Feminist Philosophers

News feminist philosophers can use

Famous boxing promoter comes out as trans August 11, 2014

Filed under: trans issues — magicalersatz @ 1:00 pm

Kellie Maloney (known during her boxing career as Frank Maloney), the boxing promoter who coached Lennox Lewis to a world heavyweight championship, has come out publicly as a trans woman. According to The Guardian:

Maloney, who supported Lewis in his successful bid for the world heavyweight title in 1993, and managed other Commonwealth and European boxing champions, called time on his three-decade boxing career last October, saying he had fallen out of love with the sport.

In an interview across six pages in the Sunday Mirror, Maloney said she had never told anyone in boxing about how she felt trapped in the wrong body since childhood.

“Can you imagine me walking into a boxing hall dressed as a woman and putting an event on? I can imagine what they would scream at me, but if I had been in the theatre or arts world nobody would blink an eye about this transition,” she said.

“The boxing community can think whatever they want about me now. I have come to terms with my transition but I don’t understand it. I hope society will be open minded.”

Please be warned that the Guardian article contains several bits of cringe-worthy insensitivity to the reporting of trans issues (though it does at least seem to be trying not to misgender Maloney). If anyone has links to articles that handle the reporting better, let me know and I’ll add them.



TransAdvocate Interview with Judith Butler on Gender Identity May 3, 2014

The TransAdvocate recently posted an interview with Judith Butler on gender and gender identity, specifically surrounding trans* issues. There are a lot of quotable gems in there, so I encourage you to check it out!


“We [all] form ourselves within the vocabularies that we did not choose”


“No matter whether one feels one’s gendered and sexed reality to be firmly fixed or less so, every person should have the right to determine the legal and linguistic terms of their embodied lives.”


“My sense is that we may not need the language of innateness or genetics to understand that we are all ethically bound to recognize another person’s declared or enacted sense of sex and/or gender. We do not have to agree upon the “origins” of that sense of self to agree that it is ethically obligatory to support and recognize sexed and gendered modes of being that are crucial to a person’s well-being.”


“Sometimes there are ways to minimize the importance of gender in life, or to confuse gender categories so that they no longer have descriptive power. But other times gender can be very important to us, and some people really love the gender that they have claimed for themselves. If gender is eradicated, so too is an important domain of pleasure for many people. And others have a strong sense of self bound up with their genders, so to get rid of gender would be to shatter their self-hood. I think we have to accept a wide variety of positions on gender. Some want to be gender-free, but others want to be free really to be a gender that is crucial to who they are.”


Can you tell if your remarks embody sexist , racist, ablest, etc. attitudes? February 7, 2014

Filed under: academia,trans issues,Uncategorized,women in philosophy — annejjacobson @ 9:30 pm

It may be very hard to see that one’s remarks are sexist, racist, etc. This point was illustrated on the Piers Morgan show on feb. 5. Piers had interviewed Janet Mock, a famous trans woman and activist, some days before then. This first interview seemed to be one both found acceptable, but she expressed considerable reservations on Twitter and, as he said, dropped him in the sh-t. What was going on? There was a reinterview on the 5th, and one thing became clear: while cis folk might think the journey to become a trans person has got to be the most fascinating thing about trans people, many trans persons very strongly disagree. And the language to describe their lives is important to them. Duh! For example, Janet wants to say that she was born a baby, and not that she was born a boy.


This seemed to be news to Piers, and I’d expect, most people who are white and heterosexual. The result is that what he intended to be a supportive interview stressed seeing her from a cis point of view, and viewed her as pretty sensationally different. Not good.

There is also the constantly worrying fact that too many people in the white, hetero, etc class simply do not realize that what seems perfectly fine to them may not be at all for other people.

These sorts of thing worry me every time I hear that people in a department seek to change the department’s climate. Even without the problems Piers Morgan has, that can take a lot of specialized knowledge to do. And, with the Piers Morgan problem, one can unwittingly leave the climate hostile as, for example, one praises at every talk the remarkable female graduate student who, would you believe it, used to be a man!


Transgender Day of Remembrance: Two Galleries November 20, 2013

Filed under: glbt,trans issues — Lady Day @ 4:21 pm

Today is Transgender Day of Remembrance, a date set aside in 1999 in memory of the murder the previous year of transwoman Rae Hester.

Fourteen years later, the violence continues. According to HuffPost Gay Voices,

This past year 238 trans* people were murdered worldwide, according to Transgender Europe’s Transgender Murder Project. And these are just a fraction of the real number of deaths, because many go unreported, are not designated as hate crimes, or are not recognized as deaths of trans* people, because the media frequently reports birth-assigned names and sexes without honoring the true chosen names and gender identities of the victims.

And, as is well known, the rates of non-fatal assaults and suicides among trans* people are likewise disastrously high.


Here are two photo galleries to mark Transgender Day of Remembrance.

The first, from Advocate.com features photos and discussions of some of the trans* people who were murdered in 2013. It is a sobering reminder of the importance of this day of remembrance.

The second, much more uplifting, gallery, “16 Beautiful Portraits Of Humans Who Happen to Be Trans,” is part of PolicyMic’s series in honour of Transgender Day of Remembrance 2013.


Reader query: transitioning and applying to grad school October 12, 2013

Filed under: academia,trans issues — Jender @ 8:04 pm

A reader writes:

I’m a transgender woman who is in both the process of transitioning and applying to graduate school in philosophy. I have a few questions that I hope you could pass on to your readers so that I can handle my situation as well as possible. My situation is that of someone finishing their degree in one gender, starting their PhD in another, and hoping to move between all of that as smoothly as possible.

(1) I don’t want my time at my PhD school to be contaminated by my old ID, how can I work with the admissions committee or whoever in order to make sure that my status as a trans person is not shared and that information regarding the ID I applied with is kept under wraps?

(2) How can I communicate to graduate schools that I am transgender in order to make sure that they know what to expect and to make sure that that won’t be an issue for their department (and me)?

(3) I’d like to come out to my own department (or at least to people within it) in order to enlist their help with my applications, but I’m terrified of taking a wrong step and tossing all of my letters out the window. Any tips on coming out discreetly and carefully within my current department?


The Genderbread Person Redux – When Activism Gets Problematic September 21, 2013

Filed under: body,gender,glbt,internet,sex,sexual orientation,trans issues — Stacey Goguen @ 2:18 pm

[This post has been completely re-written, so if some of the earlier comments seem to be referring to things that aren't here, that's because they are. Thanks to Sam B for pointing out the plagiarism issue and to Rachel for helping me find the end of the article...because it's been just that kind of day for me.]

This weekend I stumbled onto the site It’s Pronounced Metrosexual, and found a graphic explaining the different aspects of sex, sexuality, and gender.

It turns out that site’s creator, Sam Killermann, plagiarized that graphic, and now has thrown a bunch of intellectual property stamps on it, and has even included it in a book he made. (Though you can get the book for free. But he has still made money off of all this.)

The four original authors of the concept are: Cristina GonzálezVanessa PrellJack Rivas, and Jarrod Schwartz

As awesome as it is to have people want to be cis straight while male allies,  we have to as allies constantly keep vigilant that we are not blocking out the voices of the people we are trying to support with our own.  Otherwise we are undermining the very project we are trying to help. And one thing you notice sort of quickly from Killermann’s projects is that you see a lot of him, and hear a lot of his voice but you don’t see or hear a lot of specific people that he is advocating for.

So again, here are some of their voices, specifically on his plagiarism.  (Same link as above.)

And here is one of the earlier gingerbread persons:

Some parts of Killerman’s projects still have merit: the comment thread on this post has some good stuff in it. But I think legitimately, some people will not want to visit his websites.

As Laverne Cox said when this issue of plagiarism was brought to her attention,

“…those who lay the groundwork don’t often get the credit. The universe is trying to tell me something. We cannot silence the voices of those doing the hard work so that we can flourish.”
(Sorry I can’t find the exact tweet. This is also in the storify post linked above.)

That is, without respect for the people we are trying to support, our support is hollow.

From Cisnormativity (the Storify OP):

 Without that respect, any work done in the name of social justice isn’t actually the practice of social justice. It’s erasure. It’s a tossing of the most marginal people from the bus of acceptance, enfranchisement, and citizenship. It’s the theft of lived experiences. It’s why intersectionally marginalized people along multiple axes still cannot reach so many of their dreams, their potentials, or their hopes .


Chelsea Manning August 23, 2013

Filed under: sexual assault,trans issues — Jender @ 8:58 am

Oh, what a day of getting things wrong for so many news outlets yesterday– mispronouning, misnaming, even misnaming while complaining about other people mispronouning! Here’s one story with the right priorities: the awful fact that Chelsea Manning is going to a men’s prison, where she will be denied hormone treatment, and face a heightened risk of sexual assault. (Thanks, R!)


Spousal veto July 18, 2013

Filed under: trans issues — Monkey @ 7:20 am

England and Wales have just made marriage between two people of the same sex legal. This is grand news, in some respects, moving us a little closer towards marriage equality. However, things are not so great for trans folks.* The Corbett v Corbett court ruling in 1970 meant that the law treated trans people as being their biological sex. This affected such things as: ability to marry, employment protections, which prison you could be sent to, and so on. In 2004 (!), under pressure from the European Court of Human Rights, the government issued a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC), allowing trans people to apply for a new birth certificate and so gain rights lost by the 1970 ruling. (The 2010 Equality Act removed some of those rights for good, although it didn’t take things back to the dark days of 1970). However, since marriage could only be between two people of the opposite sex, you couldn’t apply for a GRC if you were married. You needed to either get divorced and then legally change your sex, or stay married and remain your biological sex in the eyes of the law. The new marriage laws just passed should have ended these complications, but this hasn’t happened. It’s no longer essential to get divorced in order to be issued with a GRC, but you have to have your spouse’s permission to apply for one. If your spouse doesn’t give permission, then you have to get divorced. This seems like a pretty strange ruling. The government say they’ve added this clause so that ‘both parties have a say in the future of their marriage’. But what kind of say, exactly, do they have in mind? The only scenario that I can think of is someone, married to a transperson who has transitioned for more than two years (a requirement of being issued with a GRC), who – despite, one presumes, living with their spouse, being seen out and about with their spouse, going to friends’ houses with their spouse, etc. – is so deeply in denial about the situation, that they insist on thinking that their spouse is still a man/woman, and has the power to deny their spouse their rights on this basis. Why might one be in such denial? One obvious reason is that by recognising your spouse’s sex, you thereby acknowledge that you are in a homosexual relationship. The government’s ‘spousal veto’ clause thus seems to be about privileging the straight identity of the cis-partner over that of the trans person.

You can read more, including news about campaigns (completely ineffective so far) here.

*Slight understatement.


What do you need to disclose for meaningful consent? July 17, 2013

Filed under: discrimination,gender,glbt,law,trans issues — philodaria @ 1:00 pm

In the UK, you can legally conceal your marital status, wealth, HIV status, and age, but apparently not the gender you were assigned at birth.

The young relationship started as so many do these days — online. Thirteen-year-old “Scott” and 12-year-old “M” developed a friendship that over the course of three years and many instant message conversations, bloomed into romance. M began calling Scott her boyfriend — they even talked about getting married and having kids. After M’s 16th birthday, Scott, then 17, traveled from his home in Scotland to visit her in England. They watched a movie, kissed and, before long, things went further.

It may sound like a sweet story of teenage love — but Scott was sentenced by a court in England to three years in prison and ordered to register as a sex offender for life as a result of the relationship. That’s because Scott was born Justine McNally and assigned at birth as female. In an appeal of McNally’s sentence, which was made public late last week, a U.K. court reduced McNally’s sentence but affirmed that the 18-year-old had violated M’s sexual consent by presenting as male. It was deemed a “deception” and “abuse of trust.”

I have no idea how this kind of affront to the rights of trans* people is legal. Read the rest of the story here.


…and then they came for the transpeople… June 13, 2013

As readers will know, Greece is suffering as a result of the global recession. History has shown us time and again that with recession comes social unrest, and repression. Well, things are currently looking pretty ugly in Greece right now.

Operation Zeus in August last year marked the start of an ugly reminder of a European past that we thought we had long buried. Nearly 60 years after the end of the Second European War, migrants were round up from the streets of Greece and shoved unceremoniously into internment camps. In May, women working in the sex industry were pulled from the streets, forcibly tested for HIV, publically humilitated and imprisoned. In March, they rounded up drug users from the streets of Athens and put them too into camps. Last month in Thessaloniki they came for transgendered people.

You can read more from Second Council House of Virgo.



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