à l'allure garçonnière

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#rights

which trans women get talked about in the media - and how

disclaimer: i must admit, i try to avoid arguments that begin with “why are talking about THIS when THIS is happening?!” but it has been on my mind for far too long and i can’t shake this. no, i’m not the best person to write about this, but i can’t find anyone else who has expressed similar concerns about it so i’m going to put it out there.

important note: this is not intented to criticize trans women, or the choices of one trans women over another; it is a criticism of which stories about trans women get told, and why. it is a criticism of silence. it arguing for a space in newspapers, on televisions, on the radio, and online for productive discussions about how dismantle institutional forms of transphobia, racism, and intersecting systems of oppression.

jenna talackova’s story, in short:

the Miss Universe Organization will allow Jenna Talackova, a transgender woman, to compete in the Miss Universe Canada pageant.
"provided she meets the legal gender recognition requirements of Canada, and the standards established by other international competitions."

cece mcdonald’s story, in short:

Chrishaun “CeCe” McDonald is a young African American transgender woman who is charged with two counts of “second degree murder” after an incident that began when she was violently assaulted because of her gender and race. 

unfortunately, if you know anything about oppression you wouldn’t be surprised to know which story is front-page news, and which one isn’t being talked about at all. talking about what happened to cece means confronting instituional racism and transphobia.

when you google “cece mcdonald,” you get 3 680 results.

when you google “jenna talackova,” you get 6 290 000 results.

asking to be allowed to participate in a beauty pageant, and being granted permission even though you were forcibly assigned male at birth, is perceived as revolutionary, forward-thinking, wonderful. jenna gets invited to talk shows, she gets her photo and name published thousands of times. she fought for the right to live her life the way she chooses to.

but what about cece? asking people to question and challenge the legal system that puts an african-american trans woman behind bars, charges her with murder, for defending herself against racist & transphobic slurs and physical attacks? no. that’s asking too much. that’s too complicated. “we don’t know the whole story,” they say.

do we not want to hear or challenge the stories that are too “complicated?” people don’t see one simple solution in the case of cece macdonald. it’s not a happy subheadline with an accompanying glamour shot. it’s not a matter of one rich white guy changing a rule after being pestered by a few LGBT organizations and having the financial means of filing a law suit.

in this case, you can’t even use the argument of the big bad mainstream media turning a blind eye. look at gay media outlets, too, and you’ll find radio silence. the advocate, “the world’s leading source for LGBT news and entertainment,” has three full-length articles about jenna tacklova. and when you search for cece? nothing. most of where i’ve found this information has been through tumblr and twitter.

INFORM YOURSELF.

SIGN THE PETITION TO HAVE THE CHARGES AGAINST CECE DROPPED.

TELL CECE’S STORY, because not enough people know her name or her story.

recommended reading:

Instead Of An Interview With Xtra

raespoon:

Where I grew up it was pretty much impossible to find a queer publication. We had to sneak downtown and buy the Advocate from the same magazine store that used to sell cigarettes to underage kids. I remember once going to a café because I heard a rumor that it belonged to a queer couple. My High School date and I then sat huddled together waiting for some sort of acceptance to happen, but it felt like any other café in Calgary.

When I was nineteen I changed my name and moved to Vancouver I remember the first time I saw newspaper boxes on the street where you could grab a copy of Xtra West out in the open. I was astounded. Thanks to some lucky turns I had an interview about my music in Xtra West within a year. It was the very first interview of my music career.

A year later I changed my pronoun to “he.” Then my first album came out and I started touring around Canada. I was playing country music and had shows in a lot of small towns. The interviews I did in newspapers at that time were often rife with transphobic statements such as “She says she is a man” and so on. I would spend entire interviews answering the inevitable opening question: “What is Transgendered?” A lot of those papers would substitute my name for every pronoun because the editors claimed my chosen pronoun was confusing for the readers. It was misleading for people to hear my high voice and then see a male pronoun. I was 22. I needed the press, so I didn’t protest the way my identity was being treated.

One of the papers that didn’t use the pronoun “she” or substitute my name for a pronoun was Xtra in Toronto. In fact, over the years Xtra in Toronto and Ottawa have been very supportive of my music, putting in listings and reviews once in a while. Currently, I am generally respected as being male in interviews. It’s become boring to reporters to rehash what a trans person is. They tend to ask me about my music more than my gender these days. I know this is in part due to supportive queer papers leading the way in letting me choose my own pronoun.

I have never lived in Ottawa or Toronto, so I am unfamiliar in a real-time way with grievances people have had with the paper over the years. I’m not saying there weren’t any others, but the first thing that came to my attention about the current transphobia claims was the online petition by Elisha Lim, initiated because Xtra refused to use the “they” prounoun for them in an article. It seemed odd to me because the argument Xtra was using about it being confusing for the reader was the same one that had been used against me regarding my male pronoun in mainstream papers over the years.

A few months after Elisha’s petition was posted, I decided that I too prefer “they” as a pronoun. I was tired of often being expected to perform a male role because my pronoun was “he.” After so many years fighting to be called “he” and having people ask me when I was going to modify my body (physically transition), I realized that for me being trans is not about being read as a man or changing my body. I am happy with the body that I have. What I’m unhappy with is the way things are gendered by society in general. I don’t feel like I want to carry out a male or a female gender role. Gender-neutral pronouns made sense to me personally and felt like the right decision.

Professionally, I was terrified. Not even Xtra was an ally for people like me. How was I to carry on doing interviews and promoting my albums in both queer and mainstream papers? I changed all of my biographies that I control to a “they” pronoun, but I have yet to ask mainstream papers for using the pronoun “he” for me. This is my first detailed public statement about it.

What would be extremely helpful would be more queer papers willing to use and even explain the “they’” pronoun, so that writers from other publications could reference their usage. Straight allies often access queer media to find out the protocol for what’s acceptable in the queer world. Right now, I don’t feel like there are enough online sources for gender-neutral pronouns, in fact, Xtra’s position is damaging and invalidates my identity and pronoun.

The most recent transphobia related to Xtra that came to my attention was the highly talked about use of trans woman Lexi Sanfino’s legal name by Xtra editor Danny Glenwright on his personal Facebook page in reference to an article about her. Trans rights may have not made it into Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms yet, but I personally think this is an obvious disrespectful mistake that should have only been followed by an apology from both Danny and Xtra. A good summary of this series of events by trans activist Morgan M. Page can be found in her online article:

http://www.prettyqueer.com/2011/12/28/xtra-xtra-read-all-about-it/

I found out about the boycott once it had been called off after Danny apologized and when he further issued his much talked about editorial “Response To A Strange Boycott.” The sequence of events and responses became confusing and it was unclear whether the boycott was back on.

The reason why the boycott personally concerned me (besides being a trans person/ally) was because I had been asked by Xtra to do an interview about my new album. I was even slated to be on the cover of Capital Xtra in January. My plan was to try to fight it out and get Xtra to use “they” as a pronoun for me, hoping they had learned from their mistake with Elisha. However, when there was no official apology to Lexi Sanfino I told the writer that I couldn’t do an interview until things were sorted out. Time passed and, as there was still no apology or guarantee that Xtra would use “they” as my pronoun for the article, I informed them that I wasn’t willing to be in the January publication. It was very hard for me to understand why neither of things could happen.

I was asked by the person who was going to write the interview what it would take (regarding the current boycott) for me to do an interview with Xtra again. Although it’s too late for that interview, I would only feel comfortable working with Xtra if both Danny Glenwright and the entire paper made a full public apology to Lexi Sanfino. I would also require that Xtra officially mandate the inclusion of trans, bi and intersex (alongside the currently recognized gay and lesbian) folks, since they/we have been unofficial content for quite some time and deserve recognition. I would also like to see some sort of official policy for editors and writers regarding chosen names and pronouns.

It’s been over ten years since my first interview in Xtra and it feels very strange to be releasing a new album without their support. In Ottawa, my show is at a new queer party called Q-Bounce (http://www.facebook.com/groups/189208117826580/) and without Capital Xtra there are very few publications for us to approach for listings and promotion.

This is my thanks to Xtra for supporting me throughout the years and my plea to them that the necessary steps regarding the inclusion of trans people are taken. There are a lot of other oppression issues in the queer community, and there is obviously a lot of work to be done by everyone. The only way we all can move forward is by apologizing when we make mistakes and trying to not make them again.

Sincerely,

Rae Spoon

www.raespoon.com

I Can’t Keep All Of Our Secrets out January 10, 2012

Toronto at the Gladstone Ballroom presented by the Crush Project  Jan 27, 2012

http://www.facebook.com/events/292080550842516/

Ottawa at the SAW Gallery Q-Bounce Party with DJ CPI Jan 28, 2012

http://www.facebook.com/events/265886433468691/

Vancouver at the Biltmore with Tender Forever and E.S.L. Feb 15, 2012

http://www.facebook.com/events/338162902862024/

I AM SERIOUS WHEN I SAY

pussy-strut:

don’t believe you have rights

rights discourse has its origins in philosophically/legally shoring up the ability of white monied people to colonize, enslave, murder, rape indigenous people/women/people of color/poor people

human rights as they were originally conceived necessarily protected the people who stood to gain from the expansion of capital/settler colonialism

claiming rights, constitutional or otherwise, consistently fails in the face of the violent state apparatuses that “offered” us those rights in the first place

fuck rights

HOLY SHIT THIS IS SO GOOD.

The fact of the matter is that at any moment, I could be at risk simply for being trans. Simply for being me. This is something all marginalized people face–certainly, it’s something every woman in the world understands. But just as it’s possible for the shielded women of the world to sniff at the poor and unprotected and blame them for their own misfortunes, so its possible for the lucky trans people of the world–the professors with tenure, the software engineers with rare abilities, the fortunate few who have managed to avoid most of the ways society turns people into others, to disclaim connection with the rest of the trans world. Rape happens only to people who live in slums, and transphobic murder only to prostitutes turning tricks for street ‘mones.

Except when it doesn’t.

So I will Remember today. I will remember because that body lying somewhere unmourned could be me. Because it is me. I mourn because remembering makes me angry, energizes me to fight again. I mourn because we don’t have all that much to celebrate today, not really, not when even the most elemental of basic protections elude the vast majority of trans people the world round. I won’t shrug or carp about how there’s so much death brought up today. Because there is a lot of death. And that needs to be remembered, to be brought up, to be shoved in the face of those who are indifferent to it until something changes, really changes, and trans people are allowed to join the human race.

I’ll celebrate then.

Transgender Day of Remembrance — Feministe

words of wisdom from c. l. minou. click to read the whole article.