Posts Tagged ‘discrimination’

Question MarkBelow we have two letters having to do with transition issues. The first is about the effects of hormones on mood, and the second deals with changing names and gender markers on transcripts. Here we go:

A reader writes: “I started ‘T’ (testosterone cypionate) one week ago at 100 mg. every two weeks, then will go up to 200 in three months. I started feeling a bit more agitated and quick to anger two days ago. I also feel sort of flat emotionally and a tad depressed.

“The first two days after injecting I felt calm, more peaceful, and good (probably because I was starting the process). I’m older at 53. Do these feelings settle down after a while? It’s becoming sort of a drag.”

They should settle down. Hormones can cause rapid mood changes and other feelings that you are not used to. Testosterone and estrogen can both affect mood, emotion, and feelings of general well-being. Your body is not used to this hormone. It has to adjust.

Testosterone can make some people feel agitated and angry. Strong agitation and anger is what body builders who are on steroids mean when they refer to “roid rage.” Not every trans guy experiences this, but it is not uncommon, and it should either lessen over time or you will adjust over time. It also should fluctuate as your body cycles through each dose (if you are injecting).

I personally think that testosterone suppresses some emotions, which could be why you feel emotionally flat. I am not able to cry as easily on T, and it’s not because I think that guys shouldn’t cry. I know a few guys who have gone off of T just to have a good cry once in a while. I also know a trans women who became very confused about why she was bursting into tears at the smallest provocation, because she had never done that before in her life. She had recently started estrogen. Aha! (more…)


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Question MarkA reader writes: “I was hoping I could get your opinion on this issue. I recently read a diatribe by a cisgender gay man stating that those who identify as girlfags are being disrespectful to cisgender gays and lesbians, as well as gay transmen.

“I agree that the term does sound pejorative, and it would be better if a new term was coined. But I believe that it is a legitimate identity. What do you think?”

I had never heard of this term before, so I had to look it up. On Urban Dictionary, “girlfag” is defined as: “A woman who is very attracted to gay/bi/trans men. She may (or may not) also feel she is (fully or partly) a ‘gay man in a woman’s body.’ Girlfags identify primarily as queer, and are often attracted to more types of people than just gay/bi/trans men.”

I think every identity is legitimate. I also think that reclamation of negative or harmful language can be beneficial in certain circumstances. However, I have three criteria for reclaiming pejorative language, and I feel that all of these criteria need to be met before a word or words can be reclaimed:

1. The people reclaiming the language must be aware of the history of the language – the word or words to be reclaimed – and how that language was used against people in the past (and still today). What is the origin of the language? How did it come into general use and how did it come to be used against a group of people? What were and are the ramifications of that use? The people reclaiming the language need to be fully aware of this and make a conscious decision to reclaim the language based on their thorough knowledge of the past. (more…)

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Question MarkA reader writes: “My first close contact with a transgender individual was following a car wreck where the victim was later discovered to be transgender.

“Besides taking care of the patient’s physical/medical needs during transport, which, following a trauma, always includes exposing the majority of the body to examine for bruising, swelling, etc., I learned a lot about all the additional issues this person had going on. Things got a little complicated pretty fast.

“Fortunately, I was the only paramedic in the back, so was able to eventually establish how the lady wanted to be referred to, her new name, and the other issues involved, including being homeless at that time. I was able to become an advocate for her (with the other personnel).

“It takes a lot of courage for some transgender folks to discuss things with a perfect stranger, especially when in a serious medical situation. However, it would have made things much faster for the secondary care issues, and protecting the modesty of the patient even more, if the patient had given me just a little warning initially.

“Perhaps this could be a discussion on your blog sometime.”

I’m glad that you were able to have this discussion with this individual during this time of crisis. In many cases, people are not able to speak up at all about their situation or their needs – they might be unconscious or injured to the point where communication is impossible. Or they just might be too traumatized or in too much pain to communicate much.

This is a tough one, because I know that medical personnel need as much information as possible about a patient, particularly in an emergency, so that they know the proper ways to treat that patient – and even, as you say, to protect that patient’s modesty or privacy.

And even in an emergency situation – actually, especially in an emergency situation – using the correct name and pronouns with a trans person is extremely important. It’s scary enough to be in that type of situation without experiencing any kind of prejudice or misgendering. It’s also very comforting to have an advocate, so thank you.

But sometimes, even when a person has the capability of speaking up, that person might not feel comfortable disclosing a lot of information – or might not even think about it. Here are some reasons why a trans person might not disclose personal information about his/her/hir body in an emergency situation: (more…)

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Question MarkA reader writes: “I am currently a student at University of Illinois Springfield, and I am taking a policy class. We have to write a policy and the policy that I have chosen is the Transgender Civil Rights Act for Illinois.

“With the passing of the Equal Marriage Opportunity Act it seems like the next logical step. What my question is, and I am asking because I am having a hard time finding information, is what is the main reason transgender people get arrested? I have heard that it was for using the bathroom that did not coincide with their sex.”

I don’t know the answer, but that seems like a real possibility.

There are other factors that might come into play, however. I think that, because of prejudice by law enforcement, trans people are probably arrested with more frequency that non-trans people for similar crimes, so that has to be taken into consideration.

In addition, because trans people probably commit the same amount (percentage-wise) and the same types of crimes as non-trans people, we might have to look at the main reason that trans people get arrested that has to do with being trans versus the main reason trans people get arrested overall. These might be two different reasons. I’m just not sure.

Are there legal experts out there who can shed some light on this? Thanks in advance!

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Question MarkA reader writes: “I am a white, 21-year-old straight male and my girlfriend is a white, 20-year-old female, both of us from Glasgow. I regard myself as not being racist, homophobic, transphobic or in just about any other way discriminatory. I identify with the ideals of equality for all.

“My girlfriend is very much a feminist and, like myself, is also in support of essentially universal equality. But there came a topic recently which brought some conflict between us. My girlfriend spoke of a situation whereby at a club, there was what looked to be a man dressed as a woman; some of her friends who went to this club with her briefly discussed between themselves ‘what he was,’ i.e. what gender was this person born as.

“Immediately during our discussion she branded this as being potentially transphobic; I disagree with this. Now, I was not there at this club and as is only fair in my eyes, I gave the guys the benefit of the doubt; I argued that it’s perfectly plausible that they were doing so simply out of sheer curiosity, or to know what pronoun to use should they want to talk to the person. My girlfriend did not suggest that there was any malice at all in what they were saying to themselves.

“I suggested then that regardless of the context in which it was said, I didn’t feel the statement itself was directly transphobic, as it implied no hate or negative feelings, and I also said that I felt it important to defend their right to speak freely among each other about such things, as she went to the lengths to suggest that they shouldn’t be able to say such things.

“I would never accept this being within remote earshot of the person, or anyone else who could potentially take offence, but I thought it simply a stretch to label them as transphobic. Rude, yes; ignorant, yes; childish, yes; but transphobic? I saw this as a bit extreme. (more…)

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Question MarkI have a couple of unrelated letters, but they are short, so I thought I would put them together and create one post. Here they are:

A reader writes: “I am a transman who is doing some research on Transphobia within minority groups (LGB and Black communities). Unfortunately I am not having too much luck finding material due to the lack of studies, etc. Could you recommend any sources?”

I am not aware of any studies, although there are probably some out there. Readers might have some ideas or might have seen some. I would recommend contacting the following organizations for starters:

Trans People of Color Coalition

Transgender Law and Policy Institute

National Center for Transgender Equality

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

With regard to transphobia in black communities, there are some individuals who can probably give you great information, but remember that individuals are very busy and are often volunteering their time, so might not be able to respond. I would recommend:

Monica Roberts of TransGriot

Dr. Kortney Ryan Ziegler of blac (k) ademic

Kylar Broadus

Readers, do you know of any studies? What would you recommend?

A reader writes: “I recently came out on Facebook as a transman, and while I got a lot of support from friends, I also got 168 hateful, bigoted, and damning emails (mostly from people that I graduated from Bible college with).  One guy (a pastor of a church) even said “If you were my child and told me you were transgendered, I’d hope you would kill yourself.” (more…)

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WomenIt’s 2013 and we are still arguing over the right to eliminate.

Colorado has some of the best laws in the country around the protection of trans rights, and our public accommodations law covers transgender and transsexual people, but we are still doing battle over bathrooms. Most recently, a six-year-old girl has been the target of discrimination when, despite our laws of protection, her school is not allowing her to use the girls’ restroom.

And now the state of Arizona, which brought us the most discriminatory racial-profiling bill in recent history, is back at it with SB 1045, which originally mandated discrimination against trans people and would pretty much force everyone, trans or not, to haul their birth certificates around with them in order to use public facilities.

Rep. John Kavanagh, a sponsor of the bill in the state legislature, has now “softened” it to allow, but not force, businesses and organizations to discriminate. He claims he did this in the face of public outcry. (Did he think there wouldn’t be any? He doesn’t know our Arizona trans community very well.)

So just as Colorado proves that a public accommodations law is not going to stop discrimination against trans people, Arizona is letting us know that it really doesn’t care.

And in the trans community, we know that laws such as the one making its way through the Arizona state legislature will negatively impact trans women the most. We also know that these laws are almost always based on an underlying premise of sexual predation.

In the face of all this, I would like to reiterate some of the points I make in Five Points for Non-Trans People About Public Restroom Use and add some additional points here:

> I lived as a girl and a woman for forty-two years. In that time, I used public women’s restrooms tens of thousands of times – at school, at work, in restaurants, in bars, in the mall, at concerts, and at every other possible public venue. In all of those years, not once – not once! – did I see the genitalia of anyone else in any of those restrooms. Over a period of forty-two years, I had no idea who was in the bathroom with me or what the other bodies in there looked like – nor did I care. (And I didn’t show anyone mine, either.) (more…)

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