Miscellany: T-shirts, Sun TV, Ex-Gay Charities, Trans Blood as Bad Blood, and Recommended Reads

A few items of interest:

1) “What the f–k?” Winnipeg mom Ashley Simpson raised questions after buying an X Games shirt for her 4-year-old, and then realized that fine print on the shirt contained the aforementioned phrase (albeit uncensored), and references to throwing eggs at transsexuals.  ESPN Consumer Products, which is owned by Disney, has voluntarily recalled the shirts after Zellers stores pulled them, and promises to investigate.

2) I guess this frees him up in the event that there is a sudden vacancy in the chairmanship of the CRTC. Here’s one for Canadian readers following the saga of Sun TV — the Quebecor station expected to develop into “Fox News North” (in content, not ownership) — which wanted to circumvent the usual process so it could become a top-level (i.e. all services must provide it) station.  Former Prime Minister’s advisor Kory Teneycke has resigned, stating that he felt his presence is a hindrance to the station’s chances to achieve its goals.  Replacing him is Conservacrony, Luc Lavoie.  Bonus points go to Teneycke for reiterating that Sun TV is not a political party-driven station, while speaking on the steps of Parliament Hill.

3) A slap for the ex-gay machine. Slap Upside the Head has raised the question as to whether “curing” LGBT people should be considered a “charitable activity.”

All registered charities operating in Canada must provide what the Canada Revenue Agency calls a “public benefit.” This is a long legal definition that I can’t claim to fully understand, but, of particular note, a charity’s activities must be “regarded as valuable by the common understanding of enlightened opinion,” and such value “must be weighed against any harm that may arise from the proposed activity and a net benefit must result.”

At issue is US-based Exodus International’s ex-gay operations in Canada.  SUTH points out that reparative therapies have been recognized as harmful by the American Psychological Association, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Association of Social Workers, the American Counseling Association, among others.  Canadians who are concerned about Exodus’ ongoing campaign can visit his action page to find out more on what they can do.

4) No anti-gay bigotry for us, please, we’re Christians. Broadway Baptist Church voted to leave the Baptist General Convention of Texas because the congregation couldn’t in good conscience remain, knowing the Southern Baptist attitudes about LGBT people.

5) Perhaps the trans situation warrants further investigation? I hadn’t had much chance to remark on it, but Ontario Superior Court Justice C. Aitken ruled to uphold Canadian Blood Services’ ban on gay blood donors last week, saying that citizens do not have a “right” to donate blood, since it is only a “service.”  For anyone wondering, within the trans community, all anecdotes I’ve heard to date have been unanimous that trans donors are considered “gay” by CBS under the terms of the ban, regardless of their sexual orientation or sexual activity / inactivity (how one answers the “since 1977” question appears to be irrelevant).

6) Recommended Reading. There’s been a lot of exciting, challenging pieces of writing showing up lately.  Readers may not agree with everything said, but I recommend checking these out if you missed them.  Questioning Transphobia, especially, has been seeing some posts drawing from deep introspection, and has been particularly insightful over the past 6 or so weeks (the selection below is one of many worth reading).

Questioning Transphobia: Pain:

But this narrative, however it’s worded, fails to convey what this is like.

What it is like for me is pain. It is the pain of having your skin wrapped badly around your body, fitting awkwardly at best. Reminding you that everything is wrong whenever you move, whenever you go to the toilet, whenever you undress, whenever you shower, whenever you wake up, whenever you go to bed, whenever you see a mirror. It is a constant pain. Everything reminds you of it – the pronouns others use for you, the name others use for you. The clothes you wear.

It’s like living in a world where everything is made of sandpaper and it’s always grinding into your skin – your skin that does not fit your body.

You know what your body should be like, should look like. That you have parts you should not and do not have parts that you should. Your body does not behave like it should, move like it should, smell like it should. Your skin is the wrong texture. Puberty changes your body in ways that alienate you further from your own ill-fitting skin.  Your voice is wrong, your face is wrong, your chest is wrong, body hair and facial hair are wrong. Some of your internal organs are wrong. In some ways, your skeleton is wrong.

This is not about “I want to play with dolls, wear dresses, go to the hairdresser, go shopping, wear makeup,” or any other insulting and superficial characterizations of trans women’s femininity. That is placing the cart before the horse. What it’s about is this pain and doing what it takes to ease the pain. And you learn that all you do is ease the pain…

Women Born Transsexual: Who Were / Are The Real Border Patrol Agents?:

Our ideas of what it meant to be a woman reflected the idea of the time.  Those who came out in the 50s were more likely to embrace the idea of the “feminine mystique” even if they didn’t live it than were those who came out in the late 1960s or 70s.

But no matter, when someone comes out they can rest assured of one thing… They will always find a bunch of judgmental sisters, who will tell them they have to this, that and another thing or else they won’t be “real”.  This is something that went on 25 years before the internet became ubiquitous and is still going on.  Indeed there are whole websites and blogs by people ready to declare their way is the only way and anyone who isn’t their identical clone isn’t real, is transgender identified or best of all,  “a man in a dress”.

Tranifesto: Ask Matt Monday: Who Can a Partner Talk To?

It’s easy to forget the plight of the spouse or partner of a person going through transition. Even if, as you say, you’re happier that you’ve ever been, you as a partner are going through a transition, too, and it involves several components…

And for those who are concerned about sex work issues, Bound Not Gagged has extensively dissected the trafficking argument that’s been distorted and used to target sex workers, most notably in the recent Craigslist ban.  SWOP has now added a press release:

The conflation of consensual sex work with rape is a disservice to both victims of trafficking and to sex workers. Persecuting consenting adults for exchanging sex for money is a waste of precious resources that could better be used providing services and legal protections for minors and others who have been abused.

Trafficking and child sexual abuse are not sex work. Real traffickers must be stopped. Sex workers need health and labor protections to keep them safe while working and the ability to report crimes to the police if they are violated….


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