The Week In Trans 2/11/19

| Feb 11, 2019
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Trans Troops at the 2019 State of the Union.

Five transgender people who work for the U.S. military attended the State of the Union address guests of members of Congress. NBC News talked of Major Ian Brown and Captain Jennifer Peace, both of whom were guests of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. The Washington Blade has a picture of the five invitees. KRWG tells us that Representative Deb Haaland invited Mara Keisling as her guest at the State of the Union. Jamie Roberts pointed us to an op-ed about the trans military ban in The Washington Post by a trans lieutenant colonel in the Air Force.

Major General Matthew Beevers, the assistant adjutant general for the California National Guard, told the California Assembly’s Veterans Affairs Committee that transgender people will not be discharged from the California National Guard. The Sacramento Bee points out that this is very different from President Trump’s policy.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand introduced a bill which would allow transgender people to serve openly in the military. The bill faces opposition in the Senate, but a companion bill has been introduced in the House of Representatives. Both bills have at least some claim to bipartisanship thanks to a co-sponsor. You can read more at The Hill.

Caroline Paige writes in Openly that Britain’s twenty-year history of allowing transgender people to serve in the military has had nothing but positive results. The author is the first commissioned officer in the U.K. to transition.


Activist and TGForum contributor Barbra “Babs” Siperstein passed away two days after a law named in her honor went into effect in her home state of New Jersey. The Babs Siperstein Law allows transgender people to change the gender on their birth certificate without surgery. North has an obituary. The New York Times also did an obituary, and Leslie Farber pointed out a eulogy for Babs by the governor of New Jersey.

In April, a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected an appeal from Nicole Wittmer, who said that she was rejected for a job because she is transgender. The company said that they rejected her because of discrepancies in her background check. The chief judge of that circuit then asked for another ruling, stating that the court had not ruled on the background issue of whether Title VII protects people from discrimination on the basis of gender identity. This week, Judge James Ho responded that the court did rule that gender identity was not covered by Title VII. This conflicts with rulings from other circuits, and could be the basis for an appeal to the Supreme Court. You can read more at Dallas Business Journal.

Two years ago, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton asked Federal District Judge Reed O’Connor to rule that the Affordable Care Act unconstitutionally ignored people’s “deeply-held religious beliefs” when it made everyone pay for coverage of abortion and transgender medicine. Judge O’Connor did rule those parts unconstitutional, but he issued a stay on enforcement of that, awaiting other court decisions. Attorney General Paxton has now asked Judge O’Connor to remove his stay, saying it is time to enforce that ruling. The Dallas Morning News has more.

A bill in South Dakota legislature which would allow parents to deny their children medical treatment that “encourages the child’s belief that their gender identity differs from their biological sex” was deferred in a committee. This effectively kills the bill for this session of the state House of Representatives. The state already has laws which allow parents to decide what healthcare their child will or will not receive, as The Sioux Falls Argus Leader points out.

Elizabeth Cole

A transgender woman named Elizabeth Cole has survived being shot by her neighbor. The assailant is being held in the Henderson Detention Center near Las Vegas, Nevada. Ms. Cole still has not had the bullet removed, and it is causing some complications. The Las Vegas Review Journal has more.

In December, outgoing Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed an executive order outlawing state contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, but that executive order exempted religious organizations. Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed her executive order on the matter this week, and it does not include an exemption for religious organizations. The Metro Times has this story.

USA Today ran a guest editorial advocating counting transgender people in the census.

The “border crisis” has lead to the imprisonment of over 100 trans individuals who came to the southern border seeking asylum. Learn more about the situation from the Advocate.

Not sure what the term TERF means? It stands for Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists. The New York Times has a story on the rise of the TERFs.

Florence Ashley

The Canadian Bar Association has named Florence Ashley the winner of its Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Community Sexion-Hero Award. The 26-year-old activist is scheduled to clerk for Supreme Court Justice Sheilah L. Martin, the first transgender person to clerk for a justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. They are profiled by National magazine, a publication of the Canadian Bar Association.

Police One ran a profile of Austin Guastalli, who transitioned while on the Los Angeles County Police Force.

Brian Belovitch describes himself as a “cisgender gay male of trans experience.” The “trans experience” refers to the fact that Belovitch did transition in the 1970s and de-transitioned in the 1980s. He has published a memoir, Trans Figured: My Journey from Boy to Girl to Woman to Man. Belovitch does not use the term “non-binary” or the term “gender fluid” in that description, but reading an interview in The Body brings both of those terms to mind.

Many women, trans or cis, use cosmetics to enhance their natural beauty. Most think that since the products they use are being sold on the open market they must all be safe. Sadly the oversight for products such as lipstick, hair coloring, eyeshadow, and all the other beauty potions and paints is pretty weak. Learn more about the substances you put on your face in The New York Times.

Pierre Davis

While there have been several transgender models who have appeared in New York Fashion Week, this year will mark the first time that a transgender designer has shown clothing at the event. Pierre Davis, whose brand is called No Sesso, will show a new chapter, according to The Independent.

Good Morning America reported on a mother who did a photo shoot for social media to celebrate her son coming out as transgender.

When a new retrospective album of the music of transgender soul singer Jackie Shane was being planned, music writer and York University professor Rob Bowman was tapped to write the album notes. He tends to interview the subject, and writes long notes, which is just what the project called for. He has interviewed Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones, but Jackie’s life topped all of them. He spoke to The Canadian Press about the experience, and about Jackie.

These days people see something online and react immediately. Maybe it would be a good idea to step back a second or two before the reactions begin to fly. Case in point: Diego Luna “playing a transgender woman” in the film Berlin. After several online publications reported the story and said Luna’s character was a trans woman protests, as they say, “blew up” the Internet. It turns out that the character is not a trans woman. She is a drag queen. Get the details from the Out website.

A new list of emojis has been announced. They will include sixteen nonbinary couples (both partners are nonbinary) with different skin tones and hair colors. The often-requested emoji of a transgender flag is still not included. You can find more at Pink News.

Hilary Howe’s review of the book Transforming: The Bible And The Lives Of Transgender Christians appeared in The National Catholic Register.

Pageant contestant.

The Daily Mail ran a photo-essay on the Miss Gay and Transsexual Australia International pageant. It features both drag queens and transgender women.

In Britain, a transgender man named Emerson and his nonbinary partner Blue are raising Blue’s child from a previous marriage, Claire, in a gender-free manner, to the extent that they can. The family is profiled in The Daily Mail.

9 News in Australia features another profile of a young transgender Australian. This time, it is Briella, who was five years old when she tried to remove her penis.

South Africa has run out of Depo-Testosterone, according to a report in Times Live.

The Guardian reports that a group called For Women Scotland claims that the pending bill on the rights of transgender people risks eroding the rights of women. However, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is committed to the legislation, and says, “As an ardent, passionate feminist, and have been all my life, I don’t see the greater recognition of transgender rights as a threat to me as a woman or to my feminism.” Pink News has more on Nicola Sturgeon.


The first transgender contestant on Britain’s Next Top Model, Talulah-Eve, shares he story of growing up ashamed of her male body. Even though she was experiencing dysphoria she wasn’t presenting herself to the world as a woman till a friend suggested she give drag a try. Once she saw herself dressed in women’s clothing, makeup and hair done, it all made sense and she quickly moved through that “drag queen” phase. Read all about her on the Glamour Magazine U.K. website.


The Patriot Post uses the fact that “many lesbians and gay men are quite attached to the concept of sex as a natural, biological, material thing” to argue against rights for transgender people. Many transgender people also recognize sex as natural and material. As for biological, it so happens that there is more biology than what is taught in grade school. For arguing from ignorance, the Patriot Post gets a TWIT Award. You can read their nonsense here.

Breitbart reports that California’s new law allowing for nonbinary identification on driver’s licenses will cause young women’s insurance rates to go up to cover young men who identify as non-binary. This is only true if insurers simply lump nonbinary and female into one category. More likely, they will create a new category for nonbinary people. Furthermore, there is a significant chance that those who are identified male at birth but who wish to have a nonbinary designation on their driver’s licenses are not the ones who are raising the rates on young male drivers. For jumping to a conclusion, Breitbart gets a TWIT Award.

The Federalist has again turned to de-transitioner Walt Heyer, who once more uses individual stories to counter whole groups of people. This time, he tells of a teacher who de-transitioned fifteen years after transitioning. The fact that a few individuals do regret something does not negate the far greater number who do not have such regrets. For continuing to run Walt Heyer as “an accomplished author,” The Federalist gets another TWIT. Here is this article.

USA Powerlifting has banned transgender women from competing against cisgender women at their events. They are using the old “bone density and muscle mass from pubertal exposure to testosterone” excuse. Most sports organizations recognize that this is not good science. For sticking with prejudice rather than modern science, USA Powerlifting gets a TWIT. Outsports has this story.

If you’re a frustrated crossdresser or trans woman who is still in the closet please do not do what a 30-year-old man from North Carolina did. He went into someone else’s closet and put on her clothes. The incident happened at the University of North Carolina. A young woman was afraid her apartment was haunted after she heard noises from her closet. She opened the door to find a man who was wearing her clothes. He said, “Oh, my name’s Drew.” For frightening someone and wearing her clothes without her permission we award Drew a TWIT. Get the full story from Newsweek. Thanks to Jamie Roberts for the tip.

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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