Women's Issues

Judith Butler on the extermination of trans women

Judith Butler, well known feminist philosopher and the author of Gender Trouble participated in an email discussion with the feminist collective Broadly on the topic Why do Men Kill Trans Women?. It is intertwined with Broadly's own offering by Diana Tourjee, He's Not Done Killing Her

There were 23 known killings of transgender women in the United States in 2015. That number nearly doubled from the 12 reported in 2014. Broadly published an in-depth feature on these crimes in which we investigate their underlying cause. In addition to contacting police departments, victims' friends, and family, we interviewed the renowned queer theorist, Gender Trouble author Judith Butler.

One of the most disturbing, yet often easily overlooked, aspects of these crimes is the gender of the killers. Butler maps anti-trans violence back to the source, ultimately suggesting that trans deaths were caused by men because of men's need to meet culturally held standards of male power and masculinity.

She also insists that gender cannot be parsed from the other realities of the victims' lives. Ninety-one percent of the trans murders we investigated were people of color. They were primarily poor; many engaged in sex work. Law enforcement agencies have widely failed to classify these murders as hate crimes, maintaining a myopic perspective. By insisting that these facts be considered together, Butler does what the police have failed to do: recognize that the context in which these women lived and died is inseparable from their lives as transgender women of color.




Open season on bashing trans people?

I guess Fox News' resident transphobic Dr. Keith Ablow must have been busy elsewhere. In the wake of FRC's Tony Perkins suggestion that trans people in California will commit crimes in order to be sent to prison so that they can get the health care they deserve (and isn't that a shocking condemnation of our society all by itself?), Fox trotted out 'psychology expert' Gina Loudon to dish its special brand of transphobia.



Loudon, a tea party activist who became a reality star after she and her husband joined ABC’s Wife Swap (that's what I would want in a psychotherapist), insisted that it was “absolutely not” cruel and unusual punishment to withhold surgery from transgender inmates.

And the science is on my side of this. I’m not sure why the other side is deciding to be science deniers now. Johns Hopkins University ended their program because they realized that people who go through with the sex change surgery have a 20 fold increase in suicide rates as opposed to those who don’t.

Not true. Well, the fact that Dr, Paul McHugh closed down the Johns Hopkins University program is true...but the fact that he did so because of science is not. McHugh is an 'orthodox Catholic' who has spent his career peddling myths about gay and transgender people.



Not a Pretty Girl

Body photo body2.gifI would be remiss if I didn't include my most successful diary ever as one of the chapters in my autobiography. Presented here with some minor rewrites, this chapter comes from January of 2009.

The graphic to the left is named Body. Some might consider it NSFW, but it's just an assemblage of red pixels on a yellow background.



Gender Prison: Women's colleges move toward opening doors to trans women

Trustees at Barnard have been considering whether or not trans women are women as far as their admissions policy goes.

The time has come for us to examine how we, as a women’s college, define ‘women,’ and how, consequently, we both admit and graduate students.

--Debora L. Spar, Barnard president




Woman's Day shares story of Christian woman who learned to support trans son

In its October 2014 issue, the magazine Woman's Day strayed outside its usual comfort zone with an article about a Christian mother learning to accept and support her transgender son. In The Son God Gave Me, Gina Kentopp tells Barry Yeoman about her coming to terms with her son's identity and the process of its formation and the changes she had to go through herself.


 photo WomansDay_zps9736ab44.jpg

When my second child, Kyle, was born in 1994, and the nurse told me I had given birth to a daughter, I was thrilled. I already had a son, Alex, and now, I thought, a baby girl. During the first year of Kyle's life, I dressed him in every frilly outfit I could.

I use the pronoun "he" when talking about Kyle, because I now understand that he has always been male—his inner soul, when he was born, didn't match his body.



The HeForShe Campaign and the Social Good Summit

Emma Watson Spoke at the UN for gender equaliy at the Social G00d Summit yesterday

If men don’t have to be aggressive in order to be accepted, women won’t feel compelled to be submissive. If men don’t have to control, women won’t have to be controlled

--Emma Watson





I suspect that some of my readers must be wondering by now why I haven't responded with my thoughts on the recent outbreak in the transgender/TERF hostilities.

In case yoIu have been completely unaware of the issue, TERF stands for "trans exclusive radical feminists," although I've always thought they were more reactionary than radical. I should note that they don't like the term, viewing it as an insult, even though it was invented by other feminists...feminists who wanted to distance themselves from the TERFs.

Although the hostility has been simmering for quite awhile, the most recent outbreak can be traced to the publishing of an article in The New Yorker by Michelle Goldberg, entitled What is a Woman?, which presented a very one-sided treatment of the dispute.

To quote a TERF, from the beginning of the rift in 1973:

I will not call a male “she”; thirty-two years of suffering in this androcentric society, and of surviving, have earned me the title “woman”; one walk down the street by a male transvestite, five minutes of his being hassled (which he may enjoy), and then he dares, he dares to think he understands our pain? No, in our mothers’ names and in our own, we must not call him sister.

--Robin Morgan



Trio of transwomen selected as Women of the Year by California legislators

Each year the California state legislature honors one woman from each legislator's district in a list of Women of the Year during Women's History Month. This year three transgender women were so honored.


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On Monday Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) named Cecilia Chung of San Francisco to be honored. Assemblyman Richard Bloom (D- Santa Monica) selected Desiree Jade Sol of West Hollywood. Assemblyman Mark Stone (D-MontereyBay) chose Dayna Sinopoli of Aptos.

 photo chung1-300x199_zps848b6d28.jpgChung is a senior advisor for the Transgender Law Center, a health commissioner at the San Francisco Department of Public Health and a member of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS.

Cecelia Chung was recently one of two transwomen, along with Janet Mock, who appeared in the Google Doodle video honoring International women's Day.






Gloria Steinem does a 180

 photo MonicaR11_zpsc5b732e7.jpgIn late September TransGriot writer Monica Roberts took Gloria Steinem to task for her writings in the 1980s about transpeople.

You long time TransGriot readers know I'm not a feminist and I cringe when I hear Black women even say the term because of its history of marginalizing women of color to the point they left the movement.

And don't even get me started on its outright hostility to trans women, which is why I identify as a womanist.

And yes, it's time to unmask another one of the feminist icons, Gloria Steinem as a transphobe.


Steinem wrote at the time, "At a minimum, it was a diversion from the widespread problems of sexual inequality." She writes that, while she supports the right of individuals to identify as they choose, she claims that, in many cases, transsexuals "surgically mutilate their own bodies" in order to conform to a gender role that is inexorably tied to physical body parts. She concludes that "feminists are right to feel uncomfortable about the need for and uses of transsexualism."


Steinem concluded the article with the famous quote:

If the shoe doesn't fit, must we change the foot?



Gender Prison: Righter than Right Republican Rep determines who is a woman

Steve Stockman (R-Texas Happy Meal lacking french fries) is struggling to stay relevant. That's not always so easy when your elevator rarely reaches the

Stockman first won election to the House of Representatives in 1994 and was re-elected in 1996 before the Supreme Court invalidated the Texas redistricting process and the rebalancing made his district more Democratic.

We were free of his shenanigans for the next 16 years until the most recent redistricting crated him a district so red that it would be impossible for him not to be elected if he could get out of the republican primary.

But he's a wise hand, right…so he has had the wherewithal to invite Ted Nugent to the State of the Union and to threaten to impeach President Obama over his possible actions on gun control.

Less than two weeks after being sworn into his second freshman term, he issued a statement threatening to file articles of impeachment if the president used executive orders to restrict gun rights.




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