It gives me hope knowing that kids get it.
I had to share a recent project by an artist whose work I really enjoy. It’s not their usual medium, however they were inspired by a find at the family cottage and so set to work. She is refinishing a dollhouse originally built by her Grandfather and played with by her mother, and is sharing the progress on her Deviant Art account. Why do I feel the need to share this? Well, the most recent addition to her tiny home is a Transgender doll that began it’s existence as female, but has transitioned to male… right down to the binder (worn a little low, but still poignant).
I’d like to introduce you to this bibliophile of a doll, who is yet unnamed, but seems quite happy in his new life:
You can check out more of Ulla Thynell’s work at DA, where her username is ullakko. Here is a direct link to her journal, where she first introduced us to our unnamed friend and shared a little about his transition: http://my.deviantart.com/messages/#/d595iqi And while he was not created with the intent of any kind of deeper meaning, I believe there is some truth to be found in how his physical self had to be ground down to find his final and true form.
Not all of us are lucky enough to be born into a body that matches our gender. We all bare our battle scars. Growing up is tough. Growing up transgendered is even more so. And sometimes – thanks to the ignorance and brutality of others – it is actually impossible.
Today is the 13th annual Transgender Day of Remembrance. Today, I ask you to do ONE THING. Regardless of your beliefs, regardless of your feelings, regardless of who you are or who you know or who you want to be. Take a few minutes and read through the list of people at this web page: http://www.transgenderdor.org/?page_id=1663
The people listed there are all individuals who have suffered and died at the hands of others for being born different and having the strength to live honestly. 23 people who have suffered horrendously because they had the courage to be who they were. 23 people who lost their lives because of bigotry and hate. 23 people, this year alone, their lives stolen, savagely, all for the crime of living a genuine life.
I’m not asking you to change. I’m not asking you to weep. I’m not asking you to speak out. I’m just asking you to read their names, read how they died, and remember that they were people once.
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”
– William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
The fact remains, that while this is a nice sentiment, there is a lot loaded into a person’s name… especially when the name and gender don’t match. I know I gave a lot of thought to my daughter’s name before gifting her with it. A child who grows up feeling their name doesn’t fit, or doesn’t belong, is a child who grows up with a lot of pain. My daughter can choose to be called Lily-Ann, Lily, Lil’, Ann, Lilian, or my son could choose to be called Andy – not all of us are fortunate enough to have our gender at birth, match with our gender as we grown into personhood.
There has been a surprising amount of stories about transgendered children in the news recently, and it’s an encouraging thing. Most of us know very early on if our assigned gender matches our actual gender, and until recently people tended to “poo poo” these thoughts away – especially when a young child brought them up. It gives me hope knowing that parents, and adults in general, are giving more credence to these children and accepting them at their word. That there are adults who are willing to step in and help them transition to their actual gender before the hormones of puberty kick in, and make it even more difficult to do so in the future.
So, what’s in a name? I’d say a whole lot. Especially when Don is actually Donna, or Nicole is actually Nicholas.
Today is the first time I’ve actually been embarrassed to wear the feminist label. For the first time. And it royally sucks.
There seems to be this tribe of feminists floating around out there that is spouting all sorts of nasty, hate-filled drivel. The kind of crap that second-wave man-hating feminists became known for. But this time? This time it’s aimed at our sisters.
I’m sorry, but the day that third-wave feminism (which is all about supporting women in all their choices, believing in freedom, and the right to independence and freedom from persecution) turns into some crazy-assed fourth-wave anti-trans movement is the day I’m out.
No, I won’t link to the article that brought this whole movement to my attention… but after finding it (through a link someone shared on facebook, a link someone actually recommended) I just kept finding more of it. And it brought so much pain to my heart. Seriously. How can these women be so completely off the mark and not see it?
Feminism is about loving your fellow womyn. Supporting them. Caring for them. Encouraging them. Empowering them. Knowing that together we can (and have) changed the world. And regardless of what sex organs a person was born with, a woman is a woman is a woman. It’s not about what parts you have or don’t have. It’s about WHO YOU ARE. My Trans-Sisters are my sisters, they are not brothers in drag, and they deserve every bit of respect, support, love, care, encouragement, and empowerment that every other woman does.
A few weeks ago I gave a talk at one of our local high schools. I asked the students what the word gender actually meant. Most didn’t have a clue, but one young person said “It’s about how you see the world”. And that makes a whole lot of sense to me. Gender really is about your point of view. How you see yourself, and how you fit into society. That is what makes a person a woman. It’s not her breasts, her vulva or vagina, it’s not whether she has a womb or not, and it’s not her chromosomes either. It’s about how she fits in her own skin. How she sees herself. How she views herself. How she fits into her world. And that, my friends, is why I see no reason to include the prefix “trans”. It’s not that it’s a dirty word, it’s just that it’s unnecessary.
Women deserve your respect. ALL women. And if there are some who, behind the guise of a new feminist movement, don’t get that? Well, they can go… Okay, editing myself here… They can just take a freakin’ jump off one of the many bridges here in Saskatoon.
Today has been super busy. Spent the morning with my wee girlie. The early afternoon answering emails and phone calls. A photo shoot in the late afternoon. Supper with my husband and girlie, followed by another shoot. Read a few chapters to the girl, put her to bed… and am now here – with you. Because today was so busy, there are lots of things I could blog about… but more important than anything I did, is something YOU can do.
With the looming general election, there’s a chance that Bill C-389 may end up being scrapped. If it’s not passed soon, it’s done… and all the work that has been done already will be for nothing. Everything will have to start from scratch.
To it’s discredit, Bill C-389 has become known as the “bathroom bill”. But it really has very little to do with public washroom facilities (gendered washrooms vs ungendered ones) and everything to do with human rights. Some folks, particularly the “Christian Right” have been using fear-mongering tactics… claiming it would mean the end of “family values”. And honestly? What a load of bunk.
This bill is about human rights on a VERY basic level. Equality for all people. It simply asks for the words “gender identity, gender expression” to be added to both the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code. This would give protection to transgendered people, who currently face an appalling amount of discrimination, recrimination, and fear every day… for nothing more than BEING.
You can read the text of the bill itself at: http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Language=E&Parl=40&Ses=3&Mode=1&Pub=Bill&Doc=C-389_1&File=27#1
In an effort to promote fear, prejudice, and incite hatred some are attempting to thwart this bill saying that it would mean that we would need to start teaching trans 101 in pre-school. Quite honestly, these folks are completely out of touch with reality… but, seriously, this is the “worst case scenario” they came up with. The worst possible thing to come out of this legislation would be to teach equality to children? Wow. How is it we haven’t passed this bill already???
We teach equality regardless of sex, equality regardless of race, equality regardless of religion, equality regardless of wealth, equality regardless of creed… why are we not teaching our young children equality regardless of gender?
Bill C-389 is about safety, security, and the right to personhood. Transgendered individuals deserve the same protection under the law that every other person is already guaranteed. It is disgusting that we haven’t already ensured legislation like this is in place.
So, what can you do?
There is a draft letter available at: http://egale.ca/index.asp?lang=&menu=1&item=1451 So if you aren’t confident drafting your own, please feel free to copy and paste the one available there. That is, after all, the whole reason it is there.
If you are in Saskatchewan here are the email addresses for your Senators:
Share this Blog Post!
Share this link on facebook, twitter, or any of the dozens of social networking sites out there. Make people aware of this important bill. Do NOT let it die.
Talk to the Local Media!
Got a favourite news team or news show? Find their website. Chances are they will have contact information listed. Email them, phone them! Make them aware of what is going on. Get them talking!
Tell Your Friends!
Seriously, talk to your friends and family. I bet most of the people you know don’t even know about this bill. Did you?
It is an atrocity that in this day and age there are still people in Canada without basic human rights. Without the right to be free from discrimination, without the right to be free from fear. Bathroom legislation? What a slap in the face. This isn’t about public washrooms. This is about being HUMAN.
Speak up! Get heard! Make change!
If you haven’t heard yet, here’s your “heads up”. Breaking the Silence is this weekend! Not familiar with it? Here’s your chance to learn more. It’s well worth learning about, and soooo worth attending.
You can find all the details at: http://www.usask.ca/education/breaking-the-silence/
I’ll be there at the Camp fYrefly table during all the breaks. Otherwise you’ll find me checking out all the different sessions and speakers. There’s one in particular I’m looking forward to, early in the afternoon, in regards to life as a Transgendered individual in Saskatchewan. Should be really interesting. As someone who is active politically, I’m also very interested in the keynote address on Friday evening. Marci McDonald is speaking on “Religion and Politics: Where in Heaven’s name is Canada going?”.
Should be an awesome day and a half. Hope to see you all there!