Bailey controversy

Unfortunately for everyone involved, the Lambda Literary Foundation chose Bailey’s The Man Who Would Be Queen as a nominee in the TG non-fiction books category for their 2003 Lambda Lit Awards.
Despite emails from various people within the TG community (including me, Lynn Conway, Deirde McCloskey and many others), Lambda chose not to remove the book from the nominations list.
Lambda has not been insensitive about it, in my opinion – but found themselves faced with a situation that they had never encountered before. That all of their advisors and committee members are gay or lesbian and NONE are TG, is the biggest problem, and my hope is that they will actively look for a few bookish TG people who can help inform and educate the existing staff and committees of Lambda.
Sign the Petition
Read more about the controversy on Lynn Conway’s website
Read more about Lambda Literary Foundation
Listen to an interview with Jim Marks, the Executive Director of Lambda, about this book’s nomination and Lambda’s nominating process.

Amnesty International & GLBT Violence

I’ve long been a fan of Amnesty International, and yesterday I discovered that they are currently “spotlighting” a Human Rights activist who works in the TG community. Rodrigo Lopez Barrera has been threatened, shot at, and received an anonymous death threat. Why? He campaigns actively for the Transvestite Association of Chile.
Amnesty is asking that people send two letters – one to the Minister of the Interior of Chile, the second to the Governor of the Province (Los Andes) that Barrera lives in. The details of the case and the addresses of both officials can be found on AI’s press release about this case.
For you closet CDs, this is a perfect opporuntity to show a little support for your sisters, and to speak out without any chance of being outed. No-one but you & these officials in Chile will know you’re a crossdresser!
I also strongly suggest writing to Amnesty International at and thanking them for choosing this case to highlight. AI is a well-respected international human rights group, & their choice, to spotlight a TG case, will have reverberations throughout the world.
If you want to really thank them, send a donation, too.

Southern Poverty Law Center Investigates Michael Bailey

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has just published a major expose of Bailey’s book, The Man Who Would Be Queen and the forces behind it. The article is in an issue of SPLC’s quarterly Intelligence Report that focuses on the realities and causes of the terrible wave of hate crimes against transgender and transsexual women now rampant in my U.S. cities. It is also on the web, along with the article on hate crimes.
You can find the one on Bailey here
and the one on hate crimes here
Lynn Conway, who has been one of the people helping dig up information on Bailey, adds: “SPLC confirmed our worst suspicions about the right-wing hatemonger group of elite academics, journalists, writers and media pundits that Bailey and Blanchard have been running with for at least the past 5 years. As Anjelica often says about the entire Bailey mess: ‘It’s unbelievable, yet undeniable…’.”
I don’t find it unbelievable – but all too believable. This is one of the reasons I think it’s important for the TG spectrum to come together, and to provide a united front with the GLBT community against attacks like this.

10 Year Anniversary of Brandon Teena's Death

I found this article here
Brandon Teena 10 Years Later
(Falls City, Nebraska) While most of the world prepares to celebrate New Year’s Eve this week, transgendered Americans are pausing to remember Brandon Teena on the tenth anniversary of his murder.
The December 31, 1993 killing of the good-looking 21 year old galvanized Falls City, Brandon’s hometown, and for the first time put a national spotlight on the plight of the transgendered. It was the inspiration for the award-winning 1999 film, “Boy’s Don’t Cry” and led to the first civil rights laws for trans citizens.
Teena was a female to male pre-op transsexual and had been living as a male for several years. In December, 1993 he went to County Sheriff Charles Laux and reported he had been raped by two men, John Lotter and Marvin Nissen, after they discovered he had been born female and still had female organs. Teen had been dating a female friend of Lotter’s at the time.
Laux refused to investigate. A week later Teen was murdered by the pair who also killed two people who witnessed the killing.
Lotter and Nissen were eventually charged, tried, and sentenced, but not before the nation became gripped by the brutality of the case and the indifference of authorities.
An appeal by by Lotter was rejected by the Nebraska Court of Appeal earlier this year.
But, in his death, Teena gave birth to transgender militancy. Trans men and women across the country began to organize, forming lobby groups to not only educate the public but to press for civil rights.
Today, 65 municipalities and states have hate crime laws that specifically include transgendered people, according to the Transgender Law Policy Institute. California became the fourth state to adopt such a law earlier this year.
“How many times do you get to see a giant sea change like this in people’s perceptions? But you look at Congress, corporate America, and cities and states … and you see this enormous change in how people are looking at gender as a civil rights issue,” said Riki Wilchins, executive director of the Washington-based Gender Public Advocacy Coalition.
Yet, despite the advances, violence against the transgendered continues. Last year, 17 year old Gwen Araujo was murdered in California by three men who discovered she had been born male. A year ago, Nizah Morris a TG performer was murdered in Philadelphia. In the past 12 months, Remembering Our Dead, an online memorial that tracks bias killing of transgendered people around the world, recorded 17 deaths in the United States.

TG Teen in TX

I hate to report sad news, but I saw this article and felt obliged to post it. This girl’s suicide broke my heart, especially upon reading that laws that would have protected her failed to get passed.
This girl is why we all need to get out there, educate, lobby for the legislation that would protect us.
I’ve reprinted this article with the permission of Texas Triangle.
Transgender Teen�s Suicide Leaves Unanswered Questions
By Steven Morris
On November 18, Christopher Brownlee found his 15-year-old brother Ben hanging from the garage, a thick black rope that he used to walk his animals tied around his neck. Christopher and his mother had long since accepted Ben as Tesia Samara�a girl who, in her own words, was �trapped in a �male� body.� Suddenly the pressure of being different in the small town of Rockdale, Texas, became too much for her.
Like many stories similar to this, it took a long time before anyone really took notice. Even those of us in the GLBT press didn�t hear about until a month after Tesia�s suicide. Only now, when her mother has decided to find out what really happened has it become a �story.�
Tesia�s mom, Karen Johle said Tesia was upbeat on the Tuesday morning of her suicide when she left for school. She had been in counseling for some time and her therapist believed that her thoughts of suicide had lessened in the last few weeks. So it was an even greater shock when Johle came home and could not find Tesia. At first Johle thought Tesia was at the local cemetery where she liked to go to write poetry, listen to music and get away from everything. When she found all of Tesia�s shoes in her closet and her headphones and CDs nearby, Johle knew something was wrong.
Ben grew up In Rockdale, a town of about 4,500 people, 60 miles northeast of Austin, and had lived there all his life. His father left when he was a toddler. When he finally started to dress the way he felt, Tesia emerged. She grew her hair long and started to wear hip-huggers and make-up. Her family accepted her as Tesia, but school was another story.
Johle said Tesia endured the taunts and teasing of her classmates who knew her as a boy for most of her life, but now saw her dressed as a girl on a daily basis. Everyday he was called �gay boy, fag boy, hair girl.�
Tesia had recently seen an episode of Oprah about transgenderism and was determined to begin hormone therapy and have a sex-change operation. She was in contact with one of the guests from that show who was helping guide her in the right direction.
She had even written a letter to one of her teachers, trying to explain her situation and asking for the educator�s help when it came to difficult situations. �I mainly run into sticky situations at school,� she wrote. �For instance, when they separate the females from the females (sic) for the nurse�s scoliosis testing, those kinds of things are hell for me. I wanted you to know this so that maybe you can help me to avoid some the hard and embarrassing times I could have. So if you happen to call me �her� on accident, let�s just say that I wouldn�t be unhappy.�
Tesia was very informed about her situation. She had researched the condition known as gender dysmorphia, which leads to the feeling that a person is in a body of the wrong sex. She knew her options when it came to surgeries to correct the problem and was prepared to undergo the difficult gender reassignment surgery. She had been taking hormones for three months �Spirotone and Premarin� that she bought off the Internet. While she knew she would never really be accepted 100 percent at school, she had the love of her family and a few good friends who understood her situation and accepted her for who she was.
That is why Johle believes something happened after school that day that led to Tesia taking her own life. There are rumors going around school that some classmates had assaulted and urinated on Tesia after school that day. Police have looked into it and believe it is just a rumor, but Johle feels differently.
Despite the fact the Tesia had attempted suicide twice before (though only once that his mother was aware of), Johle still believes Tesia was provoked on November 18. The Principal and teachers had all spoken to Tesia in the weeks leading to her death and felt she was adjusting well and was handling the pressure as best she could. She had been doing well in her counseling sessions at Waterloo Counseling Center and Johle believed Tesia was combating her suicidal thoughts well.
Lt. J.D. Newlin of the Rockdale Police Department investigated the rumor of an attack but could find no evidence to support the suspicions. He interviewed a teacher and several students but came to a dead end.
Johle went to Newlin with a copy of the state�s hate crime law in her hand, but according the Lesbian/Gay Rights Lobby of Texas (LGRL), currently, there is no state law to protect students from such harassment in Texas schools.
State Representative Garnet Coleman (D-Houston) tried to change that during the most recent legislative session by authoring the �Dignity for All Students Act,� which would have addressed this type of issue. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Public Education, but Committee Chair Kent Grusendorf refused to give it a hearing.
Students have sought relief from harassment and discrimination under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, as well as Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972. However, these laws do not specifically protect students from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
�In failing to pass the �Dignity for All Students Act� the leadership of the legislature failed a significant portion of the Texas population,� LGRL Field Coordinator Colin Cunliff said. �And the consequences are deplorable, such as the loss of Tesia Samara�s life.�
Johle has refused to give up and will continue to fight to discover the truth behind Tesia�s death. She had Tesia�s body cremated and while almost 300 people attended the memorial Service in Rockdale, Johle refuses to have Tesia buried there.
�He hated this damn place,� Johle told the Austin-American Statesman. �I sure as hell wasn�t going to bury him in a city he hated so badly.�
The Poetry of Tesia Samara
Thinking Pains
All of the time
I see myself thinking
Thinking all inside
Dreaded thought to thought
Carefully linking
Bringing my death in shapes and size
I�m self-destructing thinking
Submerged to lose
I am sinking
Nest of serpents
My own twisted mind
Creative manner to deal in living
Grown to stern
Ripped at stern
Evil in root
I see myself thinking
All of the time.
Took a turn too far
To trespass
To know that I am nothing more
Than an error in eternity
Held hands, to keep me here.
But that hand slipped,
Clover discolored,
Misintended as I was blighted;
We never meant to be this.