Scarlett Johansson pulls out of playing a transgender role in “Rub & Tug” after a backlash from the LGBT community. Rollo Ross reports.
DS Doll Technology says that it has built a new factory in order to facilitate manufacturing of the new Ex-Lite doll, which is shipping in a few weeks from Cloud Climax.
XBIZ.com – Pleasure & Retail
Actress and New York gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon has announced that her oldest child has come out as transgender.
Caitlyn Jenner is speaking out hours after President Donald Trump announced a military ban on transgender people.
In a blog post on her personal website, the I Am Cait star expressed her…
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Entertainment News! –
When Kansas State Representative Harold Lane announced his retirement, I didn’t hesitate to make it known that I planned to try become the nominee to fill his unexpired term. November 14, the six Democratic precinct committee members for Kansas House District 58 gathered together to make that nomination. It went to Reverend Ben Scott. Governor Brownback will now make an appointment to fill this seat in the Kansas Legislature.
There is much more to this story than a transgender woman from Topeka not being selected as the nominee. It was not a difficult decision for me to place my name into consideration for this seat. I have long had my eye on the right opportunity to come along. This one certainly had all the earmarks of the right opportunity.
Far more took place in that room than just the six precinct committee member electing a nominee. When Bryan Lowry of The Wichita Eagle ran a story on this little election, it was picked up by The Associate Press and went out coast to coast. It was also picked up by newspapers across Kansas.
Perhaps the most important thing I set out to do was to give a few young people, who happen to be transgender, some hope that they could live authentically and make it in this world. I’m thinking that we — me and all the other marginalized people who stand up and claim our dignity — are making a difference. The door has been opened. It can never be closed again. Speaking loudly and clearly I say to you, You can more than make it in this world. You can make this world a place where we don’t have to wonder if we can live authentically.
I got to give a speech before the election. A lot of people were there who didn’t really know much about me. Now they do. Several of these people, leaders in the community, came up to me after the meeting and shared how much they appreciated what I had to say. Amazing things will come out of this. Multiple requests have already been made for me to share about my journey.
I have learned in the last several years that when I put good stuff out to the universe, good stuff comes back to me. I am extremely excited to see what good stuff will come from this. I am certain of one thing, the universe knows exactly where I am supposed to be. It is leading constantly to that precise place and I will arrive at the precise time I am supposed to arrive.
A couple weeks ago, I registered for the final two classes to achieve my Master of Social Work degree from Washburn University. If I had been appointed to the Kansas House of Representatives, I would have needed to postpone my MSW by as much as a year and a half. I couldn’t have been at my MSW practicum, and at the State Capitol at the same time. I knew, going into this, that no matter what happened, it was good.
I shook Rev. Scott’s hand on the way out of the meeting and offered my congratulations. In the speech he gave before the election, he talked about justice for all people. I am concerned that Rev. Scott does not believe justice for all people translates in to laws that make it illegal to discriminate against LGBT people. I could be wrong. If not, you can expect me to step up again.
Finally, I believe that every time we get the word transgender into a newspaper in Kansas, we bump the football a little bit down the field; a little closer to the goal line. We didn’t lose. We bumped the football far enough down the field to get a first down. We have a new set of downs and we still have the ball.
The end of this story is not yet written. In the course of this experience, I was asked several times what it would mean to be the first transgender woman elected to the Kansas Legislature. My response has been to say, We need to get to a place where we don’t have to recognize the first of any population to achieve something; a place where the legislature in Kansas is representative of the diversity in Kansas. Touchdown.
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The Department of Veterans Affairs opened its first health care clinic dedicated to transgender service members on Wednesday.
Housed within the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center in Ohio, the clinic will offer primary care services alongside hormonal therapy and mental health care. The VA center, which provides care to more than 112,000 people, is currently treating around two dozen transgender patients.
The clinic will be officially opened on Thursday with a ceremony.
The Human Rights Campaign noted there are an estimated 15,500 transgender service members in active duty, and 134,000 trans veterans.
The Pentagon continues to ban transgender troops from serving openly, but that policy is expected to be lifted sometime next year. Vice President Joe Biden announced his support for an end to the ban last month during the Human Rights Campaign’s annual dinner.
“No longer is there any question transgender people are able to serve in the United States military,” Biden said.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has also announced her strong support for transgender troops and veterans.
“We need to say with one voice that transgender people are valued,” Clinton told a group at the Human Rights Campaign. “They are loved, and they are us.”
Calls to the Louis Stokes Medical Center and the VA were not immediately returned.
Also on HuffPost:
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Life is full of choices!
Sometimes I struggle to decide whether I think this is a cliché or just a fact of life. I know that there are certain facts that are not choices. I believe that knowing our identity as one of them. I do subscribe to the following:
We do have a choice in what we do about it.
Whenever I think about all the choices I have made in my life — getting married, having kids and ultimately transitioning, I always wrestled with the choices in front of me. Which path should I take? What are the pros; the cons? Am I being selfish? Will someone get hurt? So many voices inside of me are arguing for each position it is often hard to be living in my own head! I constantly wondered why in the world are they doing that?
There have been so many times have I been faced with life changing choices. None of them were easy; as I let all those inner voices have their say. For most of those choices I sat without any movement for a long, long time before I took any action at all.
I suspect that almost everyone has seen the movie The Matrix. I marveled at how quickly Neo chose the Red Pill in the classic scene and was willing to go down the rabbit hole. It took me over five decades to be willing to go down my own rabbit hole to chase my Truth!
After my marriage ended in 2001, I was again single and wrestled with so many choices about my life. Deep down inside I knew that I was transgender but not another soul in the world knew of my inner struggle. My body and brain were still waging the war they have done for decade upon decade. My body had “needs!” You know what I mean. I got horny, I got turned on by women or thoughts of women. I needed release, pleasure it is called. I needed to reach that rolling alignment of neurons firing in unison as it travelled through my body and culminated in that release all of which we call orgasm. My body needed it, demanded it! Then there were parts of my mind that took over with the pangs of guilt and telling me it was so wrong as I was not really a man!
It did not matter whether I was with a partner or by myself, my body demanded that its needs were fulfilled. I was in my mid 50’s and finding it harder and harder to give the body what it wanted as it was struggling to get the release it desired.
Every night after work, my apartment was my big closet where the man disappeared and the woman appeared and dreamt that someday she would be real. It was her version of Pinocchio, as she wanted to be a “real girl!”
The war continued; my body wanted sex and pleasure, my mind wanted to live her truth. Like Neo in the Matrix I had to choose between pills, although they were both blue ones. One pill would allow the body to get what it desired, or as Neo was offered to wake up in my bed and believe what ever I wanted to believe.
The other pill, would undoubtedly allow me to stay in Wonderland and take me down the rabbit hole deeper and deeper with no way to return.
The choice for the mind
There was no voice like Morpheus within me to ever tell me it was my last chance to choose. I knew that the first choice was the easy one, but yet even when I chose it, the inner battle continued. The voices in my head to choose the rabbit hole were getting louder and stronger, even though the voices expressing fear and uncertainty were just as loud. In January 2010, I chose to go down the rabbit hole and find my truth.
I have made many choices in my life. Some turned out well and some were less successful. One choice in my life was to seek and follow my truth. It really does matter that it took me so many years before I did this. I never look back; I never ask that useless “what if” question. The fact that I always knew my truth but spent so much of my life denying it and letting my body have its needs fulfilled and listen to the voices of fear and shame are all in the past. I am happy to share them now because I know that although my own specific journey is unique, there are many others on journeys with variations on this theme and it is so hard to talk about our internal wars between our bodies and our minds when we are transgender.
For me, the trip down the rabbit hole is one that I am so happy to be taking as I go deeper and deeper into my truth. By body and mind are both at peace as they travel as partners along my adventures in my own Wonderland of just discovering and being me in each moment.
I have chatted with many friends how challenging these choices are as all the voices in their heads argue endlessly and get stuck. I have been there and know what that feels like, and I never can tell anyone how to choose his or her path. My own experience has allowed me to reflect that my body never really knew or cared about my mind’s truth, but over time, my mind’s dreams have outlasted my body’s perceived needs. This is just my story, and may not be true for anyone else.
I can only repeat what Morpheus told Neo –
“All I can offer is the Truth. Nothing More.”
If you seek yours, it will be yours and yours only!
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House Democrats want the Transportation Security Administration to change its airport screening procedures after Shadi Petosky—a transgender woman—was mistreated and held for more than 40 minutes at a security checkpoint because of an anomaly in…
“I was the mystery of an anatomy, a question asked but not answered,” says poet Lee Mokobe, a TED Fellow, in this gripping and poetic exploration of identity and transition. It’s a thoughtful reflection on bodies, and the meanings poured into them.
Giowana Cambrone is a charming woman with an incredible story. A transgender woman, LGBT activist, lawyer, professor of family law with a master’s degree in public policy and human development from Rio de Janeiro State University, Giowana participated in the coordination of the Rio de Janeiro branch of Rede Sustentabilidade (Sustainability Network) — a political party founded by Marina Silva– and played a key role in preparing the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB)/Rede coalition’s program for the 2014 elections.
In an interview, she told us about her personal experience, her view on the hetero-cis-normative society she lives in, and explained Rede’s views on sexual minorities.
Giowana also offered details on the controversy around chapters that addressed LGBT rights in Marina Silva’s program during the 2014 presidential elections.
Let me start with a personal question: How did you realize you were a woman? What was going on in your mind then?
I’ve known I was different from the hetero-cis-normative standard ever since I was a child. I remember watching the Silvio Santos show, a talent show where drag queens were performing. And then the host asked one of the drag queens how she felt. She gave an answer that would be considered inappropriate today, but I completely related to it. She said she felt like a woman trapped in a man’s body. From that moment on, I got to know myself better and I thought: “I am not alone, there are other people like me.” But I lived in the state of Minas Gerais, and there was a lot of prejudice. I didn’t feel accepted. I felt guilty, abnormal and even sinful. But I overcame all that.
What has changed since?
A lot has changed. Today I feel like I’ve accomplished something. I lived a life that wasn’t mine. I was unhappy. I was trapped for 30 years, with an identity that wasn’t mine. Gender rules that are imposed on us are very strict, and they oppressively dictate our behaviors. The transition process was not without struggle and pain– both emotional and physical. I had to deconstruct an identity shaped by the gender assigned to me at birth, and build another one that actually represented me. It was like I was impersonating a character. There was no Giowana in the old Giowana.
In an earlier interview, you said: “We live in a state with an imaginary heterosexual population.” Could you explain to our readers what you meant by that?
Actually, this is a concept proposed by a feminist named Ochy Curiel, who developed the notion of the “heterosexual nation.” Using this concept, I realized that heteronormativity and cisnormativity are very prevalent among the hegemonic ruling class. And this is reflected in public policies, legislation and the entire structure of the state. As a result, it is very hard to approve legislation that favors the LGBT population, even when it addresses very basic things, such as same-sex marriage or the recognition of trans as an identity. This suppresses access to essential citizen rights.
What do you think about the controversy around the Family Statute?
The Family Statute is a stillborn law. Today, the definition of family is much more pluralistic and diverse. Laws often become irrelevant due to the changes in the social dynamics, thus losing their purpose. But this law has been proposed without a social purpose. That is why I say it is stillborn. Moreover, they are proposing a Statute that goes against the interpretation of the Supreme Federal Court (STF), which is the guardian of the Constitution. In fact, it proposes a threatening political discourse. The main problem is that it is a prohibitive and hate-oriented discourse. The proposed Family Statute violates the constitutional principles of equality, fairness and freedom. They are trying to approve a law that discriminates against other, non-standard family configurations…This greatly concerns me. What defines a family is the bond of love and affection, which cannot be extinguished by a law. The families outside this imposed “normative standard” will exist, regardless of the law.
You were the first transgender person to be appointed as part of the Sustainability Network. How was this experience? Are you no longer a coordinator?
I participated in the coordination of Rede Rio. It was a very good experience. I had to leave for personal reasons. I was busy getting my master’s degree and also going into the job market, which took up more of my time than I had hoped. But I’m still active with Rede and I’m dedicated to the project.
Many people mention the editing of Marina’s campaign program in 2014. How do you feel about what happened then?
I helped prepare that program. We held meetings with representatives of the LGBT groups in the coalition, and I drafted the proposals that would be submitted to the program. As a human rights activist for many years now, I learned that one must go for the whole package. And that’s what we proposed. However, we knew that there would be mediation. That is, the program would not include everything we proposed. Because a program means goals, for which you will fight with all your political capital to accomplish. In the meantime, between the proposals for the a program and the mediations, everything changed. Eduardo Campos died in an airplane accident, the campaign was reset, and Marina Silva had to take the lead. All of this disrupted the normal flow of events. On that Friday when it [the LGBT program] was launched, people called me and said: “The program is out, the program is out!” When I read it, I saw that the proposal had been published in full. They even kept my original punctuation. I was very pleased, of course, but I found it odd that they had published it in full. Obviously, there had been no mediation. The final, mediated version of the document was published the following day. I was very upset, not so much because of the program, which hadn’t been changed substantially, but because of the mistake [in the editing process].
Nevertheless, one must recognize that the proposed program was still the most advanced compared to those of the other candidates, because they kept the chapter that allows adoption by same-sex couples in the program, and upheld the João Neri Act, which provides for the civil requalification of transgender people. However, the misunderstanding that took place during the publication stage unfortunately weakened the campaign, and we started being attacked and accused of having changed the program after Malafaia’s (a conservative evangelical minister) opportunistic tweets.
Malafaia was never an ally of Rede, and is an extremely opportunistic public figure. Saying that Malafaia had a role to play in Rede means you know nothing at all about the movement. As I see it, Marina has no restrictions on LGBT civil rights. I think Marina is someone who is very open to this human rights issue. You just have to read the final version of the program to understand that. In the heat of the campaign, though, the winners were those who resorted to marketing strategies, rather than those who presented proposals and made written commitments.
Is there room for the LGBT population in Rede?
Of course! Rede was born with sustainability in mind. You cannot think of sustainability without considering diversity. Diversity applies to all aspects of life. There is cultural diversity, biological diversity, human diversity and, of course, sexual diversity. That’s one of Rede’s commitments.
It is a party that welcomes human diversity, a party that welcomes pluralism and the diversity of voices. Rede is not a party of one color. It was born with special attention to the human condition.
The Diversidade em Rede (Network Diversity) has used a horizontal approach and a knowledge-sharing exercise to discuss and build an LGBT agenda within the party. We have already gotten two resolution proposals approved, in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, to guide the party’s policies regarding sexual diversity, as well as push for a secular state. Additionally, we have welcomed new congressmen and members of other parties, and shared our values and agendas with them.
Finally, what can people do to help improve the quality of life of the trans population?
There is so much, but at the same time it is very simple. The main problem is disrespect. It is as if society wished it could make transgender people invisible. But they exist. They are a reality that most people would rather not see. They are bodies that challenge the concept of gender. “Abnormal” when compared to social standards and relegated to societal margins.
The main problem is in not acknowledging transgender identities, which leads to other problems, such as difficulties in finding jobs. The labor market rejects them. There is a lack of opportunity. Today, approximately 90 percent of this population are employed as sex workers. No other oppressed or marginalized population, women, black people or any others, has ever been reduced to a single economic activity. I am not judging those who work in this industry willingly. The problem is when it is the only option.
If you don’t work, you don’t live and you don’t eat. Some people think that the transgender population lives on air, or glitter, or glamour. No, transgender people have to eat, have to drink and have to dress. They must have at least two meals a day. They must have access to health care and education. Now. And from time to time, they should be able to go to the movies.
However, these needs are neglected. While the rest of the LGBT community is discussing and claiming their civil rights, transgender people still have to discuss their rights to the most basic needs. Even the physiological ones, such as which restrooms they are allowed to use, or social rights, like work, health care and education. Something unthinkable in the 21st century.
This article first appeared on HuffPost Brazil and was translated into English.
Over the years I have been fascinated by my relationship with mirrors and how it has changed.
There were the years when I truly hated what I saw when I looked in the mirror. I hated that I had to wear glasses to see anything at all; I hated seeing my uncontrollable wavy and curly hair; and yes, as you know by know, I was so confused to see that boy, then man, looking back at me when I sensed that there was something terribly wrong.
There were the years after college when I lived on my own, and had long hair, and morphed from the hippie look of embroidered jeans, to the glam days of platform shoes before I got married. The mirror was my friend in those days. The illusion I saw of someone different that who I really was was more pleasing to me, but it still did not soothe my soul.
The years when I was married and raised a family, I had so many mixed episodes with mirrors and the illusions I saw back. There were the good days, the great days of being dad, when nothing else in the world mattered at all — not the future, not my career, not my underlying dysphoria. There were days when there was the feeling of being trapped, and I wondered whether happiness for me was an illusion that would never see the light of day. I never was quite sure who I would see back in the mirror each morning, and how hard it would be to get through each day.
I kept going. Day after day, year after year. Some days were plodding while some were filled with adventure and excitement, but I usually felt I was at the mercy of forces that were outside of my control.
I was taught that what I saw in the mirror was a view of reality. It took me a long time to understand that the mirror was only a two-dimensional representation — one with no depth at all, of me — a real multi-dimensional person. It was only an illusion of who I was. Yet, this illusion had so much power that I never knew it was not the true me.
The power of illusion fought to take over my life after my marriage ended. In 2001, I was single again at 54 years old and after 25 years of marriage, after raising a fabulous family. My apartment became a huge “closet” for me as my gender dysphoria was allowed to run wild. I was a closeted cross-dresser (or so I thought at the time) and would never leave the safety of my apartment. After work, I spent almost every evening staring at the “woman” in the mirror, changing my outfits uncountable times.
Were the optical illusions I saw reflected really me? I wanted this to be true, oh I wanted it so much, but was so confused, so afraid and so full of shame. I knew these feeling were not illusions. I took picture after picture in the mirror to prove her existence. I would look at the pictures over and over to prove her existence. A battle was raging within me as to whether the male version or female version of me was the reality or the illusion. As I have mentioned before, deep down I always knew the answer, but the confusion, fear and shame would not let that answer bubble to the surface for many more years.
When and after I transitioned, I learned that there are so many more illusions besides what we see in the mirror. In my book, No Maybe? Yes! Living My Truth I share an interview with my youngest son and his wife , when I asked him if he had any losses when I transitioned. Their reply on illusions is I believe, priceless. Here is an excerpt of the conversation:
Grace: I have a question here that asks, do you think my transition has cost you any losses? Are there other things beside the awkwardness you mentioned earlier?
Elie: Well, there was not a loss here. I was worried that Grace would be so vastly different from Larnie that there would be a loss, but I don’t feel that you are that different.
Grace: Interesting, because I feel I am vastly different. Since I no longer am hiding who I truly am, I think I am more open and softer. I think I live in a space of compassion now, to others.
Becca: Elie has said that the masculine/feminine piece has never been an issue for you, (to Elie) but since you always want to remember the good things, and not the bad, the biggest thing you lost was the illusion that your dad was happy for his whole life, before he transitioned. The thing that you thought was that everything was always good, always. What you lost was the illusion that things were always good, always. That was really hard for you: to realize that your dad really did not have a happy life.
Elie: Yeah, We always had the coolest family on the block and always had people over. I had good friends whom you knew who never let me over at their house because they had a weird family situation or a weird home or whatever… and maybe we had a similar situation, but we always had an open door.
Elie: It seemed like you were just living your life the way you were supposed to. I see this all the time. Like people are twenty-eight and say, I got a job, I got married, I have kids; that’s just what I do. This is just what you do. So many people seem to do that. We really don’t want to live like that. That’s wrong, that must have sucked.
Becca: (to Elie) That’s the biggest thing that happened after we found out your dad was transgender. You said, “I need my life not to be living like that. My dad has apparently been unhappy for sixty years; we need to make sure we don’t do that.” We always make sure we are living the life we want to live.
Grace: And that’s become my mission, when I heard you say this.
Becca: It sounds so terrifying to not live the life you want. It is so sad.
I am good with mirrors now, and yes my kids understood and understand. Not living your true life is so sad. I learned that it is never too late to live your truth! Be True!
After months of waiting, a transgender teen’s request to legally change her name was finally approved. To celebrate the big moment, her mom organized a special surprise on Saturday.
The announcement left 16-year-old Gabrielle Diana Gladu utterly “speechless.”
In the video above, watch as Gabrielle’s mom, Rose Gladu, unveils a cake emblazoned with a special message.
“It took me a moment to process what it said on the cake,” Gabrielle, who lives in Ontario, told BuzzFeed News. “It said, ‘Congratulations, you are now Gabrielle!‘”
Rose says she wasn’t expecting the teen’s emotional reaction.
“I came up the with idea of the cake as a vehicle to celebrate her name change while having an informal family dinner with those that support, love and care for her,” Rose told Buzzfeed. “I was not expecting her to get so emotional that she became speechless. My daughter is never speechless. I knew at that moment my child came back to me. She was on her way to who she had been from birth.”
For the past year, Gabrielle has been documenting her transition on her YouTube channel.
In an August video, Gabrielle shared a letter to her younger self that urged her to “take chances” and be courageous. She also encouraged herself to come out to her parents sooner rather than later.
“At first, mom’s not going to take it very well. She’s going to be confused and she’s going to be scared. But I promise, in time, she will come around and she’ll be one of your best supporters ever,” the teen says to the camera.
Also on HuffPost:
A transgender woman live-tweeted her embarrassment when TSA agents subjected her to heightened scrutiny after a body scanner flagged an “anomaly.”
“I am being held by the TSA in Orlando because of an ‘anomaly’ — my penis,” Shadi Petosky tweeted Monday afternoon.
According to Aljazeera.com, body scan machine operators must select a gender-specific computer algorithm when they are screening passengers. If a passenger has body characteristics of more than one gender, unexpected body shapes can be registered as anomalies that may be considered potential threats that prompt additional screening.
Petosky, a Los Angeles based writer and producer, was attempting to board a flight to Minneapolis when the TSA agents pulled her aside.
“That’s my penis,” Petosky told a male TSA agent, explaining that she was transgender, Nydailynews.com reported.
Petosky reportedly refused to re-enter the scanner after it was calibrated for a male and was subjected to a 40-minute pat-down, which caused her to miss her flight.
“The TSA at the Orlando Airport told me I couldn’t take photos but this is denigrating,” Petosky tweeted, along with an emotional selfie. “I have missed my flight.”
Petosky was eventually cleared and allowed to leave and rebook another flight.
Michael Silverman, executive director of the New York-based Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, told Bulletinleader.com his office has received numerous complaints about TSA agents mistreating transgender passengers.
In a statement to The Los Angeles Times, the TSA said that upon reviewing security footage, they “determined that the evidence shows our officers followed TSA’s strict guidelines.”
Petosky, meanwhile, says the TSA needs to revamp their system for transgender passengers.
“The TSA may think they are trained and following strict guidelines, but if the guidelines include flagging my genitals, they need to change,” she tweeted.
Model, actress, and designer Isis King may have been born biologically male, but ever since childhood she knew she was woman. Establishing a transgender identity does not come easy though, and at 23, Isis was homeless, living at a New York City LGBT shelter. After finding work as a background model for an America’s Next Top Model photo shoot, host Tyra Banks took an interest in her, and asked Isis be a part of the show’s next season. Within months, Isis was in the national spotlight as the first transgender contestant on Top Model, and she has used her platform to follow her dreams ever since – expanding her modeling and acting career, designing her own fashion line, and serving as an activist for transgender people everywhere.
Hormones and Testosterone?
Taking hormones was the first medical change Isis adopted in her transition from male to female. Does she still have to take them? “Yes!” she says emphatically. Even after genital reassignment surgery, Isis doesn’t naturally produce female hormones. Continuing to take the hormones helps with health issues in her new body – avoiding osteoporosis and the like. “It’s almost postmenopausal,” she says. One benefit of the reassignment surgery is that her hormones have a little less competition – she no longer produces testosterone.
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What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
– William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
No surprise here, Words have power!
No, I am not just talking about those magical spells in the Potterverse that so many of us have learned to escape to, but I am talking about those every day comments that can enhance or tear apart one’s very soul.
I am talking about some simple words and phrases that we use every day that have the power to make or break our connection with others.
“I understand,” are the words that will bring connection and comforting warmth.
“You don’t understand,” bring the icy bards that separate and threaten connection in so many ways.
So much power in so few words!
To me, being human is quite magical in itself, whether or not we can control mysterious forces to cast spells on others. We have the magic of language, which when I was a young one, was taught that this is what separated us from the rest of the animal kingdom. I did accept this way back then but after so much time, I begin to wonder its truth.
We have the magic of emotions and feelings. For some of us this is a source of ongoing wonder and joy, yet for others it may seem that we are ruled by dark forces we cannot control, and fight against with all our might. I know what this is like as for much of my life most of my energies were spent to draw a curtain over all the feelings that would bubble up in me. I was so afraid that if I shared what was inside of me, I would never hear the magical warmth of “I understand!”
Again, when I was a young one, I was taught that there were those two boxes that people fit in. There was the mostly Blue box that was labeled “male” and the Pinkish box that was labeled “female.” It was so simple, and there were no other possibilities. When you were born you were placed in a box and given a label and that was that!
For anyone who dared to creep or crawl their way out of the box they were placed in — even if they just wanted to explore — there would be so many voices, so many forces pushing them back — some starting out gently but invariably getting stronger and less gentle with the messages always saying you need to go back where you belong, and “You don’t understand!” For those who were exploring, their internal voices were struggling to yell out, “No! It is you who does not understand!” Some of those internal voices were also struggling themselves to understand why they did not feel right in the box they were put in, but were so afraid to say this to anyone.
In a world where gender is thought to be a binary construct of male and female, those of us who do not fit in the simple constructs, whether we feel we are in the wrong “box” or the boxes are insufficient to describe ourselves, often go through a life of confusion, fear, shame and struggle. It is a challenge to ever find the words to express what we feel.
For so many, it is so much easier to place things and people in a box with a simple label on it. It does not really matter if the label is correct or even if what is in the box may change over time. This requires work for us and even the risk of exploring our own feelings — and there may be danger in that!
Sometimes our human gifts of language and feelings are not compatible. Can I ever express my true sense of being me to another person? I am pretty certain that is a desire we all have. Can I know you? Can you know me?
Even within the transgender community there appears ongoing changes in language, in labels and in boxes on how we describe and communicate what our feelings are inside. I get it! There are times when knowing where things belong are quite useful. Being able to organize, list and categorize are most often considered to be valuable skills for both young and old. Losing this ability is often a warning sign of mental decline.
Sometime we even need to have a label for ourselves so we can understand where we are, where we belong, how to share our feelings. This is hard and by no means ever exact. It may be a struggle to find the words but I wonder if it is ever worthy of a fight about it?
Juliet knew the truth that the names — the words did not matter. Her family, culture and society did not, and her story ended as a tragedy.
Our stories do not need to end this way. Perhaps we can all learn to say, “I understand” and the smell of the roses will remind us that this is all that matters.
Commit these three names to memory: Rebecca Ferguson, Katherine Waterston, Amiyah Scott. Here's the best of what went down this week: Rebecca Ferguson officially blows up with Girl on the Train job The Mission Impossible:…
The Twinadoes started fifth grade yesterday! It was with a 60/40 blend of trepidation and joy that I dropped them off at the door of another new school. While homeschooling was easier than I expected, I was pretty excited to have the house to myself for the first time in 6 months. The kids were both really pumped to spend the day making friends, having recess, checking out a new school, and oh yeah, maybe learning some stuff.
As it has been in every school, the Little Miss was the first transgender student they’d interacted with. My husband and I met with the principal almost two weeks prior to the start of school to share our story and meet with someone who would become an important part of our lives. We shared our journey and some of the concerns we had for the upcoming year. Our principal is a wonderful person and I’m really relieved to be with yet another understanding educator who is eager to learn and create a safe space for all children.
Unfortunately, for the first time in her school history our daughter will have to use the unisex bathroom. The school system has a policy in place that dictates that all transgender kids will use a unisex bathroom instead of the bathroom of their affirmed gender. My heart sank when I was given this information, though it was paired with the statement that we would work together to get the right people the information they needed to make positive changes for this population of children.
At home that night, I watched as our daughter’s little shoulders, so high with expectation, slumped in shock when she heard that she wouldn’t be able to use the girl’s bathroom. For her, being forced to use the unisex bathroom indicated that the school didn’t believe her. It told her that the school thought she wasn’t really a girl as she would be denied the very basic right to use the bathroom with all the rest of the girls. By telling her to use a unisex bathroom, it set her up for questions from her peers, it put focus on an area of her body that already caused her distress, highlighted her difference from her peers, and set up the school as her largest source of stress instead of a safe haven for learning.
For a child who has always identified as female, this was both confusing and embarrassing. We explained how her hero, Jazz Jennings, went through similar struggles and helped pave the way for our daughter to use the girl’s bathroom at her previous school in Florida. Though it will be hard, she now has the opportunity to help create change in her current school system.
I want to be positive and see the tremendous potential that our daughter has to help create change here in our town. It was with mixed feelings that I gave her the positive spin of, “Go, be a trailblazer, young one.”
But, my heart hurts that the responsibility falls on her shoulders. It would have been wonderful to show up to a school system that was ready for a child like ours. I will say this, the hearts of the teachers in our school seem to be ready for our daughter and I’ve been told that the teachers are eager to learn. It would be the expectation I guess, for the next line in the story to say, “And the rest is just paperwork.”
But, it isn’t that simple. I foolishly thought that we’d be able to share our story, everyone would see how silly it is to keep our daughter (and kids like her) out of the bathroom of their affirmed gender, that I might have to point out the Department of Justice’s opinion on the matter, and that would be the end of it. But, no. There will be meetings, and education, and calling in reinforcements to help with the education, and making ourselves available to answer questions, and these things take time.
If you don’t already know this about me, I’m impatient on a good day. It’s not uncommon for my family to see me fuming at my computer as I wait for the little round spinning rainbow image to do what I’ve asked the computer to do. I’m even more impatient when it involves a process change (ask my family about the stress of my doctoral capstone project). When the issue causes my daughter to feel shame and makes her feel different, then the slow process of change is likely going to drive me insane.
I know that other families are going through this process too. So, I’m going to share the links to everything I had printed up in the Purple Transgender Binder of Awesomeness which I gave to the administration of our school district. I’ve also updated the resources page at Non-Conforming Mom to include these. And, because I write when I’m agitated, frustrated, happy, and bored, I’m sure I’ll be giving updates along the way.
Without further adieu, the contents of the Purple Transgender Binder of Awesomeness:
Department of Justice Statements
Resolution Agreement between the Arcadia School District, the US DOE, and the US DOJ
Tooley vs Van Buren Public Schools Statement
Statements from the American Psychological Association
Fact Sheet: Gender Diversity and Transgender Identity in Adolescents
Fact Sheet: Gender Diversity and Transgender Identity in Children
Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey (I just gave a copy of the Executive Summary)
Schools in Transition: A Guide for Supporting Transgender Students in K-12 schools (Every school needs this, every parent needs to read it. If you are a parent, print this out and physically hand it to your child’s principal).
Welcoming Schools Information
Welcoming Schools Main Page
Research Basis for Safe and Welcoming Schools
Gender and Children: A Place to Begin
Gender Expansive Children: Books to Help Adults Understand
Be Prepared for Questions and Put-Downs about Gender
An Overview of Laws and Policies that Support Safe and Welcoming Schools
If you want to know what some people think about transgender people, consider their comments about the bathroom. Right, the bathroom — bathroom use to be specific. Here are a couple of examples:
From former Arkansas Governor, former Fox News talk show host and soon-to-be-former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee:
For those who do not think that we are under threat, simply recognize the fact that we are now in city after city watching ordinances that say that your 7-year-old daughter — if she goes into the restroom — cannot be offended and you can’t be offended if she’s greeted there by a 42-year-old man who feels more like a woman than he does a man.
Huckabee, a Southern Baptist minister (at least I think he’s still a minister) also confided the following: “I wish that someone told me that when I was in high school that I could have felt like a woman when it came time to take showers in PE. I’m pretty sure that I would have found my feminine side and said, ‘Coach, I think I’d rather shower with the girls today.'”
How about Bill O’Reilly? What does he have to say on this topic? Not surprisingly, quite a lot, although at times he makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. For example, he has compared allowing transgender children to use the school bathroom or locker room that corresponds to their gender identity to an adult bringing “12 to 15-year-old boys to Hooters.” Say what? Confused? I don’t blame you. Further investigation into his remarks will only deepen your confusion. Check out this link if you enjoy being confused.
Huckabee’s and O’Reilly’s views on transgender people reflect widespread concern, particularly on the Religious Right, about transgender women creating mayhem by using women’s restrooms and locker rooms. Is there any basis for this concern? Consider the following: For years a number of states and municipalities have had laws on the books that prohibit discrimination against transgender people in the use of public accommodations. There are also laws in a number of states protecting transgender students from discrimination in their use of public accommodations. In addition, a number of school districts throughout the country have instituted non-discrimination policies protecting transgender students and allowing them to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity. In all of the years since these laws and policies have been in effect allowing transgender adults and children to use the restrooms that correspond to their gender identity there has not been a single confirmed case of a transgender person harassing, abusing or assaulting anybody.
Nevertheless, legislators in Arizona, Florida, Missouri, Texas and Utah have proposed legislation that would prohibit transgender people from using the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity. The Kentucky senate passed a bill that would nullify a local high school’s transgender nondiscrimination policy, and in California there have been ballot initiatives that would enforce similar bans. Penalties for violating the proposed laws would include fines and imprisonment. A bill that was defeated in Kentucky would have allowed students who think they have identified a transgender student violating the state’s law while at school to collect $ 2,500 and attorney’s fees for each alleged violation by suing the school for liability.
In California, a current ballot initiative would allow bathroom whistleblowers to collect “up to a maximum of three times the amount of actual damage but in no case less than $ 4,000, and attorney’s fees” — said damage having resulted from the whistleblower’s privacy having been violated. The violation of privacy would supposedly have resulted from the bathroom whistleblower seeing a person they believed was transgender using what they, the whistleblower, think is the “wrong” bathroom.
What exactly is going on here? Let’s go back to Huckabee’s and O’Reilly’s remarks, because they reflect the beliefs and attitudes that animate members of the anti-transgender bathroom brigade. Huckabee refers to “a 42-year-old man who feels more like a woman than he does a man.” In O’Reilly’s Hooters segment, he says, “Here comes a guy who thinks he’s a girl, into the locker room.” Clearly these guys do not believe that transgender people exist. They think that transgender women are men in dresses and that transgender men are women in male drag. And that’s exactly what the anti-trans legislators and other members of the bathroom police force think as well. They do not understand gender identity, which is how human beings experience and communicate gender. To make matters worse, they confuse gender identity with sexuality. They believe that there is something sexually perverse about being transgender. They therefore see transgender people as a threat and engage in fact-free fear mongering of the very worst kind. They particularly demonize transgender women, accusing them of being sexual predators that present a danger to women and children alike.
I find myself wondering. Do any of these people know a single transgender person? Have they ever met one? I would not be surprised to find that the overwhelming majority of them have not. That is why it is so important for transgender people to become increasingly visible. It’s clear that attitudes toward same-sex marriage changed dramatically over a relatively short time because so many gay people had come out. If your daughter, son, sister, brother, friend, neighbor or colleague at work is gay, it is difficult to look that person in the eye and say, you don’t have the right to marry the person you love. It is difficult to objectify and demonize another human being and to deny that human being fundamental rights when you have a personal relationship with them. I believe that we will see a similar change in attitudes towards transgender people as more and more people get to know transgender people both in the culture and personally. That’s why Caitlyn Jenner, and Orange Is the New Black and Transparent are important. They introduce transgender people to the country. That’s also why ongoing advocacy is essential. People need to be educated about gender identity and what it means to be transgender. Cisgender people who view transgender people as “the other” need to understand that transgender people have a lot more in common with them than they think, sharing many of the same goals and aspirations.
It’s hard in the midst of fighting for civil rights, in fighting for equality, to measure progress. But it is clear that we are making progress, however slow and painful it may be. I agree with Mara Keisling, Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. In a piece titled, “Anti-Trans Bills: It Means We’re Winning,” she says that bathroom bills represent a bigoted backlash against the real progress that we are making as reflected in the increasing number of state and municipal laws as well as school policies protecting transgender people against discrimination. We do indeed have allies in legislatures, in school districts and increasingly in the media. As Mara says, “it is important to be vigilant. . . . let’s fight back, call in our allies, and educate our neighbors. Let’s use these ludicrous [bathroom] bills as an opportunity to tell our stories. And make no mistake . . . We are winning.”
Yes, we are. Despite the ignorance and fear mongering, despite the bigotry and hate, we are winning. If we persevere, if we continue to fight for our rights, we will succeed at achieving equality. If we continue to fight, we will one day surely overcome.
To view the original article, please visit BookTrib.
A transgender woman was found dead early on Saturday morning after being run over by a black SUV in a parking lot behind a church in Kansas City, Missouri, it has emerged.
Tamara Dominguez, 36, was the 17th transgender woman reported murdered in the US this year, and her death was the fourth killing brought to light in the past week.
Police say that Dominguez was seen exiting the SUV around 3am on 15 August before she was hit by the driver of the vehicle, who then ran over her two more times.
Fashion has embraced the transgender community most visibly through models and ad campaigns. Two-year-old & Other Stories, the H&M-owned label that prides itself on female diversity, is the latest brand to cast transgender models in a campaign. Lest the company be part of the crowd, it took the angle an extra step by recruiting a creative team of transgender professionals to produce a shoot for an athletic-inspired capsule collection launching in-store on Aug. 20. Photographer Amos Mac shot models Valentijn De Hingh and Hari Nef in & Other Stories’ Stockholm atelier. Love Bailey styled the shoot, working with makeup artist Nina Poon. Swedish director Ninja Thyberg, who is not transgender, captured the behind-the-scenes action for a film, “The Gaze & Other Stories.”
“There’s a lot of talk about transgender today, but for us, it was a lateral step to do [the campaign],” said Sara Hildén Bengtsson, & Other Stories creative director. Her concept was to focus on the transgender “gaze,” which is an idea to articulate and to interpret from the images. Essentially, the finished product is the result of a collaboration of all transgender individuals who are fashion professionals. It doesn’t look that different from what a nontransgender shoot might yield.
Dutch model De Hingh, who
Long before Caitlyn Jenner appeared on that groundbreaking Vanity Fair cover, transgender models were consistently spotted in fashion spreads, on runways, and in campaigns. Riccardo Tisci frequently featured assistant turned muse Lea T in his ads; Australian model Andreja Pejic walked on dozens of runways, including Jean Paul Gaultier, Thom Browne, and Marc Jacobs; and last year, Barneys cast seventeen trans models for a spring campaign shot by Bruce Weber. Now & Other Stories is taking the love affair between fashion and transgender culture a step further.
Not only did the H&M Group-owned label cast rising transgender models like Hari Nef and Valentijn De Hingh to star in its latest ad campaign, but the creative team behind the shoot was also made up entirely of trans people, including stylist Love Bailey, makeup artist Nina Poon, and photographer Amos Mac. “I think that the way things are moving right now, it’s looking like even when the fad is over there will still be awareness of our story and our issues,” De Hingh told WWD about the current state of transgender issues. With Pejic already signed on as the next face of Make Up For Ever, and rumors of beauty companies courting Jenner, it seems this is one fashion fad that has staying power.
The post The Transgender Gaze in the New & Other Stories Campaign appeared first on Vogue.
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H&M’s rad sister store & Other Stories just got even more rad.
On Friday the fashion-forward retailer launched its latest ad campaign for an athleisure capsule collection, and the ads feature two transgender models, Valentijn De Hingh and Hari Nefstylist. The shoot was also brought to life by a creative team made up of photographer Amos Mac, stylist Love Bailey and makeup artist Nina Poon, who all identify as transgender.
In a press release from the brand, & Other Stories’ creative director Sara Hildén Bengtson talked about the decision to hire models and creatives who identify as transgender.
“The fashion world is embracing transgender models and we think that’s great. But we couldn’t help to ask ourselves how the traditional fashion gaze can change if we keep the same normative crew behind the camera. So we invited five amazing creatives, all transgender, to make our latest story,” she said.
& Other Stories joins the likes of Barneys New York and Make Up For Ever in featuring transgender models in its ads. Hiring behind-the-scen
Check out more images from the campaign below, which launches in & Other Stories locations and online August 20.
Also on HuffPost Style:
Pronouns. America’s been buzzing about ’em since Caitlyn Jenner debuted on the July cover of Vanity Fair. Before her transition, Jenner told ABC’s Diane Sawyer to continue to call him (then, Bruce) “him.”
So what’s in a name?
My neighbor is mid-transition and we call her Hannah now, not Aaron. Another New Yorker I know has “Alfredo” on his birth certificate, and used to go by “Fredo,” but now self-identifies as “Frida.” Sometimes it’s confusing to use the preferred names and pronouns, to not accidentally offend, to respect people’s wishes — often as wishes are evolving.
Just knowing Hannah and Frida puts me in the minority — only 8 percent of Americans say they know someone who is transgender or gender non-conforming, compared to 84 percent who know someone gay, lesbian or bisexual. But having a personal connection is an important step in perspective and understanding. As transgender actress Laverne Cox (Orange is the New Black) eloquently explained to Time last year, “When people have points of reference that are humanizing, that demystifies difference.”
Communications and the media are powerful vehicles, and as the conversation about the gender spectrum gets louder, communication pros need to hone their facility with talking — and writing, producing and Snapchatting — about it.
Beholden to stockholders and stock prices, most brands follow the money — and that usually means the deeper-pocketed majority. It’s estimated that only about 0.3 percent of Americans identify as trans; the overall group experiences twice the rate of unemployment as the general population and is four times more likely to live in extreme poverty, surviving on less than $ 2 a day.
When luxury retailer Barneys New York launched its “Brothers, Sisters, Sons & Daughters” campaign last year, it was laudable. Sure, they were tapping into a cultural trend in a category where expression is paramount — it’s fashion, not finance — but the group that they were featuring is routinely impoverished and probably couldn’t afford their apparel. The campaign debuted at Barneys with 17 transgender models and a PR bump through work with iconic photographer/filmmaker Bruce Weber.
Then, last June, Marriott International included transgender model and activist Geena Rocero in its #LoveTravels digital content campaign. Rocero had shocked the world during a March 2014 TED talk when she publicly revealed that she was “assigned a boy at birth.” Marriott didn’t shy away. Instead, they leaned in. A campaign spokesperson explains that #LoveTravels is “Marriott’s way of encouraging travelers to live their individual truths and share their travel experiences… providing each guest with a unique experience…where they feel welcome and comfortable.”
A time when most everyone feels uncomfortable are the teenage years — a target market for J&J’s Clean & Clear brand. This spring, they launched the “See the Real Me” campaign featuring trans teenager and activist Jazz Jennings, which not only caught the attention of the industry trades, but also consumer media. In her core campaign video, she says, “I’m just Jazz, being one of the girls.” The effort promotes J&J’s line of acne and skin care products by focusing its messaging around “girls having the courage to show who they really are, and what makes them unique.” And that includes transgender young women.
It isn’t a secret that media matters in the growing LGBT — emphasis on the “T” — conversation. From Caitlyn Jenner’s ABC special to Laverne Cox on the cover of Time to the award-winning Amazon series “Transparent,” the trans community is stepping into the media spotlight.
Communication professionals should be willing to consider trans spokespeople and the community’s trends and needs across campaigns, media lists, social media influencers, events and sponsorships. Not sure where to start? GLAAD’s Media Reference Guide recommends, “If you are doing a story about women in tech or Mother’s Day, consider including a transgender woman in those stories. Transgender people can also be booked to talk about issues that are not trans-specific.”
Sometimes it’s as simple as remembering — in the midst of frenzied cultural, media and policy change — that people are just people.
A version of this post first appeared in PRSA’s Tactics magazine.
While Tyga is taking legal action against the culprit who leaked his genitals all across the Internet, his alleged transgender mistress, Mia Isabella, is breaking her silence for everything that’s being hurled her way. Earlier in the week, it was heavily rumored that the porn star was seeing the Young Money rapper at the same time as his current girlfriend, Kylie Jenner.
It’s very sad that the idea of a man loving a trans person has to be considered a scandal when all people are equal – love always wins doesn’t it? I live in a world in my mind where everything is a fairy tale of love. Saddening to see small-minded thoughts travel so quickly like wildfire not knowing if its true or not. It’s like wave crashing over me washing over me to see masses of humanity rise with pitch forks blindly following. Are we not all equal? Am I not an American with the right to love and live as I choose with whoever I choose? If a celebrated man loves a transgender woman or possibly did that’s news? It shouldn’t be news it should be normal for anyone and everyone to be allowed to love who they choose. This person is not the man that I love but I have loved a few incredible and celebrated men in my life. I live my live in the open courageous and brave in my truth. I’ve been blessed to live in a time where my freedom has allowed me to create the woman I am today in my own image. If only everyone could be so brave. Unconditional love is godlike spreading hate simply a set back for humanity itself.
Just so we’re clear, she and Tyga “were in love” before Kylie? The bigger scandal was indeed Tyga’s supposed cheating ways but Hip-Hop Wired has gotten reports that Mia Isabella allegedly isn’t exactly the LGBT champion she’s claiming to be.
According to Proxy Public Relations, the adult actress goes by many names (Michael Levelle Davis, Jr. aka Michelle Levelle Davis aka Michele Levelle Davis aka Mia Michelle) and has posted her “services” on Backpage.com in the state of Washington. PPR also accuses Tyga’s baby mama Blac Chyna and celebrity publicist Gina Rodriguez for being involved in the caper.
Flip through the gallery below to see the photo evidence against Mia Isabella’s character.
Photos: Backpage screenshot, Motherless screenshot, Instagram
The post Tyga’s Alleged Transgender Mistress Issues A Statement, Outed As An Escort? [Photos] appeared first on Hip-Hop Wired.
Today, Tuesday, July 7th, just was not a good day for Tyga.
Earlier this morning, news broke out that he was not only cheating on his famous girlfriend Kylie Jenner, but with a transgender porn star by the name of Mia Isabella to boot.
With his name trending at the top of social media for most of the day, there was no way the Gold Album rapper could not defend himself and he posted a lone tweet in attempts to clear his name.
“A gun in your face and that’s all that you can come up with?” © Jay-Z
According to Perez Hilton, Tyga’s lawyer is preparing the proper cease & desist action but Mia Isabella is currently doing interviews and seemingly started a new Instagram to drag his name even further. Nothing good is going to come out of this.
Oh, and there’s this nearly two-year-old tweet from Kylie. Does she actually co-sign this tryst?
You saw Tyga’s reaction. Now flip through the gallery below to see the evil Mia Isabella is conjuring up in this beef.
Photos: Instagram / Mia Isabella, Arnold Jerocki/News Pictures/WENN.com, Twitter/Tyga
The post Tyga Reacts To Transgender Scandal As Mia Isabella Goes In For The Kill [Photos] appeared first on Hip-Hop Wired.
“I feel such a responsibility to this courageous group to try to get it right and tell all sides of the story,” Jenner wrote on her website.
SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — Immigration authorities will consider housing transgender detainees based on the gender they identify with in the wake of criticism about detention conditions for the population, officials said on Monday.
Detention staff should consider transgender detainees’ preferences when making decisions about housing and clothing and what pronouns should be used, Immigration and Customs Enforcement said in new guidelines for the treatment of transgender detainees.
The agency will start tracking data for transgender detainees, train detention staff and draft individual detention plans for transgender detainees to deal with issues ranging from hormone therapy to safety, said Andrew Lorenzen-Strait, ICE’s deputy assistant director of custody programs.
“ICE will allow for the placement of a transgender woman consistent with their gender identity, meaning that a transgender woman could be with biological females,” said Lorenzen-Strait, who was also appointed as a national coordinator for issues related to gay, lesbian and transgender detainees.
The move did little to quell criticism from advocates who have urged the agency to release more transgender immigration detainees, citing their increased risk of sexual assault in detention. Last week, a heckler interrupted President Barack Obama’s remarks at a gay pride event in Washington to protest the detention and deportation of gay, lesbian and transgender immigrants.
“This is all interesting on paper, to say the least, but we need to see how this actually plays out,” said Raffi Freedman-Gurspan, a policy adviser for the National Center for Transgender Equality. “We don’t think these folks should be in detention centers, period.”
The guidance comes three years after the Department of Justice issued similar rules for transgender inmates. But even now many jails and prisons aren’t following the rules and continue to house transgender inmates based on their genitalia or place them in solitary confinement purportedly for their protection, said Carl Takei, a staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Prison Project.
“Most prisons and jails are still in the Dark Ages about these issues,” Takei said.
Getting the rules put into practice may be tough for immigration officials, who house most detainees at contract facilities, Takei said.
ICE currently has about 60 transgender detainees. About 25 are housed in a special unit in Santa Ana, California, for transgender women and gay men. The rest are housed in different facilities across the country, mostly with the general population and consistent with their biological sex, Lorenzen-Strait said.
The agency currently houses about 31,000 detainees a day, he said.
Under the latest guidance, the agency said officials should consider a host of factors before detaining an individual, including transgender identity.
Given the population’s small numbers and increased risk, transgender immigrants should be offered alternatives to detention, said Aaron Morris, legal director of Immigration Equality.
“When you’re thinking about who should absolutely be released, pregnant women, people with severe health problems, transgender individuals, there are certain populations that weigh so heavily in favor of release that it is dumbfounding the knee-jerk reaction is always to detain,” Morris said. “It’s not in anyone’s best interest.”
But immigration enforcement advocate Jessica Vaughan, who is director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies, said she worries that gender identity could trump other factors, such as flight risk, when making decisions about detention.
“In practice, this could become a double standard for transgender individuals that seems unprecedented,” Vaughan wrote in an email.
I know we’ve come a long way
We’re changing day to day
But tell me, where do the children play?
– Cat Stevens
It was early Friday morning as I entered my car and held down the home button on my phone. The familiar message “What can I help you with?’ appeared, and I spoke into it, “Directions to ESPN, Bristol Connecticut.” The day’s adventure had begun.
I met Stephen Alexander a little over a month ago and he graciously invited me to attend a panel discussion he was going to be on at ESPN on Transgender athletes. I was a fly on the wall as I got to meet some amazing and great people who were sharing their stories with ESPN’s internal employee LGBT group, which was also internally broadcast within the parent Disney corporate world. The title of the discussion was Understanding the T: Transgender Athletes and the Challenge to Compete.
ESPN’s Christina Kahrl was the moderator of this panel which included:
Stephen Alexander, America’s first openly transgender multi sports coach www.transitiongames.com
Chloe Johnson, transgender cross fit athlete
Chris Mosier, transgender dualthalon athlete who is a member of Team USA www.transathlete.com
Wade Davis, Executive Director of the You Can Play Project, www.youcanplayproject.org
Jazz Jennings and her mom on the phone.
It strikes me that we see and hear about someone in the trans community on a daily basis. We hear the good stories, the sad stories and the outrageous, sensationalized and indescribable stories. It is easy for many to lose sight that transgender people are first and foremost just people, each trying to hopefully live their best possible life, without a burden of being defined by being transgender. I continue to say that we are all so much more than just gender.
Recently, when Janet Mock appeared on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday program, she stated, “For most people the most interesting part of me is my transness.” This conversation was about her willingness to “own” her “transness” in order to make a positive difference for others in the world. For the athletes above, their discussion points out that their transness, which is their authenticity, has blocked them and so many other trans people from being involved and playing, competing in sports as who they truly are. Each of their stories and experience is unique. As such each is an important building block to help all people learn that transgender athletes hold no special advantages and are just people trying to live, work and play like most of us desire to do.
By being in the audience this was a time for me to have many learning moments as I listened to the participants. Here are some of the comments I heard:
Chloe told the group that she never thought of herself as being transgender. She was just female, period. She said she transitioned at the age of 16 and was never an athlete until she got into competitive Crossfit a few years ago, and was “outed” by the organization’s refusal to allow her to compete, as she was not assigned female at birth. She shared it was never her intent to be public or an activist but in order to stand up for her rights and those of others. Chloe appeared to know this was important but it was clear that her primary goal was to just live her life. At this point in time, her “transness” has blocked her from her life’s passion.
Chris shared that prior to his transition when he was competing in women’s triathlons, he never felt he belonged, as he did not feel like a woman. His personal challenge was to believe he could compete in his passion if and when he transitioned. Not only was he be able to compete but he has now become a member of TEAM USA. However, there are still many rules that may hold him back at competing at the highest levels of his sport. He reported than one goal of making the team has been achieved but there are still many blocks in his path to compete, as he desires. He told us it is not the winning that matters; it is the chance to perform that is important. I was able to relate to this from my experience as a coach of little league sports for many years.
Stephen has proved to perhaps be the prodigal son, and shown that one can go home again. Prior to his transition Stephen had guided his high school’s girls teams to multiple state championships, and now post transition he has returned to that very same school and coaches five different sports. Stephen is putting himself on the line each and every day and makes a difference to others by guiding, listening and teaching teamwork as his passions and goals. Stephen said that there are still people in his community, in the schools who hold his “transness” against him, but progress is being made day to day.
As an ally to the T community, Wade Davis taught the audience, including me, that being an ally is not a passive role. He said, “Allies need to take ACTION.” They need to speak and be heard. He also said, when you do not know about someone or his or her life, there is only one thing to do, which is to listen. This will lead to learning and acceptance, not judgment and denial.
Jazz Jennings and her mom shared a variety of stories of the battle to allow Jazz to paly competitive children’s soccer and now high school tennis. It appeared that nothing was ever easy, but this family never gave up, and are an inspiration to us all.
During Q&A and a question regarding the advantage of transwoman playing women’s sports, I was able to relate to Christina’s personal experience when she shared, ” I have been on HRT for 13 years now, and I cannot even open a jar. Why did they ever invent jars anyway?” I myself being on estrogen for 5 years get it. I can barely carry the grocery bags up the stairs now. I wouldn’t have it any differently.
The bottom line: From childhood through colleges, all amateur sports and even on to professional sports, the rules for allowing trans people to belong and perform are inconsistent at best, and outlandish and ignorant at worst. Sports are a must for so many of us to keep our heads on straight in this increasingly complex world. For trans youth, they must be allowed to play and play equally and not singled out. Panels like this are just a start to point this out. There is still much work to do. We need to know where will the children play!
There is another Cat Stevens song that leaves me with some hope.
Now I’ve been crying lately
Thinking about the world as it is
Why must we go on hating
Why can’t we live in bliss
‘Cause out on the edge of darkness
There rides a peace train
Oh, peace train take this country
Come take me home again
Oh, peace train sounding louder
Glide on the peace train
Come on the peace train
– Cat Stevens
Memo to Andrea Tantaros: Your cat crack wasn’t funny, let alone worthy-of-a-meme funny.
“Yes! I LOVE it! Or a tiger maybe…” the Outnumbered co-host tweeted out a pic of…
E! Online (US) – Top Stories
Entertainment News! –
By Kathleen Hou
Make Up For Ever has released images of its newest campaign stars: model Andreja Pejić and actress and blogger Jamie Chung. Celebrity makeup artist Melanie Iglesias will also be the brand’s pro consulting artist. At a press event announcing the news, Pejić told the assembled beauty editors, “When I was little, I would dream about what it would be like to grow up and be a woman. I didn’t care if I was scrubbing toilets — if I was doing it as a woman, I’d be happy. I’m thankful to Make Up For Ever for taking this bold step.” According to WWD, Pejić is the first transgender model to front a big makeup campaign, symbolically opening the door for Caitlyn Jenner and others, too. The brand’s new GIF showing the campaign images is below.
We are thrilled to announce our #BeMAKEUPFOREVER campaign that celebrates individuality & self-expression! We are partnering with 3 incredibly talented influencers: transwoman and supermodel @andrejapejic, actress and fashion blogger @jamiejchung, and #MAKEUPFOREVER Pro Consulting Artist, @melaniemakeup to live out loud: Be Bold. Be Unexpected. Be You. Double tap if you want to see exclusive campaign images!
More from The Cut:
Jay Kallio is a transgender man who lived through a healthcare nightmare he hopes no other trans person will ever have to face, and he shared the painful story with HuffPost Live’s Nancy Redd last week.
It began when Kallio found a lump on his breast just three months after a mammogram. He had a second mammogram, then a biopsy and, when weeks went by without receiving any test results, he just assumed everything was fine. That changed when he suddenly got a phone call from the doctor who performed his biopsy — and who was not his primary physician.
“She said to me, ‘Hi, I was just curious how you were doing with your diagnosis.’ And I said, ‘What diagnosis?’ She she sort of spurted, ‘[Your doctor] hasn’t called you yet?'” Kallio remembered.
The biopsy confirmed that Kallio had “very aggressive” breast cancer, and Kallio knew he needed treatment immediately, especially as the pain in his breast intensified.
“It felt like getting shot slowly. It felt like it was heading right for my heart. So I was getting nervous. I still get nervous when I think about it,” he said.
Even after that, Kallio’s doctor still wouldn’t contact him, which came as a huge surprise considering his doctor was head of surgery at a major hospital in “great big blue Manhattan,” a liberal city where Kallio expected “embracing care” from “competent experts.” The physician eventually got in touch when Kallio made moves to have his case transferred, but the conversation did not go as he hoped.
“The first thing [the doctor] said was, ‘I have a real problem with your transgender status.’ And he said, ‘When I found out you were transgender, the first thing I wanted to do, my first impulse was to send you to psychiatry,'” Kallio said. “So this is what a breast surgeon wanted to do with my breast cancer, is first send me to psychiatry.”
After a long struggle, Kallio eventually did find a “very welcoming” surgeon to help him, and the procedure also accomplished something Kallio had never been able to do because of his low income.
“That’s how I lost my breasts. I was never able to afford any transition care as a transgender person, so I lost my breasts through having a double mastectomy for breast cancer,” he said.
Unfortunately, Kallio is currently in the middle of another fight for his life — this time with terminal lung cancer. Though the outlook is bleak, Kallio told HuffPost Live he sees the effects of the work he’s done in between his two diagnoses, including providing free training to hospital staffs on how to treat LGBTQ patients of all kinds.
“The second time around I am being treated in a very loving fashion by providers, most of whom I have trained to do my cancer care,” he said. “And the really positive, uplifting thing I have to say is: Activism works. Activism works, so get out there and fight for your rights, fight for your lives. It’s not going to end with me. I may be facing the end, and I won’t be out there screaming and yelling and holding a sign much longer, but up until my last breath, that’s what I’m going to be doing because I know it saves lives.”
Watch Jay Kallio share the powerful story of his fight with cancer in the video above, and click here for the full HuffPost Live conversation about the challenges of transgender healthcare.
Americans’ understanding of what it means to be transgender has grown since Caitlyn Jenner came out about her transition this May.
Forty-three percent say they’ve been following news about Jenner, and more than half say they’ve learned some or a great deal about transgender issues in the past year.
“We are having a larger national conversation about transgender issues, and by Caitlyn choosing to tell her story, she’s adding to that conversation,” GLAAD spokesman Nick Adams told the LA Times earlier this month. “It is allowing Americans to feel like they know someone who is transgender and hopefully bringing a greater understanding about what it means to be a transgender person.”
So far, that increased awareness doesn’t seem to have translated into changing minds on some of the issues advocates are fighting for. As in February, Americans are about evenly split on whether parents should allow their children to identify as a different gender from the one they were assigned at birth, and on whether transgender people should be allowed to use public restrooms, dressing rooms and locker rooms designated for a different gender than the one they were assigned at birth.
Still, the survey suggests that just knowing someone who is transgender makes people significantly more comfortable with both ideas.
Among Americans who knew at least one transgender person, 57 percent said transgender people should be able to use restrooms and dressing rooms for their preferred gender, and 46 percent said parents should allow their children to identify as a different gender from the one they were assigned at birth. Among those who didn’t know someone transgender, just 31 percent and 33 percent, respectively, said the same.
Another recent survey, conducted by SurveyMonkey for NBC News, found that most Americans think transgender people face prejudice today, but that 76 percent believe society will be at least somewhat more accepting 10 years from now. Sixty-six percent said Jenner’s transition would help society along that road.
The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted June 3-4 among U.S. adults using a sample selected from YouGov’s opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population.
The Huffington Post has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov’s nationally representative opinion polling. Data from all HuffPost/YouGov polls can be found here. More details on the poll’s methodology are available here.
Most surveys report a margin of error that represents some, but not all, potential survey errors. YouGov’s reports include a model-based margin of error, which rests on a specific set of statistical assumptions about the selected sample, rather than the standard methodology for random probability sampling. If these assumptions are wrong, the model-based margin of error may also be inaccurate. Click here for a more detailed explanation of the model-based margin of error.
How should Christians treat transgender people?
The answer seems obvious: With respect and love. Yet former governor Mike Huckabee, a favorite of Christian conservatives, took to mocking transgender people at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention as he criticized city ordinances that allow people to use public restrooms based on how they identify their gender.
The website Buzzfeed unearthed a video of the February comments in which the former Baptist minister quipped, “Now I wish that someone told me that when I was in high school that I could have felt like a woman when it came time to take showers in PE. I’m pretty sure that I would have found my feminine side and said, ‘Coach, I think I’d rather shower with the girls today.’” As the presumably Christian audience clapped and giggled, Huckabee said, “You’re laughing because it sounds so ridiculous, doesn’t it?”
Yes, it does. But not for the reason they think. What’s ridiculous — and sad — is that Huckabee, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, and his audience appear to believe that transgender people are perpetrating some sort of hoax so they can gain access to public restrooms or locker rooms. Or that they’ve chosen to identify with a particular gender on a whim. This disregards the actual lives of transgender people, some of whom (though not all) have described feeling trapped in the wrong body from a young age. What’s so funny about that?
Worse, the butt of this joke are people who are already too frequently marginalized by society. According to the Human Rights Campaign, transgender people are nearly four times more likely to have an annual household income of less than $ 10,000 and twice as likely to be unemployed compared with the general population. The 2011 National Transgender Discrimination Survey found that “78 percent of those who expressed a transgender identity or gender non-conformity while in grades K-12 reported harassment — harassment so severe it led 15 percent to leave school.”
The majority of the youth surveyed by HRC in 2014 reported they lacked a supportive family member to help them face the harassment and ostracizing at school.
One twentysomething transgender person told Religion News Service columnist Jonathan Merritt in 2013, that his growing up in the church was damaging. He felt he couldn’t talk to his parents or his pastor. Instead, the then-she, prayed God would help her become a boy.
Yet when Huckabee was asked about his cruel joke — a version of which he has told on a few occasions — he dismissed the query, saying, “Nobody ever asks me about it except the media. They’re the only ones who seem to be stirred up about it.” While attempting to indict journalists, Huckabee was in fact indicting those who surround him who he seems to be suggesting are indifferent to Christian unkindness toward transgender people.
Though Huckabee might believe that being transgender is sinful, that’s not a uniform position. Pat Robertson acknowledged in 2013 that “I think there are men who are in a woman’s body. It’s very rare, but it’s true. Or women that are in men’s bodies.” Robertson added, “I don’t think there’s any sin associated with” transitioning to the other gender.
The church should be the safest place in the world to discuss personal struggles. Huckabee could help make it so by saying two simple words: I’m sorry.
(Kirsten Powers writes weekly for USA TODAY and is author of the upcoming “The Silencing: How the Left is Killing Free Speech.”)
Finneus is a female to male transgender person who identifies as a he, and lives in the Georgia area. He volunteered to be interviewed for a series of articles on what its like to be transgender and to answer some questions about how he feels about Caitlyn Jenner’s recent transition. This is the first in a series of articles on Being Transgender, and the people who care about them.
Vanity Fair’s recent photo spread in the July issue shows the new Caitlyn Jenner, formerly known as Bruce Jenner, with a cover photo of Caitlyn after facial surgery clearly identifying as a female. She is currently all the rage.
I asked Finneus and other transitioning people to talk about their life and how they feel about some of the issues that Caitlyn might be experiencing and what it is like to be transgender in our country today. I also interviewed the people that love them, work to empower them or counsel them. I have learned that the prejudice and bias around transgender is wide spread and can be hateful, yet it is also subtle, even among those of us who want to be empathetic. In order to debunk some of the myths and answer some of the bigger questions, I interviewed Finneus, and several other transgender people and I talked to other experts, the people who are living the struggles every day, and those that help them, and love them.
In the Vanity Fair article, Jenner describes her her transition, and says that winning the gold medal,
“…was a good day, but the last couple of days were better. . . This shoot was about my life and who I am as a person. It’s not about the fanfare, it’s not about people cheering in the stadium, it’s not about going down the street and everybody giving you ‘that a boy, Bruce,’ pat on the back, O.K. This is about your life.”
As a psychotherapist and sexologist (and nontrans or cisgender) writing this series I realized I knew much less than I thought about these issues. I found that many of my initial questions were offensive, including things like, what name do you want to use in the article? Which caused one interviewee to write me a lengthy and frustrated response about the names we choose to use versus real names and how many transgender folks don’t have the choices the rest of us have, and that all names are real, aren’t they? Or are they? I was unclear. Since then I have found myself more sensitive to the questions about what pronouns to use in the articles, and how to refer respectfully to names about identity, gender and sex and I tread more carefully in all matters related to choice.
From the Guide to Being a Trans Ally published by the PFLAG National’s Straight For Equality Project the following definitions are a direct quote and may help:
Sex refers to the biological, genetic or physical characteristics that define males and females. These can include genitalia, hormone levels and secondary sex characteristics (the things we often “read” as male or female, like body hair or body shape). Nearly everyone is assigned a sex at birth, and it tends to be one of two choices: Male or female.
Gender most often refers to a set of social, psychological and emotional traits, often influenced by societal expectations that classify an individual as feminine or masculine. We hear about gender all the time — traditional stereotypes about gender (e.g., women are nurturing while men are protective) and how they’ve traditionally influenced life choices (the nurturing woman goes into teaching, while the protective man garners a high-powered job to care for his family).
Sexual Orientation is an individual’s emotional, romantic or sexual feelings toward other people. People who are straight experience these feelings primarily for people of the opposite sex. People who are gay and lesbian experience these feelings primarily for people of the same sex. People who are bisexual experience feelings for people of both sexes.
Gender Identity is the term that is used to describe a person’s deeply held personal, internal sense of being male, female, some of both or maybe even neither. Here’s the important part: A person’s gender identity may not always correspond to their assigned biological sex. While an individual, at birth, may be assigned the term male based on biological characteristics, that person might not necessarily feel as though they are male, or were intended to be male.
A lot of experts in the field believe that awareness of gender identity is experienced in infancy, solidifies around age three and then gets reinforced in adolescence through how we teach youth about who boys and girls are expected to be.
Cisgender people identify with (or are on the same side of) the gender assigned to them at birth. For example, a cisgender woman is an individual who was assigned female at birth, and also identifies as female.
Transgender is a term often used to describe an individual whose gender identity does not necessarily match the sex assigned to them at birth. So we have transgender women (individuals who were assigned male at birth but whose gender identity is female) and we have transgender men (individuals who were assigned female at birth, but whose internal sense of their gender identity is male).
Some terms that you may hear are alternate ways of talking about being trans, while others might refer to specific identities that expand our understanding of what gender nonconformity:
Genderqueer. Gender nonconforming. Trans*. Transsexual. Bigender. Third sex. Female-tomale (FTM). Male-to-female (MTF). Gender-creative. Gender-colorful. Gender-expansive.
Transitioning refers to the process one goes through to discover and/or affirm their gender identity. The process can be a long journey and can take years.
Social transition: Change of name, pronoun selection, cosmetic modifications to appearance, dress, changes to an individual’s vocal tone, etc. For many people, this will also entail legal changes to their name and gender marker on identification documents like driver’s licenses and passports.
Medical transition: The introduction of hormones (testosterone for trans men, estrogen and testosterone blockers for trans women) into the body. For some people, it will also involve surgical procedures that align the physical body with one’s gender identification. These may include top surgery, bottom surgery, and, for trans women, facial feminization.
For more information, please go to the PFLAG National’s Straight For Equality Project.
Once I had the terminology down, I asked Finneus how he wanted to be identified. He is Transmasculine, FTM (female to male) and prefers the pronouns he and him. He would prefer to avoid identifying his relationship status. He is 27 years old and has been on hormones for three years, and has not had surgeries, only because he cannot afford them. He identifies as queer, or pansexual.
I wondered what Finneus thought Caitlyn might run into when it came to confusion around pronouns during her transition. What are the correct pronouns to use to call people who are transitioning, what is polite, what is kind, what is insulting? He said,
Basically whatever they identify with. I tend to ask people if I’m uncertain so I try not to make assumptions based on appearances. Generally I say something like; Do you have a set of preferred pronouns? If you’re unsure you could always ask someone else or listen to see what others call that person. I would much rather you ask what I prefer in regards to gender than misgender me. It is such a crushing blow to be called by the wrong gender.
I asked Finneus about Caitlyn Jenner’s coming out and what he thought she could expect during her transition process. Finneus explained that he was offended by people immediately asking and talking about her genitals. It seems a fascination and perhaps an inappropriate one. Finneus responded,
I hate when people ask me about my genitals. You wouldn’t walk up to a cisgender male and start asking him about his …[genitals] why would you walk up to me and start asking me about mine? O if I like penetration or anal. And these [questions] aren’t even from romantic partners, just random people. I heard two people at my office earlier having at least a five minute conversation on …[whether] Caitlyn grew a vagina.
To understand the struggles that transgender and transitioning folks go through I asked Finneus, as a young transman, his opinion about what interested and allied people could do to help? He was concerned about the conversation that Caitlyn Jenner’s privilege as a white, wealthy male to female would bring up in our culture.
I wondered, is Caitlyn a good role model? She can afford the privilege of transitioning, which in some countries is illegal, and in others is punishable by death. But many people in our country, although legal to obtain, don’t have access to because of the high cost of transitional surgeries and hormone therapies, and lack the support of family and friends. Would her very public appearances bring hope to young people or would it be discouraging and depressing to those who don’t have access to her resources?
“I think that it’s important to talk about privilege when discussing Caitlyn,” Finneus said.
I want to be clear that I don’t think money is the solution to everything. While money does help with hormones and surgeries it does very little to help the social stigma and emotional difficulties of transitioning. I think other people look at her and think, ‘oh it is so easy for her, she has the best plastic surgeons and doctors,’ but it’s still quite hard. So just imagine how hard it is for those without the means for gender affirming surgeries or hormones. I have known a lot of trans people who used sex work to pay for surgeries, as it would get them a lot of money quickly. I know people bust ass at a 9-5 office job and still can’t afford surgeries.
I wondered, with the very public appearance of Caitlyn Jenner do you think it will be safer for more people to come out? Including young people?
“On the one hand,” Finneus answered,
It’s more public now and people say positive things and you see a more positive reaction so you think it’s safe. But then you hear people say things that hurt and they don’t even know it. Take for example, my day at work today. We had a minor system outage and while we were out a few people started talking about Caitlyn. Some people were polite but others were so very hurtful and rude. People I thought were more open minded than that and some of them were even on the LGB spectrum. It really hurt to hear people I respected say things like that. Most people at work don’t know I’m trans though so they had no idea it would come so close to home.
In a country where some people may not be aware of the hurt they cause by being insensitive, more awareness is necessary. In a world where prejudice and hate still effect anyone who is different and stands out in a crowd we need to work together to reduce the shame and the bullying. Today transitioning young people may be threatened, they may experience physical abuse or worse. The suicide rate for trans youth is high in this country, and the homeless rate is skyrocketing.
For Finneus, the advice he has for other people who may be going through these issues?
Stay strong. It’s not always easy, but it’s worth it. Life has struggle and sometimes it seems you may feel hopeless but there is a point where you will find love and work and family and acceptance. There is a thing going around right now — a hashtag on Twitter — #RealLifeTransAdult. It started as being encouraging to youth who are struggling but I think it’s encouraging to everyone really. Just hang in there. Reach out if you need to. There are people here for you that love you and understand you even if you’ve never met. I love all my trans brothers and sisters. I love all of you who struggle to be authentic to yourself — be yourself no matter how you identify.
For more info, pick up the July issue of Vanity Fair Magazine, and watch for more articles on my blog, at Huffington Post/drtammynelson/ or www.drtammynelson.com or for more info go to www.drtammynelson.com. My next posts will be about the partner of a transgender, a transgender advocate in Washington DC and a transgender psychotherapist who is transitioning herself.
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Monday appointed transgender attorney Shannon Price Minter to the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships.
Minter, who is the legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, has been lead counsel in a number of legal wins for the LGBT community. He gained national attention in 2001 when he represented the lesbian partner of Diane Whipple in a wrongful death case stemming from a dog mauling. That case resulted in a landmark decision in California that extended tort claims to same-sex domestic partners.
Minter was also the lead attorney arguing before the California Supreme Court to overturn Proposition 8, a state ballot measure that banned same-sex marriage in the state. The U.S. Supreme Court in 2013 let a lower court decision go into effect that struck down the ban.
“I am confident that these experienced and hardworking individuals will help us tackle the important challenges facing America, and I am grateful for their service,” Obama said in a statement, of Minter and a handful of other new nominees. “I look forward to working with them.”
The Commission on White House Fellowships interviews and then recommends people to the president for appointment as White House Fellows, who typically spend a year as full-time, paid assistants to senior White House staff.
Minter is one of a number of transgender appointees in the Obama administration. Others include Amanda Simpson and Shawn Skelly at the Defense Department and Jay Davis at the Environmental Protection Agency.
“I am deeply honored to serve on the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships, which provides a unique opportunity for new leaders to gain a firsthand experience of our nation’s government,” Minter said in a statement. “As a transgender man, I am especially grateful to President Obama for his commitment to building a government that reflects the full diversity of our country and for supporting equal opportunity for all people.”
The story has been updated with a statement from Shannon Price Minter.
HARRISBURG, Pa., June 3 (Reuters) – A transgender woman named by the governor to serve as Pennsylvania’s physician general was endorsed by a state legislative committee on Wednesday, clearing the way for the full Senate to vote on her nomination next week.
If she is confirmed, Dr. Rachel Levine, 57, formerly an adolescent medicine specialist at Penn State Hershey Medical Center, would become the first transgender person to serve as a high-level state official in Pennsylvania history.
Jonathan Adams, a spokesman for Lambda Legal in New York, said he did not know of any transgender people in high-ranking state government positions throughout the United States.
During her hearing in front of the Senate’s Public Heath and Welfare Committee, Levine was asked no questions about her transgender status.
As physician-general, she would advise Gov. Tom Wolf and the secretary of health on important public health issues, such as the growth of opioid and heroin abuse in Pennsylvania.
Sen. Judy Schwank, a Democrat from Berks County, asked whether Levine would consider providing Naloxone, a drug that can save heroin users from dying from an overdose, to high schools in the state.
She said last month that a student at a Reading area high school passed out at school after taking heroin and was rushed to a regional medical center.
“A heroin overdose at a high school is an extremely alarming event,” Levine said. “It’s very unusual.”
The antidote presently goes to the Pennsylvania State Police, ambulance operators and colleges, but not to high schools, she said. Local police departments are being contacted individually and urged to stock Naloxone.
Levine said she would “work on” giving the antidote to high schools.
Several senators had questions about medical marijuana. A bill to legalize medical marijuana is stalled in committee in the Legislature.
Levine said Wolf supports medical marijuana but is aware of its risks. She said cannibis was like strong painkillers: both had demonstrated medical uses but should not be used recreationally. (Editing By Frank McGurty)
Former Governor of Arkansas and 2016 presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee has failed at becoming commander-in-chief once before and next year is already hinting at a bout of déjà vu.
His personal opinion doesn’t align with many of the nation’s liberal views and that usually means a nightmare for the polls. The 59-year-old politician was recently discovered to be making wisecracks about transgender people a day after the world rallied around Caitlyn Jenner.
While speaking at the 2015 National Religious Broadcasters Convention in Nashville, Tennessee this past February, Huckabee revealed he wished he could have been transgender–just to sneak in the girl’s bathroom in school.
“Now I wish that someone told me that when I was in high school that I could have felt like a woman when it came time to take showers in PE. I’m pretty sure that I would have found my feminine side and said, ‘Coach, I think I’d rather shower with the girls today,’ he said. “You’re laughing because it sounds so ridiculous doesn’t it?”
He then went on to explain why transgendered citizens shouldn’t be allowed to be in restrooms once they undergo surgery.
“For those who do not think that we are under threat, simply recognize that the fact that we are now in city after city watching ordinances say that your 7-year-old daughter, if she goes into the restroom cannot be offended and you can’t be offended if she’s greeted there by a 42-year-old man who feels more like a woman than he does a man.”
Naturally, he got his ass handed to him on Twitter.
Scroll through the gallery below to see the insight slander Mike Huckabee brought upon himself. Are we still talking about the White House at this point?
Mike Huckabee pic.twitter.com/PDxlmEUP2p
— #BigBadEd (@BigBadEd) June 2, 2015
Photo: Carrie Devorah / WENN
The post Presidential Hopeful Mike Huckabee Slammed For Transgender Jokes [Photos] appeared first on Hip-Hop Wired.
I’ve always lived a different and out-of-the-box life, but in the last few years it has become even more fascinating. Since legally changing my name and gender marker on my identification documents, I’ve had fun with some everyday tasks in life.
I recently had to have a remote control reprogrammed by the geeks who drive Love Bugs; you know who I’m talking about. All of my old programming and purchases from the home-theater geeks were in the old name and gender marker. After half an hour on the phone to even get an appointment for the geeks to come out to do the job, with the phone geek struggling to look up my history, the man on the phone says, “We found stuff at your address under the woman’s name Sherry.”
Now, how should I handle this after already being on the phone for 30 minutes, with my girlfriend in the room? I just said to the guy, “Could you please take her name off of my account? That’s my ex-wife.” My girlfriend laughed out loud. I looked at her, gave her a wide smile and shrugged.
The man said, “Sure, sorry about that, sir.”
“No problem,” I said. As a transgender person in this crazy world, sometimes it’s much easier to be a ninja than try to explain it all to everyone.
Not long after starting my medical transition, but before my name and gender marker were changed on my insurance card, I had to go to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription. When it was ready, the pharmacist called the name on the prescription. I walked up, and he looked right at me and said, “Are you picking this up for your wife?”
I paused, took a breath, and said, “Sure, I am.”
He told me what to tell my wife about the drug, and I walked away chuckling about my zany life.
This brings us to the conversation about how many judgments we make about people by outward appearance. While campaigning for marriage equality, I found this especially perplexing. Being under treatment for gender reassignment and having my doctor’s official letter explaining that I was able to legally change my gender marker on my ID meant that I could now legally marry a woman, even though I still do not have a permanently attached penis, which too many people in our society think is what makes a man. Speaking at rallies or events for marriage equality, there were times I wanted to drop my pants on the stage and say, “I can legally marry a woman,” just to blow people’s minds and get them to see that this is not about what is or is not in one’s pants.
Because I easily “pass” in our binary-gendered society, unless I choose to divulge that I am transgender, in most of my daily life, no one would know. Some people think that “passing” gives me privilege, and maybe at times it does. But “passing” also shows me the absurd ways most of us make judgments.
When we talk about privilege, we have to ask what exactly that means. Does that mean I need to lose my true or full identity to fit in so that others can feel more comfortable?
I’m mostly open and out all the time, and as most of you know, I’m a very open activist, but when I just go to dinner, I don’t walk in and announce that I am transgender.
I’ve learned over time and with experience that there are times to educate and times when it’s best to be the trans ninja. I sometimes take a step back and evaluate how people will best receive and be open to listening to me. In my humble opinion, we can make more positive change by being warm, friendly, and respectful even to those who don’t get us right now.
This brings me to a funny story. I walked into a well-known leather shop one night. There were two guys working there, and they were chatting. After greeting me and asking if I needed help, they went back to their conversation, which was about someone transitioning. These two guys looking at me had no idea that I am trans, so they felt comfortable talking openly about this. As I was looking through the racks of leather clothing and listening to this conversation, I was debating whether to get involved in it or not. It had been a long day, and I was tired, but about that time, one of the men made a comment that I could not ignore. He said, “I can’t understand why anyone would want to take testosterone. They are never going to be able to grow an actual penis, so what’s the point?”
I laughed out loud; it just came out of me. The two men stopped talking and looked at me. The man who had said this then walked over closer to me and said, “I have a friend who is a girl and is considering transitioning, which is why I am researching this, because I am concerned about her.” I told him I educate people on sexuality and gender and asked what he was concerned about. At this point I realized that these two cisgender men would take what I had to say better if all they saw me as was the guy’s guy — to me, the trans ninja.
For 20 minutes I stayed and talked to these men about being transgender, the treatments, the effects, and what trans people have to deal with. I explained that it is important how one feels inside, not just the exterior. I went on to describe how hormones can make a transgender person feel better inside their body. I explained how the body and mind can be a better fit with the hormones.
I asked them to imagine that they never felt that their body matched who they felt they were inside. I also gave them a scenario to think about that addressed their concern that it was all about having a real penis or not: “What if tomorrow one of you were in a bad accident and your penis were mangled or dismembered? Would you still be a man or no longer a man?”
“Wow, I never thought of it like that,” one of them said, as the other scratched his head. If it’s the penis that makes the man, what about the many men who have one that doesn’t work well? Are they still full men?
I could have chastised them for their ignorance and come out in a way that would have humiliated them, but I dare say if I took that angle, their minds would not have been as opened as I believe they were by my talking to them with respect. I also believe that choosing to take the higher road of kindness, even though they said some ignorant things, brought us to a place where I could give them my card and they could actually hear me. If they choose, they could then look me up and find out from my bio that I’m a transgender LGBTQ activist.
And I hope they do. I have to admit that I would love to see the look on their faces at that moment of realization.
Be on the lookout for when and where the trans ninja will strike to educate again.
What a difference a year makes!
As a transgender woman dedicated to teaching acceptance and living our own truth, I want to ask every person I meet to pinch me, to make sure I am awake and not just dreaming all of what has happened. Pinch me, please… thanks, I am awake, yes, but I am still a bit numb taking this all in.
It was only last June, that Laverne Cox was the cover girl of TIME Magazine, which proclaimed The Transgender Tipping Point, and discussed this as America’s next civil rights frontier. For many people both within and outside the transgender community, it seemed like a tree truly did tip over and when it hit the ground so many of us could feel the Earth move.
Over the past year, we have seen many models not only come out as transgender, but also transition in the public eye. The New York Times in its Transgender Today series, is now publishing the stories of as many transgender people who choose to contribute. There hardly seems to be a day going by where there is not another story or blog about one or another aspect of being gender variant (just not fitting into a strict binary, male or female construct). I know I am contributing to this right here.
Yet, with all this exposure, all this visibility, that in my mind is all good and making such a huge difference in understanding and acceptance, I know I was thinking there could not be another major magazine cover girl that could get the attention of the public in a way that occurred with Laverne Cox last June.
But now I wonder if this is true. Perhaps as Yoda told Obi Wan, (when Luke left to help Hans and Leia before his Jedi training was completed) “There is another!”
We now hear reports that the July issue of Vanity Fair will be of Ms. (“HER”) Jenner. This will be the first time we will meet her and perhaps by this time we will learn her proper name. It is reported that Annie Leibovitz will or has done this photo shoot, so at the very least, it is certain to be striking. However, we do know that Vanity Fair is no stranger to controversy so I am wondering what the captions for this cover might proclaim as the editors decide what they are going to communicate.
Tipping points are funny things. I learned this the hard way. Both as a boy scout, with just a small and then larger axe learning to chop down some small trees, to in later years as a homeowner, with that great and scary toy of a gas powered chain saw. I never quite learned to get the trees to fall exactly where I wanted. No matter how clever I thought I was; no matter how much I calculated the angles, it seemed I really lacked the skill to know exactly where they would drop. The impact on the surroundings was often hard to deal with. I learned to use a wedge, but I came to know that getting trees to tip where I wanted was a learned skill and took a great deal of practice. So often the learning examples were not pain free.
It took me a long time to accept that when I try something new, even after I read about it and learn everything I can, the only true learning is by “doing” and accepting the mistakes and errors that the experiences will teach. Reading Malcolm Gladwell’s books, The Tipping Point and Outliers has helped me to understand the phenomena of needing 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert. It is OK to make mistakes as long as we can learn from them. This truly came in handy for me during the early days of my own gender transition, and for anyone who will listen I will always advise take baby steps and always make sure you are on solid ground.
There is the famous thought experiment: If a tree falls in a forest, and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?
We know that just one year ago, the sound of the Time Magazine cover was heard very loudly around the world. The last circulation numbers I found (from 2013) showed Time at over 3 million copies. At that time, Vanity Fair’s circulation was reported about a third of that at just over 1 million copies in circulation. It should be interesting to listen to the sound — I am sure there will be one — when Ms. Jenner becomes a cover girl.
I don’t know if all the angles have been calculated and the wedges put in the proper place, to make certain that the tipping of tree lands exactly where they want it. I sure hope so, as there are so many beautiful surroundings that we really need to keep whole. Tipping points are tricky things and I sure hope we keep these trees tipping in the right direction.
NEW YORK (AP) — On a recent bright spring morning, students admitted to the Barnard College Class of 2019 gathered on campus. As blue-and-white balloons fluttered in the breeze, the prospective freshmen attended panels and lunched on the lawn, chatting animatedly with current students.
There were, of course, young women from a variety of backgrounds, but at least one category wasn’t included: transgender women. Barnard, like other women’s colleges, has traditionally admitted only students born female. But that might be changing.
Next week, Barnard’s trustees are expected to vote on an issue that has arrived loudly and emphatically on the front burner for women’s colleges across the nation: transgender admissions. One by one, schools have announced policies in the past year that address, as never before, the fluidity of gender.
Why the sudden action? “I think certain issues just hit the zeitgeist at a certain point in time,” says Debora Spar, Barnard’s president, who’s led a monthslong effort to explore the issue with her community, including five town halls and a survey that yielded some 900 responses – all of which she says she’s personally read. “History is moving very quickly on this issue.”
Popular culture, too. “Transgender issues have been accelerating in the culture,” says Jennifer Finney Boylan, an English professor at Barnard and herself a trans woman. She points to several recent influential events: Actress Laverne Cox appearing on a Time magazine cover touting “The Transgender Tipping Point.” The Golden Globe-winning TV show “Transparent,” about a trans woman. And, more recently, Bruce Jenner’s transition. “These issues are changing the game,” says Boylan. “It might seem like it’s all happening at once, but why didn’t it happen sooner? I’m delighted that all of these colleges are trying to figure it out.”
But figuring it out is a complex process, and colleges have arrived at differing (and often lengthy) policies. The most recent: Smith College, which decided in early May to admit transgender women but not transgender men (assigned female at birth but identifying as male). Mount Holyoke, on the other hand, has decided to admit both. “We acknowledge that gender identity is not reducible to the body,” said the school’s president, Lynn Pasquerella, in September.
Barnard, now, will have to determine where to draw the line.
“There’s no one right answer,” says Dru Levasseur, director of Lambda Legal’s Transgender Rights Project. “It’s a complex issue, and it reflects the complexity of gender.” To those who might argue that the issue affects only a tiny group of people, Levasseur replies that it’s hugely symbolic.
“It really gets to the heart of who qualifies as a woman, and who qualifies as a man,” Levasseur says. “Which makes it so relevant right now.”
Ahead of the decision, The Associated Press sampled some views across the community.
“WE WANT TO DO THE RIGHT THING”
Spar, the Barnard president, says the issue is hardly brand new; she’s been thinking about transgender admissions since she took her position in 2008. After listening to various views, she feels it boils down to “a split in how people defined what a women’s college is.”
“For part of the community, that mission is defined as educating women,” Spar says. “For another part, it’s about providing a space for gender-oppressed minorities. And when you come down to it, that divide affects how you see the issue of transgender admissions.”
“We really want to do the right thing,” Spar says. “We just have to figure out what the right thing is.”
“WE DON’T WANT TO BE ON THE WRONG SIDE OF HISTORY”
Caleb LoSchiavo, 22, a graduating senior, was born female but, upon arrival at Barnard, began a gradual transition. An Italian and psychology major, LoSchiavo changed names legally last year.
“I arrived here and realized that I wasn’t female,” LoSchiavo says. “I didn’t fit into this idea of womanhood.”
LoSchiavo, who identifies as neither male nor female but “gender fluid,” has been active in transgender issues on campus, and senses that Barnard is ready to admit transgender students: “It would look really regressive and behind the times to say `no.’ We don’t want to be on the wrong side of history.”
But how to define the policy? LoSchiavo thinks Barnard should admit anyone except those who identify as male. That would exclude trans men.
“If you KNOW you’re a man, then a women’s college is not your place,” LoSchiavo says. “Men have male privilege, that’s a fact. If people see you as a man, you’re going to be treated with more respect. Men don’t need to be at a women’s college to see themselves reflected in leadership. They can look at the entire history of our nation.”
“THIS IS PART OF BARNARD’S MISSION”
If Barnard’s decision goes that way, it would effectively exclude someone like Mark King, a music major who’s just completed junior year and is a trans man.
King, 21, began identifying as a male at 16 or 17. But he didn’t come out publicly until he’d arrived at Barnard. “In high school, there are just so many people who know you, so many people to get past,” he says. “It was excellent to come to Barnard and introduce myself as I am.”
King always gets the same question: “Why would a trans man want to come to Barnard?” His answer is that Barnard is not MORE rigid because it’s a women’s college; it’s less.
“Barnard appealed to me as a trans person because I knew that the environment here was much more accepting, and that people were completely open and happy to learn about other people’s experiences,” he says.
King, who among other initiatives has worked with the college to establish gender-inclusive bathrooms in every Barnard building, agrees with many that the first priority is to get trans women accepted.
“But,” he says, “I think Barnard should admit all students for whom womanhood is or HAS BEEN part of their identity.”
To bolster his case, King points to Barnard’s very mission statement, which says that the school “embraces its responsibility to address issues of gender in all of their complexity and urgency, and to help students achieve the personal strength that will enable them to meet the challenges they will encounter throughout their lives.”
“BARNARD’S UNIQUE IDENTITY”
Ava Kingsley, a rising junior and economics major, attended a town hall and suddenly found herself becoming a spokesman for “the other side.”
“The first two people spoke and they were very pro-opening up admissions. It was very unilateral, one-dimensional, and so I raised my hand,” she says.
Kingsley notes that Barnard is unique; it’s a women’s college but also part of Columbia. Any Columbia student can take class, eat in dining halls or hang out at Barnard; they just can’t be officially a Barnard student.
“The co-ed aspect is important to me,” says Kingsley, who adds that she understands all sides, and also welcomes transgender students in any aspect of campus life. “Yet also, I feel strongly about having the all-women’s environment in the sense of the principle of the school and its mission. For me, as soon as you have students who have a penis apply to an all-women’s college, that takes away our unique identity as one. With three of four Columbia colleges able to enroll transgender students, I feel Barnard doesn’t have any obligation to take our exclusivity away, something we fought so hard to maintain.”
“THE MORE YOU THINK, THE MORE SENSE IT MAKES”
Boylan, the professor and transgender activist, favors the most inclusive policy possible. But she understands why views differ. The “least vexing” question for most people, she says, is whether transgender women have a place at Barnard.
As for those who question why a person identifying as male should be at Barnard, she answers: “You come to a place like this because gender is at the center of your life. Because the questions you need to answer to become yourself are questions that are best going to be answered at a college in which gender is at the center of the academic enterprise. The more you think about it, the more sense it makes.”
And why is the issue important, despite the small numbers involved? (It’s hard to know how many college applicants will be affected; the entire transgender population in the US has been estimated at about 700,000.)
“Our humanity is measured by the way we treat the most vulnerable in our society,” Boylan says. “Even if – I would say especially if – their numbers are small.”
For the past 12 years, Dutch photographer Sarah Wong has documented the lives and experiences of a group of children who have transitioned — or are in the process of transitioning — to live as their authentic selves.
Wong captured these images of children involved with VU University in Amsterdam, where they engaged in a type of therapy that aimed to support children who experience gender dysphoria. A number of these kids took or have taken puberty blockers in order to delay the effects of puberty until they decide how they want to live their lives. However, the photos were taken at the kids’ homes, schools, ballet classes — spaces where they felt most comfortable.
Wong shared the images with the world through a book called Inside Out: Portraits Of Cross-Gender Children, published in 2011. A medical research journalist from the Dutch Volkskrant newspaper, Ellen de Visser, wrote the book’s text.
The Huffington Post chatted with Wong this week about the children in these photos, as well as her own experiences documenting the lives of these kids.
Ballet Girl, 2005
The Huffington Post: Who are the children captured in these photographs?
Sarah Wong: These are Dutch, cross-gender children aged 5 up to 17. I photographed them since 2003 by request of their parents. I worked as a photographer in health care and had just finished a photo book about a children’s hospital. We met, and the cross-gender children immediately touched my heart.
Ballet Girl, 2010
Boy with swimming suit, 2009
“At the end we’re all the same — souls who want to be happy and live compassionately.”
What was your goal/intention with photographing these children?
My goal was to help them to find happiness. With their portraits I wanted to empower them — no sensational journalistic approach. Not a boy in a dress or a girl with a football. When people saw the portraits they said, “lovely children, but who are they?”
The photographs showed lovely children, with a strong consciousness: this is who I truly am. At the end we’re all the same — souls who want to be happy and live compassionately.
Boy with boxing trainer, 2010
What were the experiences of these children like at this European clinic?
The children had very good experiences at the VUmc because of the puberty blockers. The greatest nightmare from a cross-gender child is your body growing the wrong direction. A boy doesn’t want breasts and girls don’t want to have a beard. The puberty-blockers gave relief and thinking time, and they could grow up like “normal” teenagers.
Why, as a photographer, is providing these stories and experiences visibility so important?
As an artist your work can have a great impact on public opinion. I was always very interested in identity and compassion and felt sometimes more like a psychologist or detective-profiler, than a photographer.
I realized very young, at age 21 in art school, that as an artist, your photographs can have a great impact on the public opinion. I was very much inspired by Robert Capa and Henry Cartier Bresson, Magnum photographers.
It’s very important for society to see these images — theres nothing sensational about transgender kids. Again, at the end we’re pretty much the same: we’re all souls who want to live happy and give meaning to our life and others.
It was during the project that I suddenly understood why these photos were incredibly important for the kids. They showed who they really were. The photographs were almost forensic proof for them.
Mostly, photography is about the emotions and ego from the artist. Well, during this project my ego shrunk every photoshoot because I was in service of them. And I liked very much the idea that the photographs we made were for a greater purpose. Unfortunately, I could never expose them in a museum because of the integrity of the children. Now that they’re older I’m looking for a great spot. Society and public opinion has changed.
Princess on white horse, 2012
What do you hope viewers take away from these images?
I truly hope The Huffington Post audience will take the compassionate way of looking. This means a way of looking with the heart — free from personal emotions.
If you get emotional with someone’s suffering you are not in a position of empowering someone. The very first doctor who helped these children was a pioneer as well. During the weekend he was a deacon in a church. The reason he wanted to help transgender gender people was because of this compassionate way of looking at them — not as a doctor but as a human being.
Butterfly tableau, 2010
Butterfly tableau, 2012
The South has a knack for making you feel othered if you’re even the slightest bit different. If you’re not white, the right kind of Christian, conservative, straight, and cisgender, you’ll be made a target. I learned all of this long before I reached the end of my senior year of high school, which is why I wasn’t particularly thrilled to attend my alma mater, the University of Georgia. In fact, I wasn’t thrilled at all to know that I was essentially signing a contract to stay in the South for at least four more years. I had spent all my life in Georgia, and I was itching to be somewhere where the air was less thick with conservatism and a history (and current status) of intolerance.
But I’m adaptable. I quickly learned that college is a transformative process regardless of location. It’s all about finding yourself, discovering your hopes and aspirations and reaching the deeper areas of your mind. Some people come out of the experience with a degree, others with incredible stories, and others simply with a better understanding of their body’s tolerance for alcohol. But some, like me, left with a newfound understanding and sense of purpose; I matriculated as a timid, confused boy and departed as a woman standing in her truth.
College was like most of my life — full of dichotomies. My experiences (in all their eclectic glory) were yearning to come together like a woven tapestry, creating an intricate semblance of understanding and identity. I needed a stark contrast to the double life I lived throughout high school, playing the well-mannered and virtuous “straight” boy at home and the flamboyant, queer prince (think Jack, from Will & Grace) at school.
Due to lack of education and awareness of transgender issues and internalized mislabeling from peers, I came out as gay at 14. I knew this was the right choice despite a lack of community and anticipated support from parents who were Southern, black and Catholic. Don’t get me wrong: They loved me, but like most parents they weren’t completely equipped to handle having a queer child. But I had no choice but to be authentically me, because queerness (and my high femininity) adorned me like a badge. I was mocked and ridiculed for it long before I even knew what “it” was — or at least what I thought it was.
Once I made it to my alma mater, I wasn’t met by some caravan of queers or any reassurance of my journey. It took time to wade through the campus’ hegemonic culture that I was, in many ways, the complete antithesis of. I was a budding queer, black, feminist, trans woman, so it was powerful for me to embrace myself in an atmosphere that fostered and encouraged adherence to a white, cisheteronormative ideal. Greek life and Southern football culture consumed the campus’ resources and energy, and it was always apparent that Confederate, quasi-Antebellum ideals marked the mandates, words and ideologies of the powers that be. They weren’t going to give me a portrait with my face on it; I was going to have to bogart my way into the frame.
Read more at Autostraddle.
Avery Jackson is a brave 7-year-old girl who’s sharing her story about being transgender.
Bruce Jenner has been very, very famous twice in his life, both times in a zeitgeist-epitomizing manner. First as a Cold War-era athlete, the patriotic defeater of communist Russia in the decathlon at the 1976 Olympics; and again, starting in 2007, as the patriarch of reality TV’s most visible family at a time when fame for fame’s sake defined the highest echelon of celebrity. He may now become famous again, this time in the arena of civil rights.
Last night, nearly 17 million Americans watched Bruce Jenner explain that he is and always has been a transgender woman. This number, which will only grow as secondary media and social media continue to discuss the interview, is important, especially considering that, according to a GLAAD poll, only 8 percent of Americans report actually knowing someone who is transgender. Few have the stomach to deny rights to their friends; familiarity breeds acceptance.
“For all intents and purposes, I am a woman,” Jenner told Diane Sawyer. They both seemed aware that they were speaking to a wide audience that would be uneducated on the matter at hand, a fraught subject prone to highly offensive linguistic gawking. For the most part, they threaded that needle well. Perhaps a little too much time was spent on questions of anatomy; certainly Sawyer’s inability to grasp the difference between gender and sexual preference felt unseemly. But given the broadness of the viewership, the ignorance may have been feigned, intentional and planned.