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The Week In Trans 7/16/18

| Jul 16, 2018
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Babs was present (L.) as Gov. Murphy signed the bill into law.

In New Jersey the process for legal gender change is about to be streamlined thanks to a new law easing restrictions on changing the gender designated on a birth certificate. The “Babs Siperstein Law,” is named after the trans advocate and TGForum contributor whose blogs you have read here for the past several years. Babs is on an extended leave from her blog due to illness. We hope she will be able to resume her blog soon. Read about her law in New Jersey Jewish News. View a video on Facebook of Babs in the legislature while the vote was taken.

Lawyers for the U.S. Department of Justice have filed a new petition with Judge Marsha Pechman in the case against President Trump’s ban on transgender people in the military. The lawyers for the Department of Justice say the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the travel ban shows that animus behind the policy is unimportant, and therefore they should not have to produce documents showing the attitude of President Trump towards transgender people. Even if they do not have to produce the documents about the President’s attitude, the ban itself is problematic, as it resulted from no known study by the military. Bloomberg News has this story.

Samantha Allen of the Daily Beast lists the four cases against the ban on transgender people in the military as one of the five most important LGBT cases that might come before the Supreme Court, a court which will be different without Justice Anthony Kennedy. Two of the other cases also involve transgender people.

Despite the controversy around the inclusion of transgender people in the military, the nominee for Veterans Affairs Secretary, Robert Wilkie, told lawmakers that he will not reduce benefits for transgender veterans if he is confirmed. This story comes to us from Military Times.

A new survey by the Williams Institute finds that transgender veterans are generally as healthy as their cisgender counterparts. Among the population in general, transgender people are more likely to be unemployed and to not have health insurance. The findings come from studying the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These and other findings are in the Windy City Times.

Angela Ponce

Angela Ponce, who won the title of Miss Universe Spain, told the AP that she hopes to inspire others. “If my going through all this contributes to the world moving a little step forward, then that’s a personal crown that will always accompany me,” she said. You can read more in USA Today.

The British government has announced that a ban on conversion therapy is one of the recommendations in its LGBT Action Plan.

A new study released in Annals of Internal Medicine shows a possible correlation between HRT hormones and strokes in transgender women. The study limited itself to patients of one particular health insurer, and not everyone who takes HRT hormones will develop a venous thromboembolism, but it is something to be aware of.

Scarlett Johansson has decided not to participate in the movie Rub & Tug. The actress, whose first response to criticism was to cite other cisgender actors who won or were nominated for Academy Awards for playing transgender characters, said that she learned a lot from the criticism. The next move is up to producers, and it will be interesting to see whom they cast in the movie after this controversy.

In a related story, Daniella Greenbaum wrote a column for Business Insider in which she said that Scarlett Johansson was just doing her job, playing a character who was someone other than her. Business Insider first posted the piece, then took it down. After it became known that they had published the piece (which, by that time, was no longer on the site, leaving people to imagine what it said), Business Insider sent guidelines to their columnists, describing a new policy on “culturally sensitive” issues. The author of the column, Daniella Greenbaum, then quit her job at Business Insider and posted the same column at the Weekly Standard.

Another response to Johansson’s casting in the role was a satirical video of trans male actors auditioning for female roles that Scarlett Johansson has played.

Maines in Bit.

The headline said, “Transgender student who fought bathroom rules to star in feminist vampire movie.” That’s worth a click. The student in question is Nicole Maines, who is one of the legends among transgender people. The film is an Indie horror flick called Bit. She just finished production on the film, according to the Portland Press Herald.

Variety reports that Gravitas Ventures has bought the U.S. distribution rights to Michael Del Monte’s documentary film about transgender body builder Matt Kroczaleski, Transformer. It has won several awards at film festivals.

A group of LGBT people in Poland were accused of desecrating a national symbol. They had made a banner with the eagle of the Polish seal in white in front of the rainbow from the LGBT flag. The use of national symbols is forbidden in Poland. Then, as about a thousand people joined in their march in Czestochova (a small town that is home to Poland’s greatest religious icon), a few dozen Polish Nationalists blocked the march.

Pose has been renewed for a second season. The show, which features Janet Mock as a producer and writer, covers the New York City house ball culture scene of 1986. The Washington Blade has this story.

Hailie Sahar

One of the stars of Pose is Hailie Sahar. She plays one of the members of the House of Abundance. She was profiled on the Today website.

In response to the rude way in which Get The L Out led off Pride in London with anti-transgender banners and held up the parade, another lesbian group, L With The T, sought to show their solidarity with transgender people. Pink News has a round-up of responses. Pink News also reports that other Pride events are on the lookout for Get The L Out, or similar disturbances.

Dublin, Ireland, had its Pride Parade recently, but it will have a Trans Pride march on July 28. Organizers felt that Dublin Pride did not pay enough attention to transgender people, so they decided to have their own parade. Pink News reports on the preparations.

Protest organizer Cheddar Gorgeous.

Thousands and thousands of people came out to protest Donald Trump as he visited London. One of the protest groups is “Drag Protest for the Trump UK Visit,” which, as you probably expect, featured drag artists. They started out on their own in Soho, then joined the Women’s March London “Bring The Noise” parade to Parliament.

This week, Major League Baseball has its All-Star festivities in Washington, D.C. The Washington Blade is hosting a Pride pop-up at the event.

The World Cup was held in Russia, which is notorious for not being friendly to LGBT people. A group of six people from Spain found a way to get a pro-LGBT message across. They wore jerseys from various countries which, collectively, formed the rainbow flag. They travelled together in formation so as to keep the symbolism going. One of them was detained for fifteen hours, but was later released.

Sophie Cook, the transgender photographer who take photos for AFC Bournemouth of the Premier League, was in Moscow for the World Cup, and posted a picture of herself in Red Square.

Russia is very opposed to LGBT rights, and prosecutes anything that it deems to be “gay propaganda.” Given that, you might not expect there to be an active drag scene — but there is. Edge Media has an Associated Press story about a drag show in Yekaterinburg.

Juno Dawson

While transition is very necessary for some trans people, it can be daunting and the the person undergoing transition can be exposed to abuse and violence. While Britain is making progress in legalizing trans rights the sods on the street can be a real problem. As transgender author Juno Dawson put it, “Groups of men can be very unkind.” Dawson spoke with the Daily Mail about the tendency for violent reactions from their fellow citizens that keeps many trans women from going out of their homes. Read the story in PinkNews.

Yelp found itself in a bit of a problem and quickly moved to solve it. It seems that the way that they collect search terms from users and make the suggested terms for others led to some unfortunate terms popping up as suggested autocomplete terms. One such term was a certain slur against transgender people. Yelp corrected the problem shortly after it was brought to their attention. Samantha Allen of The Daily Beast gives us this story. Thanks to the folks at TGDate who told us about the article. They were among those who pushed Yelp to fix the problem.

Female AI.

If you stop to think about it most of the electronic assistants available to help you do things around the house, like Cortana, Siri, and Alexa, are all female AIs. Turns out artificial intelligence engineers are mostly men and they have been subconsciously making their electronic servants female. While Apple and others do offer a choice of genders in their AIs a move is underway to provide a gender-neutral option. Thanks to Jamie Roberts for telling us about this story on the NPR website.

Ava Benach is an immigration lawyer and the coach for her children’s baseball teams. When her daughter Paloma said that she wanted to keep playing baseball rather than switch to softball at age 9, like other girls Ava organized a girl’s team in the boys baseball league. They won a national tournament. Ava recently transitioned her gender to female. You can read about this family at the Washington Blade.

As baby boomers age, there is a growing need for at-home medical care. The Visiting Nurse Service of New York have found some new clients who had been overlooked by other such services — people who are recovering from gender correction surgery. You can read about this program in Home Health Care News.

A teenager was thrown out of the Stonewall Inn, then returned with a baseball bat and broke the front window, smashing their neon sign. The New York Daily News says that repairs are estimated at $7,000.

Cassandra James

A trans woman has been cast as a recurring character on the long-running (at 14,000 episodes long-running is an understatement) soap opera General Hospital. Canadian born actress Cassandra James is the show’s first transgender character to be played by a transgender cast member. Learn more about her role on

Debra Malina had a little trouble adjusting when her child asked to be referred to by the singular “they,” but she made the move pretty easily. She has had more trouble convincing others to do it, because it goes against the grammar lessons of grade school. The perspective editor for the New England Journal of Medicine wrote about the experience here.

Lord Lucas said that he might wear a dress to the House of Lords on a hot day. While that by itself could seem like a TWIT-worthy rant, it was actually said in support of reforming the Gender Recognition Act. Granted, the two things are not closely related, but the speech as a whole brought them together. Pink News has this story.

Professor Emma Renold of Cardiff University came up with the “gender berry” muffin challenge to explain gender roles and gender fluidity to children. Some children got blueberry muffins, representing masculinity, while others got raspberry muffins, representing femininity. Still others got muffins with both blueberries and raspberries. The children were then asked to stand near balloons that represented their berries — blue balloons for those who got a blueberry muffin, and pink balloons for those who got a raspberry muffin. Those who got the mixed berry muffins were not told where to stand, and that was the point of the lesson. While some have criticized the lesson for being overly simplistic, among other criticisms, the author of the activity defends it, as Pink News reports.

For eighteen days of the year, the small Indian village of Villipurgam in Tamil Nadu is transformed into Koovagam, the largest gathering of transgender women in Asia.The event provides a judgement free space where India’s hijra can celebrate themselves without fear from attacks by the outside world. Filmmaker Jess Kohl attended the event and filmed the Koovagam experience of two members of India’s third gender. You can view the film on the NOWNESS website. Thanks to Ms. Bob Davis for letting us know about the film.

Do you want to smell feminine but you’re confused by scents? Don’t know the difference between a perfume, a cologne, or an eau de toilette? Can’t decide what a parfum is? The New York Times has an article that will help you make sense of scents.


Judge Joseph Kirby had before him a simple case of a name change for Elliot Whitaker, a transgender boy who wanted to get rid of his too-feminine legal name. Judge Kirby turned the simple matter into a confrontation, and topped it off by saying he would issue a written decision, rather than signing the form. His three-page decision ignored not only the wishes of Elliot Whitaker, but those of his parents and the fact that Elliot was getting help from the folks at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, and instead inserted his own feelings about transgender people into the legal proceedings. For insisting that he knows better than experts, and for complicating the matter before him for resolution, Judge Joseph Kirby of Warren, Ohio, gets a TWIT Award. The Daily Beast covered this story.

A bus driver in London filmed himself as he was making fun of a man who was wearing high heels. The bus driver then posted the video online. He gets a TWIT Award. You can read about it here.

Governor Paul LePage of Maine is the recipient of a TWIT Award since he vetoed a bill that would have outlawed conversion therapy aimed at young gay people in the state. You might think that the fact that the American Medical Association and various mental health officials say that such therapy does not work and can have serious side effects would be a good reason to ban it, but not according to Governor LePage. The Bangor Daily News has this story.

A transgender woman from Uzbekistan sought asylum in Russia, where she was turned down, and then tried Belarus. Where she was also turned down. We give the Russian and Uzbekistan authorities TWIT Awards. Read her story on the Radio Free Europe website.

TWIT is assembled by Cecilia Barzyk with additional content and editing by Angela Gardner.
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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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