Trans News Updates:

Compiled and edited by Lynn Conway [Version of 3-28-15] 


These pages link to news of special interest to the trans community, including excerpts to convey the gist of each story. In addition to alerting readers about important events, the links provide a moving-window into shifting media spins and societal behavior towards trans people ‒ enabling us to track historical shifts in such behaviors as years go by. Of special interest are news articles from outside the U.S., enabling us to follow media-trends in other cultures too. In some cases, excerpts are followed by my editorial comments, in brackets [ ].


Included is a special summary news-archive concerning (i) the pathologization of gender variance by American Psychiatry, (ii) the leading role in that process played by Ken Zucker at CAMH (especially by his widespread promotion of reparatist therapy on transgender children), and (iii) the efforts of the transgender community to extricate themselves from this institutionized pseudo-scientific demonization.


E-mail Lynn to send links for listing. To browse the archive, click the relevant year/month in the table below. You can conduct detailed searches of the archive, by using the site-search-box at the top of the page.


2015:   JanFeb Mar 


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


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


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


2011:   Jan,  FebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec


2010:   Jan,  FebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec


2009:   JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNov Dec


2008:   JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec


2007:   JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSep OctNov Dec


2006:   JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSep OctNov Dec


2005:      -       -       -      AprMayJunJulAugSep OctNovDec




03-18-15:  Metro News (Canada): "Outcry prompts CAMH to review its controversial treatment of trans youth"

03-17-15:  Global News (Canada): "Anti-Conversion Therapy Bill: Ontario NDP MPP Cheri Dinovo speaks about her private member’s bill that seeks to ban conversion therapy in Ontario"

02-21-15:  National Post (Canada): "CAMH announces that its child gender identity services would undergo a six-month independent review"

02-05-15: "Great News! CAMH Toronto's Gender Identity Service Review Announcement"

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

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

01-14-14:  IEEE Institute: "Approved IEEE Code of Ethics − IEEE Board approves changes"

01-13-14:  HRC: "The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers Adopts LGBT-Inclusive Code of Ethics"

01-13-14:  Huffington Post (posted 1-08): "Leadership and the Value of Exceptional Allies", by Dana Beyer

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

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

09-07-13:  Idolator (posted 9-03): "Goldfrapp’s “Annabel” Video: Watch The Thoughtful Exploration In Gender Identity" (more, more, more)

09-04-13:  Huffington Post: "University of Arizona Helps Transgender Studies Take a Bold Leap Forward", by

08-28-13: IU News (Indiana University): "Kinsey Institute receives grant to study transgender issues in the U.S. military"

08-28-13:  Huffington Post: "LGBT Legal Progress: 1988 - 2038" by Dana Beyer

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

08-25-13:  The Guardian (UK re US, posted 8-24): "High hopes: . . .Victims of FGM are only offered surgery to reduce their pain. But a cult is supporting a few surgeons as they attempt to restore sexual sensation"

08-23-13:  PBS: "How Will the Military Handle Bradley Manning's Request to Be 'Chelsea'?"

(A must-see interview/discussion by Allyson Robinson on the issue of transgender people in the military)

08-23-13:  NBC News: "For transgender prisoners, hormones seen as matter of life and death"

08-23-13:  The Telegraph (UK re US): "Prison will not be kind to Chelsea Manning" by

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

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

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

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

07-31-13:  The New York Times: "Editorial: The Next Civil Rights Frontier", by The NYT Editorial Board

07-23-13:  Huffington Post: "Arin Andrews and Katie Hill, Transgender Teenage Couple, Transition Together" (more)

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

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

06-26-13:  ACLU: "VICTORY: DOMA Unconstitutional! And Prop 8 Goes Down, Too!"

06-21-13:  HRC:  "CalPERS Makes History: Board Approves Trans-Inclusive Health Coverage", by Andre Wilson

06-14-13:  Think Progress: "VICTORY: Transgender People Can Now Change Their Social Security Record’s Gender Identity" (more)

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

04-11-13:  Motherboard: "How the Psychiatrist Who Co-Wrote the Manual on Sex Talks About Sex"

01-17-13:  4 News (UK): "Transsexual awareness 'at tipping point' - video"

01-14-13: (posted 10:58am EST, re UK): "ALERT: The Guardian removed Burchill's transphobic Observer article from its website!"

12-23-12:  Catholic Online: “Pope Benedict XVI Exposes the Profound Falsehood of the Philosophy of the Gender Identity Movement”

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

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

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

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

09-29-12:  U. S. Politics Today: "L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center Commends California Governor Jerry Brown for Signing SB 1172, Protecting LGBT Youth"  (link to SB 1172)

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

08-16-12:  APA: "APA Issues Official Positions Supporting Access to Care and the Rights of Transgender and Gender Variant Persons"

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

07-10-12:  The 519 (Toronto, Canada): "The 519 mourns the passing of Kyle Scanlon" (more, more)

06-19-12:  GID "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 “Final Public Comment Period For Proposed DSM-5 Criteria Ends June 15”, by Kelley Winters, Ph.D.

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

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

04-21-12:  GID "These Aren’t the Droids You’re Looking For: Gender Diversity, Scapegoating and Erasure in Medicine and Media", by Kelley Winters, Ph.D.

02-19-12:  Chicago Tribune: "A year after scandal, new sexuality class at NU Course offered as introduction to gender studies" (NU takes Bailey's course away from him and from the NU psychology department, turning it over to a more responsible faculty member in NU's gender studies program.)

02-17-12:  Endocrine Today: "Pubertal blockade safe for pediatric patients with gender identity disorder"

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

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

10-26-11:  YouTube:  "Plaintiff Nicole Maines'  Remarks at GLAD's 2011 Spirit of Justice Award Dinner"

09-25-11:  GID "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 "Kenneth Zucker’s cronyism and pathologizing ideologies about trans youth examined"

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

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

05-26-11:  GID Reform Advocates:“Transvestic Disorder, the Overlooked Anti-Trans Diagnosis in the DSM-5,” by Kelley Winters, Ph.D. (more)

05-20-11:  The Bilerico Project: "Trans Visibility Sparks Right-Wing Blogosphere Explosion," by:Austen Crowder (a important, must-read essay)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

12-29-10:  GJSS: "Transgender children: more than a theoretical challenge", by Natacha Kennedy and Mark Hellen (more)

12-29-10: "My Encounter with Prof K Zucker at the BPS conference in Salford", by Natacha Jessica Kennedy

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

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

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


[The ongoing Trans News Updates continue further below]:



Special Summary News-Archive:


Ken Zucker's  trans-reparatist therapy on gender variant children at CAMH ... and his leading role in the pathologization of gender variance by American Psychiatry


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


This special section contains compilations of news and information about the pathologization of gender variance as mental illness by the psychiatric community. We focus especially on Ken Zucker of CAMH in Toronto, Canada, and his role in the revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Zucker is widely known for his trans-reparatist therapy on gender variant children, and for heavy-handed promotion of his colleague Ray Blanchard's transphobic pronouncements that ALL transitioned women are either effeminate homosexual men or mentally-ill sexually paraphilic men.


As his role in DSM revision came under increasing criticism, Zucker and his strident spokesperson Alice Dreger launched many personal attacks on Zucker’s and Blanchard’s  transgender critics. This includes the smearing of critics in the Archives of Sexual Behavior (the journal Zucker controls), attempts to stop critics from speaking at universities, the smearing of critics on major professional association e-lists, attempts to prevent critics from holding sessions at conferences, launchings of threats of libel against critics, and attempts to shut down this very website - all the while claiming that transgender critics were infringing upon the academic freedom of an academic clique that was pathologizing gender variance. This section exposes Zucker's trans-reparatism and his subsequent overreactions to criticisms of that exposure:


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

In April 2007, this site began an exposure of Zucker's trans-reparatism in a webpage entitled: "Drop the Barbie: Ken Zucker's reparatist treatment of gender-variant children", reflecting back on a 2001 article that had broken the story and coordinating with Andrea James who posted a parallel exposé of Zucker's reparatism.


The following year National Public Radio broadcast a heartbreaking documentary on May 8-9, 2008 contrasting Zucker's decades-old reparatist methods to more modern treatment protocols.  A further exposé of Zucker's reparatist treatment of gender-variant children, "But For Today I Am A Boy" (Français), was published in the Torontoist (on May 9, 2008).  OII followed up by raising important questions about Ontario's sponsorship of Zucker's work (see also OII's Open Letter to WPATH)


However, even though he was known to be a trans-reparatist, Zucker was selected to lead the revision of the American Psychiatric Association's section on 'sexual and gender identity disorders' in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). With Zucker thus empowered, there appears to be little chance for removal of GID from the DSM, and trans people will likely be stigmatized for another decade as being mentally ill even after transition.  See the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) press release protesting Zucker's DSM selection. The huge scale of the protest was made even more visible in a petition against Zucker's DSM selection that gained over 9,500 signatures (noticia en español). See also the petition protesting Ontario gov't support of Zucker's work. (more, more), and the petition in protest of Zucker's key role in a UK conference on adolescent transitions.


For background on needed DSM reforms see and Kelley Winters' essays ( 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 ), especially "Blinded Me With Science: The Burden of Proof".  See also "DSM ON THE BOOKSHELF", an open letter to WPATH by clinician Tracie O'Keefe [PDF], "DSM: Diagnosing for Status and Money" (more, more, more).  See also Prof. Sam Winter's report on how the 'mental-illness' classification causes transphobia all around the world.


On Feb 6, 2009, Joelle Ruby Ryan (chair), Julia Serano, and Kelley Winters, Ph.D. presented a workshop at IFGE 2009 entitled “Disordered” No More: Challenging Transphobia in Psychology, Academia and Society" [NEW], in response to the pathologization of gender variant people by reactionary psychiatrists and sexologists. You'll find a report on the workshop at this link and we'll be posting videos there soon. See also the text of Joelle's presentation, “The Transgender Tipping Point: It is Not the Transperson Who is “Disordered” but the Society in which S/he Lives”, by Joelle Ruby Ryan [PDF], and Kelley's presentation  on “Top Ten Problems with the GID Diagnosis”, by Kelley Winters, Ph.D. [PDF]


For more on the pathologization of transpeople by the DSM, see Kelley Winter's new book: Gender Madness in American Psychiatry, Essays from the Struggle for Dignity", by Kelley Winters, Ph.D. [announcement PDF] .


2.  Zucker's attacks on transgender critics, with support from his ideological operative Alice Dreger

In July '07,  Zucker as editor of the Archives of Sexual Behavior (ASB) subverted that journal as a propaganda machine in defense of ASB editorial board members Bailey, Blanchard, Lawrence (BBL). Zucker did this by announcing and pre-publishing Alice Dreger's one-sided history of the Bailey book investigation in the ASB. Zucker promoted Dreger's anti-transgender hit-piece as if it were an independent scholarly work, devoting the entire June '08 ASB to Dreger's defense of Bailey, Blanchard and Lawrence in a not-so-veiled attack on Zucker's own primary critics Andrea James and Lynn Conway.  Ardent Bailey supporter Ben Carey followed with a New York Times article on 8-21-07 in which Dreger portrayed Bailey as a great scientist under siege for 'telling the truth'.  For more about Dreger, including her role in the medical pathologization of intersex people, see this link and this one too.


Determined to stop trans criticism of Zucker, Bailey, Blanchard and Lawrence, Dreger went on to launch e-mail attacks and threaten the academic career of graduate student Joelle Ruby Ryan who had proposed a women's study conference panel on transphobia in academe (see Élise Hendrick's commentary, Lynn's comments and this article). Dreger's attempt to prevent Joelle's panel backfired. It was held as scheduled on June 21, 2008 (see flyer and handout), and produced powerful essays that further exposed Bailey and Dreger (see detailed report at this link) including Élise's essay on the odd form of 'academic freedom' claimed by Bailey and Dreger and Andrea's essay "Fair comment, foul play".  Videos of all the presentations are posted on YouTube.  See also the prestigious Point Foundation 's mention of Joelle's NWSA panel at this link and her upcoming IFGE workshop at this link.                                          


Julia Serano has published an exposé of Dreger 's effort to resurrect Bailey's disgraced career, and her book Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity provides the context for understanding these events. For an overview of BBL pseudo-science, see "Science and Ideology: The Blanchard-Bailey-Lawrence Model of Transsexuality, by Élise Hendrick and "The Bailey Affair, Again" by Joan Roughgarden. For a deconstruction of Carey's Times' article, see this essay by Elise Hendrick. Dreger's scholarship was further questioned in June '08 in ASB peer commentary papers highly critical of Dreger's 'history'.  For more about Dreger's methods, see "Go Ask Alice – But Not About Transsexuals’ Lives and History: A Defense of the Right of Members of an Oppressed Class to Speak for Themselves", by Katrina C. Rose.


In early 2011, Alice Dreger’s hero J. Michael Bailey went one-controversy-too-far, by staging a live “fucksaw demonstration” in front of many of his students (more).  For an overview of the event and its implications, see Joelle Ruby Ryan’s essay “The Fuckwit and the Fucksaw: Sex-Monger John Michael Bailey Strikes Again”, March 6, 2011, and also Anna North’s report on “The Storied Past of Professor Fucksaw”.  This bizarre episode turned Northwestern into national media joke as “Fucksaw University”. It also spelled doom for Bailey’s reputation and career, for Northwestern’s administration finally figured out what to do with him: They cancelled his large human sexuality course in the abysmally irresponsible Psychology Department, and turned over the teaching of such courses to Northwestern's far more enlightened Gender Studies Program.  This has left Bailey academically stranded as an isolated, aging teacher of minor, poorly-attended psych courses. Meanwhile, an unrepentant Dreger continues to deify Bailey, as if he were as modern-day ‘Galileo’.


3. Zucker exploits the 'other' APA to push his views and suppress opposition:

During 2008, Zucker attempted to suppress evidence that the prevalence of transsexualism is much greater than he has previously claimed:  See: "Falsification of GID prevalence results by the APA Task Force on Gender Identity and Gender Variance", an Investigative Report by Lynn Conway, 8-28-08 [PDF].  See also Lynn's letter to the President of the APA re that Task Force, 9-05-08 [PDF], and this open letter and investigative report re the APA's response.


4. Zucker's attempt to suppress Lynn's website and attack her freedom of speech: 

Lynn's exposure of Zucker's trans-reparatist therapy and of his exploitation of the ASB to disseminate anti-transgender propaganda has apparently unsetted Zucker.  On January 27, 2009, Zucker responded by falsely accusing Lynn of libel in a letter sent by CAMH attorney Peter Jacobsen to Lynn and to her university (more) - in a clear attempt to suppress Lynn's website on the eve of an IFGE workshop that would prove embarrassing to Zucker


Lynn called Zucker's bluff by openly reporting the attempt to infringe her rights (En Español, En Français).  (For a humorous view of the events, see the cartoon by Jayna Pavlin). The IFGE workshop went on as planned, and a presentation by Joelle Ruby Ryan ("The Transgender Tipping Point") further revealed Zucker's and Dreger's efforts to silence their critics. News of Zucker's attack quickly spread, as in the Queerty article  "Dr. Kenneth Zucker's War on Transgenders" and in essays by Kelley Winters and Mercedes Allen, and  Lynn was interviewed by LOGO-TV about Zucker's attack. See also this YouTube video and the News video: "Transgender Crusader"Evidence then emerged that Zucker had engaged in a pattern of threats against other women. In June '09, Lynn filed a formal complaint of academic misconduct against Zucker (PDF) for launching that unfounded attack.  


5. Zucker's downfall now inevitable as medical professionals, public health professionals, gender counselors and the media widely recognize the inhumanity of his trans-reparatism:

By 2009, the transgender community's outrage against Zucker finally became so intense that CAMH launched a study to consider the complaints, leading to a scathing report issued by CAMH's own Diversity Program Office. The study led to stinging indictments in 2009 of CAMH’s gender clinics and to well-reasoned recommendations on how to alleviate the problems.

In response, Zucker if anything intensified his ongoing ‘war on transgenders’, and engaged in a war within CAMH to sidestep the recommendations. However, by now Zucker was increasingly isolated from the main movement towards transgender health care, and could no longer control the flow of events.  In 2010, the Province of Ontario finally moved to end CAMH's death grip on trans health services there, and began supporting such services at a variety of other, more humane and supportive organizations.

Zucker's claim to any 'scientific' authenticity was also undermined  in 2011 by the brilliant research of Gavi Ansara, and his report in Psychology & Sexuality on "Cisgenderism in psychology: pathologising and misgendering children from 1999 to 2008" − a report that singled-out Zucker as leader of an 'invisible college' of group-think researchers who collectively used pathologizing language to control 'scientific' thought regarding gender variance.

Events swirled further out of Zucker's control when in 2012 the State of California passed legislation outlawing both gay and trans-reparatist therapy on children.  Even Zucker's staunchest supporters had to pause for thought now, for their reputations could be lost if they continued to advocate treatments that were becoming ILLEGAL!

In 2012 Zucker also received a huge signal of public rejection, when the Toronto public school system listed a wide range of trans-friendly resources for transgender students, but omitted CAMH from the list , thus turning their back on him and his entire body of work! (link to TDSB guidelines)

In 2015, public outcry in Ontario prompted CAMH to externally review its controversial treatment of trans youth, and Ontario DNP MPP Cheri DiNovo introduced a bill to ban "conversion therapy" in the Province.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

12-29-10:  GJSS: "Transgender children: more than a theoretical challenge", by Natacha Kennedy and Mark Hellen (more)

12-29-10:  "My Encounter with Prof K Zucker at the BPS conference in Salford", by Natacha Jessica Kennedy

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

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

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

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

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

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

09-25-11:  GID "New Standards of Care for the Health of Transsexual, Transgender, and Gender Nonconforming People, "

                 [WPATH's new Standards of Care (Version 7) denounces trans-reparatism as being unethical.]

02-19-12:  Chicago Tribune: "A year after scandal, new sexuality class at NU Course offered as introduction to gender studies"

                 [NU takes Bailey's course away from him and NU psychology department, turning it over to NU's gender studies program.]


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

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

09-29-12:  U. S. Politics Today: "L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center Commends California Governor Jerry Brown for Signing SB 1172, Protecting LGBT Youth"  (link to SB 1172)

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

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

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

03-17-15:  Global News (Canada): "Anti-Conversion Therapy Bill: Ontario NDP MPP Cheri Dinovo speaks about her private member’s bill that seeks to ban conversion therapy in Ontario"

03-18-15:  Metro News (Canada): "Outcry prompts CAMH to review its controversial treatment of trans youth"





The Trans News Updates:




March 2015:


03-26-15:  HRC (re Canada): "Canada Clinic Suspends Conversion Therapy Services", by Ashley Fowler

"After undergoing substantial public scrutiny, the Toronto-based Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) has suspended its "Gender Identity Services" until they can be officially reviewed.  

The dangerous and widely debunk service, also known as “conversion” therapy,  is designed to prevent individuals from identifying as LGBT. Rejected by every major medical group in the U.S. for decades, “conversion” therapy is based on false concept that being LGBT is a mental illness that needs to be cured.

CAMH’s "Gender Identity Services" came under review several months ago, when the transgender community publicly criticized CAMH for not being “respectful” of patients’ gender identities. No new patients will be admitted into the program until after the review is complete. 

Dr. Kenneth Zucker, the doctor who is in charge of the youth "Gender Identity Service," is highly criticized for his alleged reparative therapy practices. Zucker encouraged parents to limit their children’s cross-gender behavior. He explained in an interview with the National Post that by doing so, parents “are lowering the odds” of their children becoming transgender.

In the United States, California, New Jersey and the District of Columbia have laws protecting young people under age 18 from this harmful practice; and numerous states are currently considering similar legislation."


03-26-15:  Jewish Daily Forward: "Can Jewish Transgender Teen's Successful Coming Out Provide Model for Others?"

"San Francisco — Tom Chai Sosnik stood in front of his eighth-grade class, flecks of rainbow colored hair visible beneath his blue yarmulke, as he was wrapped in a tallit for the very first time. His classmates stood and chanted together, “Baruch HaBah [“Welcome”]” three times, and then ran forward, enveloping him in a big, messy hug. Tom’s transition was complete, but unlike what you may have expected, it was not one from boy to man, but rather from girl to boy.

You may recognize the name Tom Sosnik — the transgender teenager whose “coming out” speech went viral after being posted on Facebook by his family on March 16. Since then, it has been viewed more than 61,000 times and has been reposted by such national media sites as The Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan magazine and Out magazine. Tom is being hailed as a “hero” in the transgender community, praised for his articulateness and his sincere sense of self . . .

Tom and his parents told the interim head of school at Tehiyah, Elise Prowse, that Tom was transgender and that he wanted to make it public. Within days of their meeting, Prowse created a gender-neutral bathroom at Tehiyah and got in contact with Gender Spectrum, a not-for-profit organization that provides gender-related education, to figure out the best way forward. Together they created a gender transition plan for Tom, with the goal of having him come out before his class trip to Israel at the end of March — so that he could comfortably use the male restrooms while traveling with his classmates.

“We were very detailed and intentional about the planning,” said Prowse, who consulted closely with Tom while designing the process. The plan included educational workshops on gender with the faculty, parents and students at Tehiyah. Everything culminated with Tom’s March 13 coming out speech and naming ceremony.

“The degree to which the parent community not only showed up, but clearly really wanted to embrace this family and young person, was really lovely,” said Joel Baum, senior director of professional development and family service at Gender Spectrum. “As a Jewish day school, they have some very clear statements about their values, and what it means to be a community based in those values. I’ve never seen anything done in that way before. It was really beautiful.” . . .

“I think that it’s the parents’ job to leave an open door for their kids, like my parents did for me, because you never know,” Tom said. “Being trans doesn’t make you unclean; it doesn’t make you weird, or different. People that are trans are just doing what we all should be doing: They’re embracing who they really are.”"


03-25-15:  The Williams Institute: "Williams Institute launches first-of-its-kind study of U.S. transgender population"

"Researchers at the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, Columbia University and The Fenway Institute at Fenway Health are launching a first-of-its-kind study of the transgender population in the United States that they expect will create a more accurate and detailed picture of the issues faced by transgender individuals.

The study, which is being led by Ilan H. Meyer, Williams Senior Scholar of Public Policy at the Williams Institute, will provide researchers and policymakers with unbiased estimates about the demographics, health outcomes and health care needs of the transgender population by relying on a randomly selected sample of the U.S. population. The study, titled “TransPop: U.S. Transgender Population Health Survey,” also will provide insights into the methodology of surveying transgender people.

“With awareness about transgender people growing in the public and among researchers and policymakers, there are new opportunities to establish policies that address the needs of transgender people in the United States,” said Meyer, the study’s principal investigator. “Timely and accurate data about the transgender population is crucial for designing evidence-based public health and policy interventions.”

To date, most of what researchers know about the transgender population comes from studies that do not use random selection methods, Meyer said. While those studies have provided valuable information about transgender lives, they may not accurately represent the population."


03-24-15:  The Advocate: "Trans Teen Activist, Former Homecoming King, Dies in Charlotte, N.C. -- Blake Brockington, 18, died by suicide after inspiring trans youth locally and nationally with his work to combat transphobia, racism, and police brutality."

"Blake Brockington, a young trans activist celebrated nationwide as the first out trans homecoming king in a North Carolina high school, is being mourned after committing suicide Monday night, reports North Carolina LGBT newspaper QNotes . . .

"I honestly feel like this is something I have to do," Brockington, who mentored several younger trans students, told QNotes at the time he was named homecoming king. "Nobody should be scared to be themselves, and everybody should have an equal opportunity to have an enjoyable high school experience." He also shared how he had been rejected by his family after coming out as transgender, leading to his placement in a loving foster home.

Receiving public attention for his homecoming win was a defining moment for Brockington and also a difficult one, he told local newspaper The Charlotte Observer, as reported by QNotes. "That was single-handedly the hardest part of my trans journey. Really hateful things were said on the Internet. It was hard. I saw how narrow-minded the world really is."

"I've had a hard time coming out to my family, I had a hard time coming out to my friends at school, but I did it," Brockington said in a video interview with the Observer (below). "I've lost a lot of friends ... [But] I want other trans youth to understand that they're not alone, and that this is a large community". . .

Brockington's death is the sixth reported suicide of a trans youth in the U.S. this year, in an "epidemic" that trans advocates say sees far more casualties than are noted by media. "For every name we know, there are surely many that we don't," Trans Lifeline cofounder Greta Gustava Martela explained in an Advocate op-ed a week before Brockington died. "It looks to me like the five reported suicides of trans people in the first three months of 2015 [including 23-year-old Eyelul Cansin in Turkey] have more to do with an uptick in reporting around trans suicide than an actual increase in the number of trans people taking their lives."

The numbers themselves have been staggering, both before and after the media began to take notice — a recent change that Martela suggests may have something to do with the international outcry following the late December suicide of 17-year-old trans girl Leelah Alcorn in Union Township, Ohio. Alcorn left a public suicide note pleading for the world to "fix society" so fewer trans people felt rejected and hopeless, spurring national conversations about how families and communities treat their trans children. An extraordinary 41 percent of trans people have reported attempting suicide, according to the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National LGBTQ Task Force — a rate that stands at nearly 10 times the national average for cisgender (nontrans) individuals."


03-23-15: "Michigan woman sues Planet Fitness for transgender-friendly locker room policy" (more, more, more, more)

"The transgender-friendly locker room policy of national gym chain Planet Fitness has led to a lawsuit in Michigan. Yvette Cormier of Midland County is suing Planet Fitness in Midland County Circuit Court for more than $25,000. The Kallman Legal Group of Lansing is representing Cormier.

Planet Fitness canceled Cormier's membership March 4 after she complained to fellow gym members over several days about seeing a transgender woman using the locker room. While Cormier referred to the individual as a man, she said an employee told her the individual in question identified as a woman. Carlotta Sklodowska later came forward, saying she was the transgender woman in question.

"Ms. Cormier was wrongfully denied the benefits of her contract with Planet Fitness and wrongfully denied the use of the public accommodations at Defendant's gym because she objected to Defendant's unknown policy," a press release from Kallman Legal Group states. "The policy allows men who self-identify as women to use the women's facilities, including the women's locker room and showers.""


03-23-15: (updated): "Transgender woman in Planet Fitness locker room controversy says she used it twice to hang up coat, purse" (more, more)

"Cormier has said the transgender woman she saw in the locker room "looked like a man" and was wearing men's clothing.

According to Sklodowska, she wore leggings and a baggy t-shirt during both trips to the gym. She said many people tell her she looks like a man, and she could see why Cormier would see her body structure as masculine. "It's obvious, even from the back," Sklodowska said.

The Midland resident said she uses public bathrooms all the time and has never had any issues previously. "No one has complained yet," she said. Sklodowska said she did not observe anyone in the Planet Fitness locker room who looked distressed about her presence.

Friends told her about the news story circulating regarding Cormier and the locker room policy. That is when Sklodowska figured out that it was likely her to whom Cormier was referring, since she had visited Planet Fitness and is the only transgender woman she knows of in town."


03-22-15:  San Francisco Chronicle: "Rep. Mike Honda’s granddaughter a transgender icon at 8"

"South Bay Congressman Mike Honda, 73, is no different any other grandparent who brags about their “truly special” grandchild. But the Democratic House member has put himself in the national spotlight by tweeting and talking about his granddaughter Malisa, who is 8 years old — and transgender.
In an opinion piece last week in the Bay Area Reporter, the gay and lesbian newspaper, Honda described in detail the story of his grandchild, whom he said was “assigned male at birth,” but who at 18 months “announced to my daughter’s family: 'I’m a girl.’”

Honda wrote that “I admit I was not immediately comfortable” with the change, but learned to find “the strength to push my personal fears of a more difficult life for a loved one aside.” The congressman’s essay, coming after he first revealed Malisa’s decision with a tweet in February, has won him praise from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community as a vanguard who has shed welcome new light on transgender issues.

But observers note his actions may also have a political impact: He has begun raising money for his 2016 re-election campaign, and some critics suggest the current stories — seen as positive in nature — distract from a recent embarrassment: Honda fell asleep during a televised Department of Homeland Security funding debate.

Honda’s revelation about his family has also kicked up a debate on the increasingly blurred lines between the political and the private, especially with regard to issues surrounding children and social media.

“Politicians make their families part of the political debate all the time ... but once you thrust the family into the public forum, they are fair game for the debate,” said law Professor Jessica Levinson, who teaches politics, ethics and privacy issues at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. “And in this case, you’re thrusting an 8-year-old into the public debate at a really delicate time.” Levinson said Honda deserves credit for publicly supporting his granddaughter, but she noted that in doing so, he has exposed her to a harsh limelight, possibly for years, at a time when she may be “really below the threshold for knowing consent.”"


03-22-15:  The Advocate: "Trans Reporter Zoey Tur in Hot Water Over Remarks on Trans Bodies, Rights"

"This month, the Los Angeles-based reporter has received increasing criticism over controversial remarks she's made on national television about hormone therapy, trans youth in sports, and trans women in locker rooms, among other topics. This week, Inside Edition confirmed to The Advocate that the show has ended its relationship with Tur, but claimed the decision was not influenced by the increasing outcry about Tur's public comments.

"It was just a part-time assignment, for February sweeps," co-executive producer Esther Pressin stated. "She did three stories for us, and we're done." 

Tur, whose previous claim to fame was capturing live video of O.J. Simpson in the infamous 1994 Bronco chase, quickly became one of the most visible and outspoken trans people in media after signing with Inside Edition in February. In the weeks since she landed the role, she's been invited to speak on hot-button trans news stories — including Planet Fitness cancelling a woman's membership after she repeatedly complained about a trans woman and speculation on Bruce Jenner's gender identity — for several news programs, including shows on CNN, TMZ, and HLN.

Tur's contributions (included in the list below) have often been distinctly different from positions held by prominent trans rights activists and trans rights organizations, calling recent gains in trans access to public sex-segregated facilities and school sports teams into question. In response, trans advocates have begun firing back in essays and online conversations, arguing that Tur's relatively large public platform increases the harm any misinformation in her statements can create — especially when they appear to resonate with beliefs held by the right wing and antitrans politicans, like those currently pushing "bathroom bills" in Florida, Texas, Minnesota, Missouri, and Kentucky . . . "


03-21-15:  Express (UK re US): "Bruce Jenner: From gold winning Olympian to now wanting to become a woman"

"An inspiration to a nation that celebrated his decathlon gold in the 1976 Montreal Games, his face appeared on cereal boxes and he was a regular at red-carpet events. He starred in TV movies and in the hit television drama series cHiPs. Mothers named newborns after him, women lusted after him and men wanted to be him.

He was Sebastian Coe and Daley Thompson wrapped in the Star-Span- gled Banner, an u?ber-athlete whose celebrity transcended the sport. After two failed marriages Jenner found renewed fame in 2007 as the patriarch of his third wife’s family, the Kardashians. His life became fodder in the reality TV series Keeping up With The Kardashians, led by his step-daughter Kim, which returns to e! entertainment TV in the uK tomorrow.

Yet the man who was once the apotheosis of masculine athleticism is unrecognisable today because Bruce is becoming a woman and he wants to be called Belinda. It’s a transition that has shocked the US and is playing out in America’s living rooms as his family continues to dissect their lives under the magnifying glass of reality TV cameras.

“Bruce has had these urges for many years,” says a close friend. “The kids have known. He has been carrying this with him for so long that everyone is relieved he is coming out with it.”"


03-20-15:  The Daily Beast: "Bold, Beautiful—and Transgender: A Daytime Soap’s Radical Twist"

"Maya has been a character on the show for just over two years, and producers decided to make her character trans three months ago. “I always want to tell love stories, and this will be a different kind of love story. It’s a great adventure,” said Bell. “She is in a relationship. A big part of the story is her being transgender with the man she loves. I’m curious to see how he reacts. It will be an in-depth look at disclosure: the right and appropriate time to say something. When is waiting too long, when is too early?”

Maya is not the first transgender character in a U.S. daytime soap. The ’90s-set The City and All My Children featured trans characters, too. But none have matched the longevity and popularity of the much-loved (and now missed—the character died last year) Hayley Cropper in Britain’s Coronation Street.

After many years of near-invisibility of LGBT characters in daytime, Maya in The Bold and The Beautiful follows the show featuring her love rival Caroline’s lesbian parents.

The marital travails of Will and Sonny are playing out on Days of Our Lives, and notable past LGB soap alumni include Bianca in All My Children, Guiding Light’s Olivia and Natalia, and the tangled love life of As the World Turns’ Luke Snyder and his sexy towel-snapping scene with first love Noah.

The Bold and The Beautiful—watched in more than 100 countries by 30-plus million viewers—is trumpeting that in Maya, it will be the only show on broadcast television featuring a regular trans character. The program also will feature trans actors as the storyline progresses, the trajectory of which will no doubt be watched closely by activists and advocates."


03-20-15:  USA Today: "Strangers unite over their transgender children"

"Family therapist and sexologist Mary Minten seeks out transgender children and their families, making it her specialty nine years ago when she started practicing in Reno, Nev. She found the group more unserved and unguided than any other in the area.

"I see a lot of fear. Everybody's taught they have a boy or girl, period," Minten said. Her transgender clientele has grown to numbers larger than she can handle – including the Rodarte family whom she handed off to a colleague – as this community just east of Lake Tahoe begins to acknowledge the presence of transgender people. Washoe County School District adopted regulations in February requiring equal treatment of these students and formally acknowledging their existence for the first time.

Medical professionals and therapists are increasingly accepting of transgender people, updating their manual in 2012 to no longer call transgender a mental "disorder," but rather, a condition. In making the update, the American Psychiatric Association explained the importance of standing up for the transgender community, marking a national shift toward acceptance among medical professionals that extends to the public. 

In 2013, the California Legislature cemented transgender-student protections in state law. An increasing number of local school districts have done the same across the country, not to mention state education departments like Massachusetts.
Transgender is on its way to being recognized as a medical condition of the body, not the mind, Minten said. That doesn't make life much simpler or safer for these children, said Minten. She's heard from transgender youth being bullied, physically assaulted, refused service or attempting suicide, which occurs at a 41% rate for transgender people.

Families make all the difference, Minten said. They can stand between a transgender person and the edge, or push them over it.

She's heard it from the mouths of her clients, children to young adults. "My dad and mom don't love me," patients tell Minten when their parents force them to repress their transgender identity or don't accept it. "Families don't realize their impact, what it is for a parent to refuse a core part of their child.""


03-20-15:  Star-Tribune: "Judge says transgender man has plausible case he was mistreated at hospital"

"Jakob Rumble was in severe pain when he came to the emergency room of Fairview Southdale Hospital in Edina with his mother. What happened next provoked a federal lawsuit by the West St. Paul resident and a decision by U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson that is being hailed by national transgender and gay rights organizations.

Nelson ruled this week that Rumble, who identifies himself as a transgender man, has built a “plausible” case that he was a victim of discrimination and mistreatment by an emergency room doctor on the basis of gender identity. She denied a motion by the doctor’s employer and Fairview to dismiss the case. Nelson’s 63-page ruling is believed to be the first extensive federal court analysis of Section 1557 of the 2010 Affordable Care Act. The provision prohibits discrimination by health care providers and is the first federal civil rights law barring sex discrimination in health care . . .

The suit said Rumble’s female reproductive organs were inflamed and he could hardly walk, despite antibiotic treatment by his primary care physician. At one point, he had a temperature of 104 degrees, and a doctor later said he could have died without treatment.

Rumble said he registered at the Fairview Southdale ER on June 22, 2013, identifying himself as a male, but he was told by a clerk he was on file as a female. She gave him a wristband with an “F” on it. “I was very upset,” said Rumble. “My identity was disregarded. It wasn’t like I hadn’t explained it.”

When an ER doctor showed up after 4½ hours, he asked Rumble in a “hostile and aggressive manner … who are you having sex with?” the suit alleges. Rumble asked what he meant, and the doctor asked, “men, women or both?” Rumble said the doctor seemed angry. He asked Rumble if he engaged in penetration and if “he had ever had sex with objects.”

“He was in my face asking very personal questions and very repetitive questions about my sex life,” said Rumble in a Star Tribune interview. The doctor examined Rumble’s genitalia “in a very rough manner,” the suit says. At one point, Rumble claimed he felt like he’d been stabbed. He said he cried out in pain and asked the doctor to stop, but he didn’t.

The suit says Rumble turned to his mother and said, “Mom, can you make him stop?” His mother yelled, “Stop!” and the doctor complied.

When Rumble asked if he had determined the problem, the doctor allegedly said in an angry voice, “I can’t tell you because your mom made me stop the exam.” He then left the room. Rumble was admitted two hours later.

Fearful about how he would be treated, Rumble asked his mother not to leave. She slept on a chair in his room for the next six days, the suit said . . .  "


03-20-15:  Think Progress: "An Imperfect Spokesperson: The Transgender Backlash Against Zoey Tur"

"Zoey Tur may have undergone one of the most public gender transitions in U.S. media. The news reporter, famed for her 1990s chopper coverage chasing O.J. Simpson’s Bronco and documenting the Los Angeles race riots from above, shared every step of her journey over the past two years with Los Angeles Magazine‘s Ed Leibowitz, whose long profile of her transition was published in December. She has since begun to enter the media space again, and was recently hired as a correspondent for the syndicated newsmagazine Inside Edition.

Tur’s surge of visibility coincides with a political moment when social conservatives are engaged in a backlash against transgender people. A number of blatantly anti-transgender bills are advancing in state legislatures, including legislation in Kentucky, Florida, Texas that would impose criminal penalties if transgender people use facilities of the gender other than what they were assigned at birth. Meghan Stabler, a veteran transgender activist with connections to various LGBT organizations, told ThinkProgress that it’s a crucial time for transgender people to dispel myths about their identities, especially the unfounded fears that it’s a threat to the safety of women and children if they use the restroom. “The only way we can win is to get trans people to show what it would look like in their restrooms,” she explained, as some activists are now doing.

Stabler worries, however, that Tur is having the opposite effect — and she’s not alone. Transgender leaders from across the movement have begun criticizing Tur for speaking out of place on behalf of the transgender community at large, sharing information about trans identities that Stabler says is simply “factually incorrect.” For example, in a February interview with TMZ, she cited a preliminary study suggesting that hormone therapy changes a person’s sexual orientation, which TMZ presented as conclusive fact despite the unique and inconclusive results of the singular study. “Hormones do not make you gay or straight,” Stabler corrected."


03-18-15:  Metro News (Canada): "Outcry prompts CAMH to review its controversial treatment of trans youth"

"Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health has stopped accepting new patients to its Gender Identity Services clinic for youth because of outcry from the public. CAMH is reviewing the mental health services it offers to youth age three to 18 who are struggling with gender identity or require services related to being transgender.

The centre started the review process a few months ago because of complaints, particularly from the trans community, that its services “weren’t respectful” of patients’ gender identity, medical director Dr. Kwame McKenzie told Metro. New patients won’t be accepted until the review is finished.

Criticism of CAMH and the doctor in charge of the youth gender identity service — Dr. Kenneth Zucker — has been building online. At the heart of the issue is what’s called “conversion therapy” or “reparative therapy:” designed to stop people from being gay or transgender.

One example of the outcry is an online petition that alleges Zucker has been doing reparative therapy with trans youth at CAMH for years, causing more harm than good to a population that already has an increased risk of suicide. “You can make them afraid and/or hate themselves, but you cannot change who they are,” it reads.

NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo tabled a private member’s bill last week that would ban reparative therapy for youth, citing the damaging effects it has on patients.

CAMH’s own guidelines say it should not offer this kind of therapy, McKenzie said. His own opinion is that it should be illegal in Ontario. “That is not supposed to be the aim of the clinic,” he said.

However, there are two different “camps” of professional thought on the issue when it comes to young kids, McKenzie said. While almost all professionals agree that reparative therapy is ineffective and harmful for older teens and adults, some believe it works to change kids’ gender identity – and helps them — if they are younger than 11. “With a four-year-old boy who wants to play with dolls and wear dresses and might think they are in the wrong body, there are a camp of professionals who do believe in conversion or reparative therapy,” McKenzie said. The divide has complicated CAMH’s search for an “independent” expert to lead the review, he said.

The controversial doctor

Citing legal and human resources concerns, McKenzie would not comment on which “camp” the head of the program, Zucker, falls in. CAMH declined Metro’s request to interview Zucker himself, citing the ongoing review.

However, Zucker has written about his own views, and they’ve been reported in mainstream news in Canada and the U.S. In a 2008 paper, he wrote about the best practices he has developed at CAMH’s clinic, and how he believes it is both ethical and possible to direct a young child’s gender identity to match their biological sex.

While he’s found it does not work in older teens and adults, it does work for young children — the younger the better, he wrote. One part of that therapy he described is limiting patients’ cross-gender behaviour, such as boys cross-dressing and playing with Barbies.

In an interview with the National Post published this year, Zucker indicated his therapy would prevent children from growing up to be transgender. “You are lowering the odds that as such a kid gets older, he or she will move into adolescence feeling so uncomfortable about their gender identity that they think that it would be better to live as the other gender and require treatment with hormones and sex-reassignment surgery,” he said.

Upon learning that Zucker had said that, McKenzie told Metro: “That’s not what we’re supposed to be doing.”"


03-18-15:  Global News (Canada; posted 3-17): "Anti-Conversion Therapy Bill: Ontario NDP MPP Cheri Dinovo speaks about her private member’s bill that seeks to ban conversion therapy in Ontario" (VIDEO)


3-18-15:  CNN: "When your young daughter says 'I'm a boy'"

"When Hillary Whittington learned she was having a girl, she and her husband, Jeff, were thrilled. Naturally, the couple started getting ready for the arrival of their first child. There was the pink and white nursery to finish, dresses and bows to buy.

Like most first-time parents, they thought they had prepared for just about everything. Then, only months after Ryland was born, Hillary and Jeff realized something wasn't quite right. When they called out, Ryland didn't respond. Ryland was deaf.

Cochlear implants restored young Ryland's ability to hear, and the Whittingtons thought they had overcome their toughest challenge. But Ryland had more to share with them, according to the family's incredibly powerful YouTube video, which has been seen more than 7 million times. Their story is also the subject of an equally moving short film "Raising Ryland," which is exclusively being showcased on Ryland, they learned, is transgender.

"Transgender" essentially means having the body of one gender and the brain or the mind or the spirit of the opposite gender, said Darlene Tando, a licensed clinical social worker and gender therapist who also appears in "Raising Ryland."

"So being transgender means you have something other than what everyone assumed you were based on how you were born, what body you were born in," said Tando, who also writes a blog about gender issues. The Whittingtons no longer have a daughter. They have a son."


3-17-15:  PennLive: "Transgender man helped by friends, YouTube during transition in college"

"Caiden Fratangelo attended an all-female college with no transgender policy. That worried him.

He is a transgender man, and was making the transition between junior and senior year at Chatham University in Pittsburgh. He emailed professors to inform them of his new name, and that the pronoun "he" now applied. He braced for a reaction from administrators.

But everything went smoothly, especially among his classmates, who chose him as commencement speaker. He spoke about "being yourself."

It didn't go so well at home . . ."


3-17-15:  The Guardian (UK re US): "Florida anti-transgender bathroom bill moves a step closer to passing  -- A second Florida house committee voted in favor of bill on Tuesday that would result in arrests for transgender people who use ‘wrong’ bathroom"

"A Florida bill that would make it illegal for transgender people to use bathrooms meant for the sex other than what they were assigned at birth is one step closer to becoming a law. The government operations subcommittee of the Florida house voted in favor of the bill in a 7-4 vote on Tuesday.

The HB 583 bill requires users of single-sex public restrooms to prove their gender or face arrest. The bill defines gender as “person’s biological sex, either male or female, at birth”. Such definition, according to LGBT advocates, targets trans people.

“[A] person who knowingly and willfully enters a single-sex public facility designated for or restricted to persons of the other biological sex commits a misdemeanor of the first degree,” the bill reads.

The bill was proposed by Miami Republican Frank Artiles, who says it is a response to Miami’s new non-discrimination ordinance. The ordinance, designed to protect trans rights, allows men to legally enter women’s restrooms to assault them, he said. His bill is supposed to help prevent that.

“Single-sex public facilities are places of increased vulnerability and present the potential for crimes against individuals using those facilities, including, but not limited to, assault, battery, molestation, rape, voyeurism, and exhibitionism,” the bill reads."


3-17-15:  Huffington Post: "Here's Why CBS Is Airing A Transgender Profile Tonight"

"Few people in America face more discrimination and are more misunderstood than transgender people. Often, it is the misunderstanding that leads to the discrimination. Tonight, the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley will try to shed some much-needed light on their world by telling the story of Landon Wilson, who was kicked out the U.S. military simply because he is transgender.

In 2011, repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" allowed gays, lesbians and bisexuals in the military to come out of the closet and serve openly. But the ban on service by transgender people continues, because it is based on military medical regulations put in place before the American Psychiatric Association declared, in 2013, that "gender nonconformity is not in itself a mental disorder" . . .

Given the arc of the current discussion, the eventual repeal of the ban seems likely. But every day the policy remains in place means another day of secrecy for the estimated 15,500 transgender persons in the military. For Landon Wilson, the hiding is over, but his plans have been shattered. He loved being in the military and hoped he would have a long career. For now, he's working temporary jobs and volunteering for SPARTA, an advocacy group supporting LGBT military members, veterans and their families. "If there's anything that the military has taught me," he said, "it's learning to adapt quickly. And sometimes you take what you have and learn to make the best of it." As the interview ended, I asked, "But if you had the opportunity to re-enlist?" He answered without hesitation, "I would re-enlist in a heartbeat. And I look forward to the day that it happens.""


3-13-15:  PennLive: "What is transgender: Frequently asked questions about being transgender"

"Do you want to have discussions with and about transgender people that yield a greater understanding of what it is like to be transgender? Or have you recently seen Laura Jane Grace's AOL web series "True Trans" or binge watched "Transparent" on Amazon or been heartbroken by the suicide of Leelah Alcorn and are, as a result, curious about transgender people? You can start having better discussions about transgender issues in 2015 with these frequently asked questions.
First: Are you looking for what it is about a person that makes them transgender? For any terminology-related question, go here.
I have never met any transgender people before, so why are you writing about them?
I may have met many transgender people in central Pennsylvania?

How long does it take to become a transgender person?

How long does it take someone to transition? What is the process exactly?

Can gender confirmation surgery be performed in any hospital?

What are some of the ramifications, on everything from tax returns to other forms, where a person's gender marker would have to be updated?

How do I find out what it is like to be a transgender person?

How do I refer to a transgender person?

Are male-to-female people the only kind of transgender people? Or are there transgender people who are female-to male?

What if, when I am talking to a transgender person, I make a mistake and they get upset?

What if, no matter how many times I hear about an aspect of being transgender, I still do not quite get it?

So if someone talks to me about being a transgender person, can I talk about how that person is transgender with others?

Where can I find more information about transgender people?


3-13-15:  DNA (India): "Steps to uplift transgender community in India discussed in Rajya Sabha"

"Rajya Sabha members from across the political spectrum joined hands on Friday to ask the government to take steps to bring the transgender community, facing social stigma and ostracism, into the mainstream.

Participating in a debate on DMK member Tiruchi Siva's 'The Rights of Transgender Persons Bill 2014', the members demanded equal rights to the community which has been historically subjected to severe discrimination. The private member' bill provides for the formulation and implementation of a comprehensive national policy to ensure overall development and welfare of transgenders by the State. "Government must own this bill and pass a sensitive legislation for transgenders, whom people push away. It will give credit to new government. They have the same rights as you and me," said Congress member M S Gill.

D P Tripathi (NCP) echoed Gill saying "the litmus test of any democracy is its treatment to the minorities... Transgenders are treated as despicable." He also demanded a national policy for them saying literacy and employment rates among such people was very low. Vivek Gupta (Trinamool) said the community, despite a population of over two million, was discriminated against in "every walk of life" and sought the government's intervention. Gupta said it was unfortunate that the first passport was issued to a member of the transgender community only this year.

When Deputy Chairman P J Kurien wanted to know the reason for it, he said "only the government can answer this." A Navaneethakrishnan (AIADMK) said Tamil Nadu government has done pioneering work for them which should be replicated in other states."


5-13-15:  New York Daily News: "New York mom defends transgender child’s request to use same-sex bathroom at school" (original story, WHEC Rochester, NY)

"An upstate New York mom defended her transgender daughter to upset parents at a school board meeting this week and said her child never had “a choice.”
The student’s request to use the girl’s bathroom and locker room left parents dismayed that Jennifer Surridge’s 11-year-old transgender child would be changing clothes in the same locker room as other girls.

The Sodus Central School District honored Surridge’s request citing federal and state non-discrimination laws in a statement, but the decision became the center of Tuesday’s meeting. It left Surridge in near tears as she passionately appealed to parents and asked what they would have done in her place.The discussion lasted for at least a half hour, WHAM-TV reported.

“What if this child came to you and said, ‘Mommy, I’m not a boy. I’m a girl in here and no one can see me for who I am,’” Surridge, of Rochester, told parents. Her daughter, whose gender was assigned at birth as male, recently came out as transgender and had repeatedly said she was a girl since she was at least four years old, Surridge explained."


5-13-15:  People: "Transgender Teen Jazz Jennings Lands a Big Beauty Gig"

"Many teenage girls struggle with being comfortable in their own skin. Jazz Jennings, 14, can relate. Assigned male at birth, Jennings has spoken publicly about her gender transition since she was 6 years old, and now the teen can add “skincare spokeswoman” to her growing résumé (which already includes activist, TV star and author).

Jennings is representing Clean & Clear in a video called “See the Real Me,” which shows her giggling with friends and playing with her cat — all with enviably clear skin, of course. “Growing up has been quite a struggle being transgender, especially in middle school,” she says in the video. But “the real me is happy, and proud to be who I am. I’m just having fun being one of the girls.” (And she’s in good company: Transgender models are having a major moment in the high-fashion world right now.)

This summer, Jennings will be the star of TLC’s All That Jazz, which will follow her and her family as she deals with everyday teenage situations including dating and homework. “Jazz’s story is universal, yet unique, and we’re proud to partner with her family to share it with TLC’s audience. Jazz may be known as an author and activist, but she’s first and foremost a teenage girl with a big, brave heart, living a remarkable life,” said Nancy Daniels, general manager of TLC.
Check out Jennings’s video for Clean & Clear . . . "


5-12-15:  People: "TLC to Air Summer Series About the Life of Transgender Teen Jazz Jennings" (more)

"TLC is making good on its promise to deliver a reality series about a transgender person.  This summer, the cable network will debut All That Jazz, a show that focuses on Jazz Jennings, a 14-year-old transgender activist and YouTube star.

The 11-episode series will focus on her life as an average teenager dealing with school, friends, dating and family. Jennings was assigned male at birth but began living her life as a girl beginning at her 5th birthday party, when she was allowed to wear a girl's rainbow-colored bathing suit.

"We know that families come in all shapes and sizes, but at their core, they are all about love, acceptance and support. Only TLC can tell this family's story in a way that celebrates and demystifies difference in an effort to help create a world without prejudice," said Marjorie Kaplan, group president of TLC and Animal Planet.

"Jazz's story is universal, yet unique, and we're proud to partner with her family to share it with TLC's audience. Jazz may be known as an author and activist, but she's first and foremost a teenage girl with a big, brave heart, living a remarkable life," added Nancy Daniels, general manager of TLC. "


3-12-15:  Sydney Morning Herald (Australia re US): "Transparent star Jeffrey Tambor talks about fear, fame and playing transgender"

"At first glance, the world of Maura Pfefferman is steeped in the ordinary. Formerly Mort Pfefferman, she is the father of three children, and an ex-husband to an opinionated ex-wife. At the age of 70, she has come out as transgender, hoping that whatever remains of her life can be lived without the crippling secret she has carried since she was five.

Maura is not, by her nature, political. As a performance, however, there is something powerfully political about her, particularly in a world where gender identity, visibility and equality are at the centre of fierce debate. And for actor Jeffrey Tambor, who plays Maura in the critically acclaimed television drama Transparent, everything is political.

"Someone said that – all acts are political," Tambor says, referencing a quote ("All writing is political. All acts are political.") from the writer and political activist Susan Sontag. "My politics are in my performance because my job, as an actor, is to make Maura as human and as real as possible."

In one of the most powerful scenes of the series, Maura is struggling to articulate her feelings to her daughter Sarah. "Are you saying you're going to start dressing up like a lady all the time?" Sarah offers. "No," Maura responds, with a mixture of resignation and relief. "All my life, my whole life, I've been dressing up like a man," she says. "This is me."

Filming that scene, Tambor recalls, was affecting. "I was nervous. I shook like a leaf," he says. "It's a huge responsibility and one that I don't take lightly. And those nerves kind of helped me play her. Maura Pfefferman is 70 years old and making a break for her authentic freedom."

That single event serves as a catalyst for a wave of change, affecting everyone in her family. "It catapults everyone into their change," Tambor says. "Families are held together by their deepest secrets. And this is about family, first and foremost. I think it asks and answers a very profound question that is at the root of every family, which is, if I change, will you still be there? Will you still love me?" . . . "


3-10-15:  USA Today: "Transgender teen's acceptance an act of love for family"

"Roz Keith's first inkling that her youngest child, the one who never liked frilly dresses or girly things, might be different came about eight years ago. The little girl she and her husband named Olivia was playing in the bathtub, and declared: "I'm a boy!" I said, "'OK. Do you want to be a boy?'" Keith said. Olivia's response was: "No, but I am a boy." "It always stuck in the back of my mind," said Keith, a mother of two from Farmington. "It was just that nuance with the words." . . .

It was when the 14-year-old wanted a boyish haircut that Roz Keith realized the truth. "I said, 'These are boys' haircuts,'" Keith said. "Are you trying to look masculine?'" "I was just like, whatever. Yeah, I am," Hunter said . . .

The family began therapy, and tried to chart a course for the future. They agreed to call him Hunter, and began to consistently use male pronouns. "I had to consciously think about it because it didn't just roll off my tongue, and it was like having a mouthful of marbles," Roz Keith said. "I did have to say, 'Look, you've been our daughter for 14 years, and we're gonna make mistakes. We are with you, this is happening, but you have to trust that it's going to take a while to get used to.'" Every day since Hunter came out as a transgender boy has been a learning experience, and an act of love for his family . . .

Despite the obstacles, Hunter said he wants other kids who feel different to know this: "There's always support. If you have a good group of friends, they will support you. If you don't, there is another group of people that will.

"The transgender community is a very tight-knit community. … There's always a place for people who are different, even if you're not gay. We will accept you. ... We're not going to make other people feel that pain."

The Keiths hope that by telling their story, they might be able to help other kids like Hunter find acceptance. "To me, I'm not being brave," Hunter said. "I'm being myself. Then again, a lot of people say that's brave to be yourself. But, like, who else is going to be me?""

[Ed: A must-read story.]


3-09-15:  Mother Jones: "Get Ready for the Conservative Assault on Where Transgender Americans Pee -- Go to the wrong bathroom and risk a felony charge, 180 days in prison, and a fine of up to $10,000."

"If lawmakers in Florida, Texas, and Kentucky have their way, transgender people would be breaking the law when using the bathroom of their choice. Bills introduced in three states over the past month would make it illegal for an individual of one biological sex to enter a single-sex restroom or changing room designated for the opposite sex—even if the individual self-identifies as a person who belongs there.

The debate over which bathrooms transgender individuals can use isn't particularly new: Lawmakers in 17 states and more than 200 cities have passed laws prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity, while a handful of states and localities, like Colorado and Arizona, have attempted and failed to pass bills that restrict bathroom usage.

But the latest attempts have the benefit of support from the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative legal advocacy group based in Arizona that has poured legal and lobbying resources into the issue over the past year. ADF, which has a $30 million annual budget and a network of some 2,000 attorneys, takes on many causes dear to the religious right, including opposition to LGBT rights like marriage, military service, and adoption . . .

Here are the details on the latest bills:
Texas bill states that a person who enters a public restroom, shower, or changing room for the sex different from the "gender established by the individual's chromosomes" faces a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine up to $4,000. Furthermore, the "operator, manager, superintendent, or other person with authority over a building" who repeatedly permits said bathroom entrance would be charged with a felony, punishable by a minimum of 180 days in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
The Florida bill applies to both public facilities and workplaces. Gender is defined as "biological sex, either male or female, at birth," and those who enter a bathroom designated for the opposite gender face a misdemeanor, with up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $1,000.
The Kentucky bill applies only to school facilities. Transgender students "whose parent or legal guardian provides written consent to school officials shall be provided with the best available accommodation," it reads. However, "that accommodation shall not include the use of student restrooms, locker rooms, or shower rooms designated for use by students of the opposite biological sex while students of the opposite biological sex are present or could be present." The bill recently was changed and now doesn't include a section that explains the punishment for the crime . . . "


3-06-15:  Los Angeles Times: "The last frontier in sexual bigotry: transgender rights" 

"An especially nasty development this week in transgender rights in Florida raises the question of whether transgender discrimination is the last frontier in sex discrimination, now that gay marriage is winning the fight for legal and social acceptance nationwide.

In Florida, an outlandishly harsh anti-transgender bill was just reported out of the Republican-majority state legislature's civil rights subcommittee (of all places) on a party line vote.

The measure would make it a crime for anyone to use a public bathroom, locker room or dressing room of the sex other than that they were assigned at birth. The penalties include up to a year in prison. Businesses also would be liable to civil suits for violating the law, which was designed to override a Miami-Dade County anti-discrimination ordinance."


3-06-15:  New York Times: "For Some in Transgender Community, It’s Never Too Late to Make a Change"

"Awareness of transgender issues has surged over the last year. Laverne Cox, a star of the television show “Orange Is the New Black,” appeared in June on the cover of Time. Janet Mock chronicled her transition from male to female in the memoir “Redefining Realness,” which landed last spring on the New York Times best-seller list. Transgender models like Andreja Pejic have walked the runways in New York and Milan. And major retailers like Barneys are using transgender men and women in their ad campaigns.

But it took Amazon’s popular and acclaimed TV series “Transparent,” about a septuagenarian father of three who is coming out as trans (which coincided with frenzied coverage of Bruce Jenner’s drastically changed physical appearance) to shed light on a largely undiscussed segment of the transgender population: those who undergo a gender change later in life, sometimes even in their 60s and 70s, after decades of feeling not fully whole.

Coming out as transgender is not easy for anyone. But the issues are particularly thorny for those trying to reconfigure a central tenet of identity decades after building an adult life with family and career.

Social changes have a tendency to take root among the young, and to then trickle up years (sometimes decades) later. To be in transition around the time you qualify for AARP membership is to be on some level a paradox; a person newly born at a seasoned age . . .

There are pragmatic as well as physical challenges, too, particularly for the older population of trans women (which refers to those born with men’s anatomy and who have since transitioned). Men’s jaws and shoulders widen over time, making a more “womanly” shape hard to achieve. Hair grows on their bodies while disappearing from their scalps, necessitating hair transplants or wigs.

All of which has profound emotional consequences for a group of people coming to terms not only with their genders but with the indignities of aging and impending mortality. Many will not be beautiful, like the young transitioners they watch on TV. Many will not “pass.”

“After I went on hormones, there was a letdown,” said Barbara, 63, who lives on the Upper East Side and agreed to talk to a reporter on the condition that her last name not be used. “I thought, ‘Where do I go now?’ I’m not going to look like a movie actress in her 20s or 30s. I’m not going to look like Laverne Cox.” Today, she goes to a support group at Sage, the largest organization for older LGBT people. “No one there is dating,” she said.

Still, the pull to live as a person wants, even for a short time, even under reduced circumstances, remains powerful. Some people interviewed said they waited to retire before transitioning so as not to disrupt or destroy their careers. Others chose to push forward after the deaths of their parents or after their children had left the nest.

But invariably, they said that they had given enough, pretended enough, and wanted to claim the years remaining as their own. The entirety of their bucket list was to finally become themselves . . . "

[Ed: A very important, must read story.]


3-06-15:  Huffington Post: "The Army Just Made It A Little Easier For Transgender Troops To Serve"

"In a sign that the U.S. Defense Department may be inching closer to lifting its ban on transgender troops, the Army announced Friday that it is elevating the level of authority required to discharge someone based on gender identity.

The authority to discharge service members because they are transgender has now been reserved for the assistant secretary of the Army, the highest level to which it has ever been raised. Previously, local unit commanders had the power to approve separation orders for transgender personnel.

The change makes it more difficult to discharge someone from the Army for being transgender. The U.S. military explicitly prohibits transgender troops, but an estimated 15,500 transgender people are serving anyway in secret, according to a 2014 Williams Institute report."


3-06-15:  ABC Australia (Australis): "One Plus One: Calpernia Addams" (Video)
"From US Navy medic to transgender showgirl to Hollywood actress and consultant, Calpernia Addams has never shied away from crashing through life’s many barriers . . . "

[A wonderful video interview with transgender-icon Calpernia Addams!]


3-04-15:  Huffington Post: "Psychology Today Changes Its Position On Conversion Therapy Ads"

 "Therapists who offer the gay “cure” will no longer be allowed to advertise their services in the directory pages of Psychology Today, a magazine and website that includes profiles of tens of thousands of mental health professionals.

The news, announced Wednesday, is something of a turnaround for the company. On Tuesday, Charles Frank, who runs the organization’s directory of therapists, informed The Huffington Post that “We take care not to sit in judgement of others by allowing or denying individual participation” in the directory. While Psychology Today was not a “fan” of conversion therapy, Frank said, “the Therapy Directory cannot pick winners.”

The Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights group, first pressed Psychology Today in February to remove all advertisements that purported to help gay people become straight through counseling, a practice that is roundly condemned by the mainstream mental health community. “By offering a venue for these medically-debunked practices, Psychology Today is lending them a veneer of credibility -- propping up a fraudulent industry that takes advantage of vulnerable individuals, including children and families,” HRC spokesman Fred Sainz wrote in a letter to the CEO and publisher of Psychology Today."

[Ed: Wow, that was quick! And just imagine how former world-famous trans-reparatist Ken Zucker is reacting to all this!


3-03-15:  The Advocate: "HRC Asks: Why Is Psychology Today Advertising 'Ex-Gay' Therapy? The advocacy group has discovered ads for the discredited therapy on the magazine's website."

"Last month the Human Rights Campaign discovered a listing for such therapy on Psychology Today’s website, advertising the services of Thomas Schmierer, a Riverside, Calif.–based marriage and family therapist who engages in the practice. Today, HRC sent a letter to Psychology Today executives urging them to remove that ad and reject any others for “ex-gay” therapy.

"By offering a venue for these medically debunked practices, Psychology Today lends them a veneer of credibility and helps these practitioners take advantage of vulnerable families and children,” the letter reads in part. “We urge you to retract all current advertisements for conversion therapy on the Psychology Today website and disallow future postings for conversion therapy or by those known to practice conversion therapy."


3-03-15:  Huffington Post: "What You Need to Know About Anti-Trans Bathroom Bills", by Brynn Tannehill

"Bills have been filed in three states to prevent transgender people from using bathrooms consistent with their gender identity. The one in Kentucky targets transgender students. The bills in Texas and Florida apply would everywhere. Between all three, there are various provisions for:

1. Civil and criminal penalties transgender people who use a bathroom

2. Fines, criminal and civil liability for school administrators and business owners who let a transgender person use a bathroom different than their birth sex

3. People who report a transgender people in the bathroom to claim civil damages (i.e. collect a bounty)

Understandably, this has caused fear and dismay among transgender people around the country. We all have to use the bathroom, but these laws would seemingly force transgender people to choose between fines and jail, risking horrific violence or leaving the state.

While this is theoretically possible, it's also extremely unlikely. Here's what you need to know, and what the probable outcomes are . . . "


3-03-15:  WZZM13 ABC: "Raising Zay: A family's journey with a transgender child" (Video)

"Four in 10 transgender teens in the United States attempt suicide. Leelah Alcorn's death was a clarion call for the transgender community. This is Zay Crawford's story.

The Crawfords knew Zay wouldn't be little forever. That thought only instilled terror in them all. "Zay had been coming up to me, coming up to Chas, asking about puberty, and it would usually end in tears," Jason said. "We thought, we've got a couple more years where this kid can pass, and then it's going to get really, really hard."

Then last spring, a friend who knew about Zay tipped Chasilee to a TED talk online by a pediatric endocrinologist. One summer night, Jason and Chasilee powered up a computer to watch Dr. Norman Spack of Boston Children's Hospital describe his groundbreaking work to help transgender youth through puberty.

 'I don't think we said a word through the whole thing," Jason said. "Then we just looked at each other, and I saw exactly the same thing in Chas's face that she did in mine: There's something we can do . . . " "There's hope," Chasilee said.

A few days later, Jason wrote to Spack with an email subject line: My son Isaiah who wants to be Amber. He asked for guidance, never expecting an answer. Two days later, Spack responded: Good news. There's a clinic in Cincinnati . . .

The free-thinking Dutch, who have long advanced medical care for transgender people, pioneered the technique of puberty suppression more than three decades ago. As the Crawfords learned in Spack's TED talk, the treatment means giving young teens early in puberty a course of hormones that halts sexual development. Bones and muscles still grow . . .

In 2008, Spack opened the first U.S. clinic at Boston Children's Hospital to adopt the Dutch protocol. Today, there are 38 clinics around the country that treat transgender youth with puberty suppression.

The transgender clinic at Cincinnati Children's Hospital opened in July 2013, led by Dr. Lee Ann Conard, recruited from Pittsburgh where she treated transgender youth, and social worker Sarah Painer . . .

The big day was Dec. 19. Zay put on a black skirt with white polka dots, her I Heart DC T-shirt and a pink sweater. Jason, Chasilee and Jeffrey went with Zay to the clinic. They squeezed into a small examination room. Zay took off the sweater and lay down, raising her left arm over her head. Chasilee stroked Zay's hair, Jason held Zay's hand. Jeffrey asked goofy questions to ease Zay's nerves. The anesthetic hurt the most. Then a clinic doctor made a small incision on the inside of Zay's upper left arm about three inches above the elbow. The implant was installed, the wound quickly bandaged, and it was done.

That night at home, Zay directed the family to the living room couch to hear a speech of thanks. "I love you all. I am on a bumpy road, and you are my pit crew." . . .

Two weeks later, at Zay's request, the Crawfords drove on a rainy Saturday night from Yellow Springs to Kings High School in Warren County. A vigil had been organized in memory of Leelah Alcorn, the transgender teenager who committed suicide Dec. 28, leaving an anguished note of despair and rejection.

The Crawfords walked around the school grounds, marveling at the 300 people who had gathered in the rain. Zay wandered away from Jason and Chasilee. Speakers took turns at a microphone, then an emcee invited others to address the group.

A moment later, the Crawfords heard Zay's voice, amplified. They moved quickly to stand close as Zay uttered the words, "I'm trans, and I'm proud." The crowd cheered. Beaming through the rain, Zay walked from the microphone into her father's arms, and Jason Crawford hugged his daughter for a long time."

[Ed: A must-read story.]


3-02-15:  The Weekly Standard: "The Transgender Triumph -- Identity politics über alles", by Charlotte Allen (see also 2-26-15: "The Second Coming of the Man Who Would Be Queen", by Dana Beyer)

"Chicago -- It was the skin​—​smooth and hairless as a newborn’s forearm​—​that I fastened on when I saw Sara Andrews, the first “transwoman” I had ever met, at the Kit Kat Lounge & Supper Club in Boystown, on Chicago’s North Side. The ambiance at the club was glitter balls, silver-leather banquettes, Busby Berkeley dance loops projected onto the walls, and as entertainers a bevy of dressed-to-the-hilt, lip-synching “divas,” as the Kit Kat calls its drag lineup. The Kit Kat is a tourist destination as well as a locals’ favorite, and it was packed, even on a Thursday night. The crowd had two distinct demographic components: at the tables, mostly heterosexual women on a girls’ night out, including a raucous bachelorette party; at the bar, clumps of equally high-spirited gay men in a social world in which the heterosexual ladies on the periphery didn’t exist . . .

My Virgil for this adventure was J. Michael Bailey, 58, a professor of psychology at Northwestern University who may be the most controversial scientist ever to study and write about the male-to-female transition, and certainly the most intensely loathed by transgender activists. His 2003 book The Man Who Would Be Queen: The Science of Gender-Bending and Transsexualism, its cover featuring a photo of a pair of muscular masculine calves terminating in large feet encased in a pair of high-heeled pumps, promoted a thesis that was controversial in 2003 and is even more controversial now, when there is a story about gender transition in the news nearly every day. Bailey, who has devoted his academic career to outré forms of human sexuality, argued that transgenderism (the new, politically correct word for what was called “transsexualism” a decade ago) isn’t a matter of a mismatch between one’s body and one’s innate identity, as transgender activists and their numerous allies have been arguing. Instead, it’s a matter of sexual desire and romantic yearning. “Those who love men become women to attract them,” Bailey wrote. “Those who love women become the women they love” . . .

Although published by the National Academy of Sciences with glowing blurbs from evolutionary psychologist David M. Buss, “gay gene” theorist Simon LeVay, and Harvard public intellectual Steven Pinker, The Man Who Would Be Queen was deemed “salacious bigotry” by Andrea James, a 48-year-old Hollywood consultant who is the most persistently aggressive of the transgender activists. James spearheaded campaigns to have Northwestern censure and perhaps fire Bailey (unsuccessful), and to discredit Bailey as a credible academic expert on transgender subjects (extremely successful). Bailey, who had once chaired the psychology department at Northwestern, is now an academic near-pariah. His career wasn’t helped when, in 2011, as an optional session in his well-subscribed undergraduate course in human sexuality, the ever-envelope-pushing Bailey hosted a live sexual performance (performed by non-student volunteers). Administrators at Northwestern were not amused, and the course was abruptly dropped from the catalogue, never to be revived ” . . .

The Man Who Would Be Queen inflamed transgender activists. It did have certain inflammatory aspects. There was the jacket photo of the man in high heels. Blanchard’s coinage “autogynephilia” (extensively used by Bailey in the book), with its connotations of fetishism, deviance, and mental disorder, has never sat well with transgenders. Bailey was even more adamant than Blanchard that autogynephilic transgenders often lied about their erotic fascination with cross-dressing. Furthermore, Bailey observed, drawing on his previous studies, that homosexual transgenders tended to come from lower socioeconomic classes than autogynephiles, and that they tended to have short time-horizons that often led them into streetwalking, shoplifting, and other petty crimes. “Prostitution is the single most common occupation,” Bailey wrote. His book also, perhaps inadvertently, included details about “Cher” that made her real identity quickly discoverable to those in the know: Anjelica Kieltyka, a Chicago transgender woman who, although disagreeing with Bailey about his characterization of her as autogynephilic, had made frequent guest appearances in his classes and had introduced him to other figures in the city’s transgender scene.

Bailey’s book caught the immediate​—​and hostile—​attention of Lynn Conway, now 77, a pioneer of computer-chip design during the 1970s, a longtime engineering professor at the University of Michigan, and a leading transgender activist who figured as one of Time’s “21 Transgender People Who Influenced American Culture” in its May 2014 cover story. Conway was close to Andrea James (both had been patients of Dr. Ousterhout and touted his facial-feminization techniques on their websites). James, best-known for counseling Felicity Huffman, the star of the film Transamerica (2005), on transgender voice and mannerisms, underwent transition surgery in 1996. She and Conway teamed up with Kieltyka, and with Deirdre McCloskey, to make sure that The Man Who Would Be Queen would not receive a respectable academic hearing . . .

 In 2007 Alice Dreger, a bioethicist at Northwestern’s medical school, released the results of an exhaustive investigation she had conducted of the charges against Bailey. Her 73-page study, published on the National Institutes of Health website in 2008, concluded that although Bailey’s book contained flaws of tactlessness and overgeneralization, James, Conway, and McCloskey had conducted a witch-hunt against him . . . The wrath of James (along with that of her numerous Internet allies) has made it difficult for anyone, either in the world of professional psychologists or outside it, to sympathize publicly with the Blanchard-Bailey theories, much less espouse them . . . "

[Ed: This 2015 attempt to defend infamous work done years ago by Bailey, Blanchard, Lawrence, Dreger, McHugh and Zucker was published in the The Weekly Standard, a right-wing propaganda outlet.


February 2015:


2-26-15:  Huffington Post: "The Second Coming of the Man Who Would Be Queen", by Dana Beyer

"There are times when you read an article that's nothing more than a screed, a scream of resentment, in this case on behalf of a man who has slid into irrelevancy. In what appears to me to be an attempt to capitalize on the alleged Jenner transition, win some plaudits from reactionary fellow travelers, and prepare the ground to promote Professor J. Michael Bailey once again into the limelight, along comes Charlotte Allen. Her article in the Weekly Standard, "The Transgender Triumph," which reads like a "Greatest Hits" album of the scientifically ignorant and hateful anti-trans rabble, leads with the return of Professor J. Michael Bailey to the scene of the crimes in Chicago's Boystown that originally led to his fall from grace. It's a surprisingly tone-deaf way to stage-manage your Second Coming.

The trans community has triumphed, as the title suggests, to the degree it has because we've come out in greater numbers and educated our neighbors about our unique characteristics as one of many sexual minorities. In the world of science, of which Bailey is a part, we've made great progress not through bullying and political correctness but by slowly and persistently presenting the science that shows that trans persons are normal like everyone else. It has taken time -- the DSM 5 was only published two years ago. "Transgender" was first mentioned in a State of the Union speech last month. Open trans military service is continuing to plod forward.

And into this environment -- because of this environment -- those who have resisted and those who have hated have become increasingly public about their feelings and increasingly shrill in expressing them. It's the backlash part of the civil rights dialectic, which is why it is not unexpected, but apparently the Bailey-Blanchard-Dreger crowd hasn't really been paying attention . . . "

[Ed: Incredibly, Alice Dreger is still trying to resurrect Northwestern University's junk-science-promoter, J. Michael Bailey, from academic disgrace.]


2-21-15:  Pink News (UK): "Pope compares transgender people to nuclear weapons"

"The Pope has compared the threat of transgender people to nuclear weapons. The head of the Catholic Church made the claims, that have come to light this week,  in an interview for a book last year.

According to the National Catholic Reporter, he said: “Let’s think of the nuclear arms, of the possibility to annihilate in a few instants a very high number of human beings. “Let’s think also of genetic manipulation, of the manipulation of life, or of the gender theory, that does not recognize the order of creation.”
“With this attitude, man commits a new sin, that against God the Creator."

[Ed: Wow, I had no idea we were that powerful!]


2-21-15: National Post (Canada): "As trans issues become mainstream, question of how to address variant gender expression comes to forefront"

"When Zane Bernhard, then six years old, arrived for an appointment with a psychologist at Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, his parents had no idea that the clinic was ground zero in a global debate over children who don’t conform to traditional gender roles.

All they knew was that Zane refused to put on his snow pants, and his school wouldn’t let him outside in the winter unless he did. His parents didn’t have a problem with the fact that he played with Barbies and dressed up as Disney princesses. But they felt that Dr. Ken Zucker, the pioneering Canadian psychologist they were seeing that day, did. The real problem, Dr. Zucker told Zane’s parents, was Zane’s gender presentation. They remember being instructed to confiscate Zane’s dolls and discourage any feminine behaviour — or Zane could grow up to identify as a woman.

“We were pretty horrified by the whole experience because there was really no support for who Zane was,” his mom says . . .

It’s been nearly two decades since Zane and his family stepped foot in the child and youth gender identity clinic at CAMH. But the controversy around Dr. Zucker and his clinic is even more ferocious today than it was then. Zane is just one of more than 650 children who have visited the clinic since it opened in 1975, making it the largest gender identity service for children in the country. Two weeks ago, CAMH announced that its child gender identity services would undergo a six-month independent review to solicit “feedback from clients, families, community organizations and other health professionals.”

That is welcome news for a number of therapists and activists who say the clinic Dr. Zucker heads tries to prevent kids from growing up to identify as trans, and could even put his clients at greater risk of depression and other mental illness later in life.

“He really instills a sense of shame,” says Hershell Russell, a Toronto psychotherapist who has worked with adults who saw Dr. Zucker as children. Some of those clients “have never been able to shake that sense that there’s some awful, embarrassing, shameful thing that’s wrong about me.” . . .

Dr. Zucker acknowledges that there is a lack of data around therapeutic approaches for working with gender non-conforming children. In the absence of a convincing body of evidence, CAMH’s approach to gender non-conformity raises ethical questions, says Dr. Jemma Tosh, a postdoctoral researcher in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University.

“Were [Dr. Zucker] to argue his treatment is ethical because it could alleviate distress, he cannot back this up with data. … Is it ethical to implement a controversial form of treatment without any indication of its long-term outcomes, particularly when there is the potential for it to cause harm?” she asked in an article published in the British Psychological Society’s Clinical Psychology Forum in May 2011.

CAMH has not yet decided when the review of its child gender identity services is set to begin or who the external expert leading the review will be. But those who signed’s “stop trans reparative treatment at CAMH Toronto” petition are already celebrating.

[Ed: Zucker's gender clinic is finally facing the external review it deserves, as his form of trans-reparatism is increasingly seen as terribly-harmful by health professionals around the world.]


2-19-15:  San Joe Mercury News: "Transgender grandchild makes Rep. Mike Honda proud -- and a little worried"

"U.S. Rep. Mike Honda announced in a tweet Wednesday that he is "the proud grandpa of a transgender grandchild," sparking an immediate outpouring of support for the Democratic congressman -- who said he hopes she "can feel safe at school without fear of being bullied."

Along with the tweet, Honda posted a photo of himself with his arm tightly around his grandchild, who has shoulder-length hair and a sweet smile. His revelation comes in the midst of a national conversation about people who question their gender identity, which one news magazine has dubbed the "transgender moment."

Honda's comments were welcomed by gay and transgender activists, including many at San Jose's Billy DeFrank LGBT Community Center. "It's surprising just to hear a congressperson tweet something like that, but that's the beginning of something new, especially for transgender people who have been going through a lot of discrimination with their gender identity," said Adriana Covarrubias, who was volunteering at the center Wednesday afternoon. "As a grandparent, he's going to see the things the child is going to go through.""


2-05-15: "Great News! CAMH Toronto's Gender Identity Service Review Announcement", by Catherine Gifford

"Our petition was not the tipping point for CAMH Toronto. Maybe it was. Maybe it was the Twitter activists or other groups online. Maybe it was #BellLetsTalk. Maybe it was a person within the organization who decided to step up and make change. Maybe we'll never know why CAMH Toronto posted on their website that they are "undertaking a review headed by an external expert" and that they "expect this review to take six months".

CAMH Toronto's practices in their Gender Identity Clinic were reviewed in 2011. This time, focus will be put on their child gender identity services, which includes the reparative therapy treatment which we have been fighting against. In other words: this is huge.

As they say in their official statement on the CAMH website: "CAMH regularly receives feedback from clients, families, community organizations and other health professionals. We welcome and respect this and use the comments to help us to improve the care we offer. We take this input seriously.""


January 2015:


1-30-15:  People: "Bruce Jenner Is 'Transitioning into a Woman,' Source Confirms to PEOPLE"

"After his secret struggle, reality TV father and former Olympian Bruce Jenner is "finally happy" and transitioning into a woman. Subscribe now to read the REAL story behind his life-changing decision in PEOPLE.

His changing look has been a much-buzzed-about topic for months, and now PEOPLE has confirmed that Bruce Jenner has been quietly making a very personal change. The former Olympian will soon be living life as female.

"Bruce is transitioning to a woman," says a source close to the family. "He is finally happy and his family is accepting of what he's doing. He's in such a great space. That's why it's the perfect time to do something like this."

And according to a different Jenner insider, the 65-year-old reality star is filming his momentous journey, to be shared with viewers on a docu-series this year. "It will air when he is ready to be open about his transition," the source tells PEOPLE. "But he's acting more and more confident and seems very happy.""


1-29-15:  Medical XPress: "Transgender kids show consistent gender identity across measures" (more)

"A study with 32 transgender children, ages 5 to 12, indicates that the gender identity of these children is deeply held and is not the result of confusion about gender identity or pretense. The study, led by psychological scientist Kristina Olson of the University of Washington, is one of the first to explore gender identity in transgender children using implicit measures that operate outside conscious awareness and are, therefore, less susceptible to modification than self-report measures.

The findings will be published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

"While future studies are always needed, our results support the notion that transgender children are not confused, delayed, showing gender-atypical responding, pretending, or oppositional—they instead show responses entirely typical and expected for children with their gender identity," the researchers write.

"The data reported in this paper should serve as further evidence that transgender children do indeed exist and that this identity is a deeply held one," they conclude.

Olson hopes to recruit up to 100 additional transgender children and follow them into adulthood to observe how the support they have received influences their development and whether it translates into more positive outcomes than in today's transgender adults, launching the first large-scale, nationwide, longitudinal study of transgender children in the United States."


1-18-15:  Huffington Post: "This V-Day, Let's Work Together to Prevent Violence Against All Women and Girls"

"We are representatives of the first all-transgender benefit performance of The Vagina Monologues.

In 2004, Eve Ensler supplemented The Vagina Monologues, writing a transgender piece after having intimate conversations with a diverse group of women in our community. It debuted in 2004 as part of the first all-transgender performance, which was cast without regard to transgender surgical status.

That trans-inclusive piece has been performed by trans and non-trans participants around the world as part of V-Day's global fundraising efforts to end violence against women and girls. We feel it is one of many important steps which made the feminist movement more trans-inclusive.

The money our benefit performance raised went to Peace Over Violence, a trans-inclusive anti-violence nonprofit, the National LGBTQ Task Force, and V-Day's annual focus of 2004, violence against women and girls in Juarez, Mexico. The interviews and performance became the 2005 film Beautiful Daughters.

V-Day's and Eve's amazing response to concerns presented to them by trans people has been inspirational. They made extraordinary efforts to make the play and the movement trans-inclusive, changing many hearts and minds in the process.

The goal of V-Day is to create a community which raises money and raises our voices together until violence against women and girls stops. Throughout the project's history, Eve has added new monologues to include voices that were not heard in the original play.

Hurtful labels and divisiveness are antithetical to the social justice movement, which encourages building bridges and finding common ground around shared goals. We encourage all trans and genderqueer people interested in sharing their own unique voices to work with V-Day as we have. Our successful efforts with V-Day emerged from sharing our constructive criticism through direct outreach.

The V-Day movement and Eve's play continue to evolve and respond to issues of the day, and our work with the movement was meant to be the start of a conversation about including sex and gender minorities. We encourage you to join us in working together to eliminate violence against all women and girls.

In love and solidarity,

Calpernia Addams, producer, Andrea James, producer, Lynn Conway, participant, Valerie Spencer, participant"


1-09-15:  Telegraph (UK): "Screw Putin - Transgender people are finally in the driving seat -- Vladimir Putin may have just banned transgender people from driving, but Paris Lees, a leading trans activist, isn't losing hope. Far from it"

"Russia has just made it illegal for transgender people to drive. Are you surprised? Don’t be. Around the world trans people are subject to a litany of injustices from birth to death, ranging from the unforgivably tedious, like not being granted access to appropriate changing rooms, or loos, to the downright soul destroying, like, I don’t know, not even being able to walk down the street without fear of being attacked. It’s all very well if you drive, I suppose, but in Russia now trans individuals don’t even have that. Maybe the trans folk there should just lock themselves up in a room and never come out again . . . "


1-05-15:  OPB News: "Oregon Starts Insurance For Transgender Medical Procedures"

"This January, the Oregon Health Plan starts covering the cost of reassignment surgery for transgender people.  It also helps cover the cost of hormone therapy and puberty suppression. Some politicians question the use of tax payer money, but people in the transgender community call it ground breaking.

Oregon joins California, Massachusetts, Washington D.C. and Vermont as jurisdictions where Medicaid covers medical treatments for gender dysphoria. By looking at medical billing data, the state estimates at least 175 people will use the new coverage this year . . .

Oregon’s Health Evidence Review Commission decided to look into coverage for gender dysphoria last year — after a psychiatrist pointed out that the state had lumped it with conditions like pedophilia. “People with gender dysphoria that did not receive treatment had a much higher rate of hospitalizations or ER visits or doctor visits for depression and anxiety,” said commission director, Dr. Ariel Smits.

“And they had a pretty significantly high suicide attempt rate — some studies found about 30 percent.  But folks when they received the treatment that they felt was adequate for their gender dysphoria, had an almost normal rate of depression and anxiety compared to the general population.” Their suicide rate also dropped significantly.

But what about the cost? “It may cost somewhere in the $100,000 to $200,000 range although these numbers are very vague,” said Smits. “There’s also the possibility that it’ll be less, or even cost savings, because hopefully these folks will no longer be going to the ER or being hospitalized for their severe depression or suicide attempts.” While the coverage begins this month, Basic Rights Oregon says it may take the state a while to line up services."


... more, TBD ...




December 2014:


... more, TBD ...


November 2014:


11-26-14:  Military Times: "Report: Loophole could allow transgender troops to serve under new DoD policy"

"A change to a Pentagon personnel policy three months ago loosens the rules barring transgender troops from serving in the U.S. military, giving the individual services leeway to retain these personnel. Legal and military experts with the Palm Center, a San Francisco-based think tank focused on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender military service, made that startling charge in a new report.

The update — to Defense Department Instruction 1332.18, Disability Evaluation System — provides a loophole for the services to let transgender troops serve instead of requiring administrative separation, the Palm Center says. The old policy listed transgender identity as a "congenital or developmental defect" that mandated administrative separation.

The instruction issued Aug. 5 drops that provision, which the activists, including three retired flag or general officers, representatives from the ACLU, the Transgender American Veterans Association and others, say means the services now can discharge individuals with perceived defects only if those defects interfere with their performance or duty assignment. "By this new regulation, the Pentagon has gotten out of the business of deciding when service members are fit or unfit for duty, and that's a big policy change," said Diane Mazur, an Air Force veteran and professor of law emeritus at the University of Florida College of Law.

The change, which dropped an entire list of disqualifying conditions from the DoD instruction, places the onus on the services to update their policies, now based on "a list that no longer exists," Mazur said . . .

(Meanwhile) Pentagon spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen said Monday the change to the instruction does not mean the Pentagon has altered its policy prohibiting service by transgender individuals. He said the policy update included examples of nonphysical disability medical conditions, which the department determined were inappropriate for a physical disability policy.

"It was not an all-encompassing list. ... The deletion of that enclosure does not change or have any effect on the department's policy regarding separations and consequently does not affect the department's policy regarding military service by transgender individuals," Christensen said."


11-24-14:  New York Times: "Leslie Feinberg, Writer and Transgender Activist, Dies at 65"

"Leslie Feinberg, a writer and activist whose 1993 novel, “Stone Butch Blues,” is considered a landmark in the contemporary literature of gender complexity, died on Nov. 15 at her home in Syracuse. She was 65.

Her death was confirmed by her spouse, Minnie Bruce Pratt, who said in a written statement that the cause was “complications from multiple tick-borne co-infections, including Lyme disease.”

Feinberg, who resisted being called Ms. or any other gender-specific honorific, wrote fiercely and furiously on behalf of those she saw as oppressed because of their sexual, ethnic, racial or other identities. A longtime member of the Workers World Party, a Marxist-Leninist group, and a prolific journalist for its newspaper, she wrote a 120-part series, from 2004 to 2008, explicating the role of socialism in the history of gender politics.

Feinberg was an advocate for minorities and for the poor, as well as for gay men and lesbians and others who identified as transgender — an umbrella term, distinct from transsexual, that describes people whose life experience straddles the line between male and female and between masculine and feminine.

She herself was biologically a woman but presented outwardly as male — and sometimes passed as a man for reasons of safety, a friend, Julie Enszer, said in an interview. Feinberg, in referring to herself, used the pronouns ze (for she) and hir (for her), though she often said pronoun usage was frequently a matter of context.

“I am female-bodied, I am a butch lesbian, a transgender lesbian — referring to me as ‘she/her’ is appropriate, particularly in a non-trans setting in which referring to me as ‘he’ would appear to resolve the social contradiction between my birth sex and gender expression and render my transgender expression invisible,” she explained in a 2006 interview with Camp, a publication in Kansas City, Mo., aimed at gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people and their supporters.

In an essay after Feinberg’s death, Shauna Miller, a writer and editor who contributes to The Atlantic, wrote on the magazine’s website that “Stone Butch Blues” was “the heartbreaking holy grail of butch perspective,” a book that was instrumental in her coming to terms with her own sexual and gender identity. The novel, which has been translated into several languages including Chinese and Slovenian, “changed queer history,” she wrote.

“It changed trans history. It changed dyke history. And how it did that was by honestly telling a brutally real, beautifully vulnerable and messy personal story of a butch lesbian.”"


11-21-14:  South Florida Gay News: "Transgender woman dies suddenly, presented at funeral in open casket as a man" (more, NY Daily News)

"Jennifer Gable, an Idaho customer service coordinator for Wells Fargo, died suddenly Oct. 9 on the job at age 32. An aneurysm, according to stunned friends.

Just as shocking, they say, when they went to Gable’s funeral in Twin Falls, Idaho, and saw her in an open casket — hair cut short, dressed in a suit and presented as a man.

“I am disgusted,” Stacy Dee Hudson posted on Facebook. “A great and dear friend’s mom went to the funeral today. It was not closed casket. They cut her hair, suit on. How can they bury her as geoff when she legally changed her name. So very sad. Jen you will be missed and people who know you know that you are at peace.”

Gable was transgender, born Geoffrey, but living the past few years as Jennifer. That wasn’t mentioned in her paid online obituary . . .

“No mention of the woman she knew she was and had lived as for several years. Just erosion of her identity and an old photograph of how the father perceived her to be,” said Meghan Stabler, a board member of Human Rights Campaign and member of HRC’s National Business Council.

“I only knew her online. She reached out to me a couple of years ago when she was in transition,” Stabler told the Miami Herald. “The usual: What do I need to worry about at work? Am I going to be OK? Is life going to be better? Can you assure me everything is going to be OK?”

Stabler says Gable’s death “stresses the importance of having a will” . . . "


11-20-14:  The Progressive: "On Transgender Day of Remembrance, Community Remembers Victims of Hate Crime”

"On November 20 every year for the last fifteen years, transgender people gather for vigil ceremonies to acknowledge and name those who have lost their lives to anti-transgender violence in an event known as the International Transgender Day of Remembrance.

The Day of Remembrance (TDOR for short) began with a “Remembering Our Dead” movement inspired by the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was murdered in November 1998 in Boston, where she was an activist and educator on transgender issues. The vigils and speakouts held around the country are a moving and stark reminder that for millions of transgender people worldwide, the fight for survival goes on.

Trans* people experience hate crimes at alarming rates. According to GLAAD’s fact sheets citing the 2011 Hate Violence Report from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Projects, of the increasing number of anti-LGBT hate crime murders from 2010 to 2011, 40 percent were transgender women . . .

In addition to hate crime, workplace discrimination and economic disparities still plague the trans community. “What can people do to help trans women? Hire them!” Andersen asserts. Transgender people report unemployment at twice the rate of the general population, and an estimated 44 percent are underemployed, according to a recent Center for American Progress poll.

“We need everyone to fight for us, to speak up on our behalf,” says Martinez. “We want the opportunity to participate in the American dream, but can only do that when our law enforcement branches stop targeting us; when public accommodations aren't denied to us based on our appearances; when discrimination based on gender identity is removed from employment and housing opportunities; when we feel safe walking outside of our doors and neighborhoods. Then, and only then, will you allow a vibrant and functional part of society to flourish and grow.”

TDOR events will take place today all over the world; see this official list to find an event near you."


11-20-14:  BuzzFeed: "Transgender Women In Ohio Are At The Heart Of A National Crisis In Ohio, four transgender women have been killed in the past 20 months."

"Speaking from her home in Cincinnati, Tomika Edwards said in a phone call this week, “I do know from raising a transgender child, it is rough. I have always been scared for my child’s safety.”

Her fears were realized in June, when her daughter, 28-year-old Tiffany Edwards, was shot to death. Her body was later found by a city sanitation worker. “Sometimes I can’t even believe that it’s happened,” Edwards told BuzzFeed News. “I always tried to teach Tiffany, just because we love and respect you doesn’t mean society always will.”

Tiffany was among 12 transgender women killed in hate crimes within the past 12 months in the United States, according to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs. Transgender women of color were the victims of 67% of all hate-motivated homicides of LGBT people in 2013.

Nov. 20 marks the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, which memorializes victims of lethal hate violence. Most recently this year, 24-year-old Gizzy Fowler was killed on Nov. 12 in Tennessee, and 25-year-old Ashley Sherman was killed last month in Indiana.

Though violence against transgender people is widely considered a national epidemic by LGBT advocates, the state of Ohio has seen a particularly disturbing trend. Tiffany Edwards was the fourth transgender woman killed in Ohio in the last 20 months. Three of the victims were transgender women of color. The Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Organization (BRAVO) also reports 14 incidents of non-fatal hate-motivated attacks on transgender people throughout the state in 2013. Many attacks go unreported. Most recently in Ohio, on Nov. 3, Candice Rose Milligan, 33, was hospitalized after being beaten in broad daylight by a group of men who allegedly yelled, “That’s a dude in a dress,” the Toledo Blade reported."

Read more here:

Read more here:


11-18-14:  "Congresswoman on transgender son: I love my child no matter what"

"Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has words of advice for other parents with transgender children: Don’t reject them, and always show your love.

“Don’t freak out, stay calm and don’t be afraid,” the Florida Republican told CBS News. “Love your child because that person is your child whether it’s the person you wanted him or her to be or not. That’s my advice to parents: Never, never reject your child. That’s unconditional love no matter what.”

The congresswoman’s transgender son, Rodrigo Lehtinen, gave his first interview to CBS News in Miami. He describes himself as a “private” and “introverted person,” words not typically associated with his outgoing mother.

Lehtinen, now 28, was born Amanda. She came out as gay in high school and decided in college she would become a transgender man. Rodrigo’s mother — the first Cuban American elected to Congress in 1989 — is the most senior Republican woman in the House. His father, Dexter Lehtinen, is a former U.S. attorney who prosecuted Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega.

Lehtinen says his parents and some of their friends are cool with Rigo being Rigo. From the interview:

"The Republican Party is generally thought of as not being supportive of LGBT rights, but what was interesting (was) there were so many Republican people I know, whether they were family friends of mine, whether they were friends I met through my mother’s campaigns when I was growing up, people who identify as conservative as Republican who vote by those values. And they are saying, “You know what, I support you and I support these rights and this is an eye-opening experience.”"


11-13-14:  Huffington Post: "Major LGBT Advocates Who Had Previously Buried the Lede Come Out of the Closet -- Except One", by Dana Beyer

"Today, thanks to the sterling reportage of BuzzFeed journalist Chris Geidner, we have reached a notable moment in movement history. Commissioner Chai Feldblum of the EEOC, the motive force behind the Macy decision, has spoken out publicly, and both the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) have now publicly stated their recognition of the significance of federal coverage of trans persons under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Fred Sainz, Vice President for Communications for HRC, said, "Both the Macy v. Holder EEOC decision and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) Directive 2014-2 have provided real, immediate remedies for transgender workers."

Mara Keisling, Executive Director of NCTE, added, "We strongly believe job discrimination against trans people is illegal everywhere in this country under Title VII." No lede being buried this time.

What prompted this coming out from HRC and NCTE? Several weeks ago the National LGBTQ Task Force, coincident with the organization's renaming and "Be You" campaign, published several graphics that denied the reality of the Title VII protections brought about by the Macy decision and the subsequent actions taken by the EEOC and legal advocates on behalf of clients. There was no vagueness, dancing on the head of a pin or splitting hairs on the legalese as many organizations have done since the Macy decision. No, the statement was stark: "There are NO FEDERAL PROTECTIONS for employment non-discrimination" . . .

This week Commissioner Feldblum spoke out against the Task Force's messaging:

"But [the Task Force statement] is incomplete -- both as a legal and practical matter. It fails to capture the reality that the EEOC currently helps thousands of individuals each year get recourse (& remedies) for their discrimination claims, without ever going to court. And they get that through the legal system set up for administrative relief via the EEOC. And that is what our 53 EEOC offices across the country are now doing right now for LGBT people under our Title VII jurisdiction. Thus, there are practical remedies being achieved through the administrative system right now in every state in the country. To begin where I started, that doesn't mean an explicit federal law is unnecessary. To the contrary, it would be hugely helpful. It's just important not to downplay the real practical protection that exists now."

The commissioner's public statements prodded the HRC and NCTE statements, so now I can truly hope that the words of Tico Almeida, Executive Director of Freedom to Work and a long-time proponent of the value of the Macy decision, will be heeded:

"I would like to see the big national LGBT organizations use their ample budgets on a public education campaign to promote the historic nature of the Macy decision so that more LGBT Americans will know that the EEOC is open for business and willing to help."


11-07-14:  Toledo Blade: "Transgender woman suffered brutal attack in downtown Toledo Activists: More legal protections needed"

"A group of men following a transgender woman reportedly shouted, “That’s a dude in a dress,” and other derogatory comments before attacking and robbing her Monday in downtown Toledo.

Candice Rose Milligan, 33, was released from Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center Thursday. She had undergone two surgeries and recently had her jaw wired shut because of a broken mandible, said Dave Crafts, executive director of EqualityToledo, an advocacy group that works to eliminate discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. Because of heavy medication, Ms. Milligan was not available for an interview Thursday.

Toledo police charged Christopher Temple, 20, of 701 Cherry St. as one of three men in the midday attack at 13th Street and Madison Avenue. Mr. Temple was arraigned Tuesday in Toledo Municipal Court and ordered to remain in the Lucas County jail in lieu of $25,000 bond.

“She’ll be down for the count for a while,” Mr. Crafts said. “But she’s strong. She wants everyone to know how hate-filled and horrific this crime was.”

Ms. Milligan was walking on Madison when three men approached her, made derogatory comments, and then one of the men punched Ms. Milligan in the face, mouth, and head, according to a Toledo police report. Once Ms. Milligan was on the ground, the other men kicked and punched her. One of them grabbed a cell phone from Ms. Milligan’s hand and then fled.

Police said they arrived to find Ms. Milligan with a large bump on her forehead and her mouth bleeding. Nearby witnesses were able to provide police with vague suspect descriptions."


11-06-14:  Salon: "Watch these amazing kids perform a rap about transgender acceptance -- Alex's rhyme says it all: "Please treat everyone the way you expect. We all deserve freedom love and respect" (VIDEO)

"This week a video cropped up on the Internet from the non-profit organization Camp Aranu’tiq, which serves 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 and 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, 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 Conchita Wurst 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 Lupita Nyong’o 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.”"


October 2014:


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.


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 community.

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 heart."

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'm transgender."

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", by 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 autobiographical book, 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 awareness on how transgender people are discriminated against.

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 transgender children."


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 place.”

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 Health Plan.

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 Inkoo Kang

"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. 

Hopefully Three 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 gender-identity issues. 

Transparent 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: "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 a conference 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.

The 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 Post 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 list.

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 down.”

“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)"

"In 2011, 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 year on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," she had spent much of her life tormented by a painful secret.

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 uncomfortable."

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 yourself."

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 medical transition."


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, security, affirmation.”"


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 YouTube name skylarkeleven. 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 ever-evolving autobiography.

“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, more, more, more)

"Military authorities detained a Marine in connection with the weekend slaying of a transgender Filipino he allegedly met in a bar, officials said. The serviceman was kept on board the USS Peleliu while NCIS uncovers what happened Saturday night at the Celzone Lodge in Olongapo City, according to a memo obtained by the Marine Corps Times newspaper.

The Marine was not identified, but the paper said he’s assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines, out of Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. Three other Marines also reportedly are being held as potential witnesses, on the same amphibious assault ship.

The victim was identified as 26-year-old Jeffrey Laude, who went by the name Jennifer, according to local news reports. Witnesses have said Laude entered the Celzone Lodge with a foreign man, between 25 and 30, late Saturday, local news reports said.

Laude and the Marine had met earlier that night at a nearby watering hole, the Ambyanz Disco Bar, witnesses told The Philippine Daily Inquirer. Laude was found naked and partially covered by a blanket on a bathroom floor . . .

“We are currently looking into these allegations and working closely with the Philippine National Police to take all necessary steps to help identify the suspects,” according to a statement by the US Embassy."

[Ed. note: Utter brutality: How our 'brave' Marines respond to their inner fears.]


10-08-14:  Huffinton Post: "Yentl, the Yeshiva Boy: A Modern Transgender Hero", by

"There is one Jewish short story (later made into a play and a film) to which I can very intimately relate. It's Isaac Bashevis Singer's Yentl, the Yeshiva Boy. I had the pleasure of attending an updated, klezmer/pop version of the play, directed by Shirley Serotsky, with music by Jill Sobule, last week at Theatre J in downtown Washington, D.C.

As a young trans girl growing up as a yeshiva boy in Queens, New York, I found that this play resonated deeply within me. The eponymous Yentl, who goes by the name Anshel as a yeshiva boy, challenges the gender norms of that extinct European world of the Jewish Pale and its predominantly Orthodox Jewish communities. Yentl, the daughter of a rabbi, studies with her father as if she were his son. Her father says, "Yentl -- you have the soul of a man." She asks, "So why was I born a woman?" He replies, "Even Heaven makes mistakes."

Jewish men and boys, in their morning prayers, have said this "blessing" for generations: "Blessed art Thou, O Lord, our God, King of the Universe, for not having made me a woman." I said that every morning until I was 14, feeling like I was swallowing crushed glass, believing there was no escape.

Singer rooted this story in Yentl's recognition, and her father's perception, of her soul as male. "Soul," in this case, is just a more elegant term for the sexual attribute of the incorporeal essence we call "gender identity" today. "Transgender" didn't exist in 19th-century Europe as a medical condition or concept, though Singer probably knew of the modern phenomenon when he wrote the play in the 1950s, as Christine Jorgensen was in all the New York tabloids when she returned home in late 1952. He certainly knew of the rabbis' understanding of physical intersex conditions, and of the variable manifestation of those conditions in a spectrum of gender roles. He wrote, in the words of Avigdor, Yentl's male study partner, "She [Yentl] had the soul of a man and the body of a woman." . . .

Singer's Yentl, written in the 1950s, brought forth a trans character before its time. Leah Napolin, who wrote the play with Singer, converted her into a feminist icon . . . Serotsky's play, which at times feels like a take on Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, remakes this Yentl as authentically Anshel, strongly rooting the productoin as a queer statement in the manner of Singer. Jill Sobule, the composer, shares my interpretation. We stand in contrast to Ms. Napolin and Ms. Serotsky, who see this version as another variation of the feminist interpretation. This is not surprising, given that in 1975 Napolin dismissed viewing Yentl as "suffering from some hormonal predisposition to masculinity." Too often some feminists of that era still refuse to acknowledge trans persons' humanity, contributing to their continuing invisibility.

Recognizing the reality of the trans experience in no way minimizes the feminist critique of society. Trans women are generally more inclined toward feminism than cisgender women, and trans men know existentially what it means to be oppressed as women. I hope future productions emphasize Ms. Sobule's reading and make this a story that Jewish trans children and adolescents can absorb to help them make the archaic, sexist morning blessings a thing of the past."

[Ed: Italics are mine, for emphasis.]


10-08-14:  Huffington Post (posted 10/7): "Transgender Actress Erika Ervin On Her 'American Horror Story: Freak Show' Role", by

"We couldn't be more thrilled for "American Horror Story: Freak Show" to kick off for numerous reasons, and learning that the hit FX franchise will welcome a transgender performer just makes our excitement for the show more palpable.

Erika Ervin will star alongside series regulars Jessica Lange, Evan Peters and Emma Roberts as "Amazon Eve," a role she says was originally written for a man. "I auditioned for the part as a guy, slicked back my hair, no make-up...flannel shirt, bound my breasts, dropped my voice and walked in, and nailed it," Ervin recalled of the casting process in this FX clip.

The actress, whose credits include the Netflix series "Hemlock Grove," also reveals the struggles she experienced with her family after coming out as transgender in 2004. "My first inkling of knowing I was different was when I was about 4 or 5," she said. "It was an issue of gender ... it's not until later on that I discovered there was a way to fix it."

She hopes her "American Horror Story" role will allow her estranged father to see her "make it on TV and film," and believes the transgender community at large could stand to learn from the show's overall message. "It's more than a freak show," she said. "There's a family here."

"American Horror Story: Freak Show" will debut Oct. 8 on FX. "


10-08-14:  HRC: "OPM’s Open Enrollment Begins as Exclusions Lifted on Transgender-Related Care", by Beth Sherouse

"This June, the US Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced that it would remove the provision requiring Federal Employment Health Benefits (FEHB) providers to exclude transition-related care for transgender federal employees, citing the “evolving professional consensus that treatment is considered medically necessary” for transgender people.

Yesterday, OPM announced that the open enrollment season for these benefits will begin on November 8, marking the first time that participating insurance providers have the option to offer federal employees coverage for transition-related care. This announcement is a crucial step towards ensuring that medically necessary healthcare is available to every federal worker, regardless of gender identity. The question remains as to how many of those providers will opt to extend this coverage. 

As Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Health and Aging Program Associate Director Tari Hanneman explains, “This is a critical moment for insurance companies to decide whether they will do right by transgender Americans. Transition-related care can be prohibitively expensive without insurance coverage, and for many transgender people, medical transition is essential to the process of living openly as their authentic selves.”

HRC encourages all insurance companies to provide transgender-inclusive healthcare. “Ultimately, this is simply an issue of providing equal access to medically necessary care for everyone,” said Hanneman."


10-08-14:  Los Angeles Times: "Arrest made in slaying of O.C. transgender activist"

"Police in Anaheim have arrested a 38-year-old man on suspicion of killing a transgender activist, whose death triggered protests and raised concerns that she’d been targeted because of her gender identity. Randy Lee Parkerson was booked Tuesday on suspicion of murder in the death of Zoraida Reyes, whose body was found June 12 in the parking lot of a Dairy Queen in the 200 block of North State College Boulevard.

Her death concerned LGBT advocates because the transgender community has a heightened risk of violence and harassment.

However, Anaheim police said that the investigation hadn’t uncovered evidence that Reyes was specifically targeted, and that the homicide wasn’t being investigated as a hate crime. "There is nothing to suggest that Zoraida was specifically targeted," said Lt. Bob Dunn, a spokesman for the Anaheim Police Department. "The motive is still unclear."

But a friend, Jorge Gutierrez, an LGBT and immigrant rights organizer, said he's unconvinced. "For many the lives of transgender people don't matter and they're viewed as disposable," Gutierrez said. "We know that her identity as a trans woman was a huge factor, whether the police want to acknowledge it or not.""


10-07-14:  Pink News (UK re Kenya): "Kenya: Transgender activist wins landmark case to change her name on academic certificates" (more, more)

"Transgender activist Audrey Mbugua won a landmark case on Tuesday when the Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) was ordered to change her name on academic certificates. Standard Media reports KNEC now has 45 days to comply with the request of the Kenyan High Court.

“We won,” Mbugua told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “It’s a huge watershed moment.” The council was also ordered to remove the male gender mark on Mbugua’s certificates.

High Court Judge Justice Weldon Korir said: “I note that this is a novel issue and KNEC cannot be faulted for refusing to issue an amendment to the applicant.” However, the court had heard that Audrey provided enough evidence for why KNEC needed to issue her a fresh certificate.

“The court takes judicial notice of the fact that examinations in this country are not administered based on the gender of the candidate. Marks are also not awarded on gender,” the court stated.

Mbugua said she intends to continue to use the courts to fight for the rights of transgender people.

Earlier this month, human rights groups urged Kenya to allow LGBT groups to carry out their work there uninterrupted.

A new anti-gay bill that would see gay people sentenced to death by stoning is currently under discussion in Kenya.

Kenyan government spokesperson Aden Duale said earlier this year that homosexuality was as serious as terrorism.

He said: “We need to go on and address this issue the way we want to address terrorism. “It’s as serious as terrorism. It’s as serious as any other social evil.”"


10-04-14:  Winnipeg Free Press (Canada): "Caught in the eye of a storm -- Transgender girl at centre of rights complaint"

"A Winnipeg family is the target of an alleged bully waging a campaign against their daughter because she is transgender. Only in this case, the alleged bully isn't another kid, it's an adult woman.

The Burgos family has long asked the school division to do something about it, but has now submitted a police complaint and resorted to a formal human rights complaint, citing the school division. "This is where we're shocked: Why did it get to this, to go to the police?" said the girl's mother, Izzy Burgos.

Izzy and her husband, Dale Burgos, filed the complaints after a month of incidents in which the woman, the mother of another student, allegedly confronted her, her daughter, her son and other parents. "She's been talking to everyone in the community and she says she feels bad, but I don't believe that because she's still doing it," Burgos said.

At first, the issue was which bathroom her daughter, Isabella, 8, was to use. Now it's turned into a campaign over the issue of transgender individuals.

"My daughter is transgender. She's out and she's proud. It's hard. The community loves her. Her school loves her and the other students love her.

"One parent can do this, can make her want to hide? I don't think this woman is even aware of the damage she's doing," Burgos said."


10-03-14:  Houston Chronicle: "Sugar Land's transgender homecoming king seen as sign of progress", By Leah Binkovitz

"When Mel Gonzales got up to accept his crown as the new homecoming king of Sugar Land's Austin High School, not everyone was cheering.

But some of his classmates - the band kids, the orchestra, the students from AP classes - were really loud.
It was a classic underdog story, according to Gonzales, 17. They were cheering the school's first transgender homecoming king.

The win is being hailed as a sign of progress.

"The youth themselves are becoming more accepting of each other, and I think that's a lesson that the adults are learning," said Sally Huffer, community projects manager at the Montrose Center, which has long been active in the LGBT community.

Even with greater acceptance among peers, LGBT youth often still face conflict at home, which is part of the reason they represent some 40 percent of the homeless youth population overall. "What a great model he is," said Huffer of Gonzales, "to show the difference between somebody who has the support of their family, their friends and their school.""


10-03-14:  ABC7, Los Angeles: "Murder of transgender woman caught on camera; suspects sought"

"Surveillance video has been released in the fatal shooting of a transgender woman in East Hollywood early Thursday, and police are asking for the public's help to catch the suspects.

Aniya Parker, 47, was fatally shot around 2:30 a.m. Thursday on the 600 block of North Kenmore Avenue.

On Friday night, mourners, united in their grief, gathered at the spot where Parker lost her life. Those in the transgender community are on edge after one of their own, who they knew as Asia, was shot and killed.

"I can't even come home late from work or something without the risk of being shot in my head, brutally, for my purse or whatever the case may be. It terrifies me," vigil organizer Kerri Secil said.

In the video, Parker is seen turning around after 2-4 suspects say something, then surround her underneath a tree. One suddenly throws a punch and Parker runs off. That's when one suspect fires a single shot, hitting her in the head.

She crosses the street where she sits on the curb, before she suddenly collapses in the street. Parker later died at a local hospital. "


10-03-14:  Washington Post (posted 10-02): "A question for schools: Which sports teams should transgender students play on?" (more)

"It had been a relatively quiet policy debate until the full-page ad appeared in the local newspaper. “A male wants to shower beside your 14-year-old daughter,” it said. “Are you OK with that?”

The ad, placed by a socially conservative group in Minnesota, was meant to snap attention to a proposal to allow transgender students to play on teams based on their preferred gender rather than the sex assigned to them at birth.

It appears to have worked. More than 100 community members flooded a meeting this week near Minneapolis, and thousands more sent e-mails. In response, the quasi-public body governing high school sports in Minnesota decided to delay a vote on a new policy covering sports participation by transgender students. Members of the board of directors said they needed more time to study the issue.

The policy, which they now plan to vote on in December, was an attempt to grapple with a question that has bedeviled many states: How do you deal with the growing number of children identifying as transgender who want to participate in the highly gender-specific worlds of high school sports and extracurricular activities?
School systems have scrambled to adopt policies to deal with these students while also being sensitive to concerns over locker-room privacy and any advantages a more physically imposing transgender female might have on the field against other girls.

“Generally, our society is becoming more accepting in its understanding of gender identity and what that means, and we’ve been very lucky that in the last few years this cadre of young kids has started identifying themselves as trans from a young age,” said Helen Carroll, sports project director at the National Center for Lesbian Rights, who helped write a model policy for school systems. “It’s really pushing folks to really grapple with and understand what it means.”

But activists like Carroll have run into opposition, including from groups that say gender is a biological fact rather than a social choice and that schools should not cater to a small subset of the student body."


10-03-14:  Media Matters: "Watch A Transgender Student Athlete's Emotional Response To Right-Wing Misinformation"

"On MSNBC, a transgender student described the pain caused by right-wing misinformation about a policy that could allow athletes to participate on the team that corresponds with their gender identity.

During the October 2 edition of MSNBC's NewsNation with Tamron Hall, guest host Richard Lui led a segment on the Minnesota State High School League's consideration of a proposed participation policy for transgender student athletes. The proposal, which has since been temporarily tabled, would potentially allow student athletes to play on the sports team that matches their gender identity.

The segment featured OutFront Minnesota Executive Director Monica Meyer and Zeam Porter, a transgender student athlete who delivered an emotional speech during a public hearing about the proposal. When asked about the hearing, Porter described the difficulty of being exposed to misinformation about transgender students, including a misleading, transphobic ad published in Minnesota's Star Tribune . . . "


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

"Newlyweds Nick and Jessica Fulgham of Olive Branch did what many newly married couples do after getting hitched: They posted a picture of their marriage license on Facebook. That post led to a string of events that put Jessica and Nick in the middle of a storm of controversy.

Nick, a transgender individual legally recognized as a male, met Jessica over a year ago through a mutual friend. The two immediately hit it off, and they married on Sept. 18 in Madison County . . .

When Jessica's cousin Robby Rikard, the pastor at First Baptist Church in Lyman, saw the picture of the marriage license on Facebook, he contacted the American Family Association, a national conservative organization that opposes same-sex marriage and homosexuality.

Soon after, American Family Radio talk-show host Bryan Fischer wrote an article and included a segment on his show about Nick and Jessica.

"Two lesbians getting married could not possibly be more illegal and unconstitutional anywhere in the United States than in Mississippi," Fischer wrote on the AFA website.

Fischer charged the couple "committed biological fraud" when Nick used his driver's license, which classified him as male, to obtain their marriage license at the Madison County Courthouse . . .

Nick said the AFA's portrayal of him made him feel "terrible." "It makes both of us sound like criminals," he said.

Professor Matt Steffey of the Mississippi College School of Law said the AFA is entitled to its opinion, but it has no legal standing. "If he has a court order legally identifying him as a male, then you are a male for the purpose of the law," Steffey explained. " ... And at least for now, that, to me, settles the legal issue. This is like arguing that after a person's been convicted, that they're really innocent."

After the publicity from the American Family Association, Nick and Jessica are "having to worry about job security and the safety of our family," she said. The couple has three children.

[Ed note: Everyone should begin asking "When will the AFA's vicious religious-superstition-based cruelty end?"]


10-02-14: "Why It Could Get Easier to Come Out as Transgender at Work -- In two lawsuits, the government is going after people who discriminate against transgender employees",

" . . .Now, on the heels of a recent case and two new lawsuits, people like Lusardi may have increasing legal rights against discrimination. 

The shift began in 2012, when veteran police officer and transgender woman Mia Macy sued the Department of Justice for denying her a job with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. She claimed the agency refused to hire her because she'd come out as transgender. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled in Macy's favor and found that discriminating against employees because they are transgender, or because they have transitioned or plan to, is sex-based discrimination and violates Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Last week, for the first time since that ruling, the EEOC has filed two lawsuits on behalf of transgender women who say they were discriminated against at work. In Florida, the EEOC says that Lakeland Eye Clinic fired an employee who started transitioning from male to female at work. In Detroit, the EEOC alleges that a funeral home fired Amiee Stephens after she gave them a letter indicating her plan to transition from male to female. 

A representative for the EEOC said that in 2013, the first year it began collecting transgender-specific complaints, it received 131 charges alleging discrimination based on gender identity. That the EEOC is enforcing this law makes a “huge difference” for transgender people, says Sasha Buchert, Lusardi's lawyer and a staff attorney with the Transgender Law Center in San Francisco. It's especially critical for people in states that don’t have gender nondiscrimination laws. According to a national survey of transgender people, 90 percent said they'd experienced harassment, mistreatment, or discrimination on the job or had hidden their identities at work. 

Even with expanded legal protections, transitioning at work is bound to be complicated. Experts argue that how an employee approaches the process and how employers and management respond can have a critical impact on the trans person’s safety and job security, the comfort of other employees, and in some cases, the profit margins of the company. As the EEOC lawsuits show, it can also lead to legal action. "


10-01-14: "Does the US Prison System Expose Transgender Prisoners to Rape?", By Jessie Burkett

"Last Friday, a district court judge ruled that D. B., a transgender former prisoner who was incarcerated in Orlando, had no right to sue Orange County, Florida, for putting her at excessive risk and showing deliberate indifference to her safety. After she was arrested on charges of unarmed burglary right before her 38th birthday, she told guards that she was afraid to be tossed in with the general population, but her cries were ignored, and she was subsequently raped by her 18-year-old cellmate, Josh Bailey, in December 2009.

According to court documents, D. B. asked to be put in protective custody almost as soon as she was jailed awaiting trial. (She would ultimately be sentenced to five years after pleading no contest.) After an investigation conducted by the prison found no reason to grant her request, she was housed alongside the male inmates, who began “shaking their penises” at her and issuing threats.

Most states don't have prison facilities for people like D. B., and her case raises a question that was first asked 20 years ago when a trans woman named Dee Farmer won a Supreme Court case that allowed people to sue prisons for deliberate indifference. Of course, it's not an easy thing to prove. But as a slew of news stories, lawsuits, and studies build the case that trans people are especially vulnerable, corrections departments across the country are poised to re-evaluate their protocols.

US District Judge Gregory Presnell, however, said that D. B. can't sue Orange County for negligence. In doing so, he ignored years worth of mounting evidence that trans women are at extreme risk when placed with the general population.

“I'm a little baffled by it,” says Valerie Jenness, who gave a deposition in the case and is perhaps the foremost academic expert on prison violence against trans women. “But it's gonna get increasingly difficult to deny that trans folks who are locked up in a whole host of facilities are differentially vulnerable.”

Jenness is the author of a 2007 landmark study called “Violence in California Correctional Facilities: An Empirical Examination of Sexual Assault,” which showed that 59 percent of transgendered women housed in men's facilities are sexually abused in prison, versus just 4 percent of cis men. 

Although awareness of trans issues has increased dramatically since the study's release, the same lack of accountability is still rampant within corrections departments. The same day that the ruling in D. B.'s case came out, BuzzFeed published a horrifying account of a trans woman in Georgia being forced to share a holding cell with her rapist, who then assaulted her again in May 2012. "



September 2014:


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

"Looking back . . . Over the years, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has taken steps to address discrimination because of gender identity. In 1999, the OHRC released “Toward a Commission Policy on Gender Identity” for public comment.[1] In 2000, the OHRC released its first Policy on discrimination and harassment because of gender identity, taking the position that the ground of “sex” could be interpreted to include gender identity. Following the release of this policy, the OHRC continued to call for explicit recognition of gender identity as a protected ground in Ontario”s Human Rights Code.

The OHRC has also been actively litigating cases related to gender identity. For example, the OHRC was involved in XY v. Ontario (Government and Consumer Services),[2] a case that dealt with requirements for transgender people to change the sex-designation on their birth certificates. The OHRC was also involved in Forrester v. Peel (Regional Municipality) Police Services Board et al, which dealt with how police services search transsexual detainees,[3] and in Hogan v. Ontario (Health and Long-Term Care) dealing with access to sex reassignment surgery services.[4]

Looking forward – towards a new policy: In 2012, Ontario added the grounds “gender identity” and “gender expression” to the Human Rights Code. The OHRC then moved to update its Policy on discrimination and harassment because of gender identity. In 2012-13, the OHRC did a literature review revealing a wealth of information on how gender identity and human rights is understood from a variety of perspectives. At the same time, human rights law in Canada and internationally has continued to advance understanding and protection of legal rights for trans people.

In 2013, the OHRC hosted an online public consultation survey on policy issues related to gender identity, including use of terminology, types of discrimination trans people experience, and how the OHRC can help organizations understand their Code responsibilities related to these grounds. We received more than 750 responses to the survey from members of the public as well as community services organizations, educators, unions and employers.

OHRC staff also conducted one-on-one interviews with a range of individuals and organizations to explore issues in depth and to identify individuals and groups who could take part in future outreach and education activity.

The survey – what we heard: The survey was not about statistics – it was about giving people an opportunity to share their experiences and their ideas, to give us a snapshot of some of the key issues relating to gender identity and expression in today’s world. The following sections outline the questions we asked and some of the responses we received . . ."

[Ed. note: This study evidences the profound shifts in public-thought regarding transpeople over the past 10 years . . . even in Ontario, Canada, where Zucker and Blanchard held sway for so long, and where they made their last stand. Nice milestone in the trans-timeline, eh? ]


9-21-14:  Telegraph(UK re India): "India gets first transgender news anchor months after third gender legally recognised" (Video, more, more, more)

"India’s first transgender news anchor has appeared on regional television just months after the country’s Supreme Court recognised it as a legal third gender.

Padmini Prakash, 31, worked as a dance instructor and acted in soaps before being recruited to Lotus News in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. She told the Times of India she was disowned by her family when she told them she was transgender and has faced discrimination throughout her life.

But she has won widespread praise since her first broadcast in August. “I was very worried because I also had to focus on my diction and maintain a steady narrative pace to ensure that there was clarity and viewers could understand me,” Ms Prakash said.

Her popularity with viewers ensured a rapid promotion to be the face of the daily 7pm news bulletin.

G.K.S. Selvakumar, chairman of Lotus News, told the Times of India the channel was “very supportive”. “After initial trials, we were convinced that she had the potential to be an excellent news anchor,” he said.

Ms Prakash has been involved in transgender rights activism in the past, protesting against the discrimination, harassment and stigma experienced by sexual minorities in India. Campaigners estimate there are hundreds of thousands of transgender people in the country but because they were not legally recognised until earlier this year, they have been ostracised, faced abuse and often been forced into prostitution.

In April, the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling recognised transgender as a legal third gender and called on the government to ensure equal treatment."


9-21-14:  Yahoo News (re The Philippines): "Transgender model to PH gov’t: Let’s have a decent talk"

"Her battle cry is no different from what has been said many times over. But her journey is an inspiring and unique one.

Geena Rocero is a US-based Filipina model and an LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) rights advocate. She first gained public attention, as an activist, when she came out as a transgender during TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) Talks’ annual conference early this year.

Rocero was recently in the Philippines. She met with different groups and spoke at several forums. She also met with Sen. Bam Aquino to discuss the status of the lesbian, gay, LGBTQ community in the country.

In an interview, Rocero shared her thoughts on efforts of the Philippine government for the LGBTQ community . . .

Q: While waiting for the anti-discrimination bill to prosper, what do you think should our government do to help protect and improve the lives of LGBTQs?

Rocero: In the national context, it’s proving to be difficult to pass the anti-discrimination bill that really protects the community. But what’s interesting, what’s happening in localized environment; the activist groups have been doing underground – trying to pass anti-discrimination ordinances in different local government units.

There are already seven cities and two provinces in the Philippines that have anti-discrimination protection. It’s important to keep that momentum going because that’s what’s going to protect LGBTs; city by city, barangay by barangay. If the protection is not going to happen in the national environment, communities should make their own steps.

Q: What else is lacking in our government aside from the anti-discrimination law?

Rocero: A lot is still lacking in the Philippine government. They’ve been trying to pass the anti-discrimination bill for a very long time already. The religious conditioning is much harder to change.  I think that’s an important factor to focus on when passing a law. If you’re not willing to change the cultural dynamics of understanding and just for people to see and accept us as who we are as human beings who all just want to go about our lives and pursue our truth and our dreams, then the fight for it would remain hard . . .

Q: What is your message to our government?

Rocero: Let’s have a decent human conversation. We want to be in front of you all and just have a human conversation and all that we’re asking for is basic rights. We are not asking for special rights, these are just basic rights; to be treated equally and just exist as we are.

Q: What is your message to LGBTQs?

Rocero: As a person who made a conscious choice to come out and be an advocate and specifically talk about these things, we can’t force people to be activists. It’s a personal choice. But as an individual, being visible and being vocal is a big step. Knowing about your rights is a huge step. You need to know when and how to speak up when your rights are being violated.

Speak up when you see there are violations. Sometimes, it’s hard to think that there’s still hope, like when you report a violence that you saw, but you need to remember that those little efforts count. And as a community, we are all tied-in together, we just need to really understand each other. Awareness is the most important thing."


9-21-14:  Nature (posted 9-16): "Diversity: Pride in science -- The sciences can be a sanctuary for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals, but biases may still discourage many from coming out", by M. Mitchell Waldrop

"It was not until the last two years of his graduate studies, at the University of South Florida in Tampa, that Trotter finally came out, confiding to a few close friends that he was gay. As the word spread, he found his depression lifting. His energy improved. His work became more focused.

“When I felt I could just be who I am, a full person,” says Trotter, “then it was definitely good for the science.”

That message is being heard in more and more laboratories and research centres around the world. People who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) have long faced discrimination or worse: they are still considered outcasts or even outlaws in most Muslim nations, as well as in Russia and parts of Asia. But attitudes are changing. According to a survey published last year by the Pew Research Global Attitudes Project, openly gay individuals have high levels of public acceptance across broad swathes of Western Europe, Australia, Canada and Latin America (see ‘Degrees of acceptance’). Nowhere is this change more visible than in the United States, home of the world’s largest research enterprise, where public attitudes are shifting towards acceptance of LGBT people faster than in almost any other nation. Courts and legislatures are lifting restrictions on same-sex marriage in state after state, often in the face of vehement opposition from social conservatives, and LGBT equality has emerged as a dominant civil-rights issue.

“This is an important time in history for the LGBT community,” says Trotter — not unlike the period several decades ago when women and under-represented ethnic minorities began their push for greater recognition in science. Just as those groups once did, LGBT researchers are trying to seize the moment by creating an infrastructure of organizations and interest groups geared towards helping one another with information, support and networking (see Nature 505, 249–251; 2014) . . .

In this newly open environment, LGBT scientists are finding it easier to declare themselves — or at least, to think about doing so. “I’m getting a constant stream of e-mails from young scientists: ‘Can I meet with you?’,” says Ben Barres, a Stanford neuroscientist who transitioned from female to male in 1997, and who has become a prominent spokesman for LGBT issues in science.

But just as for ethnic minorities and women, there is still a long way to go. Many LGBT scientists fear coming out — if only because publications, career progression and promotion are based heavily on the judgement of fellow scientists, which might be influenced by conscious or unconscious bias. And many students may be avoiding a research career entirely — although no one knows, because no one has counted.

“I worry that there is a vast pool of talent that might be being lost to science,” says Trotter. The only way to change that, he says, is for the scientific community to reach out to its LGBT members, and have an honest conversation."


9-17-14:  Daily Mail (UK re US): "Transgender model who found fame on America's Next Top Model 'struggles to find love because she was born in a male body"

"A model who found fame on two seasons of America's Next Top Model says she is struggling to find love because she was born in a male body.
Transgender Isis King, 28, from New York, took the fashion world by storm after appearing on the popular television program.

But the American Apparel model, who models for an array of big fashion brands, hopes to find a partner to share her success with. Most recently the model opened eyes as she stole the spotlight walking in the Betsey Johnson SS15 fashion show at New York Fashion Week.

She said: 'Being born in the wrong body has made it really hard because I want to tell men up front, but once I tell them they usually lose interest. 'There are preconceived notions of trans women, and they don't want to know me once I tell them. 'It's a bit harder for me because not only am I trans, but I am one of the world's most famous trans women' . . .

She said: 'I was in a gelato place with a guy who didn't know I was on America's Next Top Model. 'The girl serving us ice cream noticed who I was and right as she was about to mention it, I opened my eyes wide, and winked at her and she knew I didn't want her to say it out loud. 'She winked back and she didn't say anything, but it was just perfect - it was the first time it ever worked out that way.' Sadly, the date didn't workout and she feels living in New York adds to difficulties in finding a meaningful relationship.

'I don't know if I'm going to find it here because it is such a fast paced city,' she added. 'I have a great career, I know who I am, I know who I want, I'm a positive person. 'I just want to meet someone who's going to treat me the way I would treat them.'"


9-16-14:  People: "Jazz Jennings Hopes to Inspire Other Transgender Kids with New Picture Book"

"It's no surprise that growing up as a transgender kid wasn't easy for Jazz Jennings. But the Florida-based teen made it through – and is sharing the lessons she learned with others. Jennings, now 14, has coauthored a new children's book, I Am Jazz, and hopes it can assist other kids facing a similar struggle.

"I hope this book will help them to be who they are and stay true to themselves," Jennings tells PEOPLE. " I want them to know it's OK to be different and unique, and that they should be proud of themselves and who they are."

The book was released Sept. 4 and recaps the triumphs and hardships she faced on her transgender journey. "There are so few books for little kids that actually mention the word transgender and explain what it is in simple terms," she says . . .

"We were initially shocked when Jazz was diagnosed with gender identity disorder [now called gender dysphoria], in 2004," they told PEOPLE via email. "We recognized this was an incredibly complex issue, and since very little was known about transgender children at the time, there would be daunting challenges ahead."

The challenges were significant, but Jazz and her parents overcame them – and want other families to know they have support. "For transgender kids who are struggling, I want them to know they're not alone," Jazz says. "They shouldn't be afraid to step out of their shadows." "


9-16-14:  Jurist: "An Affirmative Decision for Transgender Marriage in Texas"

"JURIST Guest Columnist Francesca Acocella . . . discusses the recent decision by the Thirteenth Court of Appeals of Texas to recognize transgender identity in determining the validity of marriage . . .

. . . In it's decision delivered earlier this year, the Thirteenth Court of Appeals of Texas noted that the legal landscape had changed since Littleton and that the Texas legislature was no longer silent. It found that there was a genuine issue of material fact as to Araguz's gender, that the legislature overturned Littleton in 2009 and the summary judgment cannot be upheld based on judicial estoppel. An affidavit from Nikki's doctor, discussing the complexities of gender, was sufficient for the court to find a genuine disputed fact. The court also mentioned the ever-increasing number of states with marriage equality and the US Supreme Court's ruling in US v. Windsor overturning Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (PDF). Ultimately, the Araguz court held that "an individual who has had a 'sex change' is eligible to marry a person of the opposite sex," citing the Texas Family Code Section 2.0005(b)(8). The new trial has yet to take place.

The difference between the courts' outcomes in Littleton and in Araguz is partly due to evolving social, medical and legal understandings of gender. The 2009 amendment to Texas's Family Code is part of that evolving understanding. The Texas legislature amended its Family Code to include that "an original or certified copy of a court order relating to the applicant's name change or sex change" can establish the proof required for a marriage license. The court in Araguz found the amendment invalidates Littleton, legitimizing marriage in Texas for transgender people. During the 82nd legislative session in Texas, which ended in 2012, there were several unsuccessful attempts to repeal the 2009 amendment.

Because Texas statutes now recognize the rights and marriages of transgender people, Texas agencies must allow transgender Texans to amend gender markers on their identity documents and all courts, not just courts within the jurisdiction that decided Araguz, must recognize the marriages of transgender Texans."


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

"In a 2013 report by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, it was reported that of 72 percent of victims of anti-LGBTQ homicide were transgender women, and 89 percent of victims were people of color. Just this summer alone, there have been seven reported killings of transgender women of color in the United States: Kandy Hall in Maryland, Zoraida Reyes in California, Yaz'min Shancez in Florida, Tiffany Edwards in Ohio, Mia Henderson in Maryland, an unnamed woman in Michigan, and, just recently Alejandra Leos in Tennessee. Many of the women's causes of death have not been released, but from what is known, the victims were either shot, burned, or stabbed to death.

In the past two months there have been two more attacks on transgender women of color in Detroit, as well as the stabbing of a 15-year-old transgender girl in Washington, D.C., Metro. Fortunately, the teen survived, but the attack comes one year after the stabbing of Bree Wallace, two years after the fatal stabbing of Deoni Jones, and three years after the stabbing of another unnamed transgender woman of color, all of which happened in D.C. August was also the month in which 21-year-old Islan Nettles was brutally attacked in 2013, and the month in which 24-year-old Tyra Hunter died from medical transphobia in 1995. Tyra was in a car accident at the corner of 50th and C in Southeast D.C., and due to the transphobia of the on-site EMT and doctor, she passed away from treatable injuries. And in 2002 both 19-year-old Stephanie Thomas and 18-year-old Ukea Davis were executed in the same cross streets as Tyra's accident.

The frequency of stabbings in attacks on transgender women of color comes as a concern. The act of stabbing is a very personal form of murder and raises the question of the intensity of the attacker's transphobia. Though it can be argued that some suspects choose to stab rather than shoot due to the easy access to knives over guns, and to ensure lighter sentences if caught and tried, the assertion of dominance over women's bodies with a phallocentric object is a symbolic rape of the victim. Suspects often justify their attacks with the "trans panic" defense, the concept that, in the heat of the moment, internalized transphobia causes them to irrationally attack transgender individuals who "provoke" them."


9-12-14:  Huffington Post: "From Diagnoses to Dignity -- Barriers to Health Care for Transgender People" (more)

""Trans people face stigma and discrimination and harassment in healthcare, and so do providers," said Walter Bockting, a professor of medical psychology at Columbia University in New York City. "We need to strategically support providers working with transgender people, many of whom struggle bravely to do this work and expand its reach" . . .

The barriers to dignified access to healthcare are legal, societal, and logistical. Documents do not match appearance, services are sometimes economically out of reach, and the provision of care can be imperilled by untrained providers and even threats against those who try to provide it. Experts and activists say equitable access to healthcare underpins the realization of other human rights for transgender people. And it all begins with the messy politics of diagnosis . . .

"No one's identity is a disorder. When we are talking about [the] mental health problems many transgender people experience, we are not referring to 'gender dysphoria' [feeling an emotional and psychological identity as male or female opposite to one's biological sex] or any other trans-specific diagnosis," said Lin Frazer, president of WPATH. "We are talking about [the] mental health problems they suffer due to stigma and lack of access to services... It's not inherently pathological to be gender non-conforming or transgender."

The UN World Health Organization (WHO) International Classification of Diseases, version 10 (ICD-10), generally accepted as the standard definition of health conditions, is under revision and "Significant changes in the classification of gender identity and conditions related to sexuality have been proposed." WPATH has been spearheading a campaign to move "gender incongruence" categories out of the Mental and Behavioural Disorders chapter and into a more respectful and less pathological place in version 11.

"WPATH has been. [talking to] the WHO to consult on the ICD-11 revisions (to be published in 2017)," said Gail Knudson, WPATH's secretary-treasurer and medical director of the Transgender Health Program at Vancouver Coastal Health in Canada. "Transgenderism will likely be called 'gender incongruence', and not be located in the section on mental disorders." The goal is to erode the pathology stigma associated with transgender people, while maintaining the possibility of a medical designation so that those who need to access gender transition-related health services and insurance can do so.

"For some transgender people at a particular point in their lives, in some parts of the world, having a diagnosis can be important - it allows them to access care, get reimbursed for care, and achieve the changes they want," Bockting said.

Justus Eisfeld, co-director of Global Action for Trans Equality (GATE), said: "WHO will move trans people out of the disorders section... so it's not as stigmatizing, but trans people can still access medical care through the classification if they want and need it."

The pathways to accessing gender transition-related and general healthcare are often barred by the limited access to documentation transgender people experience almost everywhere. "I do not suffer from gender dysphoria, I suffer from bureaucratic dysphoria," one trans person told a United States court."


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

"Treatment to delay puberty among adolescents struggling with gender identity seems to boost psychological well-being for those who ultimately pursue sex reassignment, new research suggests. The Dutch study involved 55 transgender young adults who had been diagnosed years earlier with "gender dysphoria," a condition in which a biological boy strongly identifies as a girl, or vice versa. All underwent a hormone treatment that temporarily blocked puberty and prevented the development of sex characteristics.

The treatment gave them the "opportunity to develop into well-functioning young adults," according to the study, published online Sept. 8 in the journal Pediatrics. Overall, sexual confusion resolved, and they appeared to be satisfied with their gender-related decisions, the researchers found.

"Since puberty suppression is a fully reversible medical intervention, it provides adolescents and their families with time to explore their gender dysphoric feelings, and [to] make a more definite decision regarding the first steps of actual gender reassignment treatment at a later age," said study lead author Dr. Annelou de Vries.

By delaying the onset of puberty, those children who go on to gender reassignment "have the lifelong advantage of a body that matches their gender identities without the irreversible body changes of a low voice or beard growth or breasts, for example," added De Vries, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at the Center of Expertise on Gender Dysphoria with the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam.

The study participants underwent puberty suppression at an average age of nearly 14. The group included 22 biological boys, who later transitioned to females, and 33 biological girls who ultimately underwent reassignment to live as men. Multiple assessments were conducted up to one year following gender reassignment surgery (at an average age of about 21).

By young adulthood, anxiety, emotional distress and body image concerns were no more prevalent among the transgender group than among the general public, the researchers determined. Also, quality of life and happiness levels were on par with their peers, gender dysphoria was no longer an issue, and no patients expressed regret about the transition process, including puberty delay . . .

Guidelines outlined by the Endocrine Society and the World Professional Association for Transgender Health recommend that teens who choose to undergo gender reassignment not begin hormone treatments before age 16. Surgical intervention is not advised before the age of 18.

"But children usually go into puberty much earlier than that," said Susan Maasch, director of the Trans Youth Equality Foundation in Portland, Maine. "And you can imagine the anxiety and depression and overwhelming fear that a young child might experience when they are about to go into puberty while feeling an insistent mismatch between their biological gender and their actual gender identity" . . . Treating them with a safe, well-known hormone to temporarily prevent puberty has become a standard of care because it buys these children time and a measure of relief. And if gender reassignment surgery does happen, it will be a much easier, much less tough process."

Dr. Jack Drescher, a clinical professor of psychiatry at New York Medical College in Valhalla, N.Y., said the findings "seem to confirm the idea that puberty suppression is a generally good idea." The treatment has only been done for about 15 years, "but so far it does seem to be a relatively safe and benign intervention," he said. "And this thoughtful and careful study suggests that it can be very helpful at relieving psychological distress seen among those children who experience panic when facing the onset of puberty."

Drescher added that not all teens who undergo puberty suppression will pursue gender reassignment. "But those who do will face an easier time of it," he said."


9-08-14:  Huffington Post: "Alejandra Leos, Transgender Woman, Murdered In Tennessee (UPDATED)"

"In a story that is depressingly familiar, another transgender woman has lost her life at the hand of an attacker.

Alejandra Leos was reportedly shot to death only steps away from her home in Memphis, Tennessee, last Friday night. While local police reports initially misgendered Leos, family and friends confirmed that the victim identified as a woman. Police have not identified a suspect in the murder.

“Alejandro would say ‘if you don’t know Alejandra then you don’t know Memphis,'" a friend of Leos told reporters.

Transgender individuals, particularly transgender people of color, experience violence at a disproportionate rate when compared to the rest of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. For more information on transgender issues and experiences head here.

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

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


9-07-14: New York Magazine: "The Trans-Everything CEO -- Futurist, pharma tycoon, satellite entrepreneur, philosopher. Martine Rothblatt, the highest-paid female executive in America, was born male. But that is far from the thing that defines her. Just ask her wife. Then ask the robot version of her wife." (more, more)

"Only about 5 percent of the companies in the Fortune 500 are run by women; double the sample size, and the proportion is the same. Compensation levels for female CEOs appear to lag as well, though it’s hard to tell because there are so few of them. On a recent list of America’s 200 highest-paid CEOs, only 11 were women, and their median pay was $1.6 million less than their male peers. Certain of these women are already household names: Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer, No. 34 on the list, who earned $25 million last year, and Hewlett-Packard’s Meg Whitman, No. 95, who earned $18 million. But the highest-paid female CEO in America is not nearly as well known. She is Martine Rothblatt, the 59-year-old founder of United Therapeutics—a publicly traded, Silver Spring, Maryland–based pharmaceutical company—who made a previous fortune as a founder of Sirius radio, a field she entered as an attorney specializing in the law of space. But what’s really extraordinary about Rothblatt’s ascent is not that she has leaned in, or out, or had any particular thoughts about having it all. What sets Rothblatt apart from the other women on the list is that she—who earned $38 million last year—was born male.

"It’s like winning the lottery,” Rothblatt said happily, about seeing her name atop the list, during one of the meetings I had with her this summer. But Rothblatt could not be less interested in establishing herself as a role model for women. “I can’t claim that what I have achieved is equivalent to what a woman has achieved. For the first half of my life, I was male,” she said.

In person, Martine is magnificent, like a tall lanky teenage boy with breasts. She wears no makeup or jewelry, and she inhabits her muted clothing—cargo pants, a T-shirt, a floppy button-down thrown on top—in the youthful, offhand way of the tech elite. Martine is transgender, a power trans, which makes her an even rarer species in the corporate jungle than a female CEO. And she seems genuinely to revel in her self-built in-betweenness. Just after her sex-reassignment surgery in 1994, her appearance was more feminine than it is today—old photos show her wearing lipstick, her long, curly hair loose about her shoulders. But in the years since she has developed her own unisexual style. She is a person for whom gender matters enough to have undergone radical surgery, but not enough to care whether she’s called he or she by people, like her 83-year-old mother, who occasionally lose track of which pronoun to use . . . "


9-07-14:  Philadelphia Inquirer: "Bala Cynwyd doctor helps transgender teen gain her true identity"

"Aly is a pretty 17-year-old who talks easily about being transgender. It is impossible to guess that she was born male; her facial expressions and the grace with which she moves are typically female.

"I knew, as early as when I was three or four, that I was a girl," says Aly, who changed her name from Luke seven years ago when she "outed" herself to family, friends, and classmates. "Even when I was a toddler, I played with Barbies and pushed around a toy vacuum sweeper. I'd watch television and always picture myself as the princess or the queen."

Luke went to school in jeans and plaid shirts like the other boys, but played only with the girls. The minute he got home, he exchanged the pants for his favorite outfit - a purple party dress with sparkly sequins. His brother, Billy, two years older, insouciantly explained to his friends, "My little brother likes to dress up in girls' clothes." "They didn't pay much attention," Aly says now.

Shortly before entering fourth grade in Stratham, N.H., Luke confided to his parents that he was not male, could no longer pretend, and declared that he would not continue to go to school as a boy.

Aly is one of a growing population of children - some as young as three - who insist that they have been sabotaged by the bodies they were given. No one knows if the numbers are rising because there are more transgender youth or whether increased media attention and shifting attitudes have made transgender people more willing to reveal themselves.

An annual survey by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network found that 8.3 percent of LGBT youth identified as transgender in 2011, up from 3.2 percent a decade earlier. Endocrinologist Norman P. Spack, head of the transgender clinic at Boston Children's Hospital, believed to be the first in the country, suggests that one in 1,000 children and adolescents may be transgender . . .

Aly was lucky. Although her parents struggled to make sense of what they describe as their "incredibly difficult and unusual situation," they respected and supported their younger child right from the start . . . In December 2007, he and his wife, who passed away four years ago, wrote a letter to their friends and relatives:

". . . We realize that many of you will find this news shocking and confusing. . . . Luke has been diagnosed with gender identity disorder, a devastating condition that can turn the life of a child upside down. Biologically, Luke is a boy. But in every other sense, she is a girl. . . . We now call her Aly. We recognize that this change will take time to get used to. What we're asking from you is compassion for something you may never understand . . ."

The administration at Luke's elementary school had just sent a Thanksgiving letter to parents explaining that a boy in the school would be presenting as a girl. When Aly returned to school after the holiday break, dressed in capris and a pink shirt, almost all her classmates were welcoming, even excited . . .

Aly was one of the first children to be seen by Norman Spack in Boston. "I have this image of Aly as a little girl," Spack remembers, "a round face, just adorable."

After thorough evaluations and consultations with the pediatrician confirmed that the 10-year-old was, indeed, transgender, not just going through a phase, Spack started puberty-suppressing hormones . . .

Aly had sex reassignment surgery six weeks ago at Lower Bucks Hospital in Bristol. "Dr. Spack brought me to this part of my life," she said softly six days later, tucked under the covers in the bed where she was recovering nearby. "He did everything to help me be a girl."

Sherman Leis, a Bala Cynwyd surgeon, has performed more than 3,500 operations on transgender patients, including facial feminization procedures, breast removal or augmentation, and sex reassignment surgery. Aly was his second-youngest patient, on the verge of 17."


9-07-14:  Metro (UK): "How to ask a woman out when you’re a transgender man"

"When it comes to making the first move, I’m terrible at it.Whether that’s been in my previous incarnation as a lesbian or my current one as a trans guy, the fact is, it’s simply better that I don’t realise when I want to hit on someone.Flirting, it seems, only comes naturally to me when I don’t actually think that I might like to take things a little further with the person in front of me.

Where some guys get full of bravado and let rejection run off their egos like rain off a freshly waxed car, testosterone hasn’t quite boosted my confidence levels that far just yet, so I’m still more likely to get all shy and emotionally-challenged when faced with someone I really quite fancy.

But, like all great hypocrites, I’m very much aware of what I should be doing even if I’m not quite able to actually do it myself.

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


9-06-14:  The Tico Times (Costa Rica): "Transgender Costa Ricans fight discrimination over name-change rights", by Fabiola Pomareda

"What’s in a name? For many transgender Costa Ricans, a lot. Starting with the fact that in many cases, the names on their government-issued IDs have nothing to do with self-image or identity.

Karolina Malone Esquivel, 24, told The Tico Times that she began her transformation from boy to girl at the age of 14. But since graduating high school, she said it’s been impossible to find work. And that discrimination starts with the name on her cédula. “I’ve left résumés, I’ve gone everywhere and no one ever calls me,” said Esquivel, who joined several others on Aug. 28 in a protest in front of the Supreme Elections Tribunal in San José, where the Civil Registry is located . . .

On Esquivel’s ID, a young woman’s face stares out from the picture. But the name is a boy’s. There is a line labeled “known as,” where it states “Karolina.” But that name is useless for official paperwork or any other transaction. When a person’s photo doesn’t match the gender of a name on an identification document, it leads to problems. And life already is difficult enough, Esquivel said.

In the workplace, transgender employees often are viewed as “undesirables” by coworkers, she said. The stigma is the same in schools and at health care centers. “When you go to the Caja [Social Security System], they call out your name loudly, in front of everyone. Those situations are humiliating for someone who looks different than their name,” she said.

Transvida President Dayana Hernández said that having a name that reflects one’s identity is a human right, and last week’s protest aimed to educate others that human rights aren’t negotiable. Fernández noted that, “The transgender population isn’t a small one. As you can see [at the demonstration] there are many transgender girls and boys, and we all face barriers preventing us from working.”

Esquivel said discrimination is often a primary reason that many turn to prostitution, which is legal in Costa Rica, to make ends meet. “Most of us really don’t want to work in the sex trade,” she said. “We want something different, something more stable, instead of facing the cold and taking risks.”

Two months ago, Esquivel registered for classes at a San José university, where she plans on studying human resources. She hopes to become a boss.“Since no one never hired me, one day, I’ll be the person doing the hiring,” she said.

Three months ago, eight members of Transvida petitioned the courts through public legal counsel. But their cases have gone nowhere, they said. In the legal battle to allow transgender Costa Ricans to change their names, only a judge can order the Civil Registry to waive its gender rule. Cases are ongoing in courts in Desamparados and San José, and some members will file another case in Guadalupe, where they hope to find a sympathetic judge. Said Fernández: “At 14, I decided to be a woman. At 20, I still haven’t managed to get people to recognize the name I chose: Pamela.”"


9-05-14:  BuzzFeed: "Human Rights Campaign President "Formally Apologizes" To Transgender Community" (HRC Blog entry)

"In his remarks Friday at Southern Comfort, one of the largest annual transgender community conferences, Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin apologized for what he described as when the national LGBT rights organization has failed to represent and serve transgender people over the years.

“HRC has done wrong by the transgender community in the past, and I am here to formally apologize,” Griffin said, according a transcript of his remarks posted online. “I am sorry for the times when we stood apart when we should have been standing together.”

It’s no secret among many in the transgender community that there’s a lack of trust when it comes to HRC.

In his speech, Griffin described attending an HRC event held at Ohio State University — during which he suddenly realized his event was taking place at the same time as the local community’s largest transgender community gathering, the 6th Annual TransOhio Symposium, on the floor directly above him. Griffin said the fact that he and HRC had no idea the local transgender community was holding its gathering at the same place and the same time as his event illustrated a major disconnect — one he said he wishes to resolve.

“… [I]nstead of all of us working together, taking stock of all of our progress and the challenges ahead, and finding comfort in each other’s company, ‘they’ were upstairs, and ‘we’ were downstairs,” he said. “There that divide was, for all to see. Plain as day.”

With that, Griffin said he hopes HRC and the transgender community can begin a “new chapter together” and promised to work diligently and more closely together, but noted HRC “may make mistakes” along the way.

“What happens to trans people is absolutely central to the LGBT struggle,” he said. “And as the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organization, HRC has a responsibility to do that struggle justice, or else we are failing at our fundamental mission.”

HRC, he said, is expanding its focus on transgender issues and the work it does to serve transgender people throughout the country, such as supporting local transgender organizations, condemning violence against transgender women of color, and continuing its work with corporations, healthcare organizations, and schools to treat all LGBT people fairly."


9-04-14:  CNN (re Hong Kong): "Misunderstood and stateless in Hong Kong: A transgender woman's nightmare"

"Crossing borders as a transgender woman is always a challenge. There are many reasons immigration authorities reject you, but sometimes it's simply because they don't seem to understand who we are.

My name is Eliana Rubashkyn and I was born in Bogotá, Colombia. I'm a trained pharmacist and speak five languages fluently, and until recently, I was studying for an MBA in Health Administration in Taiwan on a government scholarship. I also used to be a man.

Last year, I was forced to travel to Hong Kong to renew my passport because of my altered gender. Hong Kong -- a one-hour flight away -- is the nearest Colombian consulate from Taiwan. The trip was also necessary to allow me to apply for the second year of my graduate degree.

Little did I know my life would be turned upside down when I boarded that plane . . . "


9-04-14:  WCSH6 (Maine): "How doctors treat transgender children" (Video)

"Being transgender isn't just a state of mind, it is a diagnosed medical condition called Gender Dysphoria. Doctors can identify symptoms and begin treating Gender Dysphoria before children become adults. Maine Health recognized a need for that treatment and established a gender clinic at Barbara Bush Children's Hospital.

Four years ago, pediatric endocrinologist Dr. Jerrold Olshan was treating just one or two children for Gender Dysphoria. Today, he sees between 20 and 30. He says all children have quesitons about gender, but sometimes those questions run deeper. That's when parents are likely to take a child to see a specialist. It can happen at a very young age.

"When you talk to these kids as adults they will say frequently, 'I've known since I was four I was in the wrong body. I was born, they wanted me to be a boy, I just I knew I was a girl'" Olshan told NEWS CENTER.

The child may see a doctor, but there is no medical intervention until the first signs of puberty. At that point, he or she is put on hormone blockers to stop puberty. Then, between the ages of 13 and 16, doctors will begin hormone therapy with testosterone or estrogen. All the while, the patient is meeting with a psychiatrist and social worker.

"These children and families have had a lot of stress, and often there is comorbidities," said Olshan. "There's things like depression associated with these conditions, probably because of the struggles of their identity being different than how society identifies them."

So why does all of this matter to physicians? Doctor Orsham says he started treated transgender childen because of their extremely high mortality rate. A recent study of trans youth in New York City found that 46% of them had considered suicide, and 25% of them had attempted it. "If we can intervene early, the hope is, and what we are seeing fortunately is that we can really lower the risk of death in these kids.""


9-04-14:  WCSH6 (Maine): "School sends parents letter about transgender student" (Video)

"Some parents with students at Old Town Elementary received a letter that said there is a second grade student in the school that is transgender.

The school district mailed the letter to parents at the start of the new school year. It went to parents who have children in the same learning community as the transgender student, which is made up of about 120 kids from different grades.

The letter says the student "may be familiar to your children as a boy, but will now be recognized as a girl." It goes on to say that the student has identified as a girl for quite some time and will now be using a new name and dressing in a more feminine manner. The student will also be using the girls' bathroom, according to the letter. It also acknowledges that this is a new situation for many people, including staff members. NEWS CENTER has attached the entire letter to this story.

The school was not legally obligated to send the letter, but the RSU34 Superintendent David Walker said it chose to. Legally, under the Maine Human Rights Act, the school is required to treat all students equally. Walker said the child's family met with the school over the summer to develop a plan. The school drafted the letter, then the family and the superintendent reviewed and approved it. Old Town Elementary wanted parents to hear the information from the school first, and not from their children, according to Walker.

There are several organizations in Maine that provide resources for people struggling with gender identity, advocate for transgender equality, and work to educate the community. Here are a few links to learn more: Equality Maine, Trans Youth Equality, Maine Transgender Network, GLAD"


9-02-14:  BuzzFeed: "Kristin Beck Is A Different Kind Of Transgender Pioneer -- Lady Valor, the documentary that follows the former Navy SEAL’s life after coming out as a trans woman, pushes the envelope of trans representation. And Beck wouldn’t have it any other way"

"In 2013, Kristin Beck became the first former Navy SEAL to come out as transgender, which instantly placed her as one of the most high-profile figures in the meteoric shift in the national conversation about transgender rights. In person, she is instantly open and friendly, happy to talk about just about anything, but her voice hovers just a few notches above a whisper and never any louder, and her demeanor can at times read as diffident, almost shy. In fact, if you had not heard of her, you could be forgiven for never guessing she is an activist who regularly travels the country for speaking engagements, let alone a decorated veteran with 20 years of some of the most grueling combat experiences a soldier can have.

But, according to Beck, there is one thing you would definitely know about her upon meeting her for the first time. “Imagine me walking down the street,” she told BuzzFeed in March at the SXSW Film Festival. “It’s obvious. It’s like, Wow, there’s a dude in a dress.

It is one of several eye-opening, unexpected things Beck said over the course of a far-ranging interview after the world premiere of Lady Valor: The Kristin Beck Story, the feature documentary about her life after coming out as transgender . . . "


9-01-14:  SDGLN: "Kristin Beck truly is "Lady Valor" and a transgender heroine"

"A former Navy SEAL who spent many years based in San Diego, and who came out as a transgender woman two years after retiring from the military in 2011, is the subject of a compelling documentary, “Lady Valor: The Kristin Beck Story” . . . The documentary will have its television premiere on CNN in September.

The film tells the story of Navy SEAL Christopher Beck, who served honorably for more than 20 years as a gung-ho member of SEAL Team 1 and SEAL Team 6, the latter a highly trained counterterrorism unit also known as the U.S. Special Warfare Development Group.

For many years, Beck felt like a woman trapped in a man’s body, and fought to understand those feelings and then to embrace them. She first came out on LinkedIn in 2013 as Kristin Beck and then on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360.” Her story went viral, and directors Sandrine Orabona and Mark Herzog began documenting her life and conducting interviews with her family and former SEAL brothers . . .

But all has not been peaches and cream for Beck, who spoke by cell phone late Monday with San Diego Gay & Lesbian News while on a road trip to San Francisco. Some anti-gay and anti-trans people have publicly criticized her, showing their ignorance and bigotry. The very patriotic Beck sees the sad irony in that some of the people she fought for during two decades of military service do not understand the basic guarantees of the Declaration of Independence . . .

During the telephone interview, Beck says it was a “tough decision” to come out and she admits that “I shot myself in the foot” during that difficult and challenging process. She made a few public-relations flubs that she sincerely regrets, such as not understanding the touchy issue of misgendering in the media. For that faux pas, Beck says she is a persona non grata in some quarters of the trans community. “I’m happy,” Beck says. “But I wish I was better prepared when I came out”. . .

Since the documentary was filmed, some things have changed for the better for Beck. While her mother refused to be filmed for the documentary, she has since come around and is now supportive of her transgender daughter. Some things haven’t changed. Beck still faces bigotry and prejudice … and sometimes within the LGBT community. “It’s appalling to me,” she says.

Beck advocates for trans rights anytime and anywhere. “One trans person is murdered every week in the U.S.,” she says, her voice growing emotional and aggravated. “We need to bring awareness to these issues. We don’t deserve to be murdered! We don’t deserve to be fired from our jobs! We are humans just like everybody else. We should be treated equally!”

Being an ex-SEAL who is transgender has given Beck a media platform and she says she hopes to use the exposure to further the cause. “If I have all this media attention, then I’m going to use it”. . .

Beck’s advocacy is genuine and passionate. She does, however, find herself somewhat at odds with some of the more glamorous members of the transgender community who have turned their natural beauty or plastic-surgery miracles into lucrative careers as trans celebrities.

“I feel a little disappointed,” Beck says of the trans celebrities. “I go on TV myself, but never for personal attention or the celebrity. I’m encouraging equality, dignity and respect for transgender people. Some of them are doing it for the publicity, celebrity and glamour things. … It’s disappointing that they are chosen to lead our parades when the true activists who are unsung heroes should be getting the recognition.”

Beck freely admits that she has had no surgery to look more like a woman. She is perfectly happy to be the trans woman that she is. And that pursuit of happiness is the noble principle that has guided her through her career as a Navy SEAL and now as a transgender activist."

[Ed. note: TBD]


August 2014:


8-29-14:  Vice News: "Allowing Transgender People to Serve in the US Military Is 'Inevitable' "

"Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel made headlines in May when he said that the policy excluding transgender people from serving in the military should "continually be reviewed," and that he "would be open" to rethinking the ban. His remarks led many to hope that a change in regulations for transgender service members could happen in the near future.

Since the 2010 repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" — a policy enacted by the Bill Clinton administration that required gay and lesbian service members to remain closeted about their sexuality — the campaign to end the exclusion of transgender people in the military has also picked up steam.

This effort was aided by reports from the Palm Center think tank in March 2014 and the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law in May, which estimate that around 15,500 people currently serving in the US military are transgender. Data from the National Transgender Discrimination Survey and the US Census Bureau shows that there are about 134,300 transgender veterans, and that military service is more common among transgender people than it is among the general American population. No data is available on whether these individuals are pre- or post-transition.

With the support of a number of retired generals, the Palm Center, which focuses on gender and sexuality in the military, released another report on Tuesday on how to navigate and implement the necessary policy changes to allow transgender people to openly serve.

"We have men and women around America that are willing to serve, that would like to come in, or are actively serving, and what we ask them to do when they're inside the military — to pretend that they're not transgender — is just wrong," Gale Pollock, former acting surgeon general of the US Army and co-chair of the commission that produced the report, told VICE News . . .

Despite the ban on military service, about 21.4 percent of the total transgender population in the US is estimated to have served in the military, according to the report. This likely makes it one of the largest employers of transgender people in the country, documentary series TransMilitary host and producer Fiona Dawson told VICE News.

While it's not entirely clear why military participation is so popular among transgender individuals, it may have something to do with perceptions of identity. 

"We join for essentially the same reasons that other Americans do," Brynn Tannehill, director of advocacy at LGBT military organization SPART*A, told VICE News. "Some might join to prove themselves, and some might do it because their masculinity is more accepted, but the majority do it for the same reasons everyone else does."

Tannehill, herself transgender and a member of the navy and naval reserves for 13 years, believes that her experience in the military would have been different had there not been a ban on transgender service members. "I probably would have come out sometime while I was at the Academy, because I knew even then, and I think my military career probably would have gone on longer, because I did get out in order to transition," she says."


8-28-14:  New Republic: "Why Aren't Women Advancing At Work? Ask a Transgender Person -- Having experienced the workplace from both perspectives, they hold the key to its biases."

"Fifty years after The Feminine Mystique and 40 years after Title IX, the question of why women lag in the workplace dogs researchers and lay people alike. While women are entering the professions at rates equal to men, they rise more slowly, and rarely advance to the top. They’re represented in smaller numbers at the top in fields from science to arts to business. 

Some suggest that there is something different about women—women have stalled because of their personal choices, or their cognitive and emotional characteristics, whether innate or socialized. Another possibility is that the obstacles to women’s advancement are located within their environments—that they face barriers unique to their gender.

But while bias has been experimentally demonstrated, it’s hard to study in the real world: Just as it’s hard to isolate a single environmental pollutant’s effect on human health, it’s been near impossible to isolate gender as a variable in the real world and watch how it affects a person’s day-to-day experience. 

Until now. Trans people are bringing entirely new ways of approaching the discussion. Because trans people are now staying in the same careers (and sometimes the very same jobs) after they change genders, they are uniquely qualified to discuss the difference between how men and women experience the workplace. Their experience is as close to the scientific method as we can get: By isolating and manipulating gender as a variable and holding all other variables—skill, career, personality, talent—constant, these individuals reveal exactly the way one’s outward appearance of gender affects day-to-day interactions. If we truly want to understand women at work, we should listen carefully to trans men and trans women: They can tell us more about gender in the workplace than just about anyone.

Ben Barres is a biologist at Stanford who lived and worked as Barbara Barres until he was in his forties. For most of his career, he experienced bias, but didn’t give much weight to itseeing incidents as discrete events. (When he solved a tough math problem, for example, a professor said, “You must have had your boyfriend solve it.”) When he became Ben, however, he immediately noticed a difference in his everyday experience: “People who don't know I am transgendered treat me with much more respect,” he says. He was more carefully listened to and his authority less frequently questioned. He stopped being interrupted in meetings. At one conference, another scientist said, "Ben gave a great seminar todaybut then his work is so much better than his sister's." (The scientist didn't know Ben and Barbara were the same person.) “This is why women are not breaking into academic jobs at any appreciable rate,” he wrote in response to Larry Summers’s famous gaffe implying women were less innately capable at the hard sciences. “Not childcare. Not family responsibilities,” he says. “I have had the thought a million times: I am taken more seriously”. . .

What happens when the opposite transformation takes placewhen a man becomes a woman? Joan Roughgarden is a biologist at Stanford who lived and worked as Jonathan Roughgarden until her early fifties, and her experience was almost the mirror image of Barres’s. In her words, “men are assumed to be competent until proven otherwise, whereas a woman is assumed to be incompetent until she proves otherwise.” In an interview, Roughgarden also noted that if she questioned a mathematical idea, people assumed it was because she didn’t understand it . . .

To truly understand trans people’s experiences of workplace gender bias, more research is needed. But the window to do so may be closing, as people are able to change genders at younger and younger ages. Puberty-inhibiting medications are becoming more mainstream, meaning young trans people can choose to suppress the development of secondary sexual characteristics from a relatively early age. (The treatment became available in the U.S. in 2009.) A child who identifies with the opposite gender and seeks treatment is now able to experience the world, for most of their life, as that gender alone. 

And the group of trans people who are vocal on the subject is already fairly small; many seem to feel they have much larger issues facing them. When asked how people react when she describes the different treatment she receives as a woman, Roughgarden responds simply, “I don't bring it up.” Ultimately, Schilt says, it’s not trans people’s responsibility fix gender bias. Roughgarden agrees. “We're trying make a life,” she says. “We have to live in our actual roles, we can't sit in a coffeehouse and complain about how this is the world. This is the world and we have to live in it. We have to navigate it.”"

[Ed. note: An important, must-read essay.]


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

"BOSTON — Lorelei Erisis taps the screen of a borrowed iPhone. The key of A, with kazoo-like resonance, fills her living room in Ayer, Mass.

Erisis taps another button labeled “start,” takes a deep breath, and sings the word “he,” trying to match the tone. A number, 75 percent, pops onto the screen. “My pitch was too low,” Erisis says. “Oh well. Let me try again.”

Erisis, a transgender woman, is trying out Eva, a mobile phone app that may be the first of its kind. Transgender men and women who want to raise or lower the pitch of their voice can go through a series of breathing and pitch exercises designed to help with what can be the most difficult characteristic to change — their voice.

“What I often hear is, ‘I pass as a woman until I open my mouth,’ ” says Kathe Perez, a speech language pathologist who designed the Eva app.

Erisis plays the tone again. This time, before she speaks, Erisis places two fingers below her Adam’s apple and pushes up, just a touch, to physically raise the pitch of her voice. Erisis, now 41, says she felt like a girl growing up, but did not begin the physical transition from male to female until she was 33. Just for fun, Erisis tries the pitch test with her preferred pronoun. “She,” Erisis sings out. “Hey, 99 percent. It’s hilarious that ‘she’ brought me to 99 percent.”

Erisis, who writes a column called “Ask a Transwoman,” hears from many transgender women, and some men, who say, “Voice can be a real liability. There are definitely large parts of this country, even this state, where it’s dangerous to be trans. It can be a matter of life or death.”

“Many of the people I work with will not go out in public because they have to talk,” Perez adds. “Or they’ll go with people so that their wife or their friend will order for them at a restaurant. They’re afraid to open their mouths because the sound that comes out doesn’t match the person that’s sitting at that table.”

There are lots of online programs. Some transgender men and women work one-on-one with a coach. Perez says it takes six months to a year of daily practice to permanently adjust one’s voice.

“It’s extremely difficult to override some of the early programming we have in our brains about how we express ourselves,” she says. “So we retrain the voice by retraining the brain. They go together.”"


8-26-14:  PGN: "Tenika Watson’s memoirs published"

"A dream has come true for Tenika Watson. The 63-year-old transgender woman’s memoirs were published earlier this month as an eBook on

“It was a dream for me to get this book,” Watson said. “Since the 1990s, I’ve wanted my story told. It’s finally come to life. I’m very proud of my baby.”

“My Life is No Accident” is a first-person account of Watson’s life from childhood to the present day. The 177-page book was written by Jennifer Daelyn, who conducted dozens of interviews with Watson over the course of about a year.

“I’m very grateful to Jennifer,” Watson said. “She did a great job. It’s all my words. But she pulled it together and created a very readable narrative.”

Working on her memoirs was cathartic, Watson noted. “It was very healing. And I hope it can help heal somebody else.”

Watson said she believes everything in life happens for a reason, hence the book’s title. “It’s also a play on words because of the accident I was involved in with Teddy [Pendergrass]. I don’t want that incident to define me. I survived it. I guess that’s the way it was meant to be.”"


8-25-14:  Kaiser Health News: "With Coverage Through Obamacare, Transgender Woman Opts For Surgery"

"Devin Payne had gone years without health insurance – having little need and not much money to pay for it. Then Payne, who had a wife and four children, realized she could no longer live as a man.

In her early 40s, she changed her name, began wearing long skirts and grew out her sandy blond hair. And she started taking female hormones, which caused her breasts to develop and the muscle mass on her 6-foot one-inch frame to shrink.

The next step was gender reassignment surgery. For that, Payne, who is now 44, said she needed health coverage. “It is not a simple, easy, magical surgery,” said Payne, a photographer who lives in Palm Springs. “Trying to do this without insurance is a big risk. Things can go wrong … not having the money to pay for it would be awful.” 

Payne learned in the fall that she might qualify for subsidies through the state’s new insurance marketplace, Covered California, because her income fell under the limit of $46,000 a year. She eagerly signed up in March for a Blue Shield plan for about $230 a month, and began making preparations for the surgery that would change her life . . .

Among the less-talked-about implications of the Affordable Care Act is the relief it is providing to many transgender people, many of whom are low-income and who have struggled to obtain health coverage. Getting jobs that offer insurance often has been difficult for transgender people  and the cost of purchasing plans on the private market can be prohibitive. Some have been  denied policies altogether after being diagnosed with “gender identity disorder,” often considered a pre-existing condition.

Without insurance, many people were unable to afford the hormones, surgeries and counseling needed to complete their transition. Nor would they have been covered in the event of surgical complications, which can include infections.

“We are still dependent on insurance and the medical community for us to be able to live authentically,” said Aydin Kennedy, coordinator of the transgender health program at St. John’s Well Child and Family Center in Los Angeles.

Now, federal law prohibits health insurance companies from discriminating against transgender people, and it bars insurers from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions. That makes it possible for more transgender people to purchase private plans. And in states that expanded their Medicaid programs, those with low incomes may get free coverage."


8-25-14:  Washington Post: "The Pentagon can easily drop its ban on transgender troops, study finds"

"The Defense Department repealed its controversial “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy banning gay people from openly serving in the military three years ago in September. Some senior officers questioned the decision, fearing it could cost lives, but Pentagon officials said the repeal has not hurt military readiness or cohesion.

Civil rights advocates, including some retired military officers, are now pressing for another change. The armed forces continue to enforce a ban on transgender military service, months after Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said in May that he was open to a review that would lift it.

The results of a forthcoming study, which was provided to Checkpoint, found that a repeal on transgender service could be lifted in a way that would not be burdensome or exceedingly complex for the military. The Palm Center, a think tank in San Francisco that promotes the study of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the military, says that there already are 15,500 transgender personnel in the U.S. military, but they are not allowed to serve openly.

The center reached that figure by extrapolation based on surveys conducted with veterans, said retired Army Maj. Gen. Gale S. Pollock, a former deputy surgeon general of the Army, who helped lead the Palm Center commission examining the issue. The commission included several other retired military officers, including Army Brig. Gen. Clara Adams-Ender, who once led the Army’s nurse corps, and Army Brig. Gen. Thomas A. Kolditz, who is now a professor at Yale University.

“From a military officer perspective, we consider honor and integrity to be just essential values,” Pollock said. “But how can we say that when we’re asking these men and women to lie about who they are? That’s very comparable to the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ piece. To me, it’s just wrong.”"


8-25-14:  Huffington Post: "Mills College Changes Policy To Allow Transgender Students To Enroll"

"For the first time in its 162 years as a school of higher education, one all-women's college will become the first higher education, all-female institution in America to consider an application from any individual who self-identifies as a woman.

Mills College in California recently changed its admissions policy to allow anyone who self-identifies as a woman to apply to the school. This definition reportedly includes individuals whose gender identity falls outside of the male/female binary and those not assigned female at birth but who identify as women. Those assigned female at birth but who transition to male while enrolled will also not reportedly be asked to leave the university.

"Mills has the most open policy with regards to trans students," Skylar Crownover, the university's next student body president, told SFGate. "It's been the unwritten policy of Mills for a while now, but to see it finally put down in words and to see it official is a great step."

According to Brian O'Rourke, vice president of enrollment and admissions at Mills, three to five students out of every 1,000 enrolled identify either as transgender or something other than the gender they were assigned at birth.

Admission of individuals not assigned female at birth to all-female universities has been an issue for some time, most notably surrounding the high-profile case of Calliope Wong and Smith College. Wong was rejected from Smith College because her government financial aid forms identified her as male, and she ultimately did not receive admission to the university. While Smith has said they will continue to address the issue, the university's policy currently states: "Smith expects that, to be eligible for review, a student’s application and supporting documentation (transcripts, recommendations, etc.) will reflect her status as a woman.""


8-21-14:  New York Daily News: "Pennsylvania transgender teen commits suicide by stepping in front of train"

"A suicide note left behind by a Pennsylvania transgender teen hints at depression and being “a prisoner” of his body.

“My mirror reflects Jessica, my heart and mind say Riley,” wrote Riley Moscatel, 17, on Tuesday just before he was killed by an oncoming Amtrak train near Croyden. “You see me as the happiest person in school, I’m a prisoner of my own body.”

Surveillance footage confirmed the suspicion that the Bucks County Technical High School senior born as Jessica took his own life at about 1:30 p.m. after fighting a private, but desperate struggle to identify as Riley.

The teen struggled with depression years before he decided to publicly self-identify as Riley earlier this year. However, in an interview with the Trentonian newspaper, his parents continued to reference him as their daughter.

“She did a really good job of masking her depression in front of the people that she loved,” his father, Rich Moscatel told the newspaper. “We’re still kicking ourselves as to what was the straw that broke the camel’s back. She was dealing with a lot of pressures.”

Riley had no problem adjusting from Jessica to Riley at his Fairless Hills school where other transgender or gay students attended including his friend, Kate Cimino, who described Riley as “everyone’s best friend.”

“Even though everyone showed support and called him Riley, it didn’t match up to what he felt of himself,” Cimino told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Riley wanted to have breast surgery, but his mother, Kristine Moscatel, gave him a binder to help flatten his chest even though she admits his transition was hard to handle after having a daughter for 17 years.

“She’s my daughter. She’ll always be my daughter,” Moscatel told the Trentonian. “We were trying to accept and never said, ‘No, you can’t be a boy.’”

Riley had also been researching hormone treatments he could begin after his 18th birthday in December.

“If I could choose if I was born a girl or guy I would have chosen a guy,” Riley wrote in another Instagram post describing his female-to-male dysphoria. “Most female-to-males wouldn’t agree because (their) journey made them stronger, but it really takes a toll on me.”"

8-19-14:  Quartz (re India): "Delhi University is about to accept transgender students—now comes the harder part" (more, more)

"Delhi University’s decision last week to introduce the “third gender” category in its post-graduate degree application forms has been hailed as a progressive move towards inclusion. But transgender students fear that the university is rushing through with a measure whose implications it may not be prepared to handle.

The university has introduced a third gender option under the Other Backward Classes category on application forms for post-graduate courses. This has come four months after a Supreme Court judgement gave legal recognition to transgender people and a month after the University Grants Commission asked educational institutions to introduce a third gender option on application forms.

But the decision has raised an array of questions that Delhi University has not yet been able to answer. Will the staff of the university be sensitized, for instance, to handle the admissions of transgender students smoothly? How will it ensure the safety of these students since Delhi University no longer has an inclusive sexual harassment policy? How will the university address smaller, but vital, issues such as toilet and hostel facilities for them?

Activists are skeptical. “We have been a bit skeptical about the university’s decision because often, such changes happen only on paper,” says Aapurv Jain, the co-ordinator of Delhi University’s informal gender studies group. “Transgenders constantly face a lot of harassment from other students, teachers and college administration, so the university needs to have a plan for their safety before opening up admissions to them” . . .

Getting a school education is itself a difficult achievement for most transgenders, who often have no support from their families and live with severe financial constraints. Many are forced to get college degrees through online courses, and given the hostility towards sexual minorities in Indian society, they end up facing huge problems finding employment, housing or even healthcare. According to Jain of the Delhi University gender studies group, transgenders often face greater social harassment than gay or lesbian students in educational institutions.

“Our system is not accommodating of transgenders as a whole,” says Taksh. “So offering us the opportunity to get just a post-graduate degree is like trying to build a house without a foundation, or telling us to eat cake when we have no bread.”

While DU officials reportedly claimed that the third gender option was introduced only in post-graduate courses because it was too late for under-graduate applications this year, Taksh and other university members believe such a move should have been introduced at the lower levels, and should be preceded by sensitivity training for all staff members.

The time is right. “If this move focuses just on getting a tick in the box and not creating attitudinal change, then it won’t make much of a difference to transgender students,” says Anjana Srivastava, an associate professor of English and convener of the women’s development cell at Delhi University’s Kamala Nehru College. However, even though Abha Habib admits the new project could have been implemented better, she believes it is not too early to introduce the third gender option in the university. “For transgenders to be empowered and to raise their voices, they need to be in classrooms,” says Habib"


8-19-14:  Metro Weekly: "Labor Department protects transgender employees of federal contractors"

"The Labor Department issued guidance Tuesday clarifying that discrimination against the employees of federal contractors on the basis of transgender status is considered discrimination based on sex under federal law.

In a blog post published Tuesday, Director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Patricia Shiu confirmed the guidance had been issued “clarifying that sex discrimination extends to gender identity and transgender status.” 

The announcement comes more than two years after the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) found in Macy v. Holder that “sex discrimination,” which is prohibited under federal law, includes discrimination against transgender people. But in the years since that ruling in April 2012, the Labor Department would not indicate whether it was applying the decision to protect transgender employees of federal contractors. At that time, Executive Order 11246 prohibited federal contractors are prohibited from discrimination on the basis of of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.

During a surprise visit to the White House press briefing in February, Labor Secretary Perez said that the application of the EEOC ruling was still under review.

“That issue is under review in the aftermath of the Macy decision. And I’ve asked my staff to expedite that review so that we can bring that issue to conclusion at the Department of Labor,” Perez said, adding that he hopes the review “will come to an end as soon as possible.”

In June, Perez went further, making clear that guidance would be issued to update “enforcement protocols and anti-discrimination guidance to clarify that we provide the full protection of the federal non-discrimination laws that we enforce to transgender individuals.”

That announcement came after the White House indicated on June 16 that President Barack Obama would sign a long-sought executive order prohibiting federal contractors. Executive Order 11246, which Obama amended to include those LGBT protections, is enforced by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, the guidance will both equip employees of federal contractors experiencing discrimination with an additional avenue to file a complaint outside of the EEOC process and put employees on notice of existing nondiscrimination regulations. 

“The Labor Department guidance issued today is a giant step toward ensuring American workers are judged based on the work they do, and never because of a fundamental aspect of who they are – like their gender identity,” said HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow in a statement. “Transgender people face some of the highest levels of discrimination in our community, particularly in the workplace. And while explicit workplace protections are still needed at all levels of government, transgender people who work for federal contractors can now use this guidance as further protection from discrimination on the job.”"


8-19-14:  SFist: "First Transgender Officer Graduates From San Francisco Police Academy [Video]"

"Last Friday, 33 recruits from the San Francisco Police Academy graduated and became officers, but one represented a milestone for the city: Mikayla Connell is the first transgender person in her class and any that came before her.

As KTVU captures in the above video, Connell gives a touching speech as the elected president of her academy class, her voice breaking as she says "I could not be more prouder of you." That night, she also received two awards for academic achievement.

Connell, who started transitioning in 2001, first applied to be a police officer in the early '90s, but ended up dropping out and joining the Army, then going to law school."

There's literally been a sea change in the way, at least this state and maybe the country, views LGBT people and transgender people." Connell says, adding: "I got literally nothing but love and acceptance from my classmates."

Now Connell is 45, the oldest graduate in her class, and ready to be an example in the transgender community.

"It means you can't screw up, because you can't ruin it for everyone coming behind you," Connell says. "I know people...are going to be watching me. I cannot let them down."


8-19-14:  Huffington Post: "A Transgender Student Who Was Reportedly Banned From Her School Receives Good News" (more, more)

 "A transgender student who was reportedly told she would not be allowed back at school because of her new gender identity scored a victory Monday evening.

Rachel Pepe, 13, previously attended Thorne Middle School in New Jersey as a male student. However, when her mother told a school official she would be returning to the classroom this year as Rachel, the school reportedly said she would not be allowed back and that it would not find her an alternative school to attend, according to New Jersey's Asbury Park Press.

"He was going to school last year as Brian," Angela Peters, Rachel's mother, told the outlet, adding that her daughter had been suffering from depression. "How can I send her back as Rachel? And I am not sending her back as Brian because the depression will start again."

On Monday evening, however, the superintendent of the school district, William O. George, said he would work with staff to make sure Rachel could attend school in a safe environment. According to Garden State Equality, George said Middletown Township Public Schools staff would undergo lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender sensitivity training.

"We applaud Superintendent George for taking the right steps to affirm the health and safety of students," GSE Executive Director Andrea Bowen said in a statement. "This is a victory for transgender students everywhere. This Middletown student and students like her are heroes for standing up for their needs. We're excited that the community came together in dialogue to bring this situation to a happy resolution."

George said he was not initially aware of the situation, but that he could not disclose much information because of confidentiality laws.

"We as a district want to do everything we can as a district," George told the Asbury Park Press. "Every child is different and their education and social and emotional well being is my priority. We will work with them to find the appropriate placement."

Rachel told the Asbury Park Press that she wanted to make her story public so she could potentially help other struggling teens.

"There could be other kids scared out there, who live secretly at school and go home and be themselves," she told the outlet. "If this helps one person, I can be happy about that, too.""


8-17-14:  ABC News: "‘Orange Is the New Black’ Star Laverne Cox’s One Wish for America"

"Laverne Cox, star of the Netflix hit series “Orange Is the New Black,” is breaking barriers for the transgender community both on and off the screen. In an interview for “This Week”, she shared her one wish for America with ABC’s Byron Pitts.

“One thing I would wish for America…[are] spaces where we have real gender freedom, where we…create spaces of gender self-determination, where we don’t police people’s genders or we don’t tell people that they’re not supposed to act a certain way,” Cox said.

Cox has spent her whole life dealing with discrimination and harassment. Growing up in Mobile, Ala., she was constantly bullied for her gender expression, she said.

“I was bullied and I internalized a lot of shame about who I was as a child,” Cox said. “Bullied because I didn’t act the way someone assigned male at birth was supposed to act. And so I was called sissy, I was called the F-word. I was chased home from school practically every day. There was always a kid or groups of kids who wanted to beat me up,” she said.

Overwhelmed by social persecution, she attempted suicide at an early age, Cox said. “The suicide attempt happened when I was in sixth grade and I was having all these feelings about other boys. And I didn’t want to live,” Cox said.

Hollywood blockbusters and hit TV series like “Orange Is the New Black” are shining a new spotlight on transgender rights, starring characters like her own that Cox says many in the trans community can relate to.

READ: Six Questions for Transgender Rights Advocate Mara Keisling.

“So many trans folks have said that they see themselves reflected in this character,” Cox said. “Having your story told validates your experience. It’s like, ‘I’m not alone anymore, and maybe I’ll be OK.

Cox has helped raise awareness and give voice to members of the trans community, pushing forward this newest battle on the civil rights front. “I’m really, really happy that I survived,” she said. “If I didn’t survive, I wouldn’t be here today.”"


8-17-14:  People: "Transgender Model Geena Rocero Reveals Why She Shared Her Secret" (more, more, more)

"Long before her TED talk made headlines in March, model Geena Rocero agonized over what it would mean – to her, to her bosses, to her career – if it came out that the gorgeous woman modeling bikinis in fashion mags had started life as a boy.

"There was always that fear: What if people found out? They'd think I'd duped them, and maybe I'd lose my regular clients. It could ruin my career," Rocero tells Glamour magazine in its September issue. "I carried the paranoia with me every day."

Rocero, 30, explains that, being born a boy in the Philippines, where the transgender community has a long history in the culture, she loved playing with her Barbie dolls, sewed clothes for them, and, at age 8, tagged along to a transgender beauty pageant.

"I always knew I felt something different," she says. In junior high, she wore the boys' uniform of her Catholic school "but I'd have it altered to make the waist tiny and the slacks fitted and a pocket like the girls had." And while some in the streets hurled gay epithets at her, "I did not feel gay," she says. "I just felt I was a girl."

With the support of her parents, Rocero, who relocated to San Francisco at the age of 17 with her mother, underwent her "dream" of sex reassignment surgery not long after settling in the U.S.

"It was like a rebirth. I never enjoyed having sex before, and all of a sudden it felt good. I was much more in touch with my sensuality, and I went crazy exploring it," she says.

But once she established herself as a successful model and had a couple of relationships under her belt, the truth of her history – and having to edit that history for anyone who got close to her – began to gnaw at her. When a boyfriend asked if she'd ever been in the Girl Scouts, she answered by saying she'd been in the Boy Scouts.

The tipping point came on the dawn of her 30th birthday. When her then boyfriend asked her, "What does 30 mean to you?" Rocero says she decided then and there, "I don't give a damn anymore. I'm ready to share my full journey as a woman.""


8-13-14:  Huffington Post: "Transmormon Sheds Light on Trans Members of the LDS Church" (Video)

"Last summer production wrapped on a small project called Transmormon, a 15-minute documentary focusing on the Haywards, a Mormon family whose transgender child was pursuing sex reassignment surgery. On the day that production wrapped last year, July 7, 2013, the family boarded a plane to Thailand to complete the process of "Eddie" becoming Eri.

Like much of America and other branches of Christianity, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been reexamining its position on marriage, gender roles, and sexual expression. It was only last year that they changed their position on female missionaries, allowing them to depart at an earlier age. But whatever may come of these new considerations for today's religious teenagers and their families, the world that Eri grew up in left no way to question her assigned sex, let alone articulate her gender identity.

As the documentary points out, the Haywards were conservative Mormons who were not sure how to respond to their child when she came to them, confused that she felt like two people -- the boy she saw in the mirror and the girl she knew herself to be. Eri's father, Ed Hayward, explains in the film, "She came to me one time, when she was probably about 4 years old, crying and saying that, 'Daddy, I want to be a girl.' And at the time I just thought she was going through some kind of a phase."

"When it was explained to [me] that I was a boy, it was because God had made me that way," Eri says in the film, adding that that "didn't make a really great relationship, as a 5 year old, between me and God."

Caught in the tension between the LDS Church's teachings and her gender identity, Eri created a fantasy world for herself. "For the longest time I kind of had this fantasy that I'd escape to that a fairy godmother would come and turn me into a girl and make everything better," she says.

On the outside, things seemed to have worked themselves out by her teens. "Eddie" was ordained to the priesthood in her church and appointed as first assistant to the bishop. At 16 "Eddie" -- identifying as a boy at this point -- began dating a girl from the church. The family relaxed, believing that things were getting better. "Eddie" was behaving less effeminately, but inside she knew something didn't fit. Because she really was attracted to boys, Eri felt she must be gay, so she came out to her community, trying to sort out what this meant and what she had been feeling. One of the hardest parts, she says, was watching her sister begin dating. "That was really hard. I was like, 'Of course. I'm this ugly boy, and my sister is this beautiful girl. That was a really difficult thing for me to deal with."

Eri eventually quit high school. "[B]eing at a Mormon private school, I didn't graduate; I just stopped going when I came out [as gay]," she says. The family decided to send her to Japan to stay with her grandparents in hopes that a change of scenery might help. One day, Eri was watching television when a panel on trans people came on. "My grandmother turned to me and was like, 'Oh, this is all about you!'" she recalls . . . "


8-05-14:  The Advocate: "Op-ed: An Open Letter to The New Yorker --When The New Yorker took a look at the tension between transgender women and radical feminists, one writer says the examination was unfair", by Julia Serano

"Dear New Yorker magazine,

You probably don’t remember me — I was the transgender activist who briefly appeared toward the end of that Michelle Goldberg article you ran last week. You know, the one about the “dispute between radical feminism and transgenderism.” I know, that topic sounds somewhat bizarre and potentially fascinating — I’m sure you got lots of click-throughs on it! But the thing is, it was a rather awful experience on my end, and I want to share why with you.

For me, the story begins several months ago when Goldberg contacted me about an article she was intending to write about “tensions between trans activists and some radical feminists.” She wanted to interview me for her piece, which makes sense for several reasons. I am a trans woman who has written two books about the intersection of feminism and transgender activism. Some of that work critiques strands of feminism that have historically been antagonistic toward transgender people, and trans woman-exclusion policies (i.e., when women’s spaces or organizations bar trans women from attending because we were assigned a male sex at birth). As you can imagine, trans-exclusive radical feminists (or TERFs, as they are often called*)—who believe that transgender activism upholds the patriarchy and who deny and disrespect trans people’s identities — are not especially fond of my work (to put it quite mildly) . . ."


8-04-14:  Autostraddle (posted 7/29): "The New Yorker’s Skewed History of Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminism Ignores Actual Trans Women"

"Media coverage of transgender issues has increased rapidly in the last few years as trans people have made larger and louder pushes for relatively basic rights and recognition. Unfortunately, as ground is gained in the fight for trans acceptance, the opposition to that progress only grows more louder and more aggressive. This is visible in Michelle Goldberg’s latest piece for The New Yorker, which investigates the conflict between trans-exclusionary radical feminists and the transgender population. Sadly, what she presents is a disturbingly one-sided view of the situation that relies on heavily anecdotal evidence, uncited claims and debunked theories, and ignores the extended campaign of harassment and attack that the the trans community has endured at the hands of radical feminists.

Let’s start with the numbers. In the piece, Goldberg mentions the names of 14 radical feminist activists (frequently providing physical descriptions), and provides quotes from nine of them — including two from books penned by radfems. In contrast, she mentions and quotes a total of four trans women (zero from books), and two of them are quoted to supporting the radical feminist position. The problem isn’t necessarily that Goldberg appears to side with the radical feminist viewpoint; that’s perfectly within her rights, and perfectly within The New Yorker’s right to print it. The real issue is that Ms Goldberg gives the impression that she’s covering the conflict between the trans rights movement and radical feminism — after all, the piece is subtitled “The dispute between radical feminism and transgenderism” — but gives only passing lip service to the transgender community’s side of this situation. In failing to provide a semblance of balance to the voices in the piece, this account becomes hopelessly skewed, and becomes little more than a radical feminist propaganda piece . . . "


8-04-14:  Bitch Magazine (posted 8/1): "TERF War: The New Yorker's One-Sided Article Undermines Transgender Identity", by Leela Ginelle

"Reading Michelle Goldberg's recent New Yorker article "What is a Woman? The Dispute Between Radical Feminism and Transgenderism” made me feel sick.

The article is meant to paint a clear picture of a longstanding debate within feminist groups about whether transgender women should be accepted as women, profiling several feminists and exploring the history of current discussions about the push to exclude transgender women from “women only” spaces. But in the process, it paints trans identity as suspect, does nothing to counter the hurtful misconception that trans women are either "men" exercising entitled "male privilege" in deeming themselves female or sexual fetishists acting out "erotic compulsions," and holds up authors who've written book-length academic works delineating these ideas as noble, aggrieved scholars.

While this may sound like speculative fiction set in a world where trans-exclusionary radical feminist (TERF) theories have conquered queer and gender studies communities, it's not. Instead, it's something more disheartening: a one-sided profile that’s sympathetic to writers and activists who've spent their careers working to marginalize and persecute the already-oppressed transgender community.

Trans-exclusionary radical feminists posit that transgender women can never be considered women. At their worst, they argue that transgender women are malicious in their deceit, aiming to infiltrate female-only spaces with the goal of harassing or raping other women. These are the feminists who campaign against gender-neutral bathrooms and support the exclusion of transgender women from other women-only spaces.

In the article, it feels like Goldberg personally has a low opinion of social justice activists—that’s the view presented in her other recent article "Feminism’s Toxic Twitter Wars." One of the biggest problems in the New Yorker piece is that Goldberg presents trans people's self-definitions as opinions: "Trans women say that they are women because they feel female—that, as some put it, they have women’s brains in men’s bodies.” TERF’s views are presented the same way, following the previous statement with this one, "Radical feminists reject the notion of a 'female brain.' They believe that if women think and act differently from men it’s because society forces them to, requiring them to be sexually attractive, nurturing, and deferential."

Reading this passage, one might think TERFs and trans people have a philosophical or semantic debate. Trans people's identities, for which they and their allies are waging a worldwide human rights campaign to define as legally legitimate—backed by decades of medical and psychological data—and TERFs' hateful academic theories carry equal weight and import. If those two sides were balanced in the piece, readers might walk away with a shoulder shrug, “Who knows whether trans identity is legitimate or not?” The title of the piece certainly encourages this confusion, making it a question as to whether transgender women should be seen as women."


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

"On May 24th, a few dozen people gathered in a conference room at the Central Library, a century-old Georgian Revival building in downtown Portland, Oregon, for an event called Radfems Respond. The conference had been convened by a group that wanted to defend two positions that have made radical feminism anathema to much of the left.

First, the organizers hoped to refute charges that the desire to ban prostitution implies hostility toward prostitutes. Then they were going to try to explain why, at a time when transgender rights are ascendant, radical feminists insist on regarding transgender women as men, who should not be allowed to use women’s facilities, such as public rest rooms, or to participate in events organized exclusively for women.

The dispute began more than forty years ago, at the height of the second-wave feminist movement. In one early skirmish, in 1973, the West Coast Lesbian Conference, in Los Angeles, furiously split over a scheduled performance by the folksinger Beth Elliott, who is what was then called a transsexual. Robin Morgan, the keynote speaker, said:

"I will not call a male “she”; thirty-two years of suffering in this androcentric society, and of surviving, have earned me the title “woman”; one walk down the street by a male transvestite, five minutes of his being hassled (which he may enjoy), and then he dares, he dares to think he understands our pain? No, in our mothers’ names and in our own, we must not call him sister."

Such views are shared by few feminists now, but they still have a foothold among some self-described radical feminists, who have found themselves in an acrimonious battle with trans people and their allies. Trans women say that they are women because they feel female—that, as some put it, they have women’s brains in men’s bodies. Radical feminists reject the notion of a “female brain.” They believe that if women think and act differently from men it’s because society forces them to, requiring them to be sexually attractive, nurturing, and deferential. In the words of Lierre Keith, a speaker at Radfems Respond, femininity is “ritualized submission.” . . .

Yet, at the same time, the trans-rights movement is growing in power and cachet: a recent Time cover featuring the actress Laverne Cox was headlined “THE TRANSGENDER TIPPING POINT.” The very word “transgender,” which first came into wide use in the nineteen-nineties, encompasses far more people than the term “transsexual” did. It includes not just the small number of people who seek gender-reassignment surgery—according to frequently cited estimates, about one in thirty thousand men and one in a hundred thousand women—but also those who take hormones, or who simply identify with the opposite gender, or, in some cases, with both or with neither. (According to the National Center survey, most trans women have taken female hormones, but only about a quarter of them have had genital surgery.) The elasticity of the term “transgender” has forced a rethinking of what sex and gender mean; at least in progressive circles, what’s determinative isn’t people’s chromosomes or their genitals or the way that they were brought up but how they see themselves.

Having rejected this supposition, radical feminists now find themselves in a position that few would have imagined when the conflict began: shunned as reactionaries on the wrong side of a sexual-rights issue. It is, to them, a baffling political inversion . . . "

[Ed: Old radfems never change; they just fade away.]


8-01-14:  NBC4 Washington DC: "Transgender Girl Stabbed in Back on Green Line Train, Suspect in Custody" (more, more)

"A transgender 15-year-old girl was stabbed in the back aboard a Metro train Wednesday afternoon, D.C. police say. The attack at the Fort Totten station on the green line going toward Branch Avenue was reported just after 4:30 p.m.

The girl's friends told News4 the suspect, identified as 24-year-old Reginald Anthony Klaiber, came up to the group inside the train and insulted the victim's appearance, asking why she was wearing a wig and commenting on what she was wearing.

According to documents, the victim repeatedly told Klaiber to leave her alone, but he was persistent and asked her, "Are you a boy? Are you a boy? ... Why you be looking like a girl?

Document say that when the train stopped at Fort Totten station, both the victim and Klaiber got up. That's when documents say Klaiber grabbed her from behind in a bear hug and stabbed her in the back. Documents say one of the victim's friends then sprayed Klaiber with pepper spray. 

The victim and her two friends then ran off the train with Klaiber giving chase, documents say, shouting, "I'm going to [stab you] again!" Klaiber was apprehended shortly after and charged with assault with deadly weapon. 

Metro Police say the charges include the possibility of enhanced penalties for hate or bias motivation. If convicted, Klaiber could be subject to a 1.5-time enhancement under D.C. law. According to court records uncovered by News4, Klaiber has a lengthy criminal history that includes previous charges of assault and resisting arrest."


July 2014:


7-30-14:  Rolling Stone: "The Transgender Crucible As a homeless trans teen, CeCe McDonald suffered a lifetime of hardships. But when she was charged with murder for simply defending herself, she became a folk hero"

". . . Touching her cheek, CeCe felt a shock of pain as her finger entered the open wound where Flaherty's glass had punctured her salivary gland. Purse still over her shoulder, CeCe fast-walked from the scene. She'd made it more than a half-block away when she heard her friends calling, "Watch your back!"

CeCe whirled around to see Schmitz heading toward her: walking, then running, his face a twist of wild, unrestrained hatred. CeCe felt terror burst out from that remote place where she normally locked it away. She didn't know that Schmitz's veins were pounding with cocaine and meth. She didn't know of his lengthy rap sheet, including convictions for assault. Nor did she know that under Schmitz's shirt, inked across his solar plexus, was a four-inch swastika tattoo. All CeCe needed to see was the look on his face to know her worst fears were coming true: Her young life was about to end as a grim statistic, the victim of a hate crime.

"Come here, bitch!" Schmitz roared as he closed in. CeCe pedaled backward, blood dripping from her slashed face.

"Didn't y'all get enough?" CeCe asked, defiant and afraid, while her hand fished into her large handbag for anything to protect herself. Her fingers closed on a pair of black-handled fabric scissors she used for school. She held them up high as a warning, their five-inch blades glinting in the parking-lot floodlights. Schmitz stopped an arm's length away, raising clenched fists and shuffling his feet in a boxing stance. His eyes were terrible with rage.

"Bitch, you gonna stab me?" he shouted. They squared off for a tense moment: the furious white guy, amped up on meth, Nazi tattoo across his belly; the terrified black trans woman with a cartoon pony on her T-shirt; the scissors between them. CeCe saw Schmitz lunge toward her and braced herself for impact. Their bodies collided, then separated. He was still looking at her.

"Bitch – you stabbed me!"

"Yes, I did," CeCe announced, even as she wondered if that could possibly be true; in the adrenaline of the moment, she'd felt nothing. Scanning Schmitz over, she saw no sign of injury – though in fact he'd sustained a wound so grisly that CeCe would later recall to police that the button-down shirt Schmitz wore that night was not white but "mainly red. Like one of them Hawaiian shirts." CeCe waited until he turned to rejoin his crowd. Then she and Thomas ran arm in arm down the block toward the nearly empty Cub Foods parking lot, where they waited for police to arrive . . .

[Ed: A powerful in-depth report that says it all.]


7-27-14:  Queerty: "Federal Government Grants Christian Colleges Right To Expel Transgender Students"

"You can’t say that Christian Colleges aren’t keeping up with the times. Now they’ve discovered transgender people. As a target of discrimination, of course.

Two conservative Christian colleges have been granted an exemption to federal education regulations on religious grounds. The regulation, Title IX, provides nondiscrimination protections that the Department of Education recently determined apply to transgender students. Needless to say, two colleges have stepped forward to say that they don’t want to offer those protections because they want to kick transgender students out of their schools.

The colleges, Spring Arbor University in Michigan and Simpson University in California, argue that they should be able to expel students at will because the Bible tells them so.

“The university has deeply held religious beliefs, based upon Biblical principles and the Book of Discipline, which do not allow for any sexuality, other than heterosexuality,” Spring Arbor wrote in its request to the Department of Education. “The university also believes, based upon Biblical principles, that a person cannot change their birth gender.” Spring Arbor also sought–and was granted–the right to expel lesbian and gay students.

Simpson was equally unapologetic about this request. “[S]exual practices that are divorced from loving, conventional relationships between men and women pervert God’s intentions and result in sinful behavior that ruptures relationships between men and women, and erodes the relationship between human beings and their creator.”

The Department of Education said that it had no choice but to grant the exceptions, which are readily available on the basis of religious grounds."


7-26-14: The Oregonian: "Families of transgender children find the path of acceptance"

"Three-year-old N.H. didn’t understand why his teachers stopped him from walking into his preschool’s bathroom with green walls with fire trucks on the wall. He liked it more than the pink girls bathroom. Plus, N.H. told them he was a boy.

Yet, when his mom explained to the administrators of the Corvallis school, where tuition cost more than $10,000 a year, they insisted the gender listed on his birth certificate determined his bathroom. He was a girl, they said.

So his mom moved N.H. to a preschool that accepted N.H. for who he is. Now 5, N.H. is a transgender boy, which means he was assigned a gender at birth based on his body that doesn’t match how he feels. “I’m a boy, and when people call me a girl, I get mad and I stick my tongue out,” N.H. said. Then growled.

The Corvallis family with a transgender son asked to use initials because most people in the community know N.H. as a boy only, and they don’t want to risk bullying if his peers find out . . .

Many people think that being transgender means that someone underwent sex reassignment surgery, but that is an expensive step that not every transgender person wants, nor can afford. In Corvallis and many places in America, it’s difficult to be transgender. Many transgender kids face extreme bullying from their peers and adults, or lose their families. N.H.’s family, though, supports him completely.

“The way I see it is I have two kids and they need to be raised and taken care of, and everything else is secondary,” his mom, A.H., said. They are trying to bring together a community of families with transgender children in the Corvallis area to feel less alone."


7-24-14:  Huffington Post: "Super Model Andreja Pejic Comes Out As Transgender" (more, more)

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

A statement emailed to The Huffington Post by GLAAD notes, Pejic "will only be modeling women's clothing going forward and has received support from her agency, friends and family."

Pejic, who previously made waves in the fashion industry with her androgynous look and has been featured on the covers of Elle and French Vogue, among other publications, and has walked in both men's and women's fashion shows, said in a statement, "To all trans youth out there, I would like to say respect yourself and be proud of who you are. All human beings deserve equal treatment no matter their gender identity or sexuality. To be perceived as what you say you are is a basic human right."

She also told, "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, head here."


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

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

New York Times bestselling author Janet Mock received a big honor this week when Marie Claire named the writer as a contributing editor to their publication. The transgender inspiration will reportedly contribute to both print and online articles for Marie Claire, as well as serving as the brand ambassador.

Marie Claire Editor-in-Chief Anne Fulenwider spoke highly of Mock and her work:

“Janet is an incredibly smart and articulate writer. Her ideas about identity, youth culture, and society’s changing norms about beauty illuminate the ever-evolving definition of the modern woman. I look forward to adding her unique point of view to our pages.”

Mock first shared her story about growing up as a transgender woman through a seminal article in Marie Claire in 2011. A number of Mock's fans and supporters took to Twitter to congratulate the writer on this most recent achievement and applaud the publication's decision."


7-23-14:  Los Angeles Times: "Editorial: It's time to end the ban against transgender soldiers"

"What does transgenderism have in common with drug abuse and schizophrenia? According to the Department of Defense, they are all reasons to bar people from military service.
The repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" may have ended the ban on openly gay and lesbian troops, but a ban remains in place for an estimated 15,000 transgender troops, who must serve in secret or not at all. This groundless policy not only weakens the military, it stigmatizes transgenderism and deprives military personnel and veterans of the transgender-specific healthcare they need — even as other federal programs such as Medicare have lifted similar restrictions.

Military regulations have lagged behind on issues of civil rights for centuries. Commanding officers use the same reasoning to ban transgender troops that they previously did to ban female and gay troops: They're not fit for battle. It will harm unit cohesion. Yet time and again, these assertions have proved to be unfounded.

The Palm Center, a think tank at San Francisco State University that focuses on LGBT issues in the military, put these archaic notions to rest earlier this year in a study co-chaired by former Surgeon Gen. Joycelyn Elders and Rear Adm. Alan M. Steinman, MD. The report declared that "there is no compelling medical rationale to exclude transgender people from military service, and eliminating the ban would enable commanders to better care for their troops." Retired Brig. Gen. Thomas A. Kolditz, who served on the commission, predicted that ending the ban would reduce harassment, assaults and suicides.

If the military is unswayed by the research, perhaps it should consider the story of Kristin Beck. For 20 years, Beck served in the Navy SEALs, seeing 13 deployments, most of them in combat, and earning an impressive slate of military awards and decorations, including a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. In 2013, Beck came out as a trans woman after years of hiding her true identity. "No one ever met the real me," she told CNN's Anderson Cooper later that year.

In May, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel told ABC News that he was open to reviewing the transgender ban, and President Obama signed an executive order on Monday that includes formal protection of transgender federal employees from discrimination at work.
When it comes to issues of civil rights, Obama, like most politicians, has allowed public opinion to dictate his actions. Progress has been made, but at an infuriatingly slow pace. If this president hopes to be remembered for advancing equality, he won't wait any longer on this issue. The military is not only America's largest employer, it's an important face we present to the world — and no place for discrimination."


7-23-14:  Huffington Post: "Comic Con San Diego To Hold Panel On Transgender Issues"

"Well done, Comic Con!

At this year's popular comic book convention in San Diego, organizers have orchestrated a panel focusing specifically on transgender issues. Called “Breaking Barriers: Transgender Trends in Popular Culture," this panel is reportedly the first of its kind as it will consist solely of panelists that identify as transgender.

The panel is organized by Prism Comic's Tara Madison Avery and will reportedly analyze the appearances and representations of trans characters and include open discussion about the complexity and depth added by featuring the transgender experience in comic books.

“In recent years, Transgender creators have gained visibility in comics, movies, and television after long being consigned to the shadows," the Comic Con program reads. "From coming out and transition to navigating gender politics in a world still struggling to understand, cartoonists, writers, and filmmakers are investing their work with unique personal experiences as their characters learn to live and love in new and unexpected ways.”

Comic Con is also slated to feature four additional panels on comics and issues affect the lesbian, gay, bisexual (LGBT) community.

“Breaking Barriers: Transgender Trends in Popular Culture" will take place at the San Diego Comic Con on Thursday, July 24 at 5:00 p.m."


7-23-14:  Daily Nation (Kenya): "Court allows transgender activists to register lobby group" (more)

"A group seeking to have their transgender status recognised in Kenya has won a major legal battle. This is after a high court judge ordered the Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) coordination board to register an advocacy group for transgender people in a landmark ruling likely to open a Pandora’s box of gender discrimination lawsuits.

Justice George Odunga criticised the board for declining to recognise the Transgender Education and Advocacy (TEA), whose members had sued for discrimination and violation of their fundamental human rights. Justice Odunga said the board’s refusal to register the group amounted to a failure in discharging statutory functions and mandate and “was unfair, unreasonable, unjustified and in breach of rules of natural justice.”

He also ordered the board to compensate Ms Audrey Mbugua, Ms Maureen Muia and Ms Annet Jennifer the cost of the three-year litigation. The judge said the Constitution upheld the individuals' rights to assembly and cannot be deterred on grounds of gender orientation.

The board had argued that it could not recognise the group's members since the names they had submitted for registration were not the ones reflecting their gender. However, the judge said there was evidence that Ms Mbugua and her colleagues had indeed changed their names through a deed poll they annexed in the suit papers.

The judge said the premise of gender cannot be used to deny registration. “A public authority cannot be allowed to get away with discriminatory actions that deny persons their rights of assembly which is a clear abuse of the power bestowed on such an authority,” the judge added. He said the reasons advanced for refusing to register the advocacy group had no legal basis and were unreasonable.

Ms Audrey, formerly Andrew Ithibu Mbugua, has been battling for recognition as a transsexual. She has a separate pending case in which she wants the Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) to change the gender designation in her certificates on the grounds that the male identity has rendered her unemployable."


7-23-14:  CTV (Canada): "11-year-old transgender girl ‘not done yet’ after changing birth certificate"

"An 11-year-old Vancouver Island girl was among the first 30 Britsh Columbians to take advantage of a new law that allows transgender people to change the sex listed on their birth certificates without having surgery. According to her, she was the first person in line after the bill passed.

“I was probably the youngest,” Harriette Cunningham told CTV News. “I know I was the first.”

The Comox resident said she’s always known she was a girl, despite being labeled “male” on her original birth certificate. The new document is the latest success in a campaign to get legal recognition for her gender that began when she was 8 or 9, she said.

It just made me so mad and made me almost frustrated to know that I’m a girl and then I look on my passport and it says that I’m a boy,” Cunningham said.

Some children who don’t conform to gender norms can be persuaded to stay quiet about it in official situations like border crossings, Cunningham’s father Colin told CTV News. That was never an option with Harriette, who’s expecting a new passport soon to match her new birth certificate.

“For her, it was a matter of principle, where she wasn’t being acknowledged for who she really was,” Colin Cunningham said.

The younger Cunningham has always been very sure of her gender identity, her father said. It was up to her parents to educate themselves and support her in her transition. It was a steep learning curve.

“We didn’t even know there were transgender youth,” Colin Cunningham said. “Once she started down that path, it was really obvious. It was really obvious that this is exactly who she is. It was us that had to catch up.”"


7-22-14:  Baltimore Sun: "Maryland shifts insurance policy to cover transition-related care of transgender employees"

"In a reversal of state healthcare policy, transgender state employees in Maryland can now access gender reassignment surgery, hormone therapy and other transition-related care under their state-provided health insurance plans.

The change quietly went into effect at the start of this month as the result of legal negotiations in a discrimination case brought against the state by Sailor.

The state agreed amid those negotiations to reimburse Holobaugh's transition-related medical costs to date and apply the new standard to all of its employee health plans, rather than fight Holobaugh's claim in court.

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

The change makes Maryland the third state, after Oregon and California, to offer such coverage to its employees, according to Holobaugh's attorneys at Free State Legal, a nonprofit organization that represents lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender clients in Maryland. . .

Holobaugh's case began in November 2012, when Holobaugh paid nearly $4,500 out of pocket for a bilateral mastectomy as part of his transition, then said he was denied reimbursement for the surgery by provider CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield based on coverage restrictions under his state-provided policy.

Holobaugh appealed the decision with the Maryland Insurance Administration and the Maryland Attorney General's Office, he said. As the case dragged on, he also secured legal representation with Free State Legal.

Attorneys filed additional complaints on Holobaugh's behalf with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights, and soon after began out-of-court negotiations to settle the case with officials in the state's Department of Budget & Management, which oversees state employee compensation and benefits, including health coverage.

The change strips language explicitly banning coverage for such procedures and care under state employee plans and replaces it with language adopted from the World Professional Association for Transgender Health outlining a broad array of transition-related care that employee plans will now cover."


7-21-14:  MSNBC: "Obama signs historic order on LGBT equality" (more)

"Six years after promising to do so, President Barack Obama added his signature on Monday to an executive order barring LGBT discrimination by federal contractors. He also went further and formally amended a separate executive order to include workplace protections for transgender employees of the U.S. government.

“I know I’m a little late,” said Obama, referring to the near-30 minute delay of Monday’s signing ceremony (though some might argue that it was a delay of six years and 30 minutes). “Many of you have worked for a long time to see this day come.”

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe — a Democrat whose first order of business after his inauguration was to sign an executive order prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in the state government — Deputy Secretary of Labor Chris Lu, and a number of LGBT workplace equality advocates joined the president for the announcement. Obama declared that, as of Monday, the federal government would “become just a little bit fairer.”

“For more than two centuries we have strived, often at great cost, to form a more perfect union,” said Obama. “Many of us are only here because others fought to secure rights and opportunities for us. We’ve got a responsibility to do the same for future generations.”

Though the order won’t protect all LGBT employees, it will apply to approximately 20% of the national workforce, which is the percentage employed by federal contractors legally bound to comply with the order. To cover the remaining 80%, the president urged Congress to act on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). If passed, the law would bar any employer from firing, refusing to hire, or otherwise discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. A version of ENDA was first proposed on the House floor in 1974 . . .

The latest version of ENDA passed the U.S. Senate last year, but failed to go anywhere in the Republican-controlled House. After the U.S. Supreme Court issued a controversial ruling allowing companies like Hobby Lobby, a craft store chain owned by evangelical Christian family, to be exempt from contraception-related provisions under the Affordable Care Act, LGBT advocates walked away from ENDA in its current form because the bill contained a broad religious exemption.

Last week, the White House announced that Monday’s executive order would not include a similar exemption despite pressure from high-profile faith leaders — some of whom are Obama’s allies — to create one for religious organizations in business with the U.S. government. Whatever their religious beliefs, all federal contractors will be prohibited from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity."


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

Breaking, on the GID Reform Advocates Blog-- "Gender Troubles: What’s Wrong With the WHO Proposal for Gender Incongruence in Childhood" A Guest Post by Sam Winter, Ph.D., Faculty of Education, University of Hong Kong . . . previously a member of the World Health Organization (WHO) Working Group on Sexual Disorders and Sexual Health.

"I believe that the proposed [Gender Incongruence of Childhood] diagnosis [proposed for the ICD-11] pathologises patterns of development that should not be pathologised, that the diagnosis is inconsistent with the approach the [WHO] Working Group proposes for other children and youth (including, importantly, homosexual youth), that the pathologisation carries risks for the gender-different child (and indeed for the broader work of the Working Group), and that there are alternative ways of providing health care services for gender-different children (plus their parents, teachers and others) who may need such services...In short the argument is for de-pathologising, rather than simply de-psychopathologising, genderdifference in childhood." --Dr. Sam Winter"


7-21-14:  GIWExposed: "Gender Identity Watch Exposed"

"For several months, a hate group called Gender Identity Watch has posted pictures and images of transgender women who have spoken out against them online, along with personal information including where those people work, the names of any spouses, their geographical location, and other demographic information.

Without further ado, I am about to level the playing field. The original website, does not have geotag information on its posters, however, the Facebook group certainly did. 

The locations listed below were garnered from PUBLICLY available geotagging information on the GIW original Facebook page, and represent those who re-published the GIW information repeatedly, and repeatedly left pro-GIW thank you posts on the GIW page. This is not secret information, or private information, the addresses were garnered from those using their own names coupled with geotagging information from their respective public Facebook pages. 

The ringleader for GIW, is Cathy Brennan, who lives on Banks Odee Rd, Newburg MD 20664. Another prominent member, is Linda Hudson, Lafayette Pl, Lake St Louis MO 63387. There is also Nancy Leaman, who lives in an apartment on Bradley Ave, Meriden CT 06451, Justin Allen Norwood, a 29 yr old gay male from San Angelo TX, and two prominent members in Queensland, Australia - the first being Cailey Quinn, who owns a company called Paradise ShadeUmbrellas, in Robena QLD Australia, and Kerry Van Gemert, who operates East Coast Home Loans in QLD Australia. 

Within the transgender community, we also have a contributor to GIW, named Katherine Middleton who works as a tattoo artist in Montreal QC Canada.

Catherine is someone who made many claims on social media websites, such as Facebook, that she was a transgender female, and yet was sending information back to GIW's Cathy Brennan. Katherine later changed her story to being intersex, and an "androgynous weirdo" who was somehow excluded from GIW's hate and taken into their inner circle."


7-20-14:  EurWeb: "Laverne Cox Educates Katie Couric On The Struggles of Transgender People"

"Katie Couric may have wanted to “educate” others who may not be familiar with transgender, but it was she who received a first hand account of being transgender, courtesy of Laverne Cox.

According to, the “Orange Is the New Black” star put a halt to Couric’s focus on her and transgender model Carmen Carrera’s genitalia by presenting an issue that more than hits close to home for her.

“I do feel there is a preoccupation with that. The preoccupation with transition and surgery objectifies trans people. And then we don’t get to really deal with the real lived experiences. The reality of trans people’s lives is that so often we are targets of violence,” Cox told Couric. “We experience discrimination disproportionately to the rest of the community. Our unemployment rate is twice the national average; if you are a trans person of color, that rate is four times the national average. The homicide rate is highest among trans women. If we focus on transition, we don’t actually get to talk about those things.” . . .

Before speaking to Cox, Couric referenced an earlier segment that had Carrera deflecting her questions about surgery and trans bodies. “I don’t want to talk about it, it’s really personal,” Carrera replied. After relaying the common struggle among transgender people, Cox continued to educate Couric while mentioning the recent murder of Islan Nettles, a 21-year-old trans woman, in addition to the rate of violence against trans people in the United States.

“By focusing on bodies we don’t focus on the lived realities of that oppression and that discrimination,” Cox stated. To see more of Katie Couric’s interview with Laverne Cox and Carmen Carrera, check out the video . . . "


7-17-14:  Newsweek:  "Science Magazine Puts Transgender Women on Cover, Without Their Heads" (more, more, more)

"Science, the academic journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, put an image of transgender women sex workers on their cover this week, to accompany an extensive special section about HIV/AIDS prevention approaches. However, on the cover, the women’s heads were cut out of the frame, leaving only their bodies.

Prosanta Chakrabarty, an evolutionary biologist at Louisiana University, pointed out the problem: "When we said we wanted more women in Science this is not what we meant . . ."


7-17-14:  Slate: "Science Has a Gender Problem. Science Just Made It Worse."

"The cover of Science magazine’s special AIDS and HIV issue hit mailboxes on Wednesday: It shows the legs and minidress-clad torsos of transgender sex workers in Jakarta. The women have breasts but no heads. “Staying a step ahead of HIV/AIDS,” reads the display text, a winking inch or so away from their stiletto heels. Though transgender sex workers are a “key affected population” for the epidemic in Indonesia, they are often overlooked by government health services, which is ostensibly why Science chose to splash bits of their anatomy on its cover. If transwomen get ignored, though, it’s in large part due to prejudice—and in that respect the optics of the Science tableau do more harm than good.

The Slantist sex blog explains this car wreck of noble intentions pretty well. “Instead of showing viewers a humanizing glimpse into the lives of these women,” writes A.V. Flox, the cover objectifies their bodies. It uses their bare legs as bait to lure in male readers, and then reverses the readers’ expectations in a way that’s supposed to be … funny? “Interesting to consider how those gazey males will feel when they find out,” tweeted Science editor Jim Austin gleefully.

Because transgender women with AIDS are great comedic fodder! “Am I the only one who finds moral indignation really boring?” he continued. If only. Update, July 17, 2014: Science editor-in-chief Marcia McNutt has expressed regret about the image on the magazine's July 11 cover. "From us at Science, we apologize to those offended by recent cover. Intent was to highlight solutions to HIV, and it badly missed the mark," she wrote in a tweet.

But sexist and homophobic (and racist) exploitation just kicks off the July 11 issue’s offenses. As Flox also points out, the cropping commits a metaphorical decapitation. It takes apart the bodies of people who go through life at terrifying risk of violence and murder. Transgender people are 28 percent more likely to experience physical brutality than those who are gender normative. In that context, the choice to lop off their heads for aesthetic effect—especially when the magazine so rarely depicts human subjects without their faces—seems chillingly insensitive. (Flox found that over 10 years of Science covers, only two featured free-floating body parts, and they did so in a nonsexual manner.)

Pro tip: When you “raise awareness” about the plight of an underserved group of people, the type of awareness you raise matters. Transgender sex workers should not be expected to thank Science for “raising awareness” of them as erotic objects, jokes, or disease vectors. The STEM fields have a reputation for exclusiveness, for ushering straight white men to the front of the line, and this particular magazine’s treatment of its subjects—Typhoid Marys who are also hot, and fake—is unlikely to challenge that perception.

Indeed, it’s only gathering steam. On Wednesday, Vox reported on a paper in the journal PLOS ONE suggesting that sexual misbehavior may be more prevalent on field sites than we thought. Roughly 71 percent of female scientist respondents told researchers they had experienced harassment or assault. This is not good publicity for a discipline that desperately wants and needs to increase diversity. Transgender sex workers may have an image problem, but so does science—and now, Science."


7-17-14:  Vancouver Sun (Canada): "Daphne Bramham: Vancouver Catholic schools first in Canada to have transgender policy -- Schools told to respect the right of transgender children to choose the names they want to be identified by, to wear the uniform that best fits their gender identification and to have privacy in bathrooms"

"Tracey Wilson shyly concedes that some people might think of her as a hero. Of course, she says, her brother says you can only be a hero if you have super powers.

Super powers or not, the petite 11-year-old with dreadlocks is the reason the Catholic Independent Schools of the Vancouver Archdiocese are the first Catholic schools in Canada with a policy aimed at accommodating and supporting students with gender dysphoria. "No other kids in the world deserve anything like I've gone through ... I don't want anyone else to feel that they don't belong," says Tracey.

Tears trickle down her face as she names the friends whose parents no longer allow them to speak to her. This is because two years ago, after lots of counselling and discussion, the little boy began living as a girl.

"I believe my soul was mixed up and confused about which body to go into and it accidentally went into my boy body instead of a girl body," she says softly.

Living like a boy "kind of felt like being a vampire and being stabbed in the heart all the time. I felt like my whole life was ending. I felt like I wanted to cry all the time."

Many times, she stood crying outside the Catholic school in her boy's uniform, imagining herself with long hair, wearing a flower barrette and a girl's uniform.

At those times, Tracey says her friends were there for support. "It was very good to have friends who loved me."

In kindergarten, a boy told Tracey that boys don't play with dolls. "So, I thought I must be a girl, but that obviously wasn't the case. And as I went on, I started noticing how I was becoming more like a girl.""

[Ed: Especially watch the very moving video interview with Tracey and her mom.]


7-15-14:  Huffington Post: "Debi Jackson, Mother Of Transgender Child, Gives Moving Speech"

"My daughter is six years old. She transitioned, which means she changed her outward appearance from male to female and started living full time as her true gender, when she was four. Until that point she was quite a rough and tumble little boy with a buzz cut and a shark tooth necklace."

And so begins the absolutely beautiful speech Debi Jackson gave earlier this year about her transgender daughter, AJ, at the Unity Temple on the Plaza in Kansas City. As Jackson continues, she outlines how her family came to realize that AJ is transgender, what happened the first day she went to school "in girl clothes" and the bigotry her family faced.

But the best part of the video may be when Jackson addresses the comments she's heard about her daughter and sets the record straight about statements like you "wanted a girl so you turned your child into one" and "kids have no idea what they want or who they are -- my kids wants to be a dog, should I let him?"

Spend six minutes and get to know Jackson and her family a little better. You'll be happy you did."


7-03-14:  The Advocate: "WATCH: Another Atlanta Trans Woman Brutally Assaulted -- The attack marks the second anti-trans assault caught on tape in Atlanta in just over a month"

Late Tuesday, video surfaced of a transgender woman being assaulted in front of Stratosphere Skateboards, a skate shop located in Atlanta's Little Five Points district. This attack comes just one month after two Atlanta trans women were brutally assaulted aboard a MARTA train.

The video, comprised of a series of short Vine videos, shows the woman pacing in front of the shop, engaging in a verbal altercation with a number of people. In the video's final moments, a man can be seen throwing the woman to the ground and stomping on her head.

According to The GA Voice, the Atlanta Police Department was not yet aware of this incident.
“I have checked with Zone 6 Command and searched myself but cannot locate a reported dispute at that location,” Atlanta Police Department employee Gregory Lyon told the Voice. “It’s quite possible the person being attacked in the video did not report this to us.”

In a statement to the Voice, Georgia Equality executive director Jeff Graham condemned the attacker, and urged the city of Atlanta to make the protection of transgender individuals a priority.

“That’s another horrific attack against a transgender or gender-variant person," Graham said. "I hope that the person who has been attacked comes forward so that the police can fully investigate. It is also time to address the overall violence that transgender people live with every day through increased public education and enforcement of the policies that the city of Atlanta has put in place."


7-03-14:  Hollywood Life: "Hank Baskett’s Alleged Transgender Lover: How I Became A Woman"

"After claiming that she had a tryst with Kendra Wilkinson’s husband, Ava Sabrina London revealed on July 2 the grueling, expensive process she went through to become the woman who caught Hank’s wandering eye.

Going from a boy named “Paul” to Ava Sabrina London – the transexual who’s at the center of Hank Baskett‘s alleged cheating scandal — was not easy. The transgender model opened up on July 2 and broke down the grueling process, from deciding to become a woman to dropping a whopping $50,000 on a shocking amount of surgeries.

“I always wished I was born a girl,” Ava told Radar Online. “Everything I did to my sister, I did to myself. I did her makeup, her hair, styled her. I wished I was my sister. But I never thought I’d transition.”

After growing up as a boy named “Paul” in Modesto, Calif., Ava finally decided, with some hesitation, to start undergoing hormone therapy in 2011 as the first step to transition from a man to a woman. After that, Ava racked up a shocking 18 surgeries to complete the transformation . . .

Ava Sabrina London has been thrust into the public eye after she alleged that Hank Baskett cheated on his wife, Kendra Wilkinson, with her. According to Ava, her relationship with Hank started as an online flirtation, but that eventually they met in person, and he paid her for sexual acts.

Now Kendra is reeling — she’s been spotted out without her wedding band — and her marriage with Hank is definitely in doubt"


7-03-14:  PRI (re Indonesia): "Transgender women find a safe place to practice their faith in Indonesia"

"On a recent Sunday afternoon, a group of women lay out books, mats and glasses of hot tea on a shady veranda. It’s time for Arabic class at Pondok Pesantren Waria, an Islamic school in the Indonesian town of Yogyakarta.

It's one of more than 13,000 such schools — called "pesantren" — in Indonesia. But here there's a key difference: the students are all transgender women. They're mostly adults, who come after work on the weekend for their religious study. They're known in Indonesia as "waria," a term that mixes “wanita” and “pria," the Indonesian words for “woman” and “man.” 

Bunda Yeti, a stout waria who’s been studying here for several years, carries a small shelf of Arabic textbooks onto the veranda. Yeti was raised as a boy, but she knew early on that she was really a girl. In high school, she told friends and began wearing makeup.

It wasn’t an easy decision — Indonesians are relatively tolerant when it comes to transgender women, but discrimination is still widespread. Many waria struggle to get identity cards, which are required for voting, and medical care can be hard to access.

Yeti also struggled with another problem: How, and where, should she pray? In Indonesia’s mosques, men and women pray separately and wear different religious garb. Bunda didn’t fit into either category.  

“Normally I would have joined the men’s section," she says, "but I was wearing a dress and makeup. And could I pray with the women? Of course not.” She thought that people would stare at her and worried that her presence would distract other worshippers from their own prayers. Eventually she stopped going to the mosque altogether. She tried praying at home, but it wasn’t the same.  

“For major holidays I might go to the public square in order to pray with other people," she says, "but I couldn’t do Friday prayers at the mosque." Yeti felt she had fallen away from God.

Then, in 2008, a friend of hers opened Pondok Pesantren Waria. It’s a small, informal setup — no grades, no graduation and only about 20 students. But, for the first time in years, Yeti felt she had a place to practice her faith."


7-02-14:  Rolling Stone: "4 Reasons President Obama's New Trans Rights Policy Is a Big Deal -- By protecting transgender federal employees, the president makes a powerful statement of equality" By Parker Marie Molloy  (more, more)

"At the White House Pride reception on June 30th, President Barack Obama expressed his intent to issue an executive order that would extend employment protections to federal employees on the basis of gender identity – making it illegal for federal agencies to discriminate against transgender and gender non-conforming individuals. This follows a 2009 executive order that extended these same protections to employees on the basis of their sexual orientation.

This is big news for trans individuals, both current and aspiring federal employees. Here are four reasons why:

1. The new policy clarifies current case law, and continues to set precedent . . .

2. It opens a wide range of job opportunities to a group plagued by high unemployment . . .

3. It provides continued legitimacy to a group often brushed off as fringe or abnormal . . .

4. It's the latest sign that the Obama administration truly has the transgender community's best interests in mind . . .

In each of the past several years, President Obama has invited trans activists and public figures to the White House as part of the annual Pride reception.

In 2011, the Social Security Administration stopped issuing "no match" letters to employers. These letters – which were sent out whenever an employee's gender as filed with the SSA didn't match the gender as filed with a company after bringing on a new employee – unwittingly outed trans employees and flagged them as possible fraud or identity theft cases. Many employers, not wanting to deal with the hassle, simply cut ties with these trans new hires.

In 2010, the State Department removed surgical requirements for individuals to update their passport information's gender marker; in 2012 and 2013, the Social Security Administration and Veterans Administration followed suit, respectively. Removing these requirements has helped numerous trans individuals streamline their legal identification documents.

Earlier this year, the Department of Education issued a ruling that states that Title IX of the Civil Rights Act protects trans students.

Without a doubt, Obama has shown himself to be an ally to the trans community. With more than two years left in his term, it will be interesting to see what other advances we'll see by 2016."


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

"Cross-sex hormone treatment of transgender adults leads to very few long-term side effects, according to the authors of the largest study to date to examine this issue.

More than 2000 patients from 15 US and European centers participated in the retrospective study, called Comorbidity and Side Effects of Cross-Sex Hormone Treatment in Transsexual Subjects, and nearly 1600 received at least 1 year of follow-up, the authors reported.

"Our results are very reassuring," principal investigator Henk Asscheman, MD, PhD, who heads HAJAP, his clinical research company in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, told Medscape Medical News. "There are mostly minor side effects and no new [adverse events] observed in this large population."

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

"The take-home message," he said, "is that when using the guidelines from the Endocrine Society ["Endocrine Treatment of Transsexual Persons"], you are not going to see a lot of comorbidities with cross-sex hormone treatment."


7-01-14:  KCET: "Changing Birth Certificates Now Easier for Transgender People"

"Transgender Californians seeking changes to their name and gender identities on birth certificates will no longer need to go through a lengthy and exploitative legal process. Effective today, individuals seeking a name change on a birth certificate are no longer required to publish their reflected name in a local newspaper. Additionally, they will no longer be required to attend a court hearing prior to authenticating the request. "These new protections were created to improve the safety and privacy needs of transgender people seeking to obtain accurate and consistent identity documents," said Danny Kirchoff from the Transgender Law Center.

AB 1121, authored by Speaker Toni G. Atkins in 2013, ensures that one's gender identity is accurately represented on legal documents. The bill was co-sponsored by the Transgender Law Center and Equality California, and aims to make it easier for transgender people to seek changes to properly reflect one's gender identity without going through so much red tape . . .

The old process for making changes to birth certificates involved the issuance of a court date and the payment of $435 for a gender or name change. An individual seeking to change the gender or name on the birth certificate would then be required to provide a physician's affidavit documenting the individual's gender transition.Under the new provision, however, individuals would no longer be required to go through court. The individual would be responsible for sending the request to the State Registrar, which would then verify information from a physician and grant the request through a simplified administrative procedure.

"Under this change, an individual could simply apply directly to the Office of Vital Records to change the gender/and/or name on a birth certificate, supplying the required physician's affidavit to that office instead of to the court," the bill's language notes.

AB 1121 has also worked to streamline the birth certificate process while also protecting the rights of transgender people. It will also eliminate the discriminatory requirement for having transgender people publish and pay for their reflected name changes in media publications. "A lot of our clients had major concerns about the safety issues of publishing the name change in the newspaper. And especially in recent years, a lot of publications have moved online and people's information about a person's old and new name would come up on Google search, and it's often really private information," noted Kirchoff from the Transgender Law Center.

"There's a lot of privacy and safety concerns that people had, and also the cost. Changing your name is essential for people to have to get to reflect name and gender," he added. Another bill for transgender rights, AB 1577, or the Respect After Death Act, cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee last Thursday. If signed into law, it will ensure that death certificates will reflect the deceased's correct gender identity."




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