Gender Identity Hub




Steven Universe Continues To Be One of the Most Queer-Positive Cartoons On TV - WATCH

 

“Steven Universe” is a television show currently airing on Cartoon Network about a young boy Steven, his father, and his three alien humanoid guardians known as the Crystal Gems. On its surface “Steven Universe” continues in Cartoon Network’s long history of vibrant, whimsical children’s shows. Beneath that, though, “Steven Universe” has been doing some of the most interesting work towards including positive themes of gender and sexual queerness in current television.

Over the show’s two seasons its writers have repeatedly used the Gems ability to fuse with one another to explore the intricacies of physical and emotional identities. In a lighthearted episode entitled “Alone Together” Steven, who is half Gem, accidentally fuses with his female friend Connie and becomes a physically androgynous being whose sole focus is to find a banging dance party. Though Stevonnie presents physically as being predominantly female, the character’s gender is left undefined and Stevonnie the person is uniformly admired by everyone that they meet.

 

During this season’s past few story arcs “Steven Universe” has hammered home its usually subtle messages about accepting love in all forms in much more explicit ways. In this week season finale’s “Jail Break” we learn that Garnet, voiced flawlessly by Estelle, is actually a near permanent fusion of two separate Gems with a deep romantic love for one another. The significance of the plot twist may seem minor, but as Mey Valdivia Rude writes for Autostraddle messages like Garnet’s can be powerful for young audiences:

Steven“Representation is vitally important for children. Study after study and expert after expert says that when kids see people like them positively portrayed in the media they consume, they are positively impacted, and when they don’t see that same representation, it negatively affects not only them, but how others view and treat people like them.

Especially when we’re still developing, and especially when we are still discovering and exploring our genders and sexuality, it’s important for us to know that we’re not alone and that we have the possibility of a bright future. One way to do this is by creating fictional characters and narratives that show that bright future for people like that.”

Check out a clip of Garnet’s origin story here AFTER THE JUMP...

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Europe's Top Human Rights Court Waives Sterilization Requirement in Turkish Trans Man’s Gender Reassignment

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The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled against the government of Turkey on Tuesday in favor of a trans man who was denied the right to gender reassignment surgery unless he agreed to undergo sterilization reports Buzzfeed:

 

The case began in 2005, when a Turkish court ruled that a trans man identified in court documents as Y.Y. could not undergo gender reassignment surgery because he was not infertile, a requirement for gender reassignment under Turkish law. He went to court rather than submit to medical sterilization. A Turkish court ultimately allowed him to move forward with gender reassignment in 2013, but the ECHR still heard his original challenge and awarded him damages of 7,500 euros in damages for the years he was unable to access gender reassignment surgery.

“The respect due to the physical integrity of the concerned party would be in opposition to his having to undergo” sterilization, the court ruled in a unanimous decision, and therefore a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights, the treaty on which the ECHR’s authority is based. “The resulting interference in the claimant’s rights with respect to his private life cannot thus be said to have been ‘necessary’ in a democratic society.”

However, the ruling only addresses sterilization requirements, and it does not address other barriers impeding trans people from gender reassignment surgery such as having psychiatric professionals sign off on requests. 


Facebook Expands Custom Gender Identity Options Even Further

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Beginning today Facebook users will be able to describe their gender using whatever kind of personal language they feel the most comfortable with. The move comes after an increased demand from the public for Facebook to allow people to choose from a wider array of gender descriptors in their “About Me” sections. Last year Facebook took a major step forward by expanding its list of selectable genders from three (male, female, or none) to over 50 terms including male to female, gender queer, and cisgender.

“Facebook’s new free-form field for gender identity is a huge step forward for transgender, gender nonconforming and gender queer youth,” said GLSEN Executive Director

Dr. Eliza Byard, “The internet is an essential source of resources, support and community for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth, and one of its most important ‘living rooms’ now better reflects their reality and self-understanding."

Speaking to Motherboard, Facebook engineer Ari Chivukula explained that the company deployed a special team focused specifically on buffing out the social network’s expanded gender settings. Moving forward users will be able to more finely customize their privacy settings to better control who sees their gender displayed on their profiles.


Israel To Recognize Sex Change Without Gender Reassignment Surgery

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Israel plans to allow transgender people to legally change their gender without having to undergo gender reassignment surgery first, reports Haaretz.

The announcement comes after two transgender women filed a petition against the Interior Ministry’s demand that they undergo gender reassignment surgery as a condition for altering their identity card gender from male to female.

One of the petitioners is Ronit Liran Shaked (above), a lawyer who up until two years ago lived as a man and was married to a woman. 

The two women argued that they were not interested in sex reassignment surgery, and that making this a prerequisite is unreasonable.

At a meeting on the issue held by Deputy Attorney General Dina Zilber, the Health Ministry explained that other countries have recognized criteria for determining that a person has changed his gender even without sex-change surgery. Based on this information, a decision was made to change the existing Interior Ministry procedure. 


Russian Government Bans Transgender People From Obtaining Driver's Licenses

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The Russian government continues its steady persecution of LGBT citizens as Russian transgender people no longer qualify for driver’s licenses in the country under a new set of revisions to medical controls for drivers, reports BBC News.

The Russian government says the new rules are to help cut down on the number of car accidents. Although most of the provisions refer to physical impairments, such as blindness, “gender identity disorders” including transsexualism and dual-role transvestism are referenced in the revised provisions. Sadomasochism and exhibitionism are included as well according to BuzzFeed’s J. Lester Feder and Susie Armitage.

Human rights activists and organizations, including the Association of Russian Lawyers for Human Rights, are justly outraged, calling the new law “discriminatory.” The Association of Russian Lawyers is demanding clarifications from the Russian Constitutional Court and seeking support from international human rights organizations in the process. Shawn Gaylord of Human Rights First calls the banning of people driving based on gender identity ridiculous.

Said Gaylord:

"Beyond the denial of basic freedoms, this provision may deter transgender people from seeking mental health services for fear of receiving a diagnosis that would strip them of their right to drive, and leaves the door open for increased harassment, persecution, and discrimination of transgender people by Russian authorities.

"We urge the United States to immediately condemn this provision and to press the Russian government to repeal this decision."

Russian psychiatric experts Mikhail Strakhov and Valery Evtushenko of the Russian Psychiatric Association also condemned the regulations. However, the Professional Drivers Union supported the move, including union head Alexander Kotov. "We have too many deaths on the road, and I believe toughening medical requirements for applicants is fully justified,” said Kotov.

The driving regulations is just one more contribution to creating a hostile, oppressive environment for LGBT Russians and it’s clearly working. Since Russia passed it’s anti-gay “propaganda,” law in June 2013, hate crimes against LGBT people in Russia have dramatically increased. 


Appeals Court Denies Gender Reassignment For Trans Prisoner: VIDEO

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The full First Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed a ruling that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts must provide an incarcerated transgender woman with medically-necessary gender reassignment surgery, reports Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD).

The Court of Appeals issued an initial ruling in January upholding an earlier finding that the Massachusetts Department of Corrections (DOC) engaged in a pattern of “pretense, pretext and prevarication” to deny Michelle Kosilek (above) treatment against the recommendations of multiple doctors, including those hired by the DOC itself. Born Robert Kosilek, Michelle Kosilek is serving a life sentence for the murder of her wife Cheryl (below, right) in 1990.

Cheryl KosilekThe latest decision was divided with a 3-2 majority and two sharply worded dissents.

Predicting that the case will not stand the test of time, Judge Thompson wrote:

“I am confident that I would not need to pen this dissent, over twenty years after Kosilek’s quest for constitutionally adequate medical care began, were she not seeking a treatment that many see as strange or immoral. Prejudice and fear of the unfamiliar have undoubtedly played a role in this matter’s protraction.”

Jennifer Levi, director of the Transgender Rights Project at GLAD, said:

“I am appalled by this decision, which means that Michelle Kosilek will continue to be denied the life-saving medical care she needs and has been seeking for years.  

"It is difficult or impossible to imagine a decision like this one – that second-guesses every factual determination made by the trial court – in the context of any other prisoner health care case.  

"This decision is a testament to how much work remains to be done to get transgender people’s health care needs on par with others in the general public.

“There is no scientific or medical basis for denying transgender people their health care needs. The consensus position of the medical community is that surgery may sometimes be essential treatment.”

Watch a report on a television interview with Kosilek, AFTER THE JUMP...

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