The Week In Trans 5/29/17

| May 29, 2017
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Tamara Adrián

World OUTGames IV happens in Miami, Florida from now through June 4 and one the events is a talk titled Sex, Gender and Sports: a remaining space for discrimination. The speaker presenting the talk is Tamara Adrián, the first trans politician ever elected to office in Venezuela and only the second member of a national legislature in the Western Hemisphere. Learn more about her and the games in the Miami New Times.

The number of transgender surgeries performed in the United States rose 19% last year over the previous year, according to statistics released by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. This statistic includes everything from facial feminization surgery (and its equivalent for trans men) through breast augmentation or reduction surgery to gender confirmation surgery. This story is in Business Insider.

The Texas state legislature continues to mess around with the idea of a bathroom bill. The Senate passed its version early in its session (as evidenced by its designation SB6). Last Sunday, the state’s House of Representatives took up the measure, and they amended it so that it only applied to restrooms, locker rooms, and changing rooms in public schools. That sent the measure back to the Senate, which refused to take up the amended measure, and instead appointed a conference committee to hash out their differences with the House. The Texas legislature’s session for 2017 ends on Memorial Day, although Lt. Governor Dan Patrick has threatened to call a special session of the legislature to continue work on the issue. The San Antonio Statesman has this story.

The NBA moved the 2017 All-Star game out of Charlotte as a protest of North Carolina’s HB2. The NBA felt as though their local team, the Charlotte Hornets, deserve to host the game, so the league is using HB142 as a reason to award Charlotte the 2019 All-Star game. This follows the NCAA removing its sanctions against North Carolina. Many think that the state has not undone HB2 enough to warrant such treatment. One such opinion piece appeared in Think Progress.

Asifa Lahore

The Muslim drag queen we have reported on before in TWIT has come out as trans. Asifa Lahore announced to the world on May 2 that she began questioning her gender identity around two years ago and concluded that she is a woman. While she is happy to be living her true gender openly it did not come without a price. Her husband could not accept that she was going to be a woman all the time, not just onstage, and he left her. Read about it in GayStar News.

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was asked at a House subcommittee hearing if she thought that schools with anti-LGBT policies should be eligible to receive vouchers that pay for tuition. She replied that that is a decision that is best left to the states. The question involved a specific school in Indiana. You can read about it in Education Week.

You may recall the story of the mother who was suing the state of Minnesota for allowing her child to transition without her consent. She demanded that she be consulted, and that the state turn over her daughter’s medical records. This week, a judge issued a verdict in the case. It seems that in Minnesota, consent for a medical procedure is only needed from a parent with whom the child is living. Since EJK is not living with her mother, she does not need her mother’s permission to obtain hormones. Go Minnesota has this story.

Perry’s backup queens.

Did you catch Katy Perry’s performance on Saturday Night Live on May 20? Both of her numbers featured backup dancers who were New York City drag performers and club kids. Brenda Dharling was one o the performers who appeared with Perry and she talks about doing the show in Billboard Magazine. Read about it and view video of one of the songs on their site.

While the transgender rights movement has had some success, transgender people are still not as accepted as one would have wanted. A new poll by YouGov shows that 27% of people said that they would not be friends with a transgender person. Only 20% said that they were open to dating a transgender person. Samantha Allen tells us what those numbers mean in an article for the Daily Beast.

In a continuing story, the transgender woman whose testicles were removed by an amateur surgeon has said that she will not press charges. The man who performed the surgery, James Pennington, is still charged with practicing medicine without a license, a charge which stems precisely from this incident. KUSA-TV in Denver has this story, as well as a letter from the transgender woman in which she explains why she asked Mr. Pennington to perform the surgery.

Kate Lynn Blatt

On May 18 a federal judge in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ruled that trans people are not categorically barred from protection und the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ruling came in the case of Blatt v. Cabela’s Retail, Inc. in which a Ms. Blatt alleged that her former employer made her use the men’s room, refused to give her a name tag with her female name, and would not let her wear a female uniform at work. Since gender dysphoria can be considered disabling the judge said it could be included under the protection of the ADA and the lawsuit can go forward. Get the legal details from the Lexology website. More can be found on the Vice website.

PrEP is a medicine devised to help HIV-positive patients deal with the virus. It has also been given to people who are HIV-negative but are at high risk for exposure to the virus. To date, those doing research into the use of this medicine as a presentative have not looked at transgender patients specifically. They have just begun to treat transgender people as a separate category from MSM (men who have sex with men). This should make it easier to see if there are trans-specific issues (e.g., interactions with hormone therapy). HIV-Plus has this story.


Jill Soloway gave an interview to The Guardian. In the interview, the writer and director of Transparent talked about coming out as non-binary. Soloway’s takeaway quote, which is used just below the headline, is, “The words male and female describe who we used to be.” Soloway says that being called pretty feels like “a strange insult.” You can read the interview here.

This week brought work of a gender-fluid officer on London’s Metropolitan Police force. The constable has two cards one issued to “Callum” and the other to “Abi.”The constable can choose which card to use on any given day. This story can be found in Pink News.

Some people say that a certain campaign poster for the in Britain is transphobic. It features a mash-up of Nigel Farage’s face imposed on Theresa May’s head, with the catch line, “Elect her, get him.” The intended implication of the Liberal Democratic Party’s poster is fairly obvious–the Conservative Party is going to implement at least some of the policies of the UK Independence Party, a group who are seen as well out of the mainstream of politics. Unfortunately, especially with the image, some see it as a slap at transgender people, even though that was never the intent. Gay Star News has this story.

Laerte Coutinho

Laerte Coutinho is a cartoonist in Brazil. She came out as a crossdresser in her 50s, and five years later, admitted publicly that she is transgender. She is also the subject of a new documentary for Netflix. The Latin American Herald-Tribune has a story about her and the film.

Accusations of transphobia were also issued for the Central Student Association of the University of Guelph in Canada, who played Lou Reed’s song, Walk On The Wild Side during an event on campus. Some say that the lyrics of that song are transphobic. Others do not see transphobia in the lyrics. The Central Student Association issued an apology to anyone who felt it was offensive. This story is covered by Pink News.

Belgium has joined the list of countries which no longer require sterilization to change gender. There are still some roadblocks in the new law, but there are certainly fewer than were in the old law. IGLA Europe has this story.

Transgender Europe has a series of maps showing which countries in Europe still require sterilization as well as which still require a mental health diagnosis for transgender people. The article can be found here.

“Santa Muerte” is Spanish for “Holy Death.” That name is given to a skeleton saint, which is found in Mexico. It seems to be a cross between Catholicism and the pre-Columbian native beliefs. Santa Muerte is popular among the transgender people of Mexico, according to an article from Religion News Service, which can be found in the Houston Chronicle.

Some transgender children are coming to grips with their gender identities at younger ages. The Asheville, North Carolina, Citizen-Times published a story of Emma, a kindergarten student, who has transitioned her gender. The story can be found here.

There are more and more stories of students who transition, and occasionally we find a story about a teacher who transitions gender. Here is a story of a principal who transitioned gender. The principal is Lark Doolan of Peninsula Union School District in California, where he is also superintendent of the district. He says that his story is not different because he is transgender, but because he is openly transgender and kept his job. You can find his story in the Lost Coast Outpost.

Jeena and Felix.

Sometimes, transgender people have relatives who are also transgender. Consider the case of transgender siblings. They are still siblings, but the older brother is now the older sister, and the younger sister is now the younger brother. They are Jeena and Felix, and their story can be found here.

A diner on 17th Street in Philadelphia is closing. It’s been called Little Pete’s since the 1970s, but in 1965 as a part of the Dewey’s coffee shop chain, it was the site of a bit of history. Although one of the sister coffee houses in the chain was quite LGBT friendly, the 17th Street restaurant was not. It became the site of a sit-in, on two separate nights. The first time, three non-violent protesters were arrested. When the police were called back a few nights later, no one was arrested. The lack of arrests sent a message to management, who became more tolerant of LGBT people. This bit of history, which predates Stonewall or the Compton’s Cafeteria incident, can be found in Philadelphia Gay News. (Editor’s Note: Little Pete’s, where this editor has had a few meals and was tolerated, will be closing in August.)


West Virginia State Senator Robert Karnes was asked if his proposed revenue plan accounted for the potential loss to the state if the Affordable Care Act was replaced by the American Health Care Act. His response was that any shortfall could be made up by allowing some providers to refuse certain treatment for Medicaid patients, and his example was “transgender surgery.” West Virginia’s Medicaid plan does not cover transgender surgery. For saving money by cutting something that was never paid for, Robert Karnes gets a TWIT Award. You can read about this in the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

A group of state legislators in Minnesota wrote a letter to state Department of Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius, saying that her department’s resources are being wasted on a “toolkit” for “advancing a progressive social agenda” which promotes “confusing” ideas of gender identity and fluidity. Students are not as confused about gender identity as are some politicians, who believe that the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and medical researchers are all wrong because their findings do not agree with what the politicians “know” in their gut. For not listening to experts, these politicians get a TWIT Award. The Grand Forks Herald has this story.

The Illinois Family Institute is not happy that the state of Illinois is making it easier for transgender people to change their birth certificates. While the legislation is stalled in a committee at the moment, the IFI still ran a story on it. They call it the “falsifying birth certificate legislation,” Their story has been deleted from their website, but not before Google cached the page. Illinois Family Institute, you get a “TWIT.” The article can be found here.

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TWIT is complied by Cecilia Barzyk and edited by Angela Gardner who supplies additional material.

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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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