Every Chance They Get, March 2018


A transgender woman went to a prison to visit her incarcerated brother. She had visited him before without incident.  She had been on the prison’s “approved visitor list” for fourteen years.

However, the prison had new, airport-style scanning gear that outed her as transgender.

She admitted that, yes,  she was transgender and provided identification that showed that she had been assigned male at birth. The “anomaly” the new machine had detected was explained. That should have been the end of the matter.

It wasn’t.

She was taken by two guards to a men’s room and ordered to remove her pants and underwear. She refused and said that rather than comply she would not visit her brother.

Nine officers and a supervisor took this unarmed woman to her car where her mother and another brother were waiting and insisted on searching the vehicle

They said that would not let her leave until the possee they had assembled had gawked at her genitals.

The harassment and the demands that she display her genitals in front of a bunch of  guys stopped only after her other brother began to video the encounter.

Someone please try to tell me with a straight face that this was anything but a bunch of cisgender men seizing an opportunity to ridicule and hurt and humiliate a transgender woman. I want to watch your facial contortions.

If you are not outraged, I hope that neither I nor my sisters ever have the misfortune to meet you. I’m not sure I would want you around children or pets, either.

I know trans women who trust only other LGBTQ folk. I met one who trusts only other trans women.

I am not there. I have received too much kindness from my cisgender friends to give up on the minority among the cisgender population who treat us like human beings.

But I can see the road that leads there.







A Vigil and the Possibility of Justice, March 2018


The transgender community where I live will soon be holding a candlelit vigil for two transgender women who were murdered. I plan to attend. I hope it is as respectful and dignified as they deserve.

I hope I can get through it without sobbing.

It is a terrifying thing to know that people like you are frequently murdered in this country (the official numbers are an under count by a couple of orders of magnitude), and that the killers almost always get away with it.

The police simply don’t work very hard when the murder victim is a trans woman. They often think we had it coming. Even when we call the police because we have been the victim of a crime, we run a risk of being assaulted by the officers who are supposed to be there to protect us.

On a happier note, a dear friend of mine who lost her job for the crime of coming out as transgender has finally found a lawyer willing to take her case.  After she came out she experienced relentless harassment, ostracism, and even threats on the job.

They eventually fired her after they failed to drive her away.

She has been seeking an attorney for months, but discovered that straight attorneys shy away from taking on transgender women as clients, even in what seems to me, as a lay person, to be a clear-cut violation of our state’s legal protections for transgender people.

Her new attorney sees it that way as well.

But having rights doesn’t mean much if you lack the means to use them.

Her attorney is an openly gay man, who is making a conscious effort to aid the LGBTQ community.  Bless him!

She is primarily interested in hurting the company badly enough that the people running it will think twice before they put someone else through the hell she went through.

Having seem what my friend went through merely trying to find an attorney willing to take her on as a client, I think if I were younger I would seriously consider going to law school so I could represent transgender people in the legal system.

It doesn’t look as if we can trust straight people to do it.