tv On Contact with Chris Hedges RT September 5, 2017 10:00pm-10:30pm EDT
further i believe. that. the book is a little bit. welcomed on contact today we discuss the struggle for trans rights with activist pauline or transgender oppression is part of the broader oppression of women and men boys and girls of intersex people and therefore in the society. only when we deconstruct the sex gender says sex gender binary we'll be able to construct a truly just and equal society. with chris hedges there are very few communities that suffered the level of discrimination endured by the transgender or trans community trance a term used to define those whose gender identity is different from the sex
assigned to us at birth transgender people kind of data file is male female gender queer non-binary age gender and drug or newest or gender fluid some take hormones and have surgery others do not what unites most transgender people is the experience of widespread discrimination including higher rates of poverty and suicide lack of legal protection employment and health care discrimination and violent attacks are to correspondent on your part l. looks at the struggle of the trans community. of transgender americans is uniquely dangerous transgender people account for an estimated two point six percent of the population according to data analyzed in june twenty sixth teen that amounts to one point four million people however despite making up such a small percentage of the population they face extremely high levels of violence they human rights campaign reports twenty two murders a transgender people occur. third in the u.s.
in two thousand and sixteen caused by what they characterized as anti trans gender bias more than ever recorded before twenty seventeen is on pace to tragically surpass that record however with eighteen trans people killed so far this year according to the advocate trans youth and trans people of color are most likely to be targeted with violence for example the national coalition of anti-violence programs analyzed twenty two and d l g b t q murders in two thousand and nine they found fifty percent of the victims were transgender women and of those people eighty two percent were people of color that's a mere seventeen percent of violent hate crimes targeting elegy p.d.q. people were aimed at those who identify as trans additionally one in two transgender individuals report experiencing sexual abuse or assault at some point in their lives researchers at the williams institute found that this type of discrimination violence and rejection make trans people markedly more vulnerable to
suicide forty percent of transgender adults reported having attempted suicide in their lifetime nearly nine times the attempted suicide rate in the united states the national center for trans equality estimates there are currently fifteen thousand of trans people serving in the u.s. military in august president trump announced a ban on transgender service effective as of march next year for now defense secretary jim mattis will keep the obama era policy allowing trans people to openly serve pending the results of a study by an expert panel. still the battle for trans rights transcends the military and the country has a long way to go. all in parkas a trans activist who received a b.a. in philosophy from the university of wisconsin madison a master of science in european studies from the london school of economics and political science at a ph d. in political science from the university of illinois at her bonnet champagne she
co-founded the new york association for gender rights advocacy the first statewide transgender advocacy group she led the campaign for the new york city's transgender rights law and acted in two thousand and two thank you so let's begin by discussing an uptick of violence against the trans community it appears that in many ways what little games have been made are being pushed backwards where are we. well up to strike a dickensian no i think it's the best of times in the worst of times it's the worst of times in that we have an administration that some usually hostile to the transgender community in the larger l g b t community and there is a great deal of violence some of which we hear about and some of which we does of this of this past year been one of the worst and it has been but i think statistics are unreliable because most people actually don't report any crimes. but certainly
anecdotal evidence strongly suggests that there's a great deal of violence out there against trans people but there has been for some time. but it's also best of times in terms of visibility never before has been so much was ability and acceptance i think we finally have reached the point where the team is pretty fully accepted within the community where elected officials are using the term l g p t where even members of the u.s. military are standing up for transgender inclusion in the military so i think we've reached. the point where transgender inclusion is really becoming pretty mainstream what is that an urban phenomenon because we see for instance with gay rights when you get out into places like mississippi or kansas if you're not. highly educated as you are living in an urban environment oftentimes
things are worse they're better in the urban centers and worse in the world communities especially with the rise of the christian right these white nativist kweisi fascist groups do you think that's a fair statement i think that's true around the world i've lived in a number of different countries and i've traveled abroad and i think in general large urban areas tend to behave in these four l g b t people i would point out however that there are also sites of considerable violence particularly towards trans people and transgender people of color in particular so there is a there's a dual valence there but on the whole larger urban areas tend to be more accepting in that being said it's also true that some trans people in l g b t people have found acceptance and small towns in rural areas as well both here and in other countries let's talk about two institutions one the ngos the do l g b t
rights. were often the trans world the forgotten element of the l g b t community certainly at the beginning i think it would be fair to say treated as second class citizens. and these groups have the formal organizations are very closely tied to the democratic party. so oftentimes politically very. cautious and we saw that with chelsea manning you stood up for chelsea manning courageous trans activist who exposed war crimes went to prison but the older beat community really did not. i think it's really unfortunate and frankly rather disgraceful that l.g. pretty advocacy organizations and transgender specific advocacy organizations did not take up her cause here she was really a prisoner of conscience she was someone who exposed war crimes committed under the
bush and obama administrations but rather than prosecute the war criminals obama actually prosecuted chelsea manning. would have prosecuted other whistleblowers and in fact launched a war against whistleblowers if editor edward snowden had still to me in the u.s. he certainly would been prosecuted and i think while there are a number of advocacy organizations and in this country that are doing amazing work they were being at best overly cautious because they probably made the calculation that under the obama administration they needed to work as closely as possible with the white house and within this relation is possible and that champion manning's cause could possibly eliminate key
figures in the obama white house ministration i think that's the most likely expelled you've been very critical of why well i've been very critical of the obama administration frankly because it continued bush's wars in iraq and afghanistan expanded mass deportation of undocumented immigrants expanded. secret n.s.a. surveillance in expanded. illegal and unconstitutional drone war in afghanistan and pakistan and i think we need to use the same standard for every administration we can't play favorites and i think the community. is doing itself a disservice. if it's too closely tied with independent on the democratic party which frankly has been. very slow in many ways
in addressing the full range of issues but some for you all would and you've also been involved are involved in the palestine israel conflict and i agree with you you for. the transition is not separate from other human rights issues it's in rycote it's about it's about standing with all of the oppressed transgender rights as i see it is inextricably linked with human rights more broadly speaking and in my view a progressive feminist perspective can inform advocacy in activism so that we can see the connections between and among them there are transgendered people living under the illegal israeli occupation in. for example there are transcendent people there are people who are undocumented immigrants who've been deported back to their home countries in latin america and elsewhere by the obama administration as well as by the bush administration before it there are people who
live in countries which have been. affected by drone strikes in which many many hundreds of civilians have been killed innocent civilians i'm sure there l g b t people in yemen right now which is. being hit by saudi arabia in a brutal war. in which saudi arabia was armed by the obama administration so i think if we are serious about being human rights activists who are serious about being progressive in our politics we need to use the same standard to measure any administration in any political party can't play favorites i think we have to hold the democratic party in democratic elected officials to the same standard as republican party members and officials there's a lot to talk about with regard to donald trump but it's also important to point
out that he simply continuing if not in some cases expanding practices and programs and policies of the obama administration just as obama continued practices and policies of the bush administration before him and you describe this. political cautiousness as a centrally begging for crumbs what you mean by that well i think that. it is becoming commonplace that brock obama was the first president who actively advocated on behalf of the l g b t community. that may be true but it's not saying much given that every other president has been hostile what will come back with that when we come back we'll hear more from hauling our co-founder of the new york association for gender rights advocacy.
i think the average viewer just after watching a couple of segments understands that we're telling stories that are critics can't tell and you know why because their advertisers won't let them. in order to create change you have to be honest you have to tell the truth parties able to do that every story is built on going after the back story to what's really happening out there to the american public what's happening when a corporation makes a pharmaceutical chills people when a company in the environmental business ends up polluting a river that causes cancer and other illnesses they put all the health risk all the dangers out to the american public those. the stories that we tell every week and you know what they're working. on with chris adams. welcome back to on contact let's get back to our conversation with pauline park co-founder of the new york association for gender rights advocacy
so we were talking about the democratic party what you describe as this drive to get crumbs by the l g b t community let's let's go back to that idea well as i say while it's true that the obama administration did some good things for the l g b t community it's also true that the first democratic president who had an opportunity to do things for the community did the opposite bill clinton signed into law the don't ask don't tell bill which is a republican bill same thing with the defense of marriage act absolutely disgraceful i would also point out that when barack obama was elected he really did have a mandate and he ran on a platform which included rights what did he do the only major legislation that's
specific that he signed into law was the bill repealing don't ask don't tell. that's good but that's only a negative that's reversing in that that if he did nothing to advance and the employment nondiscrimination act which was the major piece of l g b t rights legislation pending in congress i might add for those who defend him by saying that he faced republican obstructionism there were democratic majorities in both the house and the senate for his first two years in office and most presidents accomplish most of their legislative agenda in their first two years obama didn't lift a finger to advance what about the so-called bathroom. bill well i think that that is something that we need to talk about because right now you have the religious right who lost on marriage marriage equality is now the law of the land since windsor oberg fell issued by the supreme court so what do they have left they can
scare people with the false panic around transgendered people in public restrooms there's no legitimate rationale for this legislation. the real rationale is they want to impede if not roll back civil rights human rights legislation that affects not only transgendered people not only l.g.b. t. people but people of color women people with his with this bill. in north carolina h.b. two which was signed into law by the last government republican governor. not only did it. right into law an absurd piece of statute law about trance papal and restrooms it effectively repealed all the civil rights legislation on the books in every locality every city in county in north carolina included legislation that prohibited this nation based on race
ethnicity religion gender and disability as well and so in north carolina until unless h.p.t. was completely repealed you cannot pursue legal redress under any of those categories at the local level and that's really important to consider fortunately good news coming out of texas is that the republican majority and republicans control both houses of the texas state legislature actually put on hold the so-called bathroom bill that was pending in the texas state what's your position on about obviously there. they're absurd they're based on irrational prejudice as they say there's this covertly agenda which is actually simply to push back civil rights legislation across the board and i might add by the way they're completely on enforceable i mean by challenging about from bill they're pushing about back civil rights legislation no the bathroom bills in cells are an attempt
to roll back civil rights legislation at the state and local level across the country it's really the last the last thing that they have left the last arrow in their quiver to believe just right lost on marriage and budgets in the name of inclusion well it's absurd what they're doing is they're trying to use a legitimate issue which is the issue of women's safety and manipulated and manipulate public opinion to advance this profoundly bigoted agenda right wing agenda. which is anti civil rights and human rights and as they say ultimately this legislation is completely on the forcible anyway there's been quite a conflict between the trans community and radical feminists. who say look you know when you're born biologically a woman you have certain attributes that
a position in a society that a trans person does not know including reproductive. and physical conditions how do you answer them. this is thing is being born a woman or born a man were born babies were born infants and those infants are sacks engendered by society i might point out by the way that there's a small but significant population of intersex people who are born not a fully male nor fully female i think what we need to do i think the progressive found in this perspective on this is to view sex as well as gender as social constructions and to understand how sex gender binary is the root of all of our oppression is men as women as trans people and so i think the progressive found this perspective which moves well beyond the first and second wave of feminism understands that transgender oppression is part of the broader
oppression of women and men boys and girls of intersex people of everyone in the society. only when we deconstruct this extenders sex gender binary will we be able to construct a truly just and equal society what we need to do is transform the way people understand gender in this society one of the arguments that feminists will say is that with trans people identify as women it actually reinforces stereotypes of what it means to be a woman i don't think that's true at all first of all because when someone who is assigned male sex at birth such as being. identifies as a woman that challenges society's expectations of male as masculinity for someone who is assigned to the male sex in the masculine gender at birth secondly i
might add there's a whole range of people i am the coordinator of a support group that meets in queens twice a month and we have a. whole range of people across what people like to call the spectrum there's a whole group of people who identify as genderqueer or non-binary who don't identify with either party by these people are often not heard of heard from because mainstream media tend to focus on what i call the classic transsexual transition narrative which accurately describes a significant portion of the transgender community but majority of trans people actually don't fit that narrative and so aggressive from this perspective would interrogate these notions which i think are false that trans women somehow reinforce the binary or trans men i might add of course can firstly that not all trans people are progressive or feminist and it's certainly true that now all of
them have progressive or famished from this consciousness but to all women have progressive or feminist consciousness. i wouldn't describe sarah palin's having progressive consciousness or thumbs while speaking of cerebellum let's talk about drama because. he's. whatever he can accomplish those are not he's attempt to ban trans people from the military there's a clear hostility expressed from the white house we've seen the empowerment of these kind of white nativist crypto fascist neo confederate forces. that have you know embrace violence and champion violence against the other . one does about does that worry you does that disturb you oh well certainly the rise resurgence the recrudescence of way premises in this country is very worrisome of i point out can firstly the good thing to come out of the tragedy in
charlottesville obviously the death of heather higher was her grandest in the palling in the violence there but the good thing to come out of it is we're actually having a national conversation on race which i might add. it is an excuse in extract a billion linked with our conversations about gender sexual orientation and so forth. i think with regard to the military ban we need to point out a few things former generals are saying this and even members of his own cabinet are privately saying that this is going to be reversed and is probably on enforceable anyway. there have been for transgender people serving in the military since probably the beginning of the revolutionary war there were people we would call transgendered who served in the civil war right. the question the only question is whether they can serve openly we dealt with the issue of gays in the military of those being gay bisexual people in terms of don't ask don't tell it
took a very long time to work through all of that but we did in the one including people in the military want to go back the same thing is true of transgender inclusion a lot of people don't know is because don't ask don't tell only dealt with sexual orientation not with gender identity it didn't speak to the issue transgender inclusion which is why when obama changed policy late in his administration it had actually no direct reference to don't ask don't tell i might add by the way that we could well ask the question why did obama wait till six or seven or eight months before the end of his second term to address this issue when he could have addressed it in his first year in office but i think even if trump pushes through a new ban it will be unenforceable and it will be ultimately reversed. thank you very much that was paul in part co-founder of the new york association for gender
rights advocacy. the trumpet ministration is determined to roll back a few civil rights gains made by transgender people it is up to us to resist a trans person's preferred name and pronouns must be honored those who have rejected their biological sex cannot be outed to the public without their consent and all those like the christian right to seek to judge and condemn transgender people must be denounced and defied the rising tide of fascism in america expresses itself by attacking them. marginalized and the vulnerable it ends by attacking us all thank you for watching you can find us on our t. dot com slash on contact tell next week.
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