The Week In Transgender 10/29/18

| Oct 29, 2018
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Laverne Cox

Laverne Cox was in Massachusetts to rally voters for the Yes On 3 campaign. In her speech, she told transgender children, “You are here for a divine purpose, no matter what anyone says about you.You are divine. You have a legacy of history. “Into has this story.

GLAAD conducted a voluntary survey of top-level candidates. They asked the candidates if they were comfortable with various situations, such as learning that a family member is LGBTQ or seeing a same-sex couple holding hands in public. Their results were then classified as either “ally,” “detached supporter,” or “resistor.” Only about 32 Republicans returned a form, and half of those who did fell into the “ally” category. Nearly all of the Democrats fell into the “ally” category.

Chelsea Manning

Chelsea Manning sent out a picture of herself through her Twitter account which showed her in her hospital bed following gender confirmation surgery.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed has ordered all city departments that collect demographic data to update their forms, both paper and electronic, so that they include the option of nonbinary. Get the story from The Bay Area Reporter. Thanks to Ms. Bob Davis for the tip.

Last week’s story from The New York Times about the memo which would define “sex” as binary and determined by genitals at birth has generated a lot of news.

  • CNN ran a story about what this proposal actually means in terms of law. Courts have been expanding gender rights for about two decades, and this redefinition will not immediately overturn those rulings.
  • The redefinition would have less effect in places like California, where state law already provides many civil rights protections to transgender people. Still, there would be several repercussions, according to KQED.
  • Many groups, such as the ACLU and Lambda Legal, have said that they would fight such a redefinition in court, if it were implemented. Dallas Voice has that story.
  • The Advocate quickly recognized this as the work of Roger Severino, a lawyer with no known experience in either medicine or science. The Advocate ran a profile of him.
  • The New York Times found that, once again, the Trump administration does not know  science. Their attempt to enforce the binary through genetic tests will not result in nearly the clarity they expect. Late in this article on NBC Out, the subject of intersex people is mentioned. (While it isn’t news, you can read about The 6 Most Common Biological Sexes In Humans.)
  • An op-ed  titled Why Sex Is Not Binary by Anne Fausto-Sterling was published in The New York Times on October 25. 
  • The attempt to push people into one of two unchangeable categories affects not only transgender people but also intersex people. Intersex Awareness Day is more important than ever, thanks to the Trump administration, as Pink News reports.
  • After mentioning how scientifically naive and unenforceable the proposal is, James Hamblin in The Atlantic ends up seeing this as big government maintaining a “Federal Registry of Genitals.” Since the proposed policy does use genetic testing to resolve ambiguous cases, the government would obtain genetic test results on those cases, and could store that information.
  • The AP reports on the reaction in the streets to the leaked memo.
  • Celebrities and people who would be affected by the memo let their opinions be known. Jazz Jennings was the subject of not one but two stories in The Huffington Post, which also had a story about Laverne Cox’s position on the memo. Caitlyn Jenner wrote an editorial for The Washington Post in which she admits to being wrong about Donald Trump’s intentions for transgender people. As for allies, Alyssa Milano wrote a feminist defense of the rights of transgender people in Broadly at ViceThe Washington Post ran a story on the reactions of parents of transgender children to the news.
    Pink News had a story about the reaction of various people to the news.
  • In addition to celebrities, some transgender Christian leaders were asked for their opinions. This story comes from The Huffington Post as well.
  • The WPATH board commented on the article in a press release. Thanks to Ms. Bob Davis for letting us know about it.
  • The Huffington Post also ran a piece on what allies can do to help.
  • Ms. Bob also let us know about Doctor Phil’s reaction to the proposed change to determining gender. The video of what he said on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert is below.


The United States also has been trying to remove the word “gender” from various U.N. human rights documents. They wish, for example, to replace the phrase “gender-based violence” with “violence against women. “The Guardian has this story.

Eric Dreiband was confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as the head of the Civil Rights Division in the Department of Justice. Many civil rights groups have opposed him, in large part because of his anti-LGBT record. When asked about the rights of LGBT students, he refused to answer, as he said that cases were “ongoing.” Gay Star News has more.

Lana Wachowski

In a bit of sad news, The Film Stage reports that the Lana and Lilly Wachowski have closed their production offices, due to a lack of projects. The building is for sale.

The Solicitor General of the United States asked the Supreme Court to take up the case of Stephens v. R.G. and G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, in which the plaintiff was fired for undergoing a change of gender. While the case has so far revolved on whether the funeral home has an exemption from Title VII under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Solicitor General has introduced the broader topic of whether Title VII protections against discrimination on the basis of sex protects transgender people. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a part of the Department of Justice, is siding with Ms. Stephens. You can read more at Bloomberg News.

Meanwhile, according to Alex Bollinger in LGBTQ Nation, the Department of Justice wants the Supreme Court to take up the case of Stephens v. R.G. and G.R. Harris Funeral Homes after taking up one or both of two cases in which people were fired for being gay or lesbian. The Department feels that a ruling that Title VII does not protect lesbian, gay, and bisexual people from being fired can be used to show that Title VII does not protect transgender people from being fired.

Lyra Evans

Linda Jensen let us know about the story of Lyra Evans, a 26-year-old trans woman who has become Ottawa’s first openly transgender school trustee. She decided to become involved in politics when she learned the Ontario government was working to drop transgender issues from being discussed in sex education classes. Classes that helped her to find herself. Learn more from Ottawa Citizen.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada snuck a provision into the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement which protects LGBTQ workers from discrimination on the basis of sex, including sexual orientation and gender identity. The agreement will be signed on November 30, so the final wording could be changed. The Trump administration could just choose to ignore that provision, and figure that the courts will not put any emphasis on it. Politico has more on this.

Penn State University has issued a statement expressing concern about the national climate for transgender individuals and asserting that the university remains focused on “…preserving an atmosphere free from discrimination and violence for everyone on campus.” Get the full statement from the Penn State website.

Uruguay is going in the opposite direction from the United States when it comes to protecting transgender people. They just passed a law which establishes rights for transgender people, including the right to medical care under the country’s health plan, and sets aside one percent of  government jobs specifically for transgender people. LGBTQ Nation has this story.

Ms. Jakrajutatip

The chief executive officer of Thailand’s JKN Global Media Pcl, a film and television distribution company, is a celebrity. Jakkaphong Jakrajutatip is a transgender woman who before transition kept a low profile, as most CEOs do. After she told her story to the public in several interviews onTV and in magazines in which she discussed her gender shift, she found her fame has “substantially” complemented the company’s business growth as potential customers and content suppliers are much more willing to meet a well-known CEO. Get the full story from Bloomberg.

The Netherlands also broke away from the path that the United States is on as it issued its first gender-neutral passport. Leonne Zeegers is a former nurse who was raised as a boy but identifies as intersex. BBC News has this story.

Luke Levine credits Prince Charles and the Duke of Edinburgh Award with helping him become the young man he is. It was while he was working on the award for volunteer work that he realized that he was trans. He told his story to the Mirror.

Judge Tracey Nadzieja

The Honorable Tracey Nadzieja has become a commissioner of the Maricopa County Superior Court in Arizona. She is said to be one of three out transgender judges in the United States. You can read a profile of her in Arizona Capitol Times.

In an article on Transgender Universe a woman explores how her love for her partner has evolved as her partner went through HRT.

An arrest of a transgender woman in Arkansas seems to have gone wrong in several ways. The county sheriff’s office did not seem to have put a lot of thought into the layout of the station, with the result that her holding cell, while separate, was very visible from the men’s cell. When she was taken for photographs of her tattoos, the men were able to see her bra strap. LGBTQ Nation has more on this incident.

In Australia, a lesbian couple went out bowling. Before leaving, both decided to use the lady’s room. One of them was told by security that she must leave the premises, because she didn’t belong in the lady’s room. When a second security guard arrived, the person who was told she shouldn’t be in the lady’s room introduced herself, saying, “Hello, I’m Charlotte.” Management has since apologized to the couple for the incident.Gay Star News has this story.


A seller on Amazon had an item which was listed as “Bruce Caitlyn Jenner Olympian I Am Cait Adult Costume.” It looked like a track outfit with marathon number and two medals, as well as a wig. While the listing seems to not be transphobic, the fact that it includes the name “Bruce” is troubling, at the least, and results in the item receiving a TWIT Award. A picture of a person with a full beard wearing the costume, including wig, did not dispel thoughts of transphobia. LGBTQ Nation has this story. An update from Pink News indicates that the item is no longer available.

A man in Orange City, Iowa, claims in a video that he checked out four library books with LGBT themes, and during the video, he burned these books. He owes the library the cost of the books, which may well be used to buy new copies of the same books — resulting in increased sales of those books he was objecting to — unless he had bought his own copies of the books to burn, in which case he has already increased the sale of those books. For letting his prejudice get in the way of seeing the consequences of his actions, Paul Dorr gets a TWIT Award. His story can be found in the Des Moines Register. (Thanks to Jamie Roberts for also alerting us to this TWIT winner.)

Kim Kardashian appeared on The Alec Baldwin Show, where she repeatedly misgendered and deadnamed Caitlyn Jenner, while saying that she would rather have found out that Caitlyn was cheating than to see her dressed as a woman. For insensitivity, Kim Kardashian gets a TWIT. For following her lead in deadnaming and misgendering a transgender person, Alec Baldwin also gets a TWIT. Pink News has this report.

U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal heard the case of a Christian group which was suing Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and the head of the city’s libraries, Rhea Lawson, in an attempt to stop the Houston Public Library from holding Drag Time Story Hour. The judge dismissed the request for a temporary restraining order to halt Drag Time Story Hour, saying that there was “no basis,” despite the charge of “obscene speech.” For hyperbole and a misunderstanding of what was going on, the plaintiffs who brought this suit get a TWIT Award. Read the story here.

Madeleine Kearns writes in National Review, “A world-leading clinician, unfairly dismissed and defamed after his work upset trans activists, wins a settlement and a public apology.” The “world-leading clinician” is Dr. Kenneth Zucker. The headline says that he “defied trans orthodoxy.” On the contrary, for a very long time he defined trans orthodoxy; he was regarded as one of the foremost authorities on the subject, and the medical profession listened to him. Then, as statistics on transgender people became more available, it was noticed that his patients had worse general outcomes than did patients who received more encouragement from their doctors. It is no surprise that the medical profession prefers outcomes that result in fewer patient suicides. For recommending a treatment which results in more dead patients, Madeleine Kearns gets a TWIT.

TWIT is assembled by Cecilia Barzyk with additional content and editing by Angela Gardner. Care to make a comment on this post? Login here and use the comment area below

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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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