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The Week In Transgenderism 10/12/15

| Oct 12, 2015
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Tangerine actors

Tangerine actors

Supposedly every girl’s dream is to be “discovered” and become a Hollywood star. Or at least that was the ambition in the old days that women were expected to aspire to. These days being discovered happens in different ways. When director Sean Baker wanted to make a movie using unknown actors and shoot it using iPhone cameras he “discovered” two trans actresses to star in his film Tangerine. Now the distribution company handling the film is pushing for Oscar nominations for the two new stars in the best actress and best supporting actress categories. Learn more in The Guardian.

We reported that Oak Park High School in Kansas City, MI elected a trans girl as their homecoming queen. Landon Patterson is her name and the whole school supported her. But there are always those who want to rain on someone’s parade. The Westboro Baptist Hate Society (I refuse to call them a church) showed up at the school to protest the new queen. A massive counter protest made up of almost all the students chanting “Long live the queen” chased Westboro away from the school. you can watch a video and read about it on The Huffington Post.

Jennifer Peace

Jennifer Peace

An Army intelligence officer in Washington state is caught in limbo. She is trans and came  out to her wife, and was outed to the Army before she told her commanding officer. Though the Pentagon has started to move in the direction of removing restrictions on trans people serving openly they are not there yet. That means that on the base Jennifer Peace has to be a man. The tension was so bad at one point that she wanted to stop hormone therapy. Her wife wouldn’t let her. Learn more about the story on the KOMO news site.

Hopefully change will be coming soon to the armed forces policies. Vice President Joe Biden has expressed his support for allowing trans people to serve openly. At the Human Rights Campaign’s annual dinner on Oct. 3 Biden said “No longer is there any question transgender people are able to serve in the United States military.” Get his other comments in the Military Times.

Canada’s public health system is backlogged when it comes to providing gender reassignment surgery. One woman who couldn’t wait for years to get her’s went to the USA to have it done. Then she sent the bill to the Ontario Health Insurance Plan. Of course they refused to cover the $20,000 cost. In the meantime she has paid the surgeon’s bill but is hoping that by publicizing the sorry state of trans health services in Ontario she will get some changes made. Read the story in the National Post.

Geena Rocero

Geena Rocero

Being female means you are supposed to adhere to certain “standards of beauty.” At least that’s what the media pushes on women. Being a trans woman possibly makes you more subject to that mindset. Trans model and beautiful woman Geena Rocero says that when she was first becoming herself she competed in trans beauty pageants in her native Philippines. She would not appear onstage unless she had bleached her skin since lighter skin tone is one of those “ideals” of beauty. Now she is proud of her darker tone and talked about it with E! online.

Past contributor to TGForum, Meggan Sommerville, has won a small victory in her struggle with the Hobby Lobby company. Sommerville is an employee at one of their stores and because of her trans status they would not allow her to use the women’s restroom. Now we have learned that back in May a judge ruled that Hobby Lobby violated the Illinois Human Rights Act when they denied her use of the lady’s room. The case is still not totally resolved as it must be affirmed by the state’s Human Rights Commission. Read the details in the Daily Kos.

Riley Carter Millington

Riley Carter Millington

English television continues to make advances for trans people. Recently they launched a sit-com featuring a trans woman as the lead character. Now their soap operas have added a trans actor playing a trans man. East Enders has cast Riley Carter Millington as trans man Kyle. Ge will appear on the show this month and become a regular cast member by the end of the year. Get the full story to The Guardian.

Not to be outdone the Brit show Hollyoaks announced the news that they  have added a trans woman actor to their cast. Annie Wallace will portray a transgender teacher. Learn more in Metro.

Rep. Wilson with Elaine Walquist

Rep. Wilson with Elaine Walquist

You might think this story would be in our TWIT section but there is a side to it that deserves kudos. A politician in Oregon has vowed to introduce a bill that would ban gender reassignment for teenagers. That’s the TWIT worthy part of the story. The nice side of it is that a retired teacher, Elaine Wilquist, from Portland who happens to be trans decided she would do her best to educate the legislator about transgender issues, since he had publicly stated he had never met a trans person. Learn what happened when they met in The Register-Guard.

If you’re trans and you work at Kroger supermarkets you may have cause to rejoice. The chain has decided to extend transgender health benefits to employees who are covered under the company health plan. But, if you have your health benefits under your union’s health plan instead of the company plan you won’t be eligible for trans health benefits. The union plan is not provided by the same insurer as Kroger’s company plan. Get the details on the website.

Two filmmakers who have been going around the world documenting the lives of women have done a feature on the trans women of the Philippines. In that country the trans culture is definitely on display but trans people have no legal identity. They cannot change their gender marker on their official ID. Geena Rocero, trans activist and model is one of the featured interviews. You can watch it in AOL’s Lifestyle.

Nikki Araguz Loyd

Nikki Araguz Loyd

Nikki Araguz lost her fire fighter husband almost six years ago and due to Texas law viewing their marriage as a same-sex union she was denied death benefits and was also shunned by people who had formerly been her friends. The only group that welcomed her was the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. But in 2011 her departed husband was honored in a ceremony at the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation memorial in Maryland and she was not allowed to attend due to the legal battle she was fighting to obtain benefits. That changed on October 1 when President Obama gave her a flag that had flown over the Capitol. Read her story in The Huffington Post.

Sometimes well intentioned allies of trans people just don’t get it right. Such may be the case with a playwright who attempted to bring to the stage the story or two women in a lesbian relationship, and unbeknownst to one of the women the other has been keeping her trans nature a secret. There could be a lot of dramatic fodder there for a decent playwright but sadly it seems, at least from one review, that this play is not the thing. Read the review of Would You Still Love Me If… on the DC Theater Scene website.

Over 30 Democrats in the House of Representatives were appalled by the TSA’s treatment of a trans woman in the Orlando airport last month. The woman, Shadi Petoski, was detained for forty minutes and missed her flight to Chicago because the body scanner detected an “anomaly” in her genital region. The problem is the machines only have “male” and “female” settings so a trans person who has not had gender reassignment surgery makes the machine sound an alarm when it sees something “extra.” The representatives have sent a letter to the TSA urging better treatment of trans passengers. Read what they said in The Hill.

The nominees

The nominees

We don’t know who won but two trans women were nominated for the title of homecoming queen at Colorado State University-Pueblo and the election was held this past Saturday. Lise Swanson and Winter Naomi Vera are their names. Read a bit more and view some video of them on the KRDO website.

Not that many years ago there weren’t that many books about transgender issues. Nowadays we have plenty of books about the trans experience. Many introduce us to specific people and how they managed their transgender journeys, and some are about the evolving science of transgender. One newspaper woman has assembled mini reviews of several books about trans issues. You can find her piece in the Boston Globe.

Academics have really gotten into studying drag and drag culture. Last Monday night an assistant professor of women’s studies at Duke University delivered a lecture on the history of drag and after the lecture drag kings and queens took the stage to perform, and to answer questions from the audience. Read all about it in the Duke Chronicle.

It’s hard enough for many trans people to come out of the closet and tell their family, friends and associates about their true nature. Just imagine if you were a police officer. Members of the police force are not noted for being understanding and compassionate. That was the case when an officer on the San Jose force came out to her colleagues. She was a 20 year veteran but her fellow officers started treating her as if she was a rookie again. Get her story and more on trans police officers on the Take Part website.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has issued a pair of new rules that requires the recording of patients’ sexual orientation and gender identity in electronic health records. The rules were issued to provide demographic information that would allow a better assessment of those parts of the population and enable better care for gay and trans patients. The article can be found on the American Progress website.

On Oct. 7 Governor Jerry Brown of California signed Senate Bill 703 into law. The new law gives protections to trans employees of businesses that provide services to state agencies. The law goes into effect on January 1, 2016 and it means that trans people working for employers who do business with the state will have to provide equal health coverage. Learn more at the JDSupra Business Advisor website.


Malaysia is one of those countries where Sharia Law is applied to the Muslim population. One of the laws is a prohibition on “cross-dressing.” Several years ago three trans women in Negeri Sembilan were being repeatedly arrested under a state law that was based on the Sharia law against men dressing as women. They filed a constitutional challenge to the law. On October 8 Malaysia’s highest court ruled against the women on purely procedural grounds. Because a mistake had been made in the process used to initiate the challenge the court said the law against crossdressing is constitutional and the women have to start all over again. A TWIT Award to the highest court in Malaysia is hereby granted. Court adjourned. The case can be perused on the Human Rights Watch website.

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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 (4)

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  1. j2emily j2emily says:

    Re: the incident with the TSA at the Orlando airport–I wonder where are the GOP in this matter? There are numerous incidents of TSA bullying being reported while real troublemakers sneak weapons through. As the party which represents freedom and less government I had expected more from the Republicans not to mention the self identified Libertarians in Congress

    • KoolMcKool KoolMcKool says:

      That transwoman was a drama queen. Myself and countless other transpersons have been flying since 9-11 with no drams. TSA does not care, just go along with their stupid rules and keep the line moving. She made it worse with the drama, which just makes TSA more of a obstacle.

      I honestly feel sorry for some of you folks (Shadi Petosky) who are just hyping the victim hood every day as a transperson.
      Live life with strength, stop being a trans wussy.

  2. StephanieW StephanieW says:

    Each Monday morning, I read ‘The Week In Transgenderism’ get caught up on what’s happening to my community. It gives highlights to us being accepted and some set backs as well, but I have a current understanding where I sit in this world… I love the links for more information if I choose to read more… Excellent source for Transgender people “thank you’

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