Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Run girl Run!!!!

Subway customer alleged assault caught on video

I don’t support crime.  If you’ve committed a crime then you should be brave enough to do the time. But I can see someone acting out simply because they have had enough. I feel fortunate in that I haven’t had any messy altercations, don’t mean I’m not saying I haven’t had my share of some girl, cis-girl, roll her eyes at me at the counter or that silly smirk we sometimes get from backwoods trained customer service people.  Some I’ve known in Charleston has had a few more serious moments of near confrontation at a customer service person refusing to call them by the pro-noun of their presented gender.  We aren’t talking either about a few girls that don’t look anywhere near the gender they have represented. These are girls that would be considered beautiful yet some worker wants everyone in line to know this is a man standing before them.  Another prime example of the Jerry Springer age that most cis people feel they are an audience member when confronted with the presence of a Trans-girl.

Well one girl in North Charleston had her limit today at a local subway. “Supposedly” the trans-girl in question wanted the menu read to her and the clerk refused.  That simple act supposedly set her off to vandalize the store. Well of course I wasn’t there, but there are always two sides of the story and being Trans and knowing North Charleston customer service at fast food, especially those in the ghetto, how Tran’s people are received.  During the interview the clerk is more than happy to let you know, yes it was a man dressed as a woman.  So easily and proudly I could just see her having somewhat of an attitude which more than likely was the reason the Trans-girl was set off. Obviously we can’t confirm that, only the other party has another story but she’s not telling because she’s on the run.  Seems police are now after this transgender woman and she’s expected to be charged with assault third degree and vandalism.  I’m definitely keeping an eye on this one, even considering seeing what reception I receive if I went in with a pleasant attitude, because I smell a rat.


Defining who we are pt. 2: Being Transgender after the Jerry Springer Effect

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Defining who we are pt. lll: The Trans* sex worker and exploitation

Sabrina Samone, TMP, 3/24/2013

 I don’t like when someone asks me, “Who’s my hero in life?”  In Greek mythology a hero was at least a demi-god, so to me very few can stand that unblemished on a pedestal. I prefer, whom I look up to and one of the biggest was Gloria Steinem.  One of my favorite quotes of her is, “This is no simple reform. It really is a revolution.  Sex and race, because they are easy and visible differences have been the primary ways of organizing human beings into superior and inferior groups and into the cheap labor in which this system still depends.”

 If you are one of those trans-feminist that’s the first in line to cast the first stone at a trans-sex worker, you may want to stop here, because you will not agree with what I have to say but you are whom I refer to. I have debated about writing on this topic ever since a Trans face book friend who vehemently attacked Trans-women who choose to exploit themselves or unfortunately found themselves in the clutches of sex work, there is a difference between the two that I, for many reasons, feels needs to be addressed. In no way am I even going to attempt to defend sex work, but I do feel the need to address the demonization of trans-women by trans-women.

I’m extremely supportive of individual rights. I supported Jack Kevorkian advocacy for voluntary euthanasia; a patient’s active participation in taking the last step in their death. Who am I to tell you to suffer with the pain? Personally if I had the option to give birth I would never under any circumstance have an abortion, but who am I to deny your right to choose.  It’s the same to me, if you choose to be a porn actor or actress, or prostitute, who am I to tell you otherwise, as long as it is you, that’s made that decision.

There is a segment of Trans*, not just trans-women, that find themselves forced by society to be nothing more.  Thankfully this issue was brought up briefly on the Melissa-Harris Perry show with Trans* guest.  The one statement that was made that I’d like to high light was in reference to the new Arizona proposed bill of criminalizing trans* for using restrooms and other related facilities that does not match their birth certificate, yet in that state the process of changing the gender on your I.D. to match your presented identity is made to be a bureaucratic nightmare. Within that particular dilemma, which is found in many states but not all, you’ll find your trans-woman who’s been pushed sometimes to no other option than sex work.

Under those conditions in many places, trying to present your I.D. for work not matching your presentation will land your job application with a first class ticket to the garbage can, no matter how experienced you are in your field. Couple that with being new to transitioning, and not yet able to live stealth.  As I’ve witnessed extremely successful people fall from financial glory during the process. One person who now is a sex worker didn’t start out that way. She began her transition around 45 at the height of a successful marriage and career as owner of a major construction company. First she lost her marriage, next her children’s love and respect, then along with being cheated by partners, her company and yet still eventually, her home.  After down grading to a two bedroom apartment, during which time I met her as a neighbor, she continued to be ridiculed in public and not able to find work even at a fast food restaurant or I may ad as a bar back at a gay bar.  After a year of going through savings, she faced eviction and asked me could she be a roommate, at the time I had a roommate yet let her have my couch.  Pride would not let her stay long and she found her own way to pull herself up on her own feet. Yes, she became a sex worker.

 Now my issue is with those within the trans* community that refuse, maybe due to the fact that they haven’t suffered as such or known of anyone who has, and decide to criminalize and ostracize these women. They should be supported by the community, outreached to, networked hopefully into work and more education as I have had to be, but with no help or willingly helped from the “community”. Many therefore are not willing to be a part of the fight for equality and advocacy due to this lack of concern or ostracism from the community and we can’t afford to ignore numbers in our fight.

Yes there are many who just choose not to better themselves with education or work, that is not whom I refer. Many people cis and Trans choose to exploit themselves, and that’s something as old as time itself. But when others do it at the cost of the alienation of those affected, it’s a double slap sting that’s hard to recover. Think how hard it is as a Trans to meet new friends and companions who support you, then imagine due to a desperate mistake at a young age you are forever criminalized by your own community who seeks inclusion but not willing to ever extend it to someone who’s made mistakes. That must stop.  There are many people willing to exploit an averagely attractive, poor Trans-woman in a sexual way and she can be left scarred for life by another’s manipulation.

There are many outlets for online dating and the Trans community has our small share. I’ve done online dating sites and a fan of an even smaller few, but recently a site that advertises itself as a TS personal site to trans* actually advertises to those willing to meet someone trans as a TS booty call.  This sadly is way too common, exploiting the Trans community, specifically Trans-women.  Obviously this particular site knows it would offend a large portion of us, therefore they chose to mislead many trans-women who maybe lonely and seeking something other than the typical “perv” by appearing to be something more. There are many examples of cis-gender, heterosexual male owned sites that exploit trans-women. I don’t even want to help promote so I want even mention the full names, but Frankie’s is one that comes to mind that I know preys on young (but legal ‘maybe’) girls.  Many are contacted to pose nude or perform solo sexual acts for men to then download and watch.  They are paid pennies versus the thousands of dollars this owner would make off the use of a girls image for the lifetime of the site and it’s been around a long time.  There are girls who’ve admitted to me recently to accepting the small donations in the early 90’s and their image is still earning for the site.

Many trans-women have been victimized to these sites, add in the sometimes difficulty in finding work or continuing their education, they are locked in the world of the sex industry.  Some never make it back out of the woods, but regardless in or out they are no less or more our sisters that are fortunate enough never to have to endure such obstacle. Prime example of a trans-woman that has pulled herself out and why she is another I look up to is Toni Newman, author of I Rise: the transformation of Toni Newman. She successfully did it and I’d like to think all in the community supports her new work and not hold her past against her.

Sadly just as in cis gender society, women who are prostitutes are arrested and condemned while the exploiter goes untarnished, we punish the exploited and reward the exploiter.  As women in a male controlled society still, we should know better.  I’m so sick of women being blamed throughout society because she refuses to submit and be exploited by a man, e.g. Lilith becomes a demon because she refuses to be nothing less than Adam’s equal.  There’s a lot we as trans people can learn from feminist Gloria Steinem on exploitation of women by men but her quote, “The first problem for all of us, men and women, is not to learn but to unlearn,” maybe the best example of how we should start.
Related articles:


Saturday, March 16, 2013

Everybody run, the homeroom teachers got a gun!!

By Sabrina Samone, TMP

In my last blog, let’s ban Mental Illness not Guns; I was sadden by the lack of attention to mental illness in the country. The loss of innocence is never an easy thing to swallow and when that innocence is bloodedly murdered, it makes you want to regurgitate. Seems people have gone even more ballistic in the past month about what to do about the gun condition in this country. Again I support the second amendment but do wonder why people feel the need to have assault weapons and where is the conversation on mental illness. Why are we ignoring the facts that crazy people will find away to continue to kill, with or without a gun.
Now seems we’re even talking about giving guns to teachers. My God, so not only do you have to work one of the most important but under paid and unappreciated jobs in any modern society, but now you have to add being a police officer too? A rural Ohio school district which has asked its janitors to carry handguns has become the latest to push for armed staff member since last month. Teachers in Texas are already allowed to carry guns in some schools and the state’s lieutenant governor on Friday called for government funding to train more of them to do so. Tuesday, Huffington Post counted “at least six states” where lawmakers have outlined plans to introduce legislation this year to allow teacher to carry guns into schools or require several teachers to be armed in school building. The sates; Florida, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota and Tennessee and today word is my home state of South Carolina , from the WCDB, that a legislator here has pre-filed a bill to allow teachers to carry guns in schools. There is some hope; Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal on Friday said he would like his state to join 17 others in reporting the names of the people with serious mental illnesses in order to help prevent guns from ending up in the wrong hands.
My only horror is Bobby Jindal is the typical Republican and giving any of them more legislation over determining who is and who is not considered mentally ill is terrifying. Thoughts of the Gestapo, KGB and concentration camps come to mind thinking of what a republican controlled goverment would do with such power. At that thought, it wouldn’t be a surprise if any lgbtq person, woman who has aborted a baby or anyone who has smoked weed would be classified as mentally ill by these people. Though any talks at treating mental illness is a better step than armed teachers. Seriously who’s to say all teachers are sane? Haven’t we seen this past decade of teachers falling in love with thirteen year old students, expressing jealous rages for a minor? Do we want to give them a gun now? Can’t we come up with alternatives than Mrs. Peel being armed? Locked down the school no entry and no unsupervised exit or what about increase funding for homeschooling? These discussions seriously remind me of the old Julie brown song, Everybody run the homecoming queen has got a gun, only now seems one day soon we’ll be screaming everybody run the homeroom teacher has got a machine gun.

Related suggested readings
Let's ban mental illness not guns

The Surveillance state?

Why Trans* should vote for our own self intrest

The Colllege of Charleston to install gender neutral bathrooms for trans students

The College of Charleston in Charleston, S.C., is in the process of creating a more LGBT friendly campus.
John Bello-Ogunu, chief diversity officer of the university, told The Post and Courier that the college recently completed a draft of a strategic plan that would help increase campus diversity.
Shane Windmeyer, executive director, of Campus Pride spoke at the university’s Office of Institutional Diversity’s Signature Speaker Series as an expert on sexual orientation. Windmeyer told The Courier, “Every campus wants to be called gay-friendly. But most haven’t looked at institutionalizing safety and support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students.”
Melissa Moore, executive director of We Are Family, provided her support in helping the campus become safer for LGBT students. She says the harassment of transgender students happens mostly in bathrooms. According to The Courier, Moore recommended “gender-neutral” bathrooms be built in addition to other measures being employed by the university. These bathrooms would be placed around campus and the location would be disclosed to transgender students. For more info on the College of Charleston progress go to

Windmeyer spoke about “The Impact of Hate” at the College of Charleston on Monday as part of the Office of Institutional Diversity’s Signature Speaker Series. The college recently completed a draft of a strategic plan to increase campus diversity, said John Bello-Ogunu, chief diversity officer. The final plan will include ways to make the College of Charleston a more respectful, inclusive and safer place for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students, he said.

Windmeyer said that according to a recent survey, 25 percent of lesbian, gay and bisexual students reported they had encountered harassment on their college campuses. And 40 percent of transgender students reported such harassment. “Every campus wants to be called gay-friendly,” Windmeyer said. “But most haven’t looked at institutionalizing safety and support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students.” It takes more than allowing a Gay Straight Alliance group to meet on campus or holding a “drag” show, he said.
Melissa Moore, executive director of the local nonprofit organization We Are Family, said her group is working with the college as it develops its strategic diversity plan. She said gay and transgender students primarily tell her about two forms of harassment they encounter on campus. They often are harassed verbally on the street, she said.
“That makes them feel physically threatened.”
And transgender students report being harassed in campus bathrooms, she said. She thinks the college should provide some “gender-neutral” bathrooms for transgender students, and should find ways to let those students know where they are located.

In his presentation, Windmeyer said it’s important to highlight the contributions of gay people. For instance, he said, Bayard Rustin — an advisor of Martin Luther King and an organizer of the 1963 March on Washington— was gay.
It’s important to acknowledge that he was not only an influential black man, but a gay man as well, Windmeyer said.
“There are kids out there killing themselves because they don’t have role models.”

Friday, March 15, 2013

Let's ban mental illness not guns

I may be the lone liberal on this issue and have debated even mentioning my opinion to family, friends or here, where I stand. Yes, what happened at the elementary school in CT., was extremely troubling and sad. Since then I have tried to avoid the news for many reasons, mainly, it’s just too emotional to watch. Lately I’ve been a little disappointed with the progressive news and not for the reasons most conservatives would like to think. Most conservative media, as usual in my opinion, is way out on the edge on a hysterical limb. Conservatives continue their blame, name calling, and criticism of democrats and Obama. This unfortunate tragedy is not the time for political gain. On the other hand, the progressive media continues doing the same for political purposes, making the NRA its target. Truly there is need for more modern discussions on weapons but we also have an obligation to our Constitution which is our country, freedom and the very essence of our democracy. Both progressive and conservative citizens can both agree on love for our freedom and the protection of our Constitution. In the Constitution, the second amendment states, the right to keep and bear arms: is the enumerated right that people have a personal right to own arms for individual use, and a collective right to bear arms in a militia. In 2008 and 2010, the Supreme Court issued two landmark decisions concerning the Second Amendment. In District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008), the Court ruled that the Second Amendment protects an individual's right to possess a firearm, unconnected to service in a militia and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home. In dicta, the Court listed many longstanding prohibitions and restrictions on firearms possession as being consistent with the Second Amendment. In McDonald v. Chicago, 561 U.S. 3025 (2010), the Court ruled that the Second Amendment limits state and local governments to the same extent that it limits the federal government.

For every step a nation takes away from disarming its citizens, history has proven time and time again, that we take one step closer to a dictatorship. Let’s also be reasonable as well, Obama and the Democratic Party or the Republican Party of today, is not the potential dictatorship and we should move on from the usual petty labeling. Without the protection of our second amendment we should worry though, of the leaders of tomorrow. As far as any gun control, instead of banning, we should however consider strong regulations and stricter ways of owning guns. We should consider more mental illness background checks on individuals and their families. Instead of the constant attention on gun control why aren’t we as a people considering better treatments for the mentally ill. Recently in an article for Thinkprogress, the question being asked, "Is it easier for Americans to access gun than mental health services?" At the beginning of 2012 there was national outrage in the media about mental health cuts. Try goggling mental health cuts and you can see for yourself, articles naming states after states that have received cuts in mental health services. Now that a major tragedy has happened that leaves little doubt of the mental illness of the individual, we concern ourselves mainly with gun control. In America is there still anyone not taking a pill for one slight mental illness or another; major depression, bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, stress disorders, etc., the list goes on. With or without gun controls how much longer can we ignore the growing epidemic of what are being considered as common mental illnesses. I’d like to propose a question to my fellow liberal and progressive citizens of this country, what would we do in a situation without guns in a country that may one day be even more controlled by either the Koch brothers or anyone similar? Would you think multi billionaires with access to own an arsenal of weapons denied to the general public and an agenda to make the majority of the public submit to their doctrines, would not use those weapons against the people? Then, in that hypothetical situation, you would have true ingredients for a dictatorship. All I say is let’s not give into panic mode or political agendas that we ignore a greater risk, and that is a society too overly medicated.
Sabrina Samone, TMP

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Whatever happened to the American drag queen?

Imagine its January the year 2025. The roaring twenties are back and we that are 25 plus today find ourselves viewed as the old prudes of the second Victorian age. Kids are doing the Charleston again to remix versions of electro swing. The economy is booming and everyone’s making big money again. The aids epidemic has ended thanks to the release of the cure. Breast Cancer is no longer an issue, now treatable with a few doses of medicine. Gay marriage is legal in all fifty states. The tea party and Republicans are a thing of the past. Lady Gaga is now a proud grandma of three beautiful monsters and today the newly crowned Miss Universe thanks the crowd and Judges. “I’m honored to be the new Miss Universe. I’m humbled at the struggles of those that came before me. Twelve years ago today, Kylan Arianna Wenzel became the first transgender to legally compete in the pageant system. And today I proudly accept the crown as the first transgender Miss Universe. Thank you so much and I will not let you down.” The crowd goes wild.

St. Marsha P. Johnson
Flashback to 1969, a local transgender (referred to as drag queen at the time) Sylvia Rivera and friends were constantly harassed by the NYC police department. As the law of the day was; any man or woman found not wearing a least one article of clothing fitting their biological gender would be arrested. Most gay bars at the time were ran by organized crime and controlled by paid bigoted police. Hormone treatment was not as commonly available to the middle class as they are today. Many drag queens at the time regardless of lack of breast considered themselves transgender. Transgender riots were happening even in 1966 and by the summer of ‘69 transgender along with the other lgb community members had their fill of harassment. In 1969 the Stonewall Inn, at the time, was owned by the Mafia. It catered to an assortment of patrons, but it was known to be popular with the poorest and most marginalized people in the gay community: drag queens, representatives of a newly self-aware transgender community, effeminate young men, hustlers, and homeless youth. Police raids on gay bars were routine in the 1960s, but officers quickly lost control of the situation at the Stonewall Inn, and attracted a crowd that was incited to riot. The riots are now remembered as the birthing point of the gay movement. Though the transgender communities part and efforts has been attempted to be white washed and erased from an eager to be seen as mainstream gay community, Sylvia Rivera did her best until death in 2002 to remind those that (transgender) were on the front line of the riots. Sylvia has become known as the Rosa Parks of the modern transgender movement, a term that was not even coined until two decades after Stonewall. Sadly though, you can even notice in pictures today that the statues outside of where the Stonewall Inn was located, depict two gay men and two lesbians. Transgender are not represented.
Picute of rioters below in 1969

Since then the gay movement joined with the lesbian movement, fought for the visibility in what was then termed Homosexual rights, during the 70’s. Before there could be equal rights everyone must know they have a gay or lesbian in their family or community, were words once echoed by Harvey Milk. By the eighties the movement became largely known as the lgbt movement. Thanks in part to folks like Sylvia Rivera that would not allow the Trans community to be erased from history. Today we may even use LGBTQ or LGBTQIA, for the ever growing need for people of different sexual and gender identity. During those days and especially in the 70’s the lgbt community thrived with its own culture. Drag shows/ t-house parties/leathermen/ bath houses were all common things celebrated within the community. Later for many reasons suppressed, maybe for reasons, was to not to seem as threatening to a bigoted mainstream society and or possibly due to the aids scare of the 1980’s. What has lasted the longest were the elaborate pageant systems for drag queens. Miss America which mostly celebrated the handsomeness of males transforming through make up into beautiful females. Miss USA, the more liberal, was open to many levels. Not only could you be a proud gay male that excel in the art form of gender illusion but you could be a transgender female as well. Finally, there’s the Miss Continental, grand pageant, displaying transgender female beauty since 1980.

Over the years for many Trans-females and later Trans-males as drag kings, displaying yourself as the gender you felt more comfortable with or that you enjoyed the art form of illusion, was only the first step. The more important step came as you must stand in front of all your peers and the community you lived and perform. If your lip syncing was on point and your presentation of how you looked was together. If you pleased the crowd you were on your way. You’d enjoy the next few decades of your party bar life for free, as you’d earn income from your performances. To be even more professional many drag queens and kings went on to enter pageants. For example, to enter the national level of Miss gay USA you’d enter one of many preliminaries on local levels such as Miss Atlanta USA. If you passed that hurdle you’d be welcomed to compete at state levels. With a state crown you then stood among the representatives of every state including Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and some parts of Canada and Mexico. There are even more pageants systems such as Entertainer of the year and the Miss World Pageant, the latter being the largest. For many decades this was part of a large number of transgender women’s expression of who they are all while making a few bucks and making friends and connections. Since no transgender female could enter the mainstream pageant circuit, this was your outlet. Many over the years attempt and pushed the limit of mainstream society’s Miss USA or Universe system, but to no avail. Until December 2012, after recent scandals of transgender contestants the Miss Universe Pageant system announced it would allow transgender post-op contestants.  On January 12, 2013, Kylan Arianna Wenzel became the first openly transgender to compete legally in the Miss California USA Pageant a preliminary to the Miss USA and Miss Universe Pageant.

On the eve of this monumental achievement in Transgender equality what now will become of the last remnant of gay culture, drag pageants? Surely for now little will change but over the years younger girls will come up and see no need to enter drag pageants in gay clubs across the country. The older of us gals will continue the tradition I’m sure but year after year at least, for transgender contestants in Drag pageantry, will there still be a need? Considering all contestants in the Miss Continental system are transgender, especially in a decade or two, what will become of that pageant system. For the gay culture of my state of South Carolina, a state that has always leaned to the appreciation of the complete transformation from man to woman on stage, I’m sure many are pleased for different reasons. Many transgender performers, especially post op trans-females, are shunned from performing or entering drag shows or pageants. Will there be increased Gay on Trans discrimination in the gay community regarding transgender contestants in drag pageants? Will most people feel that now that it is legal. Many will ask the question," why are you here at a gay bar competing?"

Now that Mrs. Kylan is competing, you can be assured of out pours of protest and boycotting by the right wing. It would be nice if they’d just shut the f… up, but we all know them by know don’t we? But given time, determination and not turn back on this landmark event. We as a transgender community can look up at the day, maybe 2025, when a Trans-female is crowned Miss Universe. Or even an openly Lesbian winner. In a very similar way we as african-americans did at the winning of Vanessa Williams in 1984. And though we celebrate this great achievement let’s also remain supportive of the drag culture as it will continue over the next decades to redefine itself and continue to be relevant. And it should, as it is not only an art form of make-up artistry and hair but a remaining aspect of Lgbtq culture that persist to this day as a constant connection to the day when as a community, in 1969, we stood with bricks and bats in ‘OUR’ hands screaming and singing to the bigots, ' We are the Stonewall girls We wear our hair in curls We wear no underwear We show our pubic hair...We wear our dungarees, Above our nelly knees!
Sabrina Samone, TMP

Suggested other related info:
Stonewall the film (highly recommened)
After Stonewall the documentary

O ther films dipicting the history of the Transgender struggle

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Where is the T in LGBT?

In the words of the fabulous Joan Rivers, can we talk? Rather, can I bitch? I’ll just take a few seconds here and day dream that anyone actually gives a shit. I know, ‘so you got problems eh? Let me tell you about problems’. I’ve always pride myself on being an extreme, ultra liberal. Oh I’m serious, I’m about as much of a flower power, free love, and pro make weed legal hippie a trans-woman of color can be. Honestly I’ve only had to really battle one prejudice in my life and that’s religious sects that don’t believe Jesus is the son of God and that’s an all together different blog. But I’m over that in my adult years. When you reach the bottom of the bowl of soup you still have the same ingredients you started off with. All of the religions are basically the same. So I consider myself 99.999% percent non-prejudice. After a decade of doing gender illusion shows in gay bars, I’ve met and continue to maintain close friends of gay men along with straight, lesbian bi, pansexual and others that are yet to be given a label. No I don’t mean in the ‘oh I have a black friend back in elementary’, kind of friend. Or the ‘I’m not homophobic, I have a gay friend, he works downstairs for our company, I forgot which floor’ person. Actual sit and have dinner friends. Ok, well I do have .001% prejudice reserved for the ultra conservative republicans. Just can’t get myself to understand that much stupidity.
Ok, got the violin ready? Three months into blogging and I’m finding myself a little disappointed in the lgbt world online. There’s been a lot of chatting about a story lately concerning Monica Beverly Hillz “coming out as a transgender” on the Rupual Show. There are a couple of things that sort of rubs me the wrong way about this story. First let me state what doesn’t bother me. To Monica congratulations on being seen visible as a transgender person. Also, though many in the transgender community and I have some issues with RuPaul, I will say this, I respect him tremendously as a person with a message, his talent, his visibility for what he’s doing and just being a member of the lgbt community. No my issue is how this is referred to as a coming out story. Logo is an lgbt network right? Oh sorry it’s the gay sometimes lesbian network, I forgot. Still, it’s included in that foursome. Is there anyone watching that show doubting anyone on stage is a member of the lgbt community? How is it that a person on a show about drag queens (men dressing as women), on a gay network that ‘tries’ to cater to the lgbt group, announcing that she is transgender considered a ‘coming out’ story. Who did she come out to, the room just outside the closet? It’s like preaching to the choir. I can get she took the moment on national television to tell the world she’s transgender and therefore maybe in some part educate the audience this season about the difference. It being a drag ‘queen’ show I’d understand a proclamation of this as ‘who I am’. I’m the T not the G in lgbt.
In a recent interview with The Huffington Post, Monica was asked by the reporter, "Drag Race, did you foresee this moment happening on the show.” I’d like to answer that mister reporter, yes. Considering Rupaul got into hot water with most of the transgender community, the odds of them portraying the show as accepting to transgender people was more than likely to come up. We’re not worthy Queen Rupaul, so thankful for you and the gay community’s acceptance. To me the most troubling and sad answer for me from Monica Hillz was when she was asked, were you freaking out about how the judges might react?” She replied that was the main reason why I didn't want to say anything. I took a huge chance. That could have been my ticket [off of the show].” WTF? Are we at a point that a transgender person would feel afraid of being kicked off a show with men dressing as women on an lgbt network? RuPaul should feel ashamed someone on his show felt this way. Ok for those of you that have zero knowledge of the drag community, briefly; in every state in the United States, in gay bars that have shows, there has been, is or will be a transgender show girl on the cast or as a featured performer. And my fellow transgender sisters you’re not off the hook either. I’ve been shocked to read blogs condemning the story, questioning whether a transgender should even be performing in drag shows, again WTF? It’s like while some transgender feminist elite may have married and struggled with their gender there are a ton of transgender women who struggled but found refuge in drag. They are no or more less a transgender as someone who doesn’t perform and with the limitations of straight society allowing transgender people in media, you’d think the trans community would be flocking to their nearby gender illusion show bar to meet and support trans-women showgirls. It is also more politically correctly referred to as gender illusionist rather than drag. You can thank Rupaul for that set back. Given the fact he was always more referred to as a club kid drag and is a gay male that dresses it’s not surprising that’s the main promotion you can gather from his show. Gender illusion (drag) is equivalent to the use of the word Tranny by the trans-community. But for this girl to have felt that she would have been kicked off a drag show on a gay network is really sad and weird to me. And the supporters of her not being on the show are even more shocking to me. Specifically, when hearing that those voices are coming from the Gay/Lesbian/Trans conservative elite. If this continued attempt at dividing the gender illusionist community and the transgender community in the process, because whether you accept it or not they are extremely connected, we’ll be doing more harm than good. In one corner you have the gay community constant reference to effeminate men or men who wear dresses as less than them or lessening their cause. It’s been an argument in the gay/lesbian sects for decades. It’s even brought about a sort of self imposed version of gay on gay homophobia as in the use of terms like ‘straight acting’. This term attempts to set apart the gay men who show no stereotypical aspects of being gay as somewhat superior to the men who do. A sad form of self hate most minority groups seem to impose onto themselves. Similar in the transgender community’s debate over the term ‘passing’ or ‘blending’ which can imply they are more woman/man than those that don’t. And can remain invisible or stealth in hetro society. Which is viewed both positive and negative by many in the T world and will more than likely continue to divide those, that either for no fault of their own cannot be invisible, those that choose to be visible against those that just want to be viewed as just another man or woman. Accepted or not are to a certain degree the very bases for transitioning. Everyone from the gay/lesbians to transgender and racial minority groups find themselves at odds with those that want to celebrate their difference to the ones that just want to convince themselves they are just like anyone other straight heterosexual white person. Now seems we want to divide the gender illusionist (drag) into sections instead of just letting it be entertainment. And this negative view in the media is not coming from mainstream heterosexual semi homo/trans phobic media but our own.
Also is the gay media saying to transgender people we sort of have to come out twice now, once to the society, family etc., then to the lgb community? Is there an attempt to separate gay men (the implied more elite) who dress as women for entertainment from those trans-women. Is that what the articles are trying to imply? Hopefully someone in the lgbt does care and explain to me that the media was not being derogatory to Trans-women. At the moment I’m a little confused, but I’ll sleep ok. Just would like to be able to wrap my head around the media’s implications. Regardless kudos to Miss Hillz but…

Yes there’s more. You didn’t think a trans-woman of color who wanted to bitch was going to avoid a stereotype and stop there did you? Again, for the record let me state, that I’m a huge fan of Mr. Buck Angel. I have trans-male friends and briefly dated a trans-man and several years ago when I first heard of his porn success, and to be totally honest, I was like hot damn, thank goodness. Here come the boys. I was so glad to see the male segment of the transgender community. As more trans-men became visible on the scene I was relieved. Sorry my sisters but honestly I felt finally we as a group can begin to make some real progress. I know there have been countless trans-women, but few to make the changes needed. Most can’t seem to leave their image in the mirror. Think I’m wrong? Go on face book; go to a transgender group page. Tell me if you see the majority of anyone posting anything about anything other than them. I’m an ultra proud sexy liberal and feminist, but this is going to sound sexist. We needed the men in the community to lead. There I said it, sorry sisters, I know many have tried but more than many don’t give a damn about their own community until they need their community. Maybe in a certain way this is some traditional belief I have that men are just better leaders and they are proving it.
For example; Buck Angel is considered a major advocate for transgender issues despite the fact he is an AVN Best Transgender adult film star winner. He is not just a female to male who has made a porn film or two he’s the pioneer and the best in the biz. A major speaker at transgender advocacy groups and respected. The majority of the trans-male segment seems to have no quorums with how he gained his celebrity status. What about Natassia Dreams, Bailey Jay, Sexxxy Jade and Amy Daly? They would be crucified by the transgender female elite and especially the wannabe elite. One out of five blogs I run across with any mention of trans-women who either prostitute or do porn is verbally blasted by their own for being cheap, degrading to trans-women and cut off from any participation in the fight for equality. Even gay male and lesbian porn stars are given somewhat of celebrity status from the gay and lesbian society. For as long as transgender porn has been successful trans-women have torn and ostracized those that take part in it. Some of the most visible and beautiful trans-women told by their own group to stay invisible.
Often people are asked the question, “if you had three people, dead or alive, that you would like to spend the day with, whom would they be?” Without a doubt Gloria Steinem would be one of my three. I believe in the feminist movement and the battles against Larry Flint of Hustler. In all fairness those were women fighting to be viewed as more than sexual object s and in that since I do understand the hesitation. I myself loath the fact that any man online that writes nearly always assumes sex with you is guaranteed somehow. The sad fact however, is we are in a more severe fight for equality and visibility and why are we not taking whatever small contributions those women have to offer? They are equally subjected to the same intolerance and discrimination as any other trans-female. Many of those trans-females being those that have spent most of their time in their biological bodies long enough to establish themselves in a profession that hopefully continued during transition. Jealousy among women is legendary and while some had the opportunity of self discovery earlier in life they have endured the same if not more limitations placed upon them, forcing them to a level of life not willing to be understood by the same peoples that bare a similar cross in life.

Nearly ten years ago when I moved to Charleston, SC I joined a local support group. At 26 I was the youngest, the nearest age to me was 44. I befriended that trans-sister of 44(will withhold name) who at the time owned her own construction company. A very successful construction company I may also add. That afforded her a life, what would be considered in the area, to be among the lower of the most upper class residents of Charleston metro. A beautiful Brazilian wife and home in one of the best neighborhoods in the area. When I met her she had struggled as many for years with the similar dilemma to transition or not to transition and had just made the decision to be who she was inside. A very similar story of too many Transwomen, but what many trans-feminist trollers decline to tell you was the dark side of coming out. She lost her wife first, slowly lost respect within her company until her partners banned together, cheated and forced her out. Her son disowned her and shortly later she lost her home. She moved into my apartment complex and struggled to find work. She was not as some will say in the community, passable, which only made the difficulty tenfold. She sold Avon, Mary Kay and eventually even cannabis. Then she could no longer pay the rent. She was not the only one from the group I witness be introduced to these unforeseen issues of being who you wanted to be. Another in the group, in danger of foreclosure, decided to do escorting. My friend who lost her apartment was faced with this as her only decision to make ends meet. And yes she was a trans-feminist as any other. She once never missed an opportunity to belittle the trans-women that prostituted themselves and did porn and now she had found herself one of them.
The strain of that hypocrisy weighed heavy on her and it made continuing a friendship nearly impossible. She eventually moved away for bigger clientele, now in her mid fifties I wonder how much longer she can hold out. It’s not always a black and white story when it comes to prostitution and making porn films when it comes to transgender people. More times than few, trans-women are not waking and making the decision to be all they can be and go whore today. Discrimination in the workplace, lack of education, recourses and the worst, denied the assistance of local transgender support teams, are forced into these situations. I find myself at many parts of my transgender life stuck in the middle of one world with two nations. I’ve seen those beautiful Trans women of the sex industry that had been thrown away by family, little education and now even fewer job prospects. Grow bitter and resentful at the middle aged men transitioning they view lucky to keep family or job. And I’ve watched those that were blessed to continue a smaller but constant grasp of the life they had already earned pre transition, degrade the women they feel are hindering the fight for trans-equality for having few other options. While trans-men embrace their porn star and uplift him, trans-women tear theirs down. While masculine gay men struggle to marry whom they love they reject the androgynous male with a lisp. And now in a time we should be celebrating that an lgbt show that’s ran successful for five years on a network for and by lgbtqia people, we make a young transgender showgirl feel as threatened and afraid to come out as if she was appearing on the most conservative right wing talent show. Where is the unity in lgbt I ask? Where is the universal support in a group with all who know all too well the persecutions by the conservative heterosexual society for their fellow brethren? We may have different choices, come from different backgrounds but lesbian and gay men are my cousins and I support them. Bisexual and Queer my neighbors and trans-women and men my brothers and sisters. Without unity and understanding we lose the greatest battle of all, our celebration of who we are.

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Thursday, March 7, 2013

The worst kind of hate is when its from one of our own

Female impersonator accused in North Charleston gun incident

Originally posted at March, 7 2013

According to the PostandCourier newspaper of Charleston South Carolina, Thursday March 7, 2013 a man identified by papers as a transvestites committed a crime against other transvestites. No where does it imply that they were transgender, but even as transvestites it saddens me and is troubling to see crimes against your fellow comrades that, as you, already face tremendous dangers with others willing to take our lives. This is a prime example of what not to become, a menance to your own people.

I will add, and notice what the article states, that during the entire process North Charleston, SC police referred to the accused as a woman.  Even though many will disaggree, I and the LGBT community should raise a hand to the compassion of the North Charleston SC police department for handling it, well above what many of us would even require. 

So at least there is one ounce of good news, MAJOR KUDOS TO THE NORTH CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA POLICE DEPARTMENT, for goinng WELL and beyond the call of duty. A shining example to cities all over  the US, on how to handle with compassion, even in the most difficult times.

An argument between a man and a group of transvestites landed one female impersonator in jail, accused of pointing a revolver and threatening to fire, North Charleston police said.
Darnell Hawkins, 19, of South 5th Street in Hartsville, was charged with unlawful carrying of a firearm and pointing a firearm, jail records show.

Police referred to Hawkins as a woman throughout an incident report.
Officers were dispatched to Quality Inn at 7415 Northside Drive shortly after 6:30 p.m. Wednesday concerning a woman waving a gun and threatening to shoot someone.
Hawkins threw a revolver into a trash can and ran at the sight of officers, police said.
A man at the scene told police he came to the hotel to pick up an iPad from a friend named “Nico,” but that he ended up getting into an argument with Hawkins and a group of transvestites who walked out of that person’s hotel room.
The argument stemmed from money the man owed Hawkins for a car, according to the report.
Hawkins pulled out a loaded revolver, waved it in the air and threatened to shoot the man and the car, police said.
The man told police he walked away and called 911.
Hawkins was held at the Charleston County jail on Thursday pending a $100,000 bail.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Why Trans* should vote for our own self interest

By Sabrina Samone, TMP

To vote for what seems to be in the interest of yourself, your family and community is not a new concept. Though some believe in a paradox of voting (i.e., Downs paradox), that for a rational, self-interested voter, the costs of voting will normally exceed the expected benefits because the chance of exercising the pivotal vote is minuscule compared to any realistic estimate of the private individual benefits of the different possible outcomes, the expected benefits of voting are less than the costs. Let’s not forget so soon the pre-election 2012 media blitz, where so many people appeared to be voting against their own self interest. Or did they?

I believe, though many will argue, that a percentage of republican voters (the percent is debatable), chose to vote for Romney, simply because he is white or even better simply, to attempt to vote the black man out. We may want to argue amongst co-workers, or social media that, that wasn’t the case, but in the quiet of your own solitude you know examples where this is true. For that percent that did, they were voting for their own, may even be called bigoted but regardless, their own personal self-interest. So many in media were in awe of the number of lower middle class people that made fewer than 250,000 a year, which would vote for a candidate who was obviously supporting those that made above that. But they were voting for their own self-interest, just not the one that would support their financial situation, but their interest of not  re-electing the black man as their leader. Whether it was covered by fanciful doubts of origin of birth, or his religion, or re-invented political economic systems. He was often called a socialist communist, a contradiction, though both are in opposition to capitalism, they are totally two different economic philosophies.

As in the meaning of Downs’s paradox, the cost of voting will normally exceed the expected benefits. Basically, my interpretation, this is what people do when they cast their vote. No matter how pety their interest are, or whether based on bigotry, social issues, regional connections, we all express our own self-interest. And why not, if you feel those that may support your causes get elected, you may see some gain?  That ofcourse, no one knows for sure, but the desire and belief is there.

This year several people are running for different levels of office. Mel Wymore, a Trans-male is running for city council in New York City’s upper west side. In Houston, Jenifer Rene Pool, a Trans-female is running for a city council at large seat. The gay and lesbian victory fund is an organization that does just what we propose here, electing those to represent our own self interest. This may be better stated in their mission: To change the face and voice of America’s politics and achieve equality for lgbt Americans by increasing the number of openly LGBT at all levels of government. They provide a list of candidates that they endorse, granted only one of the three Trans candidates are on their website. Their mission to support lgbt candidates is something we should, as lgbt people, take notice of. Why shouldn't we do, as mainstream society does, and vote for our own self interest.

Of course some will disagree that just because someone is lgbt is no reason to vote for them. Obviously, you should see where each candidate stands. And be aware that just because a person is lgbt, that will not guarantee sweeping new reforms for all of us all and each should not be expected to be saviors of our community. But just as we look at heterosexual cis-gender politicians like, Elizabeth Colbert-Busch, a moderate democrat running for congressional district one here in south Carolina, whose supportive of lgbt issues, we do expect them to be supportive or at least sympathetic to our cause.

After last year's historical election and the recent historical inauguration, we as lgbt people, now more than ever, need not to decide to become complacent or continue political apathy. With current debates over trans* issues and gay marriage, now is the time to be more involved and determined to vote, but to vote for our own self interest and those that at least show compassion and consideration to what it means to be LGBT.


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Sunday, March 3, 2013

Defining who we are pt. 2: Being Transgender after the Jerry Springer Effect

Recently on Face book a friend posted a blog about the damage done to the Transgender community by tacky talk shows like Maury Povich and Jerry Springer. I had grown up seeing too many of the shows that she referred too. I agreed there was nothing positive in their content for the T community so I shared the post. I was shockingly surprised at the number of other Trans people that left comments condemning the post. As one put it, “shouldn’t we be a little more thankful for the attention we do get in the media”. Another stated in caps “thank God we’re being talked about”. My favorite was “even bad attention is good attention”. I had heard this said in a similar way and as a Trans actress of 22 regional stage productions and two independent films, I too once believed the old line that even bad publicity was good publicity. I had several Trans showgirl friends that had appeared on the more, dare I say more tasteful shows. Both friends Paula and Chavon had appeared on the pageant shows, where contestants would compete in evening gown, talent and bathing suit. The pageant segments did seem to give appreciation to the art form of gender illusion but near the end of the show we were always reminded of its intent. Which one of these lovely ladies do you think was really born a ‘man?’
Man; that word said to a trans-female or woman to a trans-man can sometimes sting like the words fa…. or the dreaded N word. The ultimate meaning of the show was to exploit these women who had just given their best in modeling gowns and talent just to be reminded in case they had forgotten that they were men. The host even persuaded the audience, whom seem to be no more than Roman spectators watching Christians being feed to the lions, to choose the one that looks more like a ‘dude’. I’m aware, after the comments on the post on face book, that many will not like this being said. I know of many and therefore, more than likely more than I’m aware of ,girls that have done the show. Most received a free trip to Chicago and given fifty to a hundred dollars for their humiliation. Of course one cannot ignore the greatest drive of them all, to have been seen on national television because as we all know, no publicity is bad publicity.
Jerry ‘the anything for a dollar’ Springer, by far was the worst of all. To this day girls receive calls to be on the show. I’ve been asked on ten or more occasions to come to Chicago for a taping. When I stated I don’t have any drama going on in my life that could be spilled on their show, I was always asked well don’t you have a girlfriend whose boyfriend really wants you? Or are you sleeping with your straight females’ husband? The answer was always no and I went on to tell them what I thought of their show. What I thought of them meant little and the calls continued until finally I agreed to do the show, came up with a plot with friends that had the producers saber teeth dripping but under one condition. “When I arrive onto your show” I said, “I’d like to start off by doing one thing.” “Whatever you want, tell us.” The producer replied. “I’d like to slap the shit out of Jerry and tell him what a fucking scumbag he is.” That was my last call I received from the Jerry Springer show.
That was my stand and I can only control what I do or how I’m presented to the world. Everyone else must make their own choice. Like the old saying in Hollywood goes, the show goes on. Though I refuse to ever watch the show and require any one in my presence to as well. I’m aware the “Omg it’s a dude show” persist to this day with girls resorting to fighting and snatching wigs off for the entertainment of the barbaric Roman audience. Is it just innocent fun? Just to have a free trip to Chicago to hang with friends, or a chance for an improvised performance? Is there any harm in the whole act of not letting a guy or girl know the ‘T’? I’ve had my moments of dating guys that didn’t know. It is something to be said to be treated just like any other girl on the block. Just a few dates don’t mean I have to go to bed with him. I’m sure he has some idea already and just playing the game. Why should I tell him what I have between my legs? He’s not my type and I’m not going to get serious so what’s the harm? We all have many lies we tell ourselves to get us through the day. If you think for a second you’re the first trans-girl/guy to date someone who doesn’t know ‘T’, think again. Trans-people had been going thru those experiences years before any of us alive to read this today and will long after we’re all gone. So what’s the consequence?
As far as the constant Springer show that glorifies the drama of a guy who’s been sleeping with a beautiful girl for months and didn’t know goes. What harm has it done? When I began to transition in the nineties was totally different from today. My girlfriends who are just beginning their transition are constantly telling me stories of people in the mall, stores etc., that go “that’s a ‘dude’ ha ha”, as if they were now the audience on the show. To me as far as American society in media, or in life is concerned about transgender people is…can you tell if ‘it’s’ a boy or a girl. If you feel this way also, thank Jerry Springer and Mary Povich by turning them off.
This past year my girlfriend Shae met a genetic female at work. They hit it off, she told her T and they became great friends. This is nothing new for Shae; she lives in a small rural town as an openly trans-female and despite what you may think of rural America. She’s been invited in nearly everyone’s home for dinner including the mayor. But Shae says whenever she’s around her friends boyfriend makes smirks and quickly leaves the room. So she asked her new friend is it something she’d done to him? The girlfriend said no, it’s the transgender thing. He had a bad experience. Shae not being naïve to discrimination due to being Trans stated, but he don’t even know me. Has he ever met a transgender girl before? The girlfriend told her that was the issue, that he had in fact met a trans-girl, back in the early 90’s. Seemed he had dated a beautiful girl in Florence area and feel in love with her. He had her over to meet family and friends for dinner. She invited him on a trip to Chicago. Yes, the infamous Springer show, where she proceeded after he confessed his love for her on national television, that in fact, and to the delight of the audience, she was a man. Shae told me with a rare seriousness in her voice, that the gf went on to tell her that he has admitted that had he not been on television he would have killed her. Worse is that even decades later, she went on to say, whenever he sees a transgender person he gets very angry and sometimes confrontational towards them. He even wonders sometimes while shopping are the women they are passing in the stores are indeed women or men. Needless to say this is one guy that has been forever tormented by his moment on Springer. Shae told her new friend she wasn’t like that, and the gf understood and explained that she has tried to tell him how much of a great friend Shae was to her. But it did not matter and that he can’t even stand talking about the subject without getting extremely angry.
Who is to blame? Springer for having a show that has left mainstream television without any taste left at all. Or the girl that thought it best to go on national television to release such a private detail with someone she already been intimate with? Or a society that finds humor in the humiliation of others? Or a society that’s content on using a group of people with emotions, feelings, families and life, as a question game? To belittle a person’s true self to a simple joke. However, you must take your own stand because only you can control what you do or how you present yourself to the world. But you do have some responsibility on the impression you leave on someone that may affect another years down the road. I personally choose to be remembered by men I’ve known as a lady and not as the girl they later found out was a ‘dude’.
Sabrina Samone, T.M.P.

Stop Exploiting Transgender Women!

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                                                     TRANSGENDER: DEFINING WHO WE ARE Pt. 1

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Rise of the Transgenderation?

Image courtesy of the Texas Triangle

As the transgender community we should all take a moment to silently thank Oprah Winfrey. Back in the early 2000’s Oprah was among if not the first and definitely the most highly profiled show to cover the topic of trans-youth. As anything Oprah touched, it would become a house hold topic. Sadly though, on November 18, 2003, Tesia Samara, 15, became yet another mournful trans-youth to commit suicide. Tesia was transgender and lived in the small town of Rockdale, Texas. After watching the Oprah show on being transgender, and like millions of others found a taste of self discovery. Happily she decided she wanted to begin hormone therapy. Before her death she had done her research and had been on HRT for three months. Her family was informed by her and gave her support and acceptance. School was another issue. There she was constantly bullied and was said to have been assaulted the day of her suicide according to the Texas Triangle. Her short life cut short and the promise of those who loved her the most, a chance to get to meet the real person she was, never fulfilled.

Most in the LGBTQIA community are battling in their own way for equality and just living daily life. While we consume our time with lgbt cruises, pride parades, hormone treatments, growing and reshaping our lives in this unequal society, in the so called ‘most free society’...America, a new era of information has shun the light on lgbt issues like never before. Sadly suicide from bullying has been a plaque in the community for decades. Now that we who have passed that hurdle of turning 18, leaving high school to be embraced and welcomed in communities around the country and became the chicken in the local bar. We can only look back thru the foggy memory of years at those tortured days we endured. We continue to fight for equality, living visibly, daring the world to tell us to go back and hide. All while other Trans and lgb youth following in our footsteps and with the light of attention that now shines greater than in 2000…nearly blinding than in 1990…nearly impossible to conceive in 1980 and unthinkable in 1970.

One study now finds that the average age that lgbt youth are coming out is between 8 and 9. Search YouTube and it’s not hard to find clips of people who came out at 9 or 10 years old. On network television a decade after Oprah’s ground breaking support of Trans-kids, now nearly every talk show and major news outlet has covered the topic. Shows like Glee, a comedy-drama-musical has gay and transgender high school characters. Skins in the UK is flooded with lgbt youth characters. This past January during the Presidential Inauguration, the first President in US history acknowledged gay and lesbians and mentioned the bloody 3 day riots of Stonewall in 1969, which was populated and largely ignited by transgender. Shortly after the inauguration 11 year old Sadie wrote a heartfelt letter to President Obama’s lack of acknowledging the Trans community. It received national praise and made Sadie somewhat of a hero in the transgender community.
Very few however lit up the faces of LGBT people everywhere than Jazz. Jazz first gained national attention at 7 years old in a YouTube vide titled thoughts on being a transgender child. Later she appeared on a Barbara Walters 20/20 interview titled ‘I’m a girl” Understanding Transgender Children. The show was so popular that Barbara Walters revisited Jazz five years later in 2012. By now Jazz had appeared on The Rosie Show and a documentary show on OWN “I am Jazz: A family in Transition. The 20/20 show became, along with Sadie’s letter to Obama, to be the most re-tweeted and mentions of Trans youth on social media to date. Jazz and all her family are outspoken supporters of transgender rights. They are also part of the Transkids Purple Rainbow Foundation. For now many kids like Sadie and Jazz are embraced by their families and the Media. Unfortunately many are not, as a letter titled I want to kill myself , from a nine year old child living as a girl born a boy, implies much more can be done. In each town and city around the world there are Trans and other lgb veterans (over 18) that can and should lend a voice to the helpless lgbt child on the playground being teased at this very moment?

In Chicago Ann & Robert H. Lurie are set to open a children’s hospital for Gender Identity and earlier this month Oregon Health Plan (Oregon’s Medicaid program) announced, that starting in Oct. 2014, they will cover the health care needs of transgender youth, including puberty-suppressing hormones and counseling services. Oregon is the first state to move in such a progressive and proactive way that counter acts bigotry and intolerance. If so many so called state leaders that claim to be for the people and want to end bullying would immolate Oregon, we would make progress. Nikki Haley, Gov. of South Carolina has talked a good game against bullying even a theatrical performance on how she was bullied but little if any help has come to the children here. I’m reminded of a young gay black teen in Hartsville, SC and despite a fairly large lgbt community for such a small town, this 16 year old boy had been bullied to the point that he went home after school, locked the doors and windows and lit the apartment and himself on fire. Leaving only a note saying goodbye to imply what had happened to him was not an accident. I often look back on this moment during a time when I was a trans-showgirl working my job and preparing for the next drag show, consumed with me…me and more me, why hadn’t I noticed this kids sorrow. I had met him and knew of him, why didn’t I know to give him words of encouragement then? It’s a question I’ll always ask…but never twice.

Even though many children are coming out younger they may not be stepping into a warm embrace of an understanding and supportive family. Many are still faced with the old stigmas and consequences of coming out early; hostile families, emotional abuse, and being kicked out of the house. A world still filled with ignorance and intolerance. Cult groups hide behind a belief that they are religious and provide non-understanding families conversion therapy on lgbt youth. Conversion therapy use is now said to be at an all time high, an irony to our enlighten generation. While some lgbt veterans celebrate the visibility of our community, the old dark ghost of bigotry and intolerance is killing lgbt youth in record numbers. It’s sadly becoming common to hear of yet another lgbt youth’s suicide. One more lgbt child’s death in our time, related to intolerance and bullying is one too many. As this new generation continues to emerge we as a Trans and lgbt community need more ways of addressing the best ways to meet the needs of lgbt kids. It is remarkable to be living in a time when a child, with support of family and community, at least now has the opportunity and chance to be whom in their heart and soul, God intended them to be...their true self. Let's make sure that happens.

Helpful links for help and discussion concerning Trans-youth
  2. About Spirit Day
  6. National Youth Advocacy Coalition
  8. American Civil Liberties Union; legal
  9. Ambiente Joven Spanish speaking lgbtq youth
  10. : Trans youth women of color