Tag Archives: trans rights

Trans Rights are Human Rights

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Debbie says:

One of the right wing’s most potent strategies against us is their ability to keep moving the needle, and make it so hard for us to focus. The outrage of the day is surpassed by the outrage of the next day, and everyone’s eyes follow the action.

Thus, I want to be really sure not to lose track of the current administration’s claim that it will erase the existence of trans people altogether, using an executive order to declare that “genitals at birth” are a permanent marker of a person’s legal gender.

First, this hasn’t happened yet, though I have no doubt that it’s a genuine plan and they will try to make it happen.

Second, it’s impossible. Sports oversight bodies have been trying for decades to clearly and fairly identify sex and gender, and they have never succeeded. And they are dealing with adults. When the White House uses genitals “at birth,” they erase all kinds of intersex people, including those who are identified female at birth and then have testicles descend at puberty. It won’t work.

However, if enacted, this policy will cause endless pain, suffering, and discrimination to many of the one million or more trans and nonbinary people in the U.S., and will inevitably cause a large number of unnecessary deaths: from people who are unwilling to seek medical attention, from suicide, and more. It is a disgusting, inhuman policy–exactly what we expect from the current people in power in our country.

Since doing nothing is perpetuating evil, I commend Christianna Silva and Lucy Diavolo’s article in Teen Vogue, How to Help Transgender People Fight the Trump Administration’s Policy Memo.

First, they say, Vote! If you feel like you’re hearing this message a lot, it’s because (whether or not your heart is with the American two-party system), it’s the most important thing you can do right now to fight the nationalist, authoritarian movement trying to completely take over our country.

Next, reach out to your transgender and nonbinary friends:

If you have trans friends, cook them a meal, buy them a present, or visit their house to help with chores like laundry and cleaning — things that can fall by the wayside when you spend all day in bed crying. Demonstrating tangible support for trans people is a way to let them know they’re not alone.

Here, I’m going to depart from the order they present, because I think this is crucial. They say, donate directly to trans people, especially trans women of color.

Rewire.News reporter Katelyn Burns put out a call for crowdfunds on October 21, and it’s a great place to start looking for people whose lives you can impact now. Similarly, hashtags like #transcrowdfund on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Tumblr are full of folks brave enough to ask for help.

Note that last sentence; it does take courage to ask for help, and courage deserves response.

Then, call your representatives at the federal, state and local levels. This doesn’t work so much for me, because I live in the heart of the blue bubble (and to the left of the blue bubble) and all of my elected officials are in at least basic sympathy with trans people’s right to exist and thrive. But it might work for you, so take it seriously.

Educate yourself, then educate your friends and family.

Read up on transgender rights in the U.S. and across the world, and then send some of your favorite resources over to your friends and family. Call and text the cis people in your life about accepting and supporting trans folks. Talk to your cis peers about how you can support the transgender people in your community.

Learning the language is a key step toward being able to effectively advocate for trans people’s rights, and getting to know the issues trans people face on your own will save them a lot of explaining.

Donate to trans-led organizations, especially local ones. They offer good links which you can go find, if you haven’t spent all your disposable cash on the #transcrowdfund sites.

And, finally, stay involved, especially as the new federal policies enter public comment periods.

“Many proposed changes to federal regulations, like the one written about in today’s New York Times, have to go through something called ‘notice and comment,’” [ACLU attorney Chase] Strangio explained. “So, through mail, people are able to say what they think about a federal rule. This is a huge opportunity for citizen engagement, because even if it doesn’t impact the administration’s decision, it will be easier for pro-LGBTQ+ organizations to argue in court that the measure is discriminatory.”

We are connected human beings who owe each other thought and care. If you’re cis, this is your chance to be part of the response. If you’re trans or nonbinary, you’re in my heart.

Follow me on Twitter @spicejardebbie

February Links

Debbie says:

Just after the turn of the year, when everybody and her sister was telling you how they were going to lose weight in 2016, Veronica Bayetti Flores at Feministing released a whole post of great music videos to counteract the bullshit.  Here’s just one of my favorites, from Mz 007 in St. Louis:

And we really need those antidotes, because Ragen Chastain at Dances with Fat, who is always alert to fat-shaming, found one of the most horrifying anti-fat stories ever (and that’s not easy):

Elaine Yu, an assistant professor and clinical researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital, will be conducting a clinical trial to see if taking pills containing the freeze dried fecal matter of thin people will make fat people thin….

Fecal transplants have been found to a legitimate, and very helpful, treatment to help people with bacterial infections, and the freeze-dried poo pill technology was developed as a way to facilitate these transplants. So now Professor Yu is going to give 20 fat people 6 weekly doses of poop pills (far fewer than in the bacterial infection studies where subjects were given 15 pills a day for 2 days), then track their weight at 3, 6,  and 12 months, telling subjects not to make changes to their eating and exercise habits (obviously, that’s difficult to determine, and I imagine that knowing that you are ingesting poo might have an effect on appetite – I know that researching ingesting poo did for me.)

Further into the post, Ragen deconstructs the assumptions behind this incomprehensible experiment with her usual good sense and flair.

Also deconstructing assumptions about fat we find Ampersand reviewing the Swedish study which said, basically, that you can’t be fat and fit.

I’m not saying that this Swedish study should be ignored (although it has limitations – see below). But it’s one data point among many…

This study only measured fitness at age 18….

So the study didn’t measure if being currently fat and fit reduces current mortality; it measured whether being fat and fit at age 18 reduces mortality over the next three decades. That’s an interesting thing to study – but it’s hard to see how this speaks to whether or not someone like me – a 47 year old fat man – might reduce my risk of mortality with regular exercise in my current life.

Furthermore, since the study only followed male subjects, it’s unclear if these results can be generalized to women.

Staying in the same arena, I saw lots of  links to this story by Cynthia Graber and Nicola Twilley at Gastropod about why calories don’t correlate to weight. This article doesn’t excerpt well, because it makes so many separate points. If you are at all interested in what calories are, how they are calculated in the lab, how the lab calculations relate to what happens in your body, and why restricting calories doesn’t seem to change your weight (if it doesn’t), this is a don’t-miss story. I’m adding it to my file of “send to people who claim losing weight is simple” links.

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I did not realize that 2015 showed a marked spike in news and information about menstruation, but apparently I’m the only person who didn’t. Reina Gattuso at Feministing links to a number of mainstream articles on the subject, and then focuses on two student-led anti-period-shaming groups: Pads Against Sexism and Happy to Bleed.

According to the organizers, Pads Against Sexism (also called Pads Against Patriarchy) was inspired by a public art project by German artist Elone Kastratia, who celebrated International Women’s Day by sticking sanitary napkins (period diapers? vagina towels?) with feminist messages across her city….

Activist Nikita Azad started Happy to Bleed in November, as one of a chorus of feminist responses to a statement by Prayar Gopalakrishnan, president of the Travancore Devaswom Hindu Temple administering Board in the southern state of Kerala. Women aren’t currently allowed access to the state’s Sabarimala Temple (one manifestation of many world religions’ charming tendency to stigmatize menstruation). Gopalakrishnan posited that this could change when a magical machine was put into use to detect whether blood was — in the immortal words of Trump – coming out women’s whatevers

In response, Azad posted a rallying cry wherein she encouraged feminists across the country to post their own messages of menstrual solidarity on pads and social media.

A flurry of media activity in response to both campaigns helped lower the stigma and raised the profile of menstrual issues in India. Writers also took down the idea that periods are only chill because they’re important in making babies and babies are important to patriarchy. And Azad and other activists pointed out that menstrual stigma particularly affects lower-caste women and women living in poverty, who are often forced to miss school during their periods or have no sanitary accommodations at work. 

Oh, how I wish this conversation had been around when I was in high school and college!

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Two victories for trans people. The Transgender Law Center reports on advances in restroom availability:

This week, San Francisco joins Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Austin, Seattle, Santa Fe, and New York City in requiring all businesses and city buildings to designate single-stall restrooms as all-gender. While transgender and gender nonconforming people have the legal right to use restrooms that correspond to their gender, this kind of legislation is still a relief for people with disabilities, trans and gender nonconforming people, and families with small children — not to mention women simply tired of waiting on line for the women’s restroom while the single-stall men’s bathroom stands empty.

And Bobby Hankinson at Towleroad reports on advances in competition guidelines:

Previously, trans athletes were required to undergo gender-reassignment surgery. According to guidelines made public on Sunday, the new recommendations remove any restrictions on trans men, and allow trans women to compete in the Olympic Games after one year of hormone replacement therapy.

“The new IOC transgender guidelines fix almost all of the deficiencies with the old rules,” chief medical physicist, radiation oncology, Providence Portland Medical Center Joanna Harper wrote to Outsports via email. “Hopefully, organizations such as the ITA will quickly adapt to the new IOC guidelines and all of the outdated trans policies will get replaced soon.”

Harper, who is also a trans woman, attended the Consensus Meeting on Sex Reassignment and Hyperandrogenism that helped craft these guidelines in November.

And finally, if you are interested in artistic interpretations of human/cyborg/machine transformations, George Dvorsky at io9 shared a fascinating video. Sonoya Mizuno dances in “Wide Open,” the latest music video from the British electronic duo The Chemical Brothers.

 

All links from my regular reading, which includes Feministe, Shakesville, and Sociological Images,, along with Feministing, and io9, which are featured here, along with other sites. Also, we’re always on the lookout for interesting posts that connect racism and body image, and even more so during Black History Month, so send links if you have them.