The Week In Transgendrism

| May 9, 2016
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One of 20 drag looks for April.

One of 20 drag looks for April.

When there is a scene, as in art scene, music scene, etc., there is always someone or some website that will document it. One such documentary site is Painted for Filth: The 20 Fiercest Drag Queen Looks of April. Now there are no doubt more than 20 fierce looks every month all around the world but it’s nice that someone took the time to put 20 of them on one website. Check out the looks from sad clown to alien strangeness — and awesome glamor — on the Queerty website.

Opinionated writer and conservative radical Ann Coulter appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher last Friday and she came out with the un-true conservative talking point that trans-inclusive restroom policies will open the door to sexual predators. Fortunately her fellow panelist was sex advice columnist Dan Savage who shut her down pretty quickly. See what he told her on The Huffington Post website.

The mural.

The mural.

An artist in North Carolina was working on an idea for large mural of a drag queen to decorate the walls of a progressive area of Charlotte. (Ironically Charlotte is know as The Queen City.) As it was coming together the governor signed the HB2 bill into law and the mural became something more than just decoration. It became a statement about protecting everyone’s civil rights. Artist J.P. Kennedy chose Brandy Alexander, a 70-year-old performer who was well known in the state as the subject for the mural. Sadly Alexander passed away two days before HB2 became law. Her image now decorates the wall and she sports cameo earrings with Governor McCory’s face on them. Read all about it in The Charlotte Observer.

There are more than 100,000 videos on YouTube documenting the transitions of trans people. Both male to female and female to male trans folk have videos made up of rapid slideshows or edited video showing their progress over time from one gender to the other. Many people find these videos affirming and inspirational since they show people finding gender congruence to live as the gender they have always felt. Some, however, find the videos to be too devoted to following the dictates of our gender binary society. To them the videos reinforce gender stereotypes and push the idea that you must “pass” in one binary gender in order to be a valid person. Read the article from the Mic website on the Yahoo newsfeed.

Alabama’s arch conservative Chief Justice Roy Moore, who has been in trouble before for installing a monument with the 10 Commandments in his courtroom, putting God ahead of the rulings of the Supreme Court and ordering probate judges in the state not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couple, has been suspended from his position on the court and will be charged with six counts of ethics violations. Of course Moore blames a drag queen for his troubles. Ambrosia Starling is her name and Moore claims that she is one of the people who have made efforts to have him removed from office. Starling admits to participating in protest rallies against Moore but it’s interesting that he singled her out as a nemesis. Read all about it on the Alabama website.

mom_queenWith Mother’s Day just gone by what could be more apropos than an article featuring drag queens and their mothers? Nothing, of course. And you can imagine that after they posed for the photos they all gussied up their mamas and took them out for a lovely drag brunch. Check out the story on the Refinery29 website.

The 10th Annual LGBT Community Survey is now open. It’s one of the largest LGBT surveys in the world. You should fill it out right now. If helping to advance the cause of LGBT people everywhere isn’t enough incentive for you to take the survey they are offering a chance to win cash prizes if you complete the survey before May 31. You can go fill out the survey here.



Last week our political correspondent Babs Casbar Siperstein was interviewed about the North Carolina restroom law. Babs is a member of the Democratic National Committee and before that she worked to get New Jersey’s anti-discrimination law passed. Get her take on the North Carolina mess on

The Argentine Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexuals (FALGBT), the Association of Transvestites, Transsexuals and Transgender People in Argentina (ATTTA), and the Office of the Ombudsman of Buenos Aires have joined forces to create a new entity, called “The Hate Crime Observatory for the Trans and LGBT People.” It will monitor the all-too-frequent incidents of violence against the LGBT community in Argentina, with a special emphasis on the T. The Argentina Independent has more.

From the anti-smoking ad.

From the anti-smoking ad.

Drag performers have been know to smoke a lot. Not just by being hot. They have often been seen smoking cigarettes. At one time any drag show would feature a performer who held her cigarette dramatically and puffed away between lip sync numbers. But that was before smoking was banned in most public places. In order to take steps to stop tens of thousands of LGBT people from dying of smoking related illnesses each year the Food and Drug Administration has produced an anti-smoking campaign starring drag performers. Learn more about the This Free Life campaign and view one of the television spots on the Tech Insider website.

Vicki Voxx

Vicki Voxx

Vincent Hill who performed under the drag name Vicki Voxx has passed away form cancer at age 53. He was a respected makeup artist in Washington, D.C., and he performed as Vicki Voxx for thirty years in the Washington area. The Washington Blade has more.

And now to drag on campus. DePaul University, the largest Catholic university in the country, held its Seventh Annual Drag Show last week. A large crowd of students attended the show which featured professional performers. The school held an amateur event in April that allowed students to perform in drag competition. Check out the story in The DePaulia.

From Chicago we travel to Sweden. Until 2013, the government of Sweden would only change a gender marker if a citizen presented proof of permanent sterilization. Three years after that was changed, the government of Sweden has passed a new measure, which will give financial compensation to those who underwent forced sterilization in order to get their gender markers changed. Transgender Europe has this announcement.

Kristen Eck

Kristen Eck

WBZ radio traffic reporter Scott Eck signed off the air last Tuesday. On Wednesday, Kristen Eck was the traffic reporter for the Boston station. Kristen is a trans woman who has taken to being herself at work and has the support of station managment. LGBTQ Nation has more.

This from the Never Too Late file: At the age of 81, Ruth Rose is the oldest person to receive gender-confirmation surgery via the National Health Service in Britain. She has now joined forces with a company promoting mobility for senior citizens. The former RAF navigator will be the face of their new ad campaign, Forever Fabulous. Well played. The Argus has more.

May 9 is election day in the Philippines. Geraldine Roman is a 49-year-old trans woman who is running for a seat in the lower house. She seems set to win. You can read more about her on My Sinchew.

Dakota and her mom.

Dakota and her mom.

Dakota Yorke, the 18-year-old trans girl who was in the running for prom queen did not win the crown. She came in second and had no date for the event. She kept an positive attitude though and was happy to not be wearing a tuxedo, as she had to do last year, and came in a knee-length pink, sequined body-hugging dress with a tulle train in the back with sky-high heels in silver glitter. Read the whole story in the Chicago Tribune.

We are seeing more and more people coming out and admitting that they are transgender. Even so, there are still quite a few who are the first in their particular school or place of work. They often have to fight battles to change how things have always been done. Michigan Public Radio did a story on one such person, Kyle Clifton, who, at age 11, became the first transgender student in her school.

Getting transgender healthcare can be difficult. Many doctors just aren’t familiar with transgender patients and their needs. Doctor Carolyn Wolf-Gould has made transgender health care a part of her practice in Oneonta, New York. She has patients coming across state boarders to see her. The Guardian did a profile.

President Obama has proposed to make the Stonewall Inn a National Monument. This will give some amount of recognition to the historic nature of the place, but don’t expect too much; a national historic designation did nothing to save Tiger Stadium in Detroit. Also, stories generally site the historic significance of the Stonewall Inn to the history of rights for gay and lesbian people, but fail to mention transgender people. This story from the Associated Press, via MSNBC, follows that pattern.

A transgender woman named Pearl Love was attacked on a subway in New York City last week. This week, she got a supportive tweet from Hillary Clinton. The presidential candidate wrote, “This all-too-high prevalence of violence and hatred faced by the transgender community–today, in 2016!–is a rebuke to all of us. Every single person deserves to be safe and live free from discrimination and cruelty, period.” The Advocate has more on this. You can read a story about the original incident on Gay Star News.

Monica LoeraOn January 22, Monica Loera was murdered in Austin, Texas. Initial news reports mis-gendered and dead-named her, in part because the Austin Police did so. This week, the City Commission in Austin voted unanimously to fund exploration of ways to help the police better identify transgender people. This can be tricky, since many transgender people do not fully transition, and use different names and looks when presenting in different genders. It is a wonderful and worthy endeavor. The Austin American-Statesman has more.

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a recent interview, “the position — on a whole host of issues — should always be towards inclusion and equality.” This includes a lot of issues, but one of them is indeed transgender inclusiveness. She has been siding with the EEOC in saying that transgender protections in school and in the workplace are a part of Title IX. You can read her interview at Buzzfeed.

The medical clinic in Montreal where gender-confirmation surgery is performed was burnt in what police are calling an arson incident. Police are looking for a male suspect. This was the only place in Canada to perform gender-confirmation surgery. The estimated cost of the damage is $700,000 (Canadian), which includes medical equipment damaged by smoke or by the water used to put out the fire. More on this at the Montreal Gazette.

Rest Room Wars

A man ran into the ladies’ restroom at Baylor Medical Center in Dallas, Texas, to apprehend what he thought was a man using the wrong facility. The person he apprehended, Jessica Rush, was assigned female at birth. This is the sort of thing that will happen when you try to enforce bathroom bills. The Dallas Observer has this story, including some video from the incident.

While Target is getting all of the press for its inclusive policy on the use of restrooms and changing rooms, they have more company than some realize. Starbucks, Barnes & Noble, and the stores of the Hudson’s Bay Company (Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor among them) have admitted that they, too, allow people to use the restroom which corresponds to their preferred gender. This story appeared in USA Today.

The Justice Department of the United States has told the State of North Carolina that HB2 is a violation of the civil rights of transgender people. Governor Pat McCrory has been told by Vanita Gupta, the top civil rights lawyer for the Justice Department, “Both you and the State of North Carolina” are in violation of civil rights laws. He has until next Monday to decide if he will remedy the violations. If he decides not to change the law, he can be sued personally. Sadly, Governor McCrory likely plans to let them sue him, as it will play well with a certain part of the electorate. Any lawsuit will play out in court, and Governor McCrory almost certainly thinks that he can win in court. You can read more in The New York Times.

The Chicago Public Schools, the third largest public school system in the United States, has created a new policy which is designed to respect the gender identity of students and adults within the system. This is the first time that a school system has officially acknowledged that a teacher could be transgender, too. ABC News Chicago has more.

Recently, the city of Oxford, Alabama, passed a forceful bathroom bill which would impose a $500 fine on anyone using the restroom not associated with one’s birth sex. This week, that law was repealed before it was ever enforced. The Advocate has more.

The City of Rockford, Texas, had before its City Council a bill along the lines of the Oxford, Alabama, bill. That bill failed, in part because councilman David White, who is also the treasurer and the precinct chair for the local Republican party, voted against it — and did so quite vocally. He sent an e-mail to the New Civil Rights Movement in which he said, “I believe in limited government, and this is private property issue for stores. If someone doesn’t like the policy of a store, then don’t go to that store.” He added, “Government doesn’t need to dictate who pees where.” (Actually, it does, in the sense of fining people for taking a leak on the sidewalk, for example. But yes, these bills are overreach.) Nice to see a small government conservative who actually likes small government. Learn more here.

The American Unity Fund, Freedom For All Americans, and Equity North Carolina have pooled resources to create and run an ad. The ad itself repeats the standard line we have seen in memes, showing a trans person (Zeke in this case) who has blended very well among people of their preferred gender, and points out how out of place this person would look in the other restroom. The big news here is that these groups got together to fund an ad. Andy Towle has this story and the ad itself.

The Gloucester County School Board has filed a petition with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, asking for a full panel to review the recent decision by three judges from the court that reinstated Gavin Grimm’s lawsuit against the board. Gavin is likely to graduate before this gets resolved (even though he is just finishing his junior year), but he is still fighting. The Richmond Times-Dispatch has more. Jamie Roberts sent us a link to a story in The Washington Post.

Johnson High School in St. Paul, Minnesota, is taking a different approach. When students return in the fall, they will find that restroom stalls have been replaced by floor-to-ceiling walls. Every stall will become a self-contained room. You can read about it in the Pioneer-Press.

The Antioch Review is a long-standing academic journal. It recently published a piece called The Sacred Androgen: The Transgender Debate. The author, Daniel Harris, did not hold much of a debate; it was more like a monologue, in which he lectured about how, while he opposes discrimination against transgender people, he also opposes most of the changes that transgender people are making upon society. You can read the article on the Antioch Review’s website, and you can read a piece about the fallout from the article and the need to allow free speech at Inside Higher Education. Thanks to Jamie Roberts for the tip.

Are you ready for some TWITs?

A TWIT Award goes to these fellas. A group of people who fancy themselves street preachers have been going into Target stores to yell at the customers. Their message says that they are better than others because of their religion. Oddly, that is exactly how the biggest opponents of Jesus behaved. At least one person has been arrested, because harassing others and disturbing the peace are still illegal. You can see some of their videos on LGBTQ Nation.

Speaking of disturbing the peace: Police responded to a report of an “active shooter” at a Target store in Bradley, a suburb of Chicago. It turned out to just be a man causing a disturbance as he protested the chain’s restroom and changing room policy. The person who created the incident, Michael L. Merichko, was arrested and booked for disturbing the peace. He also gets a TWIT Award for commiting a crime while protesting something which was not a crime. Police are still investigating why this was said to be an “active shooter” incident. The Chicago Tribune has this story.

A TWIT Award is heading to the Fox News website for a recent article about Planned Parenthood in which the writer takes the slant that the organization has started to push services for trans people as a way to make up for the lack of revenue they were getting for providing fetal tissue to researchers. The article dances around the attacks on Planned Parenthood that used phony videos to “prove” that Planned Parenthood was selling “baby parts” but still implies that something shady might have been going on, and then alleges that Planned Parenthood is providing hormones for trans people without verifying their trans status. The article turns things around and doesn’t condemn trans people but claims they are being exploited. Their slant is supported by an “expert” from a group that routinely promotes lies about LGBT people. You can read this well spun article on the Fox News website.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has sent a letter to the chief executive of Target to let him know that the state is “concerned” about Target’s restroom policy. The letter expresses Paxton’s opinion that “allowing men in women’s bathrooms” is going to open the door for criminal activity. This concern comes from an attorney general who has told county clerks that they could ignore the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage. For more on this TWIT Award winner read the article on the Reuters website.

Late last year, a school district in suburban Chicago was told they would have to make accommodations for a trans student so she could use the restroom and locker room of her preferred gender. They did so, creating separate changing cubicles for privacy in the locker room. Now, a group of students and parents, who have won themselves TWIT Awards, are suing both the school district and the U.S. Department of Education, claiming that allowing this transgender student into the girls’ restroom and locker room violated the privacy rights of students and created an “intimidating and hostile environment.” The Chicago Tribune has this story.

You had to suspect that this would happen. TWIT Award winner Representative Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) has introduced a “religious freedom” bill in the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. This bill claims to protect people who act on “sincerely-held religious beliefs,” and it is being called the “First Amendment Defense Act.” There are only two ways that this could become law — the President signs the bill, or a supermajority of Congress overrides the Presidential veto. Neither of those is going to happen, so why waste time on it? The Washington Blade has more.

Collecting another TWIT Award for their wall of shame, Breibart tried to show the problems with allowing transgender people into the restroom. They compiled a list of sex crimes at Target stores. However, as Slate points out, of the 20 crimes cited, zero were perpetrated by transgender people. Few of them even involved a restroom, which goes to show that banning anyone from the restroom won’t do much.

Cecilia Barzyk contributed content to 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 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.

Comments (2)

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  1. KoolMcKool KoolMcKool says:

    Thought I would comment on something outside of toilets:

    “City Commission in Austin voted unanimously to fund exploration of ways to help the police better identify transgender people”

    A murder victim or folks related to a crime should be identified by the means that will best solve the crime. If someone who goes by “Scooby Doo” and is also known as Walter Grimwiggle, is suspected of killing “Priscilla Lilly” who is also known as “Jimmy Gonzalez”, then use the names that will help solve the crime.

    Why is this different than when they investigate a murder and victims by aliases and nicknames they use? I have seen this issue multiple times over the years. Someone tell me, what exactly is the problem here?

  2. KoolMcKool KoolMcKool says:

    All I have to say this week is so much for living a quiet transgendered life.

    We were moving along nicely a few years ago, more welcomed in the workplace, earning respect, going into restrooms and no one cared. Now trans activists and far-right extremists are fighting the most trivial of battles. What does the average TG get out of all this, when people meet us or realize we are TG our perception begins with restroom usage.

    And yes I blame the trans-activists as much as the far-right on this one.