Get yer Trans News, right here!

Yesterday was consumed with our buying a new car.  Our ’95 Saturn gave up the ghost last weekend and prolonged renting of a car didn’t seem like the best deployment of our financial resources, so Debbie’s brother freed up some funds from Debbie’s money market account (never had one of those myself) and we were able to afford the down payment on a used car.  We shopped at Enterprise and got what we think is a good deal on a 2011 Hyundai Sonata, which we completed the paperwork on last evening.

List of top things I hate doing (for future reference):   (1) Moving  (2) Looking for a job (3) Buying a car.

So I didn’t really get a chance to write my regular column ysterday…so I had to spend what little time I had available this afternoon (between my classes) to scribble something down to share.

News Items!

You’ve probably already heard about some of these.

1.  Because of Jenna Talackova’s successful bid to be un-disqualified from this year’s Miss Universe Canada competition, the parent organization has decided to change their rules.

The Miss Universe Organization, which is co-owned by Trump and NBC, announced on April 10 that it will be officially changing the house rules to allow transgender contestants to compete in their pageants, which include Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA.

The real victory would be if no women desired pageant queen status. Now, transgender women will have to be like the rest of us – living up to a beauty ideal decided by a panel of judges.

–Suzi Parker, She the People

Dateline:  Los Angeles

The LAPD will begin housing arrested transmen and transwomen both in the women’s jail, effective by the end of the month.  One module of the women’s portion of the Metropolitan Detention Center will be reserved to house up to 24 transpeople.

This is a major change  (allowing for) an environment that’s safe and secure, as there’s been a history of violence against transgender people (in jail).

–Captain Dave Lindsey, commander of the LAPD’s jail division

The new module will allow prisoners to dress as the gender they wish and also have medical care including hormones.

While a hopeful sign, not all is solved.

City jails are designed for holding people only until they are arraigned in court on the charges for which they were arrested, typically a maximum of three days;  then they are transferred to the Los Angeles County Jail, run by the Sheriff’s Department.  The changes do not apply to the county jail.

This follows on the heels of new guidelines for Los Angeles police personnel which order them to “respect the expressed gender and do not question it” during stops and searches.  The memo also bars officers from frisking individuals or questioning them for the sole purpose of determining their anatomical sex.

Requests to remove wigs, prosthetics or cosmetics will be “consistent with requirements for the removal of similar items from non-transgender individuals”

Policies like this codify an organization’s values and express them to the community.  The LAPD is trying to commit to respecting the transgender community with its policies.  I wish policies like this had been in place a long time ago.

–Val Jenness, UC-Irvine Dean of Social Ecology

Dateline:  Again, Los Angeles

Voler ID laws could disenfranchise as many as 25,000 transgender voters.  The Williams Institute has released a new study of the new Voter ID laws in nine states and has found them lacking in fairness and equality.

As lawmakers consider enacting stricter voter ID laws and contemplate their potential impact in the upcoming November elections, the consequences of these laws for transgender voters should not be overlooked

–Jody L. Herman, PhD, Peter J Cooper Public Policy Fellow

The 9 states are Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Indiana, Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, Kansas and Texas.

Strict photo ID states require voters to present government-issued photo identification in order to vote.  Transgender voters who have transitioned from their assigned sex at birth to live full-time in a different gender face unique challenges to obtaining accurate government-issued identification.  According to the new Williams Institute report, 41 percent of transgender citizens who have transitioned reported not having an updated driver’s license and 74 percent did not have an updated U.S. passport.  Moreover, 27 percent of transgender citizens who have transitioned reported that they had no identity documents or records that list their current gender.  People of color, youth, students, those with low incomes, and respondents with disabilities are likely to be disproportionately impacted.

The full report is a pdf, available here.

Dateline:  New York City

Lois Birney, 69, challenged the New York City Health Department’s requirement that in order to have his birth certificate reflect his current gender, he would have to have a psychiatric report and detailed surgical records.  Justice Paul G. Feinman of the Manhattan State Supreme Court reprimanded authorities for not providing a “clear, straightforward list” of what it would take to amend a birth certificate and calling for the elimination of “undue roadblocks”.

It does not seem very likely that an individual would go through all the years of required preparation for surgical transition, including psychotherapy, undergo major surgery, assume life under his or her new gender, and then decide it was all a mistake and change back.

This apparent assumption tends to suggest a certain ignorance by the department of the lengthy transition process and the lives and experience of transgender people.

–Judge Feinman

I hope that the Department of Health will really take this to heart and really see that the court is, in this decision, recognizing the importance of respecting the identities of transgender individuals.

–Erica Kagan, speaking for Mr. Birney

Dateline:  Springdale, Utah

Springdale, UT became the 15th local government in Utah to adopt an anti-discrimination law forbidding discrimination in housing or employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.  Springdale calls itself the gateway to Zion National Park and hosts thousands of tourists each year.

Dateline:  Washington, DC

There is a new Congressional Research Service report looking at the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.  It questions the exclusion of transpeople.

The repeal of the ban on homosexual behavior has encouraged some to expand efforts to end discrimination against transgender individuals.  Based on military fitness policies, individuals who have a history of mental disorders that, in the opinion of the medical examiner, would interfere with or prevent satisfactory performance of military duties are not allowed to serve.  Among the disorders cited are “sexual and gender identity disorders”…At one time, homosexuality was listed as a psychiatric disorder, but this was removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) in 1973.

So we’re looking at nothing sooner than 2049 for transpeople to be included at this rate.


    • Robyn on April 14, 2012 at 00:07

    Happy, happy, joy, joy.

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