First They Scapegoated the Transvestites

I’m not a fan of heterosexual transvestites, particularly the on-line crowd who are often fantasy cross dressers presenting very male take it or leave it domineering arguments.

I think it would be easier for those activists promoting non-discrimination measures to actually get those bills passed if transgender was limited to its original definition and described people who lived full time without pursuing SRS.

I actually get really pissed off when male cross dressers get in my face about not being lumped into the same category they are.

Most of them are way too testo driven and too misogynistic to not get on my nerves.

In spite of all that I feel obligated to point out that in my forty plus years of being out and having been around transgender and transsexual people I have encountered rather few heterosexual transvestites in places other than conferences or meetings, TS/TG events and gatherings or restaurants/bars/clubs catering to TS/TG people.

I’ve had sex with a couple of fairly major rock musicians who wore women’s clothes.

I’ve been to bars like the Queen Mary in Studio city that were sort of up scale from the “trannie”/drag bars where sisters hustled the men and were turning tricks. So I’ve encountered the elusive heterosexual transvestite, shy night creatures by habit, often frightened by day light, harsh words and encounters with disapproving straights.

While this species of the genus generally labeled with trans-prefixed word is often blamed for all of humankind’s woes as well as the entire system of misogyny and sexism, in reality they are only rarely spotted in the wild and when they are tend to be afraid of other people not of their particular species.

I sometimes think they are scapegoated precisely because they are easy targets and aren’t much given to defending themselves.

That pretty much leaves them a pariah minority because transsexuals are quite willing to join the majority culture in beating up on them and even the full time transgender folks aren’t terribly inclined to defend them.

The 1960s and even the 1970s are long past and in the intervening years conformity has become the rule. Freak and geek bashing along with bullying and hippie punching has become an international sport.

Now the butcher’s Bill is starting to come in ominous envelopes.

Lately I find myself thinking…

Martin Niemöller: “First they came for the Socialists…”

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.

It doesn’t make me like heterosexual transvestites enough to want to be friends or welcome them into my house.  But it is enough to make me think before joining a bunch of bullies  in scapegoating them.

You see the next people they are going to come after are the transgender people and pre-op transsexuals.

I’m not being paranoid.  They have already started on this one.

Newest group to get the “Men in Dresses invading the Women’s Room” target hung on their back are pre-op transsexuals in schools that have non-discrimination policies.

Along with the usual suspects like BevJo Von Dohre and Cathy Brennan flogging the transvestites in the lady’s room meme we have their allies the Christo-Fascists and the ultra right wing crazies.

Bigoted minds run in the same circles.

I have come to view the radfems as allies of the radical right wing misogynists since they always show up to run their “Trannie Scare” tactics at a time when women, especially heterosexual women are under attack.

Nothing like a good scare tactic to distract women from the “War on Women”.

I find it really interesting that I’m post-transsexual.  I’ve been fucking sterile for some 43 years and yet I run far more articles about reproductive rights and abortion on a blog titled, “Women Born Transsexual” than you ever find on most “radical feminist” blogs.  Indeed I run far more general feminist articles than one usually finds on their blogs.

For months now they have been saying about their campaign, “Its only transvestites in the Lady’s Room.”

Except now the target has moved and it’s pre-ops in the Women’s room and their allies on the right agree.

See:

Perhaps if we could get past fighting about whether we are all part of the same group and have to wear the same label we might move on to actually fighting the right wing instead of each other.

The Radical Right is trying to co-opt feminism by calling anti-abortion centers and right wing pacs “Susan B. Anthony” this and that.

I think it is a mistake to join the radfems in beating up on the transvestites if for no other reason than the radfems and their allies the radical right have already started in on the pre-ops.

No feminism without trans* feminism

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RadFem2012: Excluding on the basis of gender

From The Independent UK:  http://blogs.independent.co.uk/2012/05/23/radfem2012-excluding-on-the-basis-of-gender/

By Sophie Warnes
Wednesday, 23 May 2012

As someone who is interested in feminism as a movement, I was pleased to find out about RadFem2012 – a Radical Feminism conference held in London in July. Unfortunately, to my disappointment and anger, this conference has a policy of excluding people based on gender – not only men, but also people who are transgender. I am particularly concerned that trans women (assigned male at birth but now living as women) are being excluded from this space because there aren’t really any other adequate – and safe! – spaces for them to be in where they can discuss feminist issues.

I have been told that I shouldn’t be disappointed because radical feminism includes ‘trans theory criticism’, and that clearly if I can’t see why trans people are being left out, then it is because I am not a radical feminist. But it’s worth noting that at no point in the explanation of what radical feminism is on the conference website, does it say that transphobia, or even ‘trans theory criticism’, is an integral part to the politics of radical feminism. It does, however, list those issues that I do think are important to discuss: male-perpetrated violence against women, the sex industry, cultural misogyny, and the effects of economic and environmental policies on women across the world.

Thus, by the organisers’ own definition, excluding trans people (or even having a debate about trans people) isn’t a critical part of radical feminism. And in fact, one of the pioneering – or most well-known – radical feminists, Andrea Dworkin, wrote herself that: “That is not to say there is one sex, but that there are many… The words “male” and “female,” “man” and “woman,” are used only because as yet there are no others…We can presume then that there is a great deal about human sexuality to be discovered, and that our notion of two discrete biological sexes cannot remain intact.”

I suspect the root of the issue is either a fundamental misunderstanding of what transgenderism is, or a bizarre need for ciswomen (assigned female at birth, and still living as females)to claim feminism – as in, what it means to be a woman, as well as feminism as a political standpoint – for their own. In the first instance, transgenderism is borne out of a condition known as gender dysphoria. Those with gender dysphoria feel like they are in the wrong body; born the wrong gender.

Complete article at:  http://blogs.independent.co.uk/2012/05/23/radfem2012-excluding-on-the-basis-of-gender/

Critical Transgender Concerns Awaiting Action at the Social Security Administration

From The ACLU:  http://www.aclu.org/blog/lgbt-rights/critical-transgender-concerns-awaiting-action-social-security-administration

By Ian S. Thompson
05/22/2012

Late last week, the ACLU joined a letter to the Social Security Administration (SSA) drafted by our coalition partners at the National Center for Transgender Equality. The letter expresses a shared concern over a lack of action from SSA on several policy matters of critical importance to transgender people and their families.

The three areas addressed in the letter include the need for an updated policy for changing gender information in SSA records; revising guidance regarding marriages involving a transgender spouse to accurately reflect state and federal law; and phasing out the use of gender data in SSA computer matching programs.

The ACLU views the ability of transgender people to have identifying documents and records that accurately and consistently reflect their lived gender as essential. As the coalition letter states, having identification and records that misrepresent one’s lived gender “outs” a transgender person in any situation where he or she needs to rely on these records, whether for purposes of employment or conducting business with state and local government offices. This not only violates the privacy rights of transgender people, it also puts them at serious risk for discrimination, especially in the 34 states that currently lack explicit nondiscrimination protections for individuals based on gender identity.

Earlier this year, the ACLU appeared in Alaska Superior Court seeking to allow transgender individuals to correct the gender marker on their driver’s licenses. The ACLU argued that to refuse to change the gender marker on a driver’s license or require surgery prior to a change places an undue burden on transgender individuals and presents a gross violation of an individual’s right to privacy and equality.

On March 12, a court ruled in the case of K.L. v. State of Alaska that this refusal to change gender markers on state driver’s licenses is unconstitutional. As far as the ACLU is aware, this is one of only a few decisions we know of where a U.S. court has recognized a transgender person’s constitutionally protected interests in having accurate identity documents, and the only one focused on a person’s privacy interests in having the gender designation on her driver’s license match her “lived gender expression of identity.”

The case is particularly relevant to the coalition letter’s request to phase out the use of gender data in SSA computer matching programs. In September 2011, SSA correctly ended the practice of allowing gender to be matched in its Social Security Number Verification System. The practice presented a great deal of risk for transgender workers because SSA would send employers a notification when the gender marker on an employee’s W-2 form did not match Social Security records. This violated the privacy rights of tens of thousands of transgender workers. The decision to end the practice was the right thing to do. However, as commendable as it was, SSA continues to use gender in other SSA matching programs, needlessly violating the privacy rights of transgender workers and putting them at risk for discrimination.

Numerous federal agencies have implemented policies over the past two years regarding gender change on official documents and records including the June 2010 decision by the State Department to adopt a new policy for updating gender on U.S. passports and Consular Reports of Births Abroad; guidance from the Office of Personnel Management in May 2011 to the heads of all executive agencies and departments regarding gender transition in the workplace; a June 2011 directive from the Veterans Health Administration on serving transgender veterans, which provided for updating the gender designation in patient records; and, most recently, a policy memorandum from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in April regarding immigration benefits for transgender individuals, which provided for updating gender designation on various immigration documents.

It is time for SSA to act. These requests to SSA are critically important policy matters for transgender people that go to the heart of what it means to have your gender identity recognized and respected by the government.

 

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How Much Can Potential Employers Ask About You?

From NPR:  http://www.npr.org/2012/05/21/153201730/how-much-can-potential-employers-ask-about-you

by Alan Greenblatt
May 22, 2012

Everyone knows it’s tough to get a job these days. The task is that much harder if you have any kind of blemish on your past.

The use of background checks to screen potential employees has become a billion-dollar business. More than 90 percent of employers in the U.S. conduct criminal background checks, at least on some potential hires, according to a recent study by the National Consumer Law Center.

In addition to criminal records, businesses commonly look into all kinds of other information, such as credit reports and driving records.

“Our approach has been, there should be a job for everybody, but not everyone is appropriate for every job,” says attorney Les Rosen, head of Employment Screening Resources, a background check firm in California.

How Far Is Too Far?

Businesses can be legally liable if they don’t check out workers who go on to commit crimes while on the job. And no company wants the embarrassment of finding out later that high-profile employees fibbed on their resumes, as happened recently with Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson.

But consumer advocates say employers have become too cautious — and too nosy.

Demands from some companies and universities that applicants hand over their passwords to social media pages such as Facebook led Maryland to enact a prohibition on the practice earlier this month. Similar legislation is pending in Congress and a handful of other states. Lawmakers also have grown concerned that employers are using background checks to screen out entire categories of potential workers in ways that are discriminatory.

Continue reading at:  http://www.npr.org/2012/05/21/153201730/how-much-can-potential-employers-ask-about-you

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The Not-So-Free Market: How Consumerism Fuels Human Trafficking

From Truth Out:  http://truth-out.org/news/item/9319-the-not-so-free-market-how-consumerism-fuels-human-trafficking

By Mischa Geracoulis
Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Human trafficking is the commercialization of that which no one has the right to sell – human lives. These lives – approximately 30 million women, men, girls and boys worldwide – are bought and sold for labor, commercial sexual exploitation and war. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, trafficking is the fastest-growing criminal operation – tied with arms smuggling and second only to drug trafficking. It’s highly profitable; estimates figure that trafficking enterprises generate upward of 30 billion US dollars per year.

Though trafficking often involves smuggling and border crossings, that’s not always the case. Nor is it the case that trafficked, enslaved humans are found only among the predictable provinces of garment industry sweatshops, pornography and agriculture. No longer a problem that’s “out there,” trafficking happens internally, in all 50 states, right in our very own neighborhoods.

Trafficking crimes in commonplace businesses like nail and hair salons, massage spas, commercial janitorial service companies, domestic and hotel housekeeping, restaurants, bars and even in suburban residential brothels, are categorized under US federal law as sex trafficking or labor trafficking. California counties like Sacramento, Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego are a hotbed for both manifestations of this criminal activity.

The Polaris Project publishes a list of potential red flags, ways to recognize trafficking and slavery within one’s own community because, Polaris explains, there is no typical profile of a trafficking victim in the US. The victim may be a child or adult, formally educated or not, a US citizen or an undocumented immigrant. The common denominator among victims that renders her or him vulnerable to trafficking is, nevertheless, the pre-existence of instability and a desire for a better life.

Increasingly, commodities produced by slave labor such as cotton, bananas, rice, coffee, tea, chocolate, bricks, fashion accessories and electronics reign in the US market. The Better World Shopper, a research organization that ranks corporations based on a corporation’s social and environmental practices, publishes information on more than 1,000 corporations. Walmart, Chevron, GE, Citibank and Nestle, turn up at the top of its worst offenders list.

Continue reading at:  http://truth-out.org/news/item/9319-the-not-so-free-market-how-consumerism-fuels-human-trafficking

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‘Biggest Act of Civil Disobedience in Canadian History’

From Common Dreams:  http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/05/23-5

Marchers defy Bill 78; Neighborhoods fill with sound of banging pots and pans

– Common Dreams staff
Published on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 by Common Dreams

“The single biggest act of civil disobedience in Canadian history.”

That’s how yesterday’s Montreal protest is being described today. Hundreds of thousands red-shirted demonstrators defied Quebec’s new “anti-protest” law and marched through the streets of downtown Montreal filling the city with “rivers of red.”

Tuesday marked the 100th day of the growing student protests against austerity measures and tuition increases. In response to the spreading protests, the conservative Charest government passed a new “emergency” law last Friday – Bill 78.

  • Fines of between $1,000 and $5,000 for any individual who prevents someone from entering an educational institution or who participate in an illegal demonstration.
  • Penalties climb to between $7,000 and $35,000 for protest leaders and to between $25,000 and $125,000 for unions or student federations.
  • All fines DOUBLE for repeat offenders
  • Public demonstrations involving more than 50 people have to be flagged to authorities eight hours in advance, include itinerary, duration and time at which they are being held. The police may alter any of these elements and non-compliance would render the protest illegal.
  • Offering encouragement for someone to protest at a school, either tacitly or otherwise, is subject to punishment. The Minister of Education has said that this would include things like ‘tweeting’, ‘facebooking’, and has she has implied that wearing the student protest insignia (a red flag-pin) could also be subject to punishment.
  • No demonstration can be held within 50 meters of any school campus

Bill 78 not only “enraged civil libertarians and legal experts but also seems to have galvanized ordinary Quebecers.” Since the law passed Friday, people in Montreal neighborhoods have appeared on their balconies and in front of their houses to defiantly bang pots and pans in a clanging protest every night at 8 p.m.

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/05/23-5

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