Archive for October, 2009

Friday 30th October is Equal Pay Day

October 30, 2009

Fawcett Society - Equal Pay DayFriday 30th October is Equal Pay Day, a day of action lead by the Fawcett Society to draw attention to the fact that, on average, women’s full time mean hourly pay is 17.1% less than men’s. 30th October symbolically marks the last pay cheque that women receive in a year because, compared with men, we work on average for about two months a year without pay.

For women in science, engineering and technology (SET) – which includes IT workers like me – the pay gaps both between men and women, and between different kinds of SET occupations, show no evidence of closing:

BCS pay gap graph

(Image via BCS)

SET occupations don’t show the same extremes in pay differentials between the highest and lowest paid compared with other occupations. And if you’re a woman working in a SET occupation, you are more likely to be receiving similar remuneration to that of you male colleagues than women working elsewhere. But at the lower levels of SET occupations especially in skilled trades, part-time women’s hourly earnings are much less than the full-time earnings of women or men in the same occupations.

But there’s no cause for complacency: there is a gender pay gap in SET occupations – as there is in virtually all occupations – and it shows no sign of disappearing anytime soon.

To find out more, you can visit the Equal Pay Day blog (link here), or go to the Fawcett Society website’s page (link here) to sign the online petition and download further resources and information.

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Cross-posted at The F-Word

Special cis lady talks rubbish

October 29, 2009

Cis woman bigot and celebrity transphobic journalist, Julie Bindel, has finally managed to find a publication willing to post her most recent piece of hate speech.

In all honesty, I can’t be bothered even to pick up the famed pink sparklehammer of deconstruction; as far as I’m concerned, she’s one cis woman who truly isn’t worth it, even though (or maybe because) she is a particularly soft target. She holds to an outmoded and discredited ideology and the sooner she fades away, the better. I was in two minds about whether even to write this post because in its small own way it’s giving her the attention she craves.

However, I feel almost duty-bound to report that a cis woman blogger known as steerpikelet has announced her intention to write and publish a response in support of trans people, even though I don’t know any trans people who asked her to do this. Anyway, in her own words (and I have to say her use of cissexist/othering portmanteau terms like ‘transpeople’ fills me with foreboding):

For FUCK’S SAKE – Feminist transfail, again.

Okay, THIS calls for a fucking expose. A proper one this time, not a stream of invective. Stats, quotes, reasoned debate, no swearing, the whole works.

I’ve pitched to the Graun and am about to pitch elsewhere for a piece along the lines of ‘why feminists should support transpeople’ and ‘why surgery doesn’t ruin lives’. At the moment, the time I have to write and research this vital piece is very small. So I need all the help you wonderful people can give me to make this as good as possible.

So, please -message me, comment here if you’re comfortable, and tell me what needs to go in this article.

[…]

Please, give any help you can and direct people to this post. THANK YOU.

I have a couple of reservations: (1) listening to a cis woman speaking to other cis people on behalf of us is always an uncomfortable reminder of how marginalised and powerless we are, and (2) asking us to, in effect, write the piece for her makes me wonder if she’s really the right person for the job (assuming there’s even a job to be done in the first place).

But hey, if two cis women want to get into a slanging match about such a laughably poor quality piece of journalism, then who am I to spoil their fun? It won’t change a damned thing for the better, and may possibly even make matters worse for us, but as ever, we have no say in the matter.

Anyway. If anyone wants to find out more, the full story (including a link to the hate speech in question) is over at steerpikelet’s LJ which you can read by clicking here.

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ETA, Friday 30 October: Y’know, when a cis woman calls a trans woman “dear“, well, let me just say it doesn’t do much to ease my sense of foreboding:

Yes dear

Another facepalm moment brought to you by…

(Screengrab for the record, via)

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ETA, Saturday 31 October: My sense of foreboding was tipped over the edge into a state of full-on pessimism following the appearance of the following Tweet from Penny Red (the Twitter ID of steerpikelet):

Twitter screengrab

The subsequent exchange between her, @genderbitch, @kasperobscene and I has left me feeling deeply pessimistic about steerpikelet’s proposed article; she seems happy to appease the oppressor and it’s hard to see how her post can be anything other than another platform for the transphobic bigot. Free publicity, another opportunity for a public outpouring of her relentlessly transphobic hate speech – and I don’t know how much more of this I can bear…

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Further ETA, Saturday 31 October: Selected quotes from the original article:

  • “Think about a world inhabited just by transsexuals. It would look like the set of Grease.”
  • “the Gender Recognition Act […] will have a profoundly negative effect on the human rights of women and children.”
  • “a girl who plays football is trans-sexual.”
  • “I would describe preventing puberty as a modern form of child abuse.”
  • “A trans-sexual ‘woman’ will always be a biological male.”
  • “In a world where equality between men and women was reality, transsexualism would not exist.”
  • “Sex-change surgery is unnecessary mutilation.”
  • “Using human rights laws to normalise trans-sexualism has resulted in a backward step in the feminist campaign for gender equality.”

Well, if it makes any of my cis women haters feel any better, there are times when even I wish I hadn’t been born, too.

Matthew Shepard Act signed into law

October 29, 2009

The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, was passed by the U.S. Congress on October 22, 2009 and signed into law by President Barack Obama yesterday (October 28, 2009). It aims to expand the existing (1969) federal hate-crime law to include crimes motivated by a victim’s actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.

Via The Equal Rights Trust

The Act makes three key provisions:

Section 4707 amends United States Code Title 18, section 249, to include actual or perceived gender, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity in the list of hate crimes punishable under federal law.

Section 4704 (a) provides for the Attorney General – at the request of a state or local law enforcement agency – to provide ‘technical, forensic, prosecutorial or any other form of assistance’ in the investigation or prosecution of a hate crime. Section 4704 (b) provides for the Attorney General to make grants for extraordinary expenses associated with the investigation or prosecution of a hate crime.

Section 4706 provides for the appropriation of additional personnel to assist state authorities or local law enforcement agencies to prevent and respond to violations of section 249.

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Cross-posted at Questioning Transphobia

ILGA Trans Rights Conference: media release

October 29, 2009

28 October 2009

European institutions make commitments to fight discrimination against trans people

Today the “Trans Rights Conference: Putting Trans Rights on the European Agenda” was held by ILGA-Europe and Transgender Europe as a pre-conference to ILGA-Europe’s 13th Annual Conference starting tomorrow.

This conference was intended to bring together European and national stake holders in a direct dialogue with trans and LGBT activists from across Europe. This was the first conference to exclusively driven towards good practices in policy and legal developments.

Strong commitments were made by Belinda Pyke from the European Commission, Israel Butler from the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency, Mandana Zarrehparvar from EQUINET and Dennis van der Veur from the Council of Europe to advance the rights of trans people through their work.

The European Commission will be looking at the way EU member state implemented the 2004 gender equality directive vis-à-vis trans people in its 2010 report. It will also be publishing its first trans specific legal and policy mapping study.

The Council of Europe will be mirroring the Fundamental Rights Agency’s report on homophobia and transphobia in the EU in its 20 member states which are not members of the European Union. Additionally, the Commission for Human Rights will keep raising the issues around transgender human dignity and human rights in his country visits.

The Fundamental Rights Agency will be updating its transgender fact sheet during 2010, while keeping up its awareness raising around the findings of its report on homophobia and transphobia.

Finally, the EQUINET, the European network of equality bodies, will issue an Opinion-Statement on the gap in anti-discrimination legislation with regards to trans people and will address the lack of mandate of the equality bodies in some EU member states in dealing with trans issues.

At the end of the conference a declaration on the rights of trans people was read, debated and approved. This declaration will now pass to the ILGA-Europe’s annual conference and Transgender Europe for their approval and once approved should inform the joint work of the two organisations in the coming years.

Ends

For more information please contact
Juris Lavrikovs at + 32 496 708 375

Notes for editors:

(1) ILGA-Europe is the European Region of ILGA, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association and works for equality and human rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans & intersex people in Europe: www.ilga-europe.org

(2) Transgender Europe is the European network of trans and other organisations that support or work for the rights of transgender/transsexual/gender variant people and like minded individuals: www.tgeu.org

(3) More information about the Annual Conference in Malta is available on our website: www.ilga-europe.org/conference

ILGA Malta 2009

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Curtsey to Silvan Agius and the TGEU listserv

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Previous related posts:

Ellie Goulding – Under The Sheets (Later Live With Jools Holland 27 Oct)

October 29, 2009

45 questions

October 28, 2009

Via Lina, because I always do what I’m told. Except when I don’t…

1. Do you like blue cheese? Yes

2. Have you ever smoked heroin? Yes

3. Do you own a gun? No

4. What flavor do you add to your drink at Starbucks? I prefer hot chocolate from Cafe Nero, and there it would be cream and chocolate sprinkles

5. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments? I don’t have a doctor

6. What do you think of hot dogs? They should have a drink of water and lie down somewhere shady to cool off a bit

7. Favorite Christmas movie? It’s not a Christmas movie in the Bing Crosby sense, but I often watch Contact around then. Mmm, Jodie Foster…

8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? Strong coffee. Milk, no sugar

9. Can you do push ups? No

10. What’s your favorite piece of jewelry? A silver ring I made in a past life. It’s the only piece I have left with my hallmark on

11. Favorite hobby? Sleeping

12. Do you have A.D.D? No

13. What’s one trait you hate about yourself? Negativity

14. Middle name? Maya

15. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment? Wonder if my Claim The Night idea is any good. Shall I make a drink now or later? I’m cold.

16. Name 3 things you bought yesterday? A skinny Americano coffee. Lunch. Flowers for my office.

17. Name 3 things you drink daily: Coffee, coffee, coffee

18. Current worry? Health, work

19. Current Dislike? My body. As usual

20. How did you bring in the New Year? I had a burst of creativity and stayed up writing until stupid o’clock.

21. Where would you like to go? Another planet

22. Name three people who will complete this: Probably nobody. But if anyone should, let me know in comments!

23. Do you own slippers? No

24. What shirt are you wearing? Black T-shirt

25. [Missing apparently]

26. Favorite color[s]? Black. Pink

27. Could you be a pirate? No

28. What songs do you sing in the shower? I don’t

29. Favorite food? Vegetarian

30. What’s in your pocket right now? My pockets are empty, my head is full and my heart is heavy

31. Last thing that made you laugh? Don’t remember

32. Favorite sheets? Clean white cotton

33. Worst injury you have ever had? Chipped/broke three nails in one morning

34. Do you love where you live? Sometimes

35. How many TVs do you have in your house? One, but it only picks up BBC1, BBC2 and Channel 4 so it’s not a very good TV

36. Who is your loudest friend? Jacqui B

37. How many dogs do you have? None

38. Does someone have a crush on you? I doubt that very much

39. What are your favorite book(s): So many.

40. What is your favorite candy? Chocolate, duh…

41. Favorite Sports Water: What?

42. What songs do you want played at your funeral? Don’t want a funeral or any fuss

43. What were you doing 12 AM last night? Sleeping

44. What was the first thing you thought of when you woke this morning? What’s the time?

45. Favorite place to be? Anywhere but here

Request for comments – Claim The Night march

October 28, 2009

Claim The Night logoTravelling home this evening at a little after 6pm I was again subject to street harassment, this time from a boozed-up Chelsea football fan on his way with a group of friends to a game – “Look at that fuckin’ tranny cunt, it’s fuckin’ disgustin'”. Thankfully we were heading for different trains and I escaped with nothing more or less than the usual ungendering, public humiliation and pounding heart. Earlier, I’d been talking with some cis women feminist friends about the continuing refusal of the organisers of the forthcoming Reclaim The Night (For Cis Women Only) march to publicly state their position on trans inclusivity, and the two things combined to give me an idea.

I want to see if it’s possible to organise a separate march (probably on a different date) – a Claim The Night march – which explicitly includes and centres trans women. Cis women who want to walk in solidarity with us would be welcome to do so; indeed the march would be open to all self-identified women. In the words of the Reclaim The Night (For Cis Women Only) website:

In every sphere of life we negotiate the threat or reality of rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment. We cannot claim equal citizenship while this threat restricts our lives as it does. We demand the right to use public space without fear. We demand this right as a civil liberty, we demand this as a human right.

See, as a transsexual woman, I want the exact same thing. I would be more than willing to join cis women on their march – but the London Cis Feminist Network, for whatever reasons, doesn’t want people like me there. And now I think it’s time for me and mine to make our own protest. To claim the night for ourselves.

So I’m putting this post up as a way of seeing if there’s enough support to help me make my idea a reality.

Comments are open, and I’m interested to hear what other self-identified women think. If there’s a positive response I’ll set up a group email where we can begin to hash out the details.

Over to you…

Turkey: another LGBT rights organization faces closure

October 26, 2009

Via KaosGL (link here):

Logo of Siyah Pembe (Black Pink Triangle Association)Black Pink Triangle Association in Izmir is the fifth LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) organization that faces closure threat from the Turkish government. The first hearing will take place on February 19, 2010. The reason for closure threat is once again being “against the law and morality.”

According to the information provided to the association, the Governor’s Office of the City of Izmir is demanding closure of the Black Pink Triangle Association.

Black Pink Triangle Association members stated that: “The prosecutor’s demand for closure of our association is clearly a violation of civil rights. Establishing an organization a constitutional right and they want to take that right from us.”

When Black Pink Triangle Association was founded on February 20, 2009, all the necessary legal documentation was filed to the Governor’s Office.

On May 26, 2009 the association received a notification from Governor’s Office requesting the organization to correct some of the mistakes on the application form. However the Governor’s Office also demanded correction of some of the founding statutes of Black Pink Triangle Association claiming that the association’s objections are against Turkish “moral values and family structure”.

Although the mistakes in the application form were corrected, the Association refused to change the statutes as per Governor’s request. They also stated that Kaos GL (an LGBT organization in Ankara) and Lambda Istanbul (an LGBT organization in Istanbul) have exact same statutes and after long legal battles they were able to exist as legal and legitimate institutions.

On October 16, 2009, following the receipt of Black Pink Triangle Association’s response, Governor’s Office filed a lawsuit against them and demanded closure of the institution.

Black Pink Triangle Association’s lawyer Elif Ceylan Ozsoy stated to Kaos GL that she found the action disturbing. She also pointed out the similar actions were taken against Kaos GL, Pink Life and Lambda Istanbul organizations and they failed.

Turkish authorities have targeted other LGBT organizations in the past as well:

In September 2005, the Ankara Governor’s Office accused the Ankara-based group KAOS-GL of “establishing an organization that is against the laws and principles of morality.” Similarly, the Ankara Governor’s Office attempted in July 2006 to close the human rights group Pembe Hayat (Pink Life), which works with transgender people, claiming to prosecutors that the association opposed “morality and family structure.” In both cases, prosecutors dropped the charges.

In another series of legal attacks on LGBT organizations and publications in Turkey, on May 29, 2008 a court in Istanbul, the nation’s largest city, ordered the dissolution of Lambda Istanbul. Founded in 1993, the group is Turkey’s oldest LGBT organization, and has organized Gay Pride marches in that city every year since 2003. On January 2009, the 7th Judicial Office of the Supreme Court of Appeals has overturned the ruling of Istanbul’s 3rd Civil Court of First Instance, which had decided to close down the Lambda Istanbul Association for a “violation of general morals.

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Previous related posts:

  • Human rights violations against LGBT individuals in Turkey in 2008 (August 9, 2009)
  • Turkey: trials in connection with the murders of two trans women now under way (July 9, 2009)
  • Unsafe haven: LGBT asylum seekers and refugees in Turkey (July 8, 2009)
  • Turkey – new Chief of Police for Istanbul. Will this bring an end to the “undeclared war” against trans women? (June 15, 2009)
  • Turkish policemen on trial for attack on trans woman (May 29, 2009)
  • Turkey: another trans woman stabbed to death – UPDATE (May 29, 2009)
  • Turkey: another trans woman stabbed to death (May 25, 2009)
  • Turkish parliament questioned on trans safety (May 12, 2009)
  • Lambda Istanbul granted permission to continue operating (May 7, 2009)
  • Suspected murderer of trans rights activist arrested in Turkey (April 21, 2009)
  • Every 15 days, another trans person is murdered in Turkey (April 14, 2009)
  • The undeclared war against LGBTT people in Turkey continues (March 29, 2009)
  • Another trans woman murdered in Turkey (March 14, 2009)
  • Trans woman stabbed to death in Istanbul (March 12, 2009)
  • Lambda Istanbul wins appeal against closure (January 28, 2009)
  • Trans rights abuses in Turkey (November 29, 2008)
  • Invasion of the uterus snatchers

    October 25, 2009

    Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)Organ transplants have a long history and as surgical technologies and skills have developed, the list of organs able to be transplanted has grown accordingly. But one procedure still seemingly beyond the reach of modern surgery is the uterus transplant, although recent news reports suggest that the first successful human womb transplant could take place within two years (BBC News). It’s unclear how long after then that such procedures would be available to recipients.

    The news reports also say that such transplants are likely to be temporary, to avoid the patient having to take immunosuppressant drugs for life, in order to avoid rejection of the womb. But a woman recipient might be given two to three years to conceive and carry a baby or babies before the womb was removed (Times Online). The report adds that, in order to become pregnant, recipients would have to undergo in vitro fertilisation treatment. Birth would be by Caesarean section.

    Being both transsexual and infertile, this news resonates with me in ways I find hard to verbalise. I would have loved to have had children when I was younger, but I wanted to be a mother, not a father. That option wasn’t available to me then, so I let the opportunity to be a parent pass me by. And if the option was, somehow, available to me now by means of a uterus transplant – leaving aside the questions of (a) whether my testosterone-damaged biology would permit it; (b) whether my age and health would mitigate against it and (c) whether I’d even be at the front of the queue anyway (an estimated 15,000 women of childbearing age in Britain were born without a uterus or had it damaged or removed after illnesses [Times Online]) – I have to ask myself whether I would actually want it. Or be able to afford it.

    Plus, of course, y’know… I mean, can you imagine the public outcry there would be if a trans woman received a uterus transplant? Even if all the other conditions were to be met, against such long odds. Pregnant (trans) woman is pregnant? When you remember the media circus around Thomas Beattie, and the trend towards linking enforced sterilisation to the issuing of legal documentation, and all the other bullshit oppression and violence we face on a daily basis, well, the cissexist idea of trans women “stealing cis women’s uteruses” (as has been so charmingly put by certain would-be feminist cis women) seems little more than a dream.

    “They’re like huge seed pods!”

    Becky Driscoll, Invasion of the Body Snatchers

    …*le sigh*…

    I need some music. Something loud and bouncy and improbable.

    Launch of the Transgender Resource and Empowerment Centre, Manchester, 7 November

    October 25, 2009

    transgender-symbol_103x120IMPORTANT NEWS FOR THE NW TRANS COMMUNITY

    Saturday November 7th 2009

    You are invited to the launch of TREC – an innovative new Trans Resource & Empowerment Centre for all trans and gender variant people in the North West (& beyond).

    • Featuring guest speakers
    • Your chance to find out more & get involved
    • Trans groups & supporters information displays
    • Free refreshments

    When?
    11am – 4pm Saturday, November 7th 2009

    Where?
    TREC c/o LGF, 3rd Floor, Princess House, 105-107 Princess Street, Manchester, M1 6DD.

    Who?

    • TREC invites All Trans* people to be involved in all its activities
      *By “Trans / Transgender” we are referring to all people who consider themselves to fall under the trans / transgender and gender variant umbrella. This includes, but is not limited to: Cross-dressing & transvestite people, trans women, trans men, transsexual men & transsexual women, people identifying as androgyne, polygender, genderqueer, gender non-conforming, dual gendered, & non-gender identifying, gender questioning people, gender variant & gender diverse people, transgender people & intersex people and anyone who feels that the gender assigned to them at birth incompletely describes or does not at all describe their own personal gender or non-gender identity.
    • TREC holds central to all its activities that everyone should be safe and valued whatever their gender identity / gender diversity and have full freedom in their gender expression.

    TREC has been set up by volunteers from the NW trans community to provide a centralised service for all trans and gender-variant people in a safe and accessible space reflecting the diverse needs of our community. It will provide a wide range of FREE activities centred on Health, Policy/Law, Safety, Creativity, and Community/Culture. There will also be space for networking and group meetings and changing facilities. Activities will take place one weekend per month in a dedicated space at the Lesbian and Gay Foundation (LGF) building, Central Manchester.

    We are also conducting a survey to assess the needs of the trans community in the North West region of England (Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, and Merseyside).

    Our goal is to get every trans person in the North West to give their views:

    The survey is online at: http://tinyurl.com/north-west-survey

    Please complete the survey by 1 November so we can present the data at the TREC launch event. The information that you provide will be used to create a programme of services and events provided on a monthly basis in Manchester, beginning 7 November. We would love you to join us in developing this organisation – please give your details in Section F of the survey if you would like to be involved.

    Please forward to anyone you know who may be interested, many thanks!

    THE TRANS RESOURCE AND EMPOWERMENT CENTRE BOARD
    Louis, Ryan, Dave, Sarah, Jenny-Anne, Catherine

    Postal address: TREC c/o LGF, 3rd Floor, Princess House, 105-107 Princess Street, Manchester, M1 6DD

    TREC is a new, independent, voluntary organisation not affiliated to any other organisation or group

    Best wishes,
    Louis
    Chair – TREC

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    Via email from Stephen Whittle and Press For Change
    Curtsey to Stephanie for the heads-up

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    Cross-posted at The F-Word