Posted by – February 16, 2014
I posted the news of the verdict on Facebook and wound up writing about it off & on all night. As I explained to a friend, sometimes a particular case just reminds you of how lamentable a loss of life can be, & this one is that, for me. His poor parents.
So despite the fact that the jury hung on the top charge not because anyone thought he was totally innocent but more because some wanted first degree and others, manslaughter, I still see a travesty here. This young man is dead because this guy thought shooting into a car full of teenagers was a legitimate response to someone’s music being too loud.
I just keep thinking that there should be some addition of guilt because this situation never had to happen at all. It’s different from winding up in a situation where you feel threatened. He could have just left them alone. Just so much fucking privilege on his part. I’m glad he’s doing time but it’s so, so sad that he wasn’t actually convicted of killing that man. It’s just such a painful reminder that young black men’s lives are always on the line. He was in a car listening to music with his friends, you know? & He died because someone else decided that was unacceptable. I understand there are always legal issues but you know, sometimes there just shouldn’t be, and absolute disregard for others’ right to LIVE should be accounted for. Just sad tonight that white people persist in seeing young brothers as scary. & that we live in a culture that validates that fear instead of insisting on an end to this racist bullshit.
I’m not blaming the jury. As white people we really have to start owning this shit. Quit grasping your bag tighter, and locking your car doors when you see a black person, and all of the rest of this crap that we do, all the time, because we don’t examine our privilege. And so racism persists, and an environment where young black men are always suspect, for no reason other than that we suspect them, all the time, no matter what they’re doing.
& It tires me in a bone-deep kind of way, of knowing I’m guilty of it as well as the next person. But we can’t keep pretending that this atmosphere isn’t rancid, that it criminalizes some people no matter what. I hate it, & just wanted to renew my commitment to not shutting the hell up about skin privilege and the way it creates an unjust environment. I can’t afford to think of myself as innocent because when I do, someone else becomes guilty for no fucking reason at all. We have to do more to stop the criminalization of young black men. Whatever we can, whenever we can.
Posted by – February 16, 2014
PlanetTransgender has transcribed some of his comments:
“I don’t think if somebody is a true transgender, we should condemn them. I mean, that’s just the way it is.”
“The guy’s 30 years old. I mean, he’s an adult. So, what can you do except love him. Alright,” Robertson added.
I hope Christian parents listen.
(h/t to Naomi, who blogs here.)
Posted by – February 15, 2014
Holy crap, you have got to be kidding me.
Some days I really do want to believe we might make progress on racism in the US. Not today, apparently.
Posted by – February 15, 2014
Another note/update from the partner who was excluded from a women’s-only dance yesterday:
UPDATE: It’s been quite an emotional roller coaster. I want to make a clarification: This is a private group of women holding a fundraiser. It is NOT a PFLAG group. PFLAG, itself is trans-inclusive and trans-friendly. In addition, trans-women are welcomed at the dance. (Not sure about people who don’t identify as either binary but that’s a different issue.)
I was really trying to express how I felt as a partner who has lost this part of her community. It just hurts.
I understand that we no longer belong as a couple in a women’s-only space. In the meantime, if this helped spur a little more discussion, I’m glad.
I love my partner fiercely. He’s very brave and loving human being and I’m lucky to have him by my side.
Happy Valentine’s Day.
So this isn’t PFLAG’s problem, but it’s still our community’s problem, in my opinion. In reading over the comments – I know, I know, I’m not supposed to do that – over at AmericaBlog where John Aravosis wrote about it, the one thing I’m struck by is how quickly this became about the trans guy’s identity and why he would want to go to a women’s only dance.
And you know, that’s the whole problem, isn’t it? Why should someone’s transition negate the partner’s identity as a lesbian? The whole idea that they wouldn’t “look like” a lesbian couple is infuriating – the same argument was made against butch/femme couples back in the day.
Here’s the thing: as a community, could we maybe start to acknowledge that people transition, and that they have histories, and identities, and life experiences, all of which may not tidily map onto our models of “straight” and “gay”? Can we allow trans couples to decide how to negotiate their own identities as individuals and couples instead of everyone else telling us where we belong? Can a trans guy honor his own past and his relationship’s past without other trans men telling him he’s sold out his gender and trans people everywhere? Are lesbians really not used to guys transitioning yet?
A little compassion would be awesome from groups who are now and who have been, historically, excluded discreetly and explicitly, kindly and hatefully.
Trans partners are often a wrench in the homo/hetero works, but sometimes we get eaten by the gears.
Posted by – February 14, 2014
A lesbian-identified partner of a recently transitioned trans guy thought they were going to a PFLAG dance in their local community. They politely asked whether or not they would be welcome and they were told NO. (Also, to clarify, I am pretty sure that PFLAG is generally inclusive of trans people & their partners despite sexual orientation or gender identity, but I don’t know for sure. This local is an exception, so far as I know/can tell.)
She writes: Because while we can pass for a straight couple, we really aren’t that. I’m not so sure how many places a transgender dude and a lesbian could feel safe, at the least and like they’re at home with their community, at best. But that’s not even the point.
& This is the problem for partners: we don’t belong anywhere sometimes. I remember feeling too het for queer spaces, too queer for het ones. We end up saying things like: My wife is a lesbian but I’m not. I’m a lesbian but my husband isn’t. But like so many other partners I’ve known over the years, she has a profound respect for the intention and the space she’s just been told she no longer belongs in:
I don’t want to yell at these women. I’m not even mad at them. I know they’ve probably been through all the heartache I have and a lot more, feeling rejected, threatened, and frightened, for being who they were. I grew up in a homophobic world, too.
They said that us being there together would make women feel uncomfortable. So by being who we were, we were hurting them. It feels too familiar. How many times have we heard straight men saying they didn’t want gay men in the locker room because it made them feel icky? Since when is someone’s discomfort with someone different a reason for excluding them? I doubt they would feel physically threatened by A.
But listen: I want all those women to have a safe place. I really do. They’re my sisters. And to think that our mere presence would harm them? Ouch. When your family pushes you out the door and says, sorry: we don’t want you, and your mere presence sickens us, that feels pretty terrible.
I guess I was hoping that maybe, just maybe this family would open the doors just a little wider to let us in and celebrate together.
Not this time.
So happy Valentine’s Day to us, all of us trans partners out there whose existences are based on past and present identities that don’t always jive with the hetero/homo binary but don’t quite work in the queer/feminist ones, either. We rock all those liminal spaces, the queer places between genders, between orientations; we bring histories that confuse other people and don’t get to be seen for who we are most of the time. But we do all that for love, right? So happy Valentine’s Day to us.
Posted by – February 13, 2014
As you probably know by now, Facebook introduced new gender options that have taken us way, way past the binary. It’s really great. There is now Male/Female/Custom in a drop down menu, and once you choose Custom, you have an amazing selection to choose from. Being me, I wanted something like “all” or “none” or “other”, and the only one of those available is “other”. “Gender neutral” is missing, too, but still, it’s a pretty remarkable list even if you can’t actually just come up with your own. List courtesy of Slate.
Apparently they are also open to suggestions: PFLAG says: “if you have suggestions of others to add to the list, please email them to our Director of Communications, Liz Owen, at email@example.com.” My friend Dylan actually got a response to an email, so it really seems like they are.
Also: doesn’t it just feel so goddamn liberating to get to self-define? You can choose more than one, too. I assume for some folks this is terrifying or weird or freaky or whatever, but seeing these changes start to happen, is for me, like taking a deep breath at long last.
- Cis Female
- Cis Male
- Cis Man
- Cis Woman
- Cisgender Female
- Cisgender Male
- Cisgender Man
- Cisgender Woman
- Female to Male
- Gender Fluid
- Gender Nonconforming
- Gender Questioning
- Gender Variant
- Male to Female
- Trans Female
- Trans* Female
- Trans Male
- Trans* Male
- Trans Man
- Trans* Man
- Trans Person
- Trans* Person
- Trans Woman
- Trans* Woman
- Transgender Female
- Transgender Male
- Transgender Man
- Transgender Person
- Transgender Woman
- Transsexual Female
- Transsexual Male
- Transsexual Man
- Transsexual Person
- Transsexual Woman
Posted by – February 12, 2014
Safe Space Radio has a new series on LGBTQ teenagers in Maine which began with this first installment aired originally this past Monday, Feb 10th at 1pm. It’s with a teenager who identifies as gender neutral.
From SSR: The series, which is supported by the Equity Fund, is taking a look at how the culture in high schools is, or is not, changing one year after the passage of marriage equality in Maine. With the recent Maine Supreme Court ruling protecting the right of trans youth in Maine to use the bathroom of their gender, there is much cause for hope. But it remains true that LGBTQ teens are at high risk for bullying, rejection by their families and suicidality. Over the span of 6-8 weeks, they are interviewing teenagers about what life is really like for them, what it has been like to come out at home and at school, and whether they experience less of a sense of isolation, or stigma now than in years previously. The interviews are poignant, courageous, touching and even inspiring.
Very cool stuff. Give it a listen, especially if you’re not a teenager and/or don’t really understand “this whole genderqueer thing”.
I also love that there’s a mention of how there’s always been people who identified this way, but there hasn’t quite been a movement until now: yes, we’ve been here, and it’s a relief to see a movement start to happen. Some days I wish I could go back to being 19 so I could have a name for my experience of my gender that people understood, but better late than never, I suppose. (Genderqueer would have been my choice back then, I’m pretty sure. Now, gender fluid or gender variant or gender neutral is more accurate.)
Posted by – February 10, 2014
So now, there’s an app for that. Where once there was (& still is, actually) safe2pee.org, now there’s Refuge Restrooms, which helps you find bathrooms with the least amount of hassle. Here’s a question from an interview The Advocate did with her about it which gives you the basic idea:
The Advocate: What exactly is the function of Refuge Restrooms, and how does it work?
Teagan Widmer: Refuge Restrooms is a web application that indexes and maps safe restrooms for transgender, intersex, and gender-nonconforming individuals. At its core, its goal is to be a place where you can go, type in an address and find the nearest refuge when you really need a place to use the bathroom. Already, the application has over 4000 bathroom listings all over the world (mostly thanks to the data provided by the now-defunct Safe2Pee site) and will only continue to grow as users add new safe bathroom listings.
Additionally, searches are able to be filtered by ADA accessability and unisex designations. That’s part of the service, too, because some bathrooms may not be gender-neutral, but are still safe — i.e. at the local LGBT center.
& In the meantime, students on my campus currently have a petition asking for at least one gender neutral bathroom per building.
Posted by – February 7, 2014
Posted by – February 6, 2014
Canada’s Olympics ad points out the obvious:
Posted by – February 5, 2014
“My book is not about Aaron or my relationship, but that’s the most sensational thing they want to pull out,” she said. “They’re not talking about my advocacy or anything like that, it’s just about this most sensationalized … meme of discussion of trans women’s lives: ‘We’re not real women, so therefore if we’re in relationships with men we’re deceiving them.’ So, it just feeds into those same kinds of myths and fears that they spread around, which leads to further violence of trans women’s bodies and identities.”
She just keeps bringing it: so awesome. She’s establishing – or trying to establish – a paradigm shift in terms of the media’s relationship with trans people. Sweeps Week no more, dammit.
Posted by – February 4, 2014
I just listened to this awesome show on gender, sexuality, and identity on BackStory.
- great discussion of “two spirit” and the way it maps and doesn’t onto non-indigenous gender & sexuality categories
- Joe McCarthy wasn’t just all about the Red Scare, but the Lavender Scare as well
- WI “passing woman” marries woman
- & the story of T. Hall who was required by law to wear clothing of both genders – and more importantly, how that would have been viewed by others at the time
- why you can (or shouldn’t) think of Walt Whitman as a “gay poet”
Really, really great stuff, thoughtful discussion, and basically, pretty much what I teach.
Posted by – February 3, 2014
The ACLU has set the ball rolling:
MADISON, Wis. – The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Wisconsin and the law firm of Mayer Brown filed a federal lawsuit today on behalf of four same-sex couples who wish to marry in Wisconsin or are seeking recognition for their legal out-of-state marriages.
The plaintiffs include Roy Badger and Garth Wangemann of Milwaukee, who have been together 37 years. Three years ago Wangemann had much of his right lung removed after being diagnosed with lung cancer. Following the operation, a complication occurred and he was put into a medically induced coma for nearly a month. His progress was uncertain, and Wangemann’s father attempted to override Badger’s power of attorney to have his son taken off life support. Before that could happen, Wangemann recovered.
“What upset me the most was that after all of our time together, our relationship was not fully recognized by my family and there was a real danger that my wish to give Roy the ability to make decisions about my care could be stripped away,” Wangemann said. “Thankfully, our wishes held in this case. But without the protections that come with marriage, the consequences can literally be a matter of life or death.”
Other plaintiffs in the case are Carol Schumacher and Virginia Wolf of Eau Claire; Charvonne Kemp and Marie Carlson of Milwaukee; and Judi Trampf and Katy Heyning of Madison.
Wisconsin’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples prevents them from securing the hundreds of protections that state law provides to married couples. Wisconsin law subjects same-sex couples to an additional harm that is unique among states that deny same-sex couples the freedom to marry. The only way for Wisconsin couples to get the federal protections that come with marriage is for them to go out of state to marry. But Wisconsin law says that may be a crime punishable by nine months in jail and a $10,000 fine.
Among the plaintiff couples, Schumacher and Wolf were legally married in another state, raising the possibility of prosecution back at home. The lawsuit challenges the overall ban as well as the application of this criminal law to same-sex couples who are forced to choose between being denied federal protections and the risk of criminal prosecution.
“These families simply want the security and recognition that only marriage provides,” said Larry Dupuis, legal director of the ACLU of Wisconsin. “They have built their lives and raised children here. It is wrong for the state to treat these loving and committed couples as second-class citizens, and it is cruel to place them in a catch-22 where they can’t even travel elsewhere to obtain federal protections without their marriage being labeled a crime.”
The lawsuit will be filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin. The plaintiffs allege that the state’s constitutional marriage ban sends a message that lesbians, gay men, and their children are viewed as second-class citizens who are undeserving of the legal sanction, respect, protections, and support that heterosexuals and their families are able to enjoy through marriage.
“More and more Americans over the past few years accept the idea that same-sex couples and their families shouldn’t be treated differently than other families,” said John Knight, staff attorney with the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project. “It is our hope that Wisconsin will soon join the other 17 states in granting the freedom to marry.”
Posted by – February 2, 2014
This seemed the best way to say goodbye to him; I’m glad, at least, he won this while he was alive. You can’t help love a man who thanked his single mom for raising him and his three siblings.
Posted by – January 29, 2014
… I’d want to use it just like Pete Seeger used his. In response to questions from HUAC (The House Unamerican Activities Committee), he said this:
“I decline to discuss, under compulsion, where I have sung, and who has sung my songs, and who else has sung with me, and the people I have known. I love my country very dearly, and I greatly resent this implication that some of the places that I have sung and some of the people that I have known, and some of my opinions, whether they are religious or philosophical, or I might be a vegetarian, make me any less of an American. I will tell you about my songs, but I am not interested in telling you who wrote them, and I will tell you about my songs, and I am not interested in who listened to them.”
He didn’t even plead the 5th, which he had the legal right to do and which many did.
I’ve never been a fan of folk music – I’m just not. But I’m awed and inspired by the lives of some of the remarkable men and women like Seeger who didn’t just sing about it – they lived it.
Posted by – January 28, 2014
I want to do this. Very, very much.
The Machine To Be Another’s projects work something like this: Two people put on headsets, and then see each other’s perspectives. That would be an extraordinarily bemusing experience were it not for the synchronising of the two users, each mimicking the other’s movement. It’s like that party game where you have to mirror the person opposite you, except this time you see what they should see, and vice versa. The results are interesting enough for many projects to be built around the concept, and none has been more attention grabbing so far than Gender Swap.
A man and a woman each don the Rifts, and then wearing minimal clothing, begin the experiment.
Posted by – January 27, 2014
Susan Stryker tells some variation of this joke in Transgender History: When crossdressers are asked if they are a boy or a girl, they say “yes. ” When genderqueer identified people are, they say “no.”
Posted by – January 26, 2014
She found out boys can’t marry boys in Australia so she wrote to the Prime Minister. If you can’t read it, it says:
Dear Tony Abbott, Don’t get rid of the ABC because we love it. And let boys marry boys and girls marry girls if they love each other or they’ll be sad forever. Thank-you. Sabrina.
(Also, her colored pencil choices totally match the stationery’s colors.)