Trans Day of Remembrance

It’s Trans Day of Remembrance. 2021 has been a terrible year for trans murders.

Never let the truth get in the way of a good story

375 transgender people were killed this year (2021), a figure that has risen since last year’s total of 350.

The report authors say this makes 2021 the ‘deadliest year’ of violence against gender diverse people since records began. One in four of those murdered were killed in their own home.

Forbes – https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamiewareham/2021/11/11/375-transgender-people-murdered-in-2021-deadliest-year-since-records-began/?sh=51eef80b321c

Those 375 murders are a global figure. The figure includes murder for any reason, even if unrelated to trans status.

How many people are being murdered?

The TransRespect / Trans Murder Monitoring Project collects statistics of murdered trans people from around the globe. It paints a grim picture. Lots of colour on that map.

Trans Murder Monitoring

But let’s just go back to graph reading school for a moment

Colour Key

Here grey is given as “no data”, implying that no one collected evidence of murders. There is no separate code for zero murders. They imply that the grey is somehow hiding evidence that will soon come to light.

Banding 2-50 together intensifies the seriousness of this classification. Two murders is very different to 50 murders. Two might be an accident or a robbery gone wrong. Fifty is a serious public issue.

Time scale

The map represents the data for the period 2008 to 2021. The black classification of “>1000” is a lot of lost lives over a 13 year time period. While tragic, it does not represent an epidemic.

What is being reported?

Let’s just ask TMM.

Trans Murder Monitoring project reports all kinds of homicides of trans and gender-diverse people. The classification of the murder of a trans/gender-diverse person as a hate crime is often difficult, due to a lack of information in the reports as well as the lack of national monitoring systems. Although the brutal violence and other circumstances in reported cases suggest that quite a lot of them — even most or almost all cases — are transphobic hate crimes

https://transrespect.org/en/research/tmm/

These numbers do not represent people who were murdered because of being trans. A trans person who is murdered in a robbery and a trans person who is killed in an anti-trans attack are treated the same.

This builds a false picture of violence against trans people.

Looking at the map year by year paints a different story. Year after year the same countries show high rates of murders.

Brazil is has the most murders each year.

But what does this mean in the context of the 212.6 million inhabitants of Brazil?

In a country where 45k murders represents a significant downturn, where there are 1350 women are killed because they are women, where huge numbers of people live in overpopulated favelas, where drugs and prostitution go hand in hand with poverty, where homophobia and racism are rife, is it possible that not all of these murders were due to transphobia?

Transgender,
murdered for any reason
Femicide
(murders committed
against women because
of their gender )
Homicides
202192
20201571350
2019115133045 503
2018168122957 956

Assumptions

As I write about the trans murders, my mind automatically goes to trans-woman. That is: to men.

I check myself.

Isn’t it likely that vulnerable women would be the likely target of a transphobic attack? Lesbians who are smaller than men, but who challenge misogynists and homophobes. The TMM does not disaggregate by sex, leaving room for speculation about who is being murdered.

Who’s behind it, globally

Check out Gender Critical Woman’s analysis of TMM and where the money comes from. It comes from the ARCUS foundation.

Trans Murder Monitoring Project is funded by the ARCUS foundation. You can see Jennifer Bilek’s work on ARCUS. It is an LGBT charity controlled by pharmaceutical heir Jon Stryker. The ARCUS foundation uses money to drive adoption of a medically-dependent lifestyle.

When you click on a country, a list of criteria for trans rights comes up. It’s a categorised list that gives a snapshot of the legal, social and political position of trans people.

For example:

  1. LEGAL SITUATION
    Legal Gender Recognition: Change of Name
    Change of name possible
    Pathologization requirement
    Sterilisation/SRS/GRT requirement

The implication is that if we can knock over these barriers then we can guarantee trans safety. It is an impetus to law-makers. “We have to stop the murders!”

This ignores that the overwhelming number of trans murders occur in the context of prostitution. Murders occur at the hands of homophobes. They occur in countries where life is cheap. Fast-tracking access to surgery will just put money in the pockets of big pharma and the medical industrial complex.

Who’s Behind it in Australia

Trans Day of Remembrance is a day observed internationally where people come together to read out the names of people murdered in transphobic attacks. We observe it in Australia too, even though we have registered only 4 murders in 13 years.

Just look at this picture on the TDOR website. Huddling together against the cold and the dark.

https://tdor.org.au/

A beautiful website and a calendar full of events. There’s money behind it. Far from being a grassroots initiative, TDOR is sponsored by multiple organisations, many of whom are powered by government grants.

CharityGov Grant Incoming
(last posted income)
TGV$160 000
Gender Centre$933 000
Parents of Gender Diverse ChildrenHas the VIC Gov logo on their site,
but no financial documents available
Y GenderSupported by Albert van Moorst Memorial Trust,
who last posted a statement in 2015
TransFolk WANon-government donations
A Gender Agenda$600 000
https://www.acnc.gov.au/

Of course there’s also a grift on the TDOR page. Donate, buy a badge or book training to “Make your school or workplace a safer place for trans people”.

My point here isn’t than community groups shouldn’t receive grants. It is that between them, these groups are presenting an incorrect picture of violence against trans people. There is no evidence of risk of hate crime, but this narrative pushes trans people into the arms of these support organisations. Organisations who’s bread and butter is to medicalise and mutilate.

These groups get money to serve their communities and improve the community as a whole. They don’t get the money to make slick websites that promote a false narrative.

Inflating the numbers

In 2019, trans woman

Mhelody Bruno was killed by an intimate partner. It’s not a very nice story. It’s not a story of transphobic hate, however. There is no epidemic of anti-trans violence in Australia.

The Gender Centre sponsored Eloise Brooks to do historical research and uncover the names of historical murder victims who may have been transgender. He found 15 names from the 1970s and 1980s because accurate records were kept and noone was falfisying birth certificates during that time. Oh isn’t it ironic.

Brooks told ABC that the names being read out represent anyone who dies for any reason. Again, widening the scope of TDOR and presenting a false narrative of violence.

“If you pass away for whatever reason, we’ll read your name out at our memorial and you will be remembered by your community for who you were, and honoured and cherished.”

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-11-20/today-is-transgender-remembrance-day-australia-acknowledge/11718366

If any of these people were serious about stopping violence, they would stop pretending. They would diagnose the causes and work to address them. But they are happy to sit in splendour, reading out the names of people who were not victims and pretending to be solving a problem which does not exist.

Further reading

https://fairplayforwomen.com/trans-murder-rates/

https://www.the11thhourblog.com/post/all-roads-lead-to-arcus

https://kareningalasmith.com/2021/04/21/counting-dead-trans-people/

https://www.australiawidefirstaid.com.au/resources/shark-attacks-australia

I was groomed by the Internet and all I got were these lousy puberty blockers

4 Corners is an investigative / special interest news show in Australia.

Isabelle Langley is an 11 year old at the time of filming, but is describing experiences which happened much earlier.

This transcript and clip demonstrates a young child diagnosing themselves after finding a Jazz Jennings clip on the internet. The parent going along with it, and a national news broadcaster treating this as a perfectly natural course of events.

This is an enormous red flag for grooming. This poor child’s distress is wrapped up in a neat little package named “transgender” and none of the adults in the room dare let him know what that means for his future self. Being tied to medication, body-altering drugs, sterility, loss of a sex life he will never know and the constant feeling that he’s about to be found out.

“Being Me” ABC 4 Corners 2014


ISABELLE LANGLEY: I tried stopping it but I couldn’t really.

JANINE COHEN: Did you fight against it for a little while?

ISABELLE LANGLEY: I was trying to. I didn’t really know there was anything to do about it. I started looking up things.

JANINE COHEN: Where did you look them up?

ISABELLE LANGLEY: Just on the internet. I just looked up what to do if you feel like a girl and I found all these websites and they were saying that you’re able to get special surgery and that you can actually come out that way and I found some videos too about some other children feeling that way.

CUT TO TV SHOW ON iPAD

HOST: She’s here in person, tonight. So say hello to Jazz.

(Sound of applause)

JANINE COHEN: It was American transgender girl Jazz Jennings who made the biggest impression.

JAZZ JENNINGS, TRANSGENDER: Thank you so much, Kids and teens out there, I just want them to know that it is okay to step out of your shadows and just be who you are. Just be true to yourself and express yourself.

CUT BACK TO MOTHER

NAOMI MCNAMARA: She had tears in her eyes like she just said… oh, you know I’m just so glad I saw that. Like it was, she felt less alone and just came with… just a million questions came out of that for her. Um and she watched it over and over again.

ISABELLE LANGLEY: It’s made me realise that there was ways to sort of cope.

JANINE COHEN: And before you saw Jazz, did you not know?

ISABELLE LANGLEY: I didn’t think there was anything to do about it.

JANINE COHEN: What was it like when you realised you could do something?

ISABELLE LANGLEY: I felt very happy then and I told my mum that night.

(I want a) Girl Like You (to support my gender transition while I live rent-free)

I wanted to write a review of #GirlLikeYou, which is ABC’s portrait of coercive control.

However someone’s already written in for us!

As a little extra – just look out for the flashbacks to the childhood videos. The despondent child in the corner. Is he a victim, or is he just petulant? How would we know – the mood images are presented as evidence that Lewis lived on the brink of suicide. But we don’t know that at all do we?

I’m Spartacus! (Can women consent to prostitution?)

Today I listened to a kid’s history podcast about ancient Roman gladiators. Among other facts I learned that most gladiators were volunteers. Not all, but most. Many were slaves, but most chose the life.

It wasn’t as bad a life as we might imagine either. Fatal battles were rare and pre-arranged. Gladiators formed unions to bargain for good conditions. They courted fame and fortune – earning money and becoming celebrities.

In a similar fashion, last week I learned that very few of the workers building the pyramids were slaves. Most were free and a good portion were skilled knowledge workers. Engineers, mathematicians, logicians and managers.

Although free, these groups of people had little control over their lives. Gladiators’ diets, schedules and sexual partners were controlled by their keepers. Yes – they were treated like stud animals.

There was one gladiator who sold himself into the life. Then eventually bought his freedom. After a time he returned to the life. He bought his freedom four times, eventually retiring to Sicily. He was happy choosing a risky profession, a life without control.

You might see where this is going.

Prostitution

Yes. Sex work is work. It is a job. A hard job. Sex workers should have representation and collective organisation. Individual women (and a vanishingly small number of men) may freely choose it and even work under good conditions.

Does that mean it is a good job?

Does that mean it is a job that is good for society?

I don’t believe so.

Gladiators can choose to live under the control of a keeper. They can choose to be trained like athletes and brought our to perform on cue like a K-Pop boy band. They can choose to be bred like animals.

Spartacus (1960) - FILMGAZM
Spartacus didn’t choose to be a gladiator, even though many did

As individuals they choose to make human life a spectacle. In doing so they cheapen human life for society. They make death a spectacle to be cheered, booed and wagered upon. While a good gladiator might choose a fight and expect to win, gathering fans and increasing his fee, that isn’t true of all gladiators. Many have no choice (or no economic alternatives). It does nothing for the slaves who are not gladiators, but who suffer because their masters see human death as entertainment.

An individual woman might choose to be a prostitute. She might love it. She might command a good fee, choose her hours and love her coworkers. But even the best-kept prostitute is playing a dangerous game. She is exposed to hazardous fluids, bodily damage, abuse and sexual harassment in the workplace.

She also sets a standard for how all women are treated. Women who haven’t signed up for a risky profession. Prostitution tells men they it’s OK to buy the inside of a woman. That her body is for sale. It is property, and as property it can be bought or even stolen. There is no similar calculation for men’s bodies because men (for the most part) are buyers not sellers.

That’s really all. I’m no expert.

I have read widely on the pros and cons of prostitution. This includes politics of it and also the experience of women who are prostitutes. Some commit and make it their livelihood long term. Some find camaraderie in brothel life. Most find their way into prostitution by force, coercion and grinding poverty. People consent to things that aren’t great for them. They can consent to move up incrementally from bad to slightly better. People grit their teeth and endure.

Does that mean it is a good job?

Does that mean it is a job that is good for society?

DIY guide to peaking [reblog]

This is a reblog from Twitter. Follow @_crymiariver for more wisdom.

“My guide to peaking the wokest of the woke
I immigrated to Canada 10 yrs ago, and every friend I made upon arrival was woke. After voicing my support for JK last year, most of my friendships were hanging in the balance; therefore, it was a case of peak them or lose them all./1
So I met with each friend in person & talked it through. I always follow the same steps:
1. A detailed description of autogynephilia. This is hugely successful by itself. They must understand that approx 80% of TW are heterosexual men aroused by the idea of themselves as women/2
I have an AGP folder on my phone for this purpose. After I’ve described the the fetish in detail, I show them the evidence because I know they are still imagining an effeminate, post-op, passing transwoman. No progress can be made if they’re picturing Hayley Cropper./3
Then I ask them if they really believe a man who has spent decades masturbating while wearing women’s clothing is really a woman, the same as their own mother. And should he really be as entitled to access women’s spaces as their mother/grandmother? The answer is always no. /4
2. Next comes the concept of the male lesbian. All decent people are disgusted by this. Remember, they support trans rights because they think it’s the next gay rights. You have to show them how wrong they are. You must show them how deeply homophobic the trans movement is./5
Again, I have a male lesbian folder, and I show them the most ridiculous examples. Remind them these are heterosexual men with a fetish who believe themselves to be lesbians. I also point out that lesbians are being banned from lesbian dating apps for stating females only./6
3. Then I follow up with explaining rapid-onset gender dysphoria, the social contagion and the role the internet plays in it, and the recklessness of the medical community. I have visuals like these of the spike in numbers saved on my phone to whip out at this point./7
If they’re parents, I tell them to imagine their child suddenly announcing they’re trans. To imagine being forbidden to use their daughter’s name, to imagine watching as she sacrifices her fertility and body parts, knowing it’s wrong for her but being powerless to stop it./8
I’ve usually peaked them by now, but an explanation about the harm of self-ID is worth it. How male criminals are identifying as women and being moved to women’s prisons. How women and girls no longer have the privacy and safety of female-only changing rooms./9
Then shelters. I make sure to speak the language of the woke: point out their “privilege”. How they’ll never find themselves in a shelter, so it’s understandable that from their comfortable position they haven’t thought about vulnerable women forced to share spaces with men./10
With this approach, I have a 100% success rate. I’ve peaked people who had pronouns in the bio, who were always chanting transwomen are women, and who thought TERFs were evil. I firmly believe anyone can be peaked if you can just get them to listen./end”

“Are you really though?” When your trans spirit guide knows you better than you do

This post is about 2 short films from Momentum Studios – a small social justice film studio in Australia.

Masked‘ deals with a young woman’s journey of discovery that she is ‘trans’. The follow-on film ‘Still Me‘ deals with a young woman finding the courage and support to claim her non-binary identity.

Both films present a stylised discomfort with gender stereotypes and both young women are rescued by a spirit guide character who brings them to the trans pathway, thus solving their discomfort.

Masked

By Knox City Council and the ‘Free To Be Me’ Knox LGBTQIA Youth Group. The youth group is for 11-14 year olds.

MASKED follows the story of High Schooler, Zoe, struggling to come out as a trans man. After knowing who they truly are for a while, Zoe finds themselves fatigued by their fear of whether others will accept them or not. MASKED was created in conjunction with the 15-18 year old’s from the Knox ‘ Free To Be Me’ LGBTQIA Youth group. The project is proudly supported & funded by Knox City Council, YAC Vic & the Victorian State Government.

Masked blurb on YouTube

Zoe is miserable. It is her birthday.

Her mum gives her a nice dress – “pretty, but not too pretty”. Over family breakfast there’s an awkward conversation about a friend who has a non-binary partner. Dad makes some ham-fisted jokes about non-binary robots. Non-binary geddit? The clumsy parents are trying but trying in the wrong way. How dare they?

At the party, Zoe is dissociating and looks sick as she beholds the pink gift wrapping and fairy bread.

Across the crowd Tahlia is watching.

Tahlia: “You bummed out? All that girly shit? Your presents.”
Zoe: “I liked my presents”
Tahlia: “C’mon…”

Tahlia is the reason I am writing this blog.

Tahlia is the only one to notice Zoe’s distress and the only one to see the evidence of her self-harm: a bandage on the wrist. All the other party guests and even the parents are oblivious.

Tahlia is Zoe’s magical spirit guide. She has a special knowledge that even Zoe cannot yet access: Zoe is trans. Tahlia must bring forth this realisation in Zoe.

Later Zoe watches Ash Hardell’s trans coming out** video on YouTube.

Zoe is looking outside herself for validation. Without YouTube, where would she have looked? Stick-thin women in magazines, perhaps. Or the cat-dragged-in riot grrl empowerment?

She admire’s Ash’s ability to claim the ‘trans’ identity. However scrolling into the comments reveals the condemnation of strangers. The real Ash Hardell seems quite happy with the video stats: 35k thumbs up, 1.8k thumbs down and plenty of cutesy positive comments.

Zoe, on the other hand, is devastated.

It’s too bad that Zoe didn’t make it to Survival Lilly’s YouTube channel

Mum comes in and asks to chat and tells her “your problems aren’t real“. She means that Zoe’s distress is part of growing up, it is discomfort that will resolve when Zoe finds her place in the world. She means that problems around fitting in are magnified for teenagers but have no material basis.

Tahlia senses a disturbance in The Force. She is walking up toward Zoe’s house, only to see the flashing light of an ambulance. Tahlia has come too late.

Without external validation, Zoe attempts suicide.

Mum and Zoe fail to connect emotionally on Zoe’s exit from hospital. But Tahlia is waiting at home with a pair of used doc marten boots and a garbage bag full of grey ‘boy clothes’. This is the talisman with which Tahlia rehabilitates Zoe from the edge of death. If Tahlia is a spirit guide, Zoe is in a liminal state between life and death. Once upon a time a shaman would starve themselves for days, drink poison and spend time in isolation to induce hallucinations that open the door between worlds. For Zoe, it is a bottle of pills and a pair of Doc Martens.

Tahlia now helps Zoe to cross over, to transition, into another state of being.

Tahlia knows. She gives a speech “I’ll always be here for you… if your mother and your father …if they do care [about you being trans] then who cares about them?”. Abandon the family, abandon what you know and rely on to be real. Transition rituals demand a sacrifice.

Tahlia performs trans a makeover ritual and then presents her new creation Zach to the shocked parents.

This is quite important.

Zoe struggles in isolation. She believes she knows the source of her problems: she doesn’t like pink, or dresses, or all that girly stuff.

The parents aren’t able to help her. She just has to muddle through somehow to the other side of adolescence. Instead, Tahlia assists her to cross over to the other side of gender.

It is only through watching intimate videos of strangers that she glimpses a solution. It seems impossible to grasp until Tahlia makes it real for her. Bibbity bobbity boo! You’re trans. The answer is trading in a grey hoodie for a different hoodie and getting a side part. No more self-harm.

Zoe, now Zach, goes on to perform the same miracle for Emily/Bailey in the sequel Still Me.

Still Me

Still Me is the younger non-binary sibling to Masked.

The film opens with Emily/Bailey hyperventilating in front of the public toilets. This is the universal symbol for non-binary angst. She is (they are?) working through an anxiety attack by rehearsing a coming-out speech. “I’m still me. I’m just more comfortable”. Because nothing says ‘comfortable in my own skin’ like hyperventilating in the toilets before school.

The school bell rings, Bailey pulls a non-binary grey beanie over her forehead and exits the toilet. The camera pulls away – she exits from the disabled toilet. She is non-binary and could not choose either the male or female convenience. Too bad if a wheelchair-bound student had needed a wee before class.

Yes, I’m snippy about these invented enby problems. In the search for meaning they take ordinary tasks – choosing a toilet – and make them unbelievably emotional and difficult. They take joyful dressing up and transform sang froid it into anxious greys, bad fringes and poorly cut men’s shirts over restricted female chests. Nothing says “I’m more comfortable” than being badly dressed over special torture underwear, and desperate not to be found out.

It’s a joyless celebration of the worst aspects of the liminal.

Anyway.

Back to Bailey. She struggles. The teachers don’t validate her. The students ridicule her. She looks around for help but finds no quarter. Bailey is a lone ship in anxious waters. Except for the very supportive text messages from mum. They don’t count.

At the apogee of her suffering, Bailey is crouched in an empty classroom, sobbing uncontrollably. She is approached by a trans spirit guide. It’s Zach!

Zach/Zoe: “My name’s Zach”
Bailey: “My name’s Emily”
Zach: “Are you though?”
Bailey: (sobbing) “Nooo!”

Zach/Zoe has a special knowledge. She sees into Bailey’s suffering and can discern the reason for it. Unlike everyone else, Zach sees Bailey. She looks past Emily’s feminine features. She sees Bailey of the grey beanie.

Bailey asks “I’m not a girl, I’m not a boy. I’m still me. Why does my gender matter?” Such a profound question for a young woman who is in tears because she can’t find others to validate her desperate need to wear a beanie and a tie. Why does her gender matter to her? Why does she hyperventilate about choosing a toilet to enter? Why does she feel less non-binary (more binary?) in a skirt than in a tie?

What if Zach had not come past just now? Where would Bailey have gone for solace? Perhaps to the enthusiastically supportive mum who would help her ride out adolescence and grow into herself as a young woman. Or perhaps to the girl she spoke with briefly at the bus stop. Maybe she’d even find something in common with the yobbo boys who yelled at her from a car window (assuming they grow the eff up).

Zach isn’t one to let a chance slip by. There’s something oddly intimate about the way she calms Bailey down. “Tell me 4 things you can feel”. Bailey’s defenses are down and she enters the liminal state, ready to transition.

Zach tells Bailey she will eventually find people who love her. Not her mum, obvs. Again, the sacrifice. Leaving the past, the material and the trustworthy behind.

Then she pulls out a pamphlet! Not quite “have you hear about Amway” but very close. There’s a meeting tonight. Game, set and match. Bailey is on her way to the LGBTIAQ+ club.

The Knox Youth LGBTIAQ+ HQ

Bailey seems to be whimpering as she introduces herself to the club. “I’m Bailey. I’m non-binary. I use they/them pronouns”. The rite is complete. Zach whispers “you cool?” and trots off to join friends.

This tribe of kids is self-replicating.

Next it will be Bailey’s turn to watch and wait for an opportunity to help out a distressed friend.

These are teenagers preying upon distressed peers. It is easy to offer freedom, confidence, friends and belonging, in exchange for a small sacrifice. For someone who feels devastated, this offer seems like a bargain.

In the beginning it’s hairstyles. In this middle class suburban settings, it’s just pink-haired kids getting together to play Uno and chat. But there is a deal made with the devil.

The journey to the other side of gender will never take them to the other side of adolescence. It will never help them to grow up. The options are to desist – what, give up a truly held identity? Or re-commit. First hormones, then mastectomies, then hysterectomy because the hormones have poisoned the uterus.

The self harm does not stop. It changes form and focus.

As they age out of the youth groups, the effects of transition won’t be seen by the cool teenagers. As they age into the workforce, the cold reality of being the only trans in the village begins to hit home. Everyone has a job and private struggles are just that: private. Dating is a nightmare. No youth groups, no pink hair, no mum and dad to blame life on.

Growing up happens to all of us. Some of us escape adolescence burdened with ill-advised tattoos, car accident injuries, heroin additions, STDs or worse. Some don’t escape.

These rainbow children, recruited by their friends, will be bound to a medical pathway for life.


Notes

** Ash is a twee non-binary woman who, with her twee female non-binary partner Grayson, are together living their best top-surgery lives. Ash Hardell and partner Grayson Hardell talk top surgery and the power of becoming