The Week In Trans 9/11/17

| Sep 11, 2017 | Comments (0)

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Anita Green

Anita Green has become the first openly-transgender contestant in the history of the Miss Montana U.S.A. pageant. She says that she was looking for something that would be fun and challenging. She is profiled in People magazine.

Equality California has filed the fourth lawsuit against the ban on transgender people serving in the military. This suit was filed on behalf of eight transgender people, six of whom are currently serving in the military. The other two are Dylan Kohere, a student at the University of New Haven who has just begun ROTC, and Regan Kibby, a midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy who will not be able to enlist upon graduation. The suit claims that the ban violates the Due Process clause of the Fifth Amendment. This suit joins others filed in Seattle, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. The Los Angeles Blade has more.

Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) have announced that they will fight the ban on transgender people in the military with an amendment in the defense appropriations bill. The amendment is still in the draft stage. Although there have been denunciations of the ban from senators of both parties, it is unclear how many will go so far as to vote for this amendment, and it is even less clear how this amendment will do in conference with the House. You can read more about this move in Stars And Stripes. In the House, Representatives Jackie Speier (D-California) and Susan Davis (D-California) are writing a bill which will block the ban on transgender people in the military, but a stand-alone bill has less of a chance of passing, and even if it did, the President could veto it. That angle of the story appears in the Washington Blade.

A group called News for Young Advocates Today has announced a protest against the ban on military service by transgender people. The protest will take place on Sunday, September 17, from noon to 3:00 p.m., in front of the White House. This announcement appeared in the Washington Blade.

Renee Thomas

Despite the president of the United States telling her she isn’t wanted in our military a trans woman from Des Moines has deployed to Coast Guard District 8 headquarters in New Orleans to assist with search and rescue efforts in response to Hurricane Irma. Renee Thomas was moved to join the Coast Guard Auxiliary after she saw the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. The Auxiliary is a civilian volunteer force. Read more about her in the Des Moines Register.

Mary Schmidt Campbell, the president of Spelman College, announced that as of next year, the college will accept students who “consistently live and self-identify as women, regardless of their gender assignment at birth.” Spelman College is a college for women in Atlanta, and it is a Historically Black College and University. Under the new policy, transgender students who identify as male will not be admitted. The letter announcing the new policy was covered in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Since 2014, at least nine colleges for women have adopted policies which allow transgender women to study there. The AP took a look at this trend. Their story can be found here.

Brynn Tannehill wrote a piece for The Huffington Post in which she discussed a five-point plan from the Family Research Council which was designed to “morally legislate the transgender community in the U.S. out of existence.” (Note: that phrase was not in quotation marks in Ms. Tannehill’s piece.) The article goes on to show how some of these points have been put into action by the Trump administration and how more could be put into action depending on who was appointed to certain positions. The article has since disappeared from its original place on the web site. It was cached before it disappeared, and it can be found here.

A new video game based on the television series South Park is coming out next month. Created by Ubisoft, it is called South Park: The Fractured But Whole. The game was shown to the press last week. Players can choose the difficulty level at which they wish to play. Those who want to play at the “easy” level get lighter skin tone, and those who choose to play at a “very difficult” level will get a darker skin tone. The game also allows the player to choose to play a transgender character; that opens up some transphobic talk from a “counselor” character, as well as a scene where the player gets beaten up. It is all being done as social commentary about how difficult life can be for transgender people. Pink News has this story, along with a video of the scenes in question.

Princess Noah

Hayley McLean-Glass tried to book the “Princess For A Day” experience at Disneyland Paris for her three-year-old son Noah who is enamored of Frozen. She was told that the adventure is only available for girls. She wrote an open-letter to the theme park, ad was told that the employee who first contacted her was wrong, boys can be a “Princess For A Day.” The Huffington Post has this story.

Melissa Westcott is a woman from Australia with big feet. She started a part-time business online dealing in women’s shoes in large sizes. Eventually, she had so many pairs of shoes that she needed more space than she had, so she opened a brick-and-mortar store, and later, opened a second one. She has found that transgender women are a significant percentage of her customer base, and she is delighted when they open up to her. This business is profiled in The Daily Mercury.

The Priory School in Britain has announced that they are adopting a new uniform code in which male and female students will wear the same uniform. Previously, the girls wore a grey skirt with white blouse and blazer, while the boys wore grey slacks with white shirt, blazer, and tie. All incoming students will now wear the trousers. Returning students may opt to keep the same uniform that they wore last year. Officials of the school have noted first and foremost that this resolves complaints about items of the gender-specific uniforms (some girls complaining about having to wear a skirt, some guys complaining about having to wear ties), and note later down the line that it also is a nice gesture to transgender students. Of course, the complaints mostly come from the idea that this is done for transgender students, and ignore the complaints from cisgender students. Pink News has the story of Priory School, while the Guardian looks at Priory School as part of a trend among schools with uniforms.

Also in Britain, retailer John Lewis has decided to do away with gender labels on children’s clothing. Of course, some parents complained about the move. If parents need a label to tell them whether this item is for a boy or a girl, that says something right there. Parents have been known to hand down clothing from one child to another across gender lines, so how is this so very different? The Independent has this story.

Trans youth leader Logan Alcosiba.

Decades ago a number of trans people said “Enough!” and began to advocate for trans rights. Over the years advances have been made and as the older trans advocates fade away, or go out in a blaze of glory, the younger trans people who benefited from the older generation’s hard work are stepping up and speaking out. Meet the new youth leaders on the NewNowNext website.

Bishop of Llandaff, a secondary school in Wales, has opened a new, gender-neutral restroom. They did not do away with their boys’ and girls’ rooms, but added the new restroom as an addition. The new restroom features full-height doors for privacy for every toilet, and a collective sink for washing hands. This story is in Pink News.

The German grocery chain, Aldi, decided to stock a book called The Boy In The Dress in their stores in Australia. Although the book is a piece of humor, some took exception to the store having the book. Shoppers are not obligated to buy a book just because it is in the store. One woman in particular took to Twitter to complain about the book, only to find a lot of people disagreeing with her, and one in particular thanking her for telling her the date when the book will be available. This story is on Yahoo Australia.

A group called Faithfully LGBT has started a new campaign online to raise money for transgender people who cannot afford gender-confirmation surgery. They are asking Christians to tithe to the fund. Money raised will go to the Jim Collins Foundation, which will fund the surgery. Refinery 29 has a story, and visit the Tithe Trans Fund here.

Sophia Conquest, homeless in Portland.

Portland, Oregon is said to be a laid back place where those who don’t fit in to the normal label can live and it’s cool, man. But it’s not all sunshine and puppy dogs. It turns out that the city has a large number of transgender homeless people due in part to discrimination against trans people by landlords. The trans people are attracted to the place by the progressive vibe the town has cultivated, and you can get state-funded health care for your transition. But many end up with no place to live so they are out on the street. Get the full story from Willamette Week.

Why Do Transgender Children Raise The Hackles Of “Tolerant” Australians? That question is the title of a lengthy article in The Age.

The Omni Complex Hotel in Bangkok has printed out a notice, which they hand to certain guests who come in with new friends. The notice warns that the new friend is a “Lady Boy,” and asks the guest to check a box indicating whether or not they still wish to take their new friend to the room. The notice also asks if the customer has negotiated the price already, and says that fights sometimes break out over the price. The notice further says that sometimes things go missing when someone brings a “lady boy” to their room. All of that may be true, sometimes, and yet, similar incidents no doubt happen with cisgender companions. Pink News has this story.

Police in Spain broke up a human trafficking ring which lured transgender women in Venezuela, promising “Miss Trans” competitions, only to send the people on to prostitution and drug trafficking. This story can be found in The Express Tribune.

TWITs

As expected, Piers Morgan, the host of Good Morning Britain, had some nasty things to say about his alma mater, Priory School, adopting gender-neutral uniforms for the students. Never mind that the primary motivation listed was the fact that some cisgender students were complaining about some gender-specific elements of the uniform; as long as there is anything “transgender” about it, Piers Morgan will go into a rant. He complains, “It’s not even ‘neutral.’ They’re just making the girls dress like the boys. Utterly absurd.” I suppose then that it was absurd for some cisgender girls to ask for a change like this. For his Pavlovian response to this story, Mr. Morgan gets a TWIT. You can read about his response in Pink News.

At the same time that Think Progress ran a long piece on the “junk science” of desistance, LifeSiteNews brings up the story of a boy who transitioned to female at age 12 and is transitioning back to male at age 14. Now, this sort of thing happens, but it is rare. Sometimes, it happens because someone had unrealistic expectations for a transition. Other times, people have put some obstacles in the way of a successful transition. (There is no reason why those two things cannot both occur to the same person.) LifeSiteNews makes it out that Patrick Mitchell “changed his mind,” meaning that he decided that he no longer was transgender. No doubt the inner feelings are still there, but Patrick no longer wants to transition. For confusing transition with being transgender LifeSiteNews gets a TWIT Award. The article can be found here.

Here’s a story that garners a couple of TWIT Awards. On May 12 of this year a “woman” was stopped by a store security guard at the Food Fair in Paterson, New Jersey. The guard, an off-duty sheriff who moonlights as a guard, told the person he needed to see what was in “her” pants. There was bulge which he suspected was a salami, possibly a stick or pepperoni, or some other piece on long, round merchandise. It’s quite clear from the story that since the object in the person’s pants was a prosthetic penis that they were a trans man. The story consistently identifies them as a “transgender woman” who is transitioning to male. Even the trans man’s attorney, who has filed suit against the store and the guard, refers to him as a “transgender woman.” TWIT Awards all around! The guard in the original incident gets one. The trans man gets one for not making his gender status clear to his attorney, and the reporter gets one. Read about it on NJ.com.

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

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