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Mon Jun 01, 2015 at 04:00 PM PDT

This is Us!

by rserven

Amazon has launched a new documentary series about transgender and gender non-conforming people, called This is Me.

This Is Me is an online series exploring contemporary issues faced by the trans and gender non-conforming community, and each short episode focuses on a specific issue – from gender-neutral language to public restrooms. The series explores the real-life struggles and triumphs of individuals like D’Lo (Looking), Maya Jafer (Mohammed to Maya), Valerie Spencer (Beautiful Daughters), Lily Rubenstein (Looking) and more, bringing humor and honesty to these timely issues.
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Sun May 31, 2015 at 04:00 PM PDT

Next up? Barnard

by rserven

 photo Barnard_zps8rzlejez.jpgBarnard College's trustees are expected to vote this coming week on the issue of transgender admissions.

Mills, Mount Holyoke, Scripps, Simmons, Bryn Mawr, and Smith have all opened their doors to transgender women in the past year.

I think certain issues just hit the zeitgeist at a certain point in time.

History is moving very quickly on this issue.

--Debora Spar, Barnard president

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Sat May 30, 2015 at 04:00 PM PDT

On the lighter side

by rserven

We trans people are generally thought to have absolutely no sense of humor about ourselves.  Generally, our response to someone who says that is that we are still waiting for them to say something funny...because that line usually is said after they have said something quite offensive.

BBC Three's Free Speech gathered together several trans people to prepare the following video...which is humorous as well as (hopefully) educational):  11 Things To Never Ask A Transgender Person

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Fri May 29, 2015 at 04:00 PM PDT

Squared Away

by rserven

 photo Oretga1_zpsfha0ar7e.jpgShane Ortega ha served three combat tours...two in Iraq and one in Afghanistan...two as a marine and one in the Army...two as a woman and one as a man.

Sgt. Ortega is stationed at Wheeler Army Air Field in Hawaii.  "Normally" he would be a helicopter crew chief.  But he is temporarily (he hopes) grounded...and has been since last summer.  So he's been doing human resources work instead.

Sgt. Ortega has been grounded since a medical test disclosed elevated testosterone levels.  But he has a bigger concern.  While all his government-issued ID recognize him as male, the Military's Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) still lists him as female.

Sgt. Ortega’s Command has requested clear guidance from the DoD as to whether this means Shane can stay in the military or not.


Meanwhile Sgt. Ortega concentrates on being perfect.
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Thu May 28, 2015 at 04:00 PM PDT

Kyler's Mom calls for change

by rserven

I wrote about Kyler on Tuesday:  Sometimes life gets too hard

Kyler's mother has decided to use Kyler's painful passing as an instrument to create change.

The passing of my son was the most devastating, terrible thing that could ever happen to any parent.  But I want to use my pain now to help make change for the better and to help spread support, understanding and awareness trans youth and their families need.

--Katherine Prescott

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Apparently we're getting out of control.  Yes...control.  I believe that's the key word.

Focus on the Family and Family Research Council are upset.  Transgender people are winning more acceptance and inclusion as time passes.  In schools, in organizations like the Girl Scouts, and in American society, those conservative religious organizations are seeing us tyrannically force our way into every corner of American life.

This marks a welcome change for civil-rights minded people and a likely nightmare for Colorado Springs evangelical machine Focus on the Family, which has been condemning the growing trend of transgender inclusion in Colorado Girl Scouts’ troops for years.

--Kyle Harris, The Colorado Independent

Tyranny:  arbitrary or unrestrained exercise of power; despotic abuse of authority; absolute power or control.
In education and the political arena, we should advocate — with all respect, truth and kindness — for curriculum and laws that acknowledge male-female distinctions, which are not just rooted in Scripture, but in biology and human experience.

--Jeff Johnston, Focus on the Family, 2012

In that screed, Johnston attacked our Marxist, communist roots.
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Tue May 26, 2015 at 04:00 PM PDT

Sometimes life gets too hard

by rserven

 photo Kyler2_zpsmfrjkhf8.jpgLast Friday was the memorial service for Kyler Prescott.  Kyler's mother spoke to the press before the service.

I feel so broken inside. I feel like my soul has been ripped from my body.

--Katherine Prescott

Kyler is described as an accomplished pianist, artist and activist for marriage equality and animal rights.  Kyler was 14 when he committed suicide on May 18...the third San Diego area transgender teen to do so since March.

Kyler came out to his family as trans a few years ago and by all accounts his parents were quite supportive.

His parents respected his wishes and referred to him using male pronouns, even asking the young man if he wanted the family to remove childhood photos of him wearing more feminine clothes.
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 photo Emani Love_zpssjhnb0qf.jpgThe ACLU is representing six transgender Michigan residents who are suing the Michigan Secretary of State in federal court (Eastern District of Michigan) seeking to change a policy which almost precludes ("makes it impossible or unduly burdensome") changing gender on their driver's licenses.

The plaintiffs, represented by lawyers of the American Civil Liberties Union, claim the policy violates constitutional rights to privacy, speech, equal protection, interstate travel and "the right to independence in making important medical decisions."
Michigan requires that information listed on a driver's license or identification card issued by the state must match the information on a person's birth certificate.  That requires transgender people to have their birth certificates amended before they can have their other identification changed.

The policy was first instituted by Secretary Ruth Johnson when she took office in 2011.

But two of the plaintiffs were born in Ohio and a third was born in Idaho...where amending birth certificates cannot be legally accomplished.  Another plaintiff would be required to travel to South Carolina and obtain a court order.  The two born in Michigan would have to complete gender confirmation surgery...even if hey have no current need for it or cannot afford it.

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Sat May 23, 2015 at 04:00 PM PDT

Ruby's Dream House

by rserven

 photo ruby-corado_zpso80ik6a4.jpgI first wrote about Ruby Corado on June 8, 2013...well, after a shorter mention of her in August of 2012 after the opening of her Casa Ruby LGBT Center in DC.

Ruby is a Salvadoran immigrant and a transwoman.

The Washington Post interviewed her for Mother's Day.

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Fri May 22, 2015 at 04:00 PM PDT

Tough Times in the Hate Business

by rserven

I guess when you run a hate organization, you have to keep the perceived horrors involving what you hate in the news in order to keep those donations rolling in.  I mean, the hate don't pay for itself!

It must be really painful when this sort of stuff backfires.

Case in point.  People have noticed the recent stories about the Girl Scouts' policy on transgender girls.  That's not really news.  The policy goes back to 2011 when Colorado trans kid Bobby Montoya wanted to join.  After Bobby was first humiliated by he local troop leader, the Girl Scouts of Colorado announced,

Girl Scouts is an inclusive organization and we accept all girls in Kindergarten through 12th grade as members.

If a child identifies as a girl and the child's family presents her as a girl, Girl Scouts of Colorado welcomes her as a Girl Scout.

--Girl Scouts

As I reported back then, girls all over the country expressed their support.
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Wed May 20, 2015 at 04:00 PM PDT

Boulder mom steps up for her kids

by rserven

Kai Mackenzie has two children.  Both were assigned male at birth...but that didn't take.

As a parent, Kai McKenzie admits it took years to understand what it meant to raise a transgender child. Kai’s oldest, Elsa, was assigned male at birth but began rejecting that identity at just two years old.
When I told her she was a boy she just screamed, ’No!’” Kai said. “I still didn’t get it.


From age two until age 8, Kai's oldest child would draw pictures of herself as a girl...and chose to dress as a girl when she could.  
Kai says Elsa eventually refused to go to the bathroom and, at 8 years old, began showing signs of physical sickness when gender conversations came up.
She started increasingly just breaking down any time anyone called her a boy. I mean, just collapsing and sobbing.  She came to me and said, ‘If I’m a boy, why is there no one like me? There must be something wrong with me. I wish I didn’t exist.’  And those words. Those words are a wake-up call to any parent.


So last year the Mackenzie family embraced Elsa as a girl.

But there was also Sky.

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Tue May 19, 2015 at 04:00 PM PDT

A small but important detail

by rserven

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.

Specifically, the directions may include instructions pertaining to appearance, chosen name, and gender pronouns.
Many transgender people face rejection by or isolation from their next of kin, or they fear stigmatization due to their gender identity or expression.

Some transgender people do not reveal their transgender status due to concerns about discrimination, harassment, and violence. This measure, through a simple legal change, will provide solace to transgender people facing end of life, in that it will ensure that their names and genders are respected after death.

--Alison Gill, Human Rights Campaign

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