Some group of researchers just sent me mail on here to invite me to participate in their study about trans peoples’ Marginalization, Mental Health, and Empowerment — offering a “1 in 25 chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card.”
T-Shack:Hey it's 2013 in Seattle and we're having an awesome show!
Trans Organization:Since you're visiting our town you should know the local context that we've had a ton of recent community discussion about the use of the t-word and your show might stir up a lot of controversy you don't actually want to be dealing with.
T-Shack:Hey thanks, that's good to know. We'll do a different show with a different name and it'll be fine.
Performer:I'm super excited to be in the show, but I'm embarrassed to say the name out loud.
T-Shack:That's a really bad outcome, both financially and politically. We'll have to work on a solution.
T-Shack:We're back now that it's 2014 and we've renamed our show for while we're here, but still have the old name on the poster
Trans Organization:That's awesome, we really appreciate that. But you might want to reconsider the old name on posters. Because if they are going to be put up all around town it could still raise some problems. Also, did you realize you scheduled the show to be at the same time as Trans Pride?
T-Shack:Oops, give us a moment to confer.
Cis Gay Bystander:Oh my god you guys are terrible, stop being word police! Stop censoring everyone! I love the word 'tranny'. Tranny, tranny, tranny! Trannyshack folks, please don't give in to this pressure.
Trans Woman Bystander:Are you trying to upset folks on purpose, this was a productive conversation.
Cis Gay Bystander:I don't understand you trans women. You think that being a keyboard warrior will win you everything but you're just alienating your allies.
Trans Woman Bystander:Fuck you if you think you're my ally. With allies like you, who needs enemies!
Cis Gay Bystander #2:*Pulls out popcorn* I love to watch trans women freak out and get super emotional.
T-Shack:Hey guys, that's not helpful. Also, we've decided to permanently change our name and keep the t-word off our posters and we'd like to make this show a benefit for Trans Pride!
Trans Organization:That's awesome! You guys really are the best! We're going to promote your show and please stop by Trans Pride we want to give you an award for allyship!
Cis Gay News:Why do trans women hate drag queens? Yet again local trans women are creating drama. These radical activists are strong-arming our beloved Trannyshack into changing their name. They just whine and make a fuss until they get their way. They are giving our community a bad name. This is exactly they kind of infighting that we need to put an end to.
T-Shack:Hey that's not exactly what happened, here's my open statement about why we thought changing the name was a good idea and were appreciative of the help and feedback I got in that process.
Jack Halberstam:This story about over-emotional trans women throwing tantrums and claiming to be triggered by a single word is a great example for my work on the Neo-Liberal Rhetoric of Harm. They really should lighten up. We need to put an end to finger snapping moralism like that.
Note:The above is obviously all paraphrased since the actual account was 30-50 pages long. Actual wording or phrases were used when possible. Mainly I wanted to share this because it's super tiring to have everything you say framed within the box of "trans women are over-emotional, over-reactive, shrieking, and behavior policing" no matter how much what we're doing differs from that.
There was a post going around this morning that originally claimed there were over 1,000 murders of trans women last year, based on the 2013 NCAVP report.
In fact, according to the report there were 13 such homicides in 2012.
The poster made an edit, but still maintained…
One thing to keep in mind, from the “Limitations of the Findings” section of the report:
The vast majority of this report contains information from LGBTQ and HIV-affected-identified individuals who experienced hate violence and sought support from NCAVP member programs. Local member organizations then submitted data to NCAVP, which NCAVP compiled and analyzed for national trends. Since NCAVP only measures data collected from individuals who self-reported and from other public sources, it is unlikely that these numbers represent all incidents of violence against LGBTQ and HIV-affected people in the United States. NCAVP’s data may particularly omit populations such as incarcerated people, people in rural communities, people who may not know about their local anti-violence program (AVP), people living where the closest AVP is too far away to reach, people who are not out, people who are uncomfortable with reporting violence, and people who face other barriers to accessing services or reporting. While the information contained in this report provides a detailed picture of the individual survivors and victims; it cannot and should not be extrapolated to represent the prevalence of hate violence against LGBTQ and HIV-affected communities in the United States.
Which isn’t to invalidate anything said above, but to give an important bit of context to the report itself.
The report can be viewed in full here: http://www.avp.org/storage/documents/ncavp_2012_hvreport_final.pdf
The Trans Women’s Anti-Violence Project has been following violence against trans women for three years and one thing that is for sure is that violence against trans women is seriously under reported. With murders in particular there is not even the benefit of self-reporting, as in the case of other forms of violence. Most murders of trans women are those that have been reported by (nationally accessible) media and/or community activists. If a murder of a trans woman isn’t reported (or is misreported) in the media or if she was unknown to vocal community members, then the murder goes unnoticed.
The fact is, most acts of violence against trans women are not reported, and when the are reported they are usually misreported (usually by misgendering the victim). Often it takes sensationalized account to bring these murders to the attention of the public. Additionally, most women are not connected to a vocal, organized community; even in major cities like New York and San Fransisco. As a vulnerable and marginalized population, it has to be expected that most murders of trans women are not going to be noticed.
The Trans Women’s Anti-Violence Project has noticed cases of murdered trans women that were originally missed by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Projects. And this project is dependent on media accounts that are accessible online and easily identifiable as trans women. So, yes, the reported number of murders is just scratching the surface.
Nonetheless, 13 murdered women in any given year is itself a tragedy. Even a single murder is cause for concern! There is no need to exaggerate the numbers in order to consider this a serious problem in need of our attention. Focusing on the exact numbers may not be as important as focusing on why these 13 women where killed. While the number can fluctuate, there is less variation in who is being killed.
What we do know is that at least a dozen trans women in the U.S. will be killed in cases that are high-profile enough that we will know about them. This is a pattern found in the NCAVP reports that has been going on for years. Furthermore, we know that these are going to be almost entirely Black and Latina trans women, with very few exceptions. And that about half of these women, give or take, will have had some experience in the sex trades. We also know that they will have been killed by cis men. And it is not unusual for these women to have known their murderer and have had some form of intimate or sexual involvement with him. And it is a rarity, if it happens at all, that the man was “surprised” to learn the woman was trans.
The problem is, these murders are too often labeled simply “anti-trans,” or worse “anti-LGBTQ” or “anti-queer.” This is very misleading. If these were anti-trans murders there would be a fairly even mix of trans people of all genders, races, and economic status. When looking at the last two decades of violence, we find that a white trans man like Brandon Tina is the outlier, not the norm. The race, gender, and economic status of those killed is no less important than that she was trans.
Yet how often are these murders considered effects of institutional racism, sexism, and economic injustice as they are called “transphobic”? How often are these murders considered acts of sexual or intimate partner violence? Not often enough. In order to end this violence we need to consider the full person and the context of her life and death.
"A woman in New York City left a nightclub in late 2010 to meet some friends for tacos. While she was walking to the restaurant in the Queens neighborhood of Jackson Heights, a man pulled up beside her in a dark-colored car and began talking to her. As the woman inched closer to hear what the man was saying, two undercover police officers jumped out of a van and arrested her for engaging in prostitution. She was thrown into a van with a dozen other women and taken to the115th Precinct in Jackson Heights to be fingerprinted before being transferred to Central Booking. There, she was then jailed in the men’s unit, where she endured painful verbal harassment from some of the cops and men in custody, according to the community organizing group Make the Road New York, which identified the woman by the pseudonym ‘Natasha.’ Her story sounds more like a rare kidnapping than a routine arrest, but Natasha’s arrest would come as no surprise to anyone who has been harassed or arrested by police for what’s known as ‘walking while woman.’"
Founder of the Trans Women’s Anti-Violence Project and an organizer of the NYC Dyke March, Ida has committed herself to improving the lives of women and LGBT individuals through her activism. Now she needs the support of her community to raise funds for her upcoming surgery.
“The perpetuation of the mythology that trans women deserve violence because we “deceive” straight men needs to be debunked and put to rest once and for all.”—Laverne Cox, in a Huffington Post essay for Transgender Day of Remembrance (via janetmock)
“Loving trans people, I believe, is a revolutionary act. And I believe when we love someone, we respect them and we listen to them; we feel that their voice matters and we let them dictate the terms of who they are and what their story is.”—Laverne Cox Keynote address, Creating Change 2014 (via fuckyeahlavernecox)
**I wrote this over the summer, but am thinkin’ about it again**
In light of the rash of queer bashing that’s plagued New York this summer, I feel the need to talk about my experience with harassment as a woman and as a trans person. I’ve lived in many places, some of them “safer” than others, but I have always been exposed to a certain level of harassment and the threat of violence (I have never been physically attacked *knocks on wood*) Like it or not, I am often read as female in public and that exposes me to the harassment that comes with being female in our society. I say “like it or not” because there are plenty of people who DON’T like it, who don’t believe it, who refuse to accept that any part of my lived experience could be “typically female.” (Google “trans critical feminism” if you don’t know what I mean.) I don’t care whether strangers on the internet believe me or not, though. This is my daily life, not a gender theory class. I get cat called often. Sometimes men literally make the same noises at me that I would use to get a cat’s attention. Today, a man repeatedly called out to me “looking good!” He eventually shifted gears to “I’m trying to compliment you, bitch,” when I wouldn’t acknowledge him. I’ve been called every ugly word there is for “woman” by men who somehow think this will get me to go home with them. I have literally had a man scream right in my face at the very top of his lungs, “I WANT YOUR PUSSY!” I’ve been propositioned in the grocery store, at work, on the bus, on the sidewalk. This is not a unique experience, it literally happens to millions of people every day.
I often face another form of harassment, though. When I first moved to New York, a 12 to 14 year old boy on the subway said of me, “What is that thing?! If I had a sledgehammer, I would fuckin’ kill that thing!” The reality was that he (who was +/- 100 lbs smaller than me) wouldn’t have done ANYTHING with a sledgehammer, had he possessed one. It was the sentiment that horrified me, terrorized me, and made me afraid to leave my house again for days. When I am read as trans, I am exposed to an even greater level of dehumanization and potential violence. I take for granted that my community knows about this, but find more often than not that people are shocked when I share these stories (which are mild by comparison to the experiences of some.) Just a few days ago, outside of a restaurant in my neighborhood, a group of men (thinking I was listening to music) loudly asked one another how much they’d have to be paid in order to “fuck [me] up.” They were calling me “it” and one of them said he would do it for $100. When I’m seen as a cis woman, I have no agency and I have no privacy. My space, time, conversation, and attention are not my own. They are owed to men, who feel entitled to demand them from me at any time. When I’m seen as a trans woman, I’m seen as literally devoid of humanity. At best, I get laughed at and stared at. At worst, people casually discuss murdering me as easily as they complain about the weather. This is constant. This is why I wear headphones everywhere I go. And I’m nowhere near as vulnerable as some. I’m white and I’m big. A man once shouted at me, “damn, girl! You look like you could knock someone the FUCK OUT!” I’ve had people throw balled up paper, trash, even bottles at me, but I’ve never been in an actual physical confrontation with an attacker on the street. I’m both lucky and privileged in that regard.
I don’t have a point, really. It’s just that attention to street harassment that’s come up in the last few weeks has left me preoccupied with this. I also wonder how many people in my social network who aren’t trans women have considered this double-bind and how it plays out in the lives of trans women. Thanks for taking the time to read this.
TL;DR Shit’s rough out there and people are awful.
“I am a trans woman. My sisters are trans women. We are not secrets. We are not shameful. We are worthy of respect, desire, and love. As there are many kinds of women, there are many kinds of men, and many men desire many kinds of women, trans women are amongst these women. And let’s be clear: Trans women are women.”—
Yesterday we were thanked for being silent and respectful to a grieving family seated center stage. We were instructed to keep politics at the door though politicians had a front-row seat with camera crews readied for their election year soundbites. …
The only reason I left not feeling defeated was because of you, in all your resilience, beauty, brilliance and ferocity. You held me up, you told me that we would get through, and you showed up despite knowing the open secret we all carry: that Islan was not the first to fall and she will not be the last.”
”—My open letter to trans women who attended Islan Nettles “community vigil” in Harlem last night. We must mourn, we must work, we must demand better for ourselves and our sisters. (via janetmock)
I am writing this blog tonight in response to recent events which have taken place. Domonique Newburn (Fontana, California), Islan Nettles (Harlem, New York) and a young trans woman in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania were all murdered in the same week. All were trans women of color.
“Transfeminism is primarily a movement by and for trans women who view their liberation to be intrinsically linked to the liberation of all women and beyond. It is also open to other queers, intersex people, trans men, non-trans [cis] women, non-trans [cis] men, and others who are sympathetic to the needs of trans women and consider their alliance with trans women to be essential for their own liberation. …
Transfeminism is not about taking over existing feminist institutions. Instead, it extends and advances feminism as a whole through our own liberation and coalition work with all others. It stands for trans and non-trans [cis] women alike and asks non-trans [cis] women to stand up for trans women in return. Transfeminism embodies feminist coalition politics in which women from different backgrounds stand up for each other, because if we do not stand for each other, nobody will.”—Emi Koyama, “The Transfeminist Manifesto” (via transfeminism)
“I’ve been saying this for years, that gender identity and sexual orientation are different but so many people don’t know. I think that the reason for that is that we are in the LGBT community and we get lumped with gay and lesbian folks and bisexual folks, but [for us] it’s not about sexual orientation, but gender identity. I also think that a lot of the issues that folks seem to have with gays and lesbians, particularly when kids are bullied, are about gender. It’s about someone assigned male at birth not acting the way a boy should act. So much of it comes down to gender and this fear of femininity in our culture. Julia Serano talks about this so brilliantly, even in the history of feminist theory, femininity has been presented as something that’s artificial and masculinity is something that’s authentic, and even in a lot of feminist discourse until recently, femininity was seen as something that was artificial and fake. So there is this fear of feminine that we see in a lot of different aspects of culture that is punished. That’s a part of patriarchy. In a lot of ways we can’t talk about homophobia and transphobia, without talking about patriarchy.”—Laverne Cox (via yomo7)
NEW RESEARCH STUDY FOR TRANS WOMEN!! FORWARD, RE-POST, LIKE, SHARE, ETC!!!
T-Talk – the newest study at Hunter College’s Center for HIV Educational Studies and Training – is a peer-led intervention developed in response to the acute health prevention needs of our community of New York City transgender women.
Are you a Woman of Trans Experience?
Do you have an active sex life and live in the NYC area?
Worried about your drug use? Interested in sharing about your life in the T-zone?
We’re interested in talking with you!
The women participating in this study will be compensated for the first study visit, attendance in the intervention sessions, and two follow-up appointments. They will receive up to $205 for their time. Some women will have additional follow-up appointments and may receive up to an additional $115.
Tell us your story! NO Judgments – Call (212) 206-7919
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 writtenabout 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 existmen’s spacesthat arewelcomingof 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.
“[D]rag queens can move freely within gay male settings as long as they abide by the implicit rules of such circulation. What would happen if a drag queen was not on the stage but rather cruised one of the many dark corridors of K.O.X. in search of a sexual partner? That gay men can accommodate the presence of drag queens on stage does not mean that gender liberation has arrived. Indeed, relegating gender performances to the stage implies that gay men do not “perform” their identities: they are just are. This containment of gender transgressions can, in turn, work against transgender people in a variety of ways. Drag queens are reduced to entertainment, coifed personalities whose only purpose is to titilate the gay male viewer. Framed as pure spectacle, this negates a variety of reasons why people might choose to cross-dress in a club: an exploration of one’s gender identity, a gesture of political intervention, a creative solution to border, and/or a way to the pay the rent.
A restriction of drag queens to the stage also suggests that drag is something you do; it is not something you are.”—
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.
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.
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…
“When I asked Miss Major how the recession has affected transgender women and men, she laughed humorlessly and said, “We don’t have jobs to lose. We never had pensions for a company to take from us. I used to get $50 for a blowjob and now I get $25. The cost of me has gone down. And I’m going to accept it because I have to, whether it’s $25 or $50. I have to eat; rent’s due, I have to get it somehow.” Under the new economic regime, informal sector workers including transgender people may be working more hours and under potentially riskier circumstances. Miss Major estimates that since the start of the recession, twelve social service organizations in California alone have cut services that transgender clients depended on. She has extended her workday to include more one-on-one time and case management with community members coping with additional financial burdens.”—“This is What Pride Looks Like: Miss Major and the Violence, Poverty, and Incarceration of Low-Income Transgender Women”
by Jessica Stern, in the Scholar and Feminist online