Often times parents take the news that one of their kids is transgender in stride, but they still struggle with how to tell everyone else — or even if they should tell other people.
Jodi Gholson Oliver made a declaration that so many of us (especially with very young kids) would be afraid to do. She didn’t just quietly inform a select few that her son Jes is transgender, she celebrated it with a new birth announcement on Facebook. In a relatively short post, Jodi honored her son, explained the change, and let people know that she would not tolerate negativity or inappropriate questions.
While Jodi didn’t plan for her post to “go viral,” it has and it’s inspiring people across the country to send her family comments full of good wishes. Jes even got in on the act and shared her post on Tumblr where it has received more than 162,000 notes to date. I think I see a pattern of family pride, love and acceptance here.
Rhys Ernst is transitioning from female to male. Zackary Drucker is transitioning from male to female. Both are in love, and both are telling the story of their relationship through the transition process by a photo series, which they’ve titled “Relationship.”
At the site linked below you can find an interview with the artists, as well as a slideshow from their project. Within the interview, I found this quote right near the lead compelling:
Drucker: “The amazing thing about being a human is that we are transformative material, and we change from one moment to the next. Being transgender is a more visible manifestation of that because we are literally changing the way we are presenting ourselves to the world.”
Ernst: “The photographs sort of chronicle this amazing crystallizing of an identity we had always longed for.”
I really like that concept – that human beings are transformative materials. Not only do many (but not all) of the cells of our body constantly replace themselves via normal metabolic processes, changing even cisgender bodies constantly, but age, wear, our own actions, and the actions of others transform our bodies as well.
Our minds are of course what transform the most about us. When combined with our ever-changing bodies, the sum is a slowly different person to the world each and every day.
Art Imitates Life For Transgender Artists | New Hampshire Public Radio.
Gypsy Vered Meltzer, a transgender man, has been elected to the Appleton, Wisconsin city council. The first openly transgender person to be elected to public office in Wisconsin, Gypsy is making a major contribution to public awareness and acceptance for our people.
Also interesting within the article is a list of many other transgender persons to hold office in the US and other countries.
Appleton, WI elects transgender man to City Council.
It’s going to be that time of year again, when some schools crown their homecoming “royalty,” and all of them will matriculate students. And as we saw last year this time, the news will possibly be filled with increasing cases of transgender acceptance, and transgender discrimination. The hope of course is that each year we will see more of the former and less of the latter.
In this case East Mecklenburg, North Caroline Senior Blake Brockington was nominated to be homecoming king by his fellow students, and he beat out 13 other contenders to take the crown. Of course East Mecklenburg is reportedly a somewhat unusual high school:
Teacher Bill Allen is the student advisor for the Gay-Straight Alliance on campus.
He says East Meck is known as a school of diversity. He says Brockington’s achievement is the first step in representing what many of the students believe.
“Our young people understand we are all different. We have all races, genders and religious backgrounds. We have kids representing 30-40 languages in this school and people learn to accept each other as they are, and I think this is an example of what is going to be happening in North Carolina,” he said.
As we transgender people are well aware, sympathy or membership with one minority group does not necessarily extend to sympathy with any other minority group. However, the system seems to be working at this high school.
East Meck crowns transgender homecoming king | WCNC.com Charlotte.
Increasingly, we have witnessed either transwomen contestants in beauty contests, or even entire beauty contests for transwomen. But what about the transmen? Well ladies and fellas, let me give you a link to a video about the Mr. Transman 2013 contest, and an interview with its winner, Winter Laike!
Winter Laike, Mr. Transman 2013 Winner, Sits Down With HuffPost Live.
A compelling historical piece from the Atlantic magazine. The subject is the life of Ellen Tremaye, one of the first European transgender men known on the continent. Changing his name to Edward De Lacy Evans and living as a man, including having several wives who claimed not to have any idea their husband had a vagina (see the story of Billy Tipton), he found employment as a miner and blacksmith. More importantly, the story focuses on the way he was treated when he was forcibly committed to an asylum for depression. Upon being stripped for bathing, they discovered he had female genitalia and breasts, and then:
Doctors diagnosed him with “cerebral mania” and “mental weakness,” and offered him only female attire to wear. He refused to wear it, or to eat, for days at a time. Over the course of Evans’ three-month treatment, physicians subjected him to extensive vaginal and rectal probing, during which he reportedly “sobbed and wept.”
Well yeah, I’m pretty sure most of us would sob and weep over extensive rectal and vaginal probing.
Evans’ exposure caused, to put it mildly, an incredible stir. One local photographer snuck into the hospital and took photos of Evans dressed in both male and female clothing, as well as in a straight jacket. Local sideshow operators offered the hospital 5 Australian pounds a week to display Evans as an oddity.
After his release, Evans did appear in one such traveling carnival, where reporters noted that he appeared “weak and half-witted” from the ordeal. Sideshows billed him as “The Wonderful Male Impersonator” and a pamphlet about his life, The Man-Woman Mystery, was published in 1880.
I give a spoiler and say that Evans did not lead a long and happy life. Much more information at the link below.
The ‘Curing’ of Australia’s First Transgender Man – Olga Khazan – The Atlantic.
This is really interesting news, especially coming from Japan, which traditionally has been on the fence about transgender rights. The Supreme Court of Japan has over-ruled earlier decisions, and found that a transgender man who married a cisgender woman and who had a child with her via in-vitro fertilization donation from a third party can legally be the father of the child. This means he can now be entered into the official family registry in Japan, a highly important step in finalizing transgender rights.
The picture above has no bearing whatsoever on the story, and none was attached to the original story. I just thought it was a pretty picture from Japan.
Transsexual dad gains legal recognition – World News | IOL News | IOL.co.za.
This is a psychodrama where you either want to pull up a lawn chair and sip mint juleps while you watch it happen – or else you want to pull the covers over your head and pretend you never saw it.
The skinny: outspoken transman Buck Angel started a fundraising site (the provocatively-named “transgasm.org”) to help transgender persons receive SRS via a scheme of paying money forward to help seven people at a time receive surgery. The problem is, as best as many people can understand it, the site is an unintentional pyramid scheme, which is illegal in the United States.
So merely one week after the site was started, the two founders (Buck Angel and Jody Rose) shut the site down cold and have called in lawyers to go after the media who have reported on the incident. Furthermore, transgender women are commenting all over the internet, such as in the article linked below, venting their ire at Buck Angel. One target of their ire is a comment Buck Angel made in 2007:
“Ugh, don’t get me started,” he told the Village Voice in 2007. “That’s my hugest pet peeve. You want to be a man? Act like a man. Men take care of themselves. Very rarely do they fucking beg for money. Get a fucking job and save your money like a man. Asking for a handout for surgery — it really bothers me. It’s just wrong.”
Of course, people are allowed to change their minds, and grow, and learn. I confess, however, that there’s some entertainment value in reading Buck Angel sparring with commentators.
Buck Angel Shuts Down Transgender Surgery Fundraising Site | Advocate.com.
A great story and another victory for us all, one of two I’m reporting on tonight. Boy’s soccer coach Stephen Alexander taught at Ponaganset High School in Gloucester, R.I., for three years before coming out as a transman.
Born Jen Dandrow, Stephen was a tomboy who loved football and was a star athlete on the girls’ basketball team. But throughout his successes, he struggled with his gender identity. He transitioned in college, and despite a negative reaction from his family, he persevered and succeeded. His next job is working to convince the Rhode Island Interscholastic League to include protections for trans athletes.
Rhode Island Home to 1st Transgender High School Coach :: EDGE Boston.
I confess I’m reluctant to run stories like this, because there’s a certain amount of media exploitation about this subject. Stories like this are meant to grab the attention of the 99.7% of cisgender readers out there, to say “hey, look at these nuts!”
I will say though that this short MSN article doesn’t really sensationalize their story, so I call attention to it. Someone asked me today why it seemed like these events were making the news more and more in the last few years, and I don’t have a good answer. Part of the reason could be that transgender topics are the news of the day since about 2010, but part of the reason could be that maybe, just maybe, the “invisible wall” between transmen and transwomen is breaking down just a little? I’d love that to be the case.
In Argentina, pregnant groom weds in a legal first – xinmsn Lifestyle.
Stephen Ira Beatty, born Kathlyn Elizabeth Beatty and the son of Annette Bening and Warren Beatty, appears in a PSA to push for equal health care coverage for transgender New Yorkers. Specifically, he is speaking out against a New York State Medicaid regulation that bars transgender people from accessing health care.
It’s nice to see some celebrity connection to help the transgender community, although Stephen doesn’t mention his parents in the video.
Annette Bening’s Transgender Son In PSA | WebProNews.
I always enjoy alliteration…but now to the news. Transman Jeydon Loredo from the La Feria school district in South Texas just wanted his photograph in his high school yearbook. The school district originally refused, claiming it violated “community standards”, whatever the hell those are supposed to be…anyhow, after the Southern Poverty Law Center took an interest in the case, the district reversed its stance and his photograph will be in the yearbook.
Another win! When will the few remaining small-minded and bigoted public school officials finally realize that this is not a bunch of crazy kids trying to cause trouble, this is Little Rock, 1957, and these kids are on the front lines of our new civil rights movement? Every year now we have homecoming, prom, yearbook, and commencement kerfluffles and they never learn.
Transgender Texas student’s tuxedo photo approved – Beaumont Enterprise.
I think this essay helps to give a look into the life of women who love butch women, and also gives some insights into the divide between “modern” lesbians and the “old guard.” In effect, the writer posits that the primary reason there are fewer butch lesbians is because they are instead becoming transmen. And how this is not a betrayal of the lesbian community, as some believe it to be.
‘Where Have All the Butches Gone?’ | Roey Thorpe.
I reported on this barely a month ago – in a nutshell, theology professor Heather Ann Clements of Azusa Pacific University, a private Christian institution, came out as a transman. Changing his name to H. Adam Ackley, he knew there would be trouble, and sure enough, the university was less than pleased and he was asked to resign his position. However, in this news, it turns out his students are fighting back, saying they want Professor Ackley to stay.
It’s a little interesting from a personal note – I am an Adjunct Professor of Mechanical Engineering myself, and I transitioned in mid-semester – just before the midterm, in fact. Several of my students made a point of coming to me privately and telling me how good of a professor I was, and how much they supported me, offering to give me their vote of confidence if my department had any problems. It turns out my department welcomed me with open arms, so it was all good…nonetheless, things could have gone like they are for Professor Ackley.
Students Rally Behind Transgender Professor At Azusa Pacific University (VIDEO).
Although we hear more and more of stories such as this, the quotes in this article were especially touching.
Concord High in Concord, New Hampshire, elected Ray Ramsey, a transman, homecoming king. But this quote below is the most touching.
…after the cheers from the crowd and hugs from friends, he walked over to his dad. Standing there, his dad grabbed him by the shoulders, looked him in the eye and said, “I am so proud of you.”
“He’s just been through a lot, and he’s just a really strong person,” said Anna Robert, the homecoming queen and Ramsey’s good friend. “When I heard his name called, I was like, ‘I can’t even believe it,’ you know?”
Imagine a world where such open and complete acceptance was the norm, rather than the exception. Is it possible? Can we do it?
Concord students choose transgender student as homecoming king | Concord Monitor.