Important Stuff

There are a number of things happening in the world today that are of interest to the transgender community.  Some of these are more informational.  Others are so important as to affect your rights, and your I daresay even your "personhood".  Please take a moment to become knowledgeable on these topics, as they do and will affect you ....

Transgender News

From time to time I receive news items from around the country dealing with transgender issues.  Some of it is good news, some is not.  I will post some of it here to bring visibility to some of the issues we are facing, even today, simply to be ourselves.

Transgender News


Transgendered Death


In November 2003 a 15-year old transgendered teen was found hanging in the garage of her home in the small Central Texas town of Rockdale.  For some reason, the realization that some people cannot withstand the pressures inherent in displaying your transgendered nature and pay the ultimate price hit home in a very powerful way.  This is my remembrance page for those whose lives have been lived and lost, simply for being themselves.

Nothing But Darkness......

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Murder / Violence / Hatred......

The Transgender Day of Remembrance was set aside to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. The event is held at vigils around the country each November in  honor of Rita Hester, whose murder on November 28th, 1998 kicked off the “Remembering Our Dead” web project. Rita Hester’s murder — like most anti-transgender murder cases — has yet to be solved.

Transgender Day of Remembrance


Amancio Corrales - An unsolved Hate crime.

If you've read the blogs over these past couple of months you may remember the murder of a transgendered man in Yuma, AZ in early May 2005.  His name was Amancio Corrales, and he was only 23-years old.  He self-identified mainly as gay, I'm told, although he often dressed and entertained in his female personna, Delilah.  One night, as Delilah, he disappeared from a bar in Yuma.  The next morning he was found floating in the Colorado River, and the cause of death was identified as "severe trauma".

There are any number of rumors about the case, many of which I'm told are not true.  What is true, however, is the fact that there are no suspects in custody, very few leads, and the threat that this case will remain forever unsolved is very real.  As a result, a local group has formed to ensure it gets the appropriate level of visibility and scrutiny to keep it fresh, to ensure that justice is done, and to prevent Amancio from becoming forgotten.

The key for all of us is to ensure that this murder does not get lost.  Hate could choose any of us, or our loved ones, as a random victim of a brutal hate crime at any time.  There are a couple of things that people can do to help.  One, is to contact the detective in charge of the case to let him know that we encourage continued vigilance on this case (contact info: Detective Raul Garcia, at 928-783-4427).  

The other is to send money.  The Arizona Leadership Institute has created The Amancio Project to keep someone working on this, and that needs funding.  The family needs support.   Please take some time to look at this document about the Amancio Project and, if you can, please send a donation.


The V-Day Performance of The Vagina Monologues in Los Angeles

V-Day is a global movement to stop violence against women and girls.  One of the centerpieces of this movement is the play "The Vagina Monologues" by Eve Ensler.  This play, like no other, celebrates womanhood, empowerment, and femininity.  During the annual V-Day season there are over 3,000 performances of this play, in over 1,000  locations around the world.  Oddly enough, this same play is symbolic of our struggle to become our authentic selves.

Calpernia Addams and Andrea James have arranged a special performance of the Vagina Monologues as part of the Los Angeles V-Day celebration.  This mainstream event will feature notable trans-women from around the country.  Eve Ensler, herself, is writing a new monologue specifically for this occasion.  Jane Fonda has already indicated she will be attending.

Learn more about this historic event here:  V-Day LA 2004.  We'll hope to see you there!!


The Baily Book

Author J. Michael Bailey recently published a book titled "The Man Who Would Be Queen."  The fact that he wrote a book pandering to the most basic and sensational depictions of being transgendered is not the crux of the outrage that we feel about this book.  Rather, it has been printed under the auspices of the National Academy of Science, and is therefore being accepted as scientific fact.  The fact that his theories are based on old, outdated research, that he bases his "fact" on a half dozen interviews with a transsexuals, the fact that he provides no scientific evidence to support his theories...all are overlooked because this book has somehow gained a level of credibility that it does not deserve.  Please read some of the issues involved, and some of the current efforts that are underway to right this wrong.


Transgender Rights

ENDA is the Employment Non-Descrimination Act.  It is a bill that would make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of one's sexual orientation in hiring, firing, promotions, compensations, and other employment decisions.  Today,  millions of American workers simply for being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered no matter how well they perform their job.  ENDA will extent the same rights to GLBT employees that currently protect workers based on race, religion, sex, national origin, age and disability.  Needless to say, the Trans- community wants to be included in those protections as well, by adding "gender identity or expression" to protections outlined in the bill.

There are those who do not want to extend Employment Discrimination protections to the GLBT community.  As a result, ENDA has been a battleground on Capitol Hill for several years.

The Human Rights Campaign Bills themselves as "the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that LGBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community."  Its headquarters is in Washington, DC.

Not surprisingly, ENDA has been the centerpiece of their lobbying efforts on Capital Hill for a long time.  That being said, the bill hasn't gone anywhere and there are those who have begun to question whether HRC really does anything other than raise money and throw fund-raisers.  I'm not going to argue that point here.

Of specific interest to the trans community is the fact that HRC has actively embraced the trans community, and has publicly acknowledged its dedication to support a trans- inclusive ENDA.  There are many in the GLB community, and on Capital Hill, who acknowledge that a trans inclusive bill would be much harder to pass due to the continuing ambiguity of what "gender identity and expression" means and the continuing conservative flavor of the Congress.  They argue for the politically expediency of supporting a non-inclusive ENDA that they feel (a) would be much easier to pass and (b) may be inclusive for the trans- community anyways.  

In June 2003 the Executive Director of HRC, Elizabeth Birch, reaffirmed their support of a trans-inclusive ENDA:

As of January 2004 a new Executive Director, Cheryl Jacques, is leading HRC.  Some feel that HRC has forgotten its promise to the trans community.  In fact, there are currently charges that HRC purposely misled and lied to the trans community by actively lobbying against a trans-inclusive ENDA!  Things got ugly.


Update:  August 11, 2004

At its Board Meeting this weekend, HRC voted to re-affirm its position and support ONLY trans-inclusive legislation.  It was a historic vote, not only about this specific legislation but about the cohesiveness of the GLBT community as a whole.  

After the vote, the board invited those of us who had been invited to speak to HRC leadership, and a group of our brothers and sisters who had been protesting outside, into the building to have lunch with the board.  The symbolism of it all was not lost on those who were there.

I must admit, I'm a cynic at heart and I understand there will continue to be growing pains and miscommunications as this relationship matures.  But at this point I'm still feeling the glow of the moment, and I'm hopeful that we're all headed in the right direction.  Together.



For Immediate Release                                                                                      Contact: Mara Keisling
December 1, 2004                                                                                                        202-639-6332

World AIDS Day Noted

Transgender People Remain at High Risk for HIV

Washington, DC –December 1 is World AIDS Day. The following can be attributed to NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling:

Today, the world pauses to think about HIV/AIDS, the impact it has on lives around the globe and what actions we might take to help end the continuing crisis. Unfortunately, in the U.S. and throughout the world, transgender people are among those most at risk for contracting HIV/AIDS.

Numerous studies of urban populations in the U.S. have shown astronomical HIV infection rates for transgender people. For example, according to a Washington, DC transgender needs assessment survey, 32% of transgender people surveyed had an HIV-positive diagnosis.  While transgender women are especially hard hit, even female-to-male transgender people face an infection rate (3.3%) many times the rate in the general population.

Clearly transgender people face this reality for many reasons—we are fired from jobs, denied an education, discarded by our families and refused coverage of trans-related health care by private and government health insurance and other programs. Additionally, there are countless governmental policies at all levels that can make living as one’s gender identity nearly impossible. Transgender people experiencing multiple oppressions, such as racism and classism, and young transgender people, are especially at risk.

These factors translate into higher HIV infection rates in several ways.  Denied access to trans-related healthcare, transgender people may share needles to inject hormones acquired without a doctor’s prescription.  Systemic employment discrimination and abandonment by families can push transgender people onto the street with no other option than to engage in unsafe, criminalized commerce such as sex work to pay for housing, food and healthcare. And unsafe sex pays better than safe sex. Other transgender people contract HIV by injection drug use aimed at alleviating the pain caused by the rejection, disrespect and discrimination our community faces too often.

Families must stop putting their transgender children out on to the street. Educational institutions must eliminate harassment and discrimination against transgender youth. Employers must stop discriminating against transgender people. Government agencies must eradicate barriers to transgender people being able to live their lives—they must eliminate unreasonable requirements for changing identification documents to reflect a person’s chosen name and lived gender.

Until these things happen, until transgender people are given equal opportunities to live in our society, we will continue to die from HIV/AIDS at disproportionately high rates.

Please stop to think today about what can be done in your community to reduce the risk of HIV transmission and what can be done to help support transgender people who are already living with HIV/AIDS.



Founded in 2003, the National Center for Transgender Equality is devoted to ending discrimination and violence against transgender people through education and advocacy on national issues of importance to transgender people.  By empowering transgender people and allies to educate and influence policymakers and others, NCTE facilitates a strong and clear transgender voice for equality in our nation’s capital and around the country.


Bob Lonsberry

I lived in Rochester, NY for 15+ years. In fact, we started our family there, and in many ways I still consider the area home. With a population in excess of a million people, Rochester embodies small city charm and feel. In fact, it was recently recognized as one of America's "Most Helpful and Friendly" cities by American Demographics.

Rochester has always been a center for cultural diversity and freedom. In pre-civil days Rochester was a major terminal on the pre-Civil War Underground Railroad -- a northern station for assisting runaway slaves across the border to Canada and to freedom (in fact, abolitionist Frederick Douglass is buried there). Susan B. Anthony, the leader in the fight for Women's right to vote, lived in Rochester, and her house there is a National Historic Landmark.

Today, though, Rochester is better known for its shrines to George Eastman (founder of Kodak); headquarters for corporate giants Xerox, Kodak, and Bausch & Lomb; the world's largest public collection of lilacs; and its dozens of parks and green spaces that pinwheel out from the city center. Nearby are the Finger Lakes region's world-class wineries and the spectacular waterfalls and river gorge of Letchworth State Park, the "Grand Canyon of the East."

The largest radio station in Rochester is 1180 WHAM. This 50,000 watt giant is the highest rated news/talk station in America. Bob Lonsberry hosts the highest-rated radio talk show in Rochester from atop this lofty perch.

Mr. Lonsberry's credentials (reported here directly from his web page) are impressive:

Recently, Mr. Lonsberry chose to aim his considerable clout directly at transsexuals, and at a specific one of us in particular.

The Open Door Mission is an institution in downtown Rochester. It provides free meals and shelter for the homeless, as well as serving many other important humanitarian roles for the city and the entire region. Its rise to prominence was due largely to the efforts to its Executive Director, Rev. Kenneth Fox, who was a respected and much loved civic leader. Rev. Fox retired in 2001 after successfully managing the Open Door Mission for 25 years.

In September, 2002 Rev. Fox wrote a very personal letter to a few close, trusted friends. In it he explained that he had been battling gender issues since childhood, and would be transitioning to be Kaye Fox. Mr. Lonsberry was one of these friends.

Apparently, Mr. Lonsberry felt that this needed to become public knowledge. On his program of 9/26/2002, he outed Kaye Fox on his afternoon radio show by reading portions of Kaye's letter, and responding with his own letter of reply. It became a huge event in Rochester, featured as the top news story of the day on local television news broadcasts. It has also galvanized Rochestarians who loved and supported and respected Rev. Fox, and who now needed to evaluate just what this news means to them.

I have provided a link to Mr. Lonsberry's letter, as well as to one of his other recent columns. I refrain from giving my views on what he says, as I'll let his own words speak for themselves. Please be sure to click on the "View The Comments" link at the bottom of the page to read responses of those who heard the show.

Date Title Description/Link

A Letter From a Friend

Response to private letter from a friend announcing her upcoming transition...


Share The Moment

Mr. Lonsberry shares his views on corporate diversity initiatives...