The Week In Transgenderism 12/21/15

| Dec 21, 2015
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Best wishes of the season to you from all of us at TGForum!

Ms. Norman in 1993

Ms. Norman in 1993

We live in an era when it’s becoming common to hear about trans women working in the fashion industry. Models like Lea T and Andreja Pejic have broken down barriers that kept trans women who had the look from entering the modeling world openly. One such model was Tracey Norman. A black trans woman from Newark, New Jersey, she got into the business by stealth and appeared in Italian Vogue, Essence, and was even featured on Clairol’s Born Beautiful hair color boxes. Learn more about her and her modeling career that started in the 1970s in New York magazine.

Not every aspiring model is as lucky as Ms. Norman. A trans woman in the U.K. was hoping that a beauty pageant would be the key to unlocking a fabulous modeling career but after making it to the finals of the Ms. Galaxy contest she was told she couldn’t compete since she wasn’t “born female.” Get the story about Jossy Yendall and the Ms. Galaxy contest in the New Zealand Herald.

c_jennerCaitlyn Jenner got a lot of negative comments for making some statements that upset members of the trans community. One of the things she said is that trans people who don’t conform to the standards of their gender can cause unease among the common crowd. In our world image is often very important and while Ms. Jenner’s image is important to her she has realized that it is not the same for every trans person. She has apologized for the statements that upset people. You can find the apology on the Yahoo News Feed.

Meanwhile, Barbara Walters has pronounce Caitlyn Jenner to be the most fascinating person of 2015. From greatest athlete in the world to most fascinating person in only 37 years. Not bad. Find out why Walters chose Jenner in an article on the ABC News website.

It's Miley!

It’s Miley!

To some people it seems like 2015 was a banner year for GLBT issues and identities. Everyone form Caitlyn Jenner to Miley Cyrus was coming out and declaring different gender expressions. Of course Miley has said she’s “gender fluid” but we only seem to see femme gender expressions. Maybe she’s just freaky? Anyhow, check out a compilation of all the celebs who have embraced different gender expressions this year on the Movie Pilot website.

The number of killings of trans women rose dramatically in 2015. The majority of the victims were black, and while a large portion were engaged in the risky business of sex work, some were just going about their business when their lives were taken. The murderers of these women have one thing in common — they were all men. One gender theorist believes she knows why these women were killed. You can find her theory in an interview on the Broadly website.

Juana Sosa

Juana Sosa

An Argentinian teen who had identified as being non-binary learned about trans people and decided that being a woman was right for her. She chose the night of her school’s prom to debut her life as a woman. And she had the whole day documented on video. All her preparation are preserved in hopes that her experience will help inspire others. Learn more about Jauna Sosa in The Daily Mail.

Kael McKenzie is Manitoba’s first trans judge. He may be the first trans judge in all of Canada. He was appointed to the provincial court last week by Manitoba’s attorney general. McKenzie got his law degree for the University of Manitoba in 2006 and has been a Crown attorney in Manitoba for five years. Learn more about his appointment on the CTV News website.

We’ve heard of research findings that indicate there is a difference between the brains of cis males and trans women. Then we heard there is no difference. Now we are hearing that trans identities may indeed be caused by differences in brain structure. The new research makes it clear that trans women’s brains are different than male or female brains. Dig into the nuts and bolts of the research in the Scientific American.

Earlier this year Facebook removed a bunch of drag performer’s pages saying they violated the site’s “real” name policy. Citing the need of Facebook users to know who they’re interacting with Facebook has not changed their policy on pseudonyms but has announced testing of “new tools” to work on  a fairer implementation of the policy. A percentage of people who login to Facebook will find themselves taking a test that allows those whose name is challenged to respond and defend the name they use. Learn more in the Advocate. Thanks to Jan Brown for the lead.

Miss Kitty Litter

Miss Kitty Litter

A drag performer from Rhode Island who has raised over $1.5 million for local non-profits in that state has hung up her gown and put away her wig for the last time. Miss Kitty Litter has left the building. She will be moving to North Carolina with her husband who has gotten a job in the Tar Heel State. Miss Kitty Litter’s male name is Stephen Hartley and he has brought his glamour to stages across the state for the past 25 years. He does not plan to perform after the move saying that Kitty Litter was an icon in Rhode Island but she’s too old to become one is North Carolina. Read all about her in the Providence Journal.

How many trans people have run for offices around the world? The Washington Post answers that question with an article on transgender politicians around the world, including a map showing the 31 countries in which transgender people have run for office.

Cisgender Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has called for amending the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to add the words “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.” That would make them part of the protected classes under the law. Learn more in The Wichita Eagle.



In Bangladesh, a hijra named Dithi has become a candidate in a municipal election. The position she is running for is reserved for a female candidate. She is profiled in the Dhaka Tribune.

The Empire State Pride Agenda has a history of pushing for legislation to help gay and lesbian citizens in New York, while not working much for trans related legislation.  Now that Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed an executive order providing trans people with some protections from discrimination, the ESPA is disbanding, saying that they have accomplished all of their goals. Many trans people in New York are upset about this, since the governor’s executive order can be overturned by a future governor, and since the state legislature can refuse to budget any funds for enforcement of the executive order. The story is in the Advocate.

U.S. Representative Mike Honda has introduced a bill titled “Expressing Support For Transgender Acceptance.” The bill has 19 co-sponsors. It has a rough path to get to the floor of the House of Representatives, given the current membership of that body.Rep. Honda chairs the Transgender Equality Task Force, a congressional task force for transgender rights created in November. Learn more about his bill in On Top magazine.

Schuyler Bailar

Schuyler Bailar

You might think that finishing last in a swim meet is not a claim to fame, but Schuyler Bailar made history with that last-place finish. The Harvard freshman was the first trans swimmer to compete for an NCAA Division I swim team. The story is in The Guardian.

A new clinic at the VA hospital in Tucson, Arizona, is becoming the fourth VA clinic in the U.S. to offer trans care to veterans. They estimate that there are about 130 transgender veterans in the Tucson area, although some veterans may travel from other areas to get treatment at this clinic.  The story is in the Arizona Capital Times.

Another type of clinic is, at last, closing. The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, Canada is closing it’s Child, Youth, and Family Gender Identity Clinic after it was learned that under the direction of Dr. Kenneth Zucker the clinic was practicing anti-trans reparative therapy on children. Zucker believes that 80 percent of children with a cross-gender identification will grow up to be gay and not trans. Despite research showing that children don’t change their gender identity as they grow up. Read more about the closing of the clinic on the Think Progress website.

Cincinnati, home of chili on spaghetti, may move to ban reparative therapy. The city council has a proposed ordinance coming up for a vote soon that affirms that GLBT people are not suffering from a disease or disorder and that any mental health professional who attempts to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity would be subject to a fine. While the fine is about what psychologists get paid for an hour’s consultation it’s the though that counts. Learn more on the WVXU website.

Detail from mural.

Detail from mural.

Kalkidan Assefa is an artist who created a mural which tries to raise awareness of trans women of color. Sadly the mural was defaced with spray paint a month after it was painted in August of 2015. Now the mural has been repainted and has a new home in a community centre in Ottawa. You can see a picture of the mural and read more about it at the Daily Xtra.

Private Kevin Elliot was killed in Afghanistan.  His friend, Barry Delaney, made him a deal not long before he died. If Private Elliot was killed in action, Mr. Delaney would wear a dress to the funeral — and the louder, the better. It sounds more than a bit weird but if you read the story you can see why Delaney made that promise and then followed through. Find it at

Kim Watson

Kim Watson

Barbados is a lovely island in the south Caribbean, right on the edge of the Atlantic ocean. The west coast is beautiful and serene and the east coast is rough and subjected to heavy weather from the Atlantic. Also subjected to heavy weather on the island are any GLBT people. Barbados is very intolerant of GLBT people, going so far as to have laws against being GLBT. One trans woman from Barbados, Kim Watson, had a big (possible life saving) win when it was ruled that she could stay here in the U.S. She had been fighting deportation to her home country for three years. Read about her win on the Welcome2TheBronx website.

Internet searches can tell you a lot about who is into what. A site called Estately put together a state-by-state analysis of the most-searched terms on Google. (Don’t ask how Google knows which state the request is coming from. Despite their motto, “Don’t Be Evil,” they know where you live.) In Alabama, the fourth most-searched term is “Laverne Cox.” The phrase, “What is transgender?” was searched in Michigan more than in any other state, while Utah led the nation in searching for the term “transgender.”  See more results on the Estately website.

Rev. Cindy Bourgeois

Rev. Cindy Bourgeois

Reverend Cindy Bourgeois has been ordained in the United Church of Canada. She is the first trans woman to become a reverend in the church. She has been assigned to Wesley United Church in Regina. There is a biography of her, including a video, in the Regina Leader-Post.


Here’s a good news/bad news story out of New Jersey. The good part is that the legislature has a bill with bipartisan support that would allow trans people to change their birth certificate after having “gender transition treatment.” That means it would not be necessary to have GRS before changing your birth certificate gender marker. The bad news is that even with a Democratic majority and support from Republicans current presidential candidate and New Jersey governor Chris Christie vetoed the bill, again. The legislature is just one vote short of over riding his veto. More good news; The bill was withdrawn so it can be introduced again before the legislative session expires in January. Governor Christie is taking home a TWIT Award for his opposition to the bill which he claims is based on concerns over “fraud, deception, and abuse.” We suggest that New Jersey residents take some time to contact their representatives and ask them to vote for this bill. Get the story from

Restroom Wars just keep getting more ridiculous. Some political activists in California are seeking to place an initiative on the ballot which would make it illegal for trans* people to use public rest rooms which correspond to their gender identity.  They site “privacy concerns” as their reason. The law they hope to pass would offer a $4000 reward to anyone who “turned in” a trans person they caught in the restroom. Opponents of the initiative say that offering that kind of reward would cause people to become restroom vigilantes and violate the privacy of anyone suspected of being trans, and probably make the vigilante a lawbreaker. A TWIT Award to all the idiots who keep going on and on about this non-issue. Read about it in US News & World Report.

A women’s festival in the Midwest has been in the news in past years for the exclusion of trans women. Now we learn of a festival in Australia that adheres to the same strict admission policy. The Seven Sisters Festival in Mount Martha, Victoria, Australia, bills itself as a chance for women to “explore, grow, and evolve.” Trans women need not stop by. Perhaps they don’t think we need to “explore, grow, and evolve.”  A TWIT Award goes to the festival. Gay News Network has the story.

Once upon a time, Johns Hopkins University was a leader in both psychiatry and surgery relating to transsexuals. Some in the university did not like this, and both the dean of the med school and the chief of psychiatry were chosen to change that reputation. The anti-trans psychiatrist, Dr. Paul McHugh was psychiatrist-in-chief at that institution and he put an end to the gender reassignment program. Has long been opposed to treating trans people and outs forth the idea that trans people are mentally ill. Several conservative commentators, impressed by this eminent psychiatrist with degrees and a fancy academic position have been promoting the things he says. Never mind that he is an outlier in academic circles. A TWIT Award to Dr. McHugh for his crusade against trans people and TWIT Awards to any media types who believe his wrongheaded opinions. Read about him in the Advocate.

From the Just Stop It file: Liborio De La Luz Ramos has pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, after administering silicone to a transwoman who subsequently died. Seriously, that stuff will not make you beautiful. It will kill you. And people like TWIT Award winner Liborio De La Luz have no medical training and are just endangering people’s health with their pumping to make dirty money. The Orange County Register has more on this story.

This edition of TWIT contains stories researched and some intros written by TGF contributor Cecelia.

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Category: Transgender Community News


About the Author ()

Angela Gardner is a founding member of The Renaissance Transgender Association, Inc., the former editor of that organization's newsletter and magazine, Transgender Community News. She wrote the Diva of Dish column for TGF in the late 1990s and was the Editor of LadyLike magazine until its untimely demise. She is currently the Editor of TGF. She has appeared in film and television shows portraying TG characters, as well as representing Renaissance on numerous talk shows. In her idle hours she keeps busy producing her monthly TG parties, Angela's Laptop Lounge.

Comments (1)

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  1. KoolMcKool KoolMcKool says:

    >Kael McKenzie is Manitoba’s first trans judge.
    This is really the sort of thing we should applaud and strive for.

    All this beauty pageant, Caitlin Jenner stuff is just cheap TMZ gossip. So Barbara Walters picks Jenner as one of the most interesting.
    You folks can take interest in what you like, but I would rather spend an hour talking law with that judge than an hour with Jenner.
    Make 2016 the year where folks find you interesting for something other than being transgendered.

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