#Transgender

Transitioning is Costing this Michigan Woman More Than She Thought

When Faith Frances, a trans woman from Michigan, began transitioning she contacted her insurance company Progressive Marathon Insurance Company to inform them of change in her name and gender. A self-affirming moment in Faith’s life that was meant to create relief turned into a dent in her pocket book when she realized she was being charged almost $1,000 more a year for car insurance. WXYZ reports that Faith believed she was the victim of discrimination against transgender individuals so she went to the district attorney’s office to investigate.

Turns out that in reality she was being charged more for car insurance since she identified as a woman. Faith also received a letter from her insurance company that read:

On March 7, 2018, we received a call from Ms. (redacted), asking that we change her name from (redacted) to (redacted), and change her gender from male to female. (redacted) is right. This change did increase the rate by $80.84. We utilize gender and marital status as factors that, in conjunction with age, determine an individual driver class rating factor, which is used as part of a customer’s rate calculation in our Chapter 24 group rated companies.

Faith said to WXYZ:

I don’t know. What do they think? My breasts get in the way of driving? I don’t know.

You are punishing me for being my true self, and you are punishing the rest of the women in this state for nothing more than we don’t have a penis. Judge me by my driving record, not by what is between my legs.

A report by Forbes indicates that women are at "fault in 4.4 million accidents out of the 6.1 million that occur annually". Full details from the Consumer Federation of America can be found HERE.

h/t: WXYZ, Forbes, Consumer Federation of America

Where Will Transgender Students Hide in the Event of An Emergency?

Last week a middle school in Stafford County, VA held a scheduled lockdown drill so students and staff could be prepared should there be an active shooter or other school-wide emergency. During the drill, however, a transgender student was left with nowhere to go when she was barred from going on lockdown in both the boys’ and girls’ locker rooms where many other students were instructed to go. Instead, the student was asked to sit in the gym and the locker room hallway while school staff debated to find a solution for where she should go, reports WUSA.

This issue raises a red flag on where the student would actually be able to go if an actual emergency occurred.

Sherrie Johnson, Director of Strategic Communication for Stafford County Public School released a statement to WUSA:

Stafford County Public Schools does not comment on individual student incidents to avoid divulging confidential information. However, the new superintendent has requested a review of all protocols and procedures to ensure that all children are treated with dignity and respect. We take such matters very seriously and they will be addressed. The welfare of all students is of the utmost importance for SCPS.

LGBTQ Rights Group Equality Stafford engaged with the public with a statement:

h/t: WUSA

New Jersey Schools Create a Safe Home Environment by not Telling Parents of Trans Students About Their Identity

Coming out is never an easy process as it is impossible to tell how people will react. For many, coming out to their parents is not a possibility, as plenty of parents have a difficult time accepting their LGBT children and will go out of the way to cause harm, either physical or mental, and even kick them out of the house. Schools in New Jersey have recognized the potential dangers of coming out and created a new state guidance that protects transgender students by telling teachers that they do not have to tell parents if a student comes out to them as transgender, NJ.com reports. By putting this guidance in place, New Jersey has become a national leader in protecting transgender rights. 

Of course, not everyone is pleased with the new guidance. Parents argue that schools have no right to keep such an important detail about their children from them, as they believe that they have a right to know. In an ideal world, trans and other LGBT people would be comfortable telling their parents about their sexual orientation and/or gender identity, but we do not live in such a world. Some people can predict how their parents will react, with some believing that they will get disowned or physically abused. If a student confides in a teacher that they are trans and tells them that there will be negative consequences if their parents find out, the teacher should be able from refraining from telling their student's parents. 

It's unfortunate but it does happen. According to The Williams Institute, between 30% to 43% of the homeless youth identify as LGBT, a staggering number no doubt caused my parents who do not accept their child's identity. By allowing teachers to keep their students' identity hidden from their family, New Jersey schools will potentially decrease cases of discrimination and abuse. Transgender individuals face unique challenges, as the concept of one's gender not matching their biological sex is still unfathomable to many people, including the parents and family members of trans people.

That's why this state guidance is so important: it protects trans students from the potential dangers of coming out. Hopefully more people will become better educated on transgender identity so that such laws do not have to exist, but for now, New Jersey took a step in the right direction. 


h/t: NJ.gov,  NJ.comThe Williams Institute

Another Trans Woman is Found Dead

A 31-year-old transgender woman was found dead in the West Garfield Park neighborhood in Chicago this week reports the Chicago Sun Times. Ciara Minaj Carter Frazier was found with multiple stab wounds and it is believed she was murdered by someone she had an altercation with.

Cook County medical pronounced Frazier dead at the scene.

To date there had been 21 trans women killed in the United States according to the Human Rights Campaign. Frazier is the second trans woman to be killed in the last month.

Executive director Chicago trans advocacy group Brave Space Alliance, LaSaia Wade, spoke with Sun Times:

It feels like we are being targeted. I’m frustrated and upset with the lack of cases turning around. There is a lack of needs for our safety from police.

Wade and Frazier knew each other from the Chicago ball scene.

Authorities are still investigating this murder and that of 24-year-old Dejanay Stanton who was shot on August 30th in Bronzeville.

According to the HRC:

In 2017, advocates tracked at least 29 deaths of transgender people in the United States due to fatal violence, the most ever recorded. These victims were killed by acquaintances, partners and strangers, some of whom have been arrested and charged, while others have yet to be identified. Some of these cases involve clear anti-transgender bias. In others, the victim’s transgender status may have put them at risk in other ways, such as forcing them into homelessness.

h/t: Chicago Sun Times, Human Rights Campaign

Trans Students Can Now Shop Freely With Clothing Closets

Transgender individuals have been subject to judgment,  harassment, and violence for too long. Add on to the fact that many LGBTQ students pay for tuition entirely by themselves and you get a harmful environment for transgender students. There are colleges in America that are attempting to reverse the hostile conditions for trans students, however, by opening clothing closets, reports Dazed.

Schools across the country, such as University California, Penn State, and West Virginia Marshall University opened clothing closets to create a safe and judgment-free environment for transgender students who don't have the opportunity to safely try on clothes without being talked about or stared at, as well as students who can't afford to buy clothes because they're burdened with tuition prices. 

The items available in these clothing closets range from formal clothing to swimwear to chest binders to perfume and jewelry, donated by other students and people in the community. this will make it much easier for transgender students to dress as they would like in the company of like-minded people and to wear outfits that match their gender.

More and more people are coming out as trans and nonbinary and coming out always carries a degree of risk as there is no way for anyone to truly know how others will react. The colleges who have clothing closets for transgender students are doing a great and charitable service, as LGBTQ people, specifically trans individuals, face unique challenges and by having a judgment-free area to be themselves, trans people will become more comfortable with their gender identity. 


h/t: Dazed

Renowned Gay Icon Cher Shares Her Fears After Chaz Came Out as Trans

Do you believe in life after... coming out? Gay icon and Goddess of Pop Cher, an ardent supporter of gay rights, interviewed Pride Source about being a gay icon and her relationship with her son, Chaz Bono, Wonderwall reports.

Cher is a well-known figure in the gay community for her social activism regarding HIV/AIDS prevention and LGBT rights. As most know, Cher has transgender son, Chaz Bono whom she loves and supports. However, according to the Pride Source interview, Cher did not always have an easy time with Chaz's coming out and transition.

Chaz officially came out as a lesbian in April of 1995 after being outed by tabloids five years prior. Chaz then came out as a transgender man to his parents. Cher had a difficult time accepting Chaz as transgender, as she was afraid that she was going to be losing a child.

This is what I think, and this is what I would hope: I would hope that, look, I didn't go through it that easily. Both times," she said. "When I found out Chaz was gay, I didn't go through it that easily; when I found out Chaz was [transitioning] ... except we talked about it a lot, actually. But then Chaz didn't mention it anymore, so I kind of forgot. And what I think is, there's such a fear of losing the child you love, and what will replace that child

I'm not a parent and won't be for a long time but I can imagine that taking in such information would be jarring for some.

Chaz underwent female-to-male transition in 2008-2010, and afterwarde changed his name and gender. This is rather significant and Cher was afraid that her child would be a different person after the transition but realized that Chaz must have been in a great deal of emotional pain living as a woman, and figured that since Chaz is happy living the life that he was destined to live, then she is happy too.

Cher accepting her transgender son is heartwarming as well as a teaching opportunity for many people. She was very afraid that her son would be a different person entirely after his transition but instead he remained Cher's child. This just shows that when people come out as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, pansexual, ace, etc., it does not change who they are as a person.


h/t: Pride SourceWonderwall

Texas House Speaker Earns Award for Stopping Transphobic Bathroom Bills

Joe Straus, the Speaker of the House of Texas, was awarded this week for his efforts to thwart two transphobic bathroom bills that would force transgender people to use the bathroom that match their biological sex, according to Dallas News

Straus is retiring after this year and as a final act of kindness, he refused to pass two transphobic bathroom bills in 2017. The American Unity Fund granted him the Champions of Freedom Award.

Before weighing in on the human rights aspect of the bills, he focused mainly on how the bills would potentially negatively impact businesses. He then realized how negatively it woule affect transgender Texans. Supporters of the bills used the disingenuous argument that if the bills weren't passed that men could enter the women's room and sexually assault women and girls.

However, Straus wwarned Texans to not celebrate yet, as he feels that similar bills will come back. Straus also said that even though he's retiring, he will strengthen the Republican party and fight against harmful policies.

Homophobic and transphobic policies continue to plague the US and the rest of the world and we need politicians such as Straus to fight against harmful legislation.

Colorado Hospital to Drop Gender on ID Wristbands

Being in the hospital is most likely a distressing experience for people, and for transgender and nonbinary individuals, the process might become unbearable when they glance at the ID wristband and notice that the hospital staff misgendered them. According to Global News, Children's Hospital Colorado, a hospital that specializes in treating transgender youth, recognized this and decided to remove gender from their ID wristbands.

This new policy came about because the hospital's staff wished to be more accommodating to their patients and want them to be as comfortable as possible during their hospital visit as well as the hospital staff responding to recommendations made by a group of people advocating for gender diversity within the hospital. 

One doctor, Dr.Nokoff, said that Children's Hospital Colorado has been seeing an increase of patients with a non-cisgender identity. The hospital also recognized that it is not easy for most to grow up with a gender identity that doesn't match your biological sex and is taking strides to create a more accepting and inclusive environment for all patients. Important medical information regarding patients is stored in a computer system, so if the medical staff has to access knowledge about a patient's biological sex for any reason, they will be able to look at the electronic medical records, rendering mention of gender on an ID wristband pointless. 

I think that this is a fantastic idea. As someone who worked in the pediatric field for seven years, I saw a number of diverse patients, some with non-cis identities. What Children's Hospital Colorado is doing is commendable and, in my opinion, should be spread across the country. 

But with everything, there are people who disagree with this. Some people are saying that the hospital is ignoring science and that this policy is "nonsense." The patients, however, appreciate this move, saying that they can feel like themselves, not an M or an F on their wrist.


h/t: Global News

Anti-Trans Groups Resort To Fear-Mongering (Again) With Attack Ad In Massachusetts

While most of the country’s political attention currently revolves around who will control Congress after the November mid-term elections, LGBTs should be aware that an item on the Massachusetts ballot could have widespread effects on the community.

A law passed in 2016 protects transgender citizens in the state from discrimination in regard to public accommodations, including the use of bathrooms that align with transgender folks’ gender identity.

But conservative, anti-trans groups have managed to put the law up for a vote by the general public after only two years.

Question 3 will ask voters in the Bay state if the law should remain (a ‘yes’ vote) or be repealed (a ‘no’ vote).

The “No on 3” campaign has released a new ad spot that stokes fears about “men in women’s bathrooms” predicting male predators will hide out and lie in wait to attack women and children.

In the spot, a woman enters a locker room as a sinister-looking male predator hides inside a bathroom stall.

“What does Question 3 mean to you?” asks a female voice in the spot. “It means any man who says he is a woman can enter a woman’s locker room, dressing room or bathroom at any time, even convicted sex offenders, and if you see something suspicious and say something to authorities, you could be arrested and fined up $15,000.”

During the voiceover, the woman begins to undress but looks up to see the man emerge from the stall.
The voiceover ends: “Vote No on 3. This bathroom bill puts our privacy and safety at risk. It goes too far.”

Here’s the spot.

 

 

While this might seem like a single ballot referendum in just one state, Massachusetts has a long history as a bellwether for LGBT rights in the U.S.

Massachusetts was the first state to legalize marriage equality, and the second (after Wisconsin) to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing, and public accommodations.

And while many may think Massachusetts is a ‘safe liberal haven’ for civil rights, don’t forget that in ‘liberal’ California, the dreadful Prop. 8 took away same-sex marriage in 2008 after LGBT folks already had won the right to marry those they love.

That’s the kind of setback we, as a community, can’t allow to happen again.

If Question 3 in Massachusetts were to take away trans rights, it would embolden opponents of the community to attack LGBTQ protections anywhere.

Fortunately, there are people fighting to get the truth out to the public.

Here’s the recent ad from the ‘Yes on 3’ team below. And for more information about how you can help, head over to freedommassachusetts.org.

 

(h/t The Washington Blade)

Topless Trans Man To Be On Cover Of Arabic Gay Magazine

 

A desire to bring accurate representation to the Middle East was the motivation behind the September/October cover of the an Arabic gay magazine, My Kali

Khalid Abdel-Hadi told Gay Star News, “We believe that the trans community is the least heard, the least reflected, and the most needed of attention. We also believe that the courage he showed in sharing his story will bring hope, positivity, and awareness to the issue: We are proud to project Rashed’s voice.”

There have been transgender individuals on the cover of My Kali before, but they have always been transgender females.  For the first time, a transgender man is featured. Now that Rashed falls under the binary definition of a male, the magazine can use a picture showing his nipples. Also, since the magazine is just online, the Jordanian government cannot regulate and censor it as it does ALL physically published news, print, magazines, etc.

 

My.Kali webzine was first published in English in 2007 (with a version in Arabic started in 2016) by the Jordanian model and gay advocate, Khalid ‘Kali’ Abdel-Hadi. Death threats were received from the beginning. Offering a gay magazine can be daunting, especially in MENA (Middle East, North Africa), home of predominantly Islamic nations that are not too favorable of LGBT citizens where some nations even have laws stating the penalty for being homosexual is death (washingtonpost.com).

This news comes days after Marco Marco Delivers Dynamite Fashion Show That Features Only Transgender Models, The east and the west are still very different.

h/t:  My KaliGay Star News, washingtonpost.com

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