Thursday, December 27, 2007

Passing Thoughts

Life as a Trans Woman Ain’t Easy

| posted by Guest Blogger | Sunday, December 23, 2007

Hi, all, I'm RachelPhilPa (a totally goofy, non-clever handle, I know). I've been reading and commenting on Shakesville for a couple of years now, and recently started my own blog. I'm honored that Melissa asked me to write a guest post about a series of articles about harassment on my blog.

By way of (brief) introduction, I'm a trans woman in her late 40's; I started transitioning 4 years ago. I'm white, middle-class, Jewish, queer, dealing with multiple disabilities, and a survivor of long-term adulthood sexual abuse. I identify strongly and proudly as a feminist. I don't classify my feminism (second-wave, third-wave, etc, etc), but I think that I take a decent amount of my thought and ideas from radical feminism (even as I argue with some radical feminists over trans issues).

Now on to the subject. As I have progressed in my transition, I have become increasingly aware of, and subject to, both sexual and transphobic harassment. Like many women, I live with an undercurrent of fear. It's not at the level that makes me want to hide and withdraw, but is at the level that it influences the decisions that I make every day and that affects my mood throughout the day. I've read many posts and comments from women (and not a few gender-variant and/or gay men) expressing the same fear, here on Shakesville and throughout the feminist blogosphere. I've also read the comments of many men (and a few women) who are dismissive of this and accuse us of exaggerating or making this stuff up. For myself, and for many other trans folk, my fear is heightened by the transphobia and cissexualism that is inherent in our patriarchal society.

So, I decided to keep a log of incidents of harassment, both to help myself quantify what I'm facing, and to have something to refer people to when they say "It isn't really that bad." Not all of these incidents targeted me directly. But when a judge says that a sex worker can't be raped, or Michael Savage viciously slanders trans people, they are telling all women, and all trans folk, that we are less worthy, that we had better shut up, that we had better hide ourselves. . .

Zulu boy returns as drag-queen diva

Biénne Huisman

December 22, 2007

Talented Sfiso is back in SA, all sass and style.

Sfiso was a starry- eyed Zulu boy from a humble township home when he left for London seven years ago.

This week he returned to South Africa as a glamorous drag queen — adorned in lipstick and long lashes.

The youngster has been recording tracks with British producers including Kwame Kwaten, who has worked with international stars like Jay Z and Mick Jagger.

Sfiso, whose name means “wish” in Zulu, has come a long way since being raised in a traditional family in the sugar-producing town of Mtubatuba, in northern KwaZulu-Natal. The once bashful lad has met Madonna, now addresses people as “honey” and prefers to be referred to as a “she”.

Sfiso performed in front of thousands of revellers at British gay and lesbian events in London and Manchester earlier this year.

She also took to the stage at the Mother City Queer Project (MCQP) bash in Cape Town last night and is determined to captivate local audiences with her single Diva and a cover version of Dontcha by the Pussycat Dolls.

The Sunday Times met the doe-eyed diva at a guesthouse in Cape Town .

She spoke of mingling with the rich and famous in London, but said she regularly visited her home in South Africa. . . .

Editorial: Third Sex: Illusion or Reality?

[ 2007-12-23 ]

Sadhana Ghimire

Masculine characteristics are referred to as aggressive, more logical, made for policy level decisions and heading the families among others whereas feminine characteristics implicate more emotional, loving, depending and caring nature, which leads to assisting people and devoting their lives to others.


However, despite hundreds of historical examples about exceptions to these generalized sex identities, there are some humans who don't fall under the category of either male or female. Although it is said that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, these people are often deprived of some rights.

Some organizations working for the rights of the people claim that they are neither male nor female. They say that these individuals are different than the general sex identities i.e. man and woman. They are somewhere in the middle, means, they possess characteristics of both men and women. Either they look like a man but behave like a woman or vice versa. The advocates claim that these people should be called the third gender (most commonly known as transgender) people who want to become a woman, despite being a man by nature, or a man despite being a woman by nature. . .

Wayne's tranny bridesmaid

WAYNE Rooney's gay transvestite cousin is BEGGING for a major role in the football star's June wedding—as a BRIDESMAID.

But friends fear drag queen Stephen will turn the England striker's big match of the day into a Rooney-tunes farce.

The plump relative—who loves wearing lipstick and a blonde wig—vowed: "If Coleen wants me as a bridesmaid then she won't be let down. I've been hitting the shops."

Man Utd striker Wayne has ruled out a leading MALE roles for family members of the family at the wedding. He said: "We aren't going to have any pages as we don't really have any young lads in our families. They're all a bit older and I think it looks a bit stupid to have grown lads dressed up."

But cheeky 23-year-old Stephen— who works in Kentucky Fried Chicken—still has big hopes of following the happy couple up the aisle on their big a frock.

And he says: "I'm good mates with Coleen and she knows what I'm like. I came out about two years ago and both she and Wayne are cool about it."

A friend said: "Wayne didn't rule Stephen out so we reckon he's still in with a chance as a bridesmaid—and he'd do as good a job as posh friends like Victoria Beckham any day. . .

Colin Firth and Rupert Everett Q&A

Bridget Jones star Colin Firth and Rupert Everett, who was last heard in Shrek 3, are the big stars of Brit comedy St. Trinian's. Firth plays a devious education minister, while Everett dons a wig and fake breasts as school headmistress Miss Fritten. IGN caught up with the pair in suitably banterous mood last week.

IGN: How's it going?

Rupert Everett: We're very tired.... you have to say something completely scintillating!

IGN: That's a lot of pressure to be honest! So I expect viewers will enjoy your onscreen chemistry, but how did you guys find it?

Rupert Everett: Well it made me a bit uncomfortable because I thought Colin was just a little too hot-to-trot, he was meant to be restrained...

Colin Firth: He was fighting me off!

Rupert Everett: I just had to put the breaks on.

Colin Firth: I started to wonder what was wrong with me, it was too strong. I was thinking "Is it him, is it me?"

Rupert Everett: At least I was trying to be professional about it and maintain some dignity and decorum. . .

OPINION: A "Gay Man" Trapped in a Woman's Body and Other Nonsense

By Matt Barber (12/21/07)

Talk radio host Michael Savage doesn't mince words. He often says that "liberalism is a mental disorder." He's right. Liberal ideology and political correctness, infused with public policy, begets social insanity.

Case in point: A recent report on a popular homosexual “news” site declares, “A transgendered student says he is the victim of discrimination at a small Massachusetts community college because he is biologically female.”

Say what? “He” is “female”? Welcome to PC-ville. Come for the oxymoron, stay for the cognitive dissonance.

In other news, “French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte says he is the victim of discrimination because he is biologically Bob from Detroit.”

Apparently, this clearly confused 20-year-old woman who “presents as a male and wears male clothing” is upset that Northern Essex Community College in Haverhill, Massachusetts, will not allow her to undress, shower or otherwise cavort with the fellows in the men’s locker room. She’s reportedly filed an “affirmative action complaint” against the school.

Even Haverhill’s local newspaper, the Eagle-Tribune, plays along, saying that she was “denied the use of the men’s locker room … because of his female anatomy.”

“His female anatomy”!?

Okay, wait a minute. … Is this one of those, “it depends on what the meaning of the word ‘his’ is” moments?

But it gets worse. The paper goes on to explain that this young woman — er, man … whatever — actually identifies as a “gay male.” It explains that her, “public unveiling as a transgender gay male happened as an adult two years ago. His designation means he has a female body, but identifies as a male and is sexually attracted to men.”

Geeze-oh-Pete! My head hurts. Can this be for real? How can any newspaper that wants to be taken seriously report this with a straight face? A “gay” man trapped in a woman’s body? And all this time I thought they were just straight gals in Dockers and flannel. When I was a kid we called them “tomboys.” They were great fun to play softball with, but they still had to shower with the rest of the girls. What unenlightened bigots we were back then.

Look, I don’t mean to single out this young woman. She very possibly suffers from Gender Identity Disorder (GID). Even the left-leaning American Psychiatric Association (APA) acknowledges this unfortunate illness. She’s clearly very confused and needs therapy and prayer. I wish her nothing but the best.

But unfortunately, her story embodies everything that’s wrong with liberalism and political correctness (well, maybe not everything). This girl is no more a man than Charlton Heston is Moses. And despite the fact that the left has never found a victim they don’t like (except for Christians), she’s not a victim of discrimination either.

She’s a victim of reality. . . .

A Transgender Odyssey Takes Teacher From Michigan Campus to National Stage

Todd A. Heywood

When Julie Nemecek first told the president of Spring Arbor University that she was transgender and would be assuming her female persona, the president, Nemecek said, was supportive. But in the weeks that followed she was subjected to a series of ever more restrictive rules.

Nemecek, an ordained Baptist minister who changed her name from John, could not wear women's clothing or makeup on the campus of the conservative Christian school, which prohibits same-sex relationships. She could not teach on campus, only online. She could not discuss her transition with anybody from Spring Arbor University. She could not identify herself as an employee of Spring Arbor. Her salary was cut.

But all the repressive actions by the university, located 30 miles south of Jackson, were not enough to stop Nemecek from becoming who she was. . . .

"My parents said they had always known there was something a little different about me."

Social Issues - Thu, 27 Dec 2007
Coming Out to Your Parents

If you're lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning (LGBTQ), you may struggle with the decision of whether to come out to your parents. Telling your parents can definitely have its rewards — sharing such important, personal information about yourself can strengthen your relationship with your parents, and may even deepen their trust in you.

But while some parents will welcome the news, others may react poorly. Tina, 17, says she doesn't think she'll ever tell her mom or dad she's a lesbian. "My parents raised a girl, and they just wouldn't understand that I like other girls," she says. On the flipside, even if your parents are LGBTQ themselves, they may understand and support your decision, but worry about the homophobia and heterosexism you may have to face.

Thinking It Over

If you're thinking of coming out to your parents, it's important to know if one or both of them will understand and support you. If coming out means that you risk losing your family's support, you may need to wait until you can find a way to support yourself, both emotionally and financially. Think carefully about your answers to these questions before making your final decision: . . .