The Week In Trans 12/26/16

| Dec 26, 2016
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Distracted Elf

There are all kinds of ways to make a living off the internet. One of them is by being a “streamer” and do commentary and whatever else it is that streamers do. One streamer named Distracted Elf found depression a constant companion even though things in the world of gamer streaming were going pretty well. Then Distracted Elf focussed for a minute and came to realize that she was not male but female. Then came the worry that transitioning in mid stream (so to speak) would cause her streaming career to tank. Learn how it all worked out on the Kotaku website.

The Donald Trump transition team has asked the State Department for a list of the names of people who are working on gender equality and ending violence against women. The subject came up at a daily press briefing on Thursday, and as of that time, the State Department had not supplied the names nor had they formally refused to release the names. On Friday, the Trump transition team said that they were trying to get information on the programs involving gender equality and ending violence against women. That was also mentioned in the initial reports, but why would they want the names of people in addition to the names and descriptions of programs? NPR has this story.

The City Council of Charlotte, North Carolina, voted 10-0 to overturn their nondiscrimination law that was meant to protect LGBT people. They were urged to do so by Governor-elect Roy Cooper as well as the leaders of both houses of the state legislature. As a part of the agreement, the legislature was supposed to overturn HB2 in a special legislative session later in the week. Unfortunately, the overturn did not happen, as various members tried to change the bill. Most (in)famously, a rider proposed a six-month waiting period before any local nondiscrimination acts could be passed. In the end, the state Senate defeated the measure. This has naturally upset people who fought to overturn HB2, as reported by WSOC-TV.

Both the NBA and the NCAA have announced that they will continue their boycotts of North Carolina in light of the lack of a development on HB2. LGBTQ Nation has this story.

A couple takes the Switch it Up Challenge.

It’s hard to keep up with the internet’s demand for new “challenges.” We all have heard of the Ice Bucket Challenge and there are some weirder ones like eating a whole lot of cinnamon at one time. Now we have learned of a challenge called the Switch It Up Challenge. Straight couples (for the most part) take a picture, then switch clothes and pose for the same picture again. This online gender swapping is taking place on various web platforms and it’s brought out some haters who don’t like men wearing their women’s clothes. Check out the photos of the challenge takers on LGBTQ Nation.

There are a lot of proposed bills which would affect the LGBTQ community, including several states where one legislator or another promises to propose a “bathroom bill.” In some cases, these may never even be filed, and some of those which are filed will not make it out of committee. Even if a bill gets to the floor of one house of a state legislature, it can be tabled or amended to death. It is not an easy or quick process, despite North Carolina’s HB2. You can see Mother Jones’s coverage of the proposals here.

One of the interesting things about the so-called “bathroom bills” is that polling finds that women aren’t the ones who support such legislation. Rebecca Stones, a professor who lists associations to Nankai University in China and Monash University in Australia, did not conduct a poll, but rather, she analyzed 1,035 on-line comments posted by people on 190 news articles, and used that to gauge opinions. This method tends to eliminate those who do not feel strongly enough on the subject to leave a comment. She found that women were not so upset with sharing a restroom with a trans woman, but that men were more concerned about that situation. Her results can be found in Springer, or a summary can be found on Medical Xpress.

Shay Neary

The fashion industry has just done it again. After breaking the ice with trans models they have gone even further in the quest for diversity and booked the first openly trans plus size model for a major campaign. The model’s name is Shay Neary and she is the new face of the Coverstory brand. Read about it on Yahoo News.

A study of the trans population in the U.S. was conducted by Dr. Halley Crissman of the University of Michigan and the result were published last week. The study found that transgender adults were more likely to be nonwhite than white, and 26 percent of trans people live below the poverty line. Read about the study on the CBS News website.

A trans man in New York has managed to get his name legally changed without a letter from a medical professional. A previous judge required a letter attesting to his medical transition before that judge would approve the name change request, but attorney Laurie Styka Bloom, working pro bono, took her argument to the New York Court of Appeals, and her client is now legally known as “Ben Stanford.” This story is in LGBTQ Nation.

Sanjati before her facial surgery.

People in the trans community, especially the male to female side of it, often seek surgery to make themselves look more like what they envision as the face they want the world to see. It’s natural to want to fit into your true gender more fully. One young woman from Canada, Stef Sanjati, documented her feminization surgery with all the gross details. See what she endured to achieve the look she found acceptable in the Daily Mail.

The Isle of Man, off the coast of Britain, is about to move ahead of most of Europe in its acceptance of transgender people. The bill before the House of Keys would make a protected characteristic called “gender reassignment,” but an amendment will change that to “gender identity,” so as to include transgender people who do not wish to undergo a full gender reassignment. You can read more about this on Isle Of Man Today.

A state in India is the first in that country to open a school for trans students. The first class of the Sahaj International School will have 10 students and will be overseen by six members of the local trans community who are all members of the TransIndia organization which advocates for trans rights. Learn more about the school on the YourStory website.

Andrea Jenkins

A trans woman in Minneapolis has announced her bid for a seat in the Minneapolis City Council. Trans activist and city policy aid Andrea Jenkins hopes to win the job of representing the 8th Ward. Learn more about Jenkins and her platform in the Star Tribune.

Josh Vallum, an elite member of the Latin Kings street gang in Mississippi, has become the first person charged with a hate crime under U.S. federal law for the murder of a transgender person. The 29-year-old has admitted to the murder of 17-year-old Mercedes Williamson because she was transgender. Because he crossed state lines to commit the murder, federal law could be invoked in this case. The Biloxi Sun Herald has this story.

Bangladesh has made strides in recent years to recognize hijra as a third gender. However, the law required a medical examination as part of a hiring process, and it seems that hospital staff were not as understanding as one might hope. The Human Rights Watch has released a 46-page report of the complaints.


The cost of medical transition can be quite high. Some people pay $100,000 or more for their transitions. (Mind you, some people will feel more of a need for a certain procedure, such as facial surgery, which another transgender person will elect to skip.) Although the Affordable Care Act is scheduled to cover more transgender medical procedures starting January 1, it may not cover everything, and if the Affordable Care Act is repealed, the burden of payment will revert to transgender people. Jacob Rostovsky set up a nonprofit called Trans United With Family and Friends (TUFF) three years ago. It helps pay medical costs. However, its funds are limited, and there are always a lot more people who want financial help. NBC Out did a story on TUFF this week.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has published a committee statement urging its members to “create a welcoming environment” for transgender teens. They are also urged to learn how to care for transgender patients. Transgender patients come to ob/gyn doctors for hormone treatments and for help with fertility issues. The committee urges doctors to know where to send transgender patients for help with mental health issues. Yahoo News has this story.

18-year-old trans clinic patient Athena Fenstermacher.

There is actually a shortage of clinicians to serve the needs of trans youth. The demand for trans-specific medical care has risen sharply after the surge of news about the existence of trans people. Hospitals and clinics that serve trans youth are being stressed. Read about one clinic and some of its patients on the PBS News Hour website.

Kelly Mantle is a gender-fluid actress. This year, she is eligible for an Academy Award in either the male or female category. Her current movie, Confessions of a Womanizer, is not not even a very long shot contender for any awards, but the announcement that she is eligible in either gender category is news, and it is a precedent for some other film. The New York Times has this story.

If you’re ready to take your big step into show biz and think you’re ready to join an off-Broadway company and trod the boards in Manhattan, pay close attention. The MCC Theater is looking for trans and gender-non-conforming actors to appear in a play called Charm. The show will open the 2017 season at the Lucille Lortel Theatre. To learn more about the show and how you can arrange an audition check out this article in Playbill.

Pandorra Boxx in a Coulter creation.

Where do the Drag Race queens get their gorgeous gowns? Since they’re stars now they’re certainly not shopping off the rack. The go-to guy for glam couture is name Dallas Coulter and he is known as the Designer Supreme who provides dynamic dresses for the famous ladies of drag. Check out some of his creations in Queerty.

Since trans people need love, too, the big dilemma is — how to find it and do so without deceiving anyone or having to deal with a partner who gets violent when they find out who they’ve been dating. What are the ethics of transgender dating? When do you tell someone your gender status? Do you tell? It can get complicated so thank goodness there’s an article that can help you to figure it all out and it can be found on the LGBTQ Nation website.


A story about the transgender medical coverage which will become part of the Affordable Care Act begins, “As churches and religious hospitals will soon be required to cover or perform transgender reassignment surgeries.” Of course, religious hospitals will not be required to perform gender confirmation surgery. They are required to perform such procedures as breast augmentation, breast removal, or sterilization procedures, but only if they would perform such surgeries for cisgender patients. The gist of the article is that it will be harder than one might think for the Trump administration to change the Affordable Care Act’s provisions regarding transgender medicine. As for paying for these things, the additional cost for insurance is minimal. For using tactics so obviously designed to scare and upset their readers, The Christian Post gets a TWIT Award. You can find their story here.

The Obama administration has put a rule in place to guarantee that trans children cannot be denied medical care to help them transition to their true gender. Of course that is not what opponents of the new rule say. They say that doctors would be “forced” to provide trans related care to children even if they felt it would be harmful to the child. Conservative lawyers insist that the administration is putting itself between doctors and their patients. So they’ve gone to court to stop this “overreach” and leave trans care for kids up to the doctors. That’s just great. Hooray for freedom. But what if the trans child is desperately in need of a path to their true gender and the doctor is a religious person who bases their opposition to providing that treatment on their religious beliefs? That’s the situation the new rule is trying to fix. Not “forcing” doctors to do harm. A TWIT Award is issued to all those fighting the rule and to the OneNewsNow website for publishing their slanted story.

The Washington Post recently did a story on the drag vocal group The Kinsey Sicks. It was to promote the group’s appearance at the Washington, D.C. Jewish Community Center with their Oy Vey in a Manger! show. The Sicks are by all accounts an entertaining group that not only wear drag well but can sing their tukises off. Well, along comes a conservative slanted “news” outlet and they write up the Post’s account of the Kinsey Sick show with all the tolerance you might expect. We suggest that the News Busters website has no sense of humor. For picking on the Post for reviewing the show and making it seem as if it’s a bad thing to satirize religion and Steve Bannon. They’re getting a TWIT Award for their snarky review of the Post review. Read it here if you care.

Speaking of conservative outrage: Last week we told you about the cover of National Geographic that features nine-year-old trans activist Avery Jackson. From our point of view putting a trans kid who is comfortable at last since she can be who she wants to be on the cover of a national magazine is a good thing. Conservatives see it differently. They see it as creepy and almost as child abuse. As the kids today say, WTF? The American Family Association has launched a petition that calls out the magazine’s editor for putting a trans girl on the cover. They include statements like “From the beginning of mankind there have been only two sexes: male and female” which is wrong. There have always been more variations in gender than the ones admitted to by most of the world. They also accuse the editor of choosing to “exploit a young boy.” Wrong again AFA. She’s a girl. How is it that we on the trans side can cheer that children are finally starting to be able to live as they want — and the conservatives find that to be the same as child abuse? For having a severely limited view of what transgender people go through and promoting the idea that trans people or the medical establishment have some sort of evil plan for kids we give the American Family Association a TWIT Award. Read the story in Metro Weekly. Thanks to Jan Brown for the link to the story.

TWIT is edited by Angela Gardner, who also supplied additional stories.

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Category: Transgender Community News


About the Author ()

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

Comments (2)

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  1. says:

    “Kelly Preston is a gender-fluid actress.”

    That should be Kelly Mantle.

    Kelly Preston is gender-non-fluid – I presume, since I see no pictures of her that hint at a masculine persona – and is married to John Travolta.

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