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September 30, 2008

U of M Transgender Commission

The Transgender Commission ( is a program run by the University of Minnesota designed to help improve the experience of transgendered people on campus. They strive to bring about change and equality for all people, regardless of their gender identity. The Transgender Commission is relativity new to campus, and was formed in March of 2006. Despite being new, the commission has met wtih national leaders for transgender rights, talked with law makers, and hosted a number of events to educate the public about transgendered people. Another link I thought was very necessary was the "Terminology" link, listing definitions of words that are often misused by the general public.

This site is very important because it allows transgendered people to connect in ways that were not possible before. The internet can bring a whole community of people together, and it's crucial that transgendered people have a way to find one another and offer support and create a community. I really liked the "Trans-Inclusion at the U of M" link, because it is basically a guide for institutions, offices, or departments to be more transgender friendly. The guide lists specific examples of what organizations can do to be more inclusive, and I think that's great because the issue of transgender rights and equality is still very new to the greater part of society, and guidelines would be a very good thing to have.

I did not know that the University of Minnesota had their own Transgender Commission. I knew about the GBLT Programs Office, but not this. I think that's great that our university is on the cutting edge with gender equality. Another thing I had no idea about was that the U had so many transgender workgroups working for gender rights. I was really impressed with the University website.


Engaging Assigement # 2

1. The website that i visited is called Minnesota Trans health. This website greatly describes the Minnesota trans gender health coalition and how it wants to improve the health care for all trans gendered people in the area, along with many other things such as education. The website along with Minnesota Trans health is a great way to get involve to volunteer. It does not matter how much time you have, just a little of your time is more then welcoming to them. They really appreciate that. It's a great way to get involved in the community with trans health.
This informational website also gives up to date events that are being planned for trans people and health. Some of their past events include: "Trans Health Matters" Community Forum, 2008 Trans Community Health & Wellness Fair, and Trans & Allied Community Potluck / Town Hall Information Session and Meeting on GID (Gender Identity Disorder). This especially helps with people interested in attending these, so they know of specific dates and times, with easy access.
Lastly the the site provides away for active contributers to make donations the the trans health coalition monthly or just one time. It explains how it is a tax deductible donation. The money will go to those who are transgered and in need of medical and health attention.

This specific sight is run by The Minnesota Trans gender Health Coalition As i explained before above this site is important because it keeps people informed and up to date on events and activities held by this coalition to help the trans people in need of health and safety. Above I explained their main goals and their specific tragedies they use to fight trans oppression. Spreading the word and reasons are the best way for this. Let people know that they are people to and need medical help just like the next person. This website is great for local Minnesota people to check out and understand.

2. From this website, i learned that trans gendered people deserve the same amount of care as the next person in the room. Theirs no difference between any human being whether its race, age, sex, identity, or sexuality. We are all the same and all live in the united states with the same rights. Yes trans gendered are treated differently everywhere but that is why this website is here to make sure that they are treated equally. Another thing i learned is they are hosting their first every fund raiser. It is going to be a Masquerade Dinner with Kate Bornstein. (which we might be seeing.) The coalition is very excited about this and bleive the outcome is going to be great!

Joey Konkel

Minnesota Transhealth

The site Minnesota Transhealth is dedicated to providing education, information and support to both transpeople and gender non-conforming people, as well as the general public. The group seems to be composed generally of various members of the GLBT community who also have backgrounds in University education or grassroots activism. It seems like a well-composed group of highly intelligent and active individuals.

For the most part the site seems to organize public events that both provide support to transgendered individuals and knowledge to the general public and health care providers about health care for transgendered individuals. They hold monthly meetings as well as a yearly health fair and schedule meetings with individual facilities for training on how to handle transgender health concerns and issues.

This organization seems like a valuable resource for both transpeople and for the general public and health officials. I think that caring for transgendered patients is something that doctors and health care providers may not have to deal with on a frequent basis, and so is not something that they may know how to deal with when the issue presents itself. It is still something that health officials need to be made aware of and forced to think about, however, and this particular group provides the knowledge for that niche that will ultimately make for a better experience for both doctors and transpeople.

I also found it interesting that the site compiled a list of “safe restrooms� in the twin cities area, that lists gender neutral bathrooms to be found in public. I also found it interesting to note however, that most of the restrooms were for single occupancy, and likely not created with gender neutrality in mind. The only multi-stalled gender-neutral bathroom listed was at the Kitty Kat Club (which was not surprising). The presence of this list on the website showed me just what a daily issue this can be for transgendered individuals; the fact that simply finding a public restroom to use can create a sense of danger and a feeling of being “other� or outcast.

The site seemed very well organized however, and the members behind the organization very well educated and influential. This gives me hope, seeing as how such a strong network has been created to defend and educate the public about transgender rights.


Transgender Commission

Transgender Commission
The Transgender Commission located here at the University of Minnesota is coordinated by Remy Corso and Ross Neely, The Commission focuses on bringing equality to everyone of different gender identities around campus here at the U. The site provides a great amount of different resources to help learn more about people of different gender identities as well as many local resources and community groups with similar focuses that can also be very helpful with any questions you may have. I personally think that this site is an effective way to get the word out there and I believe that every movement needs to start somewhere and the direct focus of this site is a great building block and center point for support as well as action being taken from experienced and educated people from different gender identities. The site provides a useful terminology link that helps people that do not understand some of the terms to learn more about what the terms really mean in society. There are step by step ways of teaching you to be a better support system and have a higher respect for transgendered people around the U.
Being rather unexperienced when it comes to transgender people I personally learned a lot of things from this site. There were many terms that I was able to look up in the terminology that I either didn’t know existed or didn’t fully understand that were clarified for me. I also learned about communities that are GLBT friendly around campus like the lavender house, which I had no idea existed. I liked learning more about our community and knowing that it provides a safe comfortable living quarters and workspace for GLBT people. The site was very useful in answering many of my personal questions as well as providing a building block for a movement of equality around campus and its surrounding areas.

E.A. #2 / Human Rights Campaign

Alysa Friedrich
September 30th, 2008
Engaging Assignment 2

The website I chose to examine for my second Engaging assignment was the Human Rights Campaign website. The Human Rights campaign is America's largest LGBT civil right organization with over 725,000 supporters. This group works to support and enable all members of the LGBT community and ensure that the law and our world equally represents them as citizens in everyday life. In its work, spanning three decades, the HRC has looks to inspire equality in legislation through supporting fair candidates and conveniently has its office headquarters located in Washington, DC. The website addresses issues of Coming, People of Color, The Military, Religion and Faith, the Workplace, Youth Activism and much more. This website seems to want to educate and mobilize the people in a grassroots campaign toward equality. It provides articles on trans-related topics along with blogs and videos to keep viewers up-to-date on the issues at hand.
I learned a lot from the website because it also provides a extensive Coming Out Guide to help transgender individuals in the difficult process of coming out. It stresses the joy one can feel in living authentically and even tackles some myths and facts for confused readers. This is an immensely helpful tool for those struggling with gender identity and for those family members first encountering the issues of their transgender loved-one. It also provides terms and definititions to clear up any misconceptions or confusion regarding sexuality, sexual identity, gender expression and so on. This can help fight transphobia purely by educating those who are still unclear on proper usage of certain words and can calm the fears and discomfort of those confused by the transgender world. I also enjoyed the fact that the website also provides an online book called Transgender Americans: a Handbook for Understanding which answers common questions about employment discrimination, hate violence, and health care, just to name a few. Overall, the Human Rights Campaign website was educational and thorough not only in their work for transgender advancement but for equality overall.

Engaging Assignment 2

For this assignment, I decided to look at the Transgender Commission Webpage (http://glbta/ It is run by people from the University of Minnesota and others who are involved in the transgender community. The Transgender Commission Webpage is important because the topic of transgender rights is one that is not discussed often and because of this people tends to be uninformed. The website provides a lot of easily accessible information for those who be may be unfamiliar with the community.

The main goals of the website are to educate and to get people involved in the transgender community. The website provides links to work groups and gives opportunities for people to work for transgender rights. Under the workgroup link several options are given for people to get involved. Some of the groups include community building, education and training, and facilities. There are other ways to become involved besides joining a work group. Other options are joining the transgender commission listserv or attending social or education events. It also provides an extensive list of resources that can be found locally and nationally. Another feature of the site is a list of things that a person can do to make the work place a more transgender inclusive environment. Some of the ideas on the list were being aware of the pronouns used for people and addressing harassment.

I learned that the Transgender Commission is an active group on campus. I had not previously heard about any transgender groups on campus, but after looking at the website I became aware of the importance of the commission. I also learned ways I can become involved in the transgender community and about upcoming events that the commission is holding.

Human Rights Campaign

By: Alyssa Sison

1. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is the largest organization that advocates for GLBT equal rights at home, work, and the community. Founded in 1980, HRC has over 725,000 members and supporters across the USA. HRC is based in Washington D.C. This organization is run by its Board of Directors. There is also a Foundation Board and a Board of Governors. HRC also supports GLBT-friendly political candidates. HRC advocates on the behalf of the GLBT Americans by hosting and sponsoring GLBT events, such as Pride.

2. I learned that the HRC has a coming out guide to help those coming out as transgendered. There is also a video that talks about the transgender issues of today. HRC has an online blog that covers recent transgender news. I learned that 20% to 57% of transgender people have reported discrimination at work, including being fired, harassed, and denied promotion.

Transgender Commission website

For my second engaging assignment I chose to look at the University of Minnesota Transgender Commission's website.
1. This site is about trans issues and resources for the University of Minnesota community.
The Commission is run by "a coalition of people from across the University and greater community." Their co-chairs are Sara Axtell and MJ Gilbert.
This commission is important because it provides observations and recommendations for making the University more trans-inclusive.
Their goals include "creating change and equality for people of all gender identities and expressions."
They fight transphobia and trans oppression by:
-publishing their Report and Recommendations for Institutional Change.
-providing a UMN Gender-Open restroom map.
-Hosting an open house with guest Kate Bornstein.
-facilitating workgroups on trans issues, working toward finding solutions for the community.
-providing training and dialogue facilitation to the University community.
-supporting the Lavender House living and learning community in Comstock Hall.
-providing a list of resources on trans issues.
-providing a list of transgender-related terminology.

2. I learned from this website that the University of Minnesota Equal Opportunity Statement does not explicitly include gender identity and expression. I also learned that race is a big issue in the trans community and that the Commission is primarily composed of white people.

Minnesota Transhealth website

The Minnesota Transgender Health Coalition is working on improving health care access and the quality of health care received by trans people. There are a lot of volunteer opportunities for all. They also have a long list of events that host trans speakers and performers to raise money for their education of trans health.
The Minnesota Transgender Health Coalition runs the organization and the website.
It is very important for trans people to know about their health options and to know that they are not the only ones out there going through this. There are many events being held by the trans community and numerous volunteer oportunities as well.
Their goal is to improve health care access and the quality of health care received by trans individuals. They do this with a network of trans-friendly, trans-competent health care providers, using a combination of networking, assessment and training. They work to develop assessment tools for clinics and providers, providing trans-related training to clinics and providers, and encouraging awareness and self-advocacy in transgender health care consumers using outreach and education.
One thing that I found very interesting was a list of local, public places that have unisex bathrooms, they call it the safe restroom project.
I also did not realize that there were/are so many trans events in the cities. I have never heard of most of them, mostly because I have never visited a trans website before. I think it is awesome that they have numerous events in the cities.

MN Trans Health Coalition

The Minnesota Transgender Health Coalition is a group of trans and allied individuals working together to provide a comprehensive directory of health care providers to the trans community, as well as other trans-related issues/projects, such as a listing of unisex bathrooms in the Twin Cities area. They also offer information on trans-related trainings, a listing of trans-related events in the area, as well as a great FAQ for anyone needing information on trans health issues. Its main goal, as well as its strategy for fighting transphobia, is to provide community outreach not only to trans-people in the way of providing comprehensive healthcare resources but to the general community in the way of trans-education and awareness.
A few things I learned from this site: first, I sort of knew this in the back of my mind, but it struck me to see exactly how few healthcare providers there are in the state of Minnesota that are trans-friendly. Granted, there are probably some not on this list, but to see such a small number was disheartening. Also, they’re very concentrated to the Twin Cities area, which isn’t necessarily surprising, but is still surely discouraging for individuals living in less urban areas of the state.
The second thing I learned from this site is just how much of an ability you have to have to advocate for yourself in the healthcare perspectives of trans-life (if that makes any sense). Generally you learn to live under the assumption that your medical information is private unless relevant to the situation being discussed, but it was surprising to read about instances where healthcare professionals have tried to pry into irrelevant areas of a trans individual’s life.

Minnesota Transhealth Website

The Transgender Health Coalition ( )is a site that is dedicated to creating a network of health care facilities that are easily accessible to transgender patients and to improve the quality transgender patients receive at these facilities. This organization is run by volunteers from theTwin Cities that are active in the queer community and are either transgendered individuals or allies. Many of the volunteers are professors at the University of Minnesota. Donors contribute money to the organization that keep it up and running.

To work towards better health care for transgendered individuals the group posted health facts such as information on health care and hormone therapy, a list of unisex restrooms throughout the twin cities and a directory of health care providers that have registered as “trans-friendly�. By offering this vast amount of information and even links to other related sites, this site is important because it gives transgendered individuals a place to go to get information about possibly one of the most important decisions they will ever make.

In order to combat trans-phobia and trans-oppression, the web site even offers programs and presentations available for health care facilities to educate their staff on how to treat their transgendered patients and how to give them the best care possible based on their individual needs. This is important because the more health care professionals that are well-educated about trans-health, the better the health care will be that they receive and the more accessible it will become.
This website taught me that health care for transgendered individuals is not always a pleasant experience. Under the “Self Advocacy FAQ� which can be found on this link it discusses what information is relevant to a health care provider and what is an invasion of privacy. When I read this, it made me sick, especially the part where it says, “’Set limits on what types of questions you are willing to answer, and only share information that you feel is relevant, necessary, and fair to ask about. For example, "I'm wondering why you think my sexual practices are relevant to getting a root canal. I'm happy to provide you with information you need to know, but my privacy is important to me and I don't want to discuss my personal life beyond what is necessary for the success of this treatment.’� As far as gender rights go, this specific link really showed me that there are big changes that need to be made ASAP in the way health care is provided to transgender individuals because everyone should have the right to be treated with dignity and respect, especially at a health care facility.

The Task Force

Looking through the list of possibles the last one caught my eye. I mean "The Task Force?" Doesn't that sound like such a bad ass name? And it seems they live up to that name.

The Task Force has worked long and hard for GLBT equality since the early 1970's. Task Force is a grassroots group dedicated to promoting gay friendly legislation in congress. Their goal is to create an understanding of diversity and foster an environment friendly towards those who are different. The accomplish this by not only by lobbying in congress but training others in activism, teaching states and other organizations how best to combat anti-GLBT sentiments and legislation, and building up their influence.

The Task Force is built upon its many members who provide it the power to make change. Some of their most prominent members are Moonhawk River Stone, who is a psychotherapist/consultant/educator/writer/political activist/open transsexual man and was apart of many other similar groups in the past; Alan T. Acosta, one of their co-chairs and former deputy editor of the Los Angeles; and their other co chair Mark M. Sexton, a graduate of the Yale Law School.

The purpose of their website is to provide information of the issues they face and provide a way for people to become part of the cause.

Of transgender rights, I really didn't learn anything new. The website basically lists ways to be involved with transgender equality and how to keep from keeping them out of the movement. What I found interesting was the publication they have called: .

So all in all a pretty comprehensive and well made site for people looking to get active in this nation's GLBT movements.

-Jason Sumontha

September 29, 2008

E.A.2: The Task Force

The Task Force is a national voice for GLBT equality. It is run by a community of people who train other activsts, organize campaigns against anti-GLBT agendas and politics, and fight to advance pro-GLBT legislation. Its Policy Institute provides research to counteract Right-wing false allegations. This group is important because no one is eliminated: besides politics, they are a voice against hate crimes, discrimination, the anti-gay industry, HIV/AIDS, and provide support for parenting and family, faith, aging, racial and economic justice, and marriage / partner recognition. Its main goals are making sure they do not stop until GLBT people gain full equality and are complete participants in our democracy, and to connect with the community to create change and to challenge stereotypes.

To fight transphobia, Task Force makes sure that all of their programs are fully Transgender inclusive and also works on transgender issues to meeting the mission of achieving freedom, justice and equality for all GLBT people.

The transgender/ transphobia rights movement of Task Force includes many ways to increase the rights of Trans people. Educating Congress about discrimination against transgender people to try for an inclusive anti-discrimination bill. They also work against transgender hate crimes at the federal level. Their "Transgender Civil Rights Project's" goal is to increase the number of laws that prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and expression. Stopping discrimination based on "gender identity or expression" makes sure that the entire range of transgender, androgynous, hermaphrodite, and gender non-conforming people are protected. Of the estimated 1.6 million homeless American youth, between 20 and 40 percent identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). Task force works with these people to find them shelter and make sure they continue to be protected.

Engaging Assignment 1

I am posting my first engaging assignment on the blog--I misunderstood how to submit it before.
For my first engaging assignment, I talked about my former Catholic
Church choir director and how he was fired because the priest, or someone from the
staff, found out that he is actually a transwoman. I didn't know that this
was the reason at first. I had to stop singing in my church choir, because no
one was a better director. They hired a girl who just got out of college and
picked horrible songs for us to sing that made no sense with what the mass was
talking about that day.
I then joined One Voice Mixed Chorus, Minnesota's largest GLBT and Allies
community chorus. I was so excited when my audition was accepted! But I was
even more excited when I saw my former director on my first night of OVMC
practice, dressed as HER normal self. I had heard rumors before, I think
from my mom or dad, that Al might be a cross-dresser, but I never expected to
see Al as a woman. In One Voice, SHE is known as A.P. And she is the assistant
director for one voice. She sings in the bass section, and makes me tear up
every time she has a solo.
What this experience meant to me was that I was seeing a person that I
had known for years as her true self. It seemed unfair to me that she had had to
attend church all the time as a male, because even A.P's wife (a female
woman named Cyndi) is accepting of A.P's gender preference.
There are also more transgender, maybe transsexual, individuals who are
members of my choir: M to F's in the tenor and bass section, and F to M in
the alto section. But it is best to not push anyone's gender or sexuality into
other peoples' faces or minds; considering that people are not always
accepting. The people that WANT to learn about us and accept us are the ones
who attend our concerts, and if they brush us off it is their problem not

Minnesota Transgender Health Coalition

The Transgender Health Coalition is an organization focused on improving health care access and quality to gender non-conforming people, especially trans people. Completely made up of volunteers, the Coalition uses “education, resources, and advocacy� to promote its objective. Specifically, the Coalition networks, assesses and trains clinics and individuals. The website provides a trans-friendly directory of health care providers as well as a list of “safe restrooms,� or gender neutral public restrooms, in the Twin Cities. It includes a frequently asked questions (FAQ) section that provides information on health insurance, training, advocacy, the Coalition, and directories. In itself, the site serves as an access point to health services and safe sites for gender non-conforming people. The site also promotes events and fairs and provides opportunities for involvement through volunteering.
One thing I learned regarding transgender rights through this website is articulated in an FAQ on health coverage. While some insurance policies cover hormone therapy and/or gender reassignment surgery, others do not, and even if some say they do, they may not cover certain prescriptions or surgeries. Also, in terms of self-advocacy, I didn’t realize certain situations arose where stereotypes were seen in discussions regarding general treatment between a physician and a patient, such as the relevancy of discussing sexual practice in getting a root canal.


Founded in 1980, the Human Rights Campaign advocates for the GLBT community. HRC's advocacy takes several forms including fora on diversity, educational and media outreach programs, a center for study of equality, and a publication arm. HRC is a registered political action committee and a primary focus is the political struggle for GLBT rights. So beyond education and outreach, they lobby for GLBT legislation and for candidates favorable to GLBT issues.

HRC reported that on 26 Jun of this year Congress held its first hearing on transgender discrimination in the workplace. As a general aside, the site includes a state-by-state listing of laws important to transgender individuals including discrmination protections (or their lack) and ability (or lack thereof) to amend birth certificate sex. Interestingly, Alabama allows ammendment of a birth certificate while Ohio does not. The site is a rich source of current information on legislative issues as well as current transgender issues in the news.

HRC website

Jane Hilf Vardeman
The HRC website is the website for a national civil rights organization specifically for GLBT persons. Along with writing legislation, speaking publicly and attempting to educated the masses about GLBT rights. The HRC also gives state-by-state information about what is going on and where politicians stand on GLBT rights. Gives an overview of laws, news, legislation and local organizations in different states pertaining to GLBT persons.
In the transgender section of HRC’s issues, you can learn about what news is going on in the transgender community, share your story, look at the laws that are in place, watch a video of a “compelling personal story�, and look at frequently asked questions.
I learned a lot about the new legislation in congress that will introduce protections for transgender workers on a national level, instead of leaving it a state-by-state decision.

Minnesota Transgender Health Coalition

1. The website is the website for the Minnesota Transgender Health Coalition (MTHC). The MTHC is a group of community organizers, both trans and allied. The group has a Board of Directors that leads it. The MTHC began meeting in 2002. The goal of the MTHC is to improve access to health care for trans and other gender non-conforming peoples, and to improve the quality of that health care. They work to do this by creating a network of trans-friendly and trans-competent health care providers. The MTHC does trans-related training to health care providers, and encourages awareness and education in transgender health care consumers.

2. I learned several things from looking through this website. Mostly they are issues that trans people face on a daily basis, but are issues I had never even considered. First of all, the site has a list of unisex bathrooms at publlic places in the twin cities, and calls them the safest option. I never really thought about hoe stressful and possibly scary it could be for a trans person to use a public restroom that only has male and female choices. Also, I was shocked to hear that many doctors and nurses do not know how to treat trans people. It sounds so backwards to hear that the patient needs to train the doctor how to treat them.

Engagement Assignment #2

Diane White
Engagement #2

I looked at the Human Rights Campaign’s website. I think it’s important to GLBT issues because it gives detailed information as well as relevant news updates mostly relating to politics. The main goal of this website/organization is to promote equality and justice for all people. They point to specific areas where inequality is usually present relating to aging, parenting, coming out, people of color, hate crimes, religion, immigration, health, the workplace, relationship recognition, the military and youth activism. The strategies they recommend for creating equality are: emphasizing common humanity, diversity initiatives, educational/media outreach, studying equality and providing access to GLBT publications.
I hadn’t really thought of some of the obstacles GLBT people face that this website mentions like parental and widow rights, things heterosexual people take for granted. I’ve also wondered how to create change rather than simply tolerance and I think this website does a great job at that by being so inclusive, recent and informational. I also took a look at a link to Donna Rose’s personal website, which was very informative. I thought the emphasis on finding herself as opposed to just gender/sex was really interesting and made a lot of sense. Overall I thought this website and its’ links were very good resources for the GLBT community and its’ allies.

September 28, 2008

Engaging Ass. #2

For my engaging assignment #3 I decided to use the Minnesota Transhealth website. According to their website the Minnesota Transgender Health Coalition mission statement is, “the Minnesota Transgender Health Coalition is committed to improving health care access and the quality of health care received by Trans and gender non-conforming people through education, resources, and advocacy.� The people that run the website are allies and also transgender individuals who want to improve the health care experience for individuals who are gender queer, transsexual, intersex and transgender. Basically anyone that does not conform to the typical male and female genders is helped by the Minnesota Transgender Health Coalition. This is important because these individuals are providing transgender with a network of opportunity when it comes to health care for them. This is also getting the word out about transgender people and hopefully inspiring more people to come together and help because access and quality of health care may not be the best for transgendered individuals.
The website offers a list of gender neutral public restrooms in and around the Twin Cities which helps for someone who is worried and wanting to go into a unisex restroom. The organization also holds a health and wellness fair to attract more attention to this issue. They also hold professional training for clinics that need transgender health training. I learned from this website that most insurance companies offer some coverage on hormones but not all of them will provide this cover. This opened my eyes up to what transgender people have to go through to be able to pay for their surgeries. I also learned this organization has a number of health car professionals listed on the website who were Trans friendly. This means the provider responded to a letter sent out and agreed to comply and be on this list. I did not know organizations were doing these sort of things and I think it is a really good idea and I am happy there are so many providers on the list but it can always be expanded!

Transgendered Commission (U of M)

GLBT 1001
Engaging Assg#2
30 Sept 2008

I chose to examine the Transgender Commission's website (
The site is about .The Transgendered Commission is run by people form the University as well as people in the outside as people in outside communities.

Though the site is a resource for transgendered people, its’ main purpose seems to be educating the University and all the institutions within it on the importance of gender inclusion and the recognition of gender issues beyond the binary. The mains goals of the Transgendered Commission are to promote the recognition of gender diversity and also to build coalitions and alliances with other communities that have or do face similar struggles of diversity and equality.

This site is important because it directly confronts the policies that make the discrimination of transgendered and non- gender conforming people possible. I think they did a good job of strategically communicating to the university about topics that are important to them. In their recommendations, they state that in order for the university to obtain the research status it desires, they must be inclusive of all people, including transgendered people. One of the main topics outlined in their recommendations is the University of Minnesota EO statement. The currently statement does not include gender identity expression, instead it is grouped under sexual orientation which does not directly address the issue of gender. The commission also cautions the University that not implementing of guild lines to include transgendered people could result in lower retention and recruitment. The commission made several recommendations in order to fight transgendered oppression including making non gender specific restroom and giving member of the university the ability to changes their names and they would like it to be reflected. They also provide information and training for the university on gender related issues

The website got me to consider things that seem small and unimportant in my daily life. I have never really thought about the fact that there is no “other� box or blank lines on applications when filling out my gender. For a transgendered person, filling out applications can be a daunting task; they feel like they are being put into a box; literally. It also helped me to see the importance of non-gender specific restrooms. The issue does not seem to be that people are against the rights of transgendered people, but rather the recognition of such issues. This why is commission works to get people to recognize that there is an issue. The bottom line is that people do not know enough about what transgendered is and they issues that they face.

September 27, 2008

Engaging Assignment #2

For my engaging assignment, I chose the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force website ( The National Gay Task Force Foundation was founded in 1973, and the group’s mission is to build the grassroots power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. Their main goal is to organize and inform people to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and promote pro-LGBT legislation and community support. Their history page has a very detailed log of many different Task Force actions. Some of the things the Task Force has done is to have raised money in support of LGBT rights, AIDS awareness, fought against homophobia and discriminatory laws and employers, and host an annual Creating Change conference every year that joins 2,000 activists on average. I think they are a strong group that uses great resources to promote change. The use of reliable research strengthens their position and gives others a very real look at LGBT life and issues.

The Task Force’s website has a featured report right now called “Opening the Door to the Inclusion of Transgender People: The Nine Keys to Making Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Organizations Fully Transgender-Inclusive�. It was produced jointly by the Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality. It is a publication that deals with the issue of prejudice against transpeople in LGBT groups, and promotes a welcoming environment to all participants. The nine keys are:

1) Work Toward Full Integration at Every Organizational Level
2) Recruit a Broad Range of Trans People
3) Create a Welcoming Environment
4) Deal with Prejudice
5) Acknowledge Past Mistakes Regarding Trans-Inclusion
6) Have Trans-Inclusive Programming, Services and Advocacy Positions
7) Understand Transgender Experiences
8) Understand One’s Role as an Ally
9) Have Fair Employment Practices
I found this a very interesting, informative, and pretty darn awesome publication. I think a lot of times transgender rights cannot be fought if the people who should be supportive, obviously including others in the GLBT community, are prejudiced, ill informed, or wary of involvement. The publication stresses the feeling of community and support from all people involved in a GLBT group.

The Task Force also has a transgender specific “issues� page that discusses what it is doing to work for the equality of transgender people. In 2001 they founded the Transgender Civil Rights Project to work for transgender equality. They work to make sure that transgender rights are included in anti-discrimination laws, meaning the laws include non-discrimination against sexual preference, AND non-discrimination against gender identity/expression.

While reading this site, I was very glad to learn that transgender rights are being promoted within GLBT groups as well as outside them. I find it kind of confusing that the website talks about how transpeople have always been part of the GLBT struggle, and yet it is still called the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. There is no mention of transpeople in the group’s name, nor bisexual. I’m not sure if that is supposed to be exclusive, or it is just difficult to change the name of a longstanding group. In 1985, they changed the name from National Gay Task Force to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force to “make clear the commitment to gender parity and lesbian issues�. I believe that commitment should be mutually inclusive to all involved in the GLBT community and struggle.

September 26, 2008

Engaging Assignment 2

Minnesota Trans Health has the goal of improving health care quality and access for trans and gender non conformers. They are run by a board of directors (trans and allied community people) and have a much larger "wish list" than obvious funding. They work to achieve goals by educating, providing resources, and advocacy. I knew from my trans son that safe bathrooms were an issue; this site lists unisex single bathroom locations around the TC and has links to other sources for this info, including some other universities. I was unhappy to see that UM is not among the ones featured. The other helpful feature was a trans friendly health care providers list. The site seems practical for helping trans gender people find resources and I have now found a new place to contribute charitable deductions. Linda Brady

September 25, 2008

GLBT Lecture

The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Ally Programs Office is sponsoring
"GLBT Politics: equality or division?". This is a lecture by Suzanne Pharr,
author of "Homophobia: a weapon of sexism".

GLBT Politics Lecture
Thursday, Oct. 2
7:30 PM
3M Auditorium in Carlson School of Management

Free & Dessert reception to follow

Note: If you attend and write a 1-2 page summary of the event, you can get extra points added to your participation grade!

Handouts from Tuesday (9.23)

Here is Handout #3 and new engaging assignment #2 from class on Tuesday. When you click on the links, you can download the files.

September 24, 2008

Human Rights Campaign

For the second engaging assignment, I looked check out the Human Rights Campaign Website and looked specifically at the page for transgender issues.

1. This website is the official Human Rights Campaign site. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is the largest civil rights organization in the United States working for GLBT equality.

The HRC has over 750,000 members and supporters (!!!) across the nation. It is run by a board of directors who have the ultimate authority over HRC action. The Board members are all volunteers and community or cooperate leaders from across the country. There is also “HRC Staff� who head different branches of the foundation.

As the largest GLBT organization, the HRC has a unique ability of being able to unite people nation wide. Although we’ve made a lot of progress, there is still a lot of work to be done for GLBT equality. The HRC exists to make these incredibly important legislative and community changes occur.

The HRC attempts to engage all Americans to put an end to GLBT discrimination in the work force, make sure families are treated equally under the law, and encouraging education and outreach programs. The HRC works on both the federal and state level, as well as working with grassroots organizers and other GLBT organizations.

The HRC website has a specific page for transgender issues, and includes a lot of links to other useful information. The page includes a FAQ section, and a lot of the questions and answers are directed toward cooperations who are facing the issue of equality in the workplace. A lot of the answers explain that it is actually quite easy and simple to make the workplace a safe and comfortable environment for transgendered individuals. The arguments in the FAQ section seem like they would be pretty persuasive in helping transform a workplace. The trans page also has a “coming out guide� that can be downloaded and printed, and can be used to help you or others in your life understand the transition process, which I guess would help decrease oppression in an individual level.

The “getting involved� section of the site is all on one page, and doesn’t seem to be geared toward one specific issue. The page, however, offers a lot of different options–donating money, becoming a member, getting involved in activism, etc–for getting involved with the campaign. One such option is “Tell Your Story�– people write about their own experiences with a specific issue and can possibly get it posted on that issue’s page. There were quite a few links on the transgender page, which I guess can be seen as sort of an awareness thing for fighting oppression–letting others know what your experience is like and addressing discrimination.

2. The transgender page has a “laws� link, which takes the viewer to a list of various state laws in alphabetical order regarding gender identity. I checked out the section for Minnesota–only two laws for listed, but they both seemed like pretty important ones. The first was that post-operative transsexuals are allowed to change the sex on their birth certificates. The second is a non-discrimination law, which is simply that Minnesota law protects against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. I didn’t know that the second law existed–I knew we had some protections, but I wasn’t aware there was a “blanket law� protecting against discrimination of any kind based on gender identity. I think it is great that this is exists–transgender individuals are granted some rights (to not be discriminated against), on paper, but I don’t know how this law is actually being enforced in society–that is, how many people actually “get� the rights that the legislation gives them. I guess this is part of the reason the human rights organization exists–to make sure everyone “gets� the rights that the state is allowing them.

September 23, 2008

Schroer vs. Billington

Entitled "Transsexual wins lawsuit against Library of Congress," this CNN article describes the victory of a former army officer in her lawsuit against the Library of Congress. Diane Schroer was being considered for the position of a senior terrorism research analyst. Based on the evident bias that the employer showed once David Schroer expressed that she was going to present herself as Diane Shroer on the first day of work, the court ruled that Shroer was discriminated against "because" and her civil rights were violated.
This article is positive in that it reveals the legal progression and consideration of transgender rights. It shows that these issues are not only "hot topics," but also changing how we think about transgender people. It seems that dominant society is beginning to view transgender people equal at least in terms of employment. On the other hand, the legal system still focuses on and defines this discrimination in terms of sex, not gender. Therefore, it's possible to ask whether Diane Schroer would've won her case if she hadn't gone through a sex change. Would it still be discrimination "because" In order to consider the full spectrum of transgender people, the court would have to incorporate the links between sex and gender.

Reminder on how to blog…

1. Go to U Think.
2. Click on Login to UThink
3. Put in your user id (ex: puot0002)and password
4. You are now on the moveable type page. You should find a link to our class. Click on GLBT 1001 (not the URL but the other link). If you do not have a link to our class, please email me and I will add you as an author.
5. Click on new entry (it is on the top right hand side under posting).
6. Type in your entry. Scroll down to the bottom and hit save. You're done!

September 19, 2008

Recent Handouts

Here are some recent handouts from the past couple weeks including: Handout #1, Handout #2, Critical Response Assignment, and Annotated Bibliography Assignment.

September 17, 2008

From the NY Times of 2 Sep 2008

The article is entitled Smoother Transitions and discusses the improved ease, in larger corporations, of declaring your gender change as a transgender individual. The article paints a fairly rosy picture of the ease of dealing with employment as an individual who come out as trans. Within larger corporations, all is sweetness and light. The article goes on to indicate that coiming out within the scope of employment may be one of the easier transitions.

I would actually love to know to what extent this has been people's actual experience. My son is trans and we are having an interesting discussion relative to this article. He was not at all sure that this represented the true situation for most trans-people... but may, indeed, reflect the situation for the large employer. It is extremely difficult as a staff member within the University to see that real world. We are typically very accepting of diversity at staff/faculty level, but view the student population as more conservative :-) As I say, would really love to know what you think of this.


September 16, 2008

Ruling Inspires New Hope For Transgender People

I read this article with a smile on my face for obvious reasons: it is incredibly important that transpeople be able to live their lives safely, healthily, and freely. The article itself was very, very positive in that it recognized this as not only an achievement, but a necessary one. The article also did a very good job in terms of using the proper trans titles (transwoman/transgendered woman for an MTF), which is not something that can always be seen in mass media reports.
Two things bothered me here. First was the focus on MTF/transwomen and so far as I can tell, no mention of transmen, something that doesn't seem to be uncommon in our society. Even articles with a positive light on trans issues tend to (indirectly) define (or imply, I guess) "transgendered" as men who wish to be and/or live as women, whether physically, socially, or both. Out in what we could call the "real world" (that is, the society, hierarchies, histories, and issues that academia studies), the word "transgendered" tends to be synonymous with "transwoman," leaving a lot to be desired from the FTM side of the fence.
I think in general that transmen are somewhat safer in public than transwomen, mostly because transwomen tend to bring out a lot of fear that turns to violence (a fear of demasculinization that plays a big, big role in our society), and, as Stryker pointed out in Transgender History, transmen are more able to "pass" as men than the other way around, making the world a little easier to navigate. As soon as you stumble though, as soon as you accidentally or intentionally don't pass, you put yourself in danger. During the RNC, I opened my home to a handful of radical queer activists from Chicago. One of their friends, a local transman from St. Paul came over one of the nights they were here. He walked in my door and the room stopped - his left eye was almost swollen shut, and an angry purple color. He was bruised and scraped and cut all over his body. We all wanted to know what happened. He told us that he was in a bar in St. Paul when two men there noticed that he had "two men" tattooed on his arms (one was a man, the other, a butch woman) and started in with the anti-gay comments, demanding to know if he "was a fag" or "loved the cock." As the confrontation escalated, one of the men saw that their prey had their chest strapped (he was wearing a sleeveless shirt, so the wrap was visible) and after a few moments realized that this person was trans. My guest was consequently dragged out of the bar and beaten by these two men - hit in the face, kicked in the ribs and dragged down the street. When the police finally arrived, the two men were let go, and my guest was arrested.
The point of this all brings me to my next issue: the fact that there need to be these protections in the first place. I think it is absolutely disgusting and backwards that people are not allowed to live publicly in their bodies as they are happiest and most comfortable. Not conforming to your *BIRTH SEX* is tantamount to endangering the lives and well-being of everyone around you, somehow.
So, while I am glad that these laws have been passed, it still saddens and angers me that they need to be.

RENT Portrayal of Transgender Woman

In an attempt to classify how transgender individuals are portrayed in the media, I reviewed one of my favorite characters from the Broadway musical and recent motion picture, RENT. Her name is Angel and she is a central point in the story-line with regard to her role in teaching the other characters how to love others, and how to love life. She is introduced in the film as a street performer, playing a bucket as a drum for money on Avenue A. and even later performs a song, "Today for You", about all of the royalties she enjoys from doing side jobs for the residents of the neighborhood (including causing the suicide of a dog, with her drumming). Angel is one of the many characters in the musical that suffers from HIV/AIDS which eventually brings about her tragic death toward the end of the film. The interesting portion of this is the conversation and portrayal of Angel at her funeral, just before and during the Song "I'll Cover You (Reprise)".
At the funeral, Angel is pictured as a man, which is contrasting to the way she was presented throughout the majority of the film, as a very femininely dressed female. The portrait is puzzling in that it may or may not signify that in death she is returning to her birth-state, a man. When discussing their favorite memories of Angel, even some of her closest friends stumble over the proper pronoun used to address her. Although Angel is portrayed as an individual without a respectable job and stereotypically dies from AIDS at the end of the film, she is one of the most lovable and open characters in RENT. Angel is always encouraging her friends to attend Life Support and live in the moment, which ties into the musical's popular theme of "No Day But Today". It is refreshing to see such a positive and likable portrayal of a transgender woman in contemporary musical media.

-Alysa Friedrich

Here is the link to the song at her funeral:

Transgender People in the Media

I also chose to write my Engaging Assignment on the 20/20 Barbara Walters program on transgender children. Here's the link to one part of the article that goes along with the video: . The rest of the articles and some video are available at the bottom of the page under "More Coverage."
The program took a very caring and understanding approach, which surprised me because of the touchy subject matter. I half expected them to condemn the parents for allowing their children to mutilate their bodies or some equally intolerant nonsense. Barbara instead focused on the real issues. She talked about the emotional struggles of both the parents and the children. She talked about the importance of parental acceptance of transgender children. The discussed the different medical approaches doctors have to treating transgender children. All in all, the parents were portrayed as loving, average parents who just want to do what is best for their children. The children were also portrayed positively, as simply average children born in the wrong body and trying to cope with it the best they can.
I think this program could help immensely in shaping a positive societal view of transgender people. By choosing to focus on transgender children she removes the possibility of people portraying trans people as sexual deviants or monstrous freaks. These children can only be seen as innocent victims of a biological mistake by anyone but the most hard-hearted. By choosing a 17 year old boy as one of the subjects, we are shown the link between these children and the struggles they will face as adults. All of could lead to a more tolerant and positive view of all transgender people in our society.

Media Depiction of the Transgender Community

I decided to look particularly at the news media and how they deal with transgender issues. I was surprised at how immature and close-minded many of these newscasters were. I found it extremely unfortunate because people look to the news to be educated, and when they see newscasters act so inappropriately they may think that it is okay to discriminate against the transgender community
Looking at this clip it is evident that the newscaster is biased and has no intention in listening to the views of woman defending the gender blind dorms. He is just waiting his turn to voice his own opinions on the issue. I thought that newscasters were supposed to be unbiased and just present the facts. Instead, I think that so much of the news today is not based upon what is true, but who can shout the loudest. The anchor further shows his ignorance when he says, “I don’t know who is attacking transgender people.�
I was particularly bothered by this clip. If I were just to listen to what they were saying, I would have thought it was a bunch of grade schoolers, not newscasters entrusted to educate people. Their behavior was inexcusable and once again shows the unwillingness of the media to approach such topics with the respect it deserves. As far as I know no disciplinary actions have been taken against any of the three newscasters.

Media image of trans gendered evolves

The article i read is from an internet source off Google. I found a very interesting article called " Media image of trans gendered evolves". The article was giving a great over view of how many thing such as movies, tv series, or magazines are involving trans gendered people in them or the image of them. Such shows such as Ugly Betty," "All My Children" and "The Riches" all use references of people of the trans gender nature. That's very intriguing to me since it's viewed on national television and shows that I'm sure we have all heard of if not seen.
The article goes on to say that the way the media produces things either gives the viewers good, understanding feelings, or bad negative feelings. if you portray a trans gender in a bad manor or as a bad person, the viewers will think of them as people of bad nature. But if we portray them in ways such as helping others, or being abused for no good reasons, then the viewers will think good thoughts and hopefully understand a little more of what they are about.
The article I read is very positive in my point of view. It's pretty much saying that trans gendered people are evolving and becoming more acceptable in everyday life and in the media. The more the media shows them in good ways the more they are likely to be accepted by people in normal day life. That is a very good thing.
It shapes me in a way that it can also help me understand more of trans gendered people. i know very little and that's a main reason im taking this class, to understand and learn more of their history, ways of living, and overall perspective on things. it's going to be a great year and these articles help me to understand it further more. Not only am i sitting in a class learning but i get to learn by reading the media or watching it on tv. It's personally a great thing for me and society as a whole.

Maryland Court Overturns Attempt to Roll Back Transgender Protections

Here is my first engaging assignment–this article popped up in google news and I found it pretty intriguing. Did anyone else know this was going on? I had no idea until I specifically googled news about the transgender community.

-Laura Johnson

I think this is overwhelmingly positive, not only toward members of the transgender community, but that written in a way that made it clear that the author was supportive of the success of PLAG. However, I was shocked and disappointed that the removal of protections for transgendered individuals was actually a legitimate possibility in our society.

This article both strengthens and diminishes my faith in society–on one hand, it impresses me that people were able to mobilize to effectively to oppose the removal of protections against discrimination. However, it completely disgusts me that people were actually attempting to legitimize harassment and deny legal rights to members of our society.

Obviously, there is still a lot of ignorance and hostility in the United States, especially surrounding such issues as gender and sexuality. I am aware of it, but have never really encountered actual attempts to legitimize harassment against queer individuals. I can’t quite fathom that people would ever actually work against equality and have it be taken seriously by a court, especially in a state like Maryland, which is pretty liberal. It is really pretty frightening to me that courts (or any member of the government) actually has that power over individuals, and can strip them of rights for having done nothing.

As a 16 year old, the struggle for equality for the queer community is like a history lesson for me. I have always accepted anti–discrimination policies as something that should just be, and am incredibly lucky to live in a community where I experience almost no homophobia. I have also been tremendously unaware of transgender “issues�–legal or otherwise. This article really made me realize that I shouldn’t take what I consider basic rights for granted.

This really inspires me to get more involved in activism. Instances like this are such a wake-up call that there is still a lot of hostility and oppression against the queer community, especially transgendered individuals. It seems so ridiculous that in the 21st century people are still so closed minded around issues like sexuality and gender.

September 15, 2008

Rocky Horror Picture Show

First I'd just to say this to all the Rocky Horror fans out there that i do like this movie and I am in now way trying to bash it. That being said, let's begin tearing apart the character of Dr. Frank-N-Furter. ;)

The scene I've included here from the movie is when Dr. Frank sings "Sweet Transvestite."

The first thing that I'd like you to notice is the presentation of the doctor. His attire is very symbolic of society's general image of the transsexual, at least during the time frame this movie was created. Dr. Frank wears revealing black lingerie, a rather large pearl necklace, and too much foundation; creating a general comic look about him. Seeing that this movie is a comedy, it's not too much to assume that the general attitude towards transsexuals is humorous. Society sees them as a joke. This dress though does more than set up the comic attitude about him, but the sexual as well. His obsession with sex causes him to create a man as a play thing and messing around with the couple (Janet and Brad).There are other characteristics communicated through his actions and attire, but for now we'll be focusing only on the two major ones as mentioned above: comic and sexual.

I believe this character, in a superficial glance, reinforces negative stereotypes of transsexualism. This being a comedy though makes it a little unfair as the characters are meant to be a joke, opposed to let's say an action film. The issue though is where do transsexuals appear in filmography other than in a comedic source? Rarely, other than in cases with films dealing specifically with the story of a transsexual. We do not see transsexuals appearing in everyday filmography as minor/secondary character. The result is the transsexual seem to be left out of everyday life. Our only source, our only sighting in filmography, being the comedic films we see them as something not normal--normality in this case being defined as occurring in everyday life. Society's creation of the transsexual then--the prejudice view crafted by mass media--becomes our concept of the transsexual.

-Jason Sumontha

Transgender Issues in the Workplace

This week I thought about how often a "transgender joke" would arise. Probably not that that often. Who makes jokes about people that are transgendered anyways?
Wrong. I was so wrong.
After thinking about this assignment and deciding I could not think about any specific way i could relate this topic to my daily life, I went about my week and decided to think about the assignment later.
However, it was staring me in the face at work.
"I am so sick of that, " she said pointing over to the fine jewelry department.
"What?" I asked, looking over to see what she was so upset by.
It was just my co-worker and I, alone, at the cosmetic counter on a Saturday night. The store was dead, but there were a few dedicated shoppers on this cold and rainy evening.
"Two girls holding hands...come on!" she said.
"So you have a problem with lesbians?" I said and i stared directly at her. I was so shocked by what had just come out of her mouth that what I meant to say, "so I am assuming you have a problem with gay men, bi-sexual individuals, and transgendered people." But at this point, I am not even sure she knows what the latter of the terms she is even familiar with.
"Oh no, no, no. I just don't see that where I come from." she responded, a little taken off gaurd that i was clearly offended.
"You're telling me there are only straight people where you come from?" I asked her. Hand on hip.
She trailed off, making up some kind of excuse about how there was nothing wrong with people who were gay/ lesbian, but she just did not want to see it.
At age 52, and as someone who uses the adjective, "gay" to describe things she does not like, while living in a suburb of Minneapolis that actually contains the word, "farm" in the name of the city, I decided she was a hopeless case and went on to help a customer. I also remembered backt o several weeks ago when she asked me what classes I was taking I listed them all off and when i said, "GLBT Studies" she responded, "What is that?"
I kind of felt like passing out from shock, but instead I said, "Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual, and Transgender Studies".
When she asked me, "why on earth would you want to take that KIND of a class?" (Noting this was not asked ina respectful manner, I told her, "I like those KIND of classes." But up until last Saturday I had forgotten all about that conversation.
When I walked by a transgendered male, one who is one of our best clients at the cosmetics counter I work at that night, I just smiled and waved and kept walking to the upstairs counter. (This woman was already being helped by a sales associate). And then it dawned on me...I did not even realize she is transgendered. I mean obviously I know her and I know she is because she is bald, has a beard, and is wearing a skirt and heels, but my point is that this did not even phase me. All I saw was another human being laughing and having a pleasant interaction with my co-worker.
Seeing a transgendered individual makes me stop in my tracks just about as much as seeing a hetero-sexual couple hold hands in public. It is normal to me and it is hard for me to think of someone else who lives in such an ego-centric world that they think what is a reality to them should be a reality to everyone else.
What makes them think their "normal" is "normal"? And who exactly has the authority to decide what is "normal"? I hate that word.
This week I have seen a little bit about the prejudices that still exist in the world. prejudices I knew existed but not to such a great extent. I wondered what would have happened if my co-worker had had an encounter with a transgendered individual. Would she have offered that person the same respect and dignity and customer service that she would have given to a hetero-sexual young bride about to marry her "knight in shining armor"? And, I regret to say that, no, she probably would not have.

Tranny Mcguyver.

I recently stumbled upon this Youtube video advertising a short film; in essence a cop show starring a transsexual police officer. As the website states ( the cast is composed of various GLBT actors, including William Belli as the headliner:

Upon viewing the trailer, I found it a bit difficult to read in terms of implication. On the one hand, the primary character is portrayed as a humorous, street smart, sexually vivacious, take charge sort of individual. In addition to the primary character, it is clear that other characters (as well as the show as a whole) challenge conventional gender binaries and do so unabashedly. It's been shown time and time again that the ability to bring humor to a situation can empower us. Comedians such as Jay Leno have the ability to make bold, often offensive statements about important figures or events simply by adding humor to the mixture.

Thus, using a platform of humor, this show is able to field ideas or scenarios that might otherwise be considered too controversial or atypical. By utilizing wit, each of the characters has the unique ability to reclaim and "own" their own sexuality beyond what hetero-normative influence can take away (if that makes sense).

On the other hand, the majority of the jokes in the clip seem to utilize traditional sex-based humor. In some ways, this could be seen as reinforcing the stereotypical notion that sexually "dissident" individuals are concerned solely with sex, and tends to denigrate the image of them as an individual beyond sexual function. Given the platform, it seems that the creators could be doing far more to further a good cause and field meaningful discussions about gender and sexuality. Of course, this is probably expecting more from a production who's goal first and foremost, is to entertain. Which I'll admit that it did.

“You want the beef taco or the fish taco?� Priceless.


McCain unaware of meaning of "LGBT"

In a search for something to comment on for this assignment, I stumbled across this (albeit relatively old) link that was able to provide me with information about McCain that actually surprised me--something that's getting increasingly harder to do.
It doesn't specifically address transgender issues, but i think the position he takes on both the GLBT question and the same-sex marriage question are indicative of a larger underlying theme that undoubtedly affects the transgender community. The fact that McCain is (likely/hopefully) highly educated, experienced, and one of the most well-known men in the world at the moment put together with the fact that he is completely oblivious to an entire community of people who reside in the nation the he hopes to lead says a great deal about where we are still at not only politically, but socially. I am actually baffled that at the end of the day, beyond all of the politics and press conferences, someone of McCain's age and position has never heard the phrase "GLBT" uttered. As if the public's enduring ability to be apathetic about GLBT rights/issues wasn't enough, we now see our aspiring leader spreading the message that it's okay to be casually ignorant that the community even exists.

I also found it interesting how, after that instance, the issue of same-sex marriage was defaulted to. Great; I'm glad someone is asking Mr. McCain such a pertinent question and I'm not at all trying to negate the validity of same-sex marriages. However, no transgender issues were brought up whatsoever. I've been told I'm nitpicking, but to go along with some of the readings, it's just another example of how we name the community GLBT, but we only talk about the GL, and maybe the B if we're lucky. For me, the term GLBT and all that it represents has seemed so blurry and such a slippery slope to me that I often wonder if the T really should be included. I feel like the power of the gay rights activism movement gave us the strength we needed to find our own basis for action and strength to speak up, but by hiding under that umbrella term in a time where acceptance of the GL, and sometimes B is much more widespread than even any understanding of the T, much less acceptance, we're taking a free ticket and not pushing hard enough for our own rights. By doing so, I think we're feeding into the message that McCain is sending--it's ok and easy to ignore "them" because they're not trying to make anyone look hard enough anyway.

September 14, 2008

Stephen Colbert

I was watching the Colbert Report show last week, and Stephen Colbert made a joke about PA governor Ed Rendell being a "tranny." He continued to be "turned on" by this pretty lady. I don't watch much T.V., so this was the only reference to transgendered people I saw in the media. I can definitely see why this joke would be offensive to a lot of people, but taking into consideration the context of the show, I wasn't personally offended. I realize that the Colbert Report is a satirical show. Of course, I think that suggesting that being transgendered would create a political scandal suggests that there is something wrong with being transgendered. It is a very subliminal message, and perhaps the reason it was so subliminal is why I wasn't outwardly offended by it. Shows like the Colbert Report are generally more liberal-minded in their messages, and I believe need to show more consideration to all kinds of audiences: in this case, transgendered peoples.

September 12, 2008

A thought about gender

I started thinking about this in the last discussion, but didn't really refine it until my Human Evolution class. Which is probably why it sounds all scientifical. Isn't it funny how society assigns these binary classifications based on a continuous variation? What I'm talking about is the whole gender thing. It's a proven fact that we contain both male and female hormones, it's just that men have more male hormones than women and vice versa, but these hormones aren't in any set proportion. Yet given this, society still treats it as either wholly male or wholly female, as if there weren't any mixture. I believe it is therein where we err in our treatment of gender. Seeing it as a mixture of both male and female characteristics--seems to me--a much better way of understanding what gender means. You are neither wholly male nor wholly female, but a unique blend of each present only in you--I doubt any one person's proportion is similar to an others.

So taking "straight" for example. The general mixture of male and female would be skewed more to either side, as apposed to let's say "gay, bi, trans, lesbian, etc" who i believe would be more balanced in the mixture. around the 50-50 mark.

Something to think about at least.

-Jason Sumontha

And what is this extended entry about?

Transgender History is in and other news…

Stryker's Transgender History book is in. Please read the assigned chapters from it for Tuesday's class. The course packet is also in. It is at Paradigm copies in the Dinkydome. Here is their website address, if you have any questions about where it is, etc.

Also, here is the revised reading schedule (the one that I handed out in class this past week).

One more thing:
If you would like to post your engaging assignment as a blog entry, here is
how you do it:

1. Go to U Think.
2. Click on Login to UThink
3. Put in your user id (ex: puot0002)
4. You are now on the moveable type page. You should find a link to our class. Click on GLBT 1001 (not the URL but the other link). If you do not have a link to our class, please email me and I will add you as an author.
5. Click on new entry (it is on the top right hand side under posting).
6. Type in your entry. Scroll down to the bottom and hit save. You're done!

September 11, 2008

ABC News Story

Hi everyone,

For my first Engaging Assignment I looked at an ABC News article about very young children who identify as the opposite sex rather than their birthsex. I posted a link to the story if any of you are interested :)

-Ashley O'Neil

I thought this news article was interesting for two main reasons: The term “transgender� was used to refer specifically to “transsexual� children, and was not defined to mean anything other than “transsexual.� The second reason is that the transsexual children that are the subject of the article are very young—from 6 to 10 years old.

When I read the title of the ABC News article, “Transgender Children Face Unique Challenges,� I thought I was going to be reading about regular kids who broke some certain rules of gender definitions; i.e. a tomboy girl or a feminine boy. I was surprised to find that the news story was not about that, but about children of a very young age that identify themselves to be the opposite sex. I thought it was very interesting that throughout the article the word transgender was not given even a broad general definition for people reading the article, and that it was used only to mean transsexual. I think that for the average person skimming through the online news section during their lunch break, it’d be a confusing concept.

I was very surprised to read that the children in the article were as young as they were—the kids mentioned were six and ten years old. At that age, most children do not have a lot of experiences to call upon to create an identity for themselves, yet these children know that they are supposed to be the sex opposite than their birthsex. I think that’s amazing. I personally do not recall consciously having such a strong sense that I was a girl at age 6, but maybe that’s because my identity did not conflict with my sex, so it was not something worth remembering.

Even though this article was very broad and missed a lot of key points in definition and explanation, it did show transgender people (in this case children), in a positive light.

September 3, 2008

Screaming Queens Movie

For more information on Screaming Queens, click here.

September 2, 2008

Useful terms

Here is a list of GLBT terms that might be helpful for you to know.


Welcome to our GLBT 1001 blog! Here is the SYLLABUS.