Monthly Archives: February 2016

Transas City Founder Speaking at iCON16

iCON16_Presentation
Tomorrow I shall be speaking on both gender and transgender issues in the workplace at iCON16, the regional Society of Women Engineer’s conference in Boulder, Colorado. This is my first professional presentation on gender/transgender subjects, and the audience will be composed mostly of women engineers, engineering managers, engineering interns, and students. For my topic I shall be comparing and contrasting the differences in the workplace as a “woman” versus a “man,” drawing on not only own experience but that of Ari Copeland, a transgender man who also works at my company.

If there are any readers in or near Boulder who would like to stop by and say hi while I’m at the conference this weekend, please let me know.

I have submitted an abstract to another conference to talk about this same issue, and I intend to post a version of the presentation on Transas City here after the conference.

February 2016 Trans Talk on 90.1 KKFI

KKFI

Hello everyone! On Trans Talk this month the we’re going to be talking with two people in our studio. First we’ll speak with Dr. Hiten Soni, a psychiatrist who strongly supports the transgender community, especially regarding the subject of surgery. Next we will speak to Sieran, an intersex transgender person, about both his own personal journey and the challenges faced by intersex persons in general. And for this month’s show, my wife Fiona Nowling will be a guest co-host.

I will also give a breakdown of some of the LGBT news this week, and we will finish up the show with the community calendar update. I do hope you will be able to join me this Saturday, February 20 at 1:00 pm on 90.1 KKFI, Kansas City Community Radio! You can also stream the program live on kkfi.org.

Three Republican Fails of the Week (2016-02-08)

EpicRepublicansFail
Hatred of transgender persons is not an explicit plank in the Republican Party platform (I checked), but it seems to be as implicit as the fact that these people live and breathe. Very recently there have been three major political fails by Republicans, unfortunately with transgender persons being the ones who bear the brunt of the failures.

indiana-senate-president-david-long
Let’s begin with the classic Legislative Fail, from the state of Indiana, where an LGBT civil rights bill has died in the Indiana senate. This death has had Democrats crying foul, as the bill was a compromise bill which threw transgender people under the bus like so much political road salt with the promise that then and only then, would it be acceptable to Republicans. The bill also contained sweeping exemptions for any situation or location even remotely considered to be religious, although mercifully the words “all of creation (praise be to God!)” were omitted from the bill.

(Republican Senate President Pro Tem David Long)…told reporters the bill as written could not pass because it did not have enough support from Republican lawmakers, who hold the majority in both houses of the legislature, so there was no point in debating it. He promised that lawmakers would take another pass at civil rights legislation for LGBT citizens next year.

While groups like the Human Rights Campaign condemned the bill as “dangerous” and “shameful” because of its limited scope and religious exemptions, House Speaker Brian Bosma and Gov. Mike Pence, both Republicans, reportedly said it went too far in granting LGBT protections. Long said that also factored into his decision to kill the bill. He blamed both supporters and opponents equally for their unwillingness to compromise.

It also has led to rumors that the Human Rights Campaign initially gave backing to the compromise legislation which omitted transgender rights, although I cannot find hard evidence of that.

MaineLePage

Next we have the Failure of Morality and Ethics, for which we can turn to known anti-transgender hobgoblin Paul LePage. LePage, the Republican governor of Maine, is someone we’ve highlighted before when he tried to weigh in legally on where a Virginia transgender boy peed (the esteemed gentleman being somehow unaware of the fact that he does not hold a legal position in that other state, nor any actual compelling interest in where any boy pees anywhere, unless it’s on his prized deadly nightshade garden at his estate…) LePage, possibly inspired by the vision of Pat Buchanan in a slice of Wonder Bread, has stopped the Maine Department of Education and Human Rights Commission from issuing legally binding rules that would guarantee transgender students equal access. Rather, schools statewide will be encouraged to abide by “guidelines” about how to treat transgender students, issued by the Human Rights Commission last month, but will not face penalties for failing to comply with these suggestions.

This flies in the face of a ruling by the Maine Supreme Court in the case of Nicole Maines, a transgender student who was denied access to the girls’ bathroom (after years of using that facility without incident) at her elementary school. Students of course can pursue a Title IX Federal claim…unless of course a Republican is elected President just 9 short months from now. Unfortunately, the response by Democrats has been limited greatly, due to their minority position in the seats of power of that state.

“The governor is violating the law by refusing to let the rule-making go forward,” Rep. Matthea Daughtry, a Democrat representing Brunswick, told the AP. “He’s putting our students at risk.”

SouthDakotaSenatorDavidOmdahl
Finally, we come to a Failure by Simply Being Stupid or Evil. The best example of this in action is
South Dakota state senator David Omdahl of Sioux Falls. At a hearing over pending legislation to ban transgender persons from using bathrooms which correspond to their gender identity, the Republican senator made the audience audibly gasp, when he said:

“This is definitely a good bill. What’s this about?” he asked rhetorically. “This is about protecting our children. I’m sorry if you’re so twisted you don’t know who you are.”

That’s when the audience gasped and was told to quiet down.

“I’m telling you right now it’s about protecting the kids,” Omdahl went on. “I don’t even understand where our society is these days. You know, I look at what’s going on in the military, etcetera. They’re treating the wrong part of the anatomy. They ought to be treating it up here.” Then he gestured to his head. “So yeah, my feeling is let’s protect the children, let’s get this bill passed to save our kids.”

Despite the horror evinced by those attending the meeting, the bill is likely to move forward in the South Dakota legislature.

Some Positive UK Transgender Kids News (February, 2016)

Uniforms
We have three items from the United Kingdom to highlight in this little news roundup. The first is from Brighton College, where the school is allowing all kids the right to wear the male or female school uniform, depending upon their gender identity. Note that although the school has “college” in its name, this is actually a pre-university private school. From the Daily Mirror:

Mr Cairns told students last week that uniform codes dating back to the school’s inception in 1845 would be replaced by a ‘trouser uniform’ and a ‘skirt uniform’ for all pupils up to the age of 16.

The trouser uniform will see pupils wear a full tweed blazer, tie and trousers and the skirt uniform requires students to wear a skirt, bolero jacket and open-neck reverse blouse.

Parents will be required to write to the school before pupils can switch from one uniform to another.

Girls are already walking around the campus in trousers and the school said more than one boy has expressed the desire to wear a skirt.

Pupil Fred Dimbleby, 17, son of BBC broadcaster David Dimbleby, 77, said: “Personally, I’m completely in favour of it.

“I think it’s brilliant that we as an institution are leading this new approach and that we are leading this respect towards everyone no matter what they define themselves as.

“What’s really surprised me is the way that people have taken it within the school.

“I think that it’ll be foreign for people to see someone who defines themselves as a male wearing a skirt, and I think that will be something big, but I don’t think it’ll cause any outrage or backlash because that person will be massively supported by the pupil body.”

Baptism
In another bit of news from the UK, a transgender girl has inspired the New Chapel Unitarian and Free Christian Church in Greater Manchester to start offering transgender baptisms. In short, to allow transgender persons to be baptized in their new name and gender expression.

Worship leader Jean Clements came up with the idea after meeting a couple who had a transgender child.

The church then backed the change to help others in the same situation.

Mrs Clements told the BBC : “I felt saddened by the fact that this family were being shunned by many mainstream churches.

“However, when the family came to New Chapel, the congregation welcomed them with open arms.”

Nottingham
Finally, a 5-year-old Nottinghamshire child has become one of the youngest cases of gender transition in Britain. Little Danni McFayden has re-entered her primary school as a girl after a social gender transition fully supported by both parents and teachers.

Children can take drugs to postpone puberty as well as hormone treatment, before NHS gender realignment surgery at 18.

The Gender Identity Research and Education Society says referrals for treatment of young people are growing by 50%.

Colin Pettigrew, from Nottingham County Council, said it was determined to support the youngster’s wishes.

He said: “Transgender is a new area for many school and is a characteristic protected by law.”

Transphobia on the New X-Files?

XFiles-01
Like many who followed the first X-Files series, I’ve welcomed the return of the series for its mini-season, even though the episodes thus far have contained more than a bit of camp. And so starts the third episode of this series, which is titled “Mulder & Scully Meet the Were-Monster.” The episode is your basic “monster” episode, outside the overall plot arc for the series (which still remains to be made clear), and normally these “monster” episodes are an opportunity to have a bit of scary with a bit of fun.

This episode, however, starts to go bad within 6 minutes of the start. The overall plot has Mulder and Scully investigating murders (or animal attacks) in Oregon, and very quickly we are treated to a scene of a prostitute at a truck stop soliciting sex, who encounters the “monster of the week” and promptly wallops it with her purse. The prostitute is played by D.J. Pierce, a drag performer whose acting credits include “This is Drag” and “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” And as Mulder and Scully interview her as a witness, she outs herself as a crack-addicted transgender prostitute in an incredibly cringe-worthy scene. You can see a clip below (forgive the crudeness; I lack mad video skills and I didn’t want to pirate directly from the episode).



Later on, Mulder has a conversation with the “monster,” now in man form as “Guy Mann,” wherein he stumbles embarrassingly through a discussion of the meaning of transgender and transsexual.

Mann: “Man, she hit like a man!”

Mulder: “That’s because she used to be… she once… she’s transgender.”

Mann: “What? You can’t transform into a different sex! That’s nuts!”

Mulder: “It’s not nuts, it’s actually a very common medical procedure. You don’t need the surgery, technically, to—”

Mann: “Maybe that’s what I could do! It’s a cure! I’ll do the surgery!”

Mulder: “No, completely different.”

Mann: “Tell me how much it costs, I’ll do it.”

Mulder: “They cut off your genitals.”

Mann: “No, leave it. That’s a step too far, isn’t it. Well, anyway, I think she gave me a concussion.”

“That’s a step too far, isn’t it?” Right.

Will I stop watching the new series because of this? No. But the X-Files missed a moment to actually show a just a little bit of sympathy towards transgender persons.