"Bollywood Challenge." America's Best Dance Crew. Per. Vogue Evolution. MTV. Season 4, Episode 4. 30 Aug. 2009.
This season on Americas Best Dance Crew on MTV there is a crew from the underground New York "vogue" house/ballroom scene and one of their members of this group is a transgender female, Leiomy Maldonado. In this particular episode they took time to reflect on some backstage "drama" between the group members. Leiomy was feeling what seemed to be homesick and it was affecting the rest of the group. After their dance performance the judges had an opportunity to comment and when judge Lil' Mama got her opportunity this is what she chose to say, "Your behavior...come on...its unacceptable...you need to remember your truth...you were born a man, you are becoming a woman...don't be a bird, like, 'oh my god I'm not doing this'...if you're gonna become a woman, act like a lady...you're doing this for America...even though you're the face of transgender, you're the face for America right now." The minute this came out of Lil' Mama's mouth Leiomy rolled her eyes and then proceeded to look pretty hurt and defeated throughout the rest of the judging. In connecting this to my term it speaks again to this concept of public spectacle like in Paris Is Burning, or with Caster Semenya or Sara Baartman. The fact that Lil'Mama felt it was OK to comment on Leiomy's gender performativity and say she was somehow doing it wrong and commenting on remembering your truth indicating"un-realness." She was basically saying "you're an example for others so you better do it "right!" and she was doing it in the most public way possible.
Thompson, Mark. "Anti-gay Rights Flyer Circulates K'zoo." Wood TV8 20 Oct. 2009. 21 Oct. 2009
In Kalamazoo, Michigan citizens are trying to pass an ordinance that prohibits "discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people for hiring, housing and other accommodations." However, the group that opposes the ordinance, the Kalamazoo Citizens Voting NO to Special Rights Discrimination, has created a flyer that is being distributed depicting several "cross-dressing and transgendered individuals" and addresses the part of the ordinance that deals with public accommodations. The flyer is an attempt to drum up irrational fears of "men" using women's restroom and violating their privacy among other things. It's a tactic to deter people from the real issues. However, the executive director of the Kalamazoo Gay Lesbian Resource Center comments on this fact and further stresses that a man choosing to dress up like a woman to enter a women's restroom with the intent to rape someone, "ordinance or no ordinance, you're not going to stop some sicko (from) doing that. That's not a trans-issue. That's a criminal issue." This article and issue, and aspect of my term, that speaks to the way individuals are un-fairly and ridiculously criminalized as some kind of sexual degenerate that prey on "the innocence of femininity."
Spade, Dean. "Fighting to Win." That's Revolting! Queer Strategies for resisting assimilation. Ed. Matilda and Sycamore. Brooklyn: Soft Show Press, 2004
This essay by Dean Spade highlights some of the issues for low-income queer and trans folks within the GLBT movements and how these issues are being put on the back burner by the movement. In recent years New York state has adopted the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act (SONDA) which excludes gender identity discrimination protection and instead focuses only on sexual orientation. Spade finds this a horrible injustice considering it was the "low-income people, people of color, trans people...and other sex/gender outsiders" that were key in sparking the Stonewall Rebellion in the late sixties which is arguably credited as setting the platform for the GLBT Rights movement. Now we have this seperation between the interests of the "wealthy gay and lesbian people" and the "low income, trans people and queers of color." Spade asks, "What happened to the alliance?" He further reinforces how necessary it is to have a "trans activism and trans analysis" that addresses the most urgent issues facing this community of people. He says, "I'm dead set on seeking an analysis and praxis for trans activism that starts with those facing the most severe consequences of the gender binary: the people who are struggling against white supremacy, xenophobia, ageism, and the criminalization of poverty." (Spade, 32) Spade goes on to describe many of the ways the gender binary of this culture seeks to discriminate against trans people in "education, employment, health care, and public benefits." He also highlights the ways gender binaries are enforced in "gender-segregated facilities and institutions" by way of "humiliation, assault, and rape." (spade, 34) This source ties nicely in with my term as Spade speaks directly about the consequences inflicted on a community of people based on their sex/gender identity. It also points out how their is little being done by the umbrella of GLBT rights to stop these injustices. In another source regarding the use of public restrooms in Kalamazoo this piece compliments it by fleshing out some more details regarding that issue.