Monthly Archives: December 2014

Una’s Upcoming Media Appearance (2014-12-27)

Hello dear readers.

Tomorrow I will be on Sandra Meade’s Trans Talk show on the Tenth Voice, KKFI 90.1 FM, at 1:00pm. I will be discussing the research I’ve conducted on the issues of the transgender elderly, and possibly participating in some other roundtable discussion. Other topics will include EQUAL, a youth-youth gay-straight alliance network, and the International House of Prayer’s upcoming meeting in KC. You should be able to stream the show via the button labeled “listen now” at the link below:

The Tenth Voice (LGBT) | KKFI 90.1 FM.

Moroccan Transgender Dancer Noor Talbi Tries to Raise Awareness

At 6 feet in height, an ex-gold-medal hurdler undergoes gender transition to become a dancer, model, and transgender activist. And although Morocco (namely Casablanca) has a long historical connection with transgender surgery, and even though transgender persons are more permissible than homosexual persons under Islam, she still has an uphill battle for recognition.

The Rocky Mount Telegram.

The Unwanted Bride – The Murder of Terri Williams Moore


Newton, Iowa. May 20, 1976

Just after dawn along Interstate 80, a passing motorist spotted something which made him pull over – the figure of a person, laying on the shoulder just a couple of feet from the pavement. He got out of his car for a closer look, and saw a still form, covered by a blue blanket and pillow. A small shaggy black dog stood watch silently by the figure.

Thus begins the story of the murder of Terri Williams Moore, a transsexual woman who was murdered in cold blood by her husband in what was likely an early case of “transsexual panic.” I’ve purchased an original article on her murder and the aftermath, and conducted a small amount of research to tell the story of a sister from not-so-long ago, who went through so many trials, and yet died trying to do nothing more than live an authentic life. You can read my write-up, and download the original article from 1976, at the link below.

The Unwanted Bride

EXCLUSIVE: Transas City’s New Elderly Page


I have performed research and written an article on something which I think is of greatly overlooked importance: the issues and concerns facing elderly transgender persons. Over the last couple of years we’ve seen an enormous amount of press coverage and attention focused upon transgender kids, but while that is a highly important topic, I feel that the transgender elderly have been somewhat hidden from the spotlight of the media. Therefore, I have decided that one of the research missions of Transas City will be to focus on elderly issues (if you would like to learn more about the issues of transgender kids, I highly recommend Debi Jackson’s site, “Trans-Parenting.”)

To start this mission, I’ve created a page (linked below) which lists these concerns and provides information and some helpful resources. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer for the problems of transgender elderly in our society. But my hope is that by having information and reading about some of the potential pitfalls, we can all be forewarned and forearmed. And even if we are not yet a member of the transgender “silver age,” we can think about how we can lend a hand to our older brothers and sisters.

The Elderly Transgender Portal

A Hard Look at the FBI’s Transgender Victimization Data


I’ve seen several blogs report high-level results from the recently-released 2013 Hate Crime Statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Primarily, the newsworthy item is that the FBI listed only 33 cases of transgender hate crimes (that is, hate crimes where gender identity was the single motivating factor) across the entire United States for the study year. This number prima facie appears to be tragically low, but I believe that some of the anger directed at the FBI is sadly misplaced.

The FBI can only report that which has been first reported to them. The FBI is not the primary investigating agency for the vast majority of crimes, so the people who decide on whether or not a crime has a hate crime component are the local prosecutors and district attorneys. Second, a very large number of crimes against us are not reported by the victims. I personally know of three transgender persons in Kansas City who were physically assaulted for their gender identity or presentation recently. Since none of them would report the assaults to the police, those events were not officially reported.

It must also be noted that the qualification for a crime to be a hate crime is stricter than most people believe, and it involves establishing the motivation of the attacker. For example, merely using a transgender slur like “stupid tranny!” during an attack does not in itself qualify the attack as a hate crime. Words can easily be taken to be “incidental” during an attack. The government must establish that the gender identity or expression of the victim was a primary motivating factor for instigating the attack. And here we get into a bit of a quagmire, as establishing someone’s true motivations is quite difficult. Since we cannot read the minds of others, a perpetrator can simply claim “I was drunk and don’t remember saying anything like that” or “I was mad, I said a lot of things I don’t mean” as a defense to avoid a hate crime charge. Unless witnesses can give first-hand testimony or some self-incriminating evidence exists of the intent of the act, making a hate crime charge “stick” is difficult.

That having been said, there are some interesting facts from the report which I have not seen reported elsewhere, and I’d like to focus on some of them because perhaps we can learn some helpful information. Of the 33 victims and 31 incidents:

  • 25 cases were anti-transgender hate crimes, and 8 were for gender non-conforming behavior.
  • Most attacks were perpetrated by a single individual (39 offenders total per 33 victims total).
  • 8 of the anti-transgender crimes were aggravated assault, 7 were simple assault, 4 were criminal intimidation, 3 were robbery, 1 was burglary, and 2 cases were vandalism.
  • 1 of the gender non-conforming crimes was rape, 3 were simple assault, 2 were larceny/theft, and 2 were vandalism.
  • 4 offenders were white, 17 black, 4 were of unknown race for anti-transgender crimes. For gender non-conforming crimes, 4 offenders were white, 1 was black, 1 was of multiple races, and 2 were unknown race.
  • A total of 28 incidents were perpetrated upon human beings, and the rest against a business or institution or other “victim.”
  • 2 incidents occurred at a transportation terminal, 1 at a bar or nightclub, 1 at a commercial office, 1 at a department store, 1 at a doctor’s office or pharmacy or hospital, 7 incidents happened on a surface road or alleyway, 2 incidents were in a parking lot or a garage, 5 were in a home, 2 in a restaurant, 1 at a college or university, 1 at a gas station, 1 was on tribal lands, and the rest were in an unknown location.
  • NO incidents of transgender or gender identity crime were reported in Kansas. Two incidents occurred in Kansas City Missouri.

There are in fact only a few things to be learned from such a small number of events, but if we want to assume this sample size has any validity, it would appear that the primary conclusions can be drawn about anti-transgender hate crimes:

  • They are generally perpetrated by a single assailant.
  • About half of all crimes are assaults, and rapes are uncommon.
  • They can happen anywhere, with prevalence towards the home environment and streets.

While the racial profile of perpetrators is largely black, there is no matrix of perpetrator race/victim race to analyze. Therefore, we cannot say whether the high number of black perpetrators was due to a high amount of black-on-black transgender hate crimes, or whether racial bias was a coincident factor.

Let us also not forget that hate crimes based on sexual orientation – numbering 1,461 in 2013 – may very well encompass members of the transgender community, as anywhere between 50-75% of transgender persons identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or some other sexual preference than heterosexual.

What is the takeaway from this data? I’ll say it’s simply this – transgender and gender non-conforming persons need to stay in groups. Since more acts are committed by a single assailant, and can happen nearly anywhere, safety in numbers becomes key. If you are at all uncertain about going to a specific location or venue, go with someone else. If it’s late and you want to leave a bar and head to your car, ask a doorman to walk with you. Tip them if necessary. Stay in groups, stay alert, and stay safe.

International Update: An Indian Transgender Newsreader and an African Transgender Poster Girl

I have two international updates for you all, dear readers, to remind us of the global struggle for our rights, and of the global narrative of our loosely interwoven stories.

The first news article which I’m sharing is the story of Padmini Prakashi, India’s first transgender television presenter. Happily married with an adopted son and a good job, Padmini is now campaigning for free sexual reassignment surgery (SRS) for all transgender Indians. To quote her from the article:

‘We’re born into the wrong body, it’s not our fault,’ she said. ‘I know so many transgenders who are struggling to pay for surgery. Their lives are frozen in time because of the costs involved. This is not our fault; free surgery should be available for all. It should be our right, along with counselling[sic] and guidance classes and education on sexual diseases. We’re not given any help, no one is trying to assist our community.’

My second article tells the story of Tiwonge Chimbalanga, who recently fled to Africa to avoid a 14-year sentence in her home country of Malawi over becoming engaged to a man.

Tiwonge’s story is a different one, including a belief that her earlier existence as a man was due to a witch’s curse, and when a tribal healer cured her of the curse, she felt she had to start living as a woman. Her trial (where she was forced to attend despite being sick with malaria) was ended when the President, under intense internationally pressure, decided to forgive her “crime.” Unfortunately her boyfriend soon left her for a prostitute, and she now lives on the verge of complete poverty in South Africa, having fled intense discrimination from her village in Malawi.

Two women on different continents, both transgender, and both fighting for transgender rights – in the case of Padmini for her community, and in the case of Tiwonge for herself.

Transgender Man’s Transition is Celebrated by His Parents in a Classy Manner

This article shows a very inspiring and classy way in which the parents of 19-year-old Kai Bogert announced their support for his transition. They took out an advertisement in the Brisbane Courier “retracting” their earlier birth announcement of their daughter.

The photo says it all folks. This is certainly a show of support by Kai’s parents which he shall never forget.

Teen gets sex change, parents retract newspaper birth announcement in heart-warming fashion – Australasia – World – The Independent.