Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Schoolboy to Showgirl: The Alexandra Billings Story (Part 1)

A profile of transgendered actress-singer Alexandra Billings, who grew up in Chicago and has performed in many local stage productions. Billings has also played transsexual characters on "ER" and "Grey's Anatomy."

Ms. Billings is (IMO) noteworthy as a woman. Please note that I didn't choose to use the adjective, 'transgendered' - even though she is a *fantastic* role model for the community of transgendered folks.

When I view her story, it just doesn't seem appropriate to place the 'lesser' adjective before the 'more appropriate' noun. To my mind, "transgendered" is a reflection of only *one* part of many processes that a very strong woman had to undergo to fulfill her complete potential in the world.

You Go, GIRL.

Channel Icon

The gender gap: one more bridge that Michael built

July 1, 2009

By Robin Cooper

Since last week, the United States has lost four celebrities who have impacted lives (in some cases, the way we live) and televisions across not only our own country, but the world. Farrah Fawcett took Marilyn Monroe's blonde bombshell and reinvented it for a whole new generation of boys who needed a fantasy and girls who needed a beauty standard. Ed McMahon was a legend before there were more than two tvs in every American home, entertaining people on late night shows and integrating himself into American traditions, such as the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Billy Mays taught America that Oxi-Clean was the cure-all for stains and continued to "wow" us with the newest products.

And then there was Michael Jackson. It almost seems as though there is nothing more that needs to be said after that sentence. Perhaps the question should be what didn't he do? After processing the past week's events, it became abundantly clear that he, in fact, had a huge impact on not only the music industry (which, by no means should be diminished--without him, today's music industry would be completely different) and in racial issues (even the procedures to lighten his skin echoed his message that skin color simply doesn't matter), but in gender issues, as well.

The world watched Michael Jackson progress from the charming boy with an inexplicable stage presence, to an adolescent who made teenage girls' hearts flutter every time they heard his newest hit and eventually, into the world's biggest star with the release of "Thriller."

Soon after his big success, Michael Jackson began to get obvious plastic surgeries, transforming him from an attractive African American young man into a more Caucasian and effeminate "boy-man." His critics would start claiming that he was trying not to be black. Perhaps it was more than that. Perhaps Michael Jackson wanted to prove to his audience that race, gender and other superficial categorizations are not the things that make a person who he or she is. . . .Read More

One of the great performance artists of our time. R.I.P, Michael. (RA)

Colorado beats feds on employment non-discrimination

June 26, 2009

by Matt Kailey

Members of Congress have announced the introduction of a trans-inclusive federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), but Colorado is already there.

Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), along with Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) and Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), announced this week that a trans-inclusive ENDA was being introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives.

The bill would add both sexual orientation and gender identity to existing federal employment non-discrimination laws.

This bill is important to transgendered and transsexual people because an earlier bill, introduced in 2007, did not include gender identity protections. Polis reports that it is still legal for employers to discriminate on the basis of gender identity in 38 states. . . .Read More

6th Annual March for Transgender Pride

June 30, 2009

Transgender March Winds its Way through San Francisco's Mission District

The 6th annual Trans March took a different route than in years past, starting at Dolores Park where several thousand people gathered, and forming a march that traveled through the Mission district. The excitement was still high as the group neared the announced ending point at 26th and Valencia, where one contingent took Cesar Chavez Street continuing to an after-party at El Rio while a smaller subgroup kept on marching through the city. . . .Read More and View Photos

State rules in favor of young transgender

July 2, 2009

by Abigail Curtis
BDN Staff

AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Human Rights Commission ruled Monday that the Orono School Department discriminated against a transgender child by denying her access to the girls bathroom.

While the school department’s lawyer warned that schools around the state may not be ready to manage the practical fallout from the decision, civil liberties advocates hailed the ruling as an advancement of human rights.

“This ruling is a huge step forward for a vulnerable population that is entitled to the full protection of the law,” said Zachary Heiden, legal director of the Maine Civil Liberties Union. “There will always be voices who claim we’re not ready, we’re not there yet, the time to end discrimination is next year, or next session. But victims of discrimination should not have to wait.”

The attorney for the child and her parents said his clients are very happy with the outcome of their complaint.

“At the very heart of it is the issue of basic human dignity and fundamental civil liberties,” said Eric Mehnert. “It was a good decision.” . . .Read More