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The Week In Trans 10/3/16

| Oct 3, 2016
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Anna, a 10-year-old trans girl who is legally changing gender.

Anna, a 10-year-old trans girl who is legally changing gender.

Some countries have replaced the legal procedures for changing of gender with a simple form. Norway has gone one step farther, putting that form online so that citizens can change gender with a mouse click. After the form is submitted the tax authorities send a response in the mail, a portion of which the applicant must return to acknowledge their intention to change genders. The applicant is then assigned a new gender-specific identification number. The Associated Press has this story. See a video of one young person changing gender, Anna, via Channel 4 in the U.K.

New Zealand is known to have a very long waiting list for sex-change surgery, due to a lack of specialist surgeons. South Africa is said to also have a long waiting list due to lack of surgeons and a lack of available surgical slots for GRS. One estimate says that it can take twenty-five years to get from the end of the line to the front. As with New Zealand, the estimated time will decrease when additional surgeons do these operations, but that may not happen for a while. The Times of South Africa has this story.

Stars of Swansea Sparkle

Stars of Swansea Sparkle

A documentary entitled Swansea Sparkle is up for three BAFTA Cymru Awards. (These are awards for television shows made in Wales.) The show documented the stories of Paul, who uses the name Sadie when presenting as female, Rhian, who transitioned at age 58, and Llyr, who is transitioning at age 15. The South Wales Evening Post has this story.

On a sadder note, the BBC has cancelled Boy Meets Girl, its sitcom in which transgender actress Rebecca Root plays a transgender character. While the first series (the first season) was a ratings hit, the second series (second season) was not so popular. A spokesperson for the BBC said, “After two series, [we] feel the story has reached a natural end point.” So, they didn’t end the season with a cliffhanger to be resolved the next year. Pink News has this story.

The Office for Intellectual Freedom of the American Library Association has released its list of the Ten Most Banned Books of 2016. Checking in at number 3 is I Am Jazz, by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, followed at number 4 by Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out, by Susan Kuklin. You can find the whole list on the American Library Association’s website.

Jenn Brewer

Jenn Brewer

How have the changes in the military’s policies on trans people helped? One way is outlined in a story about a trans teen girl who will now be able to get her hormone blockers and counseling paid for by her military father’s health insurance. She was suffering all the problems of transitioning at the age of 13 and her parents could not afford the help she needed. That changes today when new health benefits for military personnel go into effect. Read Jenn Brewer’s story in The Washington Post.

Queens sing in political ad.

Queens sing in political ad.

A state senate candidate in California has put out a television ad featuring three drag queens singing a campaign song to the music of Katy Perry’s Firework. The candidate is a gay man from San Francisco’s Castro district and he currently hold the seat once held by Harvey Milk on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Read more about the ad and Scott Weiner’s state senate campaign in Pink News.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has confirmed that there are plans to expand gender options beyond “male” and “female.” “City Hall is reviewing the wording of the gender question in order to be more inclusive of non-binary, intersex, and transgender people and will seek to apply the change shortly.” This story is in Pink News.

keenanSara Kelly Keenan of California has become the second U.S. citizen to legally change her gender to “non-binary.” Since most government forms do not allow any gender other than “male” or “female,” this could be a hollow victory for the moment. The retired paralegal was born intersex, with a condition known as Swyer Syndrome, but did not consider changing her gender until Jamie Shupe did so earlier this year. NBC Out has her story.

Following Judge J. David Roper’s demand that two transgender people choose new names that are not gender-specific, a three-judge panel of the Georgia Court of Appeals has taken up a case to decide just how much discretion a judge should have in granting a name change (or refusing to grant it). The appeals of Rebeccah Elizabeth Feldhaus and Dephine Renee Baumert were combined for the sake of consistency, and the State of Georgia has not supplied an attorney to argue the case in its appeal. The lack of an attorney to argue against the appellants does not mean that they will automatically win; it means that they will win or lose on the strength of their own case. The Augusta Chronicle has more.

U.S. District Court Judge Algernon L. Marbley has ordered the Highland Local School District of Ohio to allow a transgender girl (identified as Jane Doe in the suit) to user the restroom congruent with her gender identity. According to the 43-page ruling, this is in keeping with federal guidelines interpreting sex-discrimination laws. The judge also noted a brief filed by administrators from school districts in 20 states, who say that their district adopted trans-friendly policies and experienced “no disruption in restrooms . . . nor were there any complaints about specific violations of privacy.” The Morrow County Sentinel has this story.

The Highland Local School District has decided to appeal the decision. “Schools have a duty to protect the privacy, safety, and dignity of all students, but the judge’s order today doesn’t allow the Highland Local School District to do that,” said Douglas Wardlow, the attorney representing the school district. Apparently, he missed the bit in the brief about how school districts with trans-friendly policies report no privacy concerns or disruptions. As to dignity, how does destroying the dignity of transgender students set a good example to other students in regard to respecting the dignity of others? The Columbus Dispatch has the story.

Professor Arthur Leonard of the New York School of Law points out that this ruling, along with the ruling against the Kenosha School District in Wisconsin last week, indicate a trend that is quite contrary to the direction in which U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor seems to be headed with his injunction against the Department of Education. Further, Professor Leonard says, the courts should be used as a last resort after funding has been denied, not as a first resort before any internal appeals within the Department of Education. You can read his assessment on his blog.

Jennifer Williams

Jennifer Williams

Jennifer Williams is a lifelong Republican and was the only openly-transgender delegate at the party’s convention in Cleveland. She describes herself as a filmmaker, a writer, and a parent, and she is also a county committeewoman. She got some publicity at that time, and she recently was profiled again by BBC Magazine.

The Williams Institute has estimated that strict voter I.D. laws in eight states could leave 34,000 transgender people unable to vote. Transgender people are seen as particularly vulnerable to being blocked from voting by strict voter I.D. laws. They have a summary of their findings on their website, as well as a link to the full study.

The Texas Association of Business came out against anti-LGBT legislation, including “bathroom bills.” The board of the Texas Chamber of Commerce also opposes “legislation that is seen as discriminatory and would impact workforce recruitment and/or cause a negative economic impact on the state.” This is the opposite of the direction in which some Texas politicians wish to go, and it makes one wonder about the claim of those politicians that they are doing what business wants. This story is in The Texas Observer.

In a break from tradition, students at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School will vote for two students as Homecoming royalty, with males and females (and, presumably, non-binary students) all in one category. The top two will be crowned, and can be king or queen as the student wishes. Edge Boston has this story. Thanks to Jamie Roberts for pointing us to the story in The Washington Post.

Bhumika Shresthas

Bhumika Shresthas

A transgender rights advocate from Nepal, Bhumika Shrestha, has become digital, so to speak. She has recorded various segments about what life is like in Nepal, including many segments specifically about life as a transgender person. These video segments have been connected to an artificial intelligence interface, so if someone asks a question, an appropriate video responds. Pink News has this story.

Last week The Daily Show ran a segment in which they went to North Carolina to demonstrate to the straight people in the state the reality of legal oppression. They sent two of their correspondents to Raleigh in a fake food truck that purported to be Bone Bros. Flamin’ BBQ. When people came to the window to order the two correspondents, playing food truck workers, would randomly deny people service. They would say they couldn’t serve someone because it was obvious the would-be customer was gay. All totally legal under the HB2 law. The lesson sank in with the would-be customers who all got free food after the show shot footage of their bewilderment. Read more and watch the segment on the Miami Herald website.

The hit ABC television show Modern Family, always on the cutting edge of social issues, has gone beyond normalizing gay relationships and started normalizing trans kids. In the new season of the show a trans boy will become Lily’s new friend Tom. The character is played by a real life trans actor named Jackson Millarker. Learn more on the CNN website.

The Human Rights Commission and the American Academy of Pediatricians (the real professional group. Not the fake one that split off over far-right-wing concerns) have teamed up to create a new resource for parents and allies of transgender children as well as the doctors who treat them. It’s called a support guide, and it covers explanations and best practices regarding gender identity, gender fluidity, and gender exploration. It can be found here. Dawn Ellis wrote a nice piece introducing it at LGBTQ Nation.

Know you enemy: Paul McHugh.

Know your enemy: Paul McHugh.

Dr. Paul McHugh, retired from Johns Hopkins University, has been very much aligned with the splinter group of pediatricians and has provided them with some so-called research. A group of Johns Hopkins professors came out this week in opposition to Dr. McHugh and the report he published in The New Atlantis. It is rare to see an academic dispute like this get into the mainstream press, but these particular scholars presented this dispute in the Baltimore Sun.

Unlike Dr. McHugh, there are a lot of professionals in sociology and psychology who do know the facts about trans issue. Some of them will be presenting papers in a two-day symposium for professionals on October 8-9 in Santa Barbara, California titled Comprehensive Approach to the Care of Gender Non-Conforming Children, Transgender Youth and Young Adults. Learn more on the symposium’s registration page.

Despite the growing awareness of transgender people and issues around us, many Americans do not know a transgender person, or at least are unaware that they know one. Not too long ago, it was estimated that fewer than one-sixth of the American people knew a transgender person — fewer than said that they had felt the presence of a ghost. A new poll from the Pew Research Center indicates that the percentage of Americans who say that they personally know someone who is transgender is now almost one in three. Visibility helps. This was a part of a survey which asked people how they feel about certain issues regarding transgender people and those with religious objections. You can read the press release on their website.

Morgane Oger

Morgane Oger

One way for trans people to become more visible is to run for office. That’s what Morgane Oger is doing in Canada. She is running for Member of the Legislative Assembly representing the Vancouver-False Creek riding. As she is currently unopposed she has a good chance of winning the seat. Learn more in the CBC News.

It’s all “one hand giveth while the other hand taketh away” with Pope Francis. He has come out recently, while flying on the papal plane, with the statement that Jesus would accompany the trans faithful and priests today should “accompany them spiritually, even if they undergo sex change operations, sin and repent.” Now that’s a little bit positive but then he still supports the idea that schools are using “ideological colonization” to push kids into being trans. Read more of his papal plane pronouncements in The Washington Post.

Getting the doctor to prescribe estrogen is often times a challenge for trans women. Now they are faced with a challenge even if they have the prescription. We are in an estrogen drought. The supply of injectable estrogen has dried up due to one company in the supply chain stopping production of a necessary component of estrogen. Estrogen manufacturer Par Pharmaceutical has a new supplier but they have not been approved by the FDA. Learn more about the shortage on the Fusion website.

schristine_garciaThe San Diego Ambassadors of The Trevor Project have honored San Diego’s only trans police officer for coming out publicly as trans. She was accepted by her colleagues and the public and her being open about her trans status lead to the honor she was given. Learn more about Officer Christine Garcia in The San Diego Union-Tribune.


A professor from the University of Toronto is getting bashed on social media after he posted a rant against “political correctness” on YouTube. In the video he states that there isn’t “any evidence” to support the validity of non-binary gender identity. He claims that he has never interacted with any student on campus who identified as gender fluid or non-binary. Even though they do exist at his school and there’s even a professor there who is non-binary. A TWIT Award goes to Professor Jordan Peterson for his ignorance. Read about it on the Vice website.

Earlier this year, the State of Massachusetts passed a law that added gender identity to existing nondiscrimination legislation. Right-wing groups in the State have organized and started circulating petitions to gather signatures to put the measure on the ballot. For fighting for a right to look down at others, Keep MA Safe gets a TWIT Award. MassLive has this story.

Recently, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory made an offer to remove the bathroom provisions of HB2 if Charlotte would first repeal its LGBT anti-discrimination measure. Charlotte’s mayor and city council refused to go along with that deal. Now, North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore has admitted that this was all a ploy, that the Republicans in the state legislature has no intention of repealing any portion of HB2. For out-and-out lying about what they would do, Republicans in the North Carolina Legislature get a TWIT Award. North Carolina Policy Watch has this story.

The president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University has stated that the Obama administration’s “imposition of transgender ideology” on schools is “anti-woman” and “would be laughable if it weren’t so sad.” Dr. Everett Piper proves that you can get a lot of book learnin’ and not know much. Piper justifies his claim by saying that Title IX was passed to give women equal access to athletic fields, facilities and programs. He fails to understand that trans women are women — and that means they have those rights. A TWIT Award to Piper for his conservative stance against trans rights that he bases on his beliefs instead of fact. The conservative Life Site website has the story.

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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