Trans Equality & the Feds

NCTE asks:

What would federal policy look like if transgender people were fully and fairly included? Over the past months and years, NCTE has compiled a list of 112 separate policies that directly impact the lives of transgender people and our families that need to be added, removed or changed. Our latest publication, “Transgender Equality and the Federal Government” outlines each of these issues. We expect that some of these policies can be changed in the short term, while others will require long term activism. Some of the issues here will be at the forefront of NCTE’s work in the coming year and in other areas, our partners in this work will be the ones to lead, with our support.

You can read that document online, or check out in .pdf format.

Cynthia Nicole

Human Rights Watch is asking Honduras authorities to investigate the murder or transgender activist Cynthia Nicole, who was murdered on January 9th, 2009.

As a leader in Colectivo Violeta – an organization working to defend the rights and health of transgender people since 1995 – Nicole had a long record of outreach work on rights with transgender sex workers in Tegucigalpa. She provided information about HIV/AIDS and human rights, and represented her community at various national conferences and before the media.

“The transgender community is terrified,” said Indyra Mendoza, director of the Honduran lesbian and feminist organization Cattrachas. “But these attacks will not silence the community in Honduras, and we will continue to work to ensure that the rights of transgender people are recognized and protected.”

Apparently this violence has been going on for years, with little or no response from Honduran authorities.

1st Trans Officer of State Dems

From National Stonewall Democrats:

Washington, DC – Today, the Stonewall Democrats congratulated Laura Calvo upon her election as Treasurer of the Democratic Party of Oregon. Calvo, a seasoned Democratic operative, becomes the first openly-transgender officer of a state Democratic party. A member of the Board of Directors for National Stonewall Democrats, Calvo also serves as Chair of the Oregon Stonewall Democrats and as Treasurer of the Multnomah County Democrats. Multnomah County, which includes the city of Portland, is the largest county in the state of Oregon.

Continue reading “1st Trans Officer of State Dems”

Day 2

It only seems right that I should blog from the LGBT bloggers’ initiative, even though the schedule leaves precious little time.

Last night was the introductory mixer at the HRC offices – which are very fancy & chic, in case you haven’t seen them, I know I wasn’t the only one who thought “so that’s where the money goes” – and I got to meet a few staffers, as well as Allyson Robinson, the new(ish) trans outreach coordinator for HRC. I also met my roommate (more about her lovely self at another time) and the organizer of the initiative, as well as James from, who was very very cold (since he’s from FL), Alex Blaze of Bilerico.

& I met Pam Spaulding briefly when I hung up her jacket for her. (It’s a glamorous life.) So far it’s been fun, but wow do the days start early! It’s downright unnatural to be up this time of day.

Trans Activism in the Heartland

Ann at Feministing posted about this really good article from The American Prospect about trans activism in the heartland and a companion article about gay activism’s slow adoption of trans issues.

Many would view the politically red heart of the country as a harsh, unwelcoming, and vaguely dangerous place for the transgender community. When we think of states like Nebraska and Wyoming, we don’t think of M.J. — we think of people like Brandon Teena and Matthew Shepard, both killed in vicious, nationally publicized hate crimes. But the truth of the matter is far more interesting, inspiring, and instructive. Away from the coasts and the urban havens, a vibrant transgender-rights movement is slowly emerging across the mountain and plains states. Through increased visibility, community building, legislative outreach, and face-to-face public education in churches, schools, and neighborhoods, trans people are building a foundation for equality in some of the nation’s most conservative regions.

(A big thank you to the women at Feministing for their coverage of transgender issues. They do a great job of it, and it’s such a relief to see my fellow feminists speak up about trans stuff.)

People who here we’re from New York often assume things are better here, but if you take a look at the Transgender Day of Remembrance lists, you’ll see how many trans people were murdered in big cities, including San Francisco (Ruby Rodriquez, 2007) and New York (Sanesha Stewart, 2008). The assumption that big liberal cities are “safer” is fine until you run into that one asshole.

Stay safe, people.

RIP “Foole”

George Carlin died tonight, in LA, at the age of 71. I don’t even know what to say: he is probably Betty’s all time favorite comedian & one of mine as well. There are so many of us who grew up influenced by his worldview, but more than that, by his observations on the ridiculousness of human behavior. In a good way.

My favorite bit of his, which I refer to more often than I would have ever expected, is from a routine he did not too long ago, where he’s talking about the whole “save the planet” activism, & then points out, “The planet will be fine. We’re the ones who are going somewhere. The planet’s going to shake us off like a bad case of fleas.”

Indeed. Thanks for a lifetime of laughing so hard my sides hurt, Mr. Carlin. Maybe they’ll give you that ass, at long last, in the heaven you never believed in.

T Shirt

I don’t often wear trans shirts when I’m with Betty – no need to out her casually, she does enough outreach for one trans person – but Betty was sick this past week & so I was walking to my sister’s wear my NCTE “T” shirt (the old one – I don’t have the new one yet.)

Then someone on our boards asked if people would say yes if someone asked them if they were transgender.

And it made me wonder how often people think I’m trans – because of the t-shirts, the various places I post, the relative absence of partners in trans circles, and especially in LGBT circles. I think I mentioned here how two people I met at USC had assumed I was the partner of an FTM since the queer-identified partners of MTFs seem to be few & far-between – okay, practically non-existant.

It’s made me think of the days I was an honorary lesbian, which I am, still, kinda, depending on who’s deciding what I am.

I never told people I wasn’t a lesbian – unless the person was who wanted to sleep with me or a person who I wanted to sleep with – and in the same way I don’t think I’d care to clarify that I’m not trans if someone thought I was.

Maybe I should get a shirt that says GVETGI = Gender Variant Enough To Get It.

NC Robo-Calls

I was recently in the running in a “Top Ten Female Bloggers” contest sponsored by, which, as it turns out, is the organization that seems to be behind some baffling robo-calls to voters in NC (amongst other places).

Now Women’s Voices is plunging North Carolina into the same confusion. State officials tell Facing South they are still receiving calls from frustrated and confused voters, wondering why “Lamont Williams” is offering to send them a “voter registration packet” after the deadline for mail-in registration for the primaries has passed.

In correspondence with North Carolina election officials, Women’s Voices founder and President Page Gardner merely said that the disruptive timing was an “unfortunate coincidence” — a strange alibi for a group with their level of resources and sophistication.

There are other questions about Women’s Voices’ outreach efforts. Although the group purports to be targeting “unmarried women,” their calls and mailings don’t fit the profile. Kevin Farmer in Durham, who first recorded the call, is a white male. Many of the recipients are African-American; Rev. Nelson Johnson, who is a married, male and African-American, reported that his house was called four times by the mysterious “Lamont Williams.”

Please let anyone you know in North Carolina that these robo-calls are probably illegal & contain misleading information. How much WVWV’s intent is to buck up Clinton’s chances in the primary remain to be seen, but in a state where something like 45% of the voters are African-American, sending voters confusing and wrong information is anti-democratic. If it’s intentional, then I’d call it racist, too.

White feminists, you’re really fucking up here.

(via Daily Kos).

The Trip to SC, Pt. 5 (conclusion)

After dinner, Jasmyne Cannick spoke about race + homophobia. I’m going to summarize some of her comments in another post so that they might be available for trans groups doing outreach into racial minority communities. But she was good, funny, and yet she didn’t turn down the heat when it came to asking white LGBT people to pay attention to the ways they exclude black LGBT people.

The evening ended with drinks at our hotel, conversation, food, goofing around, gossip updates, flirting – and of course with me packing to catch an 11:56 PM train. I got hugs from some pretty lovely people, exchanged info with a bunch of others, and got on the train feeling renewed and re-invigorated. I want to thank Lisa Johnson again for having me at this conference, and I hope it can become a tradition for the college.

& So I waited for a cab to take me the short distance to the station, & at the station I got to fill a bunch of novice train travelers in on Amtrak. We boarded, and I slept, and then I wrote most of what you’ve been reading.

On the trip back, I met another man and his son over breakfast, except the son was only four and was learning everything with big blue eyes; after he saw me peel my banana, he kept half a finger on his own until his pop wasn’t paying attention, and then, lickety-split, he had his peeled too and broken in half.

“Are you going to eat that?” his father asked.

“No.” he said, still examining the banana peel in tres partes.

Love kids who aren’t my own.

Now it’s raining out; the raindrops coating windows on one side of the train and not the other. A woman across the aisle from me sleeps with her mouth slack, glasses askew. Penn Station in an hour, and home, and kittoi, and Betty.