LynnConway.com

Trans News Updates:

Compiled and edited by Lynn Conway

[Version of 10-14-14] 

  

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 [ ].

E-mail Lynn 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.

 

2014:   Jan,  Feb,  Mar,  Apr,  May,  Jun,  JulAug SepOct

  

2013:   Jan,  Feb,  Mar,  Apr,  May,  Jun,  JulAugSepOctNovDec

  

2012:   Jan,  Feb,  Mar,  AprMay,  Jun,  JulAugSepOctNovDec

 

2011:   Jan,  FebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

 

2010:   Jan,  FebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

 

2009:   JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNov Dec

 

2008:   JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

 

2007:   JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSep OctNov Dec

 

2006:   JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSep OctNov Dec

 

2005:      -       -       -      AprMayJunJulAugSep OctNovDec

  

 

SPECIAL ALERTS:

02-25-14:  GIDReform: "Methodological Questions in Childhood Gender Identity ‘Desistence’ Research", by Kelley Winters, Ph.D.

01-30-14:  Metro Weekly: "Maine Supreme Court rules transgender student cannot be denied bathroom access" (more, more, more, more)

01-14-14:  IEEE Institute: "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", by Dana Beyer

01-02-14:  Just Plain Sense: "Ten Years On", by Christine Burns

12-31-13:  Amazon.com: "Pressing Matters (Vol 1) [Kindle Edition]", by Christine Burns

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", by

08-28-13: 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 Dana Beyer

08-25-13:  The Gothamist: "[UPDATE] Transgender Woman Dies After Saturday Night Assault In Harlem"  (Islan's LinkedIn page)

08-25-13:  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'?"

(A must-see 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

08-17-13:  Facebook (India): "'Her name is Sowmya' - An angel gone", by Kalki Subramaniam [A must see video film for all.]

08-15-13:  Washington Post: "Conservative Christianity and the transgender question", by Russell D. Moore (more)

08-12-13:  Sacramento Bee: "Jerry Brown signs bill empowering transgender students" (more, more, more, AB-1266)

08-05-13:  The New Civil Rights Movement: "After DADT: Transgender Life In The United States Military . . ," by guest author Brynn Tannehill

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" (more)

07-14-13:  Huffington Post: "The Many Shades of 'Out'", by Lynn Conway

07-05-13:  GIDReform: "Response to Dr. Jack Drescher and the New York Times About Childhood Transition: Part 1", by Kelley Winters, Ph.D. (Part 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

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" (more)

06-13-13:  GID Reform : "GID Reform in the DSM-5 and ICD-11: a Status Update", by Kelley Winters, Ph.D  (more)

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 Identity Movement”

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

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

10-10-12:  The Phoenix:  "How Norman Spack transformed the way we treat transgender children"

10-04-12:  TS Roadmap: "Toronto schools list local trans-friendly resources, CAMH rightfully omitted", by Andrea James  (link to TDSB guidelines)

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)

08-20-12:  GID Reform Advocates: "The American Psychiatric Association Issues Historic Position Statements on Trans Issues", by Kelley Winters, Ph.D.

08-16-12:  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, more)

06-19-12:  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, Ph.D.

04-25-12:  Lynnconway.com: (re Netherlands): "Colette Berends [Oct. 13, 1934 - Apr 23, 2012]: Her life and her art", by Lynn Conway

04-23-12:  Metro weekly: "Transgender Breakthrough - EEOC ruling that gender-identity discrimination is covered by Title VII is a ''sea change" (more, more, more, more, more, PDF)

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.

02-19-12:  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"

02-13-12:  The New Statesman (UK): "The turning of the tide - The media's monstering of transgender people is finally being challenged"

11-02-11:  YouTube: "TransYouth Family Allies (TYFA) imaTYFA's Channel

10-26-11:  YouTube:  "Plaintiff 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 examined"

07-09-11:  TS Roadmap.com: "Academic pathologization of trasgender people" (a social map of the 'invisible college' of trans-pathologizers)

06-28-11:  Psychology & Sexuality: "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)

05-10-11:  Daily Northwestern: "Bailey's Human Sexuality class will NOT be offered next academic year" (more, more, more, more)

04-19-11:  In The Life Media: "Injustice at Every Turn (Video)"

04-18-11:  Huffington Post: "New Tool for Treating Transgender People"  (i.e., the UCSF Primary Care Protocol for Transgender Patient Care)

03-18-11:  "UK’s Channel 4 signs agreement to improve coverage of transgender issues" (more, more, more, more)

03-14-11:  TS Roadmap.com: "Close the CAMH Gender Identity Clinic"  (see news about dramatic developments in Quebec)

03-04-11:  Jezebel.com: Higher Education: Professor Fucksaw: "The Storied Past Of Northwestern’s Sex Professor”

03-03-11:  Chicago Tribune: "Northwestern president ‘troubled’ over live sex demonstration" (more, more, more, more)

02-15-11:  Medscape Medical News: "Addressing the Needs of Transgender Youth in Primary Care", by Laurie Barclay, MD (link 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

12-21-10:  Change.org Petition: "Remove Transgender from the DSM-5 "

10-15-10:  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"

 

 


 

Special Summary News Section:

[See the ongoing Trans News Updates further below]:

 

Ken Zucker's leading role in the pathologization of gender variance:

"Numbers count, even if psychiatrists can't!" Lynn Conway

 

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 Ken Zucker 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 Ray Blanchard's 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 strident spokesperson 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 to 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 exposes Zucker's trans-reparatism and his subsequent overreactions to criticisms of that exposure:

  

1. Zucker's trans-reparatism and his role in DSM revisions: 

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 2001 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 contrasting Zucker's decades-old reparatist methods to more modern treatment protocols.  A further exposé of Zucker's reparatist treatment 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 WPATH)

 

However, even though he was known to be a trans-reparatist, 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 the DSM, and trans people will likely be stigmatized for another decade as being mentally ill even after transition.  See the National 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 signatures (noticia en español). See also the petition protesting Ontario gov't support of Zucker's work. (more, more), and the petition in protest of Zucker's key role in a UK conference on adolescent transitions.

 

For background on needed DSM reforms see GIDReform.org and Kelley Winters' essays ( 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 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], "DSM: Diagnosing for Status and Money" (more, more, more).  See also Prof. Sam Winter's report on how the 'mental-illness' classification causes transphobia all around the world.

 

On Feb 6, 2009, Joelle Ruby Ryan (chair), 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 workshop at this link and we'll be posting videos there soon. See also the text of Joelle's presentation, “The Transgender Tipping Point: It is Not the Transperson Who is “Disordered” but the Society in which S/he Lives”, by Joelle Ruby Ryan [PDF], 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 Alice Dreger

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 Bailey, Blanchard, Lawrence (BBL). Zucker did this by announcing and pre-publishing Alice Dreger's 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 Ben Carey 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 flyer and 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 essay "Fair comment, foul play".  Videos of all the presentations are posted on YouTube.  See also the prestigious Point Foundation 's mention of Joelle's NWSA panel at this link and her upcoming IFGE workshop at this link.                                          

 

Julia Serano has published an exposé of Dreger 's effort to resurrect Bailey's disgraced career, and her book Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity 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 went one-controversy-too-far, by staging a live “fucksaw demonstration” in front of many of his students (more).  For an overview of the event and its implications, see Joelle Ruby Ryan’s essay “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 more enlightened 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].  See also Lynn's letter to the President of the APA re that Task Force, 9-05-08 [PDF], and this 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 falsely accusing Lynn of libel in a letter sent by CAMH attorney Peter Jacobsen to Lynn and to her university (more) - 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 by openly reporting the attempt to infringe her rights (En Español, 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 ("The 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 365Gay.com News 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 led to stinging indictments in 2009 of CAMH’s gender clinics and to well-reasoned 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 variance.

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 to TDSB guidelines)

 

6.  Key articles re the DSM and the pathologization of gender variance:

02-06-09:  “Disordered” No More: Challenging Transphobia in Psychology, Academia and Society", an IFGE 2009 workshop.

02-06-09:  Queerty: "Dr. Kenneth Zucker’s War on Transgenders"

02-10-09:  The Bilerico Report: "Surrender Dorothy: the Clarke Wags a Broomstick at the Trans-Community", by Kelley Winters, Ph.D.

04-27-09:  Facebook Group launched: "Close the CAMH Gender Identity Clinic" (reaches > 1000 members!)

04-29-09:  Documentary Video re the DSM Controversy

04-30-09:  "The War Within: CAMH battles notorious reputation of Zucker’s and Blanchard’s gender clinics with scathing report"

05-15-09:  "Reform GID Now: A Protest to demand the APA Reform Gender Identity Disorder"

05-15-09:  "Resolution by IFGE BOD to APA" (IFGE calls for DSM Reform)

05-16-09:  "Transsexualism will no longer be classified as a mental illness in France  (FR, DE, ES, NL, PT, SU)

05-19-09:  Psychiatric Times: "Gender Identity Disorder: Has Accepted Practice Caused Harm?"

05-20-09:  "GID Reform Now Protest At Annual APA Meeting - Speaker Madeline Deutch, M.D." (Links to Video)

05-23-09:  "Call to Action to Urge Trans-Affirming Position Statements by the APA"

05-30-09:  "We say, to the APA, stop sexualizing us!", by Julia Serano, Ph.D.

10-21-09:  Exposed by Andrea James: "$325,000+ in salaries for Zucker & Blanchard to pathologize trans people"

11-02-09:  Exposed by Andrea James: "What motivates Ray Blanchard’s oppression of sex and gender minorities?"

11-04-09:  GID Reform: "Update: Statement on Gender Identity Disorder and Transvestic Fetishism in the DSM-V"

11-11-09:  ENDAblog: "The Dredge Is At It Again"

11-20-09:  "A call for the removal of gender identity variance from the psychiatric diagnostic manuals," by Sam Winter, Ph.D.  (ES)

11-23-09:  Society for Humanistic Psychology: "Controversial issues for the future DSM-V", by Sarah Kamens

11-24-09: "Doctor Promotes Medical View of Transgenderism - Clinic founder decries labeling transgenderism as a psychological issue"

12-11-09:  New Scientist: "Psychiatry's civil war "; "Time's up for psychiatry's bible" (more)

01-07-10:  "Toronto: global epicenter for oppression of sex and gender minorities," by Andrea James

01-08-10:  "You will become mentally ill in 2013" by Andrea James

01-10-10:  "The Americanization of Mental Illness", by Ethan Watters

01-18-10:  "Essays expose CAMH’s despicable practices toward transgender people"

01-24-10:  "Academic pathologization of transgender people" (a graphical overview) by Andrea James

02-06-10:  "A Taxing Question of Medical Necessity" by Kelley Winters, Ph.D.

03-14-10:  "DSM5 Sexual Disorders Make No Sense", by Allen Frances, MD

04-08-10:  Professionals Concerned with Gender Diagnoses in the DSM: "Call to Action"

04-09-10:  Care2.com: "US - Hope and Hurt for Trans Americans in the APA's Proposed DSM Revisions"

05-25-10:  "Response of WPATH to the Proposed DSM 5 Criteria for Gender Incongruence"  (more)

06-11-10:  YouTube Video: "STP2012 March in Barcelona, Spain 2010 June 5", by Henry Hallint (more)

07-25-10:  TS Roadmap: "Ontario moves to end CAMH death grip on trans health services"

10-15-10:  GID Reform Advocates: "Ten Reasons Why the Transvestic Disorder Diagnosis in the DSM-5 Has Got to Go"

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

03-14-11:  TS Roadmap: "Close the CAMH Gender Identity Clinic"  (see news about dramatic developments in Quebec)

03-19-11:  Montreal Gazette (Canada): "The Debate over Diagnosis”, By Donna Nebenzahl

05-29-11:  GID Reform Advocates: “Transvestic Disorder, the Overlooked Anti-Trans Diagnosis in the DSM-5”

06-28-11:  Psychology & Sexuality: "Cisgenderism in psychology: pathologising and misgendering children from 1999 to 2008", by Ansara & Hegarty 

07-09-11:  TS Roadmap: "Academic pathologization of transgender people" (social map of the 'invisible college' of trans-pathologizers)

08025-11: TS Roadmap.com: "Kenneth Zucker’s cronyism and pathologizing ideologies about trans youth examined"

09-25-11:  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.]

02-19-12:  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.]

04-25-12:  IPG: "SPITZER, ZUCKER, AND REPARATIVE THERAPY: EX AND PRE-GAY", by Margie Nichols

05-11-12:  The New York Times: “Diagnosing the D.S.M.”, by Allen Francis

07-22-12:  Washington Post (AP): "Transgender advocates push US psychiatric establishment to revise mental illness labels"

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)

10-04-12:  TS Roadmap: "Toronto schools list local trans-friendly resources, CAMH rightfully omitted", by Andrea James  (link to TDSB guidelines)

10-10-12:  The Phoenix:  "How Norman Spack transformed the way we treat transgender children"

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

 


 

The Trans News Updates:

2014:

 

October 2014:

 

10-13-14:  New York Post (re Philippines): Marine detained in killing of transgender Filipino woman  (more, more, more, more)

"Military 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 a memo 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 fears.]

 

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, D.C.

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." . . .

Singer's 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 feminist icon . . . Serotsky's play, which at times feels like a take on Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, remakes this Yentl as authentically Anshel, strongly rooting the productoin as a queer statement in the manner of Singer. Jill Sobule, the composer, shares my interpretation. We stand in contrast to Ms. Napolin and Ms. Serotsky, who see this 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

"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.

Erika Ervin 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 series "Hemlock 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."

"American 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 Beth Sherouse

"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. transgender activist"

"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 or not.""

 

10-07-14:  Pink News (UK re Kenya): "Kenya: Transgender activist wins landmark case to change her name on academic certificates" (more, 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. Standard Media reports KNEC now has 45 days to comply with the request of the Kenyan High Court.

“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 social evil.”"

 

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 Burgos.

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 transgender individuals.

"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 love her.

"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 Leah Binkovitz

"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 king.

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 LGBT community.

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?”

The ad, 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 issue.

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 proposed participation 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 misleading, transphobic ad published in Minnesota's Star Tribune . . . "

 

10-03-14:  "Transgender couple married in Miss. criticized by AFA" (more, more)

"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," Fischer wrote 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 Transgender Law 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 work. 

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 issuing threats.

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 population.

“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 differentially vulnerable.”

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 horrifying account of a trans woman in Georgia being forced to share a holding cell with her rapist, who then assaulted her again in May 2012. "

 

 

September 2014:

 

9-30-14:  Ontario Human Rights Commission (Canada; first posted 4-08): "Backgrounder – Talking about gender identity and gender expression"

"Looking back . . . 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.[1] In 2000, the OHRC released its first Policy on discrimination and harassment because of gender identity, 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 involved in XY v. Ontario (Government and Consumer Services),[2] 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 et al, which dealt with how police services search transsexual detainees,[3] and in Hogan v. Ontario (Health and Long-Term Care) dealing with access to sex reassignment surgery services.[4]

Looking forward – 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 Policy on discrimination and harassment because of gender identity. 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 their Code 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 employers.

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 education activity.

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 Zucker and 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, more, more, more)

"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 gender.

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 year.

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 LGBTQs?

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 law?

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 focused.

“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 issue.

“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 Nature 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 science.

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 conversation."

 

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 male body"

"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 relationship.

'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 they are."

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 Texas"

"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 2.0005(b)(8). 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 transgender Texans."

 

9-16-14:  Huffington Post: "State of Emergency for Transgender Women of Color", by

"In 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 United States: Kandy Hall in Maryland, Zoraida Reyes in California, Yaz'min Shancez in Florida, Tiffany Edwards in Ohio, Mia Henderson in Maryland, an unnamed woman in Michigan, and, just recently Alejandra Leos 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 death.

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 Bree Wallace, two years after the fatal stabbing of Deoni Jones, 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 Islan Nettles was brutally attacked in 2013, and the month in which 24-year-old Tyra Hunter 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 both 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 professor of 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 transgender."

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 spearheading a campaign to move "gender incongruence" categories out of the Mental and Behavioural Disorders chapter and into a more respectful and less pathological place in version 11.

"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 do so.

"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," Bockting said.

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 States court."

 

9-10-14:  CBS News: "Transgender teens become happy, healthy young adults" (more)

"Treatment to delay puberty among adolescents struggling with gender identity 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 earlier with "gender dysphoria," 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 puberty, those 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 their peers, gender dysphoria 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.

Alejandra Leos 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 and friends 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 told reporters.

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 head here.

A fundraiser through the Gun Violence Survivors foundation is currently in progress in order to aid Leos' family with funeral costs. Head here to visit the campaign.

UPDATE: An arrest has since been made in this case. Head here for more information."

 

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, 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 born male.

"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 said.

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 typically female.

"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 now.

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 relatives:

". . . 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 transgender man"

"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 myself.

Here’s how to make the first move if you’re a trans guy."

 

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 cédula. “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 risks.”

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 Blog entry)

"In his remarks 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" (Video)

"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 student" (Video)

"Some parents with students at Old Town Elementary received a letter that 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.

The letter 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 Walker.

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: Equality Maine, Trans Youth Equality, Maine Transgender Network, GLAD"

 

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 heroine"

"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 in September.

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]

 

August 2014:

 

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, released another report 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 identity. 

"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 different 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 day-to-day experience. 

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 itseeing 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 todaybut 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 placewhen 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 alone. 

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.]

 

8-26-14:  WBUR Boston (posted 8-19): "How Transgender People Are Changing Their Voices", by Martha Bebinger

"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 Eva, 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 baby.”

“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 infections.

“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 Angeles.

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"

"The 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 step."

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 boy.’”

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, 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 forms.

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 staff members.

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,” says Habib"

 

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.

In a blog post published Tuesday, Director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Patricia Shiu confirmed the guidance had 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 review.

“That issue is under review in the aftermath of the Macy 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 indicated on 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 before her.

As 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 classmates."

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, 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 “This 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 said.

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, more, 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 Glamour magazine 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" becoming Eri.

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 deal with."

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 Julia Serano

"Dear New Yorker magazine,

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 two books about 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 Leela Ginelle

"Reading Michelle Goldberg's recent New Yorker article "What 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, aggrieved scholars.

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 are the 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."

 

8-04-14:  The New Yorker: "What Is a Woman? The dispute between radical feminism and transgenderism". By Michelle Goldberg

"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, 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 p.m.

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."

 

July 2014:

 

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 your back!"

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, of course.

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 acceptance"

"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 growled.

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 Transgender" (more, more)

"Super model Andreja Pejic, formerly known as Andrej Pejic, has come out as transgender.

A statement emailed to The Huffington Post by GLAAD notes, 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."

She also told Style.com, "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, head here."

 

7-24-14:  Huffington Post: "Janet Mock Named Contributing Editor At Marie Claire"

"What a week for some of our favorite transgender icons!

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.”

Mock 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 publication's decision."

 

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 and suicides.

If the military is unswayed by the research, perhaps it should consider the story of Kristin Beck. 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 Transgender Issues"

"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 shadows," 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 were unreasonable.

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 unemployable."

 

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, transgender state employees in Maryland can now access gender reassignment surgery, hormone therapy and other transition-related care under their state-provided health insurance plans.

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 Sailor.

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 employee health plans, rather than fight Holobaugh's claim in court.

"This is basically a fabulous shift in policy," Holobaugh said in an interview.

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 policy.

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 secured legal 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 coverage.

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)

"Six 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 whose 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 executive order 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 gender identity."

 

7-21-14:  GID Reform: "Gender Troubles: What’s Wrong With the WHO Proposal for Gender Incongruence in Childhood", guest post by Dr. Sam Winter

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 information.

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 pages. 

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 Katherine Middleton 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"

"Katie 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 Laverne Cox.

According to salon.com, the “Orange Is the New Black” star put a halt to Couric’s focus on her and transgender model Carmen Carrera’s 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, more, more)

"Science, 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, to accompany 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 Worse."

"The cover 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.

The Slantist sex 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 fodder! “Am 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 wrote in a tweet.

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 so rarely 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 girl.

"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 girl.""

[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.

According to 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 wandering eye.

Going from a boy named “Paul” to Ava 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 Radar Online. “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.

Now 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 Yogyakarta.

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 “man.” 

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, 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 sexual orientation.

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 reception.

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."

 

7-02-14:  Medscape: "Largest Study to Date: Transgender Hormone Treatment Safe"

"Cross-sex 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 issue.

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 population."

Speaking at ICE/ENDO 2014 last week, where he presented the initial results of the research, Dr. Asscheman said the data confirm findings from smaller studies published in the past decade.

"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 identity."

 

 


 

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