The Week In Transgenderism 2/15/16

| Feb 15, 2016
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Trans Models founder Pêche Di.

Trans Models founder Pêche Di.

The New York City modeling agency that is strictly for trans models puts that message out there right off the bat. Trans Models is the agency name. It was founded by a trans woman who was trying to get modeling work and had trouble getting an agent. Now she has a roster of 15 models who have done runway work and ad campaigns for big-name companies such as Smirnoff and Budweiser. Read all about Trans Models in The Huffington Post.

Blurring the lines of gender is being called a large movement in the fashion industry at this time. This past Saturday Collina Strada presented their women’s fashions with a show featuring a mix of cisgender male, trans females, trans males an gender nonspecific models. Read more about this modeling trend on the Fashionista website.

A model prepares to audition.

A model prepares to audition.

Rudrani Chettri, who has started a trans modeling agency in India, got some press last week about her efforts to get the agency off the ground. She has been doing presentations to the fashion industry and is trying to get a online fundraising effort together to finance the model’s photo shoots. Learn more on AOL News.

Cheerleader Phobe.

Cheerleader Phobe.

A Canadian trans girl who had identified as a gay male until two years ago came out to her school as a heterosexual trans girl. Then the bullying and bad treatment started. But this isn’t in the TWIT Award section because by persevering and getting involved in cheerleading Phoebe overcame the negativity and gained a spot on the senior cheerleading team. Read her story in the Mirror.

Washington state considered a bill last week that would have repealed a law that allowed trans people to use the restrooms and locker rooms that matched their gender. Fortunately for trans people in that state several Republican legislators voted with the Democrats to defeat the bill. Learn more on the Seattle pi website.

Trans man on the cover.

Trans man on the cover.

Last year a trans man almost became the cover model for Men’s Health magazine. It didn’t happen then but this year Men’s Health Germany will feature a trans man on its cover for their April issue. Learn more on the CNS News website.

RuPaul’s Drag Race is back for a new season on March 7. It’s the eighth season of this show that has helped make drag queens into mainstream entertainers. Check out who will be competing for the title of America’s Next Drag Superstar in an article on the Pipe Dream website.

Blind drag performer.

Blind drag performer.

When life gives you lemons you’re supposed to make it into lemonade. One drag performer in Texas contracted meningitis at the age of 22 and lost her eyesight. Today she is 39 and is performing every week at TC’s Show Bar. If you need inspiration on how to deal with adversity in your life see how Alexis Nicole Whitney managed to carry on after she lost her sight — and how she does her makeup — in Houstonia Magazine.

The bathroom defenders all claim that they aren’t discrimination against trans people when they propose restrictive laws that would keep trans women out of the lady’s room. They say it’s all about the women’s right to privacy. Perhaps they’ve never been in a lady’s room but they’re pretty darned private. Individual stalls for all your elimination needs are standard. So who would be intruding on anyone’s privacy? The privacy argument didn’t cut it in Virginia last week. A restrictive bill was killed. Read more and view a video on the NBC29 website.

The rash of “bathroom” bills that popped up in several states this past year seem as if they would be hard to enforce. Some of them even called for people in restrooms and locker rooms to act as gender vigilantes who would turn in suspicious people to the authorities. But then the authorities would have to do a genital exam. While these laws are certainly impractical they are most probably unconstitutional. Learn more on

Carmen Rupe

Carmen Rupe

As part of a plan to seek opportunities for unique crossing lights that honor well known New Zealanders a pedestrian light on Cuba Street in Wellington, New Zealand, is being dedicated to Carmen Rupe, a legendary Maori drag performer. You can read about it at

Former inmate in the Georgia prison system, Ashley Diamond, has dropped her lawsuit against the state. Her treatment in prison and the lack of proper medical care prompted the lawsuit. She dropped it after the state agreed to settle out of court and pay her $250,000. The Justice Department had weighed in on the case causing the state to implement new trans friendly policies in the prison system. Learn more on the ABC News website.

Anyone doing research into trans history or those just interested in it have a new resource on the Web. The College of The Holy Cross has created a digital transgender archive with materials gathered from 13 other institutions including Harvard, Cornell, the University of Victoria and the University of Michigan. The archive contains historic documents, oral-history transcripts and TG newsletters. Learn more in the Boston Globe.

Sasha Colby as Laura Croft.

Sasha Colby as Laura Croft.

Queen Magazine is not, as you might expect, a magazine for female royalty. Queen Elizabeth does not subscribe. It’s actually a magazine for the fans of drag queens. The publishers have  released some photos from the first and second issues of the mag that feature drag performers made up and costumed as female super heroes and villains. Check out the pix on Queerty.

Honey Labronx

Honey Labronx

While we’re highlighting drag performers here’s another queen with a mission. Honey Labronx hosts a vegan cooking show that is available on YouTube. Ms. Labronx has produced six episodes and is crowdfunding now to expand the show. She also has a lot of tips on how to do drag while avoiding using animal derived products. Read an interview with her on the Ecorazzi website.

Are you troubled by dark circles under your eyes? It is possible to hide those features that make you look tired and old by using makeup. For a quick course on hiding the dark shadows check out this article on Makeup Geek.

In Canada, Kael McKenzie was appointed to be the first transgender judge in that nation at the end of last year.  Last week he was officially sworn in. The story can be found on the Canadian Broadcasting Company website.

The University of Pittsburgh has moved in the direction taken by other universities and is offering a course in transgender studies. It’s not a major, it’s only one course, but it is a start. The course is filled to its enrollment limit of 25 students. The student newspaper, The Pitt News, has more.

Despite language in the Affordable Care Act many health insurance policies have an exclusion for transgender-related care. The state of Maryland has just passed a rule which will ban such exclusions. You can read about it in the Washington Blade.

Massachusetts has legalized gay marriage and a non-discrimination policy that covers gender identity. But one senator thinks that with 65 percent of trans people in the state reporting that they have experienced discrimination there needs to be more protection. Senator Sonia Chang-Díaz writes in The Huffington Post about why she is sponsoring a bill designed to protect trans people in public places.

"Out" in Oz.

“Out” in Oz.

Up until 2010 the Australian Defense Force did not welcome trans soldiers. If they were found in the ranks they were discharged at once. Just recently those regulations were thrown out and trans people were allowed to join. It also meant those who had been serving in stealth mode could now come out to their peers. Read the story on the website.

Three trans women who transitioned late in life were honored last week by the First Parish Church in Brewster, Massachusetts. The three were given the Skip Warren Award at the 16th annual Gayla Ball in Hyannis. Read their stories in the Cape Cod Times.

The country of Nepal is one of the most progressive places on the planet in how it deals with trans people. There they have established a “third gender” for official documents that gives legal status to trans citizens. That means having the right to vote and be counted in the country’s census. Read the story in The Guardian.


The Mesa, Arizona police department responded to a call about someone threatening suicide. The person was a trans man with Asperger’s syndrome who had threatened suicide before and had been visited by the police at that time. The Mesa police get a TWIT Award for arriving on the scene, seeing the trans man with a knife, and shooting him dead. They said he ran at them with the knife. How about some training in deescalating high tension situations? Read the story and watch video on the RT website.

Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham, is the president of an international Christian charity. He is anything but Christian though in his condemnation of trans people. He calls the LGBT fight for rights an “immoral agenda” and promotes the falsehood that anti-discrimination bills will invite perverts and sexual predators into lady’s rooms. Even though Graham’s intervention helped to defuse the militia standoff in Oregon we must issue a TWIT Award to him for his stance on LGBT rights. Thanks to TGF reader Naomi for the story. Read about it in Pink News.

Niv Acosta, a performance artist and a transman, went to Spa Castle in New York City last week. He was told to use an upstairs changing area, rather than either the mens’ or women’s locker area, and was asked to stay away from the nude bathing area, which happens to be a part of the experience that he was looking forward to. This treatment earns Spa Castle a TWIT Award burt it’s a complicated story. The Gothamist has more.

At Penn High School in Mishawaka, Indiana, a poster which says “Support Trans People” has been torn down repeatedly, and at least once was replaced with a poster that says, “Support Straight PPL.” The principal, Steve Hope, sent out an e-mail saying, “Our school must be a place of tolerance.” Unfortunately, several of the responses show a huge lack of tolerance. A TWIT Award goes to the haters who don’t understand that trans people need more support than the cisgender population. You can read about it on the WBND-TV website.

During a discussion on a bill about the rights of transgender people, TWIT Award winner South Dakota State Senator David Omdahl said, “I’m sorry you’re twisted and don’t know who you are.” Jae Puckett, an assistant professor in clinical psychology at the University of South Dakota was interviewed about why the senator’s comments were so hurtful to trans people. You can read the story on the KSFY website.

More and more medical schools are familiarizing their students with at least a bit of information about treating transgender patients. Of course the conservative website Breibart does not approve of this. Their headline uses the verb “indoctrinating” and describes transgenderism as “post-science” and “ideology”.  Scientifically speaking, science has not been transcended. A TWIT Award to Breitbart for denying science and sticking to their right wing agenda. You can read their propaganda on their website.

Our next TWIT Award winner is West Virginia state delegate Tom Fast (R) who, for some unexplained reason, in the debate of a bill that would allow Uber to operate in the state, began to expound negatively on LGBT people. One comment was that “Once homosexual, bisexual and transgender behavior is elevated to a protected status, there is nothing to stop bigamy, pedophilia or any other sexual practices from receiving the same protection.” Well thanks for not comparing trans people to practitioners of beastiality. Read the rest of his ignorant comments on the GayStarNews website.

TGForum users Cecilia and Jan have contributed to this edition of TWIT.

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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.

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