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The Week In Transgenderism 7/18/16

| Jul 18, 2016
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Weho Cheerleaders

Weho Cheerleaders

If you’ve seen Pride parades you have seen men in drag portraying all sorts of feminine stereotypes. One female stereotype that you will see if you attend the West Hollywood Pride parade is a group of cheerleaders, decked out in full regalia, marching down the street doing routines with their pom moms. Some may feel that there is mockery at the heart of it, and while it is a comment on how silly the whole cheerleader idea is, there is a serious reason why The West Hollywood Cheerleaders came to be. Learn more about them and their 30 year mission to stand up against AIDS in The Los Angeles Times.

After protests and criticism the Fort Peck Tribe has rescinded the transgender restroom policy that they adopted in May, which was much like the North Carolina policy. They admit they acted quickly and without fully understanding the Obama administration’s guidelines on restroom and locker room inclusion for trans people. They also called upon trans people to contact their tribal council to educate them on trans issues. Their original vote was based on the unsupported belief that the administration was telling them they had to let adult males use the same restroom as little girls. Read the story on the KBZK 7 website.

Deepthi

Deepthi

There is a women’s magazine in Malaysia called Vanitha. The latest edition of Vanitha features a trans woman on the cover. Her name is Deepthi and the magazine also features an in-depth interview with her. See the full cover and learn more on the Onmanorama website.

A few TWITs ago we told you about a trans woman in Pakistan named Alisha who died in the hospital waiting for treatment while the administrators were mulling over where to put her. She had been shot and her wounds were going untreated while where to give her a bed was being worked out. The story is a bit complicated and the account misgenders her throughout but it’s good to know that the people responsible have been questioned and punished. Read about it in The News.

The Republican Party will have their convention this week in Cleveland. The Cleveland City Council this week unanimously approved Ordinance 1446, which prohibits discrimination against transgender people in employment, in commerce, and in the use of restrooms. That’s right, while the Republican platform may call for restrooms to be segregated by “birth gender,” the city where they are convening went in the exact opposite direction. The new ordinance is the result of three years of study and negotiations. Equality Ohio has this story.

In addition to Cleveland, the city of Vancouver has passed a nondiscrimination ordinance which is also trans-inclusive. It, too, passed unanimously. The Globe And Mail has this story.

Palm Springs and Cathedral City in California have also added gender identity to their nondiscrimination laws. Businesses and nonprofits seeking city contracts in Palm Springs must have an equal benefits policy for their trans workers. The city is now empowered to investigate complaints of discrimination by businesses. Get the story from The Desert Sun.

The National Center for Transgender Equality has released the results of a new survey. According to them, 59% of transgender people have avoided a public restroom in the last year because of a fear that someone would confront them. That fear of confrontation seems to be based on experience, since 24% have been told that they were using the wrong restroom. You can read more about this survey in Mother Jones.

George/Lizz

George/Lizz

In the days before Europeans barged their way westward on the North American continent the Native American tribes often had a place for people who were known as Two Spirit. The Two Spirit people were honored with special roles in some tribes. What do the Two Spirit Native American people do today? Drag, of course. Meet Bar Harbor, Maine’s Two Spirit queen, Lyzz Bien. Learn more about her and her male side, George Soctomah Neptune from the Bangor Daily News.

Recently police have taken a lot of heat for incidents in which they appear to use excessive force. Amid this swirl of controversy it’s nice to hear a story about a police department that does the right thing. In July of 2015 an officer with the San Diego Police came out to her colleagues as a trans woman. Rather than get the negative feedback she was expecting Christine Garcia got acceptance and support from her fellow officers. Learn more about her and the San Diego cops on the SDGLN website.

Kurt Tay

Kurt Tay

Back in April 2013, Kurt Tay, a resident of Singapore who was then 27 years old, got breast implants. He says that he is not transgender, and that he just wanted to “boost his confidence,” but most men with that much gynecomastia would want to have the breasts reduced in size. Well, three years later, Mr. Tay is getting his breasts reduced, by getting the c-cup implants removed. He has been working two jobs to afford the trip to Thailand to remove the implants. Asia One has his story.

Jamie Roberts sent us a tip about trans soldiers. A major who has served in the military for 23 years has thoughts to share on the subject. He says the argument that letting trans soldiers serve will weaken the military and harm unit readiness and effectiveness is not true. That’s what people said about “don’t ask, don’t tell” and letting women take on combat roles, and in his experience those big changes did not compromise readiness or effectiveness. And when things go to hell in battle he says you don’t worry about what sexuality or gender the soldier next to you is. You only want them to do the best job. Read more of his thoughts in The Huffington Post.

In a survey of the general population conducted by Lifeway, 60% of Americans say that there is nothing morally wrong with identifying with a gender that one was not assigned at birth, and more than half say that it is not morally wrong to change one’s body to match that gender identity. However, 54% of evangelicals feel that it is morally wrong to identify with a gender other than the one assigned at birth. While this trend is also seen in people with certain other religious affiliations, it is most prevalent among evangelicals. 61% of evangelicals say that it is wrong to surgically alter your body to match the gender with which you identify. The Colorado Springs Gazette has this story.

Trans woman featured in the ad.

Trans woman featured in the ad.

As the Republican National Convention gets underway this week people tuning in for the television coverage are going to see an ad that explains how trans people feel when they are discriminated against in public restrooms. The ad debuts on Fox News on Thursday night but you can see it now on the the Romper website.

Donald Trump has selected Indiana Governor Mike Pence to be his running mate. Governor Pence will end his campaign for re-election as governor in order to join the Trump ticket. While some people have many complaints about him (e.g., as a member of Congress, he sponsored no legislation that became law; as a member of Congress, he voted against spending on the military and on veterans; he has a 40% approval rating in his home state), the big thing for transgender people and their allies is that he signed Senate Bill 101. This bill granted people the right to discriminate against LGBT people if doing so was in line with the person’s “sincerely-held religious belief.” He later amended the bill, but only after many businesses gave Indiana the brush and sited that bill as the reason. You can read more about him in the Washington Blade.

North Carolina is suing the United States, and the Justice Department is suing North Carolina, both arguing about the legitimacy of HB2. This week, 68 businesses signed onto an amicus letter in that lawsuit. They agree with the federal government, and they argue that HB2 makes it harder for them to attract and retain personnel in North Carolina. WRAL has more.

RuPaul

RuPaul

RuPaul is competing with Ryan Seacrest. What? Is Seacrest going to lip sync for his life? No. Both have been nominated for an Emmy in the Best Reality Host category. It’s the first Emmy nomination in the eight year run of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Shouldn’t they have gotten an Emmy in the Fierce Queen category by now? Learn more from the New Zealand Herald.

On July 5, U.S. District Court Judge Jed Rakoff was ruling on pretrial motions in a lawsuit challenging the state of New York’s refusal to pay for gender transition for Medicaid patients on the grounds that it is “cosmetic surgery.” He granted summary judgment on the grounds that gender transition was medically necessary treatment. While the details of precisely which treatments are medically necessary and which are cosmetic are still to be determined, the general ban has been deemed illegal. Courthouse News Service has more on this.

Sharmus Outlaw has passed away at age 50. She worked for transgender people, sex workers, and people with HIV/AIDS. She served on the boards of several non-profit groups. The Washington Blade has an obituary.

Paris and friends.

Paris and friends.

Bolivia is not a place you think of when you hear the words LGBT rights. But the South American country has just put in place a new gender identity law that may just put it in the forefront of Latin America’s move toward LGBT rights. One of those who pushed the government to enact the law was a drag queen named Paris Galán. Read more about the LGBT scene in Bolivia and about Paris on the Pulitzer Center website.

TWITs

As mentioned above, the Republican Party finalized its platform to present for ratification at its convention. The platform opposes the Department of Education’s recommendations for dealing with transgender students, it calls for more bills like North Carolina’s HB2, and it approves of conversion therapy. For backing bills which discriminate against LGBT people, for putting “limited government” into restrooms, and for backing alleged “therapy” which does not work and which causes new problems for the patient, the Republican Party Platform Committee gets a huge TWIT Award. The story is in The Dallas News.

Representative Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said in a talk at the Heritage Foundation this week that hormone therapy might make some transgender members of the U.S. military unable to deploy to fight a war. Plenty of other medical conditions could keep members of the military from being able to be deployed. Do we say that everyone with one of those must be drummed out of the military? Rep. Thornberry points out that hormone therapy requires lab tests and refrigeration, and that these may not be possible in the field. Is he unaware of the many administrative jobs at home that some military people have to perform? For grasping at straws like this in order to perpetuate discrimination, Representative Thornberry gets a TWIT. Stars And Stripes has the story.

Politicians from ten more states have joined a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Education over their “mandate” about how to treat transgender students. Of course, it is not a mandate; it has no legal standing on its own. However, the advisory does contain a synthesis of what various recent court decisions say about how transgender students should be treated. For using taxpayer money to try to further their own careers and show their opposition to the direction in which the courts have been moving, these politicians receive a TWIT Award. The Washington Blade has this story.

In North Carolina, a man was caught in a stall of a ladies’ room at a restaurant. A female customer and her husband informed the building security about the man, and he was arrested. He was charged with indecent exposure. But, according to State Senate President Phil Burger, the man who was arrested was pretending to be transgender. Never mind the fact that he was dressed as a male, and by all indications was living as a male. Never mind that he did not claim to be transgender. Never mind that the charges against him could have been filed even if HB2 had never passed — this is what HB2 was designed to prevent, according to Phil Berger. For spreading false information about this incident, Mr. Berger gets a big, fat TWIT Award. He is not fooling the press in his state, if the Fayetteville Observer and the Charlotte Observer are any indication.

Over in Idaho, Shawna Smith (legally, Sean Patrick Smith), a 43-year-old trans woman, was arrested for voyeurism in a Target in the town of Ammon. She was taking pictures of girls in the dressing area of the store. Apparently, the victim noticed an iPhone over the top of the stall, and eventually, Ms. Smith was arrested. According to court documents, Ms. Smith has confessed to the crime. She could get up to five years in prison. Although anyone, including cisgender people, could have done something like this (especially as Target does not have separate changing areas for males and females, but simply assigns each to an empty stall), it was a trans person, and you can bet that certain people will play that angle up. For giving all transpeople a bad name, not to mention ruining the perfect record of trans people in Target (or in any space reserved for one gender), and giving ammunition to those who oppose trans people in general, the awards committee presents Ms. Smith with this TWIT Award. The Idaho Statesman and KPVI-TV Pocatello have this story. Think Progress has a summary of the misinformation some conservative organizations are spreading about the incident.

Speaking of Target and its policy on restrooms and changing rooms, a group calling itself “Flush Target” has put up a billboard in Tulsa saying, “Men don’t belong in women’s bathrooms.” To quote noted liberal, Megyn Kelly, “Men, or transgender women?” For not telling the difference that even a Fox News presenter can see, Flush Target gets a TWIT. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has this story.

In Britain, there was a conference questioning the wisdom of letting so many children take hormone-blocking medication to delay puberty. Oddly, the conference chose to include no one who could speak to the medical aspects of these medications. Everyone on the panel was speaking about how this affected the women’s rights movement. For putting their own “rights” above the medical needs of others, the organizers get a TWIT Award. The Evening Standard has more.

Employees of Casa Ruby in Washington, D.C., decided to take members of the youth program for a swim at a public pool. (If you are not aware, Casa Ruby is a home for transgender people.) They thought it might be a thrill for their people to go swimming in their preferred gender. That thrill disappeared when they asked the staff for directions to the changing area, and were only pointed to the men’s changing area. When a Casa Ruby staffer asked where the ladies’ was, the response was, “It don’t matter, you’re all men.” D.C. law allows transgender people to have access to the restrooms and changing areas for their preferred gender, so the behavior of the pool attendant was clearly illegal. For making up his own law, this pool employee gets a TWIT Award (and, most likely, a notice of termination of employment. This story is in the D.C.ist.

Cecilia Bayzk researched and wrote many of the items in this edition of TWIT.


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Category: Transgender Community News

angela_g

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.

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