I hate talking on the phone, and so I was nervous to call Meredith Talusan: You get the impression from her social media feed, and from accounts of the recent events at the Telluride Branch at Cornell University, that she might be one of those people who gets wrapped up in their outrage and is hard to hold a conversation with.
Social media feeds are a series of monologues, though. In dialogue, Meredith is calm, personable, and pleasant, albeit also outraged, and also deeply hurt.
The Telluride Branch at Cornell is part of the Telluride Association, a not-for-profit organization that provides housing for students. The Telluride Branches are democratically managed by the residents. The Telluride website says that the Branches are meant to “foster an everyday synthesis of self-governance and intellectual inquiry that enables students to develop their potential for leadership and public service.” So, bottom line is, it’s cooperative housing with room and board scholarships as well as opportunities for academic and service scholarships for Cornell graduate students.
Meredith is the Cornell Branch Telluride Association’s first openly transgender resident at a Telluride Branch. She came out earlier this year. By her account, shortly thereafter, another resident at the house — whom I’ll refer to as X, as Meredith did in her original account of the events — started making extraordinarily transphobic statements to her, like “You’re a man in a dress,” or “You lost your dick.” Keep reading »
I woke up last Wednesday, August 13th, and took to my twitter, preparing myself to ingest yet another round of bad news. It had been a trying week, with more hateful, scary events taking place every day. While I knew I’d find evidence of this in my twitter feed, I expected to find solace in the kind sentiments of the liberal people and publications that I follow.
Instead, I was confronted by a Thought Catalog article entitled “Ferguson, Missouri, Looks Like a Rap Video,” by TC writer Anthony Rogers. The article is deeply racist, and, regarding the looting in Ferguson, includes the sentence “You cannot find Jordans, rims, or weaves … in Ferguson, MO.”
The article came on the heels of another offensive and disturbing piece of writing that was published on August 12th. Written by former Vice co-founder Gavin McInnes, “Transphobia is Perfectly Natural“ is so full of visceral hate that it’s almost unbearable to read. “What’s the matter with simply being a fag who wears makeup?” the author recalls thinking when he sees a trans person on the streets of New York. “To justify trannies is to allow mentally ill people to mutilate themselves,” he continues. (Both McInnes’ and Rogers’ articles now feature the above offensive content warning.) Keep reading »
I’ve wondered for a long time if maybe I have higher levels of testosterone than other women, because there’s always been a lot about me that is just distinctly un-feminine (in the sort of standard way of looking at masculinity and femininity). I don’t want to state any facts about testosterone because I am not an endocrinologist and I don’t want to engage in pseudo-science, but suffice it to say that when I hear the experiences of transmen who have undergone hormone therapy I’ve related to the differences they observe. And, in fact, I’ve always had an easier time relating to and making friends with men. Keep reading »
President Obama issued a proclamation at the end of May stating that June is officially Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month, but June has unofficially been Pride Month for the LGBT community for decades. We place it in June, and our pride parades at the end of June, to mark the anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion. This year will be 45 years.
The fact that our President is so markedly in support of LGBT rights is historic, but what really makes it remarkable to me is that he and his administration have been vocal lately about transgender rights. Sex reassignment surgery can now be covered on Medicare. Chuck Hagel is now “open” to reconsidering the military’s ban on transgender service members. This is all part of a very fast, sweeping change in our culture’s conversation about transgender people, marked just since the beginning of this month, for example, by Laverne Cox’s appearance on the cover of TIME and a viral video telling the story of a family raising a transgender child. Keep reading »
Listen, I’m not about to throw Rush Limbaugh a parade or anything, but perhaps for the first time in his life, the conservative shock jock actually let a critic get a word in edgewise. Via Jezebel, a trans woman named Tina called into Limbaugh’s radio show to criticize his coverage of TIME‘s Laverne Cox/trans rights cover story. When Rush rather annoyingly claimed he’s “been for trannies for a long time,” the caller enlightened him to the fact that, yes, “tranny” is still considered an offensive slur even though Alec Baldwin used it that one time. Then, seemingly having Limbaugh’s attention, she went on to explain just some of the prejudices she faces as a trans woman:
“One of the things about being transgender is that whatever somebody’s sexual preference is, you’re not it. Gay men don’t want anything to do with effeminate types and straight men don’t want to have anything to do with people who’ve got wrong plumbing or wrong history and lesbian women are interested in certain things that’s just never gonna be the same no matter how much surgery you have, so that definitely is a problem.”
Keep reading »