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Guest editorial by ‘L’: one woman’s story of transphobic abuse in Russia and Sweden


 
This is a guest editorial by “L”. It was brought to Dangerous Minds by Elizabeth Veldon, who writes this short introduction:

“There has been a lot of news coverage recently of homophobia in both Russia and Sweden, including the forced sterilization of gender variant people in Sweden. This piece is written by a friend of mine, a woman with a transsexual history, who has experience of life in both countries.

She is currently fighting extradition to Russia where she faces open discrimination and probably death. Myself and 36 other underground artists contributed to a release for her. If you want to hear the music I urge you to read her own words first.

This is her story, her voice.”

My name is L., and I am a woman with a transsexual past (male-to-female, MTF). I have had gender dysphoria since my early childhood, so I always had a lot of problems with socialization.

I have never seen my father because he left my family before my birth. I grew up with my mother and grandmother, who were extremely transphobic and authoritative and did not pay attention to my mental difficulties. I had to hide my real self from everyone from when I was 11 years old. It wasn’t until I was 21, in 2007, that I decided to stop hiding, and took my first attempt to bring my appearance in accordance with my self-perception.

This gave me other troubles, and I’ll only give one example: in October 2007, I was stopped on the street by a police officer, who took my IDs and took me to a police station. So-called “state authority representatives” made me strip nude and began to beat me and to urinate on me, laughing and shouting “fags must die!” When they put my head into the toilet bowl and cried out, “Drink Russian water you queer,” I lost consciousness. Eventually I woke up in an unfamiliar yard, my clothes torn and dirtied with urine and faeces. After this, I attempted to commit suicide. Thanks to my friends with the same problems, they helped me to find strength to withstand. But, I was hiding my real identity again for almost a year, and this was a real torture. I couldn’t stand it.

I learned that Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS) in the Russian Federation would require a conformance letter from the Moscow Scientific Research Institute of Psychiatry, and in order to obtain one, a psychiatric examination was necessary. My friend in the transgender community told me about terrible violations of human rights in such clinics (unsanitary conditions, mobbing, rape, tortures, etc). Nevertheless, I could not live ‘as-is’ anymore, so I began Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) at my own risk. When my mother and grandmother discovered what I was doing, they threw out my female dress and hormones, but I continued with HRT secretly.

In September 2009, I met Anton, the man who totally understands me. Our relationship grew rapidly, but when my mother and grandmother found out they turned my life into hell. So, I left them for him, and we started living together.

Unfortunately, the problems connected with my transgender identity followed me through all my life in Russia. My boss – who was the head of the IT department of the local Federal Tax Inspection Office – told me (quote), “You have the choice – resign or face big problems. Fags are not welcome here.” I was forced to resign.

You can read the rest of L’s story after the jump…

The forced sterilzation of transgender persons and those with a transgendered past has now been abandoned by the Swedish authorities, but Russia still actively discriminates agains its LGBT community, as this video demonstrates:
 

 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
‘Russia’s Full of Queers’: free benefit album highlighting Russia’s new anti-LGBT laws


 
Compiled by friend of Dangerous Minds Elizabeth Veldon, and available as a free download from the net label Black Circle, Russia’s Full of Queers is a 29 track album designed to highlight the abuse of LGBT people’s rights currently being passed as law in several Russian cities. Elizabeth says:

This album is a response to proposed laws in Russia that would outlaw any discussion of homosexuality, bisexuality or transgenderism.

The artists involved gave their tracks free and in many cases produced work to a tight (24 hour) schedule.

There is a wide variety of styles here from Harsh Noise through weird Jazz Cut-Ups to Hip Hop and Ambient.

We only ask that you sign the online petition against these laws and pass the word on.

Alone our voices are tiny, when raised together we can change the world.

 
You can sign the petition here, and you can download Russia’s Full Of Queers here.
 

 
Previously on DM:
Petition to stop Russian authorities passing “draconian” anti-gay bill

 

Obama’s Immunity Doctrine for Torturers
12.10.2009
02:50 pm

Topics:
Current Events

Tags:
Obama
Human Rights
ACLU
Torture

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The ACLU took a hard swing at the Obama administration today for upholding the Bush administration’s torture policies. Almost a year on into the Obama administration (quite hard to believe), we’re opening more secret prisons and upholding all the torture doctrines that got us into this mess. What next, starting more wars? Oh wait…

“The Bush administration constructed a legal framework for torture,” Jameel Jaffer, Director of ACLU’s National Security Project, said in a conference call with reporters. “Now the Obama administration is constructing a legal framework for impunity.”

While he credited Obama for having disavowed torture under his watch, Jaffer said that “on every front, the administration is actively obstructing accountability by shielding Bush officials from civil liability, criminal investigation and even public scrutiny for their role in authorizing torture.”

“It’s the last month of 2009, and not a single torture victim has had his day in court,” said ACLU Attorney Ben Wizner. “Not a single court in a torture case has ruled on the legality of the Bush administration?

Posted by Jason Louv | Leave a comment
Obama Rightsfail Roundup
09.18.2009
04:19 pm

Topics:
Politics

Tags:
Obama
Human Rights
Guantanamo
Patriot Act

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It’s eight months into Obama’s administration, and not only is Guantanamo still open (and amid new revelations about doctors being used to facilitate torture procedures), but Obama is now attempting to open a new one in Afghanistan.

The Intelligence Daily reports:

On Monday, a day after the New York Times and the Washington Post reported that the Obama administration was planning to introduce tribunals for prisoners held at the US prison at Bagram airbase, Afghanistan, the reason for the specifically-timed leaks that led to the publication of the stories became clear.

The government was hoping that offering tribunals to evaluate the prisoners?

Posted by Jason Louv | Leave a comment