Monthly Archives: December 2013

Transgender Asylum Seekers Face Deportation ‘Revolving Door’

This article contains the sad story of Viviana, a transgender woman who fled her native Honduras after being raped and beaten at a nightclub. After reporting the crime to the police, who laughed in her face, she was beaten again by the men who raped her in revenge for reporting the crime.

Since that time she has been trying to flee to the United States (since Mexico and most Central American countries aren’t very trans-friendly) and then entered a decade of living on the fringe as an illegal alien, then in custody as a detainee. Eventually, in the end, a judge told her to go home, because the Honduran government was trying really hard – honest, they pinkie-swear! – to fight LGBT violence. After all, only recently a gay asylum seeker was deported from the US back to Honduras, where he was tortured in prison and then burned to death in a prison fire…but that was an exception, yeah.

Right.

Transgender Asylum Seekers Face Deportation ‘Revolving Door’ – New America Media.

Opinion: Two and a Half Men Introduces Transwoman Character. Is this a Good Thing?

Personally, I’ve read other reports from around the net which tend to vary from lukewarm to poor reception among the transgender community who aren’t paid contributors to websites. I mean come on, it’s Two and a Half Men, one of the most sexist and crude shows at times on prime time. On the other hand, they have treated some LGB subjects with sensitivity, such as when Charlie’s mom had a lesbian affair. Perhaps a crucial step towards mainstream acceptance is to not get too offended right away, unless the offense is blatant and unavoidable?

Recently I saw a drag performance with a cisgender woman and a transsexual friend, said performance being done by a gay man. The cisgender woman thought that the performance was entertaining and not offensive. My transsexual friend was torn – she did find the performance entertaining, but was also nonetheless bothered about “why is a man dressed as a woman supposed to be funny? Doesn’t this cause people to view transsexual women as drag performers, and thus not take the fact that our entire lives are uprooted and changed during transition as seriously as they should?”

As a transsexual woman myself, I was torn. My opinion was somewhere between the two – on one hand, I can see where my trans friend was coming from. On the other hand, the performance was done respectfully and well, and was entertaining. The focus of the humor was not on “look at me! I’m a gay dude wearing a dress!” but rather the gay man was simply playing a role which happened to be female.

Context and delivery is everything, and from what I can tell from the clips I’ve watched, Two and a Half Men didn’t do such a bad job. If nothing else, it’s worth waiting to see how the story develops.

Op-ed: Two and a Half Men Introduces Trans Character, Manages to Stay Respectful | Advocate.com.

Younger Americans Back Transgender Worker Protections

TransgenderProtections
Most of us know that protections for us in the workplace are few and far-between. We also saw that for the first time the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) passed the Senate with protections for transgender workers included, although the Republican-controlled House is refusing to even consider it on ideological grounds alone.

This report was a survey of how many Americans back protections for LGB and T workers, and pretty unsurprisingly, there is a clear inverse proportion between age and acceptance of our people. What is disturbing about it, however, is what I call the “equality gap.” This term refers to the gap in support between LGB and T persons, which in this poll, on a nationwide basis, is shown as being as 9%. So 9% of Americans say “yes! Protect LGB workers! But not those creepy transpeople, like, yuck!”

I must also use this post as a vehicle to post my disappointment in President Obama for not mandating by Executive Order that all government contractors include LGBT protections. Most medium and large companies in the country have some government contracts they work on or supply, and an order such as that could easily roll in protections for more than half of us overnight. OK, I’m not horribly disappointed, as he’s done wonders for our community, but that one move, helping to give us more secure sources of income, would make perhaps one of the largest improvements in our condition in history.

Younger Americans Back Transgender Worker Protections – NationalJournal.com.

JAPAN: Transman Gains Legal Recognition as a Father

JapanThis is really interesting news, especially coming from Japan, which traditionally has been on the fence about transgender rights. The Supreme Court of Japan has over-ruled earlier decisions, and found that a transgender man who married a cisgender woman and who had a child with her via in-vitro fertilization donation from a third party can legally be the father of the child. This means he can now be entered into the official family registry in Japan, a highly important step in finalizing transgender rights.

The picture above has no bearing whatsoever on the story, and none was attached to the original story. I just thought it was a pretty picture from Japan.

Transsexual dad gains legal recognition – World News | IOL News | IOL.co.za.

Buck Angel Starts, Then Shuts Down Transgender Surgery Fundraising Site

This is a psychodrama where you either want to pull up a lawn chair and sip mint juleps while you watch it happen – or else you want to pull the covers over your head and pretend you never saw it.

The skinny: outspoken transman Buck Angel started a fundraising site (the provocatively-named “transgasm.org”) to help transgender persons receive SRS via a scheme of paying money forward to help seven people at a time receive surgery. The problem is, as best as many people can understand it, the site is an unintentional pyramid scheme, which is illegal in the United States.

So merely one week after the site was started, the two founders (Buck Angel and Jody Rose) shut the site down cold and have called in lawyers to go after the media who have reported on the incident. Furthermore, transgender women are commenting all over the internet, such as in the article linked below, venting their ire at Buck Angel. One target of their ire is a comment Buck Angel made in 2007:

“Ugh, don’t get me started,” he told the Village Voice in 2007. “That’s my hugest pet peeve. You want to be a man? Act like a man. Men take care of themselves. Very rarely do they fucking beg for money. Get a fucking job and save your money like a man. Asking for a handout for surgery — it really bothers me. It’s just wrong.”

Of course, people are allowed to change their minds, and grow, and learn. I confess, however, that there’s some entertainment value in reading Buck Angel sparring with commentators.
Buck Angel Shuts Down Transgender Surgery Fundraising Site | Advocate.com.

Two Steps Backwards (and one Update) for Same-Sex Marriage

IndiaCourt
Same-sex marriage is an issue which is closely linked with transgender civil rights, as somewhere from 33-70% of transgender persons identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual. Just in the past week there have been two significant defeats for same-sex marriage in the world, which I thought I would report on.

First, in India their Supreme Court has upheld a colonial-era law which criminalizes homosexuality by a 10-year prison term. The Court essentially said there was no constitutional protection for homosexuality, and that lawmakers were the ones to decriminalize it. This brings up an interesting question, in that given the hijra of India often identify as “third gender”, I wonder if a lower court will find that a hijra (who is typically an XY male) can marry either a man or a woman.

Second, in Australia we have their Supreme Court going out of its way to overturn a same-sex marriage law passed in the Australian Capital Territory. Basically, this case is a “states rights versus national rights” issue, and the Court decided here that there was no over-riding civil rights protection for same-sex marriage, and therefore the federal law banning same-sex marriage takes precedence.

Finally, in more positive news, Ireland appears to be headed for a vote on same-sex marriage in 2015. It’s going to be a close vote by most news reports I’ve read, with the conservative religious rural areas strongly against. The media campaigns have started, and this is a sweet video spot which is running in Ireland now.

Another Christan Williams Report – Fact Check: Anti-trans “Parents of Students” Speak Out at School Board Meeting

MenaceChristan Williams has done it again, pulling back the manhole and showing the sewer of the anti-trans movement. In this case, it appears that the reporter for the Canon City Daily Record either did a shitty job of reporting, or deliberately slanted her article. Hey, I’m in the newspaper business, believe me, I know how to spin something better than the Harlem Globetrotters on speed.

Here the primary issue is the reporter deliberately or negligently calling an anti-trans activist from outside the school district a concerned parent who asserted the cisgender girls going to the schools were victims. When called on this, the anti-trans activist admitted:

“The [cis] girls are the victims because, they’re the one’s who are being victimized, they cannot ridicule him [sic] and they have to show him [sic] respect.”

Ah…they’re “victims” because they can’t ridicule the transgender student. I’ll take “things people say while on shrooms” for $200, Alex…

Later, Williams reports on the bizarre anti-Obama-New-World-Order-Esque rant from the activist, which to be blunt, is scary.

Does anyone out there doubt that there’s a group of people who if given half the chance would round us up and put us into internment camps, or have us subjected to church-run medical experiments to kill off the evil transgender demons within us?

Fact Checking: anti-trans “parents of students” speak out at school board meeting | The Transadvocate.

Indie Film Winner “Bamboozled” Accused of Transphobia, Homophobia, etc.

BamboozledTropfest is the world’s largest short film festival, and in this year’s contest the winner is a 7-minute short film by West Australian film maker Matt Hardie. The film, Bamboozled, is a “revenge sex” film where a gay cisgender man (Harry) pretends to be a transman who was once the girlfriend (Helen) of the protagonist, Pete. However, the entire thing is a set-up for a TV “gotcha” program, and thus the film portrays someone pretending to be a transsexual person for the purpose of tricking them into sex.

Setting off any alarm bells yet?

You can watch the entire film at the link below. I was not hugely offended by it, more just turned off. Nonetheless, it’s getting a lot of press and spurring a lot of commentary, and none of it is positive towards transgender persons.

Tropfest winner Bamboozled accused of transphobia, homophobia | Crikey.

CLEVELAND: Violent Murders of Two Transwomen in Two Days

ClevelandStatistics are a funny thing, in that clusters of seemingly related events can occur, which could lead one to think there is a pattern or a particular influence.

That being said, two transwomen being murdered in two days stretches the laws of random chance just a bit, especially when we number less than 1 in 5,000 in America.

In the first case, Brittany Sturgis, age 22, had her life put to an end in what police say looks like a hate crime. Sturgis was sitting in her car outside a nightclub, apparently minding her own business, when someone shot her in the head, killing her instantly.

In the second case Betty Skinner, a 52-year-old disabled transwoman was found dead in her apartment. She died of lethal head injuries, and homicide, not robbery, appeared to be the motive.

Cleveland hasn’t had a great reputation as a safe place for transwomen – this last January Ce Ce Dove, a 20-year-old transwoman was stabbed 40 times by her date, who was enraged that the woman he was dating had a penis. Her body was thrown into a pond, and her killer was caught, convicted, and sentenced to 20 years with parole.

Two violent deaths in two days worry Cleveland transgender community | cleveland.com.

Attorney: Transgender Murder Victim’s Life not as Valuable as Higher-Class Victims

My friend Julie pointed me to this – it’s simply abominable that an attorney can make a statement like this and suffer no real consequences. But that’s the price of free speech.

One Rasheen Everett was facing 25 years to life for his sentencing after he was convicted of murdering Amanda Gonzalez-Andujar, a transsexual woman. So his attorney tried a tactic which Lionel Hutz would have been too embarrassed to attempt:

“A sentence of 25 years to life is an incredibly long period of time judge. Shouldn’t that be reserved for people who are guilty of killing certain classes of individuals?”

The judge, while sentencing Everett to 29 years in prison, scolded Defense, and stated:

“This court believes every human life in sacred,” he said. “It’s not easy living as a transgender, and I commend the family for supporting her.”

That’s a start…shame you can’t be disbarred for being a creep.

Attorney: Transgender murder victim’s life not as valuable as higher class victims – LGBTQ Nation.

Intersex/Transgender Themed Short Film – Annabel

AnnabelI know this is a few years old, but I just came across it today and I thought it was simply breathtaking. It’s an artistic short film which serves as a music video for Goldfrapp’s Annabel, and was inspired by the novel of the same name. The story is one of an intersex child born in Canada in 1968, who struggled terribly from her father’s desire to raise her as a boy, and her mother’s desire to raise her as a girl. Not only is she torn apart inside herself, but her own family was pulling her two different directions.

It’s worth the 7-minute watch.

Audrey Gauthier: First Openly Transsexual Union President

Audrey_GauthierIn fact Audrey, recently elected president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) local 4041, representing Air Transat flight attendants, is only the second transsexual union leader in the world.

The article doesn’t talk much about Audrey’s life or changes, mainly about the changes she has planned as union leader.

Audrey Gauthier: First openly transsexual president of a union local in Canada | rabble.ca.

Rhode Island Home to 1st Transgender High School Coach in the Country

RhodeIsland
A great story and another victory for us all, one of two I’m reporting on tonight. Boy’s soccer coach Stephen Alexander taught at Ponaganset High School in Gloucester, R.I., for three years before coming out as a transman.

Born Jen Dandrow, Stephen was a tomboy who loved football and was a star athlete on the girls’ basketball team. But throughout his successes, he struggled with his gender identity. He transitioned in college, and despite a negative reaction from his family, he persevered and succeeded. His next job is working to convince the Rhode Island Interscholastic League to include protections for trans athletes.

Rhode Island Home to 1st Transgender High School Coach :: EDGE Boston.

Jennifer Finney Boylan’s December Project will Lift Your Spirits

Advertised as “Trans? Holidays got you down? WE WILL CALL YOU ON THE PHONE,” this is an ambitious project where either Jennifer or three other associates will call you to give you a friendly voice this season. Jennifer, Mara Keisling (director of the National Center for Transgender Equality), Dylan Scholinski (director of Sent(a)mental Studios), and Helen Boyd (Professor at Lawrence University) began this project in 2011, and it has since been a very welcome success during the holidays.

Trans? Holidays got you down? WE WILL CALL YOU ON THE PHONE.

Transsexual Computer Programmer Enters Game Show to Fund Cosmetic Surgery

Why is this news? Because it’s a polite treatment of Hinoi Tonkin, a transwoman who is making a “Hail Mary” effort to get cosmetic surgery prior to her SRS. What I found telling is that the United Kingdom’s NHS is not funding her surgery because apparently she doesn’t suffer from significant enough mental distress. This is important to highlight – although I’ve read many transwomen write “damn, I wish the US was like the UK so my SRS would be paid for,” remember that nothing is free, and there are still many hoops to jump through.

Transsexual computer programmer Hinoi Tonkin enters Deal Or No Deal to fund surgery ahead of sex swap | Mail Online.