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The Week In Transgenderism 10/26/15

| Oct 26, 2015
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GRS surgeon Marci Bowers

Featured in Esquire, GRS surgeon Marci Bowers.

People have been transitioning genders for years and years. In the 20th century there were many people who chose to live in the opposite of their birth sex but they kept a low profile and stayed in “stealth mode” about their gender. Now that it is becoming more acceptable to live as your true self it’s good to take a look back at people who did it in the “good old days.” Esquire Magazine contrasts some stories of transition then and now.

Caitlyn Jenner is taking her show on the road. She will be doing a series of lectures about her life and transition beginning in February. She will start in Toronto and hit several Canadian and U.S. cities. Her goal is to not only tell her story but to focus more attention on the difficulties faced by trans people who are not rich and famous. Learn more in USA Today.

Homecoming queen Jae Orizarry.

Homecoming queen Jae Irizarry.

The story we linked to last week about a trans girl being elected homecoming queen in her New Jersey high school was still in the news. An article with quotes from the new queen indicate that everything with the election was above board and she won fair and square. Allegations that the ballot box was stuffed either as “a joke” or to “make history” have been countered with the allegation that the person who told the press about the incident was anti-LGBT and made the story up. Learn more on the Jezebel website.

Trans undergarments are becoming big business, or at least a business in which people can imagine making a profit. Undergarments for male to female trans women have been around for years. Bras to push up a bit of breast tissue to make cleavage, and gaffs to keep male genitals tucked away have been available for some time. Padded butt body shapers along with other shape wear is also available. Most of it is aimed at crossdressers who go back and forth between genders. Now we learn of a company that is designing trans-specific clothing items called “middle wear” that is meant to be worn while your body transitions from one gender to the other. Learn more in Good magazine.

Slippery Rock University held their annual drag show last Wednesday night and brought in a crowd of over 800 people. The show is sponsored by the University’s LGBTQIA organization and features professional performers and a student drag queen. Meet some of the performers in an article in the school’s newspaper, The Rocket.

Asifa Lahore

Asifa Lahore

Could schools in Britain soon see drag queens conducting sex ed classes? If Britain’s first out Muslim drag queen has any say they will. Asifa Lahore feels that while the younger generation of queens has a “party, party, party” image they aren’t really that shallow. Lahore believes that they could step up and contribute by teaching about HIV, and LGBT issues in schools. Learn more in The Gay UK.

Edina and Patsey

Edina and Patsy

Speaking of drag queens; The television show from the ‘90s, Absolutely Fabulous, is coming back as a movie. And they are looking for 100 drag queens. If you happen to be a fabulous drag performer in the south of France the production is looking for some specific look-a-like performers and around 70 just fantastic looking background queens. Of course Patsy always looked like a drag queen so it’s no surprise that drag queens will be featured in the movie. Learn more on the Out website.

You may know little about Lou Reed other than the fact that he wrote Walk on the Wildside, had a transvestite girlfriend at one time and was the lead singer of The Velvet Underground. A new book about his life tells us that in addition to being an influential recording artist he was also a “misogynistic prick.” If you want to just remember Lou for singing Walk on the Wildside and not face the more complicated parts of his life don’t read Notes from the Velvet Underground: The Life of Lou Reed. You can read an interview with the author on the Vice website.

Tim Curry as the mad doctor.

Tim Curry as the mad doctor.

More confusion could be on the way after the media gets done reporting that Laverne Cox has been cast as Dr. Frank N Furter in a remake of the 1975 cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show. While it is non-traditional casting, in a way that show biz hasn’t seen before (casting a black trans woman to play a gay transvestite most famously portrayed by a white cis male), we will have to see how the story gets presented. People get confused enough about the various areas under the transgender umbrella so having Ms. Cox singing about being a “sweet transvestite” might only add to the misunderstanding. Read about it on the CNN website.

New York state has had an anti-discrimination bill that would protect trans people be defeated every time it has come up for a vote in the State Assembly. It has been blocked by Republican legislators eight times. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has had enough. Last Thursday he put an executive action into effect and extended the 1945 human rights law to include gender identity. Get the details in The New York Times.

Julian Eltinge

Julian Eltinge

Back at the turn of the 20th century one of the big names in female impersonation, appearing on stage and screen around the country, was Julian Eltinge. He even had a theater in New York named after him and his drag photo adorned the covers of many pieces of sheet music. It wouldn’t be wrong to call him the RuPaul of his day. But he always insisted that even though he made a beguiling woman he was all man and no sissy. Dressing up was strictly business. About a year ago a young couple were at one of New Orleans’ oldest restaurants and they took a selfie. In the background of the photo was a strange, ghostly female face. The restaurant’s owner believes it is the ghost of Julian Eltinge, done up in drag after his death. Still dressing up after death? That would make Julian a spirit crossdresser. Why do they believe the ghost is his? Read the article and view a video on the WGNO ABC website.

Mexico was in the news last week as it braced for a hurricane which hit with fury but didn’t do as much damage as they expected. Another story out of Mexico got less fanfare but is big news for Mexican trans people. They have had gender identity protection under the law since 2008 but it was just this month that they were given the ability to get a new birth certificate in their new expressed gender. This means they can get voter cards, passports, and professional credentials in their new gender. This will be of enormous help in getting along in society. It’s not all sunny though since you can only apply for a new birth certificate in Mexico City. Road trip! Learn more on the telesur website.

Trans sex wokers in Philadelphia.

Trans sex workers in Philadelphia.

For many crossdressers the idea of being a hooker and selling sex to admiring gentlemen is a fantasy they find very attractive. Wearing tight mini-dresses, or hot pants, and spike heeled shoes while showing of their “wares” seems like it would be the ultimate expression of their femme selves. But the real world of trans sex work, or any sex work for that matter, is not glamorous. Any thrill is likely to be caused by spikes in adrenaline turned on by fear. Get the real  story about working the streets from

Trans teen Brooklyn (center) with her cis girl friends.

Trans teen Brooklyn (center) with her friends.

While sad stories abound in the trans world that doesn’t mean that there aren’t good things going on. While we tend to hear about the adults who have success after their transitions the editors of Seventeen felt that there must be many trans teens out there who were doing well and  weren’t on a downward path due to their gender identity. So, they went on a search and came up with five real trans teens who are examples of how being treated as normal can result in a trans teen being a normal teenager. The story can be found on the Refinery29 website.

One way to be successful as a trans woman is to go into showbiz and become a star. But that’s not as easy to do as it is to aspire to. Fortunately Lee Daniels, the co-creator of the hit show Empire, now has a lot of clout in the biz and he’s looking for a trans woman to become a star in his next Fox TV show — Star. But to have a shot at the role you must be half African-America and half Latina. You also have to be stunningly beautiful and 20-years-old. And it would help if you live in Atlanta. Get your headshot ready, ladies! The details of the casting call can be found in Variety.

alaskacoverDrag queen fans will be delighted to know that there’s a new magazine dedicated to their favorite people. It’s called Queen and it is a high quality, glossy drag extravaganza that weights just under two pounds. That is a lot of drag, ladies. The cover girl for the first issue is Drag Race star Alaska Thunderfuck 5000. In an era when it’s become hard to publish such an ambitious print magazine it will be interesting to see how well Queen does in the marketplace. It could be that the current popularity of drag performers might be enough to give it a more general audience. Look it over on the Out website.

Just twenty or so years ago the idea that people could be transgender seemed wild to the general public. Sure, everyone had heard of “sex changes” and drag queens but the idea that gender could be in your brain and not defined by what was between your legs, that was radical. Well it’s the 21st century now and transgender is everywhere. Much to the concern of conservatives. But plain old vanilla trans people who pick one gender and stick with it are old hat. Read about the new gender landscape, or more likely the post-gender landscape. Some of these kids today have some really odd ideas about gender. Read all about them in New York Magazine.

Angela Ponce

Angela Ponce

The representative of Cadiz, Spain in the Miss World Spain pageant that happened last night in Málaga was a trans woman named Angela Ponce. Ms. Ponce is the first trans woman to compete in the Miss World Spain contest and if she won (the results have not been announced worldwide yet) she will go on to the Miss World contest in China this December. Meet her in The Local. Thanks to Jan Brown for the story tip.

Here, mate. If yer up for headin’ Down Under next month you can catch the Melbourne Trans and Gender Diverse Film Festival. It’s on from November 13th through 15th at the Lithuanian Club in North Melbourne. You can check out the films they’re featuring this year by reading the article about the festival on the Same Same website.

If you are not a fan of the BBC science fiction show Doctor Who, don’t bother with this story. The latest incarnation of the Doctor has featured a few examples of gender bending. One of the biggest is the return of one of the Doctor’s longtime nemesis, The Master, as a female villain name Missy. (Short for the Mistress.) But there have been other little touches here and there revealing that the intergalactic cultures have various genders and shifting sexualities. There’s even been an interspecies relationship. So Doctor Who fans check out the story on the Doctor Who Watch website. All others move on to the TWITs.


The race for seats on the school board of Fairfax County, Virginia is being affected by a conservative organization that compares trans students to wolves hiding among sheep. The Traditional Values Coalition and a former school board member who both get TWIT Awards are against fairness for trans students and are working together to influence conservative voters to vote in Republican candidates who will stop working to make the schools friendly to trans students. Thanks to Jamie Roberts for the lead to the story in The Washington Post.

The judge handling the case of Gavin Grimm, the 16-year-old trans boy who was denied use of the boys’ restroom at his school appears to be biased against trans people. He has repeatedly referred to the student’s “mental disorder,” refused to consider expert testimony about gender identity and adheres to his own belief that letting Grimm into the boy’s restroom would lead to “mating.” Say what? A TWIT Award is on it’s way to U.S. District Judge Robert Doumar for being an ill informed twit. He should be taken off this case with attitudes like that. Read the story on the ABC News website.

It’s bad enough that conservatives are unable to accept that there are people born with a set of genitals that do not match their actual gender. But that’s understandable. They don’t like change and men becoming women and vice versa is totally confusing to them. But, when they have radio shows and speaking engagements where they spread untrue paranoid ravings about the “agenda” of the trans community we can only issue them a TWIT Award. (Which they will examine with much suspicion no doubt fearing it will infect them with trans.) Conservative radio talker Joe Miller had a guest on his show who talked about a study done at UCLA which found a link between people’s ideology and their posterior medial frontal cortex. It seems that when that area of the brain is exposed to magnetic destimulation people become more reasonable and less conservative in their thinking. Miller then said that the “whole transgender crowd” would be using magnets on conservative’s brains to further their agenda. Wow. How hard would it be to chase them down and install those magnets? Read this paranoid raving on the Raw Story website.

Former Hugh Hefner personal playmate and reality show star Kendra Wilkinson seems incapable of being neglected by the celeb media. She’s still making the news over the 2014 incident in which her husband, basketball player Hank Baskett (really, a basketball player named Baskett?), cheated on her while she was pregnant. For months the media has been going back and forth on whether Kendra would stick with Hank or whether she was disgusted by his affair and would divorce him. The “disgust” is because the affair was with a trans women model. A TWIT Award goes to the media for making a big deal about who Baskett participated in an away game with. The story is he cheated on her and she needs to kick him out, not because he did it with a trans woman. If you care about these people for any reason you can read the story on the Hollywood Life website about how they are breaking up… or are they?

The saying goes, “don’t mess with Texas.” But Texas seems to have no problem messing with LGBT people in that state. Last Monday the organization overseeing high school sports sent a draft rule to it’s member superintendents that would only allow trans kids to participate in sports for members of the gender listed on their birth certificates. The new rules are tougher than those imposed by the NCAA on its players. A TWIT Award goes to Texas. Read the story in the Dallas Observer.

Nowhere in the next TWIT story does the word “crossdresser” or the word “trans” appear but it’s one of those stories that doesn’t help the perception of people who identify with those words. A man in China used skills he had learned while working as a hair stylist to dress up like a beautiful woman and lure men over social media into meeting him at hotels for “a good time.” When he met the men he would slip them sleeping pills and rob them. Talk about tease but don’t please. A TWIT Award goes to Tang, alias Black Rose, for using drag to supplement his income illegally. Read the story and see some blurry photos on Tumblr. Dina Amberle also features Tang in her Dina’s Diner column this week.

Outspoken feminist whose relevance faded many years ago, Germaine Greer, has come out against Caitlyn Jenner, implying that Caitlyn’s gender change was motivated by jealousy over the success of her female family members. She also said that accepting Caitlyn as a woman is somehow anti-woman. Sorry Germaine but we’ve got a TWIT Award for you. Read about her comments on Tumblr.

There seems to be an unending supply of TWIT Award worthy twittering in last week’s news. Here’s another one. Fox News has a “psychology expert” name Gina Loudon whose main claim to fame was appearing on the “reality” show Wife Swap. Last week she slammed the California prison system for spending money on gender reassignment for trans inmates. She claimed science was on her side when she stated that people who undergo GRS suicide 20 times more often than those who don’t. Of course that is junk science but she said it on TV so it must be true. Wrong! A TWIT Award to Ms. Loudon and another to Fox News for featuring these know nothing experts and perpetrating this bull. Read about it and watch a video on the Raw Story website.

Here’s yet another TWIT Award winner. Actually winners. A school in Eugene, Oregon had handed out posters to the staff to familiarize them with the concept of gender identity. The trouble started when an art teacher, no doubt finding  “The Gingerbread Person” on the poster cute, put it up on the wall in her classroom. It was only intended for teachers eyes. When a student asked what it was the teacher gave the class a lesson on gender identity. The winners of the TWIT Award are the parents whose rigid concept of gender keeps it to two opposite genders and tightly related to sexuality. They complained in a self righteous manner saying they should be the ones to teach their children about gender identity. As if they knew anything about it. A mini-TWIT to the art teacher who really shouldn’t have let the kids see the poster. Read the story on the KVAL 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 (2)

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  1. KoolMcKool KoolMcKool says:

    >The winners of the TWIT Award are the parents whose rigid concept of gender keeps it to two opposite genders and tightly related to sexuality. They complained in a self righteous manner saying they should be the ones to teach their children about gender identity.

    The parents are not self-righteous, they are the ones who should be entitled to give input to how this subject is taught.
    Some of you folks are obsessed with pushing TGism onto kids.
    I have to add too, why does no one (rarely) ever respond to this site? Where is the discussion in the community about topics? Is everyone silent and just go along with everything they see in the media regarding TGs and how they present themselves.

    Speak up people the silent is deafening and embarrassing.

    • angela_g angela_g says:

      Sorry Kool, but if the parents do not understand trans issues they have no business trying to teach their kids about them. It is not a question of pushing TGism onto kids. It’s letting kids know that we exist and if they are TG then they don’t have to feel alone. I would have had a happier life if I’d learned what I was and that it wasn’t bad when I was a kid. As for why people don’t comment, that’s a damned good question. I think they may be reading TGF without logging in. You have to log in to comment.

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