Gender & Human Rights

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Spanish Corporations ‘Violating Human Rights in Latin America’

 

In its introduction of systematic violations of human rights in Indigenous and campesino communities, the report cites that 300 human rights defenders were murdered last year.

Spanish transnational corporations are generating social conflicts, violating human rights and deepening gender inequality throughout Latin America, warns a new report by environmentalists and women’s rights groups.

The report entitled “IBEX35: At War With Life” was compiled by Environmentalists in Action; the Observatory of Multinationals in Latin America, and the Calala Women’s Fund. In its introduction of systematic violations of human rights in Indigenous and campesino communities, the report cites that last year 300 human rights defenders were murdered.

Of that number, more than 60 percent occurred in Latin America: 70 percent of victims were targeted for protecting land, and 40 percent were Indigenous. The report calls for corporate accountability, pointing out that major firms represent 69 of the 100 most powerful economic entities, overshadowing state governments.

Spanish corporations such as Repsol, ACS, Iberdrola, Gas Natural Fenosa, Acciona and Renovalia were found to be involved threats, harassment, detention, physical aggression and legal intimidation against Indigenous and campesino populations in areas designated for mega-development projects.

One of the case studies presented is the Camisea gas project operated by Spanish oil company Repsol on the territories of seven Indigenous nationalities in the Peruvian Amazon, of which three are in voluntary isolation. The case reveals the complicity of state governments in predatory corporate behaviour.

In Camisea between 2004 and 2012 there were six natural gas spills which polluted land and water bodies, destroying the main sources of food for Indigenous communities. This in turn hampers people’s self-sufficiency, forcing dependent relations with extractive corporations.

The report also raises alarm over the vulnerability of people living in voluntary isolation, especially due to their lack of immunity to many infectious diseases. As an example, the report cites a case from the 1980s when over half of the Nahua population died after contact with loggers.

Another case is the construction of the Renace hydroelectric project by Grupo ACS in Guatemala, which affected over 29,000 people who now have poor access to water and restricted access to land.

Also cited is the construction of a wind power corridor near the city of Oaxaca in Mexico by Spanish companies Iberdrola, Gas Natural Fenosa, Acciona and Renovalia, accused of land grabbing, discrimination, and dumping massive amounts of oils and other waste leading to loss of biodiversity and arable land.

In every case, local populations faced the loss of food sovereignty and autonomy over their resources, and witnessed an aggressive shift in their economic and social structures.

The report concludes such factors disproportionately affect women, who are excluded from decision making, worsening their economic situation as they become dependent on wage labor that largely excludes them. Women also experience more violence due to militarization, the influx of foreign men and rising domestic abuse.

 

Date         :               February 9, 2018

Source     :               Telesur

https://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Spanish-Corporations-Violating-Human-Rights-in-Latin-America-20180209-0013.html

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Fit to serve: Data on transgender military service

 

As of Jan. 1, transgender individuals are allowed to openly enlist and continue serving in the U.S. military without fear of being discharged.

President Donald Trump issued a ban on transgender military service in August 2017. It was struck down by U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly last fall. In December, the Pentagon announced it would allow transgender people to enlist in 2018.

In a strongly worded 76-page opinion, Kollar-Kotelly wrote: “There is absolutely no support for the claim that the ongoing service of transgender people would have any negative effects on the military.”

And she’s right. Since 2014, we have been working with transgender service members and veterans to better understand their experiences. It is part of a large and growing body of scientific research President Trump, and conservatives more broadly, have ignored.

Medical rationale

In the United States, transgender individuals were officially barred from serving in the armed forces starting in the 1960s. The early prohibition was based on a now-outdated psychiatric classification. Until 2013, the American Psychiatric Association classified transgender people as having “gender identity disorder.” This disqualified them for military service, along with anyone else who exhibited a mental disorder.

Since the 1980s, the U.S. armed forces barred service of any person with a “current or history of psychosexual conditions including but not limited to exhibitionism, transsexualism, transvestism, voyeurism, and other paraphilia.” However, the view that transgender people have a pathological condition conflates transgender identity with mental illness and distress. It assumes that all transgender people experience gender dysphoria. Gender dysphoria relates to distress caused when an individual’s assigned sex at birth is incongruent with their current gender identity or expression. Not all transgender people experience it.

In 2015, the American Medical Association adopted a formal policy stating that there is no medical rationale for excluding transgender people from openly serving in the military.

Serving under a ban

Transgender people have long served in the armed forces. The Williams Institute, a think tank at the University of California in Los Angeles, estimates that roughly 134,000 transgender Americans hold veteran status.

About 15,000 transgender people are currently serving across all branches of the U.S. armed forces, including the National Guard and Reserve forces. The vast majority have served under the transgender ban.

In our research, we have found that transgender service members have had to conceal their identities. In fact, among transgender service members surveyed under the transgender military ban, only 16.2 percent reported being “out” as transgender to friends within their military unit. Only 5.6 percent were out to their commanding officer.

This was in stark contrast to the personal lives of service members where the majority of those surveyed reported being out to immediate family members (72.2 percent) and nonmilitary friends (69.4 percent). This has limited their access to support services and health care, and made it difficult to gain institutional recognition.

Our findings also suggest that transgender individuals enlist for many of the same reasons as cisgender men and women, those whose assigned sex at birth corresponds with their gender identity. Transgender people are motivated by educational goals, career aspirations, travel, family history, patriotism and stability. Transgender service members also report few mental or physical health issues that would limit them from meeting fitness criteria.

Research conducted by the nonprofit RAND National Defense Research Institute has found similar evidence. RAND was commissioned by the government to conduct a wide-ranging external study to assess the impact of transgender service.

RAND reported that the Departments of Defense Homeland Security would incur only small increases in annual health care cost, estimated between US$2.4 million to $8.4 million, representing only .04 to .13 percent of the budget. That is in direct contrast to President Trump’s justification for the ban, as he cited “tremendous medical costs.” Further, the report observed that transgender service has minimal impact on unit readiness and cohesion. And, it recommended that military fitness policies align with contemporary medical standards.

Impact of a military ban

President Trump’s memorandum referenced inaccurate information. Further, the administration’s effort undermines several rigorous scientific studies and peer-reviewed publications, the expert opinions of military leaders and officers, and the medical recommendations of our nation’s leading professional organizations.

Most concerning, however, is that the current commander-in-chief discredits the service and sacrifices of tens of thousands of transgender veterans and service members. They have served and will continue to proudly serve our country despite persistent injustice and inequality.

 

By : Brandon Hill and Joshua Trey Barnett
Date : January 9, 2018
Source : The Conversation
https://theconversation.com/fit-to-serve-data-on-transgender-military-service-83133

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Women and the city: reclaiming the streets to impose equal rights

 

In Argentina, “a woman is killed every 30 hours”, reports Telam, the country’s official news agency, based on a report of the Observatorio de Femicidios Marisel Zambrano from the NGO La Casa del Encuentro.

From July 1, 2015 to May 31, 2016, 275 women had been killed. The violence that takes place in cities goes beyond robbery and assault, the gang that controls the corner, the abuses, the drug ring that terrorises the neighbourhood or the illegitimate use of force by diverse actors.

Violence is also hunger, a lack of basic services, and an unjust legal system. And it is discrimination based on ethnicity, birthplace, sexual orientation and age.

Urban design is for white young productive men

Women are the omitted subjects in much urban design and planning. As Saskia Sassen expressed in a 2016 article:

“Urban planning is not gender neutral. While there has long been research on how urban systems fail to respond to women’s needs, it was only a decade ago that the subject surged. Since then, countless cities have been host to initiatives addressing a version of the ‘urban-planning gender gap’.”

Much research and theory is now focusing on gender and cities, bringing light to these omissions and to the subordinate situations of women in cities.

Gender is here used as an analytical category useful for highlighting the asymmetries between men and women. Society is not binary therefore it is equally concerns LGTBI population, youth, ethnicities, others.

Even as change is happening, many women experience the city differently than men. Women combine productive work with family duties, fragmenting the use of time and space. During daylight hours, public spaces are more likely to be used by women, spending time in nearby parks, with children, disabled and/or senior citizens. And yet, those spaces are mainly designed for men’s needs. Urban design and planning, particularly since Modernism, has answered to a universal citizen: white young productive men.

Millions of women and girls experience violence as a kind of pandemic, natural, invisible and justified. Only recently has it been seen as resulting from patriarchal conditions where ideology and culture hide symbolic dominance and economic exploitation.

A simple street light can reduce violence

This recognition has produced diverse initiatives. For instance, the Safe Cities for Women Campaign developed in Brazil by Action Aid for the municipality of Garanhuns, located in the state of Pernambuco, launched a plan of public policies for women’s safety.

It includes strengthening the focus on women in special courts of justice, police stations, police training, improvement in public transport, investment in street lights, training on gender and violence against women in schools, and more. Renata, a transsexual woman, political leader in Garanhuns and an active member of the Women’s Forum of Pernambuco,  reports on the positive actions taken by the city, including how a simple investment in street lighting is reducing violence.

Denying women’s work

If our understanding of cities and potential policy reforms are to enhance social progress, we must revisit urban planning from a gender-based perspective. The use of time and space should be central to gendered planning.

Mothers use time in fragments – domestic tasks, school and health care each gets its own slice of time.

Women’s responsibilities as family careers are not recognized at the workplace and thereby their economic contribution to both reproductive and productive work is rendered invisible. Ana Falú takes this analysis further by underlining the significance of both kinds of omission: it is the central factor organizing urban space in ways that build obstacles for women.

As social sciences professor Silvia Federici points out:

“We must admit that capital has been very successful in hiding our work. It has created a true masterpiece at the expense of women. By denying housework a wage and transforming it into an act of love, capital has killed many birds with one stone.”

Surveys and analyses of time use and time budgeting in diverse cities highlight on the invisible unremunerated contributions of women to society, estimated around the 20-30% of the GDP of cities.

This is not new. Jane Jacobs taught us in 1961 about the significance of the proximity of basic services and infrastructures for women in particular.

Gaps in knowledge about omitted subjects are part of a larger epistemological question central to systemic inequality and its reproduction. Debates surrounding compact versus diffused cities, or the impact of new, urban spatial fragmentation must address specific identity-based exclusions.

Growth trends tend to be associated with women’s social progress. And yet even though women at all levels of education are better qualified than men, they earn less and much search longer for work. The majority of women work in the low-end service sector.

Assessing the informal sector

A paradox persists: The more women work, the poorer they are. For instance, in the Latin

America and the Caribbean region, female participation in the work force increased by 21% between 2002 and 2012, totalling over 100 million women.

In this period, the region registered significant economic growth and a decrease in poverty, but not among women. In 2002, there were 109 poor women for every 100 poor men; in 2012 the ratio rose to 118.

These trends point to a disjuncture between economic growth and overall social progress, a pattern not unique to this region. Women constitute the majority of the low-paid service sector.

And in Latin America, 71% of domestic workers are women, most of whom are indigenous and/or black. Further, poor women have high fertility rates, having twice as many children than rich women. Accessing sexual, health and reproductive rights is severely limited due to low social and economic status.

The patterns in Latin America are evident throughout the world. Data on the informal sector in India shows that home-based workers, numbering 23.5 million, are mostly women. In the South Asian context, women’s work place is often determined by social and cultural constraints on mobility. As a result, home-based work is the one or only possible option for women to secure an income. As in Latin America, this pattern is unlikely to change even in times of robust development, such as India saw over the past two decades.

Taking risks to build citizenship

In addition to space and income considerations for social progress, it is central to consider the intangible dimension of violence suffered by women in private and public spaces, just because they are women. The persistence of male violence on the bodies of women to discipline them, is one of the most universal human-rights violations in the world.

Diverse instruments have been adopted across the world: laws, protocols, participatory planning and gender budgeting. But progress is slow, as with all policy, political will and adequate resourcing are key to achieve impact.

Reports on violence in cities find reports that 60% of women feel unsafe in urban spaces. Criminality and threats limit women´s freedom of movement. Women are poor in rights: political participation, autonomy, equal access to work, infrastructure, transportation and security all are marked by limited recognition of women’s rights.

Women can become invisible subjects in a context where the city is a political territory for making citizenship. That is why women often have to build their citizenship by taking risks. While this risk-taking builds confidence in terms of advocacy, it nonetheless requires significant economic, cultural and symbolic resources.

 

This post belongs to a series of contributions coming from the International Panel on Social Progress, a global academic initiative of more than 300 scholars from all social sciences and the humanities who prepare a report on the perspectives for social progress in the 21st Century. In partnership with The Conversation, the posts offer a glimpse of the contents of the report and of the authors’ research.

 

By : Ana Falu & Saskia Sassen
Date : December 15, 2017
Source : The Conversation
https://theconversation.com/women-and-the-city-reclaiming-the-streets-to-impose-equal-rights-88279

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Human rights and Myanmar’s digital gender divide

 

Female activists preaching a message of tolerance online are finding that they too are becoming a target.

THE ARRIVAL of affordable Internet access in Myanmar has revealed – and possibly exacerbated – divisions within society around contentious issues. Where military censorship once kept voices in check, now everyone has the ability to speak out.

Human rights defenders have found themselves in new territory, broaching taboo topics online and defending those who are coming under sustained attack.

“I have been forced to ask myself, ‘Do I really want to be a humanitarian?’” said Ma Thin Thin Aung, a young Ta’ang activist.

She’s been exceptionally vocal in condemning hateful language on her Facebook feed, particularly in regard to the flight of refugees from Rakhine State.

“We can’t draw conclusions about people from what they share but I’ve never seen so much hate speech online in my life,” she said.

She argues that sustained media coverage on Rakhine State and international criticism of State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has intensified nationalist sentiment and hateful comments online.

Ma Maynadi, a young activist who works as an ethnographer at Koe Koe Tech in Yangon, said there is still a reluctance to discuss human rights on Facebook “because not many people understand what they are”.

“Some people in Burma associate the term ‘human rights’ as an imperialist tool which is very sad when [they] should be respected and practised at every level,” she said.

On September 25, she addressed her friends and followers in a public post that called out the “hateful and racist” comments by “narrow-minded ultranationalists”.

But Maynadi also criticised what she described as the “mainstream media’s black and white approach” and called for more balanced reporting on politically charged topics such as the conflict in Rakhine State.

“In international media, all of Burma is labeled as racist. Perspective and context is missing as outlets demonise Burma as a whole. The news media uses divisive categories portraying majority versus minority,” she said.

Fact vs fiction

Internet access was largely the preserve of the elite until 2014, when foreign mobile operators Telenor and Ooredoo broke the monopoly of state-run Myanmar Post and Telecommunications.

In a short space of time, millions have gone from having no access to the Internet and independent media to being barraged by a constant stream of information on Facebook. Sorting fact from fiction is a challenge that many are ill equipped to navigate.

“We lived under a dictatorship for 70 years so of course, now that the country has opened up online spaces, it’s easy to brainwash especially with a lack of education and critical thinking skills,” Maynadi said. “We’ve had no exposure to outside influences.”

Thin Thin Aung noted that some of her friends on Facebook were taking sides on controversial issues even though they had little knowledge about the particular topic.

“My friends are sharing posts from [social media] with little context but the accounts they’re sharing from have a lot of followers,” she said. “This has the potential to influence people in the wrong way – especially when they’re so easy to convince.”

Women’s rights

There are many other human rights issues in Myanmar that have not generated the same headlines as Rakhine State but are still difficult to broach online.

Several women’s rights activists said they had been challenged when sharing information related to sexual and reproductive health education, for example.

Ma Zin Mar Phyo from the Chiang Mai-based Burmese Women’s Union said some men on her Facebook feed have a difficult time accepting dialogue on gender discourse.

“Men and women talk about gender equality differently,” she said. “They see us living in a cup. Men want to see us stay in the cup confined to domestic duties without being able to climb out and escape.”

The narrative on gender equality is highly contested; many government officials, legislators, academics and activists assert that women’s inequality is a myth. Many studies suggest the exact opposite, however. A detailed 2015 report from the Gender Equality Network, Raising the Curtain, examined how cultural and social practices in Myanmar have had different impacts on men and women throughout their lives.

Discussing women’s rights is still not culturally acceptable in some circumstances. Some – particularly older people – see it as challenging traditional norms.

Zin Mar Phyo said men often view women’s rights as separate to other fundamental rights.

“If women talk about human rights, men disagree with posts specifically related to gender and women’s rights.”

Daw Phyu Sin, formerly with women’s rights group Akhaya Women, said men often challenge posts calling for women to have access to equal opportunities.

“Most of the men on my Facebook feed disagree with women’s rights advancement but seem to agree on the topic of labor rights and basic citizen rights,” she said.

The women activists are unwavering in their positions on human rights. They’ve been the subject of personal attacks from people disagree with their platforms – even close friends and family.

Ma Thin Thin Aung noted that social media was also a powerful tool to educate and encourage discourse, and she hoped that in future it could become a force for social good.

“I share because I feel that I have a responsibility to – especially as a young, ethnic Shan woman impacted by conflict,” she said.

 

By : Maggi Quadrini
Date : December 27, 2017
Source : Frontier Myanmar
https://frontiermyanmar.net/en/human-rights-and-myanmars-digital-gender-divide

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Masculinity Threat; The sociological explanation for why men in America turn to gun violence

 

In the aftermath of the Las Vegas shooting that killed a staggering 58 people and injured roughly 500 others, the Trump administration has tried to steer Americans away from political debate. “There’s a time and place for political debate, but now is the time to unite as a country,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a press briefing following the tragedy.

But while it is important to collectively mourn those lost to senseless violence, it is equally important to understand that mass shootings are not isolated events in American society. Mass shootings are still relatively rare in the US, but occur much more often here than in other countries. There are far too many to consider them random, unpreventable acts of violence committed by a deranged individual.

A great deal of commentary attempts to tie mass shootings to a single issue. Often, that seems like the easiest way to make sense of atrocities. That’s why we get sound bites that lean on mental health (when shooters are white), terrorist ties and affiliations (when shooters are brown), gang violence and “urban decay” (when shooters are black), bullying (when it happens in a school), and overwork (when it happens in a workplace).

The truth cannot be boiled down to any single issue. As sociologists, we can look to the bigger picture, point out patterns, and identify common denominators. Our research suggests that gun control is, indeed, an important piece of the problem. But in order to understand the factors behind America’s mass shootings, it is also critical to consider the relationship between masculinity and violence.

International gun ownership and mass shootings

International evidence now makes us incredibly confident when we say that the number of guns in a society is positively correlated with the number of mass shootings in a society, as supported by a study spanning three decades of analysis in a collection of nations around the world.

Look at the clusters of data points. Each represents a different country. The more guns there are in a given country, the more mass shootings it has. But there are two other things worth noticing. For instance, just consider the number of nations in this sample that have approximately 30 guns per 100 people: Austria (30.4), Canada (30.8), France (31.2), Germany (30.3), Iceland (30.3), Norway (31.3), and Sweden (31.6). They don’t all have the same rate of mass shootings over the period of 30 years. Iceland had zero; Norway had one; and Sweden had two. But France had six, and Germany had seven. These are small numbers, but even here, the range is large enough to suggest that the number of guns is not the only factor influencing mass shootings.

It’s also worth highlighting just how much of an outlier the US is when put in international perspective. Sure, we have roughly twice as many guns as the other societies with high numbers of guns owned per inhabitant. But the number of mass shootings the US has experienced makes us an extreme outlier in these data.

The masculinity problem

Scholars who study masculinity and mass shootings have consistently drawn attention to the fact that mass shootings are not only a uniquely American social problem; they are a problem with American men. We’ve argued before that there are two questions that require explanation related to gender and mass shootings. First, why is it that men commit virtually all mass shootings? And second, why do American men commit mass shootings more than men anywhere else in the world?

Why is it men who commit mass shootings?

Social psychologists have a theory referred as “social identity threat” that has been studied across a wide range of contexts. The idea is pretty simple. Research demonstrates that if people feel that a part of their identity that they hold dear is being called into question, they are likely to respond with an exaggerated display of qualities associated with that identity.

Applied to gender, social scientists refer to this issue as “masculinity threat.” Men who have their masculinity called into question (or “threatened” to use the social psychological language) react in patterned ways. Research shows that they are more supportive of violence, less likely to accurately identify sexual coercion as such, and more likely to support statements about the inherent superiority of males, among other responses.

Research has also shown that men whose masculinity has been threatened are more likely to identify as Republican, supported sexually prejudiced statements about gay men, and more supportive of war as a solution to national disputes. They were even more likely to say that they wanted to purchase as SUV. When men’s masculinity is threatened, they don’t respond by backing down; they double down on masculinity and “overcompensate” to demonstrate just how manly they are.

The list of things that men turn to when they feel emasculated is quite revealing about what it means to be masculine in our society. Masculinity is associated with homophobia, sexism, misogyny, male supremacist ideals, and violence, and so men turn to those things in order to demonstrate their membership in the group.

Mass shootings follow a consistent pattern: The men who commit them have often experienced what they perceive as masculinity threats. They’re bullied by peers, gay-baited by classmates, and often perceive themselves as unable to live up to societal expectations associated with masculinity, such holding down a steady job, having sexual access to women’s bodies, or being tough or strong.

This does not suggest that men are somehow inherently, unavoidably more violent than women. But it does suggest that mass shootings need to be seen, in part, as enactments of masculinity.

Why do American men commit mass shootings more than men elsewhere?

Certainly men have their masculinity threatened in other societies as well. So why is it that American boys and men are so much more likely to respond to threats with such extreme forms of mass violence?

The answer is that American culture plays a role in supporting this kind of violence. Consider the sociocultural contexts in which these kinds of violent masculinities are produced and (sometimes) valorized. Men have been the beneficiaries of an extraordinary amount of privilege over the course of human history—white, heterosexual, able-bodied, educated, class-privileged, American men in particular. Now a great deal of progress has been made toward chipping some of that privilege away or, at the very least, publicly calling it into question. Gender inequality is alive and well today, but it is also true that men—as a group—have witnessed the gradual erosion of privileges previous generations of men took for granted. Sociologist Michael Kimmel suggests that this shift has produced a uniquely American sentiment among men that he refers to as “aggrieved entitlement.”

Many men still feel entitled to the forms of privilege their fathers, grandfathers, and great grandfathers cashed in on. And they are resentful of the fact that what they feel to be rightfully theirs feels like its slipping away. Neither we nor Kimmel are suggesting that feeling pissed off about these changes will always lead to mass shootings. Rather, mass shootings are simply an extremely violent example of a more general issue regarding shifts in relations between women and men and historical transformations in systems of social inequality.

What’s next?

When asked to suggest a motive for the attack in Las Vegas, sheriff Joe Lombardo replied, “I can’t get into the mind of a psychopath at this point.” Similarly, a wide variety of statements from public officials and beyond are pointing to severe mental illness as the cause. During these moments, however, it is important to recognize that these statements contrasts sharply with statements from family and friends—those who knew him best. The general manager of one of the gun stores from which the shooter purchased weapons justified his sale of the weapons by describing the shooter as “a normal fellow, a normal guy – nothing out of the ordinary.” His neighbor concurred, describing him as “a normal man.” His brother said something similar.

The scary realization that research and data support is that, in the US, “normal guys” sometimes commit mass shootings. As sociologist Kieran Healy put it, mass shootings are “by now well institutionalized as a mode of violence. When one happens, everybody knows what to do.” There’s a script mass shootings follow; they are socially patterned actions. And they are gendered patterns of action as well, which means that men who want to find a way to assert their masculinity have a clear path to turn to.

Combine these gendered factors with a society in which guns are extremely available and highly valorized in popular culture and the media, and mass shootings will continue to be an American problem. Research suggests that solving this problem requires us thinking about it from multiple angles, recognizing that each can only offer a partial solution.

Certainly, gun control is a vital aspect of any solution to mass shootings in the US. But real change requires a cultural solution as well, one that attempts to invest in new ideals associated with masculinity not founded on dominance, violence, and ideologies of male supremacy. Mass shootings will continue to occur as long as we ignore these connections, and as long as we fail to recognize that mass shootings in American society are deeply entwined with our culture and politics.

 

By : Tristan Bridges (Professor of Sociology, University of California, Santa Barbara)
Tara Leigh Tober (Professor of Sociology, University of California, Santa Barbara)
Date : October 7, 2017
Source : Quartz
The sociological explanation for why men in America turn to gun violence

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We need to talk about the social norms that fuel sexual assault

 

The recent spate of sexual harassment accusations against prominent men in Westminster comes as no surprise to many of us. We expect them to know better – to have been better people – but we have also seen this kind of behaviour before … over and over again. It isn’t just powerful men – but it is almost always men.

It’s time to start looking at the deep-rooted causes of harassment. We need to try to understand why sexual harassment is carried out much more by men against women than vice versa. And this is going to involve an evaluation of our sexual norms. Once we’ve done this, we can start a conversation about the kind of sex we do want – and how to create a culture where that is more likely to happen.

Let’s consider three gendered social norms that might have a role in why men sexually harass women.

1) Men are entitled to sex

The view that men are constantly thinking about sex, and feel somehow entitled to it due to their superior status to women, is one that we are familiar with: from sexist chants at universities, to pick-up artists, to lyrics that eroticise sexual coercion (such as Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke) and films that revolve around the “winning over” of an uninterested woman. We also take it for granted that there is a large sex industry, which caters – for the most part – for men’s sexual desires.

2) Men call the shots

It is still a common expectation that men should ask women out on dates, decide where to go, and pay for them. Women, on the other hand, should play hard to get and be submissive. Consider the well-known “Rules” dating book, which has tips for women such as: “don’t tell him what to do” and “let him take the lead”.

Men are also expected to be dominant sexually – and this is implicit in the way that we talk about sex: men fuck/screw/bone women. The male dominance norm carries forward into marriage. It is still usual for the woman to wait for the man to ask her to marry him and to take his name when they marry, for example.

3) Women should be sexually pure

Women’s sexuality is controlled through slut shaming. Many men would still be uncomfortable being with a woman who had slept with many more people than he had – and many men still feel comfortable referring to women as “slags” or “sluts” for indulging in behaviour that would make a man a “stud” or a “lad”.

It is implicitly believed that women must help men to control their sexual desire and aggression. They can do this by dressing modestly, and not being too flirtatious with men. Peter Hitchens recently helpfully suggested in the Daily Mail that the niqab is what women will get from all this “squawking about sex pests”, since, as he put it: “No minister would put his hand on the knee of anyone dressed like this; indeed, he’d have trouble finding her knee, or anything else”.

So, let’s talk

These norms are obviously extreme, and are not held by everyone. They are also, I hope, being slowly eroded. But they do exist – and it is not too far-fetched to say that they have a role in creating a culture in which men, much more so than women, feel that they want to and are able to engage in sexual harassment. After all, if there is an implicit assumption that you are entitled to sex (and this view might be held particularly strongly by men who believe they are entitled in all aspects of life), that you call the shots in the sexual arena, and that if a woman is dressed “provocatively”, or acting “flirtatiously”, you just can’t help yourself, then you might feel that you do nothing wrong in harassing her.

The revelations from Westminster have opened up a debate surrounding men’s actions within that small bubble, a debate that needs to be had. But we should also use it as an opportunity to talk about gendered sexual norms, because sex is a part of sexual harassment.

We need to do more than just train men in sexual consent. Consent, after all, is a bare minimum requirement for good sex. What we need is a conversation about what makes good sex – and what kind of gender norms would improve gender relations more broadly. And I think they might end up being quite different to the norms we have now.

 

By : Natasha McKeever (Teaching Fellow in Applied Ethics, University of Leeds)
Date : November 11, 2017
Source : The Conversation (https://theconversation.com/we-need-to-talk-about-the-social-norms-that-fuel-sexual-assault-87123)

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Ending the Business of Child Labor

 

Advocates fighting to eradicate child labor had once hoped that globalization would help. But recent evidence shows that little progress has been made, suggesting that in addition to strong legal frameworks, robust accountability mechanisms are needed to guarantee that child labor is not used in supply chains.

NEW DELHI – In October 1997, when global leaders gathered in Oslo to strategize how to end child labor, we brought a huge ambition and a deep commitment to change. Through improved collaboration and planning, we sought to protect children from exploitation, and to develop “new strategies to eliminate child labor at the national, regional, and international levels.”

Now, 20 years later, it is time to ask: how have we done?

Poorly. Since that first meeting, the world has not even halved the number of children in the workforce. In the last five years, the international community has managed to reduce the number of employed children by just 16 million, the slowest pace of reduction in decades. Of the 152 million children working today, some 73 million are doing jobs considered hazardous. Even “safe” child labor affects victims’ physical and physiological wellbeing long into adulthood.

Worse, according to the most recent data from the International Labor Organization, the world has made the least progress in protecting two of the most at-risk populations: children between the ages of five and 11, and young girls.

The problem is not that we have failed to learn anything during our four global gatherings (the most recent one, held in Buenos Aires, wrapped up earlier this month). The problem is that we have failed, and are failing, to take our own advice.

Even as we talk, disturbing global developments have added a sinister twist to child labor and trafficking. This was supposed to be the century of empowerment for the most marginalized. Instead, we are witnessing globalization of the most perverted kind, with children becoming victims many times over.

Because traffickers can easily prey amid chaos, children in conflict zones are particularly vulnerable. Syria has commanded attention for years because of the horrific violence to which children there are subjected. But the global rise of organized gangs means that children in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Europe are also at risk. Stemming this trend requires urgent and coordinated investment in education and safety wherever children are at risk – in conflict zones, refugee camps, and in areas affected by natural disasters.

I am often left wondering how we got to this point. Over the last 37 years, colleagues and I have rescued more than 87,000 children from forced labor in India. We have rescued girls who were so abused that they lost their ability to speak. Recently, we rescued children from a garment factory in New Delhi, where, for more than three years, they had been forced to sit and work for 20 hours a day in a basement with no ventilation. When they were brought to Mukti Ashram, our transit rehabilitation center, many were unable to walk or even look up at the sun.

We are proud of our accomplishments. But humans’ depravity is a source of continued sorrow.

How can we end this suffering once and for all? Global gatherings, like the one that just ended, certainly have a role to play. But talk alone will not suffice. Serious problems confronting humanity are tackled only when stakeholders become full participants.

Successes in public health are instructive. For example, there was a time when diseases like polio and smallpox ravaged millions. Through the coordinated efforts of doctors, volunteers, global institutions, local governments, and civil society, these diseases were tamed. Similar collaboration is needed now to reduce child labor.

The first place to start is targeting industries where child labor is present, such as agriculture. In addition to strong legal frameworks, robust accountability mechanisms must be established to guarantee that child labor is not used in supply chains. I have found that with the right incentives, businesses and consumers can become partners in eradicating child labor.

One example of this collaboration emerged from the carpet industry in South Asia, where children were being mercilessly exploited. To force change, we launched a movement to educate consumers in the West to compel carpet factory owners to behave responsibly. This led to the creation of a label, GoodWeave, which certifies that no child has been put to work manufacturing the product. Since the label was launched more than 20 years ago, child labor in the region’s carpet industry has plummeted, from roughly one million to about 200,000.

Programs like these are helpful, but the most important changes must come from international efforts led by the United Nations. Ending the vicious circle of child labor, illiteracy, and poverty will require inter-governmental agencies to come together around each of the Sustainable Development Goals that directly affect children. These include Goal 8, ending forced labor, modern slavery, trafficking, and child labor; Goal 4, ensuring education for all; Goal 3, providing universal access to healthcare; and Goal 16, stopping all forms of violence against children.

To succeed, UN Secretary-General António Guterres will need to channel more resources toward improving children’s lives. His first course of action should be to call a meeting with the heads of UN agencies and international organizations, as well as world leaders, to create an agenda for concerted and coordinated efforts to protect young people everywhere.

At the end of the day, only political will can disrupt the grim calculus of child labor. We cannot build a more peaceful, sustainable world without ensuring the freedom, safety, and education of every child. A life of work robs children of all three.

As I ponder the way forward, I cannot forget a young girl I met in Brazil, whose small hands were horribly injured and bleeding from plucking oranges. She asked me a simple question, to which I did not have an answer: “How can the world enjoy the juice from these oranges when children like me have to shed their blood to pluck them?”

That is a question we all must ask ourselves, too.

 

By : Kailash Satyarthi
Date : November 16, 2017
Source : Project Syndicate (https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/new-solutions-to-end-child-labor-by-kailash-satyarthi-2017-11?a_la=english&a_d=5a0da85d78b6c750607feb83&a_m=&a_a=click&a_s=&a_p=homepage&a_li=new-solutions-to-end-child-labor-by-kailash-satyarthi-2017-11&a_pa=opinionthatmoves&a_ps=secondary-articles)

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Medical services for transgender people needed, survey finds

 

A survey released on Monday found that transgender people are in high need of medical services, with 62 percent having a demand for hormone therapies, and 51 percent having a demand for gender reassignment treatment.

Both demands are not fully satisfied, the report said. Only 6 percent of respondents expressed satisfaction with the current domestic situation for provision of and access to hormone therapy, and just 2 percent thought that there were enough medical resources for sex reassignment surgeries.

The Chinese Transgender Population General Survey Report was compiled by the Beijing LGBT Center and Peking University’s Sociology Department, with help from the UN Development Programme and the Dutch embassy.

“The medical resources are now far from adequate,” said Kelly Kiseki, the transgender program manager at Beijing LGBT Center.

Transgender people also experience persistent neglect, verbal abuse, physical beatings and other forms of violence from their family and at school, work and public spaces, according to the report.

“The discrimination from work is a reason that a relatively large number of transgender respondents earn a low income,” Xin said. The report shows 33.5 percent reported an after-tax annual income of less than 25,000 yuan ($3,770).

James Yang, the Beijing LGBTI in Asia program officer from UN Development Programme, said people in the transgender community are caught in a vicious cycle.

“The discrimination and low income make it difficult for them to get proper medical treatment, which to some degree causes the high rates of self-harm and suicide,” he added.

Almost half of transgender people in China have contemplated suicide, with many going on to attempt to take their own life, according to a survey released on Monday.

The report did not include an estimate of the number of transgender people in China, but a survey of 2,060 people showed 46.2 percent have considered suicide, and 12.7 percent had survived a suicide attempt.

The report also found 44.5 percent have thought about self-mutilation as a result of being transgender and 21.2 percent had exhibited some level of self-mutilating behavior.

Xin Ying, director of the Beijing LGBT Center, an NGO set up in 2008, said the transgender group have long been in an awkward position in the society.

“They are often confronted with serious mental problems,” Xin said.

 

Editor : Gu Mengxi
Date : November 21, 2017
Source : China Daily /China News Services (http://www.ecns.cn/2017/11-21/281731.shtml)

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How Double Labor Market Barriers Hurt Women With Disabilities

 

Despite legal protections meant to prevent discrimination and improve working conditions, both women and people with disabilities are still disadvantaged and marginalized in the labor market. Despite gains in education and increases in labor force participation, men still out-earn women. Employment rates among people with disabilities have been declining for the last quarter century and workers with disabilities earn considerably less than workers without disabilities.

The reasons for such persistent disparities are many. Employers may view people with disabilities as being weak, unproductive, or less competent. Such prejudicial assumptions vary – and people with mental or cognitive disabilities are often especially vulnerable to being seen as unstable or dangerous.

Women with disabilities may suffer double disadvantages if negative effects of gender and disability intersect. Both women and disabled people are often “ghettoized” in precarious and nonstandard work arrangements, as employers and society direct such people to occupations deemed “suitably matched” to their status. For example, women are often encouraged or redirected to “women’s work” which typically includes jobs that are lower status, lower paying, and less stable. And disabled people may get similar treatment based on assumptions about what they can and cannot do in workplaces. Disabled women may end up being “twice penalized” or in “double jeopardy.” This can happen because both of the groups they are part of are regularly subjected to discriminatory structures and attitudes in the job market and in society as a whole.

Interpreting Key Findings from a New Study

Understanding how disability and gender intersect to shape employment and earnings can shed light on why employers may go so far as not to hire disabled women at all, even if some regularly hire women or people with disabilities. Michelle Maroto and I used data from 2010 through 2015 that covered 596,199 working-age adults, including 413,007 who were employed and had earnings. After analyzing these data to examine disparities in employment and earnings by gender and disability type, we found the following:

  • Women with disabilities, especially those with multiple disabilities, had the lowest employment rates and earnings levels.
  • Women with work-limiting disabilities earned approximately 18% less than men with similar disabilities.
  • Among men and women with any difficulty or limitation, women earned approximately 28% less than the men in the category.

Our findings suggest that different types of disabilities interact with gender to limit employment and lower earnings – in effect indicating an overall hierarchy of disadvantage. In this hierarchy, women with multiple and cognitive disabilities continually have the lowest employment rates and earnings levels. Men without disabilities had an employment rate of 82% and average earnings of $59,000 per year, and men with multiple disabilities had an employment rate of 17% and average earnings of $37,000. However, women with multiple disabilities had the employment rate of 16% and earnings of $29,000, putting them at the very bottom of the hierarchy.

Researchers must also look beyond labor market inequality to examine the ways gendered discrimination excludes women with disabilities from education, health, and social services. Such additional forms of discrimination can contribute to and perpetuate their marginalization in the job market. Given that employers see education as an indicator of human capital potential, when disabled women are disadvantaged in education prior to entering the labor market, they can end up facing economic disadvantages that compound and accumulate across a lifetime.

Policy Lessons from the Labor Market Experiences of Disabled Women

Disability is often seen and treated differently than other status characteristics like race and gender. This is perhaps nowhere more concretely evident than in the way the U.S. handles civil rights for its citizens with disabilities. For decades, a system of parallel rights policies for the disabled has borrowed from the Civil Rights Act, but also departed from it. Disability policies like the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act have not been able to assure equal rights and protection from labor market discrimination. Enforcement has been difficult because the courts have ruled conservatively about the rights of the disabled, and also because policymakers treat disability differently than other status markers of social disadvantage.

Parallel rights systems have also made it hard for researchers and policymakers to pay sufficient attention to the double discriminatory binds faced by people who are both disabled and members of socially disadvantaged gender, racial, and ethnic groups. Thinking more about how disability intersects with other status characteristics can shed light on why such intersections generate extra inequalities – and point the way toward policies to redress double disadvantages.

To improve labor market outcomes for women with disabilities, antidiscrimination policies should not ignore the important role of college education and general work experience in helping people overcome labor-market barriers. Vocational and educational training programs must keep up with employer demands, and such programs must ensure that training includes women, people with disabilities, and especially women with disabilities. Programs should not shunt groups facing certain challenges, but rather encourage groups such as women with disabilities to pursue higher paying jobs by providing them with the skills, education, and support they need to succeed in competitive labor markets.

 

Read more in David Pettinicchio and Michelle Maroto, “Employment Outcomes Among Men and Women with Disabilities: How the Intersection of Gender and Disability Status Shapes Labor Market Inequality,” Research in Social Science and Disability, (2017): 3-33.

 

By : David Pettinicchio (University of Toronto)
Date : November 2017
Source : Scholars Strategy Network (http://www.scholarsstrategynetwork.org/brief/how-double-labor-market-barriers-hurt-women-disabilities)

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Beyond the Bathroom: Centering and Affirming Non-Binary Trans Perspectives in Heath Fogg Davis’s “Beyond Trans: Does Gender Matter?”

 

Book Title             :               Beyond Trans Does Gender Matter?

Author                   :               Heath Fogg Davis

Date Published     :               June 2017

Publisher                :               NYU Press

AT FIRST GLANCE, the title of political theorist Heath Fogg Davis’s new monograph Beyond Trans: Does Gender Matter? seems like an anti-feminist screed or a call for a post-trans rejection of gender as a schema for identity. The mistaken, latter reading would treat transgender as an outdated identity shot through with its own normative set of assumptions about the interface between identity, narrative, and gendered embodiment. This vision of transgender identity harkens back to the early 2000s’ call for an anti-identity politics, one that posited a kind of cultural utopia outside structural racism, sexism, and heterosexism. The politics readers might misidentify in Davis’s red herring title crystalized in arguments that, after the election of the United States’s first black and mixed-race president, Barack Obama, America had entered a post-racial moment. An analogous post-trans identity would insist on a similar irrelevance of gender to suggest that sexism is a structural problem of the past. Davis has no such illusions that we are in or even anywhere near such a moment.

Beyond Trans’s short answer of the title’s question is yes, of course gender matters, in part because systemic oppressions have not disappeared. However, Davis makes a thoroughly convincing case that what he terms “sex classification policies,” which bolster sex-identity discrimination by regulating gender, should not matter. Davis identifies sex-identity discrimination — the ways in which people are gendered according to the male/female binary — as a subcategory of sexism. Sex classification policies, thus, are informal and institutionalized ways in which sex-identity discrimination takes place in our everyday, routinized life: checking a sex-identity box on an employment application or policing who may enter the men’s or women’s restroom. In the book’s introduction, Davis asks if we might stop “trying to assimilate” transgender people into the binary regime of sex-classification policies and instead “tackle the genesis of ‘transgender discrimination’ — sex classification, itself.” That shift moves the conversation to the much more fundamental question of how and why we administrate sex as an identity category at almost every juncture of our lives. Liberalist equality, a strategy taken by the mainstream transgender civil rights movement (among others), prioritizes assimilation and accommodation into extant systems of binary sex-classification. This approach centers the idea that changing policies to explicitly allow trans people access to sex-segregated spaces and correcting identity documents to reflect their gender identity will prevent discrimination or at least make trans people feel more welcome.

However, Davis contests liberal equality for not going far enough to prevent discrimination, and for failing to address the architecture of binary sex-classification that still remains intact. Davis reframes the failings of liberalist equality, outlining in practical terms how to assess and remove the administration of sex across identity documents, bathrooms, college admissions, and athletics. Arguing that there are more pertinent ways to classify bodies and verify identities than sex and gender, Davis recounts the ways that medical, legal, and social science have thoroughly debunked the myth of sex and gender as immutable characteristics. In doing so, Beyond Trans avoids the intellectual quagmire through which discussions about trans identity and the official administration of trans people often devolve, as I’ve witnessed many times as a transgender professor and recently finished PhD. I highlight these potential misreadings of Davis’s book (for those judging simply by the cover), because they are sure to arise given the systemic social, cultural, and political investment in the gender binary. Even with the recent rediscovery of the profitability of trans narratives, bodies, and lives in mass media, it seems there are some stories we just can’t stop telling ourselves and this, too, is what Davis puts to critique.

In moving beyond those narratives, Beyond Trans points to what I see as the future of Transgender and Gender Studies as academic fields: centering the needs and concerns of non-binary people, whether or not they are trans identified. Despite purporting to challenge the gender binary when the field emerged in the 1990s, trans studies has often focused on affirming trans women or men (as well as trans masculine or trans feminine folks) in their respective genders from the perch of a cisnormative ivory tower that often neglects the experiences of gender nonconforming, genderqueer, and non-binary trans people. In order to push non-binary and gender nonconforming perspectives to the heart of trans politics, Davis outlines the history of reading racialized gender and sexuality as nonnormative as a way of containing and administering the bodies of people of color. Davis recalls Khadijah Farmer’s 2007 case against Caliente Cab bar and restaurant for being thrown out of the women’s restroom by a bouncer who misgendered the black masculine lesbian as a man. Despite telling the bouncer that she was in the correct restroom, and having an identity document that listed her as female, Farmer was thrown out. Davis uses this case study to suggest that what really happened that night was that Farmer “had violated heteronormative standards of femininity” but also that she had violated the norms of a racist society.

Davis writes:

When Farmer was accused of being a man in a women’s restroom, she was more pointedly accused of being a black man in a women’s restroom. Even more pointedly, she was accused of being a young dark-skinned black man who was deemed threatening and out of place in a female-marked public space.

When the Transgender Legal Defense Fund filed a lawsuit on behalf of Farmer, they cited Caliente Cab for illegally discriminating against Farmer’s sexual orientation and gender expression, but as Davis notes, these were simultaneously compounded by the ways the bouncers and clientele of the restaurant read Farmer’s gender and assumed sex through her race and darker skin tone.

In such moments, Davis’s engagement with questions of race and sex undergirds the imperative of thinking beyond the importance of sex to administrative documentation. Expanding on Farmer’s case, Davis claims that “[s]ex-identity discrimination is about intersectional sexual affinity, about where and with whom we belong in the racialized social scheme of sex.” The culture of gender policing in restrooms — particularly the rhetoric around privacy, cleanliness, and safety — have roots in prioritizing the comfort of those privileged by race, class, and gender-conformity. Davis gives the example of white women workers participating in labor strikes during the 1950s against workplace integration because they would have to share bathrooms with black women, whom they believed would pass them syphilis via towels and toilet seats. Thinking the history of sex-identity discrimination through its intersection with the history of race discrimination, Beyond Trans aligns with a long genealogy of women of color feminist political thought that remains central to contemporary political discourse.

Davis claims that “[s]ex-identity discrimination is about intersectional sexual affinity, about where and with whom we belong in the racialized social scheme of sex.” The culture of gender policing in restrooms — particularly the rhetoric around privacy, cleanliness, and safety — have roots in prioritizing the comfort of those privileged by race, class, and gender-conformity. Davis gives the example of white women workers participating in labor strikes during the 1950s against workplace integration because they would have to share bathrooms with black women, whom they believed would pass them syphilis via towels and toilet seats. Thinking the history of sex-identity discrimination through its intersection with the history of race discrimination, Beyond Trans aligns with a long genealogy of women of color feminist political thought that remains central to contemporary political discourse.

Davis demonstrates that not only are the oft-cited reasons for federally mandated data collection of sex demographics based on the outdated and inaccurate belief that sex (and the assumption of gender from sex assigned at birth) is immutable and monolithic, but the sacrosanct place of birth certificates in the cultural and political imagination renders trans, gender nonconforming, and intersex people as exceptional citizens. This discourse of exception frames such individuals as needing accommodation within the gender binary so that they may be assimilated into the sex-segregated practices, spaces, and institutions inscribed by it. The burden of proof falls on the individual trans person to qualify for exceptional status in order to be accommodated and/or assimilated within binary venues with no regard to the ways in which inconsistent policies regarding sex and gender in administrative forms and procedures render them an at-best fraught, and often dangerous, experience for trans people. National attention to this issues has usually focused on the case of trans students who want to use a bathroom corresponding with their gender identity. What often gets left out of media coverage is how these students rely on the acceptance of guardians, parent(s), and school officials to lobby for their admittance to a gendered restroom. Davis claims that this state of affairs puts trans students in a precarious position, reliant on a politics of respectability in terms of being white (the documented cases are mostly of white students wanting admittance to one binary restroom), adhering to middle-class niceties, and citing the gender norms of that student’s gender identity. As Davis asks:

How will the school district handle a case in which a student self-identifies as neither male or female, or as both male and female? Or, to follow the logic of the case, would the case have been so compelling, and clearly seen as sex discrimination, if the transgender student had not been accepted as male by his parents, teachers, and classmates? Would school officials have reacted differently if the transgender student had been black, working class, and/or poor?

In order to be exceptional and therefore easier to accommodate and assimilate within a binary structure, the onus of doing gender correctly means being respectable within a normative framework of manhood or womanhood.

In addition to its imbrication with histories of race discrimination, Davis also explores the history of sex discrimination as part of the case he builds against the sex and gender administration of public life. Davis unpacks the ways in which patriarchal institutions were engineered to exclude women from social and political life in four areas: state identity documents, college admissions, public restrooms, and athletics. Historically, elite colleges and universities admitted white men only, leading to the founding of women’s colleges in a separate-but-equal formulation. Likewise, Victorian-era feminists had to organize for the inclusion of women’s public restrooms in schools, workplaces, and commercial spaces since public restrooms were then provided only for men. Similarly, the separate-but-equal logic organized women’s sports, which Davis demonstrates were molded into an imitation of men’s sports without questioning the sexism already at play in those institutions (and continues to play out in the sex-based justifications for lower salaries and worse playing conditions for women’s teams). This is familiar ground for students of gender and feminist studies introductory courses, but Davis’s work differs dramatically from past approaches to framing administrative practices and analyses of legal rhetoric from trans (especially non-binary) affirmative perspectives.

Rather than incorporating non-binary trans folks into a binaristic, cisnormative framework of sex, Davis historically contextualizes the integration of gender and sexually marginalized people into systemically exclusionary spaces, and particularly why liberalist approaches of assimilation and accommodation have fallen far short of what could have, and should have, been the goal: the removal of sex classification on administrative forms and identity documents, and the sexual desegregation of public space. Davis argues that, rather than equalize the playing field, moves to accommodate women effectively created a second-class version of male-designed spaces and institutions. One example is the lack of “potty parity” in restrooms: there are dramatically fewer stalls per restroom in women’s bathrooms than in the mix of stalls and utilitarian urinals in men’s restrooms. The separate-but-equal approach to integrate gender-marginalized people did not translate to equality for cisgender women and, unsurprisingly, this form of equality has not become equity as it has been extended to trans people. Even this paltry form of equality has shown itself to be increasingly out of reach since Trump took office in January.

Davis argues that instead of relying on reactive or proactive approaches to assimilate or accommodate trans people in sex-segregated spaces, the current moment offers an opportunity to dismantle sex and gender segregation. This would start by outlining a clear definition of sex or gender and its relevance to any intake form or application within an organization or institutional practice. Davis astutely argues that filling such line items on forms is confusing to the trans and/or gender nonconforming applicant or patient if it is not specified whether sex or gender is determined by what is on their identity documents (and, if so, which identity document: birth certificate, state identity card, social security, et cetera) or by the applicant or patient’s personal gender and/or sex identity, which may contract their identity documents. By putting pressure on why an organization or institution asks for sex identification information, we might see if a given sex-classification policy is rationally related to a legitimate policy or administrative goal.

Davis’s solution-oriented Beyond Trans is a necessary voice in current debates about the administration of sex and transgender identity. From the infamous bathroom bills to cis citizens’ objection to financing the medical expenses of trans military personnel (the specter of which Donald Trump backhandedly invoked during his transgender ban tweets), to women’s colleges determining that sex-segregation and defining the boundaries of womanhood were necessary to a feminist project of education, Davis’s book offers applicable solutions and applies the knowledge gained from the positionality of trans, intersex, and non-binary viewpoints. By reframing these debates and topics as new iterations of a larger structural problem (sex-identity discrimination) that has operated for years on gender nonconforming and trans people under the public radar, Davis puts to print what gender nonconforming, genderqueer, and non-binary trans folks have known all their lives, that what needs to be rethought and reworked is the purpose of such administrative systems. To that end, Davis includes a very practical gender audit for organizations interested in putting Davis’s suggestions into practice in the appendix. Davis’s tremendous efforts in Beyond Trans makes for both an exceptionally readable and engaging political salvo, and one immensely useful beyond the halls of academia.

 

Jacob Lau is a University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellow at University of California, Irvine.

 

 

By : Jacob Lau
Date : October 22, 2017
Source : LA Review of Books (https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/beyond-the-bathroom-centering-and-affirming-non-binary-trans-perspectives-in-heath-fogg-daviss-beyond-trans-does-gender-matter/)

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