The Week In Trans 10/10/16

| Oct 10, 2016
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Jessica Hawkins

Jessica Hawkins

In Washington, D.C. Sgt. Jessica Hawkins first came to work as a female on February 11, 2014, about fourteen years after she joined the force. She has now taken on a new role, as a liaison between the Metropolitan Police Department and the public, with a special emphasis on working with the transgender community. She was the subject of a profile on NPR.

Last week we told you about a candidate for the state legislature in California used three drag performers in a video to promote his campaign. The queens sang new lyrics bashing the candidate’s opponent and praising him set to the music of Katy Perry’s Firework. Sony has decided that’s “unlicensed copyright exploitation” and have threatened to sue if the video is not pulled. Can Scott Weiner keep running his video and win the race? The drag performers have sent a letter to Katy Perry asking her to pull some strings with Sony. Get the whole story from the San Francisco Chronicle.

Tracee McDaniel

Tracee McDaniel

Longtime LGBT activist Tracee McDaniel has been appointed to the Atlanta Citizen Review Board, which looks into complaints about the police department. She was nominated by the mayor and approved by city council. This review board has never had a transgender person on it before, but now they have one, and she is a person of color as well. Project Q Atlanta has this story.

Harrison Brown, formerly Hailey Browne, is a forward for the Buffalo Beauts of the National Women’s Hockey League. He has informed the league that he will not get gender reassignment surgery or take testosterone while playing in the league. He is the first transgender athlete in a professional team sport, according to this story on Yahoo Sports.

India Willoughby

India Willoughby

Jonathan Willoughby quit his job as a television reporter on the ITV Border newscast, in order to pursue a gender change. Now 50, India Willoughby became a reporter on ITV Tyne Tees regional news. She said, “ITV have been fantastic, it hasn’t been weird or awkward and they have just welcomed me back.” Her story is in the Daily Mail.

Annie Wallace, a 51-year-old from Aberdeen, Scotland, has become the first transgender actress to be nominated for a Scottish BAFTA award. She plays Sally St. Clair on the soap opera Hollyoaks. The awards will be presented on November 6. The Aberdeen Evening Express has this story.

Ollie Maihi is a first-grader in New Zealand. She looks to be a 6-year-old who loves pink flowery things, but she was assigned male at birth, and transitioned before beginning first grade. The New Zealand Herald has her story, along with a video.

Ambrosia Starling

Ambrosia Starling

The Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore has long been a thorn in the paw of justice. He is the official who put a monument of the 10 Commandments in the courthouse lobby and taken heat for defying the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of gay marriage. That got him suspended from his position without pay till the end of his term. Then he will be too old to run again. Of course his supporters, a “Christian” group founded by Moore and headed by his wife, say it’s all the fault of Alabama drag queen Ambrosia Starling. It is true that Starling lead the protests but we think it’s Moore’s own overt contempt for the Constitution that lead to his suspension. Get the story and a video report from On Top magazine.

The University of Michigan has instituted an expanded choice of gender pronouns from which students may choose so faculty and staff know how they wish to be addressed. In addition to the traditional “he” and “she” students can have “ze” as a gender neutral identifier. Estimations are that a small percentage of the student body will choose the gender neutral pronouns but that hasn’t stopped the new policy from creating a big kerfuffle. Thanks to Jamie Roberts for passing along the tip on the story in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Tempest Dujour

Tempest Dujour

Drag performers come from all walks of life. For example, Tempest Dujour, the toast of Tucson, is a university professor by day. As the head of the Costume Design program at the University of Arizona School of Theatre Film & Television Patrick Holt is one of the few drag queen professors. Tempest is famous outside Tucson since she was on season seven of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Learn more about her from the school’s newspaper The Daily Wildcat.

In Argentina, a new bill has been introduced in the legislature which would give reparations to transgender people who were victims of violence when the nation was under a more repressive regime. This would repay them for fines and prison sentences that they received between 1954 and 1997. TeleSur has this story.

Pope Francis has been saying some rather complex things about transgender people and issues, and as you might expect, a lot of people are only listening to what they want to hear from the Pope. One headline says that the Pope tells us to respect gay and transgender people, but to reject “gender theory.” That sounds like it is hard to do, but it is even harder when some folks only hear the “reject gender theory” part and rush to say, “See, he agrees with us,” while not even trying to improve how they treat LGBT people. As for Pope Francis, despite his call to reject gender theory, his call to love LGBT people is quicker than the glacial pace of reform often seen in the Church, so there is hope. This story is covered in Religion News Service. If you want the full text of what the Pope said, you can find it here.

Abheena Aher

Abheena Aher

Airport security officers in Abu Dabi harassed transgender activist Abheena Aher as she was changing planes on he way home to India from a trip to Kenya. No female security officer was willing to perform the search after the metal detector went off, and they kept asking her what the “T” gender marker on her passport meant. They were not particularly private about questioning her, either. Pink News has this story.

The National Institutes for Health has declared that the LGBT community is a “health disparity population.” In announcing the designation, the N.I.H. said, “Mounting evidence indicates that SGM [sexual-and gender-minority] populations have less access to health care and higher burdens of certain diseases, such as depression, cancer and HIV/AIDS.” The Washington Blade has more.

A study with a title like Cross-Sex Hormone Treatment and Psychobiological Changes in Transsexual Persons: Two-Year Follow-Up Data sounds like a real page-turner. The good news is that the study found no adverse health issues as a result of the use of hormone replacement therapy, and found that patients felt better about their own bodies. You can find an abstract of the study here.

kylerprescottLast year, 14-year-old Kyler Prescott was taken to the emergency room at Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego for what was called “suicide ideation.” Although the hospital has a Gender Management Clinic, the folks there were never consulted on this case, and Kyler was continually referred to as a female. His mother says that that treatment put Kyler into a spiral, which led to his suicide. This week, the Prescott family brought a civil lawsuit against the hospital. Katherine Prescott say that they do not blame the hospital for her son’s death, but they want to “make sure that doesn’t happen to any other kids.” The Washington Post has this story.

Health administrators in Florida have decided not to continue to fight a court decision which allowed a 15-year-old to change his gender designation from “female” to “male.” Health administrators for Broward County were not opposed to making the change, which they do for transgender adults, but they were unsure whether they had the authority to make that change for a minor. Judge Karen Gievers’s ruling gave the health agency approval to make the change that they were not fighting. The Miami Herald has this story.

John Bel Edwards, the Governor of Louisiana, has the difficult job of working with a Republican legislature and a Republican attorney general. He recently issued an executive order rescinding Bobby Jindal’s executive order which overturned LGB anti-discrimination protections. For good measure, he also added transgender people to the protections. (If that was a bit hard to follow, the state had LGB protections in place, Bobby Jindal overturned those with an executive order, and John Bel Edwards overturned Bobby Jindal’s order, thereby restoring the previous protections, and also extended those protections to cover transgender people.) Attorney General Jeff Landry would have his office not enforce the new executive order, so now, the Governor is suing the Attorney General. The Attorney General says that the Governor does not have the power to add a new protected class to existing anti-discrimination laws, which is a point that a court will have to review, and that is why Mr. Landry does not get a TWIT. (Yet.) Think Progress has this story.


The Pine-Richland School District in Pennsylvania had a policy for years which allowed transgender students to use the restroom of their preferred gender, and never had an incident. On September 12, the school board implemented a new policy requiring students to use restrooms according to the gender on their birth certificates (or use a restroom in the nurse’s office). The families of three transgender students are suing the district over this new policy. (One of those three students is Juliet Evancho, whose sister Jackie became famous on America’s Got Talent a few years ago.) First, a TWIT Award to the members of the school board who felt the need to change a policy which had never produced a problem. Next, a TWIT to the Associated Press. In their coverage of this story, they quoted Dr. Paul McHugh, without mentioning that his views are out of line with the consensus of the medical community. On the one hand, the American Psychological Association, the American Medical Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics all say that the proper way to treat transgender people, including students, is as the gender that they prefer. On the other hand, there is Dr. McHugh and his co-author who are clinging to outdated notions about transgender issues. Any quote from Dr. McHugh needs to note how out-of-touch he is. Media Matters has this story, the AP article itself is here, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has more on the Pine-Richland School District lawsuit.

Several social conservative groups in North Carolina are spending $215,000 on local television ads in support of HB2 and the politicians who voted for it. They formed an umbrella group called the Institute For Faith And Family for the purpose of pooling their money to buy the ads. Tami Fitzgerald, the executive director of the new group, says, “Our television ad is necessary to tell the truth about HB2 by educating North Carolinians about the danger and risk associated with laws and policies like Charlotte’s ridiculous ordinance, which would have forced private businesses, churches, schools and public buildings to open their women’s bathrooms and locker rooms to any man claiming to be a woman.” The evidence from other communities with such laws is that the risks and dangers are vanishingly small, and the law would not permit what you say it would, so why don’t you educate yourself first? For spending such money to spread lies that hurt others, the Institute For Faith And Family gets a TWIT Award. WRAL-TV has more.

The group One Million Moms (more accurately called A Few Dozen Right-Wing Nuts) has taken exception to a new ad for H&M. In the ad, with Jillian Hervey of Lion Babe covering the old Tom Jones song She’s A Lady as the soundtrack, the vedeo shows various women. One Million Moms took offense to what they said “appears to be a man dressed as a woman, another woman wearing skimpy lingerie, and ends with two teenage girls kissing while underwater.” The idea was to break out of stereotypes of how women can behave, but obviously, this group wants to keep women in the same old boxes. It seems that “what appears to be a man dressed as a woman” is Fatima Pinto, a Champion Muay Thai Boxer who is not transgender. However, it seems that Hari Nef is in the ad as well, so they will probably say that they used the wrong photo, if they say anything at all. A TWIT Award to One Million Moms for their anti-transgender views, along with a laugh at their mistake and a plea to learn simple counting. Pink News has this story.

OneNewsNow has a story about the Pentagon’s new policies regarding transgender members of the military. They give away their slant in the headline: “Operation Indulge Mental Illness is a go.” The American Psychological Association does not regard being transgender as a mental illness, but they do regard considering yourself an authority on a topic when you are not an authority to be a mental illness. So, really, Operation Indulge Mental Illness could be a name for OneNewsNow. For a classic case of projection, OneNewsNow gets a TWIT. You can read the story on their website.

Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council (which seems to do no research before issuing silly statements like the following) said of the new regulation regarding transgender people in the military that the only worse thing that the President could have done would be to disband the military, then added, “I probably need to take it back when I said that the only worse thing the President could do would be to disband the military. Actually, that might be better. We’re probably better off without a military that is not compromised, because we think we have a military that’s defending our country and able to do that but we have a military that in many ways is a hollowed-out shell.” What makes it a hollowed-out shell in his opinion is the acceptance of gays and transgender people, but the military has found that accepting such people did nothing to destroy military preparedness. Again, though, this is accepting the word of professionals who know something about the field, rather than going with your own gut. In addition to his TWIT Award for overreacting, he also gets a rap on the knuckles for his bad grammar in saying we would be “better off without a military that is not compromised.” (He obviously means that we would be better off without a military that is compromised, and still better off with a military that is not compromised, but neither is what he said.) Right Wing Watch has this story.

You might have heard about the “Tranny Granny” Halloween costume. It was briefly available at as an item sold by a third party through that website, but has removed the listing, saying that it “obviously” violated the terms for selling on that site. It has also been removed from Amazon’s website. A Canadian retailer, Glow Parties, pulled the item off its shelves after complaints; they say that it is not the item that they had ordered. A TWIT Award to the company which manufactured and distributed this costume. You can read more at LGBTQ Nation and the Halifax Herald.

For the past 50 years rebels in Columbia have been conducting a revolution against that country’s government. Both sides of the conflict have become worn down by the continued hostilities and the desire to forge a peace accord led to the negotiation of a deal between the government and the largest rebel group. But the deal had to be approved by the voters. Before the vote was taken opponents of the accord launched a campaign against it. One of their weapons was gender identity. How on Earth does gender identity come into play in a peace deal with rebels? Well, you have to be lying about it to the people but the accord opponents managed it. Read the story on the Quartz website.

Portions of this edition of TWIT were researched and written by Cecilia Barzyk.

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Category: Transgender Community News


About the Author ()

Angela Gardner is a founding member of The Renaissance Transgender Assoc., Inc., former editor of its newsletter and magazine, Transgender Community News. She was the Diva of Dish for TGF in the late 1990s and Editor of LadyLike magazine until its untimely demise. She has appeared in film and television shows portraying TG characters, as well as representing Renaissance on numerous talk shows.

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