Archive for September, 2010
Shamlessly nicked and badly paraphrased from Nix.
We’ve written a lot of the past couple years about the struggle of two West Australian men to get their birth certificates changed, and after the most recent legal loss, a new letter writing campaign has been launched by the pair. The Out of the Box facebook group has been set up with details and instructions for the next round of the campaign – a letter writing campaign to the WA Attorney General. The group is visible to non-facebook users, but following Nix I’ve copied the letter-writing directions in full.
Please get your pens out, write a letter, get your friends on board, forward this information widely.
In the wake of the Gender Reassignment decision handed down by the WA Supreme Court two lines of action have been started up.
The first is a legal challenge – steps have been taken to seek leave to appeal the Court’s decision in the High Court. This will be a lengthy process, but one that has a good chance of success.
The second front that has is just starting up, is a political campaign. To kick start it, we’re looking for people to write to the West Australian Attorney-General, Christian Porter. Emails are good, old-fashioned letter-in-envelopes are even better. This correspondence will have the most impact if each one is personally written, but to help you build your letter, there’s a few points at the end of this you might want to pick out to include.
If you are a trans* person who lives in Western Australia (or who’s birth is registered here), it will be very powerful if you talk about the impact that the Supreme Court decision will have on your life, personally.
If you are writing from outside of Western Australia, your letter probably should be couched along the lines of wanting the Attorney-General to know that the rest of Australia is watching what’s going on, and is not impressed. If you live in a State – say South Australia! – where people are able to obtain legal recognition much more easily, you may want to point this out.
If you are not a trans* person you may want to talk about how this decision will affect the trans* people you do know, or else the fact that as a ‘member of the community’ you want to see trans* people obtain legal recognition on the basis of how they present, not on the basis of some arbitrary surgical requirements.
Most importantly, if you want a response, make sure your letter requests that particular information, or that a particular response be provided. Ask Porter questions. And then let’s see (and if you all want, share) how he answers.
The Attorney-General’s contact details are as follows:
Office of Attorney General
29th Floor, Allendale Square
77 St Georges Terrace
Perth, WA, 6000
In solidarity, and thank you in advance.
The Out of the Box Crew
P.S. Keep copies of your letters, you might want to reference them in the future if we need to write to the Shadow AG, or the Federal AG, or anyone else!
Suggested points and questions to include in your letter. These focus on trans people and particularly on trans men, but you might also have questions about how this will affect trans women and intersex people.
- The recent Private Lives Report 2007 showed that transgender people suffer a high level of discrimination in their daily life due to not having their gender recognised, including loss of employment, denial of career advancement, and abuse and harassment.
- People experiencing gender dysphoria will often undergo various medical procedures to align their bodies with their identities, and gender reassignment laws should then allow such people to be legally recognised. It should NOT be that the law dictates to people what they must do with their body in order to obtain this recognition.
- The effect of this decision is that people suffering from gender dysphoria who wish to apply for a recognition certificate will have to undergo invasive, dangerous and expensive surgery, which is not even available in Australia.
- This decision sets the hurdle so high that it cannot be realistically achieved by female-to-male people.
- No other jurisdiction in Australia places such demands on trans* people seeking recognition of their sex.
- The decision is contrary to the recent recommendations of the Australian Human Rights Commission (in the ‘Sex Files’ Report) in relation to the legal recognition of sex.
- People should be recognised for who they are, based on how they identify and are accepted in society, not solely on the basis of required surgeries.
- If this is how the law is interpreted, then the the law needs to be changed, with amendments developed in consultation with trans* people and taking up the recommendations of the Sex Files Report. (Are you, Mr AG going to do this?)
- This decision has also highlights the fact that a person going through gender reassignment is not currently protected from discrimination in WA, because the ground of Gender History under the state’s current equal opportunity laws requires a Gender Reassignment Certificate for a person to be able to lodge a complaint of discrimination.
- WA is the only state or territory in Australia to not recognise gender identity or transsexuality discrimination, which makes it harder for the trans* folk in WA to claim discrimination than anywhere else in the country.
- The Equal Opportunity Act needs to be changed to include protections on the grounds of gender identity, in particular to protect people whilst they are transitioning or if they are unable to obtain legal recognition. (Are you, Mr AG, going to do so?)
I kept forgetting to link this carnival, even though I have a post in it. Check it out! The theme was identity, but I’m not sure my post is a perfect fit.
So, I’m super late with this and it’s going to be so half-assed it can’t even sit down, but anyway.
I wrote a guest post for FWD (Forward) the other day. More ADHD stuff, but it’s getting a good reaction. It’s about the impact of ableism when you don’t even know you have a disability.
Anyway, I have some posts I really want to write and a zillion links I wish I were using but I have like, zero energy at the moment and already put this off for three days.
Share your links, talk about anything, etc. No topic is off-topic.
Originally posted here. For whatever technical reason, WordPress will not let me quote the entire piece at once, although I have permission to do so. I strongly suggest reading there.
Filed by: Alex Blaze
September 29, 2010 6:00 PM
Many transsexual and transgender people purchase their prescriptions from non-US based pharmacies. We do this for numerous reasons including concern regarding being denied Medical Insurance should these prescriptions be discovered by the Health Insurance companies that have written exclusionary policies and so often deny coverage to people based on the flimsiest of excuses and also have a history of dropping coverage at times when patients most need it.
The other major reason many non-insured people have shopped the global pharmaceutical markets is cost. The monopoly practices of the drug manufacturing corporations in the US gouge the patients charging many times the prices charged for the same drugs by our neighbor to the north. The huge charges many well enhance the lifestyle and cash flow rich pigs who are the CEOs and investors in these corporations as well as finance a huge volume of advertising for drugs of dubious merit marketed for socially constructed “disorders” such as male sexual dysfunction. (a natural part of aging)
At the same time denying us access to lower priced drugs available through off-shore pharmacies is a method of preventing access to drugs available from countries where the government negotiates and sets the legitimate prices for those drugs.
See Michael Moore’s movie “Sicko”
Such pharmacies (and Inhouse specifically) are a significant source of medications, especially estrogen and anti-androgens for trans women, especially given the often arbitrary whims of medical professionals who do not understand trans people and who fail to provide us with the medications we need.
I’ll also throw this out there:
By David Segal and Aaron Swartz
When it really matters to them, Congressmembers can come together — with a panache and wry wit you didn’t know they had. As banned books weekgets underway, and President Obama admonishes oppressive regimes for their censorship of the Internet, a group of powerful Senators — Republicans and Democrats alike — have signed onto a bill that would vastly expand the government’s power to censor the Internet.
The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA) was introduced just one week ago, but it’s greased and ready to move, with a hearing in front of the Judiciary Committee this Thursday. If people don’t speak out, US citizens could soon find themselves joining Iranians and Chinese in being blocked from accessing broad chunks of the public Internet.
Aimed at torrenting/pirate sites mostly, but I have little doubt it will also be aimed at mail order pharmacies.
Edit: Locked comments for the time being. The post has all available information and we don’t really need to debate sins that Inhouse has never committed.
Got this from Ravenmn:
Here’s a list of actions protesting the FBI raids against anti-war
Minneapolis MN Monday, 4:30 pm, FBI Office Monday, 111 Washington Ave.
Chicago, IL Monday, 4:30 pm, FBI Building, 2111 W. Roosevelt Rd.
New York City, NY Tuesday 4:30 to 6 pm Federal Building, 26 Federal
Newark, NJ Tuesday 5 to 6pm Federal Building Broad Street
Detroit, MI Tuesday 4:30 pm, McNamara Federal Building
Buffalo, NY 4:30 pm, FBI Building – Corner of So. Elmwood Ave. &
Durham NC on Monday, 12 noon Federal Building, 323 E Chapel Hill St
Raleigh, NC Tuesday 9 am, Federal Building, 310 New Bern Ave
Asheville, NC Tuesday (place tbd)
Atlanta, GA Tuesday Noon, FBI Building
Gainesville, FL on Monday, 4:30 pm at FBI Building
Salt Lake City, UT, 9 AM on Monday at Federal Building
San Francisco, CA 5 pm on Tuesday, Federal Bldg., 7th St. and Mission
Washington DC, Tues 4:30 – 5:30 FBI Building 935 Pennsylvania Ave NW.
Kalamazoo, MI – Mon, 4:30 Federal Building, 410 W Michigan Ave
Philadelphia, PA – Tues, 4:30pm Federal Building, 6th & Market,
Boston, MA – Tues, 5 pm, JFK Federal Building
Los Angeles, CA – Tues 5 pm, Downtown Federal Building, 300 N Los
Tucson, AZ – Tues 5 pm Federal Building
Richmond, VA – Tues, 4:30 pm, Federal Courthouse
Albany, NY Wed, 5 to 6 pm Federal Building
Editing to add more as I get information.
This was Emily’s idea, but my post about community sort of covers my own investment as well.
So what QT is missing is a list of resources for trans people – trans-friendly clinics, shelters of all kinds, activist organizations, sex worker organizations, food resources, grassroots organizing, and so on.
I don’t mean transition-related resources. Trans women can find the Transsexual Roadmap if they really need that. There’s no shortage of advice on how to transition, where to transition, who to go to to transition, and so on. I’m more thinking of community resources that can help with practical day-to-day matters, legal issues, health care issues, and legislation. Hopefully this can spin off into more discussion of practical issues, grassroots possibilities, and of course actual realities that trans people already live with. Basically, to make Questioning Transphobia into more of a community resource than it currently is.
I only heard about this a few hours ago and it’s already been blogged about at least twice. Since I seem unable to assemble a complete post today,
Trigger Warning for anti-trans violence, ungendering, victim-blaming, and police and media transphobia/transmisogyny.
Yesterday a man badly beat a woman who was riding in his car and then dumped her in front of an apartment complex before driving away, seemingly for no reason other than that she was trans. Though this is awful enough on its own, police and local media decided to add insult to that injury by fitting as many transphobic tropes as they possibly could into barely one hundred words. The KENS5 news story starts as follows:
A man was in for quite a surprise after learning the woman in his car was a transgender person.
Police say the suspect apparently snapped and beat the woman in the face repeatedly before dumping her off at an apartment complex in the 3200 block of Hillcrest.
The first sentence here is utterly despicable. Rather than identifying with the woman who was assaulted — who I imagine was in for quite a surprise when the man who she was in the car with started beating her in the face — the phrasing immediately and intentionally identifies with the man who assaulted her. Stating that he “was in for quite a surprise” suggests that any normal person — presumed to be cis, of course — would be “surprised” to learn that they were spending their time with a trans* person. And more than surprised, any such person would be rightly appalled. To say that trans* people are inherently “surprising” is to register them as inherently strange and abnormal, their very existence and identities as shocking and upsetting.
The rest at the link
Trigger warning for description of violence against trans women .
A woman was brutally beaten this week for being trans. Media coverage has been scant, and little information has been released by the police, but here is what has been released: an unnanmed 24-year-old woman went on a date with a man with whom she had some kind of “arrangement”. When he found out that she was trans, he thoroughly beat her around the face and left her at an apartment complex. She had to knock on a stranger’s door begging for help to get medical and police attention.
The San Antonio police department are investigating this crime not as the hate crime it pretty clearly is, but as aggravated assault. This could have something to do with the fact that the Texas hate crime law excludes trans people (but of course, protects sexual orientation). But as John Wright of the Dallas Voice points out, “the new federal hate crimes law passed last year does protect transgender people and presumably could be used in this case. If the man beat the victim because she is transgender and not cisgender, then yeah, we’d say that’s a hate crime.”
So the FBI obtained and executed six search warrants in Minneapolis and two in Chicago:
The homes of five Twin Cities activists, including three prominent leaders of the Twin Cities antiwar movement, were raided Friday by the FBI in what an agency spokesman described as an “investigation into activities concerning the material support of terrorism.” The office of an antiwar organization also was reportedly raided.
An FBI spokesman Steve Warfield confirmed that warrants were issued on six Minneapolis addresses this morning.
Among the homes raided were the apartments of Jessica Sundin, who was a principal leader of the mass antiwar march of 10,000 on the opening day of the Republican National Convention two years ago, and Mick Kelly, who was prominent in that protest and among those who announced plans to march on the Democratic National Convention in Minneapolis, if the city is selected to host it in 2012. Neither has been arrested.
More information from Minneapolis IndyMedia:
See also Fight Back News: Activists Denounce FBI Raids on Anti-War and Solidarity Activists’ Homes
The social justice community in Minneapolis continued to respond Friday afternoon to the raids of several of its members homes, which started before 7am this morning. (See previous TCIMC article–Minneapolis Houses Raided)
Since then, a dozen activists have been served with grand jury subpoenas, including many in Minneapolis, according to Fight Back News. It is believed the federal grand jury is centered in Chicago, and is investigating alleged ties to “foreign terrorist organizations”–a charge which activists have immediately dismissed as illegitimate and unjustified.
The Star Tribune reported earlier today that according to an FBI spokesperson, a total of six homes were raided in Minneapolis and two in Chicago. This statement is unconfirmed by activists, who have identified at least four of the homes in Minneapolis–one above Hard Times Cafe in Cedar-Riverside, one north of Powderhorn Park, one on Park Avenue near Lake Street and one in Stevens Square. Antiwar leaders have said that other members of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization were targeted with raids, surveillance and subpoenas in Michigan, North Carolina and potentially California.
Grand juries are a mechanism historically used to repress and gather information on unpopular social movements; no attorney or judge is present in a grand jury interrogation. Activists who defy grand juries risking imprisonment on civil or criminal contempt.
Read all of both links. This sounds like your basic police state dissent quashing to me, and seems to involve categorizing activists as terrorists, or at least as having terrorist links.
Edit: From Ravenmn in comments
Some longish videos:
Jess talking about being woken up by FBI agents and her very public activism:
Less than 12 hours after the first raid, the community comes together to support our activists:
Liza Fomkina and her aunt die of exposure in the Moscow region while volunteers are left to search for them without any official support:
Liza Fomkina and her aunt – a woman suffering from a disability – went missing on Sep. 13 after taking two family dogs on a walk in Orekhovo-Zuevo, a town in the Moscow region. The aunt’s body was found on Wednesday. Liza’s body was found on Thursday morning.
Liza was just four years old. Her aunt was 39.
According to RIA Novosti, the main search and rescue efforts were conducted by volunteers and people living nearby. Since Liza’s body has been found, plenty of volunteers have gone on record to say that they believed the official rescue efforts to have been poorly organized and insufficient.
Preliminary findings suggest that both Liza and her aunt died from exposure. The aunt died at least five days after the pair had gone missing – which suggests that if these two people, one big and one small and both helpless, were only found in time, they would still be alive today.
From reading what I have, it appears that had officials been willing to support and lead the rescue efforts, they could have been found in time. They were missing for several days and the search was conducted almost entirely on foot.
I know this isn’t specifically a trans story, nor is it in the US, but I wanted to boost the signal on this.
While I’m posting things, Marxist philosopher Slavoj Zizek recently published a good article about the permanent state of crisis in New Left Review recently. I don’t agree with everything, but there’s lots of good food for thought there. I particularly like this passage, which is worth quoting in its entirety:
In such a constellation, the very idea of a radical social transformation may appear as an impossible dream—yet the term ‘impossible’ should make us stop and think. Today, possible and impossible are distributed in a strange way, both simultaneously exploding into excess. On the one hand, in the domains of personal freedoms and scientific technology, we are told that ‘nothing is impossible’: we can enjoy sex in all its perverse versions, entire archives of music, films and tv series are available to download, space travel is available to everyone (at a price). There is the prospect of enhancing our physical and psychic abilities, of manipulating our basic properties through interventions into the genome; even the tech-gnostic dream of achieving immortality by transforming our identity into software that can be downloaded into one or another set of hardware.
On the other hand, in the domain of socio-economic relations, our era perceives itself as the age of maturity in which humanity has abandoned the old millenarian utopian dreams and accepted the constraints of reality—read: capitalist socio-economic reality—with all its impossibilities. The commandment you cannot is its mot d’ordre: you cannot engage in large collective acts, which necessarily end in totalitarian terror; you cannot cling to the old welfare state, it makes you non-competitive and leads to economic crisis; you cannot isolate yourself from the global market, without falling prey to the spectre of North Korean juche.
Zizek is using the word “perversion” in the Freudian sense I gather, though it is a bit dodgy still so mentally replace “plurality” if you want. He can be a bit of a prat, and there are numerous mindnumbing “controversial” “anti-PC” bits in his books (eg the transphobic comments at the start of Violence).
Still, I like the broader point of the passage- that we live in an age that encourages some forms of individualist self-expression generally (the ubiquitous “make-over,” and Zizek of course minimises the kinds of policing and violence on those), but at the same time, many collective solutions to human suffering are off the table. Which is worth thinking about given that collective solutions to problems like poverty and the environment seem increasingly important given the utter failure of the neoliberalist public-private-partnership ethos that mostly just allows companies to permeate the public sphere in every possible way. There’s a certain strain of thinking that offers the right kind of shopping and consumption as an individualist solution to these problems (that is, shopping at your local farmer’s market rather than at Walmart, becoming a vegan rather than eating meat, buying Fair Trade coffee etc), but Zizek is quite right in pointing out that we need much much more than that, we need collective solutions and collectivist strategies, and we need to remove the idea that “the market” is the ultimate arbiter of what is useful and politically viable, that the only things of value can be measured by profitability.
When we start down that road, we start measuring is it worth it to save this person’s life, or will it discourage investment if we dare put in minimal checks on bankers or environmental protections to prevent catastrophe. And as soon as we do that, we’re already fucked. No, the market will not fix anything itself unless compelled, and neither will governments making reforms by inches when the situation demands miles.