Wednesday, June 2, 2010
The disordered gender
Today's opening plenary was on funding the trans movement. The morning's panel included representatives from different funding agencies including MamaCash, Global Fund, Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, Open Society Institute and the American Jewish World Service (see pic above). Having potential funding agencies here while the conference is ongoing, for me, is great because it gives activists a chance to touch base with them and explore whether they can work together or not. I had one-to-one meetings with some of the funders who are very excited to hear from STRAP. They told me that STRAP is exactly the organization that they are looking to fund and all we need to do is submit a proposal. I am excited about this prospect especially since some of us in STRAP have been feeling the need to go full-time with our activism.
I attended three workshops today. One of them was on strategic litigation moderated by Tamara Adrian, a lawyer and transactivist from Venezuela. Tamara and I were room mates in Copenhagen during the Outgames there. I found her presentation today very useful. She basically outlined what one would need if one resorted to going to the courts in the absence of law protecting people from discrimination based on gender identity and expression.
The next workshop I attended was in the afternoon on intersex issues. I have always wanted to hear from intersex rights activists and today I got a chance to do just that. I am glad that one of the key movers of this conference is an intersex person who was speaking on the intersex panel as transactivists and their intersex counterparts do not always meet eye-to-eye on certain things. In the Philippines for example, the intersex man who was granted a name and sex change in his birth certificate by our Supreme Court came out to the media saying transwomen, who seek the same judicial relief, are artificially constructed. According to him, it was not surprising for the Supreme Court to side with him as he had a natural, biological condition. This argument makes me very uneasy as some transpeople feel that they themselves have an intersex condition but of a neurological kind. Intersex rights advocates always retort that such is not the case and that transsexualism is NOT an intersex condition.
I also dropped by the workshop ran by Carla LaGata of TGEU. Carla is the head researcher of a project that STRAP is involved in, the TransRespect vs. TransPhobia Project. Because I had to meet funding agencies in the afternoon also, I was not able to hear much of Carla's presentation. Carla and I are in touch, however, for this project and I do look forward to seeing its completion.
During the break, I had a chance to chat with Ana from Hawaii and Hana from New Zealand (see pic above). They are two very bubbly and energetic women whose charm and energy just draw you in. Ana on the left, blew everyone away when she gave a chant during the first day of introductions. Her chant roused people from their stupor and made everyone break in appreciative applause. Hana and I have spoken about bringing together an Asia and Pacific contingent to the Asia Pacific Outgames in Wellington, New Zealand in 2011.
Late afternoon, I went downtown with some people from the hotel (see pic above).
Two days ago, the Spain-based activists announced the launch of a book entitled El Genero Desordenado (The Disorodered Gender). The book is a collection of articles expounding on trans identities and depathologization. It is edited by Miguel Misse and Gerard Coll-Planas, both sociologists from Barcelona (see pic above).
It was a fun book launch attended by friends, family, allies and supporters. I sat at the front row beside Bradley Fayki from France who is also the director of the documentary Transworld (see pic above).
I also took pics with the people I went to the launch with. Above I am with Juana from Madrid and Bellisa from Peru.
Me with Bradley and Monica from Argentina.
The book launch panel. The two left-most guys are the editors: Gerard Coll-Planas and Miguel Misse.
It was a great evening and I was happy I dressed up for it (see pic above). I loved every second of it. There was just love outpouring in that room. I hope that they will be able to translate the book into English so it can become accessible to more people. Viva las activistas de España!