The Week In Transgenderism 1/12/15

| Jan 12, 2015
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The Web is still abuzz with comment and reactions to the suicide of Leelah Alcorn. Everyone has an opinion (including our own The Artist D) and we continue to hope that her untimely death will inspire people to reach out and help trans youth get through to a fulfilling adult life. Last week Jennifer Finney Boylan responded to Leelah’s suicide note in her column in The New York Times.

The death of Leelah Alcorn at her own hand has raised the question of whether forcing a trans child to live in their physical gender is child abuse. There are as many opinions on that as there are people. See what some said in an op-ed feature in The New York Times.

Another docu-series about trans people is coming to the Discovery Life channel on April 2. It’s titled New Girls on the Block and it follows a group of trans women in Kansas City, Mo. The producers of the show say it tells the interesting stories of the women and also provides an understanding of what it’s like to be trans. Get the full story in Variety.

JDA Christina

JDA Christina

A former contestant on America Idol who appeared on the show sporting an androgynous look has come out to the world as a trans woman. Season 12 contestant Josh ‘JDA’ Davila is now Jaidah Christina and she’s singing in a Chicago nightclub. Learn more on the American Idol website.

The coming season of American Idol may, or may not, include a drag performer from Portland, Maine. Cherry Lemonade, a.k.a. Conor Tubbs, tried out for the show in July and since then has only hinted that he might possibly be on the show as one of the 24 contestants. Is he or isn’t he? He has said that he just can’t discuss it, which could mean he’s on the show and bound by a legal agreement or he could just be milking it for publicity like this article in the Portland Press Herald.

New Mayor

New Mayor

In India the social pecking order is called the caste system. The lowest level of the caste system is the status called “untouchable” or “dalit.” It is that caste that does all the dirty work in India. Last week a trans woman of the dalit caste was elected mayor of Raigarh in the state of Chhattisgarh. That’s a big step forward for both trans people and the members of the dalit caste. Read about it on the DW website.

Meanwhile the mayor of Silverton, Oregon, the first trans mayor in the United States, is stepping down from that job. Stu Rasmussen left the office after completing six years of service. Rasmussen severed as a city council member for four years before making the mayoral run in 2008. The key to Rasmussen’s success in the job was that he (a pronoun he doesn’t seem to mind) was a fiscal conservative who worked to maintain Silverton’s small town nature, while being an icon for progressive social values. Read more on the KGW website.

Also from Oregon comes the news that Medicaid now covers trans care. If you are on Medicaid in Oregon you can have your hormone therapy and reassignment surgery paid for, and your trans kids can get their puberty suppression covered. Learn more at the NPR website.

Miss Bugs Bunny.Who was the first drag queen to appear on television? If you said RuPaul you might not be correct. Of course there was Milton Berle back in the 1950s and Flip Wilson in the ‘60s dressing up in drag for laughs but they weren’t identifying as drag queens. One other drag pioneer first appeared on television screens when local TV stations started running cartoons. We speak of course on none other than Bugs Bunny. But was Bugs really a drag queen? There’s a crowd funding effort underway to pay for the research that could dig up the answer and produce videos about LGBT cartoon characters. Read about it and watch the first episode of the LGBT history videos that features Bugs en femme. You can find it on The Huffington Post.

The man in San Francisco who stabbed a trans woman after she and her partner got off of a bus to get away from his transphobic verbal abuse will be tried for attempted murder and related counts that will include committing a hate crime. Get the details from Bakersfield Now.


The transgender crisis hotline that was launched in the United States back in November has expanded to Canada. The woman behind the hotline, Greta Martela, was approached by a Canadian activist and asked to extend the service to north of the U.S. border. Don’t bother to volunteer to staff the hotline though. At the moment they have more volunteers than they can train. Read about it on the CBC website.

Shopping for women’ clothing is a challenge for some MtF women, whether they are part time dressers or trans women who are presenting as female all the time. Some people avoid going into stores by shopping online but that doesn’t let you try things on before you buy so it’s not exactly a great solution. Someone asked the Quora forum how trans women shop and the answer can be found on the Slate website.

Your TWIT compiler has long been a fan of science fiction and often in my early years as a reader of that genre I would thrill when a story blurred the lines of gender, or through some futuristic technology transformed a male character into a female. One of the earliest stories I read with that sort of plot line was also a time travel story. Robert Heinlein wrote All You Zombies in the 1950s. Now they’ve made a movie based on the story. Read a review in The New York Times.

Trans activists in Canada have been renting a swimming pool once a month since 2010. Their goal is to provide a safe space for trans people to dive in and get some exercise and fun in the water removed from the prying eyes of cisgendered swimmers. Some trans men feel uncomfortable swimming where the general public can see their top surgery scars but the swim is open to all. And all the signage at the pool is trans friendly. Learn more about it on the CBC website.

Does Captain Crossdresser count?

Does Captain Crossdresser count?

After setting out to write about trans superheroes in today’s comics a writer found that she couldn’t actually identify any real trans superheroes. Some comics will transform a male character into a female for a while and then change him back, or they will have some alien with no easily determined gender according to human standards adopt one human gender or the other as needed. This lead Marcy Cook to write 10 rules she hopes comic editors will follow to create a real trans superhero. Find the rules on The Mary Sue website.

The Golden Globe Awards were announced Sunday and this is why we care; Transparent, the show about a family adapting to a patriarch who is changing gender, has won the prize for Best TV Series — Comedy or Musical. Read about the director’s acceptance speech in the Independent.

Wurst at The Golden Globes

Of course the film award season is just a way for Hollywood’s ladies to show off their figures in fabulous gowns by leading designers and the Golden Globes is no exception. This year one of the lovely ladies was international songstress Conchita Wurst who walked the red carpet in a green gown with a long velvet skirt and shoes that matched her bra. See the whole dress at Hitfix.

A year ago the North Carolina Democratic Party proposed changing their governing document to include “gender identity” in the non-discrimination language. Somehow it neglected to put that into a formal request. Now the proposal has finally been formally submitted and will be voted on in February. Read more in Qnotes.

It’s the beginning of a new year and that means one thing — First Event will be happening soon! The Tiffany Club of New England has been holding the event for 35 years and this year it’s happening January 21-25 at the Westin Waltham Boston Hotel in Waltham, Massachusetts. Find out who they’re presenting with their Community Service Awards (which are a lot better to get than a TWIT Award) on the Edge Media Network.

One of the funnest things about drag queens is the work they put into their names. Like their over-the-top glamor their drag names are flamboyant and punny. (Doncha Wanna, Martha Graham Cracker.) The Huffington Post is running a contest to find the most creative and laugh inducing drag name. They call it Cast Your Vote for the Funniest Drag Queen Name and you can read about it and still vote by clicking here.


Saks Fifth Avenue is reputed to be a retailer that respects trans customers and it has a score of 90 on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index, which means it is supposedly treating its LGBT employees well. You won’t get confirmation of that from Leyth O. Jamal. Ms. Jamal was fired because she is trans. Before she was fired she was required to use the men’s restroom and was told by her supervisor to not wear makeup and have a more masculine appearance. All this is in violation of the companies own discrimination policy. An over priced TWIT Award is hereby presented to Saks Fifth Avenue. Read the details at Towleroad.

What does the new law in Russia that is supposed to cut down on the number of traffic accidents have to do with the trans population of that country? It is earning the Russian bear a TWIT Award for being a bear of very little brain. We suggest you read about why the new law oppresses Russia’s trans people on the Time magazine website.

If you don’t like the way your nose job or boob job turns out there are legal remedies you can pursue. Or maybe you can just bad mouth the surgeon to all your friends. What you don’t want to do is go to his home and set of an “incendiary device.” Tyqwon Welsch takes home, or actually, takes to her cell, a TWIT Award for attempting (unsuccessfully) to set fire to the home of noted plastic surgeon Dr. Douglas K. Ousterhout. To add a touch of weirdness to the story the house was used as the scene of the action in the 1993 film Mrs. Doubtfire. Read more at the KRON website.

In India the hijra have a tradition, since they could not hold regular jobs, of dancing at weddings in what is called “badhai.” It’s reportedly not so much that couples getting married want them there as it’s something they do to get paid to go away. Recently a man reported that hijra drugged him and castrated him without his consent. The hijra say he approached them and wanted to become a eunuch so he could participate in bahai as one of them. It seemed to the judge that the man who filed the complaint charging the hijra with his castration determined that he had agreed to the procedure just to be able to make a buck or two. The man, named Ramesh, may have lost his gonads but he has a shiny new TWIT Award. Read the details in the Times of India.

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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.

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  1. says:

    I loved Bugs Bunny, I also loved the episodes he ended up in a dress. Ditto Elmer Fudd, ditto Superboy, Jimmy Olsen, Robin and others. The young lady presenter is full of enthusiasm and wants to show us there are many references but I got the impression she had just discovered them and felt no one else had.
    Well, Bugs has been out for many years, there is a book devoted to possible gay references. In ‘Wayne’s World’ Garth asks Wayne if he gets excited when Bugs dons a dress, Wayne says no btw.
    Ah well, good on her for her enthusiasm. We need more.