New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard, who is the first transgender athlete to ever compete at the Olympics, has been eliminated early in the tournament for women over 87 kilograms. On three occasions, she failed to raise the barbell over her head correctly.

In advance there was a lot of criticism about the participation of 41-year-old Hubbard. She would have an unfair sporting advantage because of her biological past as a man. In practice this turned out to be not too bad, because after ten minutes her tournament was over. She lost balance on her first attempt with a weight of 120 kilograms, after which her second attempt with 125 kilograms was declared invalid by the jury. Her third attempt went the same way as the first, according to the AP news agency.

Hubbard was tipped in advance as a favorite for a podium spot. Previously, she won silver at the World Cup in 2017 and was the best at the Oceania Championship.

 

Legendary actor Jamie Lee Curtis announced that her second child is transgender and that the Golden Globe-winning actor will be officiating her wedding herself.

In an interview with the AARP magazine, Curtis said that she and her husband Christopher Guest “watched in wonder and pride as our son became our daughter Ruby.”

Ruby is 25 and works as a computer gaming editor, and she’s engaged.

“She and her fiance will get married next year at a wedding that I will officiate,” the Fish Called Wanda and True Lies star said.

This isn’t the first time Curtis has shown her support for LGBTQ people. Last year, she announced that she would produce, direct, and star in How We Sleep at Night: The Sara Cunningham Story, a film about a real-life “devout Christian mother to come to terms with her son being gay.”

“I was moved by her journey,” Curtis said. “And I continue to be thrilled as her movement is catching on.”

“I hope to do justice to her story and the story of so many marginalized people in the LGBTQ community.”

And now she’s showing that she’s supportive of her own family. She announced her AARP cover interview on Instagram and wrote that she is “happy that my family is safe and flourishing.”

 

LONDON/NEW YORK, July 27 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Americans are deeply divided over transgender rights, data released on Tuesday showed, with experts accusing politicians of exploiting clear differences along party lines to foment a culture war over the issue in recent years.

Seven Republican U.S. states have barred trans competitors from girls’ school sports since Democrat President Joe Biden expressed support for trans rights on the campaign trail - taking a stand against the position of his predecessor.

Donald Trump banned new trans personnel from joining the U.S. military in 2017.

In a possible sign of greater awareness about transgender people, the number of respondents who said they personally knew someone trans rose to 42% from 37% in the previous 2017 poll by the Pew Research Center, a Washington D.C.-based think-tank.

But despite the intense public debate in recent years, more than half of those surveyed said gender is determined solely by sex at birth, as opposed to transition - about the same proportion as four years ago.

“The lack of significant change in attitudes towards transgender people is not surprising given the recent federal and current state policy environments,” said Kerith Conron, research head at LGBT+ think-tank the Williams Institute.

Pew’s survey showed wide divisions along party lines.

While 81% of Republicans said sex at birth determined whether someone was a man or a woman, just 34% of Democrats shared that view.

“Framing and messaging by political elites has divided people more than they were divided, say, back in 2014 or 2015,” Don Haider-Markel, a political science professor at the University of Kansas, said by phone.

“We’re in a period of backlash,” he said, warning of an apparent increase in transphobia and anti-trans violence.

“It feels like there’s this notion of the trans person as a real threat and some people are reacting to that threat with violence and that seems to be increasing.”

At least 31 trans and “gender non-conforming” people, most of them Black trans women, have been killed so far this year, according to Human Rights Campaign (HRC), an advocacy group. In 2020, it reported 44 trans killings.

GENERATIONAL DIVIDE

At the same time, more Americans than ever are identifying as trans and non-binary - neither male or female.

 In 2016, 0.6% of adults and 0.7% of 13 to 17-year-olds said they were trans, according to the Williams Institute, compared with 0.3% of over-18s in 2011.

A Gallup poll published earlier this year found 1.8% of “Generation Z”, born after 1997, identified as trans, compared with 0.3% of people born before 1946.

Tuesday’s Pew data showed similar trends.

Nearly half of under-30s knew someone non-binary who uses “gender neutral” pronouns such as “they” and “them”, up from a third in 2017 and compared with 11% of over-65s.

An increasing number of celebrities have come out as non-binary, including singers Demi Lovato and Sam Smith.

Younger people were also more likely to know a trans person and to be accepting of their identity than older people.

Sarah Cowan, a professor of sociology at New York University, said she was “not surprised” by the generational differences.

"In the first wave (of people getting to know trans people), you can imagine someone coming out to a co-worker only after working with them for six months ... Whereas now, your co-worker comes out to you on the first day because during meetings they share pronouns." (Reporting by Rachel Savage @rachelmsavage, Matthew Lavietes and Sonia Elks; Editing by Helen Popper. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit news.trust.org)

Beginning Sunday, gender-affirming health care will be covered as part of Alaska's Medicaid program, which helps cover costs for low-income individuals.

The change comes after a lawsuit settlement in late June. The suit had been filed against Alaska’s health department for not covering trans Alaskans and their transitions, according to The Anchorage Daily News. The suit said the state’s refusal to cover gender-affirming health care costs was a violation of trans Alaskans’ civil rights.

Swan Being, a trans woman in her early 70s, sued the state in 2019 after she was informed that her hormone injections were not covered under Medicaid, even though her doctors recommended her continued use of the hormones.

Robin Black and Austin Reed joined the lawsuit in 2020. Both were denied gender-affirming care as well.

Specifically, the state agreed in the settlement to take out the ban on the “treatment, therapy, surgery, or other procedures related to gender reassignment” and “transsexual surgical procedures or secondary consequences” from its Medicaid plan.

“Transition-related health care is essential health care, full stop. Our clients are delighted that the State of Alaska, at long last, recognized that fact. Our clients and other transgender Alaskans will no longer endure the physical, mental, and stigmatizing harm caused by exclusions in the state Medicaid program,” Lambda Legal attorney Carl Charles said in a press release at the time of settlement.

Swan Being, a trans woman an LGBTQ+ advocacy group, represented Being, Black, and Reed along with the Northern Justice Project.

Ten states still have laws that specifically exclude gender-affirming health care from their Medicaid programs, according to the Movement Advancement Project.

In 2018, a legislative librarian, Jennifer Fletcher, sued Alaska for excluding coverage of gender-affirming surgery for trans employees. Last year, a judge sided with Fletcher. He said, according to the Associated Press, that her health care was treated differently because of her sex.

While it may have been true during Tip O’Neil’s time that “All politics is local,” it’s been 34 years since he served as Speaker of the U.S. House and 27 years since he died.  With the dominance of talk radio and cable news networks and the central role social media plays in our lives, we can say with increasing confidence now that all politics is national.

Louisiana Republicans’ decision to die on the hill of anti-transgender legislation is proof.  The desire to ban transgender girls and women from girls’ sports competition couldn’t possibly have been driven by local politics because, as both opponents and proponents of the legislation acknowledge, there is no known case of any transgender girl or woman competing in Louisiana athletics.

But Republicans decided to host the first veto override session in the state’s history mostly to demonstrate to the Deep South’s only Democratic governor that his veto of the anti-transgender legislation wasn’t enough to protect the transgender youth the governor expressed concern about. They ended the session looking hapless, failing to override that veto — or any of the governor’s other 27.

It’s inconceivable that a transgender girl could compete if she wanted to because the Louisiana High School Athletics Association doesn’t allow students to compete on sports teams that don’t match the sex assigned to them at birth unless they underwent gender affirmation surgery before puberty and then waited two years to apply for competition. Performing such surgeries on prepubescent children is unheard of.

As Rep. Royce Duplessis (D-New Orleans) said from the floor of the House Wednesday, “If this were a real problem, we would have addressed this issue, years ago. But this is nothing but a manufactured wedge issue that is aimed only at dividing us. And that is what it has done.”

It isn’t the only manufactured issue that the state’s Republicans have been describing as an existential threat. The other issues include critical race theory — which they appear to have just heard of — the apparent faultiness of our election apparatus, and the idea that it’s a burden for people who want to carry concealed to have to get a permit.

But the transgender sports ban, even though it would have banned athletes who are already banned, was the most meanspirited.

While it may have been true during Tip O’Neil’s time that “All politics is local,” it’s been 34 years since he served as Speaker of the U.S. House and 27 years since he died.  With the dominance of talk radio and cable news networks and the central role social media plays in our lives, we can say with increasing confidence now that all politics is national.

Louisiana Republicans’ decision to die on the hill of anti-transgender legislation is proof.  The desire to ban transgender girls and women from girls’ sports competition couldn’t possibly have been driven by local politics because, as both opponents and proponents of the legislation acknowledge, there is no known case of any transgender girl or woman competing in Louisiana athletics.

But Republicans decided to host the first veto override session in the state’s history mostly to demonstrate to the Deep South’s only Democratic governor that his veto of the anti-transgender legislation wasn’t enough to protect the transgender youth the governor expressed concern about. They ended the session looking hapless, failing to override that veto — or any of the governor’s other 27.

It’s inconceivable that a transgender girl could compete if she wanted to because the Louisiana High School Athletics Association doesn’t allow students to compete on sports teams that don’t match the sex assigned to them at birth unless they underwent gender affirmation surgery before puberty and then waited two years to apply for competition. Performing such surgeries on prepubescent children is unheard of.

As Rep. Royce Duplessis (D-New Orleans) said from the floor of the House Wednesday, “If this were a real problem, we would have addressed this issue, years ago. But this is nothing but a manufactured wedge issue that is aimed only at dividing us. And that is what it has done.”

It isn’t the only manufactured issue that the state’s Republicans have been describing as an existential threat. The other issues include critical race theory — which they appear to have just heard of — the apparent faultiness of our election apparatus, and the idea that it’s a burden for people who want to carry concealed to have to get a permit.

But the transgender sports ban, even though it would have banned athletes who are already banned, was the most meanspirited.

Several Black Democrats, who depend on religious voters as much if not more than their White Republican counterparts do, were among the yes votes when the bill originally passed through the Legislature, but not one supported the veto override. Duplessis’ district includes the French Quarter, so he said he had no worries about anger from his voters, but he acknowledged that many of his Black colleagues were in a bind.  “What helped many of the Black Democrats… was the fact that this became an R versus D thing, and it was really more of an effort to override a Democratic governor.”

Duplessis said the state and local parties are “all taking their cues from whoever the leader of their party is, and if you’re on the right within the Republican Party, it’s obviously Trump. The nuances that used to exist at the local level… I don’t really see that playing out much around here.”

That’s what made the emphasis on overriding vetoes so shameful.  With all the problems Louisiana does have — poverty, pollution, skyhigh COVID-19 infection rates — Louisiana Republicans launched a losing war over problems that don’t exist.

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