serano in Whipping Girl describes cissexuals as “people who are not transsexual and who have only ever experienced their subconscious and physical sexes as being aligned” (p. 12), and cissexism as “the belief that transsexuals’ identified genders are inferior to, or less authentic than, those of cissexuals.”
More commonly, cissexual just means people who are not transsexual, and cis means people who are not trans. It’s terribly complex, you know.
But see, ignorance is a tool of the powerful (just ask Dubya). It takes no work to remain ignorant, to restate the dominant positions of the day as “common sense”–you know, the kind of common sense that is being placed in position to the inscrutably academic trans people. So, the point is not that it’s very difficult to understand, but that there’s an active resistance to having trans knowledge be allowed as legitimate. “Academic” is a way of dismissing us for evolving a vocabulary of our own that doesn’t Other and objectify us like cis-normative (ooh I invented a word, how academic) feminist writings do.
In short, Buffy, it’s about power. The inequity involved in people saying things like “I’m not cis, I’m a woman” whilst firmly denying trans women the woman part of the equation should be obvious. Until we live in a world where trans women are accepted as women whose identifications, histories and bodies are as legitimate as their sisters, there will be a need for the term cis. Because when you use “women” and “trans women” you know what you’re saying? That trans women aren’t women, that we’re a separate group. And that’s just not acceptable, and it doesn’t take a PhD to work that one out.
So hey cis readers, the next time you want to de-rail a thread about trans rights, you know actual rights for actual people, just click here instead.
The following verdicts were returned:
- Count 1: First degree murder – guilty
- Count 2: Bias motivated crime – guilty
- Count 3: Aggravated motor vehicle theft (1st degree) – guilty
- Count 4: ID theft – guilty
Sentencing for the first count: mandatory life without parole.
Sentencing on the remaining three counts will take place on May 8th at 3PM MST.
(Cross-posted at Bird of Paradox)
This morning’s session has focused on Judge Kopcow’s instructions to the jury, and a brief summing up of the cases for the defense, and for the prosecution.
Wednesday morning, April 22
- Judge Kopcow read the jury instructions to the jury
- Instruction 6 related to circumstantial evidence
- Instruction 14 related to culpability due to mental state. (Autumn Sandeen noted: This will come into play esp. with the bias crime charge – via http://twitter.com/justiceforangie)
- Instruction 15 covered elements for the count of first degree murder (F1 felony)
- Instruction 16 – on the four lesser included homicide charges
- Instruction 17 discussed second degree murder (F2 and F3 felonies). An F2 felony would be premeditated, whereas an F3 felony would apply if the jury decided that Angie had been murdered in the “heat of passion” – the trans panic defense
- Instruction 18 – the conditions required to meet the definition of bias motivated crime
- Instruction 20 – identity theft
- Instruction 21 concerned vehicle theft (Andrade was charged with stealing Angie’s PT Cruiser)
- Instruction 22 defined other terms specific to the trial and included “sexual orientation” – a catchall term which includes “transgender status”
- Prosecution’s closing statement. DA Rob Miller said that the case is about intent – Andrade’s intent – and added that some elements indicated a bias motivated crime, and others described first degree murder. DA Miller believed that neither manslaughter nor criminally negligent homicide would be appropriate verdicts.
DA Miller believed that Angie Zapata was not murdered in the heat of the moment, and that Andrade had enough time to do what a reasonable person would have done, namely, to walk away and get out of that situation. Andrade should be found guilty on all charges.
- Annette Kundelius, the Defense Attorney, presented the closing argument, saying that what happened was nothing to do with sexual orientation (ie Angie’s gender identity) but because Andrade had been deceived and therefore did not commit a felony (F1, F2 or F3). Finding out that Angie had male genitalia was “sufficient provocation” (to commit manslaughter or criminally negligent homicide) and Andrade “just reacted”
- DA Miller’s rebuttal: An attack to the head and face with multiple blows indicates intent, not deception – “Is she supposed to wear a sign that she’s transgender?”
- Judge Kopcow issued Instruction 24 on the process of jury deliberation and how to complete the paperwork for the verdict
- The jury retired to deliberate
The possible convictions are: 1st degree murder; 2nd degree murder; 2nd degree murder/heat of passion/manslaughter; criminally negligent homicide.
Andrade has three prior felony convictions, with another two pending (for rioting in jail, and misdemeanor assault), spanning 12 years.
Angie Zapata’s family will issue a formal statement half-an-hour after the verdict is made known.
(Cross-posted at Bird of Paradox)
I’ve long been a fan of this kind of thing.
You know how it is. You’re enjoying yourself, kicking back and relaxing at the pub or maybe at the library; or maybe you’re in class or just casually surfing the internet, indulging in a little conversation. The topic of the conversation is about a pertinent contemporary issue, probably something to do with a group of people who fall outside your realm of experience and identity. They’re also probably fairly heavily discriminated against – or so they claim.
The thing is, you’re having a good time, sharing your knowledge about these people and their issues. This knowledge is incontrovertible – it’s been backed up in media representation, books, research and lots and lots of historical events, also your own unassailable sense of being right.
Yet all of a sudden something happens to put a dampener on your sharing of your enviable intellect and incomparable capacity to fully perceive and understand All Things. It’s someone who belongs to the group of people you’re discussing and they’re Not Very Happy with you. Apparently, they claim, you’ve got it all wrong and they’re offended about that. They might be a person of colour, or a queer person. Maybe they’re a woman, or a person with disability. They could even be a trans person or a sex worker. The point is they’re trying to tell you they know better than you about their issues and you know that’s just plain wrong. How could you be wrong?
Don’t worry though! There IS something you can do to nip this potentially awkward and embarrassing situation in the bud. By simply derailing the conversation, dismissing their opinion as false and ridiculing their experience you can be sure that they continue to be marginalised and unheard and you can continue to look like the expert you know you really are, deep down inside!
CONGRATULATIONS, YOU HAVE PRIVILEGE!
Just follow this step-by-step guide to Conversing with Marginalised People™ and in no time at all you will have a fool-proof method of derailing every challenging conversation you may get into, thus reaping the full benefits of every privilege that you have.
The best part is, you don’t even have to be a white, heterosexual, cisgendered, cissexual, upper-class male to enjoy the full benefits of derailing conversation! Nope, you can utilise the lesser-recognised tactic of Horizontal Hostility to make sure that, despite being a member of a Marginalised Group™ yourself, you can exercise a privilege another Marginalised Group™ doesn’t have in order not to heed their experience!
Read on, and learn, and remember… you don’t have to use these in any particular order! In fact, mixing them up can really keep those Marginalised People™ on their toes! After all, they are pretty much used to hearing this stuff, so you don’t want to get too predictable or they’ll get lazy!