Threats Against LGBT People Persist in Rural America... [and everywhere else]

One of the most moving moments in Out in the Silence occurs when C.J., the gay teen who has been tormented for over a year at his small town high school, says: "This place isn't like New York or DC where everybody's liberal. I get threats to be killed."

In August, the OITS Campaign was starkly reminded of just how real the threat of anti-LGBT violence is, especially in small towns and rural communities where even a small minority of intolerant individuals can poison the atmosphere of the entire community.

The ugliness took place in Coudersport, a small town nestled in the ruggedly-beautiful hills of north central Pennsylvania. Despite a series of harmonious and successful events in neighboring towns, the OITS Campaign was met in Coudersport by a barrage of Tea Party and fundamentalist activists who tried to shut the screening down and called for defunding the public library simply for being the site of an openly-LGBT event.

Fortunately, the library board was not to be intimidated, and the resulting publicity helped to create an extraordinarily well-attended, diverse and productive town-hall event that received national media attention: Potter County Library Faced Protests Over Gay Documentary (Harrisburg Patriot-News)

Read more... POTENTIAL TRIGGERS: transphobia and threats of violence to trans women )
Passing is perhaps the central component through whether trans lives are considered ‘successful’ or not, and as such it is the central component of trans oppression. It is the part of our lives always up for debate in public, and by which cis people mark trans individuals as ‘other.’ I’ve written about this before, as a response to the cis belief that places self-erasure as trans people’s greatest fantasy, and my attitudes about passing remain the same: Passing is a system used by cissexist cultures to control trans people, to ostracize, and to justify violence perpetrated against them. Although passing is presented as a trans endeavor or desire, the truth is it is a system for cis people to identify trans people and to alert other cis people to their presence.

Just trying to work my brain around the concepts in this blog is showing me how much internalized transphobia I have. Part of that is that this culture is totally cissexist and we all get a great, heaping dose of it. And it is also that I grew up trans(sexual) in an earlier era -- the late '90s was when I was really involved, when I was on the mailing lists, when I was figuring myself out. I read Kate Bornstein (problem #1?) and Leslie Feinberg. We were thinking, synthesizing and growing, but still, passing as primary goal was the centerpiece* of our discussions, our struggles, our advice to each other. Turning that upside-down is really good but... disorienting.**

And I can that see this analysis, this questioning of transphobia, is starting to break down the walls to exactly what we wanted, the utopias we were envisioning but didn't know how to get to.

On a less personal level, it's got really good pointers for cis folks.

* On the trans youth mailing list, at least. Not so much on the Sphere list.
**And it makes me feel old.
kaizoku: (Default)
( Dec. 23rd, 2009 10:56 pm)
I'm not sure I'm quite ready to be a quarter century old, but I am pleased about my continued survival.

Today I finished reading this Trans Jew zine (link death, noes!) that was written ten years ago. Found some strange parallels: Wanting new language. The new language of then is old language now. He was 26, I am 25. Similar thoughts, wishes, wants, but diff identities. Ten years ago I thought of myself as a boy, which maybe is why I don't now (I'm not a boy anymore, even if I'm still trying to grow facial hair.) Emerging from dark years into dark days, a festival of light.

I like the image of sewing on the cover. My fingers hurt. Also, I am tired.
kaizoku: (Default)
( Nov. 22nd, 2009 11:32 am)
Oh Jesus, where does the time go? I meant to post about Transgender Day of Rememberance and about the murder of Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado (he was decapitated, dismembered and burned.)

I also wanted to pass this on:

Sylvia Rivera Law Project opposes the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act

The recent expansion of the federal hates crimes legislation has received extensive praise and celebration by mainstream lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender organizations because it purports to "protect" LGBT people from attacks on the basis of their expressed and/or perceived identities for the first time ever on a federal level. The Sylvia Rivera Law Project does not see this as a victory. As an organization that centers racial and economic justice in our work and that understands mass imprisonment as a primary vector of violence in the lives of our constituents, we believe that hate crimes legislation is a counterproductive response to the violence faced by LGBT people.

I don't support hate crimes legislation, not the way it will be implemented in our current legal system. We need justice. We need to not keep quiet. There are forces and people trying to keep us invisible and keep our deaths invisible - that is one thing that the language of "hate crimes" has helped with; it has put the emphasis on the motivation of the person who committed violence, instead of on the identity or actions of the victim. But it also hides certain things. Lopez Mercado's alleged murderer claims that he acted out of the trauma he endured in prison, which may be another version of the twinkie defense, but it is indicative of the intersectionality of racism, classism, homophobia, transphobia, nationality, etc. There's a Facebook group calling for the murder to be classified as a hate crime, which would ensure that the defendant is jailed for a longer period of time. We need to stop acting like prisons are the answer. They will not make us safe.
kaizoku: (Default)
( Jun. 9th, 2009 04:25 pm)
As I'm sure you all know Internation Day of Femslash is July 18. But did you know that July 25th is International Day of Femslash FEEDBACK? Hell yes. You can sign up here.

Also the first annual transficathon - sign-ups start July 3. The focus is on fanfic about transgender and intersex characters (which doesn't show its ass.) Compilation of suggested fandoms/people is starting.

OMG, there is so little book fiction with transgender characters out there. SO LITTLE. :-(

A PLEA: So I was totally going to try to figure this out on my own but well... that kinda failed. So! Can anyone tell me how to make my dreamwidth entries be in a "plain" style similar to how my entries look on livejournal (example.) I'm not talking about the journal itself but when you go to an individual entry.

THAT is how you do it! (source: Coachella account by Amanda Palmer.) Also, eee parasols!

This is a must-see. It's an Argentinean commercial which includes a transgender woman and a message of tolerance. I literally cannot imagine seeing this on TV in my country. The end - "you have a life, you have a bank"* - made me tear up. (Kinda discriminates against the undead though, doesn't it?) ETA: I forgot to say, my favorite part is the guy's wife waving from the car. She's so cute!
*Though I realize now that's just their slogan! Oh god, I'm so pathetic.
Ah guys I just started reading [ profile] adellyna's new Patrick/Nick Scimeca fic and decided I needed visuals of Nick Scimeca (all these associated people, they confuse me.) Anwyay, on his blog (which has a pic of him, yay) he has a post about how he April Fooled Travis. He IMed me all sad and mad and that I was serious about kicking him out of the band and I was like ”dude…April Fools” Haha. Poor Travis.

News: Pregnant Man on Oprah. Yes, he is trans. Easy on the eyes too. The coverage is not too bad but wow, this could get big. I mean, this could draw a lot of attention to FTMs that we don't usually get. Whee.

Their doctor: "Thomas has been off testosterone for two years before even trying to conceive. His testosterone levels are normal. Some physical changes are permanent, but his hormone levels are normal. People ask 'is the baby going to be normal?' The baby is totally healthy."

OMG, I love the neighbor: "I was under the impression that Nancy was pregnant. I often see Thomas out and about cutting grass. Thomas told us it was he that was pregnant. I was surprised. It's not Nancy? It's Thomas. I have to get my head around this."

Dude, the kid is going to be fine. She'll have a mom and a dad* and people will assume that the mother gave birth to her, it's a total non-issue as far as I can see. *Not that having two moms or two dads is bad, obviously.

Edit: Thomas Beatie's story in The Advocate
"This is NOT a way of saying that practitioners of S&M are more likely to be abusers. HOWEVER, there is a dark(er?) side to this lifestyle, and it can't be wished away by lumping it in with transvestitism and homosexuality."
- Comment on this article about Rolling Stone's slandering of the transgender and S&M communities. I just find it hilarious that this person would think that SMers would get more respect by being grouped with us "transvestites." Riiight...
The article's pretty interesting actually. I'd heard that one of the Wachowski brothers (makers of the Matrix movies) had transitioned m-to-f, but I didn't know any of the specifics before reading it. I guess that explains somewhat why they decided to make "Bound" (aka the really hot lesbian bondage movie, which they supposedly made first to finance making The Matrix.)

Anyway, I found this because in the process of tagging my social bookmarks I started wondering, why Bondage&Discipline? Domination/submission and Sadism/Masochism make sense as pairs, but why pair up bondage (restraining someone) and discipline (punishing someone)? They can go together, of course, but seem just as likely not to (in my admittedly limited experience.) I've even talked to people who are into bondage, but not into discipline. In fact they both seem like more subset of the other two pairs - though I'm sure someone could like disciplining or being disciplined, or tying up/being tied up without necessarily being into the pain or power aspects (e.g. domestic discipline, maybe?) I don't know, just something I was thinking about. If I find anything out about the terminology or history of it, I'll let y'all know.


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