Trans Identity and Public Restrooms

The other day, an article in our local newspaper caught our attention. The article discussed how a Swedish trans woman filed a claim of discrimination on the basis of gender identity.

The trans woman was, on two separate occasions, not allowed to use the women’s restroom after she was told by a “restroom host” that she was in fact a man. Despite explaining her transgender identity and her gender belonging, the woman was not allowed into the restroom.

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Tina Fakhrid-Deen Talks About LGBTQ Families

Feminist Conversations is a regular series here at Feminists For Choice. Today we are talking with author and activist Tina Fakhrid-Deen. Tina is the founder of the Chicago chapter of COLAGE (for people with a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer parent) and the author of Let’s Get This Straight: The Ultimate Handbook for Youth with LGBTQ Parents. You can read more about Tina on her blog

1. What was the motivation behind writing Let’s Get This Straight?

I was raised by a lesbian mother and heterosexual father, so the topic has personal relevance in my life. As an adult, I volunteered for a social justice organization, COLAGE, that provides community for youth and adults with at least one LGBTQ parent. This was the impetus for my writing Let’s Get This Straight with the support of COLAGE.

2. Your book really shines light on the fact that there are plenty of different family structures, especially so with LGBTQ families. Could you give our readers a few examples?

Some of the less recognized family structures are single parent households, transgender parented families, blended families, transracial families, families via donor insemination, families with multiple mothers and fathers (i.e. three dads), and families of divorce.

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Transgender women and men gain judicial rights in Argentina

Argentina has become the first country in the world to allow transgender women and men to change their names and sex in official documents such as passports and identification cards. On Monday June 4th, lines formed as some transgender women and men became the first in the world to judicially change their sex in official documents. The change of one’s name and sex is now allowed without the need for a physical transition, the permission of judges and doctors and without different types of evaluations.

This law suggests a positive change towards the stereotypical and unfair beliefs that transgender women and men are in need of evaluation, control and counseling before being able to judicially change their sex, suggesting that they are not in control of their identity and that they are confused as to who they really are. This law means in some ways that the stereotype and the belief that transgender individuals need to prove their “sanity” is challenged and that individual choices are considered valid and no longer in need of intervention by doctors, psychologists and psychiatrists. It in some ways recognizes that transgender women and men are not suffering from an identity disorder or from body confusion. Instead, this new law is a great recognition of the issues and difficulties that transgender women and men face concerning the right to an identity that they personally recognize and feel fits them. This new law also means that transgender women and men will be officially recognized as the person that they truly consider themselves to be.

Despite the victory for transgender women and men in Argentina, we should not forget that that this law is only available in one country in the world. Also, discrimination and transphobia against transgender women and men is rampant and occurs in society at large as well as in the feminist movement. Discrimination, and accompanying violence, is common in the lives of transgender women and men, as recently demonstrated when a young transgender woman in Minneapolis was brutally attacked after being called transphobic and racist names. The resistance towards transgender women was also demonstrated by the British radical feminist conference RadFem 2012 in which only “ women born women” were allowed to attend, thereby excluding transgender women.

Even though this recent change is a step in the right direction, we need to remember the discrimination and violence that so commonly affect transgender women and men. We do hope, however, that the right for transgender women and men to have their identity recognized in official documents will spread from Argentina to the rest of the world.

Judith Butler Protests Homonationalism

Feminist theory icon, Judith Butler caused a scene a Berlin Pride in Germany last week by refusing to accept their “Courage” award and calling the organizers out for being associated with Homonationalist movements/sympathizers. You can watch the speech here (she’s speaking in German, so you’ve got to read the subtitles). When a friend posted this link on facebook I had to read it for two reasons, the same reasons I share it with you… [Read more...]