The Importance of Platform

One of the most frustrating things about the activism I do was exquisitely demonstrated last night. I've been actively activisting since I transitioned 23 years ago, on various platforms (email lists, the web, IRC, in public appearances and presentations, and in the past decade, blogging).

Yet last night, on Last Week Tonight John Oliver reached more people in 17 minutes than I have in all my efforts.

I'm not complaining, mind you. It is a fantastic thing that Oliver did. And it's not his fault that he has a platform available to him which I shall never experience.

Good on you, John Oliver. May you begin a trend.







The Month of the Gateway Sin

 photo pride___nomi_from_sense8_by_crimson_serenity-d8wfzdb_zpse5fj3zjj.pngI have not yet watched any shows produced by NetFlix or Amazon. That's just not the way we roll in this house. We get enough drama from the various NCIS's and the shows on TNT...though I did develop some interest in Scorpion after catching a few episodes. We are more usually entertained by what we can find on PBS when they aren't in pledge break mode or foodie porn.

But Sources have told me that the Wachowski's new SciFi series, Sense8, cocreated by J. Michael Straczynski (Babylon5) from NetFlix is getting raves from the transgender community.

(Image by Crimson Serenity)







AP does it wrong: Sexualization of trans women

 photo Caitlyn_zpsfgxp2vh7.jpgOne presumes that a news organization would have a style guide for a reason. GLAAD summarizes the AP and New York Times style books here.

And right there it says...

Use the pronoun preferred by the individuals who have acquired the physical characteristics of the opposite sex or present themselves in a way that does not correspond with their sex at birth. If that preference is not expressed, use the pronoun consistent with the way the individuals live publicly.

And that really makes people scratch their heads when they released Trans woman Bruce Jenner debuts Caitlyn in Vanity Fair

Bruce Jenner made his debut as a transgender woman in a va-va-voom fashion in the July issue of Vanity Fair.

“Call me Caitlyn,” declares a headline on the July cover of Vanity Fair, with a photo of a long-haired Jenner in a strapless corset, legs crossed, sitting on a stool. The image was shot by famed celeb photographer Annie Leibovitz.

In addition to the corset, Vanity Fair released a black-and-white video on the making of the cover. It shows Jenner getting her hair done and posing in a long, off-the-shoulder gown with ample cleavage.




This is Us!

Amazon has launched a new documentary series about transgender and gender non-conforming people, called This is Me

This Is Me is an online series exploring contemporary issues faced by the trans and gender non-conforming community, and each short episode focuses on a specific issue – from gender-neutral language to public restrooms. The series explores the real-life struggles and triumphs of individuals like D’Lo (Looking), Maya Jafer (Mohammed to Maya), Valerie Spencer (Beautiful Daughters), Lily Rubenstein (Looking) and more, bringing humor and honesty to these timely issues.

The series is directed by transman Rhys Ernst and produced by Transparent creator Jill Soloway's Wifey TV.

In response to content featuring trans characters, we’re evolving to the next level. This Is Me instigates a new era: stories produced by the trans community about the trans community.




PBS: The science of being our authentic selves

It is not unusual during the course of the day to discover someone who is totally invested in the idea that gender is totally determined by chromosomes and therefore accepting trans people for who we say we are is just an exercise in "political correctness."

A more apparent example of this kind of doubt can be found in a new post at The Federalist called, It’s Not Hateful To Point Out Bruce Jenner Isn’t A Woman. Whereas Robberson offered confused hesitation, Daniel Payne owned his rejection of transgender identities, as many other Federalist writers have done. He argued that journalists “are doing a grave disservice to a segment of the population desperately in need of psychological counseling,” causing them harm by “accommodating their illness.” This is despite the fact that gender dysphoria was declassified as a mental disorder several years ago.

Payne’s attack on transgender equality relied on myths about transition regret, and he distorted data about the high suicide attempt rates in the transgender community. Instead of recognizing that the same study also found rampant discrimination in employment, housing, health care, public safety, and public accommodations — basically every facet of a trans person’s life — Payne simply assumed “the presence of tremendous pain, confusion, and despair” must stem from their “misconceptions.” After asserting that Bruce Jenner “is not a man,” he concluded, “People who believe they are transgender need help, and they need the truth. We should deny them neither.”

--Zack Ford, ThinkProgress



NYT Editorial board does transgender

On Monday the editorial staff of the New York Times launched a series about transgender rights.

Transgender Today used up the entirety of the space usually used for editorials (usually three articles).

One of the great things about an editorial page is that you can decide to make a big deal out of something, and we decided to make a big deal out of transgender equality.

There has been progress in this area, but there is a long way to go. This is not a front-burner issue for people, and we hope to make it one. We want policy makers to read this and think about policies they need to change.

--Andrew Rosenthal




Kumu Hina

 photo kumu hina_zps5qzudjwh.jpgHina Wong-Kalu is a māhū. That is the native Hawaiian term for a person who embodies both male and female spirit. In the language of Western culture a māhū would be called transgender.

Māhū is also Hawaiian for "fag."

But that is limiting the concept.

It is not a gender, it’s not an orientation, it’s not a sect, it’s not a particular demographic and it’s definitely not a race. It is simply an expression of the third person as it involves the individual. When you find that place in yourself to acknowledge both male and female aspects within and accept the capacity to embrace both … that is where the māhū exists and true liberation happens.

--Kaumakaiwa Kanaka‘ole



Data diving at Pew

Apparently Pew Research Center didn't want to be left behind in the transgender race, so Sara Kehaulani Goo dug up a survey from 2013 and spelunked in the data contained therein.

The online survey interviewed 1197 self-identified LGBT adults, of which 43 identified as transgender (3.6%). Forty percent of respondents identified as bisexual, 33.2% identified as gay men, and 23.1% were lesbians.

As often happens, all transgender respondents were apparently excluding from the other groups, under the apparent assumption that transgender people do not have sexual orientations.




One thing the Bruce Jenner interview accomplished for the transgender community that we can point to as perhaps most important was bringing our plight to the forefront of local awareness.

Across the nation local news media determined that they needed to suplement the interview with local interest.

And I can't speak for anyone else, but I've had about a dozen people from past communities in which I have lived ask to friend me on Facebook...mostly people I've either forgotten or never knew in the first place.




The morning after

The Interview last night was...not a disaster. There was some doubt about that running up to the occasion.

But Bruce did okay, for the most part. I mean, I could have written some of the words she used. In fact, I did write some of them, as you could find in my autobiographical pieces I shared over the first ten weeks of this year.

I'm not claiming that Jenner used my writings inappropriately...or even that she read them. It is the case that many of us transgender people analyze the experience and progression of our lives in similar ways, so it is not surprising that we might use some of the same words.




Subscribe to RSS - Media