The Week In Trans 5/7/18

| May 7, 2018
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Mary Ann Horton

The Daily Beast ran a profile of Mary Ann Horton, a programmer and activist. As a programmer, she wrote the code for a program whose successor allows us to send email attachments. As an activist, she was fighting for the company she worked for to support transgender employees and to cover transgender-related medical care, then helped others to fight that same fight at other companies.

The Senate of the state of New Hampshire passed a bill outlawing discrimination against transgender people in housing, employment, and public accommodations. Since the bill had already passed the state’s House of Representatives, the bill will go to Governor Chris Sununu, who has said that he will sign it. Mark Joseph Stern of Slate noted that it was the Republicans of that state’s Senate who cast the deciding votes which made this legislation possible. The piece notes how this contrasts with the attitudes of the Trump administration.

The trans woman running for mayor in Texas, after holding the job by appointment, has lost her bid to become the first openly transgender elected official in Texas. Learn more about Jess Herbst’s loss from U.S. News.

The first drag performer to make it into the Top 10 on American idol was eliminated last week. Ada Vox performed Circle of Life from the Lion King and while this reviewer says it was stunning he felt it didn’t stand up to her performances earlier in the show which propelled her into the Top 10. Read the review and view a video of her performance on The Daily Beast website.

The Trump administration is ready to rescind the interpretation of Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act which says that denying a patient health care due to transgender status is discrimination on the basis of sex. The Washington Post has a story about how this is just the latest in a series of attacks on the rights of transgender people. Slate tells us that there is already a lawsuit against Wisconsin, asking a court to force the state to cover transgender health care, citing Section 1557 of the A.C.A. and the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The ACLU is also preparing to file legal documents when the Department of Health and Human Services makes its new interpretation public.

Mandy Manning

Mandy Manning, who teaches English as a second language to immigrant and refugee children in Spokane, Washington, was selected as the Teacher Of The Year in the US., an honor which includes a ceremony at the White House. She chose to attend the ceremony wearing various pins on her dress, including one prominently placed pin which read “Trans Equality Now.” This story comes to us from Pink News.

Luc Rizzaro, the policy counsel at the National Center for Transgender Equality, wrote an opinion piece for the Hill, explaining why protecting transgender people’s access to health care is about more than just fairness.

Dr. Michael A. Lindsey of New York University has released the findings of a new study, which shows that transgender people who are denied access to mental health treatment are at higher risk for substance abuse and for attempted suicide.


Prince’s public image tended toward the androgynous and many people wondered whether or not it was real or just branding. A 1997 interview with Prince seems to show that it was a combination of both. Read the pertinent excerpt on the Forbes website.

Scientists have been looking for a genetic component to transgenderism. After studying 14 trans men and 16 trans women, Dr. Ricki Lewis has found 20 genes which bear further study. This is ongoing research although the Daily Mail makes it seem as if it were further along than it is.

In a similar vein, BBC radio aired “What’s the Real Difference Between the Sexes?” as an episode of The Inquiry. It is available for listening or download on their website.

Harrison Browne

Harrison Browne has announced his retirement from the National Women’s Hockey League, again. He announced his retirement last year, saying that he wanted to begin his medical transition, but decided to return for one more season. He played on the Metropolitan Riveters this year, and his team won the Isobel Cup. (Last year, he was on the Buffalo Beauts, who won the Isobel Cup.) His retirement was covered by the Buffalo News.

The Justice Department has filed an appeal of District Judge Marsha Pechman’s court order extending her injunction against President Trump’s ban on transgender people in the military. This is the third time that the Justice Department has appealed an injunction preventing the enforcement of the ban on transgender people in the military. They lost both of their previous appeals. The Washington Blade has this story.

Meanwhile, the case in Judge Pechman’s court is in the discovery phase, and documents are being produced, and made public as they are entered into the court case. Zach Ford of Think Progress has followed this story. In his first story, he found that the medical experts said that transition would have minimal impact on deployability. The panel even heard from a soldier who had had three surgeries, but timed them well, and missed very little service time. None of the medical experts seen in the minutes presented any of the estimates of missed service time that are in the final report. In the second article, the memo from Secretary of Defense James Mattis to the panel makes it clear that the panel was very much expected to recommend banning service by transgender people, to the point that there is no mention of any other possible recommendation.

President Trump will be going to the United Kingdom in July on a state visit. Drag queens there are planning a massive protest over his presence in their country. The queens are mad at him for the military ban on trans troops and other negative moves the administration has made in regard to LGBT rights. Get the scoop from the Newsweek website.

Nikko Nelson, Prom Queen.

Nikko Nelson was elected prom queen at Homestead High School in Mequon, Wisconsin. The transgender student has been accepted by almost all of her classmates, although there were a few not-so-kind comments about her at the time of her election as prom queen. WQOW-TV has her story.

Samantha Allen of The Daily Beast wrote a piece about how journalists’ habit of trying to tell both sides of a story can make anti-transgender hate speech seem more reasonable than it is.

The Boy Scouts of America voted to accept girls as members last year, and this week, they changed their names. They will now be known as Scouts BSA. Meanwhile, the Girl Scouts are not going out of business, although membership is down. The Washington Post has this story.

Violet Chachki

Violet Chachki is more than an ornament on a shelf. Chachki has taken her Drag Race fame and built it into a career in fashion and music. She combines both those things in a new music video for her single titled A Lot More Me. And next week she’ll be one of the many queens on hand for DragCon 2018 in Los Angeles. See the full video and learn more about her, and next week’s event, from The Hollywood Reporter.

Two school districts in Oregon have decided not to participate in the Oregon Battle of the Books this year, and to have their own competition within the district instead. This is because the reading list for third, fourth, and fifth-graders includes the book George, about a fictional transgender student. Members of the two school boards say that the book’s subject would be more appropriate for older students. This story comes to us from Oregon Live.

Munroe Bergdorf

Munroe Bergdorf is featured in a documentary film titled What Makes a Woman? She is shown walking the runway during New York Fashion Week, having her brain scanned as part of a gender experiment and undergoes facial feminization surgery. Viewers in Britain will be able to see the documentary on Channel 4 on May 16. No word on when it will be available in the States. Learn more from Gay Times.

Sarah Brown is a former City Councillor in the U.K. who wants to get back into local politics. She was the target of some rather nasty remarks, including deliberate misgendering and an old picture from before transition. This story was covered by Pink News.

Susan Gapka

On a happier note, transgender rights advocate Susan Gapka received the key to the city of Toronto. She is one of seven people to receive this award this year, and one of 59 overall to receive the key to the city. The Toronto Star covers her rise from homelessness to this honor.

Having identification which matches your gender expression opens many doors for people, and it’s good for mental health as well. In Canada, a group of law students have formed an entity called Pro Bono Students Canada, through which they help transgender people deal with the government and get the identification that they need. You can read about their effort in the Huffington Post.

The Dallas Morning News has found that a group of black transgender people have an annual convention in Dallas. Many of those attending the convention have been abandoned by friends and family, and have created new family at the convention.

Trixie Mattel

Do you love drag queens but hate the techno dance music many of them produce? Well if so here’s a drag queen for you. Former Drag Race contestant Trixie Mattel is launching a career as a country-folk singer-songwriter. This past weekend she brought her act to New York City. Learn more from The New York Post.

Gay Star News introduces us to Liz Bourk, an opera singer who is also a trans man. He has not started testosterone, for fear of how it may affect his voice. He is working on a new opera entitled Tabula Rasa, along with composer Felix Jarrar and lyricist Brittany Goodwin.

Michelle Dennis

UCLA’s student newspaper, the Daily Bruin, went in search of Charles Dennis, the person who, in 1963, was the first one inside the Bruin mascot costume. They found that she is now Michelle Dennis, and teaching at UCLA. Her story can be found here. (The Bruin refers to Michelle by her deadname throughout their article. Courting a TWIT Award there Bruin.)

If you want an orchiectomy in Toronto, you could go to Women’s College Hospital and see Dr. Yonah Krakowsky. The story of how he went from an all-boys Orthodox Jewish high school to becoming a urologist who helps transgender patients is the basis for a story in Toronto Life.

Just as EZPass makes going through toll booths a lot less stressful for crossdressers other technological advances are helping trans people. If you live in a rural area and the nearest doctor who knows about trans issues is hours away it can be hard to get to appointments. Telemedicine changes all that by bringing you and the trans aware physician together online. Learn more from the NPR website.

Jacki Weaver, known for her portrayal of the mom in Silver Linings Playbook, is set to star in a film titled Stage Mother. The story is about a conservative Texas church-choir director who inherits her deceased son’s San Francisco drag club. She decides to go to San Francisco and the intersection of her conservative values with the world of drag causes comedy to ensue. Though set in S.F. the film will begin shooting in Canada later this year. No word on whether or not real drag performers will be cast in supporting roles. Learn more from Deadline Hollywood.

Nick Frank, one of the people in the project.

A Russian LGBTQ activist and filmmaker has collaborated with a photojournalist to produce a project called Not Necessary! Photos of seven agender people holding toys or stuffed animals they played with as children were taken and turned into a multimedia project. Learn more about the project from the NBC News website.


A group who opposes proposals to expand transgender rights in Chile put a banner on a freeway bridge saying, in Spanish, “Daniela Vega is a man. Truth comes before peace.” The banner has given proponents of the legislation a chance to make statements to the press, and it has given the government reason to investigate the group. Even so, the Social Patriotic Movement gets a TWIT Award. The Latin American Herald Tribune has this story.

Lee Bright, a former North Carolina state Senator, is running for the U.S. House of Representatives. He said, “You’re either a man or a woman — and if you’re confused, you’ve got an issue with mental illness.” His comment came at a candidates’ forum hosted by the Greenville County Republican Women’s Club. For disagreeing with medical science while not bothering to make an attempt to understand it, Lee Bright gets a TWIT Award. This story was found in the Greenville News.

A candidate for U.S. Senate in California used his space in the state’s voter’s guide for a screed against transgender people. He begins with the statement, “There is no such thing as transgender,” and goes on from there. You can find a photo of the entry at the Advocate The voter’s guide made its rules deliberately broad, so that candidates could have an opportunity to say whatever they want, on one issue or several issues. For using this platform to spread lies about transgender people, Don J. Grundmann gets a TWIT.

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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