Saturday, September 16, 2006

Transgender Tutorial #1 for Chris Gabrieli & Deval Patrick

Photos: Tranny Bois, Bay Windows; Male-to-Female, BAGLY; Fishnets (c) 2005 MassResistance.

So this is the sort of thing that Gov candidates Chris Gabrieli and Deval Patrick think is well and good... (1) Women who so want to be men they surgically remove their breasts and parade bare-chested at Boston Pride. (2) Men who claim to be women and teach our children the joys of the "trans" world through BAGLY seminars, supported by our state government (see BAGLY executive director in top photo). (3) Males who dress as tarty females and are celebrated by the Commission for Gay and Lesbian Youth at the state-sponsored "Youth Pride" parade. (4) Web site on "transgender health" hormone treatments and sex-change surgery -- which BAGLY used to link for our teenagers! ... until we exposed it. (It's too gross to show here, but is a site worth exploring. Note their links for "transgender youth" -- the sort of information the Gay-Straight Alliance clubs lead our children to, with Gabrieli's and Patrick's approval.)

So our likely next Governor, either Deval Patrick or Chris Gabrieli, claims to support protections and "extensions of rights" for transgender or transsexual citizens. But are they really prepared to govern on this issue? ARE THEY READY TO SPECIFY WHAT CONSTITUTES THE "HATE CRIMES" they promised to encode? Since they went to the
forum focusing on this issue at Harvard Law School the other day, we turn to Harvard to see what they need to know.

Now remember, if it's on the Harvard website, it must be the
TRUTH ... Veritas, and all that. Check out these Harvard-approved sites: (1) Harvard Trans Task Force. (2) "Trannys Talk Back: Words of Harvard Transgender, Genderqueer and Questioning Community Members Talking Back in Conversations Going on Around Us."

This makes for very painful, sad reading. We sense hurting people who need serious psychiatric intervention (from a traditional practitioner, not someone who will pump them up with opposite-sex hormones). But our next Gov promises to consider these words of wisdom to be embraced, guidance for his crafting of "hate crimes" legislation. Some excerpts from "Trannys Talk Back":

... a no-nonsense page called "How to Respect a Transsexual Person" [excerpts]:
- Always use the language that corresponds to my gender identity, e.g. he, she, even if my body does not seem to match yet and even when talking about my past.

- If you are still adjusting, it's normal to make mistakes. Don't draw attention to it by saying "sorry". Just correct yourself right after and carry on. [How much time to we have to adjust before making a "mistake" becomes a "hate crime"?]
- If I identify as male, never use female-marked words like girl, waitress, breasts, vagina, etc. to describe anything about me, and vice versa. Always use language that corresponds to my gender. [But what if you can't make out what the gender is you're supposed to recognize?] For example, if I am a female-to-male transsexual person, I am always a guy and never a girl. Don't call me "female-bodied", unless I use that term myself.
- A transsexual girl or woman is male-to-female. A transsexual guy is female-to-male. Never the other way around.
- Gender identity has nothing to do with sexual orientation. Whether I am attracted to men, women, both or neither is a totally separate thing from whether I am male or female. For example, if I am a trans girl who likes girls, treat me no differently than any other lesbian woman. [Remember, whether or not surgery has taken place is not significant ... we think.]
... as queers (and allies), we tend to get irked when people assume things about our sexuality on first meeting us, right? Same thing. Just as I don't want people to assume I'm straight just because I have long hair, I don't want them to assume the woman I'm walking to the parking lot is a guy because she's tall and has an adam's apple; and I don't want them to assume the guy I'm kissing is a woman because he has a more prominent chest ... I do get off the hook more easily on a lot of typical SO [sexual orientation] questions, simply because I'm very vocally bi, so my sexual orientation isn't defined by the partners I choose -- but I know a lot of SOs who face questions like ...: "Are you still a lesbian if you're dating an MTF [male-to-female]?" or, even more angst-inspiring, "Are you still a lesbian now that your butch girlfriend is your FTM [female-to-male] boyfriend?" [How long until asking such questions becomes a "hate crime"?]
There was the coffee shop, where someone said, "Oh, you forgot to give him his muffin," and someone else replied, "No, that's a girl" -- a point which they proceeded to debate amongst themselves as if he couldn't hear them, and during which they referred to him consistently as "it." (Just to be on the safe side, I presume.) And there was helping him into his "hard-core" binder the next morning, knowing there would be bruises to salve, inside and out, come nightfall.
When people at harvard hear that i'm trans, they constantly ask me when i'm having an operation. occasionally, they ask if i've already had it. I usually end up answering the question but then feeling really shitty that we're at a point where people think that MY body is THEIR business. no i'm not planning to have any surgery. i feel like it's a good thing to educate people, to know that not all trans people are the same, so i keep answering the questions when people who are in the bgltsa ask me. [I.e., there is massive confusion even within the pansexual activist movement! So how will Chris and Deval ever figure this out?] but i keep crawling deeper into my shell because i'm pissed that i have to talk about it all the time.
Current working definition: those who identify their gender outside the gender binary system of male and female, maybe fluid with gender presentation or not conform to gender stereotypes and may use gender neutral pronouns such as "sie, hir, hir, hirs, hirself" or "zie, zir, zir, zirs, zirself" or choose to use the pronoun closest to the end of the masculine or feminine spectrum they are presenting. Some may do some or all of medical transition or none at all. Some may change their birth name. It is also used by some to describe both their gender identity and their sexuality as queer. Other terms that gender non-conforming or those who have gender identitites outside the binary gender system are boy dyke, dyke boy, boi, and by some youth in communities of color are femme queens, butch boi, or drags.
Got that, Chris and Deval?