Coy Mathis Wins

At long last, great news: Coy Mathis was being discriminated against when her school stopped allowing her to use the girls’ room as she had been all along.

According to TLDEF:

This is the first ruling in the nation holding that transgender students must be allowed to use bathrooms that match who they are, and the most comprehensive ruling ever supporting the rights of transgender people to access bathrooms without harassment or discrimination.

Great, GREAT news.

National Trans Advocacy Network (TAN)

A group of state and local transgender leaders are pleased to announce the formation of the Trans Advocacy Network. The Trans Advocacy Network held their first meeting in Memphis, Tennessee on July 10, 2010 with the purpose of defining their mission and goals for the upcoming year.

Their mission statement is as follows:
“The Trans Advocacy Network is an alliance of transgender organizations that work at the state and local level, coming together to build a stronger trans movement by facilitating the sharing of resources, best practices, and organizing strategies.”

The Trans Advocacy Network will serve local and state level trans advocacy groups that are both established and newly forming as well as support groups, college-based groups, and other organizations that are doing advocacy and policy work for transgender rights and protections. The
Trans Advocacy Network will assist these groups by sharing policy, training materials, resources, tools, and best advocacy practices. It hopes to foster leadership development, sustainability, and to make the movement for trans rights stronger and more effective. The Trans Advocacy Network will operate with a steering committee made up of leaders from state and local trans organizations from across the country. There will be a limited number of spaces on the steering committee for advisers from national organizations.

Plans for the first year of the Trans Advocacy Network include expanding the steering committee to include people who are not yet well-represented, connecting more state and local trans advocacy groups across the country, creating guiding principles, starting a list serve that all trans advocacy organizations will have access to, outreaching to other groups by region, creating a more cohesive communication network, creating a organizational survey to understand the needs, resources, and get a realistic view of where trans community organizations are across the country, and holding conference calls and webinars to share best practices and strategies.

The Trans Advocacy Network Steering Committee currently includes Gunner Scott of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, Masen Davis of the Transgender Law Center, Marisa Richmond of the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition, Lisa Scheps of the Transgender Education Network of Texas, Sadie-Ryanne Baker of the DC Trans Coalition, and Shane Morgan of TransOhio. Advisers to the Steering Committee include Lisa Mottet of the Transgender Civil Rights Project of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and Jaan Williams of the National Center for Lesbian Rights. The steering committee is interested in additional members who represent predominantly people of color trans organizations and low-income trans organizations.

Contact Gunner Scott for more information or how to become involved at

Tri Ess: Still Rude

A while back, I found an email inviting me to be the keynote speaker for Tri Ess’s Holiday En Femme conference which was to take place in November, in Chicago. I immediately asked the organizers if the National leadership were okay with me being asked, since Tri Ess hasn’t been happy with me since I wrote My Husband Betty and criticized Tri Ess’s policies in its pages. They had reason to be unhappy with me, that is, which is why I was surprised when I received the invite.

The organizers were confident they were in the clear, having been told that HEF is an inclusive conference. That said, over time, National got wind of what they were planning & had some problems with it – not just with me as the keynote choice, but with workshops on hormones & some other things.

The organizers who invited me eventually quit because they felt the national Tri Ess leadership were trying to control everything to a degree that made it impossible for them, the local organizers, to plan the event.

That said, I had given my professional word that I would speak, and so repeated my agreed-upon conditions with national. They were agreeable to the same conditions. Jane Ellen Fairfax and I exchanged a few pleasantly agreeable emails, even.

A local friend in Chicago emailed me a few days ago just to say hi and happened to mention, in passing, that he hoped Tri Ess had at least let me know before putting that message up on the HEF website. Not having any idea what he was talking about, I went & checked it, only to find this message:

The Board of Tri-Ess held a Conference Call last evening in order to determine the status of the various elements which are necessary to a provide an enjoyable, enlightening and productive Holiday En Femme for all of our Chapters.

After thoroughly reviewing this project for viability in meeting these goals, we determined that, with the short time remaining, Holiday En Femme should be canceled for 2009.

The Board of Tri-Ess wishes to recognize and thank those chapters as well as the many individual sisters and supporters who participated in our endeavour and offers a deep respect for all who made every effort to try to provide you a quality Holiday En Femme.

Continue reading “Tri Ess: Still Rude”

Congrats to FORGE

Today, FORGE snagged the second largest grant given to a transgender organization. From their press release:

Less than a month after starting a 3-year, nearly $300,000 federally-funded project to improve the nation’s sexual violence and criminal justice professionals’ ability to respectfully and appropriately serve transgender survivors of sexual violence, FORGE has been awarded a second federal grant to provide direct services to transgender survivors and SOFFA (Significant Others, Friends, Family and Allies).

Continue reading “Congrats to FORGE”

TransOhio in 2 Days

I’m leaving today for Columbus, OH, where I’m speaking at the TransOhio Conference, & yes, I am traveling by train. Tons of people from our MHB boards are joining me, including my lovely wife. (“She said ‘wife’!”)

They closed the online registration yesterday, but they WILL be registering walk-ins at the conference, so even if you haven’t registered yet, you can still come. They’ve made it very reasonable – $30, $20 for students, and that comes with lunch. Students can go for $11 but with no lunch & no me. Basically, it’s a tiered system, allowing people as much conference access as possible. There’s a meet & greet on Friday, 8/14, AND a brunch on Sunday. (The day-of registrations are more expensive, and may not come with a guarantee that there will be room for you at lunch.)

So yes, make your plans to come while I’m on a train to Pittsburgh!

Jim Collins Foundation (Info & Fundraiser)

A new organization called the Jim Collins Foundation has come into being; its goal is to provide financial assistance to transgender people for gender-confirming surgeries. From their website:

The Jim Collins Foundation recognizes that not every transgender person needs or wants surgery to achieve a healthy transition, but for those who do, gender-confirming surgeries are an important step in their transition to being their true selves. However, access to gender-confirming surgery is impossible for most. Discrimination against transgender people is so prevalent that many transgender people struggle to survive, never mind save for surgery costs. Even for those who have health insurance, coverage is systematically denied. Many insurance policies contain a “Transsexual Exclusion Clause” which excludes all medical procedures related to a person’s transgender status. For many transgender people, access to surgery is out of reach.

The Jim Collins Foundation raises money to fund gender-confirming surgeries for those transgender people who need surgery to live a healthy life, but have no ability to pay for it themselves. We recognize that for those people who require surgery for a healthy gender transition, lack of access to surgery may result in hopelessness, depression, and sometimes, suicide. The Jim Collins Foundation is a community-based initiative promoting the self-determination and empowerment of all transgender people.

So if you’re going to be in the New Haven area on 8/8, do go!

a Benefit for The Jim Collins Foundation
Saturday August 8TH 8pm
168 York Street Cafe’ New Haven, CT
$10 Donation at the door

Bring your talent and your friends ! Or just come to listen !


One of the things I’ve always liked about Vanessa Edwards Foster is that she doesn’t lose sight of the goal: actual equality. I agree with her that our standards are low when it comes to justice for the trans people, and their families and friends, who are murdered. I agree that “manslaughter” is not murder, and that shooting at someone who is basically a sitting duck in a car can’t possibly have been an accidental killing.

But what I don’t agree with is the vitriol directed at the LGB leadership of the organizations that called the ruling on Teisha Green’s murder a victory.

Our standards are low because we are too used to seeing no justice at all when it comes to people who intentionally hurt and kill trans people for being trans. There are too many cases that break your heart. There are too many families who have had to hear the most hateful bullshit about their trans loved one. There are too many cases that are simply not solved, nor investigated.

But that the jury came back to rule her death a hate crime is a good thing.

What bothers me about the politics between the LGB & T is that there are plenty of other gay bashings and hate crimes experienced by the LGB that the trans community pays little attention to, such as Sean Kennedy’s. If you want an example of an absolute failure when it came to our legal system, that’s it. It’s horrific. Every time I see that young man’s beautiful face, and think about his parents’ loss, I wonder where exactly the trans community has been in raising awareness of that horrible injustice. No, he wasn’t gender variant. He was a young adult who was out and proud about being gay. But he’s dead just the same as Teisha Green is, & for the same reason: someone hated him for what he was.

Do we know Michael Scott Goucher? Richard Hernandez? Satendar Singh? Ryan Keith Skipper? Jeremy Waggoner? Daniel Yakovleff? These are the names of gay men who have been murdered for being gay in the last couple of years. I didn’t know most of their names.

Community goes both ways. We all have more than enough mourning to do.

Just so people know, Jenny Boylan has re-done her website & blog — well okay, she decided to re-do her website & blog, & then Betty re-designed it & re-built it.

For a reasonable price, hint hint, for those looking for any website help.

Contact Betty Crow if you’d like to talk to her about designing or building a website.

It goes without saying, I suppose, that she also did my site, but what you don’t know is that she also did Tristan Taormino’s,,,, & soon

Teisha Green Trial Starts Today

From the Empire State Pride Agenda:

Today, the trial begins for the murder of Lateisha Green, a 22-year-old transgender woman who was tragically shot and killed in Syracuse on November 14, 2008 just for being transgender. The Pride Agenda expresses its deepest sympathies to Lateisha’s family and outrage that transgender New Yorkers continue to be targeted for violence and discrimination based solely on who they are.

This morning, the Pride Agenda’s Director of Public Policy & Education, Ross Levi, will speak at a press conference in Syracuse, along with other local LGBT leaders, about the trial and the need for the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act. And throughout the trial, our friends at the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF) will be in Syracuse, working with Lateisha’s family to ensure that the public learns as much as possible about Lateisha’s life, the tragic circumstances of her death and the tremendous violence that transgender people continue to face. You can learn more about Lateisha Green and stay updated on the trial through these organizations’ great resources, including an online resource kit, Twitter, Facebook, and the GLAAD Blog.

No family should ever have to suffer such a devastating loss, and no one should ever have to fear that their life is in danger simply because they are transgender. That’s why we’re calling on the State Senate to pass the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), which would include gender identity and expression in the State human rights and hate crimes laws. We’ll keep you updated as developments on GENDA happen.

To follow what’s going on via Twitter, check out @Andy_Marra or TLDEF, or hashtag #justisceforteish