Homophobic hate crime in Tel Aviv

2 08 2009

In Tel Aviv Saturday night, a masked gunman burst into the basement of the Tel Aviv Gay and Lesbian Association and opened fire on a support group for gay teenagers.  He sprayed the interior with automatic rifle fire, killing 3 people and injuring 11.  Of the 11 injured, 6 are “badly hurt”.  Witnesses have described the scene to the media as a “bloodbath”.

Nitzan Horowitz, an openly gay Knesset lawmaker, said that Saturday night was “without a doubt the biggest ever attack on the Israeli gay community, we are all in shock.”  What is especially saddening and tragic about this violent hate crime is that the targets and the victims were all young people.

For many of them, the basement of the Tel Aviv Gay and Lesbian Association was a safe space where they could meet others who were struggling like they were to come to terms with their identity.  It was a safe space for them to retreat from the homophobia they faced in the outside world and find themselves in a community where they were supported.  Unfortunately on Saturday night, their safe space was infiltrated by a violent and bigoted man.

These are human lives that were lost, the lives of young people who were stripped of their opportunities and right to live their lives and pursue their hopes, dreams and desires.  The price of hatred and intolerance is too high.  May those three young people rest in peace.

Exposing heterosexual privilege

2 08 2009

Here is an eye opening video that asks us to imagine a world in which gay is the norm and heterosexuals are considered deviants, others:

This video exposes heterosexual privilege, which is a privilege that many heterosexual people take for granted and are blinded by.  It is also very helpful for allies because despite our empathy and support, we can never truly understand the marginalization that the LGBTQ community routinely experiences.

Massachusetts Department of Public Health publishes results of a survey on the health of the state’s LGBT community

2 08 2009

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health recently published the results of “the largest survey to date comparing the health of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) residents to heterosexual and non-transgender residents in Massachusetts”.

The Executive Summary highlights the following findings:

  • Among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons, the health of bisexual and transgender people is somewhat worse than their heterosexual and nontransgender counterparts, respectively.
  • The health of lesbian, gay, people is comparable to that of heterosexual respondents. However, lesbians were less likely to have routine pap tests compared with their heterosexual female counterparts.
  • Transgender persons had worse outcomes with respect to self‐reported health, disability status, depression, anxiety, suicide ideation, and lifetime violence victimization.
  • Bisexual respondents how worse outcomes with respect to self‐reported health, disability status, suicide ideation, as well as lower rates of mammography for bisexual women compared with their heterosexual female counterparts.
  • Legally married same‐sex couples were more likely to obtain health insurance through their spouse’s employer than non‐legally same sex couples.

While the findings of this survey are not too surprising, they are still significant.  As Bird of Paradox writes:

To my mind, what’s missing from a lot of these data is the “why” aspect: why are trans people less likely to have access to a doctor than gay and lesbian people, why do we feel depressed more often than cis people, why do we feel suicidal more often, why are we more likely to report being threatened with physical violence by an intimate partner than cis people, and so on. Of course, those reasons will undoubtedly vary widely between individuals, but it would have been interesting to know if any patterns had emerged, and if there were any differences between trans and cis populations.

Overall, I think the report is to be welcomed, cautiously – but I also hope that a more rigorous (and bigger) survey can be carried out in the near future. If nothing else, it suggests that the problems we face in our everyday lives are in urgent need, not only of study, but positive and supportive action by the mainstream cis society which oppresses us in so many ways. However, I also think that for there to be any real improvements in our circumstances there first needs to be a substantial change in cis people’s attitudes to us – and that doesn’t look likely to happen any time soon.

Andre Edwards trimumphs over transphobic discrimination

2 08 2009

In the UK two months ago transwoman Andre Edwards, 51, was fired from her job as a cab driver because she was wearing nail polish and skirts on the job.  Leyland Taxis, the company that fired her, claimed that colleagues and customers could not deal with her “unorthodox lifestyle” and “bad attitude”.

Edwards then went to Eco Cabs, another cab company, and was hired as a driver because of her high level of experience and competency.  There, her supervisors and colleagues support her and treat her with respect and dignity.

The article reporting this story is problematic, however.  For starters, it places a lot of emphasis on her transition: her pre-transition life, when she knew she wanted to transition, her current operation status, etc.  This is voyeuristic and objectifies transgender individuals by reducing them to their body parts.

The fourth paragraph of the article starts off with, “Andre, who was born a man but now lives as a woman…”  Doing the whole “she was born a man, but now is a woman” or the “he was born a woman, but now is a man” when talking about transgender people reinforces a gender binary and essentialist notions of gender.

Towards the end of the article, the author writes about how Edwards knew that she was “not like other children when she was just 10-years-old”.  This kind of language continues to otherize and marginalize the transgender community.

I find it also problematic how the article frames the story as Edwards getting a “second chance”.  The title is Transgender cabbie gets second chance.  The issue however is not about Edwards getting a “second chance” but rather, her triumphing over transphobia and transphobic discrimination.

Who is more man-hating? Feminists or non-feminists?

2 08 2009

The stereotype that all feminists hate men is such a ridiculous stereotype that I, along with many of my feminist friends, find it too silly to take seriously.  Researchers at the University of Houston in Texas recently conducted a study to determine whether feminists really hate men.  They interviewed 500 undergraduates using “The Ambivalence Towards Men Inventory”.

The results?  Feminists reported feeling less hostility towards men than non feminists.  So the stereotype that feminists hate men?  Not true, according to this study.  In fact, the opposite is true – non feminists are more man hating.


study 2

I don’t know how legitimate this study actually is, but it is pretty interesting.  H/t to the F Word.