Trans Sports Clubs: When Swimming and Playing Football are Revolutionary Acts

Trans Sports Clubs: All Roberta Francis wanted was a peaceful place to swim. But, writes Kashmira Gander, what she has created has transformed into so much more.

It’s a Friday night in Lewisham and ten people have gathered for a weekly swimming club at the inner London borough’s modern leisure centre, an oasis of calm beyond which city life grinds on. Reflections from the red light of the emergency exit sign dance on the water of the dimly lit pool where Roberta Francis, the club’s head honcho, plays catch with another swimmer. Others are reclining at the water’s edge, their eyes closed and legs drifting outwards; some still chat quietly and catch their breath between laps. There’s no music, only the gentle murmur of chatter and the slop of water in the pool vents.

So, a bunch of people have gone swimming on a Friday night. Nothing remarkable about that. Look at the lifeguard’s bored face. Except that these people are trans (the term used to describe a person who does not identify with the gender assigned to them at birth) and simply popping out for a quick swim can be fraught with difficulty. Dedicated groups like the Trans and Gender non-conforming Swimming (TAGS) group in Lewisham take months to organise, and are only possible because of years of LGBT activism.

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Top Surgery & Binding for Non Binary and Transgender People

Three trans guys at three different stages of top surgery. Pre-top surgery, a few months later and 4 years later!

Julie Vu On How Life Is Too Short To Be Anyone But Yourself

“With Vancouver Pride right around the corner, we’re so excited to share Julie Vu’s story of bravery and self-discovery. In her own words, “Life is too short to be anyone but yourself”.

Laverne Cox Stars in The Rocky Horror Picture Show TV Film Reboot Trailer

After 40 years, the best part of THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW is still the fans! Enjoy this trailer released at Comic-Con 2016.

Laverne Cox says it’s ‘wonderful’ to be a ‘black, trans woman’ cast in CBS drama Doubt

Laverne Cox has said she is proud to play her character on CBS legal drama ‘Doubt’.

Laverne Cox

Of her character, an Ivy League-educated attorney, the Orange is the New Black star said: “What’s so exciting about [the role of] Cameron and being on CBS is I’m an avid TV watcher and, growing up, I did not see people like me on television.” Speaking at the Television Critics Association summer press tour, Cox added: “It’s wonderful to get to play a character like that. And to be a black transgender woman in that position on CBS feels really special.”

It was announced last February that Cox had been cast in the legal drama by CBS. 

The casting was hailed as a milestone for diversity on US TV, and the role was created specifically for Cox.

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Trailer for Whoopi Goldberg’s New TV Show Strut Focused around Trans Models

“Strut” is a series from executive producer Whoopi Goldberg about trans models breaking down barriers in the industry. “‘Strut” follows a group of inspiring and resilient trailblazers who are working to change the modeling industry, and the world around them, by simply being true to themselves. These individuals will empower viewers as they live their lives fully and unapologetically, despite facing many obstacles throughout their journey.

Trans Inclusive Jewish summer-camps are pioneering a gender-neutral form of Hebrew

Seven Jewish summer camps across America are rolling out a more trans inclusive gender-neutral form of Hebrew. The new form of Hebrew will be rolled out across the Habonim Dror summer camps.

Trans Inclusive Summer Camp

All seven sites across North America will use the form, which includes words like “chanichol”, which is a gender neutral form of the Hebrew word “chanich” for boys or “chanichah” for girls, meaning camper.

Traditionally, there is no gender-neutral form of Hebrew and nouns are divided into genders, much like many other languages like Spanish, French and Russian. Hebrew is more of a challenge than most gendered languages because you cannot speak in the first or second person, without indicating a gender. For example, the English phrase “I want a drink” would be literally translated into Hebrew as “I female-want a female-drink”.

“It really reinforces the impact of summer camp as a safe space,” Sara Zebovitz, the North America director for Habonim Dror told the Washington Post.

“Camp has always made it okay to say, ‘I can be myself here.’”

The new form of Hebrew also includes cheers of each child’s age, typically heard in group settings.

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Transgender Equality: This proud Texas Christian mom is taking on the world for her trans daughter’s rights

An evangelical mother in Texas has become an unlikely firebrand for transgender equality – as she fights for her daughter’s rights. Pearland, Houston mother Kim Shappley is a devout Christian and ordained minister – in one of the most anti-LGBT parts of America. Houston last year became the focal point of a transgender rights battle last year when residents voted to repeal a local LGBT rights ordinance after lobbying from religious groups. But Ms Shappley is swimming against the tide in the conservative-dominated state, for the sake of her five-year-old transgender daughter Kai – who insisted she was a girl from age 3.

The mother says she prayed her child would grow out of it, and spent months of trying to make her act like a boy. Ms Shappley recalled: “We would take the girl toys away and Kai would pull a shirt down to her waist and make it a skirt. A shirt would get tied onto her head and it would make long hair.” “I would hold Kai down, and make her get a haircut while she screamed ‘no mommy, no mommy’…. my child would pray and ask to let her go to Heaven and be with Jesus. “Kai was begging the Lord to let her die.” After seeing the extent of harm she was causing, the mother realised the error of her ways and vowed to always embrace Kai for who she is. And that’s why when Kai’s school informed her that they would treat her daughter as a male student, she vowed to fight the decision.

The proud mum is taking on Pearland Independent School District in her bid to secure equality for Kai

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