Yeah It was Cool that Jenna Talackova Won The right to Compete in the Beauty Pageant. But Beauty Pageants are Sexist and Boring.

Yeah it’s great there are transsexual/transgender models and beauty pageant contestants.

But honestly I don’t give a shit about models or beauty pageants.  The whole hoopla seems so anachronistic, so 1950s or 1960s.

Don’t get me wrong I still get Vogue or Elle along with Vanity Fair even though I think most of the clothes and virtually all of the shoes they peddle are stupid and demeaning.

I actually tend to look at the photo credits more than at the model credits.

I actually modeled for a few months in 1974 and did some movie extra work.  Working as an extra was a hell of a lot more fun because I got to see the mechanics of how they shoot movies and television.

As for my modeling.  I had an agenda.  I wanted to see how fashion photographers did what they did and improve my photography at a time when it was next to impossible for women to get gigs as photographer’s assistants.

I like clothes but I was never all that into high fashion, when I was really into clothes I was more influences by hippie women who were musicians.

As for jewelry I’d rather have a Nikon or a Leica with a fast lens hanging around my neck than expensive jewelry.

As far as I am concerned Jenna Talackov’s winning the right to compete in the beauty pageant was more important than her actually competing.

The same with the current crop of models.  They are fifty years or so past any right o claim being the first but they are more open about it and making a greater splash which is cool.

But there are a lot of sisters and brothers out there doing stuff that I find far more interesting.

Writers, musicians, activists, professors and the like.

Maybe it is because I like those things too.

But maybe all this emphasis on models and beauty pageants seems to reinforces  things I see as negative stereotypes of our being sex objects not only as TS/TG women but simply as women.

Some how I think most of us are more than just sex toys and beauty objects.

I always felt left out from all those surveys that tried to make my being transsexual about either clothes or men.  It was like I was out of step because I felt it was more about feeling at home in my own body.

I was pretty enough to have men (not to mention more than a few women) lust after me but I always felt there was  more to me than my appearance.

All the emphasis on appearance and glamor seems so misogynistic, so reactionary and so anti-feminist.

It is also pretty boring.

Drag pageants at least had the sub-culture thing going for them and a level of Brechtian irony about them.

Straight beauty pageants are too shallow to have irony.

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The real trans scandal is not the failings of one doctor but cruelty by many

From The Guardian UK:

Anger over attacks on Richard Curtis led to the #TransDocFail hashtag on Twitter that has united the trans community, Thursday 10 January 2013

Has your doctor ever laughed in your face during an appointment? Denied that your condition exists? Or simply told you that you’re too ugly to merit treatment?

Outrageous? Yes, but also, pretty much par for the course if you happen to be trans. You must expect a world of abuse and humiliation to attend even the simplest of interactions with the medical profession, whether trans-related or not. As for making a complaint, few will risk it: most are cowed into silence by the tacit threat that rocking the boat could lead to a termination of their desperately needed treatment.

Of course, there’s little new to this. Wherever there is power imbalance between patients and professionals who control access to resource, there is a risk of an unhealthy relationship developing. From benign paternalism to outright bullying and belittlement, the pattern is repeated time and time again – with women, disabled people and those with mental illness frequently on the receiving end.

Now, however, a wholly unexpected explosion of angry tweets – several thousand in the last 48 hours – may have blown the lid off this issue once and for all. The story began, unpromisingly enough, with a Guardian article revealing that Dr Richard Curtis, one of the few medical practitioners providing support for gender re-assignment outside the NHS, was being investigated by the General Medical Council (GMC) in respect of a number of complaints made about his practice. This touched a raw nerve, in all sorts of ways. Since Curtis offers private treatment, his services are not available to all; nor can he offer the full range of support provided by the NHS. However, as the main – perhaps only – alternative in town, his continuing practice offers a different perspective to the NHS pathway, which is widely regarded as slow, controlling and unsympathetic.

With new commissioning structures about to come into being, fears are heightened that the entirety of trans provision is about to be forced into a one-size-fits-all straitjacket. In such circumstances, “patient choice” evokes but hollow laughter.

Trans anger focused on two aspects of the story: the fact that Curtis, an individual who for all his failings is widely seen as something of a hero of the community, should be coming under attack by the medical establishment; and the fact that, with so much medical abuse of trans folk going on, the news agenda should light yet again on an angle that is positively damaging.

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Drunk D.C. Cop Gets Off Easy After Shooting 3 Transgender Women

From Alternet:

A Washington, D.C. police officer who fired multiple shots into a car with three transgender women and their friends is getting off easy, and the transgender community has reacted with outrage.

By Alex Kane
January 11, 2013

A Washington, D.C. police officer who fired multiple shots into a car with three transgender women and their friends is getting off easy. The officer, 48-year-old Kenneth Furr, was sentenced yesterday “to three years of supervised probation, a $150 fine, and 100 hours of community service,” the Washington Blade reports. The transgender community in D.C. has reacted with outrage.

The D.C. Superior Court Judge, Russell Canan, also sentenced Furr “to five years in prison but suspended all but 14 months of the prison term and credited Furr with the 14 months he already served between the time of his arrest and his trial last October,” the publication reported. The officer was released from jail while he awaits sentencing for his conviction on charges of assault and solicitation for prostitution. Furr was acquitted on the more serious charges of assault with intent to kill with a weapon.

The judge also ordered the officer to stay away from D.C.’s well known areas for transgender prostitution.

“This result is the product of a legal system that constantly devalues trans lives, particularly trans people of color,” Jason Terry, an activist with the D.C. Trans Coalition, told the Blade. “Officer Furr’s defense team actively sought to portray the victims as somehow deserving of this violence, and apparently they succeeded. If roles had been reversed and a black trans woman had gotten drunk and shot a gun at a police officer, the results would be drastically different.”

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Vancouver Ca: Belgium’s first transsexual performs at Club PuSh ON STAGE / Vanessa Van Durme one of few queer artists at 2013 festival

From Xtra: Ca:

Erin Flegg
Friday, January 11, 2013

Vanessa Van Durme, Belgian writer and performer, has a knack for picking the right word. After all, she’s had some practice. Van Durme became Belgium’s first transsexual before the vocabulary for the transition existed.

“It wasn’t that simple then,” she says over the phone from Belgium. “It was a big, big struggle because you couldn’t even pronounce the word, because it didn’t exist at that time.”

Now, at the age of 64, she has told her story in three different languages all over the world.

Van Durme will perform her one-woman show, Look Mummy, I’m Dancing, at this year’s PuSh International Performing Arts Festival in Vancouver.

The performance is a 90-minute monologue that tells the story of a young boy who was happiest when dressed in his mother’s clothes, wearing red lipstick and dancing.
The show is simply staged, just Van Durme in a pink slip, a table and two dolls, one male and one female. She transitions between her two parents’ voices and her own child’s voice. In a way, she says, the show is a tribute to her parents.

“They’re lovely people. I had lovely parents, working class people. I thought, what was it for them, having a child like me in the ’60s? It wasn’t a simple thing. They were full of understanding.”

She has performed the show 250 times so far, all over the world, including four times in Canada already. That’s at least 100 times more than she at first anticipated.

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Generation LGBTQIA

From The New York Times:

Published: January 9, 2013

STEPHEN IRA, a junior at Sarah Lawrence College, uploaded a video last March on We Happy Trans, a site that shares “positive perspectives” on being transgender.

In the breakneck six-and-a-half-minute monologue — hair tousled, sitting in a wood-paneled dorm room — Stephen exuberantly declared himself “a queer, a nerd fighter, a writer, an artist and a guy who needs a haircut,” and held forth on everything from his style icons (Truman Capote and “any male-identified person who wears thigh-highs or garters”) to his toy zebra.

Because Stephen, who was born Kathlyn, is the 21-year-old child of Warren Beatty and Annette Bening, the video went viral, garnering nearly half a million views. But that was not the only reason for its appeal. With its adrenalized, freewheeling eloquence, the video seemed like a battle cry for a new generation of post-gay gender activists, for whom Stephen represents a rare public face.

Armed with the millennial generation’s defining traits — Web savvy, boundless confidence and social networks that extend online and off — Stephen and his peers are forging a political identity all their own, often at odds with mainstream gay culture.

If the gay-rights movement today seems to revolve around same-sex marriage, this generation is seeking something more radical: an upending of gender roles beyond the binary of male/female. The core question isn’t whom they love, but who they are — that is, identity as distinct from sexual orientation.

But what to call this movement? Whereas “gay and lesbian” was once used to lump together various sexual minorities — and more recently “L.G.B.T.” to include bisexual and transgender — the new vanguard wants a broader, more inclusive abbreviation. “Youth today do not define themselves on the spectrum of L.G.B.T.,” said Shane Windmeyer, a founder of Campus Pride, a national student advocacy group based in Charlotte, N.C.

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Inaction in the U.S. Government and the Dangers for Women

From Huffington Post:


A new year, a new presidential term, and a new Congress should mean a fresh agenda, but in 2013, that is far from our reality. What started out as “high hopes” for the 113th Congress has transformed into disapproval and disappointment, and we are only into the second week of January. A recent poll shows that Congress is less popular than some of the most detested events and annoyances in American culture.

I couldn’t agree more. The new year started out with the looming fiscal cliff and in the midst of that deal, Congress discussed the impact of the resolution on the economic security of our nation. They argued that averting the fiscal cliff meant securing the long-term economic stability of Americans.

Some important victories for women came out of that agreement but there were some detrimental exclusions such as the lack of any clear next steps for the debt ceiling and additional deficit reduction. The fiscal cliff deal also threatens Head Start programs and protection of the programs that women and families rely on most, including Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act.

While Congress was busy arguing about the fiscal cliff, they also ignored other priorities like the pending expiration of an indispensable bill for women’s economic security: the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). When the House failed to vote and renew VAWA, they sent a clear message to women voters that their safety and security from sexual and domestic violence is not important.

Initially passed in 1994, VAWA has received bipartisan support in every reauthorization until 2012. Problems for VAWA began in April 2012 when the Senate introduced a version of the bill that included three new provisions:

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Will Obama’s ‘war on weed’ really ride roughshod over American voters?

From The Guardian UK:

The White House seems stuck in its failed ‘war on drugs’ policy, even as voters in states approve marijuana legalisation, Friday 11 January 2013

Two states took the plunge: Colorado and Washington State recently voted to decriminalize possession, if you are over 21, of small amounts of marijuana (although you still can’t smoke it in public there). But the White House is warning that these state moves are in violation of federal law – the Controlled Substances Act – which the government gives notice it intends to continue to enforce.

Indeed, Obama is thinking about more than a warning: he might actually sue the states, and any others that follow Colorado‘s and Washington States’ leads. Pot legalization proponents, however, point to the fact that the states’ change in the law has been hailed by local law enforcement, because being able to leave small-scale pot users alone means freed-up resources for police to go after violent crime.

David Sirota reported, in Salon this past week, on a petition he submitted to the White House, in which 46,000 people asked Obama to support proposed legislation that would not legalize marijuana on a federal level but simply change federal law so that states could choose to legalize personal use if they wished to do so. Sirota points out that polls demonstrate that “between 51% and 68% of Americans believe states – and not the feds – should have marijuana enforcement authority.”

The White House ignored the petition – in spite of Obama’s promise to take action on petitions that garner such levels of support. And the New York Times reports that the administration is considering taking legal action against any states that claim the authority to legalize marijuana. One approach being contemplated is for the federal government to sue the states “on the grounds that any effort to regulate marijuana is pre-empted by federal law”.

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