Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Transgender Day of Remembrance 2013 (20th November 2013)

Another year passes and yet more people are brutally murdered for simply trying to be true to themselves.  Around the world, the Trans Respect Monitoring site reports that 238 known murders have been reported since TDoR 2012.  Unfortunately, this is just the tip of the iceberg as many countries do not report trans murders or they are shrouded in secrecy.  Neither does it include those people who were driven to suicide by bigotry and hatred and who could not carry their burden any more.  Many of those people died without ever realising their true selves.
When will people realise that we are not a threat to their own lives and allow us to live in safety and in peace.
I would like people to remember Lucy Meadows, the young teacher from Accrington in Lancashire who committed suicide as a result of horrendous media coverage of her transition at the start of 2013.  Please remember also Chrisie Edkins,  a young inspirational trans woman who sadly took her own life in the summer.

Thank you to Artdamage for the moving video below and to Sarah McLachlan for the song 'Angels' featured in the video

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Male violence against women

Last Saturday evening (2nd November) some people were out celebrating Halloween when an altercation took place in a restaurant in the small rural town of Totnes.  This resulted in a guy who stands about 6'6" tall, muscular and probably weighing around 18-19 stone punching a young girl in the face.  Her friends tried to argue with the man and a bystander in the food grill started to video the scene, which you can see below:-

The blonde girl, in frustration attempts to kick the thug who punched her friend, and ends up getting thumped by the man, after recovering she then attempts to punch him (misses) and the guy then punches her in the face so strongly that she is knocked back and through some security glass.
Yes, she was wrong in trying to kick him, but does that give leeway for the guy who stands over a foot taller than her and probably twice her weight and strength to punch her in the face in the way that he did.
The comments below the video I found to be appalling and implied that if we want equality, this is what we are in for.  This is not about equality, this is about human decency.  Discounting the fact that (on average) women do not have the same muscle strength as men, this fight would have been wrong even if it had been "man" on "man". 
The comments were practically gloating over the incident and shows the utter contempt and misogyny that some men hold towards women.  No wonder domestic abuse and violence towards women is on the increase when some men think  it is perfectly acceptable to behave in this way.  They see it as a means of fighting back against feminism - which just goes to explain that they have absolutely no idea of what feminism is about.  Feminism is about equality. Perhaps they realise that their white, cis-gendered male privilege is under real threat and this is their only way of standing up to it.
Subsequent to the above video - another one was released which glorified this thug's physical abuse of his victim - and yes, the comments below the video again try to justify the abuse in the name of "equality".

According to a news report in the Daily Telegraph, a 29-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of assault and criminal damage, and subsequently bailed, following an incident at Totnes Grill last weekend.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

New National Curriculum Bill

Some of you may recall a while back that the new National Curriculum Bill omitted the phrase gender identity from from the final draft - despite it occurring in all earlier drafts. I wrote to my MP (Adrian Sanders Lib Dem) fearing that Michael Gove might have deliberately dropped this protected characteristic group quietly from the final draft.
Mr. Sanders has just written back to me because he raised this issue with the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Education and Childcare (Elizabeth Truss) and she has just replied back to him that it was a "simple error" and the term 'gender reassignment' will be put back into the relevant section of the Bill which will come into law from September 2014.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

A Statement of Trans-Inclusive Feminism and Womanism

I was particularly pleased and heartened to discover the following statement on the blog of  Feminists Fighting Transphobia

"We, the undersigned trans* and cis scholars, writers, artists, and educators, want to publicly and openly affirm our commitment to a trans*-inclusive feminism and womanism.

There has been a noticeable increase in transphobic feminist activity this summer: the forthcoming book by Sheila Jeffreys from Routledge; the hostile and threatening anonymous letter sent to Dallas Denny after she and Dr. Jamison Green wrote to Routledge regarding their concerns about that book; and the recent widely circulated statement entitled “Forbidden Discourse: The Silencing of Feminist Critique of ‘Gender,’” signed by a number of prominent, and we regret to say, misguided, feminists have been particularly noticeable.  And all this is taking place in the climate of virulent mainstream transphobia that has emerged following the coverage of Chelsea Manning’s trial and subsequent statement regarding her gender identity, and the recent murders of young trans women of color, including Islan Nettles and Domonique Newburn, the latest targets in a long history of violence against trans women of color.  Given these events, it is important that we speak out in support of feminism and womanism that support trans* people.
We are committed to recognizing and respecting the complex construction of sexual/gender identity; to recognizing trans* women as women and including them in all women’s spaces; to recognizing trans* men as men and rejecting accounts of manhood that exclude them; to recognizing the existence of genderqueer, non-binary identifying people and accepting their humanity; to rigorous, thoughtful, nuanced research and analysis of gender, sex, and sexuality that accept trans* people as authorities on their own experiences and understands that the legitimacy of their lives is not up for debate; and to fighting the twin ideologies of transphobia and patriarchy in all their guises.
Transphobic feminism ignores the identification of many trans* and genderqueer people as feminists or womanists and many cis feminists/womanists with their trans* sisters, brothers, friends, and lovers; it is feminism that has too often rejected them, and not the reverse. It ignores the historical pressures placed by the medical profession on trans* people to conform to rigid gender stereotypes in order to be “gifted” the medical aid to which they as human beings are entitled.  By positing “woman” as a coherent, stable identity whose boundaries they are authorized to police, transphobic feminists reject the insights of intersectional analysis, subordinating all other identities to womanhood and all other oppressions to patriarchy.  They are refusing to acknowledge their own power and privilege.
We recognize that transphobic feminists have used violence and threats of violence against trans* people and their partners and we condemn such behavior.  We recognize that transphobic rhetoric has deeply harmful effects on trans* people’s real lives; witness CeCe MacDonald’s imprisonment in a facility for men.  We further recognize the particular harm transphobia causes to trans* people of color when it combines with racism, and the violence it encourages.
When feminists exclude trans* women from women’s shelters, trans* women are left vulnerable to the worst kinds of violent, abusive misogyny, whether in men’s shelters, on the streets, or in abusive homes.  When feminists demand that trans* women be excluded from women’s bathrooms and that genderqueer people choose a binary-marked bathroom, they make participation in the public sphere near-impossible, collaborate with a rigidity of gender identities that feminism has historically fought against, and erect yet another barrier to employment.  When feminists teach transphobia, they drive trans* students away from education and the opportunities it provides.
We also reject the notion that trans* activists’ critiques of transphobic bigotry “silence” anybody.  Criticism is not the same as silencing. We recognize that the recent emphasis on the so-called violent rhetoric and threats that transphobic feminists claim are coming from trans* women online ignores the 40+ – year history of violent and eliminationist rhetoric directed by prominent feminists against trans* women, trans* men, and genderqueer people.  It ignores the deliberate strategy of certain well-known anti-trans* feminists of engaging in gleeful and persistent harassment, baiting, and provocation of trans* people, particularly trans* women, in the hope of inciting angry responses, which are then utilized to paint a false portrayal of trans* women as oppressors and cis feminist women as victims. It ignores the public outing of trans* women that certain transphobic feminists have engaged in regardless of the damage it does to women’s lives and the danger in which it puts them.  And it relies upon the pernicious rhetoric of collective guilt, using any example of such violent rhetoric, no matter the source — and, just as much, the justified anger of any one trans* woman — to condemn all trans* women, and to justify their continued exclusion and the continued denial of their civil rights.
Whether we are cis, trans*, binary-identified, or genderqueer, we will not let feminist or womanist discourse regress or stagnate; we will push forward in our understandings of gender, sex, and sexuality across disciplines.  While we respect the great achievements and hard battles fought by activists in the 1960s and 1970s, we know that those activists are not infallible and that progress cannot stop with them if we hope to remain intellectually honest, moral, and politically effective.  Most importantly, we recognize that theories are not more important than real people’s real lives; we reject any theory of gender, sex, or sexuality that calls on us to sacrifice the needs of any subjugated or marginalized group.  People are more important than theory.
We are committed to making our classrooms, our writing, and our research inclusive of trans* people’s lives."

Please visit the blog page and sign if you also support this statement

Added later (19/09/13):
I was also very heartened to learn that another feminist blogger (Sarah Thomasin) has just written and excellent article which challenges why some of the trans exclusionary radical feminists (TERF's) and some people in the LGB sector have difficulty in accepting trans identities.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

In Solidarity with Julie Bindel against Threats of Violence

Following the vile and disgusting rape threats which were reported to have been directed towards Julie Bindel when she was scheduled to speak to an audience of students at the University of Manchester, I would like to issue the following statement:-

"I was shocked and disgusted to learn of a rape threat directed towards Julie Bindel by an alleged trans person (or ally), and condemn any and all such threats in the strongest possible terms.
Ms Bindel was due to speak at a debate at the University of Manchester regarding the porn industry and received the threat shortly before this happened.  A protest had been organised by a Manchester Trans group regarding legitimate concerns being raised by trans activists/ students on campus in the run up to the event because of her historical views on trans rights.
Whether the threat came from a member of the Trans community or from somebody against any possible restrictions being placed on the pornographic industry is unknown, but I applaud Ms. Bindel for her action in reporting this matter to the police and I sincerely hope that the perpetrator is quickly found and punished for their action.
I consider rape threats to be always unacceptable when used to try and silence women and subjugate us.
Whilst I strongly disagree with Ms Bindel on certain points of her philosophy which she has stated in the past, I do not believe that threats of this nature are the way to argue against her beliefs and therefore condemn these threats absolutely and wholeheartedly.
I would like to offer my solidarity with Julie Bindel against any and all threats of violence of this nature"

I would urge other transgender blog sites to condemn rape, threats of rape or any form of violence towards any woman (and trans women are women) as misogynistic attempts to silence all women.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Parental Acceptance or Rejection

I found that a  letter that a mother wrote to her intersex baby which was subsequently posted on the Facebook pages of the Scottish Transgender Alliance to be tremendously moving and warming.  It spoke of the love that a mother has for her child, who was discovered to be intersex.  A discussion followed later on the Facebook pages of Trans Media Watch where I shared that letter which revolved around parental acceptance of trans and intersex children.
Would the parents of a trans child kick their child out or disown them if s/he had been born with a cleft palette, with Downs Syndrome, a heart defect or one of thousands of other possible conditions. Yet so many parents do this if their child is born transgender. They see it as something worse than having a 'Damien' type of child - and if they examined their consciences closely, what it really boils down to is "what will the neighbours think?".  Yes, at the end of the day, they are ashamed of what their neighbours and friends will say.  What that says about them is far more revealing than what it says about their transgender child.
With the proper medical intervention at the right age, their child could grow up into a beautiful happy person and have a full enriching life. Too many transgender people are scarred from parental rejection and hate.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

In honour of Islan Nettles

Islan Nettles (1992-2013) RIP
Last week a young, beautiful 21 year old black woman was savagely beaten and later died of her injuries when she was taken off life support equipment in a New York hospital. 
Simply because she was  transgender and the 'men' who did this  thought that she deserved this simply because she existed.  I have italicized men because real men are not like this, they do not feel threatened by our existence, they do not feel that we need to be 'taught a lesson' for simply being who we are.
Janet Mock (a trans woman of colour who is also a trans activist) wrote a moving blog post about the subsequent vigil in her honour which took place a few days ago which I would recommend everybody to look at and read.
When is this hate going to stop??  Why do people fear our presence in society so much that they feel we are so worthless that they can attack and kill us with impunity.  Education is part of the answer, but until the bigots in the media and within some religious organisations which help to feed this hatred start to understand us, this hate will continue to thrive.
I wrote a comment on Janet's blog article that I would like to share here:-
A truly wonderful article Janet, we hear your pain and grieve with you – for your loss is our loss too. Injustices towards our community is everywhere, from CeCe McDonald to the latest tragic victim, Islan. These injustices only serve to unite us though and make our voices stronger and more determined to wipe out this hate so that one day we can live as ordinary people, without fear and take our place in society as true equals.
And this I truly believe will happen - one day.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

A Time for Rejoicing

Well, yesterday I heard the absolutely wonderful news that at a second hearing held yesterday at a Crown Court, the previous court order was rescinded and the young transgender girl and her older sister, who were taken away from a loving home will be reunited with their parents today.
The agony that this family have been put through over the past 10 or more days is indescribable.  Hopefully the children will recover from this fairly quickly now that they are back home as children are very resilient, but the scars will be etched painful and deep in the minds of their parents for a long, long time to come.
I congratulate them and rejoice with them now that their children are back and I send them this message:-

Thank you for fighting for her ********* (name withheld for privacy reasons), many people might have given up under the intense pressure that was being put on you personally and and also onto your family - but I think I speak for everybody who is transgender who is reading this page, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for being there for her, it means so much to all of us. 

This is something that must never be allowed to happen to a transgender child and their family ever, ever again. It was cruel, heartless and ill researched by the care services in that area of the country. There needs to be an investigation into this at some point - but at the moment, let us simply rejoice with them at their good news.

See the original story here.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Social Services and Trans Children

Yesterday I learned with horror that one Social Service's worker had decided (no doubt with the blessing of her bosses) that a 7 year old transgender girl be taken away from her mother together with her other child because they regarded it as child abuse that the mother had allowed her daughter to transition.  They want to force the child to be raised as a boy.
I simply cannot understand the reasoning behind this.  Transsexualism is a recognised medical condition in the UK, so this social worker who will lack the necessary medical skills to diagnose if the child has gender dysphoria,  was allowed by her superiors and then backed by a court order, to forcibly remove those children from the mother's care.  It would appear that there was no consultation with qualified medical professionals who are fully cognisant with gender variant or transgender children.
Fortunately the mother did contact Press for Change, an organisation which provides legal help for trans* people who need advice and assistance and she was also put in contact with a qualified social worker who has specialist knowledge in this field who is helping her to get her children returned to her.  Another organisation, Mermaids, a UK national charity which helps transgender children and their families is also providing support for the mother.
The Social Services in this country are in a right mess, in a recent case they ignored all the signs  when a small boy was being beaten and starved to death by his evil parents, yet they take away two young children who are loved and cared for by their mother.  It is completely outrageous that this has been allowed to happen.
As I have mentioned elsewhere in this blog, it would be child abuse if the mother deliberately made her child suffer the torment of going through puberty and then when they transitioned at a later date have to undergo painful and extensive treatments (eg laser/electrolysis to remove facial hair) and quite complicated and often dangerous surgeries (eg Facial Feminization Surgery etc).
A mother's love should be unconditional and by allowing her child to express who she feels herself to be is not abuse, especially in light of this being a known medical condition.
Hopefully, with the help from other organisations, this mother will soon be re-united with her children and  will update the blog when I have any further news of this.

Disclaimer: The views in this blog are entirely my own and do not necessarily reflect the view of the mother.  I would also like to point out that the majority of people who work in social services and child protection are conscientious, hard working people.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

TDOR Memorial in Sackville Gardens, Manchester vandalised

©Tony D. Cooper
The Transgender Day of Remembrance Memorial in Sackville Gardens in Manchester to the victims of transgender hate crime was vandalised yesterday (7th August), apparently by a known graffiti artist who goes by the tag of 'High Tower ov(sic) Leicester'.  Please, if anybody has any idea who this sick minded individual is, please report them to Manchester Police.
It might only be a small step for this sick minded individual to move onto attacking live people who he might identify as being trans.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

An Open Letter from Stephen Fry to the Prime Minister and Olympic Committee

Dear Prime Minister, M Rogge, Lord Coe and Members of the International Olympic Committee,

I write in the earnest hope that all those with a love of sport and the Olympic spirit will consider the stain on the Five Rings that occurred when the 1936 Berlin Olympics proceeded under the exultant aegis of a tyrant who had passed into law, two years earlier, an act which singled out for special persecution a minority whose only crime was the accident of their birth. In his case he banned Jews from academic tenure or public office, he made sure that the police turned a blind eye to any beatings, thefts or humiliations afflicted on them, he burned and banned books written by them. He claimed they “polluted” the purity and tradition of what it was to be German, that they were a threat to the state, to the children and the future of the Reich. He blamed them simultaneously for the mutually exclusive crimes of Communism and for the controlling of international capital and banks. He blamed them for ruining the culture with their liberalism and difference. The Olympic movement at that time paid precisely no attention to this evil and proceeded with the notorious Berlin Olympiad, which provided a stage for a gleeful Führer and only increased his status at home and abroad. It gave him confidence. All historians are agreed on that. What he did with that confidence we all know.
Putin is eerily repeating this insane crime, only this time against LGBT Russians. Beatings, murders and humiliations are ignored by the police. Any defence or sane discussion of homosexuality is against the law. Any statement, for example, that Tchaikovsky was gay and that his art and life reflects this sexuality and are an inspiration to other gay artists would be punishable by imprisonment. It is simply not enough to say that gay Olympians may or may not be safe in their village. The IOC absolutely must take a firm stance on behalf of the shared humanity it is supposed to represent against the barbaric, fascist law that Putin has pushed through the Duma. Let us not forget that Olympic events used not only to be athletic, they used to include cultural competitions. Let us realise that in fact, sport is cultural. It does not exist in a bubble outside society or politics. The idea that sport and politics don’t connect is worse than disingenuous, worse than stupid. It is wickedly, wilfully wrong. Everyone knows politics interconnects with everything for “politics” is simply the Greek for “to do with the people”.
An absolute ban on the Russian Winter Olympics of 2014 on Sochi is simply essential. Stage them elsewhere in Utah, Lillyhammer, anywhere you like. At all costs Putin cannot be seen to have the approval of the civilised world.
He is making scapegoats of gay people, just as Hitler did Jews. He cannot be allowed to get away with it. I know whereof I speak. I have visited Russia, stood up to the political deputy who introduced the first of these laws, in his city of St Petersburg. I looked into the face of the man and, on camera, tried to reason with him, counter him, make him understand what he was doing. All I saw reflected back at me was what Hannah Arendt called, so memorably, “the banality of evil.” A stupid man, but like so many tyrants, one with an instinct of how to exploit a disaffected people by finding scapegoats. Putin may not be quite as oafish and stupid as Deputy Milonov but his instincts are the same. He may claim that the “values” of Russia are not the “values” of the West, but this is absolutely in opposition to Peter the Great’s philosophy, and against the hopes of millions of Russians, those not in the grip of that toxic mix of shaven headed thuggery and bigoted religion, those who are agonised by the rolling back of democracy and the formation of a new autocracy in the motherland that has suffered so much (and whose music, literature and drama, incidentally I love so passionately).
I am gay. I am a Jew. My mother lost over a dozen of her family to Hitler’s anti-Semitism. Every time in Russia (and it is constantly) a gay teenager is forced into suicide, a lesbian “correctively” raped, gay men and women beaten to death by neo-Nazi thugs while the Russian police stand idly by, the world is diminished and I for one, weep anew at seeing history repeat itself.
“All that is needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing,” so wrote Edmund Burke.
Are you, the men and women of the IOC going to be those “good” who allow evil to triumph?
The Summer Olympics of 2012 were one of the most glorious moments of my life and the life of my country. For there to be a Russian Winter Olympics would stain the movement forever and wipe away any of that glory. The Five Rings would finally be forever smeared, besmirched and ruined in the eyes of the civilised world. I am begging you to resist the pressures of pragmatism, of money, of the oily cowardice of diplomats and to stand up resolutely and proudly for humanity the world over, as your movement is pledged to do.
Wave your Olympic flag with pride as we gay men and women wave our Rainbow flag with pride. Be brave enough to live up to the oaths and protocols of your movement, which I remind you of verbatim below.   
Rule 4:  Cooperate with the competent public or private organisations and authorities in the endeavour to place sport at the service of humanity and thereby to promote peace
Rule 6:  Act against any form of discrimination affecting the Olympic Movement
Rule15:  Encourage and support initiatives blending sport with culture and education I especially appeal to you, Prime Minister, a man for whom I have the utmost respect. As the leader of a party I have for almost all of my life opposed and instinctively disliked, you showed a determined, passionate and clearly honest commitment to LGBT rights and helped push gay marriage through both houses of our parliament in the teeth of vehement opposition from so many of your own side. For that I will always admire you, whatever other differences may lie between us. In the end I believe you know when a thing is wrong or right. Please act on that instinct now.

Yours in desperate hope for humanity

Stephen Fry

 - See more at: http://www.stephenfry.com/2013/08/07/an-open-letter-to-david-cameron-and-the-ioc/2/#sthash.I6hzKUl6.dpuf 
 - See more at: http://www.stephenfry.com/2013/08/07/an-open-letter-to-david-cameron-and-the-ioc/#sthash.pMgGq6gJ.dpuf

Monday, 5 August 2013

The truth, the whole truth ..... and anything but the truth

A right wing Christian "journalist" has claimed responsibility for being the first person to write about Michael Singleton being given an official rebuke by the Office for Judicial Complaints for the comments that he made at the end of the inquest of Lucy Meadows.  Mr. Singleton was the coroner for Blackburn and Hyburn, who called "Shame" on the British media for their reporting about the tragic death of Lucy Meadows,
Mr. Gavin Drake published a blog claiming that Mr Singleton had received an official rebuke from the Office for Judicial Complaints after he had sent a letter to them complaining about Mr. Singleton's remarks.  He even claims in his blog that he was the first person to write about this and after that, many of the national newspapers also published articles about this "official rebuke" as a means of seeking to exonerate themselves from Mr. Singleton's remarks at the end of the inquest.
There were conflicting reports  later about this and so I took the matter up directly with the Office for Judicial Complaints and although I cannot reproduce what it said in their reply verbatim, it was enough for me to challenge what Mr. Drake wrote in his blog via his 'Comments' section.
Unfortunately freedom of speech appears to be a one way street in Mr. Drake's eyes and after insulting me, he subsequently deleted my two further responses after accusing me of being insulting to him (if the truth is an insult, then so be it).
Once I have received permission from the OJC I will be reporting the newspapers who took up Mr. Drake's article as they were factually incorrect.  Unfortunately Mr. Drake's article will escape censure by the PCC as blogs fall outside their remit.  However, if he allows it to stand, then it will serve as a memorial to his own ineptitude and bigotry.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Responsible Journalism and Transgender Children

Coy - a young trans girl who recently
won a legal fight over toilet usage
All too often, newspaper and magazine journalists fall into the trap of writing articles and having absolutely no idea of what they are talking about.  They get the terminology completely wrong, they misinform their readers about what the medical profession are doing, they state personal prejudices and and make evidence-free, scientifically erroneous statements.  What chance does  the average reader have of forming a balanced judgement against such ill-informed articles??   Absolutely none, unless the reader takes it upon themselves to undertake a lot of research into the matter.
Very often the journalist will insist that this is some form of child abuse, whereas it is just the opposite - it would be child abuse if the parent(s) deliberately made their child suffer the torment of going through puberty and then when they transitioned at a later date have to undergo painful and extensive treatments (eg laser/electrolysis to remove facial hair) and quite complicated and often dangerous surgeries (eg Facial Feminization Surgery etc).
This type of biased reporting is needlessly cruel - journalists, please gain a little knowledge about what you are writing about and consider the implications that you story will have on others - rather than how much you can earn from your mis-reporting.
Below is a link to an article which criticises such articles:-

Saturday, 15 June 2013

RIP Chrisie Edkins

I was shocked and upset when I heard yesterday that Chrisie Edkins had died.  It is thought that she ended her own life, but that is unsubstantiated at this moment in time.  Chrisie was a wonderful advocate for the trans community with her interviews on television and through her songs and music and many of these will no doubt become anthems for the trans community.
The one that will always stand out for me personally is her song "Hate" which is a plea to the world for more compassion and understanding for people who are transgender:-

Chrisie, the world is a poorer place for your passing.  RIP brave heart xxx

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Skool Disco

Danny & Robert
As a member of our local Pride committee, we ran a very successful 'Skool Disco' event featuring music from the 70's to the 90's on the Sunday of the Bank Holiday Weekend.
I was the school photographer (lol).  People came from all over the South West of England to attend the event and a really fabulous evening was had by everybody.  The event was kindly hosted for us by the Candy Floss nightclub in Torquay.
We had a fancy dress competition for best dressed boy and girl and the winner of the Best Dressed Girl was Elaine (pictured above left) and there were joint winners of the Best Dressed Boy, Danny and Robert (pictured above right).  Roll on the next event that we are organising.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Party time - again

Must be Spring at last - all these parties I have been invited to.  Caught on camera last night with a friend with my friend from Bradford (Yazz).
Lovely to meet you again Yazz

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Night off, night out

Had a night out last night to meet up with some friends and have a night off and a night out away from campaigning for transgender rights, online forum duties and other stuff that I am involved with such as the Independent Advisory Group working with our local police authority.

Sometimes it is just good to get away and let your hair down (difficult in my case as I have short hair lol) and get some freshness and sanity back into your life.

So, sorry for the slightly blurry picture (taken by a friend on a mobile phone), but it does show that I am not always the serious grumpy person that I might depict myself to be occasionally here, but shows  me in party mood, having a great evening out.

Wonder why people never believe me when I tell that that I am actually a painfully shy person.

Thank you Kelly for the invite to your party, it was much appreciated - oh to be 40 once again. xxx

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Further thoughts on Lucy's tragic death

I have read much about the incidents occurring in Lucy's life from the beginnings of her transition to the tragic end.  Arguments rage, the press is trying to do a whitewash job and accusing us of using Lucy's death solely as a propaganda tool.  There is even dissent within the trans community, one transvestite saying the article wasn't that bad and being supported in her views by somebody I once had great respect for.  Another gender queer person has blamed it on the RLE (Real Life Experience).   However I don't think the RLE argument holds water as Lucy had good support from her head, the school governors and from the rest of her colleagues. She was also loved by all her pupils by most accounts of what I have read.  She was doing a job that she obviously loved doing and she was finally on the verge of becoming the person that she had always believed that she was - so  why would she do this??

Yes, she had had ideation of suicide in the past from other articles that I have read - I think most of us have been there before transition, the thought that we might have to fight this thing for ever, to always live a lie. For most of us transition is a release from that prison, that hell that existed before.

However, the pressure escalated after the Daily Mail mocked her existence (by the incessant use of wrong names and wrong pronouns they delighted in rubbing that salt into the wounds, by inferring that she was not fit to teach young children, that she would be a danger to them - and, like I have said previously in other online forums, by publishing the Jimmy Saville piece within the same article - and hence guilt by association). She was then weakened and exhausted after 3 months of dodging the press parked outside her house and the school and the information as to what the press was doing was being relayed to her.  Studies have also shown that negative media exposure of this type can result in depression and increased risk of suicide.

People when they are exhausted can do silly things (like leaving a gas fire on unlit, or leaving something on the stove which can boil over whilst she fell asleep from sheer exhaustion, extinguishing the flame and the gas still keeps pouring out - exhaustion can also do funny things, like taking too many tablets for instance)........... or, it could be, that in the end she had simply had enough and took her own life as the only means of peace that she thought she could find.  It might even be that we will never know for certain what happened on that awful day.

I know at least three teachers of primary school aged children and two secondary school teachers who have transitioned at their schools and did not have a problem whatsoever, but they were not outed to the media in such a savage way and did not have the gutter press parked on their doorstep for months on end.

It was not the RLE that caused this, she could have coped with that as she had support all around her. It was something far more malicious that either caused an accidental death or made her so exhausted that she did, indeed, take her own life.

Samaritans is a UK nationwide helpline that can help in times of distress - call 08457 90 90 90 or email jo@samaritans.org if you want to talk about any problems that you are experiencing.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Tribute to Lucy

In memory of a courageous young woman who was so persecuted by some organs of the British Media that she felt her life no longer had any meaning.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Another young woman loses her life because of hate

RIP Lucy Meadows, the young schoolteacher from Accrington who was recently monstered by Richard Littlejohn in the Daily Mail and other rags, was found dead by police on Tuesday in what many suspect was suicide.
Transphobia kills and the rags are full of it again - almost rejoicing in the news that their stories may have been responsible for her taking her own life.  

My heartfelt sympathy and condolences go out to her family, friends and the pupils that she taught at her school.

Don't these sick journalist have one shred of remorse for what they do??

A more reasoned comment appears in the Liberal Conspiracy here.

There was also a legal advisor to Trans Media Watch who spoke tonight on BBC Radio 4 about it which you can access here.  The interview with David Allen Green starts at 25mins and 20 seconds into the program if you wish to skip the other items.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

How is your voice??

How is your voice???
For many male to female transsexuals this seems to be the stumbling block to passing.  The number of times I have heard something like
"Oh, I seem to pass reasonably well - until I open my mouth and speak" or similar phrases.
I don't know what is with trans women and voice, but many just seem to give up at that point as if it is impossible to achieve a reasonable voice which will not give rise to immediate doubts and double looks.

Read more about this in my 'Voice Therapy' page which you can access here.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Update on the Julie Burchill article

After my initial complaint to the Torquay Police was filed, I suspect, in the waste-paper bin, I took the matter up with one of the Diversity team at a recent Independent Advisory Group meeting with the Devon and Cornwall Police Authority where I serve as a member of the Gender Committee.  He assured me that even though the slurs and derogatory language were not directed at any one person in particular, it still could be regarded as a hate crime and that he would make further enquiries.

He has just contacted me to inform me that as several other Police Authorities have received complaints over the article, he had contacted the Head Diversity officer in London wanting to know if there was going to be a national response or if PA's were to proceed individually and he has volunteered to be the collator of information if the police decide to take action nationally as he was as appalled by the article as many people were.

He also apologised for the lack of action by my local police station and I shall be following this up as well shortly.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

My reply to Julie Burchill

Julie Burchill (a radical feminist journalist) recently wrote an article in the Observer online (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jan/14/1 - which was later withdrawn by the editor - but was later published in a blog on the Daily Telegraph web site http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/tobyyoung/100198116/here-is-julie-burchills-censored-observer-article/).

In the article she attacked trans women (but not trans men) in vile disgusting terms and ranted on about us demanding greater privileges than natal women.  She describes herself as a working class journalist (but nevertheless dines out and tries to impress her more illustrious colleagues in the rad fem movement by buying them lobster and champagne dinners.

She did this in support of a colleague (Suzanne Moore) who wrote an article that, amongst other things, women were angry about "not having the ideal body shape – that of a Brazilian transsexual".  It was a throw away line for which she has since apparently apologised (not realising that the murder rate of trans women in Brazil numbers many hundreds since records started to be kept a few years ago).  The article caused concern amongst the trans community and she was "driven from Twitter" by the storm that she had unwittingly unleashed (although why a seasoned writer was driven from Twitter is rather beyond me).

So in steps Julie Burchill all guns blazing on behalf of her 'friend' and produces one of the most hate filled and crude articles I have ever read and which was published by the Observer.  Besides being crude, it was also factually incorrect and just the slightest amount of research would have shown her this.

Her long introduction about her 'friend' showed her up as a sycophantic wanna-be worshipping at the feet of the woman that she has put on a pedestal, craving for a word of thanks for supporting her against the 'trannies'.

I probably know more transsexuals than she does, and the vast majority of them are caring, compassionate people - many having had to give up everything (family, friends, home, career) just to be true to themselves.  None of us demands greater privilege than any other woman - in fact it is often a fight to get any rights whatsoever.  If she really thinks that we are over privileged, she really should spend a few months walking in our shoes, she would certainly come away feeling very different.

We do not do this through choice (nobody would willingly put themselves through all the losses that we have to go through, the mental anguish, the physical pain of electrolysis and surgery), we do it purely to be true to ourselves.  An horrendous 84% of people who identify as being transsexual contemplate suicide and an astonishing 42% have actually attempted suicide on one or more occasions - which puts transsexual people as a group as one of the highest at risk anywhere in the world.

Maybe, by her bile she hoped that as a group, we would commit genocide and thus rid the world of what she regards as a problem.

Louise McCudden (a feminist journalist) wrote a much more reasoned piece in the Independent criticizing Julie Burchill's original article which can be read here http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/to-julie-burchill-suzanne-moore-and-all-feminists-the-absence-of-trans-people-in-the-media-is-as-important-as-the-absence-of-women-in-the-media-8450401.html

Thank you Louise for your understanding and compassion, it is good to know that there are people out there who can think more deeply about what we have to go through to be ourselves.

Saturday, 5 January 2013