Posts tagged abuse

Twitter retribution for sexual assault


A 17-year-old Kentucky girl who was upset by the plea deal reached by a pair of teenagers who sexually assaulted her is now facing a contempt charge for tweeting their names in violation of a court order.

As regular readers may be aware, i am something of a stickler for legal process, leading me, at times, to take positions that a seriously unpopular on major cases – particular those involving (sexual) violence. Becaused much of the time, i believe the law gets things more or less right – and i’m not too keen on those of us distant from the process re-hashing cases with a fraction of the information available in court.

But not here. Not this time. Because when it comes to this all-too-common sort of juvenile nastiness, the rights of the victim seem increasingly to take second place to those of the perpetrator. Read the rest of this entry »

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Murder, she wrote? Who cares!

I guess this comes under the heading of nit-picking. And i do know that to be a bad habit, getting me into all sorts of trouble and argument i don’t intend.

But still, some recent posting from Zoe Brain has my fingers twitching and my brain locked on to a subject that i fear may be just a tad over-egged within the UK trans community.

To wit, trans murder. Read the rest of this entry »

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Good news: hope. Not everything is darkness

Sometimes there’s better news. In this case, not the jailing – for an indeterminate term – of the vile beyond words thug who took away the sight of Tina Nash. Because along with Tina, i don’t think giving him a smidgeon of additional attention is worth even half a breath.

No: the joy, insofar as anything positive can come from this story, is the fact that Tina seems to be starting to live once more. Read the rest of this entry »

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Another rong word: “rape”

What was here…what isn’t any more…is a question i probably shouldn’t have asked.

Shouldn’t, because by asking it, i probably contributed to the very effect i was concerned with: the trivialisation of rape.

It began with the admission i had used the r-word in a context that reflected a kind of violence – against the trans community – but that following a question from a reader, i had qualms over my use of that word.

I then followed with reference to a piece on the topic, from the Salon, arguing that mostly, I agree with the sentiment expressed there and by a second piece, which it was critting, by Kira Cochrane in the Grauniad.

Then a lot more discursive material. I’m backing off from that.

There is absolutely no intent on my part to trivialise violence against women: there is realisation that i could be taken as doing that and therefore the answer is simple.

I won’t.

Apologies to anyone who was offended by any aspect of the debate: i will be a good deal more careful in future.

jane xx

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Prisoners no more

One of the biggest problems with the NHS approach to trans support is that unlike most other NHS treatments, it is rarely as simple as diagnosis followed by treatment. Rather, there is a continuing sense of disbelief: you won’t get treated unless…

Unless you can prove this month… And next… And the one after next… That you are still a suitable candidate for treatment. That has to be bad for the patient-carer relationship. Worse, it means that because dependency is created, many people who are treated appallingly just won’t complain, because they are scared silly of treatment being withdrawn. Of drugs being stopped: grs denied. Read the rest of this entry »

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The damage done

For all those claiming that careless words don’t make much of a difference to anyone, i give you just one small piece of fall-out from the Sun’s New Year welcome to the trans community.

Remember? Its the one about how the MOD are spending a staggering £7,400 over two years out of a budget of £42bn to support individuals seeking to transition.

Read the rest of this entry »

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News Feed: State-sanctioned transgender abuse in Tennessee

US transgender woman, Andrea Jones, has been released from jail, after she was locked up for three weeks for protesting publically against Tennessee’s laws on gender recognition. Now, US trans activists are calling on their community to demonstrate outside the courthouse in Morristown, in that state, when she appears for an initial hearing on 20 December.

Ms Jones’ problems began when she attended Morristown Driver’s License Office in an attempt to change the gender marker on her license. She took with her Social Security documents, which acknowledge her as female, together with a letter from a surgeon affirming that she has had partial re-assignment surgery.

This did not impress the Tennessee Department of Safety, which informed her she’d need more proof to make the same change on her driver’s license.

Frustrated by this response, Ms Jones then staged a one-woman protest, stripping off her top in the car park outside the Driver’s License Office. Her logic: if the state refused to recognise her as a woman, she had every right to strip off in the same way as men.

Instead, she was arrested and jailed on a charge of indecent exposure. According to the arresting officer: “Mr. Jones continued to yell that he had the right to show his breasts in public and wanted to be recognized as a female.”

She was then incarcerated in the state’s male prison for the duration of her time behind bars.

She has lost her job: and, if found guilty of indecent exposure, is likely to be placed on the sex offenders’ register, thereby making her employment prospects even more bleak.

Ms Jones has also argued that some three weeks of the 23 days she spent in jail so far were due to her refusal to acknowledge that the state of Tennessee had a right to dictate her gender in this fashion.

She claims she was pressured, badgered, and coerced every day to confess to committing indecent exposure and plead guilty with only a two day sentence.

The Tennessee Department of Safety have said they will change the sex on a license “if an applicant presents a doctor’s statement indicating that a full sex change has occurred and the procedure is complete.”

Meanwhile, Ms Jones is asking for those wishing to help to e-mail her at berdache1979@yahoo.com

Analysis

This reflects badly on Tennessee – not least because its very clear public stance in respect of Andrea Jones suggests at best confusion, at worst, an approach that is tantamount to abuse and torture of trans persons.

The statement by the police officer, combined with Ms Jones incarceration in a male jail is clear indication that the state considers this woman to be legally male. In such case, the prosecution for indecent exposure is simply mischievous.

Alternatively – and given that the dangers for trans women in male prisons have been well documented – the mischief was of another kind: the police officer went out of his way to insult, whilst someone in the Tennessee administration is perfectly happy with the possibility that Ms Jones might be assaulted, raped or worse.

That constitutes abuse by the state: it quite likely constitutes torture as well.

Over recent weeks, the UK government has made much of its tough stance with commonwealth countries that have homophobic policies. This plays well with the gay lobby – and is fully justified in its own right.

However, by tacitly implying that the “real problem” lies with less developed countries – and ignoring some major issues on the Developed side of the fence, UK.gov is playing a very unpleasant game of cultural superiority – if not outright racism.

Many US states – Tennessee included – are large enough, rich enough, to pass for individual countries in Europe.

The UK is rightly upset with African countries that practise homophobic abuse as state-sanctioned policy: increasingly, trans activists are pointing out that it might be time for the UK to show similar concerns where the barbarity takes place in the supposedly civilised US.

On a lighter note, this case could yet link up with another US cause celebre – the Go Topless movement – which is a female/feminist inspired campaign demanding equal rights for women to go topless in public.

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When you gotta pee…

Music hall stuff, huh? Trans women running round the twon centre looking for a loo to pee in. And at first reading, i bet that sounds like the promising set-up to a joke.

Until you think about it. Really think about it.

Because i have had life easy. As have any trans folk in the UK who started to transition in the past two or three years.

Imagine, if you will, a world in which you could not leave the house in the confident knowledge that there would be toilet facilities “out there” that you could make use of without being threatened, either with violence or arrest. Sound grim? Yep. You end up with two, maybe three strategies if you are trans.

1. Don’t go out.
2. Go out and learn to “hold it”.

Or

3. Go out and risk arrest/violence every time you need to pee.

You think i jest? Just this year, a trans woman who used the ladies in Baltimore was assaulted and left unconscious on the floor for her pains. Not that many years back, trans women attempting to use the loo in the UK regularly faced similar threats.

There was the infamous Trafalgar Square incident, in which a trans woman was sexually assaulted after being denied access to the women’s loos. And over the years any number of histories of simialr happening to trans women – and men – who dare to pee in the appropriate space (for them).

It didn’t help that even the police were largely ignorant of the legal position, which seems to be, mostly, post the Equality Act (despite the fears of some critics) that a transgender individual, defined as an individual undergoing or starting to undergo treatment for gender dysphoria, has as close as possible a right to use the facilities appropriate to their identified gender.

Which is not quite what the police told me a couple of years back when, unaware of the legalities of my position, i sought advice. (Basically, they just didn’t know).

Nowadays, and for a long time since, i have quite confidently used the ladies – and had no probs in doing so.

Still, it leaves me with the most enormous respect for those who transitioned in the UK before this simple and – now – obvious legal support was in place. Not that all is plain sailing: there are still places which resist trans attempts to use the loo.

One friend responds to such bars with a simple threat of direct action: tell me where i’m supposed to pee…or i’ll just pee here, now (usually mid-pub). Unreasonable? No. Because being denied that basic right is humiliating, uncomfortable and, at base, a major obstacle to trans folk taking part in community life.

Its also a major reason why i probably won’t be going to the US any time soon. Here’s just the latest in a long list of disgraceful american actions on this front: in this case, a trans woman barred from going to school because she used the “wrong” restroom…

Why? What on earth do they think she might do in there?

No. I am used to how the law works in the UK. Know what i am allowed to do…and am happy that at some time soon i’ll get my gender recognition certificate and henceforth be a woman for all legal purposes.

And i remain horrified by the fact that in places like much of the US, not only would i face violence for the simple fact of needing to pee – but that violence might equally be perpetrated by the police. Too many stories of even post-op trans women being removed from restrooms at gun point. One instance of a trans man being tasered.

Thanks. But no thanks. On the bathroom front, the UK seems to be light years ahead of the states.

jane
xx

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why “trannies” shouldn’t apologise

Now here’s a chilling thought, as the trans community prepares to commemorate our not inconsiderable roll call of dead – murdered, mostly, by fuckwits who can’ t see beyond the label – on our own day of remembrance: the very last word a victim will have heard, out of all the words in the dictionary, is more likely to have been “tranny” than any other.

Can I “prove” that? Of course not! It just happens that early in my transition, when I was so much more obviously trans, the word i heard most often as ordinary everyday term of abuse was “tranny”. On about half the occasions when the threat level escalated to the point where i felt in real danger of violence, the ‘bon mot’ of choice by the aggressor was “tranny”.

Talking to trans friends in the UK the picture is much the same. It may be “just a word” for 99% of the population: but for us it is something else. I don’t think it exaggeration to suggest it is to the trans community what the swastika is to Jews, the uniform of the KKK to the black American community.

That’s why we object to it. More: that’s why there is a sense of community “ownership” of the word. Why, to the irritation of not a few non-trans commenters, we both condemn its use…then spray it around on programmes like trans summer.

Worse: when called on our supposed inconsistency, we bloody trannies have the effrontery to assert that its “our” word. That only WE get to decide when to use it, when its offensive.

Huh? Unreasonable? Much. But very understandable. There is a very real sense that we have paid – many times over – in blood for that word.

It’s a bit like…oh, imagine if u will, a bunch of town planners wanting to relocate a battlefield war monument. They may have every reasonable reason for doing so. But I suspect all the reasonableness in the world wouldn’t go far to impress the vets who fought there, whose comrades died there…

It’s a shame. Without the history, “tranny” is quite a nice word: rhythmically light, ever so slightly cuddly. That’s why many trans folk still use it, with friends, when they can be sure its not abuse, threat or harbinger of danger.

Which is why it confuses the broader public. Why, in general, we fight and fight to exclude it from disrespectful media headlines…then go home and laugh about it. Why, too, its use continues to divide.

That’s a pity. As Sarah from TMW said yesterday: surely we have better things to argue about? Er, yes. And no.

As hate token, it remains something worth fighting against. But for all that, I suspect the battle is lost and – unexpected consequence of trans summer – we will have to accept now its wider use?

why? Because the terms of debate have shifted. Subtly. But shifted all the same. The perspective has changed, the focus on a different question, which is not “why use the t-word, when it causes so much grief”, but “why can’t we use the word when you do all the time?”

The answer, as above, is pretty clear. But I think now its distraction. Sometimes, the mark of the good strategist is to know when to abandon a particular fight as not worth the aggro.

We may just have reached that point over “tranny”.

Jane
xx

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Online abuse and sentencing deterrents

I was eriously pissed off last night. IN the middle of the #transsummer twitter thread, up popped this, from a guy calling himself Jonny Weatherly:

“@Jonny_Weatherly: #TransSummer I’d lock then all in a room with no windows, a bottles of petrol and a match.”

Charming – and seriously triggering, given that just a week back i was chatting to a trans woman who had no carpet by her front and back doors for fear of being firebombed.

However, it did pose something of a dilemma. On the one hand, i’m not shy of reporting stuff to the police where i feel that a real threat is involved. I have done – and in one instance that resulted in serious consequences for the individual involved.

On t’other, i am not a great fan of retricting speech BY LAW: by all means encourage politeness, lack of prejudice and the rest through social pressure and convention. But i don’t like laws around generic “incitement”.

Which is not the same as supporting measures against “speech as action”. I also fully buy the view that shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theatre is reckless, dangerous, and deserving of punishment. Likewise, sugesting that a group of lads go and kick the shit out of some trannies, where the audience might just go for it.

And this? Its in-between. I don’t think i believe that much other than stupidity was intended. Still: if i thought that the police would be happy to just “have a word”, i’d report it. The real difficulty is the recent four-year jail sentences for Facebook comments.

No. Those are ludicrous. Far, far too much and far, far too chilling of speech in general.

If the police could be guaranteed to apply proportioniate pressure to this individual (which means graduate their response according to the gittichness of Mr Weatherly) i’d go for it. As is, I’m reluctant to.

Also reluctant because of a lengthy exchange that went on after with @MMDecadence – and the fact that Mr W did delete his account and send out apologies later on. To me he wrote:

@JaneFae I apologise for what I said and Take it all back. I’m disappointed in what I said and will delete everything.

And he apologised again this morning. Lesson learnt – I hope. Though if there is any hint that this last is just wriggling and he’s off elsewhere laughin up his sleeve at us, i suspect i will change my mind…

Jane
xx

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