Voices from the trans community: ‘There will always be prejudice’

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/jan/22/voices-from-trans-community-prejudice

It’s more than 50 years since the UK’s first trans person was outed in the press. So how do members of the community think life has changed for them since?


The Guardian, Monday 21 January 2013

In 1961, a beautiful model who graced the pages of Vogue appeared in the Sunday People under the headline: “Her” Secret is Out. April Ashley, then 25, was the first person in Britain to be outed as a transsexual, not long after she had travelled to Casablanca and survived difficult genital surgery. In subsequent decades, Ashley led the most extraordinary existence, getting up to mischief with aristocrats and actors as well as becoming an informal agony aunt for thousands of people struggling to understand their gender. Since her outing, however, she has never again worked as a model in Britain.

Ashley’s exceptional experiences are typical of  many trans people in Britain. “It was a very schizophrenic life,” she says, referring not to switching gender but the combination of glamour and poverty, acclaim and abuse, she has encountered. Following Guardian columnist Suzanne Moore’s spat with trans activists on Twitter, the vitriol directed at trans people by Julie Burchill in the Observer has caused many to wonder how much has changed.

Ashley, who is 78, penniless and last month collected her MBE from Prince Charles, is airily dismissive of Burchill, who called trans people “bed-wetters in bad wigs”, among other insults. “I don’t know where Miss Burchill goes to see people with crappy wigs on their heads. All the transsexuals I know are very smart looking and have good jobs,” she says. “I do not wear a wig, by the way.”

The transformation for trans people over the course of Ashley’s life is astonishing. It is less surprising how little most people understand of trans lives. If gay activists traditionally asserted their right to be “different”, most trans people have tried to “pass” for their new gender. There is no data on how many people are living as a different gender from their birth but activists estimate that 10,000 people in Britain have undertaken gender reassignment surgery, which was pioneered by German doctors on Lili Elbe, a Danish painter, in 1930. Elbe died from complications in 1931 and, although modern surgery is much safer, plenty quietly live their acquired gender without operations, particularly women “transitioning” to men, for whom genital surgery is more complicated.

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/jan/22/voices-from-trans-community-prejudice

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Improving Conversations About Transgender Issues

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brynn-tannehill/improving-conversations-about-transgender-issues_b_2508554.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices

01/22/2013

This past week a writer in the UK, Suzanne Moore, made a crack about “Brazilian transsexuals.” Transgender twitterers responded immediately, and occasionally irately. Following an increasingly nasty exchange between Ms. Moore and her Twitter followers, a friend of Ms. Moore published an intentionally offensive-as-possible rebuttal. In the end the second article was retracted, Moore left Twitter (then returned), battle lines were drawn and everyone was left angry and out of breath. The sad irony of it all was that Suzanne Moore has written supportive things about the transgender community in the past. After the vitriolic exchanges by both sides, that probably won’t be happening again anytime soon. An opportunity to educate became a debacle.

This incident sums up one of the great catch-22s that the transgender community faces. In order to make any headway on transgender issues, first we have to convince others on the need, feasibility and rightness of our cause. Unfortunately, we exist in a culture that demonizes transgender people to the point where many trans women often inspire visceral reactions of disgust, and where many trans men all too often feel safer just staying invisible. This situation leaves our community disinclined to talk about our experiences. It isn’t comfortable feeling like a lab rat or a sideshow attraction. Given the barrage of negative stereotypes in America about trans people, the subject can be very raw.

As a result, the trans community is often distant, even to potential allies. John Aravosis at Americablog summed up how he feels:

One of my pet peeves of working on civil rights issues is that it’s awfully hard to learn about other communities, because if you ask questions, and they’re not phrased the right way, boy, get ready to get an earful. And as far as I’m concerned, if someone’s heart is in the right place, and they want to learn, they can ask me whatever they want about gay issues, and I’m happy to be their guide.

When LGB and straight people inquire about our experiences as transgender people, they often feel like they are stepping into a mine field: What words should I use? What questions are off-limits? What in the past is ok to ask about? So they pull back and don’t engage, and as a result, they walk away hanging on to whatever preconceived notions they had before.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brynn-tannehill/improving-conversations-about-transgender-issues_b_2508554.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices

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Trans Cabal: Right To Reply

From Transbareall:  http://www.transbareall.co.uk/news/2013/1/21/trans-cabal-right-to-reply.html

Monday, January 21, 2013

This video has been compiled by TransBareAll as a response to recent transphobic articles in the press. We don’t aim to debate the merits of freedom of speech, or the rights and wrongs of different sides of an argument. Instead we want to show the real impact of the way language is used, how it can affect the people it targets.

In the media (and society in general) there are some words which we never use, such as the ‘N’ word. We don’t choose to avoid them because we are oppressed, but because we understand that due to their historical and social context they aren’t merely offensive, they are directly harmful. We understand that for some terms it is up to the group they have been used against to re-appropriate them. Some of the terms published lately are examples of these – terms so deeply rooted in discrimination, exclusion, hatred and violence, that it is just not ok to say them. Ever. Because of the damage that they do.

This short film includes trans masculine people and allies talking about the impact of this language. Although recent publications seem to refer specifically to trans women, the language used does not separate us – it includes all trans people, and everyone who loves and respects us. It refers to us. It refers to many of the people in this film. Using this language harms all trans people and our wider communities of families, friends, partners and lovers. This is not about offense, it is about hurt. It goes so much deeper.

Continue reading at:  http://www.transbareall.co.uk/news/2013/1/21/trans-cabal-right-to-reply.html

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Chicago: Trans man files complaint against spa

From Xtra Ca:  http://www.xtra.ca/blog/national/post/2013/01/18/Chicago-Trans-man-files-complaint-against-spa.aspx

BY NATASHA BARSOTTI
Friday, January 18, 2013

A transgender man has filed a discrimination complaint against a Chicago, Illinois, spa after its manager told him he couldn’t use the men’s shower area, according to a report in The Windy City Times.

Levi Pine alleges that King Spa & Sauna’s management told him he’d have to use a private shower or leave after questioning him about his gender, the report says. Pine reportedly told the manager — who gave Windy Times only his first name, John — that he didn’t want a private shower and could use the same facilities as the other customers, but he was informed that other customers had complained.

Pine says he told John that he felt discriminated against. “Just because some people who go there are uncomfortable with my body shouldn’t change what I have to do and shouldn’t change my rights as a customer,” he told the Times. He says he’s angry about the situation but feels it was “an opportunity to have dialogue that wouldn’t have happened otherwise.”

The spa manager says he can’t see a better solution other than offering Pine a private room. “The naked man in the women’s spa: that is equal? I don’t think so.”

American Civil Liberties Union lawyer John Knight thinks Pine’s case has merit, and so does Joanie Rae Wimmer, the lawyer who handled the first successful transgender case under the Illinois Human Rights Act, Windy Times notes.

Complete article at:  http://www.xtra.ca/blog/national/post/2013/01/18/Chicago-Trans-man-files-complaint-against-spa.aspx

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Christo-Fascist Hate Monger Scott Lively: ‘True Human Rights Will be Finished’ if the Gay Rights Movement Succeeds

This Neo-Nazi hate monger wrote the Blood Libel titled: Pink Swastikas.

He is also the one urging African nations to commit genocide on LGBT people.

From Right Wing Watchhttp://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/lively-true-human-rights-finished-gay-rights-movement-succeeds

by Brian Tashman
on Tuesday, 1/22/2013

Pastor Scott Lively has republished a column warning that “the First Amendment is under siege” by the gay rights movement which seeks “to crush [civil rights] under the heels of its pink jackboots.” Lively, best known for his work promoting Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill, said that the Constitution is the only document “still standing as a barrier to the homosexual agenda” and that “true human rights will be finished in America (and by extension the rest of the western world)” if “the First Amendment falls to the ‘gays.’”

This week marks the anniversary of the adoption of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations. December 10th is International Human Rights Day. Unfortunately, this is a day celebrated mostly by leftists, who have hijacked “human rights” in recent times to serve their own misguided agenda. However, true human rights as they have been understood through the centuries spring from and epitomize the biblical world view.

Moreover, this “right to sodomy” actually undermines true human rights, as exemplified by the collapse of the Magna Charta in the United Kingdom. The first principle of that venerable human rights document declares that “The English Church shall be free.” This principle, established in the bedrock of British jurisprudence in 1215, stood unshakable for nearly 800 years until the rise of the “gay” movement which has in just the past decade achieved the power to redefine religious liberty as “homophobia” and to crush it under the heels of its pink jackboots.

Continue reading at:  http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/lively-true-human-rights-finished-gay-rights-movement-succeeds

See also:  Pink News:  Anti-gay evangelist Scott Lively: ‘Gays will crush religion and persecute Christians’

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A Map of Human Dignity

From The New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/22/opinion/bruni-a-map-of-human-dignity.html

By
Published: January 21, 2013

Seneca Falls, Selma, Stonewall. The alliteration of that litany made it seem obvious and inevitable, a bit of poetry just there for the taking. Just waiting to happen.

But it has waited a long time. And President Obama’s use of it in his speech on Monday — his grouping of those three places and moments in one grand and musical sentence — was bold and beautiful and something to hear. It spoke volumes about the progress that gay Americans have made over the four years between his first inauguration and this one, his second. It also spoke volumes about the progress that continues to elude us.

“We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths — that all of us are created equal — is the star that guides us still, just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls and Selma and Stonewall,” the president said, taking a rapt country on a riveting trip to key theaters in the struggle for liberty and justice for all.

Seneca Falls is a New York town where, in 1848, the women’s suffrage movement gathered momentum. Selma is an Alabama city where, in 1965, marchers amassed, blood was shed and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stood his ground against the unconscionable oppression of black Americans.

And Stonewall? This was the surprise inclusion, separating Obama’s oratory and presidency from his predecessors’ diction and deeds. It alludes to a gay bar in Manhattan that, in 1969, was raided by police, who subjected patrons to a bullying they knew too well. After the raid came riots, and after the riots came a more determined quest by L.G.B.T. Americans for the dignity they had long been denied.

The causes of gay Americans and black Americans haven’t always existed in perfect harmony, and that context is critical for appreciating Obama’s reference to Stonewall alongside Selma. Blacks have sometimes questioned gays’ use of “civil rights” to describe their own movement, and have noted that the historical experiences of the two groups aren’t at all identical. Obama moved beyond that, focusing on the shared aspirations of all minorities. It was a big-hearted, deliberate, compelling decision.

Continue reading at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/22/opinion/bruni-a-map-of-human-dignity.html

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Congressman McGovern introduces constitutional amendments to overturn Citizens United

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