Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Cutting Edge-September 2013

Barbara F. Anderson, Ph.D., LCSW

A notice reached me about “the University of Arizona’s unprecedented investment in the field of transgender studies.”  In addition to hiring 4 new faculty positions in transgender studies, there is also a new peer-reviewed journal, TSQ (Transgender Studies Quarterly); a new Center for Critical Studies of the Body; and a future graduate degree program in transgender studies.  For more information on these developments or to apply for a position <, job # 53456>


2 interesting plays of interest to the trans community are slated to open in SF.  “Sidewinders” will play between Oct. 18 & Nov. 17, 2013 at the Cuttingball Theater.  Think a combination of “Waiting for Godot” and SF Pride.  The review describes it as an “absurdist-western romp through gender queerness…. [It] provokes questions about sex anatomy, transgenderism, and who we really are from the inside out.”


“Hir,” a world premier by Taylor Mac, opens Jan. 29, 2014 at the Magic Theater.  “Newly enlightened, Paige is determined to forge a deliriously liberated world for her 2 wayward children.  One, Max, is sculpting a third sex gender for hirself.”  It is described as a “hilarious drama.”


The Dep’t of Defense has begun to extend a number of federal benefits to same-sex spouses of military members as of Sept.3, 2013.  Now the same privileges available to legally married straight couples will be available to married gay couples.  Benefits include health care, housing, and family separation allowance.  Service members who are stationed in 1 of the 37 states where same-sex marriage is illegal will be offered up to 10 days leave to travel to 1 of the 13 states that grant same-sex marriage licenses. (, August 22, 2013)


Melenie Elenke, TG rights activist and hula dancer, died on Sept. 9, 2013 in Daly City.  In 1976, 1 year before her graduation from Kailua High School in Honolulu, she transitioned to live as the woman she knew herself to be.  She was a spiritual healer  and Social Justice student at San Francisco State University and a long-time community leader with the Transgender, Gender Variant & Intersex Justice Project in SF. She is remembered for her trip to Geneva, Switzerland in 2008 when she addressed the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, accusing the U.S. of being responsible for its paucity of economic opportunity for transwomen of color. (SF Chronicle, Sept. 15, 2013)


Hot off the press:  “My Brother My Sister” by Molly Haskell, feminist film critic, is a chronicle of the transition of Ms. Haskell’s younger brother.  “Nearing 60, married with children, Chevey floored his family and friends when he revealed he was transsexual and would begin to live openly as a woman.”  This book explores the parallel journeys of Chevey’s transition as well as Molly’s emotional path from “shock and bewilderment to … acceptance….”  (The Booksmith, Sept. 19, 2013)


A 16 year-old transgender teen was named Homecoming Queen at Marina High School in Huntington Beach, CA.  “Cassidy Lynn Campbell tearfully accepted her crown in front of camera crew and a crowd of students, family and football players on the field.”  Until 3 years ago she lived as Lance Campbell but has always seen herself as a girl. (ABC News Sept. 21, 2013)