Transgender Day of Remembrance

Thanks to an Instagram post by Pink Dot, I find out that today is Transgender Day of Remembrance.

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According to the Human Rights Campaign website,

Transgender Day of Remembrance is an opportunity for communities to come together and remember transgender people, gender-variant individuals, and those perceived to be transgender who have been murdered because of hate.

Its Wikipedia page says of its origin:

Transgender Day of Remembrance was founded in 1999 by Gwendolyn Ann Smith, a transgender woman, to memorialize the murder of transgender woman Rita Hester in Allston, Massachusetts, and it has slowly evolved from the web-based project started by Smith into an international day of action. In 2010, TDoR was observed in over 185 cities throughout more than 20 countries

On that Wikipedia page it is also stated that the Canadian province of Ontario passed the Trans Day of Remembrance Act on 12th December 2017. This officially recognizes TDoR and even requires its Legislative Assembly to hold a moment of silence every year on 20th November.

My respect for Canada just grows and grows. They are truly a progressive and compassionate nation.

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On the Human Rights Campaign website, there is a list of women who were murdered in the past year, Memorializing 2018. There are listed under country, alphabetically, with information like this:

Carolina/Camila Angulo Paredes
Buenos Aires, Argentina
29-Dec-17
shot

or

Unknown Name
Manaus, Brazil
31-Aug-18
stabbed

Shot, Stabbed, Unknown, Stabbed, Decapitated / Dismembered, Beaten, Shot, Shot, Tortured, Unknown, Tortured, Stabbed, Beaten, Stabbed, Shot, Beaten, Throat Cut, Suffocated, Beaten and Hanged, Burned, Run Over by Car, Shot, Shot, Beaten, Strangled / Hanged, Shot, Stabbed, Beaten…

And it goes on and on and on. And that’s just the Memorializing 2018 list.

I can’t help but wonder how many of these sick acts were done in the name of religion, by horribly misguided sick f**ks. Many, I suspect.

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I remember what happened to Sameera Krishnan in Malaysia last year, and looked for her name in the Memorializing 2017 list. And there it was:

Meera
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
23-Feb-17
Victim was shot and stabbed

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The late Sameera Krishnan

Sameera was only 26.

Rest in Peace, brave, beautiful soul.

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I can’t help but think of Aleesha Farhana as well, who passed away on 30th July 2011, also in Malaysia. She was not murdered, but I take this occasion to remember her too. She died of a heart attack, at only 25.

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The late Aleesha Farhana

*al-Fatehah*

According to an article from Malaysian newspaper The Star, Aleesha and even her parents had been subjected to ‘scorn, ridicule, and cruel taunts‘. And like her, ‘an estimated 50,000 transgender people in the country are shunned by society and are often abused.’

To read my post back in 2011 which included something about her, click here.

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Hello beautiful

As a gay man, as any man really, I’ve never given a serious thought to raising a kid. My partner feels the same way. I don’t like children, actually, haha. I mean I don’t dislike them or anything (except when they continuously misbehave in public, in which case I blame the parents who should be controlling them, not the kids themselves as kids don’t know better) but I just don’t care for them, and I definitely never wished to be a parent. When I’m around babies or kids of friends and family, I can stand maybe five minutes of them before thinking, “Okay, I’ve politely acknowledged your kid by smiling and waving at it like I think it’s adorable or something, now, uhhmm get it out of my face, please?

But damn, I just melted looking at these pictures and reading the story on Buzzfeed. I can’t relate to the parenthood urges of these people, who I don’t even know, but I’m just so happy for this couple. Them, and the kid with dads who obviously love her very very much. And the generous surrogate lady (who is married with two kids of her own) who helped to give them such a precious gift. Frankly I would be nervous if I were one of the dads that she would suddenly decide she’s too attached to the kid to let it go.

The special moments were captured by Canadian photographer Lindsay Foster and the dads are BJ Barone and Frank Nelson from Toronto.

According to the Buzzfeed article:

BJ and Frankie were shirtless when they held Milo for the first time because skin-to-skin contact is said to be beneficial to newborn babies.

I’ve never heard of that, and I think it’s just beautiful.

Seth Rogen shows how sexy is done

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Image from The Gaily Grind. Click to go there.

Funny or steamy? Both. I was alternating tittering like a maniac and being quietly turned on as I bit my lower lip and sighed, because Seth Rogen is so damn hot, back hair and all. I hope he’ll never lose weight again, because he’s perfect the way he is in the video above.

With fellow actor James Franco, the 31-year-old Canadian did a hilarious parody of Kanye West’s video for Bound 2, calling theirs Bound 3. The duo was taking time off from the set of the movie they are working on together, The Interview.

The song itself is pretty terrible, which is a pity since I thought it started off rather sweetly. Consider watching it with the audio turned to mute. If you do decide to listen to the song, please be warned that it contains a few lines of explicit lyrics.

First seen via the fantastic Gaybros, where else.

Kanye did the original video for that with his girlfriend Kim Kardashian, causing some controversy because the video was deemed racy. I didn’t bother to catch that one as I’m not a fan. But animalnewyork has uploaded a side-by-side comparison video, which was fun to watch for added laughs.

Again, be warned of the explicit lyrics should you decide to watch it with the audio on.

Related:

Andrew Huang

Caught this video via humour site Tastefully Offensive. Hugely talented Andrew Huang wrote the music and lyrics to this song I enjoyed, so he’s not just an excellent rapper but an amazing songwriter as well. And he’s sweetly good-looking as well!

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Image from his tumblr site andrewismusic.tumblr.com. Click to go there.

I first came across him some weeks ago with the following video where he was creating music with unlikely objects to the theme song of TV show Breaking Bad. That’s just incredible.

Checking out his YouTube channel this time, I’ve found this multi-talented guy has many other videos of original stuff. I’ve listened to some songs and am impressed by his talent and creativity and by how polished and professional he is. He’s got a great pleasing singing voice too, as heard in this lovely ballad.

Mambo Italiano

A full gay movie on YouTube! I’m always happy to come across any full movie there. But a gay movie, in it’s entirety! That’s even more of a treat, because it’s not like they are shown in the theatres or available in DVD rental shops here. And the best part is that there seem to be quite a lot. I can’t wait to watch more.

Mambo Italiano (2003) is a Canadian release shot in Montreal. A family drama-comedy which features the coming-out tale of the protagonist Angelo Barberini. Angelo upsets his traditional Italian-immigrant parents by moving out of the family home, and then shocks them further by coming out as gay. On top of that he needs to cope with a boyfriend who refuses to accept he’s gay.

I enjoyed it, even though I don’t think of it as a good movie. Even for a comedy some of the dialogue and the characters seem exaggerated, like they’re really pushing for Italian stereotypes when it comes to many of the supporting characters. Some parts of the movie are actually annoying. But there are also funny moments which cracked me up, and the leading actor Luke Kirby is engaging in his role, not to mention handsome. Plus there is Paul Sorvino, an actor I like, in the role of Angelo’s dad Gino.

While watching this, I couldn’t help but think of his other Italian family comedy, Love Is All There Is (1996), which also stars the then teenage Angelina Jolie as his daughter. That was a riot of a comedy, really fun and entertaining.

Drake Jensen

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Drake Jensen’s latest album. Image from his website. Click to go there.

I knew checking out that Reddit for the young’uns would shimmy up a golden nugget or ten. I don’t participate or subscribe in the first place because really I think it’s a place for young men like in their early twenties to discuss stuff, but it’s now one of the interesting places to check out gay-related stuff.

Thanks to them one of the things I have now discovered is Canadian country music singer Drake Jensen. A link by redditor lordyjordy led me to an article about how new singer Steve Grand shouldn’t be called the first openly gay male country singer, and it mentioned Drake, and I was quickly onto his videos on YouTube. Great stuff.

I don’t listen to country much, there is very little in my iTunes. I would say my first encounter was early k.d. lang, starting with Angel with a Lariat and the classic Shadowland, an amazing album, a masterpiece really, that I think I’ll put on again right after writing this. Along with Chris Isaak, a long-time favourite, his music colours the landscapes of my life over the years till now.

Then there were some other artists I came across when they had songs that made it to pop radio like LeAnn Rimes and Sheryl Crow, whose greatest hits album is an absolute joy. I need to play that too later. And oh, not forgetting Loretta Lynn and her Jack White-produced Van Lear Rose. That’s another amazing album I love. Yup, that’s it. There might be other country or country-esque stuff in my collection I just don’t recall now.

I can’t begin to describe how much I adore the following version of Stand by your man. I was introduced to the song watching the closing scene of The Crying Game at the movies.

Related:

Transgender women can take part in Miss Universe Singapore from 2013.

Jenna Talackova. Credit: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni. From http://www.reuters.com. Click photo to go to site.

After Donald Trump overruled the decision to disqualify transgender Jenna Talackova from the Miss Universe Canada pageant, the Miss Universe organization which he owns now decides to allow transgender women to take part in all its competitions from 2013 onwards. This decision was reached after discussion with the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD).

Yahoo! Singapore reported last Monday the 23rd that the organiser for Miss Universe Singapore, Derrol Stepenny Promotions, will follow the new ruling. This means transgender women here can join naturally-born females to compete for the crown from next year onwards. A spokesperson from Derrol Stepenny told Yahoo! Singapore:

“Even though we have not received any official communication from Miss Universe organisation stating that  all countries will have to adhere to the new ruling, we are nonetheless open to it. That is the new ruling and we will not discriminate against transgenders who apply.”

I think that’s great and commendable of Derrol Stepenny. A few days ago, I found that Yahoo! Singapore posted a poll asking “Would you accept a transgender as Miss Singapore Universe?”, and I voted yes. A few minutes ago I checked on that poll again, and found that only 29% voted yes as well (1674 respondents). 71% (4159) responded no. Disappointing but not surprising somehow.

So I hope Derrol Stepenny will continue to be brave and stick to their decision even if it turns out that not all countries need to adhere to the new ‘transgenders allowed’ rule for the main Miss Universe pageant.

I can’t believe I’m writing about pageants. Even more than that I can’t believe I just typed ‘naturally-born females’ earlier. Surreal.

I don’t know why but this issue makes me think as well of the seemingly massive numbers of immigrants and migrant workers (we call them ‘foreign talent’ here or FT for short) that I feel us Singaporeans are inundated and trying to cope with. Now that they live in public housing estates and are everywhere, I can’t tell if a Chinese I stand next to is a Chinese who was born and raised in Singapore or Malaysia, or a China Chinese, until he or she speaks and lets me hear the accent. Or that brown-skinned person who looks like a fellow Malay to me, who I greet in Malay but he turns out to be Filipino, so I feel embarrassed for the assumption and greet him again, in English. Or if that Indian guy was born and raised here as I was, or migrated from India or someplace else just some years ago. Does it matter? Of course not, but only if we are all treated fairly.

If two women stand on stage for a pageant and one was ‘naturally-born’ as a woman, and the other went through a sex change to become one, does it really matter? Can we tell which is which? Well maybe when they open their mouths to speak. So as long as they are fabulous-looking enough, and sound like women enough, yeah let them get on stage to compete as equals. As for any “but they had surgery to achieve beauty so it’s not fair!” argument, well who’s to say the ‘naturally-born’ contestants have not had any surgery to enhance their looks as well?

The move to include transgender women might also be the thing to spice things up, in terms of having a bigger ‘talent’ pool of qualified women. Because really, in my opinion there are always so many contestants in our Miss Singapore pageants who are not only not beautiful but such Plain Janes, including those who actually managed to win the crown and represent the country. Just take a look at some of the previous winners, as shown on the Derrol Stepenny site. To me only Jessica Tan (2007) and Rachel Kum (2009) are pretty. The others were like so… meh.