Archive for April, 2010

Student attacked at CSULB speaks at rally

April 30, 2010

Via Press-Telegram:

Colle Carpenter speaks at the Take Back The Night event - Image via Press-Telegram (Stephen Carr)

Transgender CSULB student Colle Carpenter speaks at the Take Back The Night event at the Cal State Long Beach campus on Thursday. On April 15 Carpenter was attacked while on a break from class; Take Back The Night is an international event held primarily on college campuses and is intended as a protest and direct action against rape and other forms of sexual violence.

There’s a video at the Press-Telegram site but I can’t work out how to embed BrightCove vids in WordPress and couldn’t find a different format anywhere else, so here’s the direct link to the video, and here’s a transcript of the parts of Colle’s speech as shown in that video:

I’ve been terrified to come back to campus… The person who attacked me knew my name… pushed me back into a stall and carved “it” into my chest.

For those of you that don’t know why “it” is such a derogatory term, it takes away a person’s humanity. It takes away their personhood and makes them less than human.

Know that what happened to me didn’t just happen to me – it happened to the entire community… Those of us that are visibly queer, those of us that are out about being queer, are scared.

Campus police are still looking for Mr Carpenter’s attacker.


Cross-posted at Questioning Transphobia


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Turkey: suspected serial killer detained

April 28, 2010

Via Hurriyet Daily News and Today’s Zaman I learn of the consecutive murders of three women in the İzmir province since Saturday. A cis man, identified only by his initials (H.A.) was apprehended early on Wednesday.

H.A.’s first alleged victim was Esar Yaşar, a female bank employee. She was shot in the head Saturday night in the Balçova district.

The second victim, Ayşe Selen Ayla, was attacked near her house.

The last victim, Has, a 30-year-old transvestite, was murdered Monday night when she was shot in the head in her car in the Konak district.

The suspect stole the victims’ bags and used the same gun in all three cases.

My condolences to the families, loved ones and friends of the murdered women.


ETA: As I have said before:

Across this fucked-up planet of ours, trans women are murdered at the rate of one every 52.5 hours – if this figure was translated into the cis community, it would equate to one cis woman murdered every 23 seconds, for no reason other than that they were cis.

So don’t tell me that our numbers are too small to get worked up about; proportionately the murders of trans women are of a scale that, in other contexts, would be considered near genocidal. If 1,332,000 cis women globally had been murdered in the past two years, for nothing more or less than being cis women, would that be ignored the way our murders are? Because, by a quick back-of-an-envelope calculation, that’s what our murder rate would translate to in cis society.


Update, 29 April: One of the victims, Azra, was one of the first members of Siyah Pembe, which the local İzmir government has been trying to shut down through a law suit (I wrote about it here).

Members of Siyah Pembe staged a silent protest and a candlelight vigil in İzmir to honour her memory and there are videos of the protest here


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Growing older invisibly

April 27, 2010

We are always the same age inside. [Gertrude Stein]

My paternal Grandmother (RIP) and I both celebrated ‘milestone’ birthdays in 1977; I was 21 and she was 70. Our birthday dates were only three days apart and that year there was a family get-together to mark the two. I remember my Grandmother saying to me that, whilst she may be 70 ‘on the outside’, she didn’t feel much different inside from how she felt when she was 21.

I’m 53 now and recently I find myself thinking about that quite often. Not only in terms of how I feel inside, but also in the way society views, and treats, older people. It’s hard not to see a lot of ageism, both in the prevailing prejudices towards older people – as well as in older people’s prejudices about younger people.

And prejudice is, I think, at the root of ageism. I often see the term used to describe a form of discrimination against older people; a shorthand for prejudicial attitudes towards older people, old age, and the aging process. In that sense, perhaps it could also be considered to be a form of oppression.

But ageism can, and does, run in both directions. Younger people can use oppressive and discriminatory words and actions against older people, just as older people can use oppressive and discriminatory words and actions against younger people. “Turn that noise down” versus “If it’s too loud, you’re too old”, to pluck one random example from the air.

Where all this is leading me, in a very roundabout way, is into the question of the way our lives as well as our attitudes change as we grow older. In particular I’m becoming increasingly concerned about what the future may hold, in a way that the 21-year old me would probably have been either unable or unwilling to comprehend. It’s all very well musing on memes like “If I could be 21 again, but knowing what I know now”, or “If you could go back in time and give your younger self advice that she’d benefit from in the longer term, what would you say to her?” but it’s a bit like thinking about what you’d spend your lottery winnings on (assuming, of course, that you play the lottery anyway) – you know it’s never going to happen, but it’s fun to imagine.

As part of the process of coming to terms with the passing of the years, I’ve recently started to look for online resources that might offer practical information. And I have to say I’ve been really disappointed. The couple of trans specific sites I’ve found seem to be both out of date and U.S. focused whilst ‘official’ (government) sites here in Britain seem too generalised to be of any use – and it’s hardly a surprise that I can find no mention of the specific issues that seem likely to face older trans people. The most comprehensive and current sites seem to be run by older cis people – but those, equally unsurprisingly, completely invisibilise trans people. Although many of our needs overlap with cis people’s, there are trans specific issues too – to give a couple of examples: health issues around the long term use of hormones; whether being trans makes any difference to (for example) residential care providers, etc.

To be honest, the almost complete invisibilisation of older trans people in already limited online resources is really rather disheartening – so if anyone can recommend any sites that might be of interest, please leave a link in comments.

pregnant paradise fish

April 23, 2010

This post is dedicated to whoever landed here at BoP today after searching online for pregnant paradise fish. Twice.

I’m sorry that you weren’t able to find anything about pregnant paradise fish but hope this image (via Wikimedia Commons) goes some way to making up for it.

I don’t know if the fish is pregnant, but it’s such a fantastic picture I just had to post it…

Transphobic attack on student at California State University: request for further information

April 23, 2010

On Facebook yesterday, Gender Justice LA made this post which shared an email received from Katherine Ojeda Stewart of UCLA School of Law, Class of 2010.

The email stated that:

[…] a trans student left class thu night to go to the bathroom and on the way there was assaulted by someone who knew him by name but whom he didnt know. he beat him and threw him against a wall then carved “It” on his chest with a knife.

I can well believe that this attack on an unnamed trans man at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) took place, but so far I’ve been unable to find any other details of this account outside of Facebook and I find that surprising. I’d have thought that a story of this nature would be in the public domain by now.

So if anyone has any further information/resources such as local and/or national news reports that provide independent verification of the post on Facebook, please would you leave the links in comments?


ETA, Saturday 24 April: The Daily 49er carries this report:

A 27-year-old transgender student at Cal State Long Beach reported that he was attacked in a university restroom on the west side of the KKJZ building at about 9:30 p.m. on April 15.

According to a press release from CSULB Director of Media Relations Rick Gloady, “The suspect called the student by his first name, and the student responded. The student reported the suspect then pulled the student’s T-shirt up and over the student’s head and pushed him back into the stall. The suspect then used a sharp object to slash the student’s chest. The suspect then fled the area in an unknown direction of travel.”

Gloady said that no one has been arrested, and that he cannot say when further information will be released.

The University Police, according to the release, believe that this was an isolated incident and there is no additional threat to the campus community.

“All manners are being handled through our public affairs office,” said University Police Captain Fernando Solorzano, referring to how they are communicating to the press about the case.

Public Affairs Assistant Vice President Toni Beron was unable to be reached for comment.

Officers are continuing to investigate the case and ask that anyone having information regarding the matter contact Det. Johnny Leyva at 562-985-4101.

Let’s hope the University Police are correct in their belief that this was an isolated incident and there is no additional threat to other trans people in the area. Cases like this highlight how vulnerable trans people are to transphobic attacks and I hope that the attacker is apprehended at an early date; there are too many violent bigots ‘out there’ as it is.


Other reports may be found here, all seem to be quoting the same CSULB press release, although Press-Telegram adds that:

The 27-year-old victim was taken to a local hospital by a university instructor, but his injuries were not life threatening, and he was released that evening, said CSULB Spokesman Rick Gloady.

Duanna Johnson: new trial date set

April 22, 2010

Via My Eyewitness News and The Commercial Appeal:

Bridges McRae will face a new jury on July 12, 2010 after jurors in his first trial could not reach a verdict. Eleven jurors thought he was guilty. One juror believed he was innocent.

McRae is accused of violating Duanna Johnson’s civil rights.


Cross-posted at Questioning Transphobia


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UK: Increase in the number of NHS-funded SRS procedures

April 22, 2010

Homer Simpson: “Oh, people can come up with statistics to prove anything. 14% of people know that.”

Via The Daily Telegraph (and others) comes another masterpiece of “journalistic” misgendering, in the guise of transphobic scare-mongering fact-finding.

It seems that since 2000, there have been 853 surgeries carried out on trans women. In 2000, there were 54, while last year there were 143. Fewer than 9 surgeries a year, on average.

In the same time span, there have been only 12 surgeries carried out on trans men.

The average age of the trans women works out as 42; no figures are given for trans men. There’s only been one surgery carried out on a trans woman under 21 years, and that was in 2002.

The newspaper quotes a figure of £10 000 as being the typical cost of SRS (presumably for trans women); but it’s not clear whether that is the current cost, or an average over the decade. Either way, at an average of 85 per annum, that’s a yearly figure of around £853 000.

The report provides no information about the comparative cost of other surgeries carried out by the NHS. For example, how much is spent patching up military employees who’ve been turned into dogmeat fighting some random war in another country; or people who’ve smashed up themselves (and others) whilst drunk-driving.

Neither is any information given about the number of people who may have been diagnosed as transsexual but who don’t transition through to surgery; or how many are still in the system awaiting surgery. And, of course, there’s nothing about transsexual people who undergo their surgery outside the NHS (for whatever reason) because, guess what, there’s no national record kept.

Context: Look it up, it’s in the dictionary.


ETA: In 2008, the population of the UK was estimated to be 61,383,000 (via Wikipedia). For argument’s sake, let me assume that figure stayed much the same through 2009, when 143 surgeries were carried out. A quick calculation would suggest that the percentage of the population who underwent SRS on the NHS is around 0.0002% (Via).


April 22, 2010

Trans*Tagung 2010, Berlin: Call for contributions

April 21, 2010

Call for contributions from the Organizing Trans*Committee of Trans*Tagung 2010 :

The Trans*Collective is proud to announce:

Trans*tagung 2010: Trans* ist fuer alle da! (Trans* is for everybody!)
Pfefferwerk/Nachbarschaftshaus Pfefferberg
Fehrbelliner Str. 92, 10119 Berlin, Germany
October 7th – 10th, 2010

Trans*tagung 2010: Trans* ist fuer alle da! is a multi-threaded conference and forum for the transgender community.

For 14 years the Trans*conferences in Berlin have attracted hundreds of transgender people and their allies to gather for workshops, panels, films, visual art galleries and performances. We again invite community members, artists, academics, activists, transgender people of all kinds and their allies to be part of Trans*tagung 2010 as presenters and participants. (Please note that most of the content will be in german.)

We would be delighted to share this event with YOU!
We also are very happy to offer accommodation and pay for transport for contributors coming from outside of Berlin. (We might even be able to pay a small honorarium.)

Please send your workshop- paper- panel- film- performance- and visual art- proposal before the 10th of May 2010 to:
We’ll get back to you until the 20th of May 2010


Curtsey to Esther for the info

Tori Amos – “Sleeps With Butterflies”

April 20, 2010