Trans News Updates:
Compiled and edited by
[Version of 7-03-15]
These pages link to news of special
interest to the trans community, including excerpts to convey the gist of each
story. In addition to alerting readers about important events, the links provide
a moving-window into shifting media spins and societal behavior towards trans
people ‒ enabling us to track historical shifts in such behaviors as years go
by. Of special interest are news articles from outside the U.S., enabling us to
follow media-trends in other cultures too. In some cases, excerpts are followed
by my editorial comments, in brackets [ ].
Included is a special summary news-archive concerning (i)
pathologization of gender variance by American Psychiatry, (ii) the leading
role in that process played by
Ken Zucker at
CAMH (especially by his widespread promotion of
reparatist therapy on transgender children), and (iii) the efforts of the
transgender community to
extricate themselves from this
institutionalized pseudo-scientific demonization.
to send links for listing. To browse the archive, click the relevant year/month
in the table below. You can conduct detailed searches of the archive, by using
the site-search-box at the top of the page.
Mar, Apr, May,
Sep, Oct, Nov,
Jul, Aug, Sep,
06-11-15: Boing Boing: "Sexology's war on
transgender children: Anti-transgender reparative therapy, deemed unethical
by experts and banned by politicians, is based on unconfirmed evidence.
Could it be the latest high-profile sexology scam?"
Andrea James (VIDEO)
06-11-15: Military Times: "AMA: No medical
reasons to bar transgender troops" (more,
06-11-15: USA Today: "National pilot
program to train doctors in transgender health"
06-04-15: The Star (Canada): "Ontario
becomes first province to ban 'conversion therapy’ for LGBTQ children --
Legislation proposed by NDP’s Cheri DiNovo passes unanimously at Queen’s
Park. Health minister says conversion therapy has ‘no place in Ontario.’"
04-10-15: Video from The White House:
"Supporting a Ban on Conversion Therapy"
04-08-15: The White House: "Official White
House Response to Enact Leelah's Law to Ban All LGBTQ+ Conversion Therapy..."
03-18-15: Metro News (Canada): "Outcry
prompts CAMH to review its controversial treatment of trans youth"
03-17-15: Global News (Canada):
"Anti-Conversion Therapy Bill: Ontario NDP MPP Cheri Dinovo speaks about her
private member’s bill that seeks to ban conversion therapy in Ontario"
02-21-15: National Post (Canada): "CAMH
announces that its child gender identity services would undergo a six-month
02-05-15: Change.org: "Great News! CAMH
Toronto's Gender Identity Service Review Announcement"
02-25-14: GIDReform: "Methodological
Questions in Childhood Gender Identity ‘Desistence’ Research",
Kelley Winters, Ph.D.
01-30-14: Metro Weekly: "Maine Supreme
Court rules transgender student cannot be denied bathroom access"
"Approved IEEE Code of Ethics − IEEE Board approves changes"
01-13-14: HRC: "The Institute of Electrical
and Electronic Engineers Adopts LGBT-Inclusive Code of Ethics"
01-13-14: Huffington Post (posted 1-08):
"Leadership and the Value of Exceptional Allies",
01-02-14: Just Plain Sense: "Ten Years On",
12-31-13: Amazon.com: "Pressing Matters (Vol 1) [Kindle Edition]",
09-07-13: Idolator (posted 9-03): "Goldfrapp’s
“Annabel” Video: Watch The Thoughtful Exploration In Gender Identity"
(more, more, more)
09-04-13: Huffington Post: "University of
Arizona Helps Transgender Studies Take a Bold Leap Forward",
IU News (Indiana University): "Kinsey
Institute receives grant to study transgender issues in the U.S. military"
08-28-13: Huffington Post: "LGBT Legal Progress:
1988 - 2038" by
08-25-13: The Gothamist: "[UPDATE] Transgender
Woman Dies After Saturday Night Assault In Harlem"
The Guardian (UK re US, posted 8-24): "High hopes: . . .Victims of FGM are
only offered surgery to reduce their pain. But a cult is supporting a few
surgeons as they attempt to restore sexual sensation"
08-23-13: PBS: "How Will the Military Handle
Bradley Manning's Request to Be 'Chelsea'?"
interview/discussion by Allyson Robinson on the issue of transgender people
in the military)
08-23-13: NBC News: "For transgender
prisoners, hormones seen as matter of life and death"
08-23-13: The Telegraph (UK re US): "Prison will
not be kind to Chelsea Manning" by
Cathy Newman, Channel 4 News
08-17-13: Facebook (India): "'Her name
is Sowmya' - An angel gone", by
[A must see video film for all.]
08-15-13: Washington Post: "Conservative
Christianity and the transgender question",
Russell D. Moore (more)
08-12-13: Sacramento Bee: "Jerry Brown
signs bill empowering transgender students"
08-05-13: The New Civil Rights Movement: "After
DADT: Transgender Life In The United States Military . . ," by guest author
07-31-13: The New York Times: "Editorial: The
Next Civil Rights Frontier", by
The NYT Editorial Board
07-23-13: Huffington Post: "Arin Andrews and
Katie Hill, Transgender Teenage Couple, Transition Together"
07-14-13: Huffington Post: "The Many
Shades of 'Out'", by Lynn Conway
GIDReform: "Response to Dr. Jack Drescher and the New York Times About
Childhood Transition: Part 1", by Kelley Winters, Ph.D.
06-26-13: ACLU: "VICTORY: DOMA
Unconstitutional! And Prop 8 Goes Down, Too!"
06-21-13: HRC: "CalPERS Makes History:
Board Approves Trans-Inclusive Health Coverage", by Andre Wilson
06-14-13: Think Progress: "VICTORY: Transgender
People Can Now Change Their Social Security Record’s Gender Identity"
06-13-13: GID Reform : "GID Reform in the DSM-5
and ICD-11: a Status Update", by Kelley Winters, Ph.D
04-11-13: Motherboard: "How the Psychiatrist Who Co-Wrote
the Manual on Sex Talks About Sex"
01-17-13: 4 News (UK): "Transsexual awareness
'at tipping point' - video"
01-14-13: LynnConway.com (posted 10:58am EST, re UK): "ALERT: The
Guardian removed Burchill's transphobic Observer article from its website!"
12-23-12: Catholic Online: “Pope
Benedict XVI Exposes the Profound Falsehood of the Philosophy of the Gender
12-07-12: GIDReform.org: "Gender Dysphoria
Diagnosis to be Moved Out of Sexual Disorders Chapter of DSM-5", by Kelley
10-20-12: STP 2012 Press Release:
"International Day of Action for Trans Depathologization 2012: More than 100
The Phoenix: "How Norman Spack transformed the way we treat
TS Roadmap: "Toronto schools list local trans-friendly
resources, CAMH rightfully omitted", by Andrea James
09-29-12: U. S. Politics Today: "L.A. Gay &
Lesbian Center Commends California Governor Jerry Brown for Signing SB 1172,
Protecting LGBT Youth" (link
to SB 1172)
GID Reform Advocates: "The American Psychiatric Association Issues Historic
Position Statements on Trans Issues", by Kelley Winters, Ph.D.
APA: "APA Issues Official Positions Supporting Access to Care and the Rights
of Transgender and Gender Variant Persons"
07-22-12: Washington Post (AP): "Transgender
advocates push US psychiatric establishment to revise mental illness labels"
07-10-12: The 519 (Toronto, Canada): "The 519
mourns the passing of Kyle Scanlon" (more,
GID Reform.org: "Third Swing: My Comments to the APA for a Less Harmful
Gender Dysphoria Category in the DSM-5", by
Kelley Winters, Ph.D.
05-08-12: GID Reform.org: “Final Public
Comment Period For Proposed DSM-5 Criteria Ends June 15”, by Kelley Winters,
04-25-12: Lynnconway.com: (re Netherlands):
"Colette Berends [Oct. 13, 1934 - Apr 23, 2012]: Her life and her art", by
04-23-12: Metro weekly: "Transgender
Breakthrough - EEOC ruling that gender-identity discrimination is covered by
Title VII is a ''sea change"
04-21-12: GID Reform.org: "These Aren’t
the Droids You’re Looking For: Gender Diversity, Scapegoating and Erasure in
Medicine and Media", by Kelley Winters, Ph.D.
Chicago Tribune: "A year after scandal, new sexuality class at NU Course
offered as introduction to gender studies"
(NU takes Bailey's course away from him and from the NU psychology
department, turning it over to a more responsible faculty member in NU's
gender studies program.)
02-17-12: Endocrine Today: "Pubertal blockade
safe for pediatric patients with gender identity disorder"
The New Statesman (UK): "The turning of the tide - The media's monstering of
transgender people is finally being challenged"
"TransYouth Family Allies (TYFA) imaTYFA's Channel
Nicole Maines' Remarks at GLAD's 2011 Spirit of Justice Award Dinner"
09-25-11: GID Reform.org: "New Standards of Care
for the Health of Transsexual, Transgender, and Gender Nonconforming People,
" (In the SOC7 WPATH denounces
trans-reparatism as being unethical.)
08-25-11: TS Roadmap.com:
"Kenneth Zucker’s cronyism and pathologizing ideologies about trans youth
07-09-11: TS Roadmap.com:
"Academic pathologization of trasgender people" (a social map of the
'invisible college' of trans-pathologizers)
"Cisgenderism in psychology: pathologising and misgendering children from
1999 to 2008", by Y. Gavriel Ansara & Peter Hegarty
05-26-11: GID Reform Advocates:“Transvestic
Disorder, the Overlooked Anti-Trans Diagnosis in the DSM-5,” by Kelley
Winters, Ph.D. (more)
05-20-11: The Bilerico Project: "Trans
Visibility Sparks Right-Wing Blogosphere Explosion," by:Austen Crowder
(a important, must-read essay)
Northwestern: "Bailey's Human Sexuality class will NOT be offered next
04-19-11: In The Life Media: "Injustice at Every
04-18-11: Huffington Post:
Tool for Treating Transgender People"
UCSF Primary Care Protocol for Transgender Patient
03-18-11: "UK’s Channel 4 signs agreement to
improve coverage of transgender issues" (more,
03-14-11: TS Roadmap.com: "Close the CAMH Gender
Identity Clinic" (see news about
developments in Quebec)
Jezebel.com: Higher Education: Professor Fucksaw: "The Storied Past Of
Northwestern’s Sex Professor”
Chicago Tribune: "Northwestern president ‘troubled’ over live sex
02-15-11: Medscape Medical News: "Addressing the Needs of Transgender
Youth in Primary Care", by Laurie Barclay, MD
to Journal article)
12-29-10: GJSS: "Transgender children: more than
a theoretical challenge", by Natacha Kennedy and Mark Hellen (more)
12-29-10: "My Encounter with
Prof K Zucker at the BPS conference in Salford", by Natacha Jessica Kennedy
Change.org Petition: "Remove Transgender from the DSM-5 "
GID Reform Advocates: "Ten Reasons Why the Transvestic
Disorder Diagnosis in the DSM-5 Has Got to Go"
07-25-10: TS Roadmap:
"Ontario moves to end CAMH death grip on trans health services"
[The ongoing Trans News Updates
Special Summary News-Archive:
Ken Zucker's trans-reparatist
therapy on gender variant children at CAMH ... and his leading role in the
pathologization of gender variance by American Psychiatry
count, even if psychiatrists can't!"
This special section contains compilations of news and information about the
pathologization of gender variance as mental illness by the psychiatric
community. We focus especially on
of CAMH in
Toronto, Canada, and his role in the revision of the
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).
Zucker is widely known for his
trans-reparatist therapy on gender variant children, and for
heavy-handed promotion of his colleague
transphobic pronouncements that ALL transitioned women are either
effeminate homosexual men or mentally-ill sexually paraphilic men.
As his role in DSM revision came under increasing criticism, Zucker and his
Alice Dreger launched many personal attacks on Zucker’s and Blanchard’s
transgender critics. This includes
the smearing of critics in the Archives of Sexual Behavior (the
journal Zucker controls), attempts to
stop critics from speaking at universities, the
smearing of critics on major professional association e-lists, attempts
prevent critics from holding sessions at conferences, launchings of
threats of libel against critics, and
attempts to shut down this very website - all the while
claiming that transgender critics were infringing upon the academic freedom
of an academic clique that was pathologizing gender variance. This section
Zucker's trans-reparatism and his subsequent overreactions to criticisms
of that exposure:
1. Zucker's trans-reparatism and his role in
In April 2007, this site began an exposure of
Zucker's trans-reparatism in a webpage entitled:
"Drop the Barbie: Ken Zucker's reparatist treatment of gender-variant
children", reflecting back on a
article that had broken the story and coordinating with
Andrea James who
posted a parallel exposé of Zucker's reparatism.
The following year National
Public Radio broadcast a heartbreaking documentary on May 8-9, 2008
decades-old reparatist methods to more
modern treatment protocols. A further exposé of
of gender-variant children, "But
For Today I Am A Boy" (Français),
was published in the Torontoist
(on May 9, 2008).
OII followed up by raising important questions
about Ontario's sponsorship of Zucker's work (see also
OII's Open Letter to
However, even though he was known to be a
Zucker was selected to lead the revision of the
American Psychiatric Association's
section on 'sexual and gender identity disorders' in the
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). With Zucker
thus empowered, there appears to be little chance for removal of GID from
trans people will likely be stigmatized for another decade as being mentally
ill even after transition. See
Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) press release protesting Zucker's DSM
selection. The huge scale of the protest was made even more visible in a
petition against Zucker's DSM selection that gained over 9,500
en español). See also
protesting Ontario gov't support of Zucker's work.
in protest of Zucker's key role in a
UK conference on adolescent transitions.
For background on needed DSM reforms
GIDReform.org and Kelley Winters' essays (
16 ), especially
"Blinded Me With
Science: The Burden of Proof".
See also "DSM ON THE BOOKSHELF", an
open letter to WPATH by clinician Tracie O'Keefe [PDF],
for Status and Money"
more). See also Prof. Sam Winter's report on how
'mental-illness' classification causes transphobia all around the world.
On Feb 6, 2009, Joelle Ruby Ryan
Julia Serano, and
Kelley Winters, Ph.D.
presented a workshop at IFGE 2009
entitled “Disordered” No More:
Challenging Transphobia in Psychology, Academia and Society"
[NEW], in response to the pathologization of gender variant people by
reactionary psychiatrists and sexologists. You'll find a report on the
at this link and we'll be
posting videos there soon. See also the text of Joelle's presentation,
Transgender Tipping Point: It is Not the Transperson Who is “Disordered” but
the Society in which S/he Lives”, by Joelle Ruby Ryan
and Kelley's presentation on
“Top Ten Problems with the GID
Diagnosis”, by Kelley Winters, Ph.D. [PDF]
For more on the pathologization of
transpeople by the DSM, see Kelley Winter's new book:
Gender Madness in American
Psychiatry, Essays from the Struggle for Dignity", by Kelley Winters,
Ph.D. [announcement PDF] .
2. Zucker's attacks on transgender
critics, with support from his ideological operative
In July '07,
Zucker as editor of the Archives of Sexual Behavior (ASB)
subverted that journal as a propaganda machine in defense of ASB
editorial board members
Zucker did this by
announcing and pre-publishing
one-sided history of the
Bailey book investigation in the ASB. Zucker promoted Dreger's
anti-transgender hit-piece as if it were an independent scholarly work,
devoting the entire June '08 ASB to Dreger's defense of Bailey,
Blanchard and Lawrence
– in a
not-so-veiled attack on Zucker's own primary critics Andrea James and Lynn
Conway. Ardent Bailey supporter
followed with a
New York Times article
on 8-21-07 in which Dreger portrayed Bailey as a great scientist under siege
for 'telling the truth'. For more about Dreger, including her role in
the medical pathologization of intersex people,
see this link and
this one too.
Determined to stop trans criticism of Zucker, Bailey, Blanchard and
Lawrence, Dreger went on to
launch e-mail attacks and threaten the academic career of graduate
student Joelle Ruby Ryan who had proposed a women's study
conference panel on transphobia in academe (see
Élise Hendrick's commentary,
Lynn's comments and
this article). Dreger's attempt to prevent Joelle's panel
backfired. It was held as scheduled on June 21, 2008 (see
handout), and produced powerful essays that further exposed
Bailey and Dreger
(see detailed report at this link)
including Élise's essay on
the odd form of
'academic freedom' claimed by Bailey and Dreger and Andrea's
"Fair comment, foul play". Videos of all the presentations
posted on YouTube. See also
the prestigious Point
Foundation 's mention of
NWSA panel at this link and
her upcoming IFGE workshop at this link.
published an exposé
of Dreger 's effort to resurrect Bailey's disgraced career, and her
Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of
provides the context for understanding these events.
For an overview of BBL pseudo-science, see "Science
and Ideology: The Blanchard-Bailey-Lawrence Model of Transsexuality,
by Élise Hendrick and
"The Bailey Affair, Again" by Joan Roughgarden. For a
deconstruction of Carey's Times' article,
see this essay by Elise Hendrick. Dreger's scholarship was
further questioned in June '08 in
ASB peer commentary papers highly critical of Dreger's 'history'.
For more about Dreger's methods, see
"Go Ask Alice – But Not About Transsexuals’ Lives and History: A
Defense of the Right of Members of an Oppressed Class to Speak for
Themselves", by Katrina C. Rose.
In early 2011, Alice Dreger’s hero J. Michael Bailey
by staging a live “fucksaw demonstration” in front of many of his
For an overview of the event and its implications, see Joelle Ruby
“The Fuckwit and the Fucksaw: Sex-Monger John Michael Bailey Strikes
Again”, March 6, 2011, and also Anna North’s report on
“The Storied Past of Professor Fucksaw”. This bizarre
episode turned Northwestern into national media joke as “Fucksaw
University”. It also spelled doom for Bailey’s reputation and
career, for Northwestern’s administration finally figured out what
to do with him: They
cancelled his large human sexuality course in the abysmally
irresponsible Psychology Department, and
turned over the teaching of such courses to Northwestern's far
Gender Studies Program. This has left Bailey academically
stranded as an isolated, aging teacher of minor, poorly-attended
psych courses. Meanwhile, an unrepentant Dreger continues to deify
Bailey, as if he were as modern-day ‘Galileo’.
3. Zucker exploits the 'other' APA to push
his views and suppress opposition:
During 2008, Zucker attempted
to suppress evidence that the prevalence of transsexualism is much
greater than he has previously claimed: See:
"Falsification of GID prevalence results by the APA Task Force on
Gender Identity and Gender Variance", an Investigative Report by
Lynn Conway, 8-28-08 [PDF].
Lynn's letter to the President of the APA re that Task Force,
open letter and
investigative report re
the APA's response.
4. Zucker's attempt to suppress Lynn's
website and attack her freedom of speech:
Lynn's exposure of Zucker's
trans-reparatist therapy and of his exploitation of the ASB to disseminate
anti-transgender propaganda has apparently unsetted Zucker. On January
27, 2009, Zucker responded by
accusing Lynn of libel in a
letter sent by CAMH attorney Peter Jacobsen to Lynn and to her
- in a clear attempt to suppress Lynn's website on the eve of
an IFGE workshop that would prove embarrassing to Zucker.
Lynn called Zucker's bluff
reporting the attempt to infringe her rights
En Français). (For a humorous
view of the events,
see the cartoon by Jayna Pavlin). The
IFGE workshop went on as planned, and a presentation by Joelle Ruby Ryan
Transgender Tipping Point") further revealed Zucker's and Dreger's
efforts to silence their critics. News of Zucker's attack quickly spread, as
in the Queerty article
"Dr. Kenneth Zucker's War on Transgenders" and in essays by
Kelley Winters and
Mercedes Allen, and
Lynn was interviewed by LOGO-TV
about Zucker's attack. See also this
YouTube video and the
video: "Transgender Crusader". Evidence
then emerged that Zucker had engaged in a pattern of threats against other
women. In June '09, Lynn filed a formal complaint of
academic misconduct against Zucker (PDF)
for launching that unfounded attack.
5. Zucker's downfall into shame and
disgrace now inevitable, as
medical professionals, public health professionals, gender counselors, the media
and the public widely recognize the inhumanity of his trans-reparatism:
By 2009, the transgender community's
outrage against Zucker finally became so intense that CAMH
launched a study to consider the complaints, leading to a
scathing report issued by CAMH's own Diversity Program Office. The study
stinging indictments in 2009 of CAMH’s gender clinics and to
recommendations on how to alleviate the problems.
In response, Zucker if anything
intensified his ongoing ‘war
on transgenders’, and engaged in a war within CAMH to sidestep the
recommendations. However, by now Zucker was increasingly isolated from the
main movement towards transgender health care, and could no longer control
the flow of events. In 2010,
the Province of Ontario finally moved to end CAMH's death grip on trans
health services there, and began supporting such services at a variety
of other, more humane and supportive organizations.
Zucker's claim to any 'scientific'
authenticity was also undermined in 2011 by the brilliant research of
Gavi Ansara, and his report in
Psychology & Sexuality on
"Cisgenderism in psychology: pathologising and misgendering children from
1999 to 2008" − a report that singled-out Zucker as leader of an
'invisible college' of group-think researchers who collectively used
pathologizing language to control 'scientific' thought regarding gender
Events swirled further out of Zucker's
control when in 2012
the State of California passed legislation outlawing both gay and
trans-reparatist therapy on children. Even Zucker's staunchest
supporters had to pause for thought now, for their reputations could be lost
if they continued to advocate treatments that were becoming ILLEGAL!
In 2012 Zucker also received a huge
signal of public rejection, when the
Toronto public school system listed a wide range of trans-friendly resources
for transgender students, but omitted CAMH from the list , thus turning
their back on him and his entire body of work! (link
public outcry in Ontario
prompted CAMH to externally review its controversial treatment of trans
youth, and Ontario DNP MPP
Cheri DiNovo introduced a
bill to ban "conversion therapy" in the Province.
In June 2015 Ontario
passed DiNovo's landmark law banning “conversion therapy” on lesbian, gay,
bisexual and transgender children and preventing medical practitioners
from billing OHIP for it. The legislation won unanimous support from all
three parties, in time for Pride week, which began June 19. All eyes began
to turn towards Zucker and his decades of conducting government-sponsored
trans-reparatism on young gender-variant children.
On June 11, 2015, Boing Boing published
"Sexology's war on transgender children" by
Andrea James . . . a stunning indictment of
Dreger for conspiratorialy engaging in scientific
Turns out the key report in Bailey's 2003 book
The Man Who Would be Queen about how Bailey
employed Zuckerian transreparatism to "save Danny Ryan" from the fate of
transsexualism is evidently a hoax.
Key articles re the DSM, the pathologization of gender variance, and
“Disordered” No More: Challenging Transphobia in Psychology, Academia and
Society", an IFGE 2009 workshop.
Queerty: "Dr. Kenneth Zucker’s War on Transgenders"
The Bilerico Report: "Surrender Dorothy: the Clarke Wags a Broomstick at the
Trans-Community", by Kelley Winters, Ph.D.
04-27-09: Facebook Group
the CAMH Gender Identity Clinic" (reaches > 1000 members!)
re the DSM Controversy
"The War Within: CAMH battles
notorious reputation of Zucker’s and Blanchard’s gender clinics with
GID Now: A Protest to demand the APA Reform Gender Identity Disorder"
by IFGE BOD to APA" (IFGE calls for DSM Reform)
"Transsexualism will no longer be classified as a mental illness in France
Times: "Gender Identity Disorder: Has Accepted Practice Caused Harm?"
"GID Reform Now Protest At Annual APA Meeting - Speaker Madeline Deutch,
M.D." (Links to Video)
"Call to Action to
Urge Trans-Affirming Position Statements by the APA"
say, to the APA, stop sexualizing us!", by Julia Serano, Ph.D.
by Andrea James: "$325,000+ in salaries for Zucker & Blanchard to
pathologize trans people"
Exposed by Andrea James: "What motivates Ray Blanchard’s oppression of sex
and gender minorities?"
GID Reform: "Update:
Statement on Gender Identity Disorder and Transvestic Fetishism in
ENDAblog: "The Dredge Is At It Again"
"A call for the removal of gender identity variance from the psychiatric
diagnostic manuals," by Sam
Winter, Ph.D. (ES)
Society for Humanistic Psychology: "Controversial issues for the future
DSM-V", by Sarah Kamens
"Doctor Promotes Medical View of Transgenderism - Clinic founder decries
labeling transgenderism as a psychological issue"
New Scientist: "Psychiatry's civil war ";
"Time's up for psychiatry's bible" (more)
global epicenter for oppression of sex and gender minorities,"
by Andrea James
will become mentally ill in 2013" by
Americanization of Mental Illness", by Ethan Watters
expose CAMH’s despicable practices toward transgender people"
pathologization of transgender people" (a graphical overview) by
Taxing Question of Medical Necessity" by Kelley Winters, Ph.D.
Sexual Disorders Make No Sense", by Allen Frances, MD
Concerned with Gender Diagnoses in the DSM: "Call to Action"
- Hope and Hurt for Trans Americans in the APA's Proposed DSM Revisions"
"Response of WPATH to the Proposed DSM 5 Criteria for Gender Incongruence"
YouTube Video: "STP2012
March in Barcelona, Spain 2010 June 5", by
Henry Hallint (more)
TS Roadmap: "Ontario moves to end CAMH death grip on trans health services"
GID Reform Advocates: "Ten Reasons Why the Transvestic Disorder Diagnosis in
the DSM-5 Has Got to Go"
GJSS: "Transgender children: more than a theoretical challenge", by Natacha
Kennedy and Mark Hellen (more)
"My Encounter with Prof K Zucker at the BPS conference in Salford", by
Natacha Jessica Kennedy
"Close the CAMH Gender Identity Clinic" (see news about dramatic
developments in Quebec)
Montreal Gazette (Canada): "The Debate over Diagnosis”, By Donna Nebenzahl
GID Reform Advocates: “Transvestic Disorder, the Overlooked Anti-Trans
Diagnosis in the DSM-5”
Psychology & Sexuality: "Cisgenderism in psychology: pathologising
and misgendering children from 1999 to 2008", by Ansara & Hegarty
Roadmap: "Academic pathologization of transgender people" (social map of the
'invisible college' of trans-pathologizers)
TS Roadmap.com: "Kenneth Zucker’s cronyism and pathologizing ideologies
about trans youth examined"
GID Reform.org: "New Standards of Care for the Health of Transsexual,
Transgender, and Gender Nonconforming People, "
[WPATH's new Standards of Care (Version 7) denounces trans-reparatism
as being unethical.]
Chicago Tribune: "A year after scandal, new sexuality class at NU Course
offered as introduction to gender studies"
[NU takes Bailey's course away from him and NU psychology department,
turning it over to NU's gender studies program.]
IPG: "SPITZER, ZUCKER, AND REPARATIVE THERAPY: EX AND PRE-GAY", by Margie
The New York Times: “Diagnosing the D.S.M.”, by Allen Francis
Washington Post (AP): "Transgender advocates push US psychiatric
establishment to revise mental illness labels"
U. S. Politics Today: "L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center Commends California
Governor Jerry Brown for Signing SB 1172, Protecting LGBT Youth" (link
to SB 1172)
TS Roadmap: "Toronto schools list local trans-friendly resources, CAMH
rightfully omitted", by Andrea James (link
The Phoenix: "How Norman Spack transformed the way we
treat transgender children"
GIDReform.org: "Gender Dysphoria Diagnosis to be Moved Out of Sexual
Disorders Chapter of DSM-5", by Kelley Winters, Ph.D.
Global News (Canada): "Anti-Conversion Therapy Bill: Ontario NDP MPP Cheri
Dinovo speaks about her private member’s bill that seeks to ban conversion
therapy in Ontario"
Metro News (Canada): "Outcry prompts CAMH to review its controversial
treatment of trans youth"
The White House: "Official White House Response to
Enact Leelah's Law to Ban All LGBTQ+ Conversion Therapy..."
Video from The White House: "Supporting a Ban on Conversion Therapy"
The Star (Canada): "Ontario becomes first province to ban 'conversion
therapy’ for LGBTQ children -- Legislation proposed by NDP’s Cheri DiNovo
passes unanimously at Queen’s Park. Health minister says conversion therapy
has ‘no place in Ontario.’"
Boing Boing: "Sexology's war on transgender children: Anti-transgender
reparative therapy, deemed unethical by experts and banned by politicians,
is based on unconfirmed evidence. Could it be the latest high-profile
sexology scam?" by
The Trans News Updates:
7-02-15: New York Times (re Bangladesh): "Transgender Rights,
Bangladesh Style" (more)
"On March 30,
Labannya Hijra became
a Bangladeshi hero. Witnessing the murder by Islamist radicals of the
blogger Oyasiqur Rhaman
on a street in Dhaka, she grabbed at the fleeing assailants. Her courageous
intervention led to the arrest of two men, who later confessed to the
The most striking part of the story, though, was that Labannya Hijra
actually is a hijra, the South Asian term for biological males who identify
as women. (Hijras take the group’s name as part of their own; hence Labannya
Hijra.) So, as Labannya was lauded for her bravery, she also raised the
question of whether members of this transgender community could be treated
as active, equal citizens of Bangladesh.
Estimates of the number of hijras range
half a million
(out of Bangladesh’s population of about 157 million). In 2013, the
“third gender” status to hijras. After Labannya’s heroic act, the government
announced plans to recruit hijras as traffic police — a move widely
welcomed. And last week, the central bank instructed financial institutions
to spend a
portion of their corporate social responsibility funds on the transgender
It appears that, like Caitlyn Jenner, Labannya has become a symbol of our
shifting attitudes to what we regard as normative in the realms of sexuality
7-02-15: Re/Code: "Coming Out as
Transgender to Two Million Teens — With a Text"
"More than two million teens have signed up with
DoSomething.org to receive
text messages suggesting ways to do social good.
Once or twice a month, they get a note from someone named “Alysha” with tips
like a new way to recycle clothes or how to convince friends not to text and
On Thursday, they got a different kind of text from Alysha. Alysha, the text
said, was now going by the name Freddie and was coming out as transgender.
Instantly. To two million people. Via a text message.
“I’ve texted for DoSomething for 3yrs as Alysha,
but I’ve been struggling,” read the text message. “Im Trans. Im Freddie!
Kind of a big deal.”
Teens were encouraged to reply “A” to ask
questions, reply “B” to offer support, or “C” to just move on . .
Bologno said one of the big opportunities is the fact that Thursday’s text
is, for many teens, their first introduction to a peer who is transgender.
At the same time, given the sheer reach, Bologno’s text is also reaching a
number of people who themselves are working through their gender identities.
“Those are my favorite ones that I have been seeing,” Bologno said. “It’s so
important for trans people to know there are other trans people out there —
‘Hey, this person I have been texting with for three years is just like
Coming out by text also has its advantages, Bologno said.
“Coming out to someone face-to-face means you actually see what their first
reaction is,” Bologno said. “They don’t have that five seconds to process. I
kind of like that — not actually having to see that facial expression.”
Beyond the text, DoSomething arranged a social
campaign to accompany Bologno’s coming out, encouraging supporters to post a
song dedication on Twitter with the
By mid-morning, Twitter was overflowing with dozens of positive responses,
including a message from the band Tegan and Sara.""
7-01-15: WBUR: "Transgender Patients Create Their Own Networks Of
"Other nurses and doctors might make the same mistake. Transgender men are
pretty unusual in OB offices and maternity wards. The nurse in this case
wasn’t hostile, Surkan said, just “not knowledgeable about the existence of
masculine-looking people who are pregnant.”
Still, Surkan would give the nurse a low score on
an online provider rating system he co-founded late last year —
Transgender and genderfluid patients log in, name a provider, and respond to
eight questions that identify a doctor, nurse or counselor as transgender
friendly — or not.
“This is a population that is heavily medicalized,” Surkan said. From the
pre-transition period, through a gender change, to potentially decades of
hormone therapy, these patients will be frequent users of health care.
For some patients, the provider they choose may mean the difference between
life and death. There are stories of transgender patients who arrive in
emergency rooms and are made to wait for a psychiatric evaluation while
their fever soars or a wound festers. There are transgender men who aren’t
called back when a mammogram shows signs of breast cancer, transgender women
who die because doctors refuse to test for or treat prostate cancer, and
parents who travel across county or state lines looking for providers
willing to touch their transgender child.
Patients need to know, in advance, if providers
“at least know about trans lives,” said Riley Johnson, “know that I’m not
going to freak them out by showing up.” Johnson runs another new online
provider rating tool called
That’s RAD for “referral aggregator database.”
RAD Remedy pools referral lists of doctors, nurses and dentists from LGBT
organizations to create a national database, then asks its network to rate
Both startups plan to expand beyond patient satisfaction ratings. RAD Remedy
is preparing a certification for providers who complete a continuing medical
education course or other transgender-focused training."
7-01-15: Washington Post: "Justice Dept. sides with transgender
student, says bathroom policy is illegal" (more)
"The U.S. Justice Department has sided with a transgender teenager who
alleges that a Virginia school board’s restroom policy is discriminatory.
Gavin Grimm, a 16-year-old rising junior, filed a lawsuit against the
Gloucester County, Va., school system with the help of the American Civil
Liberties Union claiming that he should be allowed to use the school
system’s communal restrooms and not “alternative” facilities just for
transgender students. Grimm was born female and identifies as male.
In a statement of interest filed Tuesday, the Justice Department argues that
the Gloucester County school board’s policy violates Grimm’s rights, and
federal officials are seeking to ensure that “all students, including
transgender students, have the opportunity to learn in an environment free
of sex discrimination.” . . .
Justice Department officials wrote that Grimm
should be allowed to use the male
restrooms at Gloucester High School as a matter of mental health. It also
said discriminating against transgender students could be a violation of the
federal Title IX regulations that aim to prevent discrimination on the basis
“Singling out transgender students and subjecting them to differential
treatment can also make them more vulnerable to bullying and harassment, a
problem that transgender students already face,” according to the Justice
document. The filing also cites figures showing that more than 90 percent of
LGBT students in middle school and high school reported being verbally
harassed and about half said they were attacked physically.
“Allowing transgender students to use the restrooms consistent with their
gender identity will help prevent stigma that results in bullying and
harassment and will ensure that the District fosters a safe and supportive
learning environment for all students, a result that is unquestionably in
the public interest.”"
6-30-15: Air Force Times (posted 6-29): "Transgender troops mourn
tireless advocate Jess Shipps" (more,
"Friends and family gathered Monday at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in
Hampton, Virginia, to say goodbye to Air Force veteran Jess Shipps, who
dedicated her life to helping transgender service members get through their
struggles but was unable to emerge from her own dark times. She took her own
life on June 23.
As a man, Shipps served on active duty from 2003 to 2014, leaving the
service as a staff sergeant . . . During her career as a public affairs
officer, she was stationed at Fort Meade, Maryland; Joint Base Pearl
Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii; and Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona. She was
awarded the Air Force Achievement Medals three times and also received the
Joint Service Commendation Medal.
"I have a hard time truly conveying just how many people she helped," said
Shipps' friend, former Marine Cpl. Loren Sieg. "After this, the stories just
started pouring in about, 'Hey, a few months ago I was in the same boat and
Jess pulled me out of it.' Just an innumerable amount of people that she
talked back down from the cliff. Even me. She was there for me, too." . . .
For many transgender service members, Shipps was a rock whom they could lean
"Military veterans don't have an easy road. Living as transgender adds an
extra dimension to the financial and family stresses; neither the military
nor the [Veterans Affairs Department] provides medically necessary
transgender health care, and the daily slurs and insults can be unbearable,"
said Sue Fulton, a former Army captain and president of SPARTA. "But Jess
bore up for as long as she could, devoting herself to other veterans and
service members. She is much missed."
As a member of SPARTA, Shipps worked hard to make sure no one fell through
the cracks, said Army National Guard Capt. Jake Eleazer, leader for the
transgender chapter of SPARTA.
"She was kind of like the glue that would really hold people in with the
organization," Eleazer, said. "As much as she struggled and as difficult as
it was for her to get help and reach out for her help, she was always the
first person to lean in if someone needed it." . . .
Senior Airman Logan Ireland remembered Shipps for her dry sense of humor and
as a person who radiated an energy that other people wanted to be around.
"Here is a person that dealt with a lot of personal struggles that she
really didn't like to talk about, but she was always willing to drop
whatever she had going on to be there for somebody or to see people," he
said . . .
Shipps left the Air Force because she wanted to transition from a man to a
woman and the Defense Department does not let transgender troops serve
openly, Ireland said. "I'm sure if this policy had been changed while she
was in — who knows, but maybe the outcome would have changed, because she
got out of the military, serving her country, to live her authentic life,"
Shipps' family issued a statement on Monday expressing its gratitude to
those who offered their condolences. "Jess touched so many lives, and we
didn't realize the full extent until now," the family statement says. "We're
devastated but also extremely proud of her accomplishments; as a devoted
spouse and parent, and her service in the Air Force and LGBT community. Our
only hope is that her death brings attention to the issues faced by people
in transition. If you know someone who is transitioning, give them (and
their families) your heart, your ears, and help them through a challenging
6-30-15: PBS/WKAR: "When Transgender Kids Transition, Medical Risks
are Both Known and Unknown"
"“One of the challenges that’s been faced in the past is that treatment of
the transgender population really didn’t start until they were either at
least older adolescents or adults,” said Finlayson. “And by that time
they’ve had all of the pubertal and physical changes that go along with
their … natal sex.”
With the use of puberty blockers, “we’re really starting to some extent from
a little bit more of a blank slate,” Finlayson explained. “We don’t have to
be erasing or trying to get rid of all these other changes that occurred
that they don’t want.”
However, the use of puberty blockers to treat transgender children is what’s
considered an “off label” use of the medication — something that hasn’t been
approved by the Food and Drug Administration. And doctors say their biggest
concern is about how long children stay on the medication, because there
isn’t enough research into the effects of stalling puberty at the age when
children normally go through it.
The Endocrine Society’s guidelines suggest starting puberty blockers for
transgender children when they hit a stage of development known as Tanner
stage 2 — usually around 10 or 11 years old for a girl and 11 or 12 years
old for a boy. The same guidelines suggest giving cross sex hormones —
estrogen for transgender girls and testosterone for transgender boys — at
age 16. However, doctors caution that estrogen and testosterone, the
hormones that are blocked by these medications, also play a role in a
child’s neurological development and bone growth . . .Another area where
doctors say there isn’t enough research is the impact that suppressing
puberty has on brain development . . .
The stakes are higher for children who want to continue physically
transitioning by taking the hormones of their desired gender. Doctors
grapple with when to start cross-sex hormones, and they say it really
depends on the child’s readiness and stability in their gender identity.
While the Endocrine Society’s guidelines suggest 16, more and more children
are starting hormones at 13 or 14 once their doctors, therapists and
families have agreed that they are mentally and emotionally prepared. The
shift is because of the concerns over the impact that delaying puberty for
too long can have on development, physically, emotionally and socially. The
physical changes that hormones bring about are irreversible, making the
decision more weighty than taking puberty blockers . . . "
6-29-15: The Daily Beast: "Pentagon Has No Idea How Many Transgender
Troops It Kicked Out -- Willfully clueless: That’s the best way to describe
the Pentagon’s current attitude toward transgender service members. But
there may be changes ahead."
equality is the law of the land. And
now, the push is on for the
next frontier of civil rights—transgender
rights, including the right to serve openly in the military.
And yet, no one in the military even knows how
many have been
forced to leave the service for being transgender.
In contrast, the U.S. military kept detailed records of how many where
discharged for being gay or lesbian.
The U.S. military has never kept such statistics on transgender dismissals,
in part, because the system used to document discharge reasons has never had
a category for being transgender. At first, it was because there were so few
transgender service members, officials assumed there was no need for the
category. But in more recent years, as there has been increased visibility
of transgender individuals, commanders have masked their discomfort about
having transgender troops by providing other reasons for discharge, like
Now, as the U.S. military faces increased pressure to eliminate its ban on
open transgender service, the absence of such statistics makes it impossible
to know not only what effect the current ban has had but also how much
lifting of the ban could affect the military. What is the relationship
between the number of those discharged for being transgender and those who
choose to enlist?
How many transgender service members could need changes in their medical
care? How many units could be affected?
Under “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” commanders often
used someone’s sexual orientation—real or perceived—as an excuse to
discharge someone for other reasons. An unpopular female commander would be
drummed out as soon as someone learned she was a lesbian, or suspected she
was, for example. And fellow soldiers
relentlessly hazed men seen as effeminate.
Throughout, the U.S. military kept detailed records of how many where
discharged for being gay or lesbian.
But just the opposite happened with those discharged for being transgender;
service members will discharged for others reasons to mask a prejudice. A
transgender service member would be discharged for being unfit to service,
for example, with no mention of their gender identity."
6-26-15: San Diego Union-Tribune: "Mom honors transgender son with
garden -- Troubled Vista teen Kyler Prescott, 14, took his own life in May"
"Over the next few months, Katharine Prescott will build a memorial garden
in her Vista front yard to honor her 14-year-old son Kyler, who took his
life on May 18.
Long strips of grass will be replaced with flowering plants that attract
bees because from the time he was young, Kyler had a special connection to
the buzzing insects.
“He was drawn to bees because nobody likes them. He felt that people
misunderstand the bees’ function and their necessity in the world,” Prescott
Kyler was the third transgender teen in North County to die by suicide this
year, and the 11th in the nation. Prescott said the Kyler Prescott Courage
Garden at her 1-acre home will be an oasis where other transgender teens can
gather to reflect and support one another.
Expenses for the garden will be covered by
Gofundme account started last month by
Connor Maddocks, coordinator of
the Transgender Services Program at San Diego LGBT Community Center. The
campaign has raised more than $12,000, which was also used to cover Kyler’s
Maddocks described Kyler — who regularly attended Friday night teen events
at the Community Center — as sweet, smart and sensitive. “He was a great
kid,” Maddocks said. “He was very caring, not only about his own community
but about issues in the world and how to make it a better place.”
Kyler’s death last month followed those of two other North County
transgender teens, Sage David of Carlsbad on March 2 and Taylor Alesana of
Fallbrook on April 2."
6-25-15: Daily News: "Transgender Air Force vet who helped fellow
trans veterans through suicidal struggles takes her own life"
"She helped many fellow LGBT soldiers and veterans battle their inner
demons, but ultimately Jess Shipps fell victim to her own.
The transgender Air Force veteran died by suicide on Tuesday, fellow service
members said this week. She was 32.
“I tried,” Shipps wrote Tuesday in a note on Facebook.
Shipps served a decade in the military bringing home the remains of soldiers
who were killed in Vietnam, Laos and New Guinea so their families could have
a proper funeral, and served the final two years on American soil teaching
video and photography.
“She listened to other people’s stories and experiences, but she never
talked about how she felt,” said Army Sgt. Shane Ortega, a transgender man
who got to know Shipps through a two-year Facebook conversation about the
battles of transgender soldiers to serve openly in the military — a right
they still don’t have despite the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”
She left the career she loved in 2013 to pursue a life as a woman, having
concluded that it would never be possible for her to live authentically in
the military, which prohibits transgender people from serving. “She left
because she couldn’t be who she was and couldn’t tolerate living this double
life,” Ortega said of Shipps in a phone interview from Oahu, Hawaii, where
he is based.
In the time that Ortega knew Shipps, he watched her explore what it meant to
be a transgender woman . . .
“She didn’t fit in the box of being Laverne Cox,” Ortega said. “She was more
outdoorsy, ‘let’s go hunting.’ She loved her truck ... She was your everyday
Shipps lived in Hampton, Va., her heartbroken colleagues said.
“She was a go-to person for anyone that was feeling suicidal. If somebody
needed someone to talk to, Jess is who we trusted,” said Christopher Hooper,
membership director of SPART*A, an advocacy group for LGTB military members
and veterans. “Jess leaves behind a great legacy. The countless number of
lives she saved is a testimony to her strength and will.”
Ortega said he had no idea how much Shipps had been suffering, citing a
tendency among those who serve in the armed forces to “compartmentalize”
Ortega has called for legislation that would allow transgender men and women
to serve openly in the military, and he has lobbied to get gender dysphoria
and transexualism removed as disqualifiers for active duty."
6-23-15: Huffington Post: "Caroline 'Tula' Cossey, Who Became
Playboy's First Transgender Model, Looks Back" (More)
"Caroline “Tula” Cossey, who became the
world's first transgender model
to pose for Playboy magazine in 1991, opens up in her
first media interview
in two decades for the publication.
In the 1970s, the British-born Cossey appeared in
issues of Australian Vogue and Harper's Bazaar before landing a role in the
1981 James Bond film, “For
Your Eyes Only.” Shortly after the
movie's release, however, she was
outed as transgender
by the tabloid News of the World.
Although she opened up about her transition in
Cossey, now 60, eventually walked away from the spotlight and now lives a
relatively quiet life in Atlanta. "There’s a difference between being known
as Tula the transsexual international model versus just a successful model,"
she tells Playboy's Shane Michael Singh in the July and August issue of the
magazine. "It wasn’t the same. I felt like a circus act."
Playboy officials say Cossey remains the only
transgender model to receive a full spread in the magazine's pages. Another
appeared in the magazine's May 2014 issue, but hers was not a complete
Cossey described her spread, photos of which are reprinted in the new issue
alongside the interview, as a positive experience.
"Playboy’s readership is mostly male and heterosexual, so it allowed me to
get out there and prove that people like myself can be sexy and attractive.
That’s what I aimed to do at that point," she said of her pictorial, which
appeared in Playboy’s September 1991 issue.
The media interest that followed her spread, she said, "gave people the
chance to get to know me, to feel the situation and hopefully gain empathy
and understanding. That was my goal, and Playboy was a great platform for
Despite the strides that the transgender community has made over the years,
Cossey said she doesn't know "if I’ll ever stop feeling like a second-class
citizen. It’s embedded and instilled from birth. You grow up, you don’t fit
in, you don’t belong, you’re bullied. That doesn’t go away in five minutes.
I don’t think it ever goes away."
Singh's interview with Cossey was conducted before
Caitlyn Jenner made her now-iconic debut
cover of Vanity Fair
earlier this month. The model was pretty frank in her assessment of Jenner,
offering views some may deem controversial.
Read the full Playboy interview with Cossey
6-22-15: KERA News: "Inside A Dallas Clinic For Transgender Kids"
"This spring, Children’s Medical Center in Dallas opened a clinic that
specializes in helping kids and their families work through a condition
called gender dysphoria. On Monday's Think, Krys Boyd talked to a pair of
staff members, about the multistep treatment process:
Listen to the Podcast... 2:38
Before kids even visit the clinic, they go through
six months of therapy. Then a therapist can recommend a trip to the Gender,
Education and Care Interdisciplinary Support program at Children’s – also
Dr. Meredith Chapman, a psychiatrist at GENECIS, says stress is a key
indicator in diagnosing gender dysphoria. “And it’s a diagnosis, because it
is the distress and the discomfort that a person experiences because their
sex assigned at birth doesn’t match their gender," she says. eing
transgender itself is not a diagnosis – transgender is an umbrella term that
encompasses lots of things.”
Once a child is accepted into the clinic, the team does a second evaluation.
That’s when Chapman focuses on the dysphoria’s intensity.
“Our job is to really thoroughly investigate the insistency of the gender
dysphoria – how strongly the child or adolescent feels that; the consistency
– how stable it’s been over time; and then the persistency – how long has it
lasted," she says. And based on those three factors … we try to make a
recommendation about whether medical intervention seems like a reasonable
That typically involves medication that blocks puberty, says Dr. Ximena
Lopez, the clinic’s medical director. The goal is to buy the child and
“For very young children, as they work with their therapist, they can
continue to explore their gender identity in a safe way, because puberty
blockers are pretty safe, and it’s reversible," she says.
As children are being treated at the clinic, so are their parents. Chapman
says it’s natural for moms and dads to be surprised. “The first three words
that are said about any person: ‘It’s a boy! It’s a girl,'" she says. "From
the mental health perspective, the child or adolescent actually gets there
very quickly – it’s often there’s a delay between when they know and when
they actually tell someone. So it’s a bit of a catchup process for parents.”
If the GENECIS program is any indicator, it seems
the condition affects boys and girls equally. Of the 102 patients Children’s
has seen, Chapman says the breakdown has been about 50-50."
6-22-15: KQED News: "California Gives Transgender People Right to
Determine Sex Listed on Death Certificate"
"In July, California will become the first state in the country to allow
transgender individuals to have their gender identity listed on their death
Christopher Lee is the Bay Area man who inspired the law. Forty-eight when
he died in Oakland in 2012, his friends took great care to explain to the
coroner that Lee was transgender — born female, but living his entire adult
life as a man. They submitted his driver’s license, which indicated Lee’s
sex with a capital M.
But when the death certificate came back, Christopher was listed as
Kristina. Sex: female.
“It felt like spitting on his grave,” said Lee’s close friend, Maya
Scott-Chung. “When they put RIP on people’s tombstones, it’s rest in peace.
And I just felt like Christopher’s spirit will not rest in peace with a
death certificate that says female.”
Scott-Chung went to then-Assemblymember Toni Atkins, from Lee’s hometown of
San Diego. Atkins drafted a law stating death certificates for transgender
people should be filled out according to their gender identity, rather than
their anatomy . . .
The new law also clarifies that if there’s a dispute — if relatives
want the person’s birth sex recorded, for example — a driver’s license will
trump family opinion.
Maya Scott-Chung says getting the law passed was a tribute to Lee and his
own activism for transgender rights.
“The legacy he leaves for us all to find, what were the spaces and places
inside ourselves that were really transformed through loving him and being
loved by him, (this) is part of that. You know … we hope that everyone can
honor and respect their loved ones in their death."
She plans to have Lee’s death certificate changed as soon as the law takes
effect next month."
6-20-15: CNET: "Google's brilliant ad describes transgender man's
transition -- Technically Incorrect: To support LGBT Pride Month, Google's
Business Division releases an ad that shows how a gym became a safe place
for those going through a difficult life transition." (VIDEO)
"As part of its celebration of LGBT Pride Month, Google has released an ad
telling the story of one man who presented his transition from female to
male on YouTube.
Made by the company's business division,
the ad tells
the story of Jacob Wanderling.
As he went through his change, where could he feel safe? Where could he find
the support as he went through a process that not everyone would accept?
In his case, he wanted to build up his body, as he became a man. But where
could he go? The ad presents Hailee Bland Walsh, owner of the City Gym in
Kansas City, Missouri.
Her gym accommodates a whole group of men born in female bodies. They train
together, because they feel safe in her gym. Walsh says that her gym wasn't
created to be some sort of haven for any particular group.
However, she feels proud that these men can build not only their bodies but
their self-confidence to go out into the world and be themselves.
How many of us go through lives wanting to be ourselves, but failing for one
reason or another? This ad offers one example of how a business' decision to
include helped those who might otherwise have had nowhere to go."
6-20-15: USA Today: "Transgender woman writes sweet letter for
transgender woman, each
is a reminder of Brynn Tannehill's transition. In this letter, Brynn, an
advocate for transgender inclusion in the military, reflects on raising her
and what parenthood means.
My daughter Eleanore,
Father's Day has become something of a yearly oddity for both of us. Every
year it serves as a reminder of my transition and how different this makes
us as a family. It also puts on display how our culture struggles with
anything or anyone who steps far outside gender norms. Our language
certainly doesn't know what to do with a transgender parent. Are they Mom?
Dad? Something else?
I remember sitting on the couch with you and your mom three years ago
working that one out. "Mom" didn't seem right, since only one person gets to
have that title, and yours earned it through blood, toil, sweat and tears.
Neither did "Dad." It's a highly gendered word and
seemed ill-fitting for someone who would be spending the rest of their life
identifying and presenting to the outside world as a woman. In the end, you
settled on "Maddy," a portmanteau of the two that wouldn't raise too many
eyebrows at the local
Still, there's always a touch of sadness this time of year. While people are
beginning to accept the fact that children do just as well with two moms or
two dads as they do with a mom and a dad, no one quite knows what it means
to have a mom and a "Maddy" in the long run.
Your mom asked me rhetorically, shortly after I transitioned, who would walk
you down the aisle when you got married. I didn't know the answer then, but
I do now. A couple of weeks ago though, a friend mentioned that in some
Jewish traditions both parents give away the bride. When she said this, a
lightbulb went off.
When one set of traditions fails because we are a non-traditional family,
why not adopt our own? You said it yourself, normal is boring. So I propose
a new tradition for Father's Day for our family: Let's take this as an
annual opportunity to tell you how proud I am of you for becoming such a
remarkable young woman . . .
You're the one the teachers turn to in order to help other students with
group projects because you're patient, kind and take people as they are. You
accept people based on who they are and not what the world tells them to be.
You've already figured out that how a person looks has nothing to do with
what sort of person they are.
You're a peacemaker, and that's a wonderful thing. The world would be a far
better place with more like you. I used to tell you that you had a good
heart, the ability to feel empathy for everyone and that those were special
qualities I hoped you never lost. You never did.
I can't say my transition had anything to do with this: you were the child
who cried when Dobby and Hedwig died in the seventh book, or hearing about
other military families sending their loved ones off to war. I can say,
however, that I couldn't be more proud of the woman you're becoming.
Love you always, Maddy
Brynn Tannehill is a research scientist,
advocate for transgender inclusion in the military and writer. Brynn and her
wife, Janis, recently moved to
with their three children."
6-19-15: Boing Boing: "Sexology's war on transgender children --
Anti-transgender reparative therapy, deemed unethical by experts and banned
by politicians, is based on unconfirmed evidence. Could it be the latest
high-profile sexology scam?" By
Ontario banned anti-transgender reparative therapy,
practiced for decades from an ideological home base at
Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
(CAMH). The ban was one of many enacted in response to transgender teen
Leelah Alcorn’s suicide
after being subjected to
anti-transgender reparative therapy.
Now the academic holdouts who support the practice are making their last
stand in the court of public opinion, placing letters and op-eds in the
Los Angeles Times,
always avoid mentioning their notorious published case report, the curing of
eight-year-old Danny Ryan’s “childhood gender identity disorder.” Danny’s
alleged cure has never been independently confirmed, and the whole case may
be completely fabricated . . .
Danny Ryan’s infamous cure narrative was published
in 2003 by The National Academies Press following a secret peer review
overseen by editor
Danny’s case frames J. Michael Bailey’s book
The Man Who Would Be Queen,
a series of vivid anecdotes about the sexual escapades of some adult trans
women. In making the case for anti-transgender reparative therapy, Bailey
portrays Zucker as a “rabbinical” man with “a Talmudic knowledge of the
literature concerning childhood GID.” Bailey observes that Danny’s
transgender proclivities are cured in the book’s epilogue, implying Danny
was spared a “bad outcome.”
Unfortunately for Bailey, trans women portrayed
pseudonymously in his book came forward and filed complaints with his
employer Northwestern University, which opened a formal investigation.
One history book
described the transgender protests against sexology’s academic exploitation
as “one of the most organized and unified examples of transsexual activism
Most troubling was a report from one of Bailey’s
book subjects that he fabricated the outcome of the Danny Ryan case report.
When questioned later,
Bailey said, “Not only does Danny exist, but I am … I have several
informants who keep me apprised of his development, and now he’s a happy out
gay man, as I predicted in the book . . .
Danny Ryan has remarkable parallels to
the infamous case report by Bailey’s ideological nemesis John Money.
Reimer’s successful case report turned out to be a fabrication, and Reimer
ultimately committed suicide. It also has troubling parallels to
the infamous case report of a child cured via anti-gay reparative therapy.
Murphy’s successful case report turned out to be a fabrication, and Murphy
ultimately committed suicide . . .
I’m issuing a clarion call for evidence-based activism, because history has
shown that some academics can’t be trusted to tell the truth. I’ll believe
Zucker, Bailey, and Dreger when I see independently confirmed evidence that
the hundreds of Danny Ryans subjected to anti-transgender reparative therapy
did not end up like Leelah Alcorn.”
J. Michael Bailey claimed to have "saved Danny Ryan" in order to promote
Zuckerian childhood transreparatism ... even though there's zero evidence
Danny Ryan even exists. Thus it now appears that Bailey's book was a
6-18-15: The Colorado Independent: "Family Research Council
releases anti-transgender report"
"Lately, the evangelical right has been obsessing over transgender identity.
A lot of the rhetoric has been Bible-based and emotionally charged. These
anti-trans activists have advocated against anti-discrimination policies,
bathroom integration and gender-appropriate state ID cards and driver’s
Evangelicals have succeeded in fighting gender equity in
Colorado, with well-articulated legal arguments stripped of religious fervor
and bolstered by academic rhetoric.
Spearheading this movement nationally is the
Family Research Council, which this month published a new work, “Understanding
and Responding to the Transgender Movement,”
which is aimed to give anti-trans activists a veneer of scientific and
The document goes on to lament the evolution in psychiatry from the era when
homosexuality was considered a psychiatric disorder. The report explains
that transgender activists have borrowed from the “homosexual movement” and
are degrading psychiatry by shifting from the old term “gender identity
disorder” to “gender dysphoria.” (While some reformists in the transgender
movement viewed this as a coup, others felt that the idea of transgender
identity should not be considered a psychiatric issue at all.)
The FRC study includes a variety of sweeping generalizations about
transgender identity including the importance of surgery and the necessity
of “passing” – none of which are necessarily a part of any individual trans
person’s experience . . .
These evangelicals seem most nervous about the concept of genderqueer
identity that they believe could overthrow the gender binary and God’s
natural design for biological sex; though the anti-trans, faith-based
crusaders who authored the study are too savvy to use the words “God” or
Finally, the report makes a series of policy recommendations: Bathrooms
should not be integrated; the law should not recognize people’s gender
identity when it does not conform with their assigned sex at birth;
government health-care plans should not pay for sex-reassignment surgery;
trans people should be barred from the military."
This FRC anti-transgender report is
built upon what
now clearly appears to have been a scientific hoax
pulled-off by Ken Zucker and J. Michael Bailey.]
6-13-15: Planet Transgender: "Transgender teacher’s suicide was
covered up by MPS after a decade of staff bullying says friend" (more)
"Friends are holding the Milwaukee School System (MPS) in part responsible
of the suicide of transgender teacher Karis Anne Ross. Friends say that the
principal ignored her in death even saying the MPS tried to cover up her
suicide, an allegation not directly disputed by her mother.
Transgender teacher Karis Anne Ross short life was commemorated by family
and friends last Sunday remembering her as an authentic hero. Karis, 37,
took her life last November unable to cope with the bullying, not by some
reprobate on the street, but by her fellow employees at the Milwaukee German
Immersion School. In her suicide note, she named who was responsible writing
that her complaints to MPS superintendent Dr. Darienne Driver over the last
ten years of her life went unheeded.
“I don’t blame MPS for my daughter’s death,” said her mother Jill Greinke.
“I believe the sad thing it that important things were missed.”
“The way it was handled is disappointing,” a
friend Madeline Dietrich, told
CBS 58. “That
it seemed to be more covered up than shared.”
In order to bring change, Dietrich is calling
attention to the issue, writing an open letter to MPS superintendent Dr.
Darienne Driver which describes in detail the bullying and the schools
reads in part:
"Adding insult to
injury, MPS made no attempt to contact Ms. Ross’ family for nearly two
weeks. Dr. Brugger sent flowers and a card, but made no official
announcement to MGIS faculty and staff, who only learned of the suicide from
Ms. Ross’ uncle when he arrived to collect her personal belongings.""
6-11-15: Boing Boing: "Sexology's war on transgender children:
Anti-transgender reparative therapy, deemed unethical by experts and banned
by politicians, is based on unconfirmed evidence. Could it be the latest
high-profile sexology scam?" by
"Did you know sexologists believe they can prevent young children like me
from becoming transgender by shaming and punishing us when we play with
dolls, or make art using pink and purple colors?
It’s called anti-transgender reparative therapy, and for years we’ve fought
to end it.
They promote it in The Archives of Sexual Behavior. The very first issue
stated their goal: “the prevention of transsexualism.” Its editor Kenneth
Zucker has performed anti-transgender reparative therapy on hundreds of
The most famous cured child is Danny Ryan. His case report was published in
The Man Who Would Be Queen, but there’s no evidence that Danny Ryan
exists. No one has ever independently confirmed published claims that Danny
When questioned about his Danny Ryan case report, sexologist J. Michael
Bailey said this: “I, uh... uh… Not only does Danny exist, but I am... uh… I
have several informants who keep me apprised of his development, and now
he’s a happy out gay man, as I predicted in the book.”
Trans people worldwide protested, and Bailey’s school investigated him. In
response, Zucker devoted an entire issue of Archives of Sexual Behavior to
defending Bailey’s book and his claims about Danny Ryan. Bailey’s friend
Alice Dreger wrote, “I can find no evidence that Bailey fabricated anything
meaningful in Danny’s story.”
Dreger just republished her Bailey defense almost verbatim. What changed?
Dreger quietly removed all her conclusions about the alleged Danny Ryan
The Obama Administration just called for an end to anti-transgender
reparative therapy. Kenneth Zucker is under external review for practicing
Transgender teen Leelah Alcorn killed herself after being subjected to
anti-transgender reparative therapy.
Did the hundreds of Danny Ryans end up like Leelah Alcorn? Please join us in
demanding answers and evidence. Our children’s lives are at stake. Thank
If you were subjected to anti-transgender
reparative therapy in Toronto or elsewhere, please contact me:
[Ed: On June 11, 2015, Boing Boing published
"Sexology's war on transgender children" by
Andrea James . . . a stunning indictment of
Dreger for conspiratorialy engaging in scientific
Turns out the key report in Bailey's 2003 book
The Man Who Would be Queen about how Bailey
employed Zuckerian transreparatism to "save Danny Ryan" from the fate of
transsexualism is evidently a hoax.]
6-11-15: Military Times: "AMA: No medical reasons to bar transgender
"The American Medical Association on Monday said there is no valid medical
reason to ban transgender persons from serving in the U.S. military.
The powerful physicians group, with nearly 220,000 members, voted on a
resolution saying not only should transgender people be allowed to serve,
they should be provided health services at the same medical standards that
apply to nontransgender personnel.
The vote comes on the heels of an Air Force announcement last week that gave
decision authority for involuntarily separating transgender troops to the
director of the Air Force Review Boards Agency.
The move, similar to one instituted by the Army in March, is seen as taking
the decision from commanders, who may apply a personnel policy banning
transgender service arbitrarily and placing it with officials who can review
the evidence and make consistent decisions, according to Daniel Sitterly,
principal deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for manpower and
reserve affairs . . .
More than 15,000 transgender individuals serve in the military, according to
the Transgender Military Service Commission. At least 18 countries,
including Canada, New Zealand and Australia, allow transgender troops to
Aaron Belkin, director of the Palm Center, a San Francisco think tank that
promotes research on gay, lesbian and transgender issues in public service,
said evidence is mounting that the Pentagon's transgender ban is unsound.
"The military's transgender exclusion policy is sustained by claims that
transgender individuals require more burdensome medical care in the field
than other members of the military," Belkin said. "AMA has now joined a
chorus of expert voices showing this assertion to be false.""
[Ed: The slumbering medical establishment finally begins waking up!]
06-11-15: USA Today: "National pilot program to train doctors in
"As Caitlyn Jenner's transition to a woman brings transgender issues to the
public forefront, a national pilot program is launching here to address this
population's private struggles in the medical world.
Beginning in August, the
University of Louisville School of Medicine
will be the pilot site for a new curriculum by the
Association of American Medical Colleges
that trains future doctors on the unique health care concerns of people who
are transgender, gay, lesbian, bisexual, gender non-conforming or born with
differences of sex development.
On Thursday, the school hosted a panel discussion for dozens of area doctors
and other health care professionals and a networking session with
transgender community leaders.
"We're being looked at to see what works and what doesn't and to be a model
for the nation," says Faye Jones, an assistant vice president in UofL's
Office of Diversity and Inclusion. "This is a topic that has been taboo for
a long time. Physicians want to provide the best care for these patients,
but they may not be aware of issues and how to address someone in a
culturally responsive manner . . . "
Historically, the relationship between the LGBT community and the medical
world has been fraught -- with homosexuality once viewed as a mental illness
by mainstream psychiatry.
Institute of Medicine,
Department of Health and Human Services
and other health organizations all have recently called for more education
for health care providers on LGBT health. Experts say doctors are often
unfamiliar with issues such as hormonal transition or gender reassignment
surgery, are unsure about how to care sensitively for these patients, and
may even overtly discriminate or turn people away. Research shows that
health care providers also harbor unconscious biases affecting how they
interact with patients from different backgrounds.
"Even the most well-intentioned (medical) students can discriminate purely
by not knowing the health care needs of these individuals," says Kristen
Eckstrand, who chairs the AAMC's Advisory Committee on Sexual Orientation,
Gender Identity and Sex Development. "It makes them scared to come back into
the medical system."
This pushes up already disproportionate illness and death rates. Rates of
suicide, for example, are four to seven times higher among lesbian, gay and
bisexual youth than the general population, and even higher among
transgender youth . . . "
[Ed.: As the psychiatric pathologization of gender variance
is finally exposed as a hateful pseudoscientific fraud, the medical
establishment struggles to overcome decades of turning a blind eye to
shockingly anti-transgender behavior by physicians, nurses and other medical
'caregivers' . . . ]
6-10-15: Think Progress: "Meet The Doctor Social Conservatives Depend
On To Justify Anti-Transgender Hate"
"Dr. McHugh is an accomplished medical
professional completely devoted to the health of his patients. Liberal
attacks on him are disgusting.” That’s how Ryan T. Anderson, Heritage
Foundation Senior Fellow and Public Discourse Editor,
defended Paul McHugh
on Wednesday morning, after publishing another of the doctor’s scathing
rejections of transgender identities. Conservatives champion McHugh as an
expert on transgender identities, but his antiquated rhetoric and biased
rejection of what transgender people experience set him drastically apart
from the consensus of psychiatrists and the standards of care that best
support transgender people’s health.
McHugh, the University Distinguished Service
Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Medical School,
writes this week
that the very idea of transgender identities — the acceptance that a
person’s gender identity might not be congruent with the sex they were
assigned at birth — is a “meme,” a myth that has spread across society. He
frames it as the idea “that one’s biological sex is a choice” and that
gender is “more of a disposition or feeling about yourself than a fact of
His column, which suggests that this meme is a
“pathogen” destroying society, is rife with his biased rejection of what
transgender people experience. He uses quotation marks to refer to people’s
names, like “Christine” Jorgenson (one of the first trans women to undergo
sex reassignment surgery), “Jan” Morris (a Welsh historian), and “Renee”
Richards (the famous tennis player). He doesn’t even mention the word
“Caitlyn” as he repeatedly refers to Jenner by male pronouns and his
previous name. McHugh, acknowledging he’s never even met Jenner, proceeds to
unprofessionally diagnose her with “autogynephilia,” the notion that
transgender women are disordered — that the nature of their identities is
that they are “sexually aroused by the image of themselves as women.”
Autogynephilia depends on the assumption that
crossdressing is a disorder
and ignores the concept of gender identity entirely.
Even when speaking of gender dysphoria, the
intentionally nondisordered term
for diagnosing and treating transgender people, McHugh insists that trans
people should still be treated as disordered, like people with anorexia
nervosa. “Its treatment should not be directed at the body as with surgery
and hormones,” he writes, “any more than one treats obesity-fearing anorexic
patients with liposuction. The treatment should strive to correct the false,
problematic nature of the assumption and to resolve the psychosocial
conflicts provoking it” . . . "
powerful highly-positioned academic
and member of the
National Academy of Medicine,
who has incessently promoted
Blanchard's pseudo-scientific 'theory of
Bailey's anti-transsexual book
for more than the past decade!]
6-08-15: New York Times: "The Search for the Best Estimate of the
"When Caitlyn Jenner, formerly known as Bruce Jenner, unveiled her new name,
appearance and TV show last week, it shined a light on transgender
Americans. But much about the community, such as its size, remains opaque.
The main reason is that the United States Census Bureau and other keepers of
official records do not ask about gender identity. Also, gender identity can
be fluid and hard to define in a multiple-choice list. There are now more
than 50 gender options on Facebook, for instance.
Some researchers are also concerned that the number is undercounted because
of a reluctance among some transgender people to discuss it with survey
takers or signify it on a government form. In a study by the National Center
for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, 71
percent of transgender people said they hid their gender or gender
transition to try to avoid discrimination.
Yet knowing more about transgender people is important for policy-making in
health, education, criminal justice, social services, sports, the military
“We see health disparities and socioeconomic disparities that are likely
related to stigma and discrimination, so to understand those and try to
figure out what the policy would be to try to remedy those disparities, we
just have to have better data,” said Gary Gates, research director at the
University of California, Los Angeles Williams Institute, which studies law
and public policy related to sexual orientation and gender identity.
There are no national data, but two studies have tried to quantify or
describe the transgender population in the United States . . . "
6-06-15: The Star (Canada; posted 6-04): "Ontario becomes first
province to ban 'conversion therapy’ for LGBTQ children -- Legislation
proposed by NDP’s Cheri DiNovo passes unanimously at Queen’s Park. Health
minister says conversion therapy has ‘no place in Ontario.’"
"Ontario has passed a landmark law banning so-called “conversion therapy” on
lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender children and preventing medical
practitioners from billing OHIP for it.
The legislation proposed by
New Democrat MPP Cheri DiNovo
won unanimous support from all three parties at Queen’s Park on Thursday, in
time for Pride week, which begins June 19.
It’s the first law of its kind in Canada and goes further than conversion
therapy bans in several U.S. states by including protection for the
“We’re sending an incredibly strong message . . . there’s absolutely no room
in an inclusive society for trying to change somebody’s sexual identity or
their gender expression or their gender identity,” DiNovo told the Star.
She said LGBTQ children are sometimes forced into
the therapy by anxious parents and noted transgender people have an
attempted suicide rate
of 50 per cent.
Susan Gapka, founder and chair of the Trans Lobby
Group, called the bill “huge progress” while
Health Minister Eric Hoskins,
a family doctor, called conversion therapy a “dangerous treatment” and said
people have the right “to be who they are.”
“The practice of conversion therapy has no place in Ontario, a province
where acceptance, respect and diversity are our most cherished strengths,”
he added in a statement."
Zucker's reign of terror on transgender children
at CAMH is finally coming to an end.]
6-06-15: Wired (posted 6-04): "The Big Problem With Outlawing Gender
Conversion Therapies", by Alice Dreger
"Bill 77 assumes gender identities and sexual orientations are all very
simple—as if they are all determined at birth and easily detectable. The
bill aims to prohibit any clinical practice that “seeks to change or direct
the sexual orientation or gender identity of a patient under 18 years of
age, including efforts to change or direct the patient’s behavior or gender
expression.” That is an important goal. Doctors and clinicians should not
pressure a child to be any gender or another; that is incredibly harmful.
But the problem is that the bill defines “sexual orientation or gender
identity of a patient [as] the patient’s self-identified sexual orientation
or gender identity.”
So, under this bill’s current form, if a seven-year-old male said he feels
he’s a girl, then the clinician would have to effectively accept that he’s a
girl. If the child indicates a belief that s/he’s a straight girl, then even
if the clinician thinks the patient might be a gay boy—that the child might,
with good familial and social support, grow up to be a well-adjusted gay man
without the need for sex-altering surgeries or lifelong hormone replacement
therapy—the clinician must not “change or direct” the child’s understanding.
But by not “changing or directing” the child’s understanding—by “affirming”
a “transgender” identity as soon as it appears—the clinician might actually
be stimulating and cementing a transgender identity. (Consider by analogy
how telling a girl who says she hates math that “math is for boys” can
stimulate and cement that gendered self-identity.) Maybe the child who is
“affirmed” will be just as well off with a transgender identity as she would
have been without, but the fact is that being transgender generally comes
with non-trivial medical interventions, including hormonal and surgical . .
Even more concerning is what the Ontario’s bill’s
approach could do to a young adult like Leelah Alcorn, the born-male
transgender teenager who killed herself because her parents wouldn’t accept
her identity. Imagine if Leelah had responded to
by insisting to a clinician trying to help her that she was not transgender.
Under Bill 77, the clinician would have to accept the patient’s professed
self-identity, even if the clinician believed that gender transition might
save this patient’s psyche and her life.
Worst of all, if Bill 77 passes, it could very well dissuade many
compassionate and progressive clinicians from working with gender-variant
youth. That would be a terrible outcome. We need these clinicians, and we
need them to follow patients’ needs, not cultural trends.
[On June 4, 2015,
Dreger makes a futile last ditch effort to stop Bill 77 from banning
Zuckerian transreparatism in Ontario.
Bill 77 passed that very same day . . . ]
6-05-15: San Jose Mercury News: "Transgender kids: 'Exploding' number
of children, parents seek clinical help"
"Now, as the nation sees a growing acceptance of transgender people such as
the former Olympian Jenner, Bay Area therapists and physicians are seeing a
surge in the number of families seeking advice -- and sometimes medical
intervention -- to help kids whose perceived genders and bodies don't seem
"We have lifted the lid culturally," said developmental psychologist Diane
Ehrensaft, whose Oakland practice has seen a fourfold increase in the number
of gender-questioning kids in recent years. "These kids have always existed,
but they kept it underground."
Her colleague, Steve Rosenthal, started the UCSF Child and Adolescent Gender
Center three years ago and now serves 200 families, including Bishop's, and
has opened a satellite branch in San Mateo. The gender center took on 13 new
families in May, the clinic's busiest month yet . . .
For children who are "persistent, consistent and insistent" that their
biological gender doesn't match who they really are, it's critical to act,
Ehrensaft said. "Holding a kid back when they know there's an intervention
that could help them feels to them like they're swimming in deep water,
nearly drowning, and you're standing with a life jacket around your arm and
not giving it to them," she said.
In a 2010 study by the National Center for Transgender Equality, 41 percent
of transgender adults reported having attempted suicide -- a rate 25 times
higher than the general population. A quarter of transgender adults reported
suffering from drug or alcohol addiction.
But the increasing presence of transgender people online and in the media
have helped give young people the confidence to express the gender they feel
themselves to be, Ehrensaft said. Parents, too, she said, are becoming more
aware than ever of the suffering transgender teens face and the need to take
children who resist traditional gender roles seriously . . .
UCSF and other gender clinics now often use reversible hormone blockers to
delay puberty and the permanent biological changes that come with it until
mid-adolescence. This gives children and families a chance to fully explore
and be certain about their path before going on to sex-hormone treatments,
which cause permanent physical changes.
For biological girls who know they are boys deep down, Rosenthal said,
growing breasts and starting menstruation are "basically intolerable." The
same goes for transgender girls who feel physically trapped in a boy's body,
he said. Developing a deep voice and an Adam's apple can feel like a
Bishop started taking hormone blockers in spring 2013 at the UCSF gender
clinic at the end of his freshman year. That summer he started taking
testosterone to switch from female to male puberty. He has had surgeries to
flatten his chest and remove his ovaries and uterus. He hopes his transition
will be complete by this summer after one more surgery.
With the support of his family and community, Bishop is thriving, his father
said. At 17, he's a straight-A student, a popular drum major in his high
school marching band and excited about heading off to college.
His only regret is not starting the transition sooner, before female puberty
started to make changes that had to be rolled back with surgery.
So far, the easiest part of Bishop's transition has been his coming out at
school, he said. When he announced that he was now a boy to his freshman
class, he recalled, "They were like, 'Cool -- and? That's not a big deal.'"
This is typical of a generational shift in attitudes toward gender and
sexuality, said Baum, of Gender Spectrum.
"It's a movement being led by young people," he
said. "And the pace of it is remarkable. It has caught us staggering.""
Zucker tried to stop for decades
is finally happening . . . as parents begin demanding compassionate help for
their transgender children.]
6-05-15: E!: "Transgender Women From All Over the World Are
Creating Their Own Vanity Fair Cover" (more)
Vanity Fair cover
hit the Internet,
the image has been shared millions of times over and sparked just as many
conversations about the transgender population. Soon after, Orange Is the
New Black star
wrote an inspiring Tumblr post
praising Caitlyn for her bravery, but she also used it to warn the media
that it's dangerous to try to define what makes a person beautiful,
especially when it comes to the transgender community.
"Now, there are many trans folks because of
genetics and/or lack of material access who will never be able to embody
these standards," Cox writes.
"More importantly many trans folks don't want to embody them and we
shouldn't have to be seen as ourselves and respected as ourselves. It is
important to note that these standards are also infomed [sic] by race, class
and ability among other intersections."
Empowered by the message that everyone has a different story to tell and a
different idea of what "real beauty" means to them, Tumblr users Crystal
Frasier and her roommate Jenn Dolari created the #MyVanityFairCover campaign
that is currently taking over social media."
6-04-15: Tumblr (posted 6-03): "Call me Crystal", a
social-media-happening created by
and Jenn Dolari
lot of people have explained it better than me recently, but a large
contingent of the trans community has engaged in a lot of dialogue the past
few days, ever since Vanity Fair announced their Caitlyn Jenner’s cover
story, most of which revolves around the idea that the world only seems to
embrace us if we’re wealthy enough or lucky enough to adhere to white,
cisnormative beauty standards. I’ve felt frustrated and useless and
overwhelmed by opinions on transgender women and how we’re “supposed” to
look if we want to be taken seriously.
But not all of us adhere to those standards. Not all of us want to. Not all
of us can. Some of us do, but only out of fear. Some of us do but we aren’t
sure why. And whether we fit those standards or not, we’re beautiful, and we
all deserve to feel beautiful, and be acknowledged by the world. Admiration
and praise for trans women shouldn’t only come if we fit a narrow definition
of beauty. As a good friend of mine said Monday “Where’s my Vanity Fair
here (in white) and
here (in black). Please share these and the hashtag #MyVanityFairCover
and show the world the myriad faces of the trans community."
[From Crystal Frasier and Jenn Dolari: "Please share
and show the world the myriad faces of the trans community"]
Dallas Morning News: "Free to be themselves: Children’s Medical Center
Dallas opens clinic for transgender children and teenagers"
"The Genecis program — GENder Education and Care, Interdisciplinary Support
— officially opened its doors last month, even though Lopez and other
specialists have been treating young patients for three years. It’s the only
pediatric clinic of its type in the Southwest.
“People have this idea that transgender people are just weird and awkward
and troubled,” said Lopez, Genecis’s medical director and an assistant
professor of pediatrics at UT Southwestern. “That’s because historically
people came out as transgendered adults when they’d … spent much of their
lives depressed because they were not being themselves.”
But medical advances and increased public awareness of gender dysphoria —
consider this week’s announcement of the “I am Cait” docu-drama featuring
Caitlyn Jenner, the former Bruce Jenner — suggest there may be a greater
chance for social acceptance.
“These children have an opportunity to have a normal life,” Lopez said. “The
new generation of transgender people we’ll see are completely different.
They’ll look normal like you and me. And they’ll be happy.”
The treatment at Children’s works like this: When appropriate, doctors
prescribe drugs to delay puberty, usually around the age of 12. About four
years later, patients are administered cross-sex hormones that trigger a
transition to adulthood in their identified gender.
Therapy is required at all stages, including a six-month assessment, before
children are considered for medical intervention . . .
The first treatment for transgender youth began in 2007 at Boston Children’s
Hospital. Last year, there were 24 clinics clustered mostly on the East
Coast and California. Today, there are 40.
“It’s growing really fast,” Lopez said. “And the main reason is parents are
demanding it and bringing patients to the door of pediatric endocrinologists
because they know this is available.” . . .
In the Genecis program, Lopez said, the goal is to intervene in early
adolescence, before troubling psychological and physical changes are brought
on by puberty. For example, it can be devastating for a transgender boy to
grow breasts and start having a period. For transgender girls, physical
changes such as hand size, height and shoulder width are permanent.
“Puberty blockers take all that away,” Lopez said. “Emotionally and
socially, it lets them have a better transition to their identified gender,
and it improves their psychological outcome.”
So far, Genecis has treated about 40 children and teenagers. Another 40 or
so have been referred by therapists and parents."
6-04-15: USA Today: "Air Force eases policy banning transgender
"The Air Force announced policy changes Thursday that will make it more
difficult to discharge transgender troops, a move that mirrors one made in
March by the Army and puts the Pentagon a step closer to allowing
transgender people to serve openly.
Troops diagnosed with gender dysphoria or who identify as transgender are
generally discharged from serving, based on medical grounds. Those decisions
have been made by doctors and unit commanders. The new Air Force policy
requires those decisions to be reviewed by high-level officials at Air Force
"Though the Air Force policy regarding involuntary
separation of gender dysphoric Airmen has not changed, the elevation of
decision authority to the Director,
Air Force Review Boards Agency,
ensures the ability to consistently apply the existing policy," Daniel
Sitterly, a top Air Force personnel official, said in a statement.
The Air Force and Army moves follow a number of
statements from top Pentagon officials about dismantling the policy allowing
transgender troops to be kicked out of the services. Defense Secretary
said this year in response to a question about transgender service that
ability to perform military tasks should be the standard for eligibility."
6-04-15: New York Times Editorial: "Let Transgender Troops Serve
"Staff Sgt. Loeri Harrison could receive the paperwork any day now, forms
certifying that after an exemplary eight-year Army career, she is no longer
fit for duty and must leave Fort Bragg because she is transgender.
Early this year, Senior Airman Logan Ireland feared he might face a similar
fate when he disclosed to his commanders during a recent deployment in
Afghanistan that he transitioned from female to male. Yet, his supervisors
have been supportive, allowing him to wear male uniforms and adhere to male
grooming standards even though Air Force records continue to label him as
It can go either way in the military these days.
transgender civilians in the federal work force
enjoy robust legal protections from
discrimination, those in the armed forces may be discharged at any moment.
The Pentagon, shamefully, has yet to
rescind anachronistic personnel guidelines
that prohibit openly transgender people from joining in the military,
labeling their condition a “paraphilia,” or perversion.
The policy has forced thousands to serve in
silence, repressing an essential part of their identity. The Williams
Institute at the U.C.L.A. School of Law, which researches gender issues,
estimates there are about
15,500 transgender troops serving in uniform.
Those who take steps to transition while in
uniform must carefully compartmentalize their lives as they test the
shifting boundaries of tolerance within an institution that still allows
discrimination on the basis of gender identity. While some service members
have come out in recent years to commanders willing to bend or disregard
scores have been expelled.
The absence of common-sense leadership on this
issue by Pentagon leaders has forced commanders on the ground to develop a
patchwork of unofficial rules. Those have created a tremendously uneven
landscape in which
some service members are treated with respect
and assured career advancement, while
others are subject to scorn, if not
6-04-15: New York Times: "Barnard College, After Much Discussion,
Decides to Accept Transgender Women"
"Barnard College announced on Thursday that it will begin accepting
transgender women, joining a slate of women’s colleges that have created
formal policies on whether to admit students who do not identify with their
The new policy, which the board of trustees approved on Wednesday, welcomes
applicants who “consistently live and identify as women, regardless of the
gender assigned to them at birth.” Students who enter as female and then
transition to male while at Barnard will be able to stay at the college and
receive a Barnard degree
Transgender men, who were assigned female at birth but identify as men at
the time of application, are ineligible for admission, as are students who
identify as neither gender, regardless of their birth sex.
Debora L. Spar, the president of Barnard, which is part of Columbia
University, said the decision came after more than a year of discussions
that included faculty members, staff members, students, alumnae, parents and
board members, over what, precisely, the policy should be."
6-03-15: Lifeisgoodmakeitbetter.com (posted 3-15): "The
appropriation of black and hispanic trans deaths by white trans women and
political opportunists", by
"I think we (white trans women) need to stop
talking about how 'victimizing' it is to be trans and instead talk about
socioeconomic oppression. Parker
Molloy speculated that the deaths of TWOC don't get as much coverage Leelah
Alcorn's because of racial bias in the
media, but that's only half the story . . .
The most cited source for trans victimization is
Trans Discrimination Survey - that's
where the infamous "41% of trans people attempt suicide" statistic comes
from, even though it was 41% of the survey respondents - which included
cross dressers, drag queens, and other identities that trans women typically
want nothing to do with because they're nothing like us, right? Right! . . .
To be clear, any percent of a population attempting suicide is too much.
However, the NTDS was distributed online and through trans/LGBT networks and
support groups, so there's probably a degree of selection bias since the
people taking the survey were the people closest to the trans community. It
seems unlikely that there were a lot of stealth respondents or individuals
who transitioned and moved on, so 'positive' or 'neutral' trans experiences
are likely undercounted. The survey respondents also don't reflect the
general demographics of the United States, so the data is neither random nor
representative, yet many cite it as though it represents the entirety of the
trans community. Also worth noting is that the survey methodology reports
that the 'attempted suicide' count itself may be inflated, as many people
'count' non-serious attempts, etc., which isn't to say that the NTDS isn't
useful, but that we should be careful when playing the victim card.
That individuals appropriate these statistics and
deaths is not an accusation so much as it is an observation of overall
community dynamics and how they lend themselves to fear.
A fear that is not rational when there is no deadly
backlash for the white, middle-class,
6-02-15: The Advocate: "Why TV News Ignores Transgender Murders"
"The national news media spent part of this
weekend marking the decade since the disappearance and presumed death of an
attractive young Alabama woman named
The 18-year-old blond, blue-eyed beauty vanished
on a graduation trip in Aruba, and despite hundreds of stories on
television, in print and online, and 10 years of investigations, few details
have emerged. The mystery remains unsolved.
Just like the cases of
64,000 missing black women
you never saw on the news.
It might not surprise you to learn the coverage of Holloway and other young,
white women led media analysts to coin a term: “missing white girl
This disturbing phenomenon was very evident that
summer a decade ago, when amid all the Holloway media coverage, 25-year-old
disappeared in Philadelphia, pregnant with her second child. Reports show it
took police and the media at least 11 days to focus their attention on a
mixed-race woman. Eleven days, and some heat from hotheaded TV host Nancy
The odds that the media will cover violence
against LGBT people, particularly trans women of color, are even more
disturbing: In 2012,
Sage Smith of
Virginia vanished at age 19, as did Heather Hodges, 22. Hodges was white and
cisgender (not transgender), but Smith was a black trans woman. While The
Advocate, GLAAD, and other LGBT media got the word out about Smith, the only
mainstream coverage was focused on Hodges.
“The only time people of color make news in cases like this is when it’s
fatal, when they’re murdered. Even then it makes little news,” Kylar Broadus
told Ewart. Broadus is executive director of the Trans People of Color
Coalition, a nonprofit social justice organization. He explains that
transgender people of color experience the most pervasive forms of
discrimination because of the combination of these characteristics.
a black transgender boy, homecoming king, and teen activist from North
Carolina, committed suicide in March, his death received far less
acknowledgement from the media than that of
— a white transgender girl — three months earlier.
Despite articles in the The Advocate, the New York Daily News and the
U.K.'s Daily Mail, and attention from transgender activists Janet Mock and
Laverne Cox, Brockington's case was covered mainly by North Carolina news
publications and LGBT bloggers. There were few to no follow-ups.
Contrast that with the nonstop coverage of the
Washington, D.C., quadruple murder, in whixh Greek-American ironworks tycoon
Savvas Savopoulos, his wife, son, and housekeeper were
before the Savopoulos mansion was set ablaze. It's certainly a sad,
horrifying story, but hardly the only violent crime that occurred in the
past month. Why does this happen? Is it an obsession with wealth — the
Savopouloses were very successful — or an intentional bias against trans
women, women of color, or minorities in general?
I have what I think is a valid perspective, as someone who spent 30 years in
television newsrooms. Not once, ever, have I encountered a single person who
thought the life of someone brown, black, or any color other than white was
worth less than that of a Caucasian.
But there have been plenty who thought they were less newsworthy."
6-01-15: Huffington Post: "Banned From Serving Openly, Transgender
Veteran To Attend Pentagon Event In Uniform" (more)
"When the Pentagon holds its Pride Month event next week honoring gay and
lesbian service members, Sheri Swokowski will be there to make a bold
All she has to do is show up.
Swokowski, a retired U.S. Army infantry colonel, is the highest-ranking
transgender veteran in the country. The U.S. military bans transgender
people from serving, but when Swokowski appears at the Pentagon event on
June 9, she will be presenting as female while wearing a new dress uniform
that bears the infantry brass and braid associated with her uniform as a
male soldier -- a message to the military leaders in the room that
transgender service members do exist and should be allowed to serve openly.
"I just want to be a visible symbol for those out there that are forced to,
I won't say lie, but not be authentic in order to serve the country that
they love," Swokowski told The Huffington Post. "They are very brave. I'm
sure they're trying to do the best they can and keeping their fingers
crossed that, sooner or later, the Defense Department is going to get on
board and accept transgender people."
The ban has been in place since the 1970s, but it
clearly isn't working. There are 15,500 transgender military personnel
currently serving, in secret, according to
a 2014 Williams Institute report.
Beyond that, there are an estimated 134,000 transgender veterans or retirees
from guard or reserve service . . .
Swokowski said senior military leaders seem the most resistant to changing
the policy. She said she knows a handful of transgender people currently
serving under commanders who know about their gender identity and support
them because of their performance, but may feel "uneasy" because it's
against policy to work with a transgender service member.
"I think [top military brass] don't want to talk about it because they're
not comfortable with it. It's something new," she said. "Just because you're
assigned a different sex at birth doesn't mean that we are different in
society. ... We're not any different. We need to have folks understand that
this is a medical condition and it's deserving of treatment. That's kind of
the bottom line. I was a commander. I commanded an infantry company and, you
know, you take care of your people" . . .
Asked if she's nervous about how she'll be received at the Pentagon event
next week, Swokowski said she's mostly just curious to see what will happen.
"I'm not there to incite anything," she said. "It's not for me. It's for
those 15,000 folks that are out there. I've been through that. I know what
6-01-15: Vanity Fair (July issue): "Introducing Caitlyn Jenner" (more,
"Speaking publicly for the first time since completing gender transition,
Caitlyn Jenner compares her emotional two-day photo shoot with Annie
Leibovitz for the July cover of Vanity Fair to winning the gold medal for
the decathlon at the 1976 Olympics. She tells Pulitzer Prize–winning V.F.
contributing editor and author of Friday Night Lights Buzz Bissinger, “That
was a good day, but the last couple of days were better. . . . This shoot
was about my life and who I am as a person. It’s not about the fanfare, it’s
not about people cheering in the stadium, it’s not about going down the
street and everybody giving you ‘that a boy, Bruce,’ pat on the back, O.K.
This is about your life.”
Jenner tells Bissinger about how she suffered a panic attack the day after
undergoing 10-hour facial-feminization surgery on March 15—a procedure she
believed would take 5 hours. (Bissinger reveals that Jenner has not had
genital surgery.) She recalls thinking, “What did I just do? What did I just
do to myself?” A counselor from the Los Angeles Gender Center came to the
house so Jenner could talk to a professional, and assured her that such
reactions were often induced by pain medication, and that second-guessing
was human and temporary.
Jenner tells Bissinger the thought has since passed and not come back: “If I
was lying on my deathbed and I had kept this secret and never ever did
anything about it, I would be lying there saying, ‘You just blew your entire
life. You never dealt with yourself,’ and I don’t want that to happen.”
Bissinger spent hundreds of hours with the man the world knew as Bruce
Jenner over a period of three months, and then countless hours with Caitlyn,
also attending the photo shoot with Leibovitz at Jenner’s Malibu home."
05-29-15: Yahoo Parenting: "Mom Fights for Controversial Medicine for
Transgender Youth" (Link
to Change.org Petition)
"The mom of a transgender teen is fighting for the
rights of children like hers across America — not by aiming to stop bullying
equal access to public bathrooms,
but for Medicaid to begin covering “life-saver” medical treatments that
physically halt puberty in its tracks.
“Most children who are transgender face more
challenges than their peers. One of the most heartbreaking is having to
suffer through a puberty that does not mirror their affirmed gender. The
answer is to have Medicaid cover puberty blockers for these children,”
writes Robynn Bell, the mom behind a
asking President Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, and National Institutes of
Health director Francis S. Collins to allow Medicaid to cover such
treatments. In just two weeks, the petition has collected more than 4,400
So what exactly are puberty blockers? They are
injected medications that work by blocking the brain’s release of the
hormone-stimulating proteins that produce secondary sex characteristics,
such as breasts and menstruation in women or facial hair and an Adam’s apple
daughter, now a junior in high school, was “one of the lucky ones,” she
notes, as she was able to start the treatment of Luprone “just in time,”
when she was 13. “As a result, she did not have testosterone flowing through
her young body. Her voice didn’t change, she didn’t develop an Adam’s apple
or other physical changes that would have devastated how she saw herself.
Because she didn’t have to spend as much energy on hating her body (though
she still hates her genitals), she has been able to concentrate on school,
putting her consistently on the honor roll…”"
05-28-15: The Advocate: "Poised for Perfection: Sgt. Shane Ortega Puts
a Face to the Transgender Military Ban"
don’t think anyone really understands the level of perfection that I have to
have right now that I stepped forward,” he admits. “But I understood the
weight of the matter. It was part of what I juggled in my judgment before I
decided to do that. And it’s really uncomfortable, to be honest. But if I
don’t do it, it doesn’t help anyone else.”
He’s referring to people
like the field grade officer who, he shares, privately sought him out after
over a decade of service to tell him that they were transgender and had not
felt able to come out. “It’s like, what can I do?” Ortega wonders aloud. “I
can stick my neck out further.”
Last month Ortega
stuck his neck out when he stepped into the national spotlight in a
article on the U.S. military’s continued
policy against service by transgender people,
becoming the institution’s most publicly visible active-duty trans soldier.
It was a decision he
tells The Advocate
he weighed carefully, though not necessarily because it would jeopardize his
status with the military. Ortega had already more quietly let the U.S. Army
know, through the American Civil Liberties Union in September, that he would
not passively accept being “separated” — released from active duty — for
being transgender, if his unexpected grounding ultimately led there.
Rather, Ortega deliberated
on whether to go public because he knew it could have implications, large
and small, for every other transgender person serving in the U.S. military.
And while many can only imagine that his visibility will bring positive
effects, behind the scenes the issues become much more complex and
Then, those issues
are compounded by the institutional military regulation that bars
transgender people from serving openly: Department of Defense Instruction 6130.03.
It proclaims that any type of gender-confirming clinical, medical, or
surgical treatment is evidence of “disqualifying physical and mental
conditions.” Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, who took office in
February, has said he is
“open-minded” about reviewing the policy,
which has not been updated since it was written in the 1970s. But despite
pressure from activists within the ranks and in Washington, the Pentagon has
confirmed that no specific review of the transgender-specific ban is
currently under way.
Department of Defense began a routine, periodic review of the Department's
medical accession policy, DoDI 6130.03 in February 2015,” a Pentagon
spokesman, Cmdr. Nate Christiansen, tells
The Advocate via email. “The review
will cover 26 systems of the human body (e.g., neurologic, vision, learning,
psychological and behavioral). We routinely review our policies to make sure
they are accurate, up-to-date and reflect any necessary changes since the
Department's last policy review. … The current periodic review is expected
to take between 12-18 months; it is not a specific review of the
Department’s transgender policy.”"
05-28-15: LA Times (posted 5-27): "Readers React: For these parents,
'what if your kid is transgender?' isn't hypothetical"
"Last week, UCLA geneticist and pediatrician Eric
Vilain and Northwestern University psychologist Michael Bailey
took to The Times' Op-Ed page to
discuss the development of transgender and gender dysphoric youths. As the
headline suggests, their piece was novel in that it was directed at the
parents of children who express discomfort with the gender assigned to them
at birth; it read, "What should you do if your son says he's a girl?"
Most of the roughly two dozen people who responded
were experts in the field -- clinicians, researchers and professors -- who
disagreed sharply with Vilain's and Bailey's conclusion that more research
needs to be done on transgender and gender dysphoric children before someone
like President Obama condemns (as he has) so-called conversion therapy for
not just lesbian and gay youths, but also for young people who identify as
transgender. Two letters -- one from a UC San Francisco psychiatry professor
who sits on the board of the World Professional Assn. for Transgender
Health, which opposes conversion therapy, and another from a clinical
were printed in
Tuesday's paper; one distinguished between transgender children and
those who merely exhibit gender nonconforming behavior, and the other
extolled the value of therapy that emphasizes empathetic listening.
Also among the letter writers were those to whom the authors address their
piece: the parents of transgender children. To them, Bailey's and Vilain's
advice isn't well-taken. They share their feelings of regret over their
initial reaction to their children's questioning of their gender identity,
and they express hope that other parents are accepting of their kids.
Here are two of their letters . . . "
05-28-15: LA Times (posted 5-26): ''Readers (Therapists) React:
Why conversion therapy for transgender youth is unethical"
"To the editor: Eric Vilain and J. Michael Bailey correctly warn about the
limits of our knowledge about children who socially transition to another
gender before puberty, but they wrongly conclude that we shouldn't condemn
conversion therapy for these children.
Older studies lumped together transgender-identified children with a larger
group of children with gender nonconforming behavior but not necessarily
cross-gender identity. We can't conclude from these studies that transgender
children could grow up to be well-adjusted as boys.
The strong cross-gender identity and patterns of thinking of some of these
children are being studied by academics such as the University of
Washington's Kristina Olson as well as by a collaborative of pediatric
experts at several university medical centers, so our knowledge base is
bound to increase with time.
What do we know now? We have much knowledge of the harm of conversion
therapy in children. The consensus of experts of the World Professional
Assn. for Transgender Health (WPATH) is that conversion therapy for gender
nonconforming children is harmful.
Therefore, WPATH's most recent Standards of Care states, “Treatment aimed at
trying to change a person's gender identity and expression … is no longer
Dan Karasic, MD, San Francisco
The writer, a clinical professor of
psychiatry at UC San Francisco, is a WPATH board member.
To the editor: If the authors have ever spent an hour with a young child
sobbing in their office, and if they have ever witnessed the remarkable
transformation from distress and anxiety to happiness and well-being when
these children are listened to and allowed to transition to the gender they
know themselves to be, they might think twice about putting the decision in
the parents' hands rather than in the child's.
As for the research statistics about the number of children who by
adolescence “desist” from their early diagnosis of gender dysphoria, I would
ask the authors, “Don't you know the difference between an apple and an
As reviewed by the team of researchers in 2013 who originally collected the
data on desisters and persisters in the Netherlands, from early on the
persisters are not the same group of children as the desisters and should
never be lumped together. The apples, the persisters, are our youngest
cohort of transgender folks, showing up early in childhood, saying “I am a
girl” rather than “I wish I was a girl,” and being insistent, persistent and
consistent in their declarations.
We can find them if we look for them, and the worst thing we could do for
them is deny who they are and try to force them to be someone else.
Diane Ehrensaft, Oakland.
a clinical psychologist, is director of mental health at the UC San
Francisco Child and Adolescent Gender Center."
05-28-15: LA Times Op-Ed (posted 5-21): "What should you do if your son
says he's a girl?" By
J. Michael Bailey
"As scientists who study gender and sexuality, we can tell you confidently:
At this point no one knows what is better for your son.
We do know a lot about such boys. This includes some important facts rarely
mentioned in the discussion about how they should be raised. We suspect this
is because those facts are inconvenient to the narratives that have come to
Perhaps the most influential account is that gender dysphoric children have
the minds and brains of the other sex, adult transgenderism is inevitable,
and early transition to the other sex is the only humane option.
But this narrative is clearly wrong in one respect. Gender dysphoric
children have not usually become transgender adults. For example, the large
majority of gender dysphoric boys studied so far have become young men
content to remain male. More than 80% adjusted by adolescence.
Granted, the available research was conducted at a time when parents almost
always encouraged their gender dysphoric children to accept their birth sex.
And this is changing.
For example, the parents of Jazz Jennings, a transgender teen and YouTube
celebrity, let their son live as a girl starting at age 5, and all the
evidence suggests that she will remain female. The little data we have
indicate that parental acquiescence leads to persistence.
As more and more parents let their gender dysphoric boys live as girls, the
percentage of persisters may increase dramatically.
The large majority of gender dysphoric boys studied so far have become young
men content to remain male. More than 80% adjusted by adolescence. -
But, again, we don't yet know whether it's better to encourage adjustment or
persistence . . .
Despite the lack of clarity in this debate, the Obama administration
recently appeared to take sides, issuing a statement that decried the use of
“conversion therapy” to change either sexual orientation or gender identity.
President Obama is correct to oppose sexual orientation conversion therapy,
which is usually offered because of religious objections to homosexuality,
and which doesn't work. But therapy to help a pre-adolescent child overcome
gender dysphoria can be entirely different. Some professionals who do this
therapy have no moral issue with transgenderism but are trying to help
children avoid later medical stress. That is a reasonable goal, even if it
is not the only possible goal , , ,
But Obama lumped together all therapies, regardless of their motivation,
target age and method. Banning all therapists from helping families trying
to alleviate children's gender dysphoria would be premature, a triumph of
ideology over science.
The president can set a better example by pausing at the limits of our
knowledge and encouraging scientists to collect the data we need. Until we
have it, let's be careful about telling the well-meaning parents of gender
dysphoric children what to do.
Eric Vilain is a professor of human genetics and pediatrics at the UCLA
and director of the Center for Gender-Based Biology. J. Michael Bailey is a
professor of psychology at Northwestern University."
[Ed: Eric Valain and
J. Michael Bailey reassert their committment to
Zuckerian childhood transreparatism . . . even in the face of
increasing public outcry over Zucker's methods and the
forced suspension of Zucker's clinic in Toronto].
05-27-15: Aljazeera America: "Michigan transgender woman challenges
state's policy on changing ID"
"For most people, flashing a state-issued ID card when writing a check or
getting pulled over for a speeding ticket doesn’t require much thought.
But for Tina Seitz, 56, a retired automotive engineer living in the Detroit
area, the experience can be humiliating. A store clerk once accused Seitz of
lying about her identity when she tried to write a check because her
driver’s license designates her sex as male. Airport security is another
ordeal, she said. Seitz said she felt intimidated by Transportation Security
Administration agents who looked at her suspiciously after she presented
them with her ID.
Seitz said she would like to have that “F” on her driver’s license, but the
state of Michigan won’t allow her to, because she is a transgender woman.
“This is just one of those things that does make me feel like a second-class
citizen,” Seitz told Al Jazeera. “There’s people that think that I should
not be recognized in any way, shape or form, and that hurts.”
Seitz is one of six transgender Michiganders
represented by the ACLU of Michigan, which filed a
federal lawsuit last week against Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson on
their behalf. In 2011, Johnson introduced a policy requiring Michigan
residents to present an amended birth certificate to change the gender on
their driver’s licenses or state ID cards. Under state law, altering the
gender listed on a birth certificate requires proof of gender reassignment
surgery, something that the plaintiffs haven’t been able to or wanted to
do, and isn’t required for passports or Social Security cards.
The lawsuit alleges that Johnson’s 2011 rule is unconstitutional, because it
violates the plaintiffs' constitutional rights to privacy, free speech,
equal protection, interstate travel and independence in making important
“A driver’s license serves a crucial function for many individuals in making
it possible for them to secure and maintain a job and otherwise care for
their needs and the needs of their family,” the lawsuit reads. “A driver’s
license that fails to match one’s gender leads to the disclosure of private,
intimate information about one’s transgender status, and it often leads to
physical harm, harassment, discrimination, or groundless accusations of
The plaintiffs allege that they have frequently suffered embarrassment and
fear because of their driver’s licenses. They report being ridiculed,
refused or intimidated by poll workers when voting, at the grocery store
when using a credit card or when applying for a job, according
to court documents (PDF) . . .
Seitz did manage to change her driver’s license once. She moved to the
Detroit area from Ohio in 1999 to work as an engineer for General Motors,
where she served on a resource board for LGBT employees. In 2006, she began
the process of transitioning to become a woman, and a year later, Seitz was
able change her sex to female on her Michigan driver’s license by presenting
a letter to Michigan's Secretary of State's office from her surgeon
confirming her gender reassignment surgery.
But in 2011, her driver’s license was briefly suspended pending the outcome
of a court case. When the license was returned to her, the gender
designation had been changed back to male. Michigan’s new policy would
require her to present a new birth certificate confirming her female gender.
That proved impossible. Seitz was born in Ohio, a state that doesn’t allow
changes to gender on a birth certificate under any circumstances, so it
would not consider the letter from her Michigan surgeon confirming the
reassignment surgery. Idaho, Kansas and Tennessee are the only other states
that don’t allow alterations to gender on a birth certificate. "
05-27-15: NPR: "Casa Ruby Is A 'Chosen Family' For Trans People Who
Need A Home"
"If you're transgender in America, you're far more
likely than other people to be unemployed, homeless and poor. And there's
a 4 in 10 chance you've tried to kill yourself.
It can be a confusing and lonely life.
One woman who's been through it all is Ruby
Corado. She's a 45-year-old transgender woman in Washington, D.C., who is
now trying to help others along the difficult path.
Forty-year-old Kiera Atkins says she'd probably be
dead without Corado. Atkins says after she came out as a woman last year,
she went from being a software engineer earning a six-figure salary to being
homeless and suicidal.
"First off, I was fired from my job for being
transgender. Then after that, I was evicted. And then it just kind of went
downhill from there," says Atkins.
She says today she's found hope at Casa Ruby, a
nonprofit agency located in a yellow brick rowhouse in the nation's capital.
Corado is the founder and matriarch. With a deep, rich laugh, long red
tinted hair and manicured nails, she holds court on the front porch, sitting
in a purple plastic chair.
Corado greets the trans men and women who come here, looking for help with
housing, health care, legal services and jobs. Corado calls them her sons
and daughters, because she knows why they're really here.
"Most of the people who come to Casa Ruby don't have a family that accepts
them, or that loves them for the most part. So we have a family here, and it
is the concept of a chosen family," she says.
Corado says people here want a better life. They don't want to have to rely
on drugs and prostitution to survive, which is what Corado did until a
brutal attack by a client several years ago left her hospitalized and
destitute. She says the only thing that kept her going was knowing there
were others like her who needed help.
So three years ago, Corado opened Casa Ruby using her own money, a lump sum
payment she received from winning a disability case after she was attacked.
Today, Casa Ruby is a growing nonprofit. But more than anything, it's a
haven for many in the transgender community."
05-27-15: Raw Story: "The history and challenges of the word
"Digitizing transgender history. . .
These are some of the many challenges we’ve
encountered while creating the
Digital Transgender Archive
(DTA), a new project that seeks to create an online hub for
This project is a transnational collaboration among more than a dozen
archives, including university-based collections, historical societies,
nonprofit organizations and private collectors. To improve access to
transgender history, the DTA virtually merges these disparate archival
collections, digital materials and independent projects.
In order to begin to address the challenge of
using the category of transgender
to cohere materials without losing sight of their historical and cultural
contexts, the DTA treats transgender
as a practice rather than an identity label. In other words, the archive
includes any materials related to trans-ing gender, not merely materials
created by or about transgender people.
We are developing a number of resources to address
the imprecision of the term transgender
with respect to time, culture, and individual identities. For example, we
have created an extensive glossary of culturally specific gender identity
terms – such as
(South America) – many of which also appear in the digital materials we are
Our hope is that, for the first time, anyone interested in trans-related
history will have quick and easy digital access to a wealth of sources and
Assistant Professor of English at
College of the Holy Cross.
This article was originally published on
Conversation. Read the
05-27-15: Fusion (re Nepal): "Photos -- An aid group in Nepal set up a
special camp for transgender earthquake victims"
"More than a month after a huge earthquake in Nepal destroyed 309,000 homes
and killed at least 8,000 people, tens of thousands of families in are still
waiting for government aid to construct temporary shelter before the monsoon
rains arrive in mid-June. Many of them have been living in outdoor camps
since the quake hit on April 25th.
But relief camps have been segregated into male and female quarters, leaving
transgender people with few places to access the already limited services.
The scramble to get thousands of trans people adequate relief shows that one
of the countries with the most advanced gender-identity laws in the world
still can’t regulate acceptance, even at desperate times of need.
These photos were taken at an outdoor camp in Kathmandu, where a Nepalese
LGBT-rights group has opened a camp specifically for what they refer to as
“sexual minorities.” . . .
Gay, transgender, and intersex victims of the
earthquake may “find services for the general community inaccessible because
of stigma and discrimination,” said Jess Letch, protection and gender
advisor for the Red Cross, which has so far led a multimillion-dollar
in the country.
“Although the third gender is officially recognised in Nepal, aid response
facilities, such as [toilets], are usually set up for men and women,” Letch
told Fusion via email.
“There is rarely the consideration for the third gender which can leave
people without the services because other community members won’t accept
05-27-15: Dunya News (Pakistan): "Surrogacy unlawful, transgender
persons must be treated equally: Islamic Council"
"Council of Islamic Ideology (CII), the top body of clerics that advises
government on religious issues, on Wednesday issued a landmark edict urging
that the transgender persons must be treated equally and be considered part
of family, Dunya News reported.
According to details, Maulana Sherani
of CII said that the transgender persons must not be referred to as Khawaja
Siras and Mukhanis (effeminate men).
The council recommended the transgender person be treated like a man if he
has more of a ‘male characteristics’ and a woman if she has more of ‘female
It recommended the transgendered persons be included in inheritance as per
the male or female gender identifications.
It merits mentioning here that despite Supreme Court’s 2009 landmark verdict
to recognize them as the ‘third gender’, transgender persons are ill-treated
05-27-15: Times of India (India): "India
gets its first transgender college principal"
"India, probably the world, will get its first transgender college principal
when Manabi Bandopadhyay takes charge of Krishnagar Women's College in West
Bengal on June 9. Manabi is currently associate professor in Bengali at
Vivekananda Satobarshiki Mahavidyalaya.
"This decision was taken by the College Service Commission. I don't
interfere in their decisions. They are aware of our open mind. I am happy
with this decision," state education minister Partha Chatterjee said on
Technical education minister Ujjal Biswas, who is chairman of the college
governing body, said: "We were in need of a principal with a strong
personality to run the college smoothly."
Welcoming the decision, Rattan Lal Hangloo, vice-chancellor of the Kalyani
University to which Krishnagar Women's College is affiliated, said, "Manabi
is a fine human being, a good academician and an able administrator. We are
hopeful her appointment will empower other members of the transgender
05-26-15: Las Vegas Review-Journal: "Transgender student pleads with
CCSD to step up, protect her rights"
"Kristina Hernandez waited nearly a year before she could use the girl’s
restroom at Harney Middle School.
A sixth-grader at the time, Kristina spent the summer after elementary
school preparing to transition from male to female — something she had
desired for years. She encountered no intolerance from other students and
said no parent lodged a single complaint about their child sharing a
restroom or locker room with her.
The administration at the campus on Hollywood Boulevard north of Sahara
Avenue, however, required Kristina to use the toilet in the school nurse’s
office, often making her late for class.
“After a while I stopped eating and drinking at school to avoid having to
go,” she said during a Clark County School Board meeting last month. “I had
to beg, plead and fight for months just to be allowed to be called by my
chosen name and pronouns in class.
“I had to be the one to explain myself and my situation to substitute
teachers, lunch ladies and support staff because my school did not protect
me,” Kristina, now 12, told school board members in April. “It is your
responsibility to make sure that all students are safe in school. You are
After transferring to another public middle school, Kristina stopped losing
sleep at night. A name and gender change on legal documents also helped,
since administrators at her new campus couldn’t challenge her gender.
Kristina and two other transgender students shared their experiences with
the school board at an April 23 meeting, pleading with them to enact a
policy that offers guaranteed protection and equal treatment for
transitioning students across the Clark County School District, the
fifth-largest system in the nation."
Fashionista: "IMG Signs Transgender Model Hari Nef - The recent Columbia
graduate is the newest addition to the agency's roster."
"If you aren't familiar with the name Hari Nef,
that's likely about to change. The transgender actress, writer and model —
who just graduated from Columbia University last week — has garnered quite
the following within the fashion industry over the past few seasons. Aside
from walking runways for Adam Selman, Hood by Air and Eckhaus Latta, she's
starred in a
video campaign for Selfridges,
2015 Dazed 100 list (alongside
Kendall Jenner and the like), appeared in
Paper magazine's 2015 Beautiful People issue
and was recently name-dropped in Vogue.
Now, she has one of the biggest modeling agencies
in the game behind her. IMG's Ivan Bart
took to Twitter
on Tuesday to announce that Nef has been signed to
its women's/talent board. She joins only one transgender model, Valentijn De
Hingh, at the agency (though De Hingh is only represented in Paris).
Despite the attention that a handful of trans
models have received lately —
just earned a Make Up For Ever campaign and a Vogue profile, and Givenchy
muse Lea T. was the face (or rather, the hair) of Redken's Chromatics hair
color in 2014 — there are still very few who have scored big-name contracts.
(Pejic is represented by The Society and Lea T. has a spot on Women
Management's board.) It's a pretty big deal that the industry's most
well-known agency, which represents the likes of Candice Swanepoel, Gigi
Hadid, Sasha Pivovarova and many more, has taken a step in this direction
and expanded its roster to embrace a more diverse definition of beauty. (To
be fair, IMG already represents top plus-size models like Ashley Graham, as
well as models in their 70s and 80s, like Lauren Hutton and China Machado.)
We're sending Nef huge congrats on her new gig, and we suggest keeping your
eyes peeled for her in the coming months."
Haaretz (Israel): "Half of Israel’s transgender population has been
attacked, study shows"
"According to the study, 70 percent of transgender men and 76 percent of
transgender women reported suffering verbal abuse, while 48 percent of the
males and 55 percent of the females reported being physically assaulted.
Nor is it easy for them to find employment. Only 40 percent of them work
full time; 30 percent work part-time, while 30 percent don’t work at all. Of
those who are working, most (57 percent) are earning minimum wage.
“The difficulties manifest themselves in many ways,” says Alexander. “There
are recommendation letters given in the past under another name or gender
that an employer refuses to accept, and at times even before that, when an
employer hears a voice on the phone that doesn’t match how the person
presents himself on his resume. During interviews the situation is very
severe and there is serious discrimination. Even if they succeed in finding
work, there is hostility from colleagues or customers and people have a hard
time sticking with it.”
The health system also lacks awareness of the medical aspects of the
transgender process. According to the study, 45 percent of the female
transgender population began taking hormones without a doctor’s
prescription, buying them on the black market. According to Gopin, “This
population, particularly young transgender women, feel that they cannot get
the services they need from the health system.”
According to Nora Greenberg, an activist in the community who sees many
people through the sex-change process, there has been progress but much
remains to be done. “There is a lack of knowledge among the professionals
and a lack of willingness in the [health] system,” though the greatest
difficulties are social ones, she says."
05-24-15: Huffington Post: "'Inside Out: Portraits Of Cross-Gender
Children' Beautifully Documents Transgender Kids"
"For the past 12 years, Dutch photographer Sarah Wong has documented the
lives and experiences of a group of children who have transitioned -- or are
in the process of transitioning -- to live as their authentic selves.
Wong captured these images of children involved with VU University in
Amsterdam, where they engaged in a type of therapy that aimed to support
children who experience gender dysphoria. A number of these kids took or
have taken puberty blockers in order to delay the effects of puberty until
they decide how they want to live their lives. However, the photos were
taken at the kids' homes, schools, ballet classes -- spaces where they felt
Wong shared the images with the world through a
Inside Out: Portraits Of Cross-Gender Children,
published in 2011. A medical research journalist from the Dutch Volkskrant
newspaper, Ellen de Visser, wrote the book's text.
The Huffington Post chatted with Wong this week about the children in these
photos, as well as her own experiences documenting the lives of these kids."
05-21-15: MLive: "Six Michigan transgender people file federal
lawsuit challenging state driver's license policy"
"Six Michigan transgender people filed a federal lawsuit Thursday against
Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, challenging a state policy they claim makes
it "impossible or unduly burdensome" to change the gender recorded on their
The plaintiffs, represented by lawyers of the American Civil Liberties
Union, claim the policy violates constitutional rights to privacy, speech,
equal protection, interstate travel and "the right to independence in making
important medical decisions."
Information listed on a person's driver's license or ID card in Michigan
must match the information on the applicant's birth certificate, according
to the Secretary of State's office. That means transgender people must have
their birth certificates amended before a change can be recorded on their
For two plaintiffs born in Ohio and a third born in Idaho, changing the
gender recorded on their birth certificates is not legally possible, the
lawsuit claims. For another born in South Carolina, the change would require
a court order.
And for two born in Michigan, "amending their birth certificate requires
them to complete surgery, for which they have no current medical need and
which they cannot afford," the lawsuit claims.
"They are forced to carry and show to others a
basic identity document that fails to reflect an essential aspect of
personhood – their gender," ACLU lawyers argue in the
complaint against Johnson. "Denying
Plaintiffs and other transgender people a driver's license that matches
their gender identity and lived gender results in the routine disclosure of
their transgender status, as well as their medical condition and treatment,
to complete strangers."
Johnson's office declined to comment on the lawsuit Thursday. She'll have 21
days after being served with a court summons to respond to the complaint in
05-14-15: The CT Mirror: "An easier path to new ID for transgender
"With little debate, the House of Representatives voted 126 to 18 Thursday
night for legislation easing the way for transgender people to legally
change their sex on birth certificates, drivers’ licenses and other forms of
identification in Connecticut.
The bill allows a transgender person to legally change their gender before
sexual assignment surgery, but after undergoing hormonal therapy and making
the social and psychological transition to a new sex.
“It affects a very small group of people, but it makes a huge difference in
their lives,” said Betty Gallo, a long-time lobbyist on lesbian, gay,
bisexual and transgender issues.
On a practical basis, it means that a transgender person living as a woman
no longer would have a drivers license or birth certificate that says she is
a man. “You can imagine the stigma coming with that,” said Rep. Matthew
Ritter, D-Hartford, explaining the bill to the House . . .
No one spoke in opposition Thursday during the House debate. The bill passed
with the support of every Democrat and 45 of the 63 Republicans present.
To Gallo, the uneventful approval of a transgender bill was a political
milestone, coming four years after the difficult passage of a transgender
rights law without a single Republican vote. "I think there's been a new
understanding of transgender people," Gallo said.
The bill now goes to the Senate."
05-13-15: WTKR3: ""He’s no hero” says transgender former Navy SEAL of
"Former Virginia Beach Navy SEAL Kristin Beck is blasting Bruce Jenner for
how the Olympian is revealing his transgender journey in multiple news
“He’s no hero,” said Beck during an exclusive interview with NewsChannel 3.
“I`m seeing too much of that money grubbing reality show crap.”
Beck revealed her transgender journey during a 2013 interview with CNN’s
Anderson Cooper, two years after the decorated veteran retired from the
Navy. During an interview with “The Insider” earlier this month, Beck
drew comparison’s between her journey and Jenner’s after his interview with
Now, Beck said she believes Jenner’s decision to space out certain pieces of
information is not helpful to the LGBT community.
“He’s keeping everything secret and parsing out information to fish out
another 17 million viewers to make another million bucks,” said Beck.
“It’s shameful and you’re not a hero if all you’re doing is trying to make
money. You can’t be an example if all you are is just that reality
ABC news does not pay for interviews. Jenner will reportedly
reveal more about his journey in the “Keeping up with the Kardashians”
“There are kids, transgender, LGBT kids who are killing themselves every day
because they have no hero to look up to,” said Beck. “They see no
future. They feel isolated, and this could have been a really good
example of what you can do and could have saved some lives. But
instead, you’re going to make a few bucks. Disappointing.”
Beck has written and book and completed the documentary “Lady Valor.”
She is also running for Congress in Maryland.
“I took the road where I made a documentary, did everything real quick and
just said hey, here it is, here’s the information if you want to know about
it,” said Beck. “And now I’m going to universities and speaking for
free at colleges and universities all around the country. I’m barely
breaking even but I’m trying to show people who we are as normal folks, as
something you can look and say okay I can understand it.”
NewsChannel 3 reached out to Bruce Jenner’s publicist for comment, but has
not received a response."
05-12-15: New York Times: "Podcast | Transgender Today: Inside The
Times’s Editorial Series", By
Today, a new editorial series, started
last week and advocates, forcefully, for transgender equality.
The series includes a remarkable element,
Transgender Lives: Your Stories,
that features videos from readers who tell their stories, in their own, very
The Times’s editorial page editor, Andrew
Rosenthal, and Ernesto Londoño (who wrote
the first piece
in the series) explain the thinking behind the series and answer questions
about why the paper decided to make a crusade out of the quest for
transgender equality" [Podcast;16:05]
05-11-15: New York Times: "Transgender at the C.I.A."
"The day she nervously told her boss that they needed to talk in the summer
of 2012, the young intelligence analyst was mindful of the ordeal of the
transgender woman at the Central Intelligence Agency who came before her.
The story had become C.I.A. lore. In the late 1980s, a standout senior
analyst who became the butt of jokes when she came out resigned after
enduring months of cruel glances and crude remarks.
Jenny, the young officer, who is a Middle East
expert, hadn’t heard yet about Diane Schroer, the former Army officer who
set an important legal precedent for transgender federal employees by suing
the Library of Congress in 2005. She didn’t know what, if any, legal
protections and benefits transgender employees at the C.I.A. were entitled
All she knew
with certainty was that going through life as a man had become unbearable.
“I was terrified,” she said in an interview, which the C.I.A. arranged on
condition that she be identified as Jenny, an alias for the undercover
officer. “I wasn’t sure if I transitioned, whether I would have a career.
Maybe I would be here, but marginalized, and no one would take me seriously
again”. . . "
05-11-15: Healthline News: "American College of Physicians Pushes for
"In response to reports that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT)
people experience barriers to healthcare, the American College of Physicians
(ACP) is calling for policies to support healthcare equality for the LGBT
Approximately 9 million people in the United States identify as LGBT,
according to the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, which
conducts independent research on sexual orientation and gender identity law
and public policy.
The ACP’s policy position paper is titled
“Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health Disparities: Executive
Summary of a Policy Position Paper From the American College of Physicians.”
It was published today in Annals
of Internal Medicine.
Their recommendation came out the same day as the U.S. Department of Health
and Human Services released a series of directives on a number of
health-related topics. One of them declared that preventative care cannot be
limited based on a patient's sex assigned at birth or their gender identity
if a doctor determines such a service is medically necessary . . .
In their paper, the ACP offers various recommendations, such as a call for
comprehensive transgender healthcare services to be included in public and
private health benefits plans. They also recommend that transgender people
receive covered services that other people are offered. In addition, the
paper includes a statement that gender identity, independent and
fundamentally different from sexual orientation, be included as part of
nondiscrimination and anti-harassment policies."
05-11-15 Washington Post: "Shame on parents fighting against
transgender kids in school bathrooms"
"Using the bathroom? Really? That’s what this is going to come down to?
Because that’s the obsession of just about anyone who is still vexed by the
idea that transgender Americans should be protected from discrimination: the
It’s the first thing folks ask me when they want to know how Tyler — who was
born a girl but enrolled in kindergarten at my son’s school as a boy three
years ago — is doing. “But where does he go to the bathroom?”
Answer: He uses the boys’ bathroom, just like all the other boys at school.
And not once in three years of boy toilet use has anything happened
surrounding Tyler, now 8, that is more unseemly than the usual stuff boys do
in school bathrooms.
Yet that was the main point from hundreds of parents who whooped, whistled,
hollered and thunderously applauded at a Fairfax County School Board meeting
last week when speakers raged against a change in school anti-discrimination
policy to include “gender identity.”"
05-11-15: The National Law Review: "A Title VII Transition?:
Protections for Transgender Persons in the Workplace"
"Three years ago, the EEOC issued an opinion which held, for the first time,
that discrimination against transgender persons based on gender identity is
impermissible sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of
1964. See Macy v. Holder (Apr. 20, 2012). Last month, the EEOC revisited
discrimination against transgender persons and released a decision that
sheds some light on how the practical applications of this finding may
affect employers, holding that certain bathroom restrictions for a
transgender employee constituted discrimination. See Lusardi v. McHugh (Apr.
In Lusardi v. McHugh, a transgender employee of a civilian contractor at a
military facility in Alabama was forced to use a single-use restroom at the
facility. When that restroom was out of order or being cleaned, she used the
women’s restroom, each time receiving confrontation from her supervisor, who
suggested that she could not use those facilities until she had proof that
she had undergone full gender reassignment surgery. Another supervisor
repeatedly referred to her by her former male name and male pronouns in
front of other co-workers.
In ruling for the employee in Lusardi v. McHugh, the EEOC made a forceful
statement on how it viewed the circumstances at issue, stating:
“This case represents well the peril of conditioning access to
facilities on any medical procedure. Nothing in Title VII makes any medical
procedure a prerequisite for equal opportunity (for transgender individuals,
or anyone else). An agency may not condition access to facilities — or to
other terms, conditions, or privileges of employment — on the completion of
certain medical steps that the agency itself has unilaterally determined
will somehow prove the bona fides of the individuals’ gender identity.”
While the employer in Lusardi v. McHugh was a federal agency – the Army –
this case should serve as a warning to private employers as well – the EEOC
will pursue cases where it finds evidence of discrimination as to
transgender individuals. In fact, it already has done so in two cases, one
of which settled, and the other which is currently pending and recently
survived a motion to dismiss."
05-11-15: New York Times: "Transgender Videos Tell-All: Live on the
Times Editorial Page", By
"Months ago, when I began doing research for
a series of editorials about transgender rights,
I was mesmerized by a stream of videos I found on YouTube.
Some were uplifting, some were sad. A few were funny. Each one added a new
layer to my understanding of gender identity, a complex issue that many of
us have come to view in a more nuanced way in recent years . . .
I suggested to my bosses, Andrew Rosenthal, the editorial page editor, and
his deputy, Terry Tang, that as part of our series, we find a way to let
transgender people tell their stories in their own words. They embraced the
idea instantly. We saw it as a powerful tool to give visibility to a segment
of the population that is largely marginalized, invisible and stigmatized.
But we didn’t know exactly how it would work — or,
frankly, whether it would. The New York Times has used reader-generated
content in the past to tell stories. The most ambitious project was
a feature about breast cancer.
We’ve also published
to complement coverage of a snowstorm. But we had never collected personal
stories that included videos. This would be our most ambitious effort on
this form of journalism, which has become increasingly popular.
We had some doubts as we set out to build a beta
version of the feature. Would people share their stories with us? Would the
stories be compelling? Would the quality of the videos be lousy? How long
should the videos be? Should we solicit specific story lines, as the
It Gets Better project
In the end, we decided to ask for videos no longer than two minutes and
personal statements that were up to 400 words long. We kept the other
criteria deliberately vague, feeling that the feature should evolve
Last month we started soliciting submissions by
word of mouth. We were thrilled when the first submissions trickled in.
talking about finding love.
the first American diplomat to have transitioned on the job, recorded a
terrific video from her living room in Kazakhstan, where she’s currently
posted. The filmmaker
documents a day in her life.
Scarlet Tatro spoke nonchalantly about
enjoying rope bondage and doing sex work. There was something poignant and
raw about all of these stories.
Our colleagues in the interactive news department
designed a way to allow people to submit personal stories once the series
began. Soon after the
Transgender Lives page
went live on Monday morning, submissions began pouring in. By the end of the
day, we had dozens.
My personal favorite to date is
this video of the concert pianist Sara Davis Buechner. She starts with
the following quote from Benjamin Disraeli: “Most people go to their graves
with their music still in them.”
To understand what she means, you need to watch the video. I think you’ll
agree, Ms. Buechner won’t take any to the grave."
New York Times (posted ~ 05-05): "Transgender Lives: Your Stories"
"As part of a series of
editorials about transgender experiences, we are featuring personal
stories that reflect the strength, diversity and challenges of the
community. Welcome to this evolving collection."
05-11-15: WTKR3: "Transgender former Navy SEAL: ‘This is me. Chris
Beck, the bearded SEAL Team guy is still me also’"
"Kristin Beck, the transgender former Virginia Beach-based Navy SEAL once
known as Chris Beck, is talking about how her former teammates reacted to
While Beck has spoken nationally about becoming a woman, her interview
Monday with NewsChannel 3 is the first time she is speaking with Hampton
Roads media about her life while based in Virginia Beach . . .
Beck retired from the Navy in 2011 and revealed her journey to becoming a
woman during a CNN interview in 2013. Beck told NewsChannel 3 the
reaction from her former Virginia Beach teammates was mixed.
“Some of them were kind of upset, and they felt like I was trying to lie
about something,” said Beck. “I [also] had a number of SEAL team guys
step up and were going, hey you know I don’t understand it, but I fully
support you.” . . .
While Beck has been getting support from his old brothers on the
battlefield, she admits it is much more complicated when it comes to his
ex-wife and children.
“They`re always in my mind,” said Beck. “My kids are slowly coming
around a little bit, but it`s a lot of effort.” “They basically have a
single mom right now because I`m not really in the picture,” Beck explained.
“That`s a tough world to live in.”
Beck said while it is hard for some to understand her change from Chris to
Kristin, there are some things that will never change.
“I`m an American. I`m a retired navy SEAL who did my service and I`ll
continue in that service,” she said.
Beck is running for Congress in Maryland. If elected, she would be the
first transgender woman to become a member of Congress, but she said that is
just one part of who she is. She said she hopes people will look at
her service record and platform."
05-10-15: KCTV5: "Transgender girl from Kansas City tells her story"
"A young girl from the Kansas City metro wants to
understand what it means to be transgender.
"My daughter, then my 4-year-old son, said these
words to me, 'Mom,
you know I am really a girl right? I am a girl on the inside,'" Debi Jackson
Avery Jackson is 7 years old. She was born a boy, but at 3 years old she
told her parents that she is a girl. She tells her own story in a YouTube
"Hi, I'm Avery. I'm 7 years old. I like to climb trees, be a ninja…And, oh
yeah, I'm transgender," she said.
“She's just a normal little kid,” said her father Tom Jackson.
Their family's story has grabbed national headlines before when his wife
spoke at a local convention.
“My daughter, then my 3-year-old son said, ‘Mom, you know I'm a girl,
right?'” Debi Jackson had recounted.
The Jacksons have kept Avery out of the public eye until recently. Avery saw
a video of another transgender child online.
“She's a very articulate, well-spoken child and she knows who she is. When
she got comfortable with herself, she asked us if she could make a video,”
Tom Jackson said.
“But who cares about my
body parts. I
don't ask what's in your underwear,” Avery says at one point in her video.
A blogger at the New York Times saw the video and
it on the
site alongside a letter from Avery's dad.
“I'm proud of who my daughter is and I love her for exactly who she is. I
want people to know that. I want them to know it's going to be okay,” Tom
05-10-15: New York Times: "Transgender at the C.I.A."
"As she grew older, Jenny suppressed the feelings of nonconformity that
torment people with gender dysphoria. At the time, she said, the word
transgender evoked images of sex workers. “I wanted to grow up to be in
foreign affairs, to be a C.I.A. officer, and I didn’t think that people like
that could go on to have careers.”
The Sept. 11 attacks, which happened while she was in college, strengthened
her interest in pursuing a career in intelligence. She joined the agency
soon after graduating. A few years into the job, the latent unease about her
gender identity turned into demons.
Her supervisor, a woman, looked relieved when Jenny finally blurted out that
she was transgender, having feared that Jenny was about to resign or reveal
she had terminal cancer.
She began telling colleagues during a series of awkward conversations over
coffee. Some seemed befuddled, but most were supportive. When she asked a
female colleague what it was like to be a woman at the C.I.A., the co-worker
deadpanned: “The 23 percent pay cut is rough, but the bathrooms are nicer.”
For a year after telling her boss, while undergoing hormone replacement
treatment, Jenny lived as a woman at home but continued to dress as a man at
work. After coming out, she began meeting older transgender women in the
federal work force who had transitioned during bleaker times. A rocket
scientist who works as a federal contractor advised her to assemble a
conservative wardrobe for work, modeled after what older women at the office
wore. It would make the transition more palatable for colleagues, the
Jenny sat in her car for 20 minutes at the C.I.A. parking lot on June 12,
2013, the first day she came to work using her new name and wearing women’s
clothes, paralyzed by fear. “Well ... here goes everything,” she had written
earlier on Facebook. There were a few double-takes in the hallways, plenty
of warm, supportive gestures and no nastiness. That night, Jenny cried with
joy as she left work to meet friends at a karaoke bar to celebrate."
05-10-15 NPR: "Being Transgender At Work Can Be Hard, But Made Easier
With An Ally"
"Bruce Jenner's national TV
interview with Diane Sawyer in April
ended months of speculation. The former-Olympian turned reality-TV-star
revealed that he now identifies as a transgender woman — though he still
prefers to be called "he" for the time being.
Jenner was hailed as a hero for his openness on an issue which has caused
real heartache for many. National surveys show an unusually high rate of
attempted suicide among people who are transgender.
Conversations with family about transitioning to the person you truly feel
you are can be very hard. Getting through the same process in the workplace
can bring its own set of serious consequences.
The Justice Department recently filed suit against Southeastern Oklahoma
State University for discriminating against a transgender professor, who
complained about her treatment and then was fired.
For Andrea Zekis, she did everything in her power to make sure things turned
out differently. Zekis, who used to be Gary Zekis, works as a cartographer
for the Highway Department in Little Rock, Ark.
This week on
For the Record:
transitioning at work. We hear from Zekis and two co-workers who witnessed
Gary's transition to Andrea . . . "
05-06-15: Slate (posted 5-05): "“Transgender Today” Calls Trans Allies
"The transgender movement is an uneven landscape
these days. On the one hand, trans celebrities such as Bruce Jenner and
Laverne Cox are enjoying
for their public announcements, and positive media representations like
are critical darlings. On the other, many everyday trans people continue to
live under threat of hostile legislation and outright violence, not to
mention the psychic pain of being one of the most marginalized groups in
society—pain that, as with the recent
case of Leelah Alcorn,
all too often leads to tragedy.
In response to all this, the New York Times
launched on Monday a
ground-breaking editorial package
called “Transgender Today.” In the opening piece, the Times expressed
unequivocal support of trans civil rights and offered a plain-language
primer for those readers still unfamiliar with the community and its
struggles. But more important, the package features a “story
wall” to which trans people are invited
to post their own personal narratives of “strength, diversity, and
challenges.” While mainstream outlets like Slate,
ABC News have
covered the transgender community for some time now, this high-profile real
estate in the “newspaper of record” represents a huge step in visibility,
especially with its focus on individual trans voices.
interview with BuzzFeed's Dominic Holden,
Times editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal described the new feature as an
effort to push transgender equality to the forefront of public policy
debates: “There has been progress in this area, but there is a long way to
go,” Rosenthal told Holden. “This is not a front-burner issue for people,
and we hope to make it one. We want policy makers to read this and think
about policies they need to change.”
The editorial series currently features over 20 posts accompanied by video
and text from an incredibly diverse set of individuals in the transgender
community—think U.S. foreign service officers, Navy pilots, Ph.D. students,
and astrophysicists—covering issues ranging from relationships with
cisgender men to the perils and anxiety of seeking health care. Taken
together, these vignettes remind those of us who wish to be allies that
though advocating for change on the levels of policy and social treatment is
important, oftentimes the most helpful thing we can do is to listen. Here’s
a sampling of the stories: . . . "
05-06-15: NPR (posted 5-05): "Ladies In The Streets: Before Stonewall,
Transgender Uprising Changed Lives"
"The Tenderloin in the 1960s was a red light district and a residential
ghetto. Stryker told me that the neighborhood was a particular destination
and home to "young people who maybe had been kicked out by their families
and were living on the street. And trans people who could lose a job at any
moment or not be hired, who wouldn't be rented to, who had to live in crappy
residential hotels in a bad part of town, and who had to do survival sex
work to support themselves."
"We sold ourselves because we need to make a living but we sold ourselves
because we wanted to be loved," Elizondo says in Stryker's film. Ching told
me sex work in the Tenderloin empowered her. She had a job with the
government but still worked the streets at night.
Whether for survival, pleasure or some combination of both, sex work left
women vulnerable to violence and put them in closer contact with police. But
even those who weren't hustling had frequent encounters with law
enforcement. St. Jaymes, who ran the residential hotel, told Stryker she was
arrested frequently, even though she wasn't a sex worker. "If we had
lipstick on, if we had mascara on, if our hair was too long, we had to put
it under a cap. If the buttons was on the wrong side, like a blouse, they
would take you to jail because they felt it was female impersonation."
"The police could harass you at any time," Ching told me. "They would ask
you for pieces of ID. You had to have your male ID if you were born male and
didn't go through a sex change. They would pat you down, and while they're
patting you down, of course they're feeling you up," she continued. "They
would arrest you and put you in the big van, Big Bertha, and drive you
around town. When they turned a corner they turned sharply, so people would
fall. They'd go over a bump, fast down the hill and make you look a mess by
the time you got to the booking station."
Police relations with the trans, drag and gay communities in the Tenderloin
reached a boiling point in 1966. Across San Francisco resistance was in the
air. Local anti-war protests were gaining momentum. Civil rights activists
and religious leaders at a Tenderloin church organized to bring government
anti-poverty resources to the neighborhood. A group of radical young queers
calling themselves Vanguard started pushing back against discrimination by
police and business owners. After Compton's management started kicking them
out of the restaurant, they picketed outside on July 18, 1966. Viewed in the
context of 1960s activism, identity politics and anti-poverty efforts, the
riots that occurred a few weeks later seem inevitable.
Though it can take decades to understand motivations for a particular riot
or movement of militant resistance in the streets, there are plenty of
instances when a group's anger and frustration over injustice is later
celebrated as a civil rights victory. We have a parade every year to
commemorate the Stonewall riots — three nights when rioters burned down a
bar and tried to overturn a paddy wagon. Now that Bruce Jenner has told
Diane Sawyer, "I'm a woman," and Oprah interviewed Janet Mock, we can look
at a charge like "female impersonation" and see the Compton's riot as
another act of resistance against injustice. One day, history books, pundits
and academics could very well talk about the recent unrest in Baltimore or
Ferguson the same way.
Right after the Compton's episode, Ching heard about what had happened. "To
me, nothing was out of the ordinary," she told me. "We lived to survive day
to day. We didn't realize we'd made history.""
5-06-15: The Times of India (India): "US
consulate puts transgender's visa on hold"
"RAIPUR: Though the Supreme Court of India has recognised transgenders as
the "third gender", the US Embassy in Kolkata has put on hold the visitors
visa application of Chhattisgarh transgender, Amruta Alpesh Soni, who is
also the nodal officer in the state's health department, as her Indian
passport mentions her sex as "T" (transgender).
Soni had applied for the US visitor's visa for attending the 14th Annual
Philadephia Trans Health Conference at the Pennsylvania Convention Centre in
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, scheduled next month. She appeared for her
interview at the US consulate office in Kolkota on Tuesday but did not issue
or deny visa to her. She was told that her application had been put on
Talking to TOI from Kolkata, Soni said she had received her new Indian
passport on April 17 this year, post the apex court decision, and her sex
was accordingly mentioned as "T" (transgender) in it. She said since the
online Visa Application form for the US visa had no option for transgenders,
she filled her sex as "female".
However, during the interview, the visa officer said they had no
information/knowledge about the option of "T" (transgender) on Indian
Passport and hence could only consider the options of "M" (male) or "F"
(female). They subsequently told her that her application was being put on
"hold" and she would be informed in due course.
Expressing surprise at the US Consulate officials for not accepting the
Indian government's decision to have "T" as the third gender in passports,
Soni said this is sheer "discrimination". "When the Indian government
recognises us as the third gender, why is the US government indecisive about
it", she said."
05-05-15: New York Times (Editorial Board): "Transgender Students at
"The questions have confounded admission officials at women’s colleges in
Should transgender women be allowed to apply? If so, how far along into the
gender transition process must an applicant be to be recognized as a woman?
After a year of soul searching, Smith College
this weekend became the latest of the
prestigious women’s colleges to come around to a sensible conclusion.
Starting this fall, transgender women may apply. All they have to do is note
on the application form that they are women. Students who enroll as women
and later come out as transgender men will be welcome to stay at Smith.
“We had lots of really wonderful and interesting
discussions,” Kathleen McCartney, the president of Smith College, said in an
interview. “We came to the collective decision that trans women are women
and belong at Smith.”
Smith, a liberal arts college
in Massachusetts, became the
seventh well-known women’s college
to have revised its admission policies in order to welcome transgender
women. Others, including
Barnard College in Manhattan, are considering
Smith’s evolution on the issue was closely watched
because of its highly publicized refusal in 2013 to consider the application
of Calliope Wong, a transgender woman. Ms. Wong wrote about her ordeal on a
Tumblr page titled
Transwomen @ Smith.
Because Ms. Wong had not had gender reassignment surgery, she was unable to
change the gender on her birth certificate in Connecticut, which is
contemplating allowing transgender
people to update the records regardless of whether they have had surgery."
05-05-15: The Weekly Standard: "Federal Workplace Safety Agency Takes
On Transgender Restroom Access"
"The Occupational Safety and Health Administration
(OSHA) isn't just about hard hats and safer machinery anymore. The federal
government agency charged with regulating workplace conditions has formed an
"alliance" with a "national social justice advocacy organization for
transgender people" primarily to promote gender-appropriate restroom access.
signed on April 27, is part of a larger OSHA
program to partner with groups "committed to worker safety and health to
prevent workplace fatalities, injuries, and illnesses."
This particular alliance provides
for the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) to "[r]eview,
promote and disseminate the OSHA-developed bulletin of recommended best
practices for restroom access for transgender workers." In return, the NCTE
will disseminate general OSHA information on a quarterly basis via its
website or other method as well as provide OSHA representatives
opportunities to speak at NCTE events.
The press release announcing the agreement notes:
A report released by NCTE and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
found that 55 percent of transgender people surveyed lost a job due to bias.
Twenty-two percent of workers in the National Transgender Discrimination
Survey reported that they were denied access to gender-appropriate restrooms
on the job.
OSHA describes the larger Alliance program itself as follows:
Through its Alliance Program, OSHA works with unions, consulates, trade
and professional organizations, faith- and community-based organizations,
businesses and educational institutions to prevent workplace fatalities,
injuries and illnesses. The purpose of each alliance is to develop
compliance assistance tools and resources, and to educate workers and
employers about their rights and responsibilities. Alliance Program
participants do not receive exemptions from OSHA inspections or any other
OSHA's agreement with the National Center for Transgender Equality will last
for two years."
[Ed: This is a very important alliance, and comes at just the right time to
help counter religionist assualts on transpeople's health.]
05-04-15: New York Times (Editorial Board): "The Quest for Transgender
"A generation ago, transgender Americans were widely regarded as deviants,
unfit for dignified workplaces, a disgrace for families. Those who confided
in relatives were, by and large, pitied and shunned. For most, transitioning
on the job was tantamount to career suicide. Medical procedures to align a
person’s body with that person’s gender identity — an internal sense of
being male, female or something else — were a fringe specialty, available
only to a few who paid out of pocket.
Coming out meant going through life as a pariah.
Being transgender today remains unreasonably and
unnecessarily hard. But it is far from hopeless. More Americans who have
wrestled with gender identity are transitioning openly, propelling
a civil rights
movement that has struggled even as
gays and lesbians have reached irreversible momentum
in their fight for equality.
Those coming out now are doing so with trepidation, realizing that while
pockets of tolerance are expanding, discriminatory policies and hostile,
uninformed attitudes remain widespread.
They deserve to come out in a nation where stories of compassion and support
vastly outnumber those that end with a suicide note. The tide is shifting,
but far too slowly, while lives, careers and dreams hang in the balance . .
These indignities and abuse account for the
alarmingly high rates of homelessness, unemployment and suicide for
a 17-year-old from Ohio, wrote a harrowing suicide letter before leaping in
front of a tractor-trailer last December.
“The only way I will rest in peace is if one day
transgender people aren’t treated the way I was, they’re treated like
“Fix society. Please.”
Three years before a police
raid of the Stonewall Inn
in New York in June 1969 galvanized the gay rights movement in America,
transgender women rioted
after being expelled from Compton’s Cafeteria in San Francisco. The
restaurant had become one of the few safe gathering spots for the city’s
community of transgender people, who at the time were not welcome at gay
bars. That same year, physician Harry Benjamin published “The
Transsexual Phenomenon,” a
groundbreaking book that outlined how transgender people could transition
medically. The two developments helped give rise to an arduous fight for
Over the decades, the transgender movement has
been part of the broader quest for equality for sexual minorities, but while
gays and lesbians have achieved far-reaching
legal and political victories
in recent years, transgender people, who may be gay or straight, remain
the nation’s most marginalized citizens.
They face distinct challenges, including access to transition-related
medical care, which have not always been a focus of the broader struggle for
gay rights. Gays and lesbians are visible in all walks of life today, and
many are celebrities and role models. Transgender Americans, meanwhile,
remained largely unseen until fairly recently . . . "
05-03-15: Daily Mail (UK): "Mr, Mrs, Miss... and Mx: Transgender
people will be able to use new title on official documents"
"Gender neutral title 'Mx' slowly introduced to official forms and databases
... The first change to titles in decades, it could be included in the
dictionary ... Heralded as showing the versatility of English to adapt to
A new gender neutral title 'Mx' is to join the honorifics 'Mr, Mrs, Miss and
Ms' on driving licences and other official documents, the first change to
officially recognised titles in decades.
Royal Mail, high street banks, government departments and some universities
all now accept Mx which is used by transgender people or other individuals
who do not identify with a particular gender.
The title has been added, without fanfare, to official forms and databases
and is under consideration by the Oxford English Dictionary for inclusion in
its next edition.
Assistant editor of the dictionary, Johnathan
Dent, was quoted by the
Sunday Times as saying the move towards
Mx was a sign of the English language's ability to adapt to an ever-changing
society. He explained it was the first time in recent history that commonly
used and accepted titles had changed.
Mr Dent was quoted as saying it showed the way English could adapt to
people's needs, rather than letting language dictate identity."
05-03-15: Boston Globe: "Turning point is coming for transgender
"“I see this as a race,” said Mark Mettler, father of Maxie, who was born
male and is becoming, at age 21, a woman. “It’s a race for the world to
become a place my kid wants to live in [before she] loses hope.”
For transgender people, and those who love them, this seems like a
significant moment. Just over a week ago, Olympian Bruce Jenner achieved
something in a two-hour interview that transgender men and women have been
trying to accomplish for decades: persuading millions of Americans to see
them as human beings who deserve to be treated with dignity.
And after Tuesday’s arguments, it seems a real possibility that the Supreme
Court will clear the way for gay and lesbian couples to marry no matter
where they live. Transgender rights, and the acceptance that comes with
them, are the next frontier.
To some, this seems fast. After all, the idea of gay marriage was utterly
foreign to most Americans only a decade ago. And now here we are,
confronting the very notion of gender.
But it only seems fast if you’re not living it. Otherwise, change is
gut-wrenchingly glacial. We might have made strides on gay and lesbian
rights, but it’s still a very ugly world for people who don’t fit the sex
they were born into. It is ugly even when they have the resources and family
support to live true to themselves. And it’s especially ugly when they
“We’ve seen an enormous amount of change,” said Grace Sterling Stowell,
executive director of the Boston Alliance of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and
Transgender Youth. “But for young people who are struggling for survival
every day, it’s not better.”"
05-02-15: Boston Globe: "Smith College to accept transgender students
-- College’s trustees vote to expand eligibility pool"
"The Smith College board of trustees Saturday voted to begin accepting
undergraduate applicants who consider themselves to be transgender women.
The shift to a self-identification admissions policy at the women’s college
in Northampton goes into effect for students submitting applications this
fall. The decision was revealed Saturday afternoon in a message to students,
faculty, staff, parents, and alumnae.
Under the new admissions policy, applicants who were born male but identify
as women are eligible for admission. Applicants must select “female” on the
Common Application to be considered.
“From the civil rights perspective, we’re saying trans women are women,”
Smith College president Kathleen McCartney said in a telephone interview.
“What we’re doing here is really affirming that we’re a women’s college and
we have an unwavering mission and identity as a women’s college.”
The school said the trustees voted after studying the issue for a year and
appointing an Admission Policy Study Group, which examined the college’s
admissions rules “in light of society’s evolving understanding of gender.”
The study group solicited opinions from people on campus, alumnae, and
parents; consulted with outside experts, including those in the legal field;
and conducted its own research, the announcement from the college said.
“The Board of Trustees last year decided to study this because conceptions
of gender are evolving,” McCartney said. “We worked to develop a
comprehensive approach . . . I feel really, really good about the process
and I think our community will as well.”"
05-01-15: The Daily Mirror (UK): "Man scared to introduce transgender
girlfriend to family because he’s scared they’ll laugh"
"Dale Brink, 23, said he fell in love with
21-year-old Hannah Whetton when she was still biologically male, and faced
mockery from his friends while she transitioned to become the female she
always felt she was. Dale says his family ‘won’t understand’ his and
Hannah’s love . . .
But Dale says he is still to scared to introduce
Hannah to his mum and brother – who he doesn’t want to name – because he’s
scared they will hear her deep voice and laugh.
‘They wouldn’t understand our love,’ he said. ‘It’s hard, but sadly I don’t
think they’ll change.’"
4-30-15: The Daily Beast: "Bruce Jenner's Not Alone: The GOP Has More
Trans People Than You Think -- Former Senator Norm Coleman opens up about
his close relationship with the Republican transgender woman who served as
one of his most senior aides"
"Bruce Jenner’s announcement that he is transgender has grasped the
attention of the nation. But for some in the chattering class, the real news
seemed to be that Bruce Jenner identifies as a Republican.
Jenner’s journey will be personal—but it will also be political. He has the
power to open up dialogue and understanding for all of us to the challenges
transgender Americans face. He also says he wants to help change minds even
within the GOP.
As a former United States Senator from Minnesota, and a Republican, I
appreciate that Jenner has his work cut out for him. But I also believe he
will find himself far from alone in the Republican Party . . .
I speak from personal experience. One of my most trusted colleagues during
my career in public service is a transgender woman, Susan Kimberly. I knew
of Susan before her transition, when she served on the St. Paul City
Council. After her transition, Susan returned to public service and she
served as my Deputy Mayor and Chief of Staff while I was Mayor of St. Paul.
Susan is a force of nature, a policy wonk, and
possesses a brilliant, analytical mind. She was among the smartest and most
capable individuals in City Hall. And I knew when I ran for U.S. Senate that
I needed her on my team. Susan joined our campaign, and when I was elected
to serve in the United States Senate, Susan was the natural choice to run my
offices in the State of Minnesota. She ended her career in the private
sector as chief executive of the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce. And yes,
Susan, like Bruce Jenner,
is a Republican.
The Republican Party is at its best when it focuses on individuals—the
skills and talents that each person brings to the workplace, to their
community, to their family. Like any employer, I wanted the best and most
qualified people working with me. Susan’s gender identity was never a factor
in her performance. All that mattered to me and to our constituents was that
she was the smartest and most capable person to do the job. Susan Kimberly
was one of the best, and I’m proud that we served the people of Minnesota
together for more than a decade."
4-30-15: Japan Times (Japan): "Schools in Japan to let transgender
students use whichever locker room they prefer"
"The education ministry issued a landmark notice on Thursday, urging local
education boards to ensure that schools do more to cater to children who
believe they were born the wrong gender.
The move, which comes amid rising sensitivity toward sexual minorities by
Japanese society and officialdom, will oblige schools to pay greater
attention to the needs of transgender students. The measures include, for
example, paying heed to students’ gender identity as much as possible by
allowing them to use whichever bathroom or locker room they prefer.
It also says other sexual minority students — gays, lesbians, and bisexuals
— deserve greater accommodation, the first such notice of its kind.
Some schools have allowed transgender children to wear the uniform of the
gender they identify as, but the latest ministry notice will encourage all
schools to do so — from elementary level to high school . . .
In a 2012 document, the ministry urged schools to care for transgender
students but stopped short of spelling out what measures to take. Moreover,
it omitted any mention of other sexual minorities.
“I praise the fact that they included (all) sexual minorities for the first
time,” Endo said, adding that the latest move would help to provide a more
secure environment for them.
The education ministry revealed in June 2014 that schools nationwide had
recognized 606 students as transgender. But it noted the actual number might
be much higher, as sexual minorities often have difficulty coming out.
The move comes amid growing awareness of sexual minorities in Japan.
Last month, in the first such move by a municipality, Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward
adopted an ordinance recognizing same-sex unions as “equivalent to
marriage.” Ward officials are now offering such couples an official but
nonbinding certificate guaranteeing identical rights, including the ability
to rent apartments jointly and visit the other partner in hospital."
04-28-15: Chicago Tribune: "Pronouns affect transgender people -- and
all of us"
"The first time I wrote about Bonn Wade I wasn't sure how to refer to them.
If you read the word "them" in the previous sentence and shouted, "Where are
the editors?" or hurled your moldy third-grade grammar book at me, calm
down. We're gathered here today for a lesson on the use of pronouns in the
Wade, a Chicago social worker who enlightened me on the topic a while back
when I was working on a story on transgender people, is here to help.
"It depends on the day and where I am," Wade said when I called Tuesday to
talk about the nuances of pronouns and how it felt to be addressed by the
"If I am in my alley, putting out my garbage, and one of my neighbors says,
'Hey, girl, how you doing?' and they'll 'she' me or 'lady' me, I'll share
and say, I'm not using 'she' pronouns anymore, that I use 'Bonn' or 'they'
Other times, with strangers, or with Wade's parents ("I have great parents,
but they slip up all the time"), Wade finds it simpler to let the wrong
"I listen for intent," Wade said, "and not necessarily content."
Wade, who's 41, was raised as a girl but no longer identifies that way and
prefers to be identified as transmasculine. To avoid the conventional gender
boxes — check "M" for man, "W" for woman — Wade prefers gender-neutral
And what does "gender-neutral" mean? For some people, it involves using a
word such as "ze" instead of "he" or "she."
It may mean using the person's name in place of the pronoun. In this column,
for example, though I find it awkward, no doubt because it's not what I'd
normally do, I'm using "Wade" a lot. More commonly, it involves substituting
the familiar "they" and its relatives for singular pronouns."
04-28-30: Pew Research: "Among transgender adults, stories about a
"Bruce Jenner first became famous by winning the
gold in the men’s decathlon at the 1976 Olympics, but in a
recent interview with ABC News,
he transformed his fame into something else — immediately raising the
visibility of transgender adults in America. By one reputable estimate,
transgender adults represent about
0.3% of the U.S. adult population,
5% of the adult lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender population identifies
primarily as transgender.
In 2013, Pew Research Center
surveyed more than 1,100 LGBT adults
to better understand their views and experiences. Among the 43 transgender
respondents we interviewed, most said they first felt their gender was
different from their birth sex before puberty. For many, being transgender
is a core part of their overall identity, even if they may not widely share
this fact about themselves with many people in their lives.
Although we did not have a large enough sample size of transgender adults to
generate statistically significant findings about them, they shared their
experience with us about what it was like to tell family and friends about
their gender identity in their own words . . . "
04-24-15: ABC7 News: "Top transgender surgeon has practice in
"BURLINGAME, Calif. (KGO) -- Not every transgender
person decides to undergo surgery. But for those who do, one of the leading
surgeons is right here in the Bay Area. She is
Dr. Marci Bowers.
And in the world of transgender surgery, Bowers is a rock star. Bowers is
the first openly transgender person in the world to perform transgender
Marci was born as Mark and always felt as if she were woman trapped in a
man's body. She grew up to be a doctor and had three children. Then, at the
age of 38, she underwent transgender surgery. Bowers calls the
transformation process "incredible."
Now, Bowers is helping others make that same transformation. Her office is
in Burlingame and patients come from all over the world for help. She has
performed more than 1,600 surgeries in the past 12 years.
Bowers own experience makes her uniquely qualified to understand what her
patients are going through. "I have (lived through) all sides of things,"
said Bowers. "I have the negatives too, which I can relate to; the pain and
the difficulty and challenges." Bowers believes sometimes her personal
stories can really make a difference for a patient."
Bowers performs the surgeries at Mills Peninsula Medical Center. She has a
two year waiting list for patients who want surgery, along with a constant
stream of doctors from around the world who want to learn about sexual
reassignment surgery. "Some doctors from China, from Argentina and Brazil,
all of Europe," Bowers said.
According to Bowers, techniques for the various types of transgender surgery
are constantly improving. There is also an explosion of innovative research,
including attempts to grow sexual organs in petri dishes. Bowers says that
is still in "the so-called comic book stage," but it could be the future.
"I'm honestly the luckiest person in the world because I literally get to
bring happiness to people," Bowers said.
Bowers says the surgery success rate is over 90
percent, but the definition of success can vary widely for different
patients. Nine states, including California, now require that sexual
reassignment surgery be covered by insurance. To learn more about Dr. Marci
04-23-15: Media Matters: "NBC Airs Groundbreaking Series Spotlighting
"NBC aired a series of segments presenting a sensitive, thoughtful, and
well-researched look into the lives of
families raising transgender children, demonstrating a number of best
practices for talking about the transgender community.
On April 21, NBC Nightly
News aired a segment titled "Jacob's Journey,"
an in-depth look at 5-year-old transgender boy, Jacob Lemay. Jacob's parents
affirmed their son's "consistent, persistent, and insistent" desire to live
as a boy, noticing Jacob's early discomfort with being asked to dress and be
addressed as a girl: (video)
NBC News' national correspondent Kate Snow looked at the details of Jacob's
experience: his initial frustration with being identified as a girl, his
parents' concerns about their child's future, and the way his parents came
to understand and support their transgender son.
Snow also interviewed Dr.
Michelle Forcier, a pediatrician
specializing in transgender children, who answered questions about Jacob's
experience and helped dispel popular myths about children's gender
The segments are part of a
larger NBC series
about transgender youth, which also includes a profile of Congressman Mike
Honda's (D-CA) transgender granddaughter.
Snow's reporting avoided the pitfalls that
typically plague transgender news coverage, which often over emphasizes surgery
and genitalia, elevates transphobic commentary,
and sensationalizes the
lives of transgender people. By inviting an expert to discuss the realities of
being transgender, Snow also helped dismantle many of the myths that
typically emerge around stories about transgender youth . . .
Prioritizing this kind of intimate, humanizing
coverage is tremendously important for the transgender community, which
rates of discrimination, harassment,
and violence. Audiences are deeply impacted by media representations
of transgender people, especially given that most Americans don't
regularly interact with out
transgender people in their day-to-day lives.
NBC's series should act as a model for other media outlets looking to pursue
powerful, compelling, and well-researched story telling about
the transgender community."
04-22-15: Aljazeera America: "Transgender teen wins settlement with
South Carolina DMV -- Chase Culpepper was forced to remove her makeup for
her driver's license photo so she would 'look male'"
"A transgender teen will be allowed to return to her local DMV and take a
new driver’s license photo wearing the makeup she puts on daily, after her
lawyers struck a settlement with the South Carolina Department of Motor
Vehicles on Wednesday. DMV employees had told her to remove her makeup to
"look male” in her photo.
The Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund,
which filed a federal lawsuit against the South Carolina DMV in September
2014 for violating the teenager’s
constitutional free speech rights and for sex discrimination, told Al
Jazeera that the settlement was the first of its kind in the country.
“This is a terrific victory for transgender rights and for the principle
that transgender people, like all Americans, deserve the freedom to be who
they are and look like who they are without government restrictions and
interference,” said TLDEF executive director Michael Silverman.
The plaintiff, Chase Culpepper, a transgender woman, was 16 years old when
she visited the Anderson, South Carolina DMV in March 2014 . . .
When Culpepper applied for her first driver’s
license and passed the tests, the DMV employees refused to take her
photograph, telling her she had to “go home” and “take off the makeup,” according
to court documents (PDF) . . .
The lawsuit alleges that when Culpepper went to the DMV restroom to try to
wash off the makeup, the supervisor “loudly” told her that she “had not
removed enough makeup.” Culpepper said she was “publicly humiliated.”
Culpepper returned to the restroom to try to wash off more of the makeup and
was then allowed to take the photo. During the entire interaction between
Culpepper, her mother and the supervisor, which took between 45 minutes and
an hour, “members of the public in the Anderson DMV lobby laughed and
snickered at” the teenager, according to court documents.
The South Carolina DMV reached a settlement with
TLDEF and the Culpeppers, allowing Chase Culpepper to return and take a new
driver’s license photo while wearing her makeup. The state’s DMV also now
explicitly allows applicants to look the way they appear regularly, even if
they do not conform to gender norms considered “typical” by the DMV. The DMV
will also train its employees on how to properly handle transgender and
gender nonconforming applicants.
04-21-15: NBC News: "Mother Writes Heartwarming Letter to 5-Year-Old
A Mother's Letter to Her 5-Year-Old Transgender
of Mimi reading the letter . . .)
"In a powerful letter to her son Jacob, Mimi Lemay shares in moving detail
the moment he turned to her and said, "I want to be a boy, always." Her baby
was born in 2010 and Mimi heard the words every parent waits to hear: "It's
But by age two, their child was saying "I'm a boy." Mimi hoped this
"obsession with being a boy would go away," but it only grew stronger.
After agonizing for years, Mimi and her husband Joe decided to help their
child transition and live publicly as a boy.
The Lemays shared Jacob's story earlier this year,
when she detailed their journey for
Medium and The Boston Globe."
04-12-10: The Irish Times (Ireland): "Ireland’s transgender children
-- Trans children have always existed, everywhere. Many still have to
suppress their gender identity. But with growing openness, the number of
young people seeking help is rising" (with video)
"A six-year-old girl runs along a pier. The sun is shining, she has a
lollipop, and she’s happy to be with her mother and two older sisters. Kelly
has long brown hair and wears one of her favourite dresses. She appears
happy, and nobody gives her a second glance.
Kelly wasn’t always so well adjusted. Less than two years ago this child was
talking about how she could kill herself.
Her problems started the moment she was born, when her parents, Sarah and
Conor, and the midwives looked at Kelly’s genitals and saw that she had male
anatomy. After having had two daughters, Sarah and Conor received cards from
friends, declaring: “Congratulations! It’s a boy!” They called their child
Jake and imagined a future for their son . . . "
04-11-15: LA Times: "Bruce Jenner: Transgender advocates wary of
spectacle taking shape"
"For months, the 65-year-old former Olympian has been the subject of tabloid
fodder that he was transitioning to live his life as a woman. Reports
pointed to his longer hair and painted nails. The paparazzi zoomed in on his
every move. A celebrity magazine even Photoshopped an image of Jenner to
look like a woman.
The spectacle has transgender advocates alarmed. The speculation and jokes
about Jenner’s body and gender identity, they say, are profoundly
disrespectful and have dragged a serious, deeply personal decision back to
an era when it was characterized as a carnival sideshow.
“When you make a spectacle out of guessing who is and isn’t transgender, it
harms real transgender people just trying to go to school or work and trying
to live their lives,” said Nick Adams, an L.A.-based spokesman for GLAAD who
Jenner has not publicly spoken about his plans. But he is scheduled to speak
to ABC’s Diane Sawyer later this month for a two-hour special about him.
Jenner has appeared with his extended family on the popular E! reality show
“Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” leading to media speculation that
Jenner’s rumored transition might be part of some show. But Alan Nierob, a
spokesman for Jenner, said Friday there is “no confirmation” of such a
reality series, and a spokeswoman for E! declined to comment.
The headlines about Jenner have become more frequent since the celebrity
gossip magazine In Touch Weekly earlier this year superimposed Jenner’s face
onto the body of a female actress and added makeup. In Touch included
Jenner’s “sex change rumors” in a list of “celebrity scandals of 2014” that
included Donald Sterling’s racist rant and the Bill Cosby rape allegations.
Such coverage “is harmful in a truly profound way,” said Parker Molloy, a
prominent transgender writer and activist. “The message it sends, especially
if you don’t know anyone else who is trans, is that you are a joke and you
are a freak show,” Molloy said."
04-11-15: Time: "Transgender Teen Commits Suicide After Bullying"
"(SAN DIEGO)—A 16-year-old transgender girl who spoke on YouTube about being
bullied at school in Southern California killed herself, a support group
said, raising questions about what educators can and should do to support
students who change gender identity.
Taylor Alesana was constantly picked on by peers
before taking her life last week, the North County LGBTQ Resource Center
adults to turn to, and with no support from her school, her life became too
difficult,” the group said. “Taylor was a beautiful and courageous girl, and
all she wanted was acceptance” . . .
Experts said schools must train staff to be alert to bullying and instill in
students that it is unacceptable, but they also need to acknowledge any of
their own biases.
“The fears that students have of transgender youth actually stem from
adults,” said Dorothy Espelage, professor of educational psychology at
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. “If you’re not going change the
attitude of the adults, you’re not going to change the attitudes of the
James Garbarino, professor of humanistic psychology at Loyola University in
Chicago, said transgender students are in a similar position as gay and
lesbian students 10 or 20 years ago. Homophobic bullying remains a serious
problem, but it has declined to the point that gays and lesbians are elected
prom kings and queens.
“What really drives this — whether gender, race, class — is how the adult
society views these issues,” he said."
04-11-15: Huffington Post (re China): "Meet The Badass Transgender
Talk Show Host Who Wants To Be China's Most Influential Woman"
"Jin’s star is rising (literally translated, her name means “gold star” or
“Venus”), and it draws fuel from a deep well of ambition. She sees herself
becoming the Oprah Winfrey of China, and then using that popularity and
power to enter politics.
“A long time ago, people told me I’d become a politician and I said, ‘I
know, but not yet.’ All of this, this talk show, everything, it’s all
preparation,” Jin told The WorldPost.
China’s government often rewards apolitical celebrities like basketball
player Yao Ming and actor Jackie Chan with
token appointments to ceremonial political bodies. Jin said she won’t be
taking that route.
“I don’t want to go through the ordinary ways," she said. "I have my own
ways. People say I’ll be the most influential woman in this country. I say,
‘I know it, but not yet. I’m working on it.’”
Ambition on that scale would border on delusion if it weren’t for
Jin’s remarkable past . . ." (see also
04-10-15: Video from The White House: "Supporting a Ban on Conversion
"Published on Apr 10, 2015: The overwhelming scientific evidence
demonstrates that conversion therapy, especially when it is practiced on
young people, is neither medically nor ethically appropriate and can cause
substantial harm. As part of our dedication to protecting America’s youth,
the Obama administration supports efforts to ban the use of conversion
therapy for minors."
04-08-15: The White House: "Official White House Response to Enact
Leelah's Law to Ban All LGBTQ+ Conversion Therapy: Response to Your
Petition on Conversion Therapy, By Valerie Jarrett
“Tonight, somewhere in America, a young person, let's say a young man,
will struggle to fall to sleep, wrestling alone with a secret he's held as
long as he can remember. Soon, perhaps, he will decide it's time to let that
secret out. What happens next depends on him, his family, as well as his
friends and his teachers and his community. But it also depends on us -- on
the kind of society we engender, the kind of future we build.” --
President Barack Obama
Thank you for taking the time to sign on to
in support of banning the practice known as conversion therapy.
Conversion therapy generally refers to any practices by mental health
providers that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender
identity. Often, this practice is used on minors, who lack the legal
authority to make their own medical and mental health decisions. We share
your concern about its potentially devastating effects on the lives of
transgender as well as gay, lesbian, bisexual, and queer youth.
When assessing the validity of conversion therapy, or other practices that
seek to change an individual’s gender identity or sexual orientation, it is
as imperative to seek guidance from certified medical experts. The
overwhelming scientific evidence demonstrates that conversion therapy,
especially when it is practiced on young people, is neither medically nor
ethically appropriate and can cause substantial harm.
As part of our dedication to protecting America’s youth, this Administration
supports efforts to ban the use of conversion therapy for minors . . ."
[Ed: A historic moment!]
04-08-15: New York Times: "Obama Calls for End to ‘Conversion’
Therapies for Gay and Transgender Youth"
"A 17-year-old transgender youth, Leelah Alcorn, stunned her friends and a
vast Internet audience in December when she threw herself in front of a
tractor-trailer after writing in an online suicide note that religious
therapists had tried to convert her back to being a boy.
is calling for an end to such therapies aimed at “repairing” gay, lesbian
and transgender youth. His decision on the issue is the latest example of
his continuing embrace of gay rights.
In a statement
that was posted on Wednesday evening alongside a
begun in honor of Ms. Alcorn, Mr. Obama condemned the practice, sometimes
called “conversion” or “reparative” therapy, which is supported by some
socially conservative organizations and religious doctors.
The petition has received more than 120,000 signatures in three months.
In an interview on Wednesday, Ms. Jarrett said Mr. Obama had been moved by
the story of Ms. Alcorn’s suicide. But she said the problem went far beyond
“It was tragic, but I will tell you, unfortunately, she has a lot of
company,” Ms. Jarrett said. “It’s not the story of one young person. It is
the story of countless young people who have been subjected to this.”
Mr. Obama will not explicitly call for a federal law banning therapists from
using such therapies on their patients, but he is open to conversations with
lawmakers in both parties, White House officials said on Wednesday. Instead,
he will throw his support behind the efforts to ban the practice at the
04-07-15: Toronto Now (Canada; posted 4-01): "Is CAMH trying to turn
trans kids straight?"
"The directors of the Child and Adolescent Gender Identity Clinic at the
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) have been presented with an
opportunity to finally get on the right side of history. Will they take it?
There has been a flurry of new interest in the clinic well known for
encouraging children to conform to gender norms and offering psychological
treatment that discourages children from growing up to be transgender.
Having published over 100 articles that advocate this approach, the clinic
has, unsurprisingly, been at the centre of several decades of serious
criticism. But recent events have upped the stakes, and those of us who have
long been critical of the clinic's approach are watching.
This controversy became impossible to ignore when NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo
announced the tabling of a private member's bill on March 11 that would bar
Ontario health professionals from attempting to prevent a young person from
growing up to be LGBT, a practice referred to in the bill as "conversion
A petition calling for the termination of clinic head Kenneth Zucker had
been circulating online for some months. And on February 4 CAMH announced
that an external six-month review of the clinic would be conducted in
response to community concerns.
Calling this a controversy is putting it lightly.
In the latest twist, the clinic's founder, psychiatrist Susan Bradley, has
issued a letter calling on DiNovo to withdraw her proposed legislation.
Bradley's missive contends the bill "infringes on [a] patient's and parent's
rights to seek appropriate treatments for their children." But it contains a
number of erroneous claims, the first of which is her presentation of the
clinic as merely a passive recipient of parents' concerns.
There are indeed many parents who are concerned about a child whose gender
doesn't fit the mould. Will their child be excluded? Will they be excluded
because of their child? These are reasonable questions, and the overwhelming
majority of professionals who work in this area, including Stephen Feder
from Ottawa's Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario, now describe their
task as supporting parents to understand that gender diversity is not a
problem and that their children need support for their identity in order to
[Ed: The clamor builds against Zucker's transreparatism . . . ]
04-07-15: The Column (posted 4-06): "Minneapolis Mayor Hodges includes
transgender courage in state of the city address"
"Celebrating the courage of transgender individuals and the community was
one of six themes in the mayor’s speech. Also included was increased
mentoring of high school students, lowering city waste, addressing the
city’s role in climate change, and making city-business interactions
simpler. Hodges also included increasing police-community engagement.
Here are Hodges remarks about moving the city forward on transgender
Recently, a person very dear to me let me know she was a transgender
woman. My first response? Congratulations, and how great! The ability to
know who she is and live as herself is a wonderful thing and worthy of
celebration. Now all of us must work together to make that truth real
everywhere she goes.
Last year saw history made in our state and in the city of Minneapolis.
I was so proud of the Minnesota state high school league when they voted
overwhelmingly in December to make sure transgender athletes could play and
participate as their lived gender. We at the city convened the first
Transgender Issues Work Group, tasked with examining and recommending policy
for the City enterprise and the city as a whole. They also hosted the city’s
first-ever Trans Summit, bringing together community members, community
organizations, City departments, and overall community resources to take the
next steps toward community-generated policy change. I was proud to be part
of it. Much love and credit to Andrea Jenkins, whose dedication and activism
made it possible; I wish her well in her new role as the new and first ever
oral historian for the Transgender Project at the University of Minnesota
The 2015 horizon is bright as the next generation of city policy begins
to take shape. This work is needed. Transgender people experience some of
the worst levels of violent crime, hate crime, discrimination in the
workplace and in public, stereotypes, and ignorance of any group in this
country or in the world. Here in Minnesota, 77% of transgender people report
experiencing harassment on the job. 27% of transgender kids in school report
being assaulted. Most damning, 43% of the trans people surveyed reported
attempting suicide compared to 1.6% of the general population.
What can any one of us do in the face of this data? In our interactions
with transgender people — frankly, as in our interactions with anyone — we
must start with love and celebration. We must start with the knowledge that
being who you are in this world is to be celebrated. We must follow that
with the commitment to making each one of us safe as we walk through the
world as ourselves. And we must follow that with policies that support it.
Everyone in our city can learn from the courage that our transgender
friends display every day. To my transgender friends, I want to thank you
for your investment in Minneapolis, our community, and our people. The best
way I can thank you is by persisting in my commitment to making sure that
all of us know that all of us need to be in the picture of this city for us
to succeed, including and especially you.
Because we can’t do this without you, Minneapolis. Everyone must be in
this picture or we will not be One Minneapolis. Too often when we talk about
equity or economic justice, we white people do not see ourselves in the
picture. We feel like it’s all well and good for other people to do better,
but not at our expense and it won’t benefit us."
Hodge’s full speech can be read at the
mayor’s office website.
04-07-15: Orlando Weekly (posted 4-03): "A transwoman's response
to HB 583, Florida's attack on transgender citizens"
"Everyone remembers the name Stonewall, but it seems like most people forgot
the details. In 1969 it was illegal for members of the LGBTQ+ community to
gather openly in New York. During raids the NYPD’s standard procedure was to
line customers up, verify their identity and then verify the gender of
anyone dressed as a woman by escorting them to the bathroom to check to see
if their genitals matched their garments. Those caught fully dressed in
clothes deemed anatomically inappropriate were arrested. Stonewall was not
the first such raid, but it was the first where there was resistance.
Stonewall is largely regarded as the catalyst of the entire LGBTQ+ movement,
and a trans woman by the name of Sylvia Rivera is often cited as the initial
Now in Florida, more than 45 years later, we’re looking at a bill that would
basically put people in the same position all over again. HB 583, introduced
in the Florida House by state Rep. Frank Artiles, R-Miami, declares it
against the law for anyone to use a public restroom, dressing room, locker
room or other “single-sex public facility” that doesn’t match one’s
biological gender. Obviously, the bill is aimed at transgender individuals.
While some say the bill, and the battle for bathroom rights for transgender
individuals, is the next big battle for LGBTQ+ rights, it’s a battle that’s
clearly been going on since Stonewall, when the NYPD practiced its intrusive
In legal terms, a person’s biological gender is the gender that was notated
on a person’s original birth certificate. This bill would make it a
misdemeanor for a transwoman to use a women’s room, or a transman to use a
men’s room – despite the fact that most patrons wouldn’t even know that
these people were physically born with different biological at-birth gender
marker. The bill allows anyone who discovers that they used a restroom with
someone who was not biologically born of the sex matching that restroom to
sue both the trans person, as well as the establishment operating the
facility, for damages. Basically, it rewards people for being snitches and,
despite claiming to guarantee people a right to privacy in restrooms, it
encourages intrusion into people’s privacy . . ."
04-07-15: The Express Tribune (Pakistan): "Gang raped in Swabi for
being a transgender person"
community of a country like Pakistan –
a place ranked as one of the most dangerous countries in the world according
to a report by
the Minority Rights Group International (MRG) – live very miserable lives
because crimes such as harassment, torture, violence, bullying and other hate
crimes become everyday ordeals for
Just yesterday, in a heart rending incident, a transgender
was gang-raped while two people were
shot dead in Swabi, a district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P). They were a
group of transgenders going home after performing a music and dance show at
a wedding. On their way home, some armed men stopped them and tried to
abduct them. As the group refused, the men opened fire which resulted in the
death of one transgender and the drummer of their group. The men then
kidnapped one of the transgenders and gang-raped him.
While the incident was reported by the media,
isn’t it ironic that none of the NGOs, who claim to be supporters of human
rights and more, raised a voice to condemn this heinous crime against a
community known as the ‘third
gender’ in Pakistan. Perhaps it’s
because these organisations do not consider marginalised communities as
human beings . . . "
04-06-15: People: "Discovery's New Girls on the Block Star:
Transitioning Was the Best Feeling in the World"
"One of the stars of TV's
first show about transgender women has a candid message to share with
viewers about what's it is like to be her.
"Part of this cloud of confusion around transgender people is surgeries
because they start focusing on surgeries and the genitalia," said Macy, 50,
one of six women women who are starring in New Girls on the Block for
Discovery Life. "The focus needs to be on our lives as people," said Macy.
We're human beings. And our humanity gets lost in that cloud of confusion."
In this exclusive clip, Macy and the show's other stars gather to discuss
their friends transition and whether they should celebrate with a big party.
They toast to "Macy's stepping-out party!"
"It's the best feeling in the world," Macy says of her transition."
04-06-15: Washington Post (posted 4-03): "Baltimore’s transgender
community mourns one of their own, slain by police" (more
re incident at NSA,
"For years, this spot at North Charles and 22nd streets, near the main train
station, has been the hub of Baltimore’s transgender prostitution scene, a
nightly choreography of cliches — heels too high, shorts too short, shirts
too tight, wigs too big, makeup too heavy. Now, one of their friends is
gone, and another is injured.
Mya, on the streets since 2009, was killed and a
newcomer, Brittany, was injured when officers opened fire Monday after the
crashed into a guard post at the National Security
Agency, 28 miles away.
In the early moments, the incident had the Washington region on alert, with
fears that it could be terrorism or another type of planned attack. But in
the end, authorities said the pair were in an SUV stolen from a man who had
picked them up the night before. They mistakenly took a restricted exit and
panicked when they saw police.
Officials identified them by their legal names: Ricky Hall, 27, who went by
Mya, and Kevin Fleming, 20, or Brittany. When police initially noted that
the two were dressed in women’s clothing, it seemed a strange twist. Later,
authorities made a point to say that the garb had not been meant as a
Now, their friends in Baltimore’s historic Old Goucher neighborhood, many
with questions about the encounter with law enforcement, are in mourning.
Death, they say, comes too often, too young and too easy to a transgender
population marginalized by a society that they say forces some to resort to
prostitution, or what they call becoming “survivor sex workers.”
“They are being driven to their deaths,” Bryanna A. Jenkins, 26, who runs a
transgender advocacy group, said while on a tour of the neighborhood. “Out
here, you can be attacked. You can be raped. You can be arrested for being
trans”. . . "
04-06-15: New York Times: "Transgender Woman Cites Attacks and Abuse
in Men’s Prison"
"ROME, Ga. — Before she fell on hard times and got into trouble with the
law, Ashley Diamond had a wardrobe of wigs named after her favorite divas.
“Darling, hand me Aretha” or Mariah or Madonna, she would say to her younger
sister when they glammed up to go out on the town.
Ms. Diamond, 36, had lived openly and outspokenly as a transgender woman
since adolescence, much of that time defying the norms in this conservative
But on the day she arrived at a Georgia prison intake center in 2012, the
deliberate defeminizing of Ms. Diamond began. Ordered to strip alongside
male inmates, she froze but ultimately removed her long hair and the Hannah
Montana pajamas in which she had been taken into custody, she said. She
hugged her rounded breasts protectively.
Looking back, she said, it seemed an apt rite of
initiation into what became three years of degrading and abusive treatment,
starting with the state’s denial of the hormones she says she had taken for
17 years. But on Friday, Ms. Diamond and, through her, all transgender
inmates won the unexpected support of the Justice Department, which
intervened on her behalf
in the federal lawsuit she filed against Georgia corrections officials in
“During intake, I kept saying: ‘Hello? I’m trans? I’m a woman?’ ” Ms.
Diamond recounted in a phone conversation from prison a few weeks ago. “But
to them I was gay. I was what they called a ‘sissy.’ So finally I was like:
‘O.K., I’m a sissy. Do you have a place where sissies can go and be O.K.?’ ”
They did not provide one, she said. A first-time inmate at 33 whose major
offense was burglary, Ms. Diamond was sent to a series of high-security
lockups for violent male prisoners. She has been raped at least seven times
by inmates, her lawsuit asserts, with a detailed accounting of each. She has
been mocked by prison officials as a “he-she thing” and thrown into solitary
confinement for “pretending to be a woman.” She has undergone drastic
physical changes without hormones. And, in desperation, she has tried to
castrate and to kill herself several times.
“My biggest concern is that she survives to get out of prison, which I worry
about every day,” said Stephen Sloan, a counselor who treated her at Baldwin
State Prison and whose pleas that Ms. Diamond be restarted on hormones were
In her lawsuit, Ms. Diamond asks the court to direct prison officials to
provide her hormone therapy, to allow her to express her female identity
through “grooming, pronoun use and dress,” and to provide her safer
04-04-15: Texas Tribune: ""Bathroom Bills" Pit Transgender Texans
"The day Caomhán Ó Raghallaigh began living as a man in June 2012 — “the day
I became myself,” he calls it — was a moment of immense personal
It was also a political opportunity for Ó Raghallaigh, 57, who was born
female. Weeks later, with support from his two children and the man he
married 30 years ago, he signed up to work for a state representative in
Texas’ overwhelmingly conservative Capitol, where he would brush shoulders
with lawmakers at a time when he was beginning hormone therapy.
“I said, ‘I am political capital because I’m going to start transitioning
right before session begins, and I want to be in the Capitol where they can
see it,’” said Ó Raghallaigh, who is now leading an effort against a set of
bills that would criminalize people who use public restrooms not designated
for their biological sex.
It was a rare chance for a transgender person to gain visibility in state
government. Despite recent political gains for the Texas lesbian, gay and
bisexual community — including a pending repeal of the state’s same-sex
marriage ban, now in federal appeals court — transgender advocates say they
have struggled to gain similar acceptance.
Two bills filed this year by state Rep.
R-Tomball, would make it a crime to enter a public restroom or locker room
not designated for a person’s biological sex at birth. And two more filed by
R-Pasadena, would permit a bystander to sue a transgender person who used a
prohibited bathroom for up to $2,000, in addition to compensation for
“mental anguish.” The legislation, Ó Raghallaigh says, would effectively put
a bounty on his head for trying to use the bathroom that matches his gender
04-03-15: New York Times (re Bangladesh): "A Transgender Bangladeshi
Changes Perceptions After Catching Murder Suspects"
"The Dhaka Tribune reported on Tuesday that locals were reluctant to chase
Mr. Rhaman’s killers. Ms. Hijra said she caught two of the men as they ran
past her, pursued by police officers and civilians. When the police caught
up to her, they arrested the men, and Ms. Hijra made herself scarce. The
third suspect escaped.
She hesitated to come forward, fearing that the killers’ associates would
remember her face. She considered fleeing to the village where she grew up.
But over the next several days, she began to notice that, even without
identifying herself, she was getting an unusual degree of respect. “Some
people, when they see me, they say, ‘You did a fantastic job, you grabbed
the terrorists,’ ” she said. “So there is some new appreciation of our hijra
Transgender people occupy an unusual social stratum in South Asia, where
conservative societies still consider same-sex intercourse to be a crime but
also allow the existence of a third gender — a well-established category
that dates back to the age of the “Kama Sutra.” Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh
and India have all legally recognized the existence of a third gender,
including on passports and other official documents.
Ms. Hijra recognized herself as a hijra as a child, and left home at 9 in
the company of an older transgender woman. In Dhaka, she joined a rigidly
hierarchical commune headed by Sapna Hijra, whom she refers to as “guru-ma,”
or revered leader. They make their living by a traditional, low-stakes
protection scheme: asking shopkeepers for small sums of money and creating a
noisy racket on the street outside if they refuse. The business model
depends heavily on the belief that hijras have the power to invoke curses.
She lives in a tin-roofed shanty and earns about $4 a day begging . . ."
04-02-15: ABC News: "Transgender Teen Reunites With Second Grade
Counselor Who Helped Him Get Through Life" (VIDEO)
"With a hip goatee and retro glasses, I’m immediately struck by the
handsome, broad shouldered 17-year-old young man with an easy smile. I take
note of his physicality because I know Nathan Jones was born biologically
female as Natalie.
After much soul-searching and many consultations with therapists and
doctors, Natalie’s parents made the brave, yet still controversial decision
to allow Natalie to join the ranks of the first generation of transgender
kids. Nathan wanted to transition socially and medically before reaching
"I've always felt like I've had a boy's brain," Nathan said. "And I always
felt like I was trapped in this girl's body."
Though born a girl, Natalie Jones (a pseudonym) was just 4 years old,
declaring, “I’m a boy." In the second grade, just to clear up any confusion,
Natalie took black crayon and in big, bold letters wrote “I AM NOT A GRIL”
(You’ll excuse the misspelling of a second grader.) and “I AM A BOY”. His
teacher scooped up the notes and sent the child to the school counselor. But
instead of getting in trouble, the guidance counselor gave her good
guidance, providing a haven . . .
ABC News' "Nightline" has followed Nathan’s transition for four years: From
a seemingly depressed, self-conscious, monosyllabic 14-year-old into the
self-confident young man I see before me. Our cameras were there when he
legally changed his name to Nathan; when he embarked on testosterone
therapy; and when he had his breasts removed at age 16. He had been a
brooding teenager who strapped down his breasts and wore hoodies with
shoulders hunched over on scalding summer days for fear of showing his
breasts. After the “top surgery," as it's called, he lost the bindings and
the hoodies. His posture changed, and he felt comfortable enough to go
swimming for the first time in years.
“It's been forever since I've been at a pool and felt comfortable being in a
pool with my shirt off," Nathan said. "I can't even describe the feeling.
It's kind of life changing.”
Nathan’s parents ask that you have tolerance in hearing his story. And
before judging, know this: In 2015 alone, six transgender teens have already
committed suicide, according to news reports, and it's often because they're
unsupported by parents or peers. In fact, a staggering 41 percent of
transgender youth will commit suicide before age 25 . . . "
[Ed: A powerful story and
a must-see video.]
04-02-15: The Guardian (UK): "Being transgender in a transphobic
society leads to moments of sheer desperation", by
"Imagine that, after having taken the most difficult step of deciding to
live as your authentic gender, you find yourself losing the support of
family members and friends just as you’re trying to adjust to a new social
role. Then you walk out on the street and are discriminated against in
various ways, from being referred to as the wrong gender, to being prevented
from entering bathrooms or dressing rooms, to being verbally and even
Even if you’re fortunate enough to “pass” so that people can’t tell you’re
transgender – which few trans people do early in transition – you must
reveal your assigned gender when you present identification, and then deal
with people’s often extreme reactions when they feel like you’ve “fooled”
them simply for being who you are. If you try to change your name, let alone
your gender marker on your ID, you’re told that you can’t do the former
without a court order or the latter without surgery. But you can’t have
surgery without money, and you don’t have money without family support,
especially when people won’t hire you because you’re trans. You can easily
find yourself homeless when you have neither a job or a support system, even
as the shelter system also discriminates against trans people.
The problems are magnified if you’re a trans person of color, in which case
you also often have to deal with greater police scrutiny – trans women are
often subject to arrest for soliciting or disorderly conduct simply for
expressing their gender (widely known in the community as “walking while
trans”). If you’re incarcerated, you can easily end up housed in a prison
that doesn’t conform to your gender and placed in solitary confinement for
your own “safety”.
Unlike other marginalized groups, trans people find it much harder to hide
our status or seek support from people close to us. On the whole, being gay
is less visible and easier to conceal from bigots than being trans, and
members of racial minorities can often rely on their immediate loved ones
for support. Trans people are much more visible and prone to isolation even
from our loved ones. We also lack a robust body of literature or media that
sensitively depicts the nuances of our lives, and current representations –
as well-meaning as they may be – largely celebrate only the unrepresentative
few who are blessed with conventional attractiveness and can pass, or else
turn the difficulties of their transitions into spectacle . . . "
04-01-15: Religion News Service: "Transgender Mormons struggle to feel
at home in their bodies and their religion"
"They are among a growing but little-understood minority in the Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Transgender Mormons in Utah have formed a support group, march in gay pride
parades — though most are not gay — and talk openly about their
experiences. Efforts to bring awareness are crucial, they believe, because
most members of the Utah-based faith know little or nothing about what it’s
like to be transgender. And many judge and reject transgender loved ones.
Even LDS apostle Dallin H. Oaks acknowledged recently that Mormon leaders
“have not had so much experience with (transgender persons). … We have some
unfinished business on that.”
Still, the faith does have policies.
Elective sex-reassignment surgery
“may be cause for formal church discipline,” according to the church’s
Handbook. And an official LDS
document, “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” states that “gender is
an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal
identity and purpose.”“Because of this,”
church spokesman Eric Hawkins
writes in an emailed statement, “the church does not baptize those who are
planning transsexual operations. If a person has already had such an
operation and wishes to join the church, they may be baptized only after an
interview with the mission president and approval by the First Presidency."
04-01-15: Aljazeera America: "The growing trend of transgender
‘bathroom bully’ bills -- Nevada, Florida, Texas and others have proposed
bills that would bar trans kids from using certain school bathrooms"
"Advocates for transgender rights say the
increased visibility of transgender people in American culture in recent
years is triggering this legislative backlash, particularly in states, such
as Nevada, that have
already passed laws that protect transgender students or employees from
“It’s a second bite of the apple for lawmakers who are not happy that their
states or entities within their states had moved to protect students,” said
Michael Silverman, executive director of the New York City-based Transgender
Legal Defense and Education Fund.
If these proposed bathroom bills do get signed into law, they are likely to
face legal challenges. Gender identity and expression is included in Title
IX of the Education Amendments Act, a 1972 law that protects all public
school students from gender discrimination. “The Departments of Justice and
Education have made it clear that they intend to protect transgender
students from unequal treatment in school,” Silverman said.
At least two recent lawsuits have already
successfully upheld access to bathrooms for transgender children. In 2013, the
family of Coy Mathis, a transgender first-grader, won a lawsuit against
their Colorado school district that
allowed her to use the girls’ bathroom. In 2014, Maine's
highest court ruled in favor of transgender student Nicole Maines after
she sued when her high school required her to use a separate restroom for
“Transgender people are probably 20 years behind lesbian and gay people in
terms of public understanding of who they are and public acceptance,”
Silverman said. “That makes the transgender community an easy scapegoat now
for people who no longer target the gay and lesbian community because it
won’t be tolerated. We need to create the conditions where legislators know
that they cannot target transgender people either."
4-01-15: Now Toronto (Canada): "Is CAMH trying to turn trans kids
straight? -- A close look suggests CAMH is not just passively responding to
parents' concerns, but engages in therapies that cast gender-diverse
children as a worry in the first place", by
"The directors of the Child and Adolescent Gender Identity Clinic at the
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) have been presented with an
opportunity to finally get on the right side of history. Will they take it?
There has been a flurry of new interest in the clinic well known for
encouraging children to conform to gender norms and offering psychological
treatment that discourages children from growing up to be transgender.
Having published over 100 articles that advocate this approach, the clinic
has, unsurprisingly, been at the centre of several decades of serious
criticism. But recent events have upped the stakes, and those of us who have
long been critical of the clinic's approach are watching.
This controversy became impossible to ignore when NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo
announced the tabling of a private member's bill on March 11 that would bar
Ontario health professionals from attempting to prevent a young person from
growing up to be LGBT, a practice referred to in the bill as "conversion
A petition calling for the termination of clinic head Kenneth Zucker had
been circulating online for some months. And on February 4 CAMH announced
that an external six-month review of the clinic would be conducted in
response to community concerns. Calling this a controversy is putting it
lightly . . .
As clinic head, Zucker stated in a 2008 article in the journal
Neuropsychiatrie De L'enfance Et De L'Adolescence that the clinic would
support some adolescents or teens to transition to a new gender, because
older youth are seen as already established in a trans identity. Young
children, on the other hand, are described as being "malleable."
It would be better, the clinic has said in no uncertain terms, not to be
trans. Zucker and colleagues wrote in 2012 in the Journal Of Homosexuality:
"If the parents would like to reduce their child's desire to be of the other
gender, the therapeutic approach is organized around this goal." . . .
It is true that the terms "conversion therapy" and "reparative therapy" have
a history of being used to describe efforts, often religious-based, to
convert lesbians and gays to heterosexuality. It is true that this type of
treatment has often been conducted on adults. So what, then, should we call
it when a therapist tries to prevent a young child from growing up to be
"Conversion therapy" is currently standing in as the term of use. We could
debate that, but the lack of an agreed-upon term for a problem does not make
it less of a problem. And a very big problem it is.
In 2011, the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH)
stated that "treatments aimed at trying to change a person's gender
identity" are "no longer considered ethical." In January of this year, the
Canadian Association of Social Workers issued a statement that reads in
part: "Any professional attempt to alter the gender identity or expression
of a young person to align with social norms [is] an abuse of power and
In the 2006 Yogyakarta Principles drafted by international LGBT human rights
experts, the CAMH program sounds strikingly similar to the description of
"medical abuse" in that gender identity is treated as a condition to be
"treated, cured or suppressed." Last week, Liberal Health Minister Eric
Hoskins, who has welcomed DiNovo's bill, announced he will be asking medical
colleges to amend regulations to specify that the practice of "conversion
therapy" amounts to professional misconduct. As of last year, the right to
self-identify one's gender is protected in the Ontario Human Rights Code for
residents of any age . . .
Most professionals agree that in the majority of cases it doesn't have to
come down to a battle between the child's will and the parents'. Instead,
they say most parents, if supported and educated, will be able to let go of
their expectations and support their child, whoever he or she turns out to
be. What DiNovo's legislation will do is ensure that the professionals who
respond to these parents will have this goal in mind. And finally bring the
mental health profession onto the right side of history."
03-31-15: LA Times: "For Zoey Tur, a new life as transgender woman
"As expected, Tur's high-profile position has drawn mixed reactions: She's
heralded as a breakthrough by some, derided as an abomination by others.
She's reported on her own learning curve as a woman, as well as on stories
about America's changing ideas about gender, such as a recent interview with
a transgender San Quentin State Prison correctional officer.
Likewise, she's both a pioneer and a lightning rod in the LGBT community.
Her mere presence on prime time is a testament to the growing acceptance of
a historically maligned demographic, yet Tur's contrarian viewpoints on
various issues have raised hackles in the transgender community and among
advocates who say she's off message.
She's challenged the very definition of "transgender" and argued that
despite what the experts say, hormone therapy can cause one's sexual
orientation to flip. (She says she's now attracted to men, after a lifetime
of the opposite.) She also recently sided with female patrons at a Michigan
gym who felt uncomfortable sharing the changing room with a transgender
"When I was going through transition, I didn't push it on everyone," Tur
said, referring to the gym controversy. "I didn't want to harm the
transgender community or harm females in their private space. I was
respectful. But now I've been told [by LGBT advocacy groups] to sit down,
shut up and listen."
Dana Beyer, executive director of Gender Rights Maryland, feels Tur isn't
qualified to be a spokeswoman for the community.
"Like many other trans people, she may have thought: 'Oh, I transitioned.
Now I can pontificate about any question someone throws me.' My answer is
'No, you cannot.' She's pretending to be an expert but misinforming the
public. It's dangerous.""
03-26-15: HRC (re Canada): "Canada Clinic Suspends Conversion Therapy
"After undergoing substantial public scrutiny, the Toronto-based Centre for
Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) has suspended its "Gender Identity
Services" until they can be officially reviewed.
The dangerous and widely debunk service, also
known as “conversion” therapy, is designed to prevent individuals from
identifying as LGBT. Rejected by
every major medical group in the U.S.
for decades, “conversion” therapy is based on false concept that being LGBT
is a mental illness that needs to be cured.
CAMH’s "Gender Identity Services" came under
review several months ago, when the transgender community publicly
criticized CAMH for not being “respectful” of
patients’ gender identities. No new patients will be admitted into the
program until after the review is complete.
Dr. Kenneth Zucker, the doctor who is in charge of
the youth "Gender Identity Service," is highly criticized for his alleged
reparative therapy practices. Zucker encouraged parents to limit their
children’s cross-gender behavior. He explained in an interview with
the National Post that by doing so, parents “are
lowering the odds” of their children
In the United States, California, New Jersey and the District of Columbia
have laws protecting young people under age 18 from this harmful practice;
and numerous states are currently considering similar legislation."
03-26-15: Jewish Daily Forward: "Can Jewish Transgender Teen's Successful
Coming Out Provide Model for Others?"
"San Francisco — Tom Chai
Sosnik stood in front of his eighth-grade class, flecks of rainbow colored hair
visible beneath his blue yarmulke, as he was wrapped in a tallit for the very
first time. His classmates stood and chanted together, “Baruch
HaBah [“Welcome”]” three times, and then
ran forward, enveloping him in a big, messy hug. Tom’s transition was complete,
but unlike what you may have expected, it was not one from boy to man, but
rather from girl to boy.
You may recognize the name Tom Sosnik — the
transgender teenager whose “coming out” speech went viral after being posted on
Facebook by his family on March 16. Since then, it has been viewed more than
61,000 times and has been reposted by such national media sites as The
Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan magazine and Out magazine. Tom is being hailed as
a “hero” in the transgender community, praised for his articulateness and his
sincere sense of self . . .
Tom and his parents told the interim head of school at
Tehiyah, Elise Prowse, that Tom was transgender and that he wanted to make it
public. Within days of their meeting, Prowse created a gender-neutral bathroom
at Tehiyah and got in contact with Gender Spectrum, a not-for-profit
organization that provides gender-related education, to figure out the best way
forward. Together they created a gender transition plan for Tom, with the goal
of having him come out before his class trip to Israel at the end of March — so
that he could comfortably use the male restrooms while traveling with his
“We were very detailed and intentional about the
planning,” said Prowse, who consulted closely with Tom while designing the
process. The plan included educational workshops on gender with the faculty,
parents and students at Tehiyah. Everything culminated with Tom’s March 13
coming out speech and naming ceremony.
“The degree to which the
parent community not only showed up, but clearly really wanted to embrace this
family and young person, was really lovely,” said Joel Baum, senior director of
professional development and family service at Gender Spectrum. “As a Jewish
day school, they have some very clear statements about their values, and what
it means to be a community based in those values. I’ve never seen anything done
in that way before. It was really beautiful.” . . .
“I think that it’s the
parents’ job to leave an open door for their kids, like my parents did for me,
because you never know,” Tom said. “Being trans doesn’t make you unclean; it
doesn’t make you weird, or different. People that are trans are just doing what
we all should be doing: They’re embracing who they really are.”"
03-25-15: The Williams Institute: "Williams Institute launches
first-of-its-kind study of U.S. transgender population"
"Researchers at the Williams Institute at UCLA School
of Law, Columbia University and The Fenway Institute at Fenway Health are
launching a first-of-its-kind study of the transgender population in the United
States that they expect will create a more accurate and detailed picture of the
issues faced by transgender individuals.
The study, which is being led by Ilan H. Meyer,
Williams Senior Scholar of Public Policy at the Williams Institute, will
provide researchers and policymakers with unbiased estimates about the
demographics, health outcomes and health care needs of the transgender
population by relying on a randomly selected sample of the U.S. population. The
study, titled “TransPop: U.S. Transgender Population Health Survey,” also will
provide insights into the methodology of surveying transgender people.
“With awareness about transgender people growing in
the public and among researchers and policymakers, there are new opportunities
to establish policies that address the needs of transgender people in the
United States,” said Meyer, the study’s principal investigator. “Timely and
accurate data about the transgender population is crucial for designing
evidence-based public health and policy interventions.”
To date, most of what researchers know about the
transgender population comes from studies that do not use random selection
methods, Meyer said. While those studies have provided valuable information
about transgender lives, they may not accurately represent the population."
03-24-15: The Advocate: "Trans Teen Activist, Former Homecoming King,
Dies in Charlotte, N.C. -- Blake Brockington, 18, died by suicide after
inspiring trans youth locally and nationally with his work to combat
transphobia, racism, and police brutality."
"Blake Brockington, a young
trans activist celebrated nationwide as the
first out trans homecoming king in a North Carolina
high school, is being mourned after
committing suicide Monday night, reports North Carolina LGBT newspaper QNotes
. . .
"I honestly feel like this is something I have to
do," Brockington, who mentored several younger trans students, told
at the time he was named homecoming king. "Nobody should be scared to be
themselves, and everybody should have an equal opportunity to have an enjoyable
high school experience." He also shared how he had been rejected by his family
after coming out as transgender, leading to his placement in a loving foster
Receiving public attention for his homecoming win was
a defining moment for Brockington and also a difficult one, he told local
The Charlotte Observer,
as reported by QNotes.
"That was single-handedly the hardest part of my trans journey. Really hateful
things were said on the Internet. It was hard. I saw how narrow-minded the
world really is."
"I've had a hard time coming out to my family, I had
a hard time coming out to my friends at school, but I did it," Brockington said
in a video interview with the Observer (below).
"I've lost a lot of friends ... [But] I want other trans youth to understand
that they're not alone, and that this is a large community".
Brockington's death is the sixth reported suicide of
a trans youth in the U.S. this year, in an "epidemic" that trans advocates say
sees far more casualties than are noted by media. "For every name we know,
there are surely many that we don't,"
Trans Lifeline cofounder Greta Gustava
Martela explained in an Advocate op-ed
a week before Brockington died. "It looks to me like the five reported suicides
of trans people in the first three months of 2015 [including 23-year-old Eyelul
Cansin in Turkey] have more to do with an
uptick in reporting around trans suicide than an actual increase in the number
of trans people taking their lives."
The numbers themselves have been staggering, both
before and after the media began to take notice — a recent change that Martela
suggests may have something to do with the
late December suicide
of 17-year-old trans girl Leelah Alcorn in Union Township, Ohio. Alcorn left a
public suicide note pleading
for the world to "fix society"
so fewer trans people felt rejected and hopeless, spurring national
conversations about how families and communities treat their trans children. An
extraordinary 41 percent of trans people have reported attempting suicide,
according to the
National Center for Transgender Equality and the
National LGBTQ Task Force — a rate that
stands at nearly 10 times the national average for cisgender (nontrans)
03-23-15: M-Live.com: "Michigan woman sues Planet Fitness for
transgender-friendly locker room policy" (more,
"The transgender-friendly locker room policy of
national gym chain Planet Fitness has led to a lawsuit in Michigan. Yvette
Cormier of Midland County is suing Planet Fitness in Midland County Circuit
Court for more than $25,000. The Kallman Legal Group of Lansing is representing
Planet Fitness canceled Cormier's
membership March 4 after she complained to fellow gym
members over several days about seeing a transgender woman using the locker
room. While Cormier referred to the individual as a man, she said an employee
told her the individual in question identified as a woman. Carlotta Sklodowska
later came forward,
saying she was the transgender woman in question.
"Ms. Cormier was wrongfully denied the benefits of her
contract with Planet Fitness and wrongfully denied the use of the
public accommodations at Defendant's gym because she objected to Defendant's
unknown policy," a press release from Kallman Legal Group states. "The policy
allows men who self-identify as women to use the women's facilities, including
the women's locker room and showers.""
03-23-15: M-Live.com (updated): "Transgender woman in Planet Fitness
locker room controversy says she used it twice to hang up coat, purse" (more,
"Cormier has said the transgender woman she saw in the
locker room "looked like a man" and was wearing men's clothing.
According to Sklodowska, she wore leggings and a baggy
t-shirt during both trips to the gym. She said many people tell her she looks
like a man, and she could see why Cormier would see her body structure as
masculine. "It's obvious, even from the back," Sklodowska said.
The Midland resident said she uses public bathrooms
all the time and has never had any issues previously. "No one has complained
yet," she said. Sklodowska said she did not observe anyone in the Planet
Fitness locker room who looked distressed about her presence.
Friends told her about the news story circulating
regarding Cormier and the locker room policy. That is when Sklodowska figured
out that it was likely her to whom Cormier was referring, since she had visited
Planet Fitness and is the only transgender woman she knows of in town."
03-22-15: San Francisco Chronicle: "Rep. Mike Honda’s granddaughter a
transgender icon at 8"
"South Bay Congressman Mike
Honda, 73, is no different any other grandparent who brags about their “truly
special” grandchild. But the Democratic House member has put himself in the
national spotlight by tweeting and talking about his granddaughter Malisa, who
is 8 years old — and transgender.
In an opinion piece last week in the Bay Area
Reporter, the gay and lesbian newspaper, Honda described in detail the story of
his grandchild, whom he said was “assigned male at birth,” but who at 18 months
“announced to my daughter’s family: 'I’m a girl.’”
Honda wrote that “I admit I was not immediately
comfortable” with the change, but learned to find “the strength to push my
personal fears of a more difficult life for a loved one aside.” The
congressman’s essay, coming after he first revealed Malisa’s decision with a
tweet in February, has won him praise from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender community as a vanguard who has shed welcome new light on
But observers note his actions may also have a
political impact: He has begun raising money for his 2016 re-election campaign,
and some critics suggest the current stories — seen as positive in nature —
distract from a recent embarrassment: Honda fell asleep during a televised
Department of Homeland Security funding debate.
Honda’s revelation about his family has also kicked up
a debate on the increasingly blurred lines between the political and the
private, especially with regard to issues surrounding children and social
“Politicians make their families part of the political
debate all the time ... but once you thrust the family into the public forum,
they are fair game for the debate,” said law Professor Jessica Levinson, who
teaches politics, ethics and privacy issues at Loyola Law School in Los
Angeles. “And in this case, you’re thrusting an 8-year-old into the public
debate at a really delicate time.” Levinson said Honda deserves credit for
publicly supporting his granddaughter, but she noted that in doing so, he has
exposed her to a harsh limelight, possibly for years, at a time when she may be
“really below the threshold for knowing consent.”"
03-22-15: The Advocate: "Trans Reporter Zoey Tur in Hot Water Over
Remarks on Trans Bodies, Rights"
month, the Los Angeles-based reporter has received increasing criticism over
controversial remarks she's made on national television about hormone therapy,
trans youth in sports, and trans women in locker rooms, among other topics.
This week, Inside Edition confirmed
to The Advocate that
the show has ended its relationship with Tur, but claimed the decision was not
influenced by the increasing outcry about Tur's public comments.
was just a part-time assignment, for February sweeps," co-executive producer
Esther Pressin stated. "She did three stories for us, and we're done."
Tur, whose previous claim to fame was capturing live
video of O.J. Simpson in the infamous 1994 Bronco chase, quickly became one of
the most visible and outspoken trans people in media after signing with Inside
Edition in February. In the weeks since
she landed the role, she's been invited to speak on hot-button trans news
stories — including Planet
Fitness cancelling a woman's membership after
she repeatedly complained about a trans woman and speculation
on Bruce Jenner's gender identity — for
several news programs, including shows on CNN, TMZ, and HLN.
Tur's contributions (included in the list below) have
often been distinctly different from positions held by prominent trans rights
activists and trans rights organizations, calling recent
gains in trans access
to public sex-segregated facilities and school sports teams into question. In
response, trans advocates have begun firing back in essays and online
conversations, arguing that Tur's relatively large public platform increases
the harm any misinformation in her statements can create — especially when they
appear to resonate with beliefs held by the right wing and antitrans
politicans, like those currently pushing "bathroom bills" in
Kentucky . . . "
03-21-15: Express (UK re US): "Bruce Jenner: From gold winning Olympian
to now wanting to become a woman"
"An inspiration to a nation that celebrated his
decathlon gold in the 1976 Montreal Games, his face appeared on cereal boxes
and he was a regular at red-carpet events. He starred in TV movies and in the
hit television drama series cHiPs. Mothers named newborns after him, women
lusted after him and men wanted to be him.
He was Sebastian Coe and Daley Thompson wrapped in the
Star-Span- gled Banner, an u?ber-athlete whose celebrity transcended the sport.
After two failed marriages Jenner found renewed fame in 2007 as the patriarch
of his third wife’s family, the Kardashians. His life became fodder in the
reality TV series Keeping up With The Kardashians, led by his step-daughter
Kim, which returns to e! entertainment TV in the uK tomorrow.
Yet the man who was once the apotheosis of masculine
athleticism is unrecognisable today because Bruce is becoming a woman and he
wants to be called Belinda. It’s a transition that has shocked the US and is
playing out in America’s living rooms as his family continues to dissect their
lives under the magnifying glass of reality TV cameras.
“Bruce has had these urges for many years,” says a
close friend. “The kids have known. He has been carrying this with him for so
long that everyone is relieved he is coming out with it.”"
03-20-15: The Daily Beast: "Bold, Beautiful—and Transgender: A Daytime
Soap’s Radical Twist"
"Maya has been a character on the show for just over
two years, and producers decided to make her character trans three months ago.
“I always want to tell love stories, and this will be a different kind of love
story. It’s a great adventure,” said Bell. “She is in a relationship. A big
part of the story is her being transgender with the man she loves. I’m curious
to see how he reacts. It will be an in-depth look at disclosure: the right and
appropriate time to say something. When is waiting too long, when is too
Maya is not the first transgender character in a U.S.
daytime soap. The ’90s-set The City and All My Children featured trans
characters, too. But none have matched the longevity and popularity of the
much-loved (and now missed—the character died last year) Hayley Cropper in
Britain’s Coronation Street.
After many years of near-invisibility of LGBT
characters in daytime, Maya in The Bold and The Beautiful follows the show
featuring her love rival Caroline’s lesbian parents.
The marital travails of Will
and Sonny are playing out on Days of Our Lives, and notable past LGB soap
alumni include Bianca in All My Children, Guiding Light’s
Olivia and Natalia,
and the tangled love life of As the World Turns’ Luke Snyder and his sexy
scene with first love Noah.
The Bold and The Beautiful—watched in more than 100
countries by 30-plus million viewers—is trumpeting that in Maya, it will be the
only show on broadcast television featuring a regular trans character. The
program also will feature trans actors as the storyline progresses, the
trajectory of which will no doubt be watched closely by activists and
03-20-15: USA Today: "Strangers unite over their transgender children"
"Family therapist and sexologist Mary Minten seeks out
transgender children and their families, making it her specialty nine years ago
when she started practicing in Reno, Nev. She found the group more unserved and
unguided than any other in the area.
"I see a lot of fear. Everybody's taught they have a
boy or girl, period," Minten said. Her transgender clientele has grown to
numbers larger than she can handle – including the Rodarte family whom she
handed off to a colleague – as this community just east of Lake Tahoe begins to
acknowledge the presence of transgender people. Washoe County School District
adopted regulations in February requiring equal treatment of these students and
formally acknowledging their existence for the first time.
Medical professionals and therapists are increasingly
accepting of transgender people, updating their manual in 2012 to no longer
call transgender a mental "disorder," but rather, a condition. In making the
update, the American Psychiatric Association explained the importance of
standing up for the transgender community, marking a national shift toward
acceptance among medical professionals that extends to the public.
In 2013, the California
Legislature cemented transgender-student protections in state law. An
increasing number of local school districts have done the same across the
country, not to mention state education departments like Massachusetts.
Transgender is on its way to being recognized as a
medical condition of the body, not the mind, Minten said. That doesn't make
life much simpler or safer for these children, said Minten. She's heard from
transgender youth being bullied, physically assaulted, refused service or
attempting suicide, which occurs at a 41% rate for transgender people.
Families make all the difference, Minten said. They
can stand between a transgender person and the edge, or push them over it.
She's heard it from the mouths of her clients,
children to young adults. "My dad and mom don't love me," patients tell Minten
when their parents force them to repress their transgender identity or don't
accept it. "Families don't realize their impact, what it is for a parent to
refuse a core part of their child.""
Star-Tribune: "Judge says transgender man has plausible case he was mistreated
"Jakob Rumble was in severe
pain when he came to the emergency room of Fairview Southdale Hospital in
Edina with his
mother. What happened next provoked a federal lawsuit by the West St. Paul
resident and a decision by U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson that is
being hailed by national transgender and gay rights organizations.
Nelson ruled this week that Rumble, who identifies
himself as a transgender man, has built a “plausible” case that he was a victim
of discrimination and mistreatment by an emergency room doctor on the basis of
gender identity. She denied a motion by the doctor’s employer and Fairview to
dismiss the case. Nelson’s 63-page ruling is believed to be the first extensive
federal court analysis of Section 1557 of the 2010 Affordable Care Act. The
provision prohibits discrimination by health care providers and is the first
federal civil rights law barring sex discrimination in health care . . .
The suit said Rumble’s female reproductive organs were
inflamed and he could hardly walk, despite antibiotic treatment by his primary
care physician. At one point, he had a temperature of 104 degrees, and a doctor
later said he could have died without treatment.
Rumble said he registered at the Fairview Southdale ER
on June 22, 2013, identifying himself as a male, but he was told by a clerk he
was on file as a female. She gave him a wristband with an “F” on it. “I was
very upset,” said Rumble. “My identity was disregarded. It wasn’t like I hadn’t
When an ER doctor showed up after 4½ hours, he asked
Rumble in a “hostile and aggressive manner … who are you having sex with?” the
suit alleges. Rumble asked what he meant, and the doctor asked, “men, women or
both?” Rumble said the doctor seemed angry. He asked Rumble if he engaged in
penetration and if “he had ever had sex with objects.”
“He was in my face asking very personal questions and
very repetitive questions about my sex life,” said Rumble in a Star Tribune
interview. The doctor examined Rumble’s genitalia “in a very rough manner,” the
suit says. At one point, Rumble claimed he felt like he’d been stabbed. He said
he cried out in pain and asked the doctor to stop, but he didn’t.
The suit says Rumble turned to his mother and said,
“Mom, can you make him stop?” His mother yelled, “Stop!” and the doctor
When Rumble asked if he had determined the problem,
the doctor allegedly said in an angry voice, “I can’t tell you because your mom
made me stop the exam.” He then left the room. Rumble was admitted two hours
Fearful about how he would be treated, Rumble asked
his mother not to leave. She slept on a chair in his room for the next six
days, the suit said . . . "
03-20-15: Think Progress: "An Imperfect Spokesperson: The Transgender
Backlash Against Zoey Tur"
"Zoey Tur may have undergone
one of the most public gender transitions in U.S. media. The news reporter,
famed for her 1990s chopper coverage chasing O.J. Simpson’s Bronco and
documenting the Los Angeles race riots from above, shared every step of her
journey over the past two years with Los
Angeles Magazine‘s Ed Leibowitz, whose
long profile of her transition was
published in December.
She has since begun to enter the media space again, and was
as a correspondent
for the syndicated newsmagazine
Tur’s surge of visibility
coincides with a political moment when social conservatives are engaged in a
backlash against transgender people. A number of blatantly anti-transgender
bills are advancing in state legislatures, including legislation in
Texas that would
impose criminal penalties if transgender people use facilities of the gender
other than what they were assigned at birth. Meghan Stabler, a veteran
transgender activist with connections to various LGBT organizations, told
ThinkProgress that it’s a crucial time for transgender people to dispel myths
about their identities, especially
the unfounded fears
that it’s a threat to the safety of women and children if they use the
restroom. “The only way we can win is to get trans people to show what it would
look like in their restrooms,” she explained,
as some activists are now doing.
Stabler worries, however,
that Tur is having the opposite effect — and she’s not alone. Transgender
leaders from across the movement have begun criticizing Tur for speaking out of
place on behalf of the transgender community at large, sharing information
about trans identities that Stabler says is simply “factually incorrect.” For
example, in a February interview
with TMZ, she
cited a preliminary study suggesting that hormone therapy
changes a person’s sexual orientation,
presented as conclusive fact
despite the unique and inconclusive results of the singular study. “Hormones do
not make you gay or straight,” Stabler corrected."
03-18-15: Metro News (Canada): "Outcry prompts CAMH to review its
controversial treatment of trans youth"
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health has stopped accepting new patients
to its Gender Identity Services clinic for youth because of outcry from the
public. CAMH is reviewing the mental health services it offers to youth age
three to 18 who are struggling with gender identity or require services related
to being transgender.
The centre started the
review process a few months ago because of complaints, particularly from the
trans community, that its services “weren’t respectful” of patients’ gender
identity, medical director
Dr. Kwame McKenzie told Metro. New patients won’t be accepted until the
review is finished.
Criticism of CAMH and the
doctor in charge of the youth gender identity service —
Kenneth Zucker — has been building online. At the heart of the issue is
what’s called “conversion therapy” or “reparative therapy:” designed to stop
people from being gay or transgender.
One example of the outcry
online petition that alleges
Zucker has been
doing reparative therapy with trans youth at CAMH for years, causing more harm
than good to a population that already has an increased risk of suicide. “You
can make them afraid and/or hate themselves, but you cannot change who they
are,” it reads.
NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo
tabled a private member’s bill last week that would ban reparative therapy for
youth, citing the damaging effects it has on patients.
CAMH’s own guidelines say
it should not offer this kind of therapy, McKenzie said. His own opinion is
that it should be illegal in Ontario. “That is not supposed to be the aim of
the clinic,” he said.
However, there are two
different “camps” of professional thought on the issue when it comes to young
kids, McKenzie said. While almost all professionals agree that reparative
therapy is ineffective and harmful for older teens and adults, some believe it
works to change kids’ gender identity – and helps them — if they are younger
than 11. “With a four-year-old boy who wants to play with dolls and wear
dresses and might think they are in the wrong body, there are a camp of
professionals who do believe in conversion or reparative therapy,” McKenzie
said. The divide has complicated CAMH’s search for an “independent” expert to
lead the review, he said.
Citing legal and human
resources concerns, McKenzie would not comment on which “camp” the head of the
program, Zucker, falls in. CAMH declined Metro’s request to interview
Zucker himself, citing the ongoing review.
However, Zucker has
written about his own views, and they’ve been reported in mainstream news in
Canada and the U.S. In a 2008 paper, he wrote about the best practices he has
developed at CAMH’s clinic, and how he believes it is both ethical and possible
to direct a young child’s gender identity to match their biological sex.
While he’s found it does
not work in older teens and adults, it does work for young children — the
younger the better, he wrote. One part of that therapy he described is limiting
patients’ cross-gender behaviour, such as boys cross-dressing and playing with
interview with the National Post published this year, Zucker indicated his
therapy would prevent children from growing up to be transgender. “You are
lowering the odds that as such a kid gets older, he or she will move into
adolescence feeling so uncomfortable about their gender identity that they
think that it would be better to live as the other gender and require treatment
with hormones and sex-reassignment surgery,” he said.
Upon learning that Zucker
had said that, McKenzie told Metro: “That’s not what we’re supposed to be
03-18-15: Global News (Canada; posted 3-17): "Anti-Conversion Therapy
Bill: Ontario NDP MPP Cheri Dinovo speaks about her private member’s bill that
seeks to ban conversion therapy in Ontario" (VIDEO)
3-18-15: CNN: "When your young daughter says 'I'm a boy'"
"When Hillary Whittington learned she was having a girl, she and her
husband, Jeff, were thrilled. Naturally, the couple started getting ready
for the arrival of their first child. There was the pink and white nursery
to finish, dresses and bows to buy.
Like most first-time parents, they thought they had prepared for just about
everything. Then, only months after Ryland was born, Hillary and Jeff
realized something wasn't quite right. When they called out, Ryland didn't
respond. Ryland was deaf.
Cochlear implants restored young Ryland's ability
to hear, and the Whittingtons thought they had overcome their toughest
challenge. But Ryland had more to share with them, according to the family's
incredibly powerful YouTube video,
which has been seen more than 7 million times. Their story is also the
subject of an equally moving short film
Ryland," which is exclusively being
showcased on CNN.com. Ryland, they learned, is transgender.
"Transgender" essentially means having the body of one gender and the brain
or the mind or the spirit of the opposite gender, said Darlene Tando, a
licensed clinical social worker and gender therapist who also appears in
"So being transgender means you have something
other than what everyone assumed you were based on how you were born, what
body you were born in," said Tando, who also writes
blog about gender issues. The Whittingtons no longer have a
daughter. They have a son."
3-17-15: PennLive: "Transgender man helped by friends, YouTube during
transition in college"
"Caiden Fratangelo attended an all-female college with no transgender
policy. That worried him.
He is a transgender man, and was making the
transition between junior and senior year at
Chatham University in Pittsburgh. He
emailed professors to inform them of his new name, and that the pronoun "he"
now applied. He braced for a reaction from administrators.
But everything went smoothly, especially among his classmates, who chose him
as commencement speaker. He spoke about "being yourself."
It didn't go so well at home . . ."
3-17-15: The Guardian (UK re US): "Florida anti-transgender bathroom
bill moves a step closer to passing -- A second Florida house
committee voted in favor of bill on Tuesday that would result in arrests for
transgender people who use ‘wrong’ bathroom"
"A Florida bill that would make it illegal for
transgender people to use bathrooms meant for the sex other than what they
were assigned at birth is one step closer to becoming a law. The government
operations subcommittee of the Florida house voted in favor of the bill in a
7-4 vote on
The HB 583 bill requires users of single-sex public restrooms to prove their
gender or face arrest. The bill defines gender as “person’s biological sex,
either male or female, at birth”. Such definition, according to LGBT
advocates, targets trans people.
“[A] person who knowingly and willfully enters a single-sex public facility
designated for or restricted to persons of the other biological sex commits
a misdemeanor of the first degree,” the bill reads.
The bill was proposed by Miami Republican Frank
who says it
is a response to Miami’s new non-discrimination ordinance. The ordinance,
designed to protect trans rights, allows men to legally enter women’s
restrooms to assault them,
he said. His
bill is supposed to help prevent that.
“Single-sex public facilities are places of increased vulnerability and
present the potential for crimes against individuals using those facilities,
including, but not limited to, assault, battery, molestation, rape,
voyeurism, and exhibitionism,” the bill reads."
3-17-15: Huffington Post: "Here's Why CBS Is Airing A Transgender
"Few people in America face more discrimination and are more misunderstood
than transgender people. Often, it is the misunderstanding that leads to the
discrimination. Tonight, the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley will try to
shed some much-needed light on their world by telling the story of Landon
Wilson, who was kicked out the U.S. military simply because he is
In 2011, repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" allowed
gays, lesbians and bisexuals in the military to come out of the closet and
serve openly. But the ban on service by transgender people continues,
because it is based on military medical regulations put in place before the
American Psychiatric Association declared, in 2013, that "gender
nonconformity is not in itself a mental disorder"
. . .
Given the arc of the current discussion, the
eventual repeal of the ban seems likely. But every day the policy remains in
place means another day of secrecy for
the estimated 15,500 transgender persons in the military.
For Landon Wilson, the hiding is over, but his plans have been shattered. He
loved being in the military and hoped he would have a long career. For now,
he's working temporary jobs and volunteering for
advocacy group supporting LGBT military members, veterans and their
families. "If there's anything that the military has taught me," he said,
"it's learning to adapt quickly. And sometimes you take what you have and
learn to make the best of it." As the interview ended, I asked, "But if you
had the opportunity to re-enlist?" He answered without hesitation, "I would
re-enlist in a heartbeat. And I look forward to the day that it happens.""
3-13-15: PennLive: "What is transgender: Frequently asked questions
about being transgender"
"Do you want to have discussions with and about
transgender people that yield a greater understanding of what it is like to
be transgender? Or have you recently seen
Laura Jane Grace's AOL web series "True Trans" or
"Transparent" on Amazon or
been heartbroken by
the suicide of Leelah Alcorn and
are, as a result, curious about transgender people? You can start having
better discussions about transgender issues in 2015 with these frequently
First: Are you looking for what it is about a person that makes them
transgender? For any terminology-related question,
I have never met any transgender people before,
so why are you writing about them?
I may have met many transgender people in central
How long does it take to become a transgender
How long does it take someone to transition? What
is the process exactly?
Can gender confirmation surgery be performed in
What are some of the ramifications, on everything
from tax returns to other forms, where a person's gender marker would have
to be updated?
How do I find out what it is like to be a
How do I refer to a transgender person?
Are male-to-female people the only kind of
transgender people? Or are there transgender people who are female-to male?
What if, when I am talking to a transgender
person, I make a mistake and they get upset?
What if, no matter how many times I hear about an
aspect of being transgender, I still do not quite get it?
So if someone talks to me about being a
transgender person, can I talk about how that person is transgender with
Where can I find more information about
3-13-15: DNA (India): "Steps to uplift transgender community in India
discussed in Rajya Sabha"
"Rajya Sabha members from across the political spectrum joined hands on
Friday to ask the government to take steps to bring the transgender
community, facing social stigma and ostracism, into the mainstream.
Participating in a debate on DMK member Tiruchi Siva's 'The Rights of
Transgender Persons Bill 2014', the members demanded equal rights to the
community which has been historically subjected to severe discrimination.
The private member' bill provides for the formulation and implementation of
a comprehensive national policy to ensure overall development and welfare of
transgenders by the State. "Government must own this bill and pass a
sensitive legislation for transgenders, whom people push away. It will give
credit to new government. They have the same rights as you and me," said
Congress member M S Gill.
D P Tripathi (NCP) echoed Gill saying "the litmus test of any democracy is
its treatment to the minorities... Transgenders are treated as despicable."
He also demanded a national policy for them saying literacy and employment
rates among such people was very low. Vivek Gupta (Trinamool) said the
community, despite a population of over two million, was
discriminated against in "every walk of life" and sought the government's
intervention. Gupta said it was unfortunate that the first passport was
issued to a member of the transgender community only this year.
When Deputy Chairman P J Kurien wanted to know the reason for it, he said
"only the government can answer this." A Navaneethakrishnan (AIADMK) said
Tamil Nadu government has done pioneering work for them which should be
replicated in other states."
5-13-15: New York Daily News: "New York mom defends transgender
child’s request to use same-sex bathroom at school" (original
story, WHEC Rochester, NY)
"An upstate New York mom defended her transgender
daughter to upset parents at a school board meeting this week and said her
child never had “a choice.”
The student’s request to use the girl’s bathroom
and locker room left parents dismayed that Jennifer Surridge’s 11-year-old
transgender child would be changing clothes in the same locker room as other
The Sodus Central School District honored
Surridge’s request citing federal and state non-discrimination laws in a
statement, but the decision became the center of Tuesday’s meeting. It left
Surridge in near tears as she passionately appealed to parents and asked
what they would have done in her place.The discussion lasted for at least a
“What if this child came to you and said, ‘Mommy, I’m not a boy. I’m a girl
in here and no one can see me for who I am,’” Surridge, of Rochester, told
parents. Her daughter, whose gender was assigned at birth as male, recently
came out as transgender and had repeatedly said she was a girl since she was
at least four years old, Surridge explained."
5-13-15: People: "Transgender Teen Jazz Jennings Lands a Big Beauty
"Many teenage girls struggle with being
comfortable in their own skin. Jazz Jennings, 14, can relate. Assigned male
at birth, Jennings has spoken publicly about her gender transition since she
was 6 years old, and now the teen can add “skincare spokeswoman” to her
growing résumé (which already includes activist,
TV star and
Jennings is representing Clean & Clear in a video
called “See the Real Me,” which shows her giggling with friends and playing
with her cat — all with enviably clear skin, of course. “Growing up has been
quite a struggle being transgender, especially in middle school,” she says
in the video. But “the real me is happy, and proud to be who I am. I’m just
having fun being one of the girls.” (And she’s in good company:
are having a
Jennings will be the star of TLC’s All That Jazz,
which will follow her and her family as she deals with everyday teenage
situations including dating and homework. “Jazz’s story is universal, yet
unique, and we’re proud to partner with her family to share it with TLC’s
audience. Jazz may be known as an author and activist, but she’s first and
foremost a teenage girl with a big, brave heart, living a remarkable life,”
said Nancy Daniels, general manager of TLC.
Check out Jennings’s video for Clean & Clear . . .
5-12-15: People: "TLC to Air Summer Series About the Life of
Transgender Teen Jazz Jennings" (more)
making good on its promise
to deliver a reality series about a transgender person. This summer,
the cable network will debut All That Jazz, a show that focuses on Jazz
Jennings, a 14-year-old transgender activist and YouTube star.
The 11-episode series will focus on her life as an average teenager dealing
with school, friends, dating and family. Jennings was assigned male at birth
but began living her life as a girl beginning at her 5th birthday party,
when she was allowed to wear a girl's rainbow-colored bathing suit.
"We know that families come in all shapes and sizes, but at their core, they
are all about love, acceptance and support. Only TLC can tell this family's
story in a way that celebrates and demystifies difference in an effort to
help create a world without prejudice," said Marjorie Kaplan, group
president of TLC and Animal Planet.
"Jazz's story is universal, yet unique, and we're proud to partner with her
family to share it with TLC's audience. Jazz may be known as an author and
activist, but she's first and foremost a teenage girl with a big, brave
heart, living a remarkable life," added Nancy Daniels, general manager of
3-12-15: Sydney Morning Herald (Australia re US): "Transparent star
Jeffrey Tambor talks about fear, fame and playing transgender"
"At first glance, the world of Maura Pfefferman is steeped in the ordinary.
Formerly Mort Pfefferman, she is the father of three children, and an
ex-husband to an opinionated ex-wife. At the age of 70, she has come out as
transgender, hoping that whatever remains of her life can be lived without
the crippling secret she has carried since she was five.
Maura is not, by her nature, political. As a performance, however, there is
something powerfully political about her, particularly in a world where
gender identity, visibility and equality are at the centre of fierce debate.
And for actor Jeffrey Tambor, who plays Maura in the critically acclaimed
television drama Transparent, everything is political.
"Someone said that – all acts are political," Tambor says, referencing a
quote ("All writing is political. All acts are political.") from the writer
and political activist Susan Sontag. "My politics are in my performance
because my job, as an actor, is to make Maura as human and as real as
In one of the most powerful scenes of the series, Maura is struggling to
articulate her feelings to her daughter Sarah. "Are you saying you're going
to start dressing up like a lady all the time?" Sarah offers. "No," Maura
responds, with a mixture of resignation and relief. "All my life, my whole
life, I've been dressing up like a man," she says. "This is me."
Filming that scene, Tambor recalls, was affecting. "I was nervous. I shook
like a leaf," he says. "It's a huge responsibility and one that I don't take
lightly. And those nerves kind of helped me play her. Maura Pfefferman is 70
years old and making a break for her authentic freedom."
That single event serves as a catalyst for a wave of change, affecting
everyone in her family. "It catapults everyone into their change," Tambor
says. "Families are held together by their deepest secrets. And this is
about family, first and foremost. I think it asks and answers a very
profound question that is at the root of every family, which is, if I
change, will you still be there? Will you still love me?" . . . "
3-10-15: USA Today: "Transgender teen's acceptance an act of love for
"Roz Keith's first inkling that her youngest child, the
one who never liked frilly dresses or girly things, might be different came
about eight years ago. The little girl she and her husband named Olivia was
playing in the bathtub, and declared: "I'm a boy!" I said, "'OK. Do you want to
be a boy?'" Keith said. Olivia's response was: "No, but I am a boy." "It always
stuck in the back of my mind," said Keith, a mother of two from Farmington. "It
was just that nuance with the words." . . .
It was when the 14-year-old wanted a boyish haircut that
Roz Keith realized the truth. "I said, 'These are boys' haircuts,'" Keith said.
"Are you trying to look masculine?'" "I was just like, whatever. Yeah, I am,"
Hunter said . . .
The family began therapy, and tried to chart a course
for the future. They agreed to call him Hunter, and began to consistently use
male pronouns. "I had to consciously think about it because it didn't just roll
off my tongue, and it was like having a mouthful of marbles," Roz Keith said.
"I did have to say, 'Look, you've been our daughter for 14 years, and we're
gonna make mistakes. We are with you, this is happening, but you have to trust
that it's going to take a while to get used to.'" Every day since Hunter came
out as a transgender boy has been a learning experience, and an act of love for
his family . . .
Despite the obstacles, Hunter said he wants other kids
who feel different to know this: "There's always support. If you have a good
group of friends, they will support you. If you don't, there is another group
of people that will.
"The transgender community is a very tight-knit
community. … There's always a place for people who are different, even if
you're not gay. We will accept you. ... We're not going to make other people
feel that pain."
The Keiths hope that by telling their story, they might
be able to help other kids like Hunter find acceptance. "To me, I'm not being
brave," Hunter said. "I'm being myself. Then again, a lot of people say that's
brave to be yourself. But, like, who else is going to be me?""
[Ed: A must-read story.]
3-09-15: Mother Jones: "Get Ready for the Conservative Assault on Where
Transgender Americans Pee -- Go to the wrong bathroom and risk a felony charge,
180 days in prison, and a fine of up to $10,000."
"If lawmakers in Florida, Texas, and Kentucky have their
way, transgender people would be breaking the law when using the bathroom of
their choice. Bills introduced in three states over the past month would make
it illegal for an individual of one biological sex to enter a single-sex
restroom or changing room designated for the opposite sex—even if the
individual self-identifies as a person who belongs there.
The debate over which bathrooms transgender individuals
can use isn't particularly new: Lawmakers in 17 states and more than 200 cities
have passed laws prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity, while a
handful of states and localities, like Colorado and Arizona, have attempted and
failed to pass bills that restrict bathroom usage.
But the latest attempts have the benefit of support from
the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative legal advocacy group based in
Arizona that has poured legal and lobbying resources into the issue over the
past year. ADF, which has a $30
million annual budget and a network of some 2,000 attorneys, takes on many
causes dear to the religious right, including opposition to LGBT rights
like marriage, military service, and adoption . . .
Here are the details on the latest bills:
bill states that a person who enters a public restroom, shower, or changing
room for the sex different from the "gender established by the individual's
chromosomes" faces a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine
up to $4,000. Furthermore, the "operator, manager, superintendent, or other
person with authority over a building" who repeatedly permits said bathroom
entrance would be charged with a felony, punishable by a minimum of 180 days in
prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Florida bill applies to both public facilities and workplaces. Gender is
defined as "biological sex, either male or female, at birth," and those who
enter a bathroom designated for the opposite gender face a misdemeanor, with up
to a year in prison and a fine of up to $1,000.
Kentucky bill applies
only to school facilities. Transgender students "whose parent or legal guardian
provides written consent to school officials shall be provided with the best
available accommodation," it reads. However, "that accommodation shall not
include the use of student restrooms, locker rooms, or shower rooms designated
for use by students of the opposite biological sex while students of the
opposite biological sex are present or could be present." The bill recently was
changed and now doesn't include a section that explains the punishment for the
crime . . . "
3-06-15: Los Angeles Times: "The last frontier in sexual bigotry:
"An especially nasty development this week in
transgender rights in Florida raises the question of whether transgender
discrimination is the last frontier in sex discrimination, now that gay
marriage is winning the fight for legal and social acceptance nationwide.
In Florida, an outlandishly harsh anti-transgender bill
was just reported out of the Republican-majority state legislature's civil
rights subcommittee (of all places) on a party line vote.
The measure would
make it a crime for anyone to use a public bathroom, locker room or
dressing room of the sex other than that they were assigned at birth. The
penalties include up to a year in prison. Businesses also would be liable to
civil suits for violating the law, which was designed to override a Miami-Dade
County anti-discrimination ordinance."
3-06-15: New York Times: "For Some in Transgender Community, It’s Never
Too Late to Make a Change"
"Awareness of transgender issues has surged over the
last year. Laverne Cox, a star of the television show “Orange Is the New
Black,” appeared in June on the cover of Time. Janet Mock chronicled her
transition from male to female in the memoir “Redefining Realness,” which
landed last spring on the New York Times best-seller list. Transgender models
like Andreja Pejic have walked the runways in New York and Milan. And major
retailers like Barneys are using transgender men and women in their ad
But it took Amazon’s popular and acclaimed TV series
“Transparent,” about a septuagenarian father of three who is coming out as
trans (which coincided with frenzied coverage of Bruce Jenner’s drastically
changed physical appearance) to shed light on a largely undiscussed segment of
the transgender population: those who undergo a gender change later in life,
sometimes even in their 60s and 70s, after decades of feeling not fully whole.
Coming out as transgender is not easy for anyone. But
the issues are particularly thorny for those trying to reconfigure a central
tenet of identity decades after building an adult life with family and career.
Social changes have a tendency to take root among the
young, and to then trickle up years (sometimes decades) later. To be in
transition around the time you qualify for AARP membership is to be on some
level a paradox; a person newly born at a seasoned age . . .
There are pragmatic as well as physical challenges, too,
particularly for the older population of trans women (which refers to those
born with men’s anatomy and who have since transitioned). Men’s jaws and
shoulders widen over time, making a more “womanly” shape hard to achieve. Hair
grows on their bodies while disappearing from their scalps, necessitating hair
transplants or wigs.
All of which has profound emotional consequences for a
group of people coming to terms not only with their genders but with the
indignities of aging and impending mortality. Many will not be beautiful, like
the young transitioners they watch on TV. Many will not “pass.”
“After I went on hormones, there was a letdown,” said
Barbara, 63, who lives on the Upper East Side and agreed to talk to a reporter
on the condition that her last name not be used. “I thought, ‘Where do I go
now?’ I’m not going to look like a movie actress in her 20s or 30s. I’m not
going to look like Laverne Cox.” Today, she goes to a
support group at Sage, the largest
organization for older LGBT people. “No one there is dating,” she said.
Still, the pull to live as a person wants, even for a
short time, even under reduced circumstances, remains powerful. Some people
interviewed said they waited to retire before transitioning so as not to
disrupt or destroy their careers. Others chose to push forward after the deaths
of their parents or after their children had left the nest.
But invariably, they said that they had given enough,
pretended enough, and wanted to claim the years remaining as their own. The
entirety of their bucket list was to finally become themselves . . . "
[Ed: A very important, must read story.]
3-06-15: Huffington Post: "The Army Just Made It A Little Easier For
Transgender Troops To Serve"
"In a sign that the U.S. Defense Department may be
inching closer to lifting its ban on transgender troops, the Army announced
Friday that it is elevating the level of authority required to discharge
someone based on gender identity.
The authority to discharge service members because they
are transgender has now been reserved for the assistant secretary of the Army,
the highest level to which it has ever been raised. Previously, local unit
commanders had the power to approve separation orders for transgender
The change makes it more
difficult to discharge someone from the Army for being transgender. The U.S.
military explicitly prohibits transgender troops, but an estimated 15,500
transgender people are serving anyway in secret, according to
a 2014 Williams Institute report."
3-06-15: ABC Australia (Australis): "One Plus One: Calpernia Addams"
"From US Navy medic to transgender
showgirl to Hollywood actress and consultant, Calpernia Addams has never shied
away from crashing through life’s many barriers . . . "
[A wonderful video interview with transgender-icon
3-04-15: Huffington Post: "Psychology Today Changes Its Position On
Conversion Therapy Ads"
"Therapists who offer the gay “cure” will no longer be allowed to
advertise their services in the directory pages of Psychology Today, a
magazine and website that includes profiles of tens of thousands of mental
The news, announced Wednesday, is something of a turnaround for the company.
On Tuesday, Charles Frank, who runs the organization’s directory of
informed The Huffington Post that “We take care not to sit in judgement
of others by allowing or denying individual participation” in the directory.
While Psychology Today was not a “fan” of conversion therapy, Frank said,
“the Therapy Directory cannot pick winners.”
The Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights group, first pressed Psychology
Today in February to remove all advertisements that purported to help gay
people become straight through counseling, a practice that is roundly
condemned by the mainstream mental health community. “By offering a venue
for these medically-debunked practices, Psychology Today is lending them a
veneer of credibility -- propping up a fraudulent industry that takes
advantage of vulnerable individuals, including children and families,” HRC
spokesman Fred Sainz wrote in a letter to the CEO and publisher of
[Ed: Wow, that was quick! And just imagine how former world-famous
is reacting to all this!
3-03-15: The Advocate: "HRC Asks: Why Is Psychology Today Advertising
'Ex-Gay' Therapy? The advocacy group has discovered ads for the discredited
therapy on the magazine's website."
"Last month the Human Rights Campaign discovered a
listing for such therapy on Psychology Today’s website, advertising the
services of Thomas Schmierer, a Riverside, Calif.–based marriage and family
therapist who engages in the practice. Today, HRC sent a
Psychology Today executives urging them to remove that ad and reject any
others for “ex-gay” therapy.
"By offering a venue for these medically debunked
practices, Psychology Today lends them a veneer of credibility and helps
these practitioners take advantage of vulnerable families and children,” the
letter reads in part. “We urge you to retract all current advertisements for
conversion therapy on the Psychology Today website and disallow future
postings for conversion therapy or by those known to practice conversion
3-03-15: Huffington Post: "What You Need to Know About Anti-Trans Bathroom
Bills", by Brynn Tannehill
"Bills have been filed in three states to prevent
transgender people from using bathrooms consistent with their gender
identity. The one in
targets transgender students. The bills in
would everywhere. Between all three, there are various provisions for:
1. Civil and criminal penalties transgender people who use a bathroom
2. Fines, criminal and civil liability for school administrators and
business owners who let a transgender person use a bathroom different than
their birth sex
3. People who report a transgender people in the bathroom to claim civil
damages (i.e. collect a bounty)
Understandably, this has caused fear and dismay among transgender people
around the country. We all have to use the bathroom, but these laws would
seemingly force transgender people to choose between fines and jail, risking
horrific violence or leaving the state.
While this is theoretically possible, it's also extremely unlikely. Here's
what you need to know, and what the probable outcomes are . . . "
3-03-15: WZZM13 ABC: "Raising Zay: A family's journey with a
transgender child" (Video)
"Four in 10
transgender teens in the United States attempt suicide. Leelah Alcorn's
death was a clarion call for the transgender community.
This is Zay Crawford's story.
The Crawfords knew Zay wouldn't be little forever. That thought only
instilled terror in them all. "Zay had been coming up to me, coming up to
Chas, asking about puberty, and it would usually end in tears," Jason said.
"We thought, we've got a couple more years where this kid can pass, and then
it's going to get really, really hard."
Then last spring, a friend who knew about Zay
tipped Chasilee to a
TED talk online
by a pediatric endocrinologist. One summer night, Jason and Chasilee powered
up a computer to watch
Dr. Norman Spack
of Boston Children's Hospital describe his groundbreaking work to help
transgender youth through puberty.
'I don't think we said a word through the whole thing," Jason said.
"Then we just looked at each other, and I saw exactly the same thing in
Chas's face that she did in mine: There's something we can do . . . "
"There's hope," Chasilee said.
A few days later, Jason wrote to Spack with an
email subject line: My son Isaiah who
wants to be Amber. He asked for guidance,
never expecting an answer. Two days later, Spack responded: Good news.
There's a clinic in Cincinnati . . .
The free-thinking Dutch, who have long advanced
medical care for transgender people,
pioneered the technique
of puberty suppression more than three decades ago. As the Crawfords learned
in Spack's TED talk, the treatment means giving young teens early in puberty
a course of hormones that halts sexual development. Bones and muscles still
grow . . .
In 2008, Spack opened the first U.S. clinic at Boston Children's Hospital to
adopt the Dutch protocol. Today, there are 38 clinics around the country
that treat transgender youth with puberty suppression.
at Cincinnati Children's Hospital opened in July 2013, led by Dr. Lee Ann
Conard, recruited from Pittsburgh where she treated transgender youth, and
social worker Sarah Painer . . .
The big day was Dec. 19. Zay put on a black skirt with white polka dots, her
I Heart DC T-shirt and a pink sweater. Jason, Chasilee and Jeffrey went with
Zay to the clinic. They squeezed into a small examination room. Zay took off
the sweater and lay down, raising her left arm over her head. Chasilee
stroked Zay's hair, Jason held Zay's hand. Jeffrey asked goofy questions to
ease Zay's nerves. The anesthetic hurt the most. Then a clinic doctor made a
small incision on the inside of Zay's upper left arm about three inches
above the elbow. The implant was installed, the wound quickly bandaged, and
it was done.
That night at home, Zay directed the family to the living room couch to hear
a speech of thanks. "I love you all. I am on a bumpy road, and you are my
pit crew." . . .
Two weeks later, at Zay's request, the Crawfords
drove on a rainy Saturday night from Yellow Springs to
Kings High School
in Warren County. A vigil had been organized in memory of Leelah Alcorn, the
transgender teenager who
Dec. 28, leaving an anguished note of despair and rejection.
The Crawfords walked around the school grounds, marveling at the 300 people
who had gathered in the rain. Zay wandered away from Jason and Chasilee.
Speakers took turns at a microphone, then an emcee invited others to address
A moment later, the Crawfords heard Zay's voice, amplified. They moved
quickly to stand close as Zay uttered the words, "I'm trans, and I'm proud."
The crowd cheered. Beaming through the rain, Zay walked from the microphone
into her father's arms, and Jason Crawford hugged his daughter for a long
[Ed: A must-read story.]
3-02-15: The Weekly Standard: "The Transgender Triumph -- Identity
politics über alles", by
(see also 2-26-15:
"The Second Coming of the Man Who Would Be Queen", by Dana Beyer)
"Chicago -- It
was the skin—smooth and hairless as a newborn’s forearm—that I fastened
on when I saw Sara Andrews, the first “transwoman” I had ever met, at the
Kit Kat Lounge & Supper Club in Boystown, on Chicago’s North Side. The
ambiance at the club was glitter balls, silver-leather banquettes, Busby
Berkeley dance loops projected onto the walls, and as entertainers a bevy of
dressed-to-the-hilt, lip-synching “divas,” as the Kit Kat calls its drag
lineup. The Kit Kat is a tourist destination as well as a locals’ favorite,
and it was packed, even on a Thursday night. The crowd had two distinct
demographic components: at the tables, mostly heterosexual women on a girls’
night out, including a raucous bachelorette party; at the bar, clumps of
equally high-spirited gay men in a social world in which the heterosexual
ladies on the periphery didn’t exist . . .
My Virgil for this adventure was J. Michael
Bailey, 58, a professor of psychology at Northwestern University who may be
the most controversial scientist ever to study and write about the
male-to-female transition, and certainly the most intensely loathed by
transgender activists. His 2003 book
The Man Who Would Be Queen: The Science of Gender-Bending and Transsexualism,
its cover featuring a photo of a pair of muscular masculine calves
terminating in large feet encased in a pair of high-heeled pumps, promoted a
thesis that was controversial in 2003 and is even more controversial now,
when there is a story about gender transition in the news nearly every day.
Bailey, who has devoted his academic career to
of human sexuality, argued that transgenderism (the new, politically correct
word for what was called “transsexualism” a decade ago) isn’t a matter of a
mismatch between one’s body and one’s innate identity, as transgender
activists and their numerous allies have been arguing. Instead, it’s a
matter of sexual desire and romantic yearning. “Those who love men become
women to attract them,” Bailey wrote. “Those who love women become the women
they love” . . .
Although published by the National Academy of
Sciences with glowing blurbs from evolutionary psychologist David M. Buss,
“gay gene” theorist Simon LeVay, and Harvard public intellectual Steven
Pinker, The Man Who Would Be Queen
was deemed “salacious bigotry” by Andrea James, a 48-year-old Hollywood
consultant who is the most persistently aggressive of the transgender
activists. James spearheaded campaigns to have Northwestern censure and
perhaps fire Bailey (unsuccessful), and to discredit Bailey as a credible
academic expert on transgender subjects (extremely successful). Bailey, who
had once chaired the psychology department at Northwestern, is now an
academic near-pariah. His career wasn’t helped when, in 2011, as an optional
session in his well-subscribed undergraduate course in human sexuality, the
ever-envelope-pushing Bailey hosted a live sexual performance (performed by
non-student volunteers). Administrators at Northwestern were not amused, and
the course was abruptly dropped from the catalogue, never to be revived ” .
The Man Who Would Be Queen
inflamed transgender activists. It did have certain inflammatory aspects.
There was the jacket photo of the man in high heels. Blanchard’s coinage
“autogynephilia” (extensively used by Bailey in the book), with its
connotations of fetishism, deviance, and mental disorder, has never sat well
with transgenders. Bailey was even more adamant than Blanchard that
autogynephilic transgenders often lied about their erotic fascination with
cross-dressing. Furthermore, Bailey observed, drawing on his previous
studies, that homosexual transgenders tended to come from lower
socioeconomic classes than autogynephiles, and that they tended to have
short time-horizons that often led them into streetwalking, shoplifting, and
other petty crimes. “Prostitution is the single most common occupation,”
Bailey wrote. His book also, perhaps inadvertently, included details about
“Cher” that made her real identity quickly discoverable to those in the
know: Anjelica Kieltyka, a Chicago transgender woman who, although
disagreeing with Bailey about his characterization of her as autogynephilic,
had made frequent guest appearances in his classes and had introduced him to
other figures in the city’s transgender scene.
Bailey’s book caught the immediate—and
hostile—attention of Lynn Conway, now 77, a pioneer of computer-chip design
during the 1970s, a longtime engineering professor at the University of
Michigan, and a leading transgender activist who figured as one of
“21 Transgender People Who Influenced American Culture” in its May 2014
cover story. Conway was close to Andrea James (both had been patients of Dr.
Ousterhout and touted his facial-feminization techniques on their websites).
James, best-known for counseling Felicity Huffman, the star of the film
(2005), on transgender voice and mannerisms, underwent transition surgery in
1996. She and Conway teamed up with Kieltyka, and with Deirdre McCloskey, to
make sure that The Man Who Would Be
Queen would not receive a respectable
academic hearing . . .
In 2007 Alice Dreger, a bioethicist at Northwestern’s medical school,
released the results of an exhaustive investigation she had conducted of the
charges against Bailey. Her 73-page study, published on the National
Institutes of Health website in 2008, concluded that although Bailey’s book
contained flaws of tactlessness and overgeneralization, James, Conway, and
McCloskey had conducted a witch-hunt against him . . . The wrath of James
(along with that of her numerous Internet allies) has made it difficult for
anyone, either in the world of professional psychologists or outside it, to
sympathize publicly with the Blanchard-Bailey theories, much less espouse
them . . . "
[Ed: This 2015 attempt to defend infamous work
done years ago by
was published in the
The Weekly Standard,
a right-wing propaganda outlet.
2-26-15: Huffington Post: "The Second Coming of the Man Who Would Be
Queen", by Dana Beyer
"There are times when you read an article that's
nothing more than a screed, a scream of resentment, in this case on behalf
of a man who has slid into irrelevancy. In what appears to me to be an
attempt to capitalize on the alleged Jenner transition, win some plaudits
from reactionary fellow travelers, and prepare the ground to promote
Professor J. Michael Bailey once again into the limelight, along comes
Charlotte Allen. Her
the Weekly Standard,
"The Transgender Triumph," which reads like a "Greatest Hits" album of the
scientifically ignorant and hateful anti-trans rabble, leads with the return
of Professor J. Michael Bailey to the scene of the crimes in Chicago's
Boystown that originally led to his fall from grace. It's a surprisingly
tone-deaf way to stage-manage your Second Coming.
The trans community has triumphed, as the title
suggests, to the degree it has because we've come out in greater numbers and
educated our neighbors about our unique characteristics as one of many
sexual minorities. In the world of science, of which Bailey is a part, we've
made great progress not through bullying and political correctness but by
slowly and persistently presenting the science that shows that trans persons
are normal like everyone else. It has taken time -- the DSM 5 was only
years ago. "Transgender" was first
a State of the Union speech last month. Open trans military service is
And into this environment --
this environment -- those who have resisted and those who have hated have
become increasingly public about their feelings and increasingly shrill in
expressing them. It's the backlash part of the civil rights dialectic, which
is why it is not unexpected, but apparently the Bailey-Blanchard-Dreger
crowd hasn't really been paying attention . . . "
Dreger is still trying to resurrect Northwestern University's
Bailey, from academic disgrace.]
2-21-15: Pink News (UK): "Pope compares transgender people to
"The Pope has compared the threat of transgender people to nuclear weapons.
The head of the Catholic Church made the claims, that have come to light
this week, in an interview for a book last year.
According to the National Catholic Reporter, he
said: “Let’s think of the nuclear arms, of the possibility to annihilate in
a few instants a very high number of human beings. “Let’s think also of
genetic manipulation, of the manipulation of life, or of the gender theory,
that does not recognize the order of creation.”
“With this attitude, man commits a new sin, that
against God the Creator."
[Ed: Wow, I had no idea we were that powerful!]
2-21-15: National Post (Canada): "As trans issues become mainstream,
question of how to address variant gender expression comes to forefront"
"When Zane Bernhard, then six years old, arrived for an appointment with a
psychologist at Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, his
parents had no idea that the clinic was ground zero in a global debate over
children who don’t conform to traditional gender roles.
All they knew was that Zane refused to put on his snow pants, and his school
wouldn’t let him outside in the winter unless he did. His parents didn’t
have a problem with the fact that he played with Barbies and dressed up as
Disney princesses. But they felt that Dr. Ken Zucker, the pioneering
Canadian psychologist they were seeing that day, did. The real problem, Dr.
Zucker told Zane’s parents, was Zane’s gender presentation. They remember
being instructed to confiscate Zane’s dolls and discourage any feminine
behaviour — or Zane could grow up to identify as a woman.
“We were pretty horrified by the whole experience because there was really
no support for who Zane was,” his mom says . . .
It’s been nearly two decades since Zane and his family stepped foot in the
child and youth gender identity clinic at CAMH. But the controversy around
Dr. Zucker and his clinic is even more ferocious today than it was then.
Zane is just one of more than 650 children who have visited the clinic since
it opened in 1975, making it the largest gender identity service for
children in the country. Two weeks ago, CAMH announced that its child gender
identity services would undergo a six-month independent review to solicit
“feedback from clients, families, community organizations and other health
That is welcome news for a number of therapists and activists who say the
clinic Dr. Zucker heads tries to prevent kids from growing up to identify as
trans, and could even put his clients at greater risk of depression and
other mental illness later in life.
“He really instills a sense of shame,” says Hershell Russell, a Toronto
psychotherapist who has worked with adults who saw Dr. Zucker as children.
Some of those clients “have never been able to shake that sense that there’s
some awful, embarrassing, shameful thing that’s wrong about me.” . . .
Dr. Zucker acknowledges that there is a lack of data around therapeutic
approaches for working with gender non-conforming children. In the absence
of a convincing body of evidence, CAMH’s approach to gender non-conformity
raises ethical questions, says Dr. Jemma Tosh, a postdoctoral researcher in
the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University.
“Were [Dr. Zucker] to argue his treatment is ethical because it could
alleviate distress, he cannot back this up with data. … Is it ethical to
implement a controversial form of treatment without any indication of its
long-term outcomes, particularly when there is the potential for it to cause
harm?” she asked in an article published in the British Psychological
Society’s Clinical Psychology Forum in May 2011.
CAMH has not yet decided when the review of its child gender identity
services is set to begin or who the external expert leading the review will
be. But those who signed Change.org’s “stop trans reparative treatment at
CAMH Toronto” petition
are already celebrating.
[Ed: Zucker's gender clinic is finally facing the external review it
deserves, as his form of trans-reparatism is increasingly seen as
terribly-harmful by health professionals around the world.]
2-19-15: San Joe Mercury News: "Transgender grandchild makes Rep. Mike
Honda proud -- and a little worried"
"U.S. Rep. Mike Honda announced in a tweet Wednesday that he is "the proud
grandpa of a transgender grandchild," sparking an immediate outpouring of
support for the Democratic congressman -- who said he hopes she "can feel
safe at school without fear of being bullied."
Along with the tweet, Honda posted a photo of himself with his arm tightly
around his grandchild, who has shoulder-length hair and a sweet smile. His
revelation comes in the midst of a national conversation about people who
question their gender identity, which one news magazine has dubbed the
Honda's comments were welcomed by gay and transgender activists, including
many at San Jose's Billy DeFrank LGBT Community Center. "It's surprising
just to hear a congressperson tweet something like that, but that's the
beginning of something new, especially for transgender people who have been
going through a lot of discrimination with their gender identity," said
Adriana Covarrubias, who was volunteering at the center Wednesday afternoon.
"As a grandparent, he's going to see the things the child is going to go
2-11-15: The Advocate: "Op-ed: Finally, Some Reliable Research on
Trans Kids Like Mine -- My child is a member of the first generation of kids
allowed to live transgender lives from a very young age. Until now, we
parents have been making it up as we go along." By Marlo Mack
"Three years on, I am the mother of a stunningly happy and confident
7-year-old transgender daughter. She is excelling academically, popular at
school, and generally thriving on all fronts. I've been lucky to find myself
living in a city that has a close-knit and supportive community of families
with transgender kids. We meet each month to talk about our struggles and
our fears, compare notes, and cheer each other on. We grieve for the sons
and daughters we've lost and delight in the ones we have so unexpectedly
gained. We arrange play dates so our kids can meet other kids like
themselves. (If you want to know what true happiness looks like, be in the
room when two transgender 6-year-old girls meet each other for the first
We're pretty sure we're on the right track. We hope against hope that we
are. Our kids, once miserable in one gender, are now thriving in the other.
The "veteran" parents — those with tweens and teens whose kids transitioned
five or more years ago — tell me how well their children are doing and I’m
struck by how blessedly run-of-the-mill their lives seem to be, as they
struggle with all the garden-variety teenage challenges: grades, peer
pressure, dating, college applications.
But despite this rosy picture, the truth is that most days we’re flying
blind — and it’s pretty terrifying. Even with all these validating anecdotes
and success stories to point to, without any solid research to back us up,
we parents are still far too easily branded (by Zucker and others) as
overindulgent liberals or as pathological whack-jobs who have somehow
manipulated and corrupted our children into their current state . . .
A ray of hope appeared last fall when I heard about a study underway at the
University of Washington in Seattle. Led by psychologist Dr. Kristina Olson,
the TransYouth Project is a long-term longitudinal study of kids from around
the U.S. who transitioned to another gender at a very young age. I signed my
daughter up right away.
Olson plans to track my daughter throughout her
childhood and beyond, as she goes through puberty, makes her way through
high school, and heads off for college. Olson’s team is going to check in
with my child each year, chronicling her development as she navigates the
shark tank of middle school, gets her heart broken by a boy (or a girl?) in
high school, and turns 18 and gets to decide if she wants to have gender
(RELATED: TransYouth Project Researchers Describe Their Work In Their Own
Olson admits that the study has its limitations. “As a scientist, if I lived
in an imaginary world, the study I would run would be to randomly assign
these kids to be raised in two different ways: One group would be allowed to
live in a different gender from the one assigned them at birth, and the
other wouldn’t. But ethically, we could never run that study, so we do the
next best thing.” Perhaps one day a researcher will study these two
groups as adults, compare them side by side, and we’ll have a pretty good
idea who bet on the right horse. (It will probably surprise no one that I
believe Zucker’s methods will be shown up as misguided and ineffective, if
not downright harmful.)
In the meantime, Olson’s study has already shed some new light on children
living transgender lives. Her first set of results, forthcoming in the
journal Psychological Science, validates my own experience as a parent of
one of these kids. “On all the measures that we have,” she said, “You can’t
distinguish controls or siblings from transgender participants of the same
gender. What these data tell us it that these kids aren’t merely going
through a phase. Rather, their gender identity seems to be a deeply held
My prediction is that Olson’s study will be an historic game-changer in the
debate about how to best support children like mine. “In 10 years,” she
said, “We will be able to start answering the questions everyone is asking:
What is the life of a kid who, as a young child, identifies as transgender,
going to look like? And how will a parent’s decisions influence what that
outcome will be?”
As Leelah Alcorn’s story has shown us, gaining a better understanding of
transgender kids is not just an interesting academic exercise; it is
literally a matter of life and death."
2-05-15: Change.org: "Great News! CAMH Toronto's Gender Identity
Service Review Announcement", by Catherine Gifford
"Our petition was not the tipping point for CAMH Toronto. Maybe it was.
Maybe it was the Twitter activists or other groups online. Maybe it was
#BellLetsTalk. Maybe it was a person within the organization who decided to
step up and make change. Maybe we'll never know why CAMH Toronto posted on
their website that they are "undertaking a review headed by an external
expert" and that they "expect this review to take six months".
CAMH Toronto's practices in their Gender Identity Clinic were reviewed in
2011. This time, focus will be put on their child gender identity services,
which includes the reparative therapy treatment which we have been fighting
against. In other words: this is huge.
As they say in their official statement on the CAMH website: "CAMH regularly
receives feedback from clients, families, community organizations and other
health professionals. We welcome and respect this and use the comments to
help us to improve the care we offer. We take this input seriously.""
1-30-15: People: "Bruce Jenner Is 'Transitioning into a Woman,' Source
Confirms to PEOPLE"
secret struggle, reality TV father and former Olympian Bruce Jenner is
"finally happy" and transitioning into a woman.
to read the REAL story behind his life-changing decision in PEOPLE.
has been a much-buzzed-about topic for months, and now PEOPLE has confirmed
has been quietly making a very personal change. The former Olympian will
soon be living life as female.
"Bruce is transitioning to a woman," says a source close to the family. "He
is finally happy and his family is accepting of what he's doing. He's in
such a great space. That's why it's the perfect time to do something like
And according to a different Jenner insider, the 65-year-old reality star is
filming his momentous journey, to be shared with viewers on a docu-series
this year. "It will air when he is ready to be open about his transition,"
the source tells PEOPLE. "But he's acting more and more confident and seems
1-29-15: Medical XPress: "Transgender kids show consistent gender
identity across measures" (more)
"A study with 32 transgender children, ages 5 to 12, indicates that the
gender identity of these children is deeply held and is not the result of
confusion about gender identity or pretense. The study, led by psychological
scientist Kristina Olson of the University of Washington, is one of the
first to explore gender identity in transgender children using implicit
measures that operate outside conscious awareness and are, therefore, less
susceptible to modification than self-report measures.
The findings will be published in Psychological Science, a journal of the
Association for Psychological Science.
"While future studies are always needed, our results support the notion that
transgender children are not confused, delayed, showing gender-atypical
responding, pretending, or oppositional—they instead show responses entirely
typical and expected for children with their gender identity," the
"The data reported in this paper should serve as further evidence that
transgender children do indeed exist and that this identity is a deeply held
one," they conclude.
Olson hopes to recruit up to 100 additional
transgender children and follow them into adulthood to observe how the
support they have received influences their development and whether it
translates into more positive outcomes than in today's transgender adults,
launching the first large-scale, nationwide, longitudinal study of
the United States."
1-18-15: Huffington Post: "This V-Day, Let's Work Together to Prevent
Violence Against All Women and Girls"
"We are representatives of the first
all-transgender benefit performance of
The Vagina Monologues.
In 2004, Eve Ensler supplemented
The Vagina Monologues,
writing a transgender piece after having intimate conversations with a
diverse group of women in our community. It debuted in 2004 as part of the
first all-transgender performance, which was cast without regard to
transgender surgical status.
That trans-inclusive piece has been performed by trans and non-trans
participants around the world as part of V-Day's global fundraising efforts
to end violence against women and girls. We feel it is one of many important
steps which made the feminist movement more trans-inclusive.
The money our benefit performance raised went to
Peace Over Violence, a trans-inclusive anti-violence nonprofit, the National
LGBTQ Task Force, and V-Day's annual focus of 2004, violence against women
and girls in Juarez, Mexico. The interviews and performance became the 2005
film Beautiful Daughters.
V-Day's and Eve's amazing response to concerns presented to them by trans
people has been inspirational. They made extraordinary efforts to make the
play and the movement trans-inclusive, changing many hearts and minds in the
The goal of V-Day is to create a community which raises money and raises our
voices together until violence against women and girls stops. Throughout the
project's history, Eve has added new monologues to include voices that were
not heard in the original play.
Hurtful labels and divisiveness are antithetical to the social justice
movement, which encourages building bridges and finding common ground around
shared goals. We encourage all trans and genderqueer people interested in
sharing their own unique voices to work with V-Day as we have. Our
successful efforts with V-Day emerged from sharing our constructive
criticism through direct outreach.
The V-Day movement and Eve's play continue to evolve and respond to issues
of the day, and our work with the movement was meant to be the start of a
conversation about including sex and gender minorities. We encourage you to
join us in working together to eliminate violence against all women and
In love and solidarity,
Calpernia Addams, producer, Andrea James, producer, Lynn Conway,
participant, Valerie Spencer, participant"
1-15-15: Now Toronto (Canada): "'Fix society. Please.' -- Final words
of transgender teen are a wake-up call to stop “fixing” trans kids and
start", by Jake
"On December 28, 17-year-old trans girl Leelah Acorn left a suicide note
posted on her Tumblr
and walked to her death in front of a tractor trailer on Ohio Interstate 71.
“Don’t be sad,” her post reads. “The life I would’ve lived isn’t worth
living… because I’m transgender.” Her final words were, “Fix society.
While there’s a lot we don’t know about Leelah’s life, we do know that her
parents rejected her, and then they took her to therapists who rejected her
– therapists who tried to fix her instead of society. On Monday night, the
creator of the television show Transparent, Jill Soloway,
dedicated her Golden Globe Award to Leelah. Now the US Transgender Human
Rights Institute has launched a
petition demanding that the Obama Administration impose a ban on the
treatment Leelah received – treatment that aims to correct gender identity
or sexual orientation.
For several reasons, Canadians ought to be paying attention to this American
tragedy. First, the global centre for correcting gender identity in children
and youth is located in Toronto and tends to advise parents to reject a
trans identity for their child. Second, some of the strongest research
against this approach originates in Ontario. And third, this week, Canadian
social workers released a position
statement calling all such treatments “unethical.”
The treatment that Leelah received has a controversial history. In the
1960s, researchers at the University of California began to study and treat
what they understood as the mental health crisis of feminine boys. The goal
was to “help” children by helping them avoid being gay or trans. Therapists
enlisted parents to modify their child, and femininity among those born
male was particularly singled out for elimination. Like Leelah’s therapists,
some of these early clinicians were inspired by religion. Others simply
wanted to "help."
For decades, efforts to cure homosexuality were heavily criticized and
eventually declared unethical by the American Psychiatric Association and
the US National Association of Social Workers in 2000. In 2012, the State of
California made treatment to prevent homosexuality
illegal. Yet treatments aimed at preventing transsexuality never
inspired the same level of outrage, and continue to this day. In fact, as
recent as 2012, clinicians from Toronto’s Gender Identity Service in the
Child, Youth, and Family Program at the Centre for Addiction and Mental
Health (CAMH) wrote in the Journal of Homosexuality, "we do not have a
particular quarrel with the prevention of transsexualism as a treatment goal
To summarize over 100 published articles, the CAMH gender identity clinic
for children encourages children to conform to expectations for their birth
sex. In this treatment model, parents play an active role in modifying the
child. In 2006, National Public Radio (NPR) published a
story in which this clinic advised a mother to remove her son’s beloved
pink toys and prevent him from dressing up in sparkly clothes and playing
with girls. The child had been the victim of a violent attack on the
playground, yet instead of being shown how to value their child, how to
uphold his unique worth and advocate for his rights and safety, they were
taught instead to help him better fit a bland and intolerant world.
Unsurprisingly, the clinic is no stranger to controversy and a cursory
Google search confirms that clinic head, Dr. Kenneth Zucker, remains a
lightning rod for
It is important to note that there are a number of differences between the
treatment that Leelah Alcorn received versus that offered at CAMH. Leelah’s
therapy was religious-based. This is not the case at CAMH. Leelah’s
therapists attempted to correct her gender while she was a teenager, whereas
at the CAMH clinic, trans teens are regarded as a foregone conclusion and
the clinic focuses on young children who are described in publications as
Despite these differences, there are some very important similarities.
Namely, that to be a transgender person is seen as an unfortunate future and
parents who reject a trans child are encouraged to go on rejecting them. In
2012, Ken Zucker and colleagues wrote in the Journal of Homosexuality: “If
the parents… would like to reduce their child’s desire to be of the other
gender, the therapeutic approach is organized around this goal.” According
to the trans community and its supporters, this is offensive. According to
more and more research, it is dangerous.
Some may believe that being trans is so difficult that it leads, in and of
itself, to outcomes like suicide. Yet a research team that I am part of (Trans
PULSE) found that there is much more to this story. We found that
suicidality among trans people varies based on how much transphobia and
violence they are exposed to. Suicidality varies based on whether those who
want to transition, like Leelah did, are
able to do so. Importantly, suicidality varies by how much social and
family support one has. For trans youth in particular, when they have strong
parental support for their gender identity, their risk of a suicide attempt
93 per cent. In fact, according to our latest findings, parents are
unique among all others in a trans person’s life, in that their support (or
lack-there-of) has an impact on their child’s risk for suicide for their
If it’s not already clear, the tragic irony is this: parents who want to
protect trans youth from a difficult life by steering them away from being
trans, themselves contribute to the unlivable conditions that their child
may try to escape through suicide. Leelah knew this intimately. In her
note, she described her parents’ rejection of her identity and wrote:
“If you are reading this, parents, please don’t tell this to your kids… it
will make them hate themselves.”
For this reason, experts like Dr. Edgardo Menvielle in Washington DC, and
Dr. Herbert Schreier and Dr. Diane Ehrensaft in California, advise parents
that trying to change a trans child is “coercive” – is an approach that
“does harm” and is “to be avoided”. In fact, a recent study presented by Dr.
Birgit Moller at the World Professional Association for Transgender Health
in Bangkok this past year, found that 11 of 13 international experts believe
that attempting to correct gender non-conforming children is “unethical.”
Rather than correction, many clinicians are instead using an “affirming”
approach in which gender non-conforming young people are offered support to
explore and express who they are. For some, this might mean a gender
transition. For others, it may not. But according to Drs. Menvielle,
Schreier and Ehrensaft, the task for parents is to learn how to become their
child’s advocate – to learn to fix the world around their child, instead of
fixing their child. Given that this is not an easy task, last year, Rainbow
Health Ontario worked with a committee of 40 Ontario doctors, therapists and
families, to launch a series of
brochures that offer parents some assistance.
In a 1985 article, clinic head Dr. Ken Zucker predicted that objection to
the CAMH model was unlikely. He stated: “It would seem that preventing
transsexualism is a goal that will never gather systematic opposition.” Yet
petition to ban these treatments proves otherwise. As does this week’s
statement by Canadian social workers, declaring that: “Any
professional’s attempt to alter the gender identity or expression of a young
person to align with social norms is considered unethical and an abuse of
power and authority.”
Leelah asked for us to fix her world. We couldn’t do it in time. But not
only did the adults in her life fail to fix things for her, they tried
instead, to fix her. The consequences were devastating. “Don’t be sad,”
Leelah tells us in her suicide note. But it’s too late for that. We’re sad
Leelah. And many of us are angry too.
Leelah Acorn’s death is a wake-up
call to stop fixing trans kids, and start fixing their broken worlds, so
they can finally have a shot at a life that is, in Leelah’s words, “worth
Jake Pyne is a researcher in Toronto’s trans community and a Trudeau Scholar
and Vanier Scholar in the McMaster School of Social Work. "
1-09-15: Telegraph (UK): "Screw Putin - Transgender people are finally
in the driving seat -- Vladimir Putin may have just banned transgender
people from driving, but Paris Lees, a leading trans activist, isn't losing
hope. Far from it"
has just made it illegal for transgender people to
drive. Are you surprised? Don’t be.
Around the world trans people are subject to a litany of injustices from
birth to death, ranging from the unforgivably tedious, like not being
granted access to appropriate changing rooms, or loos, to the downright soul
destroying, like, I don’t know, not even being able to walk down the street
without fear of being attacked. It’s all very well if you drive, I suppose,
but in Russia now trans individuals don’t even have that. Maybe the trans
folk there should just lock themselves up in a room and never come out again
. . . "
1-05-15: OPB News: "Oregon Starts Insurance For Transgender Medical
"This January, the Oregon Health Plan starts covering the cost of
reassignment surgery for transgender people. It also helps cover the
cost of hormone therapy and puberty suppression. Some politicians question
the use of tax payer money, but people in the transgender community call it
Oregon joins California, Massachusetts, Washington D.C. and Vermont as
jurisdictions where Medicaid covers medical treatments for gender dysphoria.
By looking at medical billing data, the state estimates at least 175 people
will use the new coverage this year . . .
Oregon’s Health Evidence Review Commission decided to look into coverage for
gender dysphoria last year — after a psychiatrist pointed out that the state
had lumped it with conditions like pedophilia. “People with gender dysphoria
that did not receive treatment had a much higher rate of hospitalizations or
ER visits or doctor visits for depression and anxiety,” said commission
director, Dr. Ariel Smits.
“And they had a pretty significantly high suicide attempt rate — some
studies found about 30 percent. But folks when they received the
treatment that they felt was adequate for their gender dysphoria, had an
almost normal rate of depression and anxiety compared to the
general population.” Their suicide rate also dropped significantly.
But what about the cost? “It may cost somewhere in the $100,000 to $200,000
range although these numbers are very vague,” said Smits. “There’s also the
possibility that it’ll be less, or even cost savings, because hopefully
these folks will no longer be going to the ER or being hospitalized for
their severe depression or suicide attempts.” While the coverage begins this
month, Basic Rights Oregon says it may take the state a while to line
... more, TBD ...
... more, TBD ...
11-26-14: Military Times: "Report: Loophole could allow transgender
troops to serve under new DoD policy"
"A change to a Pentagon personnel policy three months ago loosens the rules
barring transgender troops from serving in the U.S. military, giving the
individual services leeway to retain these personnel. Legal and military
experts with the Palm Center, a San Francisco-based think tank focused on
lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender military service, made that startling
charge in a new report.
The update — to Defense Department Instruction 1332.18, Disability
Evaluation System — provides a loophole for the services to let transgender
troops serve instead of requiring administrative separation, the Palm Center
says. The old policy listed transgender identity as a "congenital or
developmental defect" that mandated administrative separation.
The instruction issued Aug. 5 drops that provision, which the activists,
including three retired flag or general officers, representatives from the
ACLU, the Transgender American Veterans Association and others, say means
the services now can discharge individuals with perceived defects only if
those defects interfere with their performance or duty assignment. "By this
new regulation, the Pentagon has gotten out of the business of deciding when
service members are fit or unfit for duty, and that's a big policy change,"
said Diane Mazur, an Air Force veteran and professor of law emeritus at the
University of Florida College of Law.
The change, which dropped an entire list of disqualifying conditions from
the DoD instruction, places the onus on the services to update their
policies, now based on "a list that no longer exists," Mazur said . . .
(Meanwhile) Pentagon spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen said Monday the
change to the instruction does not mean the Pentagon has altered its policy
prohibiting service by transgender individuals. He said the policy update
included examples of nonphysical disability medical conditions, which the
department determined were inappropriate for a physical disability policy.
"It was not an all-encompassing list. ... The deletion of that enclosure
does not change or have any effect on the department's policy regarding
separations and consequently does not affect the department's policy
regarding military service by transgender individuals," Christensen said."
11-24-14: New York Times: "Leslie Feinberg, Writer and Transgender
Activist, Dies at 65"
"Leslie Feinberg, a writer and activist whose 1993 novel, “Stone Butch
Blues,” is considered a landmark in the contemporary literature of gender
complexity, died on Nov. 15 at her home in Syracuse. She was 65.
Her death was confirmed by her spouse, Minnie Bruce Pratt, who said in a
written statement that the cause was “complications from multiple tick-borne
co-infections, including Lyme disease.”
Feinberg, who resisted being called Ms. or any
other gender-specific honorific, wrote fiercely and furiously on behalf of
those she saw as oppressed because of their sexual, ethnic, racial or other
identities. A longtime member of the
Party, a Marxist-Leninist group, and a
prolific journalist for its newspaper, she wrote a 120-part series, from
2004 to 2008, explicating the role of socialism in the history of gender
Feinberg was an advocate for minorities and for the poor, as well as for gay
men and lesbians and others who identified as transgender — an umbrella
term, distinct from transsexual, that describes people whose life experience
straddles the line between male and female and between masculine and
She herself was biologically a woman but presented outwardly as male — and
sometimes passed as a man for reasons of safety, a friend, Julie Enszer,
said in an interview. Feinberg, in referring to herself, used the pronouns
ze (for she) and hir (for her), though she often said pronoun usage was
frequently a matter of context.
“I am female-bodied, I am a butch lesbian, a
transgender lesbian — referring to me as ‘she/her’ is appropriate,
particularly in a non-trans setting in which referring to me as ‘he’ would
appear to resolve the social contradiction between my birth sex and gender
expression and render my transgender expression invisible,” she explained in
a 2006 interview with Camp,
a publication in Kansas City, Mo., aimed at gay, lesbian, bisexual and
transgender people and their supporters.
after Feinberg’s death, Shauna Miller, a writer and editor who contributes
to The Atlantic, wrote on the magazine’s website that “Stone Butch Blues”
was “the heartbreaking holy grail of butch perspective,” a book that was
instrumental in her coming to terms with her own sexual and gender identity.
The novel, which has been translated into several languages including
Chinese and Slovenian, “changed queer history,” she wrote.
“It changed trans history. It changed dyke history. And how it did that was
by honestly telling a brutally real, beautifully vulnerable and messy
personal story of a butch lesbian.”"
11-21-14: South Florida Gay News: "Transgender woman dies suddenly,
presented at funeral in open casket as a man" (more,
NY Daily News)
Gable, an Idaho customer service
coordinator for Wells Fargo, died suddenly Oct. 9 on the job at age 32. An
aneurysm, according to stunned friends.
Just as shocking, they say, when they went to Gable’s funeral in Twin Falls,
Idaho, and saw her in an open casket — hair cut short, dressed in a suit and
presented as a man.
“I am disgusted,” Stacy Dee Hudson posted on Facebook. “A great and dear
friend’s mom went to the funeral today. It was not closed casket. They cut
her hair, suit on. How can they bury her as geoff when she legally changed
her name. So very sad. Jen you will be missed and people who know you know
that you are at peace.”
Gable was transgender, born Geoffrey, but living
the past few years as Jennifer. That wasn’t mentioned in her
paid online obituary
. . .
“No mention of the woman she knew she was and had lived as for several
years. Just erosion of her identity and an old photograph of how the father
perceived her to be,” said Meghan Stabler, a board member of Human Rights
Campaign and member of HRC’s National Business Council.
“I only knew her online. She reached out to me a couple of years ago when
she was in transition,” Stabler told the Miami Herald. “The usual: What do I
need to worry about at work? Am I going to be OK? Is life going to be
better? Can you assure me everything is going to be OK?”
Stabler says Gable’s death “stresses the importance of having a will” . . .
11-20-14: The Progressive: "On Transgender Day of Remembrance,
Community Remembers Victims of Hate Crime”
"On November 20 every year for the last fifteen years, transgender people
gather for vigil ceremonies to acknowledge and name those who have lost
their lives to anti-transgender violence in an event known as the
International Transgender Day of Remembrance.
The Day of Remembrance (TDOR for short) began with a “Remembering Our Dead”
movement inspired by the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was
murdered in November 1998 in Boston, where she was an activist and educator
on transgender issues. The vigils and speakouts held around the country are
a moving and stark reminder that for millions of transgender people
worldwide, the fight for survival goes on.
Trans* people experience hate crimes at alarming rates. According to GLAAD’s
fact sheets citing the 2011 Hate Violence Report from the National Coalition
of Anti-Violence Projects, of the increasing number of anti-LGBT hate crime
murders from 2010 to 2011, 40 percent were transgender women . . .
In addition to hate crime, workplace discrimination and economic disparities
still plague the trans community. “What can people do to help trans women?
Hire them!” Andersen asserts. Transgender people report unemployment at
twice the rate of the general population, and an estimated 44 percent are
underemployed, according to a recent Center for American Progress poll.
“We need everyone to fight for us, to speak up on our behalf,” says
Martinez. “We want the opportunity to participate in the American dream, but
can only do that when our law enforcement branches stop targeting us; when
public accommodations aren't denied to us based on our appearances; when
discrimination based on gender identity is removed from employment and
housing opportunities; when we feel safe walking outside of our doors and
neighborhoods. Then, and only then, will you allow a vibrant and functional
part of society to flourish and grow.”
TDOR events will take place today all over the world; see
this official list to find an event near
11-20-14: BuzzFeed: "Transgender Women In Ohio Are At The Heart Of A
National Crisis In Ohio, four transgender women have been killed in the past
"Speaking from her home in Cincinnati, Tomika Edwards said in a phone call
this week, “I do know from raising a transgender child, it is rough. I have
always been scared for my child’s safety.”
Her fears were realized in June, when her daughter, 28-year-old Tiffany
Edwards, was shot to death. Her body was later found by a city sanitation
worker. “Sometimes I can’t even believe that it’s happened,” Edwards told
BuzzFeed News. “I always tried to teach Tiffany, just because we love and
respect you doesn’t mean society always will.”
Tiffany was among 12 transgender women killed in hate crimes within the past
12 months in the United States, according to the National Coalition of
Anti-Violence Programs. Transgender women of color were the victims of 67%
of all hate-motivated homicides of LGBT people in 2013.
Nov. 20 marks the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, which memorializes
victims of lethal hate violence. Most recently this year, 24-year-old
Gizzy Fowler was killed on Nov. 12 in Tennessee, and 25-year-old
Ashley Sherman was killed last month in Indiana.
Though violence against transgender people is widely considered a national
epidemic by LGBT advocates, the state of Ohio has seen a particularly
disturbing trend. Tiffany Edwards was the fourth transgender woman killed in
Ohio in the last 20 months. Three of the victims were transgender women of
color. The Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Organization (BRAVO) also reports 14
incidents of non-fatal hate-motivated attacks on transgender people
throughout the state in 2013. Many attacks go unreported. Most recently in
Ohio, on Nov. 3, Candice Rose Milligan, 33, was hospitalized after being
beaten in broad daylight by a group of men who allegedly yelled, “That’s a
dude in a dress,” the Toledo Blade
11-18-14: "Congresswoman on transgender son: I love my child no matter
"Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has words of advice for other parents with
transgender children: Don’t reject them, and always show your love.
“Don’t freak out, stay calm and don’t be afraid,” the Florida Republican
told CBS News. “Love your child because that person is your child whether
it’s the person you wanted him or her to be or not. That’s my advice to
parents: Never, never reject your child. That’s unconditional love no matter
The congresswoman’s transgender son, Rodrigo Lehtinen, gave his first
interview to CBS News in Miami. He describes himself as a “private” and
“introverted person,” words not typically associated with his outgoing
Lehtinen, now 28, was born Amanda. She came out as gay in high school and
decided in college she would become a transgender man. Rodrigo’s mother
— the first Cuban American elected to Congress in 1989 — is the most senior
Republican woman in the House. His father, Dexter Lehtinen, is a former U.S.
attorney who prosecuted Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega.
Lehtinen says his parents and some of their friends are cool with Rigo being
Rigo. From the interview:
"The Republican Party is generally thought of
as not being supportive of LGBT rights, but what was interesting (was) there
were so many Republican people I know, whether they were family friends of
mine, whether they were friends I met through my mother’s campaigns when I
was growing up, people who identify as conservative as Republican who vote
by those values. And they are saying, “You know what, I support you and I
support these rights and this is an eye-opening experience.”"
11-13-14: Huffington Post: "Major LGBT Advocates Who Had Previously
Buried the Lede Come Out of the Closet -- Except One", by Dana Beyer
"Today, thanks to the sterling
BuzzFeed journalist Chris Geidner, we have reached a notable moment in
movement history. Commissioner Chai Feldblum of the EEOC, the motive force
behind the Macy
decision, has spoken out publicly, and both the Human Rights Campaign (HRC)
and the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) have now publicly
stated their recognition of the significance of federal coverage of trans
persons under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
Fred Sainz, Vice President for Communications for
HRC, said, "Both the Macy v. Holder
EEOC decision and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP)
Directive 2014-2 have provided real, immediate remedies for transgender
Mara Keisling, Executive Director of NCTE, added, "We strongly believe job
discrimination against trans people is illegal everywhere in this country
under Title VII." No lede being buried this time.
What prompted this coming out from HRC and NCTE?
Several weeks ago the National LGBTQ Task Force, coincident with the
organization's renaming and "Be You" campaign, published several graphics
that denied the reality of the Title VII protections brought about by the
decision and the subsequent actions taken by the EEOC and legal advocates on
behalf of clients. There was no vagueness, dancing on the head of a pin or
splitting hairs on the legalese as many organizations have done since the
decision. No, the statement was stark: "There are NO FEDERAL PROTECTIONS for
employment non-discrimination" . . .
This week Commissioner Feldblum
against the Task Force's messaging:
"But [the Task Force statement] is incomplete --
both as a legal and practical matter. It fails to capture the reality that the
EEOC currently helps thousands of individuals each year get recourse (&
remedies) for their discrimination claims, without ever going to court. And
they get that through the legal system set up for administrative relief via the
EEOC. And that is what our 53 EEOC offices across the country are now doing
right now for LGBT people under our Title VII jurisdiction. Thus, there are
practical remedies being achieved through the administrative system right now
in every state in the country. To begin
where I started, that doesn't mean an explicit federal law is unnecessary. To
the contrary, it would be hugely helpful. It's just important not to downplay
the real practical protection that exists now."
The commissioner's public
statements prodded the HRC and NCTE statements, so now I can truly hope that
the words of Tico Almeida,
Executive Director of Freedom to Work and a long-time proponent of the value of
decision, will be heeded:
"I would like to see the
big national LGBT organizations use their ample budgets on a public education
campaign to promote the historic nature of the
decision so that more LGBT Americans will know that the EEOC is open for
business and willing to help."
11-07-14: Toledo Blade: "Transgender woman suffered brutal attack in
downtown Toledo Activists: More legal protections needed"
"A group of men following a transgender woman
reportedly shouted, “That’s a dude in a dress,” and other derogatory comments
before attacking and robbing her Monday in downtown Toledo.
Candice Rose Milligan, 33, was released from Mercy St.
Vincent Medical Center Thursday. She had undergone two surgeries and recently
had her jaw wired shut because of a broken mandible, said Dave Crafts,
executive director of EqualityToledo, an advocacy group that works to eliminate
discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender
expression. Because of heavy medication, Ms. Milligan was not available for an
Toledo police charged Christopher Temple, 20, of 701 Cherry St. as one of three
men in the midday attack at 13th Street and Madison Avenue. Mr. Temple was
arraigned Tuesday in Toledo Municipal Court and ordered to remain in the Lucas
County jail in lieu of $25,000 bond.
“She’ll be down for the count for a while,” Mr. Crafts
said. “But she’s strong. She wants everyone to know how hate-filled and
horrific this crime was.”
Ms. Milligan was walking on Madison when three men
approached her, made derogatory comments, and then one of the men punched Ms.
Milligan in the face, mouth, and head, according to a Toledo police report.
Once Ms. Milligan was on the ground, the other men kicked and punched her. One
of them grabbed a cell phone from Ms. Milligan’s hand and then fled.
Police said they arrived to find Ms. Milligan with a
large bump on her forehead and her mouth bleeding. Nearby witnesses were able
to provide police with vague suspect descriptions."
11-06-14: Salon: "Watch these amazing kids perform a rap about
transgender acceptance -- Alex's rhyme says it all: "Please treat everyone
the way you expect. We all deserve freedom love and respect" (VIDEO)
"This week a video cropped up on the Internet from
the non-profit organization
transgender and variant gender youth.
And it is wonderful.
The video is of Alex rapping about the moment he told his mother that he was
transgender, and it is a beautiful message of acceptance. It is not solely
the message that is important — and don’t get me wrong Alex’s rhyme is
beyond measure — but also where it came from: Camp Aranu’tiq, which
according to its motto provides a safe space for transgender youth.
Transgender and gender variant youth still face
enormously high rates
of bullying, sexual harassment, violence, job discrimination and
homelessness. Somewhere between one third and one half on transgender youth
will attempt suicide, according to stats from
Drag It Out
Youth Suicide Prevention Program."
11-05-14: The Guardian (UK): "Lea T, the transgender hair-care model
who’s shifting our perception of beauty norms -- Beauty brands are catching
up with the fashion world’s stance on diversity as Redken announces its
surprise new face" (more,
"The appointment of Brazilian model
Lea T as “the
face” of American hair-care brand Redken, might not sound like headline
news. Except that Lea, 33, was in fact born Leandro, making her the first
transgender model to front a global cosmetics brand.
Talking on behalf of Redken, which this week announced that she would front
its January 2015 Chromatics hair-colour campaign, she said: “I love working
with Redken because they appreciate all kinds of beauty. They believe in the
individuality of the person, and I think that’s really important.”
In the last few years, the fashion industry has
made progress in embracing diversity. Transgender models, such as Andreja
Pejić (nee Andrej), have moved from outsiders to mainstays of the catwalk,
while drag performer
went from Eurovision winner to modelling in Jean-Paul Gaultier’s haute
couture show earlier this year. The beauty world, however, has been a little
slower on the uptake. Granted, in April, Twelve Years a Slave actor
became the first black spokeswoman of Lancôme and drag queen RuPaul has
fronted two MAC cosmetic campaigns. But as yet, no transgender model has
fronted a major beauty campaign."
11-04-14: BBC News
(re Iran): "The gay people pushed to change their gender", By Ali Hamedani
"Iran is one of a handful of countries where homosexual acts are punishable
by death. Clerics do, however accept the idea that a person may be trapped
in a body of the wrong sex. So homosexuals can be pushed into having gender
reassignment surgery - and to avoid it many flee the country.
Growing up in Iran, Donya kept her hair shaved or short, and wore caps
instead of headscarves. She went to a doctor for help to stop her period. "I
was so young and I didn't really understand myself," she says. "I thought if
I could stop getting my periods, I would be more masculine."
If police officers asked for her ID and noticed she was a girl, she says,
they would reproach her: "Why are you like this? Go and change your gender."
This became her ambition. "I was under so much pressure that I wanted to
change my gender as soon as possible," she says.
For seven years Donya had hormone treatment. Her voice became deeper, and
she grew facial hair. But when doctors proposed surgery, she spoke to
friends who had been through it and experienced "lots of problems". She
began to question whether it was right for her.
"I didn't have easy access to the internet - lots of websites are blocked. I
started to research with the help of some friends who were in Sweden and
Norway," she says. "I got to know myself better... I accepted that I was a
lesbian and I was happy with that."
But living in Iran as an openly gay man or woman is impossible. Donya, now
33, fled to Turkey with her son from a brief marriage, and then to Canada,
where they were granted asylum."
11-01-14: The Alligator (posted 10/27): "Santa Fe College passes
anti-discrimination bill (after mobbing of trans students)"
"After two transgender Santa Fe College students were heckled leaving a
school bathroom, followed through campus to their car and chased to a nearby
Publix grocery store this February, leading them to drop out of school, the
incident ignited a flame that helped pass a protective measure for all
students last week, regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation.
Rule 2.8 was three years in the making and passed in the Career Service
Council last Wednesday after being shot down in the same committee twice
prior. If approved by the college’s Board of Trustees this semester, the
measure could defend students like the transgender couple against future
cases of harassment and discrimination.
“The incident has put my school plans on the back burner,” one of the former
students involved in the transgender harassment incident said. “It’s also
motivated me to be more engaged with social justice issues.”
When the couple was initially catcalled, ridiculed and chased, the former
student — who requested to remain anonymous — said they reported the
incident to Santa Fe Police. But after officers first checked security
footage and failed to find significant visual evidence, Police Chief Ed Book
said the investigation came to a standstill. Still, Student Government
Senate President Jeremy Pierce, former SG Treasurer Kentucky Costellow and
At-Large Sen. Wallace Mazon supported the students’ statements.
“I never went back to class after that day, and I dropped out,” the student
said. “My partner never returned to campus.”"
10-31-14: Woman's Day Magazine (October): "'The Son God Gave Me' -- My
child's struggle to figure out who he was called everything I believed into
question. With my strong faith and lots of soul-searching, the answers
finally became clear." By Gina Kentopp, as told to Barry Yeoman (More)
"When my second child, Kyle, was born in 1994, and
the nurse told me I had given birth to a daughter, I was thrilled. I already
had a son, Alex, and now, I thought, a baby girl. During the first year of
Kyle's life, I dressed him in every frilly outfit I could.
I use the pronoun he when
talking about Kyle, because I now understand that he has always been
male—his inner soul, when he was born, didn't match his body.
Back then, though, he seemed to be a tomboyish girl. He played paintball and
basketball, and loved to build with his dad. On special occasions I could
get him into dresses, but it was always a fight—they were, he said, itchy. I
didn't think twice about it, because that was exactly how I was at his age.
FAITH IN FAMILY
I have always felt God's presence. I grew up close to my grandfather, who
was a deacon at his church. God was part of every conversation we had. If I
said, "The sky is blue today," he'd say, "Well, the Lord makes a beautiful
shade of blue." He was a wise and generous man, and I loved our Christian
Traditional Christianity tells you just how to achieve a strong family: The
man heads the household—in our case, Nick, my husband of 28 years. The woman
takes care of the children, as I did. You pray together and teach them Bible
verses, and about heaven and hell. There is a checklist: If you do what you
are supposed to, you receive God's blessings. We did it all, and it seemed
to be working. One day when Kyle was around 8, I picked him up at school.
"When I grow up, I want to be just like you," he said. "I want to be a good
mom and I want to love God as much as you do." That meant so much to me.
Things became complicated, though, when Kyle was 14 and best friends with a
girl from school. He wanted to be with her 24/7, which I felt was too much.
It was causing a lot of tension in our family. The next year, Kyle sat me
down. "Mom, I need to tell you something," he said. "I love—" and he named
his friend. "I see that you care for her greatly," I replied.
"No, you don't understand," he said. "I love her like a boy loves a girl. I
think I may be gay."
I couldn't breathe. I had always been taught that homosexuality was a sin. I
truly felt we were being attacked by Satan. I also thought it was teenage
rebellion: Because my faith was important to me, Kyle was thumbing his nose
at what I believed.
I recall staying calm and saying, "Everything is going to be all right and
we love you." (In Kyle's memory, I acted more tense and upset.) Then I went
into the bedroom, shut the door and fell apart. I just bawled. My world was
blowing up. I called Nick and said, "Come home." I had never done that
before, and I didn't even tell him why. He thought someone had died . . .
I began reading a lot, hoping to learn how to change Kyle. I believed I was
helping him. I mostly found memoirs written by people who felt comfortable
being gay and Christian, which ran counter to my beliefs. But I knew the
answer had to be out there. And it was. One day, I was reading one
of the memoirs in the bathtub. Instead of asking God to change your child,
the author suggested, why don't you ask Him to change your heart? It was a
revelation: I had never even considered that idea.
I put the book down and sat there until the bathwater had cooled. I
contemplated what it would mean to change my thoughts and feelings. Could I
even do that? I said to God, "If this is the way You have made my child, and
this is the way You want me to love her, I pray that You give me peace in my
The next morning, I woke up with an amazing sense of peace. It was the only
time in my life I felt a strong, quick answer to prayer. I knew then that
God was with my family.
And another thing had happened: Around the same time, at age 16, Kyle had a
girlfriend whose mom and dad found them cuddling. The parents called at 11
P.M., very upset, saying my child was no longer welcome in their home. The
father even threatened physical violence. Kyle came home inconsolable and we
held each other and cried together. My baby was going to face so much
hostility in the world that he needed a soft place to fall. He had to be
able to count on us.
After that, something clicked within our family. We were able to talk
openly, and Kyle trusted me enough to speak his heart. One day he said, "I
don't really feel like the word lesbian fits me." Then, a few
months later, Kyle connected with an alum of his high school who'd come out
as transgender. He was so excited. "Mom," he said, "I think I know who I am.
I was stunned, but so relieved that he had confided in me. I wasn't 100%
sure what transgender meant. I thought Kyle was talking about
dressing as a male. But I knew I needed to be there for him. I had already
done the hard work of reconnecting with my child's heart, and there was no
way I was going to let fear and lack of understanding keep us apart again .
. . "
[Ed: A powerful, must-read story]
10-31-14: Broward/Palm Beach New Times: "Jazz Jennings,
14-Year-Old Transgender Youth and Author, to Be Honored by Equality Florida",
Jonathan Kendall (Video)
"Jazz Jennings has the mind of a girl but the body
of boy. So reads the back cover of her 32-page
I Am Jazz. The book, which was
released in September, chronicles Jennings' struggles as a transgender
child, opens up the dialogue on gender identity, and has helped spark
on how transgender people are discriminated
Jennings (the last name is a pseudonym to protect her identity and safety),
who lives in South Florida with her family, has also been featured on 20/20,
60 Minutes, and the Oprah Winfrey Show, where many LGBT advocates believe
she and her supportive family have helped change the way people think and
talk about transgender identity.
"Few people in the transgender community have articulated their true gender
feelings with more clarity and passion than Jazz Jennings," says Gina
Duncan, Equality Florida's Transgender inclusion director. "From an early
age, Jazz has been an inspiration, a mentor, and a motivator for the
transgender community. She is the true embodiment of authenticity."
Earlier this month, Time magazine included
Jennings in its Most Influential Teens of 2014, commenting that, "In a
landmark year for transgender visibility in the media, Jennings stands out
for how much she's already accomplished. She has been interviewed by Barbara
Walters, met Bill Clinton and become the youngest person ever featured on
the Out 100 and The Advocate's '40 Under 40' lists."
The teenager hopes that
her advocacy for LGBT rights' will help spread awareness of the particular
challenges that transgender youth along with their families face, such as
bullying at school and discrimination from participating in extracurricular
activities like soccer.
To further her cause, Jazz has recently started
her own company,
Purple Rainbow Tails,
which sells silicone mermaid tails, with the goal of raising money for
10-30-14: Boston Herald: "Insurers unsure on transgender care --
Meanwhile patients unable to find docs for procedures"
"Four months after the state Division of Insurance put health plans on
notice that denying medically necessary treatment to transgender people is
prohibited sex discrimination, insurers are still grappling with what
constitutes medical necessity, and patients are struggling to find doctors
who’ll treat them.
In a state world-renowned for its medical talent, no Massachusetts physician
performs genital gender reassignment surgery, said Elizabeth M. Murphy of
the Massachusetts Association of Health Plans.
“We were concerned people were having to go all over the country for this
surgery,” Dr. Joel Rubenstein of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care said yesterday
at a Division of Insurance informational session. “We’re hopeful somebody
would step up to put together the surgical piece so it could all be in one
Under state law, health plans are required to develop evidence-based medical
necessity guidelines for such procedures.
“We are determined to ... not exclude treatment for this condition,”
Rubenstein said. On the other hand, he said, Harvard Pilgrim does not want
to approve procedures such as facial feminization for transgender people if
those procedures would be considered merely cosmetic for other people.
“If we cover them for transgender patients, we would be being
reverse-discriminatory,” said Dr. Robert Nierman, medical director at Tufts
But Ruben Hopwood of Fenway Health said facial feminization is not about
wanting a “cuter nose.” A transgender person’s appearance is more likely to
be the difference between getting a job or not getting one, and walking down
the street unafraid or being attacked, Hopwood said."
10-30-14: Indie Wire: "Elle Fanning to Play Transgender Character in
Multigenerational Drama", By
"One of the most moving and original aspects
of Jill Soloway's groundbreaking Amazon series Transparent
is seeing a trans character's life story play out in the context of her
(troubled but functional, accepting but not-fully-understanding) family.
That's because we're so rarely privy to nuanced parent-children narratives
with trans characters on screen.
Generations will prove a worthy follow-up.
Written by Nikole Beckwith and to be directed by Gaby Dellal, the
multi-generational feature will focus on NYC teen Ray's (Fanning) decision
to undergo gender transition. His mother (Naomi Watts) will have to adapt to
treating her only daughter as a son, and his lesbian grandmother (Susan
Sarandon), will have to come to terms as well with her grandchild's
received some drubbing from trans activists
who were angry that its lead role was played
by Jeffrey Tambor, a cis actor. Going forward, trans projects will likely
encounter similar criticisms, though Three
Generations has a mitigating factor in that
Ray is at the beginning of his physical transition into a man. Still, it's
hard not to be excited for a multigenerational project focused on sexually
diverse women and transgender people with female writers and filmmakers in
key roles behind the scenes.
Filming will begin in NY in November."
10-29-14: Breitbart.com: "Despite Ban, Transgender Troops Already
Serving Openly in U.S. Military" (MORE)
"Last week, transgender military
personnel from various countries allied with the United States convened
in Washington, DC to put pressure on the U.S. military to allow transgender
soldiers to serve openly.
Organizers claim more than 15,000 transgender soldiers now serve in the
active military or the reserves.
Washington Post has taken up the cause
in an article
Monday featuring Captain Sage Fox, who spoke at the conference last week.
Fox is a transgender (male-to-female) woman. The
reports that Fox was allowed briefly back into active duty after hormone
therapy, which softened her features, and vocal training which gave her
voice a higher pitch. Additionally, she had grown out her hair, and
officials allowed her to use the women’s latrine and to be called “ma’am.”
She was welcomed back but only for two weeks—then was placed in the inactive
The Post also
tells the story of 29-year-old Captain Jacob Eleazar, who joined the
military as a woman. Though he came out to his commanding officer as
transgender, according to the Post
he has been allowed to continue his military service in a dress and is
supposed to be addressed by subordinates as “ma’am.” Eleazer trains new
officers in the Kentucky National Guard, some of whom balked at calling
Eleazer “ma’am.” Eleazer said their requests to call him “sir” were “shot
“Hunter” is an anomaly among transgender service personnel. He is a
transgender (female-to-male) man. According to experts, 90% of transgender
military personnel are transgender women. After testosterone therapy, Hunter
says he “presents very male” and that women flee when he enters the female
latrine. He says he has had to attend formal occasions wearing dresses but
that “You shouldn’t be afraid to see a man in a dress.”
Advocates for regularizing transgender service are
buttressed by an independent commission report that says transgender persons
would cause no harm to military readiness or effectiveness. The report also
calls for the
military to foot the bill
for expensive transgender surgery, costs that range from
$15,000 to $50,000.
The average is $30,000, which would cost the U.S. taxpayers $225 million if
only half of these servicemembers decided on surgery. Advocates insist a far
smaller number would ever ask for taxpayer-funded surgery."
10-28-14: Huffington Post: "Transgender Supermodel Lea T. Opens Up
About Life After Having Gender Confirmation Surgery (VIDEO)"
Lea T. was one of the most in-demand
supermodels in the world. She
had it all -- beauty, fame and a big paycheck. But, as she revealed that
on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," she had spent much of her life tormented by
Lea T. was assigned male at birth and grew up the son of a world-famous
Brazilian soccer star and a very religious Catholic mother. As a child
growing up in Italy, T. always felt different and questioned her sexuality
at a young age.
"Realizing young [that] I like the same sex, for me was a taboo," Lea T.
said on "The Oprah Show" three years ago. "I was feeling really
When T. began presenting as a woman, she felt more like her true self, but
still struggled with this new life. "It's really difficult because you fight
with all the world," she explained at the time. "You fight with your family,
you fight with yourself, too, because you have to change everything in
In 2008, Lea T. began hormone replacement therapy and was awaiting gender
confirmation surgery, a difficulty in and of itself. "When you start your
process, your heart becomes really sick. I was really disappointed with life
because you walking in the street and the people laughing about you," she
said tearfully. "When you start the hormones, it's really, really hard. I
think it's weird seeing my breasts and the penis."
When she spoke with Oprah back then, Lea T. was still awaiting her surgery
and admitted that she was scared of both the physical and emotional pain of
the procedure. A year after the interview, in 2012, Lea T. had the surgery
and recently opened up to
"Oprah: Where Are They Now?" about what her life has been like since her
10-26-14: Dallas News: "For transgender lawyer with own practice,
change has been good"
"When lawyer Katie Sprinkle works at the Frank Crowley Courts Building, she
occasionally runs into an acquaintance who, trying to place her, asks
whether she has a brother who once worked in the public defender’s office.
“No,” she replies. “That was me.”
After 16 years as a public defender, Sprinkle
started her own firm a year ago
— practicing law for the first
time as a woman. While no organization formally tracks such things, Sprinkle
is the only known openly transgender lawyer in Dallas County and one of just
a handful across Texas.
In addition to her criminal defense practice, she’s become a go-to lawyer
for transgender issues at a time when transgender people are getting more
attention than ever in mainstream media, yet remain one of the most
misunderstood groups in the LGBT community. Sprinkle, 47, uses her unique
perspective to empathize with clients and guide them through the legal
challenges of transitioning genders.
Not all people who are transgender — which means your personal sense of
being male or female doesn’t match your assigned sex — choose to transition.
For the 0.25 to 1 percent of the general population that does, according to
the National Center for Transgender Equality, transitioning is a years-long,
emotionally intensive process that includes hormones, counseling, and in
some cases, surgery.
When ready to live full-time as their new gender, transgender people need
legal documentation to get a driver’s license with their new name and sex on
it. The paperwork isn’t just a symbolic milestone; it’s also a practical
step that lets them present ID without fear during job applications, airline
travel and credit card use.
Sprinkle works with three or four transgender clients a month and also hosts
free legal clinics, offering a “critically important” service to transgender
people, said Sprinkle’s roommate Leslie McMurray, also a transgender woman.
“Getting your ID changed isn’t a vanity plate,” McMurray said. “It’s safety,
10-14-14: The Atlantic: "This Is My Voice: YouTube and the Transgender
Autobiography -- The serial nature of vlogging makes it the perfect way for
people to take control of their own stories, and document the process of
transitioning as it happens"
"On a sunny morning in September, Skylar Kergil turns on his computer. He
fills up his “BONK!” coffee mug while peering at the camera with a grin on
his face. As he sips his drink, he begins to tell his YouTube audience about
his weird dreams the night before, his cat, and his upcoming Kickstarter
project—all with that playful smile he’s become known for. “So if you want
to be in my Kickstarter video for my music that’s coming out,” he says,
“then please read below for the description, or go to my Facebook page.”
After another heartfelt plea, Kergil breaks out his guitar and sings a quick
cover of “Two Lips” by Hoodie Allen before the camera fades to black.
Kergil is a musician (he released his first
full-length album in 2013 through another Kickstarter campaign), a visual
artist, photographer, and recent graduate of Skidmore College. Kergil is
also a transgender man (female-to-male) who has been documenting his
transition—and his budding creative life—for the past five years under the
His audience of about ten thousand has been tuning in for almost as long as
his laptop camera has been rolling, watching his change as it happens. These
YouTube videos, started on January 21st, 2009, have become Kergil’s
“From the beginning, making videos was about recording a video diary of my
body as it went through changes that I could hardly articulate—but I could
see and hear them through my various mumbled thoughts, voice changing, and
smile growing,” Kergil told me. “The process was one of both self
preservation and creation. I have been preserving this timeline so that I
can remember where I have come from while simultaneously encouraging
self-reflection, creation, and the exploration of my identity as I grow.
These two elements put together have been a very cathartic experience for me
during my transition while also juggling the basic throes of life.”
Kergil is one of many in the transgender community
to use the serial nature of a YouTube vlog to document his transition—a
trend that, because of the nature of vlogging, turns the standard
transgender narrative on its head. Rather than focusing on the end goal of
surgery, these videos put the focus on the process of transition, and put
the power in the hands of vloggers to define how their story evolves . . .
The autobiography has become a standard part of the transgender
narrative over the past 60 years. You only have to look so far as Chaz
Bono’s 2008 Transition
to see this genre in action. These books
often evoke the same trope (“trapped in the wrong body”) and end with the
final revelatory surgery. They’re why people are tempted to ask a
transgender person if they’ve had “the” surgery yet. Many see it as the
inevitable conclusion to their story, and like a good audience member, they
want to know how far away they are from applause.
The problem with these tropes and older transgender narratives is that
they are, by definition, tied up in the medical institution that created
them. In order for transgender people to get surgery, they are required to
explain themselves repeatedly to doctors and therapists. When telling their
story, they must be as convincing as possible or else surgery will be
denied. The transgender narrative our culture has come to know is not always
the one that transgender people want to tell, but instead what the doctors,
counselors, and now us as a culture want to hear . . .
This is why YouTube and the small community of transgender people
making, commenting, and forming this online community is so important. By
having a YouTube community freely accessible to those with an internet
connection and the willingness to look, it’s possible to begin to understand
our coworkers, friends, neighbors, and even ourselves a little more."
10-13-14: New York Post (re Philippines): Marine detained in killing
of transgender Filipino woman (more,
authorities detained a Marine in connection with the weekend slaying of a
transgender Filipino he allegedly met in a bar, officials said. The
serviceman was kept on board the USS Peleliu while NCIS uncovers what
happened Saturday night at the Celzone Lodge in Olongapo City, according to
obtained by the Marine Corps Times newspaper.
The Marine was not identified, but the paper said he’s assigned to the 2nd
Battalion, 9th Marines, out of Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. Three other
Marines also reportedly are being held as potential witnesses, on the same
amphibious assault ship.
The victim was identified as 26-year-old Jeffrey Laude, who went by the name
Jennifer, according to local news reports. Witnesses have said Laude entered
the Celzone Lodge with a foreign man, between 25 and 30, late Saturday,
local news reports said.
Laude and the Marine had met earlier that night at
a nearby watering hole, the Ambyanz Disco Bar,
witnesses told The Philippine Daily Inquirer.
Laude was found naked and partially covered by a blanket on a bathroom floor
. . .
“We are currently looking into these allegations and working closely with
the Philippine National Police to take all necessary steps to help identify
the suspects,” according to a statement by the US Embassy."
[Ed. note: Utter brutality: How our 'brave' Marines respond to their inner
10-08-14: Huffinton Post: "Yentl, the Yeshiva Boy: A Modern
Transgender Hero", by
"There is one Jewish short story (later made into
a play and a film) to which I can very intimately relate. It's Isaac
Bashevis Singer's Yentl, the Yeshiva
Boy. I had the pleasure of attending
an updated, klezmer/pop version of the play, directed by Shirley Serotsky,
with music by Jill Sobule, last week at Theatre J in downtown Washington,
As a young trans girl growing up as a yeshiva boy in Queens, New York, I
found that this play resonated deeply within me. The eponymous Yentl, who
goes by the name Anshel as a yeshiva boy, challenges the gender norms of
that extinct European world of the Jewish Pale and its predominantly
Orthodox Jewish communities. Yentl, the daughter of a rabbi, studies with
her father as if she were his son. Her father says, "Yentl -- you have the
soul of a man." She asks, "So why was I born a woman?" He replies, "Even
Heaven makes mistakes."
Jewish men and boys, in their morning prayers,
have said this "blessing" for generations:
"Blessed art Thou, O Lord, our God, King of the
Universe, for not having made me a woman."
I said that every morning until I was 14, feeling like I was swallowing
crushed glass, believing there was no escape.
Singer rooted this story in Yentl's recognition, and her father's
perception, of her soul as male. "Soul," in this case, is just a more
elegant term for the sexual attribute of the incorporeal essence we call
"gender identity" today. "Transgender" didn't exist in 19th-century Europe
as a medical condition or concept, though Singer probably knew of the modern
phenomenon when he wrote the play in the 1950s, as Christine Jorgensen was
in all the New York tabloids when she returned home in late 1952. He
certainly knew of the rabbis' understanding of physical intersex conditions,
and of the variable manifestation of those conditions in a spectrum of
gender roles. He wrote, in the words of Avigdor, Yentl's male study partner,
"She [Yentl] had the soul of a man and the body of a woman." . . .
Yentl, written in the 1950s, brought
forth a trans character before its time. Leah Napolin, who wrote the play
with Singer, converted her into a
. . . Serotsky's play, which at times feels like a take on Shakespeare's
remakes this Yentl as authentically Anshel, strongly rooting the productoin
as a queer statement in the manner of Singer. Jill Sobule, the composer,
interpretation. We stand in contrast to Ms. Napolin and Ms. Serotsky, who
version as another variation of the feminist interpretation. This is not
surprising, given that in 1975 Napolin dismissed viewing Yentl as "suffering
from some hormonal predisposition to masculinity." Too often some feminists
of that era still refuse to acknowledge trans persons' humanity,
contributing to their continuing invisibility.
Recognizing the reality of the trans experience in
no way minimizes the feminist critique of society. Trans women are generally
more inclined toward feminism than cisgender women, and trans men know
existentially what it means to be oppressed as women. I hope future
productions emphasize Ms. Sobule's reading and make this a story that Jewish
trans children and adolescents can absorb to help them
make the archaic, sexist morning blessings a thing
of the past."
[Ed: Italics are mine, for emphasis.]
10-08-14: Huffington Post (posted 10/7): "Transgender Actress Erika
Ervin On Her 'American Horror Story: Freak Show' Role", by
Curtis M. Wong
"We couldn't be more thrilled for "American
Horror Story: Freak Show" to kick off
for numerous reasons, and learning that the hit FX franchise will welcome a
transgender performer just makes our excitement for the show more palpable.
will star alongside series regulars Jessica Lange, Evan Peters and Emma
Roberts as "Amazon Eve," a role she says was originally written for a man.
"I auditioned for the part as a guy, slicked back my hair, no
make-up...flannel shirt, bound my breasts, dropped my voice and walked in,
and nailed it," Ervin recalled of the casting process in this FX clip.
The actress, whose credits include the Netflix
Grove," also reveals the struggles she
experienced with her family after coming out as transgender in 2004. "My
first inkling of knowing I was different was when I was about 4 or 5," she
said. "It was an issue of gender ... it's not until later on that I
discovered there was a way to fix it."
She hopes her "American Horror Story" role will allow her estranged father
to see her "make it on TV and film," and believes the transgender community
at large could stand to learn from the show's overall message. "It's more
than a freak show," she said. "There's a family here."
Horror Story: Freak Show" will debut
Oct. 8 on FX. "
10-08-14: HRC: "OPM’s Open Enrollment Begins as Exclusions Lifted on
Transgender-Related Care", by
"This June, the US Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced that it
would remove the provision requiring Federal Employment Health Benefits
(FEHB) providers to exclude transition-related care for transgender federal
employees, citing the “evolving professional consensus that treatment is
considered medically necessary” for transgender people.
Yesterday, OPM announced that the open enrollment season for these benefits
will begin on November 8, marking the first time that participating
insurance providers have the option to offer federal employees coverage for
transition-related care. This announcement is a crucial step towards
ensuring that medically necessary healthcare is available to every federal
worker, regardless of gender identity. The question remains as to how many
of those providers will opt to extend this coverage.
As Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Health and Aging Program Associate
Director Tari Hanneman explains, “This is a critical moment for insurance
companies to decide whether they will do right by transgender Americans.
Transition-related care can be prohibitively expensive without insurance
coverage, and for many transgender people, medical transition is essential
to the process of living openly as their authentic selves.”
HRC encourages all insurance companies to provide transgender-inclusive
healthcare. “Ultimately, this is simply an issue of providing equal access
to medically necessary care for everyone,” said Hanneman."
10-08-14: Los Angeles Times: "Arrest made in slaying of O.C.
"Police in Anaheim have arrested a 38-year-old man on suspicion of killing a
transgender activist, whose death triggered protests and raised concerns
that she’d been targeted because of her gender identity. Randy Lee Parkerson
was booked Tuesday on suspicion of murder in the death of Zoraida Reyes,
whose body was found June 12 in the parking lot of a Dairy Queen in the 200
block of North State College Boulevard.
Her death concerned LGBT advocates because the transgender community has a
heightened risk of violence and harassment.
However, Anaheim police said that the investigation hadn’t uncovered
evidence that Reyes was specifically targeted, and that the homicide wasn’t
being investigated as a hate crime. "There is nothing to suggest that
Zoraida was specifically targeted," said Lt. Bob Dunn, a spokesman for the
Anaheim Police Department. "The motive is still unclear."
But a friend, Jorge Gutierrez, an LGBT and immigrant rights organizer, said
he's unconvinced. "For many the lives of transgender people don't matter and
they're viewed as disposable," Gutierrez said. "We know that her identity as
a trans woman was a huge factor, whether the police want to acknowledge it
10-07-14: Pink News (UK re Kenya): "Kenya: Transgender activist wins
landmark case to change her name on academic certificates" (more,
"Transgender activist Audrey Mbugua won a landmark
case on Tuesday when the Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) was
ordered to change her name on academic certificates.
reports KNEC now has 45 days to comply with the request of the Kenyan High
“We won,” Mbugua told the
Thomson Reuters Foundation.
“It’s a huge watershed moment.” The council was also ordered to remove the
male gender mark on Mbugua’s certificates.
High Court Judge Justice Weldon Korir said: “I note that this is a novel
issue and KNEC cannot be faulted for refusing to issue an amendment to the
applicant.” However, the court had heard that Audrey provided enough
evidence for why KNEC needed to issue her a fresh certificate.
“The court takes judicial notice of the fact that examinations in this
country are not administered based on the gender of the candidate. Marks are
also not awarded on gender,” the court stated.
Mbugua said she intends to continue to use the courts to fight for the
rights of transgender people.
Earlier this month,
human rights groups urged Kenya to allow LGBT
groups to carry out their work there uninterrupted.
A new anti-gay bill that would see gay people sentenced to death by stoning
is currently under discussion in Kenya.
Kenyan government spokesperson Aden Duale said earlier this year that
homosexuality was as serious as terrorism.
He said: “We need to go on and address this issue the way we want to address
terrorism. “It’s as serious as terrorism. It’s as serious as any other
10-04-14: Winnipeg Free Press (Canada): "Caught in the eye of a storm
-- Transgender girl at centre of rights complaint"
"A Winnipeg family is the target of an alleged bully waging a campaign
against their daughter because she is transgender. Only in this case, the
alleged bully isn't another kid, it's an adult woman.
The Burgos family has long asked the school division to do something about
it, but has now submitted a police complaint and resorted to a formal human
rights complaint, citing the school division. "This is where we're shocked:
Why did it get to this, to go to the police?" said the girl's mother, Izzy
Izzy and her husband, Dale Burgos, filed the complaints
after a month of incidents in which the woman, the mother of another student,
allegedly confronted her, her daughter, her son and other parents. "She's been
talking to everyone in the community and she says she feels bad, but I don't
believe that because she's still doing it," Burgos said.
At first, the issue was which bathroom her daughter,
Isabella, 8, was to use. Now it's turned into a campaign over the issue of
"My daughter is transgender. She's out and she's proud.
It's hard. The community loves her. Her school loves her and the other students
"One parent can do this, can
make her want to hide? I don't think this woman is even aware of the damage
she's doing," Burgos said."
10-03-14: Houston Chronicle: "Sugar Land's transgender homecoming king
seen as sign of progress", By
"When Mel Gonzales got up to accept his crown as the new homecoming king of
Sugar Land's Austin High School, not everyone was cheering.
But some of his classmates - the band kids, the
orchestra, the students from AP classes - were really loud.
It was a classic underdog story, according to
Gonzales, 17. They were cheering the school's first transgender homecoming
The win is being hailed as a sign of progress.
"The youth themselves are becoming more accepting of each other, and I think
that's a lesson that the adults are learning," said Sally Huffer, community
projects manager at the Montrose Center, which has long been active in the
Even with greater acceptance among peers, LGBT youth often still face
conflict at home, which is part of the reason they represent some 40 percent
of the homeless youth population overall. "What a great model he is," said
Huffer of Gonzales, "to show the difference between somebody who has the
support of their family, their friends and their school.""
10-03-14: ABC7, Los Angeles: "Murder of transgender woman caught on
camera; suspects sought"
"Surveillance video has been released in the fatal shooting of a transgender
woman in East Hollywood early Thursday, and police are asking for the
public's help to catch the suspects.
Aniya Parker, 47, was fatally shot around 2:30 a.m. Thursday on the 600
block of North Kenmore Avenue.
On Friday night, mourners, united in their grief, gathered at the spot where
Parker lost her life. Those in the transgender community are on edge after
one of their own, who they knew as Asia, was shot and killed.
"I can't even come home late from work or something without the risk of
being shot in my head, brutally, for my purse or whatever the case may be.
It terrifies me," vigil organizer Kerri Secil said.
In the video, Parker is seen turning around after 2-4 suspects say
something, then surround her underneath a tree. One suddenly throws a punch
and Parker runs off. That's when one suspect fires a single shot, hitting
her in the head.
She crosses the street where she sits on the curb, before she suddenly
collapses in the street. Parker later died at a local hospital. "
10-03-14: Washington Post (posted 10-02): "A question for schools:
Which sports teams should transgender students play on?" (more)
"It had been a relatively quiet policy debate until the full-page ad
appeared in the local newspaper. “A male wants to shower beside your
14-year-old daughter,” it said. “Are you OK with that?”
placed by a socially conservative group in Minnesota, was meant to snap
attention to a proposal to allow transgender students to play on teams based
on their preferred gender rather than the sex assigned to them at birth.
It appears to have worked. More than 100 community
members flooded a meeting this week near Minneapolis, and thousands more
sent e-mails. In response, the quasi-public body governing high school
sports in Minnesota
decided to delay a vote
on a new policy covering sports participation by transgender students.
Members of the board of directors said they needed more time to study the
The policy, which they now plan to vote on in
December, was an attempt to grapple with a question that has bedeviled many
states: How do you deal with the growing number of children identifying as
transgender who want to participate in the highly gender-specific worlds of
high school sports and extracurricular activities?
School systems have scrambled to adopt policies to
deal with these students while also being sensitive to concerns over
locker-room privacy and any advantages a more physically imposing
transgender female might have on the field against other girls.
“Generally, our society is becoming more accepting in its understanding of
gender identity and what that means, and we’ve been very lucky that in the
last few years this cadre of young kids has started identifying themselves
as trans from a young age,” said Helen Carroll, sports project director at
the National Center for Lesbian Rights, who helped write a model policy for
school systems. “It’s really pushing folks to really grapple with and
understand what it means.”
But activists like Carroll have run into opposition, including from groups
that say gender is a biological fact rather than a social choice and that
schools should not cater to a small subset of the student body."
10-03-14: Media Matters: "Watch A Transgender Student Athlete's
Emotional Response To Right-Wing Misinformation"
"On MSNBC, a transgender student described the pain caused by right-wing
misinformation about a policy that could allow athletes to participate on
the team that corresponds with their gender identity.
During the October 2 edition of MSNBC's NewsNation with
Tamron Hall, guest host Richard Lui led a
segment on the Minnesota State High School League's consideration of a
policy for transgender student
athletes. The proposal, which has since been temporarily tabled,
would potentially allow student athletes to play on the sports team that
matches their gender identity.
The segment featured OutFront Minnesota Executive
Director Monica Meyer and Zeam Porter, a transgender student athlete who
delivered an emotional
speech during a public hearing about
the proposal. When asked about the hearing, Porter described the difficulty
of being exposed to misinformation about transgender students, including a
ad published in Minnesota's Star
Tribune . . . "
10-03-14: "Transgender couple married in Miss. criticized by AFA"
"Newlyweds Nick and Jessica Fulgham of Olive Branch did what many newly
married couples do after getting hitched: They posted a picture of their
marriage license on Facebook. That post led to a string of events that put
Jessica and Nick in the middle of a storm of controversy.
Nick, a transgender individual legally recognized as a male, met Jessica
over a year ago through a mutual friend. The two immediately hit it off, and
they married on Sept. 18 in Madison County . . .
When Jessica's cousin Robby Rikard,
the pastor at First Baptist Church
in Lyman, saw the picture of the marriage license on Facebook, he
contacted the American Family Association, a national conservative
organization that opposes same-sex marriage and homosexuality.
Soon after, American Family Radio talk-show host
Bryan Fischer wrote an
article and included a segment on his show about Nick and Jessica.
"Two lesbians getting married could not possibly be more illegal and
unconstitutional anywhere in the United States than in Mississippi,"
on the AFA website.
Fischer charged the couple "committed biological fraud" when Nick used his
driver's license, which classified him as male, to obtain their marriage
license at the Madison County Courthouse . . .
Nick said the AFA's portrayal of him made him feel "terrible." "It makes
both of us sound like criminals," he said.
Professor Matt Steffey of the Mississippi College School of Law said the AFA
is entitled to its opinion, but it has no legal standing. "If he has a court
order legally identifying him as a male, then you are a male for the purpose
of the law," Steffey explained. " ... And at least for now, that, to me,
settles the legal issue. This is like arguing that after a person's been
convicted, that they're really innocent."
After the publicity from the American Family Association, Nick and Jessica
are "having to worry about job security and the safety of our family," she
said. The couple has three children.
[Ed note: Everyone should begin asking "When will the AFA's vicious
religious-superstition-based cruelty end?"]
10-02-14: Takepart.com: "Why It Could Get Easier to Come Out as Transgender
at Work -- In two lawsuits, the government is going after people who
discriminate against transgender employees",
" . . .Now, on the heels of a recent case and two new lawsuits, people like
Lusardi may have increasing legal rights against discrimination.
The shift began in 2012, when veteran police officer and transgender woman
Mia Macy sued the Department of Justice for denying her a job with the
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. She claimed the agency
refused to hire her because she'd come out as transgender. The U.S. Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission ruled in Macy's favor and found that
discriminating against employees because they are transgender, or because
they have transitioned or plan to, is sex-based discrimination and violates
Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
Last week, for the first time since that ruling, the EEOC has filed two
lawsuits on behalf of transgender women who say they were discriminated
against at work. In Florida, the EEOC says that
Lakeland Eye Clinic fired an employee who started transitioning from
male to female at work. In Detroit, the EEOC
alleges that a funeral home fired Amiee Stephens after she gave them a
letter indicating her plan to transition from male to female.
A representative for the EEOC said that in 2013, the first year it began
collecting transgender-specific complaints, it received 131 charges alleging
discrimination based on gender identity. That the EEOC is enforcing this law
makes a “huge difference” for transgender people, says Sasha Buchert,
Lusardi's lawyer and a staff attorney with the
Center in San Francisco. It's especially critical for people in states
that don’t have gender nondiscrimination laws. According to a national
survey of transgender people, 90 percent said they'd experienced harassment,
mistreatment, or discrimination on the job or had hidden their identities at
Even with expanded legal protections, transitioning at work is bound to be
complicated. Experts argue that how an employee approaches the process and
how employers and management respond can have a critical impact on the trans
person’s safety and job security, the comfort of other employees, and in
some cases, the profit margins of the company.
As the EEOC lawsuits show, it can also lead to legal action. "
10-01-14: Vice.com: "Does the US Prison System Expose Transgender
Prisoners to Rape?", By Jessie Burkett
"Last Friday, a
district court judge ruled
that D. B., a transgender former prisoner who was incarcerated in Orlando,
had no right to sue Orange County, Florida, for putting her at excessive
risk and showing deliberate indifference to her safety. After she was
arrested on charges of unarmed burglary right before her 38th birthday, she
told guards that she was afraid to be tossed in with the general population,
but her cries were ignored, and she was subsequently raped by her
18-year-old cellmate, Josh Bailey, in December 2009.
According to court documents, D. B. asked to be put in protective custody
almost as soon as she was jailed awaiting trial. (She would ultimately be
sentenced to five years after pleading no contest.) After an investigation
conducted by the prison found no reason to grant her request, she was housed
alongside the male inmates, who began “shaking their penises” at her and
Most states don't have prison facilities for
people like D. B., and her case raises a question that was first asked 20
years ago when a
trans woman named Dee Farmer
won a Supreme Court case that allowed people to sue prisons for deliberate
indifference. Of course, it's not an easy thing to prove. But as a slew of
news stories, lawsuits, and studies build the case that trans people are
especially vulnerable, corrections departments across the country are poised
to re-evaluate their protocols.
US District Judge Gregory Presnell, however, said
that D. B. can't sue Orange County for negligence. In doing so, he ignored
years worth of mounting evidence
that trans women are at extreme risk when placed with the general
“I'm a little baffled by it,” says Valerie Jenness, who gave a deposition in
the case and is perhaps the foremost academic expert on prison violence
against trans women. “But it's gonna get increasingly difficult to deny that
trans folks who are locked up in a whole host of facilities are
Jenness is the author of a
2007 landmark study
called “Violence in California Correctional Facilities: An Empirical
Examination of Sexual Assault,” which showed that 59 percent of
transgendered women housed in men's facilities are sexually abused in
prison, versus just 4 percent of cis men.
Although awareness of trans issues has increased
dramatically since the study's release, the same lack of accountability is
still rampant within corrections departments. The same day that the ruling
in D. B.'s case came out, BuzzFeed published a
of a trans woman in Georgia being forced to share a holding cell with her
rapist, who then assaulted her again in May 2012. "
Ontario Human Rights Commission (Canada; first posted 4-08): "Backgrounder –
Talking about gender identity and gender expression"
. . . Over the years, the
Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has
taken steps to address discrimination because
of gender identity. In 1999, the OHRC released
“Toward a Commission Policy on Gender Identity”
for public comment.
In 2000, the OHRC released its first
discrimination and harassment because of gender
taking the position that the ground of “sex”
could be interpreted to include gender
identity. Following the release of this policy,
the OHRC continued to call for explicit
recognition of gender identity as a protected
ground in Ontario”s
Human Rights Code.
The OHRC has also
been actively litigating cases related to
gender identity. For example, the OHRC was
XY v. Ontario
(Government and Consumer Services),
a case that dealt with requirements for
transgender people to change the
sex-designation on their birth certificates.
The OHRC was also involved in
Forrester v. Peel
(Regional Municipality) Police Services Board
which dealt with how police services search
Hogan v. Ontario (Health and Long-Term Care)
with access to sex reassignment surgery
– towards a new policy:
In 2012, Ontario
added the grounds “gender identity” and “gender
expression” to the
Human Rights Code.
The OHRC then moved to update its
discrimination and harassment because of gender
In 2012-13, the OHRC did a literature review
revealing a wealth of information on how gender
identity and human rights is understood from a
variety of perspectives. At the same time,
human rights law in Canada and internationally
has continued to advance understanding and
protection of legal rights for trans people.
In 2013, the OHRC
hosted an online public consultation survey on
policy issues related to gender identity,
including use of terminology, types of
discrimination trans people experience, and how
the OHRC can help organizations understand
responsibilities related to these grounds. We
received more than 750 responses to the survey
from members of the public as well as community
services organizations, educators, unions and
OHRC staff also
conducted one-on-one interviews with a range of
individuals and organizations to explore issues
in depth and to identify individuals and groups
who could take part in future outreach and
The survey –
what we heard: The survey was not
about statistics – it was about giving people
an opportunity to share their experiences and
their ideas, to give us a snapshot of some of
the key issues relating to gender identity and
expression in today’s world. The following
sections outline the questions we asked and
some of the responses we received . . ."
[Ed. note: This study
evidences the profound shifts in public-thought
regarding transpeople over the past 10 years .
. . even in Ontario, Canada, where
Blanchard held sway for so long, and where
they made their last stand. Nice milestone in
the trans-timeline, eh? ]
9-21-14: Telegraph(UK re India): "India gets first transgender news
anchor months after third gender legally recognised" (Video,
"India’s first transgender news anchor has appeared on regional television
just months after the country’s Supreme Court recognised it as a legal third
Padmini Prakash, 31, worked as a dance instructor
and acted in soaps before being recruited to Lotus News in the southern
state of Tamil Nadu. She
told the Times of India
she was disowned by her family when she told them she was transgender and
has faced discrimination throughout her life.
But she has won widespread praise since her first broadcast in August. “I
was very worried because I also had to focus on my diction and maintain a
steady narrative pace to ensure that there was clarity and viewers could
understand me,” Ms Prakash said.
Her popularity with viewers ensured a rapid promotion to be the face of the
daily 7pm news bulletin.
G.K.S. Selvakumar, chairman of Lotus News, told the Times of India the
channel was “very supportive”. “After initial trials, we were convinced that
she had the potential to be an excellent news anchor,” he said.
Ms Prakash has been involved in transgender rights activism in the past,
protesting against the discrimination, harassment and stigma experienced by
sexual minorities in India. Campaigners estimate there are hundreds of
thousands of transgender people in the country but because they were not
legally recognised until earlier this year, they have been ostracised, faced
abuse and often been forced into prostitution.
In April, the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling recognised transgender as a
legal third gender and called on the government to ensure equal treatment."
9-21-14: Yahoo News (re The Philippines): "Transgender model to PH
gov’t: Let’s have a decent talk"
"Her battle cry is no different from what has been said many times over. But
her journey is an inspiring and unique one.
Geena Rocero is a US-based Filipina model and an LGBTQ (lesbian, gay,
bisexual, transgender, and queer) rights advocate. She first gained public
attention, as an activist, when she came out as a transgender during TED
(Technology, Entertainment, Design) Talks’ annual conference early this
Rocero was recently in the Philippines. She met with different groups and
spoke at several forums. She also met with Sen. Bam Aquino to discuss the
status of the lesbian, gay, LGBTQ community in the country.
In an interview, Rocero shared her thoughts on efforts of the Philippine
government for the LGBTQ community . . .
Q: While waiting for the anti-discrimination bill to prosper, what do you
think should our government do to help protect and improve the lives of
Rocero: In the national context, it’s proving to be difficult to pass the
anti-discrimination bill that really protects the community. But what’s
interesting, what’s happening in localized environment; the activist groups
have been doing underground – trying to pass anti-discrimination ordinances
in different local government units.
There are already seven cities and two provinces in the Philippines that
have anti-discrimination protection. It’s important to keep that momentum
going because that’s what’s going to protect LGBTs; city by city, barangay
by barangay. If the protection is not going to happen in the national
environment, communities should make their own steps.
Q: What else is lacking in our government aside from the anti-discrimination
Rocero: A lot is still lacking in the Philippine government. They’ve been
trying to pass the anti-discrimination bill for a very long time already.
The religious conditioning is much harder to change. I think that’s an
important factor to focus on when passing a law. If you’re not willing to
change the cultural dynamics of understanding and just for people to see and
accept us as who we are as human beings who all just want to go about our
lives and pursue our truth and our dreams, then the fight for it would
remain hard . . .
Q: What is your message to our government?
Rocero: Let’s have a decent human conversation. We want to be in front of
you all and just have a human conversation and all that we’re asking for is
basic rights. We are not asking for special rights, these are just basic
rights; to be treated equally and just exist as we are.
Q: What is your message to LGBTQs?
Rocero: As a person who made a conscious choice to come out and be an
advocate and specifically talk about these things, we can’t force people to
be activists. It’s a personal choice. But as an individual, being visible
and being vocal is a big step. Knowing about your rights is a huge step. You
need to know when and how to speak up when your rights are being violated.
Speak up when you see there are violations. Sometimes, it’s hard to think
that there’s still hope, like when you report a violence that you saw, but
you need to remember that those little efforts count. And as a community, we
are all tied-in together, we just need to really understand each other.
Awareness is the most important thing."
9-21-14: Nature (posted 9-16): "Diversity: Pride in science -- The
sciences can be a sanctuary for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender
individuals, but biases may still discourage many from coming out", by
M. Mitchell Waldrop
"It was not until the last two years of his graduate studies, at the
University of South Florida in Tampa, that Trotter finally came out,
confiding to a few close friends that he was gay. As the word spread, he
found his depression lifting. His energy improved. His work became more
“When I felt I could just be who I am, a full person,” says Trotter, “then
it was definitely good for the science.”
That message is being heard in more and more
laboratories and research centres around the world. People who identify as
lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) have long faced discrimination
or worse: they are still considered outcasts or even outlaws in most Muslim
nations, as well as in Russia and parts of Asia. But attitudes are changing.
According to a survey published last year by the Pew Research Global
Attitudes Project, openly gay individuals have high levels of public
acceptance across broad swathes of Western Europe, Australia, Canada and
Latin America (see
‘Degrees of acceptance’).
Nowhere is this change more visible than in the United States, home of the
world’s largest research enterprise, where public attitudes are shifting
towards acceptance of LGBT people faster than in almost any other nation.
Courts and legislatures are lifting restrictions on same-sex marriage in
state after state, often in the face of vehement opposition from social
conservatives, and LGBT equality has emerged as a dominant civil-rights
“This is an important time in history for the LGBT community,” says Trotter
— not unlike the period several decades ago when women and under-represented
ethnic minorities began their push for greater recognition in science. Just
as those groups once did, LGBT researchers are trying to seize the moment by
creating an infrastructure of organizations and interest groups geared
towards helping one another with information, support and networking (see
505, 249–251; 2014) . . .
In this newly open environment, LGBT scientists are finding it easier to
declare themselves — or at least, to think about doing so. “I’m getting a
constant stream of e-mails from young scientists: ‘Can I meet with you?’,”
says Ben Barres, a Stanford neuroscientist who transitioned from female to
male in 1997, and who has become a prominent spokesman for LGBT issues in
But just as for ethnic minorities and women, there is still a long way to
go. Many LGBT scientists fear coming out — if only because publications,
career progression and promotion are based heavily on the judgement of
fellow scientists, which might be influenced by conscious or unconscious
bias. And many students may be avoiding a research career entirely —
although no one knows, because no one has counted.
“I worry that there is a vast pool of talent that might be being lost to
science,” says Trotter. The only way to change that, he says, is for the
scientific community to reach out to its LGBT members, and have an honest
9-17-14: Daily Mail (UK re US): "Transgender model who found fame on
America's Next Top Model 'struggles to find love because she was born in a
"A model who found fame on two seasons of
America's Next Top Model says she is struggling to find love because she was
born in a male body.
Transgender Isis King, 28, from New York, took the
fashion world by storm after appearing on the popular television program.
But the American Apparel model, who models for an
array of big fashion brands, hopes to find a partner to share her success
with. Most recently the model opened eyes
as she stole the spotlight walking in the Betsey Johnson SS15 fashion show
at New York Fashion Week.
She said: 'Being born in the wrong body has made
it really hard because I want to tell men up front, but once I tell them
they usually lose interest. 'There are preconceived notions of trans women,
and they don't want to know me once I tell them. 'It's a bit harder for me
because not only am I trans, but I am one of the world's most famous trans
women' . . .
She said: 'I was in a gelato place
with a guy who didn't know I was on America's Next Top Model.
'The girl serving us ice cream noticed who I was
and right as she was about to mention it, I opened my eyes wide, and winked
at her and she knew I didn't want her to say it out loud. 'She winked back
and she didn't say anything, but it was just perfect - it was the first time
it ever worked out that way.' Sadly, the date didn't workout and she feels
living in New York adds to difficulties in finding a meaningful
'I don't know if I'm going to find it here because
it is such a fast paced city,' she added. 'I have a great career, I know who
I am, I know who I want, I'm a positive person. 'I just want to meet someone
who's going to treat me the way I would treat them.'"
9-16-14: People: "Jazz Jennings Hopes to Inspire Other Transgender
Kids with New Picture Book"
"It's no surprise that growing up as a transgender kid wasn't easy for Jazz
Jennings. But the Florida-based teen made it
through – and is sharing the lessons she learned with others. Jennings, now
14, has coauthored a new children's book,
I Am Jazz, and hopes it can assist
other kids facing a similar struggle.
"I hope this book will help them to be who they are and stay true to
themselves," Jennings tells PEOPLE. " I want them to know it's OK to be
different and unique, and that they should be proud of themselves and who
The book was released Sept. 4 and recaps the triumphs and hardships she
faced on her transgender journey. "There are so few books for little kids
that actually mention the word transgender and explain what it is in simple
terms," she says . . .
"We were initially shocked when Jazz was diagnosed with gender identity
disorder [now called gender dysphoria], in 2004," they told PEOPLE via
email. "We recognized this was an incredibly complex issue, and since very
little was known about transgender children at the time, there would be
daunting challenges ahead."
The challenges were significant, but Jazz and her parents overcame them –
and want other families to know they have support. "For transgender kids who
are struggling, I want them to know they're not alone," Jazz says. "They
shouldn't be afraid to step out of their shadows." "
9-16-14: Jurist: "An Affirmative Decision for Transgender Marriage in
"JURIST Guest Columnist Francesca Acocella . . . discusses the recent
decision by the Thirteenth Court of Appeals of Texas to recognize
transgender identity in determining the validity of marriage . . .
. . . In it's decision delivered earlier this
year, the Thirteenth Court of Appeals of Texas noted that the legal
landscape had changed since Littleton and that the Texas legislature was no
longer silent. It found that there was a genuine issue of material fact as
to Araguz's gender, that the legislature overturned Littleton in 2009 and
the summary judgment cannot be upheld based on judicial estoppel. An
affidavit from Nikki's doctor, discussing the complexities of gender, was
sufficient for the court to find a genuine disputed fact. The court also
mentioned the ever-increasing number of states with marriage equality and
the US Supreme Court's ruling in
US v. Windsor
overturning Section 3 of the
Defense of Marriage Act
(PDF). Ultimately, the Araguz court held that "an individual who has had a
'sex change' is eligible to marry a person of the opposite sex," citing the
Texas Family Code Section
The new trial has yet to take place.
The difference between the courts' outcomes in Littleton and in Araguz is
partly due to evolving social, medical and legal understandings of gender.
The 2009 amendment to Texas's Family Code is part of that evolving
understanding. The Texas legislature amended its Family Code to include that
"an original or certified copy of a court order relating to the applicant's
name change or sex change" can establish the proof required for a marriage
license. The court in Araguz found the amendment invalidates Littleton,
legitimizing marriage in Texas for transgender people. During the 82nd
legislative session in Texas, which ended in 2012, there were several
unsuccessful attempts to repeal the 2009 amendment.
Because Texas statutes now recognize the rights and marriages of transgender
people, Texas agencies must allow transgender Texans to amend gender markers
on their identity documents and all courts, not just courts within the
jurisdiction that decided Araguz, must recognize the marriages of
9-16-14: Huffington Post: "State of Emergency for Transgender Women of
Addison Rose Vincent
a 2013 report by the National Coalition of
Anti-Violence Programs, it was reported
that of 72 percent of victims of anti-LGBTQ homicide were transgender women,
and 89 percent of victims were people of color. Just this summer alone,
there have been seven reported killings of transgender women of color in the
Kandy Hall in
in Maryland, an
in Michigan, and, just recently
in Tennessee. Many of the women's causes of death have not been released,
but from what is known, the victims were either shot, burned, or stabbed to
In the past two months there have been
two more attacks on transgender women of color in
Detroit, as well as the stabbing of a
15-year-old transgender girl
in Washington, D.C., Metro. Fortunately, the teen survived, but the attack
comes one year after the stabbing of
two years after the fatal stabbing of
and three years after the stabbing of
another unnamed transgender woman of color,
all of which happened in D.C. August was also the month in which 21-year-old
was brutally attacked in 2013, and the month in which 24-year-old
died from medical transphobia in 1995. Tyra was in a car accident at the
corner of 50th and C in Southeast D.C., and due to the transphobia of the
on-site EMT and doctor, she passed away from treatable injuries. And in 2002
19-year-old Stephanie Thomas and 18-year-old Ukea
Davis were executed in the same cross
streets as Tyra's accident.
The frequency of stabbings in attacks on
transgender women of color comes as a concern. The act of stabbing is a very
personal form of murder and raises the question of the intensity of the
attacker's transphobia. Though it can be argued that some suspects choose to
stab rather than shoot due to the easy access to knives over guns, and to
ensure lighter sentences if caught and tried, the assertion of dominance
over women's bodies with a phallocentric object is a symbolic rape of the
victim. Suspects often justify their attacks with the "trans
panic" defense, the concept that, in
the heat of the moment, internalized transphobia causes them to irrationally
attack transgender individuals who "provoke" them."
9-12-14: Huffington Post: "From Diagnoses to Dignity -- Barriers to
Health Care for Transgender People" (more)
""Trans people face stigma and discrimination and
harassment in healthcare, and so do providers," said Walter Bockting, a
medical psychology at Columbia University in New York City. "We need to
strategically support providers working with transgender people, many of
whom struggle bravely to do this work and expand its reach" . . .
The barriers to dignified access to healthcare are legal, societal, and
logistical. Documents do not match appearance, services are sometimes
economically out of reach, and the provision of care can be imperilled by
untrained providers and even threats against those who try to provide it.
Experts and activists say equitable access to healthcare underpins the
realization of other human rights for transgender people. And it all begins
with the messy politics of diagnosis . . .
"No one's identity is a disorder. When we are talking about [the] mental
health problems many transgender people experience, we are not referring to
'gender dysphoria' [feeling an emotional and psychological identity as male
or female opposite to one's biological sex] or any other trans-specific
diagnosis," said Lin Frazer, president of WPATH. "We are talking about [the]
mental health problems they suffer due to stigma and lack of access to
services... It's not inherently pathological to be gender non-conforming or
The UN World Health Organization (WHO)
International Classification of Diseases, version 10 (ICD-10), generally
accepted as the standard definition of health conditions, is under revision
and "Significant changes in the classification of gender identity and
conditions related to sexuality have been proposed." WPATH has been
move "gender incongruence" categories out of the Mental and Behavioural
Disorders chapter and into a more respectful and less pathological place in
"WPATH has been. [talking to] the WHO to consult on the ICD-11 revisions (to
be published in 2017)," said Gail Knudson, WPATH's secretary-treasurer and
medical director of the Transgender Health Program at Vancouver Coastal
Health in Canada. "Transgenderism will likely be called 'gender
incongruence', and not be located in the section on mental disorders." The
goal is to erode the pathology stigma associated with transgender people,
while maintaining the possibility of a medical designation so that those who
need to access gender transition-related health services and insurance can
"For some transgender people at a particular point in their lives, in some
parts of the world, having a diagnosis can be important - it allows them to
access care, get reimbursed for care, and achieve the changes they want,"
Justus Eisfeld, co-director of Global Action for Trans Equality (GATE),
said: "WHO will move trans people out of the disorders section... so it's
not as stigmatizing, but trans people can still access medical care through
the classification if they want and need it."
The pathways to accessing gender
transition-related and general healthcare are often barred by the limited
access to documentation transgender people experience almost everywhere. "I
do not suffer from gender dysphoria, I suffer from bureaucratic dysphoria,"
one trans person
told a United
9-10-14: CBS News: "Transgender teens become happy, healthy young
"Treatment to delay
puberty among adolescents struggling with
seems to boost psychological well-being for those
who ultimately pursue sex reassignment, new research suggests. The Dutch
study involved 55 transgender young adults who had been diagnosed years
a condition in which a biological boy strongly identifies as a girl, or
vice versa. All underwent a hormone treatment that temporarily blocked
puberty and prevented the development of sex characteristics.
The treatment gave them the "opportunity to develop
into well-functioning young adults," according to the study, published
online Sept. 8 in the journal Pediatrics. Overall, sexual confusion
resolved, and they appeared to be satisfied with their gender-related
decisions, the researchers found.
"Since puberty suppression is a fully reversible
medical intervention, it provides adolescents and their families with time
to explore their gender dysphoric feelings, and [to] make a more definite
decision regarding the first steps of actual gender reassignment treatment
at a later age," said study lead author Dr. Annelou de Vries.
By delaying the onset of
children who go on to gender reassignment
"have the lifelong advantage of a body that
matches their gender identities without the irreversible body changes of a
low voice or beard growth or breasts, for example," added De Vries, a child
and adolescent psychiatrist at the Center of Expertise on Gender Dysphoria
with the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam.
The study participants underwent puberty
suppression at an average age of nearly 14. The group included 22
biological boys, who later transitioned to females, and 33 biological girls
who ultimately underwent reassignment to live as men. Multiple assessments
were conducted up to one year following gender reassignment surgery (at an
average age of about 21).
By young adulthood,
anxiety, emotional distress and body image concerns were no more prevalent
among the transgender group than among the general public, the researchers
determined. Also, quality of life and happiness levels were on par with
was no longer an issue, and no patients expressed regret about the
transition process, including puberty delay . . .
Guidelines outlined by the Endocrine Society and
the World Professional Association for Transgender Health recommend that
teens who choose to undergo gender reassignment not begin hormone
treatments before age 16. Surgical intervention is not advised before the
age of 18.
"But children usually go into puberty much earlier
than that," said Susan Maasch, director of the Trans Youth Equality
Foundation in Portland, Maine. "And you can imagine the anxiety and
depression and overwhelming fear that a young child might experience when
they are about to go into puberty while feeling an insistent mismatch
between their biological gender and their actual gender identity" . . .
Treating them with a safe, well-known hormone to temporarily prevent
puberty has become a standard of care because it buys these children time
and a measure of relief. And if gender reassignment surgery does happen, it
will be a much easier, much less tough process."
Dr. Jack Drescher, a clinical professor of
psychiatry at New York Medical College in Valhalla, N.Y., said the findings
"seem to confirm the idea that puberty suppression is a generally good
idea." The treatment has only been done for about 15 years, "but so far it
does seem to be a relatively safe and benign intervention," he said. "And
this thoughtful and careful study suggests that it can be very helpful at
relieving psychological distress seen among those children who experience
panic when facing the onset of puberty."
Drescher added that not all teens who undergo
puberty suppression will pursue gender reassignment. "But those who do will
face an easier time of it," he said."
9-08-14: Huffington Post: "Alejandra Leos, Transgender Woman, Murdered
In Tennessee (UPDATED)"
"In a story that is depressingly familiar, another transgender woman has
lost her life at the hand of an attacker.
was reportedly shot to death only steps away from
her home in Memphis, Tennessee, last
Friday night. While local police reports initially misgendered Leos, family
confirmed that the victim identified as a woman.
Police have not identified a suspect in the murder.
“Alejandro would say ‘if you don’t know Alejandra
then you don’t know Memphis,'" a friend of Leos
Transgender individuals, particularly transgender
people of color,
experience violence at a disproportionate rate
when compared to the rest of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender
(LGBT) community. For more information on transgender issues and experiences
A fundraiser through the Gun Violence Survivors
foundation is currently in progress in order to aid Leos' family with
Head here to
visit the campaign.
arrest has since been made in this case.
Head here for
9-07-14: New York Magazine: "The Trans-Everything CEO -- Futurist, pharma
tycoon, satellite entrepreneur, philosopher. Martine Rothblatt, the
highest-paid female executive in America, was born male. But that is far
from the thing that defines her. Just ask her wife. Then ask the robot
version of her wife." (more,
"Only about 5 percent of the companies in the Fortune 500 are run by women;
double the sample size, and the proportion is the same. Compensation levels
for female CEOs appear to lag as well, though it’s hard to tell because
there are so few of them. On a recent list of America’s 200 highest-paid
CEOs, only 11 were women, and their median pay was $1.6 million less than
their male peers. Certain of these women are already household names:
Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer, No. 34 on the list, who earned $25 million last year,
and Hewlett-Packard’s Meg Whitman, No. 95, who earned $18 million. But the
highest-paid female CEO in America is not nearly as well known. She is
Martine Rothblatt, the 59-year-old founder of United Therapeutics—a publicly
traded, Silver Spring, Maryland–based pharmaceutical company—who made a
previous fortune as a founder of Sirius radio, a field she entered as an
attorney specializing in the law of space. But what’s really extraordinary
about Rothblatt’s ascent is not that she has leaned in, or out, or had any
particular thoughts about having it all. What sets Rothblatt apart from the
other women on the list is that she—who earned $38 million last year—was
"It’s like winning the lottery,” Rothblatt said happily, about seeing her
name atop the list, during one of the meetings I had with her this summer.
But Rothblatt could not be less interested in establishing herself as a role
model for women. “I can’t claim that what I have achieved is equivalent to
what a woman has achieved. For the first half of my life, I was male,” she
In person, Martine is magnificent, like a tall lanky teenage boy with
breasts. She wears no makeup or jewelry, and she inhabits her muted
clothing—cargo pants, a T-shirt, a floppy button-down thrown on top—in the
youthful, offhand way of the tech elite. Martine is transgender, a power
trans, which makes her an even rarer species in the corporate jungle than a
female CEO. And she seems genuinely to revel in her self-built
in-betweenness. Just after her sex-reassignment surgery in 1994, her
appearance was more feminine than it is today—old photos show her wearing
lipstick, her long, curly hair loose about her shoulders. But in the years
since she has developed her own unisexual style. She is a person for whom
gender matters enough to have undergone radical surgery, but not enough to
care whether she’s called he or she by people, like her 83-year-old mother,
who occasionally lose track of which pronoun to use . . . "
9-07-14: Philadelphia Inquirer: "Bala Cynwyd doctor helps transgender
teen gain her true identity"
"Aly is a pretty 17-year-old who talks easily
about being transgender. It is impossible to guess that she was born
male; her facial expressions and the grace with which she moves are
"I knew, as early as when I was three or four,
that I was a girl," says Aly, who changed her name from Luke seven
years ago when she "outed" herself to family, friends, and classmates.
"Even when I was a toddler, I played with Barbies and pushed around a
toy vacuum sweeper. I'd watch television and always picture myself as
the princess or the queen."
Luke went to school in jeans and plaid shirts
like the other boys, but played only with the girls. The minute he got
home, he exchanged the pants for his favorite outfit - a purple party
dress with sparkly sequins. His brother, Billy, two years older,
insouciantly explained to his friends, "My little brother likes to
dress up in girls' clothes." "They didn't pay much attention," Aly says
Shortly before entering fourth grade in
Stratham, N.H., Luke confided to his parents that he was not male,
could no longer pretend, and declared that he would not continue to go
to school as a boy.
Aly is one of a growing population of children
- some as young as three - who insist that they have been sabotaged by
the bodies they were given. No one knows if the numbers are rising
because there are more transgender youth or whether increased media
attention and shifting attitudes have made transgender people more
willing to reveal themselves.
An annual survey by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight
Education Network found that 8.3 percent of LGBT youth identified as
transgender in 2011, up from 3.2 percent a decade earlier.
Endocrinologist Norman P. Spack, head of the transgender clinic at
Boston Children's Hospital, believed to be the first in the country,
suggests that one in 1,000 children and adolescents may be transgender
. . .
Aly was lucky. Although her parents struggled
to make sense of what they describe as their "incredibly difficult and
unusual situation," they respected and supported their younger child
right from the start . . . In December 2007, he and his wife, who
passed away four years ago, wrote a letter to their friends and
". . . We realize that many of you will
find this news shocking and confusing. . . . Luke has been diagnosed
with gender identity disorder, a devastating condition that can turn
the life of a child upside down. Biologically, Luke is a boy. But in
every other sense, she is a girl. . . . We now call her Aly. We
recognize that this change will take time to get used to. What we're
asking from you is compassion for something you may never understand .
The administration at Luke's elementary school
had just sent a Thanksgiving letter to parents explaining that a boy in
the school would be presenting as a girl. When Aly returned to school
after the holiday break, dressed in capris and a pink shirt, almost all
her classmates were welcoming, even excited . . .
Aly was one of the first children to be seen by
Norman Spack in Boston. "I have this image of Aly as a little girl,"
Spack remembers, "a round face, just adorable."
After thorough evaluations and consultations
with the pediatrician confirmed that the 10-year-old was, indeed,
transgender, not just going through a phase, Spack started
puberty-suppressing hormones . . .
Aly had sex reassignment surgery six weeks ago
at Lower Bucks Hospital in Bristol. "Dr. Spack brought me to this part
of my life," she said softly six days later, tucked under the covers in
the bed where she was recovering nearby. "He did everything to help me
be a girl."
Sherman Leis, a Bala Cynwyd surgeon, has performed more than 3,500
operations on transgender patients, including facial feminization
procedures, breast removal or augmentation, and sex reassignment
surgery. Aly was his second-youngest patient, on the verge of 17."
9-07-14: Metro (UK): "How to ask a woman out when you’re a
"When it comes to making
the first move, I’m terrible at it.Whether that’s been in my previous
incarnation as a lesbian or my current one as a trans guy, the fact is, it’s
simply better that I don’t realise when I want to hit on someone.Flirting,
it seems, only comes naturally to me when I don’t actually think that I
might like to take things a little further with the person in front of me.
Where some guys get full of bravado and let
rejection run off their egos like rain off a freshly waxed car, testosterone
hasn’t quite boosted my confidence levels that far just yet, so I’m still
more likely to get all shy and emotionally-challenged when faced with
someone I really quite fancy.
But, like all great hypocrites, I’m very much
aware of what I should be doing even if I’m not quite able to actually do it
Here’s how to make the first move if you’re a
9-06-14: The Tico Times (Costa Rica): "Transgender Costa Ricans fight
discrimination over name-change rights", by Fabiola Pomareda
"What’s in a name? For many transgender Costa Ricans, a lot. Starting with
the fact that in many cases, the names on their government-issued IDs have
nothing to do with self-image or identity.
Karolina Malone Esquivel, 24, told The Tico Times
that she began her transformation from boy to girl at the age of 14. But
since graduating high school, she said it’s been impossible to find work.
And that discrimination starts with the name on her
“I’ve left résumés, I’ve gone everywhere and no one ever calls me,” said
Esquivel, who joined several others on Aug. 28 in a protest in front of the
Supreme Elections Tribunal in San José, where the Civil Registry is located
. . .
On Esquivel’s ID, a young woman’s face stares out from the picture. But the
name is a boy’s. There is a line labeled “known as,” where it states
“Karolina.” But that name is useless for official paperwork or any other
transaction. When a person’s photo doesn’t match the gender of a name on an
identification document, it leads to problems. And life already is difficult
enough, Esquivel said.
In the workplace, transgender employees often are viewed as “undesirables”
by coworkers, she said. The stigma is the same in schools and at health care
centers. “When you go to the Caja [Social Security System], they call out
your name loudly, in front of everyone. Those situations are humiliating for
someone who looks different than their name,” she said.
Transvida President Dayana Hernández said that having a name that reflects
one’s identity is a human right, and last week’s protest aimed to educate
others that human rights aren’t negotiable. Fernández noted that, “The
transgender population isn’t a small one. As you can see [at the
demonstration] there are many transgender girls and boys, and we all face
barriers preventing us from working.”
Esquivel said discrimination is often a primary reason that many turn to
prostitution, which is legal in Costa Rica, to make ends meet. “Most of us
really don’t want to work in the sex trade,” she said. “We want something
different, something more stable, instead of facing the cold and taking
Two months ago, Esquivel registered for classes at a San José university,
where she plans on studying human resources. She hopes to become a
boss.“Since no one never hired me, one day, I’ll be the person doing the
hiring,” she said.
Three months ago, eight members of Transvida petitioned the courts through
public legal counsel. But their cases have gone nowhere, they said. In the
legal battle to allow transgender Costa Ricans to change their names, only a
judge can order the Civil Registry to waive its gender rule. Cases are
ongoing in courts in Desamparados and San José, and some members will file
another case in Guadalupe, where they hope to find a sympathetic judge. Said
Fernández: “At 14, I decided to be a woman. At 20, I still haven’t managed
to get people to recognize the name I chose: Pamela.”"
9-05-14: BuzzFeed: "Human Rights Campaign President "Formally
Apologizes" To Transgender Community" (HRC
Friday at Southern Comfort, one of the largest annual transgender community
conferences, Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin apologized for
what he described as when the national LGBT rights organization has failed
to represent and serve transgender people over the years.
“HRC has done wrong by the transgender community
in the past, and I am here to formally apologize,” Griffin said, according a
transcript of his remarks
posted online. “I am sorry for the times when we stood apart when we should
have been standing together.”
It’s no secret among many in the transgender community that there’s a lack
of trust when it comes to HRC.
In his speech, Griffin described attending an HRC event held at Ohio State
University — during which he suddenly realized his event was taking place at
the same time as the local community’s largest transgender community
gathering, the 6th Annual TransOhio Symposium, on the floor directly above
him. Griffin said the fact that he and HRC had no idea the local transgender
community was holding its gathering at the same place and the same time as
his event illustrated a major disconnect — one he said he wishes to resolve.
“… [I]nstead of all of us working together, taking stock of all of our
progress and the challenges ahead, and finding comfort in each other’s
company, ‘they’ were upstairs, and ‘we’ were downstairs,” he said. “There
that divide was, for all to see. Plain as day.”
With that, Griffin said he hopes HRC and the transgender community can begin
a “new chapter together” and promised to work diligently and more closely
together, but noted HRC “may make mistakes” along the way.
“What happens to trans people is absolutely central to the LGBT struggle,”
he said. “And as the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organization, HRC
has a responsibility to do that struggle justice, or else we are failing at
our fundamental mission.”
HRC, he said, is expanding its focus on transgender issues and the work it
does to serve transgender people throughout the country, such as supporting
local transgender organizations, condemning violence against transgender
women of color, and continuing its work with corporations, healthcare
organizations, and schools to treat all LGBT people fairly."
9-04-14: CNN (re Hong Kong): "Misunderstood and stateless in Hong
Kong: A transgender woman's nightmare"
"Crossing borders as a transgender woman is always a challenge. There are
many reasons immigration authorities reject you, but sometimes it's simply
because they don't seem to understand who we are.
My name is Eliana Rubashkyn and I was born in Bogotá, Colombia. I'm a
trained pharmacist and speak five languages fluently, and until recently, I
was studying for an MBA in Health Administration in Taiwan on a government
scholarship. I also used to be a man.
Last year, I was forced to travel to Hong Kong to renew my passport because
of my altered gender. Hong Kong -- a one-hour flight away -- is the nearest
Colombian consulate from Taiwan. The trip was also necessary to allow me to
apply for the second year of my graduate degree.
Little did I know my life would be turned upside down when I boarded that
plane . . . "
9-04-14: WCSH6 (Maine): "How doctors treat transgender children"
"Being transgender isn't just a state of mind, it is a diagnosed medical
condition called Gender Dysphoria. Doctors can identify symptoms and begin
treating Gender Dysphoria before children become adults. Maine Health
recognized a need for that treatment and established a gender clinic at
Barbara Bush Children's Hospital.
Four years ago, pediatric endocrinologist Dr. Jerrold Olshan was treating
just one or two children for Gender Dysphoria. Today, he sees between 20 and
30. He says all children have quesitons about gender, but sometimes those
questions run deeper. That's when parents are likely to take a child to see
a specialist. It can happen at a very young age.
"When you talk to these kids as adults they will say frequently, 'I've known
since I was four I was in the wrong body. I was born, they wanted me to be a
boy, I just I knew I was a girl'" Olshan told NEWS CENTER.
The child may see a doctor, but there is no medical intervention until the
first signs of puberty. At that point, he or she is put on hormone blockers
to stop puberty. Then, between the ages of 13 and 16, doctors will begin
hormone therapy with testosterone or estrogen. All the while, the patient is
meeting with a psychiatrist and social worker.
"These children and families have had a lot of stress, and often there is
comorbidities," said Olshan. "There's things like depression associated with
these conditions, probably because of the struggles of their identity being
different than how society identifies them."
So why does all of this matter to physicians? Doctor Orsham says he started
treated transgender childen because of their extremely high mortality rate.
A recent study of trans youth in New York City found that 46% of them had
considered suicide, and 25% of them had attempted it. "If we can intervene
early, the hope is, and what we are seeing fortunately is that we can really
lower the risk of death in these kids.""
9-04-14: WCSH6 (Maine): "School sends parents letter about transgender
"Some parents with students at Old Town Elementary
said there is a second grade student in the school that is transgender.
The school district mailed
the letter to
parents at the start of the new school year. It went to parents who have
children in the same learning community as the transgender student, which is
made up of about 120 kids from different grades.
says the student "may be familiar to your children as a boy, but will now be
recognized as a girl." It goes on to say that the student has identified as
a girl for quite some time and will now be using a new name and dressing in
a more feminine manner. The student will also be using the girls'
bathroom, according to the letter. It also acknowledges that this is a new
situation for many people, including staff members. NEWS CENTER has attached
the entire letter to this story.
The school was not legally obligated to send the letter, but the RSU34
Superintendent David Walker said it chose to. Legally, under the Maine Human
Rights Act, the school is required to treat all students equally. Walker
said the child's family met with the school over the summer to develop a
plan. The school drafted the letter, then the family and the superintendent
reviewed and approved it. Old Town Elementary wanted parents to hear the
information from the school first, and not from their children, according to
There are several organizations in Maine that
provide resources for people struggling with gender identity, advocate for
transgender equality, and work to educate the community. Here are a few
links to learn more:
Trans Youth Equality,
Maine Transgender Network,
9-02-14: BuzzFeed: "Kristin Beck Is A Different Kind Of
Transgender Pioneer -- Lady Valor, the documentary that follows the former
Navy SEAL’s life after coming out as a trans woman, pushes the envelope of
trans representation. And Beck wouldn’t have it any other way"
"In 2013, Kristin Beck became the first former Navy SEAL to come out as
transgender, which instantly placed her as
one of the most high-profile figures in the meteoric shift in the
national conversation about transgender rights. In person, she is instantly
open and friendly, happy to talk about just about anything, but her voice
hovers just a few notches above a whisper and never any louder, and her
demeanor can at times read as diffident, almost shy. In fact, if you had not
heard of her, you could be forgiven for never guessing she is an activist
who regularly travels the country for speaking engagements, let alone a
decorated veteran with 20 years of some of the most grueling combat
experiences a soldier can have.
But, according to Beck, there is one thing you would definitely know about
her upon meeting her for the first time. “Imagine me walking down the
street,” she told BuzzFeed in March at the SXSW Film Festival. “It’s
obvious. It’s like, Wow, there’s a dude in a dress.”
It is one of several eye-opening, unexpected things Beck said over the
course of a far-ranging interview after the world premiere of Lady Valor:
The Kristin Beck Story, the feature documentary about her life after
coming out as transgender . . . "
9-01-14: SDGLN: "Kristin Beck truly is "Lady Valor" and a transgender
"A former Navy SEAL who spent many years based in San Diego, and who came
out as a transgender woman two years after retiring from the military in
2011, is the subject of a compelling documentary, “Lady Valor: The Kristin
Beck Story” . . . The documentary will have its television premiere on CNN
The film tells the story of Navy SEAL Christopher Beck, who served honorably
for more than 20 years as a gung-ho member of SEAL Team 1 and SEAL Team 6,
the latter a highly trained counterterrorism unit also known as the U.S.
Special Warfare Development Group.
For many years, Beck felt like a woman trapped in a man’s body, and fought
to understand those feelings and then to embrace them. She first came out on
LinkedIn in 2013 as Kristin Beck and then on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360.”
Her story went viral, and directors Sandrine Orabona and Mark Herzog began
documenting her life and conducting interviews with her family and former
SEAL brothers . . .
But all has not been peaches and cream for Beck, who spoke by cell phone
late Monday with San Diego Gay & Lesbian News while on a road trip to San
Francisco. Some anti-gay and anti-trans people have publicly criticized her,
showing their ignorance and bigotry. The very patriotic Beck sees the sad
irony in that some of the people she fought for during two decades of
military service do not understand the basic guarantees of the Declaration
of Independence . . .
During the telephone interview, Beck says it was a “tough decision” to come
out and she admits that “I shot myself in the foot” during that difficult
and challenging process. She made a few public-relations flubs that she
sincerely regrets, such as not understanding the touchy issue of
misgendering in the media. For that faux pas, Beck says she is a persona non
grata in some quarters of the trans community. “I’m happy,” Beck says. “But
I wish I was better prepared when I came out”
. . .
Since the documentary was filmed, some things have changed for the better
for Beck. While her mother refused to be filmed for the documentary, she has
since come around and is now supportive of her transgender daughter. Some
things haven’t changed. Beck still faces bigotry and prejudice … and
sometimes within the LGBT community. “It’s appalling to me,” she says.
Beck advocates for trans rights anytime and anywhere. “One trans person is
murdered every week in the U.S.,” she says, her voice growing emotional and
aggravated. “We need to bring awareness to these issues. We don’t deserve to
be murdered! We don’t deserve to be fired from our jobs! We are humans just
like everybody else. We should be treated equally!”
Being an ex-SEAL who is transgender has given Beck a media platform and she
says she hopes to use the exposure to further the cause. “If I have all this
media attention, then I’m going to use it”. . .
Beck’s advocacy is genuine and passionate. She does, however, find herself
somewhat at odds with some of the more glamorous members of the transgender
community who have turned their natural beauty or plastic-surgery miracles
into lucrative careers as trans celebrities.
“I feel a little disappointed,” Beck says of the trans celebrities. “I go on
TV myself, but never for personal attention or the celebrity. I’m
encouraging equality, dignity and respect for transgender people. Some of
them are doing it for the publicity, celebrity and glamour things. … It’s
disappointing that they are chosen to lead our parades when the true
activists who are unsung heroes should be getting the recognition.”
Beck freely admits that she has had no surgery to look more like a woman.
She is perfectly happy to be the trans woman that she is. And that pursuit
of happiness is the noble principle that has guided her through her career
as a Navy SEAL and now as a transgender activist.
[Ed. note: TBD]
8-29-14: Vice News: "Allowing Transgender People to Serve in the US
Military Is 'Inevitable' "
"Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel made headlines
in May when he
said that the
policy excluding transgender people from serving in the military
should "continually be reviewed," and that he "would be open" to rethinking
the ban. His remarks led many to hope that a change in regulations for
transgender service members could happen in the near future.
Since the 2010 repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" — a policy enacted by the
Bill Clinton administration that required gay and lesbian service members to
remain closeted about their sexuality — the campaign to end the exclusion
of transgender people in the military has also picked up steam.
This effort was aided by reports from the Palm
Center think tank in March
2014 and the Williams Institute at
the UCLA School of Law in May,
which estimate that around 15,500 people currently serving in the US
military are transgender. Data from the National Transgender Discrimination
Survey and the US Census Bureau shows that there are about 134,300
transgender veterans, and that military service is more common among
transgender people than it is among the general American population. No data
is available on whether these individuals are pre- or post-transition.
With the support of a number of retired generals,
the Palm Center, which focuses on gender and sexuality in the military,
on Tuesday on how to navigate and implement the necessary policy changes to
allow transgender people to openly serve.
"We have men and women around America that are willing to serve, that would
like to come in, or are actively serving, and what we ask them to do when
they're inside the military — to pretend that they're not transgender — is
just wrong," Gale Pollock, former acting surgeon general of the US Army and
co-chair of the commission that produced the report, told VICE News . . .
Despite the ban on military service, about 21.4 percent of the total
transgender population in the US is estimated to have served in the
military, according to the report. This likely makes it one of the largest
employers of transgender people in the country, documentary series
TransMilitary host and producer Fiona Dawson told VICE News.
While it's not entirely clear why military participation is so popular among
transgender individuals, it may have something to do with perceptions of
"We join for essentially the same reasons that other Americans do," Brynn
Tannehill, director of advocacy at LGBT military organization SPART*A, told
VICE News. "Some might join to prove themselves, and some might do it
because their masculinity is more accepted, but the majority do it for the
same reasons everyone else does."
Tannehill, herself transgender and a member of the navy and naval reserves
for 13 years, believes that her experience in the military would have been
different had there not been a ban on transgender service members. "I
probably would have come out sometime while I was at the Academy, because I
knew even then, and I think my military career probably would have gone on
longer, because I did get out in order to transition," she says."
8-28-14: New Republic: "Why Aren't Women Advancing At Work? Ask a
Transgender Person -- Having experienced the workplace from both
perspectives, they hold the key to its biases."
"Fifty years after
The Feminine Mystique
and 40 years after Title IX, the question of why
women lag in the workplace dogs researchers and lay people alike. While
women are entering the professions at rates equal to men, they rise more
slowly, and rarely advance to the top. They’re represented in smaller
numbers at the top in fields from science to arts to business.
Some suggest that there is something
about women—women have stalled because of their personal choices, or their
cognitive and emotional characteristics, whether innate or socialized.
Another possibility is that the obstacles to women’s advancement are located
within their environments—that they face barriers unique to their gender.
But while bias has been experimentally demonstrated, it’s hard to study in
the real world: Just as it’s hard to isolate a single environmental
pollutant’s effect on human health, it’s been near impossible to isolate
gender as a variable in the real world and watch how it affects a person’s
Until now. Trans people are bringing entirely new ways of approaching the
discussion. Because trans people are now staying in the same careers (and
sometimes the very same jobs) after they change genders, they are uniquely
qualified to discuss the difference between how men and women experience the
workplace. Their experience is as close to the scientific method as we can
get: By isolating and manipulating gender as a variable and holding all
other variables—skill, career, personality, talent—constant, these
individuals reveal exactly the way one’s outward appearance of gender
affects day-to-day interactions. If we truly want to understand women at
work, we should listen carefully to trans men and trans women: They can tell
us more about gender in the workplace than just about anyone.
Ben Barres is a biologist at Stanford who lived and worked as Barbara Barres
until he was in his forties. For most of his career, he experienced bias,
but didn’t give much weight to it—seeing incidents
as discrete events. (When he solved a tough math problem, for example, a
professor said, “You must have had your boyfriend solve it.”) When he became
Ben, however, he immediately noticed a difference in his everyday
experience: “People who don't know I am transgendered treat me with much
more respect,” he says. He was more carefully listened to and his authority
less frequently questioned. He stopped being interrupted in meetings. At one
conference, another scientist said, "Ben gave a great seminar today—but
then his work is so much better than his sister's." (The scientist didn't
know Ben and Barbara were the same person.) “This is why women are not
breaking into academic jobs at any appreciable rate,” he
wrote in response to Larry Summers’s famous gaffe implying women were
less innately capable at the hard sciences. “Not childcare. Not family
responsibilities,” he says. “I have had the thought a million times: I am
taken more seriously”. . .
What happens when the opposite transformation takes place—when
a man becomes a woman? Joan Roughgarden is a biologist at Stanford who lived
and worked as Jonathan Roughgarden until her early fifties, and her
experience was almost the mirror image of Barres’s. In her words, “men are
assumed to be competent until proven otherwise, whereas a woman is assumed
to be incompetent until she proves otherwise.” In an interview, Roughgarden
also noted that if she questioned a mathematical idea, people assumed it was
because she didn’t understand it . . .
To truly understand trans people’s experiences of workplace gender bias,
more research is needed. But the window to do so may be closing, as people
are able to change genders at younger and younger ages. Puberty-inhibiting
medications are becoming more mainstream, meaning young trans people can
choose to suppress the development of secondary sexual characteristics from
a relatively early age. (The treatment became available in the U.S. in
2009.) A child who identifies with the opposite gender and seeks treatment
is now able to experience the world, for most of their life, as that gender
And the group of trans people who are vocal on the subject is already fairly
small; many seem to feel they have much larger issues facing them. When
asked how people react when she describes the different treatment she
receives as a woman, Roughgarden responds simply, “I don't bring it up.”
Ultimately, Schilt says, it’s not trans people’s responsibility fix gender
bias. Roughgarden agrees. “We're trying make a life,” she says. “We have to
live in our actual roles, we can't sit in a coffeehouse and complain about
how this is the world. This is the world and we have to live in it.
We have to navigate it.”"
[Ed. note: An important, must-read essay.]
WBUR Boston (posted 8-19): "How Transgender People Are Changing Their
Voices", by Martha
"BOSTON — Lorelei Erisis taps the screen of a borrowed iPhone. The key of A,
with kazoo-like resonance, fills her living room in Ayer, Mass.
Erisis taps another button labeled “start,” takes a deep breath, and sings
the word “he,” trying to match the tone. A number, 75 percent, pops onto the
screen. “My pitch was too low,” Erisis says. “Oh well. Let me try again.”
Erisis, a transgender woman, is trying out
a mobile phone app that may be the first of its kind. Transgender men and
women who want to raise or lower the pitch of their voice can go through a
series of breathing and pitch exercises designed to help with what can be
the most difficult characteristic to change — their voice.
“What I often hear is, ‘I pass as a woman until I open my mouth,’ ” says
Kathe Perez, a speech language pathologist who designed the Eva app.
Erisis plays the tone again. This time, before she speaks, Erisis places two
fingers below her Adam’s apple and pushes up, just a touch, to physically
raise the pitch of her voice. Erisis, now 41, says she felt like a girl
growing up, but did not begin the physical transition from male to female
until she was 33. Just for fun, Erisis tries the pitch test with her
preferred pronoun. “She,” Erisis sings out. “Hey, 99 percent. It’s hilarious
that ‘she’ brought me to 99 percent.”
Erisis, who writes a column called “Ask
a Transwoman,” hears from many
transgender women, and some men, who say, “Voice can be a real liability.
There are definitely large parts of this country, even this state, where
it’s dangerous to be trans. It can be a matter of life or death.”
“Many of the people I work with will not go out in public because they have
to talk,” Perez adds. “Or they’ll go with people so that their wife or their
friend will order for them at a restaurant. They’re afraid to open their
mouths because the sound that comes out doesn’t match the person that’s
sitting at that table.”
There are lots of online programs. Some transgender men and women work
one-on-one with a coach. Perez says it takes six months to a year of daily
practice to permanently adjust one’s voice.
“It’s extremely difficult to override some of the early programming we have
in our brains about how we express ourselves,” she says. “So we retrain the
voice by retraining the brain. They go together.”"
8-26-14: PGN: "Tenika Watson’s memoirs published"
"A dream has come true for Tenika Watson. The 63-year-old transgender
woman’s memoirs were published earlier this month as an eBook on Amazon.com.
“It was a dream for me to get this book,” Watson said. “Since the 1990s,
I’ve wanted my story told. It’s finally come to life. I’m very proud of my
“My Life is No Accident” is a first-person account of Watson’s life from
childhood to the present day. The 177-page book was written by Jennifer
Daelyn, who conducted dozens of interviews with Watson over the course of
about a year.
“I’m very grateful to Jennifer,” Watson said. “She did a great job. It’s all
my words. But she pulled it together and created a very readable narrative.”
Working on her memoirs was cathartic, Watson noted. “It was very healing.
And I hope it can help heal somebody else.”
Watson said she believes everything in life happens for a reason, hence the
book’s title. “It’s also a play on words because of the accident I was
involved in with Teddy [Pendergrass]. I don’t want that incident to define
me. I survived it. I guess that’s the way it was meant to be.”"
8-25-14: Kaiser Health News: "With Coverage Through Obamacare,
Transgender Woman Opts For Surgery"
"Devin Payne had gone years without health insurance – having little need
and not much money to pay for it. Then Payne, who had a wife and four
children, realized she could no longer live as a man.
In her early 40s, she changed her name, began wearing long skirts and grew
out her sandy blond hair. And she started taking female hormones, which
caused her breasts to develop and the muscle mass on her 6-foot one-inch
frame to shrink.
The next step was gender reassignment surgery. For
that, Payne, who is now 44, said
she needed health coverage. “It is not a simple, easy, magical surgery,”
said Payne, a photographer who lives in Palm Springs. “Trying to do this
without insurance is a big risk. Things can go wrong … not having the money
to pay for it would be awful.”
Payne learned in the fall that she might qualify for subsidies through the
state’s new insurance marketplace, Covered California, because her income
fell under the limit of $46,000 a year. She eagerly signed up in March for a
Blue Shield plan for about $230 a month, and began making preparations for
the surgery that would change her life . . .
Among the less-talked-about implications of the
Affordable Care Act is the relief it is providing to many transgender
people, many of whom are low-income and who have struggled to obtain health
coverage. Getting jobs that offer insurance often has been difficult for
transgender people and the cost of purchasing plans on the private market
can be prohibitive.
Some have been denied policies altogether after being
diagnosed with “gender
identity disorder,” often considered a pre-existing condition.
Without insurance, many people were unable to afford the hormones, surgeries
and counseling needed to complete their transition. Nor would they have been
covered in the event of surgical complications, which can include
“We are still dependent on insurance and the medical community for us to be
able to live authentically,” said Aydin Kennedy, coordinator of the
transgender health program at St. John’s Well Child and Family Center in Los
Now, federal law prohibits health insurance companies from discriminating
against transgender people, and it bars insurers from denying coverage based
on pre-existing conditions. That makes it possible for more transgender
people to purchase private plans. And in states that expanded their Medicaid
programs, those with low incomes may get free coverage."
8-25-14: Washington Post: "The Pentagon can easily drop its ban on
transgender troops, study finds"
Defense Department repealed
its controversial “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy banning gay people from
openly serving in the military three years ago in September. Some
senior officers questioned the decision, fearing
it could cost lives, but Pentagon
officials said the repeal has not hurt military
readiness or cohesion.
Civil rights advocates, including some retired
military officers, are now pressing for another change. The armed forces
continue to enforce a ban on transgender military service, months after
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said in May
that he was open to a review that would lift it.
The results of a forthcoming study, which was provided to Checkpoint, found
that a repeal on transgender service could be lifted in a way that would not
be burdensome or exceedingly complex for the military. The Palm Center, a
think tank in San Francisco that promotes the study of lesbian, gay,
bisexual and transgender people in the military, says that there already are
15,500 transgender personnel in the U.S. military, but they are not allowed
to serve openly.
The center reached that figure by extrapolation based on surveys conducted
with veterans, said retired Army Maj. Gen. Gale S. Pollock, a former deputy
surgeon general of the Army, who helped lead the Palm Center commission
examining the issue. The commission included several other retired military
officers, including Army Brig. Gen. Clara Adams-Ender, who once led the
Army’s nurse corps, and Army Brig. Gen. Thomas A. Kolditz, who is now a
professor at Yale University.
“From a military officer perspective, we consider honor and integrity to be
just essential values,” Pollock said. “But how can we say that when we’re
asking these men and women to lie about who they are? That’s very comparable
to the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ piece. To me, it’s just wrong.”"
8-25-14: Huffington Post: "Mills College Changes Policy To Allow
Transgender Students To Enroll"
"For the first time in its 162 years as a school of higher education, one
all-women's college will become the first higher education, all-female
institution in America to consider an application from any individual who
self-identifies as a woman.
Mills College in California recently changed its admissions policy to allow
anyone who self-identifies as a woman to apply to the school.
This definition reportedly includes individuals whose gender identity
falls outside of the male/female binary and those not assigned female at
birth but who identify as women. Those assigned female at birth but who
transition to male while enrolled will also
not reportedly be asked to leave the university.
"Mills has the most open policy with regards to trans students," Skylar
Crownover, the university's next student body president,
told SFGate. "It's been the unwritten policy of Mills for a while now,
but to see it finally put down in words and to see it official is a great
According to Brian O'Rourke, vice president of enrollment and admissions at
Mills, three to five students out of every 1,000 enrolled
identify either as transgender or something other than the gender they
were assigned at birth.
Admission of individuals not assigned female at birth to all-female
universities has been an issue for some time, most notably surrounding the
high-profile case of Calliope Wong and Smith College. Wong
was rejected from Smith College because her government financial aid
forms identified her as male, and she ultimately did not receive admission
to the university. While Smith
has said they will continue to address the issue, the
university's policy currently states: "Smith expects that, to be
eligible for review, a student’s application and supporting documentation
(transcripts, recommendations, etc.) will reflect her status as a woman.""
8-21-14: New York Daily News: "Pennsylvania transgender teen commits
suicide by stepping in front of train"
"A suicide note left behind by a Pennsylvania transgender teen hints at
depression and being “a prisoner” of his body.
“My mirror reflects Jessica, my heart and mind say Riley,” wrote Riley
Moscatel, 17, on Tuesday just before he was killed by an oncoming Amtrak
train near Croyden. “You see me as the happiest person in school, I’m a
prisoner of my own body.”
Surveillance footage confirmed the suspicion that the Bucks County Technical
High School senior born as Jessica took his own life at about 1:30 p.m.
after fighting a private, but desperate struggle to identify as Riley.
The teen struggled with depression years before he decided to publicly
self-identify as Riley earlier this year. However,
in an interview with the Trentonian newspaper, his parents continued to
reference him as their daughter.
“She did a really good job of masking her depression in front of the people
that she loved,” his father, Rich Moscatel told the newspaper. “We’re still
kicking ourselves as to what was the straw that broke the camel’s back. She
was dealing with a lot of pressures.”
Riley had no problem adjusting from Jessica to Riley at his Fairless Hills
school where other transgender or gay students attended including his
friend, Kate Cimino, who described Riley as “everyone’s best friend.”
“Even though everyone showed support and called him Riley, it didn’t match
up to what he felt of himself,”
Cimino told the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Riley wanted to have breast surgery, but his mother, Kristine Moscatel, gave
him a binder to help flatten his chest even though she admits his transition
was hard to handle after having a daughter for 17 years.
“She’s my daughter. She’ll always be my daughter,” Moscatel told the
Trentonian. “We were trying to accept and never said, ‘No, you can’t be a
Riley had also been researching hormone treatments he could begin after his
18th birthday in December.
“If I could choose if I was born a girl or guy I would have chosen a guy,”
Riley wrote in another Instagram post describing his female-to-male
dysphoria. “Most female-to-males wouldn’t agree because (their) journey made
them stronger, but it really takes a toll on me.”"
8-19-14: Quartz (re India): "Delhi University is about to accept
transgender students—now comes the harder part" (more,
"Delhi University’s decision last week to
introduce the “third
gender” category in its post-graduate
degree application forms has been hailed as a progressive move towards
inclusion. But transgender students fear that the university is rushing
through with a measure whose implications it may not be prepared to handle.
The university has introduced a third gender option under the Other Backward
Classes category on application forms for post-graduate courses. This has
come four months after a Supreme Court judgement gave legal recognition to
transgender people and a month after the University Grants Commission asked
educational institutions to introduce a third gender option on application
But the decision has raised an array of questions that Delhi University has
not yet been able to answer. Will the staff of the university be sensitized,
for instance, to handle the admissions of transgender students smoothly? How
will it ensure the safety of these students since Delhi University no longer
has an inclusive sexual harassment policy? How will the university address
smaller, but vital, issues such as toilet and hostel facilities for them?
Activists are skeptical. “We have been a bit skeptical about the
university’s decision because often, such changes happen only on paper,”
says Aapurv Jain, the co-ordinator of Delhi University’s informal gender
studies group. “Transgenders constantly face a lot of harassment from other
students, teachers and college administration, so the university needs to
have a plan for their safety before opening up admissions to them” . . .
Getting a school education is itself a difficult achievement for most
transgenders, who often have no support from their families and live with
severe financial constraints. Many are forced to get college degrees through
online courses, and given the hostility towards sexual minorities in Indian
society, they end up facing huge problems finding employment, housing or
even healthcare. According to Jain of the Delhi University gender studies
group, transgenders often face greater social harassment than gay or lesbian
students in educational institutions.
“Our system is not accommodating of transgenders as a whole,” says Taksh.
“So offering us the opportunity to get just a post-graduate degree is like
trying to build a house without a foundation, or telling us to eat cake when
we have no bread.”
While DU officials reportedly claimed
that the third gender option was introduced only in post-graduate courses
because it was too late for under-graduate applications this year, Taksh and
other university members believe such a move should have been introduced at
the lower levels, and should be preceded by sensitivity training for all
The time is right. “If this move focuses just on getting a tick in the box
and not creating attitudinal change, then it won’t make much of a difference
to transgender students,” says Anjana Srivastava, an associate professor of
English and convener of the women’s development cell at Delhi University’s
Kamala Nehru College. However, even though Abha Habib admits the new project
could have been implemented better, she believes it is not too early to
introduce the third gender option in the university. “For transgenders to be
empowered and to raise their voices, they need to be in classrooms,”
8-19-14: Metro Weekly: "Labor Department protects transgender
employees of federal contractors"
"The Labor Department issued guidance Tuesday clarifying that discrimination
against the employees of federal contractors on the basis of transgender
status is considered discrimination based on sex under federal law.
published Tuesday, Director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance
Programs Patricia Shiu confirmed the
been issued “clarifying that sex discrimination extends to gender identity
and transgender status.”
The announcement comes more than two years after
the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) found in
Macy v. Holder
that “sex discrimination,” which is prohibited under federal law, includes
discrimination against transgender people. But in the years since that
ruling in April 2012, the Labor Department would not indicate whether it was
applying the decision to protect transgender employees of federal
contractors. At that time, Executive Order 11246 prohibited federal
contractors are prohibited from discrimination on the basis of of race,
color, religion, sex or national origin.
During a surprise visit to the White House press briefing in February, Labor
Secretary Perez said that the application of the EEOC ruling was still under
“That issue is under review in the aftermath of
decision. And I’ve asked my staff to expedite that review so that we can
bring that issue to conclusion at the Department of Labor,” Perez said,
adding that he hopes the review “will come to an end as soon as possible.”
In June, Perez went further,
making clear that guidance would be issued
to update “enforcement protocols and anti-discrimination guidance to clarify
that we provide the full protection of the federal non-discrimination laws
that we enforce to transgender individuals.”
That announcement came after the White House
June 16 that President Barack Obama would sign a long-sought executive order
prohibiting federal contractors. Executive Order 11246, which Obama amended
to include those LGBT protections, is enforced by the Office of Federal
Contract Compliance Programs.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, the guidance will both equip
employees of federal contractors experiencing discrimination with an
additional avenue to file a complaint outside of the EEOC process and put
employees on notice of existing nondiscrimination regulations.
“The Labor Department guidance issued today is a giant step toward ensuring
American workers are judged based on the work they do, and never because of
a fundamental aspect of who they are – like their gender identity,” said HRC
Legal Director Sarah Warbelow in a statement. “Transgender people face some
of the highest levels of discrimination in our community, particularly in
the workplace. And while explicit workplace protections are still needed at
all levels of government, transgender people who work for federal
contractors can now use this guidance as further protection from
discrimination on the job.”"
8-19-14: SFist: "First Transgender Officer Graduates From San
Francisco Police Academy [Video]"
"Last Friday, 33 recruits from the San Francisco Police Academy graduated
and became officers, but one represented a milestone for the city: Mikayla
Connell is the first transgender person in her class and any that came
KTVU captures in the above video, Connell gives a touching speech as the
elected president of her academy class, her voice breaking as she says "I
could not be more prouder of you." That night, she also received two awards
for academic achievement.
Connell, who started transitioning in 2001, first applied to be a police
officer in the early '90s, but ended up dropping out and joining the Army,
then going to law school."
There's literally been a sea change in the way, at least this state and
maybe the country, views LGBT people and transgender people." Connell says,
adding: "I got literally nothing but love and acceptance from my
Now Connell is 45, the oldest graduate in her class, and ready to be an
example in the transgender community.
"It means you can't screw up, because you can't ruin it for everyone coming
behind you," Connell says. "I know people...are going to be watching me. I
cannot let them down."
8-19-14: Huffington Post: "A Transgender Student Who Was Reportedly
Banned From Her School Receives Good News" (more,
"A transgender student who was reportedly
told she would not be allowed back at school because of her new gender
identity scored a victory Monday evening.
Rachel Pepe, 13, previously attended Thorne Middle
School in New Jersey as a male student.
However, when her mother told a school official she would be returning to
the classroom this year as Rachel, the school reportedly said she would not
be allowed back and that it would not find her an alternative school to
attend, according to New Jersey's Asbury Park Press.
"He was going to school last year as Brian," Angela Peters, Rachel's mother,
told the outlet, adding that her daughter had been suffering from
depression. "How can I send her back as Rachel? And I am not sending her
back as Brian because the depression will start again."
On Monday evening, however, the superintendent of
the school district, William O. George, said he would work with staff to
make sure Rachel could attend school in a safe environment. According to
Garden State Equality, George said Middletown Township Public Schools staff
would undergo lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender sensitivity training.
"We applaud Superintendent George for taking the right steps to affirm the
health and safety of students," GSE Executive Director Andrea Bowen said in
a statement. "This is a victory for transgender students everywhere. This
Middletown student and students like her are heroes for standing up for
their needs. We're excited that the community came together in dialogue to
bring this situation to a happy resolution."
George said he was not initially aware of the situation, but that he could
not disclose much information because of confidentiality laws.
"We as a district want to do everything we can as a district," George told
the Asbury Park Press. "Every child is different and their education and
social and emotional well being is my priority. We will work with them to
find the appropriate placement."
Rachel told the Asbury Park Press that she wanted to make her story public
so she could potentially help other struggling teens.
"There could be other kids scared out there, who live secretly at school and
go home and be themselves," she told the outlet. "If this helps one person,
I can be happy about that, too.""
8-17-14: ABC News: "‘Orange Is the New Black’ Star Laverne Cox’s One
Wish for America"
"Laverne Cox, star of the Netflix hit series
“Orange Is the New Black,” is breaking barriers for the transgender
community both on and off the screen. In an interview for
Week”, she shared her one wish for
America with ABC’s Byron Pitts.
“One thing I would wish for America…[are] spaces where we have real gender
freedom, where we…create spaces of gender self-determination, where we don’t
police people’s genders or we don’t tell people that they’re not supposed to
act a certain way,” Cox said.
Cox has spent her whole life dealing with discrimination and harassment.
Growing up in Mobile, Ala., she was constantly bullied for her gender
expression, she said.
“I was bullied and I internalized a lot of shame about who I was as a
child,” Cox said. “Bullied because I didn’t act the way someone assigned
male at birth was supposed to act. And so I was called sissy, I was called
the F-word. I was chased home from school practically every day. There was
always a kid or groups of kids who wanted to beat me up,” she said.
Overwhelmed by social persecution, she attempted suicide at an early age,
Cox said. “The suicide attempt happened when I was in sixth grade and I was
having all these feelings about other boys. And I didn’t want to live,” Cox
Hollywood blockbusters and hit TV series like “Orange Is the New Black” are
shining a new spotlight on transgender rights, starring characters like her
own that Cox says many in the trans community can relate to.
READ: Six Questions for Transgender Rights Advocate Mara Keisling.
“So many trans folks have said that they see themselves reflected in this
character,” Cox said. “Having your story told validates your experience.
It’s like, ‘I’m not alone anymore, and maybe I’ll be OK.
Cox has helped raise awareness and give voice to members of the trans
community, pushing forward this newest battle on the civil rights front.
“I’m really, really happy that I survived,” she said. “If I didn’t survive,
I wouldn’t be here today.”"
8-17-14: People: "Transgender Model Geena Rocero Reveals Why She
Shared Her Secret" (more,
"Long before her
TED talk made
headlines in March, model Geena Rocero agonized over what it would mean – to
her, to her bosses, to her career – if it came out that the gorgeous woman
modeling bikinis in fashion mags had started life as a boy.
"There was always that fear: What if people found
out? They'd think I'd duped them, and maybe I'd lose my regular clients. It
could ruin my career," Rocero tells
in its September issue. "I carried the paranoia with me every day."
Rocero, 30, explains that, being born a boy in the Philippines, where the
transgender community has a long history in the culture, she loved playing
with her Barbie dolls, sewed clothes for them, and, at age 8, tagged along
to a transgender beauty pageant.
"I always knew I felt something different," she says. In junior high, she
wore the boys' uniform of her Catholic school "but I'd have it altered to
make the waist tiny and the slacks fitted and a pocket like the girls had."
And while some in the streets hurled gay epithets at her, "I did not feel
gay," she says. "I just felt I was a girl."
With the support of her parents, Rocero, who relocated to San Francisco at
the age of 17 with her mother, underwent her "dream" of sex reassignment
surgery not long after settling in the U.S.
"It was like a rebirth. I never enjoyed having sex before, and all of a
sudden it felt good. I was much more in touch with my sensuality, and I went
crazy exploring it," she says.
But once she established herself as a successful model and had a couple of
relationships under her belt, the truth of her history – and having to edit
that history for anyone who got close to her – began to gnaw at her. When a
boyfriend asked if she'd ever been in the Girl Scouts, she answered by
saying she'd been in the Boy Scouts.
The tipping point came on the dawn of her 30th birthday. When her then
boyfriend asked her, "What does 30 mean to you?" Rocero says she decided
then and there, "I don't give a damn anymore. I'm ready to share my full
journey as a woman.""
8-13-14: Huffington Post: "Transmormon Sheds Light on Trans Members of
the LDS Church" (Video)
"Last summer production wrapped on a small project called
Transmormon, a 15-minute documentary focusing on the Haywards,
a Mormon family whose transgender child was pursuing sex reassignment
surgery. On the day that production wrapped last year, July 7, 2013, the
family boarded a plane to Thailand to complete the process of "Eddie"
Like much of America and other branches of Christianity, the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints has been reexamining its position on marriage,
gender roles, and sexual expression. It was only
last year that they changed their position on female missionaries,
allowing them to depart at an earlier age. But whatever may come of these
new considerations for today's religious teenagers and their families, the
world that Eri grew up in left no way to question her assigned sex, let
alone articulate her gender identity.
As the documentary points out, the Haywards were conservative Mormons who
were not sure how to respond to their child when she came to them, confused
that she felt like two people -- the boy she saw in the mirror and the girl
she knew herself to be. Eri's father, Ed Hayward, explains in the film, "She
came to me one time, when she was probably about 4 years old, crying and
saying that, 'Daddy, I want to be a girl.' And at the time I just thought
she was going through some kind of a phase."
"When it was explained to [me] that I was a boy, it was because God had made
me that way," Eri says in the film, adding that that "didn't make a really
great relationship, as a 5 year old, between me and God."
Caught in the tension between the LDS Church's teachings and her gender
identity, Eri created a fantasy world for herself. "For the longest time I
kind of had this fantasy that I'd escape to that a fairy godmother would
come and turn me into a girl and make everything better," she says.
On the outside, things seemed to have worked themselves out by her teens.
"Eddie" was ordained to the priesthood in her church and appointed as first
assistant to the bishop. At 16 "Eddie" -- identifying as a boy at this point
-- began dating a girl from the church. The family relaxed, believing that
things were getting better. "Eddie" was behaving less effeminately, but
inside she knew something didn't fit. Because she really was attracted to
boys, Eri felt she must be gay, so she came out to her community, trying to
sort out what this meant and what she had been feeling. One of the hardest
parts, she says, was watching her sister begin dating. "That was really
hard. I was like, 'Of course. I'm this ugly boy, and my sister is
this beautiful girl. That was a really difficult thing for me to
Eri eventually quit high school. "[B]eing at a Mormon private school, I
didn't graduate; I just stopped going when I came out [as gay]," she says.
The family decided to send her to Japan to stay with her grandparents in
hopes that a change of scenery might help. One day, Eri was watching
television when a panel on trans people came on. "My grandmother turned to
me and was like, 'Oh, this is all about you!'" she recalls . . . "
8-05-14: The Advocate: "Op-ed: An Open Letter to The New Yorker --When
The New Yorker took a look at the tension between transgender women and
radical feminists, one writer says the examination was unfair", by
You probably don’t remember me — I was the
transgender activist who briefly appeared toward the end of that
Michelle Goldberg article
you ran last week. You know, the one about the “dispute between radical
feminism and transgenderism.” I know, that topic sounds somewhat bizarre and
potentially fascinating — I’m sure you got lots of click-throughs on it! But
the thing is, it was a rather awful experience on my end, and I want to
share why with you.
For me, the story begins several months ago when
Goldberg contacted me about an article she was intending to write about
“tensions between trans activists and some radical feminists.” She wanted to
interview me for her piece, which makes sense for several reasons. I am a
trans woman who has written
the intersection of feminism and transgender activism. Some of that work
critiques strands of feminism that have historically been antagonistic
toward transgender people, and trans woman-exclusion policies (i.e., when
women’s spaces or organizations bar trans women from attending because we
were assigned a male sex at birth). As you can imagine, trans-exclusive
radical feminists (or TERFs, as they are often called*)—who believe that
transgender activism upholds the patriarchy and who deny and disrespect
trans people’s identities — are not especially fond of my work (to put it
quite mildly) . . ."
8-04-14: Autostraddle (posted 7/29): "The New Yorker’s Skewed History
of Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminism Ignores Actual Trans Women"
"Media coverage of transgender issues has
increased rapidly in the last few years as trans people have made larger and
louder pushes for relatively basic rights and recognition. Unfortunately, as
ground is gained in the fight for trans acceptance, the opposition to that
progress only grows more louder and more aggressive. This is visible in
Michelle Goldberg’s latest piece for
The New Yorker,
which investigates the conflict between trans-exclusionary radical feminists
and the transgender population. Sadly, what she presents is a disturbingly
one-sided view of the situation that relies on heavily anecdotal evidence,
uncited claims and debunked theories, and ignores the extended campaign of
harassment and attack that the the trans community has endured at the hands
of radical feminists.
Let’s start with the numbers. In the piece,
Goldberg mentions the names of 14 radical feminist activists (frequently
providing physical descriptions), and provides quotes from nine of them —
including two from books penned by radfems. In contrast, she mentions and
quotes a total of four trans women (zero from books), and two of them are
quoted to supporting the radical feminist position. The problem isn’t
necessarily that Goldberg appears to side with the radical feminist
viewpoint; that’s perfectly within her rights, and perfectly within
The New Yorker’s
right to print it. The real issue is that Ms Goldberg gives the impression
that she’s covering the conflict between the trans rights movement and
radical feminism — after all, the piece is subtitled “The dispute between
radical feminism and transgenderism” — but gives only passing lip service to
the transgender community’s side of this situation. In failing to provide a
semblance of balance to the voices in the piece, this account becomes
hopelessly skewed, and becomes little more than a radical feminist
propaganda piece . . . "
8-04-14: Bitch Magazine (posted 8/1): "TERF War: The New Yorker's
One-Sided Article Undermines Transgender Identity", by
"Reading Michelle Goldberg's recent
is a Woman? The Dispute Between Radical Feminism and Transgenderism” made
me feel sick.
The article is meant to paint a clear picture of a longstanding debate
within feminist groups about whether transgender women should be accepted as
women, profiling several feminists and exploring the history of current
discussions about the push to exclude transgender women from “women only”
spaces. But in the process, it paints trans identity as suspect, does
nothing to counter the hurtful misconception that trans women are either
"men" exercising entitled "male privilege" in deeming themselves female or
sexual fetishists acting out "erotic compulsions," and holds up authors
who've written book-length academic works delineating these ideas as noble,
While this may sound like speculative fiction set in a world where
trans-exclusionary radical feminist (TERF) theories have conquered queer and
gender studies communities, it's not. Instead, it's something more
disheartening: a one-sided profile that’s sympathetic to writers and
activists who've spent their careers working to marginalize and persecute
the already-oppressed transgender community.
Trans-exclusionary radical feminists posit that
transgender women can never be considered women. At their worst, they argue
that transgender women are malicious in their deceit, aiming to infiltrate
female-only spaces with the goal of harassing or raping other women. These
feminists who campaign against gender-neutral
bathrooms and support the exclusion of
transgender women from other women-only spaces.
In the article, it feels like Goldberg personally
has a low opinion of social justice activists—that’s the view presented in
her other recent article "Feminism’s
Toxic Twitter Wars." One of the biggest
problems in the New Yorker
piece is that Goldberg presents trans people's
self-definitions as opinions: "Trans women say that they are women because
they feel female—that, as some put it, they have women’s brains in men’s
bodies.” TERF’s views are presented the same way, following the previous
statement with this one, "Radical feminists reject the notion of a 'female
brain.' They believe that if women think and act differently from men it’s
because society forces them to, requiring them to be sexually attractive,
nurturing, and deferential."
Reading this passage, one might think TERFs and trans people have a
philosophical or semantic debate. Trans people's identities, for which they
and their allies are waging a worldwide human rights campaign to define as
legally legitimate—backed by decades of medical and psychological data—and
TERFs' hateful academic theories carry equal weight and import. If those two
sides were balanced in the piece, readers might walk away with a shoulder
shrug, “Who knows whether trans identity is legitimate or not?” The title of
the piece certainly encourages this confusion, making it a question as to
whether transgender women should be seen as women."
The New Yorker: "What Is a Woman? The dispute between radical feminism and
"On May 24th, a few dozen people gathered in a conference room at the
Central Library, a century-old Georgian Revival building in downtown
Portland, Oregon, for an event called Radfems Respond. The conference had
been convened by a group that wanted to defend two positions that have made
radical feminism anathema to much of the left.
First, the organizers hoped to refute charges that the desire to ban
prostitution implies hostility toward prostitutes. Then they were going to
try to explain why, at a time when transgender rights are ascendant, radical
feminists insist on regarding transgender women as men, who should not be
allowed to use women’s facilities, such as public rest rooms, or to
participate in events organized exclusively for women.
The dispute began more than forty years ago, at the height of the
second-wave feminist movement. In one early skirmish, in 1973, the West
Coast Lesbian Conference, in Los Angeles, furiously split over a scheduled
performance by the folksinger Beth Elliott, who is what was then called a
transsexual. Robin Morgan, the keynote speaker, said:
"I will not call a male “she”; thirty-two years of suffering in this
androcentric society, and of surviving, have earned me the title “woman”;
one walk down the street by a male transvestite, five minutes of his being
hassled (which he may enjoy), and then he dares, he dares to think he
understands our pain? No, in our mothers’ names and in our own, we must not
call him sister."
Such views are shared by few feminists now, but they still have a foothold
among some self-described radical feminists, who have found themselves in an
acrimonious battle with trans people and their allies. Trans women say that
they are women because they feel female—that, as some put it, they have
women’s brains in men’s bodies. Radical feminists reject the notion of a
“female brain.” They believe that if women think and act differently from
men it’s because society forces them to, requiring them to be sexually
attractive, nurturing, and deferential. In the words of Lierre Keith, a
speaker at Radfems Respond, femininity is “ritualized submission.” . . .
Yet, at the same time, the trans-rights movement is growing in power and
cachet: a recent Time cover featuring the actress Laverne Cox was headlined
“THE TRANSGENDER TIPPING POINT.” The very word “transgender,” which first
came into wide use in the nineteen-nineties, encompasses far more people
than the term “transsexual” did. It includes not just the small number of
people who seek gender-reassignment surgery—according to frequently cited
estimates, about one in thirty thousand men and one in a hundred thousand
women—but also those who take hormones, or who simply identify with the
opposite gender, or, in some cases, with both or with neither. (According to
the National Center survey, most trans women have taken female hormones, but
only about a quarter of them have had genital surgery.) The elasticity of
the term “transgender” has forced a rethinking of what sex and gender mean;
at least in progressive circles, what’s determinative isn’t people’s
chromosomes or their genitals or the way that they were brought up but how
they see themselves.
Having rejected this supposition, radical feminists now find themselves in a
position that few would have imagined when the conflict began: shunned as
reactionaries on the wrong side of a sexual-rights issue. It is, to them, a
baffling political inversion . . . "
[Ed: Old radfems never change; they just fade away.]
8-01-14: NBC4 Washington DC: "Transgender Girl Stabbed in Back on
Green Line Train, Suspect in Custody" (more,
"A transgender 15-year-old girl was stabbed in the back aboard a Metro train
Wednesday afternoon, D.C. police say. The attack at the Fort Totten station
on the green line going toward Branch Avenue was reported just after 4:30
The girl's friends told News4 the suspect, identified as 24-year-old
Reginald Anthony Klaiber, came up to the group inside the train and insulted
the victim's appearance, asking why she was wearing a wig and commenting on
what she was wearing.
According to documents, the victim repeatedly told Klaiber to leave her
alone, but he was persistent and asked her, "Are you a boy? Are you a boy?
... Why you be looking like a girl?
Document say that when the train stopped at Fort Totten station, both the
victim and Klaiber got up. That's when documents say Klaiber grabbed her
from behind in a bear hug and stabbed her in the back. Documents say one of
the victim's friends then sprayed Klaiber with pepper spray.
The victim and her two friends then ran off the train with Klaiber giving
chase, documents say, shouting, "I'm going to [stab you] again!" Klaiber was
apprehended shortly after and charged with assault with deadly weapon.
Metro Police say the charges include the possibility of enhanced penalties
for hate or bias motivation. If convicted, Klaiber could be subject to a
1.5-time enhancement under D.C. law. According to court records uncovered by
News4, Klaiber has a lengthy criminal history that includes previous charges
of assault and resisting arrest."
7-30-14: Rolling Stone: "The Transgender Crucible As a homeless trans
teen, CeCe McDonald suffered a lifetime of hardships. But when she was
charged with murder for simply defending herself, she became a folk hero"
". . . Touching her cheek, CeCe felt a shock of pain as her finger entered
the open wound where Flaherty's glass had punctured her salivary gland.
Purse still over her shoulder, CeCe fast-walked from the scene. She'd made
it more than a half-block away when she heard her friends calling, "Watch
CeCe whirled around to see Schmitz heading toward her: walking, then
running, his face a twist of wild, unrestrained hatred. CeCe felt terror
burst out from that remote place where she normally locked it away. She
didn't know that Schmitz's veins were pounding with cocaine and meth. She
didn't know of his lengthy rap sheet, including convictions for assault. Nor
did she know that under Schmitz's shirt, inked across his solar plexus, was
a four-inch swastika tattoo. All CeCe needed to see was the look on his face
to know her worst fears were coming true: Her young life was about to end as
a grim statistic, the victim of a hate crime.
"Come here, bitch!" Schmitz roared as he closed in. CeCe pedaled backward,
blood dripping from her slashed face.
"Didn't y'all get enough?" CeCe asked, defiant and afraid, while her hand
fished into her large handbag for anything to protect herself. Her fingers
closed on a pair of black-handled fabric scissors she used for school. She
held them up high as a warning, their five-inch blades glinting in the
parking-lot floodlights. Schmitz stopped an arm's length away, raising
clenched fists and shuffling his feet in a boxing stance. His eyes were
terrible with rage.
"Bitch, you gonna stab me?" he shouted. They squared off for a tense moment:
the furious white guy, amped up on meth, Nazi tattoo across his belly; the
terrified black trans woman with a cartoon pony on her T-shirt; the scissors
between them. CeCe saw Schmitz lunge toward her and braced herself for
impact. Their bodies collided, then separated. He was still looking at her.
"Bitch – you stabbed me!"
"Yes, I did," CeCe announced, even as she wondered if that could possibly be
true; in the adrenaline of the moment, she'd felt nothing. Scanning Schmitz
over, she saw no sign of injury – though in fact he'd sustained a wound so
grisly that CeCe would later recall to police that the button-down shirt
Schmitz wore that night was not white but "mainly red. Like one of them
Hawaiian shirts." CeCe waited until he turned to rejoin his crowd. Then she
and Thomas ran arm in arm down the block toward the nearly empty Cub Foods
parking lot, where they waited for police to arrive . . .
[Ed: A powerful in-depth report that says it all.]
7-27-14: Queerty: "Federal Government Grants Christian Colleges Right
To Expel Transgender Students"
"You can’t say that Christian Colleges aren’t
keeping up with the times. Now they’ve discovered transgender people.
As a target of discrimination,
Two conservative Christian colleges have been
granted an exemption to federal education regulations on religious grounds.
The regulation, Title IX, provides nondiscrimination protections that the
Department of Education
recently determined apply to transgender students.
Needless to say, two colleges have stepped forward to say that they don’t
want to offer those protections because they want to kick transgender
students out of their schools.
The colleges, Spring Arbor University in Michigan and Simpson University in
California, argue that they should be able to expel students at will because
the Bible tells them so.
“The university has deeply held religious beliefs, based upon Biblical
principles and the Book of Discipline, which do not allow for any sexuality,
other than heterosexuality,” Spring Arbor wrote in its request to the
Department of Education. “The university also believes, based upon Biblical
principles, that a person cannot change their birth gender.” Spring Arbor
also sought–and was granted–the right to expel lesbian and gay students.
Simpson was equally unapologetic about this request. “[S]exual practices
that are divorced from loving, conventional relationships between men and
women pervert God’s intentions and result in sinful behavior that ruptures
relationships between men and women, and erodes the relationship between
human beings and their creator.”
The Department of Education said that it had no choice but to grant the
exceptions, which are readily available on the basis of religious grounds."
7-26-14: The Oregonian: "Families of transgender children find the path of
"Three-year-old N.H. didn’t understand why his teachers stopped him from
walking into his preschool’s bathroom with green walls with fire trucks on
the wall. He liked it more than the pink girls bathroom. Plus, N.H. told
them he was a boy.
Yet, when his mom explained to the administrators of the Corvallis school,
where tuition cost more than $10,000 a year, they insisted the gender listed
on his birth certificate determined his bathroom. He was a girl, they said.
So his mom moved N.H. to a preschool that accepted N.H. for who he is. Now
5, N.H. is a transgender boy, which means he was assigned a gender at birth
based on his body that doesn’t match how he feels. “I’m a boy, and when
people call me a girl, I get mad and I stick my tongue out,” N.H. said. Then
The Corvallis family with a transgender son asked to use initials because
most people in the community know N.H. as a boy only, and they don’t want to
risk bullying if his peers find out . . .
Many people think that being transgender means that someone underwent sex
reassignment surgery, but that is an expensive step that not every
transgender person wants, nor can afford. In Corvallis and many places in
America, it’s difficult to be transgender. Many transgender kids face
extreme bullying from their peers and adults, or lose their families. N.H.’s
family, though, supports him completely.
“The way I see it is I have two kids and they need to be raised and taken
care of, and everything else is secondary,” his mom, A.H., said. They are
trying to bring together a community of families with transgender children
in the Corvallis area to feel less alone."
7-24-14: Huffington Post: "Super Model Andreja Pejic Comes Out As
Pejic, formerly known as Andrej Pejic,
has come out as transgender.
A statement emailed to The Huffington Post by
Pejic "will only be modeling women's clothing going forward and has received
support from her agency, friends and family."
Pejic, who previously made waves in the fashion
industry with her androgynous look and has been featured on the covers of
Elle and French Vogue, among other publications, and
has walked in
both men's and women's fashion shows,
said in a statement,
"To all trans youth out there, I would like to say respect yourself and be
proud of who you are. All human beings deserve equal treatment no matter
their gender identity or sexuality. To be perceived as what you say you are
is a basic human right."
"I figured out who I was very early on—actually, at the age of 13, with the
help of the Internet—so I knew that a transition, becoming a woman, was
always something I needed to do. But it wasn’t possible at the time, and I
put it off, and androgyny became a way of expressing my femininity without
having to explain myself to people too much."
On her decision to change her name by adding an
"a" to the end of it, Pejic noted, "it’s
not a full transformation —it’s just an
evolution." She added, "...Andrej is a Christian Orthodox name, and in that
religion, it’s definitely a male name. So I kept the 'j' and added an 'a,'
which actually becomes a name that I don’t think exists. But I wanted to
keep the 'j' because that’s me. That’s my name."
For the full interview with Style.com,
7-24-14: Huffington Post: "Janet Mock Named Contributing Editor At
"What a week for some of our favorite
New York Times bestselling author Janet Mock
received a big honor this week
when Marie Claire named the writer as a contributing editor to their
publication. The transgender inspiration
will reportedly contribute
to both print and online articles for Marie Claire, as well as serving as
the brand ambassador.
Marie Claire Editor-in-Chief Anne Fulenwider
spoke highly of Mock
and her work:
“Janet is an incredibly smart and articulate writer. Her ideas about
identity, youth culture, and society’s changing norms about beauty
illuminate the ever-evolving definition of the modern woman. I look forward
to adding her unique point of view to our pages.”
first shared her story
about growing up as a transgender woman through a seminal article in Marie
Claire in 2011. A number of Mock's fans and supporters took to Twitter to
congratulate the writer on this most recent achievement and applaud the
7-23-14: Los Angeles Times: "Editorial: It's time to end the ban
against transgender soldiers"
"What does transgenderism have in common with drug
abuse and schizophrenia? According to the Department of Defense, they are
all reasons to bar people from military service.
The repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" may have
ended the ban on openly gay and lesbian troops, but a ban remains in place
for an estimated 15,000 transgender troops, who must serve in secret or not
at all. This groundless policy not only weakens the military, it stigmatizes
transgenderism and deprives military personnel and veterans of the
transgender-specific healthcare they need — even as other federal programs
such as Medicare have lifted similar restrictions.
Military regulations have lagged behind on issues of civil rights for
centuries. Commanding officers use the same reasoning to ban transgender
troops that they previously did to ban female and gay troops: They're not
fit for battle. It will harm unit cohesion. Yet time and again, these
assertions have proved to be unfounded.
The Palm Center, a think tank at San Francisco State University that focuses
on LGBT issues in the military, put these archaic notions to rest earlier
this year in a study co-chaired by former Surgeon Gen. Joycelyn Elders and
Rear Adm. Alan M. Steinman, MD. The report declared that "there is no
compelling medical rationale to exclude transgender people from military
service, and eliminating the ban would enable commanders to better care for
their troops." Retired Brig. Gen. Thomas A. Kolditz, who served on the
commission, predicted that ending the ban would reduce harassment, assaults
If the military is unswayed by the research,
perhaps it should consider the story of
For 20 years, Beck served in the Navy SEALs, seeing 13 deployments, most of
them in combat, and earning an impressive slate of military awards and
decorations, including a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. In 2013, Beck came
out as a trans woman after years of hiding her true identity. "No one ever
met the real me," she told CNN's Anderson Cooper later that year.
In May, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel told ABC
News that he was open to reviewing the transgender ban, and President Obama
signed an executive order on Monday that includes formal protection of
transgender federal employees from discrimination at work.
When it comes to issues of civil rights, Obama,
like most politicians, has allowed public opinion to dictate his actions.
Progress has been made, but at an infuriatingly slow pace. If this president
hopes to be remembered for advancing equality, he won't wait any longer on
this issue. The military is not only America's largest employer, it's an
important face we present to the world — and no place for discrimination."
7-23-14: Huffington Post: "Comic Con San Diego To Hold Panel On
"Well done, Comic Con!
At this year's popular comic book convention in
San Diego, organizers have orchestrated a panel focusing specifically on
transgender issues. Called “Breaking Barriers: Transgender Trends in Popular
Culture," this panel is
reportedly the first of its kind
as it will consist solely of panelists that identify as transgender.
The panel is organized by Prism Comic's Tara
Madison Avery and
will reportedly analyze
the appearances and representations of trans characters and include open
discussion about the complexity and depth added by featuring the transgender
experience in comic books.
“In recent years, Transgender creators have gained
visibility in comics, movies, and television after long being consigned to
the Comic Con program reads.
"From coming out and transition to navigating gender politics in a world
still struggling to understand, cartoonists, writers, and filmmakers are
investing their work with unique personal experiences as their characters
learn to live and love in new and unexpected ways.”
Comic Con is
also slated to feature four additional panels
on comics and issues affect the lesbian, gay, bisexual (LGBT) community.
“Breaking Barriers: Transgender Trends in Popular Culture" will take place
at the San Diego Comic Con on Thursday, July 24 at 5:00 p.m."
7-23-14: Daily Nation (Kenya): "Court allows transgender activists to
register lobby group" (more)
"A group seeking to have their transgender status recognised in Kenya has
won a major legal battle. This is after a high court judge ordered the
Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) coordination board to register an
advocacy group for transgender people in a landmark ruling likely to open a
Pandora’s box of gender discrimination lawsuits.
Justice George Odunga criticised the board for declining to recognise the
Transgender Education and Advocacy (TEA), whose members had sued for
discrimination and violation of their fundamental human rights. Justice
Odunga said the board’s refusal to register the group amounted to a failure
in discharging statutory functions and mandate and “was unfair,
unreasonable, unjustified and in breach of rules of natural justice.”
He also ordered the board to compensate Ms Audrey Mbugua, Ms Maureen Muia
and Ms Annet Jennifer the cost of the three-year litigation. The judge said
the Constitution upheld the individuals' rights to assembly and cannot be
deterred on grounds of gender orientation.
The board had argued that it could not recognise the group's members since
the names they had submitted for registration were not the ones reflecting
their gender. However, the judge said there was evidence that Ms Mbugua and
her colleagues had indeed changed their names through a deed poll they
annexed in the suit papers.
The judge said the premise of gender cannot be used to deny registration. “A
public authority cannot be allowed to get away with discriminatory actions
that deny persons their rights of assembly which is a clear abuse of the
power bestowed on such an authority,” the judge added. He said the reasons
advanced for refusing to register the advocacy group had no legal basis and
Ms Audrey, formerly Andrew Ithibu Mbugua, has been battling for recognition
as a transsexual. She has a separate pending case in which she wants the
Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) to change the gender designation
in her certificates on the grounds that the male identity has rendered her
7-23-14: CTV (Canada): "11-year-old transgender girl ‘not done yet’
after changing birth certificate"
"An 11-year-old Vancouver Island girl was among the first 30 Britsh
Columbians to take advantage of a new law that allows transgender people to
change the sex listed on their birth certificates without having surgery.
According to her, she was the first person in line after the bill passed.
“I was probably the youngest,” Harriette Cunningham told CTV News. “I know I
was the first.”
The Comox resident said she’s always known she was a girl, despite being
labeled “male” on her original birth certificate. The new document is the
latest success in a campaign to get legal recognition for her gender that
began when she was 8 or 9, she said.
It just made me so mad and made me almost frustrated to know that I’m a girl
and then I look on my passport and it says that I’m a boy,” Cunningham said.
Some children who don’t conform to gender norms can be persuaded to stay
quiet about it in official situations like border crossings, Cunningham’s
father Colin told CTV News. That was never an option with Harriette, who’s
expecting a new passport soon to match her new birth certificate.
“For her, it was a matter of principle, where she wasn’t being acknowledged
for who she really was,” Colin Cunningham said.
The younger Cunningham has always been very sure of her gender identity, her
father said. It was up to her parents to educate themselves and support her
in her transition. It was a steep learning curve.
“We didn’t even know there were transgender youth,” Colin Cunningham said.
“Once she started down that path, it was really obvious. It was really
obvious that this is exactly who she is. It was us that had to catch up.”"
7-22-14: Baltimore Sun: "Maryland shifts insurance policy to cover
transition-related care of transgender employees"
"In a reversal of state healthcare policy,
Maryland can now access gender reassignment surgery, hormone therapy and
other transition-related care under their state-provided health insurance
The change quietly went into effect at the start of this month as the result
of legal negotiations in a discrimination case brought against the state by
The state agreed amid those negotiations to
reimburse Holobaugh's transition-related medical costs to date and apply the
new standard to all of its
health plans, rather than fight Holobaugh's claim in court.
"This is basically a fabulous shift in policy," Holobaugh said in an
The change makes Maryland the third state, after Oregon and California, to
offer such coverage to its employees, according to Holobaugh's attorneys at
Free State Legal, a nonprofit organization that represents lesbian, gay,
bisexual and transgender clients in Maryland. . .
Holobaugh's case began in November 2012, when Holobaugh paid nearly $4,500
out of pocket for a bilateral mastectomy as part of his transition, then
said he was denied reimbursement for the surgery by provider CareFirst
BlueCross BlueShield based on coverage restrictions under his state-provided
Holobaugh appealed the decision with the Maryland
Insurance Administration and the Maryland Attorney General's Office, he
said. As the case dragged on, he also
representation with Free State Legal.
Attorneys filed additional complaints on Holobaugh's behalf with the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission and the Maryland Commission on Civil
Rights, and soon after began out-of-court negotiations to settle the case
with officials in the state's Department of Budget & Management, which
oversees state employee compensation and benefits, including health
The change strips language explicitly banning coverage for such procedures
and care under state employee plans and replaces it with language adopted
from the World Professional Association for Transgender Health outlining a
broad array of transition-related care that employee plans will now cover."
7-21-14: MSNBC: "Obama signs historic order on LGBT equality" (more)
years after promising to do so,
President Barack Obama added his signature on Monday to an executive order
barring LGBT discrimination by federal contractors. He also went further and
formally amended a separate executive order to include workplace protections
for transgender employees of the U.S. government.
“I know I’m a little late,” said Obama, referring to the near-30 minute
delay of Monday’s signing ceremony (though some might argue that it was a
delay of six years and 30 minutes). “Many of you have worked for a long time
to see this day come.”
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe — a Democrat
first order of business after his inauguration
was to sign an executive order prohibiting discrimination on the basis of
sexual orientation or gender identity in the state government — Deputy
Secretary of Labor Chris Lu, and a number of LGBT workplace equality
advocates joined the president for the announcement. Obama declared that, as
of Monday, the federal government would “become just a little bit fairer.”
“For more than two centuries we have strived, often at great cost, to form a
more perfect union,” said Obama. “Many of us are only here because others
fought to secure rights and opportunities for us. We’ve got a responsibility
to do the same for future generations.”
Though the order won’t protect all LGBT employees,
it will apply to approximately 20% of the national workforce, which is the
percentage employed by federal contractors
legally bound to comply with the order. To cover the remaining 80%, the
president urged Congress to act on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act
(ENDA). If passed, the law would bar any employer from firing, refusing to
hire, or otherwise discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or
gender identity. A version of ENDA was first proposed on the House floor in
1974 . . .
The latest version of ENDA passed the U.S. Senate
last year, but failed to go anywhere in the Republican-controlled House.
After the U.S. Supreme Court issued a controversial ruling allowing
companies like Hobby Lobby, a craft store chain owned by evangelical
Christian family, to be exempt from contraception-related provisions under
the Affordable Care Act, LGBT advocates
walked away from ENDA
in its current form because the bill contained a
broad religious exemption.
Last week, the White House announced that Monday’s
would not include a similar exemption
despite pressure from high-profile faith leaders — some of whom are Obama’s
allies — to create one for religious organizations in business with the U.S.
government. Whatever their religious beliefs, all federal contractors will
be prohibited from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or
7-21-14: GID Reform: "Gender Troubles: What’s Wrong With the WHO
Proposal for Gender Incongruence in Childhood", guest post by Dr.
Breaking, on the GID Reform Advocates Blog-- "Gender Troubles: What’s Wrong
With the WHO Proposal for Gender Incongruence in Childhood" A Guest Post by
Sam Winter, Ph.D., Faculty of Education, University of Hong Kong . . .
previously a member of the World Health Organization (WHO) Working Group on
Sexual Disorders and Sexual Health.
"I believe that the proposed [Gender Incongruence of Childhood] diagnosis
[proposed for the ICD-11] pathologises patterns of development that should
not be pathologised, that the diagnosis is inconsistent with the approach
the [WHO] Working Group proposes for other children and youth (including,
importantly, homosexual youth), that the pathologisation carries risks for
the gender-different child (and indeed for the broader work of the Working
Group), and that there are alternative ways of providing health care
services for gender-different children (plus their parents, teachers and
others) who may need such services...In short the argument is for
de-pathologising, rather than simply de-psychopathologising,
genderdifference in childhood." --Dr. Sam Winter"
7-21-14: GIWExposed: "Gender Identity Watch Exposed"
"For several months, a hate group called Gender Identity Watch has posted
pictures and images of transgender women who have spoken out against them
online, along with personal information including where those people work,
the names of any spouses, their geographical location, and other demographic
Without further ado, I am about to level the playing field. The original
GenderIdentityWatch.com website, does not have geotag information on its
posters, however, the Facebook group certainly did.
The locations listed below were garnered from PUBLICLY available geotagging
information on the GIW original Facebook page, and represent those who
re-published the GIW information repeatedly, and repeatedly left pro-GIW
thank you posts on the GIW page. This is not secret information, or private
information, the addresses were garnered from those using their own names
coupled with geotagging information from their respective public Facebook
The ringleader for GIW, is Cathy Brennan, who lives on Banks Odee Rd,
Newburg MD 20664. Another prominent member, is Linda Hudson, Lafayette Pl,
Lake St Louis MO 63387. There is also Nancy Leaman, who lives in an
apartment on Bradley Ave, Meriden CT 06451, Justin Allen Norwood, a 29 yr
old gay male from San Angelo TX, and two prominent members in Queensland,
Australia - the first being Cailey Quinn, who owns a company called Paradise
ShadeUmbrellas, in Robena QLD Australia, and Kerry Van Gemert, who operates
East Coast Home Loans in QLD Australia.
Within the transgender community, we also have
a contributor to GIW, named
who works as a tattoo artist in Montreal QC Canada.
Catherine is someone who made many claims on social media websites, such as
Facebook, that she was a transgender female, and yet was sending information
back to GIW's Cathy Brennan. Katherine later changed her story to being
intersex, and an "androgynous weirdo" who was somehow excluded from GIW's
hate and taken into their inner circle."
7-20-14: EurWeb: "Laverne Cox Educates Katie Couric On The Struggles
of Transgender People"
Couric may have wanted to “educate”
others who may not be familiar with transgender, but it was she who received
a first hand account of being transgender, courtesy of
According to salon.com, the “Orange
Is the New Black” star put a halt to
Couric’s focus on her and transgender model
genitalia by presenting an issue that more than hits close to home for her.
“I do feel there is a preoccupation with that. The preoccupation with
transition and surgery objectifies trans people. And then we don’t get to
really deal with the real lived experiences. The reality of trans people’s
lives is that so often we are targets of violence,” Cox told Couric. “We
experience discrimination disproportionately to the rest of the community.
Our unemployment rate is twice the national average; if you are a trans
person of color, that rate is four times the national average. The homicide
rate is highest among trans women. If we focus on transition, we don’t
actually get to talk about those things.” . . .
Before speaking to Cox, Couric referenced an earlier segment that had
Carrera deflecting her questions about surgery and trans bodies. “I don’t
want to talk about it, it’s really personal,” Carrera replied. After
relaying the common struggle among transgender people, Cox continued to
educate Couric while mentioning the recent murder of Islan Nettles, a
21-year-old trans woman, in addition to the rate of violence against trans
people in the United States.
“By focusing on bodies we don’t focus on the lived realities of that
oppression and that discrimination,” Cox stated. To see more of Katie
Couric’s interview with Laverne Cox and Carmen Carrera, check out the video
. . . "
7-17-14: Newsweek: "Science Magazine Puts Transgender Women on
Cover, Without Their Heads" (more,
the academic journal of the American Association for the Advancement of
Science, put an image of transgender women sex workers on their
cover this week,
an extensive special section
about HIV/AIDS prevention approaches. However, on the cover, the women’s heads
were cut out of the frame, leaving only their bodies.
Prosanta Chakrabarty, an evolutionary biologist at
Louisiana University, pointed out the problem: "When we said we wanted more
women in Science this is not what we meant . . ."
7-17-14: Slate: "Science Has a Gender Problem. Science Just Made It
of Science magazine’s special AIDS and HIV issue hit mailboxes on Wednesday: It
shows the legs and minidress-clad torsos of transgender sex workers in Jakarta.
The women have breasts but no heads. “Staying a step ahead of HIV/AIDS,” reads
the display text, a winking inch or so away from their stiletto heels. Though
transgender sex workers are a “key affected population” for the epidemic in
Indonesia, they are often overlooked by government health services, which is
ostensibly why Science chose to splash bits of their anatomy on its cover. If
transwomen get ignored, though, it’s in large part due to prejudice—and in that
respect the optics of the Science tableau do more harm than good.
blog explains this car wreck of noble intentions pretty well. “Instead of
showing viewers a humanizing glimpse into the lives of these women,” writes
A.V. Flox, the cover objectifies their bodies. It uses their bare legs as bait
to lure in male readers, and then reverses the readers’ expectations in a way
that’s supposed to be … funny? “Interesting
to consider how those gazey males will feel when they find out,” tweeted
Science editor Jim Austin gleefully.
Because transgender women with AIDS are great comedic
I the only one who finds moral indignation really boring?” he continued. If
only. Update, July 17, 2014: Science editor-in-chief Marcia McNutt has
expressed regret about the image on the magazine's July 11 cover. "From us at
Science, we apologize to those offended by recent cover. Intent was to
highlight solutions to HIV, and it badly missed the mark," she
But sexist and homophobic (and racist) exploitation just
kicks off the July 11 issue’s offenses. As Flox also points out, the cropping
commits a metaphorical decapitation. It takes apart the bodies of people who go
through life at terrifying risk of violence and murder. Transgender people are
28 percent more likely to experience physical brutality than those who are
gender normative. In that context, the choice to lop off their heads for
aesthetic effect—especially when the magazine
depicts human subjects without their faces—seems chillingly insensitive.
(Flox found that over 10 years of Science covers, only two featured
free-floating body parts, and they did so in a nonsexual manner.)
Pro tip: When you “raise awareness” about the plight of
an underserved group of people, the type of awareness you raise matters.
Transgender sex workers should not be expected to thank Science for “raising
awareness” of them as erotic objects, jokes, or disease vectors. The STEM
fields have a
reputation for exclusiveness, for ushering straight white men to the front
of the line, and this particular magazine’s treatment of its subjects—Typhoid
Marys who are also hot, and fake—is unlikely to challenge that perception.
Indeed, it’s only gathering steam. On Wednesday, Vox
reported on a paper in the journal PLOS ONE suggesting that sexual misbehavior
may be more prevalent on field sites than we thought. Roughly 71 percent of
female scientist respondents told researchers they had experienced harassment
or assault. This is not good publicity for a discipline that desperately wants
and needs to increase diversity. Transgender sex workers may have an image
problem, but so does science—and now, Science."
7-17-14: Vancouver Sun (Canada): "Daphne Bramham: Vancouver Catholic
schools first in Canada to have transgender policy -- Schools told to respect
the right of transgender children to choose the names they want to be
identified by, to wear the uniform that best fits their gender identification
and to have privacy in bathrooms"
"Tracey Wilson shyly concedes that some people might
think of her as a hero. Of course, she says, her brother says you can only be a
hero if you have super powers.
Super powers or not, the petite 11-year-old with
dreadlocks is the reason the Catholic Independent Schools of the Vancouver
Archdiocese are the first Catholic schools in Canada with a policy aimed at
accommodating and supporting students with gender dysphoria. "No other kids in
the world deserve anything like I've gone through ... I don't want anyone else
to feel that they don't belong," says Tracey.
Tears trickle down her face as she names the friends
whose parents no longer allow them to speak to her. This is because two years
ago, after lots of counselling and discussion, the little boy began living as a
"I believe my soul was mixed up and confused about which
body to go into and it accidentally went into my boy body instead of a girl
body," she says softly.
Living like a boy "kind of felt like being a vampire and
being stabbed in the heart all the time. I felt like my whole life was ending.
I felt like I wanted to cry all the time."
Many times, she stood crying outside the Catholic school
in her boy's uniform, imagining herself with long hair, wearing a flower
barrette and a girl's uniform.
At those times, Tracey says her friends were there for
support. "It was very good to have friends who loved me."
In kindergarten, a boy told Tracey that boys don't play
with dolls. "So, I thought I must be a girl, but that obviously wasn't the
case. And as I went on, I started noticing how I was becoming more like a
[Ed: Especially watch the very moving video interview
with Tracey and her mom.]
7-15-14: Huffington Post: "Debi Jackson, Mother Of Transgender Child,
Gives Moving Speech"
"My daughter is six years old. She transitioned, which
means she changed her outward appearance from male to female and started living
full time as her true gender, when she was four. Until that point she was quite
a rough and tumble little boy with a buzz cut and a shark tooth necklace."
And so begins the absolutely beautiful speech Debi
Jackson gave earlier this year about her transgender daughter, AJ, at the Unity
Temple on the Plaza in Kansas City. As Jackson continues, she outlines how her
family came to realize that AJ is transgender, what happened the first day she
went to school "in girl clothes" and the bigotry her family faced.
But the best part of the video may be when Jackson
addresses the comments she's heard about her daughter and sets the record
straight about statements like you "wanted a girl so you turned your child into
one" and "kids have no idea what they want or who they are -- my kids wants to
be a dog, should I let him?"
Spend six minutes and get to know Jackson and her family
a little better. You'll be happy you did."
7-03-14: The Advocate: "WATCH: Another Atlanta Trans Woman Brutally
Assaulted -- The attack marks the second anti-trans assault caught on tape in
Atlanta in just over a month"
Late Tuesday, video surfaced
of a transgender woman being assaulted in front of Stratosphere Skateboards, a
skate shop located in Atlanta's Little Five Points district. This attack comes
just one month after two Atlanta trans women were
brutally assaulted aboard a MARTA train.
The video, comprised of a series of short Vine videos,
shows the woman pacing in front of the shop, engaging in a verbal altercation
with a number of people. In the video's final moments, a man can be seen
throwing the woman to the ground and stomping on her head.
The GA Voice,
the Atlanta Police Department was not yet aware of this incident.
“I have checked with Zone 6 Command and searched
myself but cannot locate a reported dispute at that location,” Atlanta Police
Department employee Gregory Lyon told the Voice. “It’s quite possible the
person being attacked in the video did not report this to us.”
In a statement to the Voice, Georgia Equality executive
director Jeff Graham condemned the attacker, and urged the city of Atlanta to
make the protection of transgender individuals a priority.
“That’s another horrific attack against a transgender or
gender-variant person," Graham said. "I hope that the person who has been
attacked comes forward so that the police can fully investigate. It is also
time to address the overall violence that transgender people live with every
day through increased public education and enforcement of the policies that the
city of Atlanta has put in place."
7-03-14: Hollywood Life: "Hank Baskett’s Alleged Transgender Lover: How I
Became A Woman"
"After claiming that she had a tryst with Kendra
Wilkinson’s husband, Ava Sabrina London revealed on July 2 the grueling,
expensive process she went through to become the woman who caught Hank’s
Going from a boy named “Paul”
Sabrina London – the transexual who’s at
the center of Hank
Baskett‘s alleged cheating scandal — was
not easy. The transgender model opened up on July 2 and broke down the grueling
process, from deciding to become a woman to dropping a whopping $50,000 on a
shocking amount of surgeries.
“I always wished I was born a
girl,” Ava told
“Everything I did to my sister, I did to myself. I did her makeup, her hair,
styled her. I wished I was my sister. But I never thought I’d transition.”
After growing up as a boy named “Paul” in Modesto,
Calif., Ava finally decided, with some hesitation, to start undergoing hormone
therapy in 2011 as the first step to transition from a man to a woman. After
that, Ava racked up a shocking 18 surgeries to complete the transformation . .
Ava Sabrina London has been
thrust into the public eye after she alleged that
Hank Baskett cheated
on his wife, Kendra
Wilkinson, with her. According to Ava, her
relationship with Hank started as an online flirtation, but that eventually
they met in person, and he paid her for sexual acts.
Kendra is reeling
— she’s been spotted out without her wedding band — and her marriage with Hank
is definitely in doubt"
7-03-14: PRI (re Indonesia): "Transgender women find a safe place to
practice their faith in Indonesia"
"On a recent Sunday afternoon, a group of women lay out
books, mats and glasses of hot tea on a shady veranda. It’s time for Arabic
class at Pondok Pesantren Waria, an Islamic school in the Indonesian town of
It's one of more than 13,000 such schools — called
"pesantren" — in Indonesia. But here there's a key difference: the students are
all transgender women. They're mostly adults, who come after work on the
weekend for their religious study. They're known in Indonesia as "waria," a
term that mixes “wanita” and “pria," the Indonesian words for “woman” and
Bunda Yeti, a stout waria who’s been studying here for
several years, carries a small shelf of Arabic textbooks onto the veranda. Yeti
was raised as a boy, but she knew early on that she was really a girl. In high
school, she told friends and began wearing makeup.
It wasn’t an easy decision — Indonesians are relatively
tolerant when it comes to transgender women, but discrimination is still
widespread. Many waria struggle to get identity cards, which are required for
voting, and medical care can be hard to access.
Yeti also struggled with another problem: How, and
where, should she pray? In Indonesia’s mosques, men and women pray separately
and wear different religious garb. Bunda didn’t fit into either category.
“Normally I would have joined the men’s section," she
says, "but I was wearing a dress and makeup. And could I pray with the women?
Of course not.” She thought that people would stare at her and worried that her
presence would distract other worshippers from their own prayers. Eventually
she stopped going to the mosque altogether. She tried praying at home, but it
wasn’t the same.
“For major holidays I might go to the public square in
order to pray with other people," she says, "but I couldn’t do Friday prayers
at the mosque." Yeti felt she had fallen away from God.
Then, in 2008, a friend of hers opened Pondok Pesantren
Waria. It’s a small, informal setup — no grades, no graduation and only about
20 students. But, for the first time in years, Yeti felt she had a place to
practice her faith."
7-02-14: Rolling Stone: "4 Reasons President Obama's New Trans Rights
Policy Is a Big Deal -- By protecting transgender federal employees, the
president makes a powerful statement of equality" By Parker
Marie Molloy (more,
"At the White House Pride reception on June 30th, President Barack Obama
expressed his intent to issue an executive order that would extend
employment protections to federal employees on the basis of gender identity
– making it illegal for federal agencies to discriminate against transgender
and gender non-conforming individuals. This follows a 2009 executive order
that extended these same protections to employees on the basis of their
This is big news for trans individuals, both current and aspiring federal
employees. Here are four reasons why:
1. The new policy clarifies current case law, and continues to set precedent
. . .
2. It opens a wide range of job opportunities to a group plagued by high
unemployment . . .
3. It provides continued legitimacy to a group often brushed off as fringe
or abnormal . . .
4. It's the latest sign that the Obama administration truly has the
transgender community's best interests in mind . . .
In each of the past several years, President Obama has invited trans
activists and public figures to the White House as part of the annual Pride
In 2011, the Social Security Administration stopped issuing "no match"
letters to employers. These letters – which were sent out whenever an
employee's gender as filed with the SSA didn't match the gender as filed
with a company after bringing on a new employee – unwittingly outed trans
employees and flagged them as possible fraud or identity theft cases. Many
employers, not wanting to deal with the hassle, simply cut ties with these
trans new hires.
In 2010, the State Department removed surgical requirements for individuals
to update their passport information's gender marker; in 2012 and 2013, the
Social Security Administration and Veterans Administration followed suit,
respectively. Removing these requirements has helped numerous trans
individuals streamline their legal identification documents.
Earlier this year, the Department of Education issued a ruling that states
that Title IX of the Civil Rights Act protects trans students.
Without a doubt, Obama has shown himself to be an ally to the trans
community. With more than two years left in his term, it will be interesting
to see what other advances we'll see by 2016."
"Largest Study to Date: Transgender Hormone Treatment Safe"
hormone treatment of transgender adults leads to very few long-term side
effects, according to the authors of the largest study to date to examine this
More than 2000 patients from 15 US and European centers
participated in the retrospective study, called Comorbidity and Side Effects of
Cross-Sex Hormone Treatment in Transsexual Subjects, and nearly 1600 received
at least 1 year of follow-up, the authors reported.
"Our results are very reassuring," principal
investigator Henk Asscheman, MD, PhD, who heads HAJAP, his clinical research
company in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, told Medscape Medical News. "There are
mostly minor side effects and no new [adverse events] observed in this large
last week, where he presented the initial results of the research, Dr.
Asscheman said the data confirm findings from smaller studies published in the
take-home message," he said, "is that when using the
guidelines from the Endocrine Society
["Endocrine Treatment of Transsexual Persons"], you are not going to see a lot
of comorbidities with cross-sex hormone treatment."
7-01-14: KCET: "Changing
Birth Certificates Now Easier for Transgender People"
"Transgender Californians seeking changes to their name
and gender identities on birth certificates will no longer need to go through a
lengthy and exploitative legal process. Effective today, individuals seeking a
name change on a birth certificate are no longer required to publish their
reflected name in a local newspaper. Additionally, they will no longer be
required to attend a court hearing prior to authenticating the request. "These
new protections were created to improve the safety and privacy needs of
transgender people seeking to obtain accurate and consistent identity
documents," said Danny Kirchoff from the Transgender Law Center.
AB 1121, authored by Speaker
Toni G. Atkins in 2013, ensures that one's gender identity is
accurately represented on legal documents.
The bill was co-sponsored by the Transgender Law Center and Equality
California, and aims to make it easier for transgender people to seek changes
to properly reflect one's gender identity without going through so much red
tape . . .
The old process for making changes to birth certificates
involved the issuance of a court date and the payment of $435 for a gender or
name change. An individual seeking to change the gender or name on the birth
certificate would then be required to provide a physician's affidavit
documenting the individual's gender transition.Under the new provision,
however, individuals would no longer be required to go through court. The
individual would be responsible for sending the request to the State Registrar,
which would then verify information from a physician and grant the request
through a simplified administrative procedure.
"Under this change, an individual could simply apply
directly to the Office of Vital Records to change the gender/and/or name on a
birth certificate, supplying the required physician's affidavit to that office
instead of to the court," the bill's language notes.
AB 1121 has also worked to streamline the birth
certificate process while also protecting the rights of transgender people. It
will also eliminate the discriminatory requirement for having transgender
people publish and pay for their reflected name changes in media publications.
"A lot of our clients had major concerns about the safety issues of publishing
the name change in the newspaper. And especially in recent years, a lot of
publications have moved online and people's information about a person's old
and new name would come up on Google search, and it's often really private
information," noted Kirchoff from the Transgender Law Center.
"There's a lot of privacy and safety concerns that
people had, and also the cost. Changing your name is essential for people to
have to get to reflect name and gender," he added.
Another bill for transgender rights, AB 1577, or
the Respect After Death Act,
cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee last Thursday. If signed into law, it
will ensure that death certificates will reflect the deceased's correct gender
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