The Week In Trans 2/6/17

| Feb 6, 2017
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Anjali Lama

Nepalese trans model Anjali Lama has taken her historic walk down the runway at the Lakmé Fashion Week in Mumbai, India. She became the first trans model to appear in India’s premiere fashion event. Learn more about her and how she left Nepal to become a sought after fashion model on the CNN Style website.

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case of Gloucester School Board v. G.G. on March 28. It is uncertain if Neil Gorsuch will be on the Supreme Court at that time. A justice who is not present for oral arguments by tradition will excuse himself (or herself) from voting on the case. If the justices split evenly, the highest court decision stands. In this case, that would mean a victory for Gavin Grimm. A decision for Gavin Grimm would likely be based on the Department of Education’s interpretation of Title IX, an interpretation which the Department of Education may abandon soon. The Huffington Post has this story.

President Trump this week announced that he would not sign an executive order overturning President Obama’s 2014 executive order that required companies which fulfill government contracts to have an LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination policy. As Dallas Voice reports, many people are skeptical about the news, since President Trump has surrounded himself with many people in his cabinet who have a bad track record regarding the LGBT community. The Washington Blade got reaction from various people who are high up with LGBT groups. There is continuing speculation that President Trump will sign an executive order in support of “religious freedom” which would allow people to “express their religion and express areas of their faith” as regards same-sex marriage, pre-marital sex, abortion, and transgender status. While he did not deny that an executive order on “religious freedom” was forthcoming, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer acknowledged that there is a balancing act between “religious freedom” and LGBT rights. You can read Mr. Spicer’s remarks here. There is also a story about the Religious Freedom executive order in The Hill.

Courtney Act

Australian drag star Courtney Act accepts being called a drag queen but prefers to be called gender queer, which she feels is somewhere between a political and personal statement. Like many living the gender fluid lifestyle Courtney spends a few days a week as a guy named Shane and mostly dresses up as Courtney for work assignments. But she did say se sometime leaves the house in a dress for “sexual reasons.” Learn more about her, like that fact that her fan base is 50% young women, on The West Australian website.

Speaking of drag queens: RuPaul’s Drag Race will return with season nine later this year. The show has contributed to the careers of many drag performers over the years and this year new talent will be fighting to take the top spot on the show. View and promo for the new season and read the list of contestants on the A.V. Club website.

The Boy Scouts have announced a new policy. They will now accept applicants based on the gender stated on the application, rather than the sex listed on the birth certificate. As the North Jersey Record notes in an editorial, this means that Joe Maldonado can indeed rejoin his Cub Scout pack. While The Washington Post applauds the move by the Boy Scouts, The New York Times reports that the move received quite a bit of backlash from the usual spokespeople on the right.

Jess Herbst

Last May Jess Herbst became the mayor of the small town of New Hope, Texas. New Hope is a suburban community north of Dallas. (You may feel free to insert a Star Wars joke about “A New Hope” here.) This week, Ms. Herbst wrote an open letter to her constituents on the town’s web site. In the open letter, she told them that she is transgender. She is now the highest-ranking transgender elected official in Texas. She has also sent some words at Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, regarding Senate Bill 6, which he has heavily supported. You can read more in the Texas Observer.

South Dakota’s version of the “bathroom bill” has been withdrawn by its sponsor. While the bill could be reintroduced later in the legislative session, South Dakota’s version of HB2 is not on the legislature’s agenda. This story is in The Edge.

The town of Tralee, Ireland, created a bit of a donnybrook this week when officials said that only cisgender women were allowed to compete in its well-known beauty pageant, The Rose of Tralee. Some opposition arose, and eventually, the organizers announced that there is no ban on transgender women becoming contestants for the title of The Rose of Tralee. The Irish Sun has this story.

San Francisco is designating a neighborhood as the first transgender historic district. Located in the Tenderloin area of Market Street the district will be called Compton’s TLGBT District. The name Compton’s refers to the site of the historic Compton’s Cafeteria Riots of 1966. That’ when a group of trans women got angry enough at police harassment that they fought back. Learn more about the designation on the Outlook website.

Paula Sophia Schonauer

An Oklahoma City retired police office, who was the first openly trans woman to serve with the city’s police department has been given an award. Paula Sophia Schonauer got the Hero of Hope award from her church. Read more about her on the News 9 website.

A recent court order in Britain keeps a transgender woman from seeing her five children. The woman broke away from her ultra-orthodox community, of which her wife and children are still members. Justice Peter Jackson concluded that there was too high a risk that “these children and their mother would be rejected by their community if they were to have face-to-face contact with” the transgender woman. While this is an unusual situation, it did come up this once. This story can be found in the Independent.

Laurie Frankel has written a new novel, This Is How It Always Is. The novel had its inspiration in the author’s male-to-female transgender child, although she tells interviewer Rachel Martin, “The nice thing about my life is that it’s pretty boring, which is really how you want your life to be — but not how you want your life to be. So in fact, this really is. . .very, very made up.” You can read highlights and listen to the interview on NPR.

Dr. Rumer

Hahnemann Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania has launched a gender confirmation surgery program. The program is under the direction of Dr. Kathy L. Rumer and will follow the WPATH standards for those seeking surgery. For more information on the program and Dr. Rumer read the story in the Philadelphia Gay News.

Naoko Ogigami and Kumi Kobata are two female independent filmmakers in Japan. They have worked together for a decade, and now, they are creating a new film called Close-Knit, which tells the story of a transgender woman and the man who loves her. Also, the man’s niece comes to live with them. The Nikkei Asian Review has this story.

The headline in USA Today says, “As concerns mount over LGBT rights, study shows lack of protections.” The article opens with the fact that the executive order that President Obama signed requiring federal contractors to not refuse to hire LGBT people is still in effect. (President Trump says he won’t revoke it, but he might not put any effort into enforcing it.) They then mention a new study from the think-tank MAP, which shows that the LGBT community is being shortchanged at the state level. USA Today notes, “Twenty-three states — almost half the nation — have more laws on the books that harm rather than help transgender people.” The article goes on from there to note the lack of ID that matches gender identity, trans workers fired or not promoted because of their gender identity, and transgender people denied service, harassed, or assaulted in public. You can find the article here.

Sarah Huckman

Sarah Huckman is a transgender sophomore in rural New Hampshire. She is on her high school’s cross country and track and field teams. It hasn’t been easy for her as most of her schoolmates know that she is transgender. She has won their respect. You can read her story at Freedom New Hampshire.

You might think that all of President Obama’s appointees would have been turned out by the new administration but that is not the case. Some are appointed for a fixed period of time and will fill out their position for that time. One such is a member of the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, 82-year-old Barbara Satin. Ms. Satin recently spoke to a Minnesota church on the subject of trans aging. Learn more in the Isanti County News.

Empress Murray-Ramirez

The Imperial Court of San Diego held their 45th coronation this past weekend. The International Imperial Court System is a network of 68 local charitable organizations that host annual coronations and raise money for charity. Learn more about them and the San Diego event on the KPBS website.

The Keystone Conference has opened early registration. If you plan to attend the conference this year it’s best to get registered early since they often are full to capacity. The event takes place in Harrisburg, Pa. March 22–26. Visit their website to sign up.


Some handbills have appeared around Vancouver. The handbill say, “Mr. Trudeau: In order to be a Feminist, you have to believe WOMAN means something.” These oppose bill C-16, which would protect people from discrimination on the basis of gender identity. Whoever wrote this does not realize that the bill has already cleared the House of Commons, where Mr. Trudeau is the leader. It is now in the Senate. It also appears that the people behind the handbills might not realize that there are plenty of trans men these days. Where once female-to-male transgender people were perhaps 1/10 as common as male-to-female, that proportion is now more like 1/4 or 1/3. (It is possible that this is not ignorance, but rather, the people behind this have no problem with trans men.) The people responsible for these handbills get a TWIT Award. You can read about this in Daily Xtra.

A group called Texas Values has created a web page entitled, “Six Essential Facts About Senate Bill 6 (Texas Privacy Act). They begin with a picture of a girl holding a sign to which text has been added. The text says, “It’s common sense, men shouldn’t be in locker rooms with little girls.” The fact that Texas Values cannot distinguish transgender women from men says quite a bit about the level of understanding that they bring to the issues. Their first “essential fact” is, “SB 6 protects the privacy and safety of our schoolchildren.” Such protections would mean more if there were a genuine threat to the privacy and safety of schoolchildren. Their second “essential fact” is, “SB 6 keeps men out of little girls’ restrooms.” Well, it would say that men have no legal right to be in there. But the bill does not put anyone into the restroom to enforce it. So, really, it only keeps law-abiding men out of the “little girls’ restrooms.” But, law-abiding men would be quite unlikely to go into the “little girls’ restroom” in the first place. Their last “essential fact” is, “All citizens may file a written complaint with the Attorney General under SB 6 when they feel their privacy and dignity is being violated in a restroom or changing area, and the AG’s office has the power to investigate those complaints and sue entities which violate women’s and children’s rights.” So, if you are a woman who feels threatened by some woman who does not look feminine enough to make you feel safe, you can tell the Attorney General’s office about it. In the unlikely event that the AG’s office can actually discover what happened, they will realize that there was no violation of the law, only a misidentification of someone who had a legal right to use that restroom. More likely, the AG’s office will be unable to figure out just what happened. For passing off ignorance as “common sense, Texas Values gets a TWIT Award. Their page is here.

According to The Federalist, we are all overreacting to this whole “religious liberty” thing. “Trans and post-abortive people” will still have health care. It says so right in the headline. Much of the article talks of Judge Reed O’Connor’s decision which blocked the transgender provisions of the Affordable Care Act, so apparently, that doesn’t prevent transgender people from getting health care, either. All of that would be true if one defines “health care” in a way that does not include care for gender-related issues. If the author does not think that we should treat gender issues as a health concern (despite the fact that untreated gender issues increase the probability of a suicide attempt), how should we treat them? The article is written by a social worker who admits to using a pseudonym; he gets an anonymous TWIT Award. Here is a link to the article.

We all have heard about the special edition on transgender people. But the Czech version replaced some of the articles with local content, and trans-rights advocates say that the local content was not trans-friendly. The activists complained that the new articles represented a missed opportunity to educate, and they complained that the articles from the English-language edition were badly translated, to the point of insulting transgender people. The people who put together the Czech version of this National Geographic magazine get a TWIT. Gay Star News has this story.

One principle of governing is, “Nothing about them without them.” What that means is that legislators at least consult a group that will be affected by legislation, and they listen to their concerns. The input from transgender people on Texas’s Senate Bill 6 is shamefully low. For producing legislation aimed at others without listening to them, Texas Republicans get a TWIT. This story is in Dallas Voice.

There is a fake news story going around the web that has been frightening already worried trans women. The story, which is fake, says that President Trump is going to make it illegal to be trans, and fake quotes the president as saying “If You Were Born with a D*ck, Your [sic] a Man Period.” President Trump has tweeted many things but he didn’t tweet that sentence. The story comes from a fake news site called TMZHipHop. For scaring trans people for no good reason we are awarding them a totally real TWIT Award. Read more about the fakery on the Snopes website.

A Listserv for women’s studies has run into problems with people threatening to boycott the online discussion because it is including too much information on trans identities. The kerfuffle kicked off when there was a call on the list for panelists to discuss “pregnancy without women.” Of course that can only happen with a trans man who has kept his female reproductive organs. Thanks to Jamie Roberts for the tip to this story. Those scholars who can’t wrap their heads around the idea of men getting pregnant are winning a TWIT Award. Read the article in Inside Higher Ed.

TWIT is edited and additional stories are added by Angela Gardner.

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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 (1)

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  1. KoolMcKool KoolMcKool says:

    >All of that would be true if one defines “health care” in a way that does not include care for gender-related issues. If the author does not think that we should treat gender issues as a health concern (despite the fact that untreated gender issues increase the probability of a suicide attempt), how should we treat them?

    No one should be forced to pay for trans care. If a company or organization wants to do so go ahead. Transgenders don’t realize how weak, and I mean WEAK, their image becomes with this pursuit of subsidized transition.
    By the way I also believe all this talk of trans suicide if you don’t pay for my SRS is nonsense, both statistically and psychologically. I always speak with pride in the company of others that no one should be expected to pay for my transgenderism.

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