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The Week In Transgenderism 5/30/16

| May 30, 2016
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Taleen Abu Hanna

Taleen Abu Hanna

Taleen Abu Hanna, 21, has won the title of Miss Trans Israel in that country’s first beauty pageant for transgender women. Ms. Hanna is a Catholic Arab from Nazareth who will represent her home country in the Miss Trans Star International pageant in Spain later this summer. The Times of Israel has more.

Since today is Memorial Day and we honor the soldiers who went to war for the USA, take a moment to thing about those who are serving today and keeping their trans identities a secret. The Department of Defense has been studying the issue of trans people serving openly but so far no progress has been made. A new documentary film has been released that takes a look at trans soldiers at all levels of the military. It’s titled TransMilitary and you can learn more about it on the Human Rights Campaign’s website.

Which LGBTQ people wait the longest before “coming out” and being themselves openly? A survey by found that trans women wait the longest. An average of two years longer than other members of the LGBTQ community. Trans men come out the earliest. What holds trans women back? Read the article in Teen Vogue to find out.



This is too nasty for our TWIT Award. Alisha was a 23-year-old transgender activist in Pakistan. She was shot seven times last Sunday, and she was taken to a hospital. There, the staff reportedly mocked her as they debated whether to treat her as a male or a female. There was a delay in giving her the medical attention she needed, and she passed away. This story is in The Los Angeles Times. Pakistani police are said to have a suspect in custody. Learn more in the Dunya News.

The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union works for its members in department stores, bakeries, and grocery stores around the country. A couple of weeks ago another group of workers joined the RWDSU. The employees of Babeland, a New York City adult toy store came on board as union members. It’s the only sex shop in the union and part of the reason the employees wanted to unionize was to address issues with management over how trans employees at the store where treated. Learn more in The New York Times.

With conservatives taking aim at trans people, which has lead to a plethora of stories about our oppression, it’s nice to read something positive about trans people. Steve Chapman is an editor and columnist at the Chicago Tribune. He posted an opinion piece on May 26 that covers why people think they can joke about trans issues and giving a lesson on how we are just another part of humanity, not a threat or a joke. You can read his article on

Another writer has added her voice to the backlash against jokes at the expense of trans people. Steph Bazzle maintains that all jokes about trans people are bad. Even those that attempt to make light of the ginned up “threat” posed by trans people in restrooms. Read her article on the Inquisitor website and see what you think.

Paisley on Kimmel Live.

Paisley on Kimmel Live.

Here’s one of those trans related jokes. Country singer Brad Paisley appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live last week. He sang a song to the tune of Tammy Wynette’s Stand By Your Man that made fun of the North Carolina restroom law. See what you think of the lyric. He wore a white hat so that makes him one of the good guys, right? Supportive or dismissive? You decide. You can watch a video clip of the song on The Washington Post website.

As the “no transgender people in the restroom” story gets more coverage satirists are commenting on the absurdity of checking people’s genitals or demanding a birth certificate before they can use a public toilet. One of them is the creator of the cartoon series, Tom the Dancing Bug. You can find his cartoon Safety in Numbers One and Two on the Daily Kos website.

Here’s why congress gets so little done. Republicans were set to vote in favor of an energy and water spending bill but Democrats in the House decided to attach a non-related amendment to the bill in hopes that the need for the bill’s main purpose would overcome any opposition to the amendment. The amendment was aimed at protecting trans people’s rights if they work for government contractors. The whole bill was voted down by the Republican majority. The legislation was needed to fund the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers and the Department of Energy. Read the whole story in the Business Insider.



Caitlyn Jenner coming out so publicly has gotten many people who had never spoken the word “transgender” before suddenly making use of it in conversations. The conservative attack on trans restroom rights has made it common in the media. But for all it’s sudden blossoming into public awareness there just might be a problem. A research group has found that many people who responded to a online survey and said they were transgender were found, after further questioning, to not be trans. In other words, people have been hearing the term but don’t know what it means. Learn more about what that means in an article on



Speaking of Ms. Jenner; her coming out as trans has now caused international controversy. The BBC reports that she was to be seen in her show I Am Cait by an audience in South Africa. The program was to be broadcast on a television service that covers the whole African continent but Nigerian authorities lodged a complaint saying that parents in Nigeria did not want their children to watch such a show. No doubt they forgot that as parents they could turn the television off. This is the second show that has been canceled by complaints from Nigeria. The first was I Am Jazz. Why doesn’t Nigeria do something about those Nigerian prince scammers instead of blocking a whole continent’s access to information about trans issues? Read the story on the BBC website.

Harriman as Kim Gordon.

Herriman as Kim Gordon.

A new Australian television show called Secret City features a character who is trans. Her name is Kim Gordon and she is played by cisgender actor Damon Herriman who appeared in Justified as a brothel owner. Kim is an intelligence analyst who was married to a reporter played by Anna Torv who starred in the science fiction FBI series Fringe. The show is said to be the Australian House of Cards. It premiers in Oz on June 5. Learn more on the Showcase Channel website.

Many of the people in Africa and the USA who preach against trans people do so by saying that trans people are not accepted in their faith. They profess to be Christians but if you ask them to point out exactly where in the Bible they find Jesus speaking against LGBT people they can only point to a couple of sentences about how people shouldn’t crossdress that’s found in Deuteronomy. That is not found in the New Testament but the Hebrew Bible. So Jesus never said anything about LGBT people, or men wearing women’s clothing. Does the Bible say anything about trans issues? The closest it comes is to talk about eunuchs. And Jesus had clear ideas about them. Find out what they are on the Salt Collective website.

Victoria Vanity

Victoria Vanity

A drag performer from Brighton, U.K. who also wears women’s clothing off stage was outraged when she tried to return a dress with a split seam to T.K. Maxx, a discount merchandiser in the U.K.. Victoria Vanity says the store manager refused to take the dress back saying it wasn’t designed to be worn by a man. While she has been offered a gift card by the store’s head office she is out to expose the transphobia she experienced. Read all about it in the Brighton & Hove News.

A college student from Utah was upset that this former high school’s school board had three members go on record as opposed to President Obama’s trans restroom/locker room guidelines. Connor Richards wasn’t just any graduate of Lone Peak High School. He was the winner of the 2013 Principle Award which is given to the one student who contributes most to high school spirit each year. So Connor decided that the best way for him to call attention to the bigotry of the three school board members was to give back the award. Read more in the Fox 13 website.

Wanted: Jane Ellen Heideck

Wanted: Jane Ellen Heideck

An arrest warrant has been issued in connection with the fire at the Canadian GRS center, Centre Métropolitain de Chirurgie in Montreal. The person named in the warrant is Jane Ellen Heideck, 42. Hate crime charges are not a part of the warrant, and investigators say that they have ruled out hate crimes as a motive. Charges include breaking and entering, arson with a disregard for human life, and arson by negligence. The Montreal Gazette has more.

Morgane Oger, the chair of the Trans Alliance Society of Vancouver, claims to have met Heideck a handful of times. Oger said that Ms. Heideck had gender reassignment surgery at the clinic and seemed happy at first, but about four months after her surgery, she claimed that the facility didn’t give her adequate care. This comes from CKNW Radio in Vancouver.

Good news for trans kids in Vermont. Conversion therapy on minors will soon be illegal there. Governor Peter Shumin signed a bill into law. which will take effect on July 1.If you are a minor in Vermont and are going through conversion therapy, just hang in there until July 1. The Washington Blade has this story.

The TransMap Moderator.

The TransMap Moderator.

Trans people in Spokane, Washington have a new resource to help them find businesses that are trans friendly. It’s called the Spokane Trans Map and it’s available online. People post reviews and comments about how they were treated by businesses in the city. Read about it and view a video on the KREM website.

“Gender X” sounds like the title of a show on the Syfy network. But it’s a term that over 100 Members of the British Parliament have endorsed by signing on to a bill which would recognize a “gender X,” in addition to “male” and “female.” These MPs come from all parties — Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the Scottish National Party, the Green Party, and Plaid Cymru (the Welch Party), as well as three members of the ruling Conservative Party. There are many who will not state a position on a pending matter, but some of them likely would vote for the bill. This story is in Pink News.

In Jersey (the one in the British Isles, not New Jersey), a trans woman sued Condor Ferries, whose boats carry passengers to and from the island, because a company employee told her that she had to use the disabled loo, rather than the ladies’ restroom. At the trial in Jersey’s court, the company admitted a “non-intentional and non-malicious act of discrimination.” The judgment says, “The tribunal will not consider a lack of employee awareness an acceptable explanation for any discriminatory conduct.” This story is in Pink News.

A Slay model.

A Slay model.

Whoopi Goldberg is the executive producer of a new reality show which has just been sold to the Oxygen Network. Strut will look at the day-to-day lives of trans fashion models for Slay Model Management, the first modeling agency exclusively for transgender people. Pink News has more.

A trans man from Rome who competed under the name “Stefano” has won the first Mr. F-to-M Italy contest at Cassero di Bologna on May 21. This was a beauty contest specifically for trans men. has this story.

A 16-year-old identified as Aiden petitioned a Pennsylvania court for a name change. Judge Bernard A. Moore denied the request last year, but Judge Joseph A. Symth granted a new request this year. Although it took a while, it has been done. Congratulations. The Philadelphia Gay News has more.

Miss Nerd 2015, Avant Garbage.

Miss Nerd 2015, Avant Garbage.

Do you have nerd tendencies? Do you love anime, cosplay, or spend hours playing video games and watching super hero movies? Then have we got a pageant for you. The Miss Nerd New York pageant happens on June 4 and it’s dedicated to finding the nerd queen who will rule for a year. Even in the queer community nerds tend to get dissed by the “straight” queer people. Learn about the pageant that accepts and celebrates them on The Villager website.

Donald Trump has been known to file lawsuits at the slightest provocation. (He sued Bill Maher because the comedian said that Trump’s father was an orangutan.) Back in the late ‘90s he spent a lot of money on attorneys suing the organizers of the Miss Gay Universe pageants. He was upset that the word “universe” appeared in the title since he had purchased the Miss Universe pageant in the mid-1990s. He contended that the title of the gay pageant would confuse his pageant’s fans. Read about it in The Huffington Post.

Michael as Brandi.

Michael as Brandi.

To try and understand what it’s like to be a drag queen Michael Alexander of the content development studio The Sound put himself in the hands of a “drag mother,” professional queen Saya Naomi. She helped him transform into a drag queen and the process was filmed and made into a video titled Drag Mother, Birthing a Drag Queen. View the video on the Trust Collective website.

United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will open a new facility south of Dallas in November. The facility will have 36 beds for transgender people. This more than doubles the current space for transgender people. (There are 30 beds in a facility near Santa Ana, California.) The Dallas Morning News has more.

Jeffrery Marsh

Jeffrey Marsh

A few years ago there was a weekly cabaret show in Philadelphia called Cabaret Melange. The star of the show was a gender blending young man named Jeffrey Marsh. He would take the stage attired in high heels, a short dress, makeup and jewelry but top it off with a shaved head and soul patch. Jeffrey could sing, do comedy and perform his way into your heart. Philadelphia was sad when Jeffrey and his musical partner left the city to make it big in The Big Apple. Then a few months ago Jeffrey popped up on social media with a blog about being Jeffrey, and just recently he sent us a press release about his forthcoming book. It’s called How To Be You and it’s his memoir — and a manual full of life advice that will help you to be you. Check it out on Jeffrey’s website.

Let’s Go To The Ladies’ Room

One movie-theater chain in Texas is looking into putting in all-gender restrooms. The owner looks at it as a way to sidestep the issues around who gets to go to the potty where. The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is going to put the new restroom concept into their next location. Read more in The Washington Post.

Texas is among the states who have decided they have to sue the Obama administration to fight the guidelines that say trans students must be accommodated in restrooms and locker rooms of our nation’s schools. The thing is, they can’t sue the administration. They have no standing to sue. So the “legal action” they threaten is just a political stunt. Read more about it on the ACLU website.

NBC News and The Wall Street Journal conducted a poll on the use of public restrooms. In the poll, a plurality of respondents (40%) feel that transgender people should be allowed to use the restroom which corresponds to their preferred gender. 31% think that transgender people should use the restroom which corresponds to the gender listed on their birth certificates, and 29% say they don’t know, have no opinion, or will not state an opinion. Pluralities also think that both the federal and state governments should not pass laws concerning restroom use by transgender people. The one bit that is close to a statistical majority, unfortunately, is that the Justice Department should not force states like North Carolina to permit transgender people to use the “bathrooms of their choice.” The Wall Street Journal has more.

The title, How A Conservative Law Firm Convinced A School System To Gamble On An Anti-Transgender Policy shows a distinct point-of-view. And the policy does rely on “an individual’s original birth certificate.” The superintendent of the school district, Kelly Wilmore, said, “It’s not that hard to claim that you’re now a transgender student. All you gotta do is have a note from your parents, go and talk to the principal, and suddenly you’re transgender.” That is not the procedure, but why bother with a little thing like truth. He believes that segregating transgender students from the other students somehow protects them from harassment. He also seems confident that the Alliance Defending Freedom will defend his district for free, but that group has already lost a similar case defending a school district in Illinois. Mind you, ADF does not promise to pay damages and penalties, nor to restore lost federal funding. Think Progress discusses how expensive this “help” could be.

Donald Trump continues to make various comments about transgender people and restroom use, which are either quite nuanced or all over the map. When Bill O’Reilly asked him about gender-neutral restrooms, he said, “It would be unbelievably expensive nationwide. It would be hundreds of billions of dollars . . . I think our country would rather have us spending money on other things.” When asked about human rights, he responded, “Well, I don’t know about human rights, but it would be an unbelievably expensive thing to do.” The Edge has more.

A very nasty flier about trans people in bathrooms was seen in Dothan, Alabama. It had contact information for the Ku Klux Klan on it. The local police were not particularly interested in the poster, calling the matter, “a free-speech issue,” and saying, “There is no threat in there, no call to arms.” Edge Network has more.

At the beginning of the news conference announcing the lawsuit agains the Obama administration, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said that the federal guidance would “open all school bathrooms to people of both sexes.” This is obviously a misreading of the guideline. Think Progress says that it also is a rejection of who transgender people are, but then, that would seem to be precisely what the plaintiffs want to do. (Ed. Note: As stated above, the ACLU has says that the states do not have standing to file a lawsuit. The lawsuit is a political stunt.)

The Toilet Backs Up

Have protests against HB 2 had any effect on North Carolina? Despite what some politicians say, the cancellation of musical events in North Carolina is indeed having an economic impact. Many local people are not working at their jobs such as stagehand and theater staff, and many local businesses are not seeing customers who would have gone to those concerts. LGBTQ Nation has this story.

Restaurants in North Carolina are feeling the effect of HB 2. “We’re seeing a tremendous amount of business slow down, our numbers [are] under where they are last year. . .as much as 30 percent, some even a little bit more.” You can read this report on the WLOS-TV website.

From deep in the heart of Texas comes an editorial that calls that state’s attorney general’s participation in the “wrongheaded” suit against the federal government’s directives on trans students restroom rights unnecessary, and accuses him of overreaching his authority. Read the editorial in the Dallas News.

While the Republican party has decided to make trans restroom use in schools a big deal in order to pander to their base voters, institutions of higher learning have been making strides in accommodating trans students. Gender neutral restrooms, gender neutral housing and programs like the #IllGoWithYou campaign in which students wear pins that let trans students know they are allies who will go to the restroom with them if they don’t feel safe, have been popping up on college campuses  around the country. Read more about it in Inside Higher Ed. Thanks to Jamie Roberts for the tip.


Misty Hill, a trans woman from Wilmington, Delaware, was thrown out of a McDonald’s in Paulsboro, New Jersey, when she used the ladies’ room. The manager followed her into the restroom and threw her out. McDonald’s has a national policy whereby transgender people are allowed to use the restrooms, but some local employees don’t seem to follow corporate policy. NBC Philadelphia has this story.

Esten Ciboro has been quite vocal in opposition to Target’s restroom policy. He kept going on about it on his Facebook page. It turns out that he and his father were keeping his stepsister in chains in the basement, as a punishment for occasionally wetting the bed. These two TWIT Award winners have been charged with kidnapping. Chain your sister in the basement but rail against trans people in public restrooms? Why would anyone listen to this loser? LGBTQ Nation has this story.

Glenn Beck went on another rant on his radio program. He mentioned that Hershey Park will allow guests and staff to use the restroom which corresponds to their preferred gender, and he said, “If you don’t stand up now, I guarantee you. . .the next stop on this train is pedophilia.” Glenn, wasn’t pedophilia supposed to come right after gay rights? “Transgender bathrooms have come out of nowhere,” he said, as if that explains how it came between gay marriage and normalizing pedophilia. Right Wing Watch has the TWIT-winning video.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was on Fox & Friends with Brian Kilmeade. Asked about the lawsuit against President Obama over the Department of Education guidelines, Mr. Paxton said, “This opens the door to all kinds of issues with men deciding one day to be women and switching back the next day.” Either he never bothered to learn the definition of “transgender” (a consistent and persistent feeling) or he is deliberately lying to his people. Either way, it is worthy of a TWIT Award. This story is in Salon.

Gail Heriot, a member of the United States Commission on Civil Rights, testified before Congress. She earned a TWIT when she said, “If I believe that I am a Russian princess, that doesn’t make me a Russian princess, even if my friends and acquaintances are willing to indulge my fantasy.” Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-California) said during the hearing, “I think it’s very regrettable that comment was put into the record, and I think it’s highly offensive.” She also called Heriot a bigot. The Huffington Post has more. (Professor Heriot is a conservative who has in the past spoken against affirmative action.)

Portions 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. Evyrling Evyrling says:

    Great updates, thanks! ?

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