Trans News Updates:
Compiled and edited by
[Version of 9-17-14]
These pages link to news of special
interest to the trans community, including excerpts to convey the gist of each
story. In addition to alerting readers about important events, the links provide
a moving-window into shifting media spins and societal behavior towards trans
people ‒ enabling us to track historical shifts in such behaviors as years go
by. Of special interest are news articles from outside the U.S., enabling us to
follow media-trends in other cultures too. In some cases, excerpts are followed
by my editorial comments, in brackets [ ].
to send links for listing. To browse the archive, click the relevant year/month
in the table below. You can conduct detailed searches of the archive, by using
the site-search-box at the top of the page.
Apr, May, Jun,
Jul, Aug, Sep,
02-25-14: GIDReform: "Methodological
Questions in Childhood Gender Identity ‘Desistence’ Research",
Kelley Winters, Ph.D.
01-30-14: Metro Weekly: "Maine Supreme
Court rules transgender student cannot be denied bathroom access"
"Approved IEEE Code of Ethics − IEEE Board approves changes"
01-13-14: HRC: "The Institute of Electrical
and Electronic Engineers Adopts LGBT-Inclusive Code of Ethics"
01-13-14: Huffington Post (posted 1-08):
"Leadership and the Value of Exceptional Allies",
01-02-14: Just Plain Sense: "Ten Years On",
12-31-13: Amazon.com: "Pressing Matters (Vol 1) [Kindle Edition]",
09-07-13: Idolator (posted 9-03): "Goldfrapp’s
“Annabel” Video: Watch The Thoughtful Exploration In Gender Identity"
(more, more, more)
09-04-13: Huffington Post: "University of
Arizona Helps Transgender Studies Take a Bold Leap Forward",
IU News (Indiana University): "Kinsey
Institute receives grant to study transgender issues in the U.S. military"
08-28-13: Huffington Post: "LGBT Legal Progress:
1988 - 2038" by
08-25-13: The Gothamist: "[UPDATE] Transgender
Woman Dies After Saturday Night Assault In Harlem"
The Guardian (UK re US, posted 8-24): "High hopes: . . .Victims of FGM are
only offered surgery to reduce their pain. But a cult is supporting a few
surgeons as they attempt to restore sexual sensation"
08-23-13: PBS: "How Will the Military Handle
Bradley Manning's Request to Be 'Chelsea'?"
interview/discussion by Allyson Robinson on the issue of transgender people
in the military)
08-23-13: NBC News: "For transgender
prisoners, hormones seen as matter of life and death"
08-23-13: The Telegraph (UK re US): "Prison will
not be kind to Chelsea Manning" by
Cathy Newman, Channel 4 News
08-17-13: Facebook (India): "'Her name
is Sowmya' - An angel gone", by
[A must see video film for all.]
08-15-13: Washington Post: "Conservative
Christianity and the transgender question",
Russell D. Moore (more)
08-12-13: Sacramento Bee: "Jerry Brown
signs bill empowering transgender students"
08-05-13: The New Civil Rights Movement: "After
DADT: Transgender Life In The United States Military . . ," by guest author
07-31-13: The New York Times: "Editorial: The
Next Civil Rights Frontier", by
The NYT Editorial Board
07-23-13: Huffington Post: "Arin Andrews and
Katie Hill, Transgender Teenage Couple, Transition Together"
07-14-13: Huffington Post: "The Many
Shades of 'Out'", by Lynn Conway
GIDReform: "Response to Dr. Jack Drescher and the New York Times About
Childhood Transition: Part 1", by Kelley Winters, Ph.D.
06-26-13: ACLU: "VICTORY: DOMA
Unconstitutional! And Prop 8 Goes Down, Too!"
06-21-13: HRC: "CalPERS Makes History:
Board Approves Trans-Inclusive Health Coverage", by Andre Wilson
06-14-13: Think Progress: "VICTORY: Transgender
People Can Now Change Their Social Security Record’s Gender Identity"
06-13-13: GID Reform : "GID Reform in the DSM-5
and ICD-11: a Status Update", by Kelley Winters, Ph.D
04-11-13: Motherboard: "How the Psychiatrist Who Co-Wrote
the Manual on Sex Talks About Sex"
01-17-13: 4 News (UK): "Transsexual awareness
'at tipping point' - video"
01-14-13: LynnConway.com (posted 10:58am EST, re UK): "ALERT: The
Guardian removed Burchill's transphobic Observer article from its website!"
12-23-12: Catholic Online: “Pope
Benedict XVI Exposes the Profound Falsehood of the Philosophy of the Gender
12-07-12: GIDReform.org: "Gender Dysphoria
Diagnosis to be Moved Out of Sexual Disorders Chapter of DSM-5", by Kelley
10-20-12: STP 2012 Press Release:
"International Day of Action for Trans Depathologization 2012: More than 100
The Phoenix: "How Norman Spack transformed the way we treat
TS Roadmap: "Toronto schools list local trans-friendly
resources, CAMH rightfully omitted", by Andrea James
09-29-12: U. S. Politics Today: "L.A. Gay &
Lesbian Center Commends California Governor Jerry Brown for Signing SB 1172,
Protecting LGBT Youth" (link
to SB 1172)
GID Reform Advocates: "The American Psychiatric Association Issues Historic
Position Statements on Trans Issues", by Kelley Winters, Ph.D.
APA: "APA Issues Official Positions Supporting Access to Care and the Rights
of Transgender and Gender Variant Persons"
07-22-12: Washington Post (AP): "Transgender
advocates push US psychiatric establishment to revise mental illness labels"
07-10-12: The 519 (Toronto, Canada): "The 519
mourns the passing of Kyle Scanlon" (more,
GID Reform.org: "Third Swing: My Comments to the APA for a Less Harmful
Gender Dysphoria Category in the DSM-5", by
Kelley Winters, Ph.D.
05-08-12: GID Reform.org: “Final Public
Comment Period For Proposed DSM-5 Criteria Ends June 15”, by Kelley Winters,
04-25-12: Lynnconway.com: (re Netherlands):
"Colette Berends [Oct. 13, 1934 - Apr 23, 2012]: Her life and her art", by
04-23-12: Metro weekly: "Transgender
Breakthrough - EEOC ruling that gender-identity discrimination is covered by
Title VII is a ''sea change"
04-21-12: GID Reform.org: "These Aren’t
the Droids You’re Looking For: Gender Diversity, Scapegoating and Erasure in
Medicine and Media", by Kelley Winters, Ph.D.
Chicago Tribune: "A year after scandal, new sexuality class at NU Course
offered as introduction to gender studies"
(NU takes Bailey's course away from him and from the NU psychology
department, turning it over to a more responsible faculty member in NU's
gender studies program.)
02-17-12: Endocrine Today: "Pubertal blockade
safe for pediatric patients with gender identity disorder"
The New Statesman (UK): "The turning of the tide - The media's monstering of
transgender people is finally being challenged"
"TransYouth Family Allies (TYFA) imaTYFA's Channel
Nicole Maines' Remarks at GLAD's 2011 Spirit of Justice Award Dinner"
09-25-11: GID Reform.org: "New Standards of Care
for the Health of Transsexual, Transgender, and Gender Nonconforming People,
" (In the SOC7 WPATH denounces
trans-reparatism as being unethical.)
08-25-11: TS Roadmap.com:
"Kenneth Zucker’s cronyism and pathologizing ideologies about trans youth
07-09-11: TS Roadmap.com:
"Academic pathologization of trasgender people" (a social map of the
'invisible college' of trans-pathologizers)
"Cisgenderism in psychology: pathologising and misgendering children from
1999 to 2008", by Y. Gavriel Ansara & Peter Hegarty
05-26-11: GID Reform Advocates:“Transvestic
Disorder, the Overlooked Anti-Trans Diagnosis in the DSM-5,” by Kelley
Winters, Ph.D. (more)
05-20-11: The Bilerico Project: "Trans
Visibility Sparks Right-Wing Blogosphere Explosion," by:Austen Crowder
(a important, must-read essay)
Northwestern: "Bailey's Human Sexuality class will NOT be offered next
04-19-11: In The Life Media: "Injustice at Every
04-18-11: Huffington Post:
Tool for Treating Transgender People"
UCSF Primary Care Protocol for Transgender Patient
03-18-11: "UK’s Channel 4 signs agreement to
improve coverage of transgender issues" (more,
03-14-11: TS Roadmap.com: "Close the CAMH Gender
Identity Clinic" (see news about
developments in Quebec)
Jezebel.com: Higher Education: Professor Fucksaw: "The Storied Past Of
Northwestern’s Sex Professor”
Chicago Tribune: "Northwestern president ‘troubled’ over live sex
02-15-11: Medscape Medical News: "Addressing the Needs of Transgender
Youth in Primary Care", by Laurie Barclay, MD
to Journal article)
12-29-10: GJSS: "Transgender children: more than
a theoretical challenge", by Natacha Kennedy and Mark Hellen (more)
12-29-10: "My Encounter with
Prof K Zucker at the BPS conference in Salford", by Natacha Jessica Kennedy
Change.org Petition: "Remove Transgender from the DSM-5 "
GID Reform Advocates: "Ten Reasons Why the Transvestic
Disorder Diagnosis in the DSM-5 Has Got to Go"
07-25-10: TS Roadmap:
"Ontario moves to end CAMH death grip on trans health services"
Special Summary News
[See the ongoing Trans News Updates
Ken Zucker's leading role in the pathologization of gender variance:
count, even if psychiatrists can't!"
This special section contains compilations of news and information about the
pathologization of gender variance as mental illness by the psychiatric
community. We focus especially on
of CAMH in
Toronto, Canada, and his role in the revision of the
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).
Zucker is widely known for his
trans-reparatist therapy on gender variant children, and for
heavy-handed promotion of his colleague
transphobic pronouncements that ALL transitioned women are either
effeminate homosexual men or mentally-ill sexually paraphilic men.
As his role in DSM revision came under increasing criticism, Zucker and his
Alice Dreger launched many personal attacks on Zucker’s and Blanchard’s
transgender critics. This includes
the smearing of critics in the Archives of Sexual Behavior (the
journal Zucker controls), attempts to
stop critics from speaking at universities, the
smearing of critics on major professional association e-lists, attempts
prevent critics from holding sessions at conferences, launchings of
threats of libel against critics, and
attempts to shut down this very website - all the while
claiming that transgender critics were infringing upon the academic freedom
of an academic clique that was pathologizing gender variance. This section
Zucker's trans-reparatism and his subsequent overreactions to criticisms
of that exposure:
1. Zucker's trans-reparatism and his role in
In April 2007, this site began an exposure of
Zucker's trans-reparatism in a webpage entitled:
"Drop the Barbie: Ken Zucker's reparatist treatment of gender-variant
children", reflecting back on a
article that had broken the story and coordinating with
Andrea James who
posted a parallel exposé of Zucker's reparatism.
The following year National
Public Radio broadcast a heartbreaking documentary on May 8-9, 2008
decades-old reparatist methods to more
modern treatment protocols. A further exposé of
of gender-variant children, "But
For Today I Am A Boy" (Français),
was published in the Torontoist
(on May 9, 2008).
OII followed up by raising important questions
about Ontario's sponsorship of Zucker's work (see also
OII's Open Letter to
However, even though he was known to be a
Zucker was selected to lead the revision of the
American Psychiatric Association's
section on 'sexual and gender identity disorders' in the
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). With Zucker
thus empowered, there appears to be little chance for removal of GID from
trans people will likely be stigmatized for another decade as being mentally
ill even after transition. See
Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) press release protesting Zucker's DSM
selection. The huge scale of the protest was made even more visible in a
petition against Zucker's DSM selection that gained over 9,500
en español). See also
protesting Ontario gov't support of Zucker's work.
in protest of Zucker's key role in a
UK conference on adolescent transitions.
For background on needed DSM reforms
GIDReform.org and Kelley Winters' essays (
16 ), especially
"Blinded Me With
Science: The Burden of Proof".
See also "DSM ON THE BOOKSHELF", an
open letter to WPATH by clinician Tracie O'Keefe [PDF],
for Status and Money"
more). See also Prof. Sam Winter's report on how
'mental-illness' classification causes transphobia all around the world.
On Feb 6, 2009, Joelle Ruby Ryan
Julia Serano, and
Kelley Winters, Ph.D.
presented a workshop at IFGE 2009
entitled “Disordered” No More:
Challenging Transphobia in Psychology, Academia and Society"
[NEW], in response to the pathologization of gender variant people by
reactionary psychiatrists and sexologists. You'll find a report on the
at this link and we'll be
posting videos there soon. See also the text of Joelle's presentation,
Transgender Tipping Point: It is Not the Transperson Who is “Disordered” but
the Society in which S/he Lives”, by Joelle Ruby Ryan
and Kelley's presentation on
“Top Ten Problems with the GID
Diagnosis”, by Kelley Winters, Ph.D. [PDF]
For more on the pathologization of
transpeople by the DSM, see Kelley Winter's new book:
Gender Madness in American
Psychiatry, Essays from the Struggle for Dignity", by Kelley Winters,
Ph.D. [announcement PDF] .
2. Zucker's attacks on transgender
critics, with support from his ideological operative
In July '07,
Zucker as editor of the Archives of Sexual Behavior (ASB)
subverted that journal as a propaganda machine in defense of ASB
editorial board members
Zucker did this by
announcing and pre-publishing
one-sided history of the
Bailey book investigation in the ASB. Zucker promoted Dreger's
anti-transgender hit-piece as if it were an independent scholarly work,
devoting the entire June '08 ASB to Dreger's defense of Bailey,
Blanchard and Lawrence
– in a
not-so-veiled attack on Zucker's own primary critics Andrea James and Lynn
Conway. Ardent Bailey supporter
followed with a
New York Times article
on 8-21-07 in which Dreger portrayed Bailey as a great scientist under siege
for 'telling the truth'. For more about Dreger, including her role in
the medical pathologization of intersex people,
see this link and
this one too.
Determined to stop trans criticism of Zucker, Bailey, Blanchard and
Lawrence, Dreger went on to
launch e-mail attacks and threaten the academic career of graduate
student Joelle Ruby Ryan who had proposed a women's study
conference panel on transphobia in academe (see
Élise Hendrick's commentary,
Lynn's comments and
this article). Dreger's attempt to prevent Joelle's panel
backfired. It was held as scheduled on June 21, 2008 (see
handout), and produced powerful essays that further exposed
Bailey and Dreger
(see detailed report at this link)
including Élise's essay on
the odd form of
'academic freedom' claimed by Bailey and Dreger and Andrea's
"Fair comment, foul play". Videos of all the presentations
posted on YouTube. See also
the prestigious Point
Foundation 's mention of
NWSA panel at this link and
her upcoming IFGE workshop at this link.
published an exposé
of Dreger 's effort to resurrect Bailey's disgraced career, and her
Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of
provides the context for understanding these events.
For an overview of BBL pseudo-science, see "Science
and Ideology: The Blanchard-Bailey-Lawrence Model of Transsexuality,
by Élise Hendrick and
"The Bailey Affair, Again" by Joan Roughgarden. For a
deconstruction of Carey's Times' article,
see this essay by Elise Hendrick. Dreger's scholarship was
further questioned in June '08 in
ASB peer commentary papers highly critical of Dreger's 'history'.
For more about Dreger's methods, see
"Go Ask Alice – But Not About Transsexuals’ Lives and History: A
Defense of the Right of Members of an Oppressed Class to Speak for
Themselves", by Katrina C. Rose.
In early 2011, Alice Dreger’s hero J. Michael Bailey
by staging a live “fucksaw demonstration” in front of many of his
For an overview of the event and its implications, see Joelle Ruby
“The Fuckwit and the Fucksaw: Sex-Monger John Michael Bailey Strikes
Again”, March 6, 2011, and also Anna North’s report on
“The Storied Past of Professor Fucksaw”. This bizarre
episode turned Northwestern into national media joke as “Fucksaw
University”. It also spelled doom for Bailey’s reputation and
career, for Northwestern’s administration finally figured out what
to do with him: They
cancelled his large human sexuality course in the abysmally
irresponsible Psychology Department, and
turned over the teaching of such courses to Northwestern's far
Gender Studies Program. This has left Bailey academically
stranded as an isolated, aging teacher of minor, poorly-attended
psych courses. Meanwhile, an unrepentant Dreger continues to deify
Bailey, as if he were as modern-day ‘Galileo’.
3. Zucker exploits the 'other' APA to push
his views and suppress opposition:
During 2008, Zucker attempted
to suppress evidence that the prevalence of transsexualism is much
greater than he has previously claimed: See:
"Falsification of GID prevalence results by the APA Task Force on
Gender Identity and Gender Variance", an Investigative Report by
Lynn Conway, 8-28-08 [PDF].
Lynn's letter to the President of the APA re that Task Force,
open letter and
investigative report re
the APA's response.
4. Zucker's attempt to suppress Lynn's
website and attack her freedom of speech:
Lynn's exposure of Zucker's
trans-reparatist therapy and of his exploitation of the ASB to disseminate
anti-transgender propaganda has apparently unsetted Zucker. On January
27, 2009, Zucker responded by
accusing Lynn of libel in a
letter sent by CAMH attorney Peter Jacobsen to Lynn and to her
- in a clear attempt to suppress Lynn's website on the eve of
an IFGE workshop that would prove embarrassing to Zucker.
Lynn called Zucker's bluff
reporting the attempt to infringe her rights
En Français). (For a humorous
view of the events,
see the cartoon by Jayna Pavlin). The
IFGE workshop went on as planned, and a presentation by Joelle Ruby Ryan
Transgender Tipping Point") further revealed Zucker's and Dreger's
efforts to silence their critics. News of Zucker's attack quickly spread, as
in the Queerty article
"Dr. Kenneth Zucker's War on Transgenders" and in essays by
Kelley Winters and
Mercedes Allen, and
Lynn was interviewed by LOGO-TV
about Zucker's attack. See also this
YouTube video and the
video: "Transgender Crusader". Evidence
then emerged that Zucker had engaged in a pattern of threats against other
women. In June '09, Lynn filed a formal complaint of
academic misconduct against Zucker (PDF)
for launching that unfounded attack.
5. Zucker's downfall now inevitable as
medical professionals, public health professionals, gender counselors and
the media widely recognize the inhumanity of his trans-reparatism:
By 2009, the transgender community's
outrage against Zucker finally became so intense that CAMH
launched a study to consider the complaints, leading to a
scathing report issued by CAMH's own Diversity Program Office. The study
stinging indictments in 2009 of CAMH’s gender clinics and to
recommendations on how to alleviate the problems.
In response, Zucker if anything
intensified his ongoing ‘war
on transgenders’, and engaged in a war within CAMH to sidestep the
recommendations. However, by now Zucker was increasingly isolated from the
main movement towards transgender health care, and could no longer control
the flow of events. In 2010,
the Province of Ontario finally moved to end CAMH's death grip on trans
health services there, and began supporting such services at a variety
of other, more humane and supportive organizations.
Zucker's claim to any 'scientific'
authenticity was also undermined in 2011 by the brilliant research of
Gavi Ansara, and his report in
Psychology & Sexuality on
"Cisgenderism in psychology: pathologising and misgendering children from
1999 to 2008" − a report that singled-out Zucker as leader of an
'invisible college' of group-think researchers who collectively used
pathologizing language to control 'scientific' thought regarding gender
Events swirled further out of Zucker's
control when in 2012
the State of California passed legislation outlawing both gay and
trans-reparatist therapy on children. Even Zucker's staunchest
supporters had to pause for thought now, for their reputations could be lost
if they continued to advocate treatments that were becoming ILLEGAL!
In 2012 Zucker also received a huge
signal of public rejection, when the
Toronto public school system listed a wide range of trans-friendly resources
for transgender students, but omitted CAMH from the list , thus turning
their back on him and his entire body of work! (link
Key articles re the DSM and the pathologization of gender variance:
“Disordered” No More: Challenging Transphobia in Psychology, Academia and
Society", an IFGE 2009 workshop.
Queerty: "Dr. Kenneth Zucker’s War on Transgenders"
The Bilerico Report: "Surrender Dorothy: the Clarke Wags a Broomstick at the
Trans-Community", by Kelley Winters, Ph.D.
04-27-09: Facebook Group
the CAMH Gender Identity Clinic" (reaches > 1000 members!)
re the DSM Controversy
"The War Within: CAMH battles
notorious reputation of Zucker’s and Blanchard’s gender clinics with
GID Now: A Protest to demand the APA Reform Gender Identity Disorder"
by IFGE BOD to APA" (IFGE calls for DSM Reform)
"Transsexualism will no longer be classified as a mental illness in France
Times: "Gender Identity Disorder: Has Accepted Practice Caused Harm?"
"GID Reform Now Protest At Annual APA Meeting - Speaker Madeline Deutch,
M.D." (Links to Video)
"Call to Action to
Urge Trans-Affirming Position Statements by the APA"
say, to the APA, stop sexualizing us!", by Julia Serano, Ph.D.
by Andrea James: "$325,000+ in salaries for Zucker & Blanchard to
pathologize trans people"
Exposed by Andrea James: "What motivates Ray Blanchard’s oppression of sex
and gender minorities?"
GID Reform: "Update:
Statement on Gender Identity Disorder and Transvestic Fetishism in
ENDAblog: "The Dredge Is At It Again"
"A call for the removal of gender identity variance from the psychiatric
diagnostic manuals," by Sam
Winter, Ph.D. (ES)
Society for Humanistic Psychology: "Controversial issues for the future
DSM-V", by Sarah Kamens
"Doctor Promotes Medical View of Transgenderism - Clinic founder decries
labeling transgenderism as a psychological issue"
New Scientist: "Psychiatry's civil war ";
"Time's up for psychiatry's bible" (more)
global epicenter for oppression of sex and gender minorities,"
by Andrea James
will become mentally ill in 2013" by
Americanization of Mental Illness", by Ethan Watters
expose CAMH’s despicable practices toward transgender people"
pathologization of transgender people" (a graphical overview) by
Taxing Question of Medical Necessity" by Kelley Winters, Ph.D.
Sexual Disorders Make No Sense", by Allen Frances, MD
Concerned with Gender Diagnoses in the DSM: "Call to Action"
- Hope and Hurt for Trans Americans in the APA's Proposed DSM Revisions"
"Response of WPATH to the Proposed DSM 5 Criteria for Gender Incongruence"
YouTube Video: "STP2012
March in Barcelona, Spain 2010 June 5", by
Henry Hallint (more)
TS Roadmap: "Ontario moves to end CAMH death grip on trans health services"
GID Reform Advocates: "Ten Reasons Why the Transvestic Disorder Diagnosis in
the DSM-5 Has Got to Go"
GJSS: "Transgender children: more than a theoretical challenge", by Natacha
Kennedy and Mark Hellen (more)
"My Encounter with Prof K Zucker at the BPS conference in Salford", by
Natacha Jessica Kennedy
"Close the CAMH Gender Identity Clinic" (see news about dramatic
developments in Quebec)
Montreal Gazette (Canada): "The Debate over Diagnosis”, By Donna Nebenzahl
GID Reform Advocates: “Transvestic Disorder, the Overlooked Anti-Trans
Diagnosis in the DSM-5”
Psychology & Sexuality: "Cisgenderism in psychology: pathologising
and misgendering children from 1999 to 2008", by Ansara & Hegarty
Roadmap: "Academic pathologization of transgender people" (social map of the
'invisible college' of trans-pathologizers)
TS Roadmap.com: "Kenneth Zucker’s cronyism and pathologizing ideologies
about trans youth examined"
GID Reform.org: "New Standards of Care for the Health of Transsexual,
Transgender, and Gender Nonconforming People, "
[WPATH's new Standards of Care (Version 7) denounces trans-reparatism
as being unethical.]
Chicago Tribune: "A year after scandal, new sexuality class at NU Course
offered as introduction to gender studies"
[NU takes Bailey's course away from him and NU psychology department,
turning it over to NU's gender studies program.]
IPG: "SPITZER, ZUCKER, AND REPARATIVE THERAPY: EX AND PRE-GAY", by Margie
The New York Times: “Diagnosing the D.S.M.”, by Allen Francis
Washington Post (AP): "Transgender advocates push US psychiatric
establishment to revise mental illness labels"
U. S. Politics Today: "L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center Commends California
Governor Jerry Brown for Signing SB 1172, Protecting LGBT Youth" (link
to SB 1172)
TS Roadmap: "Toronto schools list local trans-friendly resources, CAMH
rightfully omitted", by Andrea James (link
The Phoenix: "How Norman Spack transformed the way we
treat transgender children"
GIDReform.org: "Gender Dysphoria Diagnosis to be Moved Out of Sexual
Disorders Chapter of DSM-5", by Kelley Winters, Ph.D.
The Trans News Updates:
9-17-14: Daily Mail (UK re US): "Transgender model who found fame on
America's Next Top Model 'struggles to find love because she was born in a
"A model who found fame on two seasons of
America's Next Top Model says she is struggling to find love because she was
born in a male body.
Transgender Isis King, 28, from New York, took the
fashion world by storm after appearing on the popular television program.
But the American Apparel model, who models for an
array of big fashion brands, hopes to find a partner to share her success
with. Most recently the model opened eyes
as she stole the spotlight walking in the Betsey Johnson SS15 fashion show
at New York Fashion Week.
She said: 'Being born in the wrong body has made
it really hard because I want to tell men up front, but once I tell them
they usually lose interest. 'There are preconceived notions of trans women,
and they don't want to know me once I tell them. 'It's a bit harder for me
because not only am I trans, but I am one of the world's most famous trans
women' . . .
She said: 'I was in a gelato place
with a guy who didn't know I was on America's Next Top Model.
'The girl serving us ice cream noticed who I was
and right as she was about to mention it, I opened my eyes wide, and winked
at her and she knew I didn't want her to say it out loud. 'She winked back
and she didn't say anything, but it was just perfect - it was the first time
it ever worked out that way.' Sadly, the date didn't workout and she feels
living in New York adds to difficulties in finding a meaningful
'I don't know if I'm going to find it here because
it is such a fast paced city,' she added. 'I have a great career, I know who
I am, I know who I want, I'm a positive person. 'I just want to meet someone
who's going to treat me the way I would treat them.'"
9-16-14: People: "Jazz Jennings Hopes to Inspire Other Transgender
Kids with New Picture Book"
"It's no surprise that growing up as a transgender kid wasn't easy for Jazz
Jennings. But the Florida-based teen made it
through – and is sharing the lessons she learned with others. Jennings, now
14, has coauthored a new children's book,
I Am Jazz, and hopes it can assist
other kids facing a similar struggle.
"I hope this book will help them to be who they are and stay true to
themselves," Jennings tells PEOPLE. " I want them to know it's OK to be
different and unique, and that they should be proud of themselves and who
The book was released Sept. 4 and recaps the triumphs and hardships she
faced on her transgender journey. "There are so few books for little kids
that actually mention the word transgender and explain what it is in simple
terms," she says . . .
"We were initially shocked when Jazz was diagnosed with gender identity
disorder [now called gender dysphoria], in 2004," they told PEOPLE via
email. "We recognized this was an incredibly complex issue, and since very
little was known about transgender children at the time, there would be
daunting challenges ahead."
The challenges were significant, but Jazz and her parents overcame them –
and want other families to know they have support. "For transgender kids who
are struggling, I want them to know they're not alone," Jazz says. "They
shouldn't be afraid to step out of their shadows." "
9-16-14: Jurist: "An Affirmative Decision for Transgender Marriage in
"JURIST Guest Columnist Francesca Acocella . . . discusses the recent
decision by the Thirteenth Court of Appeals of Texas to recognize
transgender identity in determining the validity of marriage . . .
. . . In it's decision delivered earlier this
year, the Thirteenth Court of Appeals of Texas noted that the legal
landscape had changed since Littleton and that the Texas legislature was no
longer silent. It found that there was a genuine issue of material fact as
to Araguz's gender, that the legislature overturned Littleton in 2009 and
the summary judgment cannot be upheld based on judicial estoppel. An
affidavit from Nikki's doctor, discussing the complexities of gender, was
sufficient for the court to find a genuine disputed fact. The court also
mentioned the ever-increasing number of states with marriage equality and
the US Supreme Court's ruling in
US v. Windsor
overturning Section 3 of the
Defense of Marriage Act
(PDF). Ultimately, the Araguz court held that "an individual who has had a
'sex change' is eligible to marry a person of the opposite sex," citing the
Texas Family Code Section
The new trial has yet to take place.
The difference between the courts' outcomes in Littleton and in Araguz is
partly due to evolving social, medical and legal understandings of gender.
The 2009 amendment to Texas's Family Code is part of that evolving
understanding. The Texas legislature amended its Family Code to include that
"an original or certified copy of a court order relating to the applicant's
name change or sex change" can establish the proof required for a marriage
license. The court in Araguz found the amendment invalidates Littleton,
legitimizing marriage in Texas for transgender people. During the 82nd
legislative session in Texas, which ended in 2012, there were several
unsuccessful attempts to repeal the 2009 amendment.
Because Texas statutes now recognize the rights and marriages of transgender
people, Texas agencies must allow transgender Texans to amend gender markers
on their identity documents and all courts, not just courts within the
jurisdiction that decided Araguz, must recognize the marriages of
9-16-14: Huffington Post: "State of Emergency for Transgender Women of
Addison Rose Vincent
a 2013 report by the National Coalition of
Anti-Violence Programs, it was reported
that of 72 percent of victims of anti-LGBTQ homicide were transgender women,
and 89 percent of victims were people of color. Just this summer alone,
there have been seven reported killings of transgender women of color in the
Kandy Hall in
in Maryland, an
in Michigan, and, just recently
in Tennessee. Many of the women's causes of death have not been released,
but from what is known, the victims were either shot, burned, or stabbed to
In the past two months there have been
two more attacks on transgender women of color in
Detroit, as well as the stabbing of a
15-year-old transgender girl
in Washington, D.C., Metro. Fortunately, the teen survived, but the attack
comes one year after the stabbing of
two years after the fatal stabbing of
and three years after the stabbing of
another unnamed transgender woman of color,
all of which happened in D.C. August was also the month in which 21-year-old
was brutally attacked in 2013, and the month in which 24-year-old
died from medical transphobia in 1995. Tyra was in a car accident at the
corner of 50th and C in Southeast D.C., and due to the transphobia of the
on-site EMT and doctor, she passed away from treatable injuries. And in 2002
19-year-old Stephanie Thomas and 18-year-old Ukea
Davis were executed in the same cross
streets as Tyra's accident.
The frequency of stabbings in attacks on
transgender women of color comes as a concern. The act of stabbing is a very
personal form of murder and raises the question of the intensity of the
attacker's transphobia. Though it can be argued that some suspects choose to
stab rather than shoot due to the easy access to knives over guns, and to
ensure lighter sentences if caught and tried, the assertion of dominance
over women's bodies with a phallocentric object is a symbolic rape of the
victim. Suspects often justify their attacks with the "trans
panic" defense, the concept that, in
the heat of the moment, internalized transphobia causes them to irrationally
attack transgender individuals who "provoke" them."
9-12-14: Huffington Post: "From Diagnoses to Dignity -- Barriers to
Health Care for Transgender People" (more)
""Trans people face stigma and discrimination and
harassment in healthcare, and so do providers," said Walter Bockting, a
medical psychology at Columbia University in New York City. "We need to
strategically support providers working with transgender people, many of
whom struggle bravely to do this work and expand its reach" . . .
The barriers to dignified access to healthcare are legal, societal, and
logistical. Documents do not match appearance, services are sometimes
economically out of reach, and the provision of care can be imperilled by
untrained providers and even threats against those who try to provide it.
Experts and activists say equitable access to healthcare underpins the
realization of other human rights for transgender people. And it all begins
with the messy politics of diagnosis . . .
"No one's identity is a disorder. When we are talking about [the] mental
health problems many transgender people experience, we are not referring to
'gender dysphoria' [feeling an emotional and psychological identity as male
or female opposite to one's biological sex] or any other trans-specific
diagnosis," said Lin Frazer, president of WPATH. "We are talking about [the]
mental health problems they suffer due to stigma and lack of access to
services... It's not inherently pathological to be gender non-conforming or
The UN World Health Organization (WHO)
International Classification of Diseases, version 10 (ICD-10), generally
accepted as the standard definition of health conditions, is under revision
and "Significant changes in the classification of gender identity and
conditions related to sexuality have been proposed." WPATH has been
move "gender incongruence" categories out of the Mental and Behavioural
Disorders chapter and into a more respectful and less pathological place in
"WPATH has been. [talking to] the WHO to consult on the ICD-11 revisions (to
be published in 2017)," said Gail Knudson, WPATH's secretary-treasurer and
medical director of the Transgender Health Program at Vancouver Coastal
Health in Canada. "Transgenderism will likely be called 'gender
incongruence', and not be located in the section on mental disorders." The
goal is to erode the pathology stigma associated with transgender people,
while maintaining the possibility of a medical designation so that those who
need to access gender transition-related health services and insurance can
"For some transgender people at a particular point in their lives, in some
parts of the world, having a diagnosis can be important - it allows them to
access care, get reimbursed for care, and achieve the changes they want,"
Justus Eisfeld, co-director of Global Action for Trans Equality (GATE),
said: "WHO will move trans people out of the disorders section... so it's
not as stigmatizing, but trans people can still access medical care through
the classification if they want and need it."
The pathways to accessing gender
transition-related and general healthcare are often barred by the limited
access to documentation transgender people experience almost everywhere. "I
do not suffer from gender dysphoria, I suffer from bureaucratic dysphoria,"
one trans person
told a United
9-10-14: CBS News: "Transgender teens become happy, healthy young
"Treatment to delay
puberty among adolescents struggling with
seems to boost psychological well-being for those
who ultimately pursue sex reassignment, new research suggests. The Dutch
study involved 55 transgender young adults who had been diagnosed years
a condition in which a biological boy strongly identifies as a girl, or
vice versa. All underwent a hormone treatment that temporarily blocked
puberty and prevented the development of sex characteristics.
The treatment gave them the "opportunity to develop
into well-functioning young adults," according to the study, published
online Sept. 8 in the journal Pediatrics. Overall, sexual confusion
resolved, and they appeared to be satisfied with their gender-related
decisions, the researchers found.
"Since puberty suppression is a fully reversible
medical intervention, it provides adolescents and their families with time
to explore their gender dysphoric feelings, and [to] make a more definite
decision regarding the first steps of actual gender reassignment treatment
at a later age," said study lead author Dr. Annelou de Vries.
By delaying the onset of
children who go on to gender reassignment
"have the lifelong advantage of a body that
matches their gender identities without the irreversible body changes of a
low voice or beard growth or breasts, for example," added De Vries, a child
and adolescent psychiatrist at the Center of Expertise on Gender Dysphoria
with the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam.
The study participants underwent puberty
suppression at an average age of nearly 14. The group included 22
biological boys, who later transitioned to females, and 33 biological girls
who ultimately underwent reassignment to live as men. Multiple assessments
were conducted up to one year following gender reassignment surgery (at an
average age of about 21).
By young adulthood,
anxiety, emotional distress and body image concerns were no more prevalent
among the transgender group than among the general public, the researchers
determined. Also, quality of life and happiness levels were on par with
was no longer an issue, and no patients expressed regret about the
transition process, including puberty delay . . .
Guidelines outlined by the Endocrine Society and
the World Professional Association for Transgender Health recommend that
teens who choose to undergo gender reassignment not begin hormone
treatments before age 16. Surgical intervention is not advised before the
age of 18.
"But children usually go into puberty much earlier
than that," said Susan Maasch, director of the Trans Youth Equality
Foundation in Portland, Maine. "And you can imagine the anxiety and
depression and overwhelming fear that a young child might experience when
they are about to go into puberty while feeling an insistent mismatch
between their biological gender and their actual gender identity" . . .
Treating them with a safe, well-known hormone to temporarily prevent
puberty has become a standard of care because it buys these children time
and a measure of relief. And if gender reassignment surgery does happen, it
will be a much easier, much less tough process."
Dr. Jack Drescher, a clinical professor of
psychiatry at New York Medical College in Valhalla, N.Y., said the findings
"seem to confirm the idea that puberty suppression is a generally good
idea." The treatment has only been done for about 15 years, "but so far it
does seem to be a relatively safe and benign intervention," he said. "And
this thoughtful and careful study suggests that it can be very helpful at
relieving psychological distress seen among those children who experience
panic when facing the onset of puberty."
Drescher added that not all teens who undergo
puberty suppression will pursue gender reassignment. "But those who do will
face an easier time of it," he said."
9-08-14: Huffington Post: "Alejandra Leos, Transgender Woman, Murdered
In Tennessee (UPDATED)"
"In a story that is depressingly familiar, another transgender woman has
lost her life at the hand of an attacker.
was reportedly shot to death only steps away from
her home in Memphis, Tennessee, last
Friday night. While local police reports initially misgendered Leos, family
confirmed that the victim identified as a woman.
Police have not identified a suspect in the murder.
“Alejandro would say ‘if you don’t know Alejandra
then you don’t know Memphis,'" a friend of Leos
Transgender individuals, particularly transgender
people of color,
experience violence at a disproportionate rate
when compared to the rest of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender
(LGBT) community. For more information on transgender issues and experiences
A fundraiser through the Gun Violence Survivors
foundation is currently in progress in order to aid Leos' family with
Head here to
visit the campaign.
arrest has since been made in this case.
Head here for
9-07-14: New York Magazine: "The Trans-Everything CEO -- Futurist, pharma
tycoon, satellite entrepreneur, philosopher. Martine Rothblatt, the
highest-paid female executive in America, was born male. But that is far
from the thing that defines her. Just ask her wife. Then ask the robot
version of her wife." (more,
"Only about 5 percent of the companies in the Fortune 500 are run by women;
double the sample size, and the proportion is the same. Compensation levels
for female CEOs appear to lag as well, though it’s hard to tell because
there are so few of them. On a recent list of America’s 200 highest-paid
CEOs, only 11 were women, and their median pay was $1.6 million less than
their male peers. Certain of these women are already household names:
Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer, No. 34 on the list, who earned $25 million last year,
and Hewlett-Packard’s Meg Whitman, No. 95, who earned $18 million. But the
highest-paid female CEO in America is not nearly as well known. She is
Martine Rothblatt, the 59-year-old founder of United Therapeutics—a publicly
traded, Silver Spring, Maryland–based pharmaceutical company—who made a
previous fortune as a founder of Sirius radio, a field she entered as an
attorney specializing in the law of space. But what’s really extraordinary
about Rothblatt’s ascent is not that she has leaned in, or out, or had any
particular thoughts about having it all. What sets Rothblatt apart from the
other women on the list is that she—who earned $38 million last year—was
"It’s like winning the lottery,” Rothblatt said happily, about seeing her
name atop the list, during one of the meetings I had with her this summer.
But Rothblatt could not be less interested in establishing herself as a role
model for women. “I can’t claim that what I have achieved is equivalent to
what a woman has achieved. For the first half of my life, I was male,” she
In person, Martine is magnificent, like a tall lanky teenage boy with
breasts. She wears no makeup or jewelry, and she inhabits her muted
clothing—cargo pants, a T-shirt, a floppy button-down thrown on top—in the
youthful, offhand way of the tech elite. Martine is transgender, a power
trans, which makes her an even rarer species in the corporate jungle than a
female CEO. And she seems genuinely to revel in her self-built
in-betweenness. Just after her sex-reassignment surgery in 1994, her
appearance was more feminine than it is today—old photos show her wearing
lipstick, her long, curly hair loose about her shoulders. But in the years
since she has developed her own unisexual style. She is a person for whom
gender matters enough to have undergone radical surgery, but not enough to
care whether she’s called he or she by people, like her 83-year-old mother,
who occasionally lose track of which pronoun to use . . . "
9-07-14: Philadelphia Inquirer: "Bala Cynwyd doctor helps transgender
teen gain her true identity"
"Aly is a pretty 17-year-old who talks easily
about being transgender. It is impossible to guess that she was born
male; her facial expressions and the grace with which she moves are
"I knew, as early as when I was three or four,
that I was a girl," says Aly, who changed her name from Luke seven
years ago when she "outed" herself to family, friends, and classmates.
"Even when I was a toddler, I played with Barbies and pushed around a
toy vacuum sweeper. I'd watch television and always picture myself as
the princess or the queen."
Luke went to school in jeans and plaid shirts
like the other boys, but played only with the girls. The minute he got
home, he exchanged the pants for his favorite outfit - a purple party
dress with sparkly sequins. His brother, Billy, two years older,
insouciantly explained to his friends, "My little brother likes to
dress up in girls' clothes." "They didn't pay much attention," Aly says
Shortly before entering fourth grade in
Stratham, N.H., Luke confided to his parents that he was not male,
could no longer pretend, and declared that he would not continue to go
to school as a boy.
Aly is one of a growing population of children
- some as young as three - who insist that they have been sabotaged by
the bodies they were given. No one knows if the numbers are rising
because there are more transgender youth or whether increased media
attention and shifting attitudes have made transgender people more
willing to reveal themselves.
An annual survey by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight
Education Network found that 8.3 percent of LGBT youth identified as
transgender in 2011, up from 3.2 percent a decade earlier.
Endocrinologist Norman P. Spack, head of the transgender clinic at
Boston Children's Hospital, believed to be the first in the country,
suggests that one in 1,000 children and adolescents may be transgender
. . .
Aly was lucky. Although her parents struggled
to make sense of what they describe as their "incredibly difficult and
unusual situation," they respected and supported their younger child
right from the start . . . In December 2007, he and his wife, who
passed away four years ago, wrote a letter to their friends and
". . . We realize that many of you will
find this news shocking and confusing. . . . Luke has been diagnosed
with gender identity disorder, a devastating condition that can turn
the life of a child upside down. Biologically, Luke is a boy. But in
every other sense, she is a girl. . . . We now call her Aly. We
recognize that this change will take time to get used to. What we're
asking from you is compassion for something you may never understand .
The administration at Luke's elementary school
had just sent a Thanksgiving letter to parents explaining that a boy in
the school would be presenting as a girl. When Aly returned to school
after the holiday break, dressed in capris and a pink shirt, almost all
her classmates were welcoming, even excited . . .
Aly was one of the first children to be seen by
Norman Spack in Boston. "I have this image of Aly as a little girl,"
Spack remembers, "a round face, just adorable."
After thorough evaluations and consultations
with the pediatrician confirmed that the 10-year-old was, indeed,
transgender, not just going through a phase, Spack started
puberty-suppressing hormones . . .
Aly had sex reassignment surgery six weeks ago
at Lower Bucks Hospital in Bristol. "Dr. Spack brought me to this part
of my life," she said softly six days later, tucked under the covers in
the bed where she was recovering nearby. "He did everything to help me
be a girl."
Sherman Leis, a Bala Cynwyd surgeon, has performed more than 3,500
operations on transgender patients, including facial feminization
procedures, breast removal or augmentation, and sex reassignment
surgery. Aly was his second-youngest patient, on the verge of 17."
9-07-14: Metro (UK): "How to ask a woman out when you’re a
"When it comes to making
the first move, I’m terrible at it.Whether that’s been in my previous
incarnation as a lesbian or my current one as a trans guy, the fact is, it’s
simply better that I don’t realise when I want to hit on someone.Flirting,
it seems, only comes naturally to me when I don’t actually think that I
might like to take things a little further with the person in front of me.
Where some guys get full of bravado and let
rejection run off their egos like rain off a freshly waxed car, testosterone
hasn’t quite boosted my confidence levels that far just yet, so I’m still
more likely to get all shy and emotionally-challenged when faced with
someone I really quite fancy.
But, like all great hypocrites, I’m very much
aware of what I should be doing even if I’m not quite able to actually do it
Here’s how to make the first move if you’re a
9-06-14: The Tico Times (Costa Rica): "Transgender Costa Ricans fight
discrimination over name-change rights", by Fabiola Pomareda
"What’s in a name? For many transgender Costa Ricans, a lot. Starting with
the fact that in many cases, the names on their government-issued IDs have
nothing to do with self-image or identity.
Karolina Malone Esquivel, 24, told The Tico Times
that she began her transformation from boy to girl at the age of 14. But
since graduating high school, she said it’s been impossible to find work.
And that discrimination starts with the name on her
“I’ve left résumés, I’ve gone everywhere and no one ever calls me,” said
Esquivel, who joined several others on Aug. 28 in a protest in front of the
Supreme Elections Tribunal in San José, where the Civil Registry is located
. . .
On Esquivel’s ID, a young woman’s face stares out from the picture. But the
name is a boy’s. There is a line labeled “known as,” where it states
“Karolina.” But that name is useless for official paperwork or any other
transaction. When a person’s photo doesn’t match the gender of a name on an
identification document, it leads to problems. And life already is difficult
enough, Esquivel said.
In the workplace, transgender employees often are viewed as “undesirables”
by coworkers, she said. The stigma is the same in schools and at health care
centers. “When you go to the Caja [Social Security System], they call out
your name loudly, in front of everyone. Those situations are humiliating for
someone who looks different than their name,” she said.
Transvida President Dayana Hernández said that having a name that reflects
one’s identity is a human right, and last week’s protest aimed to educate
others that human rights aren’t negotiable. Fernández noted that, “The
transgender population isn’t a small one. As you can see [at the
demonstration] there are many transgender girls and boys, and we all face
barriers preventing us from working.”
Esquivel said discrimination is often a primary reason that many turn to
prostitution, which is legal in Costa Rica, to make ends meet. “Most of us
really don’t want to work in the sex trade,” she said. “We want something
different, something more stable, instead of facing the cold and taking
Two months ago, Esquivel registered for classes at a San José university,
where she plans on studying human resources. She hopes to become a
boss.“Since no one never hired me, one day, I’ll be the person doing the
hiring,” she said.
Three months ago, eight members of Transvida petitioned the courts through
public legal counsel. But their cases have gone nowhere, they said. In the
legal battle to allow transgender Costa Ricans to change their names, only a
judge can order the Civil Registry to waive its gender rule. Cases are
ongoing in courts in Desamparados and San José, and some members will file
another case in Guadalupe, where they hope to find a sympathetic judge. Said
Fernández: “At 14, I decided to be a woman. At 20, I still haven’t managed
to get people to recognize the name I chose: Pamela.”"
9-05-14: BuzzFeed: "Human Rights Campaign President "Formally
Apologizes" To Transgender Community" (HRC
Friday at Southern Comfort, one of the largest annual transgender community
conferences, Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin apologized for
what he described as when the national LGBT rights organization has failed
to represent and serve transgender people over the years.
“HRC has done wrong by the transgender community
in the past, and I am here to formally apologize,” Griffin said, according a
transcript of his remarks
posted online. “I am sorry for the times when we stood apart when we should
have been standing together.”
It’s no secret among many in the transgender community that there’s a lack
of trust when it comes to HRC.
In his speech, Griffin described attending an HRC event held at Ohio State
University — during which he suddenly realized his event was taking place at
the same time as the local community’s largest transgender community
gathering, the 6th Annual TransOhio Symposium, on the floor directly above
him. Griffin said the fact that he and HRC had no idea the local transgender
community was holding its gathering at the same place and the same time as
his event illustrated a major disconnect — one he said he wishes to resolve.
“… [I]nstead of all of us working together, taking stock of all of our
progress and the challenges ahead, and finding comfort in each other’s
company, ‘they’ were upstairs, and ‘we’ were downstairs,” he said. “There
that divide was, for all to see. Plain as day.”
With that, Griffin said he hopes HRC and the transgender community can begin
a “new chapter together” and promised to work diligently and more closely
together, but noted HRC “may make mistakes” along the way.
“What happens to trans people is absolutely central to the LGBT struggle,”
he said. “And as the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organization, HRC
has a responsibility to do that struggle justice, or else we are failing at
our fundamental mission.”
HRC, he said, is expanding its focus on transgender issues and the work it
does to serve transgender people throughout the country, such as supporting
local transgender organizations, condemning violence against transgender
women of color, and continuing its work with corporations, healthcare
organizations, and schools to treat all LGBT people fairly."
9-04-14: CNN (re Hong Kong): "Misunderstood and stateless in Hong
Kong: A transgender woman's nightmare"
"Crossing borders as a transgender woman is always a challenge. There are
many reasons immigration authorities reject you, but sometimes it's simply
because they don't seem to understand who we are.
My name is Eliana Rubashkyn and I was born in Bogotá, Colombia. I'm a
trained pharmacist and speak five languages fluently, and until recently, I
was studying for an MBA in Health Administration in Taiwan on a government
scholarship. I also used to be a man.
Last year, I was forced to travel to Hong Kong to renew my passport because
of my altered gender. Hong Kong -- a one-hour flight away -- is the nearest
Colombian consulate from Taiwan. The trip was also necessary to allow me to
apply for the second year of my graduate degree.
Little did I know my life would be turned upside down when I boarded that
plane . . . "
9-04-14: WCSH6 (Maine): "How doctors treat transgender children"
"Being transgender isn't just a state of mind, it is a diagnosed medical
condition called Gender Dysphoria. Doctors can identify symptoms and begin
treating Gender Dysphoria before children become adults. Maine Health
recognized a need for that treatment and established a gender clinic at
Barbara Bush Children's Hospital.
Four years ago, pediatric endocrinologist Dr. Jerrold Olshan was treating
just one or two children for Gender Dysphoria. Today, he sees between 20 and
30. He says all children have quesitons about gender, but sometimes those
questions run deeper. That's when parents are likely to take a child to see
a specialist. It can happen at a very young age.
"When you talk to these kids as adults they will say frequently, 'I've known
since I was four I was in the wrong body. I was born, they wanted me to be a
boy, I just I knew I was a girl'" Olshan told NEWS CENTER.
The child may see a doctor, but there is no medical intervention until the
first signs of puberty. At that point, he or she is put on hormone blockers
to stop puberty. Then, between the ages of 13 and 16, doctors will begin
hormone therapy with testosterone or estrogen. All the while, the patient is
meeting with a psychiatrist and social worker.
"These children and families have had a lot of stress, and often there is
comorbidities," said Olshan. "There's things like depression associated with
these conditions, probably because of the struggles of their identity being
different than how society identifies them."
So why does all of this matter to physicians? Doctor Orsham says he started
treated transgender childen because of their extremely high mortality rate.
A recent study of trans youth in New York City found that 46% of them had
considered suicide, and 25% of them had attempted it. "If we can intervene
early, the hope is, and what we are seeing fortunately is that we can really
lower the risk of death in these kids.""
9-04-14: WCSH6 (Maine): "School sends parents letter about transgender
"Some parents with students at Old Town Elementary
said there is a second grade student in the school that is transgender.
The school district mailed
the letter to
parents at the start of the new school year. It went to parents who have
children in the same learning community as the transgender student, which is
made up of about 120 kids from different grades.
says the student "may be familiar to your children as a boy, but will now be
recognized as a girl." It goes on to say that the student has identified as
a girl for quite some time and will now be using a new name and dressing in
a more feminine manner. The student will also be using the girls'
bathroom, according to the letter. It also acknowledges that this is a new
situation for many people, including staff members. NEWS CENTER has attached
the entire letter to this story.
The school was not legally obligated to send the letter, but the RSU34
Superintendent David Walker said it chose to. Legally, under the Maine Human
Rights Act, the school is required to treat all students equally. Walker
said the child's family met with the school over the summer to develop a
plan. The school drafted the letter, then the family and the superintendent
reviewed and approved it. Old Town Elementary wanted parents to hear the
information from the school first, and not from their children, according to
There are several organizations in Maine that
provide resources for people struggling with gender identity, advocate for
transgender equality, and work to educate the community. Here are a few
links to learn more:
Trans Youth Equality,
Maine Transgender Network,
9-02-14: BuzzFeed: "Kristin Beck Is A Different Kind Of
Transgender Pioneer -- Lady Valor, the documentary that follows the former
Navy SEAL’s life after coming out as a trans woman, pushes the envelope of
trans representation. And Beck wouldn’t have it any other way"
"In 2013, Kristin Beck became the first former Navy SEAL to come out as
transgender, which instantly placed her as
one of the most high-profile figures in the meteoric shift in the
national conversation about transgender rights. In person, she is instantly
open and friendly, happy to talk about just about anything, but her voice
hovers just a few notches above a whisper and never any louder, and her
demeanor can at times read as diffident, almost shy. In fact, if you had not
heard of her, you could be forgiven for never guessing she is an activist
who regularly travels the country for speaking engagements, let alone a
decorated veteran with 20 years of some of the most grueling combat
experiences a soldier can have.
But, according to Beck, there is one thing you would definitely know about
her upon meeting her for the first time. “Imagine me walking down the
street,” she told BuzzFeed in March at the SXSW Film Festival. “It’s
obvious. It’s like, Wow, there’s a dude in a dress.”
It is one of several eye-opening, unexpected things Beck said over the
course of a far-ranging interview after the world premiere of Lady Valor:
The Kristin Beck Story, the feature documentary about her life after
coming out as transgender . . . "
9-01-14: SDGLN: "Kristin Beck truly is "Lady Valor" and a transgender
"A former Navy SEAL who spent many years based in San Diego, and who came
out as a transgender woman two years after retiring from the military in
2011, is the subject of a compelling documentary, “Lady Valor: The Kristin
Beck Story” . . . The documentary will have its television premiere on CNN
The film tells the story of Navy SEAL Christopher Beck, who served honorably
for more than 20 years as a gung-ho member of SEAL Team 1 and SEAL Team 6,
the latter a highly trained counterterrorism unit also known as the U.S.
Special Warfare Development Group.
For many years, Beck felt like a woman trapped in a man’s body, and fought
to understand those feelings and then to embrace them. She first came out on
LinkedIn in 2013 as Kristin Beck and then on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360.”
Her story went viral, and directors Sandrine Orabona and Mark Herzog began
documenting her life and conducting interviews with her family and former
SEAL brothers . . .
But all has not been peaches and cream for Beck, who spoke by cell phone
late Monday with San Diego Gay & Lesbian News while on a road trip to San
Francisco. Some anti-gay and anti-trans people have publicly criticized her,
showing their ignorance and bigotry. The very patriotic Beck sees the sad
irony in that some of the people she fought for during two decades of
military service do not understand the basic guarantees of the Declaration
of Independence . . .
During the telephone interview, Beck says it was a “tough decision” to come
out and she admits that “I shot myself in the foot” during that difficult
and challenging process. She made a few public-relations flubs that she
sincerely regrets, such as not understanding the touchy issue of
misgendering in the media. For that faux pas, Beck says she is a persona non
grata in some quarters of the trans community. “I’m happy,” Beck says. “But
I wish I was better prepared when I came out”
. . .
Since the documentary was filmed, some things have changed for the better
for Beck. While her mother refused to be filmed for the documentary, she has
since come around and is now supportive of her transgender daughter. Some
things haven’t changed. Beck still faces bigotry and prejudice … and
sometimes within the LGBT community. “It’s appalling to me,” she says.
Beck advocates for trans rights anytime and anywhere. “One trans person is
murdered every week in the U.S.,” she says, her voice growing emotional and
aggravated. “We need to bring awareness to these issues. We don’t deserve to
be murdered! We don’t deserve to be fired from our jobs! We are humans just
like everybody else. We should be treated equally!”
Being an ex-SEAL who is transgender has given Beck a media platform and she
says she hopes to use the exposure to further the cause. “If I have all this
media attention, then I’m going to use it”. . .
Beck’s advocacy is genuine and passionate. She does, however, find herself
somewhat at odds with some of the more glamorous members of the transgender
community who have turned their natural beauty or plastic-surgery miracles
into lucrative careers as trans celebrities.
“I feel a little disappointed,” Beck says of the trans celebrities. “I go on
TV myself, but never for personal attention or the celebrity. I’m
encouraging equality, dignity and respect for transgender people. Some of
them are doing it for the publicity, celebrity and glamour things. … It’s
disappointing that they are chosen to lead our parades when the true
activists who are unsung heroes should be getting the recognition.”
Beck freely admits that she has had no surgery to look more like a woman.
She is perfectly happy to be the trans woman that she is. And that pursuit
of happiness is the noble principle that has guided her through her career
as a Navy SEAL and now as a transgender activist.
[Ed. note: TBD]
8-29-14: Vice News: "Allowing Transgender People to Serve in the US
Military Is 'Inevitable' "
"Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel made headlines
in May when he
said that the
policy excluding transgender people from serving in the military
should "continually be reviewed," and that he "would be open" to rethinking
the ban. His remarks led many to hope that a change in regulations for
transgender service members could happen in the near future.
Since the 2010 repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" — a policy enacted by the
Bill Clinton administration that required gay and lesbian service members to
remain closeted about their sexuality — the campaign to end the exclusion
of transgender people in the military has also picked up steam.
This effort was aided by reports from the Palm
Center think tank in March
2014 and the Williams Institute at
the UCLA School of Law in May,
which estimate that around 15,500 people currently serving in the US
military are transgender. Data from the National Transgender Discrimination
Survey and the US Census Bureau shows that there are about 134,300
transgender veterans, and that military service is more common among
transgender people than it is among the general American population. No data
is available on whether these individuals are pre- or post-transition.
With the support of a number of retired generals,
the Palm Center, which focuses on gender and sexuality in the military,
on Tuesday on how to navigate and implement the necessary policy changes to
allow transgender people to openly serve.
"We have men and women around America that are willing to serve, that would
like to come in, or are actively serving, and what we ask them to do when
they're inside the military — to pretend that they're not transgender — is
just wrong," Gale Pollock, former acting surgeon general of the US Army and
co-chair of the commission that produced the report, told VICE News . . .
Despite the ban on military service, about 21.4 percent of the total
transgender population in the US is estimated to have served in the
military, according to the report. This likely makes it one of the largest
employers of transgender people in the country, documentary series
TransMilitary host and producer Fiona Dawson told VICE News.
While it's not entirely clear why military participation is so popular among
transgender individuals, it may have something to do with perceptions of
"We join for essentially the same reasons that other Americans do," Brynn
Tannehill, director of advocacy at LGBT military organization SPART*A, told
VICE News. "Some might join to prove themselves, and some might do it
because their masculinity is more accepted, but the majority do it for the
same reasons everyone else does."
Tannehill, herself transgender and a member of the navy and naval reserves
for 13 years, believes that her experience in the military would have been
different had there not been a ban on transgender service members. "I
probably would have come out sometime while I was at the Academy, because I
knew even then, and I think my military career probably would have gone on
longer, because I did get out in order to transition," she says."
8-28-14: New Republic: "Why Aren't Women Advancing At Work? Ask a
Transgender Person -- Having experienced the workplace from both
perspectives, they hold the key to its biases."
"Fifty years after
The Feminine Mystique
and 40 years after Title IX, the question of why
women lag in the workplace dogs researchers and lay people alike. While
women are entering the professions at rates equal to men, they rise more
slowly, and rarely advance to the top. They’re represented in smaller
numbers at the top in fields from science to arts to business.
Some suggest that there is something
about women—women have stalled because of their personal choices, or their
cognitive and emotional characteristics, whether innate or socialized.
Another possibility is that the obstacles to women’s advancement are located
within their environments—that they face barriers unique to their gender.
But while bias has been experimentally demonstrated, it’s hard to study in
the real world: Just as it’s hard to isolate a single environmental
pollutant’s effect on human health, it’s been near impossible to isolate
gender as a variable in the real world and watch how it affects a person’s
Until now. Trans people are bringing entirely new ways of approaching the
discussion. Because trans people are now staying in the same careers (and
sometimes the very same jobs) after they change genders, they are uniquely
qualified to discuss the difference between how men and women experience the
workplace. Their experience is as close to the scientific method as we can
get: By isolating and manipulating gender as a variable and holding all
other variables—skill, career, personality, talent—constant, these
individuals reveal exactly the way one’s outward appearance of gender
affects day-to-day interactions. If we truly want to understand women at
work, we should listen carefully to trans men and trans women: They can tell
us more about gender in the workplace than just about anyone.
Ben Barres is a biologist at Stanford who lived and worked as Barbara Barres
until he was in his forties. For most of his career, he experienced bias,
but didn’t give much weight to it—seeing incidents
as discrete events. (When he solved a tough math problem, for example, a
professor said, “You must have had your boyfriend solve it.”) When he became
Ben, however, he immediately noticed a difference in his everyday
experience: “People who don't know I am transgendered treat me with much
more respect,” he says. He was more carefully listened to and his authority
less frequently questioned. He stopped being interrupted in meetings. At one
conference, another scientist said, "Ben gave a great seminar today—but
then his work is so much better than his sister's." (The scientist didn't
know Ben and Barbara were the same person.) “This is why women are not
breaking into academic jobs at any appreciable rate,” he
wrote in response to Larry Summers’s famous gaffe implying women were
less innately capable at the hard sciences. “Not childcare. Not family
responsibilities,” he says. “I have had the thought a million times: I am
taken more seriously”. . .
What happens when the opposite transformation takes place—when
a man becomes a woman? Joan Roughgarden is a biologist at Stanford who lived
and worked as Jonathan Roughgarden until her early fifties, and her
experience was almost the mirror image of Barres’s. In her words, “men are
assumed to be competent until proven otherwise, whereas a woman is assumed
to be incompetent until she proves otherwise.” In an interview, Roughgarden
also noted that if she questioned a mathematical idea, people assumed it was
because she didn’t understand it . . .
To truly understand trans people’s experiences of workplace gender bias,
more research is needed. But the window to do so may be closing, as people
are able to change genders at younger and younger ages. Puberty-inhibiting
medications are becoming more mainstream, meaning young trans people can
choose to suppress the development of secondary sexual characteristics from
a relatively early age. (The treatment became available in the U.S. in
2009.) A child who identifies with the opposite gender and seeks treatment
is now able to experience the world, for most of their life, as that gender
And the group of trans people who are vocal on the subject is already fairly
small; many seem to feel they have much larger issues facing them. When
asked how people react when she describes the different treatment she
receives as a woman, Roughgarden responds simply, “I don't bring it up.”
Ultimately, Schilt says, it’s not trans people’s responsibility fix gender
bias. Roughgarden agrees. “We're trying make a life,” she says. “We have to
live in our actual roles, we can't sit in a coffeehouse and complain about
how this is the world. This is the world and we have to live in it.
We have to navigate it.”"
[Ed. note: An important, must-read essay.]
WBUR Boston (posted 8-19): "How Transgender People Are Changing Their
Voices", by Martha
"BOSTON — Lorelei Erisis taps the screen of a borrowed iPhone. The key of A,
with kazoo-like resonance, fills her living room in Ayer, Mass.
Erisis taps another button labeled “start,” takes a deep breath, and sings
the word “he,” trying to match the tone. A number, 75 percent, pops onto the
screen. “My pitch was too low,” Erisis says. “Oh well. Let me try again.”
Erisis, a transgender woman, is trying out
a mobile phone app that may be the first of its kind. Transgender men and
women who want to raise or lower the pitch of their voice can go through a
series of breathing and pitch exercises designed to help with what can be
the most difficult characteristic to change — their voice.
“What I often hear is, ‘I pass as a woman until I open my mouth,’ ” says
Kathe Perez, a speech language pathologist who designed the Eva app.
Erisis plays the tone again. This time, before she speaks, Erisis places two
fingers below her Adam’s apple and pushes up, just a touch, to physically
raise the pitch of her voice. Erisis, now 41, says she felt like a girl
growing up, but did not begin the physical transition from male to female
until she was 33. Just for fun, Erisis tries the pitch test with her
preferred pronoun. “She,” Erisis sings out. “Hey, 99 percent. It’s hilarious
that ‘she’ brought me to 99 percent.”
Erisis, who writes a column called “Ask
a Transwoman,” hears from many
transgender women, and some men, who say, “Voice can be a real liability.
There are definitely large parts of this country, even this state, where
it’s dangerous to be trans. It can be a matter of life or death.”
“Many of the people I work with will not go out in public because they have
to talk,” Perez adds. “Or they’ll go with people so that their wife or their
friend will order for them at a restaurant. They’re afraid to open their
mouths because the sound that comes out doesn’t match the person that’s
sitting at that table.”
There are lots of online programs. Some transgender men and women work
one-on-one with a coach. Perez says it takes six months to a year of daily
practice to permanently adjust one’s voice.
“It’s extremely difficult to override some of the early programming we have
in our brains about how we express ourselves,” she says. “So we retrain the
voice by retraining the brain. They go together.”"
8-26-14: PGN: "Tenika Watson’s memoirs published"
"A dream has come true for Tenika Watson. The 63-year-old transgender
woman’s memoirs were published earlier this month as an eBook on Amazon.com.
“It was a dream for me to get this book,” Watson said. “Since the 1990s,
I’ve wanted my story told. It’s finally come to life. I’m very proud of my
“My Life is No Accident” is a first-person account of Watson’s life from
childhood to the present day. The 177-page book was written by Jennifer
Daelyn, who conducted dozens of interviews with Watson over the course of
about a year.
“I’m very grateful to Jennifer,” Watson said. “She did a great job. It’s all
my words. But she pulled it together and created a very readable narrative.”
Working on her memoirs was cathartic, Watson noted. “It was very healing.
And I hope it can help heal somebody else.”
Watson said she believes everything in life happens for a reason, hence the
book’s title. “It’s also a play on words because of the accident I was
involved in with Teddy [Pendergrass]. I don’t want that incident to define
me. I survived it. I guess that’s the way it was meant to be.”"
8-25-14: Kaiser Health News: "With Coverage Through Obamacare,
Transgender Woman Opts For Surgery"
"Devin Payne had gone years without health insurance – having little need
and not much money to pay for it. Then Payne, who had a wife and four
children, realized she could no longer live as a man.
In her early 40s, she changed her name, began wearing long skirts and grew
out her sandy blond hair. And she started taking female hormones, which
caused her breasts to develop and the muscle mass on her 6-foot one-inch
frame to shrink.
The next step was gender reassignment surgery. For
that, Payne, who is now 44, said
she needed health coverage. “It is not a simple, easy, magical surgery,”
said Payne, a photographer who lives in Palm Springs. “Trying to do this
without insurance is a big risk. Things can go wrong … not having the money
to pay for it would be awful.”
Payne learned in the fall that she might qualify for subsidies through the
state’s new insurance marketplace, Covered California, because her income
fell under the limit of $46,000 a year. She eagerly signed up in March for a
Blue Shield plan for about $230 a month, and began making preparations for
the surgery that would change her life . . .
Among the less-talked-about implications of the
Affordable Care Act is the relief it is providing to many transgender
people, many of whom are low-income and who have struggled to obtain health
coverage. Getting jobs that offer insurance often has been difficult for
transgender people and the cost of purchasing plans on the private market
can be prohibitive.
Some have been denied policies altogether after being
diagnosed with “gender
identity disorder,” often considered a pre-existing condition.
Without insurance, many people were unable to afford the hormones, surgeries
and counseling needed to complete their transition. Nor would they have been
covered in the event of surgical complications, which can include
“We are still dependent on insurance and the medical community for us to be
able to live authentically,” said Aydin Kennedy, coordinator of the
transgender health program at St. John’s Well Child and Family Center in Los
Now, federal law prohibits health insurance companies from discriminating
against transgender people, and it bars insurers from denying coverage based
on pre-existing conditions. That makes it possible for more transgender
people to purchase private plans. And in states that expanded their Medicaid
programs, those with low incomes may get free coverage."
8-25-14: Washington Post: "The Pentagon can easily drop its ban on
transgender troops, study finds"
Defense Department repealed
its controversial “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy banning gay people from
openly serving in the military three years ago in September. Some
senior officers questioned the decision, fearing
it could cost lives, but Pentagon
officials said the repeal has not hurt military
readiness or cohesion.
Civil rights advocates, including some retired
military officers, are now pressing for another change. The armed forces
continue to enforce a ban on transgender military service, months after
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said in May
that he was open to a review that would lift it.
The results of a forthcoming study, which was provided to Checkpoint, found
that a repeal on transgender service could be lifted in a way that would not
be burdensome or exceedingly complex for the military. The Palm Center, a
think tank in San Francisco that promotes the study of lesbian, gay,
bisexual and transgender people in the military, says that there already are
15,500 transgender personnel in the U.S. military, but they are not allowed
to serve openly.
The center reached that figure by extrapolation based on surveys conducted
with veterans, said retired Army Maj. Gen. Gale S. Pollock, a former deputy
surgeon general of the Army, who helped lead the Palm Center commission
examining the issue. The commission included several other retired military
officers, including Army Brig. Gen. Clara Adams-Ender, who once led the
Army’s nurse corps, and Army Brig. Gen. Thomas A. Kolditz, who is now a
professor at Yale University.
“From a military officer perspective, we consider honor and integrity to be
just essential values,” Pollock said. “But how can we say that when we’re
asking these men and women to lie about who they are? That’s very comparable
to the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ piece. To me, it’s just wrong.”"
8-25-14: Huffington Post: "Mills College Changes Policy To Allow
Transgender Students To Enroll"
"For the first time in its 162 years as a school of higher education, one
all-women's college will become the first higher education, all-female
institution in America to consider an application from any individual who
self-identifies as a woman.
Mills College in California recently changed its admissions policy to allow
anyone who self-identifies as a woman to apply to the school.
This definition reportedly includes individuals whose gender identity
falls outside of the male/female binary and those not assigned female at
birth but who identify as women. Those assigned female at birth but who
transition to male while enrolled will also
not reportedly be asked to leave the university.
"Mills has the most open policy with regards to trans students," Skylar
Crownover, the university's next student body president,
told SFGate. "It's been the unwritten policy of Mills for a while now,
but to see it finally put down in words and to see it official is a great
According to Brian O'Rourke, vice president of enrollment and admissions at
Mills, three to five students out of every 1,000 enrolled
identify either as transgender or something other than the gender they
were assigned at birth.
Admission of individuals not assigned female at birth to all-female
universities has been an issue for some time, most notably surrounding the
high-profile case of Calliope Wong and Smith College. Wong
was rejected from Smith College because her government financial aid
forms identified her as male, and she ultimately did not receive admission
to the university. While Smith
has said they will continue to address the issue, the
university's policy currently states: "Smith expects that, to be
eligible for review, a student’s application and supporting documentation
(transcripts, recommendations, etc.) will reflect her status as a woman.""
8-21-14: New York Daily News: "Pennsylvania transgender teen commits
suicide by stepping in front of train"
"A suicide note left behind by a Pennsylvania transgender teen hints at
depression and being “a prisoner” of his body.
“My mirror reflects Jessica, my heart and mind say Riley,” wrote Riley
Moscatel, 17, on Tuesday just before he was killed by an oncoming Amtrak
train near Croyden. “You see me as the happiest person in school, I’m a
prisoner of my own body.”
Surveillance footage confirmed the suspicion that the Bucks County Technical
High School senior born as Jessica took his own life at about 1:30 p.m.
after fighting a private, but desperate struggle to identify as Riley.
The teen struggled with depression years before he decided to publicly
self-identify as Riley earlier this year. However,
in an interview with the Trentonian newspaper, his parents continued to
reference him as their daughter.
“She did a really good job of masking her depression in front of the people
that she loved,” his father, Rich Moscatel told the newspaper. “We’re still
kicking ourselves as to what was the straw that broke the camel’s back. She
was dealing with a lot of pressures.”
Riley had no problem adjusting from Jessica to Riley at his Fairless Hills
school where other transgender or gay students attended including his
friend, Kate Cimino, who described Riley as “everyone’s best friend.”
“Even though everyone showed support and called him Riley, it didn’t match
up to what he felt of himself,”
Cimino told the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Riley wanted to have breast surgery, but his mother, Kristine Moscatel, gave
him a binder to help flatten his chest even though she admits his transition
was hard to handle after having a daughter for 17 years.
“She’s my daughter. She’ll always be my daughter,” Moscatel told the
Trentonian. “We were trying to accept and never said, ‘No, you can’t be a
Riley had also been researching hormone treatments he could begin after his
18th birthday in December.
“If I could choose if I was born a girl or guy I would have chosen a guy,”
Riley wrote in another Instagram post describing his female-to-male
dysphoria. “Most female-to-males wouldn’t agree because (their) journey made
them stronger, but it really takes a toll on me.”"
8-19-14: Quartz (re India): "Delhi University is about to accept
transgender students—now comes the harder part" (more,
"Delhi University’s decision last week to
introduce the “third
gender” category in its post-graduate
degree application forms has been hailed as a progressive move towards
inclusion. But transgender students fear that the university is rushing
through with a measure whose implications it may not be prepared to handle.
The university has introduced a third gender option under the Other Backward
Classes category on application forms for post-graduate courses. This has
come four months after a Supreme Court judgement gave legal recognition to
transgender people and a month after the University Grants Commission asked
educational institutions to introduce a third gender option on application
But the decision has raised an array of questions that Delhi University has
not yet been able to answer. Will the staff of the university be sensitized,
for instance, to handle the admissions of transgender students smoothly? How
will it ensure the safety of these students since Delhi University no longer
has an inclusive sexual harassment policy? How will the university address
smaller, but vital, issues such as toilet and hostel facilities for them?
Activists are skeptical. “We have been a bit skeptical about the
university’s decision because often, such changes happen only on paper,”
says Aapurv Jain, the co-ordinator of Delhi University’s informal gender
studies group. “Transgenders constantly face a lot of harassment from other
students, teachers and college administration, so the university needs to
have a plan for their safety before opening up admissions to them” . . .
Getting a school education is itself a difficult achievement for most
transgenders, who often have no support from their families and live with
severe financial constraints. Many are forced to get college degrees through
online courses, and given the hostility towards sexual minorities in Indian
society, they end up facing huge problems finding employment, housing or
even healthcare. According to Jain of the Delhi University gender studies
group, transgenders often face greater social harassment than gay or lesbian
students in educational institutions.
“Our system is not accommodating of transgenders as a whole,” says Taksh.
“So offering us the opportunity to get just a post-graduate degree is like
trying to build a house without a foundation, or telling us to eat cake when
we have no bread.”
While DU officials reportedly claimed
that the third gender option was introduced only in post-graduate courses
because it was too late for under-graduate applications this year, Taksh and
other university members believe such a move should have been introduced at
the lower levels, and should be preceded by sensitivity training for all
The time is right. “If this move focuses just on getting a tick in the box
and not creating attitudinal change, then it won’t make much of a difference
to transgender students,” says Anjana Srivastava, an associate professor of
English and convener of the women’s development cell at Delhi University’s
Kamala Nehru College. However, even though Abha Habib admits the new project
could have been implemented better, she believes it is not too early to
introduce the third gender option in the university. “For transgenders to be
empowered and to raise their voices, they need to be in classrooms,”
8-19-14: Metro Weekly: "Labor Department protects transgender
employees of federal contractors"
"The Labor Department issued guidance Tuesday clarifying that discrimination
against the employees of federal contractors on the basis of transgender
status is considered discrimination based on sex under federal law.
published Tuesday, Director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance
Programs Patricia Shiu confirmed the
been issued “clarifying that sex discrimination extends to gender identity
and transgender status.”
The announcement comes more than two years after
the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) found in
Macy v. Holder
that “sex discrimination,” which is prohibited under federal law, includes
discrimination against transgender people. But in the years since that
ruling in April 2012, the Labor Department would not indicate whether it was
applying the decision to protect transgender employees of federal
contractors. At that time, Executive Order 11246 prohibited federal
contractors are prohibited from discrimination on the basis of of race,
color, religion, sex or national origin.
During a surprise visit to the White House press briefing in February, Labor
Secretary Perez said that the application of the EEOC ruling was still under
“That issue is under review in the aftermath of
decision. And I’ve asked my staff to expedite that review so that we can
bring that issue to conclusion at the Department of Labor,” Perez said,
adding that he hopes the review “will come to an end as soon as possible.”
In June, Perez went further,
making clear that guidance would be issued
to update “enforcement protocols and anti-discrimination guidance to clarify
that we provide the full protection of the federal non-discrimination laws
that we enforce to transgender individuals.”
That announcement came after the White House
June 16 that President Barack Obama would sign a long-sought executive order
prohibiting federal contractors. Executive Order 11246, which Obama amended
to include those LGBT protections, is enforced by the Office of Federal
Contract Compliance Programs.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, the guidance will both equip
employees of federal contractors experiencing discrimination with an
additional avenue to file a complaint outside of the EEOC process and put
employees on notice of existing nondiscrimination regulations.
“The Labor Department guidance issued today is a giant step toward ensuring
American workers are judged based on the work they do, and never because of
a fundamental aspect of who they are – like their gender identity,” said HRC
Legal Director Sarah Warbelow in a statement. “Transgender people face some
of the highest levels of discrimination in our community, particularly in
the workplace. And while explicit workplace protections are still needed at
all levels of government, transgender people who work for federal
contractors can now use this guidance as further protection from
discrimination on the job.”"
8-19-14: SFist: "First Transgender Officer Graduates From San
Francisco Police Academy [Video]"
"Last Friday, 33 recruits from the San Francisco Police Academy graduated
and became officers, but one represented a milestone for the city: Mikayla
Connell is the first transgender person in her class and any that came
KTVU captures in the above video, Connell gives a touching speech as the
elected president of her academy class, her voice breaking as she says "I
could not be more prouder of you." That night, she also received two awards
for academic achievement.
Connell, who started transitioning in 2001, first applied to be a police
officer in the early '90s, but ended up dropping out and joining the Army,
then going to law school."
There's literally been a sea change in the way, at least this state and
maybe the country, views LGBT people and transgender people." Connell says,
adding: "I got literally nothing but love and acceptance from my
Now Connell is 45, the oldest graduate in her class, and ready to be an
example in the transgender community.
"It means you can't screw up, because you can't ruin it for everyone coming
behind you," Connell says. "I know people...are going to be watching me. I
cannot let them down."
8-19-14: Huffington Post: "A Transgender Student Who Was Reportedly
Banned From Her School Receives Good News" (more,
"A transgender student who was reportedly
told she would not be allowed back at school because of her new gender
identity scored a victory Monday evening.
Rachel Pepe, 13, previously attended Thorne Middle
School in New Jersey as a male student.
However, when her mother told a school official she would be returning to
the classroom this year as Rachel, the school reportedly said she would not
be allowed back and that it would not find her an alternative school to
attend, according to New Jersey's Asbury Park Press.
"He was going to school last year as Brian," Angela Peters, Rachel's mother,
told the outlet, adding that her daughter had been suffering from
depression. "How can I send her back as Rachel? And I am not sending her
back as Brian because the depression will start again."
On Monday evening, however, the superintendent of
the school district, William O. George, said he would work with staff to
make sure Rachel could attend school in a safe environment. According to
Garden State Equality, George said Middletown Township Public Schools staff
would undergo lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender sensitivity training.
"We applaud Superintendent George for taking the right steps to affirm the
health and safety of students," GSE Executive Director Andrea Bowen said in
a statement. "This is a victory for transgender students everywhere. This
Middletown student and students like her are heroes for standing up for
their needs. We're excited that the community came together in dialogue to
bring this situation to a happy resolution."
George said he was not initially aware of the situation, but that he could
not disclose much information because of confidentiality laws.
"We as a district want to do everything we can as a district," George told
the Asbury Park Press. "Every child is different and their education and
social and emotional well being is my priority. We will work with them to
find the appropriate placement."
Rachel told the Asbury Park Press that she wanted to make her story public
so she could potentially help other struggling teens.
"There could be other kids scared out there, who live secretly at school and
go home and be themselves," she told the outlet. "If this helps one person,
I can be happy about that, too.""
8-17-14: ABC News: "‘Orange Is the New Black’ Star Laverne Cox’s One
Wish for America"
"Laverne Cox, star of the Netflix hit series
“Orange Is the New Black,” is breaking barriers for the transgender
community both on and off the screen. In an interview for
Week”, she shared her one wish for
America with ABC’s Byron Pitts.
“One thing I would wish for America…[are] spaces where we have real gender
freedom, where we…create spaces of gender self-determination, where we don’t
police people’s genders or we don’t tell people that they’re not supposed to
act a certain way,” Cox said.
Cox has spent her whole life dealing with discrimination and harassment.
Growing up in Mobile, Ala., she was constantly bullied for her gender
expression, she said.
“I was bullied and I internalized a lot of shame about who I was as a
child,” Cox said. “Bullied because I didn’t act the way someone assigned
male at birth was supposed to act. And so I was called sissy, I was called
the F-word. I was chased home from school practically every day. There was
always a kid or groups of kids who wanted to beat me up,” she said.
Overwhelmed by social persecution, she attempted suicide at an early age,
Cox said. “The suicide attempt happened when I was in sixth grade and I was
having all these feelings about other boys. And I didn’t want to live,” Cox
Hollywood blockbusters and hit TV series like “Orange Is the New Black” are
shining a new spotlight on transgender rights, starring characters like her
own that Cox says many in the trans community can relate to.
READ: Six Questions for Transgender Rights Advocate Mara Keisling.
“So many trans folks have said that they see themselves reflected in this
character,” Cox said. “Having your story told validates your experience.
It’s like, ‘I’m not alone anymore, and maybe I’ll be OK.
Cox has helped raise awareness and give voice to members of the trans
community, pushing forward this newest battle on the civil rights front.
“I’m really, really happy that I survived,” she said. “If I didn’t survive,
I wouldn’t be here today.”"
8-17-14: People: "Transgender Model Geena Rocero Reveals Why She
Shared Her Secret" (more,
"Long before her
TED talk made
headlines in March, model Geena Rocero agonized over what it would mean – to
her, to her bosses, to her career – if it came out that the gorgeous woman
modeling bikinis in fashion mags had started life as a boy.
"There was always that fear: What if people found
out? They'd think I'd duped them, and maybe I'd lose my regular clients. It
could ruin my career," Rocero tells
in its September issue. "I carried the paranoia with me every day."
Rocero, 30, explains that, being born a boy in the Philippines, where the
transgender community has a long history in the culture, she loved playing
with her Barbie dolls, sewed clothes for them, and, at age 8, tagged along
to a transgender beauty pageant.
"I always knew I felt something different," she says. In junior high, she
wore the boys' uniform of her Catholic school "but I'd have it altered to
make the waist tiny and the slacks fitted and a pocket like the girls had."
And while some in the streets hurled gay epithets at her, "I did not feel
gay," she says. "I just felt I was a girl."
With the support of her parents, Rocero, who relocated to San Francisco at
the age of 17 with her mother, underwent her "dream" of sex reassignment
surgery not long after settling in the U.S.
"It was like a rebirth. I never enjoyed having sex before, and all of a
sudden it felt good. I was much more in touch with my sensuality, and I went
crazy exploring it," she says.
But once she established herself as a successful model and had a couple of
relationships under her belt, the truth of her history – and having to edit
that history for anyone who got close to her – began to gnaw at her. When a
boyfriend asked if she'd ever been in the Girl Scouts, she answered by
saying she'd been in the Boy Scouts.
The tipping point came on the dawn of her 30th birthday. When her then
boyfriend asked her, "What does 30 mean to you?" Rocero says she decided
then and there, "I don't give a damn anymore. I'm ready to share my full
journey as a woman.""
8-13-14: Huffington Post: "Transmormon Sheds Light on Trans Members of
the LDS Church" (Video)
"Last summer production wrapped on a small project called
Transmormon, a 15-minute documentary focusing on the Haywards,
a Mormon family whose transgender child was pursuing sex reassignment
surgery. On the day that production wrapped last year, July 7, 2013, the
family boarded a plane to Thailand to complete the process of "Eddie"
Like much of America and other branches of Christianity, the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints has been reexamining its position on marriage,
gender roles, and sexual expression. It was only
last year that they changed their position on female missionaries,
allowing them to depart at an earlier age. But whatever may come of these
new considerations for today's religious teenagers and their families, the
world that Eri grew up in left no way to question her assigned sex, let
alone articulate her gender identity.
As the documentary points out, the Haywards were conservative Mormons who
were not sure how to respond to their child when she came to them, confused
that she felt like two people -- the boy she saw in the mirror and the girl
she knew herself to be. Eri's father, Ed Hayward, explains in the film, "She
came to me one time, when she was probably about 4 years old, crying and
saying that, 'Daddy, I want to be a girl.' And at the time I just thought
she was going through some kind of a phase."
"When it was explained to [me] that I was a boy, it was because God had made
me that way," Eri says in the film, adding that that "didn't make a really
great relationship, as a 5 year old, between me and God."
Caught in the tension between the LDS Church's teachings and her gender
identity, Eri created a fantasy world for herself. "For the longest time I
kind of had this fantasy that I'd escape to that a fairy godmother would
come and turn me into a girl and make everything better," she says.
On the outside, things seemed to have worked themselves out by her teens.
"Eddie" was ordained to the priesthood in her church and appointed as first
assistant to the bishop. At 16 "Eddie" -- identifying as a boy at this point
-- began dating a girl from the church. The family relaxed, believing that
things were getting better. "Eddie" was behaving less effeminately, but
inside she knew something didn't fit. Because she really was attracted to
boys, Eri felt she must be gay, so she came out to her community, trying to
sort out what this meant and what she had been feeling. One of the hardest
parts, she says, was watching her sister begin dating. "That was really
hard. I was like, 'Of course. I'm this ugly boy, and my sister is
this beautiful girl. That was a really difficult thing for me to
Eri eventually quit high school. "[B]eing at a Mormon private school, I
didn't graduate; I just stopped going when I came out [as gay]," she says.
The family decided to send her to Japan to stay with her grandparents in
hopes that a change of scenery might help. One day, Eri was watching
television when a panel on trans people came on. "My grandmother turned to
me and was like, 'Oh, this is all about you!'" she recalls . . . "
8-05-14: The Advocate: "Op-ed: An Open Letter to The New Yorker --When
The New Yorker took a look at the tension between transgender women and
radical feminists, one writer says the examination was unfair", by
You probably don’t remember me — I was the
transgender activist who briefly appeared toward the end of that
Michelle Goldberg article
you ran last week. You know, the one about the “dispute between radical
feminism and transgenderism.” I know, that topic sounds somewhat bizarre and
potentially fascinating — I’m sure you got lots of click-throughs on it! But
the thing is, it was a rather awful experience on my end, and I want to
share why with you.
For me, the story begins several months ago when
Goldberg contacted me about an article she was intending to write about
“tensions between trans activists and some radical feminists.” She wanted to
interview me for her piece, which makes sense for several reasons. I am a
trans woman who has written
the intersection of feminism and transgender activism. Some of that work
critiques strands of feminism that have historically been antagonistic
toward transgender people, and trans woman-exclusion policies (i.e., when
women’s spaces or organizations bar trans women from attending because we
were assigned a male sex at birth). As you can imagine, trans-exclusive
radical feminists (or TERFs, as they are often called*)—who believe that
transgender activism upholds the patriarchy and who deny and disrespect
trans people’s identities — are not especially fond of my work (to put it
quite mildly) . . ."
8-04-14: Autostraddle (posted 7/29): "The New Yorker’s Skewed History
of Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminism Ignores Actual Trans Women"
"Media coverage of transgender issues has
increased rapidly in the last few years as trans people have made larger and
louder pushes for relatively basic rights and recognition. Unfortunately, as
ground is gained in the fight for trans acceptance, the opposition to that
progress only grows more louder and more aggressive. This is visible in
Michelle Goldberg’s latest piece for
The New Yorker,
which investigates the conflict between trans-exclusionary radical feminists
and the transgender population. Sadly, what she presents is a disturbingly
one-sided view of the situation that relies on heavily anecdotal evidence,
uncited claims and debunked theories, and ignores the extended campaign of
harassment and attack that the the trans community has endured at the hands
of radical feminists.
Let’s start with the numbers. In the piece,
Goldberg mentions the names of 14 radical feminist activists (frequently
providing physical descriptions), and provides quotes from nine of them —
including two from books penned by radfems. In contrast, she mentions and
quotes a total of four trans women (zero from books), and two of them are
quoted to supporting the radical feminist position. The problem isn’t
necessarily that Goldberg appears to side with the radical feminist
viewpoint; that’s perfectly within her rights, and perfectly within
The New Yorker’s
right to print it. The real issue is that Ms Goldberg gives the impression
that she’s covering the conflict between the trans rights movement and
radical feminism — after all, the piece is subtitled “The dispute between
radical feminism and transgenderism” — but gives only passing lip service to
the transgender community’s side of this situation. In failing to provide a
semblance of balance to the voices in the piece, this account becomes
hopelessly skewed, and becomes little more than a radical feminist
propaganda piece . . . "
8-04-14: Bitch Magazine (posted 8/1): "TERF War: The New Yorker's
One-Sided Article Undermines Transgender Identity", by
"Reading Michelle Goldberg's recent
is a Woman? The Dispute Between Radical Feminism and Transgenderism” made
me feel sick.
The article is meant to paint a clear picture of a longstanding debate
within feminist groups about whether transgender women should be accepted as
women, profiling several feminists and exploring the history of current
discussions about the push to exclude transgender women from “women only”
spaces. But in the process, it paints trans identity as suspect, does
nothing to counter the hurtful misconception that trans women are either
"men" exercising entitled "male privilege" in deeming themselves female or
sexual fetishists acting out "erotic compulsions," and holds up authors
who've written book-length academic works delineating these ideas as noble,
While this may sound like speculative fiction set in a world where
trans-exclusionary radical feminist (TERF) theories have conquered queer and
gender studies communities, it's not. Instead, it's something more
disheartening: a one-sided profile that’s sympathetic to writers and
activists who've spent their careers working to marginalize and persecute
the already-oppressed transgender community.
Trans-exclusionary radical feminists posit that
transgender women can never be considered women. At their worst, they argue
that transgender women are malicious in their deceit, aiming to infiltrate
female-only spaces with the goal of harassing or raping other women. These
feminists who campaign against gender-neutral
bathrooms and support the exclusion of
transgender women from other women-only spaces.
In the article, it feels like Goldberg personally
has a low opinion of social justice activists—that’s the view presented in
her other recent article "Feminism’s
Toxic Twitter Wars." One of the biggest
problems in the New Yorker
piece is that Goldberg presents trans people's
self-definitions as opinions: "Trans women say that they are women because
they feel female—that, as some put it, they have women’s brains in men’s
bodies.” TERF’s views are presented the same way, following the previous
statement with this one, "Radical feminists reject the notion of a 'female
brain.' They believe that if women think and act differently from men it’s
because society forces them to, requiring them to be sexually attractive,
nurturing, and deferential."
Reading this passage, one might think TERFs and trans people have a
philosophical or semantic debate. Trans people's identities, for which they
and their allies are waging a worldwide human rights campaign to define as
legally legitimate—backed by decades of medical and psychological data—and
TERFs' hateful academic theories carry equal weight and import. If those two
sides were balanced in the piece, readers might walk away with a shoulder
shrug, “Who knows whether trans identity is legitimate or not?” The title of
the piece certainly encourages this confusion, making it a question as to
whether transgender women should be seen as women."
The New Yorker: "What Is a Woman? The dispute between radical feminism and
"On May 24th, a few dozen people gathered in a conference room at the
Central Library, a century-old Georgian Revival building in downtown
Portland, Oregon, for an event called Radfems Respond. The conference had
been convened by a group that wanted to defend two positions that have made
radical feminism anathema to much of the left.
First, the organizers hoped to refute charges that the desire to ban
prostitution implies hostility toward prostitutes. Then they were going to
try to explain why, at a time when transgender rights are ascendant, radical
feminists insist on regarding transgender women as men, who should not be
allowed to use women’s facilities, such as public rest rooms, or to
participate in events organized exclusively for women.
The dispute began more than forty years ago, at the height of the
second-wave feminist movement. In one early skirmish, in 1973, the West
Coast Lesbian Conference, in Los Angeles, furiously split over a scheduled
performance by the folksinger Beth Elliott, who is what was then called a
transsexual. Robin Morgan, the keynote speaker, said:
"I will not call a male “she”; thirty-two years of suffering in this
androcentric society, and of surviving, have earned me the title “woman”;
one walk down the street by a male transvestite, five minutes of his being
hassled (which he may enjoy), and then he dares, he dares to think he
understands our pain? No, in our mothers’ names and in our own, we must not
call him sister."
Such views are shared by few feminists now, but they still have a foothold
among some self-described radical feminists, who have found themselves in an
acrimonious battle with trans people and their allies. Trans women say that
they are women because they feel female—that, as some put it, they have
women’s brains in men’s bodies. Radical feminists reject the notion of a
“female brain.” They believe that if women think and act differently from
men it’s because society forces them to, requiring them to be sexually
attractive, nurturing, and deferential. In the words of Lierre Keith, a
speaker at Radfems Respond, femininity is “ritualized submission.” . . .
Yet, at the same time, the trans-rights movement is growing in power and
cachet: a recent Time cover featuring the actress Laverne Cox was headlined
“THE TRANSGENDER TIPPING POINT.” The very word “transgender,” which first
came into wide use in the nineteen-nineties, encompasses far more people
than the term “transsexual” did. It includes not just the small number of
people who seek gender-reassignment surgery—according to frequently cited
estimates, about one in thirty thousand men and one in a hundred thousand
women—but also those who take hormones, or who simply identify with the
opposite gender, or, in some cases, with both or with neither. (According to
the National Center survey, most trans women have taken female hormones, but
only about a quarter of them have had genital surgery.) The elasticity of
the term “transgender” has forced a rethinking of what sex and gender mean;
at least in progressive circles, what’s determinative isn’t people’s
chromosomes or their genitals or the way that they were brought up but how
they see themselves.
Having rejected this supposition, radical feminists now find themselves in a
position that few would have imagined when the conflict began: shunned as
reactionaries on the wrong side of a sexual-rights issue. It is, to them, a
baffling political inversion . . . "
[Ed: Old radfems never change; they just fade away.]
8-01-14: NBC4 Washington DC: "Transgender Girl Stabbed in Back on
Green Line Train, Suspect in Custody" (more,
"A transgender 15-year-old girl was stabbed in the back aboard a Metro train
Wednesday afternoon, D.C. police say. The attack at the Fort Totten station
on the green line going toward Branch Avenue was reported just after 4:30
The girl's friends told News4 the suspect, identified as 24-year-old
Reginald Anthony Klaiber, came up to the group inside the train and insulted
the victim's appearance, asking why she was wearing a wig and commenting on
what she was wearing.
According to documents, the victim repeatedly told Klaiber to leave her
alone, but he was persistent and asked her, "Are you a boy? Are you a boy?
... Why you be looking like a girl?
Document say that when the train stopped at Fort Totten station, both the
victim and Klaiber got up. That's when documents say Klaiber grabbed her
from behind in a bear hug and stabbed her in the back. Documents say one of
the victim's friends then sprayed Klaiber with pepper spray.
The victim and her two friends then ran off the train with Klaiber giving
chase, documents say, shouting, "I'm going to [stab you] again!" Klaiber was
apprehended shortly after and charged with assault with deadly weapon.
Metro Police say the charges include the possibility of enhanced penalties
for hate or bias motivation. If convicted, Klaiber could be subject to a
1.5-time enhancement under D.C. law. According to court records uncovered by
News4, Klaiber has a lengthy criminal history that includes previous charges
of assault and resisting arrest."
7-30-14: Rolling Stone: "The Transgender Crucible As a homeless trans
teen, CeCe McDonald suffered a lifetime of hardships. But when she was
charged with murder for simply defending herself, she became a folk hero"
". . . Touching her cheek, CeCe felt a shock of pain as her finger entered
the open wound where Flaherty's glass had punctured her salivary gland.
Purse still over her shoulder, CeCe fast-walked from the scene. She'd made
it more than a half-block away when she heard her friends calling, "Watch
CeCe whirled around to see Schmitz heading toward her: walking, then
running, his face a twist of wild, unrestrained hatred. CeCe felt terror
burst out from that remote place where she normally locked it away. She
didn't know that Schmitz's veins were pounding with cocaine and meth. She
didn't know of his lengthy rap sheet, including convictions for assault. Nor
did she know that under Schmitz's shirt, inked across his solar plexus, was
a four-inch swastika tattoo. All CeCe needed to see was the look on his face
to know her worst fears were coming true: Her young life was about to end as
a grim statistic, the victim of a hate crime.
"Come here, bitch!" Schmitz roared as he closed in. CeCe pedaled backward,
blood dripping from her slashed face.
"Didn't y'all get enough?" CeCe asked, defiant and afraid, while her hand
fished into her large handbag for anything to protect herself. Her fingers
closed on a pair of black-handled fabric scissors she used for school. She
held them up high as a warning, their five-inch blades glinting in the
parking-lot floodlights. Schmitz stopped an arm's length away, raising
clenched fists and shuffling his feet in a boxing stance. His eyes were
terrible with rage.
"Bitch, you gonna stab me?" he shouted. They squared off for a tense moment:
the furious white guy, amped up on meth, Nazi tattoo across his belly; the
terrified black trans woman with a cartoon pony on her T-shirt; the scissors
between them. CeCe saw Schmitz lunge toward her and braced herself for
impact. Their bodies collided, then separated. He was still looking at her.
"Bitch – you stabbed me!"
"Yes, I did," CeCe announced, even as she wondered if that could possibly be
true; in the adrenaline of the moment, she'd felt nothing. Scanning Schmitz
over, she saw no sign of injury – though in fact he'd sustained a wound so
grisly that CeCe would later recall to police that the button-down shirt
Schmitz wore that night was not white but "mainly red. Like one of them
Hawaiian shirts." CeCe waited until he turned to rejoin his crowd. Then she
and Thomas ran arm in arm down the block toward the nearly empty Cub Foods
parking lot, where they waited for police to arrive . . .
[Ed: A powerful in-depth report that says it all.]
7-27-14: Queerty: "Federal Government Grants Christian Colleges Right
To Expel Transgender Students"
"You can’t say that Christian Colleges aren’t
keeping up with the times. Now they’ve discovered transgender people.
As a target of discrimination,
Two conservative Christian colleges have been
granted an exemption to federal education regulations on religious grounds.
The regulation, Title IX, provides nondiscrimination protections that the
Department of Education
recently determined apply to transgender students.
Needless to say, two colleges have stepped forward to say that they don’t
want to offer those protections because they want to kick transgender
students out of their schools.
The colleges, Spring Arbor University in Michigan and Simpson University in
California, argue that they should be able to expel students at will because
the Bible tells them so.
“The university has deeply held religious beliefs, based upon Biblical
principles and the Book of Discipline, which do not allow for any sexuality,
other than heterosexuality,” Spring Arbor wrote in its request to the
Department of Education. “The university also believes, based upon Biblical
principles, that a person cannot change their birth gender.” Spring Arbor
also sought–and was granted–the right to expel lesbian and gay students.
Simpson was equally unapologetic about this request. “[S]exual practices
that are divorced from loving, conventional relationships between men and
women pervert God’s intentions and result in sinful behavior that ruptures
relationships between men and women, and erodes the relationship between
human beings and their creator.”
The Department of Education said that it had no choice but to grant the
exceptions, which are readily available on the basis of religious grounds."
7-26-14: The Oregonian: "Families of transgender children find the path of
"Three-year-old N.H. didn’t understand why his teachers stopped him from
walking into his preschool’s bathroom with green walls with fire trucks on
the wall. He liked it more than the pink girls bathroom. Plus, N.H. told
them he was a boy.
Yet, when his mom explained to the administrators of the Corvallis school,
where tuition cost more than $10,000 a year, they insisted the gender listed
on his birth certificate determined his bathroom. He was a girl, they said.
So his mom moved N.H. to a preschool that accepted N.H. for who he is. Now
5, N.H. is a transgender boy, which means he was assigned a gender at birth
based on his body that doesn’t match how he feels. “I’m a boy, and when
people call me a girl, I get mad and I stick my tongue out,” N.H. said. Then
The Corvallis family with a transgender son asked to use initials because
most people in the community know N.H. as a boy only, and they don’t want to
risk bullying if his peers find out . . .
Many people think that being transgender means that someone underwent sex
reassignment surgery, but that is an expensive step that not every
transgender person wants, nor can afford. In Corvallis and many places in
America, it’s difficult to be transgender. Many transgender kids face
extreme bullying from their peers and adults, or lose their families. N.H.’s
family, though, supports him completely.
“The way I see it is I have two kids and they need to be raised and taken
care of, and everything else is secondary,” his mom, A.H., said. They are
trying to bring together a community of families with transgender children
in the Corvallis area to feel less alone."
7-24-14: Huffington Post: "Super Model Andreja Pejic Comes Out As
Pejic, formerly known as Andrej Pejic,
has come out as transgender.
A statement emailed to The Huffington Post by
Pejic "will only be modeling women's clothing going forward and has received
support from her agency, friends and family."
Pejic, who previously made waves in the fashion
industry with her androgynous look and has been featured on the covers of
Elle and French Vogue, among other publications, and
has walked in
both men's and women's fashion shows,
said in a statement,
"To all trans youth out there, I would like to say respect yourself and be
proud of who you are. All human beings deserve equal treatment no matter
their gender identity or sexuality. To be perceived as what you say you are
is a basic human right."
"I figured out who I was very early on—actually, at the age of 13, with the
help of the Internet—so I knew that a transition, becoming a woman, was
always something I needed to do. But it wasn’t possible at the time, and I
put it off, and androgyny became a way of expressing my femininity without
having to explain myself to people too much."
On her decision to change her name by adding an
"a" to the end of it, Pejic noted, "it’s
not a full transformation —it’s just an
evolution." She added, "...Andrej is a Christian Orthodox name, and in that
religion, it’s definitely a male name. So I kept the 'j' and added an 'a,'
which actually becomes a name that I don’t think exists. But I wanted to
keep the 'j' because that’s me. That’s my name."
For the full interview with Style.com,
7-24-14: Huffington Post: "Janet Mock Named Contributing Editor At
"What a week for some of our favorite
New York Times bestselling author Janet Mock
received a big honor this week
when Marie Claire named the writer as a contributing editor to their
publication. The transgender inspiration
will reportedly contribute
to both print and online articles for Marie Claire, as well as serving as
the brand ambassador.
Marie Claire Editor-in-Chief Anne Fulenwider
spoke highly of Mock
and her work:
“Janet is an incredibly smart and articulate writer. Her ideas about
identity, youth culture, and society’s changing norms about beauty
illuminate the ever-evolving definition of the modern woman. I look forward
to adding her unique point of view to our pages.”
first shared her story
about growing up as a transgender woman through a seminal article in Marie
Claire in 2011. A number of Mock's fans and supporters took to Twitter to
congratulate the writer on this most recent achievement and applaud the
7-23-14: Los Angeles Times: "Editorial: It's time to end the ban
against transgender soldiers"
"What does transgenderism have in common with drug
abuse and schizophrenia? According to the Department of Defense, they are
all reasons to bar people from military service.
The repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" may have
ended the ban on openly gay and lesbian troops, but a ban remains in place
for an estimated 15,000 transgender troops, who must serve in secret or not
at all. This groundless policy not only weakens the military, it stigmatizes
transgenderism and deprives military personnel and veterans of the
transgender-specific healthcare they need — even as other federal programs
such as Medicare have lifted similar restrictions.
Military regulations have lagged behind on issues of civil rights for
centuries. Commanding officers use the same reasoning to ban transgender
troops that they previously did to ban female and gay troops: They're not
fit for battle. It will harm unit cohesion. Yet time and again, these
assertions have proved to be unfounded.
The Palm Center, a think tank at San Francisco State University that focuses
on LGBT issues in the military, put these archaic notions to rest earlier
this year in a study co-chaired by former Surgeon Gen. Joycelyn Elders and
Rear Adm. Alan M. Steinman, MD. The report declared that "there is no
compelling medical rationale to exclude transgender people from military
service, and eliminating the ban would enable commanders to better care for
their troops." Retired Brig. Gen. Thomas A. Kolditz, who served on the
commission, predicted that ending the ban would reduce harassment, assaults
If the military is unswayed by the research,
perhaps it should consider the story of
For 20 years, Beck served in the Navy SEALs, seeing 13 deployments, most of
them in combat, and earning an impressive slate of military awards and
decorations, including a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. In 2013, Beck came
out as a trans woman after years of hiding her true identity. "No one ever
met the real me," she told CNN's Anderson Cooper later that year.
In May, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel told ABC
News that he was open to reviewing the transgender ban, and President Obama
signed an executive order on Monday that includes formal protection of
transgender federal employees from discrimination at work.
When it comes to issues of civil rights, Obama,
like most politicians, has allowed public opinion to dictate his actions.
Progress has been made, but at an infuriatingly slow pace. If this president
hopes to be remembered for advancing equality, he won't wait any longer on
this issue. The military is not only America's largest employer, it's an
important face we present to the world — and no place for discrimination."
7-23-14: Huffington Post: "Comic Con San Diego To Hold Panel On
"Well done, Comic Con!
At this year's popular comic book convention in
San Diego, organizers have orchestrated a panel focusing specifically on
transgender issues. Called “Breaking Barriers: Transgender Trends in Popular
Culture," this panel is
reportedly the first of its kind
as it will consist solely of panelists that identify as transgender.
The panel is organized by Prism Comic's Tara
Madison Avery and
will reportedly analyze
the appearances and representations of trans characters and include open
discussion about the complexity and depth added by featuring the transgender
experience in comic books.
“In recent years, Transgender creators have gained
visibility in comics, movies, and television after long being consigned to
the Comic Con program reads.
"From coming out and transition to navigating gender politics in a world
still struggling to understand, cartoonists, writers, and filmmakers are
investing their work with unique personal experiences as their characters
learn to live and love in new and unexpected ways.”
Comic Con is
also slated to feature four additional panels
on comics and issues affect the lesbian, gay, bisexual (LGBT) community.
“Breaking Barriers: Transgender Trends in Popular Culture" will take place
at the San Diego Comic Con on Thursday, July 24 at 5:00 p.m."
7-23-14: Daily Nation (Kenya): "Court allows transgender activists to
register lobby group" (more)
"A group seeking to have their transgender status recognised in Kenya has
won a major legal battle. This is after a high court judge ordered the
Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) coordination board to register an
advocacy group for transgender people in a landmark ruling likely to open a
Pandora’s box of gender discrimination lawsuits.
Justice George Odunga criticised the board for declining to recognise the
Transgender Education and Advocacy (TEA), whose members had sued for
discrimination and violation of their fundamental human rights. Justice
Odunga said the board’s refusal to register the group amounted to a failure
in discharging statutory functions and mandate and “was unfair,
unreasonable, unjustified and in breach of rules of natural justice.”
He also ordered the board to compensate Ms Audrey Mbugua, Ms Maureen Muia
and Ms Annet Jennifer the cost of the three-year litigation. The judge said
the Constitution upheld the individuals' rights to assembly and cannot be
deterred on grounds of gender orientation.
The board had argued that it could not recognise the group's members since
the names they had submitted for registration were not the ones reflecting
their gender. However, the judge said there was evidence that Ms Mbugua and
her colleagues had indeed changed their names through a deed poll they
annexed in the suit papers.
The judge said the premise of gender cannot be used to deny registration. “A
public authority cannot be allowed to get away with discriminatory actions
that deny persons their rights of assembly which is a clear abuse of the
power bestowed on such an authority,” the judge added. He said the reasons
advanced for refusing to register the advocacy group had no legal basis and
Ms Audrey, formerly Andrew Ithibu Mbugua, has been battling for recognition
as a transsexual. She has a separate pending case in which she wants the
Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) to change the gender designation
in her certificates on the grounds that the male identity has rendered her
7-23-14: CTV (Canada): "11-year-old transgender girl ‘not done yet’
after changing birth certificate"
"An 11-year-old Vancouver Island girl was among the first 30 Britsh
Columbians to take advantage of a new law that allows transgender people to
change the sex listed on their birth certificates without having surgery.
According to her, she was the first person in line after the bill passed.
“I was probably the youngest,” Harriette Cunningham told CTV News. “I know I
was the first.”
The Comox resident said she’s always known she was a girl, despite being
labeled “male” on her original birth certificate. The new document is the
latest success in a campaign to get legal recognition for her gender that
began when she was 8 or 9, she said.
It just made me so mad and made me almost frustrated to know that I’m a girl
and then I look on my passport and it says that I’m a boy,” Cunningham said.
Some children who don’t conform to gender norms can be persuaded to stay
quiet about it in official situations like border crossings, Cunningham’s
father Colin told CTV News. That was never an option with Harriette, who’s
expecting a new passport soon to match her new birth certificate.
“For her, it was a matter of principle, where she wasn’t being acknowledged
for who she really was,” Colin Cunningham said.
The younger Cunningham has always been very sure of her gender identity, her
father said. It was up to her parents to educate themselves and support her
in her transition. It was a steep learning curve.
“We didn’t even know there were transgender youth,” Colin Cunningham said.
“Once she started down that path, it was really obvious. It was really
obvious that this is exactly who she is. It was us that had to catch up.”"
7-22-14: Baltimore Sun: "Maryland shifts insurance policy to cover
transition-related care of transgender employees"
"In a reversal of state healthcare policy,
Maryland can now access gender reassignment surgery, hormone therapy and
other transition-related care under their state-provided health insurance
The change quietly went into effect at the start of this month as the result
of legal negotiations in a discrimination case brought against the state by
The state agreed amid those negotiations to
reimburse Holobaugh's transition-related medical costs to date and apply the
new standard to all of its
health plans, rather than fight Holobaugh's claim in court.
"This is basically a fabulous shift in policy," Holobaugh said in an
The change makes Maryland the third state, after Oregon and California, to
offer such coverage to its employees, according to Holobaugh's attorneys at
Free State Legal, a nonprofit organization that represents lesbian, gay,
bisexual and transgender clients in Maryland. . .
Holobaugh's case began in November 2012, when Holobaugh paid nearly $4,500
out of pocket for a bilateral mastectomy as part of his transition, then
said he was denied reimbursement for the surgery by provider CareFirst
BlueCross BlueShield based on coverage restrictions under his state-provided
Holobaugh appealed the decision with the Maryland
Insurance Administration and the Maryland Attorney General's Office, he
said. As the case dragged on, he also
representation with Free State Legal.
Attorneys filed additional complaints on Holobaugh's behalf with the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission and the Maryland Commission on Civil
Rights, and soon after began out-of-court negotiations to settle the case
with officials in the state's Department of Budget & Management, which
oversees state employee compensation and benefits, including health
The change strips language explicitly banning coverage for such procedures
and care under state employee plans and replaces it with language adopted
from the World Professional Association for Transgender Health outlining a
broad array of transition-related care that employee plans will now cover."
7-21-14: MSNBC: "Obama signs historic order on LGBT equality" (more)
years after promising to do so,
President Barack Obama added his signature on Monday to an executive order
barring LGBT discrimination by federal contractors. He also went further and
formally amended a separate executive order to include workplace protections
for transgender employees of the U.S. government.
“I know I’m a little late,” said Obama, referring to the near-30 minute
delay of Monday’s signing ceremony (though some might argue that it was a
delay of six years and 30 minutes). “Many of you have worked for a long time
to see this day come.”
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe — a Democrat
first order of business after his inauguration
was to sign an executive order prohibiting discrimination on the basis of
sexual orientation or gender identity in the state government — Deputy
Secretary of Labor Chris Lu, and a number of LGBT workplace equality
advocates joined the president for the announcement. Obama declared that, as
of Monday, the federal government would “become just a little bit fairer.”
“For more than two centuries we have strived, often at great cost, to form a
more perfect union,” said Obama. “Many of us are only here because others
fought to secure rights and opportunities for us. We’ve got a responsibility
to do the same for future generations.”
Though the order won’t protect all LGBT employees,
it will apply to approximately 20% of the national workforce, which is the
percentage employed by federal contractors
legally bound to comply with the order. To cover the remaining 80%, the
president urged Congress to act on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act
(ENDA). If passed, the law would bar any employer from firing, refusing to
hire, or otherwise discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or
gender identity. A version of ENDA was first proposed on the House floor in
1974 . . .
The latest version of ENDA passed the U.S. Senate
last year, but failed to go anywhere in the Republican-controlled House.
After the U.S. Supreme Court issued a controversial ruling allowing
companies like Hobby Lobby, a craft store chain owned by evangelical
Christian family, to be exempt from contraception-related provisions under
the Affordable Care Act, LGBT advocates
walked away from ENDA
in its current form because the bill contained a
broad religious exemption.
Last week, the White House announced that Monday’s
would not include a similar exemption
despite pressure from high-profile faith leaders — some of whom are Obama’s
allies — to create one for religious organizations in business with the U.S.
government. Whatever their religious beliefs, all federal contractors will
be prohibited from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or
7-21-14: GID Reform: "Gender Troubles: What’s Wrong With the WHO
Proposal for Gender Incongruence in Childhood", guest post by Dr.
Breaking, on the GID Reform Advocates Blog-- "Gender Troubles: What’s Wrong
With the WHO Proposal for Gender Incongruence in Childhood" A Guest Post by
Sam Winter, Ph.D., Faculty of Education, University of Hong Kong . . .
previously a member of the World Health Organization (WHO) Working Group on
Sexual Disorders and Sexual Health.
"I believe that the proposed [Gender Incongruence of Childhood] diagnosis
[proposed for the ICD-11] pathologises patterns of development that should
not be pathologised, that the diagnosis is inconsistent with the approach
the [WHO] Working Group proposes for other children and youth (including,
importantly, homosexual youth), that the pathologisation carries risks for
the gender-different child (and indeed for the broader work of the Working
Group), and that there are alternative ways of providing health care
services for gender-different children (plus their parents, teachers and
others) who may need such services...In short the argument is for
de-pathologising, rather than simply de-psychopathologising,
genderdifference in childhood." --Dr. Sam Winter"
7-21-14: GIWExposed: "Gender Identity Watch Exposed"
"For several months, a hate group called Gender Identity Watch has posted
pictures and images of transgender women who have spoken out against them
online, along with personal information including where those people work,
the names of any spouses, their geographical location, and other demographic
Without further ado, I am about to level the playing field. The original
GenderIdentityWatch.com website, does not have geotag information on its
posters, however, the Facebook group certainly did.
The locations listed below were garnered from PUBLICLY available geotagging
information on the GIW original Facebook page, and represent those who
re-published the GIW information repeatedly, and repeatedly left pro-GIW
thank you posts on the GIW page. This is not secret information, or private
information, the addresses were garnered from those using their own names
coupled with geotagging information from their respective public Facebook
The ringleader for GIW, is Cathy Brennan, who lives on Banks Odee Rd,
Newburg MD 20664. Another prominent member, is Linda Hudson, Lafayette Pl,
Lake St Louis MO 63387. There is also Nancy Leaman, who lives in an
apartment on Bradley Ave, Meriden CT 06451, Justin Allen Norwood, a 29 yr
old gay male from San Angelo TX, and two prominent members in Queensland,
Australia - the first being Cailey Quinn, who owns a company called Paradise
ShadeUmbrellas, in Robena QLD Australia, and Kerry Van Gemert, who operates
East Coast Home Loans in QLD Australia.
Within the transgender community, we also have
a contributor to GIW, named
who works as a tattoo artist in Montreal QC Canada.
Catherine is someone who made many claims on social media websites, such as
Facebook, that she was a transgender female, and yet was sending information
back to GIW's Cathy Brennan. Katherine later changed her story to being
intersex, and an "androgynous weirdo" who was somehow excluded from GIW's
hate and taken into their inner circle."
7-20-14: EurWeb: "Laverne Cox Educates Katie Couric On The Struggles
of Transgender People"
Couric may have wanted to “educate”
others who may not be familiar with transgender, but it was she who received
a first hand account of being transgender, courtesy of
According to salon.com, the “Orange
Is the New Black” star put a halt to
Couric’s focus on her and transgender model
genitalia by presenting an issue that more than hits close to home for her.
“I do feel there is a preoccupation with that. The preoccupation with
transition and surgery objectifies trans people. And then we don’t get to
really deal with the real lived experiences. The reality of trans people’s
lives is that so often we are targets of violence,” Cox told Couric. “We
experience discrimination disproportionately to the rest of the community.
Our unemployment rate is twice the national average; if you are a trans
person of color, that rate is four times the national average. The homicide
rate is highest among trans women. If we focus on transition, we don’t
actually get to talk about those things.” . . .
Before speaking to Cox, Couric referenced an earlier segment that had
Carrera deflecting her questions about surgery and trans bodies. “I don’t
want to talk about it, it’s really personal,” Carrera replied. After
relaying the common struggle among transgender people, Cox continued to
educate Couric while mentioning the recent murder of Islan Nettles, a
21-year-old trans woman, in addition to the rate of violence against trans
people in the United States.
“By focusing on bodies we don’t focus on the lived realities of that
oppression and that discrimination,” Cox stated. To see more of Katie
Couric’s interview with Laverne Cox and Carmen Carrera, check out the video
. . . "
7-17-14: Newsweek: "Science Magazine Puts Transgender Women on
Cover, Without Their Heads" (more,
the academic journal of the American Association for the Advancement of
Science, put an image of transgender women sex workers on their
cover this week,
an extensive special section
about HIV/AIDS prevention approaches. However, on the cover, the women’s heads
were cut out of the frame, leaving only their bodies.
Prosanta Chakrabarty, an evolutionary biologist at
Louisiana University, pointed out the problem: "When we said we wanted more
women in Science this is not what we meant . . ."
7-17-14: Slate: "Science Has a Gender Problem. Science Just Made It
of Science magazine’s special AIDS and HIV issue hit mailboxes on Wednesday: It
shows the legs and minidress-clad torsos of transgender sex workers in Jakarta.
The women have breasts but no heads. “Staying a step ahead of HIV/AIDS,” reads
the display text, a winking inch or so away from their stiletto heels. Though
transgender sex workers are a “key affected population” for the epidemic in
Indonesia, they are often overlooked by government health services, which is
ostensibly why Science chose to splash bits of their anatomy on its cover. If
transwomen get ignored, though, it’s in large part due to prejudice—and in that
respect the optics of the Science tableau do more harm than good.
blog explains this car wreck of noble intentions pretty well. “Instead of
showing viewers a humanizing glimpse into the lives of these women,” writes
A.V. Flox, the cover objectifies their bodies. It uses their bare legs as bait
to lure in male readers, and then reverses the readers’ expectations in a way
that’s supposed to be … funny? “Interesting
to consider how those gazey males will feel when they find out,” tweeted
Science editor Jim Austin gleefully.
Because transgender women with AIDS are great comedic
I the only one who finds moral indignation really boring?” he continued. If
only. Update, July 17, 2014: Science editor-in-chief Marcia McNutt has
expressed regret about the image on the magazine's July 11 cover. "From us at
Science, we apologize to those offended by recent cover. Intent was to
highlight solutions to HIV, and it badly missed the mark," she
But sexist and homophobic (and racist) exploitation just
kicks off the July 11 issue’s offenses. As Flox also points out, the cropping
commits a metaphorical decapitation. It takes apart the bodies of people who go
through life at terrifying risk of violence and murder. Transgender people are
28 percent more likely to experience physical brutality than those who are
gender normative. In that context, the choice to lop off their heads for
aesthetic effect—especially when the magazine
depicts human subjects without their faces—seems chillingly insensitive.
(Flox found that over 10 years of Science covers, only two featured
free-floating body parts, and they did so in a nonsexual manner.)
Pro tip: When you “raise awareness” about the plight of
an underserved group of people, the type of awareness you raise matters.
Transgender sex workers should not be expected to thank Science for “raising
awareness” of them as erotic objects, jokes, or disease vectors. The STEM
fields have a
reputation for exclusiveness, for ushering straight white men to the front
of the line, and this particular magazine’s treatment of its subjects—Typhoid
Marys who are also hot, and fake—is unlikely to challenge that perception.
Indeed, it’s only gathering steam. On Wednesday, Vox
reported on a paper in the journal PLOS ONE suggesting that sexual misbehavior
may be more prevalent on field sites than we thought. Roughly 71 percent of
female scientist respondents told researchers they had experienced harassment
or assault. This is not good publicity for a discipline that desperately wants
and needs to increase diversity. Transgender sex workers may have an image
problem, but so does science—and now, Science."
7-17-14: Vancouver Sun (Canada): "Daphne Bramham: Vancouver Catholic
schools first in Canada to have transgender policy -- Schools told to respect
the right of transgender children to choose the names they want to be
identified by, to wear the uniform that best fits their gender identification
and to have privacy in bathrooms"
"Tracey Wilson shyly concedes that some people might
think of her as a hero. Of course, she says, her brother says you can only be a
hero if you have super powers.
Super powers or not, the petite 11-year-old with
dreadlocks is the reason the Catholic Independent Schools of the Vancouver
Archdiocese are the first Catholic schools in Canada with a policy aimed at
accommodating and supporting students with gender dysphoria. "No other kids in
the world deserve anything like I've gone through ... I don't want anyone else
to feel that they don't belong," says Tracey.
Tears trickle down her face as she names the friends
whose parents no longer allow them to speak to her. This is because two years
ago, after lots of counselling and discussion, the little boy began living as a
"I believe my soul was mixed up and confused about which
body to go into and it accidentally went into my boy body instead of a girl
body," she says softly.
Living like a boy "kind of felt like being a vampire and
being stabbed in the heart all the time. I felt like my whole life was ending.
I felt like I wanted to cry all the time."
Many times, she stood crying outside the Catholic school
in her boy's uniform, imagining herself with long hair, wearing a flower
barrette and a girl's uniform.
At those times, Tracey says her friends were there for
support. "It was very good to have friends who loved me."
In kindergarten, a boy told Tracey that boys don't play
with dolls. "So, I thought I must be a girl, but that obviously wasn't the
case. And as I went on, I started noticing how I was becoming more like a
[Ed: Especially watch the very moving video interview
with Tracey and her mom.]
7-15-14: Huffington Post: "Debi Jackson, Mother Of Transgender Child,
Gives Moving Speech"
"My daughter is six years old. She transitioned, which
means she changed her outward appearance from male to female and started living
full time as her true gender, when she was four. Until that point she was quite
a rough and tumble little boy with a buzz cut and a shark tooth necklace."
And so begins the absolutely beautiful speech Debi
Jackson gave earlier this year about her transgender daughter, AJ, at the Unity
Temple on the Plaza in Kansas City. As Jackson continues, she outlines how her
family came to realize that AJ is transgender, what happened the first day she
went to school "in girl clothes" and the bigotry her family faced.
But the best part of the video may be when Jackson
addresses the comments she's heard about her daughter and sets the record
straight about statements like you "wanted a girl so you turned your child into
one" and "kids have no idea what they want or who they are -- my kids wants to
be a dog, should I let him?"
Spend six minutes and get to know Jackson and her family
a little better. You'll be happy you did."
7-03-14: The Advocate: "WATCH: Another Atlanta Trans Woman Brutally
Assaulted -- The attack marks the second anti-trans assault caught on tape in
Atlanta in just over a month"
Late Tuesday, video surfaced
of a transgender woman being assaulted in front of Stratosphere Skateboards, a
skate shop located in Atlanta's Little Five Points district. This attack comes
just one month after two Atlanta trans women were
brutally assaulted aboard a MARTA train.
The video, comprised of a series of short Vine videos,
shows the woman pacing in front of the shop, engaging in a verbal altercation
with a number of people. In the video's final moments, a man can be seen
throwing the woman to the ground and stomping on her head.
The GA Voice,
the Atlanta Police Department was not yet aware of this incident.
“I have checked with Zone 6 Command and searched
myself but cannot locate a reported dispute at that location,” Atlanta Police
Department employee Gregory Lyon told the Voice. “It’s quite possible the
person being attacked in the video did not report this to us.”
In a statement to the Voice, Georgia Equality executive
director Jeff Graham condemned the attacker, and urged the city of Atlanta to
make the protection of transgender individuals a priority.
“That’s another horrific attack against a transgender or
gender-variant person," Graham said. "I hope that the person who has been
attacked comes forward so that the police can fully investigate. It is also
time to address the overall violence that transgender people live with every
day through increased public education and enforcement of the policies that the
city of Atlanta has put in place."
7-03-14: Hollywood Life: "Hank Baskett’s Alleged Transgender Lover: How I
Became A Woman"
"After claiming that she had a tryst with Kendra
Wilkinson’s husband, Ava Sabrina London revealed on July 2 the grueling,
expensive process she went through to become the woman who caught Hank’s
Going from a boy named “Paul”
Sabrina London – the transexual who’s at
the center of Hank
Baskett‘s alleged cheating scandal — was
not easy. The transgender model opened up on July 2 and broke down the grueling
process, from deciding to become a woman to dropping a whopping $50,000 on a
shocking amount of surgeries.
“I always wished I was born a
girl,” Ava told
“Everything I did to my sister, I did to myself. I did her makeup, her hair,
styled her. I wished I was my sister. But I never thought I’d transition.”
After growing up as a boy named “Paul” in Modesto,
Calif., Ava finally decided, with some hesitation, to start undergoing hormone
therapy in 2011 as the first step to transition from a man to a woman. After
that, Ava racked up a shocking 18 surgeries to complete the transformation . .
Ava Sabrina London has been
thrust into the public eye after she alleged that
Hank Baskett cheated
on his wife, Kendra
Wilkinson, with her. According to Ava, her
relationship with Hank started as an online flirtation, but that eventually
they met in person, and he paid her for sexual acts.
Kendra is reeling
— she’s been spotted out without her wedding band — and her marriage with Hank
is definitely in doubt"
7-03-14: PRI (re Indonesia): "Transgender women find a safe place to
practice their faith in Indonesia"
"On a recent Sunday afternoon, a group of women lay out
books, mats and glasses of hot tea on a shady veranda. It’s time for Arabic
class at Pondok Pesantren Waria, an Islamic school in the Indonesian town of
It's one of more than 13,000 such schools — called
"pesantren" — in Indonesia. But here there's a key difference: the students are
all transgender women. They're mostly adults, who come after work on the
weekend for their religious study. They're known in Indonesia as "waria," a
term that mixes “wanita” and “pria," the Indonesian words for “woman” and
Bunda Yeti, a stout waria who’s been studying here for
several years, carries a small shelf of Arabic textbooks onto the veranda. Yeti
was raised as a boy, but she knew early on that she was really a girl. In high
school, she told friends and began wearing makeup.
It wasn’t an easy decision — Indonesians are relatively
tolerant when it comes to transgender women, but discrimination is still
widespread. Many waria struggle to get identity cards, which are required for
voting, and medical care can be hard to access.
Yeti also struggled with another problem: How, and
where, should she pray? In Indonesia’s mosques, men and women pray separately
and wear different religious garb. Bunda didn’t fit into either category.
“Normally I would have joined the men’s section," she
says, "but I was wearing a dress and makeup. And could I pray with the women?
Of course not.” She thought that people would stare at her and worried that her
presence would distract other worshippers from their own prayers. Eventually
she stopped going to the mosque altogether. She tried praying at home, but it
wasn’t the same.
“For major holidays I might go to the public square in
order to pray with other people," she says, "but I couldn’t do Friday prayers
at the mosque." Yeti felt she had fallen away from God.
Then, in 2008, a friend of hers opened Pondok Pesantren
Waria. It’s a small, informal setup — no grades, no graduation and only about
20 students. But, for the first time in years, Yeti felt she had a place to
practice her faith."
7-02-14: Rolling Stone: "4 Reasons President Obama's New Trans Rights
Policy Is a Big Deal -- By protecting transgender federal employees, the
president makes a powerful statement of equality" By Parker
Marie Molloy (more,
"At the White House Pride reception on June 30th, President Barack Obama
expressed his intent to issue an executive order that would extend
employment protections to federal employees on the basis of gender identity
– making it illegal for federal agencies to discriminate against transgender
and gender non-conforming individuals. This follows a 2009 executive order
that extended these same protections to employees on the basis of their
This is big news for trans individuals, both current and aspiring federal
employees. Here are four reasons why:
1. The new policy clarifies current case law, and continues to set precedent
. . .
2. It opens a wide range of job opportunities to a group plagued by high
unemployment . . .
3. It provides continued legitimacy to a group often brushed off as fringe
or abnormal . . .
4. It's the latest sign that the Obama administration truly has the
transgender community's best interests in mind . . .
In each of the past several years, President Obama has invited trans
activists and public figures to the White House as part of the annual Pride
In 2011, the Social Security Administration stopped issuing "no match"
letters to employers. These letters – which were sent out whenever an
employee's gender as filed with the SSA didn't match the gender as filed
with a company after bringing on a new employee – unwittingly outed trans
employees and flagged them as possible fraud or identity theft cases. Many
employers, not wanting to deal with the hassle, simply cut ties with these
trans new hires.
In 2010, the State Department removed surgical requirements for individuals
to update their passport information's gender marker; in 2012 and 2013, the
Social Security Administration and Veterans Administration followed suit,
respectively. Removing these requirements has helped numerous trans
individuals streamline their legal identification documents.
Earlier this year, the Department of Education issued a ruling that states
that Title IX of the Civil Rights Act protects trans students.
Without a doubt, Obama has shown himself to be an ally to the trans
community. With more than two years left in his term, it will be interesting
to see what other advances we'll see by 2016."
"Largest Study to Date: Transgender Hormone Treatment Safe"
hormone treatment of transgender adults leads to very few long-term side
effects, according to the authors of the largest study to date to examine this
More than 2000 patients from 15 US and European centers
participated in the retrospective study, called Comorbidity and Side Effects of
Cross-Sex Hormone Treatment in Transsexual Subjects, and nearly 1600 received
at least 1 year of follow-up, the authors reported.
"Our results are very reassuring," principal
investigator Henk Asscheman, MD, PhD, who heads HAJAP, his clinical research
company in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, told Medscape Medical News. "There are
mostly minor side effects and no new [adverse events] observed in this large
last week, where he presented the initial results of the research, Dr.
Asscheman said the data confirm findings from smaller studies published in the
take-home message," he said, "is that when using the
guidelines from the Endocrine Society
["Endocrine Treatment of Transsexual Persons"], you are not going to see a lot
of comorbidities with cross-sex hormone treatment."
7-01-14: KCET: "Changing
Birth Certificates Now Easier for Transgender People"
"Transgender Californians seeking changes to their name
and gender identities on birth certificates will no longer need to go through a
lengthy and exploitative legal process. Effective today, individuals seeking a
name change on a birth certificate are no longer required to publish their
reflected name in a local newspaper. Additionally, they will no longer be
required to attend a court hearing prior to authenticating the request. "These
new protections were created to improve the safety and privacy needs of
transgender people seeking to obtain accurate and consistent identity
documents," said Danny Kirchoff from the Transgender Law Center.
AB 1121, authored by Speaker
Toni G. Atkins in 2013, ensures that one's gender identity is
accurately represented on legal documents.
The bill was co-sponsored by the Transgender Law Center and Equality
California, and aims to make it easier for transgender people to seek changes
to properly reflect one's gender identity without going through so much red
tape . . .
The old process for making changes to birth certificates
involved the issuance of a court date and the payment of $435 for a gender or
name change. An individual seeking to change the gender or name on the birth
certificate would then be required to provide a physician's affidavit
documenting the individual's gender transition.Under the new provision,
however, individuals would no longer be required to go through court. The
individual would be responsible for sending the request to the State Registrar,
which would then verify information from a physician and grant the request
through a simplified administrative procedure.
"Under this change, an individual could simply apply
directly to the Office of Vital Records to change the gender/and/or name on a
birth certificate, supplying the required physician's affidavit to that office
instead of to the court," the bill's language notes.
AB 1121 has also worked to streamline the birth
certificate process while also protecting the rights of transgender people. It
will also eliminate the discriminatory requirement for having transgender
people publish and pay for their reflected name changes in media publications.
"A lot of our clients had major concerns about the safety issues of publishing
the name change in the newspaper. And especially in recent years, a lot of
publications have moved online and people's information about a person's old
and new name would come up on Google search, and it's often really private
information," noted Kirchoff from the Transgender Law Center.
"There's a lot of privacy and safety concerns that
people had, and also the cost. Changing your name is essential for people to
have to get to reflect name and gender," he added.
Another bill for transgender rights, AB 1577, or
the Respect After Death Act,
cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee last Thursday. If signed into law, it
will ensure that death certificates will reflect the deceased's correct gender
6-30-14: MTPC (posted
3/07): "Sylvia Rivera’s Legacy of Resistance", by Aaron, MTPC Intern (VIDEO)
"Born in New York City in 1951, Sylvia Rivera had a rocky start to life. Her
mother’s early death and father’s frequent absence left Rivera bouncing from
one place to another, enduring abuse for her effeminate presentation. In the
early 1960’s, she began engaging in sex work alongside other trans women and
drag queens. Leaving home for good, Rivera immersed herself in the
transgender and drag queen community she discovered while hustling, finding
solace in spaces like the Stonewall Inn. When police raided the Inn on June
18th, 1969, Rivera actively fought back. She was famously quoted as saying,
“I’m not missing a minute of this — it’s the revolution!”
Rivera’s activism did not end with the Stonewall Riots. Recognizing the need
for inclusion in a white, middle-class, gay-male-dominated movement, she
became a voice for those without representation. As a Latina trans woman,
Rivera fought for people of color and trans folks to be recognized and
pressed for New York City’s gay rights bill to include protections for drag
queens and trans people. While that campaign was unsuccessful, she went on
to found the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (S.T.A.R.) with
Marsha P. Johnson in 1970. The organization provided shelter, clothes, and
support for young homeless trans women and drag queens.
While cancer took her life in 2002, Rivera spent her lifetime working toward
an inclusive LGBT movement and support for the most vulnerable folks in her
community. She refused to accept that anyone should be left by the wayside.
Her goal was intersectionality through resistance and representation, which
remain important parts of today’s fight for equality.
Before her death, she said, “Before I die, I will see our community given
the respect we deserve. I’ll be damned if I’m going to my grave without
having the respect this community deserves. I want to go to wherever I go
with that in my soul and peacefully say I’ve finally overcome.”
Watch Rivera’s speech at the 1973 Christopher
Street Liberation Day Rally
(Trigger warning: violence, sexual assault, transphobia)"
Jazeera America (re India): "After Koovagam, India’s largest transgender
carnival -- Making a life on the margins of society"
"VILLUPURAM, India — Only two days to go before the start of religious
festivities at the 2014 Koovagam festival, India’s largest gathering of
transgender women, and countless used condoms lie scattered across a
garbage-covered field. By 10 that night, the grounds will be filled by a
hundred or more transgender sex workers plying their trade for 200 rupees
per session, or a little over $3.
The trans community in India made headlines this
past April thanks to a
much-celebrated Supreme Court ruling
that provided recognition to a “third gender” on
official documents such as voter ID cards. The decision could potentially
lead to the reservation of government jobs for transgender people and legal
guarantees of educational rights in the future. In the meantime, the vast
majority of India’s estimated 1 million-plus trans women are relegated to
begging and sex work to earn a living. With no legal protection against
discrimination from employers and little emotional support from family
members (who often cast them out), trans women — also known as hijras or
aravanis — typically live on the fringes of Indian society. . .
Every year, tens of thousands of people — mostly
trans women but also many
tribal men —
congregate at Koovagam, galvanizing this otherwise sleepy town in the
southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The women are there to make new
friends, earn money through sex work and achieve spiritual cleansing through
Hindu rituals. The atmosphere is part carnival, part intimate community, as
celebrants from all over the country come together to gossip, party and
participate in beauty pageants and talent competitions."
[Ed: An in-depth article with many photos.]
6-25-14: Insurance.wa.gov: "Kreidler calls for health insurers to end
discrimination based on gender identity"
"Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler is asking all health insurers doing
business in Washington state to end discrimination in health insurance based
on gender identity and related medical conditions.
In a letter sent to health insurers this morning,
Kreidler reminded health insurers that exclusions and denials of coverage on
the basis of gender identity are against the Washington Law Against
49.60) and the federal Affordable Care
If a health insurer covers medically necessary services for its enrollees,
it cannot deny those services for a transgender person solely on the basis
of a person’s gender status. Future regulatory steps will depend on the
response of insurers to today’s letter and the number and nature of consumer
complaints received in response to today’s announcement.
“Transgender people are entitled to the same access to health care as
everyone else,” said Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. “Whether specific
services are considered medically necessary should be up to the provider to
decide on behalf of their patient.”
While Washington state insurance law doesn’t require insurance companies to
cover sexual reassignment surgery, it also doesn’t prevent insurers from
adding this coverage if they chose to do so. Health insurers are required to
cover procedures that are part of a gender transition process if they’re
covered for other policyholders for different reasons.
Examples of such services include: Hormone therapy, Counseling services,
Gender transition process, Mastectomy, Breast augmentation and
Currently, some insurers have exclusions for all transgender services.
Today’s announcement makes it clear that disparate access to these and other
medical services is not allowed."
6-20-14: Boston Globe: "Mass. to cover range of transgender medical care"
"Massachusetts on Friday became the third state in the
nation to cover transgender medical services, including gender reassignment
surgery, as a standard benefit in its government health plan for lower-income
and disabled people.
The administration of Governor Deval Patrick also moved
to prohibit private insurers from denying coverage for gender reassignment
surgery or other treatments medically necessary for patients who are
transgender, saying that would constitute sex discrimination.
The Patrick administration will strongly recommend
similar reforms to the Group Insurance Commission, which provides coverage for
thousands of state and municipal employees and their dependents.
“I am proud to be part of a Commonwealth that puts
equality as its top priority,” Patrick said in a statement. “Massachusetts is a
leader in health care, where we make the tough decisions for the good of our
communities, and where discrimination, of any kind, will not be tolerated.”
Only two other states — California and Vermont — have
Medicaid programs guaranteeing treatment for gender dysphoria, a condition in
which there is a pronounced difference between patients’ feelings about their
gender and their physical sex characteristics, according to Gay & Lesbian
Advocates and Defenders, a Boston-based organization providing legal services
for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.
“This announcement is really historic because I don’t
think there is a state that has announced in one fell swoop, this
comprehensively, that medical care for transgender people is essential,” said
Bennett H. Klein, a senior attorney for the group. “It’s not very often that we
see moments we can point to as groundbreaking . . . and this is one of them.”"
6-12-14: The Daily Beast: "Southern Baptist Convention: Trans People
Don’t Exist" (more,
"Forget decades of scientific studies and
transgender people’s own lives—the Southern Baptist Convention has gone
ahead and decided gender is only about your junk.“Gender” refers to
one’s felt, and societally constructed, sense of being male, female, or
somewhere in between. As understood by a generation of psychologists,
sociologists, and other scientists, it is distinct from sex, which has
to do with biology, genitalia, and genetics. Put roughly, sex is
between your legs. Gender is between your ears.
Not so, the
Southern Baptist Convention said
this week. An expert team—no, wait a minute, an entirely unqualified
assembly of 5,000 people who know nothing about gender—just voted to
deny decades of scientific studies, as well as thousands of transgender
people’s own lives. Nope, they said, gender is about your junk, and
transgender doesn’t exist.
As easy as it is to
ridicule this resolution, and ridicule it I shall, it is also a
sustained, informed critique of contemporary understandings of gender.
Somebody has read their Judith Butler. And as such, it bears closer
inspection, if only because it may be a harbinger of conservative
attacks to come.
Of course, for the
Baptist Convention, this was a matter of theology, not rationality. It
says right there in the Bible, “male and female created he them.” And
God don’t make no mistakes. If you’ve got a penis, you’re a man, plain
(Canada): "Transgender pianist shunned in U.S., gets encore in Edmonton"
"Canada was my salvation in many ways," said Buechner, 54, before a recent
concert in Montreal. She is to play in Edmonton on Monday, part of a packed
schedule that matches the 60 concerts a year she performed during the height
of her career as a man.
But there is no more New York Philharmonic. No American Symphony in Carnegie
"It seemed like the skies were certainly open to a lot of big orchestras and
that all just closed down. It was just gone," recalled Buechner.
After coming out, she was shut out of the conservative concert scene in the
U.S. and, despite earning some money teaching children piano lessons, was on
the verge of becoming homeless.
'Canada was my salvation in many ways' . . . "The conductors and presenters
in Canada were much more open, because they hadn't really known me,"
Buechner said. "They judged me on the music itself.""
6-06-14: US News & World Report: "What Transgender Looks Like in Pop
Culture -- Laverne Cox shows how far trans representation has come in pop
culture, and where it still needs to go."
"Netflix released its second season of its greatly acclaimed, top-watched
television show “Orange Is the New Black” Friday. And with it, one of the
most prominent depictions of a transgender figure in pop culture today
returns. Laverne Cox – the trans actress who plays Sophia, one of the show’s
many incarcerated characters and its prison's in-house hair dresser – has
become such a touchstone for the trans community that she claimed the cover
of a recent Time Magazine story about the transgender civil rights movement.
As it did with the acceptance of gays and lesbians in society at large, pop
culture – film, TV, music and other media – has an undeniably powerful role
in introducing this group of people, often heavily discriminated against and
deeply misunderstood, to mass audiences.
“In absence of actually knowing someone who is LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual
or transgender], sometimes seeing a story about them on television or in
film is the next best thing to fostering understanding and empathy for
people,” says Matt Kane, the associate director of entertainment media at
GLAAD. “That is one of the most important components for when people go to
the ballot box and vote on someone’s rights.”
But more than just its political dynamics, seeing trans representation on
screen can be encouraging and invaluable sign to trans people watching from
“It’s looking at the matrix, the mix, where everything is happening and not
seeing people like you and me,” says Paris Lees, a British writer, presenter
and trans activist. “You look for people that are respected, people that are
taken seriously, people that are a part of things, and that can be very
isolating when you look for yourself and you’re not there.”"
6-05-14: Reuters (UK re US): "Transgender people can now get birth
certificates easier in NY" (more)
"Transgender people born in New York state, with the exception of New York
City, will no longer have to prove that they have had sex-reassignment
surgery to change the sex marked on their birth certificate, Governor Andrew
Cuomo's office said on Thursday.
About 100 people a year seek to change the sex on their birth certificate in
New York state, according to the office of the governor, who is a Democrat.
New York City has a separate records system from the rest of the state and
still requires proof of surgery for such a change.
Under the policy, a transgender person will still need to provide a
notarized affidavit from the doctor treating them for what the American
Psychiatric Association calls gender dysphoria, previously known as gender
identity disorder, in order to get their birth certificate modified.
But under the policy the doctor will no longer need to affirm that their
patient has had surgery, only that they are receiving "appropriate
Transgender rights groups say many transgender people, who identify as
having a different sex from their one at birth, do not need, do not want or
cannot afford sex-reassignment surgery.Being unable to change the sex marked
on their identity documents can leave them vulnerable to discrimination or
embarrassment, these rights groups say.
"This change brings New York in line with the current standards of medical
care for gender transition - it's not 'one size fits all,'" Dru Levassuer,
the transgender rights director for the advocacy group Lambda Legal, said in
an interview. "It is important to have accurate identity documents that
reflect who people are in the world," he said."
6-05-14: Washington Post: "Why the news media need to get it
right in covering transgender people"
"Transgender people have been in the news a lot
lately. Last week Time Magazine made history by putting Laverne Cox, the
transgender actress in the hit Netflix series “Orange Is the New Black,”
its cover. A seven minute
video about raising a transgender child
just went viral with more than 5 million views. And this week The Chicago
Sun-Times came under fire for publishing, and then removing, an
anti-transgender column that originally ran in The National Review.
The Sun-Times op-ed threatened to undo what little
progress Time had achieved by putting an elegant trans woman on its cover —
and one who is black, which is significant because historically, when it
comes to LGBT movements, the public faces have been white. That’s why Women,
Action & the Media and LGBT activists
acted so swiftly in demanding
the Sun-Times apologize to Cox and set standards in covering transgender
people. It’s also why it is important to note how quickly the newspaper took
Although it is the news media’s job to present an array of views, even
unpopular ones, it is also the media’s responsibility to report fairly and
factually, even in the space of an opinion piece. That’s where the Sun-Times
fell short. The column, written by Kevin D. Williamson, claims that Cox is
not a woman despite how she identifies herself and stated that transgender
people are delusional. Williamson also dismisses findings by the American
Psychological Association recognizing the benefits and efficacy of gender
essay remains on The National
Review’s Web site, the Sun-Times took it down from its site Tuesday
6-05-14: Daily Mail (UK re Cuba): "Out of the shadows: Striking
pictures of transgender Cubans shed light on struggles and triumphs of the
communist country's oppressed LGBT community"
Under Fidel Castro, Cuba's revolutionary leader
who transferred power to his younger brother, Raul, in 2008 after 50 years
at the helm, homosexuals and transgender people were treated as
Cubans, life on the Island of Freedom has long been a struggle - a daily
battle against poverty and entrenched discrimination.
But as a new book
of photographs titled TransCuba shows, there is now a light at the end
of the tunnel for the island's fledgling LGBT community . . .
social deviants and ostracized by society. In the
1960s, gay Cubans were banned from serving in the military or becoming
teachers, and thousands of them were shipped off to labor camps, reported
At the height of the AIDS epidemic In the 80s and 90s, and those who
contracted HIV were quarantined . . .
Two years after his retirement, Fidel Castro said
in an interview with the Mexican newspaper La Jornada that imprisoning gay
people was ‘a great injustice,’ for which he was to blame.
Since becoming president of the republic six years
ago, Raul Castro has enacted sweeping reforms to boost the island nation's
floundering economy and bring it into the 21st century by allowing its
citizens greater personal freedoms. Under Castro, Cuba's LGBT
community has slowly begun coming out of the shadows, with the president’s
own daughter, Castro Espin, emerging as a leading advocate for the rights of
gay and transgender people. It was Castro Espin who in 2008 persuaded the
Cuban government to legalize gender reassignment surgery, but transgender
people still face discrimination in the workforce, and many turn to
prostitution to eke out a meagre living.
‘I see transgender Cubans as a metaphor for Cuba
itself: people living between genders in a country moving between
doctrines,’ Allen writes.
Mariette Pathy Allen's transgender women are strong and optimistic about
the future, but they continue to face great challenges, from HIV to lack of
work and deep-seated intolerance pervading Cuba’s society."
6-05-14: Slate: "The Wellesley Man: In the era of transgender rights,
women’s colleges are struggling to figure out where their loyalties lie."
"In 1870, when Henry and Pauline Durant founded Wellesley College, gender
was simple. You were either male, in which case the ivy-fringed bounty of
American higher education lay at your feet, or female, in which case your
options were confined to a few women’s schools. Now, in 2014, most
previously male universities are co-ed, and gender is complicated. The
traditional women’s college looms out of the past like a dinosaur.
Evolving the dinosaur requires a fluid
understanding of gender, one that embraces transmen and transwomen as well
as everyone in between. As the New York
reported last month,
single-sex colleges are struggling to work out where their loyalties lie.
The ideological masonry of these schools rests on progressive assumptions
about inclusion and empowerment, but they were also designed with specific
beneficiaries in mind: women.
So who counts as a woman? And is it possible for colleges to draw that line
without tarring their missions of tolerance?
6-03-14: Media Matters: "The Inspiring Transgender Child And The Fox
News Doctor Who Would Prescribe Anti-Psychotic Medication"
"Fox News "Medical A Team" member Dr. Keith Ablow assailed the parents of a
transgender child whose story has gone viral on the web, suggesting that
six-year-old Ryland Whittington would have been better served by
"anti-psychotic medication" than by having his parents affirm his gender
On May 27, Jeff and Hillary Whittington shared
Ryland's story in a seven-minute
YouTube video. The video, which has
been viewed more than 4 million times, describes Ryland's discovery of his
gender identity and the family's acceptance of his gender transition.
The Whittingtons' support for Ryland was spotlighted at
the Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast last month, where they received the
Inspiration Award for 2014.
According to a June 3 article on
right-wing website LifeSiteNews.com, Fox's Ablow wasn't moved by Ryland's
story of self-discovery. LifeSiteNews - which misgendered Ryland throughout
its story - reported that Ablow opposes parents helping their children
transition to the genders with which they identify"
6-01-14: New York Daily News (posted 5-30): "WATCH: San Diego parents
reveal story of transgender son who became boy at 5"
"Proud parents from San Diego have shared their story of having a
transgender son who became a boy aged just 5-years-old. Jeff and Hillary
Whittington presented a touching video showing little Ryland's
female-to-male transition as they were honored at the 6th annual Harvey Milk
Diversity Breakfast last Thursday.
The stirring footage revealed how Ryland suffered severe hearing problems
when she was just 12-months-old and was fitted with cochlear implants. "I am
a boy," the long blonde haired toddler reportedly declared to her parents
after the operation and learning to speak.
Despite her room being painted pink and being dressed in girly outfits, her
parents said she preferred masculine toys and activities. Confused as to
what to do, the Whittingtons believed it was a phase that would soon pass.
But, on turning five, Ryland started concretely rejecting all things
feminine. "When the family dies, I will cut my hair so I could be a boy,"
Ryland reportedly told her parents, later adding: "Why did God make me like
Jeff Whittington, a former firefighter-turned-real estate agent, and wife
Hillary began researching the issue - and soon decided the answer was that
their girl was transgender.
Terrified to learn about the high suicide rate associated with transgender
people who feel socially unaccepted, they decided to properly embrace
Ryland's identity. "Ryland's gender identity was not caused by our parenting
style, family structure or environmental factors," the couple stated in the
They cut off their infant's long hair, bought new clothes and started
referring to Ryland as a male. His room was also redecorated. The footage
then showed Ryland playing soccer and baseball, wearing ties and dancing
with a flower girl at a wedding reception. "Relative to the horrific things
people have to endure with their children all over the world, this is
nothing," his parents added.
The video was played before the couple accepted
the event's Inspiration Award,
reports LGBT Weekly.
A short-haired Ryland, dressed in a smart suit, also took to the stage to
say: "My name is Ryland Michael Whittington. I am a transgender kid."
Jeff Whittingon, speaking afterwards to the emotional 1,000-strong audience,
claimed "one of the most inspiring things Harvey Milk had done" was "to
encourage people to come out."
"To let their voices be heard; break down the walls, break down the barriers
and start allowing people to see them for their authentic selves and be true
to themselves," he said. "This is our coming out [...] this is us making our
voices heard," he added.
Uploaded to YouTube Tuesday, the video has already
been seen more than 250,000 times. ON A MOBILE DEVICE?
CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE VIDEO."
Time (posted 5-29): "The Transgender Tipping Point" (more,
"Nearly a year after the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage, another
social movement is poised to challenge deeply held cultural beliefs.
In the beaux-arts lobby of the Nourse Theater in San Francisco, men in deep
V-necks and necklaces walk by women with crew cuts and plaid shirts buttoned
to the top. Boys carrying pink backpacks kiss on the lips, while long-haired
ladies whose sequined tank tops expose broad shoulders snap selfies. About
1,100 people, many gleefully defying gender stereotypes, eventually pack the
auditorium to hear the story of an unlikely icon. “I stand before you this
evening,” Laverne Cox, who stars in the Netflix drama Orange Is the New
Black, tells the crowd, “a proud, African-American transgender woman.” The
cheers are loud and long."
5-31-14: Time (posted 5-29) "Laverne Cox Talks to TIME About the
"The Orange Is the New Black star on politics, happiness and why genitalia
week is an unlikely icon: Laverne Cox. Bullied and harassed for appearing
feminine while growing up in Mobile, Ala., Cox eventually came out as
transgender while living in New York City and took up acting. Now a star on
the Netflix drama Orange Is the New Black, she has emerged as a public
leader of the trans movement, using her increasingly prominent perch to make
the case for equal rights and touring the country giving a stump speech
titled “Ain’t I A Woman?” When Cox says it, that refrain is not a question.
Cox spoke with TIME for this week’s cover story,
“The Transgender Tipping Point.”
Below is a behind-the-scenes video of the cover shoot at her home in New
York, and an edited transcript of an interview conducted May 8 in Palo Alto,
before Cox addressed an audience at Stanford University."
5-31-14: Time (posted 5-29): "21 Transgender People Who Influenced
"TIME's cover story, the Transgender Tipping Point, chronicles the increased
visibility of trans people in American society and the nation's evolving
understanding of gender. Here are some of the notable trans people who have
left a mark on popular culture."
5-31-14: The Advocate (posted 5-01): "GLAAD Cochair Jennifer Finney
Boylan Joins Barnard College"
"The celebrated trans activist and author has been named the prestigious
Seven Sisters school's inaugural Anna Quindlen Writer-in-Residence.
and New York Times
Jennifer Finney Boylan
has been named Barnard College's inaugural Anna Quindlen
Writer-in-Residence, the school announced today. As such, Boylan will helm
two creative writing courses during the school year and work with the school
to further enhance its reputation for turning out talented writers.
Boylan joins Barnard after having taught at
Maine's Colby College for more than 25 years, authoring 13 books, and
contributing to The New York Times'
"The English Department is overjoyed to be welcoming Jenny Finney Boylan to
Barnard," Peter Platt, chair of the school's English department, said in a
release announcing Boylan's appointment. "A terrific writer, a compelling
speaker, and a gifted teacher, she will be an asset to both our students and
the department. Her many books — in particular her narratives about gender
and parenting — and her engaging op-ed pieces provide her with a profile
that can only prove advantageous to the college.""
5-27-14: Metro Weekly (posted 5-19): "Transgender military equality:
The plan of attack"
"Earlier this year, a select group of active duty members of the military
met at a community center in Texas. The 30 Americans represented every
branch and component of military service. They were members of the Army,
Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard. The vast majority had been
deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan at least once, and many others had multiple
deployments under their belts — some to both countries. A majority were
junior enlisted and junior noncommissioned officers. But what brought them
together was the same thing that cloaked their meeting in secrecy: They are
For three days, those 30 servicemembers — who under military policy can be
discharged because of their gender identity — heard each others’ stories.
Many of them had never met another transgender servicemember before, let
alone another trans person. In some cases, it marked the first time they had
ever come out to another person. The meeting was not just an opportunity to
build a network of support relationships for those forced to continue to
live life in the closet while serving their country, but also to strategize.
The gathering had been organized by a group of activists with decades of
combined experience working on LGBT military issues who are seeking to open
the armed forces to transgender service . . .
The meeting, many details of which organizers have asked not be disclosed
for fear participants could be identified, was born in the aftermath of the
collapse of OutServe-SLDN last summer . . . “We came to this moment where we
looked at one another and said, ‘What if we just did it? We have the
connections, we have the expertise,’” Robinson says. “At that time the
organization SPARTA” — Service Members, Partners, Allies For Respect and
Tolerance For All — “was standing itself up and building itself around the
two remaining equality goals in DoD, which are updating the regulations on
transgender people serving and securing nondiscrimination and equal
opportunity protections across the board. What we realized is we have a set
of resources here that might allow us to accomplish something if we set our
minds to it.”
And so Robinson, along with military advocates such as Sue Fulton, Brynn
Tannehill, Zeke Stokes and others, looked to the successful repeal of DADT
for guidance. “We knew from the lead up to the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t
Tell’ that gay and lesbian servicemembers coming together with one another
and having the opportunity to build a network and to share their stories was
a catalyst for what was eventually a successful effort,” Robinson says. “We
wanted to do something similar and so we began planning to bring together a
meeting of transgender servicemembers.”
Organizers went to the transgender chapter of SPARTA, which boasts more than
200 actively service transgender Americans, for members who indicated they
wanted to be “at the tip of the spear in this fight.” With logistical and
financial support from individuals, as well as organizations like the Human
Rights Campaign, the National Center for Transgender Equality and the Palm
Center, they were able to bring the meeting together at no personal cost to
“We were able to let them know what a campaign of activism would look like
if they were to undertake it,” says Stokes, who previously served as
spokesman for OutServe-SLDN. “We really came away with a core group of
people committed to making this happen. We came away thinking this is
possible.” . . .
5-27-14: South China Morning Post (Hong Kong): "Transgender marriage
legal by July even if government misses deadline"
"Marriages involving transgender people will be recognised as legal from
July - whether or not the government passes the marriage amendment bill by
then. That's what officials told the Legislative Council yesterday after
coming under fire for moving too slowly on the matter.
The government was set a deadline of July this year to amend the law to
recognise such marriages following a landmark case in May last year, when
the Court of Final Appeal granted a transgender person known as W the right
to marry her male fiance. Since then the government has been criticised for
dragging its feet, and with little more than a month to go, some fear it
will struggle to meet the deadline.
People Power lawmaker Raymond Chan Chi-chuen told a meeting of the Bills
Committee on Marriage (Amendment) Bill yesterday that the government's
slowness to act had given lawmakers too little time to discuss the bill . .
But Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok said that transgender people would
be able to marry in July, whether or not the bill had been passed. "Even if
the bill is not passed, the court's ruling will still take effect [in July].
The government will execute the judge's ruling and register marriages
[involving transgender people]," Lai said.
Maggie Wong Siu-chu, Lai's deputy, added that the court's ruling would
"automatically come into effect and become law" in July, even if the
amendment bill had not been passed."
5-27-14: The Telegraph (UK): "Why transgender people have the right to
their past identity being forgotten -- As a trans woman fights to get her
previous life as a man removed from official government records, Ava Vidal
talks to trans people about the difference it would make"
"A trans woman is currently in court fighting a
case that if she wins, will have huge implications for the way that
transgender people are treated in the UK. The European Court of Justice
recently held that a Spanish man was entitled to have items in the search
engine ‘Google’ linked to personal data removed at his request. The EU ruled
that they must honour the ‘right
to be forgotten’.
On the back of this decision the woman known only
as C has launched her case requesting that the Government (namely the
Department for Work and Pensions) no longer retain or use the information
that she was once considered male. She claims that her gender reassignment
surgery is a private matter and is totally irrelevant to her ability to find
work. She is
requesting that the details of her previous life
including her old name be removed from
the records and ‘forgotten'.
A growing number of
transgender people agree that once they transition they should have the right
to completely wipe out their past identity as the opposite sex.
Beatrix Grimbly, a trans
woman and activist, tells me why. “It's outrageous that sensitive details of a
woman's former identity are kept unnecessarily by the DWP, apparently allowing
staff to harass and humiliate her when she is already vulnerable. Public
servants should respect her legal identity and her privacy.""
5-26-14: New York Times: "Arcade Fire Addresses Criticism of Video
With Transgender Character", by
"The rock group Arcade Fire has responded to
a recent video
that some viewers felt was insensitive to transgender people, saying that
the band put careful consideration into casting and creating the video.
The video, for the song “We Exist,” is described
by Arcade Fire as telling “the story of a young person’s struggle with
gender identity” and depicts the actor Andrew Garfield (“The Amazing
Spider-Man”) as a transgender woman who is assaulted in a bar but later
finds acceptance at an Arcade Fire concert. After the video was posted
earlier this month it was criticized by performers like Laura Jane Grace,
the lead singer of the punk-rock group
who is transgender,
and who wrote on her Twitter feed,
“Maybe when making a video for a song called ‘We Exist’ you should get an
actual ‘Trans’ actor instead of Spider-Man?”
In an interview with The Advocate,
the Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler addressed this criticism, saying, “There
was just so much thought and love that went into the video I don’t
personally see it as negative.” He added, “I can totally see the sensitivity
of the issue.”
The video’s director, David Wilson, told The Advocate that Mr. Garfield’s
“commitment and passion toward the project was just overwhelming.” “For an
actor of that caliber to be that emotionally invested in a music video is
just a very special thing,” Mr. Wilson said. “It just completely made
later posted on Twitter
that she had spoken with
Our Lady J, a
transgender musician who worked with Mr. Garfield on the video, adding, “Her
perspective really made me think about it differently.”"
5-26-14: Wired.com: "How to Build a Kinder Web for the Transgender
the transgender community, the web is an important resource for finding
trans-friendly doctors, housing, jobs and public restrooms–many things the
rest of us take for granted. But web filtering software designed to prevent
access to pornography often stops people from accessing websites that with
information on a host of other topics, such as breast feeding, safe sex and,
yes, transgender issues. It’s a subtle–and possibly unintentional–form of
discrimination, one that can have a big impact. Web filters are more than a
temporary inconvenience for many transgender people who rely on public
libraries and internet cafes to access the internet. The problem is even
worse in the UK, where all new internet connections are filtered by default
at the ISP level.
“Because homelessness and
poverty are such a big issues in the trans community, many don’t have access
to unfiltered, uncensored internet,” says Lauren Voswinkel, a transgender
software developer based Pittsburgh. These hurdles to accessing information
can make it even harder for transgender people to escape poverty.
That’s why she’s
tool that lets people bypass web filters to access sites about transgender
issues and only
transgender issues. Transgress is one of many projects to come out of
series of hackathons dedicated to using technology to improve the lives of
transgender people. The site isn’t up and running yet. But Voswinkel has
built the underlying code–available
on GitHub–and needs volunteers to help
to bring the site onto the web, complete with its own design and branding .
Voswinkel came up
with the idea for Trangress while driving to the Trans*Hack event in
Chicago. She was thinking about a
by Sarah Brown–a Cambridge, England city councilor and the only openly
transgender elected politician in the UK–about web filtering in the UK and
how it was stopping people from accessing many different types of content
beyond pornography. Voswinkel realized that some means of selectively
circumventing web filters was needed if any of the other sites and resources
built at the event were to have any impact. “If you cannot help the least
among you, you’re not helping anyone really,” Voswinkel says."
5-24-14: New York Times: "Who Are Women’s Colleges For?", by Kiera
"FOR hundreds of years, universities excluded women. Denied access to these
institutions, they created their own. “Attempt great things,” the founder of
Mount Holyoke, Mary Lyon, told her students. “Accomplish great things.”
These schools, including the elite Seven Sisters — Mount Holyoke, Barnard,
Bryn Mawr, Radcliffe, Smith, Vassar and Wellesley — were where the nation’s
most promising young women went to do just that.
But today, women’s colleges are at a crossroads
their founders could never have foreseen, struggling to reconcile their
mission with a growing societal shift on how gender itself is defined. A
handful of applications from transgender women have rattled school
administrators over the past year, giving rise to anxious meetings and
campus demonstrations. On April 29, the Department of Education issued
Transgender students are protected from discrimination under Title IX."
5-24-14: The Guardian (UK): "Transgender children know their identity.
Bigots in the media don't"
"'NHS to give sex change drugs to children' screamed the newspaper headlines
last week. The reality is so different for families dealing with the
condition known as gender dysphoria. Here, a mother writes of the pain such
coverage causes . . . "
5-23-14: The Blaze: "‘Dude Can Look Like a Lady’: Radio Hosts Fired
After Lambasting Transgender Community in ‘Hateful’ On-Air Commentary"
"Two radio hosts in Rochester, New York, were
fired this week following an on-air discussion slamming the transgender
the city’s recent decision
to cover benefits associated with gender reassignment surgeries.
Kimberly and Beck (Kimberly Ray and Barry Beck),
hosts of the “The Breakfast Buzz” on 98.9 FM The Buzz, were terminated
Thursday morning following their “hateful comments against the transgender
The pair mocked the city of Rochester’s decision to cover related physical
and mental benefits for its employees during a 12-minute segment on their
show Monday, with Kimberly saying that “you’re probably a nut job to begin
with” if you’re seeking reassignment surgery."
5-22-14: Vice.com (UK): "It's Time We Exposed the Media's Lies About
Transgender Kids", by
Paris Lees (more,
"What a horrible pile of shit the
Mail on Sunday
ran on its cover last weekend: “NHS to give sex change drugs to
nine-year-olds: Clinics accused of ‘playing God’ with treatment that stops
puberty”. You know what that means, don’t you? That the NHS is definitely
NOT giving nine-year-olds any “sex change drugs” and won’t be any time soon.
a paper that revels in being
towards trans people, is now repeating the misleading headline. And what’s
with the “playing God” bullshit? As one parent of a trans child pointed out
by email: “The Mail
wouldn't be questioning the treatment of diabetic children or children with
congenital hypothyroidism on the NHS, so what makes it OK to print this
shite about children receiving another kind of endocrine treatment?” . . .
This article is going to contain a lot of “shits”, because I give one. But
does the media? I may be completely wrong, but the people arguing against
so-called “sex change drugs” on behalf of vulnerable under-16s don’t, as far
as I’m aware, go out of their way to combat gender-based bullying in
schools. If you’re not doing anything to stop transgender kids from being
beaten up – AKA, the most important issue here – then how the fuck are you
planning to get away with starting a moralising headline campaign about the
choices they're allowed to make?
Trans kids are some of the most vulnerable people
in society; I know because I was one. Tiny violin time: it was shit; I got
bullied at school for talking like a girl and bullied at home for “acting
like a poof”; I hated going to school and I hated going home. I’ve
written about this before,
so forgive me if I’m repeating myself, but so long as there are still kids
going through what I went through – those who aren’t protected at school and
let down by parents confused by the shit they’ve read in the media – it’s a
message people need to hear.
Puberty blockers are not “sex change drugs”. They
puberty. They’re completely reversible. The whole point of them is to allow
the kids time to grow up and decide what they want to do. Seriously, they’re
like the opposite of “sex change drugs”. They’re “wait and see how you feel
in a few years” drugs. They’re caution drugs. In fact, why call them "drugs"
at all? When doctors prescribe drugs for medical conditions in this country,
we generally just call them "medicine". So no drugs, no sex change and no
actual nine-year-olds on this trial. Don’t let that get in the way of a
juicy headline, though. Sex! Transgender children! The NHS spending money on
stuff that’s not cancer! Thank god they didn’t find a way to connect all
this to house prices, or else the majority of
would be housebound indefinitely, glued to the floor by their own bodily
Trans kids need family support and expert medical advice, not
tabloid-induced fear and confusion. Of course, anyone with even so much as a
cursory awareness of gender dysphoria or endocrinology would have known that
the headline was misleading. So what’s that – like, ten people? Common sense
is what everyone else is an expert in, but you don’t treat people’s medical
conditions with common sense (properly controlled medicines usually do the
trick, though). The quicker this happens, the quicker trans kids can get on
with their lives and the less crap they'll have to deal with.
I wish I'd had hormone blockers. My life got mega shit for about five years
while I had to go through an unwanted male puberty – which I've since spent
another five trying to undo. I feel better now. More me. What's the point in
pissing about? Time waits for no man, but it will wait for you to grow into
one if you don't take action when it's needed."
5-19-14: ABC News: "Transgender Couple Photographs Their Opposite
"Transgender artists Zackary Drucker and Rhys
Ernst are transitioning in opposite directions and have captured their
individual transformations in the "Relationship" series, a collection of
photographs on exhibit as part of
at The Whitney Museum of American Art from March 7 to May 25.
The photo series is an intimate diary of the couple's love affair and their
gender identity transitions -- Drucker from male to female and Ernst from
female to male. The photos span five years of their relationship from 2008
to 2013. The photographs include tender embraces, their bandaged bodies from
hormone injections and also shots of Drucker's growing breasts.
Drucker, 31, was born male in Syracuse, N.Y., and
is a graduate of
The School of Visual Arts
in New York City. Ernst, 31, was born female in Pomona, Calif., and
She had appeared on a TV reality show "Artstar," and he had been working for
MTV when the couple met in 2005. They now live in Los Angeles. The pair have
recently been hired to act as advisers on Amazon's new original series,
Going public with their photographs as their relationship progressed seemed
"organic," Ernst told ABC News. "We stepped back and we had a huge body of
work. It felt like a natural choice. We didn't think about being in the
closet. It's faithful to our lives and has a lot of layers, not just to do
Drucker told ABC News their project was "was an impulse to investigate and
to record and to be an inspiration . . . "
5-13-14: Human Rights Watch (re Malaysia): "Malaysia: Court to Rule on
Transgender Rights Local Laws Encourage Discrimination, Abuse" (with
filed a groundbreaking court case challenging a law that prohibits them from
expressing their gender identity,
Human Rights Watch said today. On May
22, 2014, the Putrajaya Court of Appeal is expected to hear a challenge to
the constitutionality of the laws.
Three transgender women from the state of Negeri Sembilan are asking the
court to strike down a state law that prohibits “any male person who, in any
public place wears a woman’s attire or poses as a woman,” which has been
used repeatedly to arrest transgender women. All three petitioners, who
identify as female but are described as “male” on their national
identification cards, have been arrested solely because they dress in attire
that state religious officials deem to be “female.”
“Under discriminatory state laws, transgender
women in Malaysia face a daily risk of arrest just for being themselves,”
senior researcher on
lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights
(LGBT) at Human Rights Watch. “The
government shouldn’t be harassing and punishing transgender people just for
peacefully going about their lives.”
The national Registration Department routinely rejects transgender women’s
applications to legally change their gender, leaving Muslim transgender
women exposed to repeated arrests. One woman told Human Rights Watch she had
been arrested over 20 times. Application of vague laws that fail to define
what constitutes women’s attire has resulted in some transgender women being
arrested simply on the basis of their hairstyle or – as in the case of
transgender women who are undergoing hormone replacement therapy – because
they have breasts, even if they are wearing clothing deemed masculine.
State religious department officials at times subject transgender women to
physical or sexual violence while during arrests, groping their genitals or
beating them. Although several transgender women have filed police reports
after such abuse, police have not been willing to hold the religious
department officials accountable for violating the law. Transgender women
are often held in cells with men, where they are subjected to further sexual
violence at the hands of wardens or fellow detainees.
Transgender women told Human Rights Watch that police are sometimes directly
involved in arrests, in some cases based on a vague provision in the federal
criminal code that prohibits “indecent offenses.” Police also accompany
religious department officials on raids against Muslim transgender women. At
times, police arrest Muslim transgender women on their own initiative,
solely for purposes of extortion. Several people told Human Rights Watch
that when transgender women resisted police attempts to extort bribes from
them or were unable to pay, they were turned over to the state religious
“The Malaysian authorities’ abuses against transgender women are an assault
on human dignity and violate their basic rights,” Ghoshal said. “It’s
horrifying to hear about religious department officials stripping
transgender women in front of cameras, poking and prodding at their
genitals, and punching them.” . . .
An official from the federal Department of Islamic Development Malaysia
(JAKIM), who spoke to Human Rights Watch on the condition of anonymity,
acknowledged that, “Arresting or punishing anyone is not going to change
them.” However, the department has remained silent on the abuses carried out
by state religious departments."
[Ed: An important in-depth article.]
5-12-14: Slate: "Will Obama Sanction a Policy on Transgender Military
Service That’s at Odds With Science?",by
"Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel
that the ban on transgender service members should be “reviewed” and that
“every qualified American who wants to serve our country should have an
opportunity” to do so. Although military spokespeople have
that the policy is regularly under review, the remarks by the Pentagon
chief, in which he said he was “open” to reassessing the policy and
reiterated that service members should be judged by their performance
abilities, appear to signal a new level of commitment to reconsidering the
The question is how long this will take, what the review will find, and what
force will ensure that it really happens, so that each Pentagon leader
doesn’t just run out the clock, locking in the status quo.
The most obvious answer to this last question is a
force who has been oddly absent: the commander in chief. President Barack
Obama has said nothing about his position on the transgender ban, although
eager to tout
the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” as one of his important
accomplishments. When asked by the
Washington Blade whether the president
would direct the Pentagon to end the trans ban, White House Press Secretary
saying, “I don’t have anything on that. I’ll have to direct you to the
Pentagon at this point.”
It may seem reasonable, at first blush, for the president to avoid weighing
in on a touchy cultural issue at this point in his tenure. His second term
is floundering, and it could open him up to criticism if he seems to be
taking on small-bore social issues while the economy and world events appear
to spiral out of control.
But that assessment is incomplete. For starters, transgender equality may
seem like a small-bore issue, (though not, obviously, to transgender
people); but with literally no reason beyond prejudice to let transgender
Americans suffer in silence as they honorably defend out nation, it’s
increasingly becoming a blemish on the president’s record, and on our
country’s soul, to do nothing . . . "
5-11-14: ABC News: "Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel: Military’s
Transgender Policy ‘Continually Should Be Reviewed’" (more,
"Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel told ABC News’ Martha Raddatz that he
believes the ban that prohibits transgender individuals from serving in the
U.S. military should be reviewed. “I do think it continually should be
reviewed,” Hagel said. “I’m open to that.”
After the 2010 repeal of the policy barring gay and lesbian service members
from being open about their sexuality, known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,”
activists turned their attention to the transgender policy, calling on the
military to allow transgender individuals to serve openly. But there has
been no review of the ban. Earlier this month, a Pentagon spokesperson told
Slate, “At this time there are no plans to change the department’s policy.”
But in an exclusive interview that aired on “This Week with George
Stephanopoulos,” Hagel said he’s now ready to reconsider the ban.
“I’m open to those assessments, because — again, I go back to the bottom
line — every qualified American who wants to serve our country should have
an opportunity if they fit the qualifications and can do it,” he said.
Transgender issues are “an area that we’ve not defined enough.”
Hagel said his biggest concern is providing the medical support necessary to
support transgender individuals, especially if they are stationed in what he
called “austere locations.”
A recent commission, co-chaired by a former U.S. surgeon general, found that
there was no “compelling medical rationale” for not allowing transgender
[ED: An important developing story . . . ]
5-11-14: Huffington Post: "A Mother And Her Transgender Daughter
Share Their Incredible Story" (more)
"This is one incredible way to recognize all of the great mothers out there
this video, a
transgender teen, Zoe, recalls her journey to realizing her gender identity
and authentic self. Her mother appears to be endlessly supportive and
provides some incredible words of support for other transgender teens and
children out in the world:
What I would say to a student or child or young person that's
transgender and having difficulties is if you can't get the support at home
-- search and you will find support. There are a lot of people out there
that are allies that understand your plight and are willing to do anything
to help you get through.
Mostly I want you to know that you are valuable. You are important and
we need you here in this world and in this community. You can shine through
no matter what anybody else thinks... Remember to stay strong. It will pass.
Powerful and important words from an incredible mother.
Happy Mother's Day!"
5-11-14: The Advocate: "Op-ed: What My Transgender Child Taught Me
About Motherhood; One mother learns the value in listening to her son".
This year, as I count the fortunes that give me so much to cherish, I think
about how getting here wasn’t always clear or easy. As parents, we’re always
challenged by the lessons our children teach us. But as a mom of a
transgender child, our journey toward acceptance and understanding taught me
more about motherhood than I could have ever known. For mothers like me,
it’s this journey that inspires hope for the world my child lives in.
In 2009, my husband, Ty, and I welcomed a baby girl into the world. We named
her Alia. But Alia had other plans. As early as 12-18 months of age, Alia
gravitated to “all things boy’s” picking out cars, trucks, and dinosaurs
over dolls or anything pink or sequined.
By the time Alia was 3 years old, she continually said, in the adorable way
pleading children speak, “Mommy, I want to be a boy.” Alia was clear and
articulate in communicating this demand, but my loving response, “honey, you
can be anything you want,” was a shortfall in understanding what she was
The problem was, in that moment, I failed to realize that this wasn’t just a
cute thing Alia was saying. Alia’s claim to her true self wasn’t the
adorable misgivings of a child. It was the fiery sureness of a person’s
identity finding a voice. This was the first lesson Alia taught me—to
listen, both verbally and nonverbally.
One afternoon clicking through television channels, I stumbled on Katie
Couric’s show, when she had an episode on transgender children. As I
watched, I immediately phoned my parents in Colorado who coincidentally were
watching the same show. That segment, for the first time, introduced me to
the word “transgender” and made me think that maybe this is part of Alia’s
story . . .
Today, Alia is Alex. Ty is more supportive than ever, fondly calling him son
and engaging in NERF gun adventures and Lego building block competitions. At
four-and-a-half years old, I am in awe of this magical child who is so
confident in his gender. “That’s a dress, mommy, and I am a boy and boys
don’t wear dresses,” he’ll tell me. Alex will frequently remind his
grandparents of his new name and has even offered his old name to a new baby
should we ever have a new baby girl in our family.
I won’t lie and say that Alex’s transition didn’t come with a great sense of
loss of the daughter we thought we had. But all mothers have a fear of our
children’s safety and a passionate defense for their happiness. Doing
anything less for Alex went against what I knew about being a mom. Alex
helped me see that.
Acceptance means loving my child for who he is. I give him love and tender
discipline, but when it comes to accepting him for who he is, I do it
without reserve. So as mothers celebrate the fulfillment of being a mom, we
should remember that our children — transgender or not — have something to
teach us about motherhood. It’s up to us to listen."
[Ed: A very moving story.]
5-10-14: The Guardian (UK): "Scientist Kate Stone hails landmark press
ruling over transgender reporting"
"When Kate Stone nearly died after being gored by a stag, media coverage led
not on her ordeal but on the fact that she had had a sex change. Now, after
a Press Complaints Commission ruling that will have a dramatic impact, six
newspapers have now admitted they were wrong.
Five months ago, on New Year's Eve, Stone, aged
44, again found herself in the limelight, thanks to a million-to-one freak
accident. On holiday in the Scottish Highlands, she and some friends were
walking back from the village pub. It was pitch black. The friends went on
ahead into their enclosed garden. Stone walked through the gate alone and a
stag that had strayed into the garden
ran into her, ramming its antlers into her throat.
With honourable exceptions, such as the BBC,
coverage in the British media majored on Stone's
status: "Deer spears sex-swap Kate"; "Sex swap scientist in fight for life";
and "Sex-swap scientist gored by stag."
Now, as a result of a landmark negotiation with
Press Complaints Commission
(PCC), six national
the Daily Mail,
the Daily Telegraph,
the Scottish Sun,
the Daily Record
and the Daily Mirror
– have agreed that the "sex swap" headlines and the reference to Stone's
transgender status were inappropriate.
They acknowledged that such references constituted a direct breach of the
discrimination clause in the PCC editors' code. The code states that details
of an individual's transgender status "must be avoided unless genuinely
relevant to the story". All such references were subsequently withdrawn from
the newspapers' online stories. . .
"When Kate first made the complaint," says Sarah Lennox, of All About Trans,
"some papers said 'sex swap' was a light-hearted term. Very few people
actually know a transgender person – they get their information from the
media – so it's important that the coverage is fair. Let's hope 'sex swap'
headlines will now become a relic of the past. Name-calling and
finger-pointing validates the bullies so they believe they are behaving in a
socially acceptable way. Thousands of transgender people are living in
secret because of the stigma that still exists and they are fearful of the
reaction. That has to change."
According to some estimates, there are 500,000 transgender people in the UK.
In the couple of years before her accident, Dr Stone says, life had
improved. "I had friends, I was back in touch with my children and I had my
own business. I went to the gym. I was Kate. Now, after the press coverage,
I am a lot more sensitive again as to how people will react. Will they treat
me differently? I hope not.""
5-09-14: New York Daily News (re India): "SEE IT: Transgender women in
India urge motorists to use seatbelts" (VIDEO)
online video entitled
"The Seatbelt Crew" shows how transgender women in India, known as
"Hijra," are directing motorists at traffic stops to use their safety
devices . . . In the video, the Hijra dress in matching saris and act as
flight attendants and they fill the lanes between cars at a busy
intersection during a red light.
"May I have your attention please? If you're going to drive like a pilot
then you should know some things. Your car doesn't have an oxygen mask.
Under your seat you won't find a life jacket," a woman asks using a
megaphone. "But you do have a seatbelt. So why aren't you wearing it,
The Seatbelt Crew then gives her simple instructions to put it on. "Your
pretty face won't look so good after an accident," she warns and then chides
some motorists for filming her instead of wearing the seatbelt.
As the light turns green the cars drive off, and the Hijra give out their
blessings as promised to those who are wearing their seatbelts.
Ryan Mendonca, a member of the group, told the Daily News via email that the
cause began in March. “Unfortunately, most Indian motorists don't wear seat
belts and no amount of rational messaging explaining the benefits works on
them," he said.
The activists are currently talking to drivers in Mumbai. And so far the
results have been enormously encouraging, he said. The group is hoping to
expand to other areas, he said.
“Most motorists are pleasantly shocked at first. But the Seatbelt Crew is
always met with smiles,” he said. “Every now and then there are requests for
The transgender community in India is as high as 2 million people according
to some estimates, and the country's Supreme Court ruled last month to
create a "third gender" category for Indians who don't identify as either
male or female."
[Ed: This is a brilliant move to positively-shift the social-image of
transwomen in India.]
TENI (Ireland): "Press Release: Historic Moment for Trans Rights"
"Today, 9th May, marks a historic moment for Trans* Rights in Ireland as the
report on the Gender Recognition Scheme will be debated in the Dáil at 12pm.
This marks the very first time that gender recognition legislation will be
discussed in Dáil Eireann.
Speaking today, Transgender Equality Network
Ireland (TENI) Chief Executive
"I am hopeful that this discussion will be robust and fruitful and may well
result in tangible changes in the legislation that will benefit the
transgender community. This is a very important moment in the history of
trans rights in Ireland, and it is something to be celebrated. Now is the
time to make the real changes. Changes which will have a full and affirming
effect on the lives of trans people and their families in Ireland."
The debate can be followed live online here.
You can also read the report from the Joint Oireachtas Committee on
Education and Social Protection here
. . .
In preparation for this historic debate we
have compiled a paper outlining the main issues facing our community in
relation to the legislation.
You can read TENI's analysis of the Gender
Recognition Scheme here.
You can read the Executive Summary here."
5-07-14: Hartford Courant: "EDITORIAL: Prison Is The Wrong Place For
'Jane Doe' -- At 16, neither charged nor convicted" (more,
"The following shouldn't happen in America or to a child: A transgender girl
known as Jane Doe (because she is a juvenile) has been held in an adult
prison, the York Correctional Institute for women in Niantic, for a month as
of Saturday. She could be housed there for up to a year longer.
It is well past time that she is removed from York and placed in an
age-appropriate setting where she can get the treatment and education she
needs and learn to get along with peers.
Jane Doe is wrongly placed because she's only 16 — a child. What's more, she
hasn't been charged with a crime, let alone been convicted of one. People
who haven't been charged or convicted of crimes shouldn't go to prison in a
country of laws.
A seldom-used state statute permits the Superior Court to sign off on the
transfer of a juvenile in the custody of the Department of Children and
Families to adult prison if DCF proves to the court that it can't adequately
care for the child. The law was used — for the first time in 14 years — in
Jane Doe's lawyers are appealing the transfer to adult prison. And
they are understandably suing in federal court on grounds that her
imprisonment violates due process guarantees in the state and federal
constitutions and that it also violates the state law banning discrimination
against transgender people.
Meanwhile, DCF, Jane Doe's attorneys and other parties are negotiating a
settlement that would get the child out of prison and into a suitable
treatment program. But the talks proceed at a glacial pace.
This is a difficult case. The teenager has been by all accounts the victim
of horrific sexual, physical and emotional abuse. Issues arising from her
being born a biological male but identifying as a female complicate her
situation. She is prone to violence, having attacked staff members in
several settings, although no charges have been filed.
But the state can't just shove challenging kids into adult prison if no
crimes have been committed. Youngsters who have led troubled lives deserve
better than that."
5-08-14: Mother Jones (re Cuba): "New Photobook Documents the Travails
of Transgender Cubans -- A living hell has become hopeful under Raúl
"Of all the allies in the global fight for LGBT equality, Cuba may be the
most unlikely. For decades, the island was notorious for its crackdown on
"social deviants"—an underclass that included homosexuals, transgender
people, Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists, and anyone critical of
the Castro regime. The 1960s were especially bleak. Deemed unfit for the
revolution, gay Cubans were banned from joining the military or becoming
teachers. Thousands were confined to isolated labor camps. Conditions
deteriorated further in the '80s and '90s as Cuba quarantined HIV-positive
citizens, many of whom were gay.
Mariette Pathy Allen's new photobook,
(Daylight Books), captures a country slowly outgrowing its history of
persecution. Shot in 2012 and 2013, the book is haunted by the trauma
inflicted by Fidel Castro's government. But it is optimistic about life
under his brother, Raúl, who assumed the presidency in 2008. Since the
change in power, Cuba's Ministry of Public Health has approved
state-funded sex reassignment surgery,
and the government has relaxed many discriminatory policies targeting sexual
orientation and gender. In 2012,
became the country's first openly transgender person elected to public
office. Perhaps most shockingly, in a 2010 interview with the Mexican
Fidel Castro called his decision to imprison homosexuals in the 1960's "a
great injustice…I'm not going to place the blame on others," Castro said,
"We had so many and such terrible problems, problems of life or death."
Despite its progressive reforms, Cuba continues to have serious problems,
particularly with transgender rights. "I see transgender Cubans as a
metaphor for Cuba itself: people living between genders in a country moving
between doctrines," Allen writes. The women she documents are grateful for
the increasing tolerance, but they still suffer from entrenched stigmas". .
follows her (Allen's) two previous photobooks—Transformations
The Gender Frontier
(2003)—capping a loose trilogy that is one of contemporary photography's
most poignant explorations of gender identity. Her portraits, whether shot
in Cuba or the United States, remind us that looking is a political act, and
seeing a revolutionary one. Although Allen's subjects face the camera
instead of a jury or a firing squad, their expressions bear the same frank
entreaty for compassion. To quote Yanet, another Allen subject: "We all have
implausible dreams, things that make no sense, we all have fantasies."
is a testament to the difficult, intoxicating, sometimes tragic work of
realizing who we are.
A very powerful visual-essay.]
5-05-14: The Guardian (UK re international): "Transgender people
shouldn't have to fight for the right to get a new ID -- Laws for updating
government-issued ID with accurate gender markers are a patchwork at best –
and have far-reaching effects"
"Transgender people – and some of the issues they
face – have achieved an unprecedented level of media visibility in the last
year, from trans celebrities
to gender non-conforming students
But the public acknowledgment of trans people in no way begins to confront
the difficulties they face in attempting to have their lived realities
accepted by governments and the law.
A new global report released Thursday by the Open
License to Be Yourself,
outlines the issues policy-makers need to consider in giving trans people
legal gender recognition, and includes best practices from around the world.
The report's authors admit that these solutions are not "one size fits all"
– especially because some countries, like the US, are lagging behind.
Argentina is considered the leader in progressive gender marker policies,
having passed a law in 2012 that allows individuals to update their gender
markers on government-issued documents without any medical or mental health
"Before, I'd have had to undergo psychiatric
diagnoses, hormonal treatment, surgeries and sterilization just to be
recognized as a guy," Mauro Cabral, co-director of Argentina's
Action for Trans Equality, told me this
week. "I'd even even have to lie to a judge, and declare myself a straight
guy – which I am not."
In America, the ID and documentation system
creates "a ripple effect of problems," explained Arli Christian, policy
counsel at the
National Center for Transgender Equality.
"It hinders employment, instigates suspicion or harassment from public
officials, and makes it difficult to enroll in school, secure housing or
public benefits, travel, drive or vote."
A country where a person can't drive or vote because of gender is a country
that needs to get its act together.
Current laws for updating government-issued IDs
with accurate name and gender markers are a patchwork at best – across the
US and the globe, on federal, state and local levels.
"For a driver's license in New York, you just need
a letter from your doctor," Kate Barnhart, the executive director of New
New Alternatives for Homeless LGBT Youth,
told me. "But an NYC birth certificate requires sex-reassignment surgery,
which many people don't want and many others can't afford." At least 14
states require surgery, a court order and/or a birth certificate for gender
updates, Christian added. This discrepancy between agency rules means that
it's common for transgender people to have different IDs that say different
things, which isn't just stupid – it's a bureaucratic nightmare . . .
Right now, the bureaucratic headache for
transgender people looks alarming even across much of Europe. Julia Ehrt,
the executive director of
told me that there is no one standard for legal name and gender changes
across Europe. While 13 of the 47 nations have no standards at all, forcing
trans people to seek individual court rulings to obtain legal recognition of
their genders, the rest all require a medical "diagnosis of gender dysphoria
or equivalent" psychiatric disorder. Worse, she said that trans people in 21
countries must be sterilized to obtain legal gender recognition – and 20
countries require that trans people legally divorce their spouses.
With any luck, this new report will bring more attention to the legal
strictures that fracture transgender people's lives and expose them to
danger and discrimination. At a time when much of the west has seen progress
around issues like marriage equality, transgender people are still fighting
for basic rights and visibility. They shouldn't be wasting their time
fighting with the DMV instead of being able to live their lives as partners,
friends, co-workers and taxpayers."
5-01-14: "For Transgender People, a Massive New Resource", By David
Crary, AP National Writer (more,
"As transgender people strive to gain more acceptance and legal protections,
they will soon have a hefty new resource to assist them — a 672-page book,
written by scores of transgender contributors, that encompasses social
history, gender politics and wide-ranging advice on health, law,
relationships and many other matters.
Encyclopedic in scope, conversational in tone, and candid about complex
sexual issues, the Oxford University Press book being released in mid-May is
Bodies, Trans Selves" (more) — a
deliberate echo of a pioneering feminist health-resource book, "Our Bodies,
Ourselves" that appeared more than 40 years ago
The new book's editor, New York University psychiatrist Laura
Erickson-Schroth, writes in the preface about reading her mother's copy of
"Our Bodies, Ourselves" as a 12-year-old.
"At a time when over 90 percent of physicians were men ... it was an
extremely daring and exciting thing to publish a book in which women taught
other women about their bodies, their sexuality, and their rights," she
The goal for "Trans Bodies, Trans Selves," she writes, was "to make it as
radical as its predecessor" — an act of empowerment through which
transgender people exert more control over the available information about
From conception to publication, the book has taken five years to produce. To
ensure it reflected diverse viewpoints, the editors, authors and other
collaborators held public forums across North America and conducted an
online survey that attracted more than 3,000 responses. With more than 200
contributors, Erickson-Schroth described her task as "herding cats."
"Our community is still conversing among itself about what the important
issues are, what it means to be trans," said Jennifer Finney Boylan, an
author and English professor at Colby College in Maine who wrote the book's
introduction. "Is it social, is it medical? Something very private, or
something very public?""
4-30-14: MSNBC: "Transgender students protected under Title IX, DOE
"Tucked away in a document on reducing sexual
assault at school – part of an unprecedented
effort by the Obama administration to address such
abuse – the Department of Education
included a historic guideline extending federal civil rights protections to
transgender students on Tuesday.
Title IX – the civil rights law that prohibits
sex discrimination in federally funded education programs and activities –
also bars discrimination on the basis of gender identity, announced the
Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, marking a major victory
in the fight to codify LGBT protections into federal law.
“Title IX’s sex discrimination prohibition extends
to claims of discrimination based on gender identity or failure to conform
to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity and OCR accepts such
complaints for investigation,” reads the
“Similarly, the actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity of
the parties does not change a school’s obligations. Indeed, lesbian, gay,
bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth report high rates of sexual
harassment and sexual violence. A school should investigate and resolve
allegations of sexual violence regarding LGBT students using the same
procedures and standards that it uses in all complaints involving sexual
Though aimed at clarifying how Title IX relates to sexual violence, the
guidance carries far broader implications. LGBT advocates note that
transgender students will not just be explicitly protected from physical or
sexual abuse under Title IX, but from all forms of discrimination in
“It certainly would be our view that transgender students should be given
the ability to participate in sex segregated activities, like sports teams,
consistent with their gender identity,” said Ian Thompson, legislative
representative at the American Civil Liberties Union, to msnbc. “Failure on
part of the school to allow that would be discrimination against that
The Department of Education’s guidance builds off
numerous court decisions and a
2012 opinion by the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission (EEOC) that gender identity
discrimination falls under sex discrimination, which is barred by Title VII
of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Two other areas of federal law that explicitly
protect individuals on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation
include hate crime legislation (the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate
Crimes Prevention Act) and domestic violence legislation (the Violence
Against Women ACT.) However, in other areas areas of daily life – including
housing and employment, for example – LGBT individuals remain vulnerable."
4-29-14: The Advocate: "U.S. Department of Education Extends
Protections to Trans Students -- In a major step forward for the protection
of trans students, the United States Department of Education announced today
that trans students are protected from discrimination under Title IX."
"Earlier today, the United States Department of Education
issued clarification to the until-now unanswered question of whether
transgender students were protected from discrimination on the basis of
Title IX, confirming that transgender students are, indeed, protected by the
federal legislation's prohibition discrimination on the basis of sex.
Today's guidance, released by the department's Office for Civil Rights
states, "Title IX's sex discrimination prohibition extends to claims of
discrimination based on gender identity or failure to conform to
stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity and OCR accepts such
complaints for investigation."
The extent to which this protection extends is not immediately clear, though
some LGBT advocacy organizations have expressed hope that this may pave the
way for more clear-cut, sweeping protections, like those currently codified
in state law in California.
"This guidance is crystal clear and leaves no room for uncertainty on the
part of schools regarding their legal obligation to protect transgender
students from discrimination," said American Civil Liberties Union
Legislative Representative Ian Thompson in a Tuesday statement. "The Office
for Civil Rights must now take the next step and issue comprehensive
guidance on Title IX and transgender students."
80 percent of transgender students report experiencing harassment as a
result of their gender identity at school, according to the National Gay and
Lesbian Task Force.
"This announcement is a breakthrough for transgender students, who too often
face hostility at school and refusal by school officials to accept them for
who they truly are," National Center for Transgender Equality's policy
Harper Jean Tobin said in a statement. "It is now clearer than ever that
schools nationwide are responsible for ensuring that transgender students
are respected and safe, and students can seek protection from the Department
of Education and the courts if schools fail to do so.""
4-26-14: Washington Post: "For transgender service members, honesty
can end career"
"It felt like the pinnacle of his career, working the graveyard shift in a
windowless plywood facility in Afghanistan, monitoring a Special Operations
mission as it unfolded in real time on grainy video feeds.
After spending hundreds of thousands of dollars training Landon Wilson to
intercept communications, the U.S. military was capitalizing on its
investment in the young sailor, already regarded as a rising star in a
critical, highly technical field.
But shortly after 2 a.m. on Dec. 7, when a superior tapped him on the back
and summoned him outside, one of the secrets that mattered most to Wilson
began to unravel.
“This Navy record says female, but this paper says male,” the grim-faced
sergeant major noted, displaying two sets of personnel records. “So, what
After an awkward pause, Wilson, who joined the Navy as a woman but who has
long felt like a man, provided the answer that set in motion the end of his
militry career: “I am male.”
More than two years after the repeal of the law that barred gay men and
lesbians from serving in the military openly, transgender service members
can still be dismissed from the force without question, the result of a
decades-old policy that dates back to an era when gender nonconformity was
widely seen as a mental illness.
The policy, however, is now coming under scrutiny as service members like
Wilson become more visible. Transgender service members are increasingly
undergoing procedures to align their bodies more closely with the genders
with which they identify. Medical experts, meanwhile, are urging the Defense
Department to rescind a policy they view as discriminatory and outdated,
noting that some of America’s closest allies, including Canada, Britain and
Australia, have done so seamlessly.
Although the American Psychiatric Association
revised its manual last year to indicate gender nonconformity is “not in
itself a mental disorder,” the Defense Department relies on guidelines that
describe transgender individuals as sexual deviants, and their condition as
a “paraphilia.” Thousands of transgender men and women are now serving in
the military while remaining in the closet, according to studies."
4-22-14: Huffington Post (posted 4-18): "The LGB/T Divide From a
Cisgender, White Gay Male of Privilege", by
"There's a conversation happening right now that's long overdue. With
growing tensions between the LGB and T components of our community, we are
doing little to bridge the gap -- quite the opposite in fact. Instead of
binding together to respect one another's viewpoints and have a meaningful
discussion about language in our culture, we're jumping on the defense every
chance we get -- further hurting the historic bond we have. It has to stop.
Telling trans people to stop being so touchy and sensitive over language is
wrong. For too long they've stood in the dark supporting you for your fight
for marriage equality and protections under the law, while you make little
attempt to understand their struggles. Why are you jumping to assume this is
a new sensitivity or cry for attention? Why aren't you attempting to
understand that MAYBE the trans community finally feels like it has enough
clout in our society to speak up for themselves? Why are we trying to stifle
that and treat them as if their opinions and feelings don't matter? . . .
Non-trans drag queens:
You are not trans. You don't get to throw around hateful terms, either, even
if you feel you're reclaiming the word. It's not yours to reclaim. There are
women who get beaten by their boyfriends or random strangers, left for dead,
where tranny is the last word they hear. It's not a word that represents
frivolity and flamboyance or whatever you want it to mean. It's not a joke,
and trans people aren't a spectacle. When someone tells you they're offended
by your language, instead of jumping to defend your free speech, take a
moment to educate yourself on why it means so much to this person that you
change your behavior . . .
Please understand that there are cisgender gay men who are on your side, and
please continue to have this dialogue. I understand you're frustrated, hurt,
annoyed, angry, etc. on how you've been treated, and for me to ask patience
of you is probably insensitive, but I do ask that you help us be better
allies by calmly and eloquently continuing to call us out. Continue to let
us know when our words, behaviors and micro-aggressions get to you, but
please forgive those of us who make mistakes unknowingly as we work to
change our language and understandings to reflect yours . . .
Finding middle ground in a community as diverse, artistic, and
expressionistic as ours is tough. BUT what we CAN do is respect one another
and educate ourselves on how words affect us. It's high time compassion and
authenticity and an attempt to understand one another be our goals in this
fight for equality."
4-22-14: Transadvocate (posted 4-19): "On policing RuPaul’s “free
("counter-point" re RuPaul Andre Charles)
"I think the freedom of speech and policing arguments that have popped up
around RuPaul are entirely disingenuous. Nobody is stopping RuPaul Andre
Charles from using these terms as much as he likes in his personal life.
RuPaul Andre Charles is a human being; RuPaul is a brand that Logo sells.
Logo does not want the brand they’re selling to be associated with terms
people use while they kill trans women. Period . . .
WE ALL joke and say things that editors, producers, employers, etc would
never allow near their brand. That’s not censorship, that’s public
relations. Equating PR with censorship is equivocation. Whether you’re a
writer or a Walmart greeter, your boss won’t allow you to use certain terms
because – for whatever reason – they’re loaded and if you want to
equivocate, you can call that censorship. Others might call it
professionalism . . .
If Logo wants a brand it’s selling to not be viewed as misogynistic, they’re
probably not going to allow drag terms like “fish” or “fishy” to be
associated with that brand. In the larger community, referring to women as
being “fishy” has a wider disparaging context. If RuPaul wanted to associate
Logo’s brand with that specific in-group term, how do you think that would
work? . . .
On your own dime, using your own platform, you get to associate anything you
want with your reputation – your brand – but that doesn’t mean that there
won’t be consequences. If the value of your reputation goes down because you
are associated with the terms people widely use when they’re killing
oppressed people, then that’s the price you’ll pay. Claiming that you’re
oppressed because you think you should somehow be exempt from the rules of
social currency is a bogus argument."
4-22-14: Huffington Post (posted 4-14): "RuPaul's Drag Race and the
Danger of Overpolicing Language", by
Our Lady J ("point"
""Tranny," "sissy," "sex change," and "she-male" are self-identifying slang
words used by gender-nonconforming people -- mostly performers, artists, sex
workers, and others considered to be living on the fringe of our queer
community. Although we use these words playfully to relate, empower, and
communicate, these words, like the word "gay," are sometimes used to
When I first transitioned, I proudly identified as a "tranny" until people
within the trans community told me the word was offensive to them. I
complied but quickly realized that while striving to be accepted by the
hetero-dominated world, the upper echelons of the trans community were
trying to sweep the fringe under the rug by censoring the language with
which they identify. In addition to banishing "tranny," "sissy," "sex
change," and "she-male" as slander, they insisted that the users of these
words were the oppressors, making themselves the victims -- a well-worn tool
of manipulation and control.
As an artist, I love language, and I cherish free speech. RuPaul has been
the number-one defender of these, and at the same time he continues to
support every shade of queerness within our community, no matter the class.
Drag is punk and should never be subjected to politically correct ideals.
The moment it stops provoking is the moment it fails as an art form. Trans
people are forever indebted to drag for the mainstream explosion of gender
as we see it today."
4-21-14: Daily Northwestern: "Northwestern community evaluates
culture, resources for transgender students", by Tyler Pager
"At Northwestern, (Bea) Sullivan-Knoff is part of a small community of
transgender students who continue to see improved resources and facilities.
But members of the transgender community say many areas still need to see
improvement, including the availability of gender-neutral bathrooms and
housing, as well as a greater understanding of what it means to be
transgender . . .
Although an NU survey compiling data from the last few years suggests .32
percent of undergraduate students identify as transgender, the number
reflects a small sample size and does not account for students who chose not
to share their gender identity, said Devin Moss, director of NU’s LGBT
Overall, Sullivan-Knoff and other members of the transgender community
believe NU is an accepting place. National nonprofit Campus Pride, which
ranks colleges based on LGBT-friendliness, awarded NU five out of five
Campus Pride Trans Policy Clearinghouse, a database of transgender policies
at colleges, also lists NU as one of 730 schools that have nondiscrimination
policies regarding gender identity, one of 149 that offer gender-inclusive
housing, one of 75 that allow students to use their preferred name on
university records and one of 51 with student insurance covering
gender-reassignment surgeries. The University of Chicago, Duke University
and Washington University in St. Louis also appear on all four lists.
Though Sullivan-Knoff has not directly experienced discrimination on campus,
she said NU lacks a unified transgender community. A Facebook group for
transgender students only includes about 10 people, she said.
“It is a pretty isolating experience,” she said. “I’m going to start looking
at communities outside of campus just so I can have that sort of support
system that doesn't really exist in a substantial way on campus.”"
[Ed: Seems the
J. Michael Bailey's
trans-demonizing teachings in his
infamous 2003 book
The Man Who Would be Queen still
hangs like a pungent pall over Northwestern University, without students
quite knowing what that stink is, much less who set the fire.]
4-21-14: BuzzFeed: "Smith College Students Continue Fight Over
“Discriminatory” Policy On Transgender Applicants"
"Dozens of students plan to protest at Smith College on Thursday due to what
they say is the women’s school’s refusal to make its admissions process more
inclusive for transgender women after students’ negotiations with
The Northampton, Mass., school came under fire
last spring for its admissions policy after
Calliope Wong, a
transgender woman, was
because a federal student aid form identified her as male, even though she
identifies as female. Since then, activists from the Smith Q&A student
organization have pressed administrators to make a key change to the policy,
but they said their demands have not yet been met; they will demonstrate as
“We no longer have a working relationship with admissions [officials], and
they refuse to negotiate further, so we need to show them that a lot of
people care about this and that we aren’t going away,” said Sarah Fraas, a
member of Q&A who is organizing the demonstration. “I think if Smith sees
that their image as a feminist institution and a welcoming place will be
compromised by not changing the policy, that is something they will respond
At issue is the school’s continued demand for consistent female gender
markers on admissions documents such as high school transcripts, mid-year
academic reports, and three letters of recommendation required for
consideration. Activists such as Fraas demand the school allow transgender
applicants to submit additional documents that would help to demonstrate
their identities as women, considering how difficult it may be for some
students to request changes to their gender marker on a high school
transcript, for example. In other words, they say letters from teachers,
social workers, advisors, employers, and other adult sources confirming the
applicant’s female gender identity should be sufficient proof."
4-21-14: CBC News (Canada): "Transgender students included in
Vancouver school policy review"
"A local trans-rights advocate is applauding the efforts of the Vancouver
School Board to update its school policy and student conduct guidelines to
better support transgender students.
The school board has spent the past few months listening to concerns in
order to revise a 10-year-old plan created to help foster a safe learning
Marie Little, chair of Vancouver's Trans Alliance Society, says
the revisions are both welcomed, and necessary. "It indicates people are
beginning to move in the right direction in their thinking," she said.
The new content in the draft plan includes a section on gender identity and
expression, and the guidelines outline practices that include allowing trans
students to dress, within existing school rules, according to their
self-identified gender and to be called by a name or pronoun that matches
Under the plan's revisions, which will be presented for approval later next
month, teachers are advised to cut down on sex-segregated activities,
and trans students are permitted to use washrooms or change rooms that match
their gender identity."
4-21-14: The Daily Cougar (Univ. of Houston): "Transgender rights bill
leaves campus divided"
"For most, listening for their names to be called from the roster is a
simple, if not mundane, reality of being a college student. Few would
associate it as anything more than that, and even fewer would ever think of
roll call as something that could potentially put their life in danger.
Viewing the world from the lens of a transgender man or woman paints a much
different picture than most ever see, though. To a trans man, having no
choice but to correct his professor and ask to be called Jason instead of
Julie outs him as a transgender man to all who are present. Such a scenario
not only places Jason in immense psychological turmoil but also makes him
vulnerable to students who harbor negative sentiments toward the LGBT
On Wednesday, the Student Government Association acted for those students.
The Josephine Tittsworth Act, which allows students, faculty and staff “to
apply their preferred first name, title and personally discerned gender in
all standard forms of documentation or record keeping,” passed in an 11-4
vote in the SGA Senate Chambers. Throughout its brief lifespan, the bill has
managed to become one of the University’s most controversial pieces of
4-18-14: NPR (re India): "A Journey Of Pain And Beauty: On Becoming
Transgender In India"
"The signs came early that Abhina Aher was different. Born a boy
biologically and given the male name Abhijit, Aher grew up in a middle-class
neighborhood of Mumbai, India. The son of a single mother who nurtured a
love of dance, Aher would watch enthralled as she performed.
"I used to love to wear the clothes that my mother used to wear — her
jewelry, her makeup," Aher, now 37, recalls. "That is something which used
to extremely fascinate me."
Draped in a bright sari, gold earrings and painted nails, Aher is, by
outward appearance, a female, preferring to be addressed as a woman.
She has undertaken a long and arduous journey,
rejecting her biological sex and opting to become a
hijra — a
member of an ancient transgender community in India, popularly referred to
This week, India's Supreme Court handed down , by
recognizing a third gender under the law that is neither male nor female.
The sweeping decision redefines their rights and the state's obligation to
them as one of India's most marginalized groups . . . "
4-17-14: Bay Area Reporter: "SF set to name street after transgender
"San Francisco is set to name a street after
a transgender icon, marking the first time the city has awarded such an
honor to a member of the transgender community.
At its meeting Tuesday, April 22, the Board of Supervisors is expected to
Vicki Marlane's name to street signs along the 100 block of Turk Street
in the Tenderloin neighborhood. Marlane,
died in 2011 at the age of 76 due to AIDS-related complications,
hosted a popular drag revue show at gay bar
Aunt Charlie's located at
The board's land use and economic development community unanimously approved
the proposal at its meeting Monday, April 14. District 6 Supervisor Jane
Kim, who represents the Tenderloin and is the main sponsor of the
street-naming resolution, said this week she does not expect any opposition
to the proposal when it reaches the full board.
"This is a historic vote and action," Kim said during the hearing before the
committee on which she serves. "Vicki in particular was a mentor to many
folks in this room, other performers, and transgender youth coming up in the
scene. It is time to finally recognize this icon and activist. This block is
the perfect place to memorialize her legacy."
Born Donald Sterger in Crookston, Minnesota, Marlane started out as a
traveling circus performer before settling in San Francisco in 1966. She
underwent sex reassignment surgery in the 1980s and moved to San Diego.
A decade later Marlane had returned to the city and her show "Girls Just
Wanna Have Fun" debuted in 1998 at Aunt Charlie's. It evolved into popular
weekly Friday and Saturday shows called "The
Hot Boxxx Girls."
Known as "the lady with the liquid spine" for her
performance moves, Marlane was featured in the 2009 independent film
Forever's Gonna Start Tonight."
4-17-14: Badger Herald (University of Wisconsin): "Transgender
activist highlights importance of self-acceptance, identity"
"As an activist, a leader and an advocate, Janet Mock took her audience
through her journey of self-acceptance in a talk on campus Wednesday,
telling students to stay true to their identity.
Mock, the New York Times bestselling author of “Redefining Realness: My Path
to Womanhood, Identity, Love and So Much More” and a transgender woman, was
the featured speaker at the Distinguished Lecture Series for the LGBT Campus
Center’s Out and About Month at Union South.
Mock was born the middle child with four siblings and raised in Honolulu. A
first generation college graduate, she said her journey as a young person
was defined by her efforts to try to be herself in a culture that did not
acknowledge or accept her true identity.
“In high school, some of my most pivotal moments rose from pop culture. I
saw Beyoncé in TV. Things touched me. I was not represented in the media,
but Beyoncé validated me. She is the epitome of a graceful, talented,
strong, hard-working woman, who was the role model for me,” Mock said. “She
made me love being brown.”
A pivotal moment in Mock’s journey was in 2001 while watching footage of the
World Trade Center burning down after 9/11. In that moment, she said she
realized she did not want to die before she got to be her true self.
Mock said she decided to tell her story to Marie Claire in 2011. Her
decision came from her desire to show people how transgender women express
their identity and share themselves with the world, she said.
“I wanted to help advance social and racial justice, advance social identity
of trans-women of color, who is struggling with lower income
discrimination,” Mock said. “I want to tell people their struggles and their
4-16-14: Huffington Post: "Monica Jones, Transgender Woman, Convicted
Of 'Manifesting Prostitution'" (more)
"Apparently you can be arrested and convicted for
while trans" in some parts of the
Monica Jones, a transgender woman and activist,
found guilty of "manifesting prostitution" by a
Phoenix, Arizona judge on Friday
following her arrest by undercover police officers in 2013.
The kicker? Jones did not actually engage in
prostitution the night of her arrest. Rather, she
accepted a ride to a bar in her neighborhood
by two undercover cops.
Jones' conviction stems from a law defining
prostitution as act or action that "manifests
an intent to commit or solicit an act of prostitution"
-- with the keyword being "intent."
This ambiguity puts the power within the hands of
the state, who can define intent within their own framework.
According to Policymic,
notes that "innocent" and "criminal" behavior is defined by how a person
looks . . .
All of these factors have led some to claim that Jones' arrest and
subsequent conviction under this ambiguous law stems simply from her
identity as a transgender woman of color.
During her recent acceptance of the Stephen F Kolzak Award at the GLAAD
Awards, transgender actress and activist Laverne Cox mentioned Jones' story
and highlighted the need for further conversation about the daily injustices
being faced by transgender individuals. Check it out in the video below."
4-17-14: CNN World (re India): "The transgender community: Legally
invisible no more?" (more,
"Simran Mahant's excitement is palpable ahead of heading to the nearby
polling booth in a small village in northern India.
This is the first time that the 23-year-old transgender dancer will vote in
the country's parliamentary election. With an official identity stamp,
Simran will also be able to get a passport and travel abroad. The first
destination? "Singapore," says the dancer.
"Seeing everyone vote made me feel there is something abnormal about me,"
says Simran, through an interpreter. "Now, I have my own identity."
Simran is among the three million transgender Indians who will now be
entitled to the same rights and welfare support given to other socially and
economically disadvantaged classes. Transgender is a broad community
encompassing people whose gender identity does not align to their assigned
In a landmark judgment passed on Tuesday, the
country's highest court has
transgender people as a third sex, allowing them equal access to education,
healthcare and employment, and prohibiting discrimination against them.
The move reflects a growing wave of recognition of the rights of transgender
for equal recognition internationally.
Earlier this month, the Australian High Court also
the government should legally recognize a third gender, in response to a
case filed by a sexual equality campaigner in Sydney. Even social networking
site Facebook has announced plans to offer users new gender options.
"Even though we are at a very early stage, there is an unstoppable movement
in the world towards recognition of their rights," says Hong Kong-based
Michael Vidler, a human rights lawyer."
4-16-14: Huffington Post: "Couple Plans Own Prom After School Bars
Transgender Boyfriend From Attending"
"Anais Celini won't let her school's decision to not let her transgender
boyfriend attend prom ruin their special night.
Yesterday, The Huffington Post
brought you the news that Anais Celini, a senior at Martin Luther High
School in Maspeth, Queens, was told she could not bring her transgender
boyfriend, Nathaniel Baez, to prom because his "transition
was unconventional" and "not beneficial."
Now, the couple have decided to have their own prom and share their special
night together rather than further challenging the school.
As reported by Buzzfeed, a transitional housing center has already
offered the couple their space in order to hold their own prom.
“We are no longer a same-sex couple,”
Celini told Buzzfeed. “They need to see him as male and respect that. We
didn’t want to sneak ourselves into prom, we wanted to be upfront and be
respectful about it.”"
4-16-14: Independent.ie (Ireland): "My Transgender Journey: An
unexpected public service from brave TV3"
"This is the kind of public service broadcasting you'd expect a public
service broadcaster, not a commercial one, to be producing.
The documentary focuses on three people searching for a sense of identity
and fighting to find their place in a society that, as governed by our
political masters, makes both those goals extraordinarily difficult to
attain: Ireland is currently the only EU country that doesn't provide a
legal mechanism for recognising transgender people . . .
Nineteen-year-old veterinary student Sam Blanckensee, who seemed to sense
from the very beginning that being born a girl was the wrong fit, was
luckier in the parental stakes. He has loving parents and siblings who have
supported him; the family accompanied Sam to
At the time of filming, however, that had yet to happen. Sam describes the
physical discomfort of binding -- tightly strapping down the female breasts
to give the illusion of a manly chest -- and the long-term health risks
"You can't breathe in them [binders]. You can break ribs. I developed asthma
from wearing them too much. I know a friend who will possibly need heart
surgery because it has cut off the circulation to the blood vessels in his
Perhaps the most moving moment occurs when Kay
Bear Boss, who was born a boy in
listens tensely on the phone, while at the other end, in America, her mother
awaits a judge's decision on whether Kay's birth certificate can be changed
to reflect her female status.
It's a "Yes". Kay's delight is matched by that of the judge, who we hear
jovially telling her to have a glass of Jameson for him. It's hard to
envision such a scene unfolding in an Irish courtroom.
My Transgender Journey is an eye-opener. Hopefully it will also be a
mind-opener, not least for the people who commission RTE comedies.
Irish Lives: My Transgender Journey, TV3, 9pm tonight"
4-16-14: NPR: "Justice's 'Peacemaker' Unit Focuses On Transgender
"A groundbreaking survey reports that say they've been
victims of physical assault. Most of those crimes are never reported to
police. This year, the Justice Department wants to change that by training
law enforcement to be more sensitive to the needs of trans people in their
Attorney General Jim Cole says its new training program is motivated by a
simple yet powerful idea. "The department recognizes what is often lost in the
debates about transgender individuals, and it's that transgender lives are
human lives," Cole told a group of about 130 police and community activists who
recently gathered at the Justice Department to unveil the new program.
"We heard you
when you told us that we needed to establish a foundation of trust between
those who serve and protect the public and those in the LGBT community,
particularly the transgender community."
In charge of
the project is Justice's Community Relations Service unit, known as CRS. The
service came to life in the 1964 Civil Rights Act as a way to dial down
desegregation tensions in the South. "And for nearly 50 years CRS has served as
America's peacemaker," says Grande Lum, who runs the unit . . . Increasingly,
that means doing more to reach out to transgender people.
director of policy for Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays,
helped to develop the new Justice Department training.
"It can be
very difficult to interact with law enforcement officials," Sanchez tells NPR.
"We're people like everyone else. We're not any different than anyone else.
However, when we're encountered by law enforcement officers, we often find
challenges both in being seen or respected."
says that's why many crimes go unreported. "While we are at greater risk
perhaps for violence on the street, we're also less likely to report that to
law enforcement officers," he adds.
first openly transgender person to have worked as a legislative staffer on
Capitol Hill, says those barriers can be overcome. It's as simple as using a
person's preferred name, or gender pronoun, or asking for identification in a
safe and respectful way.
they'll do is ask for the driver's license," he says. "If the gender that is
indicated on the license doesn't match who the officer thinks they're looking
at, if they say something loudly and then leave, they're leaving in danger that
individual in their neighborhood."
Tobin of the National Center for Transgender Equality says too often, police
treat trans people like they're doing something suspicious just for being
law enforcement, particularly transgender women of color, report that when they
are walking in certain areas of a city, that they will get stopped for what
they call 'walking while trans,' " Tobin says."
4-05-14: Huffington Post: "Mom Announces Her Son Is Transgender In The
"When Jodi Gholson Oliver announced her son is
transgender, she didn't just announce it. She
On March 27,
Oliver, a hairstylist living in Las Vegas, posted a photo of a white stork
delivering a blue bundle with the words "It's a BOY!" Along with the photo,
Oliver shared a touching -- and joyful -- message about her 19-year-old son,
Jes, who is transgender.
Yep, it's true! I am proud
to announce that I have given birth to a bouncing baby boy on December 18,
1994. For about 18 1/2 years we thought he was a girl, who just happened to
like bugs, tattoos, flames, skulls, snakes, lizards, etc, etc. Then one day
Jes explained to us that he never felt like he was supposed to be a girl,
always identified more as boy and therefore planned on living as a male (a
term called transgender in case you are not sure). This is something that
we have all seen over the years and I am so happy that he can finally feel
like the person he was born to be! If you have any questions please feel
free to ask me, as I will do my best to help you understand a concept that
may be unfamiliar to you! If you think your question may be inappropriate,
it probably is and I will probably not answer it!
She tagged it with a "feeling proud" emoticon.
Jes shared his mom's awesome and inspiring message
on his Tumblr account, writing: "My mom let her facebook friends/family
know what’s up regarding me just now and this is how she did it. Heck yeah,
mom." It got more than 150,000 notes and the
story was picked up by the Daily Dot.
a follow-up message on Facebook Friday saying how shocked she is by the
response her viral post has gotten. "I thought when I made this announcement on
FB I was just letting all of my friends and family know about recent
developments in our lives and that telling everyone at the same time would just
be so much easier," she wrote. "I had no idea this was going to affect so many
people like it has.""
4-04-14: Huffington Post: "The
Perils and Possibilities of Transgender Visibility", by
Associate Professor, Sociology of Education, NYU Steinhardt
" . . . Last month's Academy Awards also provided
an occasion for a complicated discussion about trans visibility in
mainstream pop culture. Jared Leto, who took home an Oscar for his
performance, was at the center of a fair amount of controversy for his
portrayal of the transgender woman, Rayon, in "Dallas Buyers Club." Many
lauded Leto's portrayal, finding it to be sensitive, serious, and
much-needed to increase trans inclusion in mainstream creative work. Others
criticized the film's writers and casting folks for many of their creative
choices. These critics found the role to be dehumanizing, recklessly
stereotypical, and a misrepresentation of the experience of most trans
woman. They also found it problematic that Rayon was played by Leto rather
than by a trans actress.
Some high-profile trans women activists also have
begun to bring mainstream attention to their experiences and their politics.
For some, these names are new. For many, they are very familiar.
Laverne Cox, a transgender actress,
plays trans woman Sophia Burset on the highly-acclaimed Netflix series
"Orange Is the New Black," and she has become a vocal activist for trans
justice. Janet Mock, a transgender
writer-activist has recently written a
New York Times bestselling
autobiography (Redefining Realness).
Model and advocate
Geena Rocero just publicly came out as trans in her
2014 TED talk.
In sports, Fallon Fox made news last
year when she came out as a transgender woman in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA).
Kye Allums also made headlines in 2010
when he became the first openly transgender athlete to play Division I
college sports. In the same year, Ironman triathlete
Chris Mosier publicly came out as trans and began competing in men's
races. And many people do not know that the National Collegiate Athletic
Association (the NCAA) took the lead on a proactive and inclusive
transgender student athlete policy in 2011.
As Russo and others remind us, visibility alone does not ensure social
progress or progressive social change. It certainly comes with dangers. But,
in the research I do, when we interview people about why LGBTQ visibility
matters, we hear them talk about the fact that visibility has the potential
to eviscerate loneliness. Visibility can build community. Visibility has the
power to irrevocably change hearts and minds.
For trans visibility in particular, there is something more: Trans
visibility and inclusion in mainstream movies, television, fashion, and
sports demonstrates the ways in which creative change can come from those
who have been severely culturally and politically marginalized. It pushes
important questions that we should be asking -- not just about legal
inclusion and civil rights, but about what it means to be a man or a woman
and to rely on this binary. It raises complicated questions about the
relationship between biological sex and social gender identity. It
challenges us to rethink the utility of sex segregation in sports and the
accuracy of the popular stories we tell ourselves about natural distinctions
between men and women. These questions go to the root of our cultural
narratives and our taken-for-granted assumptions about sex and gender.
Pop culture can dangerously affirm age-old stereotypes and images that
dehumanize and marginalize. It also has the power and potential to make us
confront our ignorance and confront each other, ask questions we didn't even
know existed, and feel with every fiber of our being. Trans visibility in
mainstream pop culture really does have the power to radically transform. I
am hopeful, and I am watching."
[Ed: A powerful, must-read essay on our times.]
4-04-14: KGW New8 (Portland, Oregon): "Transgender George Fox student
told he can’t live in male dorms"
"A transgender student has filed a complaint against George Fox University
after officials said he couldn’t live with other men on campus during the
upcoming school year.
Jaycen, who goes by ‘Jayce,’ is currently a sophomore at the Christian
college in Newberg. He has been undergoing a female-to-male transition over
the past few years.
Next week, a judge will issue a court order affirming his gender, allowing
him to change his gender on his driver’s license, birth certificate and with
But when Jayce asked school officials in December if he could live with his
male friends during the upcoming school year, George Fox denied his request.
Now, Jayce is fighting to live in male housing and has filed a formal
complaint against the college, alleging discrimination on the basis of sex
and gender in violation of Title IX.
"The university’s decision makes me feel rejected, misunderstood and
punished for something I cannot change," Jayce said. "It also makes me
anxious and nervous about where I'll be able to live next year, and the year
Jayce said the university is proposing a housing policy based on "biological
birth sex," which would mean if he wanted to live on campus, it would have
to be with women.
"I feel like I deserve to be treated better, so I am asserting my rights
under Title IX," he said. "I am a man. I deserve to be treated like any
other man on campus.""
4-03-14: Daily Mail (UK re US): "'I am so grateful to be a woman':
Transgender model comes out for the first time during moving TED talk" (VIDEO)
After keeping her birth gender a
secret for years, New York-based model Geena Rocero decided to come out to
her friends, her neighbors, and even her modeling agent, who didn't know the
Speaking in front of a large audience for the
TED talk on transgender rights on Monday, the Philippines-born model
opened up about her experience 'to help others live without shame and
'All of us are put into boxes by our families, by
our religion, by society,' she said. 'But some people have the courage to
break free from the beliefs of the people around them.'
“The world makes you something that you’re not —
but you know inside what you are.” Model and activist
opens her powerful talk in the first session on Wednesday, March 19, at
Rocero, poised in sky-high black patent heels, shows photos from throughout
her modeling career: bold, bikini-ed, confident. Her career as a successful
fashion model for the last nine years seemed to mean she had achieved her
greatest dream: To the public, Rocero’s outer self finally matched her inner
truth. All the while, she admits, she was keeping the truth of her past from
neighbors, friends, colleagues, and until recently, even her agent: She was
born assigned male. “All of us are put in boxes by our family, our religion,
our society, our moment in history, even our own bodies,” says Rocero. But
some people have the courage to defy those boxes — so she decided she would
no longer hide within the status quo . . . "
4-03-14: TED Blog (posted 3-14): "Live from TED2014: Why I must come
out: Geena Rocero at TED2014" (more)
". . . To start her story, Rocero shows a photo of herself as a kid growing
up in the Philippines, a T-shirt draped around her head. Even as a little
girl, she knew that her assigned sex of little boy did not match her real
identity. Why are you wearing a T-shirt on your head? her mother would ask.
“Mom, this is my hair! I’m a girl!” Rocero says, smiling at the memory.
In the Philippines, Rocero was supported by her family and friends, and she
began participating in — and winning — countless trans women beauty
pageants. So when her mother called to tell her that her American green card
petition had come through, Rocero hesitated. She was a beauty queen in the
Philippines, surrounded by supportive friends and having fun. But then came
the crucial detail: Rocero’s mother told her that in the US she would be
able to change her name and gender marker. It was all she needed to hear.
At the time in the US, sexual reassignment surgery was required before one
could legally change one’s gender marker. So at 19, Rocero went to Thailand
for surgery. And in 2001 she arrived in San Francisco with a new name — she
added a second “e” to become Geena — and legal recognition as a woman. To
others, says Rocero, a driver’s license is permission to drive or buy
alcohol. “For me, that was my license to live, to feel dignified.”
Not everyone is so lucky — and that’s why Rocero feels it’s her
responsibility to come out to the world and tell her story. She pauses and
says: “Today, this very moment is my real coming out.” Standing tall,
striking and misty-eyed, she spreads her arms on the TED stage: “I am here
exposed … to help others live without shame and terror.”"
sure to watch this wonderful video!]
4-01-14: The TransAdvocate: "Transgender college student Andraya
Williams humiliated by Piedmont campus police says enough is enough” by
Kelli Busey (more,
"Subjected to discrimination, intimidation, humiliation and stonewalled by
North Carolina Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC), transgender
student Andraya Williams tells the TransAdvocate she’s had enough.
On March 19th, Ms. Williams was detained by a campus school guard while
exiting the lady’s room bathroom telling her that they had heard reports of
a man in the restroom and asked her for her college ID.
Ms. Williams then presented her ID, which clearly identifies her as female.
Despite that the guard persisted in mockingly questioning Ms.Williams gender
and called reinforcement. When the other guards arrived, they surrounded Ms.
Williams eventually escorting her off campus.
The next-day Ms. Williams intent on resolving the incident went to the Dean
of student life, who informed her she was suspended for not presenting her
ID to the guards.
Ms. Williams told the TransAdvocate the Colleges version was simply not
true, and she has proof. “When the guard first approached me, I called my
attorney who listened to the entire incident. She heard me present my ID to
several officers. She heard me then ask if I was free to leave”
Ms. Williams begun the process of changing her legal documents say she
started transition in 2010 and began living in her authentic gender in 2012
when she turned 20.
The school says she won’t be ‘protected’ if she uses the lady’s room until
she complies with their demands. “The school is requiring me to show proof
of my gender,” says Ms Williams, “but they haven’t specified what they need
to see.” "
3-26-14: National Post (Canada): "Transgender girl’s rights violated
by ID requirements, mother says" (more)
"Saskatoon mother Fran Forsberg believes schools, libraries and the
government shouldn’t need to know the gender of her child. In fact, she’d
like to see the designation removed from all government-issued ID
altogether. “I don’t think it’s anybody’s business what gender you are,” she
said on Wednesday.
“I have to show a birth certificate when I register at a school. Why do they
need to know her gender? We have to show that even to get a library card.”
Ms. Forsberg has launched a complaint with the Saskatchewan Human Rights
Commission over her six-year-old daughter’s birth certificate, because the
provincial government has refused to switch the “M” to “F.’’
Renn was born with male genitalia, but has identified as a female for three
years . . . Ms. Forsberg said she wanted Renn’s birth certificate changed so
the girl wouldn’t face confusion or discrimination. The government refused:
sex can be changed on ID only after a person has undergone sex reassignment
Ms. Forsberg noted Ontario has removed the surgery requirement; she filed a
complaint with the Human Rights Commission in May, but has heard nothing in
almost a year. Ultimately, she said she wants government to stop recording
gender altogether . . .
Ms. Forsberg said she and her family have come under heavy criticism. Call
in shows have blasted her parenting and called Renn an “it.” “I don’t care
about me, but when they attack a child like that, it’s such cowardice,” she
Renn’s older brother, Tana, is also “gender fluid,” Ms. Forsberg said. “Tana
is not a transgender child, Tana is what we call two-spirited. He’s in touch
with his male and female side,” she said.
Ms. Forsberg said gender is much more fluid than most people believe, and
some children live along a spectrum. “My children don’t have an issue.
Society has an issue. People need to educate themselves,” she said."
3-26-14: Deutche Welle (Germany re India): "Indian transgender
community not keen on voting -- Most members of India's transgender
community are not keen on voting in the upcoming parliamentary elections
despite winning the right to vote. Activists say this reflects their lack of
trust in the electoral system."
"Sanjana and D' Souza are members of India's three-million-strong
transgender community called "hijras" in the Hindi language. The term is
loosely used for transgender men and women, eunuchs, transvestites, and also
for natural intersex people and male cross-dressers. Most of these people
are either sex workers or beggars.
In 2011, the Indian election commission decided to allow the transgender
people to vote in general elections as a separate group and they are
expected to cast their ballots for the first time in the upcoming polls. But
election officials say only a handful of them have enrolled in the 'others'
category on ballot papers.
"This is not encouraging. We have done our best to go to these people and
register them for polls but they don't seem very interested," a senior
election commission official told DW on condition of anonymity.
Activists say a lack of interest in the elections reflects the community's
anger at a system which has never treated them as equal citizens and
deprived them of a dignified life.
"Transgender people continue to live on the margins of society and are
constantly harassed by the police. Also, it seems as if the community means
nothing to political parties, probably because of their small population,"
Anjan Joshi, who works for the non-governmental Society for Peoples'
Awareness, Care and Empowerment organization, told DW.
The transgender people's indifference to the elections also stems from the
fact that their interests are not reflected in the manifestos of the
mainstream political parties. "If we don't figure in their agenda, why
should we bother voting for them?" said Flora, another member of the
Transgender people are also upset about last year's Supreme Court decision
which reinstated a British colonial era law banning gay sex. The transgender
people say the controversial law exposes them again to police harassment and
further ostracizes them."
3-25-14: Huffington Post: ""What's Between Your Legs?" Is the
New "So What Do You Do in Bed?"
"Possibly inspired by Laverne Cox and
Orange is the New Black,
I blurted out the title of this post at a recent panel about media coverage
of transgender issues, as I was trying to put into context the quality of
coverage of transgender issues today, as compared to gay and lesbian issues
in the early 1990s. It has stuck in my head since . . .
Which brings me to the swift, growing visibility for transgender people we
are seeing in the media. Transgender characters in entertainment were always
around, but as the punch line. When it came to news, it was usually about a
hate crime. And I can tell you from personal experience even that coverage
had to be fought for, from Brandon Teena to Fred Martinez to Gwen Araujo.
But increasingly, we are seeing transgender actors, activists, filmmakers,
politicians and people from every walk of life coming out and telling their
stories . . . Which brings me back to that panel at CUNY Graduate School of
Of course, we talked about Piers Morgan's recent ham-fisted and very
unsatisfying interview with author and activist Janet Mock and the
controversy afterwards . . . He asked the same kind of leading questions he
always does and botched the opportunity to explore the life of an amazing
woman. And obviously he did not have to point out repeatedly that she was
assigned male at birth. But does it make him transphobic?
It is exactly the situation I see time and time again with journalists. They
are not homophobic, they are homo-ignorant. So let's add "trans-ignorant" to
the lexicon, especially for those who obviously simply need some education.
As I explained to the students in the audience, that education ideally
should happen BEFORE the coverage whenever possible and with some nuance
after if necessary. Piers was shocked and then got defensive. Everybody
I love the carrot and stick approach but some folks seem to forget the
carrot and go right to taking the stick to someone who is making a mistake
they don't even realize is offensive . . . Like Katie Couric. Her interview
with actress Laverne Cox and model Carmen Carrera about their lives and
careers came to an awkward impasse when she asked them what some would call
"the plumbing question." Laverne handled it extraordinarily well, realizing
it was an "educable moment." And you could see that Katie realized the same
thing as Laverne responded to her."
3-24-14: Huffington Post: "Anti-Trans Slurs and Drag: Who Exactly Is
Transgender, and Does It Matter?", by
"Within the LGBT community's activist sphere, marriage is also becoming
increasingly boring, with few debates or arguments arising on the topic.
Where the fireworks exist and are expanding is on the issue of gender:
gender identity, gender expression, and gender roles. The more fundamental
issues of sex and gender are now the locus of debate, and sides are being
taken that are exposing increasingly contentious ideological positions.
This arose last week on one of my lists, where it was mentioned that RuPaul
was using the
slurs "tranny" and "shemale." RuPaul is the drag queen and host of
Drag Race, and he identifies as a gay man.
According to folk etymology, "drag" is an acronym for "dressed as girl,"
though there have long been drag kings as well as drag queens. And while
there have been trans women who have performed drag, either as a form of
self-expression and self-actualization or as a means of making a living in a
hostile world (or both), most trans women have spent little time with and do
not live within the gay male drag culture -- or so I thought, until it was
pointed out to me that trans persons of color often do partake deeply in
such culture . . .
While many trans women take offense at the words "tranny" and "shemale,"
there is a generational divide on this issue, as well as a racial one, with
some younger trans people embracing the terms as a form of empowerment. This
is analogous to the long-standing debate about the "N" word in the black
community and the signals that its use sends to the outside world.
discussed this before and concluded that because I believe in
self-determination, I should support the right of anyone to define
themselves in any way that they like. They can use any language they choose.
I expanded on this when
talking about Facebook's consideration of multiple gender identities.
However, just as freedom of speech in this country is generally construed
very broadly, it is not absolute and is not acceptable when it impinges on
the rights of others. The problem arises when that language is broadcast
publicly, as it is with RuPaul, and then creates a perception among those in
the general public who might be ignorant of the nuances and subtleties that
are considered dangerous by many who are so defined."
[Ed: An important and timely essay; highly recommended food for thought.]
3-23-14: Think Progress (key article, posted 1-31): "Laverne Cox:
‘Loving Trans People Is A Revolutionary Act’", by
Zack Ford (more;
be sure to
watch the full video)
"This weekend, over 4,000 LGBT activists and
allies are gathering in Houston, Texas for
Creating Change, the
on LGBT Equality, hosted by the
National Gay and Lesbian Task
Force. The conference kicked off Thursday night with an opening
keynote by Laverne Cox from
Orange is the New Black. She spoke
about her own experiences as a transgender woman of color and addressed the
injustices that trans women of color continue to experience.
Invoking Cornell West, Cox told the audience that, “Justice is what love
looks like in public.” “”When a trans woman is called a man,” she said,
“that is an act of violence.” But “loving trans people,” she believes, “is a
Cox is currently developing a documentary about
CeCe McDonald, a trans woman of color who was
imprisoned for defending herself
from racist, anti-trans attackers. “She defended herself because she refused
to be a statistic,” Cox said. Applauding the growing awareness and
visibility of trans people, she proudly proclaimed that “for the first time,
we are setting the agenda for how our stories are told.”
Watch Cox’s full remarks."
3-23-14: The Guardian (UK; posted 3-18): "Things you wanted to know
about trans people and were rude enough to ask"
"I would predict that every trans person who has ever come out has been
asked a variation on the question, "But what was your old name?" Or the
ruder version, "But what's your real name?" Or the slightly bizarre, "But
what was your birth name?" I'd like to know how many of us are born with
The problem is signified by the "but", stated or implicit. It implies that
I'm lying or at best being evasive. The questioner becomes a detective and
with me as their case study. It is simple: my name is my name, as "real" as
yours. Case closed.
Perhaps it's less offensive than a question about one's body or
sex life, but the name question is the tip of the inappropriate iceberg.
Below the surface, ready to spew forth, lies: "Do you have a penis?"
I am attempting here to set some ground rules for those of you who are not
trans – ie those who are cisgender – who, perhaps with innocent intentions,
ask these dreaded questions.
You may not think you are one of these people, so I have a quick test. Were
you raised in a society that assigns gender, as well as sex, at birth? Hint:
the answer is yes. Does that society label gender nonconformity "weird"?
Hint: unless you are Native American and were raised knowing about
two-spirited people, the answer is also yes.
If you answered yes to both of these, there are two likely possibilities.
First, you've never knowingly met a trans person. In this case, you're just
yet to realise that you're this kind of person. I know from experience that,
even for sensitive, progressive souls the urge to ask about "real names" and
intimate body parts is as strong as the urge to sneeze . . . "
3-21-14: Huffington Post: "Our Lady J, Transgender Artist, Talks About
'Gospel For The Godless'"
""This show is church for people who don't like church,"
Our Lady J told HuffPost Gay Voices last week when we spoke about her
"Gospel For the Godless." The acclaimed singer-songwriter and classically
trained pianist will bring the regularly sold-out show, which she has toured
around the world, to
New York City's Joe's Pub on Sunday, March 23.
"I call it 'Gospel For the Godless' because I take the medium of gospel
music and I take away the dogma and write my own gospel," she added.
Our Lady J has been writing her own gospel for years. Aside from penning and
performing her own music, she is a much sought after pianist and has
collaborated with Sia, Lady Gaga, Cyndi Lauper, Debbie Harry, Antony of
Antony and the Johnsons and Scissor Sisters, among others. As a classical
pianist, she has worked with American Ballet Theatre, Alvin Ailey American
Dance Theatre, Los Angeles Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet and the Mark Morris
Dance Group. She's also made headlines with
her buddy Daniel Radcliffe and most recently guest starred on "RuPaul's
We caught up with Our Lady J to chat about her music, her dedication to
beauty as a guiding principal, life in the music industry as a transgender
musician and more . . . "
3-21-14: The Oklahoman: "State court allows transgender Oklahoman to
"James Dean Ingram, 31, was denied the ability to be legally recognized as
Angela Renee Ingram in 2012 by District Judge Bill Graves. It was the second
time Graves had denied such a request, ruling in both instances they were
made for a fraudulent purpose.
In 2010, Graves concluded a person cannot really change his or her sex
because the person’s DNA stays the same.
“A so-called sex-change surgery can make one appear to be the opposite sex,
but in fact they are nothing more than an imitation of the opposite sex,”
the judge wrote in a seven-page order.
“To grant a name change in this case would be to assist that which is
fraudulent,” Graves wrote.
What court ruling means:
On Friday, the Court of Civil Appeals reversed Graves decision, exactly as
it had done for his first name change denial, allowing Steven Charles Harvey
to change to Christie Ann Harvey in 2012.
The denial by Graves was an unusual one, said Brady Henderson, legal
director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma. Several
Oklahoma County judges told The Oklahoman in 2012 they routinely grant name
change requests by transgender individuals."
3-21-14: ABC News: "Transgender Defense: 'Donna' Says 'Doug' Is the
Spokane Serial Killer" (more)
"A transgender woman accused of being a serial killer is blaming the 1990
murders of three prostitutes in Washington State on Douglas Perry, the
person she identified as before her transition.
Donna Perry, 62, told police in 2012 in an affidavit filed in Spokane
Superior Court that she had gender reassignment surgery in Thailand, and
when a person transitions from male to female, "there's a great downturn in
She also told police that she intentionally had the operation, which she
underwent in 2000, "as a permanent way to control violence."
Perry is being held on $1 million bond in a Spokane County jail and declined
to make a court appearance on murder charges this week, according to
ABC affiliate KTLY, which first reported the story.
In a case that has been cold for more than two decades, the affidavit filed
Jan. 14 says Perry was linked through DNA evidence to the killings of
Yolanda Sapp, Kathleen Brisbois and Nickie Lowe, whom police say were
Police allege that Perry shot the women and left their naked bodies on the
banks of the Spokane River. She was arrested earlier this year and served
jail time for federal weapons charges. Police say they matched Perry's
fingerprints to the crime scenes, according to the affidavit.
The accused's reported defense that it was not Donna Perry but Douglas Perry
who killed the women is headline-grabbing, but not necessarily a true
reflection of how transgender people view their nonconforming identity,
according to mental health experts. "
3-20-14: Media Matters: "Debunking The Big Myth About
Transgender-Inclusive Bathrooms -- Experts Call Bathroom Myth "Beyond
"Experts have repeatedly debunked the myth that transgender
non-discrimination laws give sexual predators access to women's restrooms,
but that hasn't stopped conservative media outlets from promoting fake news
stories to fear monger about trans-inclusive bathrooms.
For as long as the transgender community has fought for protection from
discrimination in public spaces, conservatives have peddled the myth that
sexual predators will exploit non-discrimination laws to sneak into women's
That fear has been an extremely effective tool for scaring people into
voting against even basic protections for transgender people, which is why
conservatives routinely use the phrase "bathroom
bill" to describe laws prohibiting discrimination in public
accommodations. When conservative media outlets attack non-discrimination
laws for transgender people, they almost exclusively focus on bathroom and locker room facilities.
But that fear is baseless - completely unsupported by years of evidence from
states that already have non-discrimination laws on the books. In a new Media
experts from twelve states - including law enforcement officials, state
human rights workers, and sexual assault victims advocates - debunk the myth
that non-discrimination laws have any relation to incidents of sexual
assault or harassment in public restrooms."
[Link to the full
Media Matters Report]
3-20-14: New York Times: "The Scientific Quest to Prove Bisexuality
"But when Bailey and others tested self-described gay, straight and bisexual
men the following year, they found one group — bisexuals — for whom identity
and arousal didn’t appear to match. Though the men claimed to be turned on
by men and women, in the lab their bodies told a different story. “Most
bisexual men appeared homosexual in their genital arousal . . .”
The New York Times summarized the study’s findings with a headline that
Gay or Lying? Bisexuality Revisited.” “It was so disheartening,”
recalled Ellyn Ruthstrom, the president of the Bisexual Resource Center in
was this terrible moment where we all wondered, Do we really have to keep
debating whether bisexuality exists? . . .
While some bisexual activists filled Bailey’s email inbox with hate mail,
Sylla invited Bailey to dinner. “I wanted to work with Mike and help him
design a better study” . . . Bailey said he was skeptical, but he was
impressed with Sylla’s civility and decided to hear him out.
That turned out to be a smart decision: A few years later, A.I.B. became an
important source of funding for research on bisexuals . . .
At A.I.B.’s suggestion, Bailey did a second study in which he used more
stringent criteria to find bisexual-identified test subjects. Instead of
advertising in an alternative newspaper and gay magazines, Bailey’s team
recruited men who placed online ads seeking sex with both members of a
mixed-gender couple. The men also needed to have had romantic relationships
with both men and women.
To Bailey’s surprise, the new study — published in 2011 and called “Sexual
Arousal Patterns of Bisexual Men Revisited” — found that the bisexual men
did in fact demonstrate “bisexual patterns of both subjective and genital
arousal.” Their arousal pattern matched their professed orientation, and
A.I.B., which had been criticized by some bisexual activists for working
with Bailey, was vindicated."
[Ed: Remember the
J. Michael Bailey fiasco of 2003-2005? Seems that some things just
keep going around in circles: JMB is still hustling support from the
unsuspecting, and the New York Times is still publicizing his
Time: "Chelsea Manning Petitions for a Name Change"
"Bradley Edward Manning, the U.S. Army private who was convicted of leaking
classified military information to WikiLeaks,
has petitioned a Kansas court to formally change her name to Chelsea
The petition was announced on Wednesday by the Private Manning Support
Network, which also said it is changing its name to the Chelsea Manning
Support Network. A hearing on the request has been scheduled for April 23 in
Fort Leavenworth, where Manning is currently serving a 35-year sentence.
Manning declared in August that she wanted to be treated as a woman while
incarcerated and that she would, if necessary, go to court for the right to
obtain hormone treatment. Military prisons don’t provide treatment issues
related to gender assignment because transgender soldiers are not allowed to
3-19-14: Fox News Latino: "Transgender Model Carmen Carrera On
Victoria’s Secret Snub, Motherhood"
"Coming off a dazzling feature in Glamour UK Magazine and through her work
as a reality television star, supermodel Carmen Carrera continues to change
the way that people look at transgender people.
You may remember Carrera from the hit show “RuPaul’s Drag Race” on the Logo
network. Since then, she’s come out of the closet as a transgender woman and
is close to accomplishing something that’s never been done. Nearly 50,000
people have signed a petition at
have her represent Victoria’s Secret in an upcoming runway show.
Watch the video this week to find out what she is doing to ensure a more
fair and diverse representation of transgender people in the media, how she
feels about being a trailblazer in modeling and much more."
3-17-14: The Raw Story: "Transgender student named Miss Congeniality
in California university’s beauty pageant"
"A transgender student was named “Miss Congeniality” last week at a southern
California university beauty pageant.
Chapman University senior Addie Vincent was
nominated to compete against 15 other students in the all-woman Miss Delta
Queen pageant organized by the school’s Greek system,
reported the Orange County Register.
The 21-year-old Vincent was nominated by the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity in a
20-0 vote to become the first transgender contestant in the annual
fundraiser held Wednesday for the Beckstrand Cancer Association.
Vincent, who is working to create the university’s first gender-neutral
“fraority,” is a Detroit-area native who came out as gay while a freshman at
Chapman and started wearing makeup and feminine clothing as a sophomore. She
drew loud cheers from the crowd every time she took the stage during the
pageant, which was founded in 2008 by the Delta Tau Delta sorority.
Although Alexandria Kessinger won the Miss Delta Queen title, Vincent said
she was thrilled to be a part of the event. “Tonight was so awesome,”
Vincent said. “The fact that I was just able to compete was so amazing on
3-16-14: The Vancouver Sun (British Columbia, Canada): "B.C. man
alleges health ministry discriminates against transgender patients"
"A transgender B.C. man is alleging that the province discriminates against
people seeking gender-reassignment surgery by forcing them to ask the
Ministry of Health for approval before they can go under the knife.
Jackson Rae Flagg’s complaint to the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal argues that
the government unfairly puts itself between transgender patients and their
doctors, even though it acknowledges that gender-reassignment surgeries are
Before he could get MSP funding for breast-removal and chest contouring
surgery, Flagg’s doctor had to get the ministry’s permission to refer him to
an assessing physician, who then made a recommendation to the provincial
gender-reassignment surgical review committee about whether Flagg truly had
“persistent, well-documented gender dysphoria” and was physically and
mentally ready to take the plunge. That committee had the final say on
whether MSP would pay for the procedure.
In contrast, a man who required a breast reduction to treat gynecomastia, or
benign breast tissue enlargement, would simply need to be referred to a
specialist by his family doctor in order to get approved for coverage. Flagg
described the process he had to go through as “archaic.”
“If you think about many of the other health services that the Ministry of
Health provides, there isn’t a lot of intervention by the state,” he said.
He felt his privacy was violated when the physician who assessed him passed
on private information about his medical and psychological history to the
“The application form that the ministry provides to the doctors to fill out
is very, very invasive,” Flagg said. “It talks about all these sensitive
things that have nothing to do with gender, and it’s not the business of the
3-15-14: Aljzeera America: "Transgender teen takes softball field with
all the other California girls -- New California law allows transgender
students to play school athletics, but some parents worry about the locker
"When Pat Cordova-Goff was born 17 years ago, the hospital marked her gender
as male. It was true by conventional measures, but Cordova-Goff never really
felt like a boy.
On the playground, she jumped rope with girls, and they became her
confidantes. Some of her elementary-school classmates called her homophobic
“I think over the years I realized that I can’t care what people are going
to say,” she said. “I can’t live my life that way, even though sometimes
it’s hard not to.”
Cordova-Goff came out as transgender as a
sophomore in high school, and now she colors her lips with a deep fuchsia
hue and perks her eyelashes with mascara. She listens to Alicia Keys and
Beyoncé and says Princess Diana is her idol. Cordova-Goff takes pride in
Azusa High School
in California’s San Gabriel Valley, so she joined the cheer team before
identifying as transgender and continued to perform after coming out. As a
senior, she ran for student body president against a popular candidate — and
Though Cordova-Goff’s family lost its home several years ago and has lived
in motels since, she tries to seize every opportunity available to her. She
might seem like any other highly motivated teenage girl overcoming tough
odds if it weren’t for the media attention surrounding her latest
achievement: joining the girls’ softball team.
As a freshman, Cordova-Goff played baseball but
felt uncomfortable and didn’t try out again. Now she is one of the first
transgender students to benefit from a new state law,
which offers youth the right to participate in sex-segregated school
programs, activities and athletics even if their gender identity does not
match what appears on their school records. It also permits these students
to use bathrooms and locker rooms according to their stated gender. "
3-15-14: New York Times: "Transgender Models Prosper in Brazil, Where
Carnival and Faith Reign"
"As a young boy in Brazil’s heartland, Carol Marra watched her parents
politely correct strangers who said what a pretty daughter they had. In her
teenage years, she coveted the boyfriends of her female classmates and tried
out androgynous outfits, dutifully changing back into a young man’s clothes
in her car before returning home.
Now a favorite among Brazil’s growing class of transgender models, Ms.
Marra, 26, has become a star. She filmed two mini-series for major Brazilian
television channels, is starting a lingerie line, and was the first
transgender model to walk Fashion Rio — considered a top national runway
event — and also the first to pose for Revista Trip, a Brazilian culture
magazine that features female nudes.
Her popularity points to striking, if precarious, gains in Brazil’s popular
culture for Ms. Marra and her small number of peers. In a country that
publicly celebrates its mixed-race and multicultural heritage, Brazil’s
cosmopolitan capitals like São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro have become places
where crossing gender lines is increasingly accepted. Still, transgender
models themselves say Brazil is also in many ways a deeply conservative
country with strong religious forces that can create a hostile environment
for its gay and transgender population."
3-14-14: Huffington Post: "8 Myths About Transgender Men's Genital
produced a list of
misconceptions that plague people's understanding
of gender-confirmation surgeries (in
particular, those of the genital variety). Perusing her inventory, I nodded
in recognition at every barb; like her, I've heard all these and more hurled
at me, my loved ones, or my comrades online. "It's not life-or-death," "It's
cosmetic," "You need therapy, not surgery," and "It will burden taxpayers"
are among the many toxic myths in need of exploding.
Inspired, I decided to build on this conversation by considering the
specific fictions concerning trans-male procedures and embodiments -- and I
hope to read a list generated about women's gender-specific experiences as
So -- with the caveats that this list is not exhaustive and I am no medical
expert -- it's time to bust some myths! . . . "
3-13-14: The Advocate: "Study Urges U.S. Military to Reconsider Ban on
Transgender Personnel" (more,
report released today by the Palm Center
— a research branch of San Fancisco State University's Department of
Political Science focusing on gender, sexuality, and the military — a
commission led by former U.S. surgeon general Dr. Joycelyn Elders declared
there is "no compelling medical reason" for the military to continue its ban
on transgender service members.
Despite the 2010 repeal of the military's "Don't
Ask, Don't Tell" policy, transgender people
remain banned from military service
on the basis of a Department of Defense medical regulation, DODI
which considers any gender-confirming clinical, medical, or surgical
treatments as"disqualifying physical and mental conditions."
"Removal of the military's blanket ban on
transgender service members would improve health outcomes, enable commanders
to better care for their troops, and reflect the federal government's
committment to reducing disparities in health care access for transgender
people," the report reads. The report elaborates on the results of a study
funded by a $1.35
million grant awarded to the Palm
Center from trans billionare and veteran
to study the potential impact of lifting the ban.
"Arguments based on mental health are not convincing rationales for
prohibiting transgender military service, and [the ban] is not consistent
with modern medical understanding," the report argues. "Scientists have
abandoned psychopathological understandings of transgender identity, and no
longer classify gender non-conformity as a mental illness.
The report goes on to explain that the diagnosis "transsexualism" — which is
one of the specific conditions listed in the regulations banning trans
service members — was replaced in the American Psychiatric Association’s
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual by the term "gender identity disorder" in
1994, and once again changed to the diagnosis
gender dysphoria in 2013. "While gender identity disorder was
pathologized as an all-encompassing mental illness, gender dysphoria is
understood as a condition that is amenable to treatment," the report adds.
The commission also dispelled arguments that suggest that the military
providing hormone replacement therapy treatments and gender-confirming
surgeries would disrupt deployment plans, and come at too high a cost to the
federal government. Outlined in the report, the commission points to the
expensive medical treatment non-military personnel often receive, comparing
that to the relatively inexpensive and sparingly used treatment of trans
[Ed: Please spread this vitally important story wide and far.]
3-07-14: Huffington Post: "Do Transgender Athletes Have an Unfair
Brynn Tannehill, Director of Advocacy,
"Perhaps no transgender issue
brings out more anger
than the idea of transgender women competing in athletics. This was evident
again when a female transgender CrossFit athlete was told, in writing, by
the CrossFit governing body that she cannot compete as a woman. She in turn
filed suit. However, the most disturbing part of this incident is the
offensive and ignorant
language used by CrossFit in their letter of explanation:
We have simply ruled that based upon [Chloie] being born as a male, she
will need to compete in the Men's Division. ... The fundamental, ineluctable
fact is that a male competitor who has a sex reassignment procedure still
has a genetic makeup that confers a physical and physiological advantage
over women. ... Our decision has nothing to do with "ignorance" or being
bigots -- it has to do with a very real understanding of the human genome,
of fundamental biology, that you are either intentionally ignoring or missed
in high school.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) settled
the issue of transgender athletes in 2004, when they
released the rules for them to compete.
The IOC rules boil down to three basic points:
They must have had gender reassignment
have legal recognition of their assigned gender.
They must have at least two years of hormone
Given these conditions,
the IOC does not consider being transgender an unfair advantage. The IOC
did, however, consider
drinking too much coffee
an unfair competitive advantage for nearly 20 years. The IOC still considers
baking soda a
potential doping agent, though. Many common cough syrups, lozenges, eye
drops, cold medications, diet products, nasal sprays, and allergy
medications will also result in a
for being at an unfair advantage. Clearly, the IOC does not approach matters
of unfair advantage with an under-abundance of caution."
3-07-14: CNN: "Transgender athlete sues CrossFit for banning her from
competing as female" (more,
"CrossFit maintains that Jonsson was born as a male, so she should compete
in the men's division, according to a letter from the company's lawyer to
Jonsson's attorney. It also stated that the company had an "obligation to
protect the 'rights' of all competitors and the competition itself."
"The fundamental, ineluctable fact is that a male competitor who has a sex
reassignment procedure still has a genetic makeup that confers a physical
and physiological advantage over women," according to the letter from
CrossFit's lawyer sent in October.
CNN reached out to CrossFit but did not get a response on Thursday. The
letter from CrossFit was provided to CNN by Jonsson's attorney, Waukeen
McCoy, who blasted the company's decision.
"(Jonsson) doesn't have an advantage over other women. She's been on
estrogen for such a long time," he said about his client . . .
McCoy said that CrossFit should change its rules to be more like the
International Olympic Committee, which allows transgender athletes to
compete in their identified gender after undergoing sexual reassignment
"She's female," McCoy said about Jonsson. "She's legally female. A
corporation like CrossFit, they're doing business in California. The law
precludes from discrimination on gender identity.""
3-05-14: Polygon: "Gaming is my safe space: Gender options are
important for the transgender community", by
"Gaming and the virtual world were really my only outlets to be myself
before I came out as a transgender woman.
There were fewer games with female protagonists or the option to play as a
female character a decade ago, but I took what I could get . . .
The trans* community may seem confusing to most people. The "T" is often the
least understood bit of the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Transgender)
community, even among the L, G and B parts of the community. Everyone has a
gender identity, but explaining what a gender identity is can be
difficult . . .
The game of life has given us a character gender that doesn’t match us as
the player. If you’re a guy, this would be like you were only given female
gender choices in Skyrim, or if Commander Shepard was always Femshep.
I know how awesome that sounds, because we all know that Jennifer Hale did
the best job as Shepard ... but you get my point.
This mismatch of mind and body creates an incongruency, or dysphoria, that
can be very painful. Dysphoria is a strange word, but it essentially means
the psychological and physical pain that comes from the mismatch of the
physical body and gender identity.
Here’s another example of how to understand this. Imagine you slipped on an
Oculus Rift, and in that virtual world you existed as a person that was not
your gender in the real world. You'd look down and see a body that didn't
feel like yours. Your voice wouldn't sound the way you'd like to express
yourself. In some cases the sexual options available to your character don't
match your sexual feelings.
Now imagine you’d never be able to remove that VR helmet again . . .
It may not seem so bad at first but, over time, dysphoria would really
become an issue as you come to realize that this is the body you’ll have to
live in forever. That’s what it’s like for those of us in the trans*
community every day of our lives, and unfortunately for us, we can’t take
off the VR helmet, even though we wish we could . . . "
3-04-14: San Jose Mercury News: "Hercules transgender student recants
story; made up attack, sexual assault"
"A day after telling police he was viciously attacked in a campus restroom,
a transgender high school student recanted his report to police, admitting
that he fabricated an incident that fit a troubling pattern of violence on
the campus and raised concerns about a groundbreaking state transgender
The student, who was not identified, told police that three teens had
cornered him in a bathroom on the Hercules High School campus, physically
and sexually assaulting him.
Police said at the time that they were classifying the attack as a hate
crime because of "disparaging remarks" the attackers reportedly made.
On the day after a transgender student told police he was assaulted by three
boys at Hercules High School, a police car and security guard are seen at
the entrance to the school in Hercules, Calif. on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.
(Kristopher Skinner/Bay Area News Group)
Before the hoax was revealed Tuesday afternoon, the purported assault at
Hercules had reignited the heated debate about AB 1266, the new,
first-of-its-kind California law that allows transgender students to use
restrooms that match their gender identity. The Hercules student identifies
as male, police said."
3-03-14: Contra Costa Times: "Hercules High transgender student
reports sexual assault in bathroom" (more,
"On a campus already beset by claims of bullying and sexual harassment, a
Hercules High School transgender student told police he was assaulted by
three boys Monday while exercising his right under a controversial new law
to use a bathroom that matched his gender identity.
The attack was the second altercation involving a transgender student on the
campus this school year and came only days after an overwhelming teachers'
vote of no-confidence in the school's principal, partially spurred by
complaints of a lack of safety on campus that had led to fights and arrests.
In the latest incident, a 15-year-old transgender male student told police
he was leaving the bathroom in the 300 building at around 11 a.m. when the
three suspects pushed him inside a bathroom stall and physically and
sexually assaulted him. The victim was taken to a hospital; his condition
was not released Monday evening.
Hercules police Officer Connie Van Putten said investigators are treating
the incident as a hate crime. Detectives processed the crime scene and
interviewed witnesses Monday, but so far no suspects have been identified or
arrested, Van Putten added. The suspects were described only as being 16 to
17 years old.
The student, who identifies as male, was using his right under Assembly Bill
1266, which says schools must grant transgender K-12 students access to
participate in sex-segregated programs and use the restrooms and locker
rooms that align with their chosen gender identity. Gov. Jerry Brown signed
the bill into law in August."
3-03-14: Slate (re Mongolia): "Transgender in Mongolia", by
Teicher with photos by
Álvaro Laiz (more)
"In Mongolia, transgender people face extreme violence and discrimination,
much of which goes unreported because the law does not protect them. Out of
fear, many stay in the closet. Photographer
spent three and a half months in 2011 photographing male-to-female
transgender people in Mongolia to explore notions of identity in a place
where they are forced to hide who they are. “They cannot express themselves
normally except in certain places. Your life becomes a scenario in which
you are pretending to be someone else. Your job, your relatives become part
of this performance, and little space is left to act as you would really
want to be. It is insane,” he said via email.
Since 2008, Laiz’s work has focused on marginalized
and repressed groups, including HIV orphans in Uganda and ex–child soldiers
from Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army. Laiz arrived in Mongolia by
chance but quickly became interested in how LGBT Mongolians fare in a
society that leaves almost no room for sexual or gender diversity. “I’m not
a war photographer, so I have a limited experience in terms of ethnic
violence or open conflicts. But what I can tell you is that this kind of
repression is as cruel as the ones that arise during conflict,” Laiz said.
After doing research through NGOs and other
organizations, Laiz located several subjects who gave him access to their
lives. Some worked in nightclubs or as prostitutes and could only reveal
their identities in those realms. Others were ballet dancers, social
workers, tour guides, and teachers who presented as men in their work
environments. Laiz also photographed his subjects in traditional Mongolian
queen costumes as part of a more lyrical, less documentary-style aspect of
his project. “I wanted to show how they are, but also how they see
themselves. Identity isn’t a one-way concept but a fluent mixture of
influences, both internal and external, which forms the way we face the
world,” Laiz said.
There are signs that conditions may improve for transgender Mongolians. In
2009, the first LGBT rights organization in the country, Mongolia LGBT
Centre, was finally registered as an NGO. Last year, Mongolia celebrated
its first Pride Week. “One bright side is that the Mongolian society is
young and we believe that we can change the attitude of the public slowly
through educating the younger generation about human rights principles,
democratic values and tolerant, forgiving human nature,” the organization’s
executive director, Otgonbaatar Tsedendemberel, told
Gay Star News."
3-03-14: Time (posted 2-28): "Don’t Applaud Jared Leto’s Transgender
‘Mammy’ -- 'Dallas Buyers Club' has garnered praise for the actor's
supposedly brave portrayal of a transgender woman. Don't expect anyone to
find it admirable 20 years from now
"Back in 1940, when Hattie McDaniel took home the Oscar for Best Supporting
Actress for her portrayal of Mammy in “Gone With The Wind,” Hollywood was
incessantly proud of itself. The Academy indulged in feel-good
self-congratulations that night because McDaniel was the first black person
to win any of its acting honors.
2014 Prediction: Why Jared Leto Will Win Best Supporting Actor)
“It opens the doors of this room, moves back the walls, and enables us to
embrace the whole of America, an America that we love, an America that
almost alone in the world today recognizes and pays tribute to those who
give her their best, regardless of creed, race, or color,” explained the
actress Fay Bainter before calling McDaniel up from her segregated table in
the back of the Ambassador Hotel ballroom where she sat far from her white
co-stars . . .
In the light of more than seven decades, that moment and performance are
tainted by our collective understanding of how hypocritical and patronizing
it was. McDaniel’s portrayal of a house slave is now, alongside the old Aunt
Jemima syrup logos, viewed as an archetypical, racist touchstone. It is
difficult to watch McDaniel’s infantilized Mammy without cringing.
Now the Academy is on the brink of doing it again for another badly
misunderstood minority. Unless virtually every odds maker and show-biz
pundit is wrong, the straight actor Jared Leto will on Sunday win the Best
Supporting Actor statuette for a portrayal of a transgender woman with AIDS
in “Dallas Buyers Club.”
Not long from now — it surely won’t take decades, given the brisk pace of
progress on matters of identity and sexuality these days — Leto’s
award-winning performance as the sassy, tragic-yet-silly Rayon will belong
in the dishonorable pantheon along with McDaniel’s Mammy. That is, it’ll be
another moment when liberals in Hollywood, both in the industry and in the
media, showed how little they understood or empathized with the lives of a
minority they imagine they and Leto are honoring."
[Ed: Now that
2-28-14: GIDReform (posted 2-25): "Methodological Questions in
Childhood Gender Identity ‘Desistence’ Research", by
Kelley Winters, Ph.D.
"An expanded presentation to the 23rd World Professional Association for
Transgender Health Biennial Symposium, Feb. 16, 2014, Bangkok, Thailand.
(Presented remotely, from Loveland, Colorado, USA)
It is frequently repeated in mental health literature and popular media that
the vast majority of children whose gender identity differs from their
assigned birth-sex, or who are severly distressed by their birth-sex, will
“desist” in their gender identities and gender dysphoria by adolescence. As
a consequence, gender dysphoric children are pressed to remain in their
birth-assigned roles throughout the world. But are gender dysphoria and
diverse gender identities just a phase?
This presentation reexamines research in Canada and The Netherlands that
underlies the “desistence” axiom, with respect to methodological rigor and
validity of claims.
(1) Evidence from these studies suggests that the majority of gender
nonconforming children are not gender dysphoric adolescents or adults.
(2) It does not support the stereotype that most children who are actually
gender dysphoric will “desist” in their gender identities before
(3) These studies do acknowledge that intense anatomic dysphoria in
childhood may be associated with persistent gender dysphoria and persistent
gender identity through adolescence.
(4) Speculation that allowing childhood social transition traps cisgender
youth in roles that are incongruent with their identities is not supported
(5) These studies fail to examine the diagnostic value of Real Life
Experience in congruent gender roles for gender dysphoric children."
[Ed: A brilliant and masterfully-communicted exposé of the
foundational methodological flaws underlying so-called "Childhood Gender
Identity ‘Desistence’ Research". Quite easily understood, except perhaps by
those engaging in such research.]
2-27-14: Henry Ford Health System (posted 2-18): "Transgender Patients
Discriminated Against for Health Care Services"
"DETROIT – Discrimination against transgender people –as many as one million
Americans identify themselves as transgender – should immediately be
addressed by the medical establishment, backed by policy change at the
national level to provide equal access to quality health care.
That is the primary recommendation of a study by Daphna Stroumsa, M.D., MPH,
an obstetrics and gynecology resident at Henry Ford Hospital, whose research
was published in the
March issue of the American Journal of Public Health.
“Bias against transgender people takes an enormous toll on their health
through direct harm, lack of appropriate care and a hostile environment, and
through transgender people’s avoidance of the medical system as a result of
discrimination and lack of respect,” Dr. Stroumsa says. “The medical
establishment has a duty, and an ability, to protect transgender patients
from such harms.”
A top priority, she recommends, is that all health care programs funded by
the federal government be required to provide coverage of care – including
sex reassignment surgery – while transgender patients make the physical
transition to the sex matching their gender identity.
These should include the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Medicaid and
Medicare, and Children’s Health Insurance Program – also known as Children’s
“Private insurance may ultimately follow adoption of full coverage by
federally funded programs,” Dr. Stroumsa writes. “But until it does, federal
guidelines protecting transgender people from discrimination by private
insurance companies is warranted, including a ban on the practice of denying
medical care coverage by linking the care to transition, which is not
covered under most policies” . . .
As part of its duty to provide appropriate, quality care, the medical
establishment should include transgender-sensitive care in all medical
education “as has been done with other cultural competencies.”
To back this up, Dr. Stroumsa calls for federal grants to help fund
educational programs teaching postgraduate-level medical care of transgender
patients, including sex reassignment surgery. She notes that the ACA “has
taken a first positive step in that direction” by providing funding for LGBT
(lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) cultural competency training. Such
training has already been implemented in some “big-city” health departments,
and is underway for staff of the National Health Service Corps.
Among the study’s other recommendations:
•Establish more health centers
dedicated to caring for transgender patients as well as strengthen those
already in operation.
•Draft clear guidelines for all federally funded
health centers, including appropriate language, adoption of gender-neutral
bathrooms and health records that respect transgender patients’ preferred
names and gender pronouns.
•Include questions regarding gender identity
in health surveys to help monitor the progress and effects of new
transgender health care measures.
•Help overcome the high rates of
unemployment in the transgender population by hiring transgender people in
the health care workforce. This would also offer an important avenue to
address some of the challenges and barriers this population faces in the
health care system.
A final recommendation of the study is that those who care for transgender
patients should collect and publish data with the goal of improving that
care. “It goes without saying that all such research must be conducted with
sensitivity and respect toward participants,” Dr. Stroumsa concludes.
See video of Dr. Stroumsa’s
comments on the study. For a copy of the study, please send an email to
Dwight Angell at
2-27-14: Huffington Post (posted 2-17): "Why Gay Rights and Trans
Rights Should Be Separated", by
"The issues of transgender men and women are often brushed to the side as
the preoccupations of an overly sensitive group of people. People often
justify their intolerance of the trans community while expressing support
for same-sex rights.
Just last week, actress Gabourey Sidibe repeatedly used the slur "tranny"
while on Arsenio Hall's show. Sidibe, an outspoken supporter of gay rights,
was stunned to find out that the slur was considered offensive, and she
quickly apologized for her error.
But then, something interesting happened. Stories
published on several media forums, including the
online and Instinct Magazine
online, posed the question of whether we are
being too sensitive about a word that is commonly used in the gay community.
Numerous gay men and women then weighed in on
whether the trans slur was, in fact, a slur. A large percentage of the
commenters agreed that the media and the gay community were being too harsh
on the popular TV actress. One commenter even said it could not be
considered a negative term if popular shows like
RuPaul's Drag Race
used the term in a comedic and even an affectionate way.
These comments are evidence that even the gay
community does not understand and are often the cause of discrimination
against transgender people. In case you weren't aware, the drag queens on
RuPaul's Drag Race
are the reason people like Sidibe are clueless
about trans slurs. Those drag queens are gay men who continually abuse a
term that damages trans people. Just like "that's so gay" is often meant to
be humorous, comically calling someone a "tranny" may garner a few laughs,
but it unintentionally demeans a group of people.
When drag queens remove the trappings of their dramatized personas, they
become once again a part of the gay rights movement and leave real
transgender people to suffer the consequences.
Although the discrimination against trans people by the gay community is
unintentional, it is the reason the "T" should be removed from the LGBT. Gay
men often use the slur because they believe it's a part of their collective
community vocabulary. Just as we take liberties by using our own gay slurs
as we chose, we mistakenly use the slurs aimed at trans people and whose
objections are brushed off as political sensitivity.
There is a difference between sexual orientation and gender identity, and it
can't be expected that one movement will equally serve both groups. However,
gays and transgender individuals both share in the effects of being
misunderstood. So, as gay men and women, we don't fully need to understand
being transgender to be able to whole-heartedly support that cause."
2-27-14: District of Columbia
Government: "Mayor Gray Announces Steps to Protect GLBT Community from
Discrimination in Health Care" (more)
"Today, the District of Columbia advanced the rights of the city’s
transgender community by prohibiting discrimination in health insurance
based on gender identity and expression. Mayor Vincent C. Gray announced the
Department of Insurance, Securities, and Banking (DISB) is issuing a
bulletin to District health insurance companies addressing the application
of anti-discrimination provisions in the insurance code, including
recognizing gender dysphoria, or gender identity disorder, as a recognized
“Last March, the District began the process of
removing exclusions in health insurance on the basis of gender identity or
expression. Through the hard work of my Office of GLBT Affairs and a
multi-agency working group lead by my Chief of Staff, Chris Murphy, we have
today taken the necessary steps to completely eliminate these exclusions,”
said Mayor Gray.
“Today, the District takes a major step towards leveling the playing field
for individuals diagnosed with gender dysphoria. These residents should not
have to pay exorbitant out-of-pocket expenses for medically necessary
treatment when those without gender dysphoria do not. Today’s actions bring
us closer to being One City that values and protects the health of all of
This action follows DISB’s March 15, 2013 bulletin
notifying health insurers to remove language that discriminated on the basis
of gender identity and expression from their policies and permit those with
gender dysphoria to obtain medically necessary benefits. Today’s action goes
one step further in protecting this community’s health insurance rights by
affirming that gender dysphoria is a recognized medical condition and
thereby treatment, including gender reassignment surgeries, is a covered
benefit. To view the full bulletin,
2-27-14: BuzzFeed: "D.C. Government Announces Broad Protections For
Transgender Health Care Coverage -- “Critically important” step, advocates
say, that will make D.C.’s insurance coverage “the most comprehensive in the
country” for transgender people"
"Insurance plans regulated by the D.C. government must cover transgender
health care expenses, including gender reassignment surgery, D.C. Mayor
Vincent Gray announced Thursday.
“This action places the District at the forefront of advancing the rights of
transgender individuals,” Gray said in a statement. “It also fully
implements the District’s Human Rights Act by incorporating gender identity
and expression as protected classes in the District’s health insurance
The National Center for Transgender Equality praised the move, announcing
that the decision created “the most comprehensive [insurance] plans for
transgender Americans in the United States.”
In a revised bulletin issued Thursday from the D.C. Department of Insurance,
Securities, and Banking, it notes that D.C.’s Unfair Insurance Trade
Practices Act “prohibits discrimination in health insurance based on gender
identity or expression.”
Further, it states that the government “would view
attempts by companies to limit or deny medically necessary treatments for
gender dysphoria, including gender reassignment surgeries, to be
discriminatory,” and therefore, prohibited under D.C. law.
Andy Bowen, NCTE’s policy
associate, said in a statement, “This victory reaffirms growing agreement among
advocates and the medical community that DC’s healthcare nondiscrimination laws
require that insurance cover medically necessary transgender healthcare.”"
2-21-14: Mother Jones: "How US Evangelicals Helped Create Russia's
Anti-Gay Movement -- Meet the Fox News producer, the nightclub impresario,
and the oligarchs who teamed up to write inequality into law", by
"In November 2010, Russia's Sanctity of
Motherhood organization kicked off its
first-ever national conference. The theme, according to its organizers,
was urgent: solving "the crisis of traditional family values" in a
modernizing Russia. The day opened with a sextet leading 1,000 swaying
attendees in a prayer. Some made the sign of the cross, others bowed or
raised their arms to the sky before settling into the plush red and gold
seats of the conference hall at Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral.
On the second morning of the conference, the only American in attendance, a
tall, collected man,
up for his speech. Larry Jacobs, vice president of the Rockford,
Illinois-based World Congress of Families (WCF), an umbrella organization
for the US religious right's heavy hitters,
told the audience that American evangelicals had a 40-year track record
of "defending life and family" and they hoped to be "true allies" in
Russia's traditional values crusade.
The gathering marked the beginning of the family values fervor that has
swept Russia in recent years. Warning that low birth rates are a threat to
the long-term survival of the Russian people, politicians have been pushing
to restrict abortion and encourage bigger families. Among the movement's
successes is a law that passed last summer and garnered
global outrage in the run-up to the Sochi Winter Olympics, banning
"propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations to minors," a vague term that
has been seen as effectively criminalizing any public expression of same-sex
Anti-gay groups have made tormenting the LGBT community a national and
Vigilante gangs have used social media to lure hundreds of gay people to
fake dates and then disseminate videos of them being beaten or sexually
humiliated, garnering hundreds of thousands of followers. Arrests and
beatings at gay rights demonstrations are commonplace. This month, LGBT
were arrested in Moscow and St. Petersburg hours before the Olympic
opening ceremony and have been detained in Sochi itself.
Since Jacobs first traveled to Russia for the Sanctity of Motherhood
conference, he and his WCF colleagues have returned regularly to bolster
Russia's nascent anti-gay movement—and to work with powerful Russian
connections that they've acquired along the way. In 2014, the World Congress
of Families will draw an international group of conservative activists
together in Moscow, a celebratory convening that Jacobs foreshadowed on that
first visit, when he ended his speech triumphantly: "Together, we can win!""
[Ed: A powerful detailed exposé of the US instigators of anti-LBGT
terror in Russia.]
2-26-14: Dallas News: "Federal judge voids Texas’ gay marriage ban,
though he delays order from taking effect immediately"
2-21-14: Australia Network News: "Transgender groups in Asia-Pacific
speak out on health needs"
"For the first time, non-governmental organisations joined leading experts
at an international conference to discuss the latest advances in research
and advocacy for transgender and transsexual people.
The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) symposium,
held this week in Bangkok, also included a scientific program focusing on
issues relating to transgender sexuality and health.
Transgender groups say members of their community often miss out on testing
or treatment, because of stigma and discrimination."
2-20-14: Scientific American: "For Transgender People, a Good Doctor
Is Hard to Find"
"In her knee-length jumper and cobalt blue tights, Hannah Simpson cuts a
neat figure. The vibrant 29-year-old student of osteopathic medicine throws
back her thick chestnut-brown hair when she laughs, but she turns serious
when talking about her experience as a patient rather than a caregiver.
That’s because for the past few years she has had a tough time finding a
doctor, not because of geography or lack of insurance, but rather because
Simpson was born physically male and now lives as a woman.
It is hard to determine the exact number of transgender people in the United
States, although some
estimates put the figure around 700,000. Like Simpson, many of them have
known since they were very young that the gender with which they identify is
not the gender they appear to be. Yet
has shown that finding a doctor can often be a challenge and a source of
stress for transgender people due to a combination of provider prejudice and
lack of knowledge.
“A lot of it is ignorance,” Simpson said, “and not being aware of what
transgender people are and what their needs are.” Examples of insensitivity
have been all too common in her experience, including a mental healthcare
provider who did not realize he was being insulting when he equated being
transgender with diaper fetishism, and a pharmacist who snickered when she
deduced from Simpson’s prescription list that she was transgender (Simpson
now gets her prescriptions mailed to her home) . . .
Transgenderism “is something any primary care provider should be able to
handle,” said Simpson. “They should think about this patient as just another
person who comes in with diabetes or high blood pressure. There really isn’t
much more to it than that.”
Yet among transgender people, “the biggest barrier to healthcare is getting
any care at all,” said endocrinologist
Joshua Safer, a
faculty member and physician at Boston University School of Medicine who
routinely administers hormones to the many transgender patients he sees in
2-20-14: Daily Mail (UK): "Beauty queen contestant who used to be a
BOY receives death threats from internet trolls after entering Miss England
"A 17-year-old girl who lived as a boy until last year has received death
threats from online trolls after bidding to become the first transgender
Miss England beauty queen.
Jordan Davis, of Radford, West Midlands, is one of 15 finalists in the Miss
Coventry competition after beating more than 300 other girls. But the
college student has revealed social network users have told her she ‘isn’t a
real woman’- and that she has closed her Ask.fm account after people
threatened to kill her.
She said: "I wanted to give a voice, provide advocacy and become a role
model for the transgender community.
I have threatened to drop out several times because of the abuse I have
received on social networking sites. I had to close my Ask.fm account
down because I was getting death threats. I was expecting it, but I wasn't
expecting it to be quite as bad.
I felt it was important to make a stand - to say
you can define beauty in many ways. You don’t have to look or be a certain
way to be beautiful."
Jordan said she decided to make the transition to
living life as a woman after she had finished school, adding: "I went to
college as a girl and didn't tell anyone there or give them any knowledge.
It was a clean slate for me."
"But as the month went on people in the year above who knew me from school
started the whispering. I just kept smiling and carried on walking.
The way I look at it is that it is the same as when people are born with a
birthmark and have it removed. It's no different for me. I didn't want to
waste any more time after going through five years of hell at school."
Despite the challenges, Jordan said the competition has provided her with a
confidence boost and she is pleased to be involved.
‘The view that these shows are outdated and sexist are rubbish,' she said.
'I have had great support from the organisers and the other girls. It helps
confidence, self-image and self-worth and it has helped me to learn to love
myself. I may not have been born a girl, but I am no less female than the
rest of the girls. The competition has been a lot nicer than I thought it
2-18-14: Boston Globe: "Transgender student takes national stage Zach
Kerr was born a girl, but knew from early on that was wrong. With his
family’s support, he’s finding himself – and inspiring others."
"He wants people to know that though he has
had an easier time than many transgender youth, with a supportive family,
school, and medical help, this is not a life he chose.
“Why would anyone choose this? I would never wish this upon anybody,” he
says. “There’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re in the wrong body and
having to deal with that every single day.” He is majoring in social work
and hopes to work with transgender children and their families when he
Zach says it was a rocker named Joe Stevens who really “saved my life.”
Stevens’s band, Coyote Grace, was opening for the Indigo Girls in Lowell and
the 16-year-old triplets and their mom got tickets.
Between songs, Stevens told the audience that he was transgender. After the
concert, Zach spoke to him. “He was the first transgender person I’d met. It
was a defining point of my life. I realized I could be a boy and could have
a life,” he says."
2-15-14: CNN (posted 2-09): "From Hayley to Harrison: Transitioning to a
man", by Sara
[Ed: A brilliant collection of photos; for more
Sara Swaty's website.]
2-14-14: ABC News: "Court Revives Transgender Widow's Legal Fight"
"A Texas appeals court on Thursday overturned a judge's ruling that had
voided the marriage of a transgender widow whose firefighter husband died
battling a blaze. The 13th Texas Court of Appeals sent the case of Nikki
Araguz back to the lower court, saying "there is a genuine issue of material
fact regarding (Araguz's) sex and whether the marriage was a same sex
In 2011, state District Judge Randy Clapp in Wharton County ruled that the
marriage between Nikki Araguz and her husband Thomas Araguz was "void as a
matter of law." Thomas Araguz's mother and his first wife had challenged the
marriage's validity, arguing the fallen firefighter's estate should go to
his two sons because Nikki Araguz was born a man and Texas does not
recognize same-sex marriage.
Nikki Araguz, 38, had argued in court she had done everything medically and
legally possible to show she is female and was legally married under Texas
law and that she's entitled to widow's benefits. Kent Rutter, Nikki Araguz's
attorney, said his client was very pleased by Thursday's ruling.
"This decision recognizes that transgender Texans have the right to marry
the person that they love," he said.
Attorneys for Simona Longoria, Thomas Araguz's mother, and Heather Delgado,
his ex-wife, did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment.
Longoria and her family have said Thomas Araguz learned of his wife's gender
history just before his death and had planned to end the marriage.
But Nikki Araguz, who remarried in 2013, has insisted Thomas Araguz fully
supported her through the surgical process to become a woman. She underwent
surgery two months after they were married in 2008. Thomas Araguz died July
2010 while fighting a fire at an egg farm near Wharton, located 60 miles
southwest of Houston. He was 30.
In its 26-page ruling, the three-judge panel of the Corpus Christi-based
appeals court wrote that Clapp erred by essentially saying in his ruling
that Nikki Araguz was a man at the time of her husband's death."
2-13-14: San Gabriel Valley Tribune: "Transgender student to play on
Azusa High School softball team"
"The Azusa High School girls softball team will
state’s first transgender student-athlete,
district officials said Thursday. A senior, Pat Cordova-Goff, 17, is a
member of the school’s cheer squad and played on the school’s baseball team
as a freshman.
“We feel really confident about her ability,” Azusa Unified Superintendent
Linda Kaminski said. “No. 1 as a district, we want to ensure access to
everyone, but we’re also committed to placing students on the team on their
merits ... Based on her skills, Pat did make the team.”
California Interscholastic Federation-Southern
Section officials cited
CIF guidelines for gender identity participation
Wednesday and said that Cordova-Goff — who was born a boy but identifies as
a girl — will be allowed to play on the girls team. The new rules took
effect in September.
Cordova-Goff credited a change in state law — A.B. 1266 — for her decision
to try out. Carlos Alcala, a spokesman for Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, said
California law that took effect in January is meant to give all students a
full range of opportunity.
Local high school coaches expressed little concern about Cordova-Goff’s
inclusion on the roster.
“There is no issue for me,” West Covina softball coach Jesse Mendez said.
“Could there be a competitive advantage? Sure, but softball is a pretty
skillful game. There aren’t many (recreational) softball players. These are
competitive players who have played all their lives, and a lot of them are
physically built. They know what it’s like to play (with) the best of the
best, so I have no concerns.”"
2-13-14: The Advocate: "Facebook Expands Gender Options for Trans and
Facebook unveiled a slew of new pronoun and gender options for its profile,
a frequently requested feature among transgender users.
In addition to being able to select from "male," "female," or
"gender-neutral" pronouns, users can now enter their gender as they see fit.
"Androgyne," "Pangender," "Bi-gender," "Agender," "Trans Woman,"
"Transsexual," "Trans* Man," "Cis woman," and dozens of other
gender-identifying options are now available to users by selecting the
"custom" option in the profile's "Basic Information" section. The new gender
identity listing also has a built-in privacy setting, allowing users to
determine who is able to view their gender identity when looking at their
It's no secret that Facebook has struggled with a
With only male and female options available when it came to pronouns, trans
individuals were often forced to label themselves in categories that simply
didn't fit. Gendered announcements like "John updated his profile," or "Jane
updated her profile" are commonplace, and until now were the only options
available — unless someone was willing to jump through a series of
"This new feature is a step forward in recognizing
transgender people and allows them to tell their authentic story in their
own words," GLAAD president Sarah Kate Ellis said in a
"Once again, Facebook is on the forefront of ensuring that the platform is
safe and accessible to all of its LGBT users.""
2-13-14: KQED (posted 2-05): "Medi-Cal Expansion Opens Doors to Care
for Transgender Patients"
"Among those estimated to enroll in the expansion of Medi-Cal, some of those
most likely to benefit are among the most stigmatized in health care —
transgender patients. Darryl Avery, 48, is one of them. Avery was born
female, but identifies as a man. Several years ago, he began his transition.
He moved to San Francisco where he sought medical care, stable housing,
culinary schooling, and eventually, sex reassignment surgery . . .
In 2001, the California Supreme Court
ruled that Medi-Cal must cover
“medically-necessary treatment,” including sex reassignment surgery. But the
problem, Harbatkin said, is Medi-Cal reimbursement rates were too low. In
San Francisco, she said, there were no surgeons providing sex reassignment
surgery who would take Medi-Cal rates.
“We would write to Medi-Cal and say, ‘We’d like you to cover this,’ and
they’d say ‘Great, find a surgeon who takes Medi-Cal,’” Harbatkin said. “But
there were no surgeons who were taking Medi-Cal.”
But in recent years, California
to county-run Medi-Cal managed care plans. In San Francisco, that meant two
health plans, Anthem Blue Cross and the San Francisco Health Plan, would
contract with Med-Cal and providers would now cover sex-reassignment
surgeries and other transition-related health care procedures.
“The big exciting piece of this is that Medi-Cal will actually cover
transgender surgeries now,” Harbatkin said. “The plans have contracted with
surgeons who can do transition-related surgeries.”
The response, in a word, has been overwhelming, said doctors who specialize
in transgender health care.
“When I started doing trans care in 1997, I did not think in my lifetime
that we would be able to see people able to have transgender surgery,”
Harbatkin said. “So as we move into more accessibility, we’re also thinking
about how to allow people to be more successful … and have the long-term
results they want.”"
2-13-14: NY Daily News (posted 2-04): "Exclusive: A sex change
operation is funded by New York City's Administration for Children's
Services -- Beneficiary of surgery is second under gender-reassignment
policy put in place in 2010"
"A 21-year-old in foster care had a sex change operation paid for by the
city under a policy that covers such procedures if the person has no
The patient underwent the procedure in Pennsylvania last Wednesday to become
She is the second beneficiary of the gender-reassignment policy, which was
put in place in 2010.
Mariah Lopez, an activist with Strategic Transgender Alliance for Radical
Reform, said the city Administration for Children’s Services approved the
surgery before the woman turned 21, the age at which most leave the foster
The woman, whose name was not released, will “inspire others,” said Lopez.
“What’s happening now is a shift by ACS, in the largest city in the world,
influencing health care nationally.” ACS would not comment on the surgery,
citing confidentiality laws."
2-13-14: MLive: "Ann Arbor schools exploring new policies for
"Ann Arbor Public Schools officials are working to develop better policies
to accommodate its transgender students. The discussion comes as school
districts across the country are grappling with the issue of transgender
student rights—and districts' policies being successfully challenged in
court by parents and rights groups.
Under Michigan law, school districts identify a student’s gender in its
records according to the student’s birth certificate. That gender can be
changed in the student’s file if the student is over 18, or at a parent’s
According to the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN),
“transgender” is defined as “an adjective describing a person whose gender
identity or expression is different from that traditionally associated with
an assigned sex at birth. Other terms that can have similar meanings are
transsexual and trans.”
However, there’s no set guideline for a school district to use to determine
if a student is transgender—and some would argue an adolescent’s sense of
self is constantly changing.
As Ann Arbor Public School’s policies stand now, transgender students are
included under its extremely broad non-discrimination policy. “What we have
is non-discriminatory treatment, but it is not equal treatment,”
Superintendent Jeanice Swift said."
2-08-14: Kansas City Star: "‘I am a girl’: Transgender children face a
society slow to accept them" (Video,
"Many transgender people say they first realized as children that they
should have been born a different sex. A.J., a transgender 6-year-old, has
the support of both parents, who hope to dispel misconceptions about
transgender children . . .
She is only 6 years old. Already the child who sits, legs tucked, on a
canopied bed near a closet filled with princess dresses has lost her best
Kids who used to ask A.J. to birthday parties stopped calling. Parents back
in preschool avoided making eye contact.
Once, at a ballet open house, A.J. and her mom ran into a family with whom
they had always been close. “They looked at us,” the Kansas City mother
recalls, “crossed the sidewalk and didn’t say anything.”
“For a while it made me hate humanity,” she conceded. “ ‘You just proved
yourselves to be the lowest human beings on the planet. You know my kid. You
know my child is a happy, kind, sweet, considerate kid and nothing has
changed, except …’ ”
Except that A.J., born and known to all as a boy, had been determined to be
transgender. The rough-and-tumble kid who once sported buzz cuts and dressed
for his birthday as a pirate was growing her chestnut hair below her
shoulders. A.J. was now a girl.
“There is huge judgment in society,” said her father. “Not only on her, but
Haaretz (Israel): "Israeli transgender man tells tale of love and darkness –
At the mobile clinic he runs in Tel Aviv, he also tells about transgender
women's particularly bad experiences with prostitution."
"The mobile unit of the Health Ministry’s Levinsky Clinic parks at 9 P.M. at
the prostitution hub at Tel Aviv’s old central bus station. It's a Sunday
night, and sex workers and drug addicts, both men and women, slowly gather
Yonatan Marton, a 32-year-old transgender man and coordinator of the
clinic’s LGBT and HIV divisions, begins his work: finding transgender people
working as prostitutes. Marton, a social worker who wrote his master’s
thesis on hostility toward transgender people (transphobia), offers
transgender prostitutes STD testing, psychosocial therapy and assistance
“from filling out forms to getting out of prostitution,” he says . . .
According to Marton, “I feel sad every time I see a transgender woman
working in prostitution because I know she’s in that world only because
she’s transgender.” He says that in this population group, the average age
of entry into prostitution is 14 to 15.
“They’re thrown out of the house the moment they start showing signs of
feminity. The rejection occurs in all segments of society; Arabs and Jews,
religious and secular,” he says.
“When they’re thrown out of their homes, they contact other transgender
women, see that they’re in prostitution and are drawn into that trap.
They’re socially isolated, without family relationships. They can’t find
jobs and have no other way to survive.”
Marton says there are no statistics on the number of transgender women
working in prostitution, but these women are more likely to be victims of
“This group, which is even weaker, suffers from stigmas and parodies, and
this encourages abuse,” he says. “They have a high visibility in
prostitution, and they suffer constant harassment and verbal, physical and
sexual violence from clients and people on the street.”"
2-08-14: Boston Globe: Books: "Transgender ‘Revolutionary’ "
"When he coached the boys’ cross-country team at a private boarding school
in Rhode Island, Alex Myers would sometimes outpace the students to push
them to run harder.
“Look,” he’d say, needling, “you’re getting beaten by a 30-year-old
Myers, now 35, has been living as a man for half his life, having come out
as transgender before his senior year at Phillips Exeter Academy. Through
adolescence, he was a tomboyish girl named Alice Myers.
Now a first-time novelist, Myers is using the historical tale of a distant
ancestor, the Revolutionary War figure Deborah Sampson, as a literary
parallel to his own determination to live as a man. Sampson, a native of
Plympton 45 miles south of Boston, disguised herself as a man and served in
the Continental Army during the war for independence.
Myers’s debut novel, imagines Sampson’s struggle to keep her secret and her
will to live as she chose. Frustrated by her indentured servitude and the
social and professional limitations she faced as a woman at the time, the
tall young woman cut her hair and dressed as a young man, binding her
breasts with strips of cloth, and enlisted . . . "
2-06-14: CNN: "In the spotlight: Carmen Carrera"
"It's an early morning photo shoot for
Glamour Magazine UK. There's a blizzard
outside the window of Jack Studios in New York as the crew sets up in a
flurry: Photographers meticulously adjust the lighting, makeup and hair
artists arrange their bounty of brushes and stylists hang up racks upon
racks of familiar names -- Ralph Lauren, DSquared2, Zac Posen, Helmut Lang,
Agent Provocateur, Vivienne Westwood.
They're all here for one person.
"Hi, I'm Carmen."
The woman in an unassuming black tank top, jeans, simple ponytail and hoop
earrings (a staple she would later credit to growing up in New Jersey)
introduces herself to the crew -- but everybody in the room already knows
who she is.
"People know me from a lot of places," she tells CNN later at her Perth
Amboy, New Jersey, home. "Google-dot-com Carmen Carrera!" she laughs.
Carrera first caught a glimpse of the spotlight on the third season of the
cult favorite and gif-ready reality show "RuPaul's Drag Race." The day after
she finished the show, she decided to begin her transition into the Carmen
Carrera we know today -- a proud transgender fashion personality . . .
Carrera became a part of the mainstream media
conversation when she received more than 46,000 signatures on a
to become Victoria's Secret's first transgender "angel." The petition gained
a significant amount of traction only a few days before the 2013 fashion
show was set to tape in November, but it was ultimately unsuccessful. (The
company has not responded to the petition.)
Even so, she says, the support from fans has
motivated her to try out for the over-the-top lingerie show in 2014.
"It's kind of like validation," she says. "No
matter how insecure I might be, no matter how un-pretty I might feel, there
are people out there who look to me to be strong and to keep going and to
keep proving people wrong.""
02-05-14: BuzzFeed: "Transgender Advocate Janet Mock: Piers Morgan
"Sensationalized" My Story – Taking the trans story “outside the safe
"Transgender advocate Janet Mock accused CNN’s
Piers Morgan of seeking to “sensationalize” her life after Morgan and his
producers focused intensely on Mock’s past and physical aspects of her
transition in an interview coinciding with the release of her book,
Morgan ended the first segment of the
Piers Morgan Live
interview by saying that Mock at one point had to tell the man she was
dating that “you used to be yourself a man” — although Mock has never
identified as a man.
The on-screen description of Mock was that she
“was a boy until age 18,” although she was identifying as a girl in high
school, and the Piers Morgan Live
posed the question
during the interview, “How would you feel if you found out the woman you are
dating was formerly a man?”
“He’s trying to do info-tainment,” Mock told BuzzFeed Tuesday night. “He
doesn’t really want to talk about trans issues, he wants to sensationalize
my life and not really talk about the work that I do and what the purpose of
me writing this book was about” . . .
But, she said, the interview — for better and worse — is part of want she
chose to do by “going out of the bubble” and being public with her story.
“This is my first mainstream television show, was that moment, with Piers
Morgan, and you see what they did to my story. Compared to a moment if I’m
on Melissa Harris-Perry, which is slightly different, a more
sensitive and safe space. But I go onto Piers Morgan, and all of my
followers and everyone are like, ‘What is this?’” she said. But, she noted,
“It’s also more representative of the ignorance that there is about trans
people’s lives. We’re out of the safe bubble of social justice.”"
2-04-14: Amnesty International: "Europe: Transgender people face
discrimination and inhuman treatment"
The state decides who I am: lack of legal
recognition for transgender people in Europe,
focuses on seven European countries. It highlights how procedures to obtain
legal gender recognition violate fundamental human rights in Denmark,
Finland, France, Norway, Belgium and Germany. And how in Ireland no
procedure exists at all, though legislation in this area is planned.
It is estimated that there could be as many as 1.5 million transgender
people in the European Union.
In many states there are strict conditions under which individuals can
change their legal gender. Transgender people can obtain legal gender
recognition only if they are diagnosed with a mental disorder, agree to
undergo medical procedures such as hormone treatments and surgeries
resulting in irreversible sterilization, and have to prove that they are
single. The whole process can take years.
“States must ensure that transgender people can obtain legal recognition of
their gender through a quick, accessible and transparent procedure in
accordance with the individual’s own sense of their gender identity, while
preserving their right to privacy and without imposing on them mandatory
requirements that violate their human rights,” said Marco Perolini.
“People have to make an odious decision – either they allow themselves to be
subjected to a raft of degrading steps and measures on the behest of the
state or they are forced to continue to live with a gender based on the sex
they were assigned at birth – even if that contradicts their appearance and
In Ireland no procedures yet exist to enable people to change their gender
identity. Victoria, a transgender woman living in Dublin, Ireland told
Amnesty International: “Legal gender recognition is important because, once
and for all, I wouldn’t have to battle with people [for anything] I have a
right [to], like social welfare. I want to be recognised as who I bloody
well am. It’s ridiculous that the state doesn’t recognize me as who I am.”
Legal gender recognition is key for the enjoyment of human rights by
transgender people. Transgender people are at risk of being discriminated
against whenever they have to produce documents mentioning a name or
gender-related information that do not reflect their gender identity and
2-01-14: BuzzFeed (posted 1-29): "This 92-Year-Old Trans WWII Veteran
Is Fighting To Be Treated Like Any Other Widow – Robina Asti shares
her extraordinary love story and her fight to receive survivor benefits
after losing the love of her life." (Be sure to watch this
beautiful video of
"After serving as a pilot during WWII, Robina Asti transitioned to living as
a woman in the 1970s.
Now 92 years old, she fondly remembers spending time over the Pacific during
World War II. She was only 21 at the time.
Getting her pilot’s license at just 18, Robina became a commercial pilot and
In 1976, she decided to begin living as a woman “in body, soul, and mind.”
The prejudice against her at that time was extraordinary . . .
She legally changed the sex on her pilot’s license, her driver’s license,
and obtained a U.S. passport as a woman. For Robina, it was a complete
She soon met Norwood Patton, the man who would one day become her husband.
When things became serious, Robina knew she would have to tell Norwood about
her transition. Less than a week later, Norwood came back. Every
month, Norwood would ask for her hand in marriage. Every month, she would
Finally in 2004, Robina married her longtime sweetheart in a small ceremony
in an airplane hangar in Orange County, N.Y.
Eight years later, Norwood passed away at the age of 97. After his passing,
Robina applied for survivor benefits with the SSA. She was denied after it
was determined she was “legally male” at the time of their marriage —
despite all the legal documents she had in her possession . . .
In June 2013, Lambda Legal filed a request for reconsideration on Robina’s
behalf. After more than six months, there is still no word from the Social
Security Administration. She hopes that her case is a success, not for the
money, but for "the act of humanity which is necessary here."
Lambda Legal created this
beautiful video to
share Robina’s story."
2-01-14: Vanity Fair (posted 1-25): "Ringy Dinghy", by
Standing at the dock, his handkerchief dotted with
tears of gladness,
TBogg bears witness to the tragic glug-glug of the
"Good Ship National Review,"
whose hull sprung a hole due that old debbil hubris.
about the very distressing, by which I mean ‘high-larious’, legal woes
which is being sued for letting contributor Mark Steyn defame climate
scientist Michael Mann for comparing him to child molester Jerry
Sandusky on the internet pages of
Long story short: Competitive Enterprise Institute “scholar” Rand
Simberg wrote an
attacking Mann’s research and, trying to be topical, referenced
the fact that he teaches at Penn State as the basis for an oh-so-clever
PSU Michael Mann = Penn State football coach/kid rapist Jerry Sandusky
analogy. Writing at NRO,
former drama critic Mark Steyn whose climate science knowledge is
limited to knowing all the lyrics to
They Call The Wind
LOL’d and repeated what Simberg wrote. When Mann protested, CEI backed
down and deleted the offending lines but not the rest of the post. On
the other hand National Review Editor Rich Lowry seemed to be under the
impression that he was William F. Badass Jr. and told Mann and his
My advice to poor Michael is to go away and
bother someone else. If he doesn’t have the good sense to do that, we
look forward to teaching him a thing or two about the law and about how
free debate works in a free country.
“Poor” Michael Mann
didn’t listen to Rich Lowry, and instead called his bluff and sued
anyway forcing Lowry to beg for money from his readers because the
treasure chest at National Review – which is a money losing wingnut
welfare suckhole – couldn’t cover the check Lowry’s dumbass wrote...
And now Mark Steyn is in quite the pickle
himself, divorced from the legal firm that was defending him and the
magazine after he excoriated the former judge in the case for being a
stupido. Tactically, that isn't considered the brightest chess move to
try in the halls of justice. Steyn is now representing himself, like a
character in a wacky sitcom racing from the defense table to the
witness chair as he cross-examines himself, and estranged from
National Review, where he is considered a star attraction, such is
the condition to which conservatism has fallen.
[Ed: NRO has been engaging in
over-the-top anti-progressive media-defamations for a long, long time. Some
of you may recall when
made these snarky, libelous comments about me: "Not to put too fine a point
on it, Lynn Conway is nuts. She and her pals have money, though, and energy,
and a big cheering section in the "gay rights" crowd, so I shall probably
end up in jail for some kind of "hate crime" before they are through with
16, 2003. Of course, I took all that as
a way-cool compliment!]
1-31-14: Gay Star News: “Proposed law in California would ensure
transgender people die as they lived – Respect After Death Act calls for
authentic gender identity to be reflected on death certificates”
"California Assembly Majority Leader Toni Atkins introduced a bill on
Thursday (30 January) that would ensure the authentic gender identity of a
transgender person be reflected on their death certificate.
If passed into law, the
Respect After Death Act would require that the authority responsible for
completing the transgender person's death certificate adhere to
documentation of their gender identity such as an updated birth certificate
or driver's license.
'Once we are deceased, we are often at the mercy of others to treat us with
dignity,' said Atkins, a lesbian who also authored the historic School
Success and Opportunity Act.
'For transgender people, their gender identity may not be consistently
recognized after death by family, friends and even officials,' said Atkins
(pictured). 'This bill provides an objective way to make sure that a
transgender person’s gender will be correctly identified after they pass
In addition to a birth certificate or driver's license, other documentation
could include written instructions from the deceased person confirming their
wishes or evidence of medical treatment for gender transition . . .
'Transgender people face horrific rates of discrimination and violence,”
said Masen Davis, executive director of Transgender Law Center which is
co-sponsoring the bill along with Equality California. 'The very least we
can do is ensure folks are given basic human dignity by
honoring their authentic
selves when they pass . . . "
1-30-14: Metro Weekly: "Maine Supreme Court rules transgender student
cannot be denied bathroom access" (more,
"Maine's highest court sided with a transgender girl Thursday in a ruling
that stated her school violated state law when it denied her access to the
The 5-1 decision by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court reversed a lower
court's ruling from November 2012 and stated that the school was in
violation of Maine's Human Rights Act when it denied Nicole Maines (referred
to in the ruling as Susan Doe) access to the appropriate bathroom when she
was a fifth-grade student at Asa Adams Elementary School in 2007.
According to the ruling, "it has been clearly established that a student's
psychological well-being and educational success depend upon being permitted
to use the communal bathroom consistent with her gender identity, denying
access to the appropriate bathroom constitutes sexual orientation
discrimination in violation of the [Maine Human Rights Act]."
While Maines was originally granted access to the girls' bathroom, the
school later barred Maines from doing so following media attention when a
male student followed her into the girls' bathroom at the instruction of his
grandfather, who was opposed to the policy.
"Based upon its determination that Susan is a girl, and in keeping with the
information provided to the school by Susan's family, her therapists, and
experts in the field of transgender children, the school determined that
Susan should use the girls' bathroom. In so doing, the school provided her
with the same access to public facilities that it provided other girls," the
"[The school's] later decision to ban Susan from the girls' bathroom, based
not on a determination that there had been some change in Susan’s status but
on others’ complaints about the school’s well-considered decision,
constituted discrimination based on Susan’s sexual orientation," the ruling
continues. "She was treated differently from other students solely because
of her status as a transgender girl."
The ruling from Maine's highest court in
Doe v. Clenchy marks
the first time a state court has ruled that transgender students must be
allowed to use the bathrooms for the gender they identity with.
Calling the ruling a "momentous decision," Jennifer Levi, director of GLAD's
Transgender Rights Project, who argued the case before the Maine Law Court
in June, said the decision "marks a huge breakthrough for transgender young
1-30-14: RH Reality Check: "It’s Not ‘All Psychological’: How the
Medical Establishment Fails Transgender Patients", by
"Seeking health care when you’re sick or injured can sometimes be a
confusing, nerve-racking, or frustrating experience. Patients, already in a
compromised position, may not know how best to advocate for themselves or
what rights they have. But for transgender and gender nonconforming people,
just going to the doctor means risking mistreatment, misdiagnosis,
hostility, or aggression.
A number of
professional medical organizations,
including the American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric
Association, have drafted resolutions in recent years affirming equal
treatment for trans* and gender variant individuals. And according to M. Dru
Levasseur, transgender rights project director at Lamba Legal, 17 states and
more than 150 jurisdictions now have protections regarding gender identity.
“These are all great steps,” Levasseur told RH
Reality Check. “But one of the things
we still hear is that, when people are at their most vulnerable moment of
need, like going to the hospital for emergency care, horrible things still
Indeed, while medical protections for transgender patients may be gradually
increasing, many in the trans* community continue to experience disturbing
levels of discrimination from health-care providers.
“Every once in a while I get really anxious about
what would happen if I had a major accident and had to go to the emergency
room,” Kara Baker, a researcher in plant pathology, told
RH Reality Check.
“I constantly worry about upcoming appointments with doctors or clinics I
don’t know.” Baker, who identifies as genderqueer and prefers the pronouns
“they/their,” says most of their negative experiences with medical care have
been relatively minor, like a doctor or nurse using non-preferred pronouns.
But those interactions still cause uncertainty, anxiety, and self-blame.
That anxiety can lead some transgender people to
avoid seeking medical care when they need it. According to a 2011 survey of
over 6,000 trans* Americans, a third
had put off or avoided seeking preventative care, and
28 percent had avoided seeking necessary care.
Patients may be flat-out denied treatment, and not just for
transgender-related health needs—8 percent
surveyed as part of a
2009 survey were
refused emergency care, with another 8 percent
necessary surgery. In
the same survey,
a staggering 70 percent of trans* patients had experienced abusive language,
physical abuse, blame for their health status from health-care providers, or
providers refusing to touch them . . . "
1-30-14: KQED: "New Law on Transgender Students Is Tested in Manteca"
"Sixteen-year-old Ashton Lee is a junior at Manteca High School in the
Manteca Unified School District, located in a small conservative town in the
San Joaquin Valley. He says his friends can spot him a mile away. “I’m
pretty masculine … I have broad shoulders and I’m pretty tall,” Ashton says.
“I’m built like my dad.”
He is the child of a biracial marriage. But it’s not his race that has
caused inner turmoil. It’s his gender identity. Ashton was born a girl but
identifies as a boy. “I used to go by Kimberly,” he says. “It never really
felt like it was my real name. It never fit me.”
Ashton says he can remember not fitting in as early as preschool. Later on,
in middle school, he battled depression and thoughts of suicide. He says his
life finally changed a couple years ago after he did his own research and
explored the meaning of being transgender. “I had been struggling with not
feeling right in my body my whole life,” Lee says. “It just clicked when I
read that. I’m not a freak … other people feel like this.”
Ashton says he still felt extremely uncomfortable at school because he was
treated like a female student. He saw an opportunity for change last year
when a bill giving transgender students more rights on campus made its way
to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk.
That bill, AB1266, is also known as the
School Success and Opportunity Act.
The law was enacted this year, and Ashton decided to use it after he was
assigned to an all-girls aerobic class. The law allows transgender students
to use bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond to their gender identity.
They can also try out for sports teams and take part in extracurricular
activities without any gender restrictions.
Like many California school districts, Manteca Unified was now faced with
trying to implement this very controversial new policy. “We had a lot of
conversations about how to deal with this,” says Clara Schmiedt, Manteca
Unified’s director of secondary education, who was picked to develop a new
district policy after Ashton came forward. “Controversy on either side of
this is something that a school district does not want.”
Schmiedt did her own research, calling other districts and meeting with
attorneys. She says it became clear to her that Ashton was entitled to
certain rights. Manteca Unified now joins other school districts that are
granting accommodations on a case-by-case basis. In Ashton’s case, his
teachers have to address him by his new name and use all the corresponding
male pronouns. And he is free to use the boys’ restroom and the boys’ locker
1-30-14: Huffington Post: "My Declaration of Candidacy for the
Maryland State Senate", by
Executive Director, Gender Rights Maryland (more,
"Last week I ended
my latest blog post on leadership
with the following paragraph:
We are all one. When any minority group works on an issue of concern to
a larger population, it has an opportunity to solidify its credibility as an
integral part of the whole. More importantly, it gets to do the labor of
love that directly benefits everyone, without regard to race, creed, color,
ancestry, age, religion, gender, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity,
national origin, marital status, veteran's status or disability. That is my
goal -- to do good, one day at a time. I am honored to work with so many who
share that goal.
Today I am announcing my next campaign for the betterment of my community in
We are ready for progress. For too long, hardworking Marylanders have waited
for economic fairness and equal opportunity. We have asked our elected
officials to help bring better jobs to our neighborhoods, build stronger
schools for our children, fix our roads and infrastructure and make quality
health care an affordable reality.
We are ready to move forward, and that's why I'm declaring my candidacy for
the Maryland Senate . . .
Politics is the "art of the possible." The possible only becomes probable --
and then actual -- when people care, are willing to step forward and change
the conversation, take risks and reach out to each other and build the
better world of which we all dream. I ask for your support and your vote,
and in return I promise to be the progressive champion Montgomery County
sorely needs. I promise to represent you as you deserve to be represented.
Together, we can make Montgomery County and Maryland better as we lead the
way to a more progressive America."
1-30-14: The Daily Mail (UK re US): "'What's happening to me is not
about sex - it's about identity': Meet the transgender stars behind Barneys'
inspiring new campaign" (more,
more) (With photos and video)
"A cast of 17 transgender people have taken center stage in an inspiring new
ad series for Barneys New York. The campaign, shot by legendary photographer
Bruce Weber, features individuals who have experienced immense challenges
while transitioning genders.
Katie Hill, for example, was born a boy and was the first transgender
student to graduate from her Oklahoma High School in 2012. After announcing
her ambitions of becoming a woman to her fellow high school students, Miss
Hill says that she was 'bullied and spat on.' She was homeschooled for a
year and then returned to school 'because I decided I didn’t want to be
treated like a victim or a freak,' told Barneys' The Window blog.
Everybody had been pretty ignorant about the subject of transgender, but
they listened and after a while some of the kids who’d been bullying me and
making fun of me became my friends. Eventually some of them revealed
themselves about being trans people,' she said. Miss Hill legally became a
woman at the age of 16 and underwent gender reassignment surgery at the age
of 18 – a procedure that was paid for by an anonymous financial donor who
had seen her story on television.
Another model named Maxine Neu, a 20-year-old from Hamburg, was also born a
boy. While she always felt female inside, Miss Neu has only lived as a woman
for the last year-and-a-half. She is still transitioning into her new life,
she says, and has not yet begun to seriously date as a woman. 'I don’t have
a boyfriend. I like to cuddle and watch a movie but I don’t want to go
beyond that yet. Maybe I need to protect myself. What’s happening to me is
not about sex—it’s about identity. Nobody wants to get hurt. I have time,'
she told the retailer.
Ahya Taylor was born a boy too. She tells Barneys that she 'began
transitioning when I was a freshman in college. The process was very public,
but it didn’t matter! I was doing what I had to do. It was a matter of
psychological survival.' She currently attends Wayne State University as a
harp performance major. But music is just one element of her dream career –
she also plans to go into social work. 'Art and people are my passion and I
want to contribute in the best way I can,’ she explained. ‘I want to be a
catalyst for the change and uplifting of my community.'
The campaign's conception was overseen by Barneys' creative director, Dennis
Freedman, who told
WWD that his casting decision had ‘a lot to do with the realization that
such extraordinary progress has been made in the last few years for the
lesbian, gay and bisexual community, but it’s striking how the transgender
community has been left behind’ and it is ‘disturbing and upsetting to see
Mr Weber also created a series of short films that will premiere on Barneys’
website. The photographer told the paper: ‘I hope that my photographs and
films of these 17 new friends, who are transgender men and women, convey the
respect I have for them and how I stand in awe of their courage to face the
1-27-14: Huffington Post: "Transgender Men And Dating: Elliott Deline,
Bill Roundy And Matt Kailey On HuffPost Live" (With video)
"HuffPost Live guests offered their advice regarding transgender men and
dating as part of a spirited discussion last week. Joining the group were
Bill Roundy, blogger
Kailey and Refuse author
Deline noted, "I think if everybody stopped looking at sexuality as a
black-and-white kind of thing, stopped looking at gender as a
black-and-white kind of thing ... they don't have to put a label on it."
Deline, who prefers "the idea of a queer identity," added, "Personally, I'm
much more attracted to men who are open to whatever they find themselves
attracted to and don't have to box it in and limit themselves." Check out
more tips in the clip above."
1-22-14: Daily Mail (UK): "'Paedophilia IS an illness': An
abnormally-wired brain causes the predatory behaviour, claims expert"
found 'huge differences in the white matter of paedophiles' brains, compared
to typical men's.
He took MRI scans to study their brains.
Dr Cantor believes there is a literal ‘cross wiring’ of paedophiles’ sexual
response system and parental, nurturing system, in their brains.
Paedophiles tend to be between 10 and 15 IQ points lower than average, his
They are also typically 2.3cm shorter in height than a typical male.
30 to 45 per cent of paedophiles are left-handed, compared to 10 to 12 per
cent of the population."
[Ed: Here we go again! Yet another round of
(formerly called the
This time, it's the parents of short, left-handed, less-than-average
performing teenage-boys in public schools who need to watch out. If
CAMH gets it way in Canada (and perhaps even the UK), their sons will begin
to be psychologically scrutinized for early signs of paedophilia . . . and
then targeted for medication by 'big pharma'.]
1-22-14: Autostraddle (posted 1-20): "New York Can Pass Same-Sex
Marriage But Not Trans* Protections: How GENDA Died"
"A few months ago, a bill supporting the rights of
transgender and other gender nonconforming people failed to come up for a
vote in the New York State Senate.
It died quietly
years after Republicans and Democrats came together to vote in support of
same sex marriage. Like most failed legislative efforts, there usually isn’t
one clear-cut reason for its downfall. A myriad of forces were working
against the bill: a coterie of Democrats aligned with Republicans, a lack of
unity in the advocacy community and a wider political problem in how elected
leaders perceive Americans’ opinions of transgender people.
Let’s start with the obvious: The bill wasn’t prioritized as same sex
marriage efforts were, which is not a story only familiar to New York, but
the whole country. Same sex marriage has been the central focus of major
LGBT rights organizations for years, to the consternation of many LGBT
rights activists, who believe issues that impact impoverished people, and/or
people of color, have been neglected. After DOMA, one would think this would
be the best time for activists to shine a light on other issues, such as
hate crimes against LGBT people. But that hasn’t proven to be the case, at
least in New York.
Activists have differed in their approach to pushing the Gender Expression
Non-Discrimination Act. The Empire State Pride Agenda released a radio ad
that never used the word “transgender”. . .
Ryan Sallans, a trans man who speaks as an activist on transgender issues,
said there is hesitancy from leaders in major LGBT advocacy organizations to
use the word “transgender,” pointing out that, historically, trans issues
are pushed out of LGBT groups’ legislative agendas . . .
“A lot of the time, people think, ‘Bring too much attention to the word and
people will look away. Sometimes they drop gender ID from it
[nondiscrimination bills] entirely.’ There are multiple factors—It has to do
with money, education and transphobia within the LGBT community,” Sallans
1-22-14: Los Angeles Times: "YouTube is a lifeline for transgender
"Thousands of teens and twentysomethings who are
transgender — identifying with a gender that is different than their sex at
birth – have turned to YouTube as a kind of public diary. As they start
taking hormones or using new names, many are documenting their journeys on
video, baring their souls and revealing their changing faces to strangers
tell stories that were once routinely hidden: Transgender people were told
to abandon their old lives and craft a new history after making their
As recently as a decade ago, "you lost everything if people knew that you
had transitioned," actress and activist Calpernia Addams said. "You
eliminated dating opportunities. You exposed yourself to violence."
Three years ago, a national survey of more than 6,400 transgender and
gender-nonconforming people found that 71% had tried to avoid discrimination
by hiding their gender or gender transition. Sharing their stories remains
risky: More than a third of people who were gender nonconforming or had a
transgender identity before graduating from high school said they had been
physically assaulted, the National Transgender Discrimination Survey found.
Violence and bias aren't their only worries: If "coming out" for gays and
lesbians means being recognized for who they truly are, many transgender men
and women feel that telling new people they are transgender does just the
opposite, making people think of them as less than a "real" man or woman.
But sidestepping the past has become much harder for a generation that has
had digital footprints since childhood. And many teens see little reason to
do so, embracing their transition as an essential and even celebrated part
of their identity.
"I'll always be trans," said Naomi Ngoy, a Utah
15-year-old who uploads makeup tips and videos about her transition on
Other video bloggers, or vloggers, have removed their videos once they are
regularly recognized as their identified gender, but Naomi plans to keep
hers online. "There's no point in trying to take them down in the future.""
1-21-14: "Transgender Shreveport woman gains national attention for
daring councilman to 'cast the first stone'" (more,
"A transgender Shreveport woman is in the national spotlight after showing
up to last week’s council meeting with a stone and daring Councilman Ron
Webb to use it.
Pamela Raintree told Webb — who proposed a repeal of the city’s fairness
ordinance — that Leviticus 20:13 states, “If a man lie also with mankind as
he lieth with a woman, they shall surely put him to death.”
“I brought the first stone, Mr. Webb,” she said, forcibly placing a stone on
the table where she stood. “In case that your Bible talk isn’t just a smoke
screen for personal prejudices. But if it is, I hope you’ll vote for a fair
Her statements caught the attention of national
LGBT media outlets and
The Huffington Post this weekend, and a
video of her comments has been going viral since."
1-21-14: Huffington Post: "Kye Allums, Trans Sports Star,
Reveals He Wanted To Kill Himself After ESPN Profile" (more,
more, and be sure to watch both videos)
story published by ESPN's Grantland last week
sent shockwaves through the Internet.
What was intended to be an exploration of
"scientifically superior" golfing equipment
quickly became an investigation
of Essay Anne Vanderbilt, the inventor of the new golf club that originally
inspired the story, and her transgender identity. Vanderbilt committed
suicide while the story's author, Caleb Hannan, was still researching the
The backlash surrounding the outing, as well as
the article's misgendering and lack of empathy for Vanderbilt's experiences,
led Grantland Editor-in-Chief Bill Simmons to
pen a letter responding to the controversy.
In order to better understand these events, HuffPost Live sat down with
OutSports Editor Cyd Zeigler and prominent trans athlete and advocate Kye
Allums to hear their perspectives surrounding the article, titled "Dr. V’s
“Suicide is so prevalent in the trans community," Allums, who also
experienced problematic reporting from ESPN about his identity, told
HuffPost Live. "41 percent of people in the trans community have attempted
suicide –- I was one of them. That was all because of someone who didn’t
take the time to listen to what I said –- who didn’t care, who didn’t value
me as a person and who just saw me as, 'Oh, you’re just this story.'""
[Ed: The more we learn about this situation, the worse it looks.]
1-19-14: Nieman Storyboard: "The journalist and Dr. V", by
"To be a journalist on Twitter in the past four
days has meant taking part, one way or another, in one of the more heated
story dissections in recent memory. Last Wednesday,
V’s Magical Putter,” by
a writer in Denver. The story, borne of Hannan’s insomnia and his desire to
play better golf, began as a profile of the inventor of a club called the
The inventor’s name was Dr. Essay Anne Vanderbilt, whom friends called Dr.
V. She described herself as an MIT-educated aeronautical physicist and her
invention as an instrument superior for its scientifically advanced head
design. Hannan tested the club and liked it. As he verified Vanderbilt’s
credentials, the story changed, in two ways: The scientist’s background
failed to check out, and Hannan learned that Dr. V had been “born a boy.”
The piece turns heavily on this revelation.
Vanderbilt had agreed to be the subject of Hannan’s story only if Hannan
wrote about “the science, not the scientist.” Once Hannan discovered the
biographical discrepancies, he told Vanderbilt he could no longer honor the
agreement. Vanderbilt emailed him a warning that publishing the story
against her wishes would be tantamount to a “hate crime.” She had attempted
suicide in the past, with carbon monoxide and prescription drugs, and, in
October, as Hannan continued preparing his story, Vanderbilt made another
attempt, and succeeded. Her partner and the president of her golf company,
Gerri Jordan, found her dead on the bedroom floor, with a bag over her head;
in the kitchen was an empty prescription bottle. This was in mid-October, in
Gilbert, Ariz. Vanderbilt, according to the funeral home that handled her
arrangements, was 60.
Hannan’s story immediately got attention that was positive . . . And
negative . . . The rage has centered on the ethics of outing a woman who did
not want to be outed, and on a line in the story suggesting an authorial
attitude of otherness toward Vanderbilt . . . "
[Ed: A definitive analysis of the Vanderbilt tragedy]
1-19-14: The New Republic: "The Mistake That Doomed The Grantland
Story About a Putter" (more,
"The Internet is abuzz with conversation and
disputation over a
published last week on Grantland. “Dr. V’s Magical Putter,” written by Caleb
Hannan, tells the story (spoilers follow) of a woman named Essay Anne
Vanderbilt who invented an odd-looking putter that certain golfers came to
swear by, based in part on its special design. Vanderbilt advertised the
putter as based on scientific-sounding principles such as “moment of
inertia.” Reporting the story, Hannan realized that much of what Vanderbilt
said about her own credentials is fraudulent. He also learned that she is
transgender, a fact that shocked him—“a chill actually ran up my spine”—and
apparently influenced his larger view that she is a fraud. At the very end
of the story, we learn that Vanderbilt has recently killed herself.
As week turned to weekend and as, perhaps, a wider
set of people had time to plow through the story’s nearly 8,000 words, the
reaction turned from positive to negative.
The Toast had
a good, early round-up; Jezebel
long meditation yesterday. Both centered around what seems basically
indisputable: Hannan evinces an extremely distorted view of what it means to
be transgender. At best, Vanderbilt’s gender identity and her—I was about to
write “efforts to cover it up,” but actually it’s more just an ordinary,
passive privacy—is erroneously lumped in with her very real lies about her
educational history and business background. At worst, the piece is
transphobic, with Hannan so weirded out by Vanderbilt that he acts surprised
when a Vanderbilt business partner is
not aghast to learn that
Vanderbilt was born biologically a man. At that moment, I was embarrassed
But embarrassment isn’t the only feeling Hannan
deserves. Slate’s Josh Levin
several of Hannan’s errors in reporting and writing. I agree with him that
those who have accused Hannan of abetting Vanderbilt’s suicide are taking it
too far (including Jezebel). But if anything I’m inclined to see the story
as yet more problematic. This was not just prizing fact-finding over
compassion, as Levin writes. This was a reporter entering a story with
fundamentally flawed, not to mention bigoted, premises and letting those
premises guide his reporting and his writing—a problem magnified since
Hannan and his reporting are an essential part of the story.
“This is the kind of story, though, that breeds cynicism about journalists,”
Levin writes, hitting upon an essential point. My initial reaction before
reading and digesting the piece was that of many journalists on Twitter: to
defend it in order to defend the writing of such stories. Ultimately,
though, I hesitate even to cite this article as a deeply flawed instance of
a valuable kind of story. The bathwater is dirty enough that I’m willing to
lose the baby, too."
[Ed: Journalism, thus exposed, should collectively hang its head in shame.]
1-15-14: Federal Times: "OPM considering transgender care in future
employee health plans"
"Federal employees may be one step closer to being able to access
transgender care through their federal health insurance coverage.
The Office of Personnel Management is currently evaluating the exclusion of
transgender care in the federal employee health benefit program, according
to the agency.
But the agency said that no decision has been made yet and that when it does
come to a decision it will be reflected in the coverage options for future
health care plans.
While some company and local government health plans cover care for
transgender policy-holders, the Federal government does not and specifically
excludes transition-related care from coverage.
Transition-related care may include hormone replacement therapy, mental
health services, and sexual reassignment surgery (SRS). The costs of this
care can easily reach into the tens of thousands of dollars, putting it
beyond the reach of many who need it.
While OPM is evaluating the issue, HHS is considering whether the current
policy of refusing to cover transition-related care is even legal."
[Ed: This news make a nice counterpoint to the rather hysterical rantings of
trans-deniers like Keith Ablow and
1-15-14: Media Matters: "Fox's Ablow: There's No Such Thing As Being
Transgender", by Luke Brinkler
"Fox News "Medical A Team" member Dr. Keith Ablow continued his pattern of
baseless smears against LGBT people with an ill-informed, transphobic rant
against a new California law that allows transgender students to use
facilities that match their gender identities.
In a January 14 column for FoxNews.com, Ablow criticized a recently-enacted
California law that allows transgender public school students to use
bathroom facilities that correspond with their gender identity. Ablow
predicted that nothing but "toxicity" would come from the measure, parroting
the "bathroom panic" that's been central to Fox's coverage of the
legislation . . .
Ablow's worst fears are baseless. School districts that have implemented
similar policies have reported "nothing but positive results" and no
instances of misconduct, which is why anti-LGBT groups have been forced to
make up incidents of their own.
Ablow went on to falsely suggest that there's no proof that transgender
people even exist, even while admitting that "many psychiatrists with very
impressive credentials" disagree with him.
Those well-meaning psychiatrists include the American Psychiatric
Association and the American Psychological Association, which both recognize
transgender people as real and deserving of respect and acknowledgment.
Instead of taking the advice of America's largest professional psychological
and psychiatric organizations, Ablow - who has no expertise in gender or
sexuality issues - merely asserted that he is "not convinced" of the
existence of transgender people."
1-15-14: Fox News (posted 1-14): "All wrong -- in California,
girls can use urinals in the boys' restroom", By
Dr. Keith Ablow
"As of January 1, students in California public
schools have been able to choose whether to use the boys’ rest room or
girls’ rest room, as well as the girls’ locker room or boys’ locker room,
based on whether they feel
female or male, not whether they are anatomically
female or male.
That’s right: Governor Jerry Brown, of California,
signed a bill that took effect January 1 that tells kids from kindergarten
on that they should decide whether they
believe their gender identity
is and act, accordingly. The
legislation also allows students to choose their sports teams based on
whether they sense they are boys or girls, not whether they were born male
or born female.
I don’t believe we have definitive data that
any male or female soul has ever in the history of the world been born into
the wrong anatomic gender.
I know that other psychiatrists may well disagree,
and I know that LGBT activists will criticize me, but I believe that
allowing this “choice” is profoundly destructive, psychologically, to all
students, including the ones who identify themselves as transgender.
The mere fact that
teachers and administrators will have to explain to kindergarten and
first-grade students that they might see girls in the boys’ restroom, or
boys in the girls’ locker room, but that those really
aren’t kids of
the gender they appear to be, could (and, here, data is sorely lacking) do
harm to their own developing sense of self by suggesting to them that their
gender is fluid, that it well might change for them, too, and that they
should be on the lookout for signs that they want to switch."
[Ed: Ablow is a passionate media-spokesperson for
conservative Catholic psychiatrist Paul McHugh, who's made it is
lifelong mission to "stop sex changes".]
Haaretz (Israel): "What transgender violence says about Israeli society −
In the strict hierarchy that reigns in the human jungle, it would be hard to
find a group more denounced and discriminated against than the transgender
community", By Tsafi Saar
"Two weeks ago, 11 men – armed with pepper spray
and an electric prod, some wearing masks –
attacked a transgender woman
next to a club in south Tel Aviv . . .
In the strict hierarchy that reigns in the jungle known as human society,
there is a group that it would be hard to find more denounced and
discriminated against than the transgender community. These are people whose
gender identities do not coincide with society’s expectations that one’s
sexual organs will determine their gender.
Transgender people are estimated to comprise between 0.1% and 0.3% of the
population. The attack on the woman was a poignant and painful reminder of
the depths to which the transgendered are pushed. It even turned out that
the 11 suspects in the attack were members of the Border Police . . .
In their lives, they pay a high price – not infrequently a price greater
than just physical violence. They experience exclusion, stigma, denial of
the legitimacy of their identity, social rejection, discrimination,
hostility, humiliation, persecution and negation of their humanity.
The labor market is just one sphere of life where they experience this. The
health-care system also places obstacles on their path to realizing their
aspiration to fulfill their gender identity – a basic human right.
It is doubtful that there is another group of humans that everyone feels
free to determine what lies exactly under their clothes, including their
most intimate parts. Is the possibility that they embody the blurring of
binary-gender identity really so threatening to society, its structure and
the individuals within it?"
1-15-14: CNN: "What not to say to a transgender person", by T. Cooper
"Recently, Katie Couric
interviewed model Carmen Carrera and "Orange
is the New Black" star Laverne Cox on her daytime talk show. Cox and
Carrera are both male-to-female transsexual women who are enjoying a level
of mainstream success in their respective fields. As such, they were
interviewed for an episode of Couric's show dubbed "Transgender
As a male transgender trailblazer myself -- meaning I was designated female
at birth and transitioned to male later in life -- I watched the "Katie"
show with fervent hope that the time had finally come when a transgender
subject was not going to be asked about their private parts.
My hopes were swiftly dashed the moment
Couric stuttered to Carrera, "Your, your, your private parts are
different now, aren't they?"
Carrera, clearly taken
aback, handled the question with poise, politely informing Couric that she
was uncomfortable talking about such personal information as her genitalia.
As anyone might be.
Couric raised the question to Cox later in the
show, Cox deftly added that focusing
so much attention on transgender people's bodies objectifies them. More
critically, she noted, the focus on private parts diverts the cultural
discussion from more relevant and pressing issues, such as the violence and
discrimination transpeople (and transwomen of color especially) face every
day in this country. (In
a later show, Couric addressed the
response to her questions about their anatomy.)
As someone who has also
been asked on multiple occasions by complete strangers what might or might
not be happening in my pants, I thought this was a good time to suggest
eight things NOT to say to transgender people, a handy list which just
might make your office parties, family reunions, jury duty -- or interviews
in front of millions of viewers -- go more smoothly."
[Ed: Be sure to pass on
the link to these well-framed "questions not to ask".]
1-14-14: WRAL-TV (North Carolina): "Parents say love for transgender
child is unconditional"
"The parents of a Cumberland County first-grader who was born a boy but
identifies as a girl say their decision to allow her to go to school as a
transgender child was one based on unconditional love and a desire for her
to be happy.
"It's been a long process for us, and basically, we just had to come to a
decision that we were going to love and support our child, no matter what,"
the girl's mother said Tuesday. "We decided that our love for our kids was
going to be unconditional, and we needed to make sure we were doing what was
right for our child's happiness." . . .
The child's parents say they spent years in therapy and made the decision to
start raising their child as a girl on the advice of her psychologist. When
they did, they say, they didn't know what to expect, and they have been
surprised by the support they've received.
"We've been really impressed and amazed by our friends and our family and
especially the school and the school system about how supportive and
encouraging they've been," the mother said. "They've all been very loving."
Cumberland County Schools Superintendent Frank Till says for the past five
years that he's been superintendent, he's seen at least one transgender
student each year.
"We don't make a big thing out of it, because we don't
consider it a big thing," he said . . . "Our goal is to make every student
comfortable and to make every student feel good about where they are and to
help people understand that diversity comes in a variety of forms.""
1-14-14: IEEE Institute: "Approved IEEE Code of Ethics −
IEEE Board approves changes" (more,
The IEEE Board of Directors at its meeting of 25
November 2013 approved a revision to the IEEE Code of Ethics. This action
was taken pursuant to a set of resolutions it approved at its meeting of 1
July 2013 in accordance with Section 7.8 of the IEEE Policies.
The following is the approved IEEE Code
“We, the members of the IEEE, in recognition of
the importance of our technologies in affecting the quality of life
throughout the world, and in accepting a personal obligation to our
profession, its members and the communities we serve, do hereby commit
ourselves to the highest ethical and professional conduct and agree:
to accept responsibility in making decisions
consistent with the safety, health, and welfare of the public, and to
disclose promptly factors that might endanger the public or the
to avoid real or perceived conflicts of
interest whenever possible, and to disclose them to affected parties
when they do exist;
to be honest and realistic in stating claims or
estimates based on available data;
to reject bribery in all its forms;
to improve the understanding of technology; its
appropriate application, and potential consequences;
to maintain and improve our technical
competence and to undertake technological tasks for others only if
qualified by training or experience, or after full disclosure of
to seek, accept, and offer honest criticism of
technical work, to acknowledge and correct errors, and to credit
properly the contributions of others;
to treat fairly all persons and to not engage
in acts of discrimination based on race, religion, gender, disability,
age, national origin, sexual
orientation, gender identity, or gender expression;
to avoid injuring others, their property,
reputation, or employment by false or malicious action;
to assist colleagues and co-workers in their
professional development and to support them in following this code of
1-13-14: CNN (posted 1-02): "Homeless transgendered woman murdered in
Rome honored by Jesuits" (includes VIDEO of Andrea)
Quintero was described by those who knew her as a gentle soul and a devout
Catholic. Transgendered and homeless, she left Colombia for Italy in search
of a society that could accept her for who she was -- a man who felt like a
But in Rome it was no different. In fact it was worse. She said her
paralyzed arm and prominent limp were evidence of the regular beatings she
endured as a drifter at Rome's main railway station. Despite the abuse, she
hoped for better. "I dream of meeting a boy that has money and that will
allow me to leave such a terrible life," Andrea said in an interview with an
That dream would never come true. On July 29 this year, Andrea's body was
found after she had been beaten to death on platform 10 of Rome's main
That very same day, on a plane ride from Brazil to the Vatican, Pope Francis
uttered the five words about homosexuality that have come to define his
papacy. "Who am I to judge?" The answer signaled a shift in the relationship
between the Catholic Church and the gay community. He said that while
homosexuality is still a sin, gay people should not be marginalized.
CNN Vatican analyst John Allen said: "In general what you are going to see
is a church that is more compassionate and tolerant, particularly with
regard to gays and transgendered persons, but the concern that people might
mistake that compassion for a change in church doctrine, that is no longer
going to get in the way of outreach."
Months after Andrea's death, her body remained unclaimed in the morgue.
Local charity workers decided Andrea needed to be acknowledged with a
Catholic funeral. A priest at Chiesa Del Gesu, one of the most prominent
Jesuit churches in Rome opened its doors.
"With Pope Francis, we have courage, we have enthusiasm," said Father
Giovanni La Manna, who helped organize the funeral. "We have no excuse. We
are called to open our hearts."
Charity workers, government officials, even the city's mayor gathered to pay
tribute. Andrea's coffin lay amid the church's breathtaking frescos. A
Catholic mass was held in her memory.
And then something happened that stunned those inside the church. Throughout
the mass, the priest acknowledged Andrea as a 'She'.
"Up until this point we haven't been acknowledged by the Catholic Church,"
said Vladimir Luxuria, a transgendered activist who attended the funeral.
"It is as if the Catholic Church says 'we see you the way you feel you
While Andrea's dream of a white church wedding was never possible -- at
least in death she was accepted by the religion she believed in so deeply."
1-13-14: HRC: "The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers
Adopts LGBT-Inclusive Code of Ethics"
"Early last week, the world’s largest professional body of engineers amended
its Code of Ethics -- by which all of its more than 425,000 members must
abide -- to include a nondiscrimination policy based on sexual orientation
and gender identity and expression.
More than two-thirds of the Board of the Institute of Electrical and
Electronics Engineers, an international professional association dedicated
to advancing technological innovation and excellence, voted in favor of the
Code of Ethics changes.
Under the new professional policy, members of the IEEE, many of whom live in
nations that still lag behind in LGBT protections, must treat their LGBT
colleagues with the respect and dignity they so rightfully deserve, IEEE's
move sends a powerful message to the international community about
importance of LGBT-inclusivity. Not only is equality the right thing to do,
it’s a sound business practice."
1-13-14: Huffington Post (posted 1-08): "Leadership and the Value of
Exceptional Allies", by
Dana Beyer Executive
Director, Gender Rights Maryland
"This week I am continuing my series on leadership with an example of quiet
leadership deep within a massive global professional community.
Today is a momentous day for equality in the world of nerds, geeks and
hackers. Given that many of us have, to some degree, become technologically
proficient during the new industrial revolution, this is of great importance
to all of us. Today, the IEEE -- the Institute of Electrical and Electronics
Engineers, the world's largest professional body of engineers, which has
more than 425,000 members in over 160 countries, including both academia and
industry -- is publishing its new Code of Ethics. And that Code, known
within the profession as much as a code of honor as one of ethics, is, for
the first time, LGBT-inclusive.
The campaign to make this happen was spearheaded
and coordinated by two trans women:
Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Emerita, at the
University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and a Life Fellow of the IEEE, and
lecturer and Director of the Applied Engineering Laboratory in the
Department of Computer Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel
Hill, and a Life Senior Member of the IEEE. Last September Lynn and Leandra
brought an oversight to the attention of the Institute's Board of Directors,
the planned change to the Code of Ethics, to add sexual orientation to its
non-discrimination policy, was exclusive of gender identity and expression.
By Oct. 12, many prominent IEEE thought leaders
co-signed a letter requesting trans inclusion. These thought leaders
were led by UNC's Dr. Fred Brooks, the father of the IBM System/360, and
included the president of Stanford University, the presidents emeriti of
M.I.T. and CalTech, numerous members of the National Academies of
Engineering and Science, and many other widely respected IEEE Fellows . . .
So what does this mean? It means that hundreds of thousands of engineers
worldwide -- including in Russia, Uganda and over 60 other nations where
being gay or trans is considered a crime -- are now honor bound to treat
their colleagues with respect. It means inclusion and acceptance will bubble
up from this professional society to impact the larger local cultures, as it
did recently in the U.S. when multiple professional medical organizations --
including the American Medical Association, the American Psychological
Association, the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, and
the American Academy of Pediatrics, to name a few -- changed their policies
and pushed the American Psychiatric Association to remove transgender status
from being considered a mental illness.
It exemplifies the power of being alert to one's personal and professional
surroundings so as to be aware that change is needed and, when the moment
arrives, that it is finally possible to create that change. It shows the
value of having a close colleague in whom one can confide and trust to
actually get the work done. It shows the power of "showing up," of asking
one's colleagues for their support of your humanity, both in an official
capacity as well as in your daily interactions. It shows the wellspring of
support that exists even in places where you might least expect it. It shows
how much the work of so many others has already changed the culture
sufficiently that progress like this is not only possible but increasingly
1-13-14: NPR: "Understanding What It Means To Be Transgender"
"A new California law allows transgender students to choose bathrooms and
sports teams based on the gender they identify with. The law intends to make
those students feel more comfortable, but it's also making others feel
uneasy. Tell Me More looks again at truths and misconceptions involving
transgender people, especially when it comes to public accommodations."
[Ed: An important NPR program series regarding the new California law.]
1-13-14: NPR (posted 1-10): "Listeners Weigh In: Transgendered
Students Choosing Bathrooms"
"Editor Ammad Omar and host Michel Martin crack open the listener inbox for
BackTalk. They talk about an ongoing conversation on California's new school
1-13-14: NPR (posted 1-07): "New Law Allows Transgender Students To
Choose Bathrooms And Sports Teams"
"A new California law allows transgender students to choose restrooms and
sport teams based on the gender they identify with. Host Michel Martin
speaks with a parenting roundtable about the pros and cons."
1-13-14: New York Daily News: "Transgender woman CeCe McDonald
released from men's prison McDonald and her friends had been harassed and
peppered with slurs on a Minneapolis street in June 2011 when a fight broke
out. McDonald stabbed a man to death during the brawl. In a plea deal, she
was sentenced to 41 months, but was freed early.
"A transgender woman serving time in a Minnesota men's prison for stabbing a
man to death outside a bar was released on Monday morning.
CeCe McDonald had been sentenced to 41 months in prison in May 2012 after
pleading guilty to second-degree manslaughter as part of a plea deal.
1-10-14: Huffington Post: "The Fatal Transgender Double Standard", by
Director of Advocacy, SPART*A (more)
"A few days ago, Katie Couric
interviewed transgender model Carmen Carrera, and Orange is the New
Black star Laverne Cox. For whatever reason, Couric chose to veer
suddenly into questioning Carrera about how her "private parts" are
"different now" and if she's had that surgery yet. Carmen shushed her
immediately, and reminded Couric that's
a very private issue. In the next segment with Laverne, Couric went
right back to asking Ms. Cox about
the genitalia question.
answer was flawless: "The preoccupation with transition with 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're
targets of violence. We experience discrimination disproportionately to the rest
of the [LGBT] community. ... [B]y focusing on bodies, we don't focus on the
lived realities of that oppression and that discrimination."
Other commentators have noted that the bodies of transgender people are
somehow public domain.
Though Laverne alluded to it, not only are our bodies expected to be public
domain, but so are our histories. The results of this unrealistic expectation
are horrific . . .
Gwen Araujo, to
to Angie Zapata, to
Cemia Dove, our
lack of ownership of our bodies has meant being forcibly stripped, groped,
raped, strangled, stabbed burned, and bludgeoned. It means that transgender
panic defenses live on in court, and sometimes even win. After Brandon
shot Larry King twice in the back of the head
in the middle of a crowded classroom, the jury deadlocked on the case. Some
even sympathized with the murderer. "[Brandon] was just solving a problem," one
Since Couric's interview, much has been written about
how transgender people seem to have no expectation of privacy. Laverne alluded
to the violence that the transgender community faces. Couric's expectation that
transgender people have little right to physical privacy is an expression of
1-08-14: San Francisco Chronicle: "Bid to repeal transgender-student
law falling short"
"Opponents of a new state law that expands transgender students' rights
appear to have fallen just short of qualifying a repeal initiative for the
November ballot, the secretary of state's office said Wednesday.
A random sampling indicated that the law's
opponents failed to gather the 504,760 valid signatures of registered voters
that they needed to put their measure on the ballot, Secretary of State
said. Her office will now begin a full signature-by-signature count that
could take 30 working days, or until Feb. 24.
Opponents of the law, AB1266, turned in 619,244 signatures in November. But
the random count showed that just 482,582, or about 78 percent, were likely
to be valid, Bowen's office said.
The signature-gathering drive was mounted by a
coalition of church and conservative groups called Privacy for All Students.
It was led by
a Republican political strategist who also headed the 2008 campaign for
Proposition 8, the constitutional amendment that would have banned same-sex
marriage in California. That measure passed, but federal courts ruled
[Ed: Let's keep our fingers crossed on this one. If it gets on the ballot,
right-wingers will descend like vultures onto trans children in schools
everywhere, during the 2014 elections.]
1-07-14: Huffington Post: "Laverne Cox And Carmen Carrera Discuss
Transgender Issues On Katie Couric Show" (more)
"Transgender icons and television stars Laverne Cox and Carmen Carrera sat
down with Katie Couric on "Katie" yesterday to discuss issues specifically
affecting the transgender community, as well as their own personal journeys
as trailblazing LGBT pioneers.
of "RuPaul's Drag Race" fame, who is also an Elite model, and
of "Orange Is The New Black" are two of the most prominent transgender
figures in the entertainment industry today. When Couric tried to hit the
two with a sensitive, and oftentimes invasive, question about transitioning
and the cultural fixation on trans individuals' genetalia, Cox eloquently
broke down the issues surrounding this mentality.
"I do feel like there's preoccupation with
[transitioning]," Cox told Couric in the above clip. "I think the
preoccupation with transition and with 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're targets of violence.
experience violence disproportionately
to the rest of the community... when we focus on transition we don't get to
talk about those things."
Cox also used her platform on the Couric show to
the tragic case of Islan Nettles,
a trans women who was assaulted in Harlem earlier this year and subsequently
died of her injuries.
Check out the clip of both Cox and Carrera above
head here to
watch the segment where Carrera discusses her journey to becoming her
authentic, realized self."
[Ed: Laverne Cox cooly conveys a vitally important message that we all need
Haaretz (Israel): "Transgender man (sic) after attack: We're assaulted daily
- Rise in homophobic violence prompts local 'Taking back the night' protest
march next weekend"
"Over the weekend Tel Aviv police arrested 11 Israel Defense Forces soldiers
on leave, who are suspected of attacking a transgender man (sic) in south
Tel Aviv. Following the initial questioning of the soldiers, who are all
from the Yavneh area, it seems that the attack was apparently motivated by
boredom after the group had finished partying at a local club.
N., the victim, was attacked at 2 A.M. Saturday at the place where she has
been employed for more than seven years. She says the men came up alongside
her in two cars with dark windows, and two of them got out, one wearing a
gorilla mask and the other a mask of a monster.
One man approached her with a stun gun, threatening to shock her and trying
to hit her. She says she tried to back away to avoid a confrontation but the
two ran after her and refused to leave her alone.
“I didn’t show that I was afraid of them, but in the end I ran away," says
N. "I wasn’t looking for trouble and didn’t want to be hurt by their
shocker. When I ran away they drove after me for a bit, and the driver of
the second car sprayed me with tear gas from inside the car. It burned my
eyes and other parts of my body, but I wasn’t seriously hurt. It was mostly
The attack was not an unusual occurrence for N., who adds that she and her
friends suffer such harassment frequently. Indeed, she says that violent men
and homophobes attack transgenders who work in south Tel Aviv almost every
[Ed: The Haaretz editor/writer was apparently in total cognitive-dissonance
when attempting to describe the victim.]
1-05-14: San Francisco Chronicle: "California's right pins hopes on
"Conservative activists will have a better idea this week of whether their
ballot measure to overturn new protections for California's transgender
students will appear before voters in November.
If it does, conservatives believe it could change the dynamics of an
otherwise sleepy 2014 election year. The result could be a new round in the
culture wars that would reverberate nationally - this time, over the rights
of the estimated 700,000 transgender Americans.
It would also give California Republicans, facing
long odds for major offices such as governor, perhaps their only reason to
go to the polls this fall. The state's
has endorsed overturning the new law.
"This could get voters who wouldn't get out for
other issues, but will for this," said
a longtime conservative activist who is co-chairing the
Privacy for All Students
campaign to put the measure on the ballot. "And I think this will stop any
other state from introducing" similar legislation.
The stakes have been mounting for both sides since
signed the School Success and Opportunity Act in October. The law took
effect Jan. 1, but its impact will be felt first this week as most
California public school students return to class from the holiday break."
[Ed: If this proposal gets onto the California ballot for the fall of 2014,
right-wing Republicans will go on a national-rampage of anti-transgender
hate-mongering during the coming elections. Be prepared for the worst . . .
1-05-14: South China Morning Post (Hong Kong): "Draft laws for
transgender marriage 'too limited' says expert Sam Winter"
"Draft changes to the city's marriage laws to recognise transgender people
are too restrictive because they are limited to those who undergo sex-change
operations, a leading transgender expert says. "The government is taking the
minimalist approach," said Sam Winter, a University of Hong Kong associate
professor and a director of the World Professional Association for
On Tuesday, the Legislative Council's security panel will discuss the latest
developments on proposed amendments to recognise transgender people
following the landmark ruling last May that granted a post- surgery
transsexual the right to marry her boyfriend. In handing down its judgment,
the Court of First Instance gave the government a year to decide whether
marriage laws needed to be amended to reflect the ruling that the definition
of "woman" include a "post-operative male-to- female transsexual".
Winter cited the World Health Organisation's definition of a transgender
person as someone who desires to live and be accepted as a member of the
opposite sex and was "usually accompanied" by a wish to have hormonal
treatment and surgery to reflect their desired sex. He said the words
"usually" were crucial to the debate because there were individuals who met
the diagnostic requirements for a transsexual but who opted to live as the
opposite sex without going under the knife.
"The draft legislation is not inclusive or comprehensive enough," Winter
said. "But we are cautiously optimistic that the government will set up an
interdepartmental group which could be the first step to look into broader
transgender issues without going to the courts," he added."
1-04-14: The Express Tribune (Pakistan): "Gay or transgender: A
psychiatrist’s perspective on Uzma Tahir’s show “Khufia”", by
Tak, a Pakistani television station started
its transmission earlier this year with a strong statement,
‘Ladies, Gentlemen and She-males’
It did not take long for the
station to air a sensational TV show Khufia where
the hostess, Uzma
Tahir, ignored people’s right to
independence and a free life as she bullied them with a television camera.
Chasing people frantically on the streets of Karachi, she and her team put
hands on people, manhandled them and then barged into their homes with a camera
crew to ask the victims of her camera bullying,
“Are you gay or transgender?”
The saddest part of the show occurred later when the
hostess arrogantly ignored someone’s suicide threat. I couldn’t accept
the fact that Uzma Tahir didn’t care about human life. Suicide is a preventable
death and every suicide threat needs to be taken seriously. The most sickening
moment came when she wishfully said,
“Why don’t these people become targets of bombs?”
of her television camera abuse pleaded on
air that he had some mental health issues and couldn’t talk about them. She
tortured the poor soul by judging him and mockingly saying,
“How can a ‘crazy’ know that he is
‘crazy’ and even know his doctor? This is enough to prove that you are lying.”
It is a known fact that people with mental illness and
non-conforming sexual behaviour are often victims of violence but it is quite
rare to find sexual and psychological harassment by a television program crew .
People with different sexual orientations and
behaviours lead a very difficult and objected life in Pakistan. A television
program like Khufia can risk many other lives. It is time to treat
transgender and transsexual people with respect as fellow human beings. There
is a need to accept their presence in society and to help
them with education and employment in regular jobs.
In the television program, I came across many of the
victims requesting opportunities for honourable lives like everyone else in
society. Unfortunately, their voices were ignored."
1-04-14: Times of Israel (Isreal): "11 arrested for attacking
transgender prostitute – Tel Aviv assault carried out by men in Purim
masks using mace and tasers, police say"
"Eleven men were arrested on Saturday morning on
suspicion of attacking a transgender prostitute in Tel Aviv.
Police suspect the men
assaulted the prostitute, dressed in women’s clothing, overnight Friday on
South Tel Aviv’s Hamifal Street using mace and tasers. They were wearing
The men, all Yavneh residents in their twenties, were arrested after police
chased down the two vehicles in which they were riding. The prostitute was
lightly wounded and did not require medical treatment. Police opened an
investigation against the men on Saturday morning."
1-04-14: Press Enterprise, Riverside, CA: "TRANSGENDER COMMUNITY:
Suicide attempts common", by
recently wrote about Jaden Handzlik, a
17-year-old transgender boy from Murrieta.
Transitioning from the biologically female person he was born as into a boy
hasn’t been easy, he told me. When Jaden was a toddler named Jill, she threw
tantrums when her parents tried to force her to wear dresses, and she pulled
earrings out of her ears. The incompatibility between the body Jill was born
with and the gender she identified with became even more obvious during
puberty, as her breasts began to grow.
“If this is life, then I don’t want to live,” an October 2011 entry in
Jill’s diary read. “I have no identity. I have no reason to live. I just
want to die.”
But Jaden was in some ways lucky. Despite the
emotional turmoil he has endured through most of his life, Jaden only
THOUGHT about suicide. Forty-one percent of transgender people surveyed said
they had attempted suicide, compared to 1.6 percent of the population as a
whole, according to
this 2011 report
from the National Center for Transgender Equality
and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
The report found higher rates of suicide attempts among transgender people
who were harassed or bullied in school and those who were rejected by
Jaden is lucky in those respects as well. His parents and brother have been
loving and supportive, and Jaden said no one has bullied him at Murrieta
Mesa High School. Teachers and school officials have always treated him with
Despite all the support Jaden has received, he still faces isolation. Boys
in his neighborhood who used to hang out with him now ignore him. But he
said he’s happier and much more comfortable with himself now. And he no
longer wants to kill himself."
1-04-14: NPR: "Transgender Issues Follow Path Blazed By Gay Rights"
"It may have been "" as some gay and lesbian activists put it — 2013 saw the
Defense of Marriage Act struck down by the Supreme Court and the number of
states offering marriage rights to same-sex couples doubled, to a total of
18. But as 2014 begins, another issue is gaining traction: transgender
A new transgender rights law went into effect Jan. 1 in California. Called
the School Success and Opportunity Act, the law allows students to use the
facilities consistent with their gender identity and to play on sports
teams, and adds protections against bullying and harassment.
Transgender stories have registered in the media recently, too. Chelsea
Manning, who came to prominence as Bradley Manning, is now in prison,
convicted of leaking classified government information.
And a transgender character in Netflix's new
series, Orange Is the New Black,
was named one of Time
magazine's of 2013."
1-02-14: BuzzFeed: "Fallon Fox, The First Transgender MMA
Fighter, Opens Up To GQ “Dark and powerful. That was my version of
Fallon Fox, born Boyd Burton, is a
37-year-old transgender athlete who fathered a daughter and served
in the Navy before transitioning. Now her job is to fight women.
During a recent interview with
Fox opened up about her life as a transgender professional MMA
fighter. Here are a few of the highlights."
[Ed: A wonderful series of photos and
quotations by Fallon Fox.]
1-02-14: San Francisco Chronicle: "Bride met soul mate - who
happened to be a transgender man"
"It was June of 2010 and Kyra Byrne
attended her first San Francisco Pride celebration. The workers'
rights advocate had moved from the East Coast the previous year,
and the last thing on her mind was a relationship.
At a Michael Jackson dance party that broke
out spontaneously in the Mission, a random man grabbed her hand.
"There's the cutest guy over there, come meet him with me," he
said. Kyra reluctantly played wingman, and shared an awkward moment
with these two strangers. She then fled back to her friends.
It could have ended there. But as soon as
"the cutest guy" laid eyes on Kyra, he was done . . . "
1-02-14: Just Plain Sense: "Ten Years On", by
"TEN YEARS AGO, at the start of 2004, the
House of Lords was debating the Gender Recognition Bill. The debate
began in the Lords on 18th December 2003 and ended in a long and
colourful report stage debate and third reading in the House of
Commons on 8th June 2004.
Three weeks later, on 1st July 2004, the
legislation received Royal Assent to become an Act of Parliament
and, in April 2005, a new
Gender Recognition Panel began receiving applications for the
legal recognition of people who had undergone gender reassignment.
Since that time approximately four thousand
people have successfully applied under the terms of the Act to be
recognised for who they are in their acquired gender. After the
inevitable rush of cases to begin with, the rate quickly settled
down to around 300 cases per year and has remained fairly constant
at that rate ever since . . .
For all that ongoing struggle there is no
doubt, in hindsight, that the Gender Recognition Act had a
transformative effect on the consciousness of the UK’s trans
When the Act was passed, few people would
identify themselves willingly as trans and stand up to talk about
these issues. Nowadays there are hundreds — even thousands — of
people openly talking about them . . . The understanding of the
diversity of what ‘trans’ or ‘transgender’ means has been
transformed . . .
tells the story of how Britain’s tiny transsexual population lost
their rights to privacy, legal protections and the recognition of
family relationships for more than a generation in 1970. It
explains how the long road to organising as a campaign took shape —
and the setbacks along the way.
Pressing Matters is not a dull
academic history though. The story of how Press for Change took
shape and found its feet is woven with my own personal memoir of
how it was on the inside — helping to create an effective political
force engaging the energy of people who were mostly closeted,
frightened, poor and geographically isolated.
Pressing Matters describes a time
before email — before the web — before social media — and how the
fledgling organisation gradually harnessed the power of computing
and electronic communications as these became available. It is
about careful strategic planning to use judicial processes
effectively. But it is also about swift footed opportunism and
community building too."
Burns's history of the hugely successful Press for Change
campaign provides a powerful script for others to follow.]
1-01-14: The Associated Press (6-25-13): "Gender a new
challenge for schools"
differences in gender identity have been changing, even in the last
decade, says Eli Erlick, a transgender student and graduating high
school senior in Willits, Calif., a small town in the northern part
of the state.
When Erlick began her
transition from boy to girl at age 8, she says that even she didn’t
know what the word “transgender” meant. She just knew that she
wanted to live life as a girl. “I thought I was the only person
like this,” she says.
School was difficult.
Some teachers made fun of her in front of the class, she says. To
avoid dealing with which bathroom to use, she would pretend to be
sick, so she could go home and use the facilities there.
Now Erlick is
the director of an organization called Trans Student Equality
Resources, which provides schools with training and information
about students like her. Erlick also has helped her school district
and others in California develop transgender policies.
schools in other states are doing the same."
[Ed: Story about Eli Erlick, a young trans
woman featured in the 1-01-14 Autostraddle article.]
1-01-14: Autostraddle: "35 Trans Women I Had #Herocrushes On
In 2013", by
A #HeroCrush has nothing to do with romantic
or sexual attraction. You don’t even have to want to be friends
with the person. Instead, it’s all about people you admire and look
to for inspiration and influence. It’s that special feeling you get
when you look at someone and you think, “dang girl, I want to smash
the patriarchy with you!” You can see yourself holding hands with
them marching in a parade or creating a human blockade. You
fantasize about a future spent together dismantling systems of
oppression side by side. You want to follow them on twitter and you
make sure to tune in when you hear that they’re going to be on
MSNBC or NPR. For me, a lot of my #herocrushes in 2013 happened to
be trans women. Some of these people are heroes because they faced
serious oppression or obstacles, others are heroes because they’re
thriving in their fields, but all of these trans women deserve to
be recognized and remembered this year.
[Ed: A wonderful series of photos and
vignettes about an amazing group of women!]
here to access the current Trans News Updates
Click here to access the Trans News
Updates for 2013 (2nd half)
Click here to access the Trans News
Updates for 2013 (1st half)
Click here to access the Trans News
Updates for 2012 (2nd half)
Click here to access the Trans News
Updates for 2012 (1st half)
Click here to access the Trans News
Updates for 2011 (2nd half)
Click here to access the Trans News
Updates for 2011 (1st half)
Click here to access the Trans News
Updates for 2010 (2nd half)
Click here to access the Trans News
Updates for 2010 (1st half)
Click here to access the Trans News
Updates for 2009 (2nd half)
Click here to access the Trans News
Updates for 2009 (1st half)
Click here to access the Trans News
Updates for 2008 (2nd half)
Click here to access the Trans News
Updates for 2008 (1st half)
Click here to access the Trans News Updates for
Click here to access the Trans News Updates for
Click here to access the Trans News Updates for
TS Information > Trans News Updates