Concordia professor, Viviane Namaste, honoured for HIV/AIDS work

Concordia professor honoured for HIV/AIDS work

Viviane Namaste

Viviane Namaste, an associate professor at Concordia University, is the recipient of the 2009 Canadian Award for Action on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights.

Namaste was presented with the award at a public reception in Toronto as part of the Canadian Legal Network’s Symposium on HIV, Law and Human Rights.

The Awards for Action on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights recognize outstanding individuals and organizations that protect the rights and dignity of people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS.

Namaste’s research and activism address communities of people invisible in HIV/AIDS prevention and services, including bisexuals and transsexuals.

Namaste holds the Research Chair in HIV/AIDS and Sexual Health and is an Associate Professor at the Simone de Beauvoir Institute at Concordia University in Montréal.

In 1995, Namaste co-founded ASTTQ, Action Santé: Travesti(e)s et Transsexuel(le)s du Québec, and subsequently coordinated this HIV project for several years. She also set up one of the first HIV prevention organizations in Canada by and for trans sex workers.

She has conducted extensive research in Québec and Ontario on the HIV prevention and service needs of transsexuals. She is currently conducting research on the HIV prevention needs of bisexual men and women (see the Polyvalence website). Like her work on transsexuals, this project seeks to examine gaps in HIV prevention and research, with an aim to developing innovative solutions that connect knowledge and action.

Namaste has served as an expert witness in a number of immigration cases and in a constitutional challenge to the Ontario government’s decision to stop covering sex reassignment surgery under the provincial health insurance plan. She has also published several academic books on transsexuals and health, with a particular focus on questions of HIV, including Invisible Lives: The Erasure of Transsexual and Transgendered People, which won the 2001 Outstanding Book Award of the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights.

Read more about Viviane Namaste.

The Awards for Action on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights were established in 2002 by the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and Human Rights Watch and recognize outstanding individuals and organizations that protect the rights and dignity of people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS. An award is presented annually to one Canadian and one international recipient. Namibian lawyer and activist Michaela Clayton, was the recipient of the 2009 International Award for Action on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights.
Posted on June 15, 2009

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Transsexuals Are Not Transgender

I am at a point where I will not accept that some one is transsexual and not transgender until they actually have sex reassignment surgery and I am not talking hormones and breast implant or chest reduction surgery.

I am tired of people who have no intention of getting SRS claiming they are transsexual because they think that somehow makes them more serious than if they use the term transgender for themselves.

I am even more tired of people telling me that I am being a bitch and an elitist because I say I am transsexual and not part of the transgender community because I had SRS.  I find myself feeling used.

Transgender Activists have used those of us who get SRS to legitimatize the idea of those who will never get SRS. They then criticize us us for saying we have our own causes now that we are women or men as the case may be and that we find feminism, same-sex marriage, media reform, anti-globalization, environmental causes more important than the transgender cause.

Some people after SRS are even apolitical and just want to assimilate into the sex they have been reassigned to.

Most of us have zero interest in redefining away the “gender binary”.  In fact many of us don’t see that much of a rigidly defined gender binary in the modern western world where both men and women hold down crappy oppressive jobs where everyone wears the company designated virtual uniform.

When it was announced last week that long time Gay and Lesbian Rights Advocate Chastity Bono had started the T to M process and had come out as transsexual taking the name Chaz I wasn’t surprised by the ignorant babble of the Christo-Fascist morons. That is to be expected whenever anyone does anything that isn’t consistent with their strangely bigoted superstitious belief structure and its embrace of misogynistic gender roles.

But then we have the unfortunate spokesperson, Mara Keisling once again opening her trap and shoving both feet into it

And on Pam’s House Blend

Someone’s decision to transition does not necessarily mean they are undergoing gender reassignment surgery, and in many cases they do not, said Mara Keisling, executive director of the Washington-based National Center for Transgender Equality.

“The whole media fixation on surgery is kind of misplaced,” she said. “Almost no transgender people ever have surgery. We don’t have any idea how many do.” An estimated one-quarter to one-half percent of the American population is transsexual, however, Keisling said. “It’s sort of a general term that encompasses both or either a social transition or a medical transition.”

Keisling said she was unaware of the specifics in Bono’s case, but speaking generally, a transition means that he will now want to be “known, seen, viewed” as a male.

“The actual details depend on his needs and wants and his doctor’s needs and wants,” she said.

Oh no, she didn’t really say that, did she?

I’m afraid she did.  Call it a moment of accidental candor that revealed the whole contemptuous agenda of the transgender movement and their hatred of transsexuals who actually get SRS and get on with their lives if you will.  Try to explain it away or clarify it but those of us who have been saying that the transgender activists have been colonizing and erasing the lives of transsexuals for some 20 years now know this is actually how transgenders view us.

I struggle with the idea WBTs and MBTs should support hate crimes bills and anti-discrimination laws because that is the right thing to do.  Yet I feel used by people who have colonized my life and who refuse to distinguish between me and a bunch of…

…  Dare I say it?  Men in dresses.

Media Games

I recently heard a rather disturbing story from a sister who made the mistake of becoming involved with a reality show.

She was seriously abused by the people involved both as the producers of the show and by other contestants.

Lately way too many media outlets have taken the Jerry Springer route and subjected  WBTs and MBTs as well as transgender people to horribly abusive treatment for the gratification of their audiences.

It is somehing very characteristic of the Rupert Murdock school of right wing hackery and propaganda peddling disguised as journalism.

It is every slimy tabloid produced on shitty paper with ink that smears, only now it is on a thousand TV channels where the advertising dollar is spread too thin to actually pay professional actors and production people to put on dramatic television.

After all they not only would have to pay the performers but the writers.

It is so much cheaper to dangle a few molecules of the most intoxicating of all drugs, fame and a chance to win big bucks.

You will see the fame starved dreamers thinking they have a chance to actually grab the gold ring of fame and fortune and instead the public gets treated to these poor souls humiliating themselves in front of millions of people.  Sees them reduced to fighting like starving dogs over a fly covered bone with a taste of rotten meat.

I would never tell a sister or brother to subject themselves to one of these atrocities.  Let the normborn straights do it.  We’ve been there and done that as a part of growing up different and should never let ourselves return to situations where we are subjected to this sort of abuse.

Especially when there are other routes for telling our stories and getting our narratives a real listening from audiences that offer respect rather than humiliation.

We can write.  Blogging is so simple with tools any literate person with a bit of computer skills can master.  Writing, photography, documentaries and even oral histories offer a way to share our stories with dignity that we lose when we subject ourselves to the cruelty of a format that views mercy as weakness.

It may not make us famous to share our stories on blogs read mainly by sisters and brother, in books and documentaries read or seen within our family.

But there is something this small arena of notoriety has that the greater arena of TV fame lacks.  The anonymity of having only family know of our medical history so that when we are outside of these arenas we can just be ordinary people.

For some of us that being able to control what and how we share our stories is as important as our telling them in the first place.

To get our stories out there in a positive manner means learning how media operates.  It means learning what media outlets one can trust and the honing of our messages.

There used to be a talk show with Phil Donahue that was totally different from Jerry Springer.  It is important to know the host and the type of show one is going on before going on to it.

Even better yet is working with some one who is friendly to insure a positive message.

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