jhameia: ME! (Default)

It's unlikely but I hope the Orlando McDonald's FIRES this manager.

ETA: MacD's did fire the manager in question. However, Shakesville is still encouraging people to write in to ensure this doesn't happen again.
jhameia: ME! (Call To Arms)
Not Victorian capitals but there you have it.

The Vancouver Women's Health Collective opened a new women-only clinic.

Sounds good so far! What's wrong with this?

The pharmacy doesn't serve all women, that's what's wrong. You see, apparently, to be a woman, you have to have been born a woman, lived your whole life as a woman, had specifically woman problems, and who the hell knows what else is essential to being a woman. Mercedes Allen gives a nice rundown on the pre-requisites of being a woman.

Queen Emily, guest-blogging at Feministe, takes on this issue, and rightly points out that there is no solid reasoning to exclude transwomen from receiving services at this women-only clinic. I also highly recommend reading the comments, as Holly within them point out the classism inherent in the reasoning as well.

More from [livejournal.com profile] gudbuytjane

What a great idea, a women-only pharmacy!

Too bad it had to be tarnished with transphobia, and it had to start off excluding the most marginalized subset of women.
jhameia: ME! (Call To Arms)
Each year, the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (the “IDAHO”, as it is usually called), will see actions and initiatives take place in many countries and contexts and on many different issues.

All these activities and initiatives are a very strong signal to all, decisions makers, public opinion, civil rights movements, human rights defenders, etc. throughout the world that our fights for our Rights as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer, intersex, etc… is vibrant!

The Day provides all different kind of actors with a very powerful opportunity to express their demands and to advocate for their case. Each year also, the IDAHO aims at using the extra public, political and media attention that it provides at all levels to highlight one specific aspect of the struggle for sexual rights.

This year, we chose to highlight the often neglected but important issue of Transphobia.

Here's the appeal for the rights of trans people all over the world in PDF format.

And here's where you can sign the appeal. This is an international initiative, so anybody can sign.

And yes, the chosen acronym, IDAHO, has an invisible T for Transphobia. I've said it before, transpeople tend to be the ones least thought of among the alternatives to the heterosexual norm. Even those identifying as homosexual will quite easily fall into the trap of discriminating, in some form or manner, or just plain insulting, denigrating, or dehumanizing, transfolks.

The issue of transphobia is a feminist issue. The bottomline of transphobia is a very subtle kind of misogyny, and even ciswomen will gladly participate in hatefulness against transwomen (just as women will gladly participate in hammering in patriarchal norms against other women). Let me outline it for you:

- Transgenderism itself is seen as an act of "transgressing", crossing between boundaries which many societies teach should not be crossed.

- These gender boundaries should not be crossed because
a) women should never aspire to be higher than what they are (i.e., men),
b) men should never aspire to be lower than what they are (i.e., women) and
c) it is notoriously difficult to socially control people who will not fit into neat little boxes and follow the rules of their own sandbox.

In order to maintain this social control, we are given the narrative that men are men and women are women (plus all accompanying myths, such as men are animals who cannot control themselves, or women are less capable of leadership positions, and to be something other than what you are is an act against God and thus, unnatural), with implicit social consequences if we do not follow prescribed rules of behaviour.

- Thus, when a woman wishes to transform into a man, it's quite understood why, because the Big Boys' Club gives one lots of perks, and she is despised for having a vagina and finagling her way in there.

On the flip side, when a man wishes to transform into a woman, he is despised by men because women are a lower lifeform, objects to be consumed, whereas men are active do-ers. He is also mistrusted by women who hold any man's wishes to enter the female realm as suspect.

You'll note that this reasoning, too, ties in with the reasoning behind homophobia:

- woman, passive vessel, bottom, lower.

- man, active agent, top, higher.

Keep in mind these other points:

- Sexually anxious people are neurotic about their position in society and easily manipulated. e.g. hypermasculine young men who're constantly trying to outdo each other with sexual exploits even at the cost of loving relationships with women.

- Sex is a commodity. See: common ideas of sexual purity (female virginity is a rose she gives to her husband on their wedding night), sluttiness (if she'll sleep with one guy, she'll obviously sleep with just anybody), marital exchange (you owe your partner sex when you're married to them, even if you don't want it).

- A woman, as passive vessel, submits to sex / takes it.
- A man, as an active agent, penetrates / invade / conquers.

(I know, you might think, "this is all very archaic", but your next-door neighbour / family members / friends / partner might believe this, shocking eh!)

So when a man consents to being penetrated, he takes the position of the woman in the relationship. And because our society has run so long on the idea that woman = inferior not-quite-human, any man who would submit to that is lesser than a man, and every man should reject being asked to submit to being penetrated.

In fact, a man should show his rejection to being the 'lower' by proving that he is the 'higher', more powerful agent within this interaction, and the best way to prove is by doling out violence.

Homophobia and transphobia are feminist issues, because their roots lie within the ever-pervasive misogyny that drive our society's interactions with gender.

And like misogyny, transphobia is pervasive - it lies in our inquisitiveness on any transgendered person's motives to change their sex, in our disregard for their opinions on gender. It lies in our willingness to express transgenderism as unnatural and wrong. It lies in our mistrust of transwomen and in our calling them "men" despite how they identify themselves, and in our insistence to call transfolk by their "real" names, identifying them by their biological sex rather than chosen gender, or using insulting words like "tranny", "fake", "liars".

The flip side of actively hating them is our objectification of them - finding them sooooo exciting because they're, like, totally two genders, and so daring, and so unnatural, and so different, so transgressive. Instead of seeing them as full human beings, they become our idols for the Other, the Difference that we want to participate in so we, too, can rebel against the Establishment. We project our desire to be different onto them, all the while ignoring their efforts to be normal human beings.

If we neither hate nor lurve them, then we dismiss them, think they're less important, or "too much" for mainstream society. We saw this when an LGBT group removed items from a Bill regarding transfolk, with the excuse that "if we put in transpeople's rights in there, this document will be rejected outright. Let's work on homosexual rights first. We can't ask for everything upfront."

Even when we try to support them, very often we're so damn busy trying to speak for them and advocate for them, we ignore their true needs which may be very different from what we think their needs are. A ciswoman can never speak for a transwoman, because being cis will NEVER amount to being trans, and being cis is having privilege over a transwoman. And when we are called out on our lack of awareness for their needs, we get defensive, resentful that they're not appreciative of our efforts, because dammit, we deserve that cookie for even giving a shit.

And then there're some of us who're just plain ambivalent about it, who just don't think about it, that trangender politics don't matter to anyone who's not trans. This is a logical fallacy. Transgender politics is about the right to be recognized as human, a right that everyone deserves. If you give one group that right but not another, it stops being a right.

We can't all be perfect, and I've used terms I never realized was transphobic before and been called out on it. Being called out on ignorance and privilege is not an attack nor a reason to stay silent when it comes to issues as important as human rights.

Today is International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

Other reading:
From Questioning Transphobia:
On Questioning Transphobia
How To Check Your Cis Privilege

From Shakesville:
Life As A Transwoman Ain't Easy by Guest Blogger GallingGalla
Take My Arm, My Love by PortlyDyke
There's No Good Way To Use "Fag" by Melissa McEwan

Little light's essay on fairness. A repost, sure, but good for the soul.

Excerpts of Beyond Inclusion, an essay by Cedar (you can get the whole essay with a donation! It's a 26-pager and still in progress, because transphobia still exists.)

Feel free to leave links you've got on the issue as well.

Cross-posted to the Acting Out Edition
jhameia: ME! (Call To Arms)
h/t to Transgriot

On June 11, Dwight DeLee will go to trial for the murder of Lateisha Green, a 22-year-old MtF in transition. He shot her on November 11 in Syracuse, New York. He also shot her brother, Mark Cannon, 18 and gay.

As usual, newspapers are failing to Get It Right by referring to Lateisha as "Moses Cannon".

The DeLee family is trying to drum up sympathy by stating that he was set up, introducing his previous crime record, and that "six members of the DeLee family is already in jail".

Whilst I understand that PoC often unfairly suffer police brutality and get the short end of the legal system stick quite regularly, evidence points to the fact that DeLee was homophobic and transphobic. And it looks to be that the "trans panic" defense will once again be used.

More [excellent] coverage from here.

Cross-posted to the Acting Out Edition
jhameia: ME! (Call To Arms)
So the jury was expected to deliver a verdict on Allen Andrare's murder of Angie Zapata.

They only deliberated for two hours.

Thirty-two-year-old Allen Andrade is charged with murder and a bias-motivated crime in the death of 18-year-old Angie Zapata.

From the #justiceforangie Twitter:
At 4:00 PM MDT, Allen will be sentenced to mandatory life without parole. #zapata

I feel so relieved.

And yet, Cara makes a damned fine point: "When a woman is dead and nothing can bring her back, I don't think there is such a thing as 'justice' anymore".

And, I'm sad, that Angie had to die, just to keep someone as dangerous as Andrare off the streets. Also, I'm glad, because people recognize she didn't have to die, and are acknowledging it in the verdict, that she was human and had the right to live, and that was stolen from her.

It's not a happy feeling, but any long shot.

He got life.

That doesn't cancel out the fact that for Angie's family and friends, they have lost someone dear. And that a young woman was killed.

jhameia: ME! (Call To Arms)

The victim: Angie Zapata, an 18-year-old woman who was brutally murdered by one Andrare.

The crime: Murder, theft, assault. This will also be the first time a murder of a transperson will be tried as a hate crime.

Currently the defense is trying to prove that Angie "tricked" Andrare into believing she was a ciswoman. They also refer to her by masculine pronouns and her former name, all this despite the fact that her family and friends refer to her by the feminine pronoun and real name. (It's really disrespectful to refer to any trans by the other gender pronoun when they have made it clear they prefer the one they use.) They are trying to persuade the jury that beating and murdering Angie out of rage that she was not as she presented herself is somehow normal and acceptable.

Since the court is also trying Andrare for the hate crime - even if the defense CAN convince the jury that he reacted due to being "tricked", then he's clearly guilty of committing a hate crime, because killing a person because they are specifically trans is clearly transphobia.

Follow the trial with the Justice for Angie Twitter feed.
jhameia: ME! (Call To Arms)

Remember Angie Zapata?

She was a young transgendered woman who died after being bludgeoned to death by the guy she went out on a date with. Jury selection begins on April 14th. From Feministe:

It bears strong noting that Angie Zapata’s is the first murder of a transgender person that will be tried as a hate crime. This is a monumental moment for that reason, and also a highly sobering one — the Transgender Day of Remembrance is held ever year because of the fact that such astonishing numbers of transgender people are murdered as a result of hate. The murders of so many should have been tried this way before. It’s a disgrace that they were not. And now, all we can do is hope for the best in Angie’s case, that the crime will be recognized for the act of hate and bigotry that it was, and that justice will be done.

Angie's family are asking us to light a candle for her. Publicly, that is. You can be a fan of the Facebook Group, or friend the MySpace page, or follow them on Twitter.

I can foresee several trolls trawling the Internetz who're probably bombarding Feministe and other major blogs with shit like "how do you know it was a hate crime" or "she deserved it" or "tranny lol" (no matter how we cut it, that term is still a slur, and the only people who can really use it publicy are transgendered folks themselves) and nothing in the world will ever be able to make it clear to them that it doesn't matter. Hate is hate is hate. She didn't deserve to die. It's not going to make a lick of difference to these people because they're hateful.

But most people are not purposefully / inherently hateful - they simply don't recognize transphobic biases within themselves and their own community. (OK, maybe I'm being optimistic here.) Most people simply don't know enough transgendered people to know that these hate crimes - of discrimination, at least, to harassment, to bullying, to assault, to murder - exist, because for many of us, these things do not exist within our sphere of experience.

Yet, just because we don't see them doesn't mean they don't happen. We may not recognize hate in what we do and see, because we've become so accustomed to the violence and the words that hurt others so badly. "This is just how life is" and "get used to it" are lazy excuses that serve to avoid the hard work that is required to make a true transformation in society that could make life better for everyone.

Hatred is deadly. The worst bit is that it is so ingrained within the societal subconsciousness, that it drives unknowing children to bully others, innocuous people to discriminate, general publics to apathy, and sociopaths to kill, and all this is acceptable, so long as we do it to the most marginalized, unaccepted, powerless of people. And that's an injustice of life that we CAN fix.


Mar. 6th, 2009 06:26 pm
jhameia: ME! (Joline)

h/t Shakesville


I have no words.

jhameia: ME! (Call To Arms)
Remember Angie Zapata? She was killed because she was a transgendered woman, and the man she'd had sexual relations with couldn't see her as human as a result, and killed her.

Now his attorney is arguing that he was driven to kill her because she, a transgendered object, a non-entity, a freak, had dared to smile at him.

GREELEY — Allen Andrade told his girlfriend that he "snapped" when he learned the woman he had oral sex with the night before was biologically a man.

Indeed, until he confronted 18-year-old Angie Zapata in her Greeley apartment in July, Andrade had no reason to believe she was born Justin Zapata, Andrade's attorney argued Thursday at his preliminary hearing in Weld County District Court.

Zapata's closet was full of women's clothes and her apartment was decorated with a female's touch, testified Greeley police Detective Greg Tharp.

Only when Andrade grabbed at Zapata's crotch did he discover the truth. But when she smiled at him and said, "I'm all woman," it drove an enraged Andrade to commit murder, attorney Annette Kundelius said.

"At best, this is a case about passion," Kundelius said. "When (Zapata) smiled at him, this was a highly provoking act, and it would cause someone to have an aggressive reaction."

She argued Thursday that the first-degree murder charge filed against Andrade for Zapata's murder be dropped to second-degree murder.

But Weld County District Judge Marcelo Kopcow ruled otherwise Thursday, citing evidence the 31-year-old Andrade killed Zapata with deliberation.

Andrade hit Zapata several times with a fire extinguisher after he confronted her about her transgender status, Kopcow said.

He said he also considered several statements Andrade allegedly made while in custody that showed his anger toward Zapata and gays in general, including Andrade referring to Zapata as "it."

When his girlfriend told him her cellphone was dying during a conversation with him, he said that was gay and "all gay things need to die," Tharp said.

Andrade also said that he was trying to put the murder behind him and there was "no use crying over spilled milk," Tharp said.

Kopcow declined to drop a felony bias-motivated crime charge, which could lengthen Andrade's sentence if convicted.

The judge refused to set bail for Andrade, citing the capital nature of the crime. Another hearing in the case is set for Nov. 6.

Let me reiterate again:

Just because Angie did not reveal that she was transgendered is NO EXCUSE FOR MURDERING HER. (And YES, there have been assholes asserting this, in some fucked up "oh come on people try to understand HIS point of view" manner.)

Just because a person smiles at you doesn't make it a provocation TO THE POINT OF MURDER.

Just because a person who isn't the type of person you'd normally be attracted to comes on to you IS NO REASON TO KILL.

Pizza Diavola's reaction on Shakesville sums up my other feelings:
this was a highly provoking act, and it would cause someone to have an aggressive reaction.

jhameia: ME! (Call To Arms)
Perhaps because I surround myself with so many gender-queer folks, I sometimes forget what it's like to interact with non-gender-queer people that have a HUGE problem with the gender-queer.

So, let me run it down for you what happened to Angie Zapata:
- She met a man, Allen Ray Andrare, and set a date. Yay dates! Squee, right?
- She invited him home, for a nightcap, I imagine, and performs oral sex on him.
- The next day, Andrare looks around the apartment and sees photos that make him question what he's done.
- He confronts Angie, and when he demands what her gender is, she says, "I'm all woman."
- He grabs her crotch, finds male genitals.

He then proceeded to beat the shit out of her with a fire extinguisher.

After that, she's on the floor, bloodied up and shit right? Later, he would say, he thought he had "killed it."


Not "her", nor even "him", but "IT".

You know, that pronoun we usually reserve for things? Objects?



And then he runs off.

With her car.

Wait for it!

People will come squealing out from all corners, pleading "trans-panic", that he was brought to a sudden fit of rage and panic. Rage at having been "fooled" into sleeping with a man. (Because we all know this is like, the most demasculating act ever right?) Panic, because what would people say? BLAM. That his reaction was perfectly understandable, she should have told him right off the bat. That it was her fault anyway for hooking up with a person she'd met online. That this wasn't a hate crime, for several dozens reasons why this couldn't be a hate crime, just another random occurance in the daily life of the Planet! That she, being a trans, was probably a prostitute (yeah, like THAT matters) so of COURSE it would happen! That he didn't have a chance to think about what he was doing.

Riiiiiiiiight. He didn't have a chance to think about what he was doing, even after she was trying to get up the first time after being beaten and he bludgeoned her again to death. He TOTALLY didn't have a chance to think about what he was doing - that's why he also ran off with her car! (and purse, and keys, and cellphone.) Because that is exactly what totally panicking people do!

What else could he have done? He could have walked away. He could have just left and not said another word. He could have chalked it up as a mistake and made sure to double-check a person's genitals before sleeping with them again. He could have done a LOT OF OTHER THINGS BESIDES KILL HER.

She was only eighteen. And it just hit home that she's.... younger than me.

A few critiques from around the blogosphere:

Melissa from Shakesville: Andrade could have shouted, could have stormed out, could have just gone quietly and never looked back. But he had to "kill it." He had to destroy all trace and presence of what he perceived as a mistake that impugned his very manhood. And so he grabbed at the notion of transgender people as "things," as freaks and monsters, as Its, the narrative of objects and outcasts, always so close at hand in a culture hostile to everything and everyone different—he grabbed it and seized it and held it close while he killed a living, breathing person. Angie Zapata. A trans woman who was loved.

And now people who never, ever, would have known the names Allen Ray Andrade or Angie Zapata know that they fucked and know that he murdered her. Because he couldn't bear to just walk away. Because he is a coward who would rather kill than defend his choices, and a stupid man who didn't consider that stealing Zapata of her humanity to justify slaying her would only rob him of whatever humanity he ever had.

From Questioning Transphobia: But also, Andrade assaulted Zapata physically - he grabbed for her genitals because she wouldn’t tell him that she was trans. He obviously felt entitled to handle her body as he saw fit. What would have happened if she hadn’t been trans, or had previously had surgery? It’d be sexual assault. It still is sexual assault, followed immediately by a brutal murder.

Sam's elegant religious analogy at Feministe: On Passover, Jews recount the joyful story of the exodus from Egypt, the journey from slavery to freedom. Yet this freedom came at a price: in the story, God brought ten plagues on the Egyptians—even killing all the firstborn males in the kingdom—before Pharaoh would allow the people to leave the land. During the seder celebrations on the night of Passover, when the ten plagues are recounted, it is a custom among many Jews to spill a drop of wine from their cups, to symbolize the fact that we cannot celebrate with a full cup when that celebration is born of other people’s suffering.

From PageOneQ: "It should be frightening to all of us," Mara Keisling, Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, told PageOneQ. "What is indisputable is that a beautiful teenager, who was loved by her family and her friends, was beaten with a fire extinguisher by someone who thought he was somehow justified in doing so. [Angie] wasn't killed because she was lying to him. She wasn't killed because she had a secret. She was killed because we live in a society that doesn't teach not to kill."

More links:
La Chola
Post Chronicle
Rocky Mountain News
ABC News
Greeley Tribune

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