My Dearest Sisters,
It has not escaped notice that the majority of you have not yet signed our petition. Presumably there is a reason you are unsupportive of the initiative. A couple of you have contacted me stating misgivings such as "what is the point?" or "what benefit would the trans community get out of this?".
I am actually quite surprised at these questions and the silent resistance that most of you are conveying. I thought "the point" would be obvious, but since it's not, I will do my best to explain.
Question: What is the point of petitioning the only world-wide body which represents peace on earth to recognize you as equal human beings?
1) Violence Against Transwomen is Alarmingly High
Human Rights Campaign claims that 1 out of every 12 transgendered persons in the United States will die by murder. Visibly transgendered sisters have an 8.3% chance of being murdered!!! compared to .0055% chance within the general population. (please bear in mind the statistical validity of this figure is skewed by a very small sample size of the known, visible transgendered population)
Transgender Law Center states that 60% of all transwomen have been subjected to gender hate crimes. This means "the majority" of you will be the victim of violent acts sometime in your life, due to bigotry and hatred of your gender status.
Amnesty International reports grave concern over the number of incidents of police brutality against GLBT in the U.S. Imagine what happens when a transwoman is arrested for loitering, traffic violations, domestic disputes, alleged prostition, or whatever. Is she incarcerated with the female inmates? No.
The crisis is not occurring in the U.S. alone, which is why we need to appeal to a larger body with world-wide influence. In Mexico and South America in particular, transwomen are getting beaten, raped, even shot dead in the streets, usually by police. These stats alone are enough to prove that a serious problem exists. Just imagine all of the unreported cases!!!!!
2.) The United Nations Epitomizes Humanitarian Values
Despite political controversy or deemed ineffectuality, the United Nations is the only body that sets for the standards for equality and proper treatment of human beings around the world. While they have almost zero power to "enforce" these values, they are the key point of reference for all countries whose governments desire to write equal and fair legislation. Policy-makers look to the U.N. for guidelines.
The United Nations sets "the standards", even if only "on paper". For the U.N. itself to utilize gender-biased wording gives carte blanche for any other government to keep such wording intact within their own Charters.
When the U.N. corrects its own gender-bias, the TG community will have "something to hang its hat on" when petitioning local governments to do likewise. Based upon the U.N.'s 2003 "condemnation" of violence against GLBT, it seems the "intent" of the U.N. is recognize "all people" as equal, so they should be called to task about the fact that their very own pinnicle governing document is flawed. What excuse would they have to deny this correction? Therefore this petition has a damn good chance of success.
3.) Recognition by the U.N. Will Shed Light on the Issue
Asking for a revision from "all men and women" to "all people" opens the eyes of the masses who are not aware that anyone other than "men and women" even exist on the planet.
Asking them to include "gender" within the list of attributes for which descrimination is not tolerated, will cause the uninformed to say "what's the difference between gender and sex?", so it will give the opportunity to distinguish between the two. After all, transwomen are not discriminated based on their biological sex (ie male), but rather distain for their expressed gender (ie female).
Note: Rather than asking them to replace the word "sex" with "gender", we are asking them to simply include gender (and leave sex in there too). In retrospect the reason to leave "sex" in there is because genetic women are routinely discriminated based on biologic sex, whereas transwomen are discriminated based on gender. It's best to have both "gender" and "sex" within this definition. The letter has been revised accordingly.
As well, some people may ask "why is the trans community launching a separate petition when GLBT has been working on this for a decade?". The reason is, GLBT are fighting for "freedom of sexual orientation", which does not address the trans issue of "freedom of gender identity". Therefore to have this difference recognized will emphasise to the world that transgenderism is not a sexual orientation (which most uninformed people innocently believe that it is!)
4.) Transgender People Do Not Have A Point of Solidarity
To state the point that "Even those who are neither men nor women are equally human", is something that (I think) all transgendered people and all non-prejudice thinking people could agree upon. What other point would the t-community unilaterally agree upon? We need to keep it really simple, really concise, really obvious.
Although there is much progress being accomplished at a "grass-roots" level (ie: individual efforts within your local communities), the trans community has no world-wide "cause" of its own. It's time to start one. If not by us, then who? If not now, then when?
5) What Benefit Would This Have on the T-Community?
Let's not delude ourselves. The U.N. making this change will not stop the violence. There is no magic wand which will take away these problems overnight. Other than some media attention, the immediate impact on the trans community will be virtually nil. The U.N. cannot enforce these values, it can only exemplify them. Despite any success achieved by this effort, a tremendous amount of progress will still be needed on every front. This is only a starting point. The net benefit of successfully making this change will be the accomplishment of one little baby step in the right direction.
I hope my dissertation has successfully convinced you to lend support to this petition. You are equal human beings. This much is obvious to me, and should be to you as well. For those of you who still withhold your support of this effort, I would like to know WHY? Please elaborate on your reasons, either in the comments section of this article, or to me privately, as I must be missing something.
If your reason is "I don't put much faith in the U.N.", the question is whether your own political views are so strong that you would deny the merits of this cause? If this is the case, I'm not much interested in hearing your reasons for political distain of the U.N., but what I do want to hear is your ALTERNATIVE SOLUTIONS.
The question to ask yourself is this: "Are transgendered people equal to men and women??" If your answer is "yes", then we will look forward to seeing your signature on the petition.
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
My Dearest Sisters,
Posted by Michele Angelique at 7:54 PM
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