Tag Archives: activism

Pride: Gavin Grimm | My Trans Hero

Gavin_Grimm

Pride has fully kicked off here in London, and with that I have created this illustration as an ode to one of the most inspiring and tenacious young men to have taken on the US judicial system. Gavin Grimm is a 19-year-old from Virginia, who came out as transgender to his fellow classmates at 15. The school he attended had allowed him to use the male bathrooms, however revoked this right after an uproar of complaints from “disgusted” parents.
What should have been a private and intimate discussion for a child, turned into a worldwide spectacle. As a child, Gavin had to stand in front of his peers, teachers and the court to fight for his right to use a bathroom. A CHILD. Gavin sued his district for violating the Title IX (US Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination “on the basis of sex” in education) and was immediately thrust into the spotlight as the face of bathroom rights for trans* people. Two years later in 2016, a 2-1 decision marked the first time a federal court had ruled that Title IX protects transgender individuals and their right to use the bathroom that aligns with their identity.

The battle continued as a district court initially ruled against Gavin, but was ordered to review its ruling after the Obama administration issued a guidance advising public schools to let trans* students to use whichever bathrooms they like. The case entered the Supreme Court but was quickly suspended as the Trump administration withdrew the previous guidance on bathroom use, therefore sending the case back to the lower courts.
Fast forward to May 2018 where the case has been revived and could end up making lasting changes to transgender rights in America. The school requested to dismiss Gavin’s case, but a Virginia court has rejected this request as US district judge Arenda Wright Allen’s refused to throw out his case, even suggesting that Gavin might win:

As Mr. Grimm contends, attempting to draw lines based on physiological and anatomical characteristics proves unmanageable: how would the Board’s policy apply to individuals who have had genital surgery, individuals whose genitals were injured in an accident, or those with intersex traits who have genital characteristics that are neither typically male nor female?

Gavin graduated from high school in 2017, but has continued to fight this battle, leaving behind a legacy of transgender activism. From the moment I heard his story, his determination and perseverance stunned me. Children should not be forced to grow up so quickly, nor should they be forced to justify their existence to a court, and to the rest of the world. Gavin is a true American hero and has pathed the way for transgender rights.

Gavin is what makes me proud to be a part of Pride.

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Tinder: Introducing More Genders

Everyone is welcome on Tinder.
Introducing more genders on Tinder, an update allowing users to express their gender identity. Tinder asked transgender and GNC (Gender Non-Conforming) activists to share their dating experiences, on and off the app, to help shape the creation of this update.
Be vulnerable. Be open. Be honest.

I can’t say I’m the biggest fan of dating apps – whilst I know lots of people who’ve started successful relationships and friendships by meeting through dating apps, the dating culture of the 21st century appears, to me, seems to be incredibly shallow and sexualised. Whilst the app has been a great way to meet your match, it has also become a haven of hate, abuse and even led to real-life attacks (e.g. the viral gay-bashing videos in Russia). However, I’m impressed with Tinder’s recent update – they have genuinely listened to their consumers (past and present) and have added loads of options for gender non-conforming app users. Whilst they previously had just ‘male’ and ‘female’, CEO Sean Rad realised that gender has a spectrum far greater than just two socially constructed categories.

Sean Rad (CEO of Tinder) said:

About six months ago, we really realised there was a big issue with harassment toward transgender people. Our immediate reaction was this is unacceptable we’re going to squash this. As we went on this journey, we started peeling back the orange and realised it was a complex issue.

After the uproar regarding users reporting (and therefore banning) trans* Tinder users on the app, Rad decided to seek help from a community of influencers, activists and people from organisations like GLAAD to make the app more inclusive and reflective of society today.

I approve!

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Milan Vayntrub: A Creative Force for Good

What a fantastic career! Below are my favorite parts of the article…

milana-covers-tetraptych-03-2016

Do you think activism and creativity are becoming more intertwined? Is there more of a relationship between things that people view as entertainment and as activism?
People are really waking up to a global responsibility, especially our generation, and I think the internet has a big part in it. I think it’s maybe just a time of so much strife in the world that it’s hard to ignore. Then there are brilliant comedians that make it something digestible but also infuriating. So yeah, I think entertainment and activism go very much hand in hand. Though I don’t want to say it’s an entertainer’s responsibility to also be an activist. I don’t even really think of myself as an activist. I just feel very passionate about these people who are going through a hard time.

And part of getting ahead in the entertainment world is now about your social currency, too.
I think about that a lot. When I started to get a backlash for my opinions, I looked at what other women and men in the industry that I respect are doing. Some of them are big philanthropists and quiet on social media [about it]. Their social media is about their product, and their product is them, and so they post their selfies and their behind-the-scenes pics and people like it and love it and they build their audience and they book their work and then they donate quietly, and that is really cool. Then there are other people I respect like Macklemore, who uses his voice constantly to try to make change in the world, and that’s really brave and scary, and I respect that, too. I don’t know which one I should be doing because it fucks me up to have to have those conversations. And I do, I engage with those people on Twitter, and I don’t know if that’s the right thing to do.

Also, it’s so cocky of me to think that I could change anyone’s mind, but I can’t do nothing. How am I not supposed to talk to these 100,000 people about something that’s tearing me up today? How am I supposed to act like it’s not happening? How am I supposed to post my happy selfie today when I’m actually really distraught about the murder that’s happening in the world? Maybe I should. Maybe this will be the downfall of my career if people stop following me and studios don’t want to be involved with someone this controversial—not that I am controversial in any way—I don’t know what is the right move or the more advisable career move, but life is long and complicated and you’ve got to do what you feel is right.

[quotes and image from adweek]

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