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The Week In Transgenderism 4/4/16

| Apr 4, 2016
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North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory

The passage of House Bill 2 (HB2) in North Carolina has caused a flurry of opposition to it. Businesses have expressed their bad opinion of HB2, governors of other states have spoken out against it, and Governor Cuomo of New York has banned official travel to North Carolina. Opposition to the law is coming from inside the North Carolina government as well. (Also adding travel bans; San Francisco and Boston.) Last week their attorney general spoke out against the law saying he will not defend its constitutionality. Read more and see a video of his statement on the Yahoo News.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania will not be following Governor Cuomo’s lead in banning official travel to North Carolina. Governor Tom Wolf (D) stated that in his view it is far more important for his state to establish a LGBT non-discrimination law than to institute a temporary travel ban. Wolf said in a statement that the North Carolina legislature was wrong in passing the law. He urged the Republican controlled Pa. General Assembly to pass a non-discrimination bill and send it to his desk. Learn more on the Penn Live website.

Each year the state of North Carolina gets billions of dollars in federal aid for schools, highways and housing. The adoption of the new law may put that federal aid in jeopardy. Without the aid North Carolina would be plunged into a budget crisis. Is keeping trans people out of the public restroom that important? They’re going to have to decide since the Obama administration is considering whether the codification of discrimination aimed at LGBT people makes North Carolina ineligible for federal dollars. Read more in The New York Times.

Over 100 CEOs have signed a letter to the Governor of North Carolina that says the anti-LGBT law is bad for business. So the federal government and the business community are all against it. What about non-profit groups? The Academic Preservation Trust is a non-profit that works to preserve digital content. They had a meeting set for North Carolina just weeks away. They have moved that meeting to Maryland. Thanks to Jamie Roberts for this tip. Learn more on the Inside Higher Ed website.

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal

Governor Nathan Deal of Georgia vetoed a “religious freedom” bill in his state but he is not the only governor to refuse to allow discrimination in the name of religion. John Bel Edwards, the governor of Louisiana, has said that he intends to rescind an executive order by former Governor Bobby Jindal which allowed businesses to refuse to provide goods and services to LGBT people by citing “sincerely-held religious beliefs.” Read more in Metro Weekly.

The idea that nondiscrimination protections for transgender people will allow men to pretend to be trans so they can sneak into restrooms and commit sexual assault is absurd. Men set on attacking women don’t need any legal cover to commit their crimes. Jan Brown sent us a lead to a piece by a woman who was the victim of a sexual assault, survived it and now runs an organization to help assault victims. She debunks the myth. Read more on the Media Matters website.

With all the fallout from the Restroom Wars it’s nice to hear a positive story now and then. Thanks to TGF reader Jamie Roberts for this story about a university in New York that will be making the restrooms open to one and all, and labelling them as to the type of plumbing fixtures available. The story can be found at Inside Higher Ed.

One more story about Restroom Wars before we go on to other matters. Jan Brown sent us the link to this one. It is very hard for conservatives to prove that predators will masquerade as trans people in order to commit assaults in restrooms. Why? Because statistics show that no trans person has ever been arrested for sexual assault in a public restroom. However, if you look at the number of Republican lawmakers who have been arrested for sex acts in public restrooms you can quickly find three. Get their names and photos in The Daily Grind.

In 2012 a trans man was expelled from the University of Pittsburgh for continuing to use the men’s locker room and restrooms. He sued the university and the case was dismissed last year by a federal judge. In the meantime the university has caught up with the trend at many major institutions and adopted a gender policy that lets faculty, students and staff use the facilities that match their gender identity. The expelled trans man and the school have reached a settlement deal. Get more details in Inside Higher Ed.

Philadelphia Day of Visibility

Philadelphia Day of Visibility

March 31 was International Transgender Day of Visibility and in Philadelphia, Pa. around two dozen trans people gathered in a park to proudly proclaim their trans status. Also present were trans allies, city officials and police representatives. Read about the event on the website.

The International Transgender Day of Visibility was observed by Channel 4 TV in England in a unique manner. The channel replaced their normal “continuity” announcer with a trans woman for the evening hours. The announcer introduces shows, tells viewers what programs are coming up and in the replacement announcer’s case, talked about being trans. Thanks to Jan Brown for the story tip. You can find the story in Pink News.

The Day of Visibility was observed by the trans people of Guyana by issuing demands for greater access to justice. Read more about it on the Telesur website.

A department of the U.S. government has given an award to a Malaysian transgender rights activist. On March 30 Secretary of State John Kerry presented the U.S. Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award to Nisha Ayub. Ms. Ayub co-founded tow trans rights organizations in Malaysia. She was one of 14 women from around the world who received the Award. Learn more in The Malay Mail.

Despite attacks against trans people in the form of restroom bills and physical violence progress has been made. Today several states will cover gender reassignment surgery for poor trans people. Private insurance plans are also covering GRS and hormones. What about those who fought for this before states would even consider such a thing? Learn what happened to one trans woman who fought the state of Oregon in the 1990s for things that the state now provides. You can find the article on the Oregon Live website.

 Pioneer April Ashley.

Pioneer April Ashley.

As we move forward it’s important to remember those who came before in the battle for recognition. There have been trans people on the frontline of the gender revolution for decades. Meet five of them in an article on the NewNowNext website.

Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland, has announced that soon Scottish adults and children will be allowed to choose to describe themselves legally as neither male nor female.  They will not need a medical diagnosis to make this claim. Although some details are still being worked out, and there is that pesky bit about the lawmakers voting on the measure, the Telegraph has the story on the proposal.

Heart transplant girl with drag queen.

Heart transplant girl with drag queen.

Here’s a “heart” warming story that couldn’t have happened before the advent of social media. An 18-year-old girl was in the hospital awaiting a heart transplant and she was feeling lonely and down in the dumps. She and her mother thought about it and decided that some of the most fun folks around are drag queens. She posted a video on Facebook asking any and all drag queens to come visit her in the hospital. In a matter of days the video was shared several thousand times and the queens started to arrive. Learn how many stopped in and how they cheered her up in People magazine.

Many trans people in the past have been afraid to transition because they were worried about what the children will think. Most folks don’t know how really adaptable and accepting of different things their children can be. Here is the story of one 6-year-old’s reaction to being told by her mother that her daddy is now a girl. You can find the video on the ABC News website.

Trans woman to know -- Jen Richards.

Trans woman to know — Jen Richards.

When it comes to coverage of trans women in the media the big story has been Caitlyn Jenner. Her celebrity status — from being in the Olympics to her appearances in the Kardashian’s reality show — made her the focus of attention when she came out in a dramatic fashion. But the media often miss the many, many other trans women who have been working away in semi obscurity. Here are seven trans women you should know. The story is on the Mic website.

Friend of TGForum, and sometime Contributor, David de Alba, was the subject of a video segment in his local newspaper. The camera crew and reporter came to David’s home to interview him and capture footage of his vast Judy Garland collection. You can watch the video on the Las Vegas Review website. David just happens to have a show April 24 at Model Factory Las Vegas.

Bernie Sanders with Jenny Seibert.

Bernie Sanders with Jenny Seibert.

President Obama is the first U.S. president to use the word “transgender” in a speech to the nation. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is the first presidential candidate to be introduced at his campaign rally by a trans person. It has happened twice so far during Sander’s campaign. Get the details from the Independent.

What do you wear if you’re a presidential candidate and you’ve been invited to speak at a LGBT event in New York City? If you’re Hillary Clinton you rock a black leather outfit. Mrs. Clinton promised the crowd that she would fight for trans rights if elected. Read more in the Daily Mail.

Tom Sosnik is an eighth-grader in California. His school, which is steeped in Jewish tradition, had a celebration for him, but it was not a bar mitzvah. This celebration was to mark his gender change. Times of Israel has this story.

Martine Stonehouse is a transwoman. John Gelmon has Tourette’s Syndrome. They are a couple, in the romantic sense. Both have Asperger’s, too. Their story in the focus of a new documentary entitled Transfixed, directed by Alon Kol. You can read more about this film in The Los Angeles Times.

Israel tourism spokes queen Arie Oshri.

Israel tourism spokes queen Arie Oshri.

Are you looking for a vacation destination? Israel is hoping to increase the number of LGBT tourists who visit the country this year. The Ministry of Tourism is investing almost three million dollars to attract more LGBT people, starting with Pride Month in June. They even sent a drag queen spokesperson, Arie Ohsri, to the world’s largest tourism convention to promote LGBT travel to Israel. Learn more on the Ynet website.

“Transvestite potter” Grayson Perry (a.k.a Claire) has published a book of his sketches. The sketches are the relics of his creative process and show how his pottery, though molded from clay, was also molded by putting his thoughts down on paper in drawings that range from rough to precise. Read a review of the book in The Guardian.

A new report tells of long waits for gender-confirmation surgery, too few professionals offering services, poor communications by the existing professionals, and several complaints of prejudice within the medical establishment. All of this is reported in the United Kingdom.  Healthwatch Devon talked to 140 transgender people to compile this report. The BBC has more.

Darg dolls.

Darg dolls.

Jan Brown passed along this tip: The US National Institute of Health is preparing a $5.7 million project to study the effects of delaying puberty for trans youth. The study is the first of its kind and will recruit 280 adolescents and follow them for five years. Read more in Nature.

Can you make any money doing crafts these days? If you have the right product. A young woman in college started watching RuPaul’s Drag Race and shortly thereafter began making “drag dolls” base on the contestants. She put them on the crafts website Etsy and they started to sell. She was also able to use the drag dolls as her senior thesis project and will be having a exhibition of her work this month. Learn more in The Post.


Activism sometimes causes people to “get in the face” of officialdom. When you are out protesting against some injustice it is hard to stick to the non-violent tactics of someone like Gandhi. Tempers can flare and things can happen. Last week Mariah Lopez, a trans activist in New York City was in the Manhattan Supreme Court building to witness the trial of a man accused of murdering a trans woman. She was using her cell phone to record video in the lobby when she was told to stop, since she had not gotten a permit to record video. She ran out of the building after yelling that she had already posted it to Facebook and called the officer an expletive. In the nearby park she got into a scuffle with officers who had chased her. Zeal in the defense of trans rights and justice is wonderful but when it leads to being arrested by overzealous lawmen we have to give TWIT Awards all around. Read all the facts in the New York Daily News.

Dr. Billy Huff is a transman who is an assistant professor at Florida Gulf Coast University. He began his transition last June, and recently, he and a transgender student filed petitions for legal name changes. The student’s name change was approved, but Dr. Huff’s request was denied.  He was told that he needed to get a note from an endocrinologist. The TWIT Award winning judge apparently never heard Johnny Cash’s song, A Boy Named Sue. The story by Fox 4 Now (Fort Myers, Florida) does not name the judge, but does say that attorney Mike Chionopoulos has taken the case.

You decide who gets this TWIT Award. Tiffany Scott is a transgender prisoner in Britain. She is demanding that only female guards can strip-search her. The guards are claiming that she is “clearly a man.” The prisoner, who also goes by the name “Mitzababy” and once legally changed her name to “Mighty Almighty,” has a habit of filing complaints while in prison. While, at first blush, it may seem that the prison guards are being unreasonable, the prisoner does seem to be behaving badly. The Mirror has this story.

Portions of this edition of The Week In Transgenderism were provided by Cecilia Barzyk.

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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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