The Week In Trans 12/7/20

| Dec 7, 2020
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Dr. Rachel Levine

Dr. Rachel Levine won the Pink News Award for Frontline Hero. In her acceptance speech, she said, “It does not matter where you live, your race, your sexual orientation, or your gender identity–you are important.” This story is in Pink News.

During a press conference, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was asked, “Joe Biden says he’ll give transgender students access to sports, bathrooms, and locker rooms in accordance to their gender identity in all federally-funded schools. Does he have the power to do this, and do you agree?” She answered both questions in the affirmative. The Washington Blade has this story.

A federal judge ruled in favor of a transgender man who asked to be listed as male on his passport, despite not having a letter from his doctor. The judge ruled that the State Department “has provided no explanation, let alone any evidence, of why [it] has an important interest in verifying a transgender passport applicant’s gender identity, nor a cogent explanation of why the Policy requiring a physician’s certification increases the accuracy of issued passports.” You can read about this in LGBTQ Nation.

President-elect Joe Biden has said that he would restore several policies that promote LGBTQ rights, and has called for the passage of the Equality Act in his first 100 days in office. While signing executive orders is the president’s privilege, passing legislation in the divided Congress will not be so easy. Military Times has the AP’s story. Thanks to Alyssa Washington for a link to this story.

Some think that the fate of the Equality Act is tied to the Senate races in Georgia, to be held on January 5. Others say that, even with a 50-50 split in the Senate, the Democrats will be nominally in charge, but will have to make compromises with Republicans to get anything done. Commentary in The Advocate assumes that the Equality Act will be one of the top priorities of Senate Democrats.

Aimee Stephens

A federal judge in Michigan approved a settlement in the case in which Aimee Stephens sued for discrimination when fired from a job at a funeral home. The settlement includes a payment of $250,000 by the funeral parlor. This story comes from The Hill.

When Tyler Titus was elected to the Erie School Board, he was the first openly transgender person elected in the state of Pennsylvania. This week, he was elected President of the Erie School Board. Go Erie has this story.

Skyler Heath, a 20-year-old Black transgender woman, was shot to death in Miami on November 4. It took almost a month for her death to be added to the list of transgender people murdered in the U.S. due to misgendering after her death, according to Metro weekly.

The father of Chae’Meshia Simms said at a memorial that her family will “continue to keep looking” for her killer. WTVR-TV has this story.

Police in Los Angeles County have arrested three gang member on charges of extortion. The victim was a transgender woman. Two of these are also charged in the attack on another transgender woman in MacArthur Park. This story can be found at KHTS radio.

KQED has a long story of a transgender woman, Luna Guzman, who came to the United States from Guatemala, seeking asylum.

A federal appeals court in Florida ruled en banc (by the full court)against a transgender prisoner who requested to be moved to another prison because of her gender dysphoria. This decision reinforces the decision of a three-judge panel, who overturned the decision from the district court. This story comes from WCTV-TV.

The clause in North Carolina’s HB-142 which forbids cities and counties from adding gender identity and sexual orientation to their anti-discrimination laws expired on Tuesday. Several cities are anxious to pass such measures, according to LGBTQ Nation.

North Carolina is not the only place where LGBTQ rights are advancing on the municipal level. The Human Rights Campaign’s 2020 Municipal Equality Index shows that, while LGBTQ rights were endangered at the federal level, they advanced in several cities. The Advocate has this story.

Steve English

Patch has a profile of Steve English, a Chicagoan who transitioned genders at age 70.

A new study from Trinity Business School and Technological University Dublin shows that transgender people are 11.7% more likely to be unemployed than cisgender people, and those who are employed are likely getting lower wages. While this study comes from Ireland, the data used was from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System in the United States. You can find a summary in Personnel Today.

Leon Wu is CEO of Sharpe Suiting, which is an agender, luxury clothing brand. He is profiled by LGBTQ Nation as part of their Transcend video series.

The British branch of La Leche League, a group which promotes breastfeeding, announced its support for “everyone who wants to breastfeed of chestfeed.” The use of gender-neutral language upset the usual folks, as Pink News reports. expanded its LGBTQ terms recently. Among the new terms are “deadname,” “gender diversity,” and “themself.” LGBTQ Nation has this story.

Andrea Breanna

Andrea Breanna is the CEO of RebelMouse, a tech company which has helped build such sites as Axios and The Dodo. LGBTQ Nation has a profile of her in its Transcend video series.

The biggest story in transgender news this week was Elliot Page coming out as transgender. The news dropped in a tweet that served as an open letter. Variety has this story. Thanks to Alyssa Washington for a link to this story

Elliot Page’s wife, Emma Portner, was elaborate in her support of him coming out as transgender, and in her support of him generally. This story comes from People magazine.

Netflix and IMDb wasted no time in updating Elliot Page’s name on their sites. Pink News has this story. Sony Pictures also quickly took to Twitter to gently correct someone who used the wrong pronoun for Elliot Page, as Pink News reports.

Josie Totah spoke to People magazine about playing a transgender character on the reboot of Saved By The Bell, and about the need to do more to achieve inclusiveness in entertainment.

Laverne Cox took to Twitter to tell about a transphobic attack on her and a friend while they were in a Los Angeles park. She said, “It’s not safe if you’re a trans person.” Pink News has this story. Thanks to Alyssa Washington for a link to this story.

Deutsche Weldt has a list of transgender stars who are “contributing to mainstream acceptance.”

Alexandra Billings

Alexandra Billings began a multi-episode appearance on The Conners, in which she plays a transgender woman who is Darlene’s mentor and Becky’s supervisor. This story is covered by The Advocate.

Nickelodeon has reached out to Michael D. Cohen, the transgender actor who appears in Henry Danger and Danger Force, to help them cast a young transgender or non-binary actor in an upcoming role. The Advocate has this story.

We’ve heard of Drag Queen Bingo, and now, Revery has taken the next step and hired drag queen Deven Green to host a new game show called Versus. You can find the story at

Lucia Lucas, the transgender opera singer, is the latest person to be interviewed on the LGBTQ&A podcast.

Trip Richards, a transgender man who produces and performs in pornography, talked about it with The Advocate. He says that manhood is not defined by genitalia.

A new photo book shows pictures of 100 transgender and gender fluid people in New York City. It is entitled The NuAuthentic, and it features photographs taken by Roger Moenks. The Advocate has this story. Another photo book, The Queerness Doesn’t Matter, with photos of self-defined queer people taken by Tom Casalini and writer Marti Healy, is available in a coffee-table addition, according to The Advocate.

As the year winds down, we are getting year-end lists, such as one from of athletes who came out as LGBTQ this year. One of them is transgender.

Photo from The Queen.

A list of “9 Conversation-Starting LGBTQ+ Films to Stream Right Now” includes two movies with transgender themes, plus one about a drag competition. You can find the list at

In an interview about her casting in the new season of The Mandelorian, Rosario Dawson mentions the uproar over allegations that she subjected a former employee to anti-transgender abuse. She says that she understands why people would be concerned, but says that every claim of discrimination has been dismissed by the person who made them. Vanity Fair has this story.

Lush cosmetics has issued an apology for donating to the anti-transgender lobbying group Woman’s Place. The company now admits that it made an error in research. This story comes from Pink News.

Last week, Boyz magazine was involved in a dispute after the magazine asked readers to “hear out” the LGB Alliance, which is deliberately anti-transgender. This week, the magazine hired Rebecca Tallon de Havilland as transgender affairs editor. Pink News has this story.

When last we saw Braunwyn Windham-Burke, she was surprised at seeing her son doing drag, but was quite supportive. This week, the Real Housewives of Orange County cast member announced that she is lesbian. She also said that she and her husband have no intention to divorce. You can find this story at The Advocate.

In a landmark ruling in Britain, a judge said that patients under the age of 16 must understand the implications of puberty blockers and of moving on to HRT before being allowed to consent to the treatments. This sounds like common sense, and is in fact already in place to some extent. The ruling said that it was “doubtful” that those aged 14 or 15 could understand the “long-term risks and consequences” of taking these medications, and “highly doubtful” that those 13 and younger could understand these things. It is in fact questionable if these judges correctly understand the consequences, given that expert witnesses on both sides of the argument gave very different testimony about the risks and consequences of the drugs. Pink News has this story. Thanks to Alyssa Washington for a link to this story.

Pink News reports that the Tavistock and Portman Clinic, the only NHS clinic that treated patients under 18 for gender dysphoria, is already implementing changes as a result of this ruling.

Lily Jones

A documentary on BBC introduces us to Lily Jones of Aberystwyth, Wales. She tells of how she felt she had to “suck up” to the doctors and pretend she was perfect in order to get them to prescribe hormones blockers and surgery. The Daily Mail has her story.

Parents of transgender children, who are patients at the Tavistock and Portman Clinic, are worried by this ruling. Pink News has their reactions.

Several stories of reaction to the high court’s ruling, including one with Stonewall boss Nancy Kelley, can be found at Pink News.

Feminist writer Naomi Wolf talked with Reuters about the “moral panic” over transgender rights in Britain. She said, “It’s always this mythology of a man dressed as a woman in the ladies bathroom who’s going to rape a woman — which just doesn’t happen.” She adds that existing laws cover such situations without barring transgender women from the restroom.

Former Prime Minister Theresa May addressed the Pink News Awards 2020, saying that progress on transgender rights should not be ignored just because it is “controversial.” Her comments can be found at Pink News. Also in that article, the award for Best Broadcast or Documentary goes to Disclosure.

Nadia Whittome and Layla Moran, both members of Parliament, were given the Pink News Award for Politician Of The Year. Whittome, a Labour MP from Nottingham East, is profiled in Pink News, which makes much of her support for transgender rights.

A non-binary individual named Ben spoke on the BBC for one minute. They mentioned how hard it can be to be non-binary, but “there is joy to be had in realizing exactly who you are.” Then they made a plea for listeners to be an ally to non-binary people. Pink News has this story.

Nisha Rao

Reuters has a profile of Pakistan’s first transgender lawyer. It says that Nisha Rao went “from begging to fighting in court.”

The ruling from the British High Court seems to have prompted to do a story on transgender children in that country.

A story in The Irish Examiner talks of the long waiting times for treatment at gender clinics in Ireland.

More than 700 people have signed an open letter to the Scottish Parliament, asking them to look into transphobia in political parties. Pink News has this story.

The government of the Netherlands apologized this week for having made transgender people get sterilized in order to have their gender status changed. The practice ended in 2014. In addition to the apology, the government authorized payments in compensation, according to Human Rights Watch.

Pink News has a story about a transgender teen who was taken away from his family because they would not support his transition.

Egypt’s Minister of Education, Tarek Shawki, appeared on a television show, and called for the acceptance of transgender people. This is a rather bold position in that country, as Egyptian Streets points out.

The Centre for Law and Policy Research held a workshop entitled TRANSFORM – 4th International Conference on Transgender Rights and the Law. It was held in Bangalore, India. They had a preview in Bar And Bench.

Indya Moore

Traveling can be difficult for transgender people. Indya Moore says that while she has not been a victim of transphobia while traveling, she has heard from other transgender people who had problems. That’s why she is working with Orbitz to help the LGBTQ+ Travel Association as it tries to bring awareness to the issue. You can read about it in Travel And Leisure.

Getty Images has been working with GLAAD to create new image guidelines that are kinder to transgender people. NBC News has this story.

Elliot Page’s gender announcement was the impetus for several commentaries. CBC Kids wrote about the harm of deadnaming, John Casey wrote at The Advocate about “the Fragility of Elliot Page and the Transgender Community,” and Chase Strangio wrote for NBC News about “the beauty of declaring our truth.” Mr. Strangio contrasts Elliot Page’s announcement with this week’s legal decision in Britain.


The Irish sitcom writer who wrote for Father Ted and The IT Crowd, Graham Linehan, was permanently banned from Twitter for repeated abuse of other users, especially transgender people. This week, a new profile @scarlysimon, appeared, claiming to be “Fun trans guy, or maybe Graham Linehan. It’s almost like people can lie about their identity.” Well, it didn’t take long for the truth to come out–this was Graham Linehan again. It also didn’t take long for Twitter to suspend the account. For a pathetic attempt at gaming the system, and for having so little self-control as to reveal his game so soon, Graham Linehan gets a TWIT Award. Pink News has this story.

Black Panther star Letitia Wright shared a video which uses the results of HRT in transgender people as a reason to worry about a vaccine for COVID-19. It deliberately misgenders transgender people. The video has since been removed from YouTube. For spreading this transphobic attack, Letitia Wright gets a TWIT Award. You can read about this in LGBTQ Nation. Thanks to Alyssa Washington for a link to this story.

Elisa Crespo

Elisa Crespo is a transgender woman who is running for a seat on New York City Council. The New York Post has been doing what is described as a “hatchet piece” on her, especially for doing sex work in the past. For such a low blow, the New York Post gets a TWIT. (Good news–it seems to be backfiring, at least in so much as the story is giving the candidate more publicity and some big-name supporters.) Pink News has this story.

TWIT is assembled by Cecilia Barzyk with additional content and editing by Angela Gardner. Care to make a comment on this post? Login here and use the comment area below.

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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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