Every So Often, the System DOES Work!

Cross-posted on Pam's House Blend

I was just woken up by an unexpected phone call.

Normally, this would be extremely irritating as you can imagine. I barely get much sleep, so being woken up when I actually was passed out is a pet peeve.

This however, was a wake-up I can definitely forgive, as it was the BC Supreme Court Crown Counsel calling me.

For anyone who is unfamiliar with my legal battle with Safeway Co. Ltd. please direct your attention here, here, and here.

Why would Crown call me less than a week before my final court date? To inform me that, as the man whose job it is to prove I'm guilty of the crime I'm charged with and convict me, he has, after two months of investigation into the testimony and evidence presented during the first part of my trial in August, determined that Safeway's case is so full of gaping holes and blatant transphobia that it is not even worth the Court's time to persue it further.

I no longer have to law awake at night fearing the system won't care about the transphobic bullying I endured by Safeway employees that lead to the false shoplifting charges, or hope I may be found not guilty because proof and justice were on my side.

Because the Crown decided Safeway's bullshit was so mind-numbingly obvious he COMPLETELY DISMISSED THE CHARGES!!!!

Apparently, inasmuch as he was willing or able to tell me, his attempts to procure interviews with the abusive security guard who the arresting guard was forced at my first hearing to admit WAS there and had been suspiciously left out of his report completely, he determined my version of events was clearly the accurate one and that the security guard who testified had a vested interest in trying to pretend otherwise.

I don't know if I have the energy after a year and a half of my life has been chewed up by this to actually SUE Safeway, but I'm damned sure going to Ask them to reimburse me for the items I had paid good money for which the security guards confiscated wrongly as stolen property.

Today, I am a happy kitty. Sometimes, the system DOES work for us.


I Am Purple Every Day

Crossposted on Pam's House Blend

It's no secret to those that know me that I'm a tad obsessed with purple. I own a lot of purple clothing, a fair chunk of my digital art is purple, and I've had my hair dyed purple more than once.

What very few people know is why. And since a well-meaning campaign has declared today Spirit Day and encouraging people to wear purple to raise awareness of teenage GLBT suicides, now seems as good a time as any to tell you all why.

I've seen several examples today on Twitter alone of trans youth being ignored, ungendered, or lumped in unfairly with gay youth and ignoring the different struggles they face. I know gay kids go through a lot of bullshit, yes, but Trans kids have several completely different struggles on top of those, so before I begin, let me remind you, honor EVERY kid in turmoil today. Do NOT gayjack or ungender trans kids by lumping everyone together as if one universal solution will fix everyone's problems.

When I was young, my femininity was not exactly subtle. I knew at age 3 something was wrong. I knew I was supposed to be a girl. I didn't know I actually WAS a girl surgically jiggered at birth. But I knew I was supposed to BE a girl. And every time I expressed femininity I got beaten up.

If I asked to see a Barbie doll at recess, I got beat up.

If I didn't want to join in at sports or play War or Tackle Tag, I got beat up.

If I said I actually liked cooking my own breakfast, I got beat up.

Anything I expressed interest in that the boys saw as even bordering on stereotypically girly, I got beat up.

I ended up suspended from Grade 3 for a week because I admitted to liking Jem and the Holograms, and when the teacher pulled the bullies off of me and said I should expect to get beat up if I was going to be a sissy and not like GI Joe instead, I told him to go fuck himself. I got beat up and yet it was ME who got suspended, because I stood up to a teacher reinforcing stereotypes and condoning the bullying.

When I started to grow breasts, I got beat up.

When I tried to resist my rapists in Juvey, I got beat up.

And every time I got beat up, I waited til the next day. And the next day, when the bruises formed, I saw my only friend, Purple.

Purple, who appeared on my skin to remind me I was different and had to fight to survive.

Purple, who reassured me I had survived another hate fuelled beating.

Purple, who told me I was still alive, that they hadn't broken me.

I love purple. Purple tells me I'm alive. That I'm strong enough to survive the abuse. Purple tells me I'm allowed to be me.

I admire the girl who came up with the idea of a Spirit Day. It's a noble thought, even if some idiots are already distorting her noble idea to ungender trans kids. I wish there were less such idiots and more kids like Brittany McMillan who want to do something positive.

But I'm purple every day of my life. And so should all of us be. Every day should be a day we talk about and support young GLBT folks. ALL of them.

I love purple.


Women Like Me

Crossposted on Pam's House Blend

Women like me are called “it” on the radio, on television, in the news, and by politician wanting to undermine our rights. Just ask Sally Kern's supporters.

We are murdered at a staggering rate. 1 in 8 will be murdered, according to a Harvey Milk institute study. And chances are, 9 times out of 10, no one will cover it except angry trans/is bloggers like me.

Raping us is not yet a crime. Oh sure rape is still technically illegal, but if the victim is a woman like me? Most courts, if it ever even gets to court, dismiss the plaintiffs as deviants who left themselves vulnerable, therefore it's our own fault.

Murdering us is considered justifiable. The victory in Angie Zapata's murder trial was a rupugnantly rare exception where we got justice. The rule is generally "Oh she was a dude? I understand, you're freev to go sir." And that's if it ever reaches trial. Police don't genewrally put much manpower into hunting down some guy who killed another tranny, she was probably a prostitute anyway amirite?

Also generally considered to be perfectly acceptable by society in general are spontaneous public beatings, often by police. Especially in New York where there are at least 3 publicized incidents in the last 10 years of cops standing with a crowd watching and laughing and doing nothing as a transwoman got beaten.

Police often rape us, prior to fabricating charges of soliciting. They know in a their word against ours situation, not even gay and lesbian advocates will believe us over police. Because all trannies are hookers, everyone knows that. We must be, it's not like anyone will give us a real job.

We are openly taunted and demeaned in the media using the most hateful language. If you don't believe me, just Google "Memphis Trans Murders" and see how the media portrays us when we're murdered.

So called “LGBT” activists lie to us to take our meager dollars at fundraisers, then abandon us as beneath them when we need their voices to stand up for us. HRC is a frequent offender, and Joe Solmonese couldn't give a rat's ass about actually including Tran folk. He actively tried to push a trans-exclusive ENDA because he knew them there Gay Fellers would get approval easier if they threw us under the bus. AFTER taking donations from us and promising they'd fight for us of course. LGBT newspapers like Bay Windows and the Washington Blade call for our exclusion from basic rights legislation.

Our unemployment rate is staggeringly high. Even where our kind are supposedly protected from job discrimination, there's always a reason why we're "not right for the job". No employer has to actually say he isn't hiring us because we're trannies, he just has to make up any flimsy excuse and he'll get away with it. I've been passed over because 120 words per minute was "too speedy for office needs".

Because we are often incarcerated in male prisons with exaggerated sentences. I was in juvey for punching a group home worker for calling me a little faggot. I was gang-raped in a shower. The guards denied me medical attention and their reply to my story was "yeah yeah sure queer, back to your cell". That is a verbatim quote as they dragged me back to my cell while my ass was STILL BLEEDING.

Because it is still considered OK to deny us basic medical care, and to excoriate us in the media for seeking it. Just ask the trans woman who in August went to emergency with her wife and daughter because she was coughing up blood and was sniggered at by staff who ignored her id, then had her sanity questioned instead of treated for her illness, then ultimately refused treatment because of her "condition". Not her actual medical condition mind you. They meant her being a "transvestite".

Or as Tyra Hunter found out, to be tortured with naltrexone injections in the last moments of her life, while being taunted for who she was as she lay dying on the pavement, because the EMT found a penis in her panties and refused to touch her afterward. As far as I can find on Google searches, he was never punished.

“Feminists” still call for our exclusion from basic human dignities and protections, such as restrooms and DV shelters, because we're just "men trying to infiltrate female dynamics". (Google "The Transsexual Empire" by Janice Raymond for reference to this crock mentality).

We are effectively barred from attending womens colleges, as well as many women only venues. I personally received 14 death threats by e-mail after I said on my old now-defunct LiveJournal account that I planned to attend the Vancouver Dyke March 6 years ago and speak onstage about tg issues. I was afraid to attend though, as they were so descriptive and specific in their threats. The police of course did nothing.

And finally, because all too many women will ignore this post “because it doesn’t affect them,” or because of their own issues with women like me.

Women like me are standing up and telling the rest of you; We exist. You will not ignore us. You will not pretend we aren't there. You will address us as we live, not by our genitals. You will respect our identities. You will not shrug if someone murders us. You will nott exclude us from equality legislation for the sake of expediance swearing you'll "come back for us, honest".

Women like me, ARE women.

Get used to it. We will not quietly go away, and every new generation of us gets louder and louder.


When A Stupid Choice Outweighs A Deplorable Crime

Crossposted on Pam's House Blend

I'm very sad and angry about the recent spate of gay teen suicides. Two 13 year old boys and one 15 year old boy in the past two weeks have killed themselves because of relentless homophobic bullying. These poor young boys were abused to ridiculous extremes not only by hateful classmates, but by school officials who did absolutely nothing fearing conservative reprisals.

These were children, who, regardless of their actual sexuality, (two were openly gay, one had never said he was or wasn't, and his misguided mother seems more concerned that people are told he wasn't than with fighting what drove him to kill himself), were abused and threatened and harassed and made to feel worthless until death felt like the only option for peace. These are tradgedies, crimes against vcompassion and humanity. They deserve what media coverage they're getting, because homophobic bullying in American schools is an epidemic that has lethal consequences.

While the so-called and extremely erroneously defined "family values" wingnut groups like Focus on the Family and the American Family Association constantly oppose every effort to address homophobic bullying, pulling all sorts of bullshit out of their ass to explain why they are perfectly content to let innocent children die as long as "the homuh-seckshuals" don't get a foothold in schools, these suicides should be a wake-up call to anyone with actual morals and compassion that things need to change in the USA. Once again, it deeply disturbs me that I can brag about Canada's superiority to the USA in yet another area, when our countries should be on par.

As a Canadian, I'm proud that Canada is light years ahead of the States in regard to things like same-sex marriage, gays in the military, equality under the law, and anti-bullying programs in our schools. Things that, to a rational, thinking fair-minded society should be no-brainers. As someone with family and dearly beloved friends in the USA, I'm ashamed of just how far ahead of you my country is.

And while I know a lot of you are going to be seriously pissed off at me for what I'm going to say next, it's the truth, and it bloody well needs to be addressed.

There's one more way that Canada trumps the USA, and it's the one that sickens me the most. Our GLBT groups and our media actually acknowledge the T equally, with fairness and equal standing. When a trans woman is murdered here it makes the news, and the victim is almost never ungendered in said reports, because our media follows the trans guidelines in the AP style book, and our GLBT organizations stand up for the T. Gay men, lesbian women, and straight folks of all kinds came out in proud support of trans women during the Lu's Pharmacy debacle. Trans people are protected under national law, and trans surgeries are for the most part covered in Canada.

Why am I bringing this up because of gay teen suicides in the USA? Because the suicide getting the most coverage is the one that deserves it the least, and all the massive coverage it's getting is repulsively shameful when compared to the almost non-existant coverage of the murder of a trans woman of colour that happened less than 30 miles away only two weeks before.

Seth Walsh, Asher Brown and Billy Lucas were children. They were constantly harassed, occasionally assaulted, and no one was helping them. They felt trapped and alone and lost, and they were desperate to escape. They deserve the media coverage, their deaths are tradgedies, part of an epidemic of bullying.

Victoria Carmen White was a post-op trans woman of colour, young, vibrant, attending college, and living her life. The ONLY local news report that addressed her murder did so thusly;

"Sept. 13, 2010

Newark – On Sunday, Sept. 12 at approximately 5 a.m. Victoria Carmen White, 28, of Newark was fatally shot at a private residence located at 159 Jacoby Street in Maplewood. Information released immediately following the shooting identified the victim as James White.

The victim’s legal name is Victoria Carmen White. Following an examination by the Medical Examiner and further investigation, it has been confirmed that the victim was a post-operative transgender female having undergone sex reassignment surgery. The victim’s birth certificate was legally changed to identify her as Victoria Carmen White.

The case is under active investigation. No other information is currently available."

Post-op, full legal documentation, and STILL the police and the media felt a need to ungender her post-mortum. And this is the ONLY media coverage she's gotten at all not counting a few dedicated bloggers like TransGriot and Questioning Transphobia who've tried to give her a voice in death. Like the three young boys, she too deserves massive media coverage that she's not getting anywhere, to bring to light another epidemic in this country.

Which brings me to Tyler Clementi, and the part that will likely piss people off but is nontheless true.

I feel genuinely sad for his family for their loss. And it does sadden me that another gay man is dead because straight people were idiots. But all available reports, accounts, and evidence shows that Tyler wasn't routinely bullied or harassed like the kids were. He was never relentlessly abused, or made to feel worthless by all his peers while school officials sat on their hands. Tyler Clementi had low self-esteem because his parents were reportedly deeply Catholic, and likely he himself felt conflicted about his sexuality, but the facts are he wasn't routinely bullied or harassed like the kids were.

Tyler was simply the victim of an admittedly cruel and tasteless prank, not of constant homophobic bullying. Tyler was an adult, not a child. Tyler was not trapped in a hopeless ceaseless cycle of abuse, he was embarassed by a video that invaded his privacy. And all evidence suggests Tyler killed himself because he was embarassed at being on public display.

And media across the country is harping on him as if he was the next Matthew Shepard. Gay Rights groups like HRC are loudly publicly demanding his roommate be charged with manslaughter because the video drove him to suicide. They are pushing his story past the three kids now. In most stories currently Tyler is the focal point of discussing the teen gay suicide/homophobic bullying epidemic, and Billy, Asher and Seth end up as footnotes and afterthoughts, mentioned mostly to show there were more than one suicide, while the authors focus on Tyler.

And Victoria? They don't mention her at all. Joe Solmonese isn't loudly calling for her killer to be brought to justice. GLBT groups aren't crying out for more attention to be paid to trans murders. While gay groups demand blood for Tyler, who made a stupid choice because someone embarassed him with a cruel prank, (which at best is worthy of a mischief charge under the law and doesn't qualify for manslaughter, or even criminally negligent homicide), no one is demanding Victoria's killer be found except a few angry bloogers.

An actual murderer is running around free and anonymous with a police force under absolutely NO pressure from ANYONE to track him down and arrest him, but a dead gay white man overreacts to being embarassed and people are calling for blood from an idiot douchebag who played a really stupid prank, who certainly deserves to be expelled from college but is NOT a murderer.

I'm sorry, but the truth is, the biggest tradgedy here is the subtle racism, trans-phobia and complete trans-erasure that has not only relegated three children's deaths to the background to focus on an adult white gay man who made a stupid choice while being nowhere near as beleagred as the three children were, but a black trans woman's murder goes ignored and forgotten completely because hey! A gay white man killed himself because a douchebag broadcast his sex life! That's way more important than some black tranny being FUCKING SHOT TO DEATH IN HER OWN FUCKING HOME!!!!!

Priorities. Canada has them. You folks don't. Give Tyler a rest. Put the focus back on Seth, Asher and Billy. And give Victoria the respect she deserves. Talk about HER death.

And people wonder why Trans folk don't trust white gay men when they want our money and swear they won't throw us under the bus again like they did with ENDA. Fuck you HRC. You don't give a shit about us.

Hat-tip to Gemma Catherine Seymour, as I'd never heard of Victoria's case until someone linked to her blog.