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The Week In Transgenderism 4/18/16

| Apr 18, 2016
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Gigi Gorgeous

Gigi Gorgeous

There is proof that the new media of the Internet Age can make you a star. The proof is a trans woman called Gigi Gorgeous. In 2008, while she was still publicly identifying as a male, she started a YouTube channel. She was doing makeup videos and she transitioned online in 2013. Her popularity went up and she now has over 2  million YouTube fans. All that has gotten the attention of the fashion industry and Hollywood. Read her story in The New York Times.

Laura Jane Grace

Laura Jane Grace

Laura Jane Grace, front woman for Against Me!, has announced that she will protest the North Carolina anti-trans bill by going ahead and performing there in May. Grace feels the law’s aim is to make trans people in the state go into hiding so she is going there to be visible. Cyndi Lauper will also perform in Raleigh but she is donating the profits from the concert to a group working repeal the law. Learn more in The Washington Post.

Sabreena

Sabreena

A Detroit, MI woman is making the attempt to become the first trans woman to sail around the world. A lot of folks have made that circular journey before but Sabreena Lochlainn-Henderson plans to make the journey in a Class 40 boat which is not the same as the traditional sailboat used for these trips. She hope this will give her an advantage but she knows she will have to constantly be on her toes and on guard against the many things that can happen to stop the trip or result in death. Read more about her plans in The Huffington Post.

Did you know that Shrek: The Musical had a running joke about the Big Bad Wolf being a crossdresser? And that at one point the Wolf is called a “tranny”? I bet you didn’t. And I certainly don’t remember that from the movie but you know how they change things around for the musical theater. In fact, I don’t think there was a wolf in the movie at all. But it sounds like they’ve folded in the Little Red Riding Hood story and of course the Wolf disguises himself as her grandma to carry out his evil scheme. But, in any event the character and the jokes are in the musical. When one trans man in Canada found that out he was sitting in the audience. He promptly got up and left the theater. He’s now working to educate the producers that the joke is offensive. This is one of those stories where we leave the assignment of TWIT Awards up to you. Read all about it on the CBC website.

Varla Jean Merman will be there.

Varla Jean Merman will be there.

If you happen to be deep in the heart of Texas on April 28 you’re in luck. The Austin International Drag Fest is happening from then through May 1. There will be a “Drag Village,” film screenings, workshops, panel discussions, web shows, and meet-and-greets with makeup artists, and lots of hair stylists and drag instructors. And don’t forget the famous drag performers! Break out your exceedingly long false eyelashes and platform heels for a dragsperience. Learn more on the event website.

It’s coming in May! The 5th Annual Drag Queen World Series is coming to Glendale, California on May 14. Though they cal it a “series” it’s really just one game that starts at 1 p.m. and there are only two competing teams; The West Hollywood Cheerleaders and The LA Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. In addition to the spectacle of two teams of drag queens on the field there will be a DJ, color commentary from two Latina queens, a food truck, and a raffle. The event benefits groups that provide education about HIV-AIDS. Read more in Broadway World.

The Obama administration has taken quite a few steps to help transgender people. The Department of Education and the Department of Labor have both interpreted Title IX sex-based discrimination as also prohibiting discrimination against transgender people. The Wall Street Journal has an editorial about this, but be forewarned that the author, Jason L. Riley, is not a fan of executive action of this sort.

Lilly Wachowski

Lilly Wachowski

Surprise! The Matrix may have been a metaphor for coming out as trans. Duh. It doesn’t take a genius to determine this is probably so. After all, the creators and directors of the film, the Wachowskis, have come out as trans and the issues in the movie could certainly be related to the issues trans people have to overcome. Someone has made a YouTube video about it. You can watch it on the Pink News website. Thanks to TGF user Naomi Paul for the tip.

Governor Charlie Baker of Massachusetts was booed off stage at the 10th Annual Spirit LGBT Executive Networking Night, an event sponsored by Boston Spirit Magazine. The booing people were displeased with the governor since he has not expressed support for the state’s Transgender Public Accommodation Bill. An editorial in the Boston Globe says the booing did not help the cause.

The Maryland House of Delegates passed a Equal Pay for Equal Work bill back in March. The bill contains protections based on gender identity and it was overwhelmingly approved. The bill is now going to the governor for his signature. He can either sign it, veto it or allow it to go into law without his signature. The Washington Blade urges him to sign it.

Last week, The New York Times reported that the study into how to integrate transgender people into the military was taking longer than expected. This week, Brad Carson, who has worked at the Department of Defense, said that there is no vocal opposition within the Department to the idea of allowing transgender people to stay in the military. This story is in The Hill.

RuPaul Charles

RuPaul Charles

Speaking of the military: RuPaul has characterized drag queens as the “…Marines of the LGBT movement.” The Drag Race hostess, and soon to be hostess of a new Logo show called Gay for Play, said in a recent interview that just as the Marines are the first in to the theater of war drag queens are first in on the fight for gender rights. See if you agree after reading more on the Raw Story website.

Amnesty International is championing the rights of transgender people. In particular, they are calling out Denmark. Denmark has been on the forefront of many things in the LGBT movement, including the ability to change the legal gender marker without surgery, but Denmark still has some problems. For one thing, there is only one clinic in the country which treats transgender people. The Copenhagen Post has more.

In India there’s an effort underway to help the trans community become self-dependent by recognizing members of the community’s entrepreneurial ideas. To the end they have organized  a national Trans Empowerment Mela in Mumbai. “Mela” is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘gathering’ or ‘to meet’ or a ‘fair’. The Mela will allow over 500 trans people to showcase their ideas for projects that could turn into a viable business. Learn more on the IBN Live website.

A research team at Scripps College has started an online study on transgender identity development and romantic relationships. They are trying to get a better understanding of identity issues and social relationships of people who identify as transgender or gender non-conforming (TGNC). They have set up an online survey. The survey takes approximately 60 minutes to complete. At the end of the survey, you can choose to enter a lottery for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card. Click here to take the survey if you are 18 or older.

Festival performer.

Festival performer.

There was a festival in Manhattan this past Saturday. No, not in New York. We’re talking about Manhattan, Kansas. Just because their legislature is busy trying to make it harder for trans people to legally change their birth certificates doesn’t mean that local drag queens can’t have some fun. The Little Apple Pride Festival is what they call it and it took place in a public park. There were drag queens, face painting and a performance by a faux Spice Girls. Even in Kansas they can’t stop gender bending. Read a bit and see several photos from the event in the Kansas State Collegian.

Prejudice against homosexual people is a fact of life. A 2015 study claimed that changing people’s perceptions of homosexual people could be accomplished in a short conversation that could be conducted door to door. According to the study people’s minds remained changed in favor of gay people for at least three months after the conversation. Then the study was revealed to be based on fraudulent data. Last week we told you about a study that found a short conversation could change people’s minds about trans people. That study was conducted by the man who debunked the 2015 study. Irony much? The recent study seems to based on good data. Read all about it on the Ars Technica website.

News about some research conducted in the U.K. is not as nice. It seems, according to a study done by researchers at the University of Oxford, that male to female transsexuals who undergo hormone therapy have a 7-fold higher risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS). Get all the numbers and more info from the Neurology Advisor.

Here’s a breath of fresh air related to the restroom fights before we get into reports from the front of the Restroom War. The Santee Education Complex in Los Angeles has opened the first multi-stall gender-neutral restroom in the city’s school system. The 15 stall restroom is open to students of any gender. It’s the result of a three month campaign by students urging conversion of a girl’s restroom into an all-gender facility. Read about it on the Fusion website.

And now — Reports From the Restroom War

A new poll done by WRAL/SurveyUSA shows that North Carolina voters feel that HB2 tarnishes the state’s image, and a majority would like to see at least parts of the law repealed. However, a majority also approve of the bathroom provisions of the bill.  WRAL has more on this.

This seems to be related to the fact that journalists have been allowing proponents of HB2 to keep talking their talk without pointing out that the fear mongering is based on a theory that trans people are a danger and will attack women, something which has never happened. You can find a review of the reporting on Media Matters for America.

First PayPal cancelled plans to employ 400 people in North Carolina. Last week, Deutsche Bank decided to find another place for 250 jobs that it was going to put in North Carolina.  Various conventions have also cancelled plans for the state. It seems that actions do have consequences. You can read more on these stories at The Edge.

And in another anti-HB2 move, the huge porn site XHamster.com has blocked all North Carolina IP addresses from accessing its porn. Word is that some funky folks in North Carolina have a hankering for “she-male” porn. The Edge has more.

We know that there has been backlash against North Carolina because of HB2. We know of some planned expansion that did not happen because of this bill. And yet, politicians who voted for the bill say that there is no economic downside, and they say that the backlash which is happening is the result of a smear campaign created by LGBT “bullies.” This is similar to saying that reports of discrimination against blacks in the pre-1965 era was really a smear campaign by pro-civil-rights “bullies” and that it is therefore appropriate to sic the dogs on them and douse them with firehoses. WCQS has this story.

36 breweries in North Carolina have created “Don’t Be Mean To People:  A Golden Rule Saison” beer. They expected to raise $1,150, but so far, they have brought in $18,000. Unfortunately, consuming the product increases the need to go to the restroom, and going to the restroom is awkward for some people. WWNO Public Radio New Orleans has this story.

Louisiana has taken some steps in the opposite direction from those taken in North Carolina and Mississippi. The Governor of Louisiana, John Bel Edwards, has issued an executive order which protects state workers and people employed by state contractors from being fired for being transgender. This is an executive order, so it is likely that the next governor will quietly change the policy, but it is still a positive thing as long as it lasts. AL.com has more.

TWITs

There are plenty of countries where it is seriously tough to be trans. Lebanon is one. Groups of religious vigilantes armed with guns will round up LGBTI people and hand them over to the police, who will beat up and humiliate them. A trans woman was tied to a chair for three days while in police custody. A large TWIT Award goes to Lebanon. Gay Star News has this story.

A little knowledge is said to be a dangerous thing. On D.L. Hughley’s SiriusXM radio show he and his guests started discussing the restroom controversy. While they drew upon their limited knowledge of what trans is all about they began the discussion being a bit supportive of trans people. Then their lack of real knowledge lead to us issuing this TWIT Award to Hughely and his guests. Read about it on The Blaze. The “news” outlet gets a TWIT as well since they seem to be in favor of Hughley for not “censoring” himself.

D Smith

D Smith

D. Smith is a trans woman of color who recently debuted in a show on VH1 called Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta. One of her cast mates is rapper Waka Flocka Flame. Mr. Flame made statements on the show that basically called trans people evil and specifically that Caitlyn Jenner was “rebuking God.” Another rapper, Lil’ Scrappy, had previously made a statement calling trans people “men with a penis with a wig on.” D. Smith rebuked both men for their negativity. Waka and Lil’ Scrappy are TWIT Award winners. Kudos to D. Smith. Read more on the BET website.

Sharnell Paul, 19, made the first cut in the Women Of The Navajo Nation Calendar competition, but she says that when she showed up for the second round, she was told that she had been eliminated. She reports that the founder of the calendar, Larry Thompson, told her, “This is for real women.” The organization behind the calendar denies that there was any discrimination, yet the spokesperson says that she did not meet the criteria for the calendar. We suspect TWIT Awards are due. Lake Powell Times has the story.

A trans student at the University of North Carolina recently reached out to a group called UNC Republicans, to try to get them behind an effort to repeal HB2. She says that she was called a “mentally-ill man,” “a tranny,” and “a freak of nature” for her efforts. In addition to the insults and the “lesson,” she also got threats. She posted highlights of the communication to Reddit. UNC Republicans, you get a TWIT — as well as a failing grade in logic, and points off for grammar problems. Andy Towle has more on this.

Dennis Fusaro and Stephen Waters, a pair of Republican political consultants, have been charged with making illegal and misleading political robocalls in Maryland which pretended to be in support of a Democratic candidate. They failed to identify who placed the calls, instead saying they were “Paid for and authorized by Marylanders for Transgenders.” There is no such group, perhaps because creating such a group would have required filing paperwork that would name the people behind it. In the body of the call, they congratulated the Democratic candidate for “his bravery in coming out of the closet,” and they claimed that he supported non-discrimination measures that would allow transgender people to use their preferred restrooms. Along with your TWIT Award, you fellas get a pro tip: paying cash for the phone you use to make these robocalls does not hide your identity, but it gives the impression that you knew that what you were doing is illegal. You can read more in the Baltimore Sun.

John Zmirak is a far-right-wing columnist and a Ted Cruz supporter. A recent column of his is entitled, “There’s a Bearded Trannie in the Stall Next to Your Daughter and You’d Better Learn to Like It.” Perhaps more disturbing is the fact that, rather than ignoring the ignoramus, right-wing radio hosts have been inviting him to come over and share his “wisdom” on the topic. Mr. Zmirak, you get a TWIT for talking such nonsense. Right Wing Watch has more.

Breibart just never seems to learn. They recently posted an article about a California man going into a restroom at a Macy’s in Palmdale. He was dressed as a woman, and was apparently filming women using the restroom through a hole in the stall. Breibart tied this incident to the need for “bathroom laws.” They neglect to tell their readers that the incident happened in 2013, and many of their readers assumed that the incident happened within the last month.  Moreover, Breibart conveniently says that “it is not clear” if the man in this case was arrested — or could be under local law. As it turns out, California does not have a “bathroom law,” but he was charged with six counts of unlawful use of a concealed camera for purposes of sexual gratification. As expected, a lot of Breibart readers made comments about this as though it had just happened and as though the man was never charged with anything. Also note that no one was physically molested during this incident. Breibart, you get another TWIT. You can read analysis of this on Snopes.

The Christian News reported last week on a Baptist minister who is out as a trans woman. Allyson Robinson spoke before a Baptist gathering on April 8 and explained her gender journey to the audience. Robinson was ordained in 2014 after transitioning. Now she is an “itinerant” preacher who does activism and appeared at Caitlyn Jenner’s renaming ceremony. Kudos to the Christian News for actually presenting Robinson’s story to its readers. They get a big TWIT Award though for using her male name, referring to her throughout the article as “he” and “him,” and for using comments from failed transsexual Walt Heyer as their “expert” who tells the world that GRS is just “cutting off body parts” and no one is born transgender. Get the whole story, positives and negatives in the Christian News.

Substantial portions of this edition of TWIT were assembled and written by TGF contributor Cecilia Barzyk.


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Category: Transgender Community News

angela_g

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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