Author Archives: Una

New Corporate Video Highlights and Supports Transgender Engineers

I need to preface this post with a disclaimer: the transgender engineer who is the “star” of the film is me. Black & Veatch released a video today as part of a series called #BeYouBV, which tells the stories of many professionals with the firm who have diverse occupations, hobbies, or lives. This Spring I was named one of several B&V Trailblazers, and was filmed for this video which tells a little bit about my life and how I used the support I received from everyone in my life as a platform for my advocacy.

The film features my good friend Ari Copeland, a senior water scientist at Black & Veatch who is also a transgender man. He’s the bearded guy I’m hugging and talking to, and who is helping to present to the crowd. Also featured in the film are my wife Fiona, who is a frequent contributor to this site, and who runs the Kansas City SOFFA group. My good and long-time friend Ceri Anne is shown on Trans Talk, and several other friends and co-workers appear. Some of the short video was shot at 90.1 FM KKFI, where we broadcast Trans Talk from.

If you use Facebook, this link will take you direct to my video on the Black & Veatch page, and I recommend trying it first.

If however you don’t use Facebook, you can also find the video at this link.

P&G Transgender Advertisement Continues to Lead Debate in India

Earlier this year Proctor & Gamble released a short film sponsored by their Vicks line of products, which highlights the real-life story of Gayatri, a young Indian orphan who was adopted by Gauri Sawant, a 37-year-old Mumbai-based transgender woman and social activist. The video has gone viral, with almost 10 million views on YouTube, and is notable that no professional actors are used – both Gayatri and her mother Gauri appear as themselves in the video. Thus avoiding the nearly ubiquitous marginalization of our people via transface (artistic portrayal of transgender persons by cisgender persons).

The video tells the story of Gayatri’s life, starting with how when she was 6 years old her mother, a sex worker, died of AIDS. Gauri, her mother’s friend, decided to raise her as her own (despite the fact that she is forbidden legally from adopting the child herself). The video has spurred debate yet again regarding the rights of both transgender and third-gender, or hijra persons in the country. Statistics vary widely on the number of transgender persons in India, but it is estimated that as many as 2 million citizens are hijra, with potentially another million being transgender persons. Both communities face institutionalized class-based and caste-based discrimination in employment, housing, voting rights, and even access to basic social services.

The film composition is very well done and heartwarming, and highlights the inhumanity of denying transgender persons and their families basic human rights. It emphasizes this when Gayatri says the following:

My Civics book says that everyone is entitled to basic rights. Then why is my mom denied them? That’s why I’m not going to be a doctor, I will be a lawyer. For my mom.

The film is well worth your time to watch.

NEW: Transgender and Non-Conforming Performers from Le Carrousel, Paris

Like San Francisco’s Finnochio’s, or the Jewel Box Lounge of Kansas City, Le Carrousel is one of those landmarks in transgender history which are in some ways at least as important as Compton’s Cafeteria or the Stonewall Inn. The club opened as a cabaret in 1926 and from about 1936 onward the club became known for its female impersonators, which actually included a growing percentage of transgender women and gender non-conforming men and women. The club became most famous for its transgender cabaret in the 1950’s and 1960’s, and was the stage and home to many notable transgender persons from history, such as April Ashley, Coccinelle, Sone Teal, Capuchine, Bambi, Kiki Moustic, and scores of others, including some transgender men.

Featured at the link below is a rare original program from Le Carrousel, which I purchased from a seller in Paris. The program is more of a retrospective covering multiple years, and it appears to contain photographs dating from 1959-1965. I have scanned every one of the 36 pages of this program in very high resolution (half a gigabyte in total!). As far as I can tell these images are not still in copyright, and I have placed no watermarks nor altered them in any way. Please download and save these as you see fit, to help preserve our transgender heritage.

See the giant collection of scans from Le Carrousel, Paris at this link.

Coccinelle Posing by Sacre Coeur, Paris

A new addition to Transas City: the following image of famous transgender actress and political activist Coccinelle is from a photograph I bought from France. I have scanned it in high-resolution for the benefit of the transgender community. Please click on the small-sized photograph below to access the full-sized version. It shows Coccinelle posed in front of the Sacre Coeur in Paris, which stands very near Le Carrousel (where she performed for many years).

Enjoy!

Coccinelle in front of Sacre Coeur, Paris.

May 2017 Trans Talk on 90.1 KKFI

Hello, and welcome to the May 2017 Trans Talk Edition of The Tenth Voice! We have two guests with us in the studio today. Registered nurse Kim Tilson is here to tell us all about the 2nd Annual Trans Health Inclusion conference which is coming soon, and to talk a bit about the past and present state of transgender health care. After a musical break we will be joined by Ari Copeland, a senior water scientist and transgender advocate who is going to discuss in depth some of the transgender news of the month and related issues with myself and Fiona in a roundtable – sort of a break from my usual news update, which many of my listeners refer to as “Una’s News Rant.” I guess we can call this the gender rainbow McLaughlin Group or something.

As usual, we will share with you the transgender news and the community calendar update. We do hope you will be able to join us this Saturday, May 27 at 1:00 pm on 90.1 FM KKFI, Kansas City Community Radio! You can also stream the program live on kkfi.org.

Presentation this Weekend – Transition and Gender Roles in the Corporate Workplace

Hello everyone – I’m going to be giving a presentation at the Plaza Library this Sunday about being transgender in the workplace, joined by my co-worker Ari Copeland. We are going to be discussing how we crossed both sides of the gender divide in our transitions, and this presentation should be of interest to not just the transgender community, but women and men in science, technology, engineering, and math who are interested in gender studies and gender relationships. Of course it’s completely free!

(A film crew will be present for this event, but *no one will be filmed without their prior express permission.*)

A brochure image is below, as is a map to the library.

Location: Plaza Library, 4801 Main St., KCMO
Time: 2:00-3:00 pm, Sunday, May 14th.

Special Alert: Child Protective Services versus Transgender Families?

Warrior mom Debi Jackson at Trans-Parenting has passed along this horrifying series of reports about transgender children being taken from their homes by Child Protective Services (CPS) in various states under the guise of “protecting” them. This is a real fear that parents of transgender children face every day of their lives, and I know parents who have to carry with them an entire packet of documents from physicians, psychologists, and attorneys at all times out of fear that a transphobic person or internet troll will lodge a false complaint of child endangerment against them.

CPS cases are judged under a strange set of legal rules, whereby one is presumed guilty until proven innocent, and there are numerous cases of parents losing their children for years, despite being found innocent of any wrongdoing. If you are a parent or relative of a transgender child, or know someone who is, please read and share this series of reports.

Can the Child Welfare System Handle Transgender Children? (Part 1)

Can the Child Welfare System Handle Transgender Children? (Part 2)

Can the Child Welfare System Handle Transgender Children? (Part 3)

April 2017 Trans Talk on 90.1 KKFI


Hello, and welcome to the April 2017 Trans Talk Edition of The Tenth Voice! We will have three guests with us on this month’s show from the Children’s Mercy Gender Pathways Clinic, who provide a full suite of beneficial services to transgender children in the Kansas City area. Dr. Jill Jacobson, Chaplain Beth Sonneville, and social worker Kathryn Boman will talk to us about all of the services they provide, the challenges they face, and answer questions from parents, family, and allies of transgender children.

As usual, we will share with you the transgender news and the community calendar update. We do hope you will be able to join us this Saturday, April 22 at 1:00 pm on 90.1 FM KKFI, Kansas City Community Radio! You can also stream the program live on kkfi.org.

March 2017 Trans Talk on 90.1 KKFI


Hello, and welcome to the March 2017 Trans Talk Edition of The Tenth Voice! We will be speaking with two guests on our show this month. Our first guest is Dr. Meredith Gray, who is board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and who will discuss reproductive options for transgender persons, as well as transgender health services at KU. After our break at the bottom of the hour we will talk to Ceri Anne Lewis, who will discuss the positive relationship between religion and transgender persons, as well as her own transgender journey.

As usual, we will share with you the transgender news and the community calendar update. We do hope you will be able to join us this Saturday, March 25 at 1:00 pm on 90.1 FM KKFI, Kansas City Community Radio! You can also stream the program live on kkfi.org.

Early Transgender Film Review: I Want What I Want (1972)

I Want What I Want

Summary: a surprisingly touching, respectful, and accurate fictional portrayal of the coming out of a transgender woman in England in the early 1970’s. This film avoids nearly all of the “transploitation” themes of most works up to the 2000’s and is a “must see” for anyone interested in a transgender “coming out” historical fiction from 45 years ago. Even though the lead is played by a cisgender woman, this film gives us a hint of how we could have started out on a more positive media footing barely 2 years after Stonewall. There is a complete review of the film at the link below, along with four clips from the film.

Movie Review: I Want What I Want (1972)

A Bonus 6th Day of Christine


OK, I have a final photograph of Christine Jorgensen to add to this series. It’s one you’ve seen before, but frequent reader Sabrina Ellis was gracious enough to apply some mad photo editing skills to my original (which had light reflections in it, as the poster was behind glass) and created a much cleaner version for you to see and download.

So thank you very much, Sabrina, and everyone watch out as I release two groundbreaking bits of rare history soon!

Click on the image below for a link to a high-resolution version.
Christine Jorgensen at the Silver Slipper

Five Days of Christine – March, 2017 (Day 5)

I recently acquired a set of five original photographs of Christine Jorgensen, the first “mass media” transgender woman in the world. Four of the photos date from 1953, and one which is autographed by her from between 1957-1962.

I’m posting one new photo a day this week, and each photo can be found on the Christine Jorgensen page here, and if you click on the photos here and on her page, you can download a very high-resolution version of the work.

This is the final photograph of this series. I estimate it to be circa 1957-1962. It is autographed, and says “To Nat – so nice meeting you. Good luck with your newspaper – Christine Jorgensen.” There is no caption nor date on the reverse. I wish it was a better photograph (it’s not in great condition), but nonetheless I get a thrill of owning something that Christine herself touched.

You can click on the photo below to download or view a very high-resolution image.

Christine Jorgensen Autographed Photograph

Five Days of Christine – March, 2017 (Day 4)

This post is a day late because I ran into problems with the day jobs (I had to give a midterm exam to my students and it literally took all the time I had that day, along with everything else). I recently acquired a set of five original photographs of Christine Jorgensen, the first “mass media” transgender woman in the world. Four of the photos date from 1953, and one which is autographed by her from between 1957-1962.

I’m posting one new photo a day this week, and each photo can be found on the Christine Jorgensen page here, and if you click on the photos here and on her page, you can download a very high-resolution version of the work.

The following photograph is labeled October 10, 1953, and has no caption. However, I can tell you that the photo depicts Christine on a trip to Havana, Cuba, and the reverse of the photograph has notations in Spanish and a development stamp of “Havana.” Here she is striking a more formal pose next to a Silvertone radio and a statuette of an elephant – both items very clearly screaming mid-century design. Sadly, I have no other context for the exact scene in this photograph.

You can click on the photo below to download or view a very high-resolution image.

Christine Jorgensen In Cuba, 1953

Five Days of Christine – March, 2017 (Day 3)

I recently acquired a set of five original photographs of Christine Jorgensen, the first “mass media” transgender woman in the world. Four of the photos date from 1953, and one which is autographed by her from between 1957-1962.

I’m posting one new photo a day this week, and each photo can be found on the Christine Jorgensen page here, and if you click on the photos here and on her page, you can download a very high-resolution version of the work.

The following photograph is labeled October 10, 1953, and has no caption. However, I can tell you that the photo depicts Christine on a trip to Havana, Cuba, and the reverse of the photograph has notations in Spanish and a development stamp of “Havana.” She is striking a casual pose and reading a Spanish film magazine. Sadly, I have no other context for the exact scene in this photograph.

You can click on the photo below to download or view a very high-resolution image.

Christine Jorgensen In Cuba, 1953

Five Days of Christine – March, 2017 (Day 2)

I recently acquired a set of five original photographs of Christine Jorgensen, the first “mass media” transgender woman in the world. Four of the photos date from 1953, and one which is autographed by her from between 1957-1962.

I’m posting one new photo a day this week, and each photo can be found on the Christine Jorgensen page here, and if you click on the photos here and on her page, you can download a very high-resolution version of the work.

The following photograph is labeled October 10, 1953, and has no caption. However, I can tell you that the photo depicts Christine on a trip to Havana, Cuba, and the reverse of the photograph has notations in Spanish and a development stamp of “Havana.” I found it amusing that her shopping bag is “Bacardi,” and proclaims that it is “The World’s Finest Rum.” Sadly, I have no other context for the exact scene in this photograph.

You can click on the photo below to download or view a very high-resolution image.

Christine Jorgensen In Cuba, 1953