The Week In Transgenderism

| Jan 25, 2016

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Jen Richards

Jen Richards

Her Story, the new six-episode web series is now available for viewing online. It tells the story of trans women looking for love and finding it when they had all but given up. With monetary support from Lana Wachowski and advice from Transparent creator Jill Soloway Jen Richards and Laura Zak created the show. Learn more about them and the show on the Take Part website.

A check printing firm based in Minnesota is going to have to write a large check to a former employee who just won a sex discrimination and harassment lawsuit against them. Britney Austin worked in the Phoenix office of Deluxe Financial Services and when she announced her transition from male to female her supervisor barred her from the lady’s room, ignored her pronoun choices and did nothing as her co-workers insulted her. The company has stated they have learned their lesson and had already started improving how trans workers are treated. Get the story from The Arizona Republic.

The rules barring pre-operative trans people from the Olympics have just been erased. The International Olympic Committee updated its guidelines on trans people at a meeting last November and the new rules, which allow athletes who have not undergone surgery to compete, will take effect before the Summer Olympics in Rio later this year. Get the story from the Think Progress website.

Kate Bornstein

Kate Bornstein

Ah Kate, we knew ye way back when. Back in the day Kate Bornstein was living in Philadelphia and attending local support group meetings with a certain TGF editor. Then she went on to become a nationally known performance artist, writer and trans activist. Today Ms. Bornstein is still hitting the road to spread the message. Those of you in in the Hartford, Connecticut area can see her giving her talk Trans, Beyond the Tipping Point on January 30 at Real Art Ways. Get more info from Hartford Courant.

An all-girls school in Toronto, Canada produces a quarterly magazine for its alumni. Their cover models are two former students who transitioned from female to male. The cover story was inspired when one of the men returned for the 2014 reunion and then put in an appearance at the school’s Gay-Straight Alliance group. Learn more in The Huffington Post.

In other school news: Brighton College is a prep school in England for boys and girls ages 11-18. Their students have worn the same uniform design for 170 years. (Talk about a fashion rut.) They have now made a change to the uniform code to accommodate transgender students. Now students with a note from their parents may choose to wear the “skirt uniform” (formerly known as “the girls’ uniform”) or the “trouser uniform” (formerly “the boy’s uniform”).  The Telegraph has this story.

Redmayne as Elbe

Redmayne as Elbe

The man behind the women in The Danish Girl is costume designer Paco Delgado. He was responsible for producing the gowns and dresses worn by the film’s stars, Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander. His work has gotten him nominated for an Oscar. Normally a film uses costumes to support a character. Delgado had to use his designs to help create Redmayne’s portrayal of Lili. Learn what tricks he used to develop Lili’s femininity in the Indiana Daily Student.

One of the most respected drag performers to emerge in the 1980s was New York City’s Lypsinka. Her act was based on flawless lip syncing to edited together music and dialogue audio, which she did while attired in wonderful drag outfits. The man behind Lypsinka, John Epperson, said that he originally created a drag act so he could perform behind the shield of the femme persona. Now he has overcome his fear of performing as himself and is singing and playing the piano. His first gig was last weekend at Feinstein’s/54 in NYC but we know what happened on Saturday. To learn more about him and if the show went on check out the article on The Huffington Post.

We reported last week about the establishment of an academic chair of transgender studies at The University of Victoria in British Columbia. Dr. Aaron Devor was chosen as the inaugural chair. His salary will be paid in part by a $2 million donation to the university from Chicago trans philanthropist Jennifer Pritzker. Learn more in Tablet Mag.

We mentioned last week that Antony Hegarty, vocalist for Antony and The Johnsons, was nominated for an Academy Award for a song he contributed to a documentary film. Many news outlets proclaimed Hegarty was the first trans person to be nominated but that’s not the case. Another trans person was a two-time nominee. Her name is Angela Morley. Learn more about her in The Huffington Post.

I Intr model.

A Mitr Trust model.

The launching of trans modeling agencies in Thailand and the United States inspired a hijra woman in India to start an agency there. Rudrani Chettri calls her modeling agency Mitr Trust. Her goal is to provide trans women a way to make a living that does not involve sex work or begging. The agency will not seek perfect models but will represent both those and models who are unconventional or even transgressive. Learn more about the agency and the hijira society in the Mirror.

Is the Russian bear waking from it’s long nap and becoming more accepting of LGBT people? A bill that would ban men from coming out as gay, bisexual, or transgender, failed in a vote in the Duma. The bill would have fined offenders 5,000 rubles, which is about $65 U.S., £45 in Britain, or €58. You can read about this in The Edge.

The BBC Two television series Boy Meets Girl has been renewed for a second season. This is the series in which trans actress Rebecca Root plays a trans woman character. Now, if we could only get BBC America to air the series. The announcement of the renewal is, not surprisingly, on the BBC website.

Milk

Milk

Designer Marc Jacobs is adding a drag queen from RuPaul’s Drag Race to his star-studded Spring/Summer ad campaign. (Lana Wachowski and Bette Midler are among the models.) The new girl is Milk, a.k.a. Dan Donigan. Milk appeared on the sixth season of Drag Race and placed ninth in the competition. Learn more in the Daily Mail.

Steve Bullock, the governor of Montana, has signed an executive order which outlaws discrimination against people because of pregnancy, military service, or gender identity. The executive order only covers state employment and state contracts, but it’s better than nothing.  Learn more in The Great Falls Tribune.

Do you have Asperger’s Syndrome? There’s a greater likelihood that you do if you’re a trans person. Three researchers have written a peer-reviewed study which finds that people with gender-identity issues are more likely to have Asperger’s Syndrome than is the average person. You can read about the article in the San Diego LGBT Weekly, and the entire article is available here.

Caitlyn Jenner is working toward becoming the queen of all media. She already has a television show, now she is writing a book. The subject? Her transition. You can read about the announcement of the book on the Today Show’s website.

The Miss Transgender Australia beauty pageant has a special prize for the winner — gender-confirmation surgery in Thailand. Technically, the prize is a gift voucher for the surgery. The contest will be held on January 30. For more, see GMAnetwork’s story.

Carlotta

Carlotta

Also from down under: Carlotta is an old-school drag queen. She should be old-school — she has been doing her act for 54 years. She is still entertaining audiences in Australia and appearing on television shows. You can read about her career, and get a review of her recent live show at Same Same.

Although U.S. courts have been finding discrimination based on gender identity to be a form of discrimination based on sex, the Department of Education has been granting certain colleges exemptions based on religious beliefs. Now, the Department has told Senator Ron Wyden that they will make a list of the colleges which have such exemptions publicly available. At the least, we will know who is discriminating against us. You can read the letter on Senator Wyden’s website.

Are things getting too politically correct? The Edinburgh University Students Association has created a ruckus by issuing a new policy which bans Halloween costumes that “might cause offense.” The policy explicitly prohibits, among other things, “costumes which mock or are based on stereotypes of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Trans community.”  So, no Nazis, and no Caitlyn Jenner. You can read more at Pink News.

The Keystone Conference is coming up in March and the event organizers have announced three different programs that attendees can register for along with other details about the Conference. Click here to get the details.

Michaela Mendelsohn

Michaela Mendelsohn

Michaela Mendelson has been named as a member of the Board of Directors of the Trevor Project. The Trevor Project is a non-profit which works to prevent suicide among LGBT youth. Ms. Mendelson is the first transgender person to serve on the board. She was also the first transgender contestant in the Ms. Senior California Pageant and was a consultant to Jenji Kohan in the development of Laverne Cox’s character on Netflix’s hit series Orange is the New Black. Learn more about her  and her new job in LGBT Weekly.

Do you need ammo to use against people who claim that trans kids are just pretending they’re the other gender? If so here’s an interview about a recent study that shows that the gender identity of trans children is just as firm and central as the gender identity of a cisgender child. You can learn more on the Transadvocate website. Thanks to Josy C for the link.

Aspen drag.

Aspen drag.

Aspen Gay Ski Week happened last week. One of their big events is the Downhill Drag contest in which competitors ski down a slope called Little Nell in their finest drag attire. Comic Margaret Cho was on hand along with judges from Drag Race as contestants hit the slopes in everything from glam drag to theme costumes ranging from one person dressed as Priscilla, the bus from Priscilla Queen of the Desert, and a group of mushrooms. Learn more about the contest on the NewNowNext website.

TWITs

Deepika Avanti calls herself a psychic healer. She is also a landlord and in that latter capacity, she is now the subject of a lawsuit. It seems that she would not rent a particular house to Tonya and Rachel Smith and their two children  She said that they would be “too loud” and would not blend in with the neighborhood. Could that be because Rachel is a transwoman? Why else did the tone change so drastically after she met the couple? This TWIT Award winning behavior is magnified by Ms. Avanti citing a law prohibiting more than three unrelated people living in one residential unit. So, you don’t think that these children are related to their parents? The New Civil Rights Movement has this story.

There is a TWIT here, but who receives it is not 100% clear. Jimmy Lilly is a trans woman who is in the middle of transition. Ms. Lilly has been charged with one count of incest, one count of second-degree sexual assault, and 31 counts of first-degree sexual abuse. The report uses the word “victim” in the singular, so all of these charges seem to come from one individual, although the police are looking for the stories of others who have had contact with the accused. Since children do sometimes lie about sexual contact with adults, this TWIT could go to the accuser, but if the charges are true, then it goes to the accused. You can read about it in the Bluefield Daily Telegraph.

We mentioned the uniform policy change at a school in Britain in the regular news portion of TWIT. Of course some publications didn’t look at it as a positive thing. The headline at Breibart says, “Top School Scraps Uniform Policy Because Of ONE ‘Transgender’ Student.” Brighton College did alter its policy, but the verb “scrap” makes it sound as though they abandoned having a uniform policy. They have a policy now that allows students to choose which uniform they will wear, rather than assigning one based on birth sex. While there was only one family making a request that students be allowed to choose uniforms, there have been at least two other families which have inquired about it since the policy was announced. A TWIT Award goes to Breitbart’s growing collection. See the skewed verbiage on the Breitbart website.

Noted expert in gender and sexuality, Jeremy Clarkson has said that trans people are “ladyboys” and “nothing more than a punchline.” Oh, wait. Clarkson is no gender expert. He’s the former host of the BBC’s Top Gear program. He’s a gear head who knows nothing about trans people so he should, as they say in England, shut his pie hole. A TWIT Award to Mr. Clarkson for opening his mouth and letting his ignorant views spew out. You can read more of what he said and also read scathing comments about what he said in Yahoo News.

We are forced to give a posthumous TWIT Award to Donna Mae Stemmer. (Just a small one for one oversight.) Ms. Stemmer was mentioned in TWIT recently. She was a transwoman in Philadelphia who possessed an elxtensive wardrobe which she documented with a photo of every outfit she wore. Now we learn that she is buried in a military cemetery under her male name, Donald R. Stemmer. It seems that Ms. Stemmer never took the time to do a legal name change, so the family used that name. She had at one point lobbied to have her female name used on her headstone but the legal name change was never filed. Read the story in the Philadelphia Gay News.

A young trans woman has found that appearing on television in Britain left her open to abuse from the people in her hometown. After Brooke Olsen appeared in a BBC documentary that followed her around for a night out on the town she was subjected to more abuse and even physical assault. Problems with her parents, mostly her dad, made her move out of the family home and now she is homeless. She is moving to Brighton where she hopes to find greater acceptance as a trans woman. We have to give her hometown a TWIT Award. It’s no wonder that she was treated badly there. The town’s name is Peterhead. Read more about her in the Mirror.

Back in 2007 photos of fighter Oscar De La Hoya wearing women’s underwear and fishnet hose showed up online and were picked up by the press. For several years he claimed the photos were doctored and it wasn’t him but he finally told the truth in 2011. Also in 2007 De La Hoya was beaten by Floyd Mayweather. Now both fighters are retired but Mayweather wins a TWIT Award for bringing up De La Hoya’s lingerie shots for no good reason. Mayweather was being interviewed and talking about the business partners he liked to work with when he just threw in that he preferred to work with “guys who dress like men.” And he admitted he needles De La Hoya because he has no respect for a man who does drag. We hope De La Hoya is having a lot of drag fun now that he’s retired. Read more on the Bleacher Report website.

TWIT includes stories submitted by TGF users Cecilia and Jan Brown.

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Category: Community News

Angela Gardner

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.

Comments (1)

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  1. KoolMcKool says:

    >Jimmy Lilly …charged with one count of incest, one count of second-degree sexual assault, and 31 counts of first-degree sexual abuse.
    >Since children do sometimes lie about sexual contact with adults, this TWIT could go to the accuser,

    I think you should take these stories of pedophilia (child rape) a little more seriously than using your TWIT award as recognition. I would not even consider this as a transgender story. Countless children are sexually abused every day in this world. The crime is not unique to any demographic in abuser or victim. We should be pro-active in educating children on how to recognize predators and be proactive to look for adults who may be out to harm children.

    The Boy Scouts have a good program in this area : http://www.scouting.org/Training/YouthProtection.aspx
    Let’s educate ourselves to be problem solvers in this area.