Tag Archives: Transgender Support

What To Do If Your Partner Comes Out As Trans*

Recognize that coming out to you wasn’t easy.

It takes a lot of courage to come out, and they’ve probably been working up the nerve to talk to you for a long, long time. Listen respectfully, hear everything they have to say, and keep their feelings in mind while you process.

Hear them out.

Suppress your knee-jerk reactions. Let your partner finish speaking, take a moment to breathe, and then respond.

Don’t assume. Ask questions.

Maybe you’ve seen Transparent. Maybe you love LaVerne Cox on Orange is the New Black. Maybe your best friend in transgender. But that doesn’t mean you know everything about being transgender, and you definitely don’t know what your partner is going through, so ask questions.

Don’t say it’s a phase.

Validate what your partner is experiencing. Even if they’ve changed their pronouns several times in the past year, that doesn’t mean they’re being wishy-washy or going through a phase. It means they’re taking the time to figure out who they really are.

Ask what they need from you.

What pronouns do they want you to use? Do they want help picking out new clothing? Do they want help finding a gender therapist? Do they want things to stay the same?

Recognize that your partner is still your partner.

Maybe you’ve always identified as a lesbian, and your partner comes out to you as a trans* man. That doesn’t mean your partner is suddenly becoming a man – it means he’s always been a man, he just hasn’t been able to tell you. Your partner is still your partner.

… But recognize that your partner might change.

Your partner’s personality may change, especially if they decide to pursue hormone-altering therapies. For example, testosterone injections can result in increased sex drive and irritability – not to mention facial hair. If your partner expresses interest in hormone treatments, make sure to do your research so that you’re prepared for changes.

Educate yourself.

Talk to your partner. Read articles. Order books. Watch documentaries. Learn as much as you can about being transgender and about being the partner to a transgender person. If you’re not sure where to start, ask your partner for resources.

Consider your own feelings too.

Your partner’s gender journey isn’t about you, it’s about becoming true to their identity. Whether you support them or not, they will go through with it, and asking them not to transition will just erode your relationship. That said, keep your own feelings in mind because a transition is hard on both partners. Consider talking to a counselor or therapist. And keep track of your own self care.

At the end of the day, your partner is just becoming who they were meant to be. If you support each other through the process, it may strengthen your relationship.


BBC’s Groundbreaking Documentary About a Transgender Teen Picks Up Bafta

The BBC’s groundbreaking documentary about a transgender teenage has picked up a BAFTA this week.


Titled I Am Leo, the documentary followed Leo, a 13-year-old boy, as he told his story, and how he encountered bullying from people who could not accept who he is.

Born a female, Leo has lived as a boy since the age of 5, and legally changed his name when he was 11.

The film is set across seven months, following Leo and his family as he undergoes hormone therapy, meeting other trans kids, and eagerly waiting for a new passport that confirms his real identity to the world.

The documentary aired last year, on on the BBC’s childrens’ channel CBBC, which is targeted towards an audience of 6 to 12 year olds.

This week it picked up a prize at the British Academy Children’s Awards in the Factual category.

On the award Leo said:

“I want to thank everyone who nominated I Am Leo for this award, and everyone involved in making it a success.

I’m really proud to have been given the opportunity to make so many people proud by telling my story, and being able to tell it in my way.

I would like to say a massive thank you to Nine Lives Media, and especially to Cat [Lewis] for giving me the opportunity.

To [Phil Niland and Lyndsay Rowan], who I spent much time with, for their support and encouragement, and keeping me motivated throughout the months of filming.

I would like to thank my mum for believing in me, staying positive, and being beside me throughout my journey.”

The now-teenage Leo added that sharing his story has helped many others – with a lot of young trans people contacting him for guidance.

Poland Passes Country’s First Ever Transgender Recognition Bill

Poland’s parliament have passed the country’s first ever transgender recognition bill.

The legislations was brought to parliament by Anna Grodzka – Poland’s first openly transgender politician. She introduced the Gender Accordance Act in May 2012, and it was finally passed on Thursday (23 July) by 252 votes to 158, with 11 abstained.

Wiktor Dynarski, president of the Polish advocacy group Trans-Fuzja Foundation said

It is a huge victory for trans people in Poland. For the past few days we have seen members of parliament advocating both against and for the law, but it was for the first time that we actually heard Polish policymakers openly protecting bodily autonomy of trans people and recognizing that trans citizens need to have their dignity assured.”

Although the country has legally recognised transgender citizens since the 1960s, the requirements of what it means to be transgender in the eyes of the law have never been specified, leading to a lack of rights for the community.

Under the new law, an unmarried transgender citizen would be legally eligible to apply for a new birth certificate and new educational and employment documentation – without having to undergo surgery or hormone therapy.

However, they would still need to present two independent confirmations of “being a person of a different gender identity than the gender legally assigned” from a clinical psychologist or doctor, before they were able to apply.

For the bill to become law early next year, it still needs to be passed by the senate and signed by the country’s president.

Ms Grodzka announced her plans to run for President earlier this year. She was elected as a Member of Parliament in Poland in 2011, in what is usually a notoriously conservative country.

There are currently no openly transgender heads of state in the world, meaning that Grodzka – who is already the world’s only elected transgender MP – would make history again if successful.

It’s difficult but I need to carry it on…it does affect my private life, it’s quite hard to share my life with another person with so much going on, but at the end of the day this is my life and I’m happy. I hope I can show other transgender people that life is worth living.”

In May, the Polish Parliament again voted against having a debate on the regulation of gay and straight civil partnerships.

Miley Cyrus Launches #InstaPride to Share Stories of Transgender and Gender Expansive People

Pop star Miley Cyrus is using her media strength to aid the trans acceptance movement, by partnering with Instagram to help non-cis people share their stories.

The singer announced the #InstaPride hashtag on Monday (June 15) to get the conversation going.

Shooting @isupersheng for #happyhippiepresents #instapride ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

A photo posted by Miley Cyrus (@mileycyrus) on

Cyrus wrote on Instagram, accompanying a photo of smiley-faced balloons — a design that has become Miley’s logo lately.

I’m launching #InstaPride today, in partnership with @Instagram, to share stories of transgender and gender expansive people from around the country. Over the next 2 weeks, you’ll meet them and the people in their lives who support them, as we highlight their stories of resilience.”

Her Happy Hippie Foundation, an organisation that offers services to homeless and LGBT youth, also supports the effort. Miley, who has been vocal about her own gender fluidity recently, invited different people around the country to take part in the project. The first story revealed on the #InstaPride hashtag is of Leo Sheng, a transgender man who has been transitioning for the past year and a half.

Matching tats with @isupersheng 💪⚓️#happyhippiepresents #instapride @instagram @happyhippiefdn

A photo posted by Miley Cyrus (@mileycyrus) on

For the past year and a half, my Instagram photos have been about my transition-filled life — graduating high school, starting college, making new connections. But the most obvious theme has been my transition from female to male. For me, a picture really does say a thousand words.”

Will Bruce Jenner Public Transition Shine a Much Needed Spotlight on Transgender Inequality?

In coming out as a transgender woman, U.S. Olympic gold medalist and TV reality star Bruce Jenner made clear that while he is keen to help raise awareness about problems faced by the trans* community, he is not self-appointing himself as a spokesman.

I would like to work with this community to get this message out. They know a lot more than I know. I am not a spokesman for the community.”

During a groundbreaking interview, Jenner made a case for the transgender community’s fight in the United States for equality, a safer society and more acceptance and understanding – in Washington, in church, in the media.

In the last few years, the community’s visibility has been on the rise, with hollywood beginning to embrace transgender characters and storylines in TV shows like Transparent and Orange Is the New Black.

Mainstream acceptance of transgender people is in its infancy, making the transition hard for everyone, whether famous like Jenner or not. However, by now putting such a well-known face and name to the causes of transgender people could help accelerate the drive for equality, just as high-profile endorsements gave momentum to the fight to legalise gay marriage in the United States.

Barbara Warren, a psychologist and director for LGBT Health Services at Mount Sinai Health System in New York City, said the following

The more people that are prominent and are influencers and can share and humanise the transgender experience, the more our social system will become more accepting.”

The legal system in the USA is still lagging, and legal rights of transgender people vary dramatically from state to state. Gender identity discrimination affects employment, public accommodations – the right to be served by businesses and institutions – the use of public restrooms and public documents.

Healthcare is also an area of concern. In most states, it is legal to deny insurance coverage for transgender-related health services, like hormonal therapy or gender reassignment surgery.

Jenner is now seen as “the best possible model for public advocacy on the issue of transgender people’s rights because he was the world’s greatest male athlete … the most male of males.”

Jenner won the Olympic decathlon in 1976, earning the title of “World’s Greatest Athlete” and the respect of generations of Americans.

For younger generations, he is known better as the patriarch of the Kardashian family after eight seasons on the reality TV show “Keeping Up with the Kardashians.”

The ABC interview included messages of support from his six biological children and he said his Kardashian stepchildren have been mostly understanding, including the wildly famous Kim.

How his transition plays out on television could be the real game-changer for the transgender community.

Barbara Warren concluded…

I think that actually has the potential for more impact than Jenner’s individual transition. People are going to see if Kim Kardashian supports her stepfather. That is going to have more of an impact than Jenner’s coming out.”



Hilary Swank Says There is a ‘Long Way to Go’ on Transgender Acceptance

Hilary Swank has spoken up recently about her portrayal of a transgender male in the 1999 film Boys Don’t Cry.

Swank was largely unknown when she starred in the real-life story of Brandon Teena, a trans man who was beaten, raped and murdered by his male acquaintances after they discovered he was transgender.

During an appearance on Thursday’s all-new Meredith Vieira Show, Swank was asked about the progress made for the transgender community since the film’s release.

I think we have taken strides since that movie, like you said 15 years ago. We have a long way to go. It’s astonishing to me that we are here in 2015 and there are so many issues that need to be looked at and handled and we shouldn’t dictate who people should love.”

Swank has been a proud supporter of LGBT rights for many years. In fact, she recently received the GLAAD award and Outfest award for her work in the famous film.

When asked if she ever expected the movie to spur so much conversation, she would have to say no.

I had no idea. If I had known that at the time, I probably would have collapsed from the enormous responsibility of that,”. “It was an enormous responsibility just to play someone who had lived and been murdered so brutally and whose life was taken short because of their choice of whom to love.”

In a world filled with many more issues, Swank argues that Americans should spend their time on far more important causes instead of preventing equal rights for the LGBT community.

Let people love people and let’s focus on what truly needs looked at and help homeless people, homeless pets, sick people. Look at the rest of the world, let’s focus on those things.”

SeX.ED 101 | WTF Is Gender?

Gender (n.) – the state of being male or female (typically used with reference to social and cultural differences rather than biological ones).

What does it mean to be a woman or man? Whether we are women or men is not determined just by our sex organs. Our gender includes a complex mix of beliefs, behaviors, and characteristics. How do you act, talk, and behave like a woman or man? Are you feminine or masculine, both, or neither? These are questions that help us get to the core of our gender and gender identity.

Trans Woman of Colour Murder in L.A Signals Third Death in 6 Months

According to statistics, the acceptance of LGB people across the United States is on the rise. Sadly, the same cannot be said about trans* acceptance which appears to be on the decline.

Even as famous trans women of colour such as Laverne Cox (who plays trans inmate Sophia Burset in Orange is the New Black) and outspoken advocate Janet Mock gain popularity, the benefits of positive reputation aren’t being reaped by everybody in the trans* community. Instead, recently the US has seen a notable uptick in trans* hate crimes including verbal abuse, violence and sometimes even murder.

It’s murder that another trans woman of colour has again been faced with, with the Los Angeles Police Department (the LAPD) reporting that her death took place on Wednesday the 3rd of December. It signals the third murder of a trans woman of colour in just six months.

According to the LAPD, the victim, Deshawnda Sanchez, was fleeing after being robbed. Sanchez called 911 at 4am before running to a cul-de-sac, banging on the door of a Compton home in an attempt to find safety. Unfortunately, by the time the occupant of the house was able to let her in, gunshots were fired and the person who was chasing Sanchez had left her for dead and had driven away from the scene of the crime in a “light coloured compact car”.

Officially, the police are classing the tragic events as a robbery and homicide, however, as Sanchez was a trans woman of colour Los Angeles police Det. Christopher Barling has said that they are considering that it may have been a hate crime. Barling told Buzzfeed News that he is “very open to the fact that may be the case”.

It’s especially important that they look into that line of inquiry given that the murders of trans women of colour are on the rise at an alarming rate. Sanchez’ death signals the third in just a matter of months with Aniya Knee Parker and trans activist Zoraida “Ale” Reyes also having been killed in Los Angeles earlier this year.

Furthermore, a report published by the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations notes that 19 trans* people were targeted in violent hate crimes in 2013, making that a 46% increased on the year before (there were 13 attacks in 2012). With shocking statistics like these it’s all the more important that the LAPD finds the perpetrator and brings them to justice, marking a small step in preventing more crimes like these from happening.

BBC’s Childrens Channel to Show Key Documentary About a Trans Teen

The BBC plans to air a documentary about a transgender teen on one of it children’s TV channel next week.

Titled ‘My Life: My Name Is Leo’, the TV programme will follow Leo, a 13-year-old boy, telling his story, and how he encountered bullying from people who could not accept who he is.

The film is set across seven months, following Leo and his family as he undergoes hormone therapy, meeting other trans kids, and eagerly waiting for a new passport that confirms his real identity to the world.

Executive producers, Kez Margrie told BBC’s in house magazine Ariel.

‘I had wanted to do a story on a transgender child for a while, because I know there are kids out there having a tough time. But up to now, we hadn’t found the right story to tell, and we trusted Nine Lives Media to tell this one sensitively. It feels very much like his journey and story, as told by him.’

Kez Margrie, Executive Producer

[tweet_dis]’The great thing about making documentaries like this for children is that they’re not born with prejudices.'[/tweet_dis]

Cat Lewis, Executive Producer

My Life: I Am Leo will be broadcast as part of CBBC’s anti-bullying week on 17 November at 6pm.

Boys Wear Skirts to School in Protest After Trans Classmate Is Fined for Doing the Same – #VouDeSaia

Being a young person in school can be difficult at the best of times. There’s the pressure of having high grades, trying to maintain a personal life during exam season and then there’s the realization that adulthood (and the responsibility that goes with it) is soon approaching. Stressful stuff. But, for transgender student Maria Muniz, things got so much more so when her school, Colégio Pedro II in Brazil, decided to fine her for wearing a skirt to school.

However, thanks to some ingenious thinking by her classmates, Colégio Pedro II may be backtracking. The decision to fine Muniz was made due to the school’s harsh dress code. While the original fine was certainly unfortunate, her classmates took it upon themselves to protest the ruling the only way they felt fit…by wearing skirts to school themselves.

Both boys and girls at the school decided to show up in skirts which caused officials to change their minds. Speaking to Brazilian publication Globo, they say that they are considering relaxing the dress code.

Not only that, but following the protest the school posted an image of the students in their skirts to Twitter which became popular on the site and saw users tweet using the hashtag #VouDeSaia in support, which translates as ‘I’ll Get By’.

Muniz also adds that “for me, wearing a skirt was about expressing my freedom over who I am inside and not how society sees me, I am really happy about the way my classmates supported me and hope it serves as an example to others to feel encouraged to do the right thing. I was always taught at school to accept who you are. I am only trying to live that.” So even if the dress code hasn’t been fully repealed (yet), Muniz’ fine has at least been overturned so it sounds like their protest paid off.

Being Trans in Brazil: Prejudice and Murder

Summer brought a glitter ball of worldwide Pride events, and in Brazil they held the biggest Pride going. However looking past the partying, we sometimes forget about the day-to-day bravery of transgender people, and the discrimination they face.

Our world has yet to take those accepting steps towards equality, and finally turn its back on discrimination. In ‘accepting’ LGBT countries, the murder of trans women is still rising, and in Brazil abuse is a daily occurrence.

In Brazil there is no word for transgender people – it is just ‘transvestite’, which is also the word used to discriminate against trans women.

Although Brazil has laws in place to protect the trans community, in practice people say and do otherwise. Trans women are freely ridiculed in the media, and in TV ‘novellas’, the nations favorite viewing, they are stereotyped as a comedy fool or street prostitute.

This prejudice doesn’t stop there, it runs deep. Families often see trans family members as a disgrace, leaving them without support and homes. The educational system and foster homes discriminate as well.

According to Grupo Gay da Bahia, every two days a LGBT person is brutally murdered in Brazil. According to the statistics only 2% of these attackes were aimed at lesbians. Most of them are on trans people.

The problem is that people do not report such crimes. In general Brazil’s police is rather weak in the face of the large scale of crimes and corruption, as well as their own prejudices. In fact, a large amount of hate crimes in Brazil are initiated by the police. This often prevents people from reporting them at all.

The largest crime committed is rape of lesbian women. If the woman comes forward the crime will never be seen as homophobia, but solely as rape by definition.

The truth is, Brazil is far less accepting than people think. The law may seem friendly, but people continue to discriminate and commit hate crimes again the LGBT community.

10 Questions to Never Ask a Transgender Person by Laura Jane Grace

Laura Jane Grace is an American musician best known as the founder, lead singer, songwriter and guitarist of the punk rock band Against Me!.

Grace came out as a transgender woman in Rolling Stone, since she has penned her truly heartbreaking (yet, god-this-is-amazing) record Transgender Dysphoria Blues. Now, she has decided to lay it all bare in her new web series, “True Trans With Laura Jane Grace.”

The web series premieres on AOL Originals on October 10, with Grace jumping at the opportunity to reach out to all the people she had admired from afar over the years — other people dealing with gender dysphoria, an issue she had been grappling with for as long as she can remember.

Over the course of touring with Against Me!, Grace spoke with different people every day — sometimes several interviews occurring each day — and learned that she’s not the only one in a constant state of flux and learning.

“I think there’s a lot of momentum behind people beginning to understand gender identity and the differences in the gender spectrum and where people fall. I think that it’s great seeing things like Laverne Cox on the cover of Time magazine or seeing a transgender CEO [Martine Rothblatt] on the cover of [New York magazine]. Maybe the headline that went along with that was a little sensationalist.”

Laura Jane Grace

10 questions to never ask a transgender person by Laura Jane Grace

Transgender Person Transgender Person 09 Transgender Person 08 Transgender Person 07 Transgender Person 06 Transgender Person 05 Transgender Person 04 Transgender Person 03 Transgender Person 02 Transgender Person 01

HRC Renews Call for Stronger Efforts to Protect Transgender Women

In response to the violent attack of a 15-year old transgender teenager on the DC metro this week, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has renewed calls for stronger measures to protect transgender people – especially transgender women of color – from violence and harassment.

According to the reports, friends who were with the victim at the time, said she was approached by a stranger who ‘asked her why she was wearing a wig and insulted her appearance’ before attacking her with a knife. The victim – who has not been identified because she is minor – is in stable condition and the police have a suspect in custody.

“Attacking a child is always utterly reprehensible and our hearts and thoughts are with the victim and her family. This terrible incident fits within a broader trend of violence against transgender people and especially transgender women of color. While there are no easy answers on how to end this violence, that’s no excuse for inaction.

All of us must do more – from states and municipalities to LGBT organizations like HRC. We’re committed to reaching out to and working with leaders in the transgender community -inside and outside of HRC- to identify ways in which we can be a part of the solution.”

Fred Sainz, HRC’s Vice President of Communications

This attack comes in midst of a series of violent incidents against the transgender community – including the murder of six women of color just this year.

The 2011 report from the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force on the experiences of transgender Americans found that nationally, black transgender and gender non-conforming people often live in extreme poverty, with 34% reporting a household income of less than $10,000/year, eight times the rate of the general U.S. population.

Transgender women of color face disproportionate levels in violence in comparison to other members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. According to a report by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP), 72 percent of LGBTQ homicide victims in 2013 were transgender women and 89 percent were people of color. Discrimination in employment, healthcare, and persistent racism can reinforce one another to place transgender people of color at greater risk for poverty and violence.

“Anti-bullying programs that address anti-LGBT and gender-based harassment and bullying will help to thwart this hostile, violent behavior. We would encourage educators, parents, counselors, community leaders to talk to young adults about respecting difference, about the “golden rule” and not to target people based on how they look or what they wear.”

Fred Sainz, HRC’s Vice President of Communications


Why It’s Important To Respect a Child’s Preferred Gender

This an important documentary to watch. By Barbara Walters, the film explores what it means to be a transgendered child.

Looking into the lives of three families that made the decision to love their kids and help them through a world that’s not (yet) designed for them, Walters interviews doctors as they explain the importance of using correct pronouns; and the families themselves as they explain what it’s like to really love their transgender children.
Powerful and moving watching.

20/20 – A Story of Transgender Children

Amazing Parents’ Talk About Their Amazing Transgender Son

Jeff and Hillary Whittington are remarkable parents and through an amazing video, they tell the story of the transgender son – Ryland.

Now seven, Ryland parents have documented his story with love, understanding and honesty. Jeff and Hillary discuss how they brought Ryland into the world, learned their child needed hearing implants at the age of one, then discovered Ryland had more to share.

They spent a few years saying Ryland was just going through a phase, but soon realised it wasn’t. “When the family dies, I will cut my hair so I can be a boy” Ryland told them. “Why did God make me this way?,” he asked. When the Whittingtons learned 41% of transgender people have attempted suicide, they decided to embrace Ryland as a boy rather than risk losing him.

The Whittingtons made this beautiful and inspiring film for the Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast. They posted it to YouTube on Tuesday – it has now gone viral, seen by more than 1 million people.

Jeff and Hillary Whittington 02

The Whittington Family: Ryland’s Story

BUFF – An Event for the Trans Masculine Community in the UK

Starting Friday 11th June 2014, BUFF will be holding Manchester’s annual trans masculine pride event.

BUFF is an event organised by and for the trans masculine community and their allies. And it is an event, which helps bring further visibility and support to a part of the LGBTQ community that is often overshadowed by other.

This week, we caught up with Jake (one of the event organisers) to discuss the importance of this event for trans males and the LGBTQ community.

KitschMix: Where did the idea of BUFF come from?

Jake: BUFF came from attending Sparkle in 2012 with a group of friends who all identify as trans men and we’d all been attending for a few years, but there was never anything for the male/genderqueer side of the community so we decided to get things going. Originally we were planning to have our first event this year but decided to take the plunge and do it last year with only four months of planning.

KitschMix: Who else is involved in the project, what support does your event get from other LGBT organisations, and how many people do you expect to attend?

Jake: There is me (Jake), Charlie, Frank and Adam. Last year we got around 80 people attending so hopefully we will have a bigger crowd.

KitschMix: Why is it so important for you to hold this event?

Jake: It’s important for us to hold the event because Sparkle is meant to be the national transgender celebration, but it is predominantly aimed at trans women and there’s a lack of visibility for trans men. Also it’s important so we can celebrate what the trans masculine community is in a fun way.

KitschMix: When will the event be held and do you have plans to do any other events?

Jake: BUFF 2014 is held over a weekend in July on the 11th till the 13th. We have no plans to do anymore events this year due to all of our schedules being quite busy.

KitschMix: Are their other trans*masculine events held around the UK? What other support can people get?

Jake: There is trans pride down in Brighton which is a mixed event but as for an event like BUFF then we are the only one I believe. Trans Bare All (who we are raising money for this year) do weekend retreats for trans men and genderqueer people,you’d have to check their website out for more info as there isn’t a planned event this year other than their 5 year birthday party.

KitschMix: What sorts of challenges do you think trans*masculine people face in Britain today?

Jake: I think some of the challenges we face are still very much the same as they always have been such as access to health care, assumptions surgery (I.e all trans men/genderqueer people will have lower surgery/a particular type of surgery), a lack of visibility and that transitioning to male is possible, and not being taken seriously by the general public or gender clinics if you don’t behave in a stereotypically masculine way. I’d like to add is that although trans men and genderqueer people are under the same ‘umbrella’, our experiences can be very different in many ways.

BUFF 2014 is aimed to raise the profile of the trans masculine community but our events are open to everyone no matter how they identify. We hope that you will join us and help us raise lots of money for Trans Bare All.

KitschMix: And finally what does BUFF stand for?

Jake: The word ‘buff’ traditionally refers to big, strong, muscular men, but the team feeling buff should be for everyone!

BUFF 2014 is on Fri 11th – Sun 13th July 2014, coinciding with Sparkle Manchester: The National Transgender Celebration 2014.


website:  www.buffmanchester.wix.com/buff

Social: Facebook & Twitter

Watch Animated Short About Gender Recognition

A short film, released by the Open Society Foundation, presenting the hurdles many transgender people face every day. The film explains how trans people around the globe are unable to obtain proper official documents that reflect their personal identity.

“No one should determine your identity except you. Yet this is an obstacle transgender people face every day. The majority of trans people around the world cannot obtain official documents that match their identity. And without these documents, it’s nearly impossible to do basic things like enroll in school, get a job, see a doctor, travel, or vote.”

In conjunction with animation, a global guide on gender recognition laws was also released – License to Be Yourself. This report documents the best and worst laws around the world, and also features case studies from Argentina, Australia, Hong Kong, Kenya, Ukraine, and the United States

Pier Kids: The Life – Watch the Trailer and Support the Cause

Elegance Bratton’s documentary about New York City’s LGBTQ homeless youth and the neighbourhood they call home might be the next “must see” film.

Bratton’s goal with this film, is “to help poor and working class families of colour understand the gay and transgender youth who are inside their homes so they stop kicking them out onto the streets.”

Bratton’s own mother kicked him out of their home when he came out of the closet. As a result the then-sixteen-year-old bought a train ticket to New York. “I saw three black gay men get on the train. They were laughing. They were singing. They were dressed well. Just really, they were the life of that train car. And I sat there watching them like, “Whatever they’re doing that makes them that happy and that gay, I need to do it.” So, Bratton followed them and ended up at that Christopher Street pier.

Years later, the writer and filmmaker is translating his experiences into a documentary that’s both in conversation with “Paris Is Burning” but also more direct in its attempt to make sense of the way class and race dynamics act upon the city’s LGBT community, especially its youth.

Film Synopsis 

Pier Kids: The Life examines the legacy of Stonewall and the Gay Rights Movement it ignited by following the lives of DeSean, Krystal, and Casper, three gay and transgender youth of color who, after being pushed out of their home because of their sexuality, have become homeless on the same street the riots took place more than forty years ago. While rooted in a specific place and time, the film is constantly pulling back to interrogate one of the most basic units of American life―the family. We follow Krystal, for example, from Christopher Street to Kansas City where she faces her biological family for the first time since becoming a woman. Would they accept her? Could she take rejection from them once again? Or would she gain strength from it and come back to New York a better woman?

Today, white upper-class families make the West Village their home; but as day turns to night, Christopher Street and its adjacent piers also become home to a transient yet vibrant street community known as the Pier Kids. Forming a significant yet invisible network, the Pier Kids are a queer and transgender community of predominately Black and Latino descent representing nearly four thousand of New York City’s sixteen thousand registered homeless youth. Left to wander and with few economic opportunities, the lives of these social refugees are beset with limited and harrowing options as money and food are everyday struggles. Through it all – or, perhaps, because of it all – hope still exists in the shadows of their neglect and abandonment.

Pier Kids: The Life follows the stories of three young people: DeSean, Krystal, and Casper. Together, these three people weave a surprisingly complex story of love, family, exploitation, beauty, and hope. But it’s more than the story of three. It’s the story of thousands.

Things you wanted to know about trans people and were rude enough to ask

A fantastic article from  of the The Guardian. The article discusses the offensive questions transgender people get asked  about their private lives; questions that would never be asked of others. 

I would predict that every trans person who has ever come out has been asked a variation on the question, “But what was your old name?” Or the ruder version, “But what’s your real name?” Or the slightly bizarre, “But what was your birth name?” I’d like to know how many of us are born with names.

The problem is signified by the “but”, stated or implicit. It implies that I’m lying or at best being evasive. The questioner becomes a detective and with me as their case study. It is simple: my name is my name, as “real” as yours. Case closed.

Perhaps it’s less offensive than a question about one’s body or sex life, but the name question is the tip of the inappropriate iceberg. Below the surface, ready to spew forth, lies: “Do you have a penis?”

I am attempting here to set some ground rules for those of you who are not trans – ie those who are cisgender – who, perhaps with innocent intentions, ask these dreaded questions.

You may not think you are one of these people, so I have a quick test. Were you raised in a society that assigns gender, as well as sex, at birth? Hint: the answer is yes. Does that society label gender nonconformity “weird”? Hint: unless you are Native American and were raised knowing about two-spirited people, the answer is also yes.

If you answered yes to both of these, there are two likely possibilities. First, you’ve never knowingly met a trans person. In this case, you’re just yet to realise that you’re this kind of person. I know from experience that, even for sensitive, progressive souls the urge to ask about “real names” and intimate body parts is as strong as the urge to sneeze.

The second possibility is that you have met a trans person and that you pried and got away with it. This, my friend, is because you have overwhelming privilege in that situation – the privilege of mainstream society telling you that you are normal and that the trans person is an oddity to be examined. It’s intimidating, as a supposed oddity, to stand up for yourself.

Months after I changed my name, an old university friend wrote on my Facebook wall: “Hey [old name], this is [old name], right?”

It felt as if I’d woken up at school with no clothes on.

Maybe he missed the widely shared and commented-on status update where, rather than come out to each individual, I explained in one fell swoop that I was changing my name and now going by male pronouns. Even so, the tone felt almost belligerent.

Being trans has taught me to tread more lightly than my old friend. I know not to assume a person’s gender simply because I know what their hair, face or body looks like, even if I’ve known them for years. It’s easy to do this when you know how much it hurts to be misidentified. There are mutual rewards for exercising a little humility when it comes to making others feel comfortable in a society that generally denies comfort to anyone different.

“This is [old name], right?” The certainty of the question jarred. It reeked of presumption and social policing. I had an identity detective on my hands. Usually I’d engage but he wasn’t trying to initiate a conversation. I defriended him.

I felt like an outlaw crossing the state line, leaving behind a cop shouting: “You won’t get away with these nonconformist shenanigans!” I felt liberated, but it was bittersweet. As a gender outlaw, there are some people and places you have to leave behind for ever. Each schism, though rare, feels like a collective failure.

Leng, who identifies as a transman, recently told me about being at a party where a cis woman followed him around asking about his genitals and telling him he wasn’t a real man. Clearly this was extreme behaviour, but what I found almost more shocking was that no one else at the party intervened. To me, this seems like a clear case of harassment, but none of the cis people present could identify with the trans person enough to defend him. They didn’t join the woman in a conga line of aggression, but their empathy lay with her curiosity rather than his humiliation.

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In my own case, aside from batting away the “real name” and occasional “Do you have a willy?” questions like flies, I’ve only once been totally knocked sideways by someone else’s rampant curiosity. At a family wedding, an elderly relative was behind me as we filed into the dining room. Suddenly, she said: “How do you go for a wee?”

There was no mistaking the question, but because I’m English I let out a kind of simultaneous laugh-gasp apology. Before having to think of a more coherent response, she gasped herself and apologised. She said she didn’t know why she’d asked. I do. She was curious and the lack of social conventions around transgender issues makes people do silly things – things they’d never do in relation to cis people.

Frankie, who identifies as trans feminine and whose biological sex is male, says the most common assumption people make about them (they use gender-neutral pronouns) can be blamed on society’s age-old representation of the tragic, self-loathing trans woman. Because Frankie has a feminine gender expression and a penis, people assume they must hate themselves. Not only do people assume – they ask as much, as if Frankie is an accessible version of the onscreen stereotype, provided, again for the benefit of their unbridled curiosity.

Of course, Frankie would rather you didn’t assume, or at least that you didn’t ask. But since you probably will on both counts, they’ll tell you they’re fine about it, actually. They even use it. For actual sex and masturbation, can you believe? That is, after all, what it’s there for.

In fact, since you were wondering, let’s clear a few other things up. No, we weren’t “born in the wrong body” and no we don’t want a “sex change”. These terms are created by cis society to make trans people more definable, less messy. But we’re not easy to understand and it’s not because we’re trans – it’s because we’re people.

I had a roundtable discussion with four other trans people, Leng, Frankie, Jai and CJ. Transition meant a completely different thing to each of us and not one of us is currently interested in genital surgery. We also all have and enjoy sex in a variety of ways. This diversity was not engineered. It occurred as naturally as diversity would at a table of cis people.

A common theme that did emerge, and that runs contrary to a common stereotype of trans people, is that we do not generally have outrageously kinky sex. We may, as a group, seem more open-minded and positive about sex. But, we encounter the same awkward situations in relation to sex as the next person, cis or trans. For instance, there’s probably no more universal feeling than CJ’s panic when their socially conservative mum stumbled across their flogger. Perhaps anyone in that situation, grasping for a simple, non-sexual get-out, would have explained that it was simply an elaborate duster.

In this article, I wanted to answer some of the common regrettable questions cis people ask trans people – “Do you have a penis or a vagina?”, “How do you have sex?” and winner, perhaps, of the confused and misguided question derby: “Why do want to become a man if you want to have sex with men?” My hope was that this would stop the flow of inappropriate questions in one-to-one situations.

But writing this has made me realise that I can’t answer them. I can only speak for myself and that isn’t helpful to anyone except people I go to bed with. We get asked these questions, not because people are interested in us as individuals. They want to figure us trans people out. They want to “get” us but we can’t be gotten. I could fill an entire wiki with the potential answers to just one of these intimate inquiries.

Cartoon by Bill Roundy

Cartoon: Bill RoundyAll I can do is flag up the real-life complexity to be found no matter which way you slice society. The rest must be left up to your imagination.So, enough questions. All you will do is to make another human being feel uncomfortable in your company. Ask yourself instead, would I ask [insert name of cis acquaintance here] about their downstairs? Would I comment on [cis person]’s lavatory or bedroom habits? No, I jolly well would not, come to think about it.With that in mind, how about we leave it at “I’m as complicated/boring as you are” and talk about the weather instead? Or the latest episode of True Detective? How about them antlers, eh? Crikey.

It’s hard to tell people “You’re doing it wrong!” without making them feel defensive. Especially in this context, where the motivational force is curiosity – that most innate, innocent and niggly of emotions. But let me state once and for all (one can but dream) that it is not OK to ask trans people about their private lives unless they have explicitly stated otherwise. If you’re curious about what’s in my pants, grab a crayon and mind-map that doozy. Or knock yourself out on Google. Google doesn’t have personal boundaries but I do, and they’re probably very similar to yours.

Watch – Transgender Rights Are Human Rights

Across Asia and the Pacific, transgender people face significant stigma and discrimination which prevents them from accessing the HIV and health services they need. Everyone has the right to live a full and healthy life with dignity. Please support #ZeroDiscrimination.

This video was proudly produced by the Asia-Pacific Transgender Network (APTN) in partnership with UNAIDS Asia and the Pacific. Thank you to all 21 transgender men and women who appeared in this video and the team at www.rubberknife.tv