The Incredible Shrinking Phallus

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Meditations on privilege

Update on the stabbing of two DC trans women

News 8 reports that the victim of yesterday’s stabbing was Tyli’a “Nana Boo” Mack1, aged 21. The stabbing of her and her unnamed friend may be investigated as a hate crime, DC police say.

According to Tyli’a’s friend Patria Dickerson,

Nana Boo did not take verbal abuse on the street silently. “Me and her [were] together an hour before she got murdered. She’s outspoken and she’s not going to let anybody say what they want to say to her,” she said.

Right on, Nana. It will be sad if your exercising your right to defend yourself from the bullshit trans women, especially those who are of color (as Nana was), are often asked to put up with is played as “contributing” to you murder. According to the Washingtom Blade, Nana was involved with Transgender Health Empowerment. According to a witness who spoke to the second stabbing victim, Nana was introducing her friend to the services offered by THE. If her friend is early in her transition, it likely explains why we have not yet heard her name.

There will be a vigil Friday at 6:30 at 209 Q street, the site of the stabbing.

The reward for information on Nana’s murder and her friend’s stabbing have been raised to $25,000.

Beverly Mack, Nana’s mother, puts it simply:

“[m]y child was born just like everyone else — through a mother’s womb,” she said. “And I don’t think it’s fair for other people to take other people’s lives.”

Disagreeing with how someone lives her live doesn’t give you license to kill her. My thoughts are with the Mack family. May they find peace and receive justice.

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1. Reports refer to the victim by several names. Most seem to generally refer to her by as Nana (well, the ones that aren’t calling her by her male name), but I wanted to provide all the names she may have been known as. It is, of course, especially common for trans people to have several names or nicknames throughout their transitions.

Filed under: Gender, sex, and sexuality, Race, ethnicity, and color, , , , , , ,

One trans woman killed, another other attacked in DC

The Sexist at Washington City Paper reports that at around 2:30 Wednesday, two trans women were stabbed on Q street in Northwest Washington DC, USA. The source above refers to the murdered person as a trans woman while this source refers to the victim as a trans man, adding insult to fucking injury. As the source above has “men” corrected to “women,” I’m forced to assume that reporters received and passed on unvetted some transmisogynist bullshit, which appears to have stemmed from the police themselves (surprise, surprise).

Reports are sketchy right now, with some sources referring to a possible fight between the victim and the other woman who was stabbed, and some pointing to a “black male.” (Eye roll)

Current stories include:
USA 9
MyFox DC
NBC Washington

Where you see ungendering or misgendering, please comment or e-mail the reporter to refer her or him to the the AP’s stylebook, quoted here. Other good resources are National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association Stylebook Supplment on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Terminology, (mentioned on the above link) National Center for Transgender Equality’s Media section

I’ll keep an eye on this– if you know anything else, please comment.

Filed under: Gender, sex, and sexuality, , , , , , ,

There are times when we are absolutely nowhere 1

I just saw this clip via The Angry Black Woman:


(embed is fickle. If it’s not showing up, click here.2)

This is just the latest of videos of truly violent3, jaw-droppingly appalling, often racially- or ethnically-charged4 conduct at town halls on health care reform. But sometimes, I see stuff like this and it is just too much.

Because are you fucking kidding me with this? To say “heil Hitler” to an Israeli Jew, as an accusation, as an insult because you disagree with him on how large the government should be, and whether it should provide health care for its citizens. There is still so much work to do and there are times when I am not up to any of it. I understand anger-baiting, but I also understand cruelty, malice, bad faith, and evil. And there is something evil in this. Rabbi Menachem Mendel said:

Intolerance lies at the core of evil. Not the intolerance that results from any threat or danger. But intolerance of another being who dares to exist. Intolerance without cause. It is so deep within us, because every human being secretly desires the entire universe to himself. Our only way out is to learn compassion without cause. To care for each other simply because that ‘other’ exists.”

Several protesters hold signs against health care reform. One man holds a sign that says 'we have not idea what they we are talking about.' On the sign, several arrows point at the people around him. In front of him, a girl holds a sign reading 'sorry, we thought reading the bill was ur job.'

This quote always brings up another for me. In “Mother Night,” a book about a playwright-turned Nazi propagandist, Kurt Vonnegut writes

There are plenty of good reasons for fighting, but no good reason ever to hate without reservation, to imagine that G-d Almighty Himself hates with you, too. Where’s evil? It’s that large part of every man that wants to hate without limit, that wants to hate with G-d on his side.

I watched the above video with a good friend of mine, who is not Jewish, but whose gay great uncle was killed in the Holocaust. He, too felt flabbergasted, but a short while later we were trying to light a fire which kept dying. He called the efforts lame and I told him that was an ableist term. He gave me such a look of annoyance, though occasionally he will apologize when I call him on “retarded,” and has learnt the term “hipster racism.” Where do you go with this? What do you do in a world that wants to hate without limit? I can understand wanting a small government. I can understand not trusting politicians. To disagree what sorts of programs a government should provide. To get upset when you see people stand in opposition to your ideals, even to lash out occationally.

But I cannot understand the baseless, monstrous comparisons to Adolf G-ddamned Hitler; strapping on guns and publicly, proudly threatening the president; I cannot understand a willful abandonment of humanity for inhumanity, the hatred of the other who dares to exist.

So. Where do you go with this?5 Where do you find that compassion without cause? How do you care for the other when the other is against (health) care? Where do you find love to combat intolerance so visceral?

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1. “The West Wing,” “Take This Sabbath Day.” Sam Seaborn to Leo McGarry on the President’s refusal to take a stand against capital punishment.
2. For those unable to view or hear the video, the title tells you the long and short of it. An Israeli man is talking about how in Israel, they care for people, particularly soldiers, and provide everyone with health care. As he speaks, a woman off camera shouts “Heil Hitler.” He says to the reporter “did you hear that? She said to a Jew ‘Heil Hitler’.” He then confronts her: “I’m a Jew, you’re telling me ‘Heil Hitler?’ Shame of you! Shame of you!” Full transcript when I have headphones.
3. Hate crime-tracking groups report upswing in activity against President Obama, a health care protester uses Twitter to encourage people to carry and even use guns at town meetings, a Tampa town hall turns violent and is cancelled
4. Black Rep. David Scott (D-Georgia)’s offices are vandalized with a four-foot swastika following a town hall meeting, a woman has her poster of Rosa Parks ripped out of her hands. If you’re not quite sure about this racial undercurrent, I invite you to take a look at the comment section of virtually any piece about health care reform.
5. Me? I intellectualize.

Filed under: Uncategorized, , , , , ,

BREAKING NEWS: Lady Gaga’s genitals are not our business!!!

The blog Queers United reports:

Pop star sensation Lady Gaga surprised her millions of fans by parading on stage without an underwear showing that she is intersex and has male and female genitalia. This has not yet been confirmed, but the video is certainly interesting.

There’s then an unsourced quote attributed to Lady Gaga where she says that she has both female and male genitalia and IDs as female, and below that a YouTube video of the performance in question, which I will NOT be embedding. I watched the video because I thought that she took off all her clothes and said something like “I am proud to be an intersex woman.” That is not what happened. Rather, she was sitting on a motorcycle and her dress started riding up. She tried pulling it down, then climbed off it (with the motorcycle between her and the audience) and gave her dress a quick tug, all while continuing her stage patter.

Everything about the post I linked to above is hugely problematic. First, Lady Gaga was not coming out as intersex. She was going through her day-to-day life as a performer, doing her job and looking the way people expect her to look. She wasn’t “parading” around without underwear. She was wearing a very tight dress that might have shown panty lines. And if it had, that’s what people would be talking about right now because, really, how tacky, doesn’t she know better, no one wants to see that, get a clue.

What did happen is that Lady Gaga opted not to wear underwear and when getting off of a motorcycle resulted in a quick flash, it suddenly became okay for footage of her genitals to be circulated, presumably without her consent under titles like “Lady Gaga has a penis? Lady Gaga is a man?”, “Proof!! LADY GAGA is a MAN!”, or “Breaking news: Lady GaGa is actually a MAN!” and marked with pop-ups encouraging us to view “some of the funniest drunken shamings” on the internet. That’s not coming out. That’s exploitation, predicated on the belief that women’s and genitals that are “abnormal” or unexpected in any way are public property.

If she is intersex and chooses to come out as such, that would be great. If was assigned female at birth and chooses to come out as a woman with a large labia, awesome. If she was assigned male at birth and wants to share that with us, more power to her. But it was never the public’s business and it is shameful that footage of her crotch is the way she’s going to come out.

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Psst: if you read the LJ group Intersexed and saw a very similar comment there, that was me, I promise.
EDIT: Thanks to Lisa at Questioning Transphobia for cross-posting for me!

Filed under: Gender, sex, and sexuality, , , ,