Trans News Updates:
Compiled and edited by
[Version of 4-12-15]
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
institutionized 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.
Sep, Oct, Nov,
Jul, Aug, Sep,
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 now inevitable as
medical professionals, public health professionals, gender counselors and
the media 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.
Key articles re the DSM and the pathologization of gender variance:
“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 Trans News Updates:
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."
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
2-05-15: 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"
1-09-15: 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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