glbt news

Inside New York's First Transgender Modeling Agency

Peche Di, a Thai beauty queen who studied at New York University, spent five years booking occasional modeling gigs and looking for an agency to represent her. “They didn’t understand me,” she says, “so I struggled to find work.”

Finally, this past May, she decided to do something about the lack of opportunities for her and other transgender models. The 26-year-old walked into the county clerk’s office downtown and filed the paperwork for Trans Models, creating New York City’s first transgender modeling agency—and one of only three in the country, and perhaps the world.

Now, four months later, her agency has signed 19 models—10 men and nine women—and has done shoots for Budweiser and Smirnoff. Consultations are ongoing with a network executive about a possible reality-TV series.

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The Best And Worst Places In Europe To Be Trans

Transgender people might be more visible than ever, but across much of Europe having their gender identity recognized by law remains either impossible, or beset by obstacles.

The map above, produced by the human rights organisation Transgender Europe, shows which countries offer a basic right to trans people: to have their gender identity legally recognized.

The countries in blue – which include the UK – are those where the state will recognize the sex you have transitioned to. The countries in brown offer no such recognition at all. And those in red demand that in order to get such official recognition, you have to be sterilized first – and then provide evidence of the procedure. Without that, you may have (for example) been living as a woman for years, but as far as the state is concerned, you are a man.

In total, of Europe’s 51 independent states, 37 legally recognize the gender identity of trans people, but 23 of those demand proof of sterilization first. A further 12 will only recognize the sex assigned at birth, forever disregarding the gender of a trans person.

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New York approves unisex bathrooms in nod to transgender people

The New York City Council on Tuesday approved a law requiring single-stall public bathrooms to be gender neutral in a show of support for transgender people, the bill’s main sponsor said.

The council voted 47-2 for the measure, which will take effect Jan. 1.

Many New York City restaurants already mark their single-stall bathrooms without gender designations or as apt for both sexes, but the new law is meant to make the practice standard and recognize transgender people, Councilman Daniel Dromm said.“This sends a message that New York City supports the transgender community and understands the issue,” Dromm said.

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Jazz Jennings is Finding Her Voice

At 6 years old, Jazz Jennings became one of the first openly transgender children ever to appear on television. Eight years later, she boasts a children’s book, YouTube fame, and a TLC reality show — but can she balance being the most famous transgender kid in America with just being a kid?
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A shelter specifically for transgender youth to open in the District

One nearly universal truth in the adult transgender world: When someone finds their true self, that’s often when everyone else leaves.That’s how it happened for Lazema Mills, 30.

“When I finally began my full transition, my mom looked at me and said, ‘No, not this,’ ” Mills said, motioning her hand up and down, from huge eyelashes and magenta wig to cute shoes and legwarmers. “And it fell out from under me.”

It, meaning everything.

Mills, who was born in D.C. General when it was a hospital and once sang opera at Duke Ellington high school, lost her clerical job, then her home when she began publicly dressing in women’s clothing.

But what came next was just as challenging.

Which homeless shelter to go to?

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'I am Alena': life as a trans woman where survival means living as Christopher

At 8pm on Sunday, Alena Bradford will settle down like millions of other Americans in front of her TV set for the start of I Am Cait, the reality show following the gender transition of Olympic gold medalist Caitlyn Jenner. The eight-part series on the E! channel will tell a story, as Jenner puts it, “about getting to be who you really are”.

It promises to be a gripping viewing experience, given the controversial and deeply personal nature of its subject matter. But there will be few people across the country who will be watching quite as intensely as Alena.

If Jenner has become today’s figurehead for an elite gender transition, in her case from sporting male hero to female pin-up on the cover of Vanity Fair, Alena represents those who have been left behind. To her family and associates in her south Georgia town she is Christopher, an African American man with a round face, pronounced cheekbones and short black hair.

But that isn’t who she is at all.

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White House Appoints First Transgender Person As Primary LGBT Liaison

President Barack Obama has appointed Raffi Freedman-Gurspan as the White House’s primary LGBT liaison, making her the first transgender person in the role, White House officials told BuzzFeed News on Monday.

LGBT leaders applauded the announcement.

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Laverne Cox poses nude to inspire transgender women

Laverne Cox is a standout in Allure’s annual nude-photography feature, which she agreed to do to help show other black transgender women that they, too, meet all the standards for beauty.

She’s the first transgender woman to pose for the magazine since the nudes feature was launched in 2000.

Initially Cox refused to do it — twice. But she changed her mind because she thought she could inspire “the communities that I represent.

"Black women are not often told that we’re beautiful unless we align with certain standards,” she says in the magazine’s May issue, on newsstands April 28.

“Trans women certainly are not told we’re beautiful. Seeing a black transgender woman embracing and loving everything about her body might be inspiring for some folks. There’s a beauty in the things we think are imperfect. It sounds very cliché, but it’s true.”

Cox is fast becoming a trans heroine; she’s also listed as as a “transgender icon” pioneer as one of TIME’s 100 most influential people.

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The world's only trans bodybuilding competition

Four years ago, Neo Sandja decided to get drunk and throw himself in front of a speeding car.

“I went out to a bar with my friends,” he says.“When I left, I told them, ‘Goodbye, you’ll never see me again.’ But they were just as drunk as I was and didn’t take me seriously.”

He found himself stumbling along the side of the road in his Georgia college town in the middle of the night. Headlights were speeding by.

“I kept thinking, 'This is it. I’m going to do this. I just can’t be here anymore. Why did I suffer so long?”

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11 Transgender Parents Share Their Paths To Parenthood

Forget power tools and whiskey stones — all these transgender parents want for Father’s Day this year is to be with the ones they love. Some, who transitioned prior to becoming a parent, had to navigate adoption agencies, fertility clinics, and home births before welcoming their new tiny humans into the world. Others transitioned later in life, maturing into motherhood while renegotiating their relationships with older children who remember them as Dad.

BuzzFeed News spoke with 11 parents about their various roads to child-raising. They may be diverse in their gender identities, parenting styles, ages, and experiences, but just like cisgender fathers, these parents all share one important thing in common: an overflowing, unconditional love for their children and their chosen families.

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CBS soap reveals character is transgender

Transgender characters (and sometimes actors who play them) are suddenly everywhere in pop culture — they’re so mainstream they can even turn up on CBS’ long-running daytime drama with a blast of proud network publicity.

  • The 28-year-old soap revealed in Wednesday’s episode that Maya, a model now dating Rick Forrester, transitioned from male to female at a young age, after her sister confronted her with her birth certificate.

The network says B&B is the only current show on broadcast or cable TV to include a transgender character as part of the regular cast.

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Meet the White House’s first transgender staffer

The White House has appointed its first openly transgender staff member. Raffi Freedman-Gurspan has been hired as an outreach and recruitment director for presidential personnel in the White House Office of Presidential Personnel, LGBT groups and the White House said Tuesday.

Freedman-Gurspan “demonstrates the kind of leadership this administration champions,” Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to President Obama, said in an e-mailed statement confirming the appointment. "Her commitment to bettering the lives of transgender Americans – particularly transgender people of color and those in poverty – reflects the values of this administration.”

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Black Lives Matter Calls Attention To Killed Black Trans Women On National Day of Action (by Meredith Talusan)

In the wake of at least 18 trans women killed in 2015, most of whom were women of color, black trans women and gender-nonconforming leaders collaborated with Black Lives Matter and other black movements to organize a National Day of Action on Twitter and in at least 14 cities on Tuesday. BuzzFeed News estimates that around 250 people gathered at dusk in front of the Barclays Center in downtown Brooklyn for what organizers called Trans Liberation Tuesday.

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Playwright Producing Web Series About Dating Lives of Transgender Women

A new web series seeks to explore the dating lives of trans and queer women.

Her Story, a scripted series from Speed of Joy Productions and producer Katherine Fisher, tells the story of two trans women who have all but given up on love a series of chance encounters give them renewed hope. Trans activist Jen Richards stars as Violet, a women who falls for the reporter (Laura Zak) sent to interview her, while Angelica Ross stars as career-driven Paige who meets James (Christian Ochoa), the first man in years she considers opening up to.

Richars and Zak penned the series, with Sydney Freeland directing. The Vagina Monologues playwright Eve Ensler serves as executive producer on the project.

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