Tuesday, October 30, 2007

International Transgender
Day Of Remembrance
18 Nov 2007

This will be the ninth year that a day has been set aside to honour the memory of all those transpeople killed by violence every year and to affirm our resolve to report transphobic crime. Over 400 people are named as having been killed, with many more remaining unknown.

The Transgender Day of Remembrance was set aside to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. The event is held in November to honor Rita Hester, whose murder in 1998 kicked off the “Remembering Our Dead” web project and a San Francisco candlelight vigil in 1999. Since then, the event has grown to encompass memorials in dozens of cities across the world.

Blaming the trannies

Gender bias sweeps the gay punditocracy

Published 10.24.07

It never fails that whenever the subject of civil rights protections for gay people comes up, opponents start griping about "special rights." A surprising number of people think it's already illegal to discriminate against gay people in the workplace, for example.
In fact, it's legal for employers to fire someone for being gay in 31 states. And transgender people, those with gender-identity differences, have even less workplace protection.
At this writing, a historic piece of federal legislation that would change that was due a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives within a week. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act has been around in one form or another since 1974 and, thanks largely to the work of Rep. Barney Frank, was finally due a vote earlier this month.
But the bill was put on hold when an unexpected drama unfolded in the so-called LGBT (lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender) community. Frank announced that he would be eliminating protections for transgender people from ENDA and submitting a separate bill for them. He said the bill would not otherwise pass.
About 250 LGBT organizations objected, including the most powerful one, the Human Rights Campaign. But its board later reversed itself, sort of, and said it would not oppose Frank's compromise bill although it would not actively support it, either.
At this writing, Wisconsin Rep. Tammy Baldwin plans to introduce an amendment that would restore protections based on gender identity. Even if ENDA – with or without Baldwin's amendment – passes the House, it is unlikely to get through the Senate or survive a presidential veto. Still, supporters argue a vote now will help strategize a successful campaign in 2009, after the presidential election.
The bill's drama is too complex to fully recount here, but it has caused a long-simmering debate in the LGBT community to reach a full boil. The issue is whether gay and bisexual people have enough in common with transgender people that they should be pursuing a shared agenda. Or, as several gay pundits put it, "Should employment protection for millions of gay Americans be held hostage to inclusion of transgender people?"
The underlying rhetoric of these pundits has been embarrassing. John Aravosis, owner of the popular AMERICAblog, wrote a piece for
Salon.com whose language included statements such as this:
"What [do] I as a gay man have in common with a man who wants to cut off his penis, surgically construct a vagina, and become a woman. I'm not passing judgment, I respect transgendered people and sympathize with their cause, but I simply don't get how I am just as closely related to a transsexual (who is often not gay) as I am to a lesbian (who is). Is it wrong for me to simply ask why?"
This sentiment has been echoed around the Internet, and it demonstrates profound ignorance – not only about the activist role transgenders have had in the civil rights struggle but the very obvious way gay people's concerns are related to those of transgenders.
Arguably, the very basis for discrimination against gay men and lesbians originates in gender transgression. In the 1950s it was not uncommon for police to arrest people who "acted" or "looked" gay. This didn't mean the person was necessarily cross-dressing or was transsexual. It could be because a man was effeminate or a woman looked, to use a once-common term, mannish.
Indeed, even within the gay community itself, the receptive partner in anal sex – the "bottom" – has long been feminized simply because his role is analogous to the woman's in heterosexual sex. There is practically no stereotype of gay people that doesn't involve a gender issue – whether its effeminacy or, at the opposite compensatory extreme, the adoption of styles so hypermasculine they come across as ironic (to everyone else).
Of course, it's been an obsession of much of the gay male community to fight gender-based stereotyping by promoting the guise of "masculine normality." It is no wonder that transgenders, stereotyped as men who want to be women, are so annoying to this group of gay men.
Personally, I don't buy the argument that ENDA should be adopted without protection of transgenders. Aravosis and company argue that most civil rights movements have made their gains incrementally. True. I also think it's a valid criticism that the recent addition of transgenders to ENDA has not involved sufficient education of congressmen.
But I don't see that we are bound to proceed "incrementally" just because history has unfolded that way. ENDA's unlikely to become law before 2009, so the next year might be best spent educating people inside and outside the LGBT community about the ways sexual orientation and gender variance are related.
Cliff Bostock holds a Ph.D. in depth psychology. For information on his private practice, go to

Philippines rejects trans records case

24th October 2007 17:23PinkNews.co.uk writerThe Supreme Court of the Philippines has ruled that woman may not change her civil registry records.Born Rommel Jacinto Dantes Silverio, the woman underwent gender reassignment surgery in 2001 and wanted her records to reflect her transition.While recognising that trans people do not "fit neatly into the commonly recognised parameters of social convention," the court said there is no law regarding people who have undergone gender reassignment. "While the petitioner may have succeeded in altering his body and appearance through the intervention of modern surgery, no law authorises the change of entry as to sex in the civil registry for that reason," the judgement read, according to AFP.She had hoped to change her name and records in order to marry her partner.Last year Amnesty International launched a global campaign calling upon the Philippine government to pass legislation prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.Amnesty members from around the world joined forces with the lesbian and gay legislative advocacy network Philippines (LAGABLAB-Pilipinas).The legislation being considered by the Philippine congress would see an amendment to the Philippines constitution prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Online Survey of Inequalities and Discrimination experienced by Trans People in Europe

Dr Stephen Whittle, Professor of Equalities Law at Manchester Metropolitan University and Dr Lewis Turner, both of the FTM Network UK and Press for Change are leading a small (and very short) research project for the European Union, Press for Change, ILGA & Transgender Europe.
Stephen Whittle says:

If you are Trans identified in any way, then this survey is for you. It is for all ages and it is fully inclusive of all types of trans identity from cross dresser through to Transsexual as well as agender and polygender. However, if you want your personal experiences as a trans person reported back to the European Union, your responses must be completed by October 31st 2007.

This survey is only for those people living (or recently living) in any of the European Union states. The results of the project will inform the European Union and many other public authorities. If you are not sure whether your state is in Europe then see the map below, where EU countries are depicted in YELLOW.

The survey is available identically in nine initial languages; we hope to add three or four further languages shortly. You can take part in whichever language you prefer, regardless of the country you live in now - but you must only take part once.

The results of the project will inform the European Council and many other public authorities in Europe and help them develop new ways of promoting equality. The main objectives of this research project are:

To document the extent and types of inequality and discrimination people experience because they are Trans
To pinpoint the areas of life where trans people have experienced being treated unequally or have been discriminated against
To establish the ‘trigger points’ which have led to a individuals experiencing inequalities or discrimination and
To make recommendations for immediate changes to work practices and for future research in the area.

The survey will take you around 30-45 minutes and it will be completely confidential.

We have tried to be comprehensive for the purposes of the research, but please remember that this survey is going out in many languages, and that has made it difficult to get all the correct terms you might understand and also to limit the number of questions we dare ask you.

PLEASE ask ALL of your TRANS friends, including part-time cross dressers, transgender, transsexual, a-gendered and poly gendered people and anyone in-between to complete this questionnaire. In fact, why not have a party night, bring in all the computers and laptops you can borrow and amidst the tapping of keys enjoy your evening with good friends.
BUT each person must only complete it ONCE.
Any questions email : survey@pfc.org.uk