British BBC Baptiste actress said she lost roles because she’s not ‘trans-enough’

From Gay Star News:

“I’d just want them to go, “Here’s a woman, what’s the problem?”‘

18 February 2019

Viewers of the British BBC drama Baptiste were left stunned when the lead female character, Kim Vogel, was revealed as trans yesterday (17 February).

And the actress who plays her, Talisa Garcia, came out too, offscreen that is.

However, speaking to The Sun, the 45-year-old said she has lost out on roles in the past as she ‘wasn’t trans-enough’.

‘But in Baptiste you’re not meant to know that she is. She’s not the obvious transgender person,’ she said.

‘With transgender characters it has always been the same, the 6ft tall builder with a wig tilted to the side.

‘Thankfully we’ve moved on.’

In the interview, the BBC star said she had gender confirmation surgery over 28 years ago.

‘Everybody used to call me “boy girl”‘

Significantly, Garcia said she took her new name after the Puerto Rican model and Bond girl, Talisa Soto.

Speaking on her childhood, she said: ‘When I was a kid, everybody used to call me “boy girl” and “sissy”.

‘I used to wear lip gloss and I was the only boy in the school doing ballet. But no one ever picked on me.

‘All the tough kids in school were my best friends.’

‘Here’s a woman, what’s the problem?’

However, Garcia said she feels nervous about how men will react to the news.

‘I always have men hitting on me. But I don’t say anything to them about myself.

‘They’re going to start thinking of a million and one scenarios of what’s going on “down there”.

‘They don’t know how good the operation is. When I’ve slept with men and after it’s gone a couple of months, I’ve told them.

‘They’ve said, “It’s impossible, I’d know. No operation can do that.”‘

She added: ‘I think guys’ reaction will be, “I’d still give her one.”

“I’d just want them to go, “Here’s a woman, what’s the problem?”‘

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Jackie Shane, Transgender Pioneer of 1960s Soul Music, Dies at 78

From The New York Times:

By Liam Stack
Feb. 22, 2019

Jackie Shane, a black transgender soul singer who packed nightclubs in 1960s Toronto before she stepped out of the spotlight for decades, only to re-emerge with a Grammy-nominated record in her 70s, has died. She was 78.

Her death was confirmed by Douglas Mcgowan, her producer and friend. He said her body was found at her home in Nashville on Thursday. He said he did not know when she had died or the cause.

Almost five decades passed between Ms. Shane’s 1960s career in Canada and her 2018 Grammy nomination for best historical album, for “Any Other Way.” The record introduced her to a new generation of fans, and today her face is part of a towering mural in downtown Toronto.

“I do believe that it’s like destiny,” Ms. Shane told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation this month. “I really feel that I have made a place for myself with wonderful people. What I have said, what I have done, they say it makes their lives better.”

Jackie Shane was born in Nashville on May 15, 1940, and grew up as a black transgender child in the Jim Crow South. But she made her name after she moved to Toronto around 1959, becoming a force in its music scene and packing its nightclubs.

She scored the No. 2 spot on the Canadian singles chart in 1963 with her silky cover of William Bell’s “Any Other Way.” The song is about putting on a brave face for the friend of an ex-girlfriend, but Ms. Shane gave it a subversive twist when she sang, “Tell her that I’m happy, tell her that I’m gay.”

Ms. Shane said she identified as female from the age of 13, but throughout her 1960s career she was publicly referred to as a man. Speaking to The New York Times in 2017, she said she sometimes described herself to peers as gay.

“I was just being me,” she said. “I never tried to explain myself to anyone — they never explained themselves to me.”

As a child, she said, her unabashed femininity and unwavering self-confidence turned heads. In 2017, she told The Times about a grade school bully who unwisely threw a stone at her. The rock hit her, and the bully’s fate was sealed.

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Anti-LGBT Groups Launch Movement Against Federal Equality Act

From The Southern Poverty Law Center:

Hatewatch Staff
February 08, 2019

Anti-LGBT hate group leaders and activists recently launched a new project, the #Gone2Far movement (GTFM), to oppose H.R. 2282, the federal Equality Act, which seeks to amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include protections for the categories of a person’s sex, sexual orientation and gender identity.

The GTFM officially debuted at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 5, where participants decried the Equality Act, which has been introduced in Congress in one form or another since 1974 but has never passed. It has renewed support in 2019 from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is committed to passing it.

The GTFM attempts to link LGBT people to pedophilia and refers to the Equality Act as “The Pedophilia Act.” The movement’s website is filled with false assertions that LGBT people are attempting to recruit or assault children.

The site includes a “Proclamation for Morality” and claims that “the consumption of fecal matter” is a common sexual practice among gay men, and homosexuality is a behavioral choice caused by childhood sexual abuse, a common myth among anti-LGBT activists. Visitors to the site are invited to sign their name in support.

The following people spoke at the press conference:

  • Scott Lively, best-known for being sued for violating human rights in Uganda and for the pseudohistorical book The Pink Swastika, which claimed gay men were responsible for the Nazi party and the Holocaust
  • Peter LaBarbera, director of anti-LGBT hate group Americans for Truth about Homosexuality (AFTAH), who believes that pedophilia “is a subset of the larger deviance of homosexuality”
  • Randy Short, an advocate of anti-LGBT and anti-Soros conspiracy theories
  • Stephen Broden, senior pastor of Fair Park Bible Fellowship, Dallas, Texas, and a Texas Republican congressional candidate with Tea Party ties who peddles conspiracy theories and rails against the “New World Order”
  • Stephen Black, executive director of Oklahoma’s ex-gay ministry First Stone Ministries
  • Dan Fisher, pastor and former Oklahoma state representative who introduced an anti-trans bathroom bill into the state legislature

Each speaker expressed a litany of grievances against LGBT people and the Equality Act during the over 90-minute event, with a focus on homosexuality and “transgenderism” as behaviors that are not immutable characteristics and therefore are ineligible for protection under the Civil Rights Act.

Randy Short, the first speaker, set the tone of the event, proclaiming, “Today is the day that we declare war on those who are ungodly, unbiblical and wicked.” Short went on to say that “we are sick and tired of all the deviants, all the eugenicists, all the homophiles coming out of the closet to destroy this country.” “We have a group,” Short said, in reference to LGBT people, “that nobody wants, that has decided like a parasite to hook itself to the history and legacy of the African American people.”

Other speakers offered warnings about the “homosexual and pedophile agendas.” Stephen Black claimed bans on pseudoscientific and harmful conversion (ex-gay) therapy are a way to “take our sexually confused youth and bind them into LGBTQ chaos.” Scott Lively warned of nondiscrimination policies including LGBT people that are “the seed that contains the entire tree of the LGBT agenda and all of its poisonous fruit.” According to Lively, LGBT people are introducing the pedophilia agenda through the “transgenderization of the children” while Peter LaBarbera said that nondiscrimination means discrimination against Christians.

GTFM is currently promoting the upcoming “God’s Voice: A Biblical Response to the Queering of the Church” conference, slated for Oklahoma City on Feb. 22 and 23. LaBarbera and Black, members of the GTFM organizing committee, will also be spreading their message there.

Felicia Elizondo’s Wild Memories of Trans Life in 60s San Francisco

When I read these stories I’m reminded how briefly I was part of any sort of “Trans-Community”.  I had different communities and a few friends who were trans and also tended to not be part of the “Trans-Community”.

From Broadly Vice:

In the 60s, activist and entertainer Felicia Elizondo was a regular at San Francisco’s Compton’s Cafeteria, the site of a historic 1966 riot for trans rights, and the only place she felt free as a transgender woman.

by Zackary Drucker
Dec 12 2018

Coming of age as a Mexican-American “sissy” in 1950s Texas, a “hair fairy” in 1960s San Francisco, and finally as a transsexual woman in the 1970s, Felicia Elizondo’s memories are a vivid and spectacular rendering of trans life in the latter half of the 20th century. And as an activist, historian, entertainer, and long-term survivor of HIV/AIDS, her work in the decades-long movement for trans rights is a testament to our adaptability, fortitude, and industrious ability to build community in the margins.

Felicia was a regular patron of San Francisco’s Compton’s Cafeteria, a refuge for queens and transgender people in the 60s, and the site of the historic 1966 Compton’s Cafeteria Riot, when patrons of the diner fought back against discrimination by police. She is also featured in Screaming Queens: The Riot at Compton’s Cafeteria, a 2005 documentary about the uprising co-directed and produced by Susan Stryker and Victor Silverman. Her stories of time spent there reveal a particular moment and place, where trans people were able to create chosen family and thrive in each other’s care, that is still not widely recognized—even as part of LGBTQ history.

Punctuated by moments of presenting as male in the first act of her life—to avoid arrest for cross-dressing, to satisfy a male benefactor, or to prove her manhood to her mother by joining the army and serving in the Vietnam War—the interludes of Felicia’s survival are well traversed terrain for trans folks. Her memories amount to a wild and explosive ride that proves the accuracy of her nickname, Felicia “Flames.”

ZACKARY DRUCKER: Tell me about when you first came to San Francisco.

FELICIA ELIZONDO: Let me tell you a little bit about my past life, okay? I was born Felipe Alvarado Alessandro in San Angelo, Texas. I’m Mexican American. My birth certificate says that I’m white. In those days, anything that was not “colored” was white, and Black people were colored. Those days, everybody had their own community. Whites had their own community, Blacks had their community, and Latinos had their own community.

I was raised a little sissy boy. Everybody called me “joto,” “queer,” “sissy,” and all that stuff. I was wondering, how come they’re calling [that]? I don’t even know the meaning of all these words, and they’re calling me all these names just because I’m feminine. We were raised in a place where queers, sissies, and jotos were in the closet—they were pushed back somewhere. But I was very flamboyant. I had these little hot pants on before hot pants was even in style. When I was around maybe seven or eight, I was wearing hot pants, girl.

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Izzy Young, Who Presided Over the Folk Revival, Is Dead at 90

I always say I’m an old hippie, but before I was a hippie I was and in many ways still am a Folknik, a term coined by the late Izzy Young.

The very first thing I did on my very first visit to New York City in 1966 was make a pilgrimage to Izzy Young’s Folklore Center.  It was on Sixth Avenue then.  Third floor if I recall correctly, right above Fretted Instruments.

From The New York Times:

By Margalit Fox
Feb. 5, 2019

Izzy Young, whose Greenwich Village shop, the Folklore Center, was the beating heart of the midcentury folk music revival — and who in 1961 presented the first New York concert by a young Bob Dylan — died on Monday at his home in Stockholm. He was 90.

His death was confirmed by his daughter, Philomène Grandin.

Anyone wanting to capture the essence of the times could do far worse than head to the Folklore Center, at 110 Macdougal Street, between Bleecker and West Third Streets. Established in 1957, it was nominally a music store, selling records, books, instruments, sheet music and fan magazines, most sprung from sweat and mimeograph machines, like Sing Out!, Caravan and Gardyloo.

In actual practice, the center was also equal parts hiring hall; Schwab’s Pharmacy, where young hopefuls awaited discovery; matchbox recital space for organized performances and impromptu jam sessions; nerve center for gossip on a par with any small-town barbershop; and forum for continuing, crackling debate on the all-consuming subject of folk music, which thanks in no small part to Mr. Young was enjoying wide, renewed attention.

“I began hanging out at the Folklore Center, the citadel of Americana folk music,” Mr. Dylan wrote in his memoir “Chronicles: Volume One” (2004), recalling his arrival in New York in 1961. “The small store was up a flight of stairs and the place had an antique grace. It was like an ancient chapel, like a shoebox sized institute.”

Crackling loudest above the din was Mr. Young, who, with his horn-rimmed glasses, prodigious vocal capacity and bottomless cornucopia of opinion, was the platonic, genially abrasive New York nebbish from Central Casting.

“His voice was like a bulldozer and always seemed too loud for the little room,” Mr. Dylan wrote. “Izzy was always a little rattled over something or other. He was sloppily good-natured. In reality a romantic. To him, folk music glittered like a mound of gold. It did for me, too.”

Until he closed the shop in 1973 to move to Stockholm and start a similar center, Mr. Young reigned supreme as a handicapper (“The first few times I met Dylan, I wasn’t that impressed,” he said. “But as he began writing those great songs, I realized he was really something”); an impresario (he organized hundreds of concerts throughout the city, including Mr. Dylan’s first formal appearance, at the Carnegie Hall complex, as well as performances by the New Lost City Ramblers, Dave Van Ronk, Jean Ritchie and Phil Ochs); and an evangelist who almost single-handedly put the “Folk” in Folk City, the storied Village nightclub.

He was also a writer, with a regular column in Sing Out!; a broadcaster, with a folk music show on WBAI in New York; an agitator (in 1961, he helped organize successful public protests after the city banned folk music from Washington Square Park); a ferocious keeper of the castle (“He was even known to throw people out of his store,” Dick Weissman, a former member of the folk group the Journeymen, wrote, “simply because they irritated him”); and an equally ferocious defender of the faith. (Mr. Young repudiated Mr. Dylan after he began wielding an electric guitar in the mid-’60s.)

If, at the end of the day, the Folklore Center was a less-than-successful capitalist enterprise — who, after all, goes into folk music to get rich? — it scarcely mattered. Joni Mitchell was discovered there. Peter found Mary there, after seeing her photo on a wall. (Paul joined them soon afterward.) Mr. Van Ronk, then the more established musician, met the newly arrived Mr. Dylan there and invited him to take the stage at the nearby Gaslight Cafe.

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Advancing the Rabbinic Prescription for Transgender Health Care

From Hadassah Brandeis:

By Rabbi Mike Moskowitz and Joshua D. Safer, MD, FACP
January 31, 2019

Doctors and Rabbis are asked a lot of questions; it’s a big part of the job. We certainly don’t have all of the answers and so we continue to listen, research, and expand our understanding of the issues.  And, we have our own questions to help us get closer to the information that shapes our responses to the people who are asking for guidance. There can be no contradiction between science and religion when they both manifest the truth of the Divine intention. The struggle for that knowledge, and its application, is an ongoing and humbling process.

However, there are still many in both the medical and the Jewish communities who don’t yet understand gender identity and transgender experiences. They insist: “It can’t be that G-d put someone in the wrong body. G-d doesn’t make mistakes. It’s sacrilegious to change the body that G-d gave you,” and so on. No one would say this about a heart defect, deviated septum, or inflamed appendix – in part because the Torah teaches us in this week’s portion: “ורפא ירפא ” and be healed. The Talmud explains that this is the scriptural permission given to physicians offering treatment to change something that G-d has created.

Similarly, the wicked Turnus Rufus asked of Rabbi Akiva: If your G-d is a lover of the poor, why then does G-d not provide for them? R’ Akiva argues that the inequality experienced by many in this world doesn’t exist for us to sustain, but rather for us to change. G-d presents inequality as an opportunity for us to be in partnership, to heal the divide and emulate the Divine by supporting others.

Turnus Rufus replies that by changing the differential that G-d constructed, we are going against the Divine will and angering G-d. In response, R’ Akivah shares an interesting parable: To what is this similar? It is analogous to a king who, angry with his child, confines them to prison and orders that no one give them anything to eat or drink. Someone then disobeys and provides for the child’s needs and when the king hears about it, the king sends the person gifts in thankful recognition. R’ Akivah continues: We are all that child to G-d. When we improve the lives of those who are suffering, it brings pleasure and joy to G-d.

G-d, as our parent, wants us to support each other and make sure that we are all provided for.

We demonstrate to G-d that we see ourselves as G-d’s children when we take care of humanity as we would our immediate family. As a society, we have a responsibility to meet the needs of all, including our transgender siblings. We must make resources available, including all of the resources of modern medicine, whenever needed. It is not only permitted to provide transgender medical procedures, but we are obligated to do so when necessary.

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Babs Siperstein, pioneering N.J. trans activist, dies at 76

From The Washington Blade:

by Chris Johnson
February 4, 2019

Barbra “Babs” Siperstein, a transgender Democratic activist in New Jersey who’s credited with taking a lead role in pushing a pro-trans state birth certificate law for her state, died over the weekend at age 76, according to local media reports.

Siperstein died days after the law went into effect on Feb. 1. The “Babs Siperstein Law” allows individuals in New Jersey to change the gender marker on their birth certificate without proof of surgery and offer a gender-neutral option. The law was signed by New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy.

The first openly transgender member of the Democratic National Committee, Siperstein was appointed in 2011 to the Democratic National Committee’s executive committee and served there until 2017. Siperstein was a superdelegate for Hillary Clinton at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

Speaking with the Washington Blade at the convention, Siperstein was dubious of Trump’s pledge to support LGBT people during his speech at the 2016 Republican National Convention. (Her prediction later proved true.)

“There’s nothing behind it,” Siperstein said. “He said unequivocally that he was going to appoint the most conservative Supreme Court justices. He will say anything.”

Although she was a Democrat, Siperstein wasn’t afraid to take on members of her own party on the issue of transgender rights.

In 2015, Siperstein told the Blade she was “extremely disappointed” in Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), now a U.S. senator and a 2020 presidential candidate, for her actions as California attorney general appealing a court order granting a transgender prison inmate in California access to gender reassignment surgery.

“I would think that any political candidate, or any public servant, that would fight to prevent basic and necessary medical treatment for any person would be incompetent to serve,” Siperstein said. “How can you trust any public servant, any elected official, who fights to prevent basic and necessary medical service for any person? Who’s next?”

Sean Meloy, who served as the DNC’s Director of LGBTQ Engagement and is now political director for the LGBTQ Victory Fund, said Siperstein built a strong legacy.

“For so many in the Democratic Party, Babs was the first openly trans person they ever met and she undoubtably changed the hearts and minds of many party leaders who were not yet committed to trans equality,” Meloy said. “She was a constant advocate for the entire LGBTQ community and helped make the Democratic Party more accepting not just of trans people, but trans candidates as well. Her presence in the DNC helped prepare the party and pave the way for trailblazing trans Democratic candidates like Danica Roem and Christine Hallquist – and her impact will be felt for years to come.”

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Arizona Provides Me Unequal Healthcare Because I’m Transgender

From The ACLU:

By Dr. Russell B. Toomey, Associate Professor, The University of Arizona
January 24, 2019

I’m a professor of family studies and human development at the University of Arizona, and I have dedicated my career to studying how discrimination impacts LGBTQ adolescents. I’m also transgender, and I know from experience that growing up is different — and still much more difficult — for LGBTQ youth. So it came as a disappointment when I learned that the state university where I work does not cover transition-related healthcare for its employees or their dependents.

On Wednesday, I filed a class-action lawsuit against the state of Arizona and the Arizona Board of Regents, which oversees the state’s universities, to rectify the damage done to transgender state employees, like me, and dependents. The fact that the state of Arizona’s health insurance coverage categorically excludes transition-related surgery is a violation of federal civil rights laws and the U.S. Constitution.

Arizona provides the same discriminatory health plan to nearly all state employees and their dependents. That means hundreds, if not thousands, of transgender state employees or transgender dependents of state employees cannot receive medically necessary care recommended by their doctors, such as a mastectomy or a hysterectomy. This is true even though that same care would be covered for cisgender people, individuals who identify with the sex they were assigned at birth.

I know of at least 20 families affiliated with the University of Arizona that are harmed by the state’s anti-trans health insurance policy. Without a doubt, there are many more across the state. I filed this lawsuit not only for me but also for all of the transgender and nonbinary youth and adults in Arizona whose lives would be made better by knowing that there is one less law that discriminatorily targets them.

Research shows that when adolescents are able to live authentically and begin gender-affirming treatment that is appropriate for them, they look just like their cisgender peers in terms of their mental health. The problem is, there are too many roadblocks to authenticity for transgender people. Hostile family members, discrimination in the community, and unfair government policies, like the one I’m fighting, are just a few of the factors that stop transgender people from being themselves.

A study I recently published in the journal Pediatrics confirmed that transgender teens have a much higher suicide risk than their cisgender peers. My co-authors and I discovered that half of transmasculine adolescents have attempted suicide at least once before they turn 20. The same is true for more than 40 percent of nonbinary adolescents and nearly 30 percent of transfeminine adolescents. For cisgender adolescents, the rates are much lower: under 20 percent, regardless of gender.

I was in my early 20s when I began my gender transition. In 2004, I had a double mastectomy that cost me $8,000 out of pocket. I was just out of college, and my father-in-law had to co-sign a loan so that I could afford the procedure. I am fortunate that my family supports me and that we were able to take on that debt, but many people are not that lucky. There are a lot of people across Arizona who cannot access the health care they need unless it is covered by insurance.

That’s the situation I’m in now. My wife, Danielle, and I have two young children and are taking care of an aging parent. It’s not financially feasible for us to pay out of pocket for the procedure my doctor recommends, a hysterectomy. So, until Arizona’s discriminatory health plan is improved, I will be forced to live with aspects of my body that do not align with my identity and cause me significant anxiety.

A recent court ruling in Wisconsin held that denying state employees health insurance for gender-affirming medical care violates the Constitution and federal law. I hope for a similar result in Arizona. It will improve not only my life but the lives of many other Arizonans.

Transition-related surgery can be life-saving. No one should be denied medically necessary care because of who they are. Denying this care is not only wrong, but it is also against the law. The state of Arizona has a constitutional and moral duty to change its healthcare coverage to include transition-related health care.

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Transphobic Activists Harass HRC Spokesperson

From Gay City News:

Video-recorded verbal attack on Sarah McBride followed congressional meeting

BY Matt Tracy
February 1, 2019

A pair of women associated with a transphobic group interrupted a meeting that included a transgender spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and deliberately misgendered her before alleging that she has a “hatred of lesbians.”

Trans-exclusionary radical feminists Posie Parker and Julia Long, who insist that the definition of a woman is limited to those who are born women, recorded a Facebook video of their January 30 verbal onslaught against HRC national press secretary Sarah McBride, who was working at a table following a meeting with parents of transgender youth and the Congressional Transgender Equality Task Force regarding the proposed federal Equality Act.

Parker and Long echoed messages usually reserved for the darkest corners of conservatism.

“Why are you championing the rights of men to access women in women’s prisons?” Long asked. “And rape and sexually assault them as recently happened in the United Kingdom?”

Parker chimed in to ask McBride why she doesn’t “care about lesbian girls at 14 having double mastectomies? Why don’t you care about that, Sarah?”

The pair also blasted McBride for her work on the Equality Act, which would extend the 1964 Civil Rights Act and related legislation to implement discrimination protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Parker wrote on Facebook the day after the incident that McBride “is hell bent on pushing through a bill that literally erases women. I’m so sorry for all the fragile feminists who thought asking Sarah questions was harassment and wrongthink.”

McBride ignored the women throughout their tirade and was seen packing up her belongings at the end of the clip.

McBride said on Twitter following the incident that she “won’t let this incident diminish the love, pride, and solidary that filled the room just moments before,” referring to the meeting with parents and members of Congress.

Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin defended McBride later that day when he tweeted that she “is one of the strongest, bravest advocates I know, and I’m proud to

call her a colleague and friend. Hatred and bigotry will never win.”

Transgender actress Laverne Cox also came to McBride’s defense on Twitter.

“So sorry this happened to you, Sarah,” Cox wrote. “Thank you for foregrounding the vital, life saving work of valuing the lives of trans people, especially trans children.”

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