Mercedes

Last active
1 year, 7 months ago
  • Be the change you wish to see.

    I can’t get past this point.

    Alvin, I deeply respect what you do and follow your work regularly, but you lose me on this one. If we are to condemn victim-blaming and rationalizations of hate and violence, then we also need to practice the alternative we expect others to live up to… even when the victim in a particular case has been vile.

    I do not believe that violence and fear are the response to violence and fear that we should espouse.

    Inspire. Be the change you wish to see. And that means not making excuses for violence.

  • Mercedes commented on the blog post We Don’t Have A Word For “Apple”

    2011-09-13 14:34:45View | Delete

    As usual, I’m going to play devil’s advocate here:

    And even if we did have a word for apple, the apples would reject the term out of hand.

    And when they did, it would be our responsibility to listen to the language they had for themselves, and try to understand why they’ve parsed it that way. If society was given license to just name everything arbitrarily according to the majority, I’d still be “halfbreed,” instead of “Métis.”

    Defining the language implies a kind of ownership, or at least an authority to define the experience that the word describes.

    While I don’t buy into the repudiate-everyone mentality of “separatism,” I do think that this is an area where we seriously need to reassess our activism. Ironically, I believe that gender diverse people are just as erased and harmed by single-naming / single-representation as anyone else (or even moreso, since it is most often a transsexual-specific — or even transsexual female specific — representation that is discussed with legislators and / or in the public eye).

  • As I said, I don’t doubt Ms. Levi’s sincerity or intent.

    What I am concerned about is how it will be practically applied by law enforcement, security personnel, employers and others who police gender on a day-to-day level. I still see the idea that gender identity and expression (even with the use of “or”) are some amorphous single characteristic as being a reasonable reading of the law.

    And with all due respect, I’m routinely told that I’m not credentialled or qualified enough to comment, only to see things turn out more or less as I’d thought they would. (For that matter, by many estimations, I’m not a psychiatrist and therefore not qualified to comment on transsexuality, either).

    But again, it will be up to time to tell how the practical application will go.

  • I’m one of the people who has been raising concerns about the wording, although I’ve tried to make no presumptions about motive (since I realized from the beginning that this could have come from someone perfectly well-meaning). Putting aside for the moment that there can be problems obtaining a diagnosis (which is a serious issue itself), on the positive side, I do see a possibility of relaxed requirements on documentation, since where similar policies are applied in Alberta, a utility bill or statement with one’s new name on it is considered sufficient proof. But that is a possibility, and we’ll have to wait to see how strictly law enforcement and security personnel apply it in Connecticut, both now and in the future.

    But I do see the potential for serious harm for non-diagnosed and non-transsexual people, in the way “gender identity and expression” are presented as a single characteristic. Gender identity is later defined (and why? Characteristics need to be neutral so that they protect people on all sides of the equation, rather than rule people out of rights inclusion) but not differentiated from gender expression, so I can’t see how the latter will be protected if documentation of a diagnosis becomes an expectation to show one’s gender expression.

    To me, that’s a reasonable reading of the law, and we certainly have people lobbying — both from the religious right and from within LGBT circles — to interpret laws as narrowly and as exclusionary as possible due to a perception of the potential for a statistically non-existent harm in washrooms and other womens’ spaces.

    Regardless of the intent behind this law, my concern still persists.