The Week In Trans 6/18/18

| Jun 18, 2018

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Gógó Starr

Iceland celebrated its Independence Day this past Sunday. One of their Independence Day traditions is a poetry reading by a woman who takes on the role of The Lady of the Mountain, and becomes a living symbol of Iceland. This year the Lady will be the country’s most famous drag performer Gógó Starr, a.k.a. Sigurður Heimir Guðjónsson. She called the proper authorities asking if she could be the Lady this year and they said “Sure, why not?” Gógó won’t be doing the poetry reading though. She will instead lead the official independence parade. Get the full story from The Reykjavik Grapevine.

In other parade news: Next week Reggie Bullock who play basketball for the Pistons will become the first active NBA player to ride on the NBA’s float in the New York City Pride March. And he’ll have his 5-year-old son with him for the ride. He will be there showing his support for the trans community because his son’s transgender aunt was murdered in 2014. Mia Henderson was Reggie Bullocks sister. Learn more from The Chicago Tribune.

June is Pride Month, and since the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” every year the Pentagon has issued a memo officially recognizing Pride Month. This year, no such memo has come out. It is presumed to be because of the ban on transgender people in the military which President Trump announced last July. The Washington Post has this story.

During Philadelphia’s Pride event a person who is trans attempted to stage a protest by burning a “Blue Lives Matter” flag. That she did this in the midst of a crowd of people is what got her arrested. And, putting other people in danger to deliver a message almost got her a TWIT Award. She was originally charged with attempting to commit arson, risking a catastrophe, recklessly endangering another person, and possessing an instrument of crime. The D.A. dropped the more serious charges of risking a catastrophe and arson. Learn more from The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Captain Stephanie Lourenco

The Portland, Oregon police department made history last week by promoting the first transgender person to the rank of Captain. Stephanie Lourenco was a lieutenant until her promotion on June 15. She has been a member of the force since 1999 and is the founder of Transgender Community of Police Officers/Sheriffs, a nationwide organization connecting transgender police officers. Learn more from Willamette Week.

The Department of Defense lost another round in court. They tried to make a pretrial motion defending the ban on transgender people by saying that the ban serves the purpose of ensuring that people in the military can deploy at a moment’s notice. But, Judge Marsha Pechman of the U.S. District Court in Seattle wrote, “each of the arguments raised by Defendants has been considered and rejected by the court, and Defendants have done nothing to remedy the constitutional violations that supported entry of a preliminary injunction in the first instance.” This story comes to us from Metro Weekly.

Senator Joe Kennedy is the chairman of the Congressional Transgender Equality Task Force. Last week he wrote a letter that was signed by 100 lawmakers and it called for dropping the ban on trans people in the military. Thanks to TGF reader Jamie Roberts for the tip. You can find the story with a link to the full letter in Federal Soup.

Scientists have found that, by snipping a bit of DNA (specifically, enhancer 13), male mice embryos became females, with ovaries and female genitalia. You can read more about this experiment at the Guardian.

Mayors from around the United States gathered in Boston for a convention. While they were in Boston, the mayors addressed a proposal on this November’s state ballot, which would roll back the nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people that the state passed two years ago. Edge Media Boston has the AP’s report on the mayors’ endorsement of voting to keep the protections in place.

Jennifer Fletcher

Jennifer Fletcher is a trans woman in Alaska who has been an advocate for equal rights for trans people under the Alaska state health care coverage plan. On June 5 she filed a lawsuit against the State of Alaska for denying her coverage necessary for her transition. She recently received an equality award from SouthEast Alaska Gay and Lesbian Alliance. Learn more from JuneauEmpire.com.

Maine has started issuing gender-neutral driver’s licenses and identification cards. While the state will issue cards with the gender designation “X” next year, at present they are putting a sticker on the back which says, “Gender has been changed to X- Non-binary.” The Portland Press Herald reports on this step.

Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick says of the state’s attempt to regulate who may use which restroom, “We won.” This comes despite the fact that the bill was never brought to a vote in the state’s House of Representatives. The reason that he feels that his side won was because a non-binding vote that only occurred on the Republican side of the primary ballot found 90% of Republicans in the state who bothered to express an opinion were behind the idea of a bill that restricts restroom use according to the gender on the birth certificate. While that is quite a lot of people going along with this idea, there are plenty of other people who did not vote in the Republican primary, and even of those who did vote, some did not vote on that particular issue. This story was covered by the Houston Chronicle. (While this story is worthy of a TWIT, we feel that the recipient might wear that award as a badge of honor, and we will not give him that privilege.)

The University of Victoria’s Chair in Transgender Studies has announced a free public talk by historian Susan Stryker titled The Life and Death of Frances Thompson: Intersections of Transgender History, Race, Disability, and Sex-Work after the U.S. Civil War. For more information visit the university website.

Story Time reader Marti Gould Cummings.

During the past year we’ve heard a lot about drag queen story time events where drag performers read stories to children in libraries and bookstores. Now we’ve learned of a drag queen story time for adults only. It will happen from June 22 through 23 at the Hudson Bar in New York City. No children, please! Learn more from 4NBC.

John Kluge, the orchestra teacher from Brownsburg High School in Indiana who resigned rather than conform to the school district’s policy regarding the names and pronouns for transgender students, went before the school board at their meeting this week and asked for a chance to rescind his resignation, despite the fact that he gave no indication that he planned to follow the district’s policy on the names and pronouns of transgender students. The board told him it was too late, as they had already accepted his resignation. Metro Weekly has this story.

The Advocate reports that a transgender woman was stabbed three times by a stranger, who then fled. This happened in Los Angeles, not far from where a transgender woman was accosted in the restroom of a Denny’s restaurant.

A couple of weeks ago, Crowdfunder suspended Transgender Trend, a group that tried to spread a pamphlet which argued that accepting transgender children was a “trend” and gave a list of poor reasons to fight against it. Crowdfunder has restored the campaign, saying that they have looked into the group and found that they do not violate their guidelines. Pink News has this story.

Dana Beyer

Get to know the trans women candidates who are running in the November election. There are three of them profiled on the Bustle website. Alexandra Chandler is running for an open seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Christine Hallquist is running for the governorship of Vermont, and Dana Beyer is making a bid for a seat in the Maryland State Senate. Read about them here.

Mumsnet has issued new guidelines. They say that they stand with the principles of free speech, yet they also say, “We don’t allow posts which are derogatory or aggressive towards trans people,” and add, “Sweeping negative generalizations about any group, including trans people and gender-critical feminists, won’t be tolerated.” While that may sound like good news, the anti-transgender crowd is looking for ways to stay just within the guidelines yet still get their view across. Transgender people, on the other hand, are complaining that the term “cisgender” is on the list of terms that will trigger a review, according to Pink News.

Gay Star News reports that Pakistan’s transgender candidates are protesting the upcoming election, because the forms to file for candidacy only list “male” and “female” options, despite the fact that the nation allows a third gender. They are also planning a lawsuit over the matter.

Transgender people in China have been making some advances, but there is still a ways to go. For example, getting universities to change the name on transcripts can be a challenge. The South China Morning Post gives us this story.

Muslim trans woman Asan Sohoh.

We tend to think of Thailand as a very progressive sort of a place, but three provinces in the south of Thailand have a Muslim majority. There, life for transgender women is not the same as it is elsewhere in the country, as the South China Morning Post reports.

Queensland, Australia has dumped an old law that made married trans people who wanted legal recognition of their gender get a divorce. Last week the state’s parliament amended the law to allow birth certificate gender changes without having to get divorced. Learn more from The Guardian.

By this point in time, we have heard a lot about the importance of supportive families. It still is nice when the mainstream press, such as the Vancouver Star, writes about supportive parents.

Art Leonard tells us of an unsung decision by a New York state appeals court in Brooklyn, which agreed with the previous decision that a certain company was guilty of discrimination on the basis of sex when they fired a transgender employee. The interesting thing is that the decision does not mention that the plaintiff is transgender, which was the basis for the complaint. Apparently, lawyers for the defendants did not argue that transgender people were not protected against “discrimination on the basis of sex,” so the appeals court’s decision does not mention it.

Chase Johnsy

The English National Ballet has recently added a gender-fluid dancer named Chase Johnsey to their female dancers. He was profiled in The New York Times last week but Pink News has more about him.

If you have had unprotected sex with someone and now find yourself concerned that you may have contracted HIV you should get tested so you can either stop worrying or take steps to get treatment. For National HIV Testing Day Walgreen’s is offering free AIDS testing in over 180 cities on Wednesday, June 27 from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Find a location near you by clicking here.

The trans dating website Transgenderdate has announced that to commemorate Pride 2018 they will be donating a portion of all new joins on their site during June 2018 to the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE). They have other specials going on to celebrate Pride Month. Check out the press release on their site.

TWITs

Last week, officials from the British Parliament said that reform of the Gender Recognition Act does not by itself mean that spaces reserved for one gender have to be opened up to all. The Daily Mail on Sunday wrote their article about this in such a way that it could be used in a class on how not to write such an article. They refer to transgender women as “men who identify as women,” and emphasize that they can be banned, even though this is so in a few cases but untrue in general. You can read the TWIT Award-winning article here.

Philadelphia Magazine has a review of a drag queen called Aunt Mary Pat DiSabatino. Apparently, this performer has received a reputation for being anti-transgender, and has developed a following that seems to anticipate some anti-transgender jokes. The review spends almost as much time describing the audience as describing the performer. For using a drag performer as an excuse to mock transgender people, the audience at Aunt Mary Pat DiSabatino’s show gets a TWIT.

A group called the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property has created a pamphlet and website called Ten Reasons Why Transgenderism Is The Family’s Worst Enemy. They claim that “what the transgender revolution wants is self-destructive, tyrannical, unscientific, immoral, abusive, and unhealthy,” despite the fact that scientific journals keep finding more reasons why supporting transgender people is the right thing to do, failing to support transgender people leads to a very unhealthy thing called suicide, and transgender people who are supported are far less self-destructive than those who are not. For being so insistent on something while being consistently wrong about its effects, the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property gets a TWIT Award.

A group in the U.K. called We Need To Talk is holding a number of events in the U.K. and Ireland to protest the proposed reform of the Gender Recognition Act in the U.K. They go pretty far toward denigrating trans women and denying their existence while opposing any laws that support trans women. That’s bad enough but now a woman who claims to be an environmentalist stood up at one of their (secret) meetings and blamed trans women for polluting the rivers and the seas with “synthetic hormones” which are causing the fish to change gender. Since the estrogen peed out by trans women is identical chemically to that found in cisgender women’s urine her statements are absurd and they win her a TWIT Award. Learn more and watch a video of the meeting if you like on the Pink News website.

The Democratic Party is often characterized as the “big tent” party where everyone is welcome no matter their race, religion, gender, etc. In Iowa 2 years ago a gender fluid person attempted to become a delegate at the Johnson County convention. They were not able to be fit in to any gender category included in the party’s constitution which uses binary gender identification only. That may have changed when the party’s State Central Committee met this past weekend but if it didn’t we’re holding a TWIT Award for them. Get the full story from the Iowa City Press-Citizen.

Over 50 House Democrats will sent a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan on Thursday asking why the House’s new sexual harassment and discrimination training leaves out issues of sexual orientation and gender identity. It seems that one Democratic member of the House learned that the people conducting the training were told to leave out sexual orientation and gender identity issues. Paul Ryan gets a TWIT Award for this. Learn more on the BuzzFeed website.

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