Kuwaiti police have tortured and sexually abused transgender women using a discriminatory law, passed in 2007, which arbitrarily criminalizes “imitating the opposite sex,” Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The government of Kuwait should repeal the law, article 198 as amended in 2007, and hold police officers accountable for misconduct.
The 63-page report, “‘They Hunt us Down for Fun’: Discrimination and Police Violence Against Transgender Women in Kuwait,” documents the physical, sexual, and emotional abuse and persecution that transgender women – individuals who are born male, but identify as female – have faced at the hands of police. The report also documents the discrimination that transgender women have faced on a daily basis – including by members of the public – as a result of the law, an amendment to penal code article 198. Based on interviews with 40 transgender women, as well as with ministry of interior officials, lawyers, doctors, and members of Kuwaiti civil society, the report found that the arbitrary, ill-defined provisions of the law has allowed for numerous abuses to take place.
why does this have no notes
IIRC, there is a law in New Orleans that is used similarly (though I can’t vouch for the police violence, but I wouldn’t be surprised). This is important, but it’s also important to not mythologize everyone outside of the US as brown, uncivilized meanies, when we’re pulling the same bullshit here in the US.
I need to be writing my submission for the LHP right now. Now that I got myself off to a good start on a topic I can actually get into. Rather than trying to recombine old tumblr posts creatively.
But I have to say this.
I am devastated over the woman in Sunnyvale who murdered her autistic son.
I am further devastated over the usual responses. “It was lack of services.” (She had turned down services.) “She must have been mentally ill, because you know how violent and scary They are when They aren’t treated properly.” “Every parent of a child with autism wants to kill their child now and then. Anyone who says otherwise is lying. It could have been any of us. Let’s sympathize, not condemn.” “People don’t know how awful it is to have an autistic child. They can drive you to murder.” “It’s better to be dead than autistic. This was a mercy killing.”
I know it all by heart. I helped with the research for the first place that tried to chronicle and memorialize as many murders of autistic people as possible. We got hate mail. From the families of those killed. Saying we just couldn’t understand the murderers or we wouldn’t sympathize with the autistic people. I’m dead serious.
Every time this happens it cuts me to the core.
Every time this happens I know we are not safe anywhere.
If my parents got an ethics transplant and decided to kill me. They could fly out here and do it. They could show the world how bad I look on paper. Autism societies would rally around them and collect money for their defense fund. They would be charged with manslaughter, if anything. Their sentences would be shorter than those of anyone otherwise similar to them who murdered a nonautistic, nondisabled person otherwise demographically similar to me. It’s not that I expect justice out of a system as terrible as our “justice” system, but these disparities show something seriously wrong.
A woman’s daughter comes home from her residential school for the holidays. The girl begins to repeat the words “The sun is rising”. The mother, who has been thinking about murder for years, decides now is the time. She tries to get the girl to walk off a bridge but she refuses. She strangles the girl with a cord. She wishes the girl would die faster, saying “Let go, just let go.”
She turns herself in to the police. The entire country’s autism community comes to her aid while actual disabled people look on in horror. She claims that her daughter’s repetitive speech caused her to “snap”. She is finally convicted of manslaughter and given a few years in prison. Other parents of autistic children protest even this. As a result she gets out after five months. People have been jailed for longer for merely planning to murder their nondisabled kids.
True story. Typical of the people who get sentenced to anything at all. The way to get away with murder is to kill someone society doesn’t care about, and be someone society sympathizes with. You can say you were driven to it by having to care for us, even if you were not at all responsible for caring for us ever. People will eat it up.
Also understand this if you understand nothing else: When people use murders for telling people we need better services for parents, this does two things once it gets into the media. It holds disabled people hostage. And it means the murder rate against us goes up. Lobby for better services on your own time — not using our dead bodies as justification.
It’s a little over fifteen years ago that caregivers (not my family) tried to murder me. They knew I was having an anaphylactic reaction so they just made it clear they wouldn’t treat it and nobody would know that it wasn’t an accident. They carefully noted my swollen tongue and throat, and what that meant, and they insulted me thoroughly and walked out the door. If it weren’t for someone from the outside seeing me collapsed on the floor struggling to breathe, I wouldn’t be here.
That’s typical of caregiver-induced murders in mental institutions. They often simply don’t get help after it’s clear someone’s going to die. This is known because of times when they slip up and get caught. Other times they deliberately kill someone but blame it on seizures or heart disorders. Other times, during restraint, they disregard someone’s complaints that they can’t breathe — often their last words.
I know these things because I’ve made it my business to know them. But it never gets easier. Never.
I don’t think people understand the danger to disabled people. Particularly some kinds of disabled people, autistic people among them. That if someone wants to kill us, they generally can, and they will usually get away with it. That there is no place we can be absolutely safe from this kind of thing.
There’s a reason that some serial killers will try to find work in nursing homes or in medical settings where deaths can be blamed on other things. (One serial killer even murdered patients so that the first letters of their names spelled out words in the sequence of the deaths.) These are far more common than the serial killers who make the news, yet nobody ever hears about this. And if they do, they often think that the killing was justified because the disabled person had no quality of life. (Ever wonder why I see the words quality of life as a knife at my throat? The people who tried to kill me said something similar. That they didn’t want me around because they wanted to treat people who would really get better. And that I was a waste of space in their program.)
There’s a reason that disabled people are often singled out for murder in order to collect life insurance policies.
Another true story: A couple went to a great deal of trouble to adopt a disabled girl. They took out a big life insurance policy on her. They put her in the house and burned the house down.
They were convicted. OF INSURANCE FRAUD. And only that. Get the picture yet? That’s how little our lives are worth.
It hurts knowing these things. Having studied the matter well enough, I can’t get away from this knowledge. It hurts even worse knowing how few people understand it. How many people rush to rationalize when one of us dies.
And here’s the thing.
People swear up and down that nobody hates disabled people. And yet the overwhelming evidence is that yes, yes they do.
If people didn’t hate us then they would never justify when people kill us.
Hate isn’t an emotion. It’s an action. It’s a state of being. Hate can feel like pity sometimes. It can feel like indifference. It can feel like the person in question just doesn’t matter as much as other people do. It can be unconscious.
What else is it when people torture to death people with developmental disabilities. And judges and juries treat it like just a little mischief got out of hand. What the hell else is that other than hate?
What is it other than hate when people refer to those of us who can’t work as leeches. As people who take from society and give nothing back.
What is it when the majority of people in a country think it’s only natural that we are shunted off into nursing homes and other institutions against our will. To live out the rest of our lives. Which will be drastically shortened because institutions do that.
What is it when people want to take away what little help we get from the government. When people blame us for hard economic times.
That last one scares me to death. OMG. Really. It terrifies me. Because when people blame a very poor, very oppressed group of people for the failure of the economy. Then they do their best to toss us off a cliff. And you can’t argue. They always have an answer. There is so much hate.
People have told me I should have been drowned at birth. How is that not hate? And you hear things like this your whole life.
And then if you say something people get all patronizing. “Nobody wants you dead, dear, you’re just paranoid.” If nobody wanted me dead, why did my shrink order them to put a one on one staff for me in a mental institution to protect me from the staff who tried to “allow me to die”. Why have people told me to my face that the Nazis had it right about people like me. That I should be sterilized at minimum and killed at most. And repeatedly that I should have been killed at birth or in infancy.
Anne McDonald reported hearing someone say to her caregiver, “If it was a dog, you’d put it down.”
Among disabled people, those who are, or are thought to be, cognitively disabled in some way, are down with some other groups at the bottom of the disability hierarchy. The more extreme it’s thought to be, the more okay people think it is to kill us.
Autistic people are among such people. Even those of us whose cognitive skills were at least in part obviously advanced for our age, can be described as empty shells when we are murdered. Think of Katie McCarron. A little girl who loved life and was the only child in her preschool to know what an octagon was. Murdered by her mother, who was not her actual caregiver but who still made the “It’s lack of services” argument. Not that it would have been any better if Katie weren’t all those things. It’s just that it shows how killers can lie to gain sympathy.
And think of what a retard is. Really think. I’m talking about the slur, not any particular diagnosis. It becomes obvious that idea in people’s heads is not of a human. Or fully human. It’s a weird shriveled up piece of a human who is empty of a soul and empty of worth.
Which is why people who have been called this near-unanimously want that word gone. It’s not a diagnostic word, it’s a slur against the entire gamut of people with developmental or cognitive disabilities, and those who appear to have them.
Dehumanization is necessary for an ordinary human being to kill. When we are retards rather than people, here is one more thing that nudges potential killers to the edge. Every time I hear retard I am fearful for that reason.
The teens who lived where I first moved out on my own. They’d follow me down the street “fucking with the retard”. I have no way of knowing if they’d become violent. You never know, once you hear that word, or see its meaning written on the bodies of people who harass you. Because people do use that word when they beat you up, when they sexually assault, when they kill you. And sometimes the word hurts worse than a beating.
I still remember the man and woman who, in my twenties, tried to lure me into their car with a toy. I didn’t know what was happening until later. They’d kept touching me and talking about sex. Later I learned there was a group of people abducting, raping, and worse, DD women. They had spotted me in the street ANC tried to reel me in. There have been so many close calls. When I say nowhere is safe I mean it.
And a note about blaming murders on mental illness — like DD people, people deemed mentally ill are disproportionately the targets of violence. Not the perpetrators. Blaming these murders on mental illness fails to understand the fact that it’s usually nondisabled people who abuse us and nondisabled people who kill. Crazy is not the same thing as evil, no matter how many people try to make it so. And these murders are part of a pattern of evil acts against disabled people.
I know I’ve ventured far from my original topic, but these things are all bound together. There is an entire pattern of violence towards disabled people. I’ve only touched on the tip of the iceberg.
And this murder happened within this pattern of violence towards disabled people, and more particularly towards cognitively disabled people. It’s not an isolated incident. It’s not a loving parent who snapped because we are just so hard to live with. It’s not because of lack of services.
It’s because we are not people. We are retards. And that’s different. If we weren’t retards then very few people would be trying to excuse, explain away, or justify these murders. People only rationalize murders when the victim isn’t valuable to them. And the vitriol that comes with these conversations says more about hate than any words do.
And anybody who tries to rationalize this or sympathize with the murderer or anything even close to along those lines, I will block you so fast…
Remember: this is a pattern. People always say autistic people can’t see the big picture but I can. My eyes are open. I know what happens when we are killed. I know how unsafe all of us are from things like this. See the pattern. Please. And try to be one of the people who stops people from making this into sympathy for the murderer, into anti-disabled hate propaganda that results in more deaths.
I can’t even describe what this does to me. It freezes my heart. I feel horrible for the 22-year-old victim. I feel horrible that we all live in this kind of society where this is okay or at least understandable. Please make it stop. I’ve been crying and raging and panicking since it happened. When will people learn?
Really important book: Violence and Abuse in the Lives of People with Disabilities: The End of Silent Acceptance? by Dick Sobsey. If you can find a cheap copy used, buy immediately. Otherwise it’s often over a hundred dollars.
^^ Saying all the things that I want to say, that I’ve felt for years. Yes, yes, all of this.
Even when I was “just” a parent, when I hadn’t yet identified my own autism, I couldn’t begin to fathom how people could “understand” when people did these heinous things. My kids were just my kids, and I didn’t know any different. I didn’t know that I supposedly had it “harder” than other parents.
Please, people of Tumblr, please, go ahead and tell me that ableism doesn’t exist. Go right ahead.
Read every fucking inch of this and if you dare even slightly sympathize with the parent that murders their disabled kid, unfollow me and find a fire to die in.
Cuz the world will be better without you.
- The way certain folks categorize writings of women of color to justify having an interest in them. As WOC can’t be good or interesting without a redeeming social value they must of course be righteous infallible warriors whom adhere to a code ( designed by the consumer) which defines their goodness. It also provides an easy out when said work become challenging to hegemony in ways unpalatable. Once hypocritical the quality of the work is unimportant. WOHOO insta-out
All of you do it.
Not one of you, even the people I am following (minus the trans folk, obviously) have avoided messing up on this. It is subtle, it is small and every time you do it you hammer the nails into our feet a little deeper.
Every time you equate penis with sexism, erasing those women and nonbinaries with penises.
Every time you equate childbirth with motherhood and women, erasing those men and nonbinaries who give birth
Every time you evoke vaginal wording to describe sisterhood or womanhood, whether it’s “cunt power”, “sisterhood of the clit” whatever, you stab every woman who has no vagina, no cunt, no clit, no vulva, no uterus, no nothing of that sort in the back and toss us out of the sisterhood that we have as much right to as you.
Every time you wonder if society got rid of social gender, would trans people stop existing, you walk on our faces.
Every time you say transwoman and transman, as though we’re not really women or men but a merged concept, you erase our genders.
Every time you sum up gender as a binary, or even just a spectrum between poles, you erase every single person with a gender that doesn’t fit that zone (and there are many)
Every time you say women and trans women or women, men and transgender, you tell us that our genders are not valid, not as real as yours.
Every time you do these things, you don’t see it. You’re feminists. You’re anarchists. You’re vegans. You’re anti racists and anti Islamophobia advocates. You’re advocates of birthing rights and socialists, anti capitalists, multiculturalists. You’re disability advocates and womanists. Fat positive, anti body policing, anti rape, social activists and writers. You’re friends and family, lovers and colleagues.
And you all do it. Every cis person I know.
Every. Last. One.
You don’t see it. But we do. We feel the knife go in. We watch the painful hypocrisy of people who make it their career, their life’s work to fight privilege and make people see through its fog, to fight white supremacy, or sexism or ableism or fatphobia or millions of other horrific systems of supremacy and dominance and control exerted against people, exercising their cissupremacy, the boot firmly planted on our necks and they don’t even see it.
But we feel it.
Next time you talk about childbirth, remember not everyone who gives birth is a mother. Next time you talk about how many women are raped, remember that a significant group of those women, of us, don’t have vaginas. Next time you talk about sisterhood, try to remember that you have nonbinary siblings and brothers with the organs you use to label your sisterhood and sisters who lack them. Try to remember that penis is not the enemy because women have them too. Try to remember that theorizing about gender isn’t very helpful when you don’t know shit about the people who experience it most directly, most vividly, most painfully.
Try to remember to look past your cis privilege and maybe take that damn boot off our necks once in a while instead of looking into the distance and ignoring the choking.
Because I’d like to be able to breathe.
Just a bit.
Those are the only parts I let people see.
Oh, it looks like I suck at taking a compliment. Sorry guys.
In the white-centric queer / radical circles I have often moved within, it seems that there is a general will to believe that ‘the community’ can be disconnected from the oppressions of broader culture.
The consistency of cultural appropriation doesn’t surprise me, but it does affect me….” —
Harshbrowns has a new post up. Hard hitting critique of radical and queer communities in aus and failures to deal with race and cultural politics.
Please read and circulate…
I see a lot of this around and I really need to stop being afraid of deing disiked (by people I don’t even like anyways *sigh*)… and say something. I should stop using my anxiety as an excuse for my laziness.
yeah start speaking up and then you can be as popular and well-liked as me! it’s great!
i often wonder about stirring up more shit, being disliked, being seen to be self-righteous or playing “the good whitey” but really, what have I got to lose that people like Harshbrowns haven’t already lost without having a choice about it?
Zactly. I really don’t see being quiet/condoning this bullshit as a choice. Even some of the DJ names I see are fucking foul, white kids trying to sound like Young Money (note- you look like Cool Dads, it’s sad). But yeah, I didn’t want to distract from this amazing post so:
There are few people who are willing to challenge those with power in the social hierarchy, especially on problematic race politics (or gender politics… or any others) whether or not they acknowledge any dodginess privately. Meanwhile, when queer people of colour speak up we are most often labeled angry and irrational, are mocked and patronised and otherwise silenced. Apparently we’re just spoiling the party for everyone else and it seems that most people would rather not challenge people with social currency, nor assess their own attitudes, if it would mean missing out on any party.
Hey anotherhookerblog (and other white people who wanna comment on this),
I feel uncomfortable with how your comments have come off a bit derailing and self-congratulatory and made it about you a bit, maybe it was unintentional but it sounded like you were trying to identify with the experiences of people of colour who decide to speak about their experiences in queer spaces. Something that is pointed out in harshbrowns’ article is how it’s pretty shit that political struggles of poc get appropriated by white people for activist cred and maybe it’d be cool to be more self-reflective on how we as white people can stop contributing to this stuff and how to be aware of how we perpetuate it and benefit from it instead of trying to identify with it and claim common experiences where there isn’t any. This is actually what harshbrowns seems to be talking about.
yupp fair point there.
Yeah, in the brown people club all we talk about is how much we do not give a shit about white people’s wah-wahs.
But frankly, anotherhookerblog isn’t the only person who’s reblogged this who’s guilty of it, and frankly I’m disgusted that any of you made me waste time even thinking about your needs in all of this.
This is very flattering, but I don’t think I quite live up to your expectations.
At least not in most people’s definitions.
Not because I believe in captialism or assimillation. But because I don’t have the privilege to be able to reject these systems and still survive.
Most of the ‘radical’ queers I know don’t work (or work for very little/radical orgs). Most of them I know have college educations that were paid for by their parents. Most of them I know police who is and who isn’t radical with no regard to privilege and power.
All very not radical ideas, if you ask me.
So I am very uncomfortable defining myself in that way. Maybe it is just my experience that lends myself to not IDing this way.
Has anyone felt similarly? Or want to say what being a radical queer means to them?
I identify as radical in the tradition of of roots etymology, in that I don’t believe oppression can be legislated away and that sometimes legal reforms only make it harder to recognize the big picture. That doesn’t mean, however, that I rule out strategic political reforms that can have a major impact on people’s life chances in the here and now. That doesn’t mean I don’t think a legal precident might accomplish a lot more than a brick through a window. But overall, it’s about a major cultural shift that probably requires the eventual destruction of the whole construct of “straight.”
I identify as queer, sometimes, because it’s a single word that most people understand to mean some level of identification with same-gender-attraction and avoids me having to tack on a lot of qualifications to other commonly known words.
I don’t identify as radical queer because in my experience it’s more of another youth-obsessed subculture like punk/goth/etc. than anything else. In my case, I feel like my own value to “radical queer” community has been based as much on overt sexual availability and expressing myself within certain subcultural parameters as what kind of person I am and what my politics are.
I don’t identify as a radical queer because I recognize that my own former polyamorous casual sex kinky radical queer badassery was an unhealthy outlet for needing to be “loved,” but I have to stay quiet about that lest I get accused of kink-shaming blah blah.
I don’t identify as a radical queer because “assimilation” and “homonormativity” are buzzwords that most people sound like absolute judgmental d-bags trying to articulate.
I don’t identify as a radical queer because radical queers too often romanticize a highly editorialized bohemian account of queer histories while ignoring the fact that a lot of queers 40, 60, 80, and 200 years ago probably wanted to get married too.
I don’t identify as a radical queer because I’m over 30 and felt serious embarrassment around many of the other over-30 radical queers I’ve met.
I don’t identify as a radical queer because radical queer community is misogynistic and has tried to entirely dispense with the contributions of lesbian feminism to dyke culture. Even where it responds to widespread absolute worship of maleness and masculinity, it has to be dressed up as gender-neutralized “femmephobia” and the proper response is “glitter! stilettos! look how fucking FIERCE we are!” and not “look at all this misogyny and look at what a fucking travesty it is that dykes are expected to put up with it, and even participating in it.”
I don’t identify as a radical queer because last year I saw Matilda Bernstein debating Dan Choi and telling him, a Korean-American, about racist imperialism, and I just had to back away slowly from all that.
I don’t identify as a radical queer because nearly all of the prominent radical queer rock stars editing anthologies are really obnoxious people whose male-centric analyses have more to do with public sex and being snarky about the homos they don’t relate to than with power relations.
I know this is going to make people mad, but every thing I’m criticizing here is something I have regretfully taken part in so haters to the left etc.
emphasis is mine. reblogging again cos it’s everything i’m so sick of right now, after the annual onslaught of “gaystream” bashing that queers here do every mardi gras. (that’s the syd gay/lez mardi gras)
Also, radical queers suck at race politics.
They really do.
Okay, now I’m intimidated by me.
I put down some more thoughts about cultural appropriation here: http://ardhra.wordpress.com/2012/02/26/what-is-cultural-appropriation/
- Answer any and all questions about my body and my medical treatment no matter how invasive
- Answer questions about my partner’s sexuality
- Listen to their stories about other trans* people they know
- Listen to them talk and give them my opinions on trans* celebrities
- Celebrate with them all fictional depictions of trans* folk, no matter how misrepresentative or outright transphobic
- Congratulate them on their correct use of names and pronouns
- Obey when they refer to me incorrectly and tell me that I “must forgive them”
- Smile sadly and thank them when they tell me how brave I am
- Use the accessible toilet and be grateful
- Stay silent if they misidentify me as gay and cis
- Sympathise with their excuses for their and others’ transphobia
- Approve their use of the word ‘tranny’
- Act ‘gendered’ enough but not too ‘gendered’
- note: these prohibitions overlap with no middle ground
- Never, ever, express or articulate any kind of sexuality
- this one may be trans*-woman-specific?
- Stay quiet when cis-specific issues are being discussed
- Never raise trans*-specific issues
- Never get angry or upset about cissexism and transphobia
- Never call out cis people on cissexism and transphobia
- Not mention specific legal protections for transsexual people to my employers
- Only be transsexual without having any other identities
- Silently excuse myself from activities and events which structurally exclude me
- Do so without raising any attention or being noticed by anybody
- Not hang out with too many other trans* people or seek trans*-only space
- Never repost Asher’s “Die Cis Scum”
- If I die, die quietly, and never blame them.
The image of Brazil’s annual carnival season as a happy multi-everything, integrated rainbow fest is a huge myth probably propagated by the Brazilian tourist board. The state of Bahia in northern Brazil has historical importance to Black Brazilians as this was the port of entry for Africans during slavery. The majority in both the state and city are Black and as this article states - Bahia is the center of Black culture in the country. It is here where Brazilian apartheid is most visible…..
Bahia has never elected a black governor and its business and political elites are mostly white. in 1991, Nelson Mandela came to Brazil in search of a example of an ideal society for which he could model a new social structure in post-Apartheid South Africa. But what he found when he visited Salvador, Bahia, reminded him of what he saw in his own country: a black majority ruled by a white minority, children out of school, luxurious residents overlooking slums areas and high rates of unemployment amongst Brazilians of African descent. After conversing with militants of the Movimento Negro, Mandela quickly changed his opinion about the situation in Bahia.
“Cordeiros” of Carnaval in Salvador, Bahia
One other area where one can see blatant examples of Salvador’s apartheid is during the Carnaval season. Every year, thousands of Baianos (Bahians) fill the streets of Salvador for this annual celebration and while it may look like a good time, upon closer analysis, the roots of exclusion and privilege become more apparent.
Angela Davis, former Black Panther, is the go-to commentator on any protest or political uprising these days. (And, apparently, the go-to stencil for “street artists” designing nostalgic protest fliers.)
So why hasn’t anyone asked her how she feels about the DREAM Act — the national push to grant undocumented students and soldiers their citizenship, and one of the greatest civil-rights fights of the 21st century?
… as interviewer Derek Washington noted in a recent sit-down with Davis, there’s somewhat of a disconnect between the black struggle for equality and that of Latinos.
Washington said a lot of black people feel like, “That’s not my fight.”
We’ve observed some resentment among local black leaders toward Latinos who come to California to find work. Long Beach City Council candidate Robert Wideman, a top supporter of the Republican push to repeal our in-state DREAM Act, recently called the Latino influx an “invasion.”
Davis doesn’t see it that way. Here are her words on the importance of fighting for the DREAM Act, from the “Citizens for Immigrants” interview:
“It’s important because it represents one of the most important arenas in the ongoing struggle for civil rights in this country, and particularly those of us who have a history of struggling for civil rights — I’m speaking very specifically about the African-American community.
“It is a cause that black people should embrace. One of the things that we need to remember is that the victories that have been won in the struggle for black freedom never would have been possible if only black people were the ones who were active in those struggles. … I know my case would not have been won, as it was, had not it been for the activism of the Chicano community in San Jose when I was tried on charges of … conspiracy. In San Jose, there was a very minuscule black community there at that time. And it was in the Chicano community that the major organizing took place.
“I don’t understand how people can assume that its possible for each racialized ethnic group to go it alone.
“As people who have benefited from these freedom struggles, it is our responsibility to continue justice as Martin Luther King, Jr. pointed out is indivisible, and justice for black people must be used on behalf of justice for Latinos, and justice for immigrants, and justice for undocumented immigrants.”” —
Angela Davis totally wins at making concepts accessible and explaining them in plain language. This makes her an excellent public speaker. And she has a nuanced understanding of intersectionality that’s likewise accessible. I really dig her. Even moreso after meeting her & hearing her speak.