Reflecting on the leadership of Philadelphia advocates within the movement for transgender equality, Nurit L. Shein of the Mazzoni Center writes about the upcoming Philadelphia Trans-Health Conference (May 31 - June 2, 2012). What began in 2002 as a one-day gathering of transgender advocates, allies and service providers has grown to become the largest transgender-specific conference in the world, offering three full days of workshops and activities.
Atria Books will publish Janet Mock's memoir, Fish Food. According to Publishers Weekly: The memoir will offer the first personal account of a person who transitioned at a young age; it will also be the first book on the subject from someone of color (Mock is half Hawaiian and half African-American).
A wildly insensitive New York Times article on the life and death of trans artist and drag performer Lorena Escalera flared tensions between the gender-variant community and the paper when it was published as part of the Sunday edition on May 14.
I do know that I'm not alone. According to the Williams Institute, there are an estimated 33,000 transgender people in Massachusetts, which is almost equivalent to the seats filled at Fenway Park when the Red Sox are on a winning streak.
“This is a historic day for human rights in the United States…starting today transgender and gender non-conforming people now have legal recourse if they face discrimination on the job," said Masen Davis, executive director of the Transgender Law Center (TLC). "We no longer have to be silent when we are fired or not hired simply for being who we are.”
Tiffany Pierce, Mason’s mother, said her son had a hard time at school, particularly in seventh grade. His father, David Pierce, said his son’s struggle was heartbreaking.
“I knew that what it took for him to get to that point to talk about it and to talk to us, it was just heartbreaking,” David Pierce said. “It took a while to get my brain wrapped around it, but I think I was pretty supportive right off the bat.”
Following an incredibly exploitative piece in the New York Times about the death of transgender woman Lorena Escalera in a fire this past weekend, and the newspaper’s subsequent refusal to acknowledge the true problems with their story, transgender advocates and allies have generated a powerful response asserting the immense hurt felt by so many over this coverage.
Several years into my transtion about a decade ago, I thought seriously about killing myself. Life was really hard. I wasn't passing as my true female self very well. I often was called a man as I walked down the street. I didn't think I would ever be accepted as the woman I always knew I was, and I wanted to end it. In the note I was going to write to accompany my death, I was going to have explicit instructions about the pronouns that should be used to refer to me in death.