trans-america

LMAO the cis are at it again. It’s been suggested that the facial model for the statue of liberty was a dude and so now all the news orgs are like “is the statue of liberty actually a man?” Well I for one just want to congratulate Lady Liberty on being the largest trans woman in North America if not the world.

We stand with Gavin Grimm

Today Tumblr continues its involvement in the fight for transgender rights by signing an amicus brief, filed by the Human Rights Campaign, in the case of Gavin Grimm vs. Gloucester County School Board. We stand with Gavin and trans students across America in opposing the board’s decision to bar students from using restrooms corresponding to their gender identity, which violates both Title IX and basic human decency.

Trans youth are already at exceptionally higher risk of violence and trauma of all sorts. Schools must be safe places for the kids we send there, and some of those kids are trans. They deserve, as do all students and all people, to be protected equally by the institutions designed for them.

We’ve always fought, and will always fight, to protect marginalized people—and their rights to exist safely and express freely—both on our platform and off.

Here are some things you can do:

  • Support and share resources like The Trevor Project, which offer crisis intervention for trans people.
15 Trans People who Have Made History

I feel it is extremely important to know about the people in our community who came before us. Throughout history trans people have made history by acting as activists, advocates, and just by being themselves in a world at that against them. This list is by no means complete but the point is to highlight some of the trans people who have made history for our community. 

1) Frances Thompson: Frances was most likely the first trans person to testify before a congressional committee in the US. In 1866 she was a victim of the Memphis Riot. The riot occurred when a group of white men went into a neighbourhood where former slaves, such as Frances, lived. They burned buildings and attacked the former slaves. It was on this matter that she testified before the committee. Ten years later she was arrested for “transvestism.”

2) Lucy Hicks Anderson: Lucy was born in 1886 and began living as a woman a young age. She was first married in 1929 and then attempted to get married again in 1944.However, in 1944 her marriage was denied and she was accused of perjury for saying that she was a woman. After then she became one of the first fighters for marriage equality in America.

3) Marsha “Pay it No Mind” Johnson: Marsha is most known for being one of the leaders at the Stonewall Riot in 1969 however her involvement in the LGBT community stretches beyond that. She was the co-founder of S.T.A.R. which provided support and resources for homeless trans youth. She was also heavily involved in the Gay Liberation Front. She fought for LGBT rights and for people living with HIV and AIDS. She supported the community until her life was cut short in 1992 under suspicious circumstances.

4) Sylvia Rivera: Sylvia was also one of the leaders at the Stonewall Riots. At only seventeen years old she co-founded S.T.A.R. She was also a founder of the Gay Liberation Front. She spent a lot of time advocating for trans people, drag queens, and other people who were not included in the mainstream gay rights movement including fighting against the exclusion of transgender people from the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act in New York. She was an advocate for the community until her death in 2002.

5) Miss Major Griffin-Gracy: Miss Major was another leader at the Stonewall Riots in 1969 and the community in New York at the time. In the late 1970s she moved to San Diego and started grassroots movements such as working with a food bank to serve trans women who were incarcerated, struggling with addiction, or were homeless. During the AIDS epidemic she provided people with healthcare and organized funerals often one or more a week.  In 1990 she moved to the San Francisco area where she worked with many HIV/AIDs organizations. In 2003 she began working at the Transgender GenderVariant Intersex Justice Project where she works to help transgender women who have been imprisoned. She continues to work as an activist to this day.

6) Hiromasa Ando: Hiromasa was a professional speedboat racer in Japan and publically transitioned when he was given permission to start competing as a male in 2002 becoming the first openly trans person in the sport. He also is one of the first openly trans athletes in the world. 

7) Aya Kamikawa: In 2003 Aya made history when she became the first openly transgender person to be elected into office in Japan. She has also worked for the LGBT community both as a politician and before as a committee member for Trans-Net Japan.

8) Trudie Jackson: Trudie Jackson is a long-time activist for the LGBT and Native American Communities. She has worked with the ASU Rainbow Coalition, the Native American Student Organization, The National LGBTQ Task Force, and the Southwest American Indian Rainbow Gathering. She has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Equality Arizona Skip Schrader Spirit of Activism Award, one of the 2013 Trans 100, and Echo Magazine’s 2013 Woman of the Year. She is a huge advocate for the Native American trans community.

9) Kim Coco Iwamoto: When elected to the Hawaiian Board of Education in 2006 she held the highest office of any openly trans person in America. She served two terms on the Board of Education and is now a commissioner on the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission.

10) Diego Sanchez: Sanchez was the first openly trans person to hold a senior congressional staff position on Capitol Hill in America when he was appointed by Barney Frank in 2008.

11) Kylar Broadas: Broadas is an attorney, professor, and the first openly trans person to testify in front of the U.S. Supreme Court when he spoke in support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in 2012. In 2010 he founded the Trans People of Color Coalition.

12) Isis King: She became the first openly trans person to be on America’s Next Top Model in 2008. Her openess and involvement in the show and involvement in the show attracted a lot of both negative and positive attention. She has continued to work as a model, role-model, and advocate for transgender people. 

13) Blake Brockington: Blake first made headlines when he became the first openly transgender high school homecoming king in North Carolina. He was also an activist for the LGBT community, transgender youth and fought against police brutality. Sadly, Brockington lost his life at the age of 18 in 2015 after committing suicide.

14) Diane Marie Rodriguez Zambrano: She has been a human rights and LGBT rights activist in Ecuador for many years. In 2009 she sued the Civil Registry to change her name and set precedent for other trans people to be able to change their names. In 2013 she became the first openly trans person, or LGBT person, in Ecuador to run for office.

15) Ruby Corado: She is an activist born in El Salvador but living in America. She was involved in the Coalition to Clarify the D.C. Human Rights Act which was changed the act to include gender identity and expression. In 2012 she opened Casa Ruby which is the only bilingual and multicultural LGBT organization in Washington, D.C. She has been working for human rights for over 20 years.

anonymous asked:

i know you meant well when you said 30 isnt ancient, but im nb so my life expectancy is actually 30 :(

Hey anon, I’m so sorry that that’s a fear you’ve had to live with. I know that trans people are at greater risk of violence and suicide, and I’ve heard people say many times that the life expectancy of trans people (or trans women, or trans women of color, depending on who you ask) is anywhere from 23 to 35. Your ask troubled me, so I’ve dug deep looking for solid evidence of any of these, and I don’t believe that these statistics are true.

A trans woman, Helen, looked into the “23 years” claim and traced it back to someone’s notes on two workshops at a 2007 conference, which stated that trans people’s life expectancy is “believed to be around 23” (emphasis mine) but cites no actual source. This claim has been presented as fact in many news articles since then, but as far as I can tell, no one seems to know where this figure came from.

Another claim is often sourced to an Argentine psychologist quoted in this NPR article

Psychologist Graciela Balestra, who works closely with the transgender community, says it’s an especially vulnerable population.

“Transgender people have an average life expectancy of about 30 to 32 years,” Balestra says. “They don’t live any longer; I think that statistic alone says so much.”

But again, the article gives no source for this figure

I found an article claiming that a 2014 report by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) “concludes the average life expectancy of trans people in the Western Hemisphere is between 30-35 years.” However, when I tracked down the report, An Overview of Violence Against LGBTI Persons (pdf), its only reference to this is (emphasis mine): “[T]he IACHR has received information that the life expectancy of trans women in the Americas is between 30 and 35 years of age.” Again, this is no source.

Someone said on my post that these statistics may have come from the NCTE/NGLTF report Injustice at Every Turn (pdf), but I can’t find any reference to any such claim in the report.

Thinking about these claims, they seem unlikely for some basic reasons. Consider that we simply don’t have a long enough span of data on trans people, and that what data we do have is extremely limited because we can’t always know who is trans and who isn’t. Consider also that, although obviously the murder rates for trans people are extremely high, the number of deaths of 20-something trans people would have to be ENORMOUS to offset the existence of older trans people and bring the average down to 30. Especially since, unlike with racial groups for example, the data on trans people would likely include almost no childhood deaths, simply because it would be much more difficult (and in many cases impossible) to identify these children as trans. And since we know that trans women of color are extremely disproportionately affected by violence, statistics that include white people and/or trans men would be especially unlikely to be so low.

And as to your specific situation anon, again given that trans women of color are most at risk, I don’t think we have reason to believe that being non-binary specifically puts a person at anywhere near this level of increased risk of dying young.

I don’t say any of this to question anyone’s experiences or to deny the state of emergency that trans women face with regard to violence. That is very real. But I think it can be harmful, even dangerous to trans people to spread claims like this around, especially without evidence. Expecting to die by 30 would take an extreme emotional toll on anyone, and trans people deserve better.

But don’t take my word for it: FORGE, a national transgender anti-violence organization that works with trans survivors of sexual assault, wrote the following in its 2016 publication “First Do No Harm: 8 Tips for Addressing Violence Against Transgender and Gender Non-Binary People” (pdf) (I have moved two footnotes into the main text and provided links to some endnote sources; italicized emphasis is theirs while bold is mine.): 

Promote Hope for the Future

It certainly is not the same as a murder, but publicizing a low “life expectancy” rate for transwomen of color is another way to steal away their future, a “crime” that has been committed repeatedly by trans, LGBQ, and mainstream press. Think about the people you know or have heard of who have been diagnosed with a fatal illness and given a short time to live: how many of them have enrolled in college, undertaken lengthy training for a new occupation, had a new child, or tried to establish a new non-profit? A few do, certainly, but many more focus on their bucket list, arrange for their good-byes, or simply give up entirely, essentially relinquishing whatever time they have left to depression and regrets. When we tell transwomen of color they cannot expect to live very long, we rob them of hope. We rob them of any motivation to invest in themselves, their relationships, and their communities. We rob them, in short, of their lives even while they are still living. (This statement in no way negates the need to systemically work to improve and increase the life expectancy of trans people through working to end transphobia, racism, poverty, pervasive violence, and health and healthcare inequities, and more.)

One trans woman of color was trying to come to grips with an estimated lifespan figure more than ten years shorter than the one that has been published most often. (We are not repeating any of the (incorrect) estimated lifetime figures that are circulating, to avoid even inadvertent reinforcement.) Faced with the report of yet another attack on another trans woman, she wrote:

These days, I look at the latest reports of stabbed, shot, beaten trans women, search myself for tears, and I cannot find a thing. I want to mourn and rage. I want to honor all of our sisters — the hundreds each year who are ripped, namelessly and without fanfare, from this life — who are taken so young before their time. But the grief and anger — even empathy — do not come. I don’t feel anything but numbness and fatigue, and somewhere far below that, fear.

The terrible irony of the life expectancy “fact” is that it is based on an impossibility. The only ways to determine a given population’s life expectancy are to: examine decades or more of death certificates or census data containing the information being studied, or follow a specific set of individuals for around 100 years and record every single death. There is not and never has been a census of transgender people. Our death certificates do not mark us as transgender. There has been no 100-year-long study of a representative group of trans people. So where are the estimated lifespan figures coming from?

FORGE tracked the most commonly-cited figure back to what was most likely the 2014 Philadelphia Transgender Health Conference, where a workshop presenter gave the figure and explained she had calculated it by averaging the age of death for all of those listed on the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) website. This means the figure is actually the average age of those trans people who were both murdered and came to the attention of someone who added them to the TDOR list. Interestingly, this average is very close to the average age of everyone who is murdered in the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Justice statistics. [I’m not seeing an average age given in the cited source but you can see on page 5 of this Bureau of Justice Statistics report (pdf) that the average age of homicide victims in the U.S. was between 30 and 35 from 1980 to 2008.]

But not everyone is murdered.

Despite how many there may appear to be, only a tiny, tiny fraction of transpeople are killed by other people. Most of us, transwomen of color included, live average lifespans and die of the most common U.S. killers — heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory disease, and unintentional injuries (accidents).

Please don’t add to fear and hopelessness by spreading inaccurate and profoundly disempowering data.

Since I can’t respond to everyone directly, I’m @ing some people who’ve brought this up on my post and may be interested: (urls removed after posting for their privacy). I appreciate your thoughtfulness in bringing this to my attention. If you or anyone else has a source on any of these figures that can provide specific methodology, I’d be very grateful to see that.

In closing, here are some resources that provide a more hopeful view of trans aging. They are well known but I hope they will be helpful to someone.

The Problem With Conservatism Is That There Isn’t Any Empathy

You know the biggest problem with contemporary American conservatism? There isn’t any empathy. It’s a political ideology of selfishness. Republicans are against gay rights, until their son comes out of the closet and then suddenly they are capable of making a “brave, principled” decision to support gay people. Because it finally affected them personally. Republicans can’t see the problem with torturing war prisoners, except John McCain because the issue of torture personally affected him. Female Republicans are much more likely to see the value in liberal laws concerning abortion, birth control, sexual harassment in the work place, and equal pay, or at least much more than their male colleagues. Gay republicans naturally have a liberal view on gay rights, but many stunningly cannot extend that same social liberalism to other persecuted minority groups, like Muslims, Mexicans, and the trans community. Conservatism in America is informed by a conspicuous selfishness that lacks the compassion to see the liberal viewpoint unless the issue personally affects them–and then suddenly they see the need for compassion.

buzzfeed.com
15 Struggles Black Trans People Face When Getting Health Care
Racism and transphobia won't keep these people down.
By Anthony Rivas

In addition to that, 40% of black trans people said they hadn’t seen a doctor in the past year because they couldn’t afford it while 26% said they didn’t see a doctor for fear of being mistreated. 

What’s your story?

Boy Scouts of America says it will now welcome openly trans scouts

  • The Boy Scouts of America announced Monday evening it would begin admitting trans children who identify as male, ending their policy of determining gender identity via birth certificates.
  • “We realized that referring to birth certificates as the reference point is no longer sufficient,” chief scout executive Michael Surbaugh said in a video statement posted to BSA’s website.
  •  "Communities and state laws are now interpreting gender identity differently than society did in the past. And these new laws vary widely from state to state.“ Read more
buzzfeed.com
Unions Representing A Million Teachers Are Standing Up For This Transgender Student
They told the Supreme Court in a brief Thursday, “Educators are, above all, advocates and protectors of their students.”
By Dominic Holden

This is great news.

The brief makes a strong argument for why trans inclusion is vital for trans students and how it generally benefits school communities. That’s especially important coming from this wide ranging group of educators. But honestly I think the case for why trans students deserve these rights and protections is pretty strong. The bigger question is whether that protection can and should come through Title IX. That’s a harder argument (and the reason why this case is sitting before the Supreme Court). And what I think may be the most important part of this brief in making that determination is this section:

Should the Court conclude that transgender discrimination is prohibited sex discrimination under Title IX, the teacher’s duty is clear: address and report the harassment. But if the Court were to adopt the view of a minority of the lower courts—that Title IX may prohibit some but not all forms of discrimination against transgender students—then teachers are left in the lurch. What are their duties to transgender students and when are they triggered? Must teachers parse the harasser’s motivation to determine whether the harassment is motivated by sex stereotypes or transgender animus? This is complicated by Petitioner’s assertion that non-discrimination against transgender students “would perpetuate discrimination in a different form” against other students. If that were true, how would educators prevent and remedy sex stereotyping discrimination or harassment against transgender students while avoiding discrimination against others?

Making the case for clarity might just be significant nudge for a few (*cough* Kennedy *cough*) justices. And like with the Obergefell same-sex marriage ruling I’m hopeful that concerns raised over harm to students will win out over the case for letting this continue to play itself out across the country at the national, state, and local level. We’ll see how the Supreme Court views this soon. Hearing start on the 28th.

Thanks to the educators and school staff represented by the National Education Association; the American Federation of Teachers; the National Association of Secondary School Principals; the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees; Service Employees International Union; and the School Social Work Association of America.