Transgender rights: France scraps sterilisation in status law

Transgender rights activists have welcomed a new French law that lets transgender people change their legal status without having to be sterilized.

The activist group ILGA-Europe called it “clear progress” that “another European country has dispensed with the shameful practice of sterilization”.

But it regretted that trans people in France will still have to get a court to recognize their gender change.

Laws in Denmark, Malta, Ireland and Norway have gone further, it said.

In those countries, legal gender recognition relies on the principle of “self-determination” – dispensing with medical or judicial requirements.

That principle was also advocated by the Council of Europe – the top European human rights watchdog – in an anti-discrimination resolution last year

Read more here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-37653459

‘A hole in your chest where gender used to be’: Being non-binary in the UK

Four people living in the UK explain what it’s like to be non-binary.

Recent years have seen an unprecedented increase in awareness of transgender communities among wider society. In 2014, Time magazine declared society has reached a “transgender tipping point” and figures like Caitlyn Jenner and Laverne Cox have become household names. However, despite the welcome interest in transgender communities, some transgender identities have received considerably more attention than others. Transgender identities and lived experiences can be much more varied and complex than binary ‘male to female’ or ‘female to male’ transition stories which dominate the press.

Non-binary people can identify as transgender, but often not within the traditional gender binary of male or female. Rather, some non-binary people can identify as a mix of genders, or none at all. Some can feel their gender identity is steady and fixed, while others feel it can fluctuate by the day, by the hour or depending on the situation they are in. For many non-binary people, life can feel like being a minority within a minority.

Here, four non-binary people share their experiences of what life is like for them living in the UK and their hopes for greater understanding and visibility for the future.

J is 39-years-old and works at a university in London

How would you describe being non-binary?

Being non-binary feels like having this hole in your chest where something — my sense of gender — used to be, where you know that almost everyone else has something, and now I just… don’t. It’s not a painful lack, just a noticeable one that sets me apart from most other people.

It means people who don’t identify all of the time as a man or a woman. Maybe they switch between those genders, or feel like a different gender entirely, or they don’t have a gender at all, or something different.

Read more here: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/what-does-non-binary-mean-what-its-like-to-not-have-a-male-female-gender-a7317086.html

Charring Cross Gender Clinic to Migrate Away From Mental Health Trust

Dr Stuart Lorimer stated on twitter that the Gender Clinic prefers to be hosted by a non Mental Health provider.

Dr James Barrett, Lead Consultant at the Gender Identity Clinic (GIC), on behalf of GIC clinicians, said:

“The gender identity clinic is not closing.

“To clarify, we clinicians have long felt that West London Mental Health Trust is not a good fit for the unique and specific service we provide (the vast majority of those we see are not mentally ill).

“Increasingly, we feel our patients would be better served by us if we worked somewhere better able to support and develop a more tailored approach to gender.

“There are a number of options in terms of alternative providers. We would not make any move unless confident that patient care would be markedly improved.

“Until that point, current arrangements will still apply. Our aim is for any change to be a positive one, and any transition to be as seamless as possible.”

WLMHT made the following assurances:

  • This does not mean services are stopping now – we will continue to provide services as normal until such time as a new provider is able to take over; this is likely to be at least six months.
  • Patients from London and the South East will not be left without services or have to travel much further – NHS England as the commissioner for gender identity services will find a suitable alternative provider as quickly as possible.
  • Patients will not have to start their treatment all over again – continuity of care for our patients is the number one priority for clinic staff. GIC staff will work closely with NHS England and a new provider to ensure disruption to treatment is kept to an absolute minimum.
  • This does not mean we will let services deteriorate – WLMHT and the GIC will continue to deliver on plans we have developed with NHS England to improve access to and quality of services while it continues as the provider.
  • We will not  reduce staffing levels – while we remain the provider of this service we have an obligation to ensure there are sufficient qualified staff to maintain and continue improvements in access and quality.
  • We will ensure a smooth handover to the new provider, working closely with our colleagues at the GIC and NHS England

Read More here: http://www.wlmht.nhs.uk/news-events/future-charing-cross-gender-identity-clinic/

Why The Nike Advert Isn’t A Step Forward For Trans Rights

Today I was sent this advert to review, the new Nike advert. It features athlete Chris Mosier who has been accepted onto the USA national team. He also happens to be trans.

People have touted this as a huge step forward for trans* visibility, for breaking barriers and challenging assumptions on gender. However, all it does is serve to put trans* people in the spotlight while reinforcing the age old narrative that trans people are not “real” men or women.

Why?

Because the voice over asks questions such as: “Chris, How’d you know you’d be fast enough to compete against men?….or strong enough? ….”. And yes, they may be valid questions, how did you know you were strong enough *full stop*. But it doesn’t need to be followed by “against men”, because he is a man. You wouldn’t ask that to any other male athlete, assuming that they had grown up wondering if they could compete in their gender category. The fact that these questions are asked to Chris imply that he is not in fact a man and therein lies the problem.

Society has a huge problem with transphobia, not that you would always know it. Often it is hidden in the little snide remarks (you’re taller than I expected!), at the end of sentences (You’re pretty..for a trans girl). This advert reinforces these transphobic ideas by it’s implication that Chris runs fast, for a trans* guy, and thereby its implication that Chris is not a “real” man.

Read more here: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/lj-ferris/why-nikes-advert-isnt-a-s_b_11539670.html

Bathroom Access “A Must” For Trans Employees

New Federal mandate says bathroom access “a must” for trans employees. New regulations will guarantee trans men and women working for the federal government will be able to use bathrooms that align with their gender identity.

The guidelines, posted this week in the Federal Register, affect workers and visitors at the approximately 9,200 facilities operated by the General Services Administration, from federal courthouses to Social Security Administration offices (but not national parks).

BuzzFeed News reports:

Transgender people do not need to complete any medical procedure to qualify to use the restroom that aligns with their gender, nor can they be required to show proof of surgery, the bulletin states. They also cannot be restricted to single-occupancy restrooms.

“This includes all kinds of Americans,” Nash-Hahn said. “We wanted to make clear that a person can use facilities that match their gender identity, and we think that’s a good thing.”

Read more here: http://www.newnownext.com/transgender-bathroom-obama/08/2016/

Courtesy of buzzfeed

Atlanta Mayor Makes Historic Appointment of Trans Activist to City’s Review Board

The Mayor of Atlanta Kasim Reed has made a historic appointment to the city’s Atlanta Citizen Review board. Mayor Reed appointed an out trans activist to the board, praising their “lifelong” trans activism.

Mayor Appoints Trans Activist

The appointment is believed to be the first time a trans person has served on the Board openly.

“I am pleased to appoint Tracee McDaniel to serve on the Atlanta Citizen Review Board,” Mayor Reed said in a written statement.

“As a lifelong advocate for the transgender community, Ms. McDaniel will bring an important perspective and a lifetime of experience to this role.”

Reed added that he thought the appointment would be useful amid tensions between police and Atlanta residents.

Read more here: http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2016/08/13/atlanta-mayor-makes-historic-appointment-of-trans-activist-to-citys-review-board/

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.

Read more here: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/transgender-sports-clubs-london-birmingham-football-swimming-fitness-safety-a7185511.html

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.

Read more here: http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2016/08/11/laverne-cox-says-its-wonderful-to-be-a-black-trans-woman-cast-in-cbs-drama-doubt/

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.

Read more here: http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2016/08/12/these-jewish-summer-camps-are-pioneering-a-trans-inclusive-gender-neutral-form-of-hebrew/