Happy Thanksgiving

It is the autumn and the autumn of my life. So many trips around the sun.

And I am thankful, glad to be alive if some what battered by time and fate. Tina and I have been together over 20 years. I’m grateful we have gained legal recognition of our marriage. We have grown old together and long life is indeed a blessing.

We have a home we share with three adorable cats. We have friends, and family with whom we are sometimes at odds.

This year also brings sadness and a feeling of loss for we lost family members and friends this last year.

Yet my heart is filled with gratitude today as I reflect on the past, not just this last year but of the years past. The books I’ve read and studied. The wisdom I have hopefully gained and serenity I sometimes experience.

Inner peace in a world of turmoil, a world where so many demand I take a side and change my beliefs to match their ideologies. I am grateful for the strength to process the knowledge I have amassed and the will to march to a different drummer and not follow the herd.

I pray that this coming year will bring health and life for those I love. Prosperity and joy. Love and inner peace.

Happy Thanksgiving

Yom Kippur

G‘mar Chatima Tova

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Every Thing is a Crisis, All the Time and I’m Burned Out

Tina and I just survived a very hard year, Covid quarantine, my car accident that left me with a compression fracture of three vertebrae and a totaled car. Economic disaster which has us in debt up to our asses.

It has been a year, eighteen months actually of worry, stress and strain and that is just surrounding our family lives. Among our family and friends people have died, others have nearly died, some of Covid others of the ailments of age.

I have had my name included in my Temples saying of the Mi Shebeirach (Prayer of Healing) and I have said it for others. Covid and other illnesses and medical emergencies of friends and family have been so overwhelming that prayer offers comfort to those that say it as much as those for whom it is said.

Fortunately we elected Joe Biden to the Presidency. We survived a disastrous four years of having been led by a mentally ill incompetent megalomaniac. We are ragged and worn. His followers still hold too much power.

So many worthy causes out there. Many I support while not supporting the organizations promoting them For example Black Lives Matter. I grew up with the Civil Rights Movement. Demonstrated and marched since the early 1960s. Supporting people’s equality and right to live with dignity is a core belief and led to my applying those principles in the LGBT and Feminist Movements. In the mid-1960s SNCC and other groups in the Black Movement decided the Movement for Black Civil Rights should be a Black Movement and so white people moved to other movements.

At some point identity replaced class consciousness. We were all supposed to identify with our own particular group, never mind how many overlapping identities a heterogeneous culture is bound to produce for along with the primacy of identity came binary thinking which denies the existence of nuance.

But mostly I’m exhausted with the level of hysteria and hatred that is spewed by friend and enemy alike. I flat out do not have the time or money to support every single worthy cause. I might even support a cause but not an organization that claims to lead it.

I don’t march at Pride events. I did attend an event at my synagogue. I am old enough and mature enough to pick causes to support that are important to me. They may not be the same causes someone else might give priority to. This does not make either of us bad people or merit name calling.

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Just Not feeling It Anymore: Pride Day Festivals… Meh.

It’s that time of year although lately it seems ever single week there is some some date of incredible importance for the people of the Rainbow Alphabet.

On social media I am reminded, told I am shirking if I don’t proudly announce some detail about my life that has over the years diminished in importance.

Lately I mostly feel at home on lists for older LGBT folks or on various Jewish lists.

Queer and proud? This is insane people used to call me that word sixty+ years ago when they were beating me up. For me it is self loathing when minority groups embrace words that are clearly hate speech.

For me being transsexual was only a part of who I am and over the many years has become more of who I once was. It gets complicated because if I have to pick a letter from the Rainbow Alphabet it is more likely to be “L”. The first three years of post-Stonewall pride events I had other priorities. It wasn’t until 1974 after I had started accepting being attracted to women that I felt I belonged at Pride events.

Now I’m old and married to a woman I have been with for 20 years. We are an old couple, we delight in each others company. We take care of each other. We vote Democratic and are bewildered by all the demands that we support various causes. So many causes and often contradictory. We pick our causes to support carefully based on our own criteria and agendas not those of someone yelling loudly on social media. And yes we have to say no to many worthy causes because of our resource limitations. But sometimes too we think the cause being pushed is totally bonkers. Age has brought years of experience and honed our bullshit filters.

We know that extremists both right and left are often truth and fact challenged. That’s why we are Liberal Democrats.

Enjoy your Pride Festivals. We’ll pass on them. We can’t walk for miles, parking sucks and we can’t afford to go to something that requires so much effort.

I am Frightened and I Remember Old Skills

I’m an old woman. I am married to another woman who was also born transsexual. We are not obvious about it.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about my ambivalence regarding Day of Visibility. That extends to any 3D trans-visibility.

I grew up learning to hide my being trans. I learned to fight back even if the odds of my winning were overwhelmingly against me. Better to go down fighting and make the bullies pay a price than just accept my fate.

I am nearing the completion of my conversion to Reform Judaism. I often wear a Magen David pendant, I tuck it inside my blouse in certain situations as I am well aware of antisemitism. My wife expressed concern when I hung a Mezuzah on our door frame. I feel reassured and safer knowing the practice has been appropriated by many Evangelicals.

Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance day was last week. We say: Never Again! Yet people with tattoos of SS runes and swastikas are more willing to openly flash them for the world to see than I am of my tiny silver star. I watched the events of January 6th with utter horror. I listen as all sorts of racism, anti-LGBT bigotry, anti-immigrant bigotry, anti-Asian bigotry and antisemitism is spewed by the same sorts of people who spewed the same hatred in the 1930s.

I’ve spent my life studying history. I know how Germany turned from an extremely progressive country in the 1920s to the land of Hitler’s Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust in the 1930s.

While we say, Never Again. I can see the flood of hatred on line, in social media, Alex Jones, and Fox News. The lies, the stink of hatred and bigotry and I am afraid.

Last week Lilith posted a link on their Facebook page to an article they first published back in the 1994. In 1994 it seemed anachronistic, today it seems truly relevant, particularly for trans-folks but also for everyone targeted by the ultra right. See: How to Hide: Instructions from a Daughter of Survivors

In October of 1967 I left home. Life there had become dangerous enough to cause me to think my life might well depend on finding another place to live. People at the paper mill were threatening me and my father had ordered me to enlist in the military. Considering how I had been treated growing up I had reason to believe I would not survive military service, that one of the same sort of bullies I had been abused by my entire life would kill me.

I fled. Being transsexual was criminalized in New York City at the time. I learned that California’s laws making “cross dressing” illegal had been struck down so I became a refugee in my own country. I wound up living in a garage for a month with a couple of people who became the core of a family of choice, a commune or as we called it a collective. We pooled our resources, scrounged for food, drugs, money, lived in several different apartments before moving over to Berkeley. At first I didn’t dare come out for fear of losing even that tenuous living situation.

But then I hit the point where it was come out or commit suicide. I did. I worked the system. I was part of a group of radicals, we hid deserters. We found ways of getting fake papers. For about a year I had several different names and identification papers for different purposes. My actual identity papers went with a deserter to help him get into Canada. I learned to answer to different names. One for work that paid next to nothing, one for welfare and the name that would become my real name. After about a year and a half those other names died. But the skill set didn’t

A few years later I live in Los Angeles, on Sunset Blvd. My girl friend and I played with wigs and changing our appearances for photographs. In the world of spy novels practicing those arts is known as tradecraft.

I studied the martial arts after being raped and learned how to kill both with my bare hands and with edged weapons. I learn how to shoot a hand gun and other firearms.

I had grown up observing others and being alert to people following me. I practiced the art of avoiding dangerous situations.

Lately the Nazis who have taken over the Republican Party in various Republican dominated states have seen fit to introduce laws that closely resemble the Nazi Nuremberg Laws that harshly limited Jews ability to live in Germany and conquered European nations. It didn’t start with the Shoah. It started with dehumanization, with laws that formalized discrimination. This time they didn’t start with the Jews.

This time they started with transgender and transsexual people. Worse yet with children lacking resources to fight them. Bathroom bills that would deny trans-folks a place to use the public restroom. The insidiousness of the idea that assigned at birth cannot be amended to match adult reality. The denying trans-kids the right to play sports or have their real name and real pronouns acknowledged, insisting instead on dead naming them. Now Texas wants to take trans-kids from supportive parents and stick them into Evangelical homes where they will be abused and tortured.

Years ago some one coined the acronym TERF for Trans Erasing Radical Feminists. People scoffed when I pointed out their link not to actual feminism but rather to the radical right. It is time for a new acronym TEB for Trans Eliminationist Bigot, because erasure implies simply rendering invisible when they do not want us merely invisible they want to kill us and eliminate us.

In the process of my conversion to Judaism I gained a new name, a Hebrew name to be used when I make alyah. It means climb and is used to describe being called to the bimah for giving or receiving a blessing. It also describes immigrating to Israel.

So I think of different names and fear the need to flee. A few years ago I would have scoffed at these thoughts, written them off as foolish paranoia. Yet police are killing African Americans, Nazis are trashing the Capitol Building in a scene straight from one of those action films like Olympus Has Fallen.

Never Again! We must stop the scapegoating that is straight out of 1930s Nazi Germany.

Mean while this old autodidact history lover and bookworm has found an alias and is practicing thinking of herself as that person. Just in case.

Robina Asti, Who Made History on the Ground and in the Air, Dies at 99

From The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/21/us/robina-asti-dead.html

As a transgender veteran in her 90s, she challenged government bureaucracy. She then set out to be recognized as the oldest working flight instructor.

By Clay Risen
March 21, 2021

Robina Asti, a World War II veteran and mutual-fund executive who inspired a generation of transgender people in the 2010s with her successful fight for her husband’s Social Security benefits, and who just last year became the world’s oldest active flight instructor, died on March 12 in San Diego. She was 99.

Her death, at the home of her daughter Coca Astey, was confirmed by Ms. Astey.

Ms. Asti transitioned in the 1970s and had been living quietly as a woman for nearly 40 years when she applied for survivor benefits from the Social Security Administration in 2012, a few months after her husband died. It took a year for the agency to deny her application, on the grounds that she was not legally a woman at the time of her marriage.

Though most of her government-issued documents, including her pilot’s license and even her Social Security card, recognized her as a woman, the agency’s determination of survivor benefits was based on her birth certificate, which identified her as a man.

Ms. Asti was livid. She searched online for help and found Lambda Legal, a nonprofit law firm that specializes in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.

“It was an amazing day when she walked into our offices,” M. Dru Levasseur, who ran Lambda’s transgender rights practice at the time and now works for the National LGBT Bar Association and Foundation, said in a phone interview. “We could feel her energy, her anger at the system.”

Lambda took the government to court in June 2013. Eight months later, on Valentine’s Day 2014, Ms. Asti checked her bank account and found a large deposit: nearly two years of back pay from the Social Security Administration.

Not only did Ms. Asti win her case; the administration changed its rule regarding transgender survivors — and the documentation requirements for proving one’s gender in the first place.

Ms. Asti’s fight made her a celebrity in the L.G.B.T.Q. community, at a time when transgender rights were just beginning to be a national issue. She embraced her newfound role — giving speeches, marching in pride parades and simply living a full life as an older transgender woman. In November 2020, Out magazine named her to its annual “Out 100” list.

Continue reading at: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/21/us/robina-asti-dead.html

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Megan Rapinoe: Bills to ban transgender kids from sports try to solve a problem that doesn’t exist

From The Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/03/28/megan-rapinoe-transgender-kids-sports-ban/

by Megan Rapinoe
March 28, 2021

Megan Rapinoe plays for OL Reign in the National Women’s Soccer League and the U.S. women’s national team. An Olympic gold medalist and a two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup champion, she is also an ambassador for Athlete Ally, a nonprofit that advocates for equal opportunities in sports.

I remember how I felt when I played soccer for the first time. Long before I was winning World Cup matches, I was trying to keep up with my brother. Soccer has been a part of my life since I was 4 years old. I spent hours outside working to perfect that next move — I wanted to be the best.

Being able to play sports as a child shaped my life’s path. It taught me so much more than is seen on the field and brought me so much joy. Every child deserves to have that experience. That’s why I believe that all kids, including transgender youth, should be able to participate in sports they love.

But there are efforts across the country to ban transgender kids from participating in school sports. Already this year, lawmakers in more than 25 states have introduced legislation to ban transgender young people from sports. Mississippi enacted a law this month requiring schools to designate teams by gender assigned at birth. Efforts elsewhere are progressing.

These bills are some of the most intense political assaults on LGBTQ people in recent years. Sports have become another avenue to attack the rights of trans people. These efforts cause incredible harm to trans youth, who, like all kids in a global pandemic, are feeling isolated and need compassion and support. Even before the pandemic hit, 1 in 3 transgender youth reported attempting suicide, as one national crisis-prevention organization reported in 2019.

These bills are attempting to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. Transgender kids want the opportunity to play sports for the same reasons other kids do: to be a part of a team where they feel like they belong. Proponents of these bills argue that they are protecting women. As a woman who has played sports my whole life, I know that the threats to women’s and girls’ sports are lack of funding, resources and media coverage; sexual harassment; and unequal pay.

I know what it feels like to be singled out and treated differently. No one should be treated unfairly because of who they are — and that is especially true of kids. Adults can’t pretend that we care about the well-being of children while actively creating environments that cause serious harm to them. We can’t make demands for a false sense of fairness while ignoring the actual needs of women and girls.

You may not know that a person in your life is trans — you may not be aware of the fullest self within your co-worker, friend, relative or even the child playing in your living room. Trans people contribute meaningfully to our society: our schools, neighborhoods, communities and families. Trans people deserve dignity, respect and opportunity. These bills are an attack on the humanity and belonging of trans people, and that’s why this issue is important to me as a member of the LGBTQ community.

For some, discrimination is the point. But we can celebrate all girls and women in sports while ensuring trans people aren’t discriminated against. That is why all women must stand up and demand that exclusion is not done in our name.

The value of participating in sports is well-documented. Transgender kids deserve the same chances to enjoy sports; to gain confidence, self-respect and leadership skills; and to learn what it means to be part of a team. When we tell transgender girls that they can’t play girls’ sports — or transgender boys that they can’t play boys’ sports — they miss out on these important experiences and opportunities. And we lose the right to say we care about children.

I want the trans youth in our country to know they are not alone. Women’s organizations, including the Women’s Sports Foundation, National Women’s Law Center and Gender Justice, along with sports icons including Billie Jean King and Candace Parker, agree that transgender girls and women belong in sports and should be able to participate alongside other girls and women.

Discrimination hurts everyone. We’re stronger as teams, and as a country, when all people who love sports have a chance to have their lives changed for the better, just like I did.

I want every transgender kid out there to know that they can live their dreams and be true to who they are. For them to realize those dreams, they need to be allowed to play.

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Assimilationist, Cis-Normative, Heteronormative

I’m an old woman married to another old woman. We share bohemian tastes that are wildly eclectic. Or maybe mildly eclectic and only out of step with current trends. We love and can speak of having read all the works of a wide variety of authors both fictional and historical. We have rooms filled with books, CDs, DVDs. We listen to Jazz, Texas singer/song writer, blues, Folk and Rock although most of the rock musicians we listen to go their start in the 1960s.

We like baseball and cats. We have three that we adore.

We live in an ethnically mixed working class neighborhood in a solidly Blue Dallas suburb. Some of our friends are raving Trumpers and yet we also know they put a great deal of time into Food Banks, animal rescue, feeding the homeless. Since my accident in late October straight friends who have politics we don’t share have given us food and helped with shopping.

After nearly half a century of estrangement from my family I am once again in contact with my brother, his family and many of my cousins and their families. It feels so good in a way I rarely feel these days in my dealings with with the ever expanding alphabet soup of what started out as the Gay community and felt like home until it went past LGBT.

I’m in mourning for one of my cousins who died of Covid last Thursday. I never physically met him as an adult and our relationship has been via social media. He was a Trump supporter. But he was also a biker with long white hair and full beard that made it to Santa length every December when he became a Biker Santa. He loved the outdoors and the northeast.

One of the first big Gay demonstrations I went to was one for Marriage Equality, way back in 1970. We fought against an amendment to the California Initiative that would have barred lesbians and gay men from teaching. We fought for inclusion in the mainstream.

My having had sex reassignment surgery was so long ago that my pussy is eligible for its own AARP Card. Trans-visibility Day? If you are reading this post then I am visible as a post-transsexual woman. If not I don’t see the point in going over 50 year old medical history. Being born transsexual was what it was. I dealt with it. Most of my concerns are the same as those of elder cis-women.

I honestly don’t understand the whole thing of Gender Non-Binary. I’m an old hippie woman married to another old woman who sort of pre-dates hippie. I read Simone de Beauvoir’s “The Second Sex”, plus all the second wave feminist books. I don’t think of gender as something concrete and definitely not something that can be described as binary. People who describe it as such are speaking in a different language, a form of academic new-speak that doesn’t seem real to me. I see gender not in terms of male or female/man or woman but rather in terms of masculine and feminine.

I know that to the trans-activists of today that makes me a heretic. I don’t care. The labels titling this post are probably true to your vision of me. The part of the alphabet soup of a community I’m demographically a part of is made up of elders too, and maybe a lot of young people who care about many of the same things I care about.

Identity divisions don’t allow for people who are complex with diverse histories and interests. I swear centering on “identity” often seems closely related to the Jim Crow Era “One-drop” bullshit.

Twenty-five years ago Andrew Sullivan wrote “Virtually Normal” and Urvashi Vaid wrote “Virtual Equality”, two different views of the Stonewall era activists actually winning the things we had fought for.

I’m old. I love my wife, our cats, my relatives, our circle of friends. I finally found a religion that fills my elder spiritual needs. We watch baseball, PBS, Maine Cabin Builders and cooking shows. We binge on Netflix and Prime. NPR is one of the stations on our car radio’s speed select.

Those terms I used to title this piece are slurs from the woke crowd. The same people who put me down for being triggered by the Q-word.

Post Transsexual Musings: Our Goal Was Assimilation not Living in San Francisco’s Tenderloin

This post is due to a friend, Jacob Hale posting a link to an article announcing the designation of San Francisco’s Tenderloin District as the “Transgender District”.

I shot back, “You mean Ghetto?”

I feel incredibly grumpy lately. I find many of the things being celebrated the polar opposite of the dreams and goals I had over 50 years ago.

Make no mistake about it. The Tenderloin was a Ghetto, a place the SFPD herded trans-women into. A dirty slum, dangerous and filled with hard drug abuse and crime.

In mid-March of 1969 I had in my possession a packet of red Diethylstilbestrol tablets that I had gotten from San Francisco’s Center for Special Problem which IIRC was on Van Ness at Geary. I was living in Berkeley at the time and they wrote an SF address on my charts so they could treat me. Of course I swallowed a tablet as soon as I got out the door.

I then caught a bus back to the Trans-Bay Terminal where I scooted back to the hippie safety of Berkeley and my loving community of anti-war activist hippie friends. We met at the Student Union and I popped a second pill in front of Morey, a boy I was seriously hung up on.

I was committed and had never really known any others like me outside of a few brief encounters.

One of the things Ron Lee, a social worker at the Center had warned me to avoid was the Tenderloin. That was because of the drugs, prostitution an police brutality. I had seen the area from the borders of the district and it scared the hell out of me. Truth be told I had most of my contact with other trans-folks in the queen tank of the Gray Stone Hotel on Bryant Street aka the San Francisco City Jail and some of the people there seemed far more dangerous than people I had dealt with in the Haight Ashbury. Our commune had left the Haight due to dangerous hostile living conditions.

My commune, the HADU collective was family even more so now we were on Grayson St. in West Berkeley, people who were protective of me.

Over the next few months I would be seen by Dr. Benjamin. All while I was getting Welfare and numerous suggestions from social workers in Berkeley. Dr. Leibman would suggest places like the Transsexual Counseling Center on Third St. at Mission. I would meet Police Community Relations Officer Elliott Blackstone there.

Almost all people I met who were helping me, warned me to stay away from the Tenderloin.

The Counseling Center was run in conjunction with the War on Poverty. The goal of the sisters there was getting sex reassignment surgery and assimilation into ordinary society. That meant getting ID, job training/education, straight jobs. Staying clean of hard drugs and avoiding prostitution. Most of all avoiding living in or playing in the Tenderloin.

We are called Transsexual Separatists now simply for wanting to continue to use the term transsexual as a point of reference. But back in those days we really were trying to separate from the Tenderloin. We wanted real jobs, SRS and assimilation into the bigger world outside the Ghetto.

I don’t remember hearing about the Compton’s Cafeteria Riot prior to hearing about it from Susan Stryker. I have no doubt it happened, but it was the 1960s and there were riots going on all the time. A couple of months after starting hormones I was caught up in the People’s Park riots in Berkeley that went on for several weeks. I went full time when they ended in early June.

When I was a counselor at the NTCU a couple of years later and went out with friends we went to The Stud on Folsom or Hamburger Mary’s or Polk St. With other friends to Winter Land or the Fillmore West. I went to clubs in Berkeley.

The idea of actually celebrating a place I worked so hard to avoid just seems really strange.

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HRC Mourns Alexus “Kimmy Icon” Braxton, Black Transgender Woman Killed in Miami

From HRC: https://www.hrc.org/news/hrc-mourns-alexus-kimmy-icon-braxton-black-transgender-woman-killed-in-miami

by Madeleine Roberts
February 11, 2021

HRC is deeply saddened to learn of the death of Alexus Braxton, also known as Kimmy Icon Braxton, a 45-year-old Black transgender woman who was killed in Miami, Florida on February 4. Her death is at least the sixth violent death of a transgender person in 2021. We say “at least” because too often these deaths go unreported — or misreported. So far this year, five of the six known deaths have been Black transgender women.

According to Alexus’s Facebook, she was a hairstylist. She was active on social media and posted frequently, often discussing time spent with friends or the obstacles she had overcome in her life. A recent post stated, “they can’t stop my shine.” Family and friends held a balloon release to honor Alexus’s life on February 8 and have been remembering her on social media, with one saying “I’m beyond devastated.”

Tatiana Braxton, Alexus’s mother, said, “Twenty two years later and Black Trans Women’s lives are still not VALUED. In 1999, I witnessed my best friend get murdered in the streets of Miami. Sadly, since her murder, I’ve lost many more friends due to senseless violence. Here we are in 2021, it’s my daughter Kimmy. There’s one thing that remains the same: law enforcement, state officials and local politicians have no sense of urgency to address this growing epidemic. Please help us!”

Not much is currently known about the circumstances surrounding Alexus’s death. According to Gay City News, police confirmed that they are investigating her death as a homicide.

HRC recorded 44 deaths of transgender and gender non-conforming people in 2020, more than in any year since we began tracking this violence in 2013.

At the state level, the Florida Commission on Human Relations recently announced its intention to fully implement the Bostock v. Clayton County decision to effectively extend protections in employment, housing, and public spaces to LGBTQ residents. While Florida does include sexual orientation as a protected characteristic in its hate crimes law, it does not expressly include gender identity. While the past few years have been marked by anti-LGBTQ attacks at all levels of government, recent weeks have seen some gains that support and affirm transgender people.

We must demand better from our elected officials and reject harmful anti-transgender legislation at the local, state and federal levels, while also considering every possible way to make ending this violence a reality. It is clear that fatal violence disproportionately affects transgender women of color, especially Black transgender women. The intersections of racism, transphobia, sexism, biphobia and homophobia conspire to deprive them of necessities to live and thrive, so we must all work together to cultivate acceptance, reject hate and end stigma for everyone in the trans and gender non-conforming community.

In order to work towards this goal and combat stigma against transgender and non-binary people, HRC has collaborated with WarnerMedia on a PSA campaign to lift up their voices and stories. Learn more and watch the PSAs here.

In the pursuit of greater accuracy and respect, HRC offers guidelines for journalists and others who report on transgender people. HRC, Media Matters and the Trans Journalists Association have also partnered on an FAQ for reporters writing about anti-trans violence.

For more information about HRC’s transgender justice work, visit hrc.org/transgender.

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This Group Wants to Solve Sports’ “Transgender Problem.” There Are No Trans People in It

These women perfectly illustrate the acronym: TERF.

From Them.com: https://www.them.us/story/womens-sports-policy-working-group-anti-trans-athletes-martina-navratilova

It’s a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.

By Britni de la Cretaz
February 4, 2021

A group of former Olympians kicked off National Girls and Women in Sports Day by attacking trans youth who want to play sports, particularly trans girls.

On Tuesday, the new Women’s Sports Policy Working Group (WSPWG), which aims to influence policy regarding trans inclusion in girls’ sports, held its first press conference to introduce the world to what they said was a “balanced” and “science-based” proposal for “preserving girls’ and women’s sport and accommodating transgender athletes.” The language is carefully crafted to appear reasonable and unbiased but is easily recognizable as trans exclusionary to anyone who has followed attacks on trans athletes.

The group’s mission, as stated on its website, is “to protect girls’ and women’s competitive sport for biological females while accommodating trans girls and trans women through evidence-based, respectful criteria.” The coalition attempts to take a “both sides” approach by claiming that people who are advocating for what they call “unconditional” trans inclusion in sports are on one extreme end of a spectrum and are just as wrong as transphobes who believe there is no place for trans women and girls in U.S. athletics.

“We reject both the effort to exclude trans girls and trans women from girls’ and women’s sport and the effort to disadvantage biological females by forcing them to compete against athletes with male sex-linked physical advantages,” its website reads.

The group is composed of six members, all of whom are cisgender and none of whom are scientists. The most well-known of the bunch is (famously transphobic) tennis champion Martina Navratilova, who was removed as an advisory board member and athlete ambassador for Athlete Ally, an organization that promotes LGBTQ+ inclusion in sports, after publishing an op-ed in The Times of London in 2019 in which she claimed that allowing trans women to compete in women’s sports was “cheating.”

Other members include Donna de Varona, the former president of the Women’s Sports Foundation; Doriane Coleman, a co-director of the Center for Sports Law and Policy at Duke Law School; and Donna Lopiano, the former CEO of the Women’s Sports Foundation.

When asked in a Zoom press conference by The 19th’s Kate Sosin whether any trans people had been involved in this plan, the WSPWG cited that they had consulted with several trans athletes and trans advocacy groups, but failed to name any of them specifically. Former professional tennis player Renee Richards and researcher Joanna Harper, both trans women, are listed as “supporters” on the WSPWG’s website. But Richards has not been an elite athlete for nearly 40 years and Harper’s research is controversial and has been used to exclude athletes like Caster Semenya from international competition.

When them. followed up to ask which trans advocacy groups had been consulted, the WSPWG said those consultations “were off the record.” The presser and launch of the working group was co-sponsored by the Duke Center for Sports Law and Policy, and when asked about Duke University’s involvement, them. was told they had “no role” beyond initial sponsorship.

The WSPWG says it plans to ask the Biden administration to make girls’ sports exempt from enforcement of the executive order President Joe Biden signed his first day in office, which committed to enforcing its ruling regarding the rights of LGBTQ+ people in the workplace across all areas of federal policy. These include areas like housing and education, the latter of which includes the right of trans students to be affirmed by their gender in the classroom and varsity athletics. “Children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports,” the order said.

Continue reading at: https://www.them.us/story/womens-sports-policy-working-group-anti-trans-athletes-martina-navratilova

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Texas: Dan Patrick revives his old war against transgender kids

From The San Antonio Express News: https://www.expressnews.com/news/news_columnists/gilbert_garcia/article/Garcia-Dan-Patrick-revives-his-old-war-against-15983882.php

Gilbert Garcia, Metro Columnist
Feb. 27, 2021

Transgender issues were everywhere this past week.

On Thursday, the U.S. House passed the Equality Act, basically an LGBTQ-focused addendum to the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The House vote prompted Marjorie Taylor Greene, the conspiracy-prone Georgia Republican, to post an anti-transgender sign across the hall from the office of Illinois Rep. Marie Newman, whose daughter is transgender.

The same day that the House passed the Equality Act, the Senate held a confirmation hearing for Dr. Rachel Levine, President Joe Biden’s pick for assistant health secretary, and the first openly transgender individual ever nominated for a federal office.

During Levine’s hearing, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul falsely accused the pediatrician of supporting “surgical destruction of a minor’s genitalia.”

In Arkansas, two separate bills — including one from the Republican Women’s Caucus — were introduced with the shared goal of preventing transgender women and girls from competing in female sports.

Meanwhile, Hasbro announced that it planned to drop the “Mr.” title from the name of its Mr. Potato Head toy, in favor of the gender-neutral Potato Head. The move prompted swift outrage from GOP culture warriors, with Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz devoting part of his Friday CPAC speech to a rumination on Mr. Potato Head’s genitalia.

“Mr. Potato Head was America’s first transgender doll,” Gaetz said. “And even he got canceled!”

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has never seen a transgender political battle he could resist, so it shouldn’t have been a surprise that the list of 31 legislative priorities he released on Tuesday included an item euphemistically called “Fair Sports for Women & Girls.”

Patrick wants to ban transgender Texas athletes from competing under the gender by which they identify, just as four years ago, he was determined to prevent transgender Texans from using public restrooms that matched their gender identity.

The transgender sports question is one that’s been building momentum over the past year. In 2020, 18 states considered bills restricting transgender sports participation, with Idaho passing its bill into law.

Continue reading at: https://www.expressnews.com/news/news_columnists/gilbert_garcia/article/Garcia-Dan-Patrick-revives-his-old-war-against-15983882.php

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HRC Mourns Chyna Carrillo, Latinx Transgender Woman Killed in Pennsylvania

From HRC: https://www.hrc.org/news/hrc-mourns-chyna-carrillo-latinx-transgender-woman-killed-in-pennsylvania

by Jose Soto
February 19, 2021

HRC is deeply saddened to learn of the death of Chyna Carrillo, whose name was also Chynna Cardena, a Latinx 24-year-old transgender woman who was killed in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania on February 18. Her death is at least the seventh violent death of a transgender person in 2021. We say “at least” because too often these deaths go unreported — or misreported.

According to Chyna’s Instagram account, she would have been celebrating her birthday in a few weeks on March 3. She would have been 25-years-old. According to a news article, Carrillo was a nursing home worker who had moved to Pennsylvania from Arkansas to start a new life. Those who knew Carrillo said she was confident, outspoken and unapologetic about who she was. A former coworker of Carrilo’s said that is precisely why the two had bonded.

Mayra Carrillo, Chyna’s aunt, said Chyna was her “beautiful, magical mermaid.”

“I always called her that,” said Mayra Carrillo. “She’s my mermaid, and we miss her. We miss her terribly.”

According to Pennsylvania State Police, officers responded to the scene on the morning of February 18, 2021, and found the suspect assaulting Chyna in the yard of a home. Police ordered the suspect to stop and proceeded to shoot said suspect when he ignored the police’s commands. The suspect died at the scene. Chyna was taken to St. Elizabeth Hospital in Youngstown where she died. Pennsylvania State Police have not released the suspect’s name.

HRC recorded 44 deaths of transgender and gender non-conforming people in 2020, more than in any year since we began tracking this violence in 2013.

The widespread lack of accurate identity documents among trans people can have an impact on every aspect of their lives, including access to emergency housing or other public services. Without identification, one cannot travel, register for school or access many services that are essential to function in society. Many states have burdensome and unnecessary requirements for correcting gender markers on identity documents, sometimes requiring evidence of medical transition – which can be prohibitively expensive and is not something that all trans people want – as well as fees for processing new identity documents, which may make them unaffordable for some members of the trans community.

In order to work towards this goal and combat stigma against transgender and non-binary people, HRC has collaborated with WarnerMedia on a PSA campaign to lift up their voices and stories. Learn more and watch the PSAs here.

In the pursuit of greater accuracy and respect, HRC offers guidelines for journalists and others who report on transgender people. HRC, Media Matters and the Trans Journalists Association have also partnered on an FAQ for reporters writing about anti-trans violence.

For more information about HRC’s transgender justice work, visit hrc.org/transgender.

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Iowa Republicans want to ban teachers from talking about transgender people

From LGBTQ Nation: https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2021/02/iowa-republicans-want-ban-teachers-talking-transgender-people/

Teachers wouldn’t be able to mention that transgender people exist, even if there is a transgender student in the classroom.

By Alex Bollinger
Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Republicans in the state of Iowa are trying to ban schools from teaching about gender identity.

A bill (S.F. 167) would update elementary school curriculum standards in the state to say, “The curriculum provided to a student in accordance with this subsection shall not include instruction relating to gender identity.” The bill says that if teachers do intend to discuss gender identity in school, they’ll need to get written permission from all the students’ parents first.

The bill, introduced by eight Republican state lawmakers, does not block schools from using the concept of gender at all. It requires that teachers not discuss the idea that there is a “gender-related identity of a person, regardless of the person’s assigned sex at birth.”

In other words, teachers wouldn’t be able to mention that transgender people exist, even if there is a transgender student in the classroom.

Gag orders in other states and countries that block schools from discussing LGBTQ people – like Russia’s ban on LGBTQ “propaganda,” Utah’s “Don’t Say Gay” law, or the U.K.’s Section 28 that banned discussions of homosexuality in schools – have been criticized for promoting bullying. Teachers may feel that they would be breaking the law if they tell students not to bully a non-binary or transgender classmate or if they use the correct pronouns or the name of a transgender student.

The bill “is just another way to prevent children from learning about how they may differ from societal norms,” wrote editor Peyton Downing in the Daily Iowan. “By denying an education on gender identity, these schools prevent kids from garnering an understanding of who they really are.”

Continue reading at: https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2021/02/iowa-republicans-want-ban-teachers-talking-transgender-people/


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Medical school suspends study that would have tortured transgender people for science

Dr. Mengele, the Nazi “Angel of Death” used to do this sort of shit. Trans-people are human beings and the equals of cis-folks and shouldn’t be subjected to torture in the name of science.

From LGBTQ Nation: https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2021/02/medical-school-suspends-study-tortured-transgender-people-science/

They were going to trigger severe gender dysphoria in trans people and then scan their brains.

By Alex Bollinger
Thursday, February 4, 2021

A controversial study on transgender people’s neurology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) has been suspended due to ethical concerns that the participants could face harm from the study itself.

Dr. Jamie Feusner, the principal investigator in the study, has paused the National Institute of Health-backed study to get more input from transgender people and “understand their concerns more deeply and have a dialogue about the study’s objectives.”

The study, according to reports of people who participated in focus groups to help researchers construct it, was supposed to be about the effects of gender dysphoria on a person’s brain.

Gender dysphoria is the medical term for the distress a person feels because their gender identity doesn’t align with their sex assigned at birth. The experience is psychologically painful and associated with depression, anxiety, social isolation, and an increased risk of suicide attempts.

The Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior study was going to trigger gender dysphoria in participants and then use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to scan their brains to better understand the condition.

“This study’s stated purpose is to trigger ‘gender dysphoria’ by taking photographs of participants’ bodies in tight clothing (unitards), and specifically people who have not had access to affirming medical transition,” said Gender Justice LA Executive Director Ezak Perez in a statement. “This research design unapologetically aims to cause mental health distress to trigger ‘dysphoria’ to an already marginalized and vulnerable community.”

The group also said that the research could be used to push conversion therapy on transgender people.

“The researchers claim that their study can help TGI people, but their own research materials and publications suggested that they are developing tools that may curtail access to gender-affirming treatment,” the statement says, adding that the study could be used “for the creation of therapeutics to treat gender dysphoria as one would treat anorexia” and that it “opens the door for advancing the highly disregarded and dangerous practice of conversion therapy.”

In a letter dated January 27, 2021, the California LGBTQ Health and Human Services Network urged transgender, gender non-conforming, and intersex people to stay away from the study, calling it “harmful.”

“We object to the view that transgender people have an aberrant body image condition or that brain imaging of traumatic response could ultimately ‘help’ trans people,” the group said in the letter. “It is suggestive of a search for medical ‘cure,’ which can open the door for more gatekeeping and restrictive policies and practices in relation to access to gender-affirming care. At a time in which trans lives are under attack, we find this kind of research to be misguided and dangerous.”

The institute said that Dr. Feusner is voluntarily suspending the study for the moment to get more input on it.

“The ultimate hope of this study is that it will lead to improved quality of life for those who identify as transgender, non-binary, and gender-nonconforming and a better understanding of the effects of hormones on the brain,” a spokesperson for UCLA Health told Radiology Business. “UCLA believes partnership with our diverse communities is essential to performing research that is culturally aware, socially responsible, improves quality of life, and advances our public service mission.”

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Republican Legislatures Are Trying To Ban Transgender Athletes From Women’s Sports

From Huffington Post: https://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_6033bdebc5b66dfc10204305/amp

The bills are obvious attempts to restrict LGBTQ rights under the guise of solving phony concerns about athletic advantage.

By Travis Waldron

Republican state legislatures in more than a dozen states are advancing bills that would bar transgender women and girls from participating in women’s and girls sports at the youth, high school and collegiate levels. It’s an aggressive effort to strip rights from LGBTQ people on the state level that runs counter to President Joe Biden’s attempts to advance equality from the White House.

GOP-controlled legislative chambers in Mississippi, Utah, Montana and North Dakota have all approved legislation this year to prohibit transgender students from competing in sports that match their gender identity.

Republican lawmakers have introduced similar bills  in Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, New Hampshire, South DakotaTexas and Tennessee, where Republican Gov. Bill Lee last week declared that trans athletes would “destroy women’s sports” if they are allowed to compete. Several of those bills have already advanced through legislative committees, although others have already run into heated opposition that may succeed in thwarting them, and Utah Gov. Spencer Cox (R) has said that he would not sign the bill that passed the state House there.

The conservative push follows the first-in-the-nation passage of a law barring trans athletes from girls and women’s sports in Idaho last year.  https://d-8646667243746200523.ampproject.net/2102060044003/frame.html

Equality advocates say the bills are actually a next, desperate attempt to restrict LGBTQ rights after other efforts ― including supposed “religious freedom” laws like the one Indiana approved in 2015 and so-called “bathroom bills,” which drew widespread opposition after North Carolina’s legislature passed HB 2 in 2016 ― failed to spread the way conservatives hoped. Like those proposals, which conservatives painted as efforts to stop businesses from having to serve gay couples or prevent trans people from attacking cisgender women in bathrooms, the bills to prevent trans girls and women from dominating women’s sports are a discriminatory solution in search of a problem, said Kate Oakley, the state legislative director for the Human Rights Campaign.

“It’s not about any one of these issues actually being itself a real problem,” Oakley said. “They keep trying to find the thing that is going to make people afraid. And this is where they’ve settled, last year and this year, on these anti-trans bills that are targeting youth in particular.”

Republicans have framed these bills as an attempt to protect women’s sports and Title IX, the federal law that guarantees equal access to education and scholastic sports for women and girls. And proponents of the bills have pointed to occasional victories by transgender girls and women competing against cisgender opponents as proof that trans athletes pose a threat to women’s sports. But there is no obvious evidence supporting their claims.

Continue reading at: https://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_6033bdebc5b66dfc10204305/amp

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History-Making Trans WNBA Star Layshia Clarendon Gets Top Surgery

FTMs really present a problem for TERFs and TEBs. The idea that one is forever the sex assigned at birth means people who transition from female to male are still considered female in the world of trans-eliminating bigots.

People who have obviously never met any trans-men.

From Out Magazine: https://www.out.com/sports/2021/2/02/history-making-trans-wnba-star-layshia-clarendon-gets-top-surgery

“It’s hard to put into words the feeling seeing my chest for the first time free of breasts, seeing my chest the way I’ve always seen it…”

By Mey Rude
February 02 2021

The first WNBA player to come out as trans has gotten top surgery and the whole league is coming together to celebrate.

Layshia Clarendon, who uses he, she, and they, came out as gender nonconforming in 2020, and four years earlier had described themself as “non-cisgender.” Not only is the 29-year-old point guard a leader on the court, but they’re also an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ+ people and Black lives.

On Friday, Clarendon posted a series of pictures on Instagram showing off the results from their recent top surgery. “On January 13th at 10am I hugged my wife in front of my surgery building, walked in and took a deep breath… The day was finally here. The day I got to have Top Surgery!!!!!” they captioned the post.

“It’s hard to put into words the feeling seeing my chest for the first time free of breasts, seeing my chest the way I’ve always seen it, and feeling a sense of gender euphoria as opposed to gender dysphoria,” she continued, “Sighhhh… freedom… freedom at last.”

Clarendon also shared that they were initially scared to share the news because of the “hate, myths & ignorance” about trans and nonbinary people, but they felt compelled to because “I want trans people to know and see that we’ve always existed & no one can erase us.”

He added, “I want people to remember that my freedom is your freedom because none of us are free until we are all free!”

Clarendon’s team, the New York Liberty, posted a message in support on Twitter. “The Liberty has been and will continue to be an organization that celebrates the individuality of all people. Layshia is a proud embodiment of our belief that our strength lies in our truth and no one should live constrained by society boundaries,” the statement reads. “Layshia’s journey as a pioneering athlete, along with their activism and advocacy work, is an inspiring call for each of us to honor our humanity above all else.”

The WNBPA, the league’s union, also released a statement supporting Clarendon, saying, “with the support of this union, Layshia has shared a personal part of their story with the world, and reminds us that what it means to be human is to be authentic, holistic and inclusive. It is a story that will empower, and remind us that we will not be restrained by the many assumptions and stereotypes that seek to define us as girls or women.”

After the outpouring of support, Clarendon posted on Twitter thanking everyone for the messages. “Wow, so I was not expecting that level of love and support from everyone yesterday,” she said, “I’m overwhelmed in the best possible way! Thank you to everyone who messaged me publicly and privately.”

Congratulations to Clarendon, and thank you for being an inspiration to trans and gender nonconforming people everywhere.

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31 anti-transgender bills filed in 20 states as GOP targets schoolchildren nationwide

From LGBTQ Nation: https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2021/02/31-anti-transgender-bills-filed-20-states-gop-targets-schoolchildren-nationwide/

From school sports to putting doctors in prison for treating trans patients, lawmakers in these states want to make people’s lives harder.

By Alex Bollinger
Friday, February 5, 2021

  At least 20 states are currently considering at least 31 bills that would attack the rights of transgender people – mostly attacking transgender youth – as more state lawmakers file bills to tear away as the limited rights and protections that currently exist for transgender people.

Georgia Rep. Philip Singleton (R) filed a bill yesterday that makes the state the seventeenth in the nation to consider a bill that would ban transgender girls and women from competing in school sports as their gender.

“I just feel like in the time that we’re in right now — in a global pandemic — we’re going into our second year of being in lockdown and our elected officials have nothing to do other than worry about what’s in someone’s underpants,” said Jen Slipakoff, the mother of a 13-year-old transgender student-athlete in Georgia.

Arizona, Connecticut, Iowa, Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas are all considering bills that would ban transgender girls and women from school sports this year. Some of the bills also ban transgender boys and men from competing as their gender as well.

“You can’t claim to be supporting women’s sports when you’re trying to isolate transgender girls from sports,” said Shannon Clawson of Georgia Equality. “You’re attacking and further isolating transgender youth and keeping them from participating in sports that would allow them to learn very important principles about leadership and teamwork.”

Eleven states are also considering bills that would ban gender-affirming care for transgender minors, even attacking puberty blockers, which must be taken before a person is an adult in order to be effective.

Arizona’s S.B. 1511 is one such bill. If the bill passes, any health care professional who prescribes puberty blockers to a transgender patient will be committing a class 2 felony with a recommended sentence of up to 12 and a half years in prison, just for prescribing medication to a patient that delays the permanent and life-altering changes that occur during puberty and has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of suicide attempts.

Bills have been introduced that would either ban transgender youth from getting gender-affirming care and punish doctors for providing that care in Alabama, Arizona, Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah. Montana’s bill already failed in the state’s house, but the others could still pass.

Continue reading at: https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2021/02/31-anti-transgender-bills-filed-20-states-gop-targets-schoolchildren-nationwide/


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Dad designs line of swimwear for trans girls named after his own daughter

From Today: https://www.today.com/parents/dad-designs-swimwear-transgender-girls-daughter-t206361

These bikini bottoms could be a game-changer for transgender tweens and teens.

By Allison Slater Tate
Jan. 21, 2021

After watching his own daughter Ruby, 12, struggle to find bikini bottoms that made her feel both comfortable and confident as a transgender girl, Toronto dad Jamie Alexander decided to solve the problem himself.

Alexander created a new clothing brand, Rubies, with the specific goal of producing form-fitting clothing for transgender children up to a size 20. His first product: the Ruby Shaping Bikini Bottom.

Though he told TODAY Parents Ruby was drawn to high heels, Disney princesses, and Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies” video as early as age 3, Alexander and his wife Angela were not sure at first whether her preferences meant anything significant about her gender. After all, who doesn’t love Beyoncé?

With the help of their local public school system, the Alexanders gave their child space and support to figure out if she identified as male, the gender she was assigned at birth, female, or neither. By grade 3, it became clear she knew the answer.

But as Ruby grew into adolescence, Alexander noticed that transgender girls have one specific issue when it comes to fashion: finding bikini bottoms they could confidently wear in public — that can “magically turn a pointy poker into a dainty dune, no tucking required,” as the Rubies website explains.

“An item of clothing like Rubies swimwear can be a total game-changer for transgender and gender-creative children,” said Jessica Herthel, co-author of children’s book “I Am Jazz” with transgender activist Jazz Jennings.

“Being able to do something that most of us take for granted — namely, to go swimming without fear of being stared at or teased, or even targeted — can give a child a feeling of normalcy and belonging,” said Herthel.

Continue reading at: https://www.today.com/parents/dad-designs-swimwear-transgender-girls-daughter-t206361

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Southwest Ohio Residents Have New Service Options for Gender-Affirming Hormone Therapy

From The Buckeye Flame: https://thebuckeyeflame.com/2021/02/08/gaht/

By Jen Kuhn
February 8, 2021

It is a sad reality that affirming and inclusive health care can be very limited for transgender and gender-nonconforming Ohioans. Many communities are underserved and patients may face discrimination or ignorance in a health care setting.

One organization in Southwest Ohio is working to change all that and provide their transgender residents with safer health care options.

Last October, Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region (PPSWO) launched brand new gender-affirming hormone therapy services in four of their five health centers in the region. After overwhelmingly positive feedback from the initial 39 transgender patiences served, the organization is ready to welcome more.

To learn about these new services and how PPSWO supports trans and nonbinary patiences in an affirming way, The Buckeye Flame caught up with PPSWO’s President & CEO Kersha Deibel and their Medical Director Dr. Sharon Liner.

When people think of Planned Parenthood, they probably don’t immediately think of trans care. But in actuality, you’ve worked with transgender patients for decades. Can you tell us what trans care has looked like for you, and how this particular service came about?
Deibel: As health care providers, educators and advocates, Planned Parenthood for 90+ years has been committed to serving all people in our communities with care and respect. We are proud to provide sexual and reproductive health care and education to the transgender community across the country — including cancer screenings, STI testing and treatment, birth control, and now, hormone therapy, as well as sex education that includes all identities and experiences.

We know that when people are truly cared for, they make their lives, their families, and their communities better and healthier. Transgender folks, like everyone else, have a fundamental need for quality health care and sex education, and they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.

Making our health centers a safe and supportive environment is valuable for all patients and we strive to make sure the gender identity of our transgender patients is acknowledged, respected and understood. This means creating an environment that affirms their gender identity, understanding and communicating the kinds of care they need and using inclusive language that acknowledges the full spectrum of gender identities.

And for any readers who may be unfamiliar, can you also briefly define hormone therapy and what that process is like?
Gender-Affirming Hormone Therapy (GAHT) is prescribing hormones to help a person develop characteristics that are more in line with their gender identity.  Our process at PPSWO is that all new patients who schedule for GAHT will first meet virtually with our patient navigator.  This allows us to gather all the information needed to assure that when they come into the health center to meet with the medical team, we can focus on the patient’s needs.  While this is what GAHT is at its core, there is so much more to assure that our patients all feel safe and represented in our centers as well as in all aspects of their lives.

Continue reading at: https://thebuckeyeflame.com/2021/02/08/gaht/

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