…her interview with Carmen Carrera and Laverne Cox.
…and learns nothing from her own so-called “teachable moment.”
Reprinted from the Huffington Post
Posted: 01/14/2014 1:19 pm
Producer and host, ‘TransMilitary’;
member of the Board of Directors,
National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association
Katie Couric totally missed what she referred to as the “teachable moment” in her interview with Carmen Carrera and Laverne Cox. Sadly, what she did do is reinforce the reality that society as a whole has a long way to go in coming to understand who they know themselves to be.
Couric’s questions said more about her — and her audience’s — ignorance of what is it to be human than it did about their lack of knowledge of being transgender.
At the crux of the situation is that sex does not equal gender. When we’re born we are assigned a sex based on what genitalia is seen between our legs. The error occurs when we make assumptions on someone’s gender based on that sex assignment label.
Assigning someone as female at birth does not mean their gender is female. Assigning someone as a male at birth does not mean their gender is male.
Gender can been seen with three different elements: 1) Who you know yourself to be, 2) how you express yourself to the world, and 3) how the world sees you.
Sex organs do not define gender. Regardless of what we have beneath our clothes our gender is defined in ways beyond our body. Further, the gender we know ourselves to be is a deeply personal experience — if we have the courage to explore it.
No one would ever ask, “Katie, what does your vagina look like today? You’ve given birth twice, right? Has it lost any elasticity?” So why should she ask Carrera what status her genitalia is currently in? How is that Couric’s or her audience’s right to know? And how is that relevant to the gender Carrera knows or expresses?
Asking about sex organs is a) inappropriate and b) shortsighted to understanding the experience of being transgender.
If Couric was more aware of her own gender she would never dare view Carrera as a person who should have to describe the anatomy between her legs. While it may be very personally pertinent to how Carrera feels as a human being, it is no one’s prerogative to use her genitalia or state of transition to make a judgment on her gender. It’s simply not relevant to how we should see Carrera.
With class and compassion Carrera and Cox seized upon the “teachable moment” themselves, highlighting the horrific violence, oppression and discrimination transgender people face. But what doubled the disappointment was that Couric did not listen. She had a list of questions in her head and could not lead the dialogue appropriately. She hadn’t even bothered to learn correct vocabulary, making her use of “transgenders” majorly cringe worthy.
Nonetheless, whether we are transgender or not, why should anyone care what anyone else’s genitals look like? We are all born with what we have and the only reason someone may assert that our body is ‘wrong’ is if that body doesn’t meet the expectation placed upon it. Remove the expectation and allow that human being to just be. Only we know what it’s like to experience being ourselves. Neither Carrera’s nor Couric’s genitalia define the “correctness” of their bodies.
People who are not transgender, who do indeed identify with their sex assigned at birth, are known as cisgender. I would make a guess that Couric is cisgender.
The cisgender obsession with transgender people’s sex organs indicates that cisgender people don’t really know enough about what defines their own state of being. Quite frankly, if as Couric says, “it’s still a mystery to some people,” then go read a biology book or Google it. Stop and think about what defines your own gender. Does Couric really think that it’s her own vagina that makes her a woman? If you’re curious as to the pain level of gender reassignment surgery (GRS) imagine the pain level of any other surgery. Or ask about the fearful pain of isolation due to cisgender lack of self-awareness and awareness of others.
If Couric wants to give a platform to raise awareness and understanding of what it is to be transgender, then she should help her audience come to understand gender dysphoria. Help them understand what it is like for the world to tell you that you’re somebody who you know deep down inside that you’re not. She should ask what it is like to find the courage to realize this. Then ask how you find the incredible bravery to share those thoughts and feeling with another person. Finally, in spite of transgender people facing massively higher rates of murder, rape, unemployment, homelessness, and many other terrors, ask how they find the valor to be who they authentically know they are.
After all of this, Couric’s response to the outcry was this is a “teachable moment.” Yeah, thanks to Carrera and Cox who made the lemonade! Okay, Couric’s train wreck did get people talking, which is always a good thing. But there was no apology. And how much did she, her employer, or her audience learn when today there’s a link on her website to “Meet the Children Who Feel They Were Born in the Wrong Body”? Really? If anything had been taught this should read, “Meet the Children Who Do Not Identify With Their Sex Assigned At Birth.” And again, there was no apology.
To understand more about being transgender we need to talk more about being human. We’re all assigned a sex at birth, but we don’t all agree with the gender that is associated with that original label. Some courageous people actually have the wherewithal to speak up, do something about it and live their life authentically, which is a lot more than many cisgender people do in the world.
Follow Fiona Dawson on Twitter: www.twitter.com/fionajdawson
- Being Transgender Is Not About Surgery (transcister.wordpress.com)
- Watch Two Trans Advocates Take Katie Couric To School (bilerico.com)
- Op-ed: Can The Media Please Stop Focusing on Trans People’s Bodies? (advocate.com)
- What Katie Couric Could Have Asked Her Transgender Guests Instead Of ‘The Question’ (thinkprogress.org)
- Laverne Cox shuts down Katie Couric when asked about her genitals (thegrio.com)
- Breasts, Penises, Vaginas and Why It’s Time to Look Past Them (bethlandau.com)
- Laverne Cox flawlessly shuts down Katie Couric’s invasive questions about transgender people (salon.com)
- Katie Couric Responds To Controversy Over Invasive Question About Transgender Guest (kiramoorescloset.wordpress.com)
- Katie Couric responds to controversy with Laverne Cox and Carmen Carrera (rollingout.com)
The process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another.
Undergo or cause to undergo a process or period of transition: “we had to transition to a new set of products”
passage — change — crossing — transit
I have neglected this blog for a long time (geez! almost a year!) not because I don’t think it’s important, but because I have a lot going on in my life and writing is not easy for me. Actually, it’s because I am transitioning.
I am not trying to minimize the experiences of trans* people nor trying to equate my transitioning to gender transition, but there are some similarities, which I hope I can adequately articulate and not get my trans* friends pissed off at me (screw the RatFaux-Feminists.) I believe that many people are in constant transition, continually evolving, developing new relationships, learning from those people & those relationships and from other life experiences. I’m not sure that all people are continually transitioning, as some seem to stagnate and not appear to learn anything, nor do they seem to grow or improve as human beings (e.g., NOMmers, Westboro Baptist Church, and other fundamentalist christians who cherry-pick the bible to justify their ignorance and hate, etc.) I like to think that I am continually learning, growing, and becoming a more complete (not necessarily better 😉 ) person. Perhaps that is delusional thinking, but I am going to indulge myself anyway. After all, this is my blog and I am Queen. 😀
There are all kinds of life transitions and we celebrate many of them: Births, birthdays, onset of puberty, questioning and/or realizing that one does not adhere to society’s cisgender and/or heterosexual norm (I did NOT say “normal”— “norm” is a statistical term), coming out (or deciding not to) as transgender, lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, etc., obtaining a driver’s license, a new job, voting for the first time, buying a car, starting high school/college/graduate school, graduations, starting/ending relationships, engagements, marriages, civil unions, anniversaries, divorces (yes, there are people who throw divorce parties), buying a house, relocating, children moving out of the house, onset of perimenopause and menopause, illnesses, changes (and possible limitations) related to aging… and, finally death—our own and those of family and friends. Some of these transitions are marked with single events, while some take place over a period of time. In talking to my trans* friends, I would conclude that coming out as transgender, real-life experience (RLE) (i.e., appearing in public dressed, groomed and presenting as one’s true gender,) beginning hormone therapy, and sex reassignment surgery (SRS) are among the major transition points in the life of a transgender person’s gender transition.
Before I try to describe my current transitioning (i.e., my rationalization for neglecting this blog, lol,) I am going to describe some events in my own life that may explain why I feel comfortable with trans women, and perhaps why I feel less comfortable with trans men (see my blog entry “A Penis? Uh… NO, thanks… No Penis for Me!” for my diatribe against trans men attending women’s colleges.) First, another definition:
Definition: A transgender person is someone whose personal idea of gender does not correlate with his or her assigned gender role. It does not exclusively refer to transsexual persons, i.e. those who are transitioning or have transitioned from one gender to another; all transsexual persons are transgender, but not all transgender persons are transsexual. A transgender person is anyone who fully accepts a gender identity—androgynous, hermaphroditic, intersex, transsexual, third gender, bigender, or otherwise gender non-conformist—does not match his or her assigned gender [emphasis added.]Common Misspellings: transgendered
At the risk of completely alienating all of my tran* friends, I am going to say it:
~ ducks, runs & hides, wondering how to get into Witness Protection… ~
According to the broad definition of “transgender” above, I contend that I would, in fact, be considered transgender.
Now, TAKE A DEEP BREATH! Allow me to explain. Again, I am not trying to equate my experience with those of my transgender sisters who are transgender in the conventional sense, i.e., born with a hormonal system and/or body parts (i.e., sex) that do/does not match their gender. I am a cisgender woman with all of the female parts (some people would argue vis-à-vis the presence of breasts, but hey, I’m 54 years old and… well… what goes up, must come down 😉 ) there has never been any question about this. But I received some confusing childhood gender-related messages and I have never been one to take on any role that someone else has decided and assigned to me.
I would say that a person begins developing their identity as a person with their name and assigned gender. What are the questions we ask when someone has a baby? “Is it a girl or a boy?” and “What is her/his name?” are the first 2 that come to my mind. And I would imagine that their name and presumed gender are the first 2 things a baby learns about themself from most parents (I don’t remember laying the gender thing on my daughter until later when I told her to be careful not to fall and crack her head open because her brains might fall out and she would turn into a boy….)
Let’s start with my name. I have a boy’s name. Okay, “Jody” is more common as a girl’s name now, but it is almost always spelled with an “i” or “ie” (or “ee”) instead of a “y”, and it was certainly uncommon back in the dark ages when I was born. When I was 3 or 4, Santa called me “Judy.” Yes, this could have been a simple & understandable error, but it’s happened my whole life whenever someone screwed up my name (which happened frequently) and already knew I was female. On the other hand, substitute teachers would take attendance, asking, “Jody? Where is he?” It was never, ever, ever “she.” And everyone, when learning that I am, in fact, female and my name is, in fact, spelled with a “y” would inform me that I spell my name “the boy’s way.” Dammit! I was a girl! And dammit! I didn’t pick the stupid name or decide how to spell it!
Until the 4th grade, my mother made me keep my hair short despite the fact that I wanted long hair. I don’t know whether my desire for long hair had anything to do with expressing femininity, I just wanted long hair, dammit! I do remember at least once or twice someone mistaking me for a boy in a very public way when I was prepubescent. It was humiliating—obviously, as I still remember it. In any case, despite having very thin hair due to a thyroid problem, at 54 years old my hair is almost down to my waist and if it would grow any longer, it would be even longer.
I remember how happy I was when my mother allowed me to pick out my own clothes—even those I would receive as Christmas and birthday gifts. I really hated some of the clothes she bought for me before that. I recall 1 specific incident about a teacher thinking that my raincoat belonged to a boy and this was expressed in a public and very humiliating manner. I’ve never gone for a lot of pink, ruffly lacy crap.
When I started elementary school, girls were not permitted to wear pants to school. Yes, this is true. When the policy changed and I told my mother I wanted to wear pants, at first she didn’t believe me (and I was a painfully honest child, so that created other issues) and then she reluctantly allowed me to wear “nice” pants, but only twice/week. I was what then was called a “tomboy” and didn’t like wearing dresses because I was very active and dresses are not conducive to, for example, doing cartwheels. I didn’t play with dolls or other “girl” toys (I never had a Barbie) and preferred to play outside, riding my bike, climbing trees, digging in the dirt or exploring the woods.
I clearly remember being at a community swimming pool with my entire family (I must have been about 11) and my parents very loudly discussing the hair on my legs and whether it was time for me to start shaving my legs. I was already extremely self-conscious (I think my mother had already started telling my sister that she was “the pretty one” and I was “the smart one”; you can imagine the messages we got from that!) and this public humiliation made it worse. And, no, my mother did not allow me to start shaving my legs for a couple of years after that even though kids made fun of my hairy legs.
Despite my perception that I had a body resembling that of a young boy, I started dating at 12½ and was “boy-crazy” for years. It wasn’t about sex: I didn’t have sex until almost 19. I came from a family that did not express love or affection either verbally or physically in any meaningful way, so that probably accounts for most of my need for romantic relationships (I couldn’t stand having anyone else touch me), but maybe I was also trying to prove my femininity… to the world or to myself. I don’t know. (Having recently been told by a rather, shall I say, “voluptuous” woman that I have the body of an adolescent boy, I LMAO and took it as a compliment! At my age that is definitely a good thing! Poor old witch didn’t mean it as a compliment though.)
In school I always did well in math & science which I was not “supposed” to do because I was a girl. Can you believe that BS? But I also did well in foreign languages and everything else. The one clear identity I always had was that of student (and employee) with a role to achieve and excel. And for the most part, I did. But I didn’t have a clear sense about what it meant to be a woman. When someone walked into a room with their baby, I was more likely to leave the room than I was to do the baby talk thing. I refused to let anyone push me into traditional roles but encountered pressures and stereotypes (especially when working in a male-dominated field) on an ongoing basis. Even when I changed fields and entered the female-dominated field of professional social work, I wasn’t the stereotypical social worker because I’m not the warm and pleasant touchy-feely outgoing type person that everyone likes; in fact, I’m quite introverted and don’t give a rat’s ass whether people like me or not.
When the biological clock kicked in and I gave birth to my daughter at 36, I assumed the role of mother in addition to employee. Naturally I wanted to excel. I read baby books, went to La Leche League meetings, read more books, talked to friends, read books, decided to ignore conflicting information I received from people I didn’t trust & to trust professionals and my own instincts, & read more books. I used cloth diapers, breastfed and made my own baby food. I did my best as a single parent to give my child the love, support & sense of identity I never got while growing up.
When I became disabled & no longer able to work I was absolutely devastated. Work had always been at the core of my identity, and until my daughter was born, my entire identity essentially revolved around work. When my child ended up in foster care (through no fault of mine—a very loonnngggg and unpleasant story) and having had my only remaining real identity in essence ripped from me, I was lost. I had been forced into several major transitions in my life but was so busy grieving the losses that I did not recognize the opportunities that these overlapping transitions precipitated by these horrendous life-altering events had provided for me.
I became an advocate and activist for LGBT people and others on Facebook. I learned about issues and hate groups, and helped get some hate pages/groups shut down on Facebook. I met 100s of new people, made new friends and revived friendships that had been inactive for decades. I learned the word “pomosexual” and have appropriated it to describe my sexual orientation. I learned the word “cisgender” and learned that I am one. I learned a lot about gender and am starting to wrap my head around the concept of non-binary gender. I learned (mostly by reading) a lot about transgender issues and developed friendships with several transgender women who I consider my sisters. I have learned about myself and learned to let the little things go and deal with the big things more calmly (which came with a price.) I know more about the foster care system in the State of Florida than anyone would ever want to know (it’s even worse than people think it is.) I learned that even people smart enough to graduate from law school can be too stupid to learn to understand that bipolar disorder is a medical—biological—disorder of the brain. I learned that you can’t fix stupid and no matter how good a parent you are and how you raise them, some kids just don’t turn out the way one would expect them to.
During and prior to that period of transitioning, I was subject to physical, psychological and emotional trauma and there were times that my life was literally in danger. I developed Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and continue to meet the full criteria for the disorder, although I am less frequently exposed to the source of trauma and lethality has been diminished by making some changes in my life. One of the things I had to do to survive during that time was to numb myself emotionally and I continue to experience “feeling[s] of detachment or estrangement from others” and “restricted range of affect (e.g., unable to have loving feelings.” Therefore, a primary goal in my current period of transition is to take back my life: i.e., to re-establish a stable sense of personal identity, become more functional physically & cognitively, work towards experiencing a wider range of emotions, feel productive—giving something back to the world, and find more purpose in my life. So, that’s what I’ve been doing. I think writing this has served some of these purposes. Why the hell you read it is beyond me. 🙂
Yeah, yeah, I know, another petition after I just posted that I normally only post petitions on my “Petitions” page (accessible by clicking “Petitions” in the gray bar near the top of my blog, directly under the blog banner.) But I just had a conversation with some of my trans women friends about this a couple of days ago, in particular about Jerry Springer exploiting trans women for his show….
The following is reprinted from the “About this Petition” tab on the petition page for this petition on change.org:
For many years, producers of The Jerry Springer Show & The Maury Povich Show have shamelessly exploited Transgender women on national and international television. We demand they halt all production and re-airing of episodes that include content related to the exploitation of Transgender Individuals.
The Jerry Springer Show often features transwomen who are then ridiculed, called ‘he/shes’ (among other derogatory terms), and verbally and physically assaulted by other guests and audience members. Transwomen are told by stage security that they are not allowed to defend themselves against the vicious physical attacks of cis-gendered women because unlike the cis-gendered women, they are still ‘men’. In many episodes, producers deliberately paint the picture of a man who is ‘tricked’ by a TGirl into having sexual relations with her, and turn him gay. They all end with a grand reveal in which the TGirl admits she was born with male genitalia. These (often scripted) story lines invite the misconception in society that transwomen should be feared because they are some sort of sexual predators. This content also erroneously labels men who are attracted to (or have sexual relations with) transwomen as ‘gay’.
The Maury Povich Show continues to re-air episodes with titles such as “Man Or Woman?” in which cis-gendered and transgendered women are brought in front of a live audience who calls out “That’s a man!” or “That’s a woman!” judging by her physical or vocal features. After the audience has decided what type of women these guests are, the guests then reveal their gender with signs that read “I’m a woman” or “I’m a man”. These episodes promote stereotypes about Transwomen’s appearances and true gender. They also contribute to society’s invalid belief that gender is defined by a person’s masculine or feminine features.
Make no mistake, transwomen ARE women. We will not continue to suffer in silence while mainstream media uses our vey existence for their amusement, spreading a culture of fear, hate and violence against us at the very same time. We ask our friends, our families and every other member of the LGBT Community to join us as we stand united during the LGBT Civil Rights Movement at large.
ROFLMAO! Apparently the RATfem fauxminists didn’t like my posts about them, their transphobia and their general misogyny. Oh, boo flucking hoo. How do I know that? Well RATmouth herself, Cathy “COCKroach” bug Brennan was lurking on my blog—this blog—and posted a comment apparently attempting to intimidate me. Lawyers! In my experience lawyers use intimidation when they have NOTHING to say in response—when the other party has made a valid argument, they have been pushed into a corner and have no other option but to resort to lawyer games. Well COCKroach, hun, there’s no jury here to play to and intimidation doesn’t work on me, so you’re shit out of luck! Save your drama for the courtroom because I’m not impressed.
Following is an example of how COCKroach Cathy distorts reality to fit her own agenda, straight from the horse’s ass’ mouth. In short, Cathy COCKroach Brennan hates trans women and justifies this by refusing to acknowledge that they are, in fact “real” women, and she deliberately misgenders them, calling them “men,” both privately and in public. Immediately preceding the video, which was made at this year’s Dyke March in New York City, you will see the text that COCKroach posted under the video; that will give you the opportunity to read the text first and specifically look for the accusations she makes and remain aware of how she attempts to manipulate emotions with the use of violent and emotionally-laden words and expressions:
A message from the woman who kindly taped this, who prefers to remain anonymous:
“I have uploaded the edited video in a zip file, here is the URL…
Also, it seems important to acknowledge that we began filming when they started getting more heated up and it seemed as if they could possibly escalate into something physical. It seemed that when they approached some of the people they approached with were video taping. There were other people recording throughout. Given that one of the women involved prominently had no shirt on, we did not feel comfortable passing on the video with her body exposed on the internet. She might be ok with it. But we feel women should be able to have their shirts off without being filmed and placed on the internet even when they are being jerks. As blacking out parts of someone’s body in video is not easy when you are not a professional, the blocking out is shoddy, but well intended.
Also, while they mention your posse, we just met and if we are correct, the other people you just ran into when you ran into us. So a few minutes earlier or later and you would have been on your own with no one to witness whatever happened. That is a scary thought.”
A note from Cathy Brennan: The only person I was at the Dyke March with was a very good friend of mine. I just met all of the Dykes who stood by me when Ida Hammer and her gang accosted me. The idea that I had a posse is ridiculous. Ida and her gang were looking for a fight. I think they were frustrated when I didn’t “submit.” As a survivor of rape and assault, I understand what tactics I need to employ to navigate/survive certain situations. Walking away was not an option for me, because it was clear to me they were out for blood. I am embarrassed for the NYC Dyke March that a Dyke would be attacked at the Dyke March. I am sad for what has happened to the Dyke community.
Also, I have not watched this video, nor will I, as I am still dealing with the anxiety from being attacked by Ida Hammer and her gang.
More: [and then she lists more than 20 links; emphasis added]
Note the emotionally-laden words that I have highlighted in red. Many of these words are violent and suggest violence on the part of the women who verbally confronted the COCKroach on her transphobia, but, as you will see in the video, there was no violence and none was threatened. COCKroach Cathy is a lawyer and lawyers make money by manipulation, particularly by manipulating words. Brennan herself admits that she hasn’t even watched the video! COCKroach Cathy is full of crap.
Click on the picture or the link below to watch the video. A new tab or window will open. You will need to start the video yourself (it is about 20 minutes long.) When you are finished, close the tab and you should be returned here to read the remainder of this post.
I saw ZERO violence or threats of violence on the part of the trans* or pro-trans* people in this video. I saw the pro-trans* people assert themselves verbally, but I saw no aggression. In fact, the COCKroach was not “accosted” or “attacked” and the pro-trans* people obviously were not “out for blood” or “looking for a fight,” as the COCKroach was clearly outnumbered and it would have been no challenge for someone to squash her under their foot as one normally does with a cockroach—a filthy, disease-carrying nuisance insect that serves no useful purpose on this earth. Oh, and the “gang” the COCKroach refers to looked as though they belonged at a Pride parade or celebration and were hardly intimidating. If I wasn’t intimidated at 5’4,” 120 pounds and in my 50s, I’m sure the COCKroach didn’t give her safety a second thought… EXCEPT in terms of spinning her stupid little fairy tale about being attacked by trans* supporters. “Dealing with anxiety” my ass! I’ve seen corpses that are more anxious then the COCKroach is in that video. The only anxiety the COCKroach experienced was in deciding how she was going to spin her story to make herself look like a victim… and she did a pretty shitty job of even doing that!
Lawyers! When they know they’re wrong or have no valid argument they SPIN the facts to meet their purpose… or they LIE. The COCKroach might as well give up now; she really shouldn’t bother messing with somebody who’s smarter than she is because that misogynous, hate-filled, control-freak, transphobic bitch does not scare me.
reprinted from: ★GAYSTARNEWS
Another trans woman murdered in Turkey
Violence against trans women in Turkey continues as Seçil Anne is stabbed to death in Antalya
The onslaught of violence against trans women in Turkey has shown no sign of abating with the tragic news that another was murdered this week.
stern coast of Turkey on Tuesday night (10 July). She was found dead at her home at 11pm by police after her friends alerted them when they couldn’t reach her. Her throat had been slit and face slashed.
Turkish trans activist Kemal Ordek said that dozens of trans people gathered outside Seçil Anne’s apartment after hearing of her murder.
The local police said they had started an investigation and were checking CCTV cameras near Secil Anne’s home and interviewing her ex-boyfriend and close friends.
In June around 100 residents gathered in Altındağ in Antalya to protest the presence of transgender sex workers in their neighborhood. They warned that they would get violent if the police did not resolve the problem. It is not know if Seçil Anne, born Neşe Dilşeker in 1966, lived in this area.
The circumstances of Seçil Anne’s murder are almost identical to that of Derya Y, a transgender women who was stabbed to death in Altındağ in February 2010.
The Trans Murder Monitoring project shows that Turkey has by far the most reported murders of trans people in Europe, with 23 reported from January 2008 until December 2011.
An anonymous blog post on the alarming situation in Turkey said this week that the murders are ‘only the tip of the iceberg’. The post published on the Birds of Paradox blog said:
‘While this violence is to be condemned in the strongest possible terms… As well as the reported murders, many other hate crimes against transgender people (transphobic crimes) go unreported, ranging from verbal abuse in the street and the workplace through muggings, beatings and rape.
‘Perhaps worst of all is the attitude of many government agencies, many of which seem unconcerned at the extent of transphobic crimes. This has the result of enabling the rates of these crimes to escalate, because they send the message to the general population that it’s acceptable to display such prejudices – even against members of the authorities themselves.’
In April transgender woman Michelle Demishevich was attacked in an incident that she believes was to intimidate her into not testifying at a trial over an earlier attack.
World English Dictionaryyellow journalism— nthe type of journalism that relies on sensationalism and lurid exaggeration to attract readers http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/yellow+journalism
Yellow journalism, or the yellow press, is a type of journalism that presents little or no legitimate well-researched news and instead uses eye-catching headlines to sell more newspapers. Techniques may include exaggerations of news events, scandal-mongering, or sensationalism. By extension, the term yellow journalism is used today as a pejorative to decry any journalism that treats news in an unprofessional or unethical fashion. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_journalism
Thursday, 12 July 2012 15:08
Written by Sergio N. Candido
So Magic was asked the question he’s always been asked—how he got HIV—and he gave the same answer he has always given: “Sleeping with a lot of women.”
Gawker’s AJ Daulerio, however, writes that years back, a source told him Johnson might have actually gotten HIV not from a woman, but most likely during an infamous sex party at Eddie Murphy‘s mansion, where transsexual hookers were often involved.
The source wanted cash to go on the record, and the website didn’t have enough of it. But things have changed, and Gawker is now ready to write some checks: “If anyone has any more information about who gave Magic Johnson HIV, please feel free to contact us. I think we can afford to pay more money for this now,” Daulerio writes.
Zach Sire, editor of gay website the Sword, came out with guns blazing against Daulerio and his offer, calling him “dumb” and “sleazy.”
“If there’s one group of people whom you can trust with ‘information,’ it’s prostitutes and transexuals from orgies that happened over 20 years ago,” he writes in a sarcastic tone.
“A.J. Daulerio’s naivety has precluded him from realizing that even if he did receive proof of who gave Magic Johnson HIV publishing that person’s name would be illegal.”
We’re not sure what he meant by ‘illegal,’ you might get sued, but you can’t go to jail for publishing the name of someone who came forward and said he/she gave Magic Johnson HIV.
It is appalling to offer monetary compensation for revealing who exposed an individual to a chronic and likely terminal illness. That person is not only sick themselves, but may be deceased. Furthermore, it is unconscionable to sensationalize a story by exploiting an entire class of already oppressed human beings. Some—not all—transgender and transsexual women are sometimes forced into sex work as a last resort, in order to survive—sometimes in order to feed their children— just as cisgender women are. Headlines such as the one for this article serve to reinforce stereotypes about trans women. Finally, focusing on the behavior of prostitutes (oppressed women) instead of on that of their customers (in this case, privileged men of great wealth) who are using their male and monied privilege to take advantage of these women is pure misogyny; exploiting the possibility that these women may have been trans* is misogynistic and transphobic and is inexcusable in a “gay” publication. Many of my trans* friends support LGB people without reservation; I, however, am beginning to agree with those who doubt that LGB people in general truly have the best interest of trans* people at heart and am beginning to believe that they are merely including/using trans* people in the LGBT “community” (and I use the word “community” loosely, if not sarcastically) purely to increase their numbers.
1. What do you think of the headline for this article? Based on the 2 definitions of “yellow journalism” provided above, do you you think this article is an example of yellow journalism? Why or why not”?
2. Do you think trans* people should “secede” from the LTB movement and focus on needs specific to trans* people? Why or why not?
It was our second date, and he was just as kind and just as funny as he’d been the week before. Dan wasn’t the best looking guy in the room, but he knew his way around a joke, and he never ask me to pay for dinner. I was hooked.
He was a big guy, over six feet tall, blonde hair, and had beautiful hazel eyes. We bumped into each other at the local grocery store one afternoon after I accidentally threw myself under his shopping cart. Since that time, we’d gone to a movie and been to dinner. Our second date was to take place at his apartment where he was going to fix his famous homemade pizza. I’ve never been a big pizza fan, but I liked Dan, and I’d only been transitioning for a few years and at that time, any date was a great date. As long as there wasn’t any wacky sexual expectations, or signs of psychotic mania in the hallway, I was in. I was twenty two, and already completely and utterly desperate.
I was never one of those people in my community who lived a lie. I was Transgender and was never ashamed of it. After a suicide attempt at 16, when I finally found my Trans brothers and sisters, it was the first real breath I’d taken. I felt a huge weight lift off me, and every voice that told me I was insane, or wrong, or headed straight to Hell, was squelched. So I never went around pretending my past didn’t exist. I never purposely deceived people. I wanted to live in this new body I was constructing because for the first time in my life, my reflection was starting to match my spirit. I couldn’t have been happier, and I wanted to tell the world about it.
And so Dan was fully aware of what I was, where I came from, and where my heart was, and he was fine with it.
“I see you. All I know is what I see.”
He told me that within the first twenty minutes, which is why I said yes to the homemade pizza thing. I figured I’d found someone true and someone pure, and I wanted desperately to live with it for as long as he’d let me. And I’d do what I could to keep it going. And that included choking down cooked dough and tomato sauce.
We were sitting on his couch with the Chicago skyline blinking behind us and some Melissa Manchester blaring in the background. We sipped wine, chatted, and as the evening wore on, I suggested we see each other the next week. It was getting late, and taking the El past ten at night was always risky. Dan then looked me in the eye and took my hand:
“I want you to stay.” He said softly.
“Next time.” I said firmly.
I moved him aside and headed for the front door and my coat that was hanging on the brown, three-pronged hat rack in his hallway.
Suddenly, and without warning, I felt his hand on my shoulder. He turned me quickly toward him, and kissed me. The kiss was hard and almost painful. He then put his hands around my waist and pulled me toward him. I tried to get free, but the more I struggled, the tighter his grip became. My heart began to race in a way I’d never felt before, and my body went into a hyper-speed panic that I felt in the pit of my stomach. I knew I was in terrible, terrible trouble.
I put my hand on his thigh, and as he began to slowly release me, I balled up my fist, and hit him square in the groin. He jumped back in pain, and I turned toward the door, sweating and crying. My voice was stuck in me somehow. I couldn’t seem to scream, and my breath became shallow and deep. I also couldn’t really think. I saw the doorknob, but turning it became almost impossible. And as my hand reached for the sleeve of my coat, I was whisked back into the living room, and fell flat on my back. I landed inches from the coffee table, still clinging onto my coat. Dan’s eyes were red and huge and they glared at me with a rage and an anger that filled up the room. As I wriggled and tried to squirm away, before I knew it, he was on top of me, pinning down my wrists and spreading my thighs. And as he came close to me again, with his mouth near my neck, he felt between my legs, and popped his head up:
“You…?!” was all I heard.
His breath got hotter and closer to me, and he flipped me over on my stomach and began tearing at my dress.
I was raped that night.
I never went to the police and I never told another living soul. None of my friends knew, no one I worked with, and no family member ever found out. I kept this in me for almost 20 years. It was 1983, and being what I was, was not only against the law in Illinois, it was unheard of. I remember once, a girlfriend of mine was being chased by her boyfriend who was coming at her with a kitchen knife, and when she found a parked police car; out of breath and near hysterics, told them what she was running from, and the two cops laughed and told her to “act like a man.” So, I knew deep down that going to the police was useless.
In Sweden, where gay marriage is legal and where they lead the world in the pursuit of gay rights and gay legislation, a Transgender woman was raped in front of her apartment complex. The attacker, however, was charged with assault, because the judge claimed that:
“We believe that he wanted to rape… this woman. But as she proved to be a man, his plan [would] never have been possible.”
The judge concluded that the rape was “invalid” because the victim was anatomically a male. Instead, the perpetrator was convicted of assault and will pay just over $2,000 in damages to the woman.
I don’t know the answer to where it is we belong as a community. We’re the “T” on the end of LGBT, and we’re liars when we try and blend into a meeting of feminists. We’re standing on the outside of a lot of windows, and no one’s really championing for us to come in and tell our story. And in our own world, with our own people, there are Transgender men and women who proclaim their gender as the one given to them by whatever doctor they’ve written checks to. If we’re confused about where to go, and who we are, how can we expect the mainstream of society not to be either?
Whatever the answer is, on the way to finding it, on the way to trying to live with each other and be with each other, we have to stand our ground and we have to do it with assurance and power. But we can’t do it alone. We need help. We need other people. And we desperately need each other.
I was raped. I was raped and it took me years to figure out that it wasn’t my fault, that I wasn’t to blame, and that it wasn’t my shame I was carrying around. Whatever it is anyone thinks of me, I was raped. We’ve taken huge steps in the last couple of decades. We’re here and we’re noticed, and we matter. I feel that. I love my community. I’m proud of who we are and where we’re headed, but I sometimes feel that when I step outside my own front door, I’m truly on my own. My country doesn’t have my back.
And as a world — a world of change and newness and brilliance — if we continue to keep our own prejudices and ignorance in the forefront of our jurisdiction and societal laws, we’ll eventually find our compassion and kindness will suffer. And soon, without warning and with total conviction, the silence around us will be deafening. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alexandra-billings/a-deafening-silence_1_b_1662968.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices
1.a. Any of various long-tailed rodents resembling mice but larger, especially one of the genus Rattus.
b. Any of various animals similar to one of these long-tailed rodents.2. Slanga. A despicable person, especially one who betrays or informs upon associates.
b. A scab laborer.3. A pad of material, typically hair, worn as part of a woman’s coiffure to puff out her own hair. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/rat
Who are the RatFems? They call themselves “and are collectively anti-pornography, anti-prostitution, trans-critical, and PIV-critical.” For anyone who doesn’t know, “PIV” stands for “penis in vagina.” Yes, for real! I am 100% serious!) ( http://radicalhub.com/about/)
My immediate reaction to this is to call bullshit because I think the RatFems are a bunch of self-serving, man-hating, bigoted wannabes who are so resentful of other people’s power that they take it out on other oppressed groups by trying to rob them of power (which, by the way, is a classic example of zero-sum thinking—the way men tend to conceptualize power, while women’s conceptualization of power tends to be non-zero-sum) but I am going to approach this in an organized, logical, non-emotional, rational manner (and I promise not to accuse anyone of assaulting me! 😉 )
Feminism, by definition, is:
…a collection of movements aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights for women. In addition, feminism seeks to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment. A is “an advocate or supporter of the rights and equality of women.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feminism)
Feminists are concerned about equal rights for women. The RatFems do not support equal rights for trans women, therefore, by definition, the RatFems are not feminists.
Radical feminism, by definition, is
…a current perspective within feminism that focuses on the theory of patriarchy as a system of power that organizes society into a complex of relationships based on the assertion that male supremacy oppresses women. Radical feminism aims to challenge and overthrow patriarchy by opposing standard gender roles and oppression of women and calls for a radical reordering of society. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radical_feminism)
Blah, blah, blah. Okay. Radical feminists focus on the overall dynamic of patriarchy and challenging gender roles. The RatFems may or may not be “radical” but the RatFems are still not feminists.
Separatist feminism is “a form of radical feminism that holds that opposition to patriarchy is best done through focusing exclusively on women and girls.“ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Separatist_feminism) RatFest and the RatFems’ statement in their blog (quoted above) about who they are should be clear indications of exclusive focus on women and girls. So it would appear that the RatFems may be “radical” and that they are “separatists”… but the RatFems are not “feminists!”
…is posited as a key feminist strategy that enables women to invest their energies in other women, creating new space and dialogue about women’s relationships, and typically, limits their dealings with men…. In addition to advocating withdrawal from working, personal or casual relationships with men, The Furies recommended that Lesbian Separatists relate “only (with) women who cut their ties to male privilege” and suggest that “as long as women still benefit from heterosexuality, receive its privileges and security, they will at some point have to betray their sisters, especially Lesbian sisters who do not receive those benefits.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lesbian_separatism#Lesbian_separatism)
In Learning from Lesbian Separatism, Bunch maintains that “in a male-supremacist society, heterosexuality is a political institution” and separatism is a way to “escape its domination.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lesbian_separatism#Lesbian_separatism The RatFems cite “Sheila Jeffreys’s [sic] entire life’s work of pro-female, pro-lesbian, PIV-critical radical feminist analysis” on their blog (http://radicalhub.com/2012/06/26/carrying-a-sheila-jeffreys-sign-at-dyke-march-is-inappropriate-what/) and they had invited Jeffreys to speak at this year’s RatFest (although that didn’t work out) so the RatFems clearly see Jeffreys as a role model of sorts. In a pamphlet that Jeffreys helped write, it is stated, “We do think… that all feminists can and should be lesbians. Our definition of a political lesbian is a woman-identified woman who does not fuck men. It does not mean compulsory sexual activity with women.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheila_Jeffreys
“Female-identified” seems to be code for “lesbian;” the RatFems appear to be “radical,” they are apparently “lesbian”and they are “separatists”)… BUT the RatFems are still not “feminists!”
Historically, radical feminists opposed pornography and prostitution, so that is consistent with how the RatFems describe themselves. However, Ellen Willis cautioned against making alliances with the political right on these issues, which is quite ironic because the RatFems—with their vitriolic hatred and misogynistic stereotyping of trans women—look and sound just like the rabid right-winger KKKristian fundamentalist bigots we all love to hate.
Misogyny, by definition is:
…the hatred, dislike, or mistrust of women or girls. According to feminist theory, misogyny can be manifested in numerous ways, including sexual discrimination, denigration of women, violence against women, and sexual objectification of women…. Traditional feminist theorists describe many different attitudes as misogyny. According to feminists, in its most overt expression, a misogynist will openly hate all women simply because they are female…. In feminist theory other forms of misogyny may be less overt. Some misogynists may simply be prejudiced against all women, or may hate women who do not fall into one or more acceptable categories. “Though most common in men, misogyny also exists in and is practiced by women against other women or even themselves….” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misogyny)
Wow. Discrimination against trans women is misogyny. (Who woulda thought?) And, since the RatFems make no secret about their discrimination against trans women, the Ratfems practically brag about being misogynists. The RatFems do a great disservice to everyone. They exemplify the stereotype that all feminists are lesbians and all lesbians are man-hating bull-dykes who want to be (or think they are) MEN. If the RatFems discriminate against trans women (who one could say have a disability, i.e., they were born with a medical birth defect that resulted in them being raised the wrong gender and it requires medical treatment), who else are they oppressing and discriminating against? In addition to gender identity, (and apparently sexual orientation)—categories the RatFems don’t seem concerned with—other radical feminists recognize other categories of oppression including: race, social class, perceived attractiveness, and ability, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radical_feminism) and in light of more recent events, I would also be concerned about oppression based on ethnicity, color, religion, culture and national origin as well, to name a few. Do the RatFems care about any categories besides the ones their privileged few belong to? Do they recognize and acknowledge their own privilege (white, Judeo-Christian, American, cisgender, for example) in our society? Somehow, I doubt it.
The RatFems are radical, lesbian separatists who believe in equal rights for women who are like them and if someone is not like them, that person’s very existence is a threat because it brings into question the validity of how the RatFems are living their own lives. If you’re not a lesbian and/or you “do dick,” you’re out. If your definition of pornography doesn’t match theirs and you aren’t against it and all forms of prostitution, you’re out. If you don’t clearly identify yourself as a woman 100% of the time (using a binary gender system) or you were not born and raised as a female child OR you recognize trans women as human beings and women who were born with a medical condition that has been or is being corrected medically, you are out. If you don’t agree 100% with THEIR agenda, YOU ARE OUT. Sounds controlling, huh? Sounds a lot like straight, white, cisgender men to me. The RatFems are NOT Radical Feminists. The RatFems are misogynists.
Who—Or WHAT—Are the RatFems?
The RatFems are Radical Fauxminists.
Yes, the following transphobic garbage was really posted in a blog called Pretendbians: Exactly Like Lesbians, Except Not. The inflammatory language has been highlighted in red to illustrate the vitriolic hate espoused by the so-called radical feminists (RadFems) towards transgender/transsexual people, particularly towards trans women. Feminism, by definition, defends the equal political, economic, and social rights for women. Trans women are WOMEN, so in my opinion the RadFems are not “feminists” at all, but a bunch of hate-filled bigots appropriating a pseudo-feminist, misogynistic agenda to bully, oppress, disenfranchise, discriminate against and harm other women. They claim to fear becoming the prey of TG/TS women if TG/TS women are permitted in woman-only space but I believe that the RadFems are themselves predators, preying on a primary weakness of TG/TS women—the fear that they are not or are not perceived as being “real” women—and that is unconscionable. Perhaps this behavior on the part of RadFems is a manifestation of Anna Freud‘s identification with the aggressor (in this case, men); in any case, it is wrong and must stop.
So, If You React to Feminists Like You are “Mentally Ill,” Are We Supposed to Ignore that? Just Checking.
Posted on June 29, 2012 by bugbrennan |
Do you really expect civil discourse after attacking trans women so viciously? How do you expect us to react [when] you call us mentally ill?
Gender Identity Disorder is very much a mental illness. It causes people to:
— hate their own bodies up to and including a strong urge to cut off perfectly normal, perfectly healthy body parts, take dangerous hormones, etc.;
— be virulently jealous of people who have the body-type they wish they had or think they “ought” to have;
— be completely, self-indulgently, vociferously irrational about the simple facts of reproductive biology, unlike 99.8% of the rest of adult human beings (e.g. demanding that others agree that their penis is “really female” and that their male body is “really a lesbian’s body”, etc.);
— based on my observations, GID also causes people to engage in histrionic manipulation, to engage in obsessive behaviors (e.g. stalking people who reject them sexually, relentlessly following people on-line that they “hate”, spending thousands of hours over a period of decades endlessly obsessing over “gender” presentation) and to exhibit extremely poor impulse control, for example, lashing out with virulent death wishes or threatening/attempting suicide when socially thwarted, and entering into dangerous sex-work, drug abuse, drinking binges, homelessness, etc. rather than successfully adjusting their life-style to fit in with the basic parameters of the working world — a world that millions of (for example) lesbians, bisexuals and gay men manage to negotiate successfully despite our differences from the expected social “norm”.
GID also appears to present with the co-morbidity of clinical depression in a high percentage of cases.
I do occasionally indulge in some snarkiness on the subject, but this is after a couple of years of being stalked in real life, being threatened and abused on-line for stating the facts about human biology, being told to drink bleach, slit my own throat, die in a fire, get raped to death, etc. by “trans” whacktivists and their hand-maidens. I think I’ve earned the right to a bit of snark.
However, saying “‘cis woman’ is hate-speech formulated to use against women by a ‘trans woman’ who coined it to denigrate us and appropriate the word ‘woman’ from us” and “men can not be female nor can they be lesbians and they should accept their reproductive sex and leave lesbians alone” is not vicious. These are the facts and I will always, always speak the truth.
So tell me, am I the only one seeing RED after reading that trash?
As I am cisgender, once again this is written from a cisgender perspective, with me sharing my own real experiences with real transgender people. Cisgender readers may appreciate this because they will be able to relate to the cisgender perspective and this may serve to normalize their thoughts and feelings. Some transgender people may become angry when they read about some of the thoughts, feelings and behaviors I have chosen to share. But, in the interest of increasing awareness of transgender issues and transphobia, and creating more understanding between transgender and cisgender people, I am willing to be completely honest about some past behaviors that I am not proud of.
Philadelphia Lesbian & Gay Task Force
In the first 50 years of my life, I actually knew several transgender people. CORRECTION: I knew several people who I was aware were transgender because I was told that they were. I did not personally examine their genitals nor did I personally discuss this issue with them. I was introduced to (but cannot say I “knew”) Kate Bornstein, who has been well-known in the transgender community for decades; this was back in the 1980s when I was doing volunteer work for the Philadelphia Lesbian & Gay Task Force (PLGTF). I took a picture of her at a protest in Philadelphia, but I seem to have misplaced it. Click here to view Kate’s blog.
I spent an afternoon with another transgender woman at a protest organized by the PLGTF; I vaguely recall her mentioning her gender status to me (I already knew) but I clearly remember my discomfort and not knowing what to say to her. CONTINUE…
Originally posted as a note in Facebook on Wednesday, May 16, 2012 at 5:14pm ·
I am writing my “Being Transgender” series of notes for my intelligent and open-minded Facebook friends–those who do not live their lives in terms of prejudice and stereotypes–who may be curious about gender and transgender issues and what it means to be transgender and are interested in the experiences of transgender people but are too polite and civilized to ask.
If this applies to you, read on. If it does not, do not read this note and by all means, keep your ignorant comments to yourself because I will not allow ANYONE to insult my transgender friends on my page. GOT IT? NO EXCEPTIONS… I don’t care how long we’ve been friends. Polite, thoughtful questions and comments are welcome and I’m sure will also be appreciated by my transgender friends.
Daphne. Daphne Shaed lives on beautiful Vancouver Island, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Daphne is beautiful, fabulous, awesome, amazing, prodigious, fascinating and many more complimentary adjectives. If you fail to see these qualities in her, then “bugger off!” as Daphne would say. I met Daphne on Facebook. Continue…