The Week In Trans 7/31/17

| Jul 31, 2017

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Reaction to President Trump’s Anti-Trans Tweets

On Wednesday morning, President Donald Trump sent three tweets saying, “After consultation with my Generals and military experts please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow . . . Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming . . . victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you.” The tweets were a surprise to Secretary of Defense James Mattis, though he did get advised the day before the tweets were sent. He was said to be “infuriated” by the tweets and upset by the change in policy. (He had quietly lobbied Republicans in the House of Representatives to vote against an amendment to the Defense spending bill that would have banned transgender medical care.) The Washington Post has more on the tweets.

The tweets are not themselves law, nor regulation, nor an executive order. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford, announced that there would be no immediate change in the policy regarding transgender people currently in the military, and sent a memo to that effect to all the military service chiefs. The Department of Defense may eventually formulate a new policy which puts the tweets into action but, formulating a new policy takes months at least.

Kristin Beck challenged the president to look her in the eye and say it.

While it is fairly easy to ban openly transgender people from joining the military, dismissing those who are already in the military could end up in the courts. Emily Peck writes in the Huffington Post that some court cases have gone against employers who dismissed employees for transitioning on the job, while others have sided with the company, and the Supreme Court has not weighed in on the matter. Politico calls the announcement a “legal quagmire,” and specifically sites “reliance,” a legal term for acting on a promise or word of someone else. In this instance, the statement last year from then-Secretary of Defense Ash Carter that transgender people would be allowed to serve openly in the military was a contract with transgender people who were already in the military, and that contract allowed them to seek medical attention for their gender dysphoria. For them to be punished for acting on that contract and its promises would be illegal, most likely. Of course, any legal proceedings would take a considerable amount of time.

Reaction to the tweets came quickly. The American Medical Association said that there was no medical reason why transgender people could not serve. “Transgender individuals are serving their country with honor, and they should be allowed to continue doing so,” said the statement from the AMA. The AMA says that the costs are not that much of a burden. The American College of Physicians “strongly opposes President Trump’s decision to ban transgender individuals from military service.”

Trans soldier Capt. Jennifer Peace.

Senators John McCain, Lindsay Graham, and Orin Hatch all came out against the ban on transgender people in the military. John Lewis, who was with Martin Luther King on his civil rights marches and is now a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, said on Twitter, “I fought too long to end discrimination based on race and color to allow discrimination based on gender identity to be considered acceptable.” However, leaders of several social conservative groups (many of which claim to be “Christian”) were quite happy with the announcement.

Military families with transgender children are caught in uncertainty over these tweets. While they are not threatened with a dishonorable discharge, they get their medical insurance through the military, and that insurance covers the children’s gender-related care. NBC News looked at that.

Many other nations have found that transgender people serving in their military are not a problem, either to their military budget or to unit cohesion. The Canadian Broadcasting Company posted a short review of how transgender people are allowed to serve in some countries. The CBC also ran a story on a tweet by the Canadian Armed Forces, touting their commitment to diversity.

Dr. McGinn

Dr. Christine McGinn, a trans woman herself, will provide free GRS for some military personnel. Don’t get too excited. She is only extending this offer to those military members she already has scheduled for surgery. Learn more about it on The Huffington Post website.

A sheriff in Washington state has invited trans military personnel to apply for work in his department. He tweeted “If any transgender former or active duty members of our armed forces want a supportive boss, apply here” and stated the same thing on NBC News. He said any trans person who was forced out of the military would be welcome to apply. Learn more on the Independent website.

Patti Harrison

Blowback on the late night talk shows has been huge, to use one of the president’s favorite words. All of the hosts condemned the military trans ban using humor. Jimmy Fallon invited trans comic Patti Harrison on to let a trans person take some shots. You can watch a video of her appearance on the Refinery29 website. She appears about three and a half minutes into the video.

All the other late night talk show hosts and other celebs have also weighed in using humor as a weapon against President Trump’s sudden betrayal of the trans community. It’s almost as if he had no idea what the T in LGBTQ stood for when he promised to be great for LGBTQ people. Check out several comic reactions to his tweets on The Daily Beast website.

Other News

Country glam from Courtney Act.

Last year the website Queerty had a feature they called Painted for Filth! It was a compilation of the best “drag” photos of each month. The photos went beyond just drag and veered into bizarre creature visages and strange alien beings. It was a good feature to check out if you wanted to lose all self-esteem about your prowess in the makeup department. So if you’ve been feeling really confident we’ve got bad news. The feature has returned to the website after a year-long hiatus. Check out the photos of the month, from otherworldly to standard femme glamor on the Queerty website.

The Texas State Senate gave preliminary approval to a bill to limit the ability of transgender people to use public restrooms. Once it gets final approval by the Senate, it goes to the House, where it will meet more opposition, according to Reuters. SB 3 was met with much opposition by speaker after speaker in testimony. The Advocate

In a case of odd timing, a study released by Michigan State University found that transgender people who are married are less likely to be victims of discrimination than are transgender people who are single. Hui Liu, a professor of Sociology and the principal investigator of the study, said, “Past research suggests marriage is related to greater access to economic, social, and psychological resources,” and those resources help transgender people to cope.

Kami Choudary

Change is not easy. In Pakistan there is rising awareness of transgender people. That is a great thing for the trans people of that country but there are those who feel threatened by their good fortune. Hard line conservatives? No. The people who are upset are the people who identify as a third gender. They are  members of the ancient Khawaja Sira third gender culture. Kami Choudary is Pakistan’s first trans super model and she does not identify as a member of the third gender but as a trans woman. Learn more on the PRI website.

The Pine-Richland School District in suburban Pittsburgh voted to approve a settlement which ends a lawsuit by three transgender students. The students had been told that they had to use the restroom of the gender that they were assigned at birth. The school district has updated its policy, to adhere to a district court ruling, and has agreed to pay damages. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has this story.

Tristan Cotten is a trans man and the founder of Transgress Press, a small publishing house. He is spending this summer peddling 4,200 miles across the United States to raise awareness of violence and sexual assault by intimate partners. You can read more about him at the Advocate.

A genderless child.

A new documentary entitled Raised Without Gender looks at how some young people in Sweden are raised in a way that does not fit the traditional models of “male” and “female.” The Swedish language recently added a genderless pronoun, “hen,” which has come to be widely adopted. The particular parents who are the focus of this documentary are trying to raise their children without gender. You can see the half-hour documentary from Vice on Youtube.

Pope Francis wrote an encouraging letter to Sister Monica Astorga, a nun from his native Argentina, who works with transgender people. Sister Monica’s mission is to get the trans women out of prostitution and to help them kick substance abuse. The Pope wrote, “I have you and the convent close to my heart, as well as the people you work with, you can tell them that.” This story appears in Crux.

Laurie Lee Hall

A member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was a “stake president” who had overseen a congregation for over 8 year when she was excommunicated from the church for “being a woman.” Laurie Lee Hall, like many trans people, knew early in life that she was meant to be a woman but she had to live in secret pretending to be male. She adopted Mormonism hoping to put her gender issues aside. That did not work and eventually she had to come out. That’s when her fellow church leaders told her to be a man or leave. Read her story in the Daily Herald.

The Louise Lawrence Transgender Archive (LLTA) is now under construction. The crowd funded archive got many donations from community members and organizations including the LEF Foundation, Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, St. Francis Lutheran Endowment and a very generous anonymous donor. They raised $12,500 to begin construction. Learn more about the Archive here.

Jinkx Monsoon

Drag Race star Jinkx Monsoon has come out. As what you ask? She’s already out as gay and a drag queen. What else is there to expose? She’s non-binary. And it’s a little complicated. In drag she is she/her. Out of drag it’s they/them. Jinkx, like a growing number of others, refuses to be defined by their genitals. Read more about it on The Huffington Post website.

TWITs

Jason Adkins, who is the Executive Director of the Minnesota Catholic Conference, criticized his state’s Department of Education for a new toolkit they came out with to help schools create policies which accept transgender students. He said that the toolkit “fits neatly into a world of alternative facts, fake news, climate change denial and trigger warnings . . . Science matters only when it serves an ideology.” TWIT Award! You can find more at New Ways Ministry blog.

“Former transgender” person Walt Heyer used the Trump tweets “banning” trans people from the military as another chance to deliver his anti-transsexual message to the masses. CNS News (not CBS) was taken in by Heyer and allowed him to post an opinion piece on their website that defends Trump’s ban. What CNS doesn’t know is that Heyer is not a “former transgender” person. He was a deluded transvestite who unadvisedly had GRS and transitioned to female full-time. Then couldn’t live that way because gender identity doesn’t change when you change your genitals and add breasts. Now, just because GRS didn’t work for him, he rails against it for everyone. Walt gets another TWIT Award. Read his anti-GRS screed on the CNS News website. They get a TWIT for publishing it.

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

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