My friend Cheryl pointed me to this very interesting blog post about the recently departed Lou Reed and his transgender girlfriend/muse/other named “Rachel.” It has many interesting photos and is a nice bit of 1970’s history, which too often seems to be lacking when we look back to record the history and happenings of our people.
It’s actually far beyond perplexing, it’s honestly scary that “faith-based” organizations perceive no hypocrisy in themselves for lying and going against the very commands of their religious texts. Think about it – an organization which claims to be the right arm of a supernatural force decides to create or spread imaginary stories for the purpose of subjugating and oppressing those who are different.
In this article, linked below, Christen Williams does another stellar job of debunking the latest fundamentalist Trans Toilet Terror.
The real question is why are so many throughout the rest of America just accepting or ignoring these lies when they happen? Why won’t the media investigate these claims with a simple phone call or two, instead of running as Gospel whatever some religious group asserts is the truth?
A good opinion piece from The Advocate, but it really doesn’t tell us much that’s new. Typically there are only two fundamental arguments which people use to oppose transgender civil rights.
- They think their religion forbids it.
- Transpeople are icky.
My guess is that the second item is the real root cause 90% or more of the time. Always remember, the average American has an incredibly limited education and is typically a very insulated individual who has had no real experience with any cultures outside of their gated community subdivision. Because they are ignorant they are easily frightened, and will grab onto any excuse they can to deny their fear and claim they are acting to “protect” someone else – in this case, their kids from the phantom menace of fake transgender kids peeking over stalls.
I’ve posted a review of the trans love story/drama Different for Girls (1996), which can be read in full at the link below.
Movie Review: Different for Girls (1996)
The basics: police constable Emma Chapman is suing for being embarrassed when a police dispatcher questioned her on her male-sounding voice on the police party-line radio. She says she was forced to declare she was a transsexual over the radio and this led to her suffering from severe emotional distress to the tune of £3,000 (about $5,000).
I can understand the embarrassment, as it’s implied she was deep stealth. And I sympathize with the issue of being “sir’d” on the phone or radio. I hope she is able to come to an arrangement and continue being out there and on the force, as we need every one of us to be mainstreamed.
I thought I should post another international article, just as a reminder that “even though it sucks here, it could be worse…”
The status of transgender persons in fundamentalist countries varies somewhat, typically being assigned an importance between a dog and a small pile of dirt. These women in Pakistan are truly brave transgender soldiers in our global movement, living in a country where not only could they be killed at any moment by someone who took issue with them, but their crime would most likely never be investigated. And if caught, the perpetrators would likely receive a slap on the wrist.
Never mind the fact that the police are sometimes the criminals! From the article:
Zeba, a transgender rights activist in Pakistan who was born with both male and female sex organs, was resting at home in the Imamia Colony neighborhood of Peshawar when the front door was suddenly kicked open.
Local police, together with angry residents of the area, stormed inside — smashing Zeba’s belongings and shouting threats.
Forced outside into the street on that October 20 evening, Zeba saw that the same thing was happening to scores of others from Pakistan’s transgender minority who have moved to the neighborhood during the last 25 years.
This is a lengthy and well-written article about the latest battles over Trans Toilet Terror in Iowa, as a minority of persons attempt to prevent transgender women from using the bathroom in accordance with their gender expression. The primary arguments concern the interpretations of the Iowa Civil Rights Act, with some transwomen winning in court, others losing. Recall if you will that this is a state which recently crowned a transgender homecoming queen at UNI, so awareness is certainly growing among Iowans.
There are a few case histories of discrimination on and linked to the page which could be worth reading. As always on newspaper websites, don’t read the comments unless you’re a glutton for punishment.
Nothing but happiness here – despite a conservative backlash forming in the political weeds and swamps of the country against transgender persons, Wall Street is more and more seeing the light. According to the San Jose Mercury News:
From Apple to General Mills, nearly one fourth of Fortune 500 companies cover medical expenses associated with transgender care, according to gay and transgender rights group Human Rights Campaign. That’s up from 19 percent last year. When the group began tracking transgender benefits in 2002, no Fortune 500 companies offered them.
I will be shocked if the number doesn’t break 50% in just three more years. We’re making huge strides, folks!
I suggest reading the source article – there is a touching anecdote in there about a transwoman whose company, like mine, treated her with dignity and respect.
I’ve combined two stories of note here due to their topic being in a similar vein.
The first one is somewhat satisfying, to the extent possible when one of our sisters is murdered in cold blood. Lowlife scum Miguel Inostroz was sentenced to 112 to life for the brutal murder of transwoman Lucy Parkin. It does not appear that the crime was motivated by her being trans, but what’s noteworthy is that justice was done. In other words, in a justice system which is often biased against transpeople, the jury did the Right Thing.
The second story concerns an accusation – not proof of guilt – of a uniformed El Monte, California police officer who allegedly illegally detained and raped a transgender woman. According to the article:
Roe was crossing Garvey Avenue at Central Avenue (map) on the way to a friend’s house between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. when a uniformed El Monte police officer pulled up in a marked patrol car and demanded to know what she was doing, according to the civil complaint.
The officer ordered her to lean into the driver’s side window of the patrol car.
“Because she feared for her safety if she refused, (she) leaned forward and (the officer) groped her breasts,” the complaint says. “He then asked (her) if she was ‘a nasty she-male.’ (She) responded that she was transsexual.”
The officer then allegedly ordered her to walk into an alley behind businesses in the southeastern corner of the intersection, and into a secluded parking lot behind 10052 Garvey Avenue.
Once there, he ordered her to perform oral sex on him, the complaint says. After several minutes, he raped her on the trunk of his patrol car while calling her demeaning names.
The officer then allegedly threw his used condom on the ground and told the transgender woman to leave. After a few moments, she returned to retrieve the condom for use as evidence, according to the complaint.
Sickening if true. And it’s certainly not unheard of – according to Injustice at Every Turn, “Six percent (6%) reported physical assault and 2% reported sexual assault by police officers because they were transgender or gender non-conforming.”
The first one was The Way Out Club, said to be England’s largest transgender and crossdressing club in the country (some say Europe). The Club does not have a fixed location, and meets at two other nightclubs – the night we attended, it was at the Gilt Bar; other nights it meets at the Yager Bar. The Club as such only meets on Saturday nights, so you can call it a moving transgender party rather than an actual nightclub.
We arrived early due to schedule issues, and found a clean and well-laid out place with a very friendly staff who seemed like they were happy to have us there. Drinks were reasonably priced (for London) and the dance floor reasonable (again, for London…in England, everything, including club venues, are typically much smaller than the United States). The music was techno-dance, which was reasonably danceable.
I wish I could report that I had a lot of interactions with the transgirls there, but the club generally does not pick up until past midnight. I did speak briefly to one of the staff there, who told me that most of the patrons tend to be crossdressers, and as such they often don’t come out until it is very late. I also spoke with one crossdresser, G., who was preparing herself for the night, and she told me that the place “very comfortable…you can dance, hang out, or show any interest and get a date to take you home.”
What she was referring to was the chasers, who unfortunately still outnumbered the actual t-girls by nearly 2:1 by the time we left. The situation may be different if you stay later, but remember, in London you can’t really stay much past midnight without needing an extremely expensive taxi or dodgy bus ride, as the tube stations mostly shut before 12:30.
The second place we called at was The Candy Bar, which bills itself as a lesbian club which is welcoming to transgender persons (and men). The Candy Bar is a permanent club, and it is run very differently from the Way Out Club. Candy is noisy, very crowded despite having three floors, and hosts a much younger crowd than the Way Out Club. Upstairs are a few chairs and couches to sit on, which were always filled with girls chatting or making out. Ground floor is the bar, which is a bit pricey even for London, and downstairs is the dance floor and toilets – but to get downstairs, you have to turn over your handbag and coat to a check facility, which charges you a pound an item to take them. This was said to be due to “fire regulations” but it was apparently applied at random, as club regulars could take their bags downstairs.
The staff seemed indifferent overall, and even though we were supposed to get half-price admittance, due to a “technicality” we had to pay full price. The music the night we were there was London hip-hop, which we only danced a little to. There were also an annoying number of men there, some who seemed to be doing little more than ogling the girls making out and dancing together. I’ve read on their website that Candy Bar will be moving next year due to a rent increase, so it may also change its style as well.
Between the two, if you are in London, I recommend trying Way Out – just plan to stay late and arrange transport. I’d happily return there.
In the United Kingdom (where I was recently vacationing; I’m on my way back right now) Paris Lees is a big name, raising transgender awareness on many fronts. From the article:
- Paris presented a collection of films about transgender people for Channel 4, becoming the channel’s first transgender presenter
- She presented The Hate Debate, a show about prejudices for Radio 1, becoming that station’s first transgender presenter
- Paris was the first transgender woman to appear on the cover of DIVA, a magazine for lesbian and bisexual women
- She became the first transgender judge for the Independent on Sunday’s annual Pink List in 2011 and returned to the judging panel the following year
- She has previously worked with the Gender Trust and Trans Media Watch, and currently works with All About Trans
- She challenged Jonathan Ross over a transgender joke he made – and charmed him into giving a video interview
Danna Elaine Wheeldon sent me this link to an article by Dr. Brian Ginsberg about transgender skin care and dermatology treatment. One item I noted was he mentions “pumping parties” as an aside, and it’s terrible to think that in this day and age “pumping parties” still exist. But when folks are desperate and money is short, it’s unfortunately a fact of transgender life.
Lawrence J. Altman, the Lead Compliance Attorney of the Exceptional Education Department of the Kansas City Missouri Public School District has written a legal essay on the current status of laws which may protect transgender students from bullying and discrimination. He contacted me and asked that I review and publish his work on Transas City, and I am very pleased to do so. The entire essay is applicable throughout the United States, and I highly recommend you pass on the link to anyone who may be interested.
Two small victories which are worth noting. First, the Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, commissioners voted 6-3 to add employment protections for transgender workers. Their new policy now bans discrimination based on “actual or perceived gender as expressed through dress, appearance, or behavior.” The vote came down along party lines, with the Republicans sadly repeating the mantra of fear, uncertainty, and dread involving transgender persons. From the article:
Yet, Republicans Bill James, Karen Bentley and Matthew Ridenhour each objected.
James said the policy would allow “men in dresses” to use women’s restrooms.
“I don’t think that Mecklenburg County employees — the female ones — are going to want to be sitting in a stall in a bathroom and see a man in the stall next to them,” James said. “Just because a guy dresses like Little Bo Peep does not mean he gets to go into the women’s bathroom.”
That, from the “party of Lincoln?”
The second article regards a transgender student at the University of Manitoba, who won a victory which forces the University to enter mediation with him regarding overt discrimination by professors. From the article:
According to Leggett’s complaint, a professor once explained that she didn’t have to refer to him by anything but his birth name.
Another suggested that if Leggett had a moustache, she would consider calling him a man.
However, the University did win on other points, including “complaints about a Facebook group and unprofessional behavior.”