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The Week In Trans 10/17/16

| Oct 17, 2016
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Katy Perry and James Charles

Katy Perry and James Charles

CoverGirl makeup has picked a new CoverGirl to feature in their ads along with product spokes celeb Katy Perry. The new addition is the company’s first CoverBoy. Aspiring makeup artist and Instagram star James Charles who at 17 has over 400,000 followers on Instagram is the new “girl.” The company chose him because of his Instagram success in presenting great makeup looks and they will use him to be the face of a new campaign for their So Lashly mascara. Learn more about him and the ad campaign on the E! website.

If you’re in Los Angeles next week and you are looking for work the Transgender Economic Empowerment Project invites you to attend Job Fair 2016. The event will be held in West Hollywood and will give trans people a chance to meet inclusive employers. To learn more and register visit their webpage on the L.A. LGBT Center website.

France has just passed a new piece of legislation called the 21st Century Justice Law (La loi sur la justice au XXIeme siècle). One of the provisions in it makes it easier for transgender people to get their new names and genders recognized. The law does not require sterilization or proof of medical treatment. However, the new law does not simply rely on self-identification, so there are some grounds for a court to deny the request, at least in theory. Gay Star News has more. And even more on the Reuters website.

The singer Sade has an only child and that child has recently come out as a trans man. His name is Michailia “Ila” Adu and he announced to the world via Instagram that he is trans. He did it on National Coming Out Day. Learn more from an article in Teen Vogue.



Alina María Hernández has passed away. She appeared as “Cachita” on the show El Gordo y la Flaca. She first appeared on television as a participant in a singing contest on Sábado Gigante, where she won $500. She was then brought onto El Gordo y la Flaca when Lili Estefan went on maternity leave. She stayed with the show for ten years, well after Ms. Estefan returned. She was one of the first transgender people on Hispanic television. The Los Angeles Times has this story.

Jay Kallio has passed away at age 61. Jay first arrived in New York City forty years ago, a homeless lesbian named Joy Kallio. Before long, Kallio started fighting for the rights of LGBT people, changing his own gender in 2006. He also battled cancer in various forms before it finally took his life. He was a first responder at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, and he died of lung cancer. Gay City News has a profile of him.

Mexico is experiencing quite a bit of anti-transgender violence. There have been three murders in the last two weeks in Mexico City alone. Mexico is now second in homicides of transgender individuals, behind only Brazil. Telesur has this story.

Alex Jürgen’s birth certificate says he is male, but other documents say she is female. It seems that Alex is intersex, and despite surgery performed at a young age, there are still some intersex characteristics. Alex is open about being intersex, and tried to get a court to recognize their gender as either “intersex” or “X” (or “different” or “undefined”). The judge in this case refused the request, on the grounds that Austria only allows “male” and “female” as categories. When you try to make a change through the courts and you do not have a previous case to point to, the court certainly can refuse to grant the request. This story is in The Local.

Jacqui Gavin

Jacqui Gavin

Jacqui Gavin is a career civil servant in the United Kingdom. She has taken on a new role as chair of a:gender, a network for transgender and intersex civil servants. She helps them connect to resources, and she helps to promote diversity and inclusion. She talks about this work to Civil Service World.

Lily Madigan, formerly known as Liam, was threatened with a suspension if she showed up at her Catholic high school in Britain wearing a girl’s uniform. She hired a solicitor, who helped her write a letter to the school, outlining her rights under the law. The school has apologized to her. This story is in Pink News.

In late August, a transgender student at the School Of The Arts in Tacoma, Washington, was told on a camping trip that she could not stay with the girls, nor in the gender-neutral cabin. This week, she got an apology, and staff at the school got a lesson in dealing with transgender students. The Tacoma News Tribune has this story.

Bob the Drag Queen

Bob the Drag Queen

Tragedy has come to the winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race season 8. Bob the Drag Queen’s mother was shot between the eyes by a man who was shooting at someone else. This happened in Georgia while Bob’s mother and nephew were sitting in their car. The gunman with bad aim jumped out of another car to shoot someone else and got Martha Ann Caldwell. All is not bleak as Ms. Caldwell fortunately survived the shooting even though the bullet struck her right between the eyes. Bob the Drag Queen is now crusading for gun reform. Get the story from the Washington Blade.

Drag has certainly changed from the looks of the 19th century when men would climb into corseted gowns to attend secret drag balls. There were several different styles of drag that went through the 20th century before we reached the drag looks of today. Vanity Fair magazine and four of RuPaul’s Drag Race queens teamed up to produce a video that showcases 103 years of drag fashion. You can view it on the Queerty website.

Once being a drag queen was a private activity. If you said openly that you loved to doll up in over the top makeup and wild dresses you would run into trouble with your friends, acquaintances and employer. The ballet has always been known, or suspected, of being pretty gay. Even with that reputation the gender roles in professional ballet have been very conservative and being a wild queen in your off hours was frowned upon. That’s changing with one male dancer, James Whiteside of the American Ballet Theater, coming out publicly about his drag persona, Uhu Betch. Read about her in The New York Times.

Kourt Frame

Kourt Frame

Kourt Frame has been elected homecoming prince at Grand Blanc High School in Grand Blanc, Michigan. The sophomore wanted to show other students that they can be who they are without being ashamed. His election validates that point. MLive has this story.

Some are saying that a rather kinky nightclub in Toronto named Oasis is transphobic. Others say that they are fine with transgender people who fit into a gender role, but have trouble with gender fluid, multi-gender, agender, and other non-binary people. The story is in the Daily Xtra.

In a happy Canadian story, transgender patients in the area of Peterborough, Ontario, have been petitioning for the reinstatement of a nurse who was let go recently. Apparently, she really was appreciated by these patients. My Kawartha has this story.

Stanford University in California opened a new Children’s Health Gender Clinic in Sunnydale this summer. The goal is to have both medical and psychosocial resources within one building. There is a waiting list at the moment, but they hope to increase patient capacity (most likely by expanding staff). Some families drive for seven hours to reach this clinic. Stanford Daily has this story.

Deirdre McCloskey

Deirdre McCloskey

Twenty-one years ago, the Des Moines Register published a profile of Dierdre McCoskey, an economist and professor at the University of Iowa, who had changed genders. The headline in 1995 read, “Transformation begins.” This week, the paper published a follow-up to that story. They found Professor McCloskey in Chicago, and recently retired from teaching at the University of Illinois in that city. She looks back on her career and her transformation in the new profile.

Recently, a judge ruled that a funeral home in Michigan had a right to fire an employee who transitioned from male to female, and who in doing so had violated the funeral home’s religious standards. The EEOC this week announced that they will appeal the decision against Amiee Stephens. The Washington Blade has this story.

Sexism is a fact of life in our culture. Often times newly out trans women are surprised to learn what jerks men can be toward women. When they were interacting with men as a man they got one view of their male buddies. After transition those same men can come to accept their transitioned friend as a female but the way they treat them changes. This is an article from 2015 by a cis woman that let’s those who are thinking about MtF transition know what to expect from men and it’s still relevant today. It’s in The Huffington Post.

Dr. Jordan Peterson is a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto. He has recently said some things which do not sit well with trans people. Some trans people and their allies want to protest him, but others say that he should be free to speak his mind, even if it does disagree with most people in the field. Now, in a startling new development, police are investigating death threats, not against Dr. Peterson, but against those who oppose him. At least, so says one of those vocal students. The Toronto Globe and Mail has more.

Pat McCrory said that HB2 was needed as a matter of public safety. At least some members of the public are less safe because of HB2. A special report on various people whose safety has been threatened in ways that cannot be prosecuted as thoroughly because of HB2 can be found in the Charlotte Observer.

Sylvia Araujo hold a picture of her daughter Gwen.

Sylvia Araujo hold a picture of her daughter Gwen.

Fourteen years ago this week, a transgender teen named Gwen Araujo was brutally beaten to death and buried in a shallow grave by four young men, two of who had been intimate with her. At the time, they tried to use the fact that she was transgender as an excuse for her murder. Two of these young men are now up for parole, and one has been recommended for parole. The Santa Cruz Sentinel has a story on Gwen, including an interview with her mother.

Leo Roux is a new fashion designer. He is marketing fashions specifically for transgender people. He feels that transgender people need clothing that is proportioned for them. He has experience in the field, as he is trans himself. The New York Post has his story.

Researchers Abel Knochel of the University of Minnesota Duluth and Dylan Flunker or Rainbow Health Initiative in Minneapolis-St. Paul have begun a study of transgender aging. It is a topic that has received little attention until now, like a lot of topics in trans health care. The researchers recently attended a health care conference, and they found that many health care professionals have worked with transgender individuals, but few have worked with trans people age 55 or older. The Duluth News Tribune has this story.

On the other end of the age scale are children. Switzerland is looking into what happened to transgender children born between 1945 and 1970. For the most part, doctors assigned them a gender and did their best to make their bodies seem like the gender that they were assigned. The researchers have identified 40 cases to study. SwissInfo has more.

Scientists have now found brain scan evidence of transgender people feeling unhappy with their bodies, or at least, so New Scientist magazine says. It has to do with different responses to touch, and it can be found in MRI scans of the brains of trans men. (It should be noted that New Scientist is not a peer-reviewed publication. This information, if it is that, should be reviewed by others in the field, and the experiment should be performed on more than eight individuals.) New Scientist has this story.

Shortly after this, another article appeared which latched onto the brain scans, but tempered it with the old, outdated stuff about “transgender regret.” Transgender regret does happen, but it is quite rare. While it would be nice to figure out who will experience regret, and to find another way to help just those individuals, we are very far from that, and until we get much closer, we should keep trying to help the more-than 95% who do not regret their transitions. This story is in Big Think.

Dr. Helen Webberley

Dr. Helen Webberley

Some doctors are more willing to provide treatment for transgender children than other doctors are. One doctor, Dr. Helen Webberly, in Britain is willing to write prescriptions for 12-year-olds to get hormones. At least, that is the lead to a profile of the doctor in Gay Star News.

In a move which surprised very few people, Dr. Paul McHugh and his colleague, Dr. Lawrence Mayer, have published a rebuttal to an editorial which criticized their anti-transgender work in The New Atlantis. Again, the Baltimore Sun ran this piece, as they did the piece renouncing Dr. McHugh and Dr. Mayer. As Slowly Boiling Frog notes, the latest from Dr. McHugh and Dr. Mayer is nothing but a reiteration of what they said before, which has already been shown to ignore whatever does not fit the conclusion they came to in the first place.

Malcolm Rene Ribot is a trans man with a mission: he wants to connect trans men with one another. He is traveling the country in a 2011 Nissan Versa to do that. He wants to visit all 50 state during his mission, and he is getting to that goal, if not quickly. His is profiled in NBC News Out.

Our last regular item is not a news story but a request from friend of TGForum David de Alba. David asked us to pass a message along to our readers and here it is: “If anyone out there has any psychic abilities, or is a medium and believes and practices what in Cuba was called: ‘Spiritism’ please contact me, David de Alba, at  Thank you, David.”


Studies have determined that having two parents is helpful, but that having a mother and a father is no better than two mothers or two fathers. From this, it seems unlikely that having a transgender parent is going to hurt children, assuming that the transgender parent does not simply drop out of the child’s life. However, Denise Shick says in the headline of an article she wrote, “Having Transgender Parents Will Hurt Kids Like It Hurt Me.” From there, after a stop for speculation based on a news story, she tells the story of growing up with a “transgender father.” She does not give details, but she says that it created problems. Now, it is possible that she is not giving details in order to guard the privacy of herself or her siblings, but without details, the article has nothing but her word that there are problems. She does go on to talk about one-parent families, leaving the impression that the transgender parent is certain to leave. Presumably, that is what happened in her case. However, it seems that, as society is becoming more accepting of transgender parents, more couples seem to be staying together through gender transition, which invalidates her point. For generalizing from specific instances, we give her a TWIT Award. Her article is in The Federalist.

Brandi Bledsoe was a 32-year-old transgender woman of color. She was found dead, with a plastic bag over her head, naked except for underwear. Her death is being investigated as a homicide, although the medical examiner has not yet issued a verdict. In addition to evidence of suffocation, she had received head trauma. No arrests have been made yet. We sincerely wish we could give more than a TWIT Award to anyone who thinks that murdering transgender people is acceptable. The Cleveland Plain Dealer has more.

Al Fatah, the school for transgender students in Indonesia, has been closed. Although the locals did not seem to have objected to the school, the forces of the Islamic Jihad Front have managed to get the local authorities to crack down on the school, causing it to close. A TWIT Award goes to the IJF. The Malaysian Digest has this story.

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children is a charity in Britain. They organized an event at which there was supposed to be a discussion of supporting transgender children as they transition. However, they only had one transgender person on the panel, and that was Kellie Maloney, a former boxing promoter who has some unusual political views. Moreover, the event was being promoted with the hashtag “#daretodebate,” which seems to indicate that they were going to give some amount of time to people who oppose the idea of transgender children transitioning to their preferred gender. Ms. Maloney has withdrawn from the event, which leaves them without a transgender panelist, but there may be a medical practitioner or someone from the therapeutic community who might take the pro-transitioning side (and do so with more information that one late-in-life transitioner might have). Indeed, Sarah Ditum, a feminist with anti-transgender views, has been invited to join the panel. A TWIT Award to those who were going to use outdated studies to attack children with gender issues. Gay Star News and Pink News have this story. Update: This just in. The so-called debate was cancelled, partly due to the lack of a transgender participant, but also because of complaints about the format of the discussion. Or maybe that knew how bad getting a TWIT Award was going to be? Pink News has that story.

In Karachi, Pakistan, posters have popped up, and not good posters. These posters call for the beheading of transgender people. The police are keeping a watch on transgender individuals, and anyone can lodge a complaint, but complaints are often too late. A TWIT Award to anyone who threatens to kill another, even if the threat is ultimately empty. As they used to say on Hill Street Blues, “Let’s be careful out there.” This story is in the Deccan Chronicle.

Stephen Florian is a university lecturer in Malta and a leader in a group of self-proclaimed “patriots” called Ghaqda Patrijotti Maltin. In a recent tweet, he disclosed that an opponent named Alex Caruana was an atheist, friendly with the Muslim community, and transgender. Mr. Florian even posted pre-transition and post-transition pictures of Alex. And of course Mr. Florian refers to Alex with female pronouns. For taking it upon himself to present the past of someone else, and especially for doing so to attack someone else, he gets a TWIT Award to go with the rebuke he received from the Minister of Education. Malta Today has this story.

Franklin Graham held a rally in his home state of North Carolina this week. 10,000 people came out to the rally. Although Mr. Graham refused to endorse any political candidate by name, he did say some nice words about Pat McCrory, and praised him for signing HB2. He then blamed Charlotte mayor Jennifer Roberts for the cancellation of sporting events, concerts, and conventions which left the state because of HB2. He even said that Mayor Roberts should resign because of what she did. So, the blame for the cancelled sporting events, concerts, and conventions should be placed on someone who signed a law that the planners of these events liked, and the governor and state legislators who overruled that law are blameless in the matter of these cancellations. For defying logic in order to blame someone else, Franklin Graham gets yet another TWIT Award. The Charlotte Observer has this story.

A group of Republicans have initiated another lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act. They insist that a rule interpretation requires doctors to provide hormones and gender reassignment procedures to patients — including children — even if the treatments are against the doctor’s religious beliefs, medical judgment or both. Of course, there is no such requirement. The law does require that doctors provide services to transgender patients that they would provide to non-transgender patients. (For example, if the doctor would prescribe a particular medication to a cisgender patient, the doctor should prescribe the same medication for a transgender patient, even though the reason for using that medication is different.) For out-and-out lying, these litigious Republicans get a TWIT Award. Bloomberg Business News has this story.

Channel 7 in Australia is running a promotion for Sunday Night, a program on which they will have a documentary about the Safe Schools initiative. Among other things, this initiative cracks down on bullying at school, attempting to make schools safe for LGBT youth. The promo for this documentary calls the initiative “the controversial policy dividing kids, parents, and schools.” During the promo, a narrator asks, “Is it teaching acceptance or pushing adult beliefs on students?” For slanting the coverage so as to make bigotry seem acceptable, the producers of the promo get a TWIT Award. This story is in Same Same.

Cecilia Barzyk researched and wrote vast swaths of this edition of TWIT.

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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.

Comments (2)

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  1. says:

    More very odd numbers from that Big Think article:

    “Those born with ambiguous genatalia are known as “intersex.” This occurs in about one in 1,500 or 2,000 births or 1.7% of the world population.”

    This must be that ‘new math’ I’ve heard about. One in 1500/2000 is hardly 1.7%. I guess the author doesn’t comprehend that 1% means one in 100 and 2% would be two in 100.

    Also it boggles the mind that the author would think for a minute that the intersex population, at 1.7%, is nearly the same as the homosexual population, at about 2%.

  2. says:

    Numbers and studies…

    It may be that only 1 in 20 (ie 5%) experience ‘transgender regret’ but look at a quote Dana posted just last week:

    “Pooling data across studies showed that, after receiving sex-reassignment procedures, 80% of patients reported improvement in gender dysphoria, 78% reported improvement in psychological symptoms, and 80% reported improvement in quality of life.”

    20% is one in 5, obviously way more than one in 20, and not ‘rare’.

    I suppose that that one transsexual in 5 could claim not to have regret, even while admitting no improvement in their gender dysphoria, psychological symptoms, or quality of life, but to me that would appear to be an emotional defense mechanism, a refusal to accept and admit the reality of the unfortunate outcome of their SRS.

    I have to think that those 20% of transsexuals really do regret the lack of improvement of their situation post-surgery even if they just can’t bring themselves to acknowledge that they never should have gone down the SRS path.

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