Transpeople in the News

The best way for people to overcome their fear and/or hatred of people who are different is to meet some of us.  We can only hope that when they do, they don’t demand that we be twice as able in order to be considered half as competent, that they accept us for who we say we are, and they give us a chance to shine.

We are not all perfect people.  But neither are many of us evil.  We just want to live our lives as we think it to be appropriate for us.

Discrimination will rise as a subject, as it always does with us.  

In cases of discrimination on the basis of gender nonconformity, the basis for comparison should be individuals with coherent gender expression. That is, we must examine whether the person discriminated against received a different treatment from a person whose gender performance reflects social norms. Shifting the basis for comparison and redefining the categories of legal protection will ensure that discrimination on the basis of sex – be it biological, ontological, or social – will not be transparent.

–Israeli transman Ido Katry

It is not enough to say, “It wouldn’t have happened if he or she passed.”

In New Hampshire, Ally Collina, 26 picketed the Family Division of the Laconia District Court because she believes the reason that she is not being allowed contact with her fiances young son is because she is transgender.

Her fiance’s ex-wife claims it is rather because Ms. Collina has a criminal record.  Ms. Collima says in response that she has served her time and has not committed any crimes since she was released in 2009.  Her parole office says she is not a threat to the child.

Ms. Collina’s fiance was a corrections officer, but that they did not meet while she was incarcerated.  He is now an electrician.  His ex-wife has said that she has no concerns about the quality of his parenting, but rather his “lack of judgment” with regards to Ally.  She makes it a habit to point out that Ally is transgender.

When Julie Nemecek transitioned, she lost her job as assistant dean of adult studies at Spring Arbor University (“Michigan’s Largest Evangelical Christian University™), demoted her to a non-tenure track position and slashed her salary by 20%.

The university, which is affiliated with an evangelical group of Methodists, also gave Professor Nemecek a contract that required her to work primarily from home and that forbade her to dress like a woman on the campus or to talk to other university employees about her decision to change genders.

Chronicle of Higher Education

She fought back and was subsequently fired.  That’s not terribly surprising.  Ms. Nemecek found gainful employment teaching at Lansing Community College.  Her area of expertise is diversity in the workplace.  As student at LCC filed a sexual harassment complaint against her, while also averring that guest lecturer Todd Heywood made inappropriate comments while discussing being gay and HIV positive in the workplace.  The complaint was recently quashed due to lack of evidence.

“He was upset he found out his teacher was transgender,” Nemecek said of the student. Nemecek said the student was not in class the day of the discussion, but became upset when he reviewed a PowerPoint presentation that was used in a diversity in the workplace management class she teaches.

The student later amended the complaint after former LCC trustee Todd Heywood spoke in Nemecek’s classroom July 5 about what it’s like in the workplace to be gay and HIV-positive, Nemecek and Heywood said.

They said the student falsely accused Heywood of making sexually explicit comments during the class.

LCC said it…

values diversity and works proactively to make the campus a welcoming and accommodating environment for everyone

Ms. Nemecek is, in addition to being on the Board of Directors of Soulforce, also a member of the boards of Equality Michigan, Michigan Association of LGBT Organizations and Allies, and PFLAG Jackson.  She also is on the advisory board of Trans Youth Family Allies.

What I’m doing is not a sin.

–Julie Nemecek

Bell Nuntita was a smash hit in her appearance in Singapore.  There was a queue forming four hours before her appearance at Resort Live Band, winding from the second floor location to the McDonald’s below.

Gosh! I still can’t believe it. It’s one thing to be told I have fans in Singapore and another to see (them) with my own eyes.

Bell was an unknown deejay and singer in a local pub before stunning appearance on Thailand’s Got Talent.

New Zealand Justice Minister Simon Power claims it is not necessary “at this time” to reference gender identity in the Human Right Act.  He is relying on the legal advice given by a former Attorney General that the category sex includes the category gender.

The New Zealand Human Rights Commission’s 2008 report To Be Who I Am documented the discrimination faced by transgender and intersex citizens and called for specific clear reference to gender identity to be included in the Act.

Marissa Jayne Wolfe talks about life for a transitioning transwoman on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

It’s been pure hell.  Honestly, I’ve been spit on, I’ve been threatened, I’ve had the police called on me for using the bathroom at my job.

Marissa may have had her surgery in Thailand by now.  (See how all these things Thai together?)

Marissa’s hope:  her three-year-old biological daughter, who still lives here in Marquette with her mother, Marissa’s estranged ex-girlfriend from when she was still a he.  When Marissa returns home from recovery, she’ll begin yet another battle for visitation rights.

And we pretty much have come full circle.

For the transguys, let me introduce Raven (Ray) Clarke from Cape Cod.  He’s here to tell his story.

“The messages I was getting from the media said if you act this way and dress this way and you’re a girl, you must be a lesbian.”  But after a while, he realized he didn’t quite fit into that mold, because he was more attracted to men.  In truth, not all transgenders are gay, and being transgender doesn’t automatically corre­spond with sexual orientation.  In fifth and sixth grade, Clarke would walk down the hall and hear kids he’d never met or interacted with call him “he/she” and “it.”  There were worse epithets as well.

And finally, the NY Times recently featured Harmony Santana in an Arts & Leisure piece about transgender actors.  She is currently a resident of Green Chimneys, an LGBT group home in Harlem for kids who are homeless or in foster care.  She is currently one year into her transition.  That’s why she was chosen for the central role of Vanessa in Gun Hill Road (Review).  Vanessa is trying to live openly as a girl while having a disapproving father fresh out of the joint (Esai Morales) and an approving mother (Judy Reyes).

Director Rashaad Ernesto Green was looking for an actor who appeared to be 16, was convincingly hispanic, without significant female development.  He spotted Harmony at a Queens gay pride parade.

I looked at attractive gay males who might have had experience with drag to see if they might be able to portray the character.  But they didn’t have the essence I was looking for. There’s a difference between someone who’s pretending to be female and someone who actually believes they are.

–Rashad Ernesto Green


    • Robyn on July 30, 2011 at 00:04

    for you, the Trailer is at Hulu or here.


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