Robyn's blog

Privacy in Idaho

Idaho's transportation department has made the surprising decision (because this is, after all, Idaho) to amend its policy on driver's licenses to allow transgender people to change the sex designation on their licenses without confirmation from a surgeon that they have had sex reassignment surgery.

The ACLU of Idaho had expressed concern in support of two transgender Idaho residents who had changed the sex designation to match their gender identities only to have the state turn around and cancel their licenses when it was realized that proof of surgery had not been provided. ACLU of Idaho Executive Director Monica Hopkins said the state "did the right thing in updating its policy."

From our standpoint, [the] surgical reassignment is not necessary to operate a motor vehicle on the highway.




Cognitive Dissonance

Ashley Del Valle, 38, decided to take a vacation from her home in Queens, New York to sunny Savannah, GA.

Apparently that was her first mistake.

Del Valle has been living as a woman for 20 year and had her name legally changed in 2002. She and her cousin decided a trip to Savannah would be fun. They were wrong.

On Saturday Night, April 6, Ashley chose a sheer blouse to wear on their nightlife adventure for that day. Mistake number two.

Del Valle, who appeared on an episode of TLC's "NY Ink," said she and her cousin were club hopping and hit popular gay club Club One as well as other clubs before stopping in Ellis Square to decide where to go to eat.

She said many people recognized her from the TV show and she was posing for pictures with tourists.

--GA Voice

Early that morning (about 1am) she was arrested for indecent exposure by a Savannah Chatham Metro Police officer. The police report claims that her breasts were exposed. She disputed the arrest, which earned her a second charge of disorderly conduct.

She was then taken to the jail, where a she was examined by a nurse, who discovered she was still "technically male." So she was placed in a holding cell in the men's portion of the jail. For two days she was referred to as "a thing" and otherwise harassed.

I felt like I just wasn't being treated like a human being.

--Del Valle



The humanity shortfall in federally funded faith-based charity

The John L. Young Women's Shelter is located three blocks from the US Capitol. The shelter is operated by New Hope Ministries, Inc of Woodbridge, VA. Not surprisingly the shelter is operated under a city-funded contract. And in the District of Columbia that usually means federal money is involved somewhere along the line.

A lawsuit was filed against the shelter on April 5 and a complaint was filed with the DC Office of Human Rights on March 22 by two transgender women who charge that employees of the shelter said they could not be admitted because of their transgender status.

An attorney with the DC Trans Coalition filed the lawsuit on behalf of Lakiesha Washington, a homeless woman who attempted to spend the night in the shelter on April 3. The lawsuit says at that time a discriminatory act took place.

A female employee at the shelter asked Washington, "Are you a woman or a man?" Washington replied, "I am a transgender woman." The employee asked Washington if she had any documentation (presumably a court ordered legal name change or proof of gender reassignment surgery) and Washington said that she did not. The employee then told Washington,




"We don't do transgenders here. You have to leave."





Forced sterilization is necessary because...THREE!

We thought everything had been settled in Sweden.

Apparently we were premature.

Two members of the Swedish Parliament are warning the government that forced sterilization of transpeople must continue, else the government will have to recognize a third gender or third sex.

And everyone knows it would be wrong to have three because…THREE!

Conservative MPs Tuve Skånberg and Annelie Enochson, Christian Democrats, have written an op-ed in the Christian newspaper Dagen in which they offer a counter-proposal to the government plan to remove requirements that transpeople be sterilized before undergoing gender reassignment procedures.

The [government] proposal would have far-reaching consequences. The key consequence being that Sweden would introduce the possibility of creating a third gender, called ‘person’ in the law books – men who give birth.

--Tuve Skånberg and Annelie Enochson



Unlike heaven, West Virginia

We may be making progress at the Supreme Court, but that doesn't imply that progress is happening elsewhere.

 photo skinner221_zps2f1d96d8.jpgThere has been a bill in the West Virginia House of Delegates to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the state's anti-discrimination laws. But its sponsor, West Virginia's first openly gay legislator Stephen Skinner (D-Jefferson County) has announced that he has asked the chairman of the committee considering the bill to forget about it ahead of today's procedural deadline. Skinner expressed concerns that the proposed exemption for religious organizations would be amended so broadly as to make the bill meaningless.

I believe that the wisest course of action today is to delay the battle in the House for another day.

--Stephen Skinner

Skinner thanked the hundreds of volunteers who have lobbied for the bill thought phone banks and in person. He also thanked those lawmakers who had co-sponsored and expressed vocal support for the measure.

To those of you who support the (bill) but feel you cannot vote for it, it is not my job to soothe your conscience. I will not give up on you, but I want you to explain to your children, your grandchildren, your brothers, sisters and friends, why you will not do so.




Contrasts in Equality

On Wednesday the Canadian House of Commons approved a bill that would make it illegal to discriminate against transgender people. The bill passed without the support of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, but eighteen Conservatives, including four cabinet members, joined with the opposition New Democrats and others to pass the third reading of the bill 149-137. The private member's bill was sponsored by New Democrat MP Randall Garrison.

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird has been pressing for LGBT rights in his travels abroad. Baird, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, Labour Minister Lisa Raitt, and Heritage Minister James Moore split with Harper to support passage.

Today, New Democrats are proud to have contributed to ensuring equal protection under the law from discrimination and hatred based on gender identity.

Transgender and transsexual citizens are among the most marginalized and are too often victims of harassment and acts of violence.




A History Lesson on a Cold Evening

The Bristol Post picked up a story last Tuesday that should have been told long ago…long enough ago that the story qualifies as LGBT history. And that's likely why the article was written: it's LGBT History Month in the UK.

I have to admit that I'm not as familiar with the story myself as I should have been, so I had to spend a few days educating myself…and then a day or two deciding how to deal with the slippages of reality I encountered in so doing.

The title of the Post article was Op by unknown doctor was a world first. And that is true, but I'm not so sure that the Post really understands the history in its totality. The title of the February 16, 2013 talk, Michael Dillon: The Man Who Invented Transsexuals by Cheryl Morgan, which is is being presented at Studio 1, M-Shed, Princess Wharf and sponsored by OutStories Bristol stretches the truth terribly.

So what's this all about?



The Man-Woman Case: Convicted by the press

I see there's a new book due out soon by Mark Tedeschi QC that may be of some interest. It's title is Eugenia: A True Story of Adversity, Tragedy, Crime and Courage, which in true Guardian fashion offers offense from the first word of the title. There is a web site for the book as well.

Tedeschi writes as a lawyer, not as a historian. His purpose is to expose a miscarriage of justice.

Born Eugenia Falleni in 1875, the subject of this biography is a (female-to-male) transgender man who was more variously known as Eugene Falleni, Harry Leo Crawford, and Jean Ford.



Revisiting the Mountaintop

I am an activist for my people. As I have grown older, I have more likely performed my activism with my words, which is the tool I have had at hand.

Sometimes I am repetitive. I am a teacher. Some lessons are hard. That's a clue to the fact that they are important. Important lessons need to be taught more than once, again and again, time and again, using different words, approaching the issue from different points of view. That's what I do. Some of you claim that I do it "ad nauseam." It's your nausea, not mine.

Many of you know me as the transsexual woman (or whatever you call me...I'm sure that it is not favorable in many instances). Some of you know me as an artist or a poet. Some of you see the teacher in me. Or the glbt activist and PFLAG parent. I am all of these. I am a human being.

I was born in a place and time. I have absorbed the life lessons presented to me since then. I am still learning.

I've tried to pass on what I have learned. I continue to make that effort, in whatever new venues are available, wherever I can find an opened eye or ear.



A Kerfluffle in Londinium

Last weekend the Guardian published a huge pile of the most vile shit transfolk could imagine. Not that we haven't read it before, but it was shocking that we have its return in 2013. From Mary Daly's Gyn/Ecology, wherein she desribed transpeople as "Frankensteinian" and living in a "contrived and artifactual condition" to Daly's phD student Janice Raymond's The Transsexual Empire: The Making of the She-Male from 1979, to Julie Bindel's exorbitant transphobia, we've seen a steady march of transphobic self-proclaimed feminists.

Purported feminist Julie Burchill wrote an editorial about transwomen so vile that the Guardian's Observer withdrew the article from the Internet and editor John Mulholland published an apology:

We have decided to withdraw from publication the Julie Burchill comment piece 'Transsexuals should cut it out'. The piece was an attempt to explore contentious issues within what had become a highly-charged debate. The Observer is a paper which prides itself on ventilating difficult debates and airing challenging views. On this occasion we got it wrong and in light of the hurt and offence caused I apologise and have made the decision to withdraw the piece. The Observer Readers' Editor will report on these issues at greater length.

--John Mulholland

The article generated a lot of reaction.




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