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The Week in Trans 5/15/17

| May 15, 2017
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Cuban queen Lulu.

When most people think of Cuba they think of Havana, cigars, and old American cars from the ‘50s. While all that can be found in the country just 90 miles off the coast of Florida you might not expect to find drag queens there. But, drag will always pop up, and Cuba is no exception. The Cuban city most don’t think of, Santiago, located on Cuba’s southeastern coast, is a center for the Cuban LGBT movement and it has a number of drag performers. Learn more in The Washington Blade.

Psychology Today has published a well-researched piece exposing the American College of Pediatrics as a social conservative group that strongly opposes LGBT rights but poses as a professional group for doctors. The magazine felt it necessary to expose the group because their name implies a legitimacy that their policies do not contain. According to the article, “Their reports have gained traction, despite clear criticism from expert physicians in the field.” You can read the article on Psychology Today’s web site.

The Log Cabin Republicans have come up with a policy proposal to help transgender students in schools, and it is quite reasonable. Their white-paper calls for more single-person-occupancy restrooms in school, adequate locks to insure privacy in multiple-stall restrooms, and curtained areas in locker rooms and changing rooms. All of these are low-cost solutions. They sound good, because they are precisely what schools do now when they support a transgender student. The most obvious thing missing is the ability to force teachers and administrators to support transgender students beyond these physical accommodations. The Washington Blade has this story.

Pageant founder Miss Ellaneous.

In September the northern Australian city of Darwin will witness the crowning of Miss First Nation in the world’s first pageant for indigenous drag queens and sistagirls (a name for Aboriginal trans women). Launched by drag queen Miss Ellaneous, the event will showcase the talent of local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander queens and trans women. Learn more in The Advocate.

Schools in Berkeley, California, have made a commitment to supporting transgender and gender non-conforming students, and that commitment goes well beyond restroom access. Teachers and administrators do what they can to protect all students from discrimination, bullying, and harassment. This story can be found in Berkeleyside.

Although some schools and some school districts are doing their part to accommodate transgender students, not all are doing well at it. For that reason, Gavin Grimm and his lawyers are hoping that his lawsuit will be allowed to continue after he graduates. Officially, they tell the court that the suit is relevant because, even after he graduates, he may come back to the school for various events, and they can still impose the restroom laws on him then. WAVY-TV has this story.

Texas has run out of time to pass an anti-LGBT law in this year’s legislative session. The proposal to supersede local nondiscrimination ordinances did not advance out of the committee in the House of Representatives in time to be put onto the schedule before the end of this year’s legislative session. The Texas Tribune has this story.

18-year-old Michael Floyd won election to his local school board in suburban Houston this week, just before graduating high school. He was inspired to run because he disagreed with the local superintendent, who said that if the schools accommodate transgender students, “legalizing pedophilia and polygamy” would come soon after. This story can be found in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Gina Roberts

It’s well known that many trans people are members of the Democratic Party and the DNC has several members who are trans, including our own Babs Casbar Siperstein. The Republican Party does not have many trans members in public roles. Their most visible member among trans people has been Caitlyn Jenner. Jenner recently stopped supporting President Trump over his failure to do good things for LGBT people. Jenner is not the only trans Republican though. Gina Roberts is a trans Republican and she supports President Trump saying he will be the best president for trans people. Read an interview with Roberts in the Times of San Diego.

The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund will be hosting their TLDEF Freedom Awards in New York City on June 8. The host for the awards ceremony will be writer, TV host, and trans advocate Janet Mock. The event brings together 300 people for a fabulous cocktail party benefiting the fund. It will be held at the Manhattan Penthouse on 5th Avenue. Click here for ticket information.

A transgender cadet at West Point and another at the Air Force Academy will be allowed to graduate with their classmates, but neither will be allowed to serve in the military. While the Pentagon is allowing transgender members of the military to stay in the ranks while they transition, they have not yet adopted a policy for allowing transgender recruits to join the ranks of the military. USA Today covered this story.

Cadets Canada, a program for joining the Canadian military, has developed a policy for accepting transgender cadets. Their policy, which accepts transgender people in their preferred gender, is quite similar to the policy of the Canadian armed forces. The Vancouver Sun has the story.

Sarah Palegic

When you’ve got drag in your blood nothing will stop you from pasting on those oversize false eyelashes and hitting the stage to strut your stuff. Not even being a paraplegic — and a cisgender woman — can stop you when you are called to be a queen. Sarah Pelagic may be the only drag performer who fits that description and she has been accepted by the drag community of Boston and Providence. Learn more about this “lady queen” from the Out website.

A transgender woman has lost a disability case against Aetna Life Insurance Company, but at least one detail of the case is quite interesting. It seems that the woman was claiming that the refusal to cover a breast augmentation procedure led to issues that made her unable to work. However, the company claimed that the procedure was “cosmetic” on the grounds that she already had “average-sized” breasts from hormone therapy, and therefore the augmentation procedure was not “medically necessary.” The judge agreed with the company. This story is in Bloomberg Business News.

The United Kingdom is having a parliamentary election soon, and there is some concern that transgender and gender-nonconforming people will have a difficult time voting — to the point where some will just not bother. Some information about transgender people, including their national insurance numbers, are held especially private (labelled “protected”), and that makes it impossible for them to register to vote. Further, some local officials don’t know how to deal with this situation that transgender people can find themselves in. Trans people are being asked to out themselves in a public place in order to register to vote. Gay Star News has more on this.

Morgane Ogre

Morgane Ogre has lost her bid to become a member of British Columbia’s provincial legislature. While the absentee ballots have yet to be counted, and she is currently fewer than 600 votes behind the leader, she admits that she is almost certainly not going to overtake the incumbent when all votes are in. Metro has this story.

Amendments to the law in the Netherlands have made it easier to change gender, and may citizens have taken advantage of the new law. The new law does not require a letter attesting to sterilization before a legal gender change can be granted, and the number of people applying to change gender increased substantially. While the change in regulation will bring out several people who transitioned years ago, there will still be an increase in the number of people applying. You can find this story in Dutch News.

The city council of Lethbridge, Alberta, voted recently to paint a crosswalk to resemble the LGBTQ+ rainbow flag and another to resemble the transgender flag. The painting will occur prior to the local gay pride parade, and the Lethbridge Pride Fest Society will pay for the painting. The Lethbridge Herald has this story.

Chief Pasatino

Argentina has a new chief of police, and she is transgender. Analia Pasatino was a federal police officer for twenty years before transitioning. At the time of her transition, she quit her job as a police officer, amid pressure from psychiatric reports that labeled her “unfit to serve” because she was transgender. Now, a decade later, attitudes have changed, and Ms. Pasatino was welcomed back to the federal police force, as chief of police. The Washington Post has this story.

The island nation of Taiwan has appointed a trans woman to become a member of the nation’s cabinet. Audrey Tang left Taiwan to start a company in Silicon Valley, and now she is in charge of overseeing the nation’s high-tech sector. At 36, she is the youngest member of the cabinet, but her biggest attraction was her lack of political involvement prior to this. She is profiled in The Los Angeles Times.

In Nepal, 40-year-old Badri Pun was thrown off the local ballot he had qualified for because he is listed with the government as “third gender.” It seems that the position he was seeking is specifically set aside for a female candidate, and neither males nor third-gender persons are allowed to hold the position. Gay Star News has this story.

Argentina has become the world leader in giving trans people full rights. It’s no longer necessary to undergo judicial, psychiatric and medical procedures before changing gender identity or physical gender. Having surgery to change your legal gender is not required. The new gender law passed the Senate with a 55-0 vote. Learn more in the Wisconsin Gazette.

Teagan Widmer

Teagan Widmer is a trans teenager. Her parents, Kris and Debbie Widmer, struggled with the news when Teagan came out to them, but finally came to accept their transgender daughter. What makes this story interesting is that Kris Widmer is a Seventh-Day Adventist pastor. There is a film about them on Vimeo, and they gave an interview to LGBTQ Nation as well.

College of the Holy Cross might not sound like the sort of place where you would expect to find a transgender studies program, but in fact, they have one of the biggest archives of transgender history to be found anywhere. They have digitized articles from newspapers and magazines, and have appointed assistant professor of English K.J. Rawson to administer the archive. The hope is to create a “comprehensive digital database of transgender history.” You can find more about this at the Telegram.

An op-ed in a respected medical journal discusses the future of trans coverage in the USA. The author details the current state of transgender awareness and tells his readers, physicians all, that there are almost 1.5 million trans people in the U.S. He then goes into information about how health insurance companies cover conditions specific to trans people and projects what things will be like in the future. Thanks to Susan Lee for the tip about the article. You can find it in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Voters in Philadelphia, Pa. will have the opportunity to vote for a man who could become the first trans man to be elected to the bench when they go to their city’s May 16 Democratic primary. Henry Sias, the co-founder of Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity is running for a seat on Pennsylvania’s trial court, the Court of Common Pleas. Read an interview with Sias in The Huffington Post.


Richard Simmons is suing the National Enquirer over a cover story which claimed that he was undergoing a gender change. He made it clear that he feels that there is nothing wrong with being transgender, but the story happens to be false, and he feels that they should be exposed for not telling the truth. This story can be found in The Washington Post.

Apparently headgear matters to trans women in law enforcement. At least that’s what the police department in Northamptonshire, England believes. They think the old bowler hats that women were required to wear were discouraging trans women from joining the force. They are tossing out their old headgear, helmets for men and the bowlers for women, and giving everyone baseball caps. While the caps are reinforced with an internal frame will they offer as much protection as the old male helmets? At least the female officers will no longer have to sport bowlers. Maybe that will attract not just trans women but all those who have a passion for fashion, and law enforcement. Get the story from The Telegraph.


Israeli researchers studying RNA have found that the transmission of genetic instructions to cell structure and maintenance differs between men and women. The research did not even touch on what happens in the body of a transgender person, but that did not stop at least two people, Mat Staver and Pete Baklinski, from concluding that this study “destroys ‘transgender’ arguments.” No one ever argued that all transgender people possess the sex chromosomes of the gender with which they identify, although some do have intermediate types. The only people who make that argument are those who are creating a straw-man to destroy, and creating that straw-man is a logical fallacy. You can find Pete Baklinski’s TWIT Award-winning piece here, and Mat Staver’s TWIT Award-winning piece is here.

A group of trolls tried to enter a computer game competition for women at the Electronic Sports League. When the league would to let them join, despite their claim that they were transgender women, they told Buzzfeed about it, and Buzzfeed got all upset that transgender women were not allowed into this gaming tournament for women. It was revealed this week (by Inforwars, of all places) that the group, who call themselves The Rigatoni Family, were actually not transgender women, but men. The perpetrators say that this was a prank they were pulling “for laughs,” but some have made some serious accusations from this. For not thinking about the consequences of their actions, the Rigatoni Family get a TWIT Award. You can read about the incident at Gay Star News.

A Catholic school district in Canada had booked a play in five elementary schools. The play, titled Boys, Girls and Other Mythological Creatures, only saw one performance before it was suddenly canceled at the other four schools due to “scheduling conflicts.” The story is about an 8-year-old boy who has an imaginary world in his basement. He transforms into all sort of creatures. Apparently some of the transformations dealt with gender and caused the school district to deem the plot inappropriate. (This from a religion with priests who wear dress-like garments.) That gets them a TWIT Award. Learn more in the National Catholic Register.

TWIT is edited by Angela Gardner who also supplied additional material.

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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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