The Week In Trans

| Sep 12, 2016

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Lady Chablis

Lady Chablis

The Lady Chablis, the trans woman who talked director Clint Eastwood into letting her play herself in his film Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil has passed away at 59. Back in 1997 she was the first trans woman actor to portray a trans woman in a major motion picture. Learn more about The Lady Chablis in The Guardian. Find more in The Washington Post.

Jesse Thompson is a transgender male teen who plays hockey in Ontario. He urged Hockey Canada to implement transgender-friendly rules, including allowing him to dress with his teammates. Those rules will be implemented in Ontario this season. The CBC has his story.

Gender Reassignment Surgery is now legal in the United Arab Emirates. The change came amid a bill that reduces the criminal liability of doctors. Mental health care is required prior to surgery. Gay Star News has more.

Mr. RuPaul Charles

Mr. RuPaul Charles

The Life is Beautiful Music & Arts Festival in Las Vegas September 23—25 has booked RuPaul. The queen of drag performers will not however be singing or lip syncing for her life in her glam persona but will instead be doing an inspirational speech as part of the festival’s IDEAS Series. Learn more on the KTNV News website.

Once upon a time, not too long ago, major brands would drop a spokesperson if they found out that the person was transgender — that is, unless the transgender person was the butt of the spot’s joke. Times have changed. A story on the changing attitudes of major companies regarding transgender people can be found in Adweek.

Susan Larson

Susan Larson

Susan Larson created the website Susan’s Place twenty-one years ago. (To put that into perspective, Netscape was a beta release at the time.) She was in the closet at the time, but has since transitioned to female. The Advocate did a profile of her this week.

Airbnb has announced a new anti-discrimination policy. It promises that customers will not be turned away because of race, color, national origin, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, or marital status. Complaints about people not being able to rent because of color were frequent enough that some alternative sites were created to meet the needs of those customers. Complaints from LGBT customers have been heard, though they have not led to alternative sites yet. The gender rules do not apply to those who are renting a shared space, such as a room in their own home. Presumably, the site will make it clear whether that restriction applies. Slate has more on this.

Kaitlyn Beck

Kaitlyn Beck

A 20-year-old trans woman in Washington state is challenging a fellow Democrat for the 49th District seat in the state legislature. If she beats the odds and gets elected Kaitlyn Beck would be the first trans woman to hold office in the Washington Legislature, or any state legislature for that matter. Learn more about her in the Seattle Times.

Chelsea Manning has had it with the “constant, deliberate and overzealous administrative scrutiny by prison officials,” and has begun a hunger strike. She also refuses to cut her hair. Not knowing the details, it is hard to judge the reasons for the protest, but it is very likely that the usual group will think this protest is proof that “he” has mental problems. The Advocate has this story.

What do 20th century pinup star Bettie Page and male actress Divine have in common? They are both painted larger than life on the exterior wall of a house in Seattle. Bettie had decorated the wall since 2005 when the home’s owners had the mural added. But in June of this year feminist vandals splashed paint over Bettie and left a message that the mural was exploiting women’s bodies. So the homeowners hired an artist to fix Bettie and add Divine to the wall. Learn more about the struggle between ideology and art in the Seattle Times.

In the last edition of TGF we presented an article by Diane Hutchinson about how she transitioned and continued to be a part of the board game community. While researching this TWIT column we found an article about trans people who play online games. Meet them on the VICE website.



Thanks to TGF reader Jamie Roberts for letting us know about the story of a trans man back in the 1800s. His name was Joseph Lobdell and he was hounded from town to town for dressing in male clothes and having a wife. He was a noted hunter and spent time in both the poor house and a mental hospital. His family was so ashamed of him they published an obituary before he had actually died. Read his amazing story in The Washington Post.

Last Tuesday the trans community in Bolivia got a boost when they celebrated the arrival of new government-issued ID cards that came with the gender they identify as. A law passed there in May lets trans people over 18 request name and gender changes on official government documents after an interview with a psychologist. Learn more on the UPI website.

Alexis Arquette

Alexis Arquette

The trans community lost another notable person on Sunday. Alexis Arquette has passed away at the age of 47. The cause of death is unknown. Ms. Arquette was part of the showbiz Arquette family that included her grandfather Cliff, known to many as Charlie Weaver, and her sisters Patricia and Rosanna, and brothers Richmond and David. Get the full story from The Los Angeles Times.

The province of Ontario in Canada will start offering people an alternate choice of gender on their driver’s license. Next year they will be able to select “X” instead of “M” or “F.” And taking it further, gender will no longer be displayed on people’s health cards. (The ID they use to get their government paid healthcare.) Learn more about the changes in the Chicago Tribune.

Andreja at Burning Man.

Andreja at Burning Man.

Model and trans activist Andreja Pejic was spotted recently at the Burning Man Festival in the Nevada desert dressed appropriately sexy for that event, and also at the Harper’s Bazaar ICON celebration last week in a more sophisticated dress. Check out her outfits in The Daily Mail.

Science fiction and fantasy novels offer a lot of space for gender changing, body swapping and  shape shifting but how authors handle the task of creating full blown trans characters can be problematic. Especially if the writer is not trans and is using the trans or non-binary character as a victim or a deceiver. The last thing writers doing speculative fiction should do is to spread trans myths. If SF writers want to portray trans characters in their stories they should read 4 Pitfalls to Avoid When Crafting Trans Characters on the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America website.

Melissa Sklarz

Melissa Sklarz

The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund has named Melissa Sklarz to the role of Director of Development. Ms. Sklarz has a long resume of service to the trans community in her home state of New York. Her new position puts her in charge of raising funds to support the activities of the TLDEF. Learn more about her and the TLDEF online.

Last week the University of Arizona hosted a Trans*Studies Conference that focused on transgender studies independent of LGB issues. In fact they claim that it is the first academic conference focusing on trans issues only. But they must not remember that in the 1990s and early 2000s there were several academic conferences called The International Congress on Crossdressing Sex & Gender that were produced in the USA, England and Australia and dealt exclusively with trans issues. The USA had two of the congresses produced by The Renaissance Education Association, Inc. Susan Stryker who is now a professor at the University of Arizona was one of the presenters at the 4th Congress in Philadelphia in 2000. Read about the Trans*Studies Conference in The Chronicle of Higher Education. Thanks to Jamie Roberts for the tip.

Buck Angel

Buck Angel

You may be familiar with the name Buck Angel. Angel is a super masculine trans man who is a porn star and trans activist. Angel has stepped into a new role in his life as the designer of the first sex toy specifically designed for trans men. How does that work? Check out their online press release about the new Buck-Off.


Some feminists started a Twitter hashtag “if men had periods.” After the hashtag had been about for a little while, it was pointed out that some men do have periods. A TWIT Award to those who, after it was pointed out that trans men are men and have periods, continued to not acknowledge that some men have periods. This story is in the Washington Times, who actually covered it quite reasonably.

Pat McCorey seems to never know when to stop. Last week, he said that HB2 was “irrelevant” because courts will rule on the matter. But, the law only becomes irrelevant if the courts rule that it is unconstitutional; if the courts find that HB2 does not violate the Constitution, then it is still the law of North Carolina. But, if Governor McCrory thinks that HB2 is unconstitutional, then he should stop spending the state’s money defending it in a lawsuit which will fail. Now, he is telling us that the state’s Chamber of Commerce wrote a part of the law (something the Chamber denies). That might possibly be true, but if so, the parts that they wrote were the part that forbids the state from raising the minimum wage and the part that makes it harder to sue employers for discrimination. The part that makes transgender people use the bathroom that matches their birth certificates does not apply to businesses. Even if the Chamber of Commerce did want these laws, a politician can say “no” to them. For lying so audaciously, Governor McCrory gets yet another TWIT Award. North Carolina Policy Watch has more.

North Carolina’s Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest has the task of defending Governor McCrory and HB2. Could he be any dumber than his boss? Well, he kept telling the Value Voters Conference that HB2 was “common sense,” even though it is actually uncommon nonsense. He keeps spreading the lie that the Charlotte nondiscrimination law would have meant that anyone could use any restroom by claiming to be transgender, even though this is the opposite of what has happened in places that have such nondiscrimination laws. He also claims that it was “unconstitutional” for Charlotte to pass a nondiscrimination law, as only the state has that right. But, if that were true, then HB2 would not be needed need to override Charlotte’s law. For outrageous lying, Dan Forest gets a TWIT Award. You can read more in the Washington Blade.

New rules put into place by the FDA call for listing blood donors by their birth genders, even after transition. If you are a trans woman who has had sex with a male, you are treated as a gay male. Staff training on how to talk to transgender people is spotty at best. For not realizing that trans women are women, the FDA gets a TWIT Award. The Daily Beast has this story.

Georgia Judge J. David Roper is getting a TWIT Award for his policy of only allowing trans people to change their names to a gender neutral name he approves of. Recently he refused to let a trans man change his name to Andrew but would allow names like Morgan, Shannon, Shuan and Jaimie. Despite the fact that the man’s friends, family and associates all call him Andrew. Learn more of Judge Roper’s twittery on the Alabama website.

We warned you that the anti-trans report by two psychiatrists with axes to grind against the trans community was going to cause trouble. The report left out data and spun other data to convince readers that everything the media has published about transgender issues is a myth. They also attack “myths” about homosexuality. There bogus report was written about on September 6 in a religious publication called the Western Recorder. We give the Recorder and “debunkers” Lawrence Mayer and Paul McHugh all TWIT Awards for their campaign to delegitimize trans people.

Last week we gave Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton a TWIT Award for his stance defending North Carolina’s HB2 law. Then we gave him some credit for accepting a dinner invitation from a Texas couple who have a trans child. Paxton and his wife dined with the couple and everyone got along so we hoped that it might help to change his mind about trans restroom use. But this week he proved to be unrepentant when he issued a statement linking two “peeping tom” incidents in Texas Target stores to trans people and Targets dressing room policy. There is no indication that trans people were involved in the incidents. Sorry Ken but we have to take back the kudos we issued last week and give you another TWIT Award. Read the story on The New Civil Rights Movement website.

Portions of this TWIT were researched and written by Cecilia Barzyk.

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Category: 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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