Category Archives: Activism

Trans-advocacy and activism.

July 2017 Trans Talk on KKFI

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Hello everyone! We have two guests with us today. Rhyan is a new guest to Trans Talk, and he is here to discuss his own transgender journey with us and to talk about his life. Also with us is Julie, the mother of a transgender boy, who was on our program before to discuss their family’s transition along with her son, as well as her battles with the Odessa Missouri school district.

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, July 22 at 1:00 pm on 90.1 FM KKFI, Kansas City Community Radio! You can also stream the program live on kkfi.org.

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.

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)

February 2017 Trans Talk on 90.1 KKFI


We have a special guest to kick our show off – Christine Burns will be joining us from the UK to discuss her decades-long work for transgender rights, as well as her work as a transgender historian. Ms Burns was instrumental in using the early internet for transgender advocacy, worked with the early political group Press for Change for transgender rights, and also helped craft the UK’s Gender Recognition Act of 2004 – for which she was awarded an MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.)

We have two other special guests for the second half of our show – Grace Cox-Johnson and Johnalita White-Menscher will be joining us to talk about the first year of Transfinity KC, Kansas City’s transgender and allies chorus. We will discuss the performances of the chorus in its first year, and will talk tell us the plans for the upcoming year, as well as information on how you can join and make your voice heard.

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, February 25 at 1:00 pm on 90.1 FM KKFI, Kansas City Community Radio! You can also stream the program live on kkfi.org.

SOFFA Meeting, February 15th

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The next meeting of SOFFA is February 15th and is at 6.30pm in Study Room 115 at Leawood Pioneer Library.

Meetings are open to all friends, family, significant others and allies of trans people. If you can’t make it to a meeting or want more information, email soffakc@yahoo.com or message through facebook via https://www.facebook.com/SOFFA.KC

For a full list of future meetings and meeting rooms, see http://transascity.org/soffa/