Avoiding Being Part of the Transgender Community as a Survival Strategy

At this time of year, forty-three years ago I was working out the logistics of coming out.  Making doctor’s appointments, working with the welfare department and public health organizations to find exactly where I could go to get hormones and have a doctor who treated transsexualism.

One of the first places I went to was on Third and Mission in San Francisco, The Transsexual Counseling Service.

The sisters there imparted some very important words of wisdom.  Avoid prostitution, get job training, never live in the Tenderloin and avoid hanging out with drag queens because they will get you in trouble with the law.

Now these weren’t middle class sisters from suburbia.  They had lived in the Tenderloin, been part of what is now called the world of transgender, they had been prostitutes and were now in job training programs.

Fortunately I lived in Berkeley, didn’t know any TS or TG people and had a year and a half of college.  I had the support of assigned female at birth women when it came to learning how to conduct myself as a woman.  Friendships, advice and just people to talk with about the wall of sexism that I had been pretty oblivious to.  Male privilege bestowed based on the assumption of my being male permitted me to be blind to the level of crap women had to put up with on a daily basis.

I was lucky to come out in the world of left wing hippies with high levels of political consciousness that allowed me to analyze this sexism with a feminist perspective as that meant I saw it as the common life experience of all women and not as something specific to TS/TG women.

The next year I met and became friends with a queen who lived in Oakland and who did a safer form of sex work using ads placed in the Berkeley Barb. I wound up moving in with her and another sister.  I didn’t need an advanced degree in psychology to see the games or the self destructive life trajectories that Gina and Parrish were on.

I extricated myself from that living arrangement and picked up a boyfriend.  Love and lust were part of why I took up with him but there was also the reality that a woman alone in 1970 was prey.  Particularly if you were on the margins of society and didn’t have the protections of social structures such as family or school acting in loco parentis.

Later I went to work at that center where I first went for advice.  By then the culture of the place had changed and it was less Tenderloin and more in tune with the SF State Berkeley mindset.  I hit it off with Jan Maxwell, we became friends as well as co-workers.  But I was relatively selective as to who I became friends with from the people who went through the office as I could easily see there were quite a few seriously disturbed people with much more serious problems than I wanted in my life beyond the office.

It wasn’t the doctors who told us to get our surgery and assimilate into the non-transsexual world.  The whole point of getting a sex change operation was to be able to have an ordinary female life, experiencing the same sort of life that AFAB women experience.  That requires assimilation and letting go of the specialness of transgender.

One of the things radical feminists get wrong about post-transsexual women’s  cunts has to do with their short comings.  The short-comings i.e. infertility, menstruation are individual issues and society extrapolates from the general and not from the outlier.  If you have a vagina between your legs the rest of the world presumes that you have or will menstruate at some point in your life and they treat you accordingly unless you insist on going around proclaiming how you are transgender and proud.

When one gets hung up in transgender this transgender that or even obsesses on their transsexualism to the point where it is the only thing they ever think and talk about then they haven progressed much beyond transition.  It is like staying locked in a ghetto mindset.

The ghetto isn’t a healthy place to be.

Sex work isn’t healthy, either physically or emotionally.

Smoking weed is one thing.  It should be legal, like alcohol or even respected as a stress relieving medication.  The same can’t be said for all the prescription drugs so many sisters are strung out on.  Not the illegal drugs like speed, coke or smack.  A glass of wine with dinner is fine for those who don’t have problems with alcoholism, several drinks for breakfast not so much and maybe a warning sign.

Unfortunately it has been my experience that substance abuse issues are all to common in the Transgender Community and dealing with personal substance issues requires getting away from that community as part of the work of recovery.

Many in the Transgender Community gravitate to sex work including street prostitution and porn.  Street prostitution is the most kamikaze life choice one can make.  Every year the Day of Remembrance Lists are fill with the names of street prostitutes yet for all the political games there is little effort or even speaking out regarding street prostitution other than to condemn residents who complain about it going on in their neighborhoods as bigots.

Getting away from all that and getting away from other substance abusers and sex workers is a major step on the road to recovery.

Contrary to the guilt trips getting SRS does not obligate one to stay in a ghetto filled with self destructive people or to immerse oneself in a culture where such self destructive behavior is so common place.

I didn’t get sex reassignment surgery to be a post-op transgender person.  I got it to be a woman.

It is stressful and corrosive to spend the rest of my life listen to the Transgender Borg berate me as a separatist with an inverted penis.  The common verbal abuse dished out by the Borg towards any post-transsexual woman who is unwilling to remain in the snake pit of the Borg Collective destroys the emotional lives of post-transsexual women.

Avoiding being part of the Transgender Community isn’t an act of bigotry it is an act of self preservation.

Birth Control Hearing: Women Respond To All-Male Panel

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Why Right-Wingers’ Hatred of Modern Women Is Going to Cost Them the Birth Control Battle (and a Whole Lot of Votes)

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/reproductivejustice/154224/why_right-wingers%27_hatred_of_modern_women_is_going_to_cost_them_the_birth_control_battle_%28and_a_whole_lot_of_votes%29/

Conservatives are going wildly off-message when it comes to the fight over contraception.

By Joshua Holland
February 21, 2012

 For many pundits and politicians on the Right, the visceral impulse to shame women for being in control of their own sexuality is so overwhelming that they appear to be totally incapable of maintaining their usual message discipline. That’s going to cost them the fight over contraception.

The polling on the Obama administration’s recent “accommodation” with the Catholic bishops reveals an important trend. When the issue is framed as a battle over “religious liberty” for institutions associated with the church, Americans are deeply divided. When it’s about access to contraception, they’re not – overwhelming majorities are in favor of mandating that religiously affiliated employers provide their workers with insurance that covers birth control.

The numbers don’t lie. A Pew poll that offered little in the way of explanation of the new rule asked those who had heard about it (62 percent of respondents) whether “religiously affiliated institutions that object to the use of contraceptives should be given an exemption from the rule,” and found that a plurality sided with the bishops (by a margin of 48-44).

But a CBS/ New York Times Poll found that when some background was offered, and the question was worded a bit differently so that the emphasis was on contraception (“Should religious employers be required to cover contraception?”), the results were very different. Both self-identified Catholics and the larger public favored the rule by a healthy 2-1 margin.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/reproductivejustice/154224/why_right-wingers%27_hatred_of_modern_women_is_going_to_cost_them_the_birth_control_battle_%28and_a_whole_lot_of_votes%29/

Heartland Institute leak exposes strategies of climate attack machine

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/feb/21/heartland-institute-leak-climate-attack

The documents show how groups play up controversy to undermine confidence in well-established scientific findings

guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 21 February 2012

After the leak from the Chicago-based thinkthank the Heartland Institute, much attention is now being focused on the alleged deception used by the water scientist Peter Gleick to obtain the sensitive internal documents.

And while acts of deception cannot be condoned, it is also important to note that the documents obtained by Gleick provide an insight into how some of those groups that are fundamentally opposed to reducing emissions of greenhouse gases attempt to convey the impression that their arguments are founded on science rather than on ideology.

The Heartland Institute states on its website that its mission is “to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems”, and that the aim of its work on climate change is to promote “market-based, rather than government-based, solutions to environmental problems”. The Institute has been one of the most active lobbyists against policies in the United States to curb emissions, primarily by attempting to undermine confidence in the findings of scientific research that climate change is driven mainly by human activities.

One of the newly released documents shows very clearly how the institute intends to target teachers and schoolchildren with this strategy. It begins by claiming:

“Many people lament the absence of educational material suitable for K-12 [kindergarten to 12th grade] students on global warming that isn’t alarmist or overtly political. Heartland has tried to make material available to teachers, but has had only limited success. Principals and teachers are heavily biased toward the alarmist perspective.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/feb/21/heartland-institute-leak-climate-attack

The High Costs of Birth Control: A Major Barrier to Access

From RH Reality Check:  http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2012/02/19/high-costs-birth-control

by Jessica Arons, Center for American Progress and Center for American Progress Action Fund
February 21, 2012

Many people seem to think birth control is affordable, but high costs are one of the primary barriers to contraceptive access. It is for this reason that the Obama administration recently followed the recommendation of the Institute of Medicine to ensure that birth control will be covered as a preventive service with no cost-sharing beginning August 1, 2012.

Although three-quarters of American women of childbearing age have private insurance, they still have had to pay a significant portion of contraceptive costs on their own.

  • A recent study shows that women with private insurance paid about 50 percent of the total costs for oral contraceptives, even though the typical out-of-pocket cost of noncontraceptive drugs is only 33 percent.
  • In some cases oral contraceptives approach 29 percent of out-of-pocket spending on health care for women with private insurance.
  • Women of reproductive age spend 68 percent more on out-of-pocket health care costs than do men, in part because of contraceptive costs.

High costs have forced many women to stop or delay using their preferred method, while others have chosen to depend on less effective methods that are the most affordable.

Continue reading at:  http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2012/02/19/high-costs-birth-control

Dolphins deserve same rights as humans, say scientists

From BBC:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-17116882

21 February 2012

Dolphins should be treated as non-human “persons”, with their rights to life and liberty respected, scientists meeting in Canada have been told.

Experts in philosophy, conservation and animal behaviour want support for a Declaration of Rights for Cetaceans.

They believe dolphins and whales are sufficiently intelligent to justify the same ethical considerations as humans.

Recognising their rights would mean an end to whaling and their captivity, or their use in entertainment.

The move was made at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Vancouver, Canada, the world’s biggest science conference.

It is based on years of research that has shown dolphins and whales have large, complex brains and a human-like level of self-awareness.

This has led the experts to conclude that although non-human, dolphins and whales are “people” in a philosophical sense, which has far-reaching implications.

Continue reading at:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-17116882

The paradox of Rick Santorum’s conservative beliefs

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/ana-marie-cox-blog/2012/feb/20/rick-santorum-conservative-beliefs-paradox

Santorum’s supporters denounce the government’s religious interference, but it’s their mantra that feels like oppression

Posted by
Monday 20 February

I can’t imagine that anyone on the Obama re-election team ever thought they’d be so lucky as to run against Rick Santorum; even now, one senses a kind of incredulous bemusement among when they are asked to respond to the former senator’s more strident remarks.

They can rise above Santorum’s social conservative mud-slinging without raising a sweat. Last Sunday, Robert Gibbs, an Obama campaign adviser, used Santorum’s accusation that the president had a “phony theology” to plea for civility. We have to, Gibbs said, “get rid of this mindset in our politics that, if we disagree, we have to question character and faith,” an assertion that appeals to a conviction that most Americans cling to more strongly than any religious affiliation: the right to be left alone.

As I’ve written before, I think it’s Santorum’s comfort with judging (and interfering with) the private lives of others that raises the hackles of voters who don’t already agree with him. Social conservatives, Santorum chief among them, have tried to paint the administration’s support for mandatory coverage of birth control by insurance companies as an imposition of beliefs on its own. When Santorum claims that the policy means that Obama “has reached a new low in this country’s history of oppressing religious freedom that we have never seen before,” he’s relying on American’s long-held distrust of government to blind us to real-life workings of the policy he describes. In practice, it’s preventing people from using their insurance to cover birth control costs that feels like government interference, on the way to oppression.

The ability to control when and if we have children isn’t a luxury anymore, it’s a right as fundamental to our understanding of personal freedom that I’m not even sure most voters give it a second thought. Involving insurance companies, and employers, complicates the issue somewhat for some people – but not so much that it makes the president’s policy unpopular.

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/ana-marie-cox-blog/2012/feb/20/rick-santorum-conservative-beliefs-paradox

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