Transphobia in the news

Sadly, transphobia isn’t new, and these stories are just a few in a long, horrible history of people mistreating gender outlaws.

It’s ok, she’s not a real woman

First up, a story that’s made an ugly splash all over my Facebook news feed:

A 22-year-old transwoman named Chrissy Polis was viciously assaulted April 18 by two young women inside a Baltimore-area McDonald’s–because she used the women’s restroom.

I realize I’m preaching to the choir, but I want to vomit and launch grenades when I hear that considering that if a person is a transvestite, they’re not a real woman, and that is somehow an excuse for standing by while a fellow human being is beaten to the point of seizures.

Only one person stood up to the attackers, and she was also hit by them.  McDonald’s employees stood by, made transphobic comments and videotaped the incident.  Yes, Mickey D has fired one employee and is making a big noise about their inclusive policies, but I’m most encouraged about the outpouring of support Chrissy Lee Polis is receiving from people in her community.  It shouldn’t take near death to pull people out of complacency, but, but of course, it often does.

I probably don’t need to remind you that even if you’re not a transsexual, you can be harassed in public based on  your appearance.  It happens to me a few times a year, if not harassed, I’m given some pretty evil or confused looks.  It isn’t a stretch to think that a butch identified person could be pulled out of a public restroom and beaten for being ‘the wrong kind’ of person for the women’s restroon.

Gender phobia in sports

Next, I’d like to point you to an article on Blogher about the IOC’s latest moves to regulate gender.  In 2009, South African sprinter Caster Semenya was ordered to undergo sex verification tests after dominating the 800 in the world championship competition in Berlin.  Eleven months later, the IOC cleared her to run.  In that time, all sorts of bullshit have emerged by so called ‘media’ attempting to cash in on the controversy.

In order to clarify the gender verification process, the IOC recently published new rules for determining gender in advance of the 2012 Summer Games…. oh, wait, my bad, they’re merely going to be testing for ‘hyperandrogenism*’ in order to determine if her androgen levels are at expected levels for females.  The problem they’re addressing, apparently, is the perceived advantage that some females with higher than normal androgen levels might gain in competition against ‘normal’ women.  If an athlete’s levels are on par with men, they’ll be required to prove that there is a legitimate reason — besides being a transwoman, I presume.  It’s mandatory and athletes refusing to go through the three level process will not be allowed to compete against women.

There is nothing in this regarding men with lower androgen levels competing against ‘normal’ men.

*Hyperandrogenism is a term used to describe the excessive production of androgens, aka, testosterone.

Transgender Money not Good Enough for this Hotel

Cut to Vegas, two weeks ago. Stephanie is in town for a conference and wants to have a boozy night out. This member of HotelChatter has dinner with her, and we suggest that, although we’re tired and want to go home, she should check out the Cosmopolitan’s bar scene. It is, we say, our favorite place to sit and drink in Vegas, and it’ll be great for a drinker on their lonesome. Then we go home to sleep, dreaming of the Cosmo’s delicious cocktails, and wake up to find a distraught email from Stephanie saying that she has been banned for life from the hotel.

It’s hard to believe in these difficult economic times, that any business would choose to forego legitimate business, but to also invite the ire of a whole lot of people is a really stupid move.  Interestingly, the Cosmo has a policy of non-discrimination including ‘sexual orientation’ and provides LGBT diversity training for its employees.  Guess they’d better go back to the drawing board if they want to advertise in the Advocate and OUT magazine in the future.  They’re backpedaling like crazy now, but clearly their training methods and ability to communicate their diversity policy are in need of serious rework.

Let’s finish with a bit of good news, a wee spot of good sense and good public policy from Texas.

Dallas County Adds Protection for Transgender Employees

The order passed on Tuesday adds “transgender, gender identity and gender expression” to the county’s nondiscrimination policy. It prohibits harassment and discrimination on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, sex (including pregnancy), age, disability and political affiliation.

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