HRC Mourns Keanna Mattel, Transgender Woman Killed in Detroit

Damn… Yet another transwoman murdered. Maybe if the bigots stopped spewing their hatred we would see a decrease in the rate of these murders instead of what seems to be an ever increasing growth in them.

We need to stop the hate and give trans folks a legitimate place in society.

From HRC:

By Rokia Hassanein
December 10, 2018

HRC mourns the death of Keanna Mattel, a 35-year-old Black transgender woman killed in Detroit on Dec. 7.

Police found Mattel dead of a gunshot wound in her Palmer Park neighborhood, according to INTO. LGBTQ advocates who spoke to INTO suggested that Mattel may have been specifically targeted. Police have arrested a 46-year-old male suspect.

In 2015, after the tragic murder of Amber Monroe, Mattel spoke to The Guardian about the epidemic of violence against transgender women and the police’s response to it.

“The police are unaware with our struggle so they have no sympathy for us,” she said. “Nobody ever asks, what happened to that person to get here?”

While police did not initially identify Mattel as the victim, friends and LGBTQ advocates spread word of her passing.

Mattel’s friends posted on social media, noting that she was “a sweet, caring individual” and “a beautiful spirit” who was “loved.” Another friend posted that Mattel had a “beautiful bold personality” and was like a mother to her. Friends also posted videos remembering Mattel as an active member in Detroit’s ballroom scene, calling her “a sweetheart and beautiful character and personality.”

In the wake of Mattel’s death, friends will be hosting a benefit show on Dec. 12 to help raise funds for funeral expenses.

We must listen to her words and address the factors that continue to foster an epidemic of violence targeting transgender people, particularly transgender women of color. It is clear that fatal violence disproportionately affects trans women of color, and that the intersections of racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia conspire to deprive them of necessities to live and thrive.

Alarmingly, Mattel’s death adds to the growing list of a transgender or gender-expansive person killed in 2018.

In November 2018, HRC Foundation released “A National Epidemic: Fatal Anti-Transgender Violence in America in 2018,” a heartbreaking report honoring the transgender people killed in 2018 and detailing the contributing and motivating factors that lead to this tragic violence. To learn more, please follow this link.

To learn more about HRC’s transgender justice work, visit

My Trans Daughter Is Not A ‘Liberal Ideology’

From Chatelaine:

The world is not as binary and unchangeable as was once believed. It’s time we listened and supported people who are transgender.

Amanda Jetté Knox
Dec 04, 2018

As I sit down to write this, my 16-year-old daughter is getting ready for school. The ease with which this is happening would leave most to believe this is a typical morning; simple actions repeated over many years.

But this is anything but typical for Alexis, and these actions, while simple, are steeped in courage. What it took to get her here — to leave home each day and enter a school where she feels both safe and welcome — was a years-long endeavour in education and understanding for those around her.

And now, much of that work may be coming undone — putting not only her well-being at risk, but that of thousands of other people across the province of Ontario.

My daughter is transgender. She told us in an email at 11 years old, bringing an end to unanswered questions we had for most of her childhood: Why was our middle kid increasingly anxious and depressed? Why was every day a challenge? Why was there such a reluctance to go to school?

When Alexis lived as a boy in an identity that didn’t fit, with a name and pronouns that felt all wrong, the entirety of her life was a struggle. Now that she trusted us enough to articulate it, we could do something to help. I didn’t know much about transgender issues, but I committed myself to learning. I stumbled over my ignorance and made plenty of mistakes, but I eventually grew into someone she considers one of her strongest allies.

That’s how it should be. That’s my job.

Having a transgender child gave me the opportunity to broaden my compassion and understanding well beyond my own personal experiences. Which helped when, just over a year later, the person I knew as my husband of 18 years told me she was also a woman. From my uncommon vantage point, I see the difference between the freedom a trans person can experience when they’re able to come out and find support at a young age, versus having to hide that truth well into adulthood. If a young trans person can be affirmed by their family and society at large, the outcomes are largely positive. Acceptance allows them to avoid much of the pain and struggle people transitioning later can face.

The progress made over decades by trans activists allowed for this societal shift to happen, we can now make space for young people to tell us who they are and subsequently affirm them.

But that’s what makes recent events so frightening. On November 17, 2018, the Ontario PC Party passed a resolution at their convention to open up the debate on gender identity. The resolution paints gender identity as a “highly controversial, unscientific ‘liberal ideology.’” If passed at next year’s convention, the resolution would enforce the removal of all “teaching and promotion of identity theory” from the Ontario curriculum and schools.

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First Male Transgender Pro Boxer Wins Debut Fight

From Time:

By Tara Law
December 9, 2018

The first professional transgender male boxer in U.S. history made his pro debut on Saturday— with a decisive win.

Patricio Manuel, 33, defeated Mexican super-featherweight Hugo Aguilar in a bout at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, Calif., the Los Angeles Times reported. The judges unanimously ruled Manuel the victor.

Although the bout only lasted for 12 minutes, Manuel’s journey to the fight began years ago, the Times reported.

Manuel decided to transition to become a man a few months after he fought in the 2012 Olympic trials as a woman.

In addition to complex medical treatments, including surgery and hormone therapy, Manuel faced added challenges to preserve his boxing career. Besides working to get a new license, Manuel also lost his coach and his training facility, which were unwilling to work with him after his transition, the Times said.

Manuel told the Times that he was excited to be in the ring.

“I wouldn’t trade any of it. It was worth everything I went through to get to this point,” he said. “I’m a professional boxer now.”

Manuel told an interviewer after the bout that he is determined to keep moving forward.

“I’ve got some naysayers out there— I need to prove that I deserve to be in there as well. I’m not in here for one show, one fight— this is something I love. I’m not done with this sport and I’ll be back,” Manuel said.

Aguilar, who had learned that his opponent was transgender two days before the fight, reportedly handled his defeat with grace.

“For me it’s very respectable,” he told the Times in Spanish. “It doesn’t change anything for me. In the ring, he wants to win and I want to win too.”

Anti-LGBTQ Activist Admits Bathroom Predator Myth Was ‘Concocted’ As Cover for Transphobic Hate

From Vice:

Dawn Ennis
05 Dec 2018

A controversial TV commercial this fall featured a teenage girl, undressing in a ladies locker room, while a hooded cisgender man leers at her from within a stall. As she unbuttons her top, the creepy guy reveals himself, and the message of this horrifying ad becomes clear: allowing trans people to use bathrooms matching their gender identity gives male sexual predators permission to prey upon women and children.

As it turns out, transphobic messaging like this — which links access to public bathrooms and locker rooms to the threat posed by sexual offenders — was “concocted,” according to a Massachusetts-based “pro-family activism” organization Mass Resistance. Its president, Brian Camenker, is believed to be the author of the group’s November 9th “Election Analysis” post, in which the organization (which is designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center) admitted its scary campaign to repeal a statewide Massachusetts nondiscrimination law was a lie.

“Our side concocted the ‘bathroom safety’ male predator argument as a way to avoid an uncomfortable battle over LGBT ideology, and still fire up people’s emotions. It worked in Houston a few years ago,” reads the post.

“But the LGBT lobby has now figured out how to beat it,” the Mass Resistance post continues. “Their lopsided victory in Massachusetts will likely be repeated everywhere else unless the establishment pro-family groups (and their wealthy donors) are willing to change their tactics.”

The blatant confession was also published on the conservative and anti-LGBTQ platform LifeSite on November 20th.

The post summed up conservatives’ sour feelings after November’s bitterly fought campaign to maintain non-discrimination protections for transgender people in Massachusetts resulted in a landslide victory for the trans community. But it also made it clear that the anti-trans ‘bathroom predator’ myth was created because conservatives knew that simply being discriminatory wouldn’t fly.

The post also links the current anti-trans movement to earlier fights against same-sex marriage.

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Being Trans Is Not a Mental Disorder

From The New York Times:

When will the American Psychiatric Association finally stop treating it like it is?

Roy Richard Grinker
Dec. 6, 2018

Forty-five years ago, members of the American Psychiatric Association decided, by a slim 58 percent majority, to remove “homosexuality” from the list of mental disorders in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. In his old age, the great gay rights activist Frank Kameny recalled Dec. 15, 1973, as the day “when we were cured en masse by the psychiatrists.”

In a single stroke, the A.P.A. helped transform homosexuality from a medical condition to a social identity. It would take another 27 years for the World Health Organization to eliminate homosexuality from its own classification of mental disorders in the International Classification of Diseases, the comprehensive manual of some 55,000 diagnostic codes that doctors everywhere use for diagnosis and insurance reimbursement. But this summer, the W.H.O. beat the A.P.A. to the punch on another issue — transgender rights — by moving “gender incongruence” from its chapter on mental health to its chapter on sexual health. On its website, under the heading “Small Code, Big Impact,” the W.H.O. says that gender incongruence is a sexual health condition for which people may seek medical services, but that “the evidence is now clear that it is not a mental disorder.”

The A.P.A. should now do the same by eliminating its category of gender dysphoria, a technical term for people unhappy because of their gender incongruence. It would be an important step in advancing transgender rights and reducing the stigma and prejudice that people experience when, because of nothing they or anyone else did wrong, they cannot abide the sex they were assigned at birth.

The 1973 decision on homosexuality taught us that we shouldn’t expect too much too quickly. Indeed, Frank Kameny overstated the A.P.A.’s power for sarcastic effect. Most of the 42 percent who objected clung to the psychoanalytic view articulated by Sigmund Freud in 1914 that homosexuality was a developmental problem. Nor did the A.P.A. immediately excise homosexuality from the D.S.M. As a compromise, the organization retained diagnoses in subsequent editions to denote people unhappy about being homosexual — ego dystonic homosexuality, for example — and eliminated homosexuality completely only in the 1987 revision.

History is now repeating itself. Echoing the compromise on homosexuality, the A.P.A. decided in 2013 not to remove gender incongruence entirely from the D.S.M. but to change “gender identity disorder” to “gender dysphoria,” just a slight tweak of the equivalent word “ego-dystonic” that had been paired with homosexuality in the 1980s. The worthy aim of coining this new diagnosis was to lessen the stigma of gender incongruence. But as was the case with the short-lived “ego-dystonic homosexuality,” the A.P.A. is just delaying the inevitable.

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Friday Night Fun and Culture: Peter, Paul and Mary

This Pastor Is Melting Purity Rings Into A Golden Vagina Sculpture

From Huffington Post:

Christian author Nadia Bolz-Weber plans to create something beautiful out of the rings once used to pledge abstinence.

Carol Kuruvilla

What should Christian feminists do with their old “purity” rings, symbols of a patriarchal theology that has harmed countless women?

Melt them down, says progressive Christian author and theologian Nadia Bolz-Weber, and create something completely new.

On Monday, Bolz-Weber issued a call on Twitter for people to send her those rings “for a massive art project.”

In certain evangelical Christian circles, the rings were given to young girls as symbols of a pledge they made to abstain from sex until marriage. But the rings ― and more broadly, the Christian purity culture of the 1990s and 2000s ― also shamed young girls into disconnecting from their bodies, Bolz-Weber argues.

With the help of artist Nancy Anderson, Bolz-Weber said she plans to melt down the rings that people send her and recast them as a “golden vagina.” She said that the project ― part of a promotion for Shameless, her upcoming book about sex and Christianity ― is about “reclamation” of women’s bodies.

“This thing about women that the church has tried to hide and control and that is a canvas on which other people can write their own righteousness ― it’s actually ours,” Bolz-Weber told HuffPost. “This part of me is mine and I get to determine what is good for it and if it’s beautiful and how I use it in the world.”

Bolz-Weber was the founding pastor of Denver’s House for All Sinners and Saints, a progressive, queer-inclusive Lutheran congregation. Although she was born a generation too early to experience the purity ring phenomenon, she said that many of her younger friends and former parishioners were immersed in that culture.

Notions about the need to control women’s sexuality have existed for centuries in Christian communities, but the purity culture phenomenon that Bolz-Weber is referring really took root in certain evangelical circles during the 1990s and 2000s. It grew out of the alarm that some conservative Christians felt about the sexual revolution, according to Linda Kay Klein, author of Pure: Inside the Evangelical Movement That Shamed a Generation of Young Women and How I Broke Free.

Some Christians believed that a renewed focus on chastity and traditional sexual values was the best solution to the spread of AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, Klein writes in her book. The U.S. government, influenced by this belief, began pouring money into abstinence-only education. This helped the purity movement spread beyond the most insular circles and into more mainstream evangelicalism.

Thousands of teens signed the “True Love Waits” pledge of abstinence, which was supported by the Southern Baptist Convention, America’s largest evangelical denomination. I Kissed Dating Goodbye, a wildly popular 1997 book, encouraged Christian teens to abstain even from dating. (Its author, Josh Harris, recently stopped publication of the book and apologized for the harm it caused.)

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