Category Archives: transgender

Friends, Romans, and Countrymen

***(Editors Note: This is from a new contributor to our blogs, Alex. These are selected blogs she has started as a memorial to a friend to spread awareness of LGBT autism and mental illness).

Hello everyone!  My name is Alex.  This blog here is going to be a memorial blog.  It is written to honor the memory of a young lady named Renne, who died far too young.  There was nothing just about her death.  She wasn’t a drunk driver.  She didn’t use heavy drugs.  She just happened to be at a blind intersection, coming home from a friend’s house, when a car ran over her.

This blog is an attempt at making sense of her death, and also why she was so important to me.  It may go in fits and spurts.  I have a lot of material that i’ve already written about her.  There is more coming, but it is still in the editing process.

So welcome aboard.  I hope that someday, we can both make sense of this.

.

Transgender Health Discrimination

trans

This is an abstract of a recently published article[*] by the St. John’s Well Child and Family Center of South Los Angeles. Direct quotes are shown as italics.

The Well Child and Family Center is a pioneer in serving and hiring transgender people. This article was made available during a BWMTSC [†]chapter meeting.

During this moment in time heralded as the transgender1 tipping point, discussion about transgender people is entering mainstream discourse, now more than ever. Despite the surge in media attention regarding the transgender community and growing acceptance of transgender identities, systemic and societal barriers remain, such as lack of access to health insurance, stigma, lack of sensitivity and cultural competency, that contribute to persistent, unmet health needs for transgender individuals.

The local speaker gave an overview of the difficulties she had as a trans women which mirrored many of the studies concern. As gay men our group was faintly aware of the difficulties of these people but was brought into focus more. This is of importance since people of color are in the majority in this cadre and have HIV issues too.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, transgender women have HIV prevalence rates 25 times higher than the general population.

What was not as well known by our group transgender individuals have higher rates of transient housing, lower rates of education, have difficulty finding steady employment. Some transgender people have to resort to sex work. The incarceration rate of transgender individuals is much higher than the general population, with 42% of transgender women of color reporting previous incarceration.

1 For purposes of the article, the word ‘transgender’ reflects the mission of inclusivity, non-judgment and affirmation of multiple transgender identities and includes but is not limited to the following identities: transgender, two-spirit, genderqueer, genderfluid, non-binary, agender, third gender, bigender, transfeminine, transwoman, transfemale, transmasculine, transman, transmale, masculine of center, gender non-conforming, gender questioning, et cetera. The University of California, Riverside recently hosted the First Asterisk Trans* Conference; February 27-28, 2015, where organizers provided their definition of a term now appearing Trans*, “Trans* affirms all people who transcend gender norms” (http://asteriskconference.blogspot.com/p/faq.html). St. John’s Transgender Health Program utilizes the term trans* in order to reflect our mission of inclusivity, non-judgment and affirmation of multiple transgender identities

What needs to be done?

Transgender people need acceptance, respect and preservation of dignity, Often patients cannot or dare not speak freely about their experience, health concerns and health-related behaviors without fear of inciting barriers to obtaining the transgender-related health care services they need. We need more providers to address this.

We need to remove the delay in approval for and receipt of transgender-specific care among patients who are insured through Medi-Cal managed care health plans.

They have failed to take a supportive stance on the delivery of time-sensitive and medically necessary care that they are obligated to provide to their transgender identified beneficiaries.

The California Department of Health Care Services requires them to cover gender surgery and hormone therapy. Likewise, insurance plans should add hormone therapy to a list of “life-

time approved” medications. However, the phrasing has allowed health plans to decide that a transgender person’s gender-affirming surgery may be considered “cosmetic” rather than “medically necessary,” and thus, would not be covered by insurance. Because gender-affirming surgeries for transgender patients are medically necessary and not “cosmetic in nature,” this language creates barriers to access to care and must be clarified. Gender identity should be protected from discrimination into the non-discriminatory hiring and employment.

Finally, a strong facilitation of legal name and gender change processes should be started. Too often when a transgender person changes name on forms and identity cards it very difficult for them to do so.

Legal name and gender change can increase an individuals’ comfort with accessing healthcare and employment as fears of discrimination, being called by the wrong name, and being confronted about gender identity are assuaged.

The National Association of Black and White Men has a proud record of supporting people at the margins and this should include the transgender community.

Note: St. John’s officially launched THP in January 2013 with 9 patients. Within 15 months, the program has close to 500 patients accessing care on a regular basis. Demand has been so high that St. John’s must expand its THP to additional days and health center site.

[*] http://www.wellchild.org/sjwcfcfinalthpwhitepaper.pdf

[†] http://bwmtsc.org

Podcast-Racism in LGBT

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The LGBT community endorses — marriage equality for all — perhaps the next major issue to address: LGBT representation has been dominated by cisgender gay white men.
Gay black men like my husband experience racism as a “double-minority” in stores, clubs, and work. Our “Gayborhood” includes West Hollywood but is bereft of black and queer folks,

In the Huffington Post Ernest Owens looked at the problem that people of color are often portrayed as drag-ballroom performers or hyper-sexual eye-candy.

He goes on to say: “take the fight for marriage equality for example, where have people of color been individually called on to take up that fight? Who sets that agenda? And where are LGBT allies when it comes to the racial injustices we face outside of queer politics. When other human rights groups were at Ferguson or Baltimore — many LGBT organizations said nothing about the queer people of color who might have been afflicted”.

Yes, the black community has homophobic views. But the current LGBT movement lacks recognizing variety and sympathy for people of color in general. And this does NOT distract from other social causes we are trying to achieve.

As the Supreme Court consiiders marriage equality and perhaps ends the fight we should move on to the next LGBT movement which ismore diverse and colorful.

Because the constant recycling of Dan Savage and many other white, cisgender men like him turns off aspiring LGBT members of color to come out and align themselves within the movement.

That means more queer events fundraising not for white queer but, for example, black transgender atrocities or the “Undocuqueer” people of color denied citizenship.

As Owens says “It’s time to start addressing the racial setbacks in the current LGBT movement. If we don’t now, we are never going to obtain that pot of gold equality on the other side of the diverse rainbow”.

 

 

Podcast-Transgender

Last Saturday I went to a transgender event at our local Unitarian Church and came away with the view that the rights of this marginalized community need even more support.

As a cis gender male (yes a new new term to me for my “tribe”), I was amazed at my lack of knowledge of transgendered Americans often regarded as deviants and a disgrace for families. Shunned by relatives and reviled by fellow workers. For most, transitioning on the job was tantamount to career suicide. Coming out meant going through life as a freak!

Luckily, more Americans who have wrestled with gender identity are transitioning openly, propelling a civil rights movement that has struggled even as gays and lesbians have reached irreversible momentum in their fight for equality. This was evident in the speakers at my forum who included the star of the hit series “Transparent

The transgender movement has been part of the broader quest for equality for sexual minorities, but while gays and lesbians have achieved far-reaching legal and political victories in recent years, transgender people, who may be gay or straight, remain among the nation’s most marginalized citizens. They face distinct challenges, including access to transition-related medical care, which have not always been a focus of the broader struggle for gay rights. Gays and lesbians are visible in all walks of life today, and many are celebrities and role models. Transgender Americans, meanwhile, remained largely unseen until fairly recently.

At my forum, it was noted that one challenge lies in semantics,

Below I list a short summary of the terms:
Sex
Social assigned term, usually based on the appearance of external anatomy. better, a combination of bodily characteristics including: chromosomes, hormones, internal and external reproductive organs, and secondary sex characteristics.
Gender Identity
One’s internal, deeply held sense of one’s gender, not visible to others.
Gender Expression
External manifestations of gender, expressed through one’s name, pronouns, clothing, haircut, behavior, voice, or body characteristics.
Sexual Orientation
Describes an individual’s enduring physical, romantic and/or emotional attraction to another person. Transgender people may be straight, lesbian, gay, or bisexual.
Transsexual
An older term that originated in the medical and psychological communities.. Many transgender people do not identify as transsexual and prefer the word transgender. It is best to ask which term an individual prefers.
Transgender man (trans man, FTM)
People who were assigned female at birth but identify and live as a man may use this term to describe themselves. It is best to ask which term an individual prefers.
Transgender woman (trans women, MTF)
People who were assigned male at birth but identify and live as a woman may use this term to describe themselves. It is best to ask which term an individual prefers.
Cross-dresser
Typically used to refer to heterosexual men who occasionally wear clothes, makeup, and accessories culturally associated with women. This activity is a form of gender expression, and not done for entertainment purposes. Cross-dressers do not wish to permanently change their sex or live full-time as women. Replaces the term “transvestite.”

Be aware of the differences between transgender women, cross-dressers, and drag queens. Use the term preferred by the individual. Do not use the word “transvestite.”

Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS)
Doctor-supervised surgical interventions, and is only one small part of transition (see transition above). Avoid the phrase “sex change operation.

Recently, some employers in the public and private sectors have begun to openly support people making the transition. At the Central Intelligence Agency, a young analyst who transitioned on the job in 2013 worried that coming out would end her career. She realized that fear was unfounded when colleagues got her a gift certificate to Ann Taylor after she transitioned at work and senior agency officials made it their mission to ensure she could continue to thrive at her job. Yet at the same time, thousands of American troops who are transgender serve in anguish because the military bans openly transgender people from joining the service. Those who take steps to transition can be discharged under the current rules.

In several states, transgender people are courageously battling efforts to bar them from using public restrooms. In West Virginia, transgender women have been at war with the Division of Motor Vehicles because officials are refusing to give them new licenses unless they stop “misrepresenting” their gender when they have their photo taken. A recent federal government survey found that one in five transgender people reported having been denied care by a health care provider as a result of their gender.

Expanded formal recognition is a fundamental first step. The size of the transgender community in America has always been unclear, since many people wrestle with gender dysphoria in silence. The most widely-cited figure, 700,000, comes from a 2011 study by the Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles. The United States Census Bureau should give transgender Americans the chance to be formally recognized as such on forms, if they choose to.

Having more detailed information about the demographics of the population is crucial to the evolution of stronger legal protections and expanded access to health care. There has been significant progress on both fronts. Last year, Medicare, which has a big influence on the industry standard for insurance coverage, lifted its ban on covering gender reassignment surgery. More states and insurance providers are following that lead, heeding the call of medical experts who say transgender-related care must be viewed as “medically necessary,” rather than elective.

There have been hard-won victories on the employment front, too. The Department of Justice last year began taking the position that discrimination on the basis of gender identity, including transgender status, constitutes sex discrimination under the Civil Rights Act. Yet, many jurisdictions lack local laws that protect transgender people and discrimination remains commonplace even in places that do.•

This generation should be the one that stopped thinking that being transgender is something to fear or shun.

Sources: The New York Times, GLAAD Media Reference Guide – Transgender Issues

Transgender Equality

Last Saturday I went to a transgender event at our local Unitarian Church and came away with the view that the rights of this marginalized community need even more support.

As a cis gender male (yes a new new term to me for my “tribe”), I was amazed at my lack of knowledge of transgendered Americans often regarded as deviants and a disgrace for families. Shunned by relatives and reviled by fellow workers. For most, transitioning on the job was tantamount to career suicide. Coming out meant going through life as a freak!

Luckily, more Americans who have wrestled with gender identity are transitioning openly, propelling a civil rights movement that has struggled even as gays and lesbians have reached irreversible momentum in their fight for equality. This was evident in the speakers at my forum who included the star of the hit series “Transparent

The transgender movement has been part of the broader quest for equality for sexual minorities, but while gays and lesbians have achieved far-reaching legal and political victories in recent years, transgender people, who may be gay or straight, remain among the nation’s most marginalized citizens. They face distinct challenges, including access to transition-related medical care, which have not always been a focus of the broader struggle for gay rights. Gays and lesbians are visible in all walks of life today, and many are celebrities and role models. Transgender Americans, meanwhile, remained largely unseen until fairly recently.

At my forum, it was noted that one challenge lies in semantics,

Below I list a short summary of the terms:
Sex
Social assigned term, usually based on the appearance of external anatomy. better, a combination of bodily characteristics including: chromosomes, hormones, internal and external reproductive organs, and secondary sex characteristics.
Gender Identity
One’s internal, deeply held sense of one’s gender, not visible to others.
Gender Expression
External manifestations of gender, expressed through one’s name, pronouns, clothing, haircut, behavior, voice, or body characteristics.
Sexual Orientation
Describes an individual’s enduring physical, romantic and/or emotional attraction to another person. Transgender people may be straight, lesbian, gay, or bisexual.
Transsexual
An older term that originated in the medical and psychological communities.. Many transgender people do not identify as transsexual and prefer the word transgender. It is best to ask which term an individual prefers.
Transgender man (trans man, FTM)
People who were assigned female at birth but identify and live as a man may use this term to describe themselves. It is best to ask which term an individual prefers.
Transgender woman (trans women, MTF)
People who were assigned male at birth but identify and live as a woman may use this term to describe themselves. It is best to ask which term an individual prefers.
Cross-dresser
Typically used to refer to heterosexual men who occasionally wear clothes, makeup, and accessories culturally associated with women. This activity is a form of gender expression, and not done for entertainment purposes. Cross-dressers do not wish to permanently change their sex or live full-time as women. Replaces the term “transvestite.”

Be aware of the differences between transgender women, cross-dressers, and drag queens. Use the term preferred by the individual. Do not use the word “transvestite.”

Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS)
Doctor-supervised surgical interventions, and is only one small part of transition (see transition above). Avoid the phrase “sex change operation.

Recently, some employers in the public and private sectors have begun to openly support people making the transition. At the Central Intelligence Agency, a young analyst who transitioned on the job in 2013 worried that coming out would end her career. She realized that fear was unfounded when colleagues got her a gift certificate to Ann Taylor after she transitioned at work and senior agency officials made it their mission to ensure she could continue to thrive at her job. Yet at the same time, thousands of American troops who are transgender serve in anguish because the military bans openly transgender people from joining the service. Those who take steps to transition can be discharged under the current rules.

In several states, transgender people are courageously battling efforts to bar them from using public restrooms. In West Virginia, transgender women have been at war with the Division of Motor Vehicles because officials are refusing to give them new licenses unless they stop “misrepresenting” their gender when they have their photo taken. A recent federal government survey found that one in five transgender people reported having been denied care by a health care provider as a result of their gender.

Expanded formal recognition is a fundamental first step. The size of the transgender community in America has always been unclear, since many people wrestle with gender dysphoria in silence. The most widely-cited figure, 700,000, comes from a 2011 study by the Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles. The United States Census Bureau should give transgender Americans the chance to be formally recognized as such on forms, if they choose to.

Having more detailed information about the demographics of the population is crucial to the evolution of stronger legal protections and expanded access to health care. There has been significant progress on both fronts. Last year, Medicare, which has a big influence on the industry standard for insurance coverage, lifted its ban on covering gender reassignment surgery. More states and insurance providers are following that lead, heeding the call of medical experts who say transgender-related care must be viewed as “medically necessary,” rather than elective.

There have been hard-won victories on the employment front, too. The Department of Justice last year began taking the position that discrimination on the basis of gender identity, including transgender status, constitutes sex discrimination under the Civil Rights Act. Yet, many jurisdictions lack local laws that protect transgender people and discrimination remains commonplace even in places that do.•

This generation should be the one that stopped thinking that being transgender is something to fear or shun.

Sources: The New York Times, GLAAD Media Reference Guide – Transgender Issues