09 December 2013
And again things trans are so many that it is impossible to mention them all. In addition my husband and I have been moving which has taken much of my time. Therefore there are probably more gaps in my year-end report compared to previous years. Feel free as usual to add what I have missed.
I think that the major trend of this last year is the news of our losing several of the outstanding pioneers: Betty Cowell, José Sarria, Georgina Somerset, Yvonne Sinclair. All of these remarkable women were over 85 years old.
As more of us age, the question of seniors’ residences will come up. Some of us hope that we pass well enough that we can go into a general population seniors’ home, but not all do pass that well. It is a small surprise that one of the first places to have a specialist senior’s home for trans women is Jakarta.
The biggest surprise of the year was Nikki Sinclaire’s self-outing after being a UK Independence Party Member of the European Parliament since 2009 until she resigned the whip the next year, and since then she has sat as an independent. This means that – albeit in stealth – she has been a parliamentarian longer than Vladimir Luxuria ( 2 years) and Anna Grodzka ( 2 years so far), and is thus the longest serving trans parliamentarian in Europe.
Another surprise was the testimony of Luciano Lucia, at the Amanda Knox/ Raffaele Sollecito retrial that in fact it was her brother Antonio Aviello who killed Meredith Kercher. However it seems that this testimony is being ignored.
The saddest story of the year was that of Nathan Verhelst, who used the Belgian euthanasia service to die after post-operative dissatisfaction.
It is a shame that Gwyneth Paltrow thinks that herself dressing up as a woman with lots of makeup makes her a transvestite, as if the word meant something like excessive femininity. Paltrow of course was a transvestite when in Shakespeare In Love she dressed as a man. The term ‘homeovestite’ – which is the term that she wanted – is not catching on very well. The same can be said about Cyndi Lauper’s claim to be a drag queen.
The Wikipedia page on Walter L Williams, which is written in its style for criminals and does not discuss his academic career at all, and especially not his pioneering – although flawed – work on North American Two-Spirit persons, must be one of their most insensitive pages. He has now been held without bail in Los Angeles for six months although not charged with any crime committed in the US.
Probably the most expected self-outing of 2013 was that of Chelsea Manning, the brave whistleblower, who did so just after being sentenced to 35 years in a US military prison. While most trans persons supported Chelsea, some decided that they had a stronger allegiance to the surveillance state than to other transsexuals: Kristin Beck, Diane Kearny, Autumn Sandeen. However 95,000+ nominated her for the Nobel Peace Prize and she was nominated as marshal at SF Pride. A dramatic fight developed at Wikipedia re what name to use for Manning.
In a year when Hollywood gave us yellow-face performances in Cloud Atlas, red-face in The Lone Ranger, and gay-face in Behind the Candelabra, Daytona Bitch, a Toronto drag queen was fired for a homage to a US psychic performer.
The biggest brouhaha was Suzanne Moore’s excellent essay in The New Statesman which made a lot of valid feminist points. She included the sentences: "The cliché is that female anger is always turned inwards rather than outwards into despair. We are angry with ourselves for not being happier, not being loved properly and not having the ideal body shape – that of a Brazilian transsexual. " She did not mention the high murder rate of Brazilian transsexuals , although the sentences can be reread with a slightly different meaning bearing that in mind. A subset of trans women cut her no slack at all and some used crude misogynist language which drove Moore to close her Twitter account. On the other hand this essay by David Lister comparing the members room at Tate Britain to the Black Hole of Calcutta without mentioning the deaths received no vituperation at all. Nor is the current advertizing campaign, for a hotel chain that uses elephants to say that the rooms are big, being condemned for ignoring the fact that at the current rate of slaughter there will be no elephants at all in 10 years time.