Canadian Blood Services p2: That’s Not the Question I Asked

As part of an ongoing series investigating the research CBS claims to have in support of their new policy, you can follow the progress of my communications with related parties here (list updates with every new related post):

  1. One Step Forward, Two Steps Back
  2. That’s Not The Question I Asked
  3. You’re Like, Halfway There



Following the announcement from Canadian Blood Services that pre-operative trans women who’ve had sex with men would be considered “males who have sex with males, (MSMs)”–and therefore subject to the 12-month abstinence requirement for blood donation eligibility imposed on gay men–I sent a letter to their public inquiry box stating a concern with the methodology. I have reproduced my communications so far.

I establish that health statistics on trans folk is shoddy and incomplete because of medical establishments subsuming us into cisgender male and female populations; and also that CBS, in lumping pre-op trans women with MSMs, was not only perpetuating misinformation, but also doing something flatly unscientific.

Their public email clerk responded thusly: (emphasis added by me in all emails)

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One step forward, two steps back: CBS adds trans women to MSM deferral

As part of an ongoing series investigating the research CBS claims to have in support of their new policy, you can follow the progress of my communications with related parties here (list updates with every new related post):

  1. One Step Forward, Two Steps Back
  2. That’s Not The Question I Asked
  3. You’re Like, Halfway There

Canadian Blood Services has announced a new policy that will defer trans women from donating blood if they’re pre-op and sexually active with men:

But many activists are upset with the policy because it focuses on whether or not a trans person has undergone gender confirming surgery.

Goldman says the criteria will create a countrywide, streamlined mandate for all trans blood donors.

According to Canadian Blood Services, there has been an increase in potential trans donors and this prompted the organization to implement criteria for those individuals.

The policy specifically targets trans women and is similar to Canadian Blood Services’ updated guidelines for gay blood donors. On June 20, Health Canada announced that gay men would be allowed to donate blood if they had abstained from sex for at least one year.

Trans women who undergo gender confirming surgery will have to wait one year before they can donate blood. After the wait period, Canadian Blood services will also identify them by their reconfirmed gender. “If a trans woman has not had [gender confirming surgery], that person would be considered as a male having sex with a male,” Goldman said.

Canadian Blood Services says there are regulations specific to trans women because that demographic is at high risk for HIV.

According to the Interagency Coalition on AIDS and Development, an estimated 27.7 per cent of trans women in Canada are living with HIV.

“There is a very high HIV prevalence rate in trans women,” Goldman said. “So we are obliged to treat (them) as a high risk group.”

There seems to be a taken assumption made by Dr. Goldman that post-operative trans women are less likely to contract HIV than pre-operative. Now as a demographic the stats hint that we do experience higher rates of HIV, but the exact extent to which this is a problem is difficult to pin down with existing data for reasons I’ll get to in a minute. And I suspect the elevated rates of HIV in our community have far more to do with socioeconomic discrimination than our genitals. So what does the Interagency Coalition on AIDS and Development even say?

Let’s find out: (emphasis mine, plus I’ve added paragraph breaks to make it more readable)

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She’s still a rich Republican

Caitlyn Jenner has said and done no shortage of odious things in defence of the Republican party, but now is an excellent time to remind everyone that her transition is not one of them. In this latest spat, Jenner asserts that Trump would be “good for women and the LGBT community:”

“I’m on the conservative Republican side. I’m not excited with what Obama has done to the economy, to our Constitution, all that kind of stuff. But as far as the transgender community, they’ve actually been very good,” Caitlyn told Stat. “Everybody looks at the Democrats as being better with these issues. But Trump seems to be very much for women. He seems very much behind the LGBT community because of what happened in North Carolina with the bathroom issue. He backed the LGBT community. But in Trump’s case, there’s a lot more unknowns. With Hillary, you pretty much know what you’re gonna get with the LGBT community.”

I’ll make my point short and simple:

I’m not excited with what Obama has done to the economy, to our Constitution, all that kind of stuff.

You’re not excited that Title IX was extended to trans folk? Okay then…

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What trans people mean when we say “misgendering is violence”

Content Notice: Dissecting hate speech, TERFs and transphobia

I’d like to introduce you to a concept, of which there seem to be multiple sources or authors. It’s often called The Violence Pyramid, or another derivative thereof. As would be suggested by the notion of a pyramid, each level facilitates movement to the one above it, the same way one builds a pyramid. In this case, reaching the top is not desirable.

Source: cindywatt

Also from cindywatt:

Psychotherapist Howard Halpern, in a brilliant New York Times piece in 1995, gave a spot on summation of gradual escalation of hate and violence.  He said, “ Social psychologists and demagogues have long known that if ordinary citizens are to be provoked to violent actions against individuals or groups of fellow citizens, it is necessary to sever the empathic bond with those to be attacked by painting them as different and despicable.   We are unlikely to harm a friendly neighbor because she has strong views about equal rights for women, but if we call her a “femi-Nazi,” she becomes “the other” — evil, dangerous, hated.  We are unlikely to harm the couple down the block who are active on behalf of protecting endangered species, but if we call them “environmental whackos,” they become “the other” — weirdos who must be vilified and suppressed as enemies to “normal” Americans. When our shared humanity with those with whom we disagree is stripped away, it becomes acceptable to blow them up. The answer is certainly not to censor such speech, but those who recognize this danger must challenge it wherever it exists, even in those with whom we politically agree.” 

Not to pull a Godwin, but the above proposed pyramid is practically a timeline for Hitler’s rise to power. He unified a particular demographic of Germans and whipped them into a froth over how unfairly they were treated, then he tapped into a pre-existing prejudice (antisemitism) and over the course of his election, and after it, gradually escalated his chosen boogeyman until at least some Germans–enough Germans–felt justified in state-sponsored violence against Jews.

When I react strongly to misgendering, this pyramid is what comes to mind. The bottom stripe mentions “insensitive remarks and non-inclusive language.” I have to wonder: This person is already denying me a critically important aspect of my identity–is there anything else they will take hostage?

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No space for trans folk in trans spaces

Content Notice: Angry use of t-word slur.

I get that Reddit is something of a pseudo-anarchist website in the sense that various subreddits are subject to little outside policing, but that doesn’t mean it is unique in this particular issue: One of the types of people attending trans spaces are “allies” who are desperately scrambling for answers and justification for leaving relationships of partners who have decided to transition.

There’s a reason I place so much value in good-and-proper “NO CIS PEOPLE” spaces. Few and far between, these “allies” are a giant pain in the ass when they enter the “all are welcome” trans spaces. Pro tip: If all are welcome, it ain’t a trans space.

Cis dude posts a story about his wife coming out as a trans man. The “coming out” process was almost two years prior to writing the post–referring to his now-husband as a wife is pretty fucking insulting after that amount of time. A couple months and he’d receive some gentle correction from me. A couple years? Get with the program buddy. But cis dude wants assurances that he’s not transphobic for losing attraction to his spouse.

Well, if all cis dude did was say, “my wife is now my husband and I’m straight, am I transphobic to break off the marriage?” the answer would be no. But he got called out for referring to his spouse as his wife after two frackin’ years into his transition. It just did not register to him that he was belittling his husband’s identity–cis dude’s straightness took priority. Wife this, wife that. Female this, female that. I’m straight. No really, I’m straight straight straight.

Cis dude is promptly called out for it.

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Trans Comedienne on America’s Got Talent

Julia Scotti auditioned for America’s Got Talent with a stand-up routine, and received unanimous approval from the panel:

New Jersey comedian Julia Scotti wowed the audience on America’s Got Talent Tuesday night when she took to the stage to do some stand up. But did she wow the judges?

“In addition to being old, fat, single and broke – in my 401k I have enough for about a month and a half of Netflix – I’m a complete and utter physical wreck. My primary care doctor is a paleontologist.”

The hilarous 63-year-old brought the crowd to their feet, which brought her to tears. When asked by the judges why it took her so long to pursue her passion, she candidly opened up. “Well, for the first 28 years of my life, I was known as Rick Scotti. So this is big for me,” she said.

Although some of the judge’s comments were wildly inappropriate, I am pleased to see Scotti get attention from whatever sliver of Americans watch America’s Got Talent–positive representation of trans people is crucial at this time, and Scotti swept a harshly critical panel to boot.


Didn’t “Try Self-Love Hard Enough:” Transition Reactions p4


Guys, why can’t people ever just be regular wrong? No, they always have to be fractally wrong. *defeated sigh*

Content Notice for all the usual cissexist shit, plus some naturalistic fallacy and aggressive ableism.

Your transition displays a lack of self gratitude and/or is unnatural.

Yes, people have said this to me. This is actually transphobia occurring on the far left. The far right sometimes invokes “natural order” nonsense too, but there’s a special brand of transphobia that is present among otherwise left-leaning cis people: a sort of condescending and ableist pity, where trans folk are understood to transition because they, and I quote an actual chat I’ve had, “failed at loving themselves as they are.”

Gee, that horse is awfully high. How’s the weather up there?

So, let’s address the shepherd’s pie of bullshit made by our high-and-mighty White Cis Saviour. Typical disclaimer: My transition reactions series only addresses my experience of transphobia and gender dysphoria on a more-or-less anecdotal basis and does not constitute some kind of monolithic commentary on gender variance in general.

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