President Obama issued a proclamation at the end of May stating that June is officially Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month, but June has unofficially been Pride Month for the LGBT community for decades. We place it in June, and our pride parades at the end of June, to mark the anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion. This year will be 45 years.
The fact that our President is so markedly in support of LGBT rights is historic, but what really makes it remarkable to me is that he and his administration have been vocal lately about transgender rights. Sex reassignment surgery can now be covered on Medicare. Chuck Hagel is now “open” to reconsidering the military’s ban on transgender service members. This is all part of a very fast, sweeping change in our culture’s conversation about transgender people, marked just since the beginning of this month, for example, by Laverne Cox’s appearance on the cover of TIME and a viral video telling the story of a family raising a transgender child. Keep reading »
Last week, “Orange Is The New Black” actress Laverne Cox appeared on the cover of TIME, illustrating a piece about how trans rights issues are “America’s next civil rights frontier.” Cox was the first-ever trans person to appear on TIME‘s cover.
This weekend National Review writer Kevin D. Williamson published a piece entitled “Laverne Cox Is Not A Woman,” which was later reprinted in the Chicago Sun-Times. Why anyone cares what Williamson — whose job is simply “roving correspondent” for the Review — has to say about transgender issues, I don’t know. But his piece — which we will not link to so as not to give it traffic — was so full of ignorant pseudoscience and bias that it couldn’t help but attract (mostly negative) attention. Keep reading »
Listen, I’m not about to throw Rush Limbaugh a parade or anything, but perhaps for the first time in his life, the conservative shock jock actually let a critic get a word in edgewise. Via Jezebel, a trans woman named Tina called into Limbaugh’s radio show to criticize his coverage of TIME‘s Laverne Cox/trans rights cover story. When Rush rather annoyingly claimed he’s “been for trannies for a long time,” the caller enlightened him to the fact that, yes, “tranny” is still considered an offensive slur even though Alec Baldwin used it that one time. Then, seemingly having Limbaugh’s attention, she went on to explain just some of the prejudices she faces as a trans woman:
“One of the things about being transgender is that whatever somebody’s sexual preference is, you’re not it. Gay men don’t want anything to do with effeminate types and straight men don’t want to have anything to do with people who’ve got wrong plumbing or wrong history and lesbian women are interested in certain things that’s just never gonna be the same no matter how much surgery you have, so that definitely is a problem.”
Keep reading »
“Wow” is all I have to say after watching this beautiful video that tells the story of Ryland Whittington, a bright, fun, loving little boy who happens to be transgender. Ryland’s story is fairly typical of many transgender kids — around age 3, he started rejecting a traditionally feminine presentation and self-identifying as a boy. The confusion soon morphed into feelings of shame and frustration. From there he could have spiraled into self-loathing, depression, and isolation, but what makes Ryland’s story different from so many trans people’s childhood experiences is that he also happened to be born with a truly amazing set of parents. Want to see what acceptance, understanding, and unconditional love look like? Hit play. [YouTube via Hypervocal]
Last night, at a Times Talk Q&A between the New York Times‘ A.O. Smith and “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”‘s John Cameron Mitchell, the musical’s creator dropped an interesting anecdote about “Late Night with David Letterman” and its host. According to Slade Sohmer at HyperVocal, who snagged this Instagram video, Mitchell talked about promoting the original run of the groundbreaking Broadway musical — about an East German transgender punk singer who compares herself to the Berlin Wall — on “Late Night” 15 years ago, performing the opening number in costume. But Mitchell explains that producers told him to not remove his wig at the end of the performance — which would revealing his male-ness — because they didn’t want to “confuse” the viewers at home. “They wanted people to think I was a woman,” Mitchell said. And then: “David wouldn’t shake my hand.” Keep reading »