There are a lot of worries parents might have as their child heads off to school: academic struggles, not getting along with teachers or classmates, bad behavior. The potential consequences for these concerns are worrisome as well. As a mother (and one who used to teach high school social studies), I don’t think it’s all that unusual to fret over things like these.
But one thing I didn’t think I’d have to be worried about is the possibility of my son being suspended for his sense of style. A 13-year-old 8th grader from Kansas was recently suspended for wearing a Vera Bradley handbag while attending school.
Suspended. For having a quilted bag. Seriously. Keep reading »
Now that Chelsea Manning has expressed a desire to medically transition through hormone replacement therapy, there are a lot of questions circling about what Leavenworth looks like for a trans woman, and how exactly someone might transition from male to female in prison. While Manning’s case itself is complicated, the question of what kind of healthcare someone deserves in prison is fairly simple. There are clear legal and moral arguments for Manning receiving hormones once they are prescribed by a doctor. This isn’t about what she did or did not do; it’s about the basic commitment we make as a society when we lock someone up.
When someone commits a crime, no matter how heinous, we still have an obligation as a society to provide their basic needs while they serve their time. As Lesley Kinzel argued when writing about the Michelle Kosilek case last year, “What makes us better than murderers is that we value human life, even the lives of those who don’t value life themselves, their own included.” Whether or not you agree with Manning’s release of classified information, we consider a decent life a collective value, enshrined in the basic rights that are guaranteed by our Constitution. Courts have already held that the 8th Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment confers a right to adequate medical care in prison, and medical experts and courts have consistently found that hormone therapy is a medically necessary treatment for transgender people for whom it’s prescribed. Keep reading »
“So? What are you having?”
Throughout my pregnancy, that was the number one question I received, tied only with: “How are you feeling?” At first I was polite about it, telling folks that it was too early to tell, but that we weren’t finding out anyway until the birth. After I passed 20 weeks, I attempted to answer all the Nosy Nellies as diplomatically as I could. I said that we would be happy with either a boy or girl, as long as the baby was healthy. Yet as my belly expanded, my patience shrank and I found myself coming up with more creative ways to answer the increasingly frequent queries over “what” we were having. “Fingers crossed it’s not a kitten!” was one of my favorite go-to replies.
And, for those keeping track – no, we did not have a kitten, but rather a beautiful baby boy. Still, the questions kept coming. Since we didn’t know if we were having a boy or girl (and because, you know, colors are for everyone), my son wore a rainbow of onesies, which only seemed to confuse folks. Multiple times a day I would have people question why my son was wearing purple. Or pink. Or even yellow. I did not get the same stares or questions when he donned his blue, green or brown onesies. Our society, one that is heavily entrenched in traditional, stereotypical gender roles, seems to want to plug children into these boxes as quickly as possible — even before they’re born — and that can be both frustrating and confusing. Keep reading »
Four days ago, a royal child entered the world in a hospital wing in London. It didn’t take long for bloggers across the pond to start fighting about it.
Here’s that happened: blogger Heina Dadabhoy, who writes for the feminist-minded secularism/atheism blog Skepchick, pointed out on Twitter how Prince George was neither born a boy nor a girl, but rather assigned a sex at birth based on his perceivable genitals. Keep reading »
A win for the transgender community! Coy Mathis, a transgendered 6-year-old from Fountain, Colorado has won a case against the Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8, allowing her to officially use the girls’ bathroom.
Coy had been using the girls’ bathroom at her school because she identifies as a female. Although she was assigned the male gender at birth, she wears girls’ clothing and is identified as female in both her passport and state identification.
In December, the Eagleside Elementary School principal asked Coy to use the boys’ bathroom, gender-neutral faculty bathrooms or the nurse’s bathroom. Coy’s parents, Kathryn and Jeremy Mathis, filed a complaint back in February, with the Colorado Civil Rights Division, citing discrimination. Keep reading »
A woman in Kalamazoo, Michigan claims that she has been fired for showing up to work at the restaurant, Harvey’s on the Mall, in dressed as a man. The restaurant, however, claims that her termination had nothing to do with her gender-bending outfit, but rather with her failure to comply with the restaurant’s dress code.
Myah VanTil dressed in drag (image above) for LGBT Pride last Saturday and says that she spent two hours drawing a 5 o’clock shadow on her face and then 45 more minutes binding her chest. She then showed up to work dressed like this, in solidarity with the LGBT community.
According to Equality MI, Kalamazzo law does support VanTil in her freedom to express both her gender identity and/or sexual orientation at work. But Harvey’s argues that she was fired for insubordination because she specifically asked them if she could dress in drag and was told “no.” Keep reading »
I have a love-hate relationship with “What Would You Do?”, the so-called ‘reality’ show that hires actors to enact controversial situations in public to gauge the response of random people. I don’t actually watch the show, but every time I read about one of the show’s episodes online — What will happen when this neo-Nazi group sits down at IHOP? — I’m off to the races to watch the shit out of that thing.
It’s inevitable, really, that they would do a show about Halloween and little kids costumes. Get your little black hearts ready: an adorable boy is going to find out from some busybody ladies at a Halloween store why he can’t be a princess for Halloween. Keep reading »
In 2007, Against Me!, a punk rock band from Gainesville, Florida, released a song called “The Ocean.” In his trademark melodic growl, lead singer Tom Gabel sang the following lyrics: “If I could have chosen/I would have been born a woman/My mother once told me she would have named me Laura/I would grow up to be strong and beautiful like her.” In the latest issue of Rolling Stone, Gabel reveals a secret he’s been keeping all his life: he is transgender, and those lyrics were autobiographical. From this point on, he will live as a woman. His new name? Laura Jane Grace. Keep reading »