By Sabrina Samone, TMP
Six weeks in and 2013 is beginning to look like it could be the year of the T. T being slang for your Truth had been used by sections of the Trans community for years to describe our biological gender. Later to be used more widely to imply the truth of any situation. In 2012 on the new sitcom, The New Normal, the character Rocky tells Jane not to let a guy know her T adding, not to reveal her real intentions. This sly inclusion of an lgbt slang in a gay comedy with several other uses of gay lingo maybe inconsequential or could have been a hint to what’s to transpire.
2013 started with a bang for the transgender community in mainstream media. Starting with the end of the previous year when ‘The Donald’, made the decision to allow legally transgender females to compete in the Miss USA and Universe pageants, giving Trans-women everywhere a long desired goal; to enter, compete and have their beauty and talent judged not as a Trans-female but as any other woman. January 11th, 2013 +Kylan Wenzel became the first transgender to benefit from the new changes by competing in the Miss California, USA pageant. A week later, the most historical inauguration speech for lgbt people, possibly the nation, took place when re-elected President Barrack Obama mentioned Stonewall in the same context as Selma, Alabama. By doing so, he linked both riots as equal struggles for civil rights. The President is also now considering using an executive order to end discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.
A bigger clue of the future came in smaller packages and in the form of an eleven year old Trans-youth named +Sadie, who touched the world with major media attention when she wrote a heartfelt letter to the POTUS about his lack of mentioning transgender people. The young future of Trans Society continued to make headlines last month as Barbara Walters revisited the story line of Jazz, now an outspoken twelve year old public speaker of transgender visibility. Then on February 10, the Showtime original series Shameless, introduced in its third season yet another to mainstream media by adding a recurring trans-youth character. This is the first continuing transgender role in television history. Just six weeks in and things are looking up, even under the major radars. Transgender people are influencing and shaping history in every field like never before.
Excellence in Advocacy
Several bloggers and writers continue to influence, featured and or receive creditable mentions in one of the most influential national papers, The Huffington Post; +Monica Roberts, +Toni Newman, +Kortney Ryan Ziegler, PHD, +Buck Angel and +Janet Mock are a few of many transgender people with featured stories covering a wide range of topics affecting the Trans community.
Breaking barriers in Politics
Though a few transgender have made attempts and even won elected seats as in the re-election of the Mayor of Silverton, Oregon, +Stu Rasmussen. This year transgender people worldwide were breaking barriers. Poland elected Parliament member +Anna Grodzka in 2011 and this year was nominated to deputy speaker of the house, a second first for Grodzka and Europe. In Ecuador, +Diane Rodriquez is attempting to become that country’s first transgender in congress. In the land of the lady boy, +Yollada “Nok” Suanyos won an elected seat against a major money candidate and continues her work as a leader of social justice and acceptance of Thailand’s transgender society as founder and chairperson of the Trans-female association of Thailand. In America next month, the people of NYC’s upper west side and Houston will have the chance to elect for the first time a transgender to city council seats. If elected, and reports are strongly suggesting so, they’d be one of the first to do so in any major US city. +Mel Wymore, a respected community leader is favored by the city’s transgender population for the city council seat in NYC. In Republican Party Mecca Texas, the push is on to elect that states first transgender, +Jenifer Rene Pool, to Houston’s City Council at Large Position 3 seat. Even a little progress is coming to my state of South Carolina. Stephen Colbert of the hit show The Colbert Report and Charleston native’s cis-gender (born female) sister, +Elizabeth Colbert Busch is campaigning for coastal South Carolina’s District One seat. Busch would be one of a very few and potentially, the most lgbtq friendly politician in this state’s history. I’ve proudly made a small donation to the last mentioned three candidates.
Many positive changes for transgender health continue. According to The American Psychiatric Association, transgender is no longer listed as being a mental disorder. For now we are listed with gender dysphoria, which means emotional stress related to gender identity. This is an end to 20 years listed as a mental disorder, yet work remains. California and Oregon leads the nation now in providing insurance for transgender health issues. Chicago is a leading city in medical and well being services for transgender. Chicago House’s Translife Project provides employment support programs, fixed and scattered site housing for transgender persons and linkage to culturally-competent healthcare and social services. Lurie Children’s Hospital opened the regions first gender identity clinic, providing a professional one stop for families in transition nationwide. Chicago is not only providing health for trans-youth but now the Old Wrigleyville police station will be turned into one of the nation’s few lgbt senior housing complex.
Campus Pride named the nation’s top Trans friendliest Colleges and Universities. Brown University now allows it’s student health plan to extend to cover sex-change surgery beginning in August. Brown is not the first but the 36th college now to do so. Others are Harvard, Stanford, Cornell, Penn, Emory, Northwestern, the University of California, Yale and others. Several other colleges and University around the country begin to address transgender issues from campus quality of life to providing transgender public restrooms like The College of Charleston, where areas that are made known only to the transgender students are called safezone.
+Lana Wachowski, a transgender director/producer made headlines with the gender-bending box office hit ‘Cloud Atlas’. During NYC’s fashion week, transgender celebrity, model and now fashion designer +Isis King , has débuted her new collection. This year TS actress +Laverne Cox will be producing a new television project. What started as a rumble in beautiful Brazil, +Lea T leads a face of a now growing list of transgender supermodels. Fashion houses Benetton and Givenchy; lead the pack with top transgender models. +Jack Ori, Toni Newman, and +Ryan Sallans are a list of transgender authors making headlines and best sellers list so far this year. Even American Idol has the transgender fever with +Jada Davila amazing the audience. Not to be out done, cable network is showing support with the first ever recurring transgender character on Showtime’s Series Shameless and Sundance Channel is making even bigger news by currently developing the first ever scripted drama series to ever focus as its main character a transgender man. Also in development, a reality show examining the lives of a group of Transgender musicians; their work, lives and stories from the creators of Taxi Cab Confessions.
And in weeks…a first, never before imagined business venture happens. Chrysalis lingerie has developed lingerie specifically made for transgender women and if that’s not getting you thinking the finish line of the struggle is in site then maybe the fact the company is transgender owned will. The line will reveal the answer and forever bury the old ancient Chinese secret of tucking; hiding the candy, no more jail house tuck or bulges from our unwanted birth defect. Also another new transgender entrepreneurial venture has been introduced, the two-knotty-girls and its line of handmade jewelry debuts. Also recent is Zazzle.com‘s transgender pride clothing. And the fun and exciting legalize Tran’s company with its fun and trendy; shirts, buttons, and key chains of the wildly popular new phrase “Someone I love is Trans” items, also found on at Zazzle.
Believe it or not even transgender in religion is becoming an extremely hot topic of conversation in the past few weeks. Books on the Native American teachings of the two spirit people are on spiritual top sellers list. The Kabbalah is an ancient Jewish mystical teaching. Becoming increasing popular with transgender people do to the teaching and belief that God is both male and female. Even some ministers in Christianity are telling untold stories of genderless (or eunuch) characters in the bible.
Those are a few of the positive happenings in the first six weeks of 2013 for the transgender community. Of course, now more than ever, none of us need get complacent. Along with progress, also have come more negative critics in past six weeks than in the past year already. Evangelicals are now finding ways, along with their own personal interpretations against Trans people. Even pushing legislators to make legislations targeting us and adding more hate to increasingly newly used terms like Transphobia. Murders, suicides and assaults on lgbt people are alarmingly on the rise so far this year, as national political debates of lgbt issues push everyone closer to what seems at times like a cultural war. We’re also forced more so than ever to see our own communities mirrored reflection of imperfection. Making us answer the question, are we willing to hinder progress by not facing the internal divisions of race, sexual orientation and cis-gender (including gay and lesbian’s) femphobia views on gender, that without continued promotion of Trans-unity, threatens to eradicate any positive progress the Trans community has made. After Gays and Lesbians have accomplished their goal of marriage equality, how many of us are willing to leave our livelihood in their hands? Especially considering how many in the Trans Society feel our issues have been brushed under the carpet for years in favor of theirs. Why should we expect the gay and lesbians to take up or agenda? We should continue uniting and building a foundation of our own political empowerment of Transpeople’s, as they have done. Creating and supporting our own political leaders. Beginning with the two current Trans city council candidates, donations of a dollar or yet a quarter from nearly every Trans person would be more support than those candidates have received yet. Pushing the Trans cause one step further from the past of cis-gender bigotry, division and one step closer to a continued brighter more fulfilling future. A future where one day as a Transpeople’s, we could truly be seen, by the world, how we see ourselves , the person we are inside. Isn’t that the very reason and meaning of our transitioning?
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