What happens when your son tells you he’s really a girl? Inside the families embracing the new world of gender variance

Some medical professionals see gender variance as a natural characteristic of human diversity, similar to sexual preference, that should be accepted and even celebrated. An article in Macleans (Jan 6, 2014) explores the lives of supportive families and their trans and gender variant children..

The Public Health Agency of Canada published comprehensive recommendations in 2010 for schools to support gender-variant students and several provincial governments have added “gender expression” to the list of prohibited grounds for discrimination. The tides may be turning but the need for education is high. The negative judgement of trans individuals suggests there is a 17% higher risk for suicide and even higher risks for being bullied by others.

The Macleans article also has a short video embedded within and pictures throughout, providing a glimpse into the daily lives of trans and gender-variant children and their families. This is an excellent introduction and movement towards educating the public and advancing the needs of trans youth – which is a natural characteristic of human variation.

You can read the article here: http://www2.macleans.ca/2014/01/13/what-happens-when-your-son-tells-you-hes-really-a-girl/

 

In the United States the National Gay and Lesbian Task Forces and the National Center for Transgender Equality conducted a survey of 6,450 trans and gender non-conforming individuals from all 50 states. This study was the first of its kind and provides us with a clear picture of what needs to change in order to stop the injustice in their lives..

Discrimination against trans and gender variant individuals provides critical data for policymakers, community activists and legal advocates to confront the appalling realities. Respondents experience higher levels of poverty and a staggering 45% of those survey reported attempting suicide. Harassment and discrimination in education was reported at alarmingly high rates and include physical assault (35%) and sexual violence (12%). Harassment was so severe that it led to almost 15% to leave school in K-12 settings or in higher education..

Abuse by Police, discrimination in health care and public accommodations, employment discrimination and economic insecurity, as well as housing discrimination, barriers to receiving updated documents (identification and personal records). The 6,450 individuals all reported that family acceptance was of great importance, although the majority reported experiencing family rejection. Despite all of the harassment, mistreatment, discrimination and violence faced by trans individuals the study demonstrates their determination, resourcefulness and perseverance. This report is a call to action for all of us, especially for those who pass laws and write policies. Inaction is a form of violence that will negatively affect trans and gender variant people. Take up the call for human rights for transgender, transsexual, trans, and gender variant people and confront the patterns of abuse and injustice. Let’s learn (and teach) the values of human variation to our children, to each other and let’s learn more ourselves!.

You can access the full report titled “Injustice at every Turn” here: http://www.TheTaskForce.org or here: wwww.TransEquality.org. You can also get more information about the survey at: http://www.EndTransDiscrimination.org

People With Disabilities React to Mannequins Created in Their Image

Fashion mannequins — the type you see constantly in clothing store windows — are generally what we think of as flawless specimens of the human form. But this project questions what we mean by “flawless”:

This project gives us an opportunity to experience Human Variation and bring into question how we represent ourselves.

This site has a short video that is worth watching.

http://jezebel.com/people-with-disabilities-react-to-mannequins-created-in-1475812519

Alberta Eugenics Awareness Week (AEAW) 2013 ~ Oct 16 – Oct 22, 2013

Please join us in Edmonton at the University of Alberta for a series of events throughout Wednesday October 16 to Tuesday October 22, 2013 that mark:

Alberta Eugenics Awareness Week (AEAW) 2013 ~ Oct 16 – Oct 22, 2013

Wednesday Oct 16 – Rob Wilson, University of Alberta, Standpoint Eugenics.  Brown-bag lunch co-sponsored with the Dept. of Educational Policy Studies.  Noon-1:30pm, 7-102 Education North.

Thursday Oct 17 – Eugenics and Indigenous Perspectives.  Discussion panel co-sponsored with the Faculty of Native Studies.  Panelists: Tracy Bear, Joanne Faulkner, Jerry Kachur, Noon-1:00pm, 2-06 Pembina Hall.

Friday Oct 18 – 1) Persons’ Day Panel: Feminism, Motherhood and Eugenics: Historical Perspectives. Panelists: Wendy Kline, University of Cincinnati, Erika Dyck, University of Saskatchewan, and Molly Ladd-Taylor, York University. Noon – 1:00 pm, Henderson Hall, Rutherford South. Wheelchair accessible. 2) Wendy Kline, University of Cincinnati, “The Little Manual that Started a Revolution: How Midwifery Became a Hippie Practice”, 3:30 – 5.00pm, Assiniboia 2-02A, co-sponsored with the Departments of History and Classics, and Women’s and Gender Studies. 3) FIXED: The Science/Fiction of Human Enhancement. A documentary by Regan Brashear www.fixedthemovie.com, co-sponsored with the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine and the John Dossetor Health Ethics Centre. Telus Centre 150.  Doors at 6:30 pm, film at 7:00 pm. Q&A with Dr. Gregor Wolbring (who is featured in the film) following the film. Wheelchair accessible and closed captioned.

Saturday Oct 19 – Team Meeting, Living Archives on Eugenics in Western Canada.  2-02A Assiniboia Hall (9:00 am – 4:30 pm) Lunch provided; please RSVP to moyra@ualberta.ca by Noon Oct 16th.

Monday Oct 21 – 1) Joanne Faulkner, University of New South Wales, The Politics of Childhood and Community Identity.  Noon – 1:00 pm in 7-152 Education North.  Co-sponsored by the Departments of Educational Policy Studies and Human Ecology.  2) World Premiere “Surviving Eugenics in the 21st Century: Our Stories Told” 7:00 pm – 9:15 pm Metro Cinema at the Garneau, 8712 – 109 Street NW, Edmonton. Trailer: http://youtu.be/QoM12GAJm8I; closed captioned and ASL interpretation; wheelchair access through the alley entrance.  Please sign up in advance at Facebook to help us with numbers!

Tuesday Oct 22 - 1) Joanne Faulkner, University of New South Wales, The Coming Postcolonial Community: Political Ontology of Aboriginal Childhood in Bringing Them Home.  4.00 – 5.30pm in Assiniboia 2-02a.  Co-sponsored with the Departments of Philosophy and Sociology.  2) Difference and Diversity: An Evening of Performances.  Featuring CRIPSiE (formerly iDance), a reading by Leilani Muir, the art work of Nick Supina III, and much more.  Education North 4-104. Doors at 6:30 pm, performances at 7:00 pm.  Please sign up in advance via Facebook to help us with numbers!

ASL Interpretation can be arranged for events, please contact moyra@ualberta.ca prior to the event.

All Events are FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!

All events are at the University of Alberta, Edmonton.

Disability is a political issue not a personal one –

The Right to Not to Work: Power and Disability by Sunny Taylor

“The disabled are viewed with sympathy as victims of “bad luck” who will simply have to accept disadvantage as their lot in life, not as an identity group that is systematically discriminated against. Unlike sexism and racism, which are perceived to be significant social problems, disability falls under the social radar and disablism is not recognized as a damaging or even particularly serious form of prejudice.” The public remains unconvinced that the struggle for disability rights is actually their sturrgle as well….

The entire article and self-portrait can be found here: http://monthlyreview.org/2004/03/01/the-right-not-to-work-power-and-disability

Continue reading

Fashion and Medical Appliances

Recent surges forward have been made in creating clothing and accessories that help women “feel gorgeous in their own skin — and spark conversation about a previously taboo topic,” that of external medical appliances that are necessary for some conditions.

http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/03/living/disability-fashion/index.html

In the article, interviewees discuss how they were always advised to hide their conditions, internalizing feelings of shame and stigma.  In some cases, girls described their self-image of suffering from “cyborg anxiety,” and acknowledged that dependency on medical appliances becomes “a huge part of your identity.”  New designs allowing these to be fashionably integrated into everyday wear allows wearers to share their stories “in a non-medical space.”
Also of interest are comments on the bottom of the article.

 

 

 

 

Sweden Moves to End Forced Sterilization of Transgender People

Sweden, “one of 17 [countries] in the European Union,” may soon change a law that requires transgendered people to become sexually sterilized if they decide to officially change gender.  Sweden has made moves to repeal the law in January, only to be stopped by the Christian Democrat Party.  However, this party has recently changed their mind, allowing the repeal to go through.

http://motherjones.com/mojo/2012/02/sweden-moves-to-end-forced-sterilization-transgender-people

This move was partially in thanks to an online petition, by AllOut (http://allout.org/en/actions/stop_forced_sterilization), which gained 80,000 international signatures to repeal the law.  However, the date for repealing the law is still pending.

Countries that still require sterilization include France, Italy, Romania, Poland, Greece, and Portugal.  For a map outlining the current status of European sterilization, you can link here: http://motherjones.com/mojo/2012/02/most-european-countries-force-sterilization-transgender-people-map

LEAF and DAWN Intervene in Case Before the Supreme Court of Canada

Below is a press release put out yesterday by the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) and the Disabled Women’s Network Canada (DAWN). The two organizations will intervene on a case before the Supreme Court that could potentially have serious impacts on the rights of women generally and those of disabled women specifically.

There are several important issues that are going to have to be considered in the case, particularly the systemic barriers to employment face by disabled people and disabled women in particular and the inherently problematic, and all too frequent, attempts to judge the abilities or lack of abilities of a person based on brief, and not necessarily representative, observations of that person.

I hope the Supreme Court will do the right thing and overturn the lower courts decision. Read the full press release below.

Continue reading

Dialogue of the Domestic reveals the hidden parts of humankind

In Dialogue of the Domestic, University of Alberta graduate student Anna House says she tries to show how, by arranging items in homes, occupants tell stories about themselves and leave out disturbing details they prefer kept out of the spotlight. She says that domestic interior tells a story about relationships and human character.

Continue reading

Chromosome Disorder Outreach

Thanks to Velvet Martin for posting a link to the following video from CDO; her daughter Samantha features.  What do people think of the message here?  Community building around chromosomal disorder?  A humanization of the dehumanized who “look kinda funny”?  A tacit complicity with the medicalization of human variation (via the notion of “disorder”)?  All of the above?  Something else? Continue reading

Fat Studies: A Critical Dialogue

Call For Papers
“Fat Studies: A Critical Dialogue”

Special Journal Issue of Feminism & Psychology
Guest Editor: Dr Samantha Murray

While cultural anxieties about fatness and stigmatisation of fat
bodies in Western cultures have been central to dominant discourses
about bodily `propriety´ since the early twentieth century, the rise
of the `disease´ category of obesity and the moral panic over an
alleged global `obesity epidemic´ has lent a medical authority and
legitimacy to what can be described as `fat-phobia´. Against the
backdrop of the ever-growing medicalisation and pathologisation of
fatness, the field of Fat Studies has emerged in recent years to offer
an interdisciplinary critical interrogation of the dominant medical
models of health, to give voice to the lived experience of fat bodies,
and to offer critical insights into, and investigations of, the
ethico-political implications of the cultural meanings that have come
to be attached to fat bodies.

This Special Issue will examine a range of questions concerning the
construction of fat bodies in the dominant imaginary, including the
problematic intersection of medical discourse and morality around
`obesity´, disciplinary technologies of `health´ to normalise fat
bodies (such as diet regimes, exercise programs and bariatric
surgeries), gendered aspects of `fat´, dominant discourses of
`fatness´ in a range of cultural contexts, and critical strategies for
political resistance to pervasive `fat-phobic´ attitudes. Continue reading

Retrofit 5-Pack, end of 2009 spirit

Here are five What Sorts posts that I had particular fun writing–from mid-2008 to early 2009–that can serve as a kind of bon voyage for 2009 … despite the fact that only two of them were written in 2009, and pretty early on, at that. Farewell 2009, farewell! May 2010 bring more sunshine and fewer clouds.

Julia Serano’s “Cocky”

“Let’s Talk About It”: Contemporary Eugenics for Louisiana and the Problem of Intergenerational Welfare

Two birds, one stone

Pollyannaism about polygamy: Martha Nussbaum on Mormon History

Standing corrected: Why is there no apostrophe in “Hells Angels”?

Getting Burlesque in Edmonton, May 8th

Our friends at the Alberta Public Interest Research Group (APIRG) have a fun fund-raiser coming up in Edmonton on Friday, 8th May. Bare details below. Full details over at APIRG.

life is a cabaret

[Poster for "Life is a Cabaret"; descriptive details of event below]

Poster art: Craig Campbell
With Toronto Burlesque Pioneers: Skin Tight Outta Sight
and featuring amazing local talent

A little something for everyone!
Burlesque, Belly Dance, Tribal Fusion, Comedy and Drag show.

May 8 2009
Doors: 8:30 pm Show time: 9 pm
New City Suburbs 10081 Jasper Ave, Edmonton

www.newcitycompound.com

Tickets: $20 in advance $25 at the door
COME EARLY: Limited Seating!

Oscar Pistorius on his recent injuries

h/t to Media dis&dat

OUKSP-UK-OSSURRecent story in the Daily Mirror that starts:

Oscar Pistorius has told how a boating accident shattered his face and threatened his life – but will not stop him competing at next month’s BT Paralympic World Cup in Manchester

“Bladerunner” is back in training after the freak crash near Johannesburg in February which smashed an eye socket, his jaw, nose and two ribs.

Typical of a man who sprinted into the record books despite having both legs amputated below the knee before his first birthday, he views it as just another hurdle to overcome.

Annie Farlow, Sickkids, and an Ontario Human Rights Commission hearing

Regular readers will recall the case of Annie Farlow from posts we’ve done over the past year (linked below the fold). Today Annie’s family issued a media release following a preliminary hearing at the Ontario Human Rights Commission concerning a claim against the very same hospital at the centre of the Baby Kaylee case that occupied the Canadian media last week. You can see today’s CTV coverage of the story by reporter Reshmi Nair (“Parents aim complaint at Sick Kids”) at their site, and you can read the media release from the family below the fold.

Continue reading

What Sorts of Children’s Television Hosts?

 

Cerrie Burnell, To frightening for preschoolers?

Cerrie Burnell, Too frightening for preschoolers?

BBC Children’s TV has a show for preschoolers called CBeebies. The show includes a lot of interesting animated, puppetry, and other fictional characters as well as human presenters…  Alex, and Cerrie. Cerrie, however, has become the target of serious public campaign that claims she is frightening children.  

According to the Daily Mail:

 the decision to hire her has prompted a flurry of complaints to the BBC and on parenting message boards, with some of the posts on the CBeebies website becoming so vicious that they had to be removed.

Incredibly, one father said he wanted to ban his daughter from watching the channel because he feared it would give her nightmares.

Continue reading

MSNBC article about ‘One-person, one-fare’ ruling for Canadian airline travel

Canadian doctors decry airline ‘tush test’

Carriers comply with disability ruling; critics claim they’re passing the buck

Air Canada diagram

The picture above is the diagram which appears in the AIR CANADA medical form instructing doctors how to calculate the width of someon’s behind. The diagram, which is a line drawing, depicts the naked back and partial buttocks of someone who is seated. An arrow pointing to the outside of the left buttock indicates “Point A” and an arrow pointing to the outside of the right buttock indicates “Point B”.

By Harriet Baskas – Travel Writer

After fighting it for nearly a year, Canada’s major airlines finally unveiled procedures they claim will comply with the Canadian Transportation’s Agency’s “one-person, one-fare” ruling. On all domestic flights within Canada, the carriers are required to provide additional seating to disabled travelers who must be accompanied by a personal attendant or to travelers determined by medical professionals to be functionally disabled by obesity.

How airlines determine who needs or gets an extra seat has been a thorny issue. On Jan. 10, Air Canada and WestJet announced they will require disabled or obese passengers seeking a second seat to get a note from a doctor and send it in for review well before their flight date. But doctors, disability rights groups and travelers of all sizes are calling that requirement everything from “too burdensome” to “ludicrous,” and they give the plan’s chances of working a big fat zero.

Disability rights groups claim the medical forms require passengers to give too much personal information to the airlines. They suggest a third party — one more experienced with these issues — would be better suited for the job. The Canadian Medical Association (CMA), meanwhile, is complaining that the form asking doctors to measure a patient’s behind “shows a disregard for the use of scarce medical resources.”

Read the entire article here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28777115/

Acknowledgements to Beth Haller at media dis&dat.

Criminally ugly

This is an excerpt from Michael Pollack’s FYI column in today’s New York Times:

Q. I’ve been told that it used to be a crime in New York to be ugly in public. Sometimes it feels that way, but was it literally true?

A. Practically. In many cities in the 1880s and 1890s, groups dedicated to separating the “worthy” from the “unworthy” poor tried to suppress begging by passing “ugly laws.” Their special targets were disabled mendicants who attracted public sympathy.

About 1895, one Charles Kellogg drafted an extreme version of the law for New York, working with the Charity Organization Society in New York.

The draft read: “It shall be unlawful for any person, whose body is deformed, mutilated, imperfect or has been reduced by amputations, or who is idiotic or imbecile, to exhibit him or herself” in a public place for money, or to seek charity door to door.

Susan Schweik, professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley, describes the state of affairs in “The Ugly Laws,” to be published this spring by New York University Press. “The disability movement is really the sole place where it’s been remembered in American culture,” Professor Schweik said in an interview.

Read the full answer here: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/25/nyregion/thecity/25fyi.html?_r=1

Julia Serano’s “Cocky”

Author of Whipping Girl Julia Serano performing “Cocky”:

h/t to Womanist Musings, including for the transcript beneath the fold (small corrections made by me). Continue reading

Petition to cancel humanitarian award for Jerry Lewis

Every year, disability activists in the US protest the annual Jerry Lewis Labor Day telethon because of the stereotypes and prejudice that Lewis and his annual escapade promote about people with muscular dystrophy and other disabled people. The Academy of Motion Pictures Art and Sciences has announced that it will award Lewis its Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at next month’s Oscar awards ceremony. American disability activist and author Laura Hershey has written a petition which will be delivered to the Academy. An excerpt follows: Continue reading