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.
A coalition of Peruvian LGBT groups have started Beca Trans, a scholarship program for transgender women.
The Homosexual Movement of Lima (MHOL), one of Latin America’s leading LGBT organizations started in 1982, has teamed up with AIDS group Vía Libre and the Runa Institute of Gender Studies and Development (RUNA) to offer 45 transgender women the opportunity to complete their studies.
‘Trans teens are possibly one of the most bullied groups in schools, making it so that lots of times they don’t finish school,’ said Belissa Andía Pérez, executive director of RUNA.
This initiative looks to transform the reality of trans teens in school and represents an opportunity to improve the quality of life for transgender people in our country.’
To qualify for a scholarship, entries must be of age and present a valid birth certificate along with a recommendation from a trans organization.
Applicants will then be evaluated by a team of experts made up of representatives from UNESCO, UNAIDS and the Ministry of Education, among others.
Giovanny Romero Infante, president of MHOL said in a statement: ‘We’re confident that Beca Trans will demonstrate to the state and to society the real potential of trans individuals.
According to MHOL, the goal of Beca Trans is to reduce the number of new HIV transmissions in the most vulnerable communities, which include the transgender community, through promoting anti-discrimination public policies and encouraging the unification of LGBT groups in the country.
Beca Trans is a part of the program Peru presented at the 10th anniversary of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
(Jean Paul Zapata, Gay Star News)
BOSTON, Lincolnshire, U.K. — A 16-year-old British transgender girl was told that she couldn’t take her GCSE exam (equivalent to high school finals) and was sent home by teachers to change into the boys’ school uniform.
Ashlyn Parram, who identifies as female, arrived for the exams wearing a girl’s uniform consisting of a skirt and blazer and was warned by the Giles Academy’s headmaster, Chris Wall, that unless “he” went and changed back into a boy’s uniform and presented “himself” for exams as a male, “he” would not be permitted to complete exams which mark the end of secondary education in Britain.
Ashlyn, who has lived openly as a girl at home for two years but has dressed in a neutral fashion at the school to avoid conflict and abuse, went home and printed off a copy of Britain’s Equality Act, which she then took to school and confronted the headmaster.
Ashlyn pointed out that the law prevented Wall or other school officials from barring her from taking the test regardless of her appearance, after which he conceded that he legally could not prevent her from sitting the exam.
In an interview with the British tabloid, The Sun, Ashlyn’s mother, Miranda Johnson said that Ashlyn — who has been diagnosed with gender dysphoria — is a girl born in a boy’s body.
“The way Ashlyn has been treated by the school is just appalling. To be made to sit on your own during an exam like that is horrendous. It shouldn’t be allowed to happen in this day and age – especially not in schools,” Johnson said.
“The reality is she is a vulnerable teenager who needs the support and help of her teachers, not their opposition.”Johnson said the family has filed a formal complaint against Walls, who they claim has failed to help protect Ashlyn, adding that she has been forced to endure a string of bullying and discrimination by pupils and teachers, without assistance or support from the school’s officials.
According to Johnson one instructor told the family that gender dysphoria doesn’t exist, saying, “This is Lincolnshire — we are a very conservative county — we don’t have things like that.”
A spokesman for the school said that “Giles Academy is an Ofsted Outstanding school in a caring environment with robust Equalities Policies. The Governing Body of the Academy rejects all the allegations. Our key concerns are to ensure our duty of care to all our students and to further ensure that they reach their full potential academically and become well rounded members of society.”
A transgender student from the University of Arkansas at Ft. Smith is now allowed to use the school’s women’s bathrooms after the Department of Justice (DOJ) sent a letter to the college telling officials to revise their policy, Campus Reform reported.
Jennifer Braly, 38, a transgender woman, filed a complaint with the DOJ because the university’s officials told her that she could not use the women’s bathrooms on the school’s campus. They did, however, insist that she could use the “gender-neutral bathrooms.”
“Some saw me using the women’s public restrooms and complained,” Braly said. “[O]ne problem to this is there are not unisex bathrooms in every building. Especially the two main buildings where most of my classes are, so I have to go to a completely different building to use the restroom.”
Staff members of the university’s administration, however, claim that they tried to work with Braly. “We tried to make reasonable accommodation and to find a common ground, converting the number of bathrooms on campus to gender-neutral,” Mark Horn the vice president of university relations, said.
The university backed down after the DOJ sent a letter to the school, demanding that they review their policies and allow Braly to use the women’s restroom.
“[T]he office of civil rights basically made its expectations through the attorney and the decision was made to respond to that direction,” said Horn. “[T]he DOJ complaint caused revisiting of our thinking. [T]he office of civil rights basically made its expectations through the attorney and the decision was made to respond to that direction,” he added. “[T]he DOJ complaint caused revisiting of our thinking.”
Allowing transgender people to use the bathroom has been a controversial subject. In January, Tennessee conservative lawmakers introduced a bill called the “Bathroom Harassment Act,” which would fine a transgender person $50 for using a public bathroom or dressing room.
State Rep. Richard Floyd strongly supported the act and even said he would physically assault a transgender person.
“I believe if I was standing at a dressing room and my wife or one of my daughters was in the dressing room and a man tried to go in there — I don’t care if he thinks he’s a woman and tries on clothes with them in there — I’d just try to stomp a mudhole in him and then stomp him dry,” Floyd said.
“Don’t ask me to adjust to their perverted way of thinking and put my family at risk. We cannot continue to let these people dominate how society acts and reacts.”
But the Chattanooga Times Press ran an online poll asking readers if “transgender people should be required to use the bathroom of their birth gender.” Nearly 90 percent of voters said “no.”
Although Braly can now use the women’s bathroom, some female students are not pleased with the school’s decision, the article on the conservative blog notes.
“I disagree with allowing a male to use the female restrooms,” Amanda Shook, a senior at the university, told Campus Reform. “Even if they are a transgendered person, they are still a man, and should have to use the men’s restroom.”
When the ultra-conservative website Free Republic posted the article, many readers also agreed with the female student’s position.
“Whoever approved this ’person’ for admittance to the university should be severely disciplined,” one person wrote. “They’re going to have to add a urinal to the ladies’ room then,” another said.
This isn’t the first time the 36-year-old has been surrounded in controversy.
Not that long ago, Braly was scheduled to give a lecture on gender and sexuality at the school but moments before she was to speak, the event was cancelled, according to the blog the Guerilla Angel Report. Braly received an email from Dr. Rita Barrett - the school’s associate professor of psychology and department chair.
“All of my faculty are now diligently preparing for the closure of the semester. They must be in compliance with their syllabi, grading, final exams, graduation exercises, etc. and it is impossible to afford more class time to accommodate an additional speaker at one week before finals,” the email said. “Therefore, your scheduled speaking engagements in any course in my department (PSYC, CJ, SOCI, ANTH) have been cancelled. This includes the two scheduled for tomorrow Friday April 20th in Dr. Laura King’s classes.”
But the student claims that the lecture was cancelled because she is a transgender person. There is a petition on Change.org asking people to allow Braly to “speak freely about gender and sexuality.” Nearly 700 people have signed the online petition.
(Jason St. Amand, EDGE Boston)
The University of Arkansas at Fort Smith is changing its policy regarding restroom use by transgender people after a student complained to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Jennifer Braly, a 38-year-old UAFS junior who is a transgender woman, was upset after being instructed to use only gender-neutral restrooms on campus. Braly had used women’s restrooms and gender-neutral restrooms until another student complained.
Braly is again allowed to use women’s restrooms, said R. Mark Horn, a vice chancellor. He said that the decision was made this spring after the Justice Department sent a letter to the university system’s lawyers. The university wouldn’t make that letter available, citing federal privacy laws. Justice Department spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa confirmed that a letter had been sent informing the university of the complaint, but Hinojosa said the letter did not direct the university to take any specific action. Hinojosa wouldn’t say whether an investigation is ongoing. A conservative blog, the first national outlet to report on the issue, accused the Obama administration of forcing the issue.
Born a man,Braly is raising money for gender reassignment surgery. Braly secured a name change, is undergoing hormone therapy and is now recognized as a woman on her Arkansas driver’s license.
Horn said Arkansas-Fort Smith is trying its best to accommodate transgender students. The issue simply hadn’t come up until recently, Horn said, at which point the college created several gender-neutral restrooms. “We did what we thought was reasonable accommodation,” Horn said. “We were trying to be fair on both sides to students who are not transgendered as well as to this student.”
Braly enrolled at Fort Smith in 2010
as a man. In early 2011, after changing her name and winning a court petition to switch her legal gender, Braly started attending classes as a woman. That’s when the college created the gender-neutral bathrooms, which Braly said administrators instructed her to use exclusively.
As her hormone therapy progressed and Braly became more comfortable living as a woman, she said she occasionally used women’s restrooms. That was never a problem until Braly started lecturing to classes, at the invitation of several psychology professors, about gender identity disorder.
At that point, Braly said, at least one student complained that she wasn’t comfortable sharing a bathroom with a transgender person. Administrators then asked Braly again to use only gender-neutral restrooms, an arrangement that wasn’t satisfactory to her in part because many buildings she frequented had no such facilities. When the college followed that request with a decision that she would live in a single dorm room next fall instead of with roommates, she contacted the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
The lack of a policy about transgender accommodations underscores a larger problem in higher ed, said Shane Windmeyer, executive director of Campus Pride.
Colleges should be proactive in establishing clear policies and gender-neutral facilities, said Windmeyer, whose organization advocates for the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students. While many transgender people prefer gender-neutral restrooms, also called family restrooms, Windmeyer said individuals should also be able to use a bathroom that aligns with their gender identity. In failing to allow that, Windmeyer said Arkansas-Fort Smith erred.
“It sounds like the campus has not done a good job taking responsibility for creating a welcoming, safe space for trans-identified students,” Windmeyer said. “It is unrealistic to ask anyone to go across campus in between classes to be able to use the restroom.”
Horn said the university is still finalizing a formal policy on transgender accommodations. Administrators are likely to consider such a policy this summer, a decision Braly appreciates.
“Frankly, this is new turf for us,” Horn said. “We welcome all students. The issue of accommodating transgender student needs has been a threshold that we had never had to go up to before. It’s been a learning curve for us, both in terms of the law and what gender identity disorder is in the first place.”
That lack of understanding of transgender issues is too common, Windmeyer said, even as acceptance of gay and lesbian issues grows on campuses. Transgender students consistently report feeling less safe at college than their gay peers. Braly said she knows of at least four other transgender students at Fort Smith, though most prefer not to advertise their sex change.
“Any campus needs to have active dialogue around trans-identified people,” Windmeyer said. “The ‘T’ of LGBT is largely forgotten or invisible on most campuses today.”
Even though Braly said her time at Fort Smith has been largely positive, the resistance she’s encountered in gaining access to women’s restrooms and housing makes her feel that more needs to be done.
“I have an ‘F’ on my driver’s license. I dress as a female. I live as a female. I do everything as a female,” she said. “Treat me as a female. They’re treating me as a leper — like I have some icky disease.”(Mitch Smith, Inside Higher Ed)
A Pennsylvania student claims he was the victim of bullying by school officials after a video of him dancing with his transgender prom date drew ridicule from fellow classmates. …
We didn’t have the best prom experience—mainly because we took a girl and not the guy we were crushing on. But gay teen Jared Swank of Hanover, PA, had his prom memories tarnished after the fact, when he learned a teacher who videotaped him and his date played the clip for the amusement of her science class.
Swank, who brought a trans girl to prom, had originally allowed the unnamed educator to record them at the dance. But he says he had no idea she was going to show it to other students. “I come to school Monday and that’s when I heard about everything that happened. And it made me really upset. I don’t think it was right.” He tells Eyewitness News he feels “exploited.”
On Thursday, Swank’s mother, Dawn Mendygral, went before the school board and demanded to know why this teacher broadcast the video of Jason and his date, especially since he has been bullied at the school for years. “I don’t know what her intention was, but I know I’m not understanding why she would take it to school and play it in the classroom,” said Mendygral.
Hanover Area School Board President John Pericci said the district considers itself inclusive and welcoming, and confirmed the teacher’s actions are being investigated. A meeting is scheduled for Tuesday between Mendygral and school officials.
By all accounts, Jennifer Braly is a good student. The University of Arkansas at Fort Smith psychology major carries a 3.58 GPA, according to the Arkansas Times, and has been a popular guest lecturer in psychology and sociology classes. Braly, 36-years-old and transgender, has given about 20 faculty-sanctioned lectures on gender dysphoria, and at least one professor has written her a letter of recommendation saying Braly’s talks “open the doors to a greater understanding and appreciation of this too often misunderstood disorder.”
But, according to both the Times and the student newspaper, the Lion’s Chronicle, Braly was recently forbidden by school administrators from giving any more guest lectures, even when the professor’s have requested her to do so. Several professors supported Braly, one even cancelling her class instead of hosting it without the student lecturer. Braly, who sued the university earlier this year for discrimination in both restroom and housing policies, thinks the ban on her speaking to classes may be a way for the university to silence criticism of their transgender policies.
Click the link above to finish reading the article.
K: and people who are actually in the LGBTQ community argue that trans* people don’t completely need and deserve the support of the rest of the LGBTQ community more than any other part of it?
This is horrible…….. : (
Signal boost. Wake up, world. Stop erasing trans* people.
The reality is that 41% is a conservative number. In many cases, the number of suicide attempts is 51% or higher. And these are the rates of unsuccessful attempts. Those who have successfully attempted suicide are not recorded precisely because they didn’t survive to tell about it. If 41% are unsuccessfully attempting suicide, it is safe to assume that a large number of trans people have also successfully attempted suicide.
The following is from the first link above (“Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey”):
“A staggering 41% of respondents reported attempting
suicide compared to 1.6% of the general population,
with rates rising for those who lost a job due to bias
(55%), were harassed/bullied in school (51%), had low
household income, or were the victim of physical assault
(61%) or sexual assault (64%).”
Structural and institutional cissexism is found in employment, education, income distribution, and rates of physical violence and sexual assault. This is often layered with other forms of structural and institutional violence like sexism, racism, classism, Orientalism, colonialism, and ableism.
More trans people take their own lives than are killed by random strangers on the street. While we are encouraged to remember the latter every year during Transgender Day of Remembrance, the deaths of the former go largely unacknowledged by the larger community.
While 55% of trans people who have lost a job due to bias and 51% of unemployed trans people have attempt suicide, that number rises to 60% for those who have worked in the informal, underground economy, particularly those involved in survival sex.
The rates of suicide attempts in education starts at 51% for those who are bullied and harassed, but then rises to 79% for those who were assaulted by teachers or staff. Of those students who were sexually assaulted 68 to 69% attempted suicide.
These numbers also rise by race. The 41% number given above is for the overall sample. But if we look at the different racial groups we see that White and Asian trans people have slightly lower rates of suicide attempts at 38% and 39% respectively. Obviously these numbers are still outragingly high. But the numbers rise above 41% for all other races. In acceding order, suicide attempts for trans people who are Latin@ is 44%, Black 45%, multiracial 54% and American Indian 56%.
The report shows that 45% of trans people between the ages of 18-44 have attempted suicide. It would seem that suicide attempts start to taper off for trans people from 45 years on, falling to 39% for those 45-54, 33% for those 55-64 and 16% for those 65 years and over.
However, again, a survey can only record numbers for people who have survived a suicide attempt. Obviously those who succeeded in killing themselves are not going to be around report back. So not only can we assume the real percentage of suicide attempts would be much higher than 41% if it included all the successful attempts, but also that trans people who successfully attempt suicide will be removed from the population at younger ages.
This would help explain why the reported rates of suicide attempts start to taper off after trans people reach middle age. That is, it is likely that suicide attempts are preventing a significant portion of the trans population from living beyond 45 years of age.
Of those trans people who live in violent/abusive households 65% have attempted suicide. This is twice the rate of suicide attempts (32%) for those trans people who say they’re family is accepting.
For trans people who have experienced homelessness 69% had reported attempting suicide, compared to 38% for those trans people who have always experienced stable housing.
Trans People are Survivors
It’s not hard to see how all these things begin to add up. If a trans person is experiencing violence in the home they may runaway and become homeless, and if they experience violence in school they may drop out, if they are homeless and/or drop out of school they’ll have a harder time finding steady, formal employment, if they can’t find formal employment or they live on the street they may turn survival work in the sex and drug trades in exchange for food, shelter and healthcare, which can increase their chances of being imprisoned, which leads to additional barriers to survival. Anyone of these things by itself could increase one’s desire to end their own life, so think about how each of these factors feed into and reinforce the others.
With such high rates of suicide attempts in the face of large-scale systematic oppression, it is fair to say that, for many, to be a trans person in the United States is to be a survivor. This is especially true for those who are trans women, poor and low-income trans people, trans immigrants, indigenous trans people and other trans people of color.
Darnell “Dynasty” Young is another example of the criminalizing of trans and queer people of color for defending themselves.
Young is gay with feminine expression. Other kids bully Young because of this, taunting him with heterosexist slurs and following him home while shouting threats of physical violence, including throwing rocks and bottles at him.
In order to protect her son from becoming another statistic of anti-LGBT violence, Young’s mother gave him her stun gun for protection. And one day when six guys at school ganged up on him he pulled out his stun gun to protect himself. It worked, the bullies backed off and Young was able to go about his day.
That was until the principle responded by suspending Young, who was also arrested. Now he faces expulsion for defending himself in a school environment where the administration gives its implicit endorsement to violence against queer and trans students.
In a classic example of victim blaming,
Larry Yarrell, the Tech principal, said school staff were trying to help Young by suggesting that he “tone down” his accessories.
“If you wear female apparel, then kids are kids and they’re going to say whatever it is that they want to say,” Yarrell said. “Because you want to be different and because you choose to wear female apparel, it may happen. In the idealistic society, it shouldn’t matter. People should be able to wear what they want to wear.”
There is a common pattern of victim blaming in our schools. Even where anti-bullying laws exist, they don’t provide adequate protections for LGBT and gender-nonconforming students whose sexuality, gender identity and/or expression are considered “disruptive” by heterosexist and cissexist administrators and educational staff. In many cases schools see the students’ deviation from hetero- and cisnormative standards as disruptive and the cause of bullying. These schools think the way to combat bullying is to institute cissexist and heterosexist policies that restrict and police the sexuality and gender of queer and trans students.
In effect, these schools are actually taking anti-queer and anti-trans bullying and instituting it into formal school policies that actually encourage staff to enforce the heterosexual and cisgender norms that often serve as the motivation of bullies in the first place. This is in direct contrast to making schools a safe place for queer and trans students by actively working to address the hostile cissexist and heterosexist learning environment.
American University’s Student Body President, Sarah McBride, on her decision to come out as a woman who is trans.
This part of her story really hits home:
At an early age, I also developed my love of politics. I wrestled with the idea that my dream and my identity seemed mutually exclusive; I had to pick. So I picked what I thought was easier and wouldn’t disappoint people.
To avoid letting myself and others down, I rationalized my decision: if I can make life a little fairer for other people, then that work would be so fulfilling that it would make me feel complete and somehow mitigate my own, internal struggles. I told myself that if I could make “Tim” worthwhile for other people by changing the world, that being “Tim” would be worthwhile.
The University of Pittsburgh has instituted a new policy forcing transgender students from using gendered facilities (restrooms, locker rooms, etc.) consistent with their gender identity and presentation. The resolution triggering the policy was passed unanimously.
On Tuesday an unidentified Pitt spokesperson stated that students must use the gendered facilities that correspond with gender on their birth certificate, not how they currently present.
That’s problematic on several levels. Pennsylvania is one of the states that only allows birth certificate changes if the person in question undergoes SRS. That’s an out of the question expense for many trans college students. It also doesn’t take into account some states like Tennessee will not allow or offer new or amended birth certificates under any circumstances.
Pitt’s transphobic policy is also in conflict with the recently adopted NCAA competition policies for trans student athletes, the non-discrimination laws in the city of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County and could open trans students to anti-trans violence if forced to use a gender facility that doesn’t correspond with their gender presentation.
And as trans Pitt student Alice Haas pointed out, ““I find it absolutely barbaric and appalling that the University of Pittsburgh requires forced castration in order for me to be considered female, especially when my driver’s license and passport both state otherwise,” Haas said. “It is in no way just or appropriate to force me to provide information on my genitals or my birth certificate.”
Full disclosure, I grew up in western Pennsylvania not that far from Pittsburgh, and, yeah, this is pretty much par for the course.
A … transgender [woman] in Hong Kong is going to sue a Christian narcotics school for contributing to the delay of her gender reassignment operation by a decade.
The 24-year-old who identified herself only as ‘C’ was forced by her parents in 2002 to enter Christian Zheng Sheng College, according to local tabloid Apple Daily.
Zheng Sheng, meaning ‘repent to live’ in Chinese, refuted C, saying she should not have enrolled if she regarded herself as a female since the school was not equipped to help her.
The private school targeting deviant adolescents also stressed it does not force anyone to be heterosexual, but simply help students to tell the rights and wrongs.
C, who started her delayed medical evaluation last year, questions the statements.
After befriending a group of trangenders in the street at age 15, C said, ‘I have had a strong desire to change my gender and strived to save up as much money as possible for my gender reassignment operation.’
Her relationship with her parents worsened even as she resorted to drugs. Before she entered Zheng Sheng, C said she had already arranged for a psychiatric appointment.
‘The school kept saying how their tutors were psychologists and stopped me from going and shut me up.’
C also accuses Zheng Sheng for forcing her to live, bath and swim with other boys, rallying other students to force her to be a man, inviting preachers to ‘cure’ her of her sexual deviance and banning her from falling in love.
She tried to commit suicide twice before her mother brought her out two years later. C became even more addicted to drugs and engaged in some criminal activities.
The doctor in charge criticized how she had been forced to delay an evaluation by two years of her prime time and regarded the gender role C was fitted in as tormenting, C said.
Gay Star News has contacted Zheng Sheng for comments.
Praised by some for guiding teenagers back to the right path, Zheng Sheng has also been caught in a few controversies. In 2009, it was reported to have applied for social assistance from the government for around 120 students, but invested part of it in real estate projects in mainland China.
Earlier today, when I read open posts by Smith students decrying discrimination on their college campus, I try to be sympathetic. I really do. But doing so with verve would be like shaking the devil’s hand and saying you’re only kidding.
This is the same college which employed Janice Raymond,…