Sunday, November 21, 2010

Washington DC Transgender Day Of Remembrance Memorial Event

w Amanda Simpson, the keynote speaker I went Washington DC for the Transgender Day Of Remembrance. The organizers, mainly from Transgenser Health Empowerment, decided to have the memorial two days early on November 18. I introduced the keynote speaker, Amanda Simpson. She is the first openly trans woman to ever be appointed by a president, President Obama. Amanda gave such a heart wrenching speech. With tears in her eyes, she really humanized the trans community. She also spoke out about David Letterman's offensive episode that made "transgender panic" into a joke after Amanda's appointment last year. She spoke about how the bullying in the media can evolve into violence against trans people. Kudos to her for calling Mr.Letterman out! This day is always very emotional for me. In a time span of 10 years Ive known 7 trans women of color from Southern Calfornia to all die before age 35. The causes were anywhere from murder,a hate crime, drugs, disease, illegal transitional related healthcare. Its because of all the sisters I have lost that I do activism. This is an epidemic thatn hits too close to home for me. I know they are angels in heaven looking down on us and that they are happy we are doing activism to ensure that these murders cease.

Amanda Simspon speaks at the event Allyson Robinson and her family, so cute! GLSEN's Alison Gill w/ The DC Trans Coalition w/ Transgender Health Empowerment's Brian Watson (far right) and other organizers

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Trans Man Speaks Out Against The Trans Men Who Appropriate The "T Word" Despite The Women The Slur Is Usually Thrown At

FYI: Men can be feminists too
Trans guy Nathaniel Jospeh opposses his trans brothers appropriating the anti-trans woman slur "tra**y"

Trans woman/human rights advocate Bianca Lynne disagrees with the trans men who want to "reclaim" the T-word

There is a trend where some trans men are fighting to reclaim a hurtful perjorative that has always been used to dehumanize and misgender trans women, not men.

Bianca Lynne, a transgender woman and advocate for the human rights of trans people, responds to trans guys supposedly “reclaiming” the T word: “For trans-male spectrum folks to "reclaim" the word over the objections of people who are actually called the word seems more like appropriation. I've never ever heard trans men called "tranny" - except among themselves and by their partners. Even so, when the term is used by cis people, it is mostly used against trans-female spectrum people or to tell cis women they look ridiculous ...- like a man in a dress trying too hard.”

A trans man named Nathaniel Joseph from San Francisco speaks out against his trans brothers appropriating the anti-transsexual slur “tra**y” because the slur originated as a misogynistic way to mock and degrade trans women. He explains:

“I was confused about the use of the word at first. As a Northern California transman I do hear it thrown around in the younger brothers of my community. It never felt right to me, but at first I thought 'they are trying to reclaim the word and take the power out it as a pejorative.' I still refused to use it and thought I needed to respect others wishes to use it for themselves. However, after several ladies so passionately, and respectfully, explained its implications, history and pain it causes them I do not allow it to be said in my presence without a rebuttal.

It seems to me that it falls in line with some of the same misogyny some transmen spew. I rebut that as well. It sickens me as a transman, assigned female at birth and socialized as such, that some of my brothers are so callous and apathetic towards women's issues, causes and lives. Did they forget what it is like to walk through this world as female? It is not acceptable for cis males to act in such regard towards women, but when transmen do it it's deeply disheartening and causes more anger in me. Perhaps it's their desire to be like the cis males in our society, but whatever reasoning they have it's not acceptable!!! I have no tolerance for such transmen, and perhaps I hold them to a higher standard because our birth condition, but nonetheless it is ignorant and disgusting to see them throw women, especially our sisters in the community, under the bus to be treated with disdain, disrespect and violence.

It has been hard having my former community (LGB) turn its back on me and to see the hatred and appropriation they have for us. Nevertheless, I refuse to allow myself to mingle with anyone who treats others with malice and disdain. I am a transman, but I do not agree with anyone who treat human beings with such indignity, my trans brothers and former LGB community included. It is so disheartening that there is so much in-fighting within our own community. I refuse to be anyone's brother, regardless of our transmaleness, that is so quick to degrade women (especially our sisters).

So, thank you ladies for speaking your truth and eloquently explaining your stance and feelings on the matter. This brother stands with you, respects you and will fight alongside you to end misogyny against all women”- Nathaniel Jospeh (now this is the type of man I dream of- a feminist!)

I must agree with both Nathaniel's plea to his trans brothers to respect their trans sisters, and with Bianca’s comment as well: “For trans-male spectrum folks to "reclaim" the word over the objections of people who are actually called the word (women) seems more like appropriation”.

Exactly. Right now there is a crisis of non-trans people making the term a "dehumanizing icky put down slur". Also, the term was first made as a slur against transsexual women--it’s not for trans men to "reclaim". I oppose men (trans or cis gay men) using the term as a "campy comical pet name for each other”. The term started off as a way to objectify, sexualize, mis-gender, "other" and degrade trans women, especially in porn, on TV shows, and in sensational print media. It’s irresponsible for trans men to appropriate a term that has so much hurt and abuse against women. Also, trans people are not in the same place as lesbian people are concerning human rights/acceptance/positive visibility/understanding from society to be able to reclaim such a dehumanizing pejorative like some lesbian women have with “d*ke”. All the term tra**y does is give every bigot and transphobe an excusable way to vent their transphobia and hate by using the word. I think it’s unfair that a small subculture in San Fran of gender queer and FTM transgender people get to appropriate a word that is really alienating women. This trend has no respect for the women the term is generally thrown at like stones. The slur is associated with violence and hate. Many rap stars use the N word "affectionately", but you would never hear Rev Al Sharpton or Oprah telling the Black community "some people use it affectionately, lets respect that". Likewise, we are at a tipping point of a trans human rights movement here, we must be careful to not encourage the dehumanization of our community by following the few who irresponsibly use that word. Hell no, this is a chance for us to rise up and educate society, not a time to allow those in the trans community who accept segregation, misgendering, crumbs and "pet names" to tell us to "lighten up". We have a chance here to combat unhealthy stigma- and hopefully the majority of trans people will consider the bigger picture, and not follow the few drag queens or the few gender queer FTM guys who obsess over the words “coolness and hipness”. Accepting bigot’s hate words for us is not “cool or affectionate”

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Veterans Day to All the Transsexual & Transgender Soliders Who Initiated The Stonewall War of 1969!!!

Happy Veterans Day to all the transsexual and transgender soliders who started the Stonewall War of 1969. And my sympathies to you for 40 years later that Gay Inc has hijacked your legacy, gay appropirated your truth, suppressed your plight & are misrepresnting you. But cheer up, there can always be a Stonewall War Part Two!!!!!!!!!!

Its time ro evaluate this shot gun arranged marriage! If there's to be no communication, respect or allowance of speaking ones own voice, how does that help us as transsexual, intersex and gender non-conforming Americans? I want this family to stay together, but not if we are to be locked in the tower like the unwanted & muzzled stepchild. Give us a seat at the table, or sign the divorce papers. We are NOT your property. Gender reality, birth challenges, medical conditions, chromosomes and anatomy diversity are NOT "sexual orientation"

People don't want the trans community to speak for themselves, they just want us as invisible, voiceless, kept away, appropriated stepchildren of Gay Inc. Our invisibility is killing us, and that's why there's so much misunderstanding and confusion from the public, this misrepresentation is toxic.

Any ideas on how to inspire Gay Inc to stop the gay appropriation of the transsexual and intersex communties?

Monday, November 8, 2010

NY LGBT Center Hosts "Women's Event 13" Gala Honoring Cynthia Nixon, Dr. Yvette Burton & Joan Garry

w/ award honoree Cynthia Nixon (Sex And The City actress/LGBT advocate)

w/ honoree Dr. Yvette Burton of IBM (middle) and GO Magazine's Lauren Golfer (right)

w/ honoree activist Joan Garry

Saturday night New York City’s LGBT Center held their annual “Women’s Event” Awards Gala at Chelsea Piers. It was quite an experience to be in a room with so many dynamic and strong women all committed to one purpose: Equality for everyone in this country, regardless of their gender reality, birth challenges, medical conditions, chromosomes or sexual orientation.

Noted actress and advocate Cynthia Nixon (Sex and the City), IMB Exec & LGBT advisor Dr. Yvette Burton and activist Joan Garry were all honored for their dedication and advocacy to the LGBT community.

Cynthia Nixon has been doing a great job advocating for marriage equality. I met her at the National Equality March in Washington DC last year, and she is really nice in person. Her fiance, Christine Marinoni, introduced Cynthia, and so is so charismatic and funny, she should be a standup comedian!

I met award honoree Dr. Yvette Burton in LA during the GLAAD Media Awards a few years ago. She was the president of GLAAD’s Board of Directors. She actually used to work at The NY LGBT Center too. She totally deserved her award for educating multiple corporations on issues pertaining to the LGBT community.

My heart sank when during Joan’s acceptance speech she kept on saying “gay and lesbian” during her speech, never once did she say “bisexual or transgender”. I wonder if she knew there were many trans people in that room who felt excluded. Hopefully, the next time she speaks she remembers that this is an LGBT community, not a LG one. However, there is no love lost from me for Joan, she is an amazing activist, and perhaps she just needs some more education about the responsibility of inclusive language.

The moment that touched me the most during the night was when Glennda Testone (Director of the Center) spoke about how this was her mothers first time coming to a LGBT event. Glennda shared how it had taken her mother a while to come to terms with her daughters's orientation, but eventually she came through. I met Glennda's mother afterwards and she really is a sweet heart. It makes me feel warm to see other LGBT people's parents so accepting and supporting of their children. I wish all parents were that awesome and unconditional with their love.

It was such a good time being around so many activists and feminists. Can’t wait until next year!
I love that the NY Community Center includes "transgender & bisexual" in their title. The LA Center does not :(
w/ The Center's Exec. Director Glennda Testone (right) and her adorable mother
w/ GLAAD's Cindi Creager (middle) and her wife Rainie Cole
w/ Edge Publication's William Kapher (right) and NPR's Debra Delman (2nd from left)

w/ LGBT advocate Nicole Mason (2nd from right)
w/ The Centers YLC's Billy Wheelan (2nd from left)
w/ Stephanie Battaglino (board member for The Center)
w/ LAMBDA Legals Anna Wipfler (middle) and her girlfriend

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Protesting the UN-Fit "FIT DVD", Transphobia, Stonewall UK's Bullying & Dept. for "Education's" Irresponsiblity.

I'm outisde the British Consulate New York last night protesting child bullying

We protested last night in front of the British Consulate, New York, because a very alarming situation is happening in the UK. A transphobic DVD named “FIT” has been approved to show children and youth in public schools. The anti-transsexual slur “tra**y” is being used, which is used as a taunt and insult when bullies and bigots harass people perceived to be transsexual, intersex or gender non-conforming. The protest was presented by Media Advocates Givivng National Equality to Transsexual & Transgender People (MAGNET) and International Foundation for Gender Education (IFGE). MAGNET's press release:
Outside the British Consulate New York "Dept 4 Education OR Dept. 4 Transphobia? Edit Out The T-Word!"

Stonewall UK is behind the messaging in the PSA. We chose last night to protest to coincide with the Stonewall Awards in London, which took place last night as well. Originally, the London LGBT community was going to protest outside the awards, but Stonewall UK gave into the gay and lesbian community’s demands to advocate for marriage, so it was cancelled. However, Stonewall UK did not even address the transphobic DVD, therefore devaluing the needs of trans people. Many UK transsexual and transgender people are outraged that the demonstration was cancelled even though the (mis)educational video has not been edited. Since we wanted to show solidarity with the UK trans community, and because transphobia in any classroom affects us all, we decided to have our own protest in New York. Too many times trans people get thrown under the bus when gay and lesbian people have their needs met, and we are sick of having our human rights tampered with.

The FIT DVD is supposed to be an “anti-bullying” video- however, the use of the taunt and slur "tra**y" is used- which is a verbal form of bullying which leads to dehumanization and violence. How did an anti-bullying DVD become a DVD that bullies trans people?? This outrage is being ignored by Stonewall UK, who not only advised on the DVD, but has an unhealthy past with the UK trans community: Stonewall UK excludes them from their mission statement, yet has the audacity to (mis)represent them, and has even been caught back lobbying against their interests. There should be “no taxation without representation”. This colonial practice is abusive, and goes against the human rights of trans people living in the UK. From MAGNET's press release "The United Kingdom is very pioneering by having the Gender Recognition Act. The Department of Education is obligated to uphold this Act (verbal abuse is still abuse and sometimes hurts more than stones). The anti-trans slur must be edited out".

Trans people initiated the Stonewall Riots of 1969, which catapulted the modern LGBT movement, yet Stonewall UK hijacked the word and oppress the same people who started Stonewall! This is appalling, and we must respect our history

If this video is shown in schools it will affect the US trans community as well because the promoting of a stigmatizing anti-trans slur in an "education" video will give every transphobe and bigot the "right" to get away with using that word, and will refer to the FIT DVD as an excuse. Much like the "N" word affects the Black community, we need to take a stand against the T Word

Many UK trans advocates and leaders asked us to continue with our protest. Some of them feel inclined to not speak out publicly against Stonewall UK because of political reasons, access, etc. We feel this video is NOT a time to compromise. Many people are disappointed that many times “token trans leaders” get either seduced by the bureaucracy, compromise for career advancement, ignore the complaints of their own trans people, are “out of touch” with today’s youth or submit to the same establishment that oppresses the people they are supposed to represent. We must not give in until the transphobia is edited out. Our children need us to be adults who protect them.

The T-word is very controversial. For example, it's used as a way to dismiss a woman's (who was born with birth challenges and a medical condition) womanhood. A woman born with a medical condition is still a woman, not an "it, sub-woman or "tra**y"". This is not a Halloween costume, it’s her life. Many drag performing MALES appropriate transsexual issues or words. It may be all fun and games to a drag performer to use words to be "hip, shocking, offensive or sensational", but not to a trans woman who's hate crime assailant is calling her the T-word as he murders her, or to a trans person who gets called that on the bus by a trans-phobe or bigot. Stigmatizing pejoratives are not "cool", they hurt really badly, and the trans youth will be ridiculed in their own classroom unless the transphobia is edited out from the DVD. Name calling and taunts are a form of verbal bullying, and many times lead to physical violence .I don't hear Asian people just dying to use the N-word just because it’s “cool” in hip hop music videos and then telling Black people to "lighten up". Likewise, I get annoyed when gay men and drag queens fight to be able to reclaim a word that is not theirs to reclaim. Some of their entitlement issues and insensitivity is astounding, and oppressive. The director of FIT, Rikki Beadle-Blair, is a gay man (not trans), and does not have the right to tell women (usually the slur is directed at MTF women) what to be offended by. This is sexist, arrogant and clueless in regards to the mental violence and dehumanization that the word inspires. He claims “I hear kids use the word sometimes”. I hear Black kids use the word “ni**er” and girls use the word “b*tch”, but it doesn’t mean I should put the slur in an “educational” video(especially for children's schools where bullying is a crisis and LGBT youth are committing suicide),for crying out loud!

We ask the British Department of Education, The Teachers Union, Equality and Human Rights Commission and Stonewall UK to protect the well being of all the children who attend school, and make the responsible and socially conscious decision to edit out the dehumanizing pejorative from the DVD. Normalizing the T-word, much like how the N-word was normalized decades ago to degrade Black people, will have severe consequences for the acceptance of trans people in mainstream society. It’s unbelievable that an oppressed minority group, especially children, could have their human rights be disrespected like this by authority figures. As adults, we must protect trans children. Teachers being forced to show DVDs with anti-trans slurs will do no such thing. The good news is that the decision makers involved still have a chance to do what’s right and fix this horrid mistake.
After the protest outside the British Consulate we went to the Stonewall Inn (unlike Stonewall UK, Stonewall Inn does not oppress trans people, and in fact, it was trans people who initated the Stonewall Riots of 1969, so how bizarre and shady is it that Stonewall UK excludes trans people, and advocates for anti-trans slurs to be in "educational" videos to be shown to children which is a form of verbal bullying.

Get over your fear of people born with disabilties, birth challenges, medical conditions or who do not conform to gender. (There are even people in our own LGBT community who are transphobic)