The Week In Trans 11/27/17

| Nov 27, 2017
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Danica and Demi

Guess who was Demi Lovato’s escort to the American Music Awards. None other than the newly elected delegate to the Virginia House of Delegates, Danica Roem. Both ladies were decked out in great gowns and Ms. Lovato said that she had empathy for Ms. Roem’s struggle and wanted her in the audience when she performed an anti-bullying song during the show. Learn more from The Huffington Post.

Amid news of the memorial events for trans people held on November 20, Salon noted that this year is the deadliest on record for transgender people. While some transgender people have been reaching new heights by winning elections, the year has not been so kind to all trans people.

On Tuesday, a second federal court issued an injunction against President Trump’s ban on transgender people in the military. Senior U.S. District Judge Marvin Garbis for the District of Maryland has not only agreed with District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly that the ban is capricious and not based on evidence, and that the President did not properly consult with military authorities before issuing the ban. Judge Garvis actually went further than Judge Kollar-Kotelly, and ordered that the military pay for the gender-related health care of the plaintiffs, even though their surgeries are scheduled for after the ban is set to go into effect. Judge Garvis noted that harm to transgender people in the military is already happening, despite Trump Administration lawyers arguing that it was too early for any lawsuit against the ban. Think Progress has more on this story, and further analysis can be found in Art Leonard Observations.

Later on Tuesday, lawyers for the Trump Administration filed an appeal of the injunction in the case of Doe v. Trump that was issued by District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly. They reiterate their claim that the suit is premature, that a final policy has not been formulated yet. The AP story on this can be found at Edge Media.

Hari Neff

Trans actress and model Hari Neff gained fame by being a trans person. Now she would like it if she could just be a model or actress rather than a transgender model or transgender actress. She points out that no one ever says they enjoy lesbian talk show host Ellen Degeneres’s show, or African American Beyoncé’s music. Why do they need to emphasize her trans nature? Read the article on the Slate website.

The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association approved a new policy on Wednesday that makes it easier for student athletes to change documentation to better reflect their gender identity. Get the details on the Refinery29 website.

The Department of Education has issued a revised guideline on investigating claims of discrimination at schools. Whereas the previous policy said that a complaint would trigger an investigation of both the specific incident and a look for systemic problems that may have led to the incident, any investigation now will just look at the specific incident. Indeed, the new guideline does not contain the word “systemic” anywhere, according to this story from the AP.

A U.S. District Judge for Pennsylvania has denied a motion to dismiss the claims of Title IX violations by a transgender student at an elementary school. Judge Robert D. Mariani ruled that the student, who was assigned male at birth and diagnosed with gender dysphoria while in kindergarten, can continue to make the case for permission to use the girl’s lavatory at school. The Department of Education and the Justice Department issued a letter earlier this year saying that such a decision was at the discretion of the school board or the administration of the school, but Judge Mariani found sufficient precedent to at least hear the case. Art Leonard looks at this ruling as well.


While Kimberly Shappley was getting an award for her support of her transgender daughter, Kai, the Pearland Independent School District, which is in charge of the school that 6-year-old Kai Shappley attends, was demonstrating its continuing support of its superintendent, despite some anti-Semitic and racist tweets by the superintendent’s adult son. The Houston Chronicle uses the story of Kai Shappley, who has to use the restroom in the nurse’s office, in counterpoint to the claims that the school district is committed to diversity.

Tyler Titus, who was recently elected to the school board in Erie, Pennsylvania, was interviewed by Philadelphia Gay News.

Levi Hord of Western University in London, Ontario, has been awarded a Rhodes Scholarship. He is a trans man who has made a study of the use of non-gendered pronouns, according to the CBC.

Calvin Runnels

Calvin Runnels also was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship. He is a senior at Georgia Tech, where he majors in biochemistry. He is profiled by TransGriot. Two trans men were among the 89 Rhodes scholars this year. There has been one out trans man among Rhodes scholars before this: Pema McLaughlin, who was awarded a scholarship last year.

Republicans in Virginia’s House of Delegates elected M. Kirkland Cox as their leader. He has said that he wants members to refer to each other as “the Delegate from” wherever, ending the tradition of referring to each other as “the gentleman from” or “the gentlelady from” wherever. Many see this as a slap at newly elected Delegate Danica Roem, refusing to acknowledge her as a female. The Washington Post broke this story, but it is now behind a paywall. You can also find coverage of this in the Washington Blade.

Jeffrey Tambor has decided to leave Transparent. He was accused of harassment by two people associated with the show, which he denies. He states that this is no longer the job that he signed up for. The Hollywood Reporter has more on this story.

In a guest column in The Hollywood Reporter, Dorothy Snarker suggests that Amazon Studios and Transparent producer Jill Soloway replace Jeffrey Tambor with a transgender actress. A fine suggestion, but let’s also be open to the possibility of a trans man taking the lead.

Clair Farley, who is currently the Director of Economic Development at the San Francisco LGBT Center, has been named as mayor Ed Lee’s senior advisor on transgender initiatives. She replaces Theresa Sparks, who is moving on after serving in city government for over 20 years. Ms. Farley is profiled in the San Francisco Chronicle.


Talulah-Eve, a contestant on Britain’s Next Top Model, has been the recipient of death threats and has even gotten the threat of being attacked with acid. She spoke of this while being interviewed by Pink News.

The city of Woodbury, New Jersey, recently discovered that they still have a law on the books which makes crossdressing a criminal offense. Although the law has not been enforced for some time, the penalty is up to 90 days in jail and up to a $1000 fine. The mayor has said that the law will be repealed soon, according to Philadelphia Gay News.

Laurel Hubbard has been chosen to be part of the New Zealand women’s weightlifting team for the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast. The 39-year-old trans woman once competed as a male. The New Zealand Herald has this story. Radio New Zealand reports that teammate Tracey Lambrechs felt that Ms. Hubbard has an unnatural advantage over cisgender women, while TV New Zealand reports that former gold medalist Tony Ebert is quite pleased with the team’s selection.

China just did a study of transgender people in the country, and it is not a pretty picture, but it also is not too far from typical. Almost half of those interviewed have considered suicide, and about a quarter attempted suicide. There also are said to be problems getting medical and psychological therapy as well as family acceptance. This story can be found in Gay Star News.

Transgender health care is a problem in many places. 31% of transgender people in the United States do not have regular access to health care. NPR did a segment on transgender health.

To address the need for physicians who understand how to treat trans patients and perform gender confirmation surgery Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia, Pa. is launching a  physician education program focused on the needs of transgender patients. Learn more on the website.

Rachel Tudor

Rachel Tudor, a professor who was fired by Southeastern Oklahoma State University when she transitioned, has been awarded $1,165,000 by a jury in a federal case of discrimination. There have not been that many jury verdicts for transgender people in discrimination suits, so this is worth celebrating. Buzzfeed has this story.

In Canada a teaching assistant was given an apology from the school’s president over the way she was treated after students in her class complained about the use of a video debate between two professors on the use of trans positive pronouns. The TA was interrogated by academics who said showing her class the video without condemning the professor who argues against the use of trans positive pronouns was the same as praising Hitler. Thanks to Jamie Roberts for the story tip. You can find it in Inside Higher Ed.

April Ashley has been around the block quite a few times. She was outed by a national newspaper in Britain in 1961, and she says that she lost everything at that time. Now, she is receiving the Roberta Cowell Award at the Gay Times Honours. If you don’t know her story, you can find a profile at Gay Times.

Josephine Hoskins is 17 years old. She is black, she is transgender, and she is a Muslim. Life in the middle of the United States is not particularly easy for her, as the Kansas City Star found.

Some of us older transgender people are envious that some younger transgender people get to go through rites of passage in their preferred gender that we only experienced in the wrong gender. Latina girls have a rite of passage at age 15 called the quinceañera. HBO has an upcoming documentary series about Latina girls preparing for and celebrating their quinceañeras. In one episode, a transgender girl, Zoey, celebrates her quinceañera, which she dedicates to her three transgender godmothers, who never got quinceañeras of their own. A story and the trailer can be found on Gay Star News.

Lily Madigan

19-year-old Lily Madigan has been elected as a women’s officer for Rochester and Strood in Britain. The young up-and-comer has been occasionally asked about a twitter account in her deadname. It seems that her brother and a friend of his made the account and used it to write some not-so-nice things about transgender people, among others. Twitter has deactivated the account, but screenshots still surface every so often. Kent Online followed up on this story.

Susanne Pelger, a Ph.D. of genetics and teacher of biology in Sweden, wrote a short book for children called Horse And Master. The book is about a horse who identifies as a dog, and whose owner was assigned male at birth but identifies as female. The story on this book comes from Pink News.

The Moving Trans History Forward 2018 conference happening March 22-25, 2018 is seeking presenters to deliver papers and seminars. The theme of the conference is “From Generation to Generation,” and they welcome proposals concerning any aspect of trans, gender non-binary, and Two-Spirit people and communities. For more information on how you could be there to present a paper visit the conference website.


Several newspapers in Britain recently ran rants against the desire to update the Gender Recognition Act, and against transgender people in general, by citing a report that “nearly half” of all transgender prisoners are sex offenders. This raised some suspicions, as the government never released a report with that number (or any number). It turns out that the number was created by a group called Fair Play For Women, a group known to be opposed to rights for transgender people. Moreover, they got their numbers through some less-than-accurate means, as the Independent discovered. For running with “information” from a group which is known to have a bias, the Times, the Mirror, and the Daily Star all get TWITs. The Sun also gets a TWIT Award for taking the story of a specific prisoner from the coverage in the Times and spinning their own sensational article from that.

Oasis Academy in the U.K. county of Kent lost a student and gained a TWIT Award when officials told a 16-year-old to go home and “become the real him,” after coming to school wearing a wig and make-up. The student was described as “gender-creative” by their mother, who withdrew her child from the school. Pink News covered this story.

Fresh off winning a TWIT for suggesting that Danica Roem will cause health insurance premiums to rise (not noting or caring that transgender medical expenses are already covered under the Affordable Care Act nor the many studies which show that the cost of covering transgender health care is not all that high), sore election loser Bob Marshall complained that The Washington Post changed his letter to the editor, making it comply with their standards for grammar and style. Rather than referring to the woman who beat him as “Danica,” the Post identified her as “Ms. Roem.” Mr. Marshall was emailed a copy of the letter as it would appear in print and signed off on it, not noticing that the Post changed the wording in a way that acknowledges Ms. Roem as female. For pettiness beyond the call of duty, Bob Marshall gets yet another TWIT Award. His tweet about the incident was covered by Boing Boing.

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

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Category: Transgender Community News


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Every week Cecilia Barzyk diligently scans the internet to assemble as much trans-related information from the weekly news as possible.

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