Archive for May, 2009
My community seems to have seen the launch of more than a few surveys recently; I’m happy to see this one especially – a UK Trans Survey on Domestic Violence – given the abject failure of at least two other UK-based, high profile campaigns to include trans people.
I’m looking at you, HM Government (who still haven’t even bothered to reply to my email of two months ago, asking about trans inclusivity in their VAW campaign) and you, Amnesty UK (who made no secret of the fact that we were excluded from their 1:10 campaign).
So without further ado, via my friends at Spectrum London:
Domestic Violence and abuse is in the limelight more than ever before. The levels of abuse to heterosexual women are 1 in 4 – the same figure experienced by LGBT people.
“Domestic violence is still invisible in our communities,” says Rita Hirani, CEO of Broken Rainbow, funded by the Home Office to run the national LGBT domestic violence helpline.
“Limited research in terms of domestic violence and abuse amongst transgendered people suggests the figure may even be higher,” adds Denise Anderson from Spectrum London, a peer support forum for all trans people and those questioning their gender.
In previous research carried out by Brighton’s Spectrum LGBT Forums Count Me In Too project, along with Press For Change’s research in their Endangered Penalties report, it was shown that an alarming figure of 64% of Trans people had experienced Domestic Violence at some time.
“This is a large percentage of transgendered people, one that when presented to various organisations brings looks of surprise and alarm, because many have not encountered transgendered people contacting them for assistance,” says Denise.
With this in mind Spectrum London along with Broken Rainbow feel it is time to revisit this subject, consulting Transgendered people, investigating if these levels are more indicative of a wider audience nationally. The survey hopes to confirm previous research, and raise awareness to agencies and service providers of the issues surrounding domestic violence in the transgendered communities.
“With increased awareness of these issues to support organisations, we hope transgendered people will feel more comfortable to be able to report issues of a domestic violence nature, knowing support is available,” says Denise.
The Online survey can be found here:
The survey will be open from 1st June 2009 until the 1st September 2009. We will then collate the information and will be presenting the findings from early October.
Spectrum London is a peer support forum for all trans people and those questioning their gender.
Broken Rainbow is a registered charity in the UK, number: 1103624
Broken Rainbow run the national LGBT helpline on 0300 999 LGBT (5428) on Monday 2-8pm, Wed 10-1pm, and Thursday 2-8pm.
Women’s Aid Domestic Violence Statistics:
Spectrum LGBT Forum Brighton?s Count Me In Too:
Press for Change Report:
Let me just repeat that estimate: 64% of trans people have experienced domestic violence at some time.
Got that, my cis friends and allies?
Two out of every three of us. Frankly, it’s nothing short of a national disgrace that cis society stands idly by while my trans siblings are subject to this degree of violence.
ETA, June 2, 2009: I’ve just heard from Denise at Spectrum London that technical issues have delayed the launch date of the survey to Monday June 8, 2009.
The closing date remains at September 1, 2009, and all trans women in the UK are urged to complete the survey, even if they themselves haven’t been subject to domestic violence.
Cross-posted at Bird of Paradox
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.
Earlier this year, I was extremely disappointed at the exclusionary attitude of Amnesty UK to trans women in its “1 in 10″ campaign (link here) so I approached this report wondering how the international organisation view us. I ran searches for trans and transsexual, which returned no results, although a search for transgender (link here) returned three pages – mostly, it has to be said via the typical subheading “Rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people”, but in summary, items directly concerning TS/TG people seem to be as follows:
Belarus: Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender activists were denied permission to hold events. [...] activists were told that their action would block traffic [...] that they had not proved that they would provide adequate medical assistance or stewarding for the event, or that they would clean up afterwards [...]
Bulgaria: [...] the first LGBT Pride event to be held in Bulgaria was organized in Sofia by Gemini, a Bulgarian organization working for the rights of LGBT people. [...] Some 150 peaceful marchers faced violence from counter-demonstrators who threw stones, bottles and Molotov cocktails. [...] The Prime Minister, although acknowledging the right to demonstrate peacefully, expressed his personal opposition to the march.
Cambodia: [...] a transgender woman submitted the first complaint to the ECCC about gender-related abuse under the Khmer Rouge, including sexual violence in the form of gang rape in detention, and forced marriage.
Czech Republic [...] in Brno, around 500 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender activists took part in the first Pride parade in the Czech Republic. Despite two counter-demonstrations being banned by the city authorities, an estimated 150 far-right demonstrators gathered to protest against the parade.
Honduras: The investigation into the beating and rape of Donny Reyes, treasurer of the Rainbow Association (Fundacion Arcoiris), a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights organization, did not progress. In 2007, Donny Reyes was arbitrarily detained by police officers, and taken to a police station where an officer told other inmates “look, I’m bringing you a little princess, you know what to do”. Other inmates repeatedly beat and raped him. One police officer was punished with one month’s suspension from duty without pay.
Hungary: [...] the Budapest Chief of Police decided to ban the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) pride parade scheduled for the beginning of July [...] Amid international and national pressure he reversed his decision on 13 June.
[...] around 450 people took part in the parade during which explosive devices were thrown at police by hundreds of violent far-right demonstrators chanting threatening slogans. The following day, Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány condemned violence against LGBT rights marchers and called for decisive action against extremism and intolerance.
[...] four counter-demonstrators received minor fines and three were acquitted [...] after they were taken into custody for throwing eggs and disobeying police orders during the parade. [...]
[...] the Budapest Central District Court gave an 18-month suspended prison sentence to a man who attacked police by throwing stones at least three times during the parade.
Latvia: [...] a Pride march was held in Riga to celebrate the rights of LGBT people. The march was protected by law enforcement officials and no major attacks were mounted against participants. However, a large number of counter-demonstrators engaged in verbal abuse. Prior to the event, derogatory statements were reportedly made against LGBT people by an official in the Mayor of Riga’s office.
Lithuania: Municipal authorities in Lithuania issued derogatory statements against LGBT people. An EU initiative, the “For Diversity, Against Discrimination” touring truck, aimed at raising awareness about EU legislation prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of gender, disability, age, religion and belief, race and ethnicity, and sexual orientation, was banned [...]
Paraguay: The Truth and Justice Commission investigated two cases related to sexual identity, but cited a lack of reliable evidence of wider repression against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender population.
Romania: In its May Universal Periodic Review report to the UN Human Rights Council, the government acknowledged that LGBT people continued to face prejudice and discriminatory attitudes.
[...] around 200 LGBT rights activists marched through Bucharest in a heavily policed pride parade, defying efforts by religious and far-right groups to have the annual event banned.
Rwanda: The government was hostile towards the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, whose members faced harassment and intimidation. In March, two female LGBT activists were accused of forging documents and detained for two weeks after attending a LGBT conference in Mozambique.
Turkey: Laws continued to be interpreted in ways that discriminated against people based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. Allegations persisted of violence by law enforcement officials against transgender people.
[...] a local court in Istanbul ordered the closure of Lambda Istanbul, an organization that supports lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, after the Istanbul Governor’s Office complained that the organization’s objectives were “against moral values and family structure”.
A transgender person [...] was picked up on the street, taken to the Ankara Security Directorate and then insulted and beaten by police. She was released six hours later after paying a fine.
Uganda: There were continuing attacks on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and on human rights defenders working on LGBT rights.
[...] a number of LGBT activists and individuals were arrested and faced torture, including sexual assault, and other ill-treatment by police and security personnel while in detention.
Additionally, LGB people are known to have suffered human rights abuses in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cameroon, Gambia, Greece, Jamaica, Moldova, Nigeria, Nepal, Poland, Russia and Senegal.
I can’t help wondering how many more reasons, how much more proof, and how many more of us must suffer these human rights abuses before our cis allies will stand with us against this rising tide of transphobic bigotry and violence.
It’s time to stop looking the other way.
Cross-posted at Bird of Paradox
Via Mik at Coffee and Gender come these details of two online surveys, for trans men and their partners.
The lead researcher is author, educator, and policy consultant Jamison Green of Oakland, CA. He is interested in the sexual health and satisfaction of all transmen, whether or not they have had hormones or surgery, and in the experiences of their partners. He will use the data as raw material for a book, tentatively entitled “The FTM Guide to SEX,” plus academic presentations and journal articles to educate medical and therapeutic service providers about trans lives. Collaborating is urologist and surgeon Dr. Miroslav Djordjevic of Serbia. Dr. Djordjevic is interested in post-operative quality of life for all transmen who have had genital reconstruction. Dr. Djordjevic and Mr. Green plan to make professional conference presentations together and to co-author a journal article using the data collected here.
Your answers will be completely anonymous and encrypted, and you will never be identified in any report based on this survey. No information will be retained that links you or your computer to this study.
This study conforms to the American Psychological Association’s ethical research guidelines. If you have any questions about this study, or about your rights as a participant, please contact Jamison Green at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The closing date for the surveys is June 30, 2009 and they may be accessed at the following links:
Cross-posted at Bird of Paradox
Via The Dallas Principles website:
President Obama and Congress pledged to lead America in a new direction that included civil rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.
On May 15-17, 2009 in Dallas, Texas twenty-four thinkers, activists, and donors gathered to discuss the immediate need for full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual transgender people in the United States. Collectively we prepared The Dallas Principles.
The following eight guiding principles underlie our call to action.
In order to achieve full civil rights now, we avow:
- Full civil rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals must be enacted now. Delay and excuses are no longer acceptable.
- We will not leave any part of our community behind.
- Separate is never equal.
- Religious beliefs are not a basis upon which to affirm or deny civil rights.
- The establishment and guardianship of full civil rights is a non-partisan issue.
- Individual involvement and grassroots action are paramount to success and must be encouraged.
- Success is measured by the civil rights we all achieve, not by words, access or money raised.
- Those who seek our support are expected to commit to these principles.
The ENDA fiasco should have been proof enough of the willingness of the gay community to throw us under the bus as they try to push their way to a seat in first class. And it’s hard to think of any coalition or alliance with the GLB communities that hasn’t resulted in the drowning out of trans voices.
Of the twenty-four “thinkers, activists, and donors”, only one is specifically stated to be trans. (The full list is here)
And – stating the obvious, I know, but – by its own definition, the entire project’s remit is US-centric.
I wish them luck – I believe that civil rights and equality are two (of many) hugely important issues to trans people – but I have to say: skeptical girl is skeptical.
Cross-posted at Bird of Paradox
Here’s a video (edited by Mila Pavlin of Trans-Ponder) from the recent GID Reform Now protest at the American Psychiatric Association 2009 Annual Meeting. This is the approximately 7-minute speech of Madeline Deutch, MD, that she made to the 150 protesters. A transcription of a large portion of the speech begins below the video.
This video has been removed by the author
(Curtsey to Autumn Sandeen at Pam’s House Blend)
ETA, May 21: Sorry everybody; I have no idea why the link has been removed. I found an alternative link (click here) which seems to play just fine on You Tube – although it too comes up with a ‘video removed’ error when I embed it in this blog page.
ETA, May 23: There’s also a You Tube vid of Kelley Winters’ speech here
Cross-posted at Bird of Paradox
Apparently there’s actually a little wee bitty bill also being debated in New York at the moment as well as the gay marriage one. No really, I kid you not.
GENDA is in the New York Senate (it’s passed the Assembly right now). GENDA would include trans people into New York’s human rights protections. Like most anti-discrimination legislation, this will protect people from being fired, being denied housing, ejected from restaurants, harassed and arrested for going to the toilet.
Now, this bill needs as much support as the gay marriage bill. I’m pro-gay marriage as far it goes (lesbian relationship here), but there are other important things that need attention and political action. As we saw in New Hampshire, trans rights bills are suffering from a lack of support across the board, but most sorely from GLB(t) organizations. GENDA needs a push to get there.. right now.
Cos you know, so what if you can get married if you can be legally discriminated against for employment, housing, and going to the bloody toilet?
h/t The Curvature
I’m working on a set of demands/principles around which we can organise greater access to liberty and equality. They’re going to need some amount of unpicking because of the ways that trans rights are a knitting together of the medical profession and the legal system (and as such both systems need to be targeted for reform).
I’m actively looking for people to help pick through this with me, add suggestions of their own and generally work on a strategy for bringing about change in the system.
I’m also looking for a good forum for discussing this kind of thing. I think it’s an absolute necessity that this sort of approach, thinking about how things could be better and a drive for making that happen, gets out to as many support groups, social groups and other collections of trans people as possible, that it doesn’t end up just being grounded off in the reaches of radical gender liberationists without trying to organise Jo Transperson (especially with, for instance, the bollocks that goes around like a certain trans support group posting up a police article encouraging trans people to be meek in order that their crossdressing doesn’t get seen as inciting a breach of the peace, encouraging trans people to just be reasonable and put up with being treated like second class citizens by the police because after all they are just a little bit freakish aren’t they the police are “only human after all”).
The problem is, I’m not particularly well suited to getting this sort of thing around support groups as I’ve not gotten along with the support group format very well for quite a while, and I’ve avoided trans forums a fair bit since being banned from a fairly major one for defending someone’s alternative sexuality from widespread attack by mods and the owner.
So even if you don’t feel up to discussing theory and strategy, any information on where else to take this discussion would be really useful, as I’m completely out of touch on that front.
The set of principles I’ve come up with so far are as follows:
-We need direct referrals to gender practitioners from GPs – no intermediate psychiatric evaluation by underqualified local shrinks, no fiddling about with gender identity clinics in the case of local shrinks who’ve built up a decent working relationship with a trans patient who feel confident prescribing HRT.
-A letter from one’s General Practitioner (perhaps also employer or social worker) should be the only confirmation needed about any legal question of the role one lives in.
-Gender shrinks should facilitate transition within an informed consent model (with appropriate support for comorbid psychiatric symptoms), rather than gatekeep.
-It needs to be recognised that there is a vast spectrum of identities brought together under the term trans, many of which benefit from medical support, not all of which fit the classic psychiatric criteria but that this support needs to be based around individual needs.
-It needs to be recognised that how you piss, the clothes you wear and the way that you fuck have nothing to do with diagnosis, and that anyone trying to diagnose on this basis is EVIDENTLY not an expert.
-Gamete storage should be standard for trans people going on to HRT on an opt-out rather than an opt-in basis.
-Those who want it should have a right to a legally unspecified gender.
-Any gender recognition system we have needs more than just 1 person from Press for Change turning up as the “trans voice” at a user group meeting populated by many doctors and government staff.
This is again UK-focused, and conversation should go to Foibey’s post.
Also, I’m like a week late in CCing this. Apologies.
Via Reform GID Now:
Protesters call for Reform of Gender Disorders at American Psychiatric Association Convention
What: San Francisco, California. A coalition of transgender community advocates and mental health providers will gather in San Francisco May 18 to protest how the American Psychiatric Association (APA) is handling revisions to “gender identity disorder” and related diagnoses in their fifth edition of the ‘Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders’ (DSM-V).
Where: At the corner of 4th Street and Howard Street –Outside the Moscone Center
When: Protest starts at 6:00pm, Monday May 18th
Who: Community leaders scheduled to speak include Julia Serano, PhD; Madeline Deutsch, MD; Masen Davis, MSW; Kelley Winters, PhD; Danielle Askini, MSW; Mara Keisling; Andrea James, MA; Lore Dickey, PhD; Michele Angello, PhD; and Rebecca Allison, MD.
Cross-posted at Bird of Paradox
Each year, the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (the “IDAHO”, as it is usually called), will see actions and initiatives take place in many countries and contexts and on many different issues.
All these activities and initiatives are a very strong signal to all, decisions makers, public opinion, civil rights movements, human rights defenders, etc. throughout the world that our fights for our Rights as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer, intersex, etc… is vibrant!
The Day provides all different kind of actors with a very powerful opportunity to express their demands and to advocate for their case. Each year also, the IDAHO aims at using the extra public, political and media attention that it provides at all levels to highlight one specific aspect of the struggle for sexual rights.
This year, we chose to highlight the often neglected but important issue of Transphobia.
Read our full media briefing (Word document)
Read our Media Release (PDF)
Cross-posted at Bird of Paradox