Category: news

Andrew Cray – Sad News

Posted by – August 29, 2014

andrew crayfrom NCTE:

On Thursday, August 28, 2014, Andrew Cray, a transgender and LGBT health policy expert and former NCTE legal fellow, passed away. Andrew was among the LGBT movement’s most effective advocates behind the fights to end transgender insurance exclusions in several states. His selfless contributions at organizations like the Center for American Progress, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and the National LGBT Health Coalition put the LGBT health policy agenda on a course for rapid change. Working alongside Andrew was only made brighter by his optimism and kind-heartedness. All of us at the National Center for Transgender Equality celebrate Andrew, his work, and his generous commitment in the service of LGBT people across the country.

A celebration of Andrew Cray’s life will be held on Saturday, August 30th, 2014 at St. Thomas Church, 1772 Church St., NW, Washington, DC. Services will begin at 1:00 PM to be followed by a repast. All are invited to join the celebration and to bring photos of Andrew to the service.

Beaties Can Get Divorced

Posted by – August 14, 2014

It’s good news to hear that Thomas Beatie can get legally divorced from his wife – why? Because a previous court decided that in Arizona, where he’s trying to get divorce & where same sex marriage is not recognized, his marriage wasn’t a legal marriage due to his gender – and specifically, due to the fact that he was capable of giving birth, which he did three times.

This is good news for trans people – his gender markers were changed in his home state in HI & are now recognized as male in AZ – but it’s also good for feminists who are concerned that the ability to give birth could have crept into the definition of female.

So, yes. Maybe not good news for them, but as a result of a legal divorce, Beatie will also, I’d imagine, may have to pay court-ordered child support and/or alimony, which is another good reason that their marriage was recognized as legal. Without that legal status, they couldn’t get divorced, and without divorce, no court could require child support.

From what I read previously, it was important to him to see this ruling happen. Good for him, good for us, good for the children of trans marriages.

Kate Bornstein in Remission

Posted by – August 13, 2014

I got the good news today.

Yay, Kate! What a relief. What a wonderful, wonderful thing.

Godspeed Robin Williams

Posted by – August 11, 2014

I wish I were even a little surprised it was an apparent suicide. But he did so, so much good in his fight against depression. So much. So many great roles, so many of my favorite movies, so, so much.

I wish genius talent didn’t suffer so much, but god, they do so often.

I am surprised I’m crying, but he’s been making me laugh and think for nearly the whole of my life.

So I guess now is the right time to admit that I never missed an episode of Mork & Mindy when it first aired. Yes, that makes me old. But I didn’t miss one single show for the first two seasons, and not many after that.  And it was his routine a year after 9/11 that made me feel like something might be okay again eventually.

Thanks, Mr. Williams, for making it all suck less while you were here. Carpe Diem, indeed.

Eric Garner’s Death

Posted by – July 19, 2014

Eric Garner

Eric Garner’s death is hard to watch but it happened on video. I’m glad someone was there to film it, because you can hear for yourself that he’s saying he can’t breathe. You can see the officer pushing his face into the ground. You can see there are four men on top of him.

Eric Garner had just broken up a fight. The details are still unclear but he asks the police to please leave him alone several times, and reacts with frustration when they want to cuff him. To me, he did nothing that looked dangerous or even threatening – frustrated, yes. But I can’t see any intent to harm anyone.

Four of them were on him, and I assume they justify that because he was 350 lbs.

Oh god, it’s heartbreaking, and he was only 43. He had 6 kids.

He’d been arrested previously for selling untaxed cigarettes, and says at the start that they’re always messing with him and asks them to stop and to leave him alone.

This punishment does not fit the crime.We have got to stop treating people who commit minor crimes like they’re animals. We have to break down this stereotype of black men as a constant, physical, violent threat.

Love to his wife and children and everyone who loved him.

“Just Like That” (Those Oprah Guests)

Posted by – July 15, 2014

Oh, Oprah. She did one of her “Where Are They Now?” editions and it turns out Christine, a woman who had been in a marriage in which both husband and wife would come out as a gay, later met a woman named Jacki.

Jacki and Christine fell in love. Awesome.

Jacki transitioned to male. Also awesome.

But while being interviewed on the show they said that Jacki transitioned in order to marry Christine, and so they “looked into transgender” and found out that “just like that” their marriage would guarantee that Christine would receive Jacki’s pension and social security.

Just like that.

M guess is that the story is being wildly misrepresented: that in fact Jacki already had some gender stuff going on, a latent or not so latent need to transition, and in these days of defeated DOMAs and lifted bans and stays on ceremonies and the murky, uneven status of same sex marriages, they thought transiton + marriage would guarantee them certain rights they could not be as sure of as a same sex couple.

The first red flag for me: Did anyone notice that Christine says Jacki is “the most authentic person I know”? I mean, is that not in the “things cis people say about trans people” list?

Which maybe it will, for them. I hope it provides them the stability and recognition of their relationship everyone deserves.

What bothers me, of course, is the way it’s been framed as the “shocking steps” one couple took. Not shocking. When people try to gain the legal rights afforded others, it’s not shocking at all. It’s entirely normal and should be totally expected. And if transition itself is still shocking to anyone — holy crap, come out from under your rock.

The problem is that many, many trans people have found their marriages declared legally null over the years – and it is far more likely for a marriage like theirs, in which both people’s sex declared at birth is the same. The status of my own marriage — which is the type that is legally upheld by the courts because we had different sexes listed on our birth certificates and got married long before my wife took the legal or medical or even social steps to transition — still makes me nervous precisely because of all of the legal details of the status of some marriages in this country.

What I suspect – and what I don’t know for sure – is that Jacki is one of very many people whose gender was already masculine of center, before meeting Christine, and whose life as a masculine woman often brought a ton of bullshit – barred entry to the ladies’ room, issues with clothes shopping, misgendering, etc. Dealing with that, plus his love for Christine maybe encouraged him to legally change his gender precisely because living with a non normative gender can be such a pain in the ass legally and otherwise. That is, there are plenty of people for whom a legal transition to male is not a huge undertaking because they are already men in so many ways. My wife’s legal transition was definitely influenced by the fact that it was getting more and more difficult for her to deal with TSA and other boneheads who had the right to judge whether or not her gender on her ID sufficiently matched her gender in person. So despite leaving for years as a woman with a male ID, we went through the legal hullabaloo to get hers changed.

The way they are presenting their story reminds me of the woman who claimed being stung by a bee caused her to transition (and who, in all fairness, said the anaphylactic shock set off a hormonal reaction, etc. etc.).

You don’t need a reason, folks. You’re trans and transition because you are.

You’re in love and want to be married because you are and you do.

Let’s please stop making excuses for gaining recognition for our lives, identities, relationships and families.

ENDA Support Pulled by LGBTQ+ Groups

Posted by – July 9, 2014

Yes, you read that right. Numerous LGBTQ+ groups have pulled their support for ENDA due to the pending legislation’s religious exemption. Those exemptions have always been a source of discord, but in s post Hobby Lobby world, it’s easy to see why many are concerned.

Hobby Lobbied

Posted by – June 30, 2014

There’s a part of me that wishes we could all go back to bed and pretend it’s Sunday night so that there would still be a chance these awful rulings wouldn’t have been handed down by the Supreme Court today, but they were.

The first is that labor unions can’t collect dues automatically from the workers they represent in negotiations with the management. It will decimate labor unions and workers’ rights.

The second is that corporations don’t have to cover contraception. The fear is that this will allow corporations to decide what kind of healthcare they have to insure. What’s happened is this: we are not talking about an individual being able to choose based on religious exemptions. We’re talking about a corporation being able to. As Justice Ginsberg put it:

In a decision of startling breadth, the Court holds that commercial enterprises, including corporations, along with partnerships and sole proprietorships, can opt out of any law (saving only tax laws) they judge incompatible with their sincerely held religious beliefs.

Theoretically, then, a corporation could not provide pre natal care, trans health care, etc. If the company is owned by Jehovah’s Witnesses, for example, they could deny all access to modern medicine because that’s their religious beliefs. Also, “contraception” isn’t just the pill; it’s also the shot (Depo-Provera), the ring (Nuvaring), contraceptive implants (IUD), diaphragms, cervical caps and permanent contraceptive methods, like tubal ligation. I haven’t read yet if it includes vasectomies, but it should (and I’m guessing doesn’t, because patriarchy).

The fear is a slippery slope where religious exemptions are claimed in order to deny LGBTQ+ people employment or marriage benefits. Why should they have to cover my wife’s health insurance if they believe my marriage is immoral and against their religious beliefs?

Here are some of Justice Ginsberg’s best quotes in her dissent, some of the major issues, and a brief synopsis of her grounds for it.

The good news, if there is any good news, is that most corporations will continue to cover contraception because financially, speaking, birth control is way easier to pay for than pregnancy.

AMA: Birth Certificate Changes Shouldn’t Require Surgery

Posted by – June 10, 2014

Great, great news. Not only is this requirement unfair and biased in favor of people who transition medically – not everyone does, or wants to – it also creates a problem with socioeconomic status, where those who can afford surgery are “real” and those who can’t, aren’t.

But this line in the Forbes article is a little silly:

Transgender people say they need IDs to accurately reflect their gender when they apply for jobs, travel and seek certain government services among other things.

Probably just a sloppy bit of writing, but um, everyone needs IDs that accurately reflect their gender.

This part of the article is, however, all too true:

“Birth certificates are primarily used for legal matters, not medical,” the new policy language approved by the AMA says.  “Requiring sex-reassignment surgery places a burden on an already marginalized population.”

Last week, New York State passed a law that states that people are not required to have surgery to change their birth certificates, so hopefully this new AMA ruling will mean other states will follow suit.

Same Sex Weddings in Appleton?

Posted by – June 9, 2014

Miriam Douglass (left) and Ligia Rivera were the first same-sex couple to have their marriage license application accepted by Outagamie County this morning. BUT…. there is a five day waiting period that wasn’t waived by the County Clerk.

In Madison and Milwaukee, the very legitimate argument that “legal exigency” required them to waive the waiting period because the ban might be overturned again.

Either way: same sex couples will be getting married next Monday, June 16th, in the birthplace of Joe McCarthy – Appleton, WI.

So, so happy, and so proud of all of my friends and fellow activists and local clergy who went to the County Clerk’s office this morning to make it happen.

Mrs. Douglass and Mrs. Rivera have been together 26 years.

Here’s a picture from the courthouse this morning. Jesse Heffernan and Monica Rico are the smiling people with that flag.

Bilerico is doing a good job keeping this information updated.

 

“I never realized that I was like a second-class citizen . . . until I wasn’t one anymore.”

Posted by – June 8, 2014

So the weddings have been taking place since the news that the ban was struck down here in WI, and there have been beautiful photos – like the one of the Madison cops bringing cakes to couples getting married on the courthouse steps – and some very interesting articles.

But it was this one sentence from this article that really got to me, because that’s how it feels even for us. Despite having been legally married in the state of New York in 2001 – because we were legally gendered heterosexual at the time – we have felt such a deep envy when NY & so many other states started recognizing and performing same sex unions.

Really, it’s a huge sigh of relief, even for us, who have had recognition from the Federal government for forever but who feel insecure no matter what we’re doing in-state. It is impossible not to feel like a second class citizen when you don’t know if an emergency room attendant is going to recognize your relationship or not.

So happy weddings, happy Pride, happy Wisconsin.

WI’s Marriage Ban Struck Down

Posted by – June 6, 2014

Honestly, the news made me cry the second I read it.

Unbelievable.

Forward, Wisconsin, and HAPPY PRIDE!

Matt Kailey’s Death

Posted by – May 20, 2014

I just got the news from Max Wolf Valerio. Matt Kailey died over the weekend, on Saturday, in his sleep, of a heart attack or heart failure.

I met Matt at few years back when I spoke in Denver and have taught his book Just Add Hormones and regularly read Tranifesto, his blog, especially his Ask Matt series, which were direct answers to questions he’s been asked.

He was such a good guy, so sweet, so caring, and so not into the arguments and infighting and all the rest.

I have to say it’s almost too hard to believe right now, but Matt, we will miss your voice of reason and that kind, kind face of yours.

 

NC Clergy Bring It

Posted by – April 28, 2014

Oh, this is all kinds of awesome.

“The core protection of the First Amendment is that government may not regulate religious beliefs or take sides in religious controversies,” says Jonathan Martel, a partner at Arnold & Porter LLP. “Marriage performed by clergy is a spiritual exercise and expression of faith essential to the values and continuity of the religion that government may regulate only where it has a compelling interest.”

Growing numbers of faith traditions, including those represented among the plaintiffs, bless the marriages of same-sex couples. “As senior minister, I am often asked to perform marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples in my congregation. My denomination – the United Church of Christ – authorizes me to perform these ceremonies. But Amendment One denies my religious freedom by prohibiting me from exercising this right,” says Rev. Joe Hoffman, Senior Minister of First Congregational United Church of Christ in Asheville and a plaintiff in the case.

Amendment One is, of course, the law barring same sex marriages in NC.

‘Gabo’ Flies Away on a White Sheet While Hanging Laundry

Posted by – April 17, 2014

Gabriel Garcia Marquez died and left us with an outstanding legacy of beauty and politics.

Dunn Verdict

Posted by – February 15, 2014

Holy crap, you have got to be kidding me.

Some days I really do want to believe we might make progress on racism in the US. Not today, apparently.

If I Had a Hammer…

Posted by – January 29, 2014

… I’d want to use it just like Pete Seeger used his. In response to questions from HUAC (The House Unamerican Activities Committee), he said this:

“I decline to discuss, under compulsion, where I have sung, and who has sung my songs, and who else has sung with me, and the people I have known. I love my country very dearly, and I greatly resent this implication that some of the places that I have sung and some of the people that I have known, and some of my opinions, whether they are religious or philosophical, or I might be a vegetarian, make me any less of an American. I will tell you about my songs, but I am not interested in telling you who wrote them, and I will tell you about my songs, and I am not interested in who listened to them.”

He didn’t even plead the 5th, which he had the legal right to do and which many did.

I’ve never been a fan of folk music – I’m just not. But I’m awed and inspired by the lives of some of the remarkable men and women like Seeger who didn’t just sing about it – they lived it.

Turing Officially Pardoned

Posted by – December 24, 2013

Well that’s overdue, but Merry Christmas Eve! Queen Elizabeth has finally officially pardoned Alan Turing. He was convicted of being a homosexual despite his amazing work breaking the Enigma Code during WWII.

 

4 Indicted in Steubenville For Attempted Cover-Up

Posted by – November 25, 2013

Some good news:

Now, , Steubenville City Schools Superintendent Michael McVey has been “charged with tampering with evidence, obstruction of justice and falsification.” Also charged: elementary school principal Lynette Gorman, for alleged failure to report child abuse; wrestling coach Seth Fluharty, for alleged failure to report child abuse; and volunteer football coach Matthew Bellardine, “who faces charges allowing underage drinking, obstructing official business, falsification, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.”

Wow. Actual people being held accountable. What a breath of fresh air.

Some Justice in Ohio

Posted by – November 10, 2013

A jury put Cemia “Ce Ce” Dove’s murderer in prison for 15 years. (In previous articles she was referred to as Cemia or CiCi Acoff and/or Dove.)

(The article isn’t great on the pronouns – but justice, at least.)