Culture

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Gender Prison: Sometimes life gets too hard

 photo Kyler2_zpsmfrjkhf8.jpgLast Friday was the memorial service for Kyler Prescott. Kyler's mother spoke to the press before the service.

I feel so broken inside. I feel like my soul has been ripped from my body.

--Katherine Prescott

Kyler is described as an accomplished pianist, artist and activist for marriage equality and animal rights. Kyler was 14 when he committed suicide on May 18...the third San Diego area transgender teen to do so since March.

Kyler came out to his family as trans a few years ago and by all accounts his parents were quite supportive.

His parents respected his wishes and referred to him using male pronouns, even asking the young man if he wanted the family to remove childhood photos of him wearing more feminine clothes.

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Tough Times in the Hate Business

I guess when you run a hate organization, you have to keep the perceived horrors involving what you hate in the news in order to keep those donations rolling in. I mean, the hate down't pay for itself!

It must be really painful when this sort of stuff backfires.

Case in point. People have noticed the recent stories about the Girl Scouts' policy on transgender girls. That's not really news. The policy goes back to 2011 when Colorado trans kid Bobby Montoya wanted to join. After Bobby was first humiliated by he local troop leader, the Girl Scouts of Colorado announced,

Girl Scouts is an inclusive organization and we accept all girls in Kindergarten through 12th grade as members.

If a child identifies as a girl and the child's family presents her as a girl, Girl Scouts of Colorado welcomes her as a Girl Scout.

--Girl Scouts

As I reported back then, girls all over the country expressed their support.

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For Mother's Day

 photo Avery_zpslmcolvdr.jpgFriday's entry in the New York Times editorial staff's Transgender Project was Families Share Stories of Raising Transgender Kids.

Among those kids highlighted was Avery Jackson (apparently also known as AJ) a 7 year-old transgender girl from the Kansas City, MO area. Avery insisted that she be allowed to make a video for submission to the story wall.

 

 

When I was born, doctors said I was a boy, but I knew in my heart I was a girl,” she says. “Even though I was a girl, I was afraid to tell my mom and dad, because I thought they would not love me anymore or throw me out or stop giving me any food or anything.

--Avery

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Hallmark jerks tears for Mother's Day

 photo Alex_zpssd4tc1kx.jpgHallmark has a new campaign for Mother's Day, #PutYour HeartToPaper

Alex, a transgender man, begins with this:

My mom is the most light, bright, positive person I have ever met in my life, and that's just how she's always been.

When she hugs me, she really hugs me. And when you get a good hug, that is something that makes you feel safe and loved and she's the only one that has that effect on me.

I've never felt [at] home in my body, and even though I was born a girl, I always felt like I was a boy. And I was afraid to tell her because I thought love would have conditions.

And the unconditional love that she's shown has made me a better person in all of my relationships.

The video is on the other side.

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Survey Says: Visibility Matters

 photo VisibilityMatters_blog263_2_zpsd4w0hmxm.pngThe Human Rights Campaign (HRC) commissioned Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research to survey likely voters about their knowledge of and attitude toward transgender people.

In 2013 the Public Religion Research Institute reported that 9% of Americans reported having a close friend or family member who was transgender. Last year, an HRC survey revealed that 17% of respondents either personally knew or worked with someone who was transgender. This year that latter number is up 5 points to 22%.

What’s important is that the number of Americans who know someone who is transgender is growing rapidly. And what’s equally important, those who do know a transgender person are much more likely to have a positive impression of transgender Americans. This is consistent with our survey research on marriage equality and other LGBT issues, which has consistently found that it is important for LGBT people to share their personal stories. We asked if likely voters “personally know or work with someone who is transgender.” For those who responded to our survey saying they “personally know or work with someone who is transgender,” their favorability for “transgender people” is 66 percent, with 13 percent unfavorable. That’s a favorability a net of +53 percentage points. Compare that to those who said they “do not” personally know or work with a transgender person. The rating for those who don’t is 37 favorable, 30 unfavorable, a net of only +7. (The margin of error for this survey subgroup is 6.67 percent).

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Our Choice

At the end of March, Vogue India released a video featuring 99 women, many of them Bollywood actresses, intended to be a message of empowerment. Directed by Homi Adajania and based on a work written by Kersi Khambatta, the video features the voice of Deepika Padukone.

 

 

In my family, my father is the only male in the house, but all of us have a voice. I've always been allowed to be who I want to be. When you're not caged, when you don't succumb to expectation, that's when you're empowered.

--Padukone

The short filmed received a lot of harsh criticism and several pushback parodies.

Teen Pathar has now released a transgender version, available on the other side.

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It get's better? Not fast enough, not here and not now

Life near Camp Pendleton is apparently lacking in support for transgender kids.

 photo Sage-David_zpsrsqte3za.jpgOn March 3, Sage took his own life.

Sage was one of us and was one of the many LGBTQIA teens that frequents the North County LGBTQ Resource Center.

Our Center’s youth want to celebrate Sage’s life and remember his legacy of love and acceptance, and not dwell on his pain. While so many have been questioning the reason behind this tragedy, Sage was loved and respected by his family and peers and this is how his closest friends here at the Center want to remember him.

However, Sage’s story brought to our attention just how vulnerable our LGBTQIA youth really are, constantly challenged by a society that only seems to accept and impose a gender binary idea of the world.

--Max Disposti, North County LGBTQ Resource Center in Oceanside, CA

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An Enlightened Mayor

 photo betsy-hodgesweb-817x404_c_zps4xiso5n8.jpgLast Thursday Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges gave the 2015 State of the City Address at the American Swedish Institute.

She demonstrated what a progressive mayor can be.

Video of the speech will be across the fold, but it is nearly an hour long. I suggest listening to the whole of it when you have time. Climate change, equal opportunity regardless of race, parental leave, mass transit, living wage, paid sick leave, strengthening unions...it'a all there.

Personally I want to zero in n the last approximately six minutes.

At 42:30 in Mayor Hodges' speech, she says:

Recently, a person very dear to me let me know she was a transgender woman. My first response? Congratulations, and how great! The ability to know who she is and live as herself is a wonderful thing and worthy of celebration.

Now all of us must work together to make that truth real everywhere she goes.

Last year saw history made in our state and in the city of Minneapolis. I was so proud of the Minnesota state high school league when they voted overwhelmingly in December to make sure transgender athletes could play and participate as their lived gender. We at the city convened the first Transgender Issues Work Group, tasked with examining and recommending policy for the City enterprise and the city as a whole. They also hosted the city’s first-ever Trans Summit, bringing together community members, community organizations, City departments, and overall community resources to take the next steps toward community-generated policy change. I was proud to be part of it. Much love and credit to Andrea Jenkins, whose dedication and activism made it possible; I wish her well in her new role as the new and first ever oral historian for the Transgender Project at the University of Minnesota Libraries.

The 2015 horizon is bright as the next generation of city policy begins to take shape. This work is needed. Transgender people experience some of the worst levels of violent crime, hate crime, discrimination in the workplace and in public, stereotypes, and ignorance of any group in this country or in the world. Here in Minnesota, 77% of transgender people report experiencing harassment on the job. 27% of transgender kids in school report being assaulted. Most damning, 43% of the trans people surveyed reported attempting suicide compared to 1.6% of the general population.

What can any one of us do in the face of this data? In our interactions with transgender people — frankly, as in our interactions with anyone — we must start with love and with celebration. We must start with the knowledge that being who you are in this world is to be celebrated. We must follow that with the commitment to making each one of us safe as we walk through the world as ourselves. And we must follow that with policies that support it.

Everyone in our city can learn from the courage that our transgender friends display every day. To my transgender friends, I want to thank you for your investment in Minneapolis, our community, and our people. The best way I can thank you is by persisting in my commitment to making sure that all of us know that all of us need to be in the picture of this city for us to succeed, including and especially you.

Because we can’t do this without you, Minneapolis. Everyone must be in this picture or we will not be One Minneapolis.

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