A new study was released today from the Williams Institute at UCLA and the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention. To say that the study was more bad news for an already oppressed minority would be understating the issue. Highlights from the study report an increased risk of suicide among Trans Men (46%) and also among Trans Women (42%) with disabilities (65%). High prevalence of suicide attempts were also found among those who had ever experienced homelessness (69%) and those who reported a doctor or healthcare provider refused to treat them (60%). For more statistics from this report and to read and review the entire report go here.
The Transgender Newsbank is a collection of more than 400 newspaper and magazine articles from 1911-1994, organized by year and date. I have spent 3 months finding and formatting these articles for easy viewing, in addition to typing write-ups about them and linking to other topical pages. The Transgender Newsbank is the largest effort of its kind on the Internet that I can find which is freely available, and like all Transas City features is uncluttered by advertisements.
While a Transgender Newsbank may be unexciting to some, it will form the basis of an online historical library to help researchers, scholars, and anyone who is simply interested in the history of our people.
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.
I’ve read hundreds, perhaps thousands of transgender stories, and this is one which is powerfully told within just a couple of pages, and which moved me to tears.
Stephenie Vieweigh had a secret she kept for 63 years, a secret which tore her apart and led her to a near-suicide 6 years ago. Stephenie – then known as Stephen – was a transgender woman. Very sadly for Stephenie, her time as her true self was limited by cancer. Even worse, she had to suffer an additional indignity of being forced to present as male in order to find a place to live. Finally, at the end, she met compassionate people who helped her pass from this world as the woman she was meant to be.
Rest in peace, Stephenie. I promise to fight harder for the rights of elderly transgender persons.
Where do I even begin with an editorial such as this? The majesty of the ignorance, prejudice, and fear was so overwhelming that I was just stunned. After reading the title “Taxpayers to pay for tranny grannies,” I picked my jaw up off the floor and I tried to find who wrote it. But the author refused to give their name, instead hiding behind the editorial banner of The Washington Times and giving it the newspaper’s imprimatur.
There is no way to sugar-coat this editorial – it’s disgusting. It’s like something Rush Limbaugh would write just after having been given a power-wedgie from Laverne Cox. It’s sort of a Twilight Zone editorial, the sort of thing one would expect to be scrawled on the underside of a toilet seat. I’ve seen more intelligent musings written by a highly trained gibbon. Once while at graduate school I saw a drunken frat pledge standing by the fountain at KU, dressed only in his socks and tighty-whities, screaming out an acapella version of “Stand by Your Man” – and that made more sense than this editorial.
From the very first paragraph we read of the “lavender lobby,” and by the 4th sentence we are being deliberately misgendered. It compares getting necessary medical treatment with Botox and a toupee. By the fourth paragraph it makes the “even to prisoners” argument which has been long rejected by the Supreme Court, while trotting out the spectre of Chelsea Manning (and deliberately refuses to use her new, real, legal name). It also makes a factual error, Christine Jorgensen “discarded[sic] his[sic] manhood[sic]” in 1952, not 1951. The following quote should tell you a bit of the tone.
The special treatment only applies to homosexuals — even if they’re criminals. The Pentagon has been discussing transferring custody of Bradley Manning, the convicted leaker of national security secrets, from Fort Leavenworth to the Federal Bureau of Prisons and a civilian prison where he can get government hormone therapy to live the rest of his 35 years or so behind bars as “Chelsea.”
This surgery is not a medically necessary procedure, but an indulgence. The homosexual organizations represent only a tiny percentage of the population, but gays typically have a larger than average disposable income, so they could easily set up a charitable foundation to pay for sex-change operations for those who can’t afford them. However, this would cut into political fundraising. The Center for Responsive Politics counts a dozen prominent homosexual activists who together raised $2.7 million for Mr. Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.
I can’t even go on. There is a link below; I recommend you don’t bother clicking on it. The Washington Times has now, in my opinion, crossed over the boundary line to be a hate-based media organization when it comes to the subject of my people. Don’t give them one more cent of advertising revenue by clicking on the link below.
I originally reported on January 31 of the case of Robina Asti, who was fighting to receive benefits from her deceased husband’s Social Security, but was denied because Social Security didn’t recognize her marriage. I also posted an update on February 25 where she had received her first benefits payment, although no official announcement had been made by the Social Security Administration.
Well it’s official now, and the Social Security Administration has issued updated guidelines regarding the eligibility of transgender individuals for survivor’s benefits. HOWEVER, residents of Kansas should take note of the following:
There are still seven states where the SSA will conduct additional legal review: Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas. This is due to a belief by the SSA that state marriage laws regarding transgender individuals are unclear, making the existing case-by-case review process necessary.
I assume that this is due to the confusion over the Kansas Supreme Court decision In re Estate of Gardiner, 42 P.3d 120 (Kan. 2002), which can best be summarized as “transsexuals can NEVER change their gender with respect to marriage. Original equipment is all that matters.”
As promised before (and I kept my promise), I’ll keep on this to see if there are new developments regarding Kansas and the other states listed above.
Every week or so I read a really powerful story on the web, or offline, which I simply must highlight. In this case my friend Elle pointed me to such a story, which is highly unusual and may be a little disturbing to some of my readers.
The story in question is a photo essay on the Huffington Post about Claudette, a 77 year-old intersex prostitute from Switzerland. The story is incredible for several reasons:
- The fact that she is honestly intersex of course is the primary reason. Few intersex persons will open up so much about their lives as she has in this short photo essay.
- The fact that she has willingly chosen sex work as a profession, something which is vanishingly rare among intersex persons.
- The fact that she is 77 years old. All mention of her being intersex aside, you rarely come across stories of elderly sex workers in any context.
From the article:
To fully play with the possibilities and ramifications of gender roles, Claudette turns to prostitution. “Prostitution becomes a source of self confidence,” Claudette explained, “for people who see in prostitutes the ultimate femininity and who assume this role with happiness and a sense of relief.”
Though her unconventional gender identity and choice of profession are commonly associated with trauma and shame, Claudette wears both aspects of her life with pride and joy. Refusing to be pitied for what other people may be uncomfortable with, Claudette displays the immense power that accompanies a deep love for oneself. With honesty and bravery, she creates a life for herself on her own terms — a life that, despite the more unconventional details of her existence, is made up of the universal components of work, family, memories and love.
“Claudette unnerves some people because she lives a happy and coherent life while denying a fundamental moral precept,” Delrieu[the reporter] said.
Her story at the link below is short, and I would really love to read an autobiography. There are a few photographs which are NOT work safe, so be careful about clicking the link.
This post features one positive and two negative stories. Let’s lead with the positive one, the story of Captain Roberta Monell, who is also our featured main photo today. Twenty years ago the 49-year-old Roberta – born Robert – started dressing female while working as an investigator at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. She bravely used the more feminine version of her name, ignoring criticism and losing her job. She went bankrupt, then became a truck driver for five years. In 2000 she reapplied to the police department but was rejected. She took them to court and won, was hired, and fought through the ranks to eventually become a captain in the Portsmouth Sheriff’s Office. Facing mandatory retirement after a solid career she enjoys, she said:
“I wanted to prove that transgender people are just as normal as everybody else. We just identify with the opposite gender,” she said. “But we’re still human beings.”
Next, we have a negative item – the case of a transgender student who allegedly was harassed beyond all belief by campus security at a North Carolina Community College. Why would I report what right now appears to be a “she-said-and-the-other-side-can’t-get-its-story-straight” piece? Because her story is very believable – I’ve seen verified cases where the same thing has happened to other transwomen. I think reading about the Keystone Kops routine of the school administration could be useful for being forewarned about how “trans toilet terror” can turn really ugly even in a professional setting.
As negative as this story of a transgender woman being harassed by police during a routine traffic stop is, what is heartening is that she’s standing up for her rights and suing their asses. Amira Gray, a 26 year-old transwoman from New Jersey, alleges that she was:
…was pulled over while driving through North Bergen six months ago, she was humiliated, she said, by the police officer calling her “Mr.” And “sir.”
Almost three weeks ago, Gray sued the North Bergen Police Department, saying she was a victim of discrimination, targeted because of her sexual orientation, and accused of driving on a suspended license despite proof that it was not suspended. Police impounded her car.
Unfortunately the article does not talk much about Ms. Gray’s case, but there is a video with her and her attorney which is worth viewing quickly.
I reported on January 31 of the case of Robina Asti, who was fighting to receive benefits from her deceased husband’s Social Security, but was denied because Social Security didn’t recognize her marriage. Well it didn’t take too long, mercifully, for action to happen. My friend Debi pointed me to this update where it now appears Mrs. Asti is going to be receiving the benefits she deserves. Good job!
Anyone out there who comes across this column and doesn’t like transgender persons, thinks we’re weird, icky, threatening, destroying the fabric of the nation – or worse?
This is who you hurt.
Robina Asti, a 92-year-old transgender woman who lost her husband, companion, and love, is being denied survivor benefits by the Social Security Administration. Her marriage was invalidated, and thus this great nation of ours is doing the “right thing” by denying her $500 extra in benefits. Wait, what?