The Week In Transgenderism 7/25/16

| Jul 25, 2016
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Alana McLaughlin

Alana McLaughlin

Alana McLaughlin is a 32-year-old transgender woman who used to be in the Special Forces of the U.S. military. At the time she says, she wanted to either get extra manly to overcome her transgender tendencies, or to be killed doing her job. She finally came to see that as a passive suicide attempt and she came to treat herself as the transgender woman she is. Her story is in The Mirror.

This week, the Democrats will meet in Philadelphia. They will have 26 openly-transgender delegates or alternates (including superdelegates). Last week, at the Republican convention in Cleveland, there was one transgender delegate. She is Jennifer Williams, and the Washington Times has her story. (Spoiler alert: she thinks her party is wrong about transgender issues, and she did use the ladies’ room at the convention.)

Sarah McBride

Sarah McBride

While the RNC has one trans woman delegate the Democratic National Convention will have not just 26 trans delegates but a trans woman will, for the first time, address the convention from the stage. Sarah McBride, the national press secretary for the Human Rights Campaign Foundation will speak on Thursday. Learn more on The Hill website.

Recently, a mother complained about a teenage male in the womens’ locker room at a Chicago-area YMCA. The staff investigated and found that the person in question was actually a transgender woman who had a right to use that locker room. The YMCA has taken the steps of informing staff of their policy on transgender locker room use, and has sent a letter to members, letting them know of the policy. The YMCA has had an LGBT-friendly reputation for almost forty years now.


They have installed single-stall changing areas in the locker rooms. This story is in the Chicago Tribune.

When North Carolina passed HB2 back in March, the NBA warned that they would move next year’s All-Star game out of Charlotte if transgender people were not allowed to use the restroom of their preferred gender. The North Carolina legislature did not change the bill, and they have adjourned for the year. They are not scheduled to meet again until next April, well after the game will be played. So, this week, the NBA announced that the All-Star game will be moved out of Charlotte. They are looking at moving the game to New Orleans, although other cities are interested in hosting as well. Yahoo Sports has more.

The Government of British Columbia has decided to follow the lead of their largest city, Vancouver, and extend their non-discrimination law to cover gender identity. The Canadian government is also moving in that direction.  The Times Colonist has the Canadian Press’s story.

Karina Samala, producer of the Queen Pageant.

Karina Samala, producer of the Queen Pageant.

A festival for us! Coming up in October is the TransNation Festival. It’s being held in Los Angeles, California and will include the Queen USA Pageant with contestants from all over the country, musical performances and more. There will also be an art exhibit and a two-day film festival dedicated to trans cinema. Proceeds from the event will benefit St. John’s Well Child and Family Center and The Imperial Cour of Los Angeles & Hollywood: Diversity-Unity-Hope. If you’re interested in competing for the Queen title they are currently looking for contestants. Check our the TransNation Festival website for further information.

A report from Sarah Childs, a professor of politics and gender at Bristol University has told the U.K. Parliament that, although there are no transgender M.P.s at the moment, they should nonetheless make some gender-neutral restrooms available in their building. Such facilities are used not only by members of Parliament but also by staffers and by visitors. Also recommended are an end to the ban on breastfeeding in the Commons chamber and more women and minorities in artwork in the building. Pink News has more.

The American Federation of Teachers had their annual convention in Minneapolis last week. At the convention, they passed a resolution in support of LGBTQ students and staff. The resolution specifically recommends that “transgender students have equal access consistent with their gender identity to sex-segregated facilities and programs.” LGBTQ Nation has this story.

A godess at the Mayana Kollai festival.

A godess at the Mayana Kollai festival.

In Devanampattinam, India the Mayana Kollai festival happens every year in February or March and during the festival the trans people of the region are transformed into goddesses of the Hindu pantheon. The participants vow to not have sexual relations or drink alcohol for the 10 days of the festival. They are treated with reverence and invited into people’s homes to offer blessings. Then after the festival they return to their second-class status. Read more and see a pictorial from the festival in The New York Times.

The Pro Bono Clinic at the John Marshall Law School offers a new service to those in the Chicago area — it’s called the Name and Gender Marker Change Project, and it aims to do what its name says. It will help transgender and gender-nonconforming people to get their names changed, and if desired, will also help to change that gender marker. While there is often help online, here you can get a law student to help you fill out the paperwork. You can learn more in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.

The State of Pennsylvania announced last Monday that their Medicaid program would pay for “all medically necessary” gender transition services. Granted, the phrase is a bit vague, but as more states agree to pay, there should get to be a consensus as to what is medically necessary. The National Center for Transgender Equality has this story.

Jeffrey Marsh, Internet star and the gender-fluid author of How To Be You, appeared on ultra-conservative Newsmax TV and he thinks it went well. Since Jeffrey’s version of himself is a mix of gender qualities we can imagine what the host was thinking even if it didn’t come out on the air. What did come out on the air was the host’s utter stupefaction as he tried to wrap his head around a person who didn’t fit into his binary world. Here is the video of Jeffrey’s brave appearance. You can learn more about him and his book on his website.


The Florida Department of Health has asked a court to determine if they can legally change the gender marker on the birth certificate of a transgender teen. And no, the teen in question is not Jazz Jennings. In fact, this 14-year-old is a transgender male, who has asked for court’s approval to change the name and gender on his birth certificate. The judge granted the name change request, and in a handwritten note, the Department of Health was told to change the gender marker. At question is whether the Department can issue a new birth certificate, or if it should merely append a notice of an update. The Department of Health does have the right to issue a new birth certificate if there was “any misstatement, error or omission” on the birth certificate. However, it can be argued that in this case, the birth certificate was an accurate description at the time, and that a notice of update is in order. The Miami Herald has this story.

Michaela Mendelsohn

Michaela Mendelsohn

The owner of six fast food restaurants in the El Pollo Loco chain (that’s The Crazy Chicken to all you gringos) is a trans woman and a trans activist. She transitioned years ago and was already a restaurant owner so she was not concerned with many of the problems facing trans people looking for work. When she hired her first trans woman employee she learned from her that there was a lot of harassment and discrimination, in violation of state law, agains trans employees. Michaela Mendelssohn is working with the California Restaurant Association to help the restaurant industry become more inclusive and hire more trans people. Get the story for Restaurant News.

Fans of RuPaul’s Drag Race will be happy to learn that the show has been renewed for a ninth season and the producers promise it will be “bigger, better, and more twisted than ever.” How will the pull that off? Check out the article in The Wrap to learn more.


Did you know that you, as a trans woman, are a “fad”? That’s what a blogger for a conservative website says. And according to Jonathan Van Maren you are not just living in another gender because it’s the fad of the moment. You’re “genuinely insulting to women.” Of course Maren also believes that feminism was a rebellion “against reality.” Seriously? The idea that women want to be treated equally is a rebellion against reality, and trans people are just a fad? That makes us wonder what reality Mr. Maron lives in. It’s a reality that gets him a TWIT Award. Read his blog post so you know the nature of our enemy. You can find it on the Life Site website.

Conservative activists are predictable in opposing any LGBT legislation or ruling. Now that Massachusetts has a trans-friendly law on the books, opponents have filed a formal request to let the voters decide on the measure’s fate. These activists will need to gather 32,375 valid signatures on petitions from registered voters in the state to get the measure on the ballot. A similar petition drive in the state of Washington recently failed. If they do gather enough signatures, the measure will be on the ballot in 2018, so the law will stand until then. Andrew Beckwith, the president of the Massachusetts Family Institute, said, “[w]e believe it’s a bad law that endangers the safety of women and children,” even though this danger has not come to pass in the many jurisdictions where such a law has been tried before. For not dealing with reality, these conservative crusaders get a TWIT Award. The Boston Globe has more.

In a speech to Florida’s delegates to the Republican National Convention, Dr. Ben Carson called being transgender “the height of absurdity.” He said, “For someone to wake up and think that they belong to a different sex because they feel different that day is the same as if you woke up and said I’m Afghani today because I saw a movie about that last night and even though my genetics might not indicate that, that’s the way I feel, and if you say that I’m not, then you’re a racist.” Of course, that’s not how being transgender works. As for genetics, they are showing subtle ways in which transgender people are not like typical males or females. For speaking out so strongly about something he doesn’t understand, Dr. Carson gets a TWIT Award. Talking Points Memo has more.

Rince Priebus, the Chairman of the Republican Party, is in denial. In an interview with the Associated Press, he says that an endorsement of “conversion therapy” is not in the platform, even though it is. (Admittedly, it does not specifically mention “conversion therapy,” but it does say, “We support the right of parents to determine the proper treatment or therapy, for their minor children.” Giving them “pray away the gay or trans” would come under that heading.) He claims that the party is not anti-LGBT, despite that platform.   For redefining what is in your party’s platform, you get a TWIT Award. Pink News has this story.

For some time now, Fox News has been proclaiming the evils of gender-neutral restrooms. They tell us that we need to keep restrooms segregated by birth gender, the way God told us to do it. But when Stuart Varney went on about how “there will be no more men’s room and women’s room,” and how bad an idea that was, his guest, Fox News contributor Elizabeth Macdonald, told him that there already were gender-neutral restrooms right there at Fox News headquarters. Even after being told that he was using gender-neutral restrooms right in that building, Varney still said he could not understand how such a thing would operate. That get’s him a TWIT Award. Media Matters has this story.

During his big speech at the Republican Convention last week Donald Trump talked about the shooting at the Florida gay nightclub and said, “As your President, I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology. Believe me.” At first that seemed odd, and when the audience applauded it was so odd that Trump said it was nice, “as a Republican” to hear the people cheering his statement. But don’t be fooled. We give Trump a TWIT Award for attempting to look kind and protective about the lives of LBGTQ people when his party’s platform is the most anti-LGBTQ one ever. Keep in mind he said he would protect LGBTQ people from a “foreign ideology.” Home grown hate wouldn’t get much attention. Get more perspective on it from the NBC News website.

Matt Sharp, the lead lawyer for the Alliance Defending Freedom, has declared that, since the “Obama directive,” prisoners have more privacy than do women and children. Where to start? Well, we can start with the fact that the letter in question came from the Department of Education, not from the President. Secondly, the letter is not the announcement of a new policy, but rather informs the school districts of the direction in which court decisions have been going. Thirdly, as Megyn Kelly noted, they have stalls in the ladies’ room, and those stalls provide quite a bit of privacy. Anyone in the ladies’ room has as much privacy from a cisgender woman in the next stall as she does from a trans woman in any of the stalls. So, obviously, Matt Sharp has no idea what is going on. And some school districts want this guy to be defending them in court? For being so out of touch with reality, and for repeating his silly talking points when even a Fox News anchor has said that they don’t hold water, Matt Sharp gets a TWIT. The Christian Post has this story.

Two schools, one in Wisconsin and one in Maryland, have been told to allow transgender students to use the restroom of their preferred gender. These schools responded by allowing that provided that the transgender students wear green bracelets to identify themselves. This move reminds many people of the way that the Nazis made Jews wear yellow Stars of David and homosexuals wear pink triangles. During the Nazi occupation, the King of Denmark is said to have worn a yellow Star of David, just as the Jews had to do. Perhaps students at these schools should wear green wristbands to show their solidarity with their transgender schoolmates. For coming up this this response to a legal request, the school administrators get a TWIT to go with the lawsuit that has been filed against them. Think Progress has more.

The 2016 International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa, has a special pre-conference panel on AIDS in the trans community. According to the Conference, this panel will “bring together advocates, researchers, policy makers multilateral organizations, and donors to discuss and develop shared strategies to address the most pressing issues of the day for transgender people at risk for or living with HIV.” If you look carefully at that list of invitees, you might notice one group that wasn’t mentioned — transgender people. If you are going to reach out to us, don’t you think that you should invite some of us to attend the conference? Now, there would be some trans people invited as parts of the various groups mentioned, but those trans people would already have gotten the message, and besides, they likely live a different lifestyle from those whom the conference hopes to educate. For this oversight, the conference gets a TWIT Award. Gender DynamIX has this story.

Cecilia Barzyk researched and wrote much of this edition of TWIT.

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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.

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