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 photo Smith-College-1304BDE8_zpsbuerja9a.jpgThe Smith College board of trustees has voted to accept that transgender women are women.

The shift to a self-identification admissions policy at the women’s college in Northampton goes into effect for students submitting applications this fall. The decision was revealed Saturday afternoon in a message to students, faculty, staff, parents, and alumnae.

Under the new admissions policy, applicants who were born male but identify as women are eligible for admission. Applicants must select “female” on the Common Application to be considered.

From the civil rights perspective, we’re saying trans women are women.  What we’re doing here is really affirming that we’re a women’s college and we have an unwavering mission and identity as a women’s college.

--Smith College President Kathleen McCartney

The move follows the leads of Mills College in California, and Wellesley, Mount Holyoke and Simmons Colleges in Massachusetts and Bryn Mawr in Pennsylvania.
Our clarified admission policy reflects a women's college that is steadfast in its founding mission yet evolving to reflect a changing world.

--Smith announcement

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Students at the Salt Lake School for the Performing Arts selected Maka Brown for their prom queen last weekend.  Maka is believed to be the first transgender student to be so honored.

Maka is a senior focusing on dance at the school.

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Thu Apr 30, 2015 at 04:00 PM PDT

Data diving at Pew

by rserven

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 (actually, a footnote acknowledges that transgender people might also be gay or lesbian).

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Wed Apr 29, 2015 at 04:00 PM PDT

GENDA rises again in New York

by rserven

New York is one of only three states which protect people from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation but not on the basis of gender identity.  The other two are Wisconsin and New Hampshire.

Partially that is because too many people believe that the protections afforded to LGB people automagically extend to transgender people.  But the law knows what we have have been enunciating for years:  sexual orientation and gender are not the same.

Sexual orientation is about who you desire to go to bed with.  Gender identity is about who we go to bed as.  In other words, sex is between our legs.  Gender is between our ears.

Well, once again the state of New York has a chance to remedy their deficiency.  The Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) is once again being brought forward.  GENDA has passed the State Assembly seven times over the past decade, but has never passed in the Senate.

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Tue Apr 28, 2015 at 04:00 PM PDT


by rserven

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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Sat Apr 25, 2015 at 01:00 PM PDT

The morning after

by rserven

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 o 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.

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Fri Apr 24, 2015 at 12:00 PM PDT

That Transjenner moment

by rserven

(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
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Reposted from recoveringConservative by rserven
Originally forced to remove her makeup for a driver's license photo, a transgender teen will be allowed to wear makeup for her driver's license photo like any other girl. The change of position comes in settlement of a lawsuit brought by Chase Culpepper, 17, of Anderson, South Carolina. She sued last year after being told that DMV policy required her to remove her makeup for the photo. "You need to look like a boy," DMV reportedly told her.

The article by the BeatDMV folks does a good job of summarizing the story, but I'll at least quote the policy DMV used to discriminate against Ms. Culpepper.

"At no time will an applicant be photographed when it appears that he or she is purposely altering his or her appearance so that the photo would misrepresent his or her identity."

DMV, who by the terms of the settlement must formally apologize, never explained how Ms. Culpepper--who wears makeup every day--actually violated the policy by altering her appearance or disguising her identity.


Thu Apr 23, 2015 at 04:00 PM PDT

Persistence, Consistence and Insistence

by rserven

 photo Jacob_zpsyjl3u7rj.jpgBackground

NBC has allotted time the last couple of nights to the subject of transgender children.  On Tuesday, Kate Snow reported about Jacob Lemay.

No matter what, I'm in his corner...and I love him, and I always will.

--Mimi Lemay

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Wed Apr 22, 2015 at 04:00 PM PDT

Survey Says: Visibility Matters

by rserven

 photo VisibilityMatters_blog263_2_zpsd4w0hmxm.pngThe Human Rights Campaign (HRC) commissioned Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research to survey likely voters about their knowledge of and attitude toward transgender people.

In 2013 the Public Religion Research Institute reported that 9% of Americans reported having a close friend or family member who was transgender.  Last year, an HRC survey revealed that 17% of respondents either personally knew or worked with someone who was transgender.  This year that latter number is up 5 points to 22%.

What’s important is that the number of Americans who know someone who is transgender is growing rapidly. And what’s equally important, those who do know a transgender person are much more likely to have a positive impression of transgender Americans. This is consistent with our survey research on marriage equality and other LGBT issues, which has consistently found that it is important for LGBT people to share their personal stories. We asked if likely voters “personally know or work with someone who is transgender.” For those who responded to our survey saying they “personally know or work with someone who is transgender,” their favorability for “transgender people” is 66 percent,  with 13 percent unfavorable. That’s a favorability a net of +53 percentage points. Compare that to those who said they  “do not” personally know or work with a transgender person. The rating for those who don’t is 37 favorable, 30 unfavorable, a net of only +7. (The margin of error for this survey subgroup is 6.67 percent).
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 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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A group calling itself the Privacy for All coalition has filed what they call the Personal Privacy Protection Act for consideration as a ballot initiative in California.  The PPPA is indeed all about the P (as in pee).

It would require that:

a person shall use facilities in accordance with their biological sex in all government buildings
.  Without using the word transgender, the PPPA seeks to remove the right of transgender people to actually identify as such by defining "biological sex" as "the biological condition of being male or female as determined at or near the time of birth or through medical examination."

As the mechanism to enforce this the Act would create a civil claim against any individual who seeks to use  facility in accordance with their gender identity rather than their biological well as any government entity that allows that to happen.

Such claim includes equitable relief and damages up to a maximum of three times the amount of actual damage but in no case less than $4,000, and attorney’s fees that may be determined by a court
Yes, you should read the word "bounty" there.
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