Tag Archives: Transgender

"Led by the child who simply knew": (Boston Globe, on a Child’s Transition)

For trans children, at just how young an age is it appropriate to begin the transitioning process?

That’s just one of the questions raised by this thought-provoking story from the Boston Globe last month, on Nicole and her family. (The implied answer would seem to be, to prepare the way early, but delay anything permanent (and that includes delaying “natural” processes, like the onset of puberty) until the decision to transition is definite and irrevocable.

Jonas and Wyatt Maines were born identical twins, but from the start each had a distinct personality.

Jonas was all boy. He loved Spiderman, action figures, pirates, and swords.

Wyatt favored pink tutus and beads. At 4, he insisted on a Barbie birthday cake and had a thing for mermaids. On Halloween, Jonas was Buzz Lightyear. Wyatt wanted to be a princess; his mother compromised on a prince costume.

Once, when Wyatt appeared in a sequin shirt and his mother’s heels, his father said: “You don’t want to wear that.’’

“Yes, I do,’’ Wyatt replied.

“Dad, you might as well face it,’’ Wayne recalls Jonas saying. “You have a son and a daughter.’’

-Read the full article at The Boston Globe.

The article also highlights the importance of a supportive family and school community – and Nicole’s own mental strength. There came a point in her journey when the family became involved in political lobbying. She had encountered difficulties at school over usage of the girls’ bathroom, and filed court proceedings against the school district for discrimination. A Republican state legislator then introduced legislation that would have repealed Maine’s protection for transgender people in public restroom.

Last spring Wayne and Nicole roamed the halls of the State House, button-holing legislators and testifying against the bill. “I’d be in more danger if I went into the boys bathroom,’’ Nicole told the lawmakers, who ultimately rejected the bill.

“She knows how to work a room,’’ her father says proudly. “She even convinced a cosponsor to vote the other way.’’

Nicole freely acknowledges the difficulties ahead – but described the political engagement as a “perk”:

“Obviously my life is not going to be as easy as being gender-conforming, but there are perks like being able to get out there and do things that will benefit the [transgender] community,’’ she says. “I think everything’s going to turn out pretty well for me.’’

As an aside to gthe main themes, I was amused by the self-description of Nicole’s father (note the emphasis I added):

“As a conventional dad, hunter, and former Republican, it took me longer to understand that I never had two sons,’’ he told them. “My children taught me who Nicole is and who she needed to be.’’

Massachusetts approves transgender rights bill

The Massachusetts Senate has joined the House in passing a bill that would prohibit discrimination against transgender individuals.
The measure was approved by the Senate Wednesday morning on a voice vote. No senator spoke against it.
Some House Republicans had argued that the measure was unnecessary and could hurt small businesses that have transgender workers.
Proponents of the bill agreed to drop a public accommodations section of the bill that critics warned would lead to a breakdown in privacy in bathrooms and other single-gender facilities.
The bill still needs routine final approval votes in both branches.
The House passed the bill Tuesday night but only after Democratic leaders moved to limit debate to one hour, cutting off many of the 50 or so amendments that had been filed by opponents.”
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September 29: Mara Keisling, Transgender Activist

What’s important is that transgender people are respected as members of the community—that they are safe from discrimination and violence and disrespect.”

b. September 29, 1959

Mara Keisling is a leading transgender activist. She is the executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, the largest transgender rights organization.

One of seven siblings, Keisling grew up as Mark in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. His father was the governor’s chief of staff. Mark was a reticent boy. “During junior high, I was shy to the point where I feared giving a book report in front of the class,” Keisling says.

Keisling became more extroverted after joining the school’s Model U.N. Club, where he found his calling in the political arena. He graduated from Penn State, and pursued post-graduate work in American Government at Harvard University.
In the 1990’s, after Keisling told friends and family he’d felt like a woman since childhood, he began his transition to Mara. Keisling soon turned to activism after seeing the discrimination transgender people face. Keisling co-chaired the Pennsylvania Gender Rights Coalition and served on the steering committee of the Statewide Pennsylvania Rights Coalition.

In 2003, recognizing the need for a cohesive voice in Washington for transgender people, Mara Keisling founded the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), a social justice organization dedicated to advancing equality through advocacy, collaboration and empowerment.

Keisling and NCTE were among the leaders of UnitedENDA, a coalition of more than 400 GLBT organizations lobbying for a trans-inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

Keisling has over 25 years of professional experience in social marketing and opinion research. In 2005, Harvard University named Keisling Outstanding LGBT Person of the Year.


Bugg, Sean. “Mara Keisling, Executive Director, National Center for Transgender Equality: We Won, We Lost. What’s Next for 2009?” Metro Weekly. 13 November 2008.
Linthicum, Kate. “Transgender Rights Advocates See a Gradual Series of Victories.” Chicago Tribune. 18 June 2010.
“Mara Keisling.” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 18 June 2010.
“Mara Keisling.” National Center for Transgender Equality. 18 June 2010.
Article about Mara Keisling
Metro Weekly Interview
Video of Mara Keisling
Mara Keisling on CNN
TransEquality Blog
Faces For Equality: Mara Keisling (NCTE)
Mara Keisling’s Social Network
Mara Keisling’s Twitter Page 

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Australian Passport Regulations to Reflect Gender Complexities

Gender and biological sex are not simple matters of binary opposites. It is simply not true that we are all either male or female. A small but significant proportion of people are born with one or other intersex condition (although the deviance from male or female norms may be so small, they may not even be aware of it). Others   may experience a disconnect between their biological sex and their experienced gender identity, leading them to a journey of gender transitioning. For all these, myopic bureaucracies that attempt to force everybody into simple “male” or “female” categories consistent with birth certificates create real problems. 
Now, in a welcome move, Australia is introducing changes to its passport procedures that move towards greater recognition and accommodation for the complexities of gender in the real world. For intersexed people, there will in future be a provision for a “neither” category, in addition to the usual “male” and “female”. For those who are undergoing gender transition, regulations permit applicants to identify themselves either by birth sex, or by the new gender identity – according to choice.
“In an effort to boost sexual and gender equality, Australia will make it easier for its citizens to apply for passports that reflect a third gender that is neither male nor female, or a gender different from the one on their birth certificate.
Transgender people who haven’t had sex-reassignment surgery will now be able to select their new gender on the passport application, and the process of applying for a passport designating the holder as intersex—neither male or female—will be simpler, the government said.” 
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Companies are changing to support transgender employees

When workers undergo a change in gender, their employers need to address new needs
“IT specialist Brad Sensabaugh can’t help but wonder how some of his colleagues at the TD Bank Group in London, Ont., will react when the story of his private life hits the media spotlight.
That he is anything more than the bright, tech savvy 33-yearold man they’ve come to know and respect in the months since he joined the bank has likely never crossed their minds.Even among those who know his past – that he was once a ‘she’ – there can be confusion.
‘I think I pass very well,’ he said in a recent telephone interview about his gender transition.
So unless you get into the nuances of saying, ‘I was born female’, they don’t necessarily know which direction you are going or where you’ve come from.”

Companies in Canada have come a long way in recent years in welcoming diversity into the workplace.

Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/health/Companies+changing+support+transgender+employees/5250992/story.html#ixzz1V2bVuNDe

Read the full analysis at Vancouver Sun

Australian military embraces transgender soldiers

Australia has had gay men and lesbians in the military since 1992, and has recognised their families for spousal benefits since 2008. Now it is going a step further, and will also accept transgender people in the armed forces.
The head of the Australian Defence Force has announced that transgender people will no longer be barred from serving in the nation’s military.
The move comes 18 years after the ADF repealed its ban on gay and lesbian service members, and two years after it started recognising same-sex relationships for family entitlements.

The chief of the ADF, Air Chief MarshallAngus Houston, has instructed his commanders to “manage ADF transgender personnel with fairness, respect and dignity … and existing medical review provisions; and ensure all personnel are not subject to unacceptable behavior.”
Canada, Israel, Czech Republic, Spain and Thailand are amongst nations which are inclusive of transgenders. GayNZ.com is making enquiries of the NZ Defence Force regarding its policies in this area.

How much longer before the US catches up?

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