Activism

Transgender Lives

Before Laverne Cox landed the role of Sophia Burset on Orange is the New Black...

I played hookers a lot. That was the scope of what was available for trans actors. When I got the [OITNB] script, I was like, OK, this is what I've waited for my whole career—I need to kill it.

--Laverne Cox

The rest, as they say, was history in the making.

This year, with gay rights and marriage equality forging ahead at an unprecedented pace, the transgender community came out of the shadows, demanding to be respected and understood too. "I looked around at the lives of so many trans folks—lives that are often in danger," says Cox. "The homicide rate is disproportionately high among trans people. The rate of bullying is disproportionately high. Forty-one percent of all trans people have attempted suicide, compared to 4.6 percent of the rest of the population." Forty-one percent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Maine's Nicole Maines wins November

BiPM includes a poll in his Friday C&J to select who won the week. I decided I needed to riff off that for my title.

I don't know that I have ever read the magazine Glamour. I mean, I may have done so, once upon a time. When I was a child, I read whatever I could get my hands on, just for the joy of reading.

On November 10, Glamour honored its 2014 Women of the Year award recipients at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Glamour's annual Women of the Year Awards is one of our favorite issues of the magazine, and the event marks one of the most inspiring nights of the year; it's a chance to celebrate trailblazing women from all walks of life—Hollywood stars, political and cultural leaders, groundbreaking scientists and researchers, and more come together to honor the women who helped to shape and change the year. But let's not forget that phenomenal women are all around us; to celebrate the spirit of Women of the Year, we named 50 standouts—one for every state. Flip through to see the hometown heroes whose work we recognize this year.

Flipping through the inspiring women from each state, one eventually encounters...

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Gender Prison: All the Lonely People

 

 

 

 

The holiday season brings with it a terrible price for some of us. You can't miss any of the clues that tell us all this is a time of family.

I remember when I was transitioning in the MidSouth trying to find someplace to go for dinner on a holiday and seeing the sign on the doors of the restaurants:

 

 

So that our employees can spend the day with their families, we will be closed for the holiday.
 

 

That's really not what one wants to see when one has been excommunicated from their family, has no place to go and is feeling lonely.

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Speaking for The Dead: Transgender Day of Remembrance

Doorway   
Mort
At some instant
one day
the words will cease to flow
their creator (or vessel)
having passed through
the Door
between herenow
and therethen
    

The words left behind
the ideas they expressed
the actions they instigated
will be all
that remains
to weigh the meaning
of this particular existence

Regret is extinguished
if the words
have expressed
peacefulness
concern and care
and a life lived well

--Robyn Serven
--September 21, 2007

Live fast, die young and leave a good-looking corpse!

--John Derek, Knock on Any Door (1949)

The quote is often erroneously attributed to James Dean.

Some of the murder victims whose stories are told after the break may have tried to live with that philosophy, but the violence visited upon them almost assuredly negated the last part. Being set on fire, run over by a car, shot in the face, or stoned to death usually preclude a "good looking corpse."

A few comments of note: In Brazil, where most of the murders took place, those who would probably be regarded as transgender women here are referred to as travesti (transvestites) and so male pronouns are most often used. I tried to correct that as much as possible. It is also the case that the Police in Brazil are whole-heartedly in favor of blaming the victim, so revenge, drug involvement, "working the program" (prostituting), revenge, or "reckoning" are almost always given as the suspected motives. Gay men in drag, on the other hand, are usually thought to be victims of homophobia. Finally, an autopsy of a transgender woman in Brazil is usually called a necropsy...a word which we reserve for non-sentient animals.

All of those comments may shed light on why there are so many murders in Brazil (77 out of the 121). The United States is second, with 10, (but we try harder...I'm sure we can catch up). Mexico is third with 9.

That works out to one murder of a transgender person about every 74 hours and 27 minutes.

For what it is worth, five of the victims and one of the killers had the last name of da Silva. Ages of the victims ran from 8-year-old Alex Madeiros to 52-year-old Betty Skinner. One of the victims was 16, while 5 were 18 and two were 19.

The list I have generated was collated from several sources, including the Transgender Violence Portal and Memorializing 2014 at the International Transgender Day of Remembrance site.

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Remembering the Neglected and Harassed

The focus of Transgender Awareness Week has been Transgender Day of Remembrance, which I will attempt to properly observe tomorrow (I expect to begin in the morning, but I live on the West Coast now).

 photo S1O_SmithGwendolyn-web_zps31e2ac9d.jpg photo rita-hester_zps094f3e6e.jpgStarted by Gwen Ann Smith in 1999 with a candlelight vigil to remember the still unsolved murder of transgender woman Rita Hester on November 28, 1998, TDoR is intended to memorialize those who were killed due to transgender hatred or prejudice, but it has tended to include all transgendered people who have been murdered for whatever reason. During the past year there have been 74 transgendered people murdered, whose stories I shall attempt to share tomorrow.

But each one of the murdered listed on TDoR was killed by the direct action of one or more protagonists. We tend to forget those who have died from institutionalize neglect or harassment.

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Visas for Translators: Even Kafka Wouldn't Put His Name on This

HBO's "Last Week Tonight" host John Oliver tackled an issue that has
gotten little attention from the mainstream media, helping to save the
Iraqis and Afghans that helped the United States in the wars it started
in their countries. The audience may have laughed but much of this is
heartbreaking and anger inducing, anger at the United States for being
so inhumane and heartless.

 

Translators 

 

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Do we get a turn? (A bit of a rant)

A few days ago one of the Daily Kos membership wrote a diary proclaiming the need for "a new gay rights platform," presumably because the fight for marriage equality was over and done.

I have to say that the diary disappointed me at first...and the comments made by the author in response to comments made by myself and MargaretPOA proceeded to really piss me off.

First off I was sure that those LGBT people who live in states where marriage equality is still not a legal fact would be very concerned about am attitude that suggests ceasing to work for their rights, too...an attitude that suggests that if they want to get married, all they have to do is move to somewhere it is legal. We all know that the wounded evil monster that is the denial of our rights will not die if we just walk away and tun our attention elsewhere. When you have the monster on the ropes, it is time to make a concerted effort to drive a stake through its crusty hide into its black heart.

And even after that it will be necessary to hang around for a bit to make sure it doesn't rise from the dead.

But secondly what really frustrated me was the exclusion from the discussion of any concern for the rights of transgender people...the T in LGBT was treated as if it was silent.

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Turnout for Teachout and Wu

Unlike some I still have a thin shred of hope in the power of the ballot because I don't think people are stupid as a whole, just slow to learn and easily influenced.

We've had 40 years at least to prove that neo-liberal, trickle-down, perfect market economics do not work. They have demonstrated failure in tangible ways that show up at your dinner table every day as you CCPI substitute pet food for people food and wear out your cheap off shored rags in weeks and not years. Your quality of life is declining and it's harder to disguise.

This is not the inevitable increase of entropy, it's the result of management decisions made by our government to enrich our elites at the expense of everyone else.

Fortunately conditions like this do not persist. Whenever there are too many of us and not enough of them there is a revolution. The propaganda becomes repetitive and unbelievable, the cognitive dissonance too much to overcome.

You are not alone. Millions of people see the same things you do, think the same things you think. Including the elites, that's why they are worried and are investing so heavily in more propaganda and more coercive tools for the suppression of mass sentiment. Submit to the charms of illusion or the iron boot of oppression, it matters not as long as you submit.

But ultimately they are dependent on your voluntary submission. They make the calculation that they can distract you with bright and shiny objects or so disillusion you that apathy seems rebellion.

My cynicism is dark and deep, but not that deep. Nope, I'm actually an optimistic sort of guy- not that it does any good.

I think that politicians, who remain at least nominally subject to a process of public approval, and pundits/media news people, who are more directly and immediately dependent on their audience, are open to influence from the populace and ignore it at their peril.

Ways to show that are by showing up at the polls and voting Third Party, changing your registration to a Third Party, or by voting for Third Party candidates like Teachout and Wu in major party primaries. If nothing else you can make Chuck Todd's head explode which is always fun.

I approach this incrementally and pragmatically. If we continue to vote for the lesser of two evils, it is still evil. If the current conditions persist more radical solutions than mine will gain urgency.

If I seem like a centrist, I AM! My beliefs are rooted in the core of New Deal Democracy and Keynesian Economics. It is Andrew Cuomo and his corrupt crony capitalism and double dealing 'bi-partisanship' that prop up the corpse of the New York Republican Party as a Boogieman too scary to dare deserting a Democratic Party that has abandoned every principle and promise.

I am not afraid.

I'd prefer that it not come to pitchforks and torches because I'm more comfortable not being poked and fire has a disturbing tendency to spread beyond your magical circle of intent, but you use the tools you have and if you doubt their efficacy in a modern environment I invite a closer study of recent developments where overwhelming power has not produced the desired results. Humans are a recalcitrant and obstinate lot.

Should you live and vote in New York as a registered Democrat I invite you today to take positive action and indicate your disapproval of Andrew Cuomo and Kathy Hochul.

Vote for Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu.

It is really the very least you can do.

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VotSquare paper.li for Sunday, 7 September 2014

NB: No Sunday Train this week, due to the author packing to go to China. Be back next week

The Lead Story: Democracy in the Twenty-First Century, By Joseph A. Stiglitz at Project Syndicate.

Or click on the headline to go to the embedded paper here at the Voices on the Square site. Note that the embed is not compatible with all devices.

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