Feb. 24th, 2012

  • 11:54 PM
la_vie_noire: (Stop with the idiocy)
Willow is always amazing and you have to read it because I cannot quote it all: Transethnicity Claims, Piracy, Faeries & Appropriation.

The 1st thing to hit me, is how mocking this is to transgendered individuals, that their situation is seen as so damn 'science fiction', somehow, that something as mocking as 'Trans Ethnic' can be set up as part of any kind of conversation. 'So, you think you're not the gender you physically appear to be / were assigned at birth? Ha! I top you. I don't think I'm the ethnicity 'assigned' to me at birth/ that I appear as. And none of this having a damn thing to do with the modification of birth certificates so that NDN people could pass as non-native for a chance at a better life. None of this gets into black who passed as white, to try and life a better, safer life within a white supremacist state. None of this gets into trans racial adoptees and their personal conflicts of identity and how they feel vs how they're treated.


Cultural appropriation seems to exist, because in order to be white and in order to be USian, various peoples several decades ago decided to put aside their cultural and ethnic heritage in order to fit in. The less you showed some distinct aspect of your identity the more it supposedly meant you were leaving it behind to embrace your new Usian life.

So goodbye, traditions, language, clothing, manners, foods, songs and stories. And now here we are, a couple generations later, with a set of people who want something to belong to, but even in this day and age of Ancestry.com (for white folk) they're not going back to research what they gave up. And I don't know if it's because the attitudes to give it up and leave it behind are still strong, if sub and unconscious. They're instead reaching towards those peoples who've fought and struggled and suffered to hold on to anything at all. And reaching towards peoples whose suffering and oppression has formed a new culture and new identity within this 'new land'. So I suppose it's not surprising so many people want to be Native American - because how much more 'belonging' to this new land could one be? Or that they want to be 'Black' which is an identity that was created on these shores (well these and other places of colonialist import of slaves).

But history and struggle, accomplishment and identity, folklore, stories and song, foods, clothing and culture are not something you can buy in a store.

[...] But whoa. Looking at the terms 'Trans Ethnic', however, makes me feel as if minority/non dominant/colonized culture and societies are somehow as mythical and unreal as fairies, dragons, and spiritual wolves and bears - because ANYONE can decide that's who and what they are and decide to pick it up and somehow 'live by it'. And while you cannot disrespect fairies and dragons, and disrespecting wolves or bears gets you murdered and dead - disrespecting non dominant ethnicities happens, is real, is hurtful and painful and dehumanizing and devaluing.

If your inner self is a water dragon, well, whatever. That's your thing. If your inner self is black? Fuck you. There have always been assholes (particularly teenagers), dressing in certain clothes, copying certain slang, listening to certain music and claiming they were down with __insert ethnic minority here__. New age dressing it up as 'Trans Ethnicism' doesn't change the asshole badge.


I said I'd talk about Trans Ablism / Trans Disablism, and I will. Disability has a culture, it has many in fact. Deaf culture, isn't blind culture, isn't the myriad wheelchair cultures, isn't invisible disability culture, isn't chronic illness culture, isn't ... the list goes on. Those cultures too? Came out of struggle and strife, dedication, hard work and more. They were created to sustain the myriad peoples who're involved in them. They have their dark ass times, their deprivations and horrors, their triumphs, their moments of weeping for joy and of pain. There are institutions, schools, lock aways, slurs, words, language, music, dance, art, etc, and yes they were all created - some of them only a couple hundred years old. But they? Are REAL. You don't get to go shopping for them either.

Cause this shopping people are doing, has nothing to do with learning the history of anything, it's just another type of entitlement. It's grubby grabby hands. It's trying to fill some lack and hole with someone else's inheritance. It's grabbing someone else's sandwich cause they dealt with the jeers and kept their food, and you threw yours aside.
la_vie_noire: (Default)
Is his article. I'm not even going to copy all of that shit here.

WARNING for transmisoginy, transphobia, cissexism, and slurs against trans women )

I kid you not. "PERHAPS" he is. Seriously. "PERHAPS."

Stupid, selfish asshole. Seriously. Stupid, selfish, and stupid asshole who has is extremely stupid. That's all I can say about this horrible person.

ETA: This article is from 2003, and I know it. And Dan Savage never apologized or acknowledged what he said. On the contrary, he defended his transphobic views and his use of transphobic slurs. You can google "Dan Savege" and "transphobia" and you will see the many instances were he does it recently.

Feb. 6th, 2012

  • 2:52 AM
la_vie_noire: (Default)
Via [personal profile] delux_vivens. Listening to African Queers.

A few weeks ago, I broke a longstanding personal rule and left a comment on a mainstream, very popular, award-winning U.S. gay blog. A long string of comments by mostly gay men (if web identities count for anything) supported the U.K.’s decision to consider sexual rights in granting aid. Many of the commentators condemned not simply homophobia and transphobia in Africa, but African governments and African citizens, the former explicitly the latter implicitly. “My tax dollars should not fund homophobia,” was a typical comment.


More to the point, and to repeat something I’ve written before: positioning African queers as economic threats or as economic competition to other local, regional, and national projects renders us more vulnerable. In a country like Kenya where money is King, telling government agencies that money will not show up for a government project because queers are not treated well will most probably not result in better legislation or, more practically, better living conditions for queers. (Given Kenya’s strategic importance in the region and that we are happily killing Somalis for the Americans, I think our aid is safe.)

I realize that aid conditionality often has nothing to do with those populations deemed to be at risk. Or, rather, is based on information provided by “experts” who have “conducted studies” to “determine what is needed” and rarely, if ever, takes into consideration local needs and local situations, except as these are filtered through really fucked up lenses. I have sat through multiple presentations where so-called “experts” diagnosed Africans—yes, such collective terms are used too often—and heard myself described in ways I found utterly bewildering, reduced to a helpless, clueless child. When one speaks up at such meetings, one is told that one is an exception; no doubt, my U.S. education helped me grow toward civilization.

Please. This is basic knowledge, and I think I also have said a hundred of times. It doesn't even has to do with culture. "Sanctions" will only increase the crisis in countries already in crisis. Burst your privilege bubble. You will be just hurting the most vulnerable people in the nation.

Jan. 31st, 2012

  • 1:20 AM
la_vie_noire: (Clare-killing)
Transgender People are Completely Banned From Boarding Airplanes in Canada.

The shit hit the fan in the trans blogosphere last night, when it came to light that there is a disturbing new section in the Identity Screening Regulations used in airports throughout Canada. Simply put, Transgender People are Completely Banned From Boarding Airplanes in Canada.

The offending section of the regulations reads:

5.2 (1) An air carrier shall not transport a passenger if …
(c) the passenger does not appear to be of the gender indicated on the identification he or she presents;

Although this obviously discriminatory smear of regulation did not come to significant public attention until very recently, it apparently came into effect on July 27th, 2011.

It is important to note that these regulations are not actually a piece of legislation, which would have had to pass through readings and votes in the House and Senate (which is probably why it went unnoticed until now). Rather, the Identity Screening Regulations are a set of rules implemented unilaterally by the Ministry of Transportation, as part of Canada’s so-called Passenger Protect, which is essentially the Canadian Federal Government’s equivalent to the U.S.’s “no-fly” list.

ETA: wildgender at twitter puts it correctly:

Also #transgender ppl r not "completely banned" from airplanes in Canada, its the folks who's gender presentation doesn't match their ID.

Good things is the world

  • Jan. 25th, 2012 at 3:58 PM
la_vie_noire: Antoinette Ataro smiling (Antoinette Ataro felicidad)
Bogota appoints first transgender public official.

The department in which she is taking up her position is described as responsible for the development and implementation of social policies which guarantee citizens of Bogota "the ability to exercise their rights, in conditions of equality."


In the interview Piñero -- who has 13 years experience of managing public resources at district and national levels -- also outlined her priorities as newly-appointed director. They include addressing the needs of children and the elderly in the city, and setting up control points within the department to prevent corruption.

Jun. 16th, 2011

  • 4:33 AM
la_vie_noire: (Default)
The Price Of Noncompliance.

Toronto couple Kathy Witterick and David Stocker did the usual thing that any parents do when their new child is born, they sent out an email notice noting their new baby’s vital statistics and eye color. But what they did differently was to leave short, simple statement about their baby, named Storm.

It read:

“We’ve decided not to share Storm’s sex for now — a tribute to freedom and choice in place of limitation, a stand up to what the world could become in Storm’s lifetime (a more progressive place? …”

Essentially what Witterick and Stoker have decided is to not assume that Storm is cisgender and to leave it to Storm to figure out whom zie is for zimself in the spirit of self determination and autonomy, free of coercive gender stereotyping.


2. “This is social experiment with a political agenda.”

Again we see the effects of cis-centric thinking at work here. The truth is that I’m an experiment, you’re an experiment and we’re all experiments of a cis-supremacist and misogynistic society. Saying this ignores that children are influenced by gender stereotypes and depictions of gendered behavior dozens, perhaps hundreds of times a day. People only notice this when someone refuses to conform to these stereotypes or decides not to teach them to their children, as Storm’s parents are doing.

Socialization can come in good and bad forms. For example many kids today are socialized in to racist ideology and behavior. Yet we don’t talk about the evils of that kind of socialization because it would challenge white supremacy prevalent in American society. And in this case, we don’t hear about objections over gender socialization until people are giving their children the free will in a challenge to cis-supremacy.

And our normative gender relations and stereotyping have an enormous political agenda, namely in defending patriarchy, heterosexism and cis-supremacy to the bitter end.

Some important linking

  • Jan. 15th, 2011 at 12:10 AM
la_vie_noire: (Default)
Massive protests in Tunisia have ended in President Ben Ali (in power since 1987) leaving the country. Tunisia: The end of an era.

It all started about a month ago when a public suicide of a frustrated, disillusioned Tunisian grew into widespread anger. Days later the ink-spot has been ever growing in an unprecedented scope and magnitude.

The outcry against unemployment rapidly evolved into a popular movement asking for Ben Ali to leave power, for corruption to be rooted out and for the repressive police apparatus to be held accountable for human rights abuses.

Leslie Feinberg: While a hostile relative re-writes my life: ‘Who is, and is not, my family.’

In autumn 2010, Knopf published a “transgender” themed young adult novel. The author, Catherine Ryan Hyde, is an estranged relative of mine.

The analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of Hyde’s young adult fiction novel will come from those who are living the identities, and oppressions to which she has applied her imagination.

However, as part of the media coverage and publicity tour for the release of the young adult novel, Hyde claims much of her expertise and authority for writing her “transgender”-themed young adult novel as based on my life and identity.

[...] Since I became acutely ill in October 2007, it has been very hard for me to write, or to speak. So it is opportunistic and unconscionable that a hostile relative would take this opportunity to re-tell my life in a way that changes my sex, mis-describes my gender expression, and closets my sexuality. Hyde also attempts to silence me politically as a revolutionary, reasserts the dominant legal control of the biological family, and ignores and disrespects my chosen family.

My verbal and written request for no further contact has been violated by my relatives numerous times over the last forty years. So I do not rely on them to respect my wishes. Instead, I have clarified and strengthened my legal papers, and I am making this statement public: My living biological relatives—Irving David Feinberg, Betty Vance Hyde, and Catherine Ryan Hyde—are not my family. They do not speak for me.

Poet Susana Chavez’s Death Sparks Outrage in Juarez

Chavez is one of over 500 women in Juarez who have been found murdered in the last decade. And her death has caused an uproar because she had been one of few to speak out against the growing femicide, coining the phrase, “Ni una mas,” (“Not one more) and routinely criticizing local authorities for refusing to properly investigate the crimes. Her death has cast new suspicions about local authorities’ ability to handle the cases. That is to say that they’ve largely chosen to ignore them; so far, 92 percent of cases of women who’ve been murdered in the region remain unsolved.

Jan. 5th, 2011

  • 12:18 AM
la_vie_noire: (Anthy flower)
La Justicia falló a favor de la identidad.

El juez porteño Guillermo Scheibler ordenó que una persona reciba un nuevo DNI y una nueva partida de nacimiento con la identidad de género elegida, sin la necesidad de someterse a una operación de reasignación sexual. "La identidad sexual de las personas excede ampliamente lo biológico", aseguró el magistrado e instó a la aprobación de una norma legislativa que facilite el trámite.

Dec. 26th, 2010

  • 11:46 PM

Dec. 25th, 2010

  • 10:16 PM
la_vie_noire: (Claymore4 Rachel and Audrey)
Via [personal profile] torachan, Man Enough.

There's this idea in cissexist society that trans people are naïve about gender. It seems people assume that guys like me "don't know how to be women" and therefore "don't know how to be men" either. Trans people are supposed to be tragically caught in between, too clumsy to conform to either socially sanctioned gender.


I've talked before about this double bind, in which therapists, doctors, families and friends, along with the media and all the rest of cis society, try to impose very rigid gender roles on trans people, making compliance with these roles a condition for access to hormones and surgeries and then turn around and criticize trans people for our supposedly unenlightened approach to gender. I've even heard people suggest that a good women's studies course could "cure" a trans man of the need to transition, by elucidating all the options he could have as a "different kind of woman." (Retch.)

It's like cis people don't think we've thought about our genders. We have, trust me. In fact, if you're cis and you're reading this, there's a good chance that I have thought more about my gender than you ever have about yours. Much more. We're talking countless hours, endless angsty journal entries, manifold anguished conversations. Hell, I even went to therapy, just for my gender. A lot of us did. (Those who didn't aren't missing much: just another opportunity to be pathologized and forced to justify their own existence.)

The fact is, cis people are generally the ones who are naïve about gender. [...]

Nov. 25th, 2010

  • 5:35 PM
la_vie_noire: Antoinette Ataro smiling (Antoinette Ataro felicidad)
gudbuytjane shared this amazing video about this 7 year old girl who speaks amazingly about being trans.


[...] Still, compared to the world in which I was a 7 year old (which was indeed quite brutal), to know I live in a world where this 7 year old can be this in touch with who they are feels like progress, and something to be glad about.

Trans Day of Remembrance

  • Nov. 20th, 2010 at 7:41 PM
la_vie_noire: (Claymore10 about to cut)
It makes sense.

The trans community’s marked by violence – so many of us have experienced it, live with it, and so many of us die from it. When we hear that one of us have died, we remember the violence we faced, the threats, the fear we live with.

And yet, whenever a trans person is murdered, the very first thing we trans people have to do is sort through the layers and layers of transphobic misinformation from police, media and families in order to work out who that person was, how they lived their life, what their appropriate pronouns and identifications were.

Because the words are almost always wrong, and almost always an act of erasure. First they will begin by making a reference to assigned sex, as something this person “is” – most commonly, “a man was found in woman’s clothing.” And it’s like, ok it’s certainly possible for it to have been a male crossdresser. We must be cautious and not jump to conclusions, because that would be an act of erasure. And it is after all being reported as a fact by the media. It “makes sense,” because the “knowledge” of the majority always makes sense.

And then they will use an assigned name, a name given to the person at birth. But then, almost always, it will turn out that wait no it was a trans woman. And then we find out that she’d changed her legal name. And had been on hormones. And she was most certainly not known by the name she was assigned at birth to the people in her life. That yes, she was a woman, that she lived and died as a woman, not a “man in women’s clothing.”

But none of that matters to the institutions that create someone’s public memory. Because another reality has intervened – cissexual reality – and how she lived and who she was has disappeared.

Because in all likelihood maybe her real legal name will be put in quotation marks after the false name she discarded – like she was just living some wacky nickname which everyone indulged – and maybe she will be referred to as “a transsexual,” this mystical beast which is somehow not a woman. But she will rarely if ever be described as a transsexual woman by the media, and certainly never as just a plain woman.

Jul. 24th, 2010

  • 1:50 AM
la_vie_noire: (Default)
Muchísimas gracias a Mako por pasarme estos links:

Entre Argentina y Uruguay hay un proyecto para tener una Ley de Identidad de Género para personas trans.

"Las personas trans sufrimos la discriminación por nuestra identidad de género casi desde que tenemos uso de razón. Muchas de nosotras fuimos echadas de nuestra casa, rechazadas por nuestra propia familia. La mayoría de nosotras no pudo terminar la escuela, no por falta de voluntad, sino porque el sistema educativo nos expulsa por ser diferentes. Incluso quienes la terminamos nos cansamos de buscar y buscar trabajo, de sentir cómo nos cierran la puerta en la cara. La mayoría de nosotras no tenemos ni siquiera un documento que diga nuestro nombre, y tenemos que soportar que algunos medios se refieran a nosotras como 'los' travestis", decía hace unos meses en una declaración pública la Asociación de Travestis, Transexuales y Transgénero Argenitnas (ATTTA), una red nacional con filiales en todo el país que integra la Federación Argentina LGBT.


"No tener un DNI significa para nosotras la negación del derecho básico a la identidad. Además del daño moral que esto ocasiona, nos impide muchas veces acceder al sistema de salud, nos expulsa del sistema educativo, nos impide conseguir trabajo o tener aportes jubilatorios u obra social, firmar contratos... hasta para votar tenemos que hacerlo en la fila de varones. En muchas provincias la policía nos detiene, nos encarcela y nos mata. Para las personas trans, la democracia todavía no llegó. Vivimos como en la dictadura, bajo la sistemática violación de nuestros derechos humanos", sostuvo Marcela Romero, coordinadora nacional de ATTTA y vicepresidenta de la Federación.

Algo que los movimientos LGBTA (que suelen estar liderados por personas cis) olvidan es que el matrimonio para todas las personas es importante, pero no es tan vital como que las personas tenga una calidad de vida digna, y aunque una ley como está no evitará todo el peligro que corren las personas transexuales, puede impedir un importante número de muertes.

Y este video subtitulado al español sobre lo que es género en realidad, muy educativo y útil para explicar a personas ignorantes del tema, que tristemente es la mayoría debido a que nuestra cultura nos sume en un modelo cis-sexista y heterosexista de sociedad:

Gender Identity Project Subtitulado from Sebs Trivino on Vimeo.

Jul. 23rd, 2010

  • 11:31 PM
la_vie_noire: (Default)
Lisa in QT weights in and deconstructs the Nikki Araguz issue.

Disclosure, Trans Panic, and Ciscentric Narratives of Honesty.

But I think this story touches on somewhat larger, more encompassing issues that trans people have to deal with. Thomas’ mother, for example, insists that her son didn’t know that Nikki was trans and separated from her shortly before his death, and that Nikki herself married Thomas for the money – that she’s a gold digger. Nikki, on the other hand, says that Thomas knew all along and was fine with it.

I believe Nikki’s telling the truth. I believe Thomas’ mother, Simona Longoria, is appealing to the narrative that will ultimately purchase cis sympathy for her plight. Simona’s claim makes Nikki out to be an opportunistic predator, a stealthy deceiver, a liar who wormed her way into Thomas’ life in order to not only feast on his assets while alive, but to cackle merrily on the way to the bank after his death. It is dependent upon (in addition to the Littleton precedent), painting Nikki as someone who deceived Thomas in order to not only get into his bed, but also into his life.

This is how many cis people love to paint trans women. This is how Focus On The Family and its affiliated activist groups around the country talk about trans women – they claim we’re pedophiles and rapists just waiting to catch cis women and children alone in a restroom, or that cis men will pose as trans women to do the same. This is how murderers get light sentences after they murder trans women of color – by claiming they found out she was trans and killed her in an uncontrollable rage. Even when she’s been strangled after having slept with him for months, or when she’s been shot in the back. And then they walk free to kill again.

This is how cis columnists talk about how trans people are discreditable and dishonest if we don’t admit up front that we’re trans, or at least say so within the first few dates. This is how cis people describe that having sex with a trans person who doesn’t disclose is akin to rape or exposure to STDs. Cis people, on the contrary, are never expected to disclose their transphobia and unwillingness to date a trans person on any date. Cis people never feel the urge to say, “Oh, by the way? If you’re trans, I will bash your head in with a fire extinguisher.” And yet who takes the blame?

Ah, hating the world.

  • Jul. 23rd, 2010 at 4:22 PM
la_vie_noire: (Clare-killing)
Dead Firefighter’s Family Sues His Widow Because She is Trans.

Warning: quoted text and linked articles contain transphobic language.

This story is enraging and heartbreaking all at once. A woman named Nikki Araguz recently lost her husband Thomas, when he died while working as a firefighter on July 3. Instead of being allowed to mourn this horrific and sudden loss of her life partner, Nikki is instead being sued by her late husband’s family.

The lawsuit attempts to void the two year marriage of Nikki and Thomas, for the purpose of preventing her from having access to his death benefits. The family brutally alleges that the entire marriage was a fraud, revealed personal details about Nikki’s life, and have dragged her into court and before television cameras during this grieving period.

All because Nikki is transgender.

A Wharton county judge is expected to hear evidence on Friday in the first step toward sorting out the estate of a firefighter killed in the line of duty, in dispute because of a lawsuit between his parents and his widow who was born a male.

Nikki Araguz on Thursday decried allegations lodged in the lawsuit by her late husband’s family that she is a fraud because she was born male.

“I’m absolutely devastated about the loss of my husband, a fallen firefighter named Thomas Araguz III, and horrified at the horrendous allegations accusing me of fraud because they are absolutely not true,” Araguz said at a Thursday press conference. “And that is all I have to say.”

She spoke briefly at the law office of Phyllis Frye, a transgender attorney, who said her six-lawyer firm is poised to fight the family’s lawsuit. Moments after her statement, Araguz stood up in tears and walked out of the press conference.

“She cries,” Frye said after the abrupt departure. “It’s been 18 days since her husband died.”

The Associated Press outlines:

In a lawsuit filed July 12 in Wharton County, his mother, Simona Longoria, asked to be appointed administrator of her son’s estate and that her son’s marriage to Nikki Araguz be voided because the couple were members of the same sex.

Voiding the marriage would prevent Araguz from receiving any insurance or death benefits or property the couple had, with these things only going to her husband’s heirs, said Chad Ellis, Longoria’s attorney.

A Friday court hearing is planned to determine whether to extend a temporary restraining order granted Longoria that prevents Araguz from receiving insurance or death benefits or having access to bank accounts or property the couple had.

Ellis said his client’s efforts to void the marriage are supported by Texas law, specifically a 1999 appeals court ruling that stated chromosomes, not genitals, determine gender.

The ruling upheld a lower court’s decision that threw out a wrongful death lawsuit filed by a San Antonio woman, Christie Lee Cavazos Littleton, after her husband’s death. The court said that although Littleton had undergone a sex-change operation, she was actually a man, based on her original birth certificate, and therefore her marriage, as well as her wrongful death claim, was invalid.

“The law is clear, you are what you are born as,” Ellis said.

It's everything what is wrong with law.

No one should be living what this woman is living right now. Reality is that most trans women do.

News! Cis people being privileged assholes!

  • Jul. 12th, 2010 at 4:31 AM
la_vie_noire: (Default)
New York Times Says Trans People are Ethically Required to Out Themselves on Dates.

Randy Cohen, the ethicist, has declared that trans people are ethically required to disclose to their dates. He says:

Getting to know someone is a gradual process. I might panic if on a first date someone began talking about what to name the nine kids she’s eager for us to raise in our new home under the sea. Premature disclosure can be as unnerving as protracted concealment. But as partners cultivate romance, and particularly as they move toward erotic involvement, there are things each should reveal, things they would not mention to a casual acquaintance — any history of S.T.D.’s, for example, or the existence of any current spouse. Even before a first kiss, this person should have told you those things that you would regard as germane to this phase of your evolving relationship, including his being transgendered. Clearly he thought you’d find it pertinent; that’s why he discreditably withheld it, lest you reject him.

So he actually does use the word “panic” in that paragraph, which is kind of ominous. He also compares disclosing that you’re trans to disclosing STDs or whether you’re currently married to someone else.

As usually happens when it comes to trans people and dating, confidentiality and privacy are thrown out the window as soon as cis people insert themselves into the situation. Cohen (who is, by the way, a humorist and not an ethicist, who has written for the historically transphobic David Letterman show) says that it is fine for the cis woman who asked this question to out the trans man she dated to her friends, that her right to process something that doesn’t actually have a serious impact on her supercedes his right to privacy or any consideration for confidentiality.

He tries to soften it by saying “No handbills, and don’t ask him to announce it from the pulpit,” but as many of us have experienced, once someone outs you, the word can spread like wildfire. Cis people seem to think that learning that someone is trans is a particularly salacious and juicy rumor, one that will get passed around from person to person. It just takes hitting one cis person who doesn’t care more about your safety than about hir ability to get a cheap thrill exposing your secrets, and in my experience the majority of cis people are like this. Cohen even describes the trans man in question as discreditable, because he withheld this information until he was ready to divulge it. This is a pretty explicit acknowledgement of how many cis people view trans people: Our transness makes us discreditable. It doesn’t matter when we’re outed (by ourselves or others), once we are, we’re discreditable. Everything we say is doubted – about our competence, about our honesty, about our gender. Everything about us is false except what cis people allow us to have by inscribing upon us, usually against our will.

Oh, the fuck.

Sadly, very much needed to be said

  • Jun. 29th, 2010 at 10:37 PM
la_vie_noire: (Default)
Queen Emily writes: You don’t get to out me.

You can expose trans people to violence. You could get them fired. You could make it impossible for them to find work–word of mouth travels quickly in small towns or closeknit industries. They could be harassed so much they need to quit their job, or to need to move, or all kinds of things. You don’t know, because you’ve never had to live with the consequences. Just because you know and trust someone, doesn’t mean that I can. It doesn’t mean that they won’t be hateful to me, and it certainly doesn’t mean that they will be respectful of my confidentiality.

For most people, “trans” erases the bit that comes after. This is why you never ever see a headline that says “transsexual woman” [blah blah blah]. No, it just says “transsexual” and is used as a noun rather than the adjective it is. It conjures the ever present “really a man” transphobic trope (quick mental test: see if you can describe a trans person without using it). For women like me, living our lives as a woman is constituted as untruthful. When most cis people become aware that I’m trans, they start treating me different. I can see the change immediately – when pronoun “slips” start “accidentally” happening, when I stop being counted with the right group. Because it’s ingrained, isn’t it? In a cissexist culture, only cissexuality (or a trans person’s ability to appear cissexual) is truly real, and any hint of anything else invalidates the whole.

One time, I inadvertently outed myself to a group of students. I’d been teaching a tremendously interesting media studies class to first years; that is, mostly 17 and 18 year olds. The first three weeks went pretty well. We talked video games and violence, Hollywood, what they actually did with media. The discussions were engaged, it was all going fine. Then, a month in, I came down with a cold. My voice suddenly dropped an octave, because I couldn’t vocalise at my usual pitch. And like that, you could see the lights go on in their eyes. They’d realised I was trans.

Now, as these things go, it wasn’t truly awful (how low my expectations have become on that score). The next week, we did adbuster style cut-ups to jam dominant media messages and several groups turned in transphobic assignments, giggling their arses off. They were laughing at me. Another student spent the lesson interrupting me, telling the class how everything I was saying was stupid. And of course, a number of students stopped attending my classes altogether, trying to get into classes in the same unit run by other teachers. I was losing control of my classes.. and I was still bloody sick.

The point is, the mere fact of their knowing that I am trans meant that they, 17 and 18 year olds with scant knowledge of the subject they were taking, suddenly felt entitled to talk over me, to mock me openly when previously they had been respectful. Of itself, being subjected to ungendering takes its toll, especially if it’s something you experience frequently.


An also... uhm, yeah. You are going to do some groundbreaking work. I know it's SO the first time I heard that one.


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