Archive for March, 2011
Trans Murder Monitoring project update reveals more than 500 reported murders of trans people in the last 3 years
The Trans Murder Monitoring (TMM) project has published its latest update regarding the numbers of recorded murders of trans people worldwide – and it makes depressing reading.
From the Trans Murder Monitoring project website:
In total, the preliminary results show 539 reports of murdered trans people in 42 countries since January 2008.
Although cases have been reported from all six major World Regions (Africa, Asia, Central and South America, Europe, North America, and Oceania), by far the largest number – 424 cases – are from Central and South America. This makes up 80% of the globally reported homicides of trans people since January 2008.
Globally, the number of trans people murdered continues to rise, as it has year-on-year since the TMM project began its work.
[Click image to enlarge]
For further information, see the Trans Murder Monitoring project website.
Cross-posted from Bird of Paradox
“Welcome to womanhood”
The first time I heard this phrase, I was elated – I’d made it! I was a woman! And that phrase seemed particularly important to me as a male to female transgender person, as it was a validation of my identity.
The second, third and fourth time I heard it, I suppose it was still very flattering. The 20th and 30th times, perhaps not so much. By the time I’d heard “Welcome to womanhood” several dozen times, it was starting to wear a bit fucking thin.
I mean how many damn times can I become a woman? Rather that validating my womanhood, it was starting to INVALIDATE my femininity and all my prior experiences.
The hard part is that I know people mean well when they say this to me. It’s supposed to be complimentary – and frankly, it would be rude to spit in their face and tell them to shut the fuck up. So part of my purpose in writing this is to educate the people reading it: please stop saying this to trans women (and trans men – “Welcome to manhood”).
Here’s the thing; I don’t actually need to be told this. For me, my ‘womanhood’ started for me the day I decided to transition. It didn’t start when I fell over in heels and a girlfriend said “Oh, that happens to us all, welcome to womanhood.” Nor did it start when I rubbed an eye and got eyeshadow all over my face and someone exclaimed “Welcome to womanhood!” It didn’t start when I got mood swings from hormones, breast pain, a ripped stocking, lipstick on my teeth, stretch marks, my first bra or blood coming out of my vagina.
The only person who gets to decide that I’m a woman is ME.
It galls me somewhat that cis women only need to bleed to be considered women, to be “welcomed to womanhood”. Hell, if we’re to be completely honest here, they only need to be born to be “welcomed to womanhood”.
It’s just another one of the many othering and invalidating behaviours that cis women push onto trans women – arbitrating our femininity.
So instead of trying to make a trans woman feel accepted and validated by welcoming her to womanhood, or saying “you’re nothing but a woman to me”, instead simply treat her as you would treat all your cis friends.
Because that’s the most validating thing you could possibly do.
I received this e-mail from Prerna Sampat of All Out today, and am passing the word along. The petition website is here, and the letter follows.
A surveillance camera just captured the brutal execution-style murder of Priscila, a 22-year old travesti (a trans feminine identity) in Brazil(1). Less than twenty hours later another travesti was shot in the same city, and the following week another was murdered in Sao Paolo, her body dumped in an abandoned lot(2).
With the highest rate of transphobic violence in the world and an explosion of LGBT murders – over 250 last year – the climate for LGBT people in Brazil has grown increasingly deadly(3)(4). As this brutal violence spreads, LGBT people are literally dying in the streets.
Right now, leaders in the Brazilian Senate are pushing an ambitious anti-homophobia law(5)(6) that would punish hate crimes and put more pressure on local police to protect LGBT people. But because of tremendous opposition from social conservatives, President Dilma Rousseff is staying silent as this critical bill stalls in Parliament.
If thousands of us take a moment to honor Priscila’s life and stand against hate, we can push President Dilma to do the right thing and protect people like Priscila. Will you take a moment to sign our urgent letter to the Brazilian President asking her to declare her immediate support for this life-saving measure? It only takes a moment and could make a huge difference:
The battle against homophobia and transphobia in Brazil is not just being played out in the legislature, it’s playing out on Brazil’s social networks as well, a backlash against gains made by the LGBT equality movement in Brazil(7). Last fall “Homophobia Yes!” became a popular trending topic on Twitter in the country, with a torrent of hateful messages such as: “Homos are the cancer of this country,” and “kill a pervert, let’s do them a favor since they’re going to burn anyway.”
When this violent rhetoric spills out on the streets, such as the tragic murder of Priscila, the press is often quick to blame the victims, especially trans women, painting them as victims of an underground lifestyle associated with drugs and prostitution. But the real problem is a culture and a legal system that signals that it is okay to attack and even murder LGBT people—and get away with it. Just this weekend there were two more brutal killings—a trans woman shot in Sao Paolo, and a gay man murdered, and his eyes ripped out, in an apparent hate crime in the north of the country.
This law won’t erase homophobia on its own, but it will send a powerful message that LGBT Brazilians are equal in the eyes of the law, deserving of the same rights and protection from targeted violence as anyone else.
Will you sign this letter to President Dilma, asking her to make a public push for the urgent passage of this desperately needed measure in the coming days? If we reach 10,000 signatures, we’ll join with a group of Brazil’s strongest LGBT advocates to deliver your message directly to the President.
“This was a cruel assassination, we can’t let this keep happening,” Anyky Gonçalves de Lima, an activist with the Center for Freedom of Sexual Orientation in Belo Horizonte, told us. Anyky remembers Priscila as funloving, with a sense of humor. “If we don’t fight this, the girls will keep dying.”
Sign now, for Priscila, and for all Brazilians fighting for the right to live, without hate.
All best and All Out,
Andre, Jeremy, Joseph, Prerna, Tile, Wesley and the rest of the team at All Out
All Out is bringing people together in every corner of the planet and of every identity – lesbian, gay, straight, transgender and all that’s between and beyond – to build a world in which everyone can live freely and be embraced for who they are.
*Travesti is a trans feminine identity common in Brazil and other parts of Latin America
1. A trans woman is killed by 9 shots on Afonso Pena Avenue (Portuguese)
2. A trans woman is killed in Morumbia (Portuguese)
3. Homophobic hate crimes spreading throughout Brazil
4. Reported Deaths of 91 Murdered Trans Persons from November 20th 2009 to November 19th 2010
5. Não Homofobia
6. Senator Marta Suplicy thinks that the new Senate is favorable to the Anti-Homophobia law (Portuguese)
7. You don’t think that Homophobia exists? Não #PL122Sim (Portugese)
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Copyright (C) 2011 Purpose Foundation. All rights reserved.
This is the video:
One of eleven charts at Mother Jones that explain “everything that’s wrong with America today.” I don’t see a chart about high fructose corn syrup, but the rest are fairly clear.
There’s a post which has recently been reappearing in my Tumblr dashboard on a regular basis. It’s a quote from an article in Guernica magazine (Trans-Formative Change) which in its opening sentence asserts that “The average life span of a transgendered person is twenty-three years“. The Tumblr quote is usually simply ‘liked’ and the few comments on it seem to be along the lines of “OMG teh poor trans ppl this is shocking“. While I’m broadly in agreement with the sentiment of the commenters, the authoritative tone of the assertion didn’t sit at all comfortably with me. Twenty-three years? Really?
From my point of view, part of the problem with much mainstream reporting on trans issues arises from a lack of understanding of basic terminology (although I also accept that there seem to be many definitions of transgender and transsexual; the recent flame wars on some other blogs bear witness to that), and another part of the problem is the lack of availability of long-term, coordinated research into the lived experiences of trans people.
I emailed the editors at Guernica to ask where the figure came from and they referred me to a 2010 article in The Daily Texan (caution: contains problematic reporting).
[...] Because of high rates of suicide, homicide and homelessness that impact the trans community, the international average life expectancy for a trans person is 23, according to the Equity (sic) Network.
Tracking back from there to the website of the Equality Network, it seems that the Daily Texan reporter has taken a speculative comment and rewritten it as if it’s an absolute, objective fact (this is not the first time I’ve seen journalists do this and I doubt it’ll be the last). The original wording on the Equality Network site is:
Globally average transgender person’s life expectancy believed to be around 23 – due to suicide, murder, and large percentages of transgender young teenagers in various countries ending up homeless and involved in drugs/prostitution/crime. [Via Crossing the Strands: Transgender workshops]
The key phrase there is “believed to be“: a significantly different emphasis from stating that it “is“. It’s also interesting to note that the Equality Network quote is from a 2007 report of a conference workshop although the origin of the “twenty-three years” figure is not attributed to any specific source. However, it’s interesting to note that, according to a 2007 UK survey, the average age for trans women undergoing surgery between 2004 and 2007 was 41 years. (Direct link to PDF of Feminizing genitoplasty in adult transsexuals: early and long-term surgical results – caution: contains graphic images)
I realise that it’s often accepted that the average age of transitioning (and by inference, the average age of trans people, too) is falling – due to such factors as increased awareness and acceptance – but I’m still finding it difficult to square the stated life expectancy of 23 with the age of surgery as 41. Even though not all trans people undergo surgery, it still seems a big discrepancy – and I do think that the continued publication of poorly-researched journalism, even when it adopts a generally supportive stance towards trans people, still manages to subliminally reinforce the erroneous ideas that many cis people have about us. Consequently, for all its good intentions, it actually contributes to obstructing, not supporting, us in our struggle for social justice and human rights.
Shorter Helen: I’ve not been able to verify the authenticity of the statement “The average life span of a transgendered person is twenty-three years“.
Homer Simpson: “Oh, people can come up with statistics to prove anything. 14% of people know that.”
For those who’ve been following it, the situation in Wisconsin reached a new stage last night, with the “Ash Wednesday Ambush” from Republicans passing a law suspending collective bargaining rights in dubiously legal circumstances. From Firedoglake:
the Wisconsin State Senate rushed through and passed a bill that strips collective bargaining rights from most public employees. The vote in the State Senate, entirely composed of Republicans, was 18-1; only moderate Dale Schultz voted no. The budget repair bill was split at the last minute, cleaving the “non-fiscal” anti-union piece from the fiscal components of the bill. The non-fiscal piece did not require a quorum, so the Senate was able to pass it.
I’m sure the protests in Madison will be huge, and there’s things those of us outside the country (or outside in the US entirely) can do to show support. Governor Walker is not eligible for recall until January next year, but already efforts are underway to recall the 8 Republicans eligible for it. If you’re in Wisconsin obviously you should visit the staging stations set up for the recall effort, but even if you’re not, please donate to support. This is looking to be a crucial battle for worker’s rights, so spread, disseminate.
The Wisconsin Democrats have, unlike their national counterparts, shown solidarity with their base and deserve the support. As E.J Dionne points out at the Washington Post, Washington could learn from Wisconsin.
Lastly, excuse the plug but, at Global Comment Erik makes the compelling case for a general strike. Labour in the US has very little to lose at this point, with dodgy laws being passed against the clear will of the people.
I love the current (Journalist) theme (although I may be switching if I can’t make it do the things I want). Unfortunately, it continues to have minor quirks that cause what are to me major complications:
In this particular case, the complication is that the author’s name is in tiny font at the bottom of the post. When I chose this theme one reason was that it listed the author’s name at all, as a previous theme did not. Unfortunately, I did not realize that other people would continue to assume that I write all the posts here, and yet little light’s recent post was credited to me all over Tumblr, which is not cool at all. At least one other blogger credited Quinnae’s post about trans-related neurological research to me as well.
So while I would appreciate it if people would stop to look at the bottom of the post and see who actually wrote said post before assuming, I think what would also help would be to put the author’s name at the top, in larger font, under the title. And I need assistance with this particular thing. I don’t need to alter any other part of the style, just add one additional element.
I appreciate any assistance anyone has to offer.
IMPORTANT EDIT: Due to overwhelming demand, Girl Talk has been moved one floor down in the same building, from the Ceremonial Room to the Rainbow Room, where there are fifty more seats. To my knowledge the Rainbow Room will have the same accessibility as the Ceremonial Room. See you tomorrow night! –ll.
I’ll be performing on the 24th in San Francisco, and I would love to see you there! This has been a lovely and powerful event for two years in a row, and I’m proud to share it with the community. Details and event promo below. –little light
Girl Talk: A Trans & Cis Woman Dialogue
Thursday, March 24th, 2011
7:00pm – 10:00pm
San Francisco LGBT Community Center – Rainbow Room
1800 Market Street between Octavia & Laguna
Tickets: $12-$20 (no one turned away!)
(Link to BrownPaperTickets site: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/163744 I strongly recommend that you get tix in advance — we sold out very fast last year.)
Queer cisgender women and queer transgender women are allies, friends, support systems, lovers, and partners to each other. Trans and cis women are allies to each other every day — from activism that includes everything from Take Back the Night to Camp Trans; to supporting each other in having “othered” bodies in a world that is obsessed with idealized body types; to loving, having sex, and building family with each other in a world that wants us to disappear.
Girl Talk is a spoken word show fostering and promoting dialogue about these relationships. Trans and cis women will read about their relationships of all kinds – sexual and romantic, chosen and blood family, friendships, support networks, activist alliances. Join us for a night of stories about sex, bodies, feminism, activism, challenging exclusion in masculine-centric dyke spaces, dating and breaking up, finding each other, and finding love and family.
Gina de Vries
Elena Rose, aka little light
***Curated & hosted by Gina de Vries, Elena Rose, & Julia Serano.***