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.
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.”
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.”
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.”
Christine Jorgensen’s story was introduced to most of the world via an autobiography which was published in the American Weekly magazine shortly after news broke of her sex reassignment surgery. We have purchased an original archival photograph of Jorgensen reading her own article in the Weekly, which has this caption on the reverse: “Preparing for a new life, in which publication of her color photographs will be the first task, Christine (nee George) Jorgensen reviews story[sic] of her life in American Weekly.” The date on the photograph is March 3, 1953, but there is reason to suspect it’s from later in the month. You can view and download a high-resolution scan of this photograph at this link here.
KCUR & GLAMA (The Gay and Lesbian Archive of Mid-America) are bringing StoryCorps to KC – they’ll be at GLAMA at UMKC recording interviews on June 10, 2015 – June 13, 2015. It’s part of the StoryCorp OutLoud project – telling the stories of LGBT lives across America.
From StoryCorps’ website:
StoryCorps’ mission is to provide people of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share and preserve the stories of our lives. We do this to remind one another of our shared humanity, to strengthen and build the connections between people, to teach the value of listening, and to weave into the fabric of our culture the understanding that everyone’s story matters. At the same time, we are creating an invaluable archive for future generations. … Each conversation is recorded on a CD to share, and is preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.
They are here to collect stories from people in the LGBT community, so if you are interested, make an appointment here – http://storycorps.org/partner-reservations-login/?partner=OmHrrmtPh5NJWVAQQedT Password is “lgbtstory”.
The Kansas City Anti-Violence Project will be holding three town hall meetings over the next few weeks about various topics of concern to the LGBTQ community. The first meeting is on May 11th and concerns Racism in LGBTQ Communities.
There was considerable discussion at the free screening of Limited Partnership about intersectionality in oppression, and the topic of the first town hall meeting is “Racism in LGBT Communities.” These particular town hall meetings are only open to people that self-identify as members of the LGBTQ community.
A brief quote from the meeting topic page gives the motive for having these conversations now:
In light of the ongoing investigation of Dionte Green’s murder on October 31, 2014 with no justice, continued hate violence directed at LGBTQ individuals, law enforcement’s harassment of and misconduct towards marginalized communities, specifically LGBTQ individuals, and the general lack in representation of diversity and inclusion within LGBTQ community events and spaces, we must expand our conversations.
More information is available here:
Una & I have been to a couple of the UMKC LGBTQIA meetings this academic year, and I have details to share about upcoming meetings. There’s a couple of events and a college student and young adult support group that I have details for.
Trans+Social: Once weekly social support group held at UMKC exclusively for trans+ identifying individuals geared toward college students and young adult community members. Time and Day may vary from semester to semester and these meetings are only open to members of the Trans+ community. Email email@example.com for current time and location.
Trans+Allies: Facilitated discussion group open to everyone including trans+ community members of all ages, family, and allies. Held once per month during the academic year (Sept-Dec, Feb-May) at UMKC. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions. The details for the last two Trans+Allies meetings of this semester are:
Tuesday, April 7th there will be a panel/roundtable on non-binary trans and genderqueer identities. The last meeting of the 2015 spring semester will be on May 5th and Michael Henderson from Counseling, Consulting & Mediation will come speak about the trans+ community and mental health. These two meetings will be held in UMKC’s Student Union room 302 from 6-8pm.
If one wanted to characterize the history of transgender persons prior to December 1, 1952, one might be hard-pressed to arrive at a better moniker than “the dark ages.” Very little is known about transgender persons and their treatment prior to the dawning of the Age of Christine [Jorgensen], with the greatest amount of data being either from medical journals and textbooks, or in the exceedingly rare biographies and autobiographies which exist (such as that of Lili Elbe and Ralph Werther, q.v.).
Meet Mildred M. (unknown last name), a clearly transgender woman born in 1908 who had an unhappy and turbulent life. All we know of her story thus far is contained within a single medical report from 1942, after she approached the University of Illinois Psychiatric Clinic asking for a letter certifying her gender identity. Unfortunately for Mildred, she was misdiagnosed under an array of psychiatric qualifiers, and is featured in a series of 8 photographs and commentary on the page which is linked below.
This report represents a rare snapshot of how a transgender woman was viewed by the medical profession in the 1940’s, and it’s definitely a sobering but interesting read.
Please join us today on “Trans Talk,” 90.1 FM, KKFI, Kansas City Community Radio at 1:00 pm central. You can also tune into kkfi.org to listen in via live streaming audio from anywhere with an internet connection. Today Sandra Meade will interview two young transgender children and their families, along with a local transgender therapist, Scott Fieker, to help answer questions about treatment for young transgender children. We will open with the LGBT news this week courtesy of Luke Harness, and close with the community calendar read by yours truly.
LaVerne Cummings was a stage performer as a “female impersonator” who performed for decades at the legendary Finnochio’s nightclub in San Francisco. Born Paul Cummings, she was noted for having a beautiful split-singing voice, capable of singing in a soprano or tenor when needed. She was also noted for her luscious blonde hair, sometimes being the only crossdressing performer who wasn’t wearing a wig on stage. Her career ended in 1982 when she lost her singing voice, and she (as of the writing of this article) retired to west Las Vegas.
I have a few photographs of LaVerne at the link below.
As part of the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) ceremonies this week, Elle Boatman, who started the wonderful Face of Trans* project, was asked to speak at Wichita State University (WSU) on stereotypes, focusing on the transgender experience. Her talk was attended by between 40-50 members of the student and faculty community at WSU, as well as members of the local transgender community and allies. Titled “Beyond the Binary,” Ms. Boatman explained the role of stereotyping in human psychology, and then used that to lead into an education on the plight of transgender persons worldwide.
I had a chance to ask Ms. Boatman some additional questions about her speech, and I’ll post them as well as her answers below.
Thank you for taking time to talk with me, Ms. Boatman. I had a couple of questions after reading of your speech at WSU. A complete transcript was not available, so I wondered if there were there any key points of your speech which you would like to emphasize here?
Active ally support is critical to obtaining equal rights for trans individuals but the trans community also has a responsibility to stand up for ourselves and be counted as valuable members of society.
What does Transgender Day of Remembrance mean to you, personally?
For me, Transgender Day of Remembrance is a time of reflection and mourning for those lives tragically ended by hate and ignorance. Each year the list grows longer – although the “official” list shrank this year, there is evidence that as more transgender persons feel they can live public, authentic lives, they expose themselves to more violence. We know that transgender deaths outside of the United States and Europe are still vastly under-reported.
I feel the list of names is not only a testament to the rampant violence and intolerance that are so prevalent in many societies around the globe but also as a sign that education and advocacy are beginning to take root. The growing list is not due to increased violence, it’s due to increased recognition of our community and the struggles we face.
What do you think about as you hear the list of the names of the fallen being read?
As I hear the names being read I think how sad it is that these lives have been snuffed out. Many hit home especially hard as they come from cities and towns I’ve lived in or visited. But each name read, regardless of where they are from, is like hearing the tragic news that a family member has died. Also, part of me wonders, as an outspoken trans woman and activist, if I’ll be on that list next year or the year after or the year after that someday.
Did you take advantage of your speech to bring more people into your Face of Trans* project?
Yes! Thirteen people showed up to have their photographs taken, including several WSU faculty.
What are your plans for the future of TFOT*?
Since the inception of TFOT*, I’ve always had the desire to do a film, a documentary about the trans experience but with that TFOT* spin. So I’m hoping to make some more inroads toward that goal. Also, we’re in the beginning stages of a blog site aimed at giving the trans community and our allies a voice, regardless of background or viewpoint (but we will never advocate for violence). The aim is to foster an actual sense of community within the trans community while bringing trans issues to society-at-large.
Thank you very much Ms. Boatman, and good fortune for your efforts helping bring our community out into the light and into authentic lives!
In the latest update to my long-running exploration of religion, faith, and transgender persons, I have now turned my attention upon Matthew 19:12. This is a somewhat curious bit of text, which is located very near the well-known phrases of “…suffer the children…” and “…what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Matthew 19:12 contains a list of the three different types of eunuch which Jesus recognizes as existing, but what’s most important is what Jesus doesn’t say – he holds no condemnation nor claim that the eunuchs have sinned.
You can read the entire article at the link below.
Both myself and Transas City Vice-Chairwoman Fiona received a warm welcome by Sandra Meade and her new co-host J.D. Fiona spoke for about 20 minutes about her SOFFA group, which is here to help the significant others, family, friends, and allies of transgender persons.
We do not have a link to a podcast of the program yet, but when asked previously why she chose to join and then lead the SOFFA group in Kansas City, Fiona replied:
“I felt like I needed to add my strength to those who were struggling with the transition of someone they care about. I know from personal experience how overwhelming it can be, and I want everyone to know that you don’t have to face it alone. No transgender persons are allowed at SOFFA, so you are free to express your concerns without worrying about offending anyone. We have a non-judgmental group which works together to support each other with experience, suggestions, and listening. Transition doesn’t have to be the end, it can be the beginning.”
SOFFA meets the first and third Wednesdays of each month (with exceptions for holidays) at the Unity Temple on the Plaza, in the Sunrise Room, from 6:30-8:30.
On the June 28 edition of The Tenth Voice on KKFI FM 90.1, hostess Sandra Meade, the State Chair of the Kansas Equality Coalition, will interview Transas City Vice-Chairwoman Fiona about the SOFFA support group she runs here in Kansas City.
SOFFA, which stands for Significant Others, Family, Friends, and Allies, is part of a national effort to foster healing, acceptance, and positive experiences for those whose lives are touched by transgender persons. If you are at all interested in hearing this news, please tune in to KKFI FM 90.1 on Saturday, June 28, at 1:00pm.
More information on the Kansas City SOFFA Group may be found at this link.
I encountered so much intolerance today that I felt it should probably be gathered into a single post to share with you. While these news articles do not directly concern the transgender community, due to the strong linkage between us and the LGBQA community – as well as the fact that many of us are in same-sex relationships – this news is noteworthy.
The first horseman we have in this cavalcade of intolerance is oppression, in the form of this Milwaukee man who claims that same-sex marriages violate HIS civil rights. No dear reader, I did not take leave of my senses – he claims HIS civil rights are threatened by same-sex marriage. How, one may wonder?
“We’re filing a lawsuit against the people who are allowing you and telling them to stop doing it,” Braun told Kari George and Joan Fecteau, who had brought their daughter and friends to witness their wedding.
Braun doesn’t want to wait for the federal courts to rule, and says he’ll file his lawsuit Thursday asking a Milwaukee County judge to stop the weddings.
“We believe the county violated our civil rights by issuing these marriages licenses. When we voted eight years ago, the law was one man, one woman,” Braun said.
Meanwhile, in the quaint hamlet of Asshole, Alabama, local circus freak Cooter B. Jefferson III is threatening to file a lawsuit which claims that allowing African Americans the right to wear plaid violates his civil rights, as he is proudly 1/128 Clan McDonald. Or at least some other “Clan”…
The next horseman we have to present to you is fearmongering, in the form of the Wisconsin Attorney General who claims that those who issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, now that the state’s ban has been declared un-Constitutional, could face prosecution. But not from him, oh no:
“That’s going to be up to district attorneys, not me,” Van Hollen said. “There are penalties within our marriage code, within our statues, and hopefully they’re acting with full awareness of what’s contained therein. … You do have many people in Wisconsin basically taking the law into their own hands, and there can be legal repercussions for that.”
Others think that this horse is a real nag.
Dane County, the most liberal county in the state, began issuing licenses within hours of Crabb’s June 6 decision. Clerk Scott McDonell called Van Hollen’s warning that prosecutors could charge clerks “ridiculous.”
“There has to be (criminal) intent. If a reasonable person can read that the judge clearly invalidated the state ban on same-sex marriage, what would be the charge?” he said.
The next horseman is the ugliest one of this group – murderous hate. In the form of Tea Party candidate for the Oklahoma House, Scott Esk.
Esk posted Biblical scriptures from Romans and Leviticus that referred to homosexuality being punished, reports KFOR-TV.
One person on Facebook on responded, “So just to be clear, you think we should execute homosexuals (presumably by stoning)?”
Esk responded, “I think we would be totally in the right to do it. That goes against some parts of libertarianism, I realize, and I’m largely libertarian, but ignoring as a nation things that are worthy of death is very remiss.”
Esk, who obviously considers himself God’s personal hit man, has this further malediction for us.
“What I will tell you right now is that was done in the old testament under a law that came directly from God,” Esk told Morris. “And in that time, it was totally just, it came directly from God. I have no plans to, you know, reinstitute that in Oklahoma law. I do have some very huge moral misgivings about those kinds of sins.”
I checked the cover of the Bible behind me, and I noticed that it said “King James Version,” not “Quentin Tarantino Version.” Esk’s “cognitive dissonance” method of interpreting the Bible is the sort of thing one typically sees coming from someone hiding behind barbed wire with his 39 “sister wives.”
Finally, we come to the final horseman – plain old ignorant-ass shooting off the mouth. This time, coming from Texas Governor Rick Perry:
At a speech in San Francisco, the longtime Republican governor — who ran for the White House in 2012 and is considering another bid in 2016 — was asked whether he thought homosexuality was a disorder.
“I may have the genetic coding that I’m inclined to be an alcoholic, but I have the desire not to do that — and I look at the homosexual issue the same way,” Perry said.
According to CNN affiliate KPIX, some people in the pro-Perry audience gasped when they heard the governor’s remarks.
If only Mr. Perry had learned the Krusty the Clown method of dealing with cases where one’s brain is allowed unfettered access to one’s mouth:
Sadly, this sort of intolerance is no laughing matter.
This part of her story is unfortunately still common.
But it wasn’t enough. One day, while resting on a rock in Central Park, Buechner made up her mind to start living as a woman.
“I couldn’t — I wouldn’t — hide that anymore … I was just going to be myself.”
She had been warned that ditching a tux for a gown on stage might end her career, so she wasn’t surprised when some concert presenters and orchestras wouldn’t return phone calls.
“I was a little more stunned that people who had been longtime friends deserted me, particularly conductors.”
She was also “harassed out” of a teaching job at an elite music conservatory; dozens of other schools refused to hire her.
Over the next few years, Buechner said, she struggled. A man tried to rape her, assuming she was a “trannie sex worker.” She travelled to Thailand for sex-reassignment surgery, but the doctor turned out to be a “butcher” and she later needed corrective surgery.
There were bouts of drinking and “half-hearted” suicide attempts.
Sara’s life turned around after traveling to Canada, which is surprising because Canada isn’t really known for being that much more trans-friendly than the US, just friendlier overall.
And maybe that’s all it takes.
Transgender pianist shunned in U.S., gets career encore in Canada – Brandon Sun.