11/22/10

Drag queen "Miss Kimberly" Parties it up at the 2010 London TDOR with a rendition of "I'm a tranny"

Drag queen "Miss Kimberly", pictured right, regaled the London 2010 TDOR with a rendition of 'I'm a woman' substituting 'tranny' for 'woman'.

Helen G at the UK based blog "Bird of Paradox" seemed to be incensed, as were as she reported, many transgender people in attendance at the vigil. In a post about the 2010 TDOR Bird of Paradox she writes
"The use of the t-word last night by the singer at the London TDoR vigil was, in my opinion, both inappropriate and insensitive. Further, to expect all those of us attending the vigil to happily join in with the singalong as though we were partying at a nightclub, was either jaw-droppingly naive or deliberately provocative."

Why should Helen Boyd be surprised that the 2010 TDOR was desecrated by this man? The attendees weren't upset when he did the same song at the 2009 TDOR. Judging by the laughter of the men room such at the 2009 TDOR like J Jaiden Geirrsson's they thought he was a riot.



The 2010 London TDOR was a party laughing it up as a cisgender man who while performing drag makes a mockery of trans folk.

Where is the spine of London's transgender community? Why is the London Trans community complacent, complicit and silent about this atrocity?

Why has the London TDOR become a drag show? The only things missing from making the London transgender Day of Remembrance a complete insult to our dead was a strip stage, pole and drinks.

Or maybe the London transgender community will reclaim the 2011 TDOR and hold a event respectful of not just the living, but the dead as well.

Up dated November 25 2010.
Corrections.
Misgendering in title.
Clarification of Miss Kimberly's gender to "cisgender man".
Helen Boyd incorrectly identified as 'Bird of Paradox' author.

37 comments:

Jennie Kermode said...

Trans Media Watch (which isn't actually London based but has volunteer staff working across the UK) has a very specific remit which does not extend to events of this type. We simply don't have the resources to take on everything. We do, however, issue clear guidelines to press and broadcasters emphasising the problems with the word in question, and we are doing ongoing proactive work in this area.

Kelli Anne Busey said...

My apologies Jennie, responding to transgressions such as this is outside of the Trans Media Watch's mission. As soon as I posted that on your wall I edited it.

My outrage is with the transgender community in London which has allowed the desecration of their TDOR for at least two years.

J said...

I would ask you, respectfully, to remove any reference to myself (including the picture which you have taken from my Last.Fm account), from this Blog. This section: 'Judging by the laughter of the men room such at the 2009 TDOR like J Jaiden Geirrsson's they thought he was a riot.'

It seems we have very differing opinions on what empowers and heals. Not open for discussing this with you, it will only lead to an argument, and nothing will get done.

Thank you, and I am sorry you found the service not to your liking.


J. G.

It's Your Ears said...

Americans and Britons have radically different senses of humour, particularly when it comes to self-deprecation. Personally I suggest it's very important to take cultural differences into account here.

Also, J Jaiden Geirsson is 18 years old, and puts his own personal privacy at stake in the hope of providing education and raising awareness of trans issues in wider society. I see no justification for your specifically naming him in this article, and I consider it profoundly unjust to pillory someone like that for a moment of relaxation, particularly at the long end of a day as emotive and difficult for any trans person as TDoR.

Roz said...

How dare you defame and misgender Mzz Kimberley whatever your views on her song? And your attack on London TDOR is a disgraceful piece of US imperialism.

Speaking as one of the poets who read at the ceremony, I thought it was beautiful and sombre. The performance at the end was a much-needed lightening of the mood. We are not accountable to you.

Perhaps you might usefully accept the fact that not every trans activist in the world agrees with you about everything.

You are not - as they say -the boss of me, or of the London community.

Kelli Anne Busey said...

J.G. I see your post telling Miss Kimberly is no longer on her page. I have a screen shot and no I will not remove the refrence to you. What you say on Facebook is public.

If you aren't proud of your applauding Miss Kimberly 2009 performance of 'I'm a tranny' and asking her to appear again, you should not have posted it in the first place.

As far as your picture, you have a link on your facebook page to it.

You must understand trans people will not lay down for you misogyny and you will be held accountable.

IT ain't pretty and I'm not looking for enemies but dang burn it, I am SICK and TIRED of men berating, marginalizing and belittling us so the post stays as it is.

halfpintjack said...

Why are you misgendering Mzz Kimberly? How on EARTH is this acceptable in your universe? How is calling her performance "an atrocity" okay? TDoR is mourning REAL atrocities.

I wasn't at TDoR 2010 in London, but I was at the 2009 one. I wasn't comfortable with Mzz Kimberly's use of the word "tranny" then, and I think is something that the UK community can validly discuss. Note I say the *UK community*, who have our own struggles and cultural issues - this is NOT something for an American outsider to lay down the law about.

BUT I am not prepared to say Mzz Kimberley cannot use it, or that she has to conform to someone else's idea of what a trans person is like. Describing her as "a man making fun of trans folk" is utterly disgusting.

Furthermore, speaking to your characterisation of London TDoR as "a drag show" and "a riot" and "an insult to our dead": at London TDoR 2009 when Mzz Kimberley performed, unlike many TDoR events worldwide many of us that year were mourning *people we knew* who had been murdered that year. Friends, members of our UK trans community. I myself had lost a friend to murder that year.

How DARE you say that we were insulting our dead? How DARE you tell us how to mourn our beloved friends? How DARE you describe our grief as "an atrocity"? Cast out the beam in your own damn eye before you get to removing the mote in ours.

Lucy said...

Bird of Paradox is owned by Helen G, not Helen Boyd.

chaosblue said...

I'm a little confused. Miss Kimberly is a female, so why do you keep referring to her as a man? Isn't the whole point of fighting for freedom of gender expression allowing someone to identify as who they want to be, whether or not you agree with them over, say, their usage of a word some people find distasteful? It's kind of hard to take your tantrum seriously when you arbitrarily deny someone the right to their gender just because you're pissed, while at the same time demanding that everyone acknowledge yours.

Also, if you're outraged by the sight of people finding ways to celebrate in the face of oppression via a bit of sass and attitude, then get off the internet before you give yourself an aneurysm, and for the love of GOD don't study other oppressed people and how they used art (which included a lot of wry, self-referential humor) to build their spirits and overcome!

stampax said...

YOUR hateful transphobic language, deliberate misgendering, misappropriating and misidentifying of trans* people bears all the hallmarks of the "Gay Inc" misogyny you claim to lobby against.

I won't passively accept this intergenerational bullying and hurtful fingerpointing of young trans* people, please remove the photograph of Jaiden from your blog and correct the deliberate misgendering of my friends, you have no right to use trans* people to make cheap political points which HURT all of us.

Please remove the photograph of Jaiden (ze is a vulnerable young trans person and you have chosen to publish his full name and clearly identifying photograph like REDWATCH fascist group).

Please correct the misgendering of both Jaiden and Mzz Kimberley.

The imperialism of "you can/can't say this", "you can/can't do this" and "you can/can't be this" only underlines your lack of credibility and how out of touch you are with the Trans* Queer Intersex Communities in the UK - not to mention stalking vulnerable young trans people online as credibility void and a half, private facebook conversations are not "news" or "journalism" for bloggers, sort it out.

earwicga said...

What a horrible article. Horribly petty.

Especially when the words above it in the header say 'A place for everyone. No exceptions.'

And misgendering as well. Gah!

halfpintjack said...

Also, the reference here to "a strip stage, pole and drinks" seems horribly inappropriate given the cis media's automatic characterisation of murdered trans people as sex workers.

Kelli Anne Busey said...

A place for everyone no exceptions does not imply I beleive trans people can be desecrated everywhere at anytime.

That song was so completely inappropriate for any TDOR. according TO s surveys we just completed of all trans people across all borders, you JUST offended and alienated over 75% of the trans community.

That makes this TDOR exclusionary and damaging to trans people.

Strip bars, poles and alcohol are the mainstay of drag shows. It's reality they do it for money. Ths person, a drag queen performs her commercial trademark song 'I'm a tranny' at a TDOR and YOU call me inappropriate?!?.

halfpintjack said...

Misgendering is ALWAYS inappropriate, Kelli Anne. I see in your last comment you referred to Mzz Kimberly with correct pronouns - are you now going to edit your post and publicly apologise to her for your transphobic abuse of her??

halfpintjack said...

Also:

"according TO s surveys we just completed of all trans people across all borders"

So you surveyed ALL trans people? Strange, my survey seems to have gone missing in the post... Somehow I am sceptical of this claim to have surveyed ALL trans people across ALL borders. Please, do share your data with us.

christina said...

Kelly, I'm sorry but you have got this all wrong and so has Helen G aka Bird of Paradox. I was one of the readers of the names at the London TDOR event. At times i was overcome with grief and could hardly read the names, particularly when I had to read out the name of a 16 year old baby who was beaten to death for 'not acting like a boy'.

Miss Kimberley was very honest and open about her own experiences of transitioning before she sang that song. She made it clear that, as a sassy African American Trans Woman of colour, she was not going to take transphobia lying down. He defiant and powerful adaptation of Peggy Lee's 'Woman', substituting the letters "T R A N N Y' in the chorus was a very powerful and uplifting end to an otherwise distressing event. Contrary to Helen aka Bird of Paradox's version of events, nearly everybody in the lecture hall spontaneously clapped, smiled, stamped their feet and cheered during this song. Some even sang along.

No doubt, Helen felt uncomfortable, but I cannot help but wonder whether that was in part due to the recent debate about the use of the word Tranny on the blogosphere. The line was drawn in the sand and bloggers took up their positions, but the rest of us got on with our lives unaware. Helen says that the song was 'either naive or deliberately provocative'. It was neither.

Newsflash! Miss Kimberley and the rest of us don't read your blogs - we are clever and sassy enough to make up our own minds about trans politics and we say Get Your Hands Off Our Identities.

It is up to each individual trans person to decide how they identify and if one of my sisters wants to reclaim the word tranny, or queer or any insult she might have been taunted with, then I am going to stand behind her in solidarity.

How dare you call Kimmy a man just because you don't agree with her reclaiming a pejorative. You weren't even there so how do you have the chutpah to criticise? Get off your high horse and stop beating on fellow trans women who face enough trouble in their own lives without you misgendering them from across the Atlantic.

Lisa Harney said...

Okay, wow:

Misgendering Miss Kimberly is completely out of line and it is disappointing that a trans person would use this line of attack against another trans person. I don't care about your personal feelings about the word she used in her song, but this is not cool in the least. Your Facebook fan page is even more gross.

Whatever the trans community in London feels about this, I am sure that they will deal with it in the coming years of TDOR events.

The woman who writes Bird of Paradox is Helen BoP, not Helen Boyd.

Roz said...

However, since you seem to believe yourself entitled to decide who is and who is not part of the trans community, the rest of us will have to subject the methodology of any poll to serious scrutiny.

It's also quite remarkable that you think this is an issue which can be settled by a show of hands anyway - especially since, according to your figures, a quarter of the community disagrees with you. Or are you going to solve that problem by misgendering the rest of us?

Quite a lot of us are not very keen on the word without feeling mortally wounded by it.

And there are worse things than the pursuit of hard cash - the pursuit of fame and power by trashing other people being a good example.

Rose Fox said...

"according TO s surveys we just completed of all trans people across all borders"

Wow, that must be a really massive collection of data! I mean, millions of people! I had no idea it was possible to poll any group with 100% response rates, especially an international group of which some significant percentage are closeted.

When you're done polling all trans people everywhere about whether they find a song outrageous, can you use this miraculous technology to inquire about, I don't know, something important like the prevalence of suicidal depression or other health problems, or incidences of lost jobs or estranged family due to coming out as trans? I'm sure there are lots of scientists who would love access to your polling strategies, too. This could be revolutionary!

transactivist said...

Dear God. Kelli Anne Busey - you are full of bigotry towards other trans people. Back off and have some respect for Mzz Kimberley and Jaiden: you're making all kinds of incorrect assumptions about both of them. They have every right to be at a TDOR vigil, and both contribute a great deal to our community.

Ian Shuttleworth said...

Well, hopefully we can all learn something from this. Namely, that sanctimonious bigotry, shrill prescriptivism and rank hypocrisy aren't the sole preserve of the religious and/or straight worlds.

earwicga said...

Kelli Anne, I owe you an apology. When I read the post bleary eyed this morning I thought you were taking issue with Helen's criticisms. It's clear you are not.

Natacha said...

Utterly ridiculous Kelli! You have deliberately misgendered Miss Kimberly who is a person lives her life as a woman. That is one of the worst kinds of transphobia.

Yes I said it TRANSPHOBIA!

This is just as bad as the religious nutters and the Janice Raymonds out there.

You were not there, you didn't experience what it was like there and yet you have taken the word of one person out of 100. But all the way from America you see fit to pass judgement. I have fought against transphobia and held Stonewall to account twice for transphobia including transphobic language, I was one of the people in the ceremony who stood and read out the names of those who had been murdered, it took me all my mental strength not to break down, especially when reading out the name of a 16-year-old who was murdered this year. I have done a lot of public speaking and this was by far the most difficult. Yet one thing which became clear to me from reading the list was how many places were not included on the list. The 179 names included none from places like China, Russia, Mongolia, Eastern Europe, the middle East or Africa, yet I refuse to believe there have not been any transphobic murders there. This list was the tip of the iceberg.

And it represents one of the huge number of more pressing issues than one word, which also include the planned reduction of medical care for trans people in the UK, the discrimination against trans children by schools, problems with housing for young trans people in the UK which will be made worse by government policy, and the fact that the UN has just voted to accept that being gay (and by implication in most cultures, trans) is a valid reason to be executed.

And YOU are worried about a transgender person performing at TDoR using the T-word about herself! I took part in the ceremony, I wept bitterly after reading the names, I didn't think Miss Kimberly's performance was out of place at all. Indeed it helped us all recover after a particularly sombre and moving part of the ceremony. It was exactly what we needed; a reminder that we are a diverse community and that we should celebrate who we are.

I really take exception to you describing her as a man. Absolutely awful. By doing this you are effectively trying to split the trans community at a time when we need solidarity.

Your survey talks about 75% of trans people worldwide etc...

Well 100% of trans people I know, and that includes a lot of people around the world including the United States, are against the deliberate misgendering you indulged in.

You have really messed up here. You are effectively saying that the only way to be trans is the way YOU dictate and the only way to have a TDoR ceremony is the way YOUR culture demands. I am sometimes proud but often ashamed to be half American with its mindless cultural imperialism, but at no time more ashamed than now. Get a passport, travel a bit, see the world, understand different cultures. Europeans have a different culture from you. You may be able to bully other trans communities around the world but you will impose your cultural imperialism on the trans community in London over my dead body.

Lucy said...

You have yet to change your blog post so I assume you're standing by your awful misgendering and hyperbolic use of the term "atrocity" about an event dedicated to remembering actual atrocities. Any valid point you may have about the inappropriateness of the song is drowned out by the horribleness of your words.

Josh Minor said...

Could you provide a copy of this research please? I'd be happy to pay for postage if need be.

Certainly research on all trans people over every border would be incredibly useful. You forgot a few in the UK though, just so you know.

Also as a trans man who spent 22 years living as a woman, I find your characterisation of all men a little general.

Can you find, with your amazing research skills, any attendee of the London TDoR who found Miss Kimberlys performance inappropriate or offensive? Furthermore, when you call her act a drag act, I take it you have evidence to back that up? Your not just being rude?

Barbara Bush said...

Miss Kimberley Is one of the most amazing and inspirational transgendered girl's I know. She is amazing and has sung "Im A Tranny" in front of many transgendered woman who have all loved it.

I feel you obviously have NO sense of humor. Laughter is the best remedy for anything and in the video posted everyone seems to be applauding and laughing along with Miss K.

I find it offensive you calling her a drag queen when she is clearly not. You should be ashamed of yourself for being so judgmental of a well established transgendered woman. I feel you come across very bitter in your blog.

Regards
Barbara Bush

jpw said...

There is hardly any point in arguing with you as you seem so desperately intent on insulting Mzz Kimberley by insisting she's a drag queen, and on belittling us and our grief by saying that we are not supposed to celebrate and mourn our friends as we feel fit. But I'm going to throw in a small argument anyway. Because that's just me.
In my opinion Mzz Kimberley breaks open the taboo with her rendition of the song, creating some breathing space, some air, and making it possible for people to feel that they are able to talk about the topic of transgenderism. Ultimately leading to more understanding of the topic and less aggression and violence.
Although this gives the song meaning and importance to me and many others, I respect the fact that it doesn't seem fit to you to be sang at this occasion in particular. But that doesn't give you the right to show as little respect in return. That's wrong and narrow minded. But that's just me.

Valkrysa said...

Forgive my lack of knowledge on this individual, but is this Miss Kimberly a drag queen or am I just mistaken?

Your blog post seems to have received quite a bit of negative attention and part of it is said to be because of misgendering. If this person is in fact not a drag queen and is a woman then it is true that calling her a man is wrong. However from what internet searches I performed I repeatedly found information that seemed to confirm that this individual is likely a male and indeed most assuredly a drag queen.

Now, obviously while 'on the job' you would be rude to refer to this Miss Kimberly as a man but as the show is over is it not fair to refer to this person as anything other than a stage name and or persona? The information I was able to find on this person, which seemed to be approved by them, referred to them as a "female impersonator", in this case of only impersonating a female (and indications also do not point to a gender neutral identity having been legally and/or omni-socially assumed) is it not at least semi-understandable that the blogger would use male pronouns?

Now with that bit said, and assuming they are indeed a drag queen, this performance does seem a tad inappropriate and the bloggers displeasure seems justifiable or at least explainable.

In either case I am a reader or this publication and will continue to be so.

Helen G said...

http://www.birdofparadox.net/blog/?p=9180

MadPriest said...

In England, our drag artists throughout history, have done more to lessen both transphobia and homophobia among the general population than any political campaign. On the whole, the English respect the "in yer face" attitude of those transgender and gay people who, in public, have refused to pretend to be other than who they really are. This means that the use of the word "tranny," in England, is a statement of resistance on par with the word "queer" by members of the gay community. To an extent, Kelli, you are trying to project the American experience onto the English experience and then imposing your "cure" onto us, when perhaps we don't need to be cured.

There is also a more controversial aspect to this debate. The trans umbrella used to cover a very wide range of gender identities. We are in danger of making it exclusive to only those who identify themselves, mentally and physically, as "real" women, and becoming the same as those gays who have tried to gain "acceptance" by distancing themselves from the "T" in LGBT. But many transgender folk either do not want to be exactly the same as women or are resigned to, even comfortable with, the fact that, at present, all cosmetic attempts to be so are just illusions. They regard themselves as something else and can be quite bolshie about it. To them, words such as "tranny" can be empowering as they give identity. Until, the transgender community comes up with better terminology then, In England, at least, we are not going to get as uptight as you wish over its usage.

T!tu$ Al0n3 said...

Why is it so difficult to understand that there are *two* (at least) Helens blogging about (amongst other stuff) trans issues? It would surely take you moments to look on the blog you're quoting and discover that Helen is *not* Helen of Boyd (a US cis woman iirc). Really, if you do nothing else can you at the very least apologise to Helen for not bothering to find out who she is?!

zomqueerzom said...

I agree with Roz- I was at the TDOR ceremony (as I have for the past 3 years)- and it was a solemn moving ceremony, which included some harrowing moments during the reading of names.

The music was appropriate, we had some lovely piano music to bring us in, and after the readings and candles.

Mzz Kimberly came down from the back of the auditorium in her finest black, and sang three songs- 'When you're good to Momma' which broke the tension in the room- and brought smiles to most of the audience- then 'I'm Changing' from Dreamgirls - which again moved the room. She then finished with 'I'm a Tranny' which became a sing-a-long as many in the room took it as a point of pride, and joined in a universal cry of visibility and power.

I can understand that some people find terms pejorative, but you can't stop others from reclaiming words.

Dr J
AbsolutQueer

zomqueerzom said...

I agree with Roz- I was at the TDOR ceremony (as I have for the past 3 years)- and it was a solemn moving ceremony, which included some harrowing moments during the reading of names.

The music was appropriate, we had some lovely piano music to bring us in, and after the readings and candles.

Mzz Kimberly came down from the back of the auditorium in her finest black, and sang three songs- 'When you're good to Momma' which broke the tension in the room- and brought smiles to most of the audience- then 'I'm Changing' from Dreamgirls - which again moved the room. She then finished with 'I'm a Tranny' which became a sing-a-long as the room took it as a point of pride etc.

I can understand that some people find terms pejorative, but you can't stop others from reclaiming words.

Dr J
AbsolutQueer

Charles CĂ©leste Hutchins said...

Miss Kimberly is a WOMAN, you fuckfaced arsehole. You have been informed of this and chosen not to edit this post. You don't get to say what people's gender is based on how well they conform to your notions of properly gendered behaviour. This is an outrage.

Lisa Harney said...

Well, no doubt browbeating the London TDOR attendees with prescriptive politics will easily sway them to your cause.

Keeping in mind that I hate the word she used in her song, and that I am tired of hearing it used in cis media, I think you are making a big mistake by a) going after the London TDOR attendees like this and b) constantly misgendering Mzz Kimberly.

Yes, Helen (not Boyd) hated it. I think she's well within her rights to say so. I am sure other attendees did not like or were uncomfortable with this and the likelihood of unanimity is pretty low, but I am astounded that you would spend this effort to attack trans people who organized a TDOR event for trans people when we have cis-focused LGBT orgs in the US trying to turn TDOR into a celebration and using it to generate money for themselves that will never benefit a single trans person.

I don't expect you to approve this comment, either, but what you're doing here is really busted, and you really should back off.

Sophia said...

Helen BOYD does not run Bird of Paradox. Helen BOYD is the cis author of My Husband Betty and that other terrible book who makes a career out of speaking for and speaking down to the trans community.

Helen G. is a trans woman from the UK whose analysis of this issue is way better than you've encapsulated here.

Drag queens overlap with transsexual women. Drag queens often have as complicated of a relationship to gender as any other kind of trans person. Drag queens are frequently on the TDOR lists. While I agree with Helen that its use in this context was out of line, so are you in this petty, awful post.

Jesus, what an embarrassment.

jess1703 said...

I think your article is appalling. How dare you speak about Miss Kimberley this way? She is not a 'drag queen' just because she is a performer; she is a proud transexual. By referring to her as a 'he' you are totally contradicting yourself - you say you are fighting for the trans-communities rights, but you are being really transphobic towards her! And I can see from the amount of incorrect information in this piece you obviously have no idea what you are talking about, never mind what you stand for.