QBits

GoldieBlox Breaks into Toys R Us (by goldieblox)

I love this, inspite of it being an ad.

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"Being in Toys R Us is our first step towards proving to the world that engineering for girls is a mainstream concept. We are faced with an enormous opportunity and challenge: we must prove that GoldieBlox deserves to be on the shelves. 

The odds are against us. We’ve been told that GoldieBlox can’t survive in mass stores next to Barbie. Convention says that engineering toys for girls are a “niche” for the affluent, and for the internet. Together, we must prove convention wrong.

(via Male Models: The Female of the Species | TIME.com)

Casey Legler, a woman working as a male model. -Q.

"I understand signifiers. We’re social creatures and we have a physical language of communicating with each other," she says. "But it would be a really beautiful thing if we could all just wear what we wanted, without it meaning something."

Read more: http://style.time.com/2012/11/20/male-models-the-female-of-the-species/#ixzz2Ct7wWT4r

Judge to Pregnant Man I Don’t Believe You’re REALLY a Guy … Dude

I can’t believe I’m posting a report from TMZ but I’ve not been able to find any other sources and, as TMZ notes, it appears to be an exclusive…

But I’m posting it is because it highlights just how essentialist a binary system of sex and gender is and how inadaquate the legal system is when it comes to addressing the realities of sex and gender disencumbered from dualism.

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exclusive

0810_thomas_beatie_jensen_tmzAn Arizona judge isn’t convinced the Pregnant Man's marriage should be recognized in the Grand Canyon state … because both man and wife have vaginas … which might equate to same sex marriage … which isn't legal in AZ.

The dispute is the latest speed bump in Thomas Beatie's divorce proceedings from wife Nancy … who Thomas married in Hawaii back in 2003. The two represented themselves as a heterosexual couple because Thomas, a transgender man who was born a woman, had a state authorized change of sex before the wedding. Thomas says he has state-sanctioned legal docs to prove it.

But an AZ judge is calling the whole system into question … refusing to preside over the divorce until he is convinced that the two were legitimately married in the first place.

In the docs, the judge points to Beatie’s womb … and notes that Thomas gave birth to the couple’s three children during the marriage.

The judge then argues that he can find NO legal authority that defines a man as someone who has the ability to give birth to a child.

Therefore, the judge claims, it’s possible Beatie’s marriage was NOT LEGAL from the start … and he has no authority to grant the couple a divorce.

The judge gave Beatie an opportunity to defend the marriage … and Beatie has filed docs doing just that … pointing to his U.S. passport which designates him as a man as well as his Hawaii birth certificate, which was changed to describe him as a man.

The judge has yet to make a final decision.

New protocol puts more power in the hands of Scottish trans people
Way to go Scotland!
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by
18 July 2012, 5:40pm
 

A new protocol issued this week by the Scottish Government is set to revolutionise the way trans people are served by the health system.

Under the new rules, treatment will be faster and more flexible, with guaranteed minimum standards of care. It will also be easier for trans people to take charge of the direction of their treatment.

Based on guidelines set by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) , the protocol is much more patient-focused than the previous system. Scottish trans people will now be able to approach gender clinics directly instead of having to go through their GPs, avoiding a recognised problem with some GPs being poorly trained and uncooperative in relation to trans issues.

Trans people accessing Scottish gender identity clinics should now find it much easier to be prescribed hormones. Except where significant physical or mental health risks are identified, anyone over the age of 16 who has experienced persistent gender dysphoria will be eligible for hormone treatment.

Crucially, this can start before the 12 months of ‘real life experience’ required before surgery, so many trans people will find themselves more confident about their ability to blend in during what can be a very difficult period. Hormones will also be available to those who are transgender but not transsexual, or who do not intend to undergo genital surgery for personal or medical reasons.

Young people under 16 will be eligible for assessment in gender clinics and, if deemed mature enough, may be able to consent to their own treatment. Unfortunately, Scotland still lacks the expert staff needed to care for young trans people so they would probably be referred to clinics in London. It is understood that efforts are being made to remedy this situations as families often struggle with the expense and the added emotional strain of regular travel.

The new protocol is significant in the emphasis it places on what are often considered secondary procedures. Early top surgery is recommended for trans men to reduce the risk of health problems associated with wearing binders. For trans women, early facial hair removal is now considered essential and is recognised as making real life experience safer. Everyone going through the process of transition is recognised as having a right to counselling and psychotherapy, for their families as well as for themselves, though this is intended to be patient-centred and not – apart from key assessments – obligatory.

Several different organisations contributed their expertise to designing the protocol, with the Equality and Human Rights Commission Scotland working alongside NHS bodies. Trans people themselves were also active in shaping it, participating in the process via focus groups.

The protocol has been welcomed by the Scottish Transgender Alliance, which describes it as an important step forward. Some concerns remain regarding how it will work in practice, especially in relation to the timely provision of service in a sector that is already under-resourced.

Primary schools praised for labelling four-year-olds ‘transgender’

This headline is somewhat misleading as the students were not all necessarily labelled as trans*, rather they were allowed a safe space in which to explore and express themselves. But kudos to the schools for creating safe spaces and encouraging gender expression beyond the female/feminine male/masculine stereotypes.

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Inspectors have praised infant schools for supporting their cross-dressing students, with children as young as four being labelled as “transgender”.

All children should be vaccinated against flu because they are 'super-spreaders' who infect the rest of the family, experts have said.
Ofsted have praised schools for supporting their pupils, whether they want to dress as boys or girls Photo: Alamy

A report found young pupils were being encouraged to express themselves and permitted to dress as the opposite sex without judgment.

The education watchdog highlighted examples of good practice, such as appreciating “that a boy may prefer to be known as a girl and have a girl’s name and similarly a girl may have a girl’s name but wants to dress as and be a boy”.

It praised primary schools where “transgender pupils are taken seriously”, and those which had “gender-neutral” environments.

According to a report on one infants’ school, teaching children aged four to seven, found it was doing “excellent work” with “pupils who are or may be transgender”.

In a survey of 37 primary and 19 secondary schools, Ofsted questioned 1,357 pupils about their experiences at school to draw conclusions.

According to the Daily Mail, it found one unnamed school encourage children to behave in a “non-gender stereotypical way”, with younger boys dressing up in traditionally female clothing and allowed to wear ribbons in their hair.

One report published earlier this year singled out Central Street Infant and Nursery School in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, for particular praise, after finding it celebrated “difference and diversity as a way of developing tolerance, understanding and respect”.

Noting that around a quarter of the children in Reception year had same-sex relationships as part of their family, it said: “Transgender pupils are taken seriously. This involves a high level of tolerance, empathy and support.

“The school appreciates that a boy may prefer to be known as a girl and have a girl’s name and similarly a girl may have a girl’s name but wants to dress as and be a boy.”

It also notes the school works actively to give same-sex parents their preferred names, such as “mum Pat and mum Dawn” and lessons to explain how a childr conceived using frozen sperm could believe he had “no father”.

In the latest report, nine were highlighted by Ofsted inspectors as having “successfully tackled prejudice-based attitudes and related bullying” help eliminate name-calling and create an “inclusive” environment in classes.

In total, almost half the children surveyed said they had been bullied or picked on at their current school, with inspectors saying name-calling in schools was too often dismissed by teachers as childish teasing

Susan Gregory, Ofsted director of education and care, said: “Schools must develop a positive culture so all pupils learn in a happy and safe environment.

“Teachers should receive the right training and support so they have the skills and confidence to teach pupils about diversity and the effects of bullying.”

Bombay High Court rules sex reassignment surgery can go ahead
Twenty-one-year-old in feud with parents allowed surgery after suicide threats
Swati Barua

The Bombay High Court yesterday ruled in favour of a 21-year-old transgender woman in a feud with her parents.

Swati Barua, 21, from Assam had been booked in for a gender reassignment operation in a hospital in Mumbai on 17 April. When her family found out they blocked her bank accounts and threatened the doctors who had been due to perform the surgery.

Last Thursday the high court reprimanded Barua for using pressure tactics after she wrote a letter saying she would commit suicide unless her petition was heard in court.

Barua says she has felt like a female trapped in male’s body since she was a child and this angered his parents who were violent towards her. When she was 12 or 13 she found out about gender reassignment surgery on the internet and started saving for the operation.

'I am very happy that finally my prayers have been heard,' said Barua to India Today. ‘I was sure that this would be the outcome but the delay was depressing me. It is my fundamental right to decide how I want to live. The doctors have told me that there will be several steps to this entire procedure but at least now it will begin. My fiance is very happy and we are deciding on a date to get engaged this month. I cannot wait for my new life to begin.’

Gender debunked

“SM femme tranny dyke” Kate Bornstein talks about why gender isn’t binary and the origins of transphobia

Author, gender theorist and self-described “SM femme tranny dyke” Kate Bornstein tells us why gender isn’t binary, and recommends books that give long-suppressed voice to the transgender community.

Your memoir “A Queer and Pleasant Danger” tells the true story of how you evolved from a nice boy into a lovely lady.

When I grew up I thought the only option was man or woman, but with a little bit of googling you can find about 150 genders. In 1986 I went for sexual reassignment surgery – SRS – from Dr [Stanley] Biber, who you can see wonderfully portrayed in the classic “South Park” episode “Mrs Garrison’s Fancy New Vagina.”

In your blog you describe yourself as an “SM femme tranny dyke.” Could you describe what that means, and give a broader glossary of essential transgender terms to those of us who may be unfamiliar with them?

Let’s start with why I describe myself as an SM femme tranny dyke. “SM” is short for sadomasochism. That means I play erotically with pleasure and pain. I’m an M, a masochist. I’m the one who gets beat up, cut on and pierced. I’ve got piercings in body parts I wasn’t born with. I like that kind of stuff. “Femme” means I’m more on the girly side of the spectrum. I can’t do girly like Lady Gaga or RuPaul, the queen of queens. At times, I call myself a diesel femme, like Sarah Connor in “The Terminator” or Starbuck in “Battlestar Galactica.”

But the point is, I get to choose. That’s the point of all these words. There’s nothing monolithic in the world of queerdom. So for me to try to give you meanings is difficult. Please take them as what I think they mean.

Finally let’s get to the word “tranny.” That’s the most politically problematic self-definition. I get hit for using it. A vocal contingent of trans people insist that the word “tranny” is a slur on the order of the “N” word applied to black Americans. It gets used as a hate term. People will yell “fuckin’ tranny” and throw a beer can at you from a passing car. My people get spat on, and accompanying that spit is the word “tranny.” But I own that word. I’m trying to give it a good name.

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Turning Boys Into Men: 4 Ways to Expand Your Son’s “Boy Power”
Dr. Peggy Drexler

Posted: 04/30/2012 11:06 am

More than just about anything, Fiona’s boys hated having their nails trimmed. They were rough-and-tumble types, with a penchant for superheroes and playing with sticks. So Fiona came up with a diversionary tactic: nail polish. “At one point, both boys had toenails in every color I own—purple, gold, fire engine red, green,” she recalls. “It started out as a bribe, but it turned into a big treat… our little in-joke.”

A few years later, now in kindergarten, TJ, her older son, came home and told Fiona that the other boys in his class thought his painted fingernails were “weird.” Fiona told TJ that he could do whatever he liked, but that painting his nails was his own choice. Though TJ’s interests varied widely—he loved glittery objects, and carried around a tiny, sparkly dragon he bought from a street vendor in Chinatown—he was never a boy people would describe as “feminine.” He was a kid who wanted to tape sharpened sticks to his fingers so he’d have claws like the X-Men’s Wolverine. He was also a kid who wanted his nails painted green and purple from time to time.

Most days, TJ decided to limit the painting to his toenails only. That way, he told his mom, he could still enjoy the ritual but “the other boys won’t know.” One day, though, TJ came home and asked Fiona to paint his fingernails blue. He took some teasing for it at school, but this time around, he didn’t care. Later that week, they were shopping at the local market when the checkout guy remarked, “nice nails.” The guy had a black leather jacket, black nail polish and, recalls Fiona, “oozed cool.” TJ was visibly proud of himself for being so hip. “It really made his day,” she says. “He walked taller, spoke in a deeper voice, and acted cool for the rest of the afternoon.” All on his own, TJ had figured out something about identity, belonging, and what it means to be a man—and it had nothing to do with conforming on the playground.

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A somewhat superficial overview and I wish Cara had spent more time talking with Dr. Ann Fausto-Sterling (an academic I have always admired).

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Saudi Arabia bans ‘gays, tom-boys’ from schools

Saudi Arabia has decided to bar gays and tom boys from its government schools and universities within a crackdown against the spread of this phenomenon in the conservative Moslem Gulf Kingdom, a newspaper said on Monday.

The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, the most feared law enforcement authority in the oil-rich country, has been asked to enforce the new orders, Sharq Arabic language daily said.

“Instructions have been issued to all public schools and universities to ban the entry of gays and tom boys and to intensify their efforts to fight this phenomenon, which has been promoted by some websites,” it said.

The paper did not make clear who issued those instructions but said gay and tom boy students can go back to schools and universities if they prove they have been corrected and have stopped such practices.

It said high-level orders have been issued to the Commission to immediately enforce the new rules and to step up efforts to combat this phenomenon and other “unacceptable behavior” in public places.

Sweden’s New Gender-Neutral Pronoun: Hen

Fascinating article and shows how easy it is to be more gender neutral when a society wants to be more gender neutral…

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A country tries to banish gender.

Leklust catalog, Sweden
Leklust catalog, Sweden
By most people’s standards, Sweden is a paradise for liberated women. It has the highest proportion of working women in the world, and women earn about two-thirds of all degrees. Standard parental leave runs at 480 days, and 60 of those days are reserved exclusively for dads, causing some to credit the country with forging the way for a new kind of nurturing masculinity. In 2010, the World Economic Forum designated Sweden as the most gender-equal country in the world.

But for many Swedes, gender equality is not enough. Many are pushing for the Nordic nation to be not simply gender-equal but gender-neutral. The idea is that the government and society should tolerate no distinctions at all between the sexes. This means on the narrow level that society should show sensitivity to people who don’t identify themselves as either male or female, including allowing any type of couple to marry. But that’s the least radical part of the project. What many gender-neutral activists are after is a society that entirely erases traditional gender roles and stereotypes at even the most mundane levels.

Activists are lobbying for parents to be able to choose any name for their children (there are currently just 170 legally recognized unisex names in Sweden). The idea is that names should not be at all tied to gender, so it would be acceptable for parents to, say, name a girl Jack or a boy Lisa. A Swedish children’s clothes company has removed the “boys” and “girls” sections in its stores, and the idea of dressing children in a gender-neutral manner has been widely discussed on parenting blogs. This Swedish toy catalog recently decided to switch things around, showing a boy in a Spider-Man costume pushing a pink pram, while a girl in denim rides a yellow tractor.

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Afghanistan sees rise in ‘dancing boys’ exploitation

Aside from the PBS documentry mentioned in the article, here’s another link to documentary available on youtube that I posted some time ago WARNING very disturbing subject matter:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZotSaoGpBo

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The 9-year-old boy with pale skin and big, piercing eyes captivated Mirzahan at first sight.

“He is more handsome than anyone in the village,” the 22-year-old farmer said, explaining why he is grooming the boy as a sexual partner and companion. There was another important factor that made Waheed easy to take on as a bacha bazi, or a boy for pleasure: “He doesn’t have a father, so there is no one to stop this.”

Watch a short clip from “Dancing Boys of Afghanistan,” a PBS investigative documentary from 2010. Watch the full video on the PBS site.

A growing number of Afghan children are being coerced into a life of sexual abuse. The practice of wealthy or prominent Afghans exploiting underage boys as sexual partners who are often dressed up as women to dance at gatherings is on the rise in post-Taliban Afghanistan, according to Afghan human rights researchers, Western officials and men who participate in the abuse.

“Like it or not, there was better rule of law under the Taliban,” said Dee Brillenburg Wurth, a child-protection expert at the U.N. mission in Afghanistan, who has sought to persuade the government to address the problem. “They saw it as a sin, and they stopped a lot of it.”

Over the past decade, the phenomenon has flourished in Pashtun areas in the south, in several northern provinces and even in the capital, according to Afghans who engage in the practice or have studied it. Although issues such as women’s rights and moral crimes have attracted a flood of donor aid and activism in recent years, bacha bazi remains poorly understood.

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Ian Harvie Trans word play (by xtraonline)

Interesting discussion on gender and identity. I like how he embraces his past monikers.

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Ian Harvie talks to Lucas Silviera about trans issues, the use of the tranny word and why Dolly Parton should be considered trans. Harvie was in Toronto recently in support of the 519 Street Community Centre’s Trans Youth program.

The Afghan girls who live as boys

Mehran with her father
This child has been temporarily transformed from Mehrnoush the girl to Mehran the boy

For economic and social reasons, many Afghan parents want to have a son. This preference has led to some of them practising the long-standing tradition of Bacha Posh - disguising girls as boys.

When Azita Rafhat, a former member of the Afghan parliament, gets her daughters ready for school, she dresses one of the girls differently.

Three of her daughters are clothed in white garments and their heads covered with white scarves, but a fourth girl, Mehrnoush, is dressed in a suit and tie. When they get outside, Mehrnoush is no longer a girl but a boy named Mehran.

Azita Rafhat didn’t have a son, and to fill the gap and avoid people’s taunts for not having a son, she opted for this radical decision. It was very simple, thanks to a haircut and some boyish clothes.

There is even a name for this tradition in Afghanistan - Bacha Posh, or disguising girls as boys.

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