Update August 30

Some excellent reading:

1. Sarahlizzy’s post at Questioning Transphobia, The Perennial Transgender Toilet Debate, dissects the age-old potty panic fearmongering:

“The “trans people in public toilets” debate is almost always framed in terms of protecting cis women from trans women

Quite often this framing is not explicit, but is implicit in the language used to frame the issue, and in terms of what is and is not said.”

As has been discussed here before, there is no statistical data that supports the spectre of trans women preying on women and children in washrooms.  In fact, the overwhelming absence of trans-specific predation occurring with any degree of regularity (and meanwhile, we use public restrooms all the time) demonstrates that sexual predation is not linked with or characteristic of being trans.

Now can someone please tell Barney Frank so he can stop making the fearmongering sound legitimate?

2. Ivan E. Coyote has an excellent article entitled Shemanifesto, exploring Ivan’s identification as genderqueer in a positive, community-building sense.  Too often we get wound up in the idea of genderqueer and HBS / classical transsexualism being polar opposites and never the twain shall meet, rather than understanding that some of us identify in a way that fits the societal gender binary while others are simply more comfortable in a shade of in-between.  It is unnecessary to define oneself to exclusion, as one identification doesn’t by itself annex the other:

“The fact that I have chosen to use the pronoun she does not change my politics, my perversions, my preferences or my mind about anything. I am no less transgendered than I was. I am no less of an ally to my transsexual brothers and sisters. I will continue to fight for their right to define and own and control their identities and their bodies, just as I always have. I have always believed that a trans person’s right to self-determination and access to medical treatment is a feminist issue, as much as a woman’s right to safe and legal abortion and birth control is a feminist issue.”

I will add one caveat that I’ve mentioned before: in order to successfully co-exist, we also have to be careful not to push for legislation or social recognition that would likewise annex all trans people to be treated exactly the same.  For example, while someone may identify as a third gender or agendered, it’s a problem to identify all trans people this way under law or social convention.  Mutually-respecting acknowledgement and treatment is a bit more complicated to do, but ultimately true to the spirit of human rights for all people.

3. At Genderqueer Chicago, there is an open letter in response to a sensationalized news item about a man who died from an overdose on Viagra, but was characterized as though he died because the sex worker he was with was transsexual (which he may or may not have known about).

“It implies a connection where there does not seem to be one. A man died of a Viagra over-dose, an occurrence which has been documented before on a number of occasions. The amount he ingested and/or heart conditions he may have had beforehand are not mentioned even though they are probably the most significant factors associated with his passing.

As a member of the transgender community I find this article offensive. It is clearly drawing on the idea that transsexual people are freakish monsters, are sexually undesirable and are deceitful if they do not disclose information about their gender transition. It draw on the fears and biases which lead to the death of hundreds of transgender women (many of whom turn to sex work as a response to prolonged unemployment caused by discrimination) in countries across the world.”

ninemsn issued an apology and removed the original article.

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