Taking Care of Transgender Elders (via Aura Bogado, Colorlines)

January 2, 2014 was a cold day in New York City and Tanya Walker remembers it well. The 51-year-old had surgery that day after being diagnosed with lung cancer. “I was homebound, and the weather was so cold I couldn’t breathe outside,” she explains. 

As a black trans woman, Walker was in an unenviable position. Aside from structural barriers that create disproportionate obstacles to healthcare, Walker doesn’t have much family support in New York.  But she hasn’t had to face her illness alone.  

Walker says she started coughing up blood about a year ago, and soon visited a doctor. After blood work and several scans, she was diagnosed with Stage Three lung cancer and told that she would need an operation, chemotherapy and radiation. A longtime member of the Audre Lorde Project (ALP), Walker says she brought up her diagnosis to her fellow members. “And all of the sudden they said, ‘Why don’t we get together as a community and help Tanya out through this illness?’”

Being transgender means one is more likely to suffer poverty, homelessness and criminalization. The violence carried out upon trans and gender non-conforming people lowers their life expectancy. But for those who do make it to middle age, there’s little in the way of resources for housing, employment and healthcare. As an active part of New York’s trans community, however, Tanya Walker says she got the support she needed. And a lot of it came through ALP.

The help that Walker received was highly coordinated. ALP staffers and members sat down and asked Walker about her specific needs and then mapped out a safety plan that centered on her wellness—not only physically, but also emotionally and spiritually as well. For two months at the start of this year—through snow and freezing temperatures—some 30 people volunteered their time and resources to join Walker for her appointments and treatments, and also cooked and delivered food to her on a daily basis.

Planning such an endeavor for someone undergoing cancer treatment might sound daunting, but those who took care of Walker say it’s simply what a community does to take care of one of it’s own.  “It wasn’t difficult for us to come together,” says ALP’s Gina George.

ALP demonstrates what it means to actively support its elders. For some in the trans community that kind of action doesn’t always match up with what some call the mainstream gay rights narrative.

Throughout the country Pride parades took place on Sunday. Pride commemorates the Stonewall Riots, which occurred 45 years ago and were sparked by Sylvia Rivera, a trans woman of color. Greenwich Village, the site of the Stonewall Riots in 1969, is now dotted with rainbow ads marking summer sales; some storefronts even offer mimosas and hors d’oeuvres to celebrate gay pride. Those offers, however, exist in stark contrast to the lives of trans people—and to trans women of color especially—who remain under attack.

Just two days before Pride, Christopher Street pier was the site of the tenth annual Trans Day of Action, which more than 1,000 people attended. One attendee, Cynthia X, held a bright yellow sign that read, “Stonewall was a riot!” The 27-year-old thinks that too much is lost in mainstream celebrations. “Stonewall was a sacrifice of trans women of color that gets more whitewashed every year,” she says. “Like the chant says, ‘Fuck your assimilation, we want our liberation.’”

For people like Cynthia X, liberation means access to basic needs like employment, healthcare and housing—without the risk of death that so often haunts trans women of color.

On Sunday, meanwhile, Pride kicked off in New York with “Orange is the New Black’s” Laverne Cox as one of three grand marshals. Cox, who donned the cover of Time, has come to represent a wider acceptance of black trans women in the mainstream. That kind of visibility is important, but not everyone is convinced that it’s making trans women safer.

“It hasn’t changed anything at all, “says Walker. “Transmisogyny still marginalizes trans women of color.”

ALP’s George does think the kind of visibly that Cox and Janet Mock have is important—especially for young trans people to know that there is hope beyond violence and disappointment. But as much as ALP works to confront the issues of basic housing, healthcare and employment, the financial resources for that kind of work are limited.

“There really is no funding—a lot folks come out of their pockets to help our community, and it’s an important opportunity for the funding machines to think about that,” says George. She points out that finding senior housing for trans women in New York, for example, is unheard of.

Tanya Walker no longer needs people to cook and deliver her meals. After intensive treatment, she’ll soon find out whether the cancer has been eradicated, or if she’ll have to continue fighting it. Walker addressed Trans Day of Action participants on Friday, who reveled in her presence. And she says that she knows that no matter what her upcoming diagnosis brings for her, she’ll have the backing of a community that’s invested in taking care of its elders. 


Last night’s episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race featured a contest many on Twitter are calling transphobic. The game, “Female or Shemale,” pitted the contestants against each other in a quest to determine whether they were being shown a picture of — as RuPaul phrased it — “a biological woman or a psychological woman.”

In announcing the name of the game, “female” was said in a higher-pitched tone, while “shemale” was said in a low, gruff, masculine-sounding tone. The contestants laugh as they guess whether or not the body part they’re being shown belongs to a cisgender (nontrans) woman.

The show has a long history of using the term “shemale” in various plays on words, most notably during a segment called, “You’ve Got Shemail.” In last night’s game, contestants saw pictures of cisgender women Christina Aguilera, former WWE wrestler Chyna, and “Tan Mom” Patricia Krentcil, alongside photos of well-known drag queens.

"Shemale" is a word that historically refers to transgender women, most prominent in pornography. The word originated with transgender porn and doesn’t have roots in "drag culture," as some have argued is the case with the word "tranny."

GLAAD’s transgender media reference guide denotes two levels of terms to avoid: problematic and defamatory. “Shemale” falls under the defamatory heading, with GLAAD officials writing that the word — along with words like “tranny,” “shim,” and “gender-bender” — “only serves to dehumanize transgender people and should not be used.”

In response to a 2013 episode of CBS’s Mike & Molly, GLAAD called out the sitcom for its use of the word “shemale,” among other problematic portions of the episode.

"The use of the derogatory term ‘shemale’ is offensive in and of itself," GLAAD said in response to theMike and Molly episode. “Humor like this is unfortunately much more than ‘just a joke.’ When a minority group is repeatedly made the object of ridicule, the majority finds it much harder to see them as fellow human beings deserving of dignity and respect, which can have direct real-life consequences. In addition to being hurtful and dehumanizing, it’s sentiments like the ones driving these jokes that fuel the disproportionately high levels of discrimination and violence faced by transgender women.”

When asked for comment on last night’s episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race, GLAAD vice president of communications Rich Ferraro responded, “While some drag queens may use the term to refer to themselves, ‘she-male’ is too often used by others as an offensive term to denigrate and hypersexualize transgender women. Unfortunately, most Americans are still unaware that there is a difference between gay men who perform in drag and transgender women. That’s why GLAAD will continue to tell the stories of trans women like CeCe McDonald, Carmen Carrera, and CrossFit athlete Chloie Jonsson.”

This is far from the first time RuPaul has stoked the ire of trans people. He has famously defended his use of the word “tranny” on Drag Race and in his music, and once claimed that the only difference between a transgender woman and a drag queen was “$25,000 and a good surgeon.” To date, RuPaul has not responded to The Advocate's requests to clarify his position on derogatory words used in his show. 

(via albinwonderland)






tw: racism, transphobia

“The other night me and a couple of my friends went out to have a good time and there’s this young thing. I call her a thing because you know I don’t know how to tip toe around gender rules or queer politics. I’m 30 years old rich and famous - I don’t have to deal with that shit anymore. So we’ll just call him “him/her/thing” and you know she just finds my shows offensive… so anyway she got upset that I paint myself brown, that I would use language that she found offensive.”

Sharon Needles, everyone. Unapologetic racist and cissexist. 


Alright I don’t know how anyone can defend her Nor do I want to know. This is the last thing I’ll post about her I swear.


Trifling wretch. 

(via brogigay0)






Anna Grodzka, Poland’s first openly transgender MP, taking the oath of office last year. She is also currently the only openly transgender MP in the world.

Kill me now. this “woman” took my last name. spadaj kobieto…

I’m sure she’d be embarrassed by you, too.

You need to get over your prejudice. And she didn’t “take” your last name; that doesn’t even make sense. 

…shut up

I’m pretty sure that there are much “worse” people with ‘your’ last name, you fucking blight of this earth.

(via brogigay0)

[TRIGGER WARNING TRANSMISOGYNIST SLURS AND ASDFASDFASFDSADF] Perhaps I’m a transphobic bigot, but I honestly think waiting a measly 36 months to cut your dick is a sacrifice any father should be willing to make for his 15-year-old son. Call me old-fashioned. Unfortunately, your ex wasn’t willing to make that sacrifice (selfish tranny!), or it never occurred to him to make that sacrifice (stupid tranny!).

Guess who?

Tell me, anyone, has he ever apologized and taken back what he said? Anyone? Bueller…?

(via andythenerd)


(via ceasesilence)

Dan Savage does not represent the queer community and he needs to go

(via thesavagesalad)

Can he be exiled  or am I just dreaming too big?

(via theirriandjhiquishow-deactivate)

Fuck. Yes. 

(via lebanesepoppyseed)



[Image Description: Image is a comic of four panels, arranged in two rows of two. At the top of the page it says, “I’d had people ask me,” and is followed by two panels, which show a somewhat androgynous guy with loose clothing and short, shaggy hair. In the first panel he is looking to his left almost curiously, from whence is coming a speech bubble which says, “ma’am.” The next panel shows him looking angry, with his shoulders hunched and a collection of symbols meant to symbolise a profane word above his head, as he is surrounded by more speech bubbles saying: “yes ma’am,” “miss,” “she,” “hey ladies,” “so you still have a vagina, right?”, and “her.” These two are followed by the line, “why a lot of trans* folk.” The next, and third, panel shows the same person with their hands over their ears, a large profane word above their heads, as the rest of the space in the panel is completely taken up by similar speech bubbles, inquiring after physical status, birth name, trans erasure, and cissexism. The last panel shows the same person in an angry stance, glaring at someone standing to the viewer’s right, with “FUCK YOU” written in large letters above their head. The other person is looking at them disdainfully, arms crossed, and is saying, “why are you so sensitive? That’s no way to earn allies.” At the bottom, below all of the panels, it says, “are so angry all the time,” so that the entire text outside of the panels themselves say “I’d had people ask me why a lot of trans* folk are so angry all the time.”]



Look I’m all for education but it’s just a little difficult to keep your cool when your hackles are constantly up over this kinda thing.

Even had this within the GLBTQ community (was talking to a guy on Thursday and I mentioned how my family had the whole GLBTQ in it, he asked “You have a trans person in your family?” I told him “yes, me.” Then he asked, “Oh! So which way are you going?”).

And at queer prom the reporter asked “So, you’re lesbian, right?” right after I said my name was Andrew.



I wish I would witness anything like this. They’ll be shocked as hell when I actually slap them.

(via cavesofaltamira)





Dan Savage is a bully, a hypocrite, and CERTAINLY not someone to be hailed as a hero.

Woah, when did he say that? I’m not denying he did, but, wtf? D:

That’s what he said about ace people. He’s also said a lot of shitty things about bisexuals (e.g. here) and trans* folks (some on that here and here) and others in the community. He’s also said a lot of racist shit (he repeatedly blamed POC for the passage of Prop 8 in California), he’s said fat shaming things, and when people asked him to stop using “retarded” in a derogatory way, he made a joke of it. So much for being against bullying.

He’s generally just a really shitty person, imo.

Finally, a post from the-unpopular-opinions that I actually agree with.


Going to find Dan Savage and roundhouse kick him in the face. 

(via strawberryfaerie)