Archive for May, 2011
The forthcoming revised DSM-5, which will shape diagnoses of not only Gender Dysphoria, but also such conditions as Bipolar and Related Disorders Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, Feeding and Eating Disorders, Anxiety, Obsessive-Compulsive-Related, and Trauma-Related Disorders, has been opened up for public comment.
Via the DSM-5 website:
At this time, we are asking visitors to review and comment on the proposed DSM-5 organizational structure and criteria changes. Please note that the current commenting period will end on June 15, 2011. It is important to remember that the proposed structure featured here is only a draft.
The content on this site will stay in its current form until after completion of the DSM-5 Field Trials, scheduled to conclude later this year. Following analysis of field trial results, we will revise the proposed criteria as needed and, after appropriate review and approval, we will post these changes on this Web site. At that time, we will again open the site to a third round of comments from visitors, which will be systematically reviewed by each of the work groups for consideration of additional changes. Thus, the current commenting period is not the final opportunity for you to submit feedback, and subsequent revisions to DSM-5 proposals will be jointly informed by field trial findings as well as public commentary.
To make comments, interested parties will need to register at the DSM-5 website – click here.
Cross-posted at Bird of Paradox
To mark this year’s International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA-Europe) has published its Rainbow Europe Map and Index in which it rates each European country’s laws and administrative practices according to 24 categories and ranks them on a scale between 17 (highest score: respect of human rights and full legal equality of LGBT people) and -7 (lowest score: gross violations of human rights and discrimination of LGBT people).
While the publication of this kind of research is broadly to be welcomed, and as eye-catching as the rainbow map is, it may be considered problematic in its conflation of LGB and TS/TG issues. As Justus Eisfeld (co-director GATE – Global Action for Trans* Equality) points out:
There are 5 possible positive points to be gained for gender identity issues vs. 13 possible points in the sexual orientation categories (I counted freedom of assembly and freedom of association under sexual orientation because trans groups generally have not had the organizational capacity to even run into issues in this category yet). The negative points are similarly unequally spread: two possible negative points for gender identity (two negative points are mutually exclusive, I therefore counted them as one) and four for sexual orientation. This means that a country that scores well for sexual orientation will automatically be in the ‘best’ group, no matter what their human rights record is for trans people.
In the light of this, the separate indexes for gender identity and sexual orientation may perhaps be of more use.
Note that intersections of race, class, disability, etc, are not mentioned in the report; nor is it recorded whether subjects are binary or non-binary identified. It should also be remembered that some TS/TG people are also LGB, and vice versa. Last but by no means least, it should be noted that – as is so often the case with research of this nature – the situation of intersex people seems to have been entirely ignored.
Click the thumbnail image above for full-size PDF
By way of a counterpoint, Trans Murder Monitoring has launched an interactive map for IDAHOT 2011. The new interactive map for the first time visualises the 604 reported murders of trans people that the Trans Murder Monitoring (TMM) project has documented since January 2008. The interactive TMM map can be accessed on the TvT website here.
In the first four and a half months of 2011, 55 reported murders of trans people have been registered in 19 countries. While the actual circumstances of the killings often remain obscure, due to a lack of investigations and reports, many of the documented cases involve extreme aggression, including torture and mutilation.
Click the thumbnail image above to visit the interaactive map at the TMM website
Although it may seem that sexual orientation and gender identity is less of an issue it becomes clear that homophobia and transphobia exists, and may be increasing, in many places. If today’s International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia serves one purpose, it is to raise awareness regarding the ongoing discrimination and violence committed by states, societies and individuals against lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer people on various scales, from homophobic and transphobic legislations and forms of state repression to hate crimes including insults, attacks and murders.
Thanks to Juris Lavrikovs and Silvan Agius (ILGA-Europe), Justus Eisfeld (co-director GATE – Global Action for Trans* Equality) and Carla LaGata (Research and Coordination, TvT project)
Cross-posted at Bird of Paradox
“So let me say this as clearly as I can – the United States is not and will never be at war with Islam. Osama wasn’t a Muslim leader, he was a mass-murderer of Muslims.”
– President Barack Obama
*Crossposted from My Blog.*
Lately I’ve been re-evaluating my concepts of “trans identity.”
I just read a post on the excellent blog Critique Of Popular Reason, about the use of trans and cis as adjectives rather than prefixes, which has sort of guilted me into cleaning up my use of the terms and being more meaningful in what I intend to convey when I use them.
I admit I’ve been haphazard in writing trans woman, transwoman, cis man, cis-man and so on. I’ve always realized in the back of my mind that each way of writing trans or cis represents a slightly different understanding of the terms, but I didn’t think it a big deal. Well, I do now, so the inconsistency stops today.
Here is what I’ve come to realize: As much as I talk about myself being a trans woman, I don’t honestly think of my being trans as an “identity”… so much as a description of my personal history.
I do not experience being trans in the same way I experience being black, for instance. For me, being black is very much an identity experience based on shared cultural experiences, shared language, and shared history having been born and raised in the United States among other black people. I am black not just because I am readable as black, not just because I was “assigned” to be black by larger society based upon my readability as black, and not just because that is how I am expected to identify my race on government documents and other demographic tracking forms. I am also black because my mama is black, because my family is black, because I am descended from the African Diaspora, and largely, perhaps ultimately, because I was “raised” black and because I am recognizable to other black people as black.
I do not feel quite the same way about being trans. For me, at least for right now, I am trans only because I was born into a society based on a truly shitty premise: that one’s reproductive organs predict and define the way in which you will experience yourself, that your genitals predict and define who and what you are, who and what you must grow up to be. I am trans because I was born into society that refuses to acknowledge the obvious fact that for many many people there is no direct correlation between their reproductive organs and the gendered bodies and the identities in which they find their most valid form of self expression.
To put it more simply… Society does not allow for being born with a penis and NOT feeling like that has anything to do with anything… other than having been born with a penis. That existing with a penis between your legs does not MAKE you feel like, think like, act like or identify as male… even when that same society makes every effort to force you to do exactly that,with its armada of rewards and punishments. (Of course the same is true of being born with a vagina and not feeling that necessarily connected to one’s being a woman).
Following this frame of reference, If I am to accept being trans as my identity then I must accept an identity which is based upon society imposing upon me its definition of me, externally, an identity with seemingly no other defining criteria than this particular experience of imposition. For me, an identity has to be based on much more than being in the same crappy boat as a lot of other people. I could define being black that way if I wanted… but I do not experience being black that way. For me, being black is a much fuller and more complex experience than a mere description of my racial phenotype and cultural history. I feel the same way about being a woman, as well. There is actually much more to my being a woman than other people’s perception of me and treatment of me as a woman. Or even a black woman.
But for being trans.. at this stage of my self-awareness journey anyways, it feels like something that is entirely about other people’s perception of me as trans, a mere description of my life trajectory having been assigned to be one gender but I vetoed and invalidated that assignment in favor of my own contrary self-knowledge and need.
I’m sure there is a much fuller experience of trans than what I list above. Certainly there is a unifying theme of the (apparently) uncommon drive to fly in the face of society’s explicit demands for conformity in favor of one’s own self-knowing. Time and again, I have experienced firsthand that instant bond of recognition and empathy between persons which is born of people living the same oppression. Especially, when it comes to being trans. I have definitely experienced community among my fellow trans people… so why do I feel so keenly that while being trans identifies my life experiences, it is not my identity?
Is it due to internalized transphobia of some sort? I know as I read this thru and come back to add this paragraph, what I’m saying sounds an awful lot like similar protestations I’ve heard: ”Being gay doesn’t define meeee, I’m just someone who happens to experience homosexual attractions…” etc. No that is not what I mean at all, I hope.
What I think I mean is that … so MUCH of my life, even to this day, actually revolves around accomodating the social consequences of my being trans…. but is mere oppression enough reason to take it on as an identity?
Personally, I feel I experience MUCH more blatant oppression around my trans status than I do with race. As far as life challenges go, being trans has been many times more difficult than being black and I probably think about it way more than I do race or any other zone of marginalization I live within. But is that due to my having a more multi-dimensional understanding of my blackness (identity, culture) than I do my transness (burden, stigma)? Or is it because I am loathe to acknowledge areas of privilege in my other identities (do I not experience being black as terribly oppressive simply because I am relatively privileged as far as my blackness goes, e.g. being light skinned, being middle-class, being from the U.S. etc…?) and wish only to attach the grand title of ”identity” to areas in my life I feel I can be more “proud” of?
Is it a lack of self-awareness or lack of appreciation for the complexity and positive reward of trans experience?
I’m not sure.. but these are questions that consume me on the daily. I am determined to sort this all out