Trans Media Arts

| Sep 18, 2017

Richard Simmons

Welcome to September’s Trans Media Arts! Once again, we change seasons as yet another Fall approaches. I love Fall, as you well know if you read my personal column right here on TGForum. It signals a change. Summer is gone and it’s time for movie studios to dump their garbage, the TV season goes white hot with new shows and returning ones, and the music industry starts to release its big Fall records. A nip is in the air, so cuddle up to your computer or device and spend a few moments with TMA.

Richard Simmons’ lawsuit against The National Enquirer has been dealt a serious blow in court. A judge seems to be ready to rule in favor of the gossip rag for a surprising reason. Simmons sued both The Enquirer and Radar Online in May for a series of articles that alleged the 69-year-old fitness guru was transitioning to become a woman. Simmons says that, while he holds no personal malice toward the transgender community, the articles were false and defamatory to his character. Simmons’ lawyers argued that, as a public figure, he has a legal right to “not be portrayed as someone he is not.” However, a judge is tentatively ruling that alleging someone is transgender is not necessarily defamatory. The judge went on to explain that, while being transgender may subject a person to ridicule or prejudice from a large portion of the population, “the court will not validate those prejudices by legally recognizing them.” Bravo to this judge if this decision holds. Simmons’ lawyers are continuing to claim that The Enquirer made up the story, that this is not a perfect world and prejudices occur, thus harming their client. The flamboyant and super-feminine Simmons continues to be reclusive and secretive with his life recently leading to wild speculations.



Charice has now become Jake. Charice Pempengco was a teenage singing sensation with a “golden voice” and even appeared on the Fox TV show Glee. But time has passed and the diminutive girl who once wowed audiences with the high notes and duetted with Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli, has become a confident tenor named Jake Zyrus. Before revealing his transgender identity in June, Zyrus was the pride of the mainly Catholic nation of The Philippines. But Zyrus, now 25, said Charice’s success never felt right prompting him to make a rare, courageous move in the conservative society by announcing he was a man. In a nation where same-sex marriage and divorce are outlawed, Zyrus admits his journey from the pigtailed girl in a dress to a man was a long and painful one. “I felt like I had a wall. I could not express what I wanted to say, what I wanted to show. I could not show who I really was. A lot of young people will kill for all those achievements. I was happy with the achievements but I was not happy with who I was. Now I feel so light.” Jake has been in the public eye since rising from the depths of poverty to becoming a YouTube star whose covers of pop hits landed him on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, the Oprah Winfrey Show, Barack Obama’s pre-US presidential inauguration galas, and Oscar parties. Good Luck to Jake in his new life!

My favorite band Against Me!, featuring trans lead singer Laura Jane Grace has been hitting the road and rocking venues in support of their latest album Shape Shift With Me. Since Laura’s coming out in 2012, she and the boys have renewed vigor and energy for writing, recording and performing new material. The band blew through San Francisco this past Wednesday at The Regency Ballroom in downtown. Unfortunately due to not feeling so good, I missed them this time. It has been too long since that incredible 2014 show when I first was exposed to Against Me! live. But, alas, they are touring machines and are already writing and planning their next album. They are bound to be back in the Bay Area soon. After all, the Bay Area is home to so many great punk and rock bands throughout the years. I vow to see them again! The tour rolls on into Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and OKC in the next few weeks. Check out the tour dates near you!

Much to the chagrin of many in the trans community, RuPaul’s Drag Race keeps raking in the Emmys signaling that it is not going away anytime soon. The ninth season wrapped in June and the show has already won for Outstanding Costumes” and “Picture Editing.” RuPaul won for “Outstanding Host of a Variety, Nonfiction Or Reality Program” for the second year in a row. The show received eight nominations for this year’s Emmys, with the award for “Best Reality Competition Series” still up for grabs at the primetime Emmys on Sept. 17.

Candy Lee

The world’s first transgender wrestler Leilani Tominiko, or Candy Lee as she goes by in the sports entertainment world, made her debut in 2016 and is seeking to make it all the way to the WWE in the United States someday. Leilani is a statuesque 22-year-old Samoan who currently wrestles for Impact Pro Wrestling. One of her signature moves is called the Candy Crush. “I haven’t really faced any challenges. Everyone’s pretty accepting. It’s a family-feel vibe with the promotion that I wrestle for. I haven’t really faced any form of discrimination . . . I just get treated normal,” she says.

The-th-th-the-th-the that’s all folks! See you next month for Rocktober! It will be a scarrrry good time. Stay safe out there and party hard!

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Category: Community News, Fun & Entertainment, Media, Music

About the Author ()

I am a transwoman originally from Pittsburgh, PA. I have been living full time for 4 years. I work in retail but am an artist/Graphic Designer and aspiring writer. I tend to address the controversial in my writing. I would love to change the world one article at a time. I moved here to The San Francisco Bay Area to start over, again. The adventure continues...

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