Archive for the 'trans issues' Category

27
Mar
09

It’s definitely time to find a new sex advice columnist…

I did say in the wake of Prop 8 that if Dan Savage kept it up with the racism I’d have to stop liking him altogether. And while I haven’t seen that kind of overt racism from him since, a) I’m sure it’s still there, b) he’s been terribly offensive about bisexuals more times than I can count, as well as not having a good record with fat folks and people living with domestic violence, and c) this week we have some equally shocking transphobia. There will be no more “He’s a good sex advice columnist, but…” from me anymore. I’m flat out of patience and excuses. If anything, it took me too long.

In response to a reader who doesn’t know how to tell his girlfriend that he paid a trans woman for sex, Dan writes [heads up: offensive words for and thoughts about trans women below the cut]:

Continue reading ‘It’s definitely time to find a new sex advice columnist…’

05
Mar
09

Round-up

All of my time and energy for writing right now is going toward processing in my relationships. (It’s always something, isn’t it? I will never not be busy, and there will never not be something of that moment that I point to and say “It’s this, soon I will be less crazy.) It may be a few more days before I can sit down and write something thoughtful about anything else. Also, I dropped my Eee PC and cracked the screen today (apparently the world was trying to see how much hard stuff it had to throw at me to kill my high from an amazing Saturday night — okay, world, you win!), so blogging on the train and bus will be out until I come up with money to get it fixed or replace it. So in the meantime, a look at the things I might be blogging about if I were doing so at all…

Girlfriend, Esq. pointed me to Greta Christina’s response to Dan Savage’s latest insensitive comment about bisexuals. I’d missed it somehow, but as always, Greta Christina does a thorough and brilliant job of responding. I don’t think I have anything to add. Other than that Dan Savage may make his reputation on his snark, but the occasional columns where a dozen questions get brief answers really help no one. They just let him showcase his wit without giving actual advice. Even he could probably have done a better job of answering that one if he’d fleshed it out more; at least we’d know which fucked up thing exactly he was getting at.

Alex at Bilerico is doing a week-long series on abstinence-only education, looking at a new report on how abstinence-only education is actually implemented in Texas (the state that receives the most federal funding for it). Two days ago he wrote about homophobia in abstinence-only, yesterday about religion as part of the curriculum; today it’s sexism. Keep an eye on that one; it promises to be interesting and important.

Meanwhile, Bil at Bilerico posts about the Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders filing a challenge to DOMA that they seem to hope to bring to the Supreme Court. He has a lot of really persuasive things to say about how the push for marriage actually harms the push for more basic rights in places other than the two coasts. I’m a coastal dweller myself, so I can’t say anything other than that it sounds about right, and lines up with/complements a lot of my reasoning on why pushing for marriage is not where our energy should be going. He also left a heart-wrenching comment on a different post by someone who supports the move. And Nancy Polikoff points out that it will only benefit couples with income inequalities, and talks about how the queers shouldn’t be shoring up heteronormativity — and you know how I love that.

HRC has announced some long-overdue changes to its Corporate Equality Index. I’m not best pleased with how long these changes will take to kick in and how long employers can continue to skate by while treating trans employees in really fucked up ways, but I have no way of assessing HRC’s claim that companies need that long to bring themselves into compliance. Of course I’m less concerned than HRC is about employers who don’t treat trans employees well getting to keep their perfect scores for a couple of years while they fix that, but they may have a point that companies are more likely to comply if they’re not ticked off. Since after all we’re not hoping they’ll do this out of the goodness of their hearts; we know they have to be shamed into it/get something out of it. And it is a positive change. Also, because he wins all of the links today, Bil talks about his disappointment that HRC will still not be assessing companies on their behavior internationally and factoring that in.

Have a lovely week!

05
Jan
09

Fort-nightly Round-Up, Part 2

Whew! This should be it on everything that happened in the past month. We should now be back to our regularly scheduled weekly round-up.

It’s been a fun couple of weeks for me. My sister is in town between a semester in Russia and her last semester in Wisconsin (she should have something to say for us about that soon!), and I’ve been spending tons of time with her. We hosted a dinner party last weekend, spent this week getting my apartment from mostly-moved-in to fully set up and looking like a home, and two nights ago broke it in with a housewarming party. It’s been lots of fun, but blogging and spending time with my other friends have been falling by the wayside a bit as I try to stock up on time with her enough to last me the next three months. They say that how you spend the New Year is how you spend the next year, and I would be so okay with spending this year in people’s living rooms with a few close friends. Eating homemade soup, tearing apart neocon craziness, and laughing til it hurts. Bring it on.

Meanwhile, in the world:

Continue reading ‘Fort-nightly Round-Up, Part 2′

27
Jul
08

Bisexual dating site “does not support” trans member, part 2

Speaking of my girlfriend, we had a conversation yesterday morning in which she made some brilliant points and I realized that I was so busy picking the details apart in my last post on this subject that I never zoomed back out and looked at the big picture — I did it in my head, but not on the page. So, to sum up:

I guess what it all comes down to (besides Tangowire being transphobic asshats) is that it’s very telling when a statement intended to convince people someone wasn’t acting in a discriminatory manner can actually reveal the problem to be worse than it first seemed. It shows the way transphobia and trans issues are completely misunderstood by the general public — and even by other letters in the LGBT community — that these beliefs can be so widely stated, and no one even realizes they’re offensive. It’s a more insidious form of prejudice, when people who truly believe they view and treat everyone equally have absorbed all the weird messages about trans people that are out there in our culture, and have never stopped to think about whether believing and acting on them could be discriminatory. After all, they would never say “trans people are gross and wrong,” don’t even believe it (consciously, at least), so how could anything they say be transphobic? (This goes back to a conversation I’ve had several times recently, even before I saw it on Racialicious and Feministing, about how much more useful it is to talk about the fucked-up things people say and do, rather than using those to draw conclusions about who they are. Because it’s awfully easy to respond to “You’re transphobic!” with “Am not! How could I be? I’m queer myself, and I have trans friends!” And it gets us nowhere. There needs to be a way to talk about what has been done or said, and whether it was harmful, without calling people bad and insuring they won’t listen to anything you have to say.)

One of the major problems is that only one trans narrative has really made it into the public consciousness. It’s the chrysalis analogy: you go in one thing, and come out something completely different, and while it’s happening you’re totally isolated. But that’s not everyone’s story, and it reveals a pretty deep misunderstanding of trans folks and the process of transition to assume it is. Granted, many trans people choose not to date during transition. Because they want to wait until they present the way they see themselves before getting into a relationship, because they’ve been told and they believe that no one could possibly want them when they’re in between, because if they choose the wrong person they can be in serious danger, etc. But it’s one thing and totally understandable to choose not to date during transition. It’s another thing and totally fucked up (not to mention untrue) to tell trans folks that no one wants them when they’re in between and they should just keep themselves to themselves until they fit a binary gender norm again. Regardless of how loudly the people saying so insist that they’re not transphobic.

24
Jul
08

Bisexual dating site “does not support” trans member

I’m a little bit behind on this one – but then, I’m always a little bit behind.

In the past couple of weeks, while Sarah and I were setting up the blog, I saw several references (which I now don’t remember – that’s what I get for needing to actually start a blog before I can write about something) to a story about a bisexual dating site deleting a trans man’s profile. According to Ethan Jacobs at Bay Windows,

When Nick Teich created a free account on the online personals site BisexualDatingNow.com last week, he decided to disclose that he is transgender. Perhaps he shouldn’t have ….
Teich thought little of his decision until he wrote to the site’s customer service staff about a problem he was having using the site. He exchanged e-mails with a customer service representative named Kiar Dupuis, and after reading his profile Dupuis informed him that the site does not allow transgender users.
“I am sorry, as a transgender, our site would not meet your needs. I am afraid we have to remove your profile,” wrote Dupuis, according to an e-mail provided to Bay Windows by Teich .

Prior to transitioning Teich had joined one of TangoWire’s lesbian sites, but he said he hadn’t been an active user. When he registered with BisexualDatingNow.com he assumed he was signing onto a completely new site, but in fact the profiles for each site are linked to one massive database, meaning that someone on one of the bisexual sites could view the profile of a member of one of the lesbian sites. One of Dupuis’s e-mails to Teich accused him of trying to force his way onto the lesbian site .
“It’s that T side [in LGBT] that we have not been able to fully accommodate within our program. That is shown [by the fact] that in our registration, transgender is not one of the options we provide, and we don’t provide that as such. … That identity is not an identity we have an ability to support,” said [chief technical officer Bryan] Brown.


Nice, right? My first thought was “Hey, there’s a bisexual dating site?” followed by “Pity I won’t be joining it, since I don’t support transphobic asshats.” The way their network of sites works, if you originally join the lesbian site, that’s where your profile stays. Even if you later register on the bisexual site. Seems to me that’s a problem not with Teich’s identity but with the way Tangowire’s system is set up. Especially when you take into account that tech support, when you come to their attention, will say not “Hey, I notice you’re bisexual and a dude now, and our system is kinda wonky and doesn’t allow you to move your profile to a different site yourself, how about if I delete it from the lesbian site and put it back up on the bisexual site for you?” but rather “You’re trying to invade women’s space and we don’t know what to do with trans folks around here! We will solve this problem by getting rid of you!” And “that identity is not an identity we have an ability to support,” hm? Them’s fighting words.

And check out this pricelessness (you’ll have to scroll down a bit to find it): a letter to the editor from Joseph Lee, the CEO of Tangowire, in which he tries to explain that it was all a big misunderstanding and instead makes the whole thing reflect even more poorly on him and the company. Let’s take a look:
Continue reading ‘Bisexual dating site “does not support” trans member’




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