“The mannerisms that help define gender—the way in which people walk, swing their hips, gesture with their hands, move their mouths and eyes when they talk, take up space—are all based upon how non disabled people move…The construct of gender depends not only upon the male body and female body, but also on the non disabled body.”
— Eli Clare, On Ableism within Queer Spaces, or, Queering the “Normal” (via crustified)
saw eli clare do a poetry reading at school, so powerful and inspiring oh my goodness. when I was younger I never thought poetry would be able to make me cry.
All of this presupposes that there is only one right way to look like and be a woman. And it’s infuriating. On the one hand, whenever I go out in public or post pictures online, a part of me is deathly afraid that I’ll be insulted or worse. I desperately want to be accepted as the woman I am. On the other hand, I hate that in order to feel safe, I’m expected to fit into the very narrow box that is labeled “woman.” Tips on how to pass always seem to say that you should avoid building muscle mass and avoid wearing clothes and makeup that are too costumey, that you should try to hide your shoulders and soften your features. Trans women are often told that if we want to pass, we have to try our hardest to be petite, soft, have just the right amount of femininity, and not stand out too much. But what if I want to be a different kind of woman? What if I want to look like Grace Jones or Kate Moennig? What if I want to look like Beth Ditto or Dolly Parton? They’re all cis women; don’t they pass?
— Jeremy Yoder @ Denim & Tweed
I’m pleased and excited to announce that a project I’ve been working on for the last few months is finally ready to launch: A new, nationwide survey of queer folks working in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
You may recall that back when I hosted the first Pride Month edition of the Diversity in Science Carnival, one of the recurring themes was that, although we know lesbians, gay men, and bisexual and trans* folks work in STEM fields, our presence isn’t very visible. A few months ago, I started poking around the peer-reviewed literature, looking for studies of LGBT folks in science. I didn’t find much. Studies of LGBT folks in academia either focus primarily on undergraduate students, or consider faculty and staff across all academic disciplines as a group, or they consider very small, localized samples. And careers in STEM extend well beyond the campuses of research universities—what about folks outside the ivory tower?
I brought this up with my friend Allison Mattheis, who just happens to be the perfect person to talk to about this kind of thing: she’s just finished a Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development, and who is starting a faculty position in the College of Educationat California State University Los Angeles this fall. Together we decided that, yes, there’s a real gap in the existing literature—and we want to close that gap.
So, in our not-very-considerable spare time, Alli and I have been putting together the first stage of a study to answer the questions we have about queer folks in STEM: who we are, what we study, and how our identities have shaped our interest in science and our experiences of working in research. That first stage is an online survey, which we’re hoping to distribute as widely as possible using a strategy called (heh) “snowball sampling”—asking folks who take the survey to pass it on to their friends and colleagues.
As of today, that survey is live and accepting responses at a dedicated website,QueerSTEM.org. If you’re lesbian, gay, bisexual, or trans*, have at least a Bachelor’s or technical degree, and are currently working in a STEM field in any capacity—from grad school to tenure-track faculty to corporate R&D to government employees to teachers—then we want to hear from you. Go take the survey, and then help us spread the word by sharing the short-link http://bit.ly/queerSTEM on Facebook and Google Plus, tweeting it (with the hashtag #QueerSTEM, if you please), or e-mailing it to folks who should contribute.
The plan is to leave the survey open for sampling until we’re satisified that we’ve collected a large, thorough sample of queer folks working in STEM in the U.S. I’ll share prelminary results as they become available—both here and on the blog at QueerSTEM.org—and, with any luck, we’ll ultimately publish what we find in an appropriate scholarly journal. We’re very excited to see the picture of sexual diversity in scientific careers that emerges from this work.
And emphasis on ANY capacity above—I don’t really consider myself a STEM person, but I work in a STEM field right now, and many of my coworkers are in STEM via interdisciplinary social sciences and political science (and social sciences ARE explicitly included in the survey). In fact, the whole point of the program I work in is interdisciplinarity, so anyone else in similar jobs/programs that might feel like a grey area, still check this out and see if you fit because it is so important to make these arenas accessible to underrepresented populations.
The Los Angeles Transgender Film Festival is seeking films for our fifth annual film festival. Whether you’re dealing with gender-specific issues or not, we will be screening many diverse works made by trans, genderqueer, and intersex artists, including comedy, dramedy, drama, experimental, animation, and more! We also welcome work by allies who are showcasing trans or genderqueer themes in their work.
Submission Guidelines/Entry Form [PDF]
The LA Transgender Film Festival consists of an annual film festival, awards show, and international tour. We have traveled to UCLA, University of Texas Austin, CSU Long Beach, Culver City High School, Lifeworks queer youth program, and Pasadena City College, among many other venues. Apart from film screenings, we also have in store some tasty live performances and panel discussions with artists and activists.
To bring the LA Transgender Film Festival to your campus or community, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Argentina JUST PASSED a groundbreaking gender identity bill!!!
From now on, people will be able to change the name and gender on their ID without needing psychiatric permission or any body modifications. Furthermore, anyone who does want hormones or surgery will be able to access them for free through the public and private health system.
It was passed unanimously today by the Senate
Argentina is just getting more awesome by the year. Countries that aren’t Argentina need to take note.
Assembly Bill 1121 (about) , authored by Assemblymember Toni Atkins and cosponsored by Transgender Law Center and Equality California, passed the Assembly Committee on Judiciary today. The bill will help ensure that transgender people have access to identity documents that accurately reflect the name and gender that correspond to their gender identity. The bill will next go to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
“Having identity documents that accurately reflect who you are is vital in so many areas of every day life – from applying for a job to exercising our rights at the ballot box,” said Masen Davis, Executive Director of Transgender Law Center. “Many of us wouldn’t think twice when asked to show our ID, but this is a very serious issue for transgender people.” In 2011, the National Transgender Discrimination Survey showed that 44% of transgender people reported having been denied service, harassed, or assaulted when presenting identity documents that did not match their gender presentation.
Every year, Transgender Law Center gets calls from hundreds of people who need help navigating the complex and expensive processes required to change a person’s legal name and gender. While some states have administrative procedures that permit transgender people to amend the gender marker and/or name on their birth certificates, California still requires a court order as a prerequisite before the state’s Office of Vital Records will change the gender marker on a birth certificate. Court fees are currently $435 for a gender change or name change petition. AB 1121 will allow individuals to bypass the court and apply directly to the Office of Vital Records to amend a birth certificate. That will both streamline individuals’ access to corrected birth certificates and reduce the caseloads of overwhelmed courts.
AB 1121 would also make the name change process more private and affordable for transgender people, removing the requirement that a person publish a notice of the intended name change in the local newspaper for four weeks.
Sajian Bernard of Sacramento, who testified at the hearing, has been trying to legally change his name and gender for several years. He told the committee, “I’m really uncomfortable about the way that the newspaper notice is so public, basically announcing to everyone in the world that I’m trans. Whenever I’m outed as trans it’s humiliating, and could actually put me in danger.”
Ilona Turner, Legal Director at Transgender Law Center, concluded, “AB 1121 provides common-sense reforms to streamline an overly-complicated legal process. We are very pleased that the committee passed this bill, and we are incredibly grateful to Assemblymember Toni Atkins for authoring it.”
For your glitter sex parties. For your ability to self-identity. For you to be femme trans men. For you to have GAY RIGHTS!!!! and to even have national conversations about ~marriage equality~ as shitty as they both are. We died to give you life, a voice, a fucking megaphone and stand so you could shout every fucking crime committed against your body/psyche/soul/family. We died to live as freely and proudly and as unapologetically as we could. We were murdered and tortured and imprisoned and ridiculed and dehumanized and marginalized and pushed out of the VERY ORGANIZATIONS WE CREATED SO YOU COULD HAVE YOUR ~PRIDE~. YOUR VISIBILITY. YOUR QUEER SPACES. YOUR FUCKING LIBERATION.
Pay us some damn fucking respect and realize that the least you can do is give up some of your space so we don’t have to fucking fight our way to see the stage where our trans sisters aren’t even performing.
A Detroit-area McDonald’s recently found itself in legal trouble after falsely claiming its menuitems were halal, and New York City employees of the fast food chain went on strike last month to demand a living wage, but a franchise in Washington state is grabbing headlines for actually doing something right: Providing safe, guaranteed access to bathroom facilities regardless of a person’s gender identity or expression.
We respect the rights of all customers and employees. We believe all people must have access to safe and dignified bathroom facilities regardless of their gender identity or expression. Therefore, the following policy has been adopted for this restaurant at 1530 3rd Avenue … Employees and customers may use any restroom that corresponds with and is based upon the gender identity they publicly and exclusively assert or express.
The notice is seven years old, but David Santillanes, the current owner and operator of the franchise, said that the bathroom policy is an extension of how he hopes to treat all employees and customers: “Making sure my employees and customers are treated with dignity and respect is a priority for me,” he told the Huffington Post in an email. “This notice reaffirms my commitment to my employees and customers and underscores my restaurant’s compliance with applicable law.”
Area franchises make their own policies, and the bathroom notice doesn’t reflect the company’s overall position on transgender rights, according to a McDonald’s spokesperson. But they are supportive of the local policy (at least they are now, while it gets them good press):
“This specific decision was made by one of our franchisees for his restaurant,” U.S. Media Relations Manager Ofelia Casillas told HuffPost in an email on Wednesday. But, she added, all Golden Arches stand for equal rights.
“At McDonald’s, we respect and value everyone,” she added. “We have a strict policy prohibiting any form of discrimination in our restaurants. We recognize and appreciate individuals’ rights and require all our restaurants to follow local, state and federal laws.”
On November 28, 1998 a transgender African American woman named Rita Hester was murdered in Allston, MA. The outpouring of grief and anger over her death inspired the founding of the International Transgender Day of Rememberance. The background image in this piece is from one of these vigils.
Bisexual friends, just a reminder:
Describing your bisexuality by talking about other people’s genitals is not cool. Since one gender has the room to encompass a lot of different kinds of people with different bodies, any sexual identity has enough room to encompass people with a myriad of genital configurations. It is not unique to bisexuality and it’s not what makes bisexuality distinct from other identities.
So by saying “oh I like dick AND pussy” as proof of your bisexuality, you’re engaging in cissexism because you presume different genital configurations have to be spread among multiple (usually in this case described as “two”) genders, rather than acknowledging that one gender has the room for both and more.
Saying “I can stick my hand down someone’s pants and not care what’s down there!” is also not inclusive or progressive, it mostly just makes me cringe. Reducing people to their genitals is just not cool regardless, and it impacts us trans folks in uniquely bad ways because of the fetishizing (most often directed at AMAB trans folks) that occurs. Folks might think it communicates an enthusiasm for diversity, I suppose, but mostly it just tells me you haven’t thought this through and you haven’t earned any trust by saying it to me or many others, either.
Perhaps the best way to talk about your attraction (when it comes to talking about why bisexuality is distinct) is to always center around discussing your attraction to people and not bodies, because that restores the personhood to people whose bodies are used as a way to deprive them of it. Talking about your attraction to multiple genders is a good way to talk about bisexuality without engaging in cissexism on a linguistic level (although that isn’t the only way it manifests; vigilance in all areas is still required).
Everyone should read this.
*makes note to self*
Here it is! I’m not 100% sure if I like how it came out… it almost seems a bit too cutesy for the subject. Maybe I just like drawing cute clothes and bright colours too much!
This is for a contest with the Canadian Human Rights Agencies for their conference in May. All the Advanced Illustration students and Design students had to enter as part of their final. Kinda pissed that they required us to print it off at 24 x 36…. which I think is way too big and expensive ($50!!) for most students and their budget. We don’t even get to keep the posters. And the top prize is only $200. I feel kinda ripped off. :/
EDIT: A couple of people have sent me notes saying that “Transgendered” is incorrect terminology. I apologize, I kind of added the text last minute, and should have known better. I’ve uploaded a fixed version. :)
In conclusion, the drama between the transgender community and HRC (which sadly flared up last week after Rep. Frank introduced a non-inclusive ENDA) is a forty-year-old stew flavored with historical hatred, arrogance, political miscalculations, communication failures, misunderstandings, mistrust, and Machiavellian duplicity.
HRC also has a pathetic history of refusing to deal with trans people as equals not only in terms of civil rights legislation but even in hiring talented transgender people for their organization. This historical negativity keeps transpeople from working with HRC in any capacity. (Don’t even get me started about the African-American community beefs with HRC, that’s another post.)
The Chicago Police Department is installing two new private “changing rooms” with showers at its training academy to better accommodate transgender police recruits.
A CPD spokesman said the facilities are for “anyone who may feel uncomfortable in the men’s or women’s showers,” and are not intended solely for transgender individuals.
But the extreme sensitivity with which the department has handled my inquiries about the matter tells me this is not your everyday bathroom remodeling project.
Citing officer privacy, police spokesman Adam Collins said he could not comment on whether the department is expecting a transgender recruit any time soon.
Then he put me in contact with the department’s LGBT liaison, Officer Jose Rios, who doesn’t know either but lauded the shower installation as another step forward in the relationship between Chicago police and the LGBT community.
Chicago already has some transgender police officers who, like most transgender individuals, are not necessarily eager to be identified as such. Their priority is to be accepted in their new gender identity, and they would prefer to be treated like anybody else.
For that reason, I was initially concerned when I got a tip that the police department was installing a separate bathroom at the academy for a transgender recruit. Often, these types of “separate but equal” accommodations are created because someone is squeamish about sharing a bathroom with a transgender individual, and the result can be stigmatizing and discriminatory.
While I still have concerns in that regard, until we see how this works in practice, both local and national LGBT advocates tell me they believe this is a positive step by CPD, given the added complications created by the need to shower on the job.
Currently, the training academy at 1300 W. Jackson has separate locker rooms for male and female recruits, each with open group showers. That will continue to be the case.
In addition, recruits will now have the option to use the two private changing rooms, which are being created by adding showers to existing individual bathrooms with toilets. These will be gender neutral, “unisex” facilities, the same as can be found in many public locations these days.
Police recruits often switch during the day between physical training and classroom sessions and may take a quick shower in between.
“An officer chooses which restroom to use based on their self-expressed gender identity,” Collins said, reading a carefully worded statement. “Recently, CPD has taken the additional step of making two separate handicapped-accessible shower facilities at the academy available for recruits who may feel uncomfortable in the men’s or women’s showers.”
Is a transgender officer also allowed to choose which shower to use “based on their self-expressed gender identity” — or does it depend on them having the appropriate body parts? I can’t say as I know the answer, despite having asked, but I gather this will also be the officer’s choice.
Collins emphasized that “CPD welcomes all who wish to join the Department and are capable of doing the job.”
Most transgender police officers would welcome the opportunity to use a private shower such as what CPD is installing, said Patrick Callahan, a spokesman for California-based TCOPS Intl. (Transgender Community of Police and Sheriffs.)
“That’s what we see as best practices,” said Callahan, whose organization counts 1,500 transgender law enforcement officers in the U.S.
The old-style open showers that used to be the norm in high school gymnasiums are no longer workable, Callahan said.
“As a transgender individual, that would make anybody a little crazy,” Callahan said, praising CPD for being forward-thinking in this regard.
Such private showers are also helpful for other individuals with body-image issues, such as surgical scars, said Jamie Richardson, president of the Lesbian Gay Police Association — Gay Officers Action League of Chicago. Richardson also endorsed the shower installation. “I wish they had that when I was a kid. I probably would have passed gym,” laughed Richardson, a lesbian who said her boyish looks made her the target of hurtful teasing in school.
Somebody will jump to the conclusion that a transgender person requested special treatment here. I’ve found no indication of that. As best I can tell, this is being done at the city’s initiative. Even the folks at LGPA/GOAL say they haven’t been able to get information.
I’d like to tell you how much this is costing, but all Collins will would tell me is that the city has spent $5,557 so far on materials.
Like many of you, I’m still trying to get my arms around all the implications of transgender rights. You may remember my columns in support of my college roommate, Dave, who became Diane after a long career in the Army.
If gender-neutral bathrooms and private shower stalls are part of what it takes to make the world a more inclusive place, then I’m glad somebody is getting it started.