[Discussion] Trans Issues and Rights

This thread is for the discussion of current events relating to trans rights, for discussion of the lives of trans people and difficulties they face, and for basic questions about the lives and experiences of trans people. (If basic questions become dominant we'll look at making a Q&A thread at that time.)

Hypatian wrote:

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Yuuup.

*mercilessly steals for future use*

This Twitter thread (aggregated) is important.

Cisgender people really really really underestimate how big a deal it is to trans people when we're misgendered--whether by being called the wrong name, or the wrong pronouns. I consider myself pretty damned together, and someone continuing to misgender me despite my protestations could still turn me into a curled up ball of pain. And my only real recourse would simply be to get away from them in order to make sure they can't do that to me again.

Whether they're a friend. A family member. A coworker. A supervisor.

So yeah... yeah. It's really really really important.

Ok. So a rant is coming on. Because I am at my wits' f*cking end.

So this article just came across my FB feed thanks to @vitawong

Trans teen kills himself after suicide watch hospital nurses kept calling him a girl
(Joe Morgan, Gay Star News, 2016-10-04)

The long and short of it is that a trans teenager on suicide watch killed himself after the nursing staff wouldn't stop referring to him as a girl. I don't want to overshoot and attribute malice to anyone, but like -- this f*cking sh*t needs to be said.

Being misgendered sucks. A lot. it sucks PROFOUNDLY more than you probably f*cking think. Because trans people -- we're mostly walking on a knife edge here, even the best of us, and it doesn't take a LOT to send us into really nasty dysphoric nightmares. And those nightmares are *awful*. I say this because, f*ck, the amount of pushback I get when I correct misgendering is insane. Cis people f*cking *hate* being corrected. Even the nice ones. Even the sensitive ones. I usually get some variation of "it's not a big deal." f*ck you. Yes it is.

It is The Biggest Of Deals. It is ACTIVELY distressing, hitting on EVERY. SINGLE. ONE of our self doubts, every support we've got that's keeping us functional and alive. Honestly, I am never at my best except when I am confident in the idea that most people probably don't clock me casually, that I can function as a woman in the world not have that be thrown in my face. when that idea starts to fail? So do i.

every misgendering incident is a big gaping hole in our ability to keep our heads on straight. It reminds us of our OWN doubts and worries. It tells us nobody takes us seriously. It tells us we're jokes. It tells us we're pathetic. So f*ck this idea that these pronouns "aren't a big deal," or "are too hard." f*ck that. This isn't about you. This sh*t literally kills us.

And like, I am just....so sick of trans kids dying. This kid was FOURTEEN. Fourteen! And he killed himself because people trained to care for him instead undermined him where he needed the MOST support. The idea that we aren't "really" the gender we claim eats at ALL of us.

So the damage you do by reinforcing that is incalculable. I'm in the middle of a nasty-ass depressive spell myself in large part driven by exactly those fears, and yeah, suicide *has* crossed my mind. This is real. This is REAL AND IT IS DANGEROUS AND IT IS A PROBLEM.

This! This is why you hear trans people saying "cis people suck, cis people don't care about us." Because the f*cking *basic core supports* we're asking don't get respected across the f*cking board, and EVERY SINGLE TIME it happens it's another cut. I know some transes might be more well adjusted. I hope so. I'm not. Every misgendering incident makes me want to curl up and die. And I know lots of us who feel the same way. And I mean "curl up and die" pretty literally. I don't want to get into my own depression issues here, but just -- god, people.

Think! Think for one f*cking second! Think "maybe I'm wrong and this *does* f*cking matter. Maybe invalidating someone at their core isn't a great way to keep them alive." Because, f*ck, we kill ourselves all the time. Our suicidality rate is something like 41%. I can't f*cking deal with any more reports of One More Trans Suicide. One more trans kid who couldn't deal with the sh*t thrown their way. One more trans kid who doesn't ever get to see "it gets better" happen. You do this. You. Look yourself in the mirror and OWN THIS.

Maybe that was too harsh. I don't mean everyone is personally responsible.

But it's not just malice that does this. It's neglect. It's blase. It's "oh it's fine." It's "yeah but USUALLY i'm fine." It's "but I'm so used to the OLD pronoun."

This sh*t *kills* us.

I'm done. I'm so f*cking over this.

Hope McCrory hasn't spent all our money fighting for HB2 with this hurricane about to majorly affect NC. Stay safe everyone!

Friends - as a cis/het guy wanting to understand and learn how to care for trans folks better, curious to know what those of you who are trans (or not) would consider to be "basic core supports" I could offer you, in the language of that twitter thread above.

If I'm asking an old question, I apologize, and if I'm making poor assumptions in the way I'm asking or anything - please help me out, I'm willing to learn.

krev82 wrote:

I'm just so very glad that this forum is a place where this space can exist, and that for all the struggles and hate in this world that trans people in particular face some of you have nonetheless found those moments of happiness, thank you all again for sharing that journey and the experiences therein so openly here.

+ soooo many 1s to this. I am literally a different(I think better) person because of these threads.

danopian wrote:

Friends - as a cis/het guy wanting to understand and learn how to care for trans folks better, curious to know what those of you who are trans (or not) would consider to be "basic core supports" I could offer you, in the language of that twitter thread above.

If I'm asking an old question, I apologize, and if I'm making poor assumptions in the way I'm asking or anything - please help me out, I'm willing to learn.

The real basics that thread was talking about are super simple—just pay attention and respect our name and pronouns and gender, and actually give a damn when you mess up (and you will mess up: I mess up). Do it in every context, whether or not the person is present. Do it with other people. That's the most basic support you can give any trans person.

As an example of this, I gave a coworker of mine a hand at one point with some stuff that was more his job than mine (his job is one I used to do a couple of decades ago). He offered to buy me lunch some place. We ended up going to a local taco cart, and after he ordered he said "and whatever she is having".

That seems minor, but it wasn't. Here was someone who wasn't a close friend unthinkingly gendering me correctly to the person serving me—which made sure that person also saw me as a woman and spoke to me correctly. That was huge, and I was really touched.

And that would probably be the second level of basic support, when you're not around a trans person. Speak up for them. If somebody tells gross transphobic jokes around the office, say something about it. If somebody misgenders someone (whether the someone is trans or not), correct them and tell them it's not okay.

Of course, just inviting someone to join you for lunch or come over for a dinner party or go out for drinks or something can be a big deal, too. (Of course, put some thought into where to go if there's a chance of transphobic B.S.)

In short: Just treat us with respect, like you would with anyone else.

Which, of course, just shows how frustrating it is that we can't assume and expect even that much from people in general.

If you want to go a bit out of your way... do some googling. Read and learn. Find out about things like North Carolina HB2 or the bathroom kerfuffle in Washington State or local school districts making good or bad rulings on bathroom access for trans people, and talk about that with others and try to do something about it if you can.

Get some #IllGoWithYou buttons and give them to other like minded people, so that trans folks will see you and know that they've got your support and that you'll give them a hand if they need to use a public restroom or locker room somewhere that they don't feel safe.

And thanks for caring, and asking.

bekkilyn wrote:

Hope McCrory hasn't spent all our money fighting for HB2 with this hurricane about to majorly affect NC. Stay safe everyone!

Just most of it.

not sure who this person is but they make an interesting point;
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Was happier to be with this company today when I saw signs under the men's and women's restrooms at work today that gave the location for a unisex bathroom in the building. Subtle middle finger by the corporation to HB2 here in NC.

I cannot WAIT to vote against this man. He is actually taking the "people are mean to me!" approach. Talk about living in his own little world.

In a discussion with conservative leaders last week, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory said the reaction to House Bill 2 has gotten personal, leaving his wife “shunned” at social events and making him the target of verbal assaults and even death threats.

McCrory told the group that he’s also experienced political blow-back that he said was orchestrated by the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT advocacy group.

JC wrote:

I cannot WAIT to vote against this man. He is actually taking the "people are mean to me!" approach. Talk about living in his own little world.

In a discussion with conservative leaders last week, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory said the reaction to House Bill 2 has gotten personal, leaving his wife “shunned” at social events and making him the target of verbal assaults and even death threats.

McCrory told the group that he’s also experienced political blow-back that he said was orchestrated by the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT advocacy group.

Hah. You mean like how he's shunning and threatening trans people?

Massachusetts ballot initiative to repeal the law extending public accommodations protections to transgender people has gained enough signatures to appear on next year's ballot. :X

Hey. If I'm lucky I'll have moved to Boston by then and can vote on my own personhood.

JC wrote:

I cannot WAIT to vote against this man. He is actually taking the "people are mean to me!" approach. Talk about living in his own little world.

Yeah I'm actually more happy about voting him out than making sure Trump doesn't win.

Stele wrote:
JC wrote:

I cannot WAIT to vote against this man. He is actually taking the "people are mean to me!" approach. Talk about living in his own little world.

Yeah I'm actually more happy about voting him out than making sure Trump doesn't win.

I see this as a time when I get to vote against hate twice on one ticket.

When Your Existence Is Up For Debate
How trans people’s lives are jeopardized by the latest trend of “think pieces” on trans issues.
(chase strangio, Medium, 2016-10-18)

Article wrote:

...

As writer Imogen Binnie explained on Twitter, when reading pieces like Shulevitz’s, one must ask “what does this article propose trans people should do”

“[I]f the answer is something like ‘not be trans,’ please consider that most trans people have tried that and it didn’t work,” Binnie tweeted.

And that really is the crux of it. After reading Shulevitz’s piece, what is the answer for trans people other than to simply not be trans if it is our trans-ness itself that infringes the rights of others and creates this so-called clash of values? As Binnie so poignantly offered, most of us have tried that — we have spent years in dark places wrestling with our truth, feeling ashamed and plagued with self-loathing. And when we manage to come through that and survive, and thrive and even love ourselves, we are confronted with this kind of insidious insistence that we should have just not existed after all.

Too many of us die because that belief takes hold of us or of others. With attempted suicide rates in the community close to 50% and murders of transwomen and femmes of color reaching epidemic proportions, these questions truly are life or death. It is about existence even if you frame it as a clash of values.

I totally forgot to tag this thread after the migration from P&C to D&D. Don't mind me, I'm just here to support and learn, as best as I am able.

I have just returned from Bad Religion, with Against Me! as the opening band. The issue is: they were awesome.

I think it was in the prior thread that Whipping Girl by Julia Serano was mentioned. I'm just finishing up reading it and appreciate the recommendation. Just wanted to say thanks!

This is really incredibly infuriating. I can't believe that the Human Rights Campaign, who threw us under a bus last time this kind of thinking came around, is one of the few organizations who aren't standing for this.

Top LGBT Leaders Are Divided Over Compromising On The Bathroom Fight
(Dominic Holden, BuzzFeed News, 2016-10-25)

On Aug. 1, two dozen of the country’s top LGBT activists held an invitation-only phone call to hash out a disagreement that had pitted them into two camps.

After winning marriage equality in 2015, many of them envisioned passing LGBT nondiscrimination laws nationwide — but they hit roadblocks. Conservatives have argued those policies would let transgender people prey on girls in bathrooms and force Christians to sell wedding cakes to gay couples. The bills foundered in state legislatures and Congress. By August, the leaders were fractured over how to break the logjam.

On the 90-minute call, one faction argued they could make gains with Republicans by accepting a compromise. In particular, several supported a bill in Pennsylvania that would ban LGBT discrimination in workplaces and housing — but not in public places, like restaurants and stores. Many on the call believe this could emerge as a model for other swing states where they’ve hit barricades — namely in Ohio, Florida, and Arizona.

By dropping public accommodations from the bills, they would mostly avoid the bathroom issue and religious objections. Transgender people, like LGB people, would be covered in housing and employment. But such a deal would allow, for example, business owners to reject gay customers and require transgender women to use male facilities.

That sort of concession breaks from years of consensus among LGBT leaders, who have tacitly agreed that civil rights bills in state legislatures or Congress should be all-inclusive. Anything less, the orthodoxy has gone, could betray transgender people who bear the brunt of discrimination in public.
This is, in a sense, a fight for the future of the LGBT movement and even a battle over whether organizations can remain fully funded.

I'm especially astonished that Mara Keisling, head of the NCTE, is on board with this. I have heard her say—in person—that she would never throw anyone under the bus. And yet here she is.

So... why are they wrong? How does the approach of "pass an easier bill now, pass public accommodations protections later" fail? First, there's the problem that interest in public accommodations protections is much harder to drum up when the only people affected are those who are obviously and visibly gender non-conforming. Trans people who cannot or do not wish to "pass" as cisgender. Non-binary people who wish to be who they truly are.

People who cannot put themselves in the closet may be prevented from participating in public life if public accommodations protections are not available. That doesn't just mean "public toilets", it also means restaurants, theaters, grocery stores, malls, gas stations, hotels... any place that does business with the public. Those are all places that we might be barred from entry for being obviously "other".

And it does no service to queer people who can be closeted, either... because they continue to have to hide in the closet in order to be safe. If you're a guy holding hands with your boyfriend? Sorry, you're going to have to leave the store.

Is it necessarily the case that these kinds of abuses will occur where protections are missing? No. People aren't bound to discriminate. But passing and discussing such laws makes it clear that such discrimination is acceptable. Look at the stories out of North Carolina since HB2 passed: trans and gender non-conforming people are treated more poorly there outside of urban areas than before the law.

And at the same time, this is one form of discrimination that is utterly blatant. Refusal to serve someone is obvious. The other protections? They're really good things that the law should protect. They're also much much harder to prosecute. "I didn't hire them because they weren't a good culture fit." "They didn't get the apartment because I offered it to someone else first."

For proper human rights protections, we need all of these protections to be passed... to make it absolutely clear that such discrimination is not acceptable at all. Yes, it will still happen. But because we as a society have decided "this shall not be allowed by law", those who violate the law will be pressured by guilt, and will sometimes actually be punished for their crimes.

Without... well, we all know why public accommodations are being left out. So... it very much comes down to saying "visibly trans and non-binary people are too hard to protect, sucks to be them."

Wow, that's just....mindboggling. How do you compromise on something like this when we all know that "later" never really comes?

Well... if you're a straight-looking straight-acting cis white dude, you get all the rights you need. I mean... it's not like anyone can tell that you're not straight if you don't tell them, right?

Grrrrr.

I'm particularly mind-boggled because of the stuff that's just been happening in Massachusetts with public accommodations protections. The state has had everything except public accommodations protections for transgender people. (It had PA protections for other groups, just not trans people. It had other protections for trans people, just not PA protections.)

That was true since 2011, and this year they're finally getting around to passing those protections... which of course is now a big contentious fight because "OMG the children". The law is passed... and now has an initiative on the ballot for next year to repeal the law. (I haven't seen the text of the initiative, so I don't know whether it just repeals the law or also strips protections in the municipalities and counties that have their own protections in place.)

So we have an example here of it being *way way way* harder to pass these things. And honestly, I expect "let's withdraw protections for the scary perverted trans people" to be a lot more easy to convince people it's a good idea than "let's withdraw protections for everybody" like in North Carolina.

I am glad a human rights organization can compromise over the rights of the humans that it claims to represent.

The problem I see is that these "conservatives" are still looking at it from how it makes THEM feel. They're not considering how the actual people impacted by these rules feel.

Disappointing.

Don’t Use Girls as Props to Fight Trans Rights
(Alexandra Brodsky of the National Women’s Law Center, New York Times Op-Ed, 2016-10-27)

...

One of my jobs at the National Women’s Law Center is responding to calls and emails from parents whose daughters face real discrimination in school. They tell us about girls who are sexually assaulted during recess, suspended for failing to live up to impossibly strict, sexist dress codes, which are disproportionately applied to black students, or forced to use athletic facilities clearly worse than the boys’.

When schools fail to value female athletes, or punish girls for “unladylike” outfits, they reinforce narrow visions of what makes a good woman. The same thing happens when they tell a girl she has to change in a different locker room solely because she is transgender.

Our struggles against sexism and transphobia are not in tension but intertwined. Gender discrimination, whatever form it takes, should never stand in the way of a student’s opportunity to learn and thrive.

For some more context on the Massachusetts situation:

There was a great big fight during the legislative process to pass PA protections for trans people in the House, where PA protections were less popular, primarily because of bathroom panic. So, as a compromise, they adopted language that would exempt people who asserted gender identity for 'an improper purpose'. That language made it through to the final signed, implemented version.

Which the ADF was behind the ultimately successful effort to get a ballot initiative to repeal.

This puts the lie to the notion that the ADF, Massachusetts Family Institute, or whoever, want to protect women and girls. They got language that addresses those concerns - they just want to punish us for existing.

Alberta is a very bad place.

First two of three judges say a four-year-old may not wear girls' clothes in public. A third judge finally rules in accordance with recently-passed human rights legislation.

H.P. Lovesauce wrote:

Alberta is a very bad place.

First two of three judges say a four-year-old may not wear girls' clothes in public. A third judge finally rules in accordance with recently-passed human rights legislation.

f*ck those first two judges. And you can bet it would never have occurred to either of them to forbid my daughter from wearing all the damn 'clearly male' clothes she wears in public.

I wonder how much of transphobia, since it's so often targeted at trans women and ignores the existence of trans men, is wrapped up with homophobia? Which is to say, how much of it is straight cis men making it about themselves and their fear of emasculation?

Sometimes I wonder if I'm on the wrong planet. What's wrong with these people? Why can't we just let everyone be who and what they want to be?

ungh that Alberta sh*t, hopefully some precedent can be set so they do it right from the get go in the future and elsewhere.

Saw this bit of depressing and rage-inducing local news:

In the same county Leelah Alcorn once called home, Warren County commissioners took steps to make sure gender reassignment surgery is not covered for county employees.

This seems to conflict -- if not directly violate -- the Affordable Care Act, which encourages carriers to cover gender reassignment surgery and other necessary medical procedures often sought by transgender people.

"I'm not making a moral judgment here," said County Commissioner David Young. "If someone wants to do that (gender reassignment surgery), that is between them and God. It's just not something I think taxpayers should be paying for."

Young and the other two Republican commissioners signed a letter on Tuesday directing UnitedHealthcare to remove gender dysphoria coverage from its plan. Young believes gender reassignment surgery is a choice and should be considered an elective procedure.

He remembers Alcorn, and calls her story a "tragic situation." It doesn't change his mind about what he thinks is another example of federal overreach.

Alcorn was born male. In 2014, the 17-year-old from Kings Mills killed herself by stepping in front of a truck on the highway near South Lebanon. Anguished words about gender identity and parental rejection filled the teenager's suicide note.

In the note, Alcorn pleaded for her death to mean something.

Her last line: "Fix society. Please."