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November 11, 2008

Assignment 4--On Rights

When ruminating on the rights I think are most important, and which every person should have, my thoughts were somewhat in line with our constitutional fathers--not the right to bear arms, but the freedom of expression. Every person should be able to express their beliefs--political, social, religious, personal, etc.--and express themselves, as people, without oppression or fear of oppression. That links to another right I deem incredibly important--the right to feel safe, and have a safe space. No one feels safe one hundred percent of the time (at least, I'm pretty sure they don't), but people should be able to conduct their lives feeling safe that they won't be harassed, oppressed or persecuted because of their individual choices (of course there are outliers to this--serial killers come to mind first--people who encroach on the safety of others). Some of the other rights on my list are: the right to competent medical care (psychiatric care, if necessary); the right to an education; the right to competent and fair justice and protection. . .
But that's awfully utopian of me, because there are multiple people and communities even in this country who are routinely denied these rights. Focusing specifically on GLBT/Q people/communities, the right to a safe space, the right to competent medical care, and the right to fair and competent justice/protection from the law, are often denied to them. We saw in the film last week how transwomen in men's prisons were denied hormone therapy; and the film shows another example--what those women experienced was NOT protection from the law. In our readings, it has routinely come up how GLBT/Q communities/people have been abused by the law and unable to find competent and fair representation within it. But, what is most blatantly (to me) denied to such people and communities is the right to feel safe in their lives. Examples range from the sensational--the highly publicized murders of individuals such as Matthew Shepard or Brandon Teena--to the everyday, such as being denied jobs or getting fired from jobs because of individual choices. And often, the right to freedom of expression coalesces with the right to safe spaces, because personal expression can lead to a violation of one's safety.
With the recent passing of California's ban against same-sex marriage, it's become a popular topic of discussion. Maybe because I would not face any problems if I ever wanted to get married, I don't think about it very often; but I do think it's an important right, that partnerships of any kind be legally recognized as equal, and one specific to the GLBT/Q communities.

November 9, 2008

Human Rights

In making a list of rights that all human beings are entitled to simply because they are human, I would include:
- personal safety and security
- freedom from unwarranted detainment
- education
- adequate nutrition and housing
- self-expression (in an all-ecnompassing sense; including speech, assemply, choice of partner, etc.)
- protection from the law
- health care
- control over one's own body

People of all different backgrounds are denied these rights all over the world for innumerble reasons. GLBT/Q people are one example of this. Many are dened personal safety and security, as they can be and often are subjected to harrassment and violence because of who they love. GLBT/Q people are also obviously denied the right to self-expression. Many in the GLBT/Q community feel they cannot really express themsleves, and therefore do not come out of the closet, or live openly with their partner(s). Protection from the law is also not guaranteed to GLBT/Q communities, as there are many incidents of people being treated unjustly and unequally by law enforcement officials and courts. Finally, GLBT/Q people can sometimes be denied quality health care due to fear and ignorance on the part of health care providers.

November 6, 2008

Engaging assignment #4- Sonya Boeser

ENGAGING ASSIGNMENT #4: What do you think are some of the most important rights that all humans should be afforded? Make a list of these rights and then discuss some examples of how GLBT/Q people/communities are denied these rights. Post your thoughts on the blog.
Due 11/11.

All humans first and foremost should be afforded the right to LIVE. GLBT persons were denied this right by Hitler and are denied this right in some countries today, even when the government is not completely sure that someone is GLBT. They are tortured, beat up, called names, made fun of, and tossed aside; just for being themselves. This leads to the right to have a job- in many countries and states it is legal to deny someone a job or fire them simply for being GLBT. The right to have a home: a lot of homeless people today may be GLBT because they cannot find jobs to make money to buy a home or else because realtors will not make contact with them. Everyone should be afforded the right to dress how they want and accessorize how they please. Transgender people are looked at strangely for wearing clothes of the opposite sex, and butch lesbians looked at strangely for their leather jackets, boots, torn jeans, and spiked jewelry; gay men put aside for their crisp clothes, cleanly shoes, and perhaps sometimes slightly effeminate way of dress. All of these dress and accessory stereotypes do not matter; they are simply part of who the person is. And finally, GLBT persons should be given the right to a marriage ceremony if they so desire. Some states allow them ceremonies that symbolize the couple being together, but this is not enough for the GLBT community to be equal to the heterosexual community in this way. Heterosexuals are allowed elaborate celebrations of their love with religious ceremonies and if GLBT people so desire, this right should be afforded them. As well as medical care, cars, food, education, visitation rights in hospitals and jails; there is just too much to talk about. "Oh, he is gay; don't sell him a car. Don't let anyone visit him. Don't serve him food. Don't cure his disease. Don't let him get married." Heterosexuals dance around the fact that GLBT people are, in fact, people!

October 28, 2008

EA3 -Gender

'These things [Sex & Gender] are really tangled up!' (p26 of My Gender Workbook)... I had the absolute pleasure of seeing Kate Bornstein speak in Saint Paul. Hearing her discuss her male to female to something of both or neither conversions and transformations underlined the fundamental complexity of being human. Beyond the color of our skin and the size (and number?) of our feet and, the presence and absence of various genital appendages, we are something more. We become more than simple biology, because we can sit here and worry about societal constructions (norms of being and 'norms' of wanting-to-be). We have a harder time changing the biology than we do understanding and altering our social constructions.
I certainly enjoyed reading the Bornstein articles... they raise profound question about societal expectations of gender and sex and the relationship of the two. When she read excerpts from her works it was a moving experience. It was possible to see the pure pain that is caused when we merrily simplify the equation of gender = sex = sexual preference. As human beings, we do not need to do this. The inventors of calculus, do not need to resort to this simple arithmetic. But all too often we do, resulting in pain and anguish for those where simplicity does not rule. Kate Borstein is an excellent spokesperson for those require deeper and fresher and more open societal calculus.

September 29, 2008

E.A.2: The Task Force

The Task Force is a national voice for GLBT equality. It is run by a community of people who train other activsts, organize campaigns against anti-GLBT agendas and politics, and fight to advance pro-GLBT legislation. Its Policy Institute provides research to counteract Right-wing false allegations. This group is important because no one is eliminated: besides politics, they are a voice against hate crimes, discrimination, the anti-gay industry, HIV/AIDS, and provide support for parenting and family, faith, aging, racial and economic justice, and marriage / partner recognition. Its main goals are making sure they do not stop until GLBT people gain full equality and are complete participants in our democracy, and to connect with the community to create change and to challenge stereotypes.

To fight transphobia, Task Force makes sure that all of their programs are fully Transgender inclusive and also works on transgender issues to meeting the mission of achieving freedom, justice and equality for all GLBT people.

The transgender/ transphobia rights movement of Task Force includes many ways to increase the rights of Trans people. Educating Congress about discrimination against transgender people to try for an inclusive anti-discrimination bill. They also work against transgender hate crimes at the federal level. Their "Transgender Civil Rights Project's" goal is to increase the number of laws that prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and expression. Stopping discrimination based on "gender identity or expression" makes sure that the entire range of transgender, androgynous, hermaphrodite, and gender non-conforming people are protected. Of the estimated 1.6 million homeless American youth, between 20 and 40 percent identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). Task force works with these people to find them shelter and make sure they continue to be protected.

Minnesota Transgender Health Coalition

1. The website www.mntranshelath.org is the website for the Minnesota Transgender Health Coalition (MTHC). The MTHC is a group of community organizers, both trans and allied. The group has a Board of Directors that leads it. The MTHC began meeting in 2002. The goal of the MTHC is to improve access to health care for trans and other gender non-conforming peoples, and to improve the quality of that health care. They work to do this by creating a network of trans-friendly and trans-competent health care providers. The MTHC does trans-related training to health care providers, and encourages awareness and education in transgender health care consumers.

2. I learned several things from looking through this website. Mostly they are issues that trans people face on a daily basis, but are issues I had never even considered. First of all, the site has a list of unisex bathrooms at publlic places in the twin cities, and calls them the safest option. I never really thought about hoe stressful and possibly scary it could be for a trans person to use a public restroom that only has male and female choices. Also, I was shocked to hear that many doctors and nurses do not know how to treat trans people. It sounds so backwards to hear that the patient needs to train the doctor how to treat them.

September 28, 2008

Engaging Ass. #2

For my engaging assignment #3 I decided to use the Minnesota Transhealth website. According to their website the Minnesota Transgender Health Coalition mission statement is, “the Minnesota Transgender Health Coalition is committed to improving health care access and the quality of health care received by Trans and gender non-conforming people through education, resources, and advocacy.? The people that run the website are allies and also transgender individuals who want to improve the health care experience for individuals who are gender queer, transsexual, intersex and transgender. Basically anyone that does not conform to the typical male and female genders is helped by the Minnesota Transgender Health Coalition. This is important because these individuals are providing transgender with a network of opportunity when it comes to health care for them. This is also getting the word out about transgender people and hopefully inspiring more people to come together and help because access and quality of health care may not be the best for transgendered individuals.
The website offers a list of gender neutral public restrooms in and around the Twin Cities which helps for someone who is worried and wanting to go into a unisex restroom. The organization also holds a health and wellness fair to attract more attention to this issue. They also hold professional training for clinics that need transgender health training. I learned from this website that most insurance companies offer some coverage on hormones but not all of them will provide this cover. This opened my eyes up to what transgender people have to go through to be able to pay for their surgeries. I also learned this organization has a number of health car professionals listed on the website who were Trans friendly. This means the provider responded to a letter sent out and agreed to comply and be on this list. I did not know organizations were doing these sort of things and I think it is a really good idea and I am happy there are so many providers on the list but it can always be expanded!