Tag: communities

On a Landing

Posted by – March 15, 2010

Not too long ago I went to what’s called “the Big Gay Conference” which is a conference for LGBTQIA ETC students who are attending colleges in the midwest. On Friday night, after we’d checked in and gotten Miss Bornstein checked in, I went down to register. As it turned out, there was a wedding going on the same weekend as the conference, so I found myself, name tag and schedule in hand, standing on a landing.

To my left, a cocktail party of the heteronormative variety: men in suits, women in cocktail dresses, hose and heels.
To my right, blue haired, pierced kids; boys in cigarette leg jeans; girls in ties, starched button-downs; trans people of many types.

I stood there for a while, hoping I had Moses’ staff, or at least his gumption, to ask for a parting of the waters that would provide a third, middle path. My life has been spent on that landing, really, popping back and forth between groups, hanging out in one because it’s where I feel more comfortable, but hanging out in the other because it’s the way I desire. Like Superman, I had to change clothes pretty often, and often with my clothes, my gender; I still long for a heterosexual space where I could be a het woman in a suit & tie, or for a queer space where I could be a woman who loves sex with men.

Sometimes, in rare moments, that third space appears: in the music scenes of the late 80s in NYC was one. Fetish clubs are sometimes another. But mostly I have had to decide between being with my people as a queer woman or pretending to be more gender normative than I actually am when I’ve had boyfriends.

Worse Than Janice Raymond

Posted by – August 8, 2009

On a trans blog, during a conversation about Lady GaGa & her being supposedly intersex (information that I didn’t blog, because I don’t think it’s anyone’s goddamn business), I’ve been described as

boyd ain’t no ally, that’s for sure. she’s worse, in a way, than even radfems and the Raymond crowd – the latter are up front with their hatred of trans women. boyd, on the other hand, stabs trans women in the back

and

And yeah, Ms Boyd is a giant problem. Making money off trans women, setting herself up as an expert, and getting stuff so wrong so often.

and

Helen Boyd has some serious boundary and entitlement issues.

all of which is utterly fascinating to me. If anyone has all the money I’ve been making, please do give it back. In all seriousness, though, Betty’s and my finances are joint, & have been for more than a decade, so any money I’m making is helping Betty transition. Which is, you know, the worst thing any transphobic asshole could do – financially support someone who is transitioning. It’s evil, I tell you.

I am occasionally wrong; I’d be suspicious of anyone who claims they aren’t. That I disagree with some people within the trans community nearly goes without saying: if I found one person who agreed with every opinion or “fact” shared within the trans community, I’d stay well away from their confusion. The diversity of the trans communities is one of the things I like the best.

Anyway. All in a day’s work. That I was initially quoted as criticizing the hyperbolic style of argumentation employed by some trans people makes it exactly perfect that I should be called worse than the radfems and Raymond crowd, since it’s – um, hyperbolic.

I am, as others of my dissenters have discovered, very much open to criticism. That said, I will only do so if the person making the charges has a name, and a face, and a track record. I will not argue with sock or meat puppets, and I don’t abide name-calling.

In Defense of Autumn

Posted by – July 23, 2009

Autumn Sandeen used to cull stories for the Transgender News Yahoo Group; she’s been blogging for forever, and not long ago became a key poster and moderator at Pam’s House Blend.

Recently, people have given her holy hell for shutting down the use of the words cisgender and cissexual because they were being used in the context of an argument that was only estranging members of the LGBT community from each other (& I’m not linking to all the posts about it intentionally as I have done so before and had my say otherwise).

The Trans-Ponder podcasters Jayna and Mila called  for some perspective this past Sunday night when it came to Autumn, particularly, citing the invaluable work that she has done on behalf of the trans community, and explained that even if you think someone’s wrong – in what opinion they hold, or in terms of something they’ve done – you don’t need to let the anger cause you to throw out the baby with the bathwater. (Their thoughts on the subject start around 53 minutes into Podcast #129.)

Dallas Denny said a long time ago that we tend to “eat our own” and in an interview with her a few years back, she clarified, in response to my 3rd question, the ideas she was trying to express when it came to trans community politics.

As someone who has taken heat for lots of things over the years, and someone who has seen even the champions of particularly useful ideas about trans subjectivity take heat for her own ideas, it makes me sad to see Autumn suffer so much. It is not easy work to build bridges within the LGBT, & Autumn has, in my opinion, done an extraordinarily good job of it. I’d like to see her keep doing that cool work, and even if she occasionally takes a mis-step — as we all do — the benefit of what she does far outweighs the mistakes she’s made.

I guess I’d ask, too, that people try to pay attention to the ratio of what they do to what they criticize. I’ve noticed that many people online who have the time & energy to work up a head of steam over what some other activist has said or done don’t necessarily spend as much time on positive activism as they do on the fine critiquing of others’ work. I am not saying that critics don’t do anything; I AM saying that anger & criticism sometimes are best-served by doing more instead of talking more. I say that as someone who has put my foot firmly in my mouth instead of doing something positive to fix what I saw as a problem. (As Betty and I like to joke about that one support group member who is constantly yammering on & on & on & repeating the same issues they always bring up, try not to be the person who seems to be saying, “I’d listen but I’m too busy talking.”)

In a nutshell: I’d like to thank Autumn Sandeen publicly for the work she has done, and to thank all the numerous people who keep working to build bridges within our communities.

Trans-centric

Posted by – July 20, 2009

One of the things I’ve always liked about Vanessa Edwards Foster is that she doesn’t lose sight of the goal: actual equality. I agree with her that our standards are low when it comes to justice for the trans people, and their families and friends, who are murdered. I agree that “manslaughter” is not murder, and that shooting at someone who is basically a sitting duck in a car can’t possibly have been an accidental killing.

But what I don’t agree with is the vitriol directed at the LGB leadership of the organizations that called the ruling on Teisha Green’s murder a victory.

Our standards are low because we are too used to seeing no justice at all when it comes to people who intentionally hurt and kill trans people for being trans. There are too many cases that break your heart. There are too many families who have had to hear the most hateful bullshit about their trans loved one. There are too many cases that are simply not solved, nor investigated.

But that the jury came back to rule her death a hate crime is a good thing.

What bothers me about the politics between the LGB & T is that there are plenty of other gay bashings and hate crimes experienced by the LGB that the trans community pays little attention to, such as Sean Kennedy’s. If you want an example of an absolute failure when it came to our legal system, that’s it. It’s horrific. Every time I see that young man’s beautiful face, and think about his parents’ loss, I wonder where exactly the trans community has been in raising awareness of that horrible injustice. No, he wasn’t gender variant. He was a young adult who was out and proud about being gay. But he’s dead just the same as Teisha Green is, & for the same reason: someone hated him for what he was.

Do we know Michael Scott Goucher? Richard Hernandez? Satendar Singh? Ryan Keith Skipper? Jeremy Waggoner? Daniel Yakovleff? These are the names of gay men who have been murdered for being gay in the last couple of years. I didn’t know most of their names.

Community goes both ways. We all have more than enough mourning to do.

CDM Leaves Tri-Ess

Posted by – July 10, 2009

As of today, Chi Delta Mu, the Tri-Ess chapter of the tri-state area, voted to leave Tri-Ess and become an inclusive & independent trans group.

At issue were the chapter’s non-compliance on three major required items: (1) that the local members be due-paying members of national; (2) that the group keep its focus on providing “support and education on behalf of heterosexual crossdressers, their spouses, partners and families”; and (3) that the local chapter file a financial statement with national.

From what I know, CDM hadn’t done (3) in a long while, hadn’t been (2) in a long while, and (1) that most of its members were not members of national.

From what I understand, there was nothing contentious going on – just National asking the local to respect its rules of the charter, and the local realizing that their group had evolved in such a way that becoming compliant again wasn’t going to work for them as a group.

More on the Cis

Posted by – July 2, 2009

The thing is, I love the anger in the trans community. I’m an old school punk rocker; anger is in my blood. So stay angry. Just don’t, as my mother would say, let it cut off your nose to spite your face.

Starting a conversation on the understanding that accusing someone of privilege of whatever kind – straight, male, white, cis – is usually met with a “fuck you i’ve suffered” rejoinder is a good place to begin. Most people’s lives are hard, so it’s unlikely anyone wants to hear how much less hard his/her life is because s/he is male / white / rich / educated / physically abled / cis.

Cis Hits the Fan

Posted by – July 2, 2009

Have you all seen these arguments going on about the use of the word cis? Here’s Pam’s House Blend and Questioning Transphobia on the issue. Unfuckingbelievable.

I hate the word myself, but it’s a useful lens on a type of privilege others can’t see or identify, which is one of the reasons it can upset people. I can’t imagine telling others they can’t use it, though.

I also prefer a crowbar between “cisgender” and “cissexual” because I am one but I’m not the other (as many other queerios may be, as well, since many of us have more than one gender).

Another round of Julia Serano’s Whipping Girl, everyone, please.

But the idea that trans people are always righteously angry, entirely respectful, and never diminish their own anger and hurt by throwing invective and insult at the people they’re arguing with… oh, that’s RICH. The trans community is notorious, at this point, for going batshit over things in a way not seen before by – well, most people.

I myself prefers “not trans” or “variably gendered” or “pantywaist” or ” trans ally” or just “tomboy” but I’ve long ago given up on having anyone respect my self-chosen identities, to be honest, having been told I am trans, that I’m not masculine enough to “count” when it comes to female masculinity, etc.

(Now Autumn Sandeen has had her say, too.)

Divorce Resources

Posted by – July 2, 2009

Yes, it’s a depressing thought, but I’ve seen so many of them in the trans community over time that I thought I should share these two articles I found on the topic.

One of called “What Every Married Woman Should Know About Money,” by Carol Mithers and has a bulleted list of 7 items:

  • 1. Carry your own plastic.
  • 2. Read the fine print.
  • 3. Define what’s yours, mine, and ours.
  • 4. Don’t give up bill-paying duties.
  • 5. Get to know your financial advisers.
  • 6. Make plans for the future.
  • 7. Keep your professional hat in the ring.

The other is “What To Do When You Can’t Afford a Divorce” also by Carol Mithers and has this useful bit of advice about credit:

Credit is a different story. “Shred joint cards and get a new one in your own name,” recommends Lisa Decker, an Atlanta-area-based financial analyst specializing in divorce. “It can be hard for a woman to get credit after a divorce, especially if she hasn’t been working. If you have a balance you can’t pay off on existing credit cards, freeze the account so that neither partner can run up the debt further. Also put freezes on home equity so that neither of you can take out a second mortgage or line of credit.”

Not cheery, but still important reading.

TransOhio Conference 2009: August 14-16

Posted by – June 15, 2009

I’ll be speaking at TransOhio’s annual conference this year, deliverying both a keynote and doing a workshop about sex & identity.

When: August 14-16, 2009
Where: Columbus, Ohio
What: Lots of cool workshops for trans people, their partners, & allies

You can read the descriptions of my keynote and workshop below the break, but in the meantime check out TransOhio’s conference site for more details.

More

GLAAD Action Alert: KRXQ

Posted by – June 2, 2009

TAKE ACTION: Demand that KRXQ Radio Hosts Rob Williams and Arnie States Apologize for Encouraging Violence Against Transgender Children

June 2, 2009— In a lengthy May 28 tirade on the Rob, Arnie & Dawn in the Morning radio show heard in Sacramento, California on KRXQ 98.5 FM and Reno, Nevada on KDOT 104.5 FM, hosts Rob Williams and Arnie States verbally attacked transgender children. While discussing a recent story about a transgender child in Omaha, Nebraska and her parents’ decision to support her transition, the two hosts spent more than 30 minutes explicitly promoting child abuse of and making cruel, dehumanizing and defamatory comments toward transgender children.

You can listen to the entire segment beginning at 4:48 by clicking this link:
http://robarnieanddawn.com/newsite/a…%20America.mp3.

Among the comments made by the hosts:
ROB WILLIAMS [11:12]: This is a weird person who is demanding attention. And when it’s a child, all it takes is a hug, maybe some tough love or anything in between. When your little boy said, ‘Mommy, I want to walk around in a dress.’ You tell them no cause that’s not what boys do. But that’s not what we’re doing in this culture.
ARNIE STATES [13:27]: If my son, God forbid, if my son put on a pair of high heels, I would probably hit him with one of my shoes. I would throw a shoe at him. Because you know what? Boys don’t wear high heels. And in my house, they definitely don’t wear high heels.
ROB WILLIAMS [17:45]: Dawn, they are freaks. They are abnormal. Not because they’re girls trapped in boys bodies but because they have a mental disorder that needs to be somehow gotten out of them. That’s where therapy could help them.
ROB WILLIAMS [18:15]: Or because they were molested. You know a lot of times these transgenders were molested. And you need to work with them on that. The point is you don’t allow the behavior. You cure the cause!
ARNIE STATES [21:30]: You got a boy saying, ‘I wanna wear dresses.’ I’m going to look at him and go, ‘You know what? You’re a little idiot! You little dumbass! Look, you are a boy! Boys don’t wear dresses.’
ARNIE STATES [29:22]: You know, my favorite part about hearing these stories about the kids in high school, who the entire high school caters around, lets the boy wear the dress. I look forward to when they go out into society and society beats them down. And they end up in therapy.

To her credit, co-host Dawn Rossi stood up to Williams and States during the segment. Despite her apparent lack of familiarity with transgender issues, Rossi repeatedly defended transgender people and made an on-air apology for her colleagues’ defamatory remarks.

TAKE ACTION NOW!
Please contact KRXQ management in Sacramento, California, where the show is produced and demand that radio show hosts Rob Williams and Arnie States publicly apologize. Call on KRXQ to hold Williams and States accountable for their remarks and establish clear standards to ensure their media platform will not be used to condone or promote violence against any parts of the communities they serve.

John Geary
Vice President & General Manager
KRXQ-FM
(916) 339-4209
jgeary@entercom.com

Arnie States
On Air Personality
KRXQ-FM
(916) 334-7777
rad@robarnieanddawn.com

Rob Williams
On Air Personality
KRXQ-FM
(916) 334-7777
rwilliams@entercom.com

Please use the share page functionality at the top of this page to alert any of your friends and others who may also wish to take action. When contacting KRXQ, please ensure that your emails and phone calls are civil and respectful and do not engage in the kind of name-calling or abusive behavior.

About GLAAD
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is dedicated to promoting and ensuring fair, accurate and inclusive representation of people and events in the media as a means of eliminating homophobia and discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. For more information, please visit www.glaad.org.

Air America Interview

Posted by – May 14, 2009

Welcome to any listeners from Air America who are popping over here after my interview on Nicole Sandler’s show. Here’s a link to the article by Jenny Boylan from the NYT.

I’d like to reiterate that the trans community, for the most part, is very, very invested in making sure same sex marriage becomes legal everywhere. For couples like us, & other (trans) couples unlike us, it would bring a huge collective sigh of relief.

LGBT Parents’ Survey

Posted by – May 3, 2009

A couple of students here at Lawrence are conducting a survey of LGBT families in the US, and would like the help of anyone (parents and children) who would like to give their perspective. I’ve attached the message from the students, who are seniors working on their honors project. Their work is being supervised by two friends and colleagues–Beth Haines who is the current head of Gender Studies and Julie Konik, who has a visiting position in psychology.

The website for the survey is www.lgbtparents.org

To LGBT parents:

We would like to explore the experiences and perspectives of LGBT parents in a wide range of communities in the United States. In particular, we are interested in your views on the unique set of challenges that families with same-sex parents may face as a result of social policies and attitudes, and how they may overcome or manage these challenges.

Our research team consists of Beth Haines (who specializes in child development and gender studies) and Julie Konik (who specializes in personality and LGBT studies). In addition, Katy Fohrman and Kim Vachon are senior psychology majors at Lawrence University. We all feel strongly about being advocates for the LGBT community, which is why we have chosen to pursue research in this particular area. With this research, we hope to better understand challenges facing LGBT families and promote social policies that support all families.

If you would like to learn more about us, please check out our website:

www.lgbtparents.org

We have developed a survey that explores the ways in which same-sex parents and their children manage social pressures within their communities. The survey will take approximately 30 minutes to complete. We want to learn about your individual perspectives, experiences, and opinions. Parents will be asked questions about topics such as attitudes in your community, parenting and family dynamics, social pressures and sources of support, as well as questions regarding your child(ren). We also invite your child(ren) under 21 years old to complete questions about themselves and their relationship with their parents, as well as optional questions about their perceptions of the community. Of course, whether your child(ren) complete questions is entirely up to you–you will have the option to give consent for whatever you feel comfortable with for your child(ren).

If you are interested in participating in our survey, please go to our website: www.lgbtparents.org We truly appreciate your help!

Please feel free to email us at survey@lgbtparents.org or our individual emails (hainesb@lawrence.edu; konikj@lawrence.edu) if you have any technical trouble, questions, or comments.

Thanks again for your help!

News Round-Up

Posted by – April 9, 2009

There’s been a lot going on:

Quite a week for the LGBT community!

Holly Would (Play with Gender)

Posted by – March 1, 2009

Just got this cool press release which makes me wish I was anywhere near West Hollywood:

Grrrl, boi, lezbo, butch, femme, lipstick, drag king, trans, dyke, bulldagger, tomboy, genderqueer, one-way, kiki, power femme …

Each generation of lesbians uses new and different terms to describe how we present ourselves and what attracts us. GenderPlay in Lesbian Culture is the first ever Los Angeles exhibit to talk about labels and explore gender and its boundaries.

The OPENING EVENT, at the One Museum on Saturday March 14, will feature singer Phranc, emcee Marie Cartier and performance art from Latina trio, Butchlalis de Panochtitlan. More

Femme Fever Gala Ball

Posted by – February 21, 2009

The Femme Fever Gala Ball will be held on April 18, 2009 from 8pm to 12am & has been compared to a prom-like event. Betty & I have been to a few Femme Fever events & Karen hosts a great party.

All the info you need is below the break. More

Gainesville’s Fight

Posted by – January 10, 2009

Allyson Robinson posted this message about Equality Florida’s fight for a gender-inclusive non-discrimination law in Gainesville, Florida on our message boards, & I thought it deserved a larger audience:

Many of you are aware of the fight brewing in Gainesville, Florida over their trans-inclusive non-discrimination law, passed by the city council last year. Gainesville’s non-discrimination ordinance had covered sexual orientation for years, but when gender identity was added last year, opposition was activated. The opposition group collected a huge number of signatures–over 10% of the projected voting population–to get the anti-discrimination ordinance placed on the ballot in a special election. That’s tremendous for this kind of municipal issue; more people signed the petition against these protections than voted for the mayor or any sitting city council member in recent elections.

Though the charter amendment the opposition group is pushing would eliminate protections for the whole LGBT community, their messaging is focusing on transgender people–the “bathroom diversion.” Their flyers state, in letters a inch tall, “KEEP MEN OUT OF WOMEN’S RESTROOMS.” As we’ve seen all over the country, and writ large in California last fall, this kind of fear-based messaging is very, very difficult to dislodge from voters’ minds. The special election is scheduled for March 24.

This fight has national significance. The “bathroom diversion” is quickly becoming our opposition’s weapon of choice. They used it successfully in Hamtramck, Michigan, it might have succeeded in Montgomery County, Maryland had the courts not intervened, it’s getting drug out in Kalamazoo, Michigan and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and it’s already being raised at the state level in places like Connecticut that are considering inclusive non-discrimination bills this year. We must show both our opponents and our supporters that we can consistently defeat this tactic. If we don’t, municipalities or states considering trans-inclusive non-discrimination laws may become gun-shy, preferring not to deal with costly ballot initiatives in response to pro-equality laws.

More

Deaths in Memphis

Posted by – January 5, 2009

There is a diarist at Daily Kos who has written about the high incidence of murder of African American trans women.

Queerty (tongue in cheerk) predicts Memphis will reach out to the trans community as a result. I doubt it. They’re 2nd in homicides in the country, which means everyone – not just trans people – have been victims of violence (via Grand Divisions).

What a way to start a new year.

Douglass

Posted by – December 26, 2008

One of the partners on our MHB boards mentioned recently that she’d never apply for an LGBT scholarship, because she doesn’t identify as LGBT, and it reminded me that I never told the story about me & the LGBT Blogger Initiative Conference I went to.

It seems I am perplexing to people, & I felt a little bit like an odd duck while I was there. It came up because at some point, someone announced that grants might become available for LGBT bloggers, and a few people told me that they hoped I would get one. But someone also mentioned that they could see others have an issue with the fact that I’m not LGB or T. My standard response these days is – “I’m the Q that gets left off a lot.”

But still it’s an issue that has come up, & may come up even moreso that I’m thinking about going back to grad school. Will I choose, like the partner above, not to apply for any LGBT scholarships? As a sort of liminal queer, probably I wouldn’t, except that then there’s the whole issue of what I do & what I’d want to study – which is all about the LGBT, and the T in particular.

The other question I was asked, which I’ve been asked before, is why? Why the trans community? & To be honest, I just don’t know. I was charmed by my very first meetings with trans people, & continue to have a deep love for the trans community & for trans people. Aside from my Debsian sense of social justice, that is.

Tim McFeeley did a wonderful “short history of the LGBT movement” (which I was pleased to note I knew cold!) as a workhop that Sunday morning, and he closed with a quote by Frederick Douglass:

When I ran away from slavery, it was for myself; when I advocated emancipation, it was for my people; but when I stood up for the rights of women, self was out of the question, and I found a little nobility in the act.

That’s my answer & I’m sticking to it.

NYC HHC Report

Posted by – December 11, 2008

Betsy Gotsbaum, NY’s Public Advocate, has released a report (pdf) that recommends way to improve the LGBT population’s access to healthcare.

Among the recommendations:
• Require in-house LGBT sensitivity training for all HHC employees.
• Designate an LGBT liaison in each HHC facility.
• Establish, display, and enforce a zero-tolerance discrimination policy.
• Establish a review process to monitor progress.

Among the people quoted in the press release are Ray Carannante of CenterCARE and Michael Silverman of the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF).

Day 3

Posted by – December 7, 2008

I’m still at the Blogger Initiative in DC & having a pretty cool time of it; yesterday I had lunch with the Victory Fund at the Mayflower Hotel & heard Barney Frank speak (more on that later) & ran into Mara Keisling, Maggie Stump and Dana Beyer. I’ve noticed I always feel at home amongst the tall ladies, and that moment was a refreshing break from being a kind of confusing non-trans blogger from the trans community (more on that later too). I moderated a panel on diversity yesterday, which went really well thanks to my excellent panelists.A working shop with Cathy Renna about media access & savvy just ended, and it’s time to go eat lunch with my fellow bloggers, none of whom are in pajamas.

Mostly right now I’m missing Betty, who got home from CO last night and who is in our apartment with the kittoi, and whom I can’t wait to be with, too.