ishyface: (Default)
[personal profile] ishyface
Hey, guys! Wanna see the transphobic shit that was printed in the Chronicle Herald?

"Panellists Want Change, But Not for Others"
- Peter Duffy

I'M MISTAKEN. Or am I? One thing's for sure, I'm definitely confused. From my seat in the audience, what I think I am seeing is two young males and two females on the stage. There they are, pleasant-looking people in their late teens and early 20s, sitting at a long table, waiting for everyone to settle. My initial impression is that those at either end of the table - one with long dark hair, one with shoulder-length blonde tresses - are females while the other two panelists are male. But looks are deceiving, as I'm about to discover in rather graphic, rather uncomfortable detail.

I'm in Pictou, come to attend a one-day conference called Let's Talk Sex. The auditorium is heaving with high school students, teachers and health-care professionals. Sex is the name of the game and everyone's here not just to gain insights onto the mental, emotional and physical aspects of youth sexuality, but also to try to separate fact from fiction when it comes to "the deed" itself. Generating the biggest buzz of all is the anticipated appearance of none other than Sue Johanson, the Ontario grandmother who has become famous as an ask-me-anything media sexolgist. Sue will be this afternoon's keynote speaker.

Right now, however, it's time for the youth panel featuring those four young people I was mentioning; namely, Toby, Sam, Patrick, and Ashley. [Surnames omitted and first names changed, but not by Peter Duffy.]

It turns out only Toby is the gender I guessed - a heterosexual woman. The other three are young people in turmoil.

Ashley, the one that I thought was a female, is actually a male who's becoming female, or "transgendering," as it's known. Ashley announces he prefers to be addressed as "she," which has me scratching my head. A he who's a she? What pronoun will I use in my story to avoid confusion? After a moment's hesitation, I shrug. If it's she that he wants, it's she he gets.

Ashley describes herself as a transgendered bisexual with leanings toward lesbians and talks at length about the problems of coexisting with a hostile world. "Looks say it all," she observes. "I used to flip people off, go home and cry. Not now. Now I don't care as much." At one point, she tells us, it was so difficult that she almost committed suicide.

Then comes what, for me, is the most discomforting part on Ashley's story - hearing about the physical torture involved in becoming female. She mentions something called "facial feminization." It involves surgeons shaving, actually shaving, bones in her face, to make them more feminine. She mentions surgery on her voice box to achieve a higher-pitch. She mentions breast augmentation.

The thought of all this mutilation makes me queasy. This is truly the stuff of nightmares. I'm still squirming as the microphone passes down the line to Patrick, the next panelist. Patrick is a female who's becoming a male and I sink in my seat, bracing for the horror to come. "I want validity," Patrick declares. "I'm a man and I'm going to live my life as a man." The transgendered youth tells us he's known he was male ever since he was five, some 15 years ago. "I wasn't attracted to men," he relates, "I was envious of them!"

At the age of 18, he told his mother and his friends of his decision to become a man. He says he cut his hair short and began to bind his breasts flat. Now he's moving towards hormone therapy and surgery, including breast removal. I hear this and feel positively ill. How can these young people do this to themselves? Patrick, however, is smiling. "I'm so much happier then I have been in a long time," he tells the audience, to great applause.

There's applause, too, for Sam, the last of the gender-challenged speakers. Sam's a young homosexual and, as with the other two panelists, his life hasn't been easy. "It was hard going through school," he says, "because of the names and stereotypes." It was all very painful, he says, painful and demeaning. "I'd go home and ask myself, 'Am I good enough? Should I change?' "

He talks about how hard it was trying to balance the person he knew himself to be with the one that would bring him less grief from others. In the end, he stopped trying. Never try and change yourself to please others, he urges. The auditorium erupts in applause.

Here in the back row, how ever, I'm numb. Those disturbing images of mutilation are still stuck in my mind.
And suddenly, I feel really sad for many of today's young people.


He was specifically asked by one of the panelists not to write about the speakers, and, if he did so, to change the names. And then to not only ignore their express wishes, but to spew bigoted garbage like that? I call bullshit.

So I wrote him a letter:


Mr. Duffy:

I read your piece in the Chronicle Herald with considerable disgust. However, I was not disgusted by transgendered youth who "mutilate their bodies," but at your bigoted misrepresentation of the transitioning process. As one of those gender-bending "young people" you feel such pity for, I found your tone rude and condescending at the very best (and, at worst, hateful). Transitioning is an intensely personal and transformative experience, and transgendered youth hardly need another media voice decrying what is, for us, a remarkable rite of passage into a grotesque horror story. Moreover, considering one of the panelists specifically requested that you NOT print the story, your decision to write and run the piece goes beyond ill-advised to totally unethical.

Our lives are made into horrific parodies enough as it is- we really don't need your "help," and we really, REALLY don't need your patronizing, transphobic double-speak.

- Gerald Kenny


You can yell at email Duffy at pduffy@herald.ca, and the Chronicle Herald at letters@herald.ca.

Dude lives in Halifax, for fuck's sake. The whole queer community there is gonna be on him like a ton of (immaculately groomed) bricks.

ETA: Duffy just emailed me back.

Dear Gerald.

Thank you for taking the time to write.

Appreciate your input.

And just to set the record straight, no, one of the panellists didn't ask for the story not to run. He asked to see it first, and I replied, respectfully, that isn't Herald policy.

Most sincerely,
Peter Duffy


Oh, not Herald Policy? That makes it okay, then!

Way to not address... well, fucking ANYTHING, ya douchetool.

on 2007-10-22 03:40 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] dimethirwen.livejournal.com
*beats dumb man with stick*

on 2007-10-22 03:42 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] ishyface.livejournal.com
He's also apparently said some pretty disparaging things about how white folks are being made to feel guilty by our dam' liberal media.

He fails at everything.

on 2007-10-22 03:48 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] dimethirwen.livejournal.com
*beats him harder*

on 2007-10-22 12:05 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] mresundance.livejournal.com
Poor white folk. So oppressed. So marginalized by media. There are so many white people and white characters in TV, it's like drowning a sea of whiteness. It's unbearable.

Also, when white kids get abducted, you see their faces everywhere! Horrible! Why can't the news media just ignore the white kids like they do the kidnapped kids of color? I don't want my sitcom full of affluent, white, middle class straight people to be interrupted by depressing things like white kids being kidnapped.

on 2007-10-22 02:44 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] ishyface.livejournal.com
Yeah, if you should feel pity for anyone it's white folks. We've got so much pressure on us, and all, and all these people trying to make us feel guilty for a trifling century or two (or five) of genocide and slavery just make it worse. *totters off to the (white) fainting couch*

on 2007-10-22 03:24 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] mresundance.livejournal.com
Seriously. I don't need anymore crap about how my ancestors enslaved and raped bunch of people. That was like forever ago.

It's not like things like rape and murder and beatings happen to people of color because of their race anymore anyways. I mean seriously, they have like, affirmative action in the states. Now that's racist against white people! They are oppressing us and our children and keeping us down!

on 2007-10-22 04:15 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] pif-the-wuf.livejournal.com
Douchetoolextreeeeeme

on 2007-10-22 04:19 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] ishyface.livejournal.com
Totally.

"Douchetool" = premium phrase!

on 2007-10-22 04:16 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] sunshinesounds.livejournal.com
Can I please come over to your side of the country, sleep on your floor, and ambush him with a baseball bat? :D

on 2007-10-22 04:20 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] ishyface.livejournal.com
Please do! Although there's no need to take the floor, we've got two spare couches. :D

on 2007-10-22 12:03 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] mresundance.livejournal.com
THERE WILL BE SEX IN THESE COUCHES.

CUZ THAT'S WHAT US QUEERS DO. EACH OTHER. A LOT.

*invites self*

on 2007-10-22 02:45 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] ishyface.livejournal.com
OH AND WE ALSO TAKE LOTS OF DRUGS. AND LISTEN TO ABBA. WHILE DOING EACH OTHER AND MUTILATING OUR GENITALS.

QUEERS ARE EXCELLENT MULTI-TASKERS. :D

on 2007-10-22 03:30 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] mresundance.livejournal.com
YOU FORGOT THE PART WHERE WE FILL UP CONDOMS WITH WATER AND FLING THEM AT THE NEIGHBORS.

AND SPREAD GHEY COOTIES BY HUMPING THE LEGS OF RANDOM PASSERBYS.

on 2007-10-22 03:52 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] ishyface.livejournal.com
AND WE ALSO LET OUR SHITZUS YAP AT ALL HOURS OF THE NIGHT. AND WEAR MATCHING SWEATER SETS.

WAIT AM I A GAY BOY OR A LESBIAN?

I SHOULD COVER ALL MY BASES BY CARRYING AROUND AN ACOUSTIC GUITAR AND A PACK OF GLOW-IN-THE-DARK FLAVOURED CONDOMS.

on 2007-10-22 07:30 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] mresundance.livejournal.com
I DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU AREZ.

I AM A FLESBIAN.

A FLEMISH LESBIAN.

BUT NO, WAIT, I WUZ A FLESBIAN, BUT I AM AN FLEMTMIAN. FLEMISH FTM.

NAMED LARS.

U WANNA SHARE SOME FISH? I BAKED IT IN A TOTALLY SPECIAL GHEY WAY. WHICH INCLUDES LEMON.

I THINK THIS IS GOTTEN WAAAAY WEIRD NOW.

on 2007-10-23 02:53 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] ishyface.livejournal.com
MMM GAY FISH.

I CAN MAKE A CUNNILINGUS JOKE OUT OF THIS, JUST GIMME A SEC.

on 2007-10-23 02:44 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/mewmewmew_/
This whole side-tracked conversation made me 'lol' lots.

on 2007-10-23 02:53 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] ishyface.livejournal.com
*thumbs up*

on 2007-10-22 04:19 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] 1-2-suckerpunch.livejournal.com
Are you fucking serious.
Full stop, no question mark.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAUGH!

on 2007-10-22 04:20 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] ishyface.livejournal.com
I KNOW.

PEOPLE SUCK. PARTICULARLY ABOUT QUEER ISSUES. (This has been a bad week for queer issues. Hey, world, YOU DON'T MAKE THE CUTTHROAT SIGN TO A BOY FOR KISSING ANOTHER BOY ON THE NECK, KTHXBAI.)

on 2007-10-22 05:23 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] jadedsquirrel.livejournal.com
BEAUTIFUL response. Accurate, to the point, and well-put. I hope that asshole chokes on his words.

on 2007-10-22 12:02 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] mresundance.livejournal.com
Most assholes fortunately don't seem to notice what huge assholes they are.

Alas.

I rather like the karmic idea of Duffy spending his next life as a trans person, though. Maybe he'd get it then?

on 2007-10-22 02:27 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] mresundance.livejournal.com
I mean, unfortunately assholes don't seem to notice what huge assholes they are.

Yeeesh.

on 2007-10-22 11:50 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] mresundance.livejournal.com
I think the only person who was gender-confused, as far as this article is concerned, is Duffy.

Dumbass.

on 2007-10-22 02:42 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] ishyface.livejournal.com
Damn. I should have said THAT in the letter.

on 2007-10-22 03:30 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] mresundance.livejournal.com
Oh, snap.

on 2007-10-22 08:36 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] uncommon-crow.livejournal.com
How on earth you managed to be so calm in your e-mail I do not know. That man is an idiot.

on 2007-10-22 10:35 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] ishyface.livejournal.com
I know.

on 2007-10-22 11:41 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] bleedingcherub.livejournal.com
I would point out that a lot of medical stuff is gross. OMG it's SURGERY

on 2007-10-23 02:51 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] ishyface.livejournal.com
Obviously everyone should stop having tumours removed. It's so icky.

on 2007-10-23 02:42 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/mewmewmew_/
Thank you for posting this.

And yes, one question I asked after asking him not to write the article was to at least see it first.

on 2007-10-23 02:52 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] ishyface.livejournal.com
No problem. I just can't believe the level of douchebaggery involved here.

This is my response to Mr. Duffy.

on 2007-11-21 02:41 am (UTC)
Posted by (Anonymous)
Dear Mr. Duffy,
I recently came into contact with your article relating to a presentation of four transgendered "young people". I assume you've met with much disdain for your misrepresentation already. Allow me to send some personal regards as well. I am an FTM transsexual growing up in America and a clinical psychology major with a specialization in human sexuality. I realize that the stance you took with your paper was probably not intentionally harmful or bigoted. It was simply ignorant. As someone charged with the responsibility to report truths and not merely skewed opinions, I like to think you'd appreciate a helping hand. Perhaps these websites will be of some use to you in a retraction I advise you write, should you wish to retain any journalistic credibility. Please make of yourself an informed individual.
Sincerely,
A concerned citizen.

http://web4health.info/en/answers/sex-gender-what.htm
http://www.brownsteinmd.com/
http://www.lauras-playground.com/index.htm
http://www.apa.org/topics/transgender.html

Profile

ishyface: (Default)
the creature from the blog lagoon

April 2017

S M T W T F S
      1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30      

Custom Text

Most Popular Tags

Page generated Oct. 22nd, 2017 03:21 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios