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Something people might appreciate: Why Hollywood Needs Trans Actors

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The ACLU has filed a lawsuit with the state of Wisconsin over health care for transgender state workers.

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This bit:

While this ability is not always beneficial—some shirrens deliberately drug themselves this way, becoming “option junkies” blissed out on sequences of trivial decisions

Interesting. This sounds a lot like the concept of the ludic loop that I just read about in a New York Times article.

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Big legal news:

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin, ruled today that sexual orientation is protected under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

The case involves a woman named Kimberly Hively who was in court fighting the Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana against discriminatory hiring practices. Basically, from what I understand, back in 2009, she was spotted kissing a woman in a parking lot, so the college wouldn't hire her.

From the Court's ruling:

Chief Judge Diane Wood wrote:
Our panel described the line between a gender nonconformity claim and one based on sexual orientation as gossamer-thin; we conclude that it does not exist at all. Hively's claim is no different from the claims brought by women who were rejected for jobs in traditionally male work-places, such as fire departments, construction, and policing. The employers in those cases were policing the boundaries of what jobs or behaviors they found acceptable for a woman (or in some cases, for a man).

This covers workplace discrimination against gay, lesbian and bi people. It's sexual orientation, so trans people aren't included in the ruling. However, Joshua Block, an ACLU lawyer, points out:

Joshua Block wrote:
Every single anti-trans opinion (and brief) prominently relies on the 1984 Ulane decision that CA7 just overruled.

There is a twitter thread breakdown of the ruling here, by lawyer Greg Lipper.

So, this still has to get before the Supreme Court at some point, from what I understand, but this is a good step in the right direction.

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This was heartening to see:

SCOTUS Reprimands Anti-LGBTQ Groups for Misgendering Trans Student Gavin Grimm.

Also, Gavin = awesome. Hope his case goes well.

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Hi Selene!

Two of the books I found useful for my transition were She's Not There, by Jennifer Finney Boylan and Whipping Girl, by Julia Serano.

She's Not There is a memoir, maybe a little dated now, and very much from a middle-class perspective (so the author seems to have easier access to transition-related medical care than many), but she starts out describing her life as a kid, and works her way up through and past when she came out in (I think) her late 30s. Part of what I found helpful about it was that she is a relatively late transitioner, like I was. There's always so much concern and anxiety about the age at which you start transition, it was nice to read something from someone who was close to the age I was when I came out and got started.

Whipping Girl is a collection of essays on trans-feminism by Serano. She also has a good blog on blogspot, where she writes about various trans-related issues.

Haven't gotten to Janet Mock's memoir yet, which Crystal recommended, but I've heard nothing but good things about it. (I think she has a follow-up out soon.)

I'll also second Crystal's recommendation of Trans Bodies, Trans Selves. Lots of good info in there. You could find a lot of it by scouring the internet, I think, but it's nice to have it all in one place. Bit of a hefty tome.

You can also sometimes find good interviews with various trans activists on youtube (Mock, Laverne Cox, Paris Lees, etc.)

Punk singer Laura Jane Grace, of Against Me! is worth following as well. She came out publicly in Rolling Stone back in 2012, and has done some good interviews since. Here's one. And here she is on NPR.

Against Me!'s first album after she came out, Transgender Dysphoria Blues, deals with a lot of LJG's experiences. It also rocks pretty good. Here's the title track. And she's just had a memoir come out.

Something else about her, too. Since transitioning, I'm very self-conscious about my voice. Did a year of voice therapy that didn't seem to help all that much. It's a bit difficult for me as I teach for a living, so I'm always up in front of people, speaking. Hearing Laura Jane Grace say that she wasn't going to change the way she sings, and seeing her just blast ahead was really helpful in coming to terms with my own voice.

The other things I'd suggest are: 1) Get to know other trans people, whether that's in real life or online. It helps to know people who have gone through what you've gone through, and can also help you navigate through the various medical and legal issues that come up; and 2) It helps to be friends with non-trans women. Once you're out, like out out, the world's going to treat you differently than what you're used to. Some of the things you'll deal with are things non-trans women deal with too, things they'll have years of experience with. Helps to be able to draw on their wisdom, while talking about the commonalities in our experiences can be affirming.

Good luck to you!

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The Gavin Grimm case, potentially a landmark case in trans rights, gets its Supreme Court date, March 28.

Grimm's ACLU lawyer, Chase Strangio, tweeted out a video about Gavin and the case.

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More positively, some recognition from the city of San Francisco for the Compton's Cafeteria riot..

Important bit of trans history, as trans people and drag queens stood up to police brutality in 1966.

A bit more on it here and here.

And adding in this picture because it's awesome.

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Since there will likely be a number of battles over LGBTQ writes in the coming years, he's a good person to follow:

Chase Strangio, ACLU lawyer who specializes in LGBTQ issues. That's his twitter feed.

I check in on his feed once or twice a week to see what's up.

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Gorsuch has been nominated for the Supreme Court position. (That is, for the position that should have gone to moderate Merrick Garland.)

In the past, he sided with Hobby Lobby on religious exceptions with regards to medical care. (In that case, contraceptives.)

Per our earlier discussion, this may be why Trump kept Obama's protections for LGBT people. He (or Bannon) knew they'd be gutted by this Supreme Court pick.

Worried now about how the Gavin Grimm case is going to work out. Was hoping that would get going before Trump nominated someone.

And I'm now fully expecting the university I work at to drop the recently announced insurance coverage for gender transition. They started making noises about doing that after Trump was elected.

I'm exhausted. I feel like the Obama Administration was months ago now, something in the distant past.

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CBDunkerson wrote:

In today's news: Donald Trump decides NOT to do a bigoted thing and the Boy Scouts decide to stop doing a bigoted thing.

Up tomorrow: Unicorns

Keep in mind that Trump deciding not to rescind those LGBT protections doesn't mean he won't go the "religious exception" route.

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Iammars wrote:
And I realize that part of this is unprecidented, but part of what I'm feeling is that I've never really had the government against me before. Back when I thought I was a cishet male, politics was a fun game. But now I find myself just staring in shock into my laptop for hours. I have short spurts where I can get work done, but otherwise I'm just constantly staring in shock. I don't have coping methods to deal with this - I never developed them because I never realized that I needed them.

Talking to other women can help, both trans women and cis women.

One of the things that helped me (I had a difficult few years at the start of transition) was listening to the experiences of other trans women, including with regards to the newfound lack of privilege, but also with regards to those moments of realization that your status in the world has changed.

I've found it also helps to listen to and read trans women, and other trans people, who aren't specifically talking about transition issues, but are doing whatever they're doing with their lives. Helps reinforce that this life is possible. Others have made it.

And I've found talking through some of those experiences with cisgender women has been helpful as well. I don't have any other trans people in my day-to-day life, just the people I know or read online. But I've struck up close friendships with cis women since transitioning, and they've been invaluable to me in so many ways, including with regards to coping with the sorts of things you're talking about.

Either way, it helps to have people to talk to, and people to share your experiences with.

It's a difficult time to come out and transition. I think transition itself can be difficult even under the best of circumstances. There is so much to deal with. But it can be dealt with. (The physical side of it is, in a way, the easy stuff. Just takes a while.)

Regardless of what happens in this country in the next few years, don't lose sight of your self worth, and don't lose sight of the possibilities of the life and the self you're now building. Storms come and go. But they can be endured.

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Marched in Madison yesterday. Somewhere between 75,000 and 100,000, biggest in town since the 2011 protests. Stretched from Capitol Square all the way back along State Street to the UW campus.

The view from UW campus, looking toward the Capitol.

And the reverse, the view from the steps of the Capitol, looking back along State Street toward campus.

Favorite sign:

"Make American Feminist For Once."

Really good vibes. A good day.

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The Obama Administration and A.G. Lynch are continuing to stand up for trans rights up to the very end.

The Justice Department just filed an appeal to overturn the recent Texas court decision.

And here's a good interview with Lynch from last month on the subject: Why Loretta Lynch Told Transgender Americans "We See You."

“Making someone invisible means that you don’t have to deal with their problems,” Lynch continued, noting that transgender people, particularly women of color, face extraordinary rates of homicide and violence. “I think the transgender community can no longer be invisible. They need to be front and center. By marginalizing the transgender community…that is not an invisible issue to me as a prosecutor, as a law enforcement officer, as the attorney general. So to tell a group, ‘We see you,’ means you are standing here next to me.”

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Crystal Frasier wrote:
Rat Queens: Braga Special is a one-shot comic about an orc trans lady, that's mostly about how she ended up exiled from her people.

The framing story from that is what stays with me. The way she's spending a lazy morning with this guy she just slept with, who's obviously into her, and it's no big deal.

Wei Ji the Learner wrote:

Looking for good stories that treat trans-people right and perhaps maybe even as protagonists without Mary Sue/Gary Stu Complex.

What would be a good place to start?

The three Angela series from Marvel don't have a trans lead, but Sera, the girlfriend of the lead is trans. She's also a mage. They revealed she was trans a few issues in, when we heard her backstory. Here's a bit of it: "We found a way to make me myself." And here's the cover to the final issue of the final series, Angela: Queen of Hel. That's her on the right.

There's also Cassandra in The Wicked + The Divine, which is about gods incarnating as people every 70 or 80 years. Cassandra's a reporter who's skeptical of the whole thing. Not one of the protagonists, but she's in the mix. She also does not suffer fools gladly.

And there's Jo, one of the leads in Lumberjanes, which is a cool comic about a bunch of girls running into supernatural things at a summer camp. Jo's identity was revealed in issue #17 "I know exactly where I belong. And it was never across the lake with the Scouting Lads."

Again, the first two aren't leads, but I was pretty happy with how the characters were written.

Edit to add: I've only seen the first few episodes, but I'll second Violet Hargrave's recommendation of Sense8. Really like Nomi, who's played by a trans actress, Jamie Clayton. Also, Freema Agyeman, Martha from Dr. Who, plays her girlfriend. So that's pretty cool.

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Kalindlara wrote:

My appointment with my endocrinologist is in March. So... we'll see if I make it that long. I'm fairly assured in my own strength, but with the turn things took in November, I can't say with certainty that it will still work out. Who knows what measures will have been taken to stop people like me by then? I still don't have valid ID... and I don't know if I ever will, for similar reasons.

There's not a lot of reason to believe in a safe or happy future.

It's a long wait till March, but it can be worth it.

As far as IDs go, assuming you're in the US, for when you're ready, here's the official State Department page with the info about getting a passport with your correct gender marker. Includes the form you need to fill out and the list of necessary documents:


And here's Social Security's info on the same subject:

Social Security

Those are the two biggies, particularly in terms of employment and the like. They haven't gotten as much play in the media as things like driver's licenses - I'm guessing no one who isn't trans or doesn't know trans people has any idea about the social security rules - so the rules may be less likely to get changed. And I doubt we're going to get hit with anything that prevents HRT.

As Violet Hargrave said, no need for surgery for either passports or social security. They can get pretty specific about what they want in the doctor's letter though. (I wound up having to get my doctor to draft a second letter for my passport.)

Drivers licences, birth certificates, name changes, those'll vary by state, and Violet Hargrave's link should give you a starting point for that. Birth certificates are tied to the state where you're born rather than where you live. So for example getting my driver's license and name change wasn't an issue, but I can't get my birth certificate changed without surgery. But having the other forms of ID generally gets me around any issues, particularly with employment.

All of the ID/name stuff does cost a bit of money, once you add it all up, particularly the name change (think I spent $400 on that, all told), so start saving up now if you can. And the name change can take some time, depending on the state - takes a month from beginning to end in the state I live in.

Good luck, and hang in there!

P.S. Also, when it comes time to discuss estrogen delivery methods with your endocrinologist, if you're on a tight budget, the sublingual pills are worth trying. I think are the cheapest method. I've seen them poo-pooed in a lot of places in comparison to injections and patches, people saying they're less effective. But I've been on them for almost 4 years, and they definitely work, and they've helped make transition affordable.

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Just heard about a cool project call In a Bind.

Basically, they take donations of binders that are no longer needed, and then make them available to trans masculine and genderqueer youth in need. Details at the link.

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And while I'm on the subject of transgender film composers, here's a cool pic of Wendy Carlos working on the music for Tron on her Moog.

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Ran across some discussions of Angela Morley today. Posting this stuff here because it's sometimes helpful to hear about trans people who have had successful careers, especially back in the day. Hope this isn't boring to anyone. I think it's kind of cool. Always good to have a reminder that we've always been around.

Might have posted about her here a while ago, but for those who hadn't heard of her, she was a British composer and arranger who worked radio and film and television in the 50s through the 90s. She passed away in 2009.

Earlier this year, when Anohni (of Antony and the Johnsons) was nominated for a Best Song Oscar, there was mention of one other transgender musician having previously been nominated. That was Morley, who was twice nominated, for her work as the music supervisor, arranger and conductor on The Little Prince (1974) (that's the one with Gene Wilder) and The Slipper and the Rose (1976)

She transitioned in 1970 when she was in her mid-40s. (Making her sort of a contemporary to Wendy Carlos, in that respect). Here's a brief BBC profile of her.

You may not have heard of her, but you have most likely heard her work. She worked with John Williams on the orchestration of his scores for Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, Superman, E.T., Schindler's List, and the two Home Alone films. She also scored a number of episodes of Wonder Woman, Dallas, Dynasty and Cagney & Lacey. She won a few Emmys (I think 3) for her television work, including her work on Dallas.

And prior to that, she wrote the music for the film adaptation of Watership Down, after the original composer wrote the music for the first 6 minutes of the film and then dropped out.

In addition, she worked with singers like Shirley Bassey and Dusty Springfield in the late 50s and early 60s. Here are her orchestrations on Bassey's As I Love You. The orchestrations are very lush, pretty beautiful. In later years, she did some work with Itzhak Perlman and with the Boston Pops.

And I saw this tidbit on her website:

Angela Morley wrote:
In March of 2001, I was asked to arrange a medley of the five nominated film scores for Itzhak Perlman & Yo Yo Ma to play at the Academy Awards ceremony. I’m very happy to be in that sort of company!

What really surprised me today, when I ran across some discussions of her (I'd heard of her before) was that back in the 50s, she was the composer and conductor for The Goon Show, which was a famous and long-running British radio comedy show. It featured Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan, and its absurdist humor was a direct predecessor of and influence on Monty Python a decade later. I used to listen to Goon Show episodes as a kid (my library had some on vinyl), and so I was used to hearing the occasional shout out by the Goons to Wally Stott, Morley's name back then. Just kind of floored me today when I realized that I was listening to the work of another trans person when I was listening to those shows. Kind of like growing up listening to Wendy Carlos' Moog albums without knowing about her.

And I think about the fact that she transitioned at 46, in less accepting times. And she made it, and did a lot of great things after transitioning.

Anyways, here's a piece composed by her, Reverie for Violin and Strings.

Here she is at Abbey Road Studios in 2003.

Here she is hanging with her Emmys.

And here she is just looking classy.

Sorry that went on so long. I just think that, since we're heading into difficult times, and lots of us run into struggles day to day even without that, it's good to hear about the people like us who not only pushed through, but also had an impact on things, even if in a less well-known way. So, Angela Morley. There's a name to remember.

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A potentially important lawsuit has been filed for trans people born in New Jersey.

Transgender woman sues N.J. for right to change her birth certificate.

New Jersey, like most states, requires surgery to chance the gender marker on one's birth certificate. The woman in this case is suing to get hers changed without surgery.

Key quote from the article:

Trans-Help filed a successful lawsuit against Pennsylvania, resulting in an amended birth certificate and a change in the law, Chovanes said. In August, Pennsylvania became the 12th state to no longer require proof of sex reassignment surgery to amend a birth certificate.

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And here's the trailer for the upcoming HBO doc, The Trans List, a follow-up to the previous docs The Black List, The Out List, The Latino List, and The Women's List.

Some more details here.

Interviews with Laverne Cox, Janet Mock, Caitlin Jenner, Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, Buck Angel, Bambi Salcedo, Caroline Cossey and others. Seems that all of the interviews were conducted by Janet Mock, which is a good sign.

Playing Dec. 5 on HBO. Hollywood Reporter review here.

Watching this makes me feel a little less horrible about my voice, so there's that at the very least.

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Good news from Minnesota. A judge has ruled in favor of a transgender plaintiff in a case involving MinnesotaCare, which is the state's health care program for people with low incomes.

MinnesotaCare was covering hormone therapy, but not gender surgery. (In this case, the plaintiff was trying to get a double mastectomy covered.) The judge ruled that covering one and not the other violates the state constitution, at one point writing:

The statute denies transgender persons the right to control their own bodies.

Good to see a court victory, and good to see our right to control our own bodies cited like this.

Full ruling is available here.

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Hi all.

If you have a movie theater near you that plays indie films, there is a beautiful film making the rounds right now called Moonlight. It's directed by Barry Jenkins, who directed Medicine for Melancholy some years back.

It's a coming of age story of a kid in Miami coming to terms with his identity, told in three parts, in three different times of his life. Here's the trailer, which should give you some sense of it.

The film does an excellent job of capturing a sense of becoming aware of one's identity while growing up, and then places that in specific context of South Central Miami. Great writing, cinematography, editing, music and sound design. Stunning performances, particularly by the three actors who play the lead character in each timeframe, and by Mahershala Ali. (Look him up, you'll probably recognize Ali, most recently from Luke Cage.) Also stars Janelle Monae and Naomi Harris.

I think, for me, this is probably the best film of 2016. Highly recommended.

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There were some awful things that happened yesterday.

But also some good things.

Kamala Harris won a senate seat, the first Indian-American elected to the Senate, and California's first African-American senator.

In addition to Harris, two other women of color were elected to the Senate: Tammy Duckworth in Illinois, and Catherine Cortez Masto in Nevada.

Ilhan Omar was elected to the State House in Minnesota, the first Somali-American to be elected to legislative office.

An openly bi governor was elected for the first time, Kate Brown in Oregon

Though we won't know for a certain for another week or so, it seems that Pat McCrory may have lost the governorship of North Carolina. Cooper is ahead by less than 5,000 votes, and there are apparently still provisional ballots to be tallied. But, for the moment, Cooper is in the lead, and has claimed victory.

And current reports indicate that Hillary won the popular vote. There are a lot of good people out there in this country. And a lot of good people here in this thread.

These are small lights against the dark of what happened yesterday, but they are lights nevertheless.

Going to be some rough years ahead. But I think so many of us who post in this thread have endured and made it through struggles of one kind or another already. This is another struggle. But we'll get through this.

Take care of yourselves, everyone.

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Bob_Loblaw wrote:
I'm starting to wonder if conservatives are asking the courts to take up these cases so privately knowing or hoping that the courts side with the LGBT community while publicly complaining so that they can maintain their seats. For a while that's how they approached abortion, until the last 10 years or so. I have a feeling that's happening here too.

Not all the courts side with the LGBT community. Texas Attorney AG Ken Paxton has had success so far in blocking or impeding trans rights.

Other judges have similarly sided with those who oppose trans rights.

And the Supreme Court itself has previously blocked a court order protecting Gavin Grimm in the case they're about to take up.

I think it's completely up in the air how the Supreme Court is going to rule on the Grimm case, and the outcome of the presidential election may have a big impact.

And I think conservatives will continue to try and block, prevent, or chip away at LGBT rights wherever they can, much as they've approached abortion rights. Ken Paxton is now asking the Texas State Supreme Court to limit same-sex marriage rights, for example.

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Nicos wrote:
Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
Women and gays and trans folk can internalize self-hateful bullsh!t just like everyone else. Being trans (or whatever) isn't an automatic defense against repeated tired old debunked anti-trans rhetoric.

So, the trans that were ok with the posts were just wrong because they are internalizing self-hateful bull#%&#?, good there are other people in the world to correct them.

Being trans is no guarantee that your views are not transphobic. The views, rather than the holder of the views, determine that.

And yes, sometimes trans people do internalize self-hateful stuff. That is unfortunately the way the world works.

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Tels wrote:
Having born witness to many people expressing concern that their posts have been removed for being critical of Pazio's published work, especially published work involving LGBT characters, these actions make me extremely wary.

In the years I've been on this board, I don't think I've ever seen them remove a post for being critical of their published work. I've definitely never seen a post removed just because it contains criticism of Paizo's work involving LGBT characters.

That really seems like barking up the wrong tree.

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I'd like to add my voice to the concerns some others are expressing.

I trust the mods and Paizo. And I know that at the end of the day, you all do what you need to do to keep the board civil, and I understand what a large, thankless and unending undertaking that is. And that, at the end of the day, it's your house we're in.

However, part of why I've valued Paizo and their products, and part of why I've valued this board is that they and it have provided a safe space for trans people like me. Outside of a handful of friends, this was the first place I openly expressed myself as trans, and the reception I received here was very helpful during that and other difficult periods in my life, as has been the community I've found here.

It does therefore raise some concerns for me when multiple trans people say they have found it difficult to express themselves here, and in particular when Raital Latral was banned after a few posts, if that is what happened.

I'm not necessarily asking for specific answers or more details from the mods, or from the company in general, or a reverse of the bans if you feel they were justified.

But as one of your queer customers, I am a bit concerned right now.

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@Alzrius, thank you for replying, and thank you for reading and considering what I said.

We'll have to continue to disagree on what we disagree on, but I do agree that we are coming from a similar place. Apologies if I was a little hot under the collar at times in my replies.

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Alzrius wrote:
KSF wrote:
Could you point to the expression of hate I was apparently defending?
I already indicated the post in question, where you made it clear that it was fine to speak badly of entire groups of people - groups based off of inherent characteristics, such as sexuality, no less - so long as you called it "frustration" rather than "hate."

Please read my follow-up post which clarifies what I was saying.

Alzrius wrote:
That's akin to saying that it's fine to teach religion in science classes, so long as you call it "intelligent design" rather than "creationism."

That is a bit of a stretch.

Alzrius wrote:
That's not even getting into the idea that making such statements are fine because everyone else should just assume that there's a unspoken qualifier of "not all" though it were other people's fault for not presuming your goodwill.

Again, please read my follow-up post.


Framing that as being a concession is very disingenuous.

The other poster didn't concede anything, hence why terms such as "might" were used. What went on there was someone striking a conciliatory tone so as to forestall going further down that particular rabbit hole.

You left out the phrase "fair point," also in that post. And you are offering an interpretation as fact, which is itself disingenuous.

I doubt that will help; many of Paizo's staff have indicated that they approve of the ridiculous idea that you can create a more inclusive community by excluding people, just so long as they're the "right" people.

Again, read my follow-up post. I wasn't talking about excluding people. And I don't exclude people. In fact, the person I was addressing directly in my original post eventually understood what I was getting at, and we moved on to another subject.

But, again, if you think the post should be flagged, you should flag it. The system doesn't work if you don't engage with it. It's like voting that way. (i.e. complaining about a candidate who was elected when you yourself didn't vote in the election.)

At any rate, this is derailing this thread. I would suggest that if you want to respond or continue this discussion, we take it back over to the LGBT thread, where it began.

Or you can PM me. I'd be more than happy to discuss it with you.

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Trekkie90909 wrote:

That makes perfect sense, at least to me, and that implied question is definitely a concern.

Ignoring the question of symbolism vs realism for a moment, what I'm looking for is an attempt at seeing a world through the eyes of someone who is beginning to recognize their gender dysphoria, and to try to work through how I'd come to terms with that in a given setting and then how I'd feel about transitioning into presenting myself as my real gender. This would only work in a high RP game.

Yeah, that was what I was trying to get at. It would take a lot of cooperation from the GM and the other players in the game. And some people might not be down with that. Or they might keep forgetting.

The kinds of things I'm talking about are sometimes subtle or unconscious on the part of those who do them, but people do start treating you differently in some ways.

But there's also the specifics of how people are treated when they now find themselves female in a male-dominated field, or now find themselves male in that field, or variations thereof.

But within Golarion, that might be difficult to pull off storywise, as the world has been built with a more level playing field between male and female, at least as far as player character classes are concerned. So... I don't know.

Just through this thinking out loud.

Trekkie90909 wrote:
Honestly I'm under-prepared to answer any questions relating to the degree of symbolism vs reality that would need to be present. I'm not sure any cishet could really provide an answer to that question. I'd like to get to the point where I would be at least be comfortable entering into a discussion of the topic.

Well I guess what I meant was, what's the goal of a character like the vigilante you're describing? A more symbolic exploration can be of value (for a long time, that's pretty much all trans people had to work with, in terms of positive media representations of transness), provided one understands the things it's not doing. But if it provides you with an opportunity to think through these sorts of issues, I dunno, go for it.

Trekkie90909 wrote:
I would appreciate any articles you can point out to me; any on the topics you've mentioned would be a great help. Thank you in advance.

Here's one about how people are treated differently in the workplace after transitioning, which eventually focuses on two scientists at Stanford who transitioned in opposite directions well into their careers.

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Nicos wrote:
KSF wrote:
What I would hope, however, is that such a person would understand the context of the discussion or statement, understand that if they don't do the things being criticized, they themselves are not being criticized.
That's some double standard that I personally don't like much. Perhaps is because I see myself as very neutral, but I have the same standard for everyone and the responsibility of not being offensive (in their generalization in this case) is on the speaker whoever the speaker is and to whoever the speaker is talking to.

I'm not sure it's a double-standard if I apply the same to myself when I am in the reverse position. Which, as I said, I strive to do.

I also don't assume other people are responsible for not being offensive to me when they are discussing their own hardships or the problems they face. I have a choice to make about how to react if I am offended, and I make that choice. I am simply asking others to realize there is a choice there, and to understand how helpful listening is, even in emotionally fraught situations. Sometimes, you can help others by setting yourself aside for a bit.

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Very, very sorry to revive this discussion, but as I've now been attacked elsewhere on the boards over what I said, I'm going to offer some clarification.

I did not speak directly to Sissyl, but one of my posts was prompted by something she said. Sissyl, if you're still reading this thread, I am sorry about my earlier comment about allies if that added to the hurt you were feeling. I am sorry. It sounds like the things you've done are pretty great, and though I don't think we've ever spoken directly here, you come across as a really good person.

Trekkie90909 wrote:
I don’t entirely disagree. However if anyone identifies something as a ‘trigger,’ or potentially hate-speech, or simply asks that you stop referring to a group to which they belong fallaciously, and instead confine your comments to real groups, which really embody the crimes you hate I don’t understand why you wouldn’t stop. I do.

I would stop. And I would clarify if out of frustration I'd spoken too broadly. And if they were still upset, then I'd apologize.

So let me clarify what I was trying to say to you, Trek. There are times when one gets frustrated by oppression (systemic or otherwise) and outright expressions of bigotry. And that will sometimes lead to some very blunt and potentially overreaching words being spoken about the dominant group, be they straight people, or cis people, or men, or whatever.

If someone in one of those groups is there listening, and feels they've been included in on something they didn't or don't do, then yes, you clarify to them. If need be, you apologize to them. (I will note that people here in this thread clarified to you that not all straight or cis people are bad, and that we know plenty of good non-LGBT people. If it's still not clear that I feel the same, then let me say that I feel the same. I know a lot of good straight and cis people, and have been posting under the assumption that that includes you too.)

What I would hope, however, is that such a person would understand the context of the discussion or statement, understand that if they don't do the things being criticized, they themselves are not being criticized. And I would hope they could set aside themselves for a little bit, and listen.

If they can't, then yes, they should say so. And yes, the other person should respond and reassure.

But what I would also hope is that the person in the majority group would understand that, by understanding the context of a given comment, by listening rather than interrupting, they are being helpful.

There are many forms of allyship. Some are more active, and those are great. But if you are in a majority group, another form of allyship is to simply listen to what a person in a minority group is saying. Particularly in moments of heightened emotion, anger or frustration.

I'll add that I learned the value of this when the shoe was on the other foot, when I as a white person got involved in discussions of race and racial discrimination, and would sometimes stick my foot in my mouth, or get hung up on that "not all" aspect. I try not to do that anymore. I try to listen these days.

I hope that clarifies things, to you and to whomever feels the need to comment on me elsewhere on the boards.

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Alzrius wrote:
You're correct, but oftentimes the situation is far more subtle. I've seen posters here justify making insulting comments about a particular demographic by calling it "expressing frustration" rather than "expressing hate."

Could you point to the expression of hate I was apparently defending?

Alzrius wrote:
When another member pointed out how that would sound if applied towards black people like them, they were told how it doesn't work that way due to "power dynamics."

And then the original poster who asked about how that would work in terms of being applied to black people conceded that the question of power dynamics was an "interesting and fair point. Maybe it doesn't translate well," swapping a minority and a majority group like that.

Alzrius wrote:
Not only was this not moderated, a Paizo member favorited the initial post in question.

Feel free to flag my post for moderation or report it to the mods if you need to. If they decide that I was out of line, or that they need to delete my post, or that entire thread, I won't complain.

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Kobold Cleaver wrote:
I think Obama's done a lot to elevate trans issues to the public eye, as well. In a climate where even Sanders and Clinton barely talked about transgender people, Obama released a school briefer that's led to open rebellion from conservative states. Good on him!

Clinton doesn't talk about it much, and I think no one much talks about it if they weren't impacted by it, but she, or at least the State Department under her, did do something very significant for trans people: changing its rules so that we could get a passport with our proper gender listed without surgery. That's pretty big, having a piece of government ID with your correct gender on it.

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More generally, a discussion about dealing with real world prejudice against LGBTQ people has by now turned into a discussion about how to talk properly to non-LGBTQ people. Which bums me out because so much of everything is about non-LGBTQ people.

So I think I'm going to duck back out of this thread for a while.

Have a good end of week and weekend, y'all :-)

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Trekkie90909 wrote:
Thanks for going through that so systematically and thoroughly KSF.

My tentative pre-apology was offered free of sarcasm. Just so you know.

KSF wrote:
Trekkie90909 wrote:
Groups of persons are those with faces, that you sit down with and discuss the relevant issues with.
That assumes that sitting down and discussing relevant issues is an option that we are always offered. And that doing so, when you have the opportunity to do so, will produce results.
Trekkie90909 wrote:
In reality this opportunity is not always offered to you, for many reasons. Here, it always is.

Given that this discussion arose from people talking about running into stuff and dealing with stuff in their lives and not on these boards, I'm not sure that's entirely relevant to what I'm saying, and to what some others are saying here.

Trekkie90909 wrote:
It is a personal ideal, one I wish more people shared. Can't accomplish an ideal you don't hold,

It came across in your original post as a prescription, a bit of a "You're doing it wrong" sort of statement.

Trekkie90909 wrote:
and compromise isn't a good basis for personal identity.

Compromise is sometimes necessary for survival, self care, and co-existence.

Moving on to your other points, frustration is not the same as hate. Expressing frustration is not the same as expressing hate.

And while I know it stings sometimes, when you hear someone in a minority group express frustration with a majority group that you yourself are a part of, if you do not participate in the sorts of things they are talking about, they are not talking about you. People slip between literal and figurative language all the time. Basic fact of human discourse.

You can also assume that they already know people in that group who do not participate in that behavior, and do not need those exceptions pointed out to them. The "not all" is understood.

And while I know it stings, sometimes they are talking about you. Accurately. In which case you have an opportunity for self-reflection and self-improvement.

On being miserable and alone, you seem to be offering general advice, not just to posters here, but ideals to live by. If that's the case, you are indeed making an inaccurate assumption about this. Further, you offer it in a way that seems to say that those who are miserable and alone have themselves to blame, with your If-Then statement.

And telling someone who is miserable or alone that they are to blame for it, and that things may be that way forever? Particularly when offered as an initial response? Not helpful. Quite the opposite.

More generally, I would refer you to littlediegito's post above on this overall topic. He lays it all out pretty clearly.

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If I am misreading your post, I apologize.

Trekkie90909 wrote:
Groups of persons are those with faces, that you sit down with and discuss the relevant issues with.

That assumes that sitting down and discussing relevant issues is an option that we are always offered. And that doing so, when you have the opportunity to do so, will produce results.

Trekkie90909 wrote:
You want to get through it? Ignore 'people.' Be your own person. Treat others as persons.

That seems like a bit of an idealization, and doesn't take into account large groups of people that actively try to make LGBT lives more difficult, like the GOP, say, or various conservative groups (like the Pacific Justice Institute,the National Organization for Marriage, etc.)

Trekkie90909 wrote:
If you can't treat someone as an individual, capable of having a legitimate self identity. If you treat any or all someones as a faceless mass worth nothing but your abject hatred and loathing then that is all you will ever see.

Critiques of systemic oppression are not the same as refusing to see the person in front of you as an individual. Nor is it an expression of abject hatred and loathing.

Trekkie90909 wrote:
If that is all you ever see you will be miserable and alone, alienated forever.

That assumes that those of us expressing anger or frustration are miserable and alone. Or conversely, if you want to flip it, it assumes that the people perpetrating or supporting the oppression are miserable and alone when, again, that's not necessarily the case.

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One thing I've noticed in discussions about systemic oppression between people who are experiencing the oppression and people who are not is that the people who are not sometimes shift the discussion into what they themselves do to combat that oppression.

Which in some ways is great. We need allies, and it's good to know those allies are around. But that individual solution, the ally who fights back, or doesn't participate in the oppression or what have you, that person does not themselves alleviate the existence of the larger systemic oppression.

Similar to this is the way that people who are not overt allies but also do not actively perpetrate said oppression respond to these discussions, by trying prove that they're not racist/sexist/homophobic/transphobic/etc.

Which, okay, fine. But again, the larger systemic oppression that the other people are experiencing remains in place.

For example, a man can be someone who does not catcall, does not harass women, is respectful of women, etc. And he might tell women as such. Which is great. But it doesn't make it any safer for any of the women in his life to walk alone at night.

So both of those sorts discussions ("This is what I've personally done to combat the problem." and "That ain't me.") can sometimes be frustrating to those on the receiving end of a given form of oppression.

This is something I've noticed more and more in discussions with men about sexism the longer I've been living as a woman.

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I'll also add to what Crystal said that while fat distribution can potentially impact overall appearance, especially butt and hips, don't expect it to happen overnight. Keep in mind that it's second puberty, and operating on a timescale similar to puberty the first time around.

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Rosita the Riveter wrote:
If I can ask another question, do you know anything about the experiences of transwomen who are particularly overweight? I may be nice and muscular now, but I'm well over 100 pounds above what's healthy for a male-bodied individual of my age and height, and a lot of it is belly fat. My friends think I've lost weight even though I really haven't, which tells me I've been converting some of the belly fat into muscle, but I still have a quite noticeable gut. I love cheese, beer, and fried food, and it shows big time.

There's a term that I remember coming across in the medical literature about transition, fat migration. That's a bit of a misnomer, as the fat itself doesn't move, the sites of fat accumulation move.

In my experience, the weight you were already carrying in typically male locations stays where it's at when you transition. Any new fat generated once you're on HRT will form in more typically female locations.

(Haven't lost weight since I transitioned, so I'm not sure how weight loss comes into play here, in terms of how the fat is lost in either set of areas.)

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The Doomkitten wrote:
Time for serious biz.

I second everything Hrothdane said, particularly the three questions she laid out.

Further, I'd add....


If you do want to get going on HRT now, don't worry about all the testosterone you've got going on at the moment. Spironolactone (the T-blocker commonly used in HRT) will knock that stuff right out. Like, quickly.

As Hrothdane said, the financial side is important, both in terms of supporting the medical costs of transition and in terms of supporting yourself.

I would suggest looking into how much basic HRT might cost you - estrogen, testosterone blocker (spiro), periodic checkups and blood tests to check liver and kidney function. Depending on the delivery method used for estrogen, it might not be unmanageable. At the very least it's good to know how much it'll cost you a month once you do get things up and running. That doesn't solve the problem of parental support, or your grandmother's support for college. But the more information you have when you make decisions about this, the better.

I'd also suggest, if you know where you're going to college (if things are that close) that you look and see what sort of coverage they offer for transgender medical care, and what they offer in terms of therapy.

Therapy can be very important. As Hrothdane says, the weight of being in the closet does not come without cost. I didn't start transitioning till I was 41, and didn't come out publicly for another 9 months after that. Three years later, I'm still working through a lot of damage caused by my time in the closet.

However, if you need to wait until after college, that's okay. Many people have. I see a lot of younger trans people these days expressing fears about whether it's too late to start, including some who fear that starting after 18 is too late. And that's simply not true. Some of the physical results may be different, and the effectiveness of HRT may decrease once you're older (like around my age), but it can still be effective, and your physical results depend on your genetics as much as anything else.

I'm a "late transitioner," and even though there are some physical aspects of my body I'm not happy about, and probably will never be happy about, I do pass, and there are some physical aspects that I am super happy with. HRT worked as advertised.

And the non-physical results are, I think, powerful and vital regardless of when you start, and are more important to your long-term well-being than the physical effects, in my experience.

So my immediate suggestions are:

1. Be safe. If you need to wait, wait in the knowledge that it's okay to do so.

2. Look into the costs and into the practical details of transition. Here are the WPATH Standards of Care, which are a good place to start. And here is WPATH's website.

3. If you can start seeing a therapist now who has experience with trans people and gender issues, do so. If not, try to see what you can set up while in college. Even a couple of sessions can help. Just saying words out loud to another human being can help.

4. When you're looking at colleges, look at what kind of resources they have for trans people, and not just health services but things like LGBTQ campus centers. Even if you don't transition in college, it can be good to build a support network. You don't have to wait until you're on hormones to start talking to other people about this stuff, if those people are supportive. You're unlikely to be the only trans person on campus.

And in my experience, and as you've seen on these boards, there are also a lot of super awesome cisgender women who can support you as well. My friendships with cisgender women, and the discussions we've had and time we've spent together, have ended up being one of the more vital components of my own transition. It's good to have girlfriends.

5. And if you do decide to wait a bit, don't let anger or frustration toward your body, or resentment toward it, turn into neglect of your body. Get in the habit of taking care of yourself. Once you do transition, you'll be happy that you did.

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In the good news department (smaller good news, but good news):

The Wisconsin Department of Justice has advised the state's Group Insurance Board to stop their recently announced plans to go ahead with implementing coverage for gender surgery next year. The Wisconsin DoJ's reasoning is more or less the same as that put forth in the new Texas lawsuit (in which Wisconsin is a co-plaintiff).

The Group Insurance Board and the state's Department of Employee Trust Funds replied (paraphrasing): Nah, we're going to go ahead and expand trans healthcare coverage just the same, thanks.

The insurance board did not take any action on the changes at a meeting Tuesday. ETF is proceeding with the decision made in July, spokesman Mark Lamkins said.

Which I take to mean a) they weren't making the change to coverage under duress. And b) there are some good people out there.

Take your victories where you can find them.

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Katherine Walter wrote:
Anevia Tirabade isn't transgender. Anevia disguised as a girl in order to escape the law. Late Anevia drank a potion to complete the transformation, feeling that being a woman suited him/her best. A transgender is someone who is assigned a gender at birth but feels like they are not that gender. I can't relate to Anevia. I didn't just wake up one day and say "it is kind of nice to be a women, I think I'll be one." I always knew that I was a female for as long as I can remember.

She's transgender. Recall this passage from her bio:

The Worldwound Incursion wrote:
Anvenn always felt awkward in his skin and avoided making friends as a result. In art and literature, Anvenn increasingly found himself identifying with strong female figures rather than their male counterparts—and for most of his life Anvenn would carry the conviction that he had been born into the wrong body.


The Worldwound Incursion wrote:
While the disguise was intended to throw off pursuit, Anvenn (who now went by the name Anevia) discovered that she felt right in this new persona

Also, please keep in mind that there are a lot of different trans experiences. Not everyone knew at a very young age, including some trans people who participate in this thread. Some of those people are only now in the process of figuring out that they're trans, or have only just done so.

Some people figure it out later in life. I know someone who had no inkling till he was in his mid-20s. I listened to a radio interview one day with someone who didn't figure it out till her late 40s. A lot of trans people figure it out around when puberty begins. That's when I knew.

I can look at the time before that, and I can see what was going on under the surface. But if you'd asked me when I was younger than 11 if I was female, I would have said no. After that, when I was 11 going on 12, and it hit me like a freight train, yes, I knew very deeply that I wanted to be a woman, that there were problems with my body as it was, problems with being a boy. I wished I could do something about it. I went through the longing, depression, shame, and suicidal periods that some of us are familiar with. But I wouldn't have called myself female back then.

Nowadays, I'd say, yes, I've always been female. Something just went wrong with my body. But I wasn't able to say that, or even believe it, until I started learning more about transgender people in my late teens and early 20s. That was the path I took to realizing my gender identity. I think it's the path a lot of us took, particularly back in the day when there wasn't a lot of information available and no one talked about it.

There is no single trans experience. There is a wonderful cacaphony of experiences, some paralleling each other, some not. Each of those experiences is valid.

For me, as a trans woman, Anevia rings very true. I love her and love her backstory.

I hope that someday soon, Paizo includes an NPC soon that rings true to your experiences as well.

Katherine Walter wrote:
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons had a girdle of gender swapping too. If I recall it was listed as a curse item. Wasn't anything I could relate to at all. It was especially tragic that they called it a cursed item. It made me believe that feeling that I am or wanting to be a different gender was a curse.

There was a discussion of the girdle and the problems with its cursed status here that might be worth a look. I'm pretty sure the official Paizo position these days is that it is not a cursed item.

Edit to add: I get what you're saying about the Elixir of Sex Shift. Last year, Kurt Busiek wrote an issue of his superhero comic, Astro City, that focused on a trans character. But she was a super science genius, and when she transitioned, she was able to do so without hormones, without surgery, and she makes a point of stating that in her narration of her origin story. It blunted the impact of the story for me.

I think it depends on how the elixir is used in the narrative. To some extent, it can represent a kind of HRT, to some extent, it can't. The story one is telling about one's character (or about an NPC), and the degree to which it depends on something like the years long experience of transition in the real world, will probably determine the degree to which something like the elixir, and the use of the elixir, can stand in as Golarion analogues.

I think if you poke around in the comments beneath Shardra's Meet the Iconics blog entry, you'll find that Crystal Frasier, who wrote her backstory, statted out the method Shardra herself used, and it's a lot closer of an analog to real world HRT.

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Good news from the great state of Washington:

12 States Will Support Obama’s Transgender Policies In Court, Bucking Texas And Others

Washington is leading a group of 11 other states in filing an amicus brief in the case that Texas and other states have launched against the guidance about transgender students issues by the Department of Education back in May.

The other states are: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Vermont, along with Washington, D.C.

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Two big pieces of news at University of Wisconsin-Madison, where I teach and dissertate.

Transgender UW researcher denied coverage for gender confirmation surgery, complaint says

First, a cancer researcher has filed a complaint with the EEOC, with the help of the ACLU, to get the school to pay for the surgery she had last October. She's suing for the full cost of the surgery.

Really, really hope she wins this.


However, on July 12, the Group Insurance Board approved ending its exclusion of benefits and services related to gender reassignment or sexual transformation, effective January 2017. The board's lawyers recommended the change after the federal government issued final regulations in May regarding a portion of the Affordable Care Act related to discrimination, according to a board document.

The Department of Employee Trust Funds, which controls our benefits, points to Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and regulations from the EEOC to support the new coverage.

Now if they just do right by the woman who's suing, things'll be good. Good on her for going for it.

On, Wisconsin! and all that.

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The NBA goes ahead with its plan to move the All-Star Game out of North Carolina in response to H.B.2.

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Hrothdane wrote:
Thank you so much everyone! It's gone smooth so far. I go back on November 2nd to find out if it got accepted.

It's going to be a good feeling when you start seeing your name pop up in print, on your license, on your mail, etc.

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