Archive for the 'oppression' Category

Feeding the troll, part 2

July 17, 2010

this is what a feminist troll looks likeMy old friend Butterflywings – whose attempts at internet trolling I wrote about here – has submitted a couple of comments to my previous post. They have absolutely no relevance to that piece, of course, although in their own little way they’re really quite priceless, so I thought I’d share them here instead: transphobic hate speech of this calibre needs to put into the public domain so everyone can see it.

I’m not going to bother applying the pink sparklehammer of deconstruction to them; they speak for themselves. It is worth noting, though, that these are the words of a cis woman feminist. This, as they say, is what a feminist looks like.

Author : Butterflywings
E-mail : youthinkimtellingyou@yahoo.com
URL :
Comment:
Fuck you, little child. Your attempts to smear me all over the Internet are hilariously pathetic. You’re the one that hangs out in little cliques of people who agree with you.
Accuse me of trolling? Now I am. No point having a debate with morons, after all.

Author : Butterflywings
E-mail : likeintellingyou@hotmail.com
URL :
Comment:
You think you’re so great, don’t you? You realise everyone is laughing at you? I could demolish your pathetic attempt to argue against my arguments if I could be bothered, but frankly, posting links that agree with you…isn’t argument. Trannies are a bit thick, aren’t they.

It’s like waking up to find small piles of very smelly cat poo dotted around the place.

Time for some music, I think.

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Related post:

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McDonald’s refuses to hire woman because she’s transgender

December 7, 2009

Via the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund website:

On July 10, 2009, 17-year-old Zikerria Bellamy applied online for a position as a Shift Manager or Crew Leader at a McDonald’s restaurant in Orlando, Florida. On July 28, after managers at McDonald’s learned that Zikerria is transgender, she received the following voicemail message from one of the managers:

Transcript:

You went to [indistinguishable] McDonald’s today.
It doesn’t matter how many times you go down there.
You will not get hired.
We do not hire faggots.
You lied to me.
You told me you was a woman.
And then you lied to me.
You told me you were seventeen.
I can’t believe you.
You’re a lying brother [indistinguishable].
How could you ever lie to me?
We will never… [message ends]

It’s a bingo card all of its own, that: transphobia, racism, homophobia, cissexism, trans-misogyny, hate speech.

Needless to say, Zikerria didn’t even get a job interview – McDonald’s simply refused to hire her. Although whether you’d actually want to work alongside world class bigots and hatemongers like that manager is another matter.

TLDEF has now filed a Complaint with the Florida Commission on Human Relations against McDonald’s for refusing to hire 17-year-old Zikerria Bellamy because she is transgender.

More information over at the TLDEF website

This is not a trans woman

November 22, 2009

You cis people really are *obsessed* with toilets, aren’t you?

May 1, 2009

tgwc_sign_bbc_164x150Having read queenemily’s latest about the so-called ‘bathroom bill’ (link here) over at QT, I was initially tempted to drop in a snarky comment along the lines of “Well never mind, we can always go to Thailand instead” (obscure reference to a news story last year about trans only toilets in a school in Thailand).

But having had a not-so-great week, healthwise, I didn’t know if I had the energy. I just don’t see what new points can be made: as I said (somewhat bitterly) in another bathroom panic post – one of mine, this time – in January 2009 (link here):

I mean, far better that trans people run the risk of harassment and assault than cis people face up to the discomfort they feel at having to examine their own privileges and assumptions about the gender binary, normativity, prejudice, discrimination, ableism and so on and so forth…

Also, given that my first post on the subject (link here) from September 2008 has the highest stat count of anything I’ve ever posted here at BoP, and is still getting hits, well, I can’t help but wonder why it’s only ever cis people who seem so fixated on which bathroom the rest of us use.

The fact is that whole ‘bathroom panic’ has really become a meme of its own, almost an urban myth. So let me ask you cis folks a question.

Has anyone ever come up with irrefutable proof – court case reports, police records, press reports, just one thing – to show that even one trans woman has ever attacked or otherwise assaulted a cis person in one of “their” restrooms?

And while you’re scratching around trying to find me just one single shred of evidence of the horrible murderous things that we’ve done to you in “your” sacred spaces, may I also recommend you stop by at GallingGalla’s LJ and read her take on the New Hampshire case too? She’s telling it like it is and is way more on track with it than I am right now. Link here. Go. Read it.

Right. I’m off to buy a bottle of wine, go home and just chill a little.

I’ll be back in a while, no doubt, my interleckshual batteries recharged and all that – in the meantime, do let me know when you find that proof, won’t you? Because I tell you what – there are a lot of trans women would really like to see it.

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Previous toilet (non-)humour on this blog:

Qatar: TS/TG people – human beings or behavioural deviants?

April 27, 2009

Qatari flagCompared with certain other Arab states – Saudi Arabia, for example – Qatar might appear to have relatively liberal laws, even though it’s still not as liberal as some other Persian Gulf countries. However, since the mid-1990s, Qatar has been undergoing a period of liberalisation and modernisation which brought many positive changes. For example, Qatar became the first Arab country of the Persian Gulf to extend suffrage to women. Nevertheless, the country still lags behind the UAE or Bahrain in terms of more westernised laws and though plans are being made for more development, the government is cautious. (Via Wikipedia)

Regrettably, with regard to TS/TG people, in some areas this caution seems to manifest itself in a rather old-fashioned but nonetheless toxic form of transphobia, as can been seen from a recent report in the Gulf Times (link here):

[…] Dr Saif al-Hajari, the deputy chairperson of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, described the emerging trend of “manly women” and “womanly men” as a “foreign trend” which, he said, had invaded the Qatari and Gulf communities as part of the “globalisation winds”.

Interestingly, the terms ‘manly women’ and ‘womanly men’ could have come straight from the pages of a reparative therapist’s manual and they are almost common currency amongst those transphobic cis women radical feminists who, believing that gender is absolutely a social construct, insist that trans people can only be deluded dupes and pawns of the patriarchy for undergoing medical transition when all we really need is a good talking-to, and perhaps a nice cup of tea.

And, at the same time as Dr Saif al-Hajari talks of the ‘globalisation winds’ that have ‘invaded’ the country, the Qatar Foundation’s own website (link here) makes much of its mission to prepare the people of Qatar and the region to meet the challenges of an ever-changing world.

There’s more than a hint of small-c conservatism about Dr Saif al-Hajari’s words, which seem curiously at odds with the wider trend towards a more liberalised society. And the rest of his comments don’t inspire confidence that he thinks TS/TG people should be treated fairly and with respect:

“This is an issue which can harm all our social and religious values.”

I would suggest that a society whose social and religious values can be threatened – in an unspecified way – by a tiny minority of people who self-identify in a gender other than the one they were assigned at birth, is a society which has far deeper fissures in its foundations than anything that could be caused by the existence of TS/TG people.

“It needs some sort of bravery to address it.”

Oh please, Doctor: just listen to yourself. Perhaps if you did some work on the subject, you would realise that the real bravery is exhibited by those TS/TG people who live in another gender role, in a country where kneejerk transphobic reactions – like yours – are not only tolerated, but given airtime on national television.

“I have never imagined that one day I can see such behavioural deviations in our streets, schools or universities.”

This is simply a rather embarrassing display of an irrational fear of any gender presentation that exists outside a rigidly defined, artificial – and, frankly, archaic – binary. ‘Behavioural deviations’, indeed. Such things are defined by human beings and can easily be redefined to include, as to exclude. From where I sit, the phrase ‘behavioural deviations’ comes very close to hate speech, and is all the more cause for concern when it emanates from a country with a long and proud history of interacting with a multitude of races, peoples, languages and religions.

Not content with out-and-out transphobic hate speech, Dr Saif al-Hajari then proceeds to introduce xenophobia and paranoia into his arguments:

“These cases of behavioural deviations we have are not working alone. They co-ordinate with similar groups on regional and international levels,” he added.

The implication seems to be that there is some sort of international conspiracy to influence otherwise fine, upstanding, morally correct citizens into becoming some sort of threat to the established order by means of questioning their gender identity and presentation. Even a moment’s research would expose this assertion for the laughable fallacy that it represents. We transition to survive; not to overthrow governments.

To a question whether foreign education institutes established in Qatar are responsible for the spread of the phenomenon, Dr al-Hajari said that Qatar Foundation, which is the umbrella of foreign universities in Qatar, should set up a mechanism to protect young people in such universities from “invading behaviours”.

“We need to educate the administrative and teaching staff of these [foreign education institutes] on the special traits of our society.”

Hmm. Socio-cultural rehabilitation, anyone?

We are expected to accept the phrase ‘the special traits of our society’ without question. I’d be very interested to know how Dr Saif al-Hajari defines those ‘special traits’, and where he obtains his authority to make such definitions.

As for “invading behaviours” – has Dr Saif al-Hajari never heard of mukhannathun? There have been TS/TG people across the Arabian Peninsula – across the entire world – for as long as there have been humans. This is not a new phenomenon, a ‘trend’ to be reversed or a conspiracy to be repressed: it is an established and internationally recognised condition with a considerable body of medical evidence to support its existence.

“Some foreign schools and universities hire staff hailing from communities that do not see any problem in what we think of as deviations. This is a problem that should be dealt with.”

Again, it is unclear precisely why Dr al-Hajari believes that TS/TG people are a ‘problem’ to be ‘dealt with’.

It must surely be a matter of concern for anyone with even a passing interest in equality and human rights that such a forward-looking country should apparently tolerate such regressive and repressive views being expressed by so senior a person as the deputy chair of one of Qatar’s best known private, chartered, non-profit organisations. Dr al-Hajari, it is time to leave behind these proposals for the inhuman treatment of gender variant people – you may not understand us, but you can at least accept us as the fellow and equal human beings we are, in all our glorious diversity.

Is it political-correctness-gone-mad week?

April 2, 2009

European Parliament logoIt must be the week for those ignorant bigots who govern us to demonstrate the awfulness of their kneejerk approaches to gender issues. Meanwhile, those of us who actually live the life, well we still have to live it, no thanks to our political friends. Not that one would generally expect any useful support from said politicians anyway, be they local, national or European. More’s the pity.

So, perhaps it’s no real surprise to come across this little headdesker of a story from TheParliament.com (link here):

A group of MEPs have tabled a written declaration calling for a new parliamentary gender guidance booklet to be withdrawn.

Roger Helmer, Christopher Heaton-Harris and Martin Callanan, all UK Tories, have branded the guide as “political correctness gone mad.”

*sigh*

First, let’s note that these three are cis men and Conservative politicians. Those two facts alone speak volumes.

Second, let’s hear it again for our old friend “political correctness gone mad”. As I pointed out in my post of Monday, Cis man makes offensive “joke” then complains about consequent police warning (link here), Kai Chang deconstructed that particular meme a long time ago. To remind our three heroes, it’s called The Greatest Cliché: The Unexamined Propaganda of “Political Correctness” (link here). Here’s a taster:

Simply put, the great “PC” cliché, as commonly deployed in mainstream discourse, is cultural propaganda designed to befuddle and misdirect while defending the current power structure. All politics deal with power relations, and […] there’s a stark asymmetry of power between the defiant megaphone-wielders who complain of being constrained by humorless hypersensitivity from below, and the under-represented people of color, women, LGBT, disabled, poor, and otherwise marginalized or dispossessed people who have no choice but to absorb the linguistic, cultural, and physical barbs of the ruling class. The former feel psycho-emotionally oppressed by their inability to crack puerile […] jokes without criticism; the latter simply are oppressed.

And yet, according to Christopher Heaton-Harris, MEP:

[…] a person’s sex is fundamental to their sense of identity.

“It is an essential part of who they are, how they wish to be characterised, and how they relate to other people. This is just another example of political correctness gone mad in the European parliament. It’s time to make a stand for common sense,” he said.

He added “No one I know wants to be neuter and androgynous. They’re happy to be women or men”.

Oh I do love a sweeping generalisation. There’s just so much wrong in those few sentences it’s difficult to know where to start. Time for a quick smiting with the cluestick by the parliamentary authorities who issued the document, you might think. But instead, what do we get? Backpedalling, that’s what:

A parliamentary source said the guide is a voluntary code intended for staff and not politicians.

So the three MEPs are free to ignore the code – because it’s not aimed at them. And – to add insult to injury – it’s okay for parliamentary staff to ignore it too, if they choose. Makes you wonder why it was published in the first place.

I’d have thought that anything that helps (in no matter how small a way) to start changing the entrenched cissexist and trans-misogynistic attitudes that tell cis people it’s acceptable to misgender anyone who doesn’t fit neatly into the gender binary, should be encouraged. Especially by those privileged yet obviously bigoted cis politicians who claim to represent our interests in Europe.

More on ‘gender activism begins with gender rage’

February 19, 2009

tg_black-on_pink_100x107Okay, so I’m going to leave this post a bit open-ended for now – I’ll try and come back to it as I think things through, but I want to start with one particular thing that Kate Bornstein said in comments on my earlier post (Gender activism begins with gender rage):

The process of handling my “gender rage” keeps unravelling as I discover elements of each of the other nine systems of oppression that hold the gender system in place by their insistence that each of *those* systems has the right take on gender.

Kate lists those nine systems of oppression as:

  • class
  • age
  • race
  • gender
  • citizenship
  • looks
  • sexuality
  • religion
  • ability

My initial thoughts were how mind-boggling it is to consider the possible combinations of intersectionality in there – but I’m rubbish at maths so I won’t even try to put a finite number on it. Plus, of course there’s the less frivolous point that I’m more affected by some of those oppressions than others – some do oppress me, of course – but through some, I oppress other people.

If I consider the oppressions which affect me most obviously, then a (probably over-simplified) example might look something like this:

I experience oppression because I’m transsexual. And I experience oppression because I’m a woman. And then I experience a compounding of those two because I’m a transsexual woman. So those two oppressions, although they exist side-by-side, also interact dynamically to create a third.

Yay intersectionality!

However, let me not forget that I also benefit – from privileges around race, class and ability, at the same time that, f’rinstance, ageism and looksism work against me. So it’s quite easy to see how these things interact; but the outcome of that interaction seems to become exponentially more complex the more I think about it.

But this is not to say “Halp! Halp! I’m being oppressed!” like some special little snowflake, because it also occurs that probably almost every one of us is oppressed in some way, just as many benefit from privilege in some way.

And another thing: I find I’m a little wary of this subject because I think there’s a big ol’ hidden trap in there; namely the very real danger of unwittingly building hierarchies of oppression as a venue to host an Oppression Olympics all of my very own. Slippery slope alert…

But most of this is probably just a broadcast from the Department of the Bleedin’ Obvious – and none of which really feels like it’s bringing me any closer to getting a handle on this – well, I’ll steal Kate’s term for now – gender rage, although I may need to rename it ‘trans rage’, or some such (where I’m presently defining ‘trans’ as something like this) – because

And I really don’t want to get into Yet Another Trans 101 – but I do feel I should add that in the binary of sex/gender, I don’t think it’s my gender that’s at the root of this: my gender’s always been female, is pretty much how I see it, rightly or wrongly. Not to say that gender isn’t a construct, mind you. But just because something’s a construct doesn’t make it any less real. Plus, who’s to say that it’s not a mix of construct and neurological elements (and maybe other stuff too)? Hmph. Cue one of my current favourite quotes on the subject:

…I do not care whether I was ‘born this way’ or ‘became this way’. The question of the ‘gay gene’ or the ‘tranny brain’ is a potentially frightening route to another eugenics programme to destroy the brilliance of difference in the world, and the sooner we reject these projects the better. Whatever made me, I am, and I can no longer say who the `I’ is, except through a descriptive process…

(From Where did we go wrong? Feminism and trans theory – two teams on the same side? by Stephen Whittle)

I suppose, mostly, I need to percolate more on how the intersectionality of oppressions might be creating gender rage – sorry, trans rage.

For what it’s worth, I was re-reading Susan Stryker’s 1995 essay, My Words To Victor Frankenstein Above the Village of Chamounix — Performing Transgender Rage (link here) on the Tube this morning (I’m such a a brainiak), and she has some interesting ideas on the subject of ‘transgender rage’; stuff that I definitely need to come back to.

But right now, I have to go and finish my yummy instant soup and get-back-to-work-dammit :)

*cue the sound of small wheels grinding mechanically in Helen’s mind to accompany the symphonic slurping of soup*

The Transsexual Empire

February 15, 2009

Janice RaymondAll transsexuals rape women’s bodies by reducing the real female form to an artefact, and appropriating this body for themselves. […] Transsexuals merely cut off the most obvious means of invading women, so that they seem non-invasive.

The transsexually constructed lesbian-feminist feeds off woman’s true energy source, i.e. her woman-identified self. It is he who recognises that if female spirit, mind, creativity and sexuality exist anywhere in a powerful way it is here, among lesbian-feminists.

I contend that the problem with transsexualism would best be served by morally mandating it out of existence.

From The Transsexual Empire: the making of the she-male (1979) by Janice Raymond.

Illinois Vital Records division refuses to issue correct documents

January 28, 2009

Image from Chicago Sun TimesVia the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune, I see that two trans women have filed a lawsuit challenging the Illinois Vital Records division’s refusal to change their birth certificates.

Kari Rothkopf and Tori Kirk both underwent gender reaffirmation surgery in Thailand, and because both women had their surgeries overseas (not in the United States), the Illinois Vital Records division has refused to correct their documents.

This seemingly authoritarian interpretation of the state’s Vital Records Act is now being challenged by the ACLU on behalf of the two women, on the grounds that the denials are a violation of state law.

Officials with the Illinois Department of Public Health — which encompasses the Vital Records division — say their hands are tied.

“We are following the Vital Records Act, and we are simply enforcing that,” said department spokeswoman Melaney Arnold. “The part that we are particularly looking at is the definition of physician. Physician means a person licensed to practice medicine in Illinois or any other state.”

As in, one of the United States.

[…]

Joel Ginsberg, executive director of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association, estimates that between 1,600 and 2,000 patients undergo major gender-related surgeries each year.

“Given that many if not most health plans will not reimburse for medically necessary transgender surgery procedures, many transgender people find it necessary to leave the country in order to get the services they need,” Ginsberg said. “So it’s both illogical and unfair to not allow people to change their legal documentation to reflect the reality about their bodies and their condition.”

————

(Cross-posted at Questioning Transphobia)

Pope to save humanity *and* the rainforest. What a great guy!

December 23, 2008

Via BBC News:

Nobody expects the Spanish InquisitionPope Benedict XVI has said that saving humanity from homosexual or transsexual behaviour is just as important as saving the rainforest from destruction.

He explained that defending God’s creation was not limited to saving the environment, but also protecting man from self-destruction.

[…]

Pope Benedict XVI warned that gender theory blurs the distinction between male and female and could thus lead to the “self-destruction” of the human race

So much FAIL in one man.

But pray tell us, Your Holiness, how, exactly, acknowledging that gender is a spectrum (not a binary) – how is that going to bring about the self-destruction of humanity? Because you seem a bit unclear about the practicalities. And – this is just a wild guess, mind – but your upholding of the gender binary will exempt you from that destruction, amirite? Yep, thought so.

Ach, you know what? I really can’t be bothered with you. You’re talking through your tiara. Now go, run along, I think there are some gay and lesbian Catholics would like a word with you. (Via AP)

…*sighs, shakes head*…

Special flouncy curtsey to the lovely Kate Bornstein for being more patient than I, well maybe not really – link here – and I’m sure others also have some interesting things to say.

And now for something completely different: