Latest newsletter #158 Click to read online

Transgender, Transphobia and Moonbeams from the Larger Lunacy

by Babette Francis

"Transphobia" is a new psychiatric disorder first discovered by a student group at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2011 but by now it is probably listed in all Psychiatric Manuals of Mental Disorders. A person suffers from Transphobia if he/she does not treat correctly those who have not completed the Transition with surgery or hormones from one gender to another. A flyer produced by the Amherst students group lists attitudes condemned as Transphobic, including:

Assuming that everyone is either male or female.
Continuing to use inappropriate gender pronouns for someone after being corrected or calling someone "it."
Believing that transgender people cannot be "real women" or "real men."
Considering transsexuality to be a mental illness or disorder.
Expecting all transgender people to be transexual and want to transition completely or at all.
Believing that transgender youths cannot be trusted to make decisions about their gender identities.

Dignity USA has even issued guidelines for media coverage of transgender persons. They condemn as "extremely offensive, referring to transgendered persons using pronouns and possessive adjectives appropriate to their birth sex." Colleges, including traditional women's colleges, should accommodate the demands of students who want to be treated as the other sex. Schools should allow children with Gender Identity Disorder as early as kindergarten to crossdress, change their names, and use the bathroom facilities of the other sex. Parents of these children's classmates should not object to programs which force children - some as young as six or seven - to pretend that a fully biologically male child is a girl.

The guidelines assert that "people may be too polite to say so - they may even publicly say they support the idea that people can change sex - but they often unconsciously communicate their lack of full acceptance when an individual publicly presents as belonging to the opposite sex. This unspoken lack of true acceptance affects the person claiming to be the other sex. It leads to layers of denial, feelings of insecurity, and need to constantly prove oneself."

Not to be outdone, the University of California - Berkeley hosted a lecture by Ph.D candidate Bailey Kier about how it is "necessary" to apply gay and transgender studies to agriculture because agriculture is all about reproduction and our food systems will suffer if we don't.

So why queer agriculture? This seems like an odd question but it becomes more obvious with research and analysis.

"Since agriculture is literally the backbone of economics, politics, and "civilized" life as we know it, and the manipulation of reproduction and sexuality are a foundation of agriculture, it is absolutely crucial queer and transgender studies begin to deal more seriously with the subject of agriculture," she stated.

"Food reproduces to make more food so that's reproduction which means sexuality applies so we need to talk about how gay and transgender studies apply".

I think she means plants pollinate or fornicate or something so obviously GLBTI studies apply...

"Viewing agriculture through a transgender lens is necessary for more sustainable, sovereign, and equitable food systems for the creatures and systems involved in systemic reproductions that feed humans and other creatures."

"By focusing on popular culture representations and government legislation since 9/11, it will become clearer how the growing popularity of sustainable food is laden with anthroheterocentric assumptions of the 'good life' coupled with idealized images ideas of the American farm, and gender, radicalized and normative standards of health, family, and nation."

I think Bailey Kier means that the farmers and heterosexualcentric perspective of studying agriculture give people unrealistic expectations about families and America. At least I think that is what she means, but I am not sure. What is clear is that because our politicians boast about Australia becoming the 'food bowl' of Asia, they had better hurry and apply GLBTI studies and Transphobic Guidelines to our farmers, crops and agriculture.

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