Monthly Archives: January 2014

Price Reduction for the Kansas City “Come As You Are” Conference

Come as You Are
Caroline Gibbs at the Transgender Institute has asked me to inform everyone on the Transas City site and mailing lists that they have greatly reduced the ticket prices for attending the transgender summit coming soon to Kansas City! The new price is $95 for early early bird registration (until Jan. 15th) and $105 for late birds. If you plan to only attend Saturday, the fee is $75. Several individuals who can afford it, have offered to contribute tickets for those folks who have little or no resources. Please consider following in their footsteps.

Note too that this price includes the breakfasts and lunches during the event, so your net cost for attending is actually smaller than indicated. Caroline also announced yesterday that transgender activist Chloe Prince will be giving the welcoming speech!

Caroline says that her intention at The Transgender Institute is threefold: to create community in Kansas City and surrounding environs, to work towards creating a 24-hour shelter for homeless transwomen, and to establish a foundation for reassignment surgeries.

Information about the event is available, and ticket ordering can be done via this link.

AB 1266 Update Election Officials Must Validate Every Referendum Signature

This news is a little late, but I wanted to verify some things, as I’d seen a few different versions of the story in the press. In short, the religious conservative-based effort to overturn California Assembly Bill 1266, which would legalize at a state level the right of students to use bathroom and locker facilities concordant with their gender, has passed a milestone. It did not have enough signatures to pass, but it did come within 5%, which means there is now a mandatory recount of every signature, and there will be court battles in many critical counties as a result.

The losers in this are the transgender kids in California, but also all transgender persons in the United States. If this ballot initiative passes, then it will be a referendum to repeal AB 1266 this year, and the deep pockets of religious conservatives will open wide to put lurid and disgusting propaganda about transgender persons into every form of media in California.

This fight is important, and the outcome by no means certain either way.

AB 1266: Election officials must validate every referendum signature.

Transgender Woman Runs the Liberal Gun Club

GunClubThey call themselves “the NPR of gun clubs,” and their founder, Marlene Hoeber, says one advantage of their own club is that “We make ourselves a special place where we don’t have to hear about the ‘Kenyan Muslim socialist’ in the White House.” Described as a “feisty, tattooed, transgender, a self-described feminist, a queer activist,” I’m not exactly certain whether the article is admiring her, being neutral, or holding her up for a little bit of ridicule. When the reporter chose quotes like the following:

“I grow my own vegetables; I bake my own bread,” Hoeber said. She makes her own ammunition “for the same reason … cost savings, more control and higher quality.”

There’s a bit of nagging suspicion.

Liberals find comfort level in ‘NPR of gun clubs’ – SFGate.

Transwoman Does Good – Amanda Simpson Takes New Leadership Role

Transsexual woman Amanda Simpson was named today as the new Executive Director of the U.S. Army Energy Initiatives Task Force (EITF). Her mission in her new role will be to implement large-scale renewable energy projects for the United States Army. Using solar, wind, geothermal, and biomass energy, Ms. Simpson will take the reins in guiding the Army towards meeting its goal of 1 gigawatt of renewable energy generation for the Army by 2025.

Some of you may recall that President Obama appointed Ms. Simpson Simpson in 2010 to be the Senior Technical Advisor to the Under Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Security. With multiple degrees under her belt and an exciting past – even flying as a test pilot for Hughes Aircraft – Ms. Simpson is certainly up to the task.

Great job, Ms. Simpson!

Army EITF Site.

Do Transgender People Really Have a 27% HIV Infection Rate?

It was reported by The Advocate and other transgender-related news services that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) put out a new report, claiming that the HIV infection rate among transgender persons was 27%.

This number troubled me – it seemed unrealistically high, so I decided to investigate. I visited the original CDC site, and discovered the source of the 27% statistic:

Findings from a meta-analysis of 29 published studies showed that 27.7% of transgender women tested positive for HIV infection (4 studies), but when testing was not part of the study, only 11.8% of transgender women self-reported having HIV (18 studies). In one study, 73% of the transgender women who tested HIV-positive were unaware of their status. Higher percentages of newly identified HIV-positive test results were found among black/African American transgender women (56.3%) than among white (16.7%) or Latino (16.1%) transgender women; and self-reported HIV infection in studies made up of predominantly of black/African American transgender women (30.8%) was higher than positivity reported in studies comprising mainly white transgender women (6.1%). Studies also indicate that black transgender women are more likely to become infected with HIV than non-black transgender women.

What is this quote really telling us? Not that the CDC took values from only 4 of 29 studies – the purpose of the paragraph is to demonstrate the level of unawareness of HIV infection among transgender persons, not the percentage of HIV infection. The point of the quote was to say not that 27% of us are HIV positive, but that in studies focused on transgender populations with a high percentage of HIV infections, less than half reported that they were HIV positive. Meaning that they either were dishonest about their status, or had no idea.

Furthermore, it would have been more correct when citing a floating-point number to round to 28%, not 27%, but I digress.

The CDC do not cite the specific studies, but they do give a link to a bibliography page. A review of the CDC’s bibliography page on transgender persons and HIV/AIDS finds 44 total references, of which several are from the mid-2000’s, a couple from the early 2000’s, and one reference from 1999. A 2007 cut-sheet from the CDC claims HIV infection rates in specific populations ranges from 14 to 69 percent. However, again this is talking about specific populations, not a good sample of the general transgender population. A study in the Lancet estimates that worldwide, transgender women have an HIV infection rate of 17.4 to 20.7 percent (95% confidence interval). I bought the full text of the study, and found that for the United States, the rate was 21.7% (with a 95% confidence interval of 18.4–25.1 percent).

In short, in this case the number of 27.7% is not outside the range of possibility, although it seems on the high end of estimates.

CDC – HIV Among Transgender People – Gender – Risk – HIV/AIDS.

Katie Couric Goes Below the Belt in Interview with Transgender Women

I don’t know what’s to dislike more – the fact that Katie “I’m no airhead, really, what? What?” Couric called us “transgenders,” or the fact that just like a sex-starved badger she went straight for the crotch. After the preliminaries of making some small talk, she asked about surgery and their bodies. Transgender model Carmen Carrera dropped back 10 and punted to transgender actress and activist Laverne Cox, who laid down the law with Couric.

“I do feel there is a preoccupation with that. The preoccupation with transition and surgery objectifies trans people. And then we don’t get to really deal with the real lived experiences. The reality of trans people’s lives is that so often we are targets of violence. We experience discrimination disproportionately to the rest of the community. Our unemployment rate is twice the national average; if you are a trans person of color, that rate is four times the national average. The homicide rate is highest among trans women. If we focus on transition, we don’t actually get to talk about those things.” – Laverne Cox

Laverne Cox flawlessly shuts down Katie Couric’s invasive questions about transgender people –

A New Era for Intersex Rights : The New Yorker

When the New Yorker pays attention to intersex conditions and rights, you know it’s starting to enter the mainstream. Intersex persons have come a long way, but they are in some ways even more poorly understood than transgender persons.

Intersex persons have long been subjected to terrible abuses, vivisection, torture, and murder, primarily by the Christian churches of old. When the Bible tells us that God created ONLY men and women, someone born as “both” or “neither” becomes a threat to Biblical literalists. At that point, your options are to admit that a book written by human beings might be faulty (even if God is infallible), or else round up the “abominations” and kill them.

It is strongly debatable whether or not transgender persons are intersex. If in fact transgenderism is caused by physical changes to the structure of the brain, as I wrote about at length here, then it’s prima facie true that we are all intersex. However, others argue that in order to be considered intersex, one must either have outwardly visible symptoms in their genitals, or suffer directly from a karyotype disoder. I do not know the right answer. It might be a case where we have too many labels.

A New Era for Intersex Rights : The New Yorker.

California’s Right Wing Taking on Transgender Kids

This is a somewhat balanced article from SFGate which does not demonize either side and presents some basic facts for a person who has not been actively  following this issue.

I however can demonize one side – those who are fighting so hard to remove protections for transgender kids are, speaking frankly, a hate group. Transgender kids are the most vulnerable of all of us, and every time conservatives claim they are doing this to protect their sweet, sweet treasures, I ask them the following:

  • Why do they never evince one shred of concern for transgender kids who are taunted, bullied, beaten, or worse by using the wrong bathrooms?
  • What protections will they guarantee for transgender kids who suffer abuse as a result of the repeal? More or less than “squat?”
  • Can they name even a single case in their state of a transgender teen assaulting a girl in the bathroom? Ever?
  • Why do they never bring up transboys, only transgirls? Are they too stupid to realize the arrow points both ways, or do they just not give a shit about their virginal sons?
  • Why, if their side is so pure and holy, do they not join in decrying the lies and libel and slander by hate groups like the National Organization for Marriage and the Pacific Justice Institute, especially when the latter has manufactured fake news stories of harassment? Why do they allow the law to be misrepresented? Is a lie OK as long as your friends are telling it?

California to some extent drives the nation. If the haters win here, I fear what will happen next. And don’t count on Californians doing the “right thing” and defeating the measure at the polls – remember, this is the same “hippy, dippy” state which thought gays and lesbians were so scary they should be banned by Constitutional Amendment from being allowed to marry someone they love. Large swaths of the state are very conservative, and if the propaganda message gets out that leering, hairy transgender “boys” are sexually harassing the virginal Aryan daughters of California…then all bets are off as to what will happen at the polls.

California’s right pins hopes on transgender issue – SFGate.

Staffers for Former Utah Attorney General Caught Sending Transphobic Emails

This guy and his team are a real piece of work. He resigned in disgrace over campaign finance violations and other misdeeds, and his staffers are apparently a bunch of transphobic haters. I don’t know what’s most idiotic – their transphobic comments, or the fact that they are snarking on one of their own Party!

From the article:

Seth Crossley and Renae Cowley, staffers in Swallow’s 2012 reelection campaign, exchanged several of emails using transphobic terms to describe a transgender woman who was a delegate to the Utah Republican Convention…

“77 graced us with their presence yesterday,” Crossley wrote, referring to the number of delegates who had attended a campaign event in the weeks leading up to the convention. “Including the infamous cross dresser!”

Cowley responded to Crossley’s email by demanding a photograph of the delegate. “I’m still waiting for a picture of the tranny!” wrote Cowley.

“I offered a picture of that thing while it was next to me!” replied Crossley. “You declined.”

“No, I didn’t,” Cowley responded. “I just said not an ‘up the skirt shot.'”

This is what these people think of us.

Staffers for Former Utah Attorney General Caught Sending Transphobic Emails |

Becky Kent, Scottish Transgender Woman, Receives Offensive Note With Divorce Papers

It’s not like divorce isn’t difficult enough to go through, but imagine you are a transgender woman and a court official adds a sticky note on your divorce papers, saying the following?

“Colin it’s right! Man — changed his name to woman’s name — statutory declaration attached! Takes all sorts!”

Since it’s Scotland, the likely result will be a single apology, and no real action taken to fix the issue. It’s not only disheartening, it’s scary when people in the government decide to score “points” off your gender. Hey Scotland, 1970 called, it wants its bigotry back…

Becky Kent, Scottish Transgender Woman, Receives Offensive Note With Divorce Papers.

“We Are Princesses In A Land Of Machos”

Photographer Nicola Ókin Frioli spent months traveling across Mexico documenting the Muxes, individuals who identify as neither men nor women but instead embody a third category of mixed gender. A society which brings to mind the more well-known hijra, they form a unique culture in a country where there is normally a powerful divide between men and women, and where transgressors in either direction are subjected to frightful discrimination and abuse.

The Muxes therefore formed their society in Juchitan and on the surrounding Tehuantepec Isthmus, and have become to some extent respected and valued members of society.

There is a short interview with the photographer, and a slideshow of 16 photos available at the link below.

Nicola Ókin Frioli Documents Muxes In ‘We Are Princesses In A Land Of Machos’ (PHOTOS).

Cross-Training – The History and Future of Transgender and Intersex Athletes – Part 2

Exclusive to Transas City, an 8-part research article which attempts to settle the debate on whether transgender athletes should be allowed to compete with cisgender athletes. This topic has been increasingly in the news, especially as a result of California’s recent efforts to “mainstream” transgender students, and many ardent transgender activists have struggled to factually defend our rights to compete against our own gender. My hope is that someday, folks can link to these articles to make their points.

Part 2 has now been posted, which focuses on the development of sex testing in sports, as well as the intersex women who were cruelly and unfairly targeted by the testing. The development and impact of Title IX is discussed briefly, and then the career of transwoman Renee Richards and her fight on the courts and in the Courts is covered.

Cross-Training – The History and Future of Transgender and Intersex Athletes (Page 2)

Cross-Training – The History and Future of Transgender and Intersex Athletes (Page 1)

Murdered Transwoman is Given Amazing Respect by the Catholic Church

It may seem minor, but in reality, this is a “wow” moment. Andrea Quintero was homeless and desperate when she left Colombia for Italy, in search of a more accepting society, and the potential for meeting a man who would be kind to her and love her. But in Rome she found nothing but pain, accumulating injuries from beatings on the train platform where she lived. On July 29, 2013, her body was found on that platform, the result of a brutal beating. On that same day, Pope Francis said five words about homosexuality: “Who am I to judge?”

Andrea’s body was recovered by charity workers who wanted to give her a Catholic funeral. A Jesuit Priest opened the doors of one of the most prominent Catholic churches in Rome, and then something special happened – throughout her funeral service, the priest acknowledged Andrea as “she.” Something which the Catholic Church has never done before.

Father Giovanni La Manna, who helped organize Andrea’s funeral, is quoted thus:

“With Pope Francis, we have courage, we have enthusiasm. We have no excuse. We are called to open our hearts.”

This CNN link, where the story originated, has an excellent video, which is also heartbreaking.

Amazing change occurred at transgendered woman’s funeral | News – Home.

Transwoman Dr. Kate Stone in a Trans Fight for Her Trans Life, BTW, She’s Trans

Here’s an article which caught my wandering eye, by the Daily Record – it is titled “Sex swap scientist in fight for life after being gored by stag in freak accident in Highlands.” One could be charitable and hope that “sex swap scientist” was just an attempt at alliteration, but…no. Also, the first words of the article are:

A LEADING scientist was fighting for her life last night after being gored by a Highland stag. Dr Kate Stone, 44, who went through a sex change six years ago…

Why is this relevant? Did she meet up with a transphobic deer? Furthermore, they go out of their way to focus on her height (6 feet) as having possibly made her a target. Is that to call attention to her “manly” height? Or are transwomen 6 feet and over frequently attacked by all sorts of transphobic fauna?

For all my griping, however, the article does not misgender her, and it gives a lot of time to tell her story of transition in her own words. A piece by the more mainstream Daily Mail conveys about the same message overall.

That being said, I long for the day when I and my sisters and brothers are no longer the “hook” in a tagline.

Sex swap scientist in fight for life after being gored by stag in freak accident in Highlands – Daily Record.