Tell us more about your Family Values.

Gawker shows us this really charming bit of insight from Mike Huckabee, who thinks he’s still relevant. Still hammering away at the great menace of trans women who need to pee, or trans girls who are told to shower after gym class, he confides:

Now I wish that someone told me that when I was in high school that I could have felt like a woman when it came time to take showers in PE. I’m pretty sure that I would have found my feminine side and said, “Coach, I think I’d rather shower with the girls today.” You’re laughing because it sounds so ridiculous doesn’t it?

In other words, we can’t allow trans women to be treated like human beings because cisgender heterosexual men like Huckabee are creepy fuckers. Got it.

No better place to put her? Really?

Well, this is fucking horrifying.

There’s a 16-year-old transgender girl of color, Jane Doe, being held in a women’s prison in Connecticut.

No charges have been filed. She’s being held indefinitely. She’s in solitary confinement for 22-23 hours per day.

She does have a history of violent behavior, but that doesn’t make her unusual for a teenager who’s been in state care for years and who’s endured many more years of physical and sexual violence by a wide variety of people she was supposed to trust.

Make no mistake, this girl’s violent behavior is easily explained by her history of victimization. She hasn’t gotten the mental health care she needs to respond non-violently to perceived threats, and she’s certainly not getting that care in the adult women’s prison.

As Adrian Weibgen points out, surely DCF could do better with this girl:

The official story is that Jane endangered other youth in DCF’s custody, and Katz had no option but to send Jane to an adult prison. We do not underestimate the difficulty of managing the competing needs of the youth in DCF’s care, especially since many of these young people, like Jane, have been victims of violence and sexual abuse and exhibit trauma-responsive behaviors as a result. But the fact that the job is a difficult one does not mean that Connecticut should settle for less for Jane or any other child in need. […]

DCF’s job is to care for all children, and many of the children DCF cares for struggle with outbursts of violence. So why is Jane Doe the only child in fourteen years DCF has sought to have transferred to an adult prison? Transphobia may be part of the answer. DCF previously placed Jane in a facility for boys, then petitioned the court to have her transferred to Manson, an adult male prison facility. Jane is now at a women’s prison, but that is the result of a decision by Department of Corrections (DoC), not DCF.

Also this:

Is it possible that Jane is the most dangerous young person DCF has seen in fourteen years? Maybe. Or maybe DCF just needs to believe that she is, because believing otherwise would mean acknowledging that it is the system that has failed Jane, and not the other way around.

There is much to support this latter point of view. Jane has provided many details of her sad and disturbing history of sexual violence, and although Katz alludes to the fact that Jane “suffered horrible abuse before she entered the care of the DCF,” Katz fails to acknowledge that this abuse occurred while Jane was in DCF’s care, too. […]It is difficult to imagine another young woman being repeatedly raped while in DCF’s care, only to be locked in prison for being too “dangerous.”

Weibgen also notes the justice system’s history of treating queer and trans women of color as especially violent and dangerous. Look up CeCe McDonald, for example. Transphobia doesn’t just mean putting a trans woman in a men’s prison, it means prosecuting and imprisoning a trans woman for an act of self-defense. Jane Doe isn’t even an adult, and because she’s still a juvenile, she’s being kept in isolation in compliance with a law that says juvenile prisoners must be kept from any interactions with adult inmates.

I think it would be better if she just weren’t in an adult prison.

Did I mention the state has filed no criminal charges on this girl?

They shunted her off to a secure facility without a trial.

Jane Doe wrote a letter to Gov. Malloy, in which she says she feels “forgotten and thrown away.”

Yeah, I can see how she’d have that feeling.

Paris Lees deserves better.

I am sitting here cringing in solidarity with Paris Lees for having participated in a “debate” with Julie Burchill at the Spectator. It didn’t go well, but she seems to be dealing with the horror of her experience much better than I would. She has some handy, astute things to say about progressive concepts such as intersectionality, which seems to be catching a lot of flak from British white cisgender feminists lately. I will share her insights, as she is much more gracious than I am.

Intersectionality is a fairly unattractive word to describe a fairly useful concept. People face multiple forms of prejudice and intersectionality is simply about recognising the difference, say, between being called a “slag” and being called a “black slag”. Burchill says she doesn’t “like” intersectionality – but it’s not a case of liking. You either accept that some people have more to struggle against than you, or you don’t. And you either wish to help them, or you don’t. What she really means is that she doesn’t like transgender people objecting to her cruel and inaccurate jokes – just as some people say they “don’t like” political correctness because really they don’t like gay people asking to be treated with respect.

I see nothing unattractive about the word, but whatevs, it’s a term that’s in use for the discussion of social justice issues, and you’re either invested in those issues, or not.

Also, this happened:

Burchill also accused me of being a privileged graduate who probably spent my time at university learning academic jargon at sit-down protests. The truth is that I’m even more common than she is and turned to prostitution to put myself through higher education. It was more “lie down” than “sit-in”.

I’ve seen a screencap of Burchill’s writing in which she says that sex workers should be shot as collaborators with capitalist patriarchy. Maybe she’s developed a more nuanced view since then. For some reason I’m not interested in extending the benefit of the doubt.

Solidarity, the sort that Burchill says her dad believed in, was about everyone who was less well-off helping each other to achieve a more equal society. It’s a lovely idea but it wasn’t always successful. Increasing rights for workers didn’t necessarily apply to women, for example.

And fighting for better conditions for women doesn’t necessarily work out as improvements for women across the board. It’s like, some marginalized people are less marginalized than others, and the less marginalized aren’t necessarily interested in the concerns of those who deal with multiple oppressions. Working-class white cis women aren’t necessarily standing up for the rights of homeless trans women of color, for example.

On Road, the organisation that manages All About Trans (a project that introduces media professionals to young trans people), also works with homeless people, undocumented migrants, travellers and people with mental health issues. Intersectionality isn’t a competition, it is about promoting equal rights for everyone. I suspect that Burchill knows that, deep down, and couldn’t care less.

I think the qualifier of “deep down” is too generous.

Free CeCe, with Laverne Cox!

I have shamelessly copy-pasted this from This Is White Privilege:


FREE CECE, the new documentary with Laverne Cox, explores the roles race, class and gender played in CeCe McDonald’s case. McDonald’s claim of self defense was rejected by Hennepin County prosecutors. The documentary explores the implications of CeCe’s story as a survivor, housing trans women in male prisons, and the practice of keeping trans women in solitary confinement.
Please take a moment to visit the site and contribute a tax deductible donation so this important work can continue.

If you can’t donate, then signal boost if you can. This deserves all the attention it can get!

In which a slobbering demon is made out of women who need to pee.

There’s this idiot, a former Navy chaplain, letting words come out of his mouth regarding the supposed dangers of trans* women having the right to use women’s restrooms.

“He’s being abused by his parents,” Klingenschmitt asserted. “These abusive parents now have used this little boy to try and claim that he’s a girl to try and tell the world that they ought to let transgender adults into your little girl’s public bathrooms!”

“There is a demon of rape inside of this movement,” he added, “to violate your daughters”

Right. Use parents’ fear for their daughters’ safety to stoke violent bigotry against trans* women, because they don’t deal with enough violence already. So very original.

Klingenschmitt’s language of “demon of rape” is rather colorful and hyperbolic, but the idea is not that far off from the mainstream. There are plenty of people who want to make a problem out of trans* women using public restrooms marked for women.

(I’ll just take a moment to point out that a trans* woman’s options for using public restrooms are basically thus: Use the ladies’ room, get yelled at. Use the men’s room, get beaten up and possibly killed. Meanwhile, she needs to pee. There are no good options here.)

Just think about what it’s like to live a life in which you have to make a serious decision every time you use the toilet in a public venue.

It might surprise Mr. Klingenschmitt to learn that his position on transgender women is no ideologically different from the position of TERFs (Trans-Exclusive Radical Feminists, for the layperson). They, too, see trans* women as men who pretend to be women so they can violate women’s spaces. It hasn’t occurred to them that there are simpler, less persecuted ways for men to stalk and harass women.

I attended the Transgender Day of Remembrance service in DC last week. I should also note that it was held in a church, with mostly Christian religious leaders running the program and heavily Christian themes involved in the musical selections, in case anyone’s wondering. No one seemed to see any inherent contradiction of Christianity with a full-throated defense of transgender people’s rights to be true to themselves and live without violence. When the service was finished, I even used the bathroom. I got in line for the ladies’ room along with several other women, most of whom were trans*, and nothing bad happened. I complimented one woman on her sparkly, festive shirt. Not for a moment did I feel unsafe.


If you don’t want to be called a bigot, then don’t act like Julie Burchill or Suzanne Moore.

This happened. These people are so incredibly horrible I don’t even want to quote them on my blog.

Suzanne Moore is a writer, and, as such, she should know how to accept criticism. She received some very politely-worded, proportionate criticism on Twitter and responded by showing just how hostile and bigoted she is.

Then her pal Julie Burchill saw Moore’s ass-showing on Twitter and said: “I can do better than that.” How anyone can put language like “you’re lucky I’m not calling you shemales or shims” in a written publication and still call herself an activist for social justice is well beyond me.

I don’t expect Julie Burchill to listen to anyone who doesn’t already agree with her. She’s full of hate and viciousness. Trans* women, especially young women of color, are some of the most likely people to be murdered, and that is precisely because of attitudes like the one she has put on display in the Observer. The bigger question is why the Observer ran her bile-spewing in the first place.

If you want to know what’s so bad about referring to a “Brazilian transsexual,” read Heather McNamara’s piece.

If you’re thinking Burchill has a good point about being called “cis,” read Natalie Reed’s piece.

Finally, if you don’t want to be “monstered” on Twitter, don’t act like a monster on Twitter or any other networking site. If you don’t want to be called out for bigoted behavior, then don’t contribute to a climate of treating trans* women like sub-humans. Having the “working class” badge pinned to your shirt doesn’t exempt you from having blood on your hands.

Injustice has been served.

According to Colorlines, CeCe McDonald has pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter. While this charge is far less appalling than murder, and a 41-month prison sentence is less damaging than 80 years, it is, nonetheless, wrong. They attacked first, and she acted in self-defense. She has been prosecuted for having refused to take their abuse sitting down. This is a great way to send a message to trans people, especially black trans women: “We do not want you here.” It is an act of erasure, far less gradual and subtle than most.