Transgender Basics is a 20 minute educational film on the concepts of gender and transgender people. Two providers from The Center’s Gender Identity Project (GIP) discuss basic concepts of gender, sexual orientation, identity and gender roles. Three transgender community members share their personal experiences of being trans and genderqueer. The film targets service providers and others working with the LGBT community, but it also provides a fascinating glimpse into gender and identity for the general public. “Our culture likes to make things simple, and gender isn’t.” Carrie Davis, Transgender Community Organizer, in Transgender Basics.
Trans* Jersey asked the States of Jersey’s LGBT liaison officer to provide us with some basic safety advice for trans* islanders. Transwomen across the world are particularly vulnerable to physical and verbal attack so it is important to know where you can turn for help in the event that you find you are the victim of bullying, harassment or violence.
Important phone numbers
Emergency number: 999
Police headquarters main switchboard: 612612
(If you want to speak to the LGBT community liaison officer, you should ask for PC710 Emma Poulliquen or email the LGBT community liaison team.)
MASH (Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub) number for young people only: 449213
Personal safety advice
The States of Jersey Police is committed to building trust and confidence throughout the entire community. We treat all reports or concerns of harassment, assault and any hate crime related incident seriously and endeavour to assess all of these with a view to investigating and providing support to those affected.
Statute legislation may not yet be in place covering certain aspects, but we aim to learn, develop, educate and encourage equality across all members of Jersey’s community.
If you have ever been on the receiving end of someone’s verbal abuse or the victim of an assault, you will know it can have a significant and traumatic impact on day to day life and the way you feel about yourself, even more so if you feel there is no one there to help, or nothing that can be done.
If you are the victim of a verbal or physical assault or other aggressive act, consider the following steps:
- Try to write everything down as soon as you can, dates, times, place, people, descriptions, what was said and how it made you feel at the time. Even the smallest detail can often be a big help.
- If other people have witnessed the incident and you are able to get their details, then do so. DO NOT PUT YOURSELF IN DANGER TO DO THIS.
- If you have been the victim of a physical or sexual assault try not to change or wash your clothes or yourself, there can be evidence which may help when investigating any allegations.
- If you are injured photograph your injuries as best you can before you clean them. DO NOT RISK YOUR OWN SAFETY OR HEALTH. ALWAYS SEEK MEDICAL ADVICE IF YOU NEED IT.
- If you are attacked, concentrate on getting yourself out of danger and then call 999. Even if you don’t want to support any later police investigation, your attackers may still be a danger to yourself or someone else.
Internet safety tips
The internet offers endless opportunities to meet new people from all over the world, but remember to use caution and try not to get caught out online. Here are some basic safety tips to help keep you safe online:
- DO NOT give out your personal details, photographs, or any other information that could be used to identify you, your family or where you live.
- DO NOT believe everything someone tells you online, they may not be what they seem.
- NEVER arrange to meet someone you’ve only ever spoken to online without telling a friend. Remember to give them as much information about the person and place you are meeting.
Nowadays everyone is texting, using Facebook, twitter or other social media sites. Often this means our lives are on display for everyone to see and can leave you open to abusive messages being posted. If this happens to you:
- DO keep the messages on your phone.
- DO print copies of anything on social media sites directed at you, showing who it is from.
- DO NOT respond, as tempting as it can be sometimes to respond to negative comments, refrain from reacting.
- DO send a single response telling the person to stop contacting you, tell them it is unwanted. KEEP this message.
- Consider changing your mobile number and only give out your new number to people you trust.
- Block the person on social media sites and limit your public profile.
- Report the person through social media outlets.
Making Jersey’s LGBT community safer
Trans* Jersey met with the States of Jersey Police LGBT Community Liaison Officer, PC710 Emma Poulliquen, this week to discuss ways in which we could work together. The discussion was wide-ranging and included educational initiatives to keep young people safe; legislation changes and how the introduction of anti-discrimination laws will affect the community; what “best practice” guidelines might look like for the police, the prison and the hospital when dealing with trans* individuals; and how the police can help the LGBT community right now, before anti-discrimination legislation is brought in.
Although there will not be a law protecting trans* people from discrimination before September 2015, Emma informed me that the States of Jersey police take harassment and discrimination of LGBT islanders seriously, and will investigate reports of incidents from LGBT people who have experienced harassment and/or discrimination in the island. Don’t forget that prosecutions will be able to be brought retrospectively under the new anti-discrimination law, so lodging a report with the police now is a good idea if you think you might need to bring a case when the law comes into force.
The LGBT community liaison team can be contacted by email or visit www.jersey.police.uk where there will shortly be a page dedicated to their LGBT community liaison work.
Trans* Jersey is very pleased to be able to announce that, as of today, we are members of Consortium. This will provide us with access to loads of resources for our members and other groups doing similar work in the UK.
Consortium is a national membership organisation focusing on the development and support of LGBT groups, projects and organisations; so they can deliver direct services and campaign for individual rights. They are mandated by their Membership to focus on the following areas:
SHARE: To collect a wide range of information relevant to the LGBT sectors and share it widely
- Build and maintain a national website in partnership with the sector
- Create and update a database of LGBT organisations and their activities
- Coordinate the production of a State of the Sector report annually
SUPPORT: Link the sector together
- Host events such as national LGBT conferences with time for Members to discuss their own needs
- Create and support specialist networks
- Help Members to form partnerships to work together on particular projects
- Capacity building work focused on addressing identified sector gaps with small organisations
SHOUT: Be a voice for the LGBT sector
- Be one of the voices for LGBT sector representation to highlight its needs
- Coordinate Member organisations to provide the voice for LGBT people
- Including setting up of a Members’ Council
STORE: Lead work with LGBT organisations to develop a shared vision for the whole sector
- Be a repository for good practice
- Supporting the standardisation of research across the sector to build a better national picture of LGBT needs and experiences
Recently, Consortium delivered the Trans Manifesto to the UK government. Trans* Jersey wholeheartedly supports the aims of the document. It is an important step and one we need to monitor in the island because, should its demands come to fruition, it will have repercussions for trans* individuals in Jersey, too. You can read more about it here.
Click Consortium’s logo below to find out more about who they are and what they do.
Liberate-Trans* Jersey affiliation
Trans* Jersey is very pleased to be able to announce that, as of today, we are affiliated to Liberate and are working with them on various issues, including their campaign to achieve equal marriage. Although Liberate are based in Guernsey and we are based in Jersey, both groups are of the opinion that our common aims make working together a sensible strategy to achieving legislative change in the islands.
Liberate is a Guernsey registered charity established in 2014 to include, inform and support the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) community in the Bailiwick of Guernsey. Liberate’s aims are as follows:
- The purpose of Liberate is to educate and Inform on a wide range of LGBTQ issues and to support those who identify as LGBTQ, their families and friends.
- We will campaign to reform some of Guernsey’s policies to ensure that LGBTQ people can enjoy the same freedoms as everyone else in the Bailiwick of Guernsey.
- We are hoping to question social attitudes and behaviours which discriminate against LGBTQ people, and offer advice and help in tackling homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, etc.
- We will challenge the States of Guernsey and politicians on a wide range of current discriminatory laws and policies, to ensure that LGBTQ people will, one day, be treated equally.
- Liberate is an inclusive Group, which welcomes people irrespective of or sexual orientation, gender identity, religious belief,race, gender or disability.
Liberate are currently campaigning to petition the chief ministers in Jersey and Guernsey to “End LGBTQ discrimination in the Channel Islands NOW!”. If you have not yet signed their petition, you can do so here.
Click Liberate’s logo below to find out more about who they are and what they do.
Pathway to care – we think…
The infographic below is a first attempt to map the pathway to care for transgender/transsexual Jersey residents seeking to transition. It is based on personal testimonies of islanders who have transitioned and, due to the confusing nature of the system at present, may not match your experience. Please email us if you think you can contribute to our findings.
Apart from cost, the main difference between the public and private routes to care is choice of practitioner and speed. There are set procedures that the public system have to follow when treating trans* patients that include statutory waiting times where the patient must live as their preferred gender before being permitted hormone therapy and/or surgery. These waiting times, largely, fall away when going the private route.
Trans* Jersey is working to clarify the pathway below with the States of Jersey Health and Social Services Department. The question of funding is particularly unclear.
How to be a trans* ally
Video from the “Are you an ALLY?” campaign for Health Equity at Mount Sinai Hospital in Canada: http://www.mountsinai.on.ca/about_us/… Explains how you can help trans* individuals when you encounter them.
The Gender Puzzle
Australian documentary from 2005 investigating intersex conditions, the SRY gene, gender identity development, and transgender legal identification.
Middle Sexes: Redefining He and She
Documentary by award-winning filmmaker Antony Thomas (HBO’s Celibacy), Middle Sexes: Redefining He and She, sensitively explores the controversial subject of the blurring of gender as well as the serious social and family problems – even dangers – often faced by those whose gender may fall somewhere in between male and female. Narrated by noted author Gore Vidal and filmed in the United States, Europe, Asia, and South America, Middle Sexes examines the ways different societies and cultures handle the blurring of gender, sexual identity and sexual orientation. Through interviews with transgender, intersexual and bisexual men and women, as well as experts from the scientific and academic communities, the film considers the entire spectrum of sexual behavior, personal identity and lifestyles among people of different backgrounds and cultures. From this, a theme of tolerance and appreciation of diversity emerges in the film.
Along with thought-provoking personal experiences of transsexuals, intersexuals, transvestites and their partners and families, Middle Sexes: Redefining He and She interviews scientists,anthropologists and psychologists who offer ground-breaking research on the biological and cultural influences on gender identity and sexuality. Researchers cite examples from the natural world, where species display a wide range of sexual variation, and point out that humans show more diversity than the strict male-female dichotomy.
Choosing M or F
Count the number of times in a week you are asked to choose between M or F. It will surprise you. At work, you may have to choose every time you use the toilet facilities; when you are shopping for clothes, you will be asked to choose the men’s or women’s department; when you select a book or movie, entertainment is segregated into sections such as “chick-lit” or “movies for men”; and, when you fill out a form, the place you are applying to will want to know, too (if for no other reason than to be able to address you formally).
Here’s a list of some the things that we came up with that ask us to choose:
- Public toilets
- Changing rooms
- Hospital wards
- Airport security
- Military service
- Public transport (in some countries)
- Religious observance
- Sports teams
- Exercise classes
- Application forms
- Shopping centres (especially clothing stores)
For many of the things we’ve listed a strong argument can be made for a unisex approach to them. Take shopping for instance, stores could be organised by the item you wish to purchase, instead of effectively divided into two stores, M and F. Imagine M&S having departments simply called underwear, shirts, trousers, skirts, jumpers, etc. Would this be a problem? You need a pair of jeans, so you browse through all their jeans and you come out with a pair of jeans that fit and that you are pleased with. Does it matter that the designer of the jeans had a particular gender in mind when they created them?
Ah, but what about the changing rooms, though? The same argument that we use against those who think that making trans* people use toilet facilities that match their biological sex, rather than their preferred gender, is relevant here: when did you last see a person naked in a department store changing room (or public toilet)? It never happens. Unisex facilities put nobody at any greater risk than segregated facilities and, with appropriate doors/curtains on the cubicles, are entirely private.
So, why is it a choice? Why have we come up with the idea that men and women should be kept separate? Honestly, Trans* Jersey struggles to answer this question. We don’t really know. We can only guess that it comes two parts: a) it is a hang over from when the church’s idea of sin governed our morality and contraceptives were not widely available. In the interest of stopping boys and girls doing what boys and girls might do, segregation was strictly maintained. b) it makes it easier for the marketing men. They can generalise how women respond to products, as distinct from men, and target their marketing accordingly.
The other question that is relevant here is: why did we decide that we should separate the human population into only two groups? And why pick this particular facet of humanity? Why not hair colour, or eye colour, or whether we can dance or not, or whether we like Marmite or not? There aren’t two genders. We know that gender is a spectrum. There aren’t even two sexes. 1 in 100 births are intersex (see here for more information). Like so many facets of humanity, trying to put us all into two categories doesn’t work. Right or left handed? What about ambidextrous people?
Categorising us all into two genders is unnecessary and arbitrary but it persists. We wish it didn’t. It would make living in the middle easier. So, until such time as society gets over its hang up with labeling us one or the other, we are forced to choose every day. Count the number of times.