Registration is now open! The University of Colorado at Boulder’s TRANSforming Gender Symposium, which is celebrating its eighth year! The Symposium hosts national and local transgender, genderqueer, and intersex activists and scholars to raise awareness of how we can celebrate the diversity of gender and biological sex. This year’s symposium will feature the following keynotes:
- Thea Hillman, award-winning author and activist on intersex identity
- Esmé Rodriguez, performance-artist, writer and educator
- Kortney Ryan Ziegler, academic and film director of Still Black: A Portrait of Transmen
The Symposium is free and open to the public! In addition to nationally recognized speakers, we are excited to be including workshops and panels throughout the symposium. Previous presenters and participants have included academics, health professionals, community organizers, performance and visual artists, students, faculty, staff, youth, family members, community members, and other interested folks. For more details, visit http://www.colorado.edu/glbtqrc/tgs.html. Preregister at http://www.colorado.edu/glbtqrc/symposiumregistration.html. Registration is also available on the day of the conference.
FROM PFLAG NATIONAL
On behalf of PFLAG members and supporters everywhere, PFLAG National has filed an amicus brief with the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in support of the plaintiffs in Kitchen v. Herbert and Bishop v. Smith, the cases challenging bans on marriage equality in Utah and Oklahoma respectively.
As with the amicus brief filed last year with the U. S. Supreme Court, we share family stories that demonstrate the impact that denying access to legal marriage has on committed same-sex couples: how it harms and dishonors not only the couples, but the families who love them.
These firsthand accounts–by parents, grandparents, siblings, and couples and their children–amplify a simple fact: that the commitment of these couples elevates the institution of marriage, and provides much-needed legal protection and emotional stability to their children, which only legal marriage can provide.
Click here to read the full PFLAG National amicus brief.
We don’t always know the full impact of our stories until the courts weigh in. However, in this case, we’ve heard from Laurie, one of the plaintiffs in the Utah case, who shares with us the impact the PFLAG amicus brief has had on her:
As one of the plaintiffs in the Kitchen case, I read with great interest your Amicus Curiae submitted in our case. I have to tell you the stories brought tears to my eyes. I am so touched that those families would tell their stories in order to help Kody and I (and the others) achieve our goal of marriage equality. Please pass along my heart-felt gratitude to these wonderful families. And thank you for your hard work on our behalf. Kody and I were married on December 20, 2013 and hope Utah will recognize the legality of our marriage. Thanks for all PFLAG does.
PFLAGers know that one voice can change the world, and often have the honor of witnessing that change one heart, one mind at a time. The power of those many voices woven together tell a compelling and beautiful story of love, family, affirmation, and equality for all that is not only changing lives; they are changing laws all over this country. Thank you for continuing to raise your own unique voice on behalf of LGBT people everywhere.
Crisosto Apache, of Mescalero and Chiricahua descent, is the former Director of the Two Spirit Society of Denver and currently the founder and Executive Director for the Two Spirit National Cultural Exchange, Inc. He conducts educational forums on “two-spirit” identity and Native American issues, as well as supporting and addressing disparities for “two-spirit” people on a national scale using culture and tradition.
At his Sovereign Gender and Sexuality presentation, Crisosto will address the intersection of Native American gender and sexuality and how it is viewed in a more contemporary era. Because of the political identity and “sovereign” nature many tribes hold with the United States government, it has challenged many ‘two spirit’ communities to reexamine their position and identity within their tribal communities and in urban communities. The Two Spirit National Cultural Exchange utilizes the film, “Two Spirits”, directed by Lydia Nibley, in efforts to develop programs to empower many of these communities.
Please join us to hear Crisosto Apache’s Two-Spirit Presentation on March 9th at 3 p.m. at First United Methodist Church, 1421 Spruce Street, Boulder.
Read more about Crisosto Apache here.
A confidential support group meets an hour before the program, at 2 p.m.
“Time to Thrive” was the theme for the first-ever national conference focused on LGBT youth. Organized by the Human Rights Campaign and co-presented by the National Education Association and the American Counseling Association, several hundred delegates gathered in Las Vegas over Presidents Day Weekend. National PFLAG was among many youth and family-serving organizations represented. Jean Hodges, PFLAG Boulder County member and National PFLAG Vice-President was a co-presenter for a session about “Working with Parents of Trans and Gender-Nonconforming Children” which was based on her work with TYES, the Colorado support group for families with gender non-conforming children. Celebrity speakers included Delores Huerta, Judy Shepard, Betty DeGeneres (pictured here with Jean Hodges) and Ellen Page who came out as lesbian during her speech. Outstanding youth were recognized for their courage in confronting discrimination. To watch Ellen Page’s moving speech, click here. For more information, visit http://timetothrive.org/
This is the title of an article by Jean-Marie, in response to the controversy regarding actress Gibourey Sidibe’s repeated use of the word “tranny” during a recent interview with Arsenio Hall. The article presents an important perspective that calls everyone, and specifically LGB people, to become better educated about and engaged in addressing the unique challenges of the trans community. It does so while elevating the critical family voice of PFLAG as one which understands how allies develop and the power of allies in creating real change: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeanmarie-navetta/im-not-angry-with-gaboure_b_4739624.html
by Jenny Martin
As many of you have heard, and likely seen, Katie Couric recently interviewed Laverne Cox (actress from the hit show, Orange is the New Black) and model Carmen Carrera, two of the most visible transgender women in pop culture. During the interview, Couric discussed Carrera’s pre-transition identity and asked some invasive questions about gender reassignment surgery. Carrera politely but firmly told Couric that she would prefer not to answer those questions. Subsequently, Cox eloquently explained that a preoccupation with transgender people’s genitalia distracts from understanding the real discrimination that they experience in their daily lives. (Honestly, for that portion alone, I recommend people watch the interview if they haven’t already. The ability to educate with such grace and poise is a gift.)
What concerns me most and what I want to address here is what happened after the interview. Various individuals, groups and entities were sharply critical of Couric for her invasive questions regarding gender reassignment surgery. No doubt Couric’s questions were insensitive. However, when I watched the interview, I never got the impression she asked them with malice or exploitive intent. As a seasoned journalist/anchor, she likely should have known better and certainly should have spoken to her interviewees beforehand regarding the subject of the interview. However, any failure to do so amounts at most to negligence, not prejudice.
For those so heavily criticizing Couric, there are a few things possibly overlooked. One of the first things recommended to parents, especially when they are first dealing with the realization of having a transgender child, is an informative show Couric did last summer on transgender youth, featuring various youth and their families. Additionally, the interview of Cox and Carrera seemed to be an effort to provide a spotlight on this community and a helpful forum. By all accounts, Couric is an ally of the transgender community. She is an ally who asked inappropriate questions, yes, but an ally all the same.
While we still have a long way to go, those of us in the LGB communities have made a lot of strides in fighting discrimination and gaining equality. Our transgender friends are really at the starting gate. It concerns me a great deal when we criticize someone for taking the wrong approach when that person seems to have good intentions. Progress for any community seeking equality will only be hindered if we alienate those who try to be supportive but simply fumble their efforts. Karen Adams, founder of TYES, stated it very well in the context of family, “Some people get so angry when family members don’t ‘get it’ immediately that there is little opportunity left to continue the conversation and relationships become strained. With patience and information family members can go from ignorance to being a child’s strongest supporter.” This same principle applies to all of our allies. Let’s be mindful of showing our allies the patience and understanding we seek from society.