An Australian court has given permission for a 16-year-old trans girl to receive gender-affirming hormone therapy, overruling her mother who opposes her transition.
The girl, given the name Imogen during proceedings, had “expressed a consistent, persistent and insistent view that she wishes to move to… gender affirming hormone treatment”, the judge said in his ruling at the Family Court.
Justice Garry Watts said Imogen is legally competent to consent to the treatment, correctly diagnosed with gender dysphoria, and that hormone therapy is in her best interests.
Her father, who supports her transition, said the judge’s decision came as a relief.
“We got the result last night and we had a bit of a cry,” he said, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
Imogen’s father described the judge as “very fair” in hearing both sides, and invested in finding out what was in his daughter’s best interests.
Imogen, who has described herself as female since she was seven, will now be able to access the feminising hormone oestrogen.
In Australia, any form of medical transition for under-18s – puberty blockers, hormone treatment, or gender-confirming surgery – used to have to be approved by a court.
Since a 2013 ruling, it’s been possible for parents and children to access puberty-blocking drugs without a judges approval.
In 2017, another court ruled that trans youth and their parents could consent to hormone treatment without needing to go to court. But the role of the court in assessing disputes – like in Imogen’s case, where one parent supports her transition and one opposes it – had remained unclear.
This week’s Family Court decision “improves certainty” for families and transgender young people, said the Inner City Legal Centre in Sydney.
In his judgement, Justice Watts said that the court will only intervene in access to hormone treatment for trans youth if a parent or doctor disputes the child’s legal competency to consent, the diagnosis of gender dysphoria, or the proposed treatment.
In Imogen’s case, her mother disputed all three. But Watts said that Imogen was an “adolescent of intelligence and maturity”, legally competent to consent and that hormone treatment is in her best interests.
The Inner City Legal Centre said “the court’s judgment confirms that the existing law is that a medical practitioner seeing a young person under the age of 18 cannot initiate stage one, two or three treatment without establishing parental consent”. If there is a dispute, the court must intervene.
A Miami-Dade County jail is facing potential legal action after two transgender women said they were mistreated and humiliated at the jail following their arrests at a Black Lives Matter rally.
“Initially I think we can all say it was a very inspiring experience,” Viola, one of the arrested women, said of the rally. “Even through the rain, we were chanting, screaming our lungs out.”
But that empowering experience escalated into something more humiliating and degrading, according to Viola and Gabriela Amaya Cruz, a trans woman who was arrested alongside Viola. The women said officers started using excessive force and alleged Viola was pushed to the ground and tackled by two officers. Dramatic video shows the moment things took at turn at the protest.
More than a dozen people were arrested and all were transported to Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center where the women alleged things got worse.
“They had no idea to where to place me,” Cruz said. “And when they said my legal name, I had to raise my hand, obviously, because it was me. And that’s when it started to get like, ‘That’s not a woman, that’s a man,’ and that’s when things got very transphobic.”
A spokesperson for the Miami-Dade Corrections and Rehabilitation Department released a statement to NBC Miami saying, in part, that the department is “committed to ensuring that all inmates in our custody including transgender persons are treated appropriately throughout our intake, classification and housing placement process.”
“All female athletes want is a fair shot at competition,” a young woman can be heard saying over a video of several athletes preparing to run a race. “But what if that shot was taken away by a competitor who claims to be a girl but was born a boy?”
That controversial digital ad — which then shows a teen boy outrunning his female competitors and shrugging at them with indifference afterwards — is one of three released this week by the American Principles Project, a Virginia-based conservative think tank, and its PAC. The group issued a statement Thursday saying the political ads are part of a $4 million effort to “target persuadable Democrats and independent voters in key swing states.”
Half of the campaign budget will be spent in Michigan, a state Trump won in 2016 but now lags in the polls, and the American Principles Project confirmed it will release ads in Wisconsin “in the coming weeks.” The group said it hopes the Michigan ads draw attention to the support of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., “for policies which would allow biological males to compete in women’s sports and push children into dangerous, life-altering sex-change” procedures.
The two other ads feature Kevin Whitt, a man who says he lived as a woman for 17 years before deciding to detransition. Whitt warns viewers that “treatments to change the gender of a minor are very dangerous and irreversible.”
The Biden and Peters campaigns did not immediately respond to a requests for comment.
National LGBTQ advocacy groups, including the Human Rights Campaign and GLAAD, were quick to denounce the campaign.
“These ads perpetuate dangerous stereotypes, traffic in misinformation, and put the lives of transgender people at risk,” GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement. “Sites and social media platforms like YouTube and Facebook should decline to run them and send a message loud and clear that those who would use their platforms to peddle hate and lies will not be tolerated or validated.”
The Human Rights Campaign also called for social media companies to take down the digital ads, saying they are blatant lies from an “outdated playbook.”
“APP wants a future where LGBTQ people can be fired, denied housing, refused business services or health care solely because of who they are. But they know full well that they’re on the wrong side of this issue and the wrong side of our future.”
Representatives from Facebook and YouTube did not immediately respond to NBC News’ requests for comment regarding the ads.
This is not the first time APP has funded an ad campaign with the hopes of making transgender rights a political wedge issue. Last year, it funded a similar campaign amid the Kentucky governor’s race, though the group’s preferred candidate, Republican Gov. Matt Bevin, lost to Democrat Andy Beshear.
A trans sex worker was violently stabbed by her client in São Paulo, Brazil, last Wednesday (September 2) and her body carelessly thrown out of a 7th-floor balcony.
Chiara Duarte, 27, was found dead with multiple stab wounds in Rua Rangel Pestana in the downtown Sé neighbourhood in the early morning, police said.
The suspect, they said, met Duarte and invited her to his apartment. But the night curdled into violence after she asked for payment, sparking a heated argument in which he stabbed her several times with a knife, local mediareported. A merchant, Jeferson Pereira, 18, was arrested by authorities charged with manslaughter after being found with two knives.
Duarte, who both lived at and volunteered with Casa Florescer II, a shelter for trans people, was remembered by her loved ones as simply someone who wanted to be “happy”.
“It was prejudice, it was a hate crime, transphobia,” her brother, Luan, toldGlobo News.
Mother of slain trans woman mourns of the loss of her ‘beautiful’ daughter.
Fala Mãe Londrina, a grassroots network for the mothers of LGBT+ people in Londrina, explained in a Facebook statement published September 4 that Duarte’s mother, who was unnamed, phoned up the shelter after learning of her daughter’s death.
“I want to make a wish for my daughter,” she told the shelter staffers, “my daughter is leaving with lipstick.
“She’s wearing a pink onesie and skirt. She looks beautiful. Needs lipstick, though.”
During Duarte’s funeral at São Luis Cemetery, the statement said, the victim’s mother reflected: “She looks beautiful, right?
“Look girl how beautiful she looks. Isn’t my daughter beautiful?”
Officers from Brazil’s state police agency Polícia Militar arrested Pereira after a witness said they saw him enter the apartment complex at the time of the killing.
In a nation now seemingly inured to homophobia, anti-LGBT+ violence has increased in Brazil in recent years, LGBT+ watchdogs warn. Last year, Brazil was found to be the deadliest country for trans people, with some tallies suggesting that a trans person dies almost every day in a nation of 200 million.
In the midst of a worsening pandemic and with record numbers of Americans unemployed, the president and his administration have focused their attention on something else entirely — giving federally funded shelters a license to discriminate against transgender people.
Under the Obama administration, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) implemented and strengthened a policy known as the Equal Access Rule to guarantee that HUD-funded shelters are open to all Americans, specifically putting protections in place to ensure trans individuals can seek accommodations that correspond to their gender identity.
Now, at a time when access to safe housing is absolutely vital, HUD is advancing a rule change that would enshrine anti-trans discrimination in federal regulations. This senseless policy needlessly puts lives at risk, and it’s critical that the American people speak out about why this rule change is dangerous and contrary to our values.
On July 24, HUD published its proposed rule change and initiated a public comment period that will run through Sept. 22. In an announcement made on July 1, HUD claims, “the proposed rule modifications also better accommodate religious beliefs of shelter providers.” HUD cites no evidence that the existing rule is placing an undue burden on faith-based shelter providers. In response to a Freedom of Information Act request in 2017, HUD was unable to locate any requests for waivers or accommodations or complaints made while the Obama-era Equal Access Rule protections were in place.
HUD has indicated that it will not recognize the recent landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County which affirmed that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protects the LGBTQ community from discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation, and is pressing forward with this discriminatory rule.
HUD has also perpetuated the dangerous myth that protecting transgender people’s access to accommodations that reflect their gender identity puts others at risk without citing a shred of evidence. In the text of the proposed rule itself, HUD admits that it is not aware of any data suggesting that transgender individuals pose an inherent risk to biological women. Nondiscrimination protections have been in place for years in more than 20 states and 300 localities with no increase in public safety issues.
These are simply bad faith arguments by HUD Secretary Ben Carson, someone who has openly denigrated transgender women as “big, hairy men” in front of his own agency staff. The rule is more of the same, allowing shelter staff to judge the physical characteristics of those seeking services to decide who is sufficiently male or sufficiently female. His long history of vitriol toward the LGBTQ community and determination to press forward with this deeply anti-trans policy is a total departure from the mission of HUD, “to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all.”
The right to safe housing should never be obstructed by the political or social beliefs of others. But even worse, this anti-transgender proposal directly targets a group that has historically and disproportionately suffered from the hardships of homelessness. According to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, nearly one-third of transgender people experience homelessness at some point in their lives and 70 percent reported mistreatment in shelter due to their gender identity.
Removing these protections puts individuals living in states without protections at risk of being left on the streets. The consequences are often dire when a transgender individual is turned away from an emergency shelter.
While I have introduced legislation in the House to block this rule, the most immediate step we can all take is to speak out against this dangerous and discriminatory policy. It is critical that the public submit comments — which you can do here — urging the Trump-Pence White House and HUD to abandon this reckless proposed regulation.
In August, I led 144 of my colleagues in the House and Senate in a public comment letter to Secretary Carson demanding that this rule be rescinded.
We need to fight this policy like trans lives depend on it — because they do.
Jennifer Wexton is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for Virginia’s 10th District. Follow her on Twitter: @RepWexton.
A group of transgender activists are working to open a shelter for homeless trans and gender non-conforming people in New Orleans.
Milan Nicole Sherry, co-director of House of Tulip, told the Washington Blade on July 27 during an interview at her Uptown New Orleans home that she expects the shelter will open in the city next spring or summer.
“We wanted to create a forever home for our community, a space where there were no barriers, a space where they could actually come and get the resources that they need, get the love and nurturing that they need,” said Sherry as her husband, Za’hair Martinez, listened.
Sherry and Mariah Moore, a trans activist who also lives in New Orleans, first came up with the idea that became House of Tulip — Tulip is an acronym that stands for Trans United Leading Intersectional Progress — earlier this year after the coronavirus pandemic largely shut down the city’s hospitality and tourism industries.
“Many of the folks within our community, specifically transgender and non-conforming people who work in the service industry in New Orleans found themselves at risk of losing their jobs,” said Sherry.
House of Tulip Treasurer Dylan Waguespack is also the president of Louisiana Trans Advocates’ board of directors.
Waguespack and three other activists in March created the TGNC Peoples COVID Crisis Fund of Louisiana to help trans and gender non-conforming people in Louisiana pay for food, medication and housing during the pandemic. The fund has raised more than $20,000, but Sherry told the Blade it soon became clear the lack of housing in New Orleans was a long-term problem.
House of Tulip on its website notes a third of trans people in Louisiana “report experiencing homelessness at some point in their lives.”
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development notes the average rent for an apartment in the New Orleans metropolitan area during the first quarter of this year was $1,110 a month. The U.S. Census notes New Orleans has a 24.6 percent poverty rate.
Sherry noted poverty rates are even higher among the city’s Black trans residents. She also told the Blade they are more vulnerable to discrimination and violence because of their gender identity.
Louisiana’s hate crimes law includes sexual orientation, but not gender identity. Two Black trans women — Draya McCarty and Shakie Peters — were found dead earlier this summer in Baton Rouge and Amite City respectively.
“There’s no reason why, even in 2020, that we are seeing the amount of homelessness that we’re seeing in community,” Sherry told the Blade. “There’s no reason why in 2020 we should still be seeing the amount of violence that we’re seeing in this community, but we’re here and this is where we’re at.”
Sherry said GED and job training programs and access to mental health care are among the additional services to which House of Tulip clients will have access.
“This is not just providing folks with just housing,” she said, noting Tulip in the shelter’s name stands for Trans United Leading Intersectional Progress.
The GoFundMe campaign that House of Tulip has launched has thus far raised $412,995. More than 7,000 people have donated to the effort.
“Community has always taken care of community; we have done it since 50 years ago when Stonewall first started,” said Sherry. “Community has always taken care of community; even through times of pandemic, even through a time of Trump … we’ve always shown up for one another, so I’m not surprised that this community has really shown up once again and yet again.”
‘I have nothing to lose, but everything to gain’
Sherry, 29, grew up on New Orleans’ West Bank with nine siblings.
She told the Blade she grew up in a “dominantly male household.”
“I grew up with dealing with a lot of misogyny, toxic masculinity and things of that nature,” said Sherry.
Sherry in 2009 graduated from high school. Sherry the following year became a founding member of BreakOut!,a group that, among other things, works to end police harassment of LGBTQ youth.
“There was literally a time here in New Orleans where you could not walk down the street as a Black trans woman without literally being snatched off of the streets and then thrown into jail and charged with solicitation of prostitution, crimes against nature,” she said. “It was so easy to target and literally harass our community.”
Sherry further noted “as a trans woman, even in my moments where I could have gotten damn near the dog shit beaten out of me, I will not call the police because I had known just from experience … that calling the police did not work out in our best interests.”
“So police, you know, were just never our friends,” she added.
Sherry celebrated her 29th Birthday on July 23.
She told the Blade she was unable to celebrate previous Birthdays because she either could not afford it or was in jail. Sherry also noted a Black trans woman’s average life expectancy is 35 years.
“I have never envisioned myself where I am today,” she said. “To be honest I didn’t expect myself to be alive.”
Sherry said she lived on Tulane Avenue eight years ago with other trans women and sex workers. Sherry told the Blade she and other tenants paid their rent by the week.
“Literally when I say I have nothing to lose and everything to gain, I have nothing to lose, but everything to gain,” she said.
Sherry, who lives with HIV, told the Blade she has also struggled with addiction and mental health issues.
“If I wanted to be a bitch, I can justify about all of the trauma and just, but when you know better you do better,” she said. “I’m not going to cause the same harm that’s been caused over and over and over again.”
Martinez, a native of St. Augustine, Fla., who describes himself as a “trans masculine man,” praised his wife and Moore for their work on House of Tulip. Martinez also applauded trans women who supported him in his life.
“They are the ones who paved the way for me to be Za’hair,” he said. “It’s only right for me to follow the leadership of my wife and Mariah and to have their back.”
JK Rowling refuted allegations that she is transphobic while returning a Ripple of Hope award to the Robert F Kennedy Human Rights organisation.
Rowling announced she is giving back the honour after Kerry Kennedy, daughter of the late senator and president of the human rights nonprofit, shared her “profound disappointment” in the author’s remarks on trans rights.
Kerry Kennedy released a statement on August 3, eight months after Rowling received the award for her work on behalf of children. She joined previous honourees including Barack Obama, Desmond Tutu and Hillary Clinton.
“I have spoken with JK Rowling to express my profound disappointment that she has chosen to use her remarkable gifts to create a narrative that diminishes the identity of trans and non-binary people, undermining the validity and integrity of the entire transgender community,” she wrote, citing Rowling’s tweets and essay on trans lives, as well her liking a tweet “that opposed a bill to ban conversion therapy”.
Kennedy rejected what she understands Rowling’s position to be: that sex as assigned at birth “is the primary and determinative factor of one’s gender, regardless of one’s gender identity”.
“The science is clear and conclusive: Sex is not binary,” she continued.
“Trans rights are human rights. JK Rowling’s attacks upon the transgender community are inconsistent with the fundamental beliefs and values of RFK Human Rights and represent a repudiation of my father’s vision.”ADVERTISING
JK Rowling can’t keep Robert Kennedy award in good conscience.
In response, Rowling wrote Thursday (August 27): “The statement incorrectly implied that I was transphobic, and that I am responsible for harm to trans people.
“As a longstanding donor to LGBT charities and a supporter of trans people’s right to live free of persecution, I absolutely refute the accusation that I hate trans people or wish them ill, or that standing up for the rights of women is wrong, discriminatory, or incites harm or violence to the trans community.”
She continued by repeating her claim that she “feels nothing but sympathy towards those with gender dysphoria”, and her baseless allegation that “an ethical and medical scandal is brewing” regarding gender-affirming therapies.
Rowling ended her statement by disagreeing with the Kennedy organisation’s stance on trans rights: that they do not clash with women’s rights.
“The thousands of women who’ve got in touch with me disagree, and, like me, believe this clash of rights can only be resolved if more nuance is permitted in the debate.”
She concluded: “I am deeply saddened that RFKHR has felt compelled to adopt this stance, but no award or honour, no matter my admiration for the person for whom it was named, means so much to me that I would forfeit the right to follow the dictates of my own conscience.”
Hundreds of Black trans people lost to violence have been honoured in a powerful street mural painted by local artists in Chicago.
The words ‘Black Trans Lives Matter’ stretch across the street in Catalpa Avenue, Andersonville. It was created by 22 artists or art groups, with the help of neighbours who donated $4,000 to pay the artists for their time and materials.
Last weekend the whole community came together to add names and portraits to the artwork, giving faces to those who have died.
“It is vital that when folks see that Black Trans Lives Matter [mural] they understand the context of why it matters,” said David Oakes of the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce, speaking to Block Club Chicago.
Each participating artist decorated an individual letter in the mural. One artist, Bailey Funk, painted the words “say their names” in the letter B, prompting the chamber to consider giving more prominence to the names of the dead.
Now the names encircle the mural, each one colour-coded to give context to the deaths.
The names in pink are people whom police killed in the last five years, while the names in yellow identify unarmed people of colour killed by police since 1975. More names are being added this week, according to the chamber.
Among those honoured in portraits are Merci Mack, a Black trans woman killed by a gunshot to the head, Tony McDade, a Black trans man shot by police, and Marsha P Johnson, a Black queer rights activist instrumental in the Stonewall uprising of 1969.
“Transgender women of colour were leaders in LGBT+ activism and throughout time, but they have been erased,” Laura Austin, associate director of the Andersonville chamber, said in a statement.
“We wanted to give them space. We wanted to make them a priority. It is long overdue.”
The Black Lives Matter movement gave rise to several memorials to the trans community, including a huge art installation on Hollywood Boulevard. Last week it was announced that the huge letters reading ‘All Black Lives Matter’ will remain there permanently.
The American Civil Liberties Union in a press release notes the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond ruled the Gloucester County School District’s policies that prohibited students from using bathrooms and locker rooms that did not correspond with their “biological gender” and denied them transcripts that correspond to their gender identity are unconstitutional. The 4th Circuit in its 2-1 decision also said the regulations violate Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
Gavin Grimm was a sophomore at Gloucester County High School when he filed a federal lawsuit against the district’s bathroom policy.
The 4th Circuit in 2016 ruled in Grimm’s favor.
The U.S. Supreme Court was scheduled to hear oral arguments in his case in 2017, but the justices remanded it to the 4th Circuit after President Trump rescinded guidance to public schools that said Title IX requires them to allow trans students to use bathrooms based on their gender identity.
U.S. District Court Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia last August ruled in favor of Grimm. The Gloucester County School District appealed the decision.
The 4th Circuit issued its decision two months after the Supreme Court in a landmark ruling said Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 bans employment discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. The Supreme Court in 2019 declined to hear a case that challenged a Pennsylvania school district’s policy that allows trans students to use bathrooms based on their gender identity.
“All transgender students should have what I was denied: The opportunity to be seen for who we are by our schools and our government,” said Grimm in the ACLU press release. “Today’s decision is an incredible affirmation for not just me, but for trans youth around the country.”
ACLU of Virginia Legal Director Eden Heilman also welcomed the 4th Circuit ruling.
“For the last five years, Gavin has been fighting for transgender students to ensure no one else deals with the discrimination he faced in high school,” said Heilman. “The court rightfully stood with him to rule that trans students deserve to go to school with dignity, respect, and equal protection under the law.”
Trevor Project Vice President of Advocacy and Government Affairs Sam Brinton in a statement described the ruling as a “tremendous victory for transgender equality.”
“When transgender and non-binary students are denied access to school facilities or documents consistent with their gender identity, they are not only denied basic dignity and respect, but also fundamental human rights,” they said. “This decision reaffirms that anti-transgender discrimination is, in fact, illegal under the law.”
Two transgender teenagers are suing Arizona over its blanket ban on paying for transition-related healthcare for Medicaid recipients.
The claimants, 17-year-old D.H. and 15-year-old John Doe, are bringing a class-action lawsuit alleging that their civil rights are being violated by Arizona’s prohibition on transition-related surgeries.
Arizona is one of 10 states that explicitly bans coverage for transition-related treatments to transgender Medicaid recipients, according to Metro Weekly.
The National Center for Lesbian Rights filed the complaint against the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System on August 6.
“D.H. and John bring this lawsuit on behalf of themselves and similarly situated individuals to challenge Arizona’s categorical prohibition of coverage of medically necessary treatments for gender dysphoria, specifically, male chest reconstruction surgery,” the complaint reads.
The pair argue that top surgery is a medically necessary treatment for their gender dysphoria and that by denying them this healthcare, Arizona is causing them physical and psychological harm.
The National Center for Lesbian Rights argues that given the Supreme Court’s recent historic decision making it illegal to fire workers for being gay or trans, Medicaid’s ban on transgender healthcare constitutes sex discrimination.
The lawsuit comes a year after a Wisconsin judge ruled that Medicaid must cover transgender healthcare, including hormone therapy and gender confirmation surgeries such as chest surgery.
The US district judge made the ruling in the case of four trans Wisconsin residents, who were challenging a 1997 provision that excluded coverage of “transsexual surgery” for Medicaid recipients.
The judge ruled that the provision was discriminatory.
Lawsuit against Arizona’s Medicaid ban on transgender healthcare.
Both of the claimants in the case against Arizona currently wear binders.
D.H. started wearing a binder to flatten his chest aged 12. He says this helps with his gender dysphoria but significantly impairs his ability to function, with the pain and discomfort caused by wearing the binder interfering with his ability to focus on school and homework.
Both D.H.’s paediatrician and his therapist have recommended he get top surgery, but this was denied by Medicaid because in Arizona, there’s been a categorical ban on transition-related coverage since 1982.
John also wears a binder to alleviate his gender dysphoria, which according to the lawsuit is “tight and restrictive”.
“Even with the binder, John feels uncomfortable being outside without layers of clothing. He wears a hooded sweatshirt nearly every day, including in the summer.
“John’s chest also hinders his social interactions. For example, John wears his binder and a t-shirt when at the pool, often having to answer uncomfortable questions about why he insists on wearing a t-shirt in the water.”
John’s healthcare team have also recommended he get top surgery, which again he can’t because of Arizona’s ban on transition healthcare.
The lawsuit says: “Arizona disregards the transition-related health care needs of Medicaid’s transgender beneficiaries. In doing so, Arizona exposes transgender people to significant and avoidable harms to their health and well-being, in violation of the US Constitution and federal law.”
It alleges that Arizona’s ban violates two provisions of the Medicaid Act: that states must provide “early and periodic screening, diagnostic and treatment’ for individuals under 21 before medical conditions become more complex and treatments become more costly; and the act’s comparability requirements, which say that any medically necessary treatment that would be given to one individual cannot be arbitrarily denied to another.
The National Center for Lesbian Rights is asking for the state to pay for the pair’s top surgeries now, before the court case begins.