Fourth European Transgender Council, Dublin, Ireland
The fourth European Transgender Council took place at Dublin City University in Ireland between 7-9 September 2012. Further information about the conference whose theme is "Trans Rights Now. Realising Recognition, Respect and Equality" is available at the council website. The event was kindly organized by Transgender Equality Ireland (TENI) on behalf of the European transgender community. TransGender Europe is their umbrella organization and works towards improved legislation for trans people, raising awareness of trans people and their issues and to empowering trans people themselves. The event’s organization is supported and overseen by TransGender Europe’s Steering Committee, who hosted their general assembly on the Saturday afternoon of the Council and elected a new Steering Committee and two co-Chairs to its Executive Board. The program is available and you can email: membership [at] tgeu.org if you are interested in becoming a formal member of TGEU. (Sept. 2012)
Can Public Transport be Better? Much was said this March!
Around 40 transport users and operators from across Europe met in Coimbra, Portugal in March, 2012 to discuss how to realise social inclusion. Europe's transgender community added its views to their agenda with a Statement on their experiences in the use of public transport and other means of sustainable mobility plus a series of ten recommendations. The statement has been picked up by a number of media sources including Green Horizon magazine, the European Local Transport Information Service portal and the CIVITAS Initiative's website. More on the original call is available here. (Apr.2012).
STOP PRESS! A call for financial proposals for national mobility campaigns organised between 1 July 2013 and 30 June 2014 is now open. It closes on 31 May 2013. More information here. (Apr. 2013)
Why Ovens don't like Wigs!
If you wear a wig like Inésita, then let her pass on a tip. A synthetic wig’s ‘operating instructions’ discourages its use near ovens, saunas and grills… Inésita happened to overlook this important advice until she looked in the mirror following a long day’s film preparation, and yes, a spot of cooking. See for yourself whether you can spot the difference: visit The Dressing Room and search for '2011', where you will retrieve the results of Inésita’s last filming. Then search for '2010' and let Inésita know which year you think she looks better! Read more.. (Nov. 2011)
Hungary no Longer a Safe Haven?
The President’s signing on April 25, 2011 of Hungary’s first constitution in almost 62 years raised more than a few eyebrows, both locally as well as internationally, especially among the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. The problem is that although it was modeled on the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (EU), and therefore ought to be the most modern constitution in Europe, it failed to guarantee equality before the law and to prohibit discrimination; both fundamental principles of human rights. Read more.. (July 2011) STOP PRESS! On June 25, 2012, Hungary went some way to making amends by adopting hate crime legislation within its new Criminal Code. The Code enters into force on 1st July, 2013. Its shortfalls, however, are highlighted by Amnesty International here (July 2012)
Transforming the Media
The media will always be one of the keenest advocates of the freedom of speech. However, it can play havoc with others’ freedom of expression. In December last year the UK tabloid press derided one of its citizen’s attempts to fast track their male-to-female transition – because the health authorities were too slow to deal with their case. The episode had members of the European transgender community in uproar. Their forum at: firstname.lastname@example.org resounded with frustration and anger, because it highlighted two very real challenges faced by our community. First; the generally unsupportive attitude of the media; and second; the need for health services that offer more timely transition-related care. Read more.. (April 2011)
Cruising for a Bruising - Times Fifteen!
Lying on the couch I felt what a corpse might feel when it is hit with a defribulator, albeit on the face rather than on the heart. November 30th marked the 15th occasion Inésita visited the dermatologist, Dr. Kadar Laszlo, to undergo treatment for facial hair removal, a necessity for all male-to-female transgenders and most cross-dressers. The process works by using a so-called diode laser and intense pulsed light (IPL) which penetrates the follicle to ‘fry’ the root of the hair. Make no mistake, it’s a painful process and one that leaves you first swollen and flushed, and within a few days blistered and spotted. One colleague had the audacity to ask: ‘Have you got AIDS?' Another claimed I resembled a cadaver! It takes about two weeks to a full month before the bruising (and let's be frank, demoralising remarks) wear off, by which time facial hair falls out and the skin is left relatively soft and free of 'beard shadow.' But within 6-8 weeks it's back – which means a return to the skin doctor. Read more.. (Dec. 2010)
Third European Transgender Council ends on a High
More than 200 participants from 35 countries attended the Third European Transgender Council which concluded 3rd October 2010 in Malmö, Sweden. The conference theme "Embracing Diversity. Stretching Boundaries. Demanding Rights" was thoroughly addressed through a number of well organised panel debates as well as 23 smaller workshops. Inspiring contributions were made by leading organisations such as Amnesty International, EQUINET and the Scottish Government. High on the agenda too was the issue of hate crimes which sadly marred the event more than once and saw the Council issue a Declaration on violence and discrimination. Nevertheless, TransGender Europe (TGEU), the NGO network responsible for organisating the event together with Swedish member, RFSL demonstrated tangible development of its own, reporting on its dialogue with international organisations including the Council of Europe and the Global Advocates for Trans* Equality group. Marking another significant leap forward in terms of financial sustainability, TGEU also reported on activities financed by the EC's Grundtvig Learning Partnership, the Open Society Institute and ILGA-Europe, while more contracts are in the pipeline. The occasion was also an opportunity for the network, which aims to serve as the mouthpiece of the European trans movement, to host its third general assembly and elect a new Steering Committee and Executive Board for the period 2010-2012. Event photos are now available from council photographer Mirjam Logonder via her Flickr page. Inésita used the occasion of the council to launch a series of four postcards which are available in hardcopy format. The event also revealed there are a plethora of international organisations active in the field of gender equality and human rights. A brief overview is made available here. (October 2010)
'My World: Visions of 21st Century Feminism'
To celebrate its 20th anniversary, the European Women's Lobby hosted a photo competition between 8th March - 30th June 2010, looking to expose the visions of young women of the world they live in. Slovenian-born photographer Mirjam Logonder entered with: 'My World: Inésita' and was one of 40 shortlisted entrants reviewed by a jury that included art critics, journalists, a Member of the European Parliament and the Director of the European Institute for Gender Equality. Speaking following the conclusion of the competition, Ms. Logonder congratulated the winners, saying: "There are some fantastic entries. However," she added "I regret the transgender issue didn't receive more attention." An overview of the winning entries is available here in pdf format while an exhibition will take place from 15th October in Brussels, Belgium. (Sept. 2010)
"The Dressing Room" Online!
Inésita's costume database, "The Dressing Room" was launched this week following a long period of testing and integration into the new website. As of today it is fully searchable with pull down menus and free text search fields designed to enable "tall girls" (especially transwomen and male-to-female cross-dressers) to identify particular costumes of interest and a specific look for themselves. However, it should also appeal to all fashionistas, designers and stylists. The database now contains over 900 costume entries, with the 60 or so most recent additions having been uploaded during May 2010. Alternatively, you can also rummage through an entire wardrobe’s worth of dresses, tops, skirts or shoes to see if there’s something that especially charms you. Here you can also combine different apparel and if Inésita agrees the combination works, it'll appear in her virtual mirror. You can even download the outfits you like best in a .pdf file for future reference! Search and see for yourself! (May 2010)
Landmark Agreement in Favour of Transgender People
On March 31, 2010, the 47 Member States of the Council of Europe agreed unanimously to adopt recommendations that aims to guarantee human rights for transgender people: the world’s first such intergovernmental agreement. The recommendations include measures to combat discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity, and will establish how international human rights standards should be applied towards all LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people. They also contain specific measures for Member States on how they should improve their legislation, policies and practices to address discrimination against LGBT people. To view the recommendations, click here. To learn more about how to make the recommendations work for you, Inésita has prepared the following guidance note. (April 2010)
Winter Marches On..
Usually March 15th (which is a national holiday here in Hungary) is an opportunity for Inésita to spend a few days behind the camera. And so is the case again this year, the only difference being that spring weather and sunshine still seem to be in short supply! Nevertheless, the winter months have been kind and have enabled Inésita the chance to roadtest (literally in some cases) 75 new costumes, including the results of her sales shopping in London in December! Expect to see new items from Camden town (Laylie), Zara, Internet-retailer Boohoo and New Look appearing in The Dressing Room soon! Inesita will also showcase three new sets of earrings from Crazy4Clipons and a gorgeous new watch from French Connection UK. More news to follow in April! (March 2010)
Core Design, a Romania-based web design and software development company were asked late summer 2009 to integrate the Dressing Room costume/photographic database into the website. Once they were behind the scenes, it became clear a complete overhaul was necessary, and not just of the image warehouse but the whole site entirely. Updated and simplified, it is now served via their own bespoke content-management system. I am truly grateful for all they’ve done. The above retro fonts incidentally are courtesy of Acidfonts.com. The site includes a number of new features, for instance, a memory game. (March 2010)
First Professional Photoshoot
Budapest-based Slovenian photographer, Mirjam Logonder, hosted Inésita for her first formal photo session in October, 2009. The results are impressive and have now been posted in the scrolling gallery visible to the right of this page. To find out about Ms. Logonder's availability for further commissions, reach her through Inésita's feedback page. (January 2010)
October saw Inésita complete another three day shoot which gave her the opportunity to trial several new products and items of clothing including Triple X latex shorts (chuckle) from ErotikaShow.hu, and Armani sunglasses (courtesy of the girlfriend!). The results have been catalogued and can be searched within Inésita's costume database (October 2009)
Spring has Sprung!
With the warmer weather here, it’s time to wax those legs, get some colour and slip on the mini-skirt and stiletto heels! The perfect toolkit to help you select the ideal outfit, The Dressing Room, is still (groan) being integrated online. But the good news is that over the dark winter months, Inésita finished cataloguing her best 750 costumes. During the upcoming Easter and Whitsun weekends, she'll film a further 150 outfits. This will also be a chance to showcase the success of laser-based facial hair removal, alongside Fresh Look's green one-day coloured contact lenses. Upcoming plans include voice training, courtesy of Andrea James’ "Finding Your Female Voice" DVD. Stay tuned! (April 2009)