The Week In Trans 4/2/18

| Apr 2, 2018
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A power outage crippled TGForum World News Headquarters early Sunday evening leaving our staff idle and in the dark. We apologize for the delay in bringing you today’s New Content. And now, the news.

Much of the news this week was about the new, updated policy banning transgender people in the U.S. military.

  • Mark Joseph Stern of Slate said that Vice President Mike Pence wrote the new memo on transgender people in the military, with some help from Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council and Ryan T. Anderson of the Heritage Foundation. All three are known for anti-transgender biases. There was much speculation that Secretary of Defense James Mattis was essentially overruled in the matter, but if so, he has since gotten on board with this memo. While the White House at stated that the new memo was all the Pentagon’s doing, the Pentagon has since admitted that both the White House and Justice Department were involved in drafting the new memo.
  • The Washington Bladereports that none of the Joint Chiefs of Staff were so much as briefed prior to the imposition of the new ban. This explains why, just hours before the new policy was put into effect, the chiefs said that they support the transgender people serving in their branches of the military.
  • Joshua Matz, a constitutional lawyer based in Washington, D.C., wrote an editorial for the Washington Post in which he said that the new policy is quite like the old policy, and should be subject to the same legal scrutiny. Four district courts have imposed stays on the previous versions of the ban. He also fits this into a larger pattern of animus.
  • Dominic Holden of Buzzfeed News argues that there is no written policy on transgender people in the military at the moment. This comes from the fact that neither the Justice Department or the Pentagon would cite such a policy. However, both were deferring to the court decisions, saying that existing stays prevent the new policy from being enacted.
  • The new policy was filed in the court of Judge Marsha Pechman of the Wester District of Washington State. She was quite critical of the timing of the new policy, which gives little time for review in the schedule of the case. Moreover, Judge Pechman criticized their method of argument and their lack of factual underpinning for what argument they make. The Stranger and Stars And Stripes both covered this aspect.
  • None of the four federal court judges hearing cases on the ban of transgender people in the military have lifted their temporary injunctions. Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of the U.S. District Court for Washington, D.C., has given both sides until April 6 to amend their lawsuits i light of the new memo, which means that the cases are about to go forward as planned. This aspect was covered by the Washington Post.
  • Professor Art Leonard notes that the new memo does mention sources to support its conclusions, but the sources seem to be chosen to support the conclusion, rather than to inform it. While the courts do traditionally give deference to the president as “commander in chief of the military,” it will be interesting to see if they do so this time.
  • More than 20 retired generals and admirals signed on to a statement condemning the latest iteration of the transgender ban and the attitude behind it. This was covered by The Hill.
  • Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) said on Face The Nation that she believes that anyone who can meet the physical fitness requirements should be allowed to serve in the military. She serves on the Armed Services Committee of the U.S. Senate. The Hill also has more on her.
  • Stars And Stripes ran a profile of a Chief Warrant Officer 3 Lindsey Muller, a transgender pilot with the U.S. Army. The article bears the title, “From pride to fear, transgender aviator says her military career proves ban wrong.”
  • Media Matters for Americanotes that this is another instance in which the Trump White House has relied on anti-LGBT hate groups for assistance.
  • In light of the new memo, the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association reminded people that they disagree with the findings of this panel. A story about this can be found in Think Progress.
  • A new poll from The Economist and YouGov found that 49% of Americans surveyed think that transgender people should be allowed to serve openly in the military, while 34% oppose transgender people in the military. The Hill has the results of this survey, which was conducted from March 25-27 (just after the new memo came was submitted to the court).

Two top lawyers have stated that they have disagreements with President Trump and his White House. Ted Olson, who argued Gore v. Bush at the Supreme Court and later was Solicitor General under President George W. Bush, told Andrea Mitchell that there were several reasons why he would not take on President Trump as a client, among them turmoil at the White House. The New Civil Rights Movement notes that, later in his interview with Andrea Mitchell, he stated that he “very, very strongly” disagrees with President Trump over the ban on transgender people in the military. Diana Flyn has been chief of the Civil Rights Division Appellate Section of the Justice Department, having joined that section during the Reagan administration. She was planning to stay until she retired, but has now decided to quit the government and work for Lambda Legal. She will begin working with Lambda Legal in May, Buzzfeed News reports.

Lambda Legal is going to court in an attempt to force Ohio to amend birth certificates for transgender people. Ohio, Tennessee, and Kansas are the three states that do not have a policy of amending or issuing a new birth certificate when a transgender person asks. This story comes from Metro Weekly.

This week marked Transgender Day of Visibility. Saint Louis Public Radio ran a segment in which they interviewed two older transgender women about what visibility means to them. The Australian Broadcasting Company ran a profile of Nicole Garraway of Alice Springs, whose transition was made easier because the local remote control car club accepted her new identity. The Baltimore Sun had a story on being a supportive parent to a transgender child, from a parent of a transgender child. The Dallas Morning News ran a piece about a transgender grade school child, Libby Gonzalez, by her mother, Rachel, who says she refused to move her daughter out of Texas to transition. Jeanne Talbot wrote an article for the Huffington Post entitled, “You might be shocked by what two principals said about my transgender daughter.” (Spoiler alert: it’s not bad stuff.) Brynn Tannehill wrote a piece for the Huffington Post about real transgender visibility in challenging times for transgender people. And WZZM-TV reports that the Blue Bridge in Grand Rapids, Michigan, was lit in blue, pink, and white for the occasion.

The U.S. Census Bureau has released its list of questions, and the census will not ask if anyone in the household identifies as LGBTQ. At one point, that was on a list of potential questions, but it was later removed from that list, and it was said that the question was not being considered. NBC News has this story, whose timing is odd, coming so close to Transgender Day of Visibility.

Sad news. Amia Tyrae Berryman was shot to death in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, this week. She is the seventh transgender person murdered in 2018. The Advocate wrote about her death.

In health news, a large study of transgender children found that the use of their chosen name is associated with a significant reduction in depression and suicide attempts. “We showed that the more contexts or settings where they were able to use their preferred name, the stronger their mental health was,” said Professor Stephen T. Russell of the University of Austin, the study’s lead author. EurekAlert has the press release, and Zack Ford of Think Progress has a story on this study.

In other health news, CNBC ran a report on the increase in gender confirmation surgery. They name increased insurance coverage and the Affordable Care Act as reasons for this increase. Broadly at Vice reported on several advances in transgender health. A story in Politico talks of what changes to the Affordable Care Act could mean to transgender people. And another new study shows that testosterone injections in trans men do not increase their estrogen levels. The full study can be found here, while a summary is here.

Leslie Mumford, a SWAT team coordinator in Summit County, Colorado, has just become the first transgender woman selected to attend the FBI’s National Academy. Approximately 200 law enforcement agents from across the country are selected for each 10-week training course, which is held in Quantico, Virginia. This story appeared in the Summit Daily.


Peppermint from RuPaul’s Drag Race will become the first transgender woman to headline a Broadway show when Head Over Heels appears on Broadway later this summer. She is currently with the show in out-of-town tryouts in San Francisco, where KGO-TV has her story.

Maavia Malik has made a first as well. She is the first transgender woman to present the news in Pakistan. This event was covered in Free Press Kashmir.

Emmet Cummings of Center Point, Iowa, wanted to participate in Boys State, a civic education program put on by the American Legion. But, he was told that the program was not open to transgender boys. KCRG-TV reports that the American Legion has had a change of heart, and Mr. Cummings will be allowed to attend the event.

A scholarship program was created at Ryerson University in Toronto, specifically for transgender women of color. It was created in memory of Sumaya Dalmar, a trans woman from Somalia who was murdered in Toronto. The scholarship will be given to one student each year for five years. The Canadian Press story ran in the Toronto Globe and Mail.

Jay Inslee, the Governor of Washington, signed the legislation which bans conversion therapy in that state. Ten states now ban that practice, reports Metro Weekly.

A teacher in Rocklin, California, who was the center of controversy when she read I Am Jazz to her kindergarten class, has been named teacher of the year by the California Charter Schools Association. While reading Jazz Jennings’s book was not the reason for giving her this reward, it was mentioned by The Sacramento Bee, which also notes that some conservative groups were critical of the award.

Joey Matele

A new film documenting the life of a transgender person in the island nation of Tonga made its debut in London. It is called Leitis in Waiting, and follows Joey Matele, a devout Catholic and of noble descent, as she goes about her life. This attracted the attention of Radio New Zealand.

Venice Allan, a prominent feminist who has lately acquired a reputation for being anti-transgender, has been suspended by Twitter. The social media network has not addressed the specifics of her suspension, but they do say that the reasons for suspending an account are impersonation, spam, or abusive behavior. Pink News has this story.


Captain Hannah Winterbourne of the Royal Army of the United Kingdom married actor and director Jake Graf, who is a consultant to the Labour Party of Great Britain on transgender matters. Both of them are transgender. One of the local papers, the Sun, gained some not-positive publicity for their story on the issue. While the couple praised the positive and inclusive tone of the story itself, they were less happy with the headline which accompanied their picture on the cover of the newspaper, which read “Tran and Wife.” The writer of this headline gets a TWIT Award. Gay Star News has this story.

Dr. Kenneth Zucker was once the head of the Family Gender Clinic at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto. He was let go when it was pointed out that his methods were quite out of line with current thinking in the field of gender studies. He as invited to speak at Western University in London, Ontario, at a conference on child and youth gender identity in the near future, CBC News reports. For inviting a person who was removed from his position to speak as if he were an authority, the organizers of this conference get a TWIT.

TWIT was assembled by Cecilia Barzyk with editing 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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