A Southwood High School senior is fighting back against her principal after he said her senior pictures violate the school’s dress code.

Kami Pham, a transgender student, said principal Jeff Roberts told her pictures would be pulled just two weeks before the yearbook’s publication date, because she’s wearing “feminine” attire and a wig.

“If I wore that same outfit, there would be no problem, no one would say anything. So why treaty Kami any different just because of what her birth certificate says?” Pham’s friend, Tatjana Cotton said.

Furthermore, Principal Roberts said if she wears similar garb for graduation, she will not be allowed to walk.

Cotton organized a meeting between Pham and community leaders who have experience dealing with issues like this.

Pham will meet with the school’s principal on April 3, and go to the school board’s agenda meeting the same day. She also plans to go to the school board meeting on April 24 to protest the decision.

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A transgender woman was found shot dead inside a car on a rural South Carolina road Easter morning, and authorities do not know if gender identification was the reason for the brutal killing.

The victim, identified as Wendell Price Jr., was found slumped over the steering wheel of the car in rural Chesterfield County on Sunday morning, according to the Associated Press. Price, who owned the car, had been shot multiple times in the neck and shoulder.

“Whoever it was, was angry," Sheriff Jay Brooks said of the killer, according to FOX 46. "You could tell by the number of shots."

Investigators say Price, 29, lived in a mobile home outside Pageland and was known to family and friends as "Sasha Wall," according to WSOC-TV.

Brooks told media outlets that investigators are still working the case and believe Price knew the killer.

"He was dressed (in women's clothing) and had makeup on and that kind of stuff," Brooks told WCNC. "But whether that has anything to do with this case or not, we have no idea."

Investigators have no evidence Price's killing was a hate crime and believe it was more likely domestic violence-related, WSOC reports.

The Anson County Sheriff's Office and State Law Enforcement Division are assisting in the investigation, according to WBTV.

The Human Rights Campaign, a civil rights organization that advocates for LGBTQ people, documented the deaths of at least 28 transgender people who were fatally shot or killed by other violent means in the U.S. in 2017, up from 23 in 2016.

Saturday was Transgender Day Of Visibility. It happens every year. It was trans day of visibility 365 days ago... so can you now see me?

I am trans. I am proud. I am visible. I exist. You may deny it, many do. Yet I wake up in the morning and my substantial hands make breakfast. My feet hit the pedals and I drive a car. I’m heard when I speak to people. I exist. I’m seen, in some ways. And yes, I don’t doubt that on Saturday plenty of cis people turned to their friends and proclaim “why do they need a day of visibility? We have equal marriage, what else do they want?”

I’ll tell you what. I want to be able to choose my actual gender on a form, not the next closest thing. I want trans people to have access to the support and treatment that they need, without years of waiting. I want all genders to be visible in all areas of life. 
 
It doesn’t seem much to ask, really it is just a bit of humanity. To that every human is equal in their value, not worth more or less based on their gender identity or sexuality or race or class status or age. 
 
Trans is not a “look” or a “phase”. Trans people may look like you expect them too, they may not. Trans is not something that will go away if you ignore it. Trans doesn’t always look the same - some come out as kids, others when they’re 60. Trans people might be straight, or gay, or bisexual, or asexual or pansexual. 

In the last year, since trans day of visibility 2017, have I become more visible? No, I don’t think so. I am still married as a “wife” not a spouse or partner. My passport has the wrong gender with no option to correct it. My driving licence is the same. I still have to face being told my gender isn’t real, or I have to choose one way or the other. 

I am trans. I am non binary. I am they/them. I am a partner. I am a person. I am real. Can you see me now? 

 

A study conducted at the University of Texas at Austin found that when transgender youths are allowed to use their chosen name in places such as work, school and at home, their risk of depression and suicide drops.           

One of the largest studies of transgender youths to date, findings were publishing the Journal of Adolescent Health this week in advance of Saturday’s annual Transgender Day of Visibility.

International Transgender Day of Visibility is marked every year on March 31. According to the Humans Right Campaign, it is "a time to celebrate transgender people around the globe and the courage it takes to live openly and authentically, while also raising awareness around the discrimination trans people still face."

“Many kids who are transgender have chosen a name that is different than the one that they were given at birth,” said author Stephen T. Russell, professor and chair of human development and family science. “We showed that the more contexts or settings where they were able to use their preferred name, the stronger their mental health was.”

Researchers interviewed transgender youths ages 15 to 21 and asked whether young people could use their chosen name at school, home, work and with friends. Compared with peers who could not use their chosen name in any context, young people who could use their name in all four areas experienced 71 percent fewer symptoms of severe depression, a 34 percent decrease in reported thoughts of suicide and a 65 percent decrease in suicidal attempts.

Earlier research by Russell found that transgender youths report having suicidal thoughts at nearly twice the rate of their peers, with about 1 out of 3 transgender youths reporting considering suicide.

In the new study, having even one context in which a chosen name could be used was associated with a 29 percent decrease in suicidal thoughts.

Because many names are common to one gender, allowing transgender youths to use a chosen name is one simple step that institutions such as schools, hospitals, financial institutions, workplaces and community organizations can use to help young people affirm their gender identity, Russell said.

A coalition of LGBTQ groups will ask the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington to permanently block the Trump administration’s plans to bar most transgender individuals from serving in the U.S. military.

Last week, the White House and Pentagon announced that transgender individuals who have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria would be barred from serving.

Under the revised policy, which was approved by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, some transgender people not diagnosed with gender dysphoria may serve, so long as they have been “stable for 36 consecutive months in their biological sex prior to accession” and do not require extensive medical or hormonal treatments or special accommodations. There is also an exemption for those active-duty transgender individuals who are already serving but have not yet undergone gender confirmation surgery.

Last year, Trump announced his intention to issue a sweeping ban that would prevent all transgender individuals, regardless of ability or circumstance, from serving in the Armed Forces. Several courts issued temporary injunctions — which remain in effect — that prevent the Pentagon from trying to implement its preferred policy before the lawsuits are resolved in court.

According to reporting from Slate magazine, the White House relied on a panel of so-called “experts” who were working behind the scenes to provide justification for the ban, relying on a combination of “anti-trans propaganda with baseless, discredited concerns about the alleged danger of open transgender service,” including false claims about military readiness, privacy, and cost.

Members of that secret panel included Vice President Mike Pence, Ryan T. Anderson, a known advocate for religious exemptions from nondiscrimination laws and opponent of transgender rights, and Tony Perkins, the head of the anti-LGBTQ Family Research Council.

Given the backgrounds and motivations of those who worked to craft the new policy, as well as the sweeping generalizations that the new policy continues to make about transgender individuals, several LGBTQ advocates say that the revised policy is still discriminatory and should be declared unconstitutional.

As such, Lambda Legal, OutServe-SLDN, and the State of Washington will be asking the court — on behalf of several transgender soldiers, prospective recruits, and three LGBTQ organizations: the Human Rights Campaign, Gender Justice League, and the American Military Partner Association — to issue a permanent injunction blocking the ban from taking effect.

The Palm Center, an organization that advocates for allowing LGBTQ people to serve openly in the military, which previously accused the Pentagon of distorting science “in service to the ideological goals of the Trump-Pence base,” released a statement from 26 retired General and Flag officers in the military, who called the revised policy a “troubling move backward.”

“Under the newly announced policy, most transgender individuals either cannot serve or must serve under a false presumption of unsuitability, despite having already demonstrated that they can and do serve with distinction,” the officers said in the statement. “They will now serve without the medical care every service member earns, and with the constant fear of being discharged simply for who they are.

“We should not return to the days of forcing men and women to hide in the shadows and serve their country without institutional support,” the statement continues. “This deprives the military of trained and skilled service members, which harms readiness and morale. There is simply no reason to single out brave transgender Americans who can meet military standards and deny them the ability to serve.”

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