I went to SF and had the most excellent meeting with Dylan and Jodie who are working hard there with the Human Rights Commission on making all the single stall bathrooms in SF gender-neutral, and ultimately providing gender neutral bathrooms everywhere. They forwarded me some documents that I thought might be helpful to any of you who are working on bathroom struggles or thinking about it. First, here is the Bathroom Survey that Dylan conducted when he was working at HRC. Its a great persuasive tool, showing the pervasiveness of the problems in bathrooms that trans and gender variant people face and how much agreement there is that gender neutral bathrooms are a viable solution. Second, here is a worksheet about the kinds of counter-arguments that come up when we start to propose gender neutral bathrooms. Some of these are elaborated on in the letter I wrote to my co-workers about de-gendering our bathrooms. Finally, here is a outline of the strategy that they are proposing for the SF HRC. I hope these documents provide a sense of what we're all trying to do and inspire you to try it out in your school or office or town. Jodie and Dylan also just started a new group called PISSR (People in Search of Safe Restrooms) in SF, and it has an email list that I will post info on how to get on as soon as I find out where they want people to email requests to join. I'll keep you updated on what else we do. Tara and I are still working on the bathroom video, still accepting some late submissions of video footage if you want (scroll down for video call). We'll be presenting the finished or partially-finished product at True Spirit in February.
In other amazing news, the Boston City Council just passed a trans right ordinance that has great bathroom language. Look for updates at Transgenderlaw.org.
This evening, I saw a screening of Hidden Wars of Desert Storm, a smart and painful documentary that provides an historical background to Bush Sr's bombing of Iraq over ten years ago. In addition to making clear the oil interests that motivated that round of military intervention, the film also explores the use of depleted uranium in weapons used by U.S. troops. Deadly radioactive, 300 tons of depleted uranium were released on the Iraqi and Kuwaiti landscape in 1991, subsequently sending cancer rates soaring in just a ten year period. Around 200,000 U.S. veterans of Desert Storm have applied for disability benefits (which they are frequently denied), and 10,000 veterans have died of causes traceable to radioactive exposure.
For more background info on U.S. intervention and genocide in Iraq, please visit the Middle East Research and Information Project. At the top of their website you'll find a link to "Why Another War" (you need adobe to read it), an excellent piece of historical analysis that shows why W wants "war" (if that term is even appropriate for a pre-emptive mission conducted by extrapolitical means) and why now.
First, I'm begging you to join up with the delightful folks of FIERCE! for the October 22 police brutality protests tomorow. They're trying to make a strong queer/trans presence. Meet up at 3pm at the corner of union square that has PetCo on it. Look for the FIERCE! banner.
Second, have a look here to see some smart thinking about the age-old dilemma of wedding participation. Colby and I were feeling this yesterday in New Jersey wearing our finest clothes but still looking out of place at her brother's wedding. The trainride to New Jersey was awesome for me, but I had one particularly disturbing conversation at the wedding with a person who runs a homeless shelter and was asked to place a transgender teenage girl (or a "transvestite gay boy" as she called the client). Just another reminder of how screwed low-income trannies are, and how unprepared even well-intentioned service providers are to deal with trans people with even the smallest amount of respect. I've been doing these trainings for poverty-related service providers about trans people as part of my job, trying to combat these problems, and finding people eager for information but really shockingly uninformed in some cases. Email me if you want to talk about it.
have a look at this bad article about a transwoman murdered in Newark. As usual, the pronouns are wrong, the word "boy" is used a noticeably large amount, someone's life is over, and four more young people will have their lives ruined to benefit corporations that own our prisons and our government in the name of "justice".
Not the timeliest plug, but I spoke last week at a conference about alternative higher education due to having spent my undergrad years at a tiny, hippie, grade-free place we affectionately called Nude College. My panel was about the "afterlife," like what do you do after getting a weird made up degree from a weird skool. On my way in, I was excited to run into Nepon a/k/a Ben Heiserman who was in from Philly to talk on the same panel, unbenownkest (sp?~@) to either of us. The session proved to be really interesting and smart, thanks in large part to the audience, and the conversation turned quickly to issues of race and class in higher ed and the implications of getting alternative degrees for people who already are denied access to jobs etc. As in, who can afford to go to college for self exploration and personal liberation, and for whom do such cute but often impractical options come with high life costs? Nepon also spoke about the Self Education Foundation and the rad grassroots work they're doing over there.
And on the topic of education, thus far my grad program is really amazing. I'm reading all sorts of awesome stuff. Right now, Chela Sandoval's Methodology of the Oppressed is blowing my mind. In it, she brilliantly shows how white academic theories of postmodern culture have erased histories of imperial domination, forgetting that what is new about postmodern forms of domination is simply their widespread nature and not their existence, as such forms of domination have existed in other eras for all sorts of marginalized and colonized people. The chapter I'm reading now looks at the the myth that the destabilization of current economic and cultural formations means that everyone has equal access to political power and resources on an imaginary leveled playing field. Anyone know of other stuff she's written?
Finally, I just got something about this seminar on Living Wage issues. It will be November 14 from 10 am to noon at 65 Fifth Avenue, Wolff Conference Room. It is being sponsored by the New School’s Milano Graduate School Center for New York City Affairs. The moderator is Steven Greenhouse (New York Times reporter), and the panelists are David Neumark (Professor of Economics at Michigan State University), Paul Sonn (The Brennan Center for Justice), Robert Ward (The Public Policy Institute of New York State), and Mimi Turchinetz (Living Wage Administrator, City of Boston (invited)). The seminar is free, but you need to call ahead to reserve a seat at 212-229-5418.
How excited was I to find the following excellent reportback from Ms. Christmas in my inbox today?
Have a look-see at the Al-Fatiha website, will ya? Great resources for queer and trans Muslims, great articles, even personals.
Also, don't forget that its getting to be that time when you should submit workshop proposals to the True Spirit Conference. Come enjoy me and boots showing off our fake spirits in DC in february. The title of the conference is cheesy, but the boys are cute and the conversations are often amazing and last year the people at the DC eagle loved us so much they gave us commemorative enamel pins.
First, a link from Micah to an article about why the war against Iraq is a queer issue.
Second, yesterday we went to the big Not in Our Name protest in Central Park. Colleen Kelly was one of the first speakers. She's a co-founder of September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows. She talked about how in the past weeks they've visited over 70 congressional offices, none of which could report receiving a majority of calls/letters in favor of the war, and it made her wonder, where is this supposed 80% of people in favor of the war? What questions are the pollsters asking?
We also learned that there will be a conference where Afghan women speak about the war on Afghanistan and it's impact on women there, October 19th at Barnard/Columbia University, free to the public. A representative from a group of EMT workers who were at the WTC on 9/11 read a statement about their opposition to the war that was amazing. It talked about the terror they experienced that day, and their realization that they are not the first people to run in terror like that, and that they can't support any US efforts to bring that kind of destruction to more people. There was an intense part about having watched mothers and fathers jump to their deaths from the buildings, and knowing that it is unpatriotic to care only about the fates of US families. The statement also talked about the pressure that those people are receiving to get back to work full-time before they are fully mentally and physically recovered from that experience, and how they are being told that if they wait to get back to work they are "letting the terrorists win." Their resposne is that the terrorists have already won if people in the US have been made so afraid that we've stopped thinking for ourselves and let a corrupt government/media machine manipulate us into supporting unjustifiable attacks on Iraq.
On the lighter side, the best slogans we saw at the protest were "Earth to Bush--No War Asshole!" with excellent space drawings, and "War is for Jerks." There were bad ones too, like a sign that said "Saddam-masochistic War!" and a guy with a sign that said "I don't want to go to war because Bush has a small penis!" wearing a T-shirt with a seductive picture of a woman's crotch that said "good bush" next to a picture of the president that said "bad bush." I guess its never the wrong time to bring anti-perv and sexist sentiment into an anti-war movement. Personally, I'd just like to say again that SMALL DICKS ARE AWESOME! (feel free to make T-shirts, stickers, billboards with this message.)
Someone asking, "Is it true that women like mens dicks but some just dont let it be known mostly big ones" found themselves conveniently directed to our site for answers. I can only hope we provided the insight and information they sought.
The people in the Community Development Project at the Urban Justice Center have just put out a study called "Ripple Effect: The Crisis in NYC's Low-Income Communities after September 11" that you should have a look at. Also, you can read this article about it.
I haven't really talked much about my experimentations with testosterone here yet, mostly because there has been a lot of weird judgemental incidents with various people about me taking or not taking T which have caused me to often feel like I don't get to determine the meanings of those decisions myself if I share them in a public forum. However, I'm feeling a little more willing to open up about it these days and I had to share a grody experience from yesterday which yet again brought up the digust with how trannies get fucked over in medical settings in all kinds of special ways.
I started school recently and one of my classmates Will circulated a report back from the recent World Bank/IMF protests in Washington D.C. I think Will provides an excellent snapshot of the political conditions seeking to foreclose dissidence, and some really useful thoughts about strategies these conditions call for. Please check it out and pass it around.
Have a look at the Coalition Opposed to Police Brutality newsletter. They just emailed me to tell me they published an article about our February arrests (click on "documents" then "agent provocateur" then "issue #6". Their website has lots of good stuff in french and english.
I got an email that you should look at forwarded from Mo B. Dick and others about a performer who was on the road with them being detained by immigration. Please read it and get involved in whatever way you can. I've put a call into his lawyer, and as i find out more I'll let you know.