Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Equality


The constant striving for equality among peoples has been going on from the start of time. It is unlikely to cease. It is unlikely to not be a part of humanity. It is one of our better characteristics.

BUT, and there is a but, this should not mean we should put off today what can be done tomorrow. At any one point in time we all, as a society and especially as individuals, have the power to make the world a better place - or a worse one with every thought we think, every word we speak and every indiscretion we accept among our piers - or not. Our actions dictate our future and importantly the future of our society.

In an earlier post I wrote that the struggle for Trans' / LGBT rights is the struggle for all human rights. It is the same for black rights or women rights or disabled rights or any one who does not have an equal chance in our society.



In a recent TED talk “A queer vision of love and marriage” Tie and Kim Katrin  said that the LGBT or LGBTQIA+ acronym was attractive because the acronym strove to not leave anyone behind. This really resonates with me. Just as Emma Watson's 2014 Speech on Gender Equality noted men’s equality was tied to women’s equality. They is part of a whole and not a separate element.



So recently I listened to Sandi Toksvig’s TED talk wherein she said the relatively new Women’s Equality Party was almost hopeful of making itself redundant by being successful and correctly noting how this made it different from other political parties.



Also of note was how she mentioned it wouldn’t get involved in deriding the opposition parties. Hopefully this will work out. More than this she said this was a party women could set up in other countries as the problem of woman equality was global. I think these are all admirable and would seriously consider voting for them myself. However I think they could do more. Whilst the ‘Women’s Equality Party’ gives people a clear picture and a focus they should make more of the equality element and the positive values Toksvig  states - political-non-bitching and global relevance. These things are fairly unique and no one wants not to be equal, or respected. Time will tell.

And so to the timing of this post. On January the 21st the Woman’s Equality Party will be part of a protest march intersecting with other marches all over the world, but especially Washington against the incoming administration of Donald Trump and Mike Pence. If you plan to go here is a reference site.



If, like me, you can't get to London or another location to march and show solidarity and support then do what I do and make people aware of the issues. Anyone who doesn't feel that the current system in the UK/USA or where ever gives them a fair deal, owes it to themselves to question the establishment and what the politicians are doing for their pay. Is there anyone who doesn't feel disenfranchised? After all it's our taxes, it should be our government.

I’m not telling you what to think, I’m just helping you know where to look. Inside is a good start.

Monday, 7 November 2016

More education and awareness

“Police records show there has been a significant rise in the number of transgender hate crimes over the last four years - from 361 attacks in the year ending 2012 to more than 600 last year.”

Ok so leading with the shock headline I must state this isn't something I've personally experienced but it emphasises the need for education and awareness. Echoing back to one or two of my earlier posts education is especially important given the above quote from this BBC news article, Here is a re-point to the same BBC post from a few days ago where Stephanie Hurst is helping make the police more aware of Transgender issues to help them help others in turn.



The session she ran is one of a number of similar training programmes running in other areas of the UK.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

XD-ing


I have an issue with the word ‘Crossdressing’ or rather, it’s misuse. In day-to-day useage it supports the notion that there are no-go areas for certain genders.

Females continue to have an ongoing battle to gain equality in global society. I’m speaking about the world here so this covers every country from the USA to Saudi Arabia. If as a society, we wish to segregate groups as a principal, then the notion of 'crossdressing' helps this non-constructive cause.

Like Eddie Izzard, I believe that if you buy an item of clothing it is yours, you own it. It doesn’t belong to someone else. I’m not a legal expert but I feel on relitively strong ground here. Clothes may be historically more feminine or masculine but other examples of historical note are slavery* and witch-hunts. Crossdressing is simply a brick in the old world / small world mindset.
*I accept that sadly slavery too is not totally purged from the world - yet.

Our individual expression is ‘ours’. It is by definition personal. It may be feminine or masculine or a mix but to limit expression is a true sin, just as is limiting someones ability in a career because of their genitalia. Whilst not intrinsically tied, notionally support one and you help endorse the other.

Today there was a lady in front of me at the chemist. Her hair was unkempt to say the least, she wore old trainers, baggy jeans and a polo top, so her clothing was that of a typical man of her age. However, at no time did I think ‘Oh it’s a crossdresser’ until writing this. Of course she wasn't crossdressing. She was just wearing something she felt comfortable in.

I started this post off by indicating the word Crossdressing's misuse. So what do I understand the term to mean? Well;


Crossdressing is a term for a fetish practice wherein individuals believe that certain clothes belong 'only' to the opposite 'sex' and wear them purely for fun.
*Sex being different to gender.

In that context it is fine and I can see how it could be fun. Been there got the T-shirt, or was it panties? Everything has a place and a time. If you wear any clothing just because it feels right for you then that's not crossdressing, it's just your clothes. If you're wearing clothes which are not predominantly worn by the genetic sex and you are just doing so for a sexual thrill, it could well be crossdressing. Either way is not wrong or right, but it's important we understand our actions and when to use words correctly. As I said in an earlier post “Words can be used as positive tools but they can trap us if we don't use our minds when we communicate.”

If I'm out and someone thinks I'm crossdressing or says it, I won't get 'cross' if they are being genuine. We all see the world from a unique viewpoint. I'll just take it that they have little experiance of a 'non-binary' perspective on the world, just as I don't understand some other aspect of society.

Life's to short to worry about it - but not to short to try and help.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

R-love-ution

Very little to do directly with gender issues but very much to do with programming and modern society, this I feel is very relevant.

My father is a wise man. A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away,(or it may have been Newcastle) he told me “Whoever you vote for the government always get in”.

So I just finished the 9 hour marathon that was REVOLUTION by Russell Brand. Disclosing the governmental and political issues we face every day and linking it deeply to spirituality this is compelling and informative. Also, as always with Russle Brand it is heavily spiced with wit and earthy humour. Brands stream of conscious writing style is reminiscent of the wonderful Douglas Adams but here Russ' uses it to allow the important message of his book to push through more easily.

Uniquely British but globally connected and deeply relevant. Many critics argue he has no real answer or solution but I’ve yet to read a critic that says Russ' is wrong.  In terms of the 'essential argument' and call to action it is very hard to disagree with.

Whilst I don't agree with it all 100% I'd reccomend it 100%.

Listen to the free-to-download audiobook to capture the true delivery and spirit of Brand’s point - but buy the book to help.


Goodreads Review:

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Finding the door

You don’t always know you’re in a cage until you find a door.

We all live in a prison. It is the prison we build every day when we label the world around us. Some people’s prisons are strong and inescapable. Others are more open. How you think and use language changes these conditions.

The struggle for Transgender rights is only another step on the road for all human rights. Whether it’s the colour of your skin, your gender, your class, your age or some other aspect of ‘you’ that makes you different. It is also the struggle for womens rights, men’s rights and everyones right to personal self expression. To be you, to be free.

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."



I was inspired to write this by Sarah McBride’s talk which eloquently focuses on these issues toward the end:





It’s interesting in the 'comments section' of Sarah McBride’s talk on YouTube. Whilst most are positive, the few negative comments seem to focus on the fact she isn’t what they ‘label’ her as. Likewise these negative comments seem to be by individuals who don’t understand the difference between the sex and gender lables. Can they not see in labling (or miss-labling) her they are building a cage for themselves, their families and everyone? So much trouble and negative energy in our world is caused by too little education or miss-understanding. Education free’s us. And we all can learn.


“The sign of intelligence is that you are constantly wondering. Idiots are always dead sure about every damn thing they are doing in their life.”

Words are tools we use to explain things and hopefully clearly communicate. They are not reality. We do need words and labels but we must recognise when a potentially useful label stops being a word ‘we’ use and instead becomes a word that uses us. When this happens it becomes another brick in our cell wall, it becomes our reality.


“People have fallen in love with words and lost the world.” 

When will we learn to treat people as individuals not as a label, a preconception or construct we feel they should be? If we as humans don’t give ourselves these rights no one else can, and we can never be truly free as a species. Until then we will daily create the prison for our mind that is the natural outcome of letting labels control us.

We should allow ourselves the freedom to express who we are without prejudice. We need to give ourselves and our children's children, the right to be free. Words can be used as positive tools but they can trap us if we don't use our minds when we communicate.

We may never truely be free in our own lifetime's, but at least we can begin to define the prision walls and learn where the door may be.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Toilet Talk




Following my last post we inevitably come to the great toilet debate regarding Transgender folk.

When I’m out dressed I will naturally go to the female asigned toilet but I do so because my natural intent is not to upset anyone. Often if there is a ‘disabled’ toilet I will use this if it’s quiet. After all a disabled toilet is for both male and female. Why society can't do this for everyone is totally beyond me?

Also, let me know if I am wrong on this but so far as I understand; in the UK it is perfectly legal for either ‘sex’ to use either restroom.

On a more general note I really cannot see why we logically have gender separate toilets. I speak with some small authority here having had to plan a few building toilet facilities myself. Also I find it uncomfortable to see women queueing for ages while men swoosh past into their little box of no queues. So why don’t we have gender neutral toilets with a smaller percentage of stalls (if any) so everyone can experience a better and swifter visit to the loo. 

Also it’s not just the average straight guy or girl or Trans* who needs the toilet. This is something that is well put in Ivan Coyote’s great TED talk which toward the end speaks of other members of society - not just Transgender.

If you know someone who worries about what will happen if we don’t have separated toilet facilities I suggest you worry less about that issue and more about how they view the world and their motives. Personally when I go to the loo I need to go to the loo (okay maybe check how I look in the mirror too). I spend as little time as I can in there as they arn't the nicest of places genearlly and I want to be back out getting on with my life. Motive is important, something some US politicians get totally confused over. 

I’ll leave you with another article about converting existing restrooms.

So to conclude the link to my previous post on getting out. The world is changing but as Trans* folk we must work extra hard to make it work. Sad but true. Every time I go out and everything works out fine, so far 100% of the time, I think there's a lot of new people who now have first hand personal experiance of a Transgender individual in 'their' society and everything was cool - normal even?

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Normal is how we define it


We are living in a delicate time.

This post is linked directly to a post I will follow on with shortly after regarding the use of restrooms and this I start leading in to the USA given recent events...

America feels threatened and like all treated entities it is in a process of anger and lashing out. Whilst not the superpower they were, when the US feels threatened and reacts, the world feels it’s ripples. A wave of anti-tolerance by I'm happy to say, political minorities, towards people of a ‘different’ way, be that a faith or in my case my gender presentation, is written across the face of the world's media every day.

It is vital now more than ever, that if one is different, we try to integrate and show by example, that diversity is complimentary to the human condition and not destructive. There may be individuals and factions of groups who are negative and want to separate the people of our world but it’s certainly not me and I hope not you - not transgender folk. It's an oppertunity.

So partly because of the above and coincidentally, over the past year or two I’ve been getting out dressed more. However 'getting out' can mean several types of place so here’s my basic list.

A - Trans* friendly places like Pink Punters. Obviously I’ve never felt any animosity or worry here!

B - Then there is another level of getting out to the more accepting ‘gay’ areas of a town like Birmingham in my case. Here again rarely will anyone bat an eyelid. I actually prefer these areas as you’ll always be accepted and it is a more diverse set of individuals. Straight, bisexual, gay, lesbian, whatever you want to call people. Everyone is usually just out for a fun / relaxed night.


The Arcadian, just off Hurst St, Birmingham

C - However I’ve also been out out to everyday restaurants or pubs whether in the centre of London or a small pub in Warwickshire. And you know, people are on whole to be very accepting and unflustered. Yayyy, go humanity!!!

The worst I’ve encountered is someone, usually a grandmother out with their family or an older guy out alone (both occurrences have happened more than once) where their faces tell a story. They cannot stop staring and I’ve even seen their family get somewhat embarrassed at this. They are fighting an internal battle between what they’ve been told or told themselves all their lives and the reality they see before them. So effectively it’s their issue and their internal struggle - not mine. On the one hand I’m not sure what they expect of me but my having a polite conversation with a friend and behaving civilized obviously isn’t one of these pre-programmed thoughts.

D - Finally I’d say just going shopping in town dressed. I’ve only done this once and it was similar to the run of the mill restaurant or pub but I don’t class once as a good working knowledge so I’ll not pretend to give advice on this.

Neverthelss - my advice for getting out is...

First - just do it. Make the decision, then think seriously about why and what it means to you. While you can go out alone, I’d seriously recommend you go with a friend. It’s more fun and you can share the experience.

Second - Be sensible. Don’t pick somewhere you know to be synonymous with trouble. I wouldn’t do that regardless of my gender or presentation!

Third - Don’t be a parody - be yourself. However you present on the outside let your natural person on the inside come through.

And finally - Take pride in your appearance and make it obvious you’ve tried your best to present how you want to be. People respect that, so respect them by doing so.

So you are out and about, what bathroom do you use? Queue my next post...