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Know your symbols (EuroDSD = BDSM ?)

An article by Sophia Siedlberg on OII’s (Organisation Intersex International) website, which I got via TNUK piqued my interest when I saw it mention that a group called EuroDSD’s had a triskelion (or “threefold yin-yang” as Sophia calls it) as it’s logo.

EuroDSD is a recently formed pan-european “project” of medical people interested in intersex conditions. The “DSD” in their name represents the term ‘Disorders of Sex Development’, which is a disputed term amongst people with intersex conditions, and is notably used by Zucker and pals as part of their attempt to further pathologising intersex conditions and intersexed people, within their demonisation of all gender varience.

Anyway, this is EuroDSD’s logo;

which regardless of the group’s motives couldn’t help but make me laugh, since I’m rather familiar with triskelions*, and know that particular one well in this form;

the BDSM symbol. Which has also been incorporated into the BDSM Rights Flag;

Both the BDSM usages have been going since the mid-90s and at least 2005 respectively. So whatever the story behind EuroDSD, or their opinion on consensual slavery and hot bondage sex, I think they’re going to be a tad embarassed. 😛

* being both a symbology geek and a kinksters (someone into BDSM).



I felt this story of what really happens when the Government and their Police “crack down” on “trafficking” of sexworkers was too important to not post in full (From this ECP press release.)

We really need to kill the Policing & Crime Bill, as well as the Coroners & Justice Bill. (wish I had the spoons right now. 😦 )

Michaela – convicted as a “trafficker”

I’ve been a victim of sexual abuse and domestic violence and believe every woman should be protected. I come from a poor rural area of Brazil. At age 12, I was forced to work as a domestic servant to help support my family. I was repeatedly sexually assaulted by two sons in the family.

I came to Britain to marry, after many years the relationship broke down, and I became a sex worker to get an independent life for me and my children. The wellbeing of people around me has been the focus of my life. That is why I opened a place to work indoors where it’s safer. I saved to open a health club in Manchester. I had all the health and safety checks by the council, and a receptionist to make sure women who worked there would be safe. I had a few women who came from Brazil and other countries. All were over 25 years, had been working in prostitution and were in no way forced. But because I am a woman of colour, and from another country, I was targeted.

I was arrested in October 2005, and convicted of trafficking. I pleaded guilty because the police threatened to charge my 18 year old daughter if I didn’t, and because my solicitor and barrister strongly recommended it. They told me that because the trafficking law does not require proof of force or coercion, only evidence that you helped someone from another country come into the UK who then works in the sex industry, then I was guilty.

The judge agreed I had treated the women “kindly”. He accepted “none of the women was coerced by you into acting as a prostitute . . . none was actually deceived as to the nature of the work they would be required to undertake . . .each had previously worked as a prostitute . . . You treated them in a kindly and hospitable way, inviting them to your home and social occasions. The police often frequented the premises and went out socially with women working there. The judge used this against me saying that it “undermined the public’s confidence in the police” as if I should be punished for the police’s behaviour. I was convicted because the police and CPS wanted to look like they had cracked a big criminal case — to get promotions and build careers.

For this, I was put in prison for nearly three years and separated from my children, the youngest was only six at the time. Children at that age need their mother’s protection. I was terribly distressed, and my children were deeply affected. Their behaviour changed, and they are still recovering from that separation. My ex-partner tried to deny me the right to see my youngest, and has tried to get custody. I was also prosecuted under the Proceeds of Crime Act. We lost everything – our home, savings, even personal gifts and belongings – which I’d worked so hard for. I’m 45, a single mother with two children to support, having to start again with nothing. Me, my family and friends were vilified by sensational and false reporting in the local press before trial. Any friends who tried to help me were either charged or threatened with charges by the police. My address was put in the local paper, and my daughter had to move home and could not attend college. Now the Home Office wanted to deport me. Legal Action for Women found me a good lawyer to try and stop the deportation. My British citizenship was revoked, yet I’d never committed a crime.

All I did was run a flat where women were able to work safely – why is that a criminal offence, did I deserve to spend three years in prison for that and to have my life and my family’s life ruined

Guidance keeps sympathetic people sympathetic

(To bastardise the idiom, ‘Locks keep honest people honest’, which Twiggydyke used in a discussion about data security last weekend.)

Via The F Word (and Pink News and the Schools Out blog), I hear that the English Dept. for Children, Schools and Families is developing “guidance … for schools on gender and gender identity with the consultation starting soon”. That’s good. Baroness Morgan of Drefelin[1] also “expressed her wish to see a light shining in the dark corners of classrooms and for the reality of LGBT lives to be fully realised in the curriculum”. Even better, excellent news.

Except… this is going to be guidance. I.e. entirely voluntary, and no guarantee it will be pushed actively in any way.

On one hand, given the reasonable-to-good quality of the information booklets on trans health issues (for both trans people, their close ones, and staff) that the English NHS has been recently producing (although I haven’t managed to read all of them yet), one expects that this promised guidance by the DCSF will at least be of passable quality. But, since it is *only guidance*, those teachers and schools who are already sympathetic to and informed about trans and gender variant pupils, will seek them out, digest them, and continue being good at either the same or an enhanced level. Those who have an ‘dormant’ sympathy, may come across them, and then if they do, hopefully be able to provide a passable level of support. And finally, those who are ignorant, fearful, restricted by a negative culture around them, uncommitted to their job, overworked, stressing about league tablets, prejudiced, or simply outright biggoted, won’t seek the guidance out and won’t follow it’s toothless suggestions, thus they will continue to fail not just trans and GV children and young people, but all children and young people, by allowing or encouraging the continued operation of the oppressive forces of compulsory gendernormativity (and it’s ilk) within their schools.

In essence releasing guidance, even the best guidance one could possibly imagine, will only improve the behaviour of schools and teachers who are already inclined to act right. And giving guidance to those who hate or couldn’t care less, is… well pretty much pointless. So all this exercise will do[2] is to create the impression that the government cares and that things are now better and safe for all trans and GV pupils in all our schools, while actually doing only a fraction of that promise.

And there a word for that, Tokenism.

If they truely wanted to put T+GV children and young people on a equal footing in life to their gendernormative cis fellows, then; compulsory teaching units on gender diversity, compulsory T+GV inc. diversity training for all staff and govenors, publically displayed school Equality Opportunities statements, and an effective approach to eliminating hate crime and abuse (a.k.a “bullying”) within schools would be….

…merely a good starting point.

tl;dr – The government is promising guidance to english schools on trans issues, but as it’s “guidance”, it’ll be mainly ignored. We don’t need guidance, or suggestions to respect us! We need OBLIGATIONS!

[1] not to be confused with Baroness Morgan of Huyton

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