sunnuntai 30. kesäkuuta 2013

Piercing with Pride

Last week I have spent quite a lot of time at Helsinki Pride 2013 events. After returning from our cottage on Wednesday I immediately went to a panel discussion about the gender diversity. I was one of the panelist, the others were a transgender and an inter-/transsexual person. There were not a specially huge audience but it was very active and seemed to be happy about our presentations and discussion following them.

After the panel discussion we went to bar for some snack, beer and reflection about the panel and our activity as a trans political commission. And after that we found our way to a “Barn Ball” though it rather  happened in pavilion restaurant. The day had been very hot and it was still hot inside so we stayed mostly  outdoors expect when we danced.

Thursday was my laundry day, including my already sweaty summer dress. The other thing I did was that I had my ears pierced. The third thing was my speciality, a mushroom pie for coming picnic purposes.

Friday was a day for picnics. First we went to SETA (the Finnish national LGBTI organization) activist picnic for some sparkling to sip. I took half of my mushroom pie with us, seeing it disappearing in rather short time.  Then we went on for a picnic for trans people in the next park! Because the mushroom pie has already run out we had nothing to bring with us there.

                                                  Me sitting at a bar after the picnic.

The evening was for the ladies club in a Kaivopuisto park restaurant. The weather was not that warm any more and I had some difficulties in getting myself warm outdoors. However I came home quite early mostly because I didn’t want to be too tired next morning…

….which was the morning of the parade day. First we went to SETA office to fetch our brand new Dreamwearclub banderol. The parade started from the Senate Square in the heat of the city. We put the banderol in the very visible place to show the other supporters of the “gender diversity”.  It was the first time we had our own block for trans people in the parade. And we managed to get together about forty people, mostly young persons. We had some Facebook discussion about the agenda and there were some very irritating persons dominating the discussion (and actually they ended up to march in pink-black block) that scared many transvestites that didn’t like the idea of marching in the quarrelling block.

Finally there were no quarrel and we marched with joy, happiness, .... and pride!! Two of our friends were dressed in specially nice rainbow costumes and were the real media magnets with interviews and photo- and video shootings. I carried the banderol during the whole march which was not very long, about two kilometers.

And of course, there was a picnic after the march. And of course, I had the other half of the mushroom pie to serve there. We met lots of old friends there and acquainted with new ones.

Finally we ended our Pride tour at Mummolaakso (a union for adult lesbian ladies) ball. We had a good time chatting, drinking and dancing.

Putting off the dancing shoes                                                   With Kristiina

And when I woke up on Sunday morning I had a feeling I had experienced something special with my old and new friends during the week.

tiistai 11. kesäkuuta 2013

My Activist Spring

This spring I have been politically active in many ways. Firstly I was appointed to commission for transgender affairs in the national LBGTI organization SETA. 

There have been some important issues. For us the most important has been the preparation of new legislation for equality. The proposal contains the prohibition for discriminating the expression of one’s gender at work. That means the employer could not stop the employee wearing the clothes even if they are meant to be for the other gender. In fact they have such a law already in Sweden, where the train staff has started to wear skirts because they were not allowed to wear shorts when it was too warm.  (Just now the pressure has changed the employers’ minds and now they are also allowed to wear shorts…) 

And of course there are many other important things in the bill that is in preparation. But the right for gender expression is the most radical and most strongly opposed by the employers. Hope we are better lobbyists than they; the bill is still in process in the parliament.

Another issue in the commission has been the treating of transsexual people in process. According the current law they must be castrated before confirming the gender. The law has not changed despite of numerous official international claims for the Finnish state due to discriminating and even torturing the transsexual people. We have tried to affect the ministry of social and welfare affairs but it was very hard to make some officials change their head. Now the minister has changed and the situation looks more optimistic.

The other thing concerning the transsexual people has been the collapse of the quality of the medical process. There have been some doctors that have even demanded the right kind of walking or looked how the face looks like to judge whether the person is appropriate for the process! So there’s a lot to do just now!!!

And talking about medical things, we have been active in international classification of diseases updating process. There have been some major anomalies in current version ICD-10. The closest for me is there’s still a disease class for transvestites. The other is transsexualism is still regarded as mental illness. We have succeeded in removing transvestites from our national legislation (yes, it was our club that really made the minister in charge to do it!!) and it seems there’s no classification for us in new version ICD-11, either. But you can never be sure, so we have been active to make sure it will stay that way, too. The situation of transsexuals is not that clear, though we have tried to lobby the classification not as a disease (…and definitely not the mental one!!) but the condition demanding medical support – just as for example having the baby is.

My first “high level event” was the publishing of the European survey for violence and discrimination experienced by LBGTI-people. It took pace in Parliament house and there were a lot of high officials from many juridical and human rights and equality offices. Sadly there were no members of parliament nor any representative of ministry for education. The results strongly suggest the things must be done in different branches of education to make the situation better.

For me It was the first time in Parliament house, and of course I did it in my dress. During the congress I heard a silent repetitive sound and noticed a blinking red light above the fire alarm signs. You may see me staring to it in the picture. Luckily it turned out it was just a call for mps to go to the main hall to vote!!!  The second picture is taken at home after the long day of politics, shopping, music in the park and nice chat with some glasses of wine and nice friends.

Outside our commission I have been active in citizen initiative for equal marriage. We have a new law that says if t least 50 000 names are collected for some initiative, it must be taken at least to some process in the parliament. In that case we have collected 150 000 so it has a good opportunity to pass the process. There has been another address (not the official initiative) against that organized by some fundamentalists and it has 36 000 names so far. There’s a discussion forum in that context and I have been very active arguing against the insulting homophobic and one eyed religious comments these ..erks write. At least it seems I have managed to stop the wildest claims about homosexuality as a disease, as a pre stage for pedophilia and so on. And of course I’m not the only one who has made it…

And combining my artistic tendencies (no, I didn’t say skills…) and politics I have designed a banderol for our national crossdresser society DreamWearClub. It is promised to be ready for Helsinki Pride at the end of June so we can use it in the Pride march.