Hot off the press! TransWeek Zine!

Hooray it is finally here! Check out the bad-ass zine that our community put together on the last day of TransWeek 2012! Many many thanks to all of our contributors!

To view the zine on-line, click here: TransWeek Zine (web version)

Want to print some  copies to share with your mom, your lover, friends, and other folk? Use this link to print it out (double-sided) your self! TransWeek Zine (print version)

TransWeek ZIne

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Upcoming Meetings for TransCollaborations

Upcoming Meetings and Dates are now posted under “upcoming events” tab…

1. Sunday November 18th 1pm @ WRAC – for trans* identified people only (Topic: reflecting on TransWeek)
2. Sunday November 25th 1pm @ WRAC – open to everyone (Topic: reflecting on TransWeek (and even if you did not make any of the events, would love to hear your perspectives on why that might have been the case if intentional/chosen decision) and directions for future work)

TransWeek! 2012 Event Schedule now Posted

 Check out this page for a full schedule on this year’s TransWeek!

“Organizing Against Transnormativity” November 2nd – 5th, 2012 in Iowa City, IA

 Transnormativity is an insidious aspect of the increased visibility of trans* communities. The concept plays out in the lives of trans* people where all of us who identify as trans* are expected to narrate our identities along mainstream understandings. We’re sure you know the common narrative – from an early age we knew we were different, our bodies don’t match our minds, we want to transition to “the other” gender. These are all myths associated with a transnormative narrative, and they simply aren’t true. We are much more complex and nuanced and there are many ways that trans* people narrate our understandings of our identities. This year, TransWeek! takes aim at transnormativity through many opportunities to engage in dialogue – through workshops and performance art – around the systemic problems associated with this aspect of trans* communities and dominant rhetoric.

Call for Solidarity with Iowa City Trans* Communities and Concerns with Media Coverage during TransWeek!

A Call for Solidarity with Iowa City Trans* Communities and Concerns with Media Coverage during TransWeek!:

Over the last several years, many of us in the Iowa City trans* community have agreed to participate in interviews with local newspapers. Sometimes, every once in a very infrequent while, a journalist does it right, does their homework, and follows journalistic integrity practices for their discipline (as outlined in the Associated Press stylebook). However, we have found that usually our pronouns are not respected, our names have been distorted, or that the journalist simplifies our identities down to a simplistic and transnormative narrative, even when we take the time to explain that we might not fall into that medicalized discourse (i.e. born in the wrong body, etc).

Our Request of You
We ask that if the Daily Iowan (and this only applies to the Daily Iowan) contacts you to comment on TransWeek! that you reply with the following statement. Additionally, if a reporter from the Daily Iowan asks for a quote during a TransWeek event, please also consider not engaging and mentioning something like what appears below:

I am not able to grant you an interview on TransWeek! events for this year. While I appreciate the DI attempting to cover social justice issues, as they are vital to creating an affirming and safe place for all people – trans-identified folk included – on this campus and in our Iowa City community, it has been brought to my attention that your news organization does not honor the Associated Press’ guidelines on how to work with and report on transgender populations. Recently a trans-identified person requested that their birth assigned name be removed from an on-line story, from the DI, for privacy and safety reasons and that request was denied. Therefore, in solidarity with trans* communities in Iowa City, I cannot consent to an interview until you change your policies. A blanket policy on not changing or updating stories might be “equal” in that it is applied to everyone. However, equality is not the same as equity. Trans* populations have specific concerns and needs that cisgender populations may or may not have to negotiate with media sources.

TransWeek! Planning Meeting Sun. Oct. 14th 1-3pm @ WRAC

The next TransWeek! planning meeting is Sunday October 14th from 1-3pm at WRAC. Stop by to make buttons, cut fliers, and plan our publicity campaign.

If you are not available for Sunday planning meetings but want to help out by organizing, sharing ideas, putting on a workshop/leading a discussion, or volunteering your time, please let us know via email at transcollaborations@gmail.com.

New LGBT Healthcare Clinic

There’s a new LGBT clinic through the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Not an LGB(t) clinic, but an LGBT clinic. The two primary care doctors who will be staffing the clinic are both trans* friendly, easy to work with, and committed to making this clinic work well for their trans* clients.

NEW LGBT HEALTHCARE CLINIC AT UNIVERSITY OF IOWA HOSPITALS & CLINICS

Location: Iowa River Landing, 105 9th Ave. Coralville, IA 52241
 
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Clinic, staffed by two primary care physicians, Dr Nicole Nisly (Internal Medicine) and Dr Katie Imborek (Family Medicine, starting in 2013) will be open for appointments every Tuesday evening from 5:00-7:30 p.m. We will focus on comprehensive primary care for adult LGBT patients delivered by providers and staff with expertise in the health care needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities.  Appointments: 319-384-7444
Services provided include:
  • Routine physical exams and wellness
  • Chronic disease management including anxiety and depression
  • Same-day urgent care visits
  • Gynecological services, including breast and pelvic exams and menopause care
  • Contraceptive management
  • HIV testing
  • STI (sexually transmitted infections) testing and treatment 
  • Immunizations
  • Hormone therapy
  • Post-surgical care for those who have undergone any gender affirming surgeries 

TransWeek! Planning Meeting

TransWeek! is coming up in about a month. This year’s theme is “Organizing Against Transnormativity.” If you are interested in helping out with TransWeek! this year by organizing, sharing ideas, putting on a workshop/leading a discussion, or volunteering your time, please let me know when you would be available for a meeting by going to this link and selecting as many or as few times as work for you. Once a date is established, I will post the info for the meeting. If none of the times work for you, but you’d still like to help out, send me an email at transcollaborations@gmail.com.

Meeting on Sunday September 16th

TransCollaborations will be having a meeting this coming Sunday, the 16th at noon. We will be meeting at the Women’s Resource and Action Center (WRAC) as usual. Our discussion for this meeting will be about local organizations and their advertising that is directed at trans* folks. We will be looking at and discussing websites, brochures, etc from area organizations and businesses that are trying to reach out to trans* people. Please bring in any materials you think are relevant and want to discuss with others. If people are interested in doing so, we may also write some responses to the advertising to send to the orgs that put them them out. Lastly, we will also discuss our upcoming meetings in October and planning for TransWeek! events. Please email me at transcollaborations@gmail.com if you have any questions. Hope to see you there!

**Trigger Warning**: Violence in our Neighborhoods

Dear internet: I’m sorry this is my first real post. I don’t know how to do blogs but feel like this trans* group needs some postings up here on the lived experiences of trans* folk in Iowa City and I have got to get this shit out of my head and heart because if I don’t, well, I imagine not falling asleep until about 4am or so and as a graduate student who relishes sleep – when it comes – that isn’t acceptable.

I had a lovely day with friends – catching up with folks I haven’t seen in several years, leaning into their painful stories of loss, checking my own stories of the summer, and connecting with new folks as well. A perfect convergence of good coffee, conversations, stories, laughing, crying, heartache. joy

I came home later this evening and my heart was full and singing with all kinds of warm fuzzies. I cracked open a celebratory beer (yay for building community!) and lit a cigarette (yes, I am a shameful smoker and won’t smoke around folks that I know are non-smokers for those who don’t know my dirty secret). My peace was interrupted around 11:30pm as I witnessed, on my porch, a man screaming at his girlfriend that he hated her “stupid bitch fat face” and spitting at her. Then he started hitting her……..

I hesitated. No, strike that. I froze.

For all of the feminist philosophy that has been ingrained in me for 15 years this was the moment where it seemed to count.

She was weeping, and then laughing, and then demanding that he call his friends to let her in the house. She seemed to fear for her safety. I feared for her safety.

And then…something happened in my body where I felt like I was reliving some (recent) past experiences and reached my threshold. I called the cops. I don’t often like institutionalized criminal punishment. In fact, as a trans* person I fucking despise it. I have been bullied (read: emotionally abused) by the very forces that I called upon. But as a small person who appears to most as a sissy faggot guy, I wouldn’t dare put my body in the line of their argument.

So I called 911 for the first time ever, in my entire existence and made a very sociological report: A white man in his early 20s named {X} is yelling at, spitting on, and hitting his girlfriend named {C}. I live at (fill in address} and if you are standing in front of it, it is to the left. There was silence on the phone and then the woman asked me if I said he was hitting her. Violence is one of those things that different cultures interpret differently. I almost said, “maybe” but then I remembered the sobbing of girlfriend {C} and her sob-talking “You hit me.” And in that moment I was caught between the consequences of this call and the politics of institutionalized racismsexismtransphobiaheternormativityablesimandonandsoforth So I mustered up energy, for {C} and myself and said that yes, I was sitting on my porch and watching this happen and I couldn’t be a passive bystander any longer.

What works in my favor, as a bystander, is that I assume most other dudes assume that a “fellow-bro” would never call the cops, never report this kind of “thing” that has been so thoroughly ingrained in our collective culture and particularly for men (it seems) that both {X} and {C} were thoroughly shocked when the cops arrived.

But his behavior triggered something in me. I imagined being {C} and screaming I love you, as my boyfriend assaulted me emotionally, physically, verbally.

The cops came within 5 minutes (sometimes, perhaps the system works). And then a giant screaming match ensued with {X} screaming about his fucking lawyers and disheartingly, {C} pleading for {X} to calm down and put his hands above his head and reassuring him that she loved him. The cops have him in the car, right now, at this moment that I am typing. And I can still hear him screaming and crying and yelling about lawyers and the fucking cops and goddamn neighbors and please god fucking arrest me, I love you, I need you, FUCK you.

And while I fear for my life, if {X} ever found out who called the cops (and as a sissyfaggotqueertrans person), I feel content that I did something important for {C} even if she doesn’t realize that until years later.

“Even if” he was fall-over-his-feet drunk. I don’t believe that is an excuse. And “even if” they both deny that he physically assaulted her, he is assaulting our community by his emotional and spiritual violence – “even if” our definitions of such are different. For the verbal onslaught that has happened since he has been sitting in the cop car (and yes, thirty minutes later they are still sitting outside of my house and my dog is cowering in the closet because she is sensitive to yelling and loud voices) and the violence he is enacting now not only upon his girlfriend but this neighborhood…is simply unacceptable. For {X} is an abusive fucker that needs to be reminded that as a community, we simply won’t stand for this shit.

Next Meeting: Discussion on Mistakes, Compassion, & Tokenization

The next transcollaborations meeting is THIS Sunday August 26th at noon  @ WRAC.

A personal note: I have been reflecting a lot on this particular topic (see prompt below) over the last few years. As folks embedded in social justice work, it seems self-evident that we are all working towards greater awareness, compassion, and more holistic ways of thinking about oppression and privilege and the many ways that our constellations of identities intersect at different points in our lives, social landscapes, historical moments, etc. However, as folks working within social justice communities, we don’t always set aside space to talk about these issues. I am looking forward to a really fantastic (and important) discussion.

Discussion Prompt: As folks working in trans* communities (and other social justice spaces) how do we “know” when those who have made mistakes in the past have grown and realized their mistakes that are harmful to our communities and antithetical to commitments towards social justice across oppression? Who gets to decide (who is forgiven) and what does that say about power relations that operate in our society and the various points of intersection of identities? How do we know when to be compassionate (or not) towards those who are actively working towards not causing harm to others but still make mistakes?

On a similar but separate note, an unfortunate consequence of being in such a small community in Iowa City is that one trans* person’s perspective is often perceived by others in dominant groups as “the” perspective of trans* communities. In spite of this tokenization, how do we within the trans* community work together and speak from our own experience, challenge the tokenization process, and co-construct community responses when there is disagreement within our group about those public responses to situations, issues, etc.