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Midwest College Conference for LGBT students and allies February 2nd, 2013
Midwest College Conference for LGBT students and allies

Next week is a conference that if you're within driving distance of Michigan, you're going to want to attend.  It is MBLGTACC, or the Midwest Bi Lesbian Gay Trans Ally College Conference.  It's the 21st annual meeting, and it is hosted at a different midwestern college or university every year. There are going to be about 1,700 college kids there and over 90 sessions you can participate in.  According to the event website, "workshop topics are about the intersections of LGBTA identities and race; religion; gender; sex; disability; history; education and schools; health; politics; allyship; homelessness; professionalism; leadership; HIV/AIDS; and more."  This year's event theme is "Mosaic: Putting the Pieces Together." You don't have to be from the midwest to attend (although it is easier, since Michigan at this time of year is covered with snow.)  Next year's conference is in Missouri - definitely plan ahead so you can be there.  Often, the college groups that organize the event also help people find a place to crash while in town, so don't let cost be an object. Why attend MBLGTACC?  "Many people in the LGBTA community do not have families that are similarly-identified, so we learn about ourselves primarily from our peers and the ...



D.C. Debuts Trans Employment Program November 13th, 2011
D.C. Debuts Trans Employment Program

Your eyes are not deceiving you - Washington D.C. did in fact debut a program geared towards building the skills of unemployed trans residents. Project Empowerment, a program run by D.C.'s  Department of Employment Services, is the District's (and possibly the entire country's) first publicly funded effort to train and find full-time employment for transgender residents. The first three weeks focus on interview technique and resume writing seminars followed by a six-month apprenticeship, in which participants are placed with an employer from a wide variety of industries. The first class class, which contains 19 trans females and 2 trans males, began on September 12th, so the participants are only a few months into the program. I think this is a fantastic program that should definitely be replicated in other cities. Too often trans folk are discriminated against in the job market and a percentage are forced into survival sex to make a living. By developing programs that provide training and support to unemployed trans people, local governments will help build their skills so they can find full-time employment in an industry that doesn't jeopardize their health.



ScandaList: Katy Perry – the Part-time “Tranny”? July 13th, 2011
ScandaList: Katy Perry – the Part-time “Tranny”?

Katy Perry is at it again, proving once and for all that she deserves a permanent spot on this website's ScandaList. "But why?" you might be asking yourself. After all, she did write that Christina Aguilera knock-off to Beautiful - er, I mean, that positive, life-affirming "gay anthem" Firework. Perry's questionable song choices aside (You're So Gay, for one), there's a very strong chance you might not be aware of the many faux pas she's made with regard to the trans community. I'm referring to her most recent June 22nd interview with Rolling Stone, where she's actually quoted saying, "You can’t be a full tranny every day of the week. That’s an exaggerated part of my personality.” The quote's referring to her "eccentric" style and stage presence (have you ever heard Gaga refer to herself by that word? No.) but don't go looking for it in the online version - the offending phrase has been scrubbed clean. If you can grab your own copy of the print version, turn to page 74 and you'll see what I'm talking about. Perry has successfully exploited and abused the LGBTQ community more times than she's kissed a girl and liked it, but I can't say that I'm surprised ...



Born This Way Blog June 27th, 2011
Born This Way Blog

I've known about the Born This Way Blog for some time, but I am happy to say that I finally have the opportunity to do a write up on this site. It first came on the scene several months back; around the same time that our little website was, well, born - for lack of a better word. Paul V., a DJ based in California, is the creator of this project and originally conceptualized these sociological accounts as a coffee book back when Prop 8 was first passed in 2008. Since the site launched in January of this year, Paul V. has received a massive amount of submissions from gay men and lesbians wanting to share their stories - and those submissions aren't just restricted to the ol' US of A.  One quick look at the tags section, you'll find stories from Ecuador, New Zealand, the Dominican Republic and the Philippines to name a few. My one small criticism of Born This Way Blog is something that Paul V. doesn't really have any control over. I wish the website had more trans stories (at the posting of this article, the site only has 10 stories tagged as trans compared to 115 lesbian). I ...



Florida High School’s Queer Prom Court May 31st, 2011
Florida High School’s Queer Prom Court

Seniors at McFatter Technical High School in Davie, Florida have chosen a bullied transgender teen, Andii Viveros, and a gay teen, Juan Macias, as their prom queen and king respectively. Although Andii states, in an article published by the Miami Herald that some students petitioned to have her removed from the running, her and Juan's victory is a shining example of how the climate is changing for the better for LGBTQ youth. One of the most touching quotes came from Andii's father, Oscar Viveros, who bought the dress and make up for his trans daughter. His advice to other parents: “Let them grow to be whatever they want to be, as long as they’re good,” Viveros said. “Let them blossom into whatever they want to be. Support them 100 percent.” Andii was also The Trevor Project's "Fan of the Week" this past week.



Review: Becoming Chaz May 31st, 2011
Review: Becoming Chaz

Last week, my boyfriend and I watched “Becoming Chaz", a film that's part of the Oprah Winfrey Network's monthly Documentary Club. This touching film follows Chaz Bono, the trans son of now-deceased Sonny Bono and gay mega-icon Cher, throughout 2010 as he navigates the complexities of a balancing his relationship with acquiring a legal gender reassignment and publicly coming out. This film originally aired on OWN (yes, that is the arrogant acronym for the Oprah Winfrey Network) on May 10th at 8pm, but because I don't have the premium channels - let alone cable - I had to wait until the show appeared online before I could watch it. Chaz is an extremely lovable guy who’s spent nearly his entire life in the spotlight, but that doesn’t mean he is/was any more comfortable with all the media attention he received following the surgery and publicly stating he is trans. However, I give him a lot of credit for making this documentary. Trans voices are often silenced in the media – especially trans male voices, which is why I think it is so wonderful that Chaz Bono went out of his comfort zone to tell his story. It’s also worth mentioning that Chaz is ...



Transforming Families May 28th, 2011
Transforming Families

Transforming Families is an organization based in  Los Angeles, California that does some amazing, amazing work. They’re all about providing a supportive environment for children, adolescents, and their families to explore issues of gender identity. These parents embrace their children's gender non-conforming and trans identities and work together to help one another. Transforming Families has something called The Family Group, which is held once a month and is comprised of several peer support groups - one for parents, one for their youth/adolescents and a play group for their children. They’ve got something for everyone. It’s all about building community and sharing resources – and trust me, they’ve compiled a ton of information about trans identities. Check out their website’s resources page to watch youtube videos, listen to audio broadcasts or read any one of the articles written on the subject. Feel free to contact a representative at: Dawn@TransformingFamily.org John@TransformingFamily.org or call at: (818) 254-9654



Trans Tax Collectors in Pakistan April 20th, 2011
Trans Tax Collectors in Pakistan

I recently came across a report CNN published online that talks about how Trans folk in Pakistan are now working for the government to help collect back-owed income tax. The country is extremely indebted, with only 1.9 million people in a country of 170 million who filed tax returns at all last year. Because apparently nothing is more frightening than a bunch of trans people knocking on your door? Read the article and watch the video here.