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It was maybe the third time I got champagne in my hair in a span of an hour. Walking through a jubilant and growing crowd outside the White House, popping corks and pot smoke flew through the air the way rubber bullets and tear gas had just five months prior in that very intersection, now officially known as Black Lives Matter Plaza. Searching for a friend, a sparkling sweet mist found me amid cheers and dancing underneath blazing yellow trees.

It was a remarkable shift from my experience of the last election call when Donald Trump won the presidency in 2016. I was alone in an apartment in central Pennsylvania, only publicly out as a transgender woman for a year and wrapping up a year of discoveries and crises. My largest freelance client had shut down and the night shift I picked up at a hotel to make up the difference was leaving me sleepless and poor. After a string of days calling my car home, the apartment itself felt like a titanic achievement. And though I largely seemed to “pass” as a cisgender woman, I was far from spared the harassment, condescension, and air of risk all women know all-too-well. …


The offensive mocking of Dr. Rachel Levine is both a rare example of public discourse wrangling with a transgender woman with power and an all-too-familiar example of the mistreatment faced by any other woman in power.

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Source: Wikimedia Commons

My first interaction with Dr. Rachel Levine — Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Health — came as the state was gripped in a far different public health crisis than the one we see today. …


With minimal institutional power or presence in American newsrooms, how can transgender people shift public discussion about us?

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PHOTO: A scan of the last edition of The Gender Review, a Canadian newsletter than ran from 1978 to 1982 (Source)

It is an assumed but rarely-noted fact that transgender people are rarely discussed as a people and more often spoken of as a thing that is happening. Not a cultural constant throughout history, but a “revolution” — as National Geographic put it just four years ago. Not a kind of person, but a tipping point — as TIME Magazine famously declared in 2014 after apparently discovering transgender people.

We are depicted across the US media as both everywhere and nowhere. We are constantly new, each one of us the first at something, each of us to be assessed for our certainty, the tone of our voice. Reporters engage us like a people slowly crawling out from the dark, squinting at the sunlight and making an offering of anxiety and pronoun stickers. …


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“I’m sure there are many people in Washington who have envisaged their capital destroyed by a nuclear missile, a fate for which it seems almost expressly designed,” wrote the British travel writer Jan Morris in 1975, wandering the city’s post-Watergate cocktail set, “but I suspect there are few politicians who see their ambitions, their successes, and their professional sorrows merely as transient contributions to decay.”

You suspect they would now, as the modern world approaches an unprecedented crisis set to worsen every gap and inequity across our economy and our politics. But in the first weekend it became apparent this was no passing phase, DC seemed to operate as frivolous and decadent as always. Brunch and drinks marched along, while beer gardens lit their string lights. …


Tips and guidelines for covering transgender people with accuracy and sensitivity.

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PHOTO: Two transgender people supporting print media.

Transgender Adults and Health Care
Transgender Youth and Health Care
Transgender People and Incarceration

Introduction

We do not need reporters to be activists; we merely need you to be right.

According to a 2016 estimate by The Williams Institute, there are 1.4 million transgender adults in the United States. According to a 2019 study from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, one in fifty American teenagers are transgender, bringing the total count of transgender people in the US to a little over 2 million. …


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PHOTO: Empty prison cells face a steel fence (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

There are few people more vulnerable in American society today than a transgender person in prison.

According to the 2015 US Transgender Survey, transgender people are ten times as likely to be sexually assaulted by another prisoner and five times as likely to be sexually assaulted by prison staff in comparison to their peers. Prison officials frequently deny transgender people medical care, detain them in solitary confinement for prolonged periods, and retaliate against them should they attempt to report such behavior. …


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PHOTO: A transgender woman in a hospital gown being treated by a doctor, a transgender man. (Credit: The Gender Spectrum Collection)

This article is one part of a series on recommendations for reporting on the lives and experiences of transgender people. For an introduction, click here.

For a guide on covering health care for transgender youth, click here.

Access to health care is one of the most consistent and widespread issues faced by transgender people today. When I worked on the Protect Trans Health campaign, we received thousands of comments from transgender people and their loved ones telling stories of humiliation, harassment, and rejection by undertrained medical providers.

Thoughtful and accurate reporting on the health care of transgender people is critical to educate your readers about this growing matter of public health. …


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For an introduction to transgender people more broadly, click here.

According to the Center for Disease Control & Prevention, one in 50 teenagers in the United States identifies as transgender. Also according to the CDC, these youth are among the most vulnerable members of the next generation: They are four times as likely as their peers to have been physically attacked at school. They face three times the risk for sexual assault, twice the risk of cyberbullying, and five times the risk of experiencing a suicide attempt.


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As part of a month-long focus on the rights of formerly incarcerated people and people with a criminal record — #SecondChanceMonth — civil rights and advocacy organizations are drawing attention to the policies and misconceptions keeping Americans with a criminal record from successfully re-entering society.

One of the major troubles facing people who are formerly incarcerated is secure and stable housing. As our friends at the Leadership Conference note, many landlords categorically deny or evict tenants with a criminal record despite federal regulations banning the practice.

In a 2015 survey of formerly incarcerated people, 79 percent of participants reported that they and their families were ineligible or denied housing because of their own or a love one’s conviction history. One in 10 people also said that family members had been evicted when loved ones returned home from being incarcerated. …


When news broke last week that a transgender woman was arrested for molesting a young girl in a bathroom, conservative sites lept on the incident as a justification for all their transphobic fears. “Transgender Wyoming Woman Convicted of Sexually Assaulting 10-Year-Old Girl In Bathroom” screamed the Fox News headline, along with similar posts on The Daily Caller, The Blaze, Prison Planet, World Net Daily, and Breitbart.

Each of these articles avoids the facts — that the perpetrator was a friend of the young girl’s family and the incident took place in the bathroom of a private home. These are important for two reasons. The first fact means the incident more closely resembles the vast majority of instances of sexual assault (which are committed by someone the victim knows personally in 93% of such incidents) moreso than the oft-used specter of a stranger approaching women in a public restroom. …

About

Gillian Branstetter

Writer | Media Strategist | Press @NWLC | Co-Founder @TransJournalist | Bylines: The Atlantic, Newsweek, Out, Openly, Rewire, The Daily Dot | She/Her

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