Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 International Trans Year In Review

Just as the African-American trans community  made some great strides in 2012, there was remarkable  progress made for trans human rights internationally and many of the folks making news were transgender people.

Let's get the bad news out of the way first.   We continue to see far too many transwomen die due to anti-trans violence, with the major hotspots being Latin America, the United States and Turkey.  We once again memorialized our fallen sisters during the Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Where we saw major progress was politically.  In Poland Anna Grodzka became only the third transperson to be elected to her national legislative body in October 2011 and took her seat a month later.   In Thailand Yollada 'Nok' Suanyok on May 27 became the highest ranking trans politician in the 'Land of Smiles' when she won an election in her home province.   Adela Hernandez won office in Cuba.

Groundbreaking trans candidates ran for office in various countries in 2012 as well.  Diana Sanchez Barrios became the first ever to do so in Mexico when she filed to run for a seat in Mexico City's July 1 Municipal Assembly elections.

Argentina passed a groundbreaking Gender Identity Law in May by wide margins in both houses of its national legislature that was signed by President Cristina Fernandez and took effect on June 4.  Activists in Chile are trying to pass a similar law in their nation. 

There's also been positive movement on trans rights issues in Australia and the Philippines.  There was a UN vote that condemned extrajudicial killings that for the first time ever included ones based on sexual orientation and gender identity. 

Trans rights laws advanced on the Canadian provincial level in Ontario, Manitoba and Nova Scotia, while C-279, the federal trans rights law continues to make steady progress as it passed its second reading phase on a 150-132 vote despite determined opposition by some Conservative MP's. 

There was Canada's Jenna Talackova giving us an unexpected win when her fight to enter the Miss Canada Universe pageant resulted in the demise of the bogus 'natural born woman' rule and the Miss Universe pageant system despite transphobic resistance from national pageant holdouts like Mexico and Venezuela opening their competition to trans women in 2013.

Speaking of pageants, the Philippines finally got their long awaited triumph in the Miss International Queen trans one when Kevin Balot became the first transpinay to bring that title home after years of frustration. 

Trans models such as Brazil's trio of Lea T, Carol Marra and Felipa Tavares, Valentijn de Hingh of the Netherlands and gender bender Andrej Pejic are rocking runways, but the trans model is not a new phenomenon.  it's just the fashion world has rediscovered it in 2012.

We're still fighting for our trans marriage rights with Malta's Joanne Cassar's case going before the European Court of Human Rights, Ms W losing another round in Hong Kong, and Nikki Araguz still fighting in Texas.

The ruling in Cassar v Malta should be released sometime in 2013.

Speaking of trans court rulings, our Muslim Malaysian transsisters suffered an adverse ruling when four of them challenged Section 66 of the country's Islamic criminal law code.that bars Muslim men from dressing or posing as women.   It is being used to harass trans women  by Islamic fundamentalists and they unfortunately lost the suit.   

There was major concern expressed from the international trans community when Guatemalan trans activist Fernanda Milan was facing deportation from Denmark in September.   Her case is now being reviewed by Danish authorities after a wave of international protests. 

PC Air, the Thai startup airline famous for having trans flight attendants, hit some business turbulence in October.  It's lone Airbus 310-222 was stuck at Seoul's Incheon airport because the company has not paid its overdue airport charges and fuel fees due to a dispute with its South Korean agent.

The dispute stranded 400 people total at Incheon and in Bangkok, and PC Air was forced to suspend charter service until they can satisfy the Thai Transport Ministry that the incident won't be repeated.

There were some interesting developments in 2012 from continental Africa trans wise as well. 

There was the not so nice one of the Ugandan parliament's misguided attempts to pass an Anti-Homosexuality Act pimped by American based right wing fundie Christian zealots and fronted by David Bahati.   The bill does have a clause that would deleteriously affect transpeople living in Uganda.

It was nice to hear about the story of Titica, one of Angola's rising popular music stars who happens to be a girl like us.

She s a rising star in the Angolan music genre called kuduro, which is a fusion of rap and techno music.  She was named the best kuduro artist of 2011, is a regular on radio and television there and has performed at a Divas concert in front of Angolan president Jose Eduardo dos Santos

Nigerian Mia Nikasimo continues to speak out along with other African activists like Kenya's Audrey Mbugua and Uganda's Victor Mukasa about the plight of transpeople in the 66 nations on the second largest continent on our planet.

And unfortunately, another Olympiad came and went in London without an open trans athlete as American Keelin Godsey fell just short of making the US Olympic team despite his lifetime best hammer throw.

Hopefully when the nations of the world gather in Sochi in 2014 and Rio in 2016, there will be a trans athlete proudly marching into the stadium during the opening ceremony.

Internationally, trans human rights are on the march and our visibility is increasing along with the positive public publicity.  There is still a lot of work to do in various areas of the world to eradicate anti-trans prejudice and anti-trans violence in 2013, but the international trans community is making it happen.

I hope I have more positive news to report when we get to the end of 2013.

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