In this edition: the failures of the Gender Equality bureau, live-action Princess Jellyfish, HRC apologizes to trans individuals, the fight to allow MSM to donate blood, and more!
News from Japan
Norimitsu Onishi. “In Japan, a Historian Stands by Proof of Wartime Sex Slavery.” The New York Times. March 31, 2007.
HT to Hiroko Tabuchi for sharing the article on twitter as part of a series of tweets on the issue of denial of war crimes. CW: discussion of rape
It was about 15 years ago, recalled Yoshiaki Yoshimi, a mild-mannered historian, when he grew fed up with the Japanese government’s denials that the military had set up and run brothels throughout Asia during World War II.
Instead of firing off a letter to a newspaper, though, Mr. Yoshimi went to the Defense Agency’s library and combed through official documents from the 1930s. In just two days, he found a rare trove that uncovered the military’s direct role in managing the brothels, including documents that carried the personal seals of high-ranking Imperial Army officers.
Masami Ito. “‘No child ever deserves to be abused like this.’” The Japan Times. 13 Sept. 2014.
CW: rape, child abuse, suicidal ideation, sexual abuse
Queer-rights activist Higashi Koyuki writes about her history of sexual abuse.
Kyoko Hasegawa. “Gender equality chief makes light of sexist jeering in Tokyo assembly.” Japan Today. 18 Sept. 2014.
Sumire Hamada, a member of Tokyo-based rights group Asia-Japan Women’s Resource Center, said “it’s unbelievable that Nojima thinks the comment made in private is no problem.”
“Women got angry not because the jeers were made in public, but because of what was said to Ms Shiomura, exactly when she was asking questions about the situation for women in Tokyo,” she said.
Chika Igaya. 「男性2人が東京・青山で「自分たちらしい」ウェディング 進化する同性カップルの結婚式 【LGBT】」 (Two men in Tokyo and Aoyama’s Wedding: The Evolution of Homogamous Marriage). Huffington Post Japan. 31 July 2014.
A piece on “Zexy Premier,” a wedding-planning service for homogamous couples who want to pledge their love to each other. (Under Japanese law, homogamous couples have no rights as cohabitors, for hospital visits, or inheritance.)
Nishida’s former partner died of illness. Nishida went to take him to the hospital, but because they were “no relation” under the law, the doctors couldn’t even tell him what disease his partner had.
“Rena Nōnen, Masaki Suda Star in Live-Action Princess Jellyfish.” Anime News Network. 16 April 2014.
Rich Johnston. “The Look Of Masaki Suda, Crossing Gender, For Live Action Princess Jellyfish.” Bleeding Cool. 26 Aug. 2014.
The cast looks great! Hopefully director Kawamura will do Princess Jellyfish justice. (For more on the anime, see here.)
On Policing Women
Chloe Albin and Georgiana Bostean. “‘Man Up, Ladies!’ But Not Too Much!” Sociological Images.11 Sept. 2014.
Women can do masculinity, then, to reap some of the rewards offered to those who embody it, but there’s a catch: women must maintain their “femininity,” too. Women face gender rules that require that they wear makeup in order to be seen as beautiful and competent. Not doing so brings costs.
Rosie. “They Are Not Trolls. They Are Men.” Make Me a Sammich. 9 Sept. 2014.
CW: “discussion of the various types of abuse perpetrated by those humans known as ‘trolls’ including rape and death threats and suicide.”
By calling these people “trolls,” we are basically letting them off the hook. It’s a lot like the “boys will be boys” mentality that helps to keep rape culture thriving, but it’s also different, because boys are expected to be human. By calling these people “trolls,” we relegate them to non-human status, and we make it clear that we don’t expect them to live up to the same behavioral standards as human beings.
Trans Issues in the News
“Transcript: HRC President Chad Griffin Apologizes to Trans People at Southern Comfort.” The Advocate. 5 Sept. 2014.
Finally, an apology for HRC’s history of throwing trans people under the bus for the (past) ENDA and for ignoring them, and a plan of action for a new ENDA and a LGBT rights bill.
HRC has done wrong by the transgender community in the past, and I am here to formally apologize.
I am sorry for the times when we stood apart when we should have been standing together.
Even more than that, I am sorry for the times you have been underrepresented or unrepresented by this organization. What happens to trans people is absolutely central to the LGBT struggle. And as the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organization, HRC has a responsibility to do that struggle justice, or else we are failing at our fundamental mission.
Robin. “A Year Later, Still No Justice for Islan Nettles.” Autostraddle. 22 Aug. 2014.
CW: transphobia, queerphobia, violence, hate crimes
Lourdes Ashley Hunter attributes some of the higher rate of violence to a lack of visibility. “It’s easier to mark us and abuse us because society already sees us as not having social support.” She talked about a recent series of attacks on trans women on public transit in cities including Washington, D.C. and New York, some of which were recorded, the videos quickly going viral. “The media continues to victimize us even as we’re being abused. We’re seen as a commodity and as disposable.”
Fikri. “Denmark’s New Law Makes Legal Gender Recognition A Lot Easier.” Autostraddle. 4 Sept. 2014.
It turns the individual battle for legal gender recognition from a harrowing, invasive experience of “proving” your identity to skeptical doctors or judges to a straightforward administrative procedure that allows you to receive a new personal identification number and matching personal documents, like passports and driving licenses. While far from being a panacea for anti-trans discrimination, legal recognition goes a long way in facilitating trans citizens’ access to public services and employment.
Fikri. “Stonewall Begins Work On Trans Inclusion, Asks for Your Feedback.” Autostraddle. 2 Sept. 2014.
On Saturday, Stonewall, the UK’s largest LGB charity, made its first steps towards redressing its long-standing exclusion of the trans community by hosting a conference attended by around 50 transgender activists and community members. Participants discussed what trans inclusion could or should look like as the start of a three-month consultation period around trans issues, which will culminate in a preliminary report in January 2015 and decisions on how to move forward from April 2015.
Take Our Blood
A couple articles on groups working to change FDA regulations that bar men who have sex with men from donating blood. CW: bloodwork, homophobia
Alison Marcotte and Malcolm Griffes. “Seattle Joins 60 Other Cities, Holds Gay Blood Drive To Protest FDA Ban.” KLPU. 11 July 2014.
“[My father] always talked about it, and I always grew up thinking it was just a basic civic responsibility. ‘This is what you do when you’re an adult. You give blood,’” said Wells, who is the executive director of the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce.
“The Food and Drug Administration’s discriminatory ban prevents many people who could provide life-saving blood from donating,” said David Stacy, HRC’s Director of Government Affairs. “We believe that potential blood donors should be screened based on their relevant behavior, not their sexual orientation.”
Get more information on the National Gay Blood Drive here: http://www.gayblooddrive.com/
Pumpkin Online, a queer-friendly farming/dating SIM like Harvest Moon, got funded on Kickstarter! Players won’t be bound by having to select a binary gender to be able to customize themselves and will be able to date anyone.
Next time: my annual Halloween gender reader! Send me your spooky gender links and favorite feminist horror stories/films in the comments or on social media.