Friday, December 18, 2009

Widespread TBLG Support Among Religious Australians!

It's not the way that the anti-GLBT folk who are religious or most religious 'leaders' and authorities paint it, but it's the only possible conclusion from the numbers.

A recent poll on religion found 68% of Australians believe in God, a God or Universal Spirit. (Athiests have a vastly stronger showing than Agnostics interestingly with 24% don't believe in any god or universal spirit and only 7% polled as unsure or don't know).

But wait then... if as we are always told religious belief means opposing transgender and gay and lesbian rights etc then what can explain this?

85% of Australians support Federal Antidiscrimination legislation... on sexuality and also on gender identity but then even if we assume that every single athiest and agnostic is in favour of that 85%-31% = 54%.

Well thats a blow for the anti-equality folks isn't it! the vast vast majority of religious believers are supporters of anti-discrimination laws!

What about Same Sex Marriage?
Well that polled at 60%... Even if we assume every single athiest and agnostic is in favour of it then still nearly half the supporters of same sex marriage are religious!

The only way these numbers can be correct is with substantial support from religious Australians for TBLG rights!

What does that mean?
It means that religious Australians are being missrepresented in politics and the media. It means that religious 'leaders' and authorities are extremely out of step with their congregations.

It means that religious 'leaders' risk pushing their congregations to other churches by insisting on anti-gay anti-trans preachings and activism!

It means that Politicians taking an anti or slow-movement stance on equal rights antidiscrimination and same-sex marriage for fear of losing the religious vote are missreading the position most religious australians have on this matter! They may in fact LOSE the religious vote by their attempts to get or keep it!

It then is important that the Majority, The Religious Majority who support Antidiscrimination and Marriage Equality are recognised as such. Publicly. That it is made clear to Politicians, Media and Religious Authorities and 'leaders' that in fact the majority, the substantial majority, of Religious Australians support Equal Rights for TBLG Australians!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

What would a genuinely accepting society look like?

Often we are so accustomed to discrimination we don't see it. Some will refuse to accept it exists because they are so used to the status quo.

But this is a great simple thought experiment to consider on that.

Say there was no discrimination, no injustice towards crossdressers no pressures towards keeping people in or even any existing closet.
What would that be like?

I'll start with one example.

As we are between 5% and 10% of the population by most stats 1 in 20 to 1 in 10 people on tv would be out crossdressers and crossdress on tv.

Including newsreaders, weather announcers, hosts, contestants, supporting cast, main cast, drama characters, science fiction characters, romance characters, childrens cartoon characters... in every genre and in every type of show 1 in every 10-20 would be an out open CD.

Imagine that!

What else can you think of? What ways would society look different if it was truly totally accepting? What other groups can you think of that may not be as visible as their numbers would require if everyone truly was treated fairly?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Shame on FOX and the Cleveland Show

On channel ten I've been seeing ads for the Cleveland show, a family guy spinoff.

Then recently i saw this at bilerico.

Since then there has been a response with discussion of that at bilerico here.

They do a lot of good work. I won't dismiss that. But this kind of seriously harmful missrepresentation of sex and gender diverse people needs to be publicly condemned and decried.

I wont be watching this series, but its not enough that I not watch it as unless i get slected to provide ratings data channel 10 and Fox will never know this. So I'm going to tell them I'm not watrching and why, and that I'll be encouraging everyone i know not to watch it either.

And I'll tell channel 10 in advance that I'll be keeping an eye on the tv guides and if they ever play the offending episode I'll put in a complaint to Australias television standards body. And I'll be encouraging others to do so.

That includes you dear reader. I ask you to write a letter to whatever channel is showing this program near you.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Sex and Love, key to TG and TG-community growth or stagnation

Well I'm back from Sydney.
I travelled to be with my boy/girl (FtM Crossdresser) for their birthday.

The circumstances of one of their friends helped put into focus for me something key to the transgender community.. and often quite taboo. One i've mentioned before but which seems even clearer and more crucial to me now.

It was yet another crossdresser attempting to hang up their heels and quit. They felt their crossdressing need stems from a lack of a girlfriend and would dissapear with a woman in their life. I won't discount the possibility, though it was what i once thught too till i learned from direct experience that i was wrong, and there's been many other crossdressers who thought so too only to then be in the complicated situation of being in a comitted relationship when the need to crossdress returns with all the struggle and stress that comes of telling or hiding or repressing and the partners feellings on the matter etc.

Now this person had been coming out more and more with the support and encouragement of, and with feellings for, my current boy/girlfriend. It's not the first time for hir as being openly TG-attracted for some time. Hir ex-fiance went forward with transition because of the accepting relationship.

Many closteted crossdressers and transsexuals yet to transition have been in that state because of loneliness and the fear of forever remaining in that state. Many other CDs are closeted because of the concerns and feellings and comfort-zones of cis partners. For many an accepting partner is the path to being out and self realisation. Of course for some internalised issues may be strong or stronger nevertheless, but for many it robs them of a terror that holds them back, holds them down. In mainstream society few doubt the need for sex and romance...

Loneliness, the desire for companionship, for romance, for sex, reproduction... why these are recognised as primary drives in life in most communities.. but not ours. No the terror of the labels Fetishist, Gay and the fear of offending, confirming the fears of or scaring off the existing cis hetero wives and girlfriends of MtF CDs rules. To the point of many parts of the community excluding and villifying others.

Now sure some people who are attracted to TG people are badly behaved.. like thats a new thing to women, and to men too. But there are many transgender-attracted people who are quite decent people... and most that I've met are totally closeted about their desires. And most are assuming i mean cis men, but in fact i've met quite a few trans-attracted cis women, most in relationships with cis men. I've even been propositioned by some cis women in my own rural town to join them and their partners for threesomes and in the offline world i've met far more trans-attracted cis women than cis men.

There's also the concerns over sexual images of transgender people, often requiring us to ignore the entire role of appearance in sexual attraction, the reality of sexual imagery of cis women and cis men pervadinng nearly every magazine newspaper film tv show. And often these complaints are about the very existence of non-binary transgender people and objections to them being considered sexually attractive. Now arguments about what kind of sexual images are exploitative and of imagist bias is seperate and reasonable topics, but to say all are is to deny the possibility of erotic art or any beauty in any transgender nudity.

The trans-attracted are labelled 'chasers' and often excluded with much hostility. Flirting and the like often strictly forbidden despite occuring in most hetero cis spaces. And while an argument can be made that it's needed to have some spaces for TG people to discuss issues without having to consider trans-attracted people or interact with them it's often the case amongst CD support groups and sites that such privacy is centred on allowing cis wives such privacy from their CD husbands and the rest of the world but the reverse is less often true.

What we have is a situation where huge numbers of people remain closeted or suffer by delaying transition out of fear of never finding a partner. Where many stay in abusive relationships out of fear of blackmail, loss of custody or of never finding another partner. Where the concerns of cis partners don't just effect the compromises within relationships but also drive the policies of support groups and organisations resulting in the exclusion and marginalisation of some of those already suffering too much. And where those attracted to transgender people are also closetted often, both cis men and cis women, only able to bring themselves to seek the sex but too frightened of judgement to date openly and often staying in the comforts of cis relationships.

Addressing the reality of this is vital, of the need for transgender people to be like everyone else, able to flirt, able to seek sex and/or romance, to seek a compatible partner. The need for incorporating the trans-attracted into our efforts to liberate our diverse community from oppression and to help them overcome the stigma of their desires.

And taking the controling reigns of large chunks of the community from the hands or fears of cis people with cis concerns is equally vital! Sure easing family members through transphobia is important. Sure relationships need compromise and communication. Sure Cis people can be valuable members of the community and the most accepting of Cis people being free of the internalised transphobia that hamstrings us and with little (usually...) transphobia of their own have often been courageous and supportive in helping members of our community to step out into the light.

But all the pandering to cis concerns has gone way too far. It's holding the community back and it's causing harm to many within it. We must address these issues solidly and squarely.

Until we do only a tiny minority of TG people will be out, plenty will slink back into the closet when relationships fail or be overcome with despair that they will never find love.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Bigotry and Unscientific and Unethical Rot in the Heart of Psychiatry

Once again comments I've written elsewhere strikes me as being worthy once re-edited of a post on it's own.

These are from here:

I am especially troubled by a September report from Dr. Raymond Blanchard, chairman of the Paraphilias Subworkgroup of the DSM-V Task Force. He proposes to retain the TF diagnosis, renamed "Transvestic Disorder" with its existing diagnostic criteria that ambiguously label all "behaviors involving cross-dressing" by those assigned male at birth as sexually deviant on the basis of their sexual orientation. Moreover, Dr. Blanchard proposes to add the deeply offensive and inflammatory term, "autogynephilia," as a specifier to the diagnosis. I ask the DSM-V Task Force and elected officials of the American Psychiatric Association to reject his proposal.

Here we have a diagnosis criteria of a mental illness that includes SEXUALITY as one of it's criteria! And SEX as another! From the pdf preview of the report:

"(4) with a heterosexualorientation. There are, of course, cross-dresserswho fall outside this definition: homosexual men who crossdress without sexual arousal and perhaps rare women who cross-dress with sexual arousal. The existence of these other groups has no necessary bearing on whether the combination of male sex, heterosexual orientation, cross-dressing, and sexual excitement constitutes a distinct syndrome. The consensus of expert clinicians, for almost a century, has been that it does."

Does anyone like the idea of sexual orientation being a criteria for diagnosing a mental illness folks? Think it's good that het male to female crossdressers are seperated from gay ones because of their sexuality in this? Or the female to male ones from the male to female ones because they are assumed to be 'rare'. And strange that being aroused wearing lingerie (something they seem to think only happens with het CDs, not gay ones) is somehow bad but a man being aroused wearing leather chaps or a woman finding wearing a tight corset arousing (which is almost every goth woman i know for the record) is somehow different.

This is an arbitrary definition. Built on policing gender roles from a transphobic gender-binary as well as sexuality double-standards and sexist double-standards. There's something wrong in that affecting everybody! And the knock-on effects through the psychiatric field could effect anyone!

And as Kelly, the author of the original post i was commenting on reminds us:

...the TF diagnosis defames a huge population of CD, genderqueer, and other trans folks who have been inexplicably silent on this issue. Moreover, a person does not actually have to be sexually aroused by gender expression to be diagnosed. Criterion A in the current and proposed diagnosis is (conveniently) ambiguously worded to be met by "or behaviors involving cross-dressing." The mere "involvement" of "cross-dressing" is all that is required. Even worse, the second criterion fails to distinguish distress actually caused by gender expression from distress caused by societal prejudice. So a CD individual who is perfectly happy and well adjusted and has been outed and fired can be further bashed by a TF diagnosis, because being a victim of job discrimination can be considered "impairment" in the diagnosis. Dr. Blanchard's TF diagnosis was designed to ensnare as many gender nonconforming people as possible on the basis of male birth-assignment and sexual orientation. It should be removed from the DSM-V.

There is a phenomenon I've been observing, and repeatedly subject to in fact.
It's where bad science with poor evidence poor logic poor conclusions and cherry picking of evideence and failing to apply proper scientific method by searching for disproofs of contrary evidence rather than only corroborative evidence get accepted and placed on high because it's consistent with presumptions and unscientific beliefs and what suits the mainstream.

It happens regularly with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyalitus/Fibromyalgia where psychologists are still getting pieces published and supported that the illness is psychological in origin and exaccerbated psychologically despite findings of genetic switch activity in blood, despite mitochondrial function evidence, despite evidence in cerebrospinal fuid and evidence of cerebrospinal swelling/inflamation and now the evidence of a retrovirus XMRV previously linked to prostate cancer being found in the majority of CFS sufferers.

In other words in total contrast to empirical evidence which must be ignored and pretended does not exist in order to make these claims the more comfortable stereotype-affirming view gets undue support and acceptance.

If Blanchard GENUINELY wanted to test his theories the very first thing that should be done is to apply all the tests that have found biological corellates in transsexuals upon crossdressers, looking for milder forms or varient forms of the same traits. An obvious thing to rule out surely? But major tenants of Psychiatry are under threat from Neurology, that'd be fraternising with the enemy. And i doubt any genuine test would be applied to his theories by him. He wants to build a theory, not test one. Construct an explanation that fits his preconceptions, not find the truth.
And here is an important question.

Why is it that despite years and years of homophobic and transphobic murder....
There is no sign of homophobia or transphobia listed as mental illnesses? No sign of treatments for them?

Cause there is an Unethical notion at the heart of much psychology.. that social norms are right because they are social norms and deviation from social norms and resistance to social conditioning is an aberation. Thats a Philosophical and Unethical cancer at the heart of psychology.

Until all Ethical actions and behavior is removed from the DSM and Unethical and Irrational Hate is included then there is Human Rights Abuse at it's heart!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Time To Stop Subsidising Religious Businesses?

It's a simple concept.
Money corrupts. Most faiths even preach so. Religious owned businesses are subsidised by the taxpayer and given an unfair competative advantage. Thats protectionsim pure and simple.

Now i'm not suggesting we remove alltogether tax exemptions from churches. Or prevent them from doing charity work.

But how's this for a simple concept?

If its donations going to ceremonial buildings and ceremonial implements thats purely religious in function and not taxed.

If it's something sold or bought that's business and should be taxed.

Surely thats fair?

And regarding discrimination laws and exemptions a simple line can be drawn too.

If its for admission to, participation in and running of ceremonies and for ceremonial buildings and the beaureacracy directly pertaining to ceremony they can discriminate however they want. But in all charity works and in all businesses these should not be able to discriminate. If a religion wants to be a business all bussiness laws should apply without exception. If a charity then all charity laws should apply.

Surely thats fair too?

It's time to stop the unfair subsidising of businesses by the taxpayer purely because the owner of shops, printers, food companies or whatever else is a religous organisation. That immaterial to the freedom of religion and it's contrary to free trade and fair business practices!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Julie Bindel still doesn't understand what Human Rights actually means

Julie Bindel once again rails against the Transgender community with an argument that once again clings to some studies while ignoring the existence of others and which also is a human rights EPIC FAIL.

The full article is here:

But the key error is the same one I tried to explain to her on facebook and reiterated here on this blogpost

I have no idea if she's reading the comments on the article page but my own there (qued for mod approval at the moment i type this) is as follows:
Hi again Julie. As i explained before and available here: your view is in places contrary to basic human rights principles. Most notable Bodily Autonomy, the principle that gives people the right to say no to sex, to say no to state-forced surgery, the right to contraception and to terminate pregnancy. You use the term human rights but you seem confused about the key concepts of human rights. As arguing that transgender people should be able to choose surgery or no surgery is valid, but your criticism of those who choose it is
invalid as its contrary to the human right of bodily autonomy. I suggest you
read this also I suggest you look into the philosophical foundations of what makes human rights human rights then review your opinions to remove the hypocritical inconsistency.

Now it's a pretty simple concept. And it's a fundamental human rights principle. The basis in fact for many feminist womens rights fights to assert this fundamental universal human right. It's astonishing to imagine that Julie could go through her career without once encountering this principle or that she would knowingly attack the right that is so vital to women and children the world over. Only a few possible explanations come to mind.

* She may think that for some reason Transsexuals are an exception to Universal Human Rights. Making her use of the term human rights and claims to advocating them a knowing lie or unknowing falsehood.

* She may have a Utilitarian view that the possible effect on Cissexual and Cisgender women are more important that the universal human rights of Transgender and Transsexual people even though the same argument would invalidate the womens rights movement because of its effects on men in the past. Making her use of the term human rights and claims to advocating them a knowing lie or unknowing falsehood.

* She may knowingly be using the term human rights in full understanding of the hypocracy of arguing against the human rights of others and falsely claiming the human rights of women and children are effected by the equal rights of all people including transgender and transsexual people.

Either way a clear and unavoidable hypocracy exists. Bodily autonomy is a Universal Human Right. A key concept upon which Womens Rights and Childrens Rights depend. And it means that people MUST have the right to CHOOSE SRS and they MUST have the right to DECLINE SRS without any coercion of any sort including needing SRS to be recognised as a woman or man or to avoid laws and beaureaucratic processes that discriminate based on actual or perceived sex or gender identity or expression.

Thats what Human Rights demand. It's what Bodily Autonomy, Freedom of Expression, Equality, Freedom From Disscrimination, Freedom Of Self-Identification and more all require.

Thats what Human Rights means Julie. It doesn't mean what you think it means. Your incorrect use of it in your article is hypocracy as it refutes your arguments.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

War on Crossdressers more important than War on Terror?

Once again something hits the news where people are irrationally looking at things backwards. where some people object to a human rights criticism of an anti-terror plan..

Oh no, being fair to crossdressers by not targeting them put us all at risk.... i find it hard to think down to the level of stupid involved in this faulty conclusion.

Only in a world with no female terrorists ever would that be a valid argument.

Instead we live in a world where female spies existed in world wars long before I was born. Where female suicide bombers have struck!

Which means that any policy that looks for men in dresses as higher potential threats than women is a threat to our security.

Passing is not easy fot many crossdressers. Sure some desperate people trying to escape a seige (and got caught!) have tried it. and sure some already skilled at crossdressing have a decent chance.. but then women suicide bombers exist. And a woman can hide on her person a weapon more easilly than a CD who has to spend so much time and effort disguising that they are a CD!

The terrorists are already using our sexism as an advantage by recruiting female suicide bombers.

Now we hand them the ready-made distraction of focusing on crossdressers while they slip the real terrorists by under our noses.

What is really important? Finding hidden penises in the skirts of crossdressers? Or finding hidden bombs?

Because those bombs can and will be hidden on anyone and anything.

A female-bodied Cisgender person can hide such a thing far better than the attention-attracting spectacle of a crossdresser failing to pass to everyone (and believe me even on a good day some can read you while others are fooled).

A policy that singles out crossdressers is a waste of time, no... worse... its a danger that may allow real threats to slip through while we waste our time searching every transgender person.

To be useful a priority searching system must prioritise the most common risks and the highest risks. How many crossdressed suicide bombers and crossdressed terrorists have passed successfully and got past checkpoints and airport security etc compared to how many female-bodied cisgender suicide bombers who do not need to disguise all male and masculine traits?

Surely any rational person who sits and thinks about this for 10 minutes can see its a dangerous and stupid policy and that being ready for cisgender female terrorists is a greater threat. That pretty much every person is a potential terrorist and ignoring the real existing threat of cisgender female terrorists by concentrating on screening for crossdressers make us all more vulnerable to female terrorists. And that reveals something terrifying about the people running our security.

Whats more important?
Finding the hidden penises or finding the hidden bombs?
Genuine security or sticking with sexist assumptions that cisgender females cannot be terrorists?

Looks like some people are more scared of some thing than bombs... and willing to risk all our lives because of it!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Transgender Brains, a vital resource for the community?

In many of the worlds cultures there have been traditions of sex and gender diversity where people who would be termed in modern labels as transsexuals, crossdressers et al were given special roles and positions in society. In some cultures they were sacred.

In modern society a wave of anti-transgender oppression has washed over the world, largely unremarked by historians and yet across the colonial world these practices were outlawed and often stamped out. Only through returning to early records have some of these traditions been rediscovered or saved from the brink of cultural extinction. Not just cultural genocide, the discovery of the 'transsexual gene' means many countries oppressive policies against transgender peoples identities being recognised until after they are steralised means such eugenics are actually genocide-genocide. A policy reducing the prevalance of a genetic trait within the population.

At what cost to society? And what advantage could make such a gene so prevalant worldwide?

Well this at Zoe's blog could well give us a crucial answer as well as validating many indiginous beliefs about transgender peoples wisdom and value

Neurological variations often have great value to the community. Without Asbergers people we'd have far less technological and scientific advancement. Having a distinct advantage in combining both creative and logical thinking, as Zoe suggests may be the case (but in good scientific behaviour she mentions merely the possible as possible not as certain), is something of tremendous benefit.

Zoe mentions there have been studies suggesting a 30-IQ point advantage! That is collossal!

Considering that there is a tremendous advantage to companies, militaries, governments, administrations etc having transgender people in high-ranking positions!

Instead these people are far more often unemployed than average.. so much for the lie that our system is a genuine meritocracy!

Those companies and departments etc that however do rise above the anti-transgender bias have the pick of a very rich crop indeed! Corporate headhunters can pick and choose amongst people with substantial qualifications, often military experience and it seems a distinct neurological advantage! And with the high unemployment they could pick and choose, find people over-qualified for the job and still extremely grateful for what they can get! An employers market, a smorgasboard of talent!

It also makes ENDA and it's ilk around the world as good for the economy. Any short-term costs likely paying for themselves quite quickly. And those countries that more successfully incorporate such neurological varient people as Aspergers and Transgender will likely have advantages over their competitors in international trade, strategic planning, international politics etc. So it's even important for National Security!

Now thats something that demands serious thought.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I find it amusing my disability may come from a 'retro' virus (and transgender)

Amusing because I always have loved old styles of sci-fi, art and fashion.

Now of course its still early days. There's been other biological factors found for this illness still considered by many even in the medical profession as purely psychological.. yeah they can tell that to the blood tests where i was eating for three and my body still thought it was so starved that canabilising my muscles and bones seemed a good idea to it.

It's a big puzzle and with many complicated aspects, what is thought in one discovery to be causal may instead be consequential and vice versa. And it may well be the umbrella term covers more than one illness related causally or unrelated but for similarity of symptoms.

Seem familiar?

There are quite a few similarities between that and much in the Transgender world.

Of course even with the name conflicts between Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia and Myalgic Encephalomyelitus and whether or not fibromyalgia is a seperate similar maybe related illness or merely just the side of CFS that gets more muscle and joint pain compared to the exhaustion and cognitiove imapirment on the other with a false-divide with lots of people having a chunk from each camp and being difficult to shove into either box there has still not been in my experience any of the vicious vitriol and ad hominems amongst sufferers in these debates.

Unlike the TS anti-TG extremists who in the comments at Bilerico recently went on and on in attacks, but again fell silent when those with an ounce of scientific literacy challenged them and called their pseudo-science and cherry-picked science bluffs. (when oh when will they respond to the discoveries of cross-sexed brain neurology of gays and lesbians and the inclusion of non-ops in some of those studies they tout as proving their claims?)

There's lots of pseudo-science around CFS too.. people get desperate so some of those without conscience will try and fleece sufferers. Other sufferers try all sorts of things and if they are lucky enough to go into remission will celebrate whatever they were taking or doing at the time.. alas all too often theres no evidence it actually will help anyone else. Heck years ago one teenage girl was so desperate she trepaned herself.. drilled a hole into her own skull with a powerdrill to expose her brain!

For those used mostly to my posts being directly related to transgender issues its worth looking at the experience of people with CFS. I'm lucky that I can string written sentences together with a reasonable enough degree of coherancy that the cognitive impairment problems don't so often show.

And with CFS ignorance and bias amongst the medical fraternity ignoring the evidence, ignoring the science also kills

And of course there are lots of ways that society punishes the disabled.. centrelink is a minefield of ablist beaureucratic traps seemingly designed for no other purpose than to make disabled peoples lives more difficult or to find excuses to cut their pensions.

So there is good news.. but only another piece of the puzzle at the moment, no new treatments are available and there is only a chance this discovery will lead to some.

And its a good opportunity to think about the issue, and for those without disability to think about those around them whose quality of life and their very continued existence depends on society fulfilling the social contract and looking after them.. which all to often it's failing to do.

Monday, October 5, 2009

When religion is used to demand Special Rights

"Special Rights"

Its one of the common ways to denigrate a valid claim to equality.

It's usually used when someone would use the same right in a different way.

The right to marriage being used to marry someone of the same sex is called a 'special right'. But its really just marrying the person you love.

Whereas to say that only straight people may marry is in fact to demand a real 'special right'. It becomes a special right only available to straight people.

Now in Victoria there are attempts to get 'special rights' for religious businesses and organisations to deny services and employment to people for a large swathe of reasons.

A religious persons right to worship whichever god/s they choose are not harmed by having to sell a product to every customer equally. A religious persons right to worship are not harmed by having to fulfill their duty of care and obligation of duty to serve every person in need equally. Its even theologically bankrupt for those christians supporting it, Jesus was more than fine hanging with gentiles and tax collectors etc, he outright targeted them.

Yet caving to these people is somehow considered a valid course of action by the government. And when 85% of Australians want anti-discrimination protection on sexuality and gender identity!

So its a minority demanding the special right to discriminate against other minorities!

Religious rights do not supercede others equal rights. thats how that word Equal works. But yet some people irrationally and unethically and unjustifiably are demanding a special right to treat others as not equals. A codified double-standard. They want injustice to be ptotected and legal.

Thats the real special right demanded here.
It's unethical, unequal, unjust, unpopular, undemocratic and unaustralian.

An abuse of universal human rights and basic equality.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Save the Lawyers, but who cares about Transgender people dying?

I heard this on the radio th other day, and its a serious issue and I'm not going to denegrate it or partake in lawyer-bashing.

But with beyond blue having only recently got around to putting a bit of front page space dedicated to GLBT depression despite it being not just well above the average but with a shamefully high attempted suicide rate the ignoring of this critical demographic shows exactly how transphobic and transignorant our society and media really is.

The stats on transgender suicide are sketchy at best, but horrifically high whenever data is collected. The lowest i've seen was about 37%!!! Ranging up to 54%

Lets see how serious beyond blue are really getting or if this is just another under-the-carpet face-saving excercise in token gestures.

The Tranznation Report with its again horribly high rate was long enough ago.. its time some genuine action was taken.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Harming Loved Ones or Being Harmed By Them? Perspective and Assumptions and Transgender

This is and will remain for a long time a central issue for the Transgender population that is, by birth gender identification, considered opposite-sex attracted.

It's a big issue for crossdressers, for genderqueer, for mid-to-late-transitioning transsexuals. And holds true for many others.

It's one ruled by accusations of selfishness.

The TS who anounces the need to transition after years of marriage or after father/motherhood. The crossdresser who is discovered or who comes out to their family in the same situation. The ones that want to be out, or open, or even activists.

They are said to be selfish. Selfish for transitioning, selfish for exposing their family to transgender, selfish for putting their families through it all, selfish for exposing families to ridicule, selfish for every moment spent crossdressing and not playing the male husband role or female wife role for their spouses, selfish for getting married or having children in the first place.

These are thoughts based on certain assumptions.

* That a TG person should be able to be self-aware of and open about their issues from the start before a relationship starts and that it is selfish if they hide it.

The TG person conversely may feel that they must stay closetted and hide and repress this part of themselves in order to protect parents, family and friends which may lead in to forming relationships and families while still fighting with this. An attempt at selflessness and self-sacrifice from the TGs perspective is then considered selfish from the Cis peoples perspective. That it may take years for them to admit they are TG to themselves, that they may have to overcome deep repression of this is of course ignored.

* That Transgender is something that exposure of children and family to and experience of causes harm and that the responsibility of that harm is the TG persons.

The society being transphobic and having removed TG accepting traditions is not taken into account. That overcoming transphobia is, no mater how painful, still an important thing all people really should do is not considered. The possibility that TG is hereditary and that children or grandchildren may be TG themselves or have TG children of their own or even the possibility that the descendants will go to school with, be friends with, work with or fall in love with TGs is not considered.

* That being publicly transgender will bring judgement hostility and more onto the family.

That this is caused by societies transphobia is again not considered. Again this is seen as the fault of the TG and not the fault of society.

This can be seen in the concentration in documentaries and tv programs on transitioning TSs on the 'impact' of the transition on wife and children. The way they are protrayed as victims of this even when they are supportive of their partner.

Essentially the concerns of Cisgender Cissexual people are put forward as more valid because they are 'normal' and must endure the 'other' of transgender in their lives.

This also plays through the minds of Transgender people. It's often how they view these situations themselves . It's why the vast vast majority of CDs remain closeted, one of the reasons many TSs who can go stealth and more.

Because in most cases TG people were raised with an absence of TG culture they grow up with a cis-society focus, a Cis-concerns focus. Even though cultures have existed where Trans and Cis coexist well transphobic cis culture is protected. It is assumed to be the normal, the natural, the safe and harmless and right when in fact it is closer to the opposite.

And in fact often amongst some crossdresser groups and sites challenging these assumptions can get a very hostile reaction.

Challenging this way of looking at things can be very confronting to those CDs sacrificing their needs to reduce the short term suffering of family, confronting to the assumptions of selfishness of those who do not restrict their transness sufficiently on behalf of the transphobia and cis concerns of their families, challenging to those spouses and families who pride themselves on being long-suffering of the TG's TGness and who wear whatever extent of tolerance of the TG they have like a medal earned, or like a bargaining chip in their relationship.

Challenging the way we look at these circumstances challenges the basis of much transphobia. Is a CD who must choose between CDing and spending time with their family being selfish if they CD? Or is it the family being selfish for not choosing the TG family member over their transphobia?

Ah, thats a question many do not wish to face! And an essential one to overcome transphobia and reform our bigoted and skewed society. And we have many of our assumptions, especially of selfishness, weakness and harm totally backwards.

And what about choosing our and even our families comfort while passing the buck and not doing something about the transphobia in society resulting in other families in the next generation being in the same dilemma.. is that not selfish?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Quick Update: Batty In Love

It's been a while since the last update because for 10 days I had a wonderful time with my girl/boy Tamsin/Thomas.

Yep, I'm now officially in a relationship with a FtM crossdresser. (is that the sound of 'binary-only' 'all cds are male fetishists' folks heads exploding off in the distance?)

Alas theres a big distance between where she lives at the moment and me, an hour by plane, 6 by car and 8 by train so we're both counting the days till the next visit.

So now i have a lot of stuff to catch up on, people to get back to etc
But if anyone was wondering where I've been or what the dreamy look in my eyes and being constantly distracted was all about there you go :)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Australian Government Celebrates Bigotry!

This is repugnant.

Not only is the government ignoring the opinion of the majority of australians especially those who voted for them on this but they actually had the Minister For Social Inclusion attend and address it!

What is this I speak of? Why the celebration of banning same-sex marriage in Australia!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Censorship of Transsexual and Transgender in School Dictionaries?

I just heard from an email group that the words Transsexual and Transgender have dissapeared from recent editions of ALL dictionaries aimed at Australian school students.

Homosexual is in there but not homophobia.

I'll try and find out more about it.

And of course the government appears to be just ignoring the AHRCs sex and gender diversity report, bet it will ignore the paper on intersex infant surgery and the whole human rights community consultation on a charter of rights too.

Sorry Attorney General and Co. We won't go away if you keep ignoring us. The tide of popular opinion is now well on our side and the generational shift coming is truly untouchable. Take another look at those galaxy-polls!

Pandering to the lobby groups of small bunches of fundamentalists is not going to save you from that. Time to cut them loose and pick up the younger folk before it's too late. And no, Hillsong doesn't cut it.

Anti-Intellectualism, Anti-Thought, Anti-Knowledge

I've been meaning to do a blogpost about it for a while.

Much of society is anti-intellectual. It's astounding the amount of times I've seen people burst into outrage over an academic term or the introduction of relevant statistics into a online discussion (like TG suicide rates or hate-crime stats for example)

The reasons for this, as best as I can deduce, is firstly that many average-IQ people like to make fun of and mock learning-challenged and neuro-atypical people and so place a lot in considering themselves superior to others in that regard.

So when faced with those who are more intelligent than themselves whether they are quick-witted or slow thorough thinkers they feel threatened and imediately assume the smarter person will act the way they do. Hence condemnations of 'you think your better than everyone else' 'stop acting so superior' 'i'm not insuperior to you' (yes, real quote, they didn't say inferior but insuperior)

Crucial to this is the claim that academia is an 'act', that technical jargon is 'babble' (a favourite appears to be psychobabble) and in reality meaningless and that all such things are in fact false and without value. Thus they can dissmiss the speaker and what is spoken as invalid, not correct and quackery.

Other elements of this involve a culture that feelling is all a person is not their thoughts and actions and that thinking too much is bad. This helps keep people much more easilly manipulated both by peers and by partners and by politicians and by media and especially by advertising.

Also there is an assumption that everyone is somehow 'the same' (which is different from equal, very different) and that achievement is due only to effort, the learning-challenged are seen as lazy and deserving of scorn and the clever as being so only by excessive study and a lack of quality of life. You see the same thing in sports where it's assumed the people who win tried hardest ignoring that some are born with better muscle-attachments etc. This lie of sameness protects the inequality of the advantages some are born with.. and of course there is great hostility towards intellectual people having any sort of social advantage hence the increasing vilification of them by those involved in social competition, especially sexual competition (a lot of people I know consider that smart is sexy, in men and in women, but a lot of people have a lot invested in fighting that view)

And then there's the hostility towards and suspician of all knowledge that is not direct personal experience. Despite books being the recording of life experiences of one or more peoples life experiences etc statistics, studies, nothing is considered valid but a persons direct experience so if its something they havent seen themselves it doesn't exist. Worse they dont see that they things through filters of assumption so they will say racism and sexism do not exist even while perpetrating it because it does not fit their understanding of their own experience and the reality of subjective bias.

And then there's the missunderstood view that 'all opinions are equally true because they are peoples opinions' rather than 'all people are equally entitled to form and hold their own opinion, which may or may not reflect actual reality' which sure is not the same thing.

Anti-intellectualism of course has extended far beyond a hostility towards solely armchair researchers and academic conservative authoritarianism in disregard to actual evidence in favour of old and beloved theories to a pervasive hostility of any understanding of any situation beyond the individual self. A rejection of there being an objective reality at all. Not just a legacy of post-medernism and trendy existentialism though it's also a favoured lever of the culture war.

It has a flaw as a strategy in the culture wars though... as it's also led to more GLBT people accepting themselves over ideology. Which is why there is much more expression of a broader gender-spectrum amongst young people and increasing tolerance of GLBT issues.

The danger of this new romanticism to those that fostered it is that in the long term it taps in to the deeper feellings of people, deeper understanding of themselves... and watch what happens as the natural philosophers and ponderers and measurers of the next generation hold true to their passions towards understanding the material world...

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Fighting over who should be the Stereotype

Another comment elsewhere that works well on it's own. It's from this long discussion in Bilerico where once again the Nomenclature stuff derails another discussion between GLB and TG. The comment goes as follows:

Curious isn't it that when TG-advocates do acknowledge the human right of the seperatists to self-define as not Transgender it goes unremarked, uncelebrated and actually totally unrecognised by the seperatists?

Interesting that isn't it. The CDs here, Lena and myself, have actually acknowledged the seperatists self-defining as not transgender... and the response is silence.
But I've seen this phenomena before... amongst some crossdresser groups and organisations. Exactly the same phenomena.

Their beef is being included under the term 'Gay'. They state it leads everyone to assume drag queens are the norm, that all CDs dress to attract men, that the public image of CDs are excessive over-the-top exaggerated drag and that this causes problems for themselves and for their wives.

So they say "Crossdressers are not Gay" and when it's pointed out "Sure you may not be and many CDs are not but actually some are" they respond "Crossdressers are NOT Gay!" and a common response is "Look, we can't get totally accurate data on proportions but clearly a lot and maybe the majority of MtF CDs are women-atrracted but theres a whole lot of Bi and Male-attracted CDs on this very forum in this discussion too, and what about the FtMs who consider themselves Gay? So isn't it important we acknowledge them too?" their response is "CROSSDRESSERS ARE NOT GAY AND GAY PEOPLE ARE THE REASON WE ARE HATED AND NO-ONE ACCEPTS US. BEING THOUGHT OF AS GAY RUINS OUR LIVES..." Blah blah Blah.

See the problem there is a societal stereotype, not the existence of or acknowledgement of male-attracted MtF CDs. Acknowledging the existence of male-attracted CDs does not really harm female-atracted CDs, the existence of the stereotype is all that does that. The fact is that despite claims of being a small minority the 'gay' CDs and Drag Queens are often the ones with the courage and conviction to be out and also to not be stealth/passing so they are the ones most in the public eye, if more of the complaining CDs were out they would get more recognition in public perception.

Basicly there are other Ethical ways of attacking the stereotype rather than the utterly unethical act of attacking the people who more closely fit the stereotype and trying to invalidate them.
But what do organisations like Tri-Ess and many CD Support Groups do? They marginalise those that transition, ban discussion of hormones and SRS and marginalise Bis and Gays/Lesbians. Some chapters/groups are better than others of course but many are utterly shocking. The reason they give? That having such topics discussed, that allowing transitioning and GLB members to be prominant in any way would scare off spouses and have them turn on their CD husbands.

Surprised about the company seperatists? Your very much alike it seems in that your using the same arguments for what seems to be the exact same reasons. The same piece of algebra but with X being 'classic' rather than 'straight' Y being 'TS' rather than 'CD' and Z being 'TG' rather than 'Gay'.

Attacking one another trying to fight the symptom not the cause, attacking people to try and effect public perception of both, and it seems that it's really fighting over which group gets to BE the stereotype rather than attacking there being a stereotype which could be accomplished by showing, and educating about, the diversity.

See our acknowledging a diversity or difference from a stereotype harms the stereotype, it doesn't acknowledge their claim that they should be the stereotype, and I say this about both 'Straight' crossdresserd and 'classic' transexuals equally. So as its not very useful in the battle to BE the template of the stereotype it seems that acknowledgement of the diversity is not acknowledged. That would reduce the power of the 'see they hate us, they claim we are just like them and hurt us'.

It's not just about the desperate phobic desire to 'not be associated with' 'icky' folk... a homophobia from the 'straight' crossdressers and a non-binary-transphobia from the 'classic' transsexuals, though that seems a big part of it. So maybe it's really a desire to fight to claim to be what the stereotype should be? An all or nothing desire to replace one narrow stereotype in the publics eye with another narrow stereotype and to hell with everyone who strays too far from either stereotype who gets trampled in the way.

There is another way though. One thats issues-based not identity-based. That acknowledges not just ideological justification of needs but a basic right to choose irrespective. One where all the needs of all people can be considered as equally valid and can be fought for not just by those stake-holders effected by it but by anyone capable of reason.
Human Rights Principles.

Self-Identification, Health-Care, Hormone and Surgery-access, Access to Hormone-Blockers for teens, Protection from IS Infant surgery and brutal reparative treatments, protection from discrimination and violence, protection of gender expression, Equal access to all Services from employment to business to bathrooms to marriage to disability to insurance etc... theres overlap between the groups that need these in GLBTIQ, S&GD, Disability, Neuro-atypical and many many more and yet all these are actually covered by the same set of reasons in favour of them ALL.

Human Rights Principles.

Seriously EVERYONE take a look at this
Our rights are NOT mutually exclusive. We DO share these rights, these issues, just on occassion they work in different directions. The right to not be permanantly surgically altered as a child so when old enough to give consent the child can make a choice is the exact same right of a child to not be forced to undergo puberty they do not wish to endure and instead be given hormone blockers till they are old enough to legally give consent to their own choice. The same right solves both a Intersex issue and a transsexual one.

THAT is the way forward, not one ideology winning over another, not one stereotype defeating another, not one group of peoples rights being trampled on in favour of another. That will be a battle that would continue for all human existence. Instead basic universal human rights applied properly solves everyones issues. And Everyone can fight for Everyone Elses Equal Rights!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Missrepresentation of Science and transgender politics

I've blogged on this before but its worth returning to the subject again. One of the things that really annoys me is the increasing level of what appears to be lying in politics, mostly related to the Internecine Nomenclature Conflict (easy answer for that conflict i would have thought: we acknowledge the existence of Cisgender Transsexuals, Cisgender Cissexuals, Transgender Cissexuals and Transgender Transsexuals and move onto the human-rights-issues umbrella term of Sex and Gender Diversity which allows better cooperation with Intersex issues too)

You see despite basic scientific methodology people from several positions are making claims not supported yet by the data as if it were totally conclusive and using that as an attack on others.

What do we have? We have good leads from small studies of small sample sets that transsexuals have several brain differences from averages of their assigned birth sex that are closer to their self-identified sex-identity. Both in structure and in function. One gene so far has been found to be more common amongst TSs too. (Zoe's blog is a great source for this stuff)

But what about non-transsexual transgender? Well they haven't done the same studies on genderqueer, bi-gender, crossdressers etc yet. So as science goes it falls into the realm of 'maybe'. Actually 'maybe but we don't know yet'. That doesn't mean 'no' it doesn't mean 'yes' it means 'maybe'. It means that the simple testable hypothesis that the same or similar related phenomena exist in these others could be tested but hasnt yet and until its tested we dont know. Either way.

Thats plain ordinary scientific method, something I got taught in highschool and I would have thought everyone else would have got taught that too.

So what's the problem? Well some are claiming that the tests done thus far say things they do not. The tests needed to say that crossdressing is not biologically caused have not yet been done, yet some are claiming that because 'there's no evidence' that it is not so... but hang on, the neccessary tests havent been done! To test if the same cause causes both you have to do the same test on both! Not biological tests on one but only psychological tests on the other!

Others are claiming the studies done support only their version of the definition of transsexual or only binary-gender identity etc but the selection criteria for these studies didnt split the subjects up like that! To get those results all you have to do is seperate your test subjects into different catagories and compare the results of each catagory.. you likely need more test subjects though as you need a representative sample of specimens from each group, tricky when brain-dissection is one of the studies and expensive for FMRI scans. But doable.. but not yet done either!

Now some folk gave trouble with coping with ambiguity, with living with a maybe till the answer is found. Some even have trouble understanding that to say something is possible (and testably so but not yet tested) is not saying it is definately so, it is however saying that it is not yet definately known as not so.

Science works by refuting testable hypotheses not making stuff up, saying anything untested is true nor by saying that something cannot be so till its proved to be so.. thats all creation-science level nonsense. The stuff that was the laughing stock at the Dover evolution trial, in fact very much like Dembski's non-science.

Sure some people have been let down by the education system and are scientifically illiterate. Not their fault but if they want to use studies to validate their claims and invalidate others at least some basic undersanding of scientific methods a good idea and some self-education might be beneficial.

Other people though seem to play the same tune no matter how refuted, ignoring the facts of scientific method and continuing to make spurious claims. Mistakes happen, everyone gets things wrong sometimes, but to maintain such arguments constantly is falsehood, self deception at best and deliberate lying is definately possible.

It's a common enough tactic. The 'repeat the lie often enough' tactic of hate-groups religious and otherwise.

It's time these people were called out on them though. Gently at first, some will simply be mistaken. But certainly because allowing these myths to propagate unchallenged is often to allow manipulative divisive hate-speech to propagate unchallenged.

The deliberate anti-science, unscientific, unethical missrepresentation of science in order to denegrate others and propagate divisions and hate and various ideological positions is abominable.

Much more study needs to be done on transsexuals, on intersex, on crossdressers, genderqueer, bi-gender etc in verifiable sciences like neurology and genetics to rule that out first. Especially as psychology is a kind of speculation, like taxonomy before genetics, a simple attempt to explain complex systems with only a minute amount of data. It must cede to the physical sciences in all things at all times.

And last of all, from a Human Rights perspective even were there no biological causation for ANY of it, not even for any transsexual the hman rights claims would not diminish one iota. Because human rights are filled with choices at every level, choices of religion, expression, medical treatment as just some examples. Check out the Yogyakarta Principles on that. These attacks on others using missrepresentations of science involve at their heart a disregard for human rights of others in order to propagate their preferred (and usually self-serving) ideology.

It's time to call out missrepresentations of science used as tools of hate for what they are in transgender politics as much as GLB politics (including the anti's). Whether hatred of non-bianary folk or of binary folk, of gay-supporting Tgs or TG-supporting gays etc etc etc.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Concise post on Oppression and how we contribute to it

This was a reply on a comment in this discussion at bilerico that just seemed to work on it's own so I'm putting it up here as a post:

One of my favourite aspects of Taoism is how in the symbol of The Tao the teardrops of Yin and Yang, the masculine and feminine principles of 'the way', there is a corresponding pearl of the other contained within. And with the key to 'the way' being a harmonious balance of energetic principles it's a philosophy thats principles lead easilly to trans-friendliness (though like all such systems it has it's bigots too).

Indeed the same problems of conformity, of hostility to the different, of judging others by negative stereotypes, of ignorance etc effect us all. Problem is in oppressed groups we tend to Internalise a lot of that oppression as well as absorb a lot of the bigotries in society against other groups. So you can find transphobic GLB's TS's who hate CDs and vice versa, racists, sexists etc.

Often these are even stronger in oppressed groups than in the general population! This is because many oppressed people want to fit in and want to identify with the 'mainstream' oppressing society not because it is oppressing but because it is seen as 'the' society. And so they will defend the status quo, justify it's flaws in all particulars save for the discrimination against themselves and they will discriminate against other marginalised groups.

It's like the kid with glasses tripping over the overweight kid at school so the rest of the kids will be more accepting of the kid with glasses and see he can be just like them.

Thus the victims attempts to survive for themselves reinforces and strengthens the bullying/opressing culture. Whereas whats really needed is the undermining and dismantling and condemning of the bullying culture so that differences are seen as valuable not detrimental and conformity to fit in and be the same is seen as the enemy of all. A unity of diverse equals rather than a hierarchy of differences enforced with physical and emotional and psychological violence.

As every group has its people struggling to survive themselves and perpetuating the problem it's easy for someone from one group to see those in another and label the entire group as 'bad' while seeing the same behaviour in their own group as justified and an understandable response to what they have suffered. This perspective bias also feeds into the rest and further strngthens and perpetuates the oppression.

By building bridges between groups, by making friends and allies in other groups, by condemning such opressing and scapegoating within our own groups we can dissmantle this pattern if not wholly then substantially enough to drastically improve the lives of masses of people.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Transgender and being sexual, the double-edged-sword of transphobia

There are a myriad of issues about sex and Transgender.

Just the word sex alone is a problem. Peoples inability to deal with the subject meant that euphamisms became standard for any polite discussion of coitus, of copulation of humans. So it became 'the sex act' and then 'sex' making any duscussion of the differences between sex and gender in ordinary english with people uneducated in TG issues a mess to begin with.

Transgender has often been cast as a fetish, a going-wrong of sexual desires. So this sets up a conflict where ordinary sexual expression of a transgender person is labelled fetishistic so some reject such behaviour in themselves and others, condemning the sexually expressive as bringing problems onto the whole transgender community.

Others internalised transphobia results in them trying to excuse their transgender nature as purely sexual. This may be conscious or unconscious. But as they grow in self-acceptance many self-proclaimed fetishists find that the more they accept being transgender to some extent the more non-sexual TG aspects of themselves get unlocked after years of repression.

Seems a bad 'devil and the deep' scenario already huh? But it gets worse.

Many wonder why if studies suggest TG is comparably common to GLB then why is it so invisible, so closeted?

Ah well here you come to the worst part of the dilemma.

While there are a very significant number of TG-attracted people as the market for TG pornography, TG sex workers shows this is considered further taboo.

Despite the many women who have had posters of folk from David Bowie to Marilyn Manson to Davey Havok and Jefree Starr on their walls in their teens few seriously consider a relationship with gender-non-conformists let alone taking them home to meet their parents. The attraction is there but the social pressure is strongly to conform and have relationships with cis folk. Same for those who visit TG sex-workers, they'd happily pay for the sex but not consider openly dating the same person or openly admitting their sexual attraction to TG to their friends, family and workmates.

And those who do find TG sexually attractive are further condemned by parts of the TG community just for finding TG attractive! Now sure if a TG wishes to transition fully then someone who finds the combination attractive may not be for them, but plenty of TG people do not transition fully.

And in fact it is the fear of not finding a long-term partner that keeps a huge proportion of TG people in the closet, keeping being TG secret form their current and prospective partners.

The desire for sex in fact keeps TG people trying to be Cis!

The sexual drive is the most powerful social force in our and most other species. Yet for TG people it is condemned if present and used to invalidate their gender identity and expression. And yet the taboo of TGs being attractive sexually to others is also one of the major forces holding Transgender people back!

The sexest and transphobic notion that a TG person cannot be sexual without their transgender-ness being a fetish causes horrendous harm. Cis men and women are sexual constantly. Much of media revolves around Cis sexual expression both male and female.

The Transphobic notion that non-gender-binary attraction is wrong also does horrendous harm. This is perpetuated by some binary-identified transgender people (and cisgender transsexuals for those who prefer another term) too which can perpetuate the sexual-phobia in the TG community.

And in society at large the many TG-attracted people need to start coming out about their attraction. That taboo needs to be undone.

Transgender people are sexual beings but no moreso than any cis straight or gay or lesbian or bisexual. We need to be seen in public as sexual beings and more than just sexual beings. We need to be acknowledged as attractive just like cis-folk get acknowledged as attractive.

And TG people will not make sufficient headway by trying to cast sexuality out of the community. That only keeps the majority of TG folk closeted and lonely and miserable. The reactionary fear of the sexual-taboo and fetish label is holding us back. We have to find ways to claim our sexual expression and attractiveness as being as valid as everyone elses.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Call for Australian marriage equality

While I think that federal antidiscrimination legislation covering sexuality and gender expression/identity and the host of other major transgender, intersex and other issues are far more important (and which polls show has even higher majority support at 85% rather than the almost 60% of this issue) nevertheless the marriage issue is important still.

So here's a series of vids on the subject from Equal Love

It does seem to say that GLBT issues are all fine except for marriage which I think is problematic but I think that in the main the vids seem pretty effective.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Whew, things have been a bit rough lately.

My CFS flareup is still going at pace. I overdid things on recent human rights work as well as the neccessary de-stress activities. Then the sudden trip to visit Mum and my Brother because a friend was heading up there at short notice.

It was good. They are still gradually getting used to TG things so i kept to androgyny at most but did get given a lovely skirt and bought another when shopping with them which was great.

Yet for some reason i find that after (but not during) spending time with them my unconcious self-acceptance problems kick in a little. No idea why but interesting. I caught myself trying to ignore my TG-ness again and squashing it aside. Now that I'm aware of it I can keep an eye out for self-destructive repression and defy it :) Though being so exhausted that in itself is tricky.

I also sent a quick email with some of the recent polls and stats etc to my local MP who I'd written to before and to my senator who I'd not. I got a quick thankyou email from the senator and a thankyou letter from my MP. I feel better and better about having voted several times for my MP, the senator I did not vote for and am interested to see how he will stand on the issues I've raised.

So I'm trying to balance taking it slowly and easily, getting housework done, keeping up the fight for TG equality, de-stressing (social interaction, old-fashioned Dungeons and Dragons and working on and gaming with my warhammer 40,000 tyranid army - take that assumption of TGs perpetuating gender stereotypes!) and my own emotional and gender-expression needs.

So first things first I need to get out of my comfy pjs, get the cat off my lap and try and do something with my annoying hair.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

85% of Australians support Gender Identity anti-discrimination!

This makes me chuckle about the 'phobes who were complaining that a charter of rights would dilute majority rule which would force them to put up with antidiscrimination protections for GLBT folk against the views of the majority... but lets see if the goverment acts quickly on this.. oh wait, they haven't yet on the almost 60% supporting full same-sex marriage yet have they?

Still check this out!

85% support federal anti-discrimination protections based on sexuality and gender-identity.


So come on politicians! Act on the views of the VAST MAJORITY of Australians!
And don't you dare think you can get away with narrowly interpreting gender-identity to short-change whole swathes of the transgender community either! You gotta count Bi-gender folk, Crossdressers, Genderqueers, the whole shebang!

And Media.. where is the coverage appropriate to this level of Australian opinion? You hardly mention GLBT issues but this shows it's mainstream!

If a poll-number ever justified action it's 85%

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Suicide: the dead and dying children murdered by negligence

UPDATE at end of post.

Think the title might be too dramatic? Nope. Personally I don't think there can be a collection of words in any human language that cann properly express enough what this blogpost is about.

First lets use an anology.

Your sitting by a swimming pool. A child is in trouble, drowning, shouting for help intermittently. You can swim well. Do you rescue the child or ignore them?

What kind of monster would ignore them you may ask? A stupid analogy because surely only serial killers and the worst dregs of humanity would ignore them you might say. Why? Because the person is making a clear choice between simple effort and a childs death. They are murdering by deliberate negligence, they are choosing that the child will die.

But its been a while since the figures of GLB youth suicide has been out with a criminally high almost 30% attempted suicide rate and what has the government done?

Nothing.. they have sat by the pool and ignored the drowning child.

But what about groups like Beyond Blue? Well days ago when I was bringing up the suicide rate in my posts on the human rights community consultation online discussion forum I had a look and found... Searching for Gay I got three results.. the pdf of the horrific figures on their research page, an article about a dog with an owner named Gay and a piece about a womens circus act that had performed previously at the gay games...

In other words they turned to look at the drowning child and mumbled quietly something about 'oh look a drowning child' under their breath so quietly no-one else noticed and went back to reading.

And what about the Transgender youth suicide rate in Australia?

At Beyond Blue the word came up not at all.

Oh well the studies haven't looked at that! Overseas there are figures as high as 53% which is as high above the gay rate as the gay rate is above the average.

Looks to me like there's a crowd sitting by the edge of the pool ignoring drowning children!

Some few are trying to speak up! (not much mention of TGs there though is there?)

Everyone who has seen these figures and had a possibility of acting and done nothing, they have chosen that children will die. Not just one but many! They have murdered-by-negligence. They have blood on their hands!

Every government official who saw these figures and did nothing has blood on thier hands. Every charity leader who has seen or heard of these figures and done nothing has blood on their hands. Every single group that has oppossed measures to stop these deaths or who have argued that the current system is adequate despite these figures is a bloody murderer pretending to themselves, lying to themselves with whatever justification they use to sleep at night that ignoring a drowning child is not murder or that somehow its just too hard to get your feet wet to save them or that its ok to let some kids die, just not others.

Well I for one am making this clear. If your making a choice between inaction-resulting-in-predicted-deaths and action-resulting-in-effort-but-less-deaths and you choose inaction then you are a bloody murderer. And there is no reason to play nice with lesser language about that, you instead need to accept the fact that your a bloody murderer.

And every one of those bloody murderers need to live their lives in shame and guilt and penance and save many lives for every one they allowed to die or they are no better than the people we lock up in jail and heap hatred upon for murdering and neglecting children. You may escape jail because the law doesn't cover your responsibility but you cannot escape truth.

And yes, I'm angry, and no Its not because of a personal loss. It's because i have enough brains to imagine the scope of loss to the world of each of these deaths. And honestly.. dead kids. Seriously dead kids! what language can possibly be severe enough to express the horror we should feel in the face of the figures of an epidemic of DEAD KIDS! and people sitting by and letting them die?

Some people have decided that if the kid is Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Undecided then its fine to let them die.. and if they are Transgender then it's fine to not even look to see if they are dying.

UPDATE: Some TG figures were past on to me. "...Professor of Psychiatry at Newcastle [NSW] university Steinbeck's estimation of 40% in the chapter he contributed to the founder's of the Monash Medical gender reassignment Centre book, 'Transsexualism and Gender Reassignment' by Prof Michael Walters and Dr Michael Ross last published by Oxford University Press in 1991."

Well an estimate of 40%... in stats over a decade old... I wonder how many TG kids succeeded in killing themselves in the last 18 years? While better than 53% can we at all consider that 40% is at all acceptable and not demanding immediate substantial attention?

Lets start washing the blood off our hands and start saving these kids.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Busy Batty

Sorry it's been so long since my last post but I've been plenty busy. The Human Rights community consultation has posts aplenty from me and I've been raising it in long discussions with others and what little time I've had other than that has been with family friends or generally restorative (i.e. art and video games) to destress from dealling with some of the poor excuses for argument used to justify maintaining discriminations and inequalities.

Hopefully I'll have some more time to throw a better post together soonish.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Crossdressing and Biological Causation, a lack of studies doesn't mean a lack of causation

In the coments at Zoe's I had an argument with radicalbitch and since I've referred to it a few times elsewhere I think it's worth discussing here. To see the full argument, the original discussion is here

But there's really a simple way to say it.

Some folk quite rightly disregard the past 'evidence' and 'theories' of psychiatry and psychology regarding homosexuality and transsexuality yet insist on still applying them to crossdressing/transvesticism and/or other parts of Transgender.

It's hypocracy, a clear double-standard.

For those arguing Transsexuals have a biological causation (which the science definately supports) they say rightly that the biological evidence is more valid than the psychiatric... unsurprising ad fairly safely valid.

But they often claim there is no evidence for a biological causation of crossdressing etc...
An archaeologist I know often says 'absence of evidence is not evidence of absence'. But importantly in this case... no-one has looked yet! Absence of Studies is not Absence of Evidence

Pretty simple notion.

Possibility 1. Crossdressing is caused by a mild case of the same cause as transsexualism.

How do you test it? Do the same tests on crossdressers thats found evidence for biological causation in TSs and see if you find milder versions of the same as predicted.

Possibility 2. Crossdressing is unrelated to the cause of transsexualism.

How do you test it? Do the same thing as testing possibility 1.

Posibility 3. Crossdressing is also biologically caused but from a different causation to TS.

How do you test it? First rule out 1 and 2 by doing that test. If that doesn't work then look for other biological causes, functional MRI scans and other brain examinations that have found biological factors in homosexuality etc may provide clues as to what else to look for.

Possibility 4. Crossdressing is not biologically caused but is purely psychological.

How do you test it? Rule out 1 and 2 with that test, then rule out 3 by searching for and not finding any biological cause.

So as those tests aint been done yet all those folk who say its purely psychological are full of it.
It doesn't matter how many psychological studies have been done on it either, that has no bearing on whether or not there is a biological factor, component or causation.

And the 'it's understood as psychological already' argument is full of manure too. Science regularly re-asseses old ideas and tests new explanations. The discovery of the bacteriological cause of stomach ulcers is a good example.

I keep running into anecdotal evidence that crossdressing is inherited. Crossdressers finding a parents clothes and book stash after their deaths I've heard of plenty through to one of the FtM CD friends of mine discovering a coworker is a closeted MtF CD whose brother also turned out to be a CD. Those sorts of cases alone suggest its worth looking into if these are just coincidences or whether incidence of CDs are far more common than usually assumed and whether it is an inherited trait.

And some of the scientists predict that the rest of TG is biologivally cuased. From one of the comments in the above link:

riki said...
I am doing a PhD on the political and social implications of the brain sex theory of trans. My assessment is that there is certainly more evidence for that theory than for any other, but that it is far from "proven", and that many biological hypotheses have been falsified on the past (EG the HY antigen in the 70s and 80s). The psychological theories have very little evidence to support them.

I interviewed Dick Swaab, whose lab produced the BSTc research that is the strongest evidence for a neurological correlate for trans. It should be noted that one of the six MTF transsexual people in the original 1995 Zhou study had never transitioned, but insisted that they had a female gender identity. It sould also be noted that the 2002 Chung study found that the difference between males and females in the BSTc does not occur until after puberty, which poses some problems for a pre or early post natal hormonal causation theory.

Swaab thinks the BSTc is probably a part of a network in the brain involving the hypothalaumus and cortical areas.

"We only, by accident, hit on a little bit of it"

He also explicitly supported the idea that there is a biological causation for the whole range of gender identity variations:

"I think we talked about a scale like the Kinsey scale for sexual orientation – we should also have a gender identity scale. It is not either this or that; there is also something in between. The distribution will not be simple, but here will be people somewhere in the middle."

"So it is not the entire brain that is switching, it is some systems, and that may also be the explanation for the [gender identity] scale. Some systems do switch and others don’t and it depends on which systems have switched where you enter on the scale."

Other recent research (as reviewed by Zoe in earlier blogs) also supports the idea of certain sex differentiated brain areas being switched in ts or tg people while others are not.

So if that is the opinion of Swaab, perhaps the best qualified scientific researcher in the field, perhaps we can accept that tg is as likely to be biological as ts?

Now even if it's not the case that it's biologically caused we won't know for sure till we test for it! so everyone who keeps on about it being certain that CDing is unrelated causilly to TS need to STFU cause we don't know that cause the studies aint been done yet! And to the scientificly literate you look like either ignorant or lying.

Besides, even if it were to turn out to be purely psychological, which I doubt, it's still ethical. And as such should no longer be considered any less valid as homosexuality or any other ethical form of self-expression.

Absence of studies is not absence of evidence.
So it's about time people stop throwing the non-transsexual transgender folk under the bus too.

Busy busy busy

Well it's been a while since my last post, and I've been a busy batty indeed.

My main focus has been on the Human Rights community consultation, on trying to find ways to dissolve enough of the internalised transphobia endemic in the crossdressing community to get them more active including in undoing their own internalised issues (and always working on my own) but I've also spent a lot of time with online socialisation and offline Dungeons and Dragons. And a close friend has had a profound personal loss recently and has needed my shoulder *hugs if you read this*.

And just as my sleep schedule was falling back into gear it's been broken again by each of these. Oh well.

Lots of discussions lately have run into some frequent topics, many with religion...

Why oh why do so many people not understand that there aint just one religion? So religious freedom means ya gotta consider there's more than just one religion? Which means ya can't impose any religious rules outta your religion on everyone else cause some of them wont follow your religion but another one with different rules?

Example: Oh noes, treating gays as 1st class citizens rather than bashing them or discriminating against them interferes with my right to practice my religion.

But it was established a long time ago that basic rights overule religion, thats not new.
Example: Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.

Well murdering witches has been against the law how long?

And what if the christian were to suffer because of another faith?
Example: A worshipper of Camasotz the Vampire-Bat-headed God decides to sacrifice the christian to their god.

Think the christian, like the witch, would at that point be happy that basic civil/human rights overule a persons following religious morality?

Yet still it keeps coming up.

And this nonsense about gay and transgender being 'new' keeps turning up too.

Where are they getting this nonsense from? Gays and Transgender people have been around as long as decent records go! C'mon folks who taught you history?

And to make matters worse in Australia, Canada, America and many other parts of the world the lack of acceptance of transgender, the lack of recognition of same-sex relationships is whats new! Merely centuries old.

Lets face it, heterosexual and cissexual, cissgender dominated society is not only new but a failure... a failed model of society resulting in large amounts of harm.

It only gained dominance by associating itself with colonialism built on expansive warfare with a technological advantage and using religious hostility that used force or coercive measures to stamp out other faiths.

Of course for people to hold these unsupportable conclusions requires them not to know about or understand other religious views, key points in history, other cultural traditions especially GLBT ones and the like.

So why are there key gaps in peoples knowledge and understanding?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

On CFS, Psychiatry, TG and idiocy in medicine

I link to two great articles whether you have CFS, know someone who has or have no idea about it.

Read this.

Some days, when my natural instincts slip past my stict internal ethics-filters, i consider how just it might be to get all the people who make ignorant assumptions about CFS and jam them in a room filled with mosquitos carrying Ross River Fever or some other illness with similar symptoms to CFS so they get a taste of it, oh and use some drug to mess with their memory so they have no idea whats wrong with them when they start to feel ill.

That or just take a big hammer with the studies showing biological factors in CFS wrapped around the hammerhead and smack them right in the knee with it to remind them of the damned data!

Thankfully for all these I am both too tired and too ethical for such behaviours.

But lets check another shall we? Try this It took something like 5 years before I was diagnosed. During which time I had to leave school, tried to get work, tried to do several forms of further education all of which made me deteriorate to the point of having to quit and overall dramatically worsened my condition with all the antibiotics and antidepressants, (the latter i was not informed were antidepressants I might add, the doctor led me to believe it was a different antibiotic for the 'unknown virus' he said was the likely cause of my illness after the courses of anitbiotics had no effect... only when i webt for a second opinion did i learn what i'd been placed on!) let alone the fact that no matter how sick i felt I still kept up a moderate level of activity (I get bored too easilly to be happy being bedbound thank you very much you *censored*) till after trying several different doctors one said:

I'd say you had chronic fatigue syndrome.. If i believed it

Amusing no? So when I tried another doctor i mentioned this quote. He was astonished. A bunch more tests later to rule out more possibilities he said i clearly had CFS and there i was, finally diagnosed. Now if this moron discussed in the second article is correct then what the heck illness did i have for years and still have long before I had internet access or had heard anything about CFS beyond vague jokes about Yuppie Flu?

Back from my experiences to the excellent article:

Why can they not see this? Because they don’t want to admit that they don’t know
everything, perhaps? I think that’s a component, but there’s more to
Here’s my current take: These psychologisers are believed, because they
are the people who are reinforcing existing prejudice. I think that popular
conceptions of CFS are heavily gendered: If a disease is suffered more often by
women, we all know they’re doing it to themselves, don’t we? And if people -
especially women - have diseases we don’t understand, they must be to blame
somehow. We’re not very comfortable with uncertainty, we don’t like “shit
happens” as an explanation.
We seek to blame, and who better to blame that
the people who we see at the centre of the problem - women with disabilities?
The shadows of victim-blaming rear their ugly heads again and again and again
within every axis of oppression, and those shadows are multiplied at the
And so, people with disabilities are abused - medically,
socially, financially, and psychologically. Every day. Because of people like
Wessely who are “just trying to help”.

Well my oh my does this seem familiar to me. Just like the Zucker and Blanchard nonsense. Just like constantly calling non-binary folk all 'fetishists'. Despite the data when it fits the prejudice it must be true.

I should point out though that for several years after my diagnosis I was still trying to get work and study. I asked three times and DSS/Centrelink about the disability pension and was told each time that CFS was not covered. Then I met a local woman who also had CFS (and a much much milder case than mine) who had been on the pension for years! I mentioned this to my doctor and he had several other patients with CFS on the disability pension, all women, and he helped straighten things out so I finally got my pension.

So in this case was it an assumption that as a 'strong' male i could just ignore the illness and keep going while 'frail' women could not? Or was it that womens contributions were considered negligible and could be pensioned off while I as a male needed to keep being a productive worker?

I'd appreciate others theories on that. Either way back then I heard of quite a few cases locally at least where males with CFS had much more trouble obtaining the disability pension than females.

At any rate there are patterns here. Patterns of sexism, ablism and more. At each turn there is a lack of Ethics, a lack of conclusions based on thorough data. Just prejudice used to draw faulty conclusions from the outset and construct bad studies to support them.

Monday, May 4, 2009

UNethicist Nick Tonti-Filippini and The Age Newspaper

Today I read this.:

And in that was this:
But ethicist Nick Tonti-Filippini said mainstream medicine did not recognise
hormone treatments and surgery as treatment for gender dysphoria, and that under
US guidelines it was psychosis because "it's a belief out of accordance with
"What you are trying to do is make a biological reality correspond
to that false belief," he told The Age.

Now I think that some FMRI scans and disections count as Empirical Evidence last I checked. And irrespective of ones beliefs based on faith of things existing outside what can be measured in Naturalistic Methodology whatever can be measued Is undeniably part of reality!

And as such that makes UNethicist Nick Tonti-Filippini logically either a liar or incompetant. If a liar which is a clearly unethical act he is incapable of being considered qualified sufficiently to call themselves an ethicist. If incompetant through ignoring Empirical Data of course he is incapable of being considered qualified to be an ethicist.

Q.E.D. So he should quit or be fired in disgrace or publicly retract the statement and apologise or prove those studies and evidence incorrect beyond any possible doubt.

Is UNethicist Nick Tonti-Filippini the equivalent of the legendary man of the cloth who refused to look through Gallileo's Telescope by ignoring these studies? Or deliberately lying because the measurable reality does not match his particular personally accepted interpretation of scripture?

And for the Newspaper The Age to use the opinion of this man without checking the facts or reporting his potential Religious-Politics Conflict Of Interest and Bias is a failure of Journalists Ethics as well as Incompetant. And for every Media outlet that then continued to spread these assertions uncritically and without checking again that's incompetance.

What exactly does UNethicist Nick Tonti-Filippini think the "mainstream medicine"s recognised treatment for Gender Dysphoria actually is? I'd like to see him produce one reliable methodologically sound study of an equally reliable and successful alternate treatment.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Art, vagueness, interpretation and the oppressed

So the other day I finished up my entry for a local art prize. A mixed media piece on the hatred of difference and it's injustices. And a friend who had encouraged me to enter when asked about her views on the piece suggested that it was too direct, too clear.

Now I knew what she was saying (I did study art formally years ago). That often how people respond personally to an artwork is to the vagueries, the blank parts and the indistinct. They then project of themselves into those spaces.

But i'd been dissatisfied with this phenomena in art for a long time. Sure it may be easier to make an artwork profitable by making it so vague but full of nebulous and indistinct symbols as to encourage people to populate it woth their own feellings...

But then all your doing is making a rorschach inkblot.

And during this conversation the part that really annoyed me clicked!

Art without some clear meanaing is really just an inkblot. Devoid of genuine truth or impact beyond the ease with which it captures the viewer, merely building flypaper of nonsense. My teachers droned against illustration etc, and I understand their points, but no matter the potency of an artists personal symbols if they cannot convey at least some of the same meaning to the viewer then they are not truely invoked.

And it occured to me how that works with marginalised groups art.

Because the interpretations of those vaguenesses and unclear symbols will be coloured to an incredible degree by biases. Just as many find the case when their issues are in public discussion and it gets imediately turned around to the concerns of the privileged group and what it means to them, how it effects them etc so too are all these nebulous spaces that so easilly allow a viewer to identify with an artwork also allow them to intepret in a way that they are comfortable with!

Or if the art is unable to be comfortably interpreted they will see it in a light where it is meant to disturb them on a general level. Which in a way will also make them more comfortable. But they will avoid as much as they can naturally to view the material in such a way as to actully comprehend the artists intent if that makes them call into question their biases.

Using this vaguery may make artworks more popular and help them sell but it means that the power of the message is diluted to one that will more easilly fit the comforts of the privileged. Sure sometimes artists can shock or lure viewers out of their comfort zones
but often in ways that the viewer will not easilly understand and so will not gain much from.

So i looked at my artwork, with it's symbolised blood clearly representing blood unambiguously, with the words scrawled in pink over the photo stark and certain. And I felt good about it.

I don't know if it will sell, I doubt with all the great artists in town that it will win any of the prises. But I know that anyone who takes enough time to look, to read the images and the words, are going to understand what I meant whether they want to or not or find it comfortable or not or agree or not.