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The Week In Transgenderism 5/23/16

| May 23, 2016
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Ambrosia Starling

Ambrosia Starling

Alabama drag performer Ambrosia Starling, who we mentioned in TWIT recently as an outspoken protester who has opposed the state’s super conservative Chief Justice Roy Moore — who Moore blames for his suspension from the bench, has made noises about running for governor herself if Moore attempts to campaign for that office. All three of Alabama’s top officials have been caught up in scandals so why not let a drag queen take charge and clean things up. Get the whole story from Pink News.

New York City has issued guidelines for the pronouns employers and landlords should use when addressing trans employees or tenants. The City requires if the trans person requests the use of pronouns such as “ze/hir” that employers and landlords must comply with their request. If an employer or landlord is found to repeatedly violate the request they can be fined up to $250,000. Get the story from the New York Post.

Monica Mullholland

Monica Mullholland

Monica Mulholland has been elected president of the Rotary Club in Queensland, New Zealand. She will take that post next June. She is only three months into her transition, and has a history as a male with most of her fellow Rotarians. She reports that, for the most part, she has been welcomed by the members of the club. Read about it on New Zealand’s News Hub.

What is the correct term to use when referring to trans people? At TGF we just use “trans people” as a way to avoid using “transgendered” or just “transgender.” It’s been a topic of debate for awhile now, with some contending that “transgendered” refers to something you do whereas “transgender” is something you are. It can get complicated so we were glad to find a professor who could expound on the subject. You can get his take on it in a podcast from the WBUR website.

Up north in Canada the Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has introduced legislation that will ban discrimination against trans people across the country and treat crimes against trans people as hate crimes. The protection of trans rights was a campaign promise and Trudeau has moved quickly to bring it to a vote. Get the full story on how big the changes are in The New York Times. For the Canadian perspective check out the story in the Toronto Globe and Mail.

Model in Rainbow Sari

Model in Rainbow Sari

A fashion designer in India has introduced her new collection that features the colors of the rainbow by hiring trans women to model her designs. Sharmila Nair was pleased the find that after she introduced the collection, contrary to what some people had told her, sales soared. Get the whole story and view photos of the women modeling the rainbow colored saris on the Quartz India website.

Chelsea Manning has filed an appeal of her conviction for disseminating classified information.  The appeal was filed with the U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals. The document was not made public immediately, pending a security review. The Edge has more.

Grocery queen.

Grocery queen.

Would you go to the supermarket in fetish drag? Most people would not as it can be considered bad taste to go out in public in a panty with cut-out cheeks; a stretchy crop top with nothing else but your large purse; makeup and jewelry for a stroll anywhere in public, excepting perhaps that annual Pride parade. But from, of all places, China, comes the story of a drag queen who was casually doing her shopping in a a Shenzshen supermarket on May 14. People watched her from a distance and took photos. The one where she has to bend over to see the lower shelf is particularly hot. Oops. I mean disturbing. Check out the story, and see how the Chinese Internet reacted, on the What’s On Weibo website.

Transgender people are roughly twice as likely as the general population to have a college degree, yet they are seven times as likely to be unemployed, according to a new survey from Courtney Grey. The participants in this survey were in Colorado, but the trend is likely not unique to that state. This report is in the Denver Post.

Mercedes Successful

Mercedes Successful

Mercedes Successful was a trans woman and a drag performer in Haines City, Florida. She was found shot to death in a parking lot. The local news misgendered her, but Autostradle got her gender right.

In Norway, the government is advancing a plan which would allow people to change their legal gender by filling out and signing a form. Children as young as six years old can change gender with this form, with permission from their parents. Pink News has this story.

Now that more insurance plans cover transgender health care, sometimes including surgery, there is an increased need for providers of transgender health in all aspects. Boston Medical Center is opening just such a facility. You can read more about it at the WBUR website.

Asha Carris, a six-year-old in Melbourne, Australia, asked her mother why she couldn’t wear pants to school like the boys do. Her mother started an online petition, and now, Our Lady of Nativity Primary School has changed its uniform policy. This story is in Gay News Network.

Here’s another story from the “meet the young trans child” file. The Los Angeles Times did a rather lengthy profile of a transgender girl in the third grade, whom they refer to as “T.”

Bob The Drag Queen is crowned.

Bob The Drag Queen is crowned.

Season Eight of RuPaul’s Drag Race reached their finale last week and one queen raced across the finish line ahead of the pack. The new drag superstar is Bob The Drag Queen. Check out photos from the after-party in The Huffington Post.

Students at a Connecticut school were surprised when their English teacher told them that he was a trans man. Dusty Rader felt that he needed to let his students know that their teacher was one of the trans people that are being attacked by restrictive restroom laws. Read his story in the Hartford Courant.

How best to fight oppression and regressive legislation? There are several ways but all over the country trans people are lifting their voices in song. Trans people from Los Angeles to Kansas City, and Boston to Chicago. have gathered together to form choral groups. Learn more about these trans singers on the NPR website.

Barbara Satin

Barbara Satin

Breitbart is hard to figure out. We have given the site many TWIT Awards for their heavily spun, or just made up, coverage of trans news. Last week they presented a story about President Obama appointing a trans woman to to the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Her name is Barbara Satin and the story is pretty straightforward. The only snark detected was the use of male pronouns in the second half of the article. We’re watching you Breitbart. Read the story on their website.

Do you love the look of high heeled stilettos? But you find that after you’ve had them on for, oh, five minutes, that your feet are complaining loudly? It’s hard to look fabulous when you’re dealing with foot pain. Fortunately science has started to work on the problem of how to make a sexy shoe that doesn’t kill your feet. Read about Thesis stilettos in The Atlantic. Thanks to TGF user Jamie Roberts for the story tip.

Miss Fame's final look.

Miss Fame’s final look.

Last week we told you about the drag performer Miss Fame walking the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival. She looked fabulous and gave all the glamorous actresses a run for their money. Today we have a video of the makeup process she went through to get ready for her red carpet turn. You can find it on the Mirror website.

If you live in the Philadelphia area and want to get an exotic dancer’s body, or just get in shape but are not comfortable going to a regular gym or fitness center, there is a private workout service that can help you. The Philadelphia Private Gym in Bensalem, Pa. has been helping people get in shape for over 30 years and they have trained exotic dancers and helped male clients look more feminine. Check out their website for more details.

Discrimination and repression of trans people is not limited to areas within the United States. Trans people in South Africa don’t have an easy time of it with all of the same issues faced by those in the USA. Read about it on the IOL website.

Restroom Wars

South African comic and host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central, Trevor Noah, focused on the restroom issue last week. Here is his 8-minute take on the issue. Be prepared to laugh, and say “Trevor is right about this.”


And so it begins. Another cisgender woman has been mistaken for a trans woman while using the restroom. It happened in Connecticut at a Walmart. Aimee Toms, who is a wonderful person who donates her hair to a program that provides wigs for chemo patients, was washing her hands when another woman called her “disgusting” and said she didn’t belong in the lady’s room. Read about it and see her response video on the Daily Kos website.

Ebony Belcher, tossed out of Giant.

Ebony Belcher, tossed out of Giant.

A trans woman in Washinton, DC was with a friend in a Giant supermarket when she had to use the restroom. She was directed to the lady’s room by store employees and while she was inside a female security guard came in and threw her out of the restroom — then pushed her out of the store. Her shoving almost caused the woman to fall down since she has Parkinson’s disease and has trouble walking. The security guard was arrested for simple assault after complaints were made to authorities by a local trans activist. Get the story and the video report from the NBC 4 website.

If you are wondering how, as many are, that the restroom access for trans people suddenly blossomed into a national debate there is an in-depth article that can give you the history of the conflict. You can find it in The New York Times.

Morganna Snow

Morganna Snow

The hoopla has even found its way overseas. In Britain, Morganna Snow was escorted from a lady’s room when other patrons of the nightclub said that they were “uncomfortable” with her being in there. It so happens that Ms. Snow is indeed a transwoman, though she seems quite passable in still photos. The club’s security person told her to use the restroom for the disabled after consulting with the club’s official policy. The club (Fever, in Gloucester) could get a TWIT for having such a policy. The Daily Express has more.

In the law, cases are often decided on the basis of previous cases. In the matter of the dueling lawsuits over HB2, the preponderance of cases have gone in support of Title VII and Title IX being extended to include transgender people, according to an article in the American Bar Association Journal.

One of the requirements for gender-confirmation surgery is real-life experience — living in the preferred gender. A part of the real-life experience may be using the restroom of the preferred gender. But, HB2 makes that illegal. Therefore, one of the consequences of HB2 could be that fewer transgender people living in North Carolina can qualify for gender-confirmation surgery. At the same time, HB2 may push some people to get surgery that they otherwise would not get, surgery which could have negative consequences in other parts of their lives. That could be the grounds for declaring HB2 and similar laws unconstitutional. Slate has this story.

HB2 notoriously requires people to use the restroom that corresponds to the gender listed on the birth certificate. But, the rules for changing the gender marker on the birth certificate vary from state to state. Most states require surgery before they will change the gender marker, while a few will change it without surgery, and three (plus portions of a fourth) will not change it even after surgery. The Daily Beast has more.

For a deeper look into the restroom issue check out an article titled The True Harm of Bathroom Bills. Thanks to TGF user Jamie Roberts for pointing us to the piece in The Atlantic.

Bathroom Backlash

La Raza, the largest Latino rights advocacy group in the United States, has moved its annual convention from Raleigh to Miami. They specifically mentioned HB2 as the reason for this move. La Raza’s president and CEO, Janet Murguía said, “Hispanics know what it is like to be singled out and stripped of our humanity because of who we are or what we look like. And with the wave of anti-immigrant state laws in recent years, the Latino community is all too familiar with legislation that purports to ‘protect’ but, in fact, legalizes discrimination.” The Advocate has more.

To the list of celebrities who will not perform in North Carolina because of HB2, add Itzhak Perlman. He was scheduled to appear with the North Carolina Symphony on May 18, and he first announced that he would appear but would donate his fee to Equality North Carolina, but he asked that a note be included in the program announcing this. The symphony was unable to fulfill that request, because they receive funding from the state, and when the symphony asked, the state refused to allow the statement in the program leading to Perlman’s canceling the appearance. This story is in The Violin Channel and on NPR.

Laura Jane Grace

Laura Jane Grace

Laura Jean Grace began a concert in Durham, North Carolina, by burning her birth certificate, as the audience cheered. Ms. Grace ,who came out last year as a trans woman, is the front-woman and founder of the punk rock band Against Me!. The Washington Post story is found on

A report by WRAL says that lobbyists in North Carolina are being warned to keep their peace in regards to HB2. There will be consequences for those who speak out. The eleven lobbyists who spoke to the station did so anonymously. Talking Points Memo has this story.

Target has warned that their sales figures for the current quarter are likely to be slightly below estimates, but not that bad. They say that things like cool weather and consumers who aren’t buying as much are to blame, but they insist that the boycott is not affecting their revenue. Time Magazine has this story.

Megyn Kelly has once more asked some embarrassing questions of a Republican politician concerning the treatment of transgender people. This time, the recipient was Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, of whom White House press secretary Josh Earnest said, “I think this does underscore the risk of electing a right-wing radio host to statewide elected office.” When he bragged about his role in defeating the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, saying that it would have “allowed men in ladies’ rooms,” Kelly shot back the question, “allow men in ladies rooms, or allow trans women in ladies’ rooms?” Andy Towle has more.


We haven’t given The Daily Caller a TWIT Award lately and we thought maybe they had just settled down and stopped fomenting anger at trans people. But, no. Here’s a TWIT Award winning story they published last week. The headline begins the assault: “Across America, State Officials Are REBELLING Against Obama’s Transgender Bathroom Decree.” Notice how “rebelling” is in all caps? Trying to foment a revolution? Then they illustrate the piece with a photo of a woman in the shower holding her hand out as if to stop someone from coming into the stall with her. The body of the piece is all about how the outrage that the Obama directive (they call it a “proclamation” in order to play up the idea of the president’s imperial reign) has provoked is coming from “across America” and that hundreds of lawmakers are dead set against the “edict.” Well the “across America” part seems to be Arizona, Georgia, Texas, North Carolina, Mississippi and Pennsylvania. (Pa. legislators are mostly Republican but the governor is a Democrat who supports trans rights.) That’s hardly the whole country (but most of the Republican controlled states) up in arms over the directive that trans students be given access to the restrooms and locker rooms of their choice. If you care to read their highly biased and spun report it’s on The Daily Caller website.

Phil Robertson is the bearded patriarch of his duck decoy manufacturing family and a “reality” show star from Duck Dynasty. He looks like a hillbilly but he is from the swampy lands of the more southern area of the south. He has jumped into the trans restroom debate with both his feet declaring that men are men and women are women and this restroom choice thing is against God’s will. He’s not a fan of Miley Cyrus either. So for talking about things he knows nothing about he gets a TWIT Award. Read his regressive screed in the Christian Post.

We also haven’t given any TWIT Awards out for silicone “pumpers” lately. That changes today with the story of a prominent member of the Atlanta drag scene who was found dead last November. Her pumper has been arrested and charged with giving dangerous silicone cosmetic procedures to multiple people. A TWIT Award to the pumper, Deanna M. Roberts, and TWIT Awards to anyone who thinks that you can pump loose silicone into your body and all it will do is make you more curvy. The story can be found in The New York Daily News.

Good fit is important when you’re going to wear women’s clothing. It always pays to get the right size. In the case of one man who was part of a team trying to rob a jewelry store disguising himself as a woman wasn’t a good idea. He wore a skirt that was too large and it kept falling down, giving the jeweler a chance to grapple with the crossdressed bandit who dropped his fake gun and ran away. He was later caught and sentenced to 6 years in jail by a judge who called his crossdressing “unsuccessful.” A TWIT Award to the crossdressed robber. Get the story in The Sun.

A TWIT Award is hereby assigned to the medical “professionals” in this story. LeQuan Edwards is a 52-year-old transwoman who has been a government employee and, on occasion, a drag queen in her spare time. She has spent the last few months in a hospital bed, since her legs were badly burned. She was sent to a rehabilitation facility, but was refused entry when they found that she was transgender. The Des Moines Register has her story.

Students at Hendrick Middle School in Medford, Oregon, skipped class to go to the streets with signs that said, “No men in girl’s bathroom’s [sic!],” and “Say no to transgender bathroom’s [sic].” Perhaps if they were in school, they might learn how to use the apostrophe correctly. They claim that some male students are using this as a chance to go into the restroom with females. According to a spokesperson for the district, the school has two gender neutral restrooms. Given that the students cannot tell the difference between plural and possessive, perhaps they also cannot distinguish between men and trans women. The bad grammar on the signs indicate that these students need to be in school, not outside protesting. However, the TWIT goes to the students (and to their parents, who joined them in their protest) for their narrow-mindedness, not their poor use of the language. You can read more on KTVL-TV’s website.

And the winner is — a Cleveland casino. They get a TWIT Award. Gerri Candice Hollowell is a trans woman who lives in Las Vegas. She was in Cleveland visiting family and friends when she went to a casino. She was asked to show her I.D. (No one else was asked to show I.D.) The casino guard told her, “Casino has rules about you have to match your I.D.” Her driver’s license does list her as “male.” While she was eventually granted entrance, by that time she was too upset to stay there. One would think that a casino would train their security better. Fox 8 in Cleveland has more.

Brit Hume of Fox News attempted to use “science” to say that Caitlyn Jenner is not “transgendered” because (according to his limited understanding) biology defines sex “until you have had some sort of physical metamorphosis, in which your anatomy is changed.” To give him a little credit, he does not say that sex is determined by chromosomes. But, he still gets a TWIT, for trying to squeeze all of nature into what little he remembers from high school biology, especially since his lack of knowledge says that all pre-op transgender people are not yet “transgendered.” You can see the clip courtesy of Media Matters.

Wisconsin congressman Glenn Grothman made a speech at the state Republican convention. In it, he compared transgender people to the character of Corporal Max Klinger on M*A*S*H. The comment came as he tried to make fun of Hillary Clinton for her support of transgender people in the U.S. military. Actually, that policy has support from the top brass of the military, but this poorly-informed man will attack a politician for supporting the plan that the military’s top brass want to follow. On top of that, the character he referenced was not transgender; he was just a draftee trying to get out of the Army. Those are two reasons why he gets this TWIT Award. You can find more on Right Wing Watch.

Cardinal Robert Sarah, who is the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, was asked to speak at the D.C. National Prayer Breakfast. During his remarks, he said that transgender people are “demonic.” Perhaps he is the one in need of exorcism. A group which has had its own problems with child sexual molestation and with covering up for those who do so might want to remove the plank from its own eye before trying to remove a splinter from someone else’s. He now has a new title — TWIT Award winner. This story is in Pink News.

Breibart will be Breibart. They have a big write-up about how a “prominent Princeton professor” claims that transgenderism is a “not scientific, ‘superstitious belief.'” It turns out that the professor in question is Robert P. George, a professor of law. And the forum for this was Twitter. His actual quote was “There are few superstitious beliefs as absurd as the idea that a woman can be trapped in a man’s body & vv. But in the Age of Feeling . . .” Note that he did not say that this was itself a superstition, but rather that it was more absurd than some superstitions. The article goes on to cite their authority, the American College of Pediatricians — a group of perhaps 200 archconservatives who broke away from actual professional group (the 60,000-strong American Academy of Pediatrics) in large part because of the larger group’s stances on homosexuality and transgenderism. They also use a picture of a guy wearing a pink wig with a pink beard — but they give no proof that this guy is transgender. Breibart gets yet another TWIT Award for this amazingly bad journalism. You can read more on the Briebart website.

Portions of this week’s TWIT were complied 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. jessicamanko jessicamanko says:

    Hate to say this, but twit is British slang for a stupid or foolish person.

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