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The Week In Trans 5/21/18

| May 21, 2018
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Alexandra Chandler

Alexandra Chandler submitted enough verifiable petition signatures, so she will be the first out transgender candidate in Massachusetts. She will be in the primary against some political veterans, all hoping to fill an open seat in Congress. WHAV radio has this story.

Plaintiffs in the case of Doe v. Trump (against the ban on transgender people in the military which is being tried in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia) have filed a motion for summary judgment. Summary judgment would dismiss the case and give a win to the side which filed the motion. Defendants in the case have already filed a motion for summary judgment. The fact that both sides have asked for summary judgment does not mean that a trial is unnecessary in the case, as the two sides are far from agreeing on the facts. Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly may wish to have a trial so that she may determine what is true and what is relevant. You can read NCLR and GLAD’s press release.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has said that she will introduce an amendment to the Defense Appropriations Bill which would protect transgender people in the U.S. military. She told a reporter from the Washington Blade that her strategy is to “fight, fight, fight.”

As we noted last week, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Prisons has issued revised guidelines. The new guideline recomends using “biological sex as initial determination” in housing transgender prisoners, despite several court decisions to the contrary. But, according to Buzzfeed, the guidelines never define what “biological sex” means. ACLU attorney Chase Strangio notes that school boards first defined “biological sex” as the sex on the student’s birth certificate, until students started to get their birth certificates updated. Then, the term referred to genetalia, and when some students started to get surgery, it changed again to refer to chromosomes.

Jorden Blosser

Jorden Blosser is graduating from Pass Christian High School in Mississippi. The fact that he is graduating from high school with honors at age 16 is extraordinary itself, but moreover, he is a trans man who was able to attend a Christian school in Mississippi. His story can be found in the Gulf Port SunHerald.

This week, it has come out that the CDC has scaled back a program that collects health data relating to LGBT people. The program is a part of the Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System; the program will continue, but it will no longer collect data on how many LGBT people are in the program. A part of the reason is money; the CDC has seen its budget cut in part because of its interest in LGBT health. Pink News has this story.

A special business in Bogota, Columbia (frequented it seems by our Columbian contributor Katherine Diaz) offers a place for trans women to gather, mingle, and get dressed up. It’s called Tranxtienda and the owner is a trans woman who is working with the mayor to raise awareness of LGBT people in the city. Learn more about the shop and its customers from BBC News.

A member of Miss Tres.

A transgender trio from the Philippines made waves on Britain’s Got Talent last week. Miss Tres performed the Tom Jone song Sex Bomb and were likened to the Spice Girls. Simon Cowell praised them for having “real sass” and the judges were surprised when the trio revealed they were all trans women. Learn more from the Mirror.

ILGA has released its 2018 Rainbow Europe map. They have found that many countries in Europe are slipping in their support of LGB and especially transgender people. Scores ranged from a high of 91% for Malta to a low of 9% for Turkey. The press release can be found here, and the map itself can be found here. Pink News has a story about how transgender bashing in the media has contributed to Britain slipping in the rankings.

A new report from the U.K. government shows that social workers had a bias against families with transgender children. They too often felt that families which accepted their transgender children were abusing the children, and they failed to recognize the risks to transgender children that come from unaccepting families. This story was in the Daily Mail.

Victor Polster in “Girl.”

The Cannes Film Festival is under way. The Queer Award went to Girl, a film about a teenage transgender girl’s desire to become a professional ballerina. The star is Victor Polster, a cisgender boy who has studied ballet for years. Mr. Polster won the prize for best performance in the Unn Certain Regard section. Neither of the awards for this film are part of the Palme d’Or race. Reuters has this story.

A new poll in Australia showed that nearly 80% of the respondents felt that religious schools should not have the right to fire people for their sexual orientation or gender identity. The Guardian has this story.

The Transgender American Veterans Association, along with the World Professional Association for Transgender Health and the LGBT Bar, have announced the 2018 Transgender Military Summit being held in Washington, D.C. June 6-8, 2018. Among those speaking will be former Surgeon General of the U.S.A., M. Joycelyn Elders, M.D. and activist attorney Phyllis Randolph Frye. Get more info from the Windy City Times.

A trans woman in Washington state has sued the state’s Department of Veteran Affairs saying that she was denied employment with the department in 2015 due to her gender identity. The woman served in the Air Force from 1996 to 2005 and applied for a position as a desktop support information technology specialist. After two rounds of interviews she was turned down. Get more on the story from The News Tribune.

Two more transgender people were murdered this week. A transgender woman, Carla Flores-Pavon, was found dead in Dallas, the second transgender woman found dead in that area in as many weeks. Police have made an arrest in that case, and the suspect claims that the motive was robbery, not a hate crime. Also, Nio Fortson, a trans man, was found murdered in Atlanta.

Reverend Doctor Donald Anderson, the Executive Minister of the Rhode Island State Council of Churches, has decided to take a three-month sabbatical to transition gender. The Rhode Island State Council of Churches expressed support for Dr. Rev. Anderson. This story comes from WPRI-TV.

The Irish television network RTE aired a documentary entitled My Trans Life. The Irish Sun ran a story in which they introduced one of the people who were followed in the documentary.

Our Lady J

June is coming up soon. The San Francisco Pride Parade has announced Our Lady J as a celebrity grand marshal, joining special guest Gavin Grimm. This announcement can be found in The Bay Area Reporter.

Survivor won the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Reality Program, for its episode in which Zeke Smith was involuntarily outed. Timothy Chua points out in the Advocate disagrees with the award, saying that outing a transgender person is bad, even if the person says that it’s all right. He also points out that Zeke Smith really had little say in whether the incident made it to the air.

Apple, like Amazon, is looking for a place to call a second home. Both companies have solicited proposals, have reviewed the proposals, and have narrowed their search. Both have included the research triangle of North Carolina in their current lists. But, a group called “No Gay, No Way” has urged them to expand to North Carolina, saying that the legacy of HB2 is quite strong. Doug Parker, the CEO of American Airlines, says that these companies can have a big impact in a place like North Carolina, precisely because their views on LGBT issues are so different from those of the state’s political forces. The Raleigh News and Observer has a story about the issue.

Nicola Spurling

In British Columbia, Canada, a handful of trans teens got together with the leader of the Green Party to discuss issues affecting LGBTQ youth. Out of that discussion came a move to get the government to amend legislation around personal privacy and freedom of information in order to include gender neutral language and protections for people’s gender information. Nicola Spurling is a trans advocate and she has been monitoring the progress on these changes. At the moment she is frustrated since the bills are not moving. Learn more from

A study by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation found that fear and anxiety are high among lesbian, gay, and bisexual students, and especially high among transgender students. Dr. Ryan Watson, one of the researchers, summarized the findings, saying, “Despite the change in social attitudes, they’re still struggling.” The full report is here, and a story about it can be found in the Washington Post.

Transgender Studies Quarterly has come out with The Surgery Issue, an issue of the journal devoted to transgender surgery. The press release for the issue can be found at Duke University Press.

Haiti is not officially a Christian country but the citizens are very much influenced by religion. One of the things their religion has taught is that LGBTQ people are sinners. One couple is working to change Haitian’s attitude about that. Trans woman Yaisah Val and her husband are leading the effort to educate Haitians about trans people. Learn more about them and their courageous activism from the AFP news agency. Thanks to Jan Brown for the story tip.

The anatomy of the transgender brain has been a topic of research, and was the subject of a presentation at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association. A paper connected with that presentation is in the latest copy of Medscape Medical News.

Embera woman Yuliana prepares for evening.

Among the Embera people in Columbia a trans identity is considered a disease given to them by white people. This puts the trans members of the Embera in a bad position. Much like many trans people are forced to keep a low profile all around the world the Embera trans women can only get the freedom to be themselves if they move away from their people. But the twist in this story is where they go. Learn more from The Washington Post. Thanks to Jamie Roberts for the tip.

When Ira Halstead entered high school as a freshman they were being seen as female by their fellow students. During the next four years they went from thinking they were lesbian to finally realizing that they were gender fluid. This year Ira attended the prom, the first school dance they ever attended, and they showed their masculine side. Get the story in Ira’s own words from The New York Times.

It was a fairly slow news week, so Pink News ran a history of drag queens.

Are you a video gaming fan? Then have we got a game for you. It’s called Pink, White or Blue and it’s focus is on gender identity. In the game’s world you become a transgender character trying to cope with the rules of a binary world. Learn more from Gay Times.


Jazmina Saavedra is a candidate for Congress in Los Angeles. She was eating at Denny’s when she noticed a transgender woman using the restroom. She took it upon herself to chase the transgender customer out of the restroom, but made sure that she recorded the whole thing on her cell phone so she could share it with the world. The laws of the state of California allow a transgender woman to use the restroom that corresponds to her gender identity, and by chasing her out of the restroom, Jazmina Saavedra was violating the law. For bragging about an incident in which she broke the law, Jazmina Saavedra gets a TWIT Award. The Advocate has this story, and also a follow-up in which Denny’s announced support for transgender customers.

Bobby Rodriquez

A 21-year-old man from Texas who wears makeup when he goes clubbing was denied entry to a Corpus Christi nightclub. The doorman told him that since his I.D. said he was a male he couldn’t enter wearing female makeup. Bobby Rodriquez was told to take it off and he could come on in. Which he did but then he called them out on Facebook. The club says it’s not true but we’re giving The Whiskey River a TWIT Award. Learn more in Teen Vogue.

Some people in the Fort Worth, Texas, area are upset over the fact that a sixth-grade sex education textbook includes information on transgender people which the parents were not told would be covered in the class. There seems to be some opposition to the inclusion of gender identity in the class, perhaps based on the belief that if students never hear about transgender people, they will not become transgender themselves. For the belief that shielding students from information is a good idea, these parents get a TWIT. This story came from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Someone using the pseudonym Libby Downunder wrote a piece for the Spectator entitled, “I don’t like Safe Schools, so I’m a transgender traitor.” In the article, “Libby” claims that efforts to “demedicalise gender dysphoria in Western society” will end in a car crash, largely because most transgender youth will grow out if it if they are not given extra support. The study that showed so many “transgender youth” grew out of transgender feelings was deeply flawed, because it included many people who never said that they were transgender and because it assumed that anyone who could not be found at the end of the study had not transitioned. For relying on this and other bad data, Libby Downunder gets a TWIT Award.

The latest appointee to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom is Tony Perkins. Yes, that Tony Perkins. The man who believes trans people are mentally ill and no one can just pick a gender. On his radio show last week he compared trans people to a hypothetical, delusional “bird-man” who will go jump off buildings if he isn’t stopped by responsible people. Perkins is the guy who worked with VP Mike Pence to orchestrate the ban on trans people in the military. For his efforts to destroy the very idea of trans identities we give Perkins a TWIT Award. Learn more from Think Progress.

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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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