Posts Tagged ‘trans’

How Grantland Helped Push a Transgender Woman Over the Edge

January 23, 2014 By Guest Contributor

transgolfBy Julian Cabrera and Josh Steichmann

A week ago, Grantland, a sports and culture website run by Bill Simmons, published a story by Caleb Hannan about a purportedly revolutionary putter invented by Dr. Essay Anne Vanderbilt, but Hannan was more fascinated with unraveling Vanderbilt’s mysterious personal life than her clubs.

He dug into her background, which she claimed was MIT physics with a dollop of top secret government work, but Dr. V got cagey, then angry. She pleaded and threatened, but Hannan kept going.

“The deeper I looked, the stranger things got,” Hannan wrote. And after tantalizing hints and incredulous foreshadowing, Hannan outed Dr. V as a transgender woman.

The story got stranger, and darker. Hannan learned that Dr. V had attempted suicide before, and her correspondence grew even more erratic. A few weeks after she last emailed Hannan, telling him he was committing a hate crime, Dr. V killed herself. Hannan describes Dr. V’s brother-in-law giving a brusque and cruel report of her death, then blithely wonders what it means about himself.

The backlash started nearly immediately, with Grantland editor-in-chief Bill Simmons writing a broad apology. In it, he acknowledged that Grantland and Hannan had made grievous mistakes.

“Caleb’s biggest mistake? Outing Dr. V to one of her investors while she was still alive. I don’t think he understood the moral consequences of that decision, and frankly, neither did anyone working for Grantland,” wrote Simmons.

“I didn’t know nearly enough about the transgender community — and neither does my staff,” Simmons wrote. “That’s not an acceptable excuse; it’s just what happened…We’re never taking the Dr. V piece down from Grantland partly because we want people to learn from our experience.”

Christina Kahrl, a transgender woman and baseball writer, wrote a blistering guest piece on Hannan’s article and Grantland’s carelessness.

“By any professional or ethical standard … it wasn’t [Hannan’s] information to share,” Kahrl wrote. “[He] really should have simply stuck with debunking those claims to education and professional expertise relevant to the putter itself, [and] dropped the element of her gender identity if she didn’t want that to be public information — as she very clearly did not.”

Kahrl also pointed out that the piece, aimed towards “mostly white, mostly older, mostly male audience,” did nothing but “reinforce several negative stereotypes about trans people.” And more than that, Kahrl also gave important historical context — up until fairly recently, transgender people were advised to adopt “deep stealth,” and completely abandon their previous lives in order to transition to their authentic gender identity.

“Stealth is tough to maintain, and generally involves trading one closet for another: You may be acting on your sense of self to finally achieve happiness, but the specter of potential discovery is still with you. And if you wind up in the public eye for any reason, stealth might be that much more difficult to maintain,” wrote Kahrl.

A story originally meant to be about a discovery that could have changed the world of golf unfortunately devolved into blind, unthinking privilege, and may have cost a woman her life.

More reactions: Shakesville: Careless, Cruel and Unaccountable.

Rebecca Schoenkopf: That Grantland Trans* Story.

Cyd Zeigler: How Grantland Failed the Trans Community.

Alyssa Rosenberg: Ten Questions Grantland Should Answer About Dr. V and the Magic Putter.

Paris Lees: Is it OK for a Journalist to Reveal the Birth Gender of a Trans Person?

Josh Levin: Digging Too Deep.

Gov. Brown Signs Law Making Accurate ID Easier for Transgender Californians

October 8, 2013 By Josh Steichmann

ab 1121It just got a little bit easier (and cheaper) for transgender Californians to live authentic lives.

Governor Jerry Brown just signed AB 1121, written by Assemblymember Toni Atkins, which streamlines the process for documentation changes, specifically name and gender changes on ID like driver’s licenses and vital documents like birth certificates. The law was cosponsored by Equality California and the Transgender Law Center.

Up until now, changes to birth certificates required a court hearing, and now California is in line with many other states that only require an administrative action, in this case from the Office of Vital Records. Since the court filing fee is $435, and the courts are already overburdened with actual cases, this is a win-win for transgender Californians and good governance.

The law also changes the requirement of public notice, which for many transgender people requires outing themselves to their entire community, which may not be safe and at the least is an unnecessary hassle.

“One step in enabling transgender people to live authentic lives consistent with their gender identity is to ensure that their names and their official documents are consistent with who they are,” said Atkins. “I am very pleased that the Governor signed my bill to move us forward toward equality and dignity for transgender Californians.”

“Today California made it easier for people who are transgender to live authentic lives by removing unnecessary barriers to name changes and identity documents,” said John O’Connor, EQCA executive director. “This is a common sense solution to ensure that transgender Californians are treated fairly and with respect. We thank Gov. Brown and Assemblymember Atkins for their leadership.”

100 Days Later

October 4, 2013 By Josh Steichmann

100 days from SCOTUS marriage100 days ago, the Supreme Court struck down the central portion of the Defense of Marriage Act, and dismissed the last gasp appeal of the Prop. 8 supporters, returning the freedom to marry to California. Across the country, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people cheered along with allies who supported the vision of an America where everyone could marry the person that they love.

Since then, we’ve seen a parade of victories at the federal level, from the Department of Homeland Security allowing same-sex spouses full immigration privileges to the IRS issuing new rules to make sure loving same-sex couples are recognized, to the first same-sex weddings on U.S. military bases. We’ve seen big marriage victories in New Mexico and New Jersey, and we’ve seen the roll-out of the biggest advance in LGBT healthcare in our lifetimes with the Affordable Care Act.

Here in California, we’ve seen the federal courts uphold SB 1172, which ended the psychological abuse of LGBT youth by licensed therapists, we’ve seen transgender students win both with the passage and signing of the School Success and Opportunity Act (AB 1266), which ensures that transgender students can participate as their authentic selves in school, and at the Arcadia Unified School District, which settled a lawsuit and implemented policies to ensure transgender equality.  Read the rest of this entry »

Equality Roundup: Gender-Bending Lesbian Surrealist Writes & More

October 25, 2012 By Shaun Osburn

We got a new executive director this week. We’re excited to have John O’Connor join us officially on December 3.

It’s LGBT history month, and the New Yorker has a great story on Merle Miller coming out in the New York Times, crediting it with helping spawn Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better” campaign.

You’re all voting, right? Frying Pan News on why Prop 32 is bad for the LGBT community.

Orange Coast magazine on how small indignities mean progress is still too slow in Orange County.

Buzzfeed on eight families fighting for the freedom to marry.

One of the Wachowski sibs is a trans woman, and she talks about what it means to be visible and trans.

Is Adam Pally TV’s least stereotypical gay guy?

It’s Claude Cahun‘s birthday! Cahun was a gender-bending lesbian surrealist writer and photographer who fought against the Nazis. Her work dealt with fluid sexuality with playful verve and political punch, especially in images like “Don’t Kiss Me, I am in Training,” where she appropriates macho boxing myths for a cartoonish revision, presaging “identity artists” like Cindy Sherman.

Finally, philosopher and author John Corvino makes witty, smart videos about what marriage and other rights mean.

Equality Roundup: Legislative Victories

October 5, 2012 By Josh Steichmann

Big huge couple weeks for Equality California. We got all six EQCA-sponsored bills passed and signed!

The one that’s been getting the most attention is SB 1172, a bill to end dangerous psychological abuse of minors. Already, anti-equality groups have filed lawsuits; here’s EQCA pro boon counsel David Codell on KPCC discussing the lawsuit and where things stand.

The field team is transitioning into PAC work — making sure that pro-equality candidates are elected throughout the state. Volunteer here to help out!

Next Thursday, at the CAA Screening Room in LA, we’re proud to present a screening of Wish Me Away, a documentary about country star Chely Wright’s coming out. Here she is talking about the movie and her journey with Kentucky Public Radio. She’ll be at the screening, answering questions. For more information and tickets, click here.

Two days later, we’ll be out in Palm Springs, honoring Speaker of the Assembly John A. Pérez, Senator Barbara Boxer, and many more. For tickets and more information, the Palm Springs awards page.

It’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History Month, and we’ll be delving into that further later in the month. For the moment, get your whistle wet with Queer Music Heritage, a 12-year archive of radio shows about queer music, as well as a wealth of information about Stonewall protest songs, camp records and gay folk music.

For a more modern queer music, Macklemore, Ryan Lewis and Mary Lambert have a video for “Same Love”, which was made in response to Maryland’s current struggle for the freedom to marry.

Two more brief links: Orlando Cruz is the first openly gay boxer! and the new Catholic bishop in San Francisco doesn’t like the gays and they don’t like him.

A Game Changer: More on Transgender Law Center’s Big EEOC Win

April 26, 2012 By Josh Steichmann

Mia MacyMia Macy is a transgender woman, a veteran and a former detective. She applied for a job with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) as a man; she was in transition during the background check portion and told the investigators that. Despite being told that she was virtually guaranteed to get the job, the ATF told her that funding had been cut and then filled the job with someone else.

So Macy filed a discrimination complaint. While that complaint still isn’t resolved, along the way Macy won a major victory for all transgender people across the country.

The ruling from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission yesterday found that Title VII of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects transgender people from discrimination based on sex, a sweeping federal rule that applies to all businesses that employ over 15 people.

“The ATF tried to say Title VII didn’t cover transgender people. The ATF wanted to apply their own internal procedures,” said Mark Snyder, communications manager for the Transgender Law Center. The EEOC initially separated Macy’s complaints into two parts, significantly weakening her case. But Macy appealed, and with the Transgender Law Center’s help, won the right to be considered purely under discrimination by sex.

“This decision is binding on all EEOC offices nationwide. It is the law now.” said Snyder.

“We always believed trans people had this protection, but the ruling affirmed it,” said Snyder. “We’re thrilled. This is a game-changer.”

The decision has the possibility to make a huge impact — according to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force National Transgender Discrimination Survey, 90 percent of transgender people have experienced some form of employment discrimination; transgender people suffer from unemployment at double the national rate; 47 percent say they’ve suffered adverse effects, like being fired, not hired or denied a promotion, and 26 percent report losing a job because of their gender identity or presentation.

The EEOC ruling (available as a Scribd document here) is good reading, including passages on why limiting Title VII to a reductive view of sex — e.g. limiting legitimate discrimination cases only to when a man is preferred in place of a woman, and vice versa — is both inconsistent with the statute and with reams of precedent, including an important case, Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins, in which gender expression was specifically protected (in that case, a woman discriminated against for not acting in a stereotypical “feminine” way).

While Macy’s underlying case is still pending, Transgender Law Center is confident that she’ll win, and Snyder emphasizes that a win here isn’t just good for Macy and transgender people, but for all of us who lose when the talents, skills and experience of transgender people aren’t utilized.

“Mia spent her whole life and career working to protect this country. [This discrimination] is not only wrong, but puts everyone’s safety at risk,” he said.

What’s The Word?

April 24, 2012 By steggie

What do you think of when you think of HIV and AIDS? Do you see pictures from the 80s – pictures of men in hospitals, of newspaper headlines, of ACT UP marches? Most of us do. But contrary to popular belief, HIV rates are actually rising again in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. In fact, men who have sex with men are the only group in the US in which infections have been rising so steadily since the 90s, according to the CDC. We can stop this, though, by stepping out of our complacency and breaking the stigma that’s been holding us back.

That’s why we’re proud to recognize and support our ally AltaMed as they host two great community events.

illusionzIllusionZ is a fun monthly event of performances, music, and dancing. This month’s Spring Fling Show will feature a drag show. They’ll be offering free rapid HIV testing all night. And it’s free. What’s not to love?

Thursday, April 26th, 8 to 9:30pm

512 S. Indiana St., East Los Angeles, 90063

For more information, call 323.307.0195.

whats the wordWhat’s the Word in East Los is a community festival with LGBT vendors, an open mic, and live performances. Free HIV testing, free admission, and free giveaways.

Sunday, April 29th, 11am to 3pm

512 S. Indiana St., East Los Angeles, 90063

For more information, call 323.307.0195.
We’re excited to support these efforts to promote education, testing, and safer sex lifestyles for underserved LGBT people, and to create environments where we can be ourselves and have fun without stigma. We hope you’ll join us.

Cervical Health Awareness Month: Trans Men and Genderqueer/Gender Nonconforming People

January 26, 2012 By Guest Contributor

Cervical Health Awareness Month: Trans Men and Genderqueer/Gender Nonconforming People January is cervical health awareness month, and NCTE wants to remind everyone that cervical health is a critical issue for trans men and genderqueer/gender nonconforming folks.

Anyone with a cervix can contract cervical cancer, so this means that lots of trans men and genderqueer/gender nonconforming people are at risk. But because trans people face widespread discrimination from health care providers and insurance plans, they often avoid seeking or cannot access preventive care. According to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, nearly half (48%) of trans men reported postponing or avoiding preventive care out to fear of discrimination and disrespect. One in five trans men also reported being refused health care because of their gender identity. Cervical cancer is preventable through regular screening and treatment where necessary, which means that trans men who aren’t getting preventive care are likely at greater risk of developing the disease.

Trans men and genderqueer/gender nonconforming people are at risk of developing cervical cancer even if they do not have penetrative sex. The major cause of cervical cancer, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), is transmitted through genital skin-to-skin contact with anyone who has the virus. This includes oral sex, sex with fingers or hands, genital rubbing, and sex with toys. So if you’re sexually active and you have a cervix, you may be at risk for cervical cancer regardless of who you are and you have sex with.

Here are four ways we can prevent cervical cancer among trans men and genderqueer/gender nonconforming people: Read the rest of this entry »

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