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The Week In Transgenderism 11/24/14

| Nov 24, 2014
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Leigh Walton

Leigh Walton

Transgenderism has advanced a lot in just the past ten years. More and more people are becoming aware that trans people exist and many municipalities are providing legal protections for them but ignorance and conservative world views still stand in the way of humans living as who they are, and too often trans people are forced into quiet desperation. Here’s the story of one young woman, Leigh Walton, who came out to her classmates in Mississippi when she was 17. The first day of school presenting as a girl she had to walk through a picket line that told her she was going to go to hell. She did it though and changed her life. Read her story in The Daily Mail.

As things improve in real life how are they doing on TV? GLAAD has issued a report on 2014 Trans Images on TV and found that slowly things are getting better. There were no transgender villains on any shows in 2104 and just one episode of a show that featured a trans person in a victim role. Find out about the other trans depictions on television in The Huffington Post.

Leslie Feinberg

Leslie Feinberg

We are sad to report the trans activist and author Leslie Feinberg has passed away. Feinberg was the author of Stone Butch Blues (published in 1993) and a tireless advocate for trans people, both ftm and mtf. I had the pleasure of meeting Feinberg while working as executive director of Renaissance. Ze was a nice guy and will be missed. We have to berate the writer who wrote up the story of Feinberg’s passing. Feinberg preferred the use of “hir” and “ze” as descriptive pronouns. The story on the CNN website uses “her” and “she” throughout.

The online dating site OkCupid has added a host of gender and sexuality identifiers to its registration form. You can now choose from a host of gender and sexuality markers instead of just male or female, straight or gay. You can pick hijra if you like (but if you don’t live in the Asian sub continent no one will know what you mean) or admit to being a sapieosexual, which means you find intelligence the most important trait in a romantic partner. But of course, as with all things gender related, there is a controversy. What could it be? There are trans people who don’t see the expanded labels as freedom. They see them as an attempt to label people and put them into a narrow category. See what you think after you read the story in The New York Times.

Nicole Maines

Nicole Maines

The trans girl whose family filed a lawsuit over her school restricting her from using the girl’s restroom when she was in the fifth grade is back in the news. Nicole Maines, who is from Maine, is now 17 and she’s back in the news for being picked to represent her state as one of Glamour magazine’s 50 inspiring women of the year. Winning the lawsuit against her school was a major victory for transgender rights which won Nicole her spot on the list. Learn more in The Huffington Post.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Men’s Central Jail is a large facility. It employs over 500 jailers and houses around 4000 inmates. The jail is so big there is room for a gay and transgender section. While prisoners in the regular sections are busy trying to smuggle in drugs and cigarettes the gay and trans section are more interested in smuggling in dresses and bras. The inmates hold regular fashion shows in which they model dresses they’ve created out of bed sheets. But even though straight prisoners sometimes try to get into the gay and trans section by lying about their sexuality it’s not all a joy ride. Read all about it in LA Weekly.

Meanwhile, on the other coast, New York City is starting a housing unit for trans women. It will have 30 beds to start with. Currently trans women prisoners are either housed with male prisoners or kept in protective custody which means they’re locked in a cell for 23 hours a day. The election of Mayor Bill DeBlasio was the catalyst for establishment of the trans unit. Read about it in The Huffington Post.

In Cincinnati a criminal justice doctoral student at the University of Cincinnati is doing research on how the prison system can adjust policies and procedures to insure that trans inmates are not subjected to cruel and unusual punishment. Read about it on the University’s website.

While the Transgender Day of Remembrance honors the memory of victims of hate crimes the greatest danger faced by TGs is suicide. Being real is often not an easy path and those who have no choice but to live as their true selves often run into many obstacles both external and internal. A new organization has been established to provide a nation wide hotline for trans people in crisis. It’s called Trans Lifeline. Learn more at the Time magazine website.

The bearded drag performer Conchita Wurst hasn’t been idle since her win in the Eurovision Song Contest. She has just released a music video called Heroes.


A while ago pasta-maker Barilla made some anti-gay remarks and said if LGBT people didn’t like it they could eat somebody else’s pasta. Turns out they did, so just recently Barilla reversed their policies and featured a lesbian couple in their ads and gave their transgender employees expanded health benefits. Kudos to Barilla for getting the message. It’s okay to eat their pasta now. Read more about it in The Washington Post.

Austin, Texas has an openly transgender officer on its police force. Greag Abbink joined the force 10 years ago as a female and came out to his colleagues this past spring. Austin PD’s Lesbian and Gay Police Officers Association always sends a speaker to the local Transgender Day of Remembrance and this year, for the first time, they could send a transgender officer. Read more and view a view a video at the KXAN website.

Name the only member of Congress who has a transgendered child. That’s right, it’s Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinin from the great state of Florida. Her trans son came out as a lesbian in high school and then as a trans man in college. Rep. Ros-Lehtinin is also the first Cuban-America elected to Congress. Read more in U.S. News.

Model in Turkish fashion show.

Model in Turkish fashion show.

Turkey is more than what we’ll be chowing down on here in the U.S.A. later this week. Turkey is a country and a week ago the LGBTI community in Istanbul held the country’s first ever transgender fashion show. View photos from the event in the International Business Times.

Along with the restroom issue one of the problems trans women have is access to fitting rooms. Some stores get uptight and will not allow a trans woman (if they recognize her as such) to use the fitting rooms. To help somewhat in this area Styleite has asked six popular clothing chains what their rules are regarding TGs in the fitting rooms. Find their answers here.

It’s common for heterosexual crossdressers and trans people to feel that their families will not accept them. That makes their lives more complicated as they try to hide their true selves or put on a manly facade for family gatherings. But what if you’re already out to your family as gay? Is it hard to tell them you are a drag performer? For some people it isn’t any easier than it is for hetero CDs. Read one performers story and see how it went for her. Summer Season’s story is in PQ Monthly.


Olympic athlete Michael Phelps has been dating a woman named Taylor Lianne Chandler. Recently headlines screamed that Phelps’s girl friend had been “born a dude.” The truth is she was born intersex. And of course, even if Ms. Chandler had been born with completely male sex organs there would be nothing scandalous about Phelp’s dating her. But we don’t live in that world yet so tabloids and celebrity websites are busy making money with their salacious headlines. A TWIT Award goes to all of them for perpetuating gender myths and making the poor woman distraught. Read about it in The Huffington Post.

A trans woman in Idaho died suddenly at the age of 32. Since she was so young she had never made a will or given any directions about her funeral arrangements. Even though she had been living as a woman for several years responsibility for her funeral fell to her parents and they buried her under her male name with her her cut short and her body dressed in a men’s suit. A TWIT Award goes to her parents. It seems that they were not to approving of her true gender and took the opportunity to try to change her back into a male for eternity. Read about it in The Miami Herald.

It’s so hard to keep up with all the apps these days. Apparently there’s one called Yik Yak and it is used about as intelligently as its name would imply. It allows people to post anonymous comments on a people’s posts in a certain geographic area. Recently a student at Rowan University in New Jersey posted that the school should offer gender-nuetral housing and better training for professors concerning transgenderism. The post was met with death threats, and negative statements about trans people. Things like “they should just “be normal.” A big collegiate TWIT Award to the boneheads who hide behind the anonymity of Yik Yak to dis TGs. Read about it in The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Former Oklahoma GOP Congressman Ernest Istook is now a newspaper columnist and radio talk show host. Recently he took on the issue of transgenderism with a two-part “analysis” of the transgender community. It would be lovely to report that he thinks we’re swell people but that is not the case. He characterizes all the progress that has been made toward TG rights as nothing but government propaganda and states that protections for trans people n the workplace are dangerous. He is oh so deserving of the TWIT Award we just gave him. If you want to know more about his ignorant opinions you can find it in LGBTQ Nation.

Our final TWIT Award goes to to officials of a small town in Poland called Tuszyn. The local council was considering whether the town should put up a statue of Winnie the Pooh at a local play area. It seems the animated bear is not the only one of “very little brain” since the discussion turned to whether the statue was appropriate since Winnie doesn’t wear any pants and his gender and sexuality is indeterminate. Seriously? Winnie the Pooh? He’s a Teddy Bear! Enjoy your TWIT Award Tiszyn. Read more about it in The Independent.

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Category: Transgender Community News


About the Author ()

Angela Gardner is a founding member of The Renaissance Transgender Assoc., Inc., former editor of its newsletter and magazine, Transgender Community News. She was the Diva of Dish for TGF in the late 1990s and Editor of LadyLike magazine until its untimely demise. She has appeared in film and television shows portraying TG characters, as well as representing Renaissance on numerous talk shows.

Comments (2)

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  1. camille camille says:

    Hi Angela, I love to read your columms in transgender forum. It has given me a lot of information on how to be a female as I have a female side to me and I let her out often. Keep up the good work, as for the other ladies a big congratulations to them


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