Transwomen making a difference

Stakeholder Engagement Advisor - Family Violence - Job in Hobart - Engender  Equality

I started learning about being an advocate for Engendered Equality working to add a voice on the topic of Violence Against Women four weeks ago. As I have been learning my eyes have been opened to so much. But one of the things that has shocked me has been the continued violence towards all Women including Transwomen. But in my readings I came across a blog that listed about 100-150 people in the transgender community that have committed crimes against women. What the site did not talk about was the fact that many of these attackers were already committing crimes against women before their self-identified gender. To which this creator of the blog also tried to show that all Transpeople were violent sex offenders. Without data to back it all up.

This only showed to the naked eye that she could be right. BUT in a community of 2% of the world population 200 people sounds like a big number. Until you look at the numbers. Two percent might seem high but when you take into account not everyone is out, it is rather close to being correct. In comparison there is 2% of the world who are redheads. Give you an idea on this number is just 156,000,000 and growing. I am not really great at math but damn 150-200 is such a small percentage. Even if you gave a margin of error you would still not have 500. I don’t have the time to compare it to the number of those who are transgender vs the other 98% of the world population. See how stupid it would be to judge just on these numbers alone. Yes, there are monsters out there in all of the 100% of the world population collectively. But you cannot just judge one group right? Because if we did that the numbers of men who have committed crimes against women might, just shock you.

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433,648 on average in the US per year (above the age of 12)

In Australia in 2019*
22,337

*Australia Bureau of Statistics [Link]

So look at those numbers again when you want to draw a line trying to connect the Transgender Community to Sex offenders. Those 200 people that person listed on that site were total not yearly. NOW look at those numbers again. Each year these numbers eb and flow but the average remains the same. While 200 is shameful it is NOT the same as thousands per year.

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But this was not the reason for this post. I wanted to show you a flipped side of the coin of all the good Transwomen and Transmen are doing all over the world. It is about time we put a positive light on this subject. So lets kick this off with…

Janet Mock (writer, activist, author, and former staff editor of People magazine)
Laverne Cox (Actor, producer, advocate)
Chaz Bono (Actor, Singer, Activist)
Andreja Pejić (Model)
Wendy Carlos (Composer, musician)
Lana Wachowski (American filmmaker, producer, comic book writer, screenwriter, Director)
Kim Petras (Pop Singer)
Chelsea Manning (whistleblower of US war crimes)
Dorce Gamalama (Entertainer)
Laura Jane Grace (Musician)
Jin Xing (Ballerina)
Georgina Beyer (NZ politician)
Dr Kalki Subramaniam (artist, writer and entrepreneur)
Catherine Mcgregor (Author, TV Presenter, Cricket Commentator, Australian senior military officer, Speechwriter, Member of the Order of Australia)
Eddie Izzard (Write, Actor, Comedian, Athlete, Author, and Activist) (Phew what have you done lately)
Rebecca Allison (Cardiologist)

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I am not going to give you an answer to everything. I would like you to take the time and have a look at this list that is ongoing [Link]. You might be shocked but I really only wanted to include those in the Transgender communities who are making a positive impact on society as a whole. I steered away from people like Caitlyn Jenner as I felt that they could not meet my personal list with “Positive Impact”. Just because there are monsters out there who might or might not be part of my community we are NOT all like those. No amount of scaremongering will dim the light of what these amazing people have done. You might even dare to ask what these people have done for you. A good amount of us have seen the Matrix movies and been entertained. Some of our freedoms have been secured by others. Your personal life could have been saved. Or even like myself who is an Advocate for Transgender Healthcare and an Advocate for Change (Violence against Women)(In Training). The list is huge of what some of these people have done. I would challenge you just to take the time and have a look at the list.

Talk about a rough week

I had a plan to write something inspiring and uplifting but this was not my week at all. Infact, it was one of the hardest weeks in a long time. Though I am very blessed that I have been back down to a pain level of 5 for the whole week. The cane has had a bit of a rest and I have done a large amount of walking. I even had plans to start doing stairs again (exercise).

But the best laid plans of mice and… As you know we can plan all we want but life like to toss in a mixture of complications some are a welcomed surprise as others drain you of energy. Slowly step by step my youngest daughter is learning this very same thing as she heals. There is a sense of loss for her with not being able to do Jiu-Jitsu for a year. Though I must say her wounds are healing and the scars are looking amazing well healed. But we have had this wonderful time going to and from appointments. Where afterwards we enjoy some time having a lunch in town. Which is rather a nice time to just sit down and chat about how things are going for her. It is a very special bonding time with her. This week was rather rough of her she had to deal with the disappointment of her mother who she feels does not care about her. This took a lot of time to work with and in some ways her brothers are feeling the same thing. Which all I could do is just listen and offer suggestions based upon wisdom of the past. My daughter even called her oldest sister and was left with “Well you know that is mum and she is not going to change”. That was not the answer my youngest wanted to hear but it was what I expected would be said. I try my hardest to cut out my feelings on my ex when talking with my children. I want them to know that person based off of their own dealings with her.

My oldest son (at home) still wants more and more Jiu-Jitsu though knows he will never be supported by the other parent and is not at the point where he wants to make a stand to go without her help. He this week got a new GI for all of his efforts and dedication to the sport. We went with a black GI which he really looks sharp in it. I am glad to say that Hezekiah came with little drama this week. With the exception of wanting to use some wireless headphones of his sister.

I am taking the weekend off…

WEEK 2 of Advocates for Change

Hello all I know I wrote last week about not knowing much when it comes to violence towards women (I know what we all should know). But I did not write to much on how I felt from the moment I was asked to join this opportunity. If there is one thing I am at this moment in time and that is Humbled. I am surrounded by some amazing women in this class. I do not have permission to talk about them so I will pass on letting you know to much. I will end it with I am in awe of them.

One of the things that I have always been upset with as a Transwoman is when someone from my community is given and honor for just being. What I am meaning is when Caitlyn Jenner was given the woman of the year award. This really did leave a huge sour taste in my mouth due to the fact that I knew there was thousands who have done more and affected real change. The only reason she was given that award was for coming out and being famous. I felt like it should not have been done (I still feel that way). I thought that very issue concerning myself when I was asked to apply for this opportunity. Even on day one I felt that I did not belong there with these powerhouses of courage and then there was me. But then I started to think if not me then who? Who in my community would step up and be a voice? I did not hear about bunches of Transwomen applying for this chance. I then thought oh crap I am not polished enough for this opportunity. What if my rough edges are just too rough? I started to doubt my own reasons for applying and that of being asked to apply. There have been so many tears trying to come to terms with my role in this opportunity. But it hit me with an answer to all of my concerns last week when the yearly numbers of Transwomen killed in the world. Where is our voice? Why are our numbers not counted with other women each year that are killed. Could I really speak for those who have had their voices silenced? Do I dare to speak up?

YES I DO

I was concerned that my voice would be challenged by those who hold the idea of Transgender Exclusion. The more I thought of that happening the more I was able to link those actions towards violence directed at women in general. Today’s class we started to look at our talking points. I have a problem with Domestic Violence it has been in my families lives from day dot and now I am a focal point for it as I am Transgender. So I wrote the following as my points.
1) There is no excuse for abuse.
2) We must hold those who commit violence towards women accountable. (Mandatory Sentencing for those commit these crimes.)
3) We must encourage women to have as much education as possible, it lifts families
4) Recognition of Equality lifts society as a whole it is also key to prevention.

Prove me wrong I dare you. Prove my voice does not matter? Prove me wrong that the voices of Transwomen support all women around the world. Even if you think you can, your wrong.

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The fall out

As a person who tends to say what I think. I need to make clear that my choice to be 100% honest and up front with everything and everyone yields results that I am not always ready for. Yes there are times in my life that this has caused problems for me. But in saying that at least people know what they are getting when they deal with me on a daily basis. For good or bad I am me.

I know that I might suggest that everyone takes the same approach to life. BUt this can be very difficult and even at times very unwise. Case in point, one of my children calls the other parent a “Gold Digger” on a regular basis. Their reasons for this are sound and they feel they have enough evidence to back up this statement. We have had conversations on keeping our opinions to ourselves when it directly involves another person. The reason for that is saying such a thing to a person might trigger a response and an action that my child is not ready for.

We see a lot of the time about children and some adults telling others about their LGBT+ status. I am somewhat of the mindset that by doing so they place themselves at an unacceptable risk. We have seen and read about it over the years where a child tells the parent that they are Gay or whatever. Then that parent kicks the child out or even worse violence ensues. Certain times we must measure our choices with possible outcomes and the risks that are associated with them. I have lost contracts as a project manager when I have spoken the truth without thinking of the risks of that truth. Okay I called a major shareholder an idiot for their thoughts on a given subject. It was the truth and the person had no concept on what they were talking about. Everyone in the room appeared to be thinking it. I just happened to be the person that said it. But the rule applies the person with the gold makes the rules. You don’t have to like that rule you just need to understand that it is real and people use it all the time. I know as a parent I have said “It is my house and my rules.” once again the rule of the gold.

Was my hard line needed for that point, yes. Because a child wanted to take something to the other parents house and I knew it would never return. As in the past this has happened and it hurt the child when the other parents actions would not allow it to return. Did the child think on the same lines of thoughts no. The same can be said when we look at talking about being a member of the LGBT+ community. You need to be 100% sure you are safe. That your future is planned to a point where telling that Truth about you can be done safely. If that means waiting until you are out of your parents house with an education. Then be smart and do it that way. I also know that being transgender at times is very difficult if you have dysphoria. But there are ways to approach these topics as well. None of them are just blurting it out. I learned the hard way one that as it lead to violence from the parent I told.

So to wrap it all up be smart in using the complete honesty idea. Sometimes being upfront and pulling no punches approach is not a wise choice. You can still be 100% honest but be smart about when you do it. Don’t just blurt out “Are you and idiot?” that does not always go down well. To this day that guy still hates me. I was in the wrong that day for what I said and how I said it. It all boils down to choice and the timing of what we say.

Quick Update

Over the next few weeks I am going to be focusing on Violence Towards Women. There are number of things that needs to be said before I continue with this focus. First that I know and understand that not all violence towards women is done by men. Sadly though a majority is. Next we need to understand that there MUST be an understanding that there is NO EXCUSE FOR ABUSE in any form towards anyone. I will be focusing on Transwomen as well as those who are Intersexed. Both of these groups receive large amounts of hidden violence directed towards them that is excused away due to the misunderstanding of both communities. Please take the time and read through all the stories and follow the links. I know that it is going to be a learn point for all who do.

Thank you

An understanding

I am doing something that I never thought I would be doing ever in my life. Currently I am taking a class to be advocate against violence towards women. We have all heard the stories and it may have even touched our lives. But the reason I am writing this is because while my families life has been touched by this violence in many different forms I was uneducated about the full impact of this issue. Please understand that I know that there is violence towards men as well. BUT it is not to a point that one could say it should be classified as a epidemic.

Why did I say that lets look at my life. My family would not be here if it was not for a rape that took place with my great grandparents. That act forced a marriage and a child was born from that event (my Grandmother). That Grandmother was abused by her father and was placed in the home of my Great grandfather Grover. My Grandmother was first married to a man who very questionable about his actions towards her. But we now call what he did to her was Emotional Violence. But what was also known that this did not stop with just that. After her divorce that man became violent with his children. At some point this generational violence needed to stop but that was many years later (at least I hoped). Even my own father was violent at times but in saying that he worked hard at changing his ways (to a point). One of my sisters lives was impacted by a violent partner. I was also in two violent relationships and in the end it was the police who ended the violence that was directed towards myself. One of my daughters was sexually assaulted.

Has it ended? NO! Why? Well this is a very good question one that many might not be ready for but I am not one for pulling punches. I am Transgender and my Daughter is questioning her own attraction issues. As a Transwoman I am subjected to violence from places that I never thought in my life would happen. Over the last four years we have seen a rise of many of the extremist fundamentalist in religious circles in so much that it is spilling into politics. These extremists have convinced many of the need for exclusion of the Transcommunity for those that only identify as a female. They continue this violence with the dog whistle of “Women only safe spaces”. Which if you think about it, it is a violent action in itself. By say this they devalue not only the Transgender communities they create a hidden violence that all women are not able of caring for themselves. Which at its core is an action of removing the rights of others while demonising the person who might identify differently. But these actions are much than simple “Dog whistles”. They border on the verge of the scope of propaganda to drive hate towards all Transwomen.

These actions not only are created for hate. They spill forth with a barvado that since a person can devalue a person who is Transgender with impunity, they are then embolden to continue this violence in other areas and towards others. Hatred knows no boundaries nor does it police itself. There is never a fine person who hates another. This type of violence if unchecked and stopped continues to grow exponentially and without remorse for the overall impact.

I thought I knew violence until I was honest about being Transgender. I thought wrong…

We must break the cycle of violence towards women that also includes Transwomen. There is no excuse for abuse even if that abuse comes from one person towards women or a government towards women.

Since I work hard for a greater understanding of the Transcommunity as a whole. I would like to explain some of the violence/abuse that we see directed towards us. Some of these topics I am sure you never looked at as being violent or abusive. BUT they are!

  1. Dead Naming – Ignoring a person’s chosen name and reverting to their old name.
  2. Refusal to use proper pronouns – While it might seem simple pronouns are a sign of personal respect from on to another.
  3. Refusal to accept a person’s transition (surgery does is not a requirement).
  4. Asking if that person has had the “Surgery”.
  5. Asking a person for their “Old” photos.
  6. Asking for a person’s “Dead Name”.
  7. Asking if the person enjoys their “New” gender or surgery.
  8. OUTING – Outing is the act of letting others know about a person being LGBT+. Without the LGBT person’s permission.
  9. Telling a person that they need help.
  10. Being disowned
  11. You can’t use that restroom.
  12. Being stared at for extended period of time. (we call it being read)

This list goes on and on, sadly the ones that are above are the violence I have received over the years. Last point I would like to make is that in the US alone 34 murders have been committed against Transgender Women (link). In Brazil where for a number of years has been one of the highest murder rates of the Transgender Community in 2020 at the time of this writing there have been over 129 murders (link). Violence towards all women must stop.

There is no excuse for abuse

Random Acts of Kindness

I have always been a person who believed in random acts of kindness. It started so many years ago when I saw the power of this in things that I do. One of the reasons I am talking about this is that I would like others to enjoy the blessings of putting it in their lives.

I believe that the good deeds that you do return to you tenfold. They do not happen on our timelines but those of the universe. The more kindness we show the more frequently they are returned. Friday I was a bit sad as my children went for a visit with my ex partner. As I walked away from the bus stop the rain began to lightly fall. As I waited by the traffic light a gentleman stood beside me and I moved my umbrella to cover both of us. While this was a small act of kindness he noticed and said thank you. That for me was more than enough, but we both enjoyed the wonderful rain as we waited. I had some time on my hands and so I went to go get some onion rings. This is my favorite place to do this, they know me as a regular. But this time was different they asked about how Niamh and her surgery went. We had a wonderful chat as I waited for my onion rings. As I walked out the door I noticed a small message on my box of onion rings (this was not normal).

while this event might seem so small in the grand scheme of things. It was what I needed at that moment in time. Some might say that is a fluke and someone is just being nice. In my life it happens so much that I must say it is a payback.

Niamh was feeling a bit down after the surgery as the other parent was not there during or afterwards. But just then someone walked by and gave her a Dinosaur. They did not have to do this but I know my children also work hard on random acts of kindness. So this was a direct payback for her actions.

I knew that as I was getting on the bus to go home a mum and her baby needed to get on before me even though I was ahead of them in the line. I let them go ahead of me. Another small act of kindness, did it cost me anything, never. Do I expect anything in return? No then it is not out of kindness if I expected something.

The more kindness we show towards others it does come back. Sometimes in other simple acts of kindness. Sometimes in grand events like a Dinosaur. What can you do? Give it a try.