Questioning Transphobia

Tobi Hill-Meyer: Doing It Again

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Edit: The kickstarter made the $15,000 goal. Congratulations, Tobi. :)

Also, Tobi posted in the comments:

Also, folks who might be interested in being a part of this there is an open casting call at

Tobi has a kickstarter up which has already raised $11,605 – it’s Doing it Again: Trans women’s relationship and hookup dynamics discussed and displayed in an explicit erotic documentary.

It ends on August 8th, so this is the last day to contribute. I wanted to post this sooner, but a combination of putting up appeals for Judas and Ada and me just plain forgetting about it (like I forget far too many things) meant not posting it until the last minute.

However, I really hope this reaches the $15,000 mark, for the third volume focusing on genderqueer and non-binary folks. Watch the video on the site for a longer explaination.


Written by Lisa Harney

August 7th, 2012 at 3:57 am

Trans woman in dire financial need

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I received an e-mail yesterday from Sin Nombre regarding a trans woman who’s been staying with him:

I’m not sure how active you are on Facebook and I haven’t been on LJ in ages, so I’m sending this to you in the hopes that you’ll have the inclination and ability to post this on QT and/or other resources that you know of or have access to.

To make a long story short, Ada, a trans woman whom I met through a close friend, has been staying with me for the past couple of months. She’s actually leaving tomorrow because the property manager of my apt complex found out she and her pets are staying with me and wanted to charge me/us $325, which is money that neither of us has. She just managed to secure temporary housing through the 15th, which is when she’s due to go back to grad school. In the meantime, she’s not been able to find steady employment that pays a living wage or stable housing due to her trans status. She just started a GoFundMe acct to assist with the cost of living since her only means of income has been food stamps and the occasional check from her mother, who is in similar financial straits. The link is here:

She needs enough to be able to purchase basic supplies that EBT won’t cover (doctors’ appts, prescriptions, pet food, personal care supplies, gas, emergency expenses, etc). She just found housing three hours away, in Memphis, and that should be sufficient until she can go back to school in Asheville around 8/15, so the hotel part isn’t applicable. The most important part is that she’ll need enough money to drive from Memphis to Asheville, NC (~500 mi) in order to access student loans and go back to school. All funds collected will only go for the aforementioned purposes. I’d appreciate any help or e-blasts you can provide.

At this point, she has enough gas to make it there and about $20 in cash. Given the abysmal job market and her impending return to school, as well as employer discrimination, it’s highly unlikely that she’ll have any source of cash income until around August 25th, since her loans won’t come until about a week after the semester starts. She has (most likely) secured housing for the school year, but since disclosing her status has not yet heard from the property management office. Any knowledge of affordable non-discriminatory rental agencies or apartment complexes in Asheville, NC would also be greatly appreciated, in the event that the property management office changes its mind about accepting her.

Any housing in Asheville would need to be pet-friendly as well, since her pets are her family and fostering them or giving them up is not an option.

Since it took me more time than is really reasonable for me to put this up, tomorrow in that post actually means today

My understanding of the gofundme page is that the housing issue for the next couple of weeks was resolved last night, but she still needs assistance with the other things listed.


Written by Lisa Harney

August 3rd, 2012 at 8:05 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Assistance For Judas

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Judas is a fem trans person of color who is currently homeless and lives out of their car and is unemployed and looking for work. Unfortunately, they’re running out of money for gas and to keep their phone active (and will be out by the end of June). Without gas and phone, looking for work will be extremely difficult, if not impossible. This is in addition to not being about to get around for other reasons, such as buying food.

They’re in a really desperate situation at this point, and I know this has helped others in the past, so I am asking if anyone can help Judas so they don’t lose their mobility and communication, and other needs. As on previous occasions, I ask because they are looking at a very grim situation.

I have also added the button to my sidebar.

Edit to add: Judas also does a lot of volunteer work – which is very important to them – and will also be very difficult to manage without transportation.


Written by Lisa Harney

June 23rd, 2012 at 9:31 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Katherine Cross: Speaking Out for Reproductive Freedom, 2012

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This video is a speech given by Katherine Cross (who blogs here occasionally and often at Nuclear Unicorn and The Border House) of the Sylvia Rivera Law Project on the topic of liberation, reproductive freedom, and the impact on trans people:

As usual, I cannot easily transcribe videos. If someone would like to, or point me to a transcription, I will be extremely grateful.


Transcript provided by TAL9000:


Video opens on a text screen, reading “from Abortion Rights to Social Justice, Building the Movement for reproductive freedom 26th annual conference CLPP & PopDev, Hampshire College, April 13-15.”

(fades in to Ms. Cross standing behind a lectern adjusting the microphone. On-screen text: Katherine Cross, Sylvia Rivera Law Project)

“Hello Everyone”

Audience: “Hi! Hi! Hey!” (from various people)


“So. Just what is a right? You see, there is something about rights, those things we keep fighting and dying for, those amorphous evanescent phantoms of liberty that keep us striving toward the infinite horizon of change. Rights are what movements like ours are built on. And so what are they? The Sylvia Rivera Law Project, a nonprofit that provides free legal services to low-income trans people and trans people of color in New York City, has a rather novel idea of what rights are.”

“We believe that a right is something that you can touch. Can taste. Can live and breathe. It is something tactile, material, with a size and shape that is known and something that is more than a phantom of a whisper of a thought on parchment, a right is the recognition of your humanity.”

(applause from the audience. Katherine pauses)

“For SRLP, this has meant one thing. Rights require justice in order to be exercised. In order to be something more than theoretical. If a woman has a right to reproductive choice, but cannot afford it, then for all practical intents and purposes she has no right to reproductive choice. That is reality, and it is reality that the Sylvia Rivera Law Project has attended to. Human dignity requires material conditions, it requires economic justice, and it requires the power that knowledge brings. There is a reason that Know Your Rights brochures are our most popular offerings. Unknown rights are no rights at all.”

(Brief pause for applause)

“We see in all of our fellow sisters, brothers, and siblings a member of a wider human family that has been denied that humanity. At Sylvia Rivera, we take the cases few others will. We take the cases that strive for humanity where prejudice and petty hatred has most forgotten it, because their rights matter and because we count”

“What are these rights, however, that I keep talking about in the airy abstract? The rights of transgender people of color. Of low-income trans people. Of immigrant trans people. Of trans women who society has forgotten. My sisters. Sex workers. Our incarcerated family members. We make humankind our business. A humankind that is holistic, that forgets no one, that celebrates the love and joy of humanity within us all, that elevates our art, our poetry, our struggles, and our quotidian joys in the midst of an oppressive society where patriarchy pushes down. From the smallest name change case to the largest Appellate Court case on access to medicaid, we are there, fighting for rights that are real.”

“A right on paper is no right at all. A right that is coupled with economic liberty, however, a right that comes with the material resources needed to access it, is a right that can be exercised. A right that is known, that is understood, can be struggled for and it can be won. That is why we at Sylvia Rivera have struggled against the doubts, the fears, the worries and the hand-wringing that attend a law project’s work and seem to only promise death by a thousand cuts. We have fought through these doubts because we know that our clients are more than clients. They are sisters, brothers, and siblings, they come from the communities that we serve and that we are a part of, that we know, they live and breathe with us too, and they are artists, poets, lawyers, teachers, and activists. There is no bright red line between activists and clients, lawyers and plaintiffs, service providers and the served.”

“Whither the link to reproductive justice, however? If a trans woman cannot legally change her name, she loses access to the rights that she supposedly has. The name she has given her own body is not recognized by authorities that then wield the structural power over her to name her as they wish and not as she wishes. If a trans woman must be sterilized before she can legally change her gender, where are her reproductive rights? If she is considered an unfit parent purely by dint of her being trans, where are her reproductive rights? If a genderqueer person who is undocumented finds themselves at the mercy of the INS or other institutions that continually discriminate against undocumented and immigrants in this country, where are their reproductive rights? How can a sex worker who is transgender access health services without enormous risk simply because of their profession and their gender? Where are their reproductive rights?”


“All of these people are united in seeing their bodies policed by authorities that think they know how to manage our lives better than we do. Sound familiar? Just as the Hyde Amendment ensures that Roe v Wade is merely theoretical for millions of American women, so too does heteropatriarchy more generally ensure that trans people’s bodies are not our own. I share with my cisgender sisters the painful fact that my body is public property, and that my rights are contingent on that fact. Sylvia Rivera, the namesake of our organization, said enough is enough. We, as a collective, continue that cry.”

“Liberation is a collective process, goes our popular slogan. What that means is that none of us wins unless everybody wins. None of us is safe until all of us are safe. Citizenship realizes its promise only when humanity is universally recognized and is not contingent on gender, skin color, or national origin. Equality is not just a word. It is not a soundbite. It is no benighted slogan. It is a truth, a thing with substance, with real dimensions, that can be felt, and that can be lived. Transgender people cannot live their lives without a measure of reproductive justice, and reproductive justice cannot exist in a world where trans people’s bodies are not our own. When we fight for the right to name ourselves we are fighting for the right to control our bodies and our existence. When we fight for healthcare access, we are fighting for our bodies and the right to live. When we fight prison injustice, we are fighting against an oppression that criminalizes us for existing. When we fight, we share the cause of reproductive justice. Our bodies, our choices.”


(Applause continues as she concludes) “Thank you very much for sharing this space with me”

(Fade out to a similar screen to the opening one. The url is shown on it)


Written by Lisa Harney

May 26th, 2012 at 10:10 pm

TGEU’s Trans Murder Monitoring project: Press Release, 23 March 2012

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Again alarming figures: Transgender Europe’s Trans Murder Monitoring project reveals more than 800 reported murders of trans people in the last four years

Trans Murder Monitoring Project logo

The March 2012 update reveals a total of 816 reported killings of trans people in 55 countries worldwide from January 1st 2008 to December 31st 2011. The update shows an exponential increase in reported killings of trans people over the last four years. In 2008, 141 cases were reported, in 2009 213 cases, in 2010 214 cases, and in 2011 a shocking number of 248. These are mainly the reported cases that could be found through Internet research and cooperation with trans organizations and activists. In most countries, data on murdered trans people are not systematically produced and it is impossible to estimate the numbers of unreported cases.

The reasons for this increase might be manifold. Every year, TGEU’s TVT research team has improved its monitoring methods, started new collaborations with organizations that contributed their data, and received information from activists from many parts of the world. Also, the increase in the visibility of trans people and of trans issues in public discourse may have led to a better reporting of cases. However, the data also show also that there is no decrease, that the shocking amount of violence against trans people still poses a major problem and threat to trans people in many countries. The again alarming figures demonstrate once more that there is an urgent need to react to the violence against trans people and to seek mechanisms to protect trans people. Some international trans activists even started to introduce the term ‘transcide’ to reflect the continuously elevated level of deadly violence against trans people on a global scale.

Cases have been reported from all major World Regions (Africa, Asia, Central and South America, Europe, North America, and Oceania), evoking an evermore gruesome picture, especially given the very partial knowledge we are able to gain in many places.

Most reported cases were from Central and South America, which amount to 643 cases in 21 countries and account for roughly 80 % of the globally reported murders of trans people since January 2008. In this region, there has been the strongest increase in reports (2008: 94, 2009: 165, 2010: 180, and 2011: 204).

The new result update moreover reveals that in the last 4 years, 59 killings of trans people have been reported in Asia (2008: 12, 2009: 14, 2010: 16, 2011: 17), 53 killings have been reported in North America (2008: 18, 2009: 13, 2010: 8, 2011: 14), 53 in Europe (2008: 13, 2009: 19, 2010: 9, 2011: 12), 4 in Oceania (2008: 3, 2009: 1) as well as 4 in Africa (2008: 1, 2009: 2. 2011: 1).

Map showing the TMM results from January 2008 to December 2011:

Map showing the TMM results from January 2008 to December 2011

[Click here to view large 1900x830px version]


Cross-posted at Bird of Paradox


Written by Helen

March 24th, 2012 at 12:19 am

Transgender Traveler

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TSA recognizes the concerns members of the transgender community may have with undergoing the security screening process at our Nation’s airports and is committed to conducting screening in a dignified and respectful manner. These travel tips will explain the various screening processes and technologies travelers may encounter at security checkpoints.

From Preparing For Travel and The Screening Process through to Reporting Travel Issues Or Concerns, the TSA website has all the information you’ll need when travelling into and around the US.


Written by Helen

March 16th, 2012 at 1:52 pm

Posted in travel,U.S

Forced sterilisation of TS/TG and gender variant people in Sweden will be stopped

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TG symbol on blue and yellow backgroundI wrote last month about the decision by the conservative Christian Democrat party government (along with the nationalist Sweden Democrat party) to retain a 1972 gender recognition law under which TS/TG and gender variant people who want to change their legal gender are required to be sterilised. The requirement was a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights, which is enacted as law in Sweden.

There was an international outcry at the loss of the opportunity to bring the legislation up to date: in Sweden, the law is only reviewed every forty years. Advocacy groups and activists from around the world protested the decision and an online petition to the Swedish Prime Minister received over 77,000 signatures.

Now, via Ulrika Westerlund, President of RFSL (the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights), I learn that the campaign appears to have been successful, with the conservative party which was blocking the reform to remove the criteria apparently having changed its mind.

According to a statement in Debatt:

Everyone is equal here. From the Christian Democrats’ side, we have been clear that the issue of sterilization at sex change – as well as other issues related to children – requires careful thought and analysis. Many transsexuals are met with hatred and fear, in violation of the principle of equal worth of all – the hallmark of Christian tradition of ideas and thus the Christian Democrats. Therefore, it is our opinion that the requirements for sterilization at sex change should be abolished, writes Christian Democratic party leadership.

This is very good news indeed for TS/TG and gender variant people in Sweden who wish to change their legal gender, although the underlying issue (linking people’s legal identity to their medical status) remains unexamined.


As a footnote, it should also be remembered that Sweden isn’t the only member state of the European Union requiring TS/TG and gender variant people to undergo surgery before they can change their legal identity. Published work by the TGEU’s TVT Project suggests at least eight other countries – Denmark, France, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Spain – where legal change of gender is contingent upon GRS/sterilisation or Gender Reassignment Therapy and we can only hope that these countries will follow Sweden’s example. (Note: the TVT Project’s list is not definitive and is subject to ongoing research and updates).


Image: transgender symbol on blue and yellow background compiled from public domain images in Wikimedia Commons (here and here) by Helen


Written by Helen

February 18th, 2012 at 2:09 am

Online campaign to stop enforced sterilisation of TS/TG and gender variant people in Sweden

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TG symbol on blue and yellow backgroundLast week, the government of Sweden took the decision to retain a 1972 gender recognition law under which TS/TG and gender variant people who want to change their legal gender are required to be sterilised. According to Ulrika Westerlund, President of RFSL (the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights), this was done to satisfy the conservative Christian Democrat party who, along with the nationalist Sweden Democrat party, are the only two groups in favour of the law. I gather that Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeld was fully aware that this reqiurement is a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights which is enacted as law in Sweden.

The Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg, has made a very clear stand on the issue, that forcing TS/TG and gender variant people to undergo unwanted medical interventions in order to change their legal gender is a breach of human rights. The Comittee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, representing 47 membership states has taken a similar stand. The bitter irony in all this is, of course, that while Sweden is often considered to be in the forefront of human rights advocacy and implementation, this decision would seem to be a huge step backwards.

Concerns have been voiced at the loss of the opportunity to bring the legislation up to date: in Sweden, the law is only reviewed every forty years and it already creates at least one anomaly, in that the present law also requires TS/TG and gender variant people to be single in order to receive legal gender recognition – and this in a country which already has same sex marriages. Courts have previously overruled this requirement, but nevertheless it is still enshrined in the law. Additionally, there is the risk of setting a precedent and this is a particular worry for some TS/TG and gender variant people in Finland where the gender equality ombudsman has recommended that Finland should remove a similar requirement from the Finnish law. Finland also has a Christian Democratic Party in its Government which has already blocked a reform giving same sex couples the right to marry.

Although Sweden is not alone in upholding the requirement of forced sterilisation (the Netherlands, Denmark and France are other European countries with similar legislation [source]), the outcry on various TS/TG forums was immediate and international; amongst others, Human Rights Watch, the European Parliament Intergroup on LGBT Rights and TGEU and ILGA-Europe have all made formal statements of protest to the Swedish Prime Minister and Parliament, calling for the immediate abolition of the forced sterilisation requirement for legal purposes.

Meanwhile, All Out, an activist group advocating for improvements in the lives of LGB & T people worldwide, has joined with RFSL to launch an online petition to let the Swedish Prime Minister know that this legislation is unacceptable. The petition currently has over 36,000 signatories and is aiming for at least 50,000. If this is something you feel you can support, then please sign – and distribute the information and the link as widely as you can.


[Image: transgender symbol on blue and yellow background compiled from public domain images in Wikimedia Commons (here and here) by Helen]


Written by Helen

January 17th, 2012 at 11:38 am

Stuff cis people say to trans people

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This video is a Transfix production, etc:

I am unable to properly transcribe this (and my verbal working memory has tested as abominably low, so now it’s even scientifically proven), but I would appreciate if someone else could.

Transcription (without indicators as to who said which, unfortunately, via Reddit):

You know, for my new year’s resolution, I was thinking about only using Zee and Zir. Doesn’t that sound just so much more inclusive?
I could tell, it’s the voice.
They… is not a pronoun.
Sorry, sorry… I keep getting your pronouns wrong. It’s just really hard for me.
You know, I don’t really identify as cis, and it makes me feel really marginalized when you call me that.
Oh my god, I love Ru Paul’s Drag Race! You should totally be on that!
So what do you think of this Chaz Bono? I think it’s great that you guys have, like, a role model.
So what’s your real name?
You are so brave.
No no, your real word.
Look, I know a lot of drag queens, and they all use that word.
Don’t worry, once gay marriage is legalized, people are going to stop discriminating against you too.
So have you had the surgery yet?
Has she had the surgery yet?
Has he had the surgery?
Has she had the surgery yet?
(Wanders into her bedroom when changing) Oh my god, you really can’t tell!
Eric, what are you doing in my house?? (Slams door)
If you want to pass…
You know, you transgenders are so inspiring.
You know, I’m just really happy you’re finally going to be one or the other.
My cousin’s best friend is gay, so, I totally get it.
Who do you have sex with?
I didn’t even know you were gay!
Hey, did you hear about John?
I read Middlesex, and I cried, like, bawled.
Why would you want to do something like that.
I look like such a tranny today… you know what I mean.
I’ll call you she when you get the surgery.
Cis? What does that mean?!
Oh, I’ve known him since he was Melissa.
Have they had the surgery?
Has she had the surgery yet?
Did she have the surgery?
(All together) Have you had the surgery yet?


Written by Lisa Harney

January 10th, 2012 at 11:06 pm

Transgender Europe: Press Release – 23rd December, 2011

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Now online: first mapping of legal and health care situation of trans people in 58 countries

Trans Murder Monitoring Project logoThe legal and health mapping was conducted by Transgender Europe’s Transrespect versus Transphobia Worldwide (TvT) research project in close cooperation with activists and experts from all world regions. A comprehensive questionnaire developed by the TvT project’s research team and reviewed by more than 15 researchers and activists from all six worlds regions was distributed to over 70 international activists and experts, who provided detailed information including comments and explanations on the specific situation in the respective country.

The mapping consists of different tables on:

1. Legal Gender Recognition: Change of Name & Change of Gender

The TvT tables provide detailed information on legal measures meant to guarantee a legal change of name and a legal change of gender for trans people. They list requirements such as ‘psychiatric diagnosis’, ‘gender reassignment surgery’ or ‘sterilization’. Unfortunately, the mapping shows that in all listed countries in which a legal change of gender is possible, a ‘psychiatric diagnosis’, i.e. a pathologization of the applying trans person, is required for a legal change of gender. Furthermore, most legal measures list ‘gender reassignment surgery’ or ‘sterilization’ as requirements for legal gender recognition, which clearly violates human rights.

The TvT tables also show the actual legal situation, meaning how legal change of name and gender are enacted in practice in the mapped countries. In some countries with existing legal measures, trans people’s applications are delayed for months and years, whereas in some countries without existing legal measures, trans people find other ways, for instance of legally changing their name. The TvT mapping moreover lists existing proposals regarding the legal change of name and gender in detail. This may serve both as an evaluation of the existing legal measures and situation and as an indicator of existing trans activism.

Click here to open this table

2. Anti-Discrimination, Hate Crime, and Asylum Legislation

The TvT tables provide detailed information regarding the inclusion of trans identity/gender identity in Anti-Discrimination and Hate Crime laws and in the Constitution. They also list the inclusion of trans people in Asylum guidelines. The mapping indicates that ‘gender identity’ is very rarely acknowledged as a ground of discrimination.

It also shows the legal situation, meaning the actual practices regarding these legal measures and guidelines, as well as proposals that challenge existing measures. These proposals very often demand the explicit inclusion of ‘gender identity’ into existing legal measures.

Click here to open this table

3. Criminalization, Prosecution, and State-sponsored Discrimination

The TvT tables show detailed information on the legal measures that criminalize trans people and trans related issues, such as ‘so-called cross-dressing’ and ‘gender reassignment surgery’. In some countries in the Global South and East these laws were introduced by colonial powers and missionaries and are not acted upon today. For instance, in some countries where ‘so-called cross-dressing’ is illegal, trans people are extremely visible and acknowledged within their culture and society rather than being prosecuted. There are, however, other countries where there is no criminalization, yet trans people are prosecuted with other laws that are used specifically against trans people, such as anti-prostitution, loitering or nuisance laws. The TvT tables are designed in a way to clearly show these important differences between legal criminalization and actual prosecution of trans people. They thus aim to provide a comprehensive understanding of the legal situation beyond the mere existence of legal measures.

Click here to open this table

4. Trans-Specific Health Care: Hormone Therapy and Hormones & Gender Reassignment Treatment and Body Modifications

The TvT research has addressed not only the legal situation of trans people but also important aspects of trans people’s social situation. The TvT tables give a first insight into trans people’s health care situation, focusing on trans-specific hormone therapy and hormones as well as gender reassignment treatments and body modifications. The TvT tables show manifold aspects regarding medically supervised hormone therapy and gender reassignment treatments, including requirements like ‘psychiatric diagnosis’ and the availability of funding.

The tables moreover list the existence of alternative practices, such as acquiring hormones on the black market without medical supervision or applying industrial silicone without medical supervision. These ‘alternatives’ exist in countries where trans-specific health-care is not provided as well as in cases where trans people do not meet the requirements for medically supervised treatment. They can lead to serious health problems and in some cases even to death.

This table is in two parts: Click here to open part 1 – and – Click here to open part 2

A characteristic of Transgender Europe’s legal and health mapping is thus that it enables a quick overview of existing laws while at the same time providing detail and complexity regarding actual practices.

At present, 58 countries are listed in the following regions: Africa (9 countries), Asia (13 countries), Central and South America (9 countries), Europe (18 countries), and Oceania (9 countries). For India, a separate set of tables showing the situation in individual states is provided. Further countries will be added in due time, including a separate set of tables for the 8 Australian states and Brazil. The TvT mapping is designed such that it enables a regular update and extension of the tables. Therefore, any information and evaluation of the presented tables is highly welcomed and will be analysed and included in regular updates. In the course of 2012, we will step by step present more elaborated information, including context information, references, law texts, etc. in selected country sections of the TvT website. In these sections, the numerous activists and researchers that contributed to the TvT mapping will be fully acknowlegded.

Transgender Europe’s legal and health mapping can be accessed on the TvT project website at:

New research: In November 2011, the TvT research team together with six partner organizations from Asia, Eastern Europe, Oceania, and South America started a new survey in form of a peer research on trans people’s experiences with Transrespect and Transphobia.

The TvT project is funded by the Open Society Foundations, the ARCUS Foundation, and partly by the Heinrich Boell Foundation.

If you have further questions or if you want to support the research project, please contact the TvT research team:

Dr Carsten Balzer and Dr Jan Simon Hutta


or check our website:


Cross-posted at Bird of Paradox


Written by Helen

December 24th, 2011 at 1:19 am