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The Week In Transgenderism 11/9/15

| Nov 9, 2015
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Drag activist Lady Bunny.

Drag activist Lady Bunny.

Drag queens have been part of the frontline of LGBT protest and activism for a long time. Just the idea of a man dressing up as a woman is enough to make adherents to the status quo gasp in fear. When they are larger than life and strutting upon a stage that makes conservatives quake with fear. In Los Angeles drag queens fought against police oppression back in 1959. The Compton’s Cafeteria riot happened in 1966. Stonewall happened in 1969. All of these events were important to the LGBT rights movement. Read about some of the drag queens of today who are using their drag fame to promote LGBT related causes. Find the story about them in The Advocate.

Last Monday federal education authorities made it clear that an Illinois school district violated anti-discrimination laws when it refused to let a trans girl student use the girls’ locker room to change and shower. The girl has been using the girls’ locker room but changing behind a curtain. She has said that she would most probably continue to follow that practice but she wants to be able to make that choice. The Education Department has given the district 30 days to allow her to make that choice or it will impose sanctions. Read the whole story in The New York Times. The Times also featured an Opinion Page debate on the issue.

The Union for Reform Judaism has voted to call on all Reform synagogues to provide gender neutral restrooms, train staffers on LGBT issues and show support for the trans community. They even include eliminating gender-specific pronouns on name tags, and sort Hebrew-school classes by birthdays rather than gender. Learn more in The Atlantic.

Trixie Maristela

Trixie Maristela

Last Friday the Miss International Queen 2015 pageant crowned a winner in Thailand. The new Queen is Filipina Trixie Maristela. The raven haired beauty beat 26 other women to take the crown. Read the story on the Reuters website.

Are you a trans actor in New York City? If you are you should be aware that the Public Theater Company is doing a production of Southern Comfort, a play based on the film of the same name. The film profiled a group of trans people living in Georgia. The play was first produced in 2012. Get the facts about the production and auditions on the Playbill website.



A trans woman in India, who we have mentioned in a previous TWIT for missing the time by 1 second in the 100 meter dash, has not only been accepted by the police force in Chennai after a court battle but will be given an appointment as a Sub Inspector. That doesn’t mean she will be inspecting sandwiches or underwater boats. It’s a pretty prestigious post and an historic first. Read about K Prithika Yashini on the NDTV website.

Iowa State has not just an annual drag show. The have a bi-annual drag show. Their Fall 2015 Drag Show happened on Halloween night, featured 11 performers and was a contest for best student drag performance. Check out the story  in the Iowa State Daily.

Thanks goodness that late night comics are there to bring some commonsense to the “restroom wars.” Seth Meyers, host of Late Night on NBC, took a satiric poke at the voters of Houston, Texas who voted down and anti-discrimination ordinance that they feared would put perverted men claiming to be trans women into the city’s public restrooms. Meyers points out that it’s been illegal in Houston to do anything in the restroom but relieve yourself since 1972. Read more and view a video on  The Week website.

There was more reaction to the Houston decision in The New York Times. Their op-ed page columnist Frank Bruni, an out gay man, likened the lie that men in dresses would use the defeated ordinance to sneak into lady’s rooms and molest women to the lies told about gay men being sexual predators who were always looking for little boys to  molest. He doesn’t have as many laughs in his column as Meyers packed into his bit on the issue but he throughly bashes the “bathroom myth” in his column this past Sunday.

Germaine Greer’s anti-trans and anti-Caitlyn Jenner comments have garnered criticism from many people on social media and in the press. One famous commenter is Sir Elton John. After he heard Greer’s comments he said “She’s living in another century, she is an attention seeker.” John had more to say and there are remarks from others that can be found inThe Telegraph.

A same-sex couple in Katy, Texas asked their child’s daycare center to honor the child’s gender identity and refer to him as male. The center agreed to the child’s gender change but trouble arose when two employees disagreed with treating the boy as a boy. The center fired the employees and that has caused outsiders to question the daycare’s actions and brought attention to the child and his gay parents. Learn more in The Advocate.

Roberta Cowell

Roberta Cowell

The first British person to undergo gender reassignment surgery was Roberta Cowell. Cowell was a Spitfire pilot in WWII, became a racing car driver and fathered two daughters. That last part was not known to the general public while Cowell was alive. She passed away in 2011. Her story of transition is tainted by two things. First, she just disappeared one day and her family never heard from her again. Second, she had a secret illegal operation to remove her testicles after which she claimed she was an intersex person which would make her eligible for her vaginoplasty. No TWIT Award is being issued since Cowell is deceased and in the late ‘40s and early ‘50s it sometimes took shady acts to achieve transition. Read her story by a writer who interviews one of her daughters and who knew Cowell in the 1970s. It can be found in The Telegraph.

Normally when we mention the Breitbart website in TWIT it’s to hand them a TWIT Award for negatively spinning a story with a trans subject. Today we have to compliment them on a story they ran on November 8 that presented the viewpoint of LGBT people who were participating in a demonstration supporting trans people and the recently defeated anti-discrimination ordinance in Houston. Breitbart had quotes from several of the trans demonstrators along with supportive quotes from cis, heterosexuals who support the ordinance. Congratulations Breitbart. Maybe you can do real journalism. You can find the story on their website.



A trans woman who was discharged from the U.S. Air Force in 2010 has a message to those who hate trans people. She posted a selfie on her Facebook page that featured her wearing a T-shirt that had these words printed on it: “Transgender Veteran: I fought for your right to hate me”. Learn more about Carla Lewis on the Mic website.

It isn’t only humans who can change their gender. Last week we learned that a 5000-year-old yew tree in England called the Fortingall Yew was a male tree most of its life but has recently crossed the gender border to exhibit decidedly female characteristics. Get the story in The Economist.



India Willoughby, a trans woman in England worked as a male “television presenter” or as we would say in the USA, a TV personality, on a show called Lookaround. That was before anyone knew she was trans, and she kept it hidden from her fellow employees. When she couldn’t take it any longer she quit the television show and applied for a job in another city as a woman. On weekends she would visit her son in Carlisle while dressing as a male. During the week she worked in Newcastle as a female. She led this double life for five years before realizing that she could not go on that way and had to fully transition to female. Read her story in the Pink News.

Have you heard the one about the one-legged transvestite from Georgian England? His name was Sam Foote and he is the subject of a comedic play now running in London. Foote was the Eddie Izzard of his time, a famous comedian who lost his leg after he had the bad judgement to play a practical joke on royalty. No anesthetic was used during the amputation. Fonte wrote comedies and is one of the most famous men of his time, who you have never heard of. Learn more about Mr. Foote and the new play, which is titled Mr. Foote’s Other Leg, in The Telegraph.


The HERO legislation in Houston, Texas that passed the city council and was challenged by angry and fearful conservatives who were worried about trans people using the restroom of their expressed gender has gone down to defeat in a referendum election. The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance was fought by conservative religious organizations who told people that sexual predators would be allowed in the lady’s room if the ordinance went into effect. A large TWIT Award (Texas size) goes to everyone in that city who have just made it harder for trans people to find a restroom and get some respect. Get the story from Associated Press.

Here’s one to mull over. Ben Carson, the presidential candidate, said that trans people should have their own public restrooms. He said that trans people make “everyone else uncomfortable.” If we are provided with accommodation for relieving ourselves is that such a bad thing? Some crossdressers are not comfortable using the lady’s room while out in public. Would they welcome a single stall facility they could use? Carson is getting a TWIT Award for saying trans people make everyone uncomfortable but is the third restroom a good idea? Read his comments in The Hill and comment on his idea in the comment area below.

A beer company has tried to jump on the transgender bandwagon by announcing that they have produced a “transgender beer” that uses hops that have changed gender from female flowers to male flowers. A TWIT Award goes to Brewdog for trying to get publicity from the rise of trans awareness. Read more about it on The Mary Sue.

The latest voice from the past to come out with negative comments about transgenderism is academic, author, and social critic Camille Paglia. (Once well known for her book Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson [1990])  She said in an October 22 interview with Brazilian television that transgenderism is a symptom of western decadence. She went on to deny that there is a spectrum of gender identities and that attempts to help children to live in their true gender is a form of child abuse. On a personal note; I have been aware of Paglia’s beliefs about trans people since the early ’90s and thought she was mis-informed back then, and I belief that even more today. A TWIT Award to Camille Paglia for saying the rise of trans people signals the collapse of western civilization. Read more of her absurd opinions on the CNS News website.

This story is landing in the TWIT Award section because it is the tale of a trans woman who was terrorized in her home by what the British call “yobs.” In Jamaica they would be called “rude boys” and here in the USA we call them “stupid punks.” Feeling that she had good neighbors she let them know that she was trans. Shortly thereafter her home was broken into, “Get out tranny” was painted on her door and a knife was left sticking into it. A TWIT Award goes to the ignorant neighbor who outed her to the “yobs” and another TWIT Award goes to those stupid punks. Fortunately her story has a happy ending. Find out what it is in the Mirror.

There is a strange syndrome, probably brought on by watching too many zombie movies, that causes people to believe that they are zombies. It’s called Cotard Syndrome. It is a mental disorder and those who are afflicted with it do themselves harm by believing that since they are dead they no longer need to eat or do other things living people do. We’re giving the TWIT Award here to writer Jonathan Keller. He’s not a zombie but he used the example of Cotard Syndrome victims as the equivalent of transsexuality in a recent op-ed. In other words he believes that men who think they are women are as messed up as people who think they are zombies. He claims it is a similar body dysmorphia. Hogwash Mr. Keller. This op-ed was published by the American Thinker website. Not much actual thinking going on in this piece.

Our final TWIT Award this week has to be shared by Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood and the Country Music Association. Their recent awards show kicked off with Paisley and Underwood doing a song called Everything is Cray Cray. That doesn’t mean there are crayfish everywhere. Cray is short for “crazy.” One of the things they find crazy in the song is that “Bruce’s a babe now.” You would suppose it played well with country music fans but there was a negative response from viewers. Check it out on the Hollywood Life 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 (1)

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  1. KoolMcKool KoolMcKool says:

    >everyone in that city who have just made it harder for trans people to find a restroom and get some respect

    I lived in Houston and Texas for about 10 years. I visit frequently. Great place very LGBT friendly. Nobody in Houston cares if you’re trans, I use whatever bathroom I like.
    I even plan to visit there in two weeks to hang out with a friend who voted against the ordinance.
    Stop worrying, not every objection to a trans law means they have a problem with trans people. Some folks (like Houstonians) don’t like over reaching laws and ordinances.

    Be flexible in how you persuade people to accept you.

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