PBS: The science of being our authentic selves

It is not unusual during the course of the day to discover someone who is totally invested in the idea that gender is totally determined by chromosomes and therefore accepting trans people for who we say we are is just an exercise in "political correctness."

A more apparent example of this kind of doubt can be found in a new post at The Federalist called, It’s Not Hateful To Point Out Bruce Jenner Isn’t A Woman. Whereas Robberson offered confused hesitation, Daniel Payne owned his rejection of transgender identities, as many other Federalist writers have done. He argued that journalists “are doing a grave disservice to a segment of the population desperately in need of psychological counseling,” causing them harm by “accommodating their illness.” This is despite the fact that gender dysphoria was declassified as a mental disorder several years ago.

Payne’s attack on transgender equality relied on myths about transition regret, and he distorted data about the high suicide attempt rates in the transgender community. Instead of recognizing that the same study also found rampant discrimination in employment, housing, health care, public safety, and public accommodations — basically every facet of a trans person’s life — Payne simply assumed “the presence of tremendous pain, confusion, and despair” must stem from their “misconceptions.” After asserting that Bruce Jenner “is not a man,” he concluded, “People who believe they are transgender need help, and they need the truth. We should deny them neither.”

--Zack Ford, ThinkProgress



NYT Editorial board does transgender

On Monday the editorial staff of the New York Times launched a series about transgender rights.

Transgender Today used up the entirety of the space usually used for editorials (usually three articles).

One of the great things about an editorial page is that you can decide to make a big deal out of something, and we decided to make a big deal out of transgender equality.

There has been progress in this area, but there is a long way to go. This is not a front-burner issue for people, and we hope to make it one. We want policy makers to read this and think about policies they need to change.

--Andrew Rosenthal




Kumu Hina

 photo kumu hina_zps5qzudjwh.jpgHina Wong-Kalu is a māhū. That is the native Hawaiian term for a person who embodies both male and female spirit. In the language of Western culture a māhū would be called transgender.

Māhū is also Hawaiian for "fag."

But that is limiting the concept.

It is not a gender, it’s not an orientation, it’s not a sect, it’s not a particular demographic and it’s definitely not a race. It is simply an expression of the third person as it involves the individual. When you find that place in yourself to acknowledge both male and female aspects within and accept the capacity to embrace both … that is where the māhū exists and true liberation happens.

--Kaumakaiwa Kanaka‘ole



Data diving at Pew

Apparently Pew Research Center didn't want to be left behind in the transgender race, so Sara Kehaulani Goo dug up a survey from 2013 and spelunked in the data contained therein.

The online survey interviewed 1197 self-identified LGBT adults, of which 43 identified as transgender (3.6%). Forty percent of respondents identified as bisexual, 33.2% identified as gay men, and 23.1% were lesbians.

As often happens, all transgender respondents were apparently excluding from the other groups, under the apparent assumption that transgender people do not have sexual orientations.




One thing the Bruce Jenner interview accomplished for the transgender community that we can point to as perhaps most important was bringing our plight to the forefront of local awareness.

Across the nation local news media determined that they needed to suplement the interview with local interest.

And I can't speak for anyone else, but I've had about a dozen people from past communities in which I have lived ask to friend me on Facebook...mostly people I've either forgotten or never knew in the first place.




The morning after

The Interview last night was...not a disaster. There was some doubt about that running up to the occasion.

But Bruce did okay, for the most part. I mean, I could have written some of the words she used. In fact, I did write some of them, as you could find in my autobiographical pieces I shared over the first ten weeks of this year.

I'm not claiming that Jenner used my writings inappropriately...or even that she read them. It is the case that many of us transgender people analyze the experience and progression of our lives in similar ways, so it is not surprising that we might use some of the same words.



That Transjenner moment

(Re: the title

I swear, I couldn't help myself. We all know someone was going to use it. I just thought I'd avoid the rush.

It's a play on the CNN story from yesterday, America's transgender moment.)

The LA Times put the following byte under their lead photo:

Bruce Jenner's interview with Diane Sawyer will be so widely watched Friday night it could prove a tipping point, further normalizing Americans' perceptions of the nation's transgender population.

Or, you know, not. It could also be a huge disaster for us public-relations-wise.

 photo cardassian_zps602gqsbd.jpg



Transman leads Reader Voting in Ultimate Guy Contest

 photo aydian_zpsffnfholk.jpgAydian Dowling is a transman, originally from New York, but now living in Eugene, OR. Aydian is set to be the first transgender man to grace the cover of Men's Health magazine by winning their Ultimate Guy contest.

While the ultimate decision is made by a panel of judges, Aydian has a substantial lead with 48732 total votes in the Reader's Choice portion of the competition, compared to the second place contestant, who currently has 10070.

The contest advertises, "Our judges are looking for a guy who is fit and fearless, a doer who gives back and leads by example."




Not Newsworthy

Media Matters has studied the network and cable news coverage of transgender issues for the first two months of this year.

Anyone want to guess what they discovered?

Network news spent 19 minutes and 19 seconds on transgender issues (ABC = 2:06, CBS 10:48, NBC = 6:25). ABC decided transgender issues were worthy of no more than one segment in that two month period. Almost half of the CBS coverage concerned the phenomenon on Amazon's Transparent.

The Cable news outlets, were marginally better, spending one hour, 58 minutes, and 57 seconds (CNN = 46:20, MSNBC = 61:20, FOX = 11:17)

Media Matters reports that nearly half of the MSNBC coverage occurred during Ronan Farrow Daily (in excess of 29 minutes), which was cancelled at the end of February.



Do you want a happy kid, or a dead kid?

 photo ABC_Nathan_Jones_bc_150401_16x9_992_zps65wtn9nk.jpgABC Nightline followed a transman (identified as Nathan Jones) through four years of transition, from age 14 through graduation from high school.






There is some stereotypical language used.

I've always felt like I've had a boy's brain. And I always felt like I was trapped in this girl's body.

Nathan’s parents ask that you have tolerance in hearing his story. And before judging, know this: In 2015 alone, six transgender teens have already committed suicide, according to news reports, and it's often because they're unsupported by parents or peers. In fact, a staggering 41 percent of transgender youth will commit suicide before age 25.




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