The Week In Trans 11/13/17

| Nov 13, 2017
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Danica Roem

Danica Roem defeated Bob Marshall for a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates. In doing so, she becomes the first openly transgender member of any state legislature in the U.S. She gained fame for defeating the man who wrote Virginia’s version of a “bathroom bill,” but after the win, she declined comment on her opponent’s anti-LGBT views, saying, “I would never attack one of my constituents, and Bob is now one of my constituents.” The Washington Post has a profile of Ms. Roem.

Minneapolis elected two transgender people to their City Council. Andrea Jenkins won easily, becoming the first out black trans woman on a major city council. It took longer to be sure that Phillipe Cunningham, a 29-year-old trans man, won his election. The Post-Bulletin has more on these new city council members.

Stephe Koontz

Stephe Koontz was elected to the city council in Doraville, Georgia. She becomes the only openly transgender elected politician in the state of Georgia after winning her district by six votes. As with others, she did not make her transgender status an issue, but she did not run away from it, either. You can read more about her in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Tyler Titus won election to the school board in Erie, Pennsylvania. He is said to be the first openly-transgender person elected in the state of Pennsylvania. A clinical therapist, he won one of four open seats on the school board. You can read more about him on WESA-FM‘s web site.

Lisa Middleton

More history was made this election when Lisa Middleton, an out trans woman, won a seat on the Palm Springs City Council. Ms. Middleton is a well known presence in her town where she retired to in 2010. Read more about her and her campaign in The Press-Enterprise.

Although Danica Roem would not speak out about Bob Marshall’s anti-LGBT views and the effect that they had on her win, Bob’s sister, Paula Marshall Nucci, was quite willing to blame his anti-LGBT views for his election loss. She tweeted, “I’m not happy my brother lost his job, but all I can say is, karma brother.” Edge Media has this story.

Althea Garrison

Most news organizations were careful to point out that Danica Roem is the first openly-transgender state legislator. As Mass Live points out, there has been at least one transgender state legislator before, but Althea Garrison tried to keep her gender history a secret. Salon has a story on some more transgender politicians.

Julie Lemieux

In other election news, Julie Lemieux was elected mayor of the city of Tres-Saint-Redemptur, Quebec. She is the first known openly-transgender mayor in Canada. She will be the head of a town of 920 people located about 50 miles west of Montreal. Like so many others, she focused on local issues. CBC News is our source for this story.

Pew Research did a recent nationwide poll on people’s feelings about transgender issues. They found that opinions divide sharply along political lines, generational lines, and knowledge of a transgender person. Their in-house press release can be found here.

The U.S. General Services Administration has been called out for not including LGBT government workers in its non-discrimination policy. Executive orders signed by previous presidents protect LGBT government employees from discrimination, and President Trump has not signed any known orders to supersede those executive orders. The Washington Blade has more on this.

Jen Richards

Comic and producer Louie C.K.’s admission that he was a serial masturbator who asked women if it was okay if he pleasured himself while the women watched has had far reaching effects. For one thing it has shut down production of an animated series C.K. was producing, a show called The Cops. It would have featured a trans woman character voiced by trans actress Jen Richards. Learn more from the Daily Mail.

After a complaint from a “transfeminine” customer, British retailer Topshop has made it public that their changing rooms are gender-neutral. The retailer says that the policy was already in place before that customer was told to go to their shop for men, Topman. The Sun has this story.

Legendary female impersonator Ricky Renée has passed away. Cuban Legend David de Alba informed us this week that Ricky died October 29, 2017. In 2014 we ran an interview that David conducted with Ricky. At David’s request we offer the interview again so you can get to know the fabulous career of Ricky Renée.

Jennifer Levi

Jennifer Levi is getting two awards. The professor at the Western New England University School of Law will get the Stonewall Award from the American Bar Association as well as the Constance Baker Motley Award for Excellence in Business or Law from the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities. She has been a part of GLAD’s Transgender Rights Project and has worked on several high-profile cases, including one of the law suits against the ban on transgender people in the U.S. military. She is profiled in Edge Media.

The Isle of Wight has taken steps to see that doctors are familiar with transgender issues. They brought in a surgeon to explain issues that may arise post-operatively, so that doctors will know what to look out for, the Isle of Wight County Press reports.

There is a plan to make hundreds of doctors in Britain “transgender champions.” These general physicians would learn the basics of transgender health care and be able to guide patients through the medical process of changing gender. This story comes from the Daily Mail, which does not have a reputation for being kind to transgender issues. Indeed, they give more than equal time to David Davies, a Member of Parliament who is leading the opposition to the Gender Recognition Act, and to Lord Winston, a doctor who advises “caution” because of many cases of people being unhappy with their new gender. They also complain about the cost, while never mentioning the long wait to see a doctor who specializes in transgender issues.

Dr. Michael Lee-Poy of Kitchner, Ontario, realized early in his career that he needed to find out more about transgender health issues in order to help his transgender patients. He then realized that others need to learn about transgender health issues, so he set up TransED, a program for students of the University of Waterloo School of Pharmacy and McMaster University. He is now about to receive the Reginald Perkin-Family Physicians Of The Year Award from the College of Family Physicians of Canada. There will be ten recipients this year. A profile of him can be found on CBC News.


Alloura Wells, a transgender woman from the Toronto area, has been missing for three month, according to online friends. The police are now looking into what happened to her. It seems that her family had not bothered to notify the police of her absence until now. CBC News has more on this.

The Federal Constitutional Court of Germany has called for a third gender option in the registry of births. The call was specifically to register intersex people’s gender as “X,” rather than as “male” or “female.” This ruling stems from the general right to the protection of personality in the Basic Law. You can read more on

Diane Rodriguez is the first openly transgender Senator in Ecuador. She first became famous when her partner, who is also transgender, became pregnant with the couple’s son. As a senator, she is trying to represent people who do not have sufficient representation in government. She is profiled on NBC News.

San Diego Opera has premiered As One, a new opera by composer Laura Kaminsky. The opera has two voices — a baritone sings the part of Hannah before, while a mezzo-soprano sings the part of Hannah after. “Before” and “after” refer to gender transition. The character has no male name. Both singers are on stage for the entire opera. The lyrics are a coproduction between an experienced librettist, Mark Campbell, and a trans woman, Kimberly Reed. The San Diego Union Tribune has this story.

Abby Stein

Abby Stein is a former Hasidic rabbi who left her position when she transitioned. She had been ordained as a rabbi at the age of 19 but she knew her whole life that she was not a man. Now at the age of 26 she advocates for trans people and teaches at several Hebrew schools. Learn more about her and her coming speaking engagement at Yale in the New Haven Register.

A former employee on Transparent has accused Jeffrey Tambor of sexual advances. The actor denies the claim, and says that the transgender woman accusing him is bitter about losing her job with the show. This story was covered by Deadline.

Anastasia Biefang is Germany’s first transgender military commander. The 43-year-old German army officer is also the first trans person to command a military unit in the country’s history. Beifang joined the army as a male and spent more than 23 years as a male soldier before finally coming out 2 years ago. The German army embraced her and she has more than 700 troops under her command. She has strong opinions about President Trump’s ban on transgender soldiers in the U.S. Thanks to Jamie Roberts for the story tip. You can learn more in The Washington Post.

Gwendolyn Ann Smith

Gwendolyn Ann Smith is a trans woman, a writer, and a long-time activist in the transgender community. She is also the subject of a new biography, Trans/Active, written by Sophia Cecelia Leveque. The Bay Area Reporter has a story on the book, as well as Gwen’s latest column, about who she includes on the list for Transgender Day Of Remembrance.

It was ten years ago this week that the U.S. House of Representatives passed an Employment Non-Discrimination Act which did not include protections for transgender people. According to some, the plan was for the Senate to include protections for transgender people in their version of the bill, and for the conference committee to include protections for transgender people in the final version, but the Senate never took up the bill. The Washington Blade has a story on the event.

Madonna does an ad for her creation MDNA SKIN, a line of innovative skincare products. In the voiceover she talks about all the different Madonnas she has been as we watch her in a photo shot wearing some of her iconic fashion looks. Or is it really her? Spoiler alert! It’s actually Milk, a former contestant on Drag Race. Take a look right here.


One problem trans women often encounter is people asking them about their private parts. People are curious and ask intimate questions without realizing they’re being rude.  A cartoonist has done a strip that addresses when can you ask about a trans woman’s privates You can view it on The Daily Funnies website. It’s the third cartoon down the page.

Fans of the fet life, or just crossdressers who love to find an excuse to slip into a leather bustier and thigh high boots, may want to check out the Diabolique Ball. It takes place in Philadelphia, Pa. on November 18th. No voyeurs — strictly fetish attire must be worn to be admitted. You must be 21 and up with proper ID. Their slogan is “Be bad for a good cause” as some of the proceeds of the ball go to charity. Check out the Diabolique Ball website for all the details on performances, location, Djs, fashion shows and more.


In an expected move, several right-wing commentators have expressed displeasure with the election of Danica Roem and other transgender individuals. E.W. Jackson, a “Christian” activist who uses the Bible to look down on others, says, “The first question I would have is how can you represent me when you don’t even know who you are?” Transgender people do not have trouble with knowing who they are, according to medical science. LifeSiteNews said that Bob Marshall lost to “Daniel ‘Danica’ Roem, a man who purports to be a woman. Roem will represent Virginia’s 13th district, making him the first-ever transgender state legislator.” The misgendering and deadnaming were deliberate, and the line about “first-ever transgender state legislator” is factually inaccurate, indicating that they did not care to find out about Althea Garrison. WRVA went further, calling Ms. Roem “the first ever open cross dresser” to win a seat in Virginia’s state legislature. (The deleted tweet can still be found on Parker Molly’s twitter feed.) Richard Spencer, a white nationalist, put a picture of Danica Roem next to a picture of Nazi General Ernst Röhm on his Twitter feed, with the comment “So I guess it is genetic.” (Oddly, he put the name “Roem” between asterisks, but failed to notice that that is not the name of the general. Then again, since he did not write the name of the general, perhaps he noticed that it is not the same name.) Molly Hemingway at The Federalist wrote of “the defeat of longtime conservative delegate Robert Marshall (R) by Danica Roem, whose claim to fame is transgenderism.” Ms. Roem ram a campaign on local issues, especially improving transportation infrastructure. Bob Marshall ran a campaign based on dismissing his opponent as having no qualification other than being transgender. Bob Marshall lost, which would lead to the conclusion that the electorate saw something in her beyond just “transgenderism.” For misreading the election, all of these people get a TWIT Award.

The announcement of gender-neutral changing rooms at Topshop has caused some of the usual sort of people to speak out. Radio host Julia Hartley-BrewerMiranda Yardley (a trans woman who says that trans women are not women and that public accommodations for transgender people hurts cisgender women), and the Express all are credited with editorials that insist the new policy hurts women and helps pedophiles. All do point out that the changing rooms are separated by a fabric curtain rather than something more substantial, and that may well be a concern, but that can be dealt with. Further, the changing rooms are monitored, so someone is looking out for misbehaving customers. Experience shows us that the predicted problems rarely develop, and the worst predictions have never happened. For not letting history guide them away from hyperbole, all of these get a TWIT Award.

Piers Morgan has been developing a reputation as a transphobe since returning to Britain from a stint with CNN. This week, he had an interview with Caitlyn Jenner. The interview became quite testy as Mr. Morgan repeatedly asked Ms. Jenner about her genitals. Ms. Jenner kept pointing out to him how serious transgender issues are, but Mr. Morgan kept going on in the same manner. For not taking the hint yet again, Piers Morgan gets another TWIT. You can read details in Pink News.

OneNewsNow is making a big deal out of the fact that Target is closing twelve of its low-performing stores. (Sears and K-Mart wish that they had closed only twelve stores this year.) OneNewsNow claims, with no evidence, that the store closings are because of the boycott by the American Family Association. They ignore the fact that Target has been exceeding sales expectation and has been reporting better-than-expected profits. For ignoring reality while promoting their corporate parent (OneNewsNow is a product of the American Family Association), OneNewsNow gets a TWIT Award. Here is a link to this story.

Doctor Geoff Stiller, a surgeon located in the small town of Pullman, Washington wanted to start performing vaginoplasties at the local hospital. He got the necessary training and the final hurdle to starting procedures was getting permission from the hospital. That’s were he hit a snag. One of the doctors on staff, an evangelical Christian, sent an email to eight co-workers that was forwarded around the hospital calling for opposition to gender reassignment surgery. A TWIT Award goes to that doctor as well as the hundreds of people who wrote letters of opposition. Thanks to Jamie Roberts for the story tip. You can read more in The Washington Post

Derick Dillard has dead named Jazz Jennings in a series of tweets that belittle her trans nature. Who is Derick Dillard? He’s the husband of reality show star Jill Duggar. She’s a child of the reality show family that has babies by the litter. Dillard calls Jazz “him” and says that her family is taking advantage of her to “promote their agenda.” For being an ignorant man who refuses to recognize the reality of transgender people, and for picking on a child, we award Dillard a TWIT. Read the story in the Daily Mail. (He gets another TWIT for spelling Derrick wrong.)

TWIT is assembled by Cecilia Barzyk with additional material and editing by Angela Gardner.

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Category: Transgender Community News


About the Author ()

Angela Gardner is a founding member of The Renaissance Transgender Association, Inc., the former editor of that organization's newsletter and magazine, Transgender Community News. She wrote the Diva of Dish column for TGF in the late 1990s and was the Editor of LadyLike magazine until its untimely demise. She is currently the Editor of TGF. She has appeared in film and television shows portraying TG characters, as well as representing Renaissance on numerous talk shows. In her idle hours she keeps busy producing her monthly TG parties, Angela's Laptop Lounge.

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