Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Just my experience with public restrooms. Girls running out and checking the sign on the door to make sure they're in the right one, men who don't use urinals, STP devices, that kind of stuff. Anyone who's not really gender-normative in presentation can relate to a lot of what is said here, I'm sure.
by Rachel Howard, Chronicle Dance Correspondent
January 28, 2009
You might expect Sean Dorsey's dances to be aesthetically transgressive or politically provocative. Dorsey - born female but now preferring the pronoun "he" - is the founder and director of Fresh Meat Productions, which he says is the nation's first year-round presenter of transgender arts.
Sometimes the most progressive thing an artist can do with a marginalized experience is to present it in a familiar, easily relatable form. Weaving movement with story, the 36-year-old Dorsey tells finely crafted, poignant tales of transgender life. In "Uncovered: The Diary Project," premiering this weekend at Dance Mission Theater, Dorsey turns his attention to the life of Lou Sullivan.
A female-to-male transsexual gay man, Sullivan lived in San Francisco from 1975 until his death in 1991, founding groundbreaking peer-support groups and publishing newsletters and informational booklets. The voluminous journals, medical records and letters he bequeathed to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society form the source material for "Lou," Dorsey's new suite of dances. . . .Read More
January 29, 2009
Beginning with the vibrant sunburst and smiling child on its cover, Marcus Ewert’s 10,000 Dresses is a joyous book about self-acceptance and identity. It is also the only children’s picture book that features an openly transgender protagonist, and does so with both sensitivity and celebration.
Young Bailey dreams of 10,000 beautiful dresses made of crystals, rainbows, flowers, and magical windows. "Boys don’t wear dresses," her mother, father, and brother each tell her. Bailey replies, "But . . . I don’t feel like a boy," to which her family responds, "Well, you are one, Bailey, and that’s that."
It is only after meeting Laurel, an older girl who befriends Bailey over their shared love of dresses, that Bailey is able to see her creations come to life.
10,000 Dresses is the first children’s book from Ewert, whose writings have appeared in such works as the 2004 Lambda Literary Award-winning anthology I Do/I Don’t: Queers on Marriage (ed. Greg Wharton and Ian Philips). Ewert also created Piki and Poko, an animated cartoon airing on Logo, but aimed at an older audience. . . .Read More
Monday, January 26, 2009
Growing up different: B.C. transgender patients line up for surgery but doctor who can do it is denied OR time
January 25, 2009
Katherine Dedyna writes about British Columbians living with gender identity disorder who continue to face expensive surgery and long stays at a private Montreal clinic now that plans for a publicly funded sexual reassignment clinic on the West Coast have collapsed.
- - -
As a tomboyish six-year-old, the little girl would tell kids she didn't know that her name was Sean. She wanted to be a boy; she felt like a boy inside. Growing up, the feeling intensified. She presented an increasingly male facade to the world. She wore men's clothing, kept her hair cropped and took testosterone for years to promote beard growth. Hair also grew on large breasts hidden by a chest binder.
But no more. At 37, Sean Brown is recovered from a double mastectomy on Oct. 28 to remove those breasts and contour a male chest. He finally feels outside the way he feels inside -- masculine in a way he couldn't fully imagine before. "It's absolute relief," he says. And he's able to live his life in ordinary ways that once eluded him: "I went swimming for the first time and got changed in the change room." No hiding required. . . .Read More
By Cathryn Friar
Gwen Araujo was born Eddie Araujo, a transgender teenager who was murdered. Her story was told in a 2006 Lifetime movie called ‘A Girl Like Me: The Gwen Araujo Story.’ Read more about Gwen’s story below, see a photo, and watch a video.
‘A Girl Like Me: The Gwen Araujo Story’ is a 2006 biography made-for-tv movie directed by award-winning director Agnieszka Holland and first aired on Lifetime Television.
It’s a really tragic story that documents the real life of Gwen Araujo, who was born Eddie Araujo, Jr., a transgender teenager who was murdered by four men in Newark, California after it was discovered she had male genitalia. Scenes from the ‘A Girl Like Me’ movie depicting the murder trial are shown alternating with the story of Gwen’s life.
The four men who killed Gwen Araujo, two of whom she had been sexually intimate with, beat her for hours then strangled her, dumping her in a remote area in the mountains. Two of the defendants were convicted of second-degree murder, but not convicted on the requested hate crime enhancements. The other two defendants pleaded guilty or no contest to voluntary manslaughter. In at least one of the trials, a ‘trans panic defense’ - an extension of the gay panic defense - was employed. You can go here to read details of what happened to Gwen, written by her mother Sylvia Guerrero. . . .Read More
AI Index: AFR 44/001/2009
26 January 2009
Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the Nigerian Bar Association Human Rights Institute (NBAHRI) and Nigerian human rights non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are deeply concerned by the 'Same Gender Marriage (Prohibition) Bill 2008', currently before the Nigerian National Assembly. The Bill would introduce criminal penalties for marriage ceremonies between persons of the same sex as well as for persons witnessing or helping to formalize such a marriage. This is in contravention of the Nigerian Constitution and inconsistent with Nigeria's obligations under international and regional human rights treaties which the country has ratified. We therefore urge the National Assembly not to pass the Bill.
Under Nigeria's criminal code and penal code, consensual same sex conduct between adults is already punishable: chapter 42, section 214 of Nigeria's criminal code provides a sentence of fourteen years' imprisonment for 'carnal knowledge against the order of nature.' . . .Read More
Friday, January 23, 2009
Read more at http://glaadblog.org/tag/the-real-world/
As I posted about on Friday, GLAAD was able to sit down with some of the cast members from this season of MTV's The Real World. It's the most LGBT inclusive season to date.
If you missed the first few interviews, you can click here to watch them. And if you missed the first episode, you can visit MTV's website and watch the entire thing along with video dailies from the cast members. The next episode airs this week on Wednesday, January 14th.
Below is our exclusive interview with Katelynn, The Real World's first ever transgender housemate.
It's encouraging to see MTV including a transgender housemate and providing greater visibility and a larger platform for transgender issues. Katelynn worked at the New York City LGBT Center while filming, which we'll hopefully learn more about as the season unfolds.
You can read more information on the cast members from the MTV press release:
Katelynn, 24 - West Palm Beach, FL
Katelynn is a native of West Palm Beach and was raised in a religious Italian household, where she dreamed of being as good of a mother to her children as her own mom has been to her. Yet, this goal seemed unattainable since Katelynn was born male. In high school, she realized that something was missing in her life, and she began the slow transgender process by starting to dress in more feminine clothing. By age 17, she began living as a woman. This past July, Katelynn traveled to Thailand to undergo surgery to complete her transformation. She is a self-proclaimed computer geek and holds a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. After a string of bad relationships, she hopes to one day marry her current boyfriend, Mike.
— Tammye Nash
Reports are that New York Gov. David Paterson has chosen Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand to replace Hillary Clinton in the U.S. Senate. And LGBT rights activists - or at least the ones sending me press releases - are already singing the new senator’s praises.
Here’s the statement from Empire State Pride Agenda Executive Director Alan Van Capelle:“We congratulate Kirsten Gillibrand for being appointed by Gov. Paterson as our new U.S. senator from New York. Finally, the great state of New York has a U.S. senator who supports marriage equality for same-sex couples. . . .Read More
Despite the fact that we didn't have television (no my parents weren't hippies) I am a piece of the MTV generation. This is when MTV played music videos and not much more. Now, 20 years later, I still watch MTV for the occasional show and I haven't seen a music video in years.
I was browsing the channels and came across The Real World, Brooklyn and decided to watch for a while. It was the episode when Katelynn comes out to a member of the house. I now save it on TIVO to follow the story. It is an interesting cast of "characters". The dynamic in the house seems good, but Katelynn seems like she's having a rough time. . . .Read More
Few singers anywhere sound as haunting -- or as haunted -- as Antony Hegarty, the brawny-looking, transsexual Irish-American maverick with a wonderfully androgynous voice and a tremulous chamber-pop style all his own.
An outsider who proudly embraces his sense of "otherness," Antony achieved international acclaim with his second album, 2005's "I Am a Bird Now." It featured a series of poignant torch ballads and what were once quaintly called art songs, each impeccably crafted and each infused with a dark, shimmering beauty that made them sound like the work of someone who came from another time and place. . . .Read More
The nominees for Grand Marshal of the Pride Parade were announced recently and Houston Police Officer Julia Christina Oliver is among the women named. That couldn't have happened two years ago when Oliver was still a male.
In 2006, Oliver, who had been on the force for more than 25 years, was beginning to make the transition from male to female and had just started hormone therapy. She had plans to tell her superiors, of course, but not just yet.
Those plans were put on fast forward when someone tried to blackmail her.
"I had somebody want $10,000 or they were going to tell the police department. So I went in and told them myself the next day, rather than let somebody blackmail me," Oliver tells Hair Balls. "My captain was very supportive. He made an effort to explain what was going on in my life to the other officers, and we suspect somebody walked out of that meeting and called Channel 2 News. The next morning, 9 o'clock, there they were at my doorstep, I was basically ambushed. In one day, I went from being very quiet and private to being very public about my life - whether I wanted to or not.". . .Read More
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
For more visit: http://glaadblog.org/2009/01/21/exclu...
If you missed our first few interviews with some of the cast members from this season of MTV's The Real World, you can click here to see JD & Scott's interview and click here to see Katelynn's. This season is the most LGBT inclusive Real World to date!
And if you missed the first couple of episodes, you can visit MTV's website and watch them along with video dailies from the cast members.
Below is our exclusive interview with Ryan & Chet, two straight cast members who initially don't seem as open to the LGBT housemates, especially Katelynn, as the other cast members.
Ryan was once in the military and is from a small town in Pennsylvania while Chet is from Salt Lake City, Utah and is Mormon. I ask Ryan about serving with gays in the military and I ask Chet about the role of the Mormon Church in Prop 8 and about attitudes towards LGBT people. Their answers are surprising!
Special to the Online Edition of Windy City Times
by Jacob Anderson-Minshall
In a world where stories like Thomas Beatie's pregnancy can capture world-wide attention overnight, it's difficult to foretell what the biggest transgender stories of 2009 will be. But here are a few of the stories—and trans folk—to watch next year.
Following our massive, community-wide sigh of relief after the 2008 presidential elections, some of us may think the hard work is over. But there's still plenty to fight for nationally—like ENDA ( the Employment Non-Discrimination Act ) —and locally, as in Gainesville, Fla., where the city council last year authorized transgender individuals to use women's bathrooms in the city's businesses and public facilities. The ruling is at risk during March's elections, when a ballot measure may amend the city charter to eliminate accommodations for transgender individuals.
Interested in influencing policy decisions? Drop in our your federal representatives during the National Center for Transgender Equality's 5th Annual Lobby Days in Washington, D.C., April 26-28, 2009.
Still in school? Join the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network ( GLSEN ) for a new national day of action Feb. 27. TransAction! is a day for education about and celebration of transgender and gender-nonconforming people. To honor the date, GLSEN encourages students to organize a workshop, panel discussion or similar forum about gender, gender identity and gender roles. . . .Read More
While others resist, Columbus grants the transgender community an identity
BY STEPH GREEGOR
Monday, January 19, 2009
Pete Seeger & Bruce Springsteen - "This Land is Your Land" - The Obama Inaugural Celebration Concert
Bruce Springsteen, with folk legend Pete Seeger, is back to sing Woody Guthrie's, "This Land is Your Land."
International Foundation for Gender Education (IFGE), Announces Plans for Transgender 2009 – the 23rd Annual Conference
Waltham, MA, January 15, 2009 --(PR.com)-- The International Foundation for Gender Education (IFGE), in association with the Transgender Education Association (TGEA) of Greater Washington, D.C., is proud to announce the 23rd annual conference to be held at the Hilton Mark Plaza Hotel in Alexandria, Virginia, February 4 – 8, 2009. “We are very excited to be staging this year’s conference right next door to our nation’s capital at such a pivotal time in our country’s history,” noted Denise Leclair, Executive Director of IFGE. “We believe it is very significant that the entire transgender community will be gathering in the Washington, D.C. area just a mere two weeks after the presidential inauguration,” Leclair continued. “2009 is a critical year for our community in terms of securing the same employment rights and protections enjoyed by the rest of society, and we firmly believe that this year’s conference will create momentum for change that will carry through the rest of the year.”. . .Read More
by Jeremy Meyer
It was hailed as a first for a major adult talent agency in the industry, when L.A. Direct Models signed its first Transsexual performer; Kimber James.
James who originally hails from
“My mother always said I was promiscuous, but they still haven’t accepted all of this yet” stated James
James credits Gia Darling as the person who gave her the start in the industry, James worked as Darling’s assistant, and they are still close friends.
James’ first film was “Transsexual Babysitters 4” for Devil Films, and James has a total of ten scenes under her belt to date.
“I’m really excited and very honored to be the first transsexual performer to be signed with L.A. Direct Models” says James “I hope this will break barriers within the adult industry on how the industry perceives transsexuals, and take it more seriously.. . .Read More
by Saraswathi Sirigina
Okay, I am not going to claim any priori or knowledge here, all that I want is honest opinion and debate. I have not googled it nor have I studied any precedents, except one case.
Let's debate on the ethical constraints and if there is any scientific or medical evidence that helps or hurts the case of transsexual rights.
The field of sport to my layperson's knowhow is limited to a gender-based segmentation/categorization.
Be it Track & Field, Tennis, Basketball, or Baseball, it has always two distinct areas of division. You have Men's Tennis/Women's Tennis, Men's Track & Field/Women's Track & Field, etc.
Some of these sports of course, do have mixed sport, where a male participant and a female participant team together and face off against a team of similar combination.
So in this distinct scenario of variant clauses, we come to the case of transgender people or transsexuals or people who have gone through Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS).
SRS is a term for the surgical procedures by which a person's physical appearance and function of their existing sexual characteristics are altered to resemble that of the other sex. (wiki). . .Read More
Angela Morley, one of the UK’s leading musical arrangers and composers, has died at the age of 84.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
"In this clip, a mother of a transgender boy provides evidence that contradicts the expectations of reparative therapist Joseph Nicolosi. Dr. Nicolosi describes his belief that transgender males are overly enmeshed with their mothers and distant from their fathers or other male figures. Toni, the mother of the transgender boy, says she was not close with her son and that the step-dad was close. Focus on the Family researcher, Glenn Stanton also provides commentary."
January 13th, 2009
by Stephen Marc Beaudoin
Democratic party booster and outspoken trans activist Laura Calvo has ascended another rung on the Oregon political ladder.
At a Jan. 10 executive committee meeting of the Democratic Party of Oregon, Calvo was chosen as the statewide party’s new Treasurer, a position which puts Calvo in elite company: she is now among only a handful of openly LGBT statewide political party officers across the country.
“It’s a pretty huge role,” Calvo says of her new post, which includes managing campaign finance compliance rules, supporting County party organizations, and fundraising for the state party. “It really gives me a chance to roll up my sleeves and move democratic issues forward. We still have the war in Iraq, healthcare, marriage equality, ENDA, all those things that need to be pushed forward on the national agenda.”. . . .Read More
Staffordshire University Students' Union nightclub, LRV, is believed to be one of the first in the country, and the first venue in Stoke-on-Trent, to have gender-neutral toilets.
They were introduced for the first student night of the new semester last Wednesday.
A decision was made by the student council in December to trial the toilets.
The nightclub at the university's Leek Road campus, in Stoke, is now trialling them for the rest of the semester.
If it proves successful, gender-neutral toilets could be rolled-out in other union venues at the university. . . .Read More
Transamerica plays on TV2 this Monday, but is it an accurate depiction of a trans journey? Chch transgender broadcaster Joanne Clarke takes a look.
Transamerica shows us the journey of a trans woman working towards her surgery when a week out she receives a phone call from a son she never knew she had.
He is in trouble with the law and she unwillingly goes to help before her therapist will release the paperwork for her surgery. It is sort of a Trans, road trip, buddy, love story kinda movie. And it works.
"This is the voice I want to use" repeats Bree, a post-op transsexual trying to create a more feminine voice.
Transamerica is one of those rare movies that doesn't sensationalise the trans journey. We see a trans woman dealing with the cards she has been dealt, from the dysfunctional relationship with her dominant mother, to someone learning who they are. . . .Read More
Megan Fox gave a bizarre interview to E!'s Giuliana DePandi Rancic on the Golden Globes red carpet on Sunday night that included her physically comparing herself to Alan Alda and spewing forth other odd neuroses.
"I am pretty sure I am a doppelganger for Alan Alda. I'm a tranny. I'm a man. I'm so painfully insecure. I'm on the verge of vomiting now. I am so horrified that I am here, and embarrassed. I'm scared," she said.
Whoa! Have a glass of champagne and settle down. Alan Alda? Trannies? What?
Fox, 22, explained that her alleged fiance Brian Austin Green didn't accompany her to the ceremony because "he's a man, he has an ego" and couldn't put up with being her purse carrier. . . .Read More
Sunday, January 11, 2009
January 9, 2009
Katelynn Cusanelli of The Real World Brooklyn may be to Transgender awareness what Pedro Zamora was for both AIDS and Homosexual understanding on the same show 15 years earlier, was my impression after watching the first episode of the 21st Real World season.
The Real World Brooklyn premiered on Wednesday January 7th, 2009 at 10pm as MTV reported the show was #1 of the entire day for 12 to 34 year olds with a 2.3 rating, reaching almost 2.3 million viewers.
MTV went on to report that the debut provided the strongest Wednesday rating for the 12 to 34 year old viewers since the Summer of 2007 beating The Real World Hollywood premiere by 6%.
I was impressed by the first episode of the Brooklyn season as for the first in a long time there was a FILM cast.
I have worked with all previous Real World cast members, booking them for appearances, but as of recent years I barely, if ever, watch the show as I felt it was a constant rewind of the same ol same ol - drink, hookup, and argue. . . .Read More
9 January 2009
The sexualization of tots in diapers has been ongoing since Alfred Kinsey bragged of infant orgasms in 1948, kicking off Playboy's infant-and-child sex vignettes in 1954. After the late 1960s, schoolhouse administrators increasingly trained children in Planned Parenthood texts to engage in "outlet" sex, homosexuality, bisexuality and pornography use.
Millions of children did as they were educated and became sexually promiscuous. This opened the door to Big Pharma when, in 1992, the State began mandating an improperly tested venereal-disease vaccine, HepB, for neonates.
Big Pharma neglected to inform mom and dad that one commonly gets HepB from sexual contact with a vector. The Imperial State now mandates yet another improperly tested STD vaccine, HPV, to allegedly protect "tweens" from cervical cancer. . . .Read More
Special to The Canadian
A decision to allow transsexual men in Sweden to get prosthetic penises free of charge from local health authorities has drawn criticism because the prostheses on offer don’t get erect.
Starting on January 1st, 2009 transsexual men (i.e. men who were born as females but have undergone sex-change operations) will, with a note from a doctor, be able to receive a prosthetic penis from a plastic surgeon at no cost, according to Ottar, a magazine published by the Swedish Association for Sexuality Education (RFSU).
The move is meant to correct what has long been considered a glaring case of gender bias against transsexual men when it comes to the support they receive to help them fit into society following sex change surgery.
While transsexual women have long been eligible for publicly funded wigs, breast implants, and hair removal operations, transsexual men have previously been without any corresponding cosmetic adjustment assistance.
While Cecilia Dhejne, a sexologist and specialist in psychiatry at Karolinska Hospital in the Stockholm suburb of Huddinge, agrees that the measure is an important step forward, she remains critical of the decision because the prosthetic penises cannot be used to urinate and cannot become erect. . . .Read More
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
If you've been to Boynton Beach, then you're aware that it's best known for being sort of near Delray Beach. But it also apparently had, until recently, at least one transsexual resident, because she's now starring on MTV's The Real World. Katelynn Cusanelli even grew up in Sunrise, which is known for being kind of near a bunch of other places. As we all know, the show simulates real life by finding the most peculiar of us and putting them into one room and then solving our societal problems, like cancer, the AIDS epidemic, and why The Gap isn't cool anymore. . . .Read More
‘FABULOUS’ is the most obvious adjective with which to describe The Red Piano show.
But perhaps it is also the most appropriate, because this slice of Las Vegas razzamatazz is every bit as flamboyant as Elton John himself.
"A bewildering suicide story on screen depicted an angel being fed honey by an ice–skating bear, a seemingly transsexual figure destroying a wedding cake and then his/her naked figure set on fire (in the most painful of places) while sat on an electric chair."Neil Docking
Striding onto the stage sporting a sequined jacket flecked with musical notes, Sir Elton was met with a standing ovation before he had even taken his seat at the grand piano set upon a luminous red star.
Giant neon letters spelling out his name were lowered from the rafters, but launching into Benny and the Jets it was his signature piano playing and the musicianship of his band, including longtime collaborators Davey Johnstone on guitar and Nigel Olsson on drums, that seized the audience’s attention.
His range may have diminished but Elton’s voice has definitely retained its power.
And by combining timeless hits with brazen pomp the piano man provides an irresistible spectacle. . . .Read More
January 7, 2009
MTV changes the game for the mother of all ‘Real’ shows.
To say that “The Real World” has a tarnished reputation is an under-statement.
After 20 seasons, the MTV reality show that once captured the real lives of seven interesting young people has devolved into one giant petri dish for bratty, alcohol-infused debauchery. Praise be to a renewed sense of decency, as the producers have seemingly recognized the downward trend by getting back to the roots of the program with “The Real World: Brooklyn.”
With the lack of a contrived business endeavor or group project for the cast members to run this season, it’s clear that the lives of these seven will create enough fodder for drama on their own. The diverse group includes the first transsexual cast member to the program, a self-described “punk rock Mormon,” a dolphin trainer and a soldier who guarded Saddam Hussein during his trial. Throughout the show, each was followed independently as they pursued their own goals — a format that hasn’t been used in the show since season four, “The Real World: London” in 1994.
But don’t be fooled into thinking there won’t be a bit of the sleaze-o angle we all know (and begrudgingly love).
Monday, January 05, 2009
i did this make up for a halloween party last year. this is a very fast and sloppy version but you get the idea. i was kind of popular among the girls on the dance floor that evening ;D and the reason why i don't smile when i'm made up as a guy is because that really blows my cover ;)
When Carrie PepinSmith wanted to become Cary PepinSmith, a Hennepin County judge had no problem granting the request.
But when the 44-year-old transgender man wanted to change the "F" on his birth certificate to an "M," the judge balked.
"He had no idea how to change the gender on my birth certificate," PepinSmith said. But he'd heard other people had gone to the same place, the Hennepin County Courthouse, and had both the name and gender designation changed at once.
"So why is there no consistency in this?" he wondered.
People who move from one gender to another — with surgical changes or without — face a confounding maze of legal challenges. One of the greatest is changing identity documents, including birth certificates, driver's licenses, Social Security records and passports.
It doesn't stop there. Issues involving employment, health insurance and even bathroom use are among the top concerns facing transgender people, advocates say.
"Our legal system is so premised on the notion of two categories, male and female, that it doesn't easily grasp what to do when a person moves from one category to another," said Phil Duran, staff attorney at OutFront Minnesota, a Minneapolis-based group that offers programs and services for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities.
"The law often just does not have easy, established answers for the questions transgender people find themselves facing," Duran said. . . .Read More
Jan 5, 2009
The Jewish community has largely embraced its GLB members, with transgendered Jews now also being more widely accepted.
A Han. 5 article at Haaretz.com related the experience of Elliot Kukla, a rabbi in the Reform tradition of the Jewish faith, who disclosed that he was transgendered before he was ordained over two years ago.
In that short span of time, Kukla has seen the his faith open up to him.
The article quoted Rabbi Kukla as saying of his fellow Jews in the San Francisco area, "I’m so amazed at the old ladies who will turn to their friends and say, ’Did you meet the nice, young transgender rabbi?’"
Added the rabbi, "Some of that is San Francisco, but that conversation would never have happened a few years ago."
Jewish GLBT group Mosaic’s executive director, Gregg Drinkwater, noted, "Transgender issues are really the next set of issues that the Jewish community feels it needs to address." . . .Read More
Aleisha Cuff / Vancouver / January 01, 2009
I'll admit I winced when someone handed me a copy of the Dec 4 edition of Xtra West. Two men in bed, not exactly groundbreaking news for an LGBT paper.
Then I saw the title of the piece splashed across the photo: "Shifting Desires: How Trans People are Reshaping Same-Sex Attractions." I winced again.
Truth be told I don't read Xtra West very often. That's not meant as a singular slight against the paper, I just don't do many LGBT community things anymore. I don't go to Pride parades, I haven't been to a bar in years, and I rarely go to any other mainstream LGBT event.
The reason I wince, and why I don't do these things anymore, is because I am a queer transsexual woman, and being a queer transsexual woman in Vancouver is, to put it mildly as I can, a difficult proposition.
There have been a great many words written about Kimberly Nixon v. Vancouver Rape Relief Society, and I don't have much to add to that. To begin a discussion of the relationship of trans women and Vancouver without acknowledging it, though, would be remiss.
The ripples from the ruling in that case (where a BC Supreme Court judge sided with Rape Relief that a trans woman is not a woman) are still being felt, and the implications for trans people and all minorities are still yet to be fully realized.
But I don't want to debate a court case, and I don't want to debate my identity. Having spent years involved in the trenches of these discussions I'm tired, and I don't think I'm going to change anyone's bias based on a good argument anyway.
I think, however, those biases will have a harder time if faced with stories about people. It's a great deal harder to hold essentialist beliefs about someone you know.
My path to being queer was in many ways extremely similar to the cisgendered women I've spoken to (cisgendered means those of you who aren't transsexuals. It's a mouthful, sure, but so was heterosexual when it started being used). I'd spent a number of years dating men, and was in a long-term relationship with a man when I realized the people I kept falling in love with were women.
With this realization came a range of emotions, but ultimately the strongest of these was trepidation —and the excitement of coming out and finding this part of myself was tempered with fear.
Although I'd been living in the straight world, I knew that Nancy Burkholder had been escorted off the land at the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival in 1991 for being transsexual, and I had heard from queer trans women I knew that I should brace myself for shunning, exclusion and anger.
Whipping Girl, by American writer, trans activist and biologist Julia Serano, reads like a primer for a feminism that includes trans women. Her primary thesis deals with what she calls trans misogyny —a kind of misogyny perpetrated on trans women, but having far deeper implications. Serano argues, and I'd agree, that much of the anger and fear of trans women speaks to a deeper misogyny that is somehow legitimized when it is aimed at trans women. . . .Read More