Children and Transgender People Part 2:

I received some great responses from part 1(you can read that here) and some really fantastic questions to answer in this section. As always you can ask questions here in the comments, on facebook or tweet me @aud_gabriel.

First I’m going to start of with the questions I received from a friend via tumblr. V.L writes;

“One thing that has been hard for me and maybe you can address more eloquently? is that I’m getting the more difficult questions from my almost tween.  She wants to know why trans folk are discriminated against.  Like she doesn’t quite grasp how evil the world can be.  How do you talk to a kid about that?  It’s so hard for me to explain why people are being shitty to one another because it doesn’t even make sense to  me.”

These kinds of situations are where a “no labels”/”we are all human” only rhetoric and understanding falls apart and inhibits your child’s ability to be a successful ally to trans people. Because even if you teach your kids “labels are for soup cans!” not everyone else does, and kids will bully and take notice of how others treat transgender people. A no labels approach is noble, but it isn’t an effective ally strategy. Humans do notice difference, and some people act very hostile and even violent towards that difference.

You can explain that the world is a very complex place, and that people often react with fear, anger and even violence to these complexities. In the case of trans people our existence challenges some very,very deeply held beliefs. The idea that there are, and only should be two mutually exclusive genders that your gender is immutable after birth and no changing can happen, is literally one of the foundations of western society.Transgender people shake that belief. It causes a very fundamental fear  in people. “if they are transgender, if their gender changes..what about me? Could that happen to me?” For many cisgender people this is a terrifying prospect. Gender is something that we base a lot of ourselves around. Transgender and especially genderqueer/non binary /gender non conforming people shake that base. When that is shaken some people would rather react with oppression, violence, bullying instead of taking a look inside themselves and examine their gender and answer tough questions.

“Another topic I’ve come across is the inevitable interest in parts and the different genitals people have and what that all means.  Believe me kids that age, if they are brought up to not be ashamed of their bodies like mine were, do not hesitate to ask for the details.  So maybe just a way to explain how genitals =/= gender in kid terms even though they’ve been immersed in a society that tells them the two are one and the same.”

It is great that kids are open and comfortable with their bodies. While telling kids that questions about genitals are rude and should only be asked by doctors is a good route it doesn’t always stand up to persistent kid curiosity.

Genitals are body parts. Just like our hands our. We all interact and use our hands in different ways. Some people havebig, strong hands and use them for working, other people have small delicate hands and might play piano. Some have fat chubby baby sausuage fingers and use them to type up blog posts. Each person has hands, but interact with them and have very different relationships with their hands. You can’t tell a person’s gender from just their naked, unadorned hands. Lots of women have big,tough hands, men might have tiny, delicate fingers and keep their nails in perfect condition. Some have short stubby hands that look like a childs even though they are 28. So if we went around and looked at everyones hands and assigned them labels, and lives based on what we thought their hands meant, for example making a woman with big hands do construction work, even though she loves to paint, and someone with small hands play picolo even though they hate music, would be wrong and make everyone miserable.

Genitals are just another body part that each human relates to in a different way. Like hands we all have them, they all look different, but they don’t define us and our relationship to the world or gender.

For parents with younger kids you can get around this question by emphasizing  that genitals are VALUE NEUTRAL.

Instead of “boys have penis’s and girls have vagina’s’ teach them that “some people have penis’s, others vagina’s and other people a mix of the two and that is normal”

“Another thing as kids get older is they tend to want to hear the history of trans activism and why it’s important.  And the reason they want to know more details is that they don’t hear about that sort of thing in school or anywhere ever.  So a kid’s history of trans activism would be super helpful.  It puts everything in context for them.”

This is an incredible question. I’m actually going to branch it off into its own desperate post about trans activist history for kids.

What I will say for now is that this is another time where “no labels/people are people” rhetoric is incredibly harmful to children, cis and trans. The reason kids don’t learn about trans people in history in school right now is tied in with the previous question, and sociatal cissexism and transphobia. Refusing to talk about people who are/were trans because “it isn’t important” erases them from history and a larger cultural context. For trans kids this means they suffer in silence, not knowing that their are others like them who have come before, that they have peers now. They loose out on the ability to find their culture, and yes transgender people do have a culture and a history. This is erasure and cissexism hiding under a blanket of psuedo progressive rhetoric. With out knowledge of trans history trans kids don’t know their rights, what they can do in the face of transphobia that has helped others. Cisgender kids have cissexism reinforced, after all if trans people had a history and really mattered, why don’t adults talk about them? By refusing to address trans issues with your kids, no matter their gender and no matter the reason you reinforce societal cissexist notions. Then when your child does encounter a trans person they may respond in a negative way, because they are having their implicit assumptions about the world shaken and have no previous positive frame of reference.

“Along with that comes the discussion of what to do if they see someone being bullied for being trans.”

This is where discussing trans issue with kids in order to make them successful allies becomes very important. If they know transgender people exist, that we are often hurt and bullied then dealing with this when they see it is much easier. A strong foundation of allyship needs to be laid. If the child is old enough you can explain that as a cisgender person they are incredibly lucky that they don’t have to deal with that (in social justice terms this is “privilege”) and they can use that luck to help. Because of transphobia and often unconscious cissexism trans/gender varient children are often victim blamed by others. “If they just dressed “normal” or “didn’t make a big deal out of it”(often this “big deal” is what would be considered a normal desire for acknowledgement and respect) they would not be bullied. Even otherwise perfectly kind teachers, administrators and parents might believe these things and not intervene or take the trans child seriously. Here is where your child can be an ally. They cann stand up for the trans child/person and confirm the happenings. They can get other children in on it as well. When 5 cisgender kids all back up Sally about being bullied by Bob, Sally is much more likely to be believed then if she mentioned it on her own.

If the bullying is violent they need to immediately either find an adult or if they are out of school or feel that they are unsafe as well dial 911/999 for help from police or to get the harmed person medical attention.

If the violence is more subtle or verbal teaching them to stand up for trans people by saying “stop that!” or “don’t use those words!” to bullies is one way. And trans people and kids will be so incredibly thankful for it.

Wow this was very long!

I still have a few more questions from other people to answer so it looks like this will be a 3-parter!

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Your Kids and Your Trans friends Part 1

This is the start of a series on what cis parents can do to help raise good trans ally children, or at the very least not screw it all up when their trans friends and relatives come around. A lot of these are reader/friend submitted. If you have a question or concept you want to have addressed you can post it in the comments here or on my facebook page (if you have it).

Round one of submitted questions come from my friend A.C:

“… I don’t know is what to say if she sees a trans person and tells me that that boy is dressed as a girl, or girl dressed as a boy”

Kids say all kinds of things. At this point in their lives (under 10) most kids say stuff like that and don’t mean to make a transphobic statement. It still is a transphobic and cissexist statement though. Now before you get upset at me, yourself, your kid remember something; Cissexism (the belief that being cis is the normal, default and good state or the only state) is heavily ingrained into our culture. The world is divided into cissexist catagories and rewards people for staying within those catagories and not challenging them. It is everywhere and no matter how hard you try, you and your child both have internalized this to some degree. You have to work on this much more as an adult, but luckily your kid doesn’t have as much to work through to undo the damage.

You can first say ” Clothes are for people, not any one gender. That person is wearing clothes that are their’s and that make them happy. Clothes are made of cloth and don’t have a gender of boy, girl or another.” you can elaborate and go deeper into things if the situation and child’s age are appropriate (this won’t work on 2 year olds for example).

Explain that there are many, many more genders other then “boy” or “girl” and that some people are both, or neither and that you can’t tell what gender a person is just by looking at them or what they are wearing. Explain that gender is how a person feels inside and that feeling is what really matters.

A.C goes on to write: ” especially since I have male friends who identify as male who do drag shows. How can I help see the difference between transgender and drag, as well as people in general who identify as their sex, but dress the opposite, such as a woman who identifies as a woman, but who wears masculine clothing and hair?”

First let’s tackle drag. Drag is a performance. A person who does drag is performing a character they made up. That character is not them 24/7. You can explain to your child that drag shows are like a play or movie. The people in them are acting and performing characters. Just the same as how Michael Crawford is the Phantom of the Opera only when he is on stage but not when he is at home with his family, drag performers are their drag persona on stage and at events, but are everyday people who also have everyday lives.

It is important to point out that while drag performers can “change out” of their gender, transgender and transsexual people can not. They are always, and have always been their identified gender. Also some members of the trans community find drag hurtful and degrading. If you have a trans friend it is best to ask them (away from the kids) how they feel about this, and follow their lead on the subject.

Now onto the next part of A.C’s question;

as well as people in general who identify as their sex, but dress the opposite, such as a woman who identifies as a woman, but who wears masculine clothing and hair?”

First  banish the term “opposite” in regards to gender from your lexicon. Once you do that, things will be much much easier. Since there are inumberable genders there really can’t be opposites. Also viewing gender (any gender) in terms of “opposite” sets the ground work for “us vs them” or “this vs that” thinking that is one of the groundings of cissexism in our society. Men are not “the opposite” of Women or non-binary people, they are “different” Try saying “different” where you would normally say “opposite”. Now that you have done that you as the adult can start clearly seeing how, in light of that, how easy things are.

Part of this is very similar to the first question about how clothes are for people. Most kids might not give a second thought to someone using she/her pronouns and identifying as a woman who dresses in what would be considered a “masculine way” but if they do notice there are things you can do.

Tell the child that like a huge box of crayon’s (the 90+ opening binder kind) with many shades of colors, there are just as many ways to dress and act to feel comfortable in your gender. (Shout out to Bryan for this analogy!) Some people feel comfortable some ways, and others in a different way.

Reinforce that there is no one right way or wrong way to express yourself through clothing, play, make up or what you like being called.

If your child says “those are boy’s clothes that Sue is wearing/ Sue is dressed as a boy” correct them gently and say something like “No, those clothes are Sue’s clothes and Sue is a girl so they are her clothes/girls clothes/ Sue is dressed in a way that makes her feel happy, she is dressed like Sue!” (swap names and pronouns around as needed)

Most children accept this easily and might even go on to correct other kids or adults!

Now for some non-reader submitted things.

Pronouns:

Always, ALWAYS use the correct pronouns for your trans friends and family. Yes, even when they are not around. Even when your child is not around. Even if you think their pronouns are “weird”. Because it is the right thing to do, and because your child will inevitably rat you out in a terribly embarassing situation along the lines of “but mommy and daddy don’t call you him/her/the/sie/etc why do I have to” then you will most likely be out a friend or family member and thanksgiving just became even more unbearable.

If you slip up and use the wrong pronouns simply correct yourself. ” So when he said..oops I mean when ey said” you don’t need to make a big deal out of it, simply treat it as you would any other time you misspeak while talking. Doing this keeps conversation flowing, is good practice and doesn’t make the trans person uncomfortable. A 3 minute apology everytime you mess up a pronoun is both unnecessary and uncomfortable. We know you didn’t mean it. You corrected yourself and that is what matters. In terms of being with children it normalizes things. If you feel extremly bad you can apologize off to the side in private later.

You can introduce pronouns to your child by saying things like “my name is Andy and I use he/him” or ” My name is Sherri and I use they/them” you could invent a game where each toy has a different pronoun set and you and your child take turns practicing introducing yourselves and the toys to each other.

Another fun game might be something like “pronoun warrior/superhero” where you or the trans person tell the kid their pronouns and it is the “pronoun hero’s” job to make sure everyone use the right ones. They are allowed to step in and say something like “BAM! Use -insert pronoun- instead!” kids love super hero’s and correcting adults. Also I could see this getting a bit annoying after a bit so it will definetly act as reinforcement for adults to use the right pronouns. At the end of the visit you or your friend/family member can reward the child in some way for being a good pronoun hero.

Only do this game if the trans person is comfortable with it and they feel safe.Kid’s are likely to also correct waitstaff,clercs and other people which might put the trans person in danger.

That is it for part 1!

Ask questions you want addressed in the comments below

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GUEST POST: The Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists The TERFs and Gender Identity Watch A Hate Group By Sherrie D. Larch

The Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists

The TERFs and Gender Identity Watch

A Hate Group

By Sherrie D. Larch

Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists, also called TERFs, are pseudo-feminists that are members, supporters or followers of the hate group Gender Identity Watch, which was founded and is led by Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist Maryland attorney Catherine “Cathy” Brennan. The Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists (TERFs) and the transphobic hate group Gender Identity Watch want to eliminate the concept of gender identity and expression all together. The TERFs and Gender Identity Watch do not recognize any one that identifies as transgender, viewing transgenderism as a threat to womanhood and what they call female spaces. “Transgender: An umbrella term for people whose gender identity, expression or behavior is different from those typically associated with their assigned sex at birth, including but not limited to transsexuals, cross-dressers, androgynous people, genderqueers, and gender non-conforming people” TRANSGENDER TERMINOLOGY (2009). http://transequality.org/Resources/NCTE_TransTerminology.pdf.

Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists and Gender Identity Watch do not recognize that biological sex, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation are all separate things in an individual’s total being. TERFs and Gender Identity Watch believe that we are only our biological sex and that there is no real gender identity or expression that is separate from our biology. TERFs and Gender Identity Watch believe that what makes a woman and a man is our XX and XY chromosomes and female and male genitalia. They do not recognize feminine or masculine traits and that there are no brain differences that can cause transgenderism, the feeling of not being or totally fitting in one’s biological sex. In their view the individual is either been influenced by society or are delusional even though science has proven various differences in key areas of the brains of transgender individuals. Jessica Hamzelou (2011) states: “They found significant differences between male and female brains in four regions of white matter – and the female-to-male transsexual people had white matter in these regions that resembled a male brain (Journal of Psychiatric Research, DOI: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2010.05.006). “It’s the first time it has been shown that the brains of female-to-male transsexual people are masculinised,” Guillamon says. In a separate study, the team used the same technique to compare white matter in 18 male-to-female transsexual people with that in 19 males and 19 females. Surprisingly, in each transsexual person’s brain the structure of the white matter in the four regions was halfway between that of the males and females (Journal of Psychiatric Research, DOI: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2010.11.007). “Their brains are not completely masculinised and not completely feminised, but they still feel female,” says Guillamon” Transsexual differences caught on brain scan by Jessica Hamzelou 2011). http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn20032-transsexual-differences-caught-on-brain-scan.html#.UpSM1uKJOk8.

genderbread TERFs and Gender Identity Watch ignore science and individual autonomy to farther their cause of hate towards the transgender community and make outlandish statements that have nothing to do with true science or human decency. TERFs and Gender Identity also have stated that human sexuality is a choice and use what is called political lesbianism as a political tool to get back at cisgender men, which they also see as an enemy to womanhood and female spaces.

Many people see Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists and their group Gender Identity Watch as the Westboro Baptist Church version of feminism. They use transphobic propaganda to promote hate towards the transgender community using the same tactics that the Westboro Baptist Church does when spreading homophobic propaganda. TERFs and Gender Identity Watch targets transgender women especially because they get their transphobia and misandry, the hatred for anyone that was born biologically male, whether they identify as male or not and anyone that identifies as male or masculine in gender. They will call transgender women dangerous fetishists and rapists. They spread the transphobic propaganda that transgender women are all secretly straight cisgender men out to invade cisgender female space and to sexually harass and potentially rape cisgender girls and women if given the chance. TERFs and Gender Identity Watch purposely refer to transgender women as suffering from transvestic fetishism. The Dorland’s Medical Dictionary for Health Consumers (2007): “transvestic fetishism is a paraphilia of heterosexual males, characterized by recurrent, intense sexual urges, arousal, or orgasm associated with fantasized or actual dressing in clothing of the opposite sex” http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/transvestic+fetishism. Transvestic fetishism does not have anything to do with gender identity, it is a fetish not transgenderism. Transgender men, male identified butches, and female identified butches (that call themselves masculine) are also target by TERFs and Gender Identity Watch for being traitors to womanhood, wanting to be or identify as the enemy, which are all cisgender men. They will blame transgender men, male identified butches, female identified butches (that call themselves masculine) of joining the patriarchal society and misogynists and participating in the rape of cisgender women’s bodies.

allisonGender Identity Watch has been deemed a hate group by the Transgender Violence Tracking Portal (TVTP) “Ms. Allison Woolbert, founder of the TVTP, states [6/18/2014], “Gender Identity Watch is one of the most dangerous and malicious anti-transgender groups that exist today. Gender Identity Watch consistently targets specifically transgender individuals through daily campaigns of intimidation and malice including misgendering, outing, publishing photos, stalking transgender people on dating sites, social media and harassment of the individual. Their long standing anti-transgender actions constitutes a serious harm to any transgender person they deem a target and as such are declared today a Hate Group” http://www.transviolencetracker.org/index.php/press-releases/99-gender-identity-hate-group.cb drawing Cathy Brennan and Gender Identity Watch have also worked with The Pacific Justice Institute an ex-gay organization that supports so-called gay conversion therapy. So homophobia is also a problem with Gender Identity Watch, when it serves a purpose in their transphobic agenda. Gender Identity Watch and its supporters and followers the Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists are a hate group.

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The Bar Has Been Raised: Now YOU jump

Over this past weekend I had the amazing privilege of going to the BECAUSE conference in Minnesota. 3 days of nothing but Bi activism, Bi workshops, performance and food( we had a Bi colored cake and if you thought far too hard my sand which was kinda Bi colors too)
I have been in my fair share of LG BT spaces, I have given my time, my money, my spirit, my spoons and energy to those spaces and organizations.
And you know what?
Unless they can provide for me as a Bi Trans person the welcome and acceptance BECAUSE did?
I’m out of there.
I’ve spent hours working my ass off in LG/GGGG spaces only to when it came down to it, feel like I was barely tolerated. That I wasn’t as valuable as a cis queer nor as pandered and wanted as a cis straight ally. That I was worth less. That I had to or had “picked a side”. I’ve sat in meetings and in one on ones with others who privately confessed that they too are bisexual, but coming out would damage their credibility and they didn’t want to lose that. To end up like me and other out Bi people in the org or space, tirelessly working for them or their cause only to be ignored and shuffled off later.
No more.
I am done jumping through hoops.
At first the bar was so low, as long as I wasn’t being physically assaulted I was OK and I jumped it.
But it was always me and other bi’s jumping. Over and through hoops just for the mere chance, the possibility that we might be tolerated. Not welcome. Not valued. Tolerated.
I have seen online and in person what bisexual community can do, can create.
Welcome, acceptance, friendship, support. All the things were are supposed to be getting out of LG/GGGG spaces. That we so often don’t.
For me BECAUSE raised the bar. I won’t be giving time,money, spoons or spirit to places, orgs and people that can’t jump that bar.
This is me saying
The bar has been raised. NO YOU jump it this time.

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Let’s Talk About t.A.T.u and their place in queer history and monosexism,biphobia and misogyny

If you were alive in the early 2000’s and near a radio or TV you probably heard of the band t.A.T.u, a russian girl duo consisting of Lena Katina and Julia Volkova. They burst onto the international music scene if their mega huge hit “All The Things She Said”. While a great pop song on it’s own right (all these years later and it still tops polls on billboard polls) it featured something that was considered very shocking at the time. A same sex kiss between the singers and the content of the song was definitely queer. At the time of the recording of the original Russian version (the much more techno Ya Soshla S Uma/ I have lost my mind) both singers were only around 15 years old. By the time the song was translated into english and re-worked it they were around 16, with their English album’s debut,17. What is important to remember is not only were these two minors, they both spoke very little or no English (Lena speaking some but Julia speaking very,very little at all and learning English lyrics and interview answers by route/phonetically). They kissed and danced provocatively on stage and in videos and answered interview questions in the most lewd,scandalous and provocative ways possible.Often asserting that they were together as a couple or having sex.This was all a creation of their very creepy manager Ivan Shapavolov. He told them what to say, what to wear, how to dance and the two had no control or recourse.

It was speculated that they weren’t really a couple from the moment they arrived on scene.And later on in 2004-ish it was confirmed in their reality show that they were never really a couple nor lesbians as the media claimed they were. The group eventually broke from their manager and went on to record a very good second album, including several tracks that outright deal with bisexuality. Because by that time Julia had confidently come out in Russian media as a bisexual woman.

What coverage the album did recieve always hinged on the whole “not really lesbian/not really queer” and used the queer themed songs as a way to rag on the group, to accuse them of “continuing the faux lesbian schtick” when out of the two one was in fact queer and for all we the listeners knew was singing from experience. While the songs on the second and subsequeint albums are not perfect representations of queerness or with out their problems they were non the less, there, being sung by a queer person.

But due to our societies monosexism this was ignored.While the media and music consumers could easily handle Lena being a monosexual straight woman, the idea that Julia was bi was quickly forgotten or ignored. t.A.T.u and by extension Julia and Lena became the mid 2000’s poster children for the age old biphobic “doing it for attention” and “don’t trust teen/young girls about their sexuality” bits of terrible “wisdom”. Never mind the misogyny there, or the intense biphobia.

So as far as the west was concerned t.A.T.u fell off the planet, only to be mentioned again when the old biphobic “faking it” horse needed a good flogging into a greasy smear and then forgotten about.

So instead of looking back on their long career (something like 12 albums if you count the russian and english versions separate, around 6 if you don’t) and celebrating it as a moment where a queer woman broke through into mainstream pop,with a song about being queer as an important moment in history, we are instead left with mocking headlines like “faux lesbians to perform at olympics” from sites geared towards queer women! This sends one very clear message; bisexuals do not count. You can see other examples of this type of treatment in mainstream pop such as with Lady GaGa. GaGa has come out multiple times as bisexual and as of her most recent release has around 6 songs that directly deal with bisexuality or bisexual themes. Yet like t.A.T.u’s songs of the same nature, “Americano” and “So Happy I Could Die” are thrown in the sapphobic rubbish bin right next to “Loves Me Not” and Julia’s solo career singles, nearly all of which are bisexual in theme.

This erasure of bi women is endemic to the music industry,the music reviewing industry and as places like AutoStraddle and AfterEllen proved with their coverage of t.A.T.u’s brief reunion for the Sochi Olympics, it is endemic in our own community spaces.

So instead of praising a brave, bisexual muslim woman for being out and proud in a country that is actively trying to harm all queer people, all I see, especially since Eurovision and Conchita Wurst’s win is derision of the group for reasons from totally valid (lip synching) to out right biphobic.

Julia Volkova was a bisexual woman when she recorded for t.A.T.u . She was a bisexual woman at Eurovision (both times t.A.T.u went) at the Olympics and right now.

I know for many people my age t.A.T.u was an integral part of coming to terms with our identity. I’ll never forget the pain I felt when I learned that they “weren’t really queer”. The damage done to my grieving heart when the derision and “all girls do that for attention,just like that band”.What made it worse was when interviews were translated and Julia came out as bi, nobody listened. It didn’t matter. She wasn’t the right kind of queer, monosexual. She was played off by so many hurtful tropes, liar, doing it for attention, bisexuals aren’t really queer.

was t.A.T.u problematic in many ways? YES. Undoubtedly so. Is Julia and her solo efforts problematic? YES.

But that doesn’t mean we should let the prevalent misogyny, monosexism and biphobia in our communities,industries and memories over shadow what was a triumph of a queer musician. A pop group, a kiss in the rain that led to Madonna Kissing Britney, Katy Perry,Rihanna,Lady GaGa, Niki Minaj. If a bisexual hadn’t kissed her bandmate in the rain so many of these pop stars wouldn’t be where they are today. For god or ill. t.A.T.u and Julia Volkova helped shape the music and entertainment world we  have today.

A Bisexual did that. A Bisexual was the face of that.

It’s time we all overcame this biphobia,misogyny and monosexism and realize that is part of our history. And it should be known.

Also go buy “Dangerous and Moving” it was a freaking great album.

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Transgender Violence and Suicide Tracking Portal Will Save Lives

Trigger Warnings: discussion of transphobia, transphobic violence, suicide

It’s November and Transgender Day of Remembrance is this month. A day where we can all come together (hopefully all) and mourn and celebrate the lives of our transgender siblings that were lost due to violence, by another’s hand or their own during the previous year.Growing up I heard the occasional sensationalized news story on the murder of a trans person, they were, and are, some of the most gory and horrific murder stories. When I became an adult and came out as trans myself this all took on a different tone. Now I was a possible headline, another possible gory death. I barely made it over the average life expectancy of a trans person, 23, and have the privilege to be alive, trans and typing this up.

I remember my first transgender day of awareness, the candles and reading of names. I wondered why we only talk about this one day a year, and then why wasn’t there any website tracking this kind of wide-spread proven violence. Big Gay Inc sites like HRC, GLAAD ( who just now appointed a trans board member! Yay them.)occasionally report on anti-trans violence, that is after they pick up the story a few hours or days late from a site like Transadvocate. The Southern Poverty Law center doesn’t track anti-trans hate crimes or classify known trans hate groups like TERFS and Cathy Brennon as hate groups the same way they do for cis gay and lesbians. Recently the FBI has begun some tracking of crimes, but the only options are the binary male/female with no way of reporting if the person was transgender, whether that m/f on the report meant their assigned gender at birth, their real gender or what. Also this completely discounts and leaves out in the cold non-binary transgender individuals, like myself and Sasha, the agender teen who recently was set on fire for wearing a skirt.

The Transgender Violence and Suicide Tracking Project aims to change all that and start saving lives.

The portal, which has 9 days and 514 dollars in matching funds still available ( Donate here!) will collect and aggregate data on trans violence and suicide world-wide. No more scanning the papers for the odd sensationalized and misgendering story, no more “well nobody really collects data on that so those numbers could be made up…” real, concrete facts and figures will be available.

Shortly after I came out I met the project’s founder Allison Woolbert via Facebook activist groups. Allison and her unwavering support has literally saved my life from becoming another name read at TDOR. This project really hits home for me and it is one I am thrilled to support whole heartedly.

In a recent interview for Political Garbage Chute.com Allison talked a bit more in-depth about what the site will track and why it is important;

“Some of the fields we plan to track are the basic demographic information of the individual, as much as can be gathered as well as many details as we can gather concerning the violence that happened to that individual or individuals. We will also be attempting to collect trial data including the perpetrators information, any key statements, the sentencing and following the case throughout the courts.

One of the more important areas we will be tracking is where no perpetrator has been located. The open cases that are occurring and how many in each police department are happening we believe are quite staggering. Our database website will provide us with insight as to which law enforcement agencies are potentially not protecting our transgender people”

Having the ability to see that in a certain city, there is a known anti-transgender violent person lurking, and getting that information out there, on twitter, on Facebook, the streets, could save someone from becoming that persons next victim,

I live in a relatively safe, small bubble here in the USA, and I enjoy the privilege afforded to being a white DFAB trans person in this country. So I was blind to just how horrible the violence can be in the world outside my door. In the same interview Allison mentions the situation in Brazil;

“Internationally, the situations are even more dire. In Brazil for example, the government is completely unable and unwilling to protect the transgender community. For the past two years, this country has had the highest reported murder rates of transgender people anywhere in the world. At one point within the last two years, every single advocate of the transgender community was murdered. The advocates themselves in some cases were not transgender. Without clear and concise data, going to places such as the United Nations becomes impossible.”

Every.Single.Advocate.

And yes, even the cis ones died.These people were heroes(both trans and cis), who did more for their community then changing a Facebook picture to a corporate equal sign logo.But did we hear a peep about this at the UN? What about HRC? Nothing. Without accurate reporting on crimes (more like massacres) like this we can’t go to the UN. We can’t get real action on problems if we can’t verify that there is one.

One thing I am incredibly passionate about for this project is the Missing Persons Module. With 9 days to go and matching funds of 514 left this is a REAL possibility.

With increased rates of homelessness transgender people are more likely to go missing, and thus, much more vulnerable to violence. The missing persons module would get the word out fast that a person is missing. This could give friends, family and law enforcement the crucial time to find them and possibly save their life.I’m friends with a lot of other trans people, in real life and online. Every time one blinks out of communication, a blog empty, a twitter deactivated I wonder.Are they missing? Was that fight with their parents the last straw? Did she find somewhere to live? Did ze make it out of that party ok?

The missing person module would make tracking things like that fast and efficient. It might bring some of our homeless and lost youth to safe homes, it might mean that nobody shows up floating in river because they were never reported missing, or if they were the police ignored it until that missing person became a homicide.

So please, if you can donate today so this project can meet all of its goals, if you can’t donate please share the link around or maybe ask about volunteering to help out.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1280267427/transgender-murder-violence-and-suicide-website

To get daily updates about the project, articles, interviews and more like the Transgender Violence Tracker On Fb at

https://www.facebook.com/TransMSVTracker

and follow on twitter

@transharmtracker

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Filed under LGBT Writing, Trans*, Uncategorized

Frustration Is

Frustration is knowing that you are to sick to bind to day so you ingest the poison of dysphoria instead
Frustration is wishing you had warn the dirty shirt because it was more masculine then the clean one
Frustration is not having your one illness leave you not only unable to remember where your car is but if you found it would it have that extra binder in it? That face hiding baseball hat?
Frustration is the sinking gnawing feeling that even though nobody has said it yet you know they are using the wrong pronouns
Frustration is having to pick between being read as queer, your gender or as disabled and watching as your cane swallows up all others.

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