Tuesday, November 20, 2012

This And That In The News – Trans Issues

"This And That In The News" is about articles in the news that have caught my eye and I want to share or comment about. These are the articles that caught my attention last week.

This week one of the articles that caught my attention was about a new class at Rutgers…
First Transgender class at Rutgers explores misunderstandings
Written by Carrie Stetler
Rutgers Today
Nov 15, 2012

NEW BRUNSWICK — In Aren Aizura’s class “Introduction to Transgender Studies” — the first class of its kind at Rutgers — students analyze footage of Christine Jorgensen upon her return to the United States after a sex change operation in Denmark.

With her throaty voice and resemblance to Joan Crawford, Jorgensen fascinated the world as one of the first men to undergo gender reassignment surgery in 1952. (“Ex-GI turned Blonde Beauty’’ blared one headline.)

The Rutgers class explores the history and politics of what it means to be transgender, including the criteria physicians once used to determine whether someone would be a good candidate for surgery.
For an Independent Study class I developed a curriculum for “Working with Gender Variant Clients” for social workers. A part of the Social Workers Code of Ethics says that social workers should have an understanding of the culture of their clients. For many trans-people they end up educating their therapists on trans-issues.

Switching over to the world of politics, in Syracuse NY, the Common Council is voting on a gender identity non-discrimination ordinance today…
Be Yourself: Support nondiscrimination laws protecting transgender people
Editorial Board
Published: Friday, November 16, 2012

Striking a blow for human dignity and basic civil rights, Syracuse is about to become the 10th jurisdiction in New York state to protect transgender people from discrimination.

New York state should be next.

The Syracuse Common Council is due to vote Monday on an amendment to the city’s Fair Practices Law that would prohibit discrimination based on a person’s “actual or perceived sex, or their gender identity or expression.” The legislation is sponsored by seven of the council’s nine voting members and therefore appears likely to pass.
As the article says, New York should pass a state wide non-discrimination law.

The next article is about a trans-woman being elected to public office in Cuba.
Adela Hernandez, Transgender Woman, Wins Office In Cuba
Huffington Gay Post

HAVANA -- Adela Hernandez, a biologically male Cuban who has lived as a female since childhood, served two years in prison in the 1980s for "dangerousness" after her own family denounced her sexuality.

This month she made history by becoming the first known transgender person to hold public office in Cuba, winning election as a delegate to the municipal government of Caibarien in the central province of Villa Clara.

In a country where gays were persecuted for decades and sent to grueling work camps in the countryside, Hernandez, 48, hailed her election as yet another milestone in a gradual shift away from macho attitudes in the years since Fidel Castro himself expressed regret over the treatment of people perceived to be different.
We are making headway around the world in the understanding of the electorate that it is not who the person is but rather it is their political views that are important in an election. There was a trans-woman elected to office in New Hampshire and a few years back if I remember correctly a crossdresser was elected to first selectperson in Washington state.

Sometimes we paint religion with a broad brush, when in fact each religion is different and even different sects within a religion are different.
Transgender Jews find a place at the table
By The Forward
Nov.18, 2012

    BERKELEY, CALIF. – Shortly before Emily Aviva Kapor began the transition from male to female, she sat down to discuss the process with her mother. “I told her I was going on hormones, and she said the most Jewish thing to me,” 27-year-old Kapor recalled. “She said, ‘Well, at least you’re not getting a tattoo.’”

It’s a funny line that anyone with a Jewish mother can appreciate. But as it turns out, the most Jewish thing to say on the subject of gender identity probably would have been nothing at all.

For many years, those knowledgeable on the subject say, Jews and Jewish organizations largely met their transgender co-religionists with silence. Slowly, that is beginning to change. From November 2 to November 4, Kapor and nearly 30 other transgender, transsexual, queer, intersex and gender-nonconforming Jews from across North America sought to expand this opening-up process at a gathering here, billed as the first-ever retreat for such Jews.
I know that different denominations accept trans-people. When we hold our Transgender Day of Remembrance one of our biggest supporters is a rabbi from the Reform movement. Just like the Christian religion there are sects that support us and sects that do not.


  1. I'm not sure if the " crossdresser was elected to first selectperson in Washington state" you refer to as Washinton doesn't use the term selectperson. But you might be referrring to Stu Rasmussen of Silverton Oregon. Who is a transgender male. Lives as a woman but is still male identifies as such and is still "Stu". He was elected Mayor of Silverton Oregon 4 years ago and was re-elected this last election cycle.

  2. Yes, you are probably right. All I remembered was that the person came from the northwest corner of the country.