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United Nations Reports: Reparative “Therapy” is Torture

Major Points: Every  reputable mental health or medical association in the US denounces conversion or reparative “therapy” as harmful to its victims.

  • The United Nations defines reparative “therapy” of transgener people as torture.
  • The UN calls for national laws prohibiting conversion and reparative “therapy” and calls for prosecution of those who violate those laws.
  • Americans, particularly “Christian counselors” continue to engage in this practice, even though it is based on pseudoscience and  its practice denounced by every reputable medical organization.
  • “Leelah’s Law” is being proposed to stop reparative “therapy” in the US on a national level, both in the interest of stopping the torture of children and in helping prevent more needless suicides.

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I’d like to thank Lexie Cannes for bringing the UN report to my attention.


NOTE:  This post was written for Leelah’s Law: Support the Ban on Conversion Therapy and is reprinted here. This post may be reproduced only if it is reproduced in its entirety, including copyright notices.
© Jody Ann Malsbury & The Transgender Human Rights Institute.

 

There is nothing therapeutic about so-called reparative “therapy.” The American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA), in its 2012 “Position Statement on Attempts to Change Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, or Gender Expression” stated:

Psychoanalytic technique does not encompass purposeful attempts to “convert,” “repair,” change or shift an individual’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Such directed efforts are against fundamental principles of psychoanalytic treatment and often result in substantial psychological pain by reinforcing damage in internalized attitudes [emphasis added].

 

In fact, all other reputable medical and mental health professional associations in the US have denounced this practice: The American Psychiatric Association (APA), the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) the American Psychological Association (APA), the American Medical Association (AMA), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), just to name a few.

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We Americans pride ourselves in being technologically innovative, socially advanced and somehow superior to the rest of the world. Despite the recent revelations about GW and the Torture Report revealing war crimes committed during his reign of terror, we Americans don’t generally view ourselves as barbaric people who torture children. Well, not so, according to the United Nations.

In a “Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,” made to the Human Rights Council of the UN, it was noted that:

…“members of sexual minorities are disproportionately subjected to torture and other forms of ill-treatment because they fail to conform to socially constructed gender expectations. Indeed, discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity may often contribute to the process of the dehumanization of the victim, which is often a necessary condition for torture and ill-treatment to take place.” [emphasis added] (page 19)

 

Discriminating against, denying or trying to change someone’s gender identity or gender expression is clearly dehumanizing, as it seeks to malign or erase a core part of someone’s concept of who they are.  Among recommendations in the report were for all nations:

… to repeal any law allowing intrusive and irreversible treatments, including forced genital-normalizing surgery, involuntary sterilization, unethical experimentation, medical display, reparative therapies” or “conversion therapies”, when enforced or administered without the free and informed consent of the person concerned. [emphasis added] (page 23)

 

Without the free and informed consent of the person concerned.”  Why would someone consent to what the UN itself has defined as torture? In any case, a minor child is legally unable to provide informed consent, therefore, any parent who subjects their child to so-called reparative or conversion “therapy”—clearly defined as torture by the UN—is violating at least 3 of the UN’s recommendations:

  1. Torture (child abuse, really) in the form of reparative “therapy”
  2. Lack of informed consent
  3. Lack of consent by the person concerned.

 

Finally, the UN report also calls for all nations to:

Promote accountability for torture and ill-treatment in health-care settings by identifying laws, policies and practices that lead to abuse; and enable national preventive mechanisms to systematically monitor, receive complaints and initiate prosecutions….  [emphasis added] (page 21)

 

I guess we’ll have to wait  and see when Leelah’s Law is enacted to see what the likelihood of anyone actually being prosecuted will be.

 

Jody Ann Malsbury, MSW
LCSW, Retired; license no longer active
Clinical Social Worker & Psychotherapist

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The Transgender Human Rights Institute is the first 501(c)3 transgender international human rights organization specifically organized for transgender rights worldwide.


© Jody Ann Malsbury & The Transgender Human Rights Institute.  This post may be reproduced only if it is reproduced in its entirety, including copyright notices.

 

 

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Jennifer & Marc: A Real-Life Love Story

Marc Süselbeck with the woman he loved – his fiancée Jennifer Laude   (before her savage and senseless murder by a US Marine)

An open letter to the bashers/detractors of murdered transgender Jennifer Laude, from her fiancé Marc Süselbeck

Following is a compilation of messages from Marc Süselbeck received by one Jennifer’s friends. Apparently Marc does not have a Facebook account but wanted to respond to some of the vile comments that he’s heard since Jennifer’s death. An update about Marc’s status and some final comments follow.

Posted on Facebook on October 8, 2014

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As if things couldn’t get any worse, Marc will not be able to return to the Philippines to visit Jennifer’s grave or to see her family:

 

Halloween deportation for Sueselbeck

Posted at 10/31/2014 2:56 PM | Updated as of 10/31/2014 3:40 PM

MANILA – The German fiance of slain transgender Jennifer Laude will leave the country tomorrow after his request for voluntary deportation was granted by the Bureau of Immigration.

Marc Sueselbeck will leave the country for Frankfurt, Germany.

His lawyer, Harry Roque, said Sueselbeck will hold a press conference prior to his departure.

Because of his voluntary deportation, Sueselback will be blacklisted and will no longer be allowed to return to the Philippines.

Sueselbeck was prevented from leaving the country last Sunday to face deportation proceedings for being an undesirable alien.

Last week, Sueselbeck and Laude’s sister Marilou climbed a perimeter fence inside Camp Aguinaldo in their search for US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton, the suspect in Laude’s killing.

Sueselbeck later apologized for his actions and said he is not a threat to the Philippines.

http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/10/31/14/halloween-deportation-sueselbeck

 

To report an incident of violence anywhere in the world, contact the Trans Violence Tracking Portal here.

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Besides the horrible violence of this case, which tends, unfortunately, to be the case for many murders committed against transgender persons worldwide, there are 2 things that have struck me about Jennifer and Marc:

  1. I cannot help but be in awe of Jennifer’s beauty. There is something about her pictures that makes it very difficult for me to tear my eyes away.  It’s more than about what Jennifer looked like – it’s something about her. After reading the above comments from Marc and seeing the picture of Jennifer and Marc together, I think I know what it is…blank for blog
  2.  Marc loved Jennifer.  Just how much he loved her is reflected in his writing, the way he looked at her and the radiance in her face in the photographs of her.  Not everyone gets the opportunity to experience that kind of love, and it often doesn’t come around more than once in a lifetime.  It seems pretty clear that Marc felt lucky to have met and loved Jennifer; I wonder whether anyone has ever or will ever tell Marc how lucky Jennifer was to have had his love – not because she was trans — but because he seems to be a genuinely loving and caring man and any (non-lesbian) woman would be lucky to have him.

 

 

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Letter to US Marine Pemberton

Jennifer Laude. INQUIRER CENTRAL LUZON\

 Jennifer Laude was a transgender woman murdered by a US Marine in the Philippines on October 11, 2014.  If you are not familiar with the case, you might want to refer to the following:

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This is a Facebook post addressed to 19 year old Pemberton.  I couldn’t have said it better. 

This was posted to Facebook on October, 19, 2014.

 

To PFC Joseph Scott Pemberton:

Why???

Why did you think you had the right to take her life? An American solders [sic] job is to stand up for human rights. You failed your job! You have changed peoples lives and not for the good.

Do you know what you have taken from us? Do you know who you have taken from us? You have taken someone’s son, someone’s brother, and yes I guess you have to say someone’s sister, someone’s niece, aunty [sic]. You took away someone’s lover, someone’s fiance [sic], someone’s friend. You took the family breadwinner, her brother’s education. You took away a lover of animals and one of the kindest and most honest people you could ever hope to meet. You took away a beautiful, sweet, vivacious, living, breathing, caring human being. You took away someone who brought joy comfort to those around her. You took away someone we all loved!!!

You did more than that. You betrayed your uniform, your regiment and your country. What about your family? What have you done to them? So again I ask you why? Why did you kill her? Were you so disgusted to find out you just had sex with a transsexual that you felt your only option was to kill her? WHY??? To keep anyone from finding out??? Obviously that didn’t work to [sic] well. No, you didn’t kill her to keep it quiet, you killed her because you enjoyed it! You enjoyed the time you had with her! It was the best you ever had and that scared the crap out of you because you thought it might mean you were gay! It might mean you were gay and you felt guilty for enjoying it. So by God YOU were going to ease your conscience and send a statement to the world : PFC JOESPH SCOTT PEMBERTON WAS NOT GAY!!! Wouldn’t it have been better to just tuck tail and run? Jennifer wasn’t going to tell anyone about you! Just because you enjoyed the sex you killed her? You must have liked it, they found two used condoms. Probably the best sex you ever had, unless maybe one of them was hers???? Oh shit dude!!! And now the whole world knows!!

Well guess what? It doesn’t matter!!! Don’t you get it? As long as it is between two consenting adults and hurts no one, it okay!! Even the Pope says its okay. A real man understands that! You sir are not a real man! You are a selfish homophobic bastard. May God forgive you, I sir can not! Jennifer will though, she will be the first to forgive you. Oh wait…YOU KILLED HER!! She can’t forgive you….she is gone! I know its not good to harbor bitterness and resentment towards someone and that I too need to forgive you, and I will. But not today…and sorry tomorrow doesn’t look good either. Ah hell… who am I fooling? I’ll just have to take the hit. I’m gonna hate you until the day I die. Can someone else here please forgive him? I can’t! I will pray for her family and yes dude I will even pray for yours. I will pray for all of us that are hurting because of your selfish cowardly act.

Everyone is fighting to get you tried and convicted in the Philippines. I don’t care where it happens or who does it. I just want you tried, convicted and sentenced to the most maximum punishment available irregardless of which country does it. No matter what your punishment it will never be enough. I can only hope there is a part of you that realizes how horribly wrong you were and that you are tormented forever by guilt and regret for your selfish actions.

REST IN PEACE JENNIFER

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The thing is, there isn’t any evidence that they “had sex” – if there was any sexual contact at all, evidence points towards her having been raped, which makes the story all the more tragic. This woman was not only murdered, but has been slandered by the press, being blamed for her own murder.  Transmisogyny at its finest.

 

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Süselbeck

COCKroach RATfem “Protecting” Her TERF From Imaginary Demons

COCKRoach RATFem Bitch Brennan pisses on fire hydrant to protect her TERF

Bitch Brennan Pissing on Fire Hydrant to Protect Her TERF

TERF

Definition

Acronym for Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist. That group of feminists that claims that trans women aren’t really women, as biological determinism is only a fallacy when used against them, not when they use it against others.

Usage

Isn’t it mindboggling that the Royal College of Psychiatrists would invite a TERF like Julie Bindel to come talk at a study day on transgenderism and transsexuality? That’s like inviting Fred Phelps to come deliver the keynote at a gay pride. http://queerdictionary.tumblr.com/post/3891289414/terf

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TERF.   Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist.   I learned a new acronym today in the midst of the KKKristian right’s latest efforts to malign transender people by bullying a transgender teen in Colorado.   It seems that RATfem COCKroach CatBitch Brennan—a lesbian—is siding with the  Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), an organization that endorses—even promotes—scientifically de-bunked gay conversion “therapy,” and is aligning herself with right-wing anti-gay activists who hate people just like her.  I guess that makes her a whore as well as a hypocrite.  Geez, that piece of RATrash scum gives cis women, lesbians, real feminists and the rest of humanity a bad name.

I originally read about this story in the UK’s Daily Mail, which has since removed their article from its site. The Examiner printed a well-placed retraction and apology, but the conservative media, including Faux News continues to perpetuate the lies.  Nobody has personally apologized to the teen; this was verified and communicated to me directly from the girl’s mother.  Lies, LIES and more LIES.  http://www.transadvocate.com/daily-news-pulls-story-examiner-prints-retraction-fox-news-keeps-the-lie-going.htm I only recently started spending more time online and have been neglecting this blog.  In normal circumstances, I would have addressed this story here; however, I found myself involved peripherally in the story, as the girl being bullied in the KKKristian right’s latest ploy to malign transgender people (who I will refer to as “J,” both because I do not out people and because she is a minor) sent me a Facebook friend request after I posted a few supportive comments to her, and I have been busy posting updates and facts on Facebook pages as well as supportive comments to “J” and her family since.  I was pleased to be able to connect “J’s” mom w/Cristan Williams, Editor of the Transadvocate; look for an in-depth interview with “J” and her  family by Cristan in the Transadvocate in the next few days. https://www.facebook.com/transadvocate/posts/10151712762962532. I will try to update soon; meanwhile, I’ll likely be posting on facebook:    But first I gotta ask:

…WTF is wrong With the Queen TERF?

Besides the obvious?  For a lesbian so preoccupied with penises, it is certainly a question worthy of consideration.  I wonder what her current company would say???

“All that fucking dyke needs is a good fuck by a real man.  THAT’ll show her.”

“She’s too ugly to get a man so she’s pretending to BE a man.  That’s why she’s a lesbian.”

“She wants to be a man.  That’s why she seduces our women and takes our jobs away from us.  That’s why those lezzie dykes will burn in hell.”

“I can’t let that butch bitch near my family.  She’s a predator.”

“Don’t let that bull-dyke near children.  She’ll try to convert them to homosexuality.  Fucking Perverts.”

Oh, wow.  Does any of that sound familiar?  All I can tell you is that I’ve seen what this RatFem-preoccupied-with-penises-COCKroach looks like and we’ve all seen what she is:  My trans women friends are far more beautiful—both inside and out. 

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More About Pronouns

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In 2009, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force found that more than 97% of transgender individuals had experienced some form of harassment or discrimination at work [and] 47% had been fired, denied a promotion, or refused a position because of their gender identity [number formats edited.]  http://www.thetaskforce.org/downloads/reports/fact_sheets/transsurvey_prelim_findings.pdf

This post, about the transition of Risa Bear while a librarian at the University of Oregon, is a followup to my post “The Power of Pronouns.”blank line for blog

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The Pronoun Problem

By: Nov 5, 2010
Photography:   •  Illustration: ,

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Tucked back at the edge of the University of Oregon Library’s main floor was Risa Bear’s territory when she worked at the University of Oregon Knight Library for twelve years.

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“It started with a bathroom,” says Risa Bear, retired University of Oregon librarian.

When her bosses learned that she had begun her gender transition, they assigned her a key to the locked, unisex, management bathroom for nearly eight months. They did this to avoid any questions or stares that would make co-workers feel uncomfortable. However, after months of sprinting the 0.8 miles across the library to the management bathroom, Bear decided that it was her time to visit the ladies’ room.

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Lauren Jow

Illustrations by Lauren Jow

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Sitting in a faded green rocking chair one year into retirement, Bear smiles and sips her tea, always aware of where the closest bathroom is. In 2006, at the age of fifty-seven, Richard Bear became Risa after undergoing genital surgery. Despite the tilted heads, cocked eyebrows, and questioning voices, Bear acknowledges that she was among the lucky few to keep their jobs while transitioning.

Dr. Jillian Weiss, a professor at Ramapo College who transitioned at the age of thirty-seven, explains that being fired is the biggest fear when an individual decides to transition.

“We spend so much time at work that this business environment transforms into a social organization,” says Weiss. “Even in a great work environment, it typically takes at least a month for people to adjust to the notion of their co-worker taking on a new identity.”

Bear emphasizes that it was because of the support of those around her that her transition was so smooth. She explains that many of the negative comments she could have heard from students or visitors of the library were deflected by a close group of friends and co-workers who continuously looked out for her.

“I had 300 friends before I transitioned, and 300 friends after I transitioned,” says Bear.

She kept her friends by being someone that other people wanted to know. No matter her gender, Bear was a friend to those around her.

In 2009, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force found that more than ninety-seven percent of transgender individuals had experienced some form of harassment or discrimination at work. Forty-seven percent had been fired, denied a promotion, or refused a position because of their gender identity.

However, Weiss explains that in the last decade, these trends have begun to shift. Since 1982, gender identity protection laws have begun sprouting in states in order to protect individuals from being fired because of their gender identity or sexual orientation.

“It’s not right for someone to be fired because of their gender identity,” says Weiss. “If you think about it, everyone is a little transgender. A woman who works on cars and a man who likes to cook, they are both transitioning across the lines of [stereotypical] gender roles.”

Nevertheless, discrimination because of gender continues. In 2009, a federal judge ruled that Special Forces veteran Diane Schroer be compensated with $491,190 in back pay and benefits, emotional pain and suffering, and out of pocket expenses for the discrimination she faced for being a transgender person. This ruling penalized the Library of Congress for refusing Schroer a job when she announced that she was transitioning from male to female.

From the media to the government, Bear explains that transgender individuals are given the lowest amount of civil rights. In fact, “We’re no longer people, we’re objects,” she says. “If you want to make people feel like they have no rights, like they don’t even belong in society and have no right to ask to be treated like equals, start by telling them that they are less than human.”

According to Bear, the vast majority of people are accepting of transgender people. Once they have the opportunity to meet and work with a transgender individual, their stereotypes disappear. However, until that time, they often know very little and assume that whatever stereotypes presented by the media and other outlets are true.

“People tend to not have an opinion,” says Bear. “The opinions they do have are generated from shows like Cops.” Bear explains that the comical representation of transgender people, large men stumbling in low-cut dresses, paints a very harmful picture.

While people are beginning to take the situation seriously, Bear emphasizes that right now, transgender individuals need “media outlets that will present people for who they are and what they do rather than what they are.”

However, without the necessary steps, transgender people still face fierce discrimination in and out of the workplace. In Illinois, the discrimination of transgender people proceeds far beyond the cubical. Victoria Kirk and Karissa Rothkopf sued Illinois for not changing their gender on their birth certificates. Still, the state explained that this was difficult because both women had their surgeries performed by doctors outside of the United States.

Whether navigating the impressions of others or lessening evidence of physical differences for the workplace, Bear explains that there is always a barrier to be broken.

Bear began her career at the University of Oregon while still Richard. However, when she decided to transition, she began leaving her co-workers subtle signs of femininity—a pair of earrings or a barrette in her hair. Bear recalls the evening of August 7, 2003. It was after a day of dressing up and taking pictures that Bear ordered her first set of pills. When she began to take estrogen, she also began to transition.

In 2006, Bear proceeded with her Real Life Test, a psychological examination to ensure that one is ready to change genders and fit into a new role. In Homecomings, Bear’s blog, she recalls a difficult segment of the transition process—changing psychologists three times to find one sympathetic to her experience.

“He inquired into my childhood. He listened to my vocabulary, enunciation and phrasing,” she writes of one psychologist. “He watched my body language. I had a feeling I was not feminine enough for him.”

After completing the required number of sessions, Bear requested a surgery. She flew to Miami where there was a surgeon who was competent, yet affordable. Post-surgery, Bear grew her hair longer and began wearing dresses that covered most of her still slightly masculine figure. Bear explains that she knew that she would never be a “beautiful woman,” but would rather settle for an “old lady.” However, she began to allow herself to wear makeup and jewelry outside of the house, in order to make her new persona more apparent to the public eye.

“I realize this makes me sound a little shallow,” Bear says. “But, I was always afraid of being seen as grotesque.”

Upon returning to work, Bear found that her colleagues were very supportive. Rarely did she encounter conflicts. The “pronoun problem,” as Bear refers to it, is one of the most hurtful mistakes that people make when working with a transgender person. This is often a slip of the tongue, when someone uses “he” instead of “she,” or vice versa.

“It’s the kind of mistake that crushes you and leaves your confidence on the floor for weeks,” Bear says as she chokes back a tear.

Weiss, however, takes a more moderate position to this issue. She explains that transgender individuals need to understand that it’s a transition for their peers as well. It takes time for the mind to adjust to new names and pronouns.

Bear suggests approaching a transgender co-worker in a gentle way with a simple variation of the question: “What pronoun would you like me to use?” She adds that this practice is done throughout the University of Oregon’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (LGBTQ) groups and is very successful.

As a transitioning counselor, Weiss is often asked to assist companies when an employee is transitioning. When doing so, she breaks the process into three main steps.

First, she pulls all company records and policies to ensure that they are transgender friendly.

“There are so many sensitive issues that need to be changed,” explains Weiss. “And it’s not the transgender employee’s responsibility to educate their employer on the issues.”

Instead, Weiss looks at bathroom policies, paychecks, changing names on payroll, emails and much more to ensure a smooth transition.

Next, Weiss holds an intensive training for management. She talks to them about what it means to be transgender and how the transition will affect their employees. Weiss prepares management to be supportive while not changing the working environment.  An ideal employer, according to Weiss, is one who seeks outside resources to aid in the transition. Hiring a human resources consultant to work specifically with the transition, or doing research that takes pressure away from the transgender individual helps show support.

Finally, a similar training is held for co-workers.

“This session is more casual, allowing everyone to ask questions and understand that the transition won’t affect their work environment.”

Weiss explains that often colleagues ask questions in good faith, but enter very personal territory that the transitioning individual may not be comfortable answering. These questions include asking what sort of surgery or medications they are using. Rather, it is appropriate to be inquisitive about how this will change their relationship with the transgender individual, not about the details of the transition itself.

“People are usually curious about what they should do if a client calls for Mr. Smith, but Mr. Smith is now Ms. Smith,” Weiss says.

These are issues that Weiss helps associates navigate and practice. She stresses that within the first month, most kinks are worked out and by the end of the year, pronoun and name changes are hardly even a conscious effort.

“It wouldn’t be the end of the world if you asked the transgender individual ‘why’ he or she is transitioning, but remember that when someone’s at work, he or she is just trying to do the job—regardless of gender,” she says.

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At age 57 in 2006, Risa Bear decided to undergo a transformation so that her outside appearance matched what she felt inside of her.

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Lonnie Sexton, a colleague and friend of Bear’s, says that as Bear gained confidence in her new identity, she became a role model to others. Sexton explains that Bear is an individual who is even tempered and has always been a joy to be around. She also speaks of Bear as a role model for students. “Those [students] grappling with transgender identity could look to [Bear] as a model of a smooth transformation. She has confidently integrated her transformation with other aspects of her life—work, friendships, and family.”

Throughout this process, Bear says that her peers were aware and supportive of her decisions.

“Risa, keep your knees closed,” repeats Bear in recollection of the best advice an associate ever gave her.

“I knew and liked Richard Bear as a co-worker,” says Sexton in reference to the transformation. “However, I was not very close with him. I was interested in his poetry, and we exchanged pleasantries, but that was the extent of our relationship. On the other hand, I have become very friendly with Risa Bear. It’s interesting that she is the same person, but I definitely relate better to her as a woman. This says more about me than her.”

“There are a lot of rules about transitioning—I broke them all,” Bear says with a chuckle. However, she advises everyone about to delve into their own transition to invest in a nice set of thank you cards and Hershey’s Kisses. “Express your gratitude and show appreciation when people are nice to you,” says Bear. She explains that her own gratitude paid off greatly when people would stop by to give her a hug or when a woman would pause and whisper “welcome” to her.

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“Effeminate”: How Words Kill

Note:  I know that I have written in previous posts that the word “transgender” is usually preferable to “transsexual,” and that the word “transsexual” is usually considered offensive.   However, after speaking with Suzan (and others) and doing some research of my own, I am realizing things are not so simple (they rarely are…); I will address the “‘Transgender‘ vs. ‘Transsexual‘” debate in a future post.

In my readings and research about transgender/transsexual (TG/TS) issues and my interactions with transphobic people, I have  become very aware of the role of misogyny inherent in transphobia.  Considering the number of trans women friends I have, the high incidence of violence directed towards trans women is particularly disturbing to me:   I dread the possibility that I will one day be lighting a candle for someone I know at the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) and the idea of it being for a friend is devastating.

The following post on “Women Born Transsexual,” by Suzan addresses how use of the word “effeminate” adds to trans-misogyny and she makes a very good argument for eradicating the word from one’s vocabulary.

Click on link:
Respect for Others and Words Meant to Belittle or Degrade: “Effeminate”

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