The Week In Transgenderism 8/22/16

| Aug 22, 2016
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Rylance as Olivia.

Rylance as Olivia.

Mark Rylance, a Shakespearian actor who most recent film release was Steven Spielberg’s The BFG, has made a career, almost, of playing the character Olivia in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. He won a Tony for his performance of Olivia on Broadway in 2013. Of course as a classically trained actor Rylance is no stranger to becoming different characters and inhabiting them fully. Crossdressers who wish to create real femme personas may find some tips on how to achieve that level of realness in an article in which Rylance talks about how he created Olivia onstage. You can find it in The New York Times.

There was a surprising cancelation of an innovative television show last week. No, we’re not talking about Larry Wilmore’s Nightly Show. We’re talking about I Am Cait. Ms. Jenner herself told fans on Twitter that there would be no third season of the show. It had two seasons? Get the story from the CNN website.

The restroom kerfuffle that has seen Target stores besieged by protestors demanding that trans people be kept out of the restrooms has resulted in Target announcing that its stores without single occupancy restrooms will soon be getting them. Around 300 stores will be getting the new restrooms by early 2017. The company will spend $20 million on the new facilities. And as Mara Keisling of the NCTE pointed out, most trans people will continue to use the restroom of their choice while some will take advantage of the single occupancy ones. $20 million expense for Target to placate the 1.3 million people who signed petitions saying they were upset. What a world. The story is on the Fox Business channel website.

Tracey Norman

Tracey Norman

The first African American trans model to appear on a Clairol hair color box in the 1970s was Tracey Africa Norman. Ms. Norman was in the closet about her gender identity at that time. She was eventually outed and had to stop modeling. Her story was told last year and the Clairol folks saw the story and reached out to Ms. Norman, now 63, to star in their “Color As Real As You Are” ad campaign. Read about it on the People magazine website. There’s more in Bizjournals.

Last week the Obama administration issued a directive that all federal buildings under the control of the General Services Administration must allow individuals to use the restroom that is consistent with their gender identity. The U.S. Capitol and national parks will not be affected since they are not overseen by the GSA. Get the facts from the NBC News website.

The U.S. military has a health care system known as Tricare. With the recent policy change allowing trans personnel to server openly the head of the Defense Health Agency has announced that Tricare will immediately provide hormone therapy and counseling for trans military members. This comes before an official policy is put in place. Learn more on the website.

Is your hair color and makeup harmful to your health? That’s a possibility since the FDA only bans 11 substances from cosmetics and hair products but the European Union bans nearly 1300. The majority of beauty and hair products sold in the U.S. are not subject to any testing for safety before they go to market. Efforts are underway to make such testing mandatory. Get the story from The New York Times.

Gavin Grimm

Gavin Grimm

Lawyers representing the Gloucester School Board asked the Supreme Court for more time to file their paperwork in the case of Gloucester School Board v GG. The Court denied the extension request. They have to meet the current filing deadline for their appeal by the end of the month. The Huffington Post has this story.

In Britain, ITV has plans for a new documentary series focusing on a clinic for transgender patients. The clinic is on Wimpole Street in London, which is home to the surgeon Christopher Inglefield. The series will feature various transgender patients at different stages of their lives and show all aspects of transition. The proposed title is Sex Transition Clinic. The announcement is in ATV Today.

British gender clinics have been overwhelmed by the number of transgender people, including children, who are now asking for treatment. New Zealand can expect the same. The number of minors seeking help with gender issues is likely to soar in the near future, says this article in

In Aukland, New Zealand, a new ad appeared, in which the protagonist was looking for a car to replace his previous ride, but he kept referring to vehicles as “he” or “she.” In one segment, he looks at the tail pipe of a bus and says, “but then I realized, she was a he. . .but I’m cool with that, it’s the twenty-first century.” That line drew quite a bit of complaint, and was eventually cut from the ad. This story is in Gay New Zealand.

Emma and he mother Meagan.

Emma and he mother Meagan.

Eight years ago in Australia, Meagan Hayes found her four-year-old supposed son Ronan trying to cut off his penis with a knife. That child, now twelve years old and known as Emma, is set to begin puberty blockers. The family spoke to Australian television recently, and the story is in the Daily Mail.

Last week a bill was introduced into the Victorian parliament in Australia to make things easier for trans people living there. The Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Amendment Bill 2016 will remove the need for people to undergo surgery and to be single before they can apply for a new birth certificate. Learn more about the bill on the Daily Mail website.

Phoenix, Arizona will be the first city in that state to offer trans-inclusive health care benefits to its workforce and their families. Trans employees of the city will have access to hormone therapy and surgical procedures. Learn more about it on the AZ Central website.

Castor Semenya

Castor Semenya

The Olympics has been in the news and a South African woman who was the subject of much debate in the last Olympics is also in the news. Castor Semenya is a runner who has been suspected of being born male. In 2009 she was tested to find out if she is biologically female. She may have a condition called hyperandrogegism which means she produces more testosterone than the average female. As a competitor in this year’s games she is again the focus of controversy. Perhaps this gender and sex stuff is not as simple as a blood test. Read about her in The New York Times. Linda Jensen pointed us to this article in the National Post.

Life is hard for many people but for those who are trans and come from poverty and places where they are seen as gay, perverted and worthless, it can be hell. When you have no support system at all and you don’t know why you feel the way you do you can end up on drugs, doing sex work or worse. One woman in Washington, D.C. has been through it all in her life and she has overcome many obstacles to provide a place where homeless, undocumented, addicted trans people can go to get help and support. Her name is Ruby Corado and she runs a drop-in center for trans people. Read her story in The Washington Post.

The Chair in Transgender Studies at the University of Victoria, Dr. Aaron Devor, has announced scholarships in trans studies that will be awarded in 2017. Undergraduate and graduate students, and visiting community and university-based scholars and professionals, both trans and cis (non-trans) will be able to benefit from these awards. To learn more or to make a donation to help fund the scholarships visit the University of Victoria giving page. Thanks to Jan Brown for the information.

David de Alba, friend and contributor to TGF, did his latest show in Las Vegas last week. Here is a shot of David and some of his fans after the show.

David de Alba as Liza with fans.

David de Alba as Liza with fans.

southern_comfortThe 26th Annual Southern Comfort Conference is happening in Weston, Florida at the Bonaventure Resort and Spa from September 27 through October 1. Featured speakers and guest include Jaye McBride, Schuyler Bailar, Jessica Taylor, Sean Dorsey, Dr. Marci Bowers, Kellie Maloney, and many more. Visit the Conference website for more info and to register.

If you want to attend a warmup conference before you head to Florida you can check out the Genderfest Conference in Las Vegas from September 8-10. It is the first such event organized by The Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada. Speakers include Jon Ralston, the longtime Las Vegas-based journalist and political commentator whose heartfelt blog post about his transgender son was well-received this past May. Also featured throughout Genderfest are airline pilot Jessica Taylor, teenage activist Lily Rubenstein, poet and author Max Wolf Valerio, and Michelle Honda-Phillips, daughter of Congressman Mike Honda and mother to young trans daughter Malisa. See the conference schedule and purchase tickets on The Center’s website.

Performer Alyssa Edwards.

Performer Alyssa Edwards.

Doing drag professionally is often something you hear people talk about. But to be a professional drag entertainer you must invest in your presentation. Drug store makeup and Salvation Army thrift dresses will not do. How much can it cost to have a career in drag? You can get some idea in an article found on Style.Mic.

Back in 2013 we told you about a bike shop owner in San Francisco who was a trans businesswoman. Her name is Tammy Powers and she is still running the bike shop but she has started a new business called Tammy’s Chicken in Waffles. Learn more about her waffle business on Yelp and see what’s going on with her bike shop on her bike blog. Thanks to TGF reader Susan for the information.

Budweiser has created an ad campaign that parodies the current election campaigns. Their “party” is the Bud Lite Party and in a recent ad they presented the Bud Light Party’s stance on gender identity issues. They will sell you a beer — no matter what your gender identity happens to be.



U.S. District Judge Sean Cox has ruled that the R.G. and G.R. Harris Funeral Homes has a right to fire Aimee Stephens just because she is transgender. The judge used the questionable Hobby Lobby ruling in reaching this decision. In doing so, the judge went against the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which said that the funeral home had violated Title VII. Many say that this shows the need for federal legislation outlawing the practice of firing people for being transgender, and that is true, but even a state law in Michigan could have protected Ms. Stephens. This decision will likely be appealed. For overriding the appropriate governmental agency, and instead relying on a decision which could not get enough votes at the Supreme Court today, Judge Cox gets a TWIT Award. Edge Boston has the Associated Press story on this.

We’re giving the country of Sri Lanka a TWIT Award. Why? A new report from Human Rights Watch makes it clear that people in that country who do not conform to social expectations about gender and sexuality are subjected to discrimination and abuse which is codified into the laws of the nation in many instances. Read about the abuses on the Human Rights Watch website.

Conservatives. We can understand being financially conservative or feeling that you are bound by your faith to adhere to certain limits of behavior. What we can’t understand is when conservatives look at scientific fact and the accepted standards developed by many mental health professionals and state that kids struggling with gender identity issues is not a real thing and that the whole idea that children might know that they have a different gender identity is a lie created by liberals. David French, writing in the National Review is getting a TWIT Award for promoting that kids with gender issues are just going through a “period of confusion” and they will get over it. Of course he has “evidence,” a video of a failed female to male individual. Yes, people do make mistakes about big important things like transitioning and there can be mental issues that masquerade as gender issues but that’s why the kids French is so concerned about don’t get surgeries until they are old enough to be sure that transition is what they need. Puberty blocking and allowing the child to live in the gender they want to is how you make sure that a big mistake hasn’t been made. You can read French’s unscientific, lying article in the National Review.

Up above we told you about the new rules about restroom use that were issued by the GSA for federal buildings. The facts as presented are pretty straight forward. You have the right to use the restroom that corresponds to your gender identity. The nitwits over at Breitbart are collecting another TWIT Award for how they spun the story. Their article’s headline says that the administration has moved to “prevent federal facilities from operating single-sex facilities.” This is not true. A trans woman is a woman. A trans man is a man. They will use the facility they prefer. Soon the Breitbart people are going to have to build a warehouse to hold all these TWIT Awards. See the spun story on their website.

Congressman Pete Olson (R-Texas) has introduced a bill, HR 5812, which would codify into law the idea that the words “sex” or “gender” in any law do not refer to gender identity or anything having to do with gender identity. For bad measure, the law specifies, “No Federal civil rights law shall be interpreted to treat gender identity or transgender status as a protected class, unless such law expressly designates ‘gender identity’ or ‘transgender status’ as a protected class.” Of course, President Obama would not sign such a law, especially not now that he is in his final term in office, and there are nowhere near enough votes to override a presidential veto, so the chance of this bill becoming law is microscopic at best. Representative Olsen probably knows that, but passing the law is not his real aim. For trying to advance his political career at the expense of other people, Representative Olsen gets a TWIT Award. Think Progress has this story.

Conservatives seem to thrive on fear. It stokes their irrational beliefs that liberals want to destroy them. Here’s an example. On August 18 the U.S Department of Agriculture and the National Center for Lesbian Rights held their 15th annual Nationwide LGBT Rural Summit. The Summit is intended as a way for LGBT folks living in rural areas to connect, network and share resources. To the right wing radio hosts and websites this simple idea was viewed as a “Democrat scam” and blown up into a “plot” to teach “lesbian and transgender hillbillies” how to get grants and loans from the government. What, to use a farming related term, hogwash. No wonder normal everyday conservatives are loaded with fear. The right wing media is always taking something that is no threat to anyone and is only meant to help some of our citizens and turning it into a plot to destroy America. The right wing media is getting a TWIT Award for this twittery. Read the depth of their lies on the Raw Story website.

Portions of today’s TWIT were researched 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 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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