Tag: Friday Philosophy

Friday Philosophy: Transwomen and AIDS

Helena Bushong was diagnosed with AIDS in 2002.  She probably had been HIV+ since 1985.  She also has Hepatitis C and is a survivor of spinal cancer.

But she has one hell of a strong backbone.

This past week she was interviewed about being transgender, black and poz.  Do yourself a favor and go see what she has to say for herself.  The video is not embeddable.

I felt comfortable in my own skin for the first time in my 56 years.

–Helena Bushong, about going on homone therapy

But y’all come back, y’hear!

And there is more…

Friday Philosophy: The most self-aware people I know

In her essay earlier today, Allison’s Story told us about her “friend” who told her he thought she was psychotic because she chose to treat her gender dysphoria.

That’s too much of a constant in our lives.  Because we don’t believe that chromosomes, or even genitalia, are destiny, people tell us they think we are insane…and then use that conclusion in attempts to drive us from our professions.

To some people, the options we have are being thought to be insane or having a moral defect.  The truth is, in my opinion, that we are some of the more sane people around.  On the other hand, what is moral is in the mind of the beholder.

I’ve met hundreds of transfolk since I began my transition in 1992.  I actually came out on September 30, 1992, which would have been my father’s birthday if he had still been alive.  From my years of knowing him, I can assure you that informing him of my plans for the future would not have gone down well.

Friday Philosophy: A Better World

The Dog wrote this morning about the people who want their nation back.  I added the following comment, about what I saw in that sort of thinking:

The lady wants to go back to a time when she feels that things were better for her…and presumably people like her….as in identical.  She doesn’t care a whit about people whose lives have improved since that time.  Indeed, she thinks such people should be stomped on and put in their place…because they are undoubtedly the cause of her distress.

Meanwhile, I’m one of those people for whom life has gotten much better…and the lady the dog wrote about it…and people like her…just can’t stand that.

That’s not to say that life has gotten totally better for me…or that the improvements I’ve seen in our world have been totally sufficient or have been happening fast enough.  It will be quite a journey to get the world to where I think it should be.  And those people trying to tug it in the opposite direction certainly don’t help.

Friday Philosophy: Trans Kids

The biggest problem a lot of people have with transfolk is that we know who we are because of what goes on in our minds…and nobody but us can truly see what that is.  There is often nothing measurable from outside other than a million tiny clues.

So too many people fear the worst and classify us as sexually perverse…as some sort of bizarre fetishists who would go to extraordinary lengths to pray on women and children in public restrooms (Nobody every worries about transmen sexually abusing men and boys in men’s restrooms).

What puts the lie to a lot of such crap are the trans kids.   In  Development, Risk & Resilience of Transgender Youth (2010), (pdf) Kimberly A. Stieglitz, doctor of nursing and certified pediatric nurse practitioner, has produced a gem.  I read the pdf’s so that you don’t have to.  

Disposable People

Rachael Gieschen’s family founded Hanover Seaside Club in Wrightsville Beach, NC, in 1898.  When she lived as a man, she took her children there during those hot summer days.  But the 69-year-old Air Force veteran transitioned a few years ago and that made other club members uncomfortable, so the board of directors decided to cancel her membership.

Essentially, the club decided she was disposable.  One shouldn’t expect the club members, some of whom are her children, to be forced to consort with a tranny, after all, no matter how long they have known her.

Friday Philosophy: Trans News Update

Usually I have a longer break between summaries of news of interest to the trans community and perhaps to our allies.  But I have only had a couple of days since I returned from the desert to gather my wits together and try to develop a topic and an essay…and one of those was consumed by a medical test.

Additionally, there have been several items of interest that have transpired while I was gone.  I doubt many of them were covered by anyone else.  A few of them were touched on in previous trans news diaries…so consider this to be a set of updates, if you wish.

Without further ado, here is the introduction to the first story:

Vandy Beth Glenn was a legislative editor in Georgia who came out to her boss about beginning to transition at her workplace.  She was fired by Legislative Counsel Sewell Brumby  because he believed her transition would make her colleagues feel uncomfortable and be viewed as immoral by Georgia legislators.  

Friday Philosophy: Trans News, Summer 2010

Every once in a while, I try to share news of interest to the trans community with people from outside our community, in the hopes that people will get a better idea about what goes on in our lives.  It’s all part of that teaching effort that we have been told we must do before we can ever hope to be accorded equal rights.

Recently there has been some good to go along with the usual stories of misuse and abuse.

Inside are stories from Houston and Dallas, San Francisco, Ireland, England, New York and the state department.

Friday Philosophy: Standing on the Shoulders of Others

Most of you know that June is designated as LGBT Pride month because of the Stonewall Riots, which began on June 28, 1969.

At Wikipedia, one can find the following statement:

They are frequently cited as the first instance in American history when people in the homosexual community fought back against a government-sponsored system that persecuted sexual minorities, and they have become the defining event that marked the start of the gay rights movement in the United States and around the world.

The only problem with the words above is that they are not quite true.  Almost three years before, there had been a blow struck for freedom on the other side of the country.

Friday Philosophy: Setting some ground rules

Off the top, let me acknowledge that there is disagreement between various factions on the importance of civility.  I hope that I have conveyed that I am in favor of it.  One of the purposes of this diary is to promote some civility, in a philosophical vein.

It may be that in my writing travels, travails, and educational efforts, I may have ignited or sparked the desire of someone else to write about trans issues.  If that has indeed happened, then part of my purpose in life has been served.

But I would be less than observant of the duties that purpose imposes if I did not include the caveats.

Friday Philosophy: Pride and Prejudice

Every year about this time, I feel the need to write something about pride.  Or maybe I should capitalize that to Pride.  The first is more personally and the second describes the month, sort of officially.  But is there really any difference?

Isn’t…or shouldn’t it be that…Pride month is when we get a chance to review and proclaim the personal pride we have in who we are?

Over the years I have, of course, encountered different voices, with different views on pride…and Pride.

When I first transitioned, I encountered quite a few transpeople who believed that it made no sense to express pride in who we are…just like it makes no sense for people who are not trans to express pride in not being trans.

I disagree with that sentiment.  I have always been and shall constantly strive to remain proud of who I am and what I have accomplished.

Friday Philosophy: The Normativity Prison

Earlier this week, Caractacus ventured into the world of Michel Foucault.  It’s a world which with, although I am not a philosopher, I have become quite familiar.

We people of the trans variety have often had to deal with the concept of normativity, a concept which Foucault wrote about rather extensively.

If you have not read any Foucault, you probably should, though I should warn you that there will be heavy lifting.  After all, in 2007, Foucault was classified as the most cited intellectual in the humanities.

First off, let’s try to get a grip on the word “normativity”.  

In philosophy, normative statements affirm how things ought to be, how to value them, which things are good or bad, which actions are right or wrong.  Normative is usually contrasted with positive…  Positive statements are factual statements that attempt to describe reality.

Friday Philosophy: ACLU et. al. to Holder: Stop Prison Rape

The ACLU, the National Center for Transgender Equality, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, The Transgender Law Center, and Lambda Legal Defense & Education Fund have joined in the drafting of a letter (pdf) in support of the national standards for the prevention, detection, response, and monitoring of sexual abuse as recommended (pdf) by the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission.  Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex people are at heightened risk of being abused when in detention, both at the hands of other inmates and at the hands of facility staff.

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