Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Funny or Not Funny?

It seems that some people have a hard time discerning what constitutes appropriate joke material and what does not.  So for all you Hunger Games fans - this is the transcender version of Katniss and Peeta's game, "Real or Not Real."  I call it "Funny or Not Funny."  If you feel confused about what is a joke that's actually funny and what is a joke that's not funny because it hurts people, please freely consult this handy guide.

"Funny or Not Funny" is a very simple game.  Things that are funny are things that are funny because they're just... funny, like kittens falling asleep while they're doing something else.  That's very funny.

Ellen Degeneres making fun of things like Go-gurt and toilet paper?  Also funny.

This video of a baby cracking up about ripping paper?

Funniest thing ever.

Jokes at the expense of gender non-conforming folks, or jokes at the expense of gay folks, or jokes at the expense of differently-abled folks or racist jokes?  Not funny (and for the record, they're not "edgy" either).

Making fun of men who like to wear dresses?  Not funny.

Using "retarded" as a synonym for unpleasant things or to denigrate others?  Really not funny.

Making racist jokes or using racist caricatures to get cheap shock-value laughs?  Not. Funny. Ever.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

10 Simple Things Cis-Gender/Straight People Can Do to Fight Transphobia and Homophobia

10 simple things everyone - but especially cis-gender and straight folks who want to be allies to queer folks - can do to challenge transphobia and homophobia:

1) Use "partner" or "spouse" in place of "husband" or "wife."

2) Say "parents" instead of "moms and dads" when discussing parenthood in general.

3) Ask if you're not sure what name or gender pronouns someone prefers.

4) Encourage your favorite stores, restaurants, or coffeehouses to make their bathrooms gender neutral - especially if their current bathrooms are single occupancy.

5) If someone asks you to call them by a different name than you're accustomed to, do not tell the person things like, "I just can't call you something new" or "But you don't seem like a 'so-and-so' to me" or that you like their old name better.  Try saying, "I'm so glad you shared that with me.  I will try really hard to make the switch quickly!"

6) Don't make jokes at the expense of transpeople or gender non-conforming people and ask others to stop when they make such remarks.

7) When someone gives birth or adopts, ask the child's name before asking about the child's gender.

8) Avoid relying on gender stereotypes when interacting with young children.  Instead of focusing on how "cute" little girls look and how "tough" little boys are, ask all young children in your life about their favorite books or their favorite songs.  Ask if you can help them do a puzzle or draw a picture.  Take them on a nature hike or a bike ride or a tree-climbing adventure.  Teach them that it's okay to express sadness, anger, and joy and that there is room for a person to be both competitive and sensitive.  Help them learn  to be good nurturers of animals and other people.

9)  Post a rainbow sticker or some other marker on your door or cubicle or desk or wherever you can at work, to signal to your colleagues that you're a safe person to talk to.

10) Find out if your employer has a gender identity and expression non-discrimination policy.  If they do not, advocate that they adopt one.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May Day

Today is May Day, or International Workers' Day.  It's a day to celebrate the labor movement and the working people who have fought for so many of the rights we enjoy now (like the weekend, the 8-hour day, laws against child labor, family and medical leave, etc...).  The labor movement may be smaller today than it was in the past, but it is still vibrant and active and workers are still sticking their necks out to fight for rights and protections that can benefit everybody.

Some cities and states have passed laws protecting transgender and gender non-conforming people on the job, but there are still over 35 states in which it is legal to fire a person based on their gender identity or expression.   Folks have also been advocating for a federal nondiscrimination act to protect gender identity and expression, but thus far, no federal legislation has passed.   Since most states do not protect against gender identity discrimination at work, unions have taken up the cause and have often been able to negotiate such protections into their contracts.

Credit: http://filipspagnoli.wordpress.com/2012/01/23/human-rights-maps-169-legislation-prohibiting-employment-discrimination-on-the-basis-of-sexual-orientation-and-gender-identity/

In honor of May Day, check out the good stuff Pride at Work (part of the AFL-CIO family) has been advocating for on behalf of transfolk: