I have a feeling that I should post this here, because now that the original link is out in the blogosphere and the backlash is happening, I expect the original thread to be deleted soon. After all, it is easier to TOS the complainants and discussion than to deal with the complaint.
It seems that the good folks at Novartis Pharmaceuticals (or some of them, anyway) have taken issue with the Transgender Day of Remembrance. The original post-er on their message board writes:
"... Are you kidding me? Have we as a company and a nation lost our f*cking minds to allow this sh*t. So tell me, what am I to remember? I am confused. But wait, that's what this day is all about anyway, confusion! Remebrance? I'm certain guys like Patton, Omar Bradley, Schwarzkopf, and for you unread mullaf*kas, Lt. General Chesty Puller, I'm certain they would make certain these homosexual deviants would be made to feel, well, nice, in a pair of lace panties somewhere along the way. When are we as RED BLOODED AMERICANS going to stand up and say "enough of the politically correct horse sh*t" and tell these queers to go straight to hell...."
Transphobic and homophobic follow-ups include comments like the following (Warning: it gets kind of vile. People who aren't normally concerned about trans issues might want to have a look too, though, as the comments aren't particularly trans-specific):
"When are we celebrating Beastiality day or Pediphile day? Afterall, my sexual orentations shouldn't be descriminated against!" ... " Better yet, a national day off to allow sex offenders "a free day" without penalities!!!" ... "I'm just curious as to why a particular group of people would get their own day of the year to celebrate the fact that they put other guy's d*cks in their mouths and asses? Doesn't really seem to me to be something to celebrate, but rather something to make others nauseous. It's freakin' disgusting. I hope you guys enjoy the loads that are shooting on your face on transgender day. Just make sure to wash all of it out of your hair." ... "It is in remeberence of the d*cks they once had" ... "There's a difference between being a woman, and being a eunuch. Which is what you've become. Tell your boyfriend that he's gay, because he's dating another male, who had his private parts mutilated." ... "Well. have a Happy Trany day to [name deleted] Mancow in Nashville Oncology--- Mooooooooooww." ...
Well. And coming from a moderated forum.
There is a similar pattern in most forms of conscious victimization of people, from abuse to murder:
- blame the victim
- construct an ideology in which the victimization is okay
- do away with any empathy for the victim.
In both transphobic and homophobic violence, the victim-blaming is pretty much this: "I panicked when I realized that she had a penis," or "If he has a vagina, he shouldn't be treading in mens' spaces," or "he (or she) came on to me" -- all of which are routinely used to minimize or render irrelevant the murder of a human being, as TDoR shows.
The ideology is the transphobia and homophobia itself.
And society has done a pretty good job of using religion, sarcasm, spin and self-absorption to achieve the third point.
People ask if we really need a Transgender Day of Remembrance, and this illustrates exactly why: the event enables us and our allies to challenge the victim-blaming, challenge the transphobia and re-establish that empathy by telling the stories (or what we know of them) of the victims, and restoring what value we can to their lives.
After all, we're addressing not just the prejudice itself (we wouldn't have enough time to scratch the surface of that in a few-hour event), but what can happen when that prejudice is taken to its most tragic extreme. Ideally, in doing this, we should also look internally at the other prejudices that we also may have (racial, ageism, privilege, bias against sex trade workers, distaste toward others whose transness is not like ours...) and confront that pattern in those contexts, as well.
So if the people of Novartis Pharmaceuticals receive a backlash, they've sort of asked for it. As much as they may try to characterize our response as "exemplary of [our] own bigotry" towards, oh, I don't know, bigotry perhaps, there is a valid reason that people are seriously upset.
Note to Novartis employees: Transgender people generally experience Gender Dysphoria, an incongruence between mind and body that you should be thankful to not have experienced. The most extreme of this is classified as "Gender Identity Disorder" (DSM-IV-TR, although recent studies have pointed to a likely biological component to transsexuality).
The medical community has recognized that aversion therapy drives a person to withdrawal, anti-social behaviour and even suicide, while acceptance and (in the case of transsexuality) transition allows a person to move on into a happy and successful life (also provided other baggage accumulated from coping is also dealt with). That's why the recommended Standards of Care implemented by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) recommends transition and even surgery. Look it up.
Note to Novartis International AG: Should management contact me and demonstrate both an honest apology for the behaviour of its staff and an earnest attempt to educate its staff on the matter, I will be happy to remove the post from my blog and ask Bil to remove it from The Bilerico Project. It may not happen, but hey, the offer is there.
Note to transfolk: We don't need to support this company, should it trivialize such attitudes from its employees. Most trans-related medications do not originate from here -- aside from perhaps some unstated medications in generic forms, I see only Estraderm TTS/ Estraderm MX and Estragest TTS that one might encounter as part of HRT.
Over-the-counter medications include: Triaminic, Theraflu, Lamisil, Benefiber, Nicotinell, Bufferin, Buckley's Cold and Cough Formula, Denavir/Vectavir, Desenex, Excedrin, Ex-Lax, Gas-X, Keri Skin Care products, Maalox, Habitrol, No-doz, Tavist, Vagistat, Doan's pain relief, Lamisil foot care and Comtrex cold and cough. For prescription medications, they've been kind enough to give us an alphabetical listing on their website.
Because we're not interested in abiding or providing support for the pattern of victimization and the hate machine anymore.