My Tranifesto

Butterfly WomanIt’s been a couple weeks since I last wrote here, in large part because I’ve been too sick/in pain to do much. I’ve also started going back to school, and one of my classes this semester is a history and theory of activism class. This coming week, we’re doing readings over a number of famous and infamous manifestos of other groups. These include The Woman-Identified Woman (an early lesbian-feminist manifesto), the SCUM Manifesto (an extreme pro-female anti-male manifesto), and the Gay Liberation Front Manifesto. One of our ongoing assignments through the class is to have an “activism journal” where we discuss our learning from the class as well as our experiences with activism/volunteering over the course of the semester. So this week, I’m going to do my first post of such, a manifesto of my own (a tranifesto if you will, in honor of the late Matt Kailey). Continue reading

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Physical Differences in Sexual Identity

Sexuality and identity symbols (not a complete list)

Sexuality and identity symbols (not a complete list)

Last time I began addressing the issue of why trans* people are not all intersex, even if some intersex people are trans* identified. I left off mentioning that I would discuss more in depth the physical differences, because they are pretty drastic.

As Natalie Reed pointed out a while back, transexual bodies and genitals do not react, function, etc. in the same manner as cissexual bodies of the same configuration. As she points out, the penis of a cis man, a trans man, and a trans woman all react differently from one another, more drastically different than within members of the same group. In other words, a trans woman’s penis is more different from a cis man’s penis than that same cis man’s penis is from another cis man’s penis, in regards to functioning. This is something I discussed briefly a couple weeks back while discussing how our sexuality shifts. Continue reading

Differing Sexual Identities

Intersex Pride Flag

Intersex Flag

An acquaintance and reader asks, “why don’t we consider trans* bodies that have medically transitioned in some way as intersex? Why isn’t there a separate sex category for altered bodies?”

This is a long and complicated answer, so settle in for a long one today readers.

There can be arguments made for transitioning/transitioned bodies to be seen as a sort of “artificial intersex”, and I’ve discussed this with others in the trans* community in the past. Once we begin medical transition, we will never again be 100% male or female in body, blending bits of both. So why don’t we consider them to be intersex? Continue reading

Things Best Left Unsaid

Angry Gamer GirlSo yesterday, I was reading Matt’s post over at Tranifesto, and he was talking about a workshop a friend of his went to where there was an activity where the participants were to turn to one another and share something they wish they would never again hear in their lives. Matt thought it was a fun idea and played along, asking his readers to contribute as well.

This topic ended up coming up again later in the day as my friend Dori was telling me about the cissexist privilege she had to deal with in her women’s studies class that morning. Their final project was to interview a woman a certain number of years older than themselves, and a few weeks back, one of the girls in her class was bragging that she was going to interview a trans woman. The sheer level of cissexist privilege in that conversation prompted Dori to come out, which left her open to questioning, but she was completely ignored. This infuriated her so much that she blogged about it, and yesterday was the girl’s actual presentation. Continue reading

Marriage Equality is For All

I’ve said it before, marriage equality is a trans issue. Matt Kailey has said it’s a trans issue. Monica Roberts has discussed how it becomes an issue for trans people. Whatever your views on it (and the three of us have different views on the same issue), we can all agree that it does affect trans people.

Unfortunately, as Monica points out, it doesn’t always affect us in a positive way. Sometimes, it affects us negatively. Sometimes, the conflicts between organizations and groups become even more pronounced over this issue. Take for example the Human Rights Campaign’s recent push to have people change their Facebook profile pictures to a red version of the HRC equality symbol. I’ve known a number of trans folk who got up in arms over it (myself included, once awake enough to remember their history) and refused to do so, choosing instead other symbols to share our support of marriage equality without supporting HRC.

Why all the infighting? Well, Monica summed it up pretty well a few years back, but unfortunately, this conflict continues still today. In fact, it’s been blowing up social media feeds since yesterday over an incident that supposedly occurred wherein HRC members told some of the activists to take down the trans pride flag. This is agreed upon by everyone, though there is some disagreements about whether or not the HRC reps told them that “marriage equality is not a transgender issue.”

I don’t know what really happened, I wasn’t there, but I wonder where this rumor came from if it did not in fact happen. People on the scene did say that the trans activists were asked numerous times to remove their flag, and the HRC doesn’t deny this part, only that the phrase was uttered. Did HRC reps say it? I don’t know, only the people there really know. But what I do know is that such incidents continue to throw fuel on the fire of hatred between the two groups. If it happened, then the HRC reps are doing so. If it didn’t happen, then the people responsible for starting this rumor are the ones continuing the hatred.

Is there an easy answer? Unfortunately, yes and no. It’s easy to say but not so easy to do. We need to learn to set aside all the pettiness, from both sides, and work together. That’s hard to do. I can forgive, but I will never forget, and many others hold such a mindset. Unfortunately, that means that we’re always on guard against getting back-stabbed or thrown under the bus again. And that prevents us from working effectively together.

Is marriage equality the be-all-end-all that so many gay-rights activists make it out to be? No, far from it. And I hope that once this is all resolved in a few months, that we can begin working on real issues, like jobs, healthcare, and an end to laws that prevent us doing such things as voting or using the restrooms. Because having a family doesn’t mean anything if you can’t support them or take them out in public as equals.

An Attempted Return to a Less Enlightened Era

Election day is one week away, and early voting ends this Friday. I spoke a few weeks back about just how insane the Republican party is this year, courtesy of pressure from the Tea Party. However, we’ve seen some major headline cases in the past few weeks showing just how crazy some of these people are, and it worries me. Now, I mentioned before that normally, I’m not a single party voter. Not all Democrats are good and not all Republicans are bad. But this year, we have Republicans trying to push back on more than just gay rights, but also women’s rights. And the sad thing is, some of these Republicans are women themselves. Continue reading

Safe Space, What Does it Really Mean?

I spoke last time about slurs, and there’s more that can be said on that issue alone. However, today, let’s look at something that jumps off of that point and look at the bigger picture of the safe spaces where the arguments are going on. Not only is this slurs issue one that comes up in safe space, but so do many others. And this differs somewhat from whether it’s a generic safe space, such as one for all LGBTQ people like the youth center I volunteer at, or if it’s one for one specific group, such as a group for trans people, or even more specific such as trans youth or black trans men (which we have down here). So let’s look at general rules first, then I’ll get into some more specifics. Continue reading