Just thought this was worth posting.
So Michelle Kosilek after winning a victory for access to medical care under the 8th amendment, has had her win stayed, by the same justice (Mark Wolf) who originally ruled in her favor.
I’ve heard a lot of commentary from some supposed allies (Barney Frank for one) who’ve displayed some atrocious and transphobic opinions on the matter of whether Michelle has a right to surgery, on the basis of her crimes denying her the right to medical care.
Now I have a problem with this on two fronts, firstly that its a denial of care to a transperson, irrespective of their character. She is someone who violently murdered her spouse and deserves to spend the rest of her days in prison, but she also has a right under the 8th amendment to the appropriate medical care. I would argue that a serial rapist/murderer should get heart surgery or other life saving procedures they needed, because thats what our justice system demands. However because its a transperson, their lifesaving procedures don’t matter…There are hundreds of transpeople in prison who are denied care because its politically acceptable to be transphobic in this area, even if you are a progressive democrat.
The second front I have issue with is that it sets a precedent outside the prison system, that if the government rejects the reality of the lifesaving nature of GRS, and effectively argues that its cosmetic or unnecessary, then what’s to stop employers and insurers from claiming the same thing, using the court decisions as the basis for rejection.
Maybe the later aspect is a bit paranoid, but given the behaviour of supposedly transgender allies in this case, and those women and men who vitally need this care in prison and are denied it, forgive me if I’m more than a little wary…
I was having an argument with a friend over the ignoring of transgender people in the DADT fight, and in moves towards LGBT equality in the USA. She retorted that she couldn’t understand why transpeople were even part of the LGBT community, and if we didn’t like the progress we were free to fuck off and fight for our rights on our own. This was my response.
Back during the 1900s in the US there was a strong alliance between the African American civil rights movement and the Womens lib movement, which could have brought about the civil rights era 50 years early.
However the white men in power managed to try to separate the groups by focussing on their differences and their own internal prejudices. The women were turned against the idea of african americans having equality, and the african american men were turned against the idea of their wives, girlfriends and sisters having equality.
Now strangely there was some overlap, in fact there was a very large overlap of african american women, but effectively given that they were denied power as women and as african americans meant that their voices were lost in the chaos that set civil rights back 50 years.
Now there is a subset of trans people who embrace a post-trans state of being, entering either stealth or partial stealth entering a rigid hetero-normative existence, and reject the association with the larger LGBT community. Partially this may be due to internal prejudices, but also its part of a desire for conformity. I know the fear, but I’ve come to despise those transpeople, as much as I do LGB people who seek to exclude and even discriminate against trans people, since its a situation of equal responsibility for the perceived divide.
We’re all queer, be we asexual, polyamorous, bisexual or transsexual. Yes my personal experiences may not be the same as a genetic lesbian woman, but then again my personal experiences are my own.
However I do have experiences that place me somewhere in lesbian/bisexual space, in transgender space, in british space, in new yorker space, and in geeky space.
Those who wish to keep society from full acceptance and rights for LGBT people would love to have to fight a Lesbian lobby, a Gay lobby, a Bisexual lobby and a Transgender lobby because they would be smaller, weaker and suffering from infighting. It happens, even with an LGBT lobby where trans rights are often the sacrifice placed on the altar of getting gains for LGB people. This is also despite the efforts of transpeople in the fight for rights for all LGBT people irrespective of whether they are gay, straight or bisexual.
The DADT repeal was a clear example of this, where people like Dan Savage talked about how the entire LGBT community had a huge victory, as transgender service members are still being discharged. Yes it was a big victory, but the plight of transgender service members was never even mentioned in the fight.
Yes the precise aspect of ourselves may be different as to why the discrimination happens, but its founded in the fear and hatred of Queer people. Bigots generally are not sophisticated enough in their ignorance to hate trans-people for a different set of reasons to their hatred for LGB people.
Our community needs to fight for all its members, whether or not the specific issue applies to our own individual lives.
Why does society seem so intent on forcing minority groups to have to fight for the right merely to exist in public? And why, when said minorities ask for the same rights as everyone else, are they shouted at and told that they are asking for special rights?
People with disabilities ask for accessible buildings, and are told that it is too expensive, too difficult, and there aren’t that many PWD anyway and why are they asking for “special treatment”?
Trans people ask that they be able to walk down the street without fear of harassment, and that they can use a public toilet without fear of being assaulted, banned from a casino for life (good news is that that has been overturned – scroll right to the bottom) or denied access at a Gay Pride Rally. Despite every new story I have heard of involving trans people (usually trans women, although I am sure there are many incidents involving trans men) as the victim of prejudice or assault, the toilet issue is still framed as “protecting” cis women and children from trans women, with one of three reasons given: 1.) The cis women would feel uncomfortable 2.) The trans women would assault the cis women 3.) Cis men would pretend to be trans women in order to assault women and/or children.
I’m going to attempt to unpack these.
The cis women would feel uncomfortable. Well there are people who would be uncomfortable with anyone of a non-White ethnicity using the toilets. Or people who look and dress differently to them. There is a clever website which shows the amount of prejudice against the traveling/Roma/gypsy community by taking every headline with the word “Gypsy” in and replacing it with “Jew”. The results are startling. If all the websites taking this stance were to have “trans women” replaced with “black women” this would be shown as the unacceptable prejudice that it is. Just because some theoretical person may be offended by the existence of a person belonging to a minority in a public space, we should not automatically ban the minority from that public space.
The trans women would assault the cis women. A quick Google search yields 5 pages of stories about trans women being assaulted. I can’t find even one story about the reverse. Nobody else can either. This is a complete fallacy. Why are people even continuing to bring this one up with no evidence?
Cis men would pretend to be trans women in order to assault women and/or children. There are no special locks, magical detectors, or scientific thingummybobs currently in use, nor are there ever likely to be, to stop anyone going into any toilet. Hypothetical Male Rapist can just walk into a toilet; Dressing up and pretending to be a trans woman is just too over-complicated, not to mention that said person would feel much of the same shaming that trans women face, except more so for not actually being trans, and would be highly unlikely to consider it. Rape is generally about power, and it’s hard to think of much that might be more dis-empowering to Mr H. M. Rapist.
In my opinion, the first reason is sheer prejudice and the second two are absurd logical fallacies built on what-ifs that are so unlikely to happen that we can safely say that the probability approaches zero.
Everyone should have the right to be in public spaces without any fears of what might happen, without exception.
I saw this on the Young Turks a couple of days ago and i was far from amused.
This is not the first time that Cenk has annoyed me intensely. His coverage about the trans-woman in california who was severely harassed by a DMV employee, who abused his position to get access to her personal information. His attitude was literally “get over it” as if being sent death threats by a government employee in full religious zeal was something that just is a minor inconvenience.
Firstly Ana’s description was wrong a man does not become a woman, a transgendered woman has GRS. She was supportive just uneducated about the real nature of transition. Cenk’s position was “I’m Old Fashioned”, well given that gender identity disorder was recognized in the 1890s you are a little bit behind the times for a progressive liberal.
Most of the time I approve of Cenk’s positions and statements, he’s generally a passionate progressive guy, but when you slam and dump on one of the most mistreated segment of society, you loose severe points on the progressive side of things.
There are still lesbian and gay groups that reject trans people, not to mention those on the right. The anti-transgender amendment was slipped in without protest into the healthcare bill.
Its time Cenk to step up to the mark and learn more about who you insult and look down upon.
This is a somewhat personal story, in part due to the fact that i’ve faced 3 people who have used knowledge of my gender identity as a basis on which to attack me.
Two of the incidents were ignorant men who honestly I couldn’t give a shit about, but the one that actually upset me was a former friend using transphobic language against me.
We had a friendship ending falling out and the details are not relevant, what is relevant was in a final communique she referred to me as a “He She Freak”. I was shocked, more than I thought possible not because I expected better of her, but simply the fact that me being transgender was so off limits in the same way calling someone of african american descent a *unmentionable racial pejorative*.
When i confronted her about it recently, after refusing to apologize for such vile language she retorted “I said that to you, to hit you where it hurts”.
This isn’t about my qualities as a friend, or our friendship, it isn’t about how bad things get when friendships fall apart. Its about basic respect for what someone is.
If you use such language, its part of a deeper issue that you have a problem with what I am, the same way if you use such offensive terms for other minorities and women.
I’m not naming this person because it would do no good, but she is no better than a white supremacist calling a former friend a *offensive word*
Its sad really that our third real comment on this site was from a bigot…
This is the world we face, its not full of reasonable people who do not understand, its a world that is afraid of what is different and what it does not understand. We have to fight the ignorance, and defend ourselves from the hateful.
I get to call myself a muff munching queer dyke, because those are words i own, but if you want to come on here and call me unmentionable things, then you are not welcome here….