equality

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“In Your Face And In The Trenches”: Southern Trans People Speak Out

Southerners On New Ground REPORT
250 Georgia Ave. Suite 201
Atlanta, GA 30317
Phone: 404.549.8628
Fax: 404.549.8642
www.southernersonnewground.org

Trans People Speak Out

Welcome to SONG’s report on our Southern Trans people’s Survey/People’s Movement Assembly. In concert with the US Social Forum, SONG set out to listen more deeply to our Trans base, membership and Trans Southerners living outside of the South. Listening campaigns have always been a core part of SONG’s strategy: prioritizing listening to marginalized and oppressed communities to honor them with hearing and dignity; analyze conditions; find patterns; and take action based on that information. (For more information on SONG and who we are, visit: www.southernersonnewground.org).

SONG was founded by Black and White Lesbians in 1993, and has worked (over its political evolution) on centering voices that have been marginalized; and that has meant taking concrete steps to not only include “Trans voices” but also create real processes that build power, leadership and self-determination for Trans people and gender non-conforming people in SONG. This work is one of our steps in that direction. It is a summary of stories and information, and it was anonymous. However, in the interest of giving the reader a direct relationship to the true voices of the people who shared with us, we include anonymous quotes throughout, wherever possible.

Who Answered the Survey

This survey was answered by 127 people who identified in the largest numbers as Transwomen, Transmen, and Gender Queer, as well as Two Spirit, Cross dresser, passable, Autogynephile, Non-op Transsexual, Women, and Men. The survey asked for information from Trans and Gender Non-conforming people who lived or have lived in the South.

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Short Film About Sex Workers in Myanmar

This film by the Asia Pacific Network of Sex Worker$ (APNSW) gives an inside look at issues facing sex workers in Myanmar, and tells some of the fascinating story of how sex workers have organised and responded to HIV and to claim their rights.


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The Enemies of Sex

I can say "Fuck you!" in public, but I cannot (with your permission) actually fuck you in public.

Have you ever wondered why is it that a statement of sex as an insult between people who don't like each other is a protected right, when the actual performance of sex as an act between two people who like each other is prohibited? 

Why is sex profane?  This is not something that comes from nature.  Sex is one of the basic needs of all mammals, along with air, water, space, warmth and food.  So, it doesn't come from our DNA, which means that we made this shit up.  Sex is free.  Sex feels good.  Societies across the globe discourage us from having sex, talking about sex, thinking good things about sex, being proud of sex.

The opposition to sex is so widespread across human cultures, that it seems universal, but is it?

How many people live inside a culture that vilifies sex, while personally holding different and more accepting views?  I'd venture to say that it's a majority.  At some point we all feel moments of sexual desire.  In sexually repressive social settings, we hide our true views on sex in order to avoid retribution.  This could be public shaming, beating, ridicule, disapproval and even killing.  Here's a hint: gay porn and MTF trans porn are the two biggest revenue generators online.  Cis-gendered heterosexual men are the people with the money and they are the people getting off in private to sexual images that society won't let them have while retaining the privilege of being cis-het men.

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The Gender Roots of Labour Inequality

By Sebastián Lacunza

BUENOS AIRES, Aug 5, 2010 (IPS) - Inequality and poverty in Argentina are explained to a large extent by a job market that discriminates against women, coupled with insufficient equal opportunity regulations and failure to enforce existing labour laws, experts on the issue told IPS.

According to Andrea Balzano, head of the gender division at the United Nations Development Programme's (UNDP) country office in Argentina, "entering the labour market is the only demographic and social event that enables households to escape poverty."

But "women are much less likely to join the labour market, and even when they are able to find work, their opportunities are more limited because their insertion occurs through jobs in informal and low productivity sectors," she explained.

Almost 14 percent of Argentina's 40 million people, and 9.4 percent of its households, are classified as poor, according to data from the government's National Statistics and Census Institute (INDEC) for the first semester of 2010. But private organisations place poverty at 31 percent and abject poverty at 11 percent.

Natalia Gherardi, executive director of the non-governmental organisation Equipo Latinoamericano de Justicia y Género (ELA - Latin American Team on Justice and Gender), says that "participation in the workforce and insertion in the job market are key factors in overcoming gender inequalities through economic autonomy."

One of the most telling examples of how Argentina's lack of regulations, large informal sector and gender discrimination shape the situation of women in the job market is the plight of paid domestic workers, a sector that accounts for 18 percent of all female employment.

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LGBT Centre of Mongolia's New Documentary

 

The Lies of Liberty (2010) is a new documentary, produced by the LGBT Centre of Mongolia.  It is a powerful series of interview with LGBTQ folks in Mongolia, telling in their own words, how they are treated. 

Part One:

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Petition: Improvement of trans people's rights in the Quebec province

(h/t CyberSolidaires)

Down with STERILE civil status rules!
Trans people demand their citizenship

Today in Québec, trans-identified, or trans, people do not enjoy the same civil status rights as other citizens. Trans people are subjected to long, complex, restrictive, and not universally accessible regulations. Their right to equality and physical integrity is not respected, since they must undergo compulsory sterilization in order to obtain the right to have their designation of sex legally changed in civil status documents.

Moreover, because of these situations, many trans people are forced to wait long periods of time with official identity papers (civil status documents) that do not reflect their actual identity. This can lead to endless discrimination when looking for work or housing, seeking health care, opening a bank account, etc.

Some examples of the consequences these regulations have:

• Trans people who want to change the designation of sex on their birth certificate are required to undergo “medical treatments and surgical operations involving a structural modification of sexual organs intended to change [their] sexual characteristics” – in other words, sterilization. Even though the Director of Civil Status does not explicitly require trans people to be sterile in order to change their designation of sex, these conditions necessarily involve forced sterilization of trans people.

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Introduction to the Yogyakarta Principles

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. All human rights are universal, interdependent, indivisible and interrelated. Sexual orientation [1] and gender identity [2] are integral to every person’s dignity and humanity and must not be the basis for discrimination or abuse.
 
Many advances have been made toward ensuring that people of all sexual orientations and gender identities can live with the equal dignity and respect to which all persons are entitled. Many States now have laws and constitutions that guarantee the rights of equality and non-discrimination without distinction on the basis of sex, sexual orientation or gender identity.
 
Nevertheless, human rights violations targeted toward persons because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity constitute a global and entrenched pattern of serious concern. They include extra-judicial killings, torture and ill-treatment, sexual assault and rape, invasions of privacy, arbitrary detention, denial of employment and education opportunities, and serious discrimination in relation to the enjoyment of other human rights. These violations are often compounded by experiences of other forms of violence, hatred, discrimination and exclusion, such as those based on race, age, religion, disability, or economic, social or other status.

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Female Migrants Charge Sexual Abuse in Detention

By William Fisher

NEW YORK, Jun 7, 2010 (IPS) - In the wake of allegations that a male guard at a central Texas detention facility sexually assaulted female detainees on their way to being deported, immigrant advocacy groups say stronger oversight and accountability is urgently needed to prevent further abuse of female detainees.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), said last week that the guard has been fired. It added that Corrections Corporation of America, the private prison company that manages the Hutto facility, has been placed on probation pending the investigation's outcome. The consequences of probation were not immediately clear.

ICE said that several women who were held at Hutto facility in Taylor, Texas, were groped while being patted down and at least one was propositioned for sex.

"We understand that this employee was able to commit these alleged crimes because ICE-mandated transport policies and procedures were not followed," David Sanders, DHS's contracting officer, said in a letter to Corrections Corporation of America obtained by The Associated Press.

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Muslim Conservatives Blocking New Family Law in Mali

By Soumaïla T. Diarra

BAMAKO, May 19, 2010 (IPS) - A new family law has raised tension in Mali. This controversial law, intended to give greater freedoms and rights to women, has been sent back to the National Assembly for a second reading after protests from Muslim radicals.

These Muslim are threatening to make the country ungovernable if the law is enacted in its original form as voted by Parliament in August 2009.

"Those who oppose the new family law have started threatening legislators, railing against them in sermons and organising protest meetings. They're also using newspapers and radio since they learned that the law is on the agenda of the current parliamentary session," Salimata Kouyaté told IPS. Kouyaté is an activist with the Malian Network of NGOs and Women's Associations.

The next full session of parliament is scheduled to begin on May 20, but for now there is no confirmation when the legislation will be reviewed and put to a vote.

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