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Berkeley Citizens Cis Fail

January 21, 2011

[Trigger Warning for trans-misogyny and transphobia]

Berkeleyside, a blog about all things Berkeley, recently posted about the city council’s upcoming vote on whether or not it will pay for $20,000 worth of what they call “sex change surgery” for employees per year. I (and they) say plural “employees,” but anyone in the know about trans issues knows that’s not much when it comes to what trans-related surgeries can cost. The restrictions that apply are that the employee in question has “successfully lived and worked within the desired gender role full time for at least 12 months (real life experience) without returning to the original gender,” has worked for the city for at least a year, has at least a year on hormones, and – get this – is an “active participant in a gender identity program.”

The main reason anyone who’s not cissexist should be pissed reading this is is how ridiculous the full requirements are. People have to be in a gender identity program, after a full YEAR of hormones already, to be eligible? What? That is so unnecessary and degrading to force as a requirement. Or, hey, even ignorant cis people could be happy that the surgery money is being considered, period.

But no. You know why? Because, while safer than many places, Berkeley is not the “perfect liberal, bigot-free heaven” that so many people paint it as.

The first post about the vote started the comment war with, for the most part, team cis (aka budget derail) vs. me and a few others. Examples:

The problem is that $20K in new or “found” money will be going to one person, versus, say, summer school for 50 pre-schoolers.

If any of those pre-schoolers end up being trans, trust me, they would rather have this than a few days in the sand box. If there was a way for more cis people to truly understand the ramifications of being transgender, anyone with the least bit of compassion would prefer this as well.

Put this together with the article about the unfunded liability audit…and I think my head will explode. I mean – really?

Actually doing something that acknowledges trans peoples existence? Mind. Blown.

Big question is after their city paid for sex change what bathroom would they be using while enjoying their city paid YMCA membership

That’s not a big question. They would use the bathroom of whatever gender they are.

To be in the “in crowd” in Berkeley one must be very poor, very rich, disabled, or nuts.

Damn, I’m disabled and apparently “nuts” (since the DSM still has transsexuality as a mental illness!) – why don’t I get invited to all the cool parties?

How unconnected to reality can one get? This is an insulting proposition at a time when many of the councilors’ constituents cannot even afford BASIC health care.

Yeah, it’s not like gender is a super basic aspect (that cis people completely take for granted) in how one is perceived in society or anything!

Even cushy employer-provided insurance almost never provides this as a benefit.

Transphobia is ingrained at every level of society? Imagine that!

So, if we don’t pay this, does the employee turn into Buffalo Bill and go on a rampage?

Fuck. You. And fuck Silence of the Lambs for that as well.

There are people starving in Peoples Park, California, the US and of course, the world.

Social vigilance fueled by… transphobia? You’re doing it wrong.

If its that important to them, then they can pay for it themselves.

And obviously if they had the money, they would.

Comments on the second post continued with more of the same:

What are they going to do to ensure that transgendered individuals don’t get city jobs in order to get free gender reassignment surgery and then quit as soon as they’re done?

I don’t think you understand how difficult it is for transgender people to get jobs in this transphobic society. Or, shit, for anyone, trans or not, to get a well-paying job in this economy. Who would want to leave that? Also, you know how we could solve your concern? If America woke up and started providing all trans people with the medical care they need.

I like how the Transgender people can:
1) plea that they are normal people with normal problems in normal discourse
2) claim a handicap when they need to filch the money

We wouldn’t NEED to “claim a handicap” as you put it if you didn’t put us in that position by refusing to listen to #1 and treat us accordingly.

you have the choice to educate, or to berate.

One leads to better understanding of the issue you’re talking about, and the other makes you look like an uptight busy-body who’s hell-bent on making everybody else conform to your world view.

(Said from a cis to a transgender person.) Yes, it’s transgender people who are uptight and hell-bent on making everyone else conform to their world view. Not cis people or anything. It’s not like trans women are the ones getting murdered. It’s not like transgender people are the ones considered not conforming to THE world’s views. Hmm…

As for the “T” word — for heaven’s sake, person, if people don’t know it’s a slur EDUCATE them, that is part of your duty as a transgender person, unless of course you enjoy allowing it to happen so you can say, “see, everyone hates us!” The angrier you get, the more you spit out pointless attacks on others, the more people will simply dislike you and not feel in any way supportive of you or take you seriously.

Yikes. File under “definition of cis fail.” Because, you know, I just love seeing people being trans-misogynistic and just plain transphobic. Good to know that people will not care about transgender causes if they see a (rightfully) angry transgender person! What big hearts y’all have!


Anyone reading this who supports trans rights, please e-mail Berkeley city council representatives and ask them to vote to set aside $20,000 per year for trans surgeries – here are their emails:

Councilmember Linda Maio:

Councilmember Darryl Moore:

Councilmember Maxwell Anderson:

Councilmember Laurie Capitelli:

Councilmember Kriss Worthington:

Councilmember Gordon Wozniak:


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