Archive for August, 2009
TGEU has issued a statement in support of the international campaign by the Trans Depathologization Network for the removal of the Gender Identity Disorder category from the international diagnosis manuals (the DSM and the ICD).
The five demands of the STP-2012 campaign are as follows:
- The retirement of GID from the international diagnosis manuals (their next versions DSM-V and ICD-11)
- The retirement of sex mention in the official documents
- The abolition of the binary normalization treatments to intersex people
- Free access to hormonal treatments and surgery (without the psychiatric monitoring)
- The fight against transphobia: working for education, social and labour insertion for trans people
In addition, TGEU is calling for these additional actions:
- The creation of an alternative non-pathologizing category in the ICD 11, recognizing that our gender identities are not mental health disorders while still enabling hormonal and surgical medical assistance to be provided for those trans-people who seek such assistance.
- The funding of hormonal and surgical medical assistance for trans people by national health insurance.
- The creation of processes for changing legal name and gender without compulsory treatment or any form of diagnosis.
TGEU also adds:
In 2008 the Steering Committee of TGEU already published a declaration, stating “that the stigmatization, which in part is grounded in the mistaken assumption that gender variance is prima facie a medical disorder, is discriminatory” and demanding that “[a]ny revision of the DSM and the ICD must be carried out with full compliance to the Yogyakarta Principles on the Application of International Human Rights Law in relation to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity” (see Yogyakarta Principle 18 “Protection from Medical Abuse”).
The Steering Committee of TGEU very much welcome and support the position taken by the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg, in his Issue Paper “Human Rights and Gender Identity”:
“The first aspect in discussing health care for transgender persons is the existence of international and national medical classifications defining transsexuality as a mental disorder… Such classifications may become an obstacle to the full enjoyment of human rights by transgender people, especially when they are applied in a way to restrict the legal capacity or choice for medical treatment… Alternative classifications should be explored in close consultation with transgender persons and their organisations. From a human rights and health care perspective no mental disorder needs to be diagnosed in order to give access to treatment for a condition in need of medical care.”
The campaign “Stop Trans Pathologization: Goal 2012″ of the Trans Depathologization Network aims at initiating and monitoring actions directed against the “Gender Identity Disorder” category in international classifications of diseases, especially focusing.
The revision of the DSM IV will finish in 2012 with the publication of the new DSM V. The Network has intensified its actions, and decided to have coordinated demonstrations and other actions demanding the depathologization of trans identities in as many cities as possible around the globe always in October until the year 2012.
A joint action among French and Spanish trans groups in 2007 was the starting point of the Trans Depathologization Network. Since then they have broadened their scope and have continued organizing demonstrations against trans pathologization in every October. In 2008, already 11 European cities participated in joint actions. This year the set date for demonstrations in cities worldwide is October 17th. To date, more than 80 trans organizations and allies from more than 40 cities in Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe have confirmed their participation or expressed their support and many more are expected to join in over the next few weeks.
Click here to download a PDF (in English) of the TGEU’s supporting statement
Cross-posted at Bird of Paradox
There’s a thought-provoking post over at Sherryx’s Weblog (link here) about the hijra community in Pakistan.
(T-Vox carries this definition of hijra: “In the culture of the Indian subcontinent a hijra is a physically male or intersex person who is considered a member of ‘the third sex.’”)
Through the last month, Pakistani media celebrated the recognition of the citizenship rights of the hijra community by a Supreme Court ruling which declared them entitled to ‘protection guaranteed under Article four (rights of individuals to be dealt with in accordance of law) and Article nine (security of person) of the Constitution’. The ruling has been hailed as an important step toward the integration of ‘the Third sex’ into the Pakistani society, who are now going to be registered and surveyed (with ‘Third Sex’ designating their gender on the ID cards and forms) so as to enable them to access the services of state social welfare departments and financial support programs.
[...] Whilst the English speaking elites have hailed the decision about the Hijras as some great civil right victory, freethinker elaborates what does it means for the LGBT community of Pakistan, for it means nothing. It has only increased dangers for us. A genuine civil rights decision is what Indian High Court has taken. Whats happening in Pakistan is “rotten radicalism” which exists only in minds and it changes nothing and only helps establish reaction.
One of the problems with the ruling, it seems, is that it positions hijras as the problem – and not the entrenched ‘norms’ of society, which seem likely to be further reinforced.
When [the hijra] are seen as another sex category, the gendered body politic of the society comes to regulate and control them as well, their bodies becoming ‘sexed’ and providing the basis of a sex role, a body ideal, and a clothing distinction that applies to their sex. Much more likely is a medicalized view that ‘pathologizes’ their condition as defective maleness or femaleness (‘intersex’ as the medical classification goes), like it did in late 19th century Europe and became a part of the notorious eugenics movement. The concept of ‘intersex’ is heavily criticized by transgender activists in the US. In Iran, an adherence to this concept has led to a State-funded program of SRS operations which has both religious and scientific backing. The rationale behind these potentially life-threatening operations is the ‘integration’ of their ‘hijra’ into the society, but that does not necessarily mean a better life [...]
(In her recent blog post Transsexual-Intersex, Sophia Siedlberg defines intersex as “a medical label that has traditionally been applied to people with a number of conditions that are diagnosable at birth. While diagnostic tests are not always carried out at birth and some escape the horrors of these terms during childhood. The traditional view has been simply that it is visible at birth.”)
As Sherryx points out, the ruling raises more questions than it answers:
What is going to constitute ‘the Third sex’? And what happens to those who do not qualify for this category? What about those ‘gender-confused’ people who do not want to be identified as ‘Third sex’, preferring instead to be identified as ‘male’ or ‘female’?
But perhaps the most crucial question here is not directly concerned with either identity politics or gender theory; it is simply this:
Does discrimination go away after formal barriers to progress have been removed, or does it merely become invisible and more difficult to fight?
Curtsey to Justus of the TGEU listserv for the heads up
Cross-posted at Bird of Paradox
Via Associated Press:
NY man gets 25 years for transgender hate killing
SYRACUSE, N.Y. — An upstate New York man has been sentenced to the maximum 25 years in prison for the hate crime killing of a transgender woman.
Dwight DeLee was found guilty of manslaughter last month for shooting Lateisha (lah-TEE’-shuh) Green because of anti-gay bias. The 20-year-old construction laborer is just the second person in the nation convicted of a hate crime for killing a transgender victim. He was sentenced Tuesday in Syracuse by Judge William Walsh.
DeLee was acquitted of murder. The manslaughter conviction means he intended to injure, not kill, someone when he fired into a car where Green was sitting with her brother and a friend.
Cross-posted at Bird of Paradox
Cara recently posted this on her tumblr, which I think is a good response to the “Lady Gaga has a penis!!111!” meme, but that works more generally. I’m sure it’ll come in handy for the future – all this has happened before and will happened again:
1. Transgender people do not all look alike.
2. Thus, there is no such thing as “looking like” a transgender person.
3. If you think there is, that’s based on our own prejudiced assumptions.
4. There is nothing wrong with being transgender, nor with looking like whatever it is you think that transgender people look like.
5. Therefore, saying that someone “looks” transgender as a form of insult is nonsensical not only as a statement, but also as an insult.
6. And it’s sure as hell not funny.
7. “Tranny,” however, is a bigoted slur against transgender people, particularly trans women or other people on the trans-feminine spectrum.
8. Saying that someone “looks like a tranny” is therefore also an insult not to the person (usually not transgender) who is being “insulted,” but to actual transgender people, as it indicates not only that they all look alike, but also that there is something wrong and amusing by looking like they (both supposedly and actually) do.
9. The kind of thinking that says there is something wrong or amusing with “looking transgender” or actually being transgender contributes an incredible amount to the frequent murder of transgender people, particularly trans women.
10. If any of this has made you think about things that you’ve never thought about before, and you would like to learn more, you really ought to google “transgender 101.”
I have a sad feeling that it will be necessary to link to this post many, many times in the future. If there’s anything I’ve missed on the topic of this one very narrow yet prevalent slice of transphobia, please feel free to reblog with additions.
Apparently, the idea that Lady Gaga came out as intersex is flying around the internet. One of my readers contacted me with a link which, I think, sets the record straight:
The blog Queers United reports:
Pop star sensation Lady Gaga surprised her millions of fans by parading on stage without an underwear showing that she is intersex and has male and female genitalia. This has not yet been confirmed, but the video is certainly interesting.
There’s then an unsourced quote attributed to Lady Gaga where she says that she has both female and male genitalia and IDs as female, and below that a YouTube video of the performance in question, which I will NOT be embedding. I watched the video because I thought that she took off all her clothes and said something like “I am proud to be an intersex woman.” That is not what happened. Rather, she was sitting on a motorcycle and her dress started riding up. She tried pulling it down, then climbed off it (with the motorcycle between her and the audience) and gave her dress a quick tug, all while continuing her stage patter.
Everything about the post I linked to above is hugely problematic. First, Lady Gaga was not coming out as intersex. She was going through her day-to-day life as a performer, doing her job and looking the way people expect her to look. She wasn’t “parading” around without underwear. She was wearing a very tight dress that might have shown panty lines. And if it had, that’s what people would be talking about right now because, really, how tacky, doesn’t she know better, no one wants to see that, get a clue.
What did happen is that Lady Gaga opted not to wear underwear and when getting off of a motorcycle resulted in a quick flash, it suddenly became okay for footage of her genitals to be circulated, presumably without her consent under titles like “Lady Gaga has a penis? Lady Gaga is a man?”, “Proof!! LADY GAGA is a MAN!”, or “Breaking news: Lady GaGa is actually a MAN!” and marked with pop-ups encouraging us to view “some of the funniest drunken shamings” on the internet. That’s not coming out. That’s exploitation, predicated on the belief that women’s and genitals that are “abnormal” or unexpected in any way are public property.
If she is intersex and chooses to come out as such, that would be great. If was assigned female at birth and chooses to come out as a woman with a large labia, awesome. If she was assigned male at birth and wants to share that with us, more power to her. But it was never the public’s business and it is shameful that footage of her crotch is the way she’s going to come out.
Lady Gaga’s history is not public property.
I’ve posted about Blackwater in the past, specifically the deployment of Blackwater on US soil under the Bush administration, and of course they’ve been implicated in killing civilians in Iraq and other things. This article sheds a bit more light on the founder’s and Blackwater’s activities:
A former Blackwater employee and an ex-US Marine who has worked as a security operative for the company have made a series of explosive allegations in sworn statements filed on August 3 in federal court in Virginia. The two men claim that the company’s owner, Erik Prince, may have murdered or facilitated the murder of individuals who were cooperating with federal authorities investigating the company. The former employee also alleges that Prince “views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe,” and that Prince’s companies “encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life.”
In their testimony, both men also allege that Blackwater was smuggling weapons into Iraq. One of the men alleges that Prince turned a profit by transporting “illegal” or “unlawful” weapons into the country on Prince’s private planes. They also charge that Prince and other Blackwater executives destroyed incriminating videos, emails and other documents and have intentionally deceived the US State Department and other federal agencies. The identities of the two individuals were sealed out of concerns for their safety.
There’s more at the link.
Also, Keith Olbermann interviews Jeremy Scahill here.
***NOTE: Survey is open to UK residents only***
Via Survey Monkey
The Equality Network’s Scottish Transgender Alliance is working to research quality of life and health issues for transgender people. The research findings will be used to inform Government and NHS policy work on transgender equality and inclusion.
THIS SURVEY IS FOR PEOPLE LIVING ANYWHERE IN THE UK WHO ARE AT LEAST 16 YEARS OLD.
The World Health Organisation defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” The World Health Organisation recognises the importance of improving quality of life for everyone and is at the forefront of research in this area.
Therefore, to robustly assess quality of life we are using the World Health Organisation’s Quality of Life (WHOQOL) internationally standardised research survey instrument.
IT TAKES LESS THAN 10 MINUTES TO COMPLETE THIS SURVEY.
By completing the survey you are agreeing to your ANONYMISED responses being shared by the Scottish Transgender Alliance with these other parties:
- The Scottish Government Social Justice (Equalities) Research Team;
- The Gender Identity Research and Education Society (GIRES) Gender Variance Prevalence Research Team;
- The World Health Organisation Field Centre for the Study of Quality of Life, University of Bath.
Confidentiality will be protected in the publication of any results, and your responses will be anonymised.
Any questions about this survey should be directed to:
Scottish Transgender Alliance Project Coordinator
30 Bernard Street
Click here to complete the survey
Cross-posted at Bird of Paradox