Transgender Day of Remembrance: Recommended Reading

November 20, 2009 § 1 Comment

Today is the Eleventh Annual Transgender Day of Remembrance. There’s great reading all over the place.

Questioning Transphobia; Shapely Prose; Shakesville; The Curvature; gudbuytjane; Feministing; TransGriot (and Monica again at Global Comment).

Rachel at Deeply Problematic says it nicely:

This is not the only day to recognize and fight transmisogyny and cissexism. If you are cis, you need to consider the privilege that you have just by existing. Think about the danger cis women are constantly in just because we are women. Trans women face exactly that danger, but their trans status makes them many times more vulnerable.

To the dead, you are not forgotten. And to the living, let us work together so that there may be no more names.

8 Myths About Rape

October 7, 2009 § 2 Comments

Hey everyone!

I just got back from an amazing self-defense course, which was organized by my awesome WPC (Women’s Peer Counselor). Each unit (like 60 kids) at my college has a WPC, a Minority Peer Counselor, and a straight-up Residence Counselor. Aholla.

Anyway, I wanted to share the 8 myths about rape that I learned at this self-defense thing. They are very cool. They are verbatim from the packet, because I can’t phrase them better.

1. It can’t happen to me.

2. Women are powerless against rape.

3. Women secretly want to be raped.

4. Only young, attractive women get raped.

5. Only women with bad reputations are raped.

6. Only women who wear sexy, revealing clothing are raped.

7. Only women who are out alone at night get raped.

8. Rapists are sex maniacs- perverts- with overactive sex drives.

“Rape can happen to anyone…Rapists choose victims…not because of the way they are dressed, how they look or what job they hold. Rape is not a crime of sex– it is a crime of violence and control…Why would any person–male or female– want secretly to be raped, humiliated, beaten or possibly killed? That doesn’t make sense. Don’t let anyone tell you it does.”

SUCK IT victim blamers. Yeah.

“Having Sex”

September 28, 2009 § 4 Comments

Dear NPR, CNN, NY Daily News, Associated Press, and other media,

Roman Polanski was not arrested on charges of “having sex” with a 13-year-old girl. He was arrested on charges of raping a 13-year-old girl — charges to which he plead guilty.

Forcing sexual activity on a child is not sex, it is rape. Giving a child drugs and alcohol to coerce her into sexual activity is not sex, it is rape. Penetrating a child anally despite her repeated protests is not “sodomy,” it is anal rape.

Roman Polanski did not have sex with a 13-year-old. He raped her. He raped her and then he left the country to escape prosecution.

Just, you know, a little reminder: RAPE IS NOT SEX.

Thanks,
Miranda

Hearing Katie Speak

September 9, 2009 § 2 Comments

Hey everyone!

As Miranda posted earlier this summer, I packed up and went to college this fall. This is my third full day on campus, actually.

Last night, my school’s entire class of 2013 had the privilege of seeing Katie Kessler speak on the topic of sexual assault and violence. Katie is a well-known and highly effective speaker. She was raped by a date on the tenth day of her freshman year at William and Mary. The police department in VA wouldn’t give her a trial because they didn’t want to spend the money on a case that they probably wouldn’t win (Katie’s attacker had a very wealthy judge for a father), so she was merely granted a 7 hour campus trial. Her attacker was found guilty at that trial, but was allowed to stay in the college. The rapist’s girlfriend (whom he beat without reprimand) made a petition against Katie’s continued place at the school; 2,000 students (of William and Mary’s 5,000) signed it. She was voted Most Dangerous Man on the campus. “Katie is a Slut Whore Bitch” was posted on the library walls. Her parents chastised her for having a boy in her room in the first place. They have never even seen her speak. Katie was given no rape kit when she went to the school’s health services, just sleeping pills and the directive to “sleep it off.”

But Katie graduated from William and Mary. She got the school to put artwork over the slander about her in the library (it’s still there, actually). She staked out a Board meeting and popped out of the bushes to introduce herself to the Trustees. She made the committee that voted her Most Dangerous Man change the name of the contest to Most Dangerous Person. And now she jets all over the country to speak to students and government officials about her story, and is founder of the organization Take Back the Night.

Katie’s story was vivid and heartbreaking. And it really effectively communicated the complexities and nuances of acquaintance rape. But I also loved how she reminded us that her story isn’t what is necessarily important. She asked us to remember that 1 in 4 women experience sexual assault within their lifetimes. And 1 in 8 men. She asked us to look at the immensity of the issue, but also at the extreme luck that we all enjoy as young people in a college setting. And how transformative we can be within our own communities, if we actively choose to protect ourselves and our friends, listen to survivors, and watch for violence. She managed to make the point that prevention and support are necessarily both individual and community efforts. My favorite part, though, was when Katie admitted that as a white, attractive, blonde woman, she speaks from a very privileged podium. As a Christian, daughter of an FBI agent, and defiled virgin, she said, “my resume was perfect.” Women of color and transpeople do not enjoy the press she does. A victimized prostitute would not be able to speak at the Pentagon as she has.

I was happy that the kids in my class were so respective of Katie and so engaged in her story, especially after hearing a nightmarish story from a new friend who attended the Hotchkiss school, where Katie spoke last year. One boy there asked her what she expected when she invited the boy back to her room. Another asked how her sex life had been affected by the ordeal, a question which she simply refused to answer. At a single-sex boy’s high school in VA, one student said “Well look at you Katie, I would have raped you too.” I go to a liberal school, a safe school, an awesome school. There are about 3,000 women in our undergraduate program. And statistically, one in four of them will be sexually assaulted. That is 750 people that I now share a home with. That is disheartening.

But I heard something when I left those lectures that made me hopeful. As we streamed out of the talk, I heard scores of people committing to protecting one another. Mind you, we’ve known each other for three days. I heard young men and young women soaking up her message and appreciating it. One of my new friends said that he would punch anyone in the face if he observed any aggressive behaviors.

I am so happy that I got to listen to Katie. But I am even happier for the reminder that there is a whole world to listen to- my world at Brown, my world at home, my world at large. Our world at large!  

Read This: Another sister attacked

June 30, 2009 § 3 Comments

TRIGGER WARNING: Descriptions of hate-motivated violence.

CaitieCat at Shakesville brings us the story of Leslie Mora, a trans woman who was harassed and brutally beaten in Queens on the night of June 18th. From a report by the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund:

Throughout the attack, Leslie’s assailants called her a “faggot” in Spanish. The attack left Leslie with multiple injuries, including bruises all over her body, and stitches in her scalp. Police called to the scene found Leslie nearly naked and bleeding on the sidewalk. They also recovered a belt buckle from the assailants that was covered in blood.

And from CaitieCat’s spot-on reaction:

Despite shouting anti-gay slurs at her in Spanish while they attacked her, the assailants have not been charged with any hate crime, as the Queens Co. DA has declined to even investigate it as such.

There are a whole bunch of things I could point out about this: that it’s just about the most obviously hate-based crime I’ve heard of in a while, that calling it only assault leaves out that they were only stopped from killing her by the passerby — why isn’t it attempted murder, exactly? — that there was no bail set for two men who tried to kill a random stranger on the street.

That people will be saying it was her fault for walking alone on the street late at night, or that she’d been drinking, or blah blah victim-blaming blah.

On average, at least one transgender person is killed in the US each month. It seems only by the intervention of “good fortune” that Ms. Mora didn’t join so many of our sisters and brothers already listed at the Transgender Day of Remembrance site.

Very often when I read stories like these on other blogs, I can’t decide whether or not to repost it here because I have nothing to add to the well-crafted and respectful responses that brought me the information in the first place. But I think that not reposting, not getting the story out there through as many humble outlets as possible, is a large factor in the erasure of unfortunately less popular and less discussed feminist/progressive injustices. So I will keep on reposting with minimal comment, because the stories I share need to be heard.

Quick Hit: Another Transphobic Murder

June 26, 2009 § Leave a comment

KAMILLAKamilla is yet another woman murdered for being trans. I’ve not much to add to Renee’s takedown. Here’s to hoping her story is told and that there are no more like it.

Quotes That Are Deeply Disturbing: Coulter on Murder

June 25, 2009 § 1 Comment

The one millionth way that Ann Coulter simultaneously terrifies and disgusts me:

“I don’t really like to think of it as a murder. It was terminating Tiller in the 203rd trimester.

– Ann Coulter on The O’Reilly Factor on June 22, 2009

And may I ask — what the fuck is an “abortionist,” or even an “abortion doctor”? Ann, you can save those extra syllables and just call them doctors — you know, the kind who go to medical school, get certified, and save lives.

via a NARAL Pro-Choice America email.

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