The Week In Trans 7/30/18

| Jul 30, 2018

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Lewis Bailey

In our last TWIT we told you about 14-year-old Lewis Bailey who wanted to perform his drag act for his school’s talent show, but Castle High School and Visual Arts College in Leeds, England, would not permit it. They said that the act was age-inappropriate and vaguely referred to some “law.” He has received an invitation to appear at DragWorld UK, where he will join some of the biggest names in the European drag community. (The event says he will perform the very act his school would not allow him to perform, but that is his choice.) He also was invited to join Brighton & Hove Pride and to perform there. His story can be found on Pink News.

Last week marked the first anniversary of President Trump’s tweets announcing the intention to ban transgender people from the U.S. military. Stars And Stripes has an article on the ban and how it has not done well in courts. The first trial could begin as early as February of next year, but the way that the Justice Department is appealing every decision could cause the trials to be delayed significantly.

The Trump administration’s State Department is not allowing trans women who have held passports with a female gender marker to renew unless they provide proof that they have had surgery. The State Department says (in a contradictory statement) that proof of surgery is not required to get a passport but at least two trans women, one of whom has had a passport in her correct gender for 20 years, say they were told they could not renew unless they provided proof of surgery. Get the story from Complex.com.

Alaska Bout

Alaska Bout, also known as Luis Contera Ponce, was found dead in Veracruz, Mexico. The victim had won of the title Gay Queen of Veracruz 2018. Mexico News Daily has this story.

In Florida, U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Corrigan has ruled that a trans male student should have access to the boys’ restroom at his school. In his decision, Judge Corrigan writes “[T]he evidence is that Drew Adams poses no threat to the privacy of any of his fellow students. Rather, Drew Adams is just like every other student at Nease High School a teenager coming of age in a complicated, uncertain and changing world.” Pink News has this story.

In a related case, the Alliance Defending Freedom has now twice lost while trying to argue that accommodating transgender students violates the privacy of cisgender students. On the same week that an appeals court in Pennsylvania issued a revision to its ruling, Judge Marco A. Hernandez, a federal district court judge in Oregon, also found that allowing a transgender student to use the restroom and changing room with his peers did not constitute a violation of the privacy of other students. This decision does rely on the one from Pennsylvania, but it also relies on state law in Oregon, where state guidelines support transgender students being treated as a member of their preferred gender. This story can be found in Metro Weekly.

In another legal victory, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of a woman who sued the state of Wisconsin for denying her hormone replacement therapy after she was diagnosed as transgender while in a state prison. The state tried to argue that, because she would be eligible for release soon, there might be a disruption in the medication as she begins life on the outside, but the court found that to be a poor reason to deny treatment for a medical condition. Think Progress has this story.

Maxine and her mom.

A transgender teen named Maxine was denied communion at a Catholic church in Charlotte, North Carolina. The lay distributor who denied her communion said she had been chewing gum, which some see as a violation of the requirement to fast for an hour before receiving communion. Others don’t think that chewing gum violates the fasting rule. There also is a disagreement about whether the transgender teen was told that she is living in sin while at the church. The whole thing was written up in the Charlotte Observer.

A barber shop in Dublin was fined by a court for refusing to cut a trans man’s hair. They claim that they had an agreement with another shop nearby, that they would only give haircuts to men, while the other shop would only have female customers. The owner also claims that this was a misunderstanding by the particular barber in question. This story comes from the Independent of Ireland.

The Chamber of Deputies in Luxembourg, a small European country that many cannot find on a map, has voted to de-medicalize the process for changing legal gender. Luxembourg Times has the story.

In Sean Spicer’s new book, he admits that Donald Trump never meant what he said at the Republican convention about protecting LGBTQ people. It was just something he said to stop a petition which said that some delegates would never accept Donald Trump as the Republican Party’s nominee. LGBTQ Nation has this story.

A trans woman who was shot to death while driving home in Mississippi last month has now been identified as Diamond Stephens. Police are still looking for a suspect in the case, according to the Advocate.

A transgender woman in Detroit survived shooting after she wrestled a gun awayfrom a shooter at a gas station. You can see the video right here.

In Jounieh, Lebanon, a trans woman was attacked in public, and at least five people saw but did not help. When police arrived, they arrested the trans woman for solicitation, but did not charge her attacker. Pink News has this story.

A new paper finds that transgender students are certainly concerned about restrooms, but they are interested in much more than just that. They also want their preferred names and pronouns, and generally to be treated with respect. You can find a summary of the paper at Inside Higher Education. Thanks to Jamie Roberts for also passing along this story.

Candidate Scarlett Tay.

While transgender political candidates are still enough of a novelty that they get some publicity simply for being a transgender candidate (case in point: New Brunswick’s first openly trans candidate ‘doing it for a whole community’), The Advocate writes that just getting into the political race is an accomplishment for a trans candidate.

Skyler Jay, who appeared on Queer Eye, is suing the Georgia Board of Regents, because their health insurance would not pay for expenses related to his transition. The Advocate has this story.

In Israel, the city of Lod held the first-ever Jewish-Arab Pride, bringing people from both communities together. It had another first — it was the first Pride event to feature a speech by an Arab member of the Knesset. Pink News has more.

Abby Stein is a trans woman who has been ordained a Hasidim rabbi. She is descended from the founders of that ultra-orthodox branch of Judaism. She gives talks about transgender issues as well as Jewish issues. The Jerusalem Post ran a profile of her. She apparently will be around for Jerusalem’s March for Pride and Tolerance on Thursday.

Wren Vetens paid for her own surgery.

Two Medicaid recipients in Wisconsin have won their suit and forced the state to pay for their gender confirmation surgeries. It may be a short-lived victory, as the case hinged on the Affordable Care Act’s prohibition on discrimination against LGBT people, and the current administration is aiming to undo that portion of the Affordable Care Act. This story comes from the Washington Post, who also had this story about a trans woman in Wisconsin who battled the state and an insurance company before funding her surgery on her own. Wren Veten’s story is also in the Kaiser Health News.

The term “TERF” has come to be recognized by many as a slur. The Economist recently ran a series of essays on transgender people and their rights, and they told their writers not to use the term “TERF,” saying that the acronym is used to silence those who do not agree with rights for transgender people. Pink News has an overview of the current state of the term.

Daniela Arroyo Gonzalez

After a 15-year legal battle, Puerto Rico’s government is now allowing transgender people on the island to correct their birth certificate to reflect their gender identity. In 2005, Alexis Delgado Hernández, a transgender woman, first filed a suit to have her gender modified on her birth certificate and driver’s license. She was denied and was later joined by Daniela Arroyo-González and one other trans person in fighting for her rights. Get the story from NBC Washington.

Two shopping malls in Calgary, Alberta, have been using facial recognition software on cameras in the mall directory. The software seems to figure out the age and gender of the person using the directory. CBC News reports that some people view this as a privacy concern.

A woman in the suburban Philadelphia area came out as trans in 2015 and as a result lost her family, her job, and her home. As a person of faith she longed for a spiritual home where she could seek solace. So, not expecting much in the way of acceptance, she attended a service at the Love in Action United Church of Christ. Not only did she find acceptance, she joined the congregation who welcomed her and then cofounded an LGBT support group at the church, and represented the church in front of the city council when they were preparing to vote on an anti-discrimination ordinance. Read her story in The Philadelphia Inquirer.

In the Philippines, “LGBT Help and Protection Desks” are appearing at police stations. They are specifically tasked with helping LGBT people who may have been victims of hate crimes. This story comes from Pink News.

Awa Puna

A young trans woman of Maori descent has been featured in a photo shoot for New Zealand Woman’s Day. Awa Puna is an artist and award-winning filmmaker. She was outed as trans at the age of 14 by a “friend” who was trying to hurt her on social media. Now she thanks that person for forcing her to come out and begin living as her true self. Read her story from Woman’s Day on the Now to Love website.

Japan has had trouble attracting tourists to certain areas that were hard hit in the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of 2011, especially Fukushima. They are now trying to market these places as a destination for the LGBT community. Japan does not have a reputation for being particularly friendly to LGBT people, but perhaps this initiative is meant to change that reputation.

45 years ago, the BBC began a series called Open Door, in which members of marginalized communities could talk about issues that were important to them. A couple of months into the series, the show featured a group of transgender women. Pink News has this story.

Loeffelholz_as Mary Sunshine.

If you haven’t seen the Broadway show Chicago stop reading. Spoiler alert! There is a drag character in the show who is always played by a male actor in drag. She’s Mary Sunshine and over the years several actors who could sing well in a feminine voice have taken on the role. In the current Broadway production there was an understudy who was always on call in case the principal actor could not perform. His name was Jeff Loeffelholz and  one week after a tough rehearsal, on June 29, he killed himself. You can get the facts in The New York Times.

TWITs

A man in Alberta changed his legal gender simply to save on car insurance. He said that he was quoted a price of $4,500 per year as a man, but a woman driver would be charged $3,400 per year, so he had his birth certificate and license changed to “female” to get the better rate. This has quite naturally got transgender rights groups upset. For this stunt, he gets a TWIT Award. CBC News has this story. (It would be ironic if in order to file a claim with his insurance company he was forced to dress in women’s clothing.)

The Herald of Scotland decided to print a column by Maggie Mallon, who describes herself as a “journalist and mother.” She is all concerned about transgender children — in the wrong way. She is concerned that accepting these children will give other children the wrong message. Yes, a message of tolerance and acceptance is such a bad thing to teach people. Moreover, what kind of journalist did not ask experts such as social workers and doctors about the impact of failing to accept transgender children? She gets to share her TWIT with the editors who decided that her reactionary nonsense was good enough to print without contrary opinion.

The Daily Mail has an article with the shocking headline, “Autistic children given sex change drugs by NHS.” The subhead, “Up to 150 youngsters treated with puberty-blocking jabs ‘might not even be transgender'” contains two indications that there is some uncertainty as to what happened. It turns out that someone found a high percentage of children in the program were somewhere on the autism scale, did a little math, then came out with the headline statement. No one has shown that any of these children are not both autistic and transgender. For creating a controversy out of hype, the Daily Mail gets a TWIT Award.

A membership in Planet Fitness costs about $10 per month. A Michigan woman who was tossed off the member list when she warned other female members that there was a trans woman using the locker room sued the company, and appealed when she lost. She’s now appealing for the second time. We guess it’s not the money but the (low) principal of the thing. Her persistence earns her high legal fees and another TWIT Award. Get the story from Click on Detroit.

We must ask a question. Why is Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council so concerned about the welfare of trans people? He is constantly writing about how bad transitioning is and how trans people who get surgery are more likely to kill themselves. Now he has written a column for Life Site News in which he cites a study saying that trans women taking female hormones stand a 80 to 90% chance of having stroke or heart attack. The study was done by Kaiser Health. But why is Perkins so worried about trans people’s health. His “concern” gets him another TWIT Award. (One of the researchers said that the Kaiser study showed there is a higher risk but it’s not that bad. “There were 148 cardiovascular events recorded out of the 2,842 transgender women in the eight-year period.”)

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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