art and politics resources   tania hammidi


Where do we go to find justice for the assaults on our clothes, on our bodies, on our psyches? How can we contextualize clothing style and hair discrimination or violence within a framework of human rights, human rights violations? If you start looking at the amount of times style or hair shows up in descriptions of violation, prejudice, injury, you'll see it all over the map.

I've selected *a few* organizations to begin pointing us in directions, one stepping stone to another. FTM International is an international female-to-male social, educational, and political organization dedicated to transgender ftms, pre op / post op/ non op. While dressing and crossing dressing are not, I'm suggesting, transgender issues -- that is, I'm not arguing for masculine or feminine clothing -- we must begin to map out the cross-sections between human rights groups, and multiply locate our rights and desires on these topographies: topographies of ethnic rights (or desires), family rights, feminist rights, sexual rights, sexuality rights (or desires), and gender rights (or desires).

Because of rampant misinformation about what queers are -- gays, lesbians, bis -- and how this may differ from what we (who are "we" by the way? "we" of the west, using western definitions? "we" of the diasporic west, using non-west definintions? and so on).... of what we mean when we use the terms cross-dresser, transgender, transsexual, drag queen, drag king, butch, femme, third sex, and so on (and there are so many I don't know), what we find is an equally rampant conflation of identities: gays with mtf cross dressers (there was a recent article on SWANABAQ doing just this) with perverts or, in specific, child molesters. In short, a host of immorality is blessed upon us, based on visual cues we have no way of controlling. Color you hair green, wary people may suspect the worst of you. Put in a pair of false (or real) breasts, and wary folk get scared, worry you're a sexual pervert, think you're maladjusted. Slip on an ill fitting t shirt and a fashion facists accuse you of failed femininity and ascribe it to your lesbianism.

And worst of all, many will hurt us -- a lot -- for their own misjudgements.

IGLHRC is an international human rights organization deal with hate crimes against gays. Those of you who are full time or engaged activists may know more about IGHRC's politics than myself, some of which may come under suspicion. I do, however, feel that their's is a place to begin to catalogue crimes of the cloth.

Shirin Nesrat is an Iranian artist of high profile these years who's work explicitly deals with representation, the images of Muslim women, violence, and writing on the body.

And several links to two topics not brought up by our authors, the chador and the hijab ....

Read on.....

The Minister said in his inquiry: "For some years the Education Ministry specified the minimum hijab for schoolgirls according to the religious norms and the fatwa by His Eminence the Imam in a circular. Recently the use of chador has been made mandatory for schoolgirls in some parts of the country, and local officials are putting schoolgirls under pressure to wear chador. You are requested to kindly state your viewpoint." (making) (songs)

HIJAB (comprehensive) (comprehensive) (q&a)

Shirin Neshat


FTM International --

IFGE Transgender Tapestry --

1360 Mission St., Suite 200
San Francisco, Ca. 94103
tel 1 415 255 8680
fax 1 415 253 8662

haadis: discuss this issue with other bintelnas readers on the message board

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