Signal boosting: Some red flags in trans issue “debates”

I’ve not had the spoons to dive into anti-trans nonsense as of late, so I’ve been plundering the interwebs for trans commentators who have. I recently discovered Singularly Bizarre, a blog that has discussed Jesse Singal at length. The author is considerably wordier than I am (and that’s saying something) but they’ve also documented a pretty thorough inventory of well-cloaked dishonesty employed by anti-trans pundits.

One in particular I’ll signal boost is the tendency to start a conversation about trans children, and then make the illogical leap to discussing surgery. Undermining this trope–which does crop up a lot in Singal’s work–is this basic fact: No trans kids qualify for surgery under the prevailing standards of trans healthcare set out by the Worldwide Professional Association of Transgender Health. In fact, if we want to talk about subjecting children to “mutilation,”* we ought to be discussing the egregious human rights violations enacted on intersex children virtually everywhere in the world.

Yes, it’s this peculiar double standard that should immediately be recognized as a red flag. The idea of trans people voluntarily seeking changes to our body seems to reliably get a chorus of hoary-throated screams, but when you point out that the one of the epidemics of genital mutilation happening to children in mature Western democracies is on intersex children and infants, you get nothing but crickets.

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Signal boosting: Interesting critique of hate crime legislation

I adore much of Sam Hope’s work, and recently encountered an old post of theirs where they gave some cogent critiques of hate crime legislation. Unlike reactionary dingleberries who literally complain that the law theoretically acknowledges specific and targeted forms of violence, Hope makes a number of complex points highlighting minorities’ relationship with media representation as well as our elevated rates of incarceration. It’s a refreshing break from the standard “we’re already equal” bullshit apologists for the status quo spew out that still points out flaws in the logic behind hate crime legislation.

We know that many marginalised minorities are over-represented in the prison population. For trans people this is no different, and the reasons are complex and multi-layered. Trans people suffer disproportionately from poor mental health which is directly related to lack of social support, discrimination, poor healthcare, poor housing, unemployment and psychological trauma. Trans people are less likely to be in employment, and more likely to be harassed or discriminated against at work. Trans people are even more likely than other LGBT people to become homeless or be poorly or vulnerably housed. Massive health inequality was recently flagged up in the Government’s Transgender Equality Inquiry as a major issue for the trans community. As with many oppressed communities, drug and alcohol abuse are issues within our community. Some of our medicines, if not prescribed to us, are considered class C drugs, and of course some of us in desperation turn to illegal markets for the drugs we need. Trans people are more likely to live in poverty. Trans people are more likely to find opportunities through sex work when there is a lack of other opportunity, and when we are sexualised and objectified. Trans people are more likely to experience sexual abuse and sexual exploitation. Trans people’s experience of domestic violence is disproportionately high. We are often, as with other LGBT people, considered the aggressors if we defend ourselves against attack, simply because people look on us with prejudice.

So, like most other minorities, we are thought to be over-represented in the prison system, and we might not always feel that prison is the answer in the way others who have never brushed with the law might feel. And we might not feel safe and trusting to approach the police. We might not expect a fair hearing. We don’t always act like the model minority and our sometimes messy lives may invite more judgement than sympathy.

Read more here.

Signal boosting: A very smart guy

“Omphaloskeptomai,” or Skepto as I can thankfully call him, writes excellent and detailed posts. I don’t have any particular work of his I want to signal boost more than the others, so I just want to link the whole blog.

I like his work because he demonstrates what it’s like to attempt to dialogue with a self-professed antagonist to trans rights (that’s a “Content Warning” for the link, btw). Skepto is detailed and thorough and if I were the one attempting to respond to the TERF in his dialogue, I imagine the experience would be akin to trying to nail Jell’O to the wall. There’s a reason I typically prefer to respond to high profile “gender critical” arguments–it’s abusive as shit, and a lot of emotional labour on my part that I can’t spare easily. There needs to be a better payoff for that kind of work, and in my estimate my time is better spent elsewhere than an obscure anonymous peddler of pseudofreudian nonsense. Nonetheless, Skepto’s responses are insightful, and entirely cogent even if you ignore the TERF he responds do.

Check him out here. And, uh, content warning and all that, given the arguments he is responding to.

-Shiv

Signal boosting: “you’re asking me to entertain an implausible claim with zero evidence”

Blaire White is an internet dumpster fire of transphobia, who has the dubious distinction of being the anti-trans lobbyists’ token trans woman. I will never fully wrap my head around why anyone would apologize for the systems that abused them, but that is precisely what White does: Identify a system that harms trans people, and tell her fans (who range from neo-Nazis to more commonly trans suspicious people looking for confirmation of their prejudice) that the damage is justifiable, regardless of whether or not she had the good fortune to avoid it.

A few months ago a reader sent me a link to one of her anti-trans videos and I never quite recovered from the migraine ensuing. Thankfully, Zinnia Jones was already on the case, disputing many of White’s misconceptions about transitioning protocols for transgender children and teenagers.

But, you know with internet dumpster fires, every so often someone likes the smell, and they decide to throw more fuel into the dumpster. Same reader, another link, this one more recent, another migraine, more swear words, and a brief existential crisis wondering if accurate information will ever out-perform the white noise continuously injected into trans health and rights discourse.

As ever, Zinnia Jones can be trusted to fact check specious claims when the topic is gender variance. Jones responds to the criticisms of National Geographic, who recently featured a young trans girl on the cover of a recent issue. As it turns out, Blaire White, not phased in the slightest in her running for brightest and smelliest dumpster fire, is advocating for the cyber-harassment the trans girl’s parents are receiving.

Jones writes:

If you’ll only read just enough to find something marginally compatible with what you already wanted to believe, if you can’t work up the effort to inform yourself in the slightest degree, but you’re still so passionate about this that you’ll accuse someone of “child abuse” on the basis of absolutely nothing, you have a problem. Yet you’re asking me to entertain an implausible claim with zero evidence, which also happens to have an impossible timeline?

The deceptive cry of “Somebody think of the children!” is one of the oldest weapons of prejudice, wielded against same-sex parents, parents in interracial marriages, and now, parents of trans kids. These baseless allegations of abuse pose a real threat. Groups like Trans Youth Family Allies advise parents to keep what’s called a “safe folder”: a file of medical records and statements from doctors, counselors, school faculty, and others, to ensure that the family will be protected in the event of false accusations.

This is a particularly insidious tactic, because it cloaks itself in feigned concern for children while actually calling for the mistreatment of those same children. A study published in Pediatrics in 2016 found that socially transitioned trans kids aged 3 to 12 who were supported by their families had low levels of depression and anxiety, comparable to their cisgender peers. For trans children, family support for their transition is healthy and good for them. Conversely, the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey found that respondents who were rejected by their families were more likely to have attempted suicide and more likely to have experienced homelessness. Another study also found that family rejection was associated with higher rates of substance abuse.

Allowing trans kids to live as their gender is the better choice for their healthy development, and denying their gender is known to be worse for them.

Yeah. Trying real hard not to get depressed that other trans people are helping transphobes spin outright fabrications in their quest to derail, derail, derail.

Jones tracks the timeline of the NatGeo family, debunks several claims advanced by White, makes a few cases as to how the reasoning itself is flawed even if the premises were accurate (they aren’t), and also provides a number of helpful links investigating the health and wellbeing of trans youth.

Read more here.

-Shiv

The subjugation of women performers is certainly compatible with the Trump ethos

David over on We Hunted the Mammoth has signal boosted the plight of the Rockettes, a troupe of dancers who are being strong-armed by their union to perform at Trump’s inauguration despite their objections. The dancers have expressed that they “oppose everything Trump stands for” and that they are understandably upset their employer is threatening to terminate them if they don’t dance for Trumpenfurher.

David echoes Amanda Duarte’s call to contact the troupe’s producers and their union to express support for the Rockettes who do not wish to appear at Trumpenfurher’s inauguration.

Duarte is encouraging people to contact the show’s producers as well as the American Guild of Variety Artists and the Madison Square Garden Company to express their support for all of the Rockettes who want to boycott Trump’s big party.

Email the producers directly:
Jill.DeForte@msg.com
larry.sedwick@msg.com

feedbackradiocity@MSG.com

Call AGVA (American Guild of Variety Artists)
as well
212-675-1003
make sure you express that if a Rock does not wish to perform, she shouldn’t have to and there should not be a repercussion.

Be firm, but polite. Help the boycotting Rockettes to just say no to Trump.

This is symbolic of the incoming administration’s attitude towards the autonomy of women–to them, it doesn’t exist at all.

Please support the Rockettes’ choice to perform or not perform.

I am writing in to express support for the Radio City Rockettes who have indicated strong disagreements with their employer’s contract to perform at the President-Elect’s inauguration.

Donald Trump ran on a campaign of unprecedented division, demonizing countless demographics in the United States and scapegoating them for the perceived grievances of more privileged Americans.

Trump is an unusual President, which calls for unusual politics. He holds nothing but contempt for the very democratic process which foisted him into power. And it is chillingly symbolic for the AGVA to coerce Rockettes into performing against their will for a President whose platform routinely advocates the elimination of women’s bodily autonomy.

Individual performers must be given the choice, free of coercion, whether to perform for the President-Elect. Anything less is tacit support for Trump’s authoritarian disposition.

Siobhan

Writer at FreeThoughtBlogs

-Shiv

Signal boosting: Women’s March on Washington

Details for the January 21st march on Washington are starting to precipitate.

The Women’s March on Washington will convene on Saturday, 10:00 am, January 21, 2017.

The starting point will be the intersection of Independence Avenue and Third Street SW, near the U.S. Capitol (see map below).

Women of America, the party that has held your reproductive health in utter contempt for decades has a stranglehold on every arm of government. Now is the time to give a pre-emptive #BlackMonday to the misogynists infecting your government.

Solidarity marches elsewhere:

SISTER MARCHES

STATES

Louisiana

Maine

Maryland

Massachusetts

Michigan

Minnesota

Mississippi

Missouri

Montana

Nebraska

Nevada

New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

North Carolina

North Dakota

Ohio

Oklahoma

Oregon

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island

South Carolina

South Dakota

Tennessee

Texas

Utah

Vermont

Virginia

Washington

West Virginia

Wisconsin

Wyoming

 

-Shiv

Conservatives scatter in light of crank Rebel Media rally

David Climenhaga has collected the official, on-the-record responses of Canada’s many besieged “Moderates” running for various conservative positions amidst an increasingly reactionary climate:

But even the likes of Rona Ambrose, interim leader of the federal Tories, and Jason Kenney, would-be leader of the provincial PCs – both associated with the Tea-Party-like Reform Party wing of the federal party – were embarrassed enough to try to walk away as quickly as dignity permitted from the PR disaster the rally organized by Ezra Levant and his Rebel Media organization is fast becoming.

“It’s completely inappropriate,” Ms. Ambrose said yesterday. “It’s people acting like idiots.” (This too is hard to argue with.) It’s “ridiculous and offensive,” said Mr. Kenney, who prudently avoided the rally, perhaps because he is acquainted with Mr. Levant.

I’m also cackling in a funny-because-it’s-horrifying-and-I-need-a-way-to-cope fashion after Brian Jean’s limp-wristed response:

He also weakly condemned the racism and homophobia apparent on leaflets and signs held by rally participants, who apparently included many who represent the worst elements of Alberta society: “I wish people who had those desires, to have those chants, or have that signage, would just stay at home,” Mr. Jean explained.

I’m gonna keep saying I told you so until you fucking get it, Jean. Shrink your frickin tent or watch everything you’ve worked for burn to the ground.

The federal Liberals jumped in too:

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Burnt my toast again. Thanks Rachel Notley

It’s something of a trope here in Alberta to blame our Premier for stuff she couldn’t possibly be responsible for. Many of her critics will, in all seriousness, blame her for failings (perceived or real) for things not in provincial jurisdiction, like homelessness (which is municipal), refugee resettlement (which is federal),  federal income tax increases (which is obviously federal), public transportation (municipal), trade deals (federal) or Celine Dion(?).

Our previous administration put all our eggs in one basket, which has resulted in a tumultuous economic climate contingent on the precarious whims of the global market for oil. But, you know, it’s her fault Saudi Arabia is undercutting our oil.

And the wildfire. Don’t get me started. Not allowing foreign planes into an airspace with 0% visibility because, you know, millions of trees are on fire is… is… negligence! Impeach! Impeach!

So Alberta’s progressives, and even Notley’s more even-handed critics, have taken the piss out of #ThanksRachelNotley with the help of The Beaverton.

“Rachel Notley convinced my dog to eats its own poop.”

-Shiv