The Week In Trans 6/26/17

| Jun 26, 2017

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Candice Cayne

Candis Cayne has published her first book. It’s titled Hi Gorgeous! and it merges practical style advice with a retelling of her journey from suburban Hawaiian kid to ’90s drag queen, to celebrated performer and actress. Learn all about it in Vogue.

A three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a stay from a lower federal court which had kept Mississippi from enacting a law which will allow people to refuse goods and services to LGBT people based on their “sincere religious beliefs.” The law specifically supports those who oppose same-sex marriage, those who oppose sex outside of marriage, and those who oppose the recognition of transgender people. The judges said that the plaintiffs had failed to show that they would be harmed by this law. An appeal is likely. Edge Media has the AP account of this story.

Texas’s special session of the legislature is still weeks away, but the media can’t wait to see what happens. State Representative Ron Simmons has announced that he will introduce two bathroom bills in the House. One will be quite similar to the bill he introduced during the regular session; it would nullify any city or county ordinance that extended rights to groups not specified in state or federal law. His other proposal would apply to public school districts; it would direct them to use the sex specified on a student’s birth certificate to determine which restroom, locker room, or changing room the student may use. These measures are opposed by business leaders and people in tourism, who fear a backlash against the state. This story is in the Houston Chronicle.

As we reported last week Brooke Guinan, the Fire Department of New York’s first transgender firefighter, was one of the grand marshals of New York City’s pride parade on June 25.  When she received an email with the invitation, she thought that it was sent to her by mistake, but she was indeed being asked to be a grand marshal. The New York Daily News has this story. Get more from CNN.

The Texas Tribune partnered with the University of Texas to conduct a poll of Texas voters regarding a “bathroom bill.” Not surprisingly, those who identify themselves as Republicans think that the bill is “important,” with 70% of those who describe themselves as “Tea-Party Republicans” saying that the bill is important, and only 54% of other Republicans thinking that it is important. Overall, though, 44% of voters say that such a bill is important, and 47% say it is not important. These results can be found in the Texas Tribune

Washington, D.C., has approved legislation to add a third gender option to driver’s licenses. “M” and “F” are being joined by “X.” The city joins Oregon in such legislation. WAMU radio has this story.

Jacob Tobia wrote a piece about the anxiety he feels when traveling because his gender presentation does not match the designated gender on his driver’s license. He wonders what business of the state’s it is whether he presents as male or female or either or neither. His writing can be found on Time magazine’s website.

Christine Beynon transitioned later in life, and she took a number of pictures of herself to document her transition. She turned those pictures into an exhibition at the Galway Arts Centre in Ireland, and she did an interview with the BBC in connection with the exhibit.

Eddie Izzard has released a new autobiography, Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death and Jazz Chickens. While he has admitted to being an “executive transvestite” in the past, he now describes himself as “transgender,” as you can hear in his interview with All Things Considered, which can be found on the NPR website.

Beverly Glenn-Copeland is a classically-trained singer who was once a regular on a Canadian children’s show called Mr. Dress-Up. Now 73, and now living as a man, he is still singing for his supper from time to time. He recently played Toronto, where CBC television did a profile on him.

Triangle Program in Toronto is the only high school in Canada specifically for LGBT students. It began in 1995, and now has dozens of students, but more important are the many graduates who say that they would have quit school if they had had to stay in the schools that they were at. The school is profiled by CBC News.

Abby Stein

Abby Stein was a Hasidic rabbi in an arranged marriage before coming to terms with her gender. She left her religious community to transition, and lost both the family she grew up in (she was the eldest of thirteen children) and her wife and son. But, she is being true to herself. Pink News has a profile.

Many studies have been done and are being done on transgender people, but much less study has been done on their partners. Lisa Platt of West Virginia University and Kayla Bolland of New Mexico State University interviewed 21 partners of transgender people — male and female, and even some who identify as gender neutral or gender fluid. Some of the partners stayed with their mates through the gender transition, while others paired up after their partner had transitioned. The researcher asked some general, open-ended questions, and the answers indicated a wide variety of different situations. The abstract can be found here, while an article about it appears in the British Psychological Society Research Digest.

An article was recently written about getting Republicans to support rights for transgender people. It uses only the case of Ohio, and it finds that some Republicans are not persuadable. However, they found that some can be persuaded, and that persuading them might be enough to make a difference. The three areas to attack are the idea that legal rights for transgender people would violate their religious beliefs, that they would allow “men in dresses” to use the women’s rest room, and that women and girls would be victimized in the restrooms. You can read a summary of the results in the Advocate.

RainBowGoreCake

It has been said that the children are our future. America’s youngest drag queen performer  is 14-year-old RainBowGoreCake (we swear we have heard of one who is younger but. . .) and she gave a glimpse of the future when she performed over the weekend in the Seattle Pride Parade. Read more about her and see a video interview on the KIRO 7 website.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said to some Justice Department staff, “We are going to have a pride group, in this very room, I think next week, I believe it is, and so that’s perfectly appropriate, and we will protect and defend and celebrate that — and protect the rights of all transgender persons.” It should be noted that he did not say what rights he thinks a transgender person has, but he and his Justice Department will defend the rights that they feel that a transgender person has. Buzzfeed has this story, including a video.

An Applebee’s in Hawthorne, New York, is being sued for discrimination against a transgender woman who worked as a hostess for two weeks. It is alleged that she was called by her deadname and the wrong pronouns as well as a nasty term that will not be repeated here (which begins with the letter “t”), and that, when she made it known to upper management that she was being subjected to this treatment, she was fired. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is suing on behalf of this employee. You can find more in the Journal News.

Exeter students in matching skirts.

Europe is having a heat wave. France and the United Kingdom are especially hot this summer. Last week some boys in Exeter and bus drivers in France wanted to wear shorts, but the uniform dress codes would not permit it. So, since the dress codes allow women to wear skirts, they started wearing skirts. In both cases, it is a protest move, rather than a transgender thing, but it is still of interest. The question of where 30 schoolboys got the uniform skirts in such a hurry is unanswered by Gay Pride News. Jamie Roberts also found the story in The Washington Post. (Some of the lads shaved their legs when school officials complained they were too hairy to wear skirts.)

Also joining the protest movement was Joey Barge, a 20-year-old Brit who works in a call center. He decided to show up wearing a little black dress with pink blocks on it. He had been sent home for wearing shorts to work, but after wearing the dress, his bosses changed the rules for office attire in heat. His story is in the Daily Mail.

The U.S. armed forces were supposed to have plans ready to accept transgender recruits by July 1 (this Saturday). The Army and Marine Corps asked for a two-year extension. The Pentagon agreed to a six-month extension of the deadline, according to the Associated Press. However, that decision now rests with Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis. USA Today has this story.

Trans man gondolier.

For centuries, the gondoliers of Venice have been male. In 2007, one woman joined this all-male profession, after winning a legal fight. This week, that one woman admitted in an interview that she is transgender. He said, “It is inaccurate to refer to me as ‘she’ or ‘Alexandra’ for any reason.” The AP story on Alex Hai can be found in the Washington Post.

A group at Cincinnati’s Pride Parade chose to commemorate Leelah Alcorn, the teen who committed suicide rather than attend a conversion therapy program. A classmate of hers said that her suicide shook the whole school as much as it did the LGBT community in Cincinnati. The group hopes to raise awareness of mental health issues within the LGBT community. WCPO-TV has this story.

For the second year in a row, the LGBT community in Istanbul, Turkey, was not allowed to have a Pride March. The march as banned by the governor, who fears the potential backlash from anti-LGBT forces. The last time they had a Pride March, police used tear gas and water cannons on participants. Reuters has this story.

Courtney Act

Australian drag performer Courtney Act is going on a global quest for love. She recently posted on her Facebook page, “I am going on a worldwide journey to find love and I need you to help me find a date please.” To up her chances to find a mate Courtney is appearing on a new MTV program called Single AF. How is this going to turnout? As Courtney says, “I don’t know what I am looking for exactly. I know they need to be comfortable with a confident girl, who is also a boy!” Should be interesting to say the least. Learn more and see video in The Daily Mail.

A gay bar in Winooski, Vermont, has changed its name to “The Bridge Club” after protests over the previous name, “Mister Sister.” The owner mentioned a kind letter from a transgender woman, who pointed out that some people were using the name “Mister Sister” as an excuse to make comments that were very disrespectful to transgender people. This story is in the Burlington Free Press.

TWITs

Debra W. Soh is a sexual neurologist at the University of Toronto who is still tied into the old CAMH idea that transgender children have a fluid idea of their genders. She writes in a guest editorial that laws forbidding conversion therapy on minors are bound to fail for gay and lesbian children, but that transgender children can be taught that they are not transgender by conversion therapy. (Yes, she actually uses the term “conversion therapy.”) If her theory is right, then why do these therapies have such poor success rates among transgender children? At best, the children who were misidentified as “transgender” become gay or lesbian, in which case, by her own admission, they will only hurt the child. For using a faulty theory to defend a type of therapy which fails in practice, Dr. Soh gets a TWIT Award. You can find her writing in Newsday.

Linda Harvey wrote a piece for Mission America, which is repeated (with permission) on the LifeSiteNews website. The title states its theme: “Transgender men redefine womanhood. Are feminists going to do anything about it?” Perhaps we should begin by pointing out that there are no scare quotes around the word “transgender,” but the scare is still there in the body of her work. Although she makes a passing reference to FtM transgender people in her third paragraph, she quickly abandons that topic and instead discusses MtF transgender people — people who are properly referred to as “transgender women.” Of course, her whole point is that transgender women are not women in her opinion, so of course she uses the wrong term for them. She complains that feminists have not complained about transgender women. She must never have heard TERFs. They are out there, if you just listen. The feminists complain about all sorts of things — transgender women growing up with male privilege, transgender women changing sides in the gender binary without challenging the conventions of society, etc. Granted, their complaints don’t match up that well with the complaints of Ms. Harvey, but that is because Ms. Harvey expects feminists to defend old-fashioned notions of femininity — the notions that feminism was designed to combat. For an amazing number of misconceptions, Ms. Harvey gets a TWIT Award. LifeSiteNews has the article.

Ryan T. Anderson writes on The Daily Signal (the blog site of the Heritage Foundation) that a new article by “three medical experts” shows that all the medical treatments for transgender people which are now endorsed by the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Pediatricians, etc., is all hogwash. Yes, these three doctors have knowledge that the whole medical profession lacks. The paper gives bottom billing to Dr. Paul McHugh, but he is the chief “expert.” Dr. Lawrence Mayer (who, by the way, holds no medical degree) is one of his colleagues, and Dr. Paul Hruz is the third. While their paper looks fairly academic, it is published in New Atlantis, which is neither a medical journal nor peer-reviewed. It is, rather, a place for “research” that upholds social conservative values. Dr. McHugh continues to insist that vast numbers of transgender children change their gender identities, when in reality, their identities are stable, and they were misidentified as “transgender” by Dr. McHugh and his colleagues. He also claims that gender blockers are not reversible, when in fact there are few if any complaints about children not being able to have puberty after stopping blockers. You can find the article from the “medical experts” in the New Atlantis, and you can read Ryan T. Anderson’s TWIT-winning article on the Daily Signal. (No, the fact that some doctors will tell you what you want to hear does not make it true.)

Margot Cleveland is a lawyer, a CPA, and an adjunct professor at Notre Dame. She writes that transgender activists are not looking for compassion, but rather are looking for heresy and the denial of science. The author’s blurb at the bottom of her article doesn’t tell us what she teaches as an adjunct professor, but certainly, she does not teach biology, or she would know that the strict gender binary she insists on is an oversimplification of the diverse reality that is found in nature. She also does not seem to teach history, or she would know that trying to force science to conform to your religious doctrine does not work well (as Galileo could tell her). For attempting to lop off the untidy bits of nature in order to force science to conform to her religious theory, Margo Cleveland gets a TWIT Award. You can find her writing in the Federalist.

To comment on TWIT login and use the comment area below. TWIT is assembled by Cecilia Barzyk with editing and additional material by Angela Gardner.

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  1. Graham says:

    “The question of where 30 schoolboys got the uniform skirts in such a hurry is unanswered by Gay Pride News.”

    Let’s not get too carried with the conspiracy theories here! Certainly, it’s unlikely that so many boys’ wardrobes would just happen to contain uniform-compliant skirts in exactly the correct size … but it’s hardly grounds for suspicion. The obvious answer is the simplest – according to a local paper which ran the story, the skirts were lent to the boys by female pupils: http://www.devonlive.com/boys-in-skirts-put-into-isolation-after-mounting-school-uniform-protest/story-30404434-detail/story.html.

    As for “it is a protest move, rather than a transgender thing, but it is still of interest” … what??? That’s like saying that Rosa Parks’ refusal to give up her seat on the bus was a protest move, but is “still of interest” to the black rights movement. Any and all such protests should be of IMMENSE interest to anyone who believes in human rights and equality … and I’d like to think that most crossdressers are compassionate human beings who fall into that category. The protest actions of the Exeter schoolboys, the French bus drivers, and the Buckinghamshire call-centre worker Joey Barge all brought about changes to the respective sex-discriminatory dress codes at their places of work … and in equality terms, that’s definitely a step forward. In the case of my own actions when I worked at BT, they brought about a groundbreaking new policy securing the rights not only of regular men against dress-code discrimination which far exceeds anything achieved in the three above-mentioned incidents, but also prohibited workplace discrimination against all types of transpeople, including traditional crossdressers. I don’t consider that “protest” to be merely “of interest” …

    However, I can understand why traditional crossdressers wouldn’t necessarily get too excited about these non-trans protests. By definition, the crossdresser’s goal of attempting to pass as a real woman REQUIRES a gender barrier, and crossdressing by its extreme nature acts to reinforce it; any action which seeks to remove the barrier – such as regular boys and men wearing skirts – therefore jeopardises the entire crossdressing edifice. This was a common criticism levelled at me from members of the support networks I belonged to back in the day, and something which I still get accused of even now. Consequently, changes to discriminatory dress codes clearly aren’t going to come about through the actions of crossdressers – they have far too much invested in maintaining the status quo. However, biology has no logical influence on the nature of the material with which we humans cover ourselves, and arbitrary gender-based rules are increasingly being questioned and eroded. Clothes WILL eventually become unisex, and if traditional crossdressing is a casualty of this bid for wider human rights, we should all regard it as a small price to pay for the greater good.