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The Week In Transgenderism 1/18/16

| Jan 18, 2016
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precious_davisHistory, at least television history, was made this past Friday when a trans woman was featured in an episode of the TLC show Say Yes to the Dress. Precious Davis is the bride-to-be’s name and she is from Chicago. Learn more about the story at

In another first, a trans woman will stand for election in West Belfast, Ireland. She will be the first trans candidate in Ireland. Activist Ellen Murray, 22, will run as a Green Party candidate. Her platform includes better access to trans healthcare and equal rights for LGBTQ people.

Here’s another first. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has, for the second time, nominated a trans musician in the Best Original Song category. Antony Hegarty, lead vocalist for Antony and The Johnsons wrote the lyrics for the song Manta Ray which was featured in a documentary titled Racing Extinction. Learn more in the Advocate.

The lawsuit brought against a Planet Fitness over the company’s policy of letting trans people use the locker room of their choice has been dismissed. A woman in Michigan was upset that she had to share the locker room with a trans woman and when Planet Fitness didn’t toss the trans woman out she was further upset that they revoked her membership for violating their anti-discrimination policy. Now the judge has agreed with Planet Fitness. Get the story from the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Emmie Reek 4Last week we told you about Emmie Reek being on The Voice of Ireland. She did Adele’s One and Only as her first song on the show and the judges all loved her. That means she stays on the show and while she was scheduled to get married in her home country of Brazil, and that would have conflicted with her availability for the show, her fiancé said the wedding could always be postponed and she should follow her dream. Learn more in the Independent.

Psychologists say that when you meet someone they evaluate you and adopt their first impression of you in just seconds. For regular folks the process is not too hard. But when people meet a trans person they may become confused. Since the first thing people decide in their first impression is “can I trust this person” the different cues they are getting may make them decide they can’t. Many people feel that crossdressers are using a disguise or trying to fool people. Based on that they may not accept you as the wonderful person you are. Read about first impressions in an article from the Business Insider.

The world now has its first transgender chair of transgender studies. That person is Professor Aaron Devor of the University of Victoria. Professor Devor is the first ever chair of a transgender studies program anywhere in the world. Learn more about him and what he hopes to accomplish in that position in the Inquisitr.

Christian Zsilavetz, a transman who has spent 25 years as a teacher, is the founder of a new school in Atlanta that’s specifically aimed at LGBT students. Many of the teachers will also be LGBT. The bad news is that tuition will be roughly $13,000 per year. This story is in LGBTQ Nation.

In another first, a court in Lebanon has ruled that a trans man can now change his legal gender from female to male. This is hailed as a landmark step in transgender rights for that country. The way the ruling was worded means it may have far reaching effects in Lebanon. Learn more from the article in Haaretz.

956Since 2011 there has been a beauty pageant for trans women held in the country of Singapore. Each year ten women compete for prize money and various titles. This year support for the pageant has grown with the general public learning about it through the pageant producer’s efforts on social media. Learn more about the Miss World Music Tiffany pageant in the Straits Times.

If you live in Missouri and are gender non-conforming there is a new website to help you navigate the state laws and policies that may be out there waiting for you to violate them. There is also information on just what rights trans Missourians are entitled to. Learn more on the Ozark First website.

Someone recently quipped a joke to the effect that if they didn’t care about Bruce Jenner is it okay if they don’t care about Caitlyn Jenner? Is that offensive? At the Golden Globes last Sunday, Ricky Gervais made several jokes with trans themes. Some people took offense, while others thought that they were just unfunny jokes. Spenser Kornhaber analyzes those jokes in an article in The Atlantic, entitled, “What Makes A Joke Transphobic.”

Phi Phi's first photo.

Phi Phi’s first photo.

There is no doubt that drag is an art form. It can be like big eyed cat painting on velvet or it can be fine art. It all depends on the artist. One artist who is doing more with drag than climbing on stage and lip syncing to the hits is turning 2016 into a drag art project. Phi Phi O’Hara calls it 365 Days of Drag. Every day in 2016 she is revealing another self portrait in a different, perfect drag look. That’s a lot of drag. Read more and see photos of the work so far in The Creators Project website.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has come out with a new web page specifically on the topic of finding trans-inclusive health care coverage. It’s nice that they created the page, but it would be better if this came out at the beginning of open enrollment season, rather than at the end of it. You can find the page here.

The Chilean Ministry of Health has issued a document recommending that surgeons not operate on intersex children until they reach such age as they can make their own decisions about their bodies. The story is in the Washington Blade.

divine0116Fans of the late star Divine will be pleased to learn that there is a movement underway to honor her with a monument in Baltimore. The eight foot high marble arch would contain a close up photo of Divine’s face and be located near the area where the infamous dog poop scene in Pink Flamingos was shot. It’s nice to know that if you have to eat some shit now and then someday they might erect a monument to you. Get the full story from the Baltimore Sun.

In the Indian state of Bengaluru, the government has promised to remove the word “eunuch” from the police code. There followed a debate about whether the word actually needs to be removed or whether that section of the code has been superseded in light of the recognition of a third gender under the law. After making that promise, the government asked for and received a six-month adjournment. You can read this story in the Times of India.

Agnes Irvin School for Girls in Rosemont, Pennsylvania, has been an all-girl school since it was founded in 1869 by a great-granddaughter of Benjamin Franklin. It now has a student who identifies as transgender. The school has formed a task force to determine if the student can remain, and what to do about admitting or retaining transgender students in general. WTXF-TV has this story.

When you were in high school and had to undress for gym class wouldn’t it have been nice to have some privacy? Whether or not you’re trans undressing in front of others can be nerve-wracking for some. Here is an update on a story from last month: the transgender student in suburban Chicago has been given locker room access. Both the boys and the girls locker rooms have some privacy stalls for use by anyone who feels the need. Learn more in the Chicago Tribune.

Angelica Ross star in Her Story

Angelica Ross stars in Her Story

We have previously reported that there was a show about LGBTQ characters gearing up for production and trans issues would be a major focus of the series. Her Story debuts this week. It tells of a pair of transwomen who give up on finding love, only to find love (or something that might be love). You can read about it in Think Progress.

Last week, we reported that the U.K. government would soon propose that trans people be allowed to change genders legally just by filling out a form. This week, the Women’s and Equalities committee recommended that the minimum age for changing gender be lowered from 18 to 16. They also called on the National Health Service to step up their game in regard to trans patients. You can read about it in the Telegraph.

The Washington, D.C. police have had a “Gay And Lesbian Unit.” This designation refers not to the sexual orientation of the officers, but to the victims of crime those officers assist. The unit has been renamed the “Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Unit.” You can read about it in The Washington Post.

Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce is a coalition which supports anti-discrimination laws that protect LGBT people from discrimination in employment. The Florida Realtors association has joined Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workplace. The story is in Florida Politics.

Robert Rees was a paratrooper in World War II, and received a Bronze Star. In 1954, Robert went to the Netherlands to change gender. Since then, she has been known as Tamara. She is now 92, and living somewhere in Los Angeles. Find a biography of this forgotten transgender pioneer in Pride Source.


The latest shot in the Restroom Wars comes from a legislator in Virginia who wants to fine trans kids $50 is they try to use the “wrong restroom.” By that he means that they must use the restroom that corresponds to their physical sex, not their gender. We can only assume that our TWIT Award winner Del. Mark Cole (R) has not thought this legislation through. The bill gives any police officer the authority to issue the fine. What it doesn’t address is how the cop is supposed to determine someone’s physical sex. Are they supposed to lift dresses and pull down panties? How’s that going to work out? Read the story on the Think Progress website.

If you’re running a a right wing conservative website how do you do a review of The Danish Girl? You get a “former trans woman” now living as a man to write the review. The reviewer praises the acting and other aspects of the film and then adds his own story of transition, GRS and then treatment that made him realize he wasn’t trans at all but just suffering from “dissociative disorder.” He then says Einar had “autogynephilia” leading to narcissistic sexual disorder and says that after becoming Lili she “died after the second surgery.” The reviewer makes no mention that the surgery that led to death occurred many years after her transition. Attempting to have a uterus transplanted lead to an infection that killed her. The reviewer, Walt Heyer, labels The Danish Girl as propaganda promoting transgenderism. For applying his own experience with gender change to everyone and labeling the film as an instrument of pro-sex change factions we give Heyer a TWIT Award. Just because he wasn’t a true transsexual doesn’t mean that no one is. A TWIT Award also goes to the website that published the review, Life Site News.

Speaking of reaction to The Danish Girl, the country of Qatar has banned the film. They say it’s “morally depraved.” Well, that’s worse than being propaganda. The citizens of Qatar brought the film to the attention of their government by complaining that it goes agains Islamic values and was immoral. No one said you had to go see it, Qataris. A TWIT Award to the whole country. Read the story in the Express.

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson has dismissed transgender civil rights as “garbage” and “silly.” Of course, like all conservatives, he believes that assuring that trans people are treated fairly and equally is granting them “extra rights.” Enjoy your TWIT Award Dr. Carson. You can read the other ignorant things he said in the Advocate.

The media was all over the story from Germany about women being sexually assaulted and stabbed by what appeared to be young male Syrian refugees on New Year’s Eve. Not reported as much was the stoning attack on two trans women that happened last week in Berlin. Three young men from North Africa approached the women with sex in mind, but when they determined that the women were trans they picked up stones and threw them at their victims. While stoning is a form of punishment used in many countries that follow Sharia Law this reaction from these young men is far too often the norm in any society. A TWIT Award goes to all the ignorant men who become hostile and violent when they learn a woman who caught their eye is trans. The story of the German women is in The Jerusalem Post.

A trans woman in Georgia was hired as an auto mechanic in 2008 before she began her transition. After she told her boss in 2009 that she was a woman he told her to not wear dresses to work and to try and “tone it down,” and not talk about transitioning. Then he fired her. The woman filed a lawsuit and the company fought it by saying she was fired for sleeping on the job. A TWIT Award goes to Credit Nation Auto Sales for firing her and for fighting her lawsuit. On Jan. 14 a court ruling found that while she did sleep on the job on one occasion there was plenty of evidence that her trans status was a motivating factor. Get the details from the AJC legal blog.

What twittery is this? Last week, a group of parents at a charter school in St. Paul, Minnesota, held a meeting to protest a gender-non-conforming child at the school. The Family Council helped them to organize the meeting. A TWIT Award goes to the protesters and the Family Council. However, it seems that there were many people wearing purple at the meeting, who held a silent protest over the protesters. These counter-protesters held signs in support of the child. You can read and hear about it in The Column.

A TWIT Award goes to a group in Britain which calls itself the “Christian Institute” and opposes the new proposals from the U.K. government regarding the recognition of trans people. In a position paper, under the heading “reality,” their first claim is, “A man cannot become a woman.  A woman cannot become a man.” They claim that this is science, yet scientists claim otherwise.  Oddly, while they cite science in a way that disagrees with scientific consensus, the Christian Institute never cites any reference to the Bible. You can read their position paper here.

No muy bueno. The Universidad del Atlantico in Mexico has expelled Katy Casanova. She says that the principal decided to expel “him, because it represents a bad example to come dressed and made up as a woman.” A TWIT Award to Nestor Contreras, the principal. This story is in Planet Transgender.

The New York Daily News has, in a long article, exposed a group called the Alliance Defending Freedom as the legal organization behind several of the attempts to defeat what they refer to as “bathroom bills.” Now, we know where to send that TWIT Award. You can read the full story in the New York Daily News, or the condensed version on Media Matters.

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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.

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