Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Cutting Edge-February 18, 2014

By Barbara F. Anderson, Ph.D., LCSW


The Transgender Law center (TLC) is organizing their 8th annual Transgender Leadership Summit—a conference designed to build the foundation for community members to take action for transgender equality and justice.  There will be workshops in legal, healthcare, organizational development and much more.  It is scheduled for April 11-13 at Cal State U. @ Northridge.  For more info:

Robina Asti, a 92 year old transwoman, was denied survivor’s benefits by the Social Security Administration after her husband’s death.  The ruling was based on their belief that she was “legally male” at the time of their marriage in 2004 despite the fact that the government has recognized Robina as a woman for over 30 years as attested to by her passport, FAA pilot’s license and driver’s license.  The back story: 9 years ago Robina, a WWII vet and pilot and her longtime sweetheart, Norwood Patton, were married in an airplane hangar in New York State.  When Norwood, 97, died in 2012, Robina applied to the Social Security Administration for survivor’s benefits.  As mentioned above, she was denied.  In June 2013, Lambda Legal filed a request for reconsideration but after 6 months has still not had a reply.  Stay tuned.

Did you catch the “Fashion & Style” section of the NYTimes (1/30/14)?  If not, you missed the story on the new Barneys catalogue and magazine campaign.  Nearly 20 transgender models were photographed by Bruce Weber wearing clothes from designers like Ann Demeulmeester, Balenciaga, Lanvin and Manolo Blahnik.  The models, ranging in age from 17 to “early 30’s,” are of various races and socioeconomic strata. The intent was to create awareness of a community that has been left behind as gays and lesbians have moved further into the mainstream.

 From a contribution to a listserve of WPATH (World Professional Association for Transgender Health) the following entry bears circulating.  The writer tells of being denied funding by the CDC for a mammogram.  Despite having legitimately met the qualifications for a subsidy for the screening, denial was based on her identity as a transwoman.  She filed a civil rights complaint on the state and federal levels and the Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal, and the National Center for Transgender Equality became involved on her behalf.  Subsequently, the CDC officially changed its discriminatory policy and now all transwomen who meet the income and age requirements, and are referred by a healthcare professional, are eligible for a federally funded mammogram.

Global Action for Trans* Equality and the American Jewish World Service conducted a survey of 340 transgender and intersex groups worldwide between July and Sept. 2013.  Revealed are the deep discrimination and multiple challenges faced by these groups.  Some findings:  The trans and intersex movements are young, many groups having been founded in the last 3 years.  Most focus on local issues and are led by community members.  Most are not independent but are programs of larger human rights and health organizations with broader mandates.  For more info on the survey’s findings, Google “Global Action for Trans* Equality.”