Trans News Updates:
Compiled and edited by
[Version of 11-06-14]
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 [ ].
to send links for listing. To browse the archive, click the relevant year/month
in the table below. You can conduct detailed searches of the archive, by using
the site-search-box at the top of the page.
Sep, Oct, Nov
Jul, Aug, Sep,
02-25-14: GIDReform: "Methodological
Questions in Childhood Gender Identity ‘Desistence’ Research",
Kelley Winters, Ph.D.
01-30-14: Metro Weekly: "Maine Supreme
Court rules transgender student cannot be denied bathroom access"
"Approved IEEE Code of Ethics − IEEE Board approves changes"
01-13-14: HRC: "The Institute of Electrical
and Electronic Engineers Adopts LGBT-Inclusive Code of Ethics"
01-13-14: Huffington Post (posted 1-08):
"Leadership and the Value of Exceptional Allies",
01-02-14: Just Plain Sense: "Ten Years On",
12-31-13: Amazon.com: "Pressing Matters (Vol 1) [Kindle Edition]",
09-07-13: Idolator (posted 9-03): "Goldfrapp’s
“Annabel” Video: Watch The Thoughtful Exploration In Gender Identity"
(more, more, more)
09-04-13: Huffington Post: "University of
Arizona Helps Transgender Studies Take a Bold Leap Forward",
IU News (Indiana University): "Kinsey
Institute receives grant to study transgender issues in the U.S. military"
08-28-13: Huffington Post: "LGBT Legal Progress:
1988 - 2038" by
08-25-13: The Gothamist: "[UPDATE] Transgender
Woman Dies After Saturday Night Assault In Harlem"
The Guardian (UK re US, posted 8-24): "High hopes: . . .Victims of FGM are
only offered surgery to reduce their pain. But a cult is supporting a few
surgeons as they attempt to restore sexual sensation"
08-23-13: PBS: "How Will the Military Handle
Bradley Manning's Request to Be 'Chelsea'?"
interview/discussion by Allyson Robinson on the issue of transgender people
in the military)
08-23-13: NBC News: "For transgender
prisoners, hormones seen as matter of life and death"
08-23-13: The Telegraph (UK re US): "Prison will
not be kind to Chelsea Manning" by
Cathy Newman, Channel 4 News
08-17-13: Facebook (India): "'Her name
is Sowmya' - An angel gone", by
[A must see video film for all.]
08-15-13: Washington Post: "Conservative
Christianity and the transgender question",
Russell D. Moore (more)
08-12-13: Sacramento Bee: "Jerry Brown
signs bill empowering transgender students"
08-05-13: The New Civil Rights Movement: "After
DADT: Transgender Life In The United States Military . . ," by guest author
07-31-13: The New York Times: "Editorial: The
Next Civil Rights Frontier", by
The NYT Editorial Board
07-23-13: Huffington Post: "Arin Andrews and
Katie Hill, Transgender Teenage Couple, Transition Together"
07-14-13: Huffington Post: "The Many
Shades of 'Out'", by Lynn Conway
GIDReform: "Response to Dr. Jack Drescher and the New York Times About
Childhood Transition: Part 1", by Kelley Winters, Ph.D.
06-26-13: ACLU: "VICTORY: DOMA
Unconstitutional! And Prop 8 Goes Down, Too!"
06-21-13: HRC: "CalPERS Makes History:
Board Approves Trans-Inclusive Health Coverage", by Andre Wilson
06-14-13: Think Progress: "VICTORY: Transgender
People Can Now Change Their Social Security Record’s Gender Identity"
06-13-13: GID Reform : "GID Reform in the DSM-5
and ICD-11: a Status Update", by Kelley Winters, Ph.D
04-11-13: Motherboard: "How the Psychiatrist Who Co-Wrote
the Manual on Sex Talks About Sex"
01-17-13: 4 News (UK): "Transsexual awareness
'at tipping point' - video"
01-14-13: LynnConway.com (posted 10:58am EST, re UK): "ALERT: The
Guardian removed Burchill's transphobic Observer article from its website!"
12-23-12: Catholic Online: “Pope
Benedict XVI Exposes the Profound Falsehood of the Philosophy of the Gender
12-07-12: GIDReform.org: "Gender Dysphoria
Diagnosis to be Moved Out of Sexual Disorders Chapter of DSM-5", by Kelley
10-20-12: STP 2012 Press Release:
"International Day of Action for Trans Depathologization 2012: More than 100
The Phoenix: "How Norman Spack transformed the way we treat
TS Roadmap: "Toronto schools list local trans-friendly
resources, CAMH rightfully omitted", by Andrea James
09-29-12: U. S. Politics Today: "L.A. Gay &
Lesbian Center Commends California Governor Jerry Brown for Signing SB 1172,
Protecting LGBT Youth" (link
to SB 1172)
GID Reform Advocates: "The American Psychiatric Association Issues Historic
Position Statements on Trans Issues", by Kelley Winters, Ph.D.
APA: "APA Issues Official Positions Supporting Access to Care and the Rights
of Transgender and Gender Variant Persons"
07-22-12: Washington Post (AP): "Transgender
advocates push US psychiatric establishment to revise mental illness labels"
07-10-12: The 519 (Toronto, Canada): "The 519
mourns the passing of Kyle Scanlon" (more,
GID Reform.org: "Third Swing: My Comments to the APA for a Less Harmful
Gender Dysphoria Category in the DSM-5", by
Kelley Winters, Ph.D.
05-08-12: GID Reform.org: “Final Public
Comment Period For Proposed DSM-5 Criteria Ends June 15”, by Kelley Winters,
04-25-12: Lynnconway.com: (re Netherlands):
"Colette Berends [Oct. 13, 1934 - Apr 23, 2012]: Her life and her art", by
04-23-12: Metro weekly: "Transgender
Breakthrough - EEOC ruling that gender-identity discrimination is covered by
Title VII is a ''sea change"
04-21-12: GID Reform.org: "These Aren’t
the Droids You’re Looking For: Gender Diversity, Scapegoating and Erasure in
Medicine and Media", by Kelley Winters, Ph.D.
Chicago Tribune: "A year after scandal, new sexuality class at NU Course
offered as introduction to gender studies"
(NU takes Bailey's course away from him and from the NU psychology
department, turning it over to a more responsible faculty member in NU's
gender studies program.)
02-17-12: Endocrine Today: "Pubertal blockade
safe for pediatric patients with gender identity disorder"
The New Statesman (UK): "The turning of the tide - The media's monstering of
transgender people is finally being challenged"
"TransYouth Family Allies (TYFA) imaTYFA's Channel
Nicole Maines' Remarks at GLAD's 2011 Spirit of Justice Award Dinner"
09-25-11: GID Reform.org: "New Standards of Care
for the Health of Transsexual, Transgender, and Gender Nonconforming People,
" (In the SOC7 WPATH denounces
trans-reparatism as being unethical.)
08-25-11: TS Roadmap.com:
"Kenneth Zucker’s cronyism and pathologizing ideologies about trans youth
07-09-11: TS Roadmap.com:
"Academic pathologization of trasgender people" (a social map of the
'invisible college' of trans-pathologizers)
"Cisgenderism in psychology: pathologising and misgendering children from
1999 to 2008", by Y. Gavriel Ansara & Peter Hegarty
05-26-11: GID Reform Advocates:“Transvestic
Disorder, the Overlooked Anti-Trans Diagnosis in the DSM-5,” by Kelley
Winters, Ph.D. (more)
05-20-11: The Bilerico Project: "Trans
Visibility Sparks Right-Wing Blogosphere Explosion," by:Austen Crowder
(a important, must-read essay)
Northwestern: "Bailey's Human Sexuality class will NOT be offered next
04-19-11: In The Life Media: "Injustice at Every
04-18-11: Huffington Post:
Tool for Treating Transgender People"
UCSF Primary Care Protocol for Transgender Patient
03-18-11: "UK’s Channel 4 signs agreement to
improve coverage of transgender issues" (more,
03-14-11: TS Roadmap.com: "Close the CAMH Gender
Identity Clinic" (see news about
developments in Quebec)
Jezebel.com: Higher Education: Professor Fucksaw: "The Storied Past Of
Northwestern’s Sex Professor”
Chicago Tribune: "Northwestern president ‘troubled’ over live sex
02-15-11: Medscape Medical News: "Addressing the Needs of Transgender
Youth in Primary Care", by Laurie Barclay, MD
to Journal article)
12-29-10: GJSS: "Transgender children: more than
a theoretical challenge", by Natacha Kennedy and Mark Hellen (more)
12-29-10: "My Encounter with
Prof K Zucker at the BPS conference in Salford", by Natacha Jessica Kennedy
Change.org Petition: "Remove Transgender from the DSM-5 "
GID Reform Advocates: "Ten Reasons Why the Transvestic
Disorder Diagnosis in the DSM-5 Has Got to Go"
07-25-10: TS Roadmap:
"Ontario moves to end CAMH death grip on trans health services"
Special Summary News
[See the ongoing Trans News Updates
Ken Zucker's leading role in the pathologization of gender variance:
count, even if psychiatrists can't!"
This special section contains compilations of news and information about the
pathologization of gender variance as mental illness by the psychiatric
community. We focus especially on
of CAMH in
Toronto, Canada, and his role in the revision of the
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).
Zucker is widely known for his
trans-reparatist therapy on gender variant children, and for
heavy-handed promotion of his colleague
transphobic pronouncements that ALL transitioned women are either
effeminate homosexual men or mentally-ill sexually paraphilic men.
As his role in DSM revision came under increasing criticism, Zucker and his
Alice Dreger launched many personal attacks on Zucker’s and Blanchard’s
transgender critics. This includes
the smearing of critics in the Archives of Sexual Behavior (the
journal Zucker controls), attempts to
stop critics from speaking at universities, the
smearing of critics on major professional association e-lists, attempts
prevent critics from holding sessions at conferences, launchings of
threats of libel against critics, and
attempts to shut down this very website - all the while
claiming that transgender critics were infringing upon the academic freedom
of an academic clique that was pathologizing gender variance. This section
Zucker's trans-reparatism and his subsequent overreactions to criticisms
of that exposure:
1. Zucker's trans-reparatism and his role in
In April 2007, this site began an exposure of
Zucker's trans-reparatism in a webpage entitled:
"Drop the Barbie: Ken Zucker's reparatist treatment of gender-variant
children", reflecting back on a
article that had broken the story and coordinating with
Andrea James who
posted a parallel exposé of Zucker's reparatism.
The following year National
Public Radio broadcast a heartbreaking documentary on May 8-9, 2008
decades-old reparatist methods to more
modern treatment protocols. A further exposé of
of gender-variant children, "But
For Today I Am A Boy" (Français),
was published in the Torontoist
(on May 9, 2008).
OII followed up by raising important questions
about Ontario's sponsorship of Zucker's work (see also
OII's Open Letter to
However, even though he was known to be a
Zucker was selected to lead the revision of the
American Psychiatric Association's
section on 'sexual and gender identity disorders' in the
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). With Zucker
thus empowered, there appears to be little chance for removal of GID from
trans people will likely be stigmatized for another decade as being mentally
ill even after transition. See
Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) press release protesting Zucker's DSM
selection. The huge scale of the protest was made even more visible in a
petition against Zucker's DSM selection that gained over 9,500
en español). See also
protesting Ontario gov't support of Zucker's work.
in protest of Zucker's key role in a
UK conference on adolescent transitions.
For background on needed DSM reforms
GIDReform.org and Kelley Winters' essays (
16 ), especially
"Blinded Me With
Science: The Burden of Proof".
See also "DSM ON THE BOOKSHELF", an
open letter to WPATH by clinician Tracie O'Keefe [PDF],
for Status and Money"
more). See also Prof. Sam Winter's report on how
'mental-illness' classification causes transphobia all around the world.
On Feb 6, 2009, Joelle Ruby Ryan
Julia Serano, and
Kelley Winters, Ph.D.
presented a workshop at IFGE 2009
entitled “Disordered” No More:
Challenging Transphobia in Psychology, Academia and Society"
[NEW], in response to the pathologization of gender variant people by
reactionary psychiatrists and sexologists. You'll find a report on the
at this link and we'll be
posting videos there soon. See also the text of Joelle's presentation,
Transgender Tipping Point: It is Not the Transperson Who is “Disordered” but
the Society in which S/he Lives”, by Joelle Ruby Ryan
and Kelley's presentation on
“Top Ten Problems with the GID
Diagnosis”, by Kelley Winters, Ph.D. [PDF]
For more on the pathologization of
transpeople by the DSM, see Kelley Winter's new book:
Gender Madness in American
Psychiatry, Essays from the Struggle for Dignity", by Kelley Winters,
Ph.D. [announcement PDF] .
2. Zucker's attacks on transgender
critics, with support from his ideological operative
In July '07,
Zucker as editor of the Archives of Sexual Behavior (ASB)
subverted that journal as a propaganda machine in defense of ASB
editorial board members
Zucker did this by
announcing and pre-publishing
one-sided history of the
Bailey book investigation in the ASB. Zucker promoted Dreger's
anti-transgender hit-piece as if it were an independent scholarly work,
devoting the entire June '08 ASB to Dreger's defense of Bailey,
Blanchard and Lawrence
– in a
not-so-veiled attack on Zucker's own primary critics Andrea James and Lynn
Conway. Ardent Bailey supporter
followed with a
New York Times article
on 8-21-07 in which Dreger portrayed Bailey as a great scientist under siege
for 'telling the truth'. For more about Dreger, including her role in
the medical pathologization of intersex people,
see this link and
this one too.
Determined to stop trans criticism of Zucker, Bailey, Blanchard and
Lawrence, Dreger went on to
launch e-mail attacks and threaten the academic career of graduate
student Joelle Ruby Ryan who had proposed a women's study
conference panel on transphobia in academe (see
Élise Hendrick's commentary,
Lynn's comments and
this article). Dreger's attempt to prevent Joelle's panel
backfired. It was held as scheduled on June 21, 2008 (see
handout), and produced powerful essays that further exposed
Bailey and Dreger
(see detailed report at this link)
including Élise's essay on
the odd form of
'academic freedom' claimed by Bailey and Dreger and Andrea's
"Fair comment, foul play". Videos of all the presentations
posted on YouTube. See also
the prestigious Point
Foundation 's mention of
NWSA panel at this link and
her upcoming IFGE workshop at this link.
published an exposé
of Dreger 's effort to resurrect Bailey's disgraced career, and her
Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of
provides the context for understanding these events.
For an overview of BBL pseudo-science, see "Science
and Ideology: The Blanchard-Bailey-Lawrence Model of Transsexuality,
by Élise Hendrick and
"The Bailey Affair, Again" by Joan Roughgarden. For a
deconstruction of Carey's Times' article,
see this essay by Elise Hendrick. Dreger's scholarship was
further questioned in June '08 in
ASB peer commentary papers highly critical of Dreger's 'history'.
For more about Dreger's methods, see
"Go Ask Alice – But Not About Transsexuals’ Lives and History: A
Defense of the Right of Members of an Oppressed Class to Speak for
Themselves", by Katrina C. Rose.
In early 2011, Alice Dreger’s hero J. Michael Bailey
by staging a live “fucksaw demonstration” in front of many of his
For an overview of the event and its implications, see Joelle Ruby
“The Fuckwit and the Fucksaw: Sex-Monger John Michael Bailey Strikes
Again”, March 6, 2011, and also Anna North’s report on
“The Storied Past of Professor Fucksaw”. This bizarre
episode turned Northwestern into national media joke as “Fucksaw
University”. It also spelled doom for Bailey’s reputation and
career, for Northwestern’s administration finally figured out what
to do with him: They
cancelled his large human sexuality course in the abysmally
irresponsible Psychology Department, and
turned over the teaching of such courses to Northwestern's far
Gender Studies Program. This has left Bailey academically
stranded as an isolated, aging teacher of minor, poorly-attended
psych courses. Meanwhile, an unrepentant Dreger continues to deify
Bailey, as if he were as modern-day ‘Galileo’.
3. Zucker exploits the 'other' APA to push
his views and suppress opposition:
During 2008, Zucker attempted
to suppress evidence that the prevalence of transsexualism is much
greater than he has previously claimed: See:
"Falsification of GID prevalence results by the APA Task Force on
Gender Identity and Gender Variance", an Investigative Report by
Lynn Conway, 8-28-08 [PDF].
Lynn's letter to the President of the APA re that Task Force,
open letter and
investigative report re
the APA's response.
4. Zucker's attempt to suppress Lynn's
website and attack her freedom of speech:
Lynn's exposure of Zucker's
trans-reparatist therapy and of his exploitation of the ASB to disseminate
anti-transgender propaganda has apparently unsetted Zucker. On January
27, 2009, Zucker responded by
accusing Lynn of libel in a
letter sent by CAMH attorney Peter Jacobsen to Lynn and to her
- in a clear attempt to suppress Lynn's website on the eve of
an IFGE workshop that would prove embarrassing to Zucker.
Lynn called Zucker's bluff
reporting the attempt to infringe her rights
En Français). (For a humorous
view of the events,
see the cartoon by Jayna Pavlin). The
IFGE workshop went on as planned, and a presentation by Joelle Ruby Ryan
Transgender Tipping Point") further revealed Zucker's and Dreger's
efforts to silence their critics. News of Zucker's attack quickly spread, as
in the Queerty article
"Dr. Kenneth Zucker's War on Transgenders" and in essays by
Kelley Winters and
Mercedes Allen, and
Lynn was interviewed by LOGO-TV
about Zucker's attack. See also this
YouTube video and the
video: "Transgender Crusader". Evidence
then emerged that Zucker had engaged in a pattern of threats against other
women. In June '09, Lynn filed a formal complaint of
academic misconduct against Zucker (PDF)
for launching that unfounded attack.
5. Zucker's downfall now inevitable as
medical professionals, public health professionals, gender counselors and
the media widely recognize the inhumanity of his trans-reparatism:
By 2009, the transgender community's
outrage against Zucker finally became so intense that CAMH
launched a study to consider the complaints, leading to a
scathing report issued by CAMH's own Diversity Program Office. The study
stinging indictments in 2009 of CAMH’s gender clinics and to
recommendations on how to alleviate the problems.
In response, Zucker if anything
intensified his ongoing ‘war
on transgenders’, and engaged in a war within CAMH to sidestep the
recommendations. However, by now Zucker was increasingly isolated from the
main movement towards transgender health care, and could no longer control
the flow of events. In 2010,
the Province of Ontario finally moved to end CAMH's death grip on trans
health services there, and began supporting such services at a variety
of other, more humane and supportive organizations.
Zucker's claim to any 'scientific'
authenticity was also undermined in 2011 by the brilliant research of
Gavi Ansara, and his report in
Psychology & Sexuality on
"Cisgenderism in psychology: pathologising and misgendering children from
1999 to 2008" − a report that singled-out Zucker as leader of an
'invisible college' of group-think researchers who collectively used
pathologizing language to control 'scientific' thought regarding gender
Events swirled further out of Zucker's
control when in 2012
the State of California passed legislation outlawing both gay and
trans-reparatist therapy on children. Even Zucker's staunchest
supporters had to pause for thought now, for their reputations could be lost
if they continued to advocate treatments that were becoming ILLEGAL!
In 2012 Zucker also received a huge
signal of public rejection, when the
Toronto public school system listed a wide range of trans-friendly resources
for transgender students, but omitted CAMH from the list , thus turning
their back on him and his entire body of work! (link
Key articles re the DSM and the pathologization of gender variance:
“Disordered” No More: Challenging Transphobia in Psychology, Academia and
Society", an IFGE 2009 workshop.
Queerty: "Dr. Kenneth Zucker’s War on Transgenders"
The Bilerico Report: "Surrender Dorothy: the Clarke Wags a Broomstick at the
Trans-Community", by Kelley Winters, Ph.D.
04-27-09: Facebook Group
the CAMH Gender Identity Clinic" (reaches > 1000 members!)
re the DSM Controversy
"The War Within: CAMH battles
notorious reputation of Zucker’s and Blanchard’s gender clinics with
GID Now: A Protest to demand the APA Reform Gender Identity Disorder"
by IFGE BOD to APA" (IFGE calls for DSM Reform)
"Transsexualism will no longer be classified as a mental illness in France
Times: "Gender Identity Disorder: Has Accepted Practice Caused Harm?"
"GID Reform Now Protest At Annual APA Meeting - Speaker Madeline Deutch,
M.D." (Links to Video)
"Call to Action to
Urge Trans-Affirming Position Statements by the APA"
say, to the APA, stop sexualizing us!", by Julia Serano, Ph.D.
by Andrea James: "$325,000+ in salaries for Zucker & Blanchard to
pathologize trans people"
Exposed by Andrea James: "What motivates Ray Blanchard’s oppression of sex
and gender minorities?"
GID Reform: "Update:
Statement on Gender Identity Disorder and Transvestic Fetishism in
ENDAblog: "The Dredge Is At It Again"
"A call for the removal of gender identity variance from the psychiatric
diagnostic manuals," by Sam
Winter, Ph.D. (ES)
Society for Humanistic Psychology: "Controversial issues for the future
DSM-V", by Sarah Kamens
"Doctor Promotes Medical View of Transgenderism - Clinic founder decries
labeling transgenderism as a psychological issue"
New Scientist: "Psychiatry's civil war ";
"Time's up for psychiatry's bible" (more)
global epicenter for oppression of sex and gender minorities,"
by Andrea James
will become mentally ill in 2013" by
Americanization of Mental Illness", by Ethan Watters
expose CAMH’s despicable practices toward transgender people"
pathologization of transgender people" (a graphical overview) by
Taxing Question of Medical Necessity" by Kelley Winters, Ph.D.
Sexual Disorders Make No Sense", by Allen Frances, MD
Concerned with Gender Diagnoses in the DSM: "Call to Action"
- Hope and Hurt for Trans Americans in the APA's Proposed DSM Revisions"
"Response of WPATH to the Proposed DSM 5 Criteria for Gender Incongruence"
YouTube Video: "STP2012
March in Barcelona, Spain 2010 June 5", by
Henry Hallint (more)
TS Roadmap: "Ontario moves to end CAMH death grip on trans health services"
GID Reform Advocates: "Ten Reasons Why the Transvestic Disorder Diagnosis in
the DSM-5 Has Got to Go"
GJSS: "Transgender children: more than a theoretical challenge", by Natacha
Kennedy and Mark Hellen (more)
"My Encounter with Prof K Zucker at the BPS conference in Salford", by
Natacha Jessica Kennedy
"Close the CAMH Gender Identity Clinic" (see news about dramatic
developments in Quebec)
Montreal Gazette (Canada): "The Debate over Diagnosis”, By Donna Nebenzahl
GID Reform Advocates: “Transvestic Disorder, the Overlooked Anti-Trans
Diagnosis in the DSM-5”
Psychology & Sexuality: "Cisgenderism in psychology: pathologising
and misgendering children from 1999 to 2008", by Ansara & Hegarty
Roadmap: "Academic pathologization of transgender people" (social map of the
'invisible college' of trans-pathologizers)
TS Roadmap.com: "Kenneth Zucker’s cronyism and pathologizing ideologies
about trans youth examined"
GID Reform.org: "New Standards of Care for the Health of Transsexual,
Transgender, and Gender Nonconforming People, "
[WPATH's new Standards of Care (Version 7) denounces trans-reparatism
as being unethical.]
Chicago Tribune: "A year after scandal, new sexuality class at NU Course
offered as introduction to gender studies"
[NU takes Bailey's course away from him and NU psychology department,
turning it over to NU's gender studies program.]
IPG: "SPITZER, ZUCKER, AND REPARATIVE THERAPY: EX AND PRE-GAY", by Margie
The New York Times: “Diagnosing the D.S.M.”, by Allen Francis
Washington Post (AP): "Transgender advocates push US psychiatric
establishment to revise mental illness labels"
U. S. Politics Today: "L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center Commends California
Governor Jerry Brown for Signing SB 1172, Protecting LGBT Youth" (link
to SB 1172)
TS Roadmap: "Toronto schools list local trans-friendly resources, CAMH
rightfully omitted", by Andrea James (link
The Phoenix: "How Norman Spack transformed the way we
treat transgender children"
GIDReform.org: "Gender Dysphoria Diagnosis to be Moved Out of Sexual
Disorders Chapter of DSM-5", by Kelley Winters, Ph.D.
The Trans News Updates:
11-06-14: Salon: "Watch these amazing kids perform a rap about
transgender acceptance -- Alex's rhyme says it all: "Please treat everyone
the way you expect. We all deserve freedom love and respect" (VIDEO)
"This week a video cropped up on the Internet from
the non-profit organization
transgender and variant gender youth.
And it is wonderful.
The video is of Alex rapping about the moment he told his mother that he was
transgender, and it is a beautiful message of acceptance. It is not solely
the message that is important — and don’t get me wrong Alex’s rhyme is
beyond measure — but also where it came from: Camp Aranu’tiq, which
according to its motto provides a safe space for transgender youth.
Transgender and gender variant youth still face
enormously high rates
of bullying, sexual harassment, violence, job discrimination and
homelessness. Somewhere between one third and one half on transgender youth
will attempt suicide, according to stats from
Drag It Out
Youth Suicide Prevention Program."
11-05-14: The Guardian (UK): "Lea T, the transgender hair-care model
who’s shifting our perception of beauty norms -- Beauty brands are catching
up with the fashion world’s stance on diversity as Redken announces its
surprise new face" (more,
"The appointment of Brazilian model
Lea T as “the
face” of American hair-care brand Redken, might not sound like headline
news. Except that Lea, 33, was in fact born Leandro, making her the first
transgender model to front a global cosmetics brand.
Talking on behalf of Redken, which this week announced that she would front
its January 2015 Chromatics hair-colour campaign, she said: “I love working
with Redken because they appreciate all kinds of beauty. They believe in the
individuality of the person, and I think that’s really important.”
In the last few years, the fashion industry has
made progress in embracing diversity. Transgender models, such as Andreja
Pejić (nee Andrej), have moved from outsiders to mainstays of the catwalk,
while drag performer
went from Eurovision winner to modelling in Jean-Paul Gaultier’s haute
couture show earlier this year. The beauty world, however, has been a little
slower on the uptake. Granted, in April, Twelve Years a Slave actor
became the first black spokeswoman of Lancôme and drag queen RuPaul has
fronted two MAC cosmetic campaigns. But as yet, no transgender model has
fronted a major beauty campaign."
11-04-14: BBC News
(re Iran): "The gay people pushed to change their gender", By Ali Hamedani
"Iran is one of a handful of countries where homosexual acts are punishable
by death. Clerics do, however accept the idea that a person may be trapped
in a body of the wrong sex. So homosexuals can be pushed into having gender
reassignment surgery - and to avoid it many flee the country.
Growing up in Iran, Donya kept her hair shaved or short, and wore caps
instead of headscarves. She went to a doctor for help to stop her period. "I
was so young and I didn't really understand myself," she says. "I thought if
I could stop getting my periods, I would be more masculine."
If police officers asked for her ID and noticed she was a girl, she says,
they would reproach her: "Why are you like this? Go and change your gender."
This became her ambition. "I was under so much pressure that I wanted to
change my gender as soon as possible," she says.
For seven years Donya had hormone treatment. Her voice became deeper, and
she grew facial hair. But when doctors proposed surgery, she spoke to
friends who had been through it and experienced "lots of problems". She
began to question whether it was right for her.
"I didn't have easy access to the internet - lots of websites are blocked. I
started to research with the help of some friends who were in Sweden and
Norway," she says. "I got to know myself better... I accepted that I was a
lesbian and I was happy with that."
But living in Iran as an openly gay man or woman is impossible. Donya, now
33, fled to Turkey with her son from a brief marriage, and then to Canada,
where they were granted asylum."
11-01-14: The Alligator (posted 10/27): "Santa Fe College passes
anti-discrimination bill (after mobbing of trans students)"
"After two transgender Santa Fe College students were heckled leaving a
school bathroom, followed through campus to their car and chased to a nearby
Publix grocery store this February, leading them to drop out of school, the
incident ignited a flame that helped pass a protective measure for all
students last week, regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation.
Rule 2.8 was three years in the making and passed in the Career Service
Council last Wednesday after being shot down in the same committee twice
prior. If approved by the college’s Board of Trustees this semester, the
measure could defend students like the transgender couple against future
cases of harassment and discrimination.
“The incident has put my school plans on the back burner,” one of the former
students involved in the transgender harassment incident said. “It’s also
motivated me to be more engaged with social justice issues.”
When the couple was initially catcalled, ridiculed and chased, the former
student — who requested to remain anonymous — said they reported the
incident to Santa Fe Police. But after officers first checked security
footage and failed to find significant visual evidence, Police Chief Ed Book
said the investigation came to a standstill. Still, Student Government
Senate President Jeremy Pierce, former SG Treasurer Kentucky Costellow and
At-Large Sen. Wallace Mazon supported the students’ statements.
“I never went back to class after that day, and I dropped out,” the student
said. “My partner never returned to campus.”"
10-31-14: Woman's Day Magazine (October): "'The Son God Gave Me' -- My
child's struggle to figure out who he was called everything I believed into
question. With my strong faith and lots of soul-searching, the answers
finally became clear." By Gina Kentopp, as told to Barry Yeoman (More)
"When my second child, Kyle, was born in 1994, and
the nurse told me I had given birth to a daughter, I was thrilled. I already
had a son, Alex, and now, I thought, a baby girl. During the first year of
Kyle's life, I dressed him in every frilly outfit I could.
I use the pronoun he when
talking about Kyle, because I now understand that he has always been
male—his inner soul, when he was born, didn't match his body.
Back then, though, he seemed to be a tomboyish girl. He played paintball and
basketball, and loved to build with his dad. On special occasions I could
get him into dresses, but it was always a fight—they were, he said, itchy. I
didn't think twice about it, because that was exactly how I was at his age.
FAITH IN FAMILY
I have always felt God's presence. I grew up close to my grandfather, who
was a deacon at his church. God was part of every conversation we had. If I
said, "The sky is blue today," he'd say, "Well, the Lord makes a beautiful
shade of blue." He was a wise and generous man, and I loved our Christian
Traditional Christianity tells you just how to achieve a strong family: The
man heads the household—in our case, Nick, my husband of 28 years. The woman
takes care of the children, as I did. You pray together and teach them Bible
verses, and about heaven and hell. There is a checklist: If you do what you
are supposed to, you receive God's blessings. We did it all, and it seemed
to be working. One day when Kyle was around 8, I picked him up at school.
"When I grow up, I want to be just like you," he said. "I want to be a good
mom and I want to love God as much as you do." That meant so much to me.
Things became complicated, though, when Kyle was 14 and best friends with a
girl from school. He wanted to be with her 24/7, which I felt was too much.
It was causing a lot of tension in our family. The next year, Kyle sat me
down. "Mom, I need to tell you something," he said. "I love—" and he named
his friend. "I see that you care for her greatly," I replied.
"No, you don't understand," he said. "I love her like a boy loves a girl. I
think I may be gay."
I couldn't breathe. I had always been taught that homosexuality was a sin. I
truly felt we were being attacked by Satan. I also thought it was teenage
rebellion: Because my faith was important to me, Kyle was thumbing his nose
at what I believed.
I recall staying calm and saying, "Everything is going to be all right and
we love you." (In Kyle's memory, I acted more tense and upset.) Then I went
into the bedroom, shut the door and fell apart. I just bawled. My world was
blowing up. I called Nick and said, "Come home." I had never done that
before, and I didn't even tell him why. He thought someone had died . . .
I began reading a lot, hoping to learn how to change Kyle. I believed I was
helping him. I mostly found memoirs written by people who felt comfortable
being gay and Christian, which ran counter to my beliefs. But I knew the
answer had to be out there. And it was. One day, I was reading one
of the memoirs in the bathtub. Instead of asking God to change your child,
the author suggested, why don't you ask Him to change your heart? It was a
revelation: I had never even considered that idea.
I put the book down and sat there until the bathwater had cooled. I
contemplated what it would mean to change my thoughts and feelings. Could I
even do that? I said to God, "If this is the way You have made my child, and
this is the way You want me to love her, I pray that You give me peace in my
The next morning, I woke up with an amazing sense of peace. It was the only
time in my life I felt a strong, quick answer to prayer. I knew then that
God was with my family.
And another thing had happened: Around the same time, at age 16, Kyle had a
girlfriend whose mom and dad found them cuddling. The parents called at 11
P.M., very upset, saying my child was no longer welcome in their home. The
father even threatened physical violence. Kyle came home inconsolable and we
held each other and cried together. My baby was going to face so much
hostility in the world that he needed a soft place to fall. He had to be
able to count on us.
After that, something clicked within our family. We were able to talk
openly, and Kyle trusted me enough to speak his heart. One day he said, "I
don't really feel like the word lesbian fits me." Then, a few
months later, Kyle connected with an alum of his high school who'd come out
as transgender. He was so excited. "Mom," he said, "I think I know who I am.
I was stunned, but so relieved that he had confided in me. I wasn't 100%
sure what transgender meant. I thought Kyle was talking about
dressing as a male. But I knew I needed to be there for him. I had already
done the hard work of reconnecting with my child's heart, and there was no
way I was going to let fear and lack of understanding keep us apart again .
. . "
[Ed: A powerful, must-read story]
10-31-14: Broward/Palm Beach New Times: "Jazz Jennings,
14-Year-Old Transgender Youth and Author, to Be Honored by Equality Florida",
Jonathan Kendall (Video)
"Jazz Jennings has the mind of a girl but the body
of boy. So reads the back cover of her 32-page
I Am Jazz. The book, which was
released in September, chronicles Jennings' struggles as a transgender
child, opens up the dialogue on gender identity, and has helped spark
on how transgender people are discriminated
Jennings (the last name is a pseudonym to protect her identity and safety),
who lives in South Florida with her family, has also been featured on 20/20,
60 Minutes, and the Oprah Winfrey Show, where many LGBT advocates believe
she and her supportive family have helped change the way people think and
talk about transgender identity.
"Few people in the transgender community have articulated their true gender
feelings with more clarity and passion than Jazz Jennings," says Gina
Duncan, Equality Florida's Transgender inclusion director. "From an early
age, Jazz has been an inspiration, a mentor, and a motivator for the
transgender community. She is the true embodiment of authenticity."
Earlier this month, Time magazine included
Jennings in its Most Influential Teens of 2014, commenting that, "In a
landmark year for transgender visibility in the media, Jennings stands out
for how much she's already accomplished. She has been interviewed by Barbara
Walters, met Bill Clinton and become the youngest person ever featured on
the Out 100 and The Advocate's '40 Under 40' lists."
The teenager hopes that
her advocacy for LGBT rights' will help spread awareness of the particular
challenges that transgender youth along with their families face, such as
bullying at school and discrimination from participating in extracurricular
activities like soccer.
To further her cause, Jazz has recently started
her own company,
Purple Rainbow Tails,
which sells silicone mermaid tails, with the goal of raising money for
10-30-14: Boston Herald: "Insurers unsure on transgender care --
Meanwhile patients unable to find docs for procedures"
"Four months after the state Division of Insurance put health plans on
notice that denying medically necessary treatment to transgender people is
prohibited sex discrimination, insurers are still grappling with what
constitutes medical necessity, and patients are struggling to find doctors
who’ll treat them.
In a state world-renowned for its medical talent, no Massachusetts physician
performs genital gender reassignment surgery, said Elizabeth M. Murphy of
the Massachusetts Association of Health Plans.
“We were concerned people were having to go all over the country for this
surgery,” Dr. Joel Rubenstein of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care said yesterday
at a Division of Insurance informational session. “We’re hopeful somebody
would step up to put together the surgical piece so it could all be in one
Under state law, health plans are required to develop evidence-based medical
necessity guidelines for such procedures.
“We are determined to ... not exclude treatment for this condition,”
Rubenstein said. On the other hand, he said, Harvard Pilgrim does not want
to approve procedures such as facial feminization for transgender people if
those procedures would be considered merely cosmetic for other people.
“If we cover them for transgender patients, we would be being
reverse-discriminatory,” said Dr. Robert Nierman, medical director at Tufts
But Ruben Hopwood of Fenway Health said facial feminization is not about
wanting a “cuter nose.” A transgender person’s appearance is more likely to
be the difference between getting a job or not getting one, and walking down
the street unafraid or being attacked, Hopwood said."
10-30-14: Indie Wire: "Elle Fanning to Play Transgender Character in
Multigenerational Drama", By
"One of the most moving and original aspects
of Jill Soloway's groundbreaking Amazon series Transparent
is seeing a trans character's life story play out in the context of her
(troubled but functional, accepting but not-fully-understanding) family.
That's because we're so rarely privy to nuanced parent-children narratives
with trans characters on screen.
Generations will prove a worthy follow-up.
Written by Nikole Beckwith and to be directed by Gaby Dellal, the
multi-generational feature will focus on NYC teen Ray's (Fanning) decision
to undergo gender transition. His mother (Naomi Watts) will have to adapt to
treating her only daughter as a son, and his lesbian grandmother (Susan
Sarandon), will have to come to terms as well with her grandchild's
received some drubbing from trans activists
who were angry that its lead role was played
by Jeffrey Tambor, a cis actor. Going forward, trans projects will likely
encounter similar criticisms, though Three
Generations has a mitigating factor in that
Ray is at the beginning of his physical transition into a man. Still, it's
hard not to be excited for a multigenerational project focused on sexually
diverse women and transgender people with female writers and filmmakers in
key roles behind the scenes.
Filming will begin in NY in November."
10-29-14: Breitbart.com: "Despite Ban, Transgender Troops Already
Serving Openly in U.S. Military" (MORE)
"Last week, transgender military
personnel from various countries allied with the United States convened
in Washington, DC to put pressure on the U.S. military to allow transgender
soldiers to serve openly.
Organizers claim more than 15,000 transgender soldiers now serve in the
active military or the reserves.
Washington Post has taken up the cause
in an article
Monday featuring Captain Sage Fox, who spoke at the conference last week.
Fox is a transgender (male-to-female) woman. The
reports that Fox was allowed briefly back into active duty after hormone
therapy, which softened her features, and vocal training which gave her
voice a higher pitch. Additionally, she had grown out her hair, and
officials allowed her to use the women’s latrine and to be called “ma’am.”
She was welcomed back but only for two weeks—then was placed in the inactive
The Post also
tells the story of 29-year-old Captain Jacob Eleazar, who joined the
military as a woman. Though he came out to his commanding officer as
transgender, according to the Post
he has been allowed to continue his military service in a dress and is
supposed to be addressed by subordinates as “ma’am.” Eleazer trains new
officers in the Kentucky National Guard, some of whom balked at calling
Eleazer “ma’am.” Eleazer said their requests to call him “sir” were “shot
“Hunter” is an anomaly among transgender service personnel. He is a
transgender (female-to-male) man. According to experts, 90% of transgender
military personnel are transgender women. After testosterone therapy, Hunter
says he “presents very male” and that women flee when he enters the female
latrine. He says he has had to attend formal occasions wearing dresses but
that “You shouldn’t be afraid to see a man in a dress.”
Advocates for regularizing transgender service are
buttressed by an independent commission report that says transgender persons
would cause no harm to military readiness or effectiveness. The report also
calls for the
military to foot the bill
for expensive transgender surgery, costs that range from
$15,000 to $50,000.
The average is $30,000, which would cost the U.S. taxpayers $225 million if
only half of these servicemembers decided on surgery. Advocates insist a far
smaller number would ever ask for taxpayer-funded surgery."
10-28-14: Huffington Post: "Transgender Supermodel Lea T. Opens Up
About Life After Having Gender Confirmation Surgery (VIDEO)"
Lea T. was one of the most in-demand
supermodels in the world. She
had it all -- beauty, fame and a big paycheck. But, as she revealed that
on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," she had spent much of her life tormented by
Lea T. was assigned male at birth and grew up the son of a world-famous
Brazilian soccer star and a very religious Catholic mother. As a child
growing up in Italy, T. always felt different and questioned her sexuality
at a young age.
"Realizing young [that] I like the same sex, for me was a taboo," Lea T.
said on "The Oprah Show" three years ago. "I was feeling really
When T. began presenting as a woman, she felt more like her true self, but
still struggled with this new life. "It's really difficult because you fight
with all the world," she explained at the time. "You fight with your family,
you fight with yourself, too, because you have to change everything in
In 2008, Lea T. began hormone replacement therapy and was awaiting gender
confirmation surgery, a difficulty in and of itself. "When you start your
process, your heart becomes really sick. I was really disappointed with life
because you walking in the street and the people laughing about you," she
said tearfully. "When you start the hormones, it's really, really hard. I
think it's weird seeing my breasts and the penis."
When she spoke with Oprah back then, Lea T. was still awaiting her surgery
and admitted that she was scared of both the physical and emotional pain of
the procedure. A year after the interview, in 2012, Lea T. had the surgery
and recently opened up to
"Oprah: Where Are They Now?" about what her life has been like since her
10-26-14: Dallas News: "For transgender lawyer with own practice,
change has been good"
"When lawyer Katie Sprinkle works at the Frank Crowley Courts Building, she
occasionally runs into an acquaintance who, trying to place her, asks
whether she has a brother who once worked in the public defender’s office.
“No,” she replies. “That was me.”
After 16 years as a public defender, Sprinkle
started her own firm a year ago
— practicing law for the first
time as a woman. While no organization formally tracks such things, Sprinkle
is the only known openly transgender lawyer in Dallas County and one of just
a handful across Texas.
In addition to her criminal defense practice, she’s become a go-to lawyer
for transgender issues at a time when transgender people are getting more
attention than ever in mainstream media, yet remain one of the most
misunderstood groups in the LGBT community. Sprinkle, 47, uses her unique
perspective to empathize with clients and guide them through the legal
challenges of transitioning genders.
Not all people who are transgender — which means your personal sense of
being male or female doesn’t match your assigned sex — choose to transition.
For the 0.25 to 1 percent of the general population that does, according to
the National Center for Transgender Equality, transitioning is a years-long,
emotionally intensive process that includes hormones, counseling, and in
some cases, surgery.
When ready to live full-time as their new gender, transgender people need
legal documentation to get a driver’s license with their new name and sex on
it. The paperwork isn’t just a symbolic milestone; it’s also a practical
step that lets them present ID without fear during job applications, airline
travel and credit card use.
Sprinkle works with three or four transgender clients a month and also hosts
free legal clinics, offering a “critically important” service to transgender
people, said Sprinkle’s roommate Leslie McMurray, also a transgender woman.
“Getting your ID changed isn’t a vanity plate,” McMurray said. “It’s safety,
10-14-14: The Atlantic: "This Is My Voice: YouTube and the Transgender
Autobiography -- The serial nature of vlogging makes it the perfect way for
people to take control of their own stories, and document the process of
transitioning as it happens"
"On a sunny morning in September, Skylar Kergil turns on his computer. He
fills up his “BONK!” coffee mug while peering at the camera with a grin on
his face. As he sips his drink, he begins to tell his YouTube audience about
his weird dreams the night before, his cat, and his upcoming Kickstarter
project—all with that playful smile he’s become known for. “So if you want
to be in my Kickstarter video for my music that’s coming out,” he says,
“then please read below for the description, or go to my Facebook page.”
After another heartfelt plea, Kergil breaks out his guitar and sings a quick
cover of “Two Lips” by Hoodie Allen before the camera fades to black.
Kergil is a musician (he released his first
full-length album in 2013 through another Kickstarter campaign), a visual
artist, photographer, and recent graduate of Skidmore College. Kergil is
also a transgender man (female-to-male) who has been documenting his
transition—and his budding creative life—for the past five years under the
His audience of about ten thousand has been tuning in for almost as long as
his laptop camera has been rolling, watching his change as it happens. These
YouTube videos, started on January 21st, 2009, have become Kergil’s
“From the beginning, making videos was about recording a video diary of my
body as it went through changes that I could hardly articulate—but I could
see and hear them through my various mumbled thoughts, voice changing, and
smile growing,” Kergil told me. “The process was one of both self
preservation and creation. I have been preserving this timeline so that I
can remember where I have come from while simultaneously encouraging
self-reflection, creation, and the exploration of my identity as I grow.
These two elements put together have been a very cathartic experience for me
during my transition while also juggling the basic throes of life.”
Kergil is one of many in the transgender community
to use the serial nature of a YouTube vlog to document his transition—a
trend that, because of the nature of vlogging, turns the standard
transgender narrative on its head. Rather than focusing on the end goal of
surgery, these videos put the focus on the process of transition, and put
the power in the hands of vloggers to define how their story evolves . . .
The autobiography has become a standard part of the transgender
narrative over the past 60 years. You only have to look so far as Chaz
Bono’s 2008 Transition
to see this genre in action. These books
often evoke the same trope (“trapped in the wrong body”) and end with the
final revelatory surgery. They’re why people are tempted to ask a
transgender person if they’ve had “the” surgery yet. Many see it as the
inevitable conclusion to their story, and like a good audience member, they
want to know how far away they are from applause.
The problem with these tropes and older transgender narratives is that
they are, by definition, tied up in the medical institution that created
them. In order for transgender people to get surgery, they are required to
explain themselves repeatedly to doctors and therapists. When telling their
story, they must be as convincing as possible or else surgery will be
denied. The transgender narrative our culture has come to know is not always
the one that transgender people want to tell, but instead what the doctors,
counselors, and now us as a culture want to hear . . .
This is why YouTube and the small community of transgender people
making, commenting, and forming this online community is so important. By
having a YouTube community freely accessible to those with an internet
connection and the willingness to look, it’s possible to begin to understand
our coworkers, friends, neighbors, and even ourselves a little more."
10-13-14: New York Post (re Philippines): Marine detained in killing
of transgender Filipino woman (more,
authorities detained a Marine in connection with the weekend slaying of a
transgender Filipino he allegedly met in a bar, officials said. The
serviceman was kept on board the USS Peleliu while NCIS uncovers what
happened Saturday night at the Celzone Lodge in Olongapo City, according to
obtained by the Marine Corps Times newspaper.
The Marine was not identified, but the paper said he’s assigned to the 2nd
Battalion, 9th Marines, out of Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. Three other
Marines also reportedly are being held as potential witnesses, on the same
amphibious assault ship.
The victim was identified as 26-year-old Jeffrey Laude, who went by the name
Jennifer, according to local news reports. Witnesses have said Laude entered
the Celzone Lodge with a foreign man, between 25 and 30, late Saturday,
local news reports said.
Laude and the Marine had met earlier that night at
a nearby watering hole, the Ambyanz Disco Bar,
witnesses told The Philippine Daily Inquirer.
Laude was found naked and partially covered by a blanket on a bathroom floor
. . .
“We are currently looking into these allegations and working closely with
the Philippine National Police to take all necessary steps to help identify
the suspects,” according to a statement by the US Embassy."
[Ed. note: Utter brutality: How our 'brave' Marines respond to their inner
10-08-14: Huffinton Post: "Yentl, the Yeshiva Boy: A Modern
Transgender Hero", by
"There is one Jewish short story (later made into
a play and a film) to which I can very intimately relate. It's Isaac
Bashevis Singer's Yentl, the Yeshiva
Boy. I had the pleasure of attending
an updated, klezmer/pop version of the play, directed by Shirley Serotsky,
with music by Jill Sobule, last week at Theatre J in downtown Washington,
As a young trans girl growing up as a yeshiva boy in Queens, New York, I
found that this play resonated deeply within me. The eponymous Yentl, who
goes by the name Anshel as a yeshiva boy, challenges the gender norms of
that extinct European world of the Jewish Pale and its predominantly
Orthodox Jewish communities. Yentl, the daughter of a rabbi, studies with
her father as if she were his son. Her father says, "Yentl -- you have the
soul of a man." She asks, "So why was I born a woman?" He replies, "Even
Heaven makes mistakes."
Jewish men and boys, in their morning prayers,
have said this "blessing" for generations:
"Blessed art Thou, O Lord, our God, King of the
Universe, for not having made me a woman."
I said that every morning until I was 14, feeling like I was swallowing
crushed glass, believing there was no escape.
Singer rooted this story in Yentl's recognition, and her father's
perception, of her soul as male. "Soul," in this case, is just a more
elegant term for the sexual attribute of the incorporeal essence we call
"gender identity" today. "Transgender" didn't exist in 19th-century Europe
as a medical condition or concept, though Singer probably knew of the modern
phenomenon when he wrote the play in the 1950s, as Christine Jorgensen was
in all the New York tabloids when she returned home in late 1952. He
certainly knew of the rabbis' understanding of physical intersex conditions,
and of the variable manifestation of those conditions in a spectrum of
gender roles. He wrote, in the words of Avigdor, Yentl's male study partner,
"She [Yentl] had the soul of a man and the body of a woman." . . .
Yentl, written in the 1950s, brought
forth a trans character before its time. Leah Napolin, who wrote the play
with Singer, converted her into a
. . . Serotsky's play, which at times feels like a take on Shakespeare's
remakes this Yentl as authentically Anshel, strongly rooting the productoin
as a queer statement in the manner of Singer. Jill Sobule, the composer,
interpretation. We stand in contrast to Ms. Napolin and Ms. Serotsky, who
version as another variation of the feminist interpretation. This is not
surprising, given that in 1975 Napolin dismissed viewing Yentl as "suffering
from some hormonal predisposition to masculinity." Too often some feminists
of that era still refuse to acknowledge trans persons' humanity,
contributing to their continuing invisibility.
Recognizing the reality of the trans experience in
no way minimizes the feminist critique of society. Trans women are generally
more inclined toward feminism than cisgender women, and trans men know
existentially what it means to be oppressed as women. I hope future
productions emphasize Ms. Sobule's reading and make this a story that Jewish
trans children and adolescents can absorb to help them
make the archaic, sexist morning blessings a thing
of the past."
[Ed: Italics are mine, for emphasis.]
10-08-14: Huffington Post (posted 10/7): "Transgender Actress Erika
Ervin On Her 'American Horror Story: Freak Show' Role", by
Curtis M. Wong
"We couldn't be more thrilled for "American
Horror Story: Freak Show" to kick off
for numerous reasons, and learning that the hit FX franchise will welcome a
transgender performer just makes our excitement for the show more palpable.
will star alongside series regulars Jessica Lange, Evan Peters and Emma
Roberts as "Amazon Eve," a role she says was originally written for a man.
"I auditioned for the part as a guy, slicked back my hair, no
make-up...flannel shirt, bound my breasts, dropped my voice and walked in,
and nailed it," Ervin recalled of the casting process in this FX clip.
The actress, whose credits include the Netflix
Grove," also reveals the struggles she
experienced with her family after coming out as transgender in 2004. "My
first inkling of knowing I was different was when I was about 4 or 5," she
said. "It was an issue of gender ... it's not until later on that I
discovered there was a way to fix it."
She hopes her "American Horror Story" role will allow her estranged father
to see her "make it on TV and film," and believes the transgender community
at large could stand to learn from the show's overall message. "It's more
than a freak show," she said. "There's a family here."
Horror Story: Freak Show" will debut
Oct. 8 on FX. "
10-08-14: HRC: "OPM’s Open Enrollment Begins as Exclusions Lifted on
Transgender-Related Care", by
"This June, the US Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced that it
would remove the provision requiring Federal Employment Health Benefits
(FEHB) providers to exclude transition-related care for transgender federal
employees, citing the “evolving professional consensus that treatment is
considered medically necessary” for transgender people.
Yesterday, OPM announced that the open enrollment season for these benefits
will begin on November 8, marking the first time that participating
insurance providers have the option to offer federal employees coverage for
transition-related care. This announcement is a crucial step towards
ensuring that medically necessary healthcare is available to every federal
worker, regardless of gender identity. The question remains as to how many
of those providers will opt to extend this coverage.
As Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Health and Aging Program Associate
Director Tari Hanneman explains, “This is a critical moment for insurance
companies to decide whether they will do right by transgender Americans.
Transition-related care can be prohibitively expensive without insurance
coverage, and for many transgender people, medical transition is essential
to the process of living openly as their authentic selves.”
HRC encourages all insurance companies to provide transgender-inclusive
healthcare. “Ultimately, this is simply an issue of providing equal access
to medically necessary care for everyone,” said Hanneman."
10-08-14: Los Angeles Times: "Arrest made in slaying of O.C.
"Police in Anaheim have arrested a 38-year-old man on suspicion of killing a
transgender activist, whose death triggered protests and raised concerns
that she’d been targeted because of her gender identity. Randy Lee Parkerson
was booked Tuesday on suspicion of murder in the death of Zoraida Reyes,
whose body was found June 12 in the parking lot of a Dairy Queen in the 200
block of North State College Boulevard.
Her death concerned LGBT advocates because the transgender community has a
heightened risk of violence and harassment.
However, Anaheim police said that the investigation hadn’t uncovered
evidence that Reyes was specifically targeted, and that the homicide wasn’t
being investigated as a hate crime. "There is nothing to suggest that
Zoraida was specifically targeted," said Lt. Bob Dunn, a spokesman for the
Anaheim Police Department. "The motive is still unclear."
But a friend, Jorge Gutierrez, an LGBT and immigrant rights organizer, said
he's unconvinced. "For many the lives of transgender people don't matter and
they're viewed as disposable," Gutierrez said. "We know that her identity as
a trans woman was a huge factor, whether the police want to acknowledge it
10-07-14: Pink News (UK re Kenya): "Kenya: Transgender activist wins
landmark case to change her name on academic certificates" (more,
"Transgender activist Audrey Mbugua won a landmark
case on Tuesday when the Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) was
ordered to change her name on academic certificates.
reports KNEC now has 45 days to comply with the request of the Kenyan High
“We won,” Mbugua told the
Thomson Reuters Foundation.
“It’s a huge watershed moment.” The council was also ordered to remove the
male gender mark on Mbugua’s certificates.
High Court Judge Justice Weldon Korir said: “I note that this is a novel
issue and KNEC cannot be faulted for refusing to issue an amendment to the
applicant.” However, the court had heard that Audrey provided enough
evidence for why KNEC needed to issue her a fresh certificate.
“The court takes judicial notice of the fact that examinations in this
country are not administered based on the gender of the candidate. Marks are
also not awarded on gender,” the court stated.
Mbugua said she intends to continue to use the courts to fight for the
rights of transgender people.
Earlier this month,
human rights groups urged Kenya to allow LGBT
groups to carry out their work there uninterrupted.
A new anti-gay bill that would see gay people sentenced to death by stoning
is currently under discussion in Kenya.
Kenyan government spokesperson Aden Duale said earlier this year that
homosexuality was as serious as terrorism.
He said: “We need to go on and address this issue the way we want to address
terrorism. “It’s as serious as terrorism. It’s as serious as any other
10-04-14: Winnipeg Free Press (Canada): "Caught in the eye of a storm
-- Transgender girl at centre of rights complaint"
"A Winnipeg family is the target of an alleged bully waging a campaign
against their daughter because she is transgender. Only in this case, the
alleged bully isn't another kid, it's an adult woman.
The Burgos family has long asked the school division to do something about
it, but has now submitted a police complaint and resorted to a formal human
rights complaint, citing the school division. "This is where we're shocked:
Why did it get to this, to go to the police?" said the girl's mother, Izzy
Izzy and her husband, Dale Burgos, filed the complaints
after a month of incidents in which the woman, the mother of another student,
allegedly confronted her, her daughter, her son and other parents. "She's been
talking to everyone in the community and she says she feels bad, but I don't
believe that because she's still doing it," Burgos said.
At first, the issue was which bathroom her daughter,
Isabella, 8, was to use. Now it's turned into a campaign over the issue of
"My daughter is transgender. She's out and she's proud.
It's hard. The community loves her. Her school loves her and the other students
"One parent can do this, can
make her want to hide? I don't think this woman is even aware of the damage
she's doing," Burgos said."
10-03-14: Houston Chronicle: "Sugar Land's transgender homecoming king
seen as sign of progress", By
"When Mel Gonzales got up to accept his crown as the new homecoming king of
Sugar Land's Austin High School, not everyone was cheering.
But some of his classmates - the band kids, the
orchestra, the students from AP classes - were really loud.
It was a classic underdog story, according to
Gonzales, 17. They were cheering the school's first transgender homecoming
The win is being hailed as a sign of progress.
"The youth themselves are becoming more accepting of each other, and I think
that's a lesson that the adults are learning," said Sally Huffer, community
projects manager at the Montrose Center, which has long been active in the
Even with greater acceptance among peers, LGBT youth often still face
conflict at home, which is part of the reason they represent some 40 percent
of the homeless youth population overall. "What a great model he is," said
Huffer of Gonzales, "to show the difference between somebody who has the
support of their family, their friends and their school.""
10-03-14: ABC7, Los Angeles: "Murder of transgender woman caught on
camera; suspects sought"
"Surveillance video has been released in the fatal shooting of a transgender
woman in East Hollywood early Thursday, and police are asking for the
public's help to catch the suspects.
Aniya Parker, 47, was fatally shot around 2:30 a.m. Thursday on the 600
block of North Kenmore Avenue.
On Friday night, mourners, united in their grief, gathered at the spot where
Parker lost her life. Those in the transgender community are on edge after
one of their own, who they knew as Asia, was shot and killed.
"I can't even come home late from work or something without the risk of
being shot in my head, brutally, for my purse or whatever the case may be.
It terrifies me," vigil organizer Kerri Secil said.
In the video, Parker is seen turning around after 2-4 suspects say
something, then surround her underneath a tree. One suddenly throws a punch
and Parker runs off. That's when one suspect fires a single shot, hitting
her in the head.
She crosses the street where she sits on the curb, before she suddenly
collapses in the street. Parker later died at a local hospital. "
10-03-14: Washington Post (posted 10-02): "A question for schools:
Which sports teams should transgender students play on?" (more)
"It had been a relatively quiet policy debate until the full-page ad
appeared in the local newspaper. “A male wants to shower beside your
14-year-old daughter,” it said. “Are you OK with that?”
placed by a socially conservative group in Minnesota, was meant to snap
attention to a proposal to allow transgender students to play on teams based
on their preferred gender rather than the sex assigned to them at birth.
It appears to have worked. More than 100 community
members flooded a meeting this week near Minneapolis, and thousands more
sent e-mails. In response, the quasi-public body governing high school
sports in Minnesota
decided to delay a vote
on a new policy covering sports participation by transgender students.
Members of the board of directors said they needed more time to study the
The policy, which they now plan to vote on in
December, was an attempt to grapple with a question that has bedeviled many
states: How do you deal with the growing number of children identifying as
transgender who want to participate in the highly gender-specific worlds of
high school sports and extracurricular activities?
School systems have scrambled to adopt policies to
deal with these students while also being sensitive to concerns over
locker-room privacy and any advantages a more physically imposing
transgender female might have on the field against other girls.
“Generally, our society is becoming more accepting in its understanding of
gender identity and what that means, and we’ve been very lucky that in the
last few years this cadre of young kids has started identifying themselves
as trans from a young age,” said Helen Carroll, sports project director at
the National Center for Lesbian Rights, who helped write a model policy for
school systems. “It’s really pushing folks to really grapple with and
understand what it means.”
But activists like Carroll have run into opposition, including from groups
that say gender is a biological fact rather than a social choice and that
schools should not cater to a small subset of the student body."
10-03-14: Media Matters: "Watch A Transgender Student Athlete's
Emotional Response To Right-Wing Misinformation"
"On MSNBC, a transgender student described the pain caused by right-wing
misinformation about a policy that could allow athletes to participate on
the team that corresponds with their gender identity.
During the October 2 edition of MSNBC's NewsNation with
Tamron Hall, guest host Richard Lui led a
segment on the Minnesota State High School League's consideration of a
policy for transgender student
athletes. The proposal, which has since been temporarily tabled,
would potentially allow student athletes to play on the sports team that
matches their gender identity.
The segment featured OutFront Minnesota Executive
Director Monica Meyer and Zeam Porter, a transgender student athlete who
delivered an emotional
speech during a public hearing about
the proposal. When asked about the hearing, Porter described the difficulty
of being exposed to misinformation about transgender students, including a
ad published in Minnesota's Star
Tribune . . . "
10-03-14: "Transgender couple married in Miss. criticized by AFA"
"Newlyweds Nick and Jessica Fulgham of Olive Branch did what many newly
married couples do after getting hitched: They posted a picture of their
marriage license on Facebook. That post led to a string of events that put
Jessica and Nick in the middle of a storm of controversy.
Nick, a transgender individual legally recognized as a male, met Jessica
over a year ago through a mutual friend. The two immediately hit it off, and
they married on Sept. 18 in Madison County . . .
When Jessica's cousin Robby Rikard,
the pastor at First Baptist Church
in Lyman, saw the picture of the marriage license on Facebook, he
contacted the American Family Association, a national conservative
organization that opposes same-sex marriage and homosexuality.
Soon after, American Family Radio talk-show host
Bryan Fischer wrote an
article and included a segment on his show about Nick and Jessica.
"Two lesbians getting married could not possibly be more illegal and
unconstitutional anywhere in the United States than in Mississippi,"
on the AFA website.
Fischer charged the couple "committed biological fraud" when Nick used his
driver's license, which classified him as male, to obtain their marriage
license at the Madison County Courthouse . . .
Nick said the AFA's portrayal of him made him feel "terrible." "It makes
both of us sound like criminals," he said.
Professor Matt Steffey of the Mississippi College School of Law said the AFA
is entitled to its opinion, but it has no legal standing. "If he has a court
order legally identifying him as a male, then you are a male for the purpose
of the law," Steffey explained. " ... And at least for now, that, to me,
settles the legal issue. This is like arguing that after a person's been
convicted, that they're really innocent."
After the publicity from the American Family Association, Nick and Jessica
are "having to worry about job security and the safety of our family," she
said. The couple has three children.
[Ed note: Everyone should begin asking "When will the AFA's vicious
religious-superstition-based cruelty end?"]
10-02-14: Takepart.com: "Why It Could Get Easier to Come Out as Transgender
at Work -- In two lawsuits, the government is going after people who
discriminate against transgender employees",
" . . .Now, on the heels of a recent case and two new lawsuits, people like
Lusardi may have increasing legal rights against discrimination.
The shift began in 2012, when veteran police officer and transgender woman
Mia Macy sued the Department of Justice for denying her a job with the
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. She claimed the agency
refused to hire her because she'd come out as transgender. The U.S. Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission ruled in Macy's favor and found that
discriminating against employees because they are transgender, or because
they have transitioned or plan to, is sex-based discrimination and violates
Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
Last week, for the first time since that ruling, the EEOC has filed two
lawsuits on behalf of transgender women who say they were discriminated
against at work. In Florida, the EEOC says that
Lakeland Eye Clinic fired an employee who started transitioning from
male to female at work. In Detroit, the EEOC
alleges that a funeral home fired Amiee Stephens after she gave them a
letter indicating her plan to transition from male to female.
A representative for the EEOC said that in 2013, the first year it began
collecting transgender-specific complaints, it received 131 charges alleging
discrimination based on gender identity. That the EEOC is enforcing this law
makes a “huge difference” for transgender people, says Sasha Buchert,
Lusardi's lawyer and a staff attorney with the
Center in San Francisco. It's especially critical for people in states
that don’t have gender nondiscrimination laws. According to a national
survey of transgender people, 90 percent said they'd experienced harassment,
mistreatment, or discrimination on the job or had hidden their identities at
Even with expanded legal protections, transitioning at work is bound to be
complicated. Experts argue that how an employee approaches the process and
how employers and management respond can have a critical impact on the trans
person’s safety and job security, the comfort of other employees, and in
some cases, the profit margins of the company.
As the EEOC lawsuits show, it can also lead to legal action. "
10-01-14: Vice.com: "Does the US Prison System Expose Transgender
Prisoners to Rape?", By Jessie Burkett
"Last Friday, a
district court judge ruled
that D. B., a transgender former prisoner who was incarcerated in Orlando,
had no right to sue Orange County, Florida, for putting her at excessive
risk and showing deliberate indifference to her safety. After she was
arrested on charges of unarmed burglary right before her 38th birthday, she
told guards that she was afraid to be tossed in with the general population,
but her cries were ignored, and she was subsequently raped by her
18-year-old cellmate, Josh Bailey, in December 2009.
According to court documents, D. B. asked to be put in protective custody
almost as soon as she was jailed awaiting trial. (She would ultimately be
sentenced to five years after pleading no contest.) After an investigation
conducted by the prison found no reason to grant her request, she was housed
alongside the male inmates, who began “shaking their penises” at her and
Most states don't have prison facilities for
people like D. B., and her case raises a question that was first asked 20
years ago when a
trans woman named Dee Farmer
won a Supreme Court case that allowed people to sue prisons for deliberate
indifference. Of course, it's not an easy thing to prove. But as a slew of
news stories, lawsuits, and studies build the case that trans people are
especially vulnerable, corrections departments across the country are poised
to re-evaluate their protocols.
US District Judge Gregory Presnell, however, said
that D. B. can't sue Orange County for negligence. In doing so, he ignored
years worth of mounting evidence
that trans women are at extreme risk when placed with the general
“I'm a little baffled by it,” says Valerie Jenness, who gave a deposition in
the case and is perhaps the foremost academic expert on prison violence
against trans women. “But it's gonna get increasingly difficult to deny that
trans folks who are locked up in a whole host of facilities are
Jenness is the author of a
2007 landmark study
called “Violence in California Correctional Facilities: An Empirical
Examination of Sexual Assault,” which showed that 59 percent of
transgendered women housed in men's facilities are sexually abused in
prison, versus just 4 percent of cis men.
Although awareness of trans issues has increased
dramatically since the study's release, the same lack of accountability is
still rampant within corrections departments. The same day that the ruling
in D. B.'s case came out, BuzzFeed published a
of a trans woman in Georgia being forced to share a holding cell with her
rapist, who then assaulted her again in May 2012. "
Ontario Human Rights Commission (Canada; first posted 4-08): "Backgrounder –
Talking about gender identity and gender expression"
. . . Over the years, the
Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has
taken steps to address discrimination because
of gender identity. In 1999, the OHRC released
“Toward a Commission Policy on Gender Identity”
for public comment.
In 2000, the OHRC released its first
discrimination and harassment because of gender
taking the position that the ground of “sex”
could be interpreted to include gender
identity. Following the release of this policy,
the OHRC continued to call for explicit
recognition of gender identity as a protected
ground in Ontario”s
Human Rights Code.
The OHRC has also
been actively litigating cases related to
gender identity. For example, the OHRC was
XY v. Ontario
(Government and Consumer Services),
a case that dealt with requirements for
transgender people to change the
sex-designation on their birth certificates.
The OHRC was also involved in
Forrester v. Peel
(Regional Municipality) Police Services Board
which dealt with how police services search
Hogan v. Ontario (Health and Long-Term Care)
with access to sex reassignment surgery
– towards a new policy:
In 2012, Ontario
added the grounds “gender identity” and “gender
expression” to the
Human Rights Code.
The OHRC then moved to update its
discrimination and harassment because of gender
In 2012-13, the OHRC did a literature review
revealing a wealth of information on how gender
identity and human rights is understood from a
variety of perspectives. At the same time,
human rights law in Canada and internationally
has continued to advance understanding and
protection of legal rights for trans people.
In 2013, the OHRC
hosted an online public consultation survey on
policy issues related to gender identity,
including use of terminology, types of
discrimination trans people experience, and how
the OHRC can help organizations understand
responsibilities related to these grounds. We
received more than 750 responses to the survey
from members of the public as well as community
services organizations, educators, unions and
OHRC staff also
conducted one-on-one interviews with a range of
individuals and organizations to explore issues
in depth and to identify individuals and groups
who could take part in future outreach and
The survey –
what we heard: The survey was not
about statistics – it was about giving people
an opportunity to share their experiences and
their ideas, to give us a snapshot of some of
the key issues relating to gender identity and
expression in today’s world. The following
sections outline the questions we asked and
some of the responses we received . . ."
[Ed. note: This study
evidences the profound shifts in public-thought
regarding transpeople over the past 10 years .
. . even in Ontario, Canada, where
Blanchard held sway for so long, and where
they made their last stand. Nice milestone in
the trans-timeline, eh? ]
9-21-14: Telegraph(UK re India): "India gets first transgender news
anchor months after third gender legally recognised" (Video,
"India’s first transgender news anchor has appeared on regional television
just months after the country’s Supreme Court recognised it as a legal third
Padmini Prakash, 31, worked as a dance instructor
and acted in soaps before being recruited to Lotus News in the southern
state of Tamil Nadu. She
told the Times of India
she was disowned by her family when she told them she was transgender and
has faced discrimination throughout her life.
But she has won widespread praise since her first broadcast in August. “I
was very worried because I also had to focus on my diction and maintain a
steady narrative pace to ensure that there was clarity and viewers could
understand me,” Ms Prakash said.
Her popularity with viewers ensured a rapid promotion to be the face of the
daily 7pm news bulletin.
G.K.S. Selvakumar, chairman of Lotus News, told the Times of India the
channel was “very supportive”. “After initial trials, we were convinced that
she had the potential to be an excellent news anchor,” he said.
Ms Prakash has been involved in transgender rights activism in the past,
protesting against the discrimination, harassment and stigma experienced by
sexual minorities in India. Campaigners estimate there are hundreds of
thousands of transgender people in the country but because they were not
legally recognised until earlier this year, they have been ostracised, faced
abuse and often been forced into prostitution.
In April, the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling recognised transgender as a
legal third gender and called on the government to ensure equal treatment."
9-21-14: Yahoo News (re The Philippines): "Transgender model to PH
gov’t: Let’s have a decent talk"
"Her battle cry is no different from what has been said many times over. But
her journey is an inspiring and unique one.
Geena Rocero is a US-based Filipina model and an LGBTQ (lesbian, gay,
bisexual, transgender, and queer) rights advocate. She first gained public
attention, as an activist, when she came out as a transgender during TED
(Technology, Entertainment, Design) Talks’ annual conference early this
Rocero was recently in the Philippines. She met with different groups and
spoke at several forums. She also met with Sen. Bam Aquino to discuss the
status of the lesbian, gay, LGBTQ community in the country.
In an interview, Rocero shared her thoughts on efforts of the Philippine
government for the LGBTQ community . . .
Q: While waiting for the anti-discrimination bill to prosper, what do you
think should our government do to help protect and improve the lives of
Rocero: In the national context, it’s proving to be difficult to pass the
anti-discrimination bill that really protects the community. But what’s
interesting, what’s happening in localized environment; the activist groups
have been doing underground – trying to pass anti-discrimination ordinances
in different local government units.
There are already seven cities and two provinces in the Philippines that
have anti-discrimination protection. It’s important to keep that momentum
going because that’s what’s going to protect LGBTs; city by city, barangay
by barangay. If the protection is not going to happen in the national
environment, communities should make their own steps.
Q: What else is lacking in our government aside from the anti-discrimination
Rocero: A lot is still lacking in the Philippine government. They’ve been
trying to pass the anti-discrimination bill for a very long time already.
The religious conditioning is much harder to change. I think that’s an
important factor to focus on when passing a law. If you’re not willing to
change the cultural dynamics of understanding and just for people to see and
accept us as who we are as human beings who all just want to go about our
lives and pursue our truth and our dreams, then the fight for it would
remain hard . . .
Q: What is your message to our government?
Rocero: Let’s have a decent human conversation. We want to be in front of
you all and just have a human conversation and all that we’re asking for is
basic rights. We are not asking for special rights, these are just basic
rights; to be treated equally and just exist as we are.
Q: What is your message to LGBTQs?
Rocero: As a person who made a conscious choice to come out and be an
advocate and specifically talk about these things, we can’t force people to
be activists. It’s a personal choice. But as an individual, being visible
and being vocal is a big step. Knowing about your rights is a huge step. You
need to know when and how to speak up when your rights are being violated.
Speak up when you see there are violations. Sometimes, it’s hard to think
that there’s still hope, like when you report a violence that you saw, but
you need to remember that those little efforts count. And as a community, we
are all tied-in together, we just need to really understand each other.
Awareness is the most important thing."
9-21-14: Nature (posted 9-16): "Diversity: Pride in science -- The
sciences can be a sanctuary for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender
individuals, but biases may still discourage many from coming out", by
M. Mitchell Waldrop
"It was not until the last two years of his graduate studies, at the
University of South Florida in Tampa, that Trotter finally came out,
confiding to a few close friends that he was gay. As the word spread, he
found his depression lifting. His energy improved. His work became more
“When I felt I could just be who I am, a full person,” says Trotter, “then
it was definitely good for the science.”
That message is being heard in more and more
laboratories and research centres around the world. People who identify as
lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) have long faced discrimination
or worse: they are still considered outcasts or even outlaws in most Muslim
nations, as well as in Russia and parts of Asia. But attitudes are changing.
According to a survey published last year by the Pew Research Global
Attitudes Project, openly gay individuals have high levels of public
acceptance across broad swathes of Western Europe, Australia, Canada and
Latin America (see
‘Degrees of acceptance’).
Nowhere is this change more visible than in the United States, home of the
world’s largest research enterprise, where public attitudes are shifting
towards acceptance of LGBT people faster than in almost any other nation.
Courts and legislatures are lifting restrictions on same-sex marriage in
state after state, often in the face of vehement opposition from social
conservatives, and LGBT equality has emerged as a dominant civil-rights
“This is an important time in history for the LGBT community,” says Trotter
— not unlike the period several decades ago when women and under-represented
ethnic minorities began their push for greater recognition in science. Just
as those groups once did, LGBT researchers are trying to seize the moment by
creating an infrastructure of organizations and interest groups geared
towards helping one another with information, support and networking (see
505, 249–251; 2014) . . .
In this newly open environment, LGBT scientists are finding it easier to
declare themselves — or at least, to think about doing so. “I’m getting a
constant stream of e-mails from young scientists: ‘Can I meet with you?’,”
says Ben Barres, a Stanford neuroscientist who transitioned from female to
male in 1997, and who has become a prominent spokesman for LGBT issues in
But just as for ethnic minorities and women, there is still a long way to
go. Many LGBT scientists fear coming out — if only because publications,
career progression and promotion are based heavily on the judgement of
fellow scientists, which might be influenced by conscious or unconscious
bias. And many students may be avoiding a research career entirely —
although no one knows, because no one has counted.
“I worry that there is a vast pool of talent that might be being lost to
science,” says Trotter. The only way to change that, he says, is for the
scientific community to reach out to its LGBT members, and have an honest
9-17-14: Daily Mail (UK re US): "Transgender model who found fame on
America's Next Top Model 'struggles to find love because she was born in a
"A model who found fame on two seasons of
America's Next Top Model says she is struggling to find love because she was
born in a male body.
Transgender Isis King, 28, from New York, took the
fashion world by storm after appearing on the popular television program.
But the American Apparel model, who models for an
array of big fashion brands, hopes to find a partner to share her success
with. Most recently the model opened eyes
as she stole the spotlight walking in the Betsey Johnson SS15 fashion show
at New York Fashion Week.
She said: 'Being born in the wrong body has made
it really hard because I want to tell men up front, but once I tell them
they usually lose interest. 'There are preconceived notions of trans women,
and they don't want to know me once I tell them. 'It's a bit harder for me
because not only am I trans, but I am one of the world's most famous trans
women' . . .
She said: 'I was in a gelato place
with a guy who didn't know I was on America's Next Top Model.
'The girl serving us ice cream noticed who I was
and right as she was about to mention it, I opened my eyes wide, and winked
at her and she knew I didn't want her to say it out loud. 'She winked back
and she didn't say anything, but it was just perfect - it was the first time
it ever worked out that way.' Sadly, the date didn't workout and she feels
living in New York adds to difficulties in finding a meaningful
'I don't know if I'm going to find it here because
it is such a fast paced city,' she added. 'I have a great career, I know who
I am, I know who I want, I'm a positive person. 'I just want to meet someone
who's going to treat me the way I would treat them.'"
9-16-14: People: "Jazz Jennings Hopes to Inspire Other Transgender
Kids with New Picture Book"
"It's no surprise that growing up as a transgender kid wasn't easy for Jazz
Jennings. But the Florida-based teen made it
through – and is sharing the lessons she learned with others. Jennings, now
14, has coauthored a new children's book,
I Am Jazz, and hopes it can assist
other kids facing a similar struggle.
"I hope this book will help them to be who they are and stay true to
themselves," Jennings tells PEOPLE. " I want them to know it's OK to be
different and unique, and that they should be proud of themselves and who
The book was released Sept. 4 and recaps the triumphs and hardships she
faced on her transgender journey. "There are so few books for little kids
that actually mention the word transgender and explain what it is in simple
terms," she says . . .
"We were initially shocked when Jazz was diagnosed with gender identity
disorder [now called gender dysphoria], in 2004," they told PEOPLE via
email. "We recognized this was an incredibly complex issue, and since very
little was known about transgender children at the time, there would be
daunting challenges ahead."
The challenges were significant, but Jazz and her parents overcame them –
and want other families to know they have support. "For transgender kids who
are struggling, I want them to know they're not alone," Jazz says. "They
shouldn't be afraid to step out of their shadows." "
9-16-14: Jurist: "An Affirmative Decision for Transgender Marriage in
"JURIST Guest Columnist Francesca Acocella . . . discusses the recent
decision by the Thirteenth Court of Appeals of Texas to recognize
transgender identity in determining the validity of marriage . . .
. . . In it's decision delivered earlier this
year, the Thirteenth Court of Appeals of Texas noted that the legal
landscape had changed since Littleton and that the Texas legislature was no
longer silent. It found that there was a genuine issue of material fact as
to Araguz's gender, that the legislature overturned Littleton in 2009 and
the summary judgment cannot be upheld based on judicial estoppel. An
affidavit from Nikki's doctor, discussing the complexities of gender, was
sufficient for the court to find a genuine disputed fact. The court also
mentioned the ever-increasing number of states with marriage equality and
the US Supreme Court's ruling in
US v. Windsor
overturning Section 3 of the
Defense of Marriage Act
(PDF). Ultimately, the Araguz court held that "an individual who has had a
'sex change' is eligible to marry a person of the opposite sex," citing the
Texas Family Code Section
The new trial has yet to take place.
The difference between the courts' outcomes in Littleton and in Araguz is
partly due to evolving social, medical and legal understandings of gender.
The 2009 amendment to Texas's Family Code is part of that evolving
understanding. The Texas legislature amended its Family Code to include that
"an original or certified copy of a court order relating to the applicant's
name change or sex change" can establish the proof required for a marriage
license. The court in Araguz found the amendment invalidates Littleton,
legitimizing marriage in Texas for transgender people. During the 82nd
legislative session in Texas, which ended in 2012, there were several
unsuccessful attempts to repeal the 2009 amendment.
Because Texas statutes now recognize the rights and marriages of transgender
people, Texas agencies must allow transgender Texans to amend gender markers
on their identity documents and all courts, not just courts within the
jurisdiction that decided Araguz, must recognize the marriages of
9-16-14: Huffington Post: "State of Emergency for Transgender Women of
Addison Rose Vincent
a 2013 report by the National Coalition of
Anti-Violence Programs, it was reported
that of 72 percent of victims of anti-LGBTQ homicide were transgender women,
and 89 percent of victims were people of color. Just this summer alone,
there have been seven reported killings of transgender women of color in the
Kandy Hall in
in Maryland, an
in Michigan, and, just recently
in Tennessee. Many of the women's causes of death have not been released,
but from what is known, the victims were either shot, burned, or stabbed to
In the past two months there have been
two more attacks on transgender women of color in
Detroit, as well as the stabbing of a
15-year-old transgender girl
in Washington, D.C., Metro. Fortunately, the teen survived, but the attack
comes one year after the stabbing of
two years after the fatal stabbing of
and three years after the stabbing of
another unnamed transgender woman of color,
all of which happened in D.C. August was also the month in which 21-year-old
was brutally attacked in 2013, and the month in which 24-year-old
died from medical transphobia in 1995. Tyra was in a car accident at the
corner of 50th and C in Southeast D.C., and due to the transphobia of the
on-site EMT and doctor, she passed away from treatable injuries. And in 2002
19-year-old Stephanie Thomas and 18-year-old Ukea
Davis were executed in the same cross
streets as Tyra's accident.
The frequency of stabbings in attacks on
transgender women of color comes as a concern. The act of stabbing is a very
personal form of murder and raises the question of the intensity of the
attacker's transphobia. Though it can be argued that some suspects choose to
stab rather than shoot due to the easy access to knives over guns, and to
ensure lighter sentences if caught and tried, the assertion of dominance
over women's bodies with a phallocentric object is a symbolic rape of the
victim. Suspects often justify their attacks with the "trans
panic" defense, the concept that, in
the heat of the moment, internalized transphobia causes them to irrationally
attack transgender individuals who "provoke" them."
9-12-14: Huffington Post: "From Diagnoses to Dignity -- Barriers to
Health Care for Transgender People" (more)
""Trans people face stigma and discrimination and
harassment in healthcare, and so do providers," said Walter Bockting, a
medical psychology at Columbia University in New York City. "We need to
strategically support providers working with transgender people, many of
whom struggle bravely to do this work and expand its reach" . . .
The barriers to dignified access to healthcare are legal, societal, and
logistical. Documents do not match appearance, services are sometimes
economically out of reach, and the provision of care can be imperilled by
untrained providers and even threats against those who try to provide it.
Experts and activists say equitable access to healthcare underpins the
realization of other human rights for transgender people. And it all begins
with the messy politics of diagnosis . . .
"No one's identity is a disorder. When we are talking about [the] mental
health problems many transgender people experience, we are not referring to
'gender dysphoria' [feeling an emotional and psychological identity as male
or female opposite to one's biological sex] or any other trans-specific
diagnosis," said Lin Frazer, president of WPATH. "We are talking about [the]
mental health problems they suffer due to stigma and lack of access to
services... It's not inherently pathological to be gender non-conforming or
The UN World Health Organization (WHO)
International Classification of Diseases, version 10 (ICD-10), generally
accepted as the standard definition of health conditions, is under revision
and "Significant changes in the classification of gender identity and
conditions related to sexuality have been proposed." WPATH has been
move "gender incongruence" categories out of the Mental and Behavioural
Disorders chapter and into a more respectful and less pathological place in
"WPATH has been. [talking to] the WHO to consult on the ICD-11 revisions (to
be published in 2017)," said Gail Knudson, WPATH's secretary-treasurer and
medical director of the Transgender Health Program at Vancouver Coastal
Health in Canada. "Transgenderism will likely be called 'gender
incongruence', and not be located in the section on mental disorders." The
goal is to erode the pathology stigma associated with transgender people,
while maintaining the possibility of a medical designation so that those who
need to access gender transition-related health services and insurance can
"For some transgender people at a particular point in their lives, in some
parts of the world, having a diagnosis can be important - it allows them to
access care, get reimbursed for care, and achieve the changes they want,"
Justus Eisfeld, co-director of Global Action for Trans Equality (GATE),
said: "WHO will move trans people out of the disorders section... so it's
not as stigmatizing, but trans people can still access medical care through
the classification if they want and need it."
The pathways to accessing gender
transition-related and general healthcare are often barred by the limited
access to documentation transgender people experience almost everywhere. "I
do not suffer from gender dysphoria, I suffer from bureaucratic dysphoria,"
one trans person
told a United
9-10-14: CBS News: "Transgender teens become happy, healthy young
"Treatment to delay
puberty among adolescents struggling with
seems to boost psychological well-being for those
who ultimately pursue sex reassignment, new research suggests. The Dutch
study involved 55 transgender young adults who had been diagnosed years
a condition in which a biological boy strongly identifies as a girl, or
vice versa. All underwent a hormone treatment that temporarily blocked
puberty and prevented the development of sex characteristics.
The treatment gave them the "opportunity to develop
into well-functioning young adults," according to the study, published
online Sept. 8 in the journal Pediatrics. Overall, sexual confusion
resolved, and they appeared to be satisfied with their gender-related
decisions, the researchers found.
"Since puberty suppression is a fully reversible
medical intervention, it provides adolescents and their families with time
to explore their gender dysphoric feelings, and [to] make a more definite
decision regarding the first steps of actual gender reassignment treatment
at a later age," said study lead author Dr. Annelou de Vries.
By delaying the onset of
children who go on to gender reassignment
"have the lifelong advantage of a body that
matches their gender identities without the irreversible body changes of a
low voice or beard growth or breasts, for example," added De Vries, a child
and adolescent psychiatrist at the Center of Expertise on Gender Dysphoria
with the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam.
The study participants underwent puberty
suppression at an average age of nearly 14. The group included 22
biological boys, who later transitioned to females, and 33 biological girls
who ultimately underwent reassignment to live as men. Multiple assessments
were conducted up to one year following gender reassignment surgery (at an
average age of about 21).
By young adulthood,
anxiety, emotional distress and body image concerns were no more prevalent
among the transgender group than among the general public, the researchers
determined. Also, quality of life and happiness levels were on par with
was no longer an issue, and no patients expressed regret about the
transition process, including puberty delay . . .
Guidelines outlined by the Endocrine Society and
the World Professional Association for Transgender Health recommend that
teens who choose to undergo gender reassignment not begin hormone
treatments before age 16. Surgical intervention is not advised before the
age of 18.
"But children usually go into puberty much earlier
than that," said Susan Maasch, director of the Trans Youth Equality
Foundation in Portland, Maine. "And you can imagine the anxiety and
depression and overwhelming fear that a young child might experience when
they are about to go into puberty while feeling an insistent mismatch
between their biological gender and their actual gender identity" . . .
Treating them with a safe, well-known hormone to temporarily prevent
puberty has become a standard of care because it buys these children time
and a measure of relief. And if gender reassignment surgery does happen, it
will be a much easier, much less tough process."
Dr. Jack Drescher, a clinical professor of
psychiatry at New York Medical College in Valhalla, N.Y., said the findings
"seem to confirm the idea that puberty suppression is a generally good
idea." The treatment has only been done for about 15 years, "but so far it
does seem to be a relatively safe and benign intervention," he said. "And
this thoughtful and careful study suggests that it can be very helpful at
relieving psychological distress seen among those children who experience
panic when facing the onset of puberty."
Drescher added that not all teens who undergo
puberty suppression will pursue gender reassignment. "But those who do will
face an easier time of it," he said."
9-08-14: Huffington Post: "Alejandra Leos, Transgender Woman, Murdered
In Tennessee (UPDATED)"
"In a story that is depressingly familiar, another transgender woman has
lost her life at the hand of an attacker.
was reportedly shot to death only steps away from
her home in Memphis, Tennessee, last
Friday night. While local police reports initially misgendered Leos, family
confirmed that the victim identified as a woman.
Police have not identified a suspect in the murder.
“Alejandro would say ‘if you don’t know Alejandra
then you don’t know Memphis,'" a friend of Leos
Transgender individuals, particularly transgender
people of color,
experience violence at a disproportionate rate
when compared to the rest of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender
(LGBT) community. For more information on transgender issues and experiences
A fundraiser through the Gun Violence Survivors
foundation is currently in progress in order to aid Leos' family with
Head here to
visit the campaign.
arrest has since been made in this case.
Head here for
9-07-14: New York Magazine: "The Trans-Everything CEO -- Futurist, pharma
tycoon, satellite entrepreneur, philosopher. Martine Rothblatt, the
highest-paid female executive in America, was born male. But that is far
from the thing that defines her. Just ask her wife. Then ask the robot
version of her wife." (more,
"Only about 5 percent of the companies in the Fortune 500 are run by women;
double the sample size, and the proportion is the same. Compensation levels
for female CEOs appear to lag as well, though it’s hard to tell because
there are so few of them. On a recent list of America’s 200 highest-paid
CEOs, only 11 were women, and their median pay was $1.6 million less than
their male peers. Certain of these women are already household names:
Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer, No. 34 on the list, who earned $25 million last year,
and Hewlett-Packard’s Meg Whitman, No. 95, who earned $18 million. But the
highest-paid female CEO in America is not nearly as well known. She is
Martine Rothblatt, the 59-year-old founder of United Therapeutics—a publicly
traded, Silver Spring, Maryland–based pharmaceutical company—who made a
previous fortune as a founder of Sirius radio, a field she entered as an
attorney specializing in the law of space. But what’s really extraordinary
about Rothblatt’s ascent is not that she has leaned in, or out, or had any
particular thoughts about having it all. What sets Rothblatt apart from the
other women on the list is that she—who earned $38 million last year—was
"It’s like winning the lottery,” Rothblatt said happily, about seeing her
name atop the list, during one of the meetings I had with her this summer.
But Rothblatt could not be less interested in establishing herself as a role
model for women. “I can’t claim that what I have achieved is equivalent to
what a woman has achieved. For the first half of my life, I was male,” she
In person, Martine is magnificent, like a tall lanky teenage boy with
breasts. She wears no makeup or jewelry, and she inhabits her muted
clothing—cargo pants, a T-shirt, a floppy button-down thrown on top—in the
youthful, offhand way of the tech elite. Martine is transgender, a power
trans, which makes her an even rarer species in the corporate jungle than a
female CEO. And she seems genuinely to revel in her self-built
in-betweenness. Just after her sex-reassignment surgery in 1994, her
appearance was more feminine than it is today—old photos show her wearing
lipstick, her long, curly hair loose about her shoulders. But in the years
since she has developed her own unisexual style. She is a person for whom
gender matters enough to have undergone radical surgery, but not enough to
care whether she’s called he or she by people, like her 83-year-old mother,
who occasionally lose track of which pronoun to use . . . "
9-07-14: Philadelphia Inquirer: "Bala Cynwyd doctor helps transgender
teen gain her true identity"
"Aly is a pretty 17-year-old who talks easily
about being transgender. It is impossible to guess that she was born
male; her facial expressions and the grace with which she moves are
"I knew, as early as when I was three or four,
that I was a girl," says Aly, who changed her name from Luke seven
years ago when she "outed" herself to family, friends, and classmates.
"Even when I was a toddler, I played with Barbies and pushed around a
toy vacuum sweeper. I'd watch television and always picture myself as
the princess or the queen."
Luke went to school in jeans and plaid shirts
like the other boys, but played only with the girls. The minute he got
home, he exchanged the pants for his favorite outfit - a purple party
dress with sparkly sequins. His brother, Billy, two years older,
insouciantly explained to his friends, "My little brother likes to
dress up in girls' clothes." "They didn't pay much attention," Aly says
Shortly before entering fourth grade in
Stratham, N.H., Luke confided to his parents that he was not male,
could no longer pretend, and declared that he would not continue to go
to school as a boy.
Aly is one of a growing population of children
- some as young as three - who insist that they have been sabotaged by
the bodies they were given. No one knows if the numbers are rising
because there are more transgender youth or whether increased media
attention and shifting attitudes have made transgender people more
willing to reveal themselves.
An annual survey by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight
Education Network found that 8.3 percent of LGBT youth identified as
transgender in 2011, up from 3.2 percent a decade earlier.
Endocrinologist Norman P. Spack, head of the transgender clinic at
Boston Children's Hospital, believed to be the first in the country,
suggests that one in 1,000 children and adolescents may be transgender
. . .
Aly was lucky. Although her parents struggled
to make sense of what they describe as their "incredibly difficult and
unusual situation," they respected and supported their younger child
right from the start . . . In December 2007, he and his wife, who
passed away four years ago, wrote a letter to their friends and
". . . We realize that many of you will
find this news shocking and confusing. . . . Luke has been diagnosed
with gender identity disorder, a devastating condition that can turn
the life of a child upside down. Biologically, Luke is a boy. But in
every other sense, she is a girl. . . . We now call her Aly. We
recognize that this change will take time to get used to. What we're
asking from you is compassion for something you may never understand .
The administration at Luke's elementary school
had just sent a Thanksgiving letter to parents explaining that a boy in
the school would be presenting as a girl. When Aly returned to school
after the holiday break, dressed in capris and a pink shirt, almost all
her classmates were welcoming, even excited . . .
Aly was one of the first children to be seen by
Norman Spack in Boston. "I have this image of Aly as a little girl,"
Spack remembers, "a round face, just adorable."
After thorough evaluations and consultations
with the pediatrician confirmed that the 10-year-old was, indeed,
transgender, not just going through a phase, Spack started
puberty-suppressing hormones . . .
Aly had sex reassignment surgery six weeks ago
at Lower Bucks Hospital in Bristol. "Dr. Spack brought me to this part
of my life," she said softly six days later, tucked under the covers in
the bed where she was recovering nearby. "He did everything to help me
be a girl."
Sherman Leis, a Bala Cynwyd surgeon, has performed more than 3,500
operations on transgender patients, including facial feminization
procedures, breast removal or augmentation, and sex reassignment
surgery. Aly was his second-youngest patient, on the verge of 17."
9-07-14: Metro (UK): "How to ask a woman out when you’re a
"When it comes to making
the first move, I’m terrible at it.Whether that’s been in my previous
incarnation as a lesbian or my current one as a trans guy, the fact is, it’s
simply better that I don’t realise when I want to hit on someone.Flirting,
it seems, only comes naturally to me when I don’t actually think that I
might like to take things a little further with the person in front of me.
Where some guys get full of bravado and let
rejection run off their egos like rain off a freshly waxed car, testosterone
hasn’t quite boosted my confidence levels that far just yet, so I’m still
more likely to get all shy and emotionally-challenged when faced with
someone I really quite fancy.
But, like all great hypocrites, I’m very much
aware of what I should be doing even if I’m not quite able to actually do it
Here’s how to make the first move if you’re a
9-06-14: The Tico Times (Costa Rica): "Transgender Costa Ricans fight
discrimination over name-change rights", by Fabiola Pomareda
"What’s in a name? For many transgender Costa Ricans, a lot. Starting with
the fact that in many cases, the names on their government-issued IDs have
nothing to do with self-image or identity.
Karolina Malone Esquivel, 24, told The Tico Times
that she began her transformation from boy to girl at the age of 14. But
since graduating high school, she said it’s been impossible to find work.
And that discrimination starts with the name on her
“I’ve left résumés, I’ve gone everywhere and no one ever calls me,” said
Esquivel, who joined several others on Aug. 28 in a protest in front of the
Supreme Elections Tribunal in San José, where the Civil Registry is located
. . .
On Esquivel’s ID, a young woman’s face stares out from the picture. But the
name is a boy’s. There is a line labeled “known as,” where it states
“Karolina.” But that name is useless for official paperwork or any other
transaction. When a person’s photo doesn’t match the gender of a name on an
identification document, it leads to problems. And life already is difficult
enough, Esquivel said.
In the workplace, transgender employees often are viewed as “undesirables”
by coworkers, she said. The stigma is the same in schools and at health care
centers. “When you go to the Caja [Social Security System], they call out
your name loudly, in front of everyone. Those situations are humiliating for
someone who looks different than their name,” she said.
Transvida President Dayana Hernández said that having a name that reflects
one’s identity is a human right, and last week’s protest aimed to educate
others that human rights aren’t negotiable. Fernández noted that, “The
transgender population isn’t a small one. As you can see [at the
demonstration] there are many transgender girls and boys, and we all face
barriers preventing us from working.”
Esquivel said discrimination is often a primary reason that many turn to
prostitution, which is legal in Costa Rica, to make ends meet. “Most of us
really don’t want to work in the sex trade,” she said. “We want something
different, something more stable, instead of facing the cold and taking
Two months ago, Esquivel registered for classes at a San José university,
where she plans on studying human resources. She hopes to become a
boss.“Since no one never hired me, one day, I’ll be the person doing the
hiring,” she said.
Three months ago, eight members of Transvida petitioned the courts through
public legal counsel. But their cases have gone nowhere, they said. In the
legal battle to allow transgender Costa Ricans to change their names, only a
judge can order the Civil Registry to waive its gender rule. Cases are
ongoing in courts in Desamparados and San José, and some members will file
another case in Guadalupe, where they hope to find a sympathetic judge. Said
Fernández: “At 14, I decided to be a woman. At 20, I still haven’t managed
to get people to recognize the name I chose: Pamela.”"
9-05-14: BuzzFeed: "Human Rights Campaign President "Formally
Apologizes" To Transgender Community" (HRC
Friday at Southern Comfort, one of the largest annual transgender community
conferences, Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin apologized for
what he described as when the national LGBT rights organization has failed
to represent and serve transgender people over the years.
“HRC has done wrong by the transgender community
in the past, and I am here to formally apologize,” Griffin said, according a
transcript of his remarks
posted online. “I am sorry for the times when we stood apart when we should
have been standing together.”
It’s no secret among many in the transgender community that there’s a lack
of trust when it comes to HRC.
In his speech, Griffin described attending an HRC event held at Ohio State
University — during which he suddenly realized his event was taking place at
the same time as the local community’s largest transgender community
gathering, the 6th Annual TransOhio Symposium, on the floor directly above
him. Griffin said the fact that he and HRC had no idea the local transgender
community was holding its gathering at the same place and the same time as
his event illustrated a major disconnect — one he said he wishes to resolve.
“… [I]nstead of all of us working together, taking stock of all of our
progress and the challenges ahead, and finding comfort in each other’s
company, ‘they’ were upstairs, and ‘we’ were downstairs,” he said. “There
that divide was, for all to see. Plain as day.”
With that, Griffin said he hopes HRC and the transgender community can begin
a “new chapter together” and promised to work diligently and more closely
together, but noted HRC “may make mistakes” along the way.
“What happens to trans people is absolutely central to the LGBT struggle,”
he said. “And as the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organization, HRC
has a responsibility to do that struggle justice, or else we are failing at
our fundamental mission.”
HRC, he said, is expanding its focus on transgender issues and the work it
does to serve transgender people throughout the country, such as supporting
local transgender organizations, condemning violence against transgender
women of color, and continuing its work with corporations, healthcare
organizations, and schools to treat all LGBT people fairly."
9-04-14: CNN (re Hong Kong): "Misunderstood and stateless in Hong
Kong: A transgender woman's nightmare"
"Crossing borders as a transgender woman is always a challenge. There are
many reasons immigration authorities reject you, but sometimes it's simply
because they don't seem to understand who we are.
My name is Eliana Rubashkyn and I was born in Bogotá, Colombia. I'm a
trained pharmacist and speak five languages fluently, and until recently, I
was studying for an MBA in Health Administration in Taiwan on a government
scholarship. I also used to be a man.
Last year, I was forced to travel to Hong Kong to renew my passport because
of my altered gender. Hong Kong -- a one-hour flight away -- is the nearest
Colombian consulate from Taiwan. The trip was also necessary to allow me to
apply for the second year of my graduate degree.
Little did I know my life would be turned upside down when I boarded that
plane . . . "
9-04-14: WCSH6 (Maine): "How doctors treat transgender children"
"Being transgender isn't just a state of mind, it is a diagnosed medical
condition called Gender Dysphoria. Doctors can identify symptoms and begin
treating Gender Dysphoria before children become adults. Maine Health
recognized a need for that treatment and established a gender clinic at
Barbara Bush Children's Hospital.
Four years ago, pediatric endocrinologist Dr. Jerrold Olshan was treating
just one or two children for Gender Dysphoria. Today, he sees between 20 and
30. He says all children have quesitons about gender, but sometimes those
questions run deeper. That's when parents are likely to take a child to see
a specialist. It can happen at a very young age.
"When you talk to these kids as adults they will say frequently, 'I've known
since I was four I was in the wrong body. I was born, they wanted me to be a
boy, I just I knew I was a girl'" Olshan told NEWS CENTER.
The child may see a doctor, but there is no medical intervention until the
first signs of puberty. At that point, he or she is put on hormone blockers
to stop puberty. Then, between the ages of 13 and 16, doctors will begin
hormone therapy with testosterone or estrogen. All the while, the patient is
meeting with a psychiatrist and social worker.
"These children and families have had a lot of stress, and often there is
comorbidities," said Olshan. "There's things like depression associated with
these conditions, probably because of the struggles of their identity being
different than how society identifies them."
So why does all of this matter to physicians? Doctor Orsham says he started
treated transgender childen because of their extremely high mortality rate.
A recent study of trans youth in New York City found that 46% of them had
considered suicide, and 25% of them had attempted it. "If we can intervene
early, the hope is, and what we are seeing fortunately is that we can really
lower the risk of death in these kids.""
9-04-14: WCSH6 (Maine): "School sends parents letter about transgender
"Some parents with students at Old Town Elementary
said there is a second grade student in the school that is transgender.
The school district mailed
the letter to
parents at the start of the new school year. It went to parents who have
children in the same learning community as the transgender student, which is
made up of about 120 kids from different grades.
says the student "may be familiar to your children as a boy, but will now be
recognized as a girl." It goes on to say that the student has identified as
a girl for quite some time and will now be using a new name and dressing in
a more feminine manner. The student will also be using the girls'
bathroom, according to the letter. It also acknowledges that this is a new
situation for many people, including staff members. NEWS CENTER has attached
the entire letter to this story.
The school was not legally obligated to send the letter, but the RSU34
Superintendent David Walker said it chose to. Legally, under the Maine Human
Rights Act, the school is required to treat all students equally. Walker
said the child's family met with the school over the summer to develop a
plan. The school drafted the letter, then the family and the superintendent
reviewed and approved it. Old Town Elementary wanted parents to hear the
information from the school first, and not from their children, according to
There are several organizations in Maine that
provide resources for people struggling with gender identity, advocate for
transgender equality, and work to educate the community. Here are a few
links to learn more:
Trans Youth Equality,
Maine Transgender Network,
9-02-14: BuzzFeed: "Kristin Beck Is A Different Kind Of
Transgender Pioneer -- Lady Valor, the documentary that follows the former
Navy SEAL’s life after coming out as a trans woman, pushes the envelope of
trans representation. And Beck wouldn’t have it any other way"
"In 2013, Kristin Beck became the first former Navy SEAL to come out as
transgender, which instantly placed her as
one of the most high-profile figures in the meteoric shift in the
national conversation about transgender rights. In person, she is instantly
open and friendly, happy to talk about just about anything, but her voice
hovers just a few notches above a whisper and never any louder, and her
demeanor can at times read as diffident, almost shy. In fact, if you had not
heard of her, you could be forgiven for never guessing she is an activist
who regularly travels the country for speaking engagements, let alone a
decorated veteran with 20 years of some of the most grueling combat
experiences a soldier can have.
But, according to Beck, there is one thing you would definitely know about
her upon meeting her for the first time. “Imagine me walking down the
street,” she told BuzzFeed in March at the SXSW Film Festival. “It’s
obvious. It’s like, Wow, there’s a dude in a dress.”
It is one of several eye-opening, unexpected things Beck said over the
course of a far-ranging interview after the world premiere of Lady Valor:
The Kristin Beck Story, the feature documentary about her life after
coming out as transgender . . . "
9-01-14: SDGLN: "Kristin Beck truly is "Lady Valor" and a transgender
"A former Navy SEAL who spent many years based in San Diego, and who came
out as a transgender woman two years after retiring from the military in
2011, is the subject of a compelling documentary, “Lady Valor: The Kristin
Beck Story” . . . The documentary will have its television premiere on CNN
The film tells the story of Navy SEAL Christopher Beck, who served honorably
for more than 20 years as a gung-ho member of SEAL Team 1 and SEAL Team 6,
the latter a highly trained counterterrorism unit also known as the U.S.
Special Warfare Development Group.
For many years, Beck felt like a woman trapped in a man’s body, and fought
to understand those feelings and then to embrace them. She first came out on
LinkedIn in 2013 as Kristin Beck and then on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360.”
Her story went viral, and directors Sandrine Orabona and Mark Herzog began
documenting her life and conducting interviews with her family and former
SEAL brothers . . .
But all has not been peaches and cream for Beck, who spoke by cell phone
late Monday with San Diego Gay & Lesbian News while on a road trip to San
Francisco. Some anti-gay and anti-trans people have publicly criticized her,
showing their ignorance and bigotry. The very patriotic Beck sees the sad
irony in that some of the people she fought for during two decades of
military service do not understand the basic guarantees of the Declaration
of Independence . . .
During the telephone interview, Beck says it was a “tough decision” to come
out and she admits that “I shot myself in the foot” during that difficult
and challenging process. She made a few public-relations flubs that she
sincerely regrets, such as not understanding the touchy issue of
misgendering in the media. For that faux pas, Beck says she is a persona non
grata in some quarters of the trans community. “I’m happy,” Beck says. “But
I wish I was better prepared when I came out”
. . .
Since the documentary was filmed, some things have changed for the better
for Beck. While her mother refused to be filmed for the documentary, she has
since come around and is now supportive of her transgender daughter. Some
things haven’t changed. Beck still faces bigotry and prejudice … and
sometimes within the LGBT community. “It’s appalling to me,” she says.
Beck advocates for trans rights anytime and anywhere. “One trans person is
murdered every week in the U.S.,” she says, her voice growing emotional and
aggravated. “We need to bring awareness to these issues. We don’t deserve to
be murdered! We don’t deserve to be fired from our jobs! We are humans just
like everybody else. We should be treated equally!”
Being an ex-SEAL who is transgender has given Beck a media platform and she
says she hopes to use the exposure to further the cause. “If I have all this
media attention, then I’m going to use it”. . .
Beck’s advocacy is genuine and passionate. She does, however, find herself
somewhat at odds with some of the more glamorous members of the transgender
community who have turned their natural beauty or plastic-surgery miracles
into lucrative careers as trans celebrities.
“I feel a little disappointed,” Beck says of the trans celebrities. “I go on
TV myself, but never for personal attention or the celebrity. I’m
encouraging equality, dignity and respect for transgender people. Some of
them are doing it for the publicity, celebrity and glamour things. … It’s
disappointing that they are chosen to lead our parades when the true
activists who are unsung heroes should be getting the recognition.”
Beck freely admits that she has had no surgery to look more like a woman.
She is perfectly happy to be the trans woman that she is. And that pursuit
of happiness is the noble principle that has guided her through her career
as a Navy SEAL and now as a transgender activist.
[Ed. note: TBD]
8-29-14: Vice News: "Allowing Transgender People to Serve in the US
Military Is 'Inevitable' "
"Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel made headlines
in May when he
said that the
policy excluding transgender people from serving in the military
should "continually be reviewed," and that he "would be open" to rethinking
the ban. His remarks led many to hope that a change in regulations for
transgender service members could happen in the near future.
Since the 2010 repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" — a policy enacted by the
Bill Clinton administration that required gay and lesbian service members to
remain closeted about their sexuality — the campaign to end the exclusion
of transgender people in the military has also picked up steam.
This effort was aided by reports from the Palm
Center think tank in March
2014 and the Williams Institute at
the UCLA School of Law in May,
which estimate that around 15,500 people currently serving in the US
military are transgender. Data from the National Transgender Discrimination
Survey and the US Census Bureau shows that there are about 134,300
transgender veterans, and that military service is more common among
transgender people than it is among the general American population. No data
is available on whether these individuals are pre- or post-transition.
With the support of a number of retired generals,
the Palm Center, which focuses on gender and sexuality in the military,
on Tuesday on how to navigate and implement the necessary policy changes to
allow transgender people to openly serve.
"We have men and women around America that are willing to serve, that would
like to come in, or are actively serving, and what we ask them to do when
they're inside the military — to pretend that they're not transgender — is
just wrong," Gale Pollock, former acting surgeon general of the US Army and
co-chair of the commission that produced the report, told VICE News . . .
Despite the ban on military service, about 21.4 percent of the total
transgender population in the US is estimated to have served in the
military, according to the report. This likely makes it one of the largest
employers of transgender people in the country, documentary series
TransMilitary host and producer Fiona Dawson told VICE News.
While it's not entirely clear why military participation is so popular among
transgender individuals, it may have something to do with perceptions of
"We join for essentially the same reasons that other Americans do," Brynn
Tannehill, director of advocacy at LGBT military organization SPART*A, told
VICE News. "Some might join to prove themselves, and some might do it
because their masculinity is more accepted, but the majority do it for the
same reasons everyone else does."
Tannehill, herself transgender and a member of the navy and naval reserves
for 13 years, believes that her experience in the military would have been
different had there not been a ban on transgender service members. "I
probably would have come out sometime while I was at the Academy, because I
knew even then, and I think my military career probably would have gone on
longer, because I did get out in order to transition," she says."
8-28-14: New Republic: "Why Aren't Women Advancing At Work? Ask a
Transgender Person -- Having experienced the workplace from both
perspectives, they hold the key to its biases."
"Fifty years after
The Feminine Mystique
and 40 years after Title IX, the question of why
women lag in the workplace dogs researchers and lay people alike. While
women are entering the professions at rates equal to men, they rise more
slowly, and rarely advance to the top. They’re represented in smaller
numbers at the top in fields from science to arts to business.
Some suggest that there is something
about women—women have stalled because of their personal choices, or their
cognitive and emotional characteristics, whether innate or socialized.
Another possibility is that the obstacles to women’s advancement are located
within their environments—that they face barriers unique to their gender.
But while bias has been experimentally demonstrated, it’s hard to study in
the real world: Just as it’s hard to isolate a single environmental
pollutant’s effect on human health, it’s been near impossible to isolate
gender as a variable in the real world and watch how it affects a person’s
Until now. Trans people are bringing entirely new ways of approaching the
discussion. Because trans people are now staying in the same careers (and
sometimes the very same jobs) after they change genders, they are uniquely
qualified to discuss the difference between how men and women experience the
workplace. Their experience is as close to the scientific method as we can
get: By isolating and manipulating gender as a variable and holding all
other variables—skill, career, personality, talent—constant, these
individuals reveal exactly the way one’s outward appearance of gender
affects day-to-day interactions. If we truly want to understand women at
work, we should listen carefully to trans men and trans women: They can tell
us more about gender in the workplace than just about anyone.
Ben Barres is a biologist at Stanford who lived and worked as Barbara Barres
until he was in his forties. For most of his career, he experienced bias,
but didn’t give much weight to it—seeing incidents
as discrete events. (When he solved a tough math problem, for example, a
professor said, “You must have had your boyfriend solve it.”) When he became
Ben, however, he immediately noticed a difference in his everyday
experience: “People who don't know I am transgendered treat me with much
more respect,” he says. He was more carefully listened to and his authority
less frequently questioned. He stopped being interrupted in meetings. At one
conference, another scientist said, "Ben gave a great seminar today—but
then his work is so much better than his sister's." (The scientist didn't
know Ben and Barbara were the same person.) “This is why women are not
breaking into academic jobs at any appreciable rate,” he
wrote in response to Larry Summers’s famous gaffe implying women were
less innately capable at the hard sciences. “Not childcare. Not family
responsibilities,” he says. “I have had the thought a million times: I am
taken more seriously”. . .
What happens when the opposite transformation takes place—when
a man becomes a woman? Joan Roughgarden is a biologist at Stanford who lived
and worked as Jonathan Roughgarden until her early fifties, and her
experience was almost the mirror image of Barres’s. In her words, “men are
assumed to be competent until proven otherwise, whereas a woman is assumed
to be incompetent until she proves otherwise.” In an interview, Roughgarden
also noted that if she questioned a mathematical idea, people assumed it was
because she didn’t understand it . . .
To truly understand trans people’s experiences of workplace gender bias,
more research is needed. But the window to do so may be closing, as people
are able to change genders at younger and younger ages. Puberty-inhibiting
medications are becoming more mainstream, meaning young trans people can
choose to suppress the development of secondary sexual characteristics from
a relatively early age. (The treatment became available in the U.S. in
2009.) A child who identifies with the opposite gender and seeks treatment
is now able to experience the world, for most of their life, as that gender
And the group of trans people who are vocal on the subject is already fairly
small; many seem to feel they have much larger issues facing them. When
asked how people react when she describes the different treatment she
receives as a woman, Roughgarden responds simply, “I don't bring it up.”
Ultimately, Schilt says, it’s not trans people’s responsibility fix gender
bias. Roughgarden agrees. “We're trying make a life,” she says. “We have to
live in our actual roles, we can't sit in a coffeehouse and complain about
how this is the world. This is the world and we have to live in it.
We have to navigate it.”"
[Ed. note: An important, must-read essay.]
WBUR Boston (posted 8-19): "How Transgender People Are Changing Their
Voices", by Martha
"BOSTON — Lorelei Erisis taps the screen of a borrowed iPhone. The key of A,
with kazoo-like resonance, fills her living room in Ayer, Mass.
Erisis taps another button labeled “start,” takes a deep breath, and sings
the word “he,” trying to match the tone. A number, 75 percent, pops onto the
screen. “My pitch was too low,” Erisis says. “Oh well. Let me try again.”
Erisis, a transgender woman, is trying out
a mobile phone app that may be the first of its kind. Transgender men and
women who want to raise or lower the pitch of their voice can go through a
series of breathing and pitch exercises designed to help with what can be
the most difficult characteristic to change — their voice.
“What I often hear is, ‘I pass as a woman until I open my mouth,’ ” says
Kathe Perez, a speech language pathologist who designed the Eva app.
Erisis plays the tone again. This time, before she speaks, Erisis places two
fingers below her Adam’s apple and pushes up, just a touch, to physically
raise the pitch of her voice. Erisis, now 41, says she felt like a girl
growing up, but did not begin the physical transition from male to female
until she was 33. Just for fun, Erisis tries the pitch test with her
preferred pronoun. “She,” Erisis sings out. “Hey, 99 percent. It’s hilarious
that ‘she’ brought me to 99 percent.”
Erisis, who writes a column called “Ask
a Transwoman,” hears from many
transgender women, and some men, who say, “Voice can be a real liability.
There are definitely large parts of this country, even this state, where
it’s dangerous to be trans. It can be a matter of life or death.”
“Many of the people I work with will not go out in public because they have
to talk,” Perez adds. “Or they’ll go with people so that their wife or their
friend will order for them at a restaurant. They’re afraid to open their
mouths because the sound that comes out doesn’t match the person that’s
sitting at that table.”
There are lots of online programs. Some transgender men and women work
one-on-one with a coach. Perez says it takes six months to a year of daily
practice to permanently adjust one’s voice.
“It’s extremely difficult to override some of the early programming we have
in our brains about how we express ourselves,” she says. “So we retrain the
voice by retraining the brain. They go together.”"
8-26-14: PGN: "Tenika Watson’s memoirs published"
"A dream has come true for Tenika Watson. The 63-year-old transgender
woman’s memoirs were published earlier this month as an eBook on Amazon.com.
“It was a dream for me to get this book,” Watson said. “Since the 1990s,
I’ve wanted my story told. It’s finally come to life. I’m very proud of my
“My Life is No Accident” is a first-person account of Watson’s life from
childhood to the present day. The 177-page book was written by Jennifer
Daelyn, who conducted dozens of interviews with Watson over the course of
about a year.
“I’m very grateful to Jennifer,” Watson said. “She did a great job. It’s all
my words. But she pulled it together and created a very readable narrative.”
Working on her memoirs was cathartic, Watson noted. “It was very healing.
And I hope it can help heal somebody else.”
Watson said she believes everything in life happens for a reason, hence the
book’s title. “It’s also a play on words because of the accident I was
involved in with Teddy [Pendergrass]. I don’t want that incident to define
me. I survived it. I guess that’s the way it was meant to be.”"
8-25-14: Kaiser Health News: "With Coverage Through Obamacare,
Transgender Woman Opts For Surgery"
"Devin Payne had gone years without health insurance – having little need
and not much money to pay for it. Then Payne, who had a wife and four
children, realized she could no longer live as a man.
In her early 40s, she changed her name, began wearing long skirts and grew
out her sandy blond hair. And she started taking female hormones, which
caused her breasts to develop and the muscle mass on her 6-foot one-inch
frame to shrink.
The next step was gender reassignment surgery. For
that, Payne, who is now 44, said
she needed health coverage. “It is not a simple, easy, magical surgery,”
said Payne, a photographer who lives in Palm Springs. “Trying to do this
without insurance is a big risk. Things can go wrong … not having the money
to pay for it would be awful.”
Payne learned in the fall that she might qualify for subsidies through the
state’s new insurance marketplace, Covered California, because her income
fell under the limit of $46,000 a year. She eagerly signed up in March for a
Blue Shield plan for about $230 a month, and began making preparations for
the surgery that would change her life . . .
Among the less-talked-about implications of the
Affordable Care Act is the relief it is providing to many transgender
people, many of whom are low-income and who have struggled to obtain health
coverage. Getting jobs that offer insurance often has been difficult for
transgender people and the cost of purchasing plans on the private market
can be prohibitive.
Some have been denied policies altogether after being
diagnosed with “gender
identity disorder,” often considered a pre-existing condition.
Without insurance, many people were unable to afford the hormones, surgeries
and counseling needed to complete their transition. Nor would they have been
covered in the event of surgical complications, which can include
“We are still dependent on insurance and the medical community for us to be
able to live authentically,” said Aydin Kennedy, coordinator of the
transgender health program at St. John’s Well Child and Family Center in Los
Now, federal law prohibits health insurance companies from discriminating
against transgender people, and it bars insurers from denying coverage based
on pre-existing conditions. That makes it possible for more transgender
people to purchase private plans. And in states that expanded their Medicaid
programs, those with low incomes may get free coverage."
8-25-14: Washington Post: "The Pentagon can easily drop its ban on
transgender troops, study finds"
Defense Department repealed
its controversial “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy banning gay people from
openly serving in the military three years ago in September. Some
senior officers questioned the decision, fearing
it could cost lives, but Pentagon
officials said the repeal has not hurt military
readiness or cohesion.
Civil rights advocates, including some retired
military officers, are now pressing for another change. The armed forces
continue to enforce a ban on transgender military service, months after
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said in May
that he was open to a review that would lift it.
The results of a forthcoming study, which was provided to Checkpoint, found
that a repeal on transgender service could be lifted in a way that would not
be burdensome or exceedingly complex for the military. The Palm Center, a
think tank in San Francisco that promotes the study of lesbian, gay,
bisexual and transgender people in the military, says that there already are
15,500 transgender personnel in the U.S. military, but they are not allowed
to serve openly.
The center reached that figure by extrapolation based on surveys conducted
with veterans, said retired Army Maj. Gen. Gale S. Pollock, a former deputy
surgeon general of the Army, who helped lead the Palm Center commission
examining the issue. The commission included several other retired military
officers, including Army Brig. Gen. Clara Adams-Ender, who once led the
Army’s nurse corps, and Army Brig. Gen. Thomas A. Kolditz, who is now a
professor at Yale University.
“From a military officer perspective, we consider honor and integrity to be
just essential values,” Pollock said. “But how can we say that when we’re
asking these men and women to lie about who they are? That’s very comparable
to the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ piece. To me, it’s just wrong.”"
8-25-14: Huffington Post: "Mills College Changes Policy To Allow
Transgender Students To Enroll"
"For the first time in its 162 years as a school of higher education, one
all-women's college will become the first higher education, all-female
institution in America to consider an application from any individual who
self-identifies as a woman.
Mills College in California recently changed its admissions policy to allow
anyone who self-identifies as a woman to apply to the school.
This definition reportedly includes individuals whose gender identity
falls outside of the male/female binary and those not assigned female at
birth but who identify as women. Those assigned female at birth but who
transition to male while enrolled will also
not reportedly be asked to leave the university.
"Mills has the most open policy with regards to trans students," Skylar
Crownover, the university's next student body president,
told SFGate. "It's been the unwritten policy of Mills for a while now,
but to see it finally put down in words and to see it official is a great
According to Brian O'Rourke, vice president of enrollment and admissions at
Mills, three to five students out of every 1,000 enrolled
identify either as transgender or something other than the gender they
were assigned at birth.
Admission of individuals not assigned female at birth to all-female
universities has been an issue for some time, most notably surrounding the
high-profile case of Calliope Wong and Smith College. Wong
was rejected from Smith College because her government financial aid
forms identified her as male, and she ultimately did not receive admission
to the university. While Smith
has said they will continue to address the issue, the
university's policy currently states: "Smith expects that, to be
eligible for review, a student’s application and supporting documentation
(transcripts, recommendations, etc.) will reflect her status as a woman.""
8-21-14: New York Daily News: "Pennsylvania transgender teen commits
suicide by stepping in front of train"
"A suicide note left behind by a Pennsylvania transgender teen hints at
depression and being “a prisoner” of his body.
“My mirror reflects Jessica, my heart and mind say Riley,” wrote Riley
Moscatel, 17, on Tuesday just before he was killed by an oncoming Amtrak
train near Croyden. “You see me as the happiest person in school, I’m a
prisoner of my own body.”
Surveillance footage confirmed the suspicion that the Bucks County Technical
High School senior born as Jessica took his own life at about 1:30 p.m.
after fighting a private, but desperate struggle to identify as Riley.
The teen struggled with depression years before he decided to publicly
self-identify as Riley earlier this year. However,
in an interview with the Trentonian newspaper, his parents continued to
reference him as their daughter.
“She did a really good job of masking her depression in front of the people
that she loved,” his father, Rich Moscatel told the newspaper. “We’re still
kicking ourselves as to what was the straw that broke the camel’s back. She
was dealing with a lot of pressures.”
Riley had no problem adjusting from Jessica to Riley at his Fairless Hills
school where other transgender or gay students attended including his
friend, Kate Cimino, who described Riley as “everyone’s best friend.”
“Even though everyone showed support and called him Riley, it didn’t match
up to what he felt of himself,”
Cimino told the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Riley wanted to have breast surgery, but his mother, Kristine Moscatel, gave
him a binder to help flatten his chest even though she admits his transition
was hard to handle after having a daughter for 17 years.
“She’s my daughter. She’ll always be my daughter,” Moscatel told the
Trentonian. “We were trying to accept and never said, ‘No, you can’t be a
Riley had also been researching hormone treatments he could begin after his
18th birthday in December.
“If I could choose if I was born a girl or guy I would have chosen a guy,”
Riley wrote in another Instagram post describing his female-to-male
dysphoria. “Most female-to-males wouldn’t agree because (their) journey made
them stronger, but it really takes a toll on me.”"
8-19-14: Quartz (re India): "Delhi University is about to accept
transgender students—now comes the harder part" (more,
"Delhi University’s decision last week to
introduce the “third
gender” category in its post-graduate
degree application forms has been hailed as a progressive move towards
inclusion. But transgender students fear that the university is rushing
through with a measure whose implications it may not be prepared to handle.
The university has introduced a third gender option under the Other Backward
Classes category on application forms for post-graduate courses. This has
come four months after a Supreme Court judgement gave legal recognition to
transgender people and a month after the University Grants Commission asked
educational institutions to introduce a third gender option on application
But the decision has raised an array of questions that Delhi University has
not yet been able to answer. Will the staff of the university be sensitized,
for instance, to handle the admissions of transgender students smoothly? How
will it ensure the safety of these students since Delhi University no longer
has an inclusive sexual harassment policy? How will the university address
smaller, but vital, issues such as toilet and hostel facilities for them?
Activists are skeptical. “We have been a bit skeptical about the
university’s decision because often, such changes happen only on paper,”
says Aapurv Jain, the co-ordinator of Delhi University’s informal gender
studies group. “Transgenders constantly face a lot of harassment from other
students, teachers and college administration, so the university needs to
have a plan for their safety before opening up admissions to them” . . .
Getting a school education is itself a difficult achievement for most
transgenders, who often have no support from their families and live with
severe financial constraints. Many are forced to get college degrees through
online courses, and given the hostility towards sexual minorities in Indian
society, they end up facing huge problems finding employment, housing or
even healthcare. According to Jain of the Delhi University gender studies
group, transgenders often face greater social harassment than gay or lesbian
students in educational institutions.
“Our system is not accommodating of transgenders as a whole,” says Taksh.
“So offering us the opportunity to get just a post-graduate degree is like
trying to build a house without a foundation, or telling us to eat cake when
we have no bread.”
While DU officials reportedly claimed
that the third gender option was introduced only in post-graduate courses
because it was too late for under-graduate applications this year, Taksh and
other university members believe such a move should have been introduced at
the lower levels, and should be preceded by sensitivity training for all
The time is right. “If this move focuses just on getting a tick in the box
and not creating attitudinal change, then it won’t make much of a difference
to transgender students,” says Anjana Srivastava, an associate professor of
English and convener of the women’s development cell at Delhi University’s
Kamala Nehru College. However, even though Abha Habib admits the new project
could have been implemented better, she believes it is not too early to
introduce the third gender option in the university. “For transgenders to be
empowered and to raise their voices, they need to be in classrooms,”
8-19-14: Metro Weekly: "Labor Department protects transgender
employees of federal contractors"
"The Labor Department issued guidance Tuesday clarifying that discrimination
against the employees of federal contractors on the basis of transgender
status is considered discrimination based on sex under federal law.
published Tuesday, Director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance
Programs Patricia Shiu confirmed the
been issued “clarifying that sex discrimination extends to gender identity
and transgender status.”
The announcement comes more than two years after
the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) found in
Macy v. Holder
that “sex discrimination,” which is prohibited under federal law, includes
discrimination against transgender people. But in the years since that
ruling in April 2012, the Labor Department would not indicate whether it was
applying the decision to protect transgender employees of federal
contractors. At that time, Executive Order 11246 prohibited federal
contractors are prohibited from discrimination on the basis of of race,
color, religion, sex or national origin.
During a surprise visit to the White House press briefing in February, Labor
Secretary Perez said that the application of the EEOC ruling was still under
“That issue is under review in the aftermath of
decision. And I’ve asked my staff to expedite that review so that we can
bring that issue to conclusion at the Department of Labor,” Perez said,
adding that he hopes the review “will come to an end as soon as possible.”
In June, Perez went further,
making clear that guidance would be issued
to update “enforcement protocols and anti-discrimination guidance to clarify
that we provide the full protection of the federal non-discrimination laws
that we enforce to transgender individuals.”
That announcement came after the White House
June 16 that President Barack Obama would sign a long-sought executive order
prohibiting federal contractors. Executive Order 11246, which Obama amended
to include those LGBT protections, is enforced by the Office of Federal
Contract Compliance Programs.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, the guidance will both equip
employees of federal contractors experiencing discrimination with an
additional avenue to file a complaint outside of the EEOC process and put
employees on notice of existing nondiscrimination regulations.
“The Labor Department guidance issued today is a giant step toward ensuring
American workers are judged based on the work they do, and never because of
a fundamental aspect of who they are – like their gender identity,” said HRC
Legal Director Sarah Warbelow in a statement. “Transgender people face some
of the highest levels of discrimination in our community, particularly in
the workplace. And while explicit workplace protections are still needed at
all levels of government, transgender people who work for federal
contractors can now use this guidance as further protection from
discrimination on the job.”"
8-19-14: SFist: "First Transgender Officer Graduates From San
Francisco Police Academy [Video]"
"Last Friday, 33 recruits from the San Francisco Police Academy graduated
and became officers, but one represented a milestone for the city: Mikayla
Connell is the first transgender person in her class and any that came
KTVU captures in the above video, Connell gives a touching speech as the
elected president of her academy class, her voice breaking as she says "I
could not be more prouder of you." That night, she also received two awards
for academic achievement.
Connell, who started transitioning in 2001, first applied to be a police
officer in the early '90s, but ended up dropping out and joining the Army,
then going to law school."
There's literally been a sea change in the way, at least this state and
maybe the country, views LGBT people and transgender people." Connell says,
adding: "I got literally nothing but love and acceptance from my
Now Connell is 45, the oldest graduate in her class, and ready to be an
example in the transgender community.
"It means you can't screw up, because you can't ruin it for everyone coming
behind you," Connell says. "I know people...are going to be watching me. I
cannot let them down."
8-19-14: Huffington Post: "A Transgender Student Who Was Reportedly
Banned From Her School Receives Good News" (more,
"A transgender student who was reportedly
told she would not be allowed back at school because of her new gender
identity scored a victory Monday evening.
Rachel Pepe, 13, previously attended Thorne Middle
School in New Jersey as a male student.
However, when her mother told a school official she would be returning to
the classroom this year as Rachel, the school reportedly said she would not
be allowed back and that it would not find her an alternative school to
attend, according to New Jersey's Asbury Park Press.
"He was going to school last year as Brian," Angela Peters, Rachel's mother,
told the outlet, adding that her daughter had been suffering from
depression. "How can I send her back as Rachel? And I am not sending her
back as Brian because the depression will start again."
On Monday evening, however, the superintendent of
the school district, William O. George, said he would work with staff to
make sure Rachel could attend school in a safe environment. According to
Garden State Equality, George said Middletown Township Public Schools staff
would undergo lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender sensitivity training.
"We applaud Superintendent George for taking the right steps to affirm the
health and safety of students," GSE Executive Director Andrea Bowen said in
a statement. "This is a victory for transgender students everywhere. This
Middletown student and students like her are heroes for standing up for
their needs. We're excited that the community came together in dialogue to
bring this situation to a happy resolution."
George said he was not initially aware of the situation, but that he could
not disclose much information because of confidentiality laws.
"We as a district want to do everything we can as a district," George told
the Asbury Park Press. "Every child is different and their education and
social and emotional well being is my priority. We will work with them to
find the appropriate placement."
Rachel told the Asbury Park Press that she wanted to make her story public
so she could potentially help other struggling teens.
"There could be other kids scared out there, who live secretly at school and
go home and be themselves," she told the outlet. "If this helps one person,
I can be happy about that, too.""
8-17-14: ABC News: "‘Orange Is the New Black’ Star Laverne Cox’s One
Wish for America"
"Laverne Cox, star of the Netflix hit series
“Orange Is the New Black,” is breaking barriers for the transgender
community both on and off the screen. In an interview for
Week”, she shared her one wish for
America with ABC’s Byron Pitts.
“One thing I would wish for America…[are] spaces where we have real gender
freedom, where we…create spaces of gender self-determination, where we don’t
police people’s genders or we don’t tell people that they’re not supposed to
act a certain way,” Cox said.
Cox has spent her whole life dealing with discrimination and harassment.
Growing up in Mobile, Ala., she was constantly bullied for her gender
expression, she said.
“I was bullied and I internalized a lot of shame about who I was as a
child,” Cox said. “Bullied because I didn’t act the way someone assigned
male at birth was supposed to act. And so I was called sissy, I was called
the F-word. I was chased home from school practically every day. There was
always a kid or groups of kids who wanted to beat me up,” she said.
Overwhelmed by social persecution, she attempted suicide at an early age,
Cox said. “The suicide attempt happened when I was in sixth grade and I was
having all these feelings about other boys. And I didn’t want to live,” Cox
Hollywood blockbusters and hit TV series like “Orange Is the New Black” are
shining a new spotlight on transgender rights, starring characters like her
own that Cox says many in the trans community can relate to.
READ: Six Questions for Transgender Rights Advocate Mara Keisling.
“So many trans folks have said that they see themselves reflected in this
character,” Cox said. “Having your story told validates your experience.
It’s like, ‘I’m not alone anymore, and maybe I’ll be OK.
Cox has helped raise awareness and give voice to members of the trans
community, pushing forward this newest battle on the civil rights front.
“I’m really, really happy that I survived,” she said. “If I didn’t survive,
I wouldn’t be here today.”"
8-17-14: People: "Transgender Model Geena Rocero Reveals Why She
Shared Her Secret" (more,
"Long before her
TED talk made
headlines in March, model Geena Rocero agonized over what it would mean – to
her, to her bosses, to her career – if it came out that the gorgeous woman
modeling bikinis in fashion mags had started life as a boy.
"There was always that fear: What if people found
out? They'd think I'd duped them, and maybe I'd lose my regular clients. It
could ruin my career," Rocero tells
in its September issue. "I carried the paranoia with me every day."
Rocero, 30, explains that, being born a boy in the Philippines, where the
transgender community has a long history in the culture, she loved playing
with her Barbie dolls, sewed clothes for them, and, at age 8, tagged along
to a transgender beauty pageant.
"I always knew I felt something different," she says. In junior high, she
wore the boys' uniform of her Catholic school "but I'd have it altered to
make the waist tiny and the slacks fitted and a pocket like the girls had."
And while some in the streets hurled gay epithets at her, "I did not feel
gay," she says. "I just felt I was a girl."
With the support of her parents, Rocero, who relocated to San Francisco at
the age of 17 with her mother, underwent her "dream" of sex reassignment
surgery not long after settling in the U.S.
"It was like a rebirth. I never enjoyed having sex before, and all of a
sudden it felt good. I was much more in touch with my sensuality, and I went
crazy exploring it," she says.
But once she established herself as a successful model and had a couple of
relationships under her belt, the truth of her history – and having to edit
that history for anyone who got close to her – began to gnaw at her. When a
boyfriend asked if she'd ever been in the Girl Scouts, she answered by
saying she'd been in the Boy Scouts.
The tipping point came on the dawn of her 30th birthday. When her then
boyfriend asked her, "What does 30 mean to you?" Rocero says she decided
then and there, "I don't give a damn anymore. I'm ready to share my full
journey as a woman.""
8-13-14: Huffington Post: "Transmormon Sheds Light on Trans Members of
the LDS Church" (Video)
"Last summer production wrapped on a small project called
Transmormon, a 15-minute documentary focusing on the Haywards,
a Mormon family whose transgender child was pursuing sex reassignment
surgery. On the day that production wrapped last year, July 7, 2013, the
family boarded a plane to Thailand to complete the process of "Eddie"
Like much of America and other branches of Christianity, the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints has been reexamining its position on marriage,
gender roles, and sexual expression. It was only
last year that they changed their position on female missionaries,
allowing them to depart at an earlier age. But whatever may come of these
new considerations for today's religious teenagers and their families, the
world that Eri grew up in left no way to question her assigned sex, let
alone articulate her gender identity.
As the documentary points out, the Haywards were conservative Mormons who
were not sure how to respond to their child when she came to them, confused
that she felt like two people -- the boy she saw in the mirror and the girl
she knew herself to be. Eri's father, Ed Hayward, explains in the film, "She
came to me one time, when she was probably about 4 years old, crying and
saying that, 'Daddy, I want to be a girl.' And at the time I just thought
she was going through some kind of a phase."
"When it was explained to [me] that I was a boy, it was because God had made
me that way," Eri says in the film, adding that that "didn't make a really
great relationship, as a 5 year old, between me and God."
Caught in the tension between the LDS Church's teachings and her gender
identity, Eri created a fantasy world for herself. "For the longest time I
kind of had this fantasy that I'd escape to that a fairy godmother would
come and turn me into a girl and make everything better," she says.
On the outside, things seemed to have worked themselves out by her teens.
"Eddie" was ordained to the priesthood in her church and appointed as first
assistant to the bishop. At 16 "Eddie" -- identifying as a boy at this point
-- began dating a girl from the church. The family relaxed, believing that
things were getting better. "Eddie" was behaving less effeminately, but
inside she knew something didn't fit. Because she really was attracted to
boys, Eri felt she must be gay, so she came out to her community, trying to
sort out what this meant and what she had been feeling. One of the hardest
parts, she says, was watching her sister begin dating. "That was really
hard. I was like, 'Of course. I'm this ugly boy, and my sister is
this beautiful girl. That was a really difficult thing for me to
Eri eventually quit high school. "[B]eing at a Mormon private school, I
didn't graduate; I just stopped going when I came out [as gay]," she says.
The family decided to send her to Japan to stay with her grandparents in
hopes that a change of scenery might help. One day, Eri was watching
television when a panel on trans people came on. "My grandmother turned to
me and was like, 'Oh, this is all about you!'" she recalls . . . "
8-05-14: The Advocate: "Op-ed: An Open Letter to The New Yorker --When
The New Yorker took a look at the tension between transgender women and
radical feminists, one writer says the examination was unfair", by
You probably don’t remember me — I was the
transgender activist who briefly appeared toward the end of that
Michelle Goldberg article
you ran last week. You know, the one about the “dispute between radical
feminism and transgenderism.” I know, that topic sounds somewhat bizarre and
potentially fascinating — I’m sure you got lots of click-throughs on it! But
the thing is, it was a rather awful experience on my end, and I want to
share why with you.
For me, the story begins several months ago when
Goldberg contacted me about an article she was intending to write about
“tensions between trans activists and some radical feminists.” She wanted to
interview me for her piece, which makes sense for several reasons. I am a
trans woman who has written
the intersection of feminism and transgender activism. Some of that work
critiques strands of feminism that have historically been antagonistic
toward transgender people, and trans woman-exclusion policies (i.e., when
women’s spaces or organizations bar trans women from attending because we
were assigned a male sex at birth). As you can imagine, trans-exclusive
radical feminists (or TERFs, as they are often called*)—who believe that
transgender activism upholds the patriarchy and who deny and disrespect
trans people’s identities — are not especially fond of my work (to put it
quite mildly) . . ."
8-04-14: Autostraddle (posted 7/29): "The New Yorker’s Skewed History
of Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminism Ignores Actual Trans Women"
"Media coverage of transgender issues has
increased rapidly in the last few years as trans people have made larger and
louder pushes for relatively basic rights and recognition. Unfortunately, as
ground is gained in the fight for trans acceptance, the opposition to that
progress only grows more louder and more aggressive. This is visible in
Michelle Goldberg’s latest piece for
The New Yorker,
which investigates the conflict between trans-exclusionary radical feminists
and the transgender population. Sadly, what she presents is a disturbingly
one-sided view of the situation that relies on heavily anecdotal evidence,
uncited claims and debunked theories, and ignores the extended campaign of
harassment and attack that the the trans community has endured at the hands
of radical feminists.
Let’s start with the numbers. In the piece,
Goldberg mentions the names of 14 radical feminist activists (frequently
providing physical descriptions), and provides quotes from nine of them —
including two from books penned by radfems. In contrast, she mentions and
quotes a total of four trans women (zero from books), and two of them are
quoted to supporting the radical feminist position. The problem isn’t
necessarily that Goldberg appears to side with the radical feminist
viewpoint; that’s perfectly within her rights, and perfectly within
The New Yorker’s
right to print it. The real issue is that Ms Goldberg gives the impression
that she’s covering the conflict between the trans rights movement and
radical feminism — after all, the piece is subtitled “The dispute between
radical feminism and transgenderism” — but gives only passing lip service to
the transgender community’s side of this situation. In failing to provide a
semblance of balance to the voices in the piece, this account becomes
hopelessly skewed, and becomes little more than a radical feminist
propaganda piece . . . "
8-04-14: Bitch Magazine (posted 8/1): "TERF War: The New Yorker's
One-Sided Article Undermines Transgender Identity", by
"Reading Michelle Goldberg's recent
is a Woman? The Dispute Between Radical Feminism and Transgenderism” made
me feel sick.
The article is meant to paint a clear picture of a longstanding debate
within feminist groups about whether transgender women should be accepted as
women, profiling several feminists and exploring the history of current
discussions about the push to exclude transgender women from “women only”
spaces. But in the process, it paints trans identity as suspect, does
nothing to counter the hurtful misconception that trans women are either
"men" exercising entitled "male privilege" in deeming themselves female or
sexual fetishists acting out "erotic compulsions," and holds up authors
who've written book-length academic works delineating these ideas as noble,
While this may sound like speculative fiction set in a world where
trans-exclusionary radical feminist (TERF) theories have conquered queer and
gender studies communities, it's not. Instead, it's something more
disheartening: a one-sided profile that’s sympathetic to writers and
activists who've spent their careers working to marginalize and persecute
the already-oppressed transgender community.
Trans-exclusionary radical feminists posit that
transgender women can never be considered women. At their worst, they argue
that transgender women are malicious in their deceit, aiming to infiltrate
female-only spaces with the goal of harassing or raping other women. These
feminists who campaign against gender-neutral
bathrooms and support the exclusion of
transgender women from other women-only spaces.
In the article, it feels like Goldberg personally
has a low opinion of social justice activists—that’s the view presented in
her other recent article "Feminism’s
Toxic Twitter Wars." One of the biggest
problems in the New Yorker
piece is that Goldberg presents trans people's
self-definitions as opinions: "Trans women say that they are women because
they feel female—that, as some put it, they have women’s brains in men’s
bodies.” TERF’s views are presented the same way, following the previous
statement with this one, "Radical feminists reject the notion of a 'female
brain.' They believe that if women think and act differently from men it’s
because society forces them to, requiring them to be sexually attractive,
nurturing, and deferential."
Reading this passage, one might think TERFs and trans people have a
philosophical or semantic debate. Trans people's identities, for which they
and their allies are waging a worldwide human rights campaign to define as
legally legitimate—backed by decades of medical and psychological data—and
TERFs' hateful academic theories carry equal weight and import. If those two
sides were balanced in the piece, readers might walk away with a shoulder
shrug, “Who knows whether trans identity is legitimate or not?” The title of
the piece certainly encourages this confusion, making it a question as to
whether transgender women should be seen as women."
The New Yorker: "What Is a Woman? The dispute between radical feminism and
"On May 24th, a few dozen people gathered in a conference room at the
Central Library, a century-old Georgian Revival building in downtown
Portland, Oregon, for an event called Radfems Respond. The conference had
been convened by a group that wanted to defend two positions that have made
radical feminism anathema to much of the left.
First, the organizers hoped to refute charges that the desire to ban
prostitution implies hostility toward prostitutes. Then they were going to
try to explain why, at a time when transgender rights are ascendant, radical
feminists insist on regarding transgender women as men, who should not be
allowed to use women’s facilities, such as public rest rooms, or to
participate in events organized exclusively for women.
The dispute began more than forty years ago, at the height of the
second-wave feminist movement. In one early skirmish, in 1973, the West
Coast Lesbian Conference, in Los Angeles, furiously split over a scheduled
performance by the folksinger Beth Elliott, who is what was then called a
transsexual. Robin Morgan, the keynote speaker, said:
"I will not call a male “she”; thirty-two years of suffering in this
androcentric society, and of surviving, have earned me the title “woman”;
one walk down the street by a male transvestite, five minutes of his being
hassled (which he may enjoy), and then he dares, he dares to think he
understands our pain? No, in our mothers’ names and in our own, we must not
call him sister."
Such views are shared by few feminists now, but they still have a foothold
among some self-described radical feminists, who have found themselves in an
acrimonious battle with trans people and their allies. Trans women say that
they are women because they feel female—that, as some put it, they have
women’s brains in men’s bodies. Radical feminists reject the notion of a
“female brain.” They believe that if women think and act differently from
men it’s because society forces them to, requiring them to be sexually
attractive, nurturing, and deferential. In the words of Lierre Keith, a
speaker at Radfems Respond, femininity is “ritualized submission.” . . .
Yet, at the same time, the trans-rights movement is growing in power and
cachet: a recent Time cover featuring the actress Laverne Cox was headlined
“THE TRANSGENDER TIPPING POINT.” The very word “transgender,” which first
came into wide use in the nineteen-nineties, encompasses far more people
than the term “transsexual” did. It includes not just the small number of
people who seek gender-reassignment surgery—according to frequently cited
estimates, about one in thirty thousand men and one in a hundred thousand
women—but also those who take hormones, or who simply identify with the
opposite gender, or, in some cases, with both or with neither. (According to
the National Center survey, most trans women have taken female hormones, but
only about a quarter of them have had genital surgery.) The elasticity of
the term “transgender” has forced a rethinking of what sex and gender mean;
at least in progressive circles, what’s determinative isn’t people’s
chromosomes or their genitals or the way that they were brought up but how
they see themselves.
Having rejected this supposition, radical feminists now find themselves in a
position that few would have imagined when the conflict began: shunned as
reactionaries on the wrong side of a sexual-rights issue. It is, to them, a
baffling political inversion . . . "
[Ed: Old radfems never change; they just fade away.]
8-01-14: NBC4 Washington DC: "Transgender Girl Stabbed in Back on
Green Line Train, Suspect in Custody" (more,
"A transgender 15-year-old girl was stabbed in the back aboard a Metro train
Wednesday afternoon, D.C. police say. The attack at the Fort Totten station
on the green line going toward Branch Avenue was reported just after 4:30
The girl's friends told News4 the suspect, identified as 24-year-old
Reginald Anthony Klaiber, came up to the group inside the train and insulted
the victim's appearance, asking why she was wearing a wig and commenting on
what she was wearing.
According to documents, the victim repeatedly told Klaiber to leave her
alone, but he was persistent and asked her, "Are you a boy? Are you a boy?
... Why you be looking like a girl?
Document say that when the train stopped at Fort Totten station, both the
victim and Klaiber got up. That's when documents say Klaiber grabbed her
from behind in a bear hug and stabbed her in the back. Documents say one of
the victim's friends then sprayed Klaiber with pepper spray.
The victim and her two friends then ran off the train with Klaiber giving
chase, documents say, shouting, "I'm going to [stab you] again!" Klaiber was
apprehended shortly after and charged with assault with deadly weapon.
Metro Police say the charges include the possibility of enhanced penalties
for hate or bias motivation. If convicted, Klaiber could be subject to a
1.5-time enhancement under D.C. law. According to court records uncovered by
News4, Klaiber has a lengthy criminal history that includes previous charges
of assault and resisting arrest."
7-30-14: Rolling Stone: "The Transgender Crucible As a homeless trans
teen, CeCe McDonald suffered a lifetime of hardships. But when she was
charged with murder for simply defending herself, she became a folk hero"
". . . Touching her cheek, CeCe felt a shock of pain as her finger entered
the open wound where Flaherty's glass had punctured her salivary gland.
Purse still over her shoulder, CeCe fast-walked from the scene. She'd made
it more than a half-block away when she heard her friends calling, "Watch
CeCe whirled around to see Schmitz heading toward her: walking, then
running, his face a twist of wild, unrestrained hatred. CeCe felt terror
burst out from that remote place where she normally locked it away. She
didn't know that Schmitz's veins were pounding with cocaine and meth. She
didn't know of his lengthy rap sheet, including convictions for assault. Nor
did she know that under Schmitz's shirt, inked across his solar plexus, was
a four-inch swastika tattoo. All CeCe needed to see was the look on his face
to know her worst fears were coming true: Her young life was about to end as
a grim statistic, the victim of a hate crime.
"Come here, bitch!" Schmitz roared as he closed in. CeCe pedaled backward,
blood dripping from her slashed face.
"Didn't y'all get enough?" CeCe asked, defiant and afraid, while her hand
fished into her large handbag for anything to protect herself. Her fingers
closed on a pair of black-handled fabric scissors she used for school. She
held them up high as a warning, their five-inch blades glinting in the
parking-lot floodlights. Schmitz stopped an arm's length away, raising
clenched fists and shuffling his feet in a boxing stance. His eyes were
terrible with rage.
"Bitch, you gonna stab me?" he shouted. They squared off for a tense moment:
the furious white guy, amped up on meth, Nazi tattoo across his belly; the
terrified black trans woman with a cartoon pony on her T-shirt; the scissors
between them. CeCe saw Schmitz lunge toward her and braced herself for
impact. Their bodies collided, then separated. He was still looking at her.
"Bitch – you stabbed me!"
"Yes, I did," CeCe announced, even as she wondered if that could possibly be
true; in the adrenaline of the moment, she'd felt nothing. Scanning Schmitz
over, she saw no sign of injury – though in fact he'd sustained a wound so
grisly that CeCe would later recall to police that the button-down shirt
Schmitz wore that night was not white but "mainly red. Like one of them
Hawaiian shirts." CeCe waited until he turned to rejoin his crowd. Then she
and Thomas ran arm in arm down the block toward the nearly empty Cub Foods
parking lot, where they waited for police to arrive . . .
[Ed: A powerful in-depth report that says it all.]
7-27-14: Queerty: "Federal Government Grants Christian Colleges Right
To Expel Transgender Students"
"You can’t say that Christian Colleges aren’t
keeping up with the times. Now they’ve discovered transgender people.
As a target of discrimination,
Two conservative Christian colleges have been
granted an exemption to federal education regulations on religious grounds.
The regulation, Title IX, provides nondiscrimination protections that the
Department of Education
recently determined apply to transgender students.
Needless to say, two colleges have stepped forward to say that they don’t
want to offer those protections because they want to kick transgender
students out of their schools.
The colleges, Spring Arbor University in Michigan and Simpson University in
California, argue that they should be able to expel students at will because
the Bible tells them so.
“The university has deeply held religious beliefs, based upon Biblical
principles and the Book of Discipline, which do not allow for any sexuality,
other than heterosexuality,” Spring Arbor wrote in its request to the
Department of Education. “The university also believes, based upon Biblical
principles, that a person cannot change their birth gender.” Spring Arbor
also sought–and was granted–the right to expel lesbian and gay students.
Simpson was equally unapologetic about this request. “[S]exual practices
that are divorced from loving, conventional relationships between men and
women pervert God’s intentions and result in sinful behavior that ruptures
relationships between men and women, and erodes the relationship between
human beings and their creator.”
The Department of Education said that it had no choice but to grant the
exceptions, which are readily available on the basis of religious grounds."
7-26-14: The Oregonian: "Families of transgender children find the path of
"Three-year-old N.H. didn’t understand why his teachers stopped him from
walking into his preschool’s bathroom with green walls with fire trucks on
the wall. He liked it more than the pink girls bathroom. Plus, N.H. told
them he was a boy.
Yet, when his mom explained to the administrators of the Corvallis school,
where tuition cost more than $10,000 a year, they insisted the gender listed
on his birth certificate determined his bathroom. He was a girl, they said.
So his mom moved N.H. to a preschool that accepted N.H. for who he is. Now
5, N.H. is a transgender boy, which means he was assigned a gender at birth
based on his body that doesn’t match how he feels. “I’m a boy, and when
people call me a girl, I get mad and I stick my tongue out,” N.H. said. Then
The Corvallis family with a transgender son asked to use initials because
most people in the community know N.H. as a boy only, and they don’t want to
risk bullying if his peers find out . . .
Many people think that being transgender means that someone underwent sex
reassignment surgery, but that is an expensive step that not every
transgender person wants, nor can afford. In Corvallis and many places in
America, it’s difficult to be transgender. Many transgender kids face
extreme bullying from their peers and adults, or lose their families. N.H.’s
family, though, supports him completely.
“The way I see it is I have two kids and they need to be raised and taken
care of, and everything else is secondary,” his mom, A.H., said. They are
trying to bring together a community of families with transgender children
in the Corvallis area to feel less alone."
7-24-14: Huffington Post: "Super Model Andreja Pejic Comes Out As
Pejic, formerly known as Andrej Pejic,
has come out as transgender.
A statement emailed to The Huffington Post by
Pejic "will only be modeling women's clothing going forward and has received
support from her agency, friends and family."
Pejic, who previously made waves in the fashion
industry with her androgynous look and has been featured on the covers of
Elle and French Vogue, among other publications, and
has walked in
both men's and women's fashion shows,
said in a statement,
"To all trans youth out there, I would like to say respect yourself and be
proud of who you are. All human beings deserve equal treatment no matter
their gender identity or sexuality. To be perceived as what you say you are
is a basic human right."
"I figured out who I was very early on—actually, at the age of 13, with the
help of the Internet—so I knew that a transition, becoming a woman, was
always something I needed to do. But it wasn’t possible at the time, and I
put it off, and androgyny became a way of expressing my femininity without
having to explain myself to people too much."
On her decision to change her name by adding an
"a" to the end of it, Pejic noted, "it’s
not a full transformation —it’s just an
evolution." She added, "...Andrej is a Christian Orthodox name, and in that
religion, it’s definitely a male name. So I kept the 'j' and added an 'a,'
which actually becomes a name that I don’t think exists. But I wanted to
keep the 'j' because that’s me. That’s my name."
For the full interview with Style.com,
7-24-14: Huffington Post: "Janet Mock Named Contributing Editor At
"What a week for some of our favorite
New York Times bestselling author Janet Mock
received a big honor this week
when Marie Claire named the writer as a contributing editor to their
publication. The transgender inspiration
will reportedly contribute
to both print and online articles for Marie Claire, as well as serving as
the brand ambassador.
Marie Claire Editor-in-Chief Anne Fulenwider
spoke highly of Mock
and her work:
“Janet is an incredibly smart and articulate writer. Her ideas about
identity, youth culture, and society’s changing norms about beauty
illuminate the ever-evolving definition of the modern woman. I look forward
to adding her unique point of view to our pages.”
first shared her story
about growing up as a transgender woman through a seminal article in Marie
Claire in 2011. A number of Mock's fans and supporters took to Twitter to
congratulate the writer on this most recent achievement and applaud the
7-23-14: Los Angeles Times: "Editorial: It's time to end the ban
against transgender soldiers"
"What does transgenderism have in common with drug
abuse and schizophrenia? According to the Department of Defense, they are
all reasons to bar people from military service.
The repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" may have
ended the ban on openly gay and lesbian troops, but a ban remains in place
for an estimated 15,000 transgender troops, who must serve in secret or not
at all. This groundless policy not only weakens the military, it stigmatizes
transgenderism and deprives military personnel and veterans of the
transgender-specific healthcare they need — even as other federal programs
such as Medicare have lifted similar restrictions.
Military regulations have lagged behind on issues of civil rights for
centuries. Commanding officers use the same reasoning to ban transgender
troops that they previously did to ban female and gay troops: They're not
fit for battle. It will harm unit cohesion. Yet time and again, these
assertions have proved to be unfounded.
The Palm Center, a think tank at San Francisco State University that focuses
on LGBT issues in the military, put these archaic notions to rest earlier
this year in a study co-chaired by former Surgeon Gen. Joycelyn Elders and
Rear Adm. Alan M. Steinman, MD. The report declared that "there is no
compelling medical rationale to exclude transgender people from military
service, and eliminating the ban would enable commanders to better care for
their troops." Retired Brig. Gen. Thomas A. Kolditz, who served on the
commission, predicted that ending the ban would reduce harassment, assaults
If the military is unswayed by the research,
perhaps it should consider the story of
For 20 years, Beck served in the Navy SEALs, seeing 13 deployments, most of
them in combat, and earning an impressive slate of military awards and
decorations, including a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. In 2013, Beck came
out as a trans woman after years of hiding her true identity. "No one ever
met the real me," she told CNN's Anderson Cooper later that year.
In May, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel told ABC
News that he was open to reviewing the transgender ban, and President Obama
signed an executive order on Monday that includes formal protection of
transgender federal employees from discrimination at work.
When it comes to issues of civil rights, Obama,
like most politicians, has allowed public opinion to dictate his actions.
Progress has been made, but at an infuriatingly slow pace. If this president
hopes to be remembered for advancing equality, he won't wait any longer on
this issue. The military is not only America's largest employer, it's an
important face we present to the world — and no place for discrimination."
7-23-14: Huffington Post: "Comic Con San Diego To Hold Panel On
"Well done, Comic Con!
At this year's popular comic book convention in
San Diego, organizers have orchestrated a panel focusing specifically on
transgender issues. Called “Breaking Barriers: Transgender Trends in Popular
Culture," this panel is
reportedly the first of its kind
as it will consist solely of panelists that identify as transgender.
The panel is organized by Prism Comic's Tara
Madison Avery and
will reportedly analyze
the appearances and representations of trans characters and include open
discussion about the complexity and depth added by featuring the transgender
experience in comic books.
“In recent years, Transgender creators have gained
visibility in comics, movies, and television after long being consigned to
the Comic Con program reads.
"From coming out and transition to navigating gender politics in a world
still struggling to understand, cartoonists, writers, and filmmakers are
investing their work with unique personal experiences as their characters
learn to live and love in new and unexpected ways.”
Comic Con is
also slated to feature four additional panels
on comics and issues affect the lesbian, gay, bisexual (LGBT) community.
“Breaking Barriers: Transgender Trends in Popular Culture" will take place
at the San Diego Comic Con on Thursday, July 24 at 5:00 p.m."
7-23-14: Daily Nation (Kenya): "Court allows transgender activists to
register lobby group" (more)
"A group seeking to have their transgender status recognised in Kenya has
won a major legal battle. This is after a high court judge ordered the
Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) coordination board to register an
advocacy group for transgender people in a landmark ruling likely to open a
Pandora’s box of gender discrimination lawsuits.
Justice George Odunga criticised the board for declining to recognise the
Transgender Education and Advocacy (TEA), whose members had sued for
discrimination and violation of their fundamental human rights. Justice
Odunga said the board’s refusal to register the group amounted to a failure
in discharging statutory functions and mandate and “was unfair,
unreasonable, unjustified and in breach of rules of natural justice.”
He also ordered the board to compensate Ms Audrey Mbugua, Ms Maureen Muia
and Ms Annet Jennifer the cost of the three-year litigation. The judge said
the Constitution upheld the individuals' rights to assembly and cannot be
deterred on grounds of gender orientation.
The board had argued that it could not recognise the group's members since
the names they had submitted for registration were not the ones reflecting
their gender. However, the judge said there was evidence that Ms Mbugua and
her colleagues had indeed changed their names through a deed poll they
annexed in the suit papers.
The judge said the premise of gender cannot be used to deny registration. “A
public authority cannot be allowed to get away with discriminatory actions
that deny persons their rights of assembly which is a clear abuse of the
power bestowed on such an authority,” the judge added. He said the reasons
advanced for refusing to register the advocacy group had no legal basis and
Ms Audrey, formerly Andrew Ithibu Mbugua, has been battling for recognition
as a transsexual. She has a separate pending case in which she wants the
Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) to change the gender designation
in her certificates on the grounds that the male identity has rendered her
7-23-14: CTV (Canada): "11-year-old transgender girl ‘not done yet’
after changing birth certificate"
"An 11-year-old Vancouver Island girl was among the first 30 Britsh
Columbians to take advantage of a new law that allows transgender people to
change the sex listed on their birth certificates without having surgery.
According to her, she was the first person in line after the bill passed.
“I was probably the youngest,” Harriette Cunningham told CTV News. “I know I
was the first.”
The Comox resident said she’s always known she was a girl, despite being
labeled “male” on her original birth certificate. The new document is the
latest success in a campaign to get legal recognition for her gender that
began when she was 8 or 9, she said.
It just made me so mad and made me almost frustrated to know that I’m a girl
and then I look on my passport and it says that I’m a boy,” Cunningham said.
Some children who don’t conform to gender norms can be persuaded to stay
quiet about it in official situations like border crossings, Cunningham’s
father Colin told CTV News. That was never an option with Harriette, who’s
expecting a new passport soon to match her new birth certificate.
“For her, it was a matter of principle, where she wasn’t being acknowledged
for who she really was,” Colin Cunningham said.
The younger Cunningham has always been very sure of her gender identity, her
father said. It was up to her parents to educate themselves and support her
in her transition. It was a steep learning curve.
“We didn’t even know there were transgender youth,” Colin Cunningham said.
“Once she started down that path, it was really obvious. It was really
obvious that this is exactly who she is. It was us that had to catch up.”"
7-22-14: Baltimore Sun: "Maryland shifts insurance policy to cover
transition-related care of transgender employees"
"In a reversal of state healthcare policy,
Maryland can now access gender reassignment surgery, hormone therapy and
other transition-related care under their state-provided health insurance
The change quietly went into effect at the start of this month as the result
of legal negotiations in a discrimination case brought against the state by
The state agreed amid those negotiations to
reimburse Holobaugh's transition-related medical costs to date and apply the
new standard to all of its
health plans, rather than fight Holobaugh's claim in court.
"This is basically a fabulous shift in policy," Holobaugh said in an
The change makes Maryland the third state, after Oregon and California, to
offer such coverage to its employees, according to Holobaugh's attorneys at
Free State Legal, a nonprofit organization that represents lesbian, gay,
bisexual and transgender clients in Maryland. . .
Holobaugh's case began in November 2012, when Holobaugh paid nearly $4,500
out of pocket for a bilateral mastectomy as part of his transition, then
said he was denied reimbursement for the surgery by provider CareFirst
BlueCross BlueShield based on coverage restrictions under his state-provided
Holobaugh appealed the decision with the Maryland
Insurance Administration and the Maryland Attorney General's Office, he
said. As the case dragged on, he also
representation with Free State Legal.
Attorneys filed additional complaints on Holobaugh's behalf with the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission and the Maryland Commission on Civil
Rights, and soon after began out-of-court negotiations to settle the case
with officials in the state's Department of Budget & Management, which
oversees state employee compensation and benefits, including health
The change strips language explicitly banning coverage for such procedures
and care under state employee plans and replaces it with language adopted
from the World Professional Association for Transgender Health outlining a
broad array of transition-related care that employee plans will now cover."
7-21-14: MSNBC: "Obama signs historic order on LGBT equality" (more)
years after promising to do so,
President Barack Obama added his signature on Monday to an executive order
barring LGBT discrimination by federal contractors. He also went further and
formally amended a separate executive order to include workplace protections
for transgender employees of the U.S. government.
“I know I’m a little late,” said Obama, referring to the near-30 minute
delay of Monday’s signing ceremony (though some might argue that it was a
delay of six years and 30 minutes). “Many of you have worked for a long time
to see this day come.”
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe — a Democrat
first order of business after his inauguration
was to sign an executive order prohibiting discrimination on the basis of
sexual orientation or gender identity in the state government — Deputy
Secretary of Labor Chris Lu, and a number of LGBT workplace equality
advocates joined the president for the announcement. Obama declared that, as
of Monday, the federal government would “become just a little bit fairer.”
“For more than two centuries we have strived, often at great cost, to form a
more perfect union,” said Obama. “Many of us are only here because others
fought to secure rights and opportunities for us. We’ve got a responsibility
to do the same for future generations.”
Though the order won’t protect all LGBT employees,
it will apply to approximately 20% of the national workforce, which is the
percentage employed by federal contractors
legally bound to comply with the order. To cover the remaining 80%, the
president urged Congress to act on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act
(ENDA). If passed, the law would bar any employer from firing, refusing to
hire, or otherwise discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or
gender identity. A version of ENDA was first proposed on the House floor in
1974 . . .
The latest version of ENDA passed the U.S. Senate
last year, but failed to go anywhere in the Republican-controlled House.
After the U.S. Supreme Court issued a controversial ruling allowing
companies like Hobby Lobby, a craft store chain owned by evangelical
Christian family, to be exempt from contraception-related provisions under
the Affordable Care Act, LGBT advocates
walked away from ENDA
in its current form because the bill contained a
broad religious exemption.
Last week, the White House announced that Monday’s
would not include a similar exemption
despite pressure from high-profile faith leaders — some of whom are Obama’s
allies — to create one for religious organizations in business with the U.S.
government. Whatever their religious beliefs, all federal contractors will
be prohibited from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or
7-21-14: GID Reform: "Gender Troubles: What’s Wrong With the WHO
Proposal for Gender Incongruence in Childhood", guest post by Dr.
Breaking, on the GID Reform Advocates Blog-- "Gender Troubles: What’s Wrong
With the WHO Proposal for Gender Incongruence in Childhood" A Guest Post by
Sam Winter, Ph.D., Faculty of Education, University of Hong Kong . . .
previously a member of the World Health Organization (WHO) Working Group on
Sexual Disorders and Sexual Health.
"I believe that the proposed [Gender Incongruence of Childhood] diagnosis
[proposed for the ICD-11] pathologises patterns of development that should
not be pathologised, that the diagnosis is inconsistent with the approach
the [WHO] Working Group proposes for other children and youth (including,
importantly, homosexual youth), that the pathologisation carries risks for
the gender-different child (and indeed for the broader work of the Working
Group), and that there are alternative ways of providing health care
services for gender-different children (plus their parents, teachers and
others) who may need such services...In short the argument is for
de-pathologising, rather than simply de-psychopathologising,
genderdifference in childhood." --Dr. Sam Winter"
7-21-14: GIWExposed: "Gender Identity Watch Exposed"
"For several months, a hate group called Gender Identity Watch has posted
pictures and images of transgender women who have spoken out against them
online, along with personal information including where those people work,
the names of any spouses, their geographical location, and other demographic
Without further ado, I am about to level the playing field. The original
GenderIdentityWatch.com website, does not have geotag information on its
posters, however, the Facebook group certainly did.
The locations listed below were garnered from PUBLICLY available geotagging
information on the GIW original Facebook page, and represent those who
re-published the GIW information repeatedly, and repeatedly left pro-GIW
thank you posts on the GIW page. This is not secret information, or private
information, the addresses were garnered from those using their own names
coupled with geotagging information from their respective public Facebook
The ringleader for GIW, is Cathy Brennan, who lives on Banks Odee Rd,
Newburg MD 20664. Another prominent member, is Linda Hudson, Lafayette Pl,
Lake St Louis MO 63387. There is also Nancy Leaman, who lives in an
apartment on Bradley Ave, Meriden CT 06451, Justin Allen Norwood, a 29 yr
old gay male from San Angelo TX, and two prominent members in Queensland,
Australia - the first being Cailey Quinn, who owns a company called Paradise
ShadeUmbrellas, in Robena QLD Australia, and Kerry Van Gemert, who operates
East Coast Home Loans in QLD Australia.
Within the transgender community, we also have
a contributor to GIW, named
who works as a tattoo artist in Montreal QC Canada.
Catherine is someone who made many claims on social media websites, such as
Facebook, that she was a transgender female, and yet was sending information
back to GIW's Cathy Brennan. Katherine later changed her story to being
intersex, and an "androgynous weirdo" who was somehow excluded from GIW's
hate and taken into their inner circle."
7-20-14: EurWeb: "Laverne Cox Educates Katie Couric On The Struggles
of Transgender People"
Couric may have wanted to “educate”
others who may not be familiar with transgender, but it was she who received
a first hand account of being transgender, courtesy of
According to salon.com, the “Orange
Is the New Black” star put a halt to
Couric’s focus on her and transgender model
genitalia by presenting an issue that more than hits close to home for her.
“I do feel there is a preoccupation with that. The preoccupation with
transition and surgery objectifies trans people. And then we don’t get to
really deal with the real lived experiences. The reality of trans people’s
lives is that so often we are targets of violence,” Cox told Couric. “We
experience discrimination disproportionately to the rest of the community.
Our unemployment rate is twice the national average; if you are a trans
person of color, that rate is four times the national average. The homicide
rate is highest among trans women. If we focus on transition, we don’t
actually get to talk about those things.” . . .
Before speaking to Cox, Couric referenced an earlier segment that had
Carrera deflecting her questions about surgery and trans bodies. “I don’t
want to talk about it, it’s really personal,” Carrera replied. After
relaying the common struggle among transgender people, Cox continued to
educate Couric while mentioning the recent murder of Islan Nettles, a
21-year-old trans woman, in addition to the rate of violence against trans
people in the United States.
“By focusing on bodies we don’t focus on the lived realities of that
oppression and that discrimination,” Cox stated. To see more of Katie
Couric’s interview with Laverne Cox and Carmen Carrera, check out the video
. . . "
7-17-14: Newsweek: "Science Magazine Puts Transgender Women on
Cover, Without Their Heads" (more,
the academic journal of the American Association for the Advancement of
Science, put an image of transgender women sex workers on their
cover this week,
an extensive special section
about HIV/AIDS prevention approaches. However, on the cover, the women’s heads
were cut out of the frame, leaving only their bodies.
Prosanta Chakrabarty, an evolutionary biologist at
Louisiana University, pointed out the problem: "When we said we wanted more
women in Science this is not what we meant . . ."
7-17-14: Slate: "Science Has a Gender Problem. Science Just Made It
of Science magazine’s special AIDS and HIV issue hit mailboxes on Wednesday: It
shows the legs and minidress-clad torsos of transgender sex workers in Jakarta.
The women have breasts but no heads. “Staying a step ahead of HIV/AIDS,” reads
the display text, a winking inch or so away from their stiletto heels. Though
transgender sex workers are a “key affected population” for the epidemic in
Indonesia, they are often overlooked by government health services, which is
ostensibly why Science chose to splash bits of their anatomy on its cover. If
transwomen get ignored, though, it’s in large part due to prejudice—and in that
respect the optics of the Science tableau do more harm than good.
blog explains this car wreck of noble intentions pretty well. “Instead of
showing viewers a humanizing glimpse into the lives of these women,” writes
A.V. Flox, the cover objectifies their bodies. It uses their bare legs as bait
to lure in male readers, and then reverses the readers’ expectations in a way
that’s supposed to be … funny? “Interesting
to consider how those gazey males will feel when they find out,” tweeted
Science editor Jim Austin gleefully.
Because transgender women with AIDS are great comedic
I the only one who finds moral indignation really boring?” he continued. If
only. Update, July 17, 2014: Science editor-in-chief Marcia McNutt has
expressed regret about the image on the magazine's July 11 cover. "From us at
Science, we apologize to those offended by recent cover. Intent was to
highlight solutions to HIV, and it badly missed the mark," she
But sexist and homophobic (and racist) exploitation just
kicks off the July 11 issue’s offenses. As Flox also points out, the cropping
commits a metaphorical decapitation. It takes apart the bodies of people who go
through life at terrifying risk of violence and murder. Transgender people are
28 percent more likely to experience physical brutality than those who are
gender normative. In that context, the choice to lop off their heads for
aesthetic effect—especially when the magazine
depicts human subjects without their faces—seems chillingly insensitive.
(Flox found that over 10 years of Science covers, only two featured
free-floating body parts, and they did so in a nonsexual manner.)
Pro tip: When you “raise awareness” about the plight of
an underserved group of people, the type of awareness you raise matters.
Transgender sex workers should not be expected to thank Science for “raising
awareness” of them as erotic objects, jokes, or disease vectors. The STEM
fields have a
reputation for exclusiveness, for ushering straight white men to the front
of the line, and this particular magazine’s treatment of its subjects—Typhoid
Marys who are also hot, and fake—is unlikely to challenge that perception.
Indeed, it’s only gathering steam. On Wednesday, Vox
reported on a paper in the journal PLOS ONE suggesting that sexual misbehavior
may be more prevalent on field sites than we thought. Roughly 71 percent of
female scientist respondents told researchers they had experienced harassment
or assault. This is not good publicity for a discipline that desperately wants
and needs to increase diversity. Transgender sex workers may have an image
problem, but so does science—and now, Science."
7-17-14: Vancouver Sun (Canada): "Daphne Bramham: Vancouver Catholic
schools first in Canada to have transgender policy -- Schools told to respect
the right of transgender children to choose the names they want to be
identified by, to wear the uniform that best fits their gender identification
and to have privacy in bathrooms"
"Tracey Wilson shyly concedes that some people might
think of her as a hero. Of course, she says, her brother says you can only be a
hero if you have super powers.
Super powers or not, the petite 11-year-old with
dreadlocks is the reason the Catholic Independent Schools of the Vancouver
Archdiocese are the first Catholic schools in Canada with a policy aimed at
accommodating and supporting students with gender dysphoria. "No other kids in
the world deserve anything like I've gone through ... I don't want anyone else
to feel that they don't belong," says Tracey.
Tears trickle down her face as she names the friends
whose parents no longer allow them to speak to her. This is because two years
ago, after lots of counselling and discussion, the little boy began living as a
"I believe my soul was mixed up and confused about which
body to go into and it accidentally went into my boy body instead of a girl
body," she says softly.
Living like a boy "kind of felt like being a vampire and
being stabbed in the heart all the time. I felt like my whole life was ending.
I felt like I wanted to cry all the time."
Many times, she stood crying outside the Catholic school
in her boy's uniform, imagining herself with long hair, wearing a flower
barrette and a girl's uniform.
At those times, Tracey says her friends were there for
support. "It was very good to have friends who loved me."
In kindergarten, a boy told Tracey that boys don't play
with dolls. "So, I thought I must be a girl, but that obviously wasn't the
case. And as I went on, I started noticing how I was becoming more like a
[Ed: Especially watch the very moving video interview
with Tracey and her mom.]
7-15-14: Huffington Post: "Debi Jackson, Mother Of Transgender Child,
Gives Moving Speech"
"My daughter is six years old. She transitioned, which
means she changed her outward appearance from male to female and started living
full time as her true gender, when she was four. Until that point she was quite
a rough and tumble little boy with a buzz cut and a shark tooth necklace."
And so begins the absolutely beautiful speech Debi
Jackson gave earlier this year about her transgender daughter, AJ, at the Unity
Temple on the Plaza in Kansas City. As Jackson continues, she outlines how her
family came to realize that AJ is transgender, what happened the first day she
went to school "in girl clothes" and the bigotry her family faced.
But the best part of the video may be when Jackson
addresses the comments she's heard about her daughter and sets the record
straight about statements like you "wanted a girl so you turned your child into
one" and "kids have no idea what they want or who they are -- my kids wants to
be a dog, should I let him?"
Spend six minutes and get to know Jackson and her family
a little better. You'll be happy you did."
7-03-14: The Advocate: "WATCH: Another Atlanta Trans Woman Brutally
Assaulted -- The attack marks the second anti-trans assault caught on tape in
Atlanta in just over a month"
Late Tuesday, video surfaced
of a transgender woman being assaulted in front of Stratosphere Skateboards, a
skate shop located in Atlanta's Little Five Points district. This attack comes
just one month after two Atlanta trans women were
brutally assaulted aboard a MARTA train.
The video, comprised of a series of short Vine videos,
shows the woman pacing in front of the shop, engaging in a verbal altercation
with a number of people. In the video's final moments, a man can be seen
throwing the woman to the ground and stomping on her head.
The GA Voice,
the Atlanta Police Department was not yet aware of this incident.
“I have checked with Zone 6 Command and searched
myself but cannot locate a reported dispute at that location,” Atlanta Police
Department employee Gregory Lyon told the Voice. “It’s quite possible the
person being attacked in the video did not report this to us.”
In a statement to the Voice, Georgia Equality executive
director Jeff Graham condemned the attacker, and urged the city of Atlanta to
make the protection of transgender individuals a priority.
“That’s another horrific attack against a transgender or
gender-variant person," Graham said. "I hope that the person who has been
attacked comes forward so that the police can fully investigate. It is also
time to address the overall violence that transgender people live with every
day through increased public education and enforcement of the policies that the
city of Atlanta has put in place."
7-03-14: Hollywood Life: "Hank Baskett’s Alleged Transgender Lover: How I
Became A Woman"
"After claiming that she had a tryst with Kendra
Wilkinson’s husband, Ava Sabrina London revealed on July 2 the grueling,
expensive process she went through to become the woman who caught Hank’s
Going from a boy named “Paul”
Sabrina London – the transexual who’s at
the center of Hank
Baskett‘s alleged cheating scandal — was
not easy. The transgender model opened up on July 2 and broke down the grueling
process, from deciding to become a woman to dropping a whopping $50,000 on a
shocking amount of surgeries.
“I always wished I was born a
girl,” Ava told
“Everything I did to my sister, I did to myself. I did her makeup, her hair,
styled her. I wished I was my sister. But I never thought I’d transition.”
After growing up as a boy named “Paul” in Modesto,
Calif., Ava finally decided, with some hesitation, to start undergoing hormone
therapy in 2011 as the first step to transition from a man to a woman. After
that, Ava racked up a shocking 18 surgeries to complete the transformation . .
Ava Sabrina London has been
thrust into the public eye after she alleged that
Hank Baskett cheated
on his wife, Kendra
Wilkinson, with her. According to Ava, her
relationship with Hank started as an online flirtation, but that eventually
they met in person, and he paid her for sexual acts.
Kendra is reeling
— she’s been spotted out without her wedding band — and her marriage with Hank
is definitely in doubt"
7-03-14: PRI (re Indonesia): "Transgender women find a safe place to
practice their faith in Indonesia"
"On a recent Sunday afternoon, a group of women lay out
books, mats and glasses of hot tea on a shady veranda. It’s time for Arabic
class at Pondok Pesantren Waria, an Islamic school in the Indonesian town of
It's one of more than 13,000 such schools — called
"pesantren" — in Indonesia. But here there's a key difference: the students are
all transgender women. They're mostly adults, who come after work on the
weekend for their religious study. They're known in Indonesia as "waria," a
term that mixes “wanita” and “pria," the Indonesian words for “woman” and
Bunda Yeti, a stout waria who’s been studying here for
several years, carries a small shelf of Arabic textbooks onto the veranda. Yeti
was raised as a boy, but she knew early on that she was really a girl. In high
school, she told friends and began wearing makeup.
It wasn’t an easy decision — Indonesians are relatively
tolerant when it comes to transgender women, but discrimination is still
widespread. Many waria struggle to get identity cards, which are required for
voting, and medical care can be hard to access.
Yeti also struggled with another problem: How, and
where, should she pray? In Indonesia’s mosques, men and women pray separately
and wear different religious garb. Bunda didn’t fit into either category.
“Normally I would have joined the men’s section," she
says, "but I was wearing a dress and makeup. And could I pray with the women?
Of course not.” She thought that people would stare at her and worried that her
presence would distract other worshippers from their own prayers. Eventually
she stopped going to the mosque altogether. She tried praying at home, but it
wasn’t the same.
“For major holidays I might go to the public square in
order to pray with other people," she says, "but I couldn’t do Friday prayers
at the mosque." Yeti felt she had fallen away from God.
Then, in 2008, a friend of hers opened Pondok Pesantren
Waria. It’s a small, informal setup — no grades, no graduation and only about
20 students. But, for the first time in years, Yeti felt she had a place to
practice her faith."
7-02-14: Rolling Stone: "4 Reasons President Obama's New Trans Rights
Policy Is a Big Deal -- By protecting transgender federal employees, the
president makes a powerful statement of equality" By Parker
Marie Molloy (more,
"At the White House Pride reception on June 30th, President Barack Obama
expressed his intent to issue an executive order that would extend
employment protections to federal employees on the basis of gender identity
– making it illegal for federal agencies to discriminate against transgender
and gender non-conforming individuals. This follows a 2009 executive order
that extended these same protections to employees on the basis of their
This is big news for trans individuals, both current and aspiring federal
employees. Here are four reasons why:
1. The new policy clarifies current case law, and continues to set precedent
. . .
2. It opens a wide range of job opportunities to a group plagued by high
unemployment . . .
3. It provides continued legitimacy to a group often brushed off as fringe
or abnormal . . .
4. It's the latest sign that the Obama administration truly has the
transgender community's best interests in mind . . .
In each of the past several years, President Obama has invited trans
activists and public figures to the White House as part of the annual Pride
In 2011, the Social Security Administration stopped issuing "no match"
letters to employers. These letters – which were sent out whenever an
employee's gender as filed with the SSA didn't match the gender as filed
with a company after bringing on a new employee – unwittingly outed trans
employees and flagged them as possible fraud or identity theft cases. Many
employers, not wanting to deal with the hassle, simply cut ties with these
trans new hires.
In 2010, the State Department removed surgical requirements for individuals
to update their passport information's gender marker; in 2012 and 2013, the
Social Security Administration and Veterans Administration followed suit,
respectively. Removing these requirements has helped numerous trans
individuals streamline their legal identification documents.
Earlier this year, the Department of Education issued a ruling that states
that Title IX of the Civil Rights Act protects trans students.
Without a doubt, Obama has shown himself to be an ally to the trans
community. With more than two years left in his term, it will be interesting
to see what other advances we'll see by 2016."
"Largest Study to Date: Transgender Hormone Treatment Safe"
hormone treatment of transgender adults leads to very few long-term side
effects, according to the authors of the largest study to date to examine this
More than 2000 patients from 15 US and European centers
participated in the retrospective study, called Comorbidity and Side Effects of
Cross-Sex Hormone Treatment in Transsexual Subjects, and nearly 1600 received
at least 1 year of follow-up, the authors reported.
"Our results are very reassuring," principal
investigator Henk Asscheman, MD, PhD, who heads HAJAP, his clinical research
company in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, told Medscape Medical News. "There are
mostly minor side effects and no new [adverse events] observed in this large
last week, where he presented the initial results of the research, Dr.
Asscheman said the data confirm findings from smaller studies published in the
take-home message," he said, "is that when using the
guidelines from the Endocrine Society
["Endocrine Treatment of Transsexual Persons"], you are not going to see a lot
of comorbidities with cross-sex hormone treatment."
7-01-14: KCET: "Changing
Birth Certificates Now Easier for Transgender People"
"Transgender Californians seeking changes to their name
and gender identities on birth certificates will no longer need to go through a
lengthy and exploitative legal process. Effective today, individuals seeking a
name change on a birth certificate are no longer required to publish their
reflected name in a local newspaper. Additionally, they will no longer be
required to attend a court hearing prior to authenticating the request. "These
new protections were created to improve the safety and privacy needs of
transgender people seeking to obtain accurate and consistent identity
documents," said Danny Kirchoff from the Transgender Law Center.
AB 1121, authored by Speaker
Toni G. Atkins in 2013, ensures that one's gender identity is
accurately represented on legal documents.
The bill was co-sponsored by the Transgender Law Center and Equality
California, and aims to make it easier for transgender people to seek changes
to properly reflect one's gender identity without going through so much red
tape . . .
The old process for making changes to birth certificates
involved the issuance of a court date and the payment of $435 for a gender or
name change. An individual seeking to change the gender or name on the birth
certificate would then be required to provide a physician's affidavit
documenting the individual's gender transition.Under the new provision,
however, individuals would no longer be required to go through court. The
individual would be responsible for sending the request to the State Registrar,
which would then verify information from a physician and grant the request
through a simplified administrative procedure.
"Under this change, an individual could simply apply
directly to the Office of Vital Records to change the gender/and/or name on a
birth certificate, supplying the required physician's affidavit to that office
instead of to the court," the bill's language notes.
AB 1121 has also worked to streamline the birth
certificate process while also protecting the rights of transgender people. It
will also eliminate the discriminatory requirement for having transgender
people publish and pay for their reflected name changes in media publications.
"A lot of our clients had major concerns about the safety issues of publishing
the name change in the newspaper. And especially in recent years, a lot of
publications have moved online and people's information about a person's old
and new name would come up on Google search, and it's often really private
information," noted Kirchoff from the Transgender Law Center.
"There's a lot of privacy and safety concerns that
people had, and also the cost. Changing your name is essential for people to
have to get to reflect name and gender," he added.
Another bill for transgender rights, AB 1577, or
the Respect After Death Act,
cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee last Thursday. If signed into law, it
will ensure that death certificates will reflect the deceased's correct gender
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