The Week In Transgenderism

| Apr 6, 2015

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Antionette at Le Femme

Antionette at Le Femme

For those males who don’t take naturally to feminine expression there are “finishing schools” that can turn them into ladies. One such institution is Le Femme located in Piscataway, NJ. Run out of her home by Lady Ellen the school offers transformation sessions and lessons in all aspects of presenting yourself as a woman. Get the full story in the New York Post.

Every year a charity event pops up in which men walk or run in high heels. The first one on our radar this spring happened in Philadelphia last week when hundreds of male students at Temple University participated in the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event. Perhaps the dudes should have taken some lessons on how to walk in high heels. Those interviewed said it wasn’t as easy as they thought. It’s the fourth year the of the event which is designed to raise awareness of sexual assaults, sexual violence and street harassment of women. You can find the story on the CBS Philly website.

April Fools’ Day was last week and it’s always important to remember that when it rolls around some of the stories you find on the Web are not true. Or on any day for that matter. What we’re saying is — you have to know that some of the stories will be April Fools jokes on the first of April. One such prank was pulled by the National Center for Transgender Equality when they announced they were funding research to create trans people who didn’t have to pee. Read all about it at Vox.com.

Further proof that the dividing line between genders is pretty wide comes to us via the world of competitive women’s athletics. The International Association of Athletics Federations has decided that female track and field competitors can only have a certain amount of testosterone in their blood. Of course they are finding women with more T than is allowed and this is leading to a  problem. Thanks to TGF reader Jack for pointing us to the story in The New Yorker.

TG runner Joanna Harper

TG runner Joanna Harper

Male to female trans athletes have their troubles, too. They are often accused of having an unfair advantage when they compete with cisgender women. Their critics fail to realize that taking female hormones and using testosterone blockers means that trans women see a decrease in muscle mass during their transition. Other physical characteristics are also affected. Thanks to TGF reader Jack for also sending us the link to one trans athlete’s story in The Washington Post.

Zoey Tur, the TG correspondent on Inside Edition made the news last week in a personality piece in The Los Angeles Times. The article talks about her being a symbol of acceptance by the mainstream but also talks about the statements she has made that have gotten her in trouble with the transgender community. Thanks to TGF reader Robyn Bird for pointing the story out to us. What do you think of Tur’s statements? Read The L.A. Times article and let us know in the comment area below.

The U.S. Department of Justice has sued Southeastern Oklahoma State University for discriminating against a trans woman professor. Rachel Tudor was denied tenure and a promotion because of her gender identity, and when she complained about it she was fired. The DOJ is also suing the department in which Tudor was employed. Thanks to Jamie Roberts for pointing out the article at the Reuters news service.

Teegan

Teegan

Hey, how about you be the girl and I’ll be the guy? That’s more or less what a trans couple in Oregon decided to do. Teegan and Corbin started dating and then switched roles. It’s a plus for both of them that they live in Oregon where hormone therapy is available through the state’s health care system. The couple find that transitioning together offers them each support that they wouldn’t have doing it alone. Read their story in the New York Daily News.

Ashley Diamond in the early 2000s.

Ashley Diamond in the early 2000s.

Last week the Justice Department announced that prisons and jails must allow trans prisoners to continue hormone treatment if they have already started treatment before their incarceration. The ruling was the result of a lawsuit brought against the state of Georgia by a trans woman prisoner, Ashley Diamond, who had been taking estrogen for 17 years but was denied the treatment after she was imprisoned in the Georgia State Prison, a men’s facility. Get the full story from The New York Times.

Transgender Mormons are coming out in Utah. They have formed a support group and the Mormon Church has begun to engage with its trans members to learn about transgenderism. The Church still has rules against sex-reassignment surgery and their official theology says that gender is eternal so there shouldn’t be any of this “I was born in the wrong body” stuff going on. Learn more about the Mormon trans people in The Washington Post. Thanks to TGF user Jamie Roberts for passing along the link.

If you are having a hard time getting medical advice from your local doctors due to your trans nature you are probably wondering what you can do. Help could be coming your way from the U.K. where Dr. Helen Webberly has an online practice offering free consultations over the Web for trans people around the world. Telephone consultations are available for a fee. Look over Dr. Webberly’s website for more info. (TGF provides this link for your information. This is not an endorsement.)

Check It gang member.

Check It gang member.

The saying “when life hands you lemons, make lemonade” applies to a what a street gang in one neighborhood of Washington, D.C. has done. They’re not the Cryps or the Bloods and they formed their gang to respond to the violence and discrimination they got for being gay and trans people young people in a poverty stricken neighborhood. The gang is called Check It and they are working to escape the “hood” by starting their own fashion business. A street gang designing fashions? They’re the subject of a new documentary film. Read about it in The Daily Mail.

Did you remember to be visible last Tuesday? It was the International Transgender Day of Visibility. I think I forgot to be visible. I was visible on Wednesday instead. It’s hard to remember things like this since they haven’t started automatically applying them to electronic calendars yet. Many people did remember the day, which is “a worldwide holiday highlighting the live of transgender individuals across the globe.” Mainly it meant everyone who wanted to participate posted a selfie on Twitter, Facebook or another site. Get the perspective of one young trans person concerning the Day in a column for The Daily Targum.

Another special day is still coming up so you have time to get your tickets to Las Vegas. April 12 is Official Drag Queen Day in that desert city. The event is part of a promotion by the Las Vegas Hard Rock Cafe that “honors” (read “promotes) the Cafe’s attempt to break the current record for the Largest Stage Drag Show in the world. Anyone in drag who shows up at the Cafe on the day of the event will be part of the show and will be given a free mimosa to get them in the mood. Then they can compete for fabulous prizes. Get all the info you need in Broadway World.

Trans actor Christopher Aquilar.

Trans actor Christopher Aquilar.

Someone get my agent on the phone. It seems that there is an uptick in casting calls for trans characters in new television shows. This is what they call “pilot season” in the industry and new show ideas that have been green lit for production are currently casting. One casting director, who has been around the business for a while, recognizes a trend when she sees it and says that the call for trans actors has exploded after the success of Orange Is The New Black and Transparent. Learn more on the KPCC website.

A snapshot by Linda Simpson.

A snapshot by Linda Simpson.

Linda Simpson (no relation to Homer) had a camera with her when she went out clubbing in Manhattan in the mid ‘80s. All the photos she took of those long gone years have been assembled into a slide show called Drag Explosion and Simpson has unleashed it on the world. Last week the show was playing in Los Angeles. Fortunately for those of us stuck on the East Coast you can view several of the photos of now famous and other not so famous clubbing queens on the Frontiers Media website.

TWITs

Fired to being too femme.

Fired to being too femme.

Attention all of our readers who love to shop at Forever 21. You may not want to read this TWIT bit. A big TWIT Award goes out to the clothing chain because they discriminated against and harassed an employee who began to transition from male to female on the job. Alexia Daskalakis was a visual merchandiser at one of their New York City stores and while it was okay for her to dress mannequins in femme attire she wasn’t allowed to wear those fashions herself. They were really kind of mean to her and that’s just not cool. Shame on you Forever 21. Read the story in Fortune.

Here’s a story that isn’t funny but when you learn the name of the restaurant where it happened it can be laugh inducing. A trans woman reported a sexual assault in the nature of fondling from a busboy who followed her into the lady’s room and locked the door. He lifted her dress and began touching her in an inappropriate manner. The same man is also accused of trying this with two other cisgender women. The trans woman managed to fight him off and escape but we are issuing a TWIT Award to the bar manager who laughed at her when she said what had happened. Why is this funny in any way? The place is called Big Wangs. Read the story on the CBS Los Angeles website.

The University of Pittsburgh has won a suit filed against it in federal court by a trans man who attended school there from 2009 through 2011. Seamus Johnston started his transition during his first year at Pitt and presented as a male, even taking a men’s weight training class. The second time he signed up for the class he was told he could not use the men’s locker room unless he had proof that he had undergone gender reassignment surgery. After several arrests for disorderly conduct because he used the men’s locker room Johnston’s conflict with the school administration escalated and he was expelled and banned from the campus. All these things pretty much assure a TWIT Award for the school but we also award one to the judge, District Judge Kim Gibson, for finding that Johnston had no claim of discrimination against Pitt. Read the whole story at Think Progress.

This TWIT Award is not so much for the individuals involved as it is for a society that marginalizes trans people and leaves them no options but sex work. A society that values them so little that the door to addiction and drug abuse is easy to open. Last week two people initially identified as trans women tried to crash a stolen SUV into the gates of the NSA facility at Fort Meade, Maryland. They seemed high and it seemed likely they had taken a wrong turn but they didn’t obey orders from the NSA guards to turn around and leave but drove toward the gate. The confusing incident ended when guards shot the driver, killing her. Ricky Shawatza Hall was a sex worker who stole her john’s vehicle and went on a drug and alcohol fueled joy ride with another person whose gender and profession are not clearly stated in the reporting on the incident. We could just say TWIT Awards to everyone but we leave the judgement in this case up to you. The story is in The Washington Post.

This TWIT Award goes to crusading “anti-trans in the restroom” twit Dave Wilson in Houston, Texas. Good old Dave feels that “men who perceive or express themselves as women” need to be kept out of public restrooms and he wants an amendment to the City Charter to ensure that. This misguided man is a trustee of Houston Community College and runs an organization called Houstonians For Family Values. Wilson, a white man, is the twit who got his seat as a trustee by sending out campaign literature that implied he was black. The district where he needed votes was predominately black. There was an endorsement in his literature from a man with the same name as a prominent Texas legislator who is African-American. The man who wrote the endorsement was not that man but Wilson’s white cousin. Hopefully Wilson’s efforts will backfire on him as he tries to get his charter amendment on the ballot. If the people who were fooled the last time realize the same TWIT is trying to get this through maybe it will get voted down. Read the story in the Houston Press.

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Category: Community News

About Angela Gardner: Angela Gardner is a founding member of The Renaissance Transgender Association, Inc., the former editor of that organization's newsletter and magazine, Transgender Community News. She wrote the Diva of Dish column for TGF in the late 1990s and was the Editor of LadyLike magazine until its untimely demise. She is currently the Editor of TGF. She has appeared in film and television shows portraying TG characters, as well as representing Renaissance on numerous talk shows. In her idle hours she keeps busy producing her monthly TG parties, Angela's Laptop Lounge.

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