The Week In Transgenderism 5/2/16

| May 2, 2016
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CeCe McDonald

CeCe McDonald

Laverne Cox has written and produced a documentary about CeCe McDonald. Called Free CeCe!, it is scheduled to debut at the L.A. Film Festival in early June. Ms. McDonald was convicted of manslaughter in the death of a man who had shouted racist and homophobic slurs at her. She served 19 months in prison. The Minneapolis Star Tribune has more.

While ignorant state and local lawmakers spend their time crafting hateful anti-trans laws institutions in the higher education business are paying more attention to the needs of those who don’t fit the standard gender labels. Starting this summer Harvard University will expand the gender options on its Common Application. The change will give high school students a “free-response” option to describe their gender identity. Get the story from The Harvard Crimson. There’s more on the trans friendly college applications at Inside Higher Ed. Thanks to Jamie Roberts for that tip.

Senator Cory Booker

Senator Cory Booker

Senators Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) and Patty Murray (D-Washington) have introduced new legislation which would ban “ex-gay” therapy as a fraudulent practice. 16 other Democrats signed on as co-sponsors of the bill. It has little chance of passing this year, given the composition of both houses of Congress, but it is a nice symbolic measure and shows which party is on the side of LGBT people. The Washington Blade has more.

Pennsylvania’s Insurance Commissioner Theresa Miller has announced that health insurers in that state will have to cover medically necessary services no matter what the patient’s gender identity, sexual orientation or sex. All policies offered in Pennsylvania must include language that details the coverage provided complies with federal regulations and Governor Wolf’s policy. Get the story from PennLive.

Carlo Rolan

Carlo Rolan

Carlo Rolan, a trans female high school student, has just joined the cheerleading squad at Pekin Community High School in Pekin, Illinois. Fox 29 has a video from their newscast on their website.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary is adding a variety of gender related words to it’s next edition. Among the words are “genderqueer,” “Mx.” and “cisgender.” The dictionary is always adding new words and the next edition will also feature non-gender related words like “hella” and “FOMO.” Thanks to Jamie Roberts for the story tip. Read more about it in The Washington Post.

A couple of Saturdays ago they held the Great Conch Republic Drag Race in Key West. The event feature drag performer contestants in full regalia racing through an obstacle course on a downtown street. Heel height was mandated at no less than three inches and contestants were handicapped based on the height of their heels above three inches. Approximately 1700 spectators watched the queens run the course. Learn more in the South Florida Reporter.

16-year-old Ryan Stalvey of Jacksonville, Florida, has asked a court to let him live with a family other than his biological parents, as they have rejected him because he is transgender. He claims that his biological mother has been both physically and emotionally abusive to him. WJAX-TV has this story.

In Japan some trans female teen athletes were in the news last week. Ryota Tamura is a figure skater who transitioned from male to female in high school and competed in January in her school’s men’s figure skating competition. Seventeen-year-old Asuka is female professional wrestler. Learn more about these young ladies on The Ashai Shimbun website. Thanks to Jan Brown for the story.

Dispatches From The Restroom Wars

The Meg Bitton photo used in the anti-HB2 ad.

The Meg Bitton photo used in the anti-HB2 ad.

The ongoing Restroom Wars have brought a questions about the diversity of the trans community to the fore. Those striking back against the ignorance about trans people have posted photos of lovely trans women with questions along the lines of “How safe would she be if she’s forced to use the men’s room.” Trans women who are totally passable will have no problem avoiding the Potty Patrol and using the lady’s room. But the trans community is made up of diverse individuals and not all of them are going to “pass” in their true gender. They are the ones who are going to be troubled most by these moronic laws. See if you agree with one writer’s opinion. It can be found on the Yahoo news feed.

Blue Man Group has announced that they are canceling their shows in North Carolina because of their opposition to HB2. WYFF-TV has this story.

MTI, the group which licenses the performances of a great many musicals that are still under copyright, has included a note to the effect that they will not approve any additional performances of West Side Story in North Carolina or Mississippi until they receive further instructions from the holder of the rights. Andy Towle has more.

Mara Keisling

Mara Keisling

Mara Keisling, the head of the National Center for Transgender Equality, used the lady’s room in North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory’s office this week. Of course, her birth certificate does not permit her to use any lady’s room in any government building in North Carolina. She said that this showed just how impossible it is to enforce HB2. She was arrested later in the day. (Well, she did tell them what she did so they didn’t need Sherlock Holmes to catch her.) The Washington Blade has this story, while a copy of Mara Keisling’s original tweet can be found in The Huffington Post.

You know that a Republican politician is in trouble when he goes on Fox News and the host gives him a hard time. That happened to North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory this week, when Megyn Kelly asked him what evidence led him to think that there was a problem with transgender people in the lady’s room. She then informed the governor that stalls in the lady’s room provide sufficient privacy to keep people from exposing themselves to each other. Andy Towle has more.

Another sign which should give politicians pause is when the Foreign Office of the United Kingdom raises concern about your legislation through official channels — and tells the opposition party that it has done so. Cat Smith, a Labour MP and the Shadow Spokesperson for Women, asked, “What plans does the Secretary of State have to raise the issue of LGBT rights in North Carolina and Mississippi with his counterpart in the U.S.?” The answer was that the issue has already been raised — by members of the ruling Conservative Party. The British Government has also amended their Travel Advice for the U.S. to make note of these laws. Gay Star News has this story.

A Detroit area woman was tossed out of a restroom at a restaurant recently when she was mistaken for a man. She has now filed suit. This shows how hard it is to enforce these regulations, and yet, it will likely have no effect on the people who propose these laws. The Advocate has more.

The authors of the Restroom Wars don’t see trans people as people. They have vague notions that they are affecting trans people’s lives but they don’t care. The little girl in the restroom is much easier for them to imagine. But they fail to imagine the consequences of their laws on real people like Cayden McDonald, a trans teen who gave his thoughts on the laws to The Washington Post. Thanks to Jamie Roberts for the story tip.

Now for the good news: These state laws are not slowing the Obama Administration from expanding rights for LGBT people, according to White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest. The Washington Blade has more.

A battle won in the Restroom Wars: Back in January, a trans male student in South Carolina identified only as “R” was suspended for using the boys’ restroom. Since then, the Horry County School Board has agreed to let “R” use the boys restroom, removed the suspension from “R”‘s academic record, and informed teachers and staff to use student’s preferred pronouns. The schools have also been told to update attendance rosters to reflect a student’s preferred name. Don’t you just love a happy ending? This story is in The State. Thanks to Ms. Bob Davis who sent a link to the Transgender Law Center which has their statement about the case.

For some time, years in fact, a bill in Massachusetts that would expand the current state law banning discrimination against trans people in housing, workplaces, and public accommodations by adding the right to use the restroom they prefer may at long last get out of committee. There is interest in moving the bill if some members add an amendment making it illegal to declare a false gender identity with nefarious intent. Read more on the Republican American website.

Ariel Zavala [R.]

Ariel Zavala [R.]

It’s time for many school across the nation to hold their proms. That means it’s time for some stories about trans students attending prom in their true genders. One such young lady is seventeen-year-old Ariel Zavala from Tampa, Florida. Ms. Zavala started attending her school as a freshman boy and last Saturday she attended her prom in a floor-length red skirt and black mesh top. Read about her in The Tampa Tribune. Thanks to Jan Brown for the story tip.

Dakota Yorke

Dakota Yorke

A trans girl in the Chicago area is excited to be running for prom queen. She transitioned over the summer from identifying as a gay male and is now one of the candidates for prom queen. She has her dress picked out and is looking forward to living her childhood dream of wearing the tiara and sash of the prom queen. Dakota Yorke asked her school administration if it was okay for her to run and got the green light. The prom is May 7. Read about this interesting and confident young lady in the Chicago Post-Tribune.

A new effort is underway in Texas to make people there realize that trans people are normal people. The effort is called the Trans Visibility Project. It is trying to collect photos of trans Texans. You can read more in the Dallas Voice.

Riya Sarkar

Riya Sarkar

This past Saturday history was made in the Indian elections. For the first time ever a trans woman held a position as an election official. Riya Sarkar applied to be a polling officer and she was assigned a polling booth. The district electoral officer had a short list of 24 trans people and awarded the history making position to Sarkar. Learn more about it in The Indian Express.

Star of the film, Poppy

Star of the film, Poppy

A Cambodian film maker has made a movie that features a group of ladyboys; two men who dress as women; and one man who must crossdress for the plot. The plot features a gang of ladyboy performers who must help the transphobic brother of one of the performers hide from gangsters by dressing him up as a woman. Shades of Some Like it Hot. The director says that the trans characters are all strong women and the laughs are not generated by making fun of them. It’s called Poppy Goes to Hollywood. Read about it and view the trailer in The Phnom Penh Post.

In Prince George, British Columbia, a trans male teen has gone to court because his father is opposed to him receiving hormone blockers for his transgenderism. The case itself is still pending, but the court has ruled on a pre-trial motion that “J.K.,” the teen in this case, can continue to receive hormone blockers, pending the outcome of the trial. The Prince George Citizen has more.

The 2016 San Francisco Pride Parade happen in June and the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee has announced the grand marshals and honorees for the event. Among them are several people from the trans and drag communities. Learn who they all are in The Bay Area Reporter.

Grayson Perry in Claire mode.

Grayson Perry in Claire mode.

The reality show star who takes cameras into the wilderness to show people how to survive by drinking their own urine, eating bats and worms found under rocks, Bear Grylls, has gotten a dressing down from an artist who loves dressing up. Grayson Perry, the crossdressing artist  known as Claire, said in British media that Grylls teaches a “stereotype of masculinity” and would be better off teaching men how to open up about emotions or do more practical things like finding a good school for his kids instead of skills that can only be used in the unlikely event that you become a castaway on a desert island. Read about the war of words in The Sun.


Representative Steve Russell (R-Oklahoma) has introduced a clause into the Defense Appropriations Bill which would require religious organizations that are defense contractors to follow only the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act. This would bypass executive orders that protect LGBT employees of defense contractors. The amendment does not specifically mention LGBT employee rights. It passed the Armed Services Committee of the U.S. House by a 33-29 vote. Representative Russell shares this TWIT Award with every member of the Committee who voted for the amendment. The Washington Blade has more.

The Michigan Board of Education recently came out with some draft guidelines for schools districts, should they elect to create guidelines for schools to handle transgender students. The Republican-led state legislature has come up with a response, in the form of a bill that would replace the State School Board, elected by voters, with a Board of Education, appointed by the Governor. The problem is that this attempts to amend the state Constitution, which could require approval of the electorate. A TWIT Award to the bill’s sponsor, Tim Kelly, and to all the Republicans who feel that if they don’t get everything that they want they should just take their ball and go home. What a way to show school children how to resolve disputes. You can read more on Pride Source.

Several time TWIT Award winner Dr. Keith Ablow, the so-called “medical expert” for Fox News (who goes against the advice of countless medical professional groups) complains that therapists are prevented by law from telling people that their sexual orientation or gender identity is the result of “life events.” He goes on to say that parents have something to do with sexual orientation and gender identity, but he’s not thinking of genetics when he says that. How about “freeing” science teachers to tell their students that the world is flat, or that the stars are all on one sphere? Those things are about as valid as Dr. Ablow’s thoughts on where gender identity and sexual orientation come from. You can read a transcript of his TWIT-winning drivel at Media Matters.

Doctor Ablow also proposed injecting transgender teens with the hormones of their birth gender to “go with nature.” Here is something you should have learnt by now: If the person’s body isn’t producing enough of a hormone, then that is what nature is doing — period. Oh, and doctor, the idea that this would do much of anything relies on the body not having enough of that hormone naturally, but neither the attitude of parents nor “life events” would create that hormone imbalance. So, your solution is at odds with the cause you claim. Media Matters has this video as well.

Anita Staver, president of the Liberty Council and one of the lawyers who represented Kim Davis, has said that she is taking a gun into the toilet at Target just in case there are any “perverts” there. This TWIT Award should tell you, Ms. Staver, that any restroom you’re in contains one big perverter of the truth. You can read more about her at Pink News.

Another TWIT Award goes to The Federalist, which asks and answers seven questions about transgender people. However, it says something that they cite old and questionable data (“only 2 to 27 percent of children retain their gender dysphoria into adulthood” — that study is old and flawed, and its conclusion is so broad — 2 to 27 percent — as to mock the researchers behind the study). They also write off the hyper-masculine roles that some trans women, specifically Caitlyn Jenner and Kristen Beck took on to hide their gender identities, as “mere coincidence.” Mind you, this is from a group who name themselves after a movement that sought to strengthen the national government of the U.S., although they themselves seek exactly the opposite. You can read this nonsense on their website.

Bad news for those who think that Pope Francis is a hip cat and he’s all about love and forgiveness. While he may be pro-love in some areas when it comes to trans people he is not giving out hugs. His apostolic exhortation (can’t just be called a memo, or a statement) titled The Joy of Love gives very little love to trans people. It tells trans teens to stop being “self-centered” and accept their bodies. For the rest of the story that wins Pope Francis a TWIT Award check out the Wicker Local Cambridge.

Much of the TWIT gathering for this edition was accomplished 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 (5)

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  1. KoolMcKool KoolMcKool says:

    The first paragraph is enough for me
    CeCe McDonald, escalated a verbal argument, stabbed and killed a man with scissors. Defending criminals like this is one reason transgenders have such poor reputations in the general community. Recognize right from wrong.

    If you walk up to someone who shouted insults and escalate the fight with a deadly weapon, you’re going to get convicted of murder no matter who you are.

    • angela_g angela_g says:

      Ms. McDonald was defending herself and her friends. She had to have 12 stitches in her face from the glass that the aggressors threw at her. It is not a cut and dry case of walking up to someone making insulting comments and stabbing them. You can read the details of what happened that night in an in-depth article in Rolling Stone.

      • KoolMcKool KoolMcKool says:

        I have researched and studied the incident at multiple sources over the years. You don’t understand basic law, you cannot escalate a fight and introduce weapons. You will lose in court the majority of the time.
        Minneapolis Star-tribune and City Papers of Minneapolis are better sources than Rolling Stone.

      • angela_g angela_g says:

        In many states “basic law” enables a person to use a gun to defend themselves if they feel “threatened.” Are guns okay but scissors are not?

    • KoolMcKool KoolMcKool says:

      >In many states “basic law” enables a person to use a gun to defend themselves if they feel “threatened.” Are guns okay but scissors are not?

      Basic law of manslaughter and assault of Minnesota, the type of weapon does not matter, nor do the laws of other states, what matters is Minnesota law. She was convicted because her self-defense argument did not hold up to investigation and testimony. She left the scene, she hid the weapon, she stabbed a person who did not assault her, she did not make any attempt to flee the danger as she was outside her home.
      This is a very easy case and there is nothing to be gained from defending violent and wrong behavior from someone simply because they are transgendered.
      Go ahead folks defend anything and everything trans, I defend right from wrong. CeCe McDonald was wrong and killed a man, that’s why she went to prison.

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