He’s a Transgender Archivist and a Vampire, and He’s in Love

Once a concert pianist, Solomon Katz, the main character in Isaac Fellman’s new novel, “Dead Collections,” now applies his classically trained patience for tedium to archival work. He spends his days sorting materials beneath the Historical Society of Northern California. It’s a solitary, nocturnal job, but entombment works for Sol. Because, in addition to being an archivist and a transgender man, Sol is a vampire.

It’s tempting to slot into the most evident groove of interpretation with “Dead Collections”: that vampirism is a metaphor for being trans. After all, Isaac Fellman’s author bio states that he is also a transmasculine archivist in San Francisco. Sol is sustained by blood transfusions that read like a cross between chemotherapy and hormone replacement therapy (and he receives blood exclusively from male donors). He had only just come out as trans when he was turned into a vampire, so now he’s frozen in the first phases of transition, with his face just past “early-T puffiness.” And he has shunted himself into a different closet: Almost no one knows he’s a vampire.

But Sol’s story is much messier, much funnier and a lot more interesting than a one-to-one allegory, especially once he meets the sincere, luminescent Elsie. Elsie’s late wife, Tracy Britton, created “Feet of Clay,” a ’90s sci-fi show that was a catalyst for Sol’s gender and sexuality discovery. Elsie visits Sol’s office to donate Tracy’s personal papers, and within pages the two have fallen into a complicated, unglamorous, delicious affair. The story that unfolds around them is equal parts romance and mystery, as Sol reignites his will to live through Elsie while the archive’s collections begin to rapidly decay.

Fellman knows exactly to whom he’s writing: the Elsies and Sols of the world, grown-up queer nerds who perhaps once identified as cisgender despite fixating on characters with what can only be described as gender envy. People who know you can find yourself in fiction, but you can find even more of yourself in what you make of it. Elsie and Sol became experts on queer transfiguration through fandom and transformative fanworks. Fellman’s playful but deliberate approach to form, his deft way of presenting his own canon and then transfiguring it on the page, would feel familiar to them.

Some chapters take the form of archival materials: scripts, show bibles, emails and ephemeral, bite-size passages. In a series of late-1990s forum posts, Sol and Elsie recover a tense online exchange they once had as strangers in the “Feet of Clay” fandom, when they both thought they were cis lesbians but couldn’t agree on an ethical approach to queer fanworks. One of Fellman’s simplest but most effective form experiments is a matter-of-fact pronoun switch: When Elsie and Sol have gender-exploratory sex, the narration transmutes Elsie’s pronouns from “she” to “he” until his orgasm, a textual revelation of gender euphoria.

In another set of old forum posts, a much younger Sol concludes, in a frustrated flood of meta-analysis, that there was never any metaphor behind the shape-shifting alien race in “Feet of Clay.” Maybe the same is true for Sol’s vampirism. Maybe the most meaningful thing is how readers interpret the canon, and how they can transform it.

Sol, in a flashback, recalls his first time presenting as a man, at a sci-fi convention in cosplay as his favorite “Clay” character. “I felt like a different person — not Shalk, of course, that would be childish, but strong and secret,” he remembers. Years later, in the archives, he takes his first drink of blood during sex with Elsie and hears his voice lower for the first time since vampirism arrested his transition.

“Dead Collections” suggests that this is the potential of both fiction and love for a trans person. Both can be a mirror or a door or a crack in an egg, and in both, there’s room for transformation and self-expansion. Both can be experienced as an experimentation in one’s own form: gender. Gender can be the graceless act of discovery and affirmation, the ugly vitality of blood, the patient organizing and reshaping of something that’s never before been listened to correctly.

Post first appeared in NYTIMES

Study finds transgender people three times as likely to face food insufficiency during pandemic

Story at a glance

  • A quarter of transgender adults in the U.S. are facing food insufficiency, according to a new report, compared to just 8 percent of cisgender adults.
  • Nearly six times as many transgender people of color experienced food insufficiency at some point during the summer or early fall compared to white transgender people.
  • Nearly half of transgender people said they had difficulty paying usual household expenses like food and rent.

A quarter of transgender adults in the U.S. are likely to face food insufficiency, according to a report by the Williams Institute –  a rate three times higher than cisgender people.

Using data from the Census Bureau’s latest Household Pulse Survey, which collected responses between June and October, researchers found 25 percent of transgender people experienced food insufficiency compared to just 8 percent of cisgender people.

Food insufficiency in the study was defined as sometimes or often not having enough to eat in the last 7 days.

Researchers at the Williams Institute found nearly six times as many transgender people of color as white transgender people experienced food insufficiency at some point during the summer or early fall. For the more than 30 percent of transgender adults living below the federal poverty level, having enough to eat was also a frequent struggle.

Nearly half of transgender people reported difficulty paying for usual household expenses like food and rent.

Outside of affordability, transgender people were more than twice as likely as cisgender people to face additional barriers in accessing food. Twenty-two percent of transgender adults said they could not access food because of safety concerns, according to the report.

“Transgender people face high rates of poverty, and the COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate economic impact on LGBT people,” lead author and Research Director at the Williams Institute, Kerith J. Conron, told the Los Angeles Blade. “The commonality of food insufficiency among transgender people shows how critical it is to ensure access to jobs that pay livable wages and to improve access to food resources for this highly marginalized population.”

Transgender people were more likely to rely on food resources, including food banks and SNAP, compared to cisgender people. About a third of transgender adults who met the income requirement for SNAP eligibiltiy were enrolled in the program, according to the report.

The post appeared first on TheHill

Jury awards $4 million to Missouri transgender student

A Kansas City-area school district must pay a transgender student $4 million after it refused to let him use the boys’ restrooms or locker rooms, a Jackson County jury decided.

The jury on Monday found the Blue Springs school district had discriminated against the student, NBC affiliate KSHB-TV reported.

The school district said in a statement that it disagreed with the verdict and would be “seeking appropriate relief from the trial court and court of appeals if necessary.”

Delta Woods Middle School in Lee's Summit, Mo.
Delta Woods Middle School in Lee’s Summit, Mo.Google Maps

The student had legally changed his name in 2010 and amended his birth certificate to reflect his new name and gender in 2014, according to the lawsuit. He filed the lawsuit in 2015.

Although the state recognized him as a boy, the district denied the student access to the boys’ restrooms and locker rooms at Delta Woods Middle School and the Freshman Center, the lawsuit said.

The student participated in boy’s physical education and athletics in middle schools but was required to use a single person bathroom outside the boys’ locker room, according to court documents.

He did not participate in fall sports at the Freshman Center because he could not use the boys’ locker room or restrooms.

The post appeared first on NBCtoday

Virginia school district sued over transgender student protections

Twitter Share IconEmail Share Icon

HANOVER, Va. (AP) — The ACLU of Virginia is suing a Virginia school board over its refusal to comply with a 2020 law that requires districts to adopt protections for transgender students.

The Washington Post reports that the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia filed the lawsuit in Hanover County on Thursday on behalf of five families.

SEE ALSO: ACLU, transgender boy sue Tennessee over law banning trans students in school sports

The law required state education officials to set rules for the treatment of transgender students, then mandated that all school districts adopt guidelines mirroring those rules.

Last month, the Hanover County School Board voted 4-to-3 against revising its rules. The lawsuit alleges the board “threatens transgender students’ entire identity, ostracizes them and deprives them of the basic humanity.”

The post first appeared first on wset

Record-setting Penn transgender swimmer Lia Thomas says she tunes out the backlash

A University of Pennsylvania transgender swimmer who’s shattering women’s team records since her transition said she has been trying to avoid reading about the pushback surrounding her success.

“I just don’t engage with it,” Lia Thomas said on an episode of the SwimSwam podcast posted Thursday. “It’s not healthy for me to read it and engage with it at all, and so I don’t, and that’s all I’ll say on that.”

Thomas had been a member of Penn’s men’s swim team for three years before coming out as transgender in 2019, switching to the women’s team this season after ongoing hormone therapy and a year off school in 2020-21 to maintain athletic eligibility.

The swimmer told podcast host Coleman Hodges she is on an ongoing regimen of estrogen and testosterone blockers – the NCAA requires transitioning athletes take testosterone suppressors for a year. Some of the backlash was expected, she said.

Lia Thomas
Lia Thomas spoke out about the controversy surrounding her record-breaking swims.

“We expected there would be some measure of pushback by people,” she told Hodges in the virtual interview. “Quite the extent it’s blown up, we weren’t fully expecting — but we were expecting that.

Thomas has broken team records since joining the women's swim team.
Thomas has broken team records since joining the women’s swim team.
Penn Athletics

“We expected … my speed and strength and endurance would drop significantly and would have adjusted for that.”

The episode debuted after a teammate anonymously criticized Thomas competing on the women’s team to the website OutKick. The female teammate said other women have sounded off to coach Mike Schnur about Thomas having what they feel is an unfair advantage.

“Pretty much everyone individually has spoken to our coaches about not liking this,” the female swimmer told the site. “Our coach just really likes winning. He’s like most coaches. I think secretely everyone just knows it’s the wrong thing to do.”

In her interview with SwimSwam, Thomas described her feelings of uncertainty after coming out in 2019 and facing uncertainty that she’d be able to continue competitively swimming for the Ivy League school.

“My mental health was not very good,” she said of her junior year in 2019-20. “There was a lot of unease about basically feeling trapped in my body – it didn’t align.

Thomas previously competed for three years on the men's swimming team at the University of Pennsylvania.
Thomas previously competed for three years on the men’s swimming team at the University of Pennsylvania.

“It was a very awkward experience of basically being a woman competing in a men’s meet,” she said. “It was uncomfortable and so I didn’t compete that much.”

Since transitioning, Thomas has set Penn records for the 200-meter freestyle, 500-meter freestyle and 1650-meter freestyle. In her 165-meter freestyle win, she beat second place finisher and teammate Anna Kalandadze by more than 38 seconds.

“I’m very proud of my times and my ability to keep swimming and continue competing and they’re suited up times and I’m happy with them and my coaches are happy with them,” Thomas said in the interview. “And that’s what matters to me.”

Thomas said her teammates and coaches treat her “like any other member of the women’s team” and have been very supportive of her during transitio]]

“I’m just thrilled to be able to continue to swim and I love to compete,” she said. “And I just love to see how fast I can go and it’s, sort of, an ongoing evolution of what I think I can go based on how my training progresses and evolves.”

Federal judge to decide if transgender BSU athlete case is moot

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — An Idaho woman says her lawsuit challenging the state’s ban on transgender athletes should continue moving through the court system because she is enrolled as a student at Boise State University and plans to play soccer on the school’s club team next spring.

Idaho passed the nation’s first transgender sports ban last year, barring transgender women from playing on women’s sports teams sponsored by public schools, colleges and universities. The law, dubbed House Bill 500 in court filings, doesn’t affect transgender men playing on men’s sports teams.

After Idaho’s legislation was enacted, several other states attempted to follow suit, with lawmakers in more than 20 states proposing similar legislation. Nine states — Idaho, Montana, South Dakota, Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, Florida and West Virginia — have passed some version of a law or executive order to ban or limit transgender students from participating in school sports. Court cases challenging the law are underway in at least four of those states.

In Idaho, the American Civil Liberties Union and Legal Voice, a women’s rights group, sued in federal court on behalf of Lindsay Hecox, a transgender woman and track athlete who hoped to run for Boise State University. An unnamed Boise-area high school athlete who is a cisgender woman is also a plaintiff in the case because she fears she could be forced to undergo invasive tests to prove her biological sex if someone questions her gender.

The women contend the law violates the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause because it is discriminatory and the Fourth Amendment’s protections against invasion of privacy because of tests required should an athlete’s gender be challenged.

In August 2020, U.S. District Judge David Nye stopped the law from taking effect while the lawsuit moved forward, saying Hecox and the other student were likely to succeed in proving the law was unconstitutional. But attorneys representing Idaho officials and the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian group that intervened, appealed the ruling to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Earlier this year, the 9th Circuit bounced the case back to the federal court in Idaho so a judge could determine if the lawsuit was still relevant. That’s because Hecox had since withdrawn from the university after failing to qualify for the cross-country team.

In court documents filed last week, Hecox said she has since re-enrolled at the school and has arranged to join the Boise State women’s club soccer team this spring. She’s also training regularly in hopes of trying out for BSU’s cross-country and track teams when the season opens next fall.

“Just as when she filed this lawsuit, Lindsay is a transgender woman enrolled at Boise State who plans to join a women’s sports team there — something H.B. 500 forbids her from doing absent relief,” her attorneys wrote.

But lawyers for the state contend Hecox’s future is uncertain and that she may change her mind about attending school or trying out for sports. They want the lawsuit thrown out for now, and say Hecox could refile the case later if it appears she’s likely to actually run for BSU in fall 2022.

“All this uncertainty about Hecox’s future does not justify continuing to impinge Idaho’s sovereignty by enjoining a law to benefit an individual that may not need the injunction,” the state’s attorneys wrote.

Lawmakers in Idaho have argued that allowing transgender athletes on girls’ and women’s teams would negate progress women have made since the 1972 federal legislation credited with opening up sports to female athletes.

But those opposed to the ban have cited the same Title IX federal civil rights law that prohibits sex-based discrimination.

Once the federal judge in Idaho determines whether the case is moot, the landmark lawsuit will go back to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for consideration.

This post first appeared komonews

Trans Woman wins Miss Silver State Nevada Beauty Pageant

In recent public debate throughout the South, transness – the fact of being transgender – is framed as a kind of new social contagion.

Count me among the afflicted.

When I first moved to Appalachia in 2015, I expected to find a hostile environment for my own transition. Instead, I met trans people of all ages whose stories demonstrate that there is nothing new about being transgender in southwest Virginia.

Yet this remarkable history is all but forgotten.

When politicians frame transgender youth as a new phenomenon, they ignore the fact that gender nonconforming young people have existed for generations. Without a historical perspective, decisions can be made that negatively impact young people.

For example, recent legislation in the South has focused on prohibiting transgender youths from a variety of activities, including school athletics and lifesaving health care.

In southwest Virginia, several county school boards in the summer of 2021 voted to reject new state guidelines aimed at providing support for transgender students.

And in November, Glenn Youngkin won the Virginia governorship on a platform of “parents’ rights,” building on the furor of parents regarding the state’s overreach on curricular matters and policies regarding trans students.

This ongoing panic over transgender bodies is evidence of the increasing visibility of transgender people in rural America. As a trans woman who researches and writes about transgender history, I know this history well.

Local transgender voices

In my book “Living Queer History: Remembrance and Belonging in a Southern City,” I write about Miss Carolyn. She grew up in rural West Virginia in the 1950s and 1960s.

As she tells it: “I always been Carolyn from 5 all the way up to 67. But I always been, I always know the way I was.” As a teenager, she would sneak out late at night with a friend, both of them dressed in women’s clothes, and dance sexily down the streets.

But it wasn’t until she moved to Roanoke, Virginia, in 1972 that she was able to become her full self. She started performing on area stages as a queen and worked downtown as a sex worker. In an era of desegregation, she became the first Black queen to win the region’s premier drag pageant in 1975.

When a college student interviewed her in 2018 about her life, she said some people call her “she,” some call her “he,” and she doesn’t mind which you use. She said that the word “transgender” wasn’t a thing when she was growing up and coming out, but if she had known what she knows now she would have claimed “transgender” for herself.

Carolyn was not alone. She mentored several other queens in Roanoke who worked at nightclubs and in the streets.

One of those performers was a young white trans woman named Rhoda who grew up in Roanoke in the 1950s. While attending college, Rhoda underwent “a battery of psychological tests,” as she put it. Ultimately, a doctor at the University of Virginia’s Gender Identity Program prescribed her with the hormones estrogen and progestin.

By the time she took the stage in Roanoke in 1977 she had visible breasts. She had recently changed her legal identification and was preparing to marry a man and live her life as a woman.

“I’m a transsexual – a woman,” she told a local magazine in 1977. “Ever since I can remember, that’s the way I’ve felt.”

Outside the world of clubs, another white trans woman named Rona was a local activist who in the 1970s distributed literature about transgender families to local public libraries.

She also made sure local police departments had up-to-date information on transgender people. In 1980, she helped to found the first transgender organization in southwest Virginia, a budding chapter of the national Society for the Second Self, or Tri-Ess. Rona raised the issue of transgender rights in southwest Virginia five decades before local school boards here would return to the issue.

Trans youth and trans history

Transgender history has the power to shape contemporary experiences of belonging. For trans youths in rural communities, history can be a tool not just for knowing the past but for reimagining our present. These stories let young people know that they are not alone, that they are not the first to struggle, and that they have a right to be here.

For several years I co-led a workshop with the Southwest Virginia LGBTQ+ History Project at a summer camp for LGBTQ teenagers in the Appalachian Mountains. This workshop, “Living Trans History,” asked participants, some of whom were as young as middle school age, to read excerpts from oral histories with trans elders.

People hold placards.
Supporters celebrate transgender protection measures that were voted into the school systems policies, at the Loudoun County Public Schools Administration Building on Aug. 11, 2021, in Ashburn, Virginia. Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post via Getty Images

After reading the transcripts, the youths were put into small groups and tasked with developing short theatrical performances that brought these elders’ stories to life. One group created a skit focused on the role of the church in denouncing gender nonconformity. Another performance centered on a trans woman who found an unlikely home in a rough-and-tumble bar. Another was about a sex worker who worked the streets of Roanoke.

After their performances, we asked the campers to reflect on their experiences with these stories. They highlighted the similarities and differences across the generations and remarked on their new understanding of themselves. They also realized that they were not the first trans people to live in southwest Virginia, a recognition that can foster a renewed sense of meaning and belonging.

If rural transgender history is brought to light, perhaps it will help communities such as mine remember that trans people have always been here.

[Over 140,000 readers rely on The Conversation’s newsletters to understand the world. Sign up today.]

Transness itself is a reminder of the past – an assigned sex, a given name, a pubescent body. It is difficult for trans people to escape from that history, and it can feel like abuse. Perhaps that’s why queer studies scholar Heather Love writes that for LGBTQ people, “The challenge is to engage with the past without being destroyed by it.”

Trans youths experience the abuse of having their own personal histories used against them by school administrators and sometimes by their own parents. But they deserve to know a richer archive than just what’s printed on their birth certificates. Trans history has the power to transform. It gives communities the tools they need for making safer spaces for all.

The post appeared first on theconversation

Trans­gender teen starts youth group for kids in the LGBTQ community

TAMPA, Fla. — It’s not easy being a teenager right now, from dealing with a pandemic to growing up with social media, and some groups feel the stress and pressure, even more, especially teens in the LGBTQ community.

Levi Wright lives with his mom and dad in the FishHawk community. Recently, he came out to his family as transgender, and after struggling with his own identity for so long, he hopes to now help other teens in his community who may be going through the same thing, so he’s starting a youth group for teens.

“I am 15 at the time, going on 30,” said Levi, who is certainly mature beyond his years. Levi likes doing the same things as a lot of other teenagers. He likes to play video games, his pet snakes, and he loves to draw and hopes to work for Disney one day as an animator, but Levi has also taken on something that even a lot of adults struggle with — his own identity.

Levi recently came out as a transgender male, meaning he was born female, but now lives as a male. He said he first remembers feeling uncomfortable in his body when he was in second grade.

“I had a deep jealousy of all the boys in my class that they could dress how they wanted to. I wanted to dress like that with basketball shorts and T-shirts. I wasn’t necessarily happy when I was wearing dresses, or I was playing around in ballerina skirts and stuff like that, I wasn’t happy,” said Levi.

And that feeling of unhappiness didn’t just go away. Over the years, and with the help of the internet, Levi realized he wasn’t alone with those feelings, and there were other people out there like him. When he first came out, though, kids were cruel.

“It was harder in the locker room at my public school. I was bullied quite a bit. I would have frequent panic attacks at school and before school, dreading going to that place where they would ridicule me nonstop,” said Levi.

Since then, Levi started going to school online, and his family moved from Chicago. Even though life is easier for him now, he wants to help other teens who may be going through the same things he did, so he and his mom put it out on Facebook to start an LGBTQ youth group for teens.

“Instantly there were people messaging me saying that, yeah I have a child who would absolutely love to participate in this. I am overwhelmed, I have not had one derogatory comment. It’s all been inclusive, it’s all about education, and I thought, FishHawk being the bubble everyone talks about, that it was going to be much different,” said Stacey Wright.

With this safe place, Levi hopes to be the help he never had, so other teens don’t have to face this challenge alone.

“I hope we can make it more comfortable for them and slowly ease into this new future where gender is not binary anywhere, and you can wear what you want, clothes are just pieces of clothes and you can just be who you want to be, and yeah, that’s what I’m trying to do,” said Levi.

Already, a business in the neighborhood and a local church have offered their space as a place for the group to meet. Levi and his mom are finalizing the plans now.

The post  appeared first on BayNews9

Stu Rasmussen, 73, First Openly Transgender Mayor in America, Dies

Stu Rasmussen, who in 2008 became what is believed to be the first openly transgender mayor in America, died on Nov. 17 at his home in Silverton, Ore., where he had served in various elected offices for the better part of 30 years. Mr. Rasmussen, who identified as a woman but typically used masculine pronouns, was 73.

His wife, Victoria Sage, said the cause was prostate cancer.

Silverton, an agricultural community with about 9,200 residents and a jewel box of a downtown, sits about an hour south of Portland and a half hour east of Salem, the state capital. Despite an influx of people that tripled the population since Mr. Rasmussen was young, it was hardly the sort of place one might expect to find such a pathbreaking politician.

But Mr. Rasmussen defied many conventions, gender being just one of them. He belonged to both the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Rifle Association. He was socially progressive but fiscally conservative, and he butted heads with growth-oriented city leaders when he blocked new subdivisions or upgrades to local infrastructure.

He was intensely private — but also, according to Oregon Encyclopedia, “easily the most recognized person in the community,” a fact established long before he went public with his new gender identity, in 1998.

A lifelong resident of Silverton, he was an engineer and entrepreneur who brought cable TV to the town in the 1970s — often wiring customers himself — and remained a reliable Mr. Fix-It for his neighbors, the person they called to repair a janky fuse box or a buggy computer.

He also co-owned and operated Silverton’s only first-run movie theater, the Palace. He sold the tickets, served the popcorn, ran the projector and often stood out front dressed as a character from whatever film was showing inside.

  • Thanks for reading The Times.

Subscribe to The Times

He entered politics in the mid-1980s, first on the City Council and then for two two-year terms as mayor, both times identifying as a man. He ran unsuccessfully for the State Legislature, twice, before returning to Silverton politics in 2004, this time as a woman.

By then, the community had largely come to accept his new identity.

“Nobody really cared,” Kyle Palmer, the current mayor of Silverton, said in an interview. “Everyone knew him, so that part of him didn’t get a reaction.”

He served two terms on the council before running again for mayor in 2008, defeating an eight-term incumbent and drawing international headlines for taking to the hustings in high heels and a low-cut blouse.

Three weeks after the election, members of the Westboro Baptist Church, a religious group in Topeka, Kan., known for staging hate-filled, antigay protests at military funerals and other ceremonies, held a small rally in Silverton, where they lofted signs condemning Mr. Rasmussen and the town.

But an even larger number of locals turned out for a counterprotest. Some 200 people, including several men who had dressed in women’s clothing for the occasion, held their own signs, reading “Jesus Loves Stu” and “Stu Rocks.”

The encounter, which also drew national attention, later inspired a musical, “Stu for Silverton,” which debuted in Seattle in 2013.

Despite his celebrity, Mr. Rasmussen spent his second stint as mayor, from 2009 to 2015, with his head down, focused on the sort of issues that undergird most of life in small-town America. He built a skate park and a senior center. He established an early-warning system at a nearby dam. He ran City Council meetings. He was, in most ways that mattered, no different from any other politician, and the town treated him that way.

“A lot of people who are transgender think, ‘I can’t be myself here. I have to go somewhere else, go to Portland or to San Francisco, and let the other side of me come out,’” he told The Salem Statesman-Journal in 2015. “I transitioned in place. And the community came along with me.”

Stewart Alan Rasmussen was born on Sept. 9, 1948. His father, Albert, was a Danish immigrant who at various points in his life panned for gold, delivered mail and managed the Palace Theater. His mother, Nan (Dowling) Rasmussen, was a homemaker.

Stu received an associate’s degree in electrical engineering in 1971 from what is now Chemeketa Community College, in Salem, after which he spent nearly eight years working for a tech company in Beaverton, a western suburb of Portland. It was the only time in his life he lived outside Silverton.

The post appeared first on NYTIMES

Dutch government apologizes for discredited transgender law

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The Dutch government made a public apology Saturday for a now discredited and scrapped law that required transgender people to undergo surgery and sterilization if they wanted to change their gender on their birth certificate.

“Nobody should have experienced what you have experienced. I am truly sorry that it happened,” said Dutch Minister for Education, Culture and Science Ingrid van Engelshoven in an emotional speech at a ceremony in the historic Knights Hall in the Dutch parliamentary complex.

The law was in place for nearly 30 years until being scrapped in 2014.

“For decades, people underwent medical procedures that they did not want at all. But they knew they had no other choice,” Van Engelshoven said. “Others have waited because of this law; they were forced to postpone becoming themselves for years.”

She said that “standards about what a body should look like do not belong in a law and a law should never force people to undergo an operation. And today I make our deeply sincere apologies for this on behalf of the full Cabinet.”

Transgender Network Nederland welcomed the ceremony, saying the Netherlands is the first country in the world to make such an apology, but said that it took the government too long to scrap the law and that compensation of 5,000 euros ($5,650) offered to people affected by the law was too low.

It said hundreds of people were “faced with an impossible choice. They could indeed choose for papers that aligned with their gender identity, but for a price that was far too high.”

Willemijn van Kempen, who campaigned for the apology, said in a statement that the government “structurally disadvantaged and damaged transgender and intersex people for almost thirty years. It is important that it now apologizes.”

The post appeared first on ABCNews