A Compliant to Channel 4’s Countdown

Today I watched Countdown, first time and probably the last. You see they blatantly showed of the slur term “Trannies.” Below is the compliant I wrote to them, however now looking back I missed the fact they also paraded it up on screen to for us to get a good long look.

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I was watching Coutdown today, with Deborah Meaden guest appearing. Part way into the episode a set of letters came up where both contestants formed the eight letter word “strained.” When it came to Dictionary Corner, we heard a few possibilities, one of which included “Trannies.” Nick seemed perplexed slightly and asked if it was to do with Transparency, perhaps he knew the reason for my complaint. He was agreed with, but also had it point out as being to do with Transmissions, and Transvestites. This is what I am complaining about. Trannies is a slur word used not against just Transvestites, but the entire Transgender umbrella. While used by some Transgender people in the same way as many African American’s use the commonly known racial slur, it is agreed by most to be a horrible slur which should not be used. The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) have produced guidelines on representation of Transgender people in media, and in a section on Transgender representation, under Defamatory Language it reads:
“Defamatory: “tranny,”…
These words dehumanize transgender people and should not be used in mainstream media. The criteria for using these derogatory terms should be the same as those applied to vulgar epithets used to target other groups: they should not be used except in a direct quote that reveals the bias of the person quoted. So that such words are not given credibility in the media, it is preferred that reporters say, “The person used a derogatory word for a transgender person.” Please note that while some transgender people may use “tranny” to describe themselves, others find it profoundly offensive.”
Here is a link to the GLAAD Media guide:
http://www.glaad.org/reference/
Here is a link to the page containing the quote:
http://www.glaad.org/reference/transgender
This may be an American Organisation, but much of what they say is universal across cultures. I was incredibly insulted, and this was the first time I watched Countdown, and I may not ever again.

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A comment I Posted in Response to a “Fellow” Transsexual – UPDATED

I read a little piece today, here is a link to it. It’s a little bit self victimisation, but people are sometimes like that. The reason I am posting this is because of one of the commentors, who would appear to be Trans, is oddly Transphobic. I believe she is a Transsexual woman, but she has some rather horrendous views about Transgender people, which oddly should include herself in my view. Any hoo, here is my response to her, which I posting here in case it doesn’t get through moderation.

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First let me just say that based upon I do think this was just some silly mistakes and ill though out procedures, rather than blatant discrimination.
However I fond some of the views stated in the comments to really claw at me. A Woman, Period, I am guessing from your mention of Transition you, like me, are a Trans woman. Yet some of what you have stated is, in my opinion, essentiallist and bizarrely Transphobic.
Firstly, you make a distinction that Transgender and Transsexual are different. Which I agree with, but not for the same reasons. I view Transgender as a spectrum, in which Trans woman and men sit, albeit only just. As such, while I do not personally understand Androgen, Third Gender, Poly Gender or any of the wide variety of identities within the spectrum, I understand that they are no more choices than my own womanhood is. I didn’t chose to be a woman, and neither did they choose how their minds view themselves. So you see where we differ, as you claim that for Transgender people it is a choice while for us it is a medical reality. You are falling into the exact same pit that many of the LGB did after securing a foothold, pushing another group back.
This can be seen in some of your other comments about the Transgender Spectrum. You call them fetishistic, purely because they did not identify as Trans straight away and instead were cross dressers first. I suppose that makes Laverne Cox a fetishist as she started out as a Drag Queen? This is the exact same rhetoric used by Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists to explain why we should not be given legal protections! You damage all of us when you make sweeping generalisations like that.
Transgender is not a vague term, in fact here is a definition of it for you: “denoting or relating to a person whose self-identity does not conform unambiguously to conventional notions of male or female gender.” Simply put, how a person sees themselves, in our cases as a woman, does not follow what is generally considered normal of that identification, in our cases the fact we were born with bodies that lacked ovaries, womb, vagina and vulva yet had testicles and a penis and our second chromosome was a Y (I am just assuming here, if your were born intersex I apologise). This obviously also encapsulates the other identities as well as they don’t even accept man or woman as identities and form their own. I’ll admit the definition does use “Male and Female Genders” when really man and woman are genders, but I just pulled this right off Google after typing Transgender Definition.
Finally, you get really essentionalist in the final comment I see. You equate getting SRS as the defining characteristic of being Transsexual. I have meant a couple of Transsexual people who do not seek it for a variety of reasons, from believing it will make orgasm’s impossible, to medical conditions that are going to make it too dangerous. By your words they are “delusional” or liars but when I see them I can clearly see a man or woman for who they are, not based upon what equipment they have. Its a horrible that you seem to be suggesting they aren’t “trans enough” and so are lying or delusional.
Your right, Transgender and Transsexual are two different things. One is a spectrum of identities, and the other is one of them. I am just sorry that people within my own identity have such views about others.
In case you are wondering, I am seeking SRS, but that is some way off for me currently for reasons you do not need to know.

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UPDATE

So I received a response, which wasn’t much better, so her was what I responded with.

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I rather wish you would not equate Transsexuality to a medical condition, that aids the stigma against us. To be Transsexual is not a condition, we are what we are after all. It’s the Gender Dysphoria, the feeling of a distress that comes from having a body that does not align with our self understanding. I am afraid that Transsexuality is very much an identity, as there are plenty examples of Trans woman who have gone through the process, and afterwards say they are no longer Transsexuals, for now their body aligns correctly.
I am unsure of what this “Transgender Extremist Agenda” is, because last I knew it was about accepting people for who they are regardless of physical appearance. Honestly it sounds like some Right Wing scaremongering to me.
You keep commenting on Transgener people having a choice, but remember so did we. We both had the choice of either accepting who we were in a world that is generally negative toward us, or to hide from ourselves so that we continued to fit in with this horrible world. I hope you agree that we made the right choice by ignoring the world’s view and being who we are. Transgender people, whether they are cross dressers, transvestites ,poly gender, third gender or androgen (and many more) are really making the same choice. I have a couple of Transvestite friends, and how they have described wearing female clothes goes beyond simply wearing them as a choice, they often describe feeling more comfortable and confident in them. Sounds like the same reasons I started my Transition.
I fail to see where you definition comes from. It is not in any of my dictionaries, nor what pops up when I type in Transgender into Google. In fact I know where it comes from, I’ve heard it spouted from our good friends the Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists!
Do you even realise how much like a TERF you sound by saying “If someone has a penis, and they want to keep their penis, then no, they are not a transsexual, and they are certainly not, remotely, in any sense of the word, a woman?” You are not only hurting the Trans Woman who feel no need for full SRS, but also Intersex Woman who may feel no need have corrective surgery. That same argument is the one being used to deny rights to Trans woman, especially those in early stages of Transition. You are destroying who these people are purely because you feel the need to police their gender, just like those we should be fighting against. Just because you were willing to die on an operating table gives you no right to claim any who aren’t are somehow less than you.
I agree, one is either Transsexual or not, and I never claimed being a woman was somehow quantifiable. If it was I think I would have a very poor score considering my past times and general clothing choice, but we both know being a woman is to do with who we are, not what we do. To be Transsexual you still need to be at either side of the spectrum, identifying as a woman or man, and not sit in between, as many do. I may not understand what it feels like to sit in between, but that does not make it any less real in the same way my identity sits on the opposite end that my appearance at birth should dictate.
Some food for thought here. Seeing as you are pointing out that being Transsexual is medically objectionable I am going to assume you and I both follow the understanding that the brain is sexed. In Transsexuals, the brain sex is the opposite of what the body would suggest. Considering we know the body can be Intersex, or “between” to two commonly accepted sexes, is it not possible that the brain can end up in a similar state? I certainly think so, and so accept my Transgender Cousins (it was a nice androgynous word that didn’t discriminate, its nice not discriminating, you should try it).

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UPDATE 2

I am going by what the NHS says, which follows pretty close to the WPATH Standards of care, which is that to be Transsexual is NOT a medical condition, its is the Gender Dysphoria that is. Once a person goes through the Transition up until a point they feel happy with themselves, the Gender Dysphoria is said to be cured. Of course that doesn’t stop depression still occurring when people such as yourself call into question who someone is. The T in WPATH by the way stands for Transgender, and considering they are a credible multinational organisation who base their understanding on years of research by countless professors, have shaped the European Health systems views of how to treat Trans individuals and are doing so now in America too, think I’ll take what they say over you.
Yet again you begin to spout alot of TERF rhetoric, about men invading woman’s bathrooms (ah the bathroom meme, you were here for the civil rights movement, the gay rights movement and now you show ugly head here again). I think you’ll find no TERF accepts SRS, to them you are no more than a mutilated, delusional man with a severe perversion that must be suppresed. Sound familiar? It should because it’s exactly what you are saying about some of my friends.
On your last point there, that rights should be base on objective criteria, not behaviors or feelings. By that regard, married couples, the religious and even us two, deserve no rights. How? Well married people feel in love, it is not objective or quantifiable, and love means something different to everyone in even the tiniest sense. Religious people feel a certain god or gods exist, and follow behaviors set out by that god or gods, like eating specific foods, as it is based purely on beliefs, no one bars those who do can truly understand it, and there is no way to tell which is the correct one. We both feel like woman, because we are, but also feel the pain that comes from having a body that does not align with that self image, no one bar ourselves can truly understand that feeling and really it is a feeling brought on by our brain structure, and we transition because aside from lobotomies it is impossible to alter brain structure. You can argue that for all of these you either are or you aren’t, but the same argument can be made for the variety of Transgender identities.
Perhaps this is a generational gap thing, going out on a limb but I guess you are older than me. By how much I won’t guess for chance to offend you. Speaking generally here, the younger you are, the more malleable to ideas you are, with a better capacity for empathy and understanding. Just look at the people who would forcibly detransition us and send us to camps to keep us away, or worse, kill us. The are mostly people in their late forties to sixties. As a Transitioned Transsexual woman, you are in a perfect place to understand what it feels like to have a mind that does not fit your body, because you’ve been there! You aren’t Cis Gender, so you have the experience, the understanding, the knowledge. Don’t fall into the trap of policing others after you yourself were more than likely policed. You may not understand how the various Transgender identities completely feel, but you know little bits. Just because it does not match your own understanding does not make it a perversion , in the same way our transition is not a perversion despite the Cis Gender people who think it is.

My own Kids? What an Arse I am.

A little bit of back story here. I am only just beginning my Transition, not started Hormones yet. I even delayed them because I would love to have kids. And I was thinking that I should freeze some sperm so I could kids that would be biologically mine. Of course I would need a girlfriend first that I loved and wanted to marry. Anyway, I am currently waiting on seeing the people who I would need to talk about it.

Today I found myself looking at a now dead (I think) Tumbler page called RadFem Scorpion, which discusses Trans issues and pokes fun at Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists. Part way through it someone comments on biological children and the response made me stop. The page creators stated they felt it was silly when there was plenty of children who what caring families, but have none. I brought to mind a little story some one shared about a girl tossing washed up fish back into the sea.

A man spots a woman tossing fish back into the sea. He walks up to her and says “There’s no point, there’s to many of them. You’ll never make a difference.”

The woman looks at him before bending down to pick up another fish and toss it back into the sea. “It made a difference for that fish.”

What an arse I have been, completely ignoring those whose lives I could make a major impact on.

What was Wrong with Joan Rivers’ Joke?

A lot of the news recently, if you type Transgender into Google that is (something I do to keep up to date with the latest developments), is all to do with a recent joke by Joan Rivers and her refusal to apologise for it.I have seen a lot of people put out it was a bad joke, some people defending her and some people claiming the joke was a compliment, a defense Joan clings to. What I haven’t really seen is anyone explain why the joke is bad. So I have decided I will put up the joke and tear it down piece by piece so people understand, because that’s what move issues forward.

Joan Rivers was asked by a photographer when she believes America might see its first Gay President. “We already have it with Obama, so let’s just calm down,” she responded, adding: “You know Michelle is a Tranny”

“I sorry, what?” the shocked photographer asked.

“A Transgender.” Rivers explained.

So lets start at the top, Obama is gay. What’s wrong with that? Being Gay is not a bad thing, and the way it’s said doesn’t seem to imply Homophobia (which I agree with, I think this is all bad taste rather than hatred). Here is the issue however. Calling someone Gay as part of a joke makes the implication that to be Gay is funny, which it isn’t. Gay people still suffer discrimination, hatred and abuse despite the long strides they have made in securing their rights. So it is in no way funny, and off all the Gay people I have met, which is admittedly very small even though I am a Trans Lesbian, they are no more funny than anyone else. One even terrifies me in the same way a Neo Nazi would (he isn’t a Neo Nazi, just rather vocal and violent about his politics). To imply being Gay is funny is not a joke, it enforces the stigma which already exists and comedians should steer clear of implying that someones sexuality makes them funny.

Next up, its the “T” word. Joan Rivers is always trying to remain as recent and relevant as possible to keep in work. As such I find it amazing she made this blunder. Had she no idea about the controversy over Rupaul and his use of the “T” word? I can only assume so as it didn’t exactly end in Rupaul’s favour. “Tranny” is accepted to be a derogatory term used against Transgender people that dehumanises them. GLAAD has spelled this out for a long time, as have Transgender people. To use it as part of a joke is insulting to a group of people who are at a massive risk everyday just because who present ourselves as who we truly are. Finally when she clarifies she doesn’t even use the terminology correctly! “A Transgender” is grammatically incorrect. It is not a noun, and the correct way of saying this would be “A Transgender PERSON.” Getting the grammar wrong may seem a silly thing to get annoyed at, but it can be really dehumanising as it removes the element of humanity to the phrase. Trigger Warning! This next bit may seem Racist, but I am only using another example. Imagine the phrase “He is a Black.” Doesn’t feel right does it? Lets fix it “He is a Black PERSON.” Sounds better, doesn’t it? Although personally I don’t use “Black” to describe people, I know many do (if you wondering, it seems degrading to me. A person is a person, focusing on skin colour only helps to other us (and yes I know the irony of labeling some people and not others, I don’t do it to others if they ask me)).

Now lets combine section one and section two “Obama is Gay and Michelle, his wife, is Transgender.” We can assume Joan is suggesting Michelle is a Male-to-Female (MtF) Transsexual. This is where peoples bias comes through. If Obama was  Gay, and he Married a MtF Transsexual, it suggest that MtF Transsexuals are still men. Three words, NO WE AREN’T! Ok that was technically four, but my point still stands. To suggest that a MtF Transsexual is married to a Gay man totally erases that which is core to us, we are Woman (and Female-to-Males are Men). I’ll admit, some Gay men do find Trans Women (I got tired of MtF Transsexual) as acceptable partners, but for the most part they don’t, either due to their own prejudices (unfortunately Transgender people can be discriminated by the LGB Community) or because they see us as who we are, women. The same goes for Trans Men with Lesbians. Trans Woman also often don’t seek out Gay Partners and instead seek straight partners, Lesbians or Bisexuals.

Now lets look at Joan’s defense of her joke;

“I think it’s a compliment. She’s so attractive, tall, with a beautiful body, great face, does great makeup. Take a look and go back to La Cage Au Follies (sic). The most gorgeous women are transgender. Stop it already … and if you want to talk about ‘politically correct,’ I think this is a ‘politically incorrect’ attack on me because I’m old, Jewish, a woman and a ‘hetty’ — a heterosexual (sic) … ”

Perhaps I should be pleased she considers being Transgender as a compliment, but I am not. She has no idea of the difficulties of being Transgender, of the crushing rejection from family, of the dangers of going out shopping, of the insults thrown at us or our inability to relieve ourselves if someone dislikes us using the loo’s. Being Transgender is not a good thing, not now anyways. It’s a lot of difficulties, but thankfully the end goal more than makes up for it. I hope in the future everything I listed, and all the things I didn’t, are remembered with disdain and shame, like slavery and segregation. Anyway, next Joan goes and brings up a stereotype. She basically states that Trans Woman are “gorgeous” and even seems to suggest they are prettier than Cis Woman. This is one half of the common stereotype of Trans Woman. We are beautiful and embody the perfect woman. Um, no, we don’t. At least no all of us. I don’t wear makeup, and several other Trans Woman I know don’t. This idea is often used by the “Trans Critical” (sic: Transphobes) to explain why we aren’t actually women. To them we merely attempt to embody the male image of the perfect woman, often to fulfill our sexual desires. Gross. I just want to be a woman, I still wear similar stuff from before my Transition, mostly Gothic or Steampunk. I suppose at least Joan didn’t bring up the other Transgender Stereotypes, were we are all laughable and very obvious.

Finally Joan pulls the “Help, I’m under attack for what I said” card. She claims her position as a old, Jewish, “Hetty” Woman has made her a target. No Joan, your comment made you a target. You are in a far more privileged position than anyone your joke dehumanised, as pointed out by what you list yourself as. You also somehow, despite years of sub par “entertainment,” remain relevant, which is far more than can be said of Gay and Trans People. Any out Gay or Trans Person will have had a much shorter career than you, unless they only came out years into their career. Don’t make a joke about those who get discriminated daily which only enforces some of those discriminations and expect that everyone will laugh. I think this goes back to that weird American thing of believing that Free Speech protects you from backlash. It doesn’t, Free Speech merely lets you, and anyone else, say what they want. The repercussions of what you say are beyond Free Speech, or perhaps other citizens exercising their right to Free Speech. Some truly horrible things have been said under Free Speech, and often the person who said it gets what they deserve. Unfortunately this is not always the case, as I have seen Fox “News” calling for genocide of more than one population.

Anyway, that was my Tuppence on this Joan Rivers incident. Though I better end before I ramble on.

Privilege Doesn’t Exist, Apparently

Privilege is a horrible thing, especially when it is used to silence others. What is Privilege? Well its when someone has a social advantage over another due to any number of reasons. For example, because I am white, in Western countries I have a social advantage over those that aren’t thanks to the slight Racism that is still far too common in our society. It could mean that I am hired for a job over an African despite the fact that they are better for the job. Its unfortunately not something I have control over, but I can control whether I use my own Privileges against others. I can do this by listening to others, especially when they are talking about things that do not personally affect me, such as Racism. However if I told them to stop talking because I felt that it didn’t need to be addressed that would be me using my Privilege to silence them. I avoid option number two, but not everyone does.
Unfortunately this has meant on a couple of occasions I have had to deal with people who like to silence others. My most recent encounter was when I commented on this video. The video is fine, even a little funny, however a couple of the comments I did not like. Firstly was one admitting to hating the phrase “Check your Privilege” which was replied by someone saying they were “more a fan of ‘Rape Culture'” which I originally though was a joke towards enjoying Rape Culture but now believe it was someone claiming that Rape Culture does not exist as well.
After a brief too and fro between myself and several commenters I decided to end with a link to the recent Blurred Lines: The New Battle of the Sexes documentary by the BBC (It may still be one BBC I-Player). I am disgusted by the fact that this sort of thin still goes on, and that those that use it also claim it doesn’t exist. It doesn’t just happen between horrible people online either, the real world is rife with it too. I can’t recommend reading this page, but its exactly what I am talking about. Its scary to think that beliefs like this are commonplace with certain political groups, mainly conservatives like the U.S.A Republicans or Britain’s BNP and UKIP. If and when these groups come into power it can only spell dread for those who do not fall into their neat little idea of how the world works. Privilege most certainly exists, I know most of mine, and understand there may be a few that I don’t know about. Unfortunately some people don’t and refuse to acknowledge it which leads to a horrible world for those of use on the wrong side of their privilege.