Groundbreaking UW study: Transgender kids’ gender identity is as strong as that of cisgender children

From The Seattle Times:  https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/science/groundbreaking-uw-study-transgender-kids-gender-identity-is-as-strong-as-that-of-cisgender-children/

By
Dec. 9, 2019

Gender identity is as strong in transgender children as it is in cisgender children (those who identify with the gender they were assigned at birth), no matter how long a child has been treated as being a gender they don’t identify with, according to initial findings from a University of Washington study that is the largest of its kind.

The results bolster earlier UW research that has found transitioning doesn’t affect a transgender child’s sense of self.

The study also found that transgender children’s gender development mirrors that of cisgender kids.

For example, just as cisgender children tend to show interest in toys and clothes that society stereotypically associates with their gender, transgender children tend to do the same for things associated with the gender they identify as.

Even if a transgender boy’s family treated him as a girl for the first few years of his life, he will notice cues about what society expects of boys and “self-socialize” to learn how to “be” the gender he identifies as instead, said Selin Gülgöz, a postdoctoral researcher in UW’s psychology department and lead author of a paper about the study, which was published Nov. 18 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS).

“These children have a very clear understanding of the things assigned to the sexes,” Gülgöz said. “But it looks like, once they identify their gender, they are gravitating toward what society shows them.”

There is nuance when it comes to the influence of stereotypes, Gülgöz noted. How much girls like traditionally feminine things can vary, for instance, but researchers found that variance occurs to about the same extent in transgender girls as in cisgender girls, she said.

The UW researchers studied 822 children from the United States and Canada — 317 transgender children between the ages of 3 and 12, 189 of their cisgender siblings and 316 other cisgender children as a control group — and will follow them into adulthood.

Gülgöz said this study differs from other large studies of transgender children because all the children in UW’s study have socially transitioned to their present gender. Those children’s experiences might be expected to differ from those of children who are gender-nonconforming but haven’t transitioned, she said.

Continue reading at:  https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/science/groundbreaking-uw-study-transgender-kids-gender-identity-is-as-strong-as-that-of-cisgender-children/

Trump’s Rollback of Transgender Rights Extends Through Entire Government

From The New York Times:  https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/06/us/politics/trump-transgender-rights.html

Whether it means serving in the military, working for a federal contractor or seeking medical help, regulations that once protected transgender people are under attack.

By Lola Fadulu
Dec. 6, 2019

WASHINGTON — Nicolas Talbott, a graduate student at Kent State University in Ohio who is transgender, was told in May that because of President Trump’s transgender ban in the military, he would no longer be eligible for placement as an Army officer. He could continue participating in the Reserve Officers Training Corps program, but the benefits that he joined for — health insurance and student loan forgiveness — were no longer available to him.

“Everyone else would walk away with a job in the United States Army, and I would walk away with just more student loan debt,” Mr. Talbott said.

Mr. Talbott’s experience is just one version of a broader story unfolding across vast portions of the federal government as the Trump administration has rolled back a wide array of protections for transgender people, many of them put in place during the Obama administration. The Obama White House used its powers to declare that legal and legislative efforts to defend against sex discrimination should apply to gender identity. The Trump White House called that executive overreach — and reversed course wherever it could.

Across the country, transgender people and groups that are advocates for them have wrestled with the effect of that shift as they have learned of policy changes from the departments of Education and Labor to the departments of Health and Human Services and Housing and Urban Development, from the Pentagon to the Justice Department to the Office of Personnel Management.

Last month, a United States district judge struck down a Health and Human Services Department rule that would, among other changes, expand the protections for health care workers who refuse to treat transgender patients if it clashed with their beliefs, the third judge to do so.

But so many similar regulations are in place or pending that advocates for transgender rights are hardly relieved.

“We’ve been a priority for this administration since the day they got in the door,” said Gillian Branstetter, a former spokeswoman for the National Center for Transgender Equality, who is transgender.

Continue reading at:  https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/06/us/politics/trump-transgender-rights.html

When Anti-Semites Come for the Orthodox, They Come for All of Us

As a child I learned that all bullies are the same.  Those they exercise bigotry towards may change but in many ways those abuse are also all the same.  Howard Fast wrote of the slave revolt in Rome, that was led by the gladiator named Spartacus.  When the rebellion was crushed the Roman soldiers demand to know which one of the survivors is Spartacus.  The survivors answer, “I am Spartacus.”

Then there is Tom Joad’s soliloquy at the end of “Grapes of Wrath”.

It is important to side with the bullied not the bully. The oppressed and not the oppressor. It is more important than ever to stand together and not be divided by our specific identities.  To make a stand and say. “I am Spartacus.”

When I started taking classes last fall as the first step in my converting to Judaism I started wearing a Magen David pendant.  My of saying as Ruth said long ago, “Your people shall be my people.”

From Kveller:  https://www.kveller.com/when-anti-semites-come-for-the-orthodox-they-come-for-all-of-us/

By Talia Liben Yarmush

As a mother, I’m no stranger to anxiety. Recently, I’ve been dealing with fears about my older son going to sleepaway camp for the first time next summer. I’ve found myself consumed by worry: Will he be too shy to make new friends? Will he stay up too late every night and get sick? Will he be homesick?

Then, in the midst of my anxiety, the news broke terrorists in Jersey City had intended to murder 50 Jewish children in their classrooms, just 30 minutes from my home. Then, two nights ago, a machete-wielding man attacked a Hanukkah celebration at a rabbi’s house in Monsey, New York, injuring five people. But that’s just the tip of it: Between these two horrific incidents, there were anti-Semitic attacks nearly every day in between.

I never was so scared before I became a mother. Now, it seems inescapable. The typical fears of motherhood are still there, they never really go away. Will my sons fit in with their peers? Will they treat others with kindness? Will their teachers recognize their potential? Will they look both ways before they cross the street? But now, on top of these “regular” worries, I must also ask myself, will my kids be targets of violent hatred simply because they are Jewish? Will they know where to hide when a terrorist arrives at their school?

Almost all of the attacks in recent weeks have been committed against people who are clearly identifiable as Jewish. They wear black hats and coats; their sidelocks curl and hang down to their jaw line; they cover their hair in sheitels and pillbox hats.

I’ve been told before, “But you’re not that kind of Jew.” Because I wear pants and tank tops and I don’t cover my hair. I listen to 90’s alternative rock. I can pass as merely “American.”

Years ago, on a cross-country youth trip, I once had to explain to a woman in South Dakota that yes, we are really Jews, and that no, Jews don’t really have horns. I was 14 years old, and it was the first time someone had looked at me as though I had classified myself incorrectly.

So yes, I may not be “that kind of Jew.” But my husband and my sons wear kippahs and tzitzit, which, to some, are akin to horns, and to all makes them more obvious targets.

And I do keep kosher — I have five sets of dishes, two sinks, and two dishwashers. I do put up a sukkah and have a mezuzah on every doorpost in our house. I walk to shul (when I go). I study Torah and write Midrash.

My husband does not wear a black hat and I have never owned a sheitel, but I own my Jewish name and I use it with pride.

I have never hidden who I am. My bios will tell you that I am a Jewish infertile mama. I am the daughter of a rabbi. I am a graduate of the Jewish day school system, where I met my husband, my beshert. I am a former leader of the Jewish Student Union on my college campus. I am the executive director of a Jewish nonprofit.

But still, I watch (a lot of) TV. I eat out at dairy restaurants and our kids swim and shower on Shabbat and we hand out candy on Halloween and we celebrate Thanksgiving. I am more comfortable in an egalitarian synagogue than one in which men and women are separated.

In other words, I’m not “that kind” of Jew.

And yet, when people remind me of that, it’s as if they’re saying it’s OK to target that kind of Jew. But it’s not OK, and I do worry, because I am that kind of Jew. And that’s not because you can spot the kippahs on my sons’ heads, but because I am a Jew at all. The very notion of “kinds of Jews” is what makes us vulnerable — we divide and they conquer.

Continue reading at:  https://www.kveller.com/when-anti-semites-come-for-the-orthodox-they-come-for-all-of-us/

HRC Mourns Dustin Parker, Trans Man Killed in Oklahoma

From HRC:  https://www.hrc.org/blog/hrc-mourns-dustin-parker-trans-man-killed-in-oklahoma

By Elliott Kozuch
January 2, 2020

HRC is deeply saddened to learn of the death of Dustin Parker, a 25-year-old transgender man fatally shot in McAlester, Oklahoma, early on New Year’s Day. He was killed while working as a taxi cab driver. Parker is believed to be the first violent death of a transgender or gender non-conforming person in 2020.

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation is assisting local police in this investigation. Of the more than 150 known victims of anti-transgender violence from 2013 to present, approximately two-thirds of those killed were victims of gun violence.

“Rover Taxi is devastated at the loss of a member of our Rover family. Dustin was a steadfast friend, an amazing husband and father and generous to a fault. He loved fiercely, worked tirelessly and took on life with so much hope and enthusiasm that his presence brightened all of our lives,” said Parker’s employer in a statement. “His bright, young life was taken far too early. Please keep his loved ones in your thoughts as we all try to pull together to get through these difficult times. Dustin will be missed, but never forgotten.”

Parker was a founding member of Oklahomans for Equality-McAlester Chapter: Southeastern Equality, a local LGBTQ organization. The community will gather at a vigil to celebrate his life on Friday, Jan. 3.

HRC is also closely monitoring the death of a transgender woman in Washington, D.C. on December 29. Police have not released her name, as they are waiting to notify the next of kin.

In November, ahead of Transgender Day of Remembrance, HRC Foundation released “A National Epidemic: Fatal Anti-Transgender Violence in America in 2019,” a heartbreaking report honoring the trans people killed and detailing the contributing and motivating factors that lead to this tragic violence. Sadly, 2019 saw at least 25 transgender or gender non-conforming people fatally shot or killed by other violent means. We say at least because too often these stories go unreported — or misreported.

These victims are not just numbers or headlines. They were real people worthy of dignity and respect, of life and love.

There are currently very few explicit legal protections for transgender or gender-expansive people. Transgender and gender non-conforming people in Oklahoma are not explicitly protected across many aspects of daily life, including housing and employment, and are not covered under the state’s hate crimes legislation. Nationally, despite some marginal gains in state and local policies that support and affirm transgender people, recent years have been marked by anti-LGBTQ attacks at all levels of government.

We must demand better from our elected officials and reject harmful anti-transgender legislation appearing at the local, state and federal levels because it is clear that fatal violence disproportionately affects transgender women of color. The intersections of racism, transphobia, sexism, biphobia and homophobia conspire to deprive them of necessities to live and thrive.

HRC will continue to hold the Trump-Pence administration and all elected officials who fuel the flames of hate accountable at the ballot box.

This epidemic of violence that disproportionately targets transgender people of color — particularly Black transgender women — must cease.

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

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LGBTQ Organizations: Defense Authorization Bill Should Have Ended Trans Troop Ban

From HRC:  https://www.hrc.org/blog/defense-authorization-bill-should-have-ended-trans-troop-ban

By Charlotte Clymer
December 10, 2019

HRC, National Center for Transgender Equality, GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders (GLAD), Modern Military Association of America, National Center for Lesbian Rights, Lambda Legal, American Civil Liberties Union, and Palm Center, expressed disappointment that the final FY20 National Defense Authorization bill does not include the Speier/Brown amendment, which was previously approved by the House of Representatives in a strong bipartisan vote of 242 to 187. The language would have codified non-discrimination in our Armed Forces and ended the Trump Administration’s ban on transgender service members. They released the following joint statement:

“We are profoundly disappointed that this bipartisan amendment to end the ban on bravely serving transgender service members was not included in the final version of the FY20 National Defense Authorization Act.

Transgender troops served openly and honorably without incident for three years before this reckless ban on their service was put into place by the Trump-Pence Administration. Military leadership, medical experts, and defense budget experts have all provided evidence that the ban is without merit, costs the taxpayer, and is damaging to military readiness.

Although House and Senate Democratic leaders fought to retain this provision to end the ban, the White House, House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX), Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman James Inhofe (R-OK), and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) fought vigorously to remove it, and ultimately prevailed.

It is unconscionable that thousands of honorably serving transgender service members and their families will continue to live under the threat of discharge simply because of who they are. This ban is based on bias, not evidence, and is opposed by the American people, military experts, and elected officials across the political spectrum.

We are deeply grateful to House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA), Senate Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Jack Reed (D-RI) and Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) for their ongoing leadership on this important issue of military readiness.” 

Currently, thousands of service member face discharge if they come out as transgender, while others see their careers at risk because they already have. The Trump Administration has refused to disclose any data on discharge proceedings under the ban.

A Gallup poll in June found that 71% of Americans support the open service of transgender people in the military, including a clear majority of the nation’s veterans.

This year, the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Psychiatric Association all released statements asserting that there is no medically valid reason to exclude transgender people from military service. Through the Palm Center, former military surgeons general released a report unequivocally dismantling the erroneous claim that transgender service members are medically unfit to serve.

Last year, under oath before the Senate Armed Services Committee, the highest-ranking officers of each branch of the military stated there is no threat to military readiness or unit cohesion by the inclusion of trans service members, nor were there any reports that the three years in which trans service members were permitted to openly serve presented any problems.

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Donald Trump fears only one Democrat: Warren Sanders

My feelings exactly.

From The Guardian UK:  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/dec/15/donald-trump-democrats-elizabeth-warren-bernie-sanders

The two senators, working for everyday Americans, are streets ahead of any establishment candidate


Sun 15 Dec 2019

There aren’t 20 Senate Republicans with enough integrity to remove the most corrupt president in American history, so we’re going to have to get rid of Trump the old-fashioned way – by electing a Democrat next 3 November.

That Democrat will be Warren Sanders.

Although there are differences between Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, I’m putting them together for the purpose of making a simple point.

These two have most of the grassroots energy in the 2020 campaign, most of the enthusiasm and most of the ideas critical for America’s future.

Together, they lead Joe Biden and every other so-called moderate Democrat by a wide margin in all polls.

That’s because the real political divide in America today is establishment versus anti-establishment – the comparatively few at the top who have siphoned off much of the wealth of the nation versus everyone else whose wages and prospects have gone nowhere.

Warren and Sanders know the system is rigged and that economic and political power must be reallocated from a corporate-Wall Street elite to the vast majority.

This is why both Warren and Sanders are hated by the Democratic establishment.

It’s also why much of the corporate press is ignoring the enthusiasm they’re generating. And why it’s picking apart their proposals, like a wealth tax and Medicare for All, as if they were specific pieces of legislation.

And why corporate and Wall Street Democrats are mounting a campaign to make Americans believe Warren and Sanders are “too far to the left” to beat Trump, and therefore “unelectable”.

This is total rubbish. Either of them has a better chance of beating Trump than does any other Democratic candidate.

Presidential elections are determined by turnout. More than a third of eligible voters in America don’t vote. They go to the polls only if they’re motivated. And what motivates people most is a candidate who stands for average people and against power and privilege.

Average Americans know they’re getting the scraps while corporate profits are at record highs and CEOs and Wall Street executives are pocketing unprecedented pay and bonuses.

They know big money has been flooding Washington and state capitals to cut taxes on corporations and the wealthy; roll back health, safety, environment and labor protections; and allow big business to monopolize the economy, using its market power to keep prices high and wages low.

Most Americans want to elect someone who’s on their side.

Continue reading at:  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/dec/15/donald-trump-democrats-elizabeth-warren-bernie-sanders

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Trans Activist Julie Berman Murdered in Toronto

From The Advocate:  https://www.advocate.com/crime/2019/12/27/trans-activist-julie-berman-murdered-toronto

A 29-year-old man has been arrested for Berman’s killing.

By Neal Broverman
December 27 2019

Julie Berman, a woman long active in Toronto trans community, was found murdered on Sunday, The Globe and Mail reports.

Berman, suffering from head injuries, was discovered by Toronto police and brought to a hospital where she was pronounced dead. A 29-year-old man named Colin Harnack has been charged with second-degree murder.

Employed as a hairdresser, Berman has been active in the trans rights group The 519 for over three decades, according to the newspaper. Berman memorably delivered a speech at an event held for 2017’s Trans Day of Remembrance, where she spoke of the injustice of transphobia and the murder of one of her friends, who was trans.

“It’s really heartbreaking … the same thing that she was trying to be vocal about happened to her,” Davina Hader, a friend of the victim and a member of The 519, told The Globe and Mail.

Three trans people in Toronto have died from violence in the past couple years, according to the paper. There is an epidemic of anti-trans violence in the U.S., with at least 20 Black trans women murdered just this year.

See Also:

Activist who raised awareness about transphobia murdered in Toronto

Trans activist who tirelessly campaigned against transphobia found murdered in Canada

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