From The Advocate: https://www.advocate.com/commentary/2018/10/22/trans-plea-lgb-and-q-help-us
By Amanda Kerri
October 22 2018
There will be a thousand articles written about Trump’s plan to make it government policy that transgender people don’t exist. Some will explain what’s happening, why it’s happening, and how. Some will attack conservatives and Trump, some will attack those who enabled and empowered them through inaction or lack of concern for anyone but themselves. I can’t write those articles.
I already wrote them. I’ve already called the GOP a hate group, I’ve already called out hypocritical allies, I’ve gone after people condoning casual transphobia, warned of radical evangelicals changing the government, and I’ve laid into “progressives” who will throw us under the bus. Almost to the day, I warned about the “unpersoning” of trans people by the Trump administration a full year ago. To borrow a phrase from black folks, “We done told y’all.”
But here we are. The End. It’s not about bathrooms or celebrities, it’s not about pronouns or dating or anything of the sort, it’s just the end of us. Trump’s government is going to make it state policy that we simply do not exist. Literally every right and protection we had won before is gone. No, this is not hyperbole, we are not overreacting, this is their stated goal and not even in vague terms. We are not trying to distract you from something else, we are not trying to divide the left, we are just trying to survive. You have to understand, this isn’t just going to force us into the wrong bathrooms; people will be able to deny us medical care, access to homeless shelters, the right to work and put food in our mouths.
I’m at the point now where I can’t yell in anger about this. I can’t freak out. I’m just tired. All of us transgender people are tired. We have fought and fought and fought, and with a few memos and policy changes the rights we were given by the Obama administration are gone. Poof. Pencil-whipped out of existence. Yeah, we’re gonna keep fighting because we have been fighting, we’ve been fighting this whole time literally and nothing has changed in this regard because there wasn’t even a cease-fire called; so please don’t tell us to fight back. What the hell do you think we’ve been doing for our whole lives?
At this point we’re trying to hold our lines because we’re about to get overrun. I could write up one of those “Go Vote, Call Your Congressman” type articles, but I can barely even muster the will to write this sentence, much less punch out a thousand words on the importance of voting and civic engagement. You should already know how important it is already and if you don’t I can’t even wrap my head around that anymore. There is no point in slippery slope warnings or comparisons to monsterous times or places in our past, we see it in so many other things.
I’m at the point now where all I can muster is: “Help us.”
Continue reading at: https://www.advocate.com/commentary/2018/10/22/trans-plea-lgb-and-q-help-us
October 21, 2018
This morning, the New York Times broke the story that the Department of Health and Human Services under the Trump administration is “[considering] defining transgender out of existence” — specifically, enshrining a definition of gender within the federal government that ties it immutably to sex as assigned at birth (as documented by a birth certificate “as originally issued”), with no recognition of an individual’s self-determined gender later in life.
The agency’s proposed definition would define sex as either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals that a person is born with, according to a draft reviewed by The Times. Any dispute about one’s sex would have to be clarified using genetic testing.
The NYT appears to have drawn this information from a memo circulating within the DHHS, which argues for these changes but does not make them official. It isn’t confirmed that the Department will go forward with this; even if they do, the Departments of Education, Justice, Health and Human Services, and Labor would also have to accept this definition for it to be uniformly applied in higher-up government policy. In terms of legal understandings of trans identity in the courts, the Department of Justice is the most important factor; although it is technically possible that the DOJ could part ways on the issue, the department’s history on trans issues under Jeff Sessions leaves little hope for that possibility. The issue is expected to be presented to the DOJ by the end of the year.
There’s little to draw on as far as legal precedent to understand the specifics of how this would work; it’s unusual to say the least for a government agency to “define” such a fundamental cultural concept out of nowhere. Although the Obama administration issued guidance on legal interpretations for courts regarding sex and gender, they generally functioned as guidance, not commandments. In recent legal memory, previous to the repeal of DOMA the federal government did have a definition of marriage as “between one man and one woman,” it was tied into a specific law, the Defense of Marriage Act, passed by conference. Like so much of what the Trump administration has done, this move appears to be an attempt to circumvent Congress and the courts and force through a bigoted agenda. Also like so much of what the Trump administration has done, it’s so unexpected and confusing that it’s hard to say how specifically it will play out.
By Lily Rothman
October 4, 2018
These days, and especially since the deadly rally in Charlottesville, Va., last August, it has become clear to many Americans that the specter of Nazism in their country is not resigned to 1930s history. But until very recently, even that part of the story was less well known than it is today.
In fact, when Bradley W. Hart first started researching the history of Nazi sympathy in the United States a few years ago, he was largely driven by the absence of attention to the topic. Hart’s new book Hitler’s American Friends: The Third Reich’s Supporters in the United States argues that the threat of Nazism in the United States before World War II was greater than we generally remember today, and that those forces offer valuable lessons decades later — and not just because part of that story is the history of the “America First” idea, born of pre-WWII isolationism and later reborn as a slogan for now-President Donald Trump.
“There’s certainly a raw and visceral shock to seeing swastikas displayed in American streets,” Hart tells TIME. “But this is a topic I’d been working on for quite a while at that point, and while it wasn’t something I expected, it was a trend I’d been observing. I wasn’t terribly shocked but there’s still a visceral reaction when you see that kind of symbolism displayed in the 21st century.”
Hart, who came to the topic via research on the eugenics movement and the history of Nazi sympathy in Britain, says he realized early on that there was a lot more to the American side of that story than most textbooks acknowledged. Some of the big names might get mentioned briefly — the radio priest Father Charles Coughlin, or the highly public German American Bund organization — but in general, he says, the American narrative of the years leading up to World War II has elided the role of those who supported the wrong side. And yet, American exchange students went to Germany and returned with glowing reviews, while none other than Charles Lindbergh denounced Jewish people for pushing the U.S. toward unnecessary war. In its various expressions, the pro-Nazi stance during those years was mostly focused not on creating an active military alliance with Germany or bringing the U.S. under Nazi control (something Hitler himself thought wouldn’t be possible) but rather on keeping the U.S. out of war in Europe.
Continue reading at: http://time.com/5414055/american-nazi-sympathy-book/
From The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/22/health/transgender-trump-biology.html
By Denise Grady
Oct. 22, 2018
Defining gender as a condition determined strictly by a person’s genitals is based on a notion that doctors and scientists abandoned long ago as oversimplified and often medically meaningless.
Researchers who have studied gender issues and provided health care to people who do not fit the typical M/F pigeonholes said that the Trump administration’s latest plan to define gender goes beyond the limits of scientific knowledge.
“The idea that a person’s sex is determined by their anatomy at birth is not true, and we’ve known that it’s not true for decades,” said Dr. Joshua D. Safer, an endocrinologist and executive director of the Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery at Mount Sinai Health System in New York. He is also president of the United States Professional Association of Transgender Health.
But exactly what does determine gender identity — a person’s powerful, core knowledge of who they are — is not so clear.
“We know that there is a significant, durable biological underpinning to gender identity,” Dr. Safer said. “What we don’t know are all of the biological factors at play that explain gender identity. As far as we in the mainstream biological-medical community understand it in 2018, it is hard-wired, it is biological, it is not entirely hormonal, and we do not have identified genes, so we cannot specifically say it is genetic.”
Genetics does play a role, though. In studies of twins, if one is transgender, the other is far more likely to also be transgender if they are identical, rather than fraternal twins. Identical twins are near matches, genetically; fraternal ones are not. The findings are similar for twins who have Type 1 diabetes, which is known to have a strong genetic component.
The Trump administration’s proposal, outlined in a memo by the Health and Human Services Department, would establish a legal definition of sex under Title IX, the federal civil rights law that bans gender discrimination in education programs that receive government financial assistance. The change would eliminate protections afforded transgender people under the Obama administration.
The agency’s proposed definition would be determined by the genitals that a person is born with, according to a draft reviewed by The New York Times. Whatever is on the birth certificate defines gender, “unless rebutted by reliable genetic evidence,” according to the memo.
But what would constitute reliable evidence?
Continue reading at: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/22/health/transgender-trump-biology.html
By Masha Gessen
October 22, 2018
On Sunday, the Times reported that the Trump Administration plans to change federal civil-rights law to include a definition of sex as “a person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth.” The language, if adopted, would mean that the federal government would effectively stop recognizing the very possibility of a person being transgender or intersex.
For the Administration and its supporters, the move reverses what the right sees as executive overreach that, during the Obama Administration, expanded the rights of transgender people. Among the Obama-era moves were guidelines, issued by the Department of Education, in May, 2016, that directed school administrators to recognize students’ gender identity regardless of the sex indicated in their documents and to enable students to use bathrooms consistent with their gender identity. Trump’s Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, revoked these guidelines almost as soon as she was confirmed. Trump’s campaign had promised to return Americans to an imaginary past that was both greater and simpler, and reversing gains in transgender rights was consistent with that promise. It stands to reason that news of potential sweeping changes to civil-rights law would emerge on the eve of the midterm elections.
The Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Health and Human Services is now run by a man named Roger Severino, whose last job was as the director of the Heritage Foundation’s DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society. In that capacity, Severino repeatedly wrote about the dangers of “gender ideology,” a term that for years now has been used to mobilize extreme social conservatives worldwide. “Gender ideology” refers to an imaginary Marxist movement to erase differences between men and women. The spectre of “gender ideology” was used in a successful campaign in Australia to scrap a government program called Safe Schools, which was designed to make schools safer for L.G.B.T.I.Q. students. “Gender ideology” was the enemy the Hungarian government was fighting when it revoked recognition of gender-studies degrees this month. These changes, like the attacks on transgender rights in the United States, are politically expedient and logical: reversing the most recent and most rapid social change makes it seem like the promise of a return to the imaginary past will be fulfilled.
But, for transgender and intersex people, having rights taken away is just not a return to a time before those rights were gained. It is worse. It is traumatic. It can have the effect of leaving people exposed because they don’t have a closet to return to. It can create absurd legal situations—if, for example, state-issued identity documents are not recognized by the federal government. The revocation of rights feels violent because it is violent, in part because the effort is aimed at preventing the rights from being reclaimed. It is probably for this purpose that draft changes to the law include a proposal for genetic testing to determine sex, according to the Times. James Hamblin, a writer for The Atlantic, interpreted this provision as “proposing widespread genetic testing and keeping records of citizens’ genitals.”
By James Esseks, Director, ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & HIV Project
October 22, 2018
Over the weekend, The New York Times revealed that officials within the Trump administration are pushing for a definition of the term “sex” in federal civil rights laws that would eliminate non-discrimination protections for transgender people. Transgender people and their families understandably panicked at that news.
The reality, though, is that transgender people are already protected from discrimination in many contexts under federal law. And we are already fighting in court alongside transgender plaintiffs to keep those protections from being taken away.
Federal civil rights laws bar sex discrimination by employers, schools, landlords, and health care providers, through laws such as Title VII, Title IX, and the Affordable Care Act. Federal courts have consistently ruled that the protection against sex discrimination covers discrimination against transgender people, in contexts ranging from employment to education to access to health care. Recognizing that anti-trans discrimination is a form of sex discrimination makes sense, given that you can’t describe what it means to be transgender without talking about the person’s sex.
The idea that bans on sex discrimination cover transgender people is not new and it’s not something the Obama administration made up. State courts have ruled this way going back to the 1970s, and federal courts have done so since the 1990s. Today, many federal appeals courts agree that trans people are protected from discrimination under statutes barring sex discrimination, and a wide range of federal agencies has issued rulings or regulations protecting transgender people through bans on sex discrimination. That includes the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Labor.
The Trump administration is trying hard to take away these existing protections and make anti-trans discrimination legal in every context it can find. They are arguing in court that civil rights laws don’t cover transgender people and they have revoked administrative guidance that used to make clear to schools and prisons that transgender people are protected under current law. They have also made clear they will propose new regulations that would leave transgender people without recourse under federal law for discrimination they face in many contexts.
If successful, Trump’s actions would harm millions of people all across America.
Aimee Stephens, whom the ACLU represents, is one of them. She worked as a funeral director and embalmer for six years at a funeral home in Detroit. Aimee knew she was a girl from an early age. When she came out to her boss and co-workers as the woman she is, her boss fired her for being transgender. Aimee and her wife, Donna, have had to sell off their possessions just to stay afloat. This spring, a federal appeals court ruled that what happened to Aimee was not only wrong, it was unlawful sex discrimination. The funeral home has asked the Supreme Court to reverse the case and leave Aimee with no job and no remedy for the discrimination she experienced.
On Wednesday, the Department of Justice will file a brief in the case about whether it believes the federal appeals court was right to rule for Aimee. Its position won’t be a surprise: Attorney General Sessions issued a memorandum in September 2017 declaring that the very federal law Aimee sued under — Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 — doesn’t protect transgender people from discrimination.
From The Southern Poverty Law Center: https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2018/10/19/proud-boys-founder-gavin-mcinnes-has-been-using-same-anti-gay-slur-hurled-nyc-attack-least
Nick R. Martin
October 19, 2018
Back in 2011, Gavin McInnes, the writer and talk show host who would later found the Proud Boys, published his thoughts about anti-gay and racial slurs on the paleoconservative website Taki’s Magazine.
The essay, titled “I’m Not a Racist, Sexist, or a Homophobe, You Nigger Slut Faggot,” laid out a justification for using hateful words and phrases. His argument was essentially that they were simply “swear words” and that no one should assume what he means by using them.
From his essay (capitalizations his):
Using words such as “faggot,” “nigger,” and “slut” are obviously all about context. They are swear words. To go up to an old black guy and yell NIGGER in his face is exactly like going up to an old white lady and yelling CUNT in her face. It is not racist, sexist, or homophobic to swear. It’s just very rude.
What is more than rude, however, is to insist you know my motive for swearing. To police language based on thought is to police thoughts. It’s nobody’s business what our motives are.
In recent days, McInnes has been using a similar argument in response to videos that showed members of the Proud Boys viciously attacking people on the streets of New York City following a talk he gave Oct. 12 at the Metropolitan Republican Club in Manhattan.
In one video, a member of McInnes’ group could be heard screaming the word “faggot” as he repeatedly kicked a person curled up on the sidewalk. According to McInnes, the attack began after the victims, who he has claimed were antifascist activists, allegedly stole a “Make America Great Again” cap from a member of the Proud Boys.
“The antifa kid they beat up was in tears,” McInnes said with a chuckle during the opening minutes of his “Get Off My Lawn” podcast a day after the attack. “He was crying. Now, while this person’s crying, I’m sorry, but ‘faggot’ is a handy term.”
The Proud Boys have been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for their bigoted rhetoric disparaging women, Muslims and other groups, so such vulgarity is hardly out of character. But in an interview with Newsmax just two days later, McInnes toned it down.
“He didn’t mean it like it was some sort of homosexual attack,” McInnes said. He censored himself from repeating the word itself during the interview, using the phrase “F-word” in its place: “When someone’s adrenaline is pumping, he’s going to say, ‘Are you brave now, f-word?’”
The tactic is classic McInnes. Over the years, he has fancied himself as something of a hipster conservative. He often casts bigotry and slurs as some form of taboo-bending hijinks rather than as worn-out and stale ideas about gender, sexuality, race, religion and equality. Instead of the aging punk he makes himself out to be, his ideologies are more in line with the status quo in which straight white men reign. He’s obedient to power, not a rebel against it.
That dynamic goes a long way to explaining his frequent use of anti-gay slurs. For at least 15 years, dating back to his time as co-founder of VICE Media, McInnes has used the word in numerous essays in social media posts. He often portrays it as a term that doesn’t carry any inherent bigotry — even describing himself in one essay as “a complete fucking fag” for the emotions he felt being a dad. But even in that self-deprecating way, McInnes has routinely used the word as a synonym for weak or unmasculine. It’s a term of contempt. At times he has outright described gay men as “faggots.”
20 October 2018
The Family Research Council, a designated hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, is encouraging its members to ‘pray for their right’ to harm LGBTI children.
A ‘Prayer of the Day’ email sent to members on Friday, 19 October. In the email, group leader Tony Perkins urged his followers to plead with God for ‘the right to harm LGBT children, and elect far-right Republicans.’
Additionally, Perkins wants his supporters to pray for anti-gay conversion therapy to be allowed in most states. The practice of conversion therapy is incredibly harmful to LGBTI people, according to the American Psychological Association (APA). Twelve states have banned the cruel practice so far.
‘Conversion therapy is not appropriate for dealing with sexual orientation or gender identities in children and youth,’ Judith M. Glassgold, APA’s associate executive director for public interest government relations, told Raw Story.
‘We must resist politicians who advocate for adults and/or children to be prohibited from seeking psychological and spiritual help when they suffer from unwanted same-sex attraction or gender confusion,’ Perkins wrote in the Prayer of the Day email. ‘Such are combatants on the front lines of the culture of death.’
‘We must support true advocates of the family who will boldly oppose every initiative across America that fosters sexual revolution, undermines God’s laws pertaining to marriage, and undermines parents’ authority to guide and educate their children according to their faith.’
‘God, as we draw near Election Day, please guide all Americans, but especially your people, to vote for men and women who will lead our cities, counties, states, and nation in a way that is pleasing to you and that will bring blessing to Your people, our nation, and all the nations,” Perkins continued.
‘May we be found worthy for you to raise up godly men and women who will honor you in public office. And to prevent those who will disregard you and your laws from gaining power in any level of government.’
Introducing self-identification has not led to problems in other countries. On this final day of consultation I urge feminists to support this progressive step
Ellie Mae O’Hagan
Fri 19 Oct 2018
Today (Friday 19, 2018) is the final day that anyone can fill in the consultation for the Gender Recognition Act. So let’s start with what the Gender Recognition Act actually is. If you want to change your gender in the UK, you need a gender recognition certificate. To obtain one, you need to have lived in your preferred gender for two years and get a diagnosis of gender dysphoria (ie be treated as mentally ill) from two different doctors.
Trans people and a growing number of experts have long argued that this process is needlessly distressing and longwinded. In fact, Amnesty International UK responded to the GRA consultation by pointing out that the process constitutes a violation of human rights. In June 2018 the World Health Organisation declassified gender dysphoria as a mental illness.
The GRA proposes replacing the current archaic system with a simpler process, whereby trans people can instead self-identify as their preferred gender. The GRA consultation will, in part, work out exactly how this should happen, but around the world where self-identification has been introduced there have been no reports of problems so far, and trans people say they are happier. Perhaps we will adopt the same process as Ireland, where a person changing their gender must sign a certificate in front of a lawyer and confirm that they understand the gender change is a serious undertaking that will last for the rest of their lives.
The GRA changes will have a negligible effect on British society, because most gender-segregated spaces already rely on self-identification. That’s why no one has ever demanded to verify your gender – whatever that might entail – before you use a public toilet. Trans people have been using toilets, accessing domestic violence facilities, playing sports, using changing rooms, and generally trying to get on with their lives for as long as they have existed (which is about as long as all people have existed). This won’t change any of that. But it does mean that if a trans person wants to get married, they don’t have to choose between getting diagnosed with a mental illness and having their day ruined by the registrar writing the wrong gender on their wedding certificate.
Supporting the updated Gender Recognition Act is a necessity for anyone who calls themselves a feminist, and in fact most feminists do support it. Trans people are more likely to experience domestic violence, sexual assault, self harm and mental health problems than cis people. Anything that can be done to remedy that should be supported in full by feminists, including making the process of changing gender easier and less humiliating. What’s more, if the problems trans people encounter sound familiar, it is because they are: cis women are also more likely to experience domestic violence, self harm, sexual assault and mental health problems.
Why? Because both trans people and cis women live in a patriarchal culture which privileges men by keeping rigid and outdated ideas about gender in place. Trans people and cis women have a shared interest in confronting patriarchal norms, and promoting a more fluid understanding of gender. The sooner we can do that, the happier, freer and safer both groups will be.
By Brian Resnick
Oct 22, 2018
Though they are often conflated by many Americans, and particularly Republicans, sex is not the same thing as gender.
Sex is determined by the biological configuration of chromosomes. Gender is our individual identity: one that can be fluid or fixed. Respecting and honoring this difference is key to respecting the rights of transgender people.
The Trump administration is hoping to erase these distinctions, via changing the Department of Health and Human service’s interpretation of Title IX. As the New York Times reported over the weekend, the administration “is considering narrowly defining gender as a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth,” and that “any dispute about one’s sex would have to be clarified using genetic testing.”
But as Jack Turban, a resident physician in psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital who researches gender identity, told me in an email, “There is no ‘scientific definition’ of gender. Things like anatomy and chromosomes just don’t cut it. The only way to know someone’s gender is to ask them.”
The administration’s insistence on using genitalia to define gender, he adds, also doesn’t make sense for people born with genitalia that are “not clearly defined as male or female.” It’s possible for some people to have XY sex chromosomes, but their bodies neither respond to testosterone nor develop into that of a typical male (known as androgen insensitivity).
So, the Trump administration’s proposal is not grounded in science, or reality. And if the government conflates sex with gender, it could mean that civil rights protections will no longer apply to the 1.4 million Americans who are trans, and that discrimination against them could increase.
They already experience a lot of prejudice: A 2017 NPR/Harvard poll found that 38 percent of transgender Americans have experience slurs, and 22 percent said they “have been told or felt they would be unwelcome in a neighborhood or building because they are transgender.” Transgender people are often targets for violence.
I don’t want to understate how painful the HHS policy changes would be. But there is some hope that the discrimination they face doesn’t have to go on forever.
It’s worth to revisit a small glimmer of hope from psychological research on changes in attitudes toward transgender people. These insights may not change the mind of the president. But they can help change the minds of our neighbors.
In 2016, the journal Science published a remarkable bit of insight: It’s possible to reduce prejudice and sway opinions on anti-transgender legislation with one 10-minute conversation. What’s more, the researchers found that the change of heart can last at least three months and is resistant to anti-transgender attack ads.
The study is titled ”Durably reducing transphobia: A field experiment on door-to-door canvassing,” and it was the first large-scale, real-world experimental effort that shows lasting opinion change is possible.
From The New Civil Rights Movement: https://www.thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/2018/10/28882/
by Gwendolyn Smith
October 21, 2018
In their boldest move against LGBTQ rights, the Trump administration is considering an exceedingly limited definition of sex that would likely erase any and all transgender rights and protections.
The proposed rule, according to a report in the New York Times, would define sex as “either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals that a person is born with.”
The rule is coming out via the Department of Health and Human Services under Alex Azar.
HHS has been arguing that “sex” doesn’t include gender identity over the last year, and has, according to the Times, felt that the “lack of clarity” caused by inclusive Obama-era rules “wrongfully extend civil rights protections to people who should not have them.”
In the memo, HHS states that governmental bodies need a uniform definition of gender that is formed “on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable.”
All disputes regarding sex would be based solely on genetic testing.
The move would roll back protections at all levels of the Federal government for transgender people.
The draft memo, which has been circulating since spring, also takes aim at birth certificates, saying, “The sex listed on a person’s birth certificate, as originally issued, shall constitute definitive proof of a person’s sex unless rebutted by reliable genetic evidence.”
This rule would fly in the face of scientific reality. By defining sex so rigidly, it would essentially ignore intersex people as well as transgender people.
It has been scientifically understood for decades that sex is not rigidly defined, and that there is a great variation of potential genetic markers beyond XX and XY, the most common chromosome pairs for sex determination.
This is the boldest move yet from the administration since their attempts to bar transgender people from the military.
By Dr. Ruth Price
I would like to say something about how it feels to be a trans feminist academic right now, with the emergence of a growing number of “gender critical” voices in academia.
In the wake of Brexit and Trump, and with the renewed growth of far-right movements across the world, it seems that everyone feels empowered to speak out about their own personal prejudice. Trans issues are no exception.
When I first came out and transitioned as a teenager, almost two decades ago, one of the scariest things for me was using public toilets. Let that sink in for a moment. I was scared simply to use the toilet – for fear that people might shout at me, drag me out, maybe even beat me up. While that fear has dissipated for me, I have not been to a public swimming pool since my mid-teens, and have not even been swimming in the sea since my early 20s. This is because I am scared. I am scared of violent men, but I am also scared of violent women. Cis violence against trans people is a reality. I have an enormous amount of admiration and respect for trans people who are able to overcome this fear.
It was hard to come out in the early 2000s. There was an enormous amount of casual transphobia in the media. Guardian columnists wrote pieces such as “Gender Benders Beware”, TV programmes such as Little Britain and the League of Gentlemen were immensely popular, and 90s films such as Silence of the Lambs and Ace Ventura remained popular with my friends. Trans women were variously represented as a pathetic joke, a burly men in self-denial, deceptive liars or outright sexual predators.
Legislation such as the Gender Recognition Act 2004, Sex Discrimination Act Regulations 2008 and Equality Act 2010 were yet to see the right of day. It was therefore legal for employers and service providers to know all about my gender history; it was also legal to refuse to hire me because I was trans, fire me from a job because I was trans, deny me services and kick me out of shops, pubs, post offices, leisure centres (etc etc) because I was trans.
It was not easy to come out in this environment. There were exceptionally few openly trans people involved in public life – and none of them looked, sounded or acted much like me. I certainly hadn’t knowingly met any other trans people. I delayed coming out for years because I wasn’t sure if I was “really trans” (a phenomenon common among participants in my research). I thought that I might ruin my life. It was only the knowledge that my life would likely be ruined regardless, and the sheer awfulness of the alternative – becoming a man – that persuaded me to take the enormous step of coming out.
Consequently, I was very isolated during the first few years of my transition. I find it very hard to express how intensely lonely that experience was. Fortunately, my friends (mostly cis girls my own age) were immensely supportive, but it was difficult not to have any people with similar experiences to me to talk with. People who had a very deep complex relationship with our gendered movement through the social world, and/or our sexed bodies, such that we knew the assignation we received at birth was not right for us. People who felt a deep, deep relief upon transitioning socially and/or changing our bodies as appropriate.
By S. Bear Bergman
October 22, 2018
When I came out in 1990 as a fifteen-year-old queer (my gender-nonconforming nature required no announcement) and promptly started being public about it, my father sat me down for a talk.
My father, who attended a Hillel weekend in college that was surrounded by jeering anti-Semites from which he had to be snuck out a back door, whose own father never, ever spoke about his much-decorated service in World War II, sat me down and said: “If you do this, they will know about you forever. You will never be able to blend in and stay safe.”
I sat with that, for a moment.
It would have been characteristic of both fifteen-year-olds in general and me in particular to dismiss it out of hand. I took it seriously, though, after six summers at Camp Kinder Ring, sharing space with and being taught by Holocaust survivors, after seeing the versions of my family tree with the legend “all names in italics killed during the Shoah,” at the bottom.
“That’s okay,” I told my father in that food court, after an interval. “If we get to that point, you know I won’t be quiet anyway.”
He nodded quietly, as proud as he was resigned.
We are at the point.
The Trump regime’s memo, which purports to be a clarification of the definition of gender, is in fact a full-scale attack on the existence of transgender, nonbinary, and genderqueer people. It proposes that a person’s gender shall be based on their assigned sex at birth, and that no remedy but genetic testing shall be sufficient to change that assessment.
Besides the fact that the memo conflates sex and gender as one thing (they’re not) and appears to have no sense of how many chromosomal variations of sex there actually are (5 are fairly common, with at least 4 others known), it’s also written to create harm for any American who is transgender.
The memo is, at the base, mean.
The entire structure is designed to exclude anyone who is trans from legal protection or recourse against discrimination.
Continue reading at: https://forward.com/opinion/412456/the-anti-trans-nuremberg-laws-are-upon-us/