Transgender Hub

Glee's Coach Beiste And 200 Trans Singers Perform 'I Know Where I've Been': VIDEO

Glee Coach Beiste

For those of you who haven't been following Glee lately, last month Coach Beiste, played by lesbian actress Dot-Marie Jones, came out as transgender and took some time off began transitioning from female to male. Fast forward to last Friday and Beiste returned to a mixed reception: transphobic bullying from the rival glee club Vocal Adrenaline, but complete acceptance from trans student Unique.

Unique surprises Beiste with a truly remarkable welcome that serves double-duty as an acceptance lesson for Vocal Adrenaline: a 200 member chorus of trans singers performing "I Know Where I've Been" from Hairspray. It's uplifting and affirming in an incredible way, and you can see it AFTER THE JUMP...

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Let's Respect The Fact That Bruce Jenner's Story Is About More Than His Body

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The Interplay is a special biweekly series exploring the intersections of sex, pop culture, and current events.


We need to have a conversation about the way we discuss and and make sense of the public comings out of high-profile trans-identified people. The prospect of Bruce Jenner’s coming out as transgender carries a significance that’s far larger than Jenner as an individual or us as people who have agreed to pay attention to his life. Much of that significance stems from the way that we (the queer press) and we (the general public) are talking about Jenner the idea as opposed to Jenner the person in relation to a trans identity.

Advocates like Laverne Cox, Janet Mock, and Jill Soloway have made significant inroads in reframing the way that the general public thinks about and understands trans folks. Both Orange is The New Black and Transparent feature narratives that center around trans characters whose identities are complicated and nuanced. Similarly, Janet Mock’s memoir Redefining Realness and her gig hosting MSNBC’s "So Popular" do the very simple yet powerful work of presenting trans people as people rather than reducing them to their gender identities.

In their own ways these creative works have done a significant amount of work in the fight to challenge depictions of trans people that fixate on their bodies. Orienting the public discourse about trans experiences towards stories of everyday humdrum-ness invites people to see trans folks as being a part of the “normal” human experience. The importance of that importance cannot be overstated.

In talking about Bruce Jenner, however, we (the gay media) and we (the general public) are in something of an odd position. As much as we may not want to admit it, much of the speculation and discussion of Jenner’s purported desire to transition has been grounded in a set of assumptions based on his shifting physical appearance. As interest in Jenner’s gender presentation has flourished, the conversation focused on him has become one preoccupied with specific physical characteristics and his bodily features. For every piece speculating about the impact that Jenner could have on the broader trans community, there are more that fixate on Jenner’s body as a spectacle--turning it into something to jeer at rather than celebrate and welcome with open arms.

Much of the aggression directed at trans people is a direct manifestation of the ways in which general society refuses to accept trans bodies as valid. We, as a media producing and consuming public are doing little to alleviate that problem by obsessively focusing on the minute details of Jenner’s purported physical transformation. Through our fixation with his body we pathologize and ultimately demean the story of one of the most potentially important trans people of the 21st century.

In many ways the public’s scrutiny of his life is par for the Kardashian/Jenner course. Bruce Jenner is a high-profile public figure who chose to become a part of an even higher-profile family of people famous for inviting the public to comment on and speculate about their lives.  As Bryan Lowder explained in an all-staff e-mail circulated throughout Slate, however, there is a degree to which the very act of discussing Jenner can quickly turn toxic:

“[C]ertain stories touch on larger issues (e.g. Jenner’s intersects with reality TV, tabloid culture, etc.) and deserve attention in kind, but by participating in those stories we are taking part in a culture that already places trans people under heightened and dangerous scrutiny.

There is nothing inherently salacious or juicy about someone’s being trans. The line between reporting relevant information of interest to our readers and taking part in disrespectful gossip can be thin.”

There is a power in talking about Bruce Jenner that we would all do well to be cognizant of in our day to day discussions of his life. It’s difficult to say what it would mean for trans-visibility were Jenner to come out but the necessity of speaking about him in a measured and thoughtful way is of equal importance. Bruce Jenner’s story, like those of all people who may be transgender, is about more than his body. We owe it both to him and to ourselves to treat it as such.

Transgender Man Describes How Coming Out To His Lesbian Girlfriend Led to Marriage: VIDEO

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A transgender man shared his touching coming out story with I’m From Driftwood, a LGBTQA story archive, on how he came out as a transgender man to his lesbian girlfriend. 

Said Mitch:

"We actually met online, on the site OKCupid. So we had this great dynamic from the start. I was, at the time, really, like, [a] kind of butch - or masculine-identified woman, and she is and always has been - remains - a really feminine-identified woman. It wasn't something, even when I entered the relationship, that I was thinking, 'This is something I need to tell her about me,' it's hard to explain how I had compartmentalized that part of me and just put it somewhere else, and it hadn't come to the fore for several years."

A year into their relationship, Jocelyn’s faith in Mitch gave him the strength to come out to his girlfriend as transgender. Mitch’s coming out was emotional, but Mitch’s courage in coming out led to the two’s engagement and marriage.

Watch Mitch talk about Jocelyn and how her unwavering support helped him through the transition process and into marriage, AFTER THE JUMP

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Military Approves Chelsea Manning's Gender Reassignment Treatment


Convicted Wikileaker Chelsea Manning has secured hormone therapy for her gender-reassignment treatment, USA Today reports:

"After carefully considering the recommendation that (hormone treatment) is medically appropriate and necessary, and weighing all associated safety and security risks presented, I approve adding (hormone treatment) to Inmate Manning's treatment plan," Col. Erica Nelson, the commandant of Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, wrote in a Feb. 5 memo. [...]

Manning sued the federal government for access to the treatment. The Army referred questions about Manning to the Department of Justice, which has been handling the case. Nicole Navas, a Justice Department spokeswoman, declined to comment, saying the government's position is detailed in court filings.

Back in September, the American Civil Liberties Union sued Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel on behalf of Manning. The ACLU did not have an immediate comment on the Army's memo.

The paper adds

Transgenders are not allowed to serve in the U.S. military and the Defense Department does not provide such treatment. The Department of Veterans Affairs, however, does provide the treatment for veterans.

The Army's decision means it is simply fulfilling its obligation to provide Manning with medical care, said Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, an advocacy group based in Washington. Failing to do so would be "cruel and unusual punishment," she said.

Manning is currently serving a 35 year sentence in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas after being convicted in 2013 of leaking thousand of classified military documents. 

Drag Performer Apologizes for Mocking Bruce Jenner in Faked 'National Enquirer' Cover Photo: VIDEO


Drag performer Marti Gould Cummings is apologizing for his role in a National Enquirer cover story from December 2014 that mocked Bruce Jenner's recent change in appearance.

The Enquirer hired Cummings to portray Jenner "cross dressing" as he exits his SUV. While Cummings admits he originally agreed to do the photoshoot because of ego (he wanted to be on the cover of a magazine that would be on newsstands across the country), after news of Jenner's transition was confirmed by an increasing number of sources Cummings began to feel uneasy about making fun of the former Olympian. He was reminded of his own experience being mocked and bullied as a young child and how being different was often used against him by his tormenters.

CUMMINGSSaid Cummings in a video apology posted to YouTube:

I thought about all the times I was a kid on the playground preaching to the other kids that I was really a girl and that I had been born into the wrong body. I thought about the time another boy shoved me into the wall in the bathroom in 4th grade and told me he was going to kill me because I was acting like a girl, I thought about the countless LGBT youth who are homeless because their families have kicked them out of their homes for being who they and and I thought that by me doing this magazine cover I am no better than any of these other bullies....Bruce Jenner is incredibly brave and a pioneer who is leading the way for thousands of other people to make that brave decision to say out loud who they truly are. I am deeply sorry to Bruce Jenner personally and the entire trans community for doing The National Enquirer.  I am proud to be a member of the LGBT community and will continue to fight for the rights of all people within our community.

Watch Cummings' apology for yourself, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Eureka Springs Passes LGBT Protections, Tells Arkansas Legislature To 'Bring It On'


Hours after the Arkansas Senate voted to prohibit cities from passing LGBT protections, the City Council in Eureka Springs — known as "the gay capital of the Ozarks" — thumbed its nose at lawmakers by doing just that. 

The Arkansas Senate voted 24-8 Monday to prohibit cities from adding protected classes to nondiscrimination ordinances that aren't included in state law. Senate Bill 202, which now goes to the House, is a direct response to Fayetteville's decision to pass an LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance, which was later overturned at the ballot box. 

The Associated Press reports: 

Republican Sen. Bart Hester, who proposed the legislation, said it is intended to standardize laws across the state, which he said is just as important as civil rights.

"What we need to do in the state of Arkansas is create a uniform and standardized process for any business to come in," Hester said.

The proposal was approved on a mostly party line vote, with three of the Senate's 11 Democrats voting for the bill. The state Democratic Party issued a statement opposing the measure, and the top Democrat in the chamber portrayed the restriction as hypocritical compared to Republicans' rhetoric.

"If Washington passed something like this and passed it down to the states, we would scream about federal overreach," said Senate Minority Leader Keith Ingram.

If SB202 becomes law, Arkansas would be the second state to prohibit cities from banning anti-LGBT discrimination. The other is Tennessee, where the law is being challenged in court by the National Center for Lesbian Rights. In 1996, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Colorado's ban on gay protections, saying it was unconstitutional for legislators to target a specific group. 

In response to the state Senate's passage of SB202, the City Council in Eureka Springs rushed through an LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance on Monday night. The council also passed a resolution opposing SB202 and an emergency clause to make the ordinance effective as soon as possible.  

Arkansas Online reports: 

BerryEureka Springs Mayor Robert D. "Butch" Berry [pictured right] said he'll sign the ordinance today or Wednesday after document changes requested by the council have been made and a fresh copy of the eight-page ordinance is available. When that happens, Eureka Springs will become the only city in Arkansas with such an ordinance. ...

At Monday's council meeting, City Attorney Tim Weaver said SB202 is written to prevent the enforcement of city ordinances like the one the council was discussing. ...

Council member Mickey Schneider asked if Weaver meant the city would likely be sued by the state.

"I'm not saying the state's going to sue you," said Weaver. "It's more likely to come from a right-wing group."

"That's even better!" said Schneider. "Bring it on!"


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