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The Week In Trans 9/19/16

| Sep 19, 2016
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RuPaul Charles

RuPaul Charles

RuPaul Charles has won her first Emmy as best reality show host for her work on RuPaul’s Drag Race. Miss Charles beat out Ryan Seacrest for American Idol and Heidi Klum from Project Runway. It is the 55-year-old’s first Emmy win. Learn more in The Sydney Morning Herald.

In June, the NBA decided to move its 2017 All-Star game out of Charlotte, because of HB2. This week, both the NCAA and the Atlantic Coast Conference also announced that they will relocate championship games out of North Carolina because of HB2. Of course, politicians such as Governor Pat McCrory insist that the state is not losing any revenue because of these protests. NCAA President Mark Emmert says that he expects the NCAA’s revenue to be down because they moved the events with short notice, but they are making the move because they feel that it is the right thing to do. The Edge Boston has both stories.

Michaela Mendelsohn

Michaela Mendelsohn

The State of California and the California Transgender Workplace Project have announced a new program which will place transgender people at restaurants, in partnership with the California Restaurant Association. The California Workforce Development Board will pay the first 60 hours of salary. Michaela Mendelsohn of El Pollo Loco was instrumental in getting this program started. KPCC Public Radio has this story.

A transgender immigrant from Mexico who was granted asylum in the United States and is living in Indiana has initiated a lawsuit against Mike Pence, claiming that the governor’s enforcement of a state law has prevented him from changing his name. The law in question states that only U.S. citizens can change their names in Indiana. Every time he has to present I.D., he outs himself with his female name. Buzzfeed News has this story.

de Voloz

de Voloz

Fior Pichardo de Veloz is an attorney in the Dominican Republic. She was arrested in Miami three years ago, when she came to the U.S. to witness the birth of her grandchild. While in police custody, she was given a physical exam by a nurse, who said that she had “non-traditional male characteristics,” and as a result of that, she was placed in an open cell with male prisoners.  Ms. de Voloz is a cisgender woman. She has now filed a lawsuit against the Miami-Dade jail system. The Miami Herald has this story.

In Britain, the Army had plans to train women for front-line combat roles starting later this year, but they now have a woman in a front-line combat role. She is Chloe Allen from Cumbria, who joined the Scots Guards in 2012, and who has recently changed her name and gender. The BBC has her story.

Olivia Jones

Olivia Jones

A right wing political party in Germany has been promoting a link between pedophilia and homosexuality. Of course there is no more of a link there than there is between being straight and being a child molester but that doesn’t stop people from trying to make the connection. The leader of the party in Germany is being sued by a drag queen. She is Germany’s answer to RuPaul. Her name is Olivia Jones and she filed a lawsuit charging the AFD Saxony Anhalt party with hate speech. Read the story in Pink News.

Transgender actor Riley Carter Millington will leave the show EastEnders after one year in the cast. It was the first time that a transgender actor had been cast to play a transgender character in a British soap opera. Several cast members are leaving, as there seems to be a desire for new storylines involving new characters. PinkNews has more.

Jen Richards

Jen Richards

Transgender actress Jen Richards has been cast in a recurring role on the show Nashville. The drama, set in the country music business, will see her playing a physical therapist who takes one of the main characters as a patient. This story is in The Hollywood Reporter.

Michelle Rodriguez’s new film (re)Assignment debuted at the Toronto Film Festival, and it was every bit the dud that it seemed it would be. Critics wondered how a film like this ended up at such a prestigious film festival. The story is in Vulture.

So far, there are thirteen review of (re)Assignment on Rotten Tomatoes, and only three of them are positive. One of those positive reviews describes it as, “Deliciously cheesy, pulpy, and trashy in all the right ways.” Among the negatives, “(re)Assignment is one hell of an ugly film and I’m not just talking about its grimy aesthetic,” and “for the work of a 74-year-old veteran director, the movie feels dispiritingly juvenile, more like the fantasy of a frightened boy than a film-making great.” You can see more reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.

Scary Chaz

Scary Chaz

Chaz Bono has been cast in the role of a scary neighbor on American Horror Story. The new season debuted last Wednesday. They like to keep some things quite secret, and one of those secrets was the casting of Mr. Bono. NewNowNext has this story.

A transgender teenager has tried out for a spot on the football team at Halifax West High School in Nova Scotia, Canada. Kenny Cooley says that the hardest part was getting up the nerve to try out. He made the team. Although he is still learning the sport, he is a good teammate. CTV has more.

Jessica Dempsey

Jessica Dempsey

Jessica Dempsey, a transgender woman living in Halifax, is campaigning to get StatsCanada to allow people to identify as “transgender” on the census form. “It just reinforces the binary that there’s only two genders. There’s a lot more than two genders,” she says. “If you don’t record the statistics on us for like health care, employment rates and stuff we’re not going to get anywhere. We’re not going to get recognized to say, ‘Oh, maybe there should be more resources put in for trans people.” The CBC did a story about her fight.

The Campaign for Southern Equality is a LGBT group that covers the southeastern portion of the United States. They have published a resource guide called Trans In The South. It lists such resources as doctors, counselors, and attorneys who are trans-friendly. They say that all their resources have been checked out. You can find it here.

The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has decreed that the Equal Credit Opportunity Act bans discrimination against LGBTQ people by banks, credit card companies, and retailers. The agency says that the provisions of the Act citing sex discrimination cover sexual orientation and gender identity. So if someone denies you a loan or a mortgage because you’re trans there is a place to call and lodge a compliant. Get the story from the Slate website.

Fans of The Keystone Conference, held annually in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, will be happy to learn that the next Conference is set for March 22-26, 2017 at the Harrisburg-Hersey Hotel in that fair city. Registration for the event will open on January 15, 2017. Get all the details from The Keystone Conference online press release.

Trans 10th grade student Shane Shananaquet.

Trans 10th grade student Shane Shananaquet.

The Michigan Board of Education has approved its voluntary guidelines for handling transgender students. The guidelines are quite similar to those from the U.S. Department of Education, save for the recommendation that schools decide on a case-by-case basis whether to tell parents that their child identifies as transgender. (They also call for a “reasonable and good faith” effort to address the student with the chosen name and pronouns.) The Huron Daily Tribune has more.

In contrast, the Virginia Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case brought by the Liberty Council opposing the new policies which the Fairfax County School Board has enacted for the treatment of LGBT students. A circuit court judge had dismissed the case in February, but the Liberty Council appealed the case to the State Supreme Court, who has now agreed to review the case. The Washington Blade has more.

A mother in North Carolina wrote a lovely open letter to Justice, the girls’ clothing store, for both corporate policy that was welcoming to all and for the way that the branch manager at her local store stayed beyond her shift in order to help the writer’s gender-nonconforming son. (He does not identify as transgender, but he is attracted to bright and sparkly things, and some of the clothes there just spoke to him.) The open letter can be found at The Huffington Post.

Chelsea Manning

Chelsea Manning

Chelsea Manning has ended her hunger strike in return for a promise that she will get gender-confirmation surgery. At least, that is what her lawyers say, and neither the prison where she resides nor the Pentagon have denied the story. Although the military’s new transgender policies do not officially provide for prisoners to get gender-reassignment surgery, some government officials showed a memo to Private Manning, which said that she would get surgery. This story is in The Advocate.

The first trans military individual in the U.S. to be promoted received his promotion from Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy Amanda Simpson. Navy Lt. Cdr. Blake Dremann got his promotion in the President’s Room at the Navy Memorial. Get the details from NBC News.

The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund is presenting their 11th Annual Freedom Awards and they will be honoring United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch among others. The event takes place in New York City on Monday, October 24, 2016. General admission tickets for the event are $250 each. There are a limited number of tickets for people under 30, priced at $95.00. Learn more here.

Remember the Washington, D.C. supermarket security guard who was arrested for assaulting a trans woman who was trying to use the ladies’ restroom? The story has a very happy ending. The security firm that had employed the guard has recently hired five trans women to work as guards. Get the story with video from NBC-4.

Helena Vukovic

Helena Vukovic

Last year Helena Vukovic came out as the first Serbian army officer and was promptly discharged from the service. Now, a year later, she has finally gotten her passport, driving license, health and ID cards confirming her identity as a woman. Serbia is conservative country and a year of waiting for such things is normal. Learn more from the Reuters news website.

The Westboro Baptist Church announced picket lines at the Montrose Center in Montrose and at the Gender-Identity Conference at the University of Houston. These were held last Friday. These fools spend more time picketing than worshiping. Jesus addressed them when he asked, “How can you remove the splinter from your brother’s eye, when all the time you have a plank in your own?” The Houston Press has this story.

The Oxford English Dictionary has announced some new words and phrases which it feel merit inclusion. Among them is “gender fluidity.” Also included will be “moobs,” “foodie,” and “cheese-eating”. Pink News has more.

TWITS

It seems like North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory gets at least one TWIT every week during his re-election campaign. This week, he said that the restroom provisions of HB2 were an attempt to restore “basic etiquette.” So, for a trans man with a beard and all to use the mens’ room is bad etiquette, but for that bearded trans man to use the ladies’ room is correct, according to the governor. And I suppose that segregated restrooms were also a matter of “etiquette.” Oddly, no etiquette books cover the subject of transgender people in the restroom or people in the “wrong” restroom in general, nor do online etiquette sites, according to Steve Petrow of Public Radio International.

Last Friday McCory dropped North Carolina’s lawsuit against the federal government regarding HB2. But that doesn’t mean he is giving up and the whole mess is settled. He dropped the state’s suit since the state is being sued by the federal government over the same issues. Get the update from The Christian Science Monitor.

When the NCAA announced that it was moving championship events out of North Carolina because of HB2, Kami Mueller, a spokesperson for the North Carolina Republican Party, wrote, “This is so absurd it’s almost comical. I genuinely look forward to the NCAA merging all men’s and women’s teams together as single, unified, unisex teams. Under the NCAA’s logic, colleagues should make cheerleaders and football players share bathrooms, showers, and hotel rooms.” It’s a slight variant on the “men in the women’s restroom” canard which even a Fox News anchor (Megyn Kelly) has seen through, with the simple question, “Men, or transgender women?” For continuing to not see a difference when it has been pointed out to her, Ms. Mueller gets a TWIT Award. Her quote is in Business Insider.

Louise Staley is a member of the parliament of the State of Victoria, Australia. She is a member of the Liberal Party of Australia (which, confusingly, is a very conservative party). She got up to speak on a bill that would allow transgender and gender-diverse people to change the sex marker on their birth certificates. At the end of her speech, she said of transgender women, “I can’t help feeling that such men are engaging in a radical form of mansplaining, telling women what really makes a woman.” For insisting on calling transgender women “such men” and for yelling “la la la, I can’t hear you” when they talk, she gets a TWIT Award. The Star Observer has this story.

LifeSiteNews is one of those far-right-wing sites that slants every story they run. They claim to be Catholic, but really, their first loyalty is to the teachings of the social conservative movement in the U.S. Their recent hack job by Ben Johnson (not the Ben Jonson who wrote “Drink To Me Only With Thy Eyes” — he is long deceased) is entitled “Taxpayer-funded treatment could render ‘transgender’ 8-year-olds sterile for life.” The title is not entirely false, but it leaves a very false impression. At age eight, it is too early for puberty-delaying drugs in almost all children. Oh, and in the first paragraph of the article, he says that such drugs “will prevent puberty.” In almost all cases, if the drugs are stopped, puberty will happen, eventually. Puberty is only prevented if the patient continues on with the drugs until sterilization — and if that happens, then then scare quotes around the word transgender are quite inappropriate. For such sloppy research, Mr. Johnson and LifeSiteNews get a TWIT Award. You can read the article here.

Linda Patricia Thompson is a bank robber. She has committed the crime before. This time she showed a teller a demand note and claimed she had a gun. Which turned out to be a piece of cardboard. After the robbery she went outside and threw money in the air, gave some to passersby and then sat in a parking lot and waited for the police. Why? Because as a trans woman who can’t get a job and has no skills her only option was to go back to the life she knew in prison. This TWIT Award doesn’t go to Ms. Thompson. It’s going to the messed up system that let’s trans women be marginalized and left with no options. Read her story in The Washington Post. Thanks to Jamie Roberts for the tip.

Large portions of this edition of TWIT were researched and written by Cecilia Barzyk.


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angela_g

About the Author ()

Angela Gardner is a founding member of The Renaissance Transgender Association, Inc., the former editor of that organization's newsletter and magazine, Transgender Community News. She wrote the Diva of Dish column for TGF in the late 1990s and was the Editor of LadyLike magazine until its untimely demise. She is currently the Editor of TGF. She has appeared in film and television shows portraying TG characters, as well as representing Renaissance on numerous talk shows. In her idle hours she keeps busy producing her monthly TG parties, Angela's Laptop Lounge.

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