Saturday, January 24, 2009

Crossdressing hurting others? But which hurt?

This is short but hopefully sweet. It's an excerpt from a post I've made on a forum in response to someone talking about how crossdressers being out can hurt families, friends, other people etc and that while we have freedom we should consider that the consequences may hurt others.

As for hurt, there are several kinds of hurt that should be considered.

1. The hurt caused to person A by person B using their own rights in a way A would
rather they not use (A's selfish hurt) or

2. the kind where person A is hurt by the interferance of their right by person B overstepping their rights (injustice) and of course

3. the hurt caused to person A when person A's rights are limited by the existence of equal rights of person B (justice).

Some examples of each to make them easier to grok.

1. examples include Goths looking like Goths, Interracial marriage, same-sex marriage, tattoos, body piercing, blue and green worn together, min skirts, women not wearing veils, rock and roll music,
comic books etc.

2. includes racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, theft, murder, rape, forced sterilisation or surgical 'normalisation of Intersex children, circumcision of infants etc

3. includes people not being able to rape, murder, assault, steal etc.

All three are felt as genuine emotional hurt. 1 is essential for people to suffer. It has to happen. People must overcome their own pain with this. 2 is an evil that must be stopped as much as possible. 3 is the point where you introduce equality to liberty, where freedoms are only restricted by the mutual obligation of respecting the equal freedom of others ie fairness. It too is a pain that must be borne.So some hurt is inevitable, neccessary and fair.

In fact avoiding or attempting to limit the first and third types of hurt is arguably bad, wrong, harmful to society and contributing to the worst hurt, the second one.

If we are not ready to inflict the hurt of justice, the hurt of exposure to difference which all of us should suffer and overcome in order to have our own equal liberty then by that choice we inflict the far worse hurt of allowing and encouraging injustice!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Goths and Gender and Censorship and other issues

Well it's been quite a busy week for me. Lots of socialising and a lot of good and interesting conversation.

One of the things I've been impressed with is that Goths are even more acepting of TG these days than I'd realised. This week I came out to some new goth friends and met a heap for the first time while at a party 'out'. I also met some non-Goths at the party.

Many though not all were teens, mostly about 15, though the full range was somewhere near 11 to 40's. Utter, instant, unquestioning, unconditional acceptance.

Discussing gender issues with the teens I learned some interesting things. For one in the 'norm' or non-goth non-emo population their age the gender 'colour code' of pink=girls and blue=boys is reversing as so many teen boys are wearing pink the girls are now going for blue. And man-skirts are becoming trendy with plenty of 'norm' boys wearing them on casual days.

And all this in rural New South Wales Australia.

I remember when I was the only goth in the village lol. Except for the brief period when it was suddenly a popular trend when The Crow came out. It was interesting hearing similar views from these teen goths as they discussed the surge of interest in vampires due to the Twilight books and movie and it's wonderful to see the growth development and spread of Goth culture accross so many decades as we had people from their early teens, late teens, 20's 30's and 40's.

I also discoved just how bad I am at singstar lol!

Through the many conversations i've had with several social groups this week the following notions were particularly interesting ones.

How philosophy, especially ethics, as well as politics and the law can handle coming to terms with implications of cognitive neuroscience such as the evidence that we are far less concious than we think with most decisions post-rationalised by the conscious brain after the decision has been made... how can anyone be held responsible for actions if this data is correct and the 'person' is but a passenger and not actually in command?

And it was great to hear the views about Toxoplasmosis Gondii (the rat-behaviour and possibly human behaviour-altering brain parasite) of someone who actually definately is a host to that parasite!

How should we handle things like car-insurance and drivers licences for people whose brain-parasites effect their reactions in emergencies? And what is societies responsibilities to it's citizens rgarding transport and infrastructure let alone what are the ethics issues involving someone with a brain parasite? Should a treatment exist should they be forced to undergo it? What allowances should be made for those with it when there is no treatment or for those who may refuse such treatment.

Sex work, sex-positivity and pornography were also discussed at length from several different viewpoints with intersting notions raised.

For example it was suggested that pornography with GLBT content, especially that made for the 'mainstream' audience should have a moral and perhaps ethical obligation to include some education content or carry political messages. The comment "If they are good enough to (masturbate) to then how about voting on their issues. no-one else need ever know who you vote for any more than what genre your getting off on".

There was also some discussion of how the industry apeared to be largely failing to address the changing audience when 1/3rd of the pornography audience and growing is female.

Issues of pornography as well as video games and censorship were interesting and it seems clear that the 'community values' used to determine a lot of things have nothing to do with the actual values of the actual community unless all the polls on the subject can be dissmissed.

It was also interesting that pretty much everyone in the discussion agreed that from an ethical viewpoint the BDSM community with it's emphasis on informed consent and safety is generally far better than the standard vanilla community where sex while drunk and/or stoned and therefore unable to give truly informed consent because of impaired cognition is in fact the primary sexual circumstance.

And my Le Chevalier D'Eon anime boxed set arrived and a friend has the Hellsing series set so as well as social fun and a host more roleplaying gaming I've got some fun stuff to watch.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Chronic Ablism pervaisive throughout Net, Law and Bussiness

Not a study, not an article. Just a blatently obvious fact anyone with an ounce of imagination can realise. So routine is it that even us who often suffer it really don't realise exactly how pervasive and unjust it is.

It's at the deepest fundamental levels.

Shall I start with the signiature? How often do we use our signiature? A piece of hand-art intended to be regularly repeated as well as unique to the individual.

Now imagine what thats like for someone whose hand is not always steady! Or whose muscle-memory can be every bit as interferred with as their short-term or long-term memory. Or who suffers sudden muscle spasms or twitches or whose coordination is irregular. And those are just the ones I've experienced personally! Imagine the embarassment when trying to pick up a parcel from the post office and having your own signiature not match!

Ah but the world is going increasingly electronic blah blah blah.
That is not helping!

Consider all the rules one must obey in nettiquette. the differing rules from forum to forum, keeping up with changes of rules... imagine what that is like for those with memory issues, dyslexia and other reading difficulties, cognitive difficulties.

Again this is something I experience myself when my CFS 'brain fog' cognitive impairment is at it's stronger levels and i really have to struggle through some things.

Consider that criticising people on their spelling is considered quite acceptable on much of the net. How repugnant is that really? It is patently ablist privilege. Oh sure there are 'spell-checkers', largely culturally-biased constantly trying to change my S's to Z's because American English is different to Australian English! And it's not my fault many spell checkers have vastly lower vocabularies than I.

Nope, criticising spelling, grammer etc is nothing more than ablist bigotry pure and simple!

But the net is full of so very much more than that. I've been on several forums where breaking of some rules occurs frequently enough that people get auto-bans for it. Not behaviour like flaming mind but mistakes like posting in the wrong section. Seems reasonable if it's a constant problem doesn't it... or does it? Why is the problem reccurring? No-one asks that, it is just assumed that some people are stupid or bloody-minded.... wow... consider the bigotry and stupidity in those assumptions!

Stupid? Like people with lower IQs don't deserve access to forums and the internet? Bigotry, pure and simple. Bloody minded? What kind of ignorance is involved in that assumption! A purely rational person will have a purely rational reason to act thusly. If they are not purely rational as many people aren't then any system that assumes a basic level of competance or standard of behaviour that requires people to be purely rational whe many many people are obviously incapable of such is again bigotry pure and simple!

The net is a cornocopia of ablism at nearly every turn!

And returning to law and government systems there are copious hoops we all have to jump through that are substantially ablist. The requirements of Centrelink for those who benefit from the various pensions are often quite ablist. I get so furious having to negotiate through messy automated phone services and irrationally complex forms etc when I'm going through bad brain fog. C'mon you gits not every disabled person has a career to do these things for them! Not every person who fails to report something or who doesn't get a form in on time or turn up at the appointed time (asssuming you genuinely sent that letter Centrelink... as you got caught out on that penalising people for your own staffs mistakes more than a few times!) do so to deliberately defraud. Deeply entrenched systemic ablism!

And as for business!
Just consider telemarketing for starters. Pestered at a random unexpecting time, badgered to accept a deal which may or may not be reasonable. Now if someone has anxiety issues, confussion issues, slowed cognition, difficulty in evaluating budgets or just plain arithmatic at short notice how disstressing traumatic and potentially manipulative is that?

I occassinally have tried asking these telemarketers to send me the details of the deal they are offering in writing for me to evaluate when I can think clearly.. but nope, they can't do that can they. ABLISM. And I'm not referring to some piddling cruise or mobile phone thing. I'm talking about the large Australian telecommunications companies here like Telstra and Optus!

I have missed good deals because of this, but to avoid countless good-seeming but actually bad deals that is what I've had to do.

When most people think of disability issues they think of wheelchair access and eyesight. Those a big deal, still. But it is the issues of cognitive and learning and reading and memory and concentration that people are taking for granted to a massive extreme!

And people are penalised on forums all over the net for not being able to live up to ablist standards! People are financially penalised, getting criminal records even for not fullfilling ablist legal obligations! People are penalised in business or manipulated by it by ablist systems.

Vast amounts of daily life are filled with ablist systems, assumptions of certain levels of ability that just are not so for many people! Often the people most in need of those services!

A housebound disabled person often rellies on the net for their social interaction. When they get kicked out of communities whether it's forums mmorpgs or what-have-you that is extraordinarilly wrong!

A disability pensioner who has only the pension to survive on who suffers a financial penalty for failing to meet some ablist obligation is suffering a profound wrong!

I could go on. There are so many examples. All it takes is a little imagination to realise how utterly common these wrongs are. Just take a little time to consider it and to mention it to others as it really is something more people, especially people who work on these systems and in fields, need to think about!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Someone wrote a Genderfree Manifesto!

I definately think it needs to be read and discussed.

I like it substantially.
Though I do take exception with this paragraph:

For the general public do not even know the difference between the intersex (with *biological* disorders of gender differentiation), the transgender (with minds that are hardwired to the opposite of his/her biological gender), or the transvestite (with normal minds and normal gender biology, but a fetish for the opposite gender's clothing). Each of these is a choice, but the first two is allowed in Islam.
Namely that it ignores the possibility that transvestites, or some of them anyway, may have minds hardwired between biological genders or to have no hard-wired gender. Certainly Genderqueer people are likely to fit somewhere into such a situation. Are they 'fetishising'? Also if a brain is hardwired or the body differently differentiated how is it a choice? Other than what to do in response to existing in such a state?

And in this otherwise excellent part that I support substantially:


That the rights of children with intersex conditions must be fought for, and the choice given for them to make on their own—without any kind of “corrective” surgery before the age of consent.

That the rights of transgenders to change their bodies in accordance to their true mental gender must be fought for as a God-given right.

That bigotry against the genderfree must be fought against in all forums of discussion and spheres of existence.

That the genderfree statuses, whether intersex or transgender, is a symbol of power, not a stigma, and the genderfree must be proud of the innate capabilities of hir/her/his kind.

Genderfreedom Fighters of the World, Unite!

The phrase: "a God-given right" Is invalid as the manifesto needs to apply outside of god/s-based theistic worldviews as well as within them so I suggest "an Inalienable Right" is more appropriate.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

First Meanderings of 2009

Well I'm back from visiting family, alas my symptoms are flaring and using my brain feels like swimming through treacle.

It literally feels like that, like pushing against and through resisting dense material.

So I hope you'll forgive the more likely scattered nature of my post.

On the personal level it's been a bit draining. It was good to see family members I'd not seen face-to-face in a year. We had some good times, we spent much of it wrapped in nostalgia watching dvds of cartoons enjoyed when kids and catching the black-and-white Quatermass which we'd not been able to see before and of course with a fair amount of shopping.

But it was also painful at times because of difficulties Mum was having with aspects of coming to terms with my being Transgender. At least she is trying, she is being supportive. I know transexuals who suffered horribly at the hands of their parents and suffered more because they never gained any acceptance or support from them their whole lives. I'm one of the very lucky ones indeed!

But being lucky doesn't make it easy. It doesn't make logical points made from lack-of-knowledge (I say that rather than ignorance because plenty of people I know consider it an offensive term to use. When did ignorance become a dirty word? Willfull ignorance is shamefull but appropriate to point out when that is what the case is, ordinary ignorance is universal amongst humans as none of us are omniscient!) and therefore incorrect any less painfull sometimes to hear.

I think thats a problem with many who comment on TG issues and many other issues. They may be making what appear to be logical deductions or raising logical issues but if it comes from limited knowledge or for that matter from stereotypes, assumptions or un unrealised bias then it often becomes unintentionally hurtful or in the case of many media opinion-spouters outright harmful. At least with many, like my Mum, they can be given data, analyse it, weigh it on its methodology and reconsider their opinions.

Alas many seem incapable of it. What is wrong with them? Are they sleepwalking through life to a degree that I even when my CFS Brain Fog is so severe I cannot contemplate basic arithmatic without severe pain and confusion yet cannot remotely imagine let alone sympathise with? Can they have their higher brain functions so suborned to their emotive functions that the capacity for rational thought is used only barely enough to try and rationalise whatever irrational illogical and I dare say utterly insane notions they have already espoused? Or can it be a deliberate and knowing lie used to try and save face by ignoring it when they discover they are wrong?

Like the Popes recent statement. Can he himself be bisexual and so incapable of imagining that there may be non-bisexual people that he thinks that the fair treatment of gay and transgender people will result in no-one procreating anymore? Could he be so utterly stupid? Or is it a deliberate attempt to save face by refusing to recognise that science once again is disputing part of their theology? Are gender-theorists and neurologists the new astronomers? The new geologists?

And I hear of more Transgender deaths. Some by murder and one because of the discrimination involved in sheltering someone based on birth anatomy. Religious or not charities and support services have a duty-of-care and if that means they have to change their systems to accomodate transgender people then thats what they are obliged to do. The hetero/cis-normative assumption used in these systemic injustices falls apart in the light of the existence of transexuals, of intersex, of women who rape women children and men. Only via ignorance or worse willful ignorance can suvh notions be maintained.

And it's not just the Salvation Army and the frozen woman on the church doorstep that this applies to. Tri-Ess also bears substantial scrutiny for the way they treat male-attracted crossdressers and those who when they come to terms with themselves need to transition. To turn people in need away is abhorant. Seemingly, from discussions on crosdresser forums, it is done to ensure that the wives of female-attracted crossdressers won't have their fears that their skirt-wearing husbands might be gay or transexual triggered by their presence. How abominable is that! It's manipulative of the wives, it abandons the needs of those wives too whose husbands do turn out to be bisexual etc or transexual.

Complaining about 'activists' and drag queens and transexuals etc for stirring things up, for the lack of acceptance they experience especially from their partners and arguing for their exclusion for selfish personal benefit.

The idiotic and nonsensical divisions amongst sections of the sex and gender diverse communities are built on such pathetic pretense at reasoning! And I note that I'd heard most of the arguments before... from the more hostile and irrational ravings of some amongst the HBS advocates.

People pushing those divisions cause real harm. People pushing stereotypes that dismiss the diversity of humanity do real harm. If we do not work together, if we dismiss the more different because they dont fit the average or the standard or the image one wishes to portray then we cause real harm.

Now all that said I'm far from without hope. There is much that can be done to build bridges between communities so they can work together on shared and related issues. There are many people who just need to be inspired, or who wish they could help but don't know how they can do so.

As for Mum. Well while she still is working through this (heck so am I too) she took me shopping for clothes, and after we watched To Wong Foo (I'd picked it up when shopping having not seen it and we'd had our fill of 80's cartoons and finished Quatermass) the hug she gave me was painfully wonderful. That's something that many TG people I've met never got. A hug from their Mum after coming out.

We need to work together, HBS TS CD DQ DK GQ IS etc etc so that more people get hugs from their Mums, so that less freeze to death on church doorsteps, so that everyone is treated as equal.