Trans News Updates of 2012 (Jul-Dec):


This page links to news of general interest to the trans community during the second half of 2012.  This running log of news also serves as a window into areas of media focus and public interest regarding trans issues during 2012.  Let us know if you hear of news to include in this list. To access to a wide range of trans news, we recommend "Google News", searching on keywords such as transgender, transsexual, sex reassignment, sex change, gender variance and gender transition.


2012:   JulAugSepOctNovDec

Link to first half of 2012



Lynn Conway

Click here to access the currrent Trans News Updates


December 2012


12-30-12:  South China Morning Post (Hong Kong): "Don't neglect transsexuals in talks on discrimination law, say activists"

"There has been a growing clamour this year for a law banning discrimination based on sexual orientation. It reached a peak when lawmakers voted down a motion last month, calling for public consultation on the issue . . . But while public discussions focus on homosexuals and bisexuals, the struggles of transgendered and transsexual people have been neglected. "People talk about LGBT, but they often forget about the T," said Mimi Wong, 58, a man who had surgery to become a woman.

Reggie Ho Lai-kit, chairman of Pink Alliance, a network of LGBT groups, agrees not enough attention is given to transsexuals and transgendered people. Transgendered people are those who do not conform to the sex to which they were assigned at birth, while transsexuals refers to people who undergo gender reassignment surgery. The Transgender Resource Centre estimates there are 200 to 300 transsexuals and 10,000 transgendered people in Hong Kong."


12-26-12:  The Times of India (India): "India Inc gets Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender community friendly at workplace"

"How many times have you heard homophobic water-cooler jokes at workplace? Jokes that reinforce the cliched assumptions of the homophobes. To reduce workplace bullying and intimidating stare-downs, some companies in India have introduced inclusive HR policies for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender (LGBT) community . . .

The momentum for a strong case for inclusion came with the Delhi high court revoking Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code decriminalizing gay sex between two consenting adults. "Since the 2009 judgment, companies and employees are hungry to find ways to ensure they operate in an inclusive environment. If your company is not gay-friendly, you may start losing employees, future clients and revenue,'' said Bunty Bohra, CEO of Goldman Sachs Services India . . . The awareness has grown with time. Companies are offering diversity training to sensitise their employees about gender identity and expression at workplace.

"Research shows that an LGBT person who does not need to hide his/her sexual orientation can be 30%-40% more productive in the workplace. Relationships and trust are key in our business," said Stephen Golden, head of diversity for Asia-Pacific at Goldman Sachs."


12-24-12:  LGBTQ Nation: "Anti-transgender pageant contestant ordered to pay $5 million for defamation"

"A former Miss Pennsylvania USA, who gave up her state crown shortly after the Miss Universe organization announced its decision to allow transgender participants, has been ordered pay the pageant organization $5 million for defamation . . .

Pageant officials claimed (Sheena) Monnin's allegations on Facebook and NBC's "Today" show that the contest was rigged, cost the Miss Universe organization a $5 million fee from a potential 2013 sponsor. Miss Universe co-owner Donald Trump retaliated by filing the lawsuit against Monnin, calling her allegations an "utterly baseless claim."

U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Theodore H. Katz, acting as an arbitrator, agreed, and said Monnin's statements were false, harmful and malicious. Monnin had two motives, Katz said: "She was a disgruntled contestant who failed to make it past the preliminary competition" and she objected to the pageant's decision to allow transgender contestants. He wrote that the way the contest is judged "precludes any reasonable possibility that the judging was rigged."

"We cannot allow a disgruntled contestant to make false and reckless statements which are damaging to the many people who have devoted their hearts and souls to the Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA pageant systems," Trump said in a statement. "While I feel very badly for Sheena, she did the wrong thing. She was really nasty, and we had no choice. It is an expensive lesson for her," Trump added"


12-23-12:  The Advocate (re The Vatican; posted 12-21): "In Christmas Speech, Pope Rants About Gender"

"The pope used his Christmas message today to warn of an "attack" on the "true structure of the family," which he defined as a father, mother and child. Debate all over the world isn't only about marriage equality, he seemed to say, it's about what it means to be human. In the address, Pope Benedict rails about contemporary views of gender and says anyone who defends the old way of thinking is actually defending God himself. The message grows more alarming with each sentence."


12-23-12: The Daily Mail (re The Vatican;posted 12-21): “Pope Benedict XVI denounces gay marriage in his Christmas message saying 'manipulation of nature' will put future of mankind at stake – His Holiness says idea destroys the very 'essence of the human creature'”

"The Pope has pressed his opposition to gay marriage today saying the future of mankind is at stake.

Pope Benedict XVI denounced what he described as people manipulating their God-given identities to suit their sexual choices - and destroying the very 'essence of the human creature' in the process.

He made the comments in his annual Christmas address to the Vatican bureaucracy, one of his most important speeches of the year."

12-23-12: Catholic Online (re The Vatican): “Pope Benedict XVI Exposes the Profound Falsehood of the Philosophy of the Gender Identity Movement”  (Link to the Pope's 2012 Christmas Address, Video)

"In an insightful address to the Roman Curia on Thursday, December 21, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI addressed the inherent falsity and social danger of what is being called "gender theory" in many circles these days. The following excerpt from his address sets the context for considering what is being called the gender identity or gender expression movement . . .

"The profound falsehood of this theory and of the anthropological revolution contained within it is obvious. People dispute the idea that they have a nature, given by their bodily identity, which serves as a defining element of the human being . . . When the freedom to be creative becomes the freedom to create oneself, then necessarily the Maker himself is denied and ultimately man too is stripped of his dignity as a creature of God, as the image of God at the core of his being.” . . .

We live in an age rushing headlong into darkness while it professes to be enlightned. The Pope's insights provide welcome clarity in the cloud of confusion . . . In this whole mix of madness we also face activism being undertaken by people who undergo what are euphemistically referred to as "Sex Change" or "Gender Reassignment" surgeries. Though those who actually suffer from "Gender Identity Disorder" (GID) deserve empathy, the facts remain; no such surgery can accomplish a change of gender or sexual identity. In effect, they just mutilate the body and destroy the bodily integrity of the person . . .

Removal of genitals and attachment of artificial ones absolutely incapable of ovulation or conception, in the case of a "transsexual" male who tries to be a woman, or the generation of sperm, in the case of a "transsexual" woman trying to be a man, does not change reality . . . In 2002 the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of the Vatican issued a letter sent without public release to every Bishop. It clearly stated that such surgical procedures do not alter a person's gender and that in no circumstance are baptismal records of such individuals who have undergone them to be altered. Further, the document made clear that no one who has undergone such a surgery is eligible to marry, be ordained to the priesthood or enter the religious life . . .

The Gender Identity or Gender Expression Movement seeks the recognition in the positive law of a right to choose one's gender and laws which accommodate, fund, and enforce such a new "right". Those involved in the activist wing of the movement seek to compel the rest of society to recognize their vision of a brave new world or face the Police Power of the State. The Pope is absolutely correct, "the profound falsehood of this theory and of the anthropological revolution contained within it is obvious."

[The centerpiece of the Pope's 2012 Christmas address is a vicious demonization of transgender people.  This is yet another example of Vatican's behavior as a medieval institutional relic, out of touch with modern cultural reality, whilst crumbling right in front of our eyes.  One can only imagine how many mobbings, beatings, gang rapes and murders will directly result, as the Pope's message spreads out amongst superstitious 'followers', all around the world.”]


12-23-12:  New York Daily News (re The Vatican; posted 12-21): "Pope Benedict denounces gay marriage during his annual Christmas message" (more)

" Pope Benedict used his annual Christmas message to denounce gay marriage, saying that it destroyed the “essence of the human creature.” In one of his most important speeches of the year, the Pope stressed that a person’s gender identity is God-given and unchangeable. As a result, he sees gay marriage as a “manipulation of nature.”

"People dispute the idea that they have a nature, given to them by their bodily identity, that serves as a defining element of the human being," he said at the Vatican on Friday. "They deny their nature and decide that it is not something previously given to them, but that they make it for themselves." The Pope has said that gay marriage, like abortion and euthanasia, is a threat to world peace."


12-23-12:  Bangalore Mirror (India): "In spite of ‘transsexual’ status, tourism firm didn’t dither hiring her"

"Stigmatised, misunderstood and discriminated against is usually the lot of someone born into the ‘wrong body’. But Suma Mohan, who turned 28 only a few days ago, bravely wears her gender on her sleeve. When filling out a job application form for a vacancy in a tourism company, Suma, a BBM graduate with distinction, did not hesitate to fill the gender field with the word transsexual.

Kudos are in place for her employer, Equations, for not only calling her for an interview but also placing her. Suma joined Equations as a program associate four months ago, becoming the first transsexual to have joined a mainstream company in the capacity of a professional and only the third from the transgender community to have bagged a good job (of the other two, one works for Rajya Sabha member B Jayashree and the other works in the High Court of Karnataka) . . .

At Equations, Suma finally got through after several rounds of discussions and interviews. She had made her gender known right from the start, so everyone was aware. Initially, she did face the usual hostility at work, but gradually the discomfort eased.

“It was a different experience for me as well as my colleagues,” Suma said. “But I won them over and now they like me a lot. My director is also very supportive of me and encourages me a lot. As part of my job, I have a lot of travelling to do which is a totally different experience for me.” As a program associate, Suma handles the IT part of the company’s portal. Since the company is into tourism-related research. Suma takes care of updating the content on the portal.

Being accepted and respected in the mainstream also helped her win back her family. “Now, they stay with me and my career looks good. Transgenders in general lack opportunities and as a result the community is always on the backburner. I am the third in my community to get into a mainstream profession. I wish my fellow community members find good avenues like me,’’ she said."


12-22-12:  Center for American Progress (posted 12-18): "ID Accurately Reflecting One’s Gender Identity Is a Human Right"

"This past week our nation joined others around the globe in celebrating International Human Rights Day, which marked the 64th anniversary of the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights, signed on December 10, 1948. This document declares that “inherent dignity” and “equal and inalienable rights” are the foundation for a just, peaceful, and free world. Decades later these principles continue to guide human rights policies established around the world, acting as a foundation for the evolving global understanding of what it means to acknowledge the equality of all people.

Transgender people, however, continue struggling to attain this innate right to dignified treatment and equality. As the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights has stated, “It is clear that many transgender persons do not fully enjoy their fundamental rights both at the level of legal guarantees and that of everyday life.” One way in which transgender people have struggled is in accessing identity documents that provide legal recognition of their gender identities. The failure of governments to acknowledge the gender identities of all people represents a rejection of the fundamental rights of self-determination, dignity, and freedom.

Moving forward as a global community, it is essential that all people—transgender or not—be given access to official documents that accurately reflect each individual’s gender identity and that respect the rights belonging to each of us as humans."

[Link to PDF of the full report]


12-22-12:  Huffington Post: "Top Transgender Stories Of 2012: Lana Wachowski, 'Glee' And More " (includes a great slide sequence)

"While there's still a lot more work to be done, 2012 saw some remarkable milestones for transgender people both in the U.S. and abroad.

From Vice President Joe Biden declaring transgender rights as the "civil rights issue of our time," to the huge update made by the American Psychiatric Association to its Diagnostic And Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders, trans acceptance has certainly made some enormous strides this year.

We even saw one of our favorite TV shows, "Glee," include a transgender character in its diverse cast, and the transgender flag was flown in place of the iconic rainbow flag at Harvey Milk Plaza in San Francisco for for the first time ever.

Check out some more phenomenal transgender stories from 2012 in our roundup below and be sure to let us know what other moments captured your attention in the comments section."


12-19-12:  New York Magazine: "House of Style Visits Transsexual Punk Rocker" (includes a wonderful video interview) (more)

"For its final episode of the season, House of Style 2.0 headed to the St. Augustine, Florida, home of Laura Jane Grace, lead singer of the punk band Against Me! . . .  For Grace, it's less about "passing" and more about feeling good: "I don't mind being identified as a transsexual ... I'm very happy with myself and I'm very comfortable with myself . . .

Grace came out as transgender earlier in the year, but it's something that's been on her mind for a long time. "One of my most vivid memories of associating with a female was seeing Madonna, and just being like, That's me," she said. "I guess I kind of made the decision to transition starting two or three years ago, but it was something that really took a lot of building up to, to put into motion. There's so many moments in life where you feel guilt and you feel shame and all that, but you get to the point where you realize things aren't going to change, so I just thought the best thing to do as a parent — also as an artist — was try and embrace the truth that you feel inside of yourself."

"[We] can't say enough about how impressed we were by her candor and warmth," Sophia Rai, VP of digital and producer of House of Style told the Cut. "She is open and eager to addressing fans and the transgender community about her transition and we're honored to be a part of it." Hear more from Grace in the video."


12-19-12:  Bangkok Post (Thailand): "Bell to be transgender role model" (be sure to watch the video of her performance!)

"Thailand’s Got Talent star Nuntita "Bell" Khampiranon hopes that her success can inspire other transgender people to find work. Nuntita "Bell" Khampiranon hypnotises audiences on Thailand's Got Talent.

Bell found fame last year on the popular television talent contest when the 29-year-old switched from singing in a woman’s voice to a deeper man’s tone. The performance went viral and led to a role in her first feature film, It Gets Better.

“I think, when people see me, it will help the transgender community in terms of career,” Bell told Time Out Hong Kong. “I really want transgender people to be able to find work. I hope when transgender people see me as a singer, they know that they can make it in this industry too. I want to open up their options and give them more confidence to work.”"


12-19-12:  Washington Blade: "We must protect rights of transgender people"

"Two reports released earlier this month paint a disturbing picture of the global status of trans communities – a portrait of human rights violations, violence and marginalization.

Documenting the fight for human rights of trans people, The Night Is Another Country (more) drills down on the situation of activists in Latin America and the Caribbean. More than 80 percent of trans human rights defenders reported experiencing violence or threats of harm from government officials. The report details the systemic scope of abuses against trans communities, including extrajudicial executions, torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and arbitrary detentions . . .

Taking a broader look at the well being of trans people around the world, Transrespect Versus Transphobia seeks to provide a comparative review of the state of trans people’s rights globally. Drawing on input from hundreds of activists and community leaders in 72 countries, the report documents the murders of trans people, as well as legal and health care contexts . . . "


12-19-12:  Voice of America (re Ivory Coast): "Transgender Sex Workers in Ivory Coast Face Abuse"

"Transgender sex workers in Ivory Coast say they face a long list of hardships, including social stigma, low pay and - more recently - attacks from the national army. However, the women say they continue to work the streets because it is the only chance they have to truly be themselves . . .

A sex worker who asked to be identified only as Jennifer says it has been eight years since she left her job as a teacher to assume a female identity. She says she has to go out on the streets every night - regardless of whether she is tired or whether she has recently been beaten by soldiers . . .

Matthew Thomann, an anthropologist and doctoral candidate at American University who has researched transgender sex workers in Abidjan, says they have few outlets for support. “Not only do they face direct physical violence from the state, they also face discrimination and stigmatization from within the community,” he said.

He says authorities do not often take complaints they might file seriously. And other gay men and lesbians - who also face discrimination - are reluctant to be associated with them. Despite the challenges, many transgender sex workers say they look forward to going out on the strip for one simple reason: it is the only place where they are able to be themselves."


12-18-12:  The Daily Beast: "Candy Magazine Portrays Transgender Model As Michelle Obama ‒ On the cover of Candy magazine's new issue, a transgender model portrays Michelle Obama being sworn in on a Bible" (more, more, more)

"This year, we’ve seen Michelle Obama in a recycled dress or two, some glittering Michael Kors – and even the new line from Jason Wu. But here’s one way we’ve never seen her before: as imagined by a transgender model. The fifth issue of the controversial Spanish “transversal” style magazine, Candy, hits newsstands this week -- with a transgender model channeling Michelle Obama on its cover.

The images, which were styled by Brad Goreski, feature the model Connie Fleming in a tweed suit and a string of pearls. She places her left hand on a Bible, and raises her right hand as if she’s taking the Presidential oath. In another, she wears a white dress and a beaded necklace while holding an American flag. She has a perfect red manicure and dark red lips. The cover line for the spread is: “The Candydate.” (Past Candy covers include James Franco in drag as well as Andrej Pejic.)"


12-18-12:  10TV:  "Columbus Hits Business With Lawsuit Over Treatment Of Transsexual"

"About two years ago, 53-year-old Savanna DeLong changed her name and let people know she was making the physical transition from a man to a woman. DeLong said that most everyone was sympathetic, except one business where she said she worked.

Her complaint has now turned into a lawsuit. And it could become the most significant legal challenge to alleged 'gender identity' discrimination in Columbus, since the city law was changed four years ago. “It’s who I am. It’s at the core of my being. I always have felt this way,” said Savanna DeLong.

DeLong said she started working about 12 years ago as a licensed massage therapist at Columbus' downtown Capital Club, located in the Huntington Center. She said she eventually bartended and helped with parties at the club.

About two years ago when she announced her intentions to become a transsexual, she says the club management called her in. “After some discussion, it was decided they wished to part ways and not use me anymore as a massage therapist,” said DeLong . . .

“It was like a punch in the gut is the way I described it to a lot of people. You feel like you're kicked to the curb, or kind of an outcast, I guess is the feeling, based on why I was let go,” she added."


12-14-12:  NPR (re Spain): "Families Of Spain's 'Stolen Babies' Seek Answers — And Reunions"

"Allegations of the existence of a secret network of doctors and nuns who stole newborn babies and sold them for adoption are reviving a dark chapter in Spain's recent history. More than 1,000 people have gone to court hoping to track down sons and daughters or brothers and sisters they were told died in childbirth.

The theft of newborns began with the Franco dictatorship in 1939. It came to light three years ago after former Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzon investigated the abduction of children taken forcibly from women imprisoned because they were leftists. He estimated that by 1950, the number of abducted babies had reached 30,000.

Journalist Natalia Junquera says the baby theft was an attempt at social engineering by Antonio Vallejo-Najera, a psychiatrist trained in Germany in the 1930s. Vallejo-Najera considered the mothers to be dangerous because, Junquera says, he thought "those women had inside the seed of Marxism, and if those children remained with their mothers, the Marxism [would] grow in those children."

The system outlived Franco's death in 1975 and continued at least through the 1980s. Some estimates put the total as high as 300,000 stolen babies. The guiding principle was that the child would be better off raised by an affluent, conservative and devout Catholic family, who would also pay up to $25,000 at today's rates.

"To steal a baby you needed a doctor willing to do it, and also a nun," Junquera says. "They were acting like they were gods, deciding who deserved a child and who didn't.""

[The Church has already been exposed as covering-up rampant institutionalized sex-abuse of young boys by Catholic priests. Now we learn that Catholic nuns in Spain were complicit in the stealing of perhaps hundreds of thousands of children from poor women, and selling them to rich families who’d raise them as good Catholics ‒ all spurred on by the pronouncements of a reactionary psychiatrist.

Did the Vatican know about, and quietly approve of, these 'silent kidnappings'? What do YOU think? Meantime, is it any surprise the Church continues to heavily demonize LGBT people?  Seems we've become the 'scary witches' they now use to frighten superstitious people, thus diverting attention from themselves. Then too, doesn't this all remind us of the hateful pronouncements of another reactionary Catholic psychiatrist?]


12-14-12:  NY Daily News: “Gabrielle Ludwig, first transgender basketball player to play college ball as both man and woman, keeps head high despite threats – Ludwig, who joined Mission College's Lady Saints as a mid-season walk-on, had a sex reassignment surgery over the summer, and has been living as a woman and taking female hormones since 2007”

Ludwig, who turns 51 this month, acknowledged that part of her motivation for playing women's basketball was to be a role-model for transgender youth. She finds hope, if not gratification in the temporary suspensions ESPN radio hosts Steve Czaban and Andy Pollin received this week because of the remarks they made about her. But she wants her court accomplishments — not her gender change — to draw comments."If men think that women's basketball is easy, let them spend a day out here and get their butt kicked," she said.

Mission College Athletic Director Mike Perez was all for Ludwig playing. He admires her for working a fulltime professional job — as a systems engineer for a pharmaceutical company — while carrying a full course load in computer administration. He also has seen the way her young teammates look up to Ludwig "and not just because she's tall."

"I could tell that one, she was a person of substance and two, somebody who was really sincere about what they were trying to do," Perez said. "Many people have different views, but the most important view is she ... has a right to be on this basketball team."

Teammate Amy Woo, 19, said Ludwig has brought a maternal influence, helping the team keep problems in perspective. "We all love her," Woo said. "If someone is going to talk against her, they are talking against all of us because it's like she is part of a family."

[The tabloids initially mocked Gabrielle with harsh headlines and bad photos. However, Gabrielle's amazing grace in the face of all that, plus the total and loving support of her teamates, has quickly spun that around as seen in this great story in the NY Daily News.]


12-14-12:  The Chronicle Herald (Canada): "LOWE: Transgender students long for more change at school"

"Josh didn’t want to sleep in a room with three girls on an overnight choir trip. And he wasn’t allowed to sleep with the boys. “I had asked them if they felt comfortable with me staying with them,” he says. “They had no problem.”

The teacher in charge did. She offered the 17-year-old a room to himself. The absurdity wasn’t lost on Josh. Gendered rooms may segregate penises from vaginas, but they do nothing to address queer couplings. On another trip, Josh says, a couple who were dating were sleeping in the same room. “There’s not a little box on the permission form that asks: ‘What is your sexual orientation?’ (So they can) put you in a room full of people you aren’t attracted to,” he says.

If he were going stealth, if no one knew he were transgender, he points out, he’d be rooming with the boys automatically. A crestfallen Josh skipped the trip."


12-11-12:  Washington Times (posted 12-04): "Fight over sex-change therapy escalates ‒ Conservative group to make emergency appeal to block new law"

"Two California courts this week issued conflicting opinions on the state’s new law aimed at protecting minors from so-called “sexual-change therapies” designed to counsel gay young people who want to be heterosexual. A conservative legal-defense group, looking to overturn the new law, said Tuesday it would make an emergency appeal to the federal appellate court to keep the law, known as SB 1172, from going into effect Jan. 1.

California State Sen. Ted Lieu . . . successfully pushed SB 1172 through earlier this year, saying that “change” therapies were harmful to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth, and had been discredited by major mental health organizations.

The law says that “under no circumstances” shall a California mental-health provider engage in sexual-orientation change efforts (SOCE) with a child or teen younger than 18. Minors cannot receive counseling that seeks to change gender expressions, or eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions toward people of the same sex. Professionals who violate the law face discipline for unprofessional conduct. Gov. Jerry Brown signed the law Sept. 29 . . .

Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute . . . said Judge Shubb’s ruling sent “a clear signal to all those who feel they can stifle religious freedom, free speech and the rights of parents without being contested . . . We … are ready to fight this battle all the way to the [California] Supreme Court, if necessary,” he added.

But a day later, U.S. District Court Judge Kimberly J. Mueller blocked a second petition to bar the implementation of the law. The complaint was brought by the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH); the American Association of Christian Counselors; three licensed mental-health professionals; and two families with teen sons currently in gay conversion treatments . . .

In response, Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, said the opponents of the new law will file an emergency appeal with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals . . . The law is politically motivated, interferes with counselors and clients, and permits clients to receive only one viewpoint on same-sex attraction, he said . . .

The battle over gay conversion therapies last week reached Capitol Hill, when Rep. Jackie Speier, California Democrat, introduced a resolution asking the House of Representatives to condemn sex-conversion therapies for minors. Six other members of Congress joined her in supporting the resolution."


12-11-12:  Huffington Post: "Trans Womanhood on Trial: Transmisogyny in the Assault Trial of Former FDNY Firefighter Taylor Murphy", by Laverne Cox

"Violence against transgender people is a serious and pervasive issue. Far too many trans people, and particularly trans women of color, have been targeted in violent attacks. So reading about the trial of former New York City firefighter Taylor Murphy, who is accused of assaulting his ex-girlfriend, model Claudia Charriez, I was saddened and infuriated by the attempt of Murphy's legal counsel as well as the press to discredit and delegitimize Charriez.

Many trans women who find ourselves the victims of violence, domestic or otherwise, often don't report the incidents, out of fear of being further victimized by the criminal justice system or the press. This is what Charriez is experiencing. Some 46 percent of trans people have reported feeling uncomfortable seeking police assistance. So with the epidemic of violence against trans people, it's important to call out the demonization of Charriez, an alleged domestic abuse survivor, by Murphy's defense attorney. It's also important to call out the objectification, sexualization and dehumanization of Claudia Charriez by the press, which by sensationalizing this trial and Charriez's identity, trivializes the very serious issue of violence against trans women."


12-11-12:  The Advocate: "ESPN Radio Hosts Suspended for Mocking Transgender Basketball Player" (more)

"Transgender woman Gabrielle Ludwig, a Desert Storm veteran, got to fulfill her life-long wishes by going back to college and playing for Contra Costa Community College's basketball team at age 50. But that didn't stop ESPN radio hosts Steve Czaban and Andy Pollin from brutally degrading her experience and mocking her appearance and calling her "he/she" and "it."

According to Outsports, the radio hosts also say transgender people should not play sports, and conveyed disgusted reactions regarding her appearance. Helen Carroll, an advocate for LGBT people in athletics said the language used in the broadcast is "inexcusable." The duo issued a 10-second apology, according to the report, for calling Ludwig an "it.""


12-10-12: ABC News (re Ivory Coast): "Transgender Prostitutes Face Abuse in Ivory Coast"

"It seemed like a case of simple blackmail. Late one night last month, two cars carrying around 10 soldiers pulled up to a group of prostitutes in Abidjan's Vallon neighborhood and began demanding bribes. To save themselves, some of the women in the group approached the soldiers and told them what they knew would divert their attention: They pointed to a sex worker cowering among them who goes by the street name of Raissa. And they sold her out.

The soldiers cornered her, stripped her and discovered her secret: Raissa, who requested that her real name not be used out of fear for her safety, is not a woman at all, but rather a man dressed as one. They savagely beat her with their belts. Such scenes have become routine since the Republican Forces of Ivory Coast assumed control of Abidjan in April 2011 at the end of a five-month conflict to oust ex-President Laurent Gbagbo and install his elected successor, Alassane Ouattara.

In interviews with The Associated Press, five victims and activists say transgender sex workers have been regularly stripped and beaten. In the most extreme case, those dressed as women who were discovered to be men were held overnight at military camps and raped with Kalashnikov rifles, they say. Others charge their heads were shaved with broken beer bottles . . .

Victims almost uniformly attribute the attacks to the fact that many soldiers in the new army are Muslim. During one attack in Abidjan's Zone 4 district in July, Raissa said a soldier invoked the Quran in justifying the violence. "He said, 'In the Quran it says that when you kill a homosexual you go to heaven,'" she recalled."


12-09-12:  The Guardian (UK re US): "Transgender people get a status update", by Paris Lees

"The American Psychiatric Association (APA) no longer sees transgender people as disordered. Well, sort of.

Gender identity disorder (GID) – the psychiatric term given to people who wish to undergo gender reassignment – is being dropped from its new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM 5). Say hello instead to gender dysphoria, "a marked incongruence between one's experienced/expressed gender and assigned gender". Hurrah! Gender identity disorder is dead, long live gender dysphoria! Or something like that . . .

Labelling, most trans people agree, is tricky. Previous DSMs classed a range of behaviours as "disordered" – including homosexuality until the 1970s. And today you can be diagnosed with a plethora of psychological conditions that apparently didn't exist 40 years ago. Psychiatrists had yet to dream them up.

In a petition denouncing the APA's desire to medicalise natural human variation, academic Y Gavriel Ansara argues that "pathologising human expressions, identities and experiences harms civil rights and violates international human rights standards". The manual, he says, ignores evidence from various cultures that celebrate trans identities, rather than see them as problem.

Then there's US sexologist Ray Blanchard, best known for his ... well, problematic concept of autogynyphelia: the idea that trans women are actually men who feel attracted to their female-selves. Yes, really. Blanchard has expanded the DSM's "paraphilia" section (where crimes such as paedophilia and exhibitionism go) to include transvestic disorder. That's cross-dressing to you and me and, according to Blanchard and the APA, there are two types – fetishism and autogynephilia. That's not all: "transvestic disorder can be applied to any person who is sexually active while wearing clothing incongruent with their birth-assigned sex." So female-born humans who wear "men's" clothes while aroused will have "autoandrophilia". Annie Lennox, in a suit, feeling raunchy? Androphile! Just what is "incongruent" clothing is not specified by the DSM – but watch out for unisex hoodies, just in case."


12-05-12:  Huffington Post: "The End of Transgender as a Mental Illness", by Dana Beyer

"The march forward for trans civil rights proceeds apace, its momentum unflagging. It was one year ago this week that Judge William Pryor of Alabama, a man not known for his sympathies for the LGBT community, stated in the 11th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals in Atlanta that trans persons were a protected class under the 14th Amendment. Now the Board of Trustees of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) has ratified the DSM-5, the fifth edition of what is known colloquially as the "psychiatrists' bible," so as of Dec. 1, trans persons are no longer classified by the medical community as mentally ill, this decision coming 39 years after homosexuality was declassified as a mental illness by the same organization . . .

When the closing bell is rung, we should remember those who toiled through the decades with little expectation of recognition or success. Just as President Obama's support of the trans and gay communities these past four years was only the final push of sufficiency needed to create so much change, this landmark achievement would not have been made possible without the yeomanly work of so many.

A few whom I feel are particularly noteworthy of mention are Jack Drescher, M.D., who has long been active on LGBT concerns within the APA; Edgardo Menvielle, M.D., who led the workgroup of the Washington Psychiatric Society, which rewrote the gender dysphoria text, and on which I was honored to serve; and Roger Peele, M.D., Chief Psychiatrist for Montgomery County, Md., a strong advocate for the trans community on the Board of Trustees of the APA. We all owe a great deal to Kelley Winters, Ph.D., who has been the conscience as well as the motivating force in the campaign to depathologize the state of being transgender."


12-05-12:  Washington Blade (posted 12-09): "APA modifies Gender Identity Disorder diagnosis"

"Advocates welcomed the American Psychiatric Association’s decision on Saturday to remove Gender Identity Disorder from its list of mental disorders . . . The organization, which represents more than 36,000 psychiatrists from around the world, has revised the DSM five times since it was founded in 1844. The latest revision process began 15 years ago.

Transgender activist Dana Beyer, who worked on the task force that wrote the new language the APA adopted with the Washington Psychiatric Society, said the removal of GID from the DSM is comparable to the organization’s declassification of homosexuality as a mental illness in 1973 . . . Beyer added this change will have implications for children who see a therapist for GID to trans activists fighting against what she described as “fundamental opposition” in state legislatures. “We are no longer mentally ill and that has huge implications just as it did for homosexuality in 1973. It’s absolutely game-changing” . . .

Psychiatrists and other medical providers had begun to commonly diagnose trans patients with GID by the early 1990s — the APA added it to the DSM when it revised it for the third time in 1987. The diagnoses, however, remain controversial among some trans advocates.

Kelley Winters, of the group GID Reform Advocates told the Blade the change in title from Gender Identity Disorder to Gender Dysphoria signifies the “problem to be treated is not the person’s identity,” but rather “the distress that is often experienced by those who need access to medical transition care.” She further noted the new terminology remains within what she described as a “manual of disorder.”

She also criticized the APA for not removing the “Transvestic Disorder” category she asserts remains defamatory to cross-dressers and transsexuals in a post on the Bilerico Project on Wednesday. Winters welcomed, however, the move to change GID to Gender Dysphoria in the DSM."


12-07-12: "Gender Dysphoria Diagnosis to be Moved Out of Sexual Disorders Chapter of DSM-5", by Kelley Winters,Ph.D.

"Dr. Jack Drescher, a member of the DSM-5 task force, confirmed yesterday that the Gender Dysphoria Diagnosis will be removed from the sexual disorders chapter and placed in a separate category in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders . . .

This reclassification, along with the change in title from Gender Identity Disorder to Gender Dysphoria, is a significant improvement in the diagnostic coding used for access to medical transition care, for trans and transsexual people who need it. Preceding diagnoses of Transsexualism/Gender Identity Disorders were grouped with “psychosexual” disorders in the DSM-III. They were briefly moved to  . . . the DSM-III-R in 1987 but were returned to the sexual disorders chapter in the  DSM-IV, and DSM-IV-TR. Community advocates and supportive medical providers have long raised concern that this placement was clinically misleading and reinforced false stereotypes about gender diversity. Gender identity, in truth, is not specifically related to sexuality, sexual orientation or sexual dysfunction. Political and religious extremists have  exploited the sexual disorder grouping in the DSM to sexualize gender diversity and defame trans people as deviant. Trans and transsexual individuals have consequently lost their jobs, homes, families, children, and civil justice . . .

Unfortunately, the DSM-5 Task Force and APA Board of Trustees retained the Transvestic Disorder category in the sexual disorders chapter. Previous known as Transvestic Fetishism, it is grouped with paraphilic diagnoses such as pedophilia and exhibitionism and authored by Dr. Raymond Blanchard of the Toronto Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (formerly called the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry). This punitive and scientifically capricious category maligns many gender variant people, including transsexual women and men, as mentally ill and sexually deviant, purely on the basis of nonconforming gender expression. It is written to promote Blanchard’s unfounded theories of “autogynephilia” and “autoandrophilia” that conflate social and medical gender transition with fetishism. More than 7000 people have signed an online petition, sponsored by the International Foundation for Gender Equality (IFGE), calling for the removal of this harmful diagnosis from the DSM."


12-07-12:  The Phoenix (posted 10-10-12; an important article I missed):  "How Norman Spack transformed the way we treat transgender children" (print version)

"At 20, Norman Spack learned the power of hormones. By adjusting the prolactin and thyroid levels of tadpoles, Spack found he could prompt metamorphosis; he watched from a bench in his research lab as they grew legs and their gills were absorbed and replaced with lungs.

Forty years later, a patient named Mark walked into Spack's adolescent medicine clinic in Chestnut Hill and told Spack he wanted to change. He was male, he told Spack, but his body was a woman's. Back then, in the 1980s, many doctors might have seen Mark's predicament as a mental-health problem: someone with a desire that challenged the status quo of society and gender must need a psychiatrist, not an endocrinologist. But Spack approached the personable young man in much the same way he had approached his research on newts: Mark had a practical problem, and Spack had the tools to address it. "I had given plenty of testosterone to hypo-gonadal males," he recalls. "It just seemed to me you'd give the same amount you'd give a guy." And that's what he did.

Now nearing 70, and at the edge of retirement, Spack has gone on to change how transgender kids are treated. When he founded the Gender Management Service, or GeMS, at Boston Children's Hospital in 2008, it was the only pediatric clinic of its kind in the US. Adapting protocols developed by doctors in the Netherlands — the "Dutch masters," he calls them — Spack was one of the first doctors in the United States, certainly the first based at a major urban academic children's hospital, to try to tackle this problem, treating kids as young as nine with hormone blockers to delay puberty.

Today, clinics for transgender kids in British Columbia, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis, New York, Hartford, Providence, and Washington, DC, have either been created or expanded. And in almost all of these places is a doctor that Spack has trained, mentored, or guided.

"As centers like Norm Spack's are starting up in a number of places, a lot more pediatricians and a lot more child psychiatrists will be educated about this issue and will be able to refer children," says Laura Erickson-Schroth, a psychiatry resident at NYU and a former student of Spack's who is helping to set up a clinic like GeMS in New York. This is both a result of Spack's work and a sign of the times. As a result, "as a society, we're sort of beginning to accept that gender and sexuality are not straightforward and simple."

Spack, for one, understands transsexualism as a straightforward medical issue. "This is two conditions that pediatric endocrinologists treat all the time," Spack says. "One is precocious puberty. The other is delayed puberty. So for the transgendered, it's the precocity of the puberty they never wanted, and a delay of the puberty they affirm. "Gender dysphoria is a condition that can be treated rather easily," he says. "You don't need to be a rocket scientist to take care of a transgender patient.""


12-07-12: The Sun (UK re US): "World's first ever transsexual - called Christine - seen in rare 1953 newsreel"

"This is the world’s first transsexual - revealed in rare newsreel footage that was filmed nearly 60 years ago. Christine Jorgensen, a former GI in the US Army called George, underwent gender reassignment in Denmark in 1953 and was the first person to go public after the surgery.

She is seen here at the age of 26 in archive footage posted on the website of historic newsreel company British Pathe. The black and white clip is billed as “GI” Christine Returns Home and shows Jorgensen being greeted by a huge pack of cameramen as she touches back down in the USA."


12-06-12:  San Francisco Chronicle (re Brazil): "Transgender models stars in Brazil"

"Walking the catwalk in a Brazilian bikini is a nerve-racking experience for even the most seasoned of models, but for Felipa Tavares it's nothing short of terrifying.

The 6-foot-tall Tavares is among Brazil's small but growing ranks of transgender models - leggy, high-cheekbone sirens who were born men and are causing a splash here as well as in Paris and other international fashion capitals.

Though they emerged onto the scene here just around two years ago, Brazil's so-called trans-models have already added a pinch of exoticism to the country's showcase modeling sector - long dominated by blonde women such as Brazilian uber-model Gisele Bundchen. The trans-models' newfound prominence also points to a seismic shift in Brazilian society, which has seen macho, homophobic attitudes soften in recent years as gays win more legal rights."


12-06-12:  Daily Mail (UK re US): "Firefighter 'attacked pre-op transsexual model girlfriend by slamming her into phone booth and dragging her along by her hair'"

"A FDNY calendar boy punched, bit and spat at his blonde pre-op transsexual model girlfriend, nearly leaving her unconscious, during a vicious brawl, jurors heard today. Taylor Murphy, 29, is accused of assaulting his ex-lover, Claudia Charriez, 31, who was kicked off American's Next Top Model in 2006 for being born a man . . .

'He punched her in the back on the right side, by the shoulder blade, assistant district attorney Kevin Rooney said, according to The New York Post. 'Enough to make her fear what was coming as he slammed the door shut... He bit her on the forearm.'Ultimately he pinned her down on the bed... all 240 pounds of her on top of her . . . ' His voice rising, Rooney continued: 'He spit at her. Covering her mouth so she couldn't scream.'

In his opening statement, defense lawyer Jason Berland described the couple as having 'a textbook dysfunctional relationship.' Berland told jurors that Charriez had been working as a prostitute and the love affair 'unfortunately went south' when Murphy discovered the woman was sick with 'a venereal disease.'  'Because he loved her he begged her to stop working as an escort' . . . 'But his pleas fell on deaf ears' and Murphy, who is bisexual and has a penchant for trannies, started seeing other people, which is when Charriez embarked on a campaign of threats and allegations against the firefighter.

But the prosecution claims the breakup and subsequent beat-down was sparked by Murphy's drunken jealousy."

[The Mail sure had a field day with this one, getting a chance to repeat the nonsensical but time-worn assertion that transwomen are born as fully-grown men, rather than as boys.]


12-06-12:  The Advocate: "Op-ed: Transgender Dinosaurs and the Rise of the Genderqueers ‒ Why the traditional concept of transgender is slowly fading away"

"She was a lovely 13-year-old girl, with long blond hair, bright hazel eyes and the budding bosom and hips of the woman she would soon be. Her smile betrayed none of the self-consciousness that I had when I was young and began—as a transsexual—dressing in feminine clothing. I assumed she was a friend of the young transsexual woman I was there to meet. While I searched for our assumed mutual friend, I ignored this young woman because it was simply impossible to see her as anything but a woman . . .
With adolescents increasingly taking androgen blockers with the support of a generation of more protective, nurturing parents, public transsexuality is fading out. And I don't mean only that in a generation or two we may become invisible in the public space. I mean rather that in 10 years, the entire experience we understand today as constituting transgender—along with the political advocacy, support groups, literature, theory and books that have come to define it since transgender burst from its closet in the early 1990s to become part of the LGB-and-now-T movement—all that may be vanishing right in front of us. In 50 years it might be as if we never existed. Our memories, our accomplishments, our political movement, will all seem to only be historic. Feeling transgender will not so much become more acceptable, as gayness is now doing, but logically impossible.

In other words, I may be a gender dinosaur. Which is exactly how this young girl makes me feel as she smiles and walks past me in a sky blue summer dress I was born too old to wear. She walks out to the sunlit sidewalk where a young man turns to look at her and smiles."


12-05-12: "An Update on Gender Diagnoses, as the DSM-5 Goes to Press", by Kelley Winters, Ph.D.

"On December 1, the Board of Trustees for the American Psychiatric Association approved the final draft of the fifth edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). The most controversial DSM revision in more than three decades, the DSM-5 has drawn strong concerns, ranging from overdiagnosis and overmedication of ordinary everyday behaviors to poor diagnostic reliability in field trials. The transgender-specific categories of Gender Identity Disorder (GID) and Transvestic Fetishism (TF) have been especially contentious, beginning with the 2008 appointment of Drs. Kenneth Zucker and Raymond Blanchard of the Toronto Centre for Addiction and Mental Illness (CAMH) to lead the workgroup for sexual and gender identity disorders. They were key authors of the prior DSM-IV gender diagnoses and leading proponents of punitive gender conversion/reparative psychotherapies (no longer considered ethical practice in the current WPATH Standards of Care) . . .

Some of the proposed gender-related revisions in the DSM-5 are positive, however they do not go nearly far enough. The Gender Identity Disorder category (intended by its authors to mean “disordered” gender identity) is renamed to Gender Dysphoria (from a Greek root for distress). . . . This message is reinforced by the August 2012 Public Policy Statement from the American Psychiatric Association affirming the medical necessity of hormonal and/or surgical transition care . . .

On the negative side, the proposed diagnostic criteria for Gender Dysphoria still contradict social and medical transition and describe transition itself as symptomatic of mental illness. The criteria for children are particularly troubling, retaining much of the archaic sexist language of the DSM-IV that pathologizes gender nonconformity rather than distress of gender dsyphoria. Moreover, children who have socially transitioned continue to be disrespected by misgendering language in the diagnostic criteria and dimensional assessment questions. There is very plainly no exit from the diagnosis for those who have completed transition and are happy with their bodies and lives. In other words, the only way to exit the GD label, once diagnosed, is to follow the course of gender conversion/reparative therapies, designed to shame trans people into the closets of assigned birth roles. While supportive care providers will continue to make the diagnosis work for their clients, intolerant clinicians will exploit contradictory language in the diagnostic criteria to deny transition care access and promote unethical gender conversion treatments."


12-05-12:  Los Angeles Daily News: "Transsexual woman -- 50 years old, 6 feet 8 -- debuts on Santa Clara junior college basketball team" (more, more)

"As the buzzer sounds to announce the substitution, a handful of Mission College basketball supporters chant: "Gabbi! Gabbi! Gabbi!"

Most of the 50 or so onlookers in the dingy, yellow-tinted gym briefly look up from their chili-cheese nachos and smartphones, and then back down. A few whisper and point at No. 42, marveling at her size.

It was the debut of Gabrielle Ludwig, and at 6 feet 8, 220 pounds, with tattoos on her arms and legs, she stands out in the Contra Costa College gym. At 50, the Fremont resident is about three decades older than her Santa Clara community college teammates and opponents -- and much taller.

What many at the 19th annual Comet Classic did not know was Ludwig had only been a woman since July, when she had a sex change operation. They didn't know the long path traveled by the father and Desert Storm veteran, and how she may be the first transsexual athlete to play college sports as both genders.

While her coach, athletic director and supporters applaud Ludwig's addition to the team, opponents and their followers question whether it's fair."


12-01-12:  Perth Now (Australia): "Same-sex marriage advocate Senator opens up on relationship"

"WA Labor senator Louise Pratt has opened up about life with her transgender partner, Aram Hosie, saying there is nothing unusual about their relationship - it's "just two people who happen to be in love".

"For us, it's not about getting caught up in questions of sexual orientation", she says in an exclusive interview in STM. "It's just about loving and supporting each other. "We are just two people who happen to be in love."

When Senator Pratt, 40, first met Aram, 29, he was a woman named Renae and their relationship has had to survive his transition to male."


12-01-12:  The Times of India (India): "Transgender, sex workers to help draft women policy"

"A committee comprising members of Parliament, legislative assembly and non-governmental sector has already been formed for the review exercise. "Now, we will expand the committee to include three representatives from the transgenders and the sex workers in order to ensure that their concerns get reflected in the policy document," she added.

In a press statement, transgender rights activist Laxmi Tripathi hailed the move as a historic step and urged the minister to emulate the measures taken by the Tamil Nadu government to constitute a transgender welfare board. The review was necessitated after women's groups pointed out that the 2001 draft did not cover many aspects of reducing discrimination against women. The state has asked NGOs working with transgenders and commercial sex workers to forward the names of three members who could be included in the expert committee that will review the women's policy. "



November 2012


11-29-12:  New York Times (posted 11-27): "Gay ‘Conversion Therapy’ Faces Test in Courts"

"In New Jersey on Tuesday, four gay men who tried the therapy filed a civil suit against a prominent counseling group, charging it with deceptive practices under the state’s Consumer Fraud Act.

The former clients said they were emotionally scarred by false promises of inner transformation and humiliating techniques that included stripping naked in front of the counselor and beating effigies of their mothers. They paid thousands of dollars in fees over time, they said, only to be told that the lack of change in their sexual feelings was their own fault . . .

Since the 1970s, when mainstream mental health associations stopped branding homosexuality as a disorder, a small network of renegade therapists, conservative religious leaders and self-identified “life coaches” has continued to argue that it is not inborn, but an aberration rooted in childhood trauma. Homosexuality is caused, these therapists say, by a stifling of normal masculine development, often by distant fathers and overbearing mothers or by early sexual abuse. An industry of “reparative therapy” clinics and men’s weekend retreats has drawn thousands of teenagers and adults who hope to rid themselves of homosexual urges, whether because of religious beliefs or family pressures.

But leading scientific and medical groups say that the theories of sexuality are unfounded and that there is no evidence that core sexual urges can be changed. They also warn that the therapy can, in the words of the American Psychiatric Association, cause “depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior” and “reinforce self-hatred already experienced by the patient.” Those conclusions will be at the center of the coming legal fights in the state and federal courts."

[Sometime down the line, former young patients at CAMH will similarly begin challenging Zucker for the harm his transreparatist therapy has done to them.]


11-29-12:  All Africa (re Kenya): "Kenya: Gender Identity - the Other Sex, Part Three"

"In June, Alex, a transgender man, was hanging out in a bar in downtown Nairobi when he got assaulted. His alleged attacker who was with a group of friends walked up to him and started hurling insults at him after which he told Alex, "I am going to hit you to prove that you are not a man." Alex, who is also a member of Transgender, Education and Advocacy, was helpless as his attacker and his friends beat him up.

"The whole time, they taunted me saying, 'bring your lesbian lawyers.'" Alex with the help of Audrey Mbugua, TEA's programmes manager, reported the matter to the police at Central Police Station. The police directed Alex to get a P3 form from the police surgeon. Once he got it, Alex went back to the police and two days later his attacker was arrested. Following the arrest, his attacker's friends threatened him and tried to intimidate him to drop the charges, but Alex stood his ground. His determination not to be cowed for being a transgender person paid off when the court found his attacker guilty of assault and had him jailed for two years.

"Taking Alex's attacker to court was important for us because most times transsexuals will not report such matters to the police for fear of repercussions. We transsexual people need to represent ourselves because we know where the shoe pinches most and we have brains and mouths to speak for ourselves."


11-29-12:  CTV News (Canada): "Transgender teen allowed to use boys washroom after petition signed by classmates" (more)

"A transgender teen initially banned from using the boys washroom at his Toronto-area high school has been told he can now use it freely. James Spencer, 16, was told Wednesday he could access the boys washroom at Clarke High School in Durham region following a meeting with school officials.

The move was a reversal of an earlier decision by officials, who told the young teen to stop using the boys washroom because some students felt uncomfortable . . . Following a school request, Spencer launched a petition to find out how many of his schoolmates would be OK with a transgender student using the washroom they identify with. In just a few days, over 200 students signed the petition."


11-29-12:  BBC News Magazine (UK re US): "Christine Jorgensen: 60 years of sex change ops"

"News of a pioneering sex change operation, one of the first involving both surgery and hormone therapy, was announced in 1952 - exactly 60 years ago this weekend. "Ex-GI becomes blonde beauty!" screamed one headline as newspapers in the United States broke the news. George Jorgensen, a quiet New Yorker, shocked a nation by returning from a trip to Denmark transformed into the glamorous Christine. As the slender, blonde 27-year-old woman wrapped in a fur coat stepped out of the plane on to the tarmac in New York, her long eyelashes, high cheekbones and full red lips betrayed little of the shy man she had once been.

Jorgensen grew up in the Bronx, a happy child in a large close-knit family. As a teenager he became convinced he was trapped in the wrong body . . .  in the late 1940s, during a short stint in the US military, Jorgensen came across an article about a Danish doctor, Christian Hamburger, who was experimenting with gender therapy by testing hormones on animals. She began to hope Hamburger would provide the solution to her problem . . .

Today sexual reassignment surgery involves making an incision in the scrotum and pulling nerve endings from the penis inside the body to design a vagina but this form of penile-inversion surgery was not invented until several years after Jorgensen's operation. "Apparently the surgery was successful enough for Jorgensen to feel satisfied," says documentary maker Teit Ritzau . . . After the procedure, Christine wrote to her parents back in New York: "Nature made a mistake which I have had corrected, and now I am your daughter." Her family seemed to be very supportive of her decision . . .

On her return to the US, Jorgensen was greeted with curiosity, fascination and respect by both the media and the public. There was relatively little hostility. Hollywood embraced her. Theatre and film contracts began to roll in, she was invited to all the most glamorous parties and even crowned Woman of the Year by the Scandinavian Society in New York . . .

Jorgensen died of cancer at the age of 62, in 1989. Just a few years before her death, she travelled back to Denmark for a reunion with the doctors who had helped her through her transformation. Speaking to the media, she acknowledged the milestone her case represented. "We didn't start the sexual revolution but I think we gave it a good kick in the pants!"

Christine Jorgensen is the subject of today's edition of Witness on BBC World Service. You can listen to the programme, download a podcast, and browse the Witness archive here."


11-28-12:  Los Angeles Times: "UCLA starts master's program in law on gender and sexuality" (more)

"UCLA’s law school will start a master’s degree program next fall specializing in issues of sexuality, gender identity and gay and lesbian rights, officials announced. The new degree program was described as the first of its kind in the nation.

The nine-month master’s program in “law and sexuality” will build on work of the Williams Institute, a law school think tank already devoted to those topics, according to Lara Stemple, director of graduate studies at the school. She said she expects the new classes will have an international focus both in the students enrolled and in studying such issues as anti-gay violence and gay marriage worldwide.

The degree “will provide young lawyers with the tools they need to engage in this dynamic and rapidly changing area of the law,” Stemple said. Potential students must first earn a law degree in the United States or elsewhere. The program will start out small, with three to five students . . . "


11-28-12:  Lansing City Pulse (Lansing, MI): "Whom You Love ‒ Gender identity and children"

"Ken Zucker, psychologist-in-chief at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, is the 10th speaker in Michigan State University’s semester-long series, “Whom You Love: the biology of sexual orientation,” which aims to demonstrate that homosexuality is a natural occurrence in humans. His speech is called “Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation: Lessons Learned from Life-Course Research”

Zucker is the head of the Gender Identity Service in the Child, Youth and Family Program at CAMH, and is also a professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto. Since 2002, he has been the editor of archives of sexual behavior and is past president of the International Academy of Sex Research.

What general themes will your lecture cover?

"My lecture will focus on psychosexual differentiation from a developmental perspective. In my speech, I will characterize the temporal sequence of three key phenomena: gender identity (the emergence of a child´s sense of self as a boy, a girl or some alternative gender), gender role (the behavioral expressions that mark the constructs of "masculinity" and "femininity") and sexual orientation (one´s erotic attraction to males, to females or to both, and the corresponding self-labels that a person uses to characterize their own sexual identity, which include gay, bisexual, heterosexual and asexual).

I will then discuss what we know about the developmental predictors of both gender identity and sexual orientation in adolescence and adulthood. These parameters include within-sex variation in childhood sex-typed behavior, biodemographic variables (such as birth order) and social class." "

[Comment:  In an effort to salvage has legacy, Zucker is now posing as a 'gay-friendly scientist’ in lectures to gay/lesbian academic audiences that are unfamiliar with his infamous history as a trans-reparatist.  However, this isn't going to work, because he’s already boasted too much, on the record, about his methods for 'curing' gender variant kids.]


11-28-12:  Gay Star News (re Kuwait): ''Two trans women arrested in Kuwait ‒ Kuwait continues with 'morality' campaigns that also target LGBT people, and in particular the trans community, with at least 15 transgender women now imprisoned"

"Two trans women were arrested today (28 November) in Kuwait. The two, described by Al-Watan daily as ‘cross dressers’, were driving their car, but a police patrol became suspicious and tailed them. The two tried to escape, by switching to different streets and increased their speed but were chased and apprehended . . .

A transgender activist in Kuwait told Gay Star News: ‘The media in Kuwait is trying to create a moral panic about LGBT by distorting facts or even fabricating them.

'This is just another attempt to use LGBT issues in the ongoing battle between the government and the Islamist opposition. 'The government want to show that they are in control and just as “moral” as the Islamists so the use as scapegoat . . .

'Meanwhile there is no recognition of our existence, both the government and opposition use LGBT issues as tools to attack each other, while refusing to recognize the rights of LGBT community in Kuwait. 'Because of shame, religion, culture or any other excuse that they can think of'. 

This brings the total known number of transgender women being held in prison awaiting trial to fifteen. The arrests of the transgender women is part of an on-going 'morality' campaign which also target lesbian, gay and transgender people. The situation for LGBT people, and in particular transgender people has been progressively deteriorating since 2007, with this year in particular witnessing mass arrests."


11-28-12:  The Advocate (re Uganda): "TRANSCRIPT: Ugandan Trans Woman Pens Courageous Open Letter to Parliament ‒ The woman asked her members of Parliament to reject the so-called "kill the gays" bill. "

"Cleo K., a transgender woman living in Uganda, penned an open letter asking her members of Parliament to reject the country's "Anti-Homosexuality Bill," which would criminalize LGBT Ugandans and subject some to the death penalty.

Activists around the world are rallying in opposition to Uganda's so-called "kill the gays" bill, which would proscribe long imprisonment and even death for some LGBT Ugandans, including those who are HIV-positive, and friends and family who refuse to turn in "known homosexuals" to the authorities. Speaker Rebecca Kadaga told reporters last month that Parliament would pass the Anti-Homosexuality Bill as a "Christmas gift" to Ugandans who she says are "demanding it." On Friday, a parliamentary committee moved the bill forward, and as of Tuesday, the bill appears at the top of the parliamentary Orders Papers' "Notice of Business to Follow," after second and third readings of other bills.

While western activists rally against the draconian legislation, Americans have heard precious little from LGBT people living in Uganda. This morning, a transgender Ugandan woman, going by the name Cleo K., posted an open letter to members of parliament on her Facebook account, asking the legislators for tolerance and tepid acceptance of variant sexual orientations and gender identities. 

Read her entire poignant message, in which she delineates sexual orientation from gender identity and chronicles her own family's long journey to accepting her . . . "


11-28-12:  Huffington Post: "Dashad 'Sage' Smith Missing: Virginia Police Searching For Transgender Teen"

"Police in Virginia are searching for a transgender teen who has been missing for more than a week. Dashad Smith, 19, also known as Sage, Sagey and Unique, was last seen Nov. 20, in the 500 block of West Main Street in Charlottesville. Smith was last seen wearing a black jacket, dark-gray sweatpants, a black scarf and gray boots, police said.

Smith was supposed to meeting a man for a date on the evening she disappeared, her father, Dean Smith, told The Huffington Post. "I had talked to my son on Nov. 20. I talked to him about 5:00 or 5:30 p.m.," Dean Smith said. "After that he did not answer his phone. His roommate said he was going to meet a guy ... I guess they were going on date or whatever. That's all they have right now. It looks like it's an abduction.""


11-28-12:  LGBTQ Nation: "Openly transgender lawmaker may not resign, despite felony conviction"

"Stacie Laughton, one of the nation's first openly transgender state officials, said Wednesday she was reconsidering her previously announced resignation, and may not relinquish her seat in the New Hampshire House, despite pressure over a previously undisclosed conviction for credit card fraud."


11-27-12:  Yahoo News (re Belgium): "Belgian man discovers wife used to be male after 19 years of marriage"

"A man from Belgium wants to have his marriage annulled after discovering that his Indonesian wife of 19 years had originally been a man and had undergone a sex change. The man, only named as Jan, married Monica, his family's former au pair, in 1993 despite legal difficulties posed by the Belgian immigration authorities.

"I feel I've been assaulted," the Telegraph quoted him as telling the Het Nieuwsblad newspaper. "I brought her to Belgium. That was not easy. The Belgian courts had serious doubts about the authenticity of her birth and her identity papers, but eventually they accepted it anyway.

"I thought she was an attractive woman, all woman. She had no male traits," he said . . . "Even during sex, I never noticed anything," he said. Jan, who is undergoing psychiatric treatment following the discovery, has started legal proceedings to have the marriage annulled."


11-27-12:  The Shorthorn (UT - Arlington): "Transgender community speaks out about transition process"

"Penelope Ingram initiates a lot of discussion in her gender studies classes. Texas is a conservative state, after all. So, when Liam Stone approached the associate professor in her office after class one day, Ingram wasn’t sure what to expect — these conversations can escalate quickly.

“She was nervous and prefaced it by saying she hadn’t told anybody and said I’d probably think she was crazy,” Ingram said. “She was thinking that she might be a boy.” “So, I said, ‘That’s awesome.’ I don’t think she was expecting that response.”

For many college students, what to wear is as flip a decision as where to eat dinner. For about 700,000 people across the U.S., including UTA students, everyday choices are not as easy. Transgender people, whose gender identity differs from their birth gender, must decide how much of their true selves they will expose that day."


11-26-12:  Queerty: "UN Passes Historic Resolution Condemning Executions Of Gay And Trans People"

"The United Nations has set a precedent by acknowledging the need to protect individuals from executions based on gender identity in a new resolution passed last week. The resolution by the UN General Assembly urges States to protect the right to life of all people, as well as  to investigate killings based on discriminatory grounds, including, for the first time in the resolution’s history, “gender identity.”

As noted by the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission, the resolution was particularly significant as it was passed on Transgender Day of Remembrance, dedicated to those murdered as a result of their gender identity or expression."


11-20-12:  San Francisco Chronicle: "Okla. court: Name change allowed after sex change"

"A woman who became female through gender-reassignment surgery has the right to change her name too, despite a trial court judge's ruling that suggested her new name was misleading, the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals ruled on Tuesday.

A three-judge panel ruled that Steven Charles Harvey did not attempt to deceive anyone by seeking legal recognition of her new name, Christie Ann Harvey. Oklahoma County District Judge Bill Graves, a former Republican lawmaker, earlier ruled against Harvey, ruling that gender-reassignment surgery didn't change Harvey's DNA.

"Petitioner has stipulated that his DNA cannot be changed to that of a female," Graves wrote in his ruling. "Thus, if a sex change cannot validly change one's sex from male to female or vice versa ... his purpose would be fraudulent."

But the panel ruled the lower court "abused its discretion" by denying the name-change application and ordered Graves to grant Harvey's change of name."


11-20-12: "Transgender Day of Remembrance" (panorama photo of participants)

"Earlier today, a group of transgender community advocates met with White House staff to mark Transgender Day of Remembrance and discuss ways in which we can work together to ensure dignity, equality, and justice for all people.

Throughout America and around the world, many transgender people face bullying, harassment, discrimination, and violence. Far too often, we hear shocking and tragic stories about transgender people who have been assaulted and even killed because of their gender identity or expression. The Obama Administration is committed to preventing violence against all people, including all members of the LGBT community, and this meeting was an important opportunity to explore ways to make our communities and neighborhoods safer.

At the meeting, community leaders highlighted a range of issues and concerns of importance to transgender people. In the months and years ahead, we look forward to working to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all transgender people."


11-20-12:  Center for American Progress (posted 11-15): "Ensuring Benefits Parity and Gender Identity Nondiscrimination in Essential Health Benefits"

"This issue brief explores the problem of insurance discrimination from the perspective of one of the clearest and most widespread examples of arbitrary discrimination in plan design: coverage exclusions targeting transgender people for denial of benefits that are routinely covered for nontransgender people . . .

To stay healthy throughout their lives, transgender people also need preventive care to keep from becoming ill, including services that are traditionally considered to be gender specific such as Pap smears, prostate exams, and mammograms. Transgender patients may need a mix of such screenings. Medically necessary preventive screenings for a transgender woman, for example, may include both a mammogram and a prostate exam.

Many health insurance plans, however, specifically target the transgender population for categorical denial of a wide range of services. In some instances these exclusions apply only to surgical treatments related to transition while permitting coverage for other benefits such as mental health services and hormone therapy. But most coverage exclusions are sweeping—excluding, for example, coverage of any “services, drugs, or supplies related to sex transformation,” “all services related to sexual reassignment,” or “any treatment, drug, service or supply related to changing sex or sexual characteristics.”

Further, insurance carriers routinely invoke these exclusions to deny coverage for any services provided to transgender individuals, including preventive screenings, setting broken bones, and hospitalization for pneumonia . . . "

[The decades-long obsessive-pathologization of transpeople by American psychiatry has led to extreme fear and loathing of transpeople by many in the medical community - often leading to the complete denial of medical care for transpeople by physicians and hospitals. This outrageous situation must be exposed for what it is, namely superstition-based hysteria and fear, and it must be stamped out ASAP!]


11-20-12:  The Mirror (UK): "Monday's must-see TV: Transsexual Teen, Beauty Queen follows Jackie Green, on a mission to become Miss England" (more, more, more, more)

"Jackie Green used to be called Jack, but all her life she’s known that she was really a girl. Being born in the wrong body was just another birth defect. “Like a mole,” as she puts it. At 16, Jackie became the world’s youngest female transsexual. She’s now 18 and on a mission to become Miss England. When we meet her, she’s a feisty, confident teenager with a like-it-or-lump-it attitude to how people view her . . .

It’s a thought-provoking documentary and, ­whatever your views on beauty pageants, there’s no denying that Jackie’s participation in both the contest and this programme will help educate viewers about what it means to be transgender."


11-20-12:  Bernama (Malaysia): "Transgender Community In Jakarta Seeks Better Access To Jobs, Health Care"

"A transgender community group in Jakarta is banking on the city's new governor to provide them with better access to job opportunities and health care in the city. The group is also asking Joko Widodo, better known as Jokowi, to provide training for the community to improve their skills for better employment opportunities . . . "We know that Pak Jokowi is close to the less fortunate people, so we hope he will listen to us and give attention to the transgender community because we are also part of the city," said Indonesia Transgender Forum chairman Yulianus Rettoblaut, as quoted by English daily The Jakarta Post, Tuesday.

Yulianus, or Mami Yuli, said transgender individuals, locally known as 'waria', often found it hard to look for decent jobs because many people still viewed them "differently" . . . According to the group, there are more than 8,000 transgenders in Jakarta, mostly living in slum areas at train stations or under bridges."


11-19-12:  Huffington Post: "Why Centering Race in Transgender Advocacy Is Key to Equality for All", by Kortney Ryan Ziegler, Ph.D.

"Since the first Transgender Day of Remembrance in 1998, the violent deaths of trans women of color have unfortunately come to dominate the yearly event designed to remember and celebrate the lives of those who were victims of transphobic murders. This year is no different as events around the country are set out to mourn recently deceased trans women of color, such as Brandy Martell, Coko Williams, Paige Clay and Deoni Jones -- all black women whose only crime was daring to live openly . . .

I do not need to stress the importance of Transgender Day of Remembrance as a viable act of visibility and resistance. However, it is not enough for us to simply mourn these victims; we have to take the necessary steps to destroy the racist institutional barriers that perpetuate their deaths and not leave the burden of responsibility on communities of color. Instead, predominately white-led transgender advocacy organizations, which undoubtedly have the greatest access to resources, financial and otherwise, must begin to seriously consider the lives of the most vulnerable members of our community by developing and enforcing policy that takes an intersectional approach to the identities of trans women of color."


11-18-12:  The Guardian (UK re Cuba): "Cuban transsexual elected to public office ‒ Adela Hernandez, jailed for 'dangerousness' in the 1980s, becomes first transgender person to hold public office in Cuba"

"A Cuban transsexual has become the first known transgender person to hold public office in the country, winning election as a delegate to the municipal government of Caibarien in the central province of Villa Clara.

Adela Hernandez, 48, hailed her election in a country where gays were persecuted for decades and sent to rural work camps as another milestone in the gradual shift away from macho attitudes in the years since Fidel Castro himself expressed regret over the treatment of people perceived to be different."


11-17-12:  Albany Times-Union: "Transgender teen's mom: Love beats fear"

"When Mary Moss talks Sunday in Glens Falls at a Transgender Day of Remembrance event, she will speak from the heart about what she has learned by raising a transgender son and supporting him through a rocky journey of discovery.

"I want to speak out because we need to get past the fear and ignorance that surrounds this issue," said Moss, 41, of Delmar, who works for the State Education Department. "I want to deliver a message of hope, because I believe only love can conquer fear."

Moss will be joined by Janet Cordes of Glens Falls, who will speak about her transgender daughter. Drew Cordes underwent male-to-female gender reassignment surgery in Montreal at age 29 in May 2011. Cordes was profiled last year in a multi-media Times Union project on transgender.

The transgender remembrance day, an international event now in its 14th year, is marked worldwide on Nov. 20, when there will be an event in Albany. The Glens Falls event on Sunday will include speeches in the Crandall Public Library and a candlelight vigil, procession and reception. It memorializes those who have been killed in the past year in hate crimes and gender-related violence."


11-17-12: "you just build to destroy…", by erica, ascendant

". . . Kiira Triea/Denise Tree/Denise Magner has passed on at age 61. there’s a number of reports out there on the Intertubes about her passing, but Kiira played some role when i first peered out of the closet in the early 00s…i had not suspected she was perpetrating a hoax until much later when i was presented with clear and complete evidence that this woman, along with her many sock puppets, lied to me along with other people i consider dear. Kiira was the kind of silver-tongued liar who had a story that constantly changed as her life went on, and though i sympathize with what probably led her to do this, her choice to use sock puppets and her willingness to use other people led to her much-deserved undoing . . .

 i am very conflicted about Ms. Magner, her position as Alice Domurat Dreger’s sycophant, and the lies she told, but i confess i still cried a bit because i hoped one day maybe we’d get the whole story…because i have no doubt her real story was meaningful and maybe she’d even renounce her transfundamentalism."

[Yet another victim of Kiira Triea's lies and hoaxes comes forward, on the record.]


11-17-12:  TS (posted 11-12): "Denise Magner aka Kiira Triea: fabrications and hoaxes", by Andrea James

"This was written in November 2012 in response to published eulogies repeating lies and unsubstantiated claims made by Denise Magner.

Denise Magner, one of the handful of transgender people active in the “autogynephilia” movement, died in November 2012 . . . Magner was also known as Kiira Triea, and Denise Tree, and a host of fake online personae centered around the hoax website Anything Magner ever said or wrote needs to be independently confirmed by an uninvolved party before it is believed. Basic information she claimed about herself that I fact-checked against government and medical records turned out to be false. Even basic facts she claimed about herself that were printed in books and articles have turned out to be false. Throughout her life, she lied to journalists, to academics, to activists, to her closest friends, to her family, and to herself.

I’m sure the sexologists who exploited Magner are rushing to eulogize her in their house organ, the Archives of Sexual Behavior, so I thought I’d pre-emptively refute their testimonial about her as some teller of great truths. I have much more to say on this down the road, but this summary will suffice for now. Magner’s fraud is very complicated and spanned decades, so bear with me as I try to summarize . . .

It’s probably bad to laugh out loud at a eulogy, but I am amazed at how Magner is able to play Dreger like a fiddle even from beyond the grave. When Dreger tried to pick a fight with another person, Heino Meyer-Bahlburg of Columbia University, Magner knew just how to manipulate Dreger, who writes:

“Kiira and her bandmates recorded a version of Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight” that exactly captured the terror and anger we both felt. I must have listened to it a thousand times, especially the part we both knew was about the way she felt toward Money and Heino.”

Because Magner was such a pathological liar, I immediately determined that this cover song was not recorded by Magner and her friends. Magner had no lasting friends, and she never recorded music professionally (she just hoarded second-hand gear). Magner appropriated the song she gave to Dreger from the metal band Nonpoint.

That’s right, Dreger listened to “Magner’s” song “a thousand times,” never once stopping to wonder how a 60-something reclusive hoarder and drug addict might be able to create a professionally-produced studio recording. That’s a perfect analogy for what’s going on here. Magner was such a skillful liar and fraud, and Dreger is so incompetent and blinded to the truth, that it didn’t even occur to Dreger she’s been duped by Magner for over 20 years (and counting)."

[In this report Andrea James further exposes how Kiira Triea, the creator of the hoax website, pulled the wool over the eyes of Alice Dreger and J. Michael Bailey and how they took Triea's fantasy-fabrications literally, often citing her fabrications in support of Bailey's 'scientific' theories.]


11-17-12: (posted 11-04): "Losing Kiira", by Alice Dreger

"My friend and colleague Kiira Triea died two days ago. Several people have asked me to provide an obituary that they can share, so I am trying. I find I have begun by turning on far more lights than the morning daylight really requires.

Kiira probably would have approved of me summing up her extraordinary life this way: Science repeatedly nearly killed Kiira, and art constantly sustained her. Kiira had two public lives, which only occasionally overlapped. In one, she was an advocate for children and adults who were intersex and transgender. In the other, she was an extraordinarily talented musician, songwriter, and poet . . .

In the course of her adult life, Kiira’s character was revealed again and again. She often put those revelations into music and poetry. Kiira played electric guitar and bass, professionally mostly in metal bands. That fact always made me and her bandmates laugh, because she was not the sort of person you’d look at and say “heavy metal rocker.” In fact, Kiira loved any good music, but I think metal captured her anger and hope. As I was set to debate Heino at IASR in Los Angeles in 2011, Kiira and her bandmates recorded a version of Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight” that exactly captured the terror and anger we both felt. I must have listened to it a thousand times, especially the part we both knew was about the way she felt toward Money and Heino . . . "

[In this obit, it becomes clear just how far Alice Dreger was taken in by the fantasies and lies of Kiira Triea, the creator of the hoax website, including Triea's lies about being a professional musician and recording artist - as exposed in Andrea James' recent report.]


11-16-12:  Marilyn Stowe Blog (UK): European Court of Human Rights rules on transsexual case"

"The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that a law which would make the marriage of a post-operative transsexual invalid if she officially registered her new gender did not violate her rights under the European Convention.

In the case of H v Finland, H was a married male-to-female transsexual from Finland who had undergone surgery. She applied to change her official identity number as that records a person’s gender. She was unable to do so, however, as under Finnish law, legal gender can only be changed if the person is either not in a civil partnership or marriage or if their partner or spouse provides consent . . .

H’s wife would not consent to transforming their marriage into a civil partnership. The couple wished to remain married as ending the union would be contrary to their religious beliefs and they also believed a civil partnership would provide them and their child with fewer legal rights. H appealed the refusal to issue her with a new identity number and record her new gender through the Finnish court system but was unsuccessful.

As a result, H appealed to the European Court of Human Rights, claiming that her rights under the Convention had been infringed by the Finnish legal system . . .  But the European Court ruled that both these claims were inadmissible."


11-14-12:  San Diego Union Tribune (posted 11-12): "Transgender woman sues BLM over Taser incident" (watch video of the unprovoked Taser attacks, video interview of Brooke)

"A transgender Ramona woman has filed a federal lawsuit accusing the U.S. Bureau of Land Management of excessive force for firing a Taser to her groin in an incident in the desert more than a year ago.

The encounter between a BLM ranger and Brooke Fantelli on public lands in the Imperial County desert near El Centro was captured on a video posted on YouTube. The lawsuit, filed last week in federal court in San Diego, contends that Ranger J. Peter’s attitude changed markedly when he learned Fantelli had gone through a gender change . . .

According to the suit, the ranger had approached the group Fantelli was with on Oct. 22, 2011, and asked to see identifications. The group was in a spot off Split Mountain Road to take commercial photographs using a classic Datsun truck Fantelii owns. At the time, Fantelli’s driver’s license identified her as a male, Rodd Fantelli, but she was in the process of changing her gender.

“He was super nice, until he saw the ID,” Fantelli said in an interview Monday. “He went from calling me ’ Miss’ and ‘Ma’am’ when it first started, to ‘Sir,’ ‘Dude’ and eventually calling me ‘it.’ ” . . .

Around then is when the video picks up the confrontation. Fantelli stands with her hands in the air, with the ranger and an Imperial County sheriff’s deputy a few feet away. The Sheriff’s Department had been called to assist in the arrest and is also named in the suit.

After a few moments, Fantelli turns and says to her companions, “Take pictures. Take pictures.” Seconds later, the Taser strikes her and she falls backward, moaning in pain. The ranger and deputy roll her on her back and try to handcuff her. The ranger warns her he will use the Taser again. Seconds later she is shot again with the Taser, this time in her groin. "


11-14-12:  The Jewish Daily Forward: "Transgender Jews Seek Place at Table ‒ Conference Aims To Break Communal Silence on Issue"  (more)

"Shortly before Emily Aviva Kapor began the transition from male to female, she sat down to discuss the process with her mother. “I told her I was going on hormones, and she said the most Jewish thing to me,” 27-year-old Kapor recalled . “She said, ‘Well, at least you’re not getting a tattoo.’”

It’s a funny line that anyone with a Jewish mother can appreciate. But as it turns out, the most Jewish thing to say on the subject of gender identity probably would have been nothing at all.

For many years, those knowledgeable on the subject say, Jews and Jewish organizations largely met their transgender co-religionists with silence. Slowly, that is beginning to change. From November 2 to November 4, Kapor and nearly 30 other transgender, transsexual, queer, intersex and gender-nonconforming Jews from across North America sought to expand this opening-up process at a gathering here, billed as the first-ever retreat for such Jews.

“With transgender and gender-queer identity, there wasn’t a Jewish frame of reference in which to speak it,” said Rabbi David Dunn Bauer, director of West Coast programming for Nehirim, the LGBT group that sponsored the event. The result, he said, was “silence.”

On the other side of the equation, he added, “Jewish transgender people did not want to speak their names or their identities out loud — or if they did, they had to leave their communities and restart somewhere else, kind of like the witness protection program. So, there was silence from transgender people.” The Trans Gathering, as the shabbaton was called, was “a space where people could be present in their full identities.”"


11-13-12:  Toronto Star (Canada): "Transgendered student denied access to men’s washroom"

"When James Spencer switched schools to avoid bullies the last place he thought he’d run into them again was at the main office. But that’s exactly what Spencer, a 16-year-old who transitioned from female to male, says happened when Clarke High School in Durham Region barred him from using the men’s washroom.

Despite collecting the signatures of about half the students in the school, Spencer is still not allowed to use the men’s washroom. He’s been granted access to the women’s washroom and a private washroom that needs a key from the main office — neither of which work for him.

“I thought, ‘They’re figuring it out, it’s temporary,’ but as time went on they’re portraying the message that transgender people are wrong and they need to be segregated. And I don’t sit well with that,” said Spencer."


11-11-09: Herald-Sun (Australia): "Bombshell dropped as army officer changes gender"

"ARMY chief David Morrison's speechwriter, Malcolm McGregor, has secured the support of the Defence Force to continue employment as Cate McGregor. The former journalist and political staffer to John Hewson and Bob Carr shocked the political establishment yesterday by choosing to publicly confirm the transition.

The army respectfully kept the secret for months, allowing Lieutenant Colonel McGregor time off to write a memoir, An Indian Summer Of Cricket, while undergoing hormone therapy and an extraordinary personal transformation. In an exclusive interview with The Sunday Telegraph Lt-Col McGregor said she was humbled the way the defence forces had handled the matter."


11-11-09: Huffington Post (posted 11-08): "San Francisco Offers Transgender Health Care As Part Of City's Universal Health Care Plan" (more, more)

"In 2007, San Francisco became the first city in the nation to offer universal health care to its citizens through the Healthy SF program, which provides government subsidized health services to uninsured residents. Now, with a unanimous vote of the San Francisco Health Commission, the Healthy SF program will extend to transgender patients.

"Until now, Healthy SF excluded care for transgender issues, even when the procedures are medically necessary," said Kristina Wertz, director of policy and programs at the Transgender Law Center. "A transgender man may need a hysterectomy as part of his transgender operations and it wouldn't be covered, but a non-transgender woman could need the exact same procedure and it would be covered."

The Bay Area Reporter explained that Healthy SF previously offered some services to its transgender subscribers, such as hormone treatment and mental health services, but excluded for them many surgical procedures available to non-transgender individuals."


11-11-09: Christian Post: "Do Non-Discrimination Policies Justify Transgender Perversion?"

"How did it come to this? A non-discrimination policy at Evergreen State College in Washington is allowing a 45-year-old male student to expose himself inside a women's locker room. Never mind the fact that teenage girls and even young children have shared that locker room with him.

What gives this man the right to commit this indecent act against children? Well....he is a transgender man....that's it. That is his defense. He calls himself a woman, but he has all the male parts in tact. His terminology is what he relies upon to get inside that locker room. This self-proclaimed description of himself has been enough for the college and the local district attorney to back off. This is a perversion of nature, and of any reasonable measure of decency and propriety.

Has it really come to this in America? Are these acts of perversion truly justified by a man-made policy?"


11-11-09: Seattle Weekly (posted 11-05): "Transgender Student in Evergreen's Locker Room Draws Ire of Arizona Religious Group"

""Little girls should not be exposed to naked men, period. A college's notions about 'non-discrimination' don't change that," says Senior Legal Counsel David Hacker in a press release distributed by the Alliance Defending Freedom, which says it is acting on behalf of parents concerned for their children's safety.

The September drama involving Francis and members of the youth swim team came to the attention of campus police, who logged a police report noting that a 17-year-old Capital High School student "became upset" when she saw Francis' male genitalia in the locker room sauna. The police report says that a female coach of another youth swim team that utilizes Evergreen's pool facilities, Tiffany Wright, expressed concerns that girls ranging in age from six to 18 use Evergreen's locker room, and "were not use to" encountering transgender people with male genitalia in the sauna.

Campus police notified the Thurston County Prosecutor's Office of the situation, though no charges have been filed related to the incident - one of many things Hacker and the Alliance Defending Freedom takes serious issue with."


11-09-12:  Red & Black (Univ. of Georgia): "Transgender students encounter ‘awkward’ situations on campus"

"Jennifer Miracle, associate director of student life at LGBT, said most of the problems transgender and transsexual student face at the University center around the fact that the University must “honor [the student’s] legal gender.”

Miracle said a transgender or transsexual student’s legal gender can cause the biggest issue with on-campus living.

“If somebody’s transitioning from female to male and their legal gender still says female, they would have to be placed in a woman’s room,” she said. “I think it ... causes a lot of anxiety because they don’t know who they’re going to have to live with and if they’re going to be OK with them.” "


11-09-12:  Washington Blade: "N.H. voters elect country’s first out transgender statewide candidate"

"A New Hampshire Democrat on Tuesday became the first openly transgender person elected to statewide office in the country. Stacie Laughton, a Nashua selectman, will represent portions of the state’s second largest city located on the Massachusetts border in the New Hampshire House of Representatives. She and two other Democrats defeated two Republicans who had also ran . . .

Laughton did not immediately respond to the Washington Blade’s request for comment, but she said in a campaign video she would “always fight for the rights of the LGBT community.” New Hampshire lawmakers in 2009 rejected a bill that would have added gender identity and expression to the state’s non-discrimination law . . .

Joelle Ruby Ryan, a transgender activist who is also a professor at the University of New Hampshire, agreed. “Words cannot express how excited I am about the election of Ms. Stacie Laughton to the N.H. House of Representative,” she told the Blade. “As a transgender activist in N.H. for 20 years now, I can honestly state that this is a pivotal milestone in our long struggle for full equality and civil rights.” Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, also described Laughton’s election as “historic.”"


11-09-12:  Chicago Phoenix: "East Aurora schools committee: Our transgender policy could change the country"

"An Ad Hoc committee of the East Aurora School District 131 convened for the first time Thursday to discuss its plans to create a new policy for protecting transgender students after a previous district policy was rescinded late last month. This time, the committee emphasized that it would get the policy right.

Anita Lewis, chair of the committee, said it would take its time to make sure it would produce the very best policy devisable, one that would protect not just transgender and gender nonconforming students, but all students in the district from bullying and harassment.

“We want to take enough time to make sure we get in the right policy to protect this group of students as well as all students,” Lewis said, explaining that the committee should establish a policy, and a mechanism for training district staff like teachers, administrators as well as establishing means of support of transgender students. “We have to do a better job,” she said. “The better we do at this, the better it will be for our whole country.”"


11-09-12:  USA Today (re Pakistan): "Transgender Pakistanis face society's scorn"

"Dressed up in elaborate, feminine outfits and artfully applied makeup, they are showered with money while dancing at all-male wedding parties. But the lives of transgender people in Pakistan are also marked by harassment, rejection and poverty.

Transgender people live in a tenuous position in conservative Pakistan, where the roles of the sexes are traditionally starkly drawn. Families often push them out of the home when they're young, forcing many to prostitute themselves to earn a living.

One role where they are tolerated is as dancers at weddings and other celebrations at which men and women are strictly segregated. In between the dancing and showers of rupee notes, they must fend off groping from drunken guests. "I don't understand why people feel it is their duty to tease and taunt us," said one transgender Pakistani who goes by the name Symbal. Many in the transgender community pick a name for themselves and do not use their last name to protect their family.

Others beg on the streets or earn money by blessing newborn babies. The blessings reflect a widespread belief in Pakistan and other South Asian nations that God answers the prayers of someone who was born underprivileged, said Iqbal Hussain, a Pakistani researcher who has studied the transgender community. But he cautioned that didn't mean people were ready to give them equal rights."


11-06-12:  Free Thought Blogs (UK): "On Detransition", byNatalie Reed

"Last week a story broke in the British press concerning a young trans woman, Ria Cooper, who at 17 had been the youngest patient to ever receive hormone treatment for gender transition under the NHS. Ria was now considering “detransition”, that is, the choice to eschew her scheduled lower surgery, discontinue the use of exogenous hormones and anti-androgens,  and return to living and presenting as male, within general cultural concepts of male-ness.

Obviously the often notoriously vicious and transphobic mainstream British press seized on the story, providing as it did an apparent “confirmation” of the initial fears and doubts that the cis public had expressed when Cooper first sought treatment: their outrage at the idea of “kids being given sex changes!”, the idea that at 17 she was “too young” to make such a decision, the distrust of the NHS funding gender transition at all, let alone for “unconventional” patients like trans youth, the idea that it was a frivolous and risky expense of the NHS’ public funding, and the general “gatekeeping” mentality: cissexist or cis-centric biases that lead to the idea that medical gender transition is something that demands an especially extraordinary amount of caution, evidence that the patient is “sure” and capable of being “sure”, and evidence that the patient is “really” trans. Cooper’s (immediately publicized) choice to detransition offered an almost irresistible narrative for everybody in Britain who had expressed outrage, disgust, unease or even mild suspicion that it was a “bad idea” to “allow” her to be treated. It offered them all a chance to feel smug, collectively shrug their shoulders and sigh “I told you so” . . .

I can’t speak to what Ria Cooper’s “real” reasons for this choice are. It would defeat every point I’ve tried to make if I presumed to. But the least we can offer this young person, discarded and hated from every corner of her life, is to not exploit her situation ourselves. To not make it all about us and the effect it might have for us or how it makes us feel. We can at least afford her the right to regret, the right to make her own choices about what she needs and wants, the right to want her family and friends back, the right to sacrifice transition for the sake of human connection… the right to do what she believes will make her happy. The right to do that without any of us presuming we knew her and her interests better than she knew herself."


11-06-12: Parentdish (UK; posted 10-29): "Britain's youngest sex change patient wants to go back to being a boy"

"Britain's youngest sex-swap patient has decided she want to go back to being a boy – because she experiences too many mood swings as a girl. Ria Cooper, 18, from Hull, has had thousands of pounds worth of NHS treatment involving hormonal injections to turn her from a boy into a girl.

But the hormones affected her so badly that she attempted suicide twice. Ria, formerly known as Brad, lives her life as a female. She has developed breasts, wears her hair in a feminine bob and has dated several young men. But now she questions whether she was too young to be allowed to swap sexes in the first place.

"Life has really got on top of me recently," she told the Sunday Mirror . . . "A couple of months ago I'd had enough and took a lot of paracetamol but my friend found me and made me sick. Just before that, I'd tried to slash my wrists and ended up in hospital. I get these dark moods when nothing seems right . . . The night I tried to slash my wrists I'd downed a bottle of Jack Daniel's and just thought about how alone I am, how my decision has alienated my family and how I will have to become a boy again to resolve it."

The Sunday Mirror said that critics warned two years ago that Ria's tender years meant she was too young to make the decision to become a woman. Child psychologist Karen Sherr, formerly of Great Ormond Street Hospital, said: "It's absolutely ludicrous for young kids to make such huge, life-changing decisions... and for doctors and their parents to support it."


11-04-12:  GMA News (re Thailand, Philippines): "Pinoy transgender crowned Miss International Queen" (more, more, more, more)

"A 21-year-old transgender beauty from the Philippines — Kevin Balot — was crowned "Miss International Queen 2012" in Thailand's seaside resort Pattaya on Friday.

One Filipino fan said that winning a transvestite contest in Thailand, the land of "lady boys," was like winning a soccer tournament in Brazil. An emotional Balot told reporters that she hoped the win would help her gain acceptance from her father.

"I'm very proud to be first here, and I hope my dad will accept me. Because in the family I'm the only boy, and my dad has big expectations of me. I made it. I won the International Queen Pageant, and I believe that my dad will accept me not only as his son but also as his daughter," she said."


11-03-12:  ABC News: "Transgender Student in Women’s Locker Room Raises Uproar"

"The decision to allow a transgender 45-year-old college student who identifies as a woman but has male genitalia to use the women’s locker room has raised a fracas among parents and faith-based organizations, who say children as young as 6 years old use the locker room. The locker room at Evergreen College in Olympia, Wash., is shared with the Capital High School swim club and a children’s swim academy, along with the students at Evergreen.

“The college has to follow state law,” Evergreen spokesman Jason Wettstein told ABC News affiliate KOMO. “The college cannot discriminate based on the basis of gender identity. Gender identity is one of the protected things in discrimination law in this state.” But according to parents, the fact that the student has exposed her male genitalia, in one instance in the sauna, is cause for concern.

“[A mother] reported her daughter was upset because she observed a person at the women’s locker room naked and displaying male genitalia,” said a police report filed in September by a mother on behalf of her 17-year-old daughter."


11-03-12:  AFP (re Japan): "Japan transsexual denied recognition as father" (more)

"A person who had a sex-change to become a man has complained of discrimination after a Japanese court refused to register him as the father of his wife's child, according to reports Saturday.

The 30-year-old, who was born female, had sought to be registered as the father after his wife delivered a boy in 2009 by way of artificial insemination using donated sperm. But the Tokyo Family Court ruled the child must be registered as if he was born out of wedlock as the man is physically not capable of reproduction -- despite the fact sterile men are routinely recognised as the fathers of babies born using artificial insemination.

The couple married in 2008, after the husband officially changed his gender, and were recognised as husband and wife under a new law that came into effect in 2004 . . .  "I feel I am being discriminated against. I will continue to fight so that I can live as a husband and a father," he said, according to national broadcaster NHK."


11-02-12:  The Guardian (re Iran): "Iranian film shines spotlight on taboo subject of transsexuals ‒ Facing Mirrors brings transsexuality to the big screen for the first time, even though Khomeini fatwa legalised it in 1987"

"Adineh and Rana are women from very different sides of the track. Wealthy, modern and rebellious, Adineh has fled the family home, harbouring a secret desire to become a man. Rana, from a conservative religious background, gives her a lift in the taxi she has been forced to drive since her husband was sent to jail.

The burgeoning relationship between the two forms the heart of Facing Mirrors, a film that hit cinemas in Tehran this week and brought the taboo subject of transsexuality to the big screen for the first time."


11-02-11:  Montreal Gazette (Canada): "Transsexuals: Many Are Attracted to Them"

"I have to say that there appears to be some major doubletalk going on out there when it comes to what some people say about transsexuals and transgender people. While far too often we see bigoted, transphobic, intolerant comments by readers to trans articles on mainstream media sites, there is a huge interest in transsexual-related articles and pictures, as any media outlet can attest to. For example, all of us saw our online hit numbers soar when we ran items about Jenna Talackova, especially on posts that featured photos of her. Even the fashion world has got into the act by hiring trans models, both pre-op and post-op.

Many, many people are attracted to transsexuals, and they far outnumber the bigots who post nasty comments. Indeed, you’ve got to wonder why those alleged transphobes are reading the articles in the first place, and wasting their time making intolerant comments. I’m sure the therapists out there could offer some interesting views on that."



October 2012


10-31-12: Huffington Post (re Bolivia): “Transsexual in Bolivia”, by Lucas Waldron

“I wasn't shocked that roadside prostitutes in Cochabamba, Bolivia were taunted by passers-by; this was still-macho, provincial Latin America after all. But nothing could have prepared me for the strength of character of these transgender sex workers who, against all odds, have organized to argue for their right to health care treatment -- and, more important, their rights as human beings.”


10-31-12:  The Advocate: "Biden Calls Transgender Discrimination 'Civil Rights Issue of Our Time'" (more)

"Vice President Joe Biden spoke with a woman at a campaign event Tuesday in Sarasota, Fla., telling her that discrimination against transgender people is the “civil rights issue of our time.”

The woman, Linda Carragher Bourne, said something inaudible to the Vice President, to which Biden responded with the words, “civil rights issue of our time,” according to a pool report. Bourne later told reports that her daughter was Miss Trans New England and she had asked if the Vice President would help. "A lot of my friends are being killed, and they don't have the civil rights yet. These guys are gonna make it happen," Bourne told the pool about the Democratic ticket."


10-29-12:  The Atlantic: "For Transgendered Soldiers, Don't Ask Don't Tell Carries On"

"Unfortunately for transgender veterans . . . The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which determines what the medical community views as an official mental problem, still considers being transgender a psychiatric disease. 

Spack wholeheartedly disagrees with the manual's assessment. That said, he "can't blame the military community [for excluding transgender people] when the mental health community has it on the DSM." As long as mental health professionals see being transgendered as a disorder, he says, "the military will be the last to budge."

Kenneth Zucker of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, Canada, has studied psychosexual disorders in children and adolescents for over 30 years, and is the chairman of the American Psychiatric Association Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders work group, the body that decides, among other things, whether or not transgender people should be considered mentally ill. He vehemently believes that they should.

In an NPR report from 2008, Zucker dismissed the argument that being transgender is a product of the person's biological makeup, calling such reasoning "astonishingly naive and simplistic." He told the New York Times that he advocates making kids feel more at home in their biological genders. The NPR report described Zucker counseling the parents of a biological boy who believed he was a girl. He told them that the boy, six years of age at the start of "treatment," should no longer be allowed to play with girls, have dolls, or pretend to be a female character. If transgender veterans want equal rights in the military, this may be the man they'll have to persuade. (Over the course of six weeks, he didn't return several calls and emails.)"

[For decades Ken Zucker has been the driving force behind the psychiatric pathologization of transgender people ‒ often proudly proclaiming that he could "cure" transgender children of this "mental illness". However, rising public outrage at his emotionally-destructive treatment-methods has finally pulled the rug out from under him. Although he still stridently promotes his methods among psychiatrists, he's now seeking cover and ducking media interviews.]


10-28-12:  Huffington Post: "Eden Lane, Transgender Broadcast Journalist, Discusses Her Career, Being A Role Model And More"

""'The Book of Mormon' just launched its national tour in Colorado, so I was able to get a sit-down with [creators] Matt Stone and Trey Parker, " said Eden Lane, the host of Colorado Public Television's "In Focus with Eden Lane," a weekly interview program highlighting arts and culture, discussing a recent trip to New York. "And I interviewed the stars, including Gavin Creel, who is the most charming fellow you ever met!"

She was beaming with excitement, hugely passionate about her work and the show, now in its fifth season. Each week Lane speaks with artists, writers, directors, performers and others in theater, dance, music, film and television, drawing them out with her warm and inviting personality. And while her program is focused on her interview subjects, she, too, is sometimes in the spotlight, making history as the only known openly transgender mainstream television broadcaster in U.S., something that Lane says just sort of happened, and was nothing she ever set out to do.

"I've been told that, for mainstream television, I'm the only broadcast journalist that is known to be transgender," she said in an interview on my SiriusXM OutQ radio program. "I transitioned, in the way that your radio listeners will understand, almost a decade ago. I became a married, suburban housewife and mom, and never really intended to step in the spotlight. If I had known that nobody else was identified as transgender as a news journalist on television, I probably wouldn't have done it. I probably would have been too afraid.""


10-27-12: Huffington Post (posted 10-26): "Making LGBT Great: Dana Beyer", by Christopher Dyer

"Dana Beyer is one of the leading transgender advocates in the country who continues to work towards making the lives of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender residents better. Dana is a retired eye surgeon who was one of the first openly transgender candidates for state office in 2006 and 2010. She is currently executive director of Gender Rights Maryland which is working towards passing a state wide gender identity anti-discrimination law.

Dana co-authored The Dallas Principles, calling for full LGBT civil rights. She led the coalitions that helped pass gender identity anti-discrimination laws in three counties and, and one of them against national right-wing forces trying to force it to a popular vote in 2008. She was the trans representative on the Washington Psychiatric Society Working Group that wrote the gender dysphoria text for the DSM5.

Dana has been the vice president of Equality Maryland, executive vice president of Maryland NOW, founding board member of, a Montgomery County parents group working in support of comprehensive sex education, a Governor at the Human Rights Campaign, a founding member of the Progressive Working Group, Maryland's progressive alliance, and a board member at Mobile Med, Montgomery County's premier provider of medical care to the uninsured. She is on the board of the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), Keshet, the national Jewish LGBT organization and an inspiration to many LGBT activists across the country . . .

Note: This is the first in a series of profiles of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or straight allies who are working to improve the lives of LGBT residents. This series includes a brief summary of their work followed by answers to three questions. "


10-27-12:  Vancouver Sun (Canada): "Transgender director aims to change attitudes ‒ Lana Wachowski of Cloud Atlas says some people 'want to crucify me' but hopes by speaking out she'll engender acceptance"

"Lana Wachowski, the co-creator of Cloud Atlas, said she made the gender-bending, multi-character film to change the attitudes of bigoted people "who want to lynch me, want to crucify me." Wachowski, sporting neon pink dreadlocks, showed a newfound willingness to talk publicly about being transgender, a process she has undergone in the past decade to become a woman.

Wachowski said at least one of the characters in Cloud Atlas, a waitress of the future who foments revolution, mirrored her own experience. "Like Sonmi, there are people who will spit on me, want to lynch me, want to crucify me," she said. But she hopes by speaking out she can effect change.

"I am interested in engaging with the world, hopefully in a way that makes some people not as afraid of people like me or view people like me as these others who aren't as human as them or different than them," she added."


10-27-12: Wired (posted 10-25): "Lana Wachowski’s Moving Speech on Being Transgender"

"On October 20, 2012, Lana Wachowski did an amazing and brave thing. She gave a speech at the Human Rights Campaign’s annual gala dinner about her own struggles with what it is like to be transgender.

Geeks are well familiar with her body of work. Lana Wachowski and her brother Andy gave us The Matrix trilogy and Speed Racer. Tomorrow night is the initial release date for her latest movie, Cloud Atlas.

I strongly urge you to find the 30 minutes to watch the above speech. It is candid, humorous, and quite emotional. Warning, Lana does drop the “b” word, but only once. She talks about why she dropped out of the public for so long, her personal struggles with depression and her suicide plan, her transition, and so much more.

Coming out to your family and friends is never easy, even if you have a supportive tribe. Coming out publicly is even more difficult. "


10-26-12:  Gay Star News (re Brazil): "Brazil trans stoned to death ‒ A Brazilian trans was stoned to death by a group of assailants in the city of Aracaju" (more)

"A 39 year old trans person was stoned to death in the city of Aracaju, Brazil. The 39 year-old was well known and liked, known locally as ‘Madona’, died from her wounds earlier this week, after she was attacked by an unknown group of people with cobblestones.

Madonna, who was birth-name was Amos Chagas Lima, received mortal blows and was admitted to a hospital in Aracaju, the capital of the state of Sergipe, Brazil, in the early hours of Friday last week. She died four days later from severe head injuries . . .

Speaking with Gay Star News, Keila Simpson, president of the National Counsel to Combat Discrimination of the Secretary of Human Rights to the President of Brazil said: ‘The situation in Brazil is very different from any other part of the world.

‘Trans people are the smallest and most vulnerable part of the LGBT Brazilian communities, making up a mere tenth, yet we suffer from the highest incidence of violence and murder. ‘Since January we have had over 100 transgender people murdered here – that means over 10 people murdered every month. ‘Contrary to popular belief, most of the murders are not crime of passion at all, but the murderers are people who didn’t know their victims . . .

‘The violence is the principle reason why so many Brazilian trans people immigrate abroad, principally to Europe. ‘Only yesterday I spoke with a trans friend who lives in Spain and she told me: “Here people don’t get murdered in the street because they are trans, I’ll never go back to Brazil.”"


10-26-12:  Washington Post: "Off-duty D.C. police officer convicted of assault with a deadly weapon"

"A D.C. police officer who jumped onto the hood of a packed car and fired five gunshots at its occupants minutes after offering a transgender woman $500 for sex was found guilty of assault with a deadly weapon Friday. Kenneth D. Furr, 48, also was convicted of solicitation. He was acquitted of the most serious charge he faced, assault with intent to kill, and six related offenses stemming from an Aug. 26, 2011, argument that turned violent.

Furr faces a maximum of 10 years in prison for the assault conviction and 90 days for solicitation when he is sentenced in January. He could have faced up to 30 years behind bars if he had been convicted of all the charges against him."


10-26-12: ILGA Europe (Europe): "ILGA-Europe’s statement on the occasion of the International Intersex Awareness Day (26 October)"

"ILGA-Europe believes that this day is a great opportunity for the raising of awareness on intersex issues, generate greater understanding and call for the elaboration of human rights in respect to intersex people.

The foundation of all discrimination suffered by intersex people lies in the fact that our society is based on a legal and cultural binary sex model. This system negates the existence of intersex people. Within it, intersex bodies are ‘normalised’ through cosmetic surgical and medical interventions in order for them to be aligned to one or the other legally recognised sexes.

Across Europe, babies who are born intersex, or those children who are identified as intersex later in their lives, are routinely ‘normalised’ without prior personal and informed consent through intrusive and unnecessary surgeries and medical interventions which often have adverse long term effects on their psychological, sexual and physical wellbeing.

ILGA-Europe commends the European Commission for publishing a report that expressly coves the human rights situation of intersex people earlier this year, and calls on European Institutions and national governments to review the practices that intersex people are subjected to in their respective jurisdiction and take the necessary actions for the full respect of their human rights."


10-25-12:  Huffington Post (posted 10-24): "Lana Wachowski, Transgender 'Cloud Atlas' Director, Reveals Painful Adolescence, Suicide Attempt (VIDEO)" (more)

"Lana Wachowski is one of the top directors in Hollywood. She and her brother, Andrew, are behind films like "The Matrix," "V for Vendetta" and "Cloud Atlas." These films have gained her critical acclaim, but Wachowski recently coming out as transgender made the most headlines. Now, she is breaking her silence on her painful adolescence in hopes of helping other LGBT individuals.

Wachowski delivered a heartfelt speech at the gala fundraising dinner for LGBT advocacy group Human Rights Campaign in San Francisco on Oct. 20. There the director received the Visibility Award, according to The Hollywood Reporter, and she revealed that she had struggled as a transgender youth and once even considered committing suicide.

"Every one of us, every person here, every human life, represents a negotiation between public and private identity," she said. She revealed that she has been "out" to her family and friends for over a decade, but knew that there would always be a "price for it" once the public found out . . .

Now, Wachowski hopes to be an inspiration. "If I can be that person for someone else, then that sacrifice of my private civil life may have value," she said. Offering the love and support she has received to others so that "this world that we imagine in this world might be used to gain access to other rooms, to other worlds, previously unimaginable." She delivered the moving speech in front of a crowd about 600. After speaking, the director exited the stage and cried for 10 minutes, according to THR. "

[Wow, what a wonderful video - must see!]


10-25-12:  Windy City Times (posted 10-10): "Barbra Casbar Siperstein: Breaking ground in N.J., nationally" (more, more)

"The story of Barbra "Babs" Siperstein is one that will both break your heart and move you to action. It's a story of the power of love, the passion of commitment and the importance of being present.

On Sept. 30, Siperstein, nee Barry Siperstein, was at a surprise birthday party—her own. It was thrown by her daughter and some friends. Her grandchildren were there, her oldest son flew up from Florida. The party was for her 69 and 5/6 celebration. It was a bit of a family tradition, because when Siperstein was nearing 50, her late wife Carol Ann threw her a 49 and 5/6 birthday party because she knew Siperstein was uncomfortable about turning 50.

But at the party last weekend, things were somewhat different. It was still a big event, although Carol Ann wasn't there. And the guests also had a present that Barbra couldn't have imagined at that earlier party: a resolution from the New Jersey State Assembly, noting the significance of the day. Because, as she approaches 70, Barbra is no longer Barry, but one of the premiere transgender activists in the state of New Jersey, if not the country. In September, she was elected as the first transgender member of the executive committee of the Democratic National Committee."


10-25-12:  Huffington Post: "Allyson Robinson, Transgender Veteran, Named To Helm Advocacy Group For LGBTs In Military" (more, more)

"Allyson Robinson will lead the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and OutServe when they formally merge this weekend. An Army veteran and a 1994 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, Robinson commanded a Patriot missile unit in Europe and the Middle East before resigning her commission in 1999 to become a Christian minister.

Her selection -- more than a year after the end of the Pentagon's "don't ask, don't tell" policy allowed gay and lesbian troops (but not transgender servicemembers) to serve openly -- is seen as an indication that activists consider their work unfinished. Along with the inclusion of transgender men and women, the major stumbling block to full equality for the LGBT community in the military is the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which bars married same-sex couples from receiving the same benefits as their straight peers."


10-25-12:  The Hindu (India): "Transgender people crave for dignity"

" “We have no standing in society. We are treated like untouchables. We do not even have a card to call ourselves citizens of the State.” A group of transgender people, who gathered at the office of the Democratic Youth Federation of India office here on Wednesday, was venting its anger and frustration at being excluded from society.

“We have no ration cards or election ID cards. Without these cards we cannot get jobs. The government does not have any job schemes or welfare schemes for us. Because of this, we are forced to beg for food and to pay rent,” said Rani (33) from Tumkur district. At 18, her family disowned her after she confessed her gender identity. After her father pronounced that his “son was dead” to him . . .

The six transgenders, who gathered at the DYFI office, were candid about their suffering: some said that when collections were low, they have had to resort to prostitution. “We hate it. On days when we have not collected enough money, we dread the evenings because we have to turn into sex workers to pay for rent and food. All we ask is for the government to give us jobs, even as sweepers, to ensure we can rid ourselves off of begging and prostitution,” said Kalpana. "


10-23-12:  io9: "Miss Universe contestant petitions World Health Organization to remove transsexualism as a mental disorder"

"I'm not sick. In fact I'm great! I'm a woman that had to undergo transgender medical procedures to become who I really am on in the inside. But the World Health Organization (WHO) insists that I, and millions of other trans people are sick. The WHO actually considers transsexualism to be a mental disorder.

Since facing and overcoming discrimination for being a transgender woman back in March - when I was kicked out of and then re-admitted to the Miss Universe Pageant - I've been working to fight the stigma and discrimination facing people like me. Join me in signing this petition and ask the World Health Organization to stop considering transsexual people mentally ill."

[You can sign the petition here.}


10-23-12:  Daily Express (UK): "World's Youngest Transsexual Kim Petras is YouTube Hit with Chris Brown Cover"

"A TEENAGER who became the world's youngest transsexual when she was just 16 has become an internet sensation after releasing a cover of Chris Brown's well known track Don't Wake Me Up on YouTube. Kim Petras, who covered the well-known track, has racked up a whooping half a million its on the video platform . . .  The track has become an overnight sensation with celebrity columnist Perez Hilton voicing his appreciation for Kim. Kim, who has signed for an independent music label in Germany also writes her own music.

One fan wrote below the video: "I can't get over how fantastic Kim's voice is! I don't care who she was in the past. The only thing that matters is that she is happy. She's comfortable in her body, she's stunningly beautiful, and her voice is to die for." "


10-22-12:  Frontiers LA: "2012 Angels of Change Runway Show Benefits Transgender Youth"

"This year's Angels of Change Calendar Release and Runway Show benefiting transgender youth will take place this Saturday. Performer Calpernia Addams chats with Frontiers contributor Michelle McCarthy to tell us why Angels of Change is such an important organization for transgender youth. Visit to purchase tickets . . .

Now in its fifth year, the Angels of Change Calendar Release and Runway Show, which celebrates and empowers transgender youth, will take place Saturday, Oct. 27 at Arena Nightclub. Angels of Change benefits the Division of Adolescent Medicine of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Transgender Services. Beginning with a VIP Reception at 5 p.m., the runway show will introduce the 2013 transgender youth empowerment calendar, complete with a fashion show in which transgender-identified models appear in multiple outfits designed by students from the Art Institute of California.

“The transgender program at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles provides services such as individualized case management, mental health services, HIV prevention and care and general health care,” says Bamby Salcedo, project coordinator. Angels of Change allows the opportunity to raise funds while simultaneously showcasing the beauty and strength of each model. This year, actress, author and activist Calpernia Addams will host as 12 transgender youth models featured in the calendar work the runway."


10-22-12:  ABC News: "Man Petitions World Health Org: 'We Are Trans, Not Sick'"

"Maxwell Zachs is on a global crusade to normalize what until now has been considered a mental illness -- being transgender.

Zachs, 25, was born female, but three years ago he transitioned to male. In 2009, he began taking the hormone testosterone and in 2010, he went to Thailand for a double mastectomy and male chest contouring.

"There is nothing wrong with me. I am perfectly healthy, I just happen to be transgender," the Londoner told in an email.

Now, he has filed a petition with demanding that the World Health Organization (WHO) eliminate the diagnosis "transsexualism" from the mental disorders section of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD). He says the designation only contributes to discrimination.

"I'm a person like everybody else and I have the right to live my life without stigma, without people telling me I am sick because of how I live or how I look," he says in his petition, which has been signed by 42,000 people. "Gender is not an illness, it's just part of who I am, like being Jewish or vegetarian or sometimes talking too much!" "


10-21-12: Jezebel: "Tales of Transition: When the Gender Changes, the Love Remains"

"Marco and Sadie met and started dating two and half years ago. However, at the time, Marco was Erica, a woman. I know, I just blew your mind. Luckily, reporter Lilly O'Donnell at VICE talked to the couple about what it's like to welcome a new person into their relationship, and to say goodbye to another.

Erica was angry and tough as a woman, but Marco is a relaxed, calm man. Sadie believes it's because Marco is, "more at peace, and became a more peaceful person." However, the transition has been a little harder on Sadie . . ."


10-21-12:  The Brown Daily Herald: "Babies see gender constructs, study shows"

"Before babies learn language, they can perceive gender stereotypes. Studies suggest that at 18 months, before they even have the ability to understand their own gender identity, infants will focus longer on images that challenge typical roles — a man putting on lipstick, for example. By age two, they can locate themselves in the gender system and identify pictures of males and females based on external characteristics like hair length and clothing. But they cannot discern a naked person’s sex.

These phenomena are examples of ways our social context influences our development, said Anne Fausto-Sterling, professor of biology and gender studies, in a public conversation Friday with Debbie Weinstein ’93, assistant director of the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women. Students and their parents filled Pembroke Center 305 to listen to the talk, entitled “An Alternative to Nature v. Nurture: Biology in a Social World.”

“These days the nature-nurture debate is a fallback for a lot of people,” Fausto-Sterling said. “But actually the whole contour of that so-called debate is really changing. It’s changing across the board because people are becoming much more aware of the ways in which nature and nurture are integrated phenomena.”

She explained a study of London taxi cab drivers that illustrates the profound impact society has on biology. To become certified, cab drivers must memorize more than 20,000 roads and key sites in London. Scientists found that such training causes a key memory structure in the brain, the hippocampus, to grow. “Training to fill a very particular cultural niche results in their physical biology changing,” Fausto-Sterling said.

The study’s results counter many people’s belief in “nature” as permanently fixed and unchangeable. People are also prone to believe in “nurture” as “infinitely pliable,” but certain cultural phenomena are “extremely difficult to change,” Fausto-Sterling said. Over time, she and other scientists have realized that even subtle social differences can shape development. While early feminist psychologists focused on whether children were punished or rewarded for behaving in certain ways, “daily experience starts from the moment of birth on,” she said. "


10-20-12:  STP 2012 Press Release: "International Day of Action for Trans Depathologization 2012: More than 100 Actions Worldwide" (Español, more)

"On October 20, 2012, International Day of Action for Trans Depathologization, actions for trans depathologization took place in different regions worldwide, within the annual call of action of STP 2012, International Campaign Stop Trans Pathologization. Specifically, this ‘Trans October’ included over 100 activities in 48 cities of different continents, organized by more than 80 activist groups and organizations. Furthermore, to date more than 350 groups, networks and organizations from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, North America and Oceania, as well as numerous individuals, have declared their support for SP 2012.

STP 2012 demands the removal of the diagnostic categories ‘Gender Identity Disorder’ and ‘Transvestic Fetishism’ / ‘Fetishistic Transvestism’ from the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) published by the American Psychiatric Association, and from the ICD (International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems), edited by the WHO, World Health Organization . . . STP 2012 proposes the introduction of a nonpathologizing reference of trans health care in the ICD-11, as a health care process not based on illness or mental disorder . . .

The activist movement for trans depathologization is in a decisive moment: the publication of the DSM-5 is planned for 2013, and the ICD revision process is currently in process, with the publication of the 11th version announced for 2015.
Over the past few years, the demand for trans depathologization has achieved an increasing recognition from activist networks, professional associations, governments, as well as international bodies. At the same time, trans people continue to be exposed to situations of pathologization, psychiatrization, discrimination, social exclusion and transphobic violence. Finally, the current situation of economic crisis encloses new risks for a loss of citizenship rights and an increase of social inequalities."


10-19-12:  Daily Mail (UK): "'I am not sick. I am transgender': World Health Organisation urged to take transsexualism off list of mental disorders" (more, more)

"The World Health Organisation has come under pressure from campaigners to stop classifying transsexualism as a mental illness. The body publishes an international classification of diseases which informs government policy and health provision, but is currently under review.

Now, more than 35,000 people have signed a petition at calling on the body to change its definition. It was set up by Max Zachs, 26, from London, who was featured on Channel 4's show 'My Transsexual Summer'. . . Mr Zachs wrote on his blog: 'Petitioning the WHO to remove trans people from the list of mental illnesses is about wanting to change the way medical professionals think about trans people.

'It is about saying we have the same rights as any other person, we are not mentally deficient, we are able to make sane sensible decisions about our lives, there is nothing deficient about our minds and the only way to 'cure' transsexuality is for our society to give up its illogical and unscientific attachment to gender binary.'"


10-19-12:  Chicago Tribune: " East Aurora school officials debate transgender policy ‒ District 131 cites improper vetting in rescinding policy giving students certain rights" (more, more)

"East Aurora School District officials on Friday night rescinded a policy they put in place just days earlier that would have given transgender students certain personal rights in school. Cries of "shame" and "coward" were shouted after the 4-0 vote at a special meeting of the District 131 school board. More than 100 people packed the district's meeting room, lined the hallway and stood outside, listening on speakers. Several carried banners, and about 20 addressed the board.

The policy, which the board approved Monday, would have, among other things, allowed transgender students to use the bathrooms and locker rooms of their identified gender and also allowed students to be referred to by their gender- identified name.

Before voting Friday, officials said the policy was not properly vetted before approval. They added that such groundbreaking policies should be approved first by the Illinois State Board of Education, not local boards."


10-18-12:  Gallup: "Special Report: 3.4% of U.S. Adults Identify as LGBT ‒ Inaugural Gallup findings based on more than 120,000 interviews"

"These results are based on responses to the question, "Do you, personally, identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender?" included in 121,290 Gallup Daily tracking interviews conducted between June 1 and Sept. 30, 2012. This is the largest single study of the distribution of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) population in the U.S. on record . . .

Exactly who makes up the LGBT community and how this group should be measured is a subject of some debate. Measuring sexual orientation and gender identity can be challenging since these concepts involve complex social and cultural patterns. As a group still subject to social stigma, many of those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender may not be forthcoming about this identity when asked about it in a survey. Therefore, it's likely that some Americans in what is commonly referred to as "the closet" would not be included in the estimates derived from the Gallup interviews. Thus, the 3.4% estimate can best be represented as adult Americans who publicly identify themselves as part of the LGBT community when asked in a survey context."


10-17-12:  Think Progress: "Illinois Hate Group Attacks School’s New Transgender-Inclusive Policies"

"The East Aurora, Illinois School District passed a new policy Monday affirming transgender students, guaranteeing that they can use the bathroom and chosen name that match the gender with which they identify. The Illinois Family Institute (IFI), which has been identified as an anti-LGBT hate group, published an outraged response rife with offensive condemnations of transgender people. Here’s a sampling:"


10-17-12:  Huffington Post (re Northern Ireland): "Cellphone Advertisement Blasted as 'Transphobic' (VIDEO)"

"An advertisement for a popular cellphone network in Ireland has been heavily criticized as being transphobic and promoting stereotypes of transgender people. The advertisement depicts a young man dancing with a drag artist in order to avail himself of the bar's free Wi-Fi. When he realizes that the cellphone network Meteor offers a free Internet package, the young man stops dancing and leaves the bar, while the drag queen spots another unassuming entrant to the bar.

The advertisement has been branded as "encouraging a cheap laugh at the expense of trans people" by TENI, the Transgender Equality Network in Ireland . . . TENI are encouraging Twitter users to use the hashtag #MeteorShame to speak their mind about the advertisement. Hundreds of people have already voiced their complaints and opinions online, and Giambrone stated that that amount of support for TENI's campaign has been "overwhelming.""


10-16-12:  Center for American Progress: "FAQ: Collecting Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Data" (PDF, more)

"Health insurance exchanges, established under the Affordable Care Act, are new state-based marketplaces for uninsured individuals and small businesses to shop for affordable health insurance products. The exchanges will also provide valuable new data on the health care needs of people across the United States, including historically underserved groups such as the LGBT population.

Exchanges will have the opportunity to collect these data through optional demographic questions on exchange application forms, as well as through their oversight of insurance carriers offering plans in the exchange marketplaces. If done well, data collection will help policymakers and advocates better understand and address health disparities affecting the LGBT community, while also protecting the confidentiality of those who volunteer information on their sexual orientation and gender identity."


10-16-12:  UPI (re Sweden): "Man guilty on appeal of transgender rape"

"A Swedish appeals court overturned the acquittal of a Swedish man who assaulted a transgendered woman who is still physically a man. The Gota Appellate Court ruled Monday what was significant was the man's intent and not whether the rape would have been physically possible, Sveriges Television reported. The court said the victim "looked like and dressed completely like a woman." The 61-year-old man was sentenced to 15 months in prison and ordered to pay $6,000 (40,000 kronor) compensation."


10-15-12:  Pittsburgh City Paper: "Short List: October 10 - 16"

"Transgender writer, director, producer and activist Andrea James spent 10 years working as an advertising copywriter. She produced content for Super Bowl commercials and other major events before founding her own production company to promote better media representation of trans people.

The prolific Los Angeles-based activist speaks tonight at Chatham University in celebration of LGBT Awareness Month. "This seemed like a great opportunity to talk about bridging the gap between the feminist movement and the transgender movement," James tells CP. "It was very strained in the late 1970s by people who thought that trans women were part of a patriarchal movement to undermine women's rights."

At Chatham, she will discuss current transgender representation in the media. "In the past we were always portrayed as prostitutes or psychopaths, and that's really started to change. I still feel we're about 35 years behind gay and lesbian representation." Reality TV, perhaps surprisingly, is helping. "It's an opportunity to get people over their initial shock — to get acquainted with viewing drag queens, for instance, on RuPaul's Drag Race." James continues, "A lot of what we consider as masculine or feminine are social constructs. RuPaul said, ‘It's all pretty much drag,' and I think that's right." James' talk is open to the public. Catherine Sylvain 7 p.m. Wed., Oct. 17. Eddy Theater, Chatham campus, Shadyside. Free. 412-365-1240 or"


10-15-12:  PGN: "Josephs looks to ban conversion therapy"  (more)
"State Rep. Babette Josephs (D-182nd Dist.) last week introduced a bill that would prevent mental-health providers from offering so-called “conversion therapy” to minors . . . A similar bill is also being worked on in New Jersey . . .

Although the bill refers to “sexual-orientation change,” a staffer for Josephs contended that it also extends to transgender minors. Such therapies are defined as attempts to “change behaviors or gender expressions or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward members of the same sex.” . . . 

Ed Coffin, campaign director at Peace Advocacy Network — which has been working to raise awareness about the practice of conversion therapy — welcomed the opportunity to increase attention to the issue.

“Since [California’s] SB 1172 passed, the media has been talking about conversion and reparative therapy and we’re seeing how many people have been completely unaware that this happens,” he said.

“With our own campaign, more and more people are now contacting us and realizing that this is pretty much quackery that these people are doing. They’re destroying lives, and people are now seeing that and getting mad.”"


10-14-12:  New York Times: "Christian Group Finds Gay Agenda in an Anti-Bullying Day"

"On Mix It Up at Lunch Day, schoolchildren around the country are encouraged to hang out with someone they normally might not speak to.  The program, started 11 years ago by the Southern Poverty Law Center and now in more than 2,500 schools, was intended as a way to break up cliques and prevent bullying.

But this year, the American Family Association, a conservative evangelical group, has called the project “a nationwide push to promote the homosexual lifestyle in public schools” and is urging parents to keep their children home from school on Oct. 30, the day most of the schools plan to participate this year.

The charges, raised in an e-mail to supporters earlier this month, have caused a handful of schools to cancel this year’s event and has caught organizers off guard. “I was surprised that they completely lied about what Mix It Up Day is,” said Maureen Costello, the director of the center’s Teaching Tolerance project, which organizes the program. “It was a cynical, fear-mongering tactic.” "


10-14-12:  The Advocate: "Over Half of Native Trans People Have Attempted Suicide ‒ A new study indicates alarming poverty, abuse, and suicide among Native Americans"

"As Native Americans celebrated Indigenous Peoples Day last week (the reclaiming of Columbus Day that's taken root in recent years), the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and National Center for Transgender Equality released the fourth and final piece in a series of reports designed to specifically shine a light on the experiences of transgender people of color. Injustice at Every Turn: A Look at American Indian and Alaskan Native Respondents in the National Transgender Discrimination Survey measured transgender people's experiences of discrimination and showed that the combination of anti-transgender with structural and individual racism meant that transgender people of color experience particularly devastating levels of discrimination."


10-12-12: "Trans-Kin: A Guide for Family and Friends of Transgender People", edited by Cameron T. Whitley and Eleanor A. Hubbard

"Trans-Kin is a collection of stories from significant others, family members, friends, and allies of transgender persons (SOFFAs). This 400+ page guide includes 50 personal stories plus a comprehensive glossary, list of frequently asked questions and resources including books, videos and organizations - all of which promote awareness, insight and understanding of the transgender community.

Powerful, thought-provoking and enlightening, this collection will tug at the heart of anyone who has ever loved a transgender person. Trans-Kin is also an essential read for allies of the transgender community and anyone who wishes to become one."


10-11-12:  FreeThoughtsBlogs: "The Eunuch, The Rapist, The Whore And The Child Who Simply Knew", by Natalie Reed

"The Child Who Simply Knew became a conceptual possibility the moment that queer-and-trans-advocacy finally severed the idea of transgenderism from the idea of sexual identity, when suddenly it became possible for the mainstream to conceptualize an alternative expression of gender separately from an alternative expression of sexuality. Prior to that, being trans was a “sexual orientation”, and the idea of trans kids was simply horrific, in that it required viewing children as potentially sexual beings. Once gender and sexual orientation had finally been decoupled by the progress of growing queer awareness, Trans Kids offered a pre-sexual and therefore non-threatening and innocent iteration of transgenderism . . .

This idea of pre-sexual “purity”/”innocent” as adding a special legitimacy to transgender identification, and sexuality “corrupting” it, has been wholly internalized within the trans community too, something I talked about recently in regards to the supremacy of the “I Always Knew” narrative . . .

The question becomes: when the little girl (I think her name was Nicole?) from the Boston Globe story, or Bobby Montoya from the Girl Scouts story, grow up, are the same cis people (and trans people!) who coo’ed and aww’d over their enjoyment of dolls going to offer the same “support” and “tolerance” for their efforts to seek sexual rights and sexual health?

Are they going to support healthcare that provides them hormones and lower surgery? Are they going to support their right to access Planned Parenthood, or women’s shelters, or women’s crisis lines? Are they going to be there for them if they’re sexually assaulted or abused or raped? Are they going to fully include them in women’s spaces, as women, and in trans spaces, as trans women, without a bunch of policing bullshit about the particulars of their histories and bodies? If either one of them grows up to be queer, are they still going to support their right to define their own identity? How about if they grow up to be butch? Or non-binary? Or poly? What if they decide to take up sex work?

Fuck no. Those same people who were all about the rights of a pure, innocent child to purely, innocently enjoy playing princess are going to turn their backs the very second sexual agency emerges."

[An important essay on the social-dynamics of transphobia.]


10-11-12:  Asia One (re Malaysia): "Malaysian transsexuals lose cross-dressing case" (more, more, more, more)

"Four Malaysian Muslim transsexuals on Thursday lost a landmark case challenging an Islamic law that bars them from dressing as women, activists said. The case was the first attempt to overturn the prohibition on cross-dressing in the conservative, Muslim-majority nation where homosexuality and transsexual lifestyles remain taboo . . .

Thilaga Sulathireh, an activist who helped them bring the case to court, said the judge refused to overrule the ban. Malaysia has a dual-track legal system with Sharia courts administering certain matters for Muslims. “The (judge) said they are born male, they are still male and so the law applies to them... She said cross dressing is condemned in Islam,” she told AFP . . .
The case was lodged by Juzaili Khamis, 24, Shukor Jani, 25, Wan Fairol Wan Ismail, 27, and Adam Shazrul Yusoff, 25, who work as bridal make-up artists and typically dress as women.

All have previously been arrested for cross-dressing under Islamic law – administered by state authorities – which bars Muslim men from dressing or posing as women. Juzaili and Shukor currently face charges in court and if convicted, they face up to six months in jail."


10-11-12:  Medical Xpress: "From gender identity disorder to gender identity creativity"

"Childhood gender independence, or gender creativity, is often viewed as an abnormality in need of a cure – but it's that attitude that needs to be fixed, according to Concordia University political science professor, Kimberley Manning. "The majority of gender independent children suppress their identities because of societal pressure. In reality, it's at this young age that these kids need the support and freedom to explore who they really are so that they have a better chance to grow up to be healthy and happy adults," she says.

Gender nonconforming children, many of whom will self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer by the time they hit adolescence, are more likely to be called names, be made fun of, or be bullied at school . . . According to a recently completed survey by Egale Canada, a national organization that advocates for human rights, 95 percent of transgender students feel unsafe at school. Clearly, the time to act is now.

There is hope. In recent years, more and more Canadian families have been actively asserting an affirmative approach to gender expression, seeking to understand and support their child's declared gender. There are few resources, however, to support families or to inform educators who are interested in creating safe and inclusive spaces for these children. Manning is leading a multi-disciplinary group that is doing something to address this lack. "Social science and humanities research can play a vital role in puzzling through the structural oppressions faced by gender independent children and their families," she says."


10-11-12:  PrideSource: "Transformations: Transgender Man Works to Change Media, Perceptions"

""In a perfect world, everyone could just look at me and know who I was," Hicks says, his sandy-colored hair twisted neatly into dreadlocks. "But we don't live in a perfect world, we live in this world, and it's more important to me to build relationships with people who care about things that I think are important and are working on things that I care about and are invested in trying to do the work that I think is important. If you don't understand my race or you don't understand my gender, that's okay as long as you can be respectful."

Growing up on Detroit's Northwest side, Hicks said he always felt like a boy, even though he loved pink and once refused to wear a dress until his mother glued a flower onto it, but started identifying as transgender when he found the word on the Internet.

Though initially his mother, the first person to whom he came out, thought he was joking, she researched the issue and became fiercely supportive, driving him to Affirmations youth group every week. There and at the Ruth Ellis Center, he found other trans youths and the support he needed"


10-09-12:  XTRA.CA (Canada): "Ontario alters gender-change rules ‒ Trans people no longer require full sex reassignment surgery to get new legal documents"

"What was once impossible for transgender Ontarians is now attainable in six to eight weeks for a $37 fee. And that’s good news, say activists.

The Ontario Human Rights Tribunal ruled in April that the Government of Ontario’s regulations on changing the designated gender on a birth certificate were discriminatory. It sent Queen’s Park back to the drawing board to come up with some new ideas.

Previously, transgender people had to undergo full sex reassignment surgery before being permitted to change their gender on birth certificates – the document that acts as a foundation for the information on all other government-issued identification. Many in the trans community thought this an unnecessary hurdle.

But now all that’s required in an application is a signed declaration and a note from a doctor or psychologist. The only caveat for changing a birth certificate is that the applicant must be 18 years of age."


10-09-12:  Province of Ontario (Canada): "Changing Your Sex Designation on your Birth Registration and Birth Certificate"

"The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario ordered the Government to cease requiring transgendered persons to have "transsexual surgery" in order to obtain a change of sex designation on their birth registration. In accordance with the Tribunal’s order, the criteria for changing sex designation on a birth registration have been revised and there is no longer a requirement for "transsexual surgery". At this time, an applicant for a change of sex designation on a birth registration must be at least 18 years of age."


10-08-12:  BBC (re Italy): "Italy smashes transsexual prostitution ring"

"Italian police say they have broken a prostitution ring which trafficked transsexual people from Latin America into the country. Police said they arrested 28 suspected members of the prostitution ring, 24 of whom are already in prison.

The group was made up of Italians and Brazilians who were recruited from shanty towns in Brazil and other Latin American states."


10-07-12:  Los Angeles Times: "A transgender story: My daughter, my son ‒ When Sarah became Finn, her parents began their own journey." (more)

"One morning, in a half-asleep, half-awake state, I realized what Sarah had done to be true to herself was brave and incredibly courageous. Seeing Finn's action in that light gave me cause for celebration. He was the same person he had been as a she.
Last week Finn came home for a visit. He took photographs for an art school project. We laughed over coffee, made our favorite goat cheese pizza, gossiped about family and reminisced about old times. I realized what I should have known all along: The packaging may be different, but what's inside Finn is unchanged.
There will be days when feelings of what-might-have-been will return. I'm still struggling to swim across my river of sorrow and anger to join Finn on the far bank. But I feel like I might be getting close."


10-06-12:  Boston Globe: "Quincy couple talk about transgender son’s sad journey"

"The Garbers had no idea what transgender meant when, in 2003, a therapist finally put a name to the anger and isolation Kristen was experiencing. She had just finished middle school, where she had cut off her hair and was wearing boy clothes. Kids called her a lesbian. She had no friends.

Where many parents would freak out at the word transgender, the Garbers were relieved. “There were so many struggles, and we couldn’t figure out why this kid was so miserable,” Marcia says.

Before Kristen entered North Quincy High School, her parents spoke to the school psychologist and other administrators. She was still dressing like a boy and played ice hockey — on the girls’ team. The summer after her junior year, Kristen changed her name to Christopher and had breast removal surgery. Christopher, or CJ, returned to his senior year as a boy."


10-05-12:  Huffington Post: "A Decade of Victories for Trans Rights", by Mark Daniel Snyder

"A decade ago no news about transgender issues was usually good news about transgender issues. Although the rate of murders and violence against transgender people, especially against transgender women of color, continues to be a tragedy (and one that remains largely unaddressed), historic gains have been made. And today, when you open the newspaper and read about transgender issues, you just may be reading about an extension of health-care coverage, a third-grader allowed to go to school as her authentic self, or the EEOC ruling protecting transgender people from workplace discrimination under Title VII."


10-05-12:  New York Times (re Malaysia): "Seeking the Right to Be Female in Malaysia"

"The feminine figure dressed in jeans and a T-shirt, makeup carefully applied, drew little attention from other customers at the fast-food restaurant in Seremban, a city about an hour’s drive south of Kuala Lumpur.

The 26-year-old began wearing women’s clothing at age 13. Thanks to plastic surgery in neighboring Thailand, a daily dose of hormones and a feminine nickname, she is able to present herself as female to the outside world. But her official identification card — which Malaysians must produce in dealings like job interviews — declares that her name is Adam Shazrul Bin Mohammad Yusoff and that she is male.

The discrepancy between her appearance and her officially recognized gender presents much more than just awkward moments in Malaysia, where Shariah, or Islamic law, bans Muslim men from dressing or posing as women. Penalties differ in individual states, but in Negri Sembilan, where the 26-year-old lives, convicted offenders may be sentenced to up to six months in prison, fined as much as 1,000 ringgit, about $325, or both."


10-05-12:  HuffPost British Columbia (Canada): "January Marie Lapuz, Transgender Victim ID'd In New Westminster Killing" (more)

"A transgender woman has been identified as the victim of a New Westminster homicide. John Carlo Embro Lapuz was fatally stabbed on Sept. 29. In 2008, Lapuz officially changed his name to January Marie, said RCMP on Thursday.

Alex Sangha, founder of Sher Vancouver, was "shocked" to hear of Lapuz's death. He described Lapuz as a "bright light and shining star."

"The obstacles she overcame as an immigrant, as a transgender person, as a person in poverty, as a person working in a high-risk occupation, she really overcame a lot," Sangha told the New West Record."


10-04-12:  Philadelphia Gay News: "DA refuses to account for key document in Morris case"

"“The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office refuses to confirm or deny whether it has a police log in the Nizah Morris case, even though such logs are considered public records under state law. Morris was a transgender woman who was found with a fatal head wound shortly after she received a courtesy ride from Philadelphia Police during the pre-dawn hours of Dec. 22, 2002 . . . The log in question pertains to a vehicle stop initiated by Skala while she was still assigned to the Morris dispatch . . .

At last week’s PAC meeting, commissioners expressed concern about several pieces of evidence in the Morris case that appear to be redacted, including the vehicle-stop log. “This is like something you’d find in communist Russia, when they would erase people from photographs,” said Chuck Volz, an openly gay commissioner.

Kathleen R. Padilla, a local transgender activist, said transparency in the Morris case holds the potential of clearing police of any undue suspicion in the homicide. “The [transgender] community would be pleased if the DA’s Office were half as successful in solving our murders as it is in obfuscating the existence of public information,” Padilla said.”"


10-04-12:  Toronto Star (Canada): "Toronto school board introduces policy for transgender students, staff"

"The Toronto District School Board has introduced a new set of guidelines that spell out what kind of accommodation the board must offer to “transgender and gender non-conforming students and staff.” The policy says schools must keep a student’s gender non-conformity or transgender status confidential and should never disclose it to a parent or guardian without consent from the student.

“It is strongly suggested that staff privately ask transgender or gender nonconforming students at the beginning of the school year how they want to be addressed in correspondence to the home or at meetings with the student’s parent(s)/guardian(s)/caregiver(s),” the policy says. It also says students and staff have the right to use a washroom that “best conforms to their gender identity” without having to “prove” their gender. Schools must also offer an “accessible all-gender single stall washroom” for any employee or student who needs “increased privacy.” The guidelines were created as a result of a student’s recent human rights complaint, Toronto District School Board spokesman Ryan Bird said."

[In a stunning and obviously deliberate omission among the listed resources, the guidelines do NOT mention Ken Zucker and his trans-reparatist clinic at CAMH. Looks like Zucker is being socially "quarantined" by the Toronto health-care community, to prevent him from emotionally damaging more gender variant kids.  The TDSB guidelines instead list a long series of "trans-positive" healthcare, counseling, support-groups, and outreach services - including linking to the multi-language translation pages in Lynn's website for Evelyn's book, "Mom, I need to be a girl".]


10-04-12: Toronto District School Board (Canada): "TDSB Guidelines for the Accommodation of Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Students and Staff"

"These guidelines set out the TDSB’s best practices related to accommodation based on gender identity and gender expression. They have been designed to raise awareness and help protect against discrimination and harassment. It is intended that this document will support members of the wider TDSB community fulfill our shared obligation to promote the dignity and equality of those whose gender identity and or gender expression does not conform to traditional social norms."

[A very thorough and well thought out set of guidelines - something that school districts all around Canada and the U.S. should look at. Includes an extensive list of resources available to gender variant children and their families. Deliberately OMITS any mention of Ken Zucker  and his trans-reparative clinic at CAMH.]


10-04-12:  TS Roadmap: "Toronto schools list local trans-friendly resources, CAMH rightfully omitted", by Andrea James

"The Toronto school board has just posted a set of guidelines for accommodating transgender children and teens in Toronto schools:

Toronto District School Board (Canada):  “TDSB Guidelines for the Accommodation of Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Students and Staff” . . .

They list a number of great local resources in Toronto, and I am very pleased to announce they list ”From Within,” hosted on this site:

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, the global epicenter of regressive ideologies about gender variance and home to the world’s largest reparative therapy clinic aimed at “curing” transgender youth, is notably absent from their home town school system’s list. Despite this, the American Psychiatric Association continues to let key CAMH personnel like Kenneth Zucker set APA policy regarding trans adults and children. "


10-03-12:  Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund: "Victory! Transgender Woman Wins Insurance Coverage for Sex Reassignment Surgery"

"We are thrilled to announce that we have resolved a claim on behalf of a transgender woman who had been denied health insurance coverage for sex reassignment surgery. Ida Hammer, a 34-year-old New York City resident, applied for pre-authorization for male-to-female sex reassignment surgery in July 2011. MVP Health Care denied her claim on the grounds that the surgery was “cosmetic” and therefore was not covered under the policy.  MVP refused to alter its position and denied two internal appeals, even after TLDEF submitted extensive evidence in support of Ms. Hammer’s claim.

Only after TLDEF threatened to file a lawsuit did MVP reverse its position and agree to cover the doctor-recommended procedure. MVP stated in its letter authorizing the surgery that “the requested surgery is medically necessary.”

“I have been undergoing treatment for gender dysphoria for the past five years.  My doctors determined that surgery is the only adequate treatment for my condition,” said Ms. Hammer. “My insurance company should not be second-guessing my doctors.  I’m relieved that it is finally treating me fairly and covering the health care I need.”"


10-03-12:  Center for American Progress: "FAQ: Health Insurance Needs for Transgender Americans"

"Transgender people face tough realities across the United States in routine areas of life that most people take for granted, including rights to employment, housing, and personal safety. Health care, particularly health insurance coverage, is another area where transgender people routinely experience serious and potentially life-threatening discrimination on the basis of gender identity . . .

To ensure that transgender people can access the care they need to stay healthy, insurers need to be held to appropriate standards of nondiscrimination, and health plan benefit designs must be based on medical science and sound actuarial data rather than on outdated assumptions. This FAQ provides information on transgender health issues and the obstacles that transgender people face in accessing insurance coverage for even the most basic health care needs."


10-02-12:  Huffington Post: "Dear Family and Friends: My Son Is Really My Daughter", by Wayne Maines

"My last post talked about "Going Stealth" about my transgender child's identity at school and in our community. Deciding whom to tell is a complicated, risk-filled and dynamic process. Dynamic because at different ages, the risks and rules change. Each phase of the decision-making process requires asking questions. Who needs to know and why? Is my child ready? Are we ready to expand our inner circle?

I often struggled with how to tell long-distance family members, hometown friends, college buddies and past co-workers that we have a transgender child. As time went on, every contact with our outer circle from "away" became more stressful. Each conversation started with how are the kids and when are you coming home for a visit? I was running out of excuses. Frankly, I was afraid to tell them, partly because I knew I might not like what I was going to hear and I thought I could never help them understand. Fear is a powerful force; it made me avoid things. Fear makes good people act poorly and some fears can close down the minds of the people you love and respect. "

[An important essay about overcoming the negative impact of fear.]


10-02-12:  The Daily Mail (UK): "'He tried to cut off his penis with craft scissors': The transgender nine-year-old who lived in turmoil before finding peace as a little girl"

"When Danann Tyler was just two years old, he insisted he was a girl, and asked to wear dresses and grow his hair. His yoga instructor mother, Sarah, 39, and father Bill, 45, a police officer, struggled to explain his behaviour, and put it down to a phase. However two years later, Danann attempted to cut off his penis with a pair of scissors . . .

Over the next two years, Dannan was misdiagnosed with ADHD and bipolar disorder. Mrs Tyler, who also has an older son, 11-year-old James, said: 'His school work suffered and he started lashing out when I dressed him. I'd have bite marks and bruises. I was devastated.'

When she refused to let him wear a dress to a party, she says: 'He jumped out of the car and ran into traffic saying, "I want to die". He was immediately seen by a psychiatrist after Mrs Tyler contacted her local hospital, and after a month of tests and therapy, Danann was diagnosed with gender identity disorder, a condition where sufferers are unhappy with their sex.

Doctors said despite his young age, he needed to start living as a girl, son his parents made the decision to bring him up as their daughter, allowing him to grow his hair and wear girls clothes full time, even to school. Danann, who hasn't changed her name as it's unisex, is happy for the first time, and Mrs Tyler says she'll support Danann if she wants a full sex change operation at 15."


10-01-12:  NPR (re Argentina): "No More 'Lying': Law Bolsters Transgender Argentines"

"Mateo Solares came to Argentina from Bolivia a few years ago. The 25-year-old was born, and grew up as, Moyra Veronica. Biologically female, Solares says he always felt like a guy.

The main reason Solares moved to Argentina is because it seemed like an easier place to transition into a life as a young man. He says having an ID card that reflects how he sees himself is huge. "Before, it felt terrible to see documents that didn't identify me as me," says Solares. "And those documents make you feel afraid. If I had to buy anything, I'd only do it if I could pay in cash, because if I paid with a credit card I'd have to show my ID. ... It was like I was lying. It was horrible."

In other countries, like Bolivia, changing your name and gender on ID cards often requires medical procedures or making a case before a judge, and it can take years. But in Argentina, because of the new gender law, the change is simple and takes only 15 days. Under the law, if a person wants to have a medical procedure, like gender reassignment, the health care system will cover it."


10-01-12:  The Advocate: "WATCH: 'Voting While Trans' Helps Navigate Voter ID laws" (more, more)

"Federal courts have struck down pending voter ID laws in Texas, South Carolina, and Wisconsin, finding that the laws disproportionately affected immigrants, the elderly, people of color, the poor, women, and trans folk. That's why NCTE has launched a series of public service announcements to educate trans folk on how to protect their right to vote.

"The fear of being turned away because of my ID kept me from voting in previous elections," says queer actor, artist, and gender-nonconforming filmmaker Ignacio Rivera in one PSA. "In the last election, my daughter was of voting age, and it was too important to me to show her that I vote. So I got the information, set an example, and protected my right to vote."

"Turning away transgender voters because of gender stereotypes is discrimination, and it's un-American," says NCTE executive director Mara Kiesling in another video.

The six PSAs feature Rivera, Kiesling, actress Laverne Cox, writer and advocate Janet Mock, Charles Meins, and poet Kit Yan. Watch the entire series of PSAs here, and watch the compounded PSA below."


10-01-12:  Huffington Post: "Transgender New Yorkers Face Scorn And Violence Using Public Restrooms"

"Long before her boyfriend was slashed for defending her against an alleged gay-slur-spewing McDonald's patron who questioned her use of the ladies' room, Jalisa Griffin came to dread each time she needed to use a public bathroom.

Griffin, 22, who identifies as transgender, said she is harassed at least once a week when she uses women's bathrooms, where people seem to feel free to bombard her with dirty looks and nasty comments . . .

And more than half of participants in a 2011 study conducted by the National Center for Transgender Equality and National Gay and Lesbian Task Force reported being harassed in public accommodations like restaurants, stores, hotels and hospitals.  Nearly 10 percent reported being physically attacked . . .

The problems transgender people face using public bathrooms even prompted the creation of a website and an an app for those looking for safe spaces. TranSquat, an iPhone map application that launched in April, shows users the closest gender-neutral and single-stall restrooms. It includes more than 4,000 user-submitted bathroom locations in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom — 59 of which are in Manhattan . . . The designer, who's based in Portland, Ore., created the app using the gender-neutral bathroom directory, which launched in 2006."


10-01-12:  Montreal Gazette (Canada): "Transgender Issues: Some People Just Can’t Accept Trans People"

"In my experience as a transitioned woman, I’ve seen pretty good support from friends, family and colleagues. But I am very aware that some of those people are just being polite and professional, that they are uncomfortable about what I have done. And there are some people who simply have not spoken to me (unless they have to) since the day I made my big announcement to the world. Some of them avoid eye contact when we pass each other.

I don’t blame anyone for this. I don’t view their discomfort as transphobia, because they certainly don’t say anything hateful to me. And I don’t judge them or try to analyze them. I just have to accept that there are people in this world who are uncomfortable about this sort of thing, as long as they do not commit transphobic acts. They don’t have to like me."



September 2012


9-29-12:  U. S. Politics Today: "L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center Commends California Governor Jerry Brown for Signing SB 1172, Protecting LGBT Youth" (more, more)

"In response to California Governor Jerry Brown's signing of SB 1172, the bill that protects lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth from the dangers of "therapy" intended to change their sexual orientation or gender expression, L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center Chief Executive Officer Lorri L. Jean issued the following statement:

"Finally, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth in California will be protected from the dangerous and discredited quackery known as 'reparative therapy.' We applaud Governor Jerry Brown for signing SB 1172 and its author, Senator Ted Lieu, for saving lives through their legislative and moral leadership. It's my sincere hope, for the benefit of all American youth, that this new law will spark a wave of similar legislation in statehouses throughout the country.

It's outrageous that anyone, especially under the guise of providing therapy, should be allowed to practice discredited techniques known to inflict severe emotional harm and sometimes suicide. All too often we see the results of these 'treatments' on the many homeless LGBT youth we serve at the Center; repairing their harmful effects is challenging, especially for the many who turn to drugs to deal with their torment. Such practices should never have been protected by the law here and they shouldn't be protected anywhere else.""

[This is a watershed development:  The new law not only bans reparatist therapy on gay children, but also on trans children. Thus the trans-reparatist therapy so heavily promoted by Ken Zucker, of CAMH in Toronto, is now effectively banned in California.  This could trigger a wave of similar legislation in other states to protect LGBT children from the inhumane practice of reparatist therapy. Meantime, folks at CAMH should ask themselves how much longer they want to support (and be stained by association with) Zucker's trans-reparatism?]


9-29-12:  San Francisco Chronicle: "State bans gay-repair therapy for minors"

"California has become the first state in the country to ban controversial therapy practices that attempt to change the sexual orientation of minors after Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill to outlaw them Saturday.

The bill, SB1172 by Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance (Los Angeles County), bars mental health practitioners from performing so-called reparative therapy, which professional psychological organizations have said may cause harm. Gay rights groups have labeled them dangerous and abusive.

"This bill bans non-scientific 'therapies' that have driven young people to depression and suicide. These practices have no basis in science or medicine and they will now be relegated to the dustbin of quackery," Brown said in a statement to The Chronicle . . .

Under the new law, which will take effect Jan. 1, no mental health provider will be able to provide therapy that seeks "to change behaviors or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex.

Mental health professionals who violate the law, which applies to therapy for patients younger than 18, will be subject to discipline by whatever group licenses them."


9-28-12:  Salon: "A transgender child’s victory"

"A transgender third-grader in New Hampshire has won the right to be treated as a girl in her school community — including being allowed to use the girls’ room. Score one for tolerance, and the increasing strides grown-ups are making in understanding that gender isn’t always definitively settled the moment a baby is born, nor is orientation only figured out in adolescence or beyond. Children are a lot more complex than that.

The girl’s triumph is a well-earned one. Her family . . . told the Nashua Telegraph that after last year’s winter break she returned to the second grade fully female-identified. She was dressing as a girl and using a female name. The school initially accepted her as female, but, the parents say, the staff began addressing her as a male and “the child was ultimately separated from her classmates, seated in a single desk in a room of shared tables and was no longer allowed to use the girls’ restroom.” Isolated and despondent, the girl’s “behavioral issues increased” until the family removed her from the school. She finished out the year with tutors.

The child is now at a new school, where the district superintendent Mark Conrad acknowledges, “The issues that public schools must often address mirror the broader issues in our society … It’s our policy not to discriminate against any student, and that would include transgender students.” The district has agreed to treat the girl “the same as all female students in every aspect,” including using her female name in school records, and letting her use the girls’ room. Furthermore, her transgender status is considered “confidential medical information” that can only be shared among “appropriate and necessary” staff . . . Kudos to the district, and to the child’s parents for putting the needs of the girl first, and for being so encouraging of her right to be herself."


9-28-12: Philadelphia Gay News: "Gender markers dropped for new voter IDs"

"In an unprecedented step announced this week, Pennsylvania’s new state-issued voter identification card will not include a gender marker. The revelation was made Tuesday during a Commonwealth Court hearing on the contentious new law, which would require voters to present a valid government ID each time they vote . . .

David Rosenblum, Mazzoni Center legal director who, with Equality Pennsylvania executive director Ted Martin, issued a letter to Secretary of Commonwealth Carol Aichele calling for attention to the transgender-related issues surrounding voter ID, said the move is groundbreaking. “To my knowledge, this if the first time the state has ever issued an ID where gender doesn’t matter,” Rosenblum said.  While the card will be marked for “voting-purposes only,” Rosenblum said its significance cannot be overlooked . . .

In what opponents of the law are hailing as a good sign, Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson told the attorneys arguing the case this week that he was giving them a “heads-up” that there is a “possibility there could be an injunction here.” "


9-25-12:  International Business Times: "Psychiatrist Works to Include Transgender Issues in Residency Training" (more)

"Jack Pula, MD, instructor of clinical psychiatry, was recently appointed chairperson of the Transgender Committee of the Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists. In this role, Pula says he would like to create a network of psychiatrists and residents of all gender identities who are interested in changing the curricula of medical schools and residency programs nationwide to include training in transgender issues.

With homosexuality being removed from the DSM in 1973 and the generally positive societal shift in attitudes toward LGBT people, the tide is turning. But transgender people have not ridden the wave quite yet, according to Pula.

In the medical and psychiatric community, he explains, doctors still tend to think that transgender people are ill, "that they are by definition psychotic or personality disordered. They have not learned about transgender people who live healthy, well-adapted lives . . . These assumptions have led Pula to want to change the way psychiatric residents are trained.

"The problem is that residents still don't get trained in transgender issues," Pula says. "[A transgender person] can't really go to a psychiatrist and think they're seeing an expert. They'd have to seek out an expert, and experts aren't easy to find. And the older generation of psychiatrists haven't had any training and often have a bias.""


9-25-12:  Huffington Post (posted 9-20): "'Collateral Damage' in the LGBT Community: Straight Spouses, Still in the Darkest Corner of the Closet", by Amity P. Buxton

"Tucked in a corner of the lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender closet is a little-known group: straight women and men in heterosexual marriages whose husbands or wives come out as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender after marrying them as "the right thing to do" . . .

Though some couples work out ways to stay together, most divorce, their children now in a broken family. As divorced LGBT partners begin to live their lives with integrity, their straight ex-partners are left in shock, their own identity, integrity, and belief system shattered. The spotlight on the disclosing partners, few outsiders think about their wives or husbands . . .

It's time to pay attention to this invisible group. A new book does just that. Unseen-Unheard: The Journey of Straight Spouses, of which I am a co-author, opens the window onto their emotional, sexual, cognitive, psychological, relational, and spiritual trauma. Through personal stories told by a diversity of men and women, the book traces post-disclosure coping from their first cries of pain and shock through soul survival struggles and turning points to transformation.

My co-author, R. L. Pinely, notes, "They find strength they didn't know they had." Jack Drescher, M.D. . . . hails the book's "eye-opening and sometimes heart-wrenching accounts... stories of tragedy and triumph, offering some glimpses of hope and light to those facing similar struggles.""


9-25-12:  New York Times (posted 9-21): "Since Suicide, More Resources for Transgender and Gay Students" (more)

"It has been two years since Tyler Clementi, a gay freshman at Rutgers University, committed suicide after learning that his roommate had ridiculed his sexuality and invited friends to spy on him and another man through a webcam. That terrible episode brought the school national attention, none of it welcome: previously known as a large and diverse state school, Rutgers became associated with homophobia and cruelty . . .

Rutgers has a long history of inclusiveness; when the Rutgers Homophile League was founded in 1969, for example, it was only the second such student group in the nation. But since Mr. Clementi’s death on Sept. 22, 2010, the university has increased its efforts, propelled by a vocal campus community, an energetic administrator and an urgent need for damage control.

Even some of the students have been startled by the strength of Rutgers’s embrace. In 2011, shortly before the start of her first year at Rutgers, Nicole Margolies was talking with a housing supervisor when she blurted out: “I’m transgender, and I don’t know what to do about it. Where do I go?” Nick, as the student is now known, feared he might not even be allowed on campus. Instead, he said, when he got there the name on his dorm room door was up-to-date. His professors addressed him as “he.” And no one made him feel it was anything other than normal.

“Boom,” he said. “Mind blown.”"


9-25-12:  Queerty: "Gay And Transgender Student Life Improved at Rutgers In Wake Of Clementi Suicide"

"The Rutgers Homophile League, founded in 1969, was only the nation’s second gay academic organization. Though possessing a history of LGBT inclusiveness, Rutgers University was haunted by the tragic suicide of Tyler Clementi that painted the college as  place of intolerance. Thanks to stepped-up efforts from its administration and campus community, students now have a wealth of resources available to them including specialized housing, ally training programs and a gay fraternity.

While there are still traces of homophobia on campus, the general atmosphere remains overwhelmingly positive and welcoming, as illustrated in the case of a worried transgender student. The New York Times reports:

"In 2011, shortly before the start of her first year at Rutgers, Nicole Margolies was talking with a housing supervisor when she blurted out: “I’m transgender, and I don’t know what to do about it. Where do I go?” Nick, as the student is now known, feared he might not even be allowed on campus. Instead, he said, when he got there the name on his dorm room door was up-to-date. His professors addressed him as “he.” And no one made him feel it was anything other than normal. “Boom,” he said. “Mind blown.”""


9-24-12:  LGBTQ Nation: "NCTE launches ‘first of its kind’ online hub for transgender college students" (more)

"The National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) has launched the Transgender On-campus Nondiscrimination Information (TONI) Project, the nation’s first online hub for transgender students to share trans-affirmative college policies and practices, and exchange ideas for organizing and action.

Key features of the site include a searchable database of campus profiles that document a range of campus policies such as housing, records and documentation, healthcare, safety, and curricula.

TONI is accessible to current and prospective students in search of trans-affirmative colleges and universities, and users also have access to a community forum where they can share ideas for taking action.

“With the start of another academic year, the TONI Project is urgently needed,” said Mara Keisling, NCTE Executive Director, in a statement."


9-24-12:  Union Leader: "Nashua school district, parents reach agreement on transgender 3rd-grader"

"One month after a transgender third-grade student transferred from one city school to another, the superintendent says no district-wide policy is necessary. “We don't have a specific policy on transgender students, but we do have policies in place that prevent discrimination against students and bullying, and we regularly review those policies,” Superintendent Mark Conrad said Monday.

Conrad refused to comment on the case involving the third-grader, whose family reached an agreement with the district that now allows her to wear girl's clothing, use her female name and use the female restroom. The agreement was intended to help the student thrive in the classroom, Conrad said.

Janson Wu, a staff attorney with Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, represented the girl and her family. Wu also refused to comment on the girl's situation, but said that most school districts and businesses in New England are looking for some guidance when dealing with transgender issues. "


9-24-12:  Gay Star News (re Guatemala): "Trans woman’s double-life as male teacher and female sex worker ‒ A transgender woman has spoken out about the injustices and violence trans women face in Guatemala" (more, more)

"Guatemalan transgender woman Linda Elizabeth Tylor Martinez has spoken out about being forced to live in two worlds. In a profile interview with The Associated Press, Martinez works as a male schoolteacher during the day and as a female prostitute at night.

‘In the beginning it was out of necessity because I was still getting my teacher’s license,’ she said. ‘But now, it’s also because it’s the only place that I can really be a woman’ . . .

Guatemala has a shocking reputation for transgender hate crimes. A 2010 report showed that 13 trans women were murdered over one year. Fearing repercussions, she would not allow The Associated Press to use her teacher name or interview others at the school. In the Central American country, transgender people are openly discriminated against and face violence from a vicious police force."


9-22-12:  Just Plain Sense (UK): "Paris Lees - LGBT Role Model", by Christine Burns (more)

"Paris Lees appeared in an earlier edition of Just Plain Sense about the signing of a Memorandum on trans people at Channel 4. Even then she was probably not all that well known outside of a small circle, having only moved to London the previous year. These days she is rapidly emerging as a rising star.

She has quickly established herself as an art reviewer and commentator on issues of diversity. Her writing has appeared in the Guardian and the Independent, in Attitude magazine, and in Pink News. She has regular columns in Gay Times and Diva. She has appeared on Radio One and BBC TV ... and acted as a consultant on several programmes about trans people. Most notably, she launched a unique magazine, META, earlier this year.

Paris recently won the title 'LGBT Role Model' at the National Diversity Awards. This interview was recorded with her the following morning whilst she was still getting used to the recognition."


9-21-12:  Huffington Post: "Nong Ariyaphon Southiphong, 'Project Runway' Finalist, Talks Transgender Transition" (more)

"The popular "Project Runway" contestant who appeared on the show as a gay man and is now living as a woman is speaking in depth about her ongoing transition.  Nong Ariyaphon Southiphong, who starred in the eighth season of the hit Lifetime series as Andy South, tells Logo, "What people don't know is that I actually started my transition before 'Project Runway,' [and] I had stopped right before I went to New just would've complicated a lot of things."

She also noted: "What I realized in the past two years, after being on television, was that I was still missing something, and that was really living in the body I wanted."  In June, the Hawaii native -- who made it into the top 3 while on "Project Runway" -- changed her name on Facebook, and appeared in a series of new profile photos in long hair and in full make-up. "


9-21-12:  New York Daily News: "Man defending his transgender girlfriend slashed by 350-pound man at Greenwich Village McDonald’s"

"A McDonald’s in Greenwich Village, notorious for previous acts of violence, was the scene of yet another attack when A 350-pound man used gay slurs to berate a 24-year-old then used a razor to slash the victim across the face and neck . . .

Jamar McLeod, 24, said he and his girlfriend, Jalisa “JoJo” Griffen had just picked up her hormone medicine Wednesday night and were headed back to their apartment in Bushwick when they ducked into the fast food joint on W. Third St. to use the bathroom.

McLeod, who is 5-foot-6 and 170 pounds, was holding hands with Griffen, who was wearing a tight-fitting pair of sweatpants and sweatshirt. The suspect, who was waiting for his cheeseburger around 7 p.m., apparently overheard them talking about gay bashing."


9-19-12:  The Link (Canada): "That Transsexual Guy ‒ Interview With Jen of We Happy Trans"

"I had the privilege this week of interviewing my beautiful friend Jen, of We Happy Trans Internet fame. We met online, where we managed to discuss Kant and flirt for all the world to see. She kindly agreed to answer my questions . . .

What sort of lovely future vision do you have for the trans* community?

If it’s up to me, one with a lot more purple. More broadly though, trans people will soon be as visible, and as an integrated part of global culture, as gay people are now swiftly becoming. It is inevitable.

More prophetically, I can’t help but contemplate how every despised minority develops some special strength while building their own community on the margins, one that becomes valued by the wider society. What precious jewels are being awakened in the crucible of our suffering? I suspect that our boon will be nothing less than the wisdom of active transformation. And what could be more needed in the world?"


9-19-12:  The Bilerico Project: "Lawrence of Arabia as Transgender Allegory [Part 1]", Filed By Drew Cordes

"Despite the unanimous opinion of his peers, however, Lawrence thinks highly of himself, and again much as trans people often are, he is frustrated that how he is perceived differs so greatly from the person he knows himself to be. The film elegantly foreshadows this hidden potential when Lawrence performs a trick for his countrymen - igniting a match and placidly allowing the flame burn down to his fingers, extinguishing itself. Another soldier tries to duplicate the feat, yelping in pain and shaking his hand.

"It damn well hurts!" he exclaims in genuine surprise.

"Certainly it hurts," replies Lawrence.

"Well, what's the trick then?" he asks.

Lawrence's answer is revelatory: "The 'trick' ... is not minding that it hurts". . .

This level of willpower is desired and practiced at some point by everyone who transitions. Hour after hour after hour of follicle-burning electrolysis, breast binding, crippling surgical pain, insensitive conversations, legal and medical discrimination, fucked-up pronouns, name confusion, discomforting stares, alienation from family and friends - there's no shortage of sources for pain for the gender-nonconforming. But we cannot be discouraged.

There will be pain - that is certain - but we must not mind that it hurts if we want to be ourselves, if we want inner feelings to match outward reality. "

[A powerful essay.]


9-19-12:  The Advocate: "The Silent Soldiers Who Are Still ‘Unfit to Serve’ ‒ It’s now OK to be gay in the U.S. military, but The Advocate spoke with several transgender people on why policy means they must remain in the closet."

"Resources to help transgender service members navigate that hypermasculine environment do exist, and many reported finding allies within their platoons and the larger veteran community. The most frequently mentioned resources, though, included Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and OutServe, which was once a secret member organization advocating for silenced gay and lesbian servicemembers. Now, OutServe hosts a similarly secretive group of transgender members, in addition to out and proud LGB soldiers. According to OutServe magazine, that group now boasts more than 70 members — about 1% of the organization’s total membership.

While current military law forbids them from doing so — and pushes trans service members into secret organizations — many who spoke with The Advocate said that they would prefer to be out on the job, and that it would allow them to be better soldiers . . .

The Department of Defense instructions regarding medical standards list several trans-related procedures as disqualifying acts. Section 6130.03 mentions “history of major abnormalities or defects of the genitalia, such as change of sex [and] hermaphroditism.” The same regulations also reference disqualifying mental health conditions, including “current or history of psychosexual conditions, including but not limited to transsexualism [and] transvestism.” The regulations also forbid service by those with “sexual and gender identity disorders,” as defined in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual."


9-18-12:  New York Daily News: "Transgender tolerance campaign launches in Washington D.C. in order to promote understanding and positivity" (MetroWeekly, Queerty)

"In Washington D.C., the transgendered population is making itself heard. Their message: We’re doing fine -- why not get to know us?

In response to incidents of violence and cultural misunderstandings that transgendered Americans face on a daily basis, the nation’s capital rolled out their #TransRespect campaign, in print ads and on Twitter and Facebook.

The fiveads, which will appear all over D.C. in the fall, feature actual city residents, photographed with enthusiastic smiles along with a descriiption of themselves . . .

It’s the first government-sponsored campaign in the country to focus on the treatment of transgender and gender non-conforming communities, Gustavo Velasquez, Director of the DC Office of Human Rights, told the News in an email . . .

So far, the campaign has been received an overwhelmingly positive reception. D.C. Mayor Vincent Grey has reportedly been in talks with several partners in other cities who are eager to spread the message across the nation."


9-18-12: " California Legislature Underscores Need for Better Gender Identity Standards"

"JURIST Guest Columnist Mary Ziegler of the Saint Louis University School of Law says that the US Supreme Court's decisions in reproductive rights cases may complicate efforts to bring constitutional challenges against California's recent legislation banning the use of sexual orientation therapy on minors . . .

"Interpreted broadly, Casey leaves significant room for the state to regulate quasi-medical aspects of the culture wars. In the case of the California statute, Casey also makes clear that the courts may have a broad new role in adjudicating the truthfulness of all medical speech — not just statements made during abortion care.

The idea of courts deciding the truth of statements suggesting that homosexuality is a medical illness makes me uneasy. I am not sure that courts are competent to determine the truthfulness of supposedly scientific conclusions, especially when those conclusions address hot-button social issues. I am even less certain that courts should focus on truthfulness. The issue of "conversion" therapy raises important questions about the scope of parental rights, the reach of the Free Exercise Clause, and the meaning of equal citizenship under the Fourteenth Amendment. Hopefully, courts will take on these issues directly rather than expanding sadly inadequate truthful-and-non-misleading standard from Casey.

"Conversion" therapy is part of an ever-larger medical front in the wider culture wars. In the abortion wars, the right has reaped substantial benefits from medicalizing a variety of constitutional, moral and social issues. I expect that the California law will show that both the left and right can play this game. What Casey has given social conservatives in one context, Casey may well, in other contexts, take away.""


9-16-12:  News OK: "Oklahoma judge refuses to let men planning sex-change operations have feminine names" (more, more)

"An Oklahoma County judge is refusing to let men planning sex-change operations switch to feminine names. District Judge Bill Graves has denied name changes in two such cases so far — last year and again in August. The judge ruled both times the requests were made for a fraudulent purpose.

“I wanted to give up and just die,'' said James Dean Ingram, who asked to legally be known as Angela Renee Ingram but was turned down Aug. 30. “It's so important because it's who I am. I can't be who I am with a male name,” Ingram said.

Five other Oklahoma County judges who handle name change requests told The Oklahoman they routinely grant them in transgender cases. Graves does not, for scientific reasons. He has concluded a person cannot really change his or her sex because the person's DNA stays the same . . .

“A so-called sex-change surgery can make one appear to be the opposite sex, but in fact they are nothing more than an imitation of the opposite sex,” the judge wrote in a seven-page order last year . . . The judge also wrote about not wanting to be “complicit in legitimizing sex changes through changes of names.”

The judge in his 2011 order gave three specific reasons against allowing name changes in transgender cases. He wrote it could result in someone unwittingly marrying a person “who appeared to be of the opposite sex but was actually of the same sex.” He wrote it also could hinder crime investigations — causing police officers searching for a male based on DNA evidence to ignore a potential suspect the officers believed was female. He wrote it also could let someone circumvent the state's prohibitions against same-sex marriage."

9-16-12:  Times Colonist (Victoria, Canada): "UVic's co-ed washrooms are a big deal"

"So there are co-ed washrooms now in the University of Victoria's Student Union Building. Big deal, we might say. Toilets that can be used by both, or all, sexes have existed at other European and North American universities such as the University of B.C., McGill and York for some time.

This is a big deal, though, to UVic students who are transsexual and who can raise eyebrows, even abuse, if they walk into a "ladies" or "gents" where they're not expected or accepted. The wonder is, that in parts of the world where there aren't more pressing issues like war and famine, it's taking so long for societies to embrace all the diversities of those who make them up.

Ramps have been installed for those who can't use stairs. Elevator buttons are low for those in wheelchairs and with braille for those who can't see. People aren't excluded from public lavatories, restaurants or beaches because of the colour of their skin or what their religion or ethnicity requires they wear. Many churches, like Victoria's own Christ Church Cathedral, have made inclusiveness a creed . . .

Why, then, are washrooms the last frontiers of sexual inclusiveness? Why must the human body's need to eliminate be frustrated by the availability of places to do so because of a societal fixation with sex that isn't supposed to have, really, anything to do with it?"


9-14-12:  The Daily Mail (UK re US): "Transgender woman, who claims pills for male hair-loss sparked gender change, opens up about 'life and death struggle'"

"A transgender woman, who claims that pills to prevent hair loss changed her gender identity, has spoken out about her experience on Anderson Cooper's daytime talk show.

Mandi, 38, from Tampa, Florida, was previously married father-of-one William McKee, a software engineer, who began taking a generic version of the drug Propecia, called finasteride, to halt the onset of hereditary baldness. Several months after taking the pills daily, however, she says she noticed that her body was becoming more feminine."


9-13-12:  LGBTQ Nation (posted 9-12): "Transgender advocacy group condemns planned ‘Anderson Live’ segment ‒ Born male, guest claims 'hair loss treatment caused him to become transgender'"

"The National Center for Transgender Equality on Wednesday denounced plans by the syndicated talk show “Anderson Live” to air a controversial interview with a person who claims an anti-baldness drug made them transgender . . .

Mara Keisling, Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said in a statement that the NCTE was “surprised, saddened and disappointed that a respected show like ‘Anderson Live’ would give credence to this type of sensationalism and misinformation.”

“This segment is just another case of sensationalizing an already marginalized population plain and simple,” she said . . .

Keisling is urging transgender advocates and allies to keep the journalist honest “about how this segment does real harm to real trans people.” “Anderson Cooper knows better than this. Anderson’s team is better than this,” she said."


9-13-12: Washington Post: "DC to launch campaign to promote awareness, understanding of transgender people" (more)

"The District of Columbia government is launching what it calls the nation’s first government-sponsored campaign to promote awareness and understanding of transgender people.

Mayor Vincent Gray will unveil five advertisements Thursday evening that will soon be displayed around the nation’s capital. The ads feature transgender people who live in the district.

The mayor’s office says it wants to ensure that transgender people have equal access to employment, housing and public accommodations and that they feel safe. Transgender people have been subjected to periodic violence in parts of the city."


9-13-12:  The Guardian (UK re Brazil): "Transgender models the norm in Rio"

"With London's summer of sport over, the focus moves to Brazil. The country is hosting the World Cup in 2014, and the Olympics come 2016, and fashion, never to be outdone, is ready to make its own handover. On course to become the fifth largest economy by 2025, Brazil has the resources to become the next fashion capital, and the international industry is beginning to take notice . . .

Fashion weeks in São Paolo and Rio – previously dismissed as swimwear showcases – are firmly on the schedule of international buyers and press. What they find, however, is still a little different from the big four of New York, London, Milan and Paris. A film made by Vice, as part of its Fashion Week Internationale series, goes behind the scenes of the hype. Host Charlet Duboc finds transgender models as a matter of course . . ."


9-13-12:  This is Staffordshire (UK): "Gifted Hanley student was killed by pills overdose" (more in The Sun, with photo)

"A transsexual student died of an overdose after she struggled to come to terms with her desire to live as a woman, an inquest heard.

Natasha Lauren Brown was born Charles Nicolas James Corcoran, but changed her name in 2011. The 20-year-old, of Hanley, had also planned to undergo hormone therapy after making the decision to live and dress as a woman. But the gifted Staffordshire University photography student descended into depression after suffering taunts, and was once knocked unconscious by a thug in a random attack . . .

Coroner Mr Curzon said her death had resulted from liver failure due to paracetamol overdose, gender dysmorphia, depression and personality disorder. He added: "This is a very, very sad case. Perhaps one of the saddest I've come across . . .

Speaking after the hearing, Mrs Corcoran said: "We'd just like to say we strongly believe the mental health services could have done more to help her than they did.""


9-12-12:  Independent Online (South Africa re Germany): "‘Transsexuals have right to bigger boobs’"

"Kassel, Germany - Male-to-female transsexuals have a legal right to breast enlargement operations when hormone therapy fails to give them a feminine shape, a German federal court ruled Tuesday. A transsexual may receive implants if her new breasts have not yet reached the size of a bra's A-cup, the Federal Social Court in the central city of Kassel said.

“Transsexual insurance policy-holders can make a claim to treatment measures to allow them to adapt their gender, including surgical procedures on healthy organs to minimise their psychological suffering, so as to approach the appearance of the other sex that is desired,” the court said. It said such a procedure was justified even if the patient had not yet had a sex-change operation. "


9-12-12:  Philadelphia Inquirer: "Philadelphia police seek information on transgender woman's killing"

"Philadelphia police are searching for information on the death of a 27-year-old transgender woman found shot in the head in the Northeast last week. The victim, known to friends as Kyra Kruz, was well-known in the city's gay community, said Gloria Casarez, director of the city's Office of LGBT Affairs. "She was a visible, friendly presence," Casarez said. "This has been surprising and upsetting to all of us." . . .

Friends are planning a candlelight vigil Thursday at 8 p.m. at the William Way LGBT Community Center, 13th and Spruce Streets.

Kruz, formerly known as Kris Herold, grew up in Hatfield, said a childhood friend, Amanda Cerini. Raised primarily by a single mother, Kruz moved to Philadelphia after high school. Though she went by Kruz for years, she recently had her last name legally changed to Cordova, Casarez said.

Kruz worked for about a year at the Gay and Lesbian Latino AIDS Education Initiative, a nonprofit group that focuses on HIV/AIDS outreach. Elicia Gonzales, the executive director, said Kruz turned up one day in 2010, wanting to know what she could do to help. She was initially stationed at the front desk, but later got a job counseling clients.

"She just immediately made the office light up," Gonzales said. "She didn't think of it as her job. It was her life's calling to give back to the community.""


9-10-12:  The New Yorker: "Beyond the Matrix ‒ The Wachowskis travel to even more mind-bending realms", by Aleksandar Hemon

"“ ‘Cloud Atlas’ is a twenty-first-century novel,” Lana said. “It represents a midpoint between the future idea that everything is fragmented and the past idea that there is a beginning, a middle, and an end.” As she spoke, she was screwing and unscrewing two halves of some imaginary thing—its future and its past—in her hands. If the movie worked, she continued, it would allow the filmmakers to “reconnect to that feeling we had when we were younger, when we saw films that were complex and mysterious and ambiguous. You didn’t know everything instantly.”

Andy agreed. “ ‘Cloud Atlas’ is our getting back to the spectacle of the sixties and seventies, the touchstone movies,” he said, rubbing his bald dome like a magic lantern.

The model for their vision, they explained, was Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey,” which the Wachowskis had first seen when Lana, then Larry, was ten and Andy seven . . . Lana initially hated “2001,” and was perplexed by the mysterious presence of the black monolith. “That’s a symbol,” Ron explained. Lana told me, “That simple sentence went into my brain and rearranged things in such an unbelievable way that I don’t think I’ve been the same since. Something clicked inside. ‘2001’ is one of the reasons I’m a filmmaker.”

Perhaps not coincidentally, Lana’s gender consciousness started to emerge at around the same time. In third grade, Larry transferred to a Catholic school, where boys and girls wore different uniforms and stood in separate lines before class. “I have a formative memory of walking through the girls’ line and hesitating, knowing that my clothes didn’t match,” Lana told me. “But as I continued on I felt I did not belong in the other line, so I just stopped in between them. I stood for a long moment with everyone staring at me, including the nun. She told me to get in line. I was stuck—I couldn’t move. I think some unconscious part of me figured I was exactly where I belonged: betwixt.” Larry was often bullied for his betwixtness. “As a result, I hid and found tremendous solace in books, vastly preferring imagined worlds to this world,” Lana said."
[A compelling interview with Lana Wachowski (more).]


9-10-12:  Tuoitre News (Vietnam): "Transgender contestant enters Vietnam Idol’s top 16"

"Many viewers of the ongoing singing contest Vietnam Idol have been surprised to know that Huong Giang, one of the 16 contestants chosen to be a finalist, is a transsexual. In the latest episode announcing the finalists, broadcast on Thursday night, the jury spoke highly of the 25-year-old girl from Hanoi, due to her effort during the competition.

“The thing that surprises me is not your voice, it’s your effort. Your singing is not absolutely excellent, but your effort makes us want to see how you can improve,” judge My Tam commented. After that, the second judge, film director Nguyen Quang Dung went straight to the point by questioning if Giang had auditioned for Vietnam Idol before. After a few tentative seconds, the contestant admitted that she previously took part in the competition under a male name, Nguyen Ngoc Hieu.

“I really appreciate young people who dare to be true to themselves and other people. Whatever you do, you take responsibility for it,” the film director said. The jury also didn’t forget to ask why the young girl decided to make such a big change to her life.

“I’ve got passion for singing and every single change in my life is for art. I didn’t change to win love or any kind of happiness,” Giang replied. “I think this is the real me and I have to change to be myself onstage.”"


9-09-12:  Chicago Now: "A Personal View on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation and Marriage Rights" by Trans Girl at the Cross

"I have found in my own transition and discussions with friends; many people, Christian and non-Christian, believe that being gay and being transgender are in some way related or linked. What we as a society have to do is separate Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation.

I’m going to get really basic and truly don’t mean to offend anyone’s intelligence, but I have found that approaching these two topics in this way is the easiest for many people inside and outside of the LGBT community to understand the differences. Believe it or not, there are just as many in the LGB community as the straight community that have difficulty when it comes to understanding transgender individuals."


9-09-12: LGBTQ Nation: "Mother of transgender child shares her family’s journey", by Kergan Edwards-Stout 

"While audiences nationwide became acquainted with Sarah Tyler and her family following their appearance last year on Anderson Cooper’s talk show, I got to know them in a completely different manner: at church.

Living in conservative Orange County, Calif., and being gay men with children, it was important that my partner and I find a church family where every single person is welcome, which we found at Church of the Foothills.

One of our pivotal moments as a congregation occurred when we learned that Danann Tyler would be transitioning from boy to girl, which prompted me to bring in a speaking panel from the Orange County Transgender Coalition to help educate our members.

As would be expected, having a child undergo such a transition caused numerous issues within the Tyler family, at school, in their community, and at work. Sarah Tyler graciously took time to share with me the journey her family has traveled, including not only the many challenges they’ve faced, but also the joyful child the transition from male to female eventually revealed . . . "


9-09-12:  The Age (Australia): "Just a girl, in the world ‒ Life for children who feel they are trapped in the wrong body can be a nightmare of shame and isolation. But some are refusing to hide any longer."

" . . . Riley says puberty is a scary time for children with gender identity disorder, when they feel very much out of control. "That's when they can't cope any more. They somehow had a fantasy that they might develop into the other sex at puberty, or the implications [of the disorder] hadn't really struck them ” . . .

Riley views her condition pragmatically as "a birth defect", and hopes by being brave she can change a few people's attitudes in the process. "No one set the path for me, so I want to set the path for the younger generation. There has to be a path sooner or later because it is getting more common.”

She has no regrets about her decision to start the year in a dress and just wants to be treated like a normal teenage girl. "I definitely feel more confident at school. Sure, kids are whispering already and spreading rumours, but I don't care . . .

"I consider myself as more of a lone wolf who hasn't yet found my pack. I love being myself. If people have a problem with me, then that's okay. I'm going to tolerate it and I'm not going to change.""


9-09-12: (New Zealand): "Transsexual backs law change to alter her birth certificate"

"Stephanie Dixon looks like a woman, talks like a woman and walks like a woman. She has breasts and female genitalia, but when she had to provide her birth certificate as proof of identification when signing up for a beauty technician's course, it said she was a male.

The 43-year-old, who had gender reassignment surgery and breast augmentation, is attempting to change that and has a Family Court declaration to say she can.

However, the process has stalled because Dixon is still technically married to the mother of her children, and same-sex marriage in New Zealand isn't legal. Louisa Wall's Marriage Equality Bill would change that. The bill would allow for transsexuals to marry in their chosen sex or stay married in their chosen sex."


9-08-12:  The Irish Sun (UK re Ireland): "Same sex wedding hell: Transgender couples ‘must split’"

"Married transgender folk will have to get divorced if their status gets State approval. The warning came as equality groups gave a guarded welcome to government plans to give them legal recognition.

Social Protection Minister Joan Burton said proposed legislation would soon be published. But she insisted a clause on ‘forced divorces’ would stay in the Bill to maintain the constitutional protection of marriage.

Transgender Equality Network’s Vanessa Lacey claimed the new law would break up happy relationships. She said it could hurt situations where one partner comes out with their gender identity and is supported by their spouse."


9-06-12:  The Advocate: "HHS Says Health Plans Cannot Discriminate Against Transgender People"

"In a recent letter hailed by advocates in the LGBT community, the Department of Health and Human Services clarified that provisions in the Affordable Care Act prohibiting sex discrimination in health insurance apply to transgender people.

With HHS declaring that it would be discriminatory for employers, insurers and others to deny health insurance coverage or benefits based on "gender identity or failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity," advocates hope that transgender people will take another step toward achieving equality in health care."


9-06-12:  Chicago Now: "New CPD Procedure for Handling Transgender Arrestees"

"In a recent overdue order, on August 21, 2012, the Chicago Police Department put into place a new set of procedures that will treat transgender detainees with more respect and caution. A huge component of the order is language. It mandates that officers use the detainees preferred name, that the CPD must use the detainees preferred pronoun, and that CPD stops using derogatory language against transpeople.

The second part of the order is specific changes to standard police procedures. CPD cannot search the detainees to find out the gender.  The order also requires that police transport and jail trans people alone when possible. Transpeople will also continue to have access to hormones they are taking including the needles they were carrying to give themselves the hormones. The needles cannot be taken as evidence of a crime or to prove that the transgendered detainee committed a crime."


9-06-12:  On-Top Magazine: "Lana Wachowski Feared Losing Her Family In Coming Out Transgender"

"Filmmaker Lana Wachowski has said she feared losing her family in coming out transgender . . .

“For years, I couldn't even say the words 'transgender' or 'transsexual',” Lana said. “When I began to admit it to myself, I knew I would eventually have to tell my parents and my brother and my sisters. This fact would inject such terror into me that I would not sleep for days. I developed a plan that I worked out with my therapist. It was going to take three years. Maybe five.”

But just a couple of weeks later, sensing something was wrong, Lana's mother, Lynne Wachowski, flew to Australia and Larry told her: “I'm transgender. I'm a girl.”  Lynne offered her unconditional support, and soon so did the rest of the family."


9-06-12:  People's Daily (China): "Transsexual twin sisters to register as men"

"The country's first transsexual twin sisters are expected to complete their surgeries and have their registered gender changed at the police, said the younger of the two, who will be discharged from a local hospital this week. The younger sister has finished the three phases of surgery to change from "her" to "him," while the older sister will return to the No. 411 Hospital of People's Liberation Army later for the last phase.

"We will go back to our hometown in Yunnan Province for the gender-swap registry after both of us complete the surgeries," said the 25-year-old younger sister, who received the last surgery on August 17 . . .

"I am so happy about the surgeries allowing me to live as a man, which is what I have dreamed since my childhood," said the younger sister, who is identified as Xiaoqing. "Only my parents and a few close friends know about our surgeries. It is unacceptable in a village like my hometown."

"We won't announce the news in the future," said Xiaoqing, who keeps a tomboy haircut and outlook since childhood. "After finishing all the surgeries, my brother and I will move to a new city, look for a new job and start a new life. We may have girlfriends and get married.""


9-05-12: "Sen. Brown blasts order for sex-change operation for inmate (Video)" (more)

"Yesterday, in what Sen. Scott Brown calls “an outrageous abuse of taxpayer dollars”, convicted murderer Michelle Kosilek was granted a taxpayer-funded surgery because U.S. District Judge Mark Wolf ruled it was the only way to treat Kosilek’s “serious medical need” . . .

Republican Sen. Scott Brown, who introduced legislation that did not end up passing in 2008 to ban the use of taxpayer funds for sex-change operations for prison inmates, issued a statement saying, “I look forward to common sense prevailing and the ruling being overturned.”"


9-04-12:  Boston Globe: "Judge orders Mass. to pay for inmate’s sex-change surgery" (more, more, more)

"In the first decision of its kind, a federal judge has ordered state officials to provide a taxpayer-funded sex-change for a transsexual prisoner, after finding that the treatment is the only adequate care for the inmate’s gender identity disorder.

District Court Chief Judge Mark L. Wolf said that the treatment for Michelle Kosilek, convicted of murder, had been prescribed by Department of Correction doctors. He said the only arguments for denying it were based on social bias against that type of surgery.

“This fact that sex reassignment surgery is for some people medically necessary has recently become more widely recognized,” Wolf wrote in a landmark 127-page ruling Tuesday. “Denying adequate medical care because of a fear of controversy or criticism from politicians, the press, and the public serves no legitimate penological purpose. It is precisely the type of conduct the Eighth Amendment prohibits.”"



August 2012


8-31-12:  Huffington Post: "Elementary Schools, Transgender Kids, and Educator Freak-outs"

"For seasoned education professionals who have "seen it all," the new school year usually brings little cause for alarm. But for the past few years, we at QuERI have had an increasing number of elementary schools contact us in the beginning of the school year with reports that their teachers and school staff were "freaking out." The cause for alarm? The new enrollment of a transgender child or the gender transition of an already-enrolled student. Administrators, faculty, and staff expressed high levels of fear and anxiety over trans kids in their elementary schools and have wanted us to come in and "fix" the situation for them.

When this first began to happen several years ago, we weren't sure how to respond and were a little taken aback by the volume and force of fearful reaction to these young students. As researchers we wanted to better understand their reported "panic," and we began to study the experiences of elementary educators with transgender students in an effort to better respond to their reactions and help these schools support transgender kids. For most of the school professionals we interviewed, the initial reaction to finding out a transgender elementary student would be in their school was fear. The words they most frequently used to talk about it were "freak out," "panic," "crisis," "fear," and "unprepared."


8-31-12:  New York Daily News: "The next fight in gender rights ‒ A tennis great who shattered stereotypes says New York can do more to combat discrimination", by Billie Jean King

"I am concerned with equality for all, which is why I’m calling for my fellow New Yorkers to support a law that would offer transgender persons the protections the rest of us take for granted.  Known as the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, the proposed law would explicitly ban discrimination based on gender identity and expression . . .

It should go without saying that all New Yorkers — including transgender New Yorkers — deserve to be treated fairly and equally by the law. . . After all, our state has always led the way for equality and justice, from the birth of the women’s movement in Seneca Falls in 1848 to the passage of marriage equality last year . . .

People may be set in their notions of what constitutes acceptable gender expression; all too often, this leads to discrimination and injustice. But remember that gender rights are human rights, too — how a person chooses to express his or her masculinity or femininity cannot be the object of discrimination.

Sexism and transphobia won’t end when we pass GENDA — but once we win this match, we’ll be a lot closer."

8-31-12:  The Independent (re Malaysia): "Transsexuals challenge cross-dressing law"

"Four transsexuals are challenging an Islamic law that bars men from dressing or behaving as women in Muslim-majority Malaysia, saying it is unconstitutional. The landmark case was heard on Thursday at the Seremban high court, just south of Kuala Lumpur, where the four claimed the Sharia law of the state of Negeri Sembilan infringed on their rights enshrined in the federal constitution.

Homosexuality and transsexual lifestyles remain taboo and are considered a social and moral ill by many in Malaysia, where sodomy is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Aston Paiva, lawyer for the four, told AFP on Friday the constitution protects “the right to live in dignity and not be punished for what you are born as, including race and gender" . . .

The constitution states that “no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty”, bars discrimination on the grounds “of religion, race, descent, place of birth or gender” and protects freedom of expression. Muslims, who make up over 60 percent of Malaysia's 28 million people, are subject to both criminal laws and Islamic laws. "


8-31-12:  The Independent (UK): "Lies about transgender people (and how to spot a rubbish journalist)", by Paris Lees

"Take the Telegraph’s Ed West, for example, who seems perfectly comfortable belittling the existence of “transphobia” (hatred towards transgender people). His quotation marks, not mine. Guess he’s never had a kick in the head. In fact, I doubt he has any subjective experience of being trans, and nor will many of his readers. That’s the trouble.

I question everything, now. I recall articles from years back, on various subjects; “facts” stuck in my head; fears I was given; health advice. Were all those items poorly researched too? I see so much rot written about trans people that I just don’t know anymore. Does anyone – from legal correspondents to sports editors – really know what they’re writing about? And, if not, why read their work? News is produced on increasingly small budgets and research is becoming a luxury. Press standards are under scrutiny. Would cynics be better off reading blogs by real experts?

So, how can you tell if what you’re reading is rubbish? I have no idea how much of my daily news is true, but a visit to suggests that trans people are not the only minority group newspapers lie about. Still, there are 6 giveaways for poorly written trans features"


8-31-12:  The Daily Mail (UK): "Former policeman set to return to the force as a WOMAN after undergoing sex change"

"A former police officer forced out of the job 27 years ago because he wanted a sex change is set to return to frontline duties as a woman. Karen Gale, whose two-a-half-hour operation was controversially broadcast on television last year, has applied to be a special constable and return to the Metropolitan Police.

The 53-year-old, previously known as Keith, worked as a PC with the Met between 1981 and 1985 before being forced to resign when he told his inspector he wanted to start treatment for gender change. Karen, from Purfleet, Essex, said: 'Back then things were different. My inspector told me there was no way I could stay in the job.

'I was absolutely gutted. I loved my job and I had spent two years passing all my exams to become a constable.' But now Karen, who underwent the sex-change operation at Charing Cross Hospital in London in August 2011, is hopeful her application to become a special constable will be successful."

[The media's ongoing use of the phrase "sex change" insidiously pathologizes and ridicules transwomen, and as Paris Lees has noted is a dead-giveaway of a poorly written trans article.]


8-30-12:  Huffington Post: "Transgender Activist Janet Mock to Give Keynote at LGBTQ Youth Empowerment Conference"

"Janet Mock, Staff Editor and nationally renowned transgender activist, will give the keynote address at the Hispanic Black Gay Coalition's 2012 LGBTQ Youth Empowerment Conference. The free conference, which takes place Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., educates and inspires LGBTQ youth of color under the age of 25 to use their ideas, knowledge, and skills so that they can create personal and social change.

Mock, a transgender woman of color, uses media as a platform to explore and challenge "society's limited portrait of womanhood." Her #GirlsLikeUs campaign empowers trans women to speak up and out about their experiences and lives."


8-30-12:  The Guardian (UK): "Transgender journey: time for sex reassignment surgery at last ‒ The day of the operation has finally arrived. Juliet Jacques recounts the final preparations, the surgery itself and the aftermath", by Juliet Jacques

"Six weeks before sex reassignment surgery (SRS), I am obliged to stop taking my hormones. I suddenly feel very differently about my forthcoming operation. I'd previously seen transition as a marathon: surgery was like breaking the tape, but the race was won far earlier. Now I reconsider: perhaps this is more like a difficult cup final after some hard previous rounds.
The surgery completely dominates my planning and thinking . . . It consumes my conversations as it inches closer. I am constantly asked how I feel: everyone expects a mixture of excited and nervous, and they are right. Above all, I'll be glad when it is over. I take a little holiday in late June, staying with friends in Scotland, and travel back on the first day of July. Then, for the next fortnight, my concerns over the practical, physical and psychological effects of SRS intensify by the day.
My psychotherapist, whom I've been seeing all year, tells me that I've barely touched on the surgery, so I devote my final pre-surgical appointment to it. After an hour of airing my anxieties, I feel calm and able to continue."


8-29-12: Reuters (re US): "California lawmakers vote to ban gay "conversion" therapy for minors"

"California's state Assembly approved a bill on Tuesday to prohibit children and teenagers from undergoing a controversial therapy that aims to reverse homosexuality, moving the state closer to becoming the first to impose such a ban.

The 51-21 vote in the Democratic-controlled Assembly marked a major victory for gay rights advocates who say the so-called conversion therapy has no medical basis because homosexuality is not a disorder. Opponents of the practice say such attempts to change sexual orientation can cause depression and lead to substance abuse and suicide . . .

The Senate passed its version of the bill by a vote of 23-13 in May. Lawmakers must iron out minor differences in the two measures by Friday before a final bill makes its way to the desk of Democratic Governor Jerry Brown. Brown has not indicated whether he supports the measure, and a spokesman for the governor said that he would not comment on pending legislation.

Assembly member John Perez, the first openly gay speaker of the California's lower house, said during floor debate that "it is inappropriate for anyone, including parents, to subject anybody to dehumanizing activity," referring to the therapy. The bill's sponsor, state Senator Ted Lieu, said in a statement that the psychiatrist who pioneered such therapy, Dr. Robert Spitzer, has since renounced it and apologized to the gay and lesbian community.

If Brown signs the bill into law, California would become the first state in the nation to outlaw such therapy for minors."

[If this bill becomes law, it will doom reactionary psychiatrists' power over gay children. The question then will be: When will Zuckerian transreparatism of gender-variant children be similarly outlawed?]


8-29-12:  News.Az (Azerbaijan): "Eight successful sex-change surgeries carried in Azerbaijan"

"Eight successful surgeries for change of male sex into female have been done in Azerbaijan since 2002 until 2011. According to member of the European Association of Plastic Surgeons Jamal Azimzade, the demand for such operations is growing . . . the sex-change operation in Azerbaijan takes some AZN 5,000, while it is much more expensive in other countries."


8-28-12:  Charlotte Observer: "Transgender DNC delegate delivers sermon at local church"

" For Janice Covington, being selected as the first openly transgender delegate from North Carolina to the Democratic National Convention was “better than amazing” and is the culimination of a long journey. Covington, 65, delivered a sermon Sunday at Wedgewood Church, near SouthPark . . .

Of the 158 N.C. delegates, 13 are members of the LGBT community, three times the number of the 2008 delegation, Walton Robinson, a spokesman for the N.C. Democratic Party, said in an e-mail . . . Of the nearly 6,000 delegates expected at the DNC, the total number of LGBT delegates is 471, Jerame Davis, the Stonewall Democrats’ executive director, said in an e-mail . . .

It is unclear what the total number of gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual delegates from North Carolina attending the Republican National Convention in Tampa this week is. A spokesman for the North Carolina GOP could not be reached for comment . . . "


8-27-12:  On Top Magazine (re Mexico): "3 Transgender Women Flee Mexico To Escape Transphobia In 'Crossing Over'"

"The documentary Crossing Over looks at the lives of 3 transgender Mexican women as they seek political asylum in the United States to escape transphobia in their homeland.

Francis Murillo, Brenda Gonzalez and Abigail Madariaga fled Mexico and are now living in Los Angeles to escape the stigma, discrimination and persecution associated with being transgender in the highly Catholic nation . . .

“I have always been passionate about immigration issues and about highlighting the reasons for why immigration is often necessary,” Castro told On Top Magazine in an e-mail. “In exploring this issue, I learned more about the extent of transphobia in Mexico and in the United States and have now become focused on shedding light on the obstacles that the transgender community faces.”"


8-26-12:  Meta Magazine (UK): "META magazine: My Transsexual Summer's Lewis speaks out"

"Original video content from META magazine ( and its pioneering debut issue. Lewis Hancox won over the nation's hearts following his appearance on Channel 4's My Transsexual Summer, with stars such as Stephen Fry contributing to his fund for chest surgery. But he also faced severe criticism from sections of the trans community, who accused him of setting a bad example by raising the money himself. Lewis tells us why he made his decision - and the pressures of representing a whole community on national television..."


8-25-12:  Huffington Post (re Chile; posted 8-21): "Chilean Paradoxes: LGBT Rights in Latin America"

"Over the past few years there have been important milestones advancing LGBT human rights in Latin America. Recognition of civil unions in Brazil and Uruguay, same-sex marriage in Mexico City and Argentina, laws protecting gender identity in Chile and Bolivia, and historic, progressive legislation in regard to gender identity in Argentina. These advances question old stereotypes of the region as a conservative macho culture dominated by the Roman Catholic Church."


8-25-12:  Asia One (re the Mideast): "Transvestites, women warned against sex trade in Mideast"

"Many Thai male cross-dressers get legitimate jobs in Oman as masseuses but choose to also offer sexual services on the side, a Thai embassy official in Muscat said. Panida Somao said the laws in Oman were very strict and only men were allowed to work at massage parlours for male customers.

"But some Thai transvestites have exploited these laws and also offer sexual services," she said, adding that many of these men came to Oman before undergoing the sex-change operation. "Many of them work in Oman to earn enough money to finance this operation," Panida said. "Those who have already undergone the sex-change operation want to save money for cosmetic surgery so they can enter beauty pageants."

She said a Thai transvestite usually charged Bt2,000 (S$80.20) to Bt5,000 per hour for services in Oman, but this comes with huge risks."


8-23-12:  Transgender Law Center (posted 8-15): "Transsexual Pilots Cleared For Take Off " (with video)

"Tamsyn Waterhouse, who had been a private pilot since 2003, called Transgender Law Center’s legal helpline in 2009 after she was told she would have to undergo burdensome psychological testing in order to renew her medical certification to fly. “I was honest with the Aviation Medical Examiner about my gender transition, and that’s when I was informed that I would have to undergo extensive psychological testing that non-trans people did not have to endure. It would have cost thousands of dollars. One psychiatrist described it as ‘every test in the book.’”

In response, Transgender Law Center, in collaboration with the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, began to advocate for policy changes to address this discrimination . . . “I could have paid the money and tried to go through the process on my own,” noted Waterhouse. “But I wanted to make a difference for all transgender pilots.”

The FAA regulatory decision is a part of a growing trend among the courts, government, and private employers in removing barriers transgender people have historically faced in accessing employment and services. Most recently, in a case brought by Transgender Law Center, Macy v. Holder, the Employment Equal Opportunity Commission ruled that transgender people are covered under Title VII’s employment discrimination protections.

“Tamsyn had the courage to stand up and advocate for herself and other transgender pilots. Her willingness to share her story illustrates the power one person can have in making a difference. I am thrilled that Transgender Law Center was able to work with her to remove these excessive barriers,” said Masen Davis, Executive Director. “Transgender pilots, you are cleared for takeoff!””


8-23-12:  Extra TV (posted 7-30): "Matrix’ Director Wachowski Makes Debut as Transgender" (with video)
"Larry Wachowski is going by a new name these days: Lana. The Hollywood director, who helmed the “Matrix” franchise with his brother Andy, is transitioning from male to female. She made her sassy debut in a gray dress and pink dreadlocks in a promo for the siblings’ new movie, “Cloud Atlas.”"


8-23-12 ABC News (posted 8-18): "Transgender Pilots Cleared for Takeoff as FAA Changes Rule"

"Tamsyn Waterhouse learned to fly as a child under her father's wing in his 1968 Cessna 150 -- a fuel-leaking, scrappy plane that constantly tested her abilities and confidence. "One afternoon I had to wedge myself under the instrument panel in order to re-solder an electrical connection, with a piece of scrap aluminum shielding my chest from dripping solder," said Waterhouse, 32, who works for Google in San Francisco.

She easily got her private pilot's license in 2003, but nothing prepared her for the hurdles the Federal Aviation Administration threw at her in 2009, when she tried to get her airman's medical certificate renewed.

Waterhouse is transgender, and the FAA required that she go through a battery of psychological tests -- five in all -- that would "take a couple of days of my time and cost in the several-thousand dollar range."

Upset and feeling "lost," she fought that policy, clearing the path for other transgender pilots, to spare them the onerous testing. The FAA has now instituted a new policy that does not categorically impose these tests on transgender pilots. "


8-23-12:  ABC News (posted 8-08): "Trans Man Denied Cancer Treatment; Now Feds Say It's Illegal" (with video)

"Jay Kallio, a former EMT who is disabled with kidney failure, rheumatoid arthritis and now cancer, has struggled to get good medical care, but being transgender stood in the way.

At the age of 50, Kallio transitioned from female to male, but never had gender reassignment surgery, only hormone treatment. "I accept my body as I was born," he said.

But when a suspicious lump was found in his breast and tested positive for cancer, the surgeon was so shocked that Kallio's body didn't match his gender identification -- not knowing whether to address him as "he" or "she" -- that he couldn't bring himself to tell his patient the grim biopsy results.

Now the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has said that under the Affordable Care Act, it is against the law to discriminate against transgender and LGBT patients in federally funded healthcare programs.

The policy follows a landmark 2010 U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruling on sex discrimination in the workplace. LGBT and transgender advocacy groups pursued a clarification from HHS for harassment and gender stereotyping in healthcare settings. "


8-22-12: E-mail alert to APA DIV44, by Erica J. Friedman, Doctoral Student, Social-Personality Psychology, The Graduate Center (CUNY)

"Jack Drescher recently posted to the list serve regarding the American Psychiatric Association's release of their historical position statements regarding access to care and the rights of "transgender" and "gender variant" persons . . . Unfortunately, these statements taken out of context may mislead activists, psychologists, and others to believe the fight against the pathologization of and discrimination against people with self-designated genders by the mental health professions is over. These new positions need to be discussed in the context of the American Psychiatric Association's past and present treatment of aspects of people's genders and gender affirmation experiences as psychopathology . . .

I am writing this with the goal of reminding you all that in spite of their position statements, the fight is not over. These statements are even evidence of their current problematizing of certain classifications of people who designate their own genders (e.g. they only "recognize" the benefits of access to care for "appropriately evaluated" people). I am also writing this to urge you all to help take action to call the American Psychiatric Association out on their misguidance.

For more background, please read Kelly Winters insightful article posted yesterday regarding the APA's position statements.

I also urge you to please read and consider signing this petition that I put together with a number of colleagues (including Y. Gavriel Ansara who won the 2012 DIV 44 Transgender Research Award) some weeks ago in response to the APA Task Force's recent publication regarding the "treatment" of "gender identity disorder" "


8-22-12:  Live Science: "Transgender People New Targets of Hateful Political Ads", by Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience Senior Writer

"Even amidst emotional fights over same-sex marriage, anti-gay political advertisements have grown increasingly civil since the 1970s, new research finds. For transgender people, however, the media landscape is looking increasingly brutal.

Political attacks against transgender people increasingly portray them as predatory and dangerous, even as ads by conservative groups depicting gay people as pedophiles or sexual predators have dropped nearly off the map, said Amy Stone, a sociologist at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas . . .

The shift has likely happened because acceptance of gays and lesbians has grown, Stone said. Homosexual couples are presented positively in the media, and many people know gay and lesbian people personally. That makes scaremongering tactics less effective. At the same time, portrayals of transgender individuals have not kept up.

"If we look at how transgender individuals are represented in the media it's often in a very negative way," Stone said. "So they're on 'Law & Order' as a sex worker and they're portrayed in a negative way in that fashion, or they are a victim of a crime or they're a murderer, a killer."

Likewise, people are less likely to know a transgender person in real life than they are a gay or lesbian person, Stone said. That leaves a knowledge gap and a lot of misinformation about what it means to be transgender."


8-22-12:  Bangkok Post (Thailand): "Tiring of the attire debate"

"It is not the first time transsexual students have been allowed to wear female attire during at the graduation ceremony, but the topic gathered buzz after the biggest-selling Thai Rath newspaper splashed it on the front page. Unfortunately, while it seems like good news for the LGBT community, a more complex dimension of the issue has slowly been revealed . . .

It was a brave move for Denjan to follow her dream and fight for her right. For a transsexual, to be able to dress according to her gender identity is a comfort, a basic right that never harms anyone. Imagine if you are a man and being forced to wear women's clothes. It is as simple as that.

But what is left for us, and the transgender community especially, to ponder is the fact getting such permission required Denjan to obtain a diagnosis of "gender identity disorder" from a psychiatrist. Denjan admitted on one of her appearances on television that she was not pleased to be diagnosed by a psychiatrist, but it was the only way for her to wear female attire on her big day.

Denjan's case worries transgender activists who have long fought against labelling transgender as a disease."


8-22-12:  RocketNews24 (re Japan): "Toyota Japan’s Sexy New Topless Ad Shocks Viewers" (with video)

"A racy new Japanese ad campaign launched for the 2012 Toyota Auris, or Corolla as it’s known in some markets, has been causing a commotion for boldly challenging convention—and probably not in the way you would think . . .

The star of the commercial is 19-year-old Ukrainian transgender model Stav Strashko.

The commercial ends with the campaign’s tagline “Turn Your Rear to Common Sense” (常識にお尻を向けろ) and you feeling embarrassed about that warm stirring in your pants."


8-21-12:  University of Surrey (UK; posted 6-22): "Gavi Ansara Wins American Psychological Association Division 44 Transgender Research Award Prize"

"Congratulations to Gavi Ansara who has won this year’s American Psychological Association Division 44 Transgender Research Award Prize. The award is given annually for psychological research that addresses transgender issues, and Gavi is the third recipient of the prize. Gavi won the award for the following paper:  Ansara, Y.G., & Hegarty, P. (2012). Cisgenderism in psychology: Pathologizing and misgendering children from 1999 to 2008. Psychology and Sexuality, 3, 137-160.

Well done Gavi!"

Abstract of Gavi's paper:

We assessed whether recent psychological literature on children reflects or contrasts with the zeitgeist of American Psychological Association’s recent non-discrimination statement on ‘transgender’ and ‘gender variant’ individuals. Article records (N = 94) on childhood ‘gender identity’ and ‘expression’ published between 1999 and 2008 inclusive were evaluated for two kinds of cisgenderism, the ideology that invalidates or pathologises self-designated genders that contrast with external designations. Misgendering language contradicts children’s own gender assignations and was less frequent than pathologising language which constructs children’s own gender assignations and expression as disordered. Articles on children’s gender identity/expression are increasingly impactful within psychology. Cisgenderism is neither increasing nor decreasing overall. Mental health professionals are more cisgenderist than other authors. Articles by members of an ‘invisible college’ structured around the most prolific author in this area are more cisgenderist and impactful than other articles. We suggest how authors and editors can implement American Psychological Association policy and change scientific discourse about children’s genders.

[In this seminal research paper, Gavi Ansara reveals the pathologizing impact on transgender children of cisgenderist language-usage by psychologists, and exposes one 'invisible college' in particular, namely that dominated by Ken Zucker of CAMH, as a primary source of such pathologization.]


8-21-12:  The Times of India (India): "EC makes it easy for first-time transgenders to vote"

"First-time transgender voters henceforth need not bother looking for a sponsor or beg their parents to sign the new registration form. A recent order of the Election Commission of India (ECI) has relaxed conditions with the addition of 'chela' (assistant) or guru (teacher) in the voter registration form. Till now, parents of transgenders were signing the form and many refused to do so after their wards declared themselves transgenders . . .

"Transsexuals may not be accepted in some families and in such cases the eligible person may be deprived of voting right due to the current enrollment process where proof of age and proof of residence are required to be submitted. With this modification, even a teacher can endorse a transsexual's case for registration as a voter," a senior ECI official said."

8-20-12:  GID Reform Advocates: "The American Psychiatric Association Issues Historic Position Statements on Trans Issues", by Kelley Winters, Ph.D."

"The statement text reaffirms the role of advocacy in the APA mission: “ Speaking out firmly and professionally against discrimination and lack of equal civil rights is a critical advocacy role that the APA is uniquely positioned to take.”  Given the APA’s unique position in setting diagnostic policy that has been historically used to limit civil justice and transition care access for trans people, these position statements come far better late than never.

However, the APA statements fall short of debunking the false stereotype that gender difference is inherently pathological. The association’s ambivalence on the mental illness stereotype is reflected in the “Report of the American Psychiatric Association Task Force on Treatment of Gender Identity Disorder ,” published in June, 2012 . . .

In other words, this APA Treatment Task Force (a separate group from the DSM-5 Task Force) declined to refute the false stereotype of “disordered” gender identity. This is troublesome, because the proposed diagnostic criteria for the Gender Dysphoria category in the pending Fifth Edition of the APA’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) continue to mischaracterize gender identities and expressions that do not conform to birth-assigned gender stereotypes as symptomatic of mental illness . . .

Though long overdue, these position statements on Discrimination and Access to Care for Transgender and Gender Variant Individuals represent a historic step forward in reducing barriers to civil justice and transition care access. But they do not go far enough in deconstructing false stereotypes that equate gender diversity with mental sickness and sexual deviance. In the context of the proposed gender diagnoses in the DSM-5 and the recent treatment task force report, they represent a mixed message. In contrast, the World Professional Association for Transgender Health issued an unambiguous De-Psychopathologisation Statement in 2010 that provides a model for professional organizations that serve trans and gender diverse people:"


8-20-12: Reality Times: "Transgender Housing: One USC Student's Attempts To Stop Discrimination"

"A University of Southern California student has started a tumblr website to help transgender students search for housing in a market that can be discriminating. The student, who only wished to go by the name Dylan, said he came up with the idea for the website, called the Transgender Housing Network, while browsing through Tumblrs. 

"I noticed that many of the people I followed on Tumblr who identified as transgender needed a place to stay for a night or more, and I thought that it would be fantastic and convenient to have an aggregate of these listings all in one place," Dylan told the Daily Trojan, USC's student paper . . .  Dylan hopes his website, which covers the entire country (not just USC campus), will also help the general public gain an understanding of transgender people. "


8-18-12:  Huffington Post: "Transgender Killings Reflect Deeper Injustice"

"For the second time in Chicago this year, the life of a gender-variant young person of color was lost to violence.

Donta Gooden's body was found in an abandoned building on the city's West Side late in the evening of August 14th. Gooden, 19, who also went by the name "Tiffany," was stabbed to death just three blocks from where Paige Clay, a 23-year-old transgender woman, was shot and killed in April, according to media reports. The police investigation is ongoing.

The tragedy of these senseless killings, still so raw and heartrending for the loved ones of Gooden and Clay, is beyond comprehension and deplorable on every level. But perhaps even more unsettling is how often violent crimes against LGBTQ people occur and how little social outrage they ignite."


8-16-12:  American Psychiatric Association: "APA Issues Official Positions Supporting Access to Care and the Rights of Transgender and Gender Variant Persons"

"The American Psychiatric Association advocates for removal of barriers to care for gender transition treatment and for the protection of civil rights for transgender and gender variant individuals. APA has long expressed strong affirmation of lesbian and gay civil rights since the 1973 decision to remove homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Now APA is issuing position statements in support of access to care and civil rights for transgender individuals . . . 

The APA joins other organizations, including the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association, in endorsing strong policy statements deploring the discrimination experienced by gender variant and transgender individuals and calling for laws to protect their civil rights."

[Here we see the APA, which for decades has been the major instigator of trans-discrimination (by declaring transpeople to be mentally-ill), covering that all up as if it never happened - and coming out as wonderfully-supporting trans-rights. Seems they've finally been shamed into that action. Even so, they've not renounced their claim that gender variance is a mental illness (a position long enforced by Ray Blanchard and Ken Zucker).]


8-08-12:  New York Times Magazine: "What’s So Bad About a Boy Who Wants to Wear a Dress?"

"Transgender activists have also pressed for changes in the psychiatric establishment, which still officially considers children’s distress over gender identity a mental illness. Now the American Psychiatric Association is reviewing the diagnosis of “Gender Identity Disorder in Children” for the next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Critics, though, condemn the association’s choice of Dr. Kenneth Zucker to lead the inquiry. Zucker is the head of a well-known gender-identity clinic in Toronto and the most prominent defender of traditional interventions for gender nonconformity. He urges parents to steer their children toward gender-typical toys, clothes and playmates and advises them to prohibit behaviors associated with the other sex . . .

Transgender advocates and sympathetic clinicians argue that telling children in that middle space to abolish their cross-gender interests makes them more distressed, not less. There is also little to no evidence that therapeutic interventions change the trajectory of a child’s gender identification or sexual orientation. Clinicians who oppose traditional treatments contend that significant gender nonconformity is akin to left-handness: unusual but not unnatural. Rather than urging children to conform, they teach them how to respond to intolerance."


8-07-12:  Chicago Tribune: "Transgender woman settles suit with Cicero, attorneys say"

"A transgender woman who said Cicero police officers harassed and humiliated her has settled a lawsuit for $10,000 along with a pledge that the town will adopt a policy for dealing respectfully with transgender people, her attorneys said Tuesday . . .

In the suit, Feliciano said two police officers illegally stopped and searched her and a transgender friend in 2011 as they walked down a Cicero street. The officers allegedly taunted Feliciano and her friend, wrongfully accusing them of being sex workers.

Police threatened to arrest Feliciano for fraud, she said, after she presented an Illinois identification card that listed her as female. The officers also made crude remarks to her after transporting her to the station, according to her suit.

The suit alleged that the town’s lack of a policy for dealing with transgender people led to the officers’ poor conduct. The new policy, Feliciano’s attorneys said, should help remedy the situation.

“We are hopeful that this ends the unjust and abusive treatment of transgender people by Cicero police officers, and we hope that other police departments follow suit,” Joey Mogul, an attorney for Feliciano and director of the Civil Rights Clinic at DePaul University College of Law, said Tuesday in a statement."


8-04-12:  Los Angeles Times: "Feminism in an unlikely place — a transgender beauty pageant; Ranking women on their looks seems like a step back for feminism. But for Los Angeles' transgender community, pageants can be a sign of progress."  (photos)

"The idea of ranking women on their looks had always seemed objectionable, like a step backward from feminism. But this pageant sounded special. The Queen USA contest is billed as "the premier transgender beauty pageant in the United States" . . .

There are countless expressions of womanhood now, from female Olympic gymnasts to women cops to moms who decide to stay home with their kids.
And those who choose to compete in beauty pageants, Queen USA included — well, that's an authentic expression, too. But are we ready to accept them for who they are?

Later that night, during a question-and-answer session, the contestants ticked off harrowing incidents of violence and discrimination they have faced simply for being themselves.

"We are existing," one contestant said. "We will be a part of your world whether you like it or not," vowed another.

Beyond the flashy lashes and shiny lips, strength and determination shone through. And it was clear that those are qualities of womanhood, too."


8-01-12:  Equality and Human Rights Commission (UK; posted 6-12): "Technical note: Measuring Gender Identity" by Fiona Glen and Karen Hurrell
"Asking for information on individuals’ equality characteristics can be controversial. There may be objections, for example, to the way disability is defined or to the collection of data on sexual orientation. Questions have been developed for both these characteristics, and data collected in official surveys. However, there is currently no standard approach to asking questions or collecting data on the characteristic of gender identity, and a consequent lack of data.

The Equality Act 2010 gives protection to transsexual people, that is to people who intend to undergo, are undergoing or have undergone a process of gender reassignment. However, this note addresses collecting data on a broader group of people, which could give a more comprehensive picture of the trans population in Britain. We have chosen not to restrict attention to people currently protected by the legislation, but have opted for a more inclusive approach which allows other trans people to self-identify . . .

The decision to collect data on these issues requires careful consideration (EHRC, 2011). Nonetheless, there are various arguments for and against collecting these data. By developing a suite of questions on gender identity, an inclusive approach to collecting all equality characteristics is then possible.

In this paper, we outline the process followed so far in developing questions on gender identity and gender reassignment and we report results from testing a suite of five questions on an online, self-completion survey."


8-01-12:  Daily Mail (UK; posted 7-30): "Beware of the sex change zealots: Why IS the state so obsessed with whether we're transgender?"

"The law doesn’t explicitly demand that public sector bodies ask staff, clients and job applicants whether they are transgender. However, the Equality and Human Rights Commission advises public sector bodies with more than 150 staff that — in order to comply with the Act — they will be expected to produce data relating to the success rate of job applicants, the take-up of training opportunities, and grievance and dismissal.  In other words, public sector bodies are effectively obliged to ask for such information.
Given the tiny number of transgender individuals, it is questionable whether any useful conclusions could ever be gleaned from such data. Only 300 people a year apply to the Gender Recognition Panel — a quango established in 2004 to enable people to obtain revised birth certificates after transgender surgery. Yet the equality industry seems desperate to try to prove that society is awash with people secretly harbouring a desire to change sex."



July 2012


7-29-12:  The Guardian (UK): "Oxford University changes dress code to meet needs of transgender students ‒ Students sitting exams or attending formal occasions will no longer have to wear ceremonial clothing specific to their gender"

"Oxford University has rewritten the laws governing its strict academic dress code following concerns that they were unfair towards transgender students. Under the new regulations, students taking exams or attending formal occasions will no longer have to wear ceremonial clothing that is specific to their gender. It will mean men will be able to sit tests in skirts and stockings and women will have the option of wearing suits and bow ties.

The laws, which come into force next week, follow a motion put forward by the university's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Queer society (LGBTQ Soc) was passed by the student union. Jess Pumphrey, LGBTQ Soc's executive officer, said the change would make a number of students' exam experience significantly less stressful."


7-27-12: "Gender identity protected by Title VII: implications for employers"

"Despite the fact that EEOC relied on a 1989 Supreme Court precedent in ruling that gender identity and stereotyping are protected by Title VII, the change is a big one.

Attorneys with Seyfarth Shaw point out that the agency explicitly reversed course and overturned several of its own administrative opinions—not to mention that its holding is contrary to several federal court rulings interpreting Title VII. This ruling is now clear, however.

Further, it may lend political support to efforts in Congress to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, or ENDA, which would add 'sexual orientation' and/or gender identity to Title VII's protected categories. What are the implications for employers?"


7-27-12:  Irish Times (Ireland): "'They talk about gay or lesbian but never transgender'"

"A year ago the Government said it planned to recognise the human rights of transgender people in law. What progress has been made, asks ORLA TINSLEY , and how are Irish people with gender-identity disorder coping in the absence of that legislation? . . .

Among the conditions it recommended is that, as in the UK, people must be formally diagnosed with gender-identity disorder or provide evidence of gender-reassignment surgery to a panel of three judges (who will represent legal, medical and general fields, it is believed). Candidates must also live in what is referred to as their acquired or preferred gender for two years before seeking gender recognition.

Language is contentious. Transgender people prefer to refer to their gender identity as their “true gender”, and some activists say it is dehumanising to assess a person’s life before granting a gender-identity change.

Perhaps the most controversial element of the proposals is the recommendation that, in order to be recognised, the person must be single and outside an existing marriage or civil partnership. The Government’s logic is that to allow otherwise would be to go against the Constitution by effectively permitting same-sex marriage. "


7-27-12:  Courthouse News Service (posted 7-24): "Transgenderism More Likely in Military, Study Finds"

" Biologically male U.S. veterans were twice as likely as their civilian counterparts to identify as female, a former military psychologist told Courthouse News, discussing a soon-to-be-published study of more than 5 million service members. No information has been released indicating whether the subjects of the study sought sex-reassignment surgery, or more generally disassociate with the sex of their birth.

The study by psychologist George Brown follows up on his 1988 paper, "Transsexuals in the Military: Flight Into Hypermasculinity," which relied on interviews with 11 service members who identify as male-to-female transgender, meaning that they were born as biological males but identify as female. Many prefer the umbrella term transgender over the more narrow descriptor transsexual, which usually implies surgical alteration.

"A striking similarity was noted in the histories of nearly all of the military gender dysphorics," the 1988 study states. "They joined the service, in their words, 'to become a real man.'" "Flight into Hypermasculinity" speculated that enlistment statistics could bear out the theory that male-to-female transsexuals might enlist as a way of "purging the feminine self."

"Current military policies, in association with the proposed hypermasculine phase of transsexual development, may actually result in a higher prevalence of transsexualism in the military than in the civilian population," the 1988 study theorized."


7-27-12:  BuzzFeed: "Obama Labor Department May Be Ignoring Protections For Transgender Contractors"

"The Department of Labor may not be enforcing protections for transgender employees of federal contractors — despite a three-month-old ruling by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that should be applied to such workers under current Labor policies.

According to an investigation by BuzzFeed, in the past month alone the federal government has granted hundreds of millions of dollars of contracts subject to the Labor Department's oversight with companies that have not put in place rules protecting workers from discrimination based on gender identity.

Of the 10 federal contractors that received the most money in federal contracts in the past fiscal year, three do not have nondiscrimination policies that include gender identity. All three — Northrop Grumman, SAIC and L-3 Communications — have boasted of multi-million dollar contracts awarded this month. Despite numerous requests for comment over the past three months, Labor officials have thus far refused to comment directly on the issue . . . "


7-27-12:  Queerty (re UK): "Pioneering Trans Model April Ashley Gets Movie Deal, Honor From Queen Elizabeth"

"One of the first people to undergo gender-reassignment surgery, April Ashley has worked as an actress, cabaret performer and Vogue model. Now 77, Ashley is seeing her life story optioned as a movie even as she prepares to accept an MBE from Queen Elizabeth this fall.

Lawless Entertainment has just teamed up with Pacific Films and Limey Yank Productions to bring Ashley’s story to to the big screen. It’s hardly her first brush with fame, though—she had a small role in the Bob Hope-Bing Crosby flick The Road to Hong Kong, and in her 2006 autobiography, The First Lady, alleged affairs with Peter O’Toole, Omar Sharif and Michael Hutchence.

Ashley also had the dubious distinction of being one of the first British people outed as transgender when a “friend” sold her story to the Sunday People in 1961. Her marriage to British noble Arthur Corbett was annulled after seven years in 1970 on the grounds that she’d been born male, even though Corbett was full aware of her background. Ashley was legally recognized as a female after the passage of the UK’s Gender Recognition Act in 2004,  and issued a new birth certificate with help from Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, an old friend."


7-27-12:  Gay Star News (UK): "Ashley April project tracks UK trans lives over past 70 years" (more)

"A project which aims to chart the lives of transgender people living in the UK over the last 70 years will be launched today (27 July).

The £250,000 project, run by Liverpool-based LGBT organization Homotopia from July until December 2014, will feature workshops and opportunities for members of the transgender community to share their own experience, culminating in a major exhibition at the Museum of Liverpool."


7-26-12:  Alaska Dispatch: "Transgender Alaskans can change sex on licenses easier under new DMV rule"

"The lieutenant governor signed a new Alaska Department of Motor Vehicles regulation earlier this month that makes it easier for transgender citizens to change their sex identifier on state ID cards.

Residents wanting to change their physical description -- including sex identifier -- must submit certification from a licensed physician, social worker, psychologist, professional counselor, physicians assistant or certified nurse practitioner. In it, the provider must certify that the individual has been undergoing treatment and that the change is expected to be permanent . . .

It's a big change from the previous policy, which required people who want to change their sex identifier to submit proof of surgery. A state Superior Court ruling in March found that asking for such information was an invasion of privacy."


7-26-12:  The Advocate: "Transgender Candidate Out to Make History in Florida"

"A transgender candidate for the Orange County Commission in central Florida is drawing favorable attention from local media. Gina Duncan, who was born Gregory Pingston and transitioned in 2007 at age 50, is a small-business owner and former bank executive focusing on economic issues in her race. Duncan, a Democrat, was recently profiled by Orlando Fox affiliate WOFL.

The segment focuses on her tireless campaign efforts and her emphasis on job growth in the region, treating her transgender identity as incidental, while acknowledging the potentially history-making nature of her candidacy, as she would be the first transgender person elected to office in the southeastern United States. Reporter Chase Cain does ask her when being transgender will not longer be an issue, and she says, “Maybe not in my lifetime, but someday being transgender means no more than being right- or left-handed.”"


7-26-12:  Queerty:  "Methodist Minister Shares Journey As Transgender Man With Congregation"

"Preaching to the choir isn’t always as easy as it sounds: On Sunday, Rev. David Weekley went before congregants at the Morningside United Methodist Church in Salem, Oregon, and told them he was transgender. Weekley, 60, was invited to preach at Morningside as part of the church’s 17th anniversary as a Reconciling Ministry, a movement within the United Methodists Church to welcome LGBT parishioners.

Transitioning starting in his early 20s, Weekley was ordained in 1984 but didn’t come out about being a trans man until he spoke to his own congregation in Portland three years ago. Since then, he says, reaction has been mixed: “A lot of people have stood by us, offering support, practical advice and hope. Some people rejected me and rejected us.”

Weekely—who is married and helped raise five children—made news when he first came out, which was also when his memoir, In from the Wilderness, was released. Though he gets invitations like the one from Morningside pastor Michael Powell, he’s also seen colleagues question whether he was fit for the ministry—”or even life,” reports the Statesman Journal."


7-25-12:  Herald Sun (Australia): "Changing genders: What it really means to go from man to woman "

"A comparatively straightforward way into this story about the experience of transgender people in Australia would be to tell you just how many there are. But unfortunately, this data remains unavailable. The potentially thousands of people who fall into this category, including the unknown proportion who undergo gender reassignment surgery (GDR), simply identify as either male or female.

As 65-year-old transsexual Josie Emery put it: "I'm not interested in being transgender, I'm interested in being a woman." This seems an obvious thing to those of us who will never know how it feels to be completely not at home in our bodies. Or the sheer amount of energy, commitment, and determination it takes to face up to yourself. But according to Emery, there comes a time when being honest with yourself is less overwhelming than continuing to deny your real gender and self."


7-23-12:  New York Times (re Serbia): "Serbia Becomes a Hub for Sex-Change Surgery"

" “It is surprising that a conservative, patriarchal country is becoming a center for sex change operations, but social attitudes are slowly shifting,” said Cristian, a transgender activist from Belgrade who was unwilling to give his last name.

Nearly 100 foreigners and Serbs have undergone sex reassignment surgery in the past year, and the numbers are growing, according to the Belgrade Center for Genital Reconstructive Surgery, with candidates coming from France, Russia and Iran, and from as far away as the United States, South Africa, Singapore and Australia.

Serbia is becoming a transgender surgery hub, experts say, in part because genital reassignment surgery is costly, controversial and complicated and is shunned in many other countries in the region, including Austria, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Greece and the other countries of the former Yugoslavia, according to Dr. Miroslav Djordjevic, a professor of urology who leads the Belgrade Center (more)"


7-23-12:  The Sun (UK): "Head bans transgender pupil from exam... so she shows him Equality Act" (more)

" Ashlyn Parram, 16, turned up for her first examination in tights, skirt and blazer — but was told by teachers to go home and change into the boys’ school uniform. The furious teen printed off a copy of the law on sex discrimination, which includes specific legislation on the treatment of transgenders and transsexuals, and marched it straight to head Chris Wall’s office.

He admitted he could not ban Ashlyn — but teachers made her sit away from other pupils at the back of the sports hall at Giles Academy in Boston, Lincs.

Ashlyn — who used to be called Lewis — said: “I have never felt so bad about myself. “It’s sad people can’t be more open-minded. I’ve lost a lot of friends because of everything I’ve been through. I really didn’t need to lose the support of my teachers.”

 Her mum Miranda Johnson says Ashlyn — who was officially diagnosed with gender dysphoria — is a girl born in a boy’s body. IT manager Miranda said: “The way Ashlyn has been treated by the school is just appalling. If Ashlyn had been black or disabled there would be uproar. She’s a vulnerable teenager who needs the support of her teachers, not their opposition. The way they’ve treated her is disgusting.”"


7-23-12:  Huffington Post ‒ Weird News: "Mandi McKee, Formerly William McKee, Claims Generic Baldness Drug Turned Her Into A Woman"  (more, more)

"A 38-year old former software engineer says that taking medication for baldness transformed him from a man into a woman . . . McKee does not see her transformation as a choice, however, but as something forced upon her by the medication. "The old me was killed," she writes, "by the drug company Merck."  McKee is not alone in her experiences with the drug. A study published earlier this month in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that some men taking Propecia experience sexual side effects that can last years after the individual has stopped taking the drug.

Men in 27 states have filed lawsuits against Merck on the grounds that Propecia affected their sexuality. However, the courts do not permit lawsuits from those who took the generic version, and so McKee is unable to take legal action, according to MSN.  Nonetheless, McKee has stated that she is planning to sue Merck for $1 billion."


7-22-12:  The Guardian (UK re US): "Laura Jane Grace: 'So I'm a transsexual and this is what's happening' ‒ The lead singer of Against Me! talks frankly about her gender dysphoria, and what it was like to tell her bandmates, her family and her wife that she wanted to become a woman" (more)
"Grace doesn't look like a woman, but then she only began taking hormones a month ago. There's a subtle feminity in her posture, though, and in the way her features soften as she talks. The twin impressions of apprehension and an eagerness to please are for a moment disconcerting – until you see just how extraordinary it must be to start telling a total stranger about the very thing she's been keeping secret for most of her life.

Grace's first intimation of gender dysphoria came when she was just five years old. "The first time I had that moment, when I knew, was seeing Madonna on a televised concert. And I thought: 'Why not me?'" The son of a military man, she grew up on army bases feeling lonely and confused, bullied at school and bewildered by an indelible sense of toxic otherness.

"It's a feeling of great existential dread. Peripherally, being aware of the way you are in your body and feeling cognisant of the fact that I'm male – like looking down and seeing male features – and feeling, internally, 'but I'm not'. You feel a detachment, and you feel hyper-aware of everything that's around you. Then, at the same time, you feel extreme feelings of shame and guilt and confusion, so that all works into a nice little cocktail in your head.""


7-22-12:  Washington Post (AP): "Transgender advocates push US psychiatric establishment to revise mental illness labels" (more, more)

"Does a woman who strongly believes she was meant to be a man have a mental condition or a medical problem? Is a man who cross-dresses in need of psychological help? What about a boy who pretends to be a girl in make-believe games and chooses only female playmates?

The nation’s psychiatric establishment is wrestling with these questions, among others, as it works to overhaul its diagnostic manual for the first time in almost two decades. Advocates have spent years lobbying the American Psychiatric Association to rewrite or even remove the categories typically used to diagnose transgender people, arguing that terms like Gender Identity Disorder and Transvestic Fetishism promote discrimination by broad-brushing a diverse population with the stigma of mental illness.

“The label of mental defectiveness really places a burden on trans people to continually prove our competence in our affirmed roles,” Kelley Winters, a Colorado scholar who has helped lead the push for changes, said.

Although the association’s new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is not scheduled to be printed until the end of the year, the updates are taking shape after three rounds of proposed changes. Professionals who have been part of or closely observing the amendment process say the latest wording, while not going as far as many advocates wanted, respects the broader shift in society’s understanding and acceptance of what it means to be transgender since the last major revision of the manual was published in 1994.

“All psychiatric diagnoses occur within a cultural context,” New York psychiatrist Jack Drescher, a member of the APA subcommittee working on the issue, said. “We know there is a whole community of people out there who are not seeking medical attention and live between the two binary categories (of male and female.) We wanted to send the message that the therapist’s job isn’t to pathologize.”"


7-22-12:  Daily Mail (UK re US): "Boy obsessed with Britney Spears spends £60,000 to get sex change to look like his idol"

"A male pop fan who idolised Britney Spears has undergone a sex change operation to make himself look more like the star.

Transsexual Kara Hays has now spent over £60,000 on gender re-alignment surgery and breast implants. The 26-year-old, who was born a man and used to be known as Kody, now has long-flowing blonde hair in imitation of the 90s pop singer . . .

'I focused on Britney and Christina Aguilera for my inspiration: they were the stars that were around when I was younger, they are who you looked up to. 'Nowadays people have Lady Gaga and Katy Perry. 'I was just thinking, I want to be a girl now, who do I emulate?' "


7-20-12:  San Diego Gay & Lesbian News: "Camp Aranu’tiq: A place where transgender youth can be themselves ‒ Local LGBT ally, activist and volunteer Courtney Ware shares her experience serving as camp counselor"

"Last week, at a location known only to the parents, staff and counselors, I had the honor of volunteering with Camp Aranu’tiq, a week-long, overnight summer camp for transgender and gender-variant youth, aged 8 to 15. The camp, started by Nick Teich on the East Coast, was held on the West Coast for the first time this year, right here in Southern California.

The mission of Camp Aranu'tiq is to "provide transgender and gender-variant youth with a safe, fun, and unique outdoor camp experience and to foster leadership skills in a place where campers are able to express gender however they are comfortable and connect with others in similar situations." . . .

Although I have worked with children for many years and been very active in the LGBT community in San Diego, I have never worked with transgender youth. I was unsure of what to expect at camp, and was a little nervous. But my nerves were quickly calmed on the first Sunday afternoon, as the campers started to arrive and all I saw were just kids ready to have fun . . .

The week was structured like a traditional summer camp and went by quickly. During the day the kids had five different periods of sports, games and creative expression, like hiking, rock climbing, archery, arts and crafts, volleyball, canoeing, drama and writing. We ate all our meals together in the dining room and ended each meal with camp songs. Each night we had special activities like karaoke contests, a "Minute to Win It" game show, dance parties, campfires and on the last night, a talent show . . .  These kids felt accepted, safe and “normal.” They could be who they are and have fun without worry. Camp Aranu’tiq is something special ... I have never seen so many smiles in my life. "


7-20-12:  New York Daily News: "Huffs and puffs! Judge tells transsexual smoker heiress to clean up act - Diane Wells must use air purifiers and allow repairs in apartment" (more)

" A reclusive transsexual heiress once convicted of beating her millionaire mom is in trouble for stinking up the famed El Dorado on Central Park West with her secondhand cigarette smoke. A Manhattan judge said Thursday that Diane Wells, 59, must begin using air purifiers and allow ventilation repairs in apartment 9B after neighbors complained her persistent puffing was giving them headaches, irritated eyes and respiratory infections. “(It’s) so awful that on numerous nights it has interrupted (our) ability to sleep,” upstairs neighbor Natalie Elsberg said in an affidavit.

Building managers said Wells, who was raised Jonathan Cheney, has ignored their pleas to address the problem and owes $42,544 in building fees."


7-19-12:  Human Rights Watch: "US: Police Practices Fuel HIV Epidemic"

"Police in New York, Los Angeles, Washington, DC, and San Francisco are confiscating condoms from sex workers and transgender women, undermining health department campaigns to reduce HIV, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.

The 112-page report, “Sex Workers at Risk: Condoms as Evidence of Prostitution in Four US Cities,” documented in each city how police and prosecutors use condoms to support prostitution charges. The practice makes sex workers and transgender women reluctant to carry condoms for fear of arrest, causes them to engage in sex without protection, and puts them at risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases . . .

In New York, Washington, DC, and Los Angeles, many people, particularly members of the transgender community, told Human Rights Watch they had been stopped and searched for condoms while walking home from school, going to the grocery store, or waiting for the bus. Broad loitering laws in these cities invite profiling and discrimination and should be reformed or repealed, Human Rights Watch said . . . Few of these women filed complaints, both for fear of further abuse and because they had no faith that police would respond with fairness and integrity. "


7-18-12:  The Advocate: "WATCH: Transgender Son of Warren Beatty, Annette Bening Answers Questions"

"Stephen Ira, the 20-year-old transgender son of actors Warren Beatty and Annette Bening, reveals his trans role models and the people who have been most supportive of his transition in a video he's self-released.

Ira, who admits to being a rapid speaker, answers several questions submitted via WeHappyTrans, a website dedicated to allowing transgender people to share their positive experiences. "My friends, my peers who I'm lucky to have had relationships with since high school, which is when I came out," Ira says in answer to who has been most supportive of his decision to transition."


7-18-12:  The Guardian (UK): "Transgender journey: 'I sit with teeth gritted, fists clenched and toes curled'"

"In her final consultation before sex reassignment surgery, Juliet Jacques is told exactly what will happen to her body - and what could go wrong"


7-17-12:  CBC News (Canada): "Transgender beauty contestant to lead Vancouver Pride parade"

"A transgender beauty contestant who made international headlines has been named grand marshal for this year's Vancouver Pride parade.

Jenna Talackova created a splash at the Miss Universe Canada pageant earlier this year when contest organizers disqualified her for being born male. She waged a legal battle and was eventually allowed to compete, but failed to make the final five on May 19.

The 23-year-old model from Vancouver is one of three people named as grand marshal in Vancouver's Pride parade, which takes place Aug. 5."


7-17-12:  The Montreal Gazette (Canada): "There’s the “Transgender” Label Again", by Jillian Page

"Sighs . . . and sighs again . . . Does it surprise anyone that headlines yesterday and today on various news websites are saying “Transgender beauty queen Jenna Talackova named Vancouver Pride Parade marshall”?

Do you think if it had been, say, Anderson Cooper named marshall that they would be saying “Gay newsman Anderson Cooper named . . .”? Call me Lady Nostradamus, but I predict the word “gay” would not be part of the Anderson headline.

So why is the word “transgender” being used in the Jenna headlines? Wouldn’t “Beauty queen . . .” suffice?"


7-16-12:  Queerty: "Trans Group Boycotts American Apparel, Wants To Put The “T” Back In T-Shirt"

"During Pride month, GLAAD and American Apparel attempted to sell show some LGBT love with a new campaign advertising AA’s line of Legalize Gay shirts. But their efforts have met with an unexpected backlash from Media Advocates Giving National Equality to Transgender & Transsexual People (MAGNET), a small group that describes itself as “anti-defamation organization dedicated to educating the media about transsexual, transgender and intersex issues.”

Ads for the shirts featured transgender model Isis King, best known for her turn on America’s Next Top Model , in a “Gay O.K.” T-shirt. But the fact that King isn’t gay, but rather a heterosexual trans woman, rubs MAGNET the wrong way. “The real issue isn’t if a particular model profits by promoting ‘Legalize Gay’ tees,” MAGNET member Ashley Love told The Advocate, “it’s the confusion sent to society by feeding the already-widespread misconception that women of transsexual history are really ‘gay’ men in dresses. The public is misled to perceive ‘gay’ as an umbrella term which includes transsexualism.”"


7-16-12:  LA Weekly:  "Jennifer Leitham Can Swing Like Nobody's Business; Also, She Was Born a Man"

"In his late 40s, following a divorce from his wife, John Leitham pursued the physical change he had always desired. He then learned that many of those who had regularly hired John were uncomfortable sharing the stage with Jennifer.

"My art is a lot better but my career has suffered for it," says Leitham. "I can't rely on waiting for the phone to ring anymore. I have to try pretty hard. Unfortunately in the jazz world, [gender] is way too relevant. It comes from jazz coming out of the big band, swing era. There is still a lot of that behavior amongst musicians, locker room type stuff."

Understandably, Leitham was cautious when approached by documentarian Andrea Meyerson. "Initially any interaction you have with the media can be problematic if they are not properly informed on the transgender subject," says Leitham. "I've been burned in the past but I felt that she was very much an ally."

The two began filming in 2006 and wrapped up late last year. The response to the film was positive, winning the Audience Favorite Award at the American Documentary Film Festival in Palm Springs and Best Documentary Feature at the Seattle Transgendered Film Festival in the last couple of months."

[A possibly well-intentioned story marred by a hideous title that demeans and dehumanizes all trans women. Although it is medically impossible for anyone to be born as a full-grown adult man, clueless journalists continue to demonize trans women in this way. An obvious solution would have been to say " . . . She Was Born a Boy".]


7-16-12:  Global Post (Canada): "Starcraft 2: Transgender gamer quietly wins, in more ways than one"

"The number of top Starcraft 2 professional gamers Sasha "Scarlett Hostyn has defeated continues to grow, adding fan favorites like HuK, Drewbie and Ostojiy to the list. Last April, at the IGN Pro League season four, Scarlett also managed to beat several top Korean players, asserting her dominance even further.

But in an industry typically characterized as sexist or hyper-masculine, Scarlett has had to overcome more than just top Koreans to assert herself as a legitimate professional gamer.

After a breakout performance at the IGN Pro League Season 4 Starcraft 2 championship last year, the 18-year-old transgendered female from Ontario continued to dominate in Blizzard’s Starcraft 2 World Championship in Toronto on Sunday, becoming Canada’s national champion and earning $15,000.

Sasha “Scarlett” Hostyn often shies away from the spotlight. Clutching a Canadian flag onstage in front of hundreds of people just after winning the Canadian national championship, she was asked if there was anything she’s like to say to Canada. "


7-15-12:  Philadelphia Inquirer: "‘Trans' a look at a transgendered New Hope plastic surgeon"

"She's one of the transgender community's most passionate advocates. Yet New Hope plastic surgeon Christine McGinn has an equally intense suspicion of the news media even as she relies on them to get her message heard. "There is so much ignorance out there about transgendered people," says McGinn, one of half a dozen transgender men and women profiled in Trans, a documentary screening Sunday as part of Philadelphia QFest and one of an unusually large crop of transgender films at the annual lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender film festival.

"I've been on Anderson Cooper, Dr. Oz, and Oprah Winfrey, and even these shows have a difficulty with transgender representation," McGinn continues. "The most well-meaning hosts can end up making a circus of it all.

Despite her reservations, McGinn agreed to take part in Trans after meeting its producer, Mark Schoen, who served with her on the board of the National Advisory Council on Sexual Health, formed by former U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher. "Basically we got to talking about ... how there is a need for a well-made documentary that covers some of the social issues that affect transgendered people," says McGinn, one of the few surgeons in America who specialize in sex-reassignment surgery.

Schoen, founder of the sex health-education company Sex Smart Films, says he and McGinn decided to approach the topic from a new angle . . .

Schoen promised he would not sensationalize his subjects, and his film does not dwell on McGinn's preoperative state.

"This film is about discrimination, human justice, and civil rights," says Schoen, who moved to New Hope two months ago. Issues covered in the film include workplace discrimination, hate crimes, and the antipathy of the health-insurance industry to transgender health needs."


7-15-12:  BBC News (re India): "Audio slideshow: India's transgender community"

"Millions of transgender people live on the fringes of Indian society, ostracised because of their gender identity. Most make a living by singing and dancing, or by begging and prostitution. Here poor, jobless Tina and affluent Lakshmi Tripathi talk about their lives. "


7-14-12: (Canada): "Transgender prison guard finds freedom in move from male to female"

"Michelle Hamelin, a supply officer at the Kingston Penitentiary, doesn’t judge the inmates because, as she says, “They’ve already been judged by a higher source — a judge and jury, the people qualified for that particular job.” She’s likely hoping to be spared some judgment herself.

This week, Hamelin will be announcing her transition from Michael to Michelle, from male to female. She is on the biggest journey of her life, a trip across the Great Gender Divide. The guards, staff and prisoners who knew Michael Hamelin will now have to make a substantial adjustment as they get to know their old supply officer as Michelle Hamelin.

Coming out as transgender requires courage no matter what the circumstances. But doing it in the testosterone-fuelled environment of the Kingston Pen, the place known as locally as KP or the “Big House,” might be considered an exceptional act of bravery."


7-11-12:  Washington Post: "Episcopal bishops OK trial gay blessing prayer; full church affirms transgender ordination" (more, more)

"Episcopal bishops approved an official prayer service for blessing same-sex couples Monday at a national convention that also cleared the way for transgender ordination.

At the Episcopal General Convention in Indianapolis, the House of Bishops voted 111-41, with three abstentions, to authorize a provisional rite for same-sex unions for the next three years. The liturgy next goes to convention’s deputies for their authorization.

In a separate vote Monday, the full convention approved new anti-discrimination language for transgendered clergy candidates and church members. Some dioceses already ordain transgendered people or elect them to positions of parish leadership. However, advocates for the amendment argued they needed an explicit statement of acceptance as the churchwide policy."


7-11-12:  Boston Herald: "Transsexual killer series has the makings of ‘Hit’" (more, more)

"The British import “Hit & Miss” sounds like a Mad Lib brought to life: A woman trapped in a man’s body becomes a hit man and then a reluctant parent to her biological son and his siblings.

Think “Dexter” meets “Weeds” with maybe a splash of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” tossed in.

Chloe Sevigny (“Big Love”) stars as the transsexual killer Mia. The show leaves no doubt as to Mia’s pre-op status. In the first two episodes, Sevigny has full-frontal nudity scenes and shows off impressively realistic boy bits. Umm, props to the prop department?"


7-10-12:  The 519 (Toronto, Canada): "The 519 mourns the passing of Kyle Scanlon" (more)

"It is with great sadness that we share news of the passing of Kyle Scanlon, The 519's Education, Training and Research Coordinator. Kyle completed suicide this week in his Toronto home.

Kyle has worked at The 519 for a decade and during that time helped to redefine the face of trans community services in Toronto and across Canada. Projects like Trans Access, Trans Pulse and Project Open Door will continue to advance the rights, health and vibrancy of our trans communities and will serve as a legacy of Kyle's commitment and passion.

The entire 519 community mourns the loss of our dear friend and a remarkable community leader. Counselling and support services are being coordinated for staff of The 519 and a book of condolences will be placed in The Centre's lobby for signing beginning on Monday. We have been in touch with Kyle's family and close friends and a community memorial event is being planned. Details will be posted as they become available.

Words cannot express the grief and loss our community is experiencing today. Our thoughts are with Kyle's friends and family as they cope with this difficult news."

[A community memorial will be held Thursday, July 19th at 7PM in Cawthra Square Park. This memorial will feature speeches, video, performances and opportunities to share in celebrating and remembering Kyle. This event is being coordinated by Kyle's friends and colleagues with the support of The 519.]


7-10-12:  TransPulse (Toronto, Canada; posted 7-09): "A tribute to our friend Kyle Scanlon"

"It is with tremendous sadness that we learned of the death of Kyle Scanlon, our dear friend and one of our treasured Trans PULSE team members.

Kyle was a trans activist, researcher, front-line community worker and leader who worked tirelessly and selflessly for social justice. As one of the founding members of Trans PULSE, Kyle gave of himself for years to the project, always present at meetings, making significant contributions, and helping us to keep our feet on the ground. The wisdom from his life experiences helped to shape the Trans PULSE project from the very beginning. Kyle was on many occasions, our voice of reason; when things got difficult, he was always there to remind us why we were collectively there. Kyle was a champion of community-based research and held great hopes for its ability to help to mobilize change in trans communities . . .

For the past 10 years, Kyle worked at The 519 Church Street Community Centre, first as the Trans Programs Coordinator and then as the Education, Training and Research Coordinator. In these roles, Kyle trained thousands of service providers around the province to make their services accessible to trans people. He recently completed a policy manual to aid organizations in including and serving trans people well. He served on countless boards and committees, and despite his many responsibilities, he responded with an open heart to the needs of members of the trans community on a daily basis. Kyle made life more liveable for trans people in so many ways and it was through his important work that Trans PULSE was originally formed in collaboration with Sherbourne Health Centre . . .

More than anything, Kyle was our close friend, whom we loved very dearly. He was always so generous with people. He paid attention to process and was always, in the way he spoke to people, kind, gentle and loving, assuring people that their input was important and valued…indeed a great and valued teacher. We hope he knew how important he was.

Kyle was a leader and friend to so many of us – we will honour your memory dear friend by continuing to ensure that your ideas and wisdom shape the future of Trans PULSE. We will miss you terribly…


7-10-12:  Just Plain Sense (UK): "First do no harm", by Christine Burns

"July 11th 2012 sees the tenth anniversary of a key ruling from the European Court of Human Rights at Strasbourg.

It was on that day in 2002 that 17 judges unanimously ruled that the United Kingdom violated the Article 8 and 12 rights of transsexual people, through the continued denial of any legal mechanism to correct the gender registered for them at birth, and through maintaining their inability to marry according to their acquired gender.

The cases of Goodwin & I vs UK were a watershed, requiring specific action by the Labour government of the day, after previous administrations had dragged their heels on the issue for 32 years."


7-08-12:  MSNBC: "Transgender children in America encounter new crossroads with medicine" (more) (with video)

"Puberty-suppressing drugs, commonly called "blockers," have been around for decades for treating kids with dangerously early puberty; sex hormones (estrogen and testosterone) have also been available for other medical purposes. With the "off-label" use of blockers to treat transgender kids with severe anguish over their growing bodies, these drugs together now comprise the one-two punch of medical transitioning before the opportunity of sex reassignment surgery (18 is considered the youngest age before it can be performed). This medical process was almost unheard of for kids Josie's age just a decade ago, and it has dramatically changed the narrative of today's transgender children and their families.

It's a richly complex narrative because the world of the transgender child is more time-sensitive than most. If the child truly wants to live as the opposite sex in adulthood -- with the most desired physical results possible -- then parents have to make medical decisions for their child at a time when many people would question a kid's ability to understand what he or she is asking for. But when people feel that the child may be old enough to make that kind of decision -- age 14? 16? 18? -- it may already be too late, and that's especially true for boys who want to be adult women. The child now has all the conspicuous physical attributes of the sex they don't want to be, and many of these features, such as height and voice, are irreversible without very costly and invasive surgery. Experts say that the mental health and overall happiness of transgender adults have a lot to do with their ability to pass visually for their desired sex. Not being able to pass could result in a lifetime of depression, or worse. "


7-08-12:  San Francisco Chronicle: "'Hit & Miss' review: touching plot deserves chance"

"Here's the setup: A male-to-female transsexual, who is also a hit woman, gets a letter from the woman she dated when she was a he, telling her she's dying of cancer and, by the way, she/he has a son. Mia, the hit woman, goes to the woman's rented farmhouse in the hills above Manchester, England, but arrives too late. She's instead greeted by her ex's children, including her own 10-year-old son, and informs them their mother has designated her to be their guardian.

Before you make up your mind to cancel your DirecTV subscription once "Damages" finishes its fifth-season victory lap, give "Hit" a chance. With Chloë Sevigny as Mia, a gaggle of winning actors as the kids, "Hit & Miss" doesn't take long to convince us that its characters and plot are not only possible, but credible and, dare I say, touching."


7-08-12:  7-08-12: AsiaOne (re Bangladesh): “Transgender romance movie a hit in Bangladesh”

""Common Gender", Bangladesh's first film dealing with transgender people, often known as hijras, opened in just six cinemas two weeks ago but full houses have encouraged cinema owners to extend its run and screen it nationwide.

"We opted to release the movie only in six cinemas in the first week as it lacked big stars and some labelled it as an art-house movie," said Enamul Karim, the film's distributor. "But it's a resounding success so far. It is pulling in crowds and other cinemas are taking it up" . . .

In the movie, Sushmita, a hijra, falls in love with a Hindu boy but the boy's parents refuse to accept Sushmita, eventually leading to her suicide . . .

Director Noman Robin said he made the film after he saw a transgender person attacked for using a female toilet at a shopping mall."The hijra was beaten in front of hundreds of people," he said."


7-06-12:  The Local (Sweden): "Transgender woman appeals rape acquittal" (more, more)

"A transgender woman who was the victim of an attempted rape has appealed a Swedish court’s decision to clear the offender of the charges after the court argued the rape was "impossible" because the victim was still biologically a man.

“We will appeal, of course. Sexual violence can happen in many ways, it doesn’t need to be vaginal. The limits of attempted rape were passed when he attacked her,” said the transgender woman’s lawyer Gun Brodd Hedlund to the TT news agency.

The attacker, a 61-year-old man, was “brutally violent” in the attack, tearing off the victim's pants and grabbing at her crotch. However, he was acquitted of the attempted rape charges by the Örebro District Court after the court deemed the allegations to be “invalid”.

“The intended crime never had the possibility of being fulfilled,” explained Judge Dan Sjöstedt at the time to local newspaper Nerikes Allehanda."


7-05-12:  CNN: "Treatment guidelines for Gender Identity Disorder in development"

"In recent years, stories about transgender people have been front page news. The transformation of Chaz Bono, son of singers Sonny and Cher, from female to male is perhaps the most well known . . . Now the nation’s top psychiatrists are beginning to talk about developing treatment guidelines for transgender people. Mental health experts say Bono and people like him have Gender Identity Disorder (GID. “People with GID are distressed with the sense that they were born in the wrong body”, says Dr. William Byne, chair of the American Psychiatric Association Task Force that recommended forming the guidelines.

As children, for example, people with GID may insist they are a boy when they are biologically female.  Experts say it becomes a problem if they become anxious because of their gender and it interferes with their relationships and work.

It’s difficult to know exactly how many people have GID. Ken Zucker, Psychologist-in-Chief at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, estimates 1 in 1,000 children have the disorder, but many grow out of it. Only about 1 in 30,000 adult males and 1 in 100,000 adult females seek sex-reassignment surgery.

The Task Force believes that the guidelines will help psychiatrists improve the quality of care for transgender people. The biggest concern is how to treat children. Experts say when it comes to treatment, one size doesn’t fit all. Byne hopes the guidelines will help parents make informed decisions about what’s best for their child: Should they wait and watch, discourage the cross-gender actions, or just encourage cross-gender identity? The Task Force report was published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior."

[Note how Ken Zucker is now spinning the trans-prevalence numbers: He has slyly adopted a 1:1000 number for gender dysphoria (no longer being able to defend his long-standing public claim that it is 1:11,900), while continuing to proclaim 1:30,000 and 1:100,000 as the prevalences of SRS, (numbers that have been shown to be far too low (more).]


7-05-12:  On Top Magazine (re Argentina): "Argentina's Cristina Fernandez Delivers New Transgender Identity Cards" (more)

"Argentina President Cristina Fernandez on Monday personally delivered new identity cards to people who transitioned their genders, saying equality matters.

Congress overwhelmingly approved the nation's new gender identity law, which allows anyone to switch his or her gender without first seeking the approval of a judge or a doctor. The law took effect last month. It also extends government health coverage to include gender reassignment surgery.

Fernandez celebrated passage of the law with a ceremony held at The Pink House, gay blog Blabbeando reported.“Today is a day of tremendous reparations,” she told the crowd. “Today we do not shout for liberation but instead we shout for equality, which is just as important as freedom.”"


7-05-12:  The Independent (UK): "Male teacher's bravery hailed as he undergoes sex change before returning to take classes as a woman" (more)

"Pupils were called into a special assembly at King Edward VI Grammar School in Chelmsford on Monday and told the male teacher would be returning as a woman after the summer holidays. A letter was also sent home to parents explaining the procedure. Pupils at the secondary school are said to have taken the news well, with one sixth former describing the unnamed teacher as "really popular".

The letter, from headteacher Tom Sherrington, said: "In making the transition (the teacher) will now be able to live the life that she has always known to be consistent with her true gender identity.  I would like to acknowledge (the teacher's) courage in deciding to go through the transition process.  I know that the school community will support her to ensure that she makes a great success of her ongoing career with us. "Without doubt she will continue to be greatly loved and admired as the truly inspirational teacher that she is.""


7-05-12:  People's Daily (China): "Society didn't accept him but is changing with her"

"Wang Maoli says she doesn't regret the sex reassignment surgery she underwent 21 years ago. But that doesn't mean life has been easy, she says.

She has spent the past two decades in the media spotlight as the first person known to have undergone the surgery in Chongqing municipality and the second in the country. She's also perhaps the country's first person to change the gender on her ID card. "I might not have survived if I hadn't done the surgery," she says.

While hardships have persisted, the Sichuan Opera performer says the procedure lifted her life's greatest burden. "I'm living a pure and moral life," she says. "My status is legally recognized by authorities. I make people happy with my shows. I don't see why I should be ashamed.""


7-05-12:  People's Daily (China): "Risky sex change surgery ends nightmares"

"Tony has experienced physical and emotional changes since taking testosterone injections 20 days ago. The 24-year-old from Shandong's provincial capital Jinan, who refuses to give his Chinese name, says the pitch of his voice is now unstable. Facial stubble has started growing above his upper lip. And he's irritable.

But, despite feeling grumpier than usual because of the hormones, he's delighted with the changes. "This is the first step to restore my true gender," Tony says. "I'm not a tomboy, a transvestite or a lesbian. I'm a man born in a woman's body."

Tony's only social activity is chatting online with about 200 people, who face the same issue, from all over the country. He spends his leisure time chatting with the female-to-male online community on Baidu, a Chinese search engine - an avenue where "brothers" share their life experiences. "


7-05-12:  Bangkok Post (Thailand): "PAO transgender defends wearing skirt"

"Yollada "Nok" Suanyos, a transgender councillor on the Nan provincial administration organisation, says he has been criticised by many people for wearing a skirt to work and has called on the public to give equal rights to transgender people.

"I don't want to breach regulations or offend our culture, but I've been living as a woman for some time now," Mr Yollada said. "So I've decided to wear a woman's uniform, with dignity and with respect for the regulations."

The 30-year-old model-actress-singer and provincial official said he would like people to understand the difference between rights and duties. The duties assigned to a gender group were not compatible with their rights, he said. "I want to express myself, so that many more men will accept the transgender group and treat us like normal women.""


7-04-12:  China Daily (China): "In Transition"

"Transgender activist Acid Chen, who doesn't use her given male name, says she has discovered social acceptance comes not only from society but also from transgender people's attitudes about themselves. "You must be confident to get respect," she says.

The 23-year-old, who lives in Beijing, hides nothing about her identity. "My family and friends felt ashamed when they saw me acting feminine," the electrical engineer recalls. "But I gained new confidence when I came out as a woman. And my employer and colleagues accepted me, although my family still hopes I'll change. Having a job and being independent is extremely important for a transgender person to maintain confidence. I've realized we can live happy lives just like anyone else." Much of this happiness comes from her work as an activist with the LGBT group Aibai Culture and Education Center, she says.

Male-to-female transgender volunteers use Aibai's online forum to post and respond to positive messages to empower transgender people. Director of Sun Yat-sen University's Sex/Gender Education Forum Ke Qianting says that, while the country has a long way to go before fully accepting transgender people, the Internet enables today's transgender individuals to engage each other. "They feel less isolated today than in previous decades," Ke says. The Chinese male-to-female transgender online community, for instance, has more than 110,000 registered members."


7-04-12:  China Daily (China): "It's never too late to be yourself"

"While Qian Jinfan wanted to become a female from age 3, it wasn't until age 80 that she did. And in June, the 84-year-old Foshan native in Guangdong province became the country's oldest person to open up about her transgender identity, bringing a media maelstrom that has led her wife and son to "ground" her.

However, she snuck out of her home to speak with China Daily for an exclusive interview because she believes it's time Chinese society understands its transgender members.

"People may ask why I come out as a transgender person when I'm so old, but I ask, why can't I?" Qian says. "Chinese stereotype the elderly as people who can't do anything but wait for death. But I've just entered the best time of my life. I can finally be myself." "


7-04-12:  Gay Star News (UK re South Korea): "Comeback for Korean transgender popstar Harisu"

"South Korean transgender popstar Harisu is back with a new single after six years. The new single, Shopping Girl, is released on 9 July and a 10-track album will follow, K-pop news website Soompi reported.

Harisu, who goes by the name Lee Kyung-eun in everyday life, was born male in 1975. She has sex reassignment surgery in the 1990s and became the second person in South Korean to legally change their sex."


7-04-12:  National Post (Canada): "Transgender student named prom queen at Ontario high school"

"The night of her high school prom, Connor Ferguson anxiously pulled on a floor-length leopard print dress and slipped her feet inside six-inch high heels covered in glitter. Despite loving the outfit she’d chosen, the 18-year-old transwoman from Trenton, Ont., considered not going to the prom at all, worried her peers might say something nasty or rude. She never expected they would name her prom queen.

“It was absolutely unreal. I’ll definitely remember that moment forever,” said Ferguson, who was crowned queen at Trenton High School on June 22. “The cheers from classmates was overwhelming as well … So much support I cannot even put it into words.”

Ferguson heard rumours she might receive a vote or two from her classmates but she never saw herself winning."


7-02-12:  Ipwich Star (UK): "Ipswich: Building worker convicted of threatening behaviour towards transsexual"

"Today, Thomas Sawyer’s defiant victim Julia Ford told how the abuse she suffered from others as a result of police getting involved in the case drove her to the brink of despair. Sawyer, of Wellington Street, Ipswich, pleaded guilty before the town’s magistrates to two charges of threatening behaviour towards Miss Ford . . .

The 54-year-old said people would shout abuse and physically block her, leaving her fearing for her safety. As a result Miss Ford suffered drastic weight loss and police felt compelled to move her from her home.
She said: “I felt it was destroying my soul. I turned from the happy, bubbly person I was to this gibbering wreck when police came and rescued me from my flat. “I was just completely drained and exhausted. I lost a stone in weight. I was sleeping with the light on. I barricaded my door at night. I felt I couldn’t get out. “I was trapped.”"


7-02-12:  Boston Globe: "New Mass. law backs transgender residents ‒ Discrimination now illegal in state; supporters call it a ‘lifechanging day’"

"The Massachusetts Transgender Equal Rights Act bars discrimination in employment, housing, education, and lending. The law also enables prosecutors to bring hate crime charges in attacks that target someone for being transgender. Supporters praised the law on Sunday as a significant step that will allow transgender residents to live more openly.

“This is a tremendously historic and life-changing day for transgender people across the state, and really for anybody that values fairness,” said Kara Suffredini, executive director of MassEquality, one of the organizations that lobbied for the law.

The law, which makes the state the 16th to enact a law protecting rights of transgender residents, took effect Sunday, seven months after its passage and five years after proponents first filed it."


7-01-12: "Gender identity protections become law in Massachusetts July 1" (more, more)

"On November 23, 2011, Governor Deval Patrick signed into law H3810, An Act Relative to Gender Identity. This law adds “gender identity” as a protected characteristic to Massachusetts’ employment, housing, credit and public education anti-discrimination laws and to Massachusetts’ hate crimes law. All of these laws also protect several other characteristics, including sexual orientation, disability, sex, age, race, ancestry and religion, but this publication focuses on the transgender protections that H3810 provides. The law goes into effect on July 1, 2012."



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LynnConway.comTS Information >  Trans News Updates > News of 2011(2nd half)