Monthly Archives: September 2014

Freedom Shoe – A Great New Effort to Make Comfortable Shoes for Transwomen


Last night myself and Fiona, along with others from the transgender community, met at the Transgender Institute to be part of a focus group with a team of local individuals who have a plan – a plan to make a line of shoes which will specifically accommodate transgender women. This brand-new company is Freedom Shoe, and they are just right now trying to get off the ground to bring forth a line of shoes for Spring, 2015. Attending from Freedom Shoe were Pamela Williams (the entrepreneur), Ali Mazlum (the artist), and Barry Barton (the craftsman). Caroline Gibbs and Jennifer Niehouse provided creative input and expertise in the community, and overall it was a good two-hour discussion.

We had a great and productive discussion last night, talking about everything from economics to fashions to manufacture to sensitivity to the transgender community. The plan is to create a line of women’s shoes with the specific fit based off of “male” shoe lasts. The company wishes to focus on transgender women at first, because they feel that it’s more challenging for transgender women to find women’s shoes which fit, than for transgender men to find men’s shoes which fit. However, they by no means want to limit themselves to women’s shoes once the business gets rolling. They also plan to ship shoes wherever someone needs them, so I’m hoping transgender women across the country will take note of this effort.

Now here’s a way you could help with the direction of this group, which will only cost you a minute of time. They have an anonymous survey linked from their website which they would like folks in the community to fill out, so they can get a clearer picture of what transgender people want in a shoe. Please take a little time to help guide them, and it may in the end help all of us out.

In addition, if you have interest in shoes, or want to offer suggestions or comments, please contact Pamela Williams at

Free Resource for KC-Area Transpeople – Learn About Health Insurance

TTI_InsuranceI was very pleased to receive a notice from Caroline Gibbs of the Transgender Institute that a special free presentation is being offered to the transgender community on how to enroll and navigate through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) website. Those who attend will receive a 16-page Healthcare Guide to assist them, and hopefully receive answers to their questions on how to gain benefits from the changing landscape of health insurance in the United States.

The event is Saturday, October 4, 2014, from 10:00-12:00. To reserve a spot, please mail Caroline Gibbs at

Suit Filed for Trans Teen Forced by DMV to Remove Makeup

Chase Culpepper didn’t ask for anything on a silver platter. They didn’t ask for the World on a string. They didn’t ask for anyone to crawl on their knees through broken glass. They passed their drivers license test, and wanted someone to take a freaking photograph. It’s simple. A child could do it. I once even saw a common house cat which was trained to take photographs of people.

Unfortunately, the DMV in Anderson, South Carolina, decided that taking a photograph with Chase wearing his (how Chase identifies) makeup on would be offensive to God, the Universe, and everything because it might be hiding how he normally looks.

Except of course that Chase normally wears makeup. And it’s absolutely unheard of for a woman to be told she would have to either put on or remove makeup prior to having her photograph taken by the DMV. So basically, all we have here is some incredibly minor functionary decided they were offended or threatened by a “boy wearing makeup,” and decided to make an issue out of it. And the DMV dug in its heels to defend their staffer because, well, “reasons.”

I guess they must think it’s cheaper than hiring a cat.

Suit filed on behalf of teen forced by DMW to remove makeup | Local News – WYFF Home.

Police Blotter – 1 September, 2014

Police Woman 01

Quite a lot of sad news here I’m afraid, so stop reading right now if you don’t want to read.

I have four articles to highlight here, and I think by far the most important one is the fact that there may be a serial killer of transgender women in Detroit. The first murder occurred sometime in November, 2013, when the body of a transgender woman was found burned beyond recognition and stuffed into a trash container. The second murder occurred on 15 August, 2014, when a second transgender woman was shot in the head just a block from the first murder scene. And since that time two other transgender women have been shot, with both surviving but seriously wounded – both of them shot within blocks of the two murders. I don’t have anything I can add, save that again, we need to exercise extreme vigilance when we are on the streets. Even in a generally transgender-friendly city like Kansas City, safety first, last, and always.

Gay Pride Parade Winds Through New York City

I wish I could give a more positive update on the investigation into the murder of transgender woman Islan Nettles. Unfortunately, New York City Assistant District Attorney Nicholas Viorst has only said they are still “pursuing leads” more than a year after Nettles was murdered by a group of men in a blatant hate crime. In the photograph above, we see Laverne Cox using her celebrity status to attempt to draw attention to the crime, but to no apparent avail.

Misissippi Murderer

This next story involves a woman who preyed upon the transgender community, but in a different way: by running a silicone “pumping” business. Which unfortunately led to the death of two transgender women, Marilyn Hale and Karima Gordon. Tracy Lynn Garner, herself a transgender woman, was convicted on 29 August, 2014 of the murder of Karima Gordon, and will be facing sentencing on 2 September, 2014. I’ve warned repeatedly of the dangers of pumping silicone, some of which isn’t even medical silicone but rather nothing more than window sealant, and this story is merely sad proof that you can indeed die from this.


The former story is a little unusual because in that case the transgender woman was the murderer. But my final story also features a transgender murderer, in this case Melissa Young, who stabbed a male acquaintance to death in his apartment when he rejected a gift of trainers (shoes) and a calendar. Young is appealing her conviction, claiming that the Archangel Michael had possessed her body, forcing her to kill an “unclean demon.” Young, who is on the right in the photograph above, apparently had a history of threatening people with knives, and is currently serving a 20-year sentence.

India Starts its First Ever Transgender Ad Campaign

India is home to the largest population of transgender and third-gender persons (hijra) on the planet, with estimates ranging from 1.2 million to 5 million in total. And ironically, in a nation with the largest transgender population in the world, discrimination against them is rampant. While not to the level of countries such as Saudi Arabia or Qatar, the hijra of India face bans on jobs, housing, health care, and even free travel. Under the ancient caste system of India the hijra they are considered to be nearly of an untouchable level, and relegated to slum communities at the edge of cities.

Ignorant Westerners come back with a rosy picture of hijra, as they often sing and perform at weddings, are present as buskers on trains and buses, hold street performances and festivals, and participate in cultural festivals. But when the music stops, they return to their slums and desperate poverty.

Over the last few years India has made some small but significant efforts to improve the lives of the hijra, most recently giving them third-gender identification cards to allow them to participate in the electoral process. Now the Indian government will be running a series of newspaper and television advertisements to highlight the problems and rights of the hijra. Documentary maker and transgender activist Priya Babu is responsible for the content of the advertisements, and has this to say about the effort.

“We decided that we must make society understand the issues of the transgender community before embarking on a framework of schemes,” Babu said.

“People need to understand that in their everyday lives they make comments and statements that, even if made in jest, could be really embarrassing for people with alternative sexualities. They have to understand that people like us are not abnormal. They can be family-oriented, religious, normal human beings who love, hate, cry and laugh like anyone else.”

Babu added: “I believe that tastefully done (ads) in the public service videos, which people will watch in their own homes with their children and parents, will help change mindsets to a degree.”

You may read more at the link below.

Transgender ad campaign.