Racism and Transphobia in Contexts

Sociology provides critical thinking about society. So where is analysis in this hateful book promo? Contexts: Understanding People in Their Social Worlds has published a racist, transphobic interview with Rachel Dolezal, a White American woman who deceptively lived as a Black woman until her parents exposed her. She has a new book out and, sadly, Contexts chose to sell out to racism by printing Dolezal’s racist fantasies without any analysis.

This article is dangerous. Not only does it give uncritical media attention to a problematic person; it’s a distortion of social theory.

Social construction of race (and gender) doesn’t mean “whatever White people want to believe.” Social constructionism is a critical theory connecting personal biography to history, culture and place. This is Sociology 101, which we would expect to see explored thoughtfully in a sociological publication, especially one that is available to lay audiences. No such luck.

The social construction of race means that ideas about race categories (genetic features) vary in their social definition, depending on cultural and historical context. Nevertheless, racial relations are real in their consequences. Continue reading Racism and Transphobia in Contexts

Masculinity, especially the masculinity of cisgender straight men, is constantly under threat from femininity.

Masculinity is something so fragile, that they fear to breathe the same air as someone who is feminine, especially someone they perceive as male (whether this is correct or not).

For something seen as so weak and so inferior, masculinity is certainly on shaky ground. This ground becomes increasingly shakier the more masculine a person becomes.

It becomes increasingly fragile the closer someone gets to hypermasculinity or idealized masculinity. It becomes threatened by something as small as painted nails.


From the fascinating blog GenderTerror, written by, Lucian Clark,  a feminine female to male trans man. (You heard me!)

Here is another quote:

“Transmisogyny runs rampant in society due to this idea of femininity being seen as lesser. Trans women and trans feminine people are seen as threats to the power structure, having left masculinity, are now traitors and leaving their position of superiors. This misogynistic idea of masculine superiority rests of the cissexist notion that masculinity is only male, something that only men can truly obtain. The femininity of trans women, even if their only ‘feminine’ aspect is being female, is enough for them to be seen as lesser than men. Even more so than cis women, as cis women did not actively choose (in the eyes of a transmisogynistic society) to leave their positions of masculinity. Femininity is seen as so weak, that for one to leave masculinity in favor of it, is to be absurd.”

(via crossdreamers)

Women’s March Sydney

On the 21 of January 2017, I joined up to 10,000 Sydney-siders at the Women’s March, and 2.5 million people globally. I initially had reservations about the March. As I recounted last week, the march started as an idea by a woman activist in Hawaii and it was soon taken over by White women from Pantsuit Nation, a group that has no commitment to anti-racism.  Bob Bland, a White woman from Washington, wanted to rectify the direction of the event and soon invited three women of colour to shape the Washington March: Tamika Mallory; Linda Sarsour; and Carmen Perez. The Women’s March Washington had a special focus on intersectionality; addressing how gender inequality is impacted by racism and other forms of discrimination such as homophobia, transphobia, ableism (the discrimination of people with disabilities), and more. The Washington March was the model for the other local and international marches. As more White women became involved in discussions at the national and international levels, this mission was drowned out. Women of colour were made to feel excluded from planning groups whenever the issue of intersectionality was raised.

So when the Sydney March was announced I first felt trepidation. As the final line up of speakers was announced, it became clearer that the Sydney organisers were making the event more consciously supportive of intersectionality. The organisers regularly focused their social media posts on inclusion, thereby reaffirming their commitment to diversity and inclusion. There were some limitations as I’ll discuss later. For example, transgender women seemed to lack representation amongst speakers at the event and best practice for the inclusion of women with disabilities may have been improved.

For me, the big draw card was Aboriginal activist, Jenny Munro, who has dedicated her life to advancing the human rights of Aboriginal people. Her activism and life’s work has a strong focus on Aboriginal sovereignty, children and housing. She leads the Redfern Tent Embassy and is a living legend. She did not disappoint; but I’ll get to that!

The day led to many useful discussions on diversity and how to disrupt patriarchy. I shared highlights of my day on Twitter and I bring these to you in this post as well as additional photos and video I wasn’t able to share on the day. The quotes are not strictly verbatim – treat them more as field notes to flesh out my visual sociology. I will also address the ongoing global conversations about the Women’s Marches and in particular, the critiques about the exclusion of women of colour, transgender women, sex workers and women with disabilities from various overseas events, with a focus on the USA. I’ll draw some qualified lessons on intersectionality from the USA to Australia and I wrap up with a discussion of why intersectionality is important.

This one minute video includes some of the footage I shot at the Sydney Women’s March and draws out the key lessons on intersectionality.

(Click to jump down to the video transcript.)

Continue reading Women’s March Sydney

The Gender Pay Gap and Race

Actress Natalie Portman is the latest White woman celebrity to talk about the gender pay gap in ways that demonstrate tunnel vision on the intersections between racism and gender inequity. From Patricia Arquette’s highly misguided attempt to discuss the wage disparity during her 2015 Oscars speech, to Jennifer Lawrence’s essay calling for equal pay, White actresses have a very skewed view of the inequities faced by “women” in the entertainment industry and in everyday life.

What does the gender pay gap look like when viewed through the intersections of gender, race and other social categories? What do we learn about mainstream feminism’s vision for equal pay, when we become more conscious of Whiteness and White privilege?

Continue reading The Gender Pay Gap and Race


Two-spirit woman Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow is 2017’s second transgender murder victim

  • Police in Sioux Falls are investigating the homicide of Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow, a 28-year-old two-spirit transgender woman.
  • Wounded Arrow was found after a neighbor smelled a “strong odor” coming from her apartment Friday night. Officers discovered her body there. Read more.

‘In My Shoes’ is a short documentary on five young transgender Australians.

“There’s no right way to be transgender, just as there’s no wrong way to be yourself.”

This is an initiative by the Gender Centre’s (http://www.gendercentre.org.au/) Transgender Anti-Violence Project (http://tavp.org.au/).


Why Trans* People Need More Visibility

With more visibility comes more understanding. These statistics can and will get better as trans* people become more visible in our society.

-80% of trans* students felt unsafe at school because of their gender expression.
-58.7% of gender non-conforming students experienced verbal harassment in the last year because of their gender expression, compared to 29% of their peers.
-49% of trans* people reported physical abuse in a 2007 survey.

-The Gender Violence, and Resource Access Survey found that 50% of trans* people have been raped or assaulted by a romantic partner.

-30% of trans* women have been incarcerated.

-41% of trans* people have attempted suicide.

-Trans* women have a 1 in 12 chance of being murdered….or a 1 in 8 chance for a trans* woman of color.

Source: www.transstudent.org/graphics, via Trans Student Equality Resources



[Image: Jared Letto comic. Text reads] Marginalised people! Are you fed up with being underrepresented on screen? Fret no more… Jared Letto is here to tell your story! 70% of speaking roles in Hollywood already go to men… why not make it an even, round 100%? A straight, White, cisgender man (SWCM) is a blank slate ready to have your “difference” pained upon him. A SWCM can play any oppressed person, probably… 

  • Nelson Mandela
  • Sacagawea
  • Susan B. Anthony
  • Anne Frank
  • Lucy Liu
  • Chaz Bono
  • And many more…

If you live it, he can affect it!