The Week In Trans 5/1/17

| May 1, 2017

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RuPaul

Can you believe it? This is the third year that RuPaul has filled the Los Angeles Convention Center for two days with Drag Con. Who could imagine just a decade or two ago that drag would be so popular that it would have conventions just like comic books? Read about the latest Drag Con and learn more about how RuPaul has made drag mainstream in the Los Angeles Times.

Bill Nye explained gender on his Netflix series, Bill Nye Saves The World. He created a short animated segment entitled “Ice Cream Sexuality,” in which vanilla tries to “convert” other flavors of ice cream to become vanilla as well. The segment uses a good bit of religious language in making its point, so it is not surprising to find that certain religious and right-wing groups have voiced their disagreement with him. You can see the video at the Washington Blade.

Fanning in character.

The film 3 Generations has received a PG-13 rating. To achieve this, the Weinstein Company made some cuts that were suggested by the MPAA. Nothing major was lost, according to the distributor. However, some, such as the Parents Television Council, are protesting the fact that the MPAA has changed its rating at all. The Los Angeles Times has this story.

Translations, the largest transgender film festival in the world, is even larger this year. There will be 70 films from 20 different countries. The Seattle-based film festival will take place over two weekends, beginning on May 4 and ending on May 14. At least five different venues will be used to show all the films in the festival. The Capitol Hill Times has this story.

Mack Biggs

A judge in Texas has dismissed a case challenging the case which challenged a transgender wrestler’s qualification to compete against cisgender athletes. Mack Beggs, a wrestler who takes testosterone to help in a transition to male, wrestled against female students, whose parents worried about potential injuries. The ruling could be appealed. SportsDay has this story.

Two new studies were released this week. The first seems to claim that military service is an aid to the well-being and resilience of transgender people. That conclusion might be a stretch, but the data do show that transgender veterans are better adjusted and less prone to suicide, anxiety, and depression than are transgender people who did not serve in the military. These finding might not result from anything that the military actually does, but simply occur naturally in the sort of transgender people who are drawn to serve in the military. Either way, it is good news. You can find that story in Medical Express.

The other study found that transgender children are not that different from cisgender children. The researchers found three groups of children — one who transitioned between ages 3 and 5, a group of children whose siblings transitioned between the ages of 3 and 5, and a group of cisgender children with cisgender family members. Children in all three groups did about the same at various tasks that they were asked to perform, and they did about as well at answering standard questions about gender. Moreover, they found that the transgender children’s preferences for gender-specific toys and clothing was remarkably similar to that of cisgender children of the gender with which the child identified. The groups were also similar in their attitudes towards gender in others. The Daily Beast has a story on this study.

Not the right look for the market.

When trans women transition there is often a tendency to want to wear the styles they did not get to wear when they were young. This called the Princess Phase. Finally giving yourself the freedom to be who you are makes you giddy with thoughts of flouncy mini dresses, super high heels and perfect glam makeup. Forgetting for the moment that these fashions are not appropriate for a woman your age. If she wants to blend in, that is. If you don’t care about that then wear what you like. First read the story of one 35-year-old trans mom. She tells you how she found the right style for her on the Romper blog.

In British Columbia, anonymous fliers were distributed that attacked both provincial candidate Morgane Oger and transgender people in general. The handouts include the line, “the truth is there are only two genders, male and female and then are God given and unchangeable.” The flier advises against accepting “homosexuality and transvestism” in British Columbia. The good news is that these people appear to be afraid that she will win, which means that she is doing well. You can find out more at CTV Vancouver.

In a largely symbolic move, some members of the U.S. Congress are ready to re-introduce the Equality Bill. This bill would expand existing civil rights legislation to include sexual orientation and gender expression as protected categories, protecting LGBT people from discrimination in employment, education, and housing, among other things. The legislation is unlikely to get out of committee to the floor of either body of Congress. The Washington Blade has this story.

A woman in New Zealand did not feel comfortable as a woman and decided to transition to a male identity. Eight months into hormone treatments to make her more masculine she developed severe depression. She found that living as a male wasn’t the right choice for her, either. After a botched suicide attempt she decided to detransition and is now living as a woman. She says that she doubts if she will ever be completely comfortable with her gender. Read her story in the Daily Mail.

Le Thien Hieu

Le Thien Hieu, a transgender singer, just won a televised singing competition in Vietnam. SHe sang a song which he wrote, entitled “Ong ba anh”, which means, “My Grandparents.” You can read more at Talk Vietnam.

MiraCosta College in Oceanside, California, is becoming the first college in the United States to offer a scholarship specifically for a student who identifies as transgender. The scholarship will provide $1,000 of tuition assistance to the student for that year. The funds come from the college’s trustees, faculty staff, and students, as well as some supporters in the local community. KGTV in San Diego has this story.

Last week, we told you of Great Hearts Academy, the Arizona charter school group who decided to go with a “biological sex at birth” policy for its students. News of this policy has affected the group’s plans for new athletic facilities. The group was going to spend significant money on fixing up a park area owned by the city of Scottsdale, with the understanding that the schools would use the park at certain hours, and it would be open to the public at other times. City Council is now hesitant to go ahead with those plans unless the schools change their gender policies. At least, that is what one member of the City Council tells KJZZ public radio.

Karla Avelar

El Salvador has seen several transgender people murdered lately. In a bit of good news for the transgender people of that country, transgender activist Karla Avelar is one of three nominees for the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders, which is sometimes called “the Nobel Prize of civil rights.” she is the first transgender peorson to be nominated for this award. The director of the Martin Ennals Foundation, Michael Khambatta, said, “Karla has shown a great level of sacrifice and a creative approach to defending the human rights of the transgender community.” TeleSur is the source for this story.

Brazil is also notorious for the number of attacks on transgender people. In Rio de Janeiro, transgender people are being taught krav maga, a martial arts form developed by the Israeli military. You can read more about this at Asia One.

A transgender woman named Isabella Red Cloud was asked to leave the Union Gospel Mission in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. She said, “I was told I could come back when I was dressed appropriately.” She found quite a bit of support when she took her story online. The Argus Leader has this story.

Customer Sabrina checks out a wig.

“Take a walk on the wild side.” That’s the lyric from the Lou Reed song of the same name that got many crossdressers excited when the album came out lo those many years ago. It also was the inspiration for a crossdressing transformation service called the Wildside that has been dressing up men as women since 1987. Now there’s a film about the Wildside and it premiered in the Hot Docs film festival this past weekend. Learn more on the Torontoist website.

Maggie Look, a student at Illini Bluffs High School, was given the assignment of identifying a topic in the news currently and examine it in some depth. she chose transgender rights, and focused quite a bit on her school. She found that there were quite a few ways in which the school was not as welcoming as it could be for transgender students. When some parts of her project appeared online, she received some nasty reactions, aimed not so much at her as at transgender people. When she received some responses which she found threatening, she contacted police, and found that one officer in particular said she brought the problem on herself by her choice of topic. You can read more at the Peoria Journal Star.

A charter school in Scottsdale, Arizona wants help from the city to build a new athletic facility. They specifically want to build on a piece of land that is owned by the city. While their are concerns about the impact the school’s facility will have on the local neighborhood it’s not that which is holding up the plan. One of the city councilwomen has concerns that the school’s policy on trans students mandates that they use the restroom and locker room that corresponds to the gender on their birth certificates. Learn more from the KJZZ website.

Duchovny as Denise.

With revival of the 1990s show Twin Peaks in the offing it is time to cast your memory back and relive what it was like to see a positive trans character on a network TV show. David Duchovny played Agent Cooper’s old law enforcement colleague who had transitioned and was now Denise. While the writers still added a few jokes to the role by and large Denise was treated as a real person who was a valued agent. Read all about her on The Daily Beast website.

TWITs

Caitlyn Jenner was Tucker Carlson’s first guest as a full-time prime-time host on Fox News. (You can find a review and video at The Advocate.) This brought some nasty replies from the usual sources. LifeSiteNews refers to Caitlyn with male pronouns and puts the name Caitlyn in scare quotes which it then puts between parentheses. (Apparently, they don’t realize that that is how one refers to someone’s superhero identity.) Cliff Kincaid wrote a piece in Barb Wire (a website created by the Liberty Council) in which he complains prominently that Tucker Carlson did not ask Ms. Jenner about Chelsea Manning. For a silly non-sequitur, Cliff Kincaid gets a TWIT Award. You can find his piece here.

Speaking of non-sequiturs, Randy Thomasson went onto a radio show last week and complained that efforts to add a third-gender option (or no-specified-gender) to California driver’s licenses and identification cards will lead to more people dying of AIDS. According to Mr. Thomasson, “If you check that third square and say non-binary, what you’re really disclosing is, ‘I have a mental illness.'” Gender nonconformity is not a mental illness according to any mental-health authority. However, thinking you know mental health more than professionals is a mental health issue — it comes under the category “delusions of grandeur.” He then goes on to claim that “transsexuality/crossdressing is the highest transmitter of HIV/AIDS in our land. It’s even more dangerous than homosexuality.” There is no data to back this up. For outright lying, Mr. Thomasson gets a TWIT Award. Right Wing Watch has this story.

The American College of Pediatricians, a group which pretends to represent medical professionals while actually just promoting a non-scientific view on social issues such as gender, has a new position paper. They point out that the American Academy of Pediatricians (the real professional group) has cautioned parents against letting children under the age of 14 cross the street alone. Yet, the ACP points out, children under the age of 14 can consent to “puberty blockers, toxic sex hormones and mutilating sex reassignment surgery.” The adjectives “toxic” and “mutilating” are indicative of a viewpoint that comes more from politics than from medicine, but they are a mere distraction here. The real issue is that last one — “sex reassignment surgery.” No medical group has approved of the idea of sex reassignment surgery for anyone under the age of 16. And no medical group has advocated for sex reassignment surgery without a great deal of counseling first, regardless of the age of the patient. This group seems to have no idea what is actually happening, and they don’t seem to care that they don’t know what is happening. Alternatively, perhaps they do know what is happening, but they don’t mind lying about it. On their main point, the American Academy of Pediatricians did not issue their warning because children cannot reason sufficiently to cross the street; it is about skills like judging the speed of oncoming traffic that could keep some children from crossing safely. The ACP did not acknowledge that skills other than reasoning might be involved. For failing to reason well themselves, the ACP gets a TWIT Award. Their nonsense is here.

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

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