November 20, 2013
“1 in 12 transgender people are murdered.”
I love stats as much as the next person, but until we can actually source this number, can we stop quoting it?
As today is Transgender Day of Remembrance, I’ve seen that statistic waved around quite a bit. Ask anyone, though, and they cannot point you to the true source of that number. “It was on the HRC website, but now it’s gone.” Actually, looking at a cached version of the page, no where does it say “1 in 12” or “an 8.33% chance,” or anything of the sort. I’ve seen a lot of bloggers who are just referencing one another, but no primary sources.
Others have pointed to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program.
I read through the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program, hoping for some insight as to where this number had originated, and while I did find one of the most solidly great resources for explaining Trans 101 to someone (seriously, go check it out), I couldn’t find data that would lead me to that conclusion.
There are 313,900,00 people in the United States. Using the number provided by the Williams Institute, that would mean there are 941,700 transgender people in the United States. Using the high range of the NCTE number, there may be as many as 3,139,000 transgender people throughout the country. For the sake of argument, let’s find a spot between those two numbers: 0.65% of the population, or 2,040,350 transgender people.
If we are to believe that “1 in 12 transgender people are murdered,” we’d need to believe that over the course of our lifetime (and excluding any future trans people who have yet to be born), more than 170,000 trans people will be murdered. For reference, in 2010, there were a total of 16,259 homicides. That’s total. For all people, transgender and cisgender.
On average, there are roughly 20-25 transgender people murdered in the U.S. annually. I know this number is likely grossly underestimated, but hold on. Over the course of 80 years, roughly the span of a life, that would mean 2,000 trans people will have been murdered. Even if the true number of trans murders is ten times as high, that would only put us at 20,000 trans people murdered (which, obviously, is a lot, but certainly not the 170,000 needed to make the “1 in 12 number” work)
I’m not saying any of this data should be used as a statistic to point to. What I am saying is that it appears extremely unlikely that the “1 in 12” number is correct. Far too many trans people find themselves the victims of ant-transgender violence, but luckily for us, it’s not 1 out of every 12 of us.
November 19, 2013
Tomorrow, the governor of Illinois will be in Chicago to hold a bill signing event for Illinois’ new marriage equality law. There will be parties, there will be fanfare.
Tomorrow is also Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day to memorialize the victims of anti-transgender violence.
If you need evidence of the disconnect between the LGB and the T, look no further than Twitter, Facebook, a Chicago-based news outlet. You are sure to see wild celebration and dance parties in one section of Chicago’s Boystown, and solemn remembrance just blocks away.
While the Supreme Court heard the Prop 8 and DOMA cases, an Arizona legislator put forward a plan to criminalize the use of public restrooms by transgender individuals. Take a guess where the majority of the LGBT media’s attention was.
There is such symbolism in the divide in attitude we are certain to see tomorrow.
Party on, LGBs. We’ll be over here.
November 18, 2013
Earlier today, I wrote an article at Thought Catalog about my annual conversation with my mother in regards to her “War on Christmas” pins. Shortly after publishing it, I decided to dive into the the mindset of someone who actually believes that there’s some sort of attack against Christmas.
Eric Owens, Education Editor at the Daily Caller, a conservative media outlet, is one of my favorite examples. I’d like everyone to look at these two pieces by Owens, both published within the past 5 weeks, and find the hypocrisy.
On one hand, observing a Muslim holiday by taking the day off of school (much like Christmas is an observed holiday in public schools…) in a public school is an attempt to “force their religion on everybody else.”
In the other piece, the mere thought that public schools would not be singing about the tiny baby Jesus and God and so on — that is a WAR! What’s this? Someone suggested that the school include a few secular holiday tunes in their performances (“Jingle Bells,” “Frosty the Snowman,” “Walking in a Winter Wonderland,” and so on). This is tantamount to the attack on Pearl Harbor! This means war!
This is how those who believe in a “War on Christmas” operate. They decry anything religious in public schools unless it’s their religion we’re talking about; in which case, there needs to be more of it.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas. What I don’t love are hypocrites.
November 18, 2013
My mother wears a pin.
Every year, around November, she’ll affix 2 pins to her jacket: “KEEP THE ‘CHRIST’ IN ‘CHRISTMAS’” and “IT’S OKAY! YOU CAN SAY MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ME!”
Seeing these, I cannot help but roll my eyes. Why must my mom, a generally apolitical person, find herself sucked into the absurdity that is the “War on Christmas?”
Every year, I ask, “What does the ‘KEEP THE ‘CHRIST’ IN ‘CHRISTMAS’” pin mean? Why do you wear it?”
“Because people are going around saying ‘Xmas,’ and that’s them trying to take Jesus out of the holiday,” she responded.
Stunned, I’ll stand there, considering whether or not to yet again engage in this debate. After all, I knew that “Xmas” wasn’t a plot to take “Christ out of Christmas,” but rather that it was first used in the 1500s. I knew that the “X” comes from the Greek letter Chi…
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November 14, 2013
Salon recently devoted an article to saying Thought Catalog has started a “trolling revolution.” James B. Barnes has already written a response piece to that (thanks for the shout out in there, James!), but I’d like to talk about a website that actually is trying to start this revolution: the people of returnofkings.com.
If you’re not familiar, returnofkings.com is run by a bunch of “Men’s Rights Activists” (i.e. white guys who think the world is somehow out to get them for being white guys… yeah, it’s as ridiculous as it sounds) who seem to strive for a world straight out of a Tucker Max book. Or maybe a Chuck Palahniuk novel? Oh! I know! The Matrix. MRAs absolutely love the Matrix. In other words, it very well may be the worst website to exist in the history of the internet.
Anyyyyyyway. Let’s take a look at their “About” page.
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November 11, 2013
Even still, I feel like an imposter. I’ve been out to everyone in my life, work and personal/social, since March. Still, I often feel like I shouldn’t be me when in public. Shame and a lifetime of hiding leads me to doubt myself more than may be healthy.
I don’t typically wear clothes that are too overtly feminine. I wear jeans. I wear t-shirts. I wear flats.
I don’t wear dresses. I don’t wear skirts. I don’t wear high heels. I am afraid of these items of clothing. I am afraid of being judged by those around me, and I am afraid of my own reflection.
Today I wrote a yellow blouse to work. The entire day, I felt extremely self conscious, afraid that I’m being read as a freak. I realize this is all in my head.
Anyway, this is just something I’ve been dealing with lately.
November 5, 2013
I could be in my living room. I could be on a bus. Sometimes I’m in my bedroom. Sometimes I’m at my desk. The location matters less than the event, itself. The event? A panic attack.
A panic attack is a period of fear or apprehension, brought on suddenly with or without apparent cause. While the phrase is sometimes used colloquially to refer to smaller worries (“you almost gave me a panic attack!”), an actual panic attack is something much more debilitating.
The other night, I had one of these panic attacks. Over the years, I’ve learned that the best way for me to overcome these is simply to let them play out. As I felt one coming on, I decided to start writing down my thoughts and feelings. Since I was headed into this, anyway, I figured that it might make some interesting post-attack reading. Without further ado, here’s…
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November 5, 2013
November 4, 2013
With ENDA clearing the 60 vote threshold to pass out of the Senate, sending it to the House (where it likely won’t even be brought up for a vote), I wanted to use this opportunity to highlight one of the most powerful things said during the last time this bill was debated.
The LGB community tends to point to former congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) as one of the leading advocates for “LGBT rights,” but in reality, he did nothing to advance the rights of transgender individuals. The last time the Employment Non-Discrimination Act was debated in the House (2007), Frank and others caved when it came to including protections for transgender individuals in the bill, pulling the amendment that would include protections on the basis of gender identity at the last minute.
One man fought for us.
Below is the most genuine, most passionate defense of the inclusion of transgender protections within ENDA ever to be made on the floor of Congress. No, it wasn’t made by Barney Frank, but rather, embattled former representative Anthony Weiner (D-NY). Before the texting scandal, the resignation from Congress, the failed mayoral bid; he was our champion.
Say what you want about Weiner, but in a “credit where credit is due” sense, I applaud him for the words spoken on October 23, 2007.
Mr. Speaker and my colleagues, later on this week or perhaps early next week, this House will embark on the latest chapter in our Nation’s history of extending the civil rights that all Americans should be entitled to to one other group. We will be considering the Employment Nondiscrimination Act. It is an effort to make sure that people are not discriminated against in their workplace because of their sexual orientation, because of their gender identity. It is something that is intuitive to so many Americans, and, frankly, the overwhelming number of Americans. And it is an example of how sometimes we in this House lead on civil rights issues and sometimes we follow.
In this case, it is a little bit of each. Under ENDA, we will be following to a large degree. Hundreds of companies, including virtually all of the Fortune 50 and Fortune 500 companies, already recognized fundamentally that it is good business to judge people by the quality of their work, their intellect, their drive, by what they bring to the business, not what their sexual orientation or gender identity is.
Overwhelming numbers of companies, and not just companies that you would describe as being progressive, but companies from all across the political spectrum, financial services groups like American Express and J.P. Morgan and Lehman. You have companies like Clear Channel Communication, Coca-Cola, Nationwide Insurance, Nike, Microsoft. These are all companies that, when they write the contracts for their other workers, it is fundamental to them that there will be no discrimination based on someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
For these companies and for the 90 percent or so of American people that responded to a Gallup poll in 2007, employment nondiscrimination based on gender identity and based on sexual orientation is obvious; it is not even an innovation.
But we are going to be leading in some important ways. There are still about 30 percent of people who respond to polls who are members of the lesbian, bisexual and transgender community who say that they experience discrimination at the workplace regularly. Some of them, 25 percent, say they experience it on a regular basis. Why should that be? Is that an American value? Is it an American value to say we should discriminate on someone based on the sense of who they love or how they express it? Of course not.
So, for those men and women throughout all 50 States, we will be leading later on this week when we pass the Employment Nondiscrimination Act. But it is very important that we also realize that we are leading on another element to this discussion. There is an active discussion going on in this Chamber and elsewhere whether or not to include gender identity in the same category we include sexual orientation. I say unequivocally the answer is yes. There are people who every day experience discrimination because of their gender identity.
Susan Stanton spent 14 years as the Largo, Florida city manager; 14 years, obviously doing a good job, rehired, reappointed. Susan was once Steve Stanton. When [she] started hormone therapy and planned to become a woman, was fired.
Diane Schroer, 25 years of distinguished service in the Army as David. Recorded 450 parachute jumps, received the Defense Superior Service Medal, hand picked to lead a classified national security operation. Retired and was offered a job with a private homeland security consulting firm. The offer was rescinded when Schroer explained he was transgender and wanted to begin the job as a woman.
But the question has come up: If we can’t include gender identity in this bill, should we do anything at all? Should we take half a loaf?
My colleagues, I think the answer is no. I think we cannot toss this element of an important civil rights coalition to the side. We have to make sure, particularly in the context of us doing what is largely symbolic, there is no sense that the Senate is going to act on this, and certainly no sense that the President of the United States and this administration is going to. Maybe what we should say is we are in this together.
If we are going to make a symbolic stand, the symbolic stand should be let’s pass a one House bill with only part of the protections. Let’s let the symbolic message be that we are sticking together, that when we say ‘GLBT,’ we mean it. And we should do something else. We should also make it very clear to those watching this discussion that we are not going to negotiate against ourselves. We are not going to say if we toss this element or that element off to the side, maybe we will be able to get what we need. There are some things that are immutable, some civil rights that are immutable. This is one of them.
We are going to stick together and pass an inclusive ENDA, or we are going to come back again and do it right.