Friday, 28 August 2015

Miley Cyrus Comes Out As Pansexual - People's Shit Reactions


I try to avoid some of the 'celebrity gossip' if I can, and try not to really write about it, and whilst this post might seem to initially be just that, please bear with me here.

After months of articles and comments that state the musician Miley Cyrus is bisexual after she made comments about having dated both men and women, Miley has gone on record to better define her sexuality.  She has stated that she is in fact not bisexual, but pansexual.  All good right?

Well, it would appear that a lot of people have issue with her using the label pansexual.  Even people within the LGBT+ community.  Here is the Pink News article on her coming out, pay close attention to the comments section.

Just some of the comments I've seen range from the common and 'funny' jokes about having sex with kitchen utensils (really fucking funny guys) to people stating that pansexuality doesn't even exist, that it's just something made up.


As a pansexual person, you're a bunch of dicks.  As a transgender pansexual person, go fuck yourselves.  Seriously.  Pansexuality is not 'made up', it is not something stupid.  It's certainly not being attracted to pots and pans.

Bisexuality is by the very definition of the word being attracted to men and women.  Men and women.  That's all.  Just those two.  Which is why it's 'bi' sexual, because bi means two.  Get it.  Two.  But, here's the problem, their are more than two genders in the world, more than men and women.  So how does that work then?  Well, that's where pansexual comes in. 


Pansexuality is being attracted to people whatever their biological sex, gender or gender identity.  This means that pansexuality includes trans people, gender fluid, gender queer, bigendered, intersexed, anyone who feels they don't fall into the 'traditional' male or female.


By saying that pansexuality doesn't exist, or that it's made up is not only insulting to those people who self identify as pan, but to people who are trans, gender queer, bi-gendered ect.  As a transgender woman who is pansexual all of these comments just anger and upset me.  Why do people who don't want to be constricted to loving/being attracted to only men and women need to stay within the rigid confines of calling ourselves bisexual?

It strikes me as very hypocritical that people within the LGBT+ community feel the need to police and mock the sexuality of others.  And you wonder why straight people don't give a shit about our rights?

If you're one of the people who thinks that pansexuality is just something that's 'made up' and that it should all just be bisexuality, ask yourself how mocking people who are pan is any different from people saying bisexual people are 'confused' or 'greedy' or need to 'pick one' instead of understanding that you're attracted to men and women?  How is making jokes about pan people being attracted to kitchen items different from people making jokes about gay men or lesbian women?

It's not.  You wouldn't stand for that kind of treatment, so don't think that it's acceptable to act that way towards others yourselves.  The LGBT+ community can't expect the straight community to treat us with dignity and respect if we can't even treat each other that way.

If someone is saying they're a sexuality or gender you've never heard of before, look it up, do some research.  Don't mock them, don't deny their identity and don't be a dick about it.

I'm sick of having my gender and who I am always being called into question, of being accused of being a 'fake' or a 'trap' (really hate that term by the way).  I'm not confused about who I am or just trying to trick people into thinking I'm female.  I'm also pretty damn sick of having my sexuality called into question.  I'm not confused about who I love, I'm not trying to make myself sound special or different from bisexuals.  I'm just me, this is who I am.  Stop attacking me for being me.  Stop insulting me for who I love.  Stop mocking me and trying to make me hate myself.

Amy.
xx

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Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Pretty Little Liars Continues To Offend Trans Community



As reported in a previous article, television show Pretty Little Liars recently revealed their big villain to be a 'crazy' murderous trans woman, in a trope that has been used to hurt the trans community for decades. 

The people behind the show quickly came to their defence, stating that the character wasn't 'crazy' or 'evil' because they were trans, but that it was just something unconnected.  A terrible fake response I know, but they believed their own bull, as did many of their fans.

But things may seem to be slightly worse for them now as the shows official Twitter released an image of the trans character Charlotte, along with the words 'He. She. It. Charlotte' and 'He's alive and he's coming for us.  Isn't he?'

It's bad enough that they are using male pronouns such as he and him along with the photo of a character who is a trans woman, but 'it', well that's just one insult too far.  and it would seem that I'm not the only one who thinks so as ABC were so inundated with criticism that they felt they needed to release a statement to address concerns.

A spokesperson said 'This tweet was in reference to lines Spencer and Hannah have said in previous episodes venting their frustrations about not knowing the identity or gender of their tormentor.'

'It was spoken by these characters a season before they found out that ‘A’ was a transgender character.'

'We updated the reference by including the name Charlotte because it was revealed that Charlotte is ‘A’,' the spokesperson added.  'Once it was tweeted we realised that it could be misinterpreted, and in no way wanted to offend anyone, so we immediately deleted the tweet.'

After the ABC spokesperson commented the shows executive producer Marlene King addressed the Tweet on Instagram. She wrote, 'The Pretty Little Liars official Instagram account is not run by the show’s creators, cast or crew. We too were upset by the post yesterday and were happy to see that it was removed. I encourage all people to be their true selves. And offer my support to the LGBT community.'

Personally, I'm calling bullshit on both apologies.  So far Pretty Little Liars and the people who run the show/social media account have shown little to no regard for the trans community of how what they're doing may be harming us.  They feel like they can say and do whatever they want, and then just say sorry when it blows up in their faces rather than taking the time to think about what they're doing.

The show is only in its mid-season break, but considering that much of the content of the upcoming second half of the s4eason will clearly focus on the new information that Charlotte is 'A', and transgender, I'm sure the show will be providing plenty more insults to the trans community soon.

Amy.
xx

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Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Feminist Lingerie Brand Neon Moon Takes Down Internet Trolls



This week both a feminist lingerie brand called Neon Moon, which I have written about in a previous article, and a Facebook troll group called Project Harpoon became the subject of a lot of articles as the two met in on line battle.

Project Harpoon is a page dedicated to 'inspiring women to reach their natural beauty' and 'spreading thin love', which translates to photoshopping pictures of women to look thinner and fat-shaming women that they feel are not 'perfect'.  When Project Harpoon chose to photoshop one of Neon Moons models, Paulina, company founder Hayat Rachi hit back.

Along with help of Neon Moons many supporters the image was removed, and eventually the whole page was shut down.  A massive victory to feminists everywhere who believe that the sexualisation of women and impossible 'standards of beauty' are harmful.

I was lucky enough to catch up with Hayat earlier today and talk with her about the whole experience.



You've spoken about what's driven you to create your products in the past, and your desire to de-objectify women and portray real people in your campaign, but for those that may be unfamiliar with Neon Moon and your objectives, could you briefly describe yourself to them?

Neon Moon is a feminist underwear brand that does not sexualise or objectify women and LGBTQIA+. Feminism is the social, economic and political equality for all. Women being objectified and sexualised doesn’t give us an equal footing in the world! Neon Moon also chooses not to retouch any of our models – instead their natural attributes such as body hair, acne, cellulite, stretch marks, freckles and scars are highlighted in a body positive way. Neon Moon is fighting the very narrow standard of ‘beauty’ that pressurises girls, women and LGBTQIA+ to look a certain way. Neon Moon also showcases people of colour, which as a Moroccan is very important to me. Neon Moon’s British lingerie ensures the woman creates the shape of the garment and not the other way around!


As someone who is trying to create a healthy positive body image it must have shocked you when you found out about Project Harpoon and the fact that they had altered the images you had put on your website. What was your first thought upon discovering what they had done?


I had never been so shocked. As Neon Moon launched six months ago, being as feminist underwear brand you can probably imagine I’ve received my fair share of death threats and hate towards Neon Moon. But this was something different. This was not only a personal attack on Paulina, but also it went completely against Neon Moon’s values of not retouching our models, and therefore could have tarnished Neon Moon as a start-up brand. It wasn’t just words anymore, it had been the action of photoshopping my brands model and branding her a “depressed chub”. I found out through a supporter, Jade, tweeting me that she had recognised Neon Moon’s model. So at that point it was a fight or flight situation. So I think you know, as the Founder and CEO of Neon Moon feminist lingerie brand, exactly what I’m going to do – I’m going to get revenge on those vile trolls, and let everyone know exactly what they did.

 
Some of the disgusting comments people left on Project Harpoon's photoshoped image.

How did you go about fighting back against Project Harpoon and their supporters?

I got Neon Moon supporters on all of our social media platforms, to report not only their disgusting facebook page that had been around for years, but also Neon Moon’s picture that they had been photoshopped. Neon Moon supporters are a force to be reckoned with. They got hundreds of retweets for me asking people to report Project Harpoon, and thousands of reports to their page. Not only did Facebook remove Neon Moon’s photo directly, but Neon Moon supporters got Project Harpoon’s social media pages removed. I couldn’t have done it by myself, and I really appreciate everyone getting involved.

Did you find Facebook to be particularly helpful in this situation or did you find yourself having to really fight to be listened to as people have described in the past?


Definitely not. They were more of a hindrance than anything else. They wouldn’t remove Neon Moon’s photo on the grounds of hate speech, and a number of supporters sent me screenshots of their reports being unsuccessful. Facebook only removed the retouched photo of our model based on infringement of Neon Moon Ltds copyright. What message are they sending to other body shamers, as the biggest social media platform in the world? Brands have more leverage than people to facebook, and I think that’s morally wrong.

Were you surprised at all by the amount of media attention your fight against Project Harpoon received?


Genuinely surprised. Project Harpoon has been around for years, but the fact that Neon Moon reacted made our fight-back go viral! Some people are annoyed with me, and say that in hindsight I’ve given them press, but this is what I say to them: there was no way I was going to just put up with them photoshopping Neon Moon’s model and not react. It is well within my right to not only get Neon Moon’s photoshopped photo removed, but to then get revenge and get their pages removed. Neon Moon and Neon Moon supporters are not to be messed with. Funnily enough so much good has come out of something so fat-shaming and disgusting. So many more people know about Neon Moon now, as a feminist lingerie brand with guts and an amazing message to all, and I am so humbled by the support! I honestly didn’t expect Neon Moon’s involvement with Project Harpoon to go viral. I had to stand up for my brand, and honestly if the press find it worthy enough to talk about well, it’s beyond my control!

Neon Moon promotes positive body image and refuses to alter any of their models digitally.
I believe I saw on your Facebook page that one of the results of Project Harpoon and the subsequent attention you received is that you have had a large number of women expressing an interest to model for you, is this correct and if so can we expect a whole new range of Neon Moon photo shoots?

So many women affiliate with Neon Moon and I have been overwhelmed with people wanting to model for my brand, and I am extremely humbled. They see it as a personal fightback towards Project Harpoon, and they’re basically sending a message to society that they are happy and healthy, and by modelling for Neon Moon, they are giving a metaphorical middle-finger to society. Neon Moon supporters have also got in touch with amazing ideas for the brand, and as I only work off feedback for Neon Moon, it is literally an ongoing dialogue. I have so many amazing ideas for the future, so stay tuned!  


Neon moon continues to be one of the most refreshing brands in the UK market to date, and has some amazing plans lined up for the future.

Check out their website at www.NeonMoon.co
Read Hayat's original blog post on the subject, here.

Amy.
xx

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Trans Woman Dies Just Days Before Receiving Treatment Letter From NHS


 A 23-year-old trans woman named Synestra De Courcy died on the 26th July, just days before receiving her NHS referral letter.  Her mother blames her death on the lifestyle she was forced to lead after being refused treatment by her GP.

Synestra turned to a life of prostitution in order to fund her hormone treatment with pills bought off the Internet after doctors refused to give her the treatment on the National Health service.  Her mother, Amanda De Courcy, believes that a lack of understanding of what she was going through set into place a series of events that led to her death.

Speaking to a local newspaper Amanda spoke about some of the problems her daughter faced; 'She prostituted herself to afford hormones on the Internet because her GP would not prescribe them.  There was a lack of understanding with was ultimately a death sentence to her.'

Reports also indicate that Synestra not only had to prostitute herself, but was raped on more than one occasion as well as being attacked and robbed.

One of the saddest parts is that just says after hearing the news of her daughters death Amanda received a letter form the NHS with her referral appointment, which would have resulted in her getting treatment on the NHS free of charge.

'It would have been so uplifting to her', Amanda told the press.  'Having watched my child go through the emotional upheavals, the attacks, the rapes, the robberies, the drug taking for solace, I want to make a difference.'

'Every person should have a fundamental right to be themselves.  If they are born in the wrong body it is a disability that needs to be understood and treated.  Her accidental death is a tragedy for us as a family - but there are so many people out their that are in a similar position to my daughter.'

To this end Amanda is setting up a charity called Synestra's Trust.

The trust is being sponsored by the University of the Arts in London, where Synestera studied, and her old school St. Christopher in Letchworth.


Amy.
xx

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Monday, 24 August 2015

Jerusalem Pride Attacker Charged With Murder


Last month during the Jerusalem Pride march a knife wielding man went on a rampage, attacking several people that left five wounded and 16-year-old Shira Banki dead.  Today an Israeli court has charged the man with murder.

Yischai Schlissel, who was released from prison just weeks before the Pride attack for having attacked the same parade in 2005, was arrested at the scene and has today appeared in court to face charges.

Legal proceedings have up to now been delayed as Schlissel has repeatedly stated that he does not recognise the legitimacy of the court and has refused counsel.  He has refused to comply with court proceedings, claiming; 'You have no authority to judge me according to the laws of the Torah, so I'm uninterested in the representation'.

As well as the murder of 16-year-old Shira Banki, Schissel was also charged with aggravated assault and six counts of attempted murder.

It is reported that prior to the parade Schlissel circulated a leaflet that read; 'It is the obligation of every Jew to keep his soul from punishment and stop this giant desecration of God's name next Thursday.  There is an obligation to stop the parade of sin at all costs.'

Amy.
xx

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US Marine Admits Choking Trans Woman to Death


United States Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton, who was stationed near Manila in the Philipenes, admitted during his trial that he choked transgedner woman Jennifer Laude to death after he found out that she was trans.

Posting on Twitter, the lawyer for the victim, Harry Roque, said that 'he restrained Jennifer through an arm lock until she stopped moving'.



Roque has stated that Pemberton has justified his actions by claiming that he feared being raped when he discovered Laude was transgender, so choked her to death out of 'self defence'.

Pembertons mother spoke in court last week, stating that her son's a 'good character' and that he does not discriminate against the LGBT+ community.

The case is currently ongoing.

It is currently unclear if Pemberton's defence will pay off for him, but it's a sad statistic that in many parts of the world, and even all but one state in America, trans panic is a viable defence for the murder of transgender women.

As ridiculous as 'I was scared she would rape me so I murdered her' is as a defence, many courts around the world have let murderers walk free using this very same defence. 

Amy.
xx

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Saturday, 22 August 2015

Homeless Man Charged in Brutal Beating of Philadelphia Trans Woman


Philadelphia policed have released a statement reporting that a 53-year-old trans woman was brutally attacked and hospitalised on the 18th of August and still remains in critical condition.

The attack was reportedly captured on CCTV surveillance, where the victim is seen to be repeatedly punched and nicked whilst unconscious.  Philadelphia police also reported that after the victim 'lay motionless' on the ground the attacker stomped on her head several times before making off with her purse.

Police have charged 22-year-old homeless man Marcus Jones with the attack, and stated that he has in the past committed two similar crimes, on against a 61-year-old male and another against a 48-year-old woman.

Police have not commented on the motive behind the attack, though it is entirely possible based on the previous attacks that it was not motivated by the victims gender.

The police department did not initially report the victim as being transgender as the Philadelphia Police have instigated a new policy on appropriate gender pronoun usage.  'She identifies as a black female,' Deputy Commissioner Kevin Bethel said, 'so we'll identify her as a black female'.

Amy.
xx

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Thursday, 20 August 2015

Why Is It Taking A Celebrity Saying Something For The Media To Hear Trans Voices?






Chances are if you're reading this then you're somewhat familiar with the frightening statistics of trans women being murdered, the fact that it's increasing not just in number but in frequency, that with four months of the year left the figures in America are already higher than the whole of 2014.


Even before the figures reached the numbers that they're currently sitting on the trans community have been saying that things have been getting worse for a while.  We've been calling it a state of emergency for months.  But in all that time we've been ignored.  The statistics have been swept under the carpet and our thousands of voices have been silences.  The media doesn't want to know.

If anything, the media have been making things worse for our community.  They've been reporting our victims with incorrect names and pronouns, refusing to acknowledge them as their true gender.  We've been vilified, the past of murder victims poured over for any ting infraction in their past to paint them in a poor light.  The media doesn't want to know, but when it has been getting involved they've been working against the community.

Today seems to be different though, all I've been seeing is headlines about the 'State of Emergency' that the transgender community is going through.  Great, the media finally heard us and has started to tell our story.  Oh, wait, it's only because a celebrity has said the same thing.

Okay, yes, the celebrity in question is Laverne Cox, and I'm not having a go at her in any way because I think not only is she a great actress but she's doing great things for the trans community.  No, my problem is with the media, which is really ironic for someone in the media to say but please bear with me here.



My issue is this, if thousands of transgender and gender non-conforming people are taking to social media to say that things are at the worst we've seen in a long time, that our people are dieing in the streets why are our points ignored until a celebrity says the same thing?

It's not just this time either, a few weeks ago the trans community began to campaign against the new Stonewall film for whitewashing and ciswashing history.  We were called complainers, troublemakers, idiots and a whole host of much worse words, but we weren't listened to, then I saw news sites being to change their tune when celebrities began to say the same thing as us, especially cis celebrities such as Mara Wilson.  Mara Wilson herself even questioned as to why her opinion on the matter was even considered to be 'news'.


Once again, why were tens of thousands of trans women saying something that made the media either ignore us or label us as 'bad people', yet as soon as a celebrity joined the fight suddenly our cause might have a bit of weight to it?

Because without backing the trans community is looked at as 'crazy'.  We cause a fuss about nothing, our views are strange and pointless unless a famous person gives us a seal of approval.  Even our cis allies get ignored until that point that a celebrity starts singing the same tune.

The trans community don't just kick up a fuss about nothing, our history gets erased, our health care is denied to us, our right to use the bathroom is fought over, our people are being killed.  These aren't petty little squabbles that should be brushed off and ignored until someone with a louder voice joins us.  If tens of thousands of people are saying something, you need to start paying attention to what they are saying.

If it wasn't the trans community going through this the media would be reporting it a hell of a lot more, but because it's us we've got to wait until someone on TV gives us the thumbs up before our points are even considered.

Trans people are getting more of the spotlight than we have in the past, but we're sure as hell not being listened to or respected yet.  Far from it.

Amy.
xx

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Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Pizzeria Offers Backhanded Apology For Using 'Tranny' in ad Campaign


 David DeSantis, owner of Jammin Pie, a Cobb County pizza restaurant, has issued an 'aplogy' after coming under fire for running an advert using the transphobic hate word 'tranny' that openly mocked trans people.

The ad in question was released on Facebook and featured an image of a frozen pizza and the caption 'If you can't tell the difference between delivery and DiGiorno, there's a good chance you've been fooled by a tranny once or twice too'.

A day after the image went on line the Atlanta-based Health Initiative, which works closely on LGBT+ health care issues, called DeSantis out on his advert, calling the image 'disparaging' and asking for their supporters to express their disgust with the restaurant;

'TAKE ACTION: This type of disparaging language and attitude contributes to the poor treatment trans & gender-nonconforming individuals receive on a daily basis, ranging from employment & health care scenarios to simply feeling safe in public spaces. Please call The Jammin Pie in Kennesaw at 770-792-8989 and let them know exactly how you feel about this post. #DeliverThis #HateIsNotATopping'

DeSantis' initial response was not one of understanding or regret, rather trying to justify his actions as being a 'joke';

'This is a classic example of someone who needs to get a sense of humour... To say that I don't support freedom for gays, trannies, heteros, homos, martians, plutonians, and even for politicians is absolutely absurd... But I do have a sense of humour and this is funny... This is the example of what I mean when I say that I am non PC... Get a clue and know who to hate dumba$$... is calling you a narrow minded idiot who tangled with the wrong business hate? maybe all my customer should take action and point out that you don't know what the crap you are talking about.'

Despite his claims of being 'non-PC' Desantis and his restaurant have a history of showing support for the LGBT+ community, even changing their profile picture to the rainbow flag the day after the U.S. Supreme Court legalised same sex marriage.

After being pressed further DeSantis did chose to release an apology;

'So here we go... walk a mile in another man's shoes... did it all night last night, stiletto pumps are a bitch btw... i am a kind good man that likes to laugh with everyone at my shop and I guess as of yesterday the only time in the future I use the word tranny, it will be in reference to automatic or manual and if you were offended i truly apologise as this comparison of the T word to the N word has shed new light on my personal understanding of your feelings... the problem that I have is the reverse hate and how quickly people want to tie a person to a stake and toss a match. I also think The Health Initiative is full of sh!t Nazi crap... your a propaganda machine at best as a responsible organisation truly missions with education would have at least called me and educated me before trying to end the lively hood of a good man with great kids and a kind hearted blessing of a wife and a store full of staff of all races sexual orientations religious beliefs but with a common denomination of being good hardworking people... your post was a shot at trying to gain viral attention and unscrupulous in nature... Coexist is what TJP has always done and with action not words... our menu is Halal friendly, our support of children and local causes has stretched me to the point of personal poverty believe it or not, but I continue to give and know in the end God will provide a penitent man...

Our sales were higher than ever last night so I am not saying this out of need... in my conservative area this post might actually hurt me... but non the less here it is, from the heart, as always. Nothing I do is driven by the dollar and I always put myself last... My poor wife had her honeymoon and promised first anniversary vacations both donated to charity because we felt causes outweighed our need for a trip... We live our support everyday... Before you throw your stone now... it's time for YOU to walk in my shoes and if you can't back up your verbal venom with actions, then you are a hypocrite and your mission is not education or the promotion of human good will... your on a witch hunt and have negated your validity as a person trying to forge a positive future and you bring shame to your cause... TJP DemonDave'

I'm sorry, but that's just not good enough.  To attack a group or organisation who called you out  for your poor actions is not apologising, if anything this is the perfect example of how to apologise without ever saying sorry.  This statement is full of 'woe-is-me' crap about how he suffered due to having his bigotry called out, full of 'I'm a nice guy don't judge me' statements by outlining how he's 'suffered' over the years by doing good and even dares to suggest that people need to 'walk in my shoes'.

Well no Mr DeSantis, but you're full of crap.  When you're making 'jokes' about an incredibly marginalised group, helping to reinforce stereotypes that trans women are trying to 'fool' men and use one of the worst slur words at your disposal we shall not be taking a walk in your shoes.

Maybe you should try taking a walk in our shoes, a walk full of people who stare at you in the street, who shout abuse at you, where doctors refuse to help you, where family turn their backs on you, where we get attacked and even killed.  Maybe once you've experienced the fear of not knowing if you're going to survive every time you leave your home we can talk.

I don't care if you think it was 'funny' or not, by spreading 'jokes' like that you are adding to the oppression and hate that the trans community suffer every single day.

Amy.
xx

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Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Trans Woman Tamara Dominguez Murdered in Missouri; Victim 17


 Just days after the tragic loss of three transgender women of colour another name is being added to the ever growing list of trans women killed simply for being who they really are.

Tamara Dominguez from Kansas City has become the latest transgender woman to be killed, bringing the current total in the US to 17, almost 50% more than the whole of 2014.

Dominguez was seen by witnesses stepping out of a black SUV when the driver then hit her with the vehicle. According to all eyewitness accounts he then ran her over at least two more times.  In a bizarre twist police are not labelling the attack a hate crime, despite the driver running her over with his vehicle multiple times.

Her family and friends have been laying flowers and messages of love at the scene of the brutal crime.

Tamara's death brings the number of trans people murdered in the US this year to a new total of 17, all of them women, most of them trans women of colour..

Rest in peace Tamara.

#HerNameWasTamara

Amy.
xx

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Monday, 17 August 2015

3 Trans Women of Colour Reported Murdered in 24 Hour Period


Normally when we lose a trans person I try to write an article about them, I try to give each of them some time in the spotlight of what I'm writing.  I share their name, I spread the story of how they died.  This time though it's a little different.

On Saturday morning I did my normal check through my social media and news messages to catch up on what I missed during the night.  I was saddened and shocked to find out that not one, or even two, but three trans women were being reported as muredered.

Elisha Walker, Ashton O'Hara and Kandis Capri.

Elisha Walker, aged 20, went missing last year, her body was found in a 'crude grave' in Johnston county, North Carolina.

Ashton O'Hara, aged 25, was found murdered in the same park in Detroit where Amber Monroe was found killed just the week before.

Kandis Capri, aged 35, was shot to death outside of her friends apartment in Phoenix.

Despite the fact that the three women were killed at different times their murders were all reported within the same day, a day that is going to sit heavy for many in the transgender community.

The loss of these three women bring the total number of trans women killed in the United States to sixteen.  The total number killed in the US last year was only twelve.  We're at sixteen and we've still got almost a third of the year left to go.  Things aren't getting better.

There are many people who are saying that things are getting better for the trans community.  Transgender celebrities like Janet Mock, Laverne Cox and Caitlyn Jenner are making the headlines and putting a positive face on the community.  Laws are changing to make things better for us.  We're becoming seen as regular people, not the 'monsters' society used to paint us as.  It's all great for the trans community right now.

Except, it's not.  We're becoming more visible in the public eye yes, but everything else is getting worse for us.  The rate of murder of trans people, and particularly trans people of colour, is rising.  We're facing numerous anti-trans laws and legislation designed to strip us of our rights.  We can be openly discriminated against with little to no repercussions for those that do.  We have trouble receiving much needed medical care and treatment.  We have our history erased in popular culture.  We get mocked and attacked in the street. 

So what I want to say to cis people right now is this, the trans community is strong, it has to be.  We'll come back from all of these adversities, and come back stronger, but don't for a second think that things are okay for us right now.  We are facing hardships and threats that we don't deserve.  We're being denied our human rights, we're facing violence and discrimination.  We're being killed in the streets like animals.

It has to stop, but we can't stop it on our own.  You need to help us.  Challenge those who would mock us, vote against anti-trans laws, complain about trans erasure, stand up to those who would wish us harm.

The trans community is made up of fighters, we will fight this, but please don't let us face it alone.

The average life expectancy of trans people is 38.  38 years old.  That's nothing.  Through suicide, ill health and murder our expected time alive is less than 40, the age where apparently 'life begins'.  That statistic terrifies me, and it should terrify you too.  It should enrage you.  Why do trans people have such short lives?  Why are they dieing so young?  Because of everything we have to face.  Because we're being murdered.

Media still reports on the murder of trans people whilst mocking us.  They use our past names and pronouns, they try to find criminal activity in our past to show that we were not 'innocent'.  They show less concern for our growing murder rate than they do the killing of a lion.

I know I might get some backlash for saying that, everyone seems to love Cecil the Lion, but think about it, really, in the weeks since the whole Cecil thing what have you heard about more in the news or on social media, a lion being killed or the half dozen trans women killed?  I'm betting a lot of you are going to have to say the lion if you're being honest.

And that's part of the problem, the media is quicker to latch onto a story such as that and run with it for weeks or more than murdered trans women because one is looking at the crimes of an individual and the other is looking at the crimes of a whole community.

It's easy to look at one person who everyone can vilify and say 'well I'm better than that, I'm a good person' than looking at the systematic abuse of a whole minority that would make people have to take a very hard look at their own behaviour.

I'm not saying that everyone is to blame, that would be unfair and untrue, but most of you are playing a part in what the trans community are facing.  You might not be the ones shooting us, stabbing us, beating us to death, but you're adding to the hardships we face.

If you ignore the anti-trans laws being proposed as 'not your problem', then you're helping towards our oppression.  If you laugh at a TV show that makes a tranny joke, you're helping towards our oppression.  If you see a trans person being harassed and do nothing, you're adding to our oppression.  If you use the wrong names or pronouns, you're adding to our oppression.

Don't be one of those people that makes our lives harder.  Don't be one of those people that helps lower our life expectancy.  Change your attitudes, challenge our oppressions, stand as an ally.  We're going to keep on fighting because we don't have a choice.  We're going to keep being abused, we're going to keep being killed, but if you help us maybe that can one day stop.

Amy.
xx

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Thursday, 13 August 2015

'Pretty Little Liars' Big Villain Reveal is Transphobic and Hackneyed


 For the past six seasons ABC drama 'Pretty Little Liars' has been stringing the audience along in a mystery that has been plaguing the audience since the show first hit screens back in 2010.  Who is 'A'?  For those not in the know, A is a mysterious figure that has been plaguing the 'heroes' of the show since the very first episode in a campaign to destroy their lives.

On Wednesday the identity of the big villain of the show was revealed.  A was in fact Charlotte 'CeCe' DiLaurentis, and that in the past Charlotte was Charles.  Yep, the show has revealed not only who the villain is, but they've gone with the old villain is transgender trope.  Well done ABC, you've managed to stoop incredibly low on this one.

Now, the shows producers and writers have come out as saying that the character of CeCe comes from a 'crazy' family, and that all of her actions and her past have nothing to do with being transgender, simply from her upbringing and the way her family is.

I'm sorry, but that excuse just isn't good enough.  It doesn't matter what the characters past is, how 'crazy' her family is or the things they have done.  People are not going to see this reveal as being 'because of her crazy family', they'll be seeing it as the 'evil tranny' trope.

It's been done so many times in the past, from the Bathtub Killer serial killer from CSI, who not only featured as the franchises very first murderer but also became 'arch-nemesis' of the lead, to Einhorn in Ace Ventura, which resulted in causing men to vomit, and even Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs who kidnapped and skinned women to make a women suit.  And these are the first three examples I can think of off the top of my head.

Film and television have a very dangerous past of portraying trans people, and trans women especially, in one of three main roles; murder victims, sex workers and killers/criminals.  It's only been fairly recently that trans women have been cast as 'regular' people, i.e. a role where their being trans does not define who they are.

I know that 'Pretty Little Liars' is something of a 'fluff' show for a teen audience, but that doesn't mean that they shouldn't put any thought into the types of characters that they are putting on screen.  They've not made a villain who also happens to be transgender, they've made a villain who shows that transgender people are bad.  That may not have been their intention bu that's the result they're going to get.

Having the 'big bad' turn out to be trans isn't just ill thought out, it's offensive.  They've taken a list of negative stereotypes and checked off each and every one of them.  The character spent time in a mental institute; trans people are crazy.  The character lied throughout the show; trans people are deceivers and can't be trusted.  The character transitioned to help with their plans; trans peoples identities aren't real.  The character set out to hurt people; trans people are dangerous.  Every negative stereotype and device to make a trans villain are used.

If the writers and producers wanted a trans character, why make her the villain?  In a world where the number of trans women killed is increasing each year do you really want to promote the idea that trans women are not to be trusted, that we're out to hurt people for our own psychotic ends?

The shows writers managed, in one fell swoop, created a character that captures every negative stereotype in one, that reinforces all of the right wing anti-lgbt+ propaganda and actively hurts the trans community.

Trans health care is appalling, the odds of a trans person finding a job or housing are incredibly low, and we're being killed on average every 29 hours.  Our life expectancy is less than 40.  In a world like that do you really think portrayals like this help in any way?

You're not representing trans people.  You're not helping our community.  You're adding to a series of oppression and hate.  You are keeping us out of health care, out of work and on the streets.  You are helping people to kill us.

You should feel ashamed of yourselves and you owe the whole transgender community one hell of an apology.

Amy.
xx

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Wednesday, 12 August 2015

22 Year Old Trans Woman Shade Schuler Murdered in Dallas, Reported As Male By Police and News Networks


On July 29th police in Dallas, Texas found a body dumped in a field, the body was so badly decomposed that it has taken them two weeks to be able to identify the body.  The body was that of 22 year old trans woman of colour Shade Schuler.

Despite finding Shade presenting in women's clothing when the police petitioned for help identifying the body they described her as male.

Unfortunately this misgendering has continued even now that Shade's identity has been confirmed, completely disrespecting her identity and her memory.  Dallas Morning News this morning released a story describing Shade as male, along with the DPD news release on her story.

It was Trans Pride Initiative's Nell Gaither who confirmed that Shade was transgender.

'Several of us spent time verifying she was trans and trying to learn more this afternoon and evening,” Gaither wrote on Facebook Tuesday night. “Her name was Ms. Shade, and she was only 22 years old. … Our hearts and thoughts are with her family and friends who now must confront this unfortunate taking of life. May we find space in our hearts to celebrate her time with us and the lives she touched. May we find inspiration in this loss to work together, trans and cis alike, to end the violence that has taken so many of our trans siblings from us far too soon.'

Shade marks the 13th trans person to be killed in just the US alone this year, surpassing the number of killings in America for the whole of 2014.

The number of trans women, and trans women of colour especially, being murdered in on the increase, and the number of news reports that still refuse to give those women the respect that they deserve by addressing them with their correct names and pronouns is staggering.

These are women being targeted and killed for being who they are.  They are not men.  They have never been men.  Stop disrespecting their memories, show them some common human decency and respect their memories.

Goodbye Shade, our hearts go out to you and your loved ones.

#HerNameWasShade

Amy.
xx

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Sunday, 9 August 2015

Amber Monroe Found Murdered, Becomes 12th Trans Woman Killed in US This Year


Reports have just become to come in this morning that twenty year old Amber Monroe has been found shot and killed in Detroit.  Amber was a black transgender woman, making her the 12th trans woman to be killed in the US this year alone.

Her death was reported by Equality Michigan;

'The body of 20-year old Amber Monroe was found murdered in Detroit this morning. Early reports claim that she was shot, but information is still developing and no details have been released by the Detroit Police Department.
Amber was a black transgender woman barely 20 years old who studied at Wayne State University, and loved her friends and Vogueing.
“Our hearts are heavy with grief that we have lost another vibrant member of our community too soon. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of Amber’s family and friends whom she clearly loved deeply,” said Yvonne Siferd, Director of Victim Services for Equality Michigan.
“We have no idea yet whether this attack was fuelled by transphobia, but we do know that Amber’s murder is the 12th murder of a transgender woman in the United States this year, and the 10th murder of a transgender woman of colour. Transgender women, and especially transgender women of colour, are disproportionately affected by violence.
Her life was just beginning; I know that this loss will leave so many people with a hole in their lives and with more questions than answers. Let’s come together to celebrate her life, and work for real change so that our transgender sisters can be free from persecution. I know we can do better. We have to do better.'

Amber is the latest in an ever expanding series of victims of transphobic abuse and murder.  The 12th trans woman killed in the United States since the beginning of 2015 she is also one of dozens of women killed globally.  
Despite people's views that things are getting better for trans women, that we have more media representation, that our rights are increasing, the harsh truth of the matter is the number of trans people, especially trans women of colour, that are being brutally murdered simply for being transgender is not slowing down, if anything it is increasing.  
Amber was a beautiful young woman, barely twenty years old, with her entire life ahead of her, yet she had that life cut short.  I say this to myself every time I see one of these reports, every time I write that we've lost another of our beautiful sisters, but please let this be the last one.  Please stop killing us.
#HerNameWasAmber
Amy.
xx

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Friday, 7 August 2015

20 Years After Tyra Hunter Has Health Care Gotten Better For Transgender People?


It feels mildly appropriate that the 20th anniversarry of the death of Tyra Hunter has fallen on the same week that the #TransHealthFail hash tag has been highlighting the poor treatment transgender people have to face when dealing with medical professionals.

For those unaware, Tyra Hunter was a twenty four year old African-American transgender woman, who after being involved in a traffic collision as a passenger was left to die by emergency medical technicians and ER staff after they discovered that she was transgender.

Tyra was insulted and and received derogatory comments from both EMT's and hospital staff and had treatment withdrawn from her for nothing more than being trans.

The people responsible were found guilty in court in 1998 and Tyra's family was awarded compensation due to breaking of the Human Rights Act, negligence and medical malpractice.

Twenty years is a long way for society to progress, and many of you might be thinking that following what happened to Tyra things must be much better now right?  Well, if the accounts of mistreatment highlighted by trans people just this week is anything to go by, no, things haven't got much better.

From the tweets that I myself have seen thankfully no one has spoken about anyone dieing due to negligence, but the sheer amount of disrespect, refusal of treatment and lack of compassion people have reported means that things aren't really too different now than when Tyra was left to die.

As reported in a previous article, trans people have been reporting numerous acts of being intentionally misgendered and dead named even after expressly telling medical staff correct names and pronouns.  People have been publicly humiliated in front of other medical staff and the public.  They have been refused treatment, even when asking for help with issues that have nothing to do with being trans.  They have been told that they are simply delusional by psychologists and therapists.

Some of the experiences faced by trans people when applying for medical care.

None of these things are what anyone should have to go trough when seeking medical treatment, especially when their have been proven cases, like Tyras, where it shows that people die because of treatment like this.

The world is patting itself on the back for how far we have come, for the progress of the LGBT+ community, for the new rights we have received.  But no one wants to address an issue as massively important as trans people being allowed to suffer because medical practitioners simply have no concept of how to help us, or are letting personal prejudice cloud their view.

Tyra Hunter wasn't the first trans person left to die in her hour of need by people who swear oaths to preserve life, and she isn't the last.  We can't delude ourselves, things haven't gotten any better for the trans community when our lives are on the line.

Amy.
xx

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Thursday, 6 August 2015

Historically Accurate Stonewall Film Needs Support


As much as the terrible whitewashing and trans erasure of the Hollywood version of Stonewall is a bad thing, and judging from the responses on line potentially the start of another trans/poc riot, one good thing that has come from it is the amount of people now talking about Stonewall and the real history that happened there.

The good news is, you're not the only pones who want a historically accurate film, and one is on the way.  An independent film called 'Happy Birthday, Marsha!' is currently in the works and fill focus squarely on the trans women, drag queens and people of colour who actually played pivotal roles in the riots rather than fictitious white men.

Written, directed and produced by an actual trans woman of colour, Reina Gossett, and starring trans women of colour the film aims to be as historically accurate as possible and represent the people who were actually at the riots.

Directors Reina Gossett and Sasha Wortzel

In a statement released by the film makers they say;

'We truly believe how we tell the stories of our heroes matters, so we are drawing upon our community to make this film because we have an opportunity to make a movie written, directed and produced by people living Sylvia & Marsha's legacy through our work.  It's been 45 years since the Stonewall rebellion yet the leading role that street queens, trans women of colour and gender non-conforming people had during the riots hasn't received the recognition it deserves.  By making 'Happy Birthday, Marsha!' we are seeking to change that.'

The film has been so dedicated to be as accurate as possible that they even sent out a casting call for actual trans people of colour to audition for the film, rather than recasting them to white actors or actresses.

The casting call sent out to find actual trans women to play important roles.
The film is now in the stages of post production but still needs our support in order to see the project reach completion.  They are seeking donations to help them bring an accurate depiction of this massively important historical event to screens, rather than letting people be brainwashed by the trash being produced by Roland Emmerich.

Please, head over to their website and if you can donate to help the cause, and if you can't donate then share the message with others and get them the support they rightly deserve.

Amy.
xx

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