Sunday, December 14, 2008

It's time for a Bill Of Rights in Australia, for A Fair Go For ALL!

Finally Australia is contemplating the notion of doing something on the Human Rights issue.

It's well overdue.

Trouble is though it's a 'community consultation'. Which is often a good way for the majority to enshrine their prejudices rather than a way to ensure a cogent and uncontradictory set of principles get recognised.

So if were going to get a binding bill of rights rather than a decorative one, if were going to get one fully compliant with the now 60 year old U.n. charter and with the Yogyakarta Principles we're going to have to work at it.

The arguments in favour are logical. Equality for all, no exceptions. Thats fair.

Trouble is many people aren't logical thinkers but emotional ones so we need to make the call in an emotive one. One that carries the message in a way more Australians can easilly understand.

"A fair go for all!"

"Equal Rights for ALL Australians!"

Hows those for some catchy slogans? They tell the truth, they touch the heart and the mind.

There will be many who just want a decorative bill. There will be those who want rights for themselves but not for others. We could waste time debating the justifications for why Gay people should be able to marry too, why transgender people need many inequalities fixed in many laws in many states.

Or when they try and say "But gay marriage...." we shout back at the top of our lungs " A Fair Go For ALL!" and they start saying "But bathrooms...." we shout back at the top of our lungs " A Fair Go For ALL!" and when they say "God says..." we shout back at the top of our lungs " A Fair Go For ALL!".

And if we ever need to go any further than that all we have to do to counter any of their arguments is say "(they) dont believe in a fair go for all. They want rights for them but not rights for everyone else. We say A Fair Go For ALL!"

Too long we have argued with considered reason and the enemies of equality have argued with fear and emotion. Well it's time to fight that with reasoned emotion and reasonable fear!

Because people can and would and should be suspicious and fearful of anyone who'd oppose the notion of a fair go for all. And any justification they make will sound like what it is, weasel words!

Well thats what we need to demand. All bound up in one simple statement.

We shout back at the top of our lungs " A Fair Go For ALL!"

Monday, December 1, 2008

Letting the Heart get a few words in

It feels like hilly country, the road I'm travelling within my chest.

Plenty of steep hills, sudden descents, unexpected turns and the like.
And things come in bursts with long falt sttais of dull monotony in between.

It's been an interesting time. I've come out to a number more people directly and I've made things blatantly obvious in my 'gradual acclimatisation' plan with some others.

I've had plenty of compliments on my increased gender non conformity in public which is encouraging and by several reactions the sex appeal of androgyny has not gone even though it is not 'fashionable'. I'll definately wear my purple lipstick more often.

But despite this encouragement and the acceptance from friends there is still plenty of troubles. There are the remnants of old fears that still remain, some still yet to be conciously discovered. There are the deep wounds left from my past relationship. There are the fears that have been borne by that become reflexive.

And it's all well and good when someone while drunk tells me they like me because I'm weird, but i remember hearing that before till suddenly one of my weirdnesses was 'not normal' (despite that weirdness being far more ethical than many of their 'normalities') so I fear.

So sure, my ex GF wants me back but how soon would it be before i'm considered too 'not normal' again? How can I measure the degree of improvement she claims over her issues that made things impossible? And sure there are some others who clearly find me attractive but again the fear is strong.

And while I have friends I like, friends I respect, few of those friendships are at that deep rich emotional support-system relating level of friendship and opening up emotionally too much can be the kiss-of-death to far to many friendships. And the fear of losing those friendships can often stop me from trying beyond a minor level. And people who are not disabled will often have little idea just how much time energy and effort goes into building and maintaining friendships.

And it's a host of issues, not just my broad gender expression or my disability (though in many ways thats the worst one) but all the many insecurities and too-often validated concerns that build up.

And then theres just the huge horrible problem that comes with having no main outlet. No work and no study is a horrible torture. But worse is knowing that I am not currently capable of either without setting myself into a downard spiral of deterioration. But going for days without face-to-face human contact every week is just horrific. And it's not like I'm capable of throwing myself into my writing or art either. I'm barely able to keep up with basic housework and enough entertainment and net activity to keep me reasonably sane while struggling to reserve enough capacity to more frequently get out and get more social interaction.

I want to do things. To make a contribution to the world. I see so many apathetic folk and wonder how they can manage to squander so much in such banality.

Oh if only there was a cure or treatment for this curse that has had me living my life dragging against locked brakes for half my existence... there is so much of life i want to sink my claws and teeth into.

Nevertheless, I am frequently caught up in hope too. Chance circumstances fall in my favour as much as they do against me lately. There is much to appreciate and look forward to.

As I unlock more of the feellings I'd set aside, held back and locked away each requires developing skills and understanding. As I find more acceptance for my gender variation that too has waves of emotional reactions, and rational logical pondering too as much insight is gained, unknown hypocracies noticed to amend and new data thet requires the review and often changing of long held opinions.

And while that can be painful, it's good in the long term, like the pain that comes from stretching a tense muscle so that it relaxes.

So slowly it's a matter of finding ways to get through the periodic days of sorrow anger and tears (more chocolate definately helps. Now where's that polyphenol enriched chocolate that CFS study tantalised me with damit!) and hopefully some new Hammer vampire DVDs and some anime will help. And ways to try and build the social and emotional bonds needed to break this horrid isolation that goes hand-in-hand with CFS.

And at the end of this blogpost I'm smiling as I touch up my purple lipstick, enjoying the rattle of the bells on my anklet and looking forward to the future.

Ethics and Crossdressing

Hmmm... well this was the begining post of a thread at a crossdressing website in the MtF section.

For whatever reason (they didn't give me any) the powers that be there deleted the thread so I'm bringing the discussion over here. Had I written it for this blog I would have tried to angle it a little differently to be a little more inclusive (for the great FtM blokes who drop by here every so often at least). So here restored to existence by the power of the cut-and-paste backup is my attempt to begin an examination, debate and discussion of the Ethical issues of and relating to Crossdressing.

(oh and the thread that got locked was because someone tried to consider as a comparison crossdressing and infant-fetish as compulsions)

The Ethical and Moral issues of Crossdressing


I'm posting this to try and discuss the importan Ethical and Moral Issues relating directly to crossdressing.

I don't want this thread to get locked up like a recent one was so please lets try and keep this discussion sensible, rational and calm. That way we can discuss the big problematic issues for CDs and CDing as well as address the criticisms of us from others.

It will be a long post but that is important and it should be an interesting discussion.

Firstly let me raise a basic argument for the validity of crossdressing and then we can discuss whether the argument holds up and issues with various common dilemmas that face crossdressers from secrecy to obtaining clothes to the closet to relationship issues.

Is crossdressing Ethical?

Crossdressing does not neccessarily involve interacting with the bodies of others. Whenever you interact with anothers body you generally require informed consent for it to be ethical.

Murder, assault, rape etc are acts without consent or expressly against a stated denial of consent. Children and animals cannot give informed consent to sexual acts.

If crossdressing is done for a purely sexual activity and involves anyone else then yes, informed consent is required. Non-sexual crossdressing does not require it. Sexual crossdressing done by ones self does not require consent.

In some things consent is assumed where it is not strictly stated otherwise. This is rare and dangerous. Yet in medicine, like performing life-saving resusitation, transfusions and emergency surgery informed consent is assumed
unless there are clear instructions otherwise like 'do not resuscitate' or 'no transfusions' medic alert jewlery or tattoos or the like.

Thus far crossdressing is Ethical.


This should be considered in several ways. There is harm to rights/freedoms, physical harm, unethical emotional/psychological harm and bizarrely enough till it's explained there is ethical emotional harm.

The consent issue is caused where freedom of action meets freedom of choice over ones own body. Freedom of speech is (debatably) considered constrained by deliberate attempts to cause physical harm. Yelling 'fire' in a crowded theatre is a common example. Telling lies about someone to harm their reputation impacting their social, political and economic well being is another. From this we get laws against libel, slander, perjury etc.

This is a big one. Many people see CDing as a deliberate lie/deception for the purpose of causing harm to social systems or to enable voyuerism or make sexual assault more practically possible, of women by getting access to 'safe spaces' and of men by tricking them into uninformed consent, where they consent to sex with a woman but not a TG woman.

Yet this is not the intention of crossdressers. Nor is it intrinsicly the consequence of it. So while this explains many peoples fear of crossdressing it is a myth not a reality (or its a possibility not a neccessary actuallity, so only if done for that intent would it be unethical) and crossdressing remains ethical.

Crossdressing interferes with no other freedoms directly. People who do not wish to see crossdressers are as free to look away as people who do not wish to see women in the workplace or black people not in chains or gay people kissing and holding hands in public.

Public harassment for example causes harm. It is done deliberatly with the intent to cause suffering or irrespective of the persons desire to look away. This can be difficult for people to grasp exactly. Essentially it is not the expression that is the true cause of the harm, it is the removal of a persons capacity to escape it. Bailing someone up on the bus for example. So long as they can turn thier head and look away or walk away from the speech through the loud-hailer then free expression which is upsetting is not unethical.

Certainly some people can find the views and appearance of others causes them emotional disstress. Literally any thing at all someone wears or says or does can trigger a disstress reaction in someone. There can be found no fair way of accomadating such distresss at others reactions to otherwise ethical expression/views/behaviour as it is easy to have two people each equally distressed at the other. The disstress of two racists of opposing races at the presence of the other is one example. Opposing religious fundamentalists another.

As such, if something is otherwise ethical yet someone finds that emotionally distresing it would not be right to curtail that, the disstress may well be real, but to have others comply to alleviate that disstress would itself be a great wrong! We can feel sorry for the disstressed person, try to help them overcome their disstress and of course enable them to withdraw as much as practical from the source of their disstress but only voluntarily and only to a point.

Example: A racist gets upset everytime they see someone not of their race. On the street, serving in stores, holding positions of authority. Just these people being present and alive may well cause them geunine profound real emotional disstress and pain. Yet it would be wrong to kill those people or to lock them up or expel them for the benefit of alleviating the persons disstress. We can try and help them cope wih the presence of other races, give them counselling and information to overcome their disstress. Thus ethical behaviour and ethical freedoms trump emotional disstress at anothers fair use of their freedoms.

Thus even if it upsets people crossdressing remains ethical while preventing crossdressing is unethical.

Now that gets really dicey for many when the person getting disstressed is a close friend or family member!

Ah but what about indirect consequences of harm?

Example. CD goes out. CD gets recognised. CD's family member suffers embarassment and loss of social standing etc.

Lets try this one for comparison:

Example. Young white woman goes on a public date with a black man in an area with a degree of racism. Is recognised. Womans family suffers embarassment and loss of social standing etc.

Both of these acts were done with no intention of those being the consequences. Those consequences only exist because of the unethical acts of others. Even if those people knew that such consequences were likely are they responsible for the consequences?

That involves determining whether it is right to suffer the consequences of others unethical behaviour by not conforming to that situation or whether it is right to go along with unethical groups by surrendering to their threats to avoid the consequences upon others.

Now thats just an argument for crossdressing by itself being ethical. Not crossdressing in secret or wearing clothes of others without asking or hiding ones crossdressing from ones partner. There are heaps of these sorts of things discussed here every day. Discussing these at a deeper level of ethics and morality may help everyone understand, cope with, consider and decide about these major issues.

Does anyone have issue with the points I've raised? Have views on the Ethics of other issues that face crossdressers?

Remember morality and ethics can be distinctly different and their are different schools of thought in each.

And this bit is really important.
Try not to just say that you think or feel something is right or wrong! This is about deeper truths than just feelings or unconsidered or unconcious or instinctive or reflex opinions.You must try and explain why your view is right or the view your criticising is wrong.

Hopefully we can all learn from such a discussion, hopefully we can all be challenged by such a disscussion and maybe even have our views on things changed by such a discussion.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Good on these Blokes!

So it seems the idiocy of binary sex/gender conformism has decided that Hitler and Stalin was right and that 'undesirables' must be sterilised.

But the 'undesirable' blokes are challenging that evil idiocy.,,24699313-2702,00.html

Awww... the pooor widdle folk on the board can't handle that the possibility potentially exists that someone considered legally a man may get prgnant and so deny them their due recognition.


Reproductive rights are Human Rights. Belonging to all. And requiring sterilisation to get legal recognition, rights and access to essential services is nothing short of, no different from, damn well is literally coerced, ie forced sterilidation.

My heart and best wishes go out to those two blokes and I hope they soundly win their case.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

TG Or a Rose by any other name...

It always disheartens me when I read the vitriolic rants of many groups who try and divorce themselves from other groups of people.

From Julie Bindel to the writings of many amongst the HBS groups and many many others.

When people write about Transgender in this vein they either attack it as some form of ideological theory or they try and justify one group of people being considered legitimate and others not.

It's saddening and its nonsensical.

After all it does not matter if there is or is not a causal relationship between Intersex and Transexuals biologically when it comes to the Human Rights Issues of both groups.

It does not matter if 'behaviourists' as us crossdressers are being called by some are biologically determined as such (please, please read up on the genetic connections to behaviour you folk because you seem to think that no behaviour is biologically determined and thats just not borne out by nature at all, and there is even transgender behaviours in animals) and transexuals are biologically determined or if neither is or both is.

Because Human Rights do not stem from Biological causation. They stem from presumptions of intrinsic equality and liberty. Nothing more is needed.

As an ideology which it does not seem to be except in the arguments of opponents of its existence, Transgender should be as subject to all the riguers of science as all other ideologies... which often enough is none at all rather unfortunately.

As a theory used to explain a phenomenon indeed science can and should be involved.

As a social and political movement it needs no other justification than Basic Human Rights and must also be judged and modified by those rights equally.

As a culture the same is true.

So at the end of the day we should all be judged by our adherance to the basic principles of human rights. Its not so hard really.

No amount of slinging the word 'behaviourist' at crossdressers, drag queens, pre-ops, non-ops or what-have-you will ever reduce the real legitimacy of any one of those people or the legitimacy of the way they dress or the way they identify themselves or what basic civil rights they have.

No Cissexual Straight Man or Woman, No Gay or Lesbian Straight-Acting or otherwise, No Transexual of any level or form of opperations or age of transition is in any way better, more real, more legitimate than any crossdresser. And no crossdresser no matter how conservatively dressed is in any way better than a fetishist or genderqueer or drag queen.

The hair-splitting bigotry is truly pathetic.
Every single person who practices such arguments of exclusion delegitimises their own claims to equal rights if they are correct or successful in their arguments. They all shoot themselves in the foot because to justify their bigotry they toss out the very principle of equality which is the only valid reason they too have human rights.

We are all human. We all deserve the same rights. The same protection from abuse. The same access to healthcare including body-modification if we decide that is best for us and to protection from body modification if we decide (or before we are able to decide) that it is right for us. We all deserve protection from discrimination. The same access to essential servics, public amenities, safety, the law, public office and representatio and on and on.

No matter what differences you can point to our blood is still red.
And where our issues are the same, similar, related or intersecting we all are still equals. We all are as legitimate as each other.

Transgender, by any other name, by any causation, would still be legitimate.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Julie Bindel's Basic Human Rights Error (and a little on Jim Carey)

Here is a message I sent to Julie Bindel via facebook. I have no idea is she's read it. She has not yet replied but I expect she gets a lot of messages these days. Still I hope others might find it interesting.

You see I think it's vital not just to tell people they are wrong but to explain why they are wrong to them and then to give them the opportunity to realise their mistake and to change their views.

We must always give people opportunities to redeem themselves and I'm sure Julie Bindel though she was doing the right thing, that she had no idea where she crossed the line from attempting to protect people from being railroaded into SRS (good) to preventing people from getting SRS (ver very bad) especially as I'm sure she does not understand what doing the latter actually means in Human Rights terms.

So this is what I have to say to Julie Bindel:

Regarding Human Rights, Bodily Autonomy and Transgender.

Doesn't the human right of Bodily Autonomy aka Somatic Soverignty wherein every person has the right to do with their body whatever they wish and to refuse consent to anything being done to their body no matter the reason mean you should change some of your stated views on SRS access for Transexuals?

Now I'd like to point out that the same right is the explanation of what makes a whole host of things right or wrong

Rape and a Jehovahs Wittness forced to undergo a life-saving blood transfusion are both wrong according to this argument because each involves disregarding lack of consent regarding the body.

The right to Abortion comes from Bodily Autonomy too.

This means that just as people have a right to body-alteration from ear piercing, tattooing, cosmetic surgery, ritual initiation scarrification and genital modifications like circumcision, penile subincision and SRS.

It also means that no-one should be forced to undergo any of those procedures or coerced into doing so.

So then if your position is that no-one should HAVE to undergo SRS in order to obtain fair treatment, legal recognition and access to essential services then you'd be consistent with this right.

But if you say that people should NOT have access to the procedure or that access should be somehow restricted then you are arguing counter to the Human Right of Bodily Autonomy.

And if Bodily autonomy is not a basic human right then abortion can not be justified under human rights, nor protecting children (male and female both) from circumcision either and many many other things.

I do hope you ponder this aspect of Human Rights as certainly your views on SRS as are being reported are contrary to the Yogyakarta Principles and Bodily Autonomy, but with such a very small clarification could be a progressive and strong position in favour of Bodily Autonomy. All by ensuring you advocate for unrestricted access to SRS but no requirement at all for it!

Where it all depends on the individuals right to choose without coercion either way.

If however there is a flaw in my reasoning please do point it out as understanding these Human Rights issues is important to me.


I hope she has read it, I hope she thinks about what it means.
You see by saying people do not have the right to do anything they want with and to their own bodies including refusing anything anyone else wants to do to them you unravel the fundamental foundation of all human rights. It is the most basic principle, the core, the root, the source of all Human Rights, Civil Rights and of all the positive gains in social justice of the last several centuries.

Without that basic right rape is no longer universally wrong but only wrong if those in political power or cultural/religious authority say so. The basis of Abortion as a right is the mothers capacity to do with her body what she wants, whether she chooses to continue to carry or not the child to term. I could go on listing examples but hopefully everyone can grasp it already.

So as Julie Bindel considers herself an advocate for Human Rights I'm sure that once she understands what it is she's been arguing for she'll modify her views accordingly. Because I'm sure she thought she was arguing for protecting peoples right to choose, to not be shoehorned into SRS, but in fact she's been arguing for an end to the basic fundamental principle of human rights she thought she was protecting, a persons right to choose.

In her attempts to defend it she crossed the line and called for the destruction of the ideal she thought she was protecting, presumably by looking at the situation too narrowly and missing the big picture, the consequence of how far she took her argument.

But it's easy to bring her views into line with Basic Human Rights, with Bodily Autonomy, with every persons right to choose...

She just has to say no-one should need SRS or hormones or anything else to get all the legal rights recognition and services that any other citizen gets including full recognition as their self-identified sex/gender.

And say that also no-one should be denied access to SRS if they want it.

That way she supports choice. That way she supports Human Rights.
And if she does so we should support her, and if she does not we should keep trying to explain it to her.

Oh and in other news it seems that according to reports Jim Carey is a Crossdresser, that the occassion of his wearing his partners swimsuit was not isolated.

Well we need more people out of the closet including celebrities so I hope soon to be saying "Good on you!"

But before I celebrate this I'm waiting for the apology. You know... for the Transphobia in Ace Ventura... so when he gives that apology I'll praise him and until he does i'll say:

"Jim Carey, your an (extreme expletive) hypocrit!"

These aren't complex things though it takes a little strencth of character to admit a wrongdoing intentional or otherwise or a mistake in an argument.
C'mon Julie, c'mon Jim. It's the right thing to do.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Intersex Solidarity Day November 8!

I just found out it's less than a week to Intersex Solidarity Day.

So in case I'm unable to post on the day and also to ensure that anyone reading this has a chance at learning of it in advance I'm posting on it imediately!

In my experience Intersex people are rendered even more invisible in Western Culture than Transgender people with few people knowing much at all about it. And yet considering what is done to children every year, the horrificaly unethical 'normalistion' surgery performed on children unable to give consent in Western countries where people react with horror at female 'circumcision' in other parts of the world this should be an issue that everyone knows about.

So please go here: and sign the petition.

And the next person you see making or drinking a cup of coffee? Tell them about how horrible you think that surgery is and how the poor kids should be let grow up to decide for themselves what they are and what if anythings should be done to their genitals. Mention the petition and that the 8th is Intersex Solidarity Day.

And at the water cooler, talk to someone about it there too.

If you take a taxi, tell the driver what you think!

Bring the subject up in every conversation you can.

How many children are goin under the knife in the next four days? Are you going to just let that happen? Or will you help spread the awareness of that outrage so it will be stopped?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Transgender Beauty

"You look better than many..."

It's a phrase that seriously rankles a lot of people. But one a lot of people use.

On some crossdressing forums its considered quite the no-no as many wives and girlfriends feel quite offended that some consider that a TG person might look more female than a cissexual female or more attractive as a female than one (so far on the forums I've explored it doesn't seem to be as big an offense for boyfriends and husbands of FtMs but that may not be the case and please correct me if I'm in error on that). Some have argued that the actuallity is that some TG folk look more feminine than many Cis females, some CDs find it outrageous that any CD considers themselves more female than any female no matter how naturally masculine and the conversations tend to fall apart as people struggle to defend their own identities from the threat that peoples judgement of anothers appearance seems to constitute to them.

I could go into an analysis of what it means for many cis womens self identity if a crossdresser does look better or more female and the way that seems to speak of a lack of value of masculine physical traits in cissexual women, but thats not the point I want to make today.

See one thing I note in most cases where members of the general public respond with the phrase "You look better than..." in it's varients that most seem to fail to consider..

A lot of the time the TG person did not 'pass' and still got that compliment!

So what does this mean?
It means that these people see that the person is trans and yet still say they are good looking or attractive.

That means there must be qualities of Transgender Beauty that are utterly independant of strict masculine or feminine traits or which exist because of the mixture of these.

Now that many people can find androgyny attractive or fashionable is nothing new, their have ben trends in fashion for centuries where aspects of male or female fashion swap over and there have been plenty of people who've had success with a presentation that sits solidly between standard presentation of male and female.

But neither of those is what I mean. Because in the cases I'm referring to, the transgender person is clearly presenting strongly in a way that is, culturally, female or male, who is nevertheless perceived to be anatomically not matching that presentation and who yet is perceived to be attractive in that state.

And that is significant I think.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Prescient? Moi?

And there we go.

Since my last post something interesting has turned up.
Another reasonably chunky piece of genetic evidence for transgender has turned up.

Not proof as yet but solid enough for the moment.

So now until there is strong evidence to the contrary then each and every piece of legislation around the world that requires surgery/sterility in order for someone to be recognised as their proper sex rather than apparent birth sex and/or for receiving rights and/or services


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Genocide and Transgender

I urge everyone to read this and pass it around.

But it is worth taking this further, because in much of the world to obtain basic rights and essential services as a transgender person that cis folk always enjoy one must be steralised.

It's all well and good for those who choose to undergo procedures that render them sterile. Its their right to make that decision for themselves and everyone should support their right to do so. But to mandate it in exchange for basic rights and access to essential services is a human-rights abuse plain and simple. Forced and coerced sterilisation has been one of the great crimes of the 20th century.

But consider this also and consider it well.

If there is a genetic cause or factor involved in being Transgender then forced sterilisation is clear and direct biological Genocide.

It is Eugenics!

Transgender people do not automatically lose their reproductive rights! They may choose to waive them but should never be forced to waive them.

Those who do go through treatment that renders them sterile should be able to preserve reproductive material where possible and to use that later in life if they so choose.

Where there are state-based health systems these should provide for this service for those that are covered by them.

Transgender people have the same reproductive rights as anyone else. They may choose whatever treatement is appropriate to suit them according to their own priorities. They ahve a right to their own culture too.

These are all Human Rights. Basic fundamental Human Rights.

To deny them these rights is a Human Rights Abuse and where it constitutes Genocide it is a Crime Against Humanity!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Antiseptic stings

No I've not endured an injury or anything, just giving people an effective analogy.

Cause plenty of people are all for equality or for helping out the disadvantaged and discrminated against until it reaches a point or an area that they find personally uncomfortable.

But antiseptic stings when put on a cut.

A scab itches.

A healing wound aches.

When your body fights a disease you feel sick.

The pain the aches the discomfort etc is an inevitable part of the healing. It's how you know it's working! If your cut has gone numb you know there's a terrible problem but if it stings from the antiseptic then you know it's going to heal.

So then when people find some aspect of human rights makes them uncomfortable from same-sex marriage to transgenders in public toilets that discomfort is the awareness of something wrong, but it is not the equal-rights that is the something wrong but the previous acceptance of the injustice now being challenged that is the cause of the discomfort.

And that discomfort passes with time, like the sting of antiseptic, like the sore foot as it heals.

Do we ever think about how uncomfortable many white folk were when things were desegregated? Do we consider that just as gays and transgender people are falsely portrayed as predatory pedophiles so were innocent black people portrayed as cannibals and rapists and instinctive animals less than human. The discomfort those people felt when having to share their spaces with black people was real! But it was a shameful unjustice, based on lies. Still it was how people felt. And because of this no amount of how people feel now is an excuse to keep an inequality!

And men having to share their worklaces with women felt real discomfort, and when they had to share their education institutions it was real then too. And when Christians had to coexist with Jews and stop persecuting them again there was discomfort.

ALL equality results in discomfort because the undoing of injustice is discomforting, often even disstressing and painful. That should never be ignored or forgotten as it is far too easy in hindsight to dissmiss the concerns of people in the past as pointless while to consider valid the discomfort of people now.

So if you ever find yourself feeling uncomfortable about a rights issue do not use your feelings or comfort as judgement, it will betray you and lead you to injustice because justice and equality stings like iodine on an open cut!

Instead judge it solely by the philosophical principles of human rights. That is it's only valid measure!

If you want it to heal you have to expect it to sting a bit!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Dealing with the damage done

Well I'm trying to take it easy at the moment. Spring always ends up making my CFS play up and I overdid the activity and emotional stress a little both of which are bad for flare-ups.

I've been doing some gentle introspection lately to figure out how to improve my life a little. (Well, in between chapters of Varney the Vampire and watching a DVD I stumbled on for a pittance of Flesh For Lulu in concert)

Anyways my tiny social life and minute romantic situation had me wondering why things have been so difficult.

My problem is not communication skills, those are quite good. It's not empathy, that works fine. My trouble is social skills. Not ordinary day-today ones but more the meeting new friends and potential romantic partners skills and the turning casual friendships into strong ones.

And inevitably the problem came I think from school bullying. We moved around a lot in my early years but that wasn't much of a problem, I still made new friends and coped with the bullies. But the last year of primary school and then Highschool things were different. Thats when the ostracism began. A constant campain of not just physically violent but also psychological and emotional bullying from many and having friendship with me become social death for others what few friends I developed in high school swiftly ceased them to gain acceptibility for themselves.

And thinking about it since then I've devoted far too little time and energy to such social skills relying on having a small amount of good dependable trustworthy loyal friendships. But life draws people to distant corners and while all those are good friends they are mostly scattered over the continent now. And one of the worst parts of CFS is that it is socially isolating, leaving people unable to attend parties or having to leave early, preventing them from working or studying, keeping people housebound and restricting interaction substantially.

I realised that other than via the net I interact with other humans on less than half the days in the week. That is not good.

So despite the limitations of my CFS and of course of being far different from 'normal' (thank goodness!) I need to work on improving my social lot.

With the huge incidence of bullying I wonder how many others are struggling with the damage done to them. How great a cost that must have on society.

And considering the social effects on Transgender people... those caused by fear of having ones closet door opened, the fear of unacceptance, the fear those who find transgender people especially attractive that they would never have such a relationship accepted by others that leads them to either just hide it or to seek only sex and not a long-term relationship, worst of all being the outright hostility violence and ostracism that comes from transphobia where people lose families, friends, jobs and more for coming out.

Thats not ok, not acceptable. One of the major challenges for the Human Species is to change this malfunctioning excluding tribalist instincts role within society. We must find ways to include those excluded. Whether by the practicalities of illness or the oppressions of moronic and illogical intolerance.

So I'm adding another ball to the juggling act of balancing my CFS by slowly trying to improve my social life without getting myself housebound, or worse bedbound by my symptoms. It'll be interesting.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Will someone just cure this already?

So the other day i tried to join in a game of Warhammer 40,000 that some friends were wanting to play. I knew I was feeling more tired than most days and I knew that Spring would likely trigger a bit of a flare-up of my CFS.

About halfway into the first turn of the game the crash hit and I went from participant to half asleep spectator and over 3 days later the crash is not yet over, just lessoned a bit.

So I'm having periodic mental blanks, confusion, language troubles and housework is a pain. I'm too tired to do even 5 minutes of tai chi let alone walk around the block.

I've had this damn illness more than half my damn life and I'm so sick of it!
What happened to that medicinal chocolate stuff I once heard about having promising effects on CFS? Why is it almost everyone I meet knows someone with this debilitating life destroying illness and yet there's just about no resources or support?

Its a constant drain on my existence making every single thing more difficult from the largest to the smallest.

In other news the AHRC has put out an initial proposal for reforming sex documentation law... an improvement over the current situation but far from actually being consistent with Human Rights! Being able to have documentation changed to be recognised as male or female now would require some medical or surgical treatment rather than full SRS which is good for many but its not good enough! However they've added a third sex.. and they have called it Intersex! That understandably has a few people quite upset at this sudden new meaning of the word. And thats just for starters on the human rights issues in this proposal cause there will be gatekeepers of one sort or another in the process too.

They really should instead be looking into doing away entirely with sex markers on documentation! They are hardly used at all except for the purpose of unjust discrimination.

Meanwhile Intersex (by the original meaning of the word) children are still at risk of unethical permanant surgery! I'm still not covered by antidiscrimination and antivillification legislation and there are huge amounts of issues yet to cover.

Meanwhile I am stuck having to change into guy-clothes to visit friends I'm out to and change once I'm there because some of the local taxi drivers are substantial gossips so until/unless I am ready to be out as a crossdresser entirely then I have no transport unless I conform my appearance to at least androgynous, thank goodness for being a Goth!

So here I am with not enough strength and energy for most basic tasks, cognitively impaired, trying to manage to relax my 'act like a guy' survival habits when I have the opportunity to be social with people who know, trying to work out how to judge dangers and safety, trying to cope with loneliness frustration and the cornocopia of issues that being disabled and transgender combine to create.

I wish someone would hurry up with an effective cure or treatment for my disability so I could get back to fighting for my rights, the rights of others and making the most of my life and contributing to society!

More tha 16 years I've been suffering a bad case of this. It's like being only half-alive and I have a lot of catching up to do!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Goth Human Rights!

For a very long time I thought the main fight was over. I thought us Goths had won our major battles. While I'm still not out as a crossdresser in public in my own town I've been wearing Goth clothes here since I moved here (except for a brief anti-conformist reactionary period when Goth became fashionable) over a decade without a problem. It's been years and years since the last time I was insulted for wearing a black velvet cloak or the like. I've gone out wearing eyeliner, black lipstick, painted nails with skull decals on them etc and got compliments on my appearance from little old ladies.

Once Goths were greeted with fear and revulsion. We were thought to be a dangerous bunch of suicidal satanists. Slowly though society calmed down about us. Studies came out to show we were generally above-average IQ mentally healthy balanced decent people that contributed to society and liked old literature.

Slowly Goths started turning up in the media outside of the Horror genre. Goth themed childrens shows emerged, not just the genre-humour stuff like the Danger Mouse spinoff Count Duckula but ones featuring Goth children as legitimate expression in cartoons like Mona the Vampire about a girl who dresses as a vampire and battles imaginary monsters and this trend has continued with shows like Growing up Creepie, Edgar and Ellen, Frankenstein's Cat, Ruby Gloom and the live-action Young Dracula.

Here's a little taste of my current favourite

Spanish and German language versions of the theme can also be found on youtube.

The current generation of goth-inclined kids have their culture and interests on tv! At one point on ABC's (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) afternoon programing on Fridays there was well over an hour of Goth programming back to back!

Then in the USA the Colombine Shootings were blamed by some on the music of Marilyn Manson and on Goth culture but that didn't seem to have that great a lasting impact overall on Goths, there were enough of us out there for many people to know that we aren't all going to go on shooting sprees.

But I was unaware of what has been going on internationally.
That was untill I heard of the Anti-Emo violence in Mexico (and yes I count Emo as related to Goth) and the hate-murder and bashing of a Goth couple in the U.K.

Now I hear of extensive anti-Goth discrimination in Russia. Plans to ban Goth and Emo looking kids from school, plans to ban Goth and Emo clothed people from government buildings, plans to ban Goth and Emo music!

Goth is not a new phenomenon, it's just a new name for it. People who find beauty in the shapes of skulls, the maligned creatures of the night, in stories of ghosts and vampires, people who love the dramatic, the old and the strange are not new. Centuries ago it was Poets rather than Musicians, people were reading penny dreadfuls about Varney the Vampire and Spring Heeled Jack and the Gothic Novel was decried as leading young women astray.

And it is hardly surprising that Goth and Emo and Transgender rights go hand in hand, not just because they are both about freedom of expression and self identification but because there has been a tradition of greater acceptance of broader gender expression in the Goth community.

I'm not a Goth because of that. Its not for aceptance of being transgender that I'm a goth, nor is it a reaction to bad life experiences. I don't wear Goth clothes and style to be identified as Goth or as some sort of uniform or to fit in with others or as an act of rebellion. I do so because I like the style, it expresses me. I'm not morose, I smile a lot. I'm not some sort of cliche.

And sure I look like a vampire sometimes, the long canines are natural, an inherited feature as is the pale skin (my brother got the tanning gene but I missed that one) and the family condition with the history of being missdiagnosed as dead with close relatives waking up on the way to the morgue and some in the past buried alive would all justify that... only it needs no justification!

Because I have a human right to free expression no matter the motivation or causation! So whether it's black lipstick or purple or red, whether it's worn with a Frock-coat, lace cuffed white shirt with Jabot and knee-high boots or torn t-shirt black cargos and chains or whether its a womens top with a velvet and lace skirt the same right applies to all.

Being Goth and Transgender are both parts of who I am, deep parts of me not just some surface bit of casual fashion. However my human rights to free expression involve the word FREE. It's a right not just to express what I feel deep in my heart but for those for whom such things could be 'a phase' or just surface fashion that is their right!

Alas I can't embed this one (minor language warning)
But to continue the International/Ruby Gloom theme I'll add this

I expect the anti-Goth and anti-Emo Russians think of death-metal listening satanists when they look at Goths, and death-metal listening satanists also have human rights but theres a lot more diversity to Goth and Emo culture than that stereotype.

Difference is valuable, difference is good. Diversity is valuable, diversity is good.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sex and Gender Diversity Human Rights Project in Australia

I'm confused.

Very confused. Downright vexed and discombobulated even.

So the Australian Human Rights Commission (formerly the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission) is concentrating it's sex and gender diversity issues project on Documentation.

It's an important issue but as far as I can tell there are far more important issues and I wonder why this one has been focused on. Still I have pondered and discussed the issue.

For starters there is the issue of genital surgery as a requirement for legal recognition of sex. That seems reasonable to many folk at first but is an utter catastrophe under examination.

For one thing it's discriminatory against FtM transexuals for whom surgery is still behind in results compared to MtF surgery, that then makes such a requirement an unacceptable discrimination.

Also it's discriminatory towards those who are denied surgery or who choose not to have surgery on the grounds of increased risk of complications caused by other health issues. That can include many things from diabetes, obesity and haemophillia or family history of near-death coma resulting in missdiagnosis of death such as runs in my own family. Discrimination based on health issues is a form of ablism and not acceptable.

Then there is the matter of reproductive rights! Making documentation amendment predicated on surgery means coercivly enforced sterilisation! There is a huge difference between a person choosing to undergo a procedure that will result in loss of reproduction and a state denying essential services to someone unless they are sterilised! Also I've seen plenty of anecdotal evidence that many types of sex and gender diversity including crossdressing is hereditary! That would make requiring sterlisation genocide! So then such a requirement could be a crime against humanity!

So far the best solution seems to be removal of sex markers from documentation! I considered this: "What is the functioning purpose of sex markers on documentation?"

As a tool to verify the identity of a specific person it functions only to rule out around half of the billions of humans on the planet the person might otherwise be, so without a long list of other visual descriptor traits for identification purposes it is utterly useless.

As a security marker it is also useless, the advent of female suicide bombings shows that using sex markers as screening tools might help female terrorists pass through security measures. Therefore as a security measure it is useless.

As a key to sex segregated spaces it is useless. This is because these documents are not used to access these spaces!

So then what is the actual function of these documentation markers?

Well if someones appearance does not match the expectations of an official interacting with that document then they will act accordingly... in other words the primary use of sex markers on documentation is to discriminate against sex and gender diverse people, to deny them essential services or make those services more difficult for them to obtain.

Thats what they do! Thats their actual purpose whether intended or not that is the day-to-day function!

But while considering these notions and discussing them at the Human Rights Comissions discussion forum I've been raising other issues. I'm not the only one to do so of course with a number of people objecting to the way the commission chose to do things.

As important as the documentation issues are, and they are very important, there are other issues as or more important!

Ending unethical surgical procedures on Intersex children
Ensuring access to both basic services and vital services (from general healthcare to SRS)
Removing the risk of genocide from potential targeted abortions
Patching holes in antidiscrimination and antivillification legislation
Improving protection from bullying and improving services for S&GD school children
Increasing public education and media representation
Addressing poverty and economic disadvantage

So, along with others I have been raising these issues. Alas some have thought it more important to object to having their issues related to other groups issues.

It seems a reasonable objection considering the current narrow focus of the project but for some key points.

Firstly each group shares at least some of their issues with another group.

The HBS Transexuals share issues of somatic sovereignty with the Intersex and with cissexuals! The same right of maximising later choices of a child once they are considered capable of doing so at once makes the unneccessary surgery on intersex children wrong, the denial of hormone blockers to Transexual children wrong and also circumcision of all children wrong!

The needs of those who don't fit binary views of Sex and Gender effects members of the Intersex community, Crossdressers, the Genderqueer and in some cases transitioning transexuals too.

The gaps in Antidiscrimination legislation effect various groups state by state and is one of the issues that effects me directly but sex and gender diversity is largely absent from antivillification legislation making it everyones issue.

Hate-crime protections, public education, suicide prevention, anti-bullying strategies and resources in schools etc are all issues that effect all involved groups.

So in fact dealing with each group seperately does not ensure that each groups needs are met. One reaction of one of the participants is here: in the Open Letter To HREOC post (sorry for my poor comp skills for not linking directly to the post)

Lets consider some of the points raised...

As anticipated the inevitable has occurred. Your discussion has been colonised by individuals with gender role transgressive behavioural issues: individuals with disorders in sexual formation have been completely sidelined and have given up trying to place their circumstances before you.

Actually AFAIK I'm the only one who is involved in the discussion 'fitting' the 'gender role transgressive behavioural issues' description, though the fit is a poor one at best. Individuals with disorders in sexual formation seem to have posted a significant number of times though and their issues and needs raised and discussed at length, that hardly seems sidelined except by the narrow documentation focus which also sidelines my personal issues, the lack of protection of me in my state under antidiscrimination legislation. So laying any blame on me for being involved is mistaken.

Nobody, male, female, or somewhere between, is born with knowledge of gender roles and cultural gender role expectations. Not clothing, hairstyles nor makeup! These are all acquired!
The way the brain functions in the context of its body is not learned. The confluences are biological. And you have chosen to place the performative wants of the learned behaviours in advance of the physical wellbeing of those people with biological disorders.

Well as to the first thats a matter of dispute in behavioural biology circles, certainly cultural gender role expectations exhibit wide variety and few would dispute they are learned, however that does not rule out the possibility that there are some aspects of gender-behaviour that are biologically determined. There is an assumption that there are no gender identity issues that lead to variations in gneder behaviour.

As this open letter goes on to complain about the fundamnetalist adam and eve view of sex might I suggest that the possibility of more variability of neurological sex development than is taken into account in the 'behaviour' argument. That just as there are variations in genital anatomy sex development issues then so too should we predict and expect likewise variation in neurological sex development issues! So that suggests that without concrete evidence either way the safe bet is that crossdressers, the genderqueer etc are but other forms or variations of the same form of neurological diversity as transexuals.

The anecdotal evidence I've heard of crossdressing running in families (often taking the form of crossdressing children finding evidence after a parents death amongst their belongings but also including people coming out only to discover that living parents, siblings or cousins are also crossdressers) certainly supports a biological causation.

Also important though is that human rights are not dependant on the causation! Religion is not biologically determined yet plenty of human rights apply to it, same for culture and expression making gender expression part of the purvue of the comission regardless of hypothetical causation!

It is important that no group that is oppressed or discriminated against on sex and gender diverse issues should be left out! That means that just as people with sex development disorders should not be left out nor should those whose gender expression is discriminated against!

The issues of targeted abortion is raised then as well as unneccessary genital surgery on children and those are important issues.

Then we get this:

Still, you have clearly absolved your conscience and given the floor to a variety of self professed cross-dressers, gender F+++kers, drag queens and transvestites of various persuasions. Choosing to turn away from the genital mutilating, the shoe-horning, the force-fitting, the redefining, and denying that takes place as western cultures attempt to make all human beings fit their fundamentalist Adam and Eve model of biological sex.

Huh? WTFH? Huh? Something must have seriously gone wrong with my communication skills these last months. Why? Because I'm the crossdresser there whose been given the floor and yet... and yet...

I've been advocating for the rights of the Intersex children! I've been speaking out about ending the uneccessary surgery and stating it as being more important than the documentation issues and even my own issues!

So I really can't understand this.

Why am I being blamed for, as the vocal self professed crossdresser involved (and I wonder who all the others are!), taking these issues off the floor when I've been one of the main ones raising those very issues? It's truly vexing and confusing that someone who, going by the issues we both clearly feel are vital, should be a strong ally working with me is instead accusing crossdressers (i.e. me) of the opposite of what I'm doing!

And why is the Australian Human Rights Comission still concentrating on documentation when clearly calling for a cessation of such permanant surgery that robs the child of their right to determine for themselves later in life is clearly a vital issue that many on the forum including myself think should be the first priority?

It's really important that all the human rights needs of all sex and gender diverse poeple are addressed fully. All people involved have a responsibility to that.
And this crossdresser, whose male aspect is rather genderqueer anyway, is intent on just that!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Society Must Lose to Rights and The Unethical DSM

So often in my discussions on various rights issues, Disability rights, potential genocide of Aspergers, Trans rights etc, the subject of Society is brought up.

Usually in notions that society is not ready for some things or that acknowledging certain rights will place an excessive burden on society or that certain things are wrong because they are contrary to society or to common views or taboos in society.

These seem strong arguments, after all for many people without much understanding of the principles behind what makes something ethical (and therefore right) or unethical (and therefore wrong) take instead their rules and boundaries from the commonly held rules and strictures of those around them.

It looks like a strong argument but it is not.

Firstly there is the fallacy of the value of stability. That the status quo should be maintained. From an evolutionary perspective such an inflexible society is damned to extinction. If the purpose of society is to serve the populace then clearly it is not at a state of perfection. If it is not perfect then it can be improved and in fact must be to serve it's purpose. Those who object to the potential risk of such experimentation on a large scale can simply start applying measurement, a sadly lacking concept in social and political ideology - results based assessment!

But more importantly there is a cornocopia of precedents! Slavery was a norm of many societies for thousands of years. Society could and did adapt swiftly to it's removal. Women were far less equal in many societies for thouisands of years. Society could and did adapt quickly.

Arguments that society cannot handle change are false. Clearly while many in a society do not want it and may object society can adjust to dramatic change. As for readyness it sounds reasonable but is it? It places an additional burdon on the oppressed or unequal to change the minds of the better off. There are examples where this has occured but is it a right or justifiable argument? Not really. An objection that society is not ready is often made without supportive measured data. So when that is the case it clearly is an appeal to a perception, an imagined estimate or generalisation.

Even if backed up by data it does not make it right to oppose doing the right thing just because the right thing is unpopular! Even in a democracy! This is because the official placed in such a position is obliged to do what is right by their duty to the position. However that does not mean they should apply their personal morality and do what is right by that, this is a violation of their duty! Instead they are obliged to follow the ethical principles of protecting the rights of all citizens not just the views of the majority or their personal morality. So again rights trump society.

What about the burden argument?
Now that really is a hard one to discuss with a calm mind. It makes me want to break out serious quantities of sarcasm. After all the idea that some people may be inconvenienced by doing what is right? It might cost people money to ensure everyone has the same access to amenities? Haven't they been saving money for generations by not doing so? But they weren't aware they were profiting? Hardly an excuse is it. Some people may be uncomfortable? Awww... those poor people might find treating others as equals difficult, they might become unnerved around the unfamiliar, scared by the different, they might feel threatened being around them.

I want to screm 'for crying out loud you morons!' but we really should acknowledge that it is a real discomfort, even a profound one that effects these people.
These people may indeed have their heart race, break into a nervous sweat, feel panic even.

But then when they desegregated race from public toilets I bet they felt that way then too. Plenty were concerned about letting aboriginal children into public swimming pools after all, when that was changed I bet a lot of people were uncomfortable. After all they used to say that Aboriginal people were dirty, carried diseases that people could acquire from pool water. Some even said that Aboriginal men being primitive bestial and unmannered would think nothing of ejaculating in swimming pools when women were swimming and that the sperm would enter the white women and produce half-caste babies!

I bet a lot of people were uncomfortable when that discrimination was ended!

What no-one wants to admit is that this discomfort is an inevitable price of any removal of discrimination! People will be uncomfortable! But they will get over it!

Such discomfort is as comparable to the injustice the removal of which may cause the discomfort as a feather is comparable to the weight of the known universe. And that's likely understimating it a little.

Sure the discomfort is real! It's just temporary, not as bad as the suffering being removed which if not removed is not temporary and really, really is the most cowardice and pathetic excuse for maintaining a grave injustice. It's a cry-baby routine, the whining of the most spoiled petulant child. The upset is real but the reason behind the upset is invalid. Like the child who cries because their siblings also have icecream!

The crybabies need to get over it! And they will, if we let them! Protecting them from the discomfort of fairness is not going to fix anything, it just makes things worse.

Even if real harm is a result of fairness and equality it would not excuse doing wrong or not doing right! Especially if that harm is less than the harm being relieved by the inequality!

Now in my title i mntion the DSM.
Thats because I hear over and over disturbing facts about the most basic failures of philosophical understanding related to the DSM and some working upon it.

Clearly as society will perpetuate any wrong untill that wrong is reformed then social 'mores' cannot be considered a valid measure of what is good, normal, healthy nor right! Society has supported slavery, bigotry, human sacrifice and pedophillia at various times all of which are clearly unethical! Diversity and difference, even when unpopular and discriminated against in society so long as it is ethical is useful to society, is valid within society and needs supporting not removing.

Here's a simple idea for those on the DSM: No ethical practice or action or experience, nothing which does not interefere with the rights of others should be considered to be wrong or needing to be fixed! then secondly The primary goal for those who are infringing on the rights of others is to be able to not infringe on the rights of others and then finally thirdly If someone wants to change some aspect of themselves no matter what it is if it does not interfere with the rights of others then the option of helping them live with and maximise the integration of such ethical differences must remain on the table as the first reccomended option and always an option even though the patients choice whether to integrate their difference or to minimise or alter it is the right of the patient!

Cause frankly, any other standpoint is unethical! The job of the psychologist is not to make the patient normal, average, integrated in society or to achieve a certain outcome considered best! The duty of the psychologist is to maximise the choices and capacity of ethical behaviour of the patient! To give them the maximum autonomy! To ensure they have the capacity for giving informed consent!

When Human Rights conflict with Society then Society is in need of reforming. To defend society is to defend injustice, to fight for a wrong against a right! Just as the defenders of Slavery were wrong, of segregation were wrong, of women as goods and chattel without a vote were wrong then so too are all those who oppose fairness and equality and Human Rights for All.

And if your one of the ones who feels discomfort around public displays of affection between gay couples while comfy with the same displays from straight couples, if your uncomfortable about sharing amenities with transgender people or interacting with Autistic people ar anything else of that nature... Stop running away from it or trying to protect yourself from that discomfort you cry-baby cowardiced pultroons! You'll get used to it if you allow yourself to but not if you keep running away from it. A little bit of gradual exposure and you'll become immune and it won't be a problem for you anymore.

If you don't though you'll be choosing to remain not just a spoiled brat but downright wicked. You'll be choosing to perpetuate a wrong, one that invalidates your own claims to what you deny of others because of your squeemishness.

Sure the discomfort is real, sure it feels bad and feels powerful. It was for past generations when they undid injustice too. It's the price you have to pay! It's the price you owe! You benefited from that injustice or participated in it's continuance whether you knew it or not! So now you owe the others, whoever they are, your discomfort to end your share of your injustice against them! Your discomfort will go away after a little while when you do! Their suffering will only end when you suffer a little, such a lesser amount! Therefore unless you are willing to suffer a little for a little while then you are responsible for them suffering a lot forevermore!

Simple inescapable truth.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Subversive Truth

It's strange that the most subversive act is often just telling a truth.

But this is because the story we tell of what the world is like is vastly unlike the real world around us.

Just look at tv for example. While less distorted than it was just look at the cast of tv shows. Are about half the cast female?

How much of the cast of the tv shows are not white?

Do you think that matches the proportions of the general population?

How much of the characters are gay? Bi? Transgender? Muslim? Bhuddist? Atheist?

Imagine what tv would be like if it reflected the actual proportions of the population!

Imagine what it would be like if those characters were not stereotypes but as deep and complex as the rest!

And movies? Other than a few exceptions most of the time they are either used as comedy, are mocked, stereotyped or are window-dressing to make the allegedly 'mainstream' 'normal' 'average' folk stand out.

And what about the other common media?

Like video games for example?
There are some few exceptions. How many folk rem,otely suspected or imagined that Samus from Metroid was female benearth that armour before they finished the first game? Heck despite the much more feminised version of the suit in the recent versions people I know managed to play reasonable chunks of Metroid Prime without it sinking in. And of course there is the bishonen characters of the Castlevania games (Symphony of the Night is one of the best games ever!) and examples like the transexual character in the Final Fight/Street Fighter games. Of course these examples are Japanese in origin, and while Japan is no bastion of inclusiveness it has been at least braver with some of these issues.

I wonder how long it'll take media critics to realise how susbtantial the cross-cultural effects of Japanese games anime and manga are having on the west?

Not that all such examples are positive but a lot more are than are found in most of western media.

Too much in modern western storytelling the attempts at centering the story on an 'everyman' ends up with a banal blandness at the core of the story for people to try and project themselves onto. But this attempting to aim for the lowest common denominator ends up robbing the story of much of it's impact, fails to represent and downright alienates huge swaths of the diversity of the community as well as whether unintentionally or not pushes conformity and bigotry and makes it more difficult for people to learn to empathise with those who are different than they even at the most superficial of levels when the community would be best served by the opposite, by giving people the capacity to empathise with those who are different.

Just imagine what truly repesentative media would be like!

Monday, September 1, 2008

The challenge and the 'Yes, But' people

The challenge for me at the moment is to convey simple logical principles.

In several forums and conversation it seems I've ended up becoming the spokesperson of the philosophical principles of Human/Civil Rights.

Is it really such a difficult notion to comprehend?

To fairly have and use rights you must respect that right and other rights you want to have that belong to all others.

So for me to have freedom of religion I must respect your freedom of religion too.

And for government to be for all it has to not side with one of those religions.

And the freedom of religion doesn't over-rule others rights.

So no throecracy! No imposing religious morals on others! No killing witches!

So religious objections to Gay rights and Gay marriage are themselves against freedom of religion! It's fine for the religious person to obey such a rule by choice, it's wrong for them to impose it on others!

So the only witches you can burn are ones who give informed and uncoerced consent! If you don't agree with same-sex marriage then don't marry the same sex yourself! But objecting to others doing so is wrong!

Why is this so hard for people to understand?

The same principles control transgender issues!

It's basic freedom of expression people!
It's the Right to equal treatment!
It's the Right to medical treatment!
It's the right to control over ones own body!

Existing basic rights principles cover it all already! Just a lot of folk don't want to accept that.

Because ever since the notion of equal rights was conceived there have been plenty of 'yes, but' people!

"Yes everyone is equal, But not those people!" Thats been the catch-cry, covered up in rhetoric but thats the truth at its core. Folk who want to be equal but dont want everyone to be equal. Folk who insist and ensure that there are less than equal people. So everyone isn't equal under the law, everyone isn't equally served by the government or businesses or infrastructure.

But logically not one of the yes-but people deserves the rights that they enjoy or seek to claim!

This doesn't really seem that complicated. Yet I've had to exhaustively explain it to person after person on subject after subject this week.

But seriously, if it's not rights-for-everyone-without-exception then there is no valid basis for any of them getting any!

So if you don't support everyones rights then you dont deserve yours! Gay rights, Transgender rights, any bloody rights!

So yes, those Crossdressers who don't like being associated with Gay people and Drag Queens, your still obliged to acknowledge, support and even fight for their rights!
And you HBS folk, your obliged to fight for Transgender rights! And the rest of you Transexuals need to fight for the rights of those HBS folk! And Christians need to fight for the Muslims, Muslims for the Wiccans, Wiccans for the Satanists, Satanists for the Bhuddists, Bhuddists for the Taoists and on and on in an endless chain!

You see what it all means?

If your happy to have the rights you have, if there are rights you want, then you must support defend and fight for the rights of everyone else! It's the damn pricetag for your own rights!

So pay the bill!

No-one can have 'equal' rights unless everyone gets them, fairly and equally.

Surely it should not be so hard for people to understand?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Oh noes I haz a meme infection!

So to take my mind off my bad hair day and the stinging scratch from playing with my cat I'm going to take 'the Slavoj Test' a meme which I got infected with from here:

1. When were you happiest?
I really can't say, each high point of happiness seems to be of a different flavour.

2. What is your greatest fear?
Not much scares me. But the deaths and sufferings of those close to me are growing ones. My CFS has striped me of so much in life that losing what little I managed to hold on to or never getting better enough to really make my life count might well top my few fears.

3. What is your earliest memory?
Lying in my cot wondering what would be for my next meal. It was before I had picked up language as I reviewed the possibilities by deliberatly remembering the flavours. I started speaking quite early and when I did I used complete sentences so I must have been very young indeed.

4. Which living person do you most admire, and why?
I guess my friend Rob. For his intellect, his insight and his stubborn refusal to conform.

5. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
I have a tendency to be harsh on myself for what is really the symptoms of my illness. I haunt myself with regrets of unethical things I did in my childhood which I learned from long ago and really should forgive myself over by now. I guess I deplore of myself the wrong aspects lol.

6. What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Willfull Ignorance. The refusal to allow new information or ideas to shift opinions.

7. What was your most embarrassing moment?
Hmm.. there's been a few. Stupid/insensitive statements, obvious mistakes etc. Realising how overblown my fears at coming out to most of my family and friends were was probably the most embarassing though.

8. Aside from a property, what’s the most expensive thing you’ve bought?
Just a computer at about a thousand bucks.

9. What is your most treasured possession?
Lying on my back a number of years ago, feeling upset and alone I started to cry. I wiped my eye and dislodged and removed a hard piece of something from my eye thinking it a normal bit of the kind of encrustation one gets in ones eyes till I realised just how large and hard it was. Examining it i found it was a weird shaped sharp shard of glass that heatly would have sat in the corner of my eye. How it got there I have no idea. I put it safely away in a small box with other keepsakes. The oddness of the moment makes it more treasured than my metal ruler that bent inexplicably while I was making disparaging remarks about spoon bending and only just sits above an antique box given to me by my grandmother. It's tough to draw the lines on these things though.

10. What makes you depressed?
Lots. Injustice, hatred, inequaility. Also just struggling with day to day existence and the realities of CFS. Especially whenever I'm reminded of all the things I wanted to study and do, what I used to be capable of.

11. What do you most dislike about your appearance?
Most? The amount my hairline has receded in the last 7 years! I've had my hair varying between shoulder length and the base of my tailbone since I was in my teens with only a couple of very brief exceptions. I loved the grey streaks that started through it when i was eight and didn't mind too much when the last of the coppery red streaks went grey. But slowly over the last 7 or so years the witches peak has been growing more and more severe and I can't afford to do anything about it which I hate.

12. What is your most unappealing habit?
I talk to much.

13. What would be your fancy dress costume of choice?
Morticia Addams from the Addams Family

14. What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Hmmm... I'm unapologetic about 50's scifi and B movies so that doesn't count. Same with most old cartoons. ok. I expect it's watching old episodes of Jem (a pretty bad 'girls' cartoon I watched as a kid pretending to just 'leave on' while waiting for the 'boy' cartoons of an afternoon) with a big mug of instant latte coffee with a star pattern of chocolate I template onto the broth and half a packet of mud-chocolate Tim Tams That I shouldn't eat in one sitting but invariably do.

15. What do you owe your parents?
Despite their flaws and the early break up and such how could I possible calculate it? Mum gave me a safe place, support, advice, helped me in incalculable ways. Dad has done so much to try and make up for the past. Both accepted me when I came out instantaneously. My qualities are theirs, my flaws are theirs too. I've just got a mix of each.

16. To whom would you most like to say sorry, and why?
Again there's a few. People I hurt without knowing it at the time mostly.

17. What does love feel like?
What kind of love? There are so many types. The warm comforting one that feels like being hugged. The wild dangerous one that feels like stepping up to a martial arts contest or fencing match. The altruistic one where your ready to sacrifice much for the others smile or the lighting up of their eyes. The passionate one where the mind stops functioning and you crash together like opposing waves. The insightful one where the whole world sparkles with clarity and sense. The craving selfish one where your every breath seems to rely on your catching their eye. The love of a friend which whells up in your chest like a rising tide. The love of a family member, unjudging and caring and protecting. The unconcious love where you feel good for days and then it suddenly occurs to you that you've fallen for someone. I could go on for ages.

18. What or who is the love of your life?
I'm still trying to recover from my last relationships inevitable collapse last year. So the answer is one I just don't know.

19. What is your favourite smell?
Right now it's lavender and Sandalwood

20. Have you ever said ‘I love you’ and not meant it?
No but i've said it when my feelings towards that someone at the time mixed love with anger and hurt and lots more besides.

21. Which living person do you most despise, and why?
I don't despise anyone on principle but I sure despise the choices and actions of a lot. War criminals, advocates of cruel and abusive social/legal/medical practices and those who cause harm to others by their unethical acts or abuse of personal morality improperly extended over others rights.

22. What is the worst job you’ve done?
Being a jobseeker on long-term unemployment benefits!

23. What has been your biggest disappointment?
32 and still suffering CFS! That's more than half my life disabled.

24. If you could edit your past, what would you change?
Edit? Can I only change my choices or can I change anything? If anything I'd get over my CFS after having it just long enough to have gained the increased compassion and understandings it's given me. If it's my choices I'd probably face the reality of being transgender properly back in my teens or even earlier, come out to my family and stopped trying to hide it from myself, though I still don't know exactly why i did in the first place.

25. If you could go back in time, where would you go?
If I could do so without changing time I'd want to vist everywhen! If I could change things I have a favourite fantasy: In the future when the world celebrates difference people travel back in time to all those martyred in hate crimes and swap them with undetectible artifical versions just before the horrible events happen to them and take them to the future where they can live peacefully without changing the past events that may have contributed to making that better world.

Just imagine that! Every victim of hate-murder plucked out of time before it happens and brought to a time of fairness and justice and acceptance!

26. How do you relax?
Violent video games when I have the energy for them, or I put on some Dead Can Dance music and snuggle up in bed with a copy of Fortean Times or a century-old scifi or horror novel.

27. How often do you have sex?
Currently I'm single and still recovering emotionally from my last relationship so not at all.

28. What is the closest you’ve come to death?
Once when severely suffering from brain fog and heat stroke I picked up a deadly shellfish on the beach specifically to point out to someone I was talking to that the critter inside was potentially deadly only to realise what was in my hand just as the critter inside started to move and I hastilly dropped it!

29. What single thing would improve the quality of your life?
A cure for chronic fatigue syndrome. At school one classmate once said after I'd left a long trail of blood (CFS body temperature regulation problems in summer + old bullying injury left me prone to nosebleeds back then) from one end of the school to the sickbay 'god made (Battybattybats) sick cause he didn't want the competition' which really made me smile. If I could be cured I'd launch myself at life like a starving animal and really sink my teeth into it's throat till I'd sucked all that I could from it. I'd get myself a degree, I'd pour massive efforts into the causes that seem to need it most and I'd do everything within my power to make the world better more fair and more just than it is now.

30. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I really don't know. It's probably going to be some off-the-cuff comment I make or have already made that causes some sort of snowball effect through the world around me unrecognised by anyone last of all myself. If anything I'd say surving through what I have as well as I have. Certainly others have done better but i think I can be proud of doing as well as I have done.

31. What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
Reality is often counter-intuitive, often it's like a 'finger trap' the more you struggle the worse it gets, instead you have to use a Yin way rather than a Yang way and use the problem against itself. Oh yeah, and while most disregard it Philosophy is in fact the most important of all subjects because Ethics is covered by it. Every human needs to learn about Ethics because their is no choice or decision that doesn't involve ethics.

32. Tell us a secret.
Nerds, geeks, goths, punks and all those most often cast out or kept at the fringes are much more likely to be good people than those who fit in. Because bad people with even an ounce of intelligence or cunning fit in so they can do bad things whereas being different requires courage and idalism. Sure there are good and bad in both groups but believe me on average the 'weirdos' are more likely to be better people than the 'normals'.

Yeah, that would be me!

So I was scrounging through links to TG news articles and found this one:

The person being interviewed seemed somewhat vexed that the human rights and equal opportunity commisions blog mixed Intersex and Transgender issues together. Why when she went onto the HREOC discussion forum there was even a crossdresser on there!

Yeah, that would be me!

I also am one of those quoted in the pdf report of initial consultation too.

I think all this seperate issues stuff is really misguided.

Why? Because I think it's rather certain that all the groups she and others want seperate have at the heart of things the same issues, just different aspects of them. Like two sides to the same coin, or different faces on a cube.

Example: Intersex people want surgical 'normalisation' of children stopped while Transgender people want medical treatment for transgender children. So that would make them opposites right?

Nope. For starters the reparative therapy of Dr Zucker et al is a psychological version of the medical treatment of the Intersex children, a painful stressful and often unsuccessful attempt to 'normalise' the child. Psychological trauma too can be permanant making the two similar enough even if distinctly different.

See A child can't give 'informed consent' to medical procedures or psychological ones. So any decisions made on their behalf should be minimal with the main aims being to maximise the freedom of choice of the child once they reach maturity sufficient to be considered able to make those choices! We need to keep the child alive and healthy of course but we don't want to make permanant choices for the child that there is a reasonable possibility that the child will regret having been made if we have the option of waiting.

So then if we follow this to it's logical conclusion the Intersex child should have minimal treatment for their condition to enable them to make their own minds up on what kind of surgery is right for them. For the Transgender child hormone blockers to delay puberty give them the same choice! They neither go through male puberty nor female puberty till they are able to decide for themselves from a fully informed perspective.

The same principle, the same result. It's exactly the same issue, just two different expressions of the same right!

And that right extends to all children. I know guys who were upset that they were circumcised as children. Plenty of people are horrified at the practice of female 'circumcision'. Sure these are cultural/religious practices and people have a right to their culture and religion. But they have a right to reject some or all of the culture and religion they are raised as too! People convert, they give up religion too. So then making a decision for a child based on permanant body modification because of cultural and reliious reasons is wrong because the child once mature enough may regret the choice made on their behalf!

So then this same right applies not just to the Intersex community or the Transgender community but to the entirity of humanity!

Let the Intersex kids decide for themselves, let the Transgender kids decide for themselves, let the Jewish and African and Aboriginal and all the other kids who may go through initiations or permanant body modification rituals decide for themselves!

The rights of these children to make their own decisions about their own bodies is very important. If the child is not mature enough to decide for themselves any decisions made on their behalf should not be guesses as to what the kids will probably want nor ever what the parents want for their kids but whenever options exist permanant changes should be put off till the child is old enough to be considered competant enough to decide for themselves!

Now the medical treatment issue doesn't concern me directly so long as I consider myself a crossdresser and so long as being a crossdresser doesn't prevent me getting medical treatment (a possibility but a lesser one than for many others) but there are still plenty of issues I personally share with the Transexual and the Intersex communities.

Anti-discrimination and Anti-villification legislation is patchy at best from state to state. That effects all of us!

If someone assaults me will they know if I'm a Metrosexual? Genderqueer? A Crossdresser? A Drag Queen? A Transexual? Intersex? Nope. They will just perceive that I don't fit into their views on gender and apply violence accordingly.

That makes it everyone's issue! In fact when stated as: 'Gender identity and expression' it covers not just all those catagories but literally everyone! Someone could be discriminated against for being too masculine a man or too feminine a woman too. Those words mean everyone is protected.

You see lots of people want everyone dealt with seperately, but thats not how human rights work. They are always as broad as possible. They can't be equal or universal if they don't work that way!

Does freedom of religion only cover the Abrahamic religions? Just Christain denominations? No, of course not! It covers Shinto and Daoism and Parsee and the Yezidee and even Agnostics and Athiests!

And thats why while the different needs of Intersex and Transgender people need to be represented they are still just different variations of the same basic human rights that everyone should have!

Thats why everyone has a right to be there. Thats why we need to understand the basic philosophical principles behind these issues.

Fighting for seperation is unjustifiable. Either we all should have the same rights or we shouldn't. The right of a child to not have others make permanant choices on their behalf that can be put off till the child is old enough belongs to all children. The right of someone not to be discriminated against or villified because of their gender identity or expression also belongs to everyone!

So then lets not leave anyones needs out, lets not leave anyone with less rights than others. Lets all try and learn about and understand each others needs and work towards satisfying them all.

So there is indeed a crossdresser at the HREOC forums on Sex and Gender Diversity Issues. And it's good that one is there.

Yeah, that would be me!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Once you comment your involved!

Simple enough idea.

If you feel you understand an issue well enough to comment on it then your good enough in finding a full solution. Once you involve yourself in a discussion on a subject you absorb some of the responsibility for the subject.

You see any action involves choice and consequences. Any action involves moral/ethical choice and moral/ethical consequences.

On making a statement publicly on the internet you may sway others, then the consequences of doing so are on your head. On voting or campaining on an issue you may get your way, so the consequences are on your head.

Real issues, real consequences, real peoples lives.

So you can't just wade into a discussion saying 'I don't care how you solve the problem but don't do that' and be a moral person. Doing so is like a hit-and-run. It's not enough to condemn others solutions to problems, if you've got the guts to comment and the brains to see something wrong with their proposal you have the same to help find a better alternative!

I could mention all sorts of examples of this, nuclear power/medicine/waste for example. But just for a momer the whole trans and bathrooms thing that gets so many people flinging comments round about.

If those who oppose MtF transexuals using the womens bathroom get their way these people must use the mens or have nowhere to pee. No christian worthy of the title can just say 'too bad'. No human worthy of the title can say 'too bad'. Any person who considers themselves moral decent and good must then be responsible! Either for finding an alternative or for the consequences.

The opponent might say 'I imagine this could be a threat to women and children'. But do they think 'what about the threat to the transgender people if they are't let use them?', do they check the results of other places allowing this (no-one's been hurt!) or the results of transgender people using the bathroom opposite to their presentation (some have been hurt!). If they get what they want, a protection from an as yet unrealised threat they still expose real people to real danger unless they come up with a better idea!

Real danger of violence visited upon those FtM transexuals. They will be as responsible for what those people suffer as if it were their fists and feet and worse that do the assaulting.

Why? Because they are making a choice! A very real choice! That makes them responsible for the consequences visited on other people!

Those who fling about notions that transgender people are responsible for what happens to them because they chose to be transgender are cowards trying to shift blame off themselves! Why? Because they don't know what they are talking about, plenty of studies refute that nonsense. They speak not from knowledge but ignorance! They have no real science to back their position up. But they lie or disregard truths as impossible without even measuring the evidence or imagine answers that aren't really there because its uncomfortable having to be responsible.

So if you don't want transexual women in womens bathrooms you should become part of the solution. If you think your smart enough, if you think you know enough to pass judgement and make a comment then don't just whinge about what others want to do to solve the problem.

You have to have a better alternative option. One that will actually work! And be ready to bear all the associate burdons!

Cowards and immoral people can say 'shoot them' or 'lock them up'. They just like to pretend to themselves that they are good people but they lie to themselves.

Good people would sit down, learn about the problem, think about the problem and see if they can find an alternative that fits into their value system, dealing with facts as they go rather than trying to ignore uncomfortable realities!

So commentators on issues, stop cowardly and immorally dodging responsibility. Once you involve yourself in an issue your morally trapped there till the issue is resolved justly for all!
So once you disagree with the way something is done or wanted to be done, put on your thinking cap and find a better answer.

A real measurable testable workable one.

So far letting transgender people into the bathrooms they feel appropriate works. It's passed the test so far. Got a better idea?