This past Sunday marked the sixth annual Tranny Awards in Glendale, California. The event gives out awards to people in the transsexual porn industry for categories like “Shemale Strokers Model of the Year” and “Black TGirl Model of the Year.”
As I’m sure you know by now, the word “tranny” is considered a slur. Kelly Osbourne, Neil Patrick Harris, and Gabourey Sidibe have all recently gotten into trouble for using it. Frankly, the main reason I decided to go to the awards was the name. I was super-ready to alleviate some of my liberal guilt by being offended on other people’s behalf.
But I’m not trans, so I don’t get to decide what is or isn’t offensive for people who are. The majority of the people I spoke to at the event were not massively happy about the use of the word “tranny” in the name, but they were so excited to be having an award ceremony in their honor that they were willing to not give a shit for the night. Trans porn workers are not a group of people who are honored very often.
And once I was able to get past the initial weirdness of seeing someone tearfully accept an award while thanking “everyone at FTMFucker.com,” the event was actually surprisingly moving.
Are People ‘Born Gay’? Who Gives a Shit?
It’s OK to be gay because I say so. Fuck science. If you want to bump uglies tonight with someone who has the same set of genitals as you, go for it. Seriously, this is on me, folks—as one of Britain’s leading slut bags, I now pronounce you free to go gay. Or not. Whatever. I really couldn’t give a shit.
You may’ve read some stories recently about researchers actually finding this mythical and vitally important “gay gene.” Others say they might now be able to tell if someone is gay by their earwax. A lot of this research isn’t peer reviewed, but who cares about dreary old details like that? And who cares that despite years of searching, scientists don’t even know which genes control height?
These quests to find the mythical “gay gene” have proven to be pretty controversial, to the point that the scientists involved have come out and defended their efforts. Qazi Rahman, a psychologist at King’s College London, recently insisted to the Guardian: “We need to do ‘gene finding’ studies… to have a better idea where potential genes for sexual orientation may lie.” Why? Why do we need to know? There are other areas of human sexuality that might be worth investigating. Is there, for example, a rapist gene? A pedophile gene? That knowledge could be useful. But what’s the point of finding a gay gene? So homophobic moms-and-dads-to-be can abort gay fetuses? If that’s not the reason, what is?
In the face of new homophobic legislation, it’s perhaps understandable that a number of Western politicians and celebrities, from Francois Hollande to Lady Gaga to Stephen Fry, are boycotting—or calling for a boycott of—the Sochi Olympics. But, as Young and Gay in Putin’s Russia shows, the vast majority of gay people and gay activists in Russia do not support an international boycott.
“We oppose the boycott of the Olympics because it would hurt the athletes, who then wouldn’t be able to participate, and also the Russian LGBT community, because they would blame us if anything goes wrong,” said activist Nikolay Alexeyev. Countless gay rights supporters in Russia echoed his views.
Young and Gay in Putin’s Russia (Part 1/5)
(Source: Vice Magazine)
Young and Gay in Putin’s Russia - Part 1
When Russian President Vladimir Putin banned gay “propaganda” in June last year, Russia’s LGBT community went from being a stigmatized fringe group to full-blown enemies of the state. Homophobia becoming legislation means it’s now not only accepted in Russia but actively encouraged, which has led to a depressing rise in homophobic attacks and murders.
The main aim of the law, which essentially bans any public display of homosexuality, is to prevent minors from getting the impression that being gay is normal. Which means that, if you’re young and gay in Putin’s Russia, you’re ostracized and cut off from any kind of legal support network.
We traveled to Russia ahead of February’s Sochi Winter Olympics to investigate the effects of the country’s state-sanctioned homophobia. In the first part, we take a ride in Moscow’s gay taxi service, hear about the rise of homophobic vigilante groups, and meet Yulia, who runs LGBT self-defense classes.
Can Everyone Stop Freaking Out Over Which Bathroom Transgender People Use?
There’s a crazy right wing conspiracy against transgender people and it’s just turned ugly.
Conservatives are trying to deny transgender students the right to use the bathroom. Just to put this into context, in Britain trans people use whichever bathroom they feel most comfortable in. As a British gal, it both surprises and depresses me that trans restroom rights is even an issue in the States. It doesn’t have to be a big deal unless you, um, you know, want it to be. There’s a major political battle over California’s School Success and Opportunity Act right now that makes trans rights the focus of a national culture war between religious right and liberal left. Republicans are using human rights for trans students as pawns to discredit Democrats. Just like gay marriage, restroom rights have become a political football.
It’s an imaginary debate. You’ve probably already been in a public restroom with a transgender person and not even realized. Last time I checked, trans people are included in “everyone.” So yeah we’re in that line in the bathroom, trying to get a line in the bathroom.
Cry-Baby of the Week
The incident: Utah allowed gay couples to start getting married.
The appropriate response: Nothing.
The actual response: A man went on hunger strike, vowing not to eat again until gays were banned from marrying.
Last month, US District Judge Robert Shelby ruled that Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage violates the consitutional rights of gay and lesbian couples.
Predictably, applications for marriages skyrocketed in the state, with gay couples rushing to tie the knot.
This didn’t sit too well with a 35-year-old Mormon named Trestin Meacham, who announced that he was going to go on hunger strike until the state reversed the decision.
Like many bigots, Trestin attempted to hide his intolerance behind an excuse. In a post on his blog, he explained that his objection to the judge’s decision is actually a result of it being unconstitutional, rather than his own homophobia. He wrote, “Unfortunately, the Judicial Branch of the government is more concerned with activism than it is with actually following the Constitution.”
Young and Gay in Putin’s Russia
When Russian President Vladimir Putin banned gay “propaganda” in June last year, Russia’s LGBT community went from being a stigmatised fringe group to full-blown enemies of the state. Homophobia becoming legislation means it’s now not only accepted in Russia but actively encouraged, which has led to a depressing rise in homophobic attacks and murders.
The main aim of the law, which essentially bans any public display of homosexuality, is to prevent minors from getting the impression that being gay is normal. Which means that, if you’re young and gay in Putin’s Russia, you’re ostracised and cut off from any kind of legal support network.
We travelled to Russia ahead of February’s Sochi Winter Olympics to investigate the effects of the country’s state-sanctioned homophobia. There, we met everyone from young members of Moscow’s LGBT community and core gay rights activists, to one of Putin’s spin doctors and the lawmaker behind the repressive anti-gay propaganda law.
Young and Gay in Putin’s Russia will air in full on VICE.com next week.