Transgender Day of Remembrance

Today, November 20th, is the Transgender Day or Remembrance, when the TG community remembers and honors TG victims of violence.
There is a website dedicated to the Day of Remembrance. For more about today, and a list of the memorials occurring around the country, check here
From that site: Day of Remembrance
“This site has gone black in honor of the Day of Remembrance, November 20, 2003, to honor the 38 victims of anti-transgender murder since last November�s event, and to remember all victims of anti-transgender violence or prejudice. For more details, see the Remembering Our Dead website.”
“The Transgender Day of Remembrance was set aside to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. The event is held in November to honor Rita Hester, whose murder in 1998 kicked off the �Remembering Our Dead� web project and a San Francisco candlelight vigil in 1999. Since then, the event has grown to encompass memorials in dozens of cities across the world. Rita Hester�s murder � like most anti-transgender murder cases � has yet to be solved.”
“Although not every person represented during the Day of Remembrance self-identified as transgendered � that is, as a transsexual, crossdresser, or otherwise gender-variant � each was a victim of violence based on bias against transgendered people.”
“We live in times more sensitive than ever to hatred based violence, especially since the events of September 11th. Yet even now, the deaths of those based on anti-transgender hatred or prejudice are largely ignored. Over the last decade, more than one person per month has died due to transgender-based hate or prejudice, regardless of any other factors in their lives. This trend shows no sign of abating.”
“The Transgender Day of Remembrance serves several purposes. It raises public awareness of hate crimes against transgendered people, an action that current media doesn�t perform. Day of Remembrance publicly mourns and honors the lives of our brothers and sisters who might otherwise be forgotten. Through the vigil, we express love and respect for our people in the face of national indifference and hatred. Day of Remembrance reminds non-transgendered people that we are their sons, daughters, parents, friends and lovers. Day of Remembrance gives our allies a chance to step forward with us and stand in vigil, memorializing those of us who�ve died by anti-transgender violence.”
For a list of those TG people we have lost.

Smaller Video

Hey all, I managed to cut the file size in half of the promo video and it seems to be streaming now, which is a good thing. So, for those who didn’t get a chance to see it (and my lovely wife) check it out!

Massachusetts Supreme Court Ruling

Massachusetts First State in Nation to Grant Same-Sex Couples the Right to a Civil Marriage
WASHINGTON – The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled today that same- and opposite-sex couples must be given equal civil marriage rights under the state constitution. The ruling in Goodridge et al. v. Department of Public Health makes the state the first in the nation to grant same-sex couples the right to a civil marriage license. Ruling that civil marriage in Massachusetts means “the voluntary union of two persons as spouses, to the exclusion of all others,” the Court allowed the Legislature 180 days to change the civil marriage statutes
accordingly.
“Today, the Massachusetts Supreme Court made history,” said Elizabeth Birch, executive director of the Human Rights Campaign. “This ruling will never interfere with the right of religious institutions – churches, synagogues and mosques – to determine who will be married within the context of their respective religious faiths. This is about whether gay and lesbian couples in long-term, committed relationships will be afforded the benefits, rights and protections afforded other citizens to best care for their partners and children. This is good
for gay couples and it is good for America.”
Key results from the ruling:
1. Same sex couples in Massachusetts who choose to obtain a civil marriage license will now be able to:
-Visit each other in the hospital, without question;
-Make important health care and financial decisions for each other;
-Have mutual obligations to provide support for each other;
-File joint state tax returns, and have the burden and advantages of the state tax law for married couples; and
-Receive hundreds of other protections under state law.
2. Churches and other religious institutions will not have to recognize or perform ceremonies for these civil marriages. This ruling is not about religion; it’s about the civil responsibilities and protections afforded through a government-issued civil marriage license.
3. By operation of law, all married couples should be extended the more than 1,000 federal protections and responsibilities administered at the federal level. Because no state has recognized civil marriage for same-sex couples in the past, the so-called Defense of Marriage Act has not yet been challenged in court.
4. Other states and some businesses may legally recognize the civil marriages of same-sex couples performed in Massachusetts the same way they treat those of opposite-sex couples.
The Boston-based Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) brought the case on behalf of seven gay and lesbian couples after they were denied civil marriage certificates solely because they were same-sex couples.
“GLAD and Mary Bonauto, its leading lawyer, did an outstanding job arguing this case with professionalism and passion. This tremendous victory would not have been possible without their exemplary efforts,” said Birch.
The Human Rights Campaign signed onto a “friend of the court” brief in Goodridge to support and further explain the case for extending civil marriage rights to same-sex couples under the state constitution. A variety of other civil rights organizations, religious groups, child welfare experts, family and legal historians and others also either signed or filed briefs of their own in favor of extending civil marriage laws to same-sex couples.
For the full text of HRC’s press release, please visit:
HRC site

TransNews: Corporate Protections article

This article appeared in Forbes magazine
FEATURE-Transsexuals new focus of companies’ legal protection
Reuters, 11.09.03, 10:55 AM ET
By Daniel Sorid
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Corporations and lawmakers are expanding protections against sexual harassment and discrimination to cover transsexuals,
cross-dressers and others who fall outside the traditional notions of gender identity.
In the last two years, 19 companies in the Fortune 500 — including Bank One Corp. and Microsoft Corp. — have banned discrimination based on “gender identity and expression.” Sixty-five cities and counties have similar protections, with 16 ordinances passed in 2002.
The measures extend protections to men perceived as effeminate and women viewed as masculine.
“There is a sense that laws specifically based on sexual orientation are not capturing everyone,” said Daryl Herrschaft, deputy director for work-place issues at the Human Rights Campaign, the country’s largest lesbian and gay political organization.
In August, California’s recalled governor, Gray Davis, signed legislation banning discrimination in housing and employment based on gender stereotypes or
transgendered status. Three other states — Minnesota, Rhode Island and New Mexico — have similar protections.
Another four states — New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and Massachusetts — have had either court or administrative rulings that could be interpreted as banning discrimination against gender expression or status as a transsexual, according to Human Rights Campaign.
Socially conservative groups have opposed the measures, arguing they force owners of religious businesses to support a way of life they morally oppose, and would hold up transsexuals as role models for children.
At some companies, however, the protections are seen as a straightforward way to comply with a patchwork of statutes that protect transsexuals in some cities and states, as well as to reduce taunting and discrimination against those whose appearances clash with more traditional beliefs.
Proponents see the trend as a natural progression from the protections for women and gays against harassment.
“Gender identity and expression was the next step,” said Maria Campbell, director of diversity at SC Johnson & Son, based in Racine, Wisconsin.
Transsexuals are disproportionately pushed out of jobs, kicked out of housing, and beaten up or murdered, according to studies. Excluded from a society confused and sometimes disgusted by their way of living, they tend to get less education and are more likely to lack health insurance, studies show.
A survey funded by the District of Columbia in 2000 showed that most “gender variant” residents earned less than $10,000 a year, with one in three saying
they had been a victim of violence or crime brought on by hatred of gays or transsexuals.
In a poll of 392 male-to-female transsexuals in San Francisco in 1997, nearly half the respondents reported facing job discrimination, while a quarter said they faced housing discrimination.
“Even though it’s only a patchwork, at this point this is how civil rights proceeds,” said Riki Wilchins, executive director of the Gender Public Advocacy Coalition in Washington, D.C. “Ten years ago there was none of this. All this has happened very quickly.”
A GROWING CONFIDENCE FOR TRANSSEXUALS
A growing sense of protection among transsexual workers is tangible in a city like San Francisco, considered one of the country’s most liberal places to live. Indicative of that is the experience of Ina Fried, a technology reporter who in May came out to colleagues and business contacts as transsexual.
Fried (pronounced Freed), who was born male and had always used the name Ian at work, said she wanted to feel “whole” in her life.
Her employer, CNET Networks Inc., said it has made a conscious effort to accommodate employees “transitioning” from one gender to another. When
designing its new headquarters building in San Francisco, for instance, it included unisex bathrooms to accommodate transgendered employees.
“I think I’ve been very lucky,” Fried said in an interview. “For a lot of people the experience of being transgendered is still greatly more difficult.”
The term “transgender” is often a term appended to the name of gay and lesbian groups, even though many transsexuals and cross-dressers do not consider
themselves gay. But it is the gay community’s success gaining protection and prominence in government and private-sector jobs in recent decades that has, in
part, led to calls for expanded transgender protections.
“Transgender issues are really seen as the next frontier, as a way to really make the work place safe for everyone,” said Selisse Berry, executive director of Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, based in San Francisco.
“People are finally much more comfortable with the words gay and lesbian,” Berry added. “They’re not familiar with what the word transgender even means,
and sometimes people’s only connection is either drag queens, prostitution, or some movie.”
Copyright 2003, Reuters News Service

Kirkus Review

This just in, my first official review:

“The forthright wife of a transvestite offers a revealing look inside the little-known world of transgendered men and their female partners. Boyd (a pseudonym), founder of an online support group for cross-dressers and their partners, pulls no punches here in telling her primary audience, women with cross-dressing boyfriends or husbands what she has learned from both personal experience and five years of research. Among the questions she tackles are why some men cross-dress and why women choose to stay with them. Profiling six couples from her online support group to demonstrate that there are various ways of dealing with cross-dressing, Boyd opens with a brief introduction to each couple (and photos of some), then let them describe themselves and their relationship in their own words. Elsewhere, she discusses the pros and cons of coming out, the most common sexual problems of cross-dressers, and the differences and similarities among cross-dressers, transsexuals, and homosexuals. She argues that cross-dressers, some of whom are quite adamant about being heterosexual and resist any linkage with other transgendered groups, could learn a lot from the gay community about facing harassment, discrimination in employment, and rejection from friends and family. The book has a helter-skelter feel: Boyd mixes big topics like history, politics, and psychology with up-close and personal material about cross-dressers she has come to know and like, her personal experiences living with a cross dresser, her clashes with those whose views she does not share. Whatever its organizational faults, however they’re balanced by the author’s honest voicing of her opinions, misgivings and fears. Back-of-the-book material includes a glossary of expressions and abbreviations used in the transgendered community, with supplemental terms that should have been folded into the main entry; an alphabetical list by first name of all the people mentioned in the text, which serves no readily discernible purpose; a chatty annotated bibliography, and a list of resources from cross-dressers and their significant others. Makes abundantly clear the complexities of life with a cross-dresser.”

– Kirkus Reviews, 11/15/2003

Transgender Rights Case in New York

Helen’s asked me to post some of the links to “transnews” that I come across occasionally, and here’s an article about a recent court decision in New York favorable to transgender rights, rejecting the defendant’s argument that state and city human rights laws do not apply to transgendered people. (The lawsuit, which has been around for awhile, arose from a landlord’s eviction of a non-profit group from its building for allowing mtf transgendered clients to use the women’s bathroom.)

The Hateful Rev. Phelps

Sign the petition to keep Rev. “God Hates Fags” Phelps from putting up a statue of Matthew Shepard which would read, “MATTHEW SHEPARD, Entered Hell October 12, 1998, in Defiance of God’s Warning: ‘Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind; it is abomination.’ Leviticus 18:22”
This kind of hate can’t be tolerated.

Anna Quindlen on Jennifer Finney Boylan

Outside the Bright Lines
by Anna Quindlen
Newsweek, Aug. 11 issue
The most dispiriting moment in Jenny Boylan�s book is when she realizes that talking like a girl means sounding uncertain about your own name, like this: �Hello? I�m Jenny Boylan?�
THE FUNNIEST MOMENT is when her doctor tells her that gay men and lesbians don�t really have much in common with transsexuals. �Yeah,� Boylan replies, �except for the fact that we get beaten up by the same people.�
And one of the most telling moments in the book is when she goes to the credit union to have the name on her account changed from James Finney Boylan to Jennifer Finney Boylan. �You were named James?� the manager asks.
�I used to be a boy. Now I�m female. I had my name changed,� Boylan tells the manager.
�Huh,� she replies. �Okay, well this is simple enough. We�ll just change your name in the data field here.�
Boylan�s new book, “She�s Not There,” is a very funny memoir of growing up confused and a very smart consideration of what it means to be a woman. (Yeah, hormones make a difference.) It�s also the story of a writer and college professor who winds up married, living in Maine with two kids, all the while knowing that his true gender doesn�t match his body. It�s about becoming who you really are, which in this case meant becoming a woman.
But it is also about how good people can be. Because Boylan�s book is not about being shunned by her colleagues, losing her job, having her family ditch her. A good bit of it is merely about changing the data field. Even the woman who married Jim and wound up with Jenny responded with love, leavened with anger and pain, too. (�I want what I had,� she says at one point.) Boylan�s sons decided to call her �Maddy,� merging the titles of Mommy and Daddy. Her students still loved her��damn, girl, you look good!� one writes�and her colleagues rolled with it, the professors at Colby and the musicians with whom she plays in a bar band. (Although her friend Curly was chagrined when he asked what it was like to have breasts and she responded that the world doesn�t revolve around breasts. �I wish you could hear yourself,� he sighed sadly.) �As far as I�m concerned, you�re you, no matter what,� one friend said.
Tolerance is the rice pudding of modern behavior; it tastes sweeter than bigotry, but no one would confuse it with a parfait. What Boylan�s book represents is something deeper and more important than tolerance. The way in which people insisted on valuing her on the basis of who she was and not their confusion about what she had done represents the best of human behavior.
Doing that is hard. The old bright lines used to make things so simple. White was different from black. Male was different from female. Straight was better than gay. Gay was bad. So was sex, unless it had been sanctified by Alencon lace and a catering hall. Sanctified by God, some would say, or �natural moral law,� which is what the Vatican cited in its statement last week against gay marriage, the theological version of �because I said so.�
The God who suggested we love one another seemed strangely absent from all this. Look at the bright lines in the new movie �The Magdalene Sisters.� It�s a devastating drama based on the true story of unmarried Roman Catholic girls who got pregnant and were essentially imprisoned in Irish laundries called the Magdalene Asylums, sent there by their own parents for no crime other than sexuality. Who cares about compassion when you can have never-darken-my-doorstep certainty?
In his afterword to Boylan�s book her best friend, the writer Richard Russo, refers to a line in �The Great Gatsby�: he says his first reaction was to want �the world to be �uniform and at a sort of moral attention�.� That�s natural when the unexpected barrels around the corner. But for many years that feeling was the bedrock of a morality that was essentially immoral because it reduced human interaction to mathematics, without understanding or empathy. To have learned to think �you�re you, no matter what� about those we love and even those we don�t know has alleviated an enormous amount of unnecessary pain.
As for Jenny, she�s now the woman outside that she always felt she was within. The same salesman who tried to sell Jim a car and focused on the spark plugs tried to sell her one for $1,000 more and talked about the cup holders. She started ordering diet soda and salads, a cave to cultural stereotypes that made her nuts. She was cool about the demands her situation made on others: �If you�ve read this far in this note, it�s quite possible that you feel that the top of your head is about to blow off,� she wrote in a letter to colleagues explaining it all. One night at dinner her mother raised her glass and said, �I am so proud of my beautiful daughter.� Maybe there are those who feel she should disapprove, or hide it from her friends, or cut off contact with her own kid. After all, that�s what people did in the old days, to a pregnant daughter, to a gay son, to anyone outside the bright lines. But that�s just wrong.