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The Week In Transgenderism 4/11/16

| Apr 11, 2016
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Angelica Ross on The Daily Show

Angelica Ross on The Daily Show

Last Wednesday night The Daily Show with Trevor Noah devoted the entire show to the conservative attack on trans people. After the opening with some comments on politics they moved on to talk about  conservative legislation to “protect religious freedom” and the absurd “bathroom” laws. They interviewed a panel of trans people and a prominent trans hater. (And revealed how stupid he is.) Then Noah’s guest was Angelica Ross, founder of an organization that helps put trans people to work in tech jobs. Watch the entire show on the Comedy Central Website.

The Pentagon announced last July that it intended to allow trans troops to serve openly within 6 months. It’s now 8 months after that announcement and trans troops are still serving in secret. A study commissioned by  the Pentagon concluded that allowing trans soldiers to be out and proud would not do any harm to the effectiveness of the U.S. military. But we’re still waiting. Read an editorial about it in The New York Times.

Siobhan Atwell

Siobhan Atwell

Who is the latest trans model to capture fashion industry attention? Her name is Siobhan Attwell and she followed the path blazed by Andreja Pejic by first modeling in an androgynous mode doing both male and female fashion. She’s getting press now since she has announced that she will be transitioning completely and only modeling female fashion. Read more about her in Vogue.

One of the latest shots in the Restroom Wars happened in South Carolina where a legislator decided to follow in the footsteps of his North Carolina neighbors and introduced a bill to limiting trans people to the restrooms that go along with the sex on their birth certificates. Fortunately he was rebuked by Governor Nikki Haley who said that the legislation is not needed in her state and that she doesn’t see the citizens asking for it. Several lawmakers went so far as to make fun of the senator who introduced the bill. Learn more in The Post and Courier.

The North Carolina anti-trans law is causing major backlash. North Carolina fans of Bruce Springsteen will be getting refunds instead of a concert. The E Street Band was due to perform in Greensboro last week and because of the law they decided to cancel the show. Guitarist Steve Van Zandt called this type of legislation an “evil virus” and said the band felt it had to be stopped. Read more from The Associated Press in The New York Times.


Stephen Schwartz

Broadway composer Steven Schwartz has asked his publishing house to refuse permission for performances of his musicals in North Carolina, and the publishing house has agreed to the request. His musicals include Pippin, Godspell, and Wicked. You can read more in LGBTQ Nation.

Parts of the federal government are ready to step in where North Carolina’s state government does not go. More specifically, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is ready to step in to protect the rights of transgender employees, even though state law now does not grant them the use of preferred restrooms. Buzzfeed has more.

With all the kerfuffle over restrooms it’s important to remember that for puritanical thinkers public restrooms, since they were invented, have always been a source of worry and concern. Learn some of the history of bathroom laws going back to the 19th century and you’ll see why people who still dwell in that past are so upset by trans women in the lady’s room. The story is in The Washington Post. Thanks to Jamie Roberts for the tip.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a recent speech, “Even recently we have seen state and local efforts to impose on trans people an identity that they do not recognize as their own. But I want to make clear that the Department of Justice and the Obama administration is determined to ensure that transgender individuals can live the lives they were born to lead–fully, without discrimination and with the support of their community and their country.” The Washington Blade has more.

While the attacks on trans rights has made many trans people very angry, causing serious rants on Facebook and other social media, it’s not in our best interest to just call conservatives by creative denigrating names. That just makes it harder for trans people to be seen as just people and lets the right wing characterize us as nasty and evil. Let’s try using science to help with our problems. A study conducted in Miami, Florida used a process called “deep canvassing,” which is a simple 10 minute conversation technique, that actually changes people’s opinions about trans people. Get the science from the Scientific American.

Panti Bliss

Panti Bliss

Irish drag star Panti Bliss owns a bar in Dublin. To do something about the rising rate of HIV infection among young gay men Ms. Bliss turned the basement of her bar into an HIV testing clinic last weekend. The test takes only 30 seconds and you don’t have to wait days for the results. Learn more about Panti Bliss’s HIV clinic in The Guardian.

Governor Tom Wolf (D) of Pennsylvania has taken the step that governors faced with intractable legislatures must take and signed two anti-discrimination orders related to trans people. Last Thursday he issued one order that bans discrimination against employees or job applicants based on gender expression or identity (and other things) and another order that requires any company with a state contract to eliminate discrimination in hiring. Learn more about the orders from Time magazine.

With all the animosity directed toward trans people it’s important for trans people to support each other. To that end here are some suggestions that you should follow in order to help your fellow trans people feel included and part of the community. You can find nine supportive ideas on the Pride website. Thanks to Jan Brown for the story.

Zoe & Amanda

Zoe & Amanda

Adding weight to the possibility that trans may run in families is the story of a Canadian family whose child came out as trans, and then the husband came out as trans and became Zoe. After initially being “blindsided” by the revelation that her husband’s moodiness and melancholy was due to the stress of hiding being trans, the wife, Amanda, came to a place where she feels her relationship to her new wife is better than ever. Read their story in the Daily Mail.

These days there’s a political action committee (PAC) backing every candidate for public office. PACs supported by conservatives seem to dominate but there are PACs that support politicians with progressive agendas. The latest PAC to join the scene is a PAC for us. The Trans United Fund is a bi-partisan PAC that is looking to back candidates who are willing to work for the trans community. Learn more about it in The Daily Beast.

Dugan portrait of Stephanie

Dugan portrait of Stephanie

Queer photographer Jess Dugan has been taking photos of trans people over the age of 50 for a series of portraits that she feels will help young trans people who have never seen photos of older trans people understand how aging will change them. Thanks to Jan Brown for the tip. The story is on the Pride Source website.

A trans teen in Wisconsin has won a battle to be allowed to run for prom king. Ash Whitaker was told by school officials that he would have to run for prom queen since his birth certificate said he was a girl. He collected nearly 6000 signatures on a petition, organized student rallies and finally got the school to relent. But he’s still got problems around the restroom. Read his story on the ABC News website.

Abby Scott is an eight-year-old who lives in Beaver County, Pennsylvania. She was two years old when she told her parents that she was a boy. He has maintained that identity and grown on it.  It has been two years since he wore a dress. And now, he is playing football. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has a profile, but beware: they use the pronouns “she, her, and hers” in this story about someone who identifies as gender-fluid but leans male, without telling us if that is the subject’s choice.

Daisy Deadpetals

Daisy Deadpetals

Drag as an art form has risen steadily in popularity since RuPaul’s Drag Race went on the air all those years ago. Some gay men are drawn to performing in feminine finery, whether they present themselves as parody of glamorous women or strive to project “realness” in a female role. News outlets have noticed that queens are getting attention and are writing about them. Meet southern Florida’s best queens in Miami New Times. The drag queens of western Massachusetts are featured on the Mass Live website.

Attention Canadian ladies, or ladies who would like to hangout with friendly ladies from The Great White North. The annual Gals Spring Fling in Kingston, Ontario is happening from May 11 through May 15. Learn more about the activities and guests who will appear on the event’s website.

A group called Wolverines For Preferred Pronouns has organized at the University of Michigan. The group is asking for preferred pronouns to be included by the registrar on class rosters. The Michigan Daily has more on this group.

Ladyboy in conscription line.

Ladyboy in conscription line.

In early April, the Royal Thai Armed Forces conduct their annual enrollment for the draft. And, as usual, some people who were assigned male at birth but who have transitioned are registering, as required by law. Yes, they seem to be female, but they have to register along with those who kept their male identities. The Nation has some pictures.

Michaela Sherwood is standing for the Australian Parliament. (In the U.S. and Canada, a candidate runs for office; in Australia, as in Britain, a candidate stands for office.) The Green Party candidate is the first transgender candidate for the national Parliament in the history of the state of New South Wales. We wish her luck. The Wollondilly Advertiser has more.

Jacqui Potato

Jacqui Potato

It seems there are TED talks on every subject these days. One of the latest is from a male model who is also a drag performer. Jacob Mallinson Bird talks about gender and sexuality while presenting as his drag persona Jacqui Potato. Read more and view the talk on the Gay Times website.


There is a book titled What’s The Matter With Kansas? that came out several years ago when conservative Republicans won control of the government there. Kansas is now basically broke after years of Republican tax cutting, privatization and business subsidizing but they still have enough energy to try and make it harder for trans people to get the sex on their birth certificates changed. Read about the new regulatory roadblock the TWIT Award winning Kansas Department of Health and Environment thinks is necessary on the KSNT website.

Nerds can be very cruel. Maybe they get extra hostile from years of being picked on all the time for being nerds. In any event hundreds of angry nerds unleashed a torrent of crap on the creator of the game Baldur’s Gate, Siege of Dragonspear after a trans character was included. None of those complaining that a “tranny doesn’t fit the lore” and calling the game’s creator a “crap writer” have any trouble at all believing in a world where magic and mythical creatures are accepted as a given. A trans character? Heavens! All nerds who can’t accept the trans character are hereby dubbed first class dorks and given TWIT Awards. Learn more about the story on the Pink News website.

Check out this video about the possible inspiration for trans or gender-less characters in video games, if you’re a real game nerd. Thanks to TGF user Naomi for the lead.


In Maine, TWIT Award winning Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap has approved the language of a ballot initiative to strip LGBT anti-discrimination protections from state law. The anti-trans, “Christian” activist, TWIT Award winner Michael Heath, can now proceed to collect signatures on petitions. You can read more at Raw Story.

Last week, TWIT Award winning author Ian McEwan came out with a statement about how he thinks of people with penises as men. This should raise a question of how many penises he actually sees. He went on, in a speech to the Royal Institute, saying how tough life is for transgender people “when they become transsexuals.” This shows he does not understand what is going on, but moreover, it makes one wonder why he felt that he had to talk about these things at the Royal Institute. He now tells us that he does not believe that biology is destiny, which sounds like an attempt to backpedal. You can read more on the original comments at Pink News, and the update at The Guardian.

Lisa McDonald recently moved to Arizona. She tried to get a driver’s license, and presented her birth certificate from Massachusetts, her driver’s license from Iowa, her Social Security Card, and VA identification. The people at the Kingman office of the Motor Vehicle Division asked her a lot of very personal questions about her sex-change, despite the fact that she had presented all of the documents that the law said she needed. She eventually left, and the next day went to the office in Bullhead City. There she was told that she would have been given the license based on the documents she presented at the Kingman office. So, a TWIT Award to the people at the Kingman office of the Motor Vehicle Division, for making things up as they go along. Oh, by the way, harassment is illegal, and “just doing my job” is not a defense. This story is in the Kingman Daily Miner.

In Malaysia, Sharia law authorities have arrested and are detaining a transgender woman because she organized a so-called “beauty pageant” for transgender people. The transgender woman is charged with disobeying a fatwa. A TWIT Award goes to the Federal Territories Islamic Department of Malaysia for this government overreach. The Malay Mail has more.

The Liberty Council, who seem to want to implement a Christian version of Sharia law, has threatened to sue a New Jersey school if they refuse to discriminate against a transgender student. They also have agreed to defend North Carolina’s HB2, which shows that they have plenty of time on their hands. A good law firm would be busy with other clients. They get a TWIT Award for not learning from their losses. The New Civil Rights Movement has more.

In Marion County, Florida, a parent has filed a lawsuit saying that his son’s Fourth Amendment rights are being violated because the school district allows a trans student who identifies as male to use the boy’s restroom.  Although the Fourth Amendment begins, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects. . .”, it goes on to talk about the need to get a search warrant before entering somewhere and the need to present evidence before getting the warrant. The point is to keep the government from searching people, whereas this TWIT Award winning parent wants the government to interfere with trans people trying to use the toilet while his son is present. The story is in the Ocala StarBanner.

TWIT Award winner Jake Gardner is the co-owner of a nightclub in Omaha called The Hive. He has joined those who say that preoperative trans people should be forced to use the restroom of the sex they were born into. You can read more at the Omaha World-Herald.

Charin Davenport was a professor at Saginaw Valley State University in Michigan. Her supervisor told her, “Your entire life is just one big lie,” and, “You disgust me! I can’t even stand to look at you! This is not about your so-called ‘gender identity. This is about you being a liar.” Ms. Davenport is suing the university and her former supervisor, Ann Coburn-Collins, for sex discrimination. It is odd how someone with glowing performance reviews became persona-non-grata when she decided to transition. While the behavior in question has yet to be verified by a court, assuming that this did happen, Ms. Coburn-Collins gets a TWIT Award. Michigan Public Radio has the story.

Darci-Lee Hume, a transwoman from Christchurch, New Zealand, had a ticket to fly to Wellington to celebrate her birthday with a friend. The airline, Jetstar, refused to let her on because the ticket identified her as female while her ID listed her as male. She has since received an apology, but that hardly makes up for this sort of an incident, so we are awarding a TWIT to the check-in people at Jetstar. Get the details on the Stuff website.

Portions of this edition of TWIT were compiled and written 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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  1. j2emily j2emily says:

    re: bathrooms–why doesn’t someone ask these legislators why they are not equally concerned about transmen in the boy’s room or lesbians in the girl’s room? this question might help show how stupid they are

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