November 28, 2006

Seizurific Caruso One-Liners Lineup...

... with the Sunglasses of Justice.

November 21, 2006

What is wrong with these people?

BU College Republicans Offer White Scholarship

Looking to draw attention to what they call the "worst form of bigotry confronting America today," Boston University's College Republicans are circulating an application for a "Caucasian Achievement and Recognition Scholarship" that requires applicants be at least 25 percent Caucasian.
Yes, Read that again. They said "worst form of bigotry confronting America today."These guys want attention so bad that I barely decided to write this but I thought y'all should know. Whoever contributed to that $250 should be ashamed of themselves. Anyone know if they got any grant money for this?

November 19, 2006

Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Tomorrow is Transgender Day of Remembrance.

In Boston, the event and town-hall style gathering will be held at the Arlington Street Church (corner of Boylston and Arlington), tonight, from 7-9pm, with a candlelight vigil afterwards. If you are able, please come and show your solidarity.
The MTPC website has more details and the locations of other similar TDOR ceremonies in Massachusetts.
[Also, wtto tells us that the Boston TDOR will premier a video interview with Rita Hester's mother, Kathleen Hester, after her daughter's death.]

Over one person a month is murdered because of their gender identity/expression.

Here are the biographies of some of those we have lost in the past year.

The list of past deaths is available at, which contains those deaths known to the transgender community or that have been reported to the media.
If you are able, attend a TDOR event in your area (or help to put one on). Let us all work to show our solidarity with trans communities, and stand against violence and hatred.

This is a song written by trans activist and host of GenderTalk radio, Nancy Nangeroni, in memory of Rita Hester, whose 1998 murder led to the first Trans Day of Remembrance events:

In Memory of Rita Hester

Skating late last night
I retraced the vigil path
Found two candles burning on Rita's step
So I added one more
and wondered how it felt
to feel the knife strike so close to home.

They called her a man
Called her a transvestite
They said she lived a double life
But we know better
We know the truth
We know why Rita died.

I still hear your mama's cries
Haunting the canyons of my mind
You were just too much girl
For somebody else's world

I gazed into the windows
of the bar where you were last seen
I searched each patron's eyes for signs of guilt
I heard again your mama cry
"Who took away my child?"
echoing off canyon walls of brick and steel

I still hear your mama's cries
Haunting the canyons of my mind
You were just too much girl
For somebody else's world

I still hear your mama's cries
Haunting the canyons of my mind
You were just too much girl
For somebody else's world

November 15, 2006

For the Christians among us. With love, from Craigslist.

November 14, 2006

"I don't want your pee-stained hands..."

So, I work in a library archive. In the archives, there's a lot of dust, and occasionally nastier stuff, like mold, red rot, and lizards. We also have conservation people that fuss with chemicals all day. All of which means that we have our own sink, with nice soap and hot-water taps that actually run hot and don't decide when you should stop washing by shutting the water off on you.

It is, all in all, a much nicer place to wash one's hands than, say, the bathroom sink.

This is why, as I was walking out of the library bathroom this afternoon, I bypassed the grubby, flooded, harsh-soaped sinks and headed straight for the door. A voice from behind me spoke up: "You're not going to wash your hands?!?"

Ok ... not used to being called out on my washing habits by perfect strangers, but what the hell, I have a reason, so I'll answer.

"Well," says I, "I work in the archives, and -"

"You work here? Ugh, that's even worse! I don't want your pee=stained hands all over my books!"

Right. Sensing that reason was wasted on anyone batty enough to argue over hand-washing in a public restroom, I felt no further obligation to this woman.

"Actually," I responded calmly and professionally, "the archives are a really interesting situation. You see, the documents we handle are all old and many of them are in poor shape, so a lot of chemistry concerns go into preserving them. Skin oils are especially bad for the old paper -" this is all true, so far, by the way "- but urea, one of the components of urine, actually neutralizes the oils and makes it safe to handle the documents. If you work in the archives, you're actually not allowed to wash your hands after you use the restroom, for the sake of the materials."

The lady was aghast - revolted and fascinated in equal measures. I was still a gross, icky pariah, but I was a gross, icky pariah with science on my side!

Too bad I have a conscience. I had to tell her that I was totally making shit up, and that, for her information, I was going downstairs to wash in the privacy of my own office-space.

But geez! I have never understood the motivation behind initiating an Unpleasant Bathroom Encounter, and frankly, I still don't. I see people not washing all the time, and while I think "ewww!" behind their backs, I don't at all understand why someone would actually say something out loud.

Anyway. Weird Unpleasantness in Bathrooms - it's not just for transfolk anymore...

November 07, 2006

N.Y. Plans To Make Gender Personal Choice

N.Y. Plans to Make Gender Personal Choice

Separating anatomy from what it means to be a man or a woman, New York City is moving forward with a plan to let people alter the sex on their birth certificate even if they have not had sex-change surgery.

November 01, 2006

What's wrong with Affirmative Consent Rules?

We have been discussing rape in my law school class and I've been surprised how resistant many people (particularly many men) are to the idea of affirmative consent laws. We have talked about a lot of different groups of actions that could be criminalized and categorized as rape or other crimes and it seemed to make sense to me logically that we should just say that you can't make someone have sex if they don't want to.

Then, I read an amazing analogy in my text book (Criminal Law and its Processes by Dadish and Schulhoffer 7 ed. p. 345, quoting Stephen J. Schulhofer, Taking Sexual Autonomy Seriously: Rape Law and Beyond, 11 Law & Phil. 35, 74-75 (1992).).

Consider this parable. A hospitalized athlete, suffering from chronic knee problems, consults a surgeon, who recommends an operation. The athlete is not sure. If the operation is successful, he will enjoy a long, fulfilling career with his team. But there are imponderables. The operation carries a risk of burdensome infection that can be hard to cure. The procedure may not produce the expected benefits. In any event, it is sure to be stressful in the short run. The athlete hesitates. There are clear advantages, clear disadvantages, and lots of uncertainties. What to do? Maybe he should postpone this big step for a while, see how things go without it. The surgeon is encouraging: “Try it. You’ll like it.” Still the athlete is unsure.

Now our surgeon becomes impatient. He has spent a lot of time with the case. The athlete’s hesitation is becoming tiresome and annoying. So the surgeon signals an anesthesiologist to ready the drugs that will flow through an intravenous tube already in place. One last time the surgeon (a sensitive, modern male) reminds the athlete, “You don’t have to go ahead with this. If you really want me to stop, just say so.” But the athlete, his brain still clouded with doubts, fears, hopes, and uncertainties, says nothing. So the surgeon starts the anesthesia and just does it.

Consent? Of course not. But why not? The athlete was not compelled to submit. Nobody forced him… Surely his silence proves that he was not unwilling. If he really objected, all he had to do was say so!

The author goes on to point out that we see the question about surgery as one about a patient’s autonomy. We require crystallized willingness in order to respect his autonomy. So why do you think people have so much trouble with the idea of affirmative consent for sex? (Note: Quite a few states have laws that say, basically, “no means no,” but only New Jersey to my knowledge requires affirmative consent by either words or action. Most states, my professor says, require either force or threat of force, and the traditional requirement is physical resistance in order for sex to be considered non-consensual. I’m not a lawyer so don’t take that as if I necessarily know what I’m talking about.)