October 31, 2008

Engaging Assignment #2

I thought Bornstein’s gender exam was interesting because even before I took it Bornstein made a disclaimer to let the reader know this is not a fair test but this is how we are tested everyday in our culture. I felt angry and ashamed when answering some of these questions and especially the ones where it asks if you believe you are better than others due to some circumstances. I was surprised at some of my answers as well because after going through the test again I realized I came off as superior on some of them and I do not believe that is who I am. Although I felt that way I still only got a 770 on my exam.
I completed the exercise on page 63 and this one was about making a list of the different identities I have been and no longer consider myself to be. Then I listed some things I liked and some things I didn’t like about it about those identities. After completing the exercise I realized all the things I used to be I didn’t like besides one identity. In fact I could not find anything positive about what I used to be so that makes me feel as if I am on the right track in my life. Most of my former identities were harmful and only got me into trouble. Like I stated there was one certain identity I could not find anything negative about so I would like to incorporate it back into my life.
Gender according to Bornstein is something that is linked with sex, it is about the man and the penis and it is something we learn how to achieve. Gender according to me is a continuum rather than binary. I believe there are more than two genders and it is up to the individual to decide which gender they may be. I don’t believe gender should be so rigid and unfortunately it is in our culture. I believe the individual should have as much time as they need to see who they really are and then go from there. Gender according to dominate society is all about class, either you belong to the male class or the female class and there is no in between. Society also pressures you to figure out what class you are in so then you are not considered deviant.

October 21, 2008

Minnesota Transgender Health Coalition

The Minnesota Transgender Health Coalition’s (MTHC) website allows for education, and information not just for transgender people but also for the community on how they can help. The MTHC is an organization made up completely of volunteers. They are dedicated to improving the health care for transgender people in the community. They have training services for clinics, public health fairs, and other events. The website also outlines other transgender themed or related events in the community. The website also has a list of unisex public restrooms. They call it the “Safe Restrooms Project.? The MTHC is devoted to the health and safety of the transgender community and helping them receive quality health care wherever they choose to go. This website is a wonderful place to get involved in the transgender community, both in the health care field, volunteering for the MTHC and through other events in the community.

The transgender community has the right to the same quality of health care as anyone else. They may be treated differently by many, but good health care should not be is something everyone should have. I have never really thought about the availability of trans-friendly doctors. It seemed to me that there would be more than there are. It is disgraceful how few health care professionals are listed on this site. With the organization doing outreach, they should have been able to find more options for the transgender community. Transgender people right now are treated inappropriately. When at a doctor’s office one should be able to talk about anything. The MTHC is doing what it can to allow for a transgender person to have the same experience, or at least close, to the experience that we all deserve.

Sorry this is so late...


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.


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.

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.

September 29, 2008


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.

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.

September 28, 2008

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 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.