The Week In Trans 9/25/17

| Sep 25, 2017

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Danielle Pellett

U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions who represents a Texas district in the House is facing opposition in his reelection bid. His opponent is a trans woman named Danielle Pellett. One of her big reasons for seeking office is her desire to represent the needs of trans people. Also, in the same area, another trans woman is running for a seat in the State Senate District 8. Learn more about both candidates in The Texas Tribune.

Michael Mullin, the retired Admiral who served as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has submitted a declaration to the court in one of the law suits challenging the ban on transgender people in the military. He states that he is not an expert, and yet, he gives a first-hand account of the “thorough research and evaluation” that then-Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and others put into determining if transgender people in the military would affect unit cohesion or military readiness. This goes against the part of President Trump’s guidance which says that the Obama administration did not study the issue enough. Metro Weekly has this story.

In a piece at Lawfare, Richard Eisenberg and Alex Wagner, who were lawyers in the Department of Defense, say that when they were working on the study of transgender people in the military which led to the 2016 policy, they found that there was no specific rule which required that transgender people be dismissed. They found that in some cases, unit commanders knew of a transgender individual in their ranks and did nothing about it. This also goes against the justification for reinstating the ban.

In an appearance on Face The Nation, John McCain expressed his disagreement with the ban on transgender people in the military and his support of DACA. He talked about the bill he is sponsoring which would overturn the ban on transgender people in the military. He asked, “What do we tell those young men and women who are transgender that are serving?” This story can be found on KTAR-TV news.

Cis woman intimidated when taken for trans.

Thanks to the trans panic promoted by the right wing media and all the fervor to enact restroom restrictions on trans people a certain segment of our citizens are seeing trans women wherever they look. Last week in Cleveland a cisgender woman was hanging out with a friend in an after hours club. A complete stranger approached her and demanded that she prove she wasn’t a trans woman by showing her vagina. As if that would prove anything if a trans woman had gotten her gender confirmation surgery. The cisgender victim tried to leave the club only to experience further confrontation. Read about it and see a video on the NBC4 website.

A pair of newly-released studies by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin show that the negative mental health outcomes of transgender children are directly connected to victimization issues. In addition to depression and suicidal thoughts, they note a higher-than-average rate of substance abuse. What make these studies interesting is not that they show something we have not seen before, but that we have a better idea of the extent of the problem. The reason for this is that they got responses from over 300 transgender students in California, and were able to compare their responses to those of over 30,000 students who answered the survey. Think Progress has more on these studies.

The Journal of Adolescent Youth contains a new study which shows that the many norms around gender begin in childhood, are entrenched in adolescence, and have negative impacts well into adulthood. While that much is obvious, what the new study shows is how deep these expectations, how early they are placed on children, and what the negative impacts can be. A story on the study appeared in USA Today.

Laurie Lee Hall

The architect who designed over 40 Mormon temples and was a bishop and then stake president in the church was excommunicated in June because she is transgender. Laurie Lee Hall was tossed out after years of service due to the fact that she had assumed roles in the church that were assigned to males. She is back in the church now and serving as a female Relief Society member. In order to join again she had to be baptized again as a woman. Read her story in the Daily Herald.

14-year-old Ella Fields made a short film about gender stereotypes for her class last year, and it has become viral. In the film, she imagines a world with reversed gender types — only boys are allowed to wear dresses, and girls are forbidden from participating in musical theatre. You can find a story about the film on the Huffington Post, and the film itself can be viewed on Youtube.

Scout Schultz, a 21-year-old engineering student at Georgia Tech, has died after being shot by campus police. Officers had told her repeatedly to drop the knife she was carrying. She had a multiple-purpose tool which did not have a knife blade exposed. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution story omits the fact that the deceased was transgender. Jamie Roberts pointed us to this article on the incident in Inside Higher Ed.

Marti Gould Cummings

In New York City politics it has been important for candidates in local elections to get the backing of entrenched “political clubs.” One such club was The McManus Midtown Democratic Club led by a gent called Jim McManus. In the election a week ago the club was backing McManus’s niece and nephew, Mickey Spillane Jr. and Denise Spillane, for district leader seats. These positions are held for decades and it was a big upset when McManus’s candidates did not win. Instead candidates backed by a new club won. The found of that club, HK Dems, is a professional drag performer named Marti Gould Cummings. She started the club in response to what she and others felt was a lack of consideration for the concerns of LGBTQ voters. Read about it on the LGBTQ Nation website.

Deacon Ray Dever is a pastoral associate at St. Paul Catholic Church in Tampa, Florida. He has trouble with talk of the “ideology of gender.” He finds that a lot of what is said about transgender people by various social conservatives — including, unfortunately, Pope Francis at times — just does not square with his lived experience with his transgender daughter. He wrote about this at New Ways Ministry.

Coira Thomas

Over the weekend Pittsburgh hosted a TransPride Conference. The event organizer is Ciora Thomas, a trans activist in the Pittsburgh area. Last Friday Ms.Thomas did an interview and talked about the need for the conference and the extra burden born by the black trans community. Learn more at the WESA website

The state of Tasmania in Australia was the last state to penalize homosexual sex and the only state ever to criminalize crossdressing. Those laws were overturned after several attempts in the 1990s. Now, in a show of remorse for their history, the state of Tasmania has started a move to wipe out convictions for homosexual activity and crossdressing before the laws were overturned. The Star Observer has this story as well.

For the first time, the Australian Defense Force has recruited a non-binary cadet. The new recruit does not identify as either male or female, but rather uses the “gender X” category which that government permits. Gay Star News is our source for this story.

Cory Bernardi, a Senator in Australia, recently wrote on Twitter, “One school in South Australia now has ‘wear a dress day. This gender morphing is really getting absurd.” The event he was referring to was actually called “Do It In A Dress Day,” and was a fundraiser to support the education of girls in Africa. The actual wearing of dresses was never required, even for girls at this school who were participating. This would get a TWIT, had it not been for a happy ending. Craigburn Primary School received a lot of attention for this event thanks to Senator Bernardi; where their fundraising goal had been $900, they raised over $21,000. You can read more about this in the Star Observer.

Halloween Drag look, Lucy Furr.

In just a few days it will be October and you know what that means. The crossdresser’s holy day of obligation arrives at the end of the month — Halloween! And no matter what your gender identity is Halloween is the night to do something dramatic and fabulous. What group is the most dramatic and fabulous? Drag queens! And here are 10 drag looks that you can try out for October 31st. They’re in Popsugar.

In response to the recent story of the British couple who took their child out of school when a classmate changed genders, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said, “I would say to them [the parents who are threatening to sue the school], I do’t think that’s a problem.” “It’s at home where you educate and train people in faith,” the Archbishop added. Pink News has this story.

While Nigel and Sally Rowe took their child out of school because of a transgender classmate, some British families are taking their transgender children out of school because they feel that the school is not offering enough support for transgender children. While the Equities Act gives transgender people certain rights, there are questions as to whether certain of those rights extend to students who are not yet adults. BBC News offered an overview of the rights of transgender students in Britain.

Rebecca Root

On Tuesday, BBC2 will air a new documentary entitled Being Transgender. Such documentaries may seem old hat, but this one has one new twist — its narrator is transgender actress Rebecca Root. You can find more at the website of the parent series, Horizon.

The U.S. cable channel Game Show Network has a new idea for a show — a debate between people with different views. In an early show, they pit a transgender person versus a Trump supporter, and ask them to talk about the American Dream. The transgender person, Natalie Dressler, made a very good point in the promo for the series. LGBTQ Nation has this story.

Emma Knyckare

Swedish comedian Emma Knyckare announced in a tweet “Sweden’s first man-free rock festival will see the light net summer.” She did not mention how the gender regulation would be enforced. Some folks on Instagram claimed that any policy which forbade males would be discriminatory to transgender people. After saying that transgender men “know what it is like to be victimized” and would therefore be welcome, another statement said that transgender men were “equally male” to cisgender men, and would therefore be banned. There is more about this at the Telegraph.

As Daniela Vega appears at the Toronto Film Festival alog with a showing of her film A Fantastic Woman, there is growing buzz about a possible Oscar nomination. The movie has been chosen as Chile’s official entry for awards contention, but foreign films rarely get nominations in acting categories. She might get some help from Academy voters who want to make a political statement, says Voice Of America.

In February, 2016, religious extremists persuaded the Indonesian government to close the only Islamic school for transgender students. The Al-Fatah school has quietly reopened, according to The Voice of America.

Horwood as Miss Hannigan.

A British game show judge is appearing in a production of Annie in London and he’s playing the role of the woman in charge of the orphanage, Miss Hannigan. While the role is often portrayed by cisgender women as a battle-ax and by male actors as almost a drag queen Craig Revel Horwood prefers to play her as a cisgender woman with just a touch of glamor. Horwood believes that all roles should be open to interpretation by any actor, male or female. Read about it on the GayTimes website.

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” But how does a gender fluid or binary trans person pick the name they want to be known by? That’s a question that’s answered by nine gender nonconforming people on an AskReddit thread. You an read where they got their inspiration on the Refinery29 website.

Two trans women in Iowa are suing the Department of Human Services over the agency’s ban on Medicaid coverage for transition-related medical services. Carol Ann Beal and EerieAnna Good say the Medicaid ban violates patient’s rights to equal protection under the law that is promised by the state constitution and the Iowa Civil Rights Act. For more on the story visit The Des Moines Register online.

TWITs

A bus driver in South Glen Falls, New York, told the boys to get on one side of the bus and the girls to get on the other side, then yelled at two transgender male students for sitting with the boys rather than the girls. The two students were told to either sit with the girls or leave the bus. They left. The incident was caught on video by one of the students. For overreaching his authority, the bus driver gets a TWIT Award. This story is in the Albany Times Union

The Federalist seems to have an internal challenge among its writers, to see who can insult transgender people with the most bombastic, over-the-top verbiage. This week’s example, written by Denise Schick, is entitled, “The Trans Brigade Is Heartlessly Weaponizing Children And Ignoring The Consequences.” The title itself shows a lot of projection, as the social conservatives keep using children as weapons when they support “bathroom bills.” As for ignoring the consequences, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatricians, the American Psychiatric Association, and many other medical groups recognize that grave harm is done by “conversion therapy” and have all come out against the practice, yet The Federalist seems to support it. Since the consequences of “conversion therapy” include severe depression and difficulty with self-acceptance, one has to ask, while transgender children who get acceptance turn out to be much better adjusted and less prone to depression and the such, which one is actually ignoring the consequences? The Federalist has this TWIT Award-winning article.

ABC Television is bringing back the series Roseanne this fall. The cast is older, and this will be reflected in the new episodes. One Million Moms is upset about the new series. No, it’s not because the show has been known to sink to crude and crass jokes —t hough they have. Nor is it because John Goodman is back, even though his character died of a heart attack in what was supposed to be the last episode of the series. (Don’t those writers know that only Jesus is supposed to raise people from the dead?) No, the problem is that Darlene and David are said to have a gender-fluid child. Given the show’s lack of sensitivity in making jokes, it would seem as though we, the transgender community, should be the ones who have much to worry about, but it is the anti-LGBT hate group who is out there raising a stink. Apparently, they feel that letting people see a gender-fluid person will somehow lead everyone into complete moral decay. Given the nature of the show, when presented with a choice between an accurate depiction of a gender-fluid person and making a joke, the writers are likely to take the joke every time. For getting bent out of shape over the wrong thing, One Million Moms gets a TWIT Award. You can read more at Joe My God.

Not long after Jeff Mateer was nominated to be a federal judge for the Eastern District of Texas, a report surfaced of a speech he gave in 2015 in which he called transgender children a part of “Satan’s plan.” He referred to a transgender boy as “a girl who thinks she’s a boy.” He also defended gay-conversion therapy in another speech. That gets him a TWIT Award. So far, the remarks by the First Assistant Attorney General of Texas have not drawn any response from the White House. The San Antonio Express News has more.

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

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