Friday, 30 September 2016

Centre For Disease Control Leaves Trans Out of LGB Youth Campaign

The Center for Disease Control has released a study on violence against LGB youth campaign, designed to highlight how lesbian, gay and bisexual teens and children face an extraordinary high amount of violence, bullying and harassment, leading to higher rates of suicide and depression.

Whilst some members of the LGBT+ community are praising this study there are some who have found that it lacks in some areas, particularly with it's exclusion of the transgender population.

The info-graphic released for the report makes no mention of transgender youth or the struggles that they face, despite the fact that are very similar to those that the rest of the LGBT+ population experience and can be combated in the same ways.

When challenged as to why the transgender population was not included in this study the CDC released the following statement; 'Thanks for all the great questions and comments related to why transgender youth are not included in the info-graphic.  Transgender youth are included in all Youth Risk Behavior Surveys.  However, we do not have a question to identify them.  The challenge is developing a credible gender identity question that is appropriate for students and consistent with the YRBS question format.

'We are working on developing and testing a question on gender identity.  This is an important next step to determine if YRBS can be a good source of data on the transgender population.  We are committed to preventing violence before it happens among all youth.'

I will be the first to admit that I am not an expert in this field, that I don't have the same level of education or training as the people who work for the CDC, but am I totally missing the point of what they're saying here.  They don't have a question that identifies trans people?

I've filled in enough surveys and applications over the last few years that have asked me my gender and included the options of male, female or transgender.  Is that not enough to identify people as transgender for a study?  Is asking'what's your gender' and leaving a blank space for people to write the answer not a method?  How the hell can the CDC not have a way of identifying trans people?  Every other organisation seems to have been able to.

Whilst the CDC may be struggling to find a way of finding out information on trans people there are many organisations that have released extensive studies on the subject that have managed to find a way of doing so, perhaps in the future the CDC might be able to consult with them to either use their data or simply to ask, 'how did you find out people were trans?'.

Many members of the trans community have taken offense at the results of the study, citing it as yet another example of trans erasure or an attempt to split the transgender population away from the larger LGBT+ group.  Whilst I don't think that any plan to seperate trans and the rest of the community was put into play here, it still has the worrying effect of trying to further 'other' the transgender community.

One thing that is worthy of note, the CDC is claiming that they don't have the data regarding transgender people, that they have no definite information in order to be able to include them or write about their struggles, however, they have created an official page regarding the zombie apocalypse.

Thank you for the message you're sending out CDC, 'we can't possibly get out heads around trans people and how they work in the real world so we're not going to include them, but zombies, yeah, we can totally get on board with zombies'.

Do better CDC.  Do a hell of a lot better.


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Thursday, 29 September 2016

UKIP Member Suspended For Standing Up Against Racism

A key figure in Peterborough's branch of UKIP has been suspended after 'speaking out against elements of racism, cronyism, corruption and hypocrisy' in the party,

Jay Beecher, the deputy chairman of UKIP Peterborough, who coordinated the Vote Leave campaign in the Peterborough area during the run up to the EU referendum reported that he was suspended from the party after speaking out against the more negative elements.

A few days before his suspension he tweeted, 'After a lot of though, I've decided to stand up to the cronyism, the hypocrisy and elements of unchallenged racism within our party.'  After the suspension came through Mr Beecher tweeted to say that he 'couldn't be prouder'.

'I've been suspended for standing up to and speaking out against elements of racism, cronyism, corruption and hypocricy which I became privy to during the leadership race.'  He told local news sources.  'All these things are destroying UKIP.  I'm very disappointed with the route I'm having to take, but I'm proud to be making a stand.

'We shouldn't ever shy away from challenging someone's immoral or racist behavior simply because we might share the same political beliefs or swear allegiance to the same party.

'Our party looks to be turning in a rather questionable direction.  Our grassroots, our elected officials and the people they represent are being sorely let down.  It's time we made a stand.'

A spokesman for the right wing party released a statement on the matter, 'Mr Beecher has been suspended after repeatedly making deliberate and demonstrably false allegations against other members of the party, and doing so in various media outlets.

'He's a talented young man and its a shame that he uses his time to attack people in his party rather than build up support as we move forward to the Cambridgeshire County Council elections next year.'


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Monday, 26 September 2016

Everything Left Episode 1 - Schrodinger's Rodriquez

My brand new podcast is now available online at Soundcloud, head over there now and check it out!

In Episode One I'm joined by Adi and Han as we discuss Michelle Rodriguez's new film '(Re)Assignment', trans representation in film and television, British Royal family members coming out as gay, hate preachers being banned from entering the UK, and we learn that Han has a surprising lack of knowledge of celebrity deaths.


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Transgender Teen Fired From McDonalds Following Media Attention

Kenny Cooley, a transgender teen from Halifax, Nova Scotia, is reporting that he has been fired from his job at McDonalds following a news report focusing on him being an out transgender football player on his school team.  

Kenny has reported to the media that he has faced a backlash from his employer following a news report by ABC News in which he was profiled.  He has said that only two days after the report appeared in the Canadian publication he was called into his managers office and told that his contract was being terminated, in part because of scheduling mishaps, but also due to media attention.

The owner operator of the McDonalds where Kenny works, Bob Smith, has released a statement saying that he is 'shocked by these allegations as they are simply not true'.  He went on to say, 'I have been a local business owner for more than 25 years and pride myself on operating an open and diverse workplace.  At my restaurants, inclusion has always been an important part of my work culture.

'Our philosophy has always been to 'bring your whole self to work'.  By doing so we encourage an open and accepting workplace that allows everyone to contribute to their personal best.'

The local LGBT+ advocacy group has called for an official apology and for Kenny to be given his job back.

'Youth are constantly telling us that they're denied employment opportunities because they're trans - we hear it happen all the time,' Youth Project director Kate Shewan spoke out on the incident.  

Despite Kenny's mother stating that she wishes to take McDonalds to court over the incident he has simply stated that he wants to receive an apology over the incident.


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Sunday, 25 September 2016

'Love Is Love' Comic To Benefit Victims Of Orlando Massacre

DC and IDW have entered into a partnership to produce a new one-shot comic called 'Love is Love', the proceeds of which will benefit the victims of the Orlando Pulse Massacre that occred earlier this year in whihc 49 LGBT+ people lost their lives.  The project will be donating to the victims of the shooting through Equality Florida.

'Love is Love' will feature work by industry names such as Paul Jenkins, Jason Aaron, Olivier Coipel, Phil Jimenez, Mike Carey, Damon Lindelof, Ming Doyle, Jesus Saiz, Patton Oswald, Jason Latour, Leinil Yu, Brandon Peterson, James Tynion IV, Rafael Albuquerque, Marguerite Bennett, Cecil Castellucci, Steven Orlando and many more to be announced.

'When Tragedy happens, art responds, and after the Pulse massacre, the comics community responded quickly, decisively and with open hearts,' said project organiser Marc Andreyko, 'I could not be more proud of this book, or to be a member of the comics community.  The talent and emotion on every page is staggering.  'Love is Love' mourns the forty nine lost, honours the survivors and celebrates love in all forms.'

The 144 page book, due out in December, will not only have IDW and DC characters and creators, but is also being reported to have additions from other publishers too.

Chris Ryall, Chief Creative Officer at IDW, said, 'When Marc brought this project to me, there was no hesitation about us being involved.  To echo Marc's sentiments, we are proud of the hard work and the talent that has gone into this project and to involved in any way to support the survivors and their families in the face of tragedy.'

Vertigo group editor Jamie Rich added, 'Marc's heartfelt passion for this cause and this project has inspired everyone involved in 'Love is Love'.  As an editor on the book, I continue to be moved every day by the expressions of hope and love the contributors have put forth, and can only imagine the profound impact the book will have on readers.'

'Love is Love' is set for release this December.


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Gay Teen Suing School That Refused To Let Him Bring A Date To Prom

A gay teen from Tennessee is suing his former school after they refused to let him bring a date to his homecoming prom.

Lance Sanderson has filed a lawsuit stating that his school, the all male Christian Brothers High School in Memphis, went against anti-discrimination laws when he was told that he could not bring another boy to the dance as his date, despite other students being allowed to bring female partners from outside of the school.

Lance chose to skip the dance rather than attend without being able to bring a partner, but reports that the school still suspended him for a week for having requested permission to bring a same sex partner.

The lawyers in the case, which cites breach of contract, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent training among it's violations, have said that that despite the school's private status it is in receipt of federal funding, and as such must abide by anti-discrimination laws and legislation.

Speaking out on the incident Lance said, 'I've been out since my freshman year of high school, and I've been a great student as well as a photographer for most of my school's events.  When I first started to float the idea of bringing a same sex date to homecoming I was told that my school doesn't discriminate by a school official.

'But, when that school official left over the summer, I was met with harsh opposition by my school.  One administrator told me that even though some people interpret Pope Francis's teachings on the issue as as meaning that they should support same sex couples, these people are 'not the authority to which Christian Brothers High School is accountable'.

'Now my school is making daily announcements across the whole school saying that students can't bring same sex dates from other schools.

'I just want to bring a date of my choice to homecoming like the rest of my friends and classmates.  I'm not asking for special treatment.  I'm just asking for respect and the chance to make my last homecoming a truly memorable experience.'

Lance's case is still ongoing.


Saturday, 17 September 2016

Christian Music Festival Bans Gay Singer

Joshua Fest, a Christian festival in Quincy, California, has dropped an openly gay singer from it's line-up and banned him from their event.  Trey Pearson, lead singer of the popular Christian band Everyday Sunday came out to fans as gay in an emotional letter earlier this summer, a shock revelation to many of the bands fans as he has previously been believed to be straight, being married and having two children with his wife.

In his coming out letter Pearson admits that he has been 'choosing' to be straight after being raised in a Christian environment that taught him that homosexuality was a sin, and a choice.  'I tried for a really long time , I don't think I was ever trying to lie to anyone, I was trying to convince myself I could be something I wasn't.'

Despite some of his more open minded fans congratulating him on his bravery at coming out and living his life as his true self, others have been extremely critical of his sexuality, and Joshua Fest has since dropped the band from their event and have reportedly banned Pearson from attending.

The decision to drop the band came after members of the festival crew threatened to walk out of the event if an openly gay man was allowed to appear.  The festival owners cite this as their reason for dropping the act, claiming that the amount of staff who threatened to leave would have made the event unable to be run.


Monday, 12 September 2016

Judge Tells Trans Man To 'Pick A Name I Can Live With'

A judge from the state of Georgia has refused to allow a transgender man to change his name unless he chooses a gender neutral or unisex name.

Earlier this year Andrew Baumert filed a petition to have his name legally changed from his birth name to Andrew.  Court records show that Andrew provided all of the relevant and correct documents necessary for the change, yet Judge J. David Roper denied the request less than 10 minutes into the hearing.

Roper stated his reason for denying the change as being that Andrew is too masculine a name, and that it may confusing or misleading to other people.  Whilst there are exceptions in which a court can deny a name change, such as a lengthy criminal record or if they believe that someone is trying to defraud creditors, but there is no legal standing to deny a petition based on the ground of gender dysphoria.

Court records have shown that Roper told Andrew that he would be fine allowing the name change if a gender neutral name was chosen.  He said, 'I can live with Morgan, Shannon, Shaun and Jamie'.

Andrew has since approached civil rights organisations for assistance with this case and has gone on to describe the incident as 'humiliating' to the press.

'It was humiliating and insulting to be told by the court that I would not be able to change my name legally when I'm already known as Andrew by my family, my friends and my community.  I work in labs all day, but it doesn't take a scientist to know that the judge's ruling was based on sexist opinions about 'appropriate' names.'

This is not the first time that Roper has denied a trans man's petition to change his name legally, however, as in the past he has refused to allow a trans man to change his name to Rowan.  At the time Roper denied this change, which also met all of the legal requirements, on the grounds that he believed it could 'offend the sensibilities and mores of a substantial portion of the citizens of this state.'


Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Leicester Pride Issue Apology For Using The Word 'Tranny'

Five days after an incident at my local Pride event in Leicester where I received a torrent of abuse online for asking event organisers why a member of their team was wearing a high-vis jacket with the word 'tranny' printed on the back, Leicester Pride has released an official statement regarding the incident.

Apology from Leicester Pride

With reference the recent event in Leicester and it being highlighted to us about the use of the word 'Tranny' being an offensive word to some people in our community, we would like to whole heartedly apologise for any offence taken. It was never meant in its context to be offensive and it was ignorant of us to think that in this day it was ok.

One the day of the festival comments were made on our Facebook page, which by the time we were aware had also got very abusive sub comments added by members of the public. We took what action we felt was right at the time, which was to delete the entire thread from our page.

Leicester Pride welcomes people from all walks of life and to think that this has in anyway ruined people's day when they were attending or upset them in any fashion is totally unacceptable and for that we once again apologise.

Since then we have been contacted by the publication Planet Transgender and agreed to meet to discuss this, although a formal time etc has not yet been agreed we hope that we can have an open discussion and move on from this is a positive way.

Leicester Pride will never encourage any sort of negatively to people in our community and hope this apology is accepted in the spirit it is intended.

Leicester Pride

I would like to thank the organisers of  the event for taking this incident seriously, even though it did take them a while to respond to the incident it's encouraging to see that they have not just dismissed it out of hand the way that some groups might have done.

As they have said in their statement, they have been contacted via Planet Transgender, who I work with, and they have greed to discuss the matter with us further,  As the rest of the Planet Transgender Team are not within the UK I am pleased to be the one to talk to them regarding this matter, and am hoping that they contact us regarding this very soon.


Sunday, 4 September 2016

Trans Radio Presenter Stephanie Hirst Set To Move To BBC Radio 2

BBC Radio 2 could be about to get their very first out trand DJ as Stephanie Hirst begins negotiations to take over from Paul Gambaccini as he moves slots.

According to the Daily Mirror 'Stephanie has had four meetings with senior bosses, including three full auditions, which saw her record her show as though it is live and going out on air.  She really impressed and is now very much in the frame for the job.'

Stephanie has a great deal of experience as a Radio DJ, having previously worked for both Captial FM and Radio 5 Live.


Saturday, 3 September 2016

Prometheus Coming to Season 5 of Arrow

After fighting super soldiers, immortal assassins and magicians Arrow is heading back towards to regular human villains going into it's fifth season.

Whilst a large part of the season will involve the Russian Maffia, with 80's movie legend Dolph Lundgren playing a key role, a new villain will also be staling the streets in the form of Prometheus.  The series producers are saying that Prometheus will be the major threat of the season.

Hopefully he won't be as destructive a force as he was for Green Arrow in the comics, where he destroyed a huge section of Star City, resulting in Roy Harper losing an arm, and the death of his daughter Lian.

Arrow will return on October 5th.


Supernatural Release First Picture of Mary Winchester in Action

Season 11 of Supernatural wasn't one of the best, it had a great idea for a villain in an 'evil' counterpart to God, and the actual inclusion of God towards the end of the season, but sadly let itself down with a lackluster final episode.

With God dying and Amara looking unbeatable the Winchesters win the day by essentially getting her to agree to have a talk with her brother and the two of them putting their differences behind them, not exactly the best finale the show has ever given us.

The final episode did, at least set up some interesting new ideas going forward into season 12, one being the new human villains, the other being the surprise return of Mary Winchester, Sam and Dean's mother who died when Sam was still a baby.

It's anyone's guess what her return will mean for the show and the relationships between the characters, but from new promo images it would look like she's quickly calling on her history as a hunter and jumping straight into the action.

Supernatural is set to return to screens on October 13th.


Leicester Pride Happy Using Trans Slurs

Today I attended my local Pride event in Leicester, an event that I'd been to before and enjoyed.  Our household was excited to go, and we spent the morning getting ourselves ready for what we thought would be a great day our.  However, the three of us were extremely disappointed by the event.  Not because of the constant rain that soaked us through, it's summer in England, we're used to that kind of thing, no we were disappointed by some of the incredibly offensive language being used by one of the event's organisers.

As we were waiting for the event to begin my girlfriend noticed the high vis jacket one of the event crew was wearing, which had the word 'Tranny' printed on the back.

I have to be completely honest, when I first saw this I thought that I must have misread something, that I'd seen one thing and accidentally read another.  But no, it very clearly has the word tranny printed on it.  I felt absolutely disgusted when I saw this.  Here we are, at an event that is supposed to be celebrating an embracing all parts of the LGBT+ community, somewhere that is supposed to be a safe space, where we can all be ourselves, and someone is wearing one of the worst slur words for the trans community.

If I'm being completely honest, I wanted to leave.  I absolutely hate that word.  I have had people call me that word when they've threatened to kill me, I've had people shout it at me in the street, I've been called it when I was spat on.  It's used to put down and humiliate trans people.  It's a word of hate.

Because I was meeting a friend and his some at the event I chose to stay on as not to disappoint them, but my day was essentially ruined from that point onward.  I felt that as a trans person I was being told that I wasn't welcome at the event, that trans people were being looked down upon by the rest of the community, or even mocked.

However, I wanted to ask the event organisers themselves as to why this word was used, for all I know this guy could be trans himself and using the word to reclaim it, which is fine.  So, I went and uploaded the photo to Leicester Pride's Facebook page and asked them about it.

As of yet I haven't received a response from the Pride organisers themselves, but their supporters have responded, and boy is their reaction not nice.

These are just a few of the comments being made on Leicester Pride's Facebook page.  I've been told that I'm being PC, that I'm overly sensitive, that they can use that word because they're a drag artist, that I'm a 'fucktard', that I should never leave my house.  This is the reaction from the LGBT+ community, to launch into an attack where I'm the villain for asking why a slur word was used.

So far the actual organisers haven't given a response, but they're allowing these responses to be made on their social media, they're allowing their supporters to attack a member of their community.  Well, maybe I guess this event is just for the LGB community.

The abuse is still rolling in at the minute, please feel free to see for yourself on the link below, or even get involved in the discussion if you want.

Perhaps there was no malice in this person using that word, but it's still not right that they do use it, and the reaction to someone from a marginalised group telling you that something is highly offensive isn't to launch into an attack and tell that person that they're wrong, especially if you're not in that community.  If you're not a part of the community what makes you qualified to tell them that something's not offensive to that community.

This reaction is shocking beyond belief, it's ruined what should have been an amazing event and it's completely unacceptable.


The entire conversation thread, including dozens more abusive comments, has now been deleted by the Leicester Pride page admin.  The page has also been made so that all posts and comments must be approved by their page admin, effectively preventing anyone from speaking out on this incident and any other issues that people may have.