Transgender Hate Crimes Monitoring Bill- S2488 becomes law

Announcement from Youth Pride Inc.:
Last week, Governor Chafee signed the Transgender Hate Crimes Monitoring Bill into law.
Youth Pride Inc. wants to thank the General Assembly and the Governor for their support of this legislation. 
Rhode Island law will now contain the words “gender identity or expression” in the definition of a bias motivated crime for monitoring purposes. It will require that statistics on crimes motivated by gender identity/expression related bias to be kept by the State Police along with other bias motivated crimes. It will also include gender identity or expression in “mandatory training standards to provide instruction for police officers in identifying, responding to and reporting all incidents of ‘hate crimes’,” in accordance with RI General Law 42-28.2-8.1.  
In 2001, Rhode Island became the second state in the country to add “gender identity and expression” into its non-discrimination laws, there are now 16 states plus Washington DC with such laws. Today, we celebrate as Rhode Island becomes the 16th state plus Washington DC to recognize crimes motivated by prejudice and bias due to “gender identity or expression.” 
Youth Pride wishes to thank bill sponsors  Sen. Perry, Nesselbush, Miller, DeVall, and Crowley, as well as Reps. Ajello, Handy, Blazejewski, Cimini, Walsh and Ferri for their support in this effort. Youth Pride also wishes to thank our community partners in this effort including the RI Commission on Prejudice and Bias, Marriage Equality Rhode Island, Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, TGI-Network, the RI Chapter of the ACLU, RINASW as well as Rhode Island’s Transgender community and their allies.  
Jayeson Watts, MSW, MT-BC
Direct Services Coordinator                                                           
Youth Pride Inc.
743 Westminster St.
Providence, RI 02903
Connect with Youth Pride Inc. on Facebook and find out what is happening this week at YPI!

Presidential Memorandum — Establishing a Working Group on the Intersection of HIV/AIDS, Violence Against Women and Girls, and Gender-related Health Disparities

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary

Presidential Memorandum — Establishing a Working Group on the Intersection of HIV/AIDS, Violence Against Women and Girls, and Gender-related Health Disparities

MEMORANDUM FOR THE HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES
SUBJECT: Establishing a Working Group on the Intersection of HIV/AIDS, Violence Against Women and Girls, and Gender-related Health Disparities
Throughout our country, the spread of HIV/AIDS has had a devastating impact on many communities.  In the United States, there are approximately 1.2 million people living with HIV/AIDS, including more than 290,000 women.  Women and girls now account for 24 percent of all diagnoses of HIV infection among United States adults and adolescents.  The domestic epidemic disproportionately affects women of color, with African Americans and Latinas constituting over 70 percent of new HIV cases in women.  The spread of HIV/AIDS is, in and of itself, a primary concern to my Administration.  However, gender based violence and gender related health disparities cannot be ignored when addressing the domestic public health threat of HIV/AIDS.  HIV/AIDS programs often ignore the biological differences and the social, economic, and cultural inequities that make women and girls more vulnerable to HIV/AIDS.  In our country, women and girls are all too frequently victimized by domestic violence and sexual assault, which can lead to greater risk for acquiring this disease.  Teenage girls and young women ages 16 24 face the highest rates of dating violence and sexual assault.  In addition, challenges in accessing proper health care can present obstacles to addressing HIV/AIDS.  Gender based violence continues to be an underreported, common problem that, if ignored, increases risks for HIV and may prevent women and girls from seeking prevention, treatment, and health services.
My Administration is committed to improving efforts to understand and address the intersection of HIV/AIDS, violence against women and girls, and gender-related health disparities.  To do so, executive departments and agencies (agencies) must build on their current work addressing the intersection of these issues by improving data collection, research, intervention strategies, and training.  In order to develop a comprehensive Government wide approach to these issues that is data-driven, uses effective prevention and care interventions, engages families and communities, supports research and data collection, and mobilizes both public and private sector resources, I direct the following:
Section 1.  Working Group on the Intersection of HIV/AIDS, Violence Against Women and Girls, and Gender-related Health Disparities.  There is established within the Executive Office of the President a Working Group on the Intersection of HIV/AIDS,
Violence Against Women and Girls, and Gender related Health Disparities (Working Group), to be co chaired by the White House Advisor on Violence Against Women and the Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy (Co Chairs).  Within 60 days of the date of this memorandum, the Co Chairs shall convene the first meeting of the Working Group.
 (a)  In addition to the Co Chairs, the Working Group shall consist of representatives from:
  (i)the Department of Justice;
  (ii)    the Department of the Interior;
  (iii)   the Department of Health and Human Services;
  (iv)    the Department of Education;
  (v) the Department of Homeland Security;
  (vi)    the Department of Veterans Affairs;
 (vii)   the Department of Housing and Urban Development; and
  (viii)  the Office of Management and Budget.
 (b)  The Working Group shall consult with the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, as appropriate.
 (c)  The Department of State, the United States Agency for International Development, and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief Gender Technical Working Group shall act in an advisory capacity to the Working Group, providing information on lessons learned and evidence based best practices based on their global experience addressing issues involving the intersection between HIV/AIDS and violence against women.
 Sec. 2.  Mission and Functions of the Working Group.  (a)  The Working Group shall coordinate agency efforts to address issues involving the intersection of HIV/AIDS, violence against women and girls, and gender related health disparities.  Such efforts shall include, but not be limited to:
(i) increasing government and public awareness of the need to address the intersection of HIV/AIDS, violence against women and girls, and gender related health disparities, including sexual and reproductive health and access to health care;
 (ii)  sharing best practices, including demonstration projects and international work by agencies, as well as successful gender specific strategies aimed at addressing risks that influence women’s and girls’ vulnerability to HIV infection and violence;
 (iii)  integrating sexual and reproductive health services, gender-based violence services, and HIV/AIDS services, where research demonstrates that doing so will result in improved and sustained health outcomes;
 (iv)  emphasizing evidence based prevention activities that engage men and boys and highlight their role in the prevention of violence against women and HIV/AIDS infection;
 (v) facilitating opportunities for partnerships among diverse organizations from the violence against women and girls, HIV/AIDS, and women’s health communities to address the intersection of these issues;
 (vi) ensuring that the needs of vulnerable and underserved groups are considered in any efforts to address issues involving the intersection of HIV/AIDS, violence against women and girls, and gender related health disparities;
 (vii) promoting research to better understand the intersection of the biological, behavioral, and social sciences bases for the relationship between increased HIV/AIDS risk, domestic violence, and gender related health disparities; and
 (viii)  prioritizing, as appropriate, the efforts described in paragraphs (a)(i) (vii) of this section with respect to women and girls of color, who represent the majority of females living with and at risk for HIV infection in the United States.
 (b)  The Working Group shall annually provide the President recommendations for updating the National HIV/AIDS Strategy.  In addition, the Working Group shall provide information on:
 (i)   coordinated actions taken by the Working Group to meet its objectives and identify areas where the Federal Government has achieved integration and coordination in addressing the intersection of HIV/AIDS, violence against women and girls, and gender related health disparities;
 (ii)  alternative means of making available gender sensitive health care for women and girls through the integration of HIV/AIDS prevention and care services with intimate partner violence prevention and counseling as well as mental health and trauma services;
 (iii)  specific, evidence based goals for addressing HIV among women, including HIV related disparities among women of color, to inform the National HIV/AIDS Strategy Implementation Plan (for its biannual review);
 (iv)  research and data collection needs regarding HIV/AIDS, violence against women and girls, and gender related health disparities to help develop more comprehensive data and targeted research (disaggregated by sex, gender, and gender identity, where practicable); and
 (v)  existing partnerships and potential areas of collaboration with other public or nongovernmental actors, taking into consideration the types of implementation or research objectives that other public or nongovernmental actors may be particularly well situated to accomplish.
 Sec. 3.  Outreach.  Consistent with the objectives of this memorandum and applicable law, the Working Group, in addition to regular meetings, shall conduct outreach with representatives of private and nonprofit organizations, State, tribal, and local government agencies, elected officials, and other interested persons to assist the Working Group in developing a detailed set of recommendations.
 Sec. 4.  General Provisions.  (a)  The heads of agencies shall assist and provide information to the Working Group, consistent with applicable law, as may be necessary to carry out the functions of the Working Group.  Each agency and office shall bear its own expense for carrying out activities related to the Working Group.
 (b)  Nothing in this memorandum shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
 (i)   the authority granted by law to an executive department, agency, or the head thereof; or
 (ii)  the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
 (c)  This memorandum shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
 (d)  This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
 (e)  The Secretary of Health and Human Services is authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.
  BARACK OBAMA

NCAVP Monthly Update: Reports of violence affecting LGBTQH communities in December 2011


[trigger-warning for anti-queer violence]

NCAVP Monthly Update: Reports of violence affecting LGBTQH communities in December 2011
The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) is concerned by reports of violence impacting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and HIV-affected (LGBTQH) communities across the United States and Canada since late November 2011.  13 reported incidents of violence have occurred in California, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri, Montréal, Quebec, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Washington, DC, Washington State, and Wisconsin. 
NCAVP is providing all information available regarding these reports and is not responsible for the complete accuracy of the specific details pertinent to allegations, police investigations, and criminal trials.  Initial reports of these incidents come from media reports of LGBTQH violence and not direct service provision from NCAVP member programs.  NCAVP has reached out to local organizations in these areas and is offering assistance to support their anti-violence efforts.
November 26, 2011: New Orleans police found Brenting Dolliole, a 23 year old gender non-conforming person, beaten to death in New Orleans, Louisiana.  Investigators believe Dolliole died as a result of severe head trauma.  New Orleans police have named Corey Kennedy, 24, as a person of interest but not a suspect in their homicide investigation.  Local LGBTQ organization BreakOUT! held a vigil on Thursday, January 5th in honor of Dolliole and Githe Goines, 23, a transgender woman killed in New Orleans in late December.
December 2, 2011: A gay couple woke up to find threats and anti-gay slurs including “Move or Die” and “Die” spray painted on their home in Columbus, Ohio.  The homeowners suspect that the vandalism was in response to a heated meeting among members of their condo association the day before.  The local Strategic Response Bureau is investigating the incident as a misdemeanor due to its threatening message. The couple has stated that they now fear for their safety.  NCAVP member program, Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Organization (BRAVO), has been in contact with the couple and is providing police and court system advocacy in response to this incident.

December 2, 2011: An unnamed Public Works employee approached a transgender woman and grabbed her wig off her head at Z’s Bar inDes Moines, Iowa.  A witness recounted that when another bar patron tried to confront the man following the incident, the man hit her.  According to local news reports, the bar’s manager suspected that the man committed the act of harassment to win a $100 bet among city employee colleagues at an annual party at the venue. The woman who was harassed did not file a police report because she did not want to reveal her name.  Following this incident, Public Works Director Bill Stowe announced that the employee would receive, “appropriate disciplinary action,” and a Public Works supervisor apologized to Z’s Bar for the incident.

December 7, 2011: Jacob Rogers, a senior at Cheatham County High School in Ashland City, Tennesseecompleted suicide after enduring severe anti-gay bullying by classmates for years. Rogers’ closest friend, Kaelynn, reported that Rogers sought help from his school.  School officials say they were only aware of one incident and believed the bullying had been getting better.  LGBTQH bloggersTowleroadSlog and Joe.My.God, successfully raised $5,000 to support Rogers’ family to pay for funeral expenses.  The bloggers announced that the remaining donations will be distributed between the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education NetworkTrevor Project,American Civil Liberties Union and It Gets Better Project.

December 11, 2011:  William Adam Lane, 22, confronted a lesbian couple with profane, derogatory comments about the couple’s sexuality after he saw them embrace in Bellingham, Washington.  Lane then smashed in the rear window of the couple’s car before he was pinned to the ground by one of the women.  Police said they believe Lane was intoxicated at the time of the incident.  Local law enforcement are investigating this incident as malicious harassment and a hate crime.  The unnamed couple, 23 and 30, were reportedly not hurt by the incident.

December 12, 2011Montréal, Quebec boutique owner, Ghislain Rousseau, was closing his store when a woman banged on the window and tried to smash it in with her foot as she yelled, “this is a f—king faggot store!”.  Rousseau stopped the woman from attacking his store and shortly after two police officers arrived at the scene.  The city held a public council meeting to address violence in Montréal’s gay village where the mayor committed to improving the neighborhood’s lighting and increasing its police presence.
December 13, 2011: Pro Shots, a shooting range in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, put up a billboard that reads “Pansies Converted Daily” with an image of a target sign and a rifle.  Equality North Carolina has condemned this message as “veiled homophobic hate speech.”  NCAVP member program, Rainbow Community Cares, also released a statement denouncing this advertisement as supporting violence against LGBTQ people.  Pro Shots responded by announcing that they will take the billboard down.
December 14, 2011: Two men yelled homophobic slurs and attacked an unnamed man, 22, in Athens, Georgia.  The man, who identifies as gay, was walking toward his car when the incident occurred.  He was knocked unconscious and has shattered teeth as a result of the attack.  According to reports, the survivor wanted the attack reported as a hate crime.  Local law enforcement are investigating this incident as aggravated battery.
December 20, 2011A transgender woman, 56, was stabbed in the back with a knife by an unnamed man while at a house inWashington, DC’s Kingman Park neighborhood.  According to the police report, the woman was in the basement of the house when she got into an argument with the man which then led to the attack.  The woman then walked to a nearby apartment complex where she was found by police lying on the ground and bleeding from the stab wound.  Emergency responders transported her to a local hospital where she was treated for her injuries.  Local sources connected to NCAVP have reported that the survivor is now at home recovering from this attack.  This incident marks Washington DC’s 12th assault against a transgender woman where a knife or gun was used since July.  Washington DC’s Metropolitan Police Department’s Special Liaison Unit announced that the Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit (GLLU) is assisting in the investigation of this incident.

December 24, 2011: Dee Dee Pearson, 31, a transgender woman of color, was shot to death by Kenyon E. Jones, 26, inside an apartment in the 1000 block of East 43rd Street in Kansas City, Missouri.  Jones told police he killed Pearson after paying her for sex and discovering that she was transgender.  Jones, who has a history of drug related offenses, has been charged with second-degree murder and armed criminal action by the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office.  NCAVP member program, Kansas City Anti-Violence Project, released a joint statement with the Justice Project grieving this murder and calling for respectful media coverage of Pearson’s death.  These organizations hosted a memorial service for Pearson on December 28th
December 25, 2011: Unknown suspects vandalized and destroyed depictions of same-gender couples in an art installation nativity scene outside Claremont United Methodist Church in Claremont, California.  Claremont police are investigating this incident as a hate crime.  The church plans to hold an interfaith vigil in support of LGBTQH communities in response to this vandalism.
December 25, 2011: Lyal Ziebell, 20, and Jake Immel-Rhode, 20, yelled anti-gay slurs and punched an unnamed man in the face outside PJ’s bar in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.  Immel-Rhode then repeatedly kicked the man in the head.  The man sustained a broken jaw and brain injury as a result of the attack, and believes he was attacked because he is gay.  Ziebell has stated that he is “very homophobic” and attacked the man after he started “hitting on me.”  Winnebago County authorities have charged Ziebell and Immel-Rhode with battery causing great bodily harm, burglary, and a hate crime modifier.
December 29, 2011:  Local police found the dead body of Githe Goines, a 23 year old transgender woman, in a scrap yard in New Orleans, Louisiana after she had gone missing for two weeks.  Local media reports have not accurately identified Goines as a transgender woman in the reporting of her death, but New Orleans sources connected to NCAVP assure that Goines identified as a woman.  The Orleans Parish coroner’s office believes Goines was strangled to death.  Local law enforcement have not released information regarding possible suspects in their investigation of this homicide.  Local LGBTQ organization, BreakOut! held a vigil on Thursday, January 5th in honor of Goines and Brenting Dolliole, a gender non-conforming person killed in late November in New Orleans.  Goines’ death marks the 14th homicide of a transgender or gender non-conforming person NCAVP has tracked in 2011.
According to NCAVP’s report Hate Violence Against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and HIV-Affected Communities in the United States in 2010, there was a 13% increase in reports of anti-LGBTQH violence between 2009 and 2010.  NCAVP believes that together communities can prevent and end violence impacting LGBTQH people and calls on community members, anti-violence organizations, and public officials to join efforts to end violence within and against LGBTQH communities.
Prevent: NCAVP encourages communities to create programs, campaigns, and curricula to prevent anti-LGBTQH harassment and violence and to promote safety. NCAVP is available to provide support and resources to communities for their violence prevention efforts.
Respond: NCAVP recommends increasing support for LGBTQH survivors of violence by increasing funding for services and banning barriers to service and discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.
Report Violence: NCAVP encourages anyone who has experienced violence to contact a local anti-violence program for support and to document this violence.
Get Involved: Join NCAVP in our efforts to prevent and respond to LGBTQH violence. To learn more about our national advocacy, receive technical assistance or support, or locate an anti-violence program in your area, contact us.
Contact Information for Responding Organizations
BRAVO
Hotline: 866-862-7286
BreakOUT!
Phone: 504-522-5435
Equality North Carolina
Phone: 919-829-0343
Kansas City Anti-Violence Project
Phone: 816-561-0550
Rainbow Community Cares
Phone: 919-342-0897
NCAVP works to prevent, respond to, and end all forms of violence against and within lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and HIV-affected (LGBTQH) communities.  NCAVP is a national coalition of local member programs, affiliate organizations and individuals who create systemic and social change. NCAVP is a program of the New York City Anti-Violence Project.

Your Ignorance Is Showing: Ridiculous Comments on Empowerment, Objectification, and Domestic Violence

 Alternatively titled: “A Response to Cate Stewart and Lisa Lansio”
For those of you who don’t know, I’m one of the two co-leaders of SHEEC this year–a group with which I’ve been heavily involved since its inception in 2008/2009. I was at a conference in Colorado this week and sadly had to miss 3 of our events, including a showcase/open-mic in honor of Wear Purple Day/Spirit Day and Love Your Body Day that would benefit Sojourner House, a local domestic violence agency founded by Brown students in 1976. The Showcase featured 2 local poets, the Gendo Taiko (Japanese drumming) crew, Attitude (a dance troupe), as well as a few other performers (of the singing/acoustic-guitar variety).
After a set of great performances, the last two individuals who signed up for the open-mic portion took the stage and began to attack the event and the people who were in it, saying that having a campus pole-dancing troupe perform was “not respectful” and that “it just perpetuated gender roles and objectified women.” One said that “she came here expecting to be empowered, but that’s not what happened for her at all” and that we “need to stop singing about gendered things” (and I believe the example was getting kissed in parking lots? Which…what?). 
The other added that “women need to stop playing the victimized role, stop blaming men for our problems, women bring it upon themselves” and that “women have the power just as much as men and are as much to blame for abuse as men, that women are not chained to the floor and can just walk away from abusive situations.”  That same one mentioned some of the performers who talked about abuse or abused women and their mindsets have no right to speak issues that they were not physically a part of (which is actually inaccurate, but I’ll get to that later).
This is my response, not only as SHEEC’s Co-Chair,  but as an individual:

First of all, the controversial pole-dancing performance. I’m tired of defending and explaining this one, so I’ll keep it short and sweet. Empowering women doesn’t mean desexualizing them. Objectification is only a problem if it’s not paired with due subjectification (read this post as well as the comments). Finally, we support a group of educated women who want to “stretch the boundaries of pole dancing as something far more than simply sexy,” who “want to create a place where people feel comfortable, athletic, and yes, sexy!” and who “consistently challenge the stereotypes that surround vertical dancing, and seek to bring together a wide range of art forms through experimentation and openness in [their] performances.”

We wanted to showcase individuals who would address the core of our event, who would speak to their relationships with their bodies via song/dance/poetry and would show us a bit of themselves through their art. This event wasn’t meant to empower every person, but provide a space so people could share what empowered them and talk about what didn’t. Sorry, Cate and Lisa, if this didn’t empower you personally, but that’s not what the event was for. We wanted to start the conversation and show the varied emotions people had regarding their bodies, trying to focus on the positive, but also trying to highlight the complexity and (thus billing it as something “silly and serious and complex” in our advertising).
Now, what I consider the most egregious part of this evening (again, from what I’ve been told) was the commentary around abuse and the power women do or don’t have.
  • As a CLASS of people, no, women do not have the same power men have. This, of course, is affected by the intersections of people’s identities and how they affect their place on the social ladder/s, but if we’re only considering it on the axis of sex, no. We are not seen as equal and we do not have the same power men do. Some individual women may have more power in specific contexts, but ask yourself–is that because they’re women or is it because of something else? And furthermore, think of the difference between winning a battle and winning the war. Few and exceptional individual cases of powerful women don’t erase the massive inequalities across society.
  • We are not blaming individual men for “our problems.” First of all, they’re EVERYONE’S problems. Second of all, what we *are* blaming is a system that in most instances, privileges men and masculinity and devalues or even punishes women and femininity (not that the two–m/m and w/f–are inextricably joined, but are often thought to be). It’s not the fault of individual men (or women) acting in a vacuum; it’s the fault of everyone taking actions that contribute to this system, and that’s why EVERYONE has to work against it.
  • “Women bring it upon themselves” is such a problematic statement, I don’t even know where to begin. My first reaction is to say “Your privilege and ignorance are showing.” I’ll call upon the words of S. Biko: “The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.” READ ABOUT OPPRESSION AND POWER. Expand your myopic view. Your personal experience as a a woman and even as a victim/survivor of abuse does not qualify you to invalidate the experience of others, particularly women who have experienced trauma.
  • Abusive situations are DEFINED by a power and control imbalance, so NO, if the abusive partner in a male/female couple is the male, the female partner does NOT have the same power. She is also NOT TO BLAME for the abuse; no victim of abuse ever is. Read up on slut-shaming and victim-blaming to educate yourself on this. Intimate partner abuse is also often reinforced by other forms of institutional abuse/power; again, these things don’t occur in a vacuum. Context is important!
  • Many circumstances make it difficult for women (or any abused partner) to walk away from their situation, and the comment about them “not being chained to the floor” is offensive in its disrespect and flagrant ignorance. This an excellent resource that answers the “why doesn’t she just leave?” question so often posed to and/or about victims. Also check this  out for more information. I personally hate this question because it blames, shames, and disenfranchises victims, though I understand where it comes from (because I once asked it too).
I commend Jenn, Chay, Linh and the other SHEEC planners that were there and handled this as gracefully as they could given the circumstances. Thank you for positively representing SHEEC and doing damage-control, for letting those two girls know that you respected their right to have an opinion and their desire to share it, but that they did not have to attack other performers to express them. I also want to thank the performers for weathering that storm and for reaching out to us after the event with very touching emails.
Having a conversation or constructive dialogue is not the same as being argumentative and rude. Debating a point is not the same as attacking a group of people and not listening to their defense. Constructive criticism is no the same as ignorant remarks made to shame others and devalue their experiences. Learn the difference, Lisa and Cate, and then try again. We’re willing to listen if you are.
SHEEC is a group that was made to address issues of gender, sex, sexuality, and all the things that go along with it. This means we aren’t going to shy away from difficult conversations, controversy, and tackling the taboos. In fact, it means we’re more likely to address them because we come from a place that sees addressing those topics as a PRESSING NEED instead of as something to be avoided. We want to make people feel challenged and productively uncomfortable while also nourishing those who need it and providing support for folks marginalized due to their sexuality or desires. If you are looking for a “safe” group that doesn’t push envelopes, this is not it.

“Don’t make women your meat substitute”

Though PETA has put out some advertising campaigns that I like, most of them are complete misogynistic, fatphobic, queerphobic, racist bullshit.

Let me be fair and highlight some of the positive and/or non-offensive campaigns first:

  • “I’m [famous person] and I’m a vegetarian” (example and example; BAD example)
  • “You wouldn’t wear your pet, so don’t wear fur” (example)–> This one is fantastic. It relies on connecting to the part of the viewer that loves animals and/or has pets; it shows the links between the animals we eat/wear and the animals we care for and love. This is one of the most effective ones, I’d think. You work that guilt, PETA!
  • Here’s the rest of your fur coat” (example 2). This one is shocking and in-your-face, but that’s the point.
  • A campaign that exposes how some slaughterhouses are so filthy, that feces can be found on most pieces of meat.
  • A campaign against the clubbing of baby seals.
  • Spoke-swine arguing for the taxation of meat.
  • “Justifications for Exploitation” exhibit (example) –> I do think there are links between exploiting animals and exploiting other humans. No, I do not think that slavery and sweatshops and all that is EXACTLY THE SAME as what is done to animals, but I think there are important parallels that we should examine (especially when it comes to the rhetoric used to justify said exploitation). So…actually…in the end, shit is pretty similar.
  • “Running of the Nudes” in Pamplona. I’d previously riled against an image from it, but that was because I’m dumb and didn’t know about the larger campaign. Sorry!
  • “[Think] Ink, Not Mink” –> This one I’m kind of on the fence about. I think it’s catchy and cool. Not likely to make someone go HOLY SHIT OF COURSE I SHOULD STOP WEARING MINK, but a nice tactic for overall awareness and visibility. BUT, surprise surprise–most of their tattooed folk are men. Sigh. And all the men are like RAWR I’M TUFF OR SERIOUS, and the few women are…meh. Check them all out here.

That being stated, let’s talk about the vile crap PETA has put out. But first, let me say I have a complicated relationship with advertising, objectification, nudity, and sexualization. I don’t think I’ve resolved my issues there, and I still have to think long and hard (that’s what phe said) about how I feel concerning these things. For the sake of not making this entry 20 times longer than it’s going to be already, I’ll try to summarize it. I love nudity and am not opposed to it in advertising. I love sexualization and I am not inherently opposed to it in advertising. BUT…too often these things go hand in hand with sexual objectification (which I am not INHERENTLY opposed to either), and this shit gets put out there without proper education.

Ads with nudity and sexualization often objectify individuals and proliferate in a deeply misogynistic, queerphobic, racist, etc etc societies. So while these things “on their own” aren’t bad, putting them out there in a society that will warp them and misunderstand them and conflate “real people” with “advertised people,” it’s NOT OKAY to have ads like that. If our society had healthier attitudes toward sexuality, less body-shaming, less beauty-centric ideals, and more equality overall, nudity and sexualization wouldn’t be so problematic.

Anyway, to get us started, consider this “Milk Gone Wild” campaign.
I have no words. Next up: packaged humans.



I liked the concept a LOT, but I don’t agree with the execution. If they didn’t focus on the
sexualization of the meat, this would be fantastic. (Also, um, we can has variety of gender, sex, body type, ethnicity…ANYTHING? No? Oh, okay, PETA. Thanks a lot.) Then again, I like exposing the idea that beautiful women ARE treated like meat/objects…I just don’t know if this actually makes that point, since PETA’s agenda is to help animals, not women, and they have a history of CRAP. Soooo this could have been awesome…but PETA fucked it up. Great.

Augh, this ad is stupid for so many reasons. BUT, it could have been made AWESOME. ANOTHER cool concept fucked up by PETA’s ignorance. See some suggestions about how it could have been made good/effective:

  • Please allow me, like my nonhuman relatives, to wear my own fur! (Lynne Pashal, CO)
  • How about featuring naked crotch shots of a man and woman next to a beaver with the headline, “Fur only looks good where it grows naturally”? (Lethea Erz Takaka, New Zealand)
  • Change the ad to: “Trimming Fur. Unattractive. Wear your own with pride.” (Colleen Kirby, MA)

https://i0.wp.com/www.imogenbailey.com/charity/peta-bear-skin.jpg?w=620

Because the way to stop people from wearing fur is through enticing them with the idea of seeing a naked woman if they do it? And wtf fuzzy-headed palace-guard? (Do they use bear-skin for their fuzzy hats? Maybe that’s the relevance…but still, wtf) Yes, there’s a “male” version of it, but surprise–he’s only shot from the belly-button up. And his arms are crossed. And he looks happy, determined, or whatever–NOT sensual and sexualized.

https://i2.wp.com/www.ecorazzi.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/meat_peta.jpg?w=620

No. Just…no. And yeah, let’s further stigmatize men who can’t get erections at the drop of a hat. That’s really fucking useful.

spx-018839.jpg

Sigh. Even better (and by better I mean more exasperating) than this ad is the comments people have made about it. Guess what they focus more on–the issue of sows and animal cruelty or the woman’s body and how attractive/unattractive it is? No, really, I’ll give you ONE guess.

On the racism front, this ad makes its point (sorta?), but…it also clouds the facts. A lot. Selective breeding of dogs is only like race-supremacy bullshit in the sense that they both strive toward a certain perfection and blah blah blah. However, dog breeders do not HARM their pets or TERRORIZE them. There are no dog-lynchings among breeders. They don’t advocate for the extermination of all other dogs. So basically, the analogy only works up to the point of “we want to create a master race.” Also, cosmetic procedures some now consider unneccesary had an actual use once upon a time; they weren’t “cosmetic” back then. Read about cropping ears and docking tails here and here. Sure, now cutting tails/ears is bullshit in many places because the original purposes are no longer there and it’s uneccesary to actually perform these things, BUT we can’t just say “oh, it’s cosmetic” and leave it at that. That presumes that there is (and was) no use whatsoever to have these procedures done.

Moving on–elephant-time!


14850746_celina.jpg image by preeto_f04

Since I don’t know where this ad was circulated, I don’t know what to make of it on the racial/ethnic front. The first shit that comes to mind is obviously “oh no, stop the savage, dark pygmy-men from hurting this beautiful light-eyed princesss! look how pained she looks!” 😐 Yeah, way to reinforce racism. But anyhoo–stylizing violence. THIS DOESN’T WORK. WHY WHY WHY DO THEY KEEP DOING IT?!

https://i0.wp.com/www.imogenbailey.com/downloads/peta-elephants-1024.jpg?w=620

Seriously. Does PETA not understand that they’re not DOING ANYTHING BY STYLYZING VIOLENCE? This only serves to portray an INACCURATE IMAGE of the shit that goes on–the very shit they’re trying to STOP.

https://i2.wp.com/www.petaindia.com/feat/photos/Khanna-ad.jpg?w=620

Oh, this is surprising. A fully-clothed guy. 😐 Let’s compare this one to the other ads.

Finally,
“Wearing Axe’s new leather-inspired “Instinct” fragrance will not get you mobbed by a horde of horny honeys swooning over the smell of cow hides. There’s nothing sexy about smelling like or sporting rotten animal skins. (And yes, we have sexpert Pamela Anderson backing us up here.)” (via here).

Really? If you’re against the manufactured/faux smell of leather, then you’d have to be against fake fur, pleather, and ANYTHING that seeks to emulate the products we get from animals because they are EMULATING PRODUCTS WE GET FROM ANIMALS. Tofurkey, veggieburgers, gardendogs…all of these try to mimic the flavor of meat, sooooo we should ban them, right? NO. The point is to still get our kicks but without hurting animals, so if we can make something smell like leather or taste like meat without ACTUALLY making it out of leather or meat, then that’s awesome. Talk about hipocrisy.

And this Top-10 List to Go Vegetarian is also semi-full of fail. Some of the reasons to go vegetarian are valid, but others aren’t. Furthermore, this list is misleading (e.g. vegetarianism alone does NOT equal losing weight and by going vegetarian we’re not magically fucking feeding the hungry). Oh, and of course, the 2 most important reasons to go veg are THE COOL KIDS ARE DOING IT and WE CAN FINALLY BE SKINNY. Remember, vegetarianism = skinniness = sexiness = most important thing in our lives. *eyeroll* AND FINALLY, if we’re really intense about this, we should all just be vegan. Yes, vegetarianism is better than doing nothing, but people forget that not eating meat does NOT translate into not using animal-tested products, or other products that come from animals. Check out this list–animals products are EVERYWHERE, it’s nuts. Point being, vegetarianism alone can only do so much and we need to REALIZE that and STOP FOOLING OURSELVES by thinking that it’s a magical cure for all ills.

That said, feel free to check out the PETA blog. It does actually have important information about animal rights, animal abuse, and all that jazz. Just because PETA does STUPID shit every once in a while (and by that I mean OFTEN), it doesn’t mean they’re entirely worthless. We just need to have a very critical eye when dealing with their stuff.

Being a Woman: The Male Gaze and Saying No

In response to this (blog entry that just has an embedded video) and this:

The author here grosses me out.

That guy isn’t real. Somebody decided to make him up so they could write the “write fuck me on your chest and smile” line, claiming female = victim and that somehow, if only men would understand and be sensitive to this, it would be okay.

Most men aren’t anything like this guy, and for the rest of us the author has done nothing to improve our understanding of “what it’s like to be a woman.” If the author were listening, I’d respond: “Being a grownup means taking the fuck me sign off your chest and telling people ‘no’ or ‘piss off’ whenever necessary.”

Giving a reality check to a straw man, kind of annoying.

—————-

I see where the commenter is coming from, but I think it’s a *very* shallow reading of that clip. The message I got from this video/scene was different. Writing “fuck me” on his chest would be about drawing a parallel between the symbolic gesture and the reality of inhabiting a woman’s body–a body that is unfortunately read by some as “willing” just by virtue of being female. If the guy had actually gone out with the FUCK ME on his chest, it wouldn’t have been the same thing/feeling…but it wasn’t about him actually doing it. It was about showing the parallel between that and walking around with an INVISIBLE (yet oh so visible) marker of “oh yeah, sure, fuck me, that’s great, I really want it from you, thank you.”

A man walking naked with FUCK ME on his chest would be seen as abnormal, whereas a woman just walking around would not be. Violence against women is perpetrated because it’s, in a way, normalized. This is the narrative that we’ve been given; people assuming a naked man with FUCK ME scrawled on his chest wants and is ready for sex is not realistic, but people assuming a woman walking down the street wants and is ready for sex IS realistic. This whole scene is about the psychological impact; it’s about the female character trying to show this man how it feels by creating a “story” that APPROXIMATES that feeling. Taking that story to reality wouldn’t work, but THINKING about it and thinking about what it MEANS would certainly make an impact.

Woman is not inherently “victim,” but the truth is that in society, many times there is a strong correlation between the two. And if it’s not “victim,” it’s still the receiving end of violence, be it symbolic, physical, or both. And that being said…yeah–if only men could understand and be sensitive to the realities of living in a body marked as “female,” we would probably have less scenarios like this. A man would be way less likely to invade a woman’s privacy like what happened on The L Word if he understood how that shit felt. A man would be less likely to leer at a woman and think it’s okay to grab her ass if he understood how that felt. Obviously it would only be a start. Someone’s knowledge doesn’t predict what they will do with it.

But the thing is, there’s no real way to understand, FULLY understand, unless one has lived through it. Anything else is just an assumption, removed to a certain degree, or a sympathetic thought. No one can TRULY and wholly understand or “feel” what someone else is feeling. We have approximations, yes, and a “common language,” yes, but these are only approximations. Still, these approximations are valuable–very valuable. They’re the closest we have to the real thing, and they are important. And even if we can’t feel exactly what someone else has felt, there are probably huge overlaps, and we can sympathize and find solidarity.

Finally, the “…telling people ‘no’ or ‘piss off’ whenever necessary” comment? Telling people “no” or to “piss off” when necessary is a right (and sort of one’s duty to a certain extent), but to have that right respected? A totally different ballgame. Women usually don’t have the privilege of not having to worry that their “no” may not be respected or even taken seriously. Saying “no” doesn’t necessitate or equal a respect of that “no.” Just because a woman screams NO and fights back, does that mean a rapist will stop raping her? Just because we say NO, does that mean a mugger will suddenly return all our money and leave us alone? Just because a NO is necessary doesn’t mean it will WORK. There are various situations when saying NO just isn’t enough.

And sure, most men aren’t like the guy in the video, who will set up cameras all over your house…but that’s not the point. Most men aren’t rapists, or murderers, or robbers–but we still have to talk about those that are, and represent them in the media, and show that they exist. We still have to show that women are hurt, not to normalize that violence, but to show the realities of the world and that they are NOT ACCEPTABLE. We have to put these things in the forefront so people cannot ignore them, so people have to acknowledge them and get educated and DO something about it. The fact that a (presumably) Average Joe (whatever that is) cannot relate at all to this clip and feels that it provides NO insight into how it feels to be a woman is VERY distressing to me.

Addendum: By this post, I don’t mean to say that ALL women are a certain way or feel a certain way. No monolithic understandings of men and women apply. Kthx.

Rachel Graves: Menagerie

“There is an inextricable link between the domination and exploitation of women, and the domination and exploitation of animals. Animals and women are objectified in similar ways: from the mass media fantasy images of impossibly proportioned women and happy cartoon cows and chickens, to the animal names and insults directed toward women. Women are called foxes, bitches, birds, lambs – domestic and game animals. If men are compared to animals at all they are wolves, bears, stallions – symbols of strength and power.”

CLICK FOR THE REST OF THE PICTURES.

apolaustic:  ‘Bitch’ by Rachel Graves There is an inextricable link between the domination and exploitation of women, and the domination and exploitation of animals.  Animals and women are objectified in similar ways: from the mass media fantasy images of impossibly proportioned women and happy cartoon cows and chickens, to the animal names and insults directed toward women.  Women are called foxes, bitches, birds, lambs — domestic and game animals. If men are compared to animals at all they are wolves, bears, stallions — symbols of strength and power.
(x-posted from the women@brown blog, where i post sometimes)

Transphobia: It’s What’s for Breakfast

LINK.

This is a transcript of what two assholes said on radio about a transgirl. There’s SO MUCH wrong with this fucking thing that I cannot even BEGIN to dismantle their ridiculous rhetoric, if it can even be called rhetoric–more like bullshit? Yeah. I think that’s a more fitting term. I hope it’s self-explanatory to most people. Unfortunately, though, I’m sure it won’t be to everyone. Blah.

And to those who don’t “believe” in transgenderism or the existence of cisgender privilege, or who feel being trans is wrong and fucked up, or…honestly, whatever your point of view about the FACTS here, I’m sure we could (mostly) all agree that speaking about another human being with such utter vitriol and a lack of understanding or even COMPASSION is just…unacceptable.

—-

ROB WILLIAMS [11:12]: This is a weird person who is demanding attention. And when it’s a child, all it takes is a hug, maybe some tough love or anything in between. When your little boy said, ‘Mommy, I want to walk around in a dress.’ You tell them no cause that’s not what boys do. But that’s not what we’re doing in this culture.

ARNIE STATES [13:27]: If my son, God forbid, if my son put on a pair of high heels, I would probably hit him with one of my shoes. I would throw a shoe at him. Because you know what? Boys don’t wear high heels. And in my house, they definitely don’t wear high heels.

ROB WILLIAMS [17:45]: Dawn, they are freaks. They are abnormal. Not because they’re girls trapped in boys bodies but because they have a mental disorder that needs to be somehow gotten out of them. That’s where therapy could help them.

ROB WILLIAMS [18:15]: Or because they were molested. You know a lot of times these transgenders were molested. And you need to work with them on that. The point is you don’t allow the behaviour. You cure the cause!

ARNIE STATES [21:30]: You got a boy saying, ‘I wanna wear dresses.’ I’m going to look at him and go, ‘You know what? You’re a little idiot! You little dumbass! Look, you are a boy! Boys don’t wear dresses.’

ARNIE STATES [29:22]: You know, my favorite part about hearing these stories about the kids in high school, who the entire high school caters around, lets the boy wear the dress. I look forward to when they go out into society and society beats them down. And they end up in therapy.