Category Archives: Uncategorized

StoryCorps is Coming to KC



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 –  Password is “lgbtstory”.

Kansas City Anti-Violence Project – LGBTQ Conversations for Change

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:

UMKC Meetings of Interest

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 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 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.

Meet Mildred M., 1942


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.

A Distant Mirror – Mildred M., 1942

February 2015 Trans Talk on 90.1 KKFI

KKFIPlease join us today on “Trans Talk,” 90.1 FM, KKFI, Kansas City Community Radio at 1:00 pm central. You can also tune into 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.

A Piece of History – LaVerne Cummings

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.

LaVerne Cummings

Una Talks to the Leader of the Face of Trans* About her WSU Speech

Photo credit: Kevin Brown

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!

via Leader of social movement speaks to WSU community on acceptance – The Sunflower: News.

Other References:
The Face of Trans* project.
The Face of Trans* project on Facebook.

The Bible and Transgender Persons Part 9: Jesus Makes a List of Eunuchs

Jesus Hugging Woman
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.

Matthew 19:12 | Transas City.

Fiona Speaks at KKFI 90.1 on Her Transgender Support Group

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.

Please see this link if you or someone you know may be interested in SOFFA.

Transas City Vice-Chairwoman Fiona to Speak on the Radio June 28

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.

The Four Horsemen of Intolerance Ride Through Today’s News

4horsemenI 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.

WisconsinAssThe 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”…


WisconsinAGThe 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.


Scott-EskThe 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:

Krusty“It’s a JOKE. When you give me that look, it was a JOKE!”

Sadly, this sort of intolerance is no laughing matter.

Transgender Pianist Shunned in U.S., Gets Career Encore in Canada

An important note to this article is that Sara Buechner, the pianist in question, came out in 1998. Our people have advanced so far since then that it’s almost like a different world.

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.

A Comprehensive Review of Why Transgender Persons Should Participate in Sports with Cisgender Athletes

Parinya Charoenphol 2

Finally complete, after months of research, is my 8-part series of the history, medicine, science, politics, and legal aspects of transgender and intersex persons participating in sports. Most importantly, I present several deconstructions and refutations of the usual arguments made by those who want to limit, restrict, or even ban transgender and intersex athletes.

The entire article is more than 14,000 words, and cites 35 references. I think it could be a useful one to throw out during online debates and discussions to shut down the arguments of the haters. I will list all of the sections of the article below, but it’s recommended that you read everything in order.

An executive summary of the findings comprises the following:

  • As human beings, intersex and transsexual athletes have every right to be included in athletic events.
  • Due to the rarity of their conditions, “separate but equal” competitions are highly impractical and discriminatory.
  • Current requirements for ensuring that hormonal advantages do not come into play are sufficient. In fact, these requirements may be highly unfair to younger athletes.
  • Sex-based differences in body morphology, where they occur, are often outweighed by the devastating impact of hormone replacement therapy on the body.
  • That cases where men have faked being women for sports competition are vanishingly rare.
  • That the possibility of creating “fake transsexuals” for unfair competition seems ludicrous.
  • Despite all fear and dread, transsexual and intersex athletes have never dominated any sport, and show no hints of doing such at this time, in any context.
  • That transsexual and intersex athletes have been consistently the subjects of abuse and discrimination for more than a century of organized sports.

In short, only an extremely small risk to fair sports competition is entailed by the welcome inclusion of transgender and intersex athletes.

Part 1 – Introduction and Early History
Part 2 – The Cruelest Test
Part 3 – Post-Richards to the Stockholm Consensus
Part 4 – Current Events
Part 5 – Let’s Get Physical
Part 6 – Why, oh Why, Must it be This Way?
Part 7 – Are There Any Cases Where an Advantage Seems Possible?
Part 8 – Final Summary and References

Fiona and Friends Participate in Trans-Law Seminar at KU

Madeline, Amanda, Fiona, Debi and Rachael at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) Seminar at KU

Madeline, Amanda, Fiona, Debi and Rachael at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) Seminar at KU

On the 26 March, a group of people came together to attend a session of a law course at the University of Kansas (KU).  The course is  the “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) Seminar” and it is a new course this year, created by David Brown.  David reached out to a friend in the Trans community, Julie, because many people know LGB people but not many know trans people – or know that they do as so many are stealth.

Julie asked her friends to help and a group of people responded, some trans, and some related to them – Madeline and Rachael, fully out transwomen, Amanda in the “Middle Ground”, Debi, the mother of a transdaughter, and Fiona, married to a transwoman.

We met at the law school and attended the first hour of the session, a student led discussion of the relevant topic, where issues such as bathroom usage, whether imprisonment in an opposite gender prison is cruel and unusual punishment, changing legal documents and discrimination by police, prosecutors, juries and judges was discussed.

For the second hour, it switched to a question and answer format, where we introduced ourselves and then the students asked us questions regarding our experience and issues with the law.  Madeline spoke about her life and her law practice and transitioning as a lawyer, and provided citations for the students when the rest of us could only reference cases by story; Amanda spoke of living in the middle ground, and the fear of discrimination caused by the patchwork of anti-discrimination laws that doesn’t cover the whole country. Rachael spoke of the issues affecting immigration and the climate in the UK, Debi spoke of issues affecting parents and schools, various state Family Services and custody of children, and Fiona spoke of issues regarding effective same-sex marriage in Kansas, social security benefits, name changes and the number of documents to change, and the EEOC focus on discrimination against trans people.

After the class ended, there was pizza, which is always a good thing, and many of the students stayed behind to thank us for coming, or to ask additional questions.  It was a really good experience and I would happily attend next year too.

Pizza and after class discussion at KU.

Pizza and after class discussion at KU.

Una Attends the 8th Annual Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Celebration

Hallmark_1aYours truly was fortunate enough to attend the 8th Annual Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Celebration here in Kansas City tonight. Held at the Hallmark Visitor’s Center, the event included more than 100 professionals from more than 20 local corporations who gathered to celebrate local companies whose Corporate Equality Index (CEI) as determined by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) was 65% or greater. I was invited because my company was included in the celebration for the first time ever, largely because of the transgender protections and policies put into place in conjunction with my personal gender transition.

Hallmark_0sAttendees mill about at the HRC event.

The event was very classy, with nice snacks and desserts, an open bar (the pinot noir was much better than the chardonnay), a live Jazz band, and many HRC personnel to answer questions and meet and greet with everyone. I found my fellow corporate attendees to be very engaging and interested in TLGB rights, some of them seemingly almost as militant as I! And I was both surprised and gratified that no one knew I was a transsexual woman until I told them (and I did tell everyone when the subject arose). Several attendees took my business cards and promised to contact me, saying they would like me to come and speak to their company directors and employees. I was able to spend a little personal time with Don Hall, the CEO of Hallmark, who I found to be a very polite and thoughtful man, and who directed me over to the small museum at Hallmark which is attached to the Visitor’s Center. I recognized immediately one of my favorite Normal Rockwell works, “The Kansas City Spirit,” and was also tickled to discover that Spanish surrealist Salvador Dali had been contracted to design some Christmas cards, none of which were released to the public due to the images being too…well, surreal.

Kansas_City_Spirit“The Kansas City Spirit” by Norman Rockwell.

I was ever so pleased and proud when my company was up for our award, and I found many of the short speeches by the other recipients to be entertaining and in some cases touching – such as one speech by a woman who brought her wife up to the podium with her, to both praise her wife and use their experiences as an example of how much more still needs to be done for TLGB rights.

Hallmark_4sThe award recipients pose for the camera.

There were two messages which I took with me from the event – the first one was a recognition that the HRC has done banner work to date, but the road ahead is still long and a bit rocky. But the second message was that so much progress has been made, and there is more opportunity for hope than ever before in our history.

2014_03_26_Selfie1In my power suit prior to departing for the event…

The companies who were honored last night, and their scores are listed below:

Company/Entity Score
City of Kansas City, Mo. Perfect Score
Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics Perfect Score
AMC Entertainment 100
Sprint 100
Shook, Hardy, & Bacon LLP 100
Bryan Cave LLP 100
Monsanto Co. 100
Thompson Coburn LLP 100
ConAgra Foods Inc. 95
Hallmark Cards 90
Anheuser-Busch Companies Inc. 90
Cerner 90
Husch Blackwell 90
Kutak Rock 90
Principal Financial 90
Rockwell Collins 90
Stinson, Morrison, & Hecker LLP 90
Polsinelli Shugart PC 85
Nestlé Purina PetCare Co. 85
Ameren Corp. 85
Laclede Group 80
Express Scripts 70
Union Pacific Corp. 70
Enterprise Holdings Inc. 65
Black & Veatch Corp. 65