The Week In Trans 3/19/18

| Mar 19, 2018
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RuPaul Andre Charles

RuPaul has said the thing that inspired him to become a drag performer was a poster of Jane Fonda as Barbarella from the film of the same name. Last Friday Jane Fonda officiated at the presentation of RuPaul’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It’s the first time a drag performer has been so honored. People from far and wide are offering RuPaul condragulations. Get the story from Jezebel.

A recent study concludes that genetic variants may account for the existence of trans people. In other words we are born this way. The story is behind a registration wall for the Sunday Times that requires you to leave your name and email address before being granted access.

The Trump administration has been called out by U.S. District Court Judge Marsha Pechman for not providing information in the case against the ban on transgender people in the U.S. military. The administration is trying to claim that they do not have a policy while at the same time they are trying to get rid of all transgender people in the military. This story was covered by Bloomberg News.

Rex Tillerson was fired as U.S. Secretary of State, and Mike Pompeo was nominated to replace him. As Evan Urquhart points out in this article in Slate, this could be bad news for transgender people, as Mike Pompeo is outspoken in opposition to LGBT rights, and the State Department has been allowing transgender people to change the gender designation on their passports without proof of surgery. It also could be a sign that the U.S. will turn a blind eye to abuse of LGBT people by foreign governments.

Max Brennan

Judge George L. Russell III of the U.S. District Court in Maryland has ruled that keeping a transgender student out of the locker room at school is a violation of his rights under Title IX of the Civil Rights Act. A part of the problem was the extra time it took to go to a gender-neutral restroom to change, making the student, Max Brennan, late for gym class, unless he attended in his street clothes. But, if he attended in street clothes, then his grade would go down. Think Progress has some analysis of the decision. TGF reader Jamie Roberts found the story in The Washington Post.

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus and Representative Byron Cook convened a panel, and that panel has made its report on the idea of a bathroom bill. They argue that such a bill would be terrible for the local economy. Proponents of a bathroom bill say that the panel was picked to come up with this result, and that they ignored or downplayed concerns for privacy. The San Antonio Statesman has this story.

Shannon Daniels

Shannon Daniels, the principal of Stanley School in Sampscott, Massachusetts, will not have her contract renewed for next year. Although the initial reaction to the principal’s coming-out message seemed to be positive, it was said that parents gave the principal a vote of no confidence a couple of weeks ago. WBZ-TV has more on this story.

When a transgender woman went to visit her brother in a Louisiana prison, the officers of the prison made her strip and show her genitalia before they allowed her to leave. That woman, China Nelson, has filed a lawsuit. This story comes from My Plain View.

The Labour Party of the United Kingdom is facing a legal challenge over the inclusion of transgender women on women’s short lists and in spaces reserved for women. The Guardian has the story of how this topic was taken to the next level.

Baroness Jenny Jones, the only member of the House of Lords who identifies with the Green Party, was criticized this week for retweeting a message which obliquely compares reform of the Gender Recognition Act to child abuse. Baroness Jones says that, while she does not support the changes to the Gender Recognition Act, she did not realize that the tweet was referring to child abuse. This story comes from Pink News.

For the first time, the government of Pakistan has issued drivers licenses to transgender people. Fifteen transgender people in the province of Khyper Pakhtunkhwa were the first to receive permission from the government to drive. The very first license was given to transgender activist Farzana Jan; it lists her gender as “X.” Gay Star News covered this story.

Ariel Hawkins

According to TMZ a trans woman in Oregon has sued the dating app Tinder. Ariel Hawkins says that shortly after she added her trans status to her profile she got a message from Tinder saying her account was closed for violating the app’s terms of service. But, it must be noted that she not only identified herself as trans but also stated she was a “cam girl.” That’s a woman who makes money by doing erotic webcasts. Perhaps that was what upset Tinder because their official stance is that it’s okay to mention in your profile that you are trans or gender non-conforming. Read about it on the Independent website.

New words pop up from time to time, and while some stay, some do not. A story in Telesur about the trial looking into the murder of transgender-rights activist Diana Sacayan in Buenos Aires, describes the crime as “transvesticide.” As the word is in quotes within the original, it seems likely that this is a term that the court is using. It seems to be describing a charge of a hate crime based on gender identity.

A teen in the Miami area committed suicide, and left a note apologizing to her mother for the decision. The Miami Herald not only ran a half-page obituary of the teen (paid for by the family), but also ran an article profiling this transgender teen.

Twins from Spain have been sharing their gender transitions on Youtube for half a decade. In the first video, they introduce themselves as Lucía and Natalia, but shortly thereafter, they refer to themselves as Lucas and Mateo. This week, they were profiled in El País.

Kenny Jones

There is a company in the U.K. for women who are uncomfortable buying products to deal with their monthly periods. It’s called Pink Parcel and every month they deliver tampons and “treats.” No idea what the treats are but maybe chocolates? To promote their service they made a series of video ads featuring women talking about how they felt about their periods. Being inclusive they did one ad with a trans man, model Kenny Jones, who talks about how his period made him very uncomfortable. Learn more from the People magazine website.

A team from the University Hospital in Essen, Germany, gave a follow-up survey to 156 transgender patients. They found that overall there were high levels of satisfaction with the outcome after gender confirmation surgery. This contradicts the experiences of people like Walt Heyer and others who obsess on the few who experience regret. Asian Age has this story.

While more medical insurance plans cover gender confirmation surgery, a surprising number of patients still use cash to pay. This study feels that the increase in the number of such surgeries has to do with the availability of surgeons as well as the fact that insurance is willing to pay. This story appeared in Business Insider.

A team in Brazil have discovered that transgender people’s brains have a physical layout which is not the same as cisgender people’s brains. This particular study looked at the insula, an area of the brain that is used for self-identity. Scientific Reports wrote up the findings of this study.

Brazil is also in the news for making it easier for trans people to change their gender markers on identification documents. They will no longer have to undergo medical procedures and submit to a judicial review of their gender choice. Learn more from Human Rights Watch.

Trans teacher Alison Tippett.

With the conservative backlash against trans people how do trans teachers cope ? They are in very public jobs and have to interact with people’s children. Do they fear losing their jobs due to prejudice against them? NPR has surveyed 79 educators from the U.S. and Canada and complied a report on what trans teachers have to say. They are encouraging trans teachers to send them selfies and make some comments about teaching and their gender identity. You can find more information here.

At a time when the head of Britain’s most recognized charity for transgender children and their family is receiving online abuse, Britain’s top Catholic cardinal has come out in opposition to allowing children to change genders. He claims that children are too young to understand gender, despite the fact that his Church feels that second graders have enough understanding of theology to have communion. This story comes from the Daily Mail.

Two groups within the Vatican, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Congregation for Catholic Education, are said to be preparing documents on “gender theory” which will be released in the coming months. The document from the Congregation for Catholic Education is said not to “enter the heart of the debate,” but rather to stress “important educational principles.” The document from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is said to go deeper. The announcement of these upcoming documents was greeted with anticipation by LifeSiteNews.

In a follow-up to an old story, a trans woman in Philadelphia was denied a name change in 2016 because she had been convicted of a non-violent felony. An appeals court ruled that transgender people are entitled to a swift name change, and the matter was sent back to the original court. This week, that court released records which show that that trans woman was granted her name change on February 14. Philadelphia Gay News reported this story.

Vickie and Tom Maxwell have donated their historic St. Louis home to a local transgender advocacy group, the Metro Trans Umbrella Group. The couple have a transgender daughter, and felt that this would be a great way to use their old house. This story comes from The St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

TWIT

Paris Lees

Paris Lees appeared on a news-and-interview program called The Wright Stuff. During a discussion on the pay gap between males and females, Anne Hegerty was asked by Ms. Lees if she believed that there was an “old boys club at the top.” She replied, “No, no, not really. Well, you used to be a boy, you’d know that.” The comment caused an outpouring of negative responses on social media. For general insensitivity, Anne Hegerty gets a TWIT Award. This story was covered in the Sun.

Jorge Zermeño is the mayor of a Torreon, a small town in the Mexican state of Coahuila. He is making all transgender people in the area carry “health” ID cards which out them as transgender, and which say that they are sex workers. This may come as a shock to you, sir, but there are transgender people who have jobs that do not involve sex work. For condemning a group of people without bothering to get facts, Jorge Zermeño gets a TWIT Award. This story is in Telesur.

David Davies, a Member of Parliament in the U.K., convened an event in the House of Commons in London, which was called “Transgenderism And The War On Women.” The event hosted by a group in Parliament called We Need To Talk and it was one of those distinctly one-sided discussions which featured such enlightening topics as, “Men can’t become women, what’s so difficult about that?” For expecting others to change their minds when you won’t open your own, David Davies and We Need To Talk get a TWIT. Pink News was present at the event and filed a report.

Fox News is alleging that grants from the National Endowment for the Arts which are designed to encourage playwrights to tackle transgender issues in their work are somehow part of a left-wing conspiracy. The NEA is granting $25 million dollars to what Fox calls “liberal projects” and it’s got them worked up. They are further incensed that a $40,000 grant is going to a theater group supported by Rosie O’Donnell. Just because she stands up to President Trump when he calls her names doesn’t mean she’s part of a conspiracy. Oh the horror! Encouraging the arts. No good will come of that in Fox’s opinion, and that gets them a TWIT Award. Read the rest of their take on the grants on the Fox News website.

In a letter to the Daily Mirror’s “agony aunt” column, a trans woman complains that her boss reassigned her away from her job as a cashier to other duties in the supermarket after she came out as transgender. The response of the column is that doing so violates the laws of the United Kingdom. However, whoever wrote the headline paraphrased the problem as, “I want to live as a woman but my boss won’t accept me cross-dressing at work.” First off, crossdressing (with or without hyphen) is not what transgender women do. Secondly, that is not quite the situation here anyway — she can dress, but was reassigned away from customers. For misunderstanding the situation, the headline writer gets a TWIT.

There’s at least one TWIT Award in this one. A woman in Florida named Neldin Molina went to dinner at the Hamburger Mary’s in Tampa Bay. She claims she had no idea that there would be a drag show and she wasn’t warned by the staff or any notices posted that drag performers would appear. When she heard music and applause she turned around and looked. Then she went back to her dinner and committed an unpardonable sin at a drag show. She didn’t pay attention to the performer, one Miss Amanda D’Rhod. D’Rhod tapped her on the shoulder and when the woman turned she had her face pummeled with D’Rhod’s falsies. No doubt a big laugh for the crowd but Molina claims she developed excruciating pain and had to go to the hospital. She’s suing the performer and the club. A TWIT Award to Molina for not paying attention to where she decided to eat, and a minor TWIT to Amanda D’Rhod for not just letting this one go. Read the story on the Pink News website.

The National Enquirer and Radar Online ran articles stating that flamboyant fitness guru Richard Simmons, who was mysteriously out of the public eye for some time, had been missing because he is trans and was having gender confirmation surgery. Simmons, who is not trans, took umbrage at the reports and sued the publications. Simmons objection to the articles included how awful it was for the papers to say he had such “shocking surgery” and made it seem that he thought being identified as a trans person would open him up to all sorts of hatred and contempt. An indication of how he might feel about trans people in general. He lost the case when the judge ruled that misidentifying Simmons as a trans woman wouldn’t rise to the level of “defamation” since there’s nothing bad about being trans. He ruled that Simmons has to pay the papers $130,000 to cover their legal fees. There’s a TWIT Award for Richard Simmons to pick up anytime at TGF Tower. And yes, the National Inquirer and Radar Online get to share a TWIT Award for their stories. Read more about it on the NBC News website.

Hether Bruskell-Evans and Michele Moore edited a book entitled Transgender Children and Young People: Born In Your Own Body. Rachel Pain reviewed the book. The authors in the book identify themselves as “gender critical feminists,” but most of us would call them trans-exclusionary radical feminists. According to the review, the first message of the book is that “transgender children do not exist.” This conclusion comes from the fact that “transgenderism. . .reinforces traditional gender binaries, propping up the patriarchy.” That, according to these women, shows that the idea of being transgender is put into these children’s minds by someone else. For never questioning an outdated premise that wasn’t universally true when it was new, these writers get a TWIT Award.

Lake Ingle was expelled from Christianity 481: Self, Sin and Salvation at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. After showing a fifteen-minute TED talk by a transgender woman, Paula Stone Williams, who talked a good bit about “white male privilege” the instructor opened the floor for discussion, with the stipulation that the first comments should come from women. After half a minute passed with no one speaking, Lake Ingle objected to the video, and particularly to the fact that the speaker was transgender. Said Mr. Ingle, “I took this opportunity to point out the official view of biologists who claim that there are only two biological genders.” First off, biologists generally do not claim that gender is biological, and certainly do not claim that gender is found in chromosomes. For speaking from ignorance while claiming to speak authoritatively, Lake Ingle gets a TWIT Award. (Mr. Ingle claims that the instructor said that there were 72 genders, which is likely not what the instructor said; the instructor would not equate sex and gender so carelessly.) The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette had this story.

TWIT is assembled by Cecilia Barzyk with additional content and editing by Angela Gardner.

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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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