What should Christian feminists do with their old “purity” rings, symbols of a patriarchal theology that has harmed countless women?
Melt them down, says progressive Christian author and theologian Nadia Bolz-Weber, and create something completely new.
On Monday, Bolz-Weber issued a call on Twitter for people to send her those rings “for a massive art project.”
In certain evangelical Christian circles, the rings were given to young girls as symbols of a pledge they made to abstain from sex until marriage. But the rings ― and more broadly, the Christian purity culture of the 1990s and 2000s ― also shamed young girls into disconnecting from their bodies, Bolz-Weber argues.
With the help of artist Nancy Anderson, Bolz-Weber said she plans to melt down the rings that people send her and recast them as a “golden vagina.” She said that the project ― part of a promotion for Shameless, her upcoming book about sex and Christianity ― is about “reclamation” of women’s bodies.
“This thing about women that the church has tried to hide and control and that is a canvas on which other people can write their own righteousness ― it’s actually ours,” Bolz-Weber told HuffPost. “This part of me is mine and I get to determine what is good for it and if it’s beautiful and how I use it in the world.”
Bolz-Weber was the founding pastor of Denver’s House for All Sinners and Saints, a progressive, queer-inclusive Lutheran congregation. Although she was born a generation too early to experience the purity ring phenomenon, she said that many of her younger friends and former parishioners were immersed in that culture.
Notions about the need to control women’s sexuality have existed for centuries in Christian communities, but the purity culture phenomenon that Bolz-Weber is referring really took root in certain evangelical circles during the 1990s and 2000s. It grew out of the alarm that some conservative Christians felt about the sexual revolution, according to Linda Kay Klein, author of Pure: Inside the Evangelical Movement That Shamed a Generation of Young Women and How I Broke Free.
Some Christians believed that a renewed focus on chastity and traditional sexual values was the best solution to the spread of AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, Klein writes in her book. The U.S. government, influenced by this belief, began pouring money into abstinence-only education. This helped the purity movement spread beyond the most insular circles and into more mainstream evangelicalism.
Thousands of teens signed the “True Love Waits” pledge of abstinence, which was supported by the Southern Baptist Convention, America’s largest evangelical denomination. I Kissed Dating Goodbye, a wildly popular 1997 book, encouraged Christian teens to abstain even from dating. (Its author, Josh Harris, recently stopped publication of the book and apologized for the harm it caused.)
You know being nearly 50 years post-SRS I think I can say from experience that my pussy has been a major contributor to my overall happiness in life.
Dec 2, 2018
I was raised on this colloquial wisdom of my dad, an Irish cop and first-generation American: “You can always tell an Irishman, but you can’t tell him much!” My Jewish in-laws constantly prove the accuracy of the old saying, “Ask two Jews, get three opinions.”
We transgender folks have favorite expressions, too. My favorite is one adapted from old car commercials and ads from my youth, and is not exclusive to the trans experience: “Your Mileage May Vary,” now more likely to be seen in a hashtag as #YMMV. It means no one’s journey, or struggle, or transition, is necessarily like anyone else’s.
It’s also been said, “Once you meet one trans person, you’ve met… one trans person.” That is to say, as in #YMMV, we are not a monolith. We have commonalities, but we rarely function as a community. That’s why I prefer the word “trans population” as opposed to “trans community.”
But for the past week, we have been speaking with one voice, and it’s our angry voice. You already know this if you are friends with one of us, or you are a member of this statistically small population — a 2016 study determined 1.4 million adult Americans, or 0.6% of the country, identify as transgender. That’s the number who admit it, at least.
It seems to me like we have become a mob, and it’s not President Donald J. Trump and his administration’s repeated efforts to limit the rights of our population that has us up in arms.
This is in itself maddening, that we are not coming together to object as the Justice Department pleads to the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn injunctions on President Trump’s proposed ban on transgender military service, or its reported attempts to change policies to erase trans people from existence, or at the very least to be outraged at how Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents let a transgender woman die in their custody.
A “sad trans girl from Brooklyn,” as she describes herself, has been the target of our ire. Her name is Andrea Long Chu, and she is a writer, critic, doctoral candidate and author of a forthcoming book. This young woman has unlocked the journalistic achievement of a lifetime: getting published in The New York Times. “My New Vagina Won’t Make Me Happy.”
We are not friends, but I was impressed with how Chu expressed her deep, dark depression, with just days to go until she underwent a vaginoplasty. She wrote eloquently and effectively of her struggles with transition, hormones and her decision to have this gender-affirming surgery. She’s on the other side now, having had her surgery last week. From what one can see on her Twitter account, she’s in good spirits.
Stupid. No make that stupid beyond words. Might as well just commit suicide.
By Joseph Darius Jaafari
November 29, 2018
Rob Waltman tried to tell his partner, Peter Dovak, he looked fine. He didn’t need to look any different. He especially didn’t need to inject himself with silicone to look bigger.
“Peter had the worst body dysmorphia out of anyone I ever knew,” Waltman tells Rolling Stone. “For years it was me shooting him down when he wanted to get silicone injections. He wanted to go to Mexico to get it done because he was too squeamish to inject himself and I sure as fuck wasn’t going to do it.”
But eventually Waltman gave in, and Dovak went to California to get his first injection in early 2017.
By November, Peter was dead.
Four years ago, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons witnessed a disturbing and deadly trend among those within the trans community: many were injecting silicone into their bodies to achieve the perfect curvy look. But the trend — coined “pumping” — has continued to be a cause of concern as it makes its way to a group called “injectors,” which is a subgroup of “gainers,” gay men who want to appear larger. But there are dangers to the illegal practice, as often it’s not just silicone being injected into the body. And now, the gay community is calling for more visibility on the practice now that two internet-famous gainers within the last year — including Dovak — are dead.
Among trans women, silicone injections are a well known way to achieve the ultimate body: curvy butt, thick thighs or larger breasts. But over the past five years, there have been a number of news reports exposing “pumping parties,” where groups of trans women pool their money to get injected with silicone, and the practice has now become more underground and more risky.
And much of that has to do with what’s being put in the mixture, which many times is unknown by those who receive the injections. In one Florida woman’s case, tire sealant and cement were both injected into her face.
It makes health experts reticent to even call the mixture “silicone,” at all.
“When people come in and say silicone, they don’t really know what they mean because it could be anything,” says Asa Radix, senior director of research and education for Callen-Lorde in New York City, an LGBTQ-focused health center, adding that some of his patients even had quick cement or peanut butter injected in them. “You’re desperate to change your body, people will go through great lengths [to get that done].”
From The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/29/opinion/twitter-deadnaming-ban-free-speech.html
By Parker Molloy
Nov. 29, 2018
In September, Twitter announced changes to its “hateful conduct” policy, violations of which can get users temporarily or permanently barred from the site. The updates, an entry on Twitter’s blog explained, would expand its existing rules “to include content that dehumanizes others based on their membership in an identifiable group, even when the material does not include a direct target.” A little more than a month later, the company quietly rolled out the update, expanding the conduct page from 374 to 1,226 words, which went largely unnoticed until this past week.
While much of the basic framework stayed the same, the latest version leaves much less up for interpretation. Its ban on “repeated and/or non-consensual slurs, epithets, racist and sexist tropes, or other content that degrades someone” was expanded to read: “We prohibit targeting individuals with repeated slurs, tropes or other content that intends to dehumanize, degrade or reinforce negative or harmful stereotypes about a protected category. This includes targeted misgendering or deadnaming of transgender individuals.”
The final sentence, paired with the fact that the site appeared poised to actually enforce its rules, sent a rumble through certain vocal corners of the internet. To trans people, it represented a recognition that our identity is an accepted fact and that to suggest otherwise is a slur. But to many on the right, it reeked of censorship and “political correctness.”
Twitter is already putting the policy into effect. Last week, it booted Meghan Murphy, a Canadian feminist who runs the website Feminist Current. Ms. Murphy hasn’t exactly supported trans people — especially trans women. She regularly calls trans women “he” and “him,” as she did referring to the journalist and trans woman Shon Faye in a 2017 article. In the run-up to her suspension, Ms. Murphy tweeted that “men aren’t women.” While this is a seeming innocuous phrase when considered without context, the “men” she was referring to were trans women.
As a transgender woman, I find it degrading to be constantly reminded that I am trans and that large segments of the population will forever see me as a delusional freak. Things like deadnaming, or purposely referring to a trans person by their former name, and misgendering — calling someone by a pronoun they don’t use — are used to express disagreement with the legitimacy of trans lives and identities.
Defenders of these practices claim that they’re doing this not out of malice but out of honesty and, perhaps, even a twisted sort of love. They surely see themselves as truth-tellers fighting against political correctness run amok. But sometimes, voicing one’s personal “truth” does just one thing: It shuts down conversation.
At The Guardian, Kenan Malik argued that banning misgendering will shut down debate on trans issues and strike a blow to free speech. But in fact, the content free-for-all chills speech by allowing the dominant to control the parameters of debate, never letting discussion proceed past the pedantic obsession with names and pronouns.
Continue reading at: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/29/opinion/twitter-deadnaming-ban-free-speech.html
Dec 01, 2018
TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A woman is suing employees of a Florida jail after they allegedly forced her to spend nearly 10 hours in a cell surrounded by 40 men because they suspected she was transgender,the Miami Herald reported.
Fior Pichardo de Veloz, 55, was had come to Miami from the Dominican Republic to witness the birth of her grandchild when she was arrested at the airport on an outstanding drug charge in 2013.
The arresting officer listed her gender as female. She was booked into Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center and processed as a woman, then strip-searched, the newspaper reported.
Due to her history of high blood pressure, Pichardo was taken to a medical unit to be examined as a precaution. A nurse noted she had been taking hormone pills and asked her whether she was a man. Despite Pichardo’s denial of this, the nurse added this note to her file: “Transgender, male parts, female tendencies.”
The nurse told the doctor, who reclassified Pichardo as male without an examination, according to a newly-released appeals court opinion.
Pichardo was then transferred to the all-male jail Metro West Detention Center and shared a cell with about 40 men, who jeered at her yelling ‘Mami! Mami!’, according to the report. She said she was terrified to go to the bathroom and “urinated on herself instead.”
Jail workers eventually realized their mistake once family members went to the jail where she was originally processed and demanded to know why she was moved.
She was taken out of her holding cell and given a new examination. She claimed several male officers laughed at her during that examination and someone took a photo.
Once her gender was confirmed, she was taken back to Turner Guilford Knight.
Pichardo sued the county and jail staff for negligence and “cruel and unusual punishment,” but the case was thrown out by a judge who said the jail staffers were protected from a trial for negligence.
But this month, an appeals court ruled the conduct of the nurse and doctor amounts to “deliberate indifference, the newspaper reported.
“Every reasonable prison officer and medical personnel would have known that wrongfully misclassifying a biological female as a male inmate and placing that female in the male population of a detention facility was unlawful,” Judge Frank Hull wrote in an unanimous opinion.