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Trans Pioneer and 'Stone Butch Blues' Author Leslie Feinberg Dies at Age 65

Feinberg

Leslie Feinberg, a well-known transgender activist and author of Stone Butch Blues, died on Saturday due to complications from multiple tick-borne illnesses. 

Feinberg's family provided The Advocate with an obituary that read, in part:

She died at home in Syracuse, NY, with her partner and spouse of 22 years, Minnie Bruce Pratt, at her side. Her last words were: “Remember me as a revolutionary communist.”

Feinberg was the first theorist to advance a Marxist concept of “transgender liberation,” and her work impacted popular culture, academic research, and political organizing.

Her historical and theoretical writing has been widely anthologized and taught in the U.S. and international academic circles. Her impact on mass culture was primarily through her 1993 first novel, Stone Butch Blues, widely considered in and outside the U.S. as a groundbreaking work about the complexities of gender. [...]

Stone bitch bluesAt the time of her death she was preparing a 20th anniversary edition of Stone Butch Blues. She worked up to within a few days of her death to prepare the edition for free access, reading, and download from on-line. In addition to the text of the novel, the on-line edition will contain a slideshow, “This Is What Solidarity Looks Like,” documenting the breadth of the organizing campaign to free CeCe McDonald, a young Minneapolis (trans)woman organizer and activist sent to prison for defending herself against a white neo-Nazi attacker. The new edition is dedicated to McDonald. A devoted group of friends are continuing to work to post Feinberg’s final writing and art online at Lesliefeinberg.net.

Throughout her life, Feinberg participated in and helped organize numerous anti-war, pro-labor, and anti-racist demonstrations. You can read more about Feinberg's long life of activism by reading her full obituary over at The Advocate here

Our thoughts go out to Feinberg's friends and family.


UK Children's Channel to Broadcast Transgender Teen Documentary - VIDEO

 

I Am Leo CBBC

UK children’s TV channel CBBC will today broadcast a feature about a transgender boy for the first time, reports Pink News.

‘I Am Leo,’ aimed at 6- to 12-year-olds, will air this afternoon as part of the CBBC’s anti-bullying week.

The short film follows 13-year-old Leo, born Lily, who has lived as a boy since the age of 5 and legally changed his name when he was 11.

The BBC’s Kez Margrie told the state broadcaster’s in-house magazine:

“I had wanted to do a story on a transgender child for a while, because I know there are kids out there having a tough time. But up to now, we hadn’t found the right story to tell.

“It feels very much like [Leo’s] journey and story, as told by him. It’s not about the science or the medicine, it is fundamentally about identity and passion – about a boy taking a stand, saying ‘This is who I am’. He has an identity that others find tricky to accept. That’s a pretty universal story.”

Cat Lewis of production company Nine Lives added:

“The great thing about making documentaries like this for children is that they’re not born with prejudices. There is a risk that the BBC will be criticised for commissioning this film, but it’s important that CBBC has been so supportive of it.”

Watch Leo’s inspiring “Tips For Coping With Bullying,” AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "UK Children's Channel to Broadcast Transgender Teen Documentary - VIDEO" »


Anti-gay Russian Lawmaker Vitaly Milonov Prepares Bill Targeting Same-Sex Marriage Loophole

St. Petersburg politician Vitaly Milonov is drafting a bill to eradicate a loophole in Russia's same-sex marriage ban after lesbian couple Irina Shumilova and Alyona Fursova tied the knot last Friday, reports Pink News.

Picture 6Russia's marriage laws don't recognize transgender identities and classify Russian citizens strictly by their sex at birth. Bride Irina Shumilova [middle], who was born male and now identifies as a woman, took advantage of the oppressive law and married her wife in a Russian registrars office while both wore wedding gowns.

Milonov called the clever move the couple pulled an "ugly insult to millions of Russian families" and announced Thursday that he plans on crafting a bill to eliminate the loophole.

Milonov told Russian newspaper The Izvestia his reasoning behind his new oppressive bill:

Milonov"At present… there is a dress code by which everyone must abide when visiting state institutions. Therefore, one should not dress inappropriately when visiting (any) event associated with a change in one’s civil status.

"It’s a matter of culture and education… We will not allow people dressed in clothes [associated] with the opposite sex or beach clothes to register their marriage at the registry office. Except for when that clothing is an element of their culture or of ethnic origin."

Milonov is also calling for Apple CEO Tim Cook to be banned from entering Russia over fears that he would bring AIDS or Ebola into the country. St. Petersburg was the first city in Russia to pass an ordinance banning "Gay propaganda," with the rest of the nation following suit modeling and passing similar legislation based on the city's ordinance.  

Shumilova and Fursova are not the first couple to circumvent Russia's same-sex marriage ban, however. In August, couple Allison Brooks and Alina Davis bypassed the law as well because Davis identifies as androgyne, but the Russian government considers Davis as male reports Pink News. Both wore wedding dresses when they signed the application papers even though registrars asked them not to.


Mexico City Approves Landmark Bill Allowing Trans People to Legally Change Gender Without Court Order

Mexico City lawmakers approved a groundbreaking trans rights bill on Thursday allowing trans people to legally change their gender without a court order, reports Michael Lavers at the Washington Blade:

ManceraMembers of Legislative Assembly of the Federal District, in which Mexico City is located, approved the measure by a 42-0 vote margin.

Six lawmakers abstained from the vote on the measure that Mexico City Mayor Miguel Ángel Mancera (pictured) proposed. Manuel Granados Covarrubias of the Party of the Democratic Revolution, known by the Spanish acronym PRD, welcomed the proposal’s approval.

The progressive mayor, as you may recall, married 26 gay couples in a mass wedding in July 2013.

The bill's approval came following a campaign by The Mexico City Commission to Prevent and Eliminate Discrimination and is the first such law in Latin America, according to the Blade:

The Mexican capital’s comprehensive anti-discrimination law already includes gender identity and expression and designates transphobia as a form of discrimination.


Michigan House Speaker Proposes 'Religious Freedom' Act As Debate Over LGBT Job Protections Bill Continues

As lawmakers in Michigan debate on whether to support legislation that would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation (but not gender identity or expression), Republican House Speaker Jase Bolger has proposed a bill that would allow businesses to discriminate against gays based on religious beliefs. 

MLive reports:

Jase Bolger“I believe workers should be hired and fired based solely on their work ethic and their work experience,” Bolger told reporters during a media roundtable. “And nobody should be discriminated against based on their sexual orientation or their religious beliefs.” [...]

Bolger, offering an analogy, said he does not think a baker should be able to fire an employee for being gay or refuse to make a birthday cake for gay customer.

But that same baker should not be forced to make a cake for a same-sex wedding if such a union would run counter to his or her religious beliefs, according to Bolger, who said courts would ultimately draw that line.

“This does not presume an outcome, and it clearly does not provide a license to discriminate,” Bolger said. “It provides a test of balance.”

Bolger is hoping to pair both bills together, a move that has angered State Rep. Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor):

“If you’re going to act in the public space, you must act in a way that is fair and equal to all citizens regardless of skin color, national origin, religion and hopefully sexual orientation and gender expression,” Irwin said. “If they don’t believe in that compromise, they don’t believe in it. They can’t have it both ways.”

LGBT advocates, meanwhile, continue to push for a fully inclusive non-discrimiantion bill, Buzzfeed reports:

Chad griffin“A fully inclusive non-discrimination bill that covers both sexual orientation AND gender identity is the only acceptable option,” HRC president Chad Griffin said in the release. “The Human Rights Campaign and our coalition partners will oppose anything less.”

The coalition partners include state groups like the ACLU of Michigan and Equality Michigan, as well as national groups that include the American Unity Fund and Gill Action — the political arm of the prominent donor Tim Gill’s efforts.

Kirk Fordham, the executive director of Gill Action, echoed Griffin and Cook-McCormac’s remarks, writing, “We, too, support only and inclusive bill and would oppose anything less than that. We’ve made that position clear to the GOP and Democratic leaders in the state.”

The sexual orientation-exclusive bill is being introduced by Republican state Rep. Frank Foster. Foster plans on holding a hearing on the bill, along with a Democratic alternative that includes trans protections, some time after Thanksgiving. 


Groundbreaking Study Explores The Lives of Pregnant Transmen

640px-Pregnant_belly_button

Obstetrics and Gynecology has published the findings of a study looking into the lives of transgender men who make the decision to have children post-transition. The self reporting participants of the study shed light on the experience of being pregnant as a publically male-presenting man, the data for which is exceedingly rare.

"Pregnancy and childbirth were very male experiences for me," one 29-year old participant reported. "When I birthed my children, I was born into fatherhood."

The study was first conceptualized by Alexis Light, a first year OB/GYN resident at Washington, D.C.’s Washington Hospital Center. Light found herself repeatedly unable to field questions from transgender men interested in becoming pregnant who had questions about the safety of continued hormone use.

"My friends were asking me be if they should delay starting testosterone if they had an interest in maintaining future fertility," Light said explained to NPR.

Light approached  Dr. Jennifer Kearns, an assistant professor of reproductive sciences at the  University of California, San Francisco with the idea to design a survey that would aggregate the experience of transmen who had successfully conceived and carried babies to term.

The lack of insight into the population of pregnant transmen, Kearns explained, was due mostly to the fact that many transmen felt unconnected to their healthcare providers.

"They just feel a lot of isolation from the healthcare community," she explained. "And we have some indication from our qualitative results that depression might be exacerbated for folks who are transgender, both during pregnancy and after."


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