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04/19/2007


Trans Filmmaker's Suicide Spurs Bill For Accurate Trans Death Certificates

Lee_atkins

The suicide and posthumous misgendering of transgender filmmaker and activist Christopher Lee (pictured left) has compelled California Assemblywoman Toni Atkins (pictured right) to introduce a state bill that would reflect a transgender person’s chosen gender identity on their death certificate.

Lee — who was the first female-to-male Grand Marshal of San Francisco’s 2002 Pride Parade and founded the San Francisco Transgender Film Festival — committed suicide on December 22, 2012. But when his death certificate arrived, it had his female birth name on it and listed his gender as female, even though Lee’s driver’s license said male.

This happened in part because Lee did not undergo gender reassignment surgery (it's cost-prohibitive, not always covered by insurance and not always worthwhile to some trans people), and because of antiquated state laws.

The California Report explains:

Lieutenant Riddic Bowers of the Alameda County Coroner’s Bureau. He says a driver’s license is not enough to override anatomy. An updated birth certificate would work, but that requires a court order. And until 2012 getting a court order meant getting surgery.

“Barring that, we have to rely on the documentation that exists, someone’s existing birth certificate and their correlating anatomical description,” Bowers says.

Family opinion is also a factor, and, under current law, next-of-kin has the final word. This is controversial. Many transgender people are estranged from relatives who are uncomfortable with their gender transition.

Lee wasn't in close contact with his family...

Atkins bill would change two key things. First, it would require coroners and funeral directors to record a person’s gender identify rather than anatomical sex. Second, if there’s a dispute, a driver’s license or passport would be sufficient legal documentation to trump family opinion.

If such documents are unavailable, the deceased’s next of kin will decide the gender. 

Atkins’ bill — known as Assembly Bill 1577 or the Respect After Death Act — was filed on January 30, 2014 and is sponsored by Transgender Law Center and Equality California.


Friday Speed Read: Oklahoma Marriage, Naya Taylor, Charles Cooper, Gordon Fox

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

LAMBDA SUES FOR FAILURE TO TREAT:

TaylorLambda Legal filed a lawsuit in federal court in Urbana, Illinois, yesterday against a medical doctor who refused to treat a patient because she is transgender. The lawsuit, Taylor v. Lystila, charges that primary care physician Aja Lystila violated the federal Affordable Care Act when she refused to provide hormone therapy to Naya Taylor. “When Naya protested to the clinic that she was being denied transition-related care by the clinic, she was told that the clinic did not ‘have to treat people like you’.” Lambda’s complaint notes that a spokesperson for the clinic told Naya that “because the clinic has Middle Eastern doctors and they have religious beliefs, they do not have to treat ‘people like you’.” The Affordable Care Act prohibits health care providers from discriminating against any individual based on sex.

WHOSE BURDEN IS IT?

OklahomaA judge on the Tenth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel drilled down hard Thursday, insisting an attorney defending Oklahoma’s ban on same-sex couples marrying explain how letting same-sex couples marry harms the government’s interest in creating stable families and cared for children. The case was Bishop v. Smith, the second of two cases to be argued this month before the federal appeals court in Denver. The attorney was James Campbell with the Alliance Defending Freedom. Campbell said it’s not the government’s burden to show what harm same-sex marriages could cause.

But the judge persisted, and Campbell said that, while “no one knows the long-term effects,” there are “real world consequences,” “and it is plaintiffs’ burden to show that none of those consequences will be adverse.” Evan Wolfson, head of the national Freedom to Marry group, notes that, “even under basic review, the government has to have a sufficient reason for discriminating.” “And numerous court rulings, including the Supreme Court's decision in Windsor -- as well as all three marriage trials, first in Hawaii, then in California, and a few weeks ago in Michigan -- have made clear there is none.”

CHARLES COOPER ‘LOOKING FORWARD’:

CooperThe lead attorney defending California’s Proposition 8 acknowledges in a just-released book about the trial that he learned during the case that his daughter is gay. In the book, Forcing the Spring, author Jo Becker said Cooper and his daughter Ashley Lininger discussed the issue of same-sex marriage at length. Lininger got engaged just three months before Cooper defended Proposition 8 in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. Cooper issued a statement to the Washington Post saying, “My daughter Ashley’s path in life has led her to happiness with a lovely young woman named Casey, and our family and Casey’s family are looking forward to celebrating their marriage in just a few weeks.”

STILL NO WORD ON FOX INVESTIGATION:

FoxIt’s been almost a month since Rhode Island’s openly gay Speaker of the House, Gordon Fox, suddenly resigned his leadership position following a raid by state and federal investigators on his home and State House office. Nobody’s talking, but the state Board of Elections told Associated Press that law enforcement staff have been in touch. And Fox’s executive assistant told a local news station that investigators came to her house looking for campaign documents prior to the March 21 raid. WPRI News said Wednesday that Fox, who retained his seat as a member of the House, has not attended any sessions since the raids.

© copyright 2014 by Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


'GMA' Goes Behind-the-Scenes of 'Hedwig and the Angry Inch' with Neil Patrick Harris: VIDEO

Hedwig_harris

GMA talks with composer Stephen Trask and creator and originator John Cameron Mitchell, actress Lena Hall, and Neil Patrick Harris about the Broadway revival of Hedwig and the Angry Inch which opens this month

Harris says he's becoming "manorexic" in watching his weight over the transformation but says what gives him the most enjoyment is seeing the "journey" taken by audience members during the production:

"For me, it's fun to play Hedwig and start the show with a lot of people kind of quizzically staring at me and thinking it's for shock value and by the end feeling like they're united with her."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Noh_hedwig

Continue reading "'GMA' Goes Behind-the-Scenes of 'Hedwig and the Angry Inch' with Neil Patrick Harris: VIDEO" »


India's Supreme Court Recognizes Trans People as Third Gender

India's Supreme Court has recognized transgender people as a third gender in an historic ruling, the BBC reports. Said the court: "Transgenders are also citizens of India" and they must be "provided equal opportunity to grow. The spirit of the Constitution is to provide equal opportunity to every citizen to grow and attain their potential, irrespective of caste, religion or gender."

India"It is the right of every human being to choose their gender," it said in granting rights to those who identify themselves as neither male nor female. It ordered the government to provide transgender people with quotas in jobs and education in line with other minorities, as well as key amenities....

The judges asked the government to treat them in line with other minorities officially categorised as "socially and economically backward", to enable them to get quotas in jobs and education.

"We are quite thrilled by the judgement," Anita Shenoy, lawyer for the petitioner National Legal Services Authority (Nalsa), told the BBC. "The court order gives legal sanctity to the third gender. The judges said the government must make sure that they have access to medical care and other facilities like separate wards in hospitals and separate toilets," she said.

Approximately two million people are said to be transgender, or hijira, in India.

Homosexuality is still criminalized in India after a stunning Supreme Court ruling last year. The court earlier this month offered hope that it would reconsider that ruling after a campaign by activists.


'RuPaul's Drag Race' to Drop Usage of Transphobic Slur

Logo announced today that it would be dropping usage of the term 'She-Mail', a pun on a slur often used against trans people, after anger from trangender advocates, the HuffPost reports.

Said Logo in a statement:

RupaulWe wanted to thank the community for sharing their concerns around a recent segment and the use of the term 'she-mail' on Drag Race.

Logo has pulled the episode from all of our platforms and that challenge will not appear again. Furthermore, we are removing the 'You've got she-mail' intro from new episodes of the series.

We did not intend to cause any offense, but in retrospect we realize that it was insensitive. We sincerely apologize.

In related news, more than 100 trans women have signed a letter denouncing two recent articles about the show's use of transphobic slurs.

Write the letter's signatories:

We, the undersigned trans women and trans-feminine individuals, are appalled at recent attacks on trans woman journalist Parker Marie Molloy published by Calpernia Addams and Andrea James on the Huffington Post and Boing Boing. Addams’ and James’ hit pieces exhibit a pervasive hostility to young, queer trans women, and indeed any trans woman who is uncomfortable with the use of transmisogynist slurs by cisgender drag queens like RuPaul. They display homophobia, transphobia, ignorance, dishonesty, and hatred throughout.

Addams' and James' articles were published in response to commentary from Advocate writer Parker Marie Molloy over the RuPaul controversy. Said Molloy in a tweet from March 18 (which coincided with an article published the same day): "I f--king hate @RuPaul. Like... there really are very few people I truly hate. He is one of them."


NYC School Forbids Student to Attend Prom with Transgender Date: VIDEO

Transprom

Martin Luther High School, a Lutheran school in Maspeth, Queens, NYC, is forbidding one of its students, Anais Celini, from coming to prom with her boyfriend Nathaniel Baez because he is transgender, WPIX reports:

“The school said to me that his transition is unconventional and it’s not what he feels beneficial to letting him come to prom,” Celini told PIX11 News exclusively.

Baez said he feels bad for his girlfriend. “It’s hard because I really wanted her to be able to go to prom with her friends and me, as well,” Baez said. “It is one of the stepping stones in high school.” Baez said even if they’re barred from the May 22 dance, he will plan his own private prom weekend for his girlfriend.

Watch the couple's interview with WPIX, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "NYC School Forbids Student to Attend Prom with Transgender Date: VIDEO" »


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