The seasons turn and summer begins. Yesterday a manager at the local Tom Thumb Market became the first this year to ask me the standard Texas summer rhetorical question, “Hot enough for ya’ yet?” When the thermometer creeps up to the century mark and the trees are the lushest deep green of the year I count another year lived, another year of surviving, overcoming the odds. Another year of living a life I was told as a child would be… Read more.
Be a Trans Advocate
I've witnessed many arguments and misunderstandings explode over the conflation of these THREE dimensions of what we in trans discourse collectively refer to as gender: Gender Orientation: One’s subjective experience of one’s body, including its sexed attributes. Gender Identity: Identity labels used when socially constructing sexed personas within the context of social groupings. Gender Expression: One's situational expression of cultural cues which communicate gender identity. Note that gender identity and expression are absolutely culturally influenced. However, even if you stick me on a deserted island, I am… Read more.
Today's guest post is from Marina Mahathir. Mahathir describes herself as "a newspaper columnist, blogger, occasional TV and film producer, activist and general nuisance. She feels most comfortable amongst colourful characters and despite a great fondness for clothes and shoes, can't abide cocktail parties for the smart set. Most people know her by her constant talk about safe sex for HIV prevention but occasionally she also irritates some people by going on about feminism and Islam. She yearns for the… Read more.
September 4, 2009 · Cristan Williams
At least that's the comment he made on Twitter: Are you Brazillian (sp)? I'm only into Brazillian (sp) Trannies. Pre-op. As I've stated before, I think celebrities that make these kind of jokes will reap what they sow in comments around the internet. Celebrity sites will report what the star joked about in jest as a fact, not as humor. Lady Gaga is the perfect example of this (from The Sun): "She also said in a recent web blog: 'I… Read more.
As if transsexuals needed any help being stigmatized, Conan O'Brien did his part to further negative stereotypes with a comedy sketch portraying transsexauls as mustached strippers. To make matters worse the liberal leaning website, Huffington Post, promoted the video on its site. Just another example of how transphobia isn't a left/right thing. Read more.
July 15, 2009 · Marti Abernathey
In my search of twitter for transgender/transsexual content for the Transadvocate on Twitter, the tweet: "ZOMG Megan Fox is a transsexual!" comes up repeatedly. The genesis of this meme is from Megan Fox herself: 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. Another celebrity rumor suggests that Lady GaGa… Read more.
Reading Nexy's blog, I found out about a post over at Feministing and the boycott that's being called by some in the transgender community. The title of the post is "Men in Women's Bathrooms, Is Your State Next?" I don't believe the post itself was bad. The original post author, Miriam, asked in the last paragraph: "Here's the thing that always gets me about the bathroom debate: The idea that laws governing a space which by nature is unpoliced, unregulated… Read more.
February 17, 2008 · Marti Abernathey
I was looking at videos for my YouTube post and found this video titled "Twin Boys Living As Girls". It was taped in the early nineties, and is from the Jenny Jones Show. I sat their thinking this was just another trans segment on talk TV. It is not. When I realized who these two girls were, a sat here trembling, on the verge of tears. If you are not aware after watching the video, of just who these young… Read more.
I don't know why I didn't see this earlier, or why it just now hit google alerts, but I think it's a pretty good interview. ------- I love this video. I'm going to burn it to DVD and start giving it away to people that want a trans101. It's very well done. ------- And now... a vantreliquest! ------- Read more.
(As I'd mentioned, it's time to move on from the previous discussion. I admit, I probably wouldn't have reacted as badly if the debate hadn't touched on something that was freshly raw for me personally, but as it is still a raw nerve, we'll leave the HBS thing be. I thought I'd go with something far less controversial. Politics is being overdone right now, what with all the stuff on the primaries, so I thought I'd take on Religion. -- Mercedes) Modern churches do an excellent job of creating an equation between the questioning of fallible teachers, preachers, copyists and translators, and the questioning of God Himself. You can do one without necessarily doing another. But "all scripture is given by inspiration of God..." (2 Timothy 3:16) is usually used to rebuff any inquiries about the many interpretations of those scriptures. Assuming that all scripture was given by inspiration of God, it should also be kept in mind that all scripture was also interpreted and worded by a myriad of authors, then recopied by hand for thousands of generations, passing through different translators and copyists, each with differing biases. All New Testament scripture was additionally collected at the Council of Nicaea, where it was decided which books (and which specific versions of them) to keep and which ones to ignore or destroy. This was done under the guidance of an appointee (Eusebius Pamphilus) of the first actual Pope (although they later retroscribed themselves back to the apostle Peter), the Emperor Constantine I, who wished to forge a new religion that was a synthesis of Mithraism, fledgling Christianity, and Constantine's own worship of the sun god, Sol. He also intended to set himself up to be portrayed as the returned Christ (although it did not quite end up working out that way), which was understood at that time to mean an earthly King-level saviour. And in addition to the hands that scripture passed through being imperfect, so too are those of the preachers who deliver it on Sunday. Religious leaders have repeatedly abused and misused scripture for their own ends, right into modern times -- sometimes innocently but other times specifically for the acquisition of money, political power and fiercely loyal masses. 150 years ago, the church used scripture to justify slavery, alleging among other things that Black people had no souls. 100 years ago, scripture was used to resist emancipation, re-establishing womens' role as a subservient one and portraying them as not worthy or intelligent enough to be able to vote. Even today, scripture is twisted to assert the subordinance of women. Can we question the church's teaching while relying on our heart to sort the truth from the centuries of spin-mongering that has tainted it? I'd think we'd have to. Read more.
Alice Dreger Destroys Academic Freedom in Order to Save It It is an old adage that “crime, once exposed, has no refuge but in audacity.” This appears to be the thinking behind Alice Dreger’s latest attempt to stifle criticism of J. Michael Bailey’s pseudoscience in the name of “academic freedom”. Joelle Ruby Ryan recently issued a Call for Proposals for a proposed panel of the National Women’s Studies Association entitled The Bailey Brouhaha: Community Members Speak Out on Resisting Transphobia in Academia in Beyond. In it, she accurately summarises the history of the “controversy” around Bailey’s The Man Who Would Be Queen: The Science of Gender Bending and Transsexualism, as follows: While Bailey's book The Man Who Would be Queen was released in 2003 to overwhelmingly negative reviews, the book caused a stir for its assertion that trans women can be split into two groupings: "homosexual transsexuals" and “autogynephilics." Trans activists and allies mobilized and took Bailey to task for his bogus claims and helped to document a compelling case against him. Many considered it an open-and-shut case until the 2007 appearance of an article by Bailey colleague and intersex researcher Alice Dreger, who published a lengthy apologia for Bailey in the Archives of Sexual Behavior and castigated trans women activists for their attempts at "ruining" Bailey. In response, Dreger declared that the CFP was “laden with factual errors and misrepresentations about the history of the Bailey controversy and my work”, of which she could identify none, and points to her own dubious “scholarly history” (to be published by a journal controlled by Bailey, Blanchard, and Lawrence) and a breathtakingly inaccurate New York Times article that I have discussed previously as reliable sources of information. Dreger repeats her unsupported and unspecified claims of misrepresentations (in one case “profound” misrepresentations”) and factual errors throughout her correspondence on the subject with Emi Koyama on the Women’s Studies listserv WMST-L, and falsely claims that Bailey’s critics attempted to censor him. She does not enlighten interested readers about the scientific status of Bailey’s claims or his defamatory responses to criticism. She closes the e-mail exchange by endorsing a veiled threat directed at Ryan by Emi Koyama(1): What is the “academic freedom” that Dreger defends so fiercely as to resort to threats and blatant misrepresentations? Is it the freedom to publish scientific findings and engage in scholarly discussion without state or institutional censorship? Clearly not. That right has not been impinged upon. No one is calling for censorship of Bailey’s work, nor has any censorship occurred. The book remains in print, for all to see. Bailey’s right to fetishise “controversy” over science remains inviolate. Read more.
Give 'em an act with lots of flash in it And the reaction will be passionate Give 'em the old hocus pocus …. Give 'em the old three ring circus” — Richard Gere as Billy Flynn in the song "Razzle Dazzle" from the movie “Chicago” What the hell is up with being trans? Seriously, why is it such a heinous scandal to have someone attached to anything hinting of crossdressing or transsexualism? One would think that in 2007 we’ve progressed beyond that stage, but clearly that’s not so. A couple of items jumped out at me this week prompting this rant. One was a tabloid (Star or Enquirer, can’t remember which) with a blaring headline replete with photos showing a sad looking Cher, and an alternate photo of daughter Chastity Bono in what appears to be a man’s suit. The headline was: Cher’s Heartbreak Over Chastity’s Sex Change Decision. The other item concerns photos released of Oscar DeLaHoya and trumpeted as lead story on Entertainment Tonight for multiple nights in a row, even bleeding over into the nightly six o’clock local news at one point. The photos have what appears to be the boxing champ in a fishnet bodysuit, spike-heeled pumps and even wearing a wig with a jaunty fedora in one photo. Read more.
According to KTVB.com, Idaho Inmate Jennifer Spencer has won a small battle in the fight to get hormone replacement therapy in prison. While this is definitely a win for humane treatment of prisoners and for transsexuals that are incarcerated in Idaho, I have to wonder what the blacklash will be. These are the kind of cases that rile up the nastier side of the right wing. Examples from the comments of One News Now: Although I do not live in… Read more.
I'm getting rather tired of posting about this, but J. Michael Bailey is at it again. He posted "Transsexual Smokescreen: Ignoring Science In “The Man Who Would Be Queen” at Scientific Blogging.com. The post is a microcosm of the disingenuous nature of this man. He's said in multiple forums: (from the KQED Forum interview) I wrote what is commonly understood to be a popular science book, in which I reviewed serious academic work by myself and other scholars." So the book is science? Read more.
August 30, 2007 · Marti Abernathey
By Élise Hendrick (reprinted with permission) Autogynaephiles, Homosexuals, and Fabricators: The Blanchard-Bailey-Lawrence Taxonomy of Trans Women I. A Hypothetical Let us suppose that someone claimed to have found that rape is primarily a function of the sexuality and presentation of the victim, and proposed a binary taxonomy of rape victims: (1) The provoker: Provoker-type rape victims are heterosexual women no older than their mid-to-late twenties at the time of the incident. They are generally sexually active, and are characterized by general attractiveness and a preference for attractive, even provocative modes of dress and behavior. In these women, the rape is the subconsciously desired result of their behavior and presentation. (2) The confabulator: The confabulator, like the provoker, is heterosexual, but homely and unattractive, and at least in her late twenties or thirties. She is not sexually active, nor does she dress in a particularly attractive or provocative manner. She is most likely to have convinced herself that she was raped in order to deceive herself into believing that she is sexually desirable despite her age and appearance. Let us further suppose that the person who has “discovered” these categories also claims that there are no categories outside of the two above, and that any woman who claims not to fit within these categories in any particular is either lying or delusional. In dealing with these claims, rational people will likely do as suggested by Noam Chomsky in The Case Against B.F. Skinner, and ask: ”What is the scientific status of the claims? What social or ideological needs do they serve? The questions are logically independent, but the second type of question naturally comes to the fore as scientific pretensions are undermined.” Read more.
From the Evangelical Bible: I Fundamentalists: 1 And Christ said "if you're a transsexual, you're doomed. 2You deserve to be raped or sexually assaulted." Or so it would seem from the Jesus blogosphere : "If I may put this delicately, will these bathrooms make any concessions to that biological reality formerly known as "sexuality?" You know, body parts; will men be able to use the facilities in a manly way, or must we sit? One of the more painful memories of my life was visiting my brothers, David and Nathan, at Macalester College and having to use their coed dorm bathroom. Icky yuck-yuck. Gross. Cooties were caught." - Bayly Blog Apparently these "men of God" have an issue with gender neutral bathrooms that are safe places for transgender people. Read more.
In KQED's recent interview of J Michael Bailey and Alice Dreger, Bailey said: "Again I reject the assertion that it's all transgendered people are offended by my book. Many transgendered people are actually very happy that people are finally talking about this phenomenon called autogynophelia, which they feel captures their motivation." I actually think that Bailey is wrong and that a majority of transgender people see Bailey's work as a direct attack on their lives. If you do too, I'd ask that you please sign a petition I made at: http://www.petitiononline.com/trans4us/ Please spread the word about this petition to as many people you can think of. Alice Dreger's dredging up of this old controversy has inflamed the right wing blogosphere with such wonderful posts as: Read more.
The post that follows this will discuss Alice Dreger's "The Controversy Surrounding The Man Who Would Be Queen: A Case History of the Politics of Science, Identity, and Sex in the Internet Age." As a matter of disclosure, I believe before I can discuss this journal article I must be clear about a few points. 1. I'm not a supporter of Andrea James or Calpernia Addam's websites. From years of visiting their sites and taking part in their forums, I've… Read more.
Typically, when reading about radical feminists on various blogs, it's an "us verses them" type of debate. I've been thinking a lot about that, as witnessed by my last post, Michfest Music Melodrama I've been thinking a lot about the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival lately. So much anger and divisiveness occurs between radical feminist and transgender bloggers, it really turns my stomach. Very few posts on either side attempt to understand each other. so much so, it ends up being… Read more.
I've been over at Feministing all day, writing responses to "You learn something new every day." The post is a response to The BBC's recent coverage of a debate with Julie Bindel. Julie believes that sex reassignment surgery is a "mutilation." The debate over there is one of the best I've ever encountered. There's a whole lot of cross talk and listening, and very few personal attacks. This is the first time I've ever posted about this in a forum where I didn't feel like I was talking to a wall. I've included some of the comments, and my responses, under the cut. Read more.
What the heck is up with Wyoming Equality? From their front page: An equality group is promoting The Michigan Womyn's Music Festival? For those that don't know, the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival is a "womyn born womyn" event that specifically excludes transwomen. In recent years they've softened their "no transwomen" policy from "DO NOT ENTER," to "WE TOLD YOU NOT TO ENTER, BUT YOU CAN BUY A TICKET." If you don't believe the politics behind Michfest is transphobic, just take… Read more.
Things I learn from the radical feminist blogosphere: -" Male-to-female transsexuality/transgender is really about men’s rights. It has nothing to do with feminism. As such, as feminists, just as we oppose men’s rights, in general, we oppose this manifestation of men’s rights as well." - "Radical feminists are no more “transphobes” than we are “manhaters.” To allege that we are is to indulge in sexist, misogynist, anti-feminist propaganda." - " Female-to-male transsexuals/transgendered persons are situated much differently than male-to-female transsexuals/transgendered… Read more.
I'm continually amazed at the hatred and bigotry shown by the Fox Broadcasting Network. The fall lineup includes the inherently transphobic series, "There’s Something About Miriam." The series first aired in the 2004 in the UK and features six men who try to win the affection of 21-year-old Mexican model Miriam. In the final episode it is revealed to the suitors that Miriam is a preoperative transsexual woman. [kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/2ACJL41x3QE" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /] The series originally ran in the… Read more.
A question recent posted on Lesbian Life at About.com asked "Question: I am at the very early stages of being a transsexual, and I want to be a woman. I also love women. Could I consider myself a lesbian?" I've struggled to define my own sexuality, so this question has been ever present in my mind. Kathy Belge, of Curve's "Lipstick and Dipstick" fame, responded by saying: "Yes, transsexuals can be homosexual, bisexual or heterosexual. Gender identity and sexual orientation… Read more.
July 16, 2007 · Marti Abernathey
I'm waiting for the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) to put out an action alert calling for a ban on Transadvocate.com. Why? Because I've asked them to advocate for the "T" in their mission statement with the same veracity that they do for gay and lesbian issues. I even wondered on blog if we should protest GLAAD the way we've protested the Human Rights Campaign (for lack of inclusion). While on vacation last week, I periodically checked my… Read more.
It was striking seeing a blurb by a spokesperson in the Iowa Republican Party responding to the prospect of former-President Bill Clinton lobbying for his wife Hillary’s presidential campaign: “After Bill Clinton tarnished the name of the president of the United States, the Republican Party restored hope, respect and morality within the Oval Office by bringing positive ideas and conservative values back to the White House.” Reading this caused me to respond with one of those GEICO© caveman moments: “Yeah,… Read more.
An update on the previous post, Trans-panic Defense Alive And Well In Palm Beach. A 17 year old Florida teen was found guilty of a second-degree felony of aggravated battery when he assaulted a 39 year old transwoman. Further details of the beating were learned when one of the police officers testified. From the Palm Beach Post: "Palm Beach police Sgt. Jennifer Sandman, who interviewed the teen on the morning of the incident, testified at Monday's trial in juvenile court… Read more.
It looks as if the trans-panic defense is alive and well in Palm Beach. From the Palm Beach Post: Two strangers met outside a bar on Clematis Street in West Palm Beach. One of the strangers turned out to be a 17 year old male and the other was a 39 year old transwoman. "The teen says that she got into their car, and performed oral sex on him in the back seat while his friend drove. They ended up… Read more.
Listening to "progressive radio," you don't really hear to many examples of out and out transphobia. Listening to Randi Rhodes on Air America Radio I heard her mock Ann Coulter, insinuating she was a transsexual. This is insulting to Ann Coulter on a purely personal level, and it's demeaning of anyone trans because of the stereotypes. Just goes to show you that ignorance, bigotry, and transphobia isn't exclusive to right wing Republicans. http://podcasts.transactivists.com/TAR/media/2007-07-03_tacoulterrhodes.mp3 Read more.
The headline from a recent Rex Wockner PrideSource post screams "Transsexual becomes mayor of Cambridge". What would you think of this headline: "Gay becomes mayor of Cambridge"? Now, I know that "Lesbian becomes mayor of Cambridge" does work, but that's because being a lesbian denotes sex automatically. At the very least, I wish he'd have written it as Transsexual woman, or Trans-woman. It's frustrating to transition, go through all that it entails, only to be objectified and thrown in some… Read more.
You've probably heard of the ex-gay movement. You may have even heard of the ex-ex-gay movement. Odds are slim that you know anyone that is ex-transgender. But have you ever known anyone that is ex-ex-transgender? You have if you've read this blog. In 1997 I confessed to my wife that I'd cross-dressed most of my life. After her initial shock wore off, she began to accept and integrate this part of me into our marriage. This was an activity that… Read more.
As some of you may have noticed, there was no Carnival of Bent Attractions (COBA) post last month. This was partially due to the move of COBA to Transadvocate.com. So without further ado, the May addition of the Carnival of Bent Attractions! Romeo Vitelli's April 1st post, "Becoming Lili" reflected on the life of transsexual trailblazer Einar Wegener. "Born in Denmark in 1886, Einar Wegener must have seemed a typical male of his time. The role that he (or more… Read more.
Like a herpes sore, certain arguments pop up continually in the transcommunity and never seem to go away. Recently Gwen Smith wrote the editorial "What's In a Name?" that discussed the term "women born transsexual (WBT)" or "Harry Benjamin Syndrome." Suzanne Cooke responded to Gwen's editorial with "Good-Bye to Transgender and All That." In it she announcing her "divorce" from the community. She claims that Gwen Smith "castigates post-sex reassignment women who identify with the term "WBT" or 'women born… Read more.
That should be the title of Peter LaBarbera's Americans for Truth (AFT) website. His latest post attacks sports reporter Christine Penner. "I challenge 'Mike/Christine' to do a column describing, in detail, 'sex-reassignment surgery' – whereby a penis is turned into a makeshift 'vagina' — assuming he is one day going to go that route. ('Transitioning' people are required to live one year as the opposite sex before undergoing the horrifying operation.) Then we’ll see just how 'natural' all of this… Read more.
I pulled a couple of well versed legal minds in to shed more light on the shared space concerns: "It's problematic for employees who have transitioned prior to employment. As I read it, it means that shower or locker rooms without private stalls are exempt, so long as employees get a shower or locker room 'not inconsistent with' their self-identified gender. Thus, a transgender person, regardless of surgical status, can be singled out for placement in a single-person shower room,… Read more.
So we've got a trans-inclusive ENDA, time to celebrate! Or so I thought, till I actually looked at the language. Section 8(a)(3) CERTAIN SHARED FACILITIES- Nothing in this Act shall be construed to establish an unlawful employment practice based on actual or perceived gender identity due to the denial of access to shared shower or dressing facilities in which being seen fully unclothed is unavoidable, provided that the employer provides reasonable access to adequate facilities that are not inconsistent with… Read more.
First he said: * "Homosexual transsexuals tend to have a short time horizon, with certain pleasure in the present worth great risks for the future." * "Prostitution is the single most common occupation that homosexual transsexuals in our study admitted to." * "The more resourceful and attractive transsexual prostitutes are call girls." * "Nearly all the homosexual transsexuals I know work as escorts after they have their surgery." * "As for shoplifting, homosexual transsexuals are not especially well suited as… Read more.
I recently was asked to review the movie "American Beauties" by Groove Films. The description that came with the email gives you a slight clue that something is amiss here. "American Beauties (2005) is an award-winning documentary on Asian transgender immigrants. We enter the secretive, often misunderstood world of immigrant male to female transgenders. In a series of illuminating interviews, Amanda, Imani, Kimberly and Kosal I've revealing insights on the issues closest to their hearts: discrimination, prostitution, and sex reassignment… Read more.
In my recent post, Rose Colored Glasses, I had quite a few people respond here and on livejournal. Anyone familiar with the history of the trans-community and HRC (Human Rights Campaign) will know how contentious that relationship has been over the years. In March of 2001 the board of directors changed their mission statement to include transgender people. In the six years since our inclusion it's been an uphill battle to get HRC to actually include transgender people in their… Read more.
The Journal of Lesbian Studies is calling for submissions to the upcoming "Lesbians and Body Image" issue. One of the questions really caught my eye: " What differentiates body image situations where it is seen as desirable to change your attitude (i.e., "accept your body") vs. where it is seen as desirable to change your body (i.e., transsexual surgery)? What determines whether someone identifies as a butch lesbian or a FTM transsexual?" Is it possible to ever "accept your body?"… Read more.
I found this on Saurly Yours: "Sex Change Operations: Are They Choice or Necessity?" I left this comment in response. "I'm not really going to spend too much time discussing things here, because it's pretty obvious that you have no desire for debate. Pretty typical on the internet, you state your opinion and then shoot down any disagreement. You discount Dr Weiss without stating any logical argument, instead you try to play some sort of educational war of the degrees.… Read more.
According to a Reuters report: "As Renee Richards, the world's most famous transsexual athlete, looks back on her life, she has one regret -- the fame she attained." Dearest Renee, your 15 minutes of fame are WAY past. If you're so against the fame you received, why are you writing another book? "In the mid-1970s and when her memoir, "Second Serve: The Renee Richards Story," came out in 1983, was treated as an curiosity and besieged by television chat shows.… Read more.