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Transgender news: The Week In Trans 11/12/18

| Nov 12, 2018
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Christine Halquist

The midterm elections in the United States happened on Tuesday. The good news is that Question 3 in Massachusetts passed. Get more from Inside Higher Education. (Thanks to Jamie Roberts for the tip.) The bad news is that Christine Halquist lost in her bid to become the governor of Vermont.

Also on the plus side, Gerri Cannon and Lisa Bunker won election to the New Hampshire House of Representatives. They join Danica Roem as transgender people elected to the state assembly. This election was covered by the Los Angeles Blade.

The Democratic Party has declared Brianna Titone the winner of a close race for Colorado’s state House of Representatives. While she is leading, the margin is so thin that her Republican opponent has not yet conceded. Colorado Public Radio has this story.

A member of the student senate at UC Berkeley abstained from a vote supporting transgender rights last week and set off a storm of controversy. Isabella Chow, 20, explained that she could not vote to pass a bill condemning the Trump administration for considering a legal definition of gender that would require it to match a person’s sex at birth because, as much as she condemned bullies and bigots, and admitted that LGBTQ people are valid and loved, she could not “compromise her values and force her to promote groups and identities she disagrees with.” Her Christianity that made her do it. Thanks to Ms. Bob for pointing us to the story in The San Francisco Chronicle. (No TWIT Award is being given at this time but Ms. Chow is under consideration.)

Althea Garrison

Althea Garrison, a black transgender woman, has been elected to Boston’s City Council. She was elected to the Massachusetts state House of Representatives in 1992, and has run for office several times since, without success — until now. Her story can be found in The Boston Globe.

Kathy Ottersten talked to Pink News about her election to the city council in Fairbanks, Alaska.

In the days just before the election in Massachusetts, the Boston Globe ran a story on the d’Hemecourt family, whose 5-year-old is transgender. Also, an ad for “Yes on 3” was featured in Boing Boing, who found it amusing. Some transgender people in Massachusetts saw an increase in nasty remarks, both verbal and written, just before the election, according to Into More. Also, WBUR radio in Boston had a story in which a transgender person talked about how things were before the anti-discrimination law was passed.

In the days after a mass shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, the city was the site of a rally opposing the attempt by the Trump administration to redefine “sex.” Pittsburgh City News has this story. Rallies were also held in Providence, Rhode Island, Logan, Utah, and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

An editorial in The Washington Post says that the recent political attacks on transgender people should be a wake-up call to the gay-rights movement.

Hijra in Bangladesh.

The transgender community in Bangladesh, known as hijra, is somewhere between 10,000 and a half a million individuals. No one is sure of the exact number since they have been ignored for decades and were only officially recognized by the government on November 11, 2013. This year on the 11th the community celebrated that recognition. Read more in the Dhaka Tribune.

Shortly after The Washington Post editorial mentioned above ran, we saw a story about trans activists being told to leave a political rally in Georgia where Vice President Mike Pence was the featured speaker. Some gay Republicans were giddy about the transgender people being asked to leave. This story comes from LGBTQ Nation.

More than 2,500 scientists, including some Nobel Prize winners, have signed onto an open letter opposing the memo which proposes a redefinition of “sex.” They say that the memo is not grounded in science, and that it is not ethical. You can find the letter here.

The Hill reports that the presidents of Princeton, Rutgers, and the chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison wrote a joint letter to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, urging her to reenact protections for transgender students. This comes in opposition to the memo on the proposed definition of “sex.”

Trans vet Tracy Monegain.

Today is Veteran’s Day (officially yesterday but celebrated today) and we have the story of a transgender veteran who joined the Marines hoping that becoming one of the toughest soldiers on the planet would somehow exorcise her feminine nature. It did not. Now she has transitioned and tells her story to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Slate ran a piece from a pediatrician who defended the recent statement by the American Academy of Pediatricians in support of compassionate care for transgender children.

President Trump has signed an executive order making it harder to get asylum in the United States. The Advocate reports that many civil rights groups point out that one group who will be affected by this will be transgender people who are persecuted in their native lands.

Caitlyn Jenner has donated $85,000 to some charities for transgender people in Arizona. She says that this represents a new pattern in her charitable giving. The Advocate is the source for this story.

Some parents are accusing the Tavistock and Portman Trust in London of putting transgender youth on a fast track. The official complaint is that some are being put into the Gender Identity Clinic, which is for adults, rather than the Gender Identity Development Service, which is supposed to be for younger patients. There is a fear that the patients in the GIC don’t get the same thorough examination of their history and their thinking that is given to patients at the GIDS. Officials at the Tavistock say that they are looking into the complaint. As might be expected, others are latching onto this complaint to make accusations of their own. The Guardian has this story. The Guardian also ran a story about families who are caught in the debate about whether a child is too young to really know his or her gender.

Miss Simpson

The Simpsons, RuPaul and Tupperware all come together in the November 18 episode of the show. It’s a known fact that the biggest sellers of Tupperware are drag queens. RuPaul appears on The Simpsons voicing a character named Queen Chante and she convinces Homer and Marge that if they want to sell a lot of Tupperware they should both dress as drag queens. Even though Homer will be glammed up we have to remember that this is Homer Simpson. What could go wrong? Learn more from the Daily Mail.

The Guardian ran an opinion piece this week written by three of their U.S. staff members who say that the paper’s recent editorial against Britain’s attempts to reform its Gender Recognition Act to allow self-declaration gives support to the Trump administration’s attempt to define the word “sex” so as to deny civil rights to transgender people. They also claim that some transgender people in the United State would not talk to them because of their paper’s stance on the GRA. This has touched off a debate at the paper, where some say that the two issues are very different. Pink News reports on the debate.

This week saw three articles about Judaism and transgender people. The Times of Israel talked of a group called Moving Traditions, which helps transgender Jewish teens to connect to their faith. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency wrote about how some Jewish political groups were working on certain state ballot initiatives, and the first initiative they mentioned was Question 3 in Massachusetts. The JC wrote about how rabbis in Britain feel about gender. At least the ones whom they talked to felt that it was ordained at birth, but that God listens to a person’s prayers no matter where in the congregation that person might be.

Jade September is a transgender prisoner in South Africa. She would like to wear feminine clothing while remaining in a prison for men, where she feels safer. Her case has prompted an article in the Daily Maverick.

Rudrani Chettri

The Advocate reports on a new documentary about Rudrani Chettri and the modeling agency for transgender women she has opened in India.

A man in Cincinnati was arrested and charged with aggravated menacing and criminal intimidation, as well as a weapons violation. This stems from an incident in which he held a gun to the heads of two transgender people and said that he was going to shoot them. The Cincinnati Enquirer has this story.

You may remember the story of transgender teen Elliot Whitaker, who was denied a name change in Warren County, Ohio, in June. The family filed a lawsuit in federal court against the judge, as well as an appeal in state court. The federal court threw out the lawsuit, saying that the appropriate way to deal with this situation was not to sue the judge but to appeal the decision. On that matter, the appeal has been heard, briefs have been filed, and a decision should arrive later this month. This story comes from the Dayton Daily News.

Maria Gonzalez was the first member of the Philadelphia Police Department to transition genders on the job. She passed away last month, and her cousin tells the  Philadelphia Gay News that all references to her after transition were absent from the funeral. It seems that she never left written instructions for her funeral. If how you are presented at your funeral matters to you, be sure to put it in writing. (Alternatively, you can reason that by the time of your funeral, you won’t care about how they remember you, so you might as well start not caring now.)

Well And Good reports on universities which have used clothing for their transgender students, and for the local transgender community.

Emile Ratelband has asked the Dutch government to change his birthdate, listing him officially as twenty years younger than he actually is. He cites among his reasons the fact that one can change gender, so why not age? That reason would land him a TWIT if he dwelt on it, or if he appeared to be serious. However, he seems to be having a good laugh. Later in the suit, he mentions that, at age 69, he is having trouble getting people on dating apps to swipe right on his profile, which seems to be more his point. The BBC gave us this story, though I wouldn’t be surprised if the subject is laughing at how seriously news media are taking this.

The kids, Luca and Ren.

Shelley and Chris McCarthy of West Haven, Connecticut, had a son and a daughter, and they still have a son and a daughter, but both of their children have changed genders. The McCarthy family are the subject of a documentary titled Little Miss Westie, which premiered at the DOC NYC film festival. You can read about it in the Daily Mail.

Many Native American cultures feature a tradition of males with long hair, often in braids. However, some Native Americans are torn over whether to keep their sons in long hair or to cut it. White Wolf Pack ran a story on this topic.

Some members of the transgender community, after having bad experiences with Christians who condemned them as sinners, feel that all Christians are aligned against them and their struggle to be seen as valid human beings. This is not necessarily the case, and the Christians who do say transgender people are sinners need to be educated. Read an opinion piece in the Baptist News Global that explains that being transgender is not like being a glutton or envying your neighbor, or coveting their spouse.


Our first TWIT Award today goes to Nicholas Meriwhether, an instructor in philosophy at Shawnee State University in Ohio,  who has sued the university over his refusal to use the preferred pronouns of a transgender student. He offered to refer to the student by her first name (not her deadname, apparently), which appears to be different from how he refers to other students. This story comes from the Washington Times.

Police in Dallas have been having problems with how to deal with a transgender prisoner. When she would not answer questions about whether she had had surgery on her genitals, an officer made her show her genitals. All those who failed to follow written procedure and insisted on inspecting the genitals get a TWIT Award. This complaint is part of a lawsuit she has filed. The suit caught the attention of the Dallas Morning News.

Super Skate, a roller rink in Ceder Rapids, Iowa, had a skating session specifically for boys. Two young trans men say that they were kicked out of the session after the DJ heard some complaints. The establishment was later the site of a protest, according to KCRG-TV. For removing trans males without examining the situation thoroughly, Super Skate gets a TWIT Award.

In Britain, The Mirror ran an article about Lee Harries, who transitioned from female to male at age 44 and now, at age 60, wants to transition back to being female. The article in The Mirror presents a complex case. It seems that somehow, details of alleged molestation in youth were missed, which Lee feels should have been a red flag for transitioning. The Daily Mail ran a story on Lee, using the same photos, but omitting much of the complexity, leaving only the story of a detransitioner who is unsatisfied with life after transition. For leaving out much of the story in order to promote their political point of view, the Daily Mail gets a TWIT.

Last week’s episode of Doctor Who featured a pregnant man. “Man” might be the wrong word here, as the character is a member of an alien race that look very much like humans. The episode caused quite a few people to comment on social media, some of them showing a tendency to shallow bad political arguments. The show has not been afraid to get into politics before, although in this particular episode, the politics of transgender people were not the main focus. For being so wound up in a political stance that they have to read into it something more than is there, those who overreacted on social media get a TWIT Award. Pink News has some of the social media comments.

Being a Victoria Secret model is the dream of many young women, cis and trans. The chief marketing officer of the company admitted in an interview with Vogue that the show is “a fantasy.” Then he went on to say he didn’t feel it should include transgender models. Or plus-size models. The backlash came swiftly and he walked it back in a conciliatory statement in which he said transgender models would of course be included if they passed the audition. Until we see some trans models up there on screen showing off Victoria’s Secret scanties we’re giving the CMO a TWIT Award. Read about it in Variety.

TWIT is assembled by Cecilia Barzyk with additional content and editing by Angela Gardner. Care to make a comment on this post? Login here and use the comment area below.

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Category: Transgender Community News


About the Author ()

Every week Cecilia Barzyk diligently scans the internet to assemble as much trans-related information from the weekly news as possible.

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