The Week In Trans 1/23/17

| Jan 23, 2017
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Chelsea Manning

President Obama commuted the sentence of Chelsea Manning as one of 273 acts of clemency in his last moves as President. Donald Trump’s press secretary Sean Spicer has said that the new President was “troubled” by the decision to give Ms. Manning clemency, and Mike Pence referred to Ms. Manning as “a traitor” and said that clemency was a mistake. Chelsea Manning will be released from a military prison on May 17, 2017. She will have served seven years of her 35-year sentence. Even with the clemency, she will have served the longest term in a military prison for distributing secret information in the history of the United States. Edge Media Network has this story.

Many in the right-wing media have tried to outdo each other in denouncing the decision to commute most of Chelsea Manning’s sentence. Media Matters for America created a summary of their comments.

Her troubles won’t be over in May. Upon release from prison Chelsea Manning will be separated from the army with a dishonorable discharge. That means when she leaves the prison she will not longer get any gender-care benefits she was entitled to under the new Pentagon policy on trans people in the service. Learn more in the Inquisitr.


The social media site Reddit allows users to set up and “ask me anything” session for the online community. A young trans woman from Pennsylvania named Gwen used the service to set up an AMA session to inform people about her transition. She said, “I’m a transgender woman — ask me your invasive questions,” She got almost 2000 questions that were for the most part supportive. Read more about her AMA session and her transition on the BBC News website.

The Canadian federal agency in charge of airport security has revised it’s screening procedures to be more sensitive to trans travelers. Advocates applaud the changes but worry that if the staffs onsite in airports around the country are not properly trained the changes won’t help. Get the story from the CBC website.

Good news for trans girls in Britain. Those who are inclined to join the Girl Guides can now do so. Also, young trans women who wish to become troop leaders will be given that opportunity. Since the Girl Guides was founded in 1910 they have been single-sex organization. Get the story about the changes in policy from The Independent.

Nada Chaiyajit

Rather than comply with the request of her college to tie her hair back and wear a tie to have her photo taken for her graduation certificate Thai trans activist Nada Chaiyajit told the school she wanted the photo she provided used. That photo depicts her in her true gender. She felt if she dressed as a man the certificate would not be truly hers. She also refused to petition for her photo be used because she had gender identity disorder. She changed all the rules by saying that she chose to present herself as a woman and does not suffer from any mental illness. Read her story on the NBC News website.

The General Laws Subcommittee of the Virginia House of Delegates voted to table House Bill 1612, effectively killing Virginia’s “bathroom bill.” Although the bill’s sponsor, Delegate Bob Marshall, agreed to modify the bill by removing the modifier “original” from the phrase “birth certificate,” the change was not enough for the subcommittee. The subcommittee has one week to reconsider the bill; if they do not reconsider it, it fails for this session of the House. The Washington Post has this story.

My Ko Ko Dan

In the USA people can go on social media and say pretty much whatever they like about celebrities with no legal consequences. In other countries freedom of speech is not assured. As a trans beauty queen from Myanmar learned after she pitched shade on a celebrity gossip page about a famous actress. My Ko Ko Dan is the beauty queen and the actress is Hmone Shwe Yee. Ms. Yee filed a complaint and Ms. Dan was arrested and is being held in solitary at a woman’s prison while awaiting trial. Learn more from the Mizzima website.

Since 2014, the Obama administration had a policy wherein any company wishing to contract with the federal government had to have a policy of not discriminating against LGBT employees. But, how well did those companies do at enforcing their nondiscrimination policies? The University of Massachusetts at Amherst received a $250,000 grant to study exactly that question. It was one of the last grants approved by the Obama administration. This story is in the Daily Hampshire Gazette.

Another of the last acts of the Obama Administration was to file a challenge to last August’s decision by Judge Reed O’Connor to stop the Department of Education’s guidance letter on Title IX and transgender students. The 73-page appeal was filed with an Appeals Court in New Orleans. The New Orleans Times-Picayune has this story.

Raffi Freedman-Gurspan

Also among the last acts of President Obama is the appointment of various people to government posts, including two transgender people. Raffi Freedma-Gurspan, who served as White House LGBT Liaison, was appointed to be a member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council. Shawn Skelly, a Navy veteran who later joined the Department of Transportation, was appointed a member of the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service. You can read about these appointments on NBC Out.

President Trump has appointed John Gore to a key position in the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department Mr. Gore last year argued that the University of North Carolina was bound by HB2. Talking Points Memo has this story.

The number of transgender people who have gone to court to get a name change or gender change has been so great that even Courthouse News took notice, calling it a flood. You can find their story here.

On Friday, an appeals court in Georgia overturned two rulings by Columbia County Superior Court Judge J. David Roper, who had denied transgender men a name change. The appeals court determined that Judge Roper had abused his authority when he denied the name changes on the grounds that they would “confuse or mislead the general public.” The cases have been sent back to Judge Roper with instructions. This story is in Oroville M R News.

Lilah Sturges

Meanwhile in Gotham City — Detective Comics has introduced a new character who is an old friend of Batman’s. He knew her pre-transition. And sent her a card expressing his support. So that makes Batman a trans ally. In other trans news out of DC Comics, one of their writers, Lilah Sturges, has come out as trans. Learn more on the LGBTQ Nation website.

We told you of the recent BBC documentary entitled Transgender Kids: Who Knows Best?. The documentary featured Dr. Kenneth Zucker. Several British therapists and doctors have now spoken out, condemning any attempt to “cure” transgender children. The U.K. Council for Psychotherapy, the Royal College of General Physicians, the British Psychoanalytic Council, and the British Association of Counseling and Psychotherapy have signed a statement disagreeing with attempts to “cure” transgender people, and they have drawn up plans for a Memorandum of Understanding that trying to change a person’s gender through therapy is impossible, unethical, and potentially harmful. You can read more about this in Pink News.

In India, the Tamil Nadu Uniformed Services Recruitment Board has started an effort to fill more than 13,000 available constable positions. New recruits can define themselves as male, female, or third gender. Those who define themselves as third gender will have to meet the physical fitness requirements for females. The Hindu has this story.


Anohni, a transgender singer formerly known as Antony Hegarty, has been nominated for a Brit Award as Best British Female Solo Artist. Eleven years ago, she was nominated for the Brit Award as Best British Male Artist. The 2006 nomination came when Anohni was part of the group Antony and the Johnsons; this year’s nomination comes for a new solo album, Hopelessness. Gay Star News has this story.

Reverend Doctor Megan Rohrer, leader of Grace Lutheran Church in the Sunset district of San Francisco, is the first transgender person to become the chaplain of the San Francisco Fire Department. The 36-year-old was sworn into the voluntary position in a private ceremony. You can read about it in the Bay Area Reporter.

The Williams Institute has a new estimate of the transgender population, specifically among Americans age 13 through 17. They estimate 150,000 Americans in that age bracket are transgender. Their estimate is that 0.7% of Americans age 13 through 17 are transgender. That is slightly above their estimate of 0.6% for the general population. You can read the press release for their findings on their website.

Juliet Evancho

Just slightly older than those transgender 13-to 17-year-olds is Juliet Evancho, the 18-year-old sister of Jackie Evancho. Jackie, the runner-up on America’s Got Talent, sang the national anthem at Donald Trump’s inauguration. During the publicity tour for the inauguration, Jackie talked about Juliet in her interview with The Huffington Post. TMZ reports that Juliet is getting her gender-confirmation surgery soon in Philadelphia.

One of the 13-to 17-year-old transgender Americans is Corey House, a.k.a. Corey Maison. In 2015, a video of her being surprised with her first box of estrogen went viral. In 2016, she starred in a video about bullying; in the video, she flipped a set of cards. This year, we have word that she is half of the first daughter-dad transgender family; her mother, Erica, is now Eric. They are supporting each other through their transitions. Their story is in The Mirror.

A trans man and his wife have based a series of young adult fantasy books on the idea of a fictional species of human that changes identities and genres completely every year for four years while they are teens. Changers is the title of the series and it was partially inspired by the couple’s observation that their two daughters seemed to wake up with different personalities everyday. Learn more about the series in The New York Times.

For many years, Susan Larson led a double life. Residents of Clarksville, Tennessee, knew her as Bill Larson, the founder and executive editor of the local news website Clarksville Now. She also maintained the website Susan’s Place. Last year, she finally introduced her fellow townspeople to her identity as Susan. This week, she is is Bangkok, Thailand, getting GRS. An anonymous donor paid for the surgery. All of us at TGForum wish Susan a speedy recovery. You can read about it at Clarksville Now.


David Robertson, the former head of the Free Church of Scotland and a fellow at a think-tank called Solas CPC, has written an opinion column for The Scotsman. He begins with the claim, “Professionals have told me that they are scared to speak out or even ask questions” regarding the “gender agenda.” Journalists, doctors, and politicians are also afraid to speak out about it, he claims. Well, if they are, it is not because transgender people are so very popular with the general public. The big problem is simply that those who think that transgender people are mentally ill — as Mr. Robertson does — are out of step with major medical and psychological groups. He then complains that the “gender agenda” tries to teach “that gender is just a social construct and nothing to do with biological sex.” What part of the Y-chromosome keeps men from cooking for their families? What part of the Y-chromosome says that someone with it cannot wear a dress? These sorts of things are without a doubt a social construct, and they have nothing to do with “biological sex.” He then goes on to tell us that 84% of children with gender issues resolve them before adulthood, but gives us no source for that number. (It is substantially higher than what is reported by any known study.) For writing about a subject without bothering to understand it, David Robertson gets a TWIT Award. You can read his nonsense here.

The Child Protection League of Minnesota is in action again. They are asking people to show up at a federal court in St. Paul to show solidarity for Annmarie Calgaro, whom they claim “found herself suddenly, completely, and permanently deprived of her parental rights without any notice or court order. The stories from the time show that she did indeed have notice when her child asked to be emancipated, and she did not object. After being emancipated from her, her child underwent a gender change. The so-called Child Protection League didn’t like that gender change, so they got in touch with the mother, and together, they filed a law suit. For clogging the courts with lies just because they don’t like later developments, the Child Protection League gets a TWIT. You can see their call to action here.

A couple of goons in Louisiana beat up transgender women and threatened them with a gun. They also shouted racial epithets at them. And they posted a shaky, homemade video of themselves as they attacked the women. For bragging about aggravated assault, battery, and other high crimes, these hoodlums get a TWIT Award. We hope that they are soon arrested and get a harsh sentence. This story can be found on San Diego Gay and Lesbian News.

You have to laugh at Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, to keep yourself from crying. Here is a man who has never been in business, attempting to calm fears among the Texas Association of Businesses about Senate Bill 6, the “bathroom bill” that he and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick are pushing. They say that they watered it down enough so that there won’t be a backlash, like there was against North Carolina for HB2. The group he addressed commissioned a study which said that over 100,000 jobs and $8.5 billion could be lost if this bill is passed if it gets backlash similar to what is happening in North Carolina. For thinking that he knows better than the people who do this for a living, Ken Paxton gets a TWIT Award. This story is in The Abeline Reporter-News.

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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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