Trans of Thought: Good riddance 2019

By : Maia Monet
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I almost killed myself two or three times in 2019. I know that sounds dramatic, but it is also true. I’m not saying this to garner sympathy, or even worse, elicit advice. Rest assured, I am taking the steps necessary to improve my state of mind. It is just that being trans can often feel like existing in a vat of acid eating away at your dignity and integrity. It is the rare trans person who hasn’t contemplated escaping the pain through drastic means. If you don’t believe me, find a trans person in your life you happen to be close to and ask them if they’ve ever created a suicide plan. Don’t be surprised if they have a ready answer.

Perhaps my first column of the year should be about looking forward with a sense of optimism, but that doesn’t reflect my life as part of the trans community. I sometimes wonder if cisgender people appreciate how difficult it is to be transgender in today’s world. They might be able to quote the suicide rate for trans people, but I suspect they are detached from the reality of our everyday lives. They don’t actually experience the emotional stress of hearing about yet another government policy meant to incrementally erase the legal status of trans people. They can’t comprehend the blinding fear of coming out as a trans woman to a cisgender heterosexual man who might decide violence is the appropriate response.

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Chicago school district to allow unrestricted locker room access for transgender students

By : Wire Report
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Above: Locker room (Photo by Charles Kremenak on Flickr)

PALATINE, Ill. (AP) | A fight lasting more than four years for equal access to locker rooms for transgender students in a north suburban Chicago school district ended Jan. 7 when a new policy allowing them unrestricted access took effect.

The policy change in Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 came after the school board voted 5-2 in favor of it in November, WLS-TV reported.

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Transgender boy sues NY state over sex on birth certificate

By : Wire Report
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Above: Transgender flag (Photo by Michael Key of the Washington Blade)

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) | A transgender teen unable to change the sex listed on his birth certificate sued New York state on Jan. 7, claiming a discriminatory policy is forcing him to rely on a document that inaccurately portrays his identity.

The lawsuit filed in federal court in Albany argues that transgender minors should have the ability to correct their New York state birth certificates, something that minors with documents issued in New York City and some other states can already do. Transgender adults who have not undergone sex reassignment surgery have been able to change the gender listed on their New York state birth certificates since 2014.

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Police seek suspect in Oklahoma transgender man’s killing

By : Wire Report
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Above: Dustin Parker (Photo from Facebook)

MCALESTER, Okla. (AP) – Police are investigating the slaying of a prominent local advocate for transgender rights who was shot and killed on New Year’s Day while driving a cab.

Dustin Parker, 25, was found dead early Wednesday in the driver’s seat of the cab he was driving in McAlester, Preston Rodgers, a police sergeant in the city about 105 miles (169 kilometers) southeast of Oklahoma City, told The Associated Press. Police are searching for a suspect or anyone with information about the killing, he said.

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Washington judge sets bail at $750K in transgender teen’s death

By : Wire Report
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Above: Nikki Kuhnhausen (Photo from Facebook)

VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) – A judge set bail Jan. 2 at $750,000 for a man charged with a hate crime in the death of a transgender teenager.

Prosecutors had asked Clark County Judge David Gregerson to order no bail, or a minimum $6 million bail, for David Bogdanov, of Vancouver, but the judge said the lower amount was appropriate because Bogdanov has no prior criminal history.

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St. Louis clothing library helps students match gender identity

By : Wire Report
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ST. LOUIS (AP) | Two St. Louis University students have founded what they call a clothing library that helps students find outfits that match their gender identity.

St. Louis Public Radio reported that the student-led Queer Closet allows transgender and gender-nonconforming people to rent or buy affordable clothing that helps them feel more comfortable.

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Judge: Illinois prisons must reform transgender inmate treatment

By : wire report
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CHICAGO (AP) | Illinois prisons must undergo wide reforms in the treatment of transgender inmates, including training for employees and avoiding cross-gender strip searches, under a court order earlier this month.

The order stems from a 2018 lawsuit filed on behalf of five transgender women who said they weren’t provided with appropriate treatment while in custody.

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Oregon man convicted of hate crime for punching transgender woman

By : Wire Report
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ABOVE: Dominick Gonzales. (Image from Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) | An Oregon man convicted of punching a transgender woman has been sentenced to probation.

Dominick Gonzales, 38, changed his plea Dec. 13 and was convicted of first-degree bias crime for punching the woman in Northwest Portland in September, Multnomah County District Attorney Rod Underhill said in a news release.

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Queerly Beloved: When “No” is the Greatest Gift

By : Rev. Jakob Hero-Shaw
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It’s a painful reality that “the most wonderful time of the year” is often quite brutal. We get invited to events and parties and told to leave the essence of ourselves behind. Nothing says “happy holidays” like the reification of gender norms. Heteronormativity appears to be at the center of our holiday celebrations, whether of the religious or secular variety. Just because something is expected to be a certain way, does not mean it is right.

There is nothing sacred or holy that sets heterosexuality and gender normativity above queerness. We have been taught so many lies about ourselves, eventually we start to believe them. This is the time of year when self-doubt can run wild. Somewhere between the cheerful music and the shopping we can easily lose our resolve.

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UCF, Valencia hold events in honor of Transgender Day of Remembrance

By : Lora Korpar
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ABOVE: Blue, white and pink flowers and candles placed on UCF’s famous Pegasus seal in the Student Union for Transgender Day of Remembrance. (Photo by Lora Korpar)

The University of Central Florida (UCF) and Valencia College both observed Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) on Nov. 20 with events to honor victims of anti-transgender violence.

Valencia’s East Campus held an event with speakers, booths representing local LGBTQ organizations, performances and a candlelight vigil in which the names of the 311 transgender people killed around the world since last year’s TDOR were read aloud.

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A trans woman’s journey to activism

By : Alec Reynolds
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Would constant fear of harassment and assault motivate or defeat you? Would you turn inward, mentally tucking yourself away on the outskirts of society if you felt unloved and unappreciated in almost every instance of your life? If you felt that your mere existence made others feel uncomfortable, could you still love yourself?

These are the struggles faced by many transgender women of color in the United States and across the world every day. Transgender women of color are engulfed in fear of becoming the next statistic in the American transgender murder epidemic. Violent deaths in Dallas, Jacksonville, Kansas City and across the nation often instill a sense of perpetual panic.

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Florida lawmakers file bills to expand hate crime law for 2020

By : Jeremy Williams
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ABOVE: State Rep. Joe Geller (L), who filed HB 655, and state Sen. Kevin Radar, who filed SB 940, hope to expand Florida’s hate crime law in 2020.

Lawmakers in both the Florida House and Senate filed joint bills this month ahead of the state’s 2020 Legislative session that would expand Florida’s current hate crime laws to include gender, gender identity and physical disability. The bills would also add “association with” and “mixed motive” hate crimes to the current law.

Senate Bill (SB) 940, called the Crimes Evidencing Prejudice bill, was filed by state Sen. Kevin Radar (D-Boca Raton) on Nov. 14 and House Bill (HB) 655, called the Offenses Evidencing Prejudice bill, was filed by state Rep. Joseph Geller (D-Miami/Dade) with Rep. Rick Stark (D-Weston) and Rep. Jackie Toledo (R-Tampa) on Nov. 15.

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