Monthly Archives: May 2014

Who Are Women’s Colleges For?

This is an interesting and fact-filled essay from the New York Times, which discusses the growing problem of women’s colleges who refuse to admit transgender women – but who allow transgender men to attend their classes. Their selective discrimination has now been highlighted by the recent announcement from the Department of Education, ruling that transgender students are protected under Title IX.

In short, the essay makes a strong case for ending the discrimination against all transgender persons, and is worth a read.

Who Are Women’s Colleges For? –

Yes It’s True – Medicare to Update Healthcare Standards for Transgender Patients. But There Are Some Caveats…

Businesswoman shouting her victory to the worldIs this the biggest news of the last 2 years? It’s certainly up there with the Macy v. Holder decision and the overturning of the Defense of Marriage Act. Today will likely be remembered forever as a milestone triumph for transgender persons in the United States.

What happened is this – the US Department of Health and Human Services ruled that Medicare cannot automatically exclude coverage for gender reassignment surgery if it is medically needed. You can read the full decision at this link here.

The scientist in me, however, forces me to strike a cautionary note for those celebrating the news. So please note the following:

  1. It does not mandate that transsexual surgery (as they term it) is covered in all cases. Claimants may still be denied coverage for other reasons that are allowable under the law. What those reasons may be, however, are not known at this time (and indeed, there may be none which apply).
  2. Note that only specific types of transsexual surgery are covered. From the decision: “For the male-to-female, transsexual surgery entails castration, penectomy and vulva-vaginal construction. Surgery for the female-to-male transsexual consists of bilateral mammectomy, hysterectomy and salpingooophorectomy, which may be followed by phalloplasty and the insertion of testicular prostheses.” Note that breast implants are not covered, nor facial feminization surgery, since they are still considered cosmetic surgeries.
  3. It does not necessarily change anything immediately for some Medicare insurers, and may not take effect with some until January 1, 2015.
  4. This ruling does not impact Medicaid, nor Veteran’s health coverages, as those are administered separately.
  5. Note that you may not have a choice in the surgeon to perform your bottom surgery. Medicare may choose to cover only the “lowest cost provider,” and there is also a chance that Medicare’s physician reimbursement levels are low enough that some GRS surgeons may choose not to accept Medicare.
  6. Also note that some surgeons are already booked to capacity right now – for example, I have learned that Dr. Bowers is currently scheduling surgeries for late 2015. Even if the floodgates are opened for surgery, there may be a considerable backlog at surgeon’s offices. This may also lead to a flood of new surgeons who may not have the experience and skills of the current group of established surgeons (but then, everyone has to start somewhere…).
  7. Finally, note that in most cases Medicare will not cover surgery performed outside the US. So if you had your heart set on surgery in Thailand or Quebec, you may still have to pay for most of the expenses out of pocket.

The good news is that while you may believe this only applies to Medicare patients, many private health insurers and their subscriber companies base their coverages on what is or isn’t allowed under Medicare. So it is certain that this will have a “trickle-down” effect starting in 2015, when most policies are renewed.

So let’s celebrate, everyone! We won a major victory!

GLAD / News / Medicare to Update Healthcare Standards for Transgender Patients.

Carmen Carrera Fires Back at T Word Critics

Carmen Carrera speaks out in the continuing outrage against RuPaul and Bianca Del Rio’s continued and unapologetic slurs towards the transgender community. Recently I posted a link to Del Rio telling Carmen Carrera to “…take what’s left of her dick and stick it in her mouth and shut the fuck up.” Ms. Carrera, for her part, said:

“I’ve reached out to Bianca, and I’ve already tried to speak to her. … But for me, it’s a lost cause,” … “And it’s sad. It’s really sad. I watch the TV show, and I really ended up liking what she’s done on the Race, and I appreciate her as an artist. But now I don’t know if I can respect her as a person. I get that you’re comedy, and I get that you like to poke fun at things, but it’s like, for me, I consider you a sellout. If you’re not realizing the bigger picture here, and you choose to just use something like this to get some comedy points, or … just because you know the majority of the Drag Race fans are transphobic, so you’re gonna throw me under the bus, just to get a good arousal from people, for me, you’re a sellout.”

“When the wig comes off, when the makeup comes off, I’m sure Bianca wants to be respected as a gay man,” she continued. “And that’s where this comes in. I’m trying to fight for respect. Just respect. All you have to do is respect me. Use the right words. If you don’t consider me a woman, then use trans woman. Whatever works for you. But don’t try to use something that’s a slur or something that’s meant to degrade who we are. … It’s a mess. I literally get nauseous thinking about it, because there’s so many issues in there.”

Del Rio pseudo-apologized for their slur, with the offhand tweet:

“Hey Carmen Carrera, I’m sorry for my lame joke, i have now fired my comedy writer (me). love ya.”

Ye-ah. Keep on keeping it classy, Del Rio. Yeesh.

Carmen Carrera Fires Back at T Word Critics |

Laverne Cox Talks to TIME About the Transgender Movement

We’re going more and more mainstream every week, and the newest Time magazine cover featuring transgender actress Laverne Cox is yet one more major step forward. The link below features a couple of video links of Ms. Cox talking about her life, as well as a substantial interview with her.

Laverne Cox Talks to TIME About the Transgender Movement | TIME.

Trans Women Assaulted on Train, One Stripped, Passengers Cheer

What words can even describe something like this? Is it possible to understand the people who sat by and cheered, even took videos on their phone? And the animals who perpetrated the assault – how can we even call them human beings?

The title tells the gist of the story – two transgender women were assaulted and one was stripped naked while on a MARTA train in Atlanta, Georgia. And they received no help from the police officer on the scene – why does that man still have a job?

I really wish I wouldn’t have to call attention to these sorts of outrages, that they would eventually fall behind us on the road to equality. Sadly, that day is far in our future.

Trans Women Assaulted on Train, One Stripped, Passengers Cheer.

RuPaul’s Drag Race winner Bianca Del Rio tells Carmen Carrera to “stick whats left of your dick in your mouth and STFU”

Again, I have to ask the people who defend either RuPaul or the use of the word “tranny” – are these the ponies you want to bet on? Really?

In a video which was unashamedly originally posted on the Facebook page for RuPaul’s Drag Race (the link below will take you to another copy), recent Drag Race winner Bianca Del Rio takes to the microphone to tell what she really thinks of us in the transgender community:

“And let’s face it, we wouldn’t know who the fuck Carmen Carrera was if she didn’t fuckin’ get on Drag Race. Maybe she should take what’s left of her dick and stick it in her mouth and shut the fuck up.”

Absolutely no apology has been made, nor even an attempt by RuPaul to distance himself from the slurs and hate speech posted by his protégé.

It’s long past time for the community of transgender and transsexual women to stand up and shun RuPaul. Send him to Coventry, and stand up to anyone who idolizes him and ask “how can you do this?” For all that people can argue that RuPaul raised awareness for LGBT causes in the past, his flurry of recent capers and antics show that at best he’s a woefully clumsy dinosaur, unable to comprehend a world where transgender and transsexual women finally take their rightful place at the table.

RuPaul’s Drag Race winner Bianca Del Rio tells Carmen Carrera to “stick whats left of your dick in your mouth and STFU” ~ Planetransgender.

How to Build a Kinder Web for the Transgender Community

I’ve reported before about hacker-oriented activities for the benefit of the transgender community. In this article from Wired magazine, we learn of a hacking effort to help transgender persons in countries or in institutions which have web filters that screen out pro-transgender websites. Called Transgress, the very simple and basic site offers what is essentially an open proxy for accessing transgender websites and bypassing filters.

You might wonder whether this is needed in the United States, which currently has no laws which would mandate restricting of transgender websites. But the utility of this service is realized when we consider that due to the rampant poverty which is part of our community, many folks have to use public institutions (libraries, community centers, etc.) as their only means of internet access. And unfortunately these access points often restrict, mostly by accident, trans-related sites.

This is a really cool effort and one which has the potential to benefit some in the transgender community – but only if they know it exists. Thus, I’m trying to spread the news.

How to Build a Kinder Web for the Transgender Community | Enterprise | WIRED.

A Comprehensive Review of Why Transgender Persons Should Participate in Sports with Cisgender Athletes

Parinya Charoenphol 2

Finally complete, after months of research, is my 8-part series of the history, medicine, science, politics, and legal aspects of transgender and intersex persons participating in sports. Most importantly, I present several deconstructions and refutations of the usual arguments made by those who want to limit, restrict, or even ban transgender and intersex athletes.

The entire article is more than 14,000 words, and cites 35 references. I think it could be a useful one to throw out during online debates and discussions to shut down the arguments of the haters. I will list all of the sections of the article below, but it’s recommended that you read everything in order.

An executive summary of the findings comprises the following:

  • As human beings, intersex and transsexual athletes have every right to be included in athletic events.
  • Due to the rarity of their conditions, “separate but equal” competitions are highly impractical and discriminatory.
  • Current requirements for ensuring that hormonal advantages do not come into play are sufficient. In fact, these requirements may be highly unfair to younger athletes.
  • Sex-based differences in body morphology, where they occur, are often outweighed by the devastating impact of hormone replacement therapy on the body.
  • That cases where men have faked being women for sports competition are vanishingly rare.
  • That the possibility of creating “fake transsexuals” for unfair competition seems ludicrous.
  • Despite all fear and dread, transsexual and intersex athletes have never dominated any sport, and show no hints of doing such at this time, in any context.
  • That transsexual and intersex athletes have been consistently the subjects of abuse and discrimination for more than a century of organized sports.

In short, only an extremely small risk to fair sports competition is entailed by the welcome inclusion of transgender and intersex athletes.

Part 1 – Introduction and Early History
Part 2 – The Cruelest Test
Part 3 – Post-Richards to the Stockholm Consensus
Part 4 – Current Events
Part 5 – Let’s Get Physical
Part 6 – Why, oh Why, Must it be This Way?
Part 7 – Are There Any Cases Where an Advantage Seems Possible?
Part 8 – Final Summary and References

Book Review: An Autobiography of Roberta Cowell

Cowell_Roberta_01Cowell, Roberta An Autobiography: Roberta Cowell’s Story New York: British Book Centre, 1954.

Roberta Cowell is notable for being one of the very first transsexual women in the public eye in the United Kingdom, and she is one of the very earliest to undergo male-to-female sex reassignment surgery in the world. As she predates the much more famous Christine Jorgensen on both counts, her story is an especially interesting one from the pre-Christine perspective.

Roberta was born Robert, the son of a surgeon in the British Territorial Army. Her mother was a housewife who was active in social work. Being a middle-class child, Roberta was very quickly sent off to preparatory schools, where she discovered an aptitude for both mathematics and boxing, also liking tennis and fencing (as I do).

An early bought with obesity likely started a series of body image problems, and Roberta from the earliest pages of the book focuses quite a bit on her belief that she was intersexed. She describes having female hips, a female fat distribution, small features, female hair patterning, etc. She focuses on this quite a bit in the very start of and the second half of the book, and maintained for all of her life that she was intersex (examination late in life proved that she actually was not, unless it was a subtle hormone irregularity).

An aptitude for mechanical things, especially automobiles, was evident very early on. She learned how to repair, build, and race automobiles, something she frequently did in the pre-WW2 years. This love of racing and machines led to a love of airplanes. She joined the R.A.F. as a student pilot in 1935, and later enlisted fully in 1940. She received her commission of Captain at 1941, and was sent to Iceland to head a repair shop. She eventually received a flying assignment and joins a fighter squadron. Although she did not see much action, she had several narrow escapes due to some abnormal flying accidents and incidents. A large amount of the book details both mundane and somewhat interesting items of the war preparations and training.

Cowell in World War II.

Roberta’s first real sexual experience came from the unsuccessful advance of a fellow male tennis player, which increased her horror of being thought a homosexual. She had a few girlfriends in short relationships. She married a woman engineer in 1941, but only had two weeks of marital bliss before she was sent to Iceland. She speaks very, very little of her wife – practically nothing is said on the courtship, and only a few sentences devoted to anything else regarding her.

The war adventures continue, and sometime after D-Day, she is shot down over German lines. Amazingly, she is taken to the same prison camp, in the same month, as my paternal grandfather! I got a little thrill over that, thinking that it was actually possible my grandfather had met Roberta Cowell. Her descriptions of Stalag Luft I match what my grandfather used to tell me. She is eventually liberated by the Russians and returns home to try starting up a small business, finding that the English post-war economic climate is anything but good. She also suffers from some mild post-traumatic stress disorder.

In 1948 she separated from her wife, despite having brought forth two daughters, and begain psychotherapy over a general depression and malaise. Here her story of psychoanalysis, Freudian style, lines up with that in so many other trans histories I’ve read. The entirety of Freudian psychoanalysis sounds, from the viewpoint of the patients, to be a colossal load of unproductive money-wasting rubbish, and it doesn’t help Roberta in this case either. But it does give rise to the start of her realization that, along with her feminine features, there is actually a woman inside of her.

A physician speculates on her intersexuality, and suddenly, when she can conceptualize her growing feelings of femininity in a medical context, she starts to feel better. At this point in the book, you can start to see the typical gender transition snowball rolling down the hill. She meets more and more physicians, all of whom are reportedly “in wonder” over her intersexuality. A female endocrinologist (surely a rarity in 1940’s England!) prescribes a hormone regimen for Roberta, and like many transwomen who write autobiographies, she claims remarkable and rapid transformation to all parts of her body. Skin, breast development, loss of muscle, everything happens on fast-forward somehow, even her beard vanishes completely, something which beggars belief. At this point she realizes she is only interested in men. Even her handwriting changes unconsciously. To hear her tell of it, you almost expect her penis to suddenly invert and for her to start having periods!

Roberta Cowell in the kitchen.

Two years of hormone treatments pass, with Roberta still not fully out as a female. In 1951, she claims that the doctors were convinced, without any surgical alteration, that she was female, and they even ordered that her birth certificate be altered. At this point a series of SRS operations is decided upon, to correct her “intersex” condition to give her a female-appearing body. She moves out with a platonic female friend, and starts appearing in public as a woman more and more. Her SRS goes without a hitch, although the book is vague on whether it was simply a labiaplasty, or if a vaginoplasty was performed. Facial feminization surgery (FFS) is next, and goes well for her (or so she reports). At this point, she claims that thanks to hormones, she gained 5 inches in her bust, 2 inches on her hips, lost 5 inches around her waist – all of this is possible – but amazingly, lost 1.5 inches in height!

She then enters a world of learning about cosmetics, hair styling, clothing, and cooking (which she especially enjoys). She reports having men trying to pick up on her, in an awkward 1950’s English style, and about a first date with a man. One scene which was funny was when her date’s starter was stuck, and she knew how to fix it, but didn’t want to let on that she knew more than a mere woman should – so she “sat by demurely while telephoned the A.A. and at length got help.” In fact, she says she had to adopt the quote from Martin Luther, “no gown worse becomes a woman than learning,” and continually had to play dumb to let men take care of her. In fact, Cowell evinces a somewhat patronizing disdain towards her fellow women which is not really endearing.

She meets her mother and father as Roberta, and the introductions are rocky, but they eventually get along well. At this point in the book Cowell segues into a discussion of transsexuality and other famous transsexuals, such as Lili Elbe and Christine Jorgensen. She then talks of transvestites and her experiences with them, and moves on to discussing genetics and intersexuality – much of it relevant still at a basic level. Some of her suppositions about hormone effects are a bit naïve, but were not uncommonly adopted by physicians of her time.
Roberta with her father.

She returns to the story and relates an account of her first trip abroad as a woman on vacation, and how it led to a wonderful date with a charming man in Paris. She describes it with a Wodehouse quote: “It’s like eating strawberries and cream in a new dress by moonlight on a summer night, while somebody plays violin far away in the distance.” Whereas my first trip abroad as a woman was to inspect a coal power plant in Yorkshire…

Roberta Cowell at the Louvre in Paris, viewing the Venus de Milo.

She writes a little of how her feminine emotions continued to evolve, including gaining the ability to cry refreshingly, and the book finishes with one nice quote: “The past is forgotten, the future doesn’t matter, and the glowingly happy present is even better than I had hoped. I am myself.”

Roberta Cowell was a pioneer, but she is not an icon for the trans community to admire. Later in life she made a point of claiming she was XX, despite having sired two children, fudged a bit of her history and war record, and most critically, made some ugly statements about transsexuals, calling them “freaks” because they weren’t “intersexed” like she claimed to be. This feeling does not come through in her autobiography, as it ends too soon, so the book stands alone as a decent read and an interesting insight into the pre-Jorgensen transgender world.

Malaysian Transwomen Take on Islam

If you want to see an example of bravery, consider these Malaysian transwomen who are fighting Shariah law and a large conservative Muslim majority in their country.

What’s at stake here is the right of these women, who are sometimes known as Mak Nyah, to dress in gender-appropriate clothing. What complicates matters is Malaysia has two different legal systems – one which is secular and primarily concerned with civil and criminal law, and another one reserved for Muslims which is based on Shariah law, and focuses on family law issues. However, a person convicted under the Shariah system can still be fined and imprisoned just the same as they can be under the secular system.

These women lost an earlier court decision, which said that because they had been born male and were Muslim, they had no rights to dress as women under the secular law. However, Malaysian secular law does have broad protections for transgender persons, and so these women are appealing to a higher court to force a resolution between the Malaysian secular constitution and Shariah law.

One might ask why the women couldn’t just renounce their religion and thus not fall under Shariah law, but the problem is Muslims who try to leave the religion can be tried in Shariah courts under the principle of apostasy. How serious is the punishment for apostasy in Malaysia? Pretty serious.

A Malaysian woman held for months in an Islamic rehabilitation centre says she was subjected to mental torture for insisting her religion is Hinduism.

Revathi Massosai, the name by which she wants to be known, says she was forced to eat beef despite being a Hindu.

When in January she asked a court to officially designate her a Hindu she was detained and taken to an Islamic rehabilitation centre. Her detention was twice extended to six months, during which time she says religious officials tried to make her pray as a Muslim and wear a headscarf.

Another case, of a Muslim who tried to convert to Christianity in Malaysia.

His interrogators stripped him naked and forced him to enact the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. As he was made to crawl naked on the floor, for 10 minutes, one Inspector Yusoff told several other Special Branch officers in the room, “Ini orang Melayu tak sedar diri.”

He was not allowed sleep for days at a stretch and was warned that he would not be fed unless he co-operated. The same Inspector Yusoff also threatened to “disturb” his girlfriend if he did not divulge the information they demanded. Inspector Yusoff and two other Inspectors, Zainudding and Ayub, assaulted him on several occasions, causing him to injure his back and pass out blood in his urine.

At one stage of interrogation, he was made to stand for two hours on one leg with both arms outstretched holding his slippers. A woman constable and her young daughter were brought in to watch him while a police constable said, “Ini Melayu tak sedar diri, tukar agama, tak malu.”

Jamaluddin was also coerced to convert back to Islam.

“I got the clear impression that all my interviews with the Special Branch was for the purpose of getting me to change my religion from Christianity to Islam,” he told the Supreme Court.

In effect, it’s like the Hotel California – you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.

Justice for Sisters.

UPDATE: Rochester, N.Y., Radio Hosts Fired Following Transphobic Rant

I know I’m a little late with the update here, but I’ve been on a brief vacation (and working on some more science articles). In a follow-up to last weeks controversy where two Rochester New York “shock jocks” took their transphobia to the air, their radio station suspended, then summarily fired them.

From what I know of the radio industry, however, what is likely to happen is these “personalities” will transfer to another station, take on new on-air pseudonyms, and just watch their mouths a little more. In short, the hate will remain, it will just get smarter.

Rochester, N.Y., Radio Hosts Fired Following Transphobic Rant |

Rochester, NY Extends Health Benefits to Transgender Employees – And Here Comes the Hate!

Like a scattering of cities around the nation, Rochester, New York recently added transgender health care to its city employee benefits package. And, like a scattering of cities around the nation, the haters are striking back at the progressive-minded policy change in Rochester.

In one of two notable examples of intolerance, local minister Jerry Houston, a man who is obviously incredibly ignorant of biology (or unable to use Google), was quoted as blathering:

…the state should not indulge the needs of transgender employees. “God said from the beginning he made the male and female,” said Houston. “And for the state to indulge in these kinds of things, I believe you are supporting and spouting something that’s going to cause a lot of problems, not just for Rochester, but for our country in general.”

I simply relish the irony of those who believe in a God who is omnipotent and omniscient, and yet try to stuff God into their own little frame of reference. First off, Jerry, intersex people exist – they exist in every country on this earth, and have existed throughout every era of history. This is not opinion, this is not conjecture, this is fact. Furthermore, transsexual persons have been proven to have physical differences in their brains. Again, this is not opinion, this is not conjecture, this is fact. So why wouldn’t a “man of God” just accept the most obvious solution – that God intended for transsexuals and intersex people to be born – rather than trying to put God’s powers and abilities into one’s own human-sized box? By doing such, Jerry, you show contempt for the same God you purport to worship.

Then of course we have the morning radio “personalities” of Kimberly and Beck, who upon hearing of Rochester’s health care expansion decided to unashamedly make a string of transphobic jokes and slurs during their morning show.

“Transgender or gender nonconforming. What the hell does that mean? Like you’re not a woman or a man??

“The dude can look like a lady and the city is going to pay for it!” (cue “Dude Looks Like a Lady” music)

“Does that mean then if women want a boob job they’ll pay for a boob job because that’s only right.”

“The services that will be paid for under the new coverage – gender reassignment surgery, PSYCHOLOGICAL COUNSELING, because you’re probably a NUTJOB to begin with!”

“It’s a slippery slope. Then if some woman can go to a doctor and it’d be proven that she’s got mental issues because her rack’s not big enough then you know what? she deserves a boob job, Right Kimberly? Or she deserves liposuction.”

“Right, IF YOU CAN PROVE YOU’RE A NUT, I guess.”

Kimberly and Beck then go on to discuss female trans athletes, including one at a local school, and how they should definitely not be able to play sports…

“When he steps up to the plate, doesn’t he have two bats?”

Finally, a woman calls in to tell them “it’s incredibly disrespectful towards transgender people. Please don’t spread any misinformation especially when you’re joking about it.”

One of the hosts replies: “Thank you, SIR” as the others laugh.

Let’s face it, morning radio DJ’s are not generally hired based on academic or critical thinking credentials. One might give them some slack and just say “oh well, they make fun of everyone.” Well, no, I’ll bet they don’t slur and demean other minority groups, or they would have already been booted off the air and back to the deep-fryer. When ignorance is not just coming from one mouth to one ear, but to the ears of tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of ears…then we have a problem.

Concerns remain for transgender benefits – 13WHAM ABC Rochester NY – Top Stories.

Strong Support for LGBT Non-Discrimination Ordinance in Roeland Park, KS


The City Council of Roeland Park, KS, is considering an LGBT Non-Discrimination Ordinance that would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the protected classes the city code already recognizes. The ordinance would protect member of the LGBT community in matters of employment, housing and business regulations.

I am not a resident of Roeland Park. I actually reside in Kansas City, MO, where such protections are already in place. But because Roeland Park is part of the Kansas City metro area, last night members of the public were allowed to speak either for or against the measure during the city council’s meeting. Equality Now asked LGBT supporters to come out to show support for the ordinance. As a mom of a transgender daughter, I felt compelled to speak up.

Apparently there have been some questionable tactics by opponents of the ordinance in previous meetings, when a guest speaker who was not on the official meeting agenda was allowed to speak for 20 uninterrupted minutes at the end of the meeting when supporters had already left. During last night’s meeting, the ordinance itself was not discussed but an Open Comments time was given for citizens to let their voices be heard.

I was the last of 12-15 people who requested to speak. All but two were standing in support of the non-discrimination measures. Of the two who objected, one said it is not a matter of human rights like racial discrimination and, therefore, she didn’t see the need for the ordinance at all. The other person, though, objected based on “religious liberty” and the fear that men in dresses could assault women in restrooms.

I only had about an hour’s notice before the meeting, so I showed up without any notes or idea of what to say. Listening to the people before me, I had a lot of thoughts swirling through my head. “Yes, I want to repeat that. It’s important.” “Oh, no one has said X yet. I should fit it in.” But then when the woman said she, as a Conservative Christian, objected to men in the restroom and feared for her safety, I knew I had my opening.

When my turn came, I began by saying that I was a Southern Baptist conservative Republican transplant from the South, and that I appreciate being able to voice my concerns in another town’s affairs. I said that I have a six-year-old daughter and that I, too, fear for her safety in restrooms. But my fear stems from the fact that as a transgender girl, she is far more likely to be the assault victim because of anti-LBGT hate crime. (I think I saw a mouth or two gape open at this point.) A speaker earlier in the evening pointed out that opponents had to use one story from 20 years ago in Canada as their “evidence” that transwomen are really men trying to attack and rape women in restrooms. I mentioned that dozens of assaults happen against transgender people across our country every year.

I told the council that my daughter is already afraid people who knew her prior to her transition could out her in public and demand that she not be allowed to use the restroom of her affirmed gender. As a child, she is often afraid to go to the bathroom and will never go alone. I can’t even stand outside the door to wait for her. She insists I go in just to be sure no one tries to see her and invade her privacy.

I closed by asking that the ordinance be passed so that my child, other children like her, and adults who might have a hard time “passing” but who still need to be respected as people and allowed to use the restroom they are most comfortable with are not afraid to do so because of violence or public humiliation.

Speaking out when my daughter is a minor is not something my husband and I felt comfortable with for a long time. But we are at the point where we can’t stay quiet anymore. Without more visibility and demands for equal rights, nothing will change to improve her future.

As I returned to my seat, an older gentleman who had been sitting behind me grumbling anti-LGBT sentiments to his wife as he listened to each speaker tapped me on the shoulder and very quietly and solemnly said “Thank you. Thank you for speaking up tonight.” He then looked down at his hands and folded and unfolded the meeting’s agenda over and over again as if he was deep in thought. I hope he was. I hope that giving my daughter a voice (through me as her overly protective mama) makes people think and open their minds.

UPDATE: Quality of Life in Treated Transsexuals

I’ve made a major update to my meta-study of the quality of life of treated transsexuals. Essentially, this research effort was started by me so I could fight trolls on the internet who kept digging out one study or another and crowing “See? See? Hormones and surgery don’t really help you freaks.” My review has been expanded from 21 to 28 studies ranging from 2004-present, and the results are 78% of all studies from 2004-present find a significant improvement in quality of life from transition, 15% of studies find mixed results or little improvement (but not a decline) in quality of life from transition, and only 7% find a decline in quality of life from transition.

Please link to my page below when you want to shut the haters up. A full summary and bibliography of every single study included is given, but for those who don’t want to read the Great Wall of Text, skim the table at the top of the article.

Quality of Life in Treated Transsexuals – A Meta-Study by Una

Spider Man Actor Andrew Garfield Appears in Trans-Themed Music Video

We_ExistCanadian indie rock group Arcade Fire has released a new music video for their single “We Exist,” which features Spider Man lead Andrew Garfield as a transgender woman. The plot of the video follows the protagonist as she struggles over dressing and getting made up, going to a dive bar and seemingly longing for some male company, finding male company which then turns bad, and results in her being beaten for existing. While being beaten she dreams a fantasy of dancing freely, then appearing on stage with Arcade Fire themselves and dancing in front of thousands of cheering fans – finally being accepted.

There is a link to the video below, which is work-safe (provided your company doesn’t mind you hanging out on YouTube during the day…)