Beauty Pageants and Natural Women

One of the big raps directed at Jenna Talackova and her participation in this pageant is that she is “not a natural woman.”

Which is a little strange since not one of the women in that pageant was a natural woman.

Every one of them wore make-up.  Many had breast implants and other plastic surgery.

Their hair was styled by experts.

A make-up free, unplasticized, hippie woman, with a tangle of hair and natural beauty wouldn’t have stood a chance against the women who enter these contests.

I’ve even heard some snots saying that Jenna was “double dipping” by having competed in a transgender pageant prior to this.  They ask should “natural women” be allowed in those pageants.  Which is sort of like over-privileged white shits claiming scholarships directed to minorities are discriminatory since they favor groups of lesser privilege.

“Transgender Pageants” are the way a “despised and dispossessed” minority group celebrated the beauty of a few of its own.  An alternative to the world they were denied entry into.

I have a confession…

From the time I was a teenage transkid I have been awe struck by the absolute beauty of some of my sisters.  It doesn’t matter that beauty pageants and fashion magazines trivialize women.

The mere knowledge that there are a handful of sisters out there at any one time, among those publicly considered  to be among the most beautiful women in the world makes me feel good inside.

I modeled for a short time in 1974.  Something that a number of sisters in the Hollywood TS/TG community knew about.  On a few occasions I was approached on the street by sisters who told me how much they admired me and how proud they were of me.

Of course, sisters also told me how proud they were of me for speaking at the Gay Pride Rally and of my work as an activist and photographer.

Being part of a minority community is why we look up to other members of the minority community who excel.  I’d be a liar if I said I didn’t.

Which bring us back to Beauty Pageants and natural women.

Beauty pageants aren’t about natural women. They are an art form, performance art perhaps but an art form nonetheless. Like formal dance or the tea ceremony.  Like high opera they are an anachronism.

The women who perform in them are performers in a stylized presentation of a concept of femininity. A presentation of gender if you will.

This is something some of my sisters have turned into high art.  Others have turned it into low art and that is perfectly fine too.

I never managed to pull off the artifice of presenting that sort of femininity.  Sisters labeled me a “natural born beauty.” Every Day People Some sisters with that natural beauty also have the skill to pull off the presentation of stylized femininity as well.

When I hear objections from assigned female at birth women directed at sisters participating in any thing that puts them in competition with AFAB women, I smell the same sort of fear that a member of a minority group might be able to not only compete but win a competition with members of the dominant culture.

PBS has documentary they show occasionally “Unforgivable Blackness: the Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson.” None of the white heavy weight champions wanted to face him out of fear they would lose and their loss would threaten the foundations of white supremacy.

I sometime think, transsexual and transgender people in general, but more sisters than brothers threaten a lot of the pillars of belief regarding the differences between the sexes and proper gender roles.  That is why we aren’t supposed to be included in the class women, but rather set aside in a separate and unequal minority class suitable for abuse and not for equality.

As I said most TS/TG women will never compete in a beauty pageant, only a minority will even compete in a TS/TG pageant put on by members of this minority class.  Just as the chances of one of us ever competing in the Olympics is slim, while some may compete in the minority community Gay Games.

The sisters who inspire me tend to be those in the arts who manage their lives with grace and aplomb.  They are a pretty diverse group including poets, writers, musicians and performance artists.

A Miles Davis album during his fusion period was titled, “Tribute to Jack Johnson.” On it James Earl Jones speaks the lines: “I’m Jack Johnson, Heavy Weight Champion of the World. I’m Black, they never let me forget it. Yeah, I’m Black, I never let them forget it.”

I’ve been disgusted by some of the filth I’ve seen directed at not only Jenna but at almost any transsexual or transgender person who does anything of which they can be rightly proud.

Now some would say that we should just disappear and live our lives never doing anything that would bring any scrutiny into our lives that would expose the dark horrible secret of our having been born transsexual or transgender.  Even though that means never doing anything in the arts or even seeking a promotion at work that might attract attention.

After all damn few of us want to wear transsexual or transgender as an honorific in place of Ms. (or Mr. in the case of brothers).

But the press is nasty and the British Press seems worse even than the American in that respect . They seem to think transsexual or transgender is the appropriate title for those of us born into this minority class.

Those of us who write, or are out when we do our art, even if we keep some separation from the issue in our daily lives are saying we too are human and accomplished.  You may not ever let us forget what we are, but we are not ashamed and will not let you deny us our right to be part of the entire culture.  We will not stay in our minority culture just so the dominant cultural paradigm may go unchallenged.

See: The Vancouver Sun:  No such thing as a natural-born woman: The category of women – and men, too – are human inventions, not facts of nature … and many of us do not fit those categories

Jenna Talackova: Some of the Comments Left on Articles About Her Just Leave Me Saddened

The Internet is filled with some seriously sick fucking trolls.

The world would be a better place without some of these oxygen wasters.

Some of the sisters of transsexual purity pretend they aren’t included when people talk this shit.

Make excuses or put forth rationalizations like, “It’s all GLAAD’s fault, she was labeled as transgender.”

When the sad reality is that we are probably for the most part the only people who give a shit about these labels.

And yeah…  It would go along way if people were to respect the labels others choose to describe themselves.  That one should be a “no brainer”, since it should fall under the category of basic respect for others.

I’ve been around a long time, long enough to have learned the lesson that the real bullies won’t welcome me into their club just because I join them in beating up on other people who have had a trans-prefixed label stuck on them at sometime or other.

Now people can rationalize about how Jenna wouldn’t have had a problem if she hadn’t entered a pageant for TS/TG people at one point in the past.

But that one falls in the chapter titled, “If You Ever did Something I Think Transsexuals Shouldn’t Do, then You are not Really Transsexual”

Bullshit, Bullshit, Bullshit…

I’ve run a bunch of posts over the last few months about the cotton ceiling.

I’ve thought about getting rejected as a person, because a lover discovers your past history included a sex change operation.

I’ve read a lot of crap from the radical feminist thugs that suggests any post-transsexual woman who thinks they are the exception and have been accepted into the club is seriously delusional.

The last few days I have read some seriously demented and occasionally violent crap coming from ostensibly heterosexual male thugs regarding what they would do if they picked up someone like Jenna.

I’m lucky I’m old, when I was young we didn’t have all the insane religious fuck calling for our deaths.

Men hadn’t been fed a steady diet of perverse homophobic machismo and misogyny from the cradle.  They hadn’t been raised on a steady stream of ultra violent action films and video games where the whole game consists of murdering people.

I long ago chose a kinder and gentler part of society in which to live.  One where multiculturalism and diversity is respected.  One where women as well as LGBT/T people are respected.

Reading the filth that is said about post-op transsexuals, whether it is Jenna or all of us makes me sad.

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DOJ Accepts EEOC Ruling That Trans Bias Is Covered By Title VII, ATF Begins Investigation

From Metro Weekly:

Posted by Chris Geidner
May 21, 2012

The Department of Justice has accepted the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s April 20 ruling that claims of gender identity discrimination are a type of sex discrimination that is illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 — a ruling that could set in motion a series of changes in the way transgender people are treated by the federal government.

The ruling, first reported by Metro Weekly on April 23, arose from a complaint brought by the Transgender Law Center on behalf of Mia Macy, a transgender woman who lives in California, against the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Macy claims that she was denied employment with the ATF after the agency learned of her transition, which took place after she left her previous job with the Phoenix Police Department.

The ATF Office of Equal Opportunity sent a letter to Macy dated May 18, a copy of which was received today by TLC and reviewed by Metro Weekly, stating that it was accepting for investigation Macy’s claims of discrimination “based on gender (female), gender identity, gender stereotype, and or transgender status.” Initially, ATF, which is within the Department of Justice, had stated that Macy’s gender identity and “transgender status” claims were not able to be brought under Title VII, which led Macy to appeal her complaint to the EEOC, which found that her claims could be brought under Title VII.

In the May 18 letter, ATF states, “In accordance with the [EEOC]’s decison dated April 20, 2012, we are processing your entire complaint under Title VII.” Under the EEOC procedure for such complaints, the ATF — or Macy — had 30 days from the receipt of the EEOC decision to request that the EEOC reconsider its decision. That deadline would have fallen sometime this week.

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Gays may have the fastest of all civil rights movements

From The Los Angeles Times:,0,5637291.story

Public attitudes have shifted sharply in the last 10 years. Chalk it up to familiarity – among family, friends, co-workers and prime-time TV characters.

By Mark Z. Barabak, Los Angeles Times
May 20, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO — In 1958, the Gallup Poll asked Americans whether they approved or disapproved of marriage between blacks and whites. The response was overwhelming: 94% were opposed, a sentiment that held for decades. It took nearly 40 years until a majority of those surveyed said marriage between people of different skin colors was acceptable.

By contrast, attitudes toward gays and lesbians have changed so much in just the last 10 years that, as Gallup reported last week, “half or more now agree that being gay is morally acceptable, that gay relations ought to be legal and that gay or lesbian couples should have the right to legally marry.” (In 1996, when Gallup first asked about legalizing same-sex marriage, 68% of Americans were opposed.)

Politically, President Obama felt it safe enough recently to abandon his studied ambiguity and endorse same-sex marriage amid a tough reelection campaign. Days later, a top Republican pollster, Jan van Lohuizen, issued a warning to his party, suggesting opponents were on the wrong side of the issue. Support has grown, he wrote in a strategy memo, “at an accelerated rate with no sign of slowing down.”

If, as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, the arc of the moral universe is long but bends toward justice, then it’s arguably moving faster and bending quicker in the direction of gay rights than any civil rights movement before.

That is not to say that gays and lesbians enjoy a full measure of equality, or complete legal protection. Same-sex marriage is forbidden in the vast majority of states and, in many, gays and lesbians lack the protections against job and housing discrimination afforded women, Latinos and African Americans.

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Chicago police clash with Nato summit protesters

From The Guardian UK:

Arrests and injuries as thousands march on downtown area of the city, where 51 world leaders are meeting, Monday 21 May 2012

The main anti-war march at the Chicago Nato summit was marred by clashes between police and protesters, with several people injured and 45 arrests.

Thousands of people marched towards McCormick Place in the downtown area of the city, where 51 world leaders are meeting for the two-day summit.

However, the demonstration on Sunday ended in ugly scenes as police used batons to control the crowd. The violence came as a fifth person was charged with terrorism-related offences in in relation to alleged plots to disrupt the summit.

Sunday’s demonstration was the largest anti-war protest so far, after days of marches and protests in the city centre.

Gathering at Grant Park, thousands of protesters set off south towards the site of the summit, led by around 20 Iraq veterans against the war.

Arriving two blocks west of McCormick Place, the veterans, including Scott Olsen, the protester injured in Occupy Oakland demonstrations in October, staged a symbolic “returning” of their medals, tossing them in the direction of the sprawling conference space.

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Did slaves catch your seafood?

From Salon:

Thailand, a major source of fish imported to the US, depends on forced labor for its product

By , GlobalPost
Monday, May 21, 2012

This article originally appeared on GlobalPost.

PREY VENG, Cambodia, and SAMUT SAKHON, Thailand — In the sun-baked flatlands of Cambodia, where dust stings the eyes and chokes the pores, there is a tiny clapboard house on cement stilts. It is home to three generations of runaway slaves.

The man of the house, Sokha, recently returned after nearly two years in captivity. His home is just as he left it: barren with a few dirty pillows passing for furniture. Slivers of daylight glow through cracks in the walls. The family’s most valuable possession, a sow, waddles and snorts beneath the elevated floorboards.

Before his December escape, Sokha (a pseudonym) was the property of a deep-sea trawler captain. The 39-year-old Cambodian, his teenage son and two young nephews were purchased for roughly $650, he said, each through brokers promising under-the-table jobs in a fish cannery.

There was no cannery. They were instead smuggled to a pier in neighboring Thailand, where they were shoved aboard a wooden vessel that motored into a lawless sea. His uncle had fallen for the same scam five years prior and escaped to warn the others. But Sokha told his son, then just 16, that this venture would turn out differently. He was wrong.

“We worked constantly, for no pay, through seasickness and vomiting, sometimes for two or three days straight,” he said. “We obeyed the captain’s every word.”

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Women Occupoying Wall Street (WOW) -First feminist general assembly 5/17/12

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A Message to Girls About Religious Men Who Fear You

From Huffington Post:


Dear Girls,

You are powerful beyond words, because you threaten to unravel the control of corrupt men who abuse their authority.

In the United States last week there were people who wouldn’t let boys play a baseball championship final because a girl was on the opposing team. She’d already had to sit out two games because of their demands. Why? Did she, a competitive athlete and a member of her team, chose to? Was she being good and respectful when she acceded to their demands? Why were they not asked to forfeit their games? What messages were sent to her and her teammates? This is not complicated. It sent the wrong messages. Confusing messages. Incoherent messages. You need to know that she should have been allowed to play and not have had to sit out two games. These people, and others like them, all over the world, led exclusively by religious men, are scared of you and will not let you be. You worry them constantly.

If you were not powerful, they would not take you so seriously and they take you very, very seriously. You should, too. You can set the world on fire.

It doesn’t feel this way, I know. If that were true, you think, I would not have to sit out baseball games out of respect for religious beliefs that require my subservience and call it a gift. I would not be turned away from serving God with my brothers. I would not be taught that I’m an evil temptress or the virtue keeper of boys. I would not have virginity wielded as a weapon against me and my worth determined by my womb. I would not be spat on and called a whore by men when I am eight because my arms are bare. I would not be poisoned for going to school. I would not be forced, at the age of 9, to carry twins borne of child torture. I would not have to kill myself to avoid marrying my rapist. If this were true, they would pursue my rapists instead of stoning me for their crimes. I, and thousands others, would not be killed for “honor.”

Girls, these things happen because there are men with power who fear you and want to control you. I know that I have equated relatively benign baseball games with deadly, honor killings but, whereas one is a type of daily, seemingly harmless micro-aggression and the other is a lethal macro-aggression they share the same roots. The basis of both, and escalating actions in between, is the same: To teach you, and all girls subject to these men and their authority, a lesson: “Know your place.” I also know that there are places where girls are marginalized and hurt that are not religious. But all over the world these hypocritical, pious men, in their shamefully obvious wrongness, represent the sharp-edged tip of an iceberg, the visible surface of a deep and vast harm. They employ the full range of their earthly and divine influence to make sure, as early as possible, that you and the boys around you understand what they want your relative roles to be. Where there are patriarchal religions girls, in dramatically varying and extreme degrees, disproportionately suffer. Understand these men for what they are: bullies. Do not internalize what they would have you believe.

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The First Domino Falls in Greece

From Common Dreams:

by Shamus Cooke
Published on Monday, May 21, 2012 by Common Dreams

Greece’s situation is not an isolated event, but a bellwether for the industrial world and beyond. The fallout from the 2008 global crisis hasn’t reached bottom yet, and the depths will be dug deeper as the Euro crisis spreads — political crisis will create economic crisis and vice versa, as periods of calm and stability are replaced by international turmoil and panic.

The media and politicians have portrayed the Greeks as indolent and stupid, refusing to swallow the economic medicine needed for a healthy recovery. But the austerity medicine of the bankers — slashing and privatizing the public sector, cutting wages and benefits, mass layoffs, etc. — is a cure that threatens to kill.

What will happen in Greece? Its future was hinted at in the last elections. The centrist parties were devastated by the reality of economic extremes; the “middle ground” simply fell out from under them, since society had been torn asunder by the inequality of the very rich versus everybody else.

In consequence, the radical left party SYRIZA is polled to come in first in the next elections, based on its firm stance against austerity and its uncompromising attitude against the bankers of Greece and beyond. The corporate politicians wanted SYRIZA to take part in a “unity government” that would magically rebuild the country’s lost middle ground and continue the pro-banker austerity policies.

But unity in an economically polarized country like Greece is impossible, especially when the continued existence of the bankers and wealthy rests on the continued suffering of everybody else.

Since unity failed during the last elections, Greek “technocrats” are now overseeing the government until the next elections. What is a technocrat? Someone who supposedly lacks any class bias; the professional strata of professors, lawyers, or doctors that attempt to sit astride an uneven society perfectly balanced, blind to special interests, while keeping their sights set on the “national interest.” But the Greek technocrats are continuing the wealthy’s austerity program, exposing their fake objectivity.

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Top Right-Wing Group: Minority Births Are ‘Not A Good Thing’ Because They ‘Don’t Share American Values’

From Think Progress:

By Adam Peck
May 18, 2012

Yesterday, the New York Times reported on new census data which showed, for the first time, that non-white births made up over 50 percent of all births in the United States last year.

It marked an important milestone, indicative of a changing United States that has long been considered the world’s melting pot. Or, if you’re the conservative, Phyllis Schlafly-backed Eagle Forum, it’s a clarion call that America is in grave danger of being overrun by uneducated, un-American brown people:

It is not a good thing. The immigrants do not share American values, so it is a good bet that they will not be voting Republican when they start voting in large numbers.
Instead, the USA is being transformed by immigrants who do not share those values, and who have high rates of illiteracy, illegitimacy, and gang crime, and they will vote Democrat when the Democrats promise them more food stamps.

Setting aside for a minute the offensive way in which the Eagle Forum dismisses all of “the immigrants” as thoughtless criminals, it’s telling that The Eagle Forum views this as simply a political problem. The Eagle Forum’s political allies have long insisted on treating immigrants as second-class citizens, and rather than pivot their policy proposals to better accommodate the nation’s shifting demographics, the group seems instead to want to curb minorities’ procreation.

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‘Vicious spiral of decline: Germany leads Europe into a worse crisis’

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UK to Use Slave Labor in Hospitals

From Gaia Health:

by Heidi Stevenson
May 21, 2012

The next time you’re in a hospital, how would you like to have your food brought to you by a slave laborer? If you’re in the UK, you may find out, because slave labor has already been trialed in one hospital, and is about to become standard practice there.

The Guardian reports that the Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals Trust (SWBHT), a part of the National Health Service (NHS) piloted the program with six unemployed people in consultation with the union. The trust stated that the type of work included:

… general tidying, welcoming visitors, serving drinks to patients, running errands, reading to patients and assisting with feeding patients.

… and justifies it with the statement:

We are situated in a deprived area with high unemployment and we think it is important to help get people back into work. The project gave participants the opportunity to gain confidence, training and experience, under supervision.

So why don’t they simply hire them? You know, the old-fashioned way of getting employees.

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How Rural America Got Fracked: The Environmental Nightmare You Know Nothing About

From Michael Moore:

By Ellen Cantarow
May 21st, 2012

If the world can be seen in a grain of sand, watch out.  As Wisconsinites are learning, there’s money (and misery) in sand — and if you’ve got the right kind, an oil company may soon be at your doorstep.

March in Wisconsin used to mean snow on the ground, temperatures so cold that farmers worried about their cows freezing to death. But as I traveled around rural townships and villages in early March to interview people about frac-sand mining, a little-known cousin of hydraulic fracturing or “fracking,” daytime temperatures soared to nearly 80 degrees — bizarre weather that seemed to be sending a meteorological message.

In this troubling spring, Wisconsin’s prairies and farmland fanned out to undulating hills that cradled the land and its people. Within their embrace, the rackety calls of geese echoed from ice-free ponds, bald eagles wheeled in the sky, and deer leaped in the brush. And for the first time in my life, I heard the thrilling warble of sandhill cranes.

Yet this peaceful rural landscape is swiftly becoming part of a vast assembly line in the corporate race for the last fossil fuels on the planet. The target: the sand in the land of the cranes.

Five hundred million years ago, an ocean surged here, shaping a unique wealth of hills and bluffs that, under mantles of greenery and trees, are sandstone. That sandstone contains a particularly pure form of crystalline silica.  Its grains, perfectly rounded, are strong enough to resist the extreme pressures of the technology called hydraulic fracturing, which pumps vast quantities of that sand, as well as water and chemicals, into ancient shale formations to force out methane and other forms of “natural gas.”

That sand, which props open fractures in the shale, has to come from somewhere.  Without it, the fracking industry would grind to a halt. So big multinational corporations are descending on this bucolic region to cart off its prehistoric sand, which will later be forcefully injected into the earth elsewhere across the country to produce more natural gas.  Geology that has taken millions of years to form is now being transformed into part of a system, a machine, helping to drive global climate change.

“The valleys will be filled… the mountains and hills made level”

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