The Week In Trans 8/6/18

| Aug 6, 2018
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Sarina Thai in the Pantene ad.

Pantene Thailand is actively marketing their beauty products to trans people in that country. They have launched an ad campaign that features trans people from all walks of life. The campaign encourages people to “see beauty, not gender” by putting trans people’s stories on Facebook and Instagram. The videos will be on those media platforms through September. For more info visit the Branding in Asia website.

At a conference of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the formation of the Religious Liberty Task Force. This group will try to protect those who act according to “sincerely-held religious beliefs,” which, for some reason, often means denying service to same-sex couples or transgender people. The Washington Blade wrote about the conference before the appearance of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

A parade participant.

Sunday was the date of the annual Transgender March in Montreal, Canada. Hundreds took to the streets to bring attention to the problems faced by the Montreal trans community. Learn more on the story from CTV News Montreal.

A Michigan appeals court has reinstated the case of Yvette Cormier, who is suing Planet Fitness for cancelling her membership. She had complained about a transgender woman being in the changing room. The case was dismissed by a state court on the grounds that the membership rules do allow the gym to cancel memberships. The appeals court felt that the gym should have mentioned in its written policies that locker rooms would be assigned by gender identity. This story comes from Upper Michigan Source.

Ivey Gardner

Another Planet Fitness gym, this one in Leesburg, Florida, was sued for allowing a transgender woman, Ivey Gardner, into the ladies’ changing room. Ms. Gardner told her side of the story to WFTV News.

The State Department has responded to the story of transgender women having their passports cancelled. It says that it has not changed its policy, and that surgery is not required to get a gender change on a passport. The National Center for Transgender Equality agrees that the State Department is not targeting transgender women. Also of note, there are not a significant number of other transgender people saying that they had trouble with their passports as well. This update comes from the Washington Blade.

Joseph Kirby, the Probate and Juvenile Court judge in Warren County near Cincinnati, Ohio is being sued by the mothers of three trans teens. He denied the teens legal name changes. The attorney representing the teens and their mothers points out that Judge Kirby has shown a pattern and practice denying name changes for transgender children. Get more on the story from 13 CBS Sacramento.

Senators Kamala Harris and Tom Carper have introduced legislation which would add questions on sexual orientation and gender identity to the census. Such questions were considered for the 2020 census, but did not get included in the form by the census bureau. The Hill had this story.

Aimee Stephens

The Alliance Defending Freedom has filed an appeal to the Supreme Court in the case of R.G. and G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. Aimee Stephens. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals said that firing an employee because of her gender identity is a violation of Title VII, and that the funeral home does not have an exemption under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The A.D.F. wants the Supreme Court to overturn both of those points in the ruling. The Advocate has this story.

States are grappling with what to do about transgender people in healthcare policies. The state of Washington is requiring healthcare policies to cover transgender-related medical care, as part of its coverage of mental health care. Georgia is debating whether to adjust its Medicaid requirements to provide medical services to transgender people. As you might expect, there are people in Georgia who want to continue the state’s denial of transgender medical care, despite the fact that the Affordable Care Act currently requires it to be covered. (A federal court has blocked implementation of that part of the Affordable Care Act, and the Trump administration has not enforced that provision.)

Delaware has decided not to go ahead with Regulation 225, which would have provided explicit protections for transgender students in the state’s schools. There were more than 6,000 comments in response to the proposed regulation, according to Delaware State News.

Buffy and Hildy

Did you know that all thirty seven episodes of the ‘80s crossdressing sitcom Bosom Buddies has been available in a six DVD set since February? Now you can catch up on those episodes you missed because you didn’t want anyone in your family to know you were into it. Read a review of the DVDs on the DVD Talk website. The series can be yours for $19.79.

Ann Sinnot, a member of the Cambridge City Council from the Labour Party, has resigned her seat after four years after Councillor Sarah Brown introduced legislation which would say that transgender people can use the restroom of the gender with which they identify. That particular right was actually granted by the Equality Act 2010, and the proposed legislation simply would have brought local legislation in line with the law of the United Kingdom. Pink News has this story.

There was also some confusion about gender-neutral restrooms at the LoveLoud Festival in Utah. Organizers had said that there would be gender-neutral restrooms, but there were in fact not many, and festival staff were not aware of precisely which restrooms were gender-neutral and which were not. Organizers have asked concertgoers for feedback after the event, so that they can make a better policy for next time. This story comes from the Salt Lake Tribune.

Pink News tells us of a petition to include a transgender flag among the next set of new emojis. The creator of the petition, Charlie Craggs, notes there are other emojis of questionable need, particularly a lobster emoji that was recently added.


Ben Brantley, the theater critic for The New York Times, apologized for misgendering a character in the musical Head Over Heels. The character is played by Peppermint, a veteran of RuPaul’s Drag Race and someone who identifies as transgender. The character they play in the show is non-binary, but Mr. Brantley used third-person singular pronouns rather than the singular “they.” The online version of the review was revised. Pink News carried this story.

The United Grand Lodge of England, the central authority for the largest group of Freemasons in the world, has decided that transgender people can join in certain circumstances. A trans man can join after transition, while a member who transitions to female will not be dismembered. [Editor’s
Note: One would hope not.] The new guidelines were sent to all lodges. The Order of Women Freemasons and the Honourable Fraternity of Ancient Freemasons accept women, both cisgender and transgender, as members. Pink News carried this story.

WUSA9 tells the story of Nicola Van Kuilenburg, who discovered that Oakdale High School’s production of Shrek: The Musical included the t-slur. This did not sit well with the mother of a transgender child, who sent email to the director of the musical, the principal, and the school district. At first her complaint fell on deaf ears, though eventually the school board called on the director to remove the offensive word. However, shortly after that incident, Ms. Van Kuilenburg was fired from her job with the Maryland State Education Association.

There are plenty of stories out there about transgender women learning to use their voices in a more feminine way, and various teachers teaching this. The Washington Post had another such story.

Fagulous as Theresa May.

Britain’s rich history of drag gives us a drag version of Prime Minister Theresa May. Fagulous is the creator of the drag show Theresa May’s Legs Akimbo. Pink News has more. They also have an interview with drag artist Reuben Kaye, who says that even when he is in character, wearing a dress and make-up, “You can’t [help] but look at me and go, ‘Oh, that’s a dude!'” Even so, he says that drag blends the masculine and feminine.

To the many stories of transgender athletes, you can add rugby player Verity Smith. Smith has been playing on a women’s team in England, despite the fact that testosterone treatments have given him a full beard. His story was told by CNN.

Fourteen transgender women were being held in ICE custody since May. The women came to the southern border seeking asylum and were taken into custody and detained at the Cibola Country Correctional Center in Milan, New Mexico. Fortunately the ACLU of Massachusetts learned of their captivity and the Immigrant Protection Project went to work on a petition to get them released. Learn more at the Pride Source website.


The Sunday Times of London wrote, “Women’s lavatories at Tower Bridge, the Old Bailey, the Museum of London and dozens of other places could be opened to people who identify as transgender in the most radical move yet to promote their rights.” Transgender people have had the right to use the restroom of the gender with which they identify since the Equality Act 2010 went into effect. Nonetheless, the article says that a city bill to update the rights of transgender people would grant them this right. They then go on to discuss what a tremendous risk this would be. The fact that writer Andrew Gilligan was ignorant on this matter is bad, but that his editors either did not catch it or did not care about the matter is even worse. For fear-mongering based on an omission of fact, the Times of London gets a TWIT Award. Pink News covered this story.

Colin Hart, the leader of the British political pressure group which calls itself “the Christian Institute” wrote that the Bible calls on us to address everyone by their God-given gender, with no exceptions. He stated,”It is not loving for us to give the impression that the Christ we serve is happy with someone living as the opposite sex. Instead, we must call people to repent.” Oddly, the Jesus of the New Testament asked, “How can you remove a splinter from your brother’s eye when all the time you have a plank in your own?” In other words, he said that the people calling on others to repent should work on repenting their own sins. For ignoring the parts of the Bible that apply to him while folding other passages until he thinks that they condemn what he does not like, Colin Hart gets a TWIT. His comments can be found in Pink News. (By the way, the Talmud recognized six genders.)

The Alliance Defending Freedom recently held an event at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Parish in Hastings, Minnesota. They did not know it, but Dave Edwards, who along with his wife sued a local charter school to make them adopt policies that were more protective of transgender children (including his transgender daughter) was there. He reports that the lecture was very anti-transgender, and indeed had not only missing information (especially the fact that medical groups almost unanimously say that accepting someone’s gender identity is the best way to help a transgender person), but featured false information as well (especially the statement that the Gavin Grimm case had been dismissed as moot). For spreading false and deceptive information, the featured speaker, Renee Carlson, gets a TWIT Award. Zack Ford of Think Progress had a story on this incident.

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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