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13 September 2014 @ 09:43 pm
(via Louisiana Loses Its Boot — Matter — Medium)

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Civil Rights Movement vs Ferguson Protests

This is what a police state looks like. Shameful.

RIP Mike Brown. RIP Eric Garner. RIP all men and women who died for the crime of being black.
Michelle Goldberg’s coverage of radical feminists’ attack on trans woman is disturbingly one-sided.

Shame on The New Yorker for printing hate speech under the guise of a discussion.

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Toronto-based editor Lyndsay Kirkham has started a firestorm this week after overhearing what was apparently an incredibly sexist conversation between IBM executives at lunch — and live-tweeting it.

Unaware that they were transmitting sexist nonsense to cyberspace, the IBM executives openly discussed “why they don’t hire women.” If you take Kirkham’s account at its word, it actually gets way worse.

But wait, there’s more

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19 July 2014 @ 08:39 pm
The Problem with Science

So, the editors of one of the world’s leading scientific journals used a dehumanizing picture of trans sex workers of color to advertise a special section on HIV/AIDS, and the editor of its careers journal—whose mission “supports the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s (AAAS) commitment to furthering careers in science and technology, with an emphasis on fostering greater diversity among the scientific community”—made a joke about how dudes would feel after learning they lusted after trans women.


I have thoughts on this. I’m probably going to come across as bitter, so first let me give some background.

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Science Magazine Puts Transgender Women on Cover, Without Their Heads

Science, the academic journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, put an image of transgender women sex workers on their cover this week, to accompany an extensive special section about HIV/AIDS prevention approaches. However, on the cover, the women’s heads were cut out of the frame, leaving only their bodies.

Prosanta Chakrabarty, an evolutionary biologist at Louisiana University, pointed out the problem.

This prompted many on Twitter, including Scientific American blogger Janet Stemwedel, to note that depicting women in tight clothing without their heads is dehumanizing and objectifying.

However, Jim Austin, the Careers editor at Science, didn’t see the problem. He suggested that the fact that the women pictured were transgender “colors things” differently.

Jacquelyn Gill, an Ice Age ecologist and assistant professor at the University of Maine, reminded Austin that transgender women are in fact still women, so it does not. The male gaze, she writes, is still objectifying the women in the photo.

Austin responded that it was “interesting” to consider how those same men would feel when they “found out” the women were transgender.

The cover showing transgender sex workers in Jakarta was selected after much discussion by a large group and was not intended to offend anyone, but rather to highlight the fact that there are solutions for the AIDS crisis for this forgotten but at-risk group. A few have indicated to me that the cover did exactly that, but more have indicated the opposite reaction: that the cover was offensive because they did not have the context of the story prior to viewing it, an important piece of information that was available to those choosing the cover.

I am truly sorry for any discomfort that this cover may have caused anyone, and promise that we will strive to do much better in the future to be sensitive to all groups and not assume that context and intent will speak for themselves.

Jim Austin, however, still doesn’t see the problem.

"Am I the only one who finds moral indignation really boring?"
- Jim Austin (@SciCareerEditor) July 16, 2014

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Via autostraddle: “Science” Magazine Runs Transmisogynistic Cover, Editor Tweets ‘Deception’ Tropes When Challenged


One of the best known and most respected publications in science and technology chose to run a sexualized, transmisogynistic photo for its cover this week, and when the editor was challenged on twitter for pandering to the male gaze, he responded that he thought it would be interesting what would happen when those males “find out.”

While the focus of Science magazine’s July 11 issue on combating…

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Austria’s first openly gay politician, leader of the Austrian Greens’ delegation to the EU parliament Ulrike Lunacek was the apparent victim of an attack at [Saturday]’s annual Rainbow Parade in Vienna.

An unknown assailant sprayed butyric acid at the politician as she was giving an interview on the sidelines of the parade. Lunacek and the interview team were not injured.The acid damaged the Greens MP’s clothes and the camera equipment. According to police spokeswoman Barbara Riehs, the acid caused around €50,000 worth of damage to the electronic equipment. The attacker had not yet been found on Sunday.

And in case you somehow thought the police might be on the side of an MEP, they’re not even treating the attack as an assault on a person, but are only seeking to charge the attacker for property damage.

Also, the only people arrested on Saturday were a few left-wing people demonstrating against fascism. The police were instead protecting the fascists, who were protesting against gay rights and handing out literature calling for a new German Reich.

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Let’s talk about dyadism and biological essentialism.

Above is an image of María Patiño, an Olympic hurdler from Spain, who in 1988 was barred from competing based on gender verificiation testing. María was born with XY chromosomes and Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (AIS), essentially meaning her body “never heard the hormonal messages” (Patiño, 2005) that would result in secondary sex characteristics that we typically associate with men. Stripped of her titles, barred from competition, she was publicly shamed and harassed. Her fiancé left her and when she finally was allowed to compete again, “my momentum was lost,” Patiño said. “I trained, hoping to qualify for the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, but missed the mark at the trials by ten hundredths of a second” (Patiño, 2005), (Fausto-Sterling, 2000)

This is not an anomaly. Of all the women who underwent gender testing in the history of the Olympics, many have been found to not meet the standards put forth by the test, all either stripped of their title or put through public harassment and ridicule trying to defend it. But here is the problem: Foekje Dillema in 1950, the Press sisters of the 60s, Renée Richards in 1976, María Patiño in 1988 (Fausto-Sterling, 2000) Santhi Soundarajan in 2006, Caster Semenya in 2009, Pinki Pramanik in 2012 - all of these well-known cases involved intersex or transgender athletes.

So why gender testing, and why only on women? I’d like to argue it is the natural result of sexism, dyadism, and cissexism meeting in our society. From what I understand, there is an assumption that men are both stronger and better athletes than women on some inherent, biological level. This assumption is both dyadist and cissexist, meaning it assumes that these men and women are definitely not intersex or transgender. (Is it sexist? I’m not a biologist, so I won’t weigh in on whether dyadic, cis men have an advantage over dyadic, cis women by virtue of their physical makeup. I’ve no idea.)

Ultimately, it is assumed that a man might pretend he is a woman in order to compete in women’s competitions and have an advantage; but If there is a documented case of a dyadic, cisgender man ever attempting to pass as a woman in order to gain an athletic advantage, please inform me because I have never read or heard of it.

A mini history lesson:

Anne Fausto-Sterling, professor of biology and gender studies at Brown University, reminds us in her 2000 book Sexing the Body, that “Until 1968 female Olympic competitors were often asked to parade naked in front of a board of examiners. Breasts and a vagina were all one needed to certify one’s femininity.” Women felt this was humiliating, and in response to complaint, “scientific” gender testing began in 1968, forcing all competitors to undergo weeks of tests with a gynecologist, endocrinologist, psychologist, etc. to prove their gender. As a result of intersex and trans* women challenging the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF), compulsory gender testing was stopped in 1996 but can still be performed at any time someone is suspicious of an athlete’s true gender, resulting in cases like Semenya’s and Soundarajan’s.

So where is the scare coming from? My book for a graduate class on substance abuse says, “Female hormones have been used to feminize men, so that they could compete in women’s events. The women’s gold metal sprinter in the 1964 Olympics was shown by chromosome testing to have been a man, and he had to return the medal” (Hart and Ksir, 2013). Try telling that to Ewar Kobukkowska, the gold medalist they’re referring to, who held the world record for women’s 100m. As a result of a chromosome abnormality, she was barred from competing in women’s athletics and in 1970 the IAAF removed her from the record books. (Smith and Ferris, 1991) But still in 2013, textbooks are upholding these cissexist and dyadic views of women’s bodies.

tl;dr Gender testing needs to stop in athletic competitions. There is no record of a cis, dyadic man pretending to be a woman to compete with an advantage. It is time that we recognize that gender is self-defined, and that the only definition of a “real woman” is one who identifies as woman, no matter her chromosomes or phenotype.

Fausto-Sterling, A. (2000). Sexing the body: gender politics and the construction of sexuality. New York, NY: Basic Books.

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Mystery Surrounds Death of Young Trans Activist in Calif.:

Police have not yet concluded what killed Zoraida “Ale” Reyes, a transgender woman active in Orange County LGBT and immigrant causes.

An inconclusive autopsy did not reveal how Reyes died and ended up behind a Dairy Queen in Anaheim, but Orange County officials are performing a toxicology report to find out more. Reyes’s mother, Macrina Reyes, addressed a crowd of 120 friends and supporters of her daughter on Friday. The group, holding trans-supportive signs, then marched through downtown Santa Ana, Calif.

“My friend had to die in order for us to come together,” Zoraida’s friend Alexa Vasquez told the crowd. “When I see you guys marching, I wish that I saw my friend walking with you.

Reyes, known as shy and quiet, was a regular fixture at transgender- and immigrant-supportive groups, most recently participating in a May 27 protest against Santa Ana’s dealings with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

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