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Our Mission

QMed aims to fill some of the major gaps in care for transgender and nonbinary patients of all ages. Dr. Izzy Lowell, a Family Medicine Physician based in Atlanta, started QMed to improve access to hormone therapy for trans* patients across the Southeast. There is especially low access to affirming health care for transgender kids and teens. QMed accepts patients of all ages and provides puberty blockers for those yet to enter puberty. QMed welcomes gender expansive patients of all ages!

Our Purpose

Our Purpose

“I started QMed to provide respectful and affirming care for the transgender community. Everyone deserves access to medical care, no matter the color of their skin, where they come from, their gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity"​ – Izzy Lowell, MD, MBA

Our Team

Our Team

We are passionate about equality, and our mission is to provide affirming hormone therapy to transgender and non-binary people. QMed aims to fill some of the major gaps in care for transgender and nonbinary patients of all ages. Dr. Izzy Lowell, a Family Medicine Physician based in Atlanta, started QMed to improve access to hormone therapy for trans* patients across the Southeast. There is especially low access to affirming health care for transgender kids and teens. QMed accepts patients of all ages and provides puberty blockers for those yet to enter puberty. QMed welcomes gender expansive patients of all ages!

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News and Trends

Transgender students’ rights shouldn’t be subject to partisan feuds

Acoalition of 20 states recently filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging that the Biden administration had overstepped in extending anti-discrimination protections on the basis of gender identity. The federal agencies targeted by the litigation include the Department of Education and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The lawsuit argues, for example, that the federal government cannot require schools to allow students to join athletic teams and use bathrooms based on their gender identity rather than their sex assigned at birth.

As with so much else happening in education today, the issue of transgender student rights is deeply partisan. Each of the 20 states involved—shaded orange in the map below—has a Republican attorney general spearheading the effort. Several Republican-leaning states—Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Mississippi, Montana, Tennessee, South Dakota and West Virginia—have enacted legislation or executive orders restricting transgender students’ participation in sports. Other legislative efforts have targeted bathroom and locker room access or restrictions on transgender medical care. Collectively, this legislative activity has made for the most active year to date for anti-transgender bills at the state level. Many states’ athletic associations also have issued guidance aimed to restrict transgender students’ access to team sports.

Acoalition of 20 states recently filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging that the Biden administration had overstepped in extending anti-discrimination protections on the basis of gender identity. The federal agencies targeted by the litigation include the Department of Education and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The lawsuit argues, for example, that the federal government cannot require schools to allow students to join athletic teams and use bathrooms based on their gender identity rather than their sex assigned at birth.

As with so much else happening in education today, the issue of transgender student rights is deeply partisan. Each of the 20 states involved—shaded orange in the map below—has a Republican attorney general spearheading the effort. Several Republican-leaning states—Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Mississippi, Montana, Tennessee, South Dakota and West Virginia—have enacted legislation or executive orders restricting transgender students’ participation in sports. Other legislative efforts have targeted bathroom and locker room access or restrictions on transgender medical care. Collectively, this legislative activity has made for the most active year to date for anti-transgender bills at the state level. Many states’ athletic associations also have issued guidance aimed to restrict transgender students’ access to team sports.

F1 State participation in LGBTQ protections lawsuit and High School YRBS 2019 transgender identity survey item

The specific legal issues involved are complicated and beyond the scope of this post. For those interested in more detail on these issues, Suzanne Eckes and Maria Lewis wrote an excellent primer on this blog last October.

Rather, we intend this post as a reminder—grounded in data—that when culture wars descend upon schools, vulnerable children are often caught in the crossfire. That is certainly the case with transgender students’ rights. The data available, limited as they are, reveal clear vulnerabilities among many students who identify as transgender.

DATA ON TRANSGENDER STUDENTS FROM THE YRBS

We explored data from the CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS). The CDC, in partnership with states and school districts, has administered the YRBS and related surveys since the early 1990s to monitor the health and well-being of U.S. high school students in most states. (Minnesota, Oregon, and Washington did not participate in 2019.) It contains a set of standard questions, asked of all students in schools randomly selected to participate. It also contains a few optional questions that states (and districts) can decide whether to include. One of these optional questions asks students whether they identify as transgender. (“Some people describe themselves as transgender when their sex at birth does not match the way they think or feel about their gender. Are you transgender?”) Since this item appeared on the state YRBS but not the national YRBS, responses to this item are representative of the participating states but not necessarily the country as a whole.

In 2019, 15 states opted to include the transgender question in their YRBS (with Massachusetts including the question but not making its data publicly available). In doing so, these states not only provided a glimpse of what percentage of their high school students identify as transgender (roughly 2% by our calculations, which is similar to CDC estimates from the 2017 YRBS), but they also enabled researchers to examine these students’ experiences and well-being.

Notably, the states that included this question—shaded in blue in Figure 1 above—are completely distinct from the 20 states that filed the lawsuit against the Biden administration. As a result, we have the least data on transgender students’ experiences in the states that are most hostile to them legislatively. For transgender students, even data collection seems partisan.

While there is, of course, a great deal of variation within any subgroup of students, the YRBS data from states that asked about transgender identity paint a concerning picture. Figure 2 compares responses from transgender students (those who responded, “Yes, I am transgender,” to the item above) and cisgender students (those who responded, “No, I am not transgender”). Differences between transgender and cisgender students’ responses do not necessarily mean that identifying as transgender increases children’s victimization or mental health risk, but the differences are striking and provide insight into the difficulties that many transgender students face.

F2 Victimization and mental health of high school students

Transgender students are more than twice as likely as cisgender students in these states to report having been bullied at school (43% vs. 17%) and bullied online (34% vs. 14%) in the last 12 months. Over one-third did not go to school at least once in the last 30 days because they felt unsafe, and, jarringly, nearly as many (28%) reported being forced to have sex in the last 12 months. A majority (61%) of transgender students reported having felt sad or hopeless for two weeks, and disturbingly large percentages had considered (45%) or attempted (29%) suicide at least once in the last year. Across the board, these percentages are significantly higher than the corresponding percentages for cisgender students. Self-reported drug use by transgender-identifying students is also strikingly high, especially for harder drugs such as heroin and methamphetamines (as seen in the 2017 YRBS data).

Transgender students’ participation in team sports has become an especially relevant issue, and the YRBS contains an item, administered to students from select states, that asks “on how many sports teams did you play” during the past 12 months. In the states where we can disaggregate responses by gender identity and sports team participation status—Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Nevada, and Pennsylvania —we find that 42% of transgender students played at least one sport, compared to 52% of cisgender students. The survey does not ask whether these students played on teams aligned with their gender identity or sex assigned at birth.

This makes it possible to compare responses for transgender students who played team sports and transgender students who did not. Importantly, this does not allow for a causal interpretation of the effects of sports participation on transgender students’ mental health and well-being. There is too much that we can’t observe to make a causal analysis possible, such as personality differences between transgender children who play and don’t play sports.

Figure 3 shows victimization and mental health outcomes for transgender-identifying students, disaggregated by whether they reported playing on a sports team in the last year. We don’t see substantial differences between these groups. However, some of the samples are quite small and corresponding error bars quite large. For context, YRBS data also show similar outcomes between cisgender students who played sports and cisgender students who did not. (Though cisgender students who played sports were slightly less likely other cisgender students to have felt sad/hopeless and considered suicide.)

F3 Comparison of transgender student victimization and mental health, by sports participation status

While the argument for making team sports accessible does not depend on sports participation having positive outcomes for transgender students, this is a topic worth exploring with richer data. Some research—on all students, not just transgender students—suggests possible (positive) links between youth sports participation and students’ longer-term mental healthpsychological and social health, and educational and economic outcomes. Effects along these lines for transgender students are certainly plausible, as are negative effects from being denied opportunities on the basis of gender identity.

This brings us to our two primary takeaways.

The first is about data. Our ability to assess the mental health and needs of transgender students shouldn’t be limited to blue states or any other subset of states or districts. Hopefully, the YRBS item on gender identity will soon move from the optional list to the standard list of survey items. Beyond the YRBS, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has, during the Biden administration, prioritized resources and protections for transgender youth—and expanded its collection of civil rights data. OCR, as well as local and state leaders, could explore appropriate ways to collect data on transgender students’ experiences.

The second is about politics and people. Schools have long been a battleground for culture war issues, but seldom to the extent they are now. Whether the issue is critical race theory, masks, or transgender students’ rights, politicians—specifically, conservative politicians—are finding opportunities to score political points by running with controversial issues in schools. These actions have real consequences for children. Kids know when adults are talking about them, and they get the message when those adults are saying they’re unwanted. Transgender students, as a group, are especially vulnerable, and the numbers above should give anyone pause. We should be going out of our way to ensure that transgender students feel welcome and embraced, not excluded and ostracized.

The post appeared first on Brookings.

Elliot Page makes first red carpet appearance since disclosing he’s transgender

Although the look seems understated, Page’s pop of green is a statement in itself as a symbol of queer love, originating from poet Oscar Wilde who often wore a green carnation on his own lapel.

The green carnation came to represent queer men, as it “embodied the decadent and the unnatural,” according to Oscar Wilde Tours. For Page, the inclusion of such an homage was likely important after years of disconnect between his public image and true identity.

“I just never recognized myself,” Page told Time of his prior red carpet appearances and magazine spreads. “For a long time I could not even look at a photo of myself.”

And while people are quick to make judgments on the best dressed on the carpet, Page also shared his stance on those “crushing standards” that he was subjected to for so long.

The post appeared first on Yahoo.

Oklahoma School Ordered to Reinstate Transgender Professor

In the latest development in a long-running case, a federal appeals court orders Southeastern Oklahoma State University to rehire and award tenure to a professor who says she was denied tenure and fired for transitioning to a woman.

RACHEL TUDOR
Rachel Tudor

A federal appeals court said this week that Southeastern Oklahoma State University must reinstate, with tenure, a former professor of English who says she was denied tenure for being transgender.

A jury previously awarded the professor, Rachel Tudor, more than $1 million in damages. But the court capped that amount at $300,000, plus front-pay wages of some $60,000. The lower court also sided with the university in saying that Tudor should not be reinstated due to hostility between the parties.

Tudor disagreed about reinstatement, arguing in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit that she wanted to return to Southeastern Oklahoma State. Her lawyers said that litigation-related hostility is not a valid reason to refuse to rehire someone.

The university, meanwhile, appealed the jury’s verdict in favor of Tudor.

In the end, the appeals court mostly agreed with Tudor and her lawyers and with the jury’s determination that Tudor was denied tenure due to sex discrimination.

The decision is unusual in that courts generally shy away from intervening in tenure decisions. And in those rare instances where courts are favorable to professors denied tenure, the professors involved don’t necessarily want to return to the institutions that spurned them.

“A court’s inquiry into whether reinstatement is appropriate after a jury verdict of discrimination and retaliation in plaintiff’s favor therefore does not take place on a level playing field,” Judge David M. Ebel wrote in an opinion on behalf of the three-judge panel. “Instead, courts must start with the strong preference for reinstatement, and then ask if the defendant has overcome this presumption by establishing the existence of extreme hostility between the parties.”

Such an “extreme hostility test” doesn’t require “complete harmony among the plaintiff, the employer and other employees,” Ebel said. “There are plenty of workarounds and solutions making reinstatement possible in cases where some animosity exists, such as a remote office, a new supervisor, or a clear set of workplace guidelines.”

Ebel acknowledged that the current chair of English at Southeastern Oklahoma State said he didn’t think it would be a “good thing” for Tudor to return to the English department and that his colleagues were “split at best” on the issue. But this doesn’t equal extreme hostility, Ebel said, and in higher education, in particular, “teaching and scholarship are inherently fairly insulated from the adverse sentiments of colleagues.” Tenured positions are especially “insulated,” he also said.

Most of the “primary antagonists” in the case have since left the university, and a “large institution” such as Southeastern Oklahoma State “should have sufficient resources to eliminate or otherwise ameliorate any hostility on its side toward the plaintiff,” Ebel wrote. He also noted that the U.S. Justice Department settled with the university regarding a related complaint and that, as a result, trainings and other measures to reduce discrimination such as what Tudor faced were already in place.

The appellate court also ordered the lower court to recalculate Tudor’s front-pay wages.

Through the office of her lawyer, Jillian T. Weiss, Tudor, who is a member of the Chickasaw Nation, said in a statement that she is “looking forward to being the first tenured Native American professor in her department in the 100-plus-year history of the Native-American-serving institution that is Southeastern Oklahoma State.”

The post appeared first on InsideHigherEd.

First openly transgender bishop installed in Evangelical Lutheran church

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has installed their first openly transgender bishop, the Associated Press reported. 

The church elected Rev. Megan Rohrer to serve a six-year term as bishop in May, replacing a bishop who retired.

Rohrer, who uses the pronoun “they,” will lead one of the church’s 65 synods, overseeing 200 congregations in the California and Nevada regions, according to the AP.

“I step into this role because a diverse community of Lutherans in Northern California and Nevada prayerfully and thoughtfully voted to do a historic thing,” Rohrer said in a statement. “My installation will celebrate all that is possible when we trust God to shepherd us forward.”

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has installed their first openly transgender bishop, the Associated Press reported. 

The church elected Rev. Megan Rohrer to serve a six-year term as bishop in May, replacing a bishop who retired.

Rohrer, who uses the pronoun “they,” will lead one of the church’s 65 synods, overseeing 200 congregations in the California and Nevada regions, according to the AP.

“I step into this role because a diverse community of Lutherans in Northern California and Nevada prayerfully and thoughtfully voted to do a historic thing,” Rohrer said in a statement. “My installation will celebrate all that is possible when we trust God to shepherd us forward.”

Rohrer becomes one of the seven LGBTQ pastors accepted by the progressive church since 2010, when it began allowing pastors in same-sex relationships. Rohrer is married and has two children.

Rohrer previously served as pastor of San Francisco’s Grace Lutheran Church and the chaplain coordinator of the city’s police department, the AP reported.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has about 3.3 million members across the nation, the AP noted.

The post appeared first on Thehill.

Transgender fighter Alana McLaughlin submits Celine Provost in MMA debut

Alana McLaughlin, the first openly transgender athlete to compete in mixed martial arts in the United States since 2014, won her MMA debut Friday night, beating Celine Provost via submission on the Combate Global prelims in Miami.

McLaughlin used a rear-naked choke to get the finish at 3 minutes, 32 seconds of the second round.

A former member of the U.S. Army Special Forces, McLaughlin is just the second transgender woman to fight in MMA. Fallon Fox, who was the first, was cageside watching McLaughlin.

In the first round, Provost rocked McLaughlin with punches several times and looked to be on the verge of a finish. But in the second, McLaughlin took Provost down, got her back and cinched in the choke.

McLaughlin, 38, passed all the medicals, including a hormone panel, issued by the Florida State Boxing Commission in order to compete Friday night, according to Combate Global executive Mike Afromowitz. McLaughlin has been training at MMA Masters in the Miami area.

It was not easy for Combate to find her a foe, she said.

“It was a nightmare trying to find an opponent,” McLaughlin said before the bout. “I have nothing but respect for [Provost].”

McLaughlin is hoping to be a pioneer for transgender athletes in combat sports, saying she wants to “open the door” and “make space” for others like her.

Fox fought six times in MMA from 2012 to 2014.

Patricio Manuel made boxing history in 2018 when he became the first transgender male to compete in a pro boxing match in the United States. Manuel beat Hugo Aguilar via unanimous decision.

The post appeared first on ESPN

Knox Co. School Board approves policy that restricts transgender students’ rights per new TN laws, critics say

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The Knox County School Board approved two policies on second readings, which critics say those policies restrict transgender students’ rights.

The first policy does not allow students to use a “multi-occupancy restroom or changing facility” aligning to their gender identity.

The policy said the school principal can provide a “reasonable accommodation” to students who ask for it, including access to a single-person restroom or changing facility.

The post appeared first on WBIR.

Ozy Studios Inks Development Deals With Trio Of Transgender Talent

Ozy Studios inked development deals with three breakthrough transgender artists. They include Puerto Rican chef Paxx Caraballo Moll, Alabama-based activist Dan Eggers and model Rosalynne Montoya.

Beginning as a digital magazine in 2013, Ozy has moved into podcasts, events and original TV series featured on A+E, History, Lifetime, Amazon, Hulu, OWN, PBS and BBC. Chef Paxx, Eggers and Montoya will now be part of those multi-platform storytelling initiatives.

“At Ozy we feel the immense responsibility of pushing culture forward with the content we share and conversations we foster with our audience,” said CEO Carlos Watson. “We feel this is an important moment to highlight the complexity of humanity and the truly diverse life experiences of these incredible talents are one important way in which we can do that.”

“Amplifying voices from within the trans community is not just in-line with Ozy’s philosophy: It’s personal,” said Executive Director of Ozy Studios Chris Rantamaki. “As a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, I know the impact of seeing ourselves reflected in pop culture. I’m excited about showcasing a wide spectrum of trans talent in our content, alongside some of the biggest celebrities in the world.”

Chef Paxx is a Puerto Rican trans man who was named Best New Chef in 2019 by Food and Wine magazine. “I’m excited to work with Ozy because I felt at home with them immediately,” says Chef Paxx. “I can’t wait to highlight my culinary skills and bring my queer kitchen sensibilities to the entire world.”

The Alabama-born Eggers is one of the first openly transgender people to enter a top college musical theater program. Of his new deal Eggers said, “I felt that my experience would be properly honored in the Ozy family rather than tokenized…Ozy sincerely brings forward those who have often been left behind. I am ready to help #ResetAmerica!”

Montoya, who identifies as a non-binary trans woman, is a makeup artist and model well-known on TikTok and Instagram. “Queer people need accurate representation,” said Montoya. “When I felt like I didn’t have a future or life wasn’t worth living, it was seeing positive representations in the media that proved to me that I have a happy and successful life ahead.”

The post  appeared first on deadline.

Native transgender lobbyist sues conservative news website for libel

A Native American lobbyist is suing an online newspaper in eastern Montana for libel, claiming the publication made claims that damaged her ability to perform her job, and is seeking $250,000 in damages from the Montana Daily Gazette.

Adrian Jawort, a transgender lobbyist for Montana Native Voice, is suing the paper for claiming that she cornered a state Senator and Montana Family Foundation President Jeff Laszloffy, who escorted the Senator to the sergeant-at-arms for his protection.

Jawort denied the allegations in the paper and asked the Montana Daily Gazette to remove the written account of the alleged incident and correct the reporting. The Montana Daily Gazette refused to do so, standing by its account. That account offers no source and neither Laszloffy nor the state Senator, nor the sergeant-at-arms appear to have been contacted by the online outlet.

Lawyers Rylee Sommers-Flanagan and Raph Graybill are representing Jawort and said they’ve talked to the parties named in the publication and are prepared to prove the event which alleged lawmakers needed protection from Jawort “never happened.”

“This obviously causes immense reputation damage and harms my performance to do my duties to not only me, but the organization I work for, Montana Native Voice,” Jawort wrote in her complaint.

Matthew Monforton, the attorney for the Gideon Knox Group, the organization that runs the Montana Daily Gazette, said his client stands by the reporting.

“We are confident that at the end of the day, the Montana Daily Gazette will be fully vindicated,” he said.

The incident, which was reported by the Montana Daily Gazette, was part of a profile it did on Jawort, titled “Who’s the Gothic Transvestite Haunting the Halls of the Montana Capitol.” While the author doesn’t have a byline other than “Publisher,” Monforton confirmed the identity of the writer is Pastor Jordan “J.D.” Hall.

The article, which claims Jawort is mentally ill and is debilitated with gender dysphoria, is a mix of a little reporting and a lot of commentary about her.

“Fooling precisely no one, the man has been seen wandering the Montana State Capitol like an out-of-place Sasquatch in goth make-up, looking for a snack or someone to yell at. The ill-tempered, dress-wearing man was regularly seen in the gallery of both the House and Senate, chastising legislators with his wagging, giant man fingers, and sitting in fish-net stockings reapplying his make-up with all the precision of a birthday clown with a bad hangover,” the article stated.

The post appeared first on GreatFallsTribune

Transgender March on Broadway protests producer’s casting comments

Transgender actors and advocates for greater trans inclusion on Broadway gathered in the heart of Manhattan’s theater district on Monday. Called the Trans March on Broadway, the event was organized in response to producer Cameron Mackintosh’s recent statements that transgender casting in classic musicals is a “gimmick.” Participants seized upon the opportunity for transgender members of the industry to reclaim an ongoing debate about casting, inclusion and access.

“I’m not marching because of Cameron Mackintosh. I’m marching because there is trans erasure in this industry, and I want to have a conversation about trans people, led by trans people,” Sis, the actor, activist and founder of the Next Generation Project who organized the march told Variety in an interview before the event.

“When I look out, I see so many beautiful faces,” Peppermint, the “Rupaul’s Drag Race” star and transgender theater actress, said before the gathered crowd Monday afternoon, made up of a few hundred members of the New York theater community. “Of the trans faces I see, I see actors, performers, speakers, writers and creators. And I don’t see a single ‘gimmick.’ What I see are opportunities, and it’s time that they—they who are in the business of Broadway—know it.”

The event, which began in Central Park’s Sheep’s Meadow at noon and culminated in a march down Broadway to Schubert Alley — the geographic center of the Broadway universe. It drew roughly 200 people and featured speeches from transgender advocates and actors including Sis, Peppermint, Ianne Fields Stewart, Jayae Riley Jr., Qween Jean, and former “Jagged Little Pill” cast-members Iris and Nora Shell.

The march allowed an opportunity for several of the few transgender actors who’ve held roles on Broadway, despite a litany of contemporary shows like “Tootsie” and “Mrs. Doubtfire,” which advocates say profit from transgender stereotypes while casting cis gender performers, to share their experiences in the business.

Mackintosh, the powerhouse producer of “Les Misérables” and “The Phantom of the Opera,” subsequently tried to clarify his remarks, insisting that he was speaking specifically about re-casting the lead role in his musical version of “Mary Poppins” with a trans actress.

“Unfortunately, my answer has been misinterpreted to suggest that I am opposed to casting a transgender performer to play the role,” Mackintosh said in a statement. “This is absolutely not true. I meant only that I would not as a producer disregard the author P.L. Travers’ original intention for the character.”

“To be clear, whether a person is trans has no bearing on their suitability for any role in any of my shows, including Mary Poppins, as long as they can perform the role as written,” he added. “I am very sorry for any distress caused by my remarks being misrepresented. Trans actors are welcome to submit and audition for any of my productions.”

Peppermint, who in 2018 became the first Black trans woman to originate a principal role in an original Broadway cast with “Head Over Heels,” offered what she learned from her experience.

“I felt it was my responsibility to be the one person in the production who was the protector of anyone who was trans or gender nonconforming,” she told the crowd.

“When we were starting to rehearse ‘Head Over Heels,’ there was one person who identified as nonbinary and was sorting that out during the rehearsal process. They asked their supervisor to use their pronouns and their name, went through so much turmoil, and was eventually fired. I felt so horrible that I couldn’t protect this person,” she continued, suggesting that the crew members’ firing was due in part to their transition. “This Broadway show that was claiming cred in every newspaper also had other transgender and nonbinary people who were feeling unsafe.”

“I had to educate everyone else,” Peppermint said, speaking before the crowd, which included several Black trans women who carried sign that read ‘We want our stories told, too.’ “I thought I was there to do a job and get on stage and sing some songs—but I was holding seminars backstage,” she narrated. “I didn’t get paid for any of that work, but at the time, it was work that was necessary.”

In an interview before the event, Peppermint made it clear why she felt unsupported in her work as a transgender leader. She believes that putting too narrow a focus on Cameron Mackintosh’s recent statements is unproductive. “What Cameron Mackintosh said only reflected his practices,” she told Variety. “He was telling the truth about what he thinks. He was giving us a signal that this is where he—where himself and every other casting director and producer in the business who I’ve ever experienced—stand.”

Iris, who joined the original Broadway cast of “Jagged Little Pill,” Alanis Morissette’s 2019 jukebox musical bent on exploring modern issues of social justice, offered her experiences publicly for the first time.

“What happened to me was insidious and violent transphobia,” zie told her audience, gathered in a circle on the expansive Central Park lawn. “I’ve spent countless hours untangling the messaging in my head that I received from people in positions of power who claimed to support me and my community, and I’ve cried in rage about the fact that none of my cisgender cast members spoke out against the transphobia I was facing.”

Iris said zie learned of her position as the company’s only transgender actor when zie arrived for rehearsals, and zie soon began to question her safety at work. “I was bombarded with invasive questions about my experiences as a trans person from cast members and members of the creative and producing team. I understand now that my position was simple,” zie explained: “Offer up my trans experience as consumption as cis people in positions of power took from [my] lived experience, decided what to keep in their cis re-telling of [my] experiences, and chose to call it a trans narrative.”

Broadway, Sis told Variety, must continue to be the locus for new and innovative transgender stories and must strive to do so while uplifting the artists producers and creators choose to cast.

“If you get a show on Broadway, that show can be licensed,” Sis explained in an interview with Variety, just before the activist rallied her crowd and placed a group of open, Black transgender women directly in front of the theaters that have largely excluded them. “The minute a Black trans woman leads a new work or an original Broadway cast, that sets a precedent for everything that follows. Every time you cast that show, whether you’re in Minnesota or a high school in Texas or a South Korean tour, there must be a Black trans woman who tells that story.”

Casting a transgender actor in a Broadway role doesn’t have to be at odds with the demands of commercialization, Sis says.

“Disney is successful, Apple is successful, because they’ve found a way to innovate while making a commercially viable product,” Sis explained to Variety before the march. “We have to learn to take chances. All performers know that for something to be good, it must be special. You need a gimmick, if you will,” she continued, with a wink.

“If you want to tell a story, and you need something special, look at what’s working, what’s hot right now. Let’s put people in space on a Broadway stage,” she offered, only half joking. “Remember the movie ‘Gravity?’ What if we put the movie ‘Gravity’ on the stage, and the actress happened to be trans? The gimmick isn’t the trans person. The gimmick is seeing someone in space on a Broadway stage. Now, we have a story led by a trans woman—that humanizes and embraces her, and it’s innovative,” said Sis, arguably doing the work over which producers agonize.

“You can do two things at once, and they’re things that are of value to this industry,” she finished. “Tell a story and make money.”

The post appeared first on NBC.

Transgender insureds can sue over health plan exclusion, U.S. appeals court affirms

Transgender people who are enrolled in the North Carolina State Health Plan can proceed with a lawsuit over its 2018 decision to exclude all coverage for gender dysphoria counseling, hormone therapy, surgical care or other treatment, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held Wednesday.

The 2-1 decision affirmed a federal judge in Greensboro’s 2020 ruling that NCSHP lacks sovereign immunity from the suit, which was filed by Lambda Legal Defense & Education Fund, the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, and Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis on behalf of seven state workers or their dependents under the antidiscrimination provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

NCSHP waived its 11th Amendment protections against the discrimination lawsuit by accepting federal funds, Chief Circuit Judge Roger Gregory wrote for the majority.

He quoted from the Civil Rights Remedies Equalization Act (CRREA), which provides that states have no sovereign immunity from suits alleging a violation of “the provisions of any other Federal statute prohibiting discrimination by recipients of Federal financial assistance.”

Circuit Judge Albert Diaz concurred in the result, specifying that he did so based on the combined effect of CRREA and the Affordable Care Act rather than the ACA’s antidiscrimination section alone.

The dissenter, Circuit Judge G. Steven Agee, said a state’s waiver of sovereign immunity must be knowing and voluntary, and CRREA — which predates the Affordable Care Act, and never mentions it — fails to provide the requisite notice.

“The NCSHP’s sovereign immunity from suit should have been confirmed and the case dismissed,” Agee concluded. “The Supreme Court should proceed expeditiously to correct the constitutional error here.”

The case is Maxwell Kadel et al. v. North Carolina State Health Plan for Teachers and State Employees et al., 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 20-1409.

The post appeared first on NBC.

First transgender contestant wins ‘Ru Paul’s Drag Race’

The first transgender winner has been crowned in the “Ru Paul’s Drag Race” U.S. franchise.

Kylie Sonique Love, 38, was declared the winner at the end of the sixth season of “Ru Paul’s Drag Race All Stars.”

In the season finale, which streamed on Paramount+ Thursday, Love defeated fellow finalists Eureka, Ginger Minj and Ra’jah O’Hara.

Love walked away with a $100,000 cash prize and a spot in the “Drag Race Hall of Fame.”

“Kylie’s exhilarating blend of tenacity, vulnerability and talent made her a sizzling stand-out in the most compelling ‘All Stars’ in the franchise’s herstory,” RuPaul, host and executive producer of the show, said in a statement, according to NBC News.

“Her trajectory from season two of ‘Drag Race’ to the winner of ‘All Stars 6’ is an inspiration to all who have had the privilege of sharing her amazing journey. All hail Queen Kylie!”

Love first appeared on the show in 2010 during the second season of “Ru Paul’s Drag Race” when she was eliminated after only four episodes.

She transitioned shortly after the filming, NBC noted. Before the debut of the most recent season of “All Stars,” which was filmed mid-pandemic, Love said she struggled during her 2010 appearance, adding that rewatching that season is sometimes “triggering” to her.

“I think for me, one of my biggest obstacles in my season was coming onto a show that I knew was going to basically document one of the most awkward parts of my transition, which is right before you start,” she said, according to NBC. “It’s just really hard to watch, because I don’t relate to that physical part of me, and I know what I was going through.”

While Love is the first transgender person to win the American “Drag Race” contest, NBC noted that she is the second transgender person to win the competition internationally. Angele Anang won the second season of “Drag Race Thailand.”

Love said she is “so grateful to be the first trans representation with the crown,” according to NBC.

“I couldn’t have done this without thanking the universe every single day, for all my blessings and all the people around me that believed in my dreams,” Love said.

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Young transgender athletes caught in middle of states’ debates

BECKY PEPPER-JACKSON slides her toes into her running shoes as the sun sets behind the Appalachian Mountains. She likes to run at the end of the day, when the summer heat has broken and she’s done with her chores. The 11-year-old and her family live on three acres of land outside Bridgeport, West Virginia, a town with fewer than 10,000 people about halfway between Charleston, the state’s capital, and Pittsburgh.

Every morning, Becky has to let the chickens out and fill up the water bucket. “Which half the time ends in a hose fight, by the way,” Becky’s mother, Heather, says.

On this particular July evening, Becky climbs into the family car with her mom, her dad and an older brother to drive to their favorite running spot. The road they live on is too busy, so they drive to a cross street where the cows far outnumber the cars.

“The cars that do come, they can see you from a mile away,” Heather says. “Literally.”

Becky has been logging miles with her mom since Heather pushed her around in a stroller. Now they run a mile through the rolling hills most every evening. Sometimes when they run, they also count. Math is Becky’s favorite subject, so Heather incorporates it where she can. “We do counts while we’re running,” Heather says. Sometimes they count the number of breaths between foot falls. And then to make it interesting, Heather turns it into a story problem. “Like if we take 47 more steps, how many breaths do we need to take in order to stay on our program?”

All of this running has put Becky in position to make the cross country team at her middle school. As a sixth-grader, this is her first chance to run competitively for her school. “It’s the first chance to do any organized sports other than cheer,” Heather says.

Cross country was the obvious choice. “The reason why I love it so much is because my whole family has always done it,” Becky says.

But the path for Becky to run competitively was almost blocked in the spring of 2021 when West Virginia passed HB 3293 — a law that prevents transgender girls from competing in girls’ and women’s sports.

West Virginia is one of seven states that, during the 2021 legislative session, passed a law that restricts transgender athletes’ access to sports; nearly three dozen states in all introduced bills seeking to do the same. As a new school year begins and youth sports regain a foothold after pandemic precautions, transgender kids in the United States are stuck in the middle of the ongoing and often ugly battle over science and assumption, sex and gender identity, politics and policy. Stephanie is a 9-year-old soccer player. Kris Wilka is a 13-year-old football player. They’re not Olympians or NCAA stars. They’re not even high school students. They are kids who just want to play.

“Becky is just like every other 11-year-old girl,” Heather says. “Transgender people are just like everybody else. They’re all normal.”

So, Heather sued.

Policies all over the map

TITLE IX BARS discrimination “on the basis of sex” in educational programs receiving federal funds, including athletics, and it is at the heart of this debate. The interpretation of how Title IX either applies, or doesn’t, to transgender athletes’ participation in sports has been the focus of a partisan tug-of-war during the past three presidential administrations.

When the Obama administration issued formal guidance in the spring of 2016 through the departments of Justice and Education that mandated transgender inclusion in schools, 23 states sued. And when the Trump administration took over in 2017, that guidance was formally rescinded and the lawsuits were dropped.

As the Biden administration has made its picks for leadership in the Department of Education, inclusion of transgender students has been front and center. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona has made the federal position clear. “Transgender athletes are students first and foremost, and they deserve every right that every other student gets,” he said in an interview with ESPN’s Paula Lavigne in June. “That means access to extracurricular activities, be it theater, sports. It doesn’t matter.”

Without formal federal policy, opportunities for children like Becky Pepper-Jackson are often determined by where they live. While nine states have laws that restrict transgender athletes’ participation, athletic eligibility for transgender youth typically is determined by the policy of each state’s high school association, creating patchwork policies across the country. Not to mention confusion.

“They’re trying to put legislative momentum behind a problem that really doesn’t exist.”Karissa Niehoff

In Connecticut, for example, transgender students may compete in accordance with their gender identity without requiring medical steps. In Kentucky, transgender students may compete in accordance with their gender identity if they never went through puberty associated with their sex assigned at birth — commonly referred to as endogenous puberty. If they started puberty, they need to have been on hormone therapy for “a sufficient length of time” and have undergone surgery. Otherwise, their birth certificate determines in which category they can participate.

Most of the state associations fall somewhere in between, employing committees to review documentation, or having different rules for transgender boys and transgender girls — not addressing the fact that some students are nonbinary or more fluid with their gender identities. Iowa has two associations — one for boys and one for girls. In the boys association, transgender boys may participate without restriction. The girls association suggests inclusion for transgender girls, but ultimately each school makes a determination.

Sometimes the state associations sit on the sideline. In Georgia, the school decides who can participate where, so if a school says a transgender athlete can play in a category consistent with their gender identity, the association says it would allow that to happen. In Alaska, policies are set at the school level as well, but if a school has no policy, then a student’s birth certificate is used.

But what was once the domain of the state associations has been making its way to statehouses.

In addition to West Virginia, lawmakers in Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, Arkansas, Mississippi and Montana enacted laws restricting transgender athletes in 2021. South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem signed two executive orders containing similar restrictions for transgender girls in sports at the scholastic and collegiate levels. Those eight states joined Idaho, which was the first state to pass such a law in 2020.

Idaho’s law hasn’t yet gone into effect because a federal judge granted a preliminary injunction on Aug. 17, 2020. Becky and Heather also won a preliminary injunction in West Virginia that allowed Becky to try out for her school’s cross country team this fall.

In West Virginia, Judge Joseph Goodwin pointed to the likelihood of Pepper-Jackson and her lawyers’ eventual success in arguing that HB 3293 is unconstitutional and violates her rights under Title IX.

“At this point, I have been provided with scant evidence that this law addresses any problem at all, let alone an important problem,” Goodwin wrote in the ruling.

Which raises the question, why are so many of these bills being filed, and, in some cases, becoming law?

The origin story

WHEN THE REFEREE raised Mack Beggs’ right arm in 2017 to signify the new Texas girls’ state wrestling champion, eyebrows raised across the country. Beggs, a transgender boy, was unable to compete in the boys division under Texas policy.

Then, transgender sprinters Terry Miller and Andraya Yearwood finished first and second in Connecticut’s 2018 outdoor and 2019 indoor girls’ state track championships.

Next came a Title IX complaint and a lawsuit filed by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) on behalf of a handful of cisgender girls in Connecticut. While these teenagers were far from the first transgender athletes to participate in sports — Renée Richards successfully sued the United States Tennis Association to earn the right to play in the US Open in 1977 and Kye Allums became the first openly transgender person to participate in NCAA Division I athletics in 2010 — their successes drew national attention to transgender athletes’ participation at the youth level.

Idaho Rep. Barbara Ehardt was watching. The former women’s basketball coach at Cal State Fullerton was concerned that the inclusion of transgender athletes in girls’ and women’s sports was unfair, so she decided to pursue legislation in Idaho. She reached out to ADF for guidance as she worked on the bill. “[ADF] had no legislation,” Ehardt says. “This all started with me.”

HB500 was introduced in Idaho on Feb. 13, 2020, the day after ADF announced a federal lawsuit against the Connecticut high school association on the steps of the state’s capitol.

In the 18 months since, bills with names like “Fairness in Women’s Sports” and “Save Women’s Sports” have popped up across the country.

“What these do is it makes sure that when it comes to the women’s category in particular, that it’s reserved for biological females while still enabling any student to participate on the men’s division and category,” says Matt Sharp, senior counsel for the ADF, an organization whose stated mission is to protect religious freedom, free speech, marriage and family, parental rights and the sanctity of life.

ADF, which is categorized as an anti-LGBTQ hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, provided guidance on many of the bills filed in 2021. “I don’t know that we were involved in all of them, but I know several of those we had been consulted on and reached out to by the sponsor asking for our expertise and legal expertise and guidance,” Sharp says.

But Karissa Niehoff, the executive director of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), isn’t clear on what all the fuss is about.

“They’re trying to put legislative momentum behind a problem that really doesn’t exist,” Niehoff says.

This year, NFHS conducted an informal survey to see how many transgender athletes were competing across the country. “It was very, very few,” she says.

There is no data available that provides an exact number of transgender students in high school, let alone transgender student-athletes. There are approximately 15 million high school students in the United States, and approximately 8 million of them participate in high school sports. A CDC study published in 2019 estimated that 1.8 percent of high school students are transgender, meaning there are roughly 270,000 transgender students in U.S. high schools. But a report by the Human Rights Campaign found that only 14% of transgender boys and 12% of transgender girls play sports. Given all of those numbers, it’s statistically possible that there are some 35,000 transgender student-athletes in high school, which would mean 0.44% of high school athletes are transgender.

Even as a fraction of the athlete population, that’s still considerably more transgender young people playing sports than have made headlines. That’s because the overwhelming majority of them don’t win championships. Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) executive director Glenn Lungarini saw that phenomenon up close in his conversations with parents in the state.

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Transgender people in Puerto Rico say they are invisible in the eyes of the island

While celebrating her 16th birthday at a gay bar in Puerto Rico a few years ago, Lina, a trans woman, said an older man drugged her and attempted to rape her. She then sought out the police to report her experience.

“When I turned to the police station, they said, ‘You were in a gay bar, what were you expecting?'” she said in an interview with CBS News. “And it’s stuff that may, to them, be so insignificant, but for us, it changes our life.”

She now works at Loverbar, an LGBTQ-friendly bar located near a busy area in San Juan. Now in her early 20s, Lina said it’s one of the rare places she feels safe as a trans person on the island.

“The instant that I go out, I feel scared, because I don’t know what some man can do to me,” Lina said. “What if the police sees me and attacks me?”

She is not alone. Activist groups and victims say transgender people are targets of violence from both Puerto Rican citizens and from local police for expressing their gender identity, and that police are often dismissive of crime victims who are transgender. Of the 44 transgender or gender non-conforming people who were fatally shot or killed by violent means in 2020 in the U.S., six were killed on the island, accounting for 14% of the deaths — more than any state or territory, according to tracking by the Human Rights Campaign.  At least one trans person was killed earlier this year, the organization said.

In addition to Lina, two nonbinary people told CBS News that their friends were also victimized.

Ínaru Nadia de la Fuente Díaz, who is part of La Sombrilla Cuir, an LGBT advocacy group, said that after a trans woman was stabbed in her apartment in Rio Piedras last October, she ran to police bleeding and naked. De la Fuente Díaz, who worked with the woman, said she was misgendered by police — adding that officers “didn’t do anything.”

“As trans and Black people too, we get invisibilized a lot in our communities,” de la Fuente Díaz said.

Dania Warhol, founder of a group dedicated to telling the stories of women, LGBTQ and Black and Brown people, said that while driving with friends one year around Christmas time in Trujillo Alto, just outside of San Juan, one of them said she was raped by police on a nearby road.

“One of the women who was with me, she was like, ‘Oh, you know, this is the route where police take us when they want to rape us,'” Warhol said, adding that the friend said she was also a victim.

Officials with Puerto Rico’s police force did not deny allegations of sexual assaults by officers.

When asked about whether officers have sexually assaulted trans people, Lieutenant Aimée Alvarado, director of the crimes against women and domestic violence unit at the Puerto Rico Police Department, told CBS News that “it could have happened.”

“Inside the police there are rotten apples, which we regret that there are, but that can happen,” she said in Spanish. “We are not perfect people. I’d love for my cops to be perfect. But we are not.”

Alvarado said police who conduct such crimes do not belong in the police department. But she also said she believes that there has been a “change of culture” within the force, and claimed any instances of rape likely happened years ago.

And while Alvarado acknowledged problems in the police force, she said “the numbers don’t tell us” that there is a widespread culture of violence against transgender people on the island.

But statistics on violence against the LGBTQ community are difficult to find — or don’t exist at all. The Puerto Rico police’s most recent crime statistics don’t include hate crimes or whether victims of violent acts were members of the LGBTQ community.

Puerto Rico’s first-ever hate crime charges were filed last year by federal prosecutors in the case of two transgender women, Serena Angelique Velázquez Ramos, 32, and Layla Pelaez Sánchez, 21, who were allegedly burned to death by two men. On August 6, federal authorities charged three men with hate crimes for the 2020 assault of a transgender woman. Activists identified the victim as “Alexa” Negrón Luciano, a homeless trans woman who was found killed on a road in Toa Baja on February 24 of last year — the same day of the assault. But more than 18 months later, her murder is still under investigation, police said.

Many activists say there is a lack of overall cultural acceptance for trans individuals.

While Puerto Rico has the same federal protections for LGBTQ individuals as the rest of the U.S., support for the trans community on the local and state level isn’t there, activists say. Earlier this year, governor Pedro Pierluisi issued a state of emergency to prevent and protect women against sweeping gender violence amid a wave of femicides. After initial backlash from trans women for not specifically naming them in the order, Pierluisi clarified in a “Good Morning America” interview that they are part of the measure.

Marielle Nicole De León Toledo, who is also part of La Sombrilla Cuir, told CBS News that the island has not embraced trans people, including herself.

“You can tell that the culture here is still not ready to accept us…They pity us when we when we die, when we get murdered, and when violent things happen to us, but rarely, they’re there for us, when we need housing, we need medical help, we need all the essential services that everybody else in this island needs,” De León said.

Police officials say they have worked to combat prejudice within the force. After policy changes in 2019, officers received training on handling incidents involving transgender victims, including identifying them by the gender with which they identify. Sergeant Yvette Rivera, who oversees the unit of crimes against women and domestic violence, told CBS News that personnel, especially older ones and some of those with conservative religious beliefs, were resistant to follow through.

“They had to assimilate to terminology in the policies, which is breaking what they understood culturally,” Rivera said in Spanish. “The definitions went against what we learned as kids and what we’ve learned culturally of what is correct or not.”

To Rivera’s knowledge, there has not been a complaint from a trans person regarding misgendering — but she insisted that anyone with a complaint should come forward.

Puerto Rican Flag
Of the 44 transgender or gender non-conforming people who were fatally shot or killed by violent means in 2020, six were killed on the island, accounting for 14% of the deaths — more than any state or territory in the U.S., according to tracking by the Human Rights Campaign.GETTY IMAGES

Across American states and territories, Puerto Rico was rated as “medium” by the Movement Advancement Project, a nonprofit think tank that issues ratings based on the number of laws and policies that promote equality for LGBTQ individuals. Trans Puerto Ricans can change their gender on driver’s licenses and birth certificates. However, Puerto Rico lacks laws explicitly protecting trans people from discrimination in housing, credit and lending and public accommodations, such as a restaurant denying bathroom service to a trans person on the basis of their gender identity, according to the project.

Though former Governor Ricardo Rosselló issued an executive order in 2019 that requires institutions seeking a license to practice medicine to certify that they will not offer or perform conversion therapy, Puerto Rico’s legislature has not passed a full ban on the procedure, leaving the door open for a future governor to overturn the executive order. The debunked practice seeks to change a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity through psychological techniques.

Activists say discrimination is rampant, particularly against those who do not physically present as what is customarily expected with gender. Activists say many trans and non-binary people face limited job opportunities because of discrimination, prompting many into lower paying jobs and even prostitution, which is illegal in Puerto Rico.

That’s why for Lina, Loverbar is so special — it’s more than just work. It’s a “safe space for my identity to be free,” she said.

“It feels like you’re just there having a good time with friends and people, people that understand you, understand your troubles,” she said. “And sometimes you can be sad, you’re gonna be frustrated, but people will know. And they’re gonna hear you because the problems that you have, are very similar to them.”

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My experience as a trans person doesn’t fit the script, but why should it?

I was 30 before I realised the term ‘transgender’ might apply to me. The problem wasn’t me, it was the story I’d been told

Australian author Yves Rees, whose memoir All About Yves is out in August.

For the longest time, I was convinced I couldn’t be really transgender. I knew that living as a woman made me want to climb out of my own skin, but I also understood that my story bore little resemblance to how trans lives were supposed to play out.

This was what I’d been taught constituted trans experience: trans people are “born in the wrong body” and assert their identity from earliest childhood, refusing the trappings of their assigned gender. As they grow up, trans people doggedly fight to live as their true self, often leading to social ostracism. They desire to medically transition via hormones and surgery, and will pursue these interventions at any cost. The goal is to live as a “real” man or woman, and ultimately assimilate back into the gender binary.

None of these were true for me. In my childhood as a female-assigned person, I never once declared myself a boy. It’s true that I idolised my older brother and played on a boys’ cricket team, but I also boasted an extensive collection of Barbies, fairy wings and pink T-shirts. With my long blonde hair and penchant for dress-ups, I was no tomboy.

Later, when puberty hit, I had a tormented relationship to my body, plagued by eating disorders and compulsive exercise – something I now know is common among trans youth. But at the time, my refusal to eat seemed the typical angst of an early 2000s teenage girl, desperate to emulate the skeletal physiques of Keira Knightley and Paris Hilton.

I didn’t suspect my purported womanhood might be the problem. I’d been told I was a girl, and it simply didn’t occur to me to question this assignment.

In fact, it took until the ripe old age of 30 to start thinking that the term transgender might apply to me. Even then, my experience didn’t match the trans script. Despite the dawning realisation that I wasn’t a woman, I knew I wasn’t a man either. In fact, I wasn’t quite sure what I was. Nor was I champing at the bit to obtain testosterone – much to the chagrin of the gender therapist who presented HRT as the silver bullet to my gender trouble.

Surely, then, I couldn’t be a proper trans person. If I was really trans, wouldn’t I have known earlier? Wouldn’t I have fewer doubts and more conviction?

Only gradually did I realise my error. After getting to know a wide array of actual trans and gender diverse (TGD) people, I began to understand the root of my trans imposter syndrome. The problem wasn’t me; it was the story I’d been told.

Cover image of All About Yves by Yves Rees
 Photograph: Allen & Unwin

I’d been fed a narrow and prescriptive story of transness, generated by the medical profession and popular culture, that erases the complexity and diversity of trans experience. In truth, not every trans person declares themselves as children; many don’t transition until well into adulthood. Some don’t desire medical intervention, and many shun the gender binary altogether.

There is no one right way to do or be trans; instead, there are as many trans stories as there are trans people. The only prerequisite to being trans is to experience incongruence between your assigned sex and gender identity – a private feeling that individuals must diagnosis for themselves, and which cannot be reliably discerned via external markers such as clothing and interests.

Beyond that incongruence, anything goes. Trans is an identity that contains a multitude, resists prescriptions and blurs boundaries. That is its power.

This reality can be unsettling, as it muddies the neat division between trans people and everyone else. When transness can take many forms, when it ceases to be something easily diagnosed and contained, this subversive identity is liable to seep out from medical frameworks into the population at large. And that prospect is threatening to patriarchal forces invested in policing a rigid gender binary tethered to biological sex.

I went looking for ordinary coincidence in the world, but what I found was extraordinary
Nick Earls
Read more

However, as we work towards trans liberation, it’s essential that we share stories that celebrate and model the many ways there are to be trans. This was the impetus to turn my own messy story into a memoir. I wrote All About Yves because I wanted to show that doubt, ambiguity and belatedness are not antithetical to “authentic” trans experience; rather, they are common and often necessary elements of coming into yourself in a world that hates trans people.

Most of all, I was driven to torch the trans rulebook and validate the identities of other TGD people whose stories didn’t match the conventional script. Because I don’t want any other person to doubt their own knowledge and wonder am I trans enough? If you feel trans, you are trans, no matter what that looks like.

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Colonial Williamsburg adds gay and transgender reenactments

Colonial Williamsburg is bringing a slice of gay and transgender history to life this Fall.

Starting in October, a new musical called Ladies of Llangollen will be featured, based on diary entries, letters, and poetry of two women who ran away from Ireland and eloped in Wales during the 18th century.

The Colonial Williamsburg foundation created a Gender and Sexuality Diversity Committee in 2019 with the purpose of researching gay and transgender issues in the colonies. The result of the committee found multiple instances of lesbian and transgender people in the early years of America’s founding.

The question in front of the researchers that framed the committee was: “What is the Western population’s view on sexuality and gender and how did they determine who was a man and who was a woman?”

The goal was to piece together a more complete history of gay and transgender people in colonial times, according to the Virginia Gazette.

COLONIAL WILLIAMSBURG NAMES NEW CEO, PRESIDENT

According to researcher Ron Tolson, more gay and transgender men and women were accepted than expected in Williamsburg.

Tolson gave multiple examples of transgender and lesbian couples in the colonies and Europe. In one case, a woman who requested a marriage license to another woman was rejected and was told marriage was only between a man and a woman. She came back the next day with a haircut and dressed in men’s clothing, and the license was approved.

“It’s not that the information isn’t there, it’s that it hasn’t been properly researched and a lot of other groups are overrepresented in the historic record,” Tolson said. “We just assumed that people had similar ideas as current day and moved on but that’s not entirely the case.”

Another example was of an indentured servant named Thomas Hall, who was born Thomasine in England. At the age of 22, Hall joined the British Army and moved to Virginia under the name of Thomas. Hall wore both men’s and women’s clothing, and when suspicion arose from neighbors, there was a

court case. The verdict of the case was that Hall was both a man and a woman.

The research was not without its challenges. Because this was not the dominant narrative, reports were buried, and alternative language was used. This meant researchers had to decode the language and learn a whole new set of terminology. Additionally, there were many fires at courthouses in the 17th and 18th century which destroyed a lot of court cases.

The research is still ongoing, and Williamsburg said they have plans to introduce other gay and transgender programs to their itinerary.

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Court Backs A Teacher Who Refused To Use Transgender Students’ Pronouns

RICHMOND, Va. — The Supreme Court of Virginia has upheld a lower court ruling that ordered the reinstatement of a northern Virginia gym teacher who said he won’t refer to transgender students by their pronouns.

Loudoun County Public Schools appealed to the state Supreme Court after a judge ruled that the school system violated the free speech rights of teacher Tanner Cross by suspending him after he spoke up at a school board meeting.

Cross, a teacher at Leesburg Elementary, cited his religious convictions at a May board meeting in which the school board debated proposed changes to its policies in treatment of transgender students. Cross said he would not use transgender students’ pronouns.

School boards across the state have been revising their policies to be more inclusive of transgender students in accordance with a new state law. But Loudoun County, outside the nation’s capital, has been a particular flashpoint in the debate over not just transgender students but also how students learn about racism and race relations.

The school system said it suspended Cross in part because his comments caused a disruption at the school. But the lower court judge, James Plowman, and the state Supreme Court agreed that the handful of calls fielded by school administrators did not cause the type of disruption that warranted a suspension.

Tuesday’s ruling leaves in place a temporary injunction that bars the school system from suspending Cross. A trial is scheduled for next week in Loudoun County to settle the issue permanently.

Since Cross filed his lawsuit in May, two additional teachers in Loudoun County have joined him as plaintiffs.

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Transgender student bullied in bathroom may be punished before boys who harassed him

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WTVF) — A Murfreesboro mother is upset her transgender son could be punished after boys apparently harassed him in a school bathroom.

“I don’t understand why my son would be punished when he’s the victim of what to me is a hate crime,” said Sherri Yandle.

Tennessee’s new bathroom law for public schools makes it punishable for transgender students to be in a bathroom when others are present.

Sherri Yandle’s son used a boys restroom at Siegel High School on Monday. The transgender student has special permission to use the male faculty bathroom, but it was locked when he needed to use it.

“So he ducked into the boys room and went into the first stall he saw available. Then he said some boys started chanted trans-phobic slurs, and then it got louder and louder… they started hitting and kicking at the stall door, so Tobi had to use his back to brace it and then put his foot on the toilet to keep the door shut,” Yandle said.

An assistant principal intervened, but the boys were not immediately punished.

Yandle said she talked on the phone with that school official.

“She stated because of Governor Lee’s laws that the other students could sue the school if they didn’t like it that a transgender child [was] in the bathroom,” Yandle said.

Rutherford County Schools with Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office shared the following statement with NewsChannel5.

Although the school district has not been contacted directly by this parent, an assistant principal at the school has spoken with the student and the student’s mother concerning an alleged incident in the bathroom, although there are some variances in the story.

Rutherford County Schools does have a policy in place that allows students or employees to use private, single stall bathrooms if needed and requested. The state of Tennessee also has enacted a new law concerning transgender students and bathroom use, and the school district is required to follow this law.

However, the school district will investigate any allegations of sexual harassment or discrimination under the federal Title IX act.

Yandle believes the school is letting the law get in the way of their responsibility.

“They are not supposed to let any child be bullied, and all children are supposed to be safe when they go to school and in that instance, I feel like this school failed,” she said.

Currently, there is a federal lawsuit open on behalf of two other transgender Tennessee students. It claims the new law violates Title IX, which prohibits sex discrimination in educational settings.

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Pediatricians sue Biden over transgender mandate for children

WASHINGTON (WTVO) — Over 3,000 pediatricians have filed suit against the Biden administration for a health care mandate that would require medical professionals to provide gender-related services despite medical objections.

Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which broadened the definition of sex discrimination to include sexual orientation and gender identity, objections to treating children with gender-related therapies would be considered discrimination.

President Biden signed an Executive Order that required Section 1157 and Title IX be interpreted to include gender identity as a protected trait.

“The American College of Pediatricians, the Catholic Medical Association, and an OB-GYN doctor who specializes in caring for adolescents filed suit in federal court to challenge a Biden administration mandate requiring doctors to perform gender transition procedures on any patient, including a child, if the procedure violates a doctor’s medical judgment or religious beliefs,” the Alliance Defending Freedom said in a press release.

“The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reinterpreted non-discrimination on the basis of sex in the Affordable Care Act to include gender identity and thus require gender transition interventions, services, surgeries, and drugs on demand, even for children, no matter a doctor’s medical judgment, religious beliefs, or conscientious objection,” the release continued.

“Forcing doctors to prescribe transition hormones for 13-year-olds or perform life-altering surgeries on adolescents is unlawful, unethical, and dangerous,” said ADF Senior Counsel Ryan Bangert.

“Doctors should never be forced to perform a controversial and often medically dangerous procedure that goes against their best judgment, their conscience, or their religion, especially when it involves vulnerable children experiencing mental and emotional confusion,” said ADF Senior Counsel Julie Marie Blake.

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Virginia school board to pay $1.3 million in transgender student’s suit

A school district in Virginia has agreed to hand over $1.3 million after fighting a discrimination lawsuit filed by a transgender student for more than five years ago.

The American Civil Liberties Union announced Thursday that the Gloucester County School Board has been ordered to pay the money to cover attorneys’ fees and costs in the case involving onetime student Gavin Grimm, whom it represented.

The board said in a terse statement that its insurance provider has “addressed” the order. The board and the superintendent did not immediately respond to requests for comment Saturday.

The ACLU said in a statement that the board, in a court filing, has agreed to pay.

Grimm sued the district in 2015 in federal court, alleging that its policy of prohibiting him from using the boys’ bathrooms violated a federal law, known as Title IX, that bans sex discrimination in school programs.

Grimm was assigned female at birth but legally changed his name and began hormone therapy as a freshman in high school. His school principal allowed him to use the boys’ bathrooms, but the board overruled the decision and prohibited it.

Federal courts twice sided with Grimm, and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case in June.

The lack of action by the high court disappointed some conservatives, including Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, who said it should have heard the case. The conclusion came as conservative states and districts have focused on transgender bathroom rules as a base-rousing political issue.

“After a year in which state legislatures have introduced an unprecedented number of bills targeting trans youth, we hope that the fee award will give other school boards and lawmakers pause before they use discrimination to score political points,” Josh Block, senior staff attorney with the ACLU LGBTQ & HIV Project, said in the organization’s statement.

Grimm faulted the district for spending so much time and taxpayer money on the case.

“Rather than allow a child equal access to a safe school environment, the Gloucester School Board decided to fight this child for five years in a costly legal battle that they lost,” he said in the ACLU’s statement.

The civil liberties group urged Virginia districts to adopt the guidance of the state Department of Education, which states that students have “a right to learn free from discrimination and harassment.”

Last year Grimm, now 22, announced he had been elected to the ACLU Board of Directors.

The post appeared first on NBCnews

Mother sues TSA over request to strip search her transgender teen

A North Carolina mother is suing the Transportation Security Administration and an agency supervisor for a May 2019 incident involving her transgender teenager who was asked to undergo a strip search at an airport.

According to a complaint filed Monday, Kimberly Erway and her 15-year-old daughter, Jamii Erway, were flying out of Raleigh-Durham International Airport in May 2019. When Jamii went through the TSA body scanner, it indicated a “false positive,” according to the complaint.
TSA’s transgender passenger webpage states “the TSA officer presses a button designating a gender (male/female) based on how you present yourself” when entering the scanner.
“This lets the body scanner know what to expect,” said the complaint.
The TSA webpage says “the machine has software that looks at the anatomy of men and women differently. The equipment conducts a scan and indicates areas on the body warranting further inspection if necessary.”
According to the lawsuit, “Jamii frequently has to deal with false positives when she flies” and the agency “receives complaints from transgender individuals regarding” the issue regularly.
“False-positives on body scanners are a common occurrence; upon information and belief, at least 20% of TSA body scans indicate an anomaly even though the traveler is not secreting any items on their person,” said the complaint.
The teen told the body scanner operator she was transgender and asked for a re-scan with “other button” pressed, but the employee refused and called a supervisor, according to the complaint.
The supervisor, identified as Jane Doe in the lawsuit, told Jamii she needed to be strip searched in a nearby private room and wouldn’t be allowed to leave the checkpoint area until she complied, according to the lawsuit.
The complaint says “TSA procedure for resolving such anomalies is to conduct a brief pat-down search.”
The TSA supervisor directed “Kimberly to force Jamii to submit to the strip-search” and when she declined, “Doe (then) summoned a police officer,” the complaint alleges.
According to the lawsuit, the police officer said he would not assist in detaining the teen and the two were then allowed to leave the checkpoint. The Erways rented a car and drove 600 miles to their home, the complaint said.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages due to intentional infliction of emotional distress and violation of Jamii’s Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches.
A TSA spokesperson declined to comment on the case, citing the pending litigation.
TSA’s website says the agency “recognizes the concerns that some members of the transgender community may have with certain security screening procedures at the nation’s security checkpoints. TSA is committed to ensuring all travelers are treated with respect and courtesy. Screening is conducted without regard to a person’s race, color, sex, gender identity, national origin, religion or disability.”

The post appeared first on CNN.

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