The Week In Trans 10/23/17

| Oct 23, 2017

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Andreja Pejic

Ford Models just announced that they signed Andreja Pejic. She is the first openly transgender model in the history of the agency. She did an interview with Forbes in connection with the contract. Jamie Roberts found the story covered in The New York Times.

Saturday was the Eighth Annual International Day for Trans Depathologization. Activists in several countries demonstrated to insist that being transgender is not a mental health condition in itself. They are fighting to get rid of any mental health diagnosis for being transgender, and they are fighting for legal recognition of their gender without sterilization. Human Rights Watch has more.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions surprised quite a few people by sending a lawyer who specializes in hate crimes to help in the case against Jorge Sanders-Galvez, who is charged in the murder of Kedarie Johnson, a gender-fluid 16-year-old from Burlington, Iowa. Christopher Perras of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division will assist Des Moines County Attorney Amy Beaers and Assistant Iowa Attorney General Laura Roan in prosecuting this case. Newsweek has more on this case. As Media Matters for America points out, this is the same Jeff Sessions who recently sent out a memo stating that the Justice Department does not believe that Title VII protects employees from being fired because they are transgender, and who authored the guidence that said the Justice Department and the Department of Education believe that individual school districts should have the right to determine whether transgender students should be allowed to use restrooms that match their gender identities. Despite this, the bulk of his actions show him to be no friend of the transgender community.

Erica Anderson

For the last three years, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has been looking into the unexplained firing of transgender professor Erica Anderson by John F. Kennedy University in California. The case will continue, with lawyers for Dr. Anderson continuing to pursue claims of discrimination under both federal and state law, but the Justice Department will not assist. This story is in Edge Media Boston..

Governor Jerry Brown has signed legislation which supports transgender people who are seeking employment in California. The legislation makes it even clearer that firing an employee for being transgender is discrimination, and it makes extra funds available for training transgender people for jobs. You can find more in the Long Beach Post.

Jerry Brown also signed legislation authorizing the “third gender” option in the state of California. In addition to “male” and “female,” Californians can choose to designate their gender as “X,” meaning “gender not disclosed.” This will be permitted on birth certificates and state identification (including driver’s licenses). The Sacramento Bee has this story.

Ines Rau

The November/December issue of Playboy will feature the first transgender playmate of the month. Ines Rau will show off her physique in the historic issue. Caroline Cossey (a.k.a. Tula) was featured in the magazine, and Wendy Carlos was the subject of a Playboy interview, but neither was the playmate. Ms. Rau also was in the magazine before, in May 2014, but was not the playmate at the time. The Independent has more.

Caitlyn Jenner turned down an award for transgender activism. The award was to be given by St. John’s Well Child and Family Center in Los Angeles. There had been criticism of the group for giving this award to Caitlyn Jenner. This story is in Pink News.

Judge Joyita Mondal

Joyita Mondal made history in the India when she was appointed as the first trans woman judge in that country. Her appointment was three months ago but she spoke to the Hindustan Times recently. You can find her comments on being appointed in Metro U.K.

The Universities Minister of the United Kingdom, Jo Johnson, has indicated that universities cannot refuse to host speakers because of their controversial views even if those views happen to violate the diversity policy of the university. Universities which refuse to house events with controversial speakers can be fined, according to Pink News.

Despite some calls from far-right members of Parliament and from some political groups in Britain, the government of Theresa May remains committed to moving gender identity out of the hands of doctors. She is going ahead with the Gender Recognition Act, as The Independent reports.

Hannah Mouncy

The day before their draft, the Australian Football League for Women ruled that transgender woman Hannah Mouncy was not eligible to play in the league this year, spending last season in their tryout league. The league has received much criticism for the move. She is still allowed to play for the same team she played for last year. The Canberra Times has this story.

Although the government is trying to expand the recognition of gender change beyond the medical field, some still want the government to be involved in the medical recognition of gender change. Some LGBT advocates want doctors to routinely ask patients about their gender identity. The ideas are to gather better data and to make sure that transgender people are able to get access to the medical treatments that they want. This story is in Pink News.

A study at the University of British Columbia found that, while the path to gender-confirmation surgery is getting to be better defined, it can still be difficult to find the way to that goal. The study got input from 337 transgender Canadians, 215 of whom live in British Columbia. The study found various ways in which the system could be improved, although implementing the improvements may be difficult. The Vancouver Courier has this story.

Terri Bruce

A trans man in South Dakota is suing his employer, which happens to be the state, because of a provision in the state’s health plan that forbids coverage of drugs or services for gender confirmation. Terri Bruce says the health plan violates the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the Constitution. Learn more from U.S. News.

A girl was refused First Holy Communion with her classmates at St. John the Evangelist School in Indiana because she was wearing a white pantsuit rather than the traditional white dress. The ensemble, including a white shirt and white tie, looked like a boy’s First Holy Communion suit. While parents were no doubt told of the dress code for the event, Chris Mansell nonetheless bought her daughter Cady the pantsuit because Cady said, “I really don’t like dresses. They’re too itchy.” The matter escalated until the family decided to leave the parish. Let’s just say that the matter could have been handled better by both sides. You can read more at the New York Daily News.

Emma Smith

Emma Smith is a six-year-old transgender girl living in North Carolina. She has been told that she has to use the boys’ restroom at school (thanks to HB2 and later HB142), and she was told that she had to stop hugging her classmates. Her story has been told before. (Her mother is willing to tell most everyone about her.) But now, her story is being told by the Daily Mail, and it is being told in their women’s section. This is amazing, considering that the Daily Mail is not at all trans-friendly.

Justin Tranter has just revealed that a song he co-wrote, Centuries, is actually about transgender pioneer Marsha P. Johnson. This story, which came out on Spirit Day, can be found in the Advocate.

Former Vice President Joe Biden has endorsed Danica Roem in her race for the House of Delegates in Virginia. It’s not hard to see several reasons why he would prefer the challenger in this race, but the reason he stressed was public transportation. You can read more at Metro Weekly. TGF reader Jamie Roberts found more on Roem in The Washington Post. One article here and one article here.

Babs

Babs Casbar Siperstein, a transgender activist who writes for TGForum, has been squeezed out of her position on the Democratic National Committee. According to this story in Blue New Jersey, she backed the losing candidate in a fight for the chairmanship, and the new chairman decided to replace her.

In order to answer the charge that trans actors don’t get hired to portray trans characters in films and on TV the Casting Society of America held an international open call for transgender actors. The open call, which means an actor can show up at a casting director’s office with no appointment, happened yesterday all over the world. Since this is the first time we’ve read about this event we hope a lot of trans actors knew about it before it happened. Learn more from The Hollywood Reporter.

Alexis Stone as Madonna.

This week’s demonstration of the power of makeup comes from U.K.-based drag performer Alexis Stone. Ms. Stone has done a series of photos on Instagram in which she transforms herself into many celebrities ranging from Leonard DiCaprio and Madonna to Ellen Degeneres and Kat Von D. See her amazing work on the Pop Sugar website.

The city of Pittsburgh, Pa. has announced that for the first time ever the city’s employee benefits plan will cover gender confirmation surgery. Mayor Bill Puduto made the announcement last week accompanied by Pennsylvania’s Physician General. Learn more about the new coverage on the Trib Live website before you move to Pittsburgh and apply for a city job.

Fran Fried

For “probably the third” time in the show’s history, Jeopardy! had a transgender contestant this week. Fran Fried is a writer and editor who shared the lead going into Final Jeopardy, but was eliminated in only the second time that a contestant won a game with $1. The Fresno Bee has a story about Fran, who used to work for the paper. The Hartford Courant had a story previewing her appearance.

The acceptance of transgender students within their preferred genders has presented some difficulties for co-ed boarding schools in Britain. At least one has come upon a problem using gender identity instead of genitalia in assigning students to dormitories. In many cases, the solution has been for the transgender student to be given a private room, rather than sharing with a roommate. Pink News has this story.

TWITs

Panic over “drag queen story hour” was kicked up a notch when right wing organizations saw a photo of Xochi Mochi, a Los Angeles area drag performer, reading to children at the library in Venice Beach. Mochi’s outfit and makeup was over the top (of course) and featured horn-like appendages decorating her head. The right wing fear mongers saw instantly that she was teaching the children all about Satan. But she wasn’t. Thankfully there is a place that can correct fake news stories. They call it Snopes. A TWIT Award to the right wing websites that linked the event to Satanism.

A transgender woman named Michelle Martinez has been convicted by a Wyoming jury of raping a 10-year-old in a bathroom. This incident took place in the home of a friend, not in a public restroom. Nonetheless, various outlets, including Fox News, have used the incident to push the need for laws to combat transgender people in public restrooms. The local news reporting in the Billings Gazette refers to the accused as “Miguel Martinez,” and notes that the public defender assigned to the case, Tracy Hucke, said at a previous hearing that “her client identifies as a woman and uses the name Michelle.” For misrepresenting facts in the case in order to push a political agenda, Fox News and other outlets get a TWIT Award. Snopes looked into the incident.

A transgender woman was turned away from Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia, when a security guard accused her of wearing “a costume.” She was wearing a maxi-skirt. There is a “no costume” policy, which is designed to protect the performers at the park by making them easier to identify. However, the skirt in question, while bright, was not a costume of any known variety. A person at Customer Service was understanding but upheld the security guard’s initial decision. Then, the transgender woman put on her boyfriend’s shorts, while he wore the skirt, and with that wardrobe change, the couple was allowed into the park. For abuse of authority, the security guard gets a TWIT Award. You can read about it on WGNO-TV‘s website.

Sometimes, all you can do is stare in disbelief at the bad logic. When the subject of sexual harassment of women by men came up, Tony Perkins tied it to a “moral confusion,” which he blamed on LGBT people in the military. So, because we say that anyone who wants to serve their country is allowed to do so if they can pass the physical fitness tests, some men somehow think that that means that they can treat women inappropriately. For a non-sequitur which goes beyond being nonsense, Tony Perkins gets a TWIT. Salon has more on this.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has signed a consent decree which, if it is upheld, would do away with certain parts of HB142. (Because there are legitimate questions as to whether such a decree can undo provisions in a bill passed by the legislature, the matter was not discussed in the news above.) Neil Munro at Breitbart compares the provisions allowing transgender people to use the restroom of their choice to the behavior of Harvey Weinstein. Mr. Weinstein is not transgender, and no, despite the constant repetition of the idea that such laws allow “men in the women’s room,” neither police nor courts have ever agreed with that interpretation. For repeating a frequently dis-proven statement, Neil Munro gets a TWIT Award. His writing can be found here.

A new book called I Don’t Have To Choose attempts to explain to children why “God’s gender binary” is sacred. It uses the characters of Alex and Alex (one being a boy named Alexander and the other a girl named Alexis) to explain that boys and girls can enjoy the same things and have the same talents and hobbies yet both be true to their birth genders. Even the title betrays the bias of the book, as it pretends that being transgender is a choice. No reputable medical authority believes that transgender people choose to be transgender. For spreading a known lie in the attempt to discredit medical science, we choose to give a TWIT Award to the authors of I Don’t Have To Choose. Right Wing Watch has more on this story.

TWIT is assembled by Cecilia Barzyk with additional content and editing by Angela Gardner.

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