The Week In Trans 3/6/17

| Mar 6, 2017
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Pechi Di

Two years ago we told you about the establishment of a modeling agency for trans people. It’s creatively named Trans Models and was started by a woman named Pechi Di who was looking for a way to get more modeling work for herself and wanted to also help the trans community. Her agency is doing big business and other modeling agencies are stepping into the trans modeling arena around the world. Learn more in The New York Times.

How many trans athletes are there? We don’t know for sure but there are most likely a good number. What we do know is that a few of them are famous. And its a good thing someone out there likes to make lists and keep track of them. See five famous trans athletes on the New Zealand Herald website

Juliet Evancho

Last week we told you that Jackie Evancho wanted Donald J. Trump to meet her trans sister, Juliet. While so far that has not happened there’s good news for Juliet. She has won her lawsuit against her school in the Pittsburgh, Pa. area and will be allowed to use the women’s restrooms. Learn more in Rolling Stone.

Speaking of trans restroom cases:

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case of Gloucester County School Board v. G.G., by his Next Friend and Mother, Deirdre Grimm on March 28.

Gavin Grimm

The Supreme Court asked both sides if they wished to continue the case of Gloucester County School Board v. G.G., given that the Trump administration has replaced the previous policy of the Department of Justice and the Department of Education. Both sides politely said that they would prefer to keep the case going, thank you very much. The Supreme Court could still decide not to hear the case anyway. Lawyers for the School Board have asked that the Court seek a statement from the administration on the matter. The ACLU wants to keep to the time table previously established. The Trump Administration’s views would be brought by the Solicitor General, but no one has been nominated to that job, and the Deputy Solicitor General, Noel Francisco, has recused himself from the case, due to past legal work on the issue by his former law firm, so asking for a formal statement would require a delay. This all comes from a story in the Washington Post. UPDATE: The Supreme Court on 3/6/17 declined to hear the case and sent it back to the lower court.

The Department of Justice has now filed a motion for voluntary dismissal of the case in a Federal District Court in Texas which arose from of the letter sent by the Department of Justice and the Department of Education last May. Attorney General Jeff Sessions says in the motion that neither his department nor the Department of Education will attempt to enforce the letter issued by those departments last May. The Washington Blade has this story.

Fanning in character.

An Elle Fanning film in which she portrays a young trans man was supposed to be released in the fall of 2015. Just three days before it was set to be released it was pulled by its distributor. The title of the film was About Ray and it starred Fanning, Naomi Watts and Susan Sarandon. The film is set to be released, finally, in May, and that may be a good thing. The director used the time to add some footage and the title was changed back to the original one, Three Generations. Learn more about the film in Variety.

John Oliver went after Donald Trump on the new guidance letter, after bringing up other issues, on Last Week Tonight. He defended the previous guidance, saying that there is “virtually no evidence” of sexual predators pretending to be transgender people. Then, he says, that Donald Trump has been a problem in restrooms and changing rooms. The Daily Beast has this story

The Trump administration’s new guidance on transgender students has at least one Republican critic in Congress. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida has a transgender son, so the issue strikes home with her. She spoke out to NBC News about the topic. She is planning to reintroduce the Student Non-Discrimination Act, which would prohibit discrimination in schools on the basis of gender identity.

A scary trans girl?

A ten-year-old trans girl demolished the administration’s justification for not letting trans girls use women’s restrooms with one well written protest sign and her cute, friendly face. Her name is Rebekah and she attended a rally against the roll back of trans rights with a sign that said “I’m the SCARY transgender person the MEDIA warned you about.” Get the story from Refinery29.

Hundreds of demonstrators showed up last Friday night to chant “trans lives matter” outside of Chicago’s Trump Tower. The demonstrators were there to show the Trump administration that they would not simply accept the loss of their rights. Get the story from the CBS Chicago website.

Last year, the Department of Defense issued an order that transgender children living on military bases could use the restroom facility which matches their gender identity. Sometime after the new administration came to power, that rule was changed. Now, principals and other officials will decide the matter on a case-by-case basis. This story comes from Military Times.

Sonnet, a Toronto-based insurance company, has a new ad in which a bride does her best despite rain on her wedding day. The bride in the ad is played by Joslyn DeFreece, a transgender actress. The ad caught the attention of Ad Week.

U.S. District Judge Mark Hornak has made a preliminary ruling that allows three transgender students in the Pine-Richland school district north of Pittsburgh use the restroom of their preferred genders. This is in response to a pre-trial motion, and the ruling shows that the judge feels that the students are likely to win the lawsuit. It also shows that the judge sees no clear and present danger from allowing the students to use the restroom of their preferred genders. KOMO News has this story.

Yelp has added a feature which allows the listing of gender-neutral restrooms in businesses. It will take a few weeks to get sufficient data, but the information should be available soon. CNN’s story can be found on Fox 17 West Michigan’s web site.

Researchers at the University of California (the campus at Berkeley) have conducted a recent study which shows that transgender and gender-fluid teens are significantly more likely to receive mental and physical abuse than their gender-conforming peers. That may seem obvious, but the study quantifies that transgender and gender-nonconforming students face “up to three times more” mental and physical abuse than other students. This makes them particularly vulnerable. The study also found that school-based bullying was the most common form of aggression these teens faced. They found quite a few instances of transgender teens who experienced at least ten instances of violence in the past year, and they found that transgender males are often the victims of such violence. This story is covered in the Daily Californian.

Cecilia Chung

Cecilia Chung is a trans activist in San Francisco who serves on the San Francisco Human Rights Commission and works as a senior strategist at the Oakland-based Transgender Law Center. In the 1980s she was a homeless teenager living on the streets in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District. That period of her life inspired a character in the ABC TV mini  series about LGBT people When We Rise. Learn more about her on the ABC 7 website.

Did you know that the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus has a Transgender Equality Task Force? (Perhaps the fact that there is a Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus is news to you.) The Task Force has a new chairman, Rep. Joseph Kennedy III. (Yes, he is a member of that Kennedy family.) The focus of the Task Force is restoring protections for transgender students and other protections that President Trump has taken away. Edge Media Network has this story. In a related story, Senator Chuck Schumer said in a press conference that Democrats will “do whatever we can to get him [President Trump] to reverse it [the new guidance]”. The Washington Blade took notice of this.

Congress is also moving to remove federal financial support from Planned Parenthood. As LGBTQ Nation reminds us, Planned Parenthood is a major provider of medical services for transgender people.

In Arkansas, a new bill has been introduced. House bill 1894 reads, “To require that birth certificates list the biological sex of an individual as determined at birth; and to prohibit amendment of a birth certificate to change the biological sex.” If taken literally, this could prohibit correcting an error made in recording the “biological sex” of a child. But, which biological sex will be recorded-chromosomes, genitalia, or other? KTHV-TV News has the reaction of transgender people to this bill.

Chyna Doll Dupree, victim.

At least three black trans women were murdered in Louisiana in less than a week. So far, at least seven transgender women have been murdered this year. The murder methods are not the same, leading to the conclusion that this is not the work of one person. The New York Daily News has the story.

Those same people who have been trying to gather petitions to put the state of Washington’s legal protections of transgender people on the ballot are still at it. This time, Just Want Privacy thought that they had a new group of people to sign their petitions — Muslims. However, the largest mosque in the state, the Muslim Association of Puget Sound (MAPS), has refused to give them permission to seek signatures on their property. Mahmood Khadeer, the president of MAPS, said, “If somebody comes for collecting those signatures, we are not going to subscribe to that because we are against any discrimination of that type.” This story can be found in the Daily Beast.

Ms. Hunter

Lourdes Hunter is a transgender activist living in the Washington, D.C., area. Last November, she was hosting a get-together with 20 friends when she was arrested. The arrest, for which the police did not have a warrant, came as a result of complaints of noise. Prosecutors eventually decided to drop the case, but now, she has filed suit against the Metropolitan Police Department. WJLA-TV took notice.

The United States is not the only place where transgender people have problems with the law. Police in Saudi Arabia have cracked down on transgender women. They arrested 35, two of whom died from beatings that they received while in custody. Eleven were released when they paid fines of roughly $40,000 (150,000 riyals, which is about 37,500 euros) each. This story is in Gay Star News.

Nicky Morgan, a British MP from the Conservative Party, will introduce legislation next week that will protect transgender people from having their names revealed publicly. Currently, records at Company House will reveal the former name of the director of a company. The new law, if passed, will prevent that from happening when the name change was part of a gender change. We learned of this from the Telegraph.

Dr. Preben Hertoft has passed away at age 89. He was Denmark’s first professor of sexology, and one of his interests was gender reassignment. He did a good bit of research on transgender people in general and Christine Jorgensen in particular. He even wrote a book about Christine Jorgensen, including a long interview with the lead psychiatrist in her case. His obituary is in The Local Denmark.

Melissa Griffiths

A trans woman “social entrepreneur” and author in Melbourne, Australia is co-author of a book of inspirational quotes for women by women that will be published later this year. Her name is Melissa Griffiths and she shared her personal story, which may sound familiar to many in the trans community, with Thrive Global.


A social-conservative Catholic group in Spain called “Hazte Oír” (“Make Yourself Heard”) has been pushing back against legal protections for transgender people. To promote their viewpoint (and their group), they painted a bus with the statement, “Boys have penises, girls have vulvas.” They then drove the bus throughout the Spanish capital this week, then to other Spanish cities, in an attempt to spread their message, as El País reports. The mayor of Madrid ordered the police to stop the bus, saying that it “did not meet rules on mobility and advertising.” (The city also prides itself as “inclusive and welcoming,” according to a municipal spokesperson.) For attempting to cause a disruption to spread such primitive science, Hazte Oír gets a TWIT Award.

In Guyana, a City Magistrate named Dylon Bess cleared out his courtroom before hearing the case of a transgender woman, even though she was not there on a matter which required such privacy. After the courtroom was cleared, the judge took evidence, then demanded the transgender woman before him to “dress like a man” when she returns to court. The judge has been told that all of this is unconstitutional. For making up the law as he goes along, City Magistrate Dylon Bess gets a TWIT Award. You can read the story in Demerara Waves.

Mark A. Hewitt, a retired Marine Corps officer, has written a new piece entitled, “Transgender in the Military: Still a Bad Idea.” He brings up the character of Corporal Maxwell Q. Klinger from the television show M*A*S*H, while not mentioning that the character was not transgender, but merely pretending to be transgender so that he could get out of the military. Hewitt still believes that being transgender means that one is mentally ill. He cites the one so-called expert who agrees with him: Dr. Paul McHugh. Dr. McHugh is not in accord with the majority opinion in psychology on this matter, but that is not big deal; Mr. Hewitt has his one expert, and that makes his opinion valid. For using an “expert” who is so often disputed by others in the field, Mr. Hewitt gets a TWIT. You can find his writing in the badly-titled American Thinker.

Andrew Pierce of the Daily Mail wrote a piece in which he complains of what he calls “gender fascists” who form a transgender lobby that, in his opinion, is making too many demands. The example he cites is a story in the Sun which says that the RAF will get rid of skirts on women’s dress uniforms so that they don’t offend trans men. Never mind the fact that the RAF has made no such public announcement and that a spokesman has said this proposal is merely in the discussion stage. Even if it were true, it would be the RAF taking an action in hope of attracting more trans men, not transgender people demanding a particular action from the RAF. (Heck, the skirt on the dress uniform might attract more transgender women. Ever think of that, RAF?) For going into a full-blown rant over something that wasn’t true, Andrew Pierce gets a TWIT Award. His column can be found in the Daily Mail.

Bryan Fischer, a conservative radio bloviator, wrote an editorial entitled, “Donald Trump did not remove ‘protections,’ he reinstated them.” First off, the new guidance comes from his Attorney General and his Secretary of Education; his signature is not on the letter. Secondly, the new measure simply kicks the matter down the governmental chain, without requiring any particular action one way or another. How can this possibly protect students when their school could well keep the policy of the previous guidance? Moreover, what he says that students need to be protected from is a policy that allowed “boys to go into the girls’ bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers any time they wanted.” That was never the policy. For spreading lies based on a knowledge of science that stopped at the third grade, Bryan Fischer gets a TWIT Award. His article is in Renew America.

When a trans student at Guilford College was sexually  assaulted last Tuesday night the responding police were slow to arrive and laughed at and misgendered the victim. The college was also slow to send out a warning to the campus that an assault had occurred. A TWIT Award goes to the police and the college for their poor response. Thanks to Jamie Roberts for the story. You can read it on the Inside Higher Ed website.

Editing and additional material supplied 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.

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  1. ceciliab ceciliab says:

    An update: On Monday, March 6, the Supreme Court announced that they would not hear oral arguments in the case of Gloucester County School Board v. G.G., despite the fact that both parties wanted the Court to decide the matter. Additionally, the Supreme Court overturned the Fourth Circuit Court decision which sided with Gavin Grimm.

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