The Week In Trans 7/9/18

| Jul 9, 2018 | Reply

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Teddy Geiger

A songwriter/producer who has written chart topping hits for artists like Shawn Mendez, and has produced albums for The Dixie Chicks and other artists, has come out as transgender. Teddy Geiger was signed to a record deal as a singer/songwriter when she was a 16-year-old boy. After wearing out from the stress of touring to support her album releases she retreated to her hometown and gradually, with the help of therapy, came to realize she needed live her life as a woman. Read her story in The New York Times.

The BBC conducted an internal survey, and found they have more than 400 employees who identify as transgender. (Technically, the last word of that sentence should be in quotes, but only because the word is directly copied from the survey form.) The number, which represents roughly 2% of their total workforce, came as a surprise to management, but not in a negative way. Tunde Ogungbesan, the BBC’s Director of Diversity, said that these results would be used in rewriting the rules on “fairness and terminology” at the BBC. The Daily Mail had this story.

Two stories about the ban on transgender people in the U.S. military came out this week. The Palm Center released a report which said that the current system, now two years old, is working just fine. According to this report, nearly everybody in the chain of command says that there is no problem. The Palm Center press release includes examples of particular transgender people in the military who are doing their jobs well. Then, The New York Times reports that transgender recruits are not being accepted into the military at a reasonable rate. They find only two recruits who have been accepted. Others are being asked for more detailed medical information or otherwise being kept on the hook, while some have been rejected outright.

Joanna Harper

A couple of weeks ago Fox News host Tucker Carlson invited a trans athletics expert to appear on his show. Her name is Joanna Harper and she was part of the group that drafted the International Olympic Committee’s trans policy in 2016. Carlson brought her on to comment on the inclusion of trans athletes in high school sports. Particularly the inclusion of trans girls in female track and field events in Connecticut. He expected she would insist that the girls had every right to participate. Her answer caused him to be silent for 1.6 seconds. Find out what she said in an article on Out Sports.com.

For more on LGBTQ athletes in high school sports take a look at this article in Inside Higher Ed. Thanks to Jamie Roberts for pointing out the story.

Buzzfeed made a list of the anti-LGBT things that President Trump and his administration have done. Eight of the thirteen items are specifically anti-transgender. In a similar vein, former TGForum contributor Jennifer Finney Boylan wrote a piece advocating the impeachment of President Trump, using the Declaration of Independence as a guide.

New Jersey has three new laws covering transgender people. These laws cover such things as birth and death certificates, including allowing a parent or guardian to update the birth certificate of a minor without requiring proof of surgery. They also have created a Transgender Equality Task Force, which will assess legal and societal barriers to equality in the state and make recommendations. This story comes to us from Gay Star News.

In Montana, an effort to get a proposal on the ballot that would have restricted restroom use according to a person’s birth certificate did not qualify. In fact, they seem to have less than half of the necessary signatures for the measure to get onto the ballot. The Billings News has this story.

In contrast to the United States, the government of Britain is convening a public consultation on plans to update the Gender Recognition Act. “Trans women are women — that is the starting point,” said Equalities Minister Penny Morduant. Pink News has an interview with the minister. If you wish to join this consultation, click here.

Sean Miranda

In Costa Rica, a transgender student, Sean Miranda, was one of four students chosen to participate in the inauguration of the new president. The Tico Times tells of the importance of this story.

As members of the Episcopal Church gather in Austin, Texas, they are presented with some serious proposals. Among them is one which would make the language of the Book of Common Prayer gender-neutral. This could be tricky, since one of the most common Christian prayers — taken from the Gospels — refers to God as “Our Father.” There also are some who are calling for a special ceremony to welcome a transgender person in to a parish in his or her identified gender. This story was covered by Gay Star News.

On Friday, the World Cup team from Belgium beat the team from Brazil, eliminating the South American country’s team from the tournament. Perhaps the Brazilian team could have used some help from Meninos Bons de Bola, a team of trans men who play soccer. The team is profiled in the Los Angeles Times.

In Pakistan, thirteen transgender people decided to try for office in the upcoming elections. They were dismayed that the forms for candidates only listed two genders, despite the fact that national law recognizes three genders. Now, as if in response, the Free and Fare Election Network announced that 25 transgender people would be appointed as election observers. They will be among the people seeing that the election is conducted in a fair manner. The Express Tribune has this story.

Dante “Tex” Gill

In entertainment news, Scarlett Johansson has said that she would like to play the part of trans man Dante “Tex” Gill in a biopic. Gill ran a number of brothels. Several transgender actors and actresses have expressed their displeasure at the idea of having a transgender person played by a cisgender actor yet again, and they have received a lot of flack and even death threats, according to this story in Pink News. The Express used the controversy to tell the story of Tex Gill, while CNN ran a list of transgender or gender non-binary actors who could play the part. (The Express garners a TWIT Award for consistently referring the Gill with feminine pronouns.)

In connection with the local opening of A Kid Like Jake, the San Antonio Current made a list of 8 transgender characters who broke the mold.

Shortly after being surprised at how many transgender people work for their company, the BBC revisited a pair of schoolgirls whom they first interviewed some time ago. Jessica is now eleven years old, old enough to get puberty blockers. Here is a link to the interviews.

Courtney Act

Courtney Act, the gender-fluid drag queen who won Britain’s Celebrity Big Brother this year, will become the host of a late night television show which she calls a Dragzine. The show will appear on Channel 4 in Britain, according to Pink News.

Speaking of drag queens, Tess Tickle was offended when she saw the mayor of the town of Ferryhill, England, retweet a cartoon depicting a man with a beard in the ladies’ room, to the horror of a little girl who was looking to her mother for comfort. Aside from its lack of humor, the cartoon also suffered from factual errors — allowing transgender people into the restroom of the gender they identify with does not allow a bloke with a beard into the ladies’ room, plus the restroom in the cartoon has no stalls, unlike a real ladies’ room. Tess Tickle publicly pointed out the hatred that was behind this cartoon and other posts, many from nearby towns supported her, and Mayor Richard Smith resigned. Gay Star News carried this story.

John Barrowman, know from Doctor Who and Torchwood, who has been known to slip into a dress and high heels from time to time, tweeted some pictures of himself, his husband, and some guests of theirs on the Fourth of July. Mr. Barrowman was seen wearing red high heels and a red, white, and blue cape. You can find the pictures on his Instagram account.

Three transgender women of color have been murdered in Jacksonville this year. Now, First Coast News reports that there was a fourth, in January, just before the three we knew about.

Slate is running a series of essays on passing. Many of them are about LGT people passing as straight, or at least trying to do so. Some of them are indeed about transgender people. Alex Myers tells us that many historical stories of women passing as men are not really about trans men, but merely women who were not allowed to hold certain jobs in their society. Billie Hauk writes that many people overcompensate for their transgender feelings by attempting to present as an exemplary member of their assigned sex. Catherine Chen writes about the importance of makeup. Brynn Tannehill writes that it isn’t possible for every transgender person to blend in with others.

The USA has large conventions that celebrate transgender identities. Fantasia Fair, Southern Comfort and others. In Britain they have the Sparkle Weekend. It’s a celebration of being transgender and it happens every year in Manchester. It’s got entertainment, vendor booths and the atmosphere of a street fair — with glitter. Read about it and view video on the Manchester Evening News website.

The Economist has begun hosting a series of essays on the subject of transgender identities. Sadly, about half of the essays seem to be taking what would broadly be called an anti-transgender point of view. One wishes that the writers of these essays would read the other essays in the series. The editors feel that this provides “balance,” but really, it tips the scale by giving anti-science folks credence. The introduction to the series can be found here.

As Jess Singal’s cover story in The Atlantic continues to attract attention, Harron Walker of Jezebel discovered that Mr. Singal is part of an exclusive online group with some distinguished writers and academics. These roughly 400 people have been giving Mr. Singal a lot of positive feedback on the story, telling him how “balanced” it is and how important its topic is, and dismissing criticism by transgender people as the work of a fringe element. What this mostly shows is that his work is not being criticized for its journalistic merits or lack thereof. The article can be found here.

Mila Madison related the experience of watching a high-school graduation ceremony in which the gowns were assigned according to the sex of the student, and the joy of watching her daughter share her white gown with a transgender classmate. This can be found at Transgender Universe.

Allison WhiteThe latest transgender candidate to throw her fascinator hat into the ring is a high school teacher named Allison White who is running at-large for Virginia Beach City Council. Ms. White was inspired by the election of Danica Roem. Learn more about her and her campaign from GayRVA.com.

Any time that a school attempts to impose a uniform standard on students, there will be some students who wish for a different type of uniform. Some girls love to wear skirts, while others hate skirts. The Sun bemoans the fact that many schools are abandoning uniforms with skirts, and blames the desire not to offend transgender people for this trend, even though the schools are catching up to fashion trends of the last half-century.

Dayna Smith

In other election news the first transgender candidate for the South Carolina Senate has announced her intention to run for a shot at the general election in November. She is running against two men for the Democratic nomination to run against a Republican candidate in an election to replace a senator who lost his senate seat after he plead guilty to misconduct in office charges. The candidate’s name is Dayna Smith and she is a trans activist in the state. Learn more from ABC Columbia.

Did you know that there is a camp for transgender men? Well, there is, and Mother Jones has the stories of some of the campers.

USA Today featured a piece written by a plastic surgeon who performs surgeries on transgender patients. He tells of the life-changing effects of the surgery.

Alex Barasch writes at the Washington Post of the dangers of finding a biological explanation for why some people are transgender. He worries that finding a biological basis could lead to an attempt to destroy that biological trait. Thanks to Jamie Roberts for also pointing out the story.

TWITs

Ayalon Insurance, a health insurance company in Israel, denied the claim of a transgender man who asked for reimbursement for his co-pay on a mastectomy. The company said that the procedure was for a “mental disorder,” and that his policy did not cover such a procedure. Israel’s national health insurance did cover their part of the cost of the procedure. Yet, the insurance company says that the claimant did not provide sufficient documentation of medical need. For refusing to abide by their agreement, Ayalon Insurance gets a TWIT Award. Haaretz has this story.

Derick Dillard’s one claim to fame is that he married into a large family which was the subject of a television reality show. He has previously stated views opposed to transgender people, through social media messages that specifically addressed Jazz Jennings, who is the subject of a reality show on the same network. The network then announced that they had no plans to feature Mr. Dillard in the show about his wife’s family. To the surprise of few people, he posted another such tweet recently, calling Jazz’s gender-confirmation surgery “child abuse.” The real abuse is his bullying of transgender people. For total obliviousness to his own sin, Derick Dillard gets a TWIT Award. His tweet comes to us from In Touch Weekly.

Someone went to a lot of trouble to create a fake poster for a pride event in Bend, Oregon. They included a picture of Desmond Napoles in a tutu at New York City’s Pride Parade three years ago, basically saying that the teenage drag performer would be there. They also promoted a speech from self-described pedophile Todd Nickerson. Among the sponsors listed were NAMBLA and the Human Dignity Coalition. The Human Dignity Coalition is a real group, and they are a sponsor of the real Pride events in Bend, Oregon. Whoever did this gets a TWIT. Gay Star News has this story.

Two unfortunate incidents happened at Pride of London. First, a group called “Get The L Out” led the parade, carrying signs with anti-transgender messages. Then, eight women blocked the road and held up a banner which read, “Transactivism Erases Lesbians.” The mayor’s office has issued a statement, saying that they “did not condone” the anti-transgender messages. Apparently, these groups feel that they have not been heard, although in fact they have been heard and found to not have persuasive arguments. Rather than trying better logic, they have resorted to obnoxious behavior. For sheer rudeness, these protestors get a TWIT.

This last award comes with the warning that we might be falling victim to an elaborate joke, but we doubt it. Terry Gilliam, who appeared in Monty Python’s Flying Circus before becoming a director, has declared himself to be “a black lesbian in transition.” Now, it should be pointed out that the original comment came as a point about how Monty Python’s Flying Circus would not be allowed to do some of their sketches today because of a desire to not offend anyone, but then, even in those days, they had criticism for that sort of thing. He was reacting to the BBC’s controller of comedy commissioning, Shane Allen, who said,”If you’re going to assemble a team now, it’s not going to be six Oxbridge white blokes. It’s going to be a diverse range of people who reflect the modern world.” While there would be such a desire, it is not impossible to imagine a team such as the Pythons being put together. It should be pointed out that Piers Morgan, who has received a few of TWIT Awards himself, was interviewing Mr. Gilliam, who could possibly have been trying to pull a Stephen Colbert-style put-on. On the assumption that he was really expressing his viewpoint, Terry Gilliam gets a TWIT Award. Pink News has this story.

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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