Transgender Center opens in the Bronx

The Bronx Trans Collective is a new drop-in center near Yankee Stadium in the Bronx in New York City.

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[The Center] will aim to bring together people who are often overlooked or disconnected even in New York City, which is considered to be the birthplace of the modern gay rights movement. The center will help transgender people get surgeries, hormone treatments, mental health counseling and assistance with legal name changes and job searches, among other services. It will also host regular support groups, youth counseling, meditation and yoga classes and cookouts on its back terrace. 

The center is important for me because it is going to give me convenience, safety and a sense of community.

--Eli Berry, 28, who plans to stop by every week

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Human Interest

 photo Marcelas_zpsh0yuokcu.jpgMarcelas Owens created quite a stir six years ago as the "Obamacare Kid." At the time he was a chubby 11-year-old African-American boy in a black vest who watched President Obama sign the AFA into law.

Marcelas' mother died because she didn't have health insurance, Owens says. She was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension in 2006. Her illness caused her to miss days at work, which led to her losing her job. She was denied Medicaid because she had earned too much money working the previous year.

So Marcelas started attending Obamacare rallies and "gave a human face to an abstract political isse."

Marcelas stepped into a new role. While other kids his age could barely mumble while speaking before a class, he was speaking to crowds of up to 6,000 people at rallies. At one rally in Seattle, he met U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, a Democrat from the state of Washington.

And when the Affordable Care Act was passed, he was invited to the White House signing ceremony. He still talks about the experience with a sense of awe.

"I got a high five and fist bump from Barack Obama!"

So this is all old news and some of you may have heard this story and more.

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Michigan changes ID policy

Effective March 10, the Michigan Secretary of State has altered the policy on transgender people changing the gender on our driver's license.

Under the new policy, a passport denoting current gender is enough proof to change the gender on the license. The old policy required proof that the applicant had undergone sex reassignment surgery.

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Four Transgender Heroes

Cyndi Lauper's True Colors Foundation has named four transgender women who should be declared International Heroes for Women's History Month.

Just as we can’t limit the celebration of women across the world to just a single day, we can’t limit the great potential of women to boxes. Today, we do more than just celebrate the great women trailblazers who fulfilled roles historically dominated by men. Today, we also celebrate the women who created their own roles and bettered life for their own communities from the inside out.

--Nicolas Seip for True Colors

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Focus on the Family goes full bonkerz in LA

 photo Zoey_zps7sexafev.jpgLos Angeles Mayor Eric Garceti announced a newly created nine-member Transgender Advisory Council will advise city officials on various issues affecting the transgender community.

Today, the City of Los Angeles sends a clear message to transgender Angelenos: your voices matter and your experiences count.

The nine members of our Transgender Advisory Council will bring a new and important perspective to City Hall that will help empower trans Angelenos to lead stigma-free, productive, and meaningful lives.

--Mayor Garceti

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White House appoints first transgender LGBT liaison

I know that everyone has been distracted, what with the Ides of March passing, five primaries, and the beginning of March Madness, but you know what?

Other things continue to happen.

 photo Raffie_zpswwbfwyrp.pngWhy, just Monday the White House appointed the first ever transgender person to the post of LGBT liaison. She's a Jewish Latina trans woman (you know, the person you joke about when trying to be over-the-top absurdly politically correct), named Raffi Freedman-Gurspan.

Freedman-Gurspan became the first transgender staffer appointed to the White House in 2015, working as the outreach and recruitment director in the presidential personnel office.

Raffi's new official title is Outreach & Recruitment Director for Presidential Personnel and Associate Director for Public Engagement.

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Shakespeare on transgender

University of British Columbia professor of English Literature Mary Ann Saunders is presenting at a conference which begins on Thursday. The conference is called 2016/Moving Trans History Forward: Building Communities -- Sharing Conections and it is being held at the University of Victoria. Keynote speakers are Jamison Green of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health and SiriusXM founder Martine Rothblatt.

Professor Saunders' paper is The (Transgender) Tempest: Shakespeare as Trans Archive. She will be speaking, of course, about the character Ariel, the spirit who is the sorcerer Prospero's indentured servant.

On three occasions during the play, Prospero orders Ariel to take on female form.

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Christian: Let my people go

Pastor John Pavlovitz is on a mission...to say "stuff that needs to
be said."

An essay he wrote in late February is now making the rounds: Christian, Let My Transgender People Go! (When Bigotry Uses the Bathroom)

It's not that I haven't written the exact same things myself, but my motives are suspect since I am myself trans. Pastor John is not.

I'll pick out some of my favorite paragraphs, but reading the whole thing would be a benefit to you and probably society.

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Her name was Jasmine

 photo jasmine_0_zpsyvamphqw.jpgBack in January...January 22 to be exact....police found the body of Jasmine Sierra, a 52-year-oldtransgender woman of color, was found in an apartment in Bakersfield, CA. According to the police report, the body showed signs of trauma and foul play.

While police reportedly interviewed neighbors and witnesses about hearing gunshots and fighting, they won't release further specifics about the circumstances of Sierra’s death. Calls to Bakersfield police were not returned by press time.

Unfortunately, at the time the coroner and media identified Jasmine as a male and used her birth name, while asking "anyone with information helpful to the investigation to call police."

Because of the deadnaming, none of Jasmine's friends and acquaintances could help out because they didn't know she was dead.

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Still and forever a Democrat

Still and forever a Democrat

I understand some of the rhetoric. I've been there. Heck, I'll be 68 in 22 days. How could I not have been where you feel you are now.

When I was 18, I was a McCarthy supporter, but was deemed too young to vote. One might think that would be enough to put me off the whole concept of voting right there.

I backed McGovern in 1972. We know how that worked out.

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