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PALM CREEK FOLK FESTIVAL 2017

DANA MARTIN performing at PALM CREEK.

I am honoured to be accepted to play a solo performance on the Jam Tin at the Palm Creek Folk Festival on June 11th, showcasing my poignant original songs.

People interested in coming should arrange a ticket soon at … http://palmcreek.com.au/tickets/tickets-and-pricing/  This event is a wonderful feel-good 3 day music festival in an idyllic location. I recommend anyone who is comfortable with camping, and you love music and great food to consider coming. It’s not too big & crowded, not too small & boring, it is the perfect size festival with plenty of variety. Hope to see you there.

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International Transgender Visibility Day

Coming soon to a Trans-Person near you  . . .  MARCH 31ST

A day for cis-people to spare a thought for all transpeople and the crap they go though in life. Think about the courage that it takes to be true to self, and give transpeople a go. We are truly unique people.

When someone says that it’s a lifestyle choice, they couldn’t be more wrong. Utterly utterly wrong. If you ever hear someone say that, ask them how they know, how do they really actually know. It is their own bigoted opinion at best, unless they are a closeted trans person who chooses to deny their real self, and if so they need help and understanding.

To listen to my award winning song called . . . International Transgender Visibility Day,

click here —The Trans Song


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Intolerant people requesting tolerance!

The current furore about Cooper’s beer and marriage equality is something quite ludicrous as I see it. Intolerant people requesting tolerance from those they are discriminating against ? Hey? What?

The people who think marriage can only be between a man and a woman, are discriminating against those who don’t meet that criteria. Plain and simple. Call a spade a spade. What gives them the right to discriminate against others who are different?  They think that they have a right to disagree, and with freedom of speech in Aust it would seem that it is legal to speak their opinion. I accept that. But that does not negate that their opinion is unquestionably discriminatory.

I heard MP Tim Wilson saying essentially, that those being discriminated against should show tolerance for people who have intolerant opinions about us. Yes I heard it right. This is flabbergasting. This ludicrously suggests that we should allow the govt and right wing despots, to talk about us in a discriminatory manner, as if we don’t have rights, and then they have the audacity to expect us to be tolerant! I don’t think so Tim. They are the ones who are demonstrating intolerance, it is unfortunate that people like you can’t see that.

Obviously the only people who are against equal marriage rights are straight people who are or would be married to a person of the opposite gender. Why are these people continually given license to discriminate against us? It is high time that people who are not actually affected by this law pull there heads in, and but out. It is high time the government passed what is a straight forward amendment of a blatantly discriminatory law. I utterly fail to see how this affects a straight person anyway. What are they afraid of?


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A 10-point guide to not offending transgender people

This article by Hayley Gleeson is absolutely “Spot On”

This is a fantastic educational piece for ordinary people to better understand transpeople. Even if you think you know all about us, read this and be better informed.

Please note that my opinion is that Germain Greer is not a trans person and therefore has no credibility when talking about trans issues. One must agree that her dated views are an ignorant & bigoted personal opinion at best. She’s an old woman who is out of touch with today’s world.

(Note: A “cis-person” is an “ordinary person”)

Article by Hayley Gleeson April 2016

“Society is moving very quickly,” said musician Joseph Tawadros on the ABC’s Q&A program on Monday night.

“There’s still a lot of people who don’t understand transgender — I don’t understand all the aspects of transgender people,” he said. “But I just have to respect that.”

Tawadros’s comments were directed at pioneering feminist, academic and author Germaine Greer, who had been asked to defend her long-held views that trans women “are not real women”.

In doing so, Greer managed to yet again offend the trans community by saying that trans people “couldn’t know” that they were born the wrong sex.

But Greer is not the only person to have offended the trans community, who say slights and casual transphobia appear all too frequently in the media.

So, we decided to compile a guide for those wishing to understand and discuss issues of gender with respect and without inadvertently offending the trans community.

It’s not comprehensive, but it’s a start.

1. What is transgender?

Head of trans and gender diverse projects at Minus18, Margot Fink, says it’s important from the outset to understand what being trans means.

“Part of the problem is that there’s so many different ways people can describe it,” says Fink.

“One definition that I’ve found a lot of the [trans] advocacy and mental health support services have started to use, which is quite inclusive and representative, is: ‘A person whose gender identity differs from the one assigned to them at birth.'”

2. Why is it so important to use a trans or gender diverse person’s correct pronoun?

“The first form of discrimination and prejudice is denial that a group or person exists … in relation to trans and gender diverse people, the use of incorrect pronouns is seen as that denial,” says Transgender Victoria executive director Sally Goldner.

“The best way to ask [a trans person what pronoun they use] is to say something like, ‘I’d really like to be respectful and clarify which pronouns you use’.

“Don’t say ‘preferred’ pronoun because then it almost sounds like a choice.”

Editor of LGBTI magazine Star Observer, Elias Jahshan, says it’s important to get pronouns right.

“If you are unsure, keep it as neutral as possible by using ‘they’ or ‘them’. Never, ever use ‘it’.

“If they don’t identify as either ‘he’ or ‘she’, then usually the best way to go about it is to use their first name.

“Most trans people appreciate it when we [the Star Observer] ask about their pronoun, just to clarify it … there’s a sensitive way of asking that question.”

3. Why is it inappropriate to ask a trans person if they’ve had surgery?

If you wouldn’t ask a straight person intrusive questions, don’t ask them of a trans person either, says Goldner.

“Don’t ask out of the blue, ‘Had the op yet?'” Goldner says.

“Would you walk up to a 55-year-old cisgender woman and ask, ‘Have you had a hysterectomy?’

“If someone wants to talk about it, in the right place and time, then that’s their call, but don’t put people on the spot with invasive questions about surgery, about … what underwear you wear, how you go to the toilet, all those sorts of things.

“Education is one thing, but disrespectful over-curiosity goes too far,” Goldner adds. “It’s about checking in, it’s about consent in a way — not just thinking trans people are there for your amusement.”

Fink says questions about trans people’s medical history, hormones or surgery often tend to come from an innocuous place, but it’s important to remember such queries are incredibly personal.

“You’re asking about a person’s genitals or body or medical history and that can make a trans person feel very reduced to what’s between their legs or even that they’re being made a spectacle of,” Fink says.

4. Why is it wrong to assume trans people ‘become’ men or women?

On Q&A on Monday evening, Germaine Greer implied that trans people suddenly “became” their new gender.

“If you’re a 50-year-old truck driver who’s had four children with a wife and you decide that the whole time you’ve been a woman, I think you’re probably wrong,” Greer said.

But Fink says the assumption that trans identity is something that happens to a person misses the point.

“It’s important to remember that a trans person realising or coming to terms with their gender identity can happen at any age, at any time, in any place,” Fink says.

“The ways and different forms of coming out vary so significantly and can be stalled by a range of factors, be it safety, acceptance, understanding.

“So when Germaine Greer says things like, ‘It’s not fair that a trans woman could be married to another woman when they’ve had kids’, that’s a hyper-specific example that’s not representative of everyone.

“That premise of ‘deciding’ to be a woman misses the point. Many of us don’t have a choice, and that’s simply who we are, and that’s not a bad thing.”

5. What is ‘dead naming’ and why should it be avoided?

“Dead naming” is where a person’s former name or pronoun is used in place of the name they are living as. Numerous media outlets dead named Caitlyn Jenner by referring to her former name and pronoun even after she’d publicly announced her new name.

“Those names, for many people, are a sort of dead, buried part of their identity that can actually represent a lot of pain,” says Fink.

“While some people might be okay with it in very specific circumstances … [dead naming] and using mixed pronouns can actually cause more confusion and misrepresent how that trans person feels about who they are.”

Adds Jahshan: “At the Star Observer we only ever use a person’s former name if it’s absolutely necessary to provide context, otherwise we avoid it as much as possible.

“It can get confusing but just clarifying it with the person you’re writing about goes a long way.”

6. Why is the term ‘cross dressing’ offensive?

Using the term cross dressing in place of trans is offensive and inaccurate and should be avoided, says Goldner.

“The problem is that … people, for example, might say trans people are just men dressing up as women. So it’s the idea that [trans] is just a dress-up game rather than an innate sense of self.

“It trivialises it and doesn’t represent trans and gender diverse people in the fullest possible way,” Goldner says.

“Only ever use the word cross dressing if the person in question has talked about it as something they do.”

Adds Fink: “When [trans people] are finally able to wear their own clothes it can be quite dismissive to say, ‘That person’s cross dressing’. It also mistakes what could be a cisgender person wearing a costume with the experiences of a trans person.”

7. Why is it inappropriate to use the phrase ‘born in the wrong body’?

A common expression used in stories about trans and gender diverse people is that they were born in the wrong body.

But this is a stereotype that should be avoided, says Goldner, because not all trans people relate to that experience.

“It’s not really accurate and puts an emphasis on the body when gender is about a sense of innate self, and about a soul,” Goldner says. “Unless someone says they feel OK with [that expression], don’t use it.”

Adds Fink: “Those are things that some people feel, but they’re not actually very representative of everyone … It’s not just about the body and it’s usually not, ‘Used to be one thing and is now another’, it’s more: ‘I’ve been this, and now I’m ready to talk about it.’

“There’s a sense that [trans people’s] gender changes when they get surgery, or when they get particular medical procedures — that there’s one moment [when gender “changes”].

“Many people I know have said, ‘I’ve always been the gender that I am, but I didn’t [always] have the language or the words to communicate that, and really unpack it’.”

8. Is the term ‘trans’ the same as ‘transgender’? Which is more correct?

While the term transgender is widely used and accepted, over time some LGBTI media have evolved their style guides to better represent the spectrum of sex and gender identities. Thus, the term trans is seen as more inclusive.

Says Jahshan: “A lot of LGBTI media outlets have adapted to ‘trans’ terminology, especially in America they use that, so we’ve followed in their footsteps.

“In the Star Observer style guide, we only say ‘trans’ because it’s almost like an umbrella term for the range of different gender identities that fall under it.

“The word ‘trans’ is inclusive; it’s sensitive to the community and also doesn’t have to specify whether a person is a trans men, a trans woman or non-binary.”

9. Why do people get upset when non-trans people speak on the trans community’s behalf?

Many people express outrage when public figures such as Greer, who are not trans or gender diverse, are called on to speak about trans issues.

But Fink says the media has a responsibility to ensure trans people are included in such conversations.

“Like we’ve unfortunately seen over the past few months … in the media and politics, having theoretical discussions about trans issues without involving people with trans experience themselves has become quite common and becomes very easy to forget that we’re talking about a real group of people with feelings and struggles,” Fink says.

“By excluding them, it can dehumanise them … [misunderstandings] … happen less when trans people are given the opportunity to represent ourselves and address misconceptions.”

Jahshan puts it a different way.

“A cisgender woman has absolutely no right to speak on behalf of trans women because their experiences are completely different,” he says. “The only thing they really have in common … is that they both identity as female.

“Seeing someone like Germaine Greer speak about trans issues is the same as when women see men talking about feminist issues … there needs to be a trans voice or someone to balance Germaine Greer’s point of view.”

10. Why is important that the media balances ‘negative’ stories about trans people?

Fink says there is a tendency in the media to only focus on negative or traumatic stories of trans and gender diverse people.

“Being trans in its own right can actually be a really positive and empowering thing, if it’s allowed to be,” Fink says.

“It’s important to recognise that there are still many obstacles to be overcome but I do think after a certain point it can become a bit of an inspiration porn type situation.

“When you’re not balancing stories of suffering with stories of success and happiness, particularly for youth, it makes it very hard to look to the future … it makes it hard to think, ‘Well, if I come out, what’s my life going to be like?’

“When I was 10, I discovered the word transgender through [TV shows like] Jerry Springer and NCIS, and trans people were getting beaten up or murdered by their families and for me, that was terrifying.

“I maybe wouldn’t have felt so terrified and in denial if I’d seen [in the media] that trans can actually be a very happy and OK thing.”

 


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2016 / 2017 by Brian Eno

A positive post about the new year and changing times, by ‘the’ Brian Eno on facebook. Worth a read, I think he’s spot on, we have to take action if we want change.

Brian ….

2016/2017

The consensus among most of my friends seems to be that 2016 was a terrible year, and the beginning of a long decline into something we don’t even want to imagine.

2016 was indeed a pretty rough year, but I wonder if it’s the end – not the beginning – of a long decline. Or at least the beginning of the end …. for I think we’ve been in decline for about 40 years, enduring a slow process of de-civilisation, but not really quite noticing it until now. I’m reminded of that thing about the frog placed in a pan of slowly heating water…

This decline includes the transition from secure employment to precarious employment, the destruction of unions and the shrinkage of workers’ rights, zero hour contracts, the dismantling of local government, a health service falling apart, an underfunded education system ruled by meaningless exam results and league tables, the increasingly acceptable stigmatisation of immigrants, knee-jerk nationalism, and the concentration of prejudice enabled by social media and the internet.

This process of de-civilisation grew out of an ideology which sneered at social generosity and championed a sort of righteous selfishness. (Thatcher: “Poverty is a personality defect”. Ayn Rand: “Altruism is evil”). The emphasis on unrestrained individualism has had two effects: the creation of a huge amount of wealth, and the funneling of it into fewer and fewer hands. Right now the 62 richest people in the world are as wealthy as the bottom half of its population combined. The Thatcher/Reagan fantasy that all this wealth would ‘trickle down’ and enrich everybody else simply hasn’t transpired. In fact the reverse has happened: the real wages of most people have been in decline for at least two decades, while at the same time their prospects – and the prospects for their children – look dimmer and dimmer. No wonder people are angry, and turning away from business-as-usual government for solutions. When governments pay most attention to whoever has most money, the huge wealth inequalities we now see make a mockery of the idea of democracy. As George Monbiot said: “The pen may be mightier than the sword, but the purse is mightier than the pen”.

Last year people started waking up to this. A lot of them, in their anger, grabbed the nearest Trump-like object and hit the Establishment over the head with it. But those were just the most conspicuous, media-tasty awakenings. Meanwhile there’s been a quieter but equally powerful stirring: people are rethinking what democracy means, what society means and what we need to do to make them work again. People are thinking hard, and, most importantly, thinking out loud, together. I think we underwent a mass disillusionment in 2016, and finally realised it’s time to jump out of the saucepan.

This is the start of something big. It will involve engagement: not just tweets and likes and swipes, but thoughtful and creative social and political action too. It will involve realising that some things we’ve taken for granted – some semblance of truth in reporting, for example – can no longer be expected for free. If we want good reporting and good analysis, we’ll have to pay for it. That means MONEY: direct financial support for the publications and websites struggling to tell the non-corporate, non-establishment side of the story. In the same way if we want happy and creative children we need to take charge of education, not leave it to ideologues and bottom-liners. If we want social generosity, then we must pay our taxes and get rid of our tax havens. And if we want thoughtful politicians, we should stop supporting merely charismatic ones.

Inequality eats away at the heart of a society, breeding disdain, resentment, envy, suspicion, bullying, arrogance and callousness. If we want any decent kind of future we have to push away from that, and I think we’re starting to.

There’s so much to do, so many possibilities. 2017 should be a surprising year.

– Brian


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Marriage Equality – Let’s Call It What It Is

By DANA MARTIN

We need a frank and intelligent national education program about Marriage Equality. Too many politicians and media identities, loosely call it by other definitions. E.g. ‘Same Sex Marriage’, and ‘Gay Marriage’. Neither of these are representative of the complete issue, nor do they include all of the people affected by this legislation.

Ignorance and Sensationalism

            LGBTI. ‘Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Intersex’ Gay is for men, they aren’t lesbians.  Lesbian is for women, they aren’t gays.  My belief is that if you talk about gays, you are talking about men. Given the wide spread acceptance and usage of the acronym LGBTI, one might expect to hear terminology like ‘Lesbian Marriage’ or ‘Transgender Marriage’ but we haven’t. Why?

I believe there are two main reasons.

ONE: Ignorance. People who don’t care and are un-informed, are not interested, they are not involved, it doesn’t affect them or anybody they know, so in essence they are just plain unthinking about it, and they say the first ‘label’ that comes to them. It’s unemotional ignorance.

TWO: Sensationalism. People who have a negative opinion regarding the equalling of marriage rights for all adults, use ‘Same Sex’ marriage, or the singular ‘Gay’ marriage if they really want to vilify LGBTI people and inflame a conversation. This group includes politicians of the ‘negative persuasion’ amongst others such as religious groups. The media also use these terms loosely, one can only assume it is because they are either lazy, or because they are deliberately publishing sensationalistic (albeit) hurtful journalism. A blatantly deliberate insult to the LGBTI Community. The general media should know better.

Blatantly inflammatory terminology, playing on the fears and prejudices of what surveys & polls tell us are the minority of Australians.

            The term ‘Gay Marriage’ is particularly dangerous language. Homophobic people conjure up two gay men only. We need an education program to inform the straight community that there are more people involved than just gays. We the Australian community need to and have to, break down these perceptions. It is curious that politicians, but particularly journalists, would use this blatantly inflammatory terminology, playing on the fears and prejudices of what surveys & polls tell us are the minority of Australians.

LGBTI people add an enormous richness, colour and variety to our country. It’d be a boring old place if you took away all the people who identify as LGBTI. Many straight Australians would be surprised to see who they are and just how many there are. We are integrated into all facets of Australian life, and estimated to be more than 10% of the population.

It is offensive to hear conversations about our personal private lives, almost like we are cattle. Like we are lesser humans with lesser rights. We are equal humans who are not breaking any Australian law. All we want is the right to marry our life partner same as anyone else.

It seems to be all about ‘Same Sex’ or ‘Gay’ couples. There is total absence of consideration of Transgender and Intersex people.

A frank and intelligent educational discussion starts with using the accurate terminology of ‘Equal Marriage Rights’. That covers us all. All adult people! So far in our parliament and the media there has been a total absence of consideration of Transgender and Intersex people. It seems to be all about ‘Same Sex’ or ‘Gay’ couples. The whole issue is discriminatory but particularly against Trans and Intersex people, who have been left out of the conversation so far.

When Intersex and Transgender people are in a heterosexual type relationship, they often don’t appear to be same sex couples anyway. Many are quietly accepted in their community as de-facto couples without fuss. However birth certificates don’t always reflect a straight forward representation of who they have established themselves to be in society and marriage remains prohibitive for senseless reasons.

Consider the case of a young, very feminine pre-operative Transwoman who cannot marry her man because she is deemed to be a man herself, an utterly absurd situation in this day & age. Also many transpeople remain stuck between genders because the gender reassignment operation costs many tens of thousands of dollars. It ain’t free y’know. It’s not on public system! Many transpeople would choose to have surgery but simply can’t afford it. Conversely it is extremely invasive and dramatic surgery. It’s serious stuff, and is not necessarily what every transgender wants, or can even afford to go through, however, because in Australia you can’t change the gender on your birth certificate without an operation, it means many thousands of transpeople are caught between the genders. How is that fair?

It is not a lifestyle choice!

            Transgender isn’t a ‘life style choice’ as some ignorant people would have you believe. One must ask how someone un-afflicted by gender dysphoria actually knows that? How can they say that with any accuracy? It is an ignorant & bigoted opinion at best. I ask you, why anyone would deliberately choose a life of discrimination, especially the way we are experiencing it currently. Life is difficult for transpeople, in ways that straights, even lesbians and gays haven’t considered, and can’t imagine.

Consider that an Intersex person can be for all the world like a male, and have lived their whole life as a male, but a mix up at birth means they have female on their birth certificate, or visa versa. It isn’t their fault. A doctor makes a mistake declaring the baby’s gender at birth because the genital appearance is ambiguous, and their real gender may not be detected until puberty. There can be many complications at the birth of an Intersex person.

Also unrepresented by current conversations is elderly couples of same gender, who may have been living together as a couple for years, in my case about 15 years, that’s longer than a great many ‘straight’ marriages. As we get older and are challenged by health issues, it would be a huge advantage to get married and automatically have the next of kin rights as any other couple. Yes we can arrange for alternative type health directives and have things written in a will, but that only covers some things which are still challenge-able in court, while marriage will give us all encompassing benefits in one easy process while we are still alive, just like the rest of you. There is nothing wrong with, or sleazy about, two older women living together and supporting each other in old age, looking after each other. It is companionship the way women have been doing it for centuries.

We need to educate the general population.

            Currently the marriage act blatantly discriminates against both Transgender and Intersex people. The terminology being used in the public conversation isn’t helping the common heterosexual person to understand this. We need to educate the general population. There are as many as 100,000 Australian Trans and Intersex people, (conservative estimate of 0.5% of population) who could be affected by the ‘gender requirements’ of the marriage act.

I have found that, once you point out to a reasonable person, the total unfairness of the common inappropriate terminology currently being used, they are happy to change their own thinking and speech, to call it what it is, ‘Equal Marriage Rights’.

Dana Martin