Not Your Standard Transsexual/Transgender Narrative

It seems like every single time I hear that one I should take it as a warning that I am about to hear what has become the predominant internet standard narrative of TS/TG people, particularly those who came out in middle age.

You know the one about how they would have come out in 1970 but…  There was no information… There were no doctors…  The doctors required everyone to be a fembot… Etc…

The standard narrative has become one of how impossible things were in the past.

The standard narrative has become one of how one doesn’t conform to some sort of artificial stereotype.

Often the standard narrative includes a heterosexual past and homosexual present.

Often times the standard narrative includes sex stereotyped career and marriage with children.

The standard narrative often includes military service.

The standard narrative includes lots of internal struggle and help from a caring gender counselor professional to overcome one’s fears.

The standard narrative rarely includes prostitution although it may include forms of sex work that supposedly don’t actually involve genital sex.

When I first came on line and heard the new standard narrative I went WTF?

How can these people be my sisters?

Because nothing about my narrative fit with their standard narrative.

As a child I felt trapped in the wrong body.  I knew when I was four or five and learned to be ashamed.

I had the closet door ripped open in 1960 when I was thirteen. But I had found out about transsexuals three years earlier.

By the time I was fifteen, in 1962, I had April Ashley as a role model and knew at least one way to go about getting a sex change operation.

In the spring of 1966, when I was a college freshman I discovered John Rechy’s City of Night, it was like a gay version of On the Road and became a guidebook.

So I had plenty of information about making my way in the world as a transsexual even before the Compton’s Cafeteria riots the summer of 1966.

Oh… Did I mention I was attracted to men.  I know it isn’t part of the new standard narrative, but there were certain boys who made my heart go pitta-pat.  I was attracted to certain women too but that was too much for me to deal with and raised too many internal conflicts.

I was a hippie and my friends were supportive when I came out to them.

I looked like a hippie chick, not some straight suburban white picket fence type.  I was one of those hippie radicals, yet I never met any real resistance from any of the medical people I encountered.  I just told the truth about myself including about thinking I might be bisexual.

While I couldn’t have gotten help in the small town I was born in, American youth were on the road in search of adventure in 1967 and we fell into places where it was hard for transkids to avoid meeting others like ourselves.

Now the folks who have their narratives more similar to the first narrative than to my narrative accuse people who have the second narrative of making it up in order to get SRS.

Too many of us whose lives more match the second narrative can’t accept the authenticity of the first narrative.

This is sort of a matter of being blinded by your own narrative and thinking your narrative is the only authentic one.

I was too at first.  I had a hard time understanding why someone who lived around the corner from me in the Haight Ashbury couldn’t have transitioned at the same young age I did.

Then I started looking at all the things we had in common and I saw that a few different decisions, certain things that happened to me and not to her.

I exercised some empathy and found myself thinking, “There but for fortune.”

Many of us are very nerdy, bookworms and afraid.

Admitting I could have just as easily wound up taking  her path and coming out in middle age was a revelation.

In reality there are a couple of major trans-narratives, at least for TS/TG folks (but maybe not for TV/CD/DQ folks) and a bunch of variations on those themes.

Having a different narrative from your narrative doesn’t mean the other person somehow created a fictitious narrative unless it is just too fantastical to be believable.

Lots of us are heterosexual after SRS, others are lesbian/gay after SRS and some of us are bisexual before during and after transition and surgery.

President Bill Clinton on the Real Mitt Romney

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on President Bill Clinton on the Real Mitt Romney

Christo-Nazi Hate Monger Bryan Fischer: Look At The Bright Side Of Slavery

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Christo-Nazi Hate Monger Bryan Fischer: Look At The Bright Side Of Slavery

Tales From the Porcelain Waterloo

From The Montreal Gazette:  http://blogs.montrealgazette.com/2012/10/09/mercedes-allen-tales-from-the-porcelain-waterloo/

By Mercedes Allen
October 9, 2012

Reposted with permission

CALGARY — I first began transsexual and transgender advocacy barely a couple weeks into my own transition.  I had helped with other social support agencies in support capacities off and on, in years prior, until I became preoccupied with work and an attempt to start a family.

So when the facilitators of the two Alberta trans support groups moved from Edmonton almost simultaneously, I jumped right in.  I was still developing the albertatrans.org website, and trying to navigate my way back to work, so I was preoccupied, and not ready for the role.

I realized this when I came into conflict with someone wanting me to speak with their employer about an issue that had come up over their use of public washrooms.  The employer had wanted them to use a gender-neutral single-stall locking restroom while they were in transition, and then would revise this policy after the person had had surgery.  This person expressed to me that this created unusually difficult circumstances for them.

Being still early in my own transition, I hadn’t thought out many of the different possible things that could happen.  My workplace had a single-stall gender-neutral restroom, and I’d also sought them out in my travels in public.  So I had not yet ventured into a gendered washroom myself, since first presenting as female — I was actually quite afraid of that prospect.  I thought the employer’s proposal was reasonable, and told the person making the request as much.  They got incredibly angry, and I never heard from them again.

Not long afterward, I found myself in the store where this person worked.  Out of curiosity, I asked for directions to the gender-neutral washroom.  I was directed out to the shopping mall… it was in the food fair, down at the far end.  The store in question was a major department store which had previously bought up another chain, and had renovated.  The store was once connected to the mall, but this had been closed off, since the new parent company didn’t feel that the connection to the mall was a good use of space, nor useful to their business plan.  Worse, when I crossed through the chilly Edmonton winter air, ventured into the mall and sat down to eat in the food fair, I quickly realized how difficult it was to gain access to the single-stalled washroom.  It was quite busy, and sometimes for long stretches as mothers would take their children in to change diapers.

Additionally, I later found out that the employer in question also had a policy requiring employees to change out of their uniforms before leaving the store, adding to the time a washroom trip would take.  I could imagine how easy it could be for someone to get into trouble for taking overly long breaks, simply to go pee.  Whether they knew it or not, the employer was setting the employee up for job performance issues.

This was a problem.  I had @$%#! up by not seeing the depth and importance of this employee’s plight.  And badly.

This is what comes to mind when I see people within our own communities suggest that an easy answer for transitioning and non-transitioning trans people is to “simply use a gender neutral washroom.”  The pat answer overlooks sometimes serious logistical problems that vary from place to place.  It was not that long ago, for example, that at least one Alberta post-secondary institution had only one single-stall locking washroom on its entire campus.  Easy theoretical answers are very often not so easy in real-life application.

There are, in fact, trans people who do need gender-neutral washrooms, and have been fighting for them to be understandably more readily available.  Typically, these folks are people who are not transitioning and identify as neither male nor female, or else are in early transition like I was.  I support their quest.  But I do not see that as a workable solution for everyone trans, nor something that works as a requirement for male-identified or female-identified trans people.

Not long after I realized my mistake over the shopping mall washroom, I had my own troubles.  I was assisting at a pancake breakfast at a community centre, and realized that the facility didn’t have a gender-neutral stall.  The centre was in a residential area — there wasn’t a single-stall / locking option for several blocks.  I dashed into the womens’ room, tried to be quick, but was still washing my hands when another woman walked in.

“Wow,” she commented about the brisk October cold, “that wind just gets right into your knuckles and joints, doesn’t it?”  She ran her fingers under the water to warm them, looked at me, and then turned back to dry her hands and fix her hair.

After all the fear, my first foray into a womens’ public restroom turned out to be a non-event.

This question has resurfaced lately, and in a big way.  What is most bizarre is that the question has been sparked by a human rights bill which would extend protections in employment, housing and access to services to trans people.  Some of us already have implicit protections, but it’s not certain if those protections cover all trans people, not to mention that legal precedents are always vulnerable to the possibility of being overturned.  So naturally, trans people have sought legal clarity on the matter.

It’s a bill that actually says nothing at all about washrooms.  Trans people already use washrooms appropriate to how they live, and have done so for decades.  While this is being spun by a rogue Member of Parliament as an issue of safety for women and children, the overall existence of trans women and men has never been a threat to women and children.  The myth projected of “big, hairy men in dresses” is not only an offensive portrayal of trans women, it’s also false.

The follow-up argument also fails, when people fear that trans human rights inclusion might somehow give actual predators cover to dress up, risk attracting attention to themselves while traveling in public, all to access a washroom that they would probably have better success just slipping into when no one’s looking.  It hasn’t materialized in any discernable pattern in the now nearly 150 jurisdictions in North America that already have trans human rights protections in place (some of which date back to the ’70s).  And illegal / inappropriate behaviour would be no less illegal / inappropriate in a trans-inclusive society.

But there have been plenty of documented instances of attacks on trans women over washrooms — something that would certainly increase if they were suddenly forced to use a mens’ room.  I don’t think women would be much more comfortable with trans men in womens’ rooms, either.  Nor do I think anyone would really see it as reasonable to deny human rights protections to an entire class of people because of the possibility that a lone individual might do something that they would do regardless of those protections, and which that law would not excuse.  Not when they really think about it.  The fear fails on a multitude of levels.

But then, when you dig deeper, the objection isn’t actually washrooms.  The objection is to the idea of extending human rights protections to a group of people (which illustrates why doing so is absolutely needed).

A few years ago, another trans person talked to me about washroom demands from their employer.  She worked in a store located in an Alberta airport, and an anonymous person had objected to her use of the womens’ room.  Upon asking questions, it became apparent that the washroom at the centre of the controversy was already a single-stall locking washroom, but happened to have a womens’ sign on the door.  Safety was not the reason for the objection: the employee’s trans status was.  Once this had been pointed out to the employer and airport administration, several red-faced apologies ensued, and trans-positive polices were developed by both.

Bathroom fear, it turns out, is simply an easy, stealthy way to invalidate transsexual women as women… and perhaps as human beings altogether.

You can read more by Mercedes Allen and guests on her blog, Dented Blue Mercedes, which she describes as “a collection of theory, politics and advocacy for trans, LGBT, sex and gender minorities, and their place in a decolonial world.”

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Tales From the Porcelain Waterloo

Regnerus Scandal: Prominent Sociologist Delivers Devastating Professional Evaluation

From The New Civil Rights Movement:  http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/regnerus-scandal-prominent-sociologist-delivers-devastating-professional-evaluation/civil-rights/2012/10/09/50581

by Scott Rose
on October 9, 2012

Reposted with permission

Dr. Andrew Perrin — a cultural and political sociologist — teaches at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

The topmost ranks of the American Sociological Association respect him greatly, as is evidenced by his being a co-author of the Report to the American Sociological Association Council Regarding the 2010 National Research Council Assessment of Doctoral Programs.

Characteristic of his interests is a 2011 paper he co-authored with Katherine McFarland – Social Theory and Public Opinion – which appeared in the Annual Review of Sociology.

Perrin’s voluminous academic credits reflect a rigorous quest for an understanding of what constitutes state-of-the-art methodologies for the field of sociology.

For example, with Jeffrey K. Olick, Perrin translated and edited works by Theodore W. Adorno. The Harvard University Press notes that Olick and Perrin “make a case that these experiments are an important missing link in the ontology and methodology of current social-science survey research.”

*****************************

In an e-mail exchange, I interviewed Dr. Perrin about the New Family Structures Study, carried out by Mark Regnerus and now being used as a demonizing weapon against gay people.

Perrin’s professional assessment of Regnerus’s work is devastating. Here is what he says:

“I think the study is so thoroughly flawed, in particular with respect to its categorization of ‘gay’ and ‘lesbian,’ that no conclusions can be drawn with sufficient confidence to report, publicize, or use them.”

I asked Dr. Perrin about Regnerus’s data analyses, some of which were carried out with the assistance of  W. Bradford Wilcox, who, as a Regnerus study funding agency representative, organized the study and collaborated with Regnerus on its design booby-trapped against gays. The analyses of the raw data led to dubious “findings” about gay parents and child sexual victimization. In that regard, Perrin said this about Regnerus and Wilcox:

“They should state publicly that the study does not support the ‘gays are pedophiles’ conclusion.”

I wanted to know specifically what Dr. Perrin thought of Regnerus’s “finding” that 23% of his study’s young adult children of “lesbian mothers” had suffered childhood sexual victimization. This is how he responded:

“The fundamental flaws in data collection and interpretation are sufficiently grave as to make this finding very suspect.”

Regnerus has published claims that no funding agency representatives were involved with designing and carrying out his study. Yet, Regnerus’s chief funder is the anti-gay-rights Witherspoon Institute.

Brad Wilcox was Director of the Witherspoon program that first organized the Regnerus study. Wilcox held the title of Director when he collaborated with Regnerus on study design. Dr. Perrin says this:

“Regnerus’s claim that the funders were not involved in the study design is clearly not true given Wilcox’s status.”

Dr. Perrin further states: “The other important angle on this is that Wilcox’s “academic” work is not particularly well respected and is highly politicized — (Philip Cohen did an excellent critique on his blog a while ago) — so it is not plausible that Regnerus engaged his services for primarily scholarly reasons. Regnerus certainly knew any advice he received from Wilcox would be heavily slanted toward the point of view Witherspoon routinely pursues.”

(One of Dr. Cohen’s critiques of Wilcox is titled Distorting Data on Divorce at the National Marriage Project. Wilcox is Director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia).

I also asked Dr. Perrin whether Regnerus could be considered in violation of the American Sociological Association’s Code of Ethics.  

A specific example I gave was that of Regnerus having absurdly told The American Independent that Witherspoon’s Brad Wilcox “did not represent Witherspoon” when; 1) Wilcox was Director of the Witherspoon program that organized the study, and when 2) Wilcox, as Director of that Witherspoon program organizing the study, collaborated with Regnerus on the study design.

Dr. Perrin said: “If in fact he is lying about the relationship, then my understanding is that he would be in violation of the ASA code of ethics.”

Commenting on his own sociology blog, Dr. Philip N. Cohen said:

“Yes, it seems clear that Regnerus lied, and that Wilcox acted unethically by acting as a reviewer, program officer and consultant.”

New York City-based novelist and freelance writer Scott Rose’s LGBT-interest by-line has appeared on Advocate.com, PoliticusUSA.com, The New York Blade, Queerty.com, Girlfriends and in numerous additional venues. Among his other interests are the arts, boating and yachting, wine and food, travel, poker and dogs. His “Mr. David Cooper’s Happy Suicide” is about a New York City advertising executive assigned to a condom account.

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Regnerus Scandal: Prominent Sociologist Delivers Devastating Professional Evaluation

Here Come the Lies

From Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/thalia-zepatos/gay-marriage-frank-schubert_b_1948507.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices


10/09/2012

It’s October. That means it’s time to get ready for the “October surprise,” the disinformation bombshells that political consultants roll out to attempt to turn losing campaigns into winners.

What do you do when you’re frantically swimming against the tide of history? When you know that a solid majority of Americans don’t share your views? You turn to the politics of fear.

Voters in the four states considering marriage for same-sex couples on the November ballot are about to get hit with a boatload of lies. Opponents of the freedom to marry know the only way they can win is to poison the waters.

We’re ready.

For months now, voters in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington State have been talking about why marriage matters to their gay relatives, friends, and neighbors. These conversations are the antidote to the lies they’re about to be told.

Here’s a run-down of what voters can expect from political consultant Frank Schubert, who engineered the passage of Prop 8 in California. He struck gold there by discovering how to turn undecided voters and even soft supporters into opponents of marriage for same-sex couples: Tell them it will harm their kids.

Stimulating parental concerns about their children’s safety in the context of a campaign concerning gay men and lesbians activates stereotypes and outdated notions that lurk below the kinder, gentler “we’re not bigots” surface of Schubert’s campaigns.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/thalia-zepatos/gay-marriage-frank-schubert_b_1948507.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Here Come the Lies

Megachurch pastor uses sermon to ‘endorse Jesus’ but encourages voting for Romney

If he wants to endorse political candidates then his business should pay its fucking taxes and stop free loading off of the hard working honest free thinking tax payers.

From Raw Story:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/10/08/megachurch-pastor-uses-sermon-to-endorse-jesus-but-encourages-voting-for-romney/

By David Edwards
Monday, October 8, 2012

A megachurch pastor in San Diego became one of up to 2,000 clergy around the country to defy IRS rules and announce their support of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Sunday.

“Some came to here to hear an endorsement,” Skyline Church Pastor Jim Garlow told his congregation, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune. “My endorsement will be Jesus. I’ll tell you whom I’m going to vote for, but I don’t think that makes it an endorsement. I’m going to vote for Mitt Romney, but I’m not telling you to.”

The conservative Christian group Alliance Defending Freedom organized “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” to oppose the Johnson amendment in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, which prohibits charities and religious institutions from endorsing or opposing specific candidates. Participating pastors hoped to goad the government into prosecuting them by sending videos of their sermons to the IRS, with the ultimate goal of challenging the law in court.

“It is clear that the president of the United States doesn’t stand on these issues that I’ve been talking about, only Mitt Romney,” Garlow told a church group on Saturday. “All I can say is this is a biblical standard of how to vote, and who are we going to vote for these next four years?”

“Now you see, this is where I just crossed the line,” he added. “I am trying to get the pulpit to be free.”

Complete article at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/10/08/megachurch-pastor-uses-sermon-to-endorse-jesus-but-encourages-voting-for-romney/

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Megachurch pastor uses sermon to ‘endorse Jesus’ but encourages voting for Romney