International Advances in Transgender Rights

The World Medical Association held is annual Assembly this past weekend in Moscow.

If you are like me, you've barely heard of the WMA, if at all. Established in 1947, the WMA's purpose is "to serve humanity by endeavoring to achieve the highest international standards in Medical Education, Medical Science, Medical Art and Medical Ethics, and Health Care for all people in the world." The organization had 106 constituent members and 1013 Associate members as of 2014.

Delegates from 60 national medical associations voted on Sunday to adopt new guidelines for physicians to increase their knowledge about, respect to and sensitivity towards "transgender people and the unique health issues they face."

The delegates from nearly 60 national medical associations adopted guidelines saying that being transgender is “not a disorder”, that “everyone has the right to determine their own gender, and that the WMA rejects “coercive treatment or forced behavior modification.”

Furthermore the WMA agreed that "every effort" should be undertaken to make available "individualized, multi-professional, interdisciplinary and affordable transgender healthcare."

The guidelines were proposed by the German Medical Association, which said they acknowledged the inequities faced by the transgender community and the crucial role played by physicians in advising transgender people and their families about treatment.

Delegates said they were aware of the cultural sensitivities in some parts of the world about this issue, but also said it was important for the WMA to stress that cultural, political or religious considerations must not take precedence over the rights, health and well-being of transgender people.




Where we stand

Vanessa Baird, co-editor of the New Internationalist. has created a video intended to promote that magazine's October issue. I decided to bogart it for my own purposes, because the video provides a fairly good summary of where the transgender community stands at this particular time.






The President (No, not the American one) speaks out against murder of transgender woman

Argentina President Cristina Fernandez has asked for the full involvement of of federal and Buenos Aires police in finding the person who killed transgender and LGBT activist Diana Sacayan.

Sacayan's body was found in an apartment in Buenos Aires on Tuesday. It is believed she had been stabbed to death.

 photo Argentinas-Fernandez-seeks-justice-in-transgender-killings_zps6ana2k4r.jpgFernandez spoke from the city of Garin. She personally presented Sacayan with the first identification document in Argentina to indicate a gender change.



Her Name was Zella

It has been ten whole days since I wrote about the murder of a trans woman of color.

The respite couldn't last.

In the early evening on Thursday Zella Ziona, 21, was walking in an alleyway between two shopping centers in Montgomery Village, Maryland when she was surrounded by four or five teenagers. According to a witness, one of the youths pulled out a gun and shot Ziona in the head.

Zella was rushed to a hospital, where she died.

Police initially identified the victim as a woman, but by later in the evening insisted on misgendering and dead-naming her. As usual, the media followed suit.

An impromptu vigil took place last night.



Doctors needed

The Journal of the American Medical Association's online Medical column for October is Laura Buchholz' Transgender Care Moves Into the Mainstream

Despite the name of the article, Ms Buchholz highlights the difficulty transgender people have in obtaining competent medical care.

Trans people have been excluded from medical care, and their issues have been deemed not medical and not important.

--Joseph Freund, MD, a primary care physician at Franklin Family Practice in Des Moines, Iowa

Dr Freund recounted his struggles with insurance companies over reimbursement for transgender care, yet another barrier that transgender patients encounter.



Vituperation in Edmonton

The Edmonton Catholic School District has been trying to come up with a policy about transgender students, as required by the Alberta Ministry of Education.

The result, as you might imagine, has been a lot of screaming and shouting.



Lead transphobe has been Trustee Larry Kowalczyk. Back in September his statement about the possibility of a policy was:

I see that as a mental disorder, my faith sees it as a mental disorder.

My stand is with that of the church. God has not made a mistake in the gender of me, or you, or anyone else.


In the earlier interview, he compared transgender people to those suffering from schizophrenia and dissociative identity disorder.



Segregation: not just another word for privacy

Township High School School District 211 in Palatine, iL has a transgender student. In 2014, the girl was allowed to play sports, but has been forced to change in a separate room located a long way away from the gym.

The ACLU assisted the student to file a complaint with the DOE, calling the district's stance "blatant discrimination, no matter how the district tries to couch it."

We're talking about somebody who is being denied fair and equal treatment as compared to the other students, only because she is transgender.

--John Knight, ACLU of Illinois

Federal officials responded to the complaint, which was filed about a year and a half ago with the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights, by saying the school is in violation of the Title IX gender equality law, according to the ACLU and district officials. A representative of the civil rights office could not be reached Monday.

Following precedent in two similar cases in California, DOE's Office of Civil Rights informed District 211 in a not-yet-public decision that depriving the student of equal access to facilities violates Title IX’s sex nondiscrimination protections, calling such treatment "inadequate and discriminatory."



Dem. Representatives petition the TSA on behalf of trans passengers

In the wake of the September 21 harassment by TSA officers of transgender women Shadi Petosky at Orlando International Airport for having a "genital anomaly", 32 members of Congress have demanded answers from Transportation Security Chief Peter Neffenger.

While we understand the importance of vigilant airport security, we cannot countenance a security protocol that subjects transgender travelers to this level of indignity. To that end, we urge TSA to complete a thorough review of its current procedures and address any shortcomings that may, however unintentionally, subject transgender travelers to inequitable or improper treatment by security personnel.




The Breakfast Club (Al be back)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We're a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we're not too hungover  we've been bailed out we're not too exhausted from last night's (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late,
it's PhilJD's fault. 





Human Rights Watch, UN Human Rights Office challenge Malaysian Federal Court ruling

 photo Jina_zps4vpbhvna.jpgOn October 8 the Malaysian Federal Court reversed a lower court ruling that the state of Negeri Sembilan's prohibition on cross-dressing was unconstitutional. On entirely technical grounds, the Federal Court upheld Sharia law that prohibits "a male person posing as a woman."

The judicial decision is a serious setback in a four-year struggle by transgender activists to end arbitrary arrests of transgender women on the basis of discriminatory laws.

--Human Rights Watch

This Federal Court ruling is a major setback for transgender rights.

Trans women in Malaysia, who were buoyed by the landmark lower court decision recognizing their rights to be themselves, have been let down once again.

--Neela Ghoshal, Human Rights Watch




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