The Week In Trans 4/23/18

| Apr 23, 2018

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A trans woman in Grand Rapids, MI is suing her employer and her health insurance company for not paying for her gender confirmation surgery. Cadence Morton transitioned on the job after she was diagnosed in 2011 with gender dysphoria. She is claiming in her suit that her employer and health insurance company violated the provision in the ACA that protects against discrimination in health insurance since they are treating her differently because she is a transgender person. Get the story from MLive.

A professor at Southeastern Oklahoma State University was granted a $1.2 million settlement after a jury found the university guilty of discrimination. Rachel Tudor wanted to return to her tenure track position at the school but a U.S. District judge denied reinstatement. Tudor is suing , again. Read the story in The National Law Journal.

Judge Marsha Pechman of the Western District of Washington (Seattle) has ruled that the new memo banning transgender people in the military is really a post-facto justification for an act that originated in prejudice rather than necessity. She also found that transgender people were a group who have a history of discrimination, and therefore she ruled that the ban will have to pass “strict scrutiny.” Buzzfeed has this story. Art Leonard has more analysis. He tells us that “strict scrutiny” puts the highest burden on the government to prove that its action fills a genuine need. Judge Pechman did, however, say that she was unsure how much deference the court should have for the President’s role as Commander in Chief of the military.

In testimony to Congress, Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley and the Chiefs of Staff of the Navy and Marines said that they have not heard of any problems with morale or unit cohesion that arose from the presence of transgender troops in the military. Marine Corps Commandant General Robert Neller said, “The only issues I’e heard of is in some cases because of the medical requirements of some of these individuals, that there is a burnder on the commands to handle the medical stuff.”

Transgender Coast Guard member Lt. Taylor Miller.

The Commandant of the Coast Guard, Admiral Paul Zukunft, told the House Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee that he will not ban transgender members unless there is an explicit policy banning them. Politico has this story.

Defense Secretary James Mattis, all the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Admiral Zukunft of the Coast Guard all say that they will follow the orders of the courts, which have placed injunctions against the implementation of the ban on transgender people in the military.

Four members of Congress signed a letter to Secretary Mattis, asking him several questions about the composition of the panel who worked on the study that led to his recommendations to ban transgender people from the military. They also want to know what medical experts were consulted, given that the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and the American Psychology Association all feel that the ban is not based on good medical judgment. The Washington Blade has this story. While Secretary Mattis is not compelled to answer these questions in writing, they will likely come up when he next visits Capitol Hill.

Leitis.

Trans women in Tonga are known as “fakaleiti” which translates at “like a lady.” Their role in society is to do housework, and other activities that are viewed as feminine. But, they are meant to just be there and not call attention to themselves. Crossdressing is against the law and any “leiti” can be arrested at anytime. They are tired of being treated as invisible second class citizens and are pushing for decriminalization and greater visibility. They are the subject of a documentary film titled Leitis in Waiting. Learn more from the Australian Broadcasting Company.

The Senate confirmed Representative Jim Bridenstine as the new head of NASA. He was confirmed despite a long record of anti-LGBT statements. He described the letter of guidance from the Departments of Justice and Education in the Obama era which advised schools to allow transgender students to use restrooms and changing areas consistent with their gender identities as “lawless federal bullying.” The Senate tied on his confirmation, but Vice President Mike Pence broke the tie. This story comes from the Washington Blade.

Another nominee who is getting trouble being confirmed is Frank M. Coffman, who was nominated to be a U.S. Marshall. His transgender daughter has made some very serious charges of verbal abuse, while he and his son deny the charges. (The fact that the son uses male pronouns when talking of his transgender sister could be indicative of the level of non-acceptance that is found here.) Buzzfeed gives us this story.

Drag singer Ada Vox is in line to win American Idol. Vox has kept beating the competition with her performances of songs like Creep, Feeling Good and that old standard, House of the Rising Sun. The celebrity judges sre effusive in their praise. After the latest airing of the show Vox had won a place in the Top 14, the first time a drag performer has ever reached that level. For more check out the story in the Advocate.

The Human Rights Campaign has started pushing back against Vice President Mike Pence and his attempts to push an anti-LGBT agenda through the government. They have created a website complete with videos and a lengthy report on the many discriminatory policies he has been known to push. This story was covered by Politico.

Charlotte Clymer

A week or so ago Charlotte Clymer, the press secretary of the Human Rights Campaign, was sitting outside of a cafe in Washington, D.C. when she was approached by three people who asked if they could pray for her. She realized they had identified her as a transgender woman and were going to fix her through prayer. She turned the tables and called on her evangelical background to offer a prayer for them. Read her story in The Washington Post. Thanks to TGF reader Jamie Roberts for the tip.

Kaiser Permanente has conducted a study of their records, and has found that children diagnosed with “gender dysphoria” found that the diagnoses of attention deficit disorder and depressive disorder were 3 to 7 times higher than in the general population. While this is not an unexpected result, the numbers were drawn from the electronic health records of 1,347 transgender and gender-nonconforming patients ages 3 to 17 living in California or Georgia, making it a large study. Medical Express has an overview of the results of this study.

Dr. Kristina Olson has received a $1,000,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to continue her study of transgender children. The University of Washington psychologist received the Alan T. Waterman Award from the NSF. One of the most famous of her findings is that transgender children who receive acceptance from their parents and community have levels of depression and anxiety that are comparable to those in the general population. (The Kaiser Permanente study did not look at family and community acceptance, as those factors are not in the electronic medical record.) The AP story on her can be found in the Washington Post.

Jazz Jennings

Speaking of transgender youth, Jazz Jennings was one of five transgender “bra bosses” who have agreed to design bras for Knixteen, a new line of bras by Knix aimed at the teen market. Mic has this story, along with this quote from Ms. Jennings: “If your parents don’t want you wearing a bra, that’s really not their business.”

The Williams Institute has released the findings of new research. They discover that the overall global trend is towards more acceptance of transgender people. However, they also find that there is increased polarization, leading to less tolerance among people who tend to be intolerant of transgender people. They also found that more prosperous countries tended to be more tolerant of transgender people. They ranked 141 countries in their Global Acceptance Index.

Stonewall commissioned a new survey in Britain and found that 53% of respondents say that they would be comfortable if a friend came out as transgender. 65% say that they are concerned about the level of abuse that transgender people receive. Pink News reports on this study.

FtM body builder in competition.

Man Made is a new documentary film about a body-building competition for transgender males. The director of the film is T Cooper, a novelist who happens to be a trans male himself. You can read more about it in a story by Samantha Allen of The Daily Beast.

Tara Wolf has been fined £150 for assaulting Maria Maclachlan in Speaker’s Corner of London’s Hyde Park last September. The row arose from anti-transgender remarks made by Ms. Maclachlan. The Evening Standard has this story.

Neville Southall, a former football player, has made a reputation for himself as a defender of LGBT people on Twitter, with a special emphasis on defending transgender people these days. Pink News has a story on the cheeky style of the former goaltender.

The Brighton Festival celebrates World Book Night with City Reads, in which they ask everyone to read the same book This year, the book chosen was Sacred Country, a novel about a transgender man. The Argus interviewed the author, Rose Tremain, about having a novel she wrote a quarter-century ago chosen for the festival.

The Canadian province of British Columbia is considering two bills that will tackle information privacy especially with regard to gender identity. Xtra finds that transgender 14-year-old Astrid Neilson-Miller had a significant role in the bills, and has a profile of her.

Haaretz reports that Israel is amending its policy on transgender prisoners. Transgender prisoners will no longer be kept in “administrative separation” but rather will be housed in the general wing of the prison and allowed to participate in activities with other prisoners. A case-by-case determination of gender will be made.

Wurst in 2017.

2014 Eurovision Song Contest winner Conchita Wurst has announced to the world that she is HIV+. She decided to come out about living with the virus for years after a former friend threatened to blackmail her. Read the story in The Washington Post.

Campaigners for disabled people in Ireland are getting upset that handicap-accessible toilets are being used as “gender-neutral” restrooms. It’s not so much that they mind sharing the facility with the few transgender people who are out and about, but that these restrooms have signs which allow anyone to use them, even if these people could quite easily use the ladies’ or gentlemen’s room. Thus, the facility made to accommodate those with special needs can become unavailable to them because people with no special need are using that space. Extra Ireland has this story.

Dr. Michelle Cretella went to deliver a talk at St. Pius V Church in Providence, Rhode Island, and found a group of protester were there to greet her. You can see some of the protest signs in The Providence Journal.

The kid’s book about gender identity You Be You! Explaining Gender, Love & Family by Jon Branfman is now available in three new languages.  There were already nine translations of the book but they are joined by Arabic, Chinese, and Spanish versions. Learn more from Gay Star News.

It is getting to be prom season USA Today reports that some transgender and gender-nonconforming teens are seeking to go beyond the old ideas of what prom courts should look like.

Civil War female soldier Frances Clayton.

Kate Dahlstrand is a Civil War researcher and a Ph.D. student at the University of Georgia. She was asked to give a “Lunchtime Time Machine” lecture on a topic in history, and she chose to talk about women who posed as men to serve in the Civil War. While there were various reasons why women would pose as men to serve, at least a few of the stories show that the women involved would meet the modern definition of a transgender person. The Athens Banner-Herald has a story about the lecture.

Former Daily Show correspondent and star of People of Earth, Wyatt Cenac, has a new show on HBO called Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas. His second episode took him to Birmingham, Alabama where he is surprised to learn that while the police force there has a majority of black officers and they are working hard to make up for the damage done by racist police in the past the trans women of color in the city are still being mistreated by law enforcement. Learn more from Indie Wire.

TWITs

Justine Roberts, the founder of Mumsnet, is complaining that transgender people are encouraging her advertisers to stop supporting her site. Oddly, she finds it perfectly all right for people on her site to abuse transgender people, but she feels it is wrong for transgender people to tell her sponsors about the abuse that they get. Or does she think that her advertisers will fall for lies about her site, just as so many of her users fall for lies about transgender people? For missing the source of the problem, Justine Roberts gets a TWIT Award. The Times of London had this story.

On OneNewsNow, Denise Shick complains that an alleged discrepancy: “Forty-five states have laws regulating tattoos on minors. . .but doctors are allowed to perform double mastectomies on girls as young as 16, without parental permission, if they have been on puberty blockers for a full year.” The puberty blockers she refers to are prescription drugs, and that means that a doctor has seen this patient and prescribed the puberty blockers. Moreover, that prescription, according to regulations, comes after the patient has worked with a therapist. For ignoring the many people examining the patient and acting as though this happens on a whim, Denise Shick gets a TWIT Award. Her writing can be found here.

Dr. Michael K. Laidlaw writes for The Witherspoon Institute about the book and television series I Am Jazz. He claims that they contain “false information and very troubling omissions,” but his article contains false information and very troubling omissions. For example, he complains when Jazz says that a visit to the doctor was when she first heard the word “transgender.” He says that the proper diagnosis is “gender dysphoria,” which itself is likely inaccurate — she was more likely diagnosed with “gender identity disorder,” under DSM-IV, rather than the more recent diagnosis under DSM-V. (The new diagnosis is supposed to eliminate the stigma of “mental illness” from the diagnosis, but this doctor–an endocrinologist who presents no credentials in psychiatry or psychology — uses the new diagnosis precisely to paint Jazz Jennings as suffering from mental illness.) He also says that she cannot have “a girl brain and a boy body,” even though neurology is finding that transgender people often have brains with at least some similarity to the physical layout of the brain of their preferred gender. He says that studies involving twins disprove the “born this way” theory about the origin of gender dysphoria, because there are twins where one is transgender and the other is not. This misunderstands twins studies; when the percentage of identical twins in which both have the condition is higher than the percentage of the general population who have the condition, then the conclusion is that there is a genetic component to the origin of the condition. As for the “omissions” he mentions, most if not all are indeed covered in the series. For giving false information while pretending to give expert opinion denouncing false information, Dr. Michael Laidlaw gets a TWIT.

Claire Wolfever gets a TWIT Award for taking a handgun to work at Walmart and shooting a co-worker who threatening her after she announced her transition. No matter how bad the abuse shooting someone is not a way to get relief. Now she has been arrested and charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault and other offenses. She has taken a plea deal offered by the prosecutor which will see her serving 40 years in prison. She is being held in the male section of the county jail and will probably be sent to a male prison to serve her sentence. Since she was self medicating with hormones purchased online she can’t get hormones in prison or housing with female prisoners. If she had been seeing a professional provider at the time of her arrest she would have been eligible for treatment in jail. You can read more about the case in The Meadville Tribune. The Tribune gets a TWIT Award too for referring to Wolfever by her male name throughout the article.

You read Linda Jensen’s post last week about her concern that the shutting down of Craig’s List personal ads would make it harder for her to get dates with men. Craig’s List banned the ads in response to the impending passage of a bill that was designed to combat sex trafficking. Now, no one is for people being sold into sexual slavery and steps need to be taken to shut it down. The problem is that the bill, which President Trump just signed into law, will have consequences for trans and other sex workers who use the personal ads to screen clients and advertise their services. We give the sponsors of the legislation and the president who signed it TWIT Awards. Learn more from The Daily Beast.

4 H in Iowa is making an effort to be more inclusive of young people with different gender expressions and sexual orientations. They have proposed a new policy for Iowa 4-H clubs which would allow transgender individuals to use the bathrooms, locker rooms and overnight accommodations that align with their gender identity. Kudos to 4 H. But then out came the “Christian” groups that see this move by 4 H as just another attack on their oh so holy values and will promote pedophiles in the lady’s room, and allow “socialists” to destroy “4 H like they destroyed Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts.” A TWIT Award goes out to the so-called Christians who attack any progress made by the trans community. Read the story on the NewNowNext website.

TWIT is assembled by Cecilia Barzyk with additional content and editing by Angela Gardner.

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Category: Community News

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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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