While the Boards are Down…

… you can check out this new project by the Museum of Sex. Intriguing, and nice piano music while it’s loading. It’d be a great idea to get some samples of trans/crossdressed/genderqueer sex into the story collection.
Here’s more about the project from the folks at the Museum of Sex:

We are about to launch a new online interactive installation entitled “Mapping Sex in America.” This ‘art-slash-anthropology’ project collects stories submitted by visitors and plots them geographically on a map of the US. In addition, historically significant points are “flagged” for
additional visitor enjoyment and enlightenment.

“Mapping Sex in America” takes its inspiration from the Works Progress Administration (WPA) of the 1930s, through which oral-history interviews with everyday Americans across the country were recorded; StoryCorps, a national project whose aim is to record peoples’ stories in sound with ‘StoryBooths’ in places like Grand Central Station, NY; and the work of Alfred Kinsey, whose documentation and analysis of America’s sexual histories and practices transformed America’s understanding of itself forever.
Conceived and designed by award-winning web artists Auriea Harvey and Michael Samyn, “Mapping Sex in America” is based on a previous onsite/online installation launched for our inaugural exhibition “NYCSEX” which focused on the New York City region alone. With “Mapping Sex in America” we have broadened the concept to cover the entire geographic US; it will remain online permanently as well as onsite in our Spotlight gallery.

CLAGS Conference

Tomorrow and Friday are the CLAGS (CUNY’s Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies) Conference on Trans Politics, Social Change and Justice:
May 6-7, 2005
Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies (CLAGS)
Graduate Center, CUNY
New York, NY
Join us to for two days of plenary sessions, workshops, roundtables, caucuses, films, and performances that will strengthen activist networks, incite dialogues, share resources, and create social change.
I’ll be speaking at the 9:30 am Plenary on Umbrellas, Alliances, and Coalitions?.

Judge Strikes Down NY Ban on Gay Marriage

From 1010 WINS – New York’s All News Station
Feb 4, 2005 2:23 pm US/Eastern
A Manhattan judge declared Friday that the section of state law that forbids same-sex marriage is unconstitutional — the first ruling of its kind in New York and one that if upheld on appeal would allow gay couples to wed.
State Supreme Court Justice Doris Ling-Cohan ruled that the words “husband,” “wife,” “groom” and “bride” in relevant sections of the Domestic Relations Law “shall be construed to mean ‘spouse,”‘ and “all personal pronouns … shall be construed to apply equally to either men or women.”
Ling-Cohan ruled on the side of five same-sex couples who were denied marriage licenses. She said the New York City clerk could not deny a license to any couple solely on the ground that the two are of the same sex.
Susan Sommer, Lambda Legal Defense Fund lawyer who presented the case for the five couples, called the ruling “historic” and said it “delivers the state Constitution’s promise of equality to all New Yorkers.”
“The court recognized that unless gay people can marry, they are not being treated equally under the law,” Sommer said. “Same-sex couples need the protections and security marriage provides, and this ruling says they’re entitled to get them the same way straight couples do.”
One couple, Mary Jo Kennedy and Jo-Ann Shain, said they were very happy about the ruling and believed it would offer their family increased legal protection. They have been together 23 years, registered as domestic partners in 1993, and have a 15-year-old daughter who is Shain’s biological child.
“We’re just overjoyed,” said Shain. “We didn’t think it would ever happen.”
Kennedy said she wants to marry Shain as soon as possible. “I can’t wait,” she said. “We went to buy a (marriage) license in March 2004 and couldn’t get it. That’s what started this whole thing.”
Shain said, “We’re looking forward to trying to buy another one, and this time actually getting it.”
“I’m going to sleep better with the legal protection of a marriage,” Kennedy said.
The city Law Department issued a statement saying only, “We are reviewing the decision thoroughly and considering our options.”
Ling-Cohan noted that one plaintiff, Curtis Woolbright, is the son of an interracial couple who moved to California in 1966 to marry. She said California then was the only state whose courts had ruled that interracial marriage prohibitions were unconstitutional.
Some courts, Ling-Cohan wrote, justified anti-miscegenation laws (bans on interracial marriage) as defending tradition rooted in “natural” law. They “rejected the rights of adults to choose their marital partners based on outmoded prejudices that are now recognized as illegitimate grounds for government action.”
(I for one am happy to finally see New York acting like New York! It’s about time. No matter what the long-term ramifications are of this ruling, I’m still glad to see it. – hb.)

Reading Judith Butler on the D Train

I know I’m not the only one excited by a Christmas gift of gender theory – not only, but not common, either. A slim volume, bound in oily paper.
But how is it – despite my excitement – that once I start to read I start to yawn? Radical performativity and challenges to authorship make me want to stretch like my cat on our bed, him in the sun through our back bedroom window, me on the D train, rays streaming in off the white chips of ice in the East River and on the sludge piles on the Brooklyn side. White light/no heat.
Despite theory, on the train I name genders. Shy momma’s boy, effete hipster, resilient Malay matriarch. Aren’t we all different gendered, even while we pass for one or the other? Does the crisis only happen when everyone sees “man” when one feels “woman,” or vice versa? Or do we just assume that everyone only sees two, like some kind of post-apocalyptic god, cleaving some to the left, some to the right? What do most people see? I try to remember back, from when I didn’t think of gender, and what comes to me is a time when I was on a different train, the Long Island Railroad, and I was about 17. An aging conductor was the first to take my monthly ticket, and he punched it M. I know I changed it later, but I also know I’d wondered if I should, or not. Would all the conductors think me male, or had the lights blinked off for a moment for one semi-blind conductor? If I had it changed, and they still read me as M, – what then? (I had it changed, thinking somehow that my combat boots and shaved head and flannel shirts would still, somehow, by some miracle, be read as F.)
No one reads me now as M, but I still know I’m only passing.

Transgender Activists Celebrate Victory in New York City

Transgender advocates and activists are celebrating the release of Guidelines Regarding Gender Identity Discrimination from the New York City Commission on Human Rights this week. These guidelines interpret the Human Rights Law and are designed to educate the public about the prohibition on discrimination based on gender identity and expression that became part of New York City human rights law with the passage of Int. No. 24, the transgender rights bill signed into law by Mayor Michael Bloomberg as Local Law 3 of 2002 in April of that year.
Continue reading “Transgender Activists Celebrate Victory in New York City”

New York Times To Protect Trans Workers From Discrimination

New York Times To Protect Trans Workers From Discrimination
by Beth Shapiro
365Gay.com Newscenter
New York Bureau
May 26, 2004
(New York City) The New York Times has announced it will add “gender identity or expression” to the nondiscrimination terms of its corporate human resource policy.
The announcement was made in a corporate email to employees this week. It said that the New York Times is “committed to maintaining a fair and professional work environment for all our employees and, to that end, we routinely review our policies and practices. Our policy now makes clear that we provide equal
employment opportunity regardless of gender identity or expression, in hiring and all other terms and conditions of employment.”
The change in policy was hailed by LGBT journalists.
“Transgender employees are often most at risk in the workplace, facing harassment, ignorance and instances of discrimination,” said Steven Petrow, President of the Board of the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association.
“The New York Times once again is a leader in recognizing its responsibility to treat all of its employees fairly and without bias.”
The new policy will not only extend to all Times employees, but also to other New York Times corporate properties, including the Boston Globe and the Worcester Telegram.
Last year the Times became the first major newspaper to print same-sex marriage announcements.

NY TG Bathroom case

Uphold New York Gender Identity Protections Court Urged
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff
Posted: May 19, 2004 8:02 pm. ET
(New York City) In the first transgender discrimination case to reach a New York state appeals court, the American Civil Liberties Union today urged the court not to deny transgender New Yorkers protections against discrimination.
“The laws of New York State clearly protect transgender people from discrimination, yet our opponents are trying to take those protections away,”
said ACLU attorney Edward Hernstadt.
“We asked the court to make it clear once and for all that gender identity discrimination is not somethingNew York will tolerate.”
Hispanic AIDS Forum, an AIDS service organization represented by the ACLU, brought suit against its former landlord after it was evicted because other
tenants complained that HAF’s transgender clients were using the “wrong” bathrooms.
The landlord banished all transgender people from the common areas of the building, including all restrooms.
Although the landlord’s lawsuit centers on the claim that transgender people are not protected by the state’s civil rights laws, the ACLU points out in its brief that trial courts in four previous cases have all held that discrimination against transgender people is illegal in New York.
“The landlord argues that transgender people are completely without civil rights protection in New York State,” said James Esseks, Litigation Director of the ACLU’s Lesbian & Gay Rights and AIDS Projects. “This could place transgender New Yorkers in jeopardy of losing their jobs, their housing, and even their
lives, if they are unable to receive public health services – all because someone wants to keep them out of the so-called ‘wrong’ bathroom.”
The ACLU brought the lawsuit on behalf of HAF in June 2001 after the agency was forced out of its home of 10 years in Jackson Heights, Queens – an epicenter of the AIDS epidemic in U.S. Latino communities. HAF repeatedly tried to negotiate with the landlord to reach an agreement over the use of the restrooms that
would be acceptable to all parties, but the landlord refused to renew the lease, saying he didn’t even want the transgender clients in any of the common areas of the building.
“This case shows all too clearly the far-reaching effects of prejudice and discrimination,” said Heriberto Sanchez Soto, Executive Director of HAF.
“Kicking us out of our home didn’t just hurt our transgender client but made it much more difficult for many Latinos and Latinas living with HIV and AIDS to
receive treatment.”
Transgender people living in New York City are protected from discrimination under the city’s human rights law, which was amended in 2002 to clarify that
it covers gender identity. The state human rights law does not explicitly address gender identity, but previous trial court rulings have held that transgender individuals are covered under the law’s sex and disability provisions.

Gender- bender teen shot in B'klyn

Gender- bender teen shot in B’klyn
A 20-year-old Brooklyn man shot a teenage transvestite four times – capping their illicit pre-dawn encounter with gunfire after discovering the youth was a boy, cops said yesterday. Jamel Stevens was tracked down Wednesday by detectives in Bedford-Stuyvesant and charged with attempted murder, assault and menacing
in the attack, authorities said. Stevens shot the 14-year-old twice in the left arm and twice in the left thigh just after 3 a.m. on Feb. 21 in the Marcy Houses playground on Nostrand Ave., police said. The young victim’s wounds were not life-threatening. He was treated and released from Kings County Hospital, police said. The teenage transvestite was wearing lip gloss and tight pants, and had long hair and painted nails, the source said. Still, there is no mistaking him for a girl, said Rafeal Hernandez, 17, a neighbor of the victim.
“It’s just noticeable that he’s a guy,” Hernandez said. Crystal Gonzalez, 19, said she had warned the teen to stop stuffing his shirt and dressing like a girl. “But he didn’t listen to me,” she said. “There are a lot of crazy people in this world who don’t accept gay people.” At Marcy Houses, Stevens’ family was stunned by his arrest. “Jamel has never been in trouble a day in his life,” said his grandmother, Patricia Fleming, 62. “I never had to go to the police station for him.” Fleming said Stevens, a construction worker, was living in Florida but moved back to Brooklyn this year after his sick mother lapsed into a coma. Fleming said she visited Stevens’ mother in the hospital yesterday. “I told her, ‘We need you. I can’t do this alone,'” she said.
Originally published on April 16, 2004

Brooklyn & Beyond

Last night, my husband and I got to meet two other married CDs who live near us. One came with his wife, and the other promised his wife would make our next gathering.
I don’t know if I can explain how satisfying it is to meet others who live nearby. There is a whole different feeling of companionship – and for lack of a better word, regularness – about meeting other couples face to face.
We are all expecting to invite others we know, and are already planning our next meeting.
That said, I would love to provide a space for others to meet people in their local area, and I think the message boards at this site might be the perfect venue. So please, use this forum to find others in your area:
Local Gatherings Message Board