Discrimination in Intimate Places

 photo carmen_zps57632587.jpgPetticoat Fair is a well-known Austin lingerie shop specializing in "custom filling of women's intimate apparel since 1964."

 photo KylieJack_zps947f0b32.jpgKylie Jack is a transwoman who went to that store for a bra fitting recently. Last weekend she posted to her Facebook account:

Hello Austinites: today I went for a bra fitting at Petticoat Fair, where an employee humiliated me by asking for ID stating I was female and saying I needed bottom surgery in order to get a fitting. If you are in solidarity with trans women, please boycott Petticoat Fair until they remove their transphobic and cissexist policies. Please feel free to share this post.

A store employee first asked Jack to see her ID in order to prove that she was legally female. That was followed up by a statement that she would have to have had bottom surgery in order to be served by a fitter.

None of that seems to make much sense. Trans women may or may not choose to undergo surgery for any number of reasons, which are their own, and genital surgery is irrelevant to bra-fitting anyway. I’ve been wearing bras since I was 12, and I’m fairly certain that bras and vaginas have nothing to do with each other.

--Elizabeth Licata, The Gloss



Gender Prison: White House to protect transgender people via executive order

I guess it's "In for a penny, in for a pound." With the Republicans threatening to sue over presidential executive actions, a thought which did not receive airing until the president's odrder circumventing the House's non-action on ENDA, President Obama has decided to push forward.

President Obama announced yesterday during the White House's annual LGBT Pride Month reception that he would extend executive action protection to protect transgender federal employees from discrimination.

If Congress won’t act, I will. I have directed my staff to prepare an executive order for my signature that prohibits discrimination by federal contractors on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. And I’ve asked my staff to prepare a second executive order so that federal employees –- who are already protected on the basis of sexual orientation –- will now formally be protected from discrimination based on gender identity as well.

--Barack Obama

White House spokesmen had no further details about what would be contained in the orders.

It’s my understanding that there is an ongoing process as it relates to the drafting of an executive order that would take the kinds of steps the President has talked about quite a bit. But at this point, I don’t have any update for you in terms of the content or the timing of that executive order.

--Press Secretary Josh Earnest




Reclaiming Our History


 photo TransJustice_zps9b0ed6eb.jpg

Forty-five years ago tomorrow, just after midnight, when the NYPD raided the Stonewall Inn, the police handcuffed transgender women, sex workers, and homeless youth, who were herded out of the bar and loaded into paddy wagons.

That was all routine. What was not routine was that the people being rounded up fought back.

TransJustice, sponsored by the Audre Lorde Project celebrated today as the 10th Annual Trans Day of Action for Social and Economic Justice, gathering at Christopher Street Pier from 2pm to 5pm. Representing Trans and Gender Non-Conforming (TGNC) People of Color, TransJustice insists, among other items, that it is time for TGNC people to take back Stonewall from its whitewashed history.

We live in a time when oppressed peoples including people of color, immigrants, youth and elders, people with disabilities, women and TGNC people, and poor people are underserved, face higher levels of discrimination, heightened surveillance and experience increased violence at the hands of the state. We must unite and work together towards dismantling the transphobia, racism, classism, sexism, ageism, ableism, homophobia and xenophobia that permeates our movements for social justice, while also celebrating the victories and strides for the rights of TGNC POC. Let’s come together to let the world know that TGNC rights will not be undermined and together we will not be silenced!



Gender Prison: The Cult of Transgender

No, Federalists. We transpeople are not being totalitarian.

What is it that fear of transgender people is called? Oh, yeah. That would be transphobia. But you know what? Calling writer Stella Morabito at The Federalist transphobic for the article she produced...from whatever orifice it may have emerged...would not make me totalitarian. The designation neither robs her purse nor breaks her leg...and has no legal consequences.

Morabito is worried...about a lot. She's worried that transpeople can have children and thus redefine what it means to be a father or mother. She cites Thomas Beatty giving birth to 3 children during his transition from female to male. She worries that somehow how Thomas, and the rest of us transpeople identify somehow affects how other people are identified.

It’s not an overstatement to say that ENDA is a huge step, mostly under the radar, to codify a new definition of humanity.





Disguise and Deception

 photo chase-culpepper_zps4614b15a.jpgChase Culpepper is a 16-year-old resident of South Carolina. Like 16-year-olds all over the country, Chase applied for his drivers' license this past March. Unlike most 16-year-olds. DMV officials forced Chase to change his appearance before they would take his license picture.

Chase prefers male pronouns at this point, but wears girl's clothing and make-up. DMV workers accused him of not looking the way "a boy should." They refused to take his picture as long as he was "in disguise."

CNN's video is not embeddable

The government should not be in the business of telling men and women how we are supposed to look as men and women.

--Michael Silverman, executive director of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund (TLDEF)



Transgender Heroes: Total invalidation of transpeople in a single headline

How would you imagine it feels for a transgender person to be constantly denied the right to identity their own gender? Consider what it would be like if every day someone came up to you and told you that you were lying about who you really are.

Kat Hache of TheDailyDot takes on Henry Blodget of Business Insider for doing just that.

Blodget got to it really his headline: The Highest Paid Woman CEO Was Born a Man. The implication he's striving for should slap you in the it does us transpeople: What Blodget really means is, "The highest paid woman CEO is not really a woman."




Gender Prison: Anti-transgender violence

The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs has a new report: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and HIV-Affected Hate Violence in 2013.

The report says that 55% of LGBTQ and HIV+ people are assault survivors.

Out of all groups surveyed by NCAVP transgender women (especially transgender women of color) are most likely to be homicide victims. Transgender women and transgender people of color are also the most likely to be victims of police brutality. Transgender women and transgender people of color are six times more likely to experience physical violence from police officers as a general LGBTQ person.

Only 24% of hate violence incidents reported by LGBTQ people were classified by police as bias crimes in 2013. In 2012 77% of hate violence incidents report by LGBTQ people were classified as bias crimes by police.

Immigration status is also an important factor. Immigrant LGBTQ and HIV+ survivors were 3.4 times as likely to experience sexual violence.




Meanwhile in Europe

 photo Alessandra-Bernaroli_zps3fda90c5.jpgAlessandra Bernaroli has been battling with the Italian government for the past five years to keep her legal marriage in tact.

When I was small I liked to play with little girls, I was looking to understand their femininity. I dreamed of becoming a woman but I had no idea what trans-sexuality was.


The 43-year-old bank employee from Bologna was living as a male when she met her wife in the mid-1990s. The couple wed in 2005. It was only after the marriage that Alessandra exposed her transgender feelings to her spouse.

I hid my inner torment from my wife but I felt trapped in a prison, in a body that had become an enemy to me. I suffocated my true identity.


After Bernaroli came out to her wife, her wife agreed to stand by her throughout the process. Alessandra underwent a series of operations in Thailand in 2009.

When they returned to Italy and sought to update their national identity cards, they were informed that they would no longer be classified as married.



Hawaiian transgender woman wins rights after a decade of harassment

 photo kelli-keawe_zpse52380bb.jpgKelli Keawe is a 50-year-old office assistant with the Hawaii Department of Public Safety. She works with the paroling authority. For the past decade she has been restricted to only using the one unmarked restroom in the building in which she works because she is transgender and has not had gender confirmation surgery.

Keawe sued the state alleging discrimination. She also filed a complaint with the EEOC.









If you don’t want to go in the restroom, then don’t go, but don’t call her mister when it’s obvious that’s not what her choice is. It was important to do this to protect her rights and protect the rights of other transgender people.

--Michael Green, Keawe's attorney



Colbert misses the mark: The Transgender Threat to Old People

Sometimes satire fails. Even if you are Stephen Colbert, satire can fail.

Satire is a genre of literature, and sometimes graphic and performing arts, in which vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, corporations, government or society itself, into improvement.

When Colbert decided to use his inimitable charm to take on the subject of transgender seniors gaining the possibility of Medicare coverage of gender confirmation surgery, he neglected the fact that the majority of his audience are opposed to that coverage.

The assumption that all liberals would support transgender-inclusive healthcare ignores reality. Prachi Gupta at Salon addresses the issue.

Even more disturbing than the idea of Nana and Pee-Pop playing Mr. Potatohead downtown is that it violates the tacit agreement we have reached with the transgender community, I agree to be totally cool with it — which I clearly am [footage of his interview with trans activist Janet Mock], which Time Magazine clearly is, and which all the people lobbying for this transgendered woman [Carmen Carrera] to be a Victoria’s Secret model clearly are — as long as you are hot. But now you want me to accept unattractive transgender people? Where does it end? Will I have to accept unattractive non-transgender people? What am I made of? Humanity?

--Stephen Colbert




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