Gaga Sings the Trans

Lady Gaga’s new song “Born This Way” from her upcoming CD Born This Way has these lyrics:

Bridge
Don’t be a drag, be a queen
Whether you’re broke or evergreen
You’re black, white, beige chola descent
You’re Lebanese, You’re Orient
Whether life’s disabilities
Left you outcast, bullied or teased
Rejoice and love yourself today
Cause baby you we’re born this way
No matter gay, straight, or bi
Lesbian, transgendered life
I’m on the right track baby
I was born to survive
No matter black, white or beige
Chola or Orient made
I’m on the right track baby
I was born to be brave

And to temper the news, read this critique of the Gaga when she gets it wrong on LGBT issues.

Revised Passport Requirements

From NCTE: New News on Passport Requirements

The U.S. State Department has announced some small but important additional changes to its policy for updating gender on U.S. passports and Consular Reports of Birth Abroad (CRBAs). The changes make clear that any physician who has treated or evaluated a passport applicant may certify that he or she has had appropriate treatment for gender transition. The revised policy also clarifies language and procedures to ensure that individuals with intersex condition can obtain documents with the correct gender.

In June 2010, the Obama Administration announced a new policy for updating gender markers on passports and CRBAs. For the first time, the June policy enabled transgender people to a passport that reflects their current gender without providing details of specific medical or surgical procedures. Instead, applicants could provide certification from a physician that they had received “appropriate clinical treatment” for gender transition. This policy was the result of years of advocacy, and represented a significant advance in providing safe, humane and dignified treatment of transgender people.

The policy announced in June was a huge step forward, but it was not perfect. It contained rigid and unnecessary restrictions on which physicians could write supporting letters for applicants, and contained confusing provisions regarding people with intersex conditions. With input from NCTE and other organizations, the Department moved swiftly to clarify and improve the policy. The passport policy as it now stands represents a model that other federal agencies, such as the Social Security Administration and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, should move swiftly to adopt.

NCTE has prepared a revised resource that fully explains the new guidelines and outlines the ways in which transgender people can make changes to their passports and CRBAs. We are thankful for our colleagues at the Council for Global Equality, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Lesbian Rights for their wonderful collaborative work on this vital issue.

Nothing New Under the Sun

To a lot of people, transgender identities are new, some emerging idea that’s only happened in the modern era, & to some degree, that’s true: without the discovery of hormones (turn of the last century) and the development of surgeries (middle of the last century), it is much more difficult for people to live in a body that’s wrongly gendered.

But that, however, is only for the people who require medical intervention. There have always been bodies that bridge male and female, that express secondary sex characteristics of both. Evidence:

How fantastic is she? At the very least, when some moralizing pundit talks about trans or intersex as some kind of new perversity, and a sign that the world is coming to an end, we can at least point out that it’s a very old perversity indeed. Most perversions are. We don’t invent much, but instead mostly forget, or otherwise bury some histories and identities and pretend they never did exist. (For the record, for those of you who aren’t careful readers: I do not think trans or intersex is a perversion.I am employing rhetoric in order to make my point clear. Civil and cultural recognition of trans and intersex identities and bodies is a sign of civilization, to me.)

But they did exist. This piece is not on display, but owned by the Louvre, yet this other one is on display, and in my opinion, far more sensual. Museum stats below the break.

Continue reading “Nothing New Under the Sun”

Superbowl Ad: The Sauna

We’ve come a long way, baby. I am very very sure I’ve never been turned on by a Superbowl commercial before, but goddamn. And yet: it’s funny, too, and not homophobic, either. Well done.

From NCTE: New HUD Rules

The National Center for Transgender Equality applauds President Obama and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for proposing new regulations, unveiled today, that would ensure that HUD’s programs would be open to all who need them, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. This means that all of HUD’s core programs, such as Public Housing, rental vouchers (called Housing Choice vouchers), and FHA home financing, will serve all those who are eligible.
Data from a forthcoming report on transgender discrimination in the United States, co-sponsored by NCTE and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, was cited as evidence demonstrating the dire need for housing protections for the transgender community. ┬áNineteen percent (19%) of the survey’s more than 6,000 respondents had been denied a house or apartment because of their gender identity, while 11% had been evicted due to bias. The full report will be released in a matter of weeks.

“There are so many individuals and families who rely on HUD’s programs to ensure that they have a roof over their heads and that they can make ends meet,” noted NCTE’s executive director, Mara Keisling. “And yet far too often, they have encountered discriminatory landlords and regulations that make it impossible for them to have a fair deal. HUD’s strong stand against discrimination will make a concrete difference in the lives of transgender people and our families. Every American needs and deserves a home.”

If the rules proposed today are fully implemented after the 60 day public comment period, transgender people facing discrimination in public housing or public housing financing will have recourse to fix the problem. The new regulations would include definitions of sexual orientation and gender identity, ban landlords from asking about sexual orientation or gender identity, prohibit lenders from discriminating on that basis, and clarify that public housing programs are open to LGBT families who are otherwise eligible for them.

This is far from HUD’s first advance in transgender equality. Thus far, the Obama Administration has announced that they will conduct the first-ever national study of housing discrimination against LGBT people. They have also issued fair housing guidance that specifically clarified that discrimination against transgender people can be considered a violation of the Fair Housing Act. In addition, HUD has ruled that those who receive HUD discretionary funding must abide by state and local anti-discrimination laws.

NCTE will continue to follow HUD’s progress through the comment period.