Today, a group was calling for action over Celine Walker, a transgender woman murdered earlier this month. Dozens came together outside the Capitol Sunday in support of 36-year old Celine Walker. 

Walker was shot in a Jacksonville hotel room on February 4th. Her friends say they know it was a hate crime.The national center for transgender equality states, she is the fourth known transgender homicide victim reported in the U.S. this year.

Dr. Petra Doan, an FSU Professor, says,"Trans people are not just murdered randomly, we're murdered 99 times out of 100 because someone figured out that we were trans and was upset about it."

 When the Jacksonville Sheriffs office reported the incident, they got Walker's name and gender wrong. She was listed with her birth name and gender, a way she chose not to identify herself. A week passed before walker's friends even knew what happened.

The Tallahassee transgender community says, Walker is one of many hate crime victims. Not only is the group mourning at Sunday's vigil, they're also fighting for change. Currently, Florida's hate crime reporting act doesn't include gender identity and physical disability. Walker was not recognized as transgender in her death report and the Tallahassee transgender community wants to change that.

Lakey Love, Equality Florida Transaction Training Coordinator, says, "We want to support the disability rights act. People have put together a legislation to include gender and gender identity and physical disabilities in the state hate crimes reporting act. " National statistics document at least 28 hate crime-related deaths toward transgender people nationwide in 2017, making it the highest on record. The group attending Walker's vigil wants to protect the transgender community from future hate crimes with the new bill.

 

A Hamilton County, Ohio, judge on Friday gave custody of a transgender teen to his grandparents rather than his parents, allowing them to make medical decisions regarding his transition.

The parents didn't want the teen, a 17-year-old who identifies as male, to undergo hormone treatment and refused to call him by his chosen name, triggering suicidal feelings, according to court testimony. The parents wanted custody in order to make medical decisions for the teen and prohibit thetreatment that his medical team had recommended.
Judge Sylvia Sieve Hendon had instructed that the family's names not be released.
 
Hendon's ruling says that in addition to receiving custody, the grandparents can petition to change the child's name in probate court. The teen will now be covered by the grandparents' insurance.
 
The grandparents, rather than parents, will be the ones to help make medical decisions for the child going forward. But before any hormone treatment is allowed, the court ordered, the teen should be evaluated by a psychologist who is not affiliated with the current facility where he is receiving treatment, on "the issue of consistency in the child's gender presentation, and feelings of non-conformity."
 
A team at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, where the teen has been treated since 2016, advised the court that he should start treatment as soon as possible to decrease his suicide risk.
 
The parents' attorney had argued that the child was not "even close to being able to make such a life-altering decision at this time." A county prosecuting attorney argued that the parents wanted to stop the treatment because it violated their religious beliefs.
 
In the custody decision, Hendon said the parents will have visitation rights and are "encouraged to work toward a reintegration of the child into the extended family."
She also encouraged Ohio lawmakers to create legislation giving judges a framework in which they can evaluate a patient's right to gender therapy.
 
"What is clear from the testimony presented in this case and the increasing worldwide interest in transgender care is that there is certainly a reasonable expectation that circumstances similar to the one at bar are likely to repeat themselves," she wrote. "That type of legislation would give a voice and a pathway to youth similarly situated as (the teen) without attributing fault to the parents and involving them in protracted litigation which can and does destroy a family unit."
 

A transgender woman has become the first in the world to breastfeed her baby without giving birth or having gender reassignment surgery.

The unidentified 30-year-old “hoped to take on the role of being the primary food source for her infant,” after her pregnant partner said she didn’t want to breastfeed, according to the case study published in the journal, Transgender Health.

The couple worked with Dr. Tamar Reisman and Zil Goldstein, a nurse practitioner, at the Mount Sinai Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery in NYC.

Reisman and Goldstein developed a regimen which included 10 milligrams of domperidone three times a day. Domperidone has been illegal in the US since 2004 when the US Food and Drug Administration issued a health warning on the drug. The dosages were reportedly obtained from Canada.

In addition to the domperidone, the patient took micronized progesterone and estradiol, while also using a breast pump for five minutes on each breast three times a day.

The treatment, which allowed the patient to develop breasts that appeared fully grown, lasted for three and a half months. After the child was born, the patient could produce 227 grams of milk a day and sufficiently breastfed for six weeks.

The baby’s pediatrician said it was healthy and developing normally, according to the case study.

“This is a very big deal,” Joshua Safer, of Boston Medical Center who was not involved with the treatment, told New Scientist. “Many transgender women are looking to have as many of the experiences of non-transgender women as they can, so I can see this will be extremely popular.”

Reisman and Goldstein acknowledged that more research is needed in order to develop a program that doesn’t require the import of domperidone.

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Confirming suspicions that it was not pursuing discrimination complaints, administration accused of refusing to "recognize the basic human and civil rights of transgender students."

 

Trump's Education Department said it will not it will not investigate or act on complaints from transgender students who charge they were barred from using a bathroom that aligns with their gender identity.

The Department clarified the position to BuzzFeed News, which first reported it Monday.

"Once again, Secretary DeVos proves she is not interested in protecting transgender students and instead is choosing to advance the dangerous Trump-Pence anti-LGBTQ agenda."
—Sarah Warbelow, HRC.

Last February, the Trump administration withdrew Obama-era guidance that instructed schools to allow transgender students access to bathrooms that correspond to their gender identity, and in June the department indicated it may dismiss some cases related to trans students' bathroom access.Last February, the Trump administration withdrew Obama-era guidance that instructed schools to allow transgender students access to bathrooms that correspond to their gender identity, and in June the department indicated it may dismiss some cases related to trans students' bathroom access.

Attempting to clarify the department's position, education department spokesperson Liz Hill told BuzzFeed Thursday, "yes, that's what the law says" when asked again if the department believes that transgender students are not covered by Title IX, a federal anti-discrimination law.

Hill added Friday, "Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, not gender identity."

According to Hill, "long-standing regulations provide that separating facilities on the basis of sex is not a form of discrimination prohibited by Title IX."

That stance is in direct opposition to what two federal appeals courts found.

"While civil rights advocates have suspected that the Department of Education was not acting on complaints brought forward by transgender students, reports that these violations are completely being ignored are reprehensible," said Sarah Warbelow, legal director at advocacy group Human Rights Campaign.

"The department's failure to act conflicts with the law in multiple jurisdictions, including federal circuits, and further emboldens those who seek to discriminate against transgender students. Once again, Secretary [Betsy] DeVos proves she is not interested in protecting transgender students and instead is choosing to advance the dangerous Trump-Pence anti-LGBTQ agenda," she said.

The new report comes a week after the parents of over 700 transgender students across the country wrote (pdf) to DeVos to express their "outrage and deep concern over the repeated injustices committed by the Trump-Pence Administration's Department of Education against transgender students."

"For those transgender youth who spend entire school days without access to a restroom, often foregoing food and water in order to avoid the need for using one, equal access to education is an impossibility. We urge and implore you to see the urgency of these concerns," they concluded, "and to recognize the basic human and civil rights of transgender students."

South Dakota lawmakers will consider banning public school teaching on gender identity in elementary and middle schools, a push that critics say targets transgender students in the same way some states limit the positive portrayal of homosexuality in the classroom.

The state would be the first in the nation to block instruction on gender identity or gender expression, said Nathan Smith, public policy director at GLSEN, a national group focused on safe schools for LGBTQ students. But the organization recently counted seven states with restrictions on positively portraying homosexuality in health classes, sometimes called "no-promo-homo" laws. The states are Alabama, Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas.

"It's maybe a little different in the way that it's crafted and maybe a little different in the way, sort of the population that it targets, but the underlying concerns are the same for us as they would be in ... a traditional 'no-promo-homo' law," Smith said. "We think that it's bad broadly for LGBTQ students in South Dakota."

LGBTQ students in states with such laws are more likely to face assault and harassment at school, and get less support from teachers and administrators, according to a GLSEN research brief.

South Dakota's bill would cover public school students from kindergarten through seventh grade. Education Department spokeswoman Mary Stadick Smith said in an email that the she's not aware of gender identity being taught in schools.

Republican Sen. Phil Jensen, the sponsor, said he has constituents concerned it might become an issue in schools. Jensen said he's worried about teaching children topics that aren't age-appropriate and that students are failing to master the basics.

"I think we need to be focusing on reading, writing and arithmetic," Jensen said.

GLSEN isn't aware of any other states considering a bill like South Dakota's, Smith said. States including California, Massachusetts and Washington have moved in the opposite direction.

Washington included gender identity as an optional topic for districts to teach in recently revised health learning standards. For example, it suggests kindergarten students understand there are many ways to express gender and third graders recognize the importance of treating others with respect regarding gender identity, which is defined as someone's inner sense of their gender.

Officials had heard from teachers, parents and national health experts interested in students understanding and being aware of gender identity, said Nathan Olson, spokesman for Washington's Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.

The Washington state office doesn't track how many districts are teaching the new "self-identity" topic, which took effect for the current school year. In California, a 2011 law mandates including disabled and LGTBQ people in history and social science lessons.

Massachusetts lawmakers in 2011 barred discrimination against public school students based on gender identity. Jeff Perrotti, director of the Massachusetts Safe Schools Program for LGBTQ Students, said some schools in the state are teaching gender identity and expression in the classroom.

 
 

Massachusetts' program, which is part of the state's education department, conducts training for school personnel about how to talk about gender identity with students, faculty and community members. Perrotti said the state's health curriculum framework will likely be updated to include the concept of gender identity.

Mimi Lemay said the Massachusetts district where her 7-year-old transgender son, Jacob, goes to school is improving at including others as parents have pushed the issue. Lemay said a mother last year organized parents to get a basket of books about diversity in local elementary school classrooms, including "I Am Jazz," a picture book about a transgender child co-written by Jazz Jennings, a transgender YouTube personality who has a TLC show.

Teaching about gender identity is critical for transgender children, and it's important for their classmates, who will grow up accepting their peers, said Lemay, who speaks to schools and companies about making them safer spaces for LGBT people.

"Being transgender is innate. It is who you are, and learning about it in school will only make your child more compassionate and empathetic and tolerant," she said. "It's not going to make them transgender, and I think every parent wants a child who is capable of compassion and open-mindedness."

The South Dakota bill could face an obstacle in Gov. Dennis Daugaard. The Republican recently said that he doesn't "know that our standards of education are properly the subject of legislative enactments."

Daugaard in 2016 rejected a bill that would have required transgender students to use bathrooms corresponding with their sex at birth. Supporters scuttled a similar proposal last year after he threatened to do it again.

Terri Bruce, a transgender man who fought against the past bills, said the new proposal would have unintended consequences and send a message to transgender children that "they are somehow not human."

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