As the title suggests, everything on this blog concerns violence against trans women.
The Trans Women's Anti-Violence Project is a trans feminist project addressing issues of systematic, institutional and interpersonal violence and oppression experienced by trans women (those who were coercively assigned male at birth and identify or are identified as women/female) across multiple identities (e.g., race, class, dis/ability, citizen-status, nationality, sexuality, age, HIV status, and form, status, or age of transition, etc.)
Ida Hammer is a writer and social justice communicator. She organizes the Trans Women's Anti-Violence Project. She presents workshops and trainings on cis privilege and being a trans ally. She's also involved in organizing against sexualized violence. She's a proud dyke-identified trans woman and an organizer of the New York City Dyke March.
Reina Gossett: Why she kicks ass
- She joined the Sylvia Rivera Law Project in July 2010 as the membership coordinator, and staffs the newly created Movement Building Team, working to develop SRLP’s membership and community organizing work.
- Formerly, she was the director of the Welfare Organizing Project at Queers For Economic Justice, and is a Soros Justice Fellow at Critical Resistance.
- She also has numerous writing credits, including The Scholar & Feminist Online and Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex.
(Note: indentation of differing responses got messed up, the below constitute my original post, two responses from meliass, and my response)
I mean, we can all hang out in our all-genders spaces. I’ll volunteer to keep them going, my partner can bring a batch of hir awesome cupcakes. But whether we are talking about a dyke march, a women’s conference, or localized feminist organizing, exerting external force to dismantle or destroy women’s spaces is never anything but misogynistic. And taking away an important resource from trans women is the truly transphobic act in this situation.
this is so fucked up - how is this ANY different from excluding trans women?
so because trans men want to be men, they don’t deserve a safe space? trans men don’t receive cis male privilege, you know. just COMING to a women’s only space puts them at a vulnerable position, outing themselves to the entire community of cis and trans women.
Wait, um… if it’s a women’s only space and we’re talking about a trans man, then his attending doesn’t out him as trans unless there is a special exemption for trans men. If there is no special exemption, his attending only outs him as a jerk - same as any cis guy who attended.
safe spaces should be for cis women and any trans* person who wants access.
where else are trans men going to be in a safe space?
Maybe in trans men’s spaces? Or men’s spaces that are trans inclusive. Or trans spaces. Or queer trans men can be in queer spaces. Trans men of color can be in POC spaces. Young trans men can be in youth spaces or trans youth spaces. Do I need to go on?
i guess i understand a trans* only space but.. that is literally the only place that trans men would be allowed. should queer/nonbinary people also be excluded from women’s only spaces?
You’re shifting the ground of my argument. I am not saying that all community spaces should become women only so that men aren’t allowed anywhere. Re-read my final paragraph above. What I am saying is that the few trans friendly women’s spaces that exist should not be dismantled. For inclusion of non-binary folks, look at what I’ve already written about it. That’s not what this post is about, it’s about trans men.
I’ll emphasize that when I throw events or plan protests, I consciously think about making space for trans men. I am generally known as THE trans woman making queer/feminist porn focusing on trans women - and I’ve made sure to always include trans men in each of my films and even made a film focusing on trans men. There’s much more trans men focused queer porn out there and for the vast majority of it there is no reciprocal effort to include trans women. There is no risk of queer and trans spaces that include trans men suddenly disappearing because a play party or a dyke march decides to be for women only - without exception for trans men. In fact, I still see many queer and trans spaces that include trans men but are not so welcoming of trans women. And when trans women are excluded from *women’s* events, *women’s* colleges, and *women’s* shelters while men are welcomed, then we have a problem. Continued insistence that trans men belong in these spaces is dependant on the argument that trans men are somehow less men than cis men are. Relying on “socialized gender” or pre-transition history only gives credence to the exact arguments that are being used to deny trans women access.
Let’s not forget that there do exist men’s spaces that are welcoming of trans men. (In fact, I don’t think I can think of four equally prominent women’s spaces that include trans women.) Maybe you should support those men’s spaces rather than trying to dismantle women’s spaces that are welcoming of trans women. If you don’t want to be a part of those spaces because you’re genderqueer, then be a part of the myriad of genderqueer or queer spaces out there rather than trying to dismantle any other gendered spaces.
i don’t understand why trans men can’t speak on women’s issues if they want to - they still have experience with living as women & being treated as women. wanting to be/living as a man shouldn’t disqualify their voices. with trans women, having once been living as/treated like a man shouldn’t disqualify their voices, either.
It’s still different to have been a man who was living as and treated as a woman than it is to be a woman who has. No, that doesn’t disqualify your voice, but why do you have to show up to a women only sex party in order to share your voice? Most of the protests and rallies around women’s issues DO include men, trans and cis. Is it that big a deal to you if a few don’t?
i guess i can accept a women’s only space if there is always a corresponding trans*/queer only space (but what are the chances of that ever happening?). it still doesn’t seem quite right to me, because trans* men and queer people also have important experiences from living as or being treated as women.
What disturbs me here is that you seem to believe that women’s spaces need your acceptance or permission in order to exist despite you seemingly not being a woman. And what happens if we don’t get your permission? Will you start an internet petition like the one that sparked this original post asking for dyke march to make a special exception to include trans men but not cis men? Will you apply political pressure to try and shut it down by labeling our women only spaces transphobic?
Let me ask you, do you apply your criteria in reverse? Do you argue that every trans*/queer space should have a corresponding trans inclusive women’s space? Because I know a lot of “trans*/queer” spaces that don’t do a very good job of supporting trans women. Not to mention that some trans folks are straight. In fact, many trans women I know - including queer trans women - avoid trans/queer spaces in general because of the high risk of experiencing transmisogyny. And from my sense we seem to be lacking in trans inclusive women’s spaces much more than we are lacking in trans*/queer spaces.
Bottom line, though, it’s not a competition. We can have trans*/queer spaces AND women only spaces. And I’m not trying to take away trans*/queer spaces from you. I’m just responding to the folks who are trying to take away women only spaces from me.
SAY IT TO MY FACE - Performance Documentation (4 mins)
SAY IT TO MY FACE is a 40 minute long endurance performance by transsexual artist Odofemi (Morgan M Page). Exploring her experience as the target of multiple transphobic hate websites and petitions created by radical feminists, Odofemi stands naked at the front of a room. Projected onto her body is video footage of the hate websites. Audience members are instructed to approach the artist, where they are given a piece of paper with one of the actual comments on it. They are told to read it aloud, into the microphone, and then look Odofemi in the eyes. Odofemi moves as little as possible and does not react. Eventually the audience realizes that they have become implicated in perpetuating both the artist’s and their own trauma, and retaliates by giving the artist improvised positive affirmations, effectively reclaiming their agency.
Vivane K. Namaste in “Tragic Misreadings: Queer Theory’s Erasure of Transgender Subjectivity” from Invisible LIves: The Erasure of Transsexual and Transgender People (via queerandpresentdanger)
GUUUUHH this is so important. love to everyone who has to leave their identity at home in order to get laid.(via nemesissy)
Two transgender Jamaicans, Whitney and Tiana Miller, have joined J-FLAG’s We Are Jamaicanscampaign, which seeks to encourage respect and understanding for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. We Are Jamaicans is a participatory video campaign (http://www.youtube.com/user/equalityJA), which was launched on January 17, 2013 by J-FLAG to raise awareness about LGBT identity and community.
We cannot effectively reduce the incidence of violence against women in Jamaica if we continue to ignore socio-cultural factors that make violence against women permissible. Transgender Jamaican women are often not included in our vision for women’s rights in Jamaica despite their vulnerability to violence and discrimination. The voices of transgender women in the We Are Jamaicans campaign is in an effort to bring visibility to their lives and to not limit our definition of ‘woman’ to genitalia. In her video, Whitney stated that Jamaicans “are not accepting of people whose gender identities don’t align with their biological sex,” (http://youtu.be/O9iNYKqttc4). Tiana Miller, whose video can be seen athttp://youtu.be/GCHppSFrDYE said she does not have life easy in Jamaica. “I feel alienated, always being bashed by society, but that doesn’t change who I am,” she said.
J-FLAG is encouraging Jamaicans to recognise that we must embark on implementing a more multifaceted programme to address violence against our women and girls. It is important that we recognize and appreciate the need to create support systems for victims and their families, encourage honest conversations about gender, sex and sexuality, and teach mutual respect for each other. The campaign is funded by the Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition(CVC) through its Global Fund Vulnerablised Project.
Yesterday I made my debut on the Melissa Harris-Perry Show on MSNBC - the only political show that I watch. During the segment, I discussed redefining equality, unpacking the monolith of our “community”, GLAAD’s “name change” and why we’ll need more than that from our internal and external allies:
“What I need from these people [our LGBT & Straight Allies] is to fight for access to healthcare coverage, for protection when I’m looking to use the restroom, when I’m looking for housing, employment, and education. Also legal and social recognition that trans women are women and trans men are men, and that some trans people choose not to identify with either and self-determination is okay.” -Me, Janet Mock ;-)
Remember that photo project I snarked about a couple of days ago? One of the models wrote to me, asking if that’s what I was talking about, and apologizing for the erasure of trans women. Here’s my response:
“Hey [trans guy],
I mean, it was partially about that, but moreso about the continued…
by Jessica Stern, in the Scholar and Feminist online
STAR: Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries
From “RAPPING WITH A STREET TRANSVESTITE REVOLUTIONARY: An Interview with Marcia [sic] Johnson,” published in Out of the Closets: Voices of Gay Liberation (1972)
I remember when STAR was first formed there was a lot of discussion about the special oppression that transvestites experience. Can you say something about that?
We still feel oppressed by other gay brothers. Gay sisters don’t think too bad of transvestites. Gay brothers do. I went to a dance at Gay Activist Alliance just last week, and there was not even one gay brother that came over and said hello. They’d say hello, but they’d get away very quick. The only transvestites they were very friendly with were the ones that looked freaky in drag, like freak drag, with no tits, no nothing. Well, I can’t help but have tits, they’re mine. And those men weren’t too friendly at all. Once in a while, I get an invitation to Daughters of Bilitis, and when I go there, they’re always warm. All the gay sisters come over and say, “Hello, we’re glad to see you,” and they start long conversations. But not the gay brothers. They’re not too friendly at all toward transvestites.
Do you understand why? Do you have an explanation for that?
Of course I can understand why. A lot of gay brothers don’t like women! And transvestites remind you of women. A lot of the gay brothers don’t feel too close to women, they’d rather be near men, that’s how come they’re gay. And when they see a transvestite coming, she reminds them of a woman automatically, and they don’t want to get too close or too friendly with her.
This part of the interview jumped out at me because its discussion of the relationship between cis-lesbians and trans women departs significantly from the way the dynamics of that era get historicized now. Anyhoo, thought it was interesting because it anticipates many of the issues Julia Serano would write about decades later in Whipping Girl.
“We (Lesbian Feminist Liberation) found out there were plans to have a transvestite as part of the entertainment for the 1973 Gay Pride rally in Washington Square following the march and we decided to make a statement critical of transvestites…we decided we were going to stand up on that stage and tell everybody what we thought. We stayed up the whole night before the rally and typed up this little statement. We thought it was very important. You see, we were creating theory at the time.” Jean O’Leary, founder of Lesbian Feminist Liberation, later the first president of the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF)
“The transgender community was silenced because of a radical lesbian named Jean O’Leary, who felt that the transgender community was offensive to women because we liked to wear makeup and we liked to wear miniskirts. Excuse me! It goes with the business that we’re in at the time! Because people fail to realize that -not trying to get off the story -everybody thinks that we want to be out on them street corners. No we do not. We don’t want to be out there sucking dick and getting fucked in the ass. But that’s the only alternative that we have to survive because the laws do not give us the right to go and get a job the way we feel comfortable. I do not want to go to work looking like a man when I know I am not a man” Sylvia Rivera
“A case could be made that we should have included transvestites rights but I don’t think that gay people wanted to be identified with that. We were trying to get away from that image. And we were trying to get the bill passed. So the transvestites were excluded from the bill and they never got reinstated.” Jean O’Leary
“I thought free loving was the thing, I found it doesn’t pay the rent…During the daytime they all call us fags and freaks. At night I get even. I freak on them. I make them pay for all the insults they gave me. I can have a nice conversation with them, give them words of wisdom. But I’m getting back at them. My way.” Marsha P Johnson
I love that trans women have, in recent years, really banded together online and in print to name our specific issues and advocate for ourselves. However, I’ve noticed a very conspicuous absence of sex workers’ voices among those finding/creating representation. Little analysis is given to sex…
Indigo Girls and other MichFest 2013 Performers:
Boycott MWMF until the organizers fully include trans women
Three projects going on right now that I want everyone to know about:
(in which the author abuses dashes and semicolons)
- January Rising: My friend January is an evil witch living in New York; January Rising is her fundraiser to cover transness-related medical expenses. It’s real simple. Buy…
Lorena Borjas: Why she kicks ass
- She is a Mexican trans activist, and health educator for the transgender community.
- She started the Lorena Borjas Community Fund; which is a volunteer-run project created to institutionalize the support that Lorena has provided for years. The LBCF Fund supports low-income gay, bisexual, lesbian, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, and gender non-conforming immigrants avoid the collateral consequences associated with criminal convictions, jail time and court appearances.
- She works with the AIDS Center of Queens County, and with Trans Latinas, a collective of transsexual Latinas that strive to create more tolerance within the Latino community and among the authorities.