Archive for October, 2008

Doctor storms out of GMC hearing

October 31, 2008

Further to my post of Tuesday, about the doctor suspended for alleged hate speech (link here), here’s an update from The Press Association.

It seems that the charming Dr Siddiq has rather thrown his toys out of his pram, claiming:

[…] he could not receive a fair trial and stormed out of the General Medical Council hearing.

Dr Muhammad Siddiq, head of the Islamic Medical Association, dismissed his barrister and left after he was denied an adjournment in which to find a new lawyer.

[…]

The hearing continued in his absence and heard Dr Siddiq told a Pulse journalist he thought gay people were preying on society and that 99% of Muslim GPs shared his views.

All of which is pretty grim, especially when you consider that you might be unfortunate enough to have someone like this as your GP. What chance a referral to the gender identity clinic when the man with the power to enable that is on record as saying he thought “sex-change operations were a waste of NHS money”.

It hardly bears thinking about. And cis people wonder why trans people have such antipathy to an NHS which seems to condone the apparently bigoted and phobic ravings of this gatekeeper par excellence?

They must love him at CXH.

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ETA: Via Pink News, this additional quote:

The letter went on to call a depressed transsexual awaiting gender reassignment “twisted.”

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Beyond

October 31, 2008

Beyond cute
Beyond sucky
Beyond sense, beyond reason, beyond fair.

Grrrrr…

…and another thing…

October 31, 2008

It’s when I read stuff like this (and see also this) that – apart from raised blood pressure and shouting at the monitor – I begin to think that when my special radfem friends accuse me of being a ‘US-style radical trans activist’ (or whatever the fuck) – well, you know, I start to think that I’ll take that as a compliment, thanks.

Because as long as there are clueless jackass apologists like Althea Garrison around, then the trans community needs as many damn activists as it can get. Even rubbish ones like me. Because, frankly, the way I see it, people like her are a far bigger menace than some uppity Brit trans woman.

Grrrrr…

/rant mode off
/end message

Wear It Pink

October 31, 2008

Today (31 October) is Wear It Pink Day, a major fund raising day for Breast Cancer Campaign held during October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Breast Cancer Campaign’s mission is to beat breast cancer by funding innovative world-class research to understand how breast cancer develops, leading to improved diagnosis, treatment, prevention and cure.

Supporters are asked to wear any item of pink and donate £2 to the charity. This can be anything from pink socks to dying your hair pink. So far the charity has raised £3.1 million for breast cancer research from Wear It Pink Day in 2007.

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Question(s) for Wear It Pink day: In the official poster (see below), is the image sexist? And why? Feel free to answer in the comments, if you please…

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ETA, November 3: I emailed Breast Cancer Campaign about the image, to say I thought it was sexist; to ask how it was selected and to say that I thought an image which sexualises women in this way (it’s hard not to spot echoes of the Playboy bunny in that picture too) wasn’t really suitable.

So this is the reply I got:

Thank you for your email and feedback regarding the wear it pink poster.

Throughout our design process for this years event, we have at all times taken into consideration people who have been affected by breast cancer and have therefore engaged various stakeholders throughout the process of the design. The design is in no way meant to be sexist or demeaning, so we apologise that this has offended you. We have in fact designed a variety of posters this year so that people can choose the level of ‘daring’ that they wish. Please do take a look at our generic poster, which I’m sure you’ll find suitable.

[Direct link to PDF file of generic poster]

Please don’t hesitate to contact me should you wish and we will certainly take your comments into consideration in the future. I do hope you enjoyed this years wear it pink and I am sorry if it caused you offence.

In case the link should stop working, here’s a smaller version of that ‘generic poster’:

Okay, well first of all, I’m not a big fan of conditional apologies (“sorry if…”)

And I can’t help but feel that the fact that they can so quickly come up with the generic alternative rather suggests they might have been expecting complaints – in which case, why not just make a non-sexist poster in the first place?

The worst thing, I think, is the fact that it’s put back on to me to decide, when really, there shouldn’t even be a choice, especially when those are the only options. It’s not about “choosing a level of ‘daring'” – it’s about not perpetuating sexist stereotypes and demeaning women generally, especially when they are likely to be a large part of your target demographic.

So, Wear It Pink next year? Hmm, probably not. Not now – not again.

There are, after all, many other good causes in need of donations.

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Related links:

Six Random Things About Me meme

October 29, 2008

So, Debs tagged me to do this ‘Six Random Things About Me’ meme. It’s quite exciting – I’ve not been meme-tagged before – but even so, it’s still taken me nearly a week to do because, well, see my Random Thing #6!

Six Random Things About Me:

  1. In case there was any doubt ;) I’m trans. I have to start with this, have to. Being a woman who was born male-bodied is a pretty random thing anyway – and as for everything that follows from that, all the changes, well – just how much random does a girl need in one life, exactly?
  2. I have two guitars within easy reach but haven’t played for over ten years now – since my muse abandoned me somewhere between London and Manchester.

    “Manchester, so much to answer for”

  3. I have more friends online than I do in real life.
    Geek girl is well geeky.
  4. I get stressed out too easily, too much and too often. I think it’s because I take life far too seriously and don’t know how to relax/lighten up/chill/etc.
  5. I have an inappropriate – and alarmingly big – bloggy crush on… someone… ;)
  6. I’m an expert procrastinator. Frinstance, this has taken me so long to do simply because I’ve been busy mooning over Random Thing #5. That was after I got distracted watching vids
    It’s not that I don’t want to do these things – quite the opposite – but…
    Anyone want a coffee?
  7. Free bonus random: I got some pink highlights put in when I got my hair extensions topped up last week.
    Verrrry random!

Okay. I haven’t got the faintest idea who to tag, though… Let me think about that a minute and get back to you. Meanwhile, here are the rules while you’re waiting…

  1. Link to the person who tagged you.
  2. Post the rules on your blog.
  3. Write six random things about yourself.
  4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
  5. Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
  6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Hmm… Still don’t know who to tag. Any volunteers? – Let me know in the comments.

Meanwhile, here’s some music – loosely inspired by Random Thing #2…

The Smiths – Ask

Shyness is nice and
Shyness can stop you
From doing all the things in life
You’d like to

Shyness is nice and
Shyness can stop you
From doing all the things in life
You’d like to

So, if there’s something you’d like to try
If there’s something you’d like to try
Ask me, I won’t say no, how could I?

Coyness is nice, and
Coyness can stop you
From saying all the things in
Life you’d like to

So, if there’s something you’d like to try
If there’s something you’d like to try
Ask me, I won’t say no, how could I?

Spending warm summer days indoors
Writing frightening verse
To a bucktoothed girl in Luxembourg

Ask me, ask me, ask me
Ask me, ask me, ask me

Because if it’s not love
Then it’s the bomb, the bomb, the bomb,
The bomb, the bomb, the bomb, the bomb
That will bring us together

Nature is a language – can’t you read ?
Nature is a language – can’t you read ?

So, ask me, ask me, ask me,
Ask me, ask me, ask me

Because if it’s not love
Then it’s the bomb, the bomb, the bomb,
The bomb, the bomb, the bomb, the bomb
That will bring us together

If it’s not love
Then it’s the bomb
Then it’s the bomb
That will bring us together

So, ask me, ask me, ask me,
Ask me, ask me, ask me
Oh, la la la…

(YouTube link)

Angie Zapata murder trial update

October 29, 2008

From The Greeley Tribune:

Man charged in beating death of transgender woman involved in a prison riot

Three men accused in death-related crimes were involved in a jail riot last month that prompted a lockdown and the use of pepper spray.

According to a Weld District Court affidavit, Allen Andrade, 31, who is charged with murder in the death of transgender woman Angie Zapata this summer, got into a fight with Adrian Gomez, 26, who is charged with the January shooting death of Luis Rocha. John Hernandez, 31, who is charged in the death of his infant daughter last December, also was involved in the fight that involved 11 inmates in all, said Weld County sheriff’s spokeswoman Margie Martinez.

According to the report, on Sept. 25, Andrade began punching an inmate who had been thrown to the floor. Another inmate joined the fight 30 seconds after it started, at which point an officer called for assistance and ordered a lockdown, according to the affidavit.

According to the report, the fight posed a “grave danger” to people in the pod. After six additional officers arrived, and lockdown was ordered four more times, the fight was subdued with the use of pepper spray.

[…]

Martinez said she had no information as to the reason for the fight. She was able to confirm that Gomez and Hernandez started a fistfight.

In Andrade’s preliminary hearing a week before the riot incident, jail phone call logs detailed Andrade saying he had previously come close to fighting other inmates. Andrade stated in the calls that people in jail were afraid of him because of his reputation for wielding a fire extinguisher, which is the suspected murder weapon. Andrade also stated in the phone calls that what he had done was public knowledge and that he had some “pretty dark days” in jail.

[…]

What’s next?

  • Allen Andrade, charged with first-degree murder and bias-motivated crime, is scheduled to appear in Weld District Court at 8:30 a.m. Monday to face the riot charges.

And his trial for the first-degree murder after deliberation, bias-motivated crime, felony motor vehicle theft and felony identity theft in the death of Angie Zapata resumes on 16 November.

I can’t even begin to fathom what Mr Andrade is thinking of – but I have a hunch it’s probably not the Latina trans woman he bludgeoned with a fire extinguisher and left for dead on the floor of her own apartment.

“Gay things need to die”, Mr Andrade? Especially if they dare to smile at you, right? Smiles are especially dangerous, aren’t they?

You’re beneath contempt.

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ETA, 30 October: 7 News/Denver Channel

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Click here for previous posts on this blog which reference Angie Zapata.

Curtsey to Lisa for the Greeley Tribune link.

Trans people are a bit like spiders

October 28, 2008

Courtesy of Student Direct, here’s an update to my previous post, “Toilet signs ‘too PC'”:

toilets with urinalsFlushing Transphobia Away

Toilets were back on the agenda for Manchester students last Monday with the University of Manchester Students’ Union playing host to a debate on its new non-gender facilities.

Approximately 40 students turned up to ‘The Big Debate: Toilets and the Union’, which also gave students a chance to voice their opinions, although none of the panel speakers argued against the new toilets.

A media furor has surrounded the toilets since it surfaced in the national press that one set of toilets in the basement of the Steve Biko building had been de-gendered and traditional ‘male’ and ‘female’ symbols replaced with temporary signs reading ‘toilets’ and ‘toilets with urinals’.

Dissenting voices amongst the student body have criticized the fact that students had not been consulted on the decision. Women’s Officer Jennie Killip spoke with dismay that objections to the toilets have manifested themselves in destructive ways, saying that, “signs have been ripped off these safe places.”

So reassuring, isn’t it, to see that transphobia is alive and well amongst the student population. Really bodes well for the future, doesn’t it, that such depressingly reactionary people – who may well grow up to be our civic and political leaders – are able to carry out such mindless acts of transphobic violence without hindrance.

toiletsChallenging such transphobic attitudes was at the top of the agenda on Monday. First speaker Rebecca Dittman from The Gender Trust highlighted the history of transgender people “who have been in society for- forever really” and the problems which they face. “There is still bigotry, there is still hatred, but things are changing.”

You reckon? When your fellow students are reacting with such hostility to what was – let’s face it – little more than a very tentative gesture? Changing in what way, exactly? Are you seriously implying that things are changing for the better? Tolerating hate crimes is going to make things better how, exactly?

Ruth Pearce, trans rep from the NUS Women’s Committee, emphasized that non-gender toilets would not pose a threat to the other toilet users. “We’re not a threat to women – trans people are a bit like spiders. They’re more scared of you than you are of them.”

Oh thanks, Ruth. Thanks very much. I’ve heard of – and experienced – some dehumanising and objectifying bullshit in my time, but that really takes the prize. I can’t believe you said that. And when you use the word “we”, are you saying that you’re trans, too? Either way, with friends like you…

“Trans people are a bit like spiders”. Wouldn’t that be convenient, eh? Those poor cis people with their (apparently justifiable) nervous dispositions could whack us with a rolled-up newspaper, or turn on the taps and flush us down the drain – or if they were feeling really well-disposed to us, they could trap us in an upside-down glass and chuck us out of the window.

Out of sight, out of mind. And wouldn’t everybody’s lives – and we’re talking about real women’s lives, of course – be so much more comfortable without those troublesome trannies around, with all their totally unreasonable and unrealistic demands for equality with other human beings. I mean, why can’t they just know their place, like all the other insects and creepy-crawlies…

…*shakes head in disbelief*…

Misrepresentations of the facts in the media were also criticized, as some reports assumed all Union toilets would become non-gender. “There are and always will remain gender toilets for those who prefer to use them,” assured Natalie Heppenstall from the University of Manchester’s LGBT Society.

Heppenstall was also keen to stress that these were not uniquely “trans toilets” as has been misconstrued in the media, citing the benefits for students with children and disabled students with care-assistants of the opposite sex.

Also, added Pearce, “We’ve now got an extra toilet if there is a queue.”

Apologism taken to new depths. But I suppose it merely continues the whole sorry, misguided fiasco. I’m just thankful that I’m too old and too uneducated to attend university. The groves of academe? You’re welcome to them, if this is your idea of equality for trans people.

The first rule of Book Club…

October 28, 2008

Thomas Beatie’s autobiography, Labor of Love: The Story of One Man’s Extraordinary Pregnancy, will be available in hardcover from 10 November, list price $24.95.

Here’s the blurb from Amazon:

Thomas Beatie electrified the world in April 2008 with his announcement that he was seven months pregnant and due to give birth in July. The news made headlines across the globe, but it’s only one chapter in a fascinating saga.

Labor of Love reveals Beatie’s unique life experiences: his less-than-idyllic childhood in Hawaii, his feelings of being a young man trapped in the body of a woman, his fight to conceive a child, and the obstacles surrounding the delivery. This astonishing narrative permits an intimate look at a family that refuses to let other people’s definitions of family deter them from creating one on their own terms.

Labor of Love is much more than the story of a unique pregnancy and birth — it’s a beautiful and controversial love story about going against the tide, a powerful statement about the evolution of family and identity in the new millennium.

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Click here for previous posts on this blog which reference Thomas Beatie.

Doctor suspended for alleged hate speech

October 28, 2008

Via The Daily Mail, so approach with caution…

I’m going to post the whole thing because it’s impossible to know how to remove the alleged hate speech without compromising the rest of the content of the original report.

If there’s even a grain of truth in it, then it’s a very disturbing situation: that a qualified GP should feel that it’s acceptable for him to give voice to hate speech of this nature – and it’s an even greater cause for concern when one of his targets appears to be a patient under his care.

And if it should turn out to be just another space-filling tabloid shock-horror story, then shame on The Daily Mail.

If anyone has any updates on this, please post details/links in the comments.

A leading Muslim doctor called for gay people to feel ‘the stick of the law’ in order to protect society from their ‘ravages’, a disciplinary hearing was told yesterday.

Dr Muhammad Siddiq, president of the Islamic Medical Association, wrote to a magazine for GPs accusing homosexuals of spreading disease with their ‘irresponsible behaviour’, it was claimed.

The 65-year-old now faces being struck off after he was called before the General Medical Council to explain the comments.

The letter to Pulse magazine signed by Dr Siddiq stated that ‘the gays are worse than the ordinary careless citizen, they are causing the spread of illness and they are the root cause of many sexually-transmitted diseases’.

It added: ‘Gays and homosexuals, they neither need sympathy or help, what they need is the stick of the law to put them on the right path and mend their ways and behaviour.’

‘We need to protect society from their ravages. They are preying on society.’

It also criticised transsexuals, referring to a depressed patient undergoing a sex change as ‘twisted’.

The letter sent by Dr Siddiq, who trained in Pakistan in the 1960s and worked in Walsall, provoked outrage when it featured in the magazine in July last year, yesterday’s hearing was told.

Walsall Primary Care Trust contacted the doctor for an explanation, and he responded with an apology for writing it, saying he had been under intense stress at the time.

‘I categorically and unreservedly apologise for the hurt and offence I may have caused to anyone who may have read my letter,’ he wrote to the PCT.

‘I have practised as a GP for over 30 years and have never discriminated on any grounds. I would never refuse any treatment because of someone’s sexuality.

‘I just cannot understand how or why I could have said this in my letter.’

Dr Siddiq promised to send a retraction to the magazine, but the fitness to practise hearing of the GMC was told he gave a completely different explanation only a few days later.

Now he claimed his original draft letter had supported better treatment for gay patients.

His son, Khubaib, who had typed it up, had added the inflammatory remarks as ‘a spoof’, he said, expecting his father to spot the changes and throw it in the bin.

Bernadette Baxter, counsel for the GMC, said Dr Siddiq’s case was that because he was ‘so busy and overworked, he didn’t read the letter, he simply signed it and sent it off without being aware of its contents’.

However she told the panel: ‘The GMC’s case is that when Dr Siddiq realised that his letter retracting his statement was not going to do the trick and bring an end to the matter, he strayed from the truth and set out a new explanation.’

Dr Siddiq is also facing disciplinary action for refusing to co-operate with the PCT over the death of a baby boy he had circumcised.

Although there was no direct link between the procedure and the baby’s death a month later, Dr Siddiq was ordered to stop carrying out minor surgery while a review was carried out.

However he responded that he planned to ignore their instruction, branding their finding ‘null and void’.

Dr Siddiq, who is currently suspended, denies misconduct.

The hearing, in Manchester, continues.

ETA: The Times Online also carries the story; at first sight, it’s substantively the same. Link here.

ETA, 29 October: Pink News

Consultation on the wider use of patient information

October 28, 2008

NHS Connecting for Health (NHS CFH) is conducting a consultation with the public and healthcare professionals on the use of patient information for purposes such as health research and managing and planning care. 

The health and well-being of the population can be improved by activities such as medical research, disease surveillance, screening, needs assessment and preventative activities.

NHS CFH is keen to obtain the views of the general public, patients and other interested parties on how patient information held by the NHS should be used for additional purposes such as research.

There are three methods to complete the questionnaire; click here to visit the relevant page on the NHS Connecting for Health website for further information.