Open Letter Written by me 4 years Ago

Even though I wrote this open letter four years ago, the content is still fresh and a reminder of how cruel the media can be when it comes to discrimination against transgender people.

Last week a beautiful young woman’s butchered remains were found dismembered in a very new apartment building in a well heeled suburb of Brisbane. Police found some of her remains boiling down in a pot of chemicals and the rest of her remains in garbage bags around the apartment. Her young husband fled the scene and his body was found shortly later after committing suicide.

The news riveted and shocked the nation. How could this happen in Australia? What is becoming of our country? How could a young woman, a human being be violated in such a grizzly and macabre way? We must do something about the growing domestic crimes against women in Australia.

The very next day, papers around Australia released front page news with headlines such as “The monster chef and the shemale”, “Cooked Shemale”, “Ladyboy cooked and eaten” -suddenly the beautiful woman was now a sex freak, killed by a pervert. Prostitutes and cannibals and sexual perversion.

The memory of beautiful Mayang, a human is reduced to dehumanizing headlines.

To many transgender people across Australia, the crime was greatly disturbing but the degrading labels of Mayang were sickening. The media does not care that to call a transwoman a shemale or ladyboy or tranny in Australia is like calling a black person the “N” word.

Even though the porn and sex industry use the word Shemale and Ladyboy in their product labeling to promote revenue, only a very small percentage of transwomen in Australia are in the sex industry. The media do not have the right to refer to us, a body people as shemales, or ladyboys. We are people, we are transgender women. We must be respected and accorded our human right to respect.

For too long we have suffered at the hands of men sexually exploiting us and sexualising our beauty for their own sexual perversion or sexual gratification. Men openly verbally abuse us in front of their friends to seem more manly. For this cycle to end we must stand up for ourselves and say we are not monsters, sexual freaks and porn stars we are human beings, we have a gender and you must respect us. We alone can say no, we alone can say we do not deserve this.

There is no specific federal law to protect us from gender vilification, which is what Mayang suffered in the media after her death. But we could change that, we could lobby to change the law so we are all protected across Australia, we have to start now, by saying “no” to being labelled so horrifically in the media. We must write in protest to newspapers, online blogs, politicians and rights lobbies, the change begins with us. It is our duty to contact friends who may be able to help or perhaps friend who have friends of influence. If we want the human right of protection from discrimination and vilification then we must ask for and demand it.

I urge you all my sisters to lay down your political differences and unite on this issue, what we do and achieve today lays the groundwork for a more just future not only for us but for the transgender community when we are gone. This could be our legacy for the future that we could all be proud of when we look back on our lives.

Let’s stand together and demand the respect due to us as human beings and refuse anything less of the media.

Mayang Pretsaryo
Transgender Day of Remembrance falls on November 20 this year, in Sydney it will be held between 6.30 and 8pm at Harmony Park in Surry Hills, all are welcome to join us as we remember Mayang and the many other Transgender People around Australia and the world who have been murdered through domestic violence and transphobia and neglect.

Facebook invite to event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/177722666499056/

My Personal Contribution to Trans Sydney Pride.

A lesson to live by.

In the second half of 2015, I was asked to admin Trans Sydney Pride’s online group page because it had been hijacked by anarchic stereotypes. The co-founders Penny Clifford and Peta Friend felt I was best suited to sort everything out and create order out of chaos, at the time it was a small social group that met for drinks once a month, and were not equipped to deal with online trolls, militant extremists and bullies , who were coincidentally, trans identifying too.

First article, announcing TSP’s arrival – curtesy SX Magazine

I swept out the anarchic element and structured the group with strict written rules on online social behavior, and as an example, anyone who broke these rules were thrown out immediately. Soon a respectful social behavior developed where everyone learned normal and acceptable communication, a very important thing to learn for many who were used to isolation and dysfunction . Politics has always been divisive, so discussing any politics was banned too. The Peace allowed members to be heard while others learnt to listen and converse without fear of criticism. Many members began to blossom, new friendships were forged, and the social group developed, and grew as a community. This is wonderful because Trans Sydney Pride have some fantastic and successful role models for inspiration – there was  great potential for Trans Sydney Pride to do more than just meet socially.

At this time I was studying Community Services, and Community Development was my favorite subject, so I was able to apply  what I was learning to the group.

It was my vision to see TSP participate in Mardi Gras – but for me it was solely as a community building project. To achieve this goal members had to raise the funds, share ideas and pull together resources, rehearse and plan group activities – just like a community.

With Peta Friend, promoting our first event with an article in the Wentworth Courier – Image curtesy of Wentworth Courier.

I produced our first exclusively trans run and operated fundraising event, Q&A: Transitioning & career Success. The guest panelists were 3 successful career women who managed to stay employed through their transition process, the event was a part of Sydney Pride Festival, the sellout success of that event, led onto our first “Trans Stories” the following year, and the rest is history.

“Trans Stories- a celebration” Image curtesy Ann Marie Calilhanna Photography

The group independently of me started organising other fundraising events.

Peta organised and led the TSP float for Mardi Gras, and the sight of group members proudly marching as a group was a touching moment for me to watch on television, they had achieved this moment together as community.  I was one of the faces of Mardi Gras that year and was a part of the opening, so unfortunately I couldn’t share in their debut at Mardi Gras.

Trans Sydney Pride’s debut at Mardi Gras.

It was also my vision to hold Sydney’s inaugural Transgender Day of Remembrance Candlelight Vigil at Taylor Square, to add it as an important  date on the LGBT Calendar and to bring the trans community closer to the gay and lesbian community, I initiated and personally produced the inaugural event.

by Ces Busby – image curtesy SX Magazine for Gay News Network

https://instanonymous.com/m/BM0AP0Yj044

Coming from a place of duty, what I didn’t realise or foresee was The Candlelight Vigil is in fact a safe space for trans people to come and congregate, and to remember their friends who had died. The atmosphere was so sad, so emotional, yet beautiful and undeniably powerful in its quiet dignity.

The Flag flies proudly above the mourners as they lay their candles in memory of loved ones who have passed. – image curtesy Tyson Young
Hundreds gathered at dusk for Sydney’s Inaugural TDoR Candlelight Vigil at Taylor Square -image curtesy Tyson Young

http://www.colleenwindsor.com/2016/11/sydney-marks-transgender-day-of.html

I also created Trans Sydney Pride Family and Friends, Trans Pride Groups Interstate, founding Trans Melbourne Pride, and taking the names of the other states for future use as the group expands nationally (which was another vision).

Twice I tried to move the group to a not for profit charity status during my tenure.

I was guided and supported by my many friends within Sydney’s LGBT Community who have ensured TSP’s long term success.

Community service is a thankless task, but I am rightfully very proud of the work I did for Trans Sydney Pride, and the legacy that I have left them to continue.

Trans Sydney Pride became a Not For Profit Organisation on the 27th of September, 2018, with a new name Trans Pride Australia and a new website: https://www.transprideaustralia.org.au/

 

Visions, ideas, and directions change, this too is an important evolution for any group, and I wish Trans Pride Australia and its many diverse members every success as it moves into the future, as a community of people. X

Trans Sydney Pride Logo

 

The Trans Pride Flag

A lesson to live by.

I love the trans flag, when I see it flying, it touches me, because it represents my identity. It instills in me a sense of trans history.  When I look at the flag, I think of all the other generations of transgender men and women who struggled and fought, and died so that one day, I could enjoy an unprecedented level of human rights that trans people in Australia enjoy today – and it really does fill me with PRIDE.

The Trans Pride Flag,

The Trans Flag flies especially on special occasions on the transgender calendar, it is particularly prominent on the Transgender Day of Remembrance aka TDoR. This is a sacred day for most trans communities internationally, where we a acknowledge  trans people around the world who have been murdered, I personally also acknowledge those who have died from suicide and substance abuse- because in a way, the path that led them there was their reaction to transphobia and their experience of life on the margins.  Trans people don’t begin transition as drug addicts, but many trans people become substance abusers because of the way they  have been treated by society – and this is sad.

There are lists of transgender murders posted annually online online, here is one:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_unlawfully_killed_transgender_people

I think wiki explains the flag’s history better than I ever could so here is the link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transgender_flags

Would you like to know more about the me? Click here: https://www.wolfgramme.com/about/