The Week In Transgenderism 4/25/16

| Apr 25, 2016
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princeYou have no doubt heard by now that Prince Rogers Nelson, more commonly known as Prince, has passed away. Many have noted a gender-fluid nature to his persona. Some have said that he removed the lines between masculine and feminine and redefined being a man. He sure as hell could play a guitar. The Advocate has a series of photos that show his gender mixing.

Donald Trump has gotten to the top of the heap of presidential candidates in the Republican race by being a political outsider who keeps promising to “make America great again” and not offering any specifics. He proved how much of an outsider he is last week when he commented during a town hall event that trans people should be able to use the restroom they prefer. Adding “There has been so little trouble.” His main rival Ted Cruz immediately shouted that Trump was being “politically correct.” Apparently not a politically correct Republican. Read about it on the website. This just in: A day after his remarks Trump walked them back. See how he fell more in line with the Republican Party line on the CBS News website.

Trump’s first thoughts on the restroom issue were imminently sensible coming from a man who was disgusted that Hilary Clinton had to use the restroom during one of the debates. The comments he made on the trans restroom issue were so sane and sensible that many writers picked up on what he said and used it to make the point that there is no threat to children from trans people in the restroom. One of them is Frank Bruni who writes about the Tempest in a Toilet in The New York Times.

Trump coming out in favor of trans people using the restroom of their choice is not the wildest bit of news about the subject. Would you expect a redneck comedian to be in favor of trans people in the restroom? Here’s a video by one that not only is in favor of it but unpacks the real reason many people are getting so upset. Remember, this is a redneck so if ya’ll are offended by dirty talk don’t give it a gander. You can find the video on the LGBTQ Nation website.

Target has weighed in on the restroom controversy by reiterating their existing policy: trans employees and customers are welcome to use the facility of their choice. Of course those opposed to letting trans people pee just anywhere they like reacted badly on Twitter. Get the story from the website.

In a lovely gesture, Neil Gottleib climbed Mount Mitchell, the highest peak in North Carolina, and planted a transgender flag there, in protest over HB2. He carried not only the flag, but an outhouse painted the colors of the rainbow to put the flag on. Gay Star News has more.

Gavin Grimm

Gavin Grimm

You may recall Gavin Grimm, the Virginia teenager who sued his school board in order to gain access to the restroom which matched his gender identity. Although his case was dismissed by a federal court, a three-judge panel of a federal Appeals Court has said that his case has merit, and reinstated it. They cited the U.S. Department of Education’s position on restroom access for transgender students. While this merely allows Mr. Grimm to pursue his case, it is nonetheless quite important in the debate. The Washington Post has more.

It seems that the United States does have a Commission on Civil Rights. Moreover, they have finally come out with a statement about North Carolina’s HB2, and the similar law in Mississippi.  They say that forcing transgender people into a restroom according to the gender on their birth certificates “jeopardizes not only the dignity, but the actual physical safety, of transgender people.” This story is also in The Washington Post.

While on a trip to Britain, President Obama was asked about travel to North Carolina and Mississippi. The questioner self-identified as a non-binary Muslim. The Advocate has this story, including a video of the exchange.

Data from Trans Lifeline show that the volume of calls from North Carolina to the suicide-prevention hotline doubled after the passage of HB2. “If I had to guess what’s being impacted I think [it’s] probably people’s hope for the future,” said Greta Gustava Martela, co-founder of Trans Lifeline. The Daily Beast has the story.

Victory of a sort. The state of Tennessee has once more given thumbs down to a bill which would have forced transgender students to use the restroom of the gender on their birth certificates. The sponsor of the bill, State Representative Susan Lynn, has withdrawn the bill, but says that it will be reintroduced next year. The White House, through spokesman Jeff Tiller, has indicated its approval of the bill’s withdrawal. The Washington Post has more.

Pammy Rose

Pammy Rose

A young woman in England made headlines in 2013 when she won a beauty contest and then revealed that she was trans. Now the 23-year-old is being totally open about her gender and has signed up to compete in the Miss Transgender U.K. 2016 contest. Learn more about Pammy Rose in the Daily Mail.

On the other end of the age range and from the “never too late” file we have the story of Kate Rohr. She waited till she was 70 to have gender reassignment surgery. Her’s is the story of a trans woman who lived the majority of her life masquerading as a man. She married a woman, had kids and a long career as a surgeon. In February of this year she had her surgery. Read her story in The Washington Post. Thanks to Jamie Roberts for the tip.

This gender stuff can really be confusing. No wonder conservatives want to ban it and make it go away. How about this story? A woman finds out that the guy she broke up with has a new girlfriend and the new girlfriend was born with a male body. The woman is threatened by how feminine her ex’s new girlfriend is, but the gender twists don’t stop there. It’s all so 21st century. Read the Modern Love piece in The New York Times.

Speaking of gender twists. Did anyone notice that Captain Picard of the USS Enterprise was out and about in Hollywood last week in glamor drag? Last Monday night Patrick Stewart showed up to a screening of his Starz comedy Blunt Talk in upscale drag with an age-appropriate (yet stylish) gray wig. Seeing the former captain with hair is odd enough but with false eyelashes and lipstick, plus a statement necklace, it’s completely bonkers. He’s been favorable compared to Helen Mirren. Check out Stewart doing “duck lips” for the camera on the Pop Sugar website.


From the NYT video.

The New York Times has produced a video on the trans movement. It includes video and photos from the early days of the movement as well as interviews with trans activists and people who were there for the Stonewall Riots and Compton’s Cafeteria Riot in San Francisco. If you want to see the roots of the trans movement don’t miss this NYT Retro Report.

Speaking of San Francisco: The Potrero Hill section of that city was a longtime home of David de Alba, The Cuban Legend. David owned a hair salon there and performed at the legendary Finocchio’s nightclub. Recently the Potrero neighborhood presented David with the 2016 Potrero Hill History Award. The event was recorded and can be viewed right here. Sadly, David does not appear in the video.


A new study by the J. Walter Thompson agency shows that most people are fine with transgender people in advertising. Almost 2/3 of respondents said that brands that use trans people in ads are brave and progressive. However, when shown ads with trans people and similar ads without trans people, there was a slight preference for the ads without trans people. You can read more on Think Progress.

Divine and Waters in 1975.

Divine and Waters in 1975.

Filmmaker John Waters celebrated his 70th birthday on April 22. He’s the man who made Pink Flamingos, Mondo Trasho, and Hairspray. Photos taken in 1975 of Waters and his favorite actress Divine are being featured in a photo exhibition in New York until May 15. You can see some of them on the Mashable website.


James Van Kuilenburg

16-year-old James Van Kuilenburg, a student at Thomas Johnson High School, was thrown out of a Ted Cruz rally in Maryland. He had obtained tickets legally, and he says that he wanted to learn about the candidate. James was rather conspicuous, wearing a tee-shirt from the National Center for Transgender Equality. He was tapped on the shoulder by a campaign staffer, and escorted out. James, you learned something about that campaign staff. Said Mr. Van Kuilenberg, “When trying to explain what happened [inside the hall] to the Cruz volunteers outside, they laughed at us. The level of disrespect and aggression there was outstanding.” The Washington Blade has this story.

The only surgeon in New Zealand who specialized in transgender surgery retired two years ago. It is estimated that it will take 30 years to work through the backlog of patients waiting for gender-confirmation surgery in that country at the rate other surgeons have been going. It is amazing that other surgeons have not stepped up the pace to meet this demand, and that no one has yet come forward to specialize in gender-confirmation surgery. This story comes from The Guardian.

Tamara Nunez Del Prado is a trans lady from Bolivia. She transitioned in 2012, and now, she hosts a weekly radio show. She talks about LGBT issues on the show. Telesur has a profile of her.

Alec Butler is a filmmaker and writer in Britain. Born in 1959, Alec was raised as a girl, but at age 12, Alec began growing a beard. That could be inconvenient. That’s when Alec was diagnosed as intersex. The BBC has a profile.

On the younger end, Logan Symonds is a four-year-old in Britain who has been attending school as a female. Logan has indicated a female identity for two years now, while twin brother Alfie is all boy. Their story has caused a bit of discussion in Britain, where the Green Party has come out in favor of letting four-year-olds express their gender identity.The family’s story is in The Mirror.


Xtacy Love

Did you know that Springfield, Missouri hosts a drag event called National Showgirl at Large? The 2016 event is coming up in June and a Canadian drag artist who grew up in a small town is hoping to represent Canada in the contest. Xtacy Love will promote support for anti-bullying initiatives as her cause if she makes it to the contest. Read about her and the contest in Daily Xtra.

In India the term “transgender” is not often used to describe the hijra who are also known in English as “eunuchs.” Since they have existed for thousands of years in Indian society the labels are firmly in place. Officially the government calls them “third gender” people. Two years ago the country’s Supreme Court affirmed the right of everyone to choose their gender. Learn more about the many gender labels in India in The Washington Post. Thanks to Jamie Roberts for the story tip.

Prada Clutch

Prada Clutch

For many years drag was the property of the gay community. Gay men dressed up and performed for other gay men and everyone had a grand time. Then The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert brought drag out of the dark nightclubs and bars and presented it to a wider audience. In Australia drag is now so popular there are queens performing for every type of function. It’s become mainstream entertainment. The way drag performers are treated has also changed. Meet Prada Clutch, a performer who came from a theater background but kept her drag shows a secret until suddenly drag was cool. Her story is in the Hawkesbury Gazette.


Former baseball pitcher and sports talking head on ESPN, Curt Schilling, opened his mouth about something he isn’t qualified to report on. He should just stick to baseball but he shared a post on Facebook that featured a beefy guy in a long blonde wig and tight dress with the caption “Let him in! To the restroom with your daughter or else you’re a narrow minded, judgmental, unloving, racist bigot who needs to die!!!” A large TWIT Award to Schilling for sharing this bigoted bull, and one to the narrow-minded, bigoted original poster, whoever they are. Learn a bit more on the website. This just in: In addition to his TWIT Award Schilling has collected a pink slip from ESPN. They fired him last Thursday. Details can be found in The New York Times.

The Ted Cruz campaign has responded to the supportive statement Donald Trump made about the restroom controversy with a new television ad. The ad paints transgender people as a danger to others. Ted and company are spreading the “it’s a slippery slope fallacy” —If we let the transgender people into the rest room, then the predators will say that they are transgender in order to get in. Perhaps he’s confusing the two because he knows that the slippery slope argument is assuming something that does not happen. Ted and his campaign are the recipients of a lovely TWIT Award. The Advocate has more on the ad.

Some of the religious groups which promoted HB2 in North Carolina sent out an email in which they asked lawmakers to pledge that they will not amend or repeal the law. The group soon sent out another email, saying that they did not intend to send out the first email.  Such twittery deserves a TWIT Award. WRAL-TV has more on this.

The American Family Association gets a TWIT Award since they have called for a boycott of Target because of the company’s bathroom policy. These are the people who once called on their members to boycott Ford, only to find profits for that automaker rose. Read the AFA’s Boycott Target Pledge on their website.

Joey Salads, a YouTube “star,” has created a new video in which he pretends to be trans and enters a women’s restroom as a “social experiment.” Although he has a “transgender friend” approve of the outfit, he goes on to show that he has very little understanding of what being transgender is about. Joey, here is a TWIT Award, with our hope that your YouTube subscribers now see you in a new and less flattering light. Gay Star News has more.

It seems the restroom laws have made more men go into lady’s rooms. They’re all media types doing “experiments” like Joey Salads’. Dana Loesch of The Blaze made a video in which a man, obviously male (complete with several days of facial hair), wearing an orange dress and a wig, walked into a women’s restroom and proclaimed, “I’m Matilda. I’m identifying as a lady today. I hear you guys have champagne and cookies here.” The skit could easily be used to mock the anti-trans position, it is so outlandish, but oddly, she uses it to show what she claims will happen if trans women are allowed into the lady’s room. Dana, you get a TWIT Award for promoting an idea, which absolutely zero legal scholars agree with, as though it were true. Mocking something you don’t understand only makes you look like an idiot. You can see the video on Media Matters.

Here’s another TWIT Award for Pat Robertson. The senile television preacher said last week that “many transgender people” were “frauds.” As is often the case, it is hard to see what he is talking about, because he jumps all around. He also says, “People like that are relatively rare.”  Perhaps he has seen that there has been a rise in the number of people who announce that they are trans, and from this, he concludes that a lot of them are fakes. We guess it does not occur to him that more transgender people are now open about it. You can read more on Right Wing Watch.

Portions of TWIT were researched 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 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.

Comments (2)

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  1. What a great award for David deAlba! Congratulations on your well-deserved recognition!


    Las Vegas

  2. KoolMcKool KoolMcKool says:

    While true trans folks get more accepted each day, I still believe the long term perception of trans folks needs to get off bathrooms and most of the related topics of surgery, transition, beauty pageants. The media thinks their doing you a favor, but do you really want to be know by all these media profiles? 70 year old dude gets SRS…not really interested.

    “If you habitually seek out those who don’t believe what you believe in an effort to provoke or silence then you’re’ probably not very oppressed”
    Don’t know who said it, but I like it.

    Go do something wonderful today, solve a problem, pick up some litter, plant a tree, helps some poor old woman at Wal-Mart who’s battery died, and stop talking about transgenderism for one day.

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