It’s Time to Debunk Rachel Dolezal’s Big Transgender Lie

And on CNN last weekend, Dolezal compared herself—somewhat—to Caitlyn Jenner: “There is some similarity in terms of harmonizing the outer appearance with the inner feeling, in terms of stigmatized identities, some people will forever see me as my birth category and nothing further. And the same with Caitlyn.” She made similar comments on BBC Newsnight and in other interviews.

But even worse than Dolezal’s specious analogies themselves are the way they are being handled by the media. Once again, voices on the right are wielding Dolezal’s story as a trump card to try to delegitimize and denigrate transgender identity. And voices on the left are failing to challenge or debunk the transgender comparison; in some cases, they’re asking the questions that invite it.

Read more.

Becoming the Parent of a Trans Child

Learning the ins-and-outs of parenting a transgender child is made easier by the recent outpouring of stories, suggestions, and advice from families all over the world who are making the journey with their loved ones. This article gives us a beautiful glimpse into the lives of one family.

“……Then one day “Kendra” told them that “she” was gay. Not many months after that, “she” asked to be called “Kasey” which would eventually become Ashur. From there it progressed to cutting. It became so bad that they took “her” to the Children’s Medical Center of Dallas.

While there, they suggested that Ken and his family sweep Ashur’s room for anything unusual.

What they found was a suicide note.

This is the moment they learned that their son was Transgender.

They confronted Ashur and learned that he had indeed already attempted his plan weeks ago and it had failed. The note made clear that if Ashur couldn’t be who he felt inside, there was no point in living.

Take heed of that. When a person is making it known that they wish to take their own life, they are asking for help. When they say nothing, they’ve given up hope.”

 

Read the whole article here.

Girl Scouts is for Every Girl

It’s cookie season! This article from last year (2015) highlights one of the many reasons to support the Troupes!

Girl Scouts Choose Transgender Girls Over $100,000 Donation

“In 2012, when she headed the organization’s Colorado council, a 7-year-old transgender girl in Denver was denied entry to a troop. Although the council had never specifically said that it accepted transgender girls, the national organization had always made inclusivity the foundation of its mission. So after checking with the council’s attorney, Ferland issued a public statement welcoming transgender girls and explaining that the council was working to find a troop for the girl who’d been rejected. “Every girl that is a Girl Scout is a Girl Scout because her parent or guardian brings her to us and says, ‘I want my child to participate,’” Ferland says. “And I don’t question whether or not they’re a girl.”

 

A Radical Response to Refugees

A heartbreaking and inspiring look at how some countries are responding to the Syrian refugee crisis.

“In Austria, the mood was one of pride – for the way the government had responded to the crisis and for the overwhelming response from people ferrying donations of food, water and clothes to train stations in Vienna and Salzburg. By Saturday afternoon, officials in Vienna had to ask people to stay away from the station, which was heavily overcrowded with well-wishers bearing donations.”

Read the full article here.

Deaf Discrimination

Hearing privilege is a real thing. Most people are at least marginally aware of the Deaf community, and the proliferation of ASL in high schools and colleges has helped shed light on the traditions and history of American Deaf culture. In spite of this increased visibility, little attention is paid to the continued social and economic barriers the Deaf community face. Contrary to the myth of mediocrity, the full potential of Deaf people is often limited by oppressive and marginalizing social policies, norms, and general public obliviousness. Lydia Callis writes about audism and its implications (don’t know who she is? Learn more about her).

“Last thing you remember, you were walking down the street– now you are lying in a hospital bed. The lights are so bright you can barely see, and your whole body is in pain. You try asking for assistance, but none of the medical staff can understand you because none of them communicate by using American Sign Language (ASL). They hand you some paperwork and ask you to write your questions on a note pad, but all you want is a conversation. What happened to you? How did you get here? What are you supposed to do now?”

Read the full article here.

Does Advocacy Stop at Marriage?

Meredith Talusan offers her take on Jennicet Gutiérrez’s interruption of President Obama’s speech for Pride month. She offers a scathing critique of the administration’s deliberate dismissal of critical, life-threatening issues that trans folks experience in America.

“As I watched Jennicet Gutiérrez open her mouth to interrupt President Obama’s Pride Month reception address Wednesday night – because, she said, as an undocumented trans woman she couldn’t celebrate while LGBT detainees are being abused in US detention centers – I thought, That could have been me.”

Read Meredith’s full article here.

Wake Up, It’s Christmas! (plus 35 links to make you a better ally)

When I opened my Facebook today, one of my close friends had posted this on my wall:

“Wake up, it’s Christmas!”

It made me laugh, and a little teary, because really it did feel like that – that exquisite breath of hope and desire hovering over the day. My darling queer nephew woke us up this morning, poking his head in to whisper “Did you hear!?” We grabbed our phones to see, excited….I had visions of tiptoeing down the hall, hoping to catch a glimpse of Queer Saint Nick, and as we peeked around the corner of our virtual living room, we found this:

Supreme Court Rules Love is Love!

I’m not gonna lie, there’ve been a lot of tears. I’ve been obsessed with scrolling through my feed today, seeing all the pictures and posts, all the kisses and rings and declarations of love. It’s a heady thing, to have a feed literally filled with nothing but sunshine. It’s a big deal.

I’ve vacillated mightily today. I’ve cried tears of joy and rage. I’ve imagined a thousand weddings and mentally designed two thousand rhinestoned gowns, all while cursing the proprietary and historically oppressive institution. I’ve been excited, then furious with myself for being excited about something so freaking stupid.

It’s stupid. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

The government denied civil contracts based on assigned sex, and then after decades of sweat, tears, blood, and lives, the government finally decided that maybe sex is not a legitimate reason to grant or deny the associated benefits of that contract. I’m furious that it took so much and so long to get something accomplished that’s not even close to the biggest issue in my community. What kind of idiot am I to jump up and down for this? You don’t get cookies for doing what you’re supposed to do.

Jennicet Gutierrez

Jennicet Gutierrez calls out to President Obama

And how can I cry tears of joy when there’s so much suffering? How can I throw sunshine to Obama after he shut down Jennicet Gutiérrez’s cry for help earlier this week? How can I be excited about the increasingly widespread acceptance of trans representation in pop culture, when there’s little activity in areas that actually impact the lived experiences of trans folks themselves?

How can I not be excited? How can I not feel a little victorious, a little hopeful? How can I not cry when I think about Chloe’s little niece, who’ll be rainbow-dadpresent at her (other) aunt’s now-legally-sanctioned wedding next Friday, never knowing a world where that wouldn’t be a thing? (I admit, I also cried when I imagine that baby showing her grandkids pictures in 60 years…”your aunts got married a week after the laws changed!”)

It’s a foothold, though. I think it can mean more than just marriage. Having SCOTUS-sanctioned legal protection in one area will make it easier to get it in other areas. Marriage equality can be another tool in the toolbox, but we can’t be fooled into thinking that marriage was the battle. It wasn’t. If we could spend the amount of money, time, energy, and meme-making on these other issues as we did on marriage equality, maybe we could make some progress that would feel more meaningful for the people in our community who are suffering.

tumblr_n7uvpqZeL91qinh1vo1_500So I guess I’m gonna accept that this day and this issue will always bring mixed feelings. It’s paradoxical, but not untrue, to be excited and angry. I can be jubilant, and still heartbroken. So I guess I cry, and let the tears mean what they mean.

So now that it’s done, here’s a new To-Do list (it’s actually the same to-do list, but now we’re less distracted):

Read this overview of LGBTQ issues, and this one.

Become familiar with issues around economic injustice  and financial hardships in LGBT communities.

Learn more about the reality of oppression and violence in Trans people’s lives (also this, and this).

Be a pen-pal for LGBQ and Trans people who are incarcerated.

Learn about and get involved with the Sylvia Rivera Law Project.

Help out with the Trans Life Line, the Trevor Project and the GLBT Hotline.

Learn more about the Trans and Queer immigration crisis.

Read this report about LGBTQ youth in America, this one about youth homelessness, and this one about violence against queer youth.

Learn about violence and hate crimes against LGBTQ people.

Get involved with LGBTQ issues in healthcare (also this and this) and in mental health care (and this).

Learn more about how racial injustice impacts the LGBTQ community.

If you’re in a caregiving or legal profession, read this about how to write about transfolks in a respectful way.

Remember when Obama won, and there were a ton of asshats who went around proclaiming racism dead in America? This is the same thing. Don’t be fooled into believing marriage equality means heterosexism is dead in America. It’s not.

the gracious mind discrimination

WoCSHN Responds to AASECT Awards

The membership and allies of the Women of Color Sexual Health Network respond to announcements of AASECT award winners:

“It is outrageous that a book with this history and an editor with this ethical approach to his work be given this award. How can AASECT make claims about increasing diversity and supporting under-represented communities while, in the same breath, rewarding this book? The message this sends is “we say we want diversity, but only on our terms.””

Read more here.