Archive for October, 2011
So, four years ago this very day, I finally reached the end of my patience with a lot of trans-hating crap I’d seen online over the years, plus the many microaggressions and kinds of discrimination I’d experienced offline, and started QT. The first post was to help brownfemipower promote a particular EXCITE! Women and Trans Folk of Color project regarding police violence against cis and trans women of color and other trans people of color.
In the time since, this site has clearly had its ups and downs, and I have a tendency to lose track of what kind of things I want to say here and stop posting for weeks or months at a time – which frustrates me a lot, as I’d like to keep this up. In the time since, I’ve also learned a lot about what other people who deal with different oppressions have to cope with, and how to differentiate them each other. I’ve also had to come to terms with my own cognitive limitations, which I had not been entirely aware of prior to 2007, except insofar as I could never figure out why it was so hard for me to do things other people found effortless.
And through all that time, I’ve had so many people e-mail me or comment here or pm me on social sites about how QT has helped them come to terms with themselves, or learn how to deconstruct and respond to anti-trans crap and cope with it better. Every time someone tells me that QT has helped them, I feel pretty amazing – I’m really glad that many have found something they needed here.
I’ve also met a lot of amazing people through blogging. Friendships I value a lot.
I’ve also had the good fortune to have really good co-bloggers who consented to post here – Helen, Queen Emily, little light, and Quinnae Moongazer. I’ve also had so many guest posters it’s hard to list them all, who have contributed so much to making this site what I wanted it to be. Really, QT wouldn’t be a fourth as good if it were just me.
I’m also immensely grateful to people who have come through during crises I and Queen Emily have had over the years, and I am still a bit stunned at the reaction we received last winter – that helped so much I can’t even begin to describe it.
I hope I can get back into writing more again – it’s so easy to slip away and into other habits, especially this year for me has been full of bureaucratic and medical issues that have taken up more time and energy than I prefer, but are very very necessary.
Anyway, thanks everyone who comes around, comments, posts, reads, whatever. I’m really grateful that so many of you have wanted to read and participate in what gets posted here.
Also, happy Halloween. :)
Press release from Masen Davis, Executive Director at the Transgender Law Center:
WE DID IT!
Governor Brown just signed two important transgender rights bills into law. The first, the Gender Nondiscrimination Act, brings transgender rights out of the closet in California – making “gender identity and expression” its own protected category at work, at school, in housing, at public accommodations and in other settings. The second, the Vital Statistics Modernization Act, makes it easier for transgender people to get a court-ordered gender change and updated birth certificate. It’s a big day for transgender folks in California!
We are holding a special briefing MONDAY October 10th, at 6:00 PM to update everyone on the impact of these bills. Click here to RSVP.
*We will be holding a separate Spanish language briefing later this week. For more information on this call, click here e-mail Maceo Persson.
These laws have been years in the making. Through our statewide survey of almost 650 transgender Californians, the 1,200 calls that our legal team receives annually and our conversations with you at events around the state, we discovered two problems that continued to resurface:
- We found that California’s nondiscrimination laws were often not accessible to those who needed them the most. Employers, health care providers, housing authorities – even transgender and gender non-conforming people – were unaware that it is illegal to discriminate against transgender Californians. Our legal rights were hidden within the definition of “gender”, leaving many people in the dark about their rights, and many institutions out of compliance responsibilities. This had an especially severe impact on low-income and trans communities of color who tend to face employment discrimination at higher frequencies within transgender communities.
- We heard from many transgender people who were unable to change their birth certificates and other identity documents due to financial and medical barriers. Onerous and outdated standards for court-ordered gender changes created unfair and damaging barriers that disproportionately impacted trans people of color, immigrant trans people, low-income trans people and others who could not overcome the many hurdles to securing basic identity documents. These are identity documents we all need to work, travel, and be our authentic selves.
With the help of your input and our partners at Equality California and GSA Network, we came up with two legislative solutions to these problems.
- The Gender Nondiscrimination Act (AB 887) takes existing protections based on gender and spells out “gender identity and expression” as their own protected categories in our nondiscrimination laws. By making these protections explicit, people will more clearly understand California’s nondiscrimination laws, which should increase the likelihood that employers, schools, housing authorities, and other institutions will work to prevent discrimination and/or respond more quickly at the first indications of discrimination.
- The Vital Statistics Modernization Act (AB 433) will alleviate the confusion, anxiety and even danger that transgender people face when we have identity documents that do not reflect who we are. The bill will streamline current law and clarify that eligible petitioners living or born in California can submit gender change petitions in the State of California. The Vital Statistics Modernization Act conforms California’s standards to the standards set by the United States Department of State for gender changes on passports, and it makes common-sense changes to the law that ensure the process is simple for qualified petitioners to navigate.
Today these bills have become law, and this huge victory belongs to you! This legislative session, hundreds of transgender, gender non-conforming and ally Californians took action — educating lawmakers, reaching out to the governor and sharing their stories with the media.
Our victory is a testament that California is at its best when we work together to realize the ideal that everyone should be treated fairly and equally. The barriers that transgender people face are life threatening and we applaud Governor Brown, Assemblymember Atkins and Assemblymember Lowenthal for their tremendous leadership to remove some of the obstacles that prevent transgender Californians from living as our authentic selves.
Media Release: CONSORTIUM OF TRANSGENDER & INTERSEX ORGANISATIONS WELCOME HISTORIC HIGH COURT DECISION IN AUSTRALIA
Thursday, 6th October 2011: A consortium of organisations representing transgender and intersex people around Australia today welcomed the High Court of Australia’s decision to uphold the appeal of two trans men who challenged the interpretation of the West Australian Gender Reassignment Act (2001), saying that they hoped the decision would set a precedent for the way similar laws around the country would be applied.
Sally Goldner, spokesperson for TransGender Victoria said “The High Court ruled that the law should be applied in a beneficial way that makes life easier, not harder for people, and therefore that there was no justification for requiring people to have costly and unnecessary surgeries in order to have their sex recognised.”
Goldner added that the decision “is in line with the findings of the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Sex Files Report in 2009 which recommended that surgery should not be considered a necessary pre-requisite for the legal recognition of a change of sex.”
Aram Hosie, spokesperson for the WA Gender Project said “Previously transsexual people in Western Australia, as in other parts of the country, have been unable to legally amend their sex without invasive, medically unnecessary surgeries that may be unwanted, impractical or unattainable.”
“This has resulted in difficulties in proving ones identity on essential documentation, a loss of privacy, and the risk of exposure to discrimination, harassment and sometimes even violence.”
Hosie added that “in Western Australia in particular, a person’s inability to legally amend their sex leaves them without any legal discrimination protections.”
“The High Court’s decision will now make it much easier for transsexual people in Western Australia to obtain documentation that accurately reflects their identity and physical appearance. In turn, this will further help those same people to more easily obtain discrimination protection under West Australian law.”
Peter Hyndal, spokesperson for A Gender Agenda said he hoped that the decision would “set a precedent about the way that laws governing the recognition of sex in Australian should operate, and so help make life easier for transsexual men and women in Western Australia and the rest of the country.”
“To this end, we call on other State and Territory Governments around Australia to reflect the High Court’s decision in their interpretation and administration of the law and to act on the recommendations of the Australian Human Rights Commission Sex Files report” Hyndal added.
“We would also like to acknowledge that this historic case would not have been possible without the generous pro bono support of Freehills. Freehills commitment to this case over more than three years demonstrates their support for human rights in Australia, and we are very grateful for their efforts. We congratulate AH and AB – and also people like Conor Montgomery in NSW – for their courage and determination in tackling unfair situations. They make a huge difference for the lives of many other people in standing up for what they believe.”
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The full high court decision is available online at:
Cross-posted at Bird of Paradox