Gender Prison

Gender Prison: A small but important detail

Last week the Senate Judiciary Committee in Illinois unanimously passed HB 3552, which is an amendment to the Disposition of Remains Act which would allow transgender people to provide written instructions to the person charged with the responsibility for carrying out the decedent's funeral and disposition of remains to ensure that said transgender person's identity is respected.

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Miley Cyrus? Really?

 photo prism_zpsdmci5cay.jpgPerhaps I should start off with a personal note. When I was living in Arkansas after my transition, I used to run a LGBT group out of my home: Conway Prism. Although the group was mainly advertised as a gay-friendly atmosphere, we were open to anyone who wanted to attend and respect everyone else who was there. Someone once ask me what the point of it was. My response was that I wanted everyone to become a member.

 photo Cyrus_zpskxfojncb.jpgIt appears that philosophy may undergo some testing.

A week ago, Cyrus announced the beginning of her Happy Hippie Foundation, which is designed to help homeless and other at risk LGBT youth.

At the event, Cyrus also announced that not all of her past relationships have been heterosexual...and that she sees herself as being "gender fluid."

Cyrus says she was resentful that she was a girl.

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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

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Aftermath

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.

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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."

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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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Manifestos

 photo tc1.jpgOn this International Day of Transgender Visibility dueling manifestos have apparently broken out. I've always been a bit wary of manifestos as a general rule, but I suppose they have their place.

In Great Britain (or anywhere) a coming together of the various and sundry transgender constituencies for any purpose is a great feat indeed, but they did so in late 2013, in hopes of creating a bit of focus.

My view about four or five years ago was that protection trans people had in the law exceeded the societal understanding of trans issues but it wouldn’t take very much for that situation to be reversed. I think we’re now at that point. People now understand a lot more about trans issues because of the general publicity. The law is trying to progress, but it’s not progressing anything like as fast as the social understanding.

--Helen Belcher, LGBT Consortium

TransManifesto.org was launched yesterday. It "allows users to view which candidates have indicated their support for the Trans Manifesto, and those who have declined it."

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Gender Prison: Trial begins in the killing of Jennifer Laude

 photo Laude_zpsegwflf54.jpgThe trial of Marine Pfc. Joseph Pemberton in the murder of transgender Fillipina Jennifer Laude began yesterday.

 photo Pemberton_zpsoox2j9xa.jpgPemberton arrived in court with what was called a security escort but appears to the casual observer to be his entourage.

Laude's mother, Julita Cabillan, when approached by reporters was reported to have said that she would not drop the case, even is she was offered a million dollars.

Lawyers for the Laude family say that prosecutor Emilie Fe de los Santos had taken that statement as a sign that the Laude family was open to a plea bargain and that the prosecutor promoted that idea with defense attorneys.

Laude's relatives say they received a letter from Pemberton offering 21 million pesos (US $468,000) in exchange for their approval to lower the charge from murder to homicide. Murder carries a 40 year sentence, while homicide gets 20 years.

No amount of money could pay for the years I spent raising my child.

What they did to my child was gruesome. Just because we are poor doesn't mean we can't fight for justice.

--Cabillan

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Army discharge policy: Changing while remaining the same

This past Friday the US Army suspended the direct discharge of soldiers on account of being transgender. Any such cases must henceforth be reviewed by the Assistant Secretary of the Army.

Today’s action by the Army helps over 6,000 transgender soldiers serving in silence.
While transgender service members welcome this step, they recognize it is only a stopgap measure aimed at making a failing policy fail less. What they and their commanders need is a comprehensive, Department-level policy review.

--Allyson Robinson, a former Army captain and SPARTA Director of Policy

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