Tag Archives: hate

Do You Really Want to Hurt Me? – A Personal Essay on Transgender Violence and Boy George

Boy_George_4Screen capture from “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me.”

Growing up in a small town or the suburbs can be a challenge for transgender persons, simply due to the small size of the community and the lack of transgender-friendly resources. Now imagine if you can that you are a young teenager, learning that you are transgender in a small town, but in the early 1980’s.

That was the life I lived.

Anyone born after 1995 takes it for granted that you can open up any computer or smartphone and get near-instant access to an incredible amount of human knowledge. What’s more, with e-mail, social media, online gaming and other communities, no transgender person need ever think that they are the only person in the world who has this “condition” of believing they are a different gender on the inside than on the outside.

Consider again that LGBT awareness, rights, and respect were virtually nonexistent prior to 1990. This was especially true for the case of transgender persons. Every year or so, one of the transgender pioneers would make the news – Renee Richards and Jan Morris in the 1970’s, for example. But even in the rare case where a transgender person was treated well by the media, their story was a flash in the pan. Typically, we appeared in news stories telling us about how we were “sexual freaks”, “kinky transvestites,” or just simply “mentally ill.”

Better_Off_Dead“In the high school halls, in the shopping malls / Conform or be cast out.” The 1980’s were incredibly brutal if you didn’t fit in.

To be a transgender person at age 14 in the suburbs of the early 1980’s was akin to being on a deserted island. I had learned early on from physical abuse from my father that one did not speak about being transgender. Actually, even the word “transgender” was unknown to the general public at that time, leaving one with no good definition for oneself. The only reference source available to a kid with a bicycle was the Olathe Public Library. I’ll never forget one blazing hot Kansas summer morning, when I rode my bike to the library and searched the card catalog in vain for any book or magazine which talked about people like me. Finally, braver than smart, I asked a grey-haired librarian “Where can I find books about boys who know they’re really a girl inside?”

Card_CatalogOur version of Google, circa 1982.

Her smile vanished, she drew herself up to her full height, and she replied “Young man! We do not carry books on pornography! Give me your library card now!

Of course I beat it out of there, terrified that somehow the librarian knew who I was and would be sending the police to come grab me at home. I spent a couple of worried days wondering what the fallout would be, and I didn’t visit the library for a year or more afterward. But returning to the narrative, the point was that a kid like me basically was left feeling completely alone.

Boy_George_1Boy George, circa 1982. Allow me a single “rrrroooow!”

And then, one day in 1982 while killing time in front of MTV (Yes, MTV did actually play music back then!), I saw a video which absolutely stunned me. It was “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me,” by an English New Wave band named Culture Club, and the video prominently featured lead singer Boy George. Dressed androgynously and singing in a gentle tenor which could have been male or female, I watched and thought “OK, it must be someone just playing around crossdressing for the video. But I wonder, if they are the same kinda whatever I am that I am?” Then came other videos from that album – “Time (Clock of the Heart)” and “I’ll Tumble 4 Ya,” and still there was the seriously gender-crossing clothing, singing, makeup, and manners. Shortly afterwards, the band was interviewed on television, and George kept to the image.

Boy_George_3When I first saw Boy George, I wasn’t even certain what gender he was. It was uplifting.

Mind you, Boy George certainly wasn’t the first musician to cross gender boundaries – David Bowie comes to mind as a ready example at the time. And androgyny was a prevalent feature of musical cultural movements like the New Romantics and New Wave. But Boy George kicked it up a notch.

I was now convinced – “This is someone just like me! And they’re out in public, and singing, and making money, and not only that people are listening to them!” Both “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” and “Time (Clock of the Heart)” made it to #2 on the US charts, and “I’ll Tumble 4 Ya” made it to a very respectable #9. Boy George proved to me right then and there that one could transcend gender, be in the public eye, and people could accept you! I felt as though I had found a distant cousin, rather than an idol. Not only that, but in the music video for “Time (Clock of the Heart),” we see other band members toying with gender expression – for example, bassist Mikey Craig is wearing a yellow dress.

Mikey_CraigMikey Craig, wearing a very 80’s yellow dress.

My feelings were complicated by the fact that I really, really had a crush on Boy George. Androgyny attracted me very strongly back then (it still does, to a lesser extent nowadays), and I thought that George was beautiful – especially in the video for “Time (Clock of the Heart).”

I generally did a good job of hiding my transgender identity from my friends, peers, and family. But I couldn’t hide my enthusiasm for Boy George and Culture Club, for the aforementioned reasons, and I didn’t realize at the time how dangerous that could have been. Then one day, while over at a friend’s house with two other friends present, we were hanging out and watching MTV, and “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” came on the screen. One friend changed the channel, and I switched it back and said I wanted to watch the video. I started to say how much I liked Boy George and Culture Club, when – to quote Wodehouse – suddenly the atmosphere turned black and scaly. I don’t have an eidetic memory, so the following is from my recollection of the exchange that took place.

Friend 1: “Do I really want to hurt you? Hell yeah, I do!”

Friend 2: “Look at that fucking fag. I hate him and his ugly fucking face. If I saw him out somewhere, I’d run over him.”

Friend 3: “I’d like to set him and his gay dreads on fire. I wish MTV wouldn’t play so many faggy videos.”

Friend 2: “No really, he gets off dressing like a girl. He’s a freak. My brother said if he ever saw that freak in public, he’d bash his face in.”

Friend 1: “I heard if you get buttslammed enough it breaks your balls and you become a girl. Wonder how much buttslamming he had?”

Friend 2: “I’d cut his balls off with a rusty chainsaw. You know he dresses like that to trick guys into fucking him.”

Friend 1: “Doesn’t fool me. Only fags would fuck something like that.”

Friend 3: “I’d rather burn him alive. All that makeup would flare up just like gasoline. Woooooooosh!”

Boy_George_2Not everyone appreciated androgyny in the 1980’s. And by “not everyone,” I mean “almost no one.”

And they carried on, moving into a general condemnation of “fags” and all things “faggoty” in the world. Did I stay silent? No. To my shame, I forced myself to laugh with their jokes, and got up and changed the channel. “Yeah, I thought it was a different video. I don’t want to watch this shit.” I was sick with fear. My friends had seen someone crossing gender boundaries on television, and these teenage boys in Olathe, Kansas, were so enraged by this that they boasted of wanting to burn him alive, vivisecting him, and outright cold-blooded murder.

I tell people when I lecture sometimes on anti-transgender violence that I’d rather be attacked by a pack of wild dogs than a pack of wild teenage boys. At least with the wild dogs, it’s not personal.

And I should have guessed the reactions in advance, really, as homophobia was rampant in that time and place. In 10th grade I witnessed a boy beaten bloody by about half the football team because he wore a pink button-down shirt to school. Was he gay? No – he wore it because Don Johnson wore them on “Miami Vice,” and he wanted to look like a macho character on television. The mistake he made was in thinking he could “get away with” wearing a pink shirt.

Miami_ViceA gay crime-fighting duo? Hardly.

We had the “no blue jeans or you’re gay” day, leading to clueless me, who missed the memo, being punched, kicked, tripped, and verbally abused. I tried to grow my hair long, to at least have some trappings on the outside of the ghost of a girl inside me. Guess what? Long hair also meant you were a “fag.” Beatings ensued. After the HIV/AIDS drama “An Early Frost” was aired in 1985, anyone who had a cough was asked mockingly “Is it an ‘early frost?’ Got something you want to tell us? Fag?”

The junior high and high school cliques of the mean girls and the jocks decided ad hoc what did and didn’t make you a “fag,” and therefore a target. One girl was almost beaten up by her peers for wearing a Eurythmics concert shirt, because the group was fronted by Annie “Lezzy” Lennox.

Annie_LennoxShe has to be a lesbian, because, um, short hair, and, um, suit? Right?

I used to wear an amethyst ring I had bought at the Renaissance Festival, as a connection to my inner girl, until a school counselor acted on his own to call me into his office and order me to remove the ring, because wearing it “meant you were gay.” One day someone declared peanut butter and jelly to be gay, because – well, just because. This, from the “future leaders of America.”

I know a lot of these folks nowadays. Some of them I talk to from time to time, while others I see as Facebook friends. I wonder sometimes – “Did you teach your kids to do as you did – pick on the weak, the different, the misfits? Or, did you teach them that who someone loves or what they have in their jeans isn’t your doggone business? Did you do the right thing, the second time around?” In some cases I know the answer is yes; in many others, I’m uncertain.

The popularity wheel turned, as it shall for everyone except Madonna, and Culture Club moved off the scene. In later years, Boy George was known primarily for his drug use and misdemeanor escapades. Perhaps ten or more years ago, I came across a fan-run website all about Culture Club and Boy George, with several references from his autobiography.

I cried when I learned Boy George was cisgender. If you’ve read this far, you understand why.

Boy_George_5Boy George, circa 2014.

I had some time to convalesce while recovering from pneumonia recently, and I spent some time re-watching old 1980’s music videos on YouTube just for the heck of it. I came upon the old Culture Club videos, and the memories came flooding back. I remember being the scared, hidden transgender teen, sitting in a suburban living room hearing epithets and threats thrown towards a young man who just wanted to sing and have a different gender expression. I remember the fear, and how I felt like even among my friends if I made one slip, let them get one glimpse through the door of the real me, that I could at best end up a pariah, and at worst end up in the hospital.

Transgender youth today unmistakably have that same fear. According to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey:

  • Those who expressed a transgender identity or gender non-conformity while in grades K-12 reported alarming rates of harassment (78%), physical assault (35%) and sexual violence (12%).
  • The harassment was so severe that it led nearly one-sixth (15%) to leave school in grades K-12 or in higher education settings.
  • Teachers and staff members, whose job in part includes ensuring student safety, were too often the perpetrators of harassment and violence in K-12. Thirty-one percent (31%) of the sample reported harassment by teachers or staff, 5% reported physical assault by teachers or staff and 3% reported sexual assault by teachers or staff.
  • More than half (51%) of respondents who were harassed, physically or sexually assaulted, or expelled because of their gender identity/expression reported having attempted suicide. Of those who were physically assaulted by teachers/staff or students, 64% reported having attempted suicide. And three-quarters (76%) of those who were assaulted only by teachers or staff reported having attempted suicide.
  • Respondents who identity as female-to-male transgender people today reported a higher rate of these abuses (65%) than male-to-female respondents (53%) and those who identify as gender non-conforming experienced abuse at a higher frequency (70%) than transgender-identified respondents (59%).

Injustice_at_Every_TurnGender non-conformity is still a no-no (from the National Transgender Discrimination Survey).

I never seek to minimize someone else’s oppression and suffering, and the National Transgender Discrimination Survey tells a dire tale. But aside from Boy George and that briefly-lit candle of hope, it’s stunning to me when I reflect that the situation for transgender teens in my youth was so very much worse.


Grant, Jaime M., et al. Injustice at every turn: A report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey. National Center for Transgender Equality, 2011.

Michelle Duggar Warns Arkansas Community That Transgender People Are Child Predators

I’m not even sure how a person picks someone like Michelle Duggar to be one of their spokespeople. I mean, we already know from her reality show that she’s a seriously messed-up religous zealot, forcing her girls to only wear skirts and to have their hair long, let alone the fact she’s somehow given birth to 19 children out of wanting to have her own Biblical-ordained “quiver full.”

So of course we would expect she would be amenable to slurring transgender people, apparently since she has put no actual thought into the true meaning of her Bible. Something which I’ve covered at length here on Transas City. Therefore, Duggar has been recorded for a political robocall, which is speaking out against a proposed non-discrimination ordinance for Fayetteville, Arkansas, such as the one we recently campaigned in favor of in Roeland Park.

In a new robocall obtained by the Fayetteville Flyer, Duggar claims that the bill will “allow men — yes I said men — to use womens’ and girls’ restrooms, locker rooms, showers, sleeping areas and other areas that are designated for females only.” She goes onto describe “males with past child predator convictions that claim they are female” who would enter these private areas.

Duggar also suggests that gender identity is the “preference of an adult” and that should never be placed over “the safety and innocence of a child.”

Mercifully, it turns out her effort failed, because by a 6-2 vote the Fayetteville nondiscrimination ordinance passed.

What this episode has been useful for is revealing yet another television “celebrity bigot” to keep our collective eyes on.

Michelle Duggar Warns Arkansas Community That Transgender People Are Child Predators | ThinkProgress.

Una is Quoted in the Pitch Roeland Park Story, But Under the Wrong Name

Seriously, it’s a good bit of reporting, barring printing my name wrong. 🙂

The big anti-trans guns are out in force to try to prevent Roeland Park from enacting a broad anti-discrimination ordinance to protect the LGBT community who live, visit, shop, and work in the city. In the last meeting I spoke out at, opponents pulled the “invisible lawyer” defense, claiming a “lawyer” found problems with the ordinance, but refusing to supply their legal opinion nor the name of the attorney.

Next, we have an anonymous flyer, promoting transgender toilet terrorism. KSHB attempted to find the authors of the flyer, who replied with the cryptic message:

We are all Roeland Park residents that were given names at birth. As we said this group was formed for the sole purpose of notifying residents about the ordinance and encouraging them to attend the Council meeting next Monday. That goal was accomplished with the flyer. End of story.

What I found interesting is the “given names at birth” quote, which is an unusual turn of phrase.
It is somewhat shameful that I, a transsexual woman, am brave enough to speak in public and give my name – but the champions of all that is right and holy hide and scurry in the shadows.

The next big day is next Monday, where public comment will be allowed, but apparently no vote will be held. I’ll keep you all informed.

via A Roeland Park equal-rights ordinance takes a hit from a dubious hired gun | The Fast Pitch | The Pitch.

UPDATED: Southern Baptists Double Down on Intolerance

The Southern Baptist Convention is currently in full swing, and a college professor and “ethicist” is pushing for the Southern Baptist Convention to broadly condemn “the transgender lifestyle.”

“The public consequences of normalizing transgender are upon us,” Burk explained. “School systems across the country are beginning to allow boys who identify as transgender to make use of girls’ restrooms and locker rooms. The state of New Jersey has made it illegal for licensed counselors to help a child embrace a gender identity that matches his sex. Medical professionals recommend sex-change surgeries for some transgender persons, and some parents are pursuing surgeries for minor children who experience conflict between their gender and bodily identity.

“Just last Friday [May 30] Medicare lifted its ban on sex reassignment surgeries. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) has at different times seen majority support in both houses of Congress and would make it illegal for employers to make personnel decisions based on gender identity — a measure that would restrict the religious liberty of Christian employers.”

Sure it will. If your version of Christianity means being a disgusting bigot, then yes your liberties will be restricted. Guess what, people used the same arguments when they were forced to take down signs proclaiming “White Only.” Or when homes associations were forced to allow Jews, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and all the other “undesirables” out there.

The proposed resolution, which may or may not be reported out of committee and if it is could be altered before presented for vote on the convention floor, affirms “God’s good design that gender identity should be determined by biological sex and not by one’s self-perception — a perception which is often influenced by fallen human nature in ways contrary to God’s design.”

It condemns “efforts to alter one’s bodily identity (e.g., cross-sex hormone therapy, gender reassignment surgery) to bring it into line with one’s perceived gender identity.” It also opposes “all efforts by any court or state legislature to validate transgender identity as morally praiseworthy” and attempts “by media and entertainment outlets and public schools to mainstream transgender identity in the eyes of our children.”

I’ve read many screeds by these folks. They are completely blinded with a selective totalitarian reading of their version of the Bible, and they cannot be reasoned with. At some point it is rumored the Southern Poverty Law center is going to list the Southern Baptist Convention as a hate group.

Transgender resolution proposed to SBC.


On 11 June, 2014, the Southern Baptist Convention did approve the condemnation of transgender persons. You can read some details at this link.

In Which Una is Exasperated by One of the Most Disgusting Editorials She’s Recently Read


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.

EDITORIAL: Taxpayers to pay for tranny grannies – Washington Times.

UPDATE: Suspect in Atlanta Transgender Beating Invokes ‘Trans Panic’ Defense

I first reported on this outrage a couple of days ago. The short story – two transgender women on the Atlanta, Georgia MARTA train were attacked and assaulted, with at least one of them stripped naked – all while the crowd applauded or stood by and watched.

Well, two of the animals who attached the women have been arrested, and one of them has decided to double down by using a “trans panic defense.” Not too far removed from the legendary Chewbacca Defense, the suspect alleges:

“These guys, they came on to me,” Thomas said in the interview. “Even the one that looked exactly like a female said she like guys with dreads. He’s calling me the ‘n word’ and then saying, ‘y’all better get him.’ [They were] getting closer and closer.”

At that point in the incident, Thomas acknowledged that he escalated the altercation, kicking one of the women in the stomach, later punching her in the face.

“I hate that it did happen,” says Thomas. “I hate that I lost my temper. If I could do it all over again, I probably would have moved to another car or got off the train or something.”

Shame that since he is only being charged with a misdemeanor, so he can’t wait for the next train from prison.

WATCH: Suspect in Atlanta Beating Invokes ‘Trans Panic’ Defense | Advocate.com.

MARTA Police Arrest Suspects Allegedly Involved in Trans Bias Attack

As I reported on 29 May, two transgender women were assaulted and one was stripped naked while on a MARTA train in Atlanta, Georgia. At the time they received no help from the police officer on the scene, but now I can report that two suspects have been arrested, and have been charged with disorderly conduct. One wonders how attacking a woman on a train and stripping her in front of the other passengers doesn’t rate higher than “disorderly conduct,” but then charges are often added later as prosecutors learn more during the investigation process.

If these two are in fact guilty of the accusation, let’s hope that they receive strong and certain justice.

MARTA Police Arrest Suspects Allegedly Involved in Trans Bias Attack :: EDGE Provincetown.

Carmen Carrera Fires Back at T Word Critics

Carmen Carrera speaks out in the continuing outrage against RuPaul and Bianca Del Rio’s continued and unapologetic slurs towards the transgender community. Recently I posted a link to Del Rio telling Carmen Carrera to “…take what’s left of her dick and stick it in her mouth and shut the fuck up.” Ms. Carrera, for her part, said:

“I’ve reached out to Bianca, and I’ve already tried to speak to her. … But for me, it’s a lost cause,” … “And it’s sad. It’s really sad. I watch the TV show, and I really ended up liking what she’s done on the Race, and I appreciate her as an artist. But now I don’t know if I can respect her as a person. I get that you’re comedy, and I get that you like to poke fun at things, but it’s like, for me, I consider you a sellout. If you’re not realizing the bigger picture here, and you choose to just use something like this to get some comedy points, or … just because you know the majority of the Drag Race fans are transphobic, so you’re gonna throw me under the bus, just to get a good arousal from people, for me, you’re a sellout.”

“When the wig comes off, when the makeup comes off, I’m sure Bianca wants to be respected as a gay man,” she continued. “And that’s where this comes in. I’m trying to fight for respect. Just respect. All you have to do is respect me. Use the right words. If you don’t consider me a woman, then use trans woman. Whatever works for you. But don’t try to use something that’s a slur or something that’s meant to degrade who we are. … It’s a mess. I literally get nauseous thinking about it, because there’s so many issues in there.”

Del Rio pseudo-apologized for their slur, with the offhand tweet:

“Hey Carmen Carrera, I’m sorry for my lame joke, i have now fired my comedy writer (me). love ya.”

Ye-ah. Keep on keeping it classy, Del Rio. Yeesh.

Carmen Carrera Fires Back at T Word Critics | Advocate.com.

RuPaul’s Drag Race winner Bianca Del Rio tells Carmen Carrera to “stick whats left of your dick in your mouth and STFU”

Again, I have to ask the people who defend either RuPaul or the use of the word “tranny” – are these the ponies you want to bet on? Really?

In a video which was unashamedly originally posted on the Facebook page for RuPaul’s Drag Race (the link below will take you to another copy), recent Drag Race winner Bianca Del Rio takes to the microphone to tell what she really thinks of us in the transgender community:

“And let’s face it, we wouldn’t know who the fuck Carmen Carrera was if she didn’t fuckin’ get on Drag Race. Maybe she should take what’s left of her dick and stick it in her mouth and shut the fuck up.”

Absolutely no apology has been made, nor even an attempt by RuPaul to distance himself from the slurs and hate speech posted by his protégé.

It’s long past time for the community of transgender and transsexual women to stand up and shun RuPaul. Send him to Coventry, and stand up to anyone who idolizes him and ask “how can you do this?” For all that people can argue that RuPaul raised awareness for LGBT causes in the past, his flurry of recent capers and antics show that at best he’s a woefully clumsy dinosaur, unable to comprehend a world where transgender and transsexual women finally take their rightful place at the table.

RuPaul’s Drag Race winner Bianca Del Rio tells Carmen Carrera to “stick whats left of your dick in your mouth and STFU” ~ Planetransgender.

Transphobia, Sloppy Reporting, or Both? The Life and Death of Dr. V

Hopper_BrooklynAn enormous controversy has blown up in the last few days over a story written by Caleb Hannan on a website called Grantland, titled Dr. V’s Magical Putter. The story claims to be a fact-finding hayride into the claims behind a “magical” golf putter and the personal life of its inventor, Essay Anne Vanderbilt (a/k/a “Dr. V.”). Ms. Vanderbilt was a transsexual woman, and of course once Mr. Hannan uncovered that fact, an article which is along the lines of one I would have written for the paper suddenly took a left turn at Albuquerque, and turned into a “poke and laugh at the tranny” piece. For example, from the story:

He was clearly trying to tell me something, which is why he began emphasizing certain words. Every time he said “she” or “her” I could practically see him making air quotes. Finally it hit me. Cliché or not, a chill actually ran up my spine.

“Are you trying to tell me that Essay Anne Vanderbilt was once a man?”

A chill “actually ran up (his) spine.” It makes me wonder what sort of person, deep down, Mr. Hannan is to be so titillated over the discovery that someone he is investigating might be a transsexual woman. They’re his words, I’m certain heavily reviewed and accepted, and they imply either a sexual frisson of being a repressed chaser, or else the sick thrill a blogging sociopath feels when he has an easy target in his sights.

The story is made all the more tragic by the clear desperation and breakdown of Ms. Vanderbilt as she is being harassed by Mr. Hannan, reported almost breathlessly in blow-by-blow exchanges. When we read that Ms. Vanderbilt took her life weeks after being harassed by Mr. Hannan, it’s a sad testimony to the transgender experience that we probably were not surprised at the outcome. Is Mr. Hannan responsible? Or did he merely contribute to the tragedy?

Being in the publishing business, I’ve written more than 500 published articles for actual money, and read 100 times that many. Mr. Hannan’s investigative piece had a chance to be a good article on the pseudoscience of golf fanatics and those who cater to them. In fact, I have had a piece published by the paper on that very subject. But Mr. Hannan’s article wasn’t that – it was character assassination with a science backdrop. Mr. Hannan doesn’t even have the God damned common decency to use the proper gender for pronouns, summing up his story with the following:

What began as a story about a brilliant woman with a new invention had turned into the tale of a troubled man who had invented a new life for himself. Yet the biggest question remained unanswered: Had Dr. V created a great golf club or merely a great story?

Mr. Hannan’s editor Bill Simmons published a pseudo-apology, throwing himself and his editorial staff on the sword in a somewhat disproportionate effort to try to absolve Mr. Hannan. He amusingly refers to the piece as “a well-written feature,” thus setting the stage for what follows. He makes one factual error which indicates he is scrambling to “circle the wagons.”

In the moment, we believed you couldn’t “out” someone who was already dead, especially if she was a public figure.

BZZZZT, sorry, the inventor of a golf club and owner of a tiny golf club company is not a “public figure.” A politician or political candidate is a public figure. Media stars are public figures. Here’s a clue, genius – a public figure is by definition someone who actively courts public attention via exposure through their artistic or critical work, by nature of their employment, or by public service. Ms. Vanderbilt was none of those.

The pseudo-apology is a somewhat rambling piece which I’ve seen before from editors. It’s the equivalent of an “oh shit, let’s write a wall of text to throw people off, and admit we let the writer down, but at the same time stick to our guns for our awesome fact-finding!” The problem is, the transphobia of Mr. Hannan cannot be apologized for by a third party. In fact, this part of his pseudo-apology really tells us what we need to know about Grantland.

To my infinite regret, we never asked anyone knowledgeable enough about transgender issues to help us either (a) improve the piece, or (b) realize that we shouldn’t run it. That’s our mistake — and really, my mistake, since it’s my site. So I want to apologize. I failed.

More importantly, I realized over the weekend that I didn’t know nearly enough about the transgender community – and neither does my staff.

Not sophisticated enough to know about gender policies for transgender persons? Never once thought to run it past a transgender person? There are something like 700,000 of us, and he couldn’t find a single person to ask? He seemingly wasn’t even aware that there was an “out” transsexual woman writing for Grantland? Huh?

The lesson here is to remember that what happened to Ms. Vanderbilt could happen to any transsexual woman. All it takes in today’s media is a hack blogger who hides behind the title “reporter,” an editorial staff asleep at the switch, and a website.

School Board President Wants Charges Against Transgender Teen Dropped

To catch you up on this story: a transgender teen was being bullied by three cisgender girls and fought back against her bullies, resulting in a brawl which was partially captured on a cell phone and went around the net. However, as a result of the fracas, she was the only one who was charged with a crime – misdemeanor battery.

The police claim they have evidence to back up charging only the transgender student, who all admit was being bullied – but not the other students. The school board president, to his credit, says all of the students have made up and there is no reason to charge anyone with a crime. The police, however, seem to feel differently. It’s really difficult not to be biased and second-guess things here without all the evidence.

School Board President Wants Charges Against Transgender Teen Dropped « CBS San Francisco.

Staffers for Former Utah Attorney General Caught Sending Transphobic Emails

This guy and his team are a real piece of work. He resigned in disgrace over campaign finance violations and other misdeeds, and his staffers are apparently a bunch of transphobic haters. I don’t know what’s most idiotic – their transphobic comments, or the fact that they are snarking on one of their own Party!

From the article:

Seth Crossley and Renae Cowley, staffers in Swallow’s 2012 reelection campaign, exchanged several of emails using transphobic terms to describe a transgender woman who was a delegate to the Utah Republican Convention…

“77 graced us with their presence yesterday,” Crossley wrote, referring to the number of delegates who had attended a campaign event in the weeks leading up to the convention. “Including the infamous cross dresser!”

Cowley responded to Crossley’s email by demanding a photograph of the delegate. “I’m still waiting for a picture of the tranny!” wrote Cowley.

“I offered a picture of that thing while it was next to me!” replied Crossley. “You declined.”

“No, I didn’t,” Cowley responded. “I just said not an ‘up the skirt shot.'”

This is what these people think of us.

Staffers for Former Utah Attorney General Caught Sending Transphobic Emails | Advocate.com.

Becky Kent, Scottish Transgender Woman, Receives Offensive Note With Divorce Papers

It’s not like divorce isn’t difficult enough to go through, but imagine you are a transgender woman and a court official adds a sticky note on your divorce papers, saying the following?

“Colin it’s right! Man — changed his name to woman’s name — statutory declaration attached! Takes all sorts!”

Since it’s Scotland, the likely result will be a single apology, and no real action taken to fix the issue. It’s not only disheartening, it’s scary when people in the government decide to score “points” off your gender. Hey Scotland, 1970 called, it wants its bigotry back…

Becky Kent, Scottish Transgender Woman, Receives Offensive Note With Divorce Papers.

The ‘Curing’ (Torture and Exploitation) of Australia’s First Transgender Man

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.

The Face of Intolerance: Transgender Students Should be Castrated Before They Can Use the Proper Toilets

Katherine_SvensonThe title summarizes it well, but let me quote from the original article.

During the board’s October meeting, Katherine Svenson sounded the alarm over Massachusetts and California’s recently adapted policies that protect students who identify as a different gender than their biological one. “I just want to emphasize,” she said. “Not in this district. Not until the plumbing’s changed. There would have to be castration in order to pass something like that around here.”

I mean, just wow. People like her see us as less than human, dictating we be essentially neutered. Do you think she would stand for a minute if the tables were turned? And people elected her.

It was noted as well that she made NO comment whatsoever on whether transboys who would use the boy’s toilets would need a hysterectomy…and why should she? She’s another victim of Trans Toilet Terror, which all comes down to the “almighty” penis.

School Board Member: District Won’t Recognize Transgender Students Unless They’re Castrated | ThinkProgress.