A Tale of 2 Nations: Does the Prime Minister’s apology to LGBT people represent a true trend?

By Lynnea Urania Stuart

 

We had long desired to hear words like this.  For Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, at least, they seem demonstrably heart-felt, not just because he said them but because he also took action on behalf of LGBT peoples.  But it will take more than Trudeau to make real change happen in Canada. 

Consider the United States and its longstanding parallel actions with Canada.  The Obama Administration likewise put its best foot forward on behalf of transpeople in its second term.  But with the election of Donald Trump, Evangelical Dominionists have established a clear agenda to reverse all civil rights advances transpeople have secured and return to a policy of ostracism, extermination, and erasure.1

Could we find a similar pattern upcoming in Canada in which apologies and laws become reversed in a similar wave of conservatism?  We may.  The moment we savor now may fade in a reversal of policy in the name of religion much the same way as we found in the Evangelical ascendency in the United States.

 

TRUDEAU ADDRESSES THE POGROMS

Prime Minister Trudeau began his speech to the Canadian Parliament:

 

“One of the greatest choices a person can make in their life is the choice to serve their fellow citizens. Maybe it’s in government, in the military, or in a police force. In whatever capacity one serves, dedicating your life to making Canada—and indeed, the world—a better place is a calling of the highest order.

Now imagine, if you will, being told that the very country you would willingly lay down your life to defend doesn’t want you. Doesn’t accept you. Sees you as defective. Sees you as a threat to our national security. Not because you can’t do the job, or because you lack patriotism or courage—no, because of who you are as a person, and because of who your sexual partners are.

Now imagine, Mr. Speaker, being subjected to laws, policies, and hiring practices that label you as different—as “less than.”

Imagine having to fight for the basic rights that your peers enjoy, over and over again. And imagine being criminalized for being who you are.

This is the truth for many of the Canadians present in the gallery today, and those listening across the country.

This is the devastating story of people who were branded criminals by the government. People who lost their livelihoods, and in some cases, their lives.

These aren’t distant practices of governments long forgotten. This happened systematically, in Canada, with a timeline more recent than any of us would like to admit.

Mr. Speaker, today we acknowledge an often-overlooked part of Canada’s history. Today, we finally talk about Canada’s role in the systemic oppression, criminalization, and violence against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and two-spirit communities.”2

 

These pogroms filled Canadian records during the Cold War era much like they did in the United States for many years.  It began in the 1950’s, a time in which the United States was having enough of the hearing conducted by Senator Joseph McCarthy.  According to Gary Kinsman, a retired Professor of Sociology, a clerk at the Canadian Embassy in Moscow was discovered in 1958 to be homosexual.  He was sent home under the expectation that LGBT peoples would be vulnerable to Soviet blackmail.3

Then the murder of a gay sailor led the Canadian government, with encouragement by U.S. officials, to begin a “gay purge” that continued through the 1960’s and well into the 1990’s, decades after Canada repealed its anti-homosexual laws in 1969.  This was the year of the Stonewall Uprising in New York City, the flash point of the “gay rights” movement.  The Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Military Police conducted surveillance of gay bars in cities throughout Canada and pressured LGBT peoples to identify individual gays and lesbians.  An estimated 9,000 people so identified lost their jobs and security clearances.  Enabling this practice, the RCMP commissioned a psychologist to build what they called a “fruit machine” as a test of sexual orientation.4

 

BROADER SCOPE

When Stonewall hit, another Trudeau served as Prime Minister:  Pierre Elliott Trudeau.  The elder Trudeau hailed from the liberal wing and so acted.  But his service did nothing to reverse Canadian police practices.  In reality, Canadian oppression of LGBT peoples went far beyond the “gay purge” to include racial oppression.

That includes street violence against LGBT peoples, especially transwomen and transpeople “of color.”  Transpeople, most specifically, have been barred from leadership roles.  These arose from attitudes fostered by colonialist policies that also fostered pogroms against indigenous peoples.  The First Nations often held different views with respect to sex and gender than did those more closely associated with the ruling British.  This all fell under a continuing campaign of heteronormativity that never entirely went out of existence.5

Prime Minister Trudeau attempted to address this broader picture:

 

“The very thing Canadian officials feared—blackmail of LGBTQ2 employees—was happening. But it wasn’t at the hands of our adversaries; it was at the hands of our own government.

Mr. Speaker, the number one job of any government is to keep its citizens safe. And on this, we have failed LGBTQ2 people, time and time again.

It is with shame and sorrow and deep regret for the things we have done that I stand here today and say: We were wrong. We apologize. I am sorry. We are sorry.

For state-sponsored, systemic oppression and rejection, we are sorry.

For suppressing two-spirit Indigenous values and beliefs, we are sorry.

For abusing the power of the law, and making criminals of citizens, we are sorry…

To all the LGBTQ2 people across this country who we have harmed in countless ways, we are sorry.

To those who were left broken by a prejudiced system; And to those who took their own lives—we failed you. For stripping you of your dignity; For robbing you of your potential; For treating you like you were dangerous, indecent, and flawed;

We are sorry.

To the victims of the purge, who were surveilled, interrogated, and abused; Who were forced to turn on their friends and colleagues; Who lost wages, lost health, and lost loved ones;

We betrayed you. And we are so sorry.

To those who were fired, to those who resigned, and to those who stayed at a great personal and professional cost; To those who wanted to serve, but never got the chance to because of who you are—you should have been permitted to serve your country, and you were stripped of that option.

We are sorry. We were wrong.”6

 

The Prime Minister didn’t just speak to the recent oppression, but to issues running for centuries before there was ever a Canadian government:

 

Discrimination against LGBTQ2 communities is not a moment in time, but an ongoing, centuries-old campaign.

We want to be a partner and ally to LGBTQ2 Canadians in the years going forward. There are still real struggles facing these communities, including for those who are intersex, queer people of colour, and others who suffer from intersectional discrimination.

Transgender Canadians are subjected to discrimination, violence, and aggression at alarming rates. In fact, trans people didn’t even have explicit protection under federal human rights legislation until this year…

And, Mr. Speaker, I am proud to say that earlier today in this House we tabled the Expungement of Historically Unjust Convictions Act. This will mean that Canadians previously convicted of consensual sexual activity with same-sex partners will have their criminal records permanently destroyed.

Further, I am pleased to announce that over the course of the weekend, we reached an agreement in principle with those involved in the class action lawsuit for actions related to “the purge.”

Never again will our government be the source of so much pain for members of the LGBTQ2 communities.

We promise to consult and work with individuals and communities to right these wrongs and begin to rebuild trust. We will ensure that there are systems in place so that these kinds of hateful practices are a thing of the past. Discrimination and oppression of LGBTQ2 Canadians will not be tolerated anymore.7

 

Prime Minister Trudeau speaks of some genuinely substantial measures.  The Canadian government earmarked 100 million Canadian dollars to settle a class-action lawsuit filed by victims of the “gay purge.”  The Prime Minister also seeks to push through a bill to expunge the records of those criminalized in this pogrom.8

 

THE UNITED STATES BACKTRACKS

Prime Minister Trudeau’s actions are certainly more consistent with those of the latter part of the Obama years.  But the Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015 brought about a major outcry in the Evangelical ranks, most specifically those political parachurch entities seeking establishment of allied Evangelicals as a theocracy. The 2016 drive in anti-transgender legislation arose from this outrage.

About the same time that Prime Minister Trudeau delivered his apology, what did the United States do?  The Senate confirmed Gregory Katsas, legal advisor to Donald Trump, to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit with a vote along party lines, 50-48.  The National Center for Transgender Equality blasted this move:

 

 “As deputy white house counsel, Katsas helped draft the White House memo formalizing President Trump’s transgender military ban as well as the president’s Muslim travel ban. Katsas has confirmed that he also advised on numerous administration attacks on LGBTQ people, including the February withdrawal of lifesaving guidance supporting transgender students, an aggressive Justice Department brief arguing federal civil rights laws do not protect LGBTQ people, and a brief in the Supreme Court arguing for a constitutional right to discriminate.”9

 

We can look at these trends in 2 different ways.

One the one hand we may look at Canada in terms of homo-nationalism, positing that this apology demonstrates that Canada is more advanced and civilized than the United States.  But ask the indigenous peoples whether this apology gains their trust any more.  After all, attacks upon 2 Spirit people has long been an attack upon native cultures and complaints of indigenous peoples disappearing and sometimes being found murdered in Canada have not gone away.10

On the other hand, we may look at Canada in terms of the continuing ebb and flow of liberalism in politics.  It’s the same ebb and flow we have experienced in the United States, with sharp differences noted since the last presidential election.  The confirmation of Gregory Katsas isn’t just an issue for the Court of Appeals.  The appointment sets him up to be appointed to the Supreme Court as well.

What that means for Canada is that religious inclinations of Canadian Evangelicals may easily echo those of the U.S. Midwest and South, and their anti-transgender disposition as displayed at local levels, most particularly schools, has yet to rise in its full force at the federal level.11

 

READYING THE NEXT CYCLE

The United States may experience some serious shifts in the electorate, possibly as a result of Trump’s tax plan in which property taxes and mortgages no longer may be deducted.  That’s largely directed against the large states, most notably New York and California.12 We may ask who are more likely to be harmed by such a move.  Will it be the GOP that backs the big corporations or the Democrats who have relied upon union ranks over the years?  More likely it’s the latter.  We may easily see population shifts over the next decade in which left-leaning voters move to what are now largely red states, simply because they must in order  to survive.

Another aspect enters the picture:  those mom and pop small businesses that have heavily supported the GOP since the Reagan era.  If these entrepreneurs find themselves disaffected by the GOP, many will probably not remain Republican.  Some may turn Democrat, many more will probably declare themselves Independent.  If the Democrats gain appeal to this segment, we may see a full reversal of many states from red to blue. 

With such a trend should come another wave of liberal thought, most specifically toward civil rights. The Democrats should sponsor a “Civil Rights Restoration Act” or something to that effect in future years, specifically to reverse the civil rights policies of Donald Trump that facilitate human rights abuses.

Should the United States find itself in that zone, where will we find Canada?  It largely depends upon whether religionist Canadians desire to repeat the U.S. experience.  Some undoubtedly will.  But will most?  That remains to be seen.  But we would be naïve to think that Canadians are altogether as nice as depicted in the satirical film Canadian Bacon.13

If Canada finds itself in a reversal comparable to that of the United States, Prime Minister Trudeau’s apology will be deemed a hollow one.  For indigenous peoples and those LGBT, it may seem like déjà vu.  There may have been a settlement.  Records may have been expunged.  But a new wave of pogroms could easily take hold again despite the Prime Minister’s wishes, simply because Dominionists demand to rule the Dominion of Canada like they demand to rule the United States.

______________________________

REFERENCES:

Featured Image: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, official portrait (Wikimedia Commons).

  1. Lynnea Urania Stuart. “The Collapse of Dominionism” Trans Muse Planet (July 22, 2017) https://thetmplanet.com/the-dominionist-collapse-when-transpeople-face-theocracy/.
  2. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, (text of speech delivered to the Canadian Parliament November 28, 2017)
  3. Ian Austen. “Victims of Canada’s ‘Gay Purge’ to Get Apology from Trudeau” New York Times (November 21, 2017, accessed December 2, 2017) https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/21/world/canada/gays-trudeau-apology.html?_r=0.
  4. Ibid.
  5. John Paul Catungal. “Justin Trudeau’s Apology to LGBTQ People Isn’t Enough” US News and World Report (November 28, 2017, accessed December 2, 2017) https://www.usnews.com/news/best-countries/articles/2017-11-28/justin-trudeaus-apology-to-lgbtq-people-isnt-enough
  6. Trudeau (text of speech to the Canadian Parliament November 28, 2017).
  7. Ibid.
  8. “Trudeau apologises for discrimination against LGBT people” BBC (November 28, 2017, accessed December 2, 2017) http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-42157806
  9. Mara Kiesling. “Legal Architect of Anti-Trans Attacks Confirmed to nations Second-Highest Court” NCTE (Press Release November 28, 2017, accessed December 3, 2017) https://transequality.org/press/releases/legal-architect-of-anti-trans-attacks-confirmed-to-nation-s-second-highest-court.
  10. Alan Freeman. “The mystery of 1.000 missing and murdered indigenous women in Canada” Washington Post (August 4, 2017, accessed December 3, 2017) https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2016/08/04/the-mystery-of-1000-missing-and-murdered-indigenous-women-in-canada/?utm_term=.c2bb1ebc99b2.
  11. Anna Mehler Paperny. “Transgender people still not counted in Canada’s hate crimes data” Global News ( April 13, 2016, accessed December 3, 2017) https://globalnews.ca/news/2634576/trans-people-still-not-counted-in-canadas-hate-crimes-data/.
  12. Ed Kilgore. “Trump Tax Bill Hammers New York and California” New York Magazine (November 2, 2017, accessed December 3, 2017) http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/11/trump-tax-bill-hammers-new-york-and-california.html.
  13. “Canadian Bacon (1995) Plot” IMDb (accessed December 3, 2017) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0109370/plotsummary.
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A New Phase for Title VII: The U.S. District Court bucks the Attorney General

By Lynnea Urania Stuart

 

In light of recent developments at the Department of Justice, this was an astonishing decision.  It’s also ironic that this should take place in Oklahoma, one of the most staunchly Republican states in the country.  It was even more ironic that this should take place at the International Transgender Day of Remembrance.  On November 20, a jury awarded $1,165,000 to a transitioning professor on a case appealing to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.1

Title VII addresses discrimination on the basis of sex.  Attorneys for transpeople have over many years asserted that sex discrimination should also pertain to gender identity, though others have held that Title VII only pertains to the traditionally intended dichotomous sex and nothing more.  President Barack Obama sided with the former view when he issued guidelines regarding employment of transpeople.2  Those connected with the current administration hold the latter view, culminating in a memo issued by Attorney General Jeff Sessions asserting on October 5 that transpeople are excluded from Title VII.3

But the U.S. District Court said in effect, “Not so fast.”  In the course of the proceedings of Dr. Rachel Tudor v. Southeastern Oklahoma State University and the Regional University System of Oklahoma, the court addressed a 2007 case: Etsitty v. UTA, a precedent involving employment termination of a transsexual upon which the Defense relied.4  Not only did Tudor’s case pass the initial hearing to establish a prima facie case, overcoming Etsitty, it went to full civil trial with a jury and the Plaintiff won.  Like so many other cases of this nature, the whole country could hear the gavel going down.

 

BACKGROUND OF THE TUDOR CASE

Rachel Tudor, PhD was employed by Southeastern Oklahoma State University when she advised the university that she was transitioning from male to female.  The decision from the initial hearing states what happened next:

“Plaintiff argues that she suffered more than a handful of sporadic insults, incidents, or comments. Rather, she argues that every day over the course of a four-year period she had restrictions on which restrooms she could use, restrictions on how she could dress, what makeup she could wear. She also was subjected to hostilities from administrators targeting her gender, such as using an improper pronoun to refer to her and other gender-based hostilities.”5

This culminated in denial of an application for tenure and subsequent dismissal from the university.6 The university did not have a policy at all addressing transgender discrimination.7 The university also claimed that the Plaintiff “is not subject to protection under Title VII because her status as a transgender person is not a protected class, relying on Etsitty v. Utah Transit Auth., 502F.3d 1215, 1215, 1220 (10 Cir. 2017).”8

 n which case, the Etsitty case offers the central argument in Tudor.  We must go back and look at the context of the argument.

 

THE ETSITTY CASE

The full name of this Utah case is Krystal S. Etsitty, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Utah Transit Authority;  Betty Shirley, in her individual and official capacities, Defendants-Appellees.  Betty Shirley was the Operations Manager at UTA.  Etsitty was hired by UTA 4 years after she had begun hormone replacement therapy but was still pre-operative at the time of her termination.  But she had presented herself as a male during her training period.9

After her hire she met with her supervisor Pat Chatterton, telling him that she was in transition, would present as a female and would be using female rest rooms.  Chatterton offered his support and expressed that there should be no issue with her transitioning at work.  But then the Operations Manager heard a rumor that a male driver was using makeup and using female rest rooms.  She and the Human Resources Generalist arranged a meeting with Etsitty and expressed concern about UTA’s liability, especially if Etsitty switched back and forth between male and female rest rooms.  UTA placed Etsitty on administrative leave, then terminated her, indicating that after gender confirmation surgery she would be eligible for rehire.  Etsitty filed suit, claiming unlawful gender discrimination, and violating Title VII and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.  Etsitty claimed the termination was specifically because she was transsexual and that this was about not conforming to UTA’s expectations of stereotypically male behavior.  UTA argued that transsexuals are not a protected class and not covered under Title VII.  The court agreed and this was backed up at the Appellate level.10

When it comes to anyone seeking out precedents, attorneys will be inclined to seek out the most recent examples.  The reason is logical.  Rulings get reversed and courts look at why they’re reversed.  For years, Etsitty v. UTA set the standard for Title VII appeals with respect to transsexual status.

 

AN EVOLVING PHILOSOPHY OF SEX AND GENDER

This occurred before the election of Barack Obama to the White House.  The Obama Administration didn’t even open up to the idea of trans rights in the first term, following the vernacular at the time.  The public mind linked trans rights to LGBT rights generally, most specifically with respect to same sex marriage.  In his first term, the president stated his ideas were “evolving”.11 The person who seems to have influenced the president the most with respect to transpeople was Vice President Joe Biden who never failed to exude a happy live and let live philosophy.12  Not until 2012 do we find any ruling by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) stating that Title VII does indeed apply to transpeople.13

This all reflected a widening discussion of sex and gender all over the United States.  Since the founding of the nation, sex and gender had been regarded as one and the same, immutable and obvious.  Any deviation was regarded as a monstrosity, abnormal, abominable, and deserving of the most intense punishment in the name of Almighty God.  It’s a philosophy that exacted infant surgeries upon those intersex individuals whose variations were externally obvious.  Those whose variations weren’t were summarily kept hush-hush and society pretended they didn’t happen.  In all that time nobody even began to consider that sex and gender may not be the same thing and when Christine Jorgenson hit the American press like wildfire in the 1950’s her case aroused ridicule and condemnation.14 The idea of “transgender” in any capacity was considered patently absurd.  In many religious communities it still is.

When transpeople gained recognition in the popular mind it was, unfortunately, through the sex industry.  After all, 19% of us turned to sex work to survive at some time or other and that represents a number in the hundreds of thousands.15 A lot of that sex work translated into pornography. That’s what trans visibility was to the public for a great many years, feeding stereotypes that ignored the 81% who never sold their bodies for money, food, or a place to sleep.

It would take a great many more years for a large percentage of the public to grasp the idea that the gender dichotomy is wrong and that sex and gender for some people do not align, driving dysphoric individuals to seek medical intervention.  The ones most resistant to this view are the religious who have never relinquished their claims to reserving interpretations of language as an exclusive right of the clergy, whether Roman Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant.

Since the rise of Jerry Fallwell’s Moral Majority in the 1980 election we have seen a gradual Dominionist hijack of the GOP.  Today’s Republicans aren’t typically Reagan style Republicans let alone Lincoln style Republicans.  After all, civil rights was a Republican issue in the form of Abolitionism when that party first gained power in 1860. But in the 2016 election, the GOP listed its endorsement of anti-transgender legislation in its platform pursuant to the demands of Evangelical Dominionist organizations.16

But the Oklahoma jury in Tudor demonstrated that civil rights need not and should not be a partisan issue, even though the GOP sought to make it so.  It remained in the spirit of the original Civil Rights Act which, though pushed through by President Lyndon Johnson, was supported on both sides of the aisle.17

 

A JUDICIAL REBUKE

It’s easy to see how the change in the national discussion concerning sex and gender makes a difference in terms of civil rights.  If sex and gender are immutable, exacted by a gender dichotomy, then there should be no need for the civil rights of a people deemed not to exist.  If, however, variations happen, then it behooves people to find a way to live with people who embody those variations.  This was the message of the Oklahoma jury with its decision on Dr. Tudor’s award and what Judge Robin J. Cauthron admitted in that trial concerning Title VII.

Though caution is still warranted given the actions of the Justice Department earlier this year, Etsitty v. Utah Transit Authority can no longer be regarded as a precedent offering definite protection from Title VII litigation.  The reason for caution is obvious.  This case will very likely be re-addressed at the Appellate level.  It may even reach the U.S. Supreme Court.  We may see reversal before a ruling at the highest court.

The Supreme Court is by no means a lock in favor of trans rights, especially while the GOP remains so determined to replace retiring justices throughout the federal judiciary with Gorsuch-style Conservatives who assert Justice Anthony Scalia’s assertions that interpretation must be made upon originally conceived definitions, not definitions that evolve as society evolves.18

It means stacking the court system with people committed to the Dominionist agenda, leaving us with a only prayer of hope that facts will rule minds instead of whether they get to participate in communion services at church.  After all, the Supreme Court didn’t rule in Obergefell v. Hodges with a wide margin at all.  The vote was 5-4.19

Obergefell was the 2015 decision that rendered same-sex marriage legal nationwide.  That happened with a moderately Conservative court, and with the retirement of an aging Justice Ruth Ginsburg, the court could become decisively Conservative with a possible future reversal of Obergefell, and consequent hostility toward trans rights generally.20

But in the meantime we can be thankful that the Oklahoma jury in Tudor v. UTA understood the issues of sex and gender, rendering the verdict that they did.  It’s a decision that could go a long way in a nation whose leaders have been whittling away at the rights of transpeople almost every month.  We can only hope that the spirit of this jury will also be represented in the decisions to come, judges and juries examining facts despite Conservatives pointing to the judges as “activists”.  Of course, if broad and equal examination of fact is the music of activism, play on.  Play on.

_____________________________

REFERENCES:

Featured Image:  a black and white detail of a widely circulated portrait of Dr. Rachel Tudor (source unknown) superimposed upon an image from Southeastern Oklahoma State University (Wikimedia).

  1. “Jury Awards Transgender Professor 1.1 Million Discrimination Case” NBC News (November 21, 2017, accessed November 22, 2017) https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/jury-awards-transgender-professor-1-1-million-discrimination-case-n822646
  2. Sandra Pullman. “EEOC Holds That Title VII Prohibits Discrimination on the Basis of Transgender Status”American Bar (May 2012, accessed November 23, 2017) https://www.americanbar.org/content/newsletter/groups/labor_law/ll_hottopics/2012_aball_hottopics/5-2012hot_eeoc.html
  3. Charlie Savage. “In Shift, Justice Dept. Says Law Doesn’t Bar Transgender Discrimination” New York Times (October 5, 2017, accessed November 22, 2017) https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/05/us/politics/transgender-civil-rights-act-justice-department-sessions.html
  4. Cauthron, Robin J., U.S. District Judge “Memorandum Opinion and Order” Rachel Tudor v. Southeastern Oklahoma State University and the Regional University System of Oklahoma (October 26, 2017, accessed November 22, 2017) Case No. CIV-15-324-C, p. 4. https://www.laborandemploymentlawcounsel.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/224/2017/11/Tudor-v-SE-Oklahoma-State-U-No-15-324-C-WD-OK-10-26-2017.pdf
  5. Ibid, p. 3.
  6. Ibid, p. 1.
  7. Ibid, p. 4.
  8. Ibid.
  9. S. Court of Appeals, 10th Circuit. “Etsitty v. UTA” FindLaw (September 20, 2007, accessed November 22, 2017) http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-10th-circuit/1468866.html
  10. Ibid.
  11. Zeke J. Miller. “Obama Says He Didn’t Mislead on Gay Marriage” Time (February 11, 2015, accessed November 23, 2017) http://time.com/3704760/barack-obama-gay-marriage-david-axelrod/.
  12. Glenn Thrush and Jennifer Epstein. “W.H.” Biden forced Obama’s hand” Politico (May 10, 2012, accessed November 23, 2017) https://www.politico.com/story/2012/05/obama-expected-to-speak-on-gay-marriage-076103.
  13. Pullman
  14. Chris Wild “Ex-GI Becomes Blonde Beauty” Mashable (1951, Accessed November 23, 2017) http://mashable.com/2015/04/27/christine-jorgensen/#wuwvvtl8lGq2.
  15. James, S. E., Herman, J. L., Rankin, S., Keisling, M., Mottet, L., & Anafi, M. “The Report of the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey” (2016) Washington, DC: National Center for Transgender Equality, p. 158.
  16. Republican National Platform Committee. “Republican Platform, 2016” (presented to the delegates of the GOP National Convention August 2016)
  17. (n.a.) “Delivering on a Dream: The House and the Civil Rights Act of 1964” Oral History (n.d., accessed November 23, 2017) http://history.house.gov/Exhibitions-and-Publications/Civil-Rights/1964-Essay/.
  18. Jonathan HJ. Adler “Gorsuch’s judicial philosophy is like Scalia’s – with one big difference” Washington Post (February 1, 2017, accessed November 23, 2017) https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/gorsuchs-judicial-philosophy-is-like-scalias–with-one-big-difference/2017/02/01/44370cf8-e881-11e6-bf6f-301b6b443624_story.html?utm_term=.9ab3ee39d615.
  19. (n.a.) “James Obergefell, et al, Petitioner” Oyez, Docket 14-556, Supreme Court (June 26, 2015, accessed November 23, 2017) https://www.oyez.org/cases/2014/14-556.
  20. Jonathan Turley. “Opinion: Ginsburg gambled to stay and now she may lose her legacy” The Hill (April 10, 2017, accessed November 23, 2017) http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/the-judiciary/328151-ginsburg-gambled-to-stay-on-the-supreme-court-now-she-may.
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Preserving Our Stories: Today and the Future of the International Transgender Day of Remembrance

By Lynnea Urania Stuart

Of all transgender events, none has brought us together more and none has been more commonly held sacred than this one.  It’s easy to see how the International Transgender Day of Remembrance has made such an impact:  an appeal to conscience, a sense that each of us could be next to be murdered, and now in the age of Trump, a furthering of resolve to survive against a social order that calls for our erasure.

Those who want us to not be remembered regard our blood as cheap.  After all, we’re stereotypically hypersexualized fiends, profligate sinners, and every one a filthy prostitute (despite the fact that only 19%, fewer than 1 out of 5 of us, have had any part in the sex industry whether for money, food, or shelter,1 and most transpeople really do hold positions of responsibility).  It’s a cheapening in the public mind on the basis of stigma, fueling panic defenses in the courts, and leading to reduced sentences upon those who kill us.  But our blood must not be cheapened.  We need the truth to be told.  The Day of Remembrance, for all of what it has lacked, has brought out more of that truth than has been available to previous generations.  Now, we need to take new steps to advance its message.

 

A VOICE AT UNITED NATIONS SQUARE

This writer, in response to an invitation received through correspondence from the Transgender Civil Rights Implementation Task Force and Transgender San Francisco, stood at United Nations Square near San Francisco City Hall on a cold and windy night, November 20, 2000.  This event wasn’t the first Day of Remembrance.  One had been held previously at the Castro District on a drippy night.  That Day of Remembrance was much like any street protest.2

This one at United Nations Square offered the same outrage, but with added dimensions.

Rita Hester and those for whom she stood vicariously in 1999 weren’t the focus of this Day of Remembrance.3 We had a list for a reading of the names and a bell to ring in a public memorial, months before similar traditions of remembrance after the Attacks of 9-11.  That evening we had barely a dozen names to remember.  Today’s global networking for the collection of victims to be remembered didn’t exist then.  Gwendolyn Ann Smith, the event Founder, told that evening’s that the Day of Remembrance will be held every year for as long as our people continue to be murdered in hate crimes.

With those words, we knew something special was happening.  The wind blew fiercely through the urban canyons, blowing out candles, but everyone was eager to offer a relight.  The cold wind threatened our lights like the societal winds of hate threaten us.  Defiance was in our hearts even while we shivered.  We could hear those laughing in mockery as they passed by.  But we didn’t care.  We were witnessing history and affirmed the goodness of the message.

Those of us who went to our homes that night took the event with us.  The Transgender Day of Remembrance spread throughout the country the following year, and thereafter, the world.

 

THE CURRENT YEAR OF BLOOD

This year we’ve seen various news sources speak of 2017 as the deadliest year on record for transpeople.  However, news sources in the United States don’t usually offer the worldwide picture.  They specifically focus upon the United States.  Yes. We have 25 murdered in the United States in 2017 including some you may have known yourself on Facebook or your local support group.

The advantage the U.S. media offers consists of a greater interest in how the victims lived.  The real legacies of the victims emerge in those stories.  Some great societal contributors have been killed including Alejandro Polanco Botero of, Risaralda, Colombia, a known attorney, shot 4 times by a hit man.  Most of us haven’t risen to his status.4

Have we seen sex workers murdered?  Certainly.  But others had higher level jobs.  Sex workers typically have higher aspirations than sex work too.  We include them because they shouldn’t have had to live as sex workers.

Have we seen drug addicts and alcoholics murdered?  Certainly.  But most weren’t addicts.  Most addicts would prefer a better life too.  We include them because they deserved help and often found exploitation and rejection instead.

Have we seen transgender homeless murdered?  Certainly.  But most weren’t homeless.  Those who were didn’t necessarily have addictions or were mentally ill.  More and more of today’s homeless have degrees, even Masters degrees.  This writer has seen evidence of this who also suffered 2 years of homelessness.  More of us have fitfully slept on cold concrete in the presence of rats and vermin than admit.  Anyone, trans or not, who thinks he’s immune from this may well experience a rude awakening.

Too many of us feel compelled to work in the underground economy because of rampant and now legally sanctioned discrimination, often in the name of religion.  Sometimes the same kinds of religionists are clients.  That compulsion doesn’t cheapen their blood, even if others self-righteously think that their non-involvement in the underground economy somehow makes their blood better.  It doesn’t.  Given similar conditions, most of us would probably find ourselves in similar occupations.

What we demand of society instead is to change the status quo that excludes us from opportunities to live in peace, a status quo that heaves us down again and again and again.  It’s a status quo that delights to impose an impenetrable stigma, relying upon lies such as “they’re sick and self-destructive because they’re transgender, therefore they can’t be trusted but should be summarily incarcerated or otherwise destroyed.”

How many have we seen murdered worldwide this year?  Transgender Europe (TGEU) has for many years now compiled lists through the Trans Murder Monitoring Project (TMM) and earlier this week released its list for the 2017 Day of Remembrance.  The number murdered this time:  325, up from 295 in the 2015-2016 cycle.5

Some of the murders are especially outrageous, even gruesome.  Some, including some whose identities remain concealed, had faces ripped off their heads or otherwise disfigured.  Others, like Amna and Meena were tortured in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, “packed in sacks and thrashed with sticks” after police arrested them.  Some like Sherlyn Montoya of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, went missing.  Sherlyn’s body was found in a sack with signs of torture.  Vanessa Valenzuela of Nina del Mar, Chile was attacked by 5 people with hammers and sticks while yelling, “kill the fag!”  Kenneth Bostick of New York City was living in a homeless shelter when beaten into a coma with a metal pipe, dying more than a week later at Bellevue Hospital.  Some, like J.R.P. Mangalili of Bulacan, Philippines were disrespected in death, buried in a manner inconsistent with their gender identities.  The body of Rubi Guerrero of La Altagracia, Dominican Republic was found dismembered.   Gwenevere River Song of Waxahachie, Iowa, was non-binary, but shot and killed by their own father.  Others were shot, stabbed, stoned, burned, beaten, decapitated, or some combination thereof.6

 

FILLING IN THE GAPS

325 is an astonishing number.  The number includes those killed from October 1, 2016 to September 20, 2017.  For the official list from TMM, click here.

TGEU has been unexcelled in this kind of service and to them we owe a great debt of gratitude.  Of course, there are some natural limitations to its lists, even apart from reports arriving with little information, sometimes not even a name.  TGEU has in the past published a list a couple of weeks in advance of the Day of Remembrance followed by an update a few days before observances.  More recently they simply published a list.  We’re entering the Day of Remembrance with a month and a half gap which would have to be filled the following year and with little for event organizers to assimilate in barely a week’s time.

Likewise we haven’t regular updates of those being remembered in the International Transgender Day of Remembrance website like we’ve seen in previous years, though it was recently updated for the 2017 event.7  Nor can we reasonably expect it.  It may be that these and other sites dedicated to remembering our dead need a broader base of support and we haven’t given them these sites the support they really need.  That need goes beyond site maintenance.  If you can contribute to site maintenance, by all means, contact the owners.

But with regard to reporting and distribution of information, we should look at what has worked and what still needs to be done.

Transgender Europe doesn’t do the Trans Murder Monitoring Project on its own. It partners with other networking organizations, most notably in Latin America.  Among these are:

  • APTN, Covering Southeast Asia, most specifically the Philippines
  • Centro de Apoyo a las Identidades Trans, covering Latin America, primarily Spanish-speaking regions
  • Rede Trans Brasil, covering the Portugese-speaking regions of the Americas
  • Wajood covering the Subcontinent8

Though these networks have provided excellent service year after year, we obviously show gaps with respect to coverage.  We have nothing from the Russian Federation, Central Asia, China and Mongolia, the Middle East, or Africa except meager press reports.  We can expect that the 325 would be a much higher number if we had better, sympathetic coverage.  The Day of Remembrance website has relied upon the press, and so naturally has produced a smaller number to be remembered than what has come through TGEU and its partner organizations.

We need more regional partnerships like them to fill in these gaps, whether connected to TGEU or some other organization with similar service.  Up till 2015 we had a U.S. based site for the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) doing work parallel to that of TGEU and purported to open case numbers for follow-up.  When it ran, any subscriber could obtain an update only days old.  However, that site has closed and nothing in the United States has replaced it.

We need to expand the role of support organizations in a way that might not have previously been considered.  They can provide its members a repository for their stories available to others, even if they must be embodied by alternate names in those parts of the world particularly known for religious and political oppression and whose identities must be guarded carefully. By doing so they would gain greater incentive for people to take memberships.  Every officer of a support group could potentially become a liaison to a larger network who could not only report cases of murders, but also tell us how those people lived, what they can teach the rest of us, and possibly to draw patterns as to how to prevent murders in the future.

It is, in a way, a repository of souls.

 

HOW IT MAY WORK

For that matter, murders committed as hate crimes only represent part of the general milieu of calamity that can befall transpeople, each of whose stories could be easily overlooked or expunged. Some of us go missing.  Some become exploited in the underground economy.  Some face incarceration in which a person may or may not be able to communicate with the outside world.  Some cases should become known to law enforcement providing those authorities will not be inclined to inflict harm upon transpeople in the first place.

Part of the responsibility of remembrance rests upon the individual.  Some of us already have written our stories and distributed them to trusted individuals.  Some of us even put them on personal websites and Facebook pages.  These same profiles can be registered with a member of a support organization entrusted with secretarial duties, either to a paper file or to a laptop that could be secured separate from personal computers, especially in politically hostile areas.

Larger support organizations typically register members with 2 naming criteria:  the name to be used for mail and the name the individual prefers to be known in that group.  The reason for this is a matter of security with respect to confidentiality and expediting mail service.  If we know a person as “Sarah” and the post office knows that person as “Thomas”, a post office may at times reject mail as undeliverable because mail to person under a different name would technically be considered a form of mail fraud.  If everyone knows what the deal really is, it hurts nobody and a local postmaster may be sympathetic.  Others demand an ID in the preferred name.  But no support organization can count on postmaster sympathy.  Neither will a support organization want to expose a transperson to a hostile household member unwittingly.  That would go against their mission and ethics.9

An individual needs to make such profiles a part of a system of notifications that can be updated periodically in the same way other vital notifications need periodic updating as part of emergency packages.  They include:

  1. A Last Will and Testament: This document does more than list executors and property to be dispensed. It also addresses the dispensation of other accounts.  Mine, for example, is set up in such a way that updating information is done with attachments clipped to the Will.  These attachments pertain to lists of people to be notified and how to notify them.  They include the most current information on intellectual property with  copyrights and other publishing codes including job numbers, organizations being used in publishing and marketing, usernames, passwords, and current representatives.  They also include Internet accounts with current usernames and passwords that change from time to time, changing frequently after a cyber attack.  By using attachments for this purpose with the Will referencing those attachments, there’s no need to change the Will itself.  That way I don’t have to go through the pain of rounding up a new set of witnesses every time I change a password or marketing service.10
  2. A Living Will: This document directs any medical facility concerning who can make medical decisions for the maker in case the maker becomes incapacitated but remains alive. It does this through a Durable Power of Attorney.  It also provides Advance Directives to that facility concerning life-sustaining treatment and other preferences for medical treatment.  It addresses extreme conditions like coma or extreme brain damage.  It addresses issues of feeding, hydration, experimental treatments, mental illness, transfusions, RFID implants, and harvesting of organs for transplant as well as how closely these directives must be followed.  These advance directives become part of the patient’s Chart and may be the only thing that stands between a decision for no heroic measures in medical treatment and possibly being kept alive for years against the patient’s wishes while draining the patient’s estate.  Some facilities want a notarized Living Will.  Others accept any signed Living Will with 2 witnesses.  Some, like medical centers run by the Veterans Administration, have a particular form for Living Wills.  But even a VA facility may regard a Living Will using a different format as authoritative so long as it addresses the same set of concerns.  Consult your local facility or facilities concerning their requirements, noting that the range of ambulance services for your area might not reach your preferred facility.11

Accompanying these documents I also propose adding a postcard notifying a support organization.  It would work best if the support organization uses a post office box with the card addressed to the “Post Office Box Holder” or “Occupant” if addressed to an office other than that of, say, a physician or attorney.  The card would be marked with a Profile Number connected to a profile previously registered with the secretary and may be the same as a Membership Number.  The card information would be titled, “Vital Notification” or something to that effect.  It might have a brief checklist that includes:

  1. “Deceased”
  2. “Missing”
  3. “Incarcerated”
  4. “Date Deceased, Missing, or Incarcerated”
  5. “Communications Allowed If Incarcerated?” (yes or no)
  6. “New Address of Incarcerated” to be filled in by household representative.
  7. “Does the personal or household representative wish to be contacted?”
  8. “Representative Contact Information (optional)”

A Profile Number not only would be indexed to a registered profile telling the story as a transperson, it would be indexed to other existing information of a member including a legal name and possibly other names used.  It would also be indexed to a document not all support organizations include in their membership rolls:  Advance Notification Directives, a statement on how further notifications may be carried out by that organization.  This would also need to be referenced in a group’s Privacy Statement that should accompany an Application.  In a sense, Advance Notification Directives function much like Advance Directives do to medical facilities to assure confidentiality and follow-up.  If a member is in trouble, how can the trans community help?  Who in the trans community needs to be notified?  Will a liaison need to work alongside law enforcement?  To what extent should information be released to the press?  Do pre-existing threats exist?

You can see how this elevates the purpose of a support organization.  It becomes more than just a group one attends once a month for psychological warm fuzzies.  It takes the proportion of genuinely contributing to the safety or its members, and potentially, society at large.

Specifics concerning these documents need to be addressed by the officers of the support organization in their meetings because they have practical and possibly legal ramifications.  There should also be a designated liaison to communicate with the household representative, law enforcement, or any other interested agency and who understands how to exercise discretion.  That may include investigating circumstances of incarceration, whether justly applied for a crime or unjustly due to abuse of psychiatry.   That may include investigating circumstances behind murder and cooperation with law enforcement helps in advancing good relations with cities and counties.

The information obtained at the local support group level should become linked to any existing report in the local press which may or may not actually identify a victim as transgender.  It may reveal that a transperson not being respected after death through internment as a member of an imposed sex inconsistent with gender identity.  The local liaison notifies a regional networking organization with monitoring of murders in its mission.  The regional network communicates with organizations including TGEU who compile worldwide lists of deceased transpeople.  This can also be expanded to include lists of those being exploited or unjustly incarcerated.  It may even be used to address issues behind suicide, most specifically bullying and doxxing.

 

WORKING AROUND LIMITATIONS

Of course, not all places in the world can operate like this.  While this may suffice for transpeople in more enlightened areas like Johannesburg, Beirut, Shanghai, or Ho Chi Minh City, it may be too dangerous a practice for places like Kampala, Tripoli, Basra, or Bishkek.  Personal information may be too sensitive to entrust to one person and profiles may not be linked to any address in any way at all.  They may not even contain images that can potentially identify an individual not yet deceased.  Wherever transpeople manage to form associations, they need to address how to best preserve safety for one another and exercise discretion; and nobody knows better how to do this in a particular locale than its own residents.

It’s part of what makes a community a community.  Remembering our dead and the lessons of their lives is part of our honoring one another.  When we remember on the International Transgender Day of Remembrance, we must also honor those intrepid gatherings of transpeople whose voices have been squelched by intolerance but still persist:  in counties like Egypt, Turkey, and the Russian Federation who continue to face state-sanctioned oppression.  Their resilience is a lesson to us all, and future networking partnerships may indeed arise from such groups.  We may yet find new ways to communicate instead of standard channels monitored by local or state officials and need to be watchful for networking opportunities with transpeople struggling in those countries and beyond.

It may test our patience, but patient we must be.  While we evolve in response to world conditions we realize afresh with the Day of Remembrance that there are some things that do not change for as long as humans exist:  people are born, they suffer, and they die.  For as long as our people die because of meanness, we remember, with faith in prospects to come of alleviating suffering, and giving greater meaning to the dead.

______________________________

REFERENCES:

Featured Image:  A month of a list of murdered transgender individuals in the current TDoR cycle, sourced from The TvT research project (2017), hereafter cited.

  1. James, S. E., Herman, J. L., Rankin, S., Keisling, M., Mottet, L., & Anafi, M. (2016). The Report of the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey. Washington, DC: National Center for Transgender Equality, p. 158.
  2. Theresa Sparks “1st Transgender Day of Remembrance” YouTube (November 8, 2008, accessed November 18, 2017) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-lTsu9SQXM.
  3. (n.a.) “About TDOR” International Transgender Day of Remembrance Website (accessed November 18, 2017) https://tdor.info/about-2/.
  4. TvT research project (2017) “Trans Murder Monitoring (TMM) TDoR 2017 Update”, Transrespect versus Transphobia Worldwide. TvT project website: http://transrespect.org/en/trans-murder-monitoring/tmm-resources/
  5. The site also includes past lists.
  6. Ibid.
  7. International Transgender Day of Remembrance Website (accessed November 18, 2017) https://tdor.info/.
  8. Op. cit.
  9. The author relies upon her experience with the post office and firms that sell post office boxes. She also relies upon her experience with support organizations.
  10. The author speaks from experience. For specifics concerning a Last Will and Testament, plenty of examples can be found on Internet for simple Wills.  For Wills involving complicated estates and other issues, consult an attorney familiar with probate.
  11. The author speaks from experience.  For specifics concerning a Living Will, plenty of examples can be found in Internet.  For help, contact the social worker or chaplain at your local medical facility or an attorney
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It Cannot Pass Without Notice: Intersex Awareness Takes New Significance

Painfully, too few took notice of an important event that took place on October 26.  Intersex Awareness Day was observed across the globe but with much less of the fanfare offered to LGBT people during Pride season.  While November may be Transgender Awareness Month, only a single day has been set aside to remember the issues of intersex people.

This year Australia led in recognition of intersex issues with the First Federal Parliamentary Forum hearing from intersex activists in Canberra.1 This hearing might be compared to the first Congressional hearing on transgender rights in Washington D.C. which took place in 2008.But this isn’t enough for intersex people.  It’s shouldn’t be enough for the rest of us either, transgender or not, who have not been diagnosed with an intersex variation.

Intersex experience, despite differences from transgender issues per sé, overlap transgender issues and we must not ignore them in recognition of that overlap if for no other.  But even apart from this, intersex experience deserves the attention and respect from all people, and the international, multi-generational cruelty inflicted upon intersex individuals should be regarded as inflicted upon all humanity.

 

HISTORY OF INTERSEX AWARENESS DAY

Intersex Awareness Day became an annual event sparked by a protest against the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) on that day in 1996.  Tony Briffa calls it the “Intersex Stonewall.”3 Tony Briffa was the first openly intersex elected official, becoming Deputy Mayor of Hobson Bay, Melbourne, in 2011.4

The American Academy of Pediatrics was conducting its session in Boston in 1996.5  Boston also gave us Rita Hester and Chanelle Pickett, whose deaths  in the years following sparked the annual International Transgender Day of Remembrance to be held later this month.6  Two intersex activists tried to address the conference.  They challenged the persistent treatment of intersex children, which still feature infant surgeries and other permanent interventions to ‘normalize’ genitalia.  The AAP responded with pure intolerance, removing the activists from the conference.7

Why would the American Academy of Pediatrics so readily reject this message?  Was it just because the academy only offered speaking positions to academy members?  If that was the case, then members of the AAP should have acted as spokespeople, with the activists as visible examples, because the message is a valid and long suppressed issue.  But that didn’t happen.  The conference officials literally quashed their message, opting instead to favor enforcement of a binary of sex and gender that runs roughshod over self-determination, advancing a cause favorable to the propagation of patriarchal dominance.

But the actions of the AAP in 1996 unwittingly laid a political foundation for a human rights observance that deserves to rise above obscurity.  It gave impetus to the movement for intersex rights, and transpeople as allies need to pay attention.  Movements for transgender rights and intersex rights have long paralleled one another and at times intertwined.  Intersex people have supported transgender rights and we would be amiss not to recognize their contributions over the years and to embrace their cause as they have supported ours.

 

SOME INTERSEX STATISTICS

We can’t realize any true discussion of intersex rights without understanding the physical phenomena intersex people face.  Intersex variations happen far more often than people admit according to the Intersex Society of North America (ISNA) whose website still exists for educational purposes after Accord Alliance replaced it in 2007.  Chances are, you’ve met an intersex individual.  You might unwittingly be intersex yourself.  Some intersex variations may be that subtle.8

Intersex variations present as anatomical and chromosomal anomalies pertaining to physical sex and may require specific attention in medical treatment.  Some of statistics include:

 

  • Total number of people whose bodies differ from standard male or female: 1 in 100 births

  • Not XX and not XY: 1 in 1,666 births

  • Klinefelter (47 Karotype XXY in males and females): 1 in 1,000 births

  • Vaginal Agenesis: 1 in 6,000 births

  • Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome: 1 in 13,000 births

  • Classical Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia: 1 in 13,000 births

  • Ovotestes: 1in 83,000 births

  • Partial Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome: 1 in 130,000 births

  • Total number of people receiving surgery to “normalize” genital appearance: 1 or 2 in 1,000 births9

 

We might note some others not mentioned in the ISNA list: Swyer Syndrome (46 Karotype XY), noted in “females”, De La Chapelle Syndrome (46 Karotype XX), noted in “males”, 5-Alpha Reductase Deficiency (46 Karotype XY), noted in “females” external phenotypes but with internal male gonads, Chimerism, and Turner Syndrome (46 Karotype XO).  Other variations occur besides these and can be found at http://oii-usa.org/1124/intersex-variations-list/.

But ambiguities in external genitalia have garnered the most attention for Pediatrics.  A clitoris might resemble a penis or vice versa.  For that matter, one might not be able to determine the sex of an infant at all because the ambiguity may leave a medical practitioner guessing.  Determination of sex has overwhelming legal implications and few jurisdictions allow recognition of anything outside the gender binary.  It follows the classic belief that anything other than male or female cannot exist apart from “birth defects,” maliciously branding intersex people “abominations” or “monsters” and many pretend they don’t happen even so.

What has been the overwhelming treatment of choice among pediatric surgeons?  They’ve typically chosen surgery to assign a sex out of their own medical and legal convenience.  In most cases these surgeries have rendered infants as “female” because it’s easier for a surgeon to surgically fashion female genitalia than male genitalia and upon this convenience perpetrating doctors have declared the legal sex of 1 or 2 in 1,000 births without any consideration for the patient’s actual gender identity.

That’s a problem for those intersex individuals who realize they aren’t who they had been assigned by the surgeon to be.  It compels such patients to seek corrective surgery, called Genital Reconstruction Surgery (GRS) as opposed to Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS) or Gender Confirmation Surgery (GCS) offered to transsexuals.  For intersex individuals this isn’t so much about gender dysphoria driving one to cross over from one sex to another as an issue of the quality of life and righting a crime perpetrated by societies and their institutions.

  

A COMMUNITY SEPARATE AND DISTINCT

In the past, intersex people have worked with transgender organizations to advance the cause of human rights.  But our part as transpeople has been insufficient for intersex needs.  Intersex people are now determining their own path independent from ours.  Tony Briffa told Gay Star News that events like Intersex Awareness Day give intersex people the opportunity to speak with legislators about changes they seek to protect intersex children and support the work of “intersex organizations run by and for intersex people.”10

This level of activism kicked into gear in Darlington, Australia in March 2017 when members of Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand intersex community organizations issued a joint statement directed primarily toward those nations, but also to allies worldwide.  The Darlington Statement consists of 59 points in 9 pages, addressing issues of human rights and legal reform, health and well being, peer support, allies, education, awareness, employment.11

The Darlington Statement acknowledges the historical ties of intersex people with LGBT and other peoples:

 

“We also acknowledge intersectionalities with other populations, including same-sex attracted people, trans and gender diverse people, people with disabilities, women, men, and Indigenous – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, Tangata Whenua – and racialised [sic], migrant and refugee populations.”12

 

However, the statement makes this assertion of distinction from LGBT communities:

 

“That the word ‘intersex’, and the intersex human rights movement, belong equally to all people born with variations of sex characteristics, irrespective of our gender identities, genders, legal sex  classifications and sexual orientations.”13

 

The Darlington Statement made this declaration as an independent community and calls upon us all to recognize it as such:

 

Allies

“47. Intersex is distinct from other issues. We call on allies to actively acknowledge our distinctiveness and the diversity within our community, to support our human rights claims and respect the intersex human rights movement, without tokenism, or instrumentalising [sic], or co-opting intersex issues as a means for other ends. “Nothing about us without us.”

“48. We encourage all organizations [sic] and bodies that support the intersex movement to recognize [sic] this Darlington statement.

“49. We call for intersex people, and the intersex human rights movement, to be allies to the LGBTQ, disability, Indigenous, anti-racist, and women’s movements.

“50. We call on intersex people to recognize [sic] our own diversity, and call for intra-community dialogue and mutual support.”14

 

Click here for the full text of The Darlington Statement.

 It’s clear that the intersex community has made itself a distinct community and the rest of us must recognize the fact.  We must now support them as allies, and no longer as a branch of our own community.  To recognize the latter would be a form of “instrumentalizing.”

 

IMPLICATIONS OF THE DARLINGTON STATEMENT

This development also raises a historical specter of difficulty transpeople have had with the mainstream gay and lesbian community.  On the bases of our own intersection of issues with the issues of gays and lesbians we have typically asserted that we as transpeople must remain linked as LGBT people.  The Darlington Statement has now weakened that argument.  Trans and intersex people no longer stand as a united community.  We only stand together as allies.  Consequently, we will most likely find ourselves standing with mainstream gays and lesbians as allies as well, no longer as a united community.

It’s sad that the unity many of us have sought has become unattainable, though the position taken in The Darlington Statement is understandable.  With this, other forms of fragmentation of the trans community may become inevitable.

The trans community has long been noted as a schismatic community.  Transsexual and transvestite have long been at odds.  In the 1990’s, “transgender” has been an umbrella term to include both as well as intersex individuals as in this statement from San Francisco’s Human Rights Commission:

 

“‘Transgender’ is used as an umbrella term that includes female and male cross dressers, transvestites, drag queens or kings, female and male impersonators, intersexed [sic] individuals, pro-operative, post-operative, and non-operative transsexuals, masculine females, feminine males, all persons whose perceived gender or anatomic sex may be incongruent with their gender expression and all persons exhibiting gender characteristics and identities which are perceived to be androgynous.”15

 

This definition of “transgender” set a legal standard throughout California.  It got civil rights efforts done.  But since that time, the definition of “transgender” has shifted to apply to transsexuals exclusively with the word “transsexual” being regarded as a pejorative.  Not a few cross dressers have decried this redefinition, excluded as a people not being “trans enough.”  Has this shift likewise alienated intersex people to the point where they have now decided to go their own way?  Possibly.

The “nothing about us without us” argument has implications for arguments attacking the trans community as well.  Trans activists have long challenged religionist claims that transwomen are not women and transmen are not men with genetic facts including the understanding that the Y Chromosome does not alone determine maleness and that intersex variations abound among transpeople and others.  We can no longer offer this argument without “co-opting intersex issues as a means for other ends,” specifically our own.

The Darlington Statement demands something else, lest civil rights interests fall like dominoes.  Transpeople now need to renegotiate with its own factions, recognizing each as a separate ally community as we now must with the intersex community, each ally community deserving the same level of respect.  It means recognizing a separate and distinct cross dressing community, a separate and distinct drag community, and so forth.  Only by doing so can we now continue to make civil rights assertions to the world.

We would be amiss if we didn’t offer that level of respect to others.  After all, with massive imposition of divisiveness and rhetoric from the far Right designed to set emotion over fact in order to further divide humanity, unity is key.  Separate communities cannot overcome without that level of respect.  We must take more than a day to give intersex people the attention they deserve.  Survival really does depend upon it.

_________________________________

REFERENCES:

Featured Image: the Intersex Pride flag, its circle rising like the sun above the words declaring its desire as a community of its own.

  1. Tony Briffa. “Intersex Awareness Day: Commemorating the intersex version of Stonewall” Gay Star News (October 26, 2017, accessed October 26, 2017) https://www.gaystarnews.com/article/intersex-awareness-day-commemorating-the-intersex-version-of-stonewall/#gs.WOqpLcQ.
  2. House Hearing, 110 Congress. An Examination of Discrimination Against Transgender Americans in the Workplace:Hearing before the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions, Committee on Education and Labor, U.S. House of Representatives, One Hundred Tenth Congress, Second Session (U.S. Government Printing Office, June 26, 2008, accessed online December 31, 2013) http://www.gpoaccess.gov/congress/house/education/index.html. A video series of these proceedings available through NCTEquality. “Congressional Hearing on Transgender Discrimination” YouTube (June 28, 2008, accessed October 23, 2017) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYglCClCsYM.
  3. Op. cit.
  4. Daniel Villarreal. “The Amazing, Heartbreaking Story of Tony Briffa, The World’s First Openly Intersex Mayor” Queerty (December 12, 2011, accessed November 1, 2017) https://www.queerty.com/the-amazing-heartbreaking-story-of-tony-briffa-the-worlds-first-openly-intersex-mayor-20111210 .
  5. Op. cit.
  6. Leveque, Sophia Cecelia. TRANS/ACTIVE: A Biography of Gwendolyn Ann Smith (Winston-Salem NC, Library Partners Press, ZSR Library, Wake Forest University August 1, 2017) ISBN-13: 978-1618460448 , p. 42.
  7. Op. cit.
  8. (n.a.) “Frequency” Intersex Society of North America (accessed November 1, 2017) http://www.isna.org/faq/frequency
  9. Ibid.
  10. https://www.gaystarnews.com/article/intersex-awareness-day-commemorating-the-intersex-version-of-stonewall/#gs.WOqpLcQ.
  11. Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand intersex community organizations and independent advocates, including the Androgen Insensitivity Support Syndrome Support Group Australia (AISSGA),1 Intersex Trust Aotearoa New Zealand (ITANZ),2 Organisation Intersex International Australia (OIIAU),3 Eve Black, Kylie Bond (AISSGA), Tony Briffa (OIIAU/AISSGA), Morgan Carpenter (OIIAU/Intersex Day Project4), Candice Cody (OIIAU), Alex David (OIIAU), Betsy Driver (Bodies Like Ours), Carolyn Hannaford (AISSGA), Eileen Harlow, Bonnie Hart (AISSGA), Phoebe Hart (AISSGA), Delia Leckey (ITANZ), Steph Lum (OIIAU), Mani Bruce Mitchell (ITANZ), Elise Nyhuis (AISSGA), Bronwyn O’Callaghan, Sandra Perrin (AISSGA), Cody Smith (Tranz Australia), Trace Williams (AISSGA), Imogen Yang (Bladder Exstrophy Epispadias Cloacal Exstrophy Hypospadias Australian Community – BEECHAC5), Georgie Yovanovic. “The Darlington Statement” (issued March 2017, accessed November 2, 2017) https://oii.org.au/darlington-statement/
  12. Ibid, p. 3, point 3, bold per the document.
  13. Ibid, point 4, bold per the document.
  14. Ibid, p. 8, points 47-50, bold per the document.
  15. Human Rights Commission. “Guidelines to Prohibit Gender Identity Discrimination; respecting San Francisco Administrative Code Chapter 12A, 12B, 12C; and San Francisco Municipal Police Code Article 33” City and County of San Francisco, 1998, p. 2.
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Rites of Passage: Welcoming New Trans Friends

By Lynnea Urania Stuart

 

Rites of passage seem like a silly affair to many people.  They certainly can be, unless they awaken to deeper, transcendental truths concerning one’s identity and existence.  When it comes to welcoming new transpeople to the “tribe”, few have welcomed with any kind of rite.  They can be as simple or as ornate as you wish.

Welcoming rites have been alleged to have taken place in New York City before Stonewall.  There are many ways to conduct such rites and there’s no right or wrong to it so long as they don’t rely upon hazing or anything that would cause public humiliation.  Instead, what matters is to provide what’s the most meaningful experience to the person you want to welcome to the “tribe”, something to which they can look upon later in life and smile.

Most of us didn’t have the benefit of such a welcoming rite.  Not everyone would find such a rite useful.  Those who may benefit from such a rite are those with convictions concerning trans identity but who still question what it all means.  For such people, a rite of passage can fixate truths from which the neophyte transperson may draw for years to come.

Holly Boswell designed a beautiful welcoming rite in her work as an activist which remained on the Kindred Spirits website till her death earlier this year.  Holly’s rite was based upon a Native American-Wiccan format with the quarters divided between male to female, female to male, intersex, and gender non-conforming.  But her rite had a serious limitation.  It required several people to make it happen.  Holly had the Kindred Spirits staff. Most of us don’t have such a luxury.1

So here’s a sample rite of my own designed for one or more officiants which you can use in whole or in part as you deem appropriate or simply generate ideas for your own rite.  Italicized portions pertain to what the Officiant speaks and the Candidate follows accordingly.  It’s built upon the idea that transpeople are essentially a people of dreams and connects with early trans history.

I’ve long held to the belief that transpeople are essentially a people of dreams despite the fact that many transpeople have determined to shut them out, something which I believe is a serious mistake detracting from the cultivation of natural innocence.  After all, dreams and dreaming have a purpose for health and individuation to which a person must awaken on a practical level to fully grasp.  But like most rites, it should be approached as if the candidate being received enters an intense semilucid dream.

 

PREPARATIONS

The paraphernalia associated with a rite can be as simple or as ornate as you wish.  For most of us, simple is better.  For those of us who may have spent years with one tradition or another, it’s desirable to set certain items aside as dedicated to that purpose.  Doing so can add to the specialness and energy of a rite. But this isn’t absolutely necessary.  Here’s a list of items applicable to this sample rite:

  • A central table as a Telestrion that you can fit with candles for illumination.
  • A small unlit torch wrapped in a transgender flag.
  • A cup of water with a sprig of hyssop or some other means of sprinkling.
  • Incense: sandalwood, frankincense, sage, or rose are all good.
  • A plate of bread and salt like that used in the countries of the Russian Federation for welcoming.
  • A cup of wine or grape juice.
  • A lamp or thurible.
  • A box with rose petals and cinnamon or cassia.
  • Food and drink to use afterward.

If you have 4 smaller platforms (trays are adequate for this purpose), they can be set to each of the quarters: North, South, East, and West.  The bread and salt would be placed at the North, the cup at the West, the lamp at the South, and the box at the East.  If those platforms are unavailable, they can be placed at their corresponding positions at the Telestrion.  The small torch wrapped in a transgender flag can occupy the center between them all.

If more than one person officiates in any capacity, they can contribute in the roles of the guardians of the dream gates at each of the 4 quarters and join in the celebration in the waters.

The Candidate changes into loose clothing he/she/eir doesn’t mind getting wet and takes a shawl for veiling.  The face is covered for much of the rite because the Candidate is accounted as one yet to be born.  Most of the Candidate’s preparation, however, is internal.  A Lakota maxim states, “Silence is the mother of truth.” As the Officiant prepares space for the rite, the Candidate would do well to quiet the mind.  Transcendental meditation is an excellent exercise for this, though one who cannot bring himself to do it can simply wait in the softness of lamplight with only his thoughts.  But meditation is easy to do and the Officiant can lead the Candidate into a simple light meditative state if the Candidate wishes, even if such is unaccustomed to traditional postures of meditation:

Sit upright, spine erect, feet flat on the floor.  Close the eyes and take two deep cleansing breaths.  Then breathe in through the nose to the count of 4, hold to the count of 4, exhale through the mouth to the count of 4, hold to the count of 4.  Repeat.  Let the Candidate allow the count to fade into a general rhythm and let meditation take its natural course.

The Officiant asks the Candidate in who’s name he/she/eir wishes to dedicate this rite.  The Candidate may state any deity held sacred or simply declare “Truth”.

While the Candidate waits the Officiant prepares the circle.  When ready, the Officiant comes to the Candidate and takes him by the hand, saying, “Arise, Child of Dreams.”

 

ENTERING

The Candidate is halted at the edge of the circle.  “Unpurified and unconsecrated, you cannot enter this circle.”

The Officiant takes the cup of water and sprinkles the Candidate.  “Child of Dreams, with water you are purified that your heart may be awakened against guile.”

The Officiant takes the incense and censes the Candidate.  “Child of Dreams, with fire you are consecrated that your heart may burn with love of your people and of liberty.”

The Candidate is led to the central Telestrion.  “Child of Dreams, you have been brought to the sacred center a symbol of the center of your psyche.  From your center you awaken to the truth of your identity which as yet shall remain unnamed.  But your journey will take you through many dark places with ordeals that will test you to the utmost for such has been the way of transpeople and others not conforming to gender.  Do you wish to continue?

If the Candidate answers negatively, then the rite is ended and he is led out without prejudice.  If he answers in the affirmative, continue.

“Then I ask that you make a solemn promise witnessed in this circle that your journey will be for the seeking of the highest good for yourself and to others.  Will you do this?”

If the Candidate answers negatively, then the rite is ended and he is led out without prejudice.  If he answers in the affirmative, continue.  It is fitting that a decision to enter a transgender path should exhibit an early connection to the cultivation of moral agency.

“Repeat after me:

 

 “In the name of (the chosen deity or “Truth”)

I declare before all that I seek the highest innocence

and to that end I affirm

with the clarity of my mind

and the integrity of my heart

that I shall seek the highest innocence for others.

I will not consent to debase my mind

for the nefarious purposes

of others who would seek to subvert it

by manipulation,n

that I and all in my charge

will remain free moral agents.

To this end I reject the unbalanced use

of drugs, alcohol, sex,

or any other device

of enslavement or exploitation.

I dedicate myself to the unfolding of truth

and the advancement of liberty,

knowledge, charity, and wisdom

within myself

and for others

to the best of my ability

and the pursuit of the highest

with the love to all sentient beings,

as many who are willing to accept it in good faith.”

 

“Arise, new friend, and enter the gates of dreaming.  Remember your promise, for it will assist you in your passage.”

 

ENTERING THE DREAM GATES

The Candidate is led in a clockwise circle, then stops at the North.

“Child of Dreams, you cannot pass the gate of the North unprepared for I am the Guardian of the First Gate of Dreaming, of the gravity, solidity, the Crystallization of Ideas in the process of Creativity, and Empedocles’ element of Earth.2  I am Prithivi3 and the volcanism of Muladhara.4  I am the mythic Chavah of the Anima, 5 the Man of Physicality of the Animus,6 the Twin heroes,7 and the final Heh of the Tetragrammaton.8  I am the Assinnu, Kugarru, and Kuluu who remembered Assushunamir in the release of Inanna from the underworld,9 and the Enarees who thrived in the Northern Steppes.10 Have you declared yourself to be a Child of Liberty?”

The Candidate answers in the affirmative, though may need to be prompted to remember the promise made at the central Telestrion since the experience may seem too strange and overwhelming to connect.  The Officiant takes the bread and salt and circles them around the head of the Candidate.

“Let repose be balanced with industry.  Let attraction be balanced with charity.  Watch for your hands in your dreams and use your gaze as a vehicle from dream to dream.11  Pass now through the gate awakened and continue to the Second Gate.”

The Candidate is led again in a clockwise circle, then stops at the East.

“Child of Dreams, you cannot pass the gate of the East unprepared for I am the Guardian of the Second Gate of Dreaming, of the force of winds, lightness of gases, the Articulation of Ideas in the process of Creativity and Empedocles’ element of Air.  I am Vayu12 and the opening of Ajña.13  I am the mythic Helen of the Anima, the Man of Action of the Animus, the hero of the Red Horn cycle, and the Vav of the Tetragrammaton.  I am the Hijra and Mukannuthun who, though untouchable, served in the highest estates of the East.14  Have you declared yourself to be a Child of Knowledge?”

The Candidate answers in the affirmative.  The Officiant takes the box with rose petals and spices and circles them around the head of the candidate.

“Let reason be balanced with innocence.  Let analysis be balanced with compassion.  And in your visions, let the images change and let yourself maintain mindfulness in your sleep.  Pass now through the gate awakened and continue to the Third Gate.”

The Candidate is led again in a clockwise circle, then stops at the West.

“Child of Dreams, you cannot pass the gate of the West unprepared for I am the Guardian of the Third Gate of Dreaming, of the floods of desire, the flow of liquids, the Nurturing of Ideas in the process of Creativity, and Empedocles’ element of Water.  I am Apas15 and the Hara of Svaddhisthana.16  I am the mythic Mary of the Anima, the Word-Giver of the Animus, the Hare cycle of the hero, and the Heh of the Tetragrammaton.  I am the Qedeshtu and Gallae who served Aphrodite, and the Magna Mater on many waters of the West, and remembered the travail of Hermaphroditos at the spring of Bodrum and the temples of Paphos.17  Have you declared yourself to be a Child of Charity?”

The Candidate answers in the affirmative. The Offriciant takes the cup and circles it around the head of the Candidate.

“Let love be balanced with steadfastness.  Let dreaming be balanced with detachment.  And in the energy body look upon yourself and know, moving about with intent.    Pass now through the gate awakened and continue to the Fourth Gate.”

The Candidate is led again in a clockwise circle, then stops at the West.

“Child of Dreams, you cannot pass the gate of the South unprepared for I am the Guardian of the Fourth Gate of Dreaming, of the flames of passion, the dance of plasma, the Flash of Ideas in the process of Creativity, and Empedocles’ element of Fire.  I am Tejas18 and the fortitude of Manipura.19  I am the mythic Athena and Sapientia of the Anima, the Man of Spiritual Truth of the Animus, the Trickster of the hero cycle, and the Yudh of the Tetragrammaton.  I am the Megabyzes who served Artemis in wisdom and beauty in the land of Philosophy’s birth and the Sekhetu-Cnaedi who danced for Aset in Egypt and other lands of Africa.20  Have you declared yourself to be a Child of Wisdom?”

The Candidate answers in the affirmative.  The Officiant takes the lamp and circles it around the head of the Candidate.

“Let passion be balanced with responsibility.  Let sexuality be balanced with virtue.  And let your dreams be filled with intent, intending others in your travels.  Pass now through the gate awakened and continue to the Telestrion at the sacred center.”

The Candidate is led again in a clockwise circle, ending at the central Telestrion, having completed the circle 7 times.

 

THE KINDLING

 “Know, Child of Dreams, of Liberty, Knowledge, Charity, and Wisdom, the unfolding of dreams in the course of individuation happens in patterns of four, but gates remain beyond.  To the 4 you have been awakened.  But at the feet of virtue you will continue to learn and to gain cunning.  Know, Child of Dreams, that the gates of dreaming are thresholds that advance the cultivation of innocence as you cultivate impeccability.  Cherish them forever and you will continue to know their blessings and they will add to who you are as a transperson, a representative of a People of Dreams.”

The Officiant unwraps the small torch from the transgender flag and spreads the flag over the Candidate.

“The gates beyond the 4 demand sacrifice, and renewal in dying and rebirth, for the energy body overcomes the physical body.  The Baptai knew this in Thrace, for all who approached likewise passed beneath the waters.21  In the waters are death and renewal as one becomes as it were a fetus in the womb.22  But in that renewal is the kindling of life as a flame in a passion of service to others and the highest aspirations of the heart.”

The Officiant takes the hand of the Candidate and together they kindle the flame of the torch.  The Officiant leads the Candidate out of the circle, to a suitable place of immersion, both holding the torch.  Preferably this is a natural body of water, but a pool or any vessel will serve the purpose.  The flag is removed and kept dry.

 

ENTERING THE WATERS

The Officiant, holding the torch with the Candidate continues to lead into the water, then removes the torch from the hand of the Candidate.  If others participate in the rite, they join hands in a circle around the Candidate with a second person holding the torch with the Officiant.

“That which takes place ritually are archetypes of internal truths that will continue to awaken in you in the future.  Know that this is not an act any of us can do for you but we can support you in your endeavors any way we can.23  Enter beneath the waters like the fetus about to be reborn, and re-emerge as one to reveal your new name.”

The Candidate immerses.  When the Candidate comes up again the Officiant takes the torch and circles the head of the Candidate before the Candidate takes hold of the torch.  The Officiant lays hands upon the Candidate, offering blessing in the Officiant’s own words of welcome.

 

GATHERING, REVEAL, AND NAMING

The Officiant leads the Candidate to the a private chamber to prepare for the reveal and naming.  The Officiant instructs the Candidate to dress as his, her, or eir true self and to knock 3 times on the door when ready.  The Candidate retreats to a chamber alone or with an assistant, removes the veil and all wet items, dries, and dresses according to the identity to be revealed in the Naming.  The bread and salt, box of spices, lamp, and cup are brought out from the circle if a dedicated place is different from the place of feasting, otherwise they remain.

When ready, the Candidate knocks.  The Officiant leads the Candidate to the place of feasting.  The Officiant announces upon re-entry, “I (We) stand for the one who walks anew among us.”

The Candidate emerges.  The Officiant asks, “By what name shall we know you?”

The Candidate reveals his/her/eir name.

“I (We) welcome you, (use the name given).  Let this name be known among us all as your true name.”

If others are present, the Officiant announces, “Let us all commune together in the feast of receiving (name of the Candidate) as our own.  May the bonds of affection and unity demonstrated this day never dissolve.”

The rite is ended with feasting and embraces of acceptance.  Any tokens of the event are presented at this time.

 

DESIGNING YOUR OWN RITE

Rites can be as simple or as elaborate as you wish.  They may follow this tradition or another.  It really doesn’t matter.  What counts are these principles:

  1. Overall quietness of the mind.
  2. A dreamlike experience.
  3. Connections of the rite with history of the demographic.
  4. Connections of the rite with strong archetypal ideas.
  5. Application of the rite to a new beginning.
  6. Connection of the rite with ethics.
  7. Revealing of the true self.
  8. Love and acceptance.
  9. Celebration and joy.
  10. Sharing of food and experience.

So if your sensitivities follow a more Abrahamic approach, by all means, write your rite of acceptance accordingly, but maintain these 9 principles as you do.  You won’t go wrong.  Your success should be measured in what happens with the person you receive after many trials, years from the present.  The energy of a rite can empower and fixate those internal truths, not only for that person’s health, but as a springboard for greater levels of creativity.

_____________________________

REFERENCES:

Featured Image: Providing no toxic chemicals have been used, or other hazard precludes use, an artificial pond like this can do well for a rite like this.  But most any body of water will work, whether natural or artificial. (Photo by the author)

  1. Kindred Spirits Website: http://www.trans-spirits.org/who_are_we.html.
  2. The Pre-Socratic philosopher Empedocles was the first to advance the formal idea of the universe consisting of the elements of Earth, Air, Water, and Fire. They still provide popular motifs for the 4 quarters.  Empedocles’ idea was that Earth consisted of cold and dryness, Air of heat and moisture, Water of cold and moisture, and Fire heat and dryness.  However, today’s understanding would apply these elements to the 4 states of matter: solid, gas, liquid, and plasma. DHWTY. “Earth, Air, Fire, and Water: Empedocles of Acragas – The Pre-Socratic Philosopher with a Sense of Style” Ancient Origins (October 28, 2018, accessed October 26, 2017) http://www.ancient-origins.net/history-famous-people/earth-air-fire-and-water-empedocles-acragas-pre-socratic-philosopher-sense-020596
  3. Prithivi is the Tattwa applicable to the element of Earth and its earliest source is Hindu. It’s represented as a yellow square and used in meditative trance.
  4. Muladhara is the Root Chakra located at the genital region. It’s associated with Earth, gravity, and volcanism.
  5. Pronounced cha-VAH, “ch pronounced as in the German “ich”. If the Hebrew is objected to, one may use the English equivalent, “Eve”.  For information of the fourfold unfolding of the Anima, see Jung, C. G. “Man and His Symbols” (1964) Doubleday Anchor, NY ISBN: 0-385-05221-9, pp. 184, 185
  6. For information of the fourfold unfolding of the Animus, Ibid, p. 194
  7. For information of the fourfold unfolding of the Hero Cycle, Ibid, 110-113.
  8. The association of the letters of the Tetragrammaton (YHVH) with the 4 elements is well established in multiple traditions.
  9. The Assinnu, Kugaru and Kuluu are early Mesopotamian transgender priesthoods Asushunamir (Pleasant Looks or Good Looks) was created by Ea to rescue Inanna from Erishkigal and the Underworld. Launderville, Dale.  Celibacy in the Ancient World: Its Ideal and Practice in Pre-Hellenistic Israel, Mesopotamia, and Greece.” (2010) Liturgical Press, ISBN:  P. 337
  10. The Enarees were Scythian transpeople who were known to have developed treatments for feminization. Lynnea Urania Stuart.  “The Enarees” Transpire (August 29, 2017, accessed October 26, 2017) https://lynneauraniastuart.wordpress.com/2017/08/29/the-enarees/
  11. For details on this version of the dream gates, see Castaneda, Carlos. “The Art of Dreaming” (1993) Harper Perennial, Publisher. ISBN: 0-06-017051-4 (cloth)
  12. Vayu is the Tattwa for Air and represented as a blue circular shape.
  13. The Ajna Chakra is located at the forehead, the “Third Eye” and has been associated with Air.
  14. Hijra consist of communities of various sex and gender variant people in India. Many of their existing estates were bestowed by the Moghul rulers they served, attaining high positions.  Lynnea Urania Stuart. “The Subcopntinent’s Sacred Record of Transgenderism” Transpire (August 5, 2016, accessed October 27, 2017) https://lynneauraniastuart.wordpress.com/2016/08/05/the-subcontinents-sacred-record-of-transgenderism/ Mukannuthun have been transgender Arabs known at the time of Muhammad and still exist today.  Some have served as chamberlains to regional rulers like Al Dalal served Sulayman Ibn Abd-Al Malik.  Iqra Mehmood.  “Mukhannathun – Unfolding the Concept of Transgenders in Islam” Parhlo (June 22, 2017, accessed October 25, 2017) https://www.parhlo.com/mukhannathun-unfolding-the-concept-of-transgender-women-in-islam/.
  15. Apas is the Tattwa for Water and is represented by a silver crescent.
  16. The Hara is located just below the navel and an important Tantric center, applied also in meditations associated with Bellydance. It’s the same as the Svaddhisthana Chakra, associated with Water.
  17. Qedeshtu are those transgender priests associated with Astarte at Apheca in what is now Lebanon. Lynnea Urania Stuart. “The Pillars of Gender” Transpire (July 29, 2016, accessed October 26, 2017) https://lynneauraniastuart.wordpress.com/2016/07/29/the-pillars-of-gender/. Astarte later became Aphrodite who, despite her Phoenician origins, is more closely associated with Paphos on the island of Cypress and the Greek island of Cythera.  Images of Hermaphroditos (Hermaphroditus to the Romans) may be found at Paphos today, though the actual Spring of Hermaphroditos is believed to now be located below sea level at a military base near Bodrum, Turkey.  The story of Hermaphroditos comes to us today through the Metamorphoses by the Roman poet, Ovid, whose exile very likely put him in contact with Enarees of Scythia.  Gallae (the name preferred by them today) are transgender priestesses of Cybele [pronounced ku-BEY-ley].  Modern worshippers of Cybele have a website at www.gallae.com.
  18. Tejas is the Tattwa associated with Fire and represented with a red triangular shape.
  19. The Manipura Chakra is located at the Solar Plexus and is associated with Fire and internal fortitude.
  20. Megabyzes were the transgender priestesses of Artemis at Ephesus, known for their beauty and wisdom. Ephesus was the principle city of Ionia and near to Miletus where also we trace the roots of Philosophy.  Lynnea Urania Stuart. “The Pillars of Gender” Transpire (July 29, 2016, accessed October 26, 2017) https://lynneauraniastuart.wordpress.com/2016/07/29/the-pillars-of-gender/.  Sekhetu (Egyptian) and Cnaedi (Latin) were transgender servants of Aset (Egyptian), also known as Isis.  Romans knew these people after Isis became the consort of Serapis in Rome.  But Aset appears to derive from an earlier African deity. Hubbard, Thomas K. (ed.), “Homosexuality in Greece and Rome. A Sourcebook of Basic Documents.” (2003)   Berkeley:  University of California Press, Pp. xvii, 558; ills. 26.  ISBN 0-520-23430-8.
  21. The Baptai were a cross dressing priesthood of Kotys in Thrace. They were so named because they also immersed candidates they received. Senelick, Laurence. “The changing Room” (2000) Paychology Press. ISBN: 9780415159869,   25
  22. The association of immersion with rebirth has been employed by many traditions besides Christianity including Jewish, Muslim, and Hindu traditions who use it regularly and not as a “once for all” experience commencing a Christian journey. The rite use here has no Christian connotation but takes a more generalized, classical approach.
  23. In most immersion rites of the world a person immerses himself. Only Christians require one “baptizing” another, emphasizing that a Christian cannot be a Christian on his own, but must receive conversion as a gift.  The transgender path, however, isn’t like that.  One must make the decision to live one’s truth as a transperson by himself/herself/eirself.  Therefore, if a group participates, the others form a circle around the Candidate as a matter of support.
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