From Elizabeth over at Screw Bronze!
Is feminism about the rights of all women, or just the “right” women? Does human rights apply to all; and when it doesn’t, what does that say about how we view the excluded group? Those two questions have been bothering me since September when I started to do research for a blog on the transgender day of remembrance; the day in November when people are asked to remember the dozens of transgendered people killed annually for…breathing. And as I researched I came across stories and statistics that shocked me. Studies from the US’s most T-friendly city San Francisco saying even there, a transgendered person’s likelihood of getting a full time job was minimal, and the chance of ever making enough to purchase a house or condo almost non-existent. I will stop now before I go on and on about what I found (Which I will blog later) but what floored me was when, with consistent regularity, charities set up to help the people who NO ONE ELSE would help, were refusing to help, in particular, transgendered females. What does it mean, I asked myself, when for 10 years, a shelter to stop those people considered expendable by society from freezing to death, refuse to let transgendered females enter? What does it mean when organizations dedicated to helping ANYONE refuse to help transgendered? Or when a creed or society which is set up to help ANY woman, excludes transgendered women?
...But now I want to talk about the crime of being an intersex woman. You may not be aware it was a crime. I knew it was something most people don’t talk about but I wasn’t aware it was a crime either until the State of Wyoming told me so. In case you are wondering why I care; I believe that by learning and caring about the struggles and concerns of ALL women, I will be enriched (discouraged at times, but enriched). What happened is that Miki Ann Dimarco was born intersex and had hormone and some genital corrective surgery growing up. Though that was limited because she had been abandoned by her parents and raised in a variety of foster homes. In 1998, she was picked up and found guilty of passing bad checks worth $742.85. Two years later during probation she failed a drug test and was sentenced to what should have been 14 months in very minimum security prison. That was, until, during a strip search prison officials found a tiny penis; then upon testing found she had XY chromosomes. Up until now, everyone in the justice system considered Miki Ann to be female (since she had lived that way since puberty), but now there was visual evidence of her intersex condition. Later prison officials would say that she had been determined to be “male” without either contesting her childhood medical treatment as an intersex female or contesting the THREE ex-husbands she had. The problem was, where to house her? Not in the men’s prison, they decided. Not with the minimum security women’s prison they decided, though she was judged a non-risk and non-violent offender. In panic they placed her in total solitary containment which meant placing her in Pod 3 where four confinement cells existed for the most extreme, uncontrollable and violent offenders. The cells were small holding only a cot and toilet. Cement Floors and cinderblock walls. No chair. No shelf. No personality amenities. Even watches, clocks or a deck of playing cards was prohibited. She could only emerge from her cell when no other prisoners were present. No contact meant she ate in her cell, she could not use the gym, she could not attend AA, not visit the law or general library, not attend religious services, not have regular visitors, and not qualify for work release programs or even talk to other inmates.
And there she stayed for the next 438 days, her full term, despite appealing for a move in housing every 90 days.
...Jan. 24th 2007, the 10th circuit court of appeals decided that the 14th amendment which protects “suspect classes” from discrimination which includes race and women does not include “intersex.” If she had been treated worse than other prisoners because she was female, that would have broken the 14th amendment, but because she was treated differently, including NOT being treated like a female because she was intersex, that was legal. He also overturned the award stating that since the penal system hadn’t faced someone like her before, essentially, whatever they did was good enough. Yes, the judge determined, she was treated badly, but not constitutionally badly enough. He overturned the $1,000 and ordered Miki Ann Dimarco to repay court costs. Since filing the original case, Miki Ann Dimarco has died. The state of Wyoming will be seizing and seeing damages from her estate.
You see, my problem is that LGBTI people are part of the chunks of the people who ARE being excluded from basic rights or the ability to be seen or giving a voice. So when a report comes out saying that LGBT teens are 42% of homeless teens in the US and that many as young as 11 are turning to prostitution or drugs to survive then I have a question. When Robert Pickton can abduct and murder between 23 and 60 women from one area of one town (Vancouver) for YEARS before the public is notified and intensive efforts and made simply because he is targeting aboriginal women and prostitutes, I have a question? My question is, if THESE people are not included, if THESE homeless girls and women and transgender women are not included, if aboriginal and women in the sex trade and if intersex female prisoners are not included and if vulnerable women are not embraced and spoken up for then WHAT THE FUCK GOOD IS FEMINISM?
It's a question.
Well of course one could argue that never mind these exotic fringe issues when we ("what do you mean 'we', ___"?) have a(nother) crisis on our hands. Via I'm Not a Feminist, But..., this Guardian story:
Why is rape so easy to get away with?
Despite all the reforms to the police and courts, rape victims have only a tiny chance of seeing their attacker convicted. Julie Bindel investigates
Thursday February 1, 2007
'I coped with being raped," says Jane Lewis, who was attacked by a man two years ago at the party where they met, "but I went mad when he was acquitted. That is when I started fantasising about killing him." She later discovered that he had been accused of rape four times previously: twice not charged, and twice acquitted by a jury.
Today, rape might as well be legal. With women frequently accused of making false allegations, and victims who had consumed alcohol blamed for "getting themselves raped", it is a wonder that the conviction rate for reported rapes is as high as the current figure of 5%.
Rape is an everyday occurrence. Research published yesterday by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and Home Office Inspectorates estimates that of the 50,000 rapes thought to occur each year, between 75% and 95% are never reported. And almost a third of reported cases recorded by police as "no crime" should have been properly investigated as rape.
If a man commits a rape, then he has, on average, a less than 1% chance of being convicted. Those most likely to result in a conviction are classic stranger rapes, involving a man with a knife who breaks into the victim's home or drags her into the bushes.
...The CPS will only take a case to court if it has a "reasonable chance of conviction". This means that those cases that fit the stereotype - such as stranger rapes - take precedence over the more commonplace ones. Yet often women say that being raped by a man they love and trust hurts more than being attacked by a man they will never see again.
"If cases that appear difficult to win do not get to court," says Hamish Brown, a retired senior police officer and expert on sexual violence, "then jurors will never get the chance to become educated about those more complicated cases that rarely go forward." Despite this, Brown admits that in cases where it is simply "her word against his", he would usually decide not to charge. "If there is too much in the defence's favour, such as she was carrying condoms, it is unlikely to result in a conviction."
What is going wrong? Police deal with rape within a culture of suspicion. Despite feminists heaping praise on the police since they improved their approach to victims from the bad old days of the 70s and 80s, response to rape is still patchy and, at times, unacceptable. A Channel 4 documentary, screened last year, portrayed some officers as lazy and sexist and an allegation of rape by a prostitute as being treated lightly.
Ah. You mean, it might have something to do with really thoroughly ingrained shit dying hard; and, maybe just maybe problems with the way the State deals with such things.
But, no, we learn; actually, it's all the fault of:
The people we are fighting? Some of them are people whose pinheaded, self-serving, academented “analysis” it is that women “choose” to participate in beauty contests to get an education, or they “choose” to be prostituted to get an education, or they “choose” to participate in relationships which celebrate submission and dominance, and many of them are the same people who say our commitment to end sexism is “transphobic,” many of these people are the same people whose ideas are responsible for the fact that *things aren’t as different now for women as they were 20 years ago*. And *that* is the reasons for these discussions.
In point of fact, right now, to be dedicated to an end to sexism and to gender, full stop, is to be relentlessly excoriated by people who call that “transphobic” and a whole lot of other nasty things and a lot of those people are MEN who do not care one whit if anything ever changes for women, they want the clock turned back hundreds of years to the time when they owned us outright.
Really, I won’t have that kind of thing on this blog, the way when it begins to become evident that radical feminism has been lied about, maligned, misunderstood, when the lights go on and people start to bail because they realize they don’t have any good response to what has been offered, others come in wanting to talk about radical feminism being all about “theory” and no action, when *in fact* radical feminists are responsible for *revolution for women in our time* and if misogynists of all and every stripe would get the fuck out of the way with their misogynist ideas and behaviors and projects which they think are oh-so-”progressive,” and “transgressive,” even though they take us back to pre-feminism days, we might be able to actually *finish* the revolution we fucking began.
Sorry for my intensity but not really. This is TRUE.
Get it? If it weren't for those pesky transgendered people making trouble, and the other people who support them for some inexplicable, probably sinister or at best trying-to-be-trendy reason, along with other "misogynist ideas and behaviors and projects," we wouldn't be having situations like this:
Rape victim is jailed on old warrant
TAMPA, Florida (AP) -- A college student who told police she had been raped was jailed for two days after officers found an old warrant accusing her of failing to pay restitution for a 2003 theft arrest.
While she was behind bars, a jail worker refused to give her a second dose of the morning-after contraceptive pill because of the worker's religious convictions, the college student's attorney said.
The 21-year-old woman was released Monday only after attorney Vic Moore reported her plight to the local media. (Watch the mother describe how her daughter was twice vicitimized Video)
"Shocked. Stunned. Outraged. I don't have words to describe it," Moore said. "She is not a victim of any one person. She is a victim of the system. There's just got to be some humanity involved when it's a victim of rape."
Moore said the young woman was not allowed to take the second emergency contraceptive pill until Monday afternoon, a day late, after reporters called police and jail officials.
Tampa Police Chief Steve Hogue said the arrest led to a new policy Tuesday that tells officers not to arrest a crime victim who has suffered injury or mental trauma whenever "reasonably possible." The agency also apologized to the student.
"Obviously, any policy that allows a sexual battery victim to spend a night in jail is a flawed policy," police spokeswoman Laura McElroy said.
The woman is not being identified by The Associated Press because she reported being the victim of a sex crime.
Tampa attorney Jennifer D'Angelo, who represents the jail worker, said Tuesday that her client is prohibited from giving inmates any medication without specific orders. The worker insists she never discussed religion with the woman who reported being raped...
Because clearly what happened to that student and what happened to Miki Ann DeMarco have NOTHING TO DO WITH EACH OTHER.
Clearly, "they" need their own movement. Preferably far, far away. Or, better yet,
get the fuck out of the way
Now. Who's next?