Barbara F. Anderson, Ph. D., LCSW
July 21, 2015
If you find yourself in Brooklyn, don’t miss the Brooklyn Museum’s exhibit, Faces and Phases, “an ongoing exhibit documenting black African lesbians and transmen.” Zanele Muholi ‘s “incandescent” photographs of 250 people gazing” frankly, shyly, proudly, defiantly as [her] camera portrays people who are participating in making their own history.” The New Yorker, May 18, 2015.
The New York Times is at it again. It has devoted its complete editorial page to TG issues as part of its series on trans lives. The June 6 column, “Let Transgender Troops Serve Openly” speaks for itself. The nut of it is that there is an “absence of common-sense leadership on this issue by Pentagon leaders [forcing] commanders on the ground to develop a patchwork of unofficial rules.” The writer presses Defense Secretary Ashton Carter to review the current ban on transgender troops and the type of policies needed to allow them to serve openly. <nytimes.com/trans-today>
Barnard College in NYC will begin accepting transwomen who are defined as “applicants who consistently live and identify as women, regardless of the gender assigned to them at birth.” Although transmen are not eligible for admission, those women who transition after admission will be able to complete their education at the college. Wellesley and Smith Colleges have similar policies while Mt. Holyoke is even more inclusive. In addition to accepting transwomen, it also accepts transmen as well as those who do not identify as either gender. Hollins University in VA requires that applicants have “completed the physical sex reassignment surgery and legal transformation from male to female.” Transitioning from female to male is cause for loss of student status at this all women’s school. New York Times, June 5, 2015.
On May 29, 2015, Caitlyn Jenner, appeared as Vanity Fair’s cover girl. Photographed by Annie Liebovitz and dressed by Jessica Diehl, “the challenge was really about finding out from Caitlyn what this all means to her,” said VF’s fashion and style director. For those awaking from a protracted nap, Caitlyn is the former Bruce Jenner, Olympian athlete and member of the Kardashian klan. New York Times, June 4, 2015.
Sam Martin is one of a group of authors of children’s literature that incorporate trans characters in their books for young readers. His first work of fiction is about a transgender teenage boy who falls in love with an older boy on a Cape Cod beach. It is admittedly semi-autobiographical and published in the hope of helping youngsters to feel less alone with their awareness of their transgender identity. The subject of gender fluidity has rarely been addressed in this genre and remains “one of the last taboos in a publishing category that had already taken on difficult issues like suicide, drug abuse, rape and sex trafficking.” Since 2004, when the first young-adult novel with a trans character was released by a mainstream publisher, 50 such books have been published, mostly for teens. The next frontier is books for the 8-12 year-old reader. One author, Alex Gino, identifies as genderqueer and has written “George,” about a boy who knows he’s a girl but doesn’t know how to tell family and friends. So far, responses from parents have been positive. New York Times, June 6, 2015
The American Medical Association (AMA), has come out (so to speak) with a statement criticizing the military’s policy barring TG troops saying “there is no medically valid reason” to disqualify them from serving. The policy barring gay and lesbian troops was rescinded in 2011 and earlier this year the Army and Air Force issued a ruling that made it harder to discharge transtroops. On the day following publication of this editorial, Secretary of Defense, Ashton Carter, is scheduled to deliver the keynote speech at the Pentagon’s annual GLBT pride event (who knew?). The article predicts that “his words will ring hollow to talented and dedicated transgender service members if [he] fails to announce a review of the ban and movement toward its repeal.” New York Times, June 8, 2015.
From the website of the Transgender Law Center comes this news item. “A San Francisco Transgender woman has settled her privacy and civil rights lawsuit with the CA Department of Motor Vehicles, the 2nd lawsuit of its kind against the DMV in the Bay Area in the past 4 years. In Mar. 2013, Jane Doe went to the DMV to change the gender marker on her ID. The DMV employee became visibly angry and began to loudly lecture her on the ‘sin’ of being transgender…. In the settlement, the State of CA agreed to pay Ms. Doe almost $30,000. The TLC will also continue to urge the DMV to incorporate transgender sensitivity into its ongoing employee training.” June 4, 2015