At the crosswalk of haters and hate

Stephen E. Thompson is a 45 year-old man who was working as a DJ at a party thrown at Down Under Lounge in Omaha. His attire for the evening consisted of what has been called priestly garb: (a black Catholic shirt with priest collar and skinny skeleton jeans.

 photo barone_zps14zw6rq6.jpgKara Jeslyn Barone, 27, and a friend, both transgender women, needed to use the women's restroom that night. It turned out that Thompson's girlfriend, Dahlia Strange, needed to use the restroom at the same time.

These things happen...especially at bars.

Thompson went berserk. He began kicking at the door and tried to force his way in. Barone pushed him out and locked the door in order to keep him out. Strange finished her business and opened the door to leave. Thompson took the opportunity to punch Barone in the face...while calling her a "faggot" and other anti-gay slurs.



LGBT Catholics request meeting with Pope

 photo 29CATHOLICSWEB-master675_zpsvohjqqm2.jpgAhead of the Pope's scheduled September visit to the United States, a group of LGBT Americans have sent His Holiness a letter asking him to meet with them and their family members to "promote great healing and reconciliation in our Church and society."

Lui Akira Francesco Matsuo said he was standing in line for communion one Sunday at his Roman Catholic church in Detroit when a fellow parishioner pulled him aside: Didn’t he know that the archbishop had just urged supporters of same-sex marriage not to take communion?

Mr. Matsuo, who is transgender, left and never returned to his parish.

Matsuo is one of the signers of the letter.

I want him to extend his hand openly, especially to the transgender community. I am a practicing Catholic. I just don’t have a parish I can call home.

--Mr. Matsuo, who is 28 and said he has identified as male ever since he was a toddler




When you read the Diamond Sutra, you will read these characters:

Depending upon nothing, you must find your own mind.
--Diamond Sutra

So last evening I was looking around for a story to do for today and I ran across this article about Trace Peterson, who will teach a class at Hunter College this fall on the poetry of transgender people.

Literature departments and studies of literature are very comfortable approaching transgender subject matter as theory, or as types of metaphor. But there’s very little study of literature by transgender people.


Peterson is editor and publisher of the journal EOAGH and coeditor of Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics

And I reminded myself that I have not written a poem in ages. I didn't start writing them until I began to transition...or at least to explore transition. And now I have written over 200. But its been a few years since I visited that art.




Federal Judge nixes Title IX legal theory

Gavin Grimm sat quietly in the audience last November as dozens of parents at a school board meeting in Gloucester County, Va., demanded that he be barred from using the boys’ restrooms at school. They discussed the transgender boy’s genitals, expressed concern that he might expose himself and cautioned that being in a men’s room would make the teenager vulnerable to rape. One person called him a “freak.”

When Gavin, 16, got his turn at the podium, he was remarkably composed. “I didn’t ask to be this way,” Gavin said. “All I want to do is be a normal child and use the restroom in peace.”

Today, Judge Robert Doumar of Federal District Court in Virginia was scheduled to consider whether Gloucester school board's banning of Gavin from the men's restroom consitutes unlawful discrimination.

Judge. Doumar said in federal court in Norfolk on Monday that it was "highly unlikely" that he will grant a preliminary injunction that would require Gloucester County Public Schools to allow a 16-year-old transgender student to use the boys' restroom this fall.

The injunction is a part of a lawsuit filed on behalf of Gavin Grimm by the American Civil Liberties Union, which seeks a court order requiring the school board to let Grimm use the boys' restroom, even though he was born female.

Doumar said he will issue a written opinion on the injunction and after that, set a trial date on the lawsuit.

Doumar did dismiss the Title IX discrimination claims in the lawsuit, saying federal law allows schools to have separate restrooms based on sex.

The DOJ had filed a statement of interest on behalf of Gavin earlier this month.




 photo Kc Haggard_zps4q2g49c8.jpgAround 2am Thursday K. c. Haggard was walking along a Fresno street when an SUV pulled up and engaged K.c. in conversation through the passenger side window. Suddenly the occupant of the vehicle reached out of it to stab K. c. in the neck...and then drove off. The murder was caught on video from a surveillance camera outside a tattoo parlor. I have chosen not to share that video.

Haggard was later pronounced dead at Community Regional Medical Center.

Fresno police described Haggard as a man named Kenton, even though K. c. was wearing a dress and cardigan and carrying a purse.

Fresno police Lt. Joe Gomez said the department refers to crime victims by their physiological sex and will only note a person’s transgender status if that information will help the investigation.

Gomez said investigators have received no information indicating that Haggard was transgender.

Gomez added that police also have no reason to believe that Haggard was killed because of appearance or possible transgender status.



Transgender Health

The World Health Organization has released report, Transgender people and HIV, in which one might expect that the major news would be about HIV. But in fact, Section 8.1.6, Sexually transmitted infections and cervical cancer, earned top billing.

Of particular note is the measurably higher risk of cervical, ovarian, and uterine cancer faced by transgender men who retain genitalia they were born with. Due to stigma and social exclusion, many do not regularly receive gynecological examinations and concomitant cervical and ovarian screenings.

We might recall that the National Transgender Discrimination Study of 2012 found that 48% of transgender men reported postponing or avoiding preventative health care due to fear of discrimination and one in five trans men refuse healthcare because doctors and their personnel refer to them as the wrong gender.

Ovarian cancer is relatively rare but accounts for a disproportionate number of cancer deaths because it is too often diagnosed at an advanced stage. If it is found early, it can be a highly treatable disease. For trans men, ovarian cancer poses an extra challenge, due not only increased risk factors and decreased access to healthcare but also to the increased levels of discrimination faced by the trans community. The National LGBT Cancer Network encourages all of us to pay careful attention to the early symptoms of the disease and seek prompt and culturally competent medical care.

--National LGBT Cancer Network



Guidelines issued to New York schools

Last month I wrote a couple of diaries about New York's struggles with its own Dignity for All Students Act:

Indignity in New York, one of my least successful diaries ever, concerned an NYCLU on the status of transgender students in the state

Outraged focused on Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Angry Letter to Acting Education Commissioner Elizabeth Berlin demanding action to ameliorate the situation.

Funny thing about that letter: As well-publicized as it was, Education Department spokesman Dennis Tompkins says that Berlin never received it.

Be that as it may, this past Tuesday the New York Board of Regents issued guidelines to schools about how to treat transgender students. The Regents called for schools to respect the self-identity of youngster whenever the subject of gender arises.



Not a man in a dress

 photo Clarke_zpsxwns6dbz.jpgSeveral dozen folks gathered last evening at the University Area Community Center in Tampa, including the friends and family of transgender woman India Clarke, whose body had been found Tuesday morning at playground near the center, a victim of blunt force trauma.

A growing shrine at the site near where Clarke’s body was found included a stuffed bear, flowers and balloons and, because India would have loved it, two selfies.

So he has a picture in his phone and I pray that they find his phone so that I can get a copy of that picture, cause he took his last picture of me and him together Sunday leaving my house.’

--Thelma Clarke, India's mother



New data on trans kids

Dr. Johanna Olson of Children's Hospital in Los Angeles has authored another study on transgender kids. Appearing in the Journal of Adolescent Health, the study is entitled Baseline Physiologic and Psychosocial Characteristics of Transgender Youth Seeking Care for Gender Dysphoria

The purpose of this study was to describe baseline characteristics of participants in a prospective observational study of transgender youth (aged 12–24 years) seeking care for gender dysphoria at a large, urban transgender youth clinic.

We've now put to rest the residual belief that transgender experience is a result of a hormone imbalance. It's not.

--Dr. Olson


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