The Week In Trans 8/7/17

| Aug 7, 2017

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Brandon as Princess Onya.

Drag queen story time has become a trendy pastime for children in venues all around the country. Within the past few months libraries and bookstores have invited drag performers to read to children and for the most part the kids and their parents seem to be happy with the results. Just to show that not everyone is thrilled a drag queen appeared on television in Charlotte, NC to express her wish that the local library should ask her to conduct a story time event while dressed a Princess Onya, of the Energy Kingdom, planet of Farei in the Universe of Zygon. After her appearance on TV Brandon James got death threats. Learn more in The Charlotte Observer.

The music distribution website Bandcamp is going to donate 100 percent of its share of music sales on Friday to support the Transgender Law Center in Oakland, California. They are taking this action in response to the Trump administration’s moves against trans people. Learn more about the fundraiser on the NPR website.

St. Louis, Missouri is now the home of what purports to be the “first-of-its-kind” clinic for transgender teens and kids. It’s part of the St. Louis Children’s hospital. We have heard of other clinics so we’re not sure of the claim that it’s the only clinic of its nature but its mission is to provide comprehensive care for trans youth. Learn more about the clinic on the KMOV-TV website.

Gavin Grimm

Gavin Grimm’s case had a setback this week. You will recall that, in March, the Supreme Court remanded the case to the Appeals Court, to be reheard in light of the Trump administration’s policy on transgender students. While the appeals court appreciated Mr. Grimm personally, they were unable to hear his case before he graduated. Now, he has graduated, and the appeals court has sent the case back down to the district court, to let that court determine if he still has standing to sue the school board. This story can be found in The Washington Post.

Since President Trump sent his tweets announcing the ban on transgender people in the military, the Trevor Project has received twice as many calls as usual from transgender people. Uncertainty about a transgender “bathroom bill” in Texas has also been a contributing factor to the rise in calls to the suicide prevention line. Amit Paley, the CEO and Executive Director of The Trevor Project, said, “This data makes clear that our elected officials can no longer ignore that their anti-transgender rhetoric is putting lives at risk.” Rolling Stone is the source for this. (They may not be aware of Trans Lifeline, who specialize in working with transgender people who are considering suicide. You know about Trans Lifeline now.)

Caitlyn Jenner

Registered Republican Caitlyn Jenner was upset about the Trump ban on trans in the armed forces and she made a statement condemning his actions. Then barely a week later she was spotted driving her vintage Austin-Healey convertible to the golf course while wearing a Make American Great Agains cap. We would issue a TWIT Award but Caitlyn has issued an apology to the trans community and pledged to throw the hat out. Read more about it on the Yahoo news feed.

While the Province of Quebec has been willing to update the birth certificates of transgender people born there, they have not been so willing to allow immigrants to change the name or gender on their identity documents. Activists had a demonstration on Sunday, and they have an online petition asking the government to change the standard. CBC News has this story.

Rebekah Bruesehoff

Rebekah Bruesehoff is a 10-year-old transgender girl from New Jersey. This week, she appeared on Good Morning, Britain, along with her mother, Jamie Bruesehoff, and her father, Reverend Christopher Bruesehoff. The family was interviewed by Eamonn Holmes and Susanna Reid, with Piers Morgan not in sight. (Mr. Morgan has had some quite unpleasant things to say about transgender people.) Pink News has the story of that interview. Rebekah was also profiled by NJ.com.

The transgender pride flag failed to make the list of finalists for a set of new emojis. Among the items to beat out the trans flag were a lobster, a lacrosse cue and ball, and a drawing of sad poop. The winning characters will join the emoji set in an update to be rolled out next June, according to this story by Pink News.

Katalina Murrie

Katalina Murrie is a trans woman who is now competing in the Whitewater National Championships in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. She previously competed in the men’s category, but this year, she is paddling her kayak in the women’s competition for the first time. CBC News Ottawa has a brief story about her.

Science has been asking the question, is there a genetic component to being transgender. A study of the brains of transgender people twenty years ago concluded that some areas were more like the brains of the gender with which they identified, but the study had precious few data points, largely because at the time, such study had to be done outside of the body. Thanks to advances in scanning technology, brains of living people can be mapped more than ever, and the results are showing more details in which male and female brains have different propensities, and transgender people’s brains are often more aligned with those of the person’s preferred gender. Reuters took a look at this.

Meanwhile a consortium of five international research institutions is working to find just what in our DNA makes us transgender. The effort is not to find a “cure” for being trans but to prove that trans people are not, as conservatives claim, mentally ill. It will also help doctors to provide better treatment for trans patients. Learn more about the research on the NBC News website.

Pat Manuel

Pat Manuel is the first boxer is U.S. history to as a woman and then as a man. Manuel is a trans man who was participating in the 2012 women’s Olympic boxing trials when an injury sustained during a bout forced her to withdraw from the trials, and was her last bout as a woman. Manuel began hormone therapy in 2013 and had GRS and after recovery began his male boxing career. Read about his journey in The Los Angeles Times. Thanks to Jan Brown for the tip.

Did you know that when The Crying Game was released in the U.K. if was a box office flop? It was only after Miramax undertook a marketing campaign and the film was released in the U.S. market that it took off and became a sleeper hit grossing over $60 million in the U.S. box office. The director was pressured by investors to cast a woman in the Dil role. He resisted that and tells the story of how he found Jaye Davidson to play the part in an article in The Irish Times.

Danica Roem

Danica Roem, the Virginia trans woman running for the state’s House of Delegates has picked up an endorsement from the Human Rights Campaign. With the endorsement the door is open for Roem to benefit from the organization’s thousands of volunteers for campaign help and give her access to campaign funds from HRC. Learn more in Metro Weekly.

Any trans woman can tell you that transitioning is not easy. It takes planning and a lot of work. How about transitioning while you are building a career as a stand up comic? Just succeeding at stand up is a major task. Putting the two together would seem to make it impossible. Despite that Riley Silverman moved to Los Angeles from Ohio and started performing comedy as a male and transitioned right there, on stage, in front of her audience. Read her story on the Vice website.

Juliet Evancho

Juliet Evancho, trans sister of Jackie Evancho, the singer who performed at the Trump inauguration, has won her legal battle with her school district. The Pittsburgh area Pine-Richland School District has agreed to rescind their restrictive trans restroom rule and pay a financial settlement to Ms. Evancho. Get more on the story from the NewNowNext website.

Trump Trans Ban News

(TWIT Awards after trans ban news.)

This week, a team of military lawyers who had been looking into how transgender recruits could be allowed to join the U.S. armed services started the process of looking at how to implement President Trump’s ban on transgender people in the military “in any capacity.” They are coming up against many problems. This story from the AP shows how hard it can be to figure out what to do about people in the military who already came out as transgender, to some degree or other. Meanwhile, the White House Counsel’s office announced a “guidance” policy which would start the process of implementing the ban. The guidance will be given to Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis. It is said that it encourages early retirement for those eligible, denies reenlistment to transgender service members when their contracts are up, and fires transgender officers as they come up for promotion.

Several members of Congress are urging the Secretary of Defense to simply ignore the guidance from the White House on transgender people in the military. The members of congress claim that the president’s policy is unconstitutional. The letter is signed by Representative Adam Smith, the ranking member on the House Armed Services Committee, and John Conyers, Jr., the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee. The policy is certainly disruptive to the military, and that may be a better reason for disregarding it. At any rate, the Pentagon will have to figure out what moves it makes next. The Hill has this story.

Taylor Miller (L)

The Commandant of the Coast Guard, Paul Zukunft, said he “will not break faith” with the transgender people in his branch of the armed services. He said that he personally reached out to Lt. Taylor Miller, who was featured in a story in the Washington Post, to say that she is still welcome in the service. He says that his office reached out to all thirteen members of the Coast Guard who have come out as transgender, and that he has no intention of implementing any ban on transgender service members, according to this report in Military Times.

LifeSiteNews managed to find sixteen “retired flag-rank officers, including seven major generals and an admiral” who signed a letter which “thanks President Trump” for the ban on transgender people in the military. In contrast, the Palm Center released a statement signed by 56 retired generals and admirals which denounced the ban, saying that it would hurt military readiness. The story about the 16 who like the ban is on LifeSiteNews, while the story about the 56 who disagree is in Metro Weekly.

In a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll, 58% of respondents agree with the statement, “Transgender people should be allowed to serve in the military,” while 27% disagree. Even among those who call themselves “Republicans,” 32% agreed with the statement. Think Progress has more on that poll (with some left-leaning analysis). A poll from Quinnipiac University asked voters in military households how they felt about transgender people in the military. 55% of voters in military families felt that transgender people should be allowed to serve in the armed forces; 39% felt that they should not. The Hill has more on this poll.

In the newest comparison of the cost of transgender troops, it turns out that the amount of money spent by Coast Guard to protect Mar-a-Lago from a sea attack when President Trump visits is greater than the highest estimate of the cost of healthcare for transgender troops (except, of course, for the estimates made by Rep. Vicki Hartzler and by LifeSiteNews, neither of whom have studied actual costs for transgender health care). Think Progress has this story.

Despite the conservative beliefs that trans people are not real, that they are just mentally ill, gender diversity has been with us since ancient times. A certain segment of the population has always existed that does not adhere to gender “norms.” There’s even a tale of their presence in the Roman army. If gender diverse troops were good enough for Rome why shouldn’t they serve in our armed forces? Get the historic perspective in Newsweek.

TWITs

Alleged comedian Lil Duval said on a recent episode of the radio show The Breakfast Club that if he found out that someone he dated was transgender, she would “die.” Given several opportunities to either apologize for the remark or explain why he thought it was a joke, he stood by his comment. For thinking that murder is funny, Lil Duval gets a TWIT Award, as do the hosts who laughed at his “joke.” The incident was covered by the Advocate. (BTW, if “Lil” is supposed to be an abbreviation for “little,” then it should be spelled “Li’l”. Without the apostrophe, “Lil” is a nickname for either Lily or Lilith — both of which are female names.) There is more coverage of the “joke” along with comments from some of the show hosts in The New York Times.

The Times of London ran a recent op-ed piece in which Clare Foges, a former speechwriter for David Cameron, bemoaned gender fluidity and the effect it has on children, who she feels are no longer as aware of the permanence of gender as she was at that age. The essay might have gotten her a TWIT Award, but the Times compounded things by putting this particular op-ed piece among those that it promoted in Facebook advertising that it pays for. They had the choice to promote various pieces, many with much better research behind them, and this is among those that they chose to include in the promotion. For that choice, they get a TWIT. You can fin this story in Pink News.

Dr. Michelle Cretella, the president of the American College of Pediatricians (who has no patients and no practice) did an interview with the National Catholic Register. In the interview, she continues to spread several lies, including the lie that “cross-sex hormones place children at higher risk for stroke, diabetes, cancer and potentially other negative health consequences,” and the lie that most children will abandon their “gender confusion” during puberty. She adds a new lie when she say that “Twin studies alone prove that no one is born into the wrong body. If transgenderism were “hardwired before birth” by DNA and/or prenatal hormones incorrectly sexualizing the brain, then identical twins would always have the same gender identity. But they do not. Instead, the largest twin study we have demonstrates that identical twins differ 72% of the time. This proves that the primary determinant factors are not biological and occur after birth.” She has the idea of a twins study wrong. If being transgender has no biological component, then the percentage of twins in which both are transgender should be about the same as the percentage of the general public being transgender, somewhere under 1%. (This assumes that the study is looking at identical twins in which at least one is transgender.) So, the twins study shows a strong probability of a genetic component. For not understanding the statistics (or worse, being deliberately misleading about them), Dr. Cretella gets a TWIT Award. The article can be found here.

The American Family Association took time out from asking for donations to help them continue their boycott of Target in order to promote an “online petition” in which they praise Donald Trump for “draining the swamp” by rolling back LGBT rights. They see the ban on transgender people in the military as part of this “draining the swamp.” The phrase “drain the swamp” referred to curtailing the influence of lobbying groups and other special interests who demand things well outside what the popularity of their ideas among the general public. By that original definition, the American Family Association — is a part of the swamp. For sheer audacity, the American Family Association gets a TWIT Award. Pink News has this story.

LifeSiteNews reprinted a piece from The Witherspoon Institute, written by Chad Felix Greene, a conservative who wrote a series of essays entitled Reasonably Gay. He insists, as early as the title, that “sex change surgeries” are making things worse for transgender people. (Use of the term “sex change surgeries” is out of fashion, but forgivable; putting the term in scare quotes is a much bigger mistake.) He starts with a reference to transgender people committing suicide, and includes in that a reference to the case of Leelah Alcorn. He then insists that Leelah’s parents were accepting of her gender identity, but claims that they simply asked her to wait until she was 18 years old before she transitioned. How exactly would she undo the effects of the male puberty that she would undergo in the meantime? If they were so accepting, they should have agreed to puberty blockers until she was 18, and allow her to decide then if she wanted to fully transition or not. But, that is not what her parents did. Also, if they were so accepting of her gender identity, why did that acceptance never surface during her death notices from her family? Why is the only reference to her being transgender was her own suicide note, published to the Internet just before she killed herself? The article goes on from there to many other factual mistakes. For making things up as he goes along, Chad Felix Greene gets a TWIT Award. You can find the article here.

Conservative provocateur and huckster Alex Jones doesn’t believe in the existence of trans people. Jones gins hate toward liberals and progressive ideas to keep people tuning in for his InfoWars program so he can sell dodgy diet “supplements” and survival necessities for the coming “revolution.” Last week he said that if you identify as trans “. . .it is like calling oneself a giant, colorful giraffe.” Well the giant colorful giraffes here at TGForum feel that for his ignorance is all areas, not just about trans people, Mr. Jones deserves a TWIT Award. Read his statements on the Newsweek website.

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

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