Snapshots of Transgender Life
Pakistan has taken the landmark decision to allow transsexuals to have their own gender category on some official documents.
The country’s Supreme Court has ruled that those Pakistanis who do not consider themselves to be either male or female should be allowed to choose an alternative sex when they apply for their national identity cards.
As my friend commented on this, “Sexual liberation scorecard: ‘Muslim country’=1, U.S.=negative a lot”
looks at what’s behind the right’s attack on a boy with pink nail polish.
… What shouldn’t have even been a news report has become a rallying cry for the right wing to reinforce gender roles—all because Lyons’ son Beckett had neon pink nail polish on his toes. So instead of media outlets like ABC and CNN spending time covering the continuation of several years of war in Afghanistan, Iraq and the new war in Libya, the mainstream press gave hours of time to people who are transphobic and homophobic.
… Erin Brown from the right-wing Media Research Center Network said the ad was “blatant propaganda celebrating transgendered children.” Some have even accused the parents of children who choose to like something outside the normal gender constructs of abusing their children.
[Regarding the various responses to this attack], the push for criminalization has also been troublesome. I would not stand in the way of any actions Polis wants to take as a result of this cruel attack. But the state attorney is speaking about pursuing hate crime charges in a way that is typical of how these laws are applied: framing it as a race-based attack by people of color against a white person. Hate crime laws are disproportionately used in this way, to target those with less power along a specific identity line. The attack was clearly about gender, but hate crime laws exist in a system that criminalizes people simply for being trans or a person of color – or very often both …
… the fact is, locking people up in prison doesn’t protect trans folks. Because trans people, especially trans women of color, are targeted by the police at disproportionate numbers. There are far too many trans folks in prisons, and they are almost universally locked up in the wrong gender facilities, where they face extraordinary violence, lose access to medical care and their support systems, and have very little recourse.
Locking up violent transphobes and people who cheer them on doesn’t actually protect trans folks from violence – there’s a great potential for exposing the most vulnerable in our community to increased attacks inside prisons.
This is also the kind of violence trans folks face way too frequently, and it seldom gets this sort of attention. We desperately need to change the way our culture thinks about gender, need to move away from a reality where folks feel the need to violently defend the compulsory gender binary and think breaking out of our assigned gender boxes erases our humanity. And the answer is certainly not to further victimize a trans woman who’s already experienced too much violence by digging up her personal information, to allow gender-based hatred to become an excuse to increase race-based hatred, or to support a criminal justice system that is a system of violence against trans and gender non-conforming folks and people of color.
A transgender woman, the victim of a brutal hate crime beating in a Baltimore area McDonald’s shown in a cell phone camera video that went viral across the Internet this weekend, has come forward and given an interview on camera to the press. In this video (below,) Chrissy Lee Polis, 22, talks about what actually happened in the McDonald’s restaurant, why her attackers beat her, and how she’s feeling.
“Polis, who said she had a sex-change operation to become a woman, said this isn’t the first time that she’s been picked on physically because of her sexual identity,” writes Jill Rosen in The Baltimore Sun, who adds, “She said she’s been subjected to beatings and even sexual assaults.”
“She said seeing herself all over the Internet and all over the news has been “like walking out of the closet all over again.” Polis is concerned that the public attention could trigger more violence — and worries it could hurt her chances of getting a job. “I want to cry, but I need to hold my head up,” she said,” according to the report filed late Saturday night.
“Her twin brother, Matty Polis, who also lives in Baltimore, said it’s been painful to watch her have to endure these sorts of attacks.”
“My sister has gotten this her entire life,” Matty Polis said. “Being the way she is, she’s always had a hard time,” The Sun article says.
Map: Transgender Employment Rights
MJ intern Gavin Aronsen reports:
A landmark survey of 6,450 trans and gender non-conforming people released in February by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force revealed some disturbing numbers:
- Ninety percent of responders reported facing discrimination at work.
- Unemployment rates were double the national average.
- More than a quarter said they had been fired due to their gender identity.
- Those who had lost their jobs were four times as likely to be homeless and 70 percent more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol.
And, perhaps most remarkably (and most related to Monday’s post), a full 41 percent of responders admitted to having attempted suicide.