The Week In Trans 4/30/18

| Apr 30, 2018
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Toni Newman

Toni Newman, a trans woman and former sex worker, has been chosen as the executive director of the St. James Infirmary, a non-profit reaching out to sex workers in the San Francisco area with health care needs, including hormone therapy for transgender people. Other services offered include HIV testing and counseling as well as needle exchanges. The Bay Area Reporter has this story.

The Palm Center released a report that uses the military’s own data to undermine the ban on transgender people serving in the armed forces. The data showed that 40% of troops diagnosed with gender dysphoria were able to be deployed to a continuing mission in the Middle East, and only one of them could not complete the deployment for mental health reasons. The Hill wrote about the report, while the entire report can be found at the Palm Center’s web site.

This week, Secretary of Defense James Mattis testified on Capitol Hill. Senator Kristen Gillibrand brought up the matter of the Palm Center’s report as well as the fact that the Joint Chiefs and Commandants of the five branches of the military had received no reports of problems with unit cohesion caused by the presence of transgender troops. Senator Gillibrand also noted that the American Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association, and American Psychological Association all said that there was no medical basis for the ban. This testimony was covered in the Washington Blade.

Senator Gillibrand also authored a letter to Secretary Mattis, which compared the ban on transgender people in the military to the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy for gay people in the military. The letter mentioned the fact that the Palm Center report found transgender troops ready and able to be deployed. Also mentioned was a letter from six military Surgeons General or the equivalent position, which found no medical reason for banning transgender people from the military. 49 members of the U.S. Senate signed onto the letter. Buzzfeed reported on the letter.

In his testimony to the Senate, Secretary Mattis mentioned that transgender troops had to make more visits for mental health than cisgender troops, but conveniently overlooked the fact that the military required several mental health exams before a service member could be diagnosed with “gender dysphoria” and get treatment. Secretary Mattis specifically mentioned depression and thoughts of suicide, and said that these disqualify someone for military service. But, this week, newly released data showed that the Army issued over one thousand exemptions to allow people with depression to join in the past thirteen months alone. This story appeared in USA Today.

Traci Baker

Traci Baker, a 20-year-old student, has been elected the state secretary of the Libertarian Party in Oklahoma. She is the first transgender person elected to a party office in the state, according to the AP.

The Trump Administration has said that it plans to overturn the rule which forbade doctors and hospitals from refusing service to transgender people, and which forbade health insurance companies from refusing to cover transgender care. The move is a part of ongoing efforts to chip away at the Affordable Care Act, little by little. The New York Times reported this story.

San Francisco’s Sheriff’s Department had established rules on trans, gender variant and non-binary prisoner treatment and the rules took effect in February of this year. Last week a challenge to the rules was brought to San Francisco Superior Court. The San Francisco Deputy Sheriff’s Association claimed that the transgender policy for prisoners violated the privacy of transgender deputies. What? The judge did not agree so the policies will remain in effect. Wrap your head around the facts in The Bay Area Reporter. Thanks to Ms. Bob Davis for the story.

Trans actor Jen Richards.

There are always fewer roles for actors than there are actors who are looking for work. That’s just a fact of the profession. For trans actors finding good paying roles is much harder. There are far fewer trans roles in television and movies. It’s a fact that the majority of plots don’t include trans characters. But things are improving for trans actors and more of them are gaining recognition. Learn more from the BuzzFeed website.

The Los Angeles Trans Wellness Center opened its doors this week. Ten years of planning and fundraising went into making this center come to life. They are focusing on physical and mental health, including hormone therapy and transition resources, as well as HIV testing and counseling. The opening was reported in the Los Angeles Blade.

Lisa Power

Lisa Power, a co-founder of Stonewall, has been awarded the Lily Summers Award for LGBTQ Activism by the Welch unit of the Labour Party. Pink News has more on Ms. Power.

A group of transgender women in Iran was harassed and sexually assaulted while police looked on. A disturbing video of the incident was shared on Twitter and can be found in the story on Gay Star News.

Transgender sex workers in Colombia have created their own newspaper. It covers health issues and security tips, as well as local events. It caught the attention of the Guardian.

A trans man is running for Assembly in District 42 of Nevada. LaDon Henry hopes to be the first openly trans legislator in the state. Henry is an Army vet and a small business owner. He is running in the primary in a heavily Democratic district. Learn more from the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Frank Sinatra’s hometown made the news last week and the story was pointed out to us by TGF reader Jamie Roberts. The mayor and the city council in Hoboken, NJ are making all restrooms in the city gender neutral. That includes public restrooms and restrooms in private business establishments. Learn why the city is making the move from National Public Radio.

Woman’s hockey in Sweden lost a star this week as Leon Reuterström retired at age 21. The goaltender announced he is transgender, and is retiring to transition. The Ice Garden gave us this story.

Trans men who want to bear children have to cut back on their testosterone. When their wives are trans women they have to cut down their estrogen treatments. Parenthood for trans couples involves a bit of regression to their previous genders so they can conceive a child. Read one couple’s story in The New York Times.

Adam Bell

Did you hear about the prom king who wore a dress? It sounds like the set-up to a joke (although actually, any joke that followed would likely be less funny than the set-up), but it happened in Greenville, South Carolina. Adam Bell was elected prom king at Powdersville High School. He wore a top and skirt from Victoria’s Secret. While not transgender, he is gay and wears drag to school. His story was covered by WVEC-TV.

Four years ago Stephanie Byers appeared before her music students at North High in Wichita and explained why the teacher they knew as a man was now dressed as a woman. Her students accepted her explanation and they got on with class. Last week GLSEN gave Beyers their National Educator of the Year award. Learn more from The Wichita Eagle. Jamie Roberts told us about more on the story from The Washington Post.

Nikko Nelson, Prom Queen.

In other prom news; A trans girl in Wisconsin became the first to be crowned prom queen. Nikko Nelson, who came out to her classmates at her eight grade graduation, was elected prom queen by her classmates last weekend. Learn more from PinkNews.

The Home Affairs Committee of the British Parliament held a hearing on newspaper coverage of transgender people. The editors of The Times of London, the Sun, the Daily Mirror, the Daily Express, the Daily Telegraph, and Metro all testified, and each defended his or her paper’s coverage, even when presented with particular stories that seem quite over-the-top and displayed a distinctly negative tone. This story was covered by Pink News.

Statistics Netherlands is helping a couple of researchers who are looking at outcomes of long-term use of transgender hormone therapy. Christel de Blok is a Ph.D. candidate researching whether estrogen therapy is linked to an increase of breast cancer in transgender women, while Chantal Weipjes is examining whether long-term use of estrogen leads to an increased chance of bone fractures. While the studies are still ongoing, the news here is that the researchers found a way to get the data that they wanted from Statistics Netherlands without violating patient privacy laws. Statistics Netherlands gave us this story.

Pageant contestants.

The Philippines is a country of stark contrast. While the Catholic Church teaches conservative morals there is a greater tolerance of LGBT people there than in other Catholic countries. While the local priest may preach against transgender people to his half filled church, just down the street in the village a transgender beauty pageant is taking place. In front of a much larger crowd. Learn more about trans people in the Philippines from The New York Times.

A group of transgender advocates have written an open letter to the World Professional Association of Transgender Health, asking them to make and enforce standards for surgeons seeking to join the group. The advocates ask that certain minimums of training be established before surgeons could join. This news comes from Out Magazine. The actual letter can be found here.

David de Alba, The Cuban Legend

Filmmakers from South Africa are producing a documentary on the talents of David de Alba. The film will follow David’s journey from his childhood in Cuba to his beginning days as a female impersonator in Chicago. Then on to San Francisco where he ran a beauty salon and performed at the famous Finocchio’s club. David always sang live, never miming to a background track. Fans will be happy to know that the filmmakers want to include short video statements about David’s singing and showmanship in their movie. Contact David to learn how you can contribute your video fan mail.

Alex Barasch did some research on famous movie scripts with a transgender character, and found that the scripts often described the trans women in the story with male pronouns. His research can be found in Slate.


In yet another of the stories about transgender people similar to those that prompted the investigation by Parliament, The Daily Mail ran a story this week in which they interviewed one psychiatrist who worried about the long-term effects of medications given to young transgender patients. She also claims that the NHS is “running scared” of telling patients that they should not get the medication. The very next day, the same paper published a story about a 15-year-old purchasing “DIY trans” medication over the Internet. The Mail must have been working on this story for a while, as the online pharmacy they used has since been closed. Still, on Sunday, the Daily News was upset that transgender people got medications without visiting a physician, while the day before, the same paper complained that it was too easy to get a prescription for those same medications from a physician. For obvious bias, the Daily Mail gets a TWIT Award. Pink News did a takedown of this story.

The Daily Mail also ran a story this week about Paris Bregazzi, a transgender woman who was given a lenient sentence last year but sent to jail for another incident. The headline makes mention of her being transgender as well as the light sentence she received last year, as though the two were related. For making false inferences that transgender people get treated better than others, the Daily Mail gets another TWIT. You can find this story here.

OneNewsNow ran a story about transgender people, entitled “Affirmation Isn’t Helping.” The author briefly cites a study in the Journal of Adolescent Health which recommends affirmation of a child’s gender identity, but spends most of the article praising Dr. Michelle Cretella for making the opposite recommendation. Dr. Cretella has been too busy giving out interviews to bother with having a medical practice. She opposes the advice of the American Medical Association, but has done no research to back up her opposition. Meanwhile, the study she disagrees with was peer reviewed, meaning that the study is methodologically correct. For choosing to ignore a valid study and the advice of the largest association of doctors in the nation, in order to side with someone who has done no research, OneNewsNow gets another TWIT Award.

In response to a bill in California which would ban conversion therapy for adults as well as children, several Christians have claimed that the bill would “ban the Bible.” Conversion therapy is never mentioned in the Bible, and moreover, the bill would ban person-to-person therapy, not books. For sheer audacity, everyone repeating that the bill would ban the Bible gets a TWIT. Zach Ford of Think Progress wrote a story about this.

Walt Heyer wrote in the Federalist against the bill banning conversion therapy in California, saying that without conversion therapy, he might have killed himself. Nice timing, Walt. It seems that a new study came out this week in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, noting that LGB children who belong to anti-LGBT religions have an increased instance of suicide ideation, even though religious believers in general have a lower instance of suicide ideation. So, Walt, you are contrary to the trend of transgender people being happier after transitioning, and you are against the trend again on this topic. For ignoring statistics which go in the opposite direction in order to promote his story as though it proves a point that it actually goes against, Walt Heyer gets another TWIT Award. Pink News has a story on the study from the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

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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