Welcome to the ‘LGBTQ’ Archive
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Head coach Kim Mulkey, left, is lifted off her feet by Baylor’s star center Brittney Griner. Photograph: Tony Gutierrez/AP
From The Guardian:
These misogynistic jokes discredit Griner’s ability to play ball with men by tapping into old sexist ideas that women are always less than men and that their specific space in this world is wherever men are not. The very act of getting on Twitter and saying misogynistic things about such a popular female sports star is an act of desperation. It means to set right the balance that was upset when Cuban floated the idea of allowing Griner to try out for the NBA.
With an irony not apparent to these commentators, the belief that Griner is “not manly enough” to play in the NBA is flatly opposed by the other offensive method people used to insult her: that she is a man. This is a classic transphobic trope, or a fear that her gender presentation does not “match” the sex she was assigned at birth. For example: “she possesses man parts, so why not?”; “Griner has a penis and would fit right in”; “She looks and sounds like a man.” For much more, if you need it, in this vein, just check out the hashtag.
These transphobic jokes, like the misogynistic ones, devalue Griner because we live in a society that denigrates trans people in general and chafes whenever confronted by someone who does not fit into a neat box of “feminine woman” or “masculine man”. Because athletes are seen as “masculine”, female athletes, by being athletic, are no longer feminine.
† Criminal InJustice is a weekly series devoted to taking action against inequities in the U.S. criminal justice system. Nancy A. Heitzeg, Professor of Sociology and Race/Ethnicity, is the Editor of CI. Kay Whitlock, co-author of Queer (In)Justice, is contributing editor of CI. Criminal Injustice is published every Wednesday at 6 pm.
Policing Gender/Style, Still
by nancy a heitzeg ( w/Kay Whitlock)
“There were always rumors of plainclothes women circulating among us, looking for gay girls with fewer than three pieces of female attire.” ~Audre Lorde, Zami: A New Spelling of My Name, A Biomythography
NYPD’s stop and frisk policy continues to be tried in Federal Court ( see Floyd, et al. v. City of New York, et al.), with much attention focused on the role of race in pretextual stops. And with good reason:
Floyd focuses not only on the lack of any reasonable suspicion to make these stops in violation of the Fourth Amendment, but also on the obvious racial disparities in who gets stopped and searched by the NYPD—90 percent of those stopped are Black and Latino, even though these two groups make up only 52 percent of the city’s population- which constitute a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
But as the policy continues to be scrutinized in the bright light of day, new dimensions continue to emerge, including the persistent practice of policing gender/style.
This year it’s ten years since same-sex marriage was first possible in Canada and the US Supreme Court will soon rule on the question. What is so troublesome about the push for same-sex marriage?
The same-sex marriage agenda in the U.S. has been heavily critiqued by a wide variety of queer and trans activists because it fails to meaningfully address the key material problems facing queer and trans people, such as criminalization, immigration enforcement, poverty, health care access and homelessness, while it consumes enormous resources. It also has been a conservative shift in queer and trans politics, which has moved away from feminist and anti-racist critiques of marriage as a terrible and unfair way to distribute life chances and toward a conservative celebration of marriage as key to healthy families. This has happened alongside a right wing push in the U.S. to blame poverty on people’s failure to marry and to further cut poverty alleviation programs. In the U.S., after same-sex marriage is legal, queer and trans people will still face the same problems of a racist and violent growing immigration enforcement system, a growing wealth divide, and racist mass imprisonment. Some people who have immigration status or wealth to share with a partner will benefit, but the queer and trans people in the worst situations will still be facing the same dangers.
You’ve expressed serious concerns about trans people’s push for formal legal equality, such as their inclusion in protection from hate crime. What’s wrong with that goal?
Hate crime laws that provide more resources to law enforcement and/or enhance criminal penalties have been critiqued by many trans organizations and activists because they do nothing to prevent attacks against trans people but they expand the criminal punishment system which is the most significant source of violence against trans people in the U.S. They build that system in our names, and that system has been growing rapidly for several decades, such that now the US is the most imprisoning country in the world, with five per cent of the world’s population and 25 per cent of the world’s prisoners. A trans movement that is really about reducing harm and violence to trans people has to be an anti-criminalization movement, and a movement that doesn’t just try to get the law to say something our lives are meaningful, but instead seeks to dismantle legal systems that are killing us.
In your organizing and activism, you follow a different approach. Tell us about that.
I’m part of trans activism and organizing that centers poverty and racism. This work aims to analyze what is actually shortening trans people’s lives and work on changing those material conditions, so it centers trans people experiencing imprisonment, poverty, immigration enforcement and other life and death issues. It seeks to provide immediate support to people in those conditions, to dismantle systems that create those dangers, and to build systems and ways of being together that actually give people what they need.
What would be a major victory or advance for you on the path towards greater justice for trans people?
I’ll name a few of the things people in the US are working on that would be a significant benefit to trans people’s well-being: decriminalizing prostitution, stopping federal programs where local police forces turn immigrants they arrest over to the immigration authorities, ending exclusion of trans health care from health insurance programs, getting rid of surgery requirements for changing gender on ID, decriminalizing drugs, ending “3 strikes” laws, getting rid of sex offender registries. These are all vitally important efforts to address the violence trans people are facing, and they are part of broader trans political visions of a world without prisons, border, or poverty.
From the Margins to the Mainstream: In Defense of Henry Enuta & Other Intersex People Around the Globe
From Crunk Feminist Collective:
On March 26th, 2013 in Sapele, the Delta State of Nigeria, Pastor Henry Enuta was physically stripped and humiliated in public because he is an intersex person. According to news reports, he was almost killed by a lynch mob before being taken into custody by police. Most of the headlines covering this story grossly refer to Mr. Enuta as a “hermaphrodite” because he has genitals that are characteristically male and female. To sensationalize this story and humiliate Mr. Enuta even more, media outlets have published pictures of him bare chested and with torn clothes, holding onto his dignity while passers-by capture pictures of him with their mobile phones.
When I saw this story, I was horrified at how Mr. Enuta’s humanity was reduced to a mockery simply because his body did not conform to narrow standards of what a man’s body should be. For him to be forcibly stripped with no one to offer him clothes or rescue was atrocious. I was doubly astounded at how members of his community sought to kill him for the mere fact that he was different and considered some kind of freak. Nevertheless, given that this incident has taken place in Nigeria, I want to be very aware of my position as an African American queer intersex man living in the United States. People with intersex conditions living in the United States are just as vulnerable as intersex people living abroad. The medicalized and state sanctioned violence that impacts intersex people living in the United States is a pervasive, isolating, and silencing kind of violence that recreates stigma and shame.
In speaking out against this act, my goal is not to impose a critical, patronizing gaze on how people in Nigeria should respond to queerness or difference. Considering how the United States and Europe have responded to legislation that seeks to punish, kill, and “reform” queer people in Uganda, for example, I find myself both wanting to fight for the sovereignty of Black African nations and also asking those same nations to uphold the humanity and dignity of their queer and sexually differentiated citizens. Those of us committed to the upholding the dignity and respect of intersex people around the world must be willing to do the hard work of both checking our biases and privileges while also continuing to advocate for justice wherever injustice occurs.
Marriage equality supporters march in New York on Sunday ahead of the US supreme court arguments. Photograph: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images
From the Guardian:
On Tuesday, the justices will hear arguments over California’s ban on same-sex marriage after a 2008 referendum, Proposition 8, overturned a state supreme court decision in favour of gay unions, and amended the state constitution to say that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California”.
The following day, the court will consider whether a 1996 law passed by Congress blocking the federal government from recognising same-sex marriages, the Defense of Marriage Act (Doma), is constitutional.
That case has pitted the Obama administration against the Republican leadership in Congress. The White House said two years ago it would no longer defend Doma, which denies married gay couples – including members of the military – tax, financial and welfare benefits available to heterosexuals.
Congressional Republicans hired a lawyer – Paul Clement, the former US solicitor general who argued and lost the case against Barack Obama’s healthcare reforms — to defend Doma. But one of the first things the justices have to decide is whether Congress has the authority, known as “standing”, to even bring the case to the supreme court after the US Justice Department decided not to challenge an appeal court ruling striking down Doma as unconstitutional.
The challenge to Doma was brought by Edith Windsor, who was married to Thea Spyer in Canada in 2007. The couple lived in New York, where their marriage was recognised by the state government.
But when Spyer died in 2009, the federal government invoked Doma to force Windsor, who is now 83 and in poor health, to pay $363,000 in taxes on her late wife’s estate – a charge she would have been exempt from if she had been married to a man.
Windsor’s lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, will tell the supreme court she is not seeking to establish a right for same-sex couples to marry but to oblige the federal government to recognise those marriages in states that permit them.
A Woman Speaks
By Audre Lorde
Audre Lorde, “A Woman Speaks” from The Collected Poems of Audre Lorde. Copyright © 1997 by Audre Lorde. Reprinted with the permission of Charlotte Sheedy Literary Agency and W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.
The family of Marco McMillian, a 33 year-old openly gay candidate for mayor of Clarksdale, Mississippi released a statement yesterday saying that he was beaten and set on fire before his lifeless body was dumped near a river. Last Thursday, police arrested a 22-year old man who, like McMillian, is African-American and charged him with the mayoral candidate’s murder. Although the motive for the murder remains unknown, the circumstances of the murder suggest a possible anti-gay hate crime. According to the family, “[w]e feel this was not a random act of violence based on the condition of the body when it was found.”