by Zackary Drucker
Nov 29 2018
I’m so proud of you” were the first words Judy Bowen spoke to me, affirming me before we even got to names. We met at the The LGBT Community Center in New York, where we were both being filmed for a documentary. I was captivated by her dynamism and self-effacing beauty as she unravelled stories about life on Christopher Street, the home of the Stonewall Inn, in the 60s, and later in Queens as a (mostly) non-disclosing trans woman. When telling stories, Judy has an exciting tendency to spontaneously change directions mid-stream, and in listening, I felt that I was always being transported somewhere unexpected.
Judy was raised in the South in a religious home, and worked as a reporter for an evangelical newspaper. She was unable to conceal her transgender identity in her youth, and moved to New York after witnessing racist and transphobic violence in Knoxville. In New York, Bowen lived in Greenwich Village before the Stonewall riots, and became an organizer and community activist. In the years following the riots, she started two transgender support organizations in New York City. Today, at 74, she is a active member of The Center in Las Vegas, which supports the needs of LGBTQ people, as well as a champion of the Safety Dorm for transgender individuals at The Salvation Army, which houses and provides professional support for homeless transgender people in Las Vegas.
Ms. Bowen’s story is one of the many remarkable and unique journeys of a 20th century trans pioneer, who survived by always following her instincts and, when necessary, blending seamlessly into cis society. “You should have the right to be who you are and not be ashamed of it,” she landed on in our interview. Indeed, trans people’s lives are shaped by the shame of difference—of existing on the fringes of dominant culture, or outside of it all together. Judy exclaiming her pride in me, and our collective pride as a community, feels like magic conjured in a vacuum, against all odds.
ZACKARY DRUCKER: How did you find your way to a trans identity, into your true self?
UDY BOWEN: I was always me. I can never, never not remember being me mentally. But of course, physically, I was not happy with myself. I grew up in a religious environment in Virginia and Tennessee —church three times a week—and you know what? I think it was because of my beliefs in a greater spirit that I’m here today. My whole progression is basically a tribute to my faith, and believing in myself. Of course I had to be very careful, because those were not good times, it still isn’t good times. I had a lot of horrific things happen to me because I’m me, but I somehow overcame it.
What were some of those obstacles for you?
Well, in high school, I had to go to boy’s phys-ed, and I hated it. So eventually, because I had asthma, I was able to get a doctor’s permit to get out of it. And what’s really, really wonderful is a lot of my high school and college friends are now friends with me on Facebook! It’s kind of nice, they come to Vegas and they visit me sometimes. And they’re proud of the fact that I did progress, and are kind of shocked that I’m so active. I’ll be 75 in September.
Some of my friends in high school went on to be college professors and famous musicians. But my whole being was geared towards community service. Of course, you know, there was Stonewall—a whole era of nightclubs—and my focus then was making lots of money.
When I was like 22 years old, I started buying real estate. Most all the clubs I worked in were mafia [owned], and I had to be very careful, but one of my dear friends, who was an attorney, he finally told me one day, “You’ve got to get out of here. The FBI’s closing in. You’re going to be called to FBI headquarters because you’ve been around these people for a long time.” So he suggested that I go into some other kind of business, so I found a restaurant and catering business, which I purchased for very little money.
Is this the return of the Thought Police?
By Phyllis Chesler
December 12, 2018
In 1984, George Orwell wrote: “The two aims of the Party are to conquer the whole surface of the earth and to extinguish once and for all the possibility of independent thought. When people ‘disappear’ no one is allowed to mention it, no one is mourned, no one person is important, only the Party and Big Brother are important.”
Today, Orwell’s Thought Police are, rather ominously, everywhere. There is a definite intellectual chill in the air. Reason and civility are all but gone in the public square. In its place, we have insults, shaming, censorship and self-censorship that is meant to “pass” for thought. Hotly internalized propaganda rules the day online. We have met Big Brother, and he is us.
In my view, people seem to develop some kind of psychoanalytic transference to their Listserv groups. In a way, the connection is an umbilical one. The darker side of this connection isn’t hard to find. Internet Listserv groups bully and purge dissident members—this has happened to me and to many others. Sometimes, a small group of people (teenage “mean girls” and their mothers, academics, journalists,) attack the same person over and over again, day after day, for months, even for years. Meanwhile, hundreds of onlookers remain silent. No one stops the attacks or calls for a more civilized fight.
Unlike in-person mobs, attackers on social media attack and instantly disappear. Often, people attack one by one, one after the other, in sequence, even when there are hundreds of them. As a result, individuals in cyberspace may continue to see themselves as individuals rather than as members of a lynch mob or as contributing to an atmosphere in which people are systematically demoralized or silenced.
This New Intolerance and the New Censorship that online mobs zealously enforce is narrowly focused, in ways that are hard to miss when you are a member of a targeted group. In my experience, being the object of mob opprobrium has everything to do with where one “stands” on ethnic bigotry towards the Jewish people, on Israel/Palestine, and on Islam. Meanwhile, Sunni-Shia fratricide, African genocides, worldwide sexual slavery, war-zone atrocities, the persecution of dissidents and infidels in the Islamic world go largely unremarked upon. This is by design. The only events that matter are those that might feed pathological obsessions with the Jews.
Once you’ve taken the “wrong” stand on Israel or Islam, your reputation precedes you. No matter what other subjects you may be talking or writing about, (gardening, cooking, grandchildren, feminism, the Crimean War), these positions will forever haunt you and block your path. This too is by design; it is a deliberate strategy to inhibit argument and free thought by directing the mob to attack those who dare to step out of line. This is why so few people take such stands. They can clearly see what happens to those who do.
Last week, I was being interviewed by a genuine, not a faux, feminist, who praised my work but then said: “Yes, but now I must ask you to explain your position on Israel.” Israel had nothing to do with our conversation, but it was now an important subject of the interview. What I was expected to “explain” was my failure to conform to a party-line norm. Until I did so, nothing I said on any other topic could legitimately be heard or praised.
About a month ago, the editor of a left-wing magazine said that the only reviewers he could find for my new book, A Politically Incorrect Feminist, insisted on using my memoir of feminism in New York City in the 1960s and ’70s as an opportunity to challenge my position on Israel/Palestine.
“But I don’t write about it in this book,” I said.
“It doesn’t matter. I cannot get anyone to review you without taking this into account.”
December 5, 2018
In August, a researcher at Brown University published flawed research about so-called “rapid-onset gender dysphoria,” a concept that suggests that young people may be coming out as trans due to “social and peer contagion” and that has not been recognized by any mainstream medical organization. Among other flaws, the study was widely criticized for surveying only parents found on anti-trans parent communities rather than transgender people themselves, and Brown and the academic journal that published the study have since pledged to re-evaluate the work. Right-wing media and anti-LGBTQ groups responded by calling the reassessment “academic censorship” and saying Brown and the journal had caved to “transgender activism.”
A Brown University researcher published a study on so-called “rapid-onset gender dysphoria” that suggested teenagers were identifying as trans due to “social and peer contagion.” In August, Brown University researcher Dr. Lisa Littman published a study on so-called “rapid-onset gender dysphoria” (ROGD) in the online journal PLOS ONE. The study suggested that transgender youth are experiencing a new type of “rapid” gender dysphoria due to social influences, asserting that both multiple peers in pre-existing friend groups coming out as transgender and “increased exposure to social media/internet preceding a child’s announcement of a transgender identity” raise “the possibility of social and peer contagion.” From PLOS ONE (citations removed):
The description of cluster outbreaks of gender dysphoria occurring in pre-existing groups of friends and increased exposure to social media/internet preceding a child’s announcement of a transgender identity raises the possibility of social and peer contagion. Social contagion is the spread of affect or behaviors through a population. Peer contagion, in particular, is the process where an individual and peer mutually influence each other in a way that promotes emotions and behaviors that can potentially undermine their own development or harm others.
Littman’s study surveyed the parents of transgender people ages 11-27, circulating the survey on three websites: 4thwavenow.com, transgendertrend.com, and youthtranscriticalprofessionals.org. Those websites are online communities primarily for parents of transgender people who deny their children’s identities, and the study acknowledged that the survey was specifically targeted to “websites where parents and professionals had been observed to describe rapid onset of gender dysphoria.” In fact, according to trans researcher Julia Serano, the phrase “rapid-onset gender dysphoria” and accompanying acronym originated on those very websites in July 2016, before Littman’s study or abstract were released. The term and acronym are frequently used by parents who do not accept their children’s trans identities; there is even a website called parentsofrogdkids.com. Prior to releasing her full study, Littman published an abstract in the Journal of Adolescent Health in February 2017 describing supposed parental experiences with ROGD.
Gender dysphoria is an established diagnosis involving “a difference between one’s experienced/expressed gender and assigned gender, and significant distress or problems functioning.” The American Psychiatric Association recommends affirming the gender expression of people with gender dysphoria, including through “counseling, cross-sex hormones, puberty suppression and gender reassignment surgery” as well as social transitions not involving medical treatments.
PLOS ONE is seeking “further expert assessment on the study’s methodology and analyses” after receiving complaints. On August 27, PLOS ONE announced that it would re-evaluate Littman’s study due to “concerns raised on the study’s content and methodology.” Slate’s Alex Barasch noted that “re-evaluating a study’s content and methodology doesn’t stymie the scientific process; it’s a natural and necessary extension of it.” From PLOS ONE’s announcement:
PLOS ONE is aware of the reader concerns raised on the study’s content and methodology. We take all concerns raised about publications in the journal very seriously, and are following up on these per our policy and [Committee on Publication Ethics] guidelines. As part of our follow up we will seek further expert assessment on the study’s methodology and analyses. We will provide a further update once we have completed our assessment and discussions.
Brown University removed a news article about the study after receiving complaints about Littman’s research and its methodology. After experts and advocates pointed out several flaws in the study’s methodology and PLOS ONE announced its own re-evaluation, “Brown determined that removing the article from news distribution is the most responsible course of action.” The next day, the dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health issued a letter confirming that the article had been removed “because of concerns about research methodology,” acknowledging concerns that the flawed study’s conclusions could harm the transgender community, and reiterating the university’s commitment to academic freedom and “the value of rigorous debate informed by research.” On September 5, the university released an expanded statement, proclaiming, “Brown does not shy away from controversial research.” The statement claimed that the article’s removal from the university’s news site was “not about academic freedom,” but rather “about academic standards,” noting that “academic freedom and inclusion are not mutually exclusive.”
By Graham Moomkaw Richmond Times-Dispatch
Dec 6, 2018
WEST POINT — A Virginia high school teacher was fired Thursday for refusing to use a transgender student’s new pronouns, a case believed to be the first of its kind in the state.
After a four-hour hearing, the West Point School Board voted 5-0 to terminate Peter Vlaming, a French teacher at West Point High School who resisted administrators’ orders to use male pronouns to refer to a ninth-grade student who had undergone a gender transition. The board met in closed session for nearly an hour before the vote.
Like a similar transgender rights case in nearby Gloucester County that eventually reached the U.S. Supreme Court, Vlaming’s situation could present a novel legal case as public bodies continue to grapple with how to reconcile anti-discrimination policies with the rights of religious employees.
The high school in West Point, a town in King William County about an hour east of Richmond, has about 265 students.
Vlaming, 47, who had taught at the school for almost seven years after spending more than a decade in France, told his superiors his Christian faith prevented him from using male pronouns for a student he saw as female.
The student’s family informed the school system of the transition over the summer. Vlaming said he had the student in class the year before when the student identified as female.
Vlaming agreed to use the student’s new, male name. But he tried to avoid using any pronouns — he or him, and she or her — when referring to the student. The student said that made him feel uncomfortable and singled out.
Administrators sided with the boy, telling Vlaming he could not treat his transgender pupil differently than he treats others.
“That discrimination then leads to creating a hostile learning environment. And the student had expressed that. The parent had expressed that,” said West Point schools Superintendent Laura Abel. “They felt disrespected.”
School administrators recommended that Vlaming be fired, saying he had violated the school system’s nondiscrimination and harassment policies.
“Does this board expect its employees to follow its policies or not?” said attorney Stacy Haney, who was representing the school district.
The nondiscrimination policies were updated a year ago to include protections for gender identity, but Vlaming’s lawyer, Shawn Voyles, said there was no specific guidance on the use of gender pronouns.
Even as a public employee, Voyles said, Vlaming has constitutional rights of his own.
“One of those rights that is not curtailed is to be free from being compelled to speak something that violates your conscience,” Voyles said.
11/19/2018: “The founder of the Women’s March is calling for the movement’s current co-chairs to step down for allowing bigotry into their mission.”
11/12/2018: “The think tank for the German social democratic party withdrew its Human Rights Award to the Women’s March USA on Thursday: ‘We believe that the Women’s March USA does not meet the criteria of this award, as its organizers have repeatedly attracted attention through antisemitic statements, the trivialization of antisemitism and the exclusion of Zionists and Jews since Women’s March USA establishment in 2017. Women’s March USA does not constitute an inclusive alliance.’”
11/09/2018: Alyssa Milano and Debra Messing are both no longer supporting the Women’s March due to its anti-Semitic leadership.
6/11/2018: Tamika Mallory has been kicked out of a major social policy conference in Australia after her recent statements which called the creation of the State of Israel a “Human Rights crime.”
“Tamika Mallory’s enthusiastic public praise for Louis Farrakhan, a notorious anti-Semite … makes her a dubious choice to speak about inclusion and social justice,” he said.
5/15/2018: Tamika Mallory has now joined Linda Sarsour in defending terrorist group Hamas and their deadly use of human shields. When responding to a tweet which said, “It takes a special kind of evil to sacrifice your people for the camera,” she tweeted: “Or bravery! Depends on how you look at it!”
4/27/2018: Due to the attacks by Women’s March leaders below, ADL has been bullied into no longer leading the Starbucks anti-bias training. NAACP, Equal Justice Initiative, and Demos are now the only organizations leading the training.
4/18/2018: New anti-Semitic attacks by Women’s March leaders! Tamika Mallory and Linda Sarsour are now attacking the Anti-Defamation League (an international Jewish non-governmental organization) with the following false statements, continuing to spread their anti-Semitic hate far and wide:
“The ADL is CONSTANTLY attacking black and brown people. This is a sign they are tone deaf and not committed to addressing the concern of black folks. Be clear about what’s happening here!” – @tamikadmallory
“Starbucks almost had me on their anti-bias training for all employees UNTIL I heard ADL was enlisted as one of the orgs to build their anti-bias curriculum. An anti-Arab, anti-Palestinian organization that peddles islamophobia and attacks America’s prominent Muslim orgs and activists and supports/sponsors US law enforcement agents to travel and get trained by Israeli military.” – Linda Sarsour via Facebook
“I don’t know which one is more disappointing, @Starbucks bringing on @ADL_National or @ADL_National agreeing to do the anti-bias training when this directly impacts black folks! There R great black organizations & people who can conduct this training! @ADL_National not good!” – @msladyjustice1 (Carmen Perez)
We demand that all sponsors of Women’s March Inc. remove their sponsorship until the organization’s current leadership is replaced by leaders who are not affiliated with and do not defend those associated with any organization classified as a hate group. Sponsors and/or partners include Planned Parenthood, SPLC, ACLU, and Emily’s List.
Many feminists refused to join the Women’s March because they did not feel comfortable with the current leadership. Now, Women’s March participants also no longer feel represented by this organization due to the behavior of its current leadership. We, as supporters of women’s rights, donated to this organization, promoted it, and went on to march once again on January 20, 2018.
We REFUSE to march behind leaders who support an open anti-Semite.
We REFUSE to march behind leaders who defend those affiliated with an open anti-Semite.
We DEMAND new leadership.
“That the group refuses to be accountable for a high-level alliance with an open anti-Semite disqualifies it from ranking among today’s movements for social justice.”
“A liberation ideology that rests on the demonization of other marginalized groups should be, and is, unacceptable to most contemporary activist movements….Mallory’s unwillingness to see Farrakhan for what he is will surely cost the entire Women’s March organization its credibility among many Jewish people, LGBTQ people, and those who see themselves as allies to those communities.”
“If the Women’s March continues to count [Mallory] as a leader, the organization deserves to fail.”
Please sign this petition & reach out to any of these 550 organizations and insist that they terminate their sponsorship of the Women’s March, Inc. until new leadership is in place.
These sponsors include:
Natural Resource Defense Council
American Federation of Teachers
Human Rights Campaign
Peace is Loud
Jews for Racial & Economic Justice
Southern Poverty Law Center
On November 17, the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario passed a resolution for debate at the next convention, according to which “gender identity theory” is “[a] highly controversial, unscientific ‘liberal ideology’; and, as such, that a Conservative government will remove the teaching and promotion of ‘gender identity theory’ from Ontario schools and its curriculum.”
Even though the resolution was later rejected by Premier Doug Ford, with little explanation and without clarifying whether he can block it from being debated at the next convention, the fact that the party proposed this debate invigorates proponents of the dangerous belief that trans people are delusional and shouldn’t have their gender identities recognized.
Moreover, they play into the myth that the growing inclusion of trans people is being pushed by ideologically-motivated activists with no regard for science, even though scientists are very much in favour of trans inclusion.
Gender identity didn’t emerge out of activist communities, but was coined in 1963 by psychiatrists Robert Stoller and Ralph Greenson, both professors of psychiatry at UCLA Medical School. The term allowed them to put into words the psychological experiences of trans people.
As explained in the Yogyakarta Principles, a leading international human rights document, gender identity refers to a deeply felt internal and individual experience of belonging to a gender, whether male, female or non-binary.
It was also the work of healthcare experts which led to the recognition of trans people as a protected group under anti-discrimination law in the late 90s.
The expert testimony of Dr. Richard Robinow, a psychiatrist for the Centre for Sexuality, Gender Identity and Reproductive Health, was integral to the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal’s 1999 decision to establish the right to access to bathrooms according to gender identity.
As the Tribunal explained, society assumes that sex is binary and unchangeable, but the medical profession better recognizes the complexities of gender, which is neither binary nor fixed.
Recently, more than 2,600 scientists including nine Nobel laureates, signed a letter condemning the Donald Trump administration’s decision to redefined gender as biological and assigned at birth. According to the group of scientists, such a proposal is “fundamentally inconsistent not only with science, but also with ethical practices, human rights, and basic dignity.”
Many prestigious institutions have also opposed the proposed redefinition, including the journal “Nature”, writing in an editorial on behalf of the publication that, “Political attempts to pigeonhole people have nothing to do with science and everything to do with stripping away rights and recognition from those whose identity does not correspond with outdated ideas of sex and gender.”
Damn… Yet another transwoman murdered. Maybe if the bigots stopped spewing their hatred we would see a decrease in the rate of these murders instead of what seems to be an ever increasing growth in them.
We need to stop the hate and give trans folks a legitimate place in society.
By Rokia Hassanein
December 10, 2018
HRC mourns the death of Keanna Mattel, a 35-year-old Black transgender woman killed in Detroit on Dec. 7.
Police found Mattel dead of a gunshot wound in her Palmer Park neighborhood, according to INTO. LGBTQ advocates who spoke to INTO suggested that Mattel may have been specifically targeted. Police have arrested a 46-year-old male suspect.
“The police are unaware with our struggle so they have no sympathy for us,” she said. “Nobody ever asks, what happened to that person to get here?”
While police did not initially identify Mattel as the victim, friends and LGBTQ advocates spread word of her passing.
Mattel’s friends posted on social media, noting that she was “a sweet, caring individual” and “a beautiful spirit” who was “loved.” Another friend posted that Mattel had a “beautiful bold personality” and was like a mother to her. Friends also posted videos remembering Mattel as an active member in Detroit’s ballroom scene, calling her “a sweetheart and beautiful character and personality.”
In the wake of Mattel’s death, friends will be hosting a benefit show on Dec. 12 to help raise funds for funeral expenses.
We must listen to her words and address the factors that continue to foster an epidemic of violence targeting transgender people, particularly transgender women of color. It is clear that fatal violence disproportionately affects trans women of color, and that the intersections of racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia conspire to deprive them of necessities to live and thrive.
Alarmingly, Mattel’s death adds to the growing list of a transgender or gender-expansive person killed in 2018.
In November 2018, HRC Foundation released “A National Epidemic: Fatal Anti-Transgender Violence in America in 2018,” a heartbreaking report honoring the transgender people killed in 2018 and detailing the contributing and motivating factors that lead to this tragic violence. To learn more, please follow this link.
To learn more about HRC’s transgender justice work, visit hrc.org/Transgender.
The world is not as binary and unchangeable as was once believed. It’s time we listened and supported people who are transgender.
Amanda Jetté Knox
Dec 04, 2018
As I sit down to write this, my 16-year-old daughter is getting ready for school. The ease with which this is happening would leave most to believe this is a typical morning; simple actions repeated over many years.
But this is anything but typical for Alexis, and these actions, while simple, are steeped in courage. What it took to get her here — to leave home each day and enter a school where she feels both safe and welcome — was a years-long endeavour in education and understanding for those around her.
And now, much of that work may be coming undone — putting not only her well-being at risk, but that of thousands of other people across the province of Ontario.
My daughter is transgender. She told us in an email at 11 years old, bringing an end to unanswered questions we had for most of her childhood: Why was our middle kid increasingly anxious and depressed? Why was every day a challenge? Why was there such a reluctance to go to school?
When Alexis lived as a boy in an identity that didn’t fit, with a name and pronouns that felt all wrong, the entirety of her life was a struggle. Now that she trusted us enough to articulate it, we could do something to help. I didn’t know much about transgender issues, but I committed myself to learning. I stumbled over my ignorance and made plenty of mistakes, but I eventually grew into someone she considers one of her strongest allies.
That’s how it should be. That’s my job.
Having a transgender child gave me the opportunity to broaden my compassion and understanding well beyond my own personal experiences. Which helped when, just over a year later, the person I knew as my husband of 18 years told me she was also a woman. From my uncommon vantage point, I see the difference between the freedom a trans person can experience when they’re able to come out and find support at a young age, versus having to hide that truth well into adulthood. If a young trans person can be affirmed by their family and society at large, the outcomes are largely positive. Acceptance allows them to avoid much of the pain and struggle people transitioning later can face.
The progress made over decades by trans activists allowed for this societal shift to happen, we can now make space for young people to tell us who they are and subsequently affirm them.
But that’s what makes recent events so frightening. On November 17, 2018, the Ontario PC Party passed a resolution at their convention to open up the debate on gender identity. The resolution paints gender identity as a “highly controversial, unscientific ‘liberal ideology.’” If passed at next year’s convention, the resolution would enforce the removal of all “teaching and promotion of identity theory” from the Ontario curriculum and schools.
Continue reading at: https://www.chatelaine.com/opinion/my-trans-daughter-is-not-a-liberal-ideology/amp/
By Tara Law
December 9, 2018
The first professional transgender male boxer in U.S. history made his pro debut on Saturday— with a decisive win.
Patricio Manuel, 33, defeated Mexican super-featherweight Hugo Aguilar in a bout at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, Calif., the Los Angeles Times reported. The judges unanimously ruled Manuel the victor.
Although the bout only lasted for 12 minutes, Manuel’s journey to the fight began years ago, the Times reported.
Manuel decided to transition to become a man a few months after he fought in the 2012 Olympic trials as a woman.
In addition to complex medical treatments, including surgery and hormone therapy, Manuel faced added challenges to preserve his boxing career. Besides working to get a new license, Manuel also lost his coach and his training facility, which were unwilling to work with him after his transition, the Times said.
Manuel told the Times that he was excited to be in the ring.
“I wouldn’t trade any of it. It was worth everything I went through to get to this point,” he said. “I’m a professional boxer now.”
Manuel told an interviewer after the bout that he is determined to keep moving forward.
“I’ve got some naysayers out there— I need to prove that I deserve to be in there as well. I’m not in here for one show, one fight— this is something I love. I’m not done with this sport and I’ll be back,” Manuel said.
Aguilar, who had learned that his opponent was transgender two days before the fight, reportedly handled his defeat with grace.
“For me it’s very respectable,” he told the Times in Spanish. “It doesn’t change anything for me. In the ring, he wants to win and I want to win too.”
05 Dec 2018
A controversial TV commercial this fall featured a teenage girl, undressing in a ladies locker room, while a hooded cisgender man leers at her from within a stall. As she unbuttons her top, the creepy guy reveals himself, and the message of this horrifying ad becomes clear: allowing trans people to use bathrooms matching their gender identity gives male sexual predators permission to prey upon women and children.
As it turns out, transphobic messaging like this — which links access to public bathrooms and locker rooms to the threat posed by sexual offenders — was “concocted,” according to a Massachusetts-based “pro-family activism” organization Mass Resistance. Its president, Brian Camenker, is believed to be the author of the group’s November 9th “Election Analysis” post, in which the organization (which is designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center) admitted its scary campaign to repeal a statewide Massachusetts nondiscrimination law was a lie.
“Our side concocted the ‘bathroom safety’ male predator argument as a way to avoid an uncomfortable battle over LGBT ideology, and still fire up people’s emotions. It worked in Houston a few years ago,” reads the post.
“But the LGBT lobby has now figured out how to beat it,” the Mass Resistance post continues. “Their lopsided victory in Massachusetts will likely be repeated everywhere else unless the establishment pro-family groups (and their wealthy donors) are willing to change their tactics.”
The blatant confession was also published on the conservative and anti-LGBTQ platform LifeSite on November 20th.
The post summed up conservatives’ sour feelings after November’s bitterly fought campaign to maintain non-discrimination protections for transgender people in Massachusetts resulted in a landslide victory for the trans community. But it also made it clear that the anti-trans ‘bathroom predator’ myth was created because conservatives knew that simply being discriminatory wouldn’t fly.
Lawn signs are now available!
— Vote NO on 3 (@keepMAsafe) October 10, 2018
The post also links the current anti-trans movement to earlier fights against same-sex marriage.
From The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/06/opinion/trans-gender-dysphoria-mental-disorder.html
Roy Richard Grinker
Dec. 6, 2018
Forty-five years ago, members of the American Psychiatric Association decided, by a slim 58 percent majority, to remove “homosexuality” from the list of mental disorders in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. In his old age, the great gay rights activist Frank Kameny recalled Dec. 15, 1973, as the day “when we were cured en masse by the psychiatrists.”
In a single stroke, the A.P.A. helped transform homosexuality from a medical condition to a social identity. It would take another 27 years for the World Health Organization to eliminate homosexuality from its own classification of mental disorders in the International Classification of Diseases, the comprehensive manual of some 55,000 diagnostic codes that doctors everywhere use for diagnosis and insurance reimbursement. But this summer, the W.H.O. beat the A.P.A. to the punch on another issue — transgender rights — by moving “gender incongruence” from its chapter on mental health to its chapter on sexual health. On its website, under the heading “Small Code, Big Impact,” the W.H.O. says that gender incongruence is a sexual health condition for which people may seek medical services, but that “the evidence is now clear that it is not a mental disorder.”
The A.P.A. should now do the same by eliminating its category of gender dysphoria, a technical term for people unhappy because of their gender incongruence. It would be an important step in advancing transgender rights and reducing the stigma and prejudice that people experience when, because of nothing they or anyone else did wrong, they cannot abide the sex they were assigned at birth.
The 1973 decision on homosexuality taught us that we shouldn’t expect too much too quickly. Indeed, Frank Kameny overstated the A.P.A.’s power for sarcastic effect. Most of the 42 percent who objected clung to the psychoanalytic view articulated by Sigmund Freud in 1914 that homosexuality was a developmental problem. Nor did the A.P.A. immediately excise homosexuality from the D.S.M. As a compromise, the organization retained diagnoses in subsequent editions to denote people unhappy about being homosexual — ego dystonic homosexuality, for example — and eliminated homosexuality completely only in the 1987 revision.
History is now repeating itself. Echoing the compromise on homosexuality, the A.P.A. decided in 2013 not to remove gender incongruence entirely from the D.S.M. but to change “gender identity disorder” to “gender dysphoria,” just a slight tweak of the equivalent word “ego-dystonic” that had been paired with homosexuality in the 1980s. The worthy aim of coining this new diagnosis was to lessen the stigma of gender incongruence. But as was the case with the short-lived “ego-dystonic homosexuality,” the A.P.A. is just delaying the inevitable.
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.