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The Week In Transgenderism 6/13/16

| Jun 13, 2016
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With trans restroom stories filling the news every week it’s hard to remember the time when a story about a trans child fighting for restroom rights was unique. Such was the case with 6-year-old Coy Mathis back in 2013. Trans was not trending back then and the story was most likely one of the first battles in the restroom war. Coy’s parents decided to fight for her right to go potty and it put them directly in the media’s crosshairs. Now there is a documentary about the family, Coy, and the battle to let her use the girls’ room. Read all about Growing Up Coy in The New York Times.

Just how many of us are there, anyway? The U.S. Census doesn’t ask so you can’t check their stats. There have been independent online surveys that attempt to find a number but most often the number they come up with are an estimate. And the online surveys may not bother to include the many varieties of trans people that exist. One “best guess” on how many trans people are in the U.S. comes from a 2011 study. That study says that 0.3 percent of Americans are trans. Efforts are underway to learn more. Read the article in Mother Jones.

Redmayne as Lili.

Redmayne as Lili.

Trans people have been getting more representation in films in recent years and while some in the community are upset that cis male or female actors get the trans roles the movies do have a positive message about trans people. But, there are myths that many times get propagated by films with trans themes. A film such as The Danish Girl is about one particular, somewhat fictionalized person, in a time when transition was not a routine thing. The danger is that people may base their whole opinion of all trans people on that one film. See what one trans activist believes are the 10 myths that need to be debunked. Her article is on The Huffington Post.

Then there is the portrayal of trans people on television. A few decades back the only trans characters were either played for comedy or were hookers in crime shows. Now we’re beginning to see more trans people in regular roles, such as Laverne Cox playing an attorney who happens to be trans. Read more about TV casting decisions at the Zap2it website.

Peche di

Peche di

Meanwhile, even though trans fashion models were popping up everywhere, it seemed, the Spring 2016 fashion season only included two trans models. Will trans models make a return to the runway and photo shoots for the Fall 2016 season? An interview with Peche Di, the founder of a trans modeling agency, reveals that she is confident that the industry will use more trans models in future seasons. Read the interview in Teen Vogue.

The Trans Health Conference happened last week in Philadelphia, Pa. and part of the opening of the event was the raising of the Trans-Pride Flag. Our Sophie Lynne was there for the ceremony and is quoted in a report by KYW, the local news radio station. There is also video of part of the ceremony. Read the story and watch the video on the CBS Philly website.

Asifa Lahore

Asifa Lahore

We have just entered the Muslim holy days of Ramadan. That is a time when followers of Mohammed fast from dawn to dusk and come together as a community in harmony. But for LGBT Muslims the time can be anxiety inducing. Read the thoughts about Ramadan of Muslim drag queen Asifa Lahore in the Gay Star News.

Over 400 clergy from many denominations gathered at the end of May in Charlotte, NC to call for the repeal of HB2. That’s right. Hundreds of members of the clergy came together to assert that what Jesus would do is treat trans people with dignity and acceptance. They called upon the governor to get rid of HB2 because it is discriminatory. Read all about it in the Wisconsin Gazette.

Shadi Peosky

Shadi Peosky

Shadi Peosky, the trans woman who ran into trouble with the TSA in Florida when they discovered an “anomaly” in her body scan in 2015 had other troubles that year which have only recently come to light. It seems that also in 2015 she used the Airbnb service to acquire lodgings in Minneapolis. After the host learned she was trans he told her he didn’t want her in his home because his 13-year-old son was going through puberty and he didn’t want his son to feel “uncomfortable.” Peosky filed a complaint with Airbnb and after getting nothing from them for months she decided to take it to Twitter on June 5. Now suddenly Airbnb has been in touch and removed the host from their app. Read the whole story in the Gay Star News.

Award winning British artist and television host Grayson Perry is well known also for his alter ego, Claire. Perry started crossdressing for fun at the age of 12 and as an adult incorporated Claire into his artistic work. Now he finds that he only dresses up for his work. Part of his work is a new television show about the nature on manliness. Never feeling comfortable around macho men Perry puts himself in the midst of several stereotypical male groups and then creates a work of art that demonstrates his response to the experience. Learn more about it in The New York Times.

Richard as Princess Jasmine

Richard as Princess Jasmine

A Mexican-born 21-year-old man is addicted to cosplaying Disney Princesses. His name is Richard Schaefer and he became fascinated with Princess Ariel when he was 12. Now he transforms himself into all of the Disney princesses and attends cosplay events. Reportedly people are amazed when he lets them know he’s a guy. See what you think after you see more of his portrayals in The Daily Mail.

The “person of interest” in the fire at the Centre Métropolitain de Chirurgie in Montreal has been arrested. Dr. Pierre Brassard has been performing surgery elsewhere while repairs are being made to the facility. Pink News has more.

A court in Oregon has granted a local citizen the right to change their gender status to “non-binary.” The status is not currently allowed on federal forms, such as Social Security or a passport, so it is unclear how this will play out. The Daily Dot has more.

The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Alumni Association of Indiana University is elevating its existing scholarship fund for GLBT students to a much higher level with the help of an anonymous donation of $500,000. Get the details in The Chronicle of Higher Education. Thanks to Jamie Roberts for the tip.

New York City has passed civil rights laws which protect the rights of transgender people. These rights include the right to use the restroom of the preferred gender. To let people (including visiting tourists) know of this, there are now new ads in the subways. Buzzfeed News has the story.

Judge Kolakowski

Judge Kolakowski

Victoria Kolakowski is a trans woman and a judge in California. She was recently re-elected. She is the only openly transgender elected public official in that state. Andy Towle has more.

Much like parts of the United States, Mexico has anti-discrimination laws which cover “gender” and “sexual orientation,” but not “gender identity.” And as in the U.S., many who find that they cannot discriminate because of sexual orientation are taking it out on transgender people, who are not specifically covered by anti-discrimination laws. A new study, “Report on Human Rights Conditions of Transgender Women in Mexico,” was recently published. The Bay Area Reporter has highlights from the 46-page study.

James Clapper, the U.S. Director of National Intelligence, said that in his buildings, you can use whatever restroom you feel comfortable and safe in.” He said this in relation to the recent LGBT Pride event for the intelligence community. ABC News has more.

The Pentagon also has an LGBT Pride event, now in its fifth year. The theme this year was “Celebrate,” but many in the transgender community feel that they have little to celebrate.  Although Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said last year that the military should be open to transgender people within six months, it has been twice that long and counting, and still, the military is not open to trangender people. A CNN report is available through KSTU-TV.

Tara Shovlin. (She's shoveling something....)

Tara Shovlin. (She’s shoveling something….)

Tara Shovlin transitioned to living as a woman early this year. She received a “bail offense,” a form or court order which suspended her driver’s license. She petitioned the court to reduce the duration of the offense and restore her driving privileges because she is subject to ridicule on public transportation. The fact that she showed up in a short black dress which showed off a pink garter belt on her upper thigh may be part of the reason she gets ridiculed, although the too-large falsies are no doubt a contributing factor. The request was denied. The Express has more.

The biggest problem with regular folks is that they may think they know what a trans person is since they have seen Caitlyn Jenner on TV or watched RuPaul’s Drag Race a few times. Or they may have not the slightest idea what a trans person is. In order to help regular people understand that trans people are regular people, too, an Iowa newspaper has created an interactive online experience that let’s their readers meet trans people. It’s called Trans in Iowa and you can find it in The Des Moines Register. Thanks to Jeorgia Robison for the tip.

Joanne Lumley as Patsy.

Lumley as Patsy.

About 20 years ago, a British television series named Absolutely Fabulous premiered. It focused on two women who claimed to work in the fashion industry, but spent an extraordinary percentage of their time drinking, smoking and talking trash about everyone and everything. There will be a movie based on the television series, coming out on July 22. Both Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley will be back in their roles as Edina and Patsy, respectively. And it will be revealed that Patsy is transsexual. LGBTQ Nation has more.

PrintTwenty five years ago a film was released, or more properly, beamed in from space. It was a space opera with a lot of deep voices. It was Vegas in Space. A spoof of outer space movies with drag queen stars and a plot involving the substance “girlinium” and visits to the fascinating planets of the Beaver System, how could it be bad? Or so bad that it was good? The 25th anniversary of the film is being celebrated on June 17 at the Victoria Theater in San Francisco. Peaches Christ will host and stars of the film will be there. Learn more about the film and find out how to get tickets to the reunion on the Dread Central website. Thanks to Ms. Bob Davis for the info.

Rest Room Wars

One day the trans community woke up and found that states around the country had instituted laws agains trans people using public restrooms of their choice. It seemed like these laws just appeared out of thin air but that’s not the case. There is a timeline for when these things started to get written and voted on. To get a look at that time line check out the article in The Washington Post. Thanks to Jamie Roberts for the tip.

Jamie Roberts also sent us a lead to this story. Now that restroom use is being debated in the Federal courts the people who come up with things like signs for public restrooms are faced with a challenge. Trying to come up with a sign that indicates the facility is open to anyone. But in order to get their signs used they are first going to have to get the approval of the many different parts of the trans community. This ain’t gonna be easy. Read about their challenge in The Washington Post.

How scared of trans people in the ladies’ room do you have to be to plant a bomb? That’s what police in Evanston, Illinois suspect is the motive behind a small bomb that exploded in the ladies’ room of the local Target. A woman has been taken into custody as a person of interest but no arrest has been made. Read the story and view video on the KFOR TV website. KTLA has a report from the Chicago Tribune’s wire service.

Gavin Grimm

Gavin Grimm

Virginia’s Gloucester County School Board has decided to ask the Supreme Court to rule on the lawsuit filed on behalf of Gavin Grimm. They have asked for a stay of the decision handed down by three judges of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in April. Mind you, the case itself has not been heard; the District Court judge dismissed the case on a pretrial motion, saying that transgender people were not covered by Title IX, and the three-judge panel said that dismissal was wrong and the trial should be held. What a lot of drama over a trans boy wanting to use the boy’s room. The Richmond Times-Dispatch has more.

If states believe that banning transgender people from using the restroom of their choice is a “safety issue,” they would have a hard time proving it by the example of Washington, D.C. While some people seem to have other ideas, the law in the nation’s capital is kind to transgender people, and there have been no incidents of predators claiming to be transgender. has more.

Restroom Rebound

Suppose they held a protest and nobody showed up. Several right-wing groups (most notably Faith2Action and the American Family Association) tried to organize a protest of Target and its policy allowing use of restrooms and changing rooms for the preferred gender. They chose Saturday, June 4, just before Target’s shareholder meeting. Nothing much happened. People went shopping at Target like normal. Their “million protesters” didn’t bother showing up for what they called “Don’t Target Our Daughters Day.” (By the way, you do realize that there are transmen too, don’t you?) The Advocate has more.

The North Carolina Lutheran Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has taken steps in the opposite direction from Faith2Action and the American Family Association. They call for the repeal of HB2. They cite Matthew 16 as their reason. You can read more in the Salisbury Post.


The Federalist is a conservative magazine with a conservative readership. Their conservative viewpoint doesn’t let them accept that people born with male genitalia can be women, and vice versa. They even let their columnists pull out obscure things like Thomist Realism, a philosophical school founded on the legacy of the work and thought of Saint Thomas Aquinas, to invalidate modern transgender theory. The philosophy columnist for The Federalist uses Thomism to assert that trans theory does not relate to the reality of the world. It’s a high-toned way of asserting that men are men and women are women and for that we give the author, David Sorrell, and the publication, an intellectual TWIT Award. If you care to untangle Sorrell’s philosophic musings you can find the article Trans Theory Is A War Against Reality in The Federalist.

Of course Saint Thomas Aquinas is a Catholic saint and the Catholic church is no friend of trans people. Or LGBQ people, either. Despite a much better Pope than they usually have the present one is not down with “gender theory.” His bishop on Calgary, Canada is totally not cool with LGBTQ (and several other gender related initials) people and is fighting the province for issuing trans friendly guidelines for the province’s schools. Bishop Fred Henry (the bishop with two first names) says — dramatically — that the “very order of creation” is at stake. We hope he enjoys his TWIT Award. Read about the other false things he has said on the Slowly Boiled Frog website.

A trans man petitioned the Superior Court of Columbia County, Georgia, for a name change. His chosen name is Rowan Feldhaus. He has filed all his paperwork, and the judge has indicated no problem with his documentation, but he was refused the name change because he chose the middle name “Elijah,” which the judge finds to be masculine. Judge J. David Roper said that his court “do[es] not approve of changing names from male to female — male names to obvious female names, and vice versa.” Mr. Roper has filed an appeal with the Georgia Court of Appeals. For making arbitrary decisions a part of his interpretation of the law, Judge Roper gets a TWIT Award. Georgia Voice has more on this.

Fox And Friends are the kind of people who will make a clinical diagnosis without meeting the patient. They think that they know that much. In this case, they diagnosed a transgender female who is a high school student, and who recently participated in a track meet. Of course they complain that this transgender student was even allowed to compete. Guest Laura Ingraham relayed a story of when she and some cisgender teammates were beaten at field hockey by a boy’s soccer team who didn’t play field hockey (except in gym class, which she conveniently forgot). Mind you, these were male athletes, not just ordinary males, but she ignores that difference as well. That would be worthy of consideration for a TWIT, but that was just the warm-up. They then started name-calling, saying that the transgender woman was “gender bending” and therefore, automatically and obviously, she is “confused.” Media Matters has this story.

U.S. Representative Steve King (R-IA) has introduced a sneaky amendment to a spending bill. The amendment is designed to allow people to only use a restroom in the U.S. Capitol which is designated for use by that person’s “birth sex.” Nice way to tell any transgender constituents how you won’t even try to listen to them. This lack of service to others gets King a TWIT. You can read more at The New Civil Rights Movement.

James Dobson, the founder of Focus On The Family, has again bemoaned the idea of transgender people in the restroom of their preferred gender. However, he is really stretching for a Biblical injunction — really, really, really stretching. Here’s what he came up with: Leviticus 19:29, which says “Do not degrade your daughters by making them a prostitute or the land will turn to prostitution and be filled with wickedness.” Huh? What does prostitution have to do with trans women in the ladies’ room? If he is trying to work backwards, from this being a time of wickedness to say that we sold our daughters into prostitution, then when did that occur? There may be no logical connection between that verse and transgender people using the restroom, but there is a logical connection between this nonsense and a TWIT Award. Right Wing Watch has more.

Dignity Health is not living up to their name. They denied coverage for transgender surgeries for Josef Robinson, a nurse at Chandler Regional Medical Center in Chandler, Arizona. He is stuck with over $100,000 in bills for a double mastectomy and other transition surgeries. According to Mr. Robinson, they claim that he has a “personality disorder” which is excluded from coverage. Well, Dignity Health, you get a TWIT Award, with no exclusions. Fox 10 Phoenix has more.

Portions of this edition of TWIT were researched and assembled 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. KoolMcKool KoolMcKool says:

    There is only one story that matters this week.
    Islam will never scare me from having fun, violent Jihad and Sharia Law are the Communism of our time.

    Visit a gay bar tonight, tomorrow, this weekend.

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