Category Archives: Uncategorized

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

Pianist
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

Lagniappe Transgender News for March 25, 2014

JerrySpringer
This is a collection of various small news items, assembled together so I don’t end up spamming the 50+ folks who follow this news feed via e-mail.

First up, media whore Jerry Springer has somehow learned how to use Google or spoken to an actual transperson, as he is shocked, shocked to discover that “tranny” is an offensive word! While part of me can appreciate that Mr. Springer, host of such episodes as “Trannies Twerk It Out,” “Mom Don’t Ruin My Tranny Wedding,” “Tranny Take Downs,” “You Got Me a Tranny Stripper!?,” “Online Tranny Trap,” “My Girlfriend is Leaving Me for a Tranny,” and “Tranny Bomb!” would like to turn over a new leaf, the cynical part of me says “oh jeeze, next thing you know he’ll learn grass is green and the sky is blue, and then there will be no stopping him…”

LittleGirl
Next on the menu, the blogosphere is abuzz over an important gender-related incident a tempest in a teapot where an eight year-old girl has been taken out of her Christian school for behaving and looking too much like a boy.

The family received a letter telling them that if their eight year old granddaughter didn’t follow the school’s “biblical standards,” that she’d be refused enrollment next year. She’s out and in public school now.

Sunnie Kahle has short hair and a huge heart, and as far as her grandparents are concerned, she is a completely normal little girl.

The letter goes on to say that students have been confused about whether Sunnie is a boy or girl and specifies that administrators can refuse enrollment for condoning sexual immorality, practicing a homosexual lifestyle or alternative gender identity.

The letter goes on to reference specific Bible verses that affirm these beliefs.

The letter reads in part, “We believe that unless Sunnie as well as her family clearly understand that God has made her female and her dress and behavior need to follow suit with her God-ordained identity, that TCS is not the best place for her future education.”

Here is where I will interject some opinion and state that folks, this is a private Christian school. They have the right to discriminate in just about any way imaginable, and there’s really not much that can be done about it. At heart, this is little different than a Muslim student being asked to leave a Jewish School because…wait for it…she’s not Jewish. This is not a gender hate crime, this is business as usual for private religious schools.

HijraVoting
Next we do have a success story, albeit an international one, so it’s not really in the news so much in America. India’s transgender community is very large and diverse, but often lives in the shadows, the slums, or must exist as hijra, who often are performers and entertainers as part of their begging for alms. This report from India says that the members of the hijra community will be allowed to register as “other” in their gender category for their voter ID. However, of the 3 million or so estimated hijra, only 28,000 have taken advantage of the scheme thus far.

Teacher_Shaving
Next we have what should be an inspiring story, but which I feel is marred somewhat by poor visual composition in its reporting. In this testimonial story, a California teacher talks about her return to the classroom after her legal and social gender transition. However, spattered around the article, which tells of the journey of educator Gary Sconce to his new life as Karen Adell Scot, we have photos of:

  • Karen without her wig, bald head clearly shown.
  • Karen shaving her face in the mirror, with clear beard stubble and shadow showing.
  • Karen working out with free weights and looking very masculine in pose.

Thank goodness she’s at least gendered properly throughout the article, but seriously, they were not exactly the best photographs a transwoman could have to tell her story to the cisgender masses. I feel badly for her, and even if she fully intended to focus on these visual misgenderings herself, I still feel badly for her.

Hamburglar
Last and certainly least, those wacky legal Hamburglars, the Pacific Justice Institute, have yet again filed suit to try to revive their failed effort to put the rights of transgender schoolchildren up for a vote. No legal observers I have read on this subject appear to be concerned about the PJC’s latest effort, but I’m certain that this won’t be the last of these madcap Legal Smeagols.

Transgender Woman Blames Firing On Using the “Wrong” Bathroom

McDonaldsWomanArkansas
It’s a case of TTT (trans toilet terror), and in this case the victim is Miss Kaye Bowens of Star City, Arkansas, who was fired when her shift manager noticed her using the women’s bathroom – something she had done since her first day at work.

The store has issued a wishy-washy carefully crafted general legal statement. While some local McDonald’s franchises have made transgender rights an important part of their business model, corporate headquarters has been completely silent on the issue.
From the article:

Bowens says she was offered her job back later that day after threatening a lawsuit, but only if she agreed to use the men’s room.

How freaking insensitive and totally missing the point. The article further says:

Bowens says she filed a complaint with EEOC and is considering hiring a lawyer, after feeling her rights have been violated.

I hope she does, because given the findings in Macy v. Holder and subsequent rulings, and the Obama Administration’s focus on transgender rights, she’s going to win.

Transgender Woman Blames Firing On Using Wrong Bathroom – FOX16.com.

EXCLUSIVE: Una Interviews Author, Socialite, and Actress Eve Golden

EveGolden04In a Transas City exclusive, Una sits down with Eve Golden, an accomplished woman with a transsexual history. Miss Golden discusses her transition in detail for the first time in public, as well as her life and work in the Big Apple, and some details on her biographies and other literary efforts. We at Transas City are very grateful for this exclusive look at the life of “one of us” who not only survived, but excelled.

You can read the entire interview at this link here: Eve Golden – Queen of the Dead.

EXCLUSIVE: Research Answers the Hard Question, Does Transition Make Our Lives Better?

Rockwell_Girl_at_Mirror
In a new research article posted today, we answer the hard question of whether or not transition improves and saves lives. From the article:

In debates and discussions with those who are unfamiliar with or unfriendly to the transgender community, a frequent point which is brought up is “but hormones and surgery don’t help transgender people! I read an article somewhere that said that!” Typically the article cannot be cited or found, but in some cases it can, and using that one source someone makes a personal policy decision on an issue so complex and multifaceted that even most transgender people don’t really understand it.

My goal in this article is to perform a study on the studies which are out there in the public arena, to summarize their results, and to give my critical take on each of them to answer these final questions:

1) Does hormone treatment result in a greater quality of life for transsexuals?

2) Does sex reassignment surgery result in a greater quality of life for transsexuals?

3) Do either of the above result in a reduction in the suicide rate of transsexuals?

This article would be hopefully very useful to any of you who get caught up in debates online or off, in Facebook or on message boards. While the results won’t convince most haters, they can lower the boom on the science portion of the argument.

Quality of Life in Treated Transsexuals

Exclusive to Transas City – Current Protections for Missouri and Kansas Transgender Students

rainbowbus

Lawrence J. Altman, the Lead Compliance Attorney of the Exceptional Education Department of the Kansas City Missouri Public School District, has written a legal report on the current status of laws which may protect transgender students who wish to use gender-congruent bathrooms and participate in scholastic athletics.  This is a follow-up on his groundbreaking work previously published on Transas City, Status of the Laws that May Protect Transgender Students from Bullying and Harassment.

Mr. Altman has spent considerable time researching and writing up these vital points which every parent of a transgender child in the Kansas City metropolitan area should read. Please share the page linked below so others may benefit from it.

And thank you so much, Larry, for stepping forward and giving us the benefit of your expertise and hard work!

Link to the report: California Leads the Way – Legal Protections for Missouri and Kansas Transgender Students.

Wendy Carlos, Electronic Music Pioneer – The Playboy Interview

Wendy Carlos studying the score to Tron at her modular Moog system.
You’ve never heard of Wendy Carlos? Did you see the films The Shining, A Clockwork Orange, or Tron? If so, you’ve heard her work.

Ms. Carlos is an accomplished American composer and electronic musician who was one of the pioneers of artistic synthesizer work, especially with the Moog 900. Her first fame came in 1968 with an album titled Switched-On Bach, an electronic version of several classical works by the composer. Was it any good? I’ve heard it, and you’ve probably heard some of the songs as incidental music in television programs and films and not known it. And she won three Grammy Awards in 1969 for it as well.

She is highlighted on Transas City because I recently came across her 1979 “coming out” interview in Playboy magazine. It’s a good historical example of how the media treated us then, and as we’ve seen from recent antics like those of Katie Couric interviewing Carmen Carrera and Laverne Cox, change is moving slowly.

But is is moving, and that’s the important thing.

Our Wendy Carlos page may be found at this link.

2014 February 4 – Discrimination Roundup

GabourneyIt’s fun to make fun of the trannies…

Come sit around, children, while I tell a story of three cases of discrimination against transgender people in the news. Yes, Susie, I know you’ve heard similar stories before. No, Timmy, I’m not going to stop telling these stories until people stop doing evil to my sisters and brothers.

Let’s start with B-list (arguably, C-list) actress Gabourey Sidibe, who is doing the “oh crap, I shot my mouth off again and now I need to cover or else I’ll be consigned to the dinner-theatre circuit” backpedal. Sidibe, who as a woman of color ought to be familiar with haters going after her community, decided that the Arsenio Hall show was where she was going to plant her flag making fun of the transgender community. Because discrimination, something she has said many times in interviews that she has been subjected to all her life, is really fun if you can practice it towards others…wait, what?

“There was a bar that we would frequent and every time we’d go, when we were leaving every single time there was always like a gang of cops arresting trannies,” she said on the talk show. “Specifically trannies. And I don’t know what goes on with trannies but that tranny on tranny crime needs to stop!” … “It is tearing our nation apart!” she said to an audience and host Arsenio Hall laughing.

Hall for his part never raised one peep of protest, which isn’t surprising since he is not exactly popular, and he didn’t kowtow to his guests then he would likely be stuck interviewing people like Dan Crevice, the man with the world’s fourth-largest turnip. So it would be far too much of a stretch to expect a moral backbone in Hall.
So the moral of this story kids, is we “trannies,” to use the vernacular, are always worth a cheap laugh.

IrishParadeSt. Patrick’s Day…it’s not about pride after all?

Next, let’s go on to the Boston St. Patrick’s Day parade. One of the largest St. Patrick’s Day parades in the nation (large enough that it’s televised in a lot of markets), it has had a history of shutting down hard any LGBT groups who want to join it. Quoting from the parade organizers:

“We don’t know who’s gay in the parade, and we don’t ban gay people. We ban gay demonstrations, people that are sending out the wrong messages, messages that we don’t agree with,” parade organizer Philip Wuschke told the Boston Globe. “It’s not that type of parade. They have their own parade. Ours is a day of celebration, not demonstration.”

What’s funny is that the St. Patrick’s Day parade was originally developed as a celebration of not just Irish pride but also Evacuation Day, commemorating a victory over the British forces in the Revolutionary War. Furthermore, the Boston St. Patrick’s Day parade has allowed people dressed as Imperial Stormtroopers from Star Wars to march in their parade…just not anyone openly showing LGBT pride.

Lena-KlimovaLena Kilmova – fighting for our rights in Russia.

Finally, we arrive at the recently scary and threatening world of Russia – at least if you are LGBT – where Russian journalist Lena Kilmova has been accused of violating the nation’s anti-LGBT law against “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” by establishing a group on Facebook and other social media called “Children-404.” “Children-404,” named for the message your web browser gives you when a site doesn’t exist, is a collection of stories posted by transgender and gay teens who have been subjected to discrimination under Russia’s laws. If found guilty after her court appearance, Kilmova risks a fine of $2,800 and being forced to shut her website down. This action follows a recent use of this law, where a newspaper editor was fined $1,400 for running a news story about a geography teacher who was fired for being gay.

Price Reduction for the Kansas City “Come As You Are” Conference

Come as You Are
Caroline Gibbs at the Transgender Institute has asked me to inform everyone on the Transas City site and mailing lists that they have greatly reduced the ticket prices for attending the transgender summit coming soon to Kansas City! The new price is $95 for early early bird registration (until Jan. 15th) and $105 for late birds. If you plan to only attend Saturday, the fee is $75. Several individuals who can afford it, have offered to contribute tickets for those folks who have little or no resources. Please consider following in their footsteps.

Note too that this price includes the breakfasts and lunches during the event, so your net cost for attending is actually smaller than indicated. Caroline also announced yesterday that transgender activist Chloe Prince will be giving the welcoming speech!

Caroline says that her intention at The Transgender Institute is threefold: to create community in Kansas City and surrounding environs, to work towards creating a 24-hour shelter for homeless transwomen, and to establish a foundation for reassignment surgeries.

Information about the event is available, and ticket ordering can be done via this link.

Nuria López Torres Photographs Transgender Women from Around the World

Lopez-MainThis is really cool and worth a look. Nuria López Torres is a Spanish photographer who has created several photo essays focused on transgender women around the world, sometimes glamorizing them, but very often showing the gritty reality that they live and work in. Cuba, Turkey, Brazil – the photographs are very well done and many of them grip at your heart. If you browse the galleries for too long, make certain you have a box of tissues nearby.

Links to her individual galleries are below, along with a sample from each gallery for artistic illustration.

NOTE – THIS WEBSITE IS NOT WORK-SAFE, AS IT CONTAINS ARTISTIC NUDITY. USE CAUTION BEFORE CLICKING.

Main Portal for Transgender Women

Lopez-BrideGallery – The Bride

Lopez-TransformismGallery – The Art of Transformism

Lopez-IstanbulGallery – Red Light in Istanbul

Lopez-PrincessesGallery – Princesses

Lopez-CubaGallery – Sex and Revolution in Cuba

Lopez-HavanaGallery – Transhabana (Havana)

Lopez-IpanemaGallery – The Girl from Ipanema

Announcing “Come as you are,” a transgender women’s summit in Kansas City!

Come as You Are
The first major transgender summit in years will be held at the Embassy Suites Plaza hotel from 7-9 February, 2014. Organized by the Transgender Institute on behalf of the transgender community, this summit is the first of two which will be held in early 2014 right here in Kansas City!

The summit will feature guest speakers such as State Senator Jolie Justus, Facial Feminization Surgeon Dr. Alexander Sinclair, Reassignment Surgeon Dr. Toby Metzler, and Spiritual Speaker Dr. Donna Ross. Various workshops will be available on fashion, makeup, nails, comportment and feminization, self-defense, employment law, and other topics. If that’s not enough, two SOFFA meetings will be hosted by my wife for Significant Others, Family, Friends and Allies of transgender people – and yours truly will be interviewing an interesting transgender person for the audience.

More information can be found by clicking this link.

The Paris Transwomen of Christer Strömholm

Stromholm_05s

Swedish photographer Christer Strömholm befriended the transsexual women who worked the streets of Paris in the 1950’s and 1960’s, documenting their lives as they fought to live as women and to save money for sex reassignment surgery.

I’ve collected what I feel are twenty of his most compelling photographs of these women and posted them with some commentary at the link below.

Christer Strömholm – Transwomen of Paris in “Les Amies de Place Blanche””