WBEZ | transgender http://www.wbez.org/tags/transgender Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Facial Feminization Surgery: What Makes A Face Feminine? http://www.wbez.org/news/facial-feminization-surgery-what-makes-face-feminine-113831 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/1117_renee-baker-624x351.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="attachment_96262"><img alt="Renee Baker before facial feminization surgery. (Photo courtesy of Renee Baker)" src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/media.wbur.org/wordpress/11/files/2015/11/1117_renee-baker-624x351.jpg" style="height: 349px; width: 620px;" title="Renee Baker is pictured before facial feminization surgery. (Photo courtesy of Renee Baker)" /><p>Have you ever thought about what makes a face feminine?&nbsp;</p><p>According to one of the surgeons who pioneered facial feminization surgery,&nbsp;what makes a face feminine isn&rsquo;t easy to define.</p></div><p>&ldquo;We hear beauty is only skin deep; it&rsquo;s not,&rdquo; Spiegel says. &ldquo;It has to do a lot with the bones. When we change the face, I need to change the bones. And then the skin is almost like clothing. If a woman puts on a man&rsquo;s shirt it still looks like a woman&hellip;. so the skin, if it sits on the right way on the facial structures, we start to get the right cues.&rdquo;</p><p>As&nbsp;Lauren Silverman&nbsp;from&nbsp;<a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/11/17/facial-feminization-surgery" target="_blank"><em>Here &amp; Now</em></a>&nbsp;member station KERA in Dallas reports, that can make it tricky for people in the transgender community thinking about having surgery. She speaks with Spiegel and Renee Baker, a transgender woman who traveled from Dallas to Boston to receive the surgery.</p></p> Tue, 17 Nov 2015 15:47:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/facial-feminization-surgery-what-makes-face-feminine-113831 More universities move to include gender-neutral pronouns http://www.wbez.org/news/more-universities-move-include-gender-neutral-pronouns-113727 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/singleladies-v51_custom-19073c33d1984553dd36b19809b05054156d030e-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res455204334" previewtitle="Instead of just &quot;he&quot; and &quot;she,&quot; Harvard and other colleges are introducing gender-neutral pronouns like &quot;ze&quot; into their registrars."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Instead of just &quot;he&quot; and &quot;she,&quot; Harvard and other colleges are introducing gender-neutral pronouns like &quot;ze&quot; into their registrars." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/08/singleladies-v51_custom-19073c33d1984553dd36b19809b05054156d030e-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 464px; width: 620px;" title="Instead of just &quot;he&quot; and &quot;she,&quot; Harvard and other colleges are introducing gender-neutral pronouns like &quot;ze&quot; into their registrars. (LA Johnson/NPR)" /></div><div><div><p>More and more colleges and universities are allowing students to choose their own gender pronouns, meaning instead of just &quot;he&quot; and &quot;she,&quot; the options now include pronouns like &quot;ze,&quot; which are intended to be gender neutral.</p></div></div></div><p>Harvard is one of the universities that made the change official this year. Now, undergraduate students have a variety of pronouns to choose from when they register.</p><p>Van Bailey, the director of Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, and Queer student life at Harvard College talks with NPR&#39;s Michel Martin about how Harvard is implementing and reacting to the changes.</p><div><hr /></div><p><strong>On what led to the change</strong></p><p>Students. We have a very dynamic and diverse student body. There were a group of students who were able to reach out to our campus partners and the registrar&#39;s office and a number of other campus constituents to really talk about their needs, particularly as transgender and non-binary students.</p><p>And we wanted to figure out a way where our students didn&#39;t have to &mdash; in their first introductions to their professor &mdash; feel like have to go into a huge paragraph about their identity, but rather have some options and control to express themselves that reflected their identity. That was a series of conversations that we had over four or five years actually.</p><p><strong>On how the change works on campus and choices</strong></p><p>[As] people who work on campuses, we have access to student information ... we wanted to be able to have everything that a person needed to respond to a student that reflects their identity. This is showing up on advising records, this is showing up on rosters.</p><p>We offer several options. &quot;He&quot; and &quot;his,&quot; &quot;she&quot; and &quot;hers,&quot; &quot;they&quot; and &quot;theirs,&quot; we have options for &quot;ze.&quot; We have options for folks who say, &quot;Call me these sets of pronouns,&quot; for instance, I use sets of both &quot;he&quot; and &quot;they.&quot;</p><p><strong>On allowing gender fluidity at the expense of pronoun clarity</strong></p><p>The singular &quot;they&quot; is something that we do in society all the time. We might not want to officially say that but we definitely do and we&#39;re not particular about a person&#39;s gender. You know, often times we&#39;ll say &quot;they are doing this&quot; if we don&#39;t really understand what their gender is or we don&#39;t have that information before then. As well as, I think that language is evolving and is connected to our identities, so I think, you know, this is really about inclusion, it&#39;s about respect. And at the end of the day I think we need to definitely begin to evolve as we understand how people are identifying.</p><p><strong>On how people on campus are responding</strong></p><p>It&#39;s an exciting time. We&#39;re having folks reach out to people like myself to do trainings and education with them if they&#39;re saying, &quot;OK I&#39;m trying to understand how this works in real time,&quot; and we&#39;re happy to do that. The students are excited about it. They&#39;re excited to have the control and the options. They&#39;re excited that that doesn&#39;t have to be a barrier to their classroom experience. You know, because that can be a really kind of chilling experience for a student ... we want to be able to create as many opportunities for students to feel as safe as possible in our classrooms and included as possible and for our classrooms to welcome our diverse student body that we have here.</p></p> Sun, 08 Nov 2015 13:38:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/more-universities-move-include-gender-neutral-pronouns-113727 Transgender rights movement: a week of wins and losses http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-11-06/transgender-rights-movement-week-wins-and-losses-113681 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/In this Oct. 21, 2015 photo, a man urges people to vote against the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance outside an early voting center in Houston..jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="attachment_95663"><img alt="In this Oct. 21, 2015 photo, a man urges people to vote against the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance outside an early voting center in Houston. On Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015, voters statewide can give themselves tax breaks, pump billions of dollars into roads and make hunting and fishing constitutional rights by supporting seven amendments to the Texas Constitution on Tuesday's ballot. And Houston will choose a new mayor and decide whether to extend nondiscrimination protections to its gay and transgender residents in a referendum being watched nationally. (Pat Sullivan/AP)" src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/media.wbur.org/wordpress/11/files/2015/11/1106_transgender-houston-e1446822147828-624x410.jpg" style="height: 407px; width: 620px;" title="In this Oct. 21, 2015 photo, a man urges people to vote against the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance outside an early voting center in Houston. (Pat Sullivan/AP)" /><p>It was two steps forward and one step back this week for transgender rights advocates. The<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/houston-voters-reject-closely-watched-equal-rights-ordinance-113633" target="_blank"> repeal of Houston&rsquo;s Equal Rights Ordinance</a> was a major setback for the movement. The opponents of the ordinance argued it would open the door for transgender men to attack women in bathrooms.</p></div><p>There was also good news for transgender advocates. Yesterday, the Reform Judaism movement issued a broad transgender rights policy, the strongest of any religious group.</p><p>And on Monday, the U.S. Department of Education ordered an Illinois high school to find a solution in the case of a transgender female student who was not allowed to participate in girls&rsquo; sports or shower in the girls&rsquo; locker room with other students.</p><p>Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, joinsHere &amp; Now&rsquo;s Jeremy Hobson to discuss the defeat in Houston and the strategy going&nbsp;forward.</p><p><em><strong>Report:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.transequality.org/issues/resources/national-transgender-discrimination-survey-full-report" target="_blank">Discrimination and violence faced by transgender people</a></strong></em></p></p> Fri, 06 Nov 2015 12:46:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-11-06/transgender-rights-movement-week-wins-and-losses-113681 U.S. says Illinois school must give locker room access to transgender student http://www.wbez.org/news/us-says-illinois-school-must-give-locker-room-access-transgender-student-113642 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/3111086451_91879a4b16_o_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A suburban high school in Chicago is the<a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-11-04/battle-brewing-over-use-high-school-locker-room-transgender" target="_blank"> center of a debate</a> about how to accommodate transgender students without singling them out. At issue is whether a student who identifies as female can use the girls locker room in the same fashion as other female peers do.</p></p> Wed, 04 Nov 2015 15:33:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/us-says-illinois-school-must-give-locker-room-access-transgender-student-113642 In Houston, voters reject a closely watched equal rights ordinance http://www.wbez.org/news/houston-voters-reject-closely-watched-equal-rights-ordinance-113633 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Houston Mayor Annise Parker lost a big fight with the conservatives, when voters rejected an anti-discrimination law._0.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res454538477" previewtitle="Houston Mayor Annise Parker lost a big fight with the conservatives, when voters rejected an anti-discrimination law."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Houston Mayor Annise Parker lost a big fight with the conservatives, when voters rejected an anti-discrimination law." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/04/gettyimages-455944188_custom-264b297cc0f8983448b18a4f5e239ec92e9da1c0-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Houston Mayor Annise Parker lost a big fight with the conservatives, when voters rejected an anti-discrimination law. (Jemal Countess/Getty Images)" /></div><div><div><p>Voters in Houston soundly rejected a closely watched ordinance that prohibited discrimination in city contracting, business services, housing and employment.</p></div></div></div><p><a href="https://www.texastribune.org/2015/11/03/houston-anti-discrimination-ordinance-early-voting/">As the Texas Tribune reports</a>, the measure became a flashpoint in a confrontation between the city&#39;s lesbian mayor and the city&#39;s conservatives.</p><p>Ultimately, opponents of the ordinance, which is<a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-11-02/houston-residents-vote-anti-discrimination-ordinance-tomorrow" target="_blank"> known as HERO</a>, prevailed by a large margin. As the&nbsp;Tribune&nbsp;explains, opponents framed this issue as the &quot;bathroom ordinance,&quot; arguing that the &quot;ordinance&#39;s gender identity protection would allow sexual predators to enter women&#39;s bathrooms.&quot;</p><p>The&nbsp;Tribune&nbsp;adds:</p><blockquote><div><p><em>&quot;Ahead of Tuesday&#39;s vote, Republican state leaders, including Gov.&nbsp;<a data-tooltip="/directory/greg-abbott/quicklook/" href="http://www.texastribune.org/directory/greg-abbott/">Greg Abbott</a>&nbsp;and Lt. Gov.&nbsp;<a data-tooltip="/directory/dan-patrick/quicklook/" href="http://www.texastribune.org/directory/dan-patrick/">Dan Patrick</a>, cited the bathroom arguments in lending their political muscle to the campaign opposing the ordinance. On Tuesday, Patrick attributed the defeat of the &#39;misguided&#39; ordinance to voters standing up to &#39;pandering to political correctness.&#39;</em></p><p><em>&quot;&#39;The voters clearly understand that this proposition was never about equality &ndash; that is already the law,&#39; Patrick said. &#39;It was about allowing men to enter women&#39;s restrooms and locker rooms &mdash; defying common sense and common decency.&#39;</em></p><p><em>&quot;Supporters of the ordinance called the strategy fear-mongering and hoped for a win even after early voting figures showed the ordinance behind by a wide margin.&quot;</em></p></div></blockquote><p><a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/04/us/houston-voters-repeal-anti-bias-measure.html?_r=0">The New York Times reports</a>&nbsp;that the ordinance is actually very similar to anti-discrimination laws passed in 200 other cities.</p><p>The ACLU&#39;s National Political Director Karin Johanson said Houston was the only major American city that had not passed a law &quot;protecting its residents from discrimination.&quot;</p><p>Of course,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/11/03/454249137/election-day-what-were-watching">many other states and cities held elections</a>, yesterday. Here are a couple of other headlines:</p><p>&mdash; Ohio voters overwhelmingly&nbsp;<a href="http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/public/2015/election/ohio-state-issues-2-and-3-marijuana.html">rejected plans to legalize pot</a>&nbsp;for recreational and medical use.</p><p>&mdash; In Kentucky, Republican Matt Bevin&nbsp;<a href="http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/11/03/republican-matt-bevin-elected-governor-kentucky-2nd-republican-governor-in-4/">won the governor&#39;s race</a>. Lt. Gov.-elect Jenean Hampton will become the first black person to hold statewide office in Kentucky.</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/11/04/454525766/in-houston-voters-reject-a-closely-watched-equal-rights-ordinance?ft=nprml&amp;f=" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Wed, 04 Nov 2015 12:36:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/houston-voters-reject-closely-watched-equal-rights-ordinance-113633 Houston residents vote on anti-discrimination ordinance tomorrow http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-11-02/houston-residents-vote-anti-discrimination-ordinance-tomorrow <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/3111086451_91879a4b16_o.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="attachment_95333"><img alt="A anti-discrimination ordinance is up for a vote in Houston. Because it prohibits discrimination in public accommodations, critics have come out loudly against it, saying it will let trans people use bathrooms of their choosing. (Ted Eytan/Flickr)" src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/media.wbur.org/wordpress/11/files/2015/11/1102_gender-neutral-e1446478215978-624x444.jpg" style="height: 441px; width: 620px;" title="A anti-discrimination ordinance is up for a vote in Houston. Because it prohibits discrimination in public accommodations, critics have come out loudly against it, saying it will let trans people use bathrooms of their choosing. (Ted Eytan/Flickr)" /><p>Voters in Houston, Texas, are divided over a ballot question aimed at preventing any discrimination in areas such as housing and employment.</p></div><p>But the bill has caused an uproar because critics say it would&nbsp;let transgender people use bathrooms that align with their gender identity.</p><p>The bill includes language prohibiting any discrimination in the use of public accommodations.</p><p>Houston&rsquo;s mayor, who backs the bill, and conservative pastors have been fighting over the anti-discrimination ordinance in court since the city council passed it last year.</p><p>As a result, the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, or HERO,&nbsp;will be put before voters to decide.</p><p>Houston Public Media reporter&nbsp;<a href="http://@Florian_News887" target="_blank">Florian Martin</a>&nbsp;joins&nbsp;<em><a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/" target="_blank">Here &amp; Now&rsquo;</a>s</em> Jeremy Hobson to discuss the impending vote.</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/11/02/houston-anti-discrimination-bill" target="_blank"><em> via Here &amp; Now</em></a></p></p> Mon, 02 Nov 2015 14:57:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-11-02/houston-residents-vote-anti-discrimination-ordinance-tomorrow New protections for transgender patients are coming http://www.wbez.org/news/new-protections-transgender-patients-are-coming-113584 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/A poster from a 2013 rally in Washington, D.C. supporting equal health and livelihood of trans people..jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" id="1" src="http://www.marketplace.org/sites/default/files/styles/primary-image-766x447/public/8604815836_71ec0d624a_z.jpg?itok=afd2pRX-" style="height: 362px; width: 620px;" title="A poster from a 2013 rally in Washington, D.C. supporting equal health and livelihood of trans people. Friday marks the deadline for the Obama administration to finalize rules that will include protections for transgender patients. (flickr/Ted Eytan)" typeof="foaf:Image" /></p><div><div><div>For years, transgender adults have faced discrimination in healthcare so hostile it&rsquo;s almost laughable. Almost.</div><div>&nbsp;</div></div></div><p>&ldquo;A trans-woman broke her arm playing softball,&rdquo; said Mara Keisling, executive director the National Center for Transgender Equality. &ldquo;The insurance company refused to pay for it because if she hadn&rsquo;t been transgender she wouldn&rsquo;t have been playing softball. There&rsquo;s just a million stories like that.&rdquo;</p><p>The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is finalizing specific provisions of a rule under the Affordable Care Act that broadens civil rights protection.</p><p>This is the first federal law to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex in healthcare, which means hospitals, nursing homes, health insurers and doctors are barred from discriminating against transgender Americans&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;as well as others based on sex.</p><p>This new rule puts the entire industry on notice. It&rsquo;s now illegal to discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation, just like it&rsquo;s been illegal to deny care to people based on age, religion or race.&nbsp;Friday is the deadline for the Obama Administration to finalize new rules.</p><p>HHS&rsquo;s Jocelyn Samuels said that means insurers can no longer categorically deny services. For example, take gender transition care.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;If an insurer said, &#39;we will not cover any services related to gender transition, we will treat that as a denial of access to coverage&#39;&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;that is prohibited by the ACA,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Once the final rule is in place, University of Michigan Law Professor Sam Bagenstos, a former assistant attorney general for civil rights under the Obama Administration, said he can imagine scenarios where an insurer covers some services, but gender transition remains expensive.</p><p>&ldquo;It gets gray pretty quickly,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;I think the real question is how much is HHS going to feel willing to say in the abstract about these questions.&rdquo;</p><p>While this likely opens the doors to more lawsuits, Keisling of the National Center for Transgender Equality noted this gives people legal standing for the first time.</p><p>&ldquo;When they go to the doctor and the doctor says, &#39;I don&rsquo;t feel comfortable,&#39; they know they have the ability to say, &#39;I am a human being and you have to treat me. I have a legal right to get medical care,&#39;&rdquo; Keisling said.</p><p>Keisling estimates there are some 1 million transgender Americans, some of whom have stopped seeking medical care due to bad experiences in the past.</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.marketplace.org/topics/health-care/new-protections-transgender-patients-are-coming" target="_blank"><em>via Marketplace</em></a></p></p> Mon, 02 Nov 2015 09:37:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/new-protections-transgender-patients-are-coming-113584 The military can't accept this transgender soldier as a woman - yet http://www.wbez.org/news/military-cant-accept-transgender-soldier-woman-yet-113294 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/U.S. Army Capt. Jennifer Peace (right) and her wife, Debbie, with their youngest daughter at their home in Spanaway, Wash..JPG" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/8f1BHMPKteU?rel=0" width="560"></iframe></p><p><a href="https://beta.prx.org/stories/161942" target="_blank"><em><strong>Listen to the story.</strong></em></a></p><p>Capt. Jennifer Peace walks into the room, a tall, thin woman in crisp uniform, with minimal makeup and trim brown hair.</p><p>But when soldiers call her ma&rsquo;am, she has orders to correct them. They must call her sir.</p><p>Capt. Peace, an intelligence officer stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord south of Seattle, is transgender. And although it&rsquo;s been four years since the ban on homosexuality in the ranks was lifted, being trans is still a problem in the military.</p><p>That&rsquo;s about to change. But until the Defense Department crafts formal policies, transgender service members are in a complicated and sometimes frustrating position on how to handle bathrooms, bunking, pronouns &ndash; and haircuts.</p><p>Peace&rsquo;s hair sweeps neatly across her brow line and falls just below her ears. That&rsquo;s a problem, because according to the U.S. Army, Jennifer Peace is a man. And her hair is too long to conform to the standards set for men. She&rsquo;s been ordered to get it cut.</p><p>Fixing that part of the military&rsquo;s policy seems straightforward. Less clear is how open transgender service will affect combat roles, which aren&rsquo;t available to women right now.</p><p>Peace deployed to Iraq in 2008 and Afghanistan in 2012 as a man. And though her evaluations were good, she struggled with the way her body looked and with depression. She said it was in Afghanistan that she finally put a name to her angst.</p><p>So nearly two years ago with her wife&rsquo;s support, Peace started medically transitioning from male to female. She&rsquo;s one of an estimated 15,000 transgender troops serving in the Armed Forces and reserves, according UCLA&rsquo;s Williams Institute, which conducts research on sexual orientation and gender policy.</p><p>Peace&rsquo;s decision to transition had potentially devastating consequences for her career and for her family &ndash; she and her wife, Debbie, have been married for 11 years. They live in&nbsp;Spanaway, Wash., with their three children, and Peace said they&rsquo;ve racked up $55,000 in debt for her surgeries.</p><p>&ldquo;I was scared the entire time,&rdquo; Peace said. &ldquo;We had so many conversations about what are we to do if I get kicked out? I&#39;ve got three kids and a mortgage like everyone else. The Army is what I knew. What would I do if was gone tomorrow?&quot;</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Capt. Jennifer Peace, center, and her wife, Debbie, at home in Spanaway, Wash., with their three children. (Drew Perine/The News Tribune)" data-attribution="Credit The News Tribune/Drew Perine" data-caption="Capt. Jennifer Peace, center, and her wife, Debbie, at home in Spanaway, Wash., with their three children." src="http://mediad.publicbroadcasting.net/p/kuow/files/styles/large/public/201510/20151009-peace-transgender2.jpg" style="text-align: center; height: 397px; width: 600px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" title="Capt. Jennifer Peace, center, and her wife, Debbie, at home in Spanaway, Wash., with their three children. (Drew Perine/The News Tribune)" typeof="foaf:Image" /></p><p>That didn&rsquo;t happen. And under an order from Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, a senior Pentagon official must review involuntary discharges for transgender service members.</p><p>Carter made it clear in a speech for LGBT pride month at the Pentagon that diversity in the ranks is critical to the mission.</p><p>&ldquo;Because we need to be a meritocracy,&rdquo; Carter said. &ldquo;We have to focus relentlessly on our mission, which means the thing that matters most about a person is what they can contribute to national defense.&rdquo;</p><p>But first there are the haircuts and the pronouns.</p><p>Even though Peace has legally changed her name, her soldiers are under orders to address her as &ldquo;sir.&rdquo; When they didn&rsquo;t do that at first, she said, both she and her soldiers were reprimanded by command.</p><p>&ldquo;My soldiers were called in and they said, &lsquo;What are you calling Capt. Peace? What were you told to call Capt. Peace?&rsquo;&quot; she said. &ldquo;I was called in and my direct supervisor said, &quot;Hey, Capt. Peace. I need you start correcting people&#39;s pronouns.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>An Army spokesman said current policy is to treat soldiers for all purposes by the gender they held when they entered the service.</p><p>Such issues will likely be addressed by a working group formed by Secretary Carter &ndash; as will more complex problems, like whether transgender troops will be excluded from any military jobs.</p><p>These aren&rsquo;t insurmountable issues, said Aaron Belkin, director of the Palm Center, an independent research institute that focuses on gender, sexuality and the military. Belkin said British, Australian and Canadian forces already have developed inclusive policies for transgender personnel.</p><p>&ldquo;In all of those experiences, sure, culture changes a bit because the troops aren&#39;t used to serving with openly transgender personnel, but the implementation issues are not difficult to solve,&rdquo; Belkin said.</p><p>The frustration for transgender troops is the time it&rsquo;s taking. Be patient, counsels Sue Fulton, a former Army captain who now is president of SPARTA, a nonprofit that supports LGBT military veterans and their families.</p><p>&ldquo;There&#39;s a widespread recognition that current policies don&#39;t work. And a strong intent to set the right policies,&rdquo; Fulton said. &ldquo;To make sure they&#39;re doing the right thing is going to take time. &ldquo;</p><p>And, noted Fulton, part of the first class of women to graduate from West Point: &ldquo;Being first is hard.&rdquo;</p><p>While Jennifer Peace admits she&rsquo;s impatient, she&rsquo;s also hopeful that soon the focus will be on her job performance, not her gender.</p><p>&ldquo;I think by this time next year, we&rsquo;ll be talking about how well the implementation has gone,&rdquo; she said.&nbsp;</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://americanhomefront.wunc.org/post/military-cant-accept-transgender-soldier-woman-yet" target="_blank"><em>via American Home Front Project</em></a></p></p> Mon, 12 Oct 2015 12:36:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/military-cant-accept-transgender-soldier-woman-yet-113294 Lawsuit challenges transgender locker room access at Planet Fitness http://www.wbez.org/news/lawsuit-challenges-transgender-locker-room-access-planet-fitness-113231 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/15844192161_a7fe99139b_k.jpg" style="height: 407px; width: 610px;" title="A sign over a Planet Fitness workout space touts &quot;no critics&quot;. The gym chain is at the center of a string of debates around policies to guard transgender people against discrimination. (flickr/ Peter Hale)" /></div><p>The gym chain Planet Fitness has found&nbsp;itself in the middle of a national debate over how to accommodate transgender people in single-sex spaces like bathrooms and locker rooms.</p><p>Earlier this year, Yvette Cormier complained to her gym in Midland, Michigan, after seeing a transgender woman in the women&rsquo;s locker room. Cormier took it upon herself to &ldquo;warn&rdquo; other customers of the transgender-friendly policy. The gym canceled her membership, and now she&rsquo;s suing.</p><p>On Monday,&nbsp;<a href="https://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/10/05/gym-locker-rooms-transgender" target="_blank">we heard from two professors</a>&nbsp;who framed the issue&nbsp;as a new frontier for civil rights. But others say it&rsquo;s an entirely different issue and that transgender-friendly locker room policies are risky and misguided.</p><p><em>Here &amp; Now&#39;s</em> Jeremy Hobson speaks with&nbsp;David Kallman, an attorney whose firm is representing Cormier in her lawsuit against Planet Fitness.</p><hr /><h3><strong>Interview Highlights: David Kallman</strong></h3><p><strong>On Yvette Cormier&rsquo;s case against Planet Fitness</strong></p><p>&ldquo;The case is simply about the expectation of privacy that all people have in bathrooms, in locker rooms, and men&rsquo;s rooms and women&rsquo;s rooms. And essentially this case involves Planet Fitness, which has an unwritten policy that we believe creates a hostile sexual environment for women and children and it&rsquo;s essentially putting political correctness above common sense and common decency, so that&rsquo;s what the case is about. The lawsuit itself involves, like you say, invasion of privacy counts, breach of contract because there was no notification prior to our client signing up that this was their policy, and various violations under our state&rsquo;s civil rights law.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Does a person have a right to define whether they are a man or woman and then use the locker room that corresponds with this?</strong></p><p>&ldquo;That&rsquo;s a great question because I think that&rsquo;s a misconception about what this lawsuit&rsquo;s about. We&rsquo;re not attacking transgender people. We&rsquo;re not saying they don&rsquo;t have the right to self-identify however they want. I mean, I may disagree with it or whatever, but that&rsquo;s not the issue. The issue here is where now it&rsquo;s bleeding over into other areas of privacy and other rights that other folks have and the expectation that that has to be accepted in all circumstances. And I think, again, that there are lines that society can draw, and there&rsquo;s lines of common sense and common decency that, for example, biological men should not be allowed to undress and shower with women and 13-year-old girls &ndash; which would be the Planet Fitness situation &ndash; and impose their self-identification on other people. They&rsquo;re the ones doing the imposing here. So this is not an attack on that person, you know, that they don&rsquo;t have the right to make that choice for themselves. They can obviously choose to live their life how they see best, you know, what&rsquo;s best for them.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>On the comparison of&nbsp;transgender rights to those of people who are disabled or people of color</strong></p><p>&ldquo;Well, I don&rsquo;t think the comparison is valid at all. A disabled person is disabled, they&rsquo;re not transitioning to anything. An African-American is African-American, they&rsquo;re not transitioning to anything. And so what we have here is a situation where it&rsquo;s a biological man, OK, who&rsquo;s saying &lsquo;I have the right to impose myself on you in a women&rsquo;s locker room.&rsquo; That is not the same. You&rsquo;re not comparing apples to apples&hellip; They may see themselves as a woman, but other people don&rsquo;t at that point. And again, you know, you&rsquo;re asking individuals &ndash; this type of argument is so ripe for abuse. How are you going to determine if somebody is sincere in what they&rsquo;re doing at this point, or that they&rsquo;re actually on this journey or road to transition? How do you do that? I mean, this is so ripe for abuse, for somebody to just come in and say &lsquo;Oh, I&rsquo;m transitioning. I feel like I&rsquo;m a transgender person. I&rsquo;m gonna go in, use the women&rsquo;s locker room.&rsquo; And then bad things happen. This is possible under these kinds of policies, in fact, I&rsquo;m sure will happen. And I&rsquo;m not saying that about the person who&rsquo;s transgender, who&rsquo;s legitimately on that road, OK? I&rsquo;m talking about these policies are ripe for abuse by other people with more nefarious intentions.&rdquo;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP_833910851408.jpg" style="height: 357px; width: 310px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; float: right;" title="This Tuesday Aug. 25, 2015 photo shows Gavin Grimm standing on his front porch during an interview at his home in Gloucester, Va. Grimm is a transgender student whose demand to use the boys' restrooms has divided the community and prompted a lawsuit. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)" /></p><p><strong>What if a person transitioning from male to female doesn&rsquo;t feel comfortable in the men&rsquo;s locker room?</strong></p><p>&ldquo;Well, and lots of other people don&rsquo;t feel comfortable the other way. So we&rsquo;re talking about here &ndash; we&rsquo;re trying to accommodate these differences here, OK, and do it in a way that it&rsquo;s not subjecting other people to unwanted situations that they don&rsquo;t want to be in these locker rooms and showers. But back to your question, you know, is there some way to maybe have, you know, for lack of a better term, separate but equal. I mean I think that&rsquo;s always been shot down, and if you&rsquo;re talking in civil rights issues. But to have a locker room where maybe there&rsquo;s individual stalls or lockers with a shower or something that does not subject other people from either side to anyone being offended by them being present or that sort of thing. I mean, there may be some ways to do that. But the bottom line here is, I don&rsquo;t think the vast majority of people in America believe that it&rsquo;s appropriate for a women&rsquo;s locker room for a man, who is a man biologically, to simply be able to say &lsquo;I&rsquo;m transitioning and I get to come into this locker room and you have to put up with it.&rsquo; You know, call me old fashioned, you can say whatever. I don&rsquo;t think America as a whole is anywhere near that, and I don&rsquo;t think that imposing their moral viewpoint on the rest of us is appropriate either. So I&rsquo;m open to discussions of having some way to accommodate. I think that&rsquo;s a legitimate rational discussion, but that&rsquo;s where we&rsquo;re at.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>On Yvette Cormier returning to the gym three days in a row to warn about a &ldquo;man&rdquo; in the locker room</strong></p><p>&ldquo;She wasn&rsquo;t running around yelling, screaming, harassing people, that sort of thing. She was simply &ndash; in the conversations that people have at gyms and talking with people that they know there &ndash; was letting other women know, who had no idea that this was Plant Fitness&rsquo;s policy, letting them know that they were allowing biological men into the women&rsquo;s locker room and that they should be aware of that. That&rsquo;s all she was doing was letting people know that. And if this is a policy that Planet Fitness is so proud of and that they feel is appropriate, why would they be concerned that she&rsquo;s letting the patrons of Planet Fitness know about the policy? I mean, why does that bother them? I would think they would welcome that.&rdquo;</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/10/07/transgender-locker-room-lawsuit" target="_blank"><em>via Here &amp; Now</em></a></p></p> Wed, 07 Oct 2015 16:14:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/lawsuit-challenges-transgender-locker-room-access-planet-fitness-113231 Transgender teenager named Prom Queen http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/transgender-teenager-named-prom-queen-111411 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/StoryCorps 150116 Reyna Ortiz A bh.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>When he was 12, Ray Ortiz packed a blue duffel bag and prepared to leave home forever.</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s just no way in hell that I&rsquo;m going to live a life that I&rsquo;m not happy with,&rdquo; Ortiz remembers thinking.</p><p>&ldquo;At the time I didn&rsquo;t know what transgender was,&rdquo; Ortiz says in this week&rsquo;s StoryCorps. Kids at school called him &ldquo;Gay Ray,&rdquo; so he assumed that he was gay.</p><p>He wrote his mom a letter saying &ldquo;not only was I gay, but that I wanted to be a girl.&rdquo;<br />She was supportive and gradually Ray transitioned to living life as a female, going by the name Reyna and using female pronouns. &ldquo;I just made a mental decision like: I&rsquo;m going to do what I want. And I don&rsquo;t care what anybody else has to say.&rdquo;</p><p>Ortiz has three brothers, one older and two younger. And they provided a lot of support when it came time for her to attend Morton East High School in Cicero.</p><p>Other students were &ldquo;horrendous,&rdquo; Reyna said. She told her older brother and she says he went to her high school, into her classroom and confronted her bully. She says kids never bothered her again.</p><p>Ortiz became friends with the most beautiful girls in school. &ldquo;And they were willing to fight and slap somebody if they disrespected me,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;But eventually people just got used to me. By my junior year, I can honestly say, I ruled that school.&rdquo;</p><p>Emmanuel&nbsp;Garcia was a sophomore at Morton East when Ortiz was a senior. Garcia was struggling to come to terms with his identity as a gay Latino man. &ldquo;Seeing someone who was so open and out with their gender identity, it was intimidating,&rdquo; Garcia said in an interview recently. &ldquo;She carried herself so fearlessly.&rdquo;</p><p>During Reyna&rsquo;s senior year, she was nominated for Prom Queen. She went without a date, and sat by herself when the court was announced.</p><p>Then, they announced the winner: &ldquo;&rsquo;And the winner of Prom Queen of 1998 - Ray Ortiz.&rsquo; And I just remember everybody coming to the stage. When I turned around it was just flashing lights and paparazzi. Pictures everywhere and people applauding.&ldquo;</p><p>&ldquo;We always hear that the Latino community is full of machismo and we never hear about a community embracing their own,&rdquo; Garcia said. &ldquo;To have this person kind of pioneer sexuality and gender identity in 1998 was unheard of.&rdquo;</p></p> Fri, 16 Jan 2015 08:07:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/transgender-teenager-named-prom-queen-111411