Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Bigoted Housepaint!

Taubmans Paints responds, Update at bottom of article!

Crossposted from equallovearmidale

I was in a Bunnings store in Sydney the other day looking at paint options for a room when i saw something that made my blood run cold. One of the paints on a large display of Taubmans Easy Coat Suede… a nice shade of pink (though in the photos it looks paler than it is to the eye) that is very close to a shade of nail polish i often wear…

Labeled PUNCH ME

We just had to get some photos of this appalling label and these that i’m posting were taken by my partner. Here is the top of the standing display it’s on showing the Taubmans name.

As if there aren’t enough problems with bigotry and violence and bullying of Intersex Transgender Bisexual Lesbian and gay people as it is. And for that matter violence against women. All of whom are at times associated with the colour pink.

When the Nazis who were trying to Exterminate Transgender sent Transgender and Gay people to the death camps they made them wear a pink triangle.

This clear distinct blatant association with a shade of pink and ‘asking for’ being subjected to violence is inexcusable in modern day Australia. That it’s on a public display is extremely disgraceful and disgusting.

With so many young ITBLG people attempting to take their own lives, with homophobic bullying such a serious problem, with so much violence against Transgender people that nearly half of them in a Queensland study had been victims of assault this is an extremely disturbing endorsement of violence, abuse and prejudice!

How the heck did this happen Taubmans? And what are you going to do about it?

Update: I was emailed about a response from Taubmans by Rebecca Dominguez who had sent them this

I just read the blog post:


You seriously have a colour of paint (that is pink) called “Punch Me”? What on earth were your marketing department thinking when they came up with that?

Way to go promoting misogyny, rape culture, homophobia, transphobia and violence against women, trans* and queer people.

An apology to women’s groups and queer groups would be a good idea, as well as sensitivity training.

I’ve been told (via another source) that “Punch” in this instance relates to the drink. But as “Me” follows the word “Punch” this doesn’t compute for me.

And they replied:

Hi Rebecca,

We acknowledge & understand your complaint. The name will be changed as soon as is possible.


Taubmans Paints

Monday, September 27, 2010

Busy Bats, when local is also national

Whew it's been a while since i posted here or at the Spectrum Cafe but it's not from want of being busy.

Australias recent election put several independents in the balance of power. They decided which of the two major parties would form government. For the next three years these Independants could be critical in every single piece of legislation at the federal level.

My local representative is one of them. And I'd already been raising Trans and Intersex issues with him via letters and emails over the last few years. Before the election several of us Trans Intersex Bi Lesbian and Gay locals were making the initial plans for a rally in town in November for the National Day of Action. When several local candidates had a public forum we raised our voices and made our issues a key part of discussion getting surprising support from almost all there and we later learned the only attending candidate whose response was dissapointing had his hands tied by his party who gagged even their GLBTI candidates from supporting marriage equality!

So what happens in my sleepy rural city could have a disproportionately large impact. And so this opportunity has been taking the greater share of my energies. Pretty exciting stuff. Anyone know of a place i can get a good cheap pink megaphone?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Batty Joins Spectrum Cafe

Hi all.

Thanks to one of those friends everyone needs, someone who doesn't just encourage you but gives you a good push when you need one, there's a cool new endeavor underway that I'm a part of.


We are trying to build a fully inclusive area for the whole spectrum, building bridges, raising visibility, busting myths, respectful yet in-depth discussion.. in many ways plugging what many have felt is a gap in the online world. Mission statement here: http://www.thespectrumcafe.com/?p=168

I'm not abandoning my cave here though :)

So i hope those who read here will take a look and it'll be interesting to see how it goes.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Trans Beauty, Trans-Attraction, Transphobia and murder?

This is not the first time i've upset people with an idea. Though perhaps the actual idea is missunderstood this time. Hard to tell as my CFS has been making communication a little difficult.

The upset occured on a comment at facebook and it occurred again in a comment at Questioning Transphobia, the latter here: http://questioningtransphobia.wordpress.com/2010/05/12/i-hate-mtf-and-ftm/ though each in very different ways.

So lets consider what the idea actually is, and I'll see if i can get it across properly this time.

Lets start with some basics.

* some people are binary-gender transsexuals. They are strongly neurologically fixed in being male or female and where possible correct their bodies to match that.

* there's also non-binary transgender people including transsexuals and non-transsexuals, including Genderqueer and many crossdressers. We can worry about whether all bi-gender people should be considered non-binary or not another time.

* there are many people who are not transgender or transsexual i.e. are cisgender cissexuals, who nevertheless are attracted to Transgender people. There are also transgender people who are attracted to transgender people.

* just as society has in recent centuries been largely transphobic so too is attraction to Transgender been dissaproved of, taboo etc.

Ok. That's our starting point. Lets expand on that shall we?

* Some binary Transsexuals have argued that this attraction is bad. Pestering, unwanted, negative, missgendering and harmful. Because of course they do not want people attracted to them for charcateristics that they do not want and are trying to fix, they may find that extremely disstressing or offensive. Perfectly understandable.. for them.

* Non-binary people have extreme difficulty in getting and maintaining relationships with people who are not attracted to their being Trans. Many relationships end when a crossdresser comes out to or is found out by their partner. Some genderqueer people I know have found their degree of gender expression curtailed by what a partner deems acceptable.

Already we have the beginnings of an obvious potential, though still solvable, problem. Lets add further factors.

* Arguments from various sources including Feminists Binary Transsexuals and Psychiatrists have described the Trans-attracted as Gays in Denial, (including sometimes arguing that Transgender people are also Gays in Denial) based on the relationships between Trans-attracted people and Transgender people. The argument goes that the Trans-attracted is really interested in the male characteristics of male to female transgender people. This ignores a lot of different factors.

What factors does it ignore?

* Trans-attracted people may be female as well as male.

* Trans-attracted people may themselves be transgender or they may be cisgender or any other part of the sex and gender spectrum.

* Trans-attracted people may be attracted to people on any point of the sex and gender diverse spectrum. Even irrespective of whether usually they are attracted to the same or opposite cisgender cissexual sex.

* Trans-attracted people are attracted to Trans people because and not in spite of their being Transgender.

So we have one group that finds the trans-attracted a nuisance or worse quite upsetting because they do not want to be attractive for being perceived to be transgender. Understandable. We then have a group that needs the trans-attracted to find fulfilling relationships. Also Understandable. And we have that group attracted to what they are attracted to, a sense of Trans Beauty, Transgender as beautiful and desirable.

But is the problem just one of helping the Trans-attracted to the ones who want their attention and away from those who don't? No it's not so simple. We have other issues involved.

These include:

* Most Transgender people are deeply closseted. For fear of Transphobic persecution but also for fear of never finding someone who will be attracted to them once they are out.

* Most trans-attracted people are also afraid of the consequences of being outed.

* This closetting of Trans-attraction results in many of them visiting Trans sex workers or Trans pornography but not being willing to let family or friends know about their attraction and so are less likely to have a full open lasting relationship with an out Trans person.

* like all closetted repressed communities there are many other maladaptions and harmful coping methods and problematic issues withion the Trans-attracted community that need to be healled and overcome.

* The issues of the transgender sex industry and the sex industry in general are complicated in themselves, however they also have a bearing on the stigmatisation of the Trans-attracted amongst much of the community including amongst binary transsexuals, amongst other parts of the transgender community, amongst other parts of the sex industry and in the general community. This alone is a complex set of intersections of prejudices stereotypes and blamings.

So as long as the Trans-attracted are clossetted many trans people will also be closetted, the Trans sex industry will have a strong client-base who do not want others to know of their desires, many trans people will be alone and romanticly unfullfilled and many trans-attracted people will make do with cis people when they'd rather trans or will also remain alone.

What else?

* I suspect that as its been said that homophobia, including assaults and murder, often comes from the perpetrators issues with their own attraction to the same sex and after hearing about the frequency in transgender assault and murder cases that the perpetrator knew in advance the victim was trans but later claimed they just found out it seems to me that many cases may be Trans-attracted people unable to accept their own attraction and/or trying to prevent others from finding out about their relationships and the feared consequences of being discovered to be trans-attracted.

* This means that to end or reduce transphobic murder and assault and villification it is neccessary to reduce the stigma towards Trans-attraction.

* This means that all those who contribute to, support or fail to act against the stigmatisation of the trans-attracted are assisting in all the negative consequences of that stigma including the harm done to transgender people unable to find partners and if my suspician is correct also to some, maybe many of, the transphobic assaults and murders.

In that last one, and one perhaps that Lisa at QT may have missunderstood (and i may have misscomunicated) i am neither blaming trans people as the major causes of trans-attraction stigma but neither am i letting those amongst the trans population who have encouraged this prejudice off the hook for being prejudiced. Whether empowered and overprivileged or disempowered and underprivilieged everyone is responsible towards every human rights issue without exception as a basic mutual-obligation consequence of the idea of Equality and Human Rights. And every voice may have an impact even if only a tiny one within a limited minority community. Inaction also is a choice with consequences too. She called what i had said victim-blaming, but I never said that the victims of transphobic violence were those who were prejudiced against the trans-attracted. I'm sure some victims were supportive of trans-attraction.

If anything one might conclude from my argument that some peoples vocal trans-attraction prejudice might have got other transgender people than themselves killed by contributing to the hostility towards the trans-attracted in parts of the trans community and the hostility towards trans sex workers and erotic models in parts of the trans community and the lack of inclusion of such in attempts to undo prejudice. It is worth considering that the seperation of trans people from the trans-attracted is very different from the situations of the Gay and Lesbian communities. But even then the majority of trans-attraction prejudice will still come from mainstream society. All groups even majorities are made up of individuals, so no-one gets out of having some responsibility, but some are of course vastly more powerful and influential than others. The violent conforming peer-pressure of much of male society will clearly have a far greater impact on that. But that doesn't make it ok to hold such a prejudice or to support it or to by inaction allow the prejudice to continue unoppossed.

Those transsexuals who are not interested in the trans-attracted still have an Ethical and Moral obligation to not foster prejudice against them just like a hetero cis male may not want gay cis men to find him attractive and ask him out but should not foster homophobia etc. The issues of problematic behaviour amongst parts of the trans-attracted population should definatly be addressed.. like problems in any closetted and/or repressed population caused by the closeting and the stigma. Internalised trans-attraction-phobia as well as general ignorance about the sex and gender diverse community (attraction doesn't come with knowledge automatically after all) will of course lead to all manner of problems that its in the interest of the entire community to fix. Yes the main cause of trans-attraction prejudice has been cis society but we all have to act against it. Sure problematic behaviour of some trans-attracted people gives them all a bad name but what minority is that not true for?

We all need to address this just as we all need to work on all human right issues and prejudices.
Especially if this is a cause of some of the transphobic violence suffered by the sex and gender diverse community!

It's late so i have no time for refining or proper editing so lets see how that goes. Discussion of these ideas is very welcome. As always i'm willing to explain further my thoughts and to hear oppossing views. I'm happy to learn i'm wrong about things. The all important part is the why of being wrong or right as that leads to greater knowledge.

Monday, May 10, 2010

S&GD, bussinesses that profit from them, closets and responsability to the community

I've been making comments along these lines at various places from time to time but a recent post at Bilerico has prompted me to fight through the flu i've come down with to blog about this. The post in question is here

The Sex and Gender Diverse population is a very large minority. With estimates of 1 in 500 people Transsexual, 1 in 60 Intersex, 2%-10% of the population regular Crossdressers and who knows how many of the other facets of S&GD there are thats a big minority. Just the MtF crossdressers alone are a demographic large enough to swing elections in some countries if they voted together.

But they aren't voting together. Our community is nigh allergic to the word politics. Our rights depend on politics. We are discriminated against in legislation written by politicians. Where we have had increased decriminalisation and protection it has been through politics. We DEPEND upon politics!

Yet many forums outright ban discussion of politics. I've been banned from one crossdresser forum for 'political innuendo' lol. In truth this is a negligence towards the rights of S&GD people. We NEED to discuss politics where related to S&GD rights! We NEED to be political.

Even those in the closet have an obligation to the rest of the community. There is an obligation to the next S&GD generation to make the rights and social acceptance and Transphobia situation better for them than we have grown up with. Especially as many S&GD variations have been found or are suspected to have genetic components. This means that acting to improve the situation of the S&GD community is part of the FAMILY DUTY of each and every S&GD person! And of their families! Because regardless of whether the S&GD person has children themselves their family members will carry those genes.

Something the Crossdressers' Wives especially whose concerns (or predictions of their concerns) so often direct or limit much of the lives of crossdressers need to address. Their children may well be carrying an S&GD gene. And peoples Neices, Nephews, Cousins...

Because of that fact it totally changes the dynamic of family-based arguments about the closet. Many stay in the closet to protect their family but in fact thats condemning relatives and non-relatives alike to the same societal and internalised Transphobia that has so harmed our own and past generations. People usually will sacrifice much for the sake of their children... well as some of those children or grandchildren will also be S&GD so families must consider what they will decide about that, what they owe to those S&GD descendants and family.

Now if families or individuals choose to remain closeted for whatever reason that does not let them off the hook. The responsibility to family and non-family S&GD people remains. There's much a closeted person can still do. Donations of even petty amounts to S&GD charities and organisations make a real difference. How you decide your vote should still consider candidates and parties stance on S&GD issues. Being closeted is no excuse for any iota of Transphobic remarks, sure it may help dissuade people from thinking your S&GD but it's hurting others in the process and thats just not justifiable. Instead if your going to be closeted your still obligated to speak out against Transphobia and be pro-acceptance.

It's not just S&GD people and their families that have obligations though. As i mentioned already with forums and politics-bans failing the community there is also responisibility from websites and bussinesses to the community.

There's many bussinesses that profit from S&GD people. If your making money from S&GD people then you should be contributing to S&GD people. From specialist transformation-product stores to the sex industry to ordinary online clothing stores which i'm sure get a significant amount of crossdresser bussiness.

The site i was banned from for 'political innuendo' crossdressers.com i used to reach via the domain name crossdressing.com. Not the first time a site has multiple addresses, nothing unusual there. And when i discovered that crossdressing.com no longer went to that site i assumed they'd just sold off a spare domain name like other non-S&GD forums i've been on have done... but they deleted all discussion about them doing this!

There was even a thread where one wife was distraught at finding 'Date A Crossdresser' in her husbands internet history. Did a mod step in and tell her that the web address crossdressing.com that formally went to crossdressers.com was now that 'date a crossdresser' site? No. In fact when i posted this information to that thread it was deleted! The owners for what ever reason deciding to hide the change apparently more important than the marriages of people the site was allegedly there to support. Whether sold off or both sites having the same owner this is hardly an ideal way of handling that. Since then they have added an online store to crossdressers.com.

I think few have any illussions of the profiteers of the sex industry contributing much to the community outside of the services they provide for money. Though often individual sex workers have been some of those fighting for S&GD rights.

And we shouldn't consider that bussinesses making money from S&GD customers is neccessarily a bad thing. Economic power is a way a community can show it's strength and numbers and gain more acceptance in society. But it has to be done in the right way. Helping raise the success of S&GD artists and supporting products positively marketed to and engaging the S&GD community (even regarding sexual products of trans-attraction portrayed positively) and supporting companies which donate to equality orgs and charities are all positive but purely exploitative bussiness have not much value and may actually have a vested interest in maintaining the closet and transphobia.

There's others with a responsibility to the S&GD community.
For example i noticed a book for parents on school bullying the other day and flipped through it and to it's index. Any mention of Gay, Transgender, Intersex in the index or contents? Nope. Just sexual harassment. Yet the amount of homophobic and transphobic bullying in schools is a serious issue. Thats a bad omission. And for that matter was their any books in the bookstore on raising Gay children? Trans children? Intersex children? Nope of course not, just books on raising 'boys' and others on 'girls' by which of course they mean cisgender cissexual heterosexual boys and girls.

Omitting SS&GD where it's actually an important factor that should be addressed even if controvertial is irresponsible. And the general absence of S&GD books is again a problem. It's not just irresponsible to the customers who have need of such it's also irresponsible bussiness practice when there is going to be a growing market for it.

We need to address the responsibility we all have to the S&GD community. If we want things to change we must act to change them. If we would have liked it if others changed things for our benefit in the past then we need to do that for the next generation. Where we have benefited from the actions of past equality-fighters we need to pay that debt forward. We need to consider the legacy we leave to our children and our families and future generations. We need to demand of those that profit by us or claim to exist to support us that they contribute to the cause of equal rights and community building. We need to accept that no matter our ideology politics is an essential part of gaining equality which we must all stop avoiding and start addressing. We need to get those who choose the closet to still contribute. We need to demand the silence over S&GD cease and we get appropriatey addressed in all avenues.

Like other communities with internalised oppression issues and an equality struggle our community is pretty fractious and bitter. But we need to start building our understanding of personal power and responsibility. To consider our responsibility to the community and ourselves.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Redheads Human, Emo's not? And Law fails on racist government ads

Well looky here. The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Comission makes clear that the law doesn't count hate-speech that promotes prejudice against an inherited pigmentation characteristic (i.e. racism) as actionable discrimination....

But wait a moment, what was with that whole TRIAL and CONVICTION against Catch The Fire Ministeries anti-islamic comments?

You know, the one that had several religious groups claiming the Victorian law as a reason the nation shouldn't have a Human Rights Act?

So what happened? Are they applying the law differently for Red Haired people than for Islam? Or did they change the law to pander to whining Christians distraught that they may be held fairly and equally accountable for Slander and Libel and Villification against followers of another faith?

But only red hair AGAIN.

Apparrently while they consider it regretable that red haired people are the subjects of prejudice its so fine to hate members of the Emo culture that they don't warrant any mention. Apparently Red Haired people like my Aunt are Human but the Emo's in town are not.

The SHAME of this foul unethical and abhorent and cynical Human Rights Abuse, the subsequent ignoring of Emo and only recognising the effects on red haired people STAINS the state of Victoria, STAINS our national broadcaster the ABC and STAINS The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Comission.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Ethics and Fighting for Rights and Running Support/Issues/Discussion Websites

I want this post to be the starting point of a major and vital discussion. I welcome ALL pertinent commentors (only spam advertising will be deleted by me). This is i believe one of the most pertinent possible conversations.

Where is the line between Ethical and Unethical tactics when engaged in fighting for ones rights and when engaged in running websites that will involve supporting sections of the community, specific issues and general discussion?

Thats not a minor subject and cannot be solved quickly. I welcome long comments, i welcome examples, i welcome bringing in connections to other areas or raising parallels that other sites would often consider off-topic or derails but which are all too often vital to a deep understanding and can cut right to the heart of an issue. I am totally happy for people to quote this, to have it cross-posted, to engage in conversations across other sites etc. Theres a lot in this and it covers a panoply of varying issues and needs and perspectives.

Now I'll give some of my current starting thoughts:

* I think that as philosophically the foundation of Human Rights including Civil and Political Rights is one of an assumption that all rights are enjoyed equally, and that as they are not enjoyed equally that anyone fighting for their own rights does indeed have an obligation towards fighting for the rights of others, supporting others fight for rights and to ensure that they fight for their own rights in such a way that it does not interfere with the rights of others (in general, there WILL be an exception which I'll get to shortly).

* I conclude based off this also that anyone currently enjoying their rights while others do not enjoy theirs have in essence borrowed upon the future enjoyment of all on those rights and as such do literally owe those currently unable to enjoy their rights.

* I see that Equal Rights requires as a responsibility all claimers of those rights to be obligated to respect the equal rights of all others as well as to fight to defend and also to ensure the equal rights of all others. That this requires some compromise of rights to practically ensure but should be kept to the minimum required to do so. That this then results in, if failed to do so, a loss of valid claim to ones own rights. That this loss should still be as minimal as possible with the goal of rectifying the problem. This is an important but complex part. It justifies a legal system for example, road rules and other laws where compromises on free action when behind the wheel of a deadly machine to the lives of others etc.

* That when the state and appropriate systems fail in it's duties to the equal rights of all then the minimum required amount of law-breaking to change that is ethical. Now lets not take this one too lightly, because it does go all the way up to killing. Before you dissmiss that thought lets remember that the legal and Ethical validity of many modern democratic rights-principled states are based upon this because revolution, civil war etc was validated by the citizens literally being prepared to die or kill in order to assert their equal rights. Now i'm so not suggesting we reccomend wheel-chair bound or transgender suicide bombers or violent revolutionaries but we must consider the ethics of every aspect of fighting for equality including the riots and bloodshed of past fights for equality. The degree of usefullness and practicality must be weighed regarding such actions.. so it's not so neatly Ethical to use violence as it can sometimes seem.

* Redressing inequalities become everyone's responsibility. That actually validates Affirmative Action for example so long as, and this bit is important, so long as it's still required and is applied relative to need.

* Rights-organisations and activists need to develop full Ethics Standards to ensure that they do not harm the rights of others in their fight and in proposed legislative reforms except where it fits the exceptions discussed above.

* Websites have a Duty-Of-Care to the members of forums, to commentors, to the community they are targeted at and serve. That this includes troublesome members/commentors who may act from triggers and inner pain and refelxive defencive aggression as well as the community they are trying to create a safe stable place for and that while difficult to balance these policies regarding moderation, temp-bans and bans need to consider the realities of mental illness, vulnerability to suicide and the like all too often ignored.

These are not set-in-stone but open for reasoned debate. It's good to discuss them, test them, consider them carefully. There are all sorts of practical considerations like how one might ensure that a small minority populations needs and voice are not drowned out by a larger one when the rights of both need to be considered in order to find the answer to achieving equality. Or how to ensure a community that has been past hurt by another community can still ensure that it considers the rights of that community are not harmed inappropriatly when attempting to get legislative reform. (good examples here involve conflicts between parts of the gay community and transgender community as well as conflicts between the Transsexual and Crossdresser communities).

So please, think about these issues. Think about the principles that underly them, what you feel about them and why, what makes the right thing right and the wrong thing wrong. Consider examples of this and practical considerations. Look for problems and for ways around them.

Lets make this the start of a broad inclusive cogent and consistent conversation that needs to consider all the issues of all involved. The begininng of a deep consideration of some of the most important, contentious and vital issues effecting much of todays society. One that relates to every activist, every official, every democratic represenative, every system, every forum message list and website. It's a big subject and it's time we got started on it.