Jared Leto lost around 40 pounds and waxed entire body to play transsexual
Actor stars opposite Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club
21 October 2013
Jared Leto was away from movies for five years to focus on his music career
before returning to the big screen as a transsexual AIDS patient in Dallas
But the role required more than learning lines and showing up on the set
‘It was intense,’ Leto tells talk show host Conan O’Brien. ‘I mean I lost
between 30 and 40 pounds, was wearing high heels every day… tons of other
things as well. I waxed my entire body. My eyebrows included. But it was
kind of nice. It was a period piece so I didn’t have to do Brazilian, you
The film, which opens on 1 November, stars Matthew McConaughey as real-life
Texas cowboy Ron Woodroof who in 1985 was diagnosed as HIV-positive and
given 30 days to live.
Bereft of government-approved effective medicines, Woodroof tracked down
alternative treatments from all over the world by means both legal and
Leto’s character is a key part of an unlikely band of renegades and
outcasts who the entrepreneurial Woodroof joined forces with to establish a
hugely successful ‘buyers&# 39; club.’
‘I was in character the entire time we were shooting so I really got to
live in the skin of this beautiful creature … and I really fell in love
with her,’ Leto says. ‘She’ s the most amazing person filled with life and
charm and grace and also addicted to drugs and dying of AIDS. It’s an
absolutely beautiful story.’
Leto has acted in films sparingly in recent years and instead focused on
his band 30 Seconds to Mars. But when he does act, he does commit fully.
For the 2007 film Chapter 27, the actor gained 67 pounds to play John
Lennon’s assassin Mark David Chapman.
Of his latest transformation for Dallas Buyers Club he says: ‘It was a very
intense role and challenging but worth it.’
[Video <http://youtu. be/Xb_4IlXQCOw> ]
Copyright © 2011-2012 Gay Star News. All Rights Reserved.
http://www.gaystarn ews.com/article/ jared-leto- lost-around- 40-pounds- and-waxed- entire-body- play-transsexual 211013
DVDs > Reviews
‘Laurence Anyways‘ , an Epic Transgender Romance, Sets the Standard
By John Oursler | 21 October 2013
Let’s get one thing out of the way immediately: Xavier Dolan is a genius.
At 22, he had already made his third feature film, Laurence Anyways, a
sprawling, gender-bending epic on par with some of film’s most visually
accomplished works; comparisons to Wong Kar-wai and Kubrick have been made.
The film won awards worldwide, including in Cannes and at the Toronto
International Film Festival.
His first two films, I Killed My Mother and Heartbeats, established and
entrenched him on the international scene, mostly on the festival circuit,
as an auteur on the rise. This year he premiered yet another acclaimed
film, Tom at the Farm, his fourth in five years. This pace is not only rare
but tends to indicate a level of artistic confidence and showmanship;
Fassbinder’s 40+ films in just over a decade established that seemingly
Clocking in at nearly three hours, Laurence Anyways is a work at once
staggering in its ingenuity and steeped in cinematic influence. Dolan’s
films are of the few that clearly address the spectrum of human sexuality
and desire, linking him to the earlier work of the young Pedro Almodovar,
another provocateur who broke boundaries with his frank and fearless
portrayals of gay life.
We meet the title character, Laurence (Melvil Poupaud), a transgender woman
then living as a male, in 1989 while she is in a happy relationship with
Fred (Suzanne Clément),her androgynously nicknamed girlfriend. Laurence is
a writer who pays the bills as a high school teacher, while Fred’s punk
aesthetic finds a happy home as some sort of personal assistant on
television/film sets. In an early scene, Laurence stands atop Fred on their
bed dumping clothes from a linen basket, and the two joyously laugh and
play like children. This sartorial symbolism is gloriously echoed in a
Fred and Laurence are artists living in Montreal during a time of excess:
Dolan’s period detail, from the synth laden art scene, expressionistically
framed compositions, and awesomely ‘80s/’90s outfitting, creates an
environment befitting change, both ideological and physical.
Right away their chemistry reads more as friends than lovers, even though
the affection between them, sexual and otherwise, is clear. During a
surprise trip to New York City, Laurence admits, somewhat inexplicably,
that she identifies as a female and that her past as a male felt like a
lie. Though surprised, Fred supports Laurence and encourages her to embody
her truest self, a gradual transition which starts with makeup and a
wardrobe change and eventuates to living as a woman. It’s a testament to
their love that this seismic shift in interpersonal dynamic doesn’t bring
about the end of their romantic relationship.
Dolan frames Laurence’s metamorphosis with a keen eye for composition and
beauty. Each shot builds upon the one before to create a somewhat hypnotic
effect, even when the drama taking place within is destabilizing.
Understandably, and predictably, Fred’s relationship with Laurence becomes
strained, somewhat due to public scrutiny, but mostly as a result of
feeling stifled by the burden of being a constant support structure,
Laurence’s only one. Upheaval becomes one of the only consistencies in
Laurence’s life: letters from angry parents force the regretful school
board to fire her; Fred’s absence makes going through the transition alone
an even more painful process; a strained relationship with her parents
leaves Laurence confused and disappointed. Still, the situation’s
occasional grimness is never manifested in the way Dolan chooses to frame
it, a choice which reveals his outlook on life: to thy own self be true.
Though each shot is memorable, the film begins to drag around the half way
mark. The 160 minute runtime portends something epic and grand, and Dolan’s
filmmaking objectives and aesthetics mostly keep Laurence Anyways
bristling. But at the end of the day the story is an intimate one, and the
narrative asides Dolan chooses to interject throughout tend to detract from
the story’s import rather than bolster it.
There are exceptions: After a violent run in at a bar, Laurence’s prospects
become brighter after a stranger comes to the rescue and takes her to a
safe haven where two fabulous sisters house queer runaways. This respite is
opportune, signaling not only that all is not lost but that there are
others out there like her. It does get better.
Laurence and Fred’s on-again/off- again relationship serves as a parallel
narrative to Laurence’s graduation to self acceptance and happiness, and
their bond remains unscathed even as it becomes clear that their
relationship hasn’t. Poupaud and Clément have great chemistry together, and
her performance, particularly, is one of the year’s best. Dolan smartly
makes the film as much about their relationship as Laurence’s transition,
focusing a good amount of time on Fred’s emotional journey. Laurence Anyway
is indomitably rapturous, a film of epic proportions and probably the best
and grandest depiction of a transgender relationship every made.
A whole disk is required for the special features, even though there’s only
two of them. The first is the better of the two, and an invaluable insight
into Dolan’s creative process. “About a million” scenes were shot but not
included in the film, and Dolan explains his editing choices with care,
noting how some scenes were mediocre, others slowed the film’s pace, etc.
He has a lot to say, and for film as grand and seminal as Laurence Anyways,
it’s welcome information to have. The second feature is a conversation
between Dolan, queer critic Peter Knegt, and a programmer at MoMA following
a theatrical run of Dolan’s first film, I Killed My Mother, earlier this
Rating: 9 (out of 10) Extras rating: 7 (out of 10)
[Video: <http://youtu. be/x0dEDnm15Qs> Laurence Anyways (2012) - Official
Trailer [HD] ]
© 1999-2013 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
http://www.popmatte rs.com/review/ 175915-laurence- anyways/
Dean Hamer and Joe Wilson
Emmy-winning directors of ‘Out in the Silence’ and the upcoming ‘Kumu Hina’
A Transgender Teacher in Hawai’i Makes a Place for Every Student (VIDEO)
Posted: 10/21/2013 7:24 pm
It seems that not a day goes by without some reminder of the world’s
cruelty to those who don’t conform to the usual stereotypes of male and
female gender roles, from family rejection to bullying and harassment in
schools, from denial of medical treatment to workplace and housing
discrimination, from social exclusion to physical violence and even murder.
(See “Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender
Discrimination Survey.” <
http://www.thetaskf orce.org/ downloads/ reports/reports/ ntds_full. pdf> )
Two years ago we were introduced to a world where the story is different, a
world in which there is a place in the middle for every child and adult:
Kumu HinaÊ»s Hawai’i. This clip is a sneak peek at that world as portrayed
in our upcoming documentary film, Kumu Hina <http://kumuhina. tumblr.com/> :
[Video: <http://youtu. be/LIGadj1xP- w> Kumu Hina - A Place in the Middle]
The main character is Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, an inspiring teacher, or
kumu, who uses her native Hawaiian culture to empower her young students at
a small public charter school called Halau Lokahi <
http://www.halaulok ahi.com/> . One of the many ancient traditions that she
is passing down is that of respect and inclusion of mahu, those who embrace
both the feminine and the masculine traits that are embodied in each one of
In Hawaiian history, mahu were valued as caretakers, healers, and teachers
of ancient tradition, passing on their sacred knowledge from one generation
to the next through hula and chant. Kumu Hina embodies and brings this
ancient tradition to life in todayÊ»s modern Honolulu.
In Kumu Hina’s school, a young student who decides to wear both male and
female leis at a school performance is not sent to the principal’ s office
or the guidance counselor as would likely occur at a school in the
continental U.S.A., nor are the other students derisive or hostile, much
less violent. Instead they are, well, a little envious of this studentÊ»s
special place in the middle!
Kumu Hina tells a rich and complex story, from Hina’s transition from boy
to girl over 20 years ago, to her search for love and a committed
relationship with a young man from Tonga, to her current life as a teacher,
cultural practitioner and community leader. We hope that the premiere of
the film in 2014 will launch a new national conversation about gender and
youth and lead to the creation of more sensitive and inclusive environments
for all people across the wide and diverse gender spectrum.
After all, if this welcoming and encompassing approach to education with
aloha works so well in Hawai’i, why not make it work on the continent and
Copyright Â© 2013 TheHuffingtonPost. com, Inc.
http://www.huffingt onpost.com/ dean-hamer- and-joe-wilson/ a-transgender- teacher-in- hawaii-makes- a-place-for- every-student_ b_4125132. html
A Case Study in Transmisogyny, Louis CK: “Louie”
By Leela Ginelle, PQ Monthly
Over the past few years, comedian Louis CK has been anointed a show
Like Jon Stewart he’s a bonafide NPR liberal who’s able to speak fluently
about white male privilege, and who takes every chance he can to express
his belief in gay equality.
Like Stewart, as well, he trades in the cheapest, most dehumanizing tropes
(For a catalog of Stewart’s forays <
http://yourmomentof hate.tumblr. com/tagged/ The-daily- show> into this type
of bigotry, click here <
http://yourmomentof hate.tumblr. com/tagged/ The-daily- show> .)
Louie ends the “Double Date/Mom” episode of his critic-worshipped HBO show
“Louie” with a standup bit about his worry for his sanity following a visit
with his friend.
The friend in question has become unhinged after hiring a prostitute who
“turned out to be a man.”
Ha ha, stop, really. My sides are splitting.
It’s another one of those “false woman prostitutes” I’m always hearing
I’ve never seen one myself, perhaps because I’m not a male sitcom
character, or a male standup comedian.
Those guys can’t seem to avoid them.
There they are, attempting to solicit a cisgender woman prostitute, and
what happens? Well, she undresses and has a penis! Under her dress!
Oh my gosh – genitals. A human being with genitals under her clothes!
No wonder the men are so traumatized. They’ve solicited a woman with
genitals! That makes them . . . heterosexual! We all know how afraid
cisgender men are of being seen as heterosexual.
Louie’s friend is really shaken and believes he needs therapy.
No doubt. But what about the prostitute? She must have been affected by the
friend’s transmisogynist response, right? His shaming of her body? His
abrupt rejection of her?
Sensitive, enlightened, heroic-divorced- father Louie would certainly take
pains to explore her story, right?
Ha ha, just kidding.
Transwomen aren’t people; they’re punch lines.
Ten seconds an episode we’re brought up – unseen, of course – laughed at,
and then discarded.
That’s ok, though, because we don’t exist, and certainly couldn’t be
Transgirls and teens couldn’t be imbibing these messages. Transwomen aren’t
actually trying to date in our culture and encountering this prejudice
everywhere, so “jokes” like this are fine.
Transgirls being demonized by right wing Christian conservatives when they
try to access the bathrooms in their schools – the conservatives Louis and
Jon Stewart are so much smarter than; the conservatives who are similarly
fixated on transwomen’s penises – these girls certainly aren’t harmed by
this type of “humor,” are they?
Of course not . . . so let’s just focus on the “laughs.”
Louie brings the story back to himself, observing that he, too, had
solicited one of those “undercover male” prostitutes.
How does this keep happening? I mean, clearly no cisgender men want to
sleep with transwomen, or they wouldn’t be traumatized by mistakenly
soliciting us, right?
What I don’t understand, though, is why there’s an insatiable demand for
transwomen in the sex industry.
If no cisgender men want to sleep with us or look at our penises, why are
they all paying to sleep with us and look at our penises? Weird . . .
Louie’s punchline is that, yes, he solicited a prostitute, and yes, the
prostitute was “actually a man,” but somehow he forgot the whole thing.
Wow! He must be really messed up, huh? I mean, if seeing a transwoman’s
penis is, in itself traumatic, if our very existences are tantamount to
sexual assault, then how could he have forgotten such an encounter?
Good one, Louie!
We can always count on you to put a clever, self-deprecating twist on
And, if I can speak for the transwoman community for a moment, we really
enjoyed spending twenty two minutes watching you explore your relationship
with your mother during this episode, before being reduced to a vile,
hateful stereotype in the last twenty seconds.
That’s a fair exchange, right?
Twenty two minutes of cisgender life, and twenty seconds of transwoman
Well, it might not be fair, but it’s the industry standard.
To be honest, though, I’m somehow less interested in hearing about your
mom, or your modern, cismale angst than I was before.
I had a reason, too, but somehow, I forgot.
Leela Ginelle is a journalist and playwright living in Portland, OR. You
can write her at leela@pqmonthly. com.
Editor’s note: You can read Leela’s latest (and excellent) column, ID
Check, right here <
http://www.pqmonthl y.com/id- check-murder- transgender- women-must- stop/17019>.
http://www.pqmonthl y.com/case- study-transmisog yny-louis- ck-louie/ 17094
Op-Ed: Why is Gay Inc. Ignoring Chelsea Manning & CeCe McDonald?
TRT Editor | Oct 22, 2013
By: Keegan O’Brien
CeCe McDonald and Pvt. Chelsea Manning (formerly known as Pvt. Bradley
Manning before recently coming out as transgender) are queer freedom
fighters and political prisoners. The movements to free and defend them are
two of the most significant queer struggles of our time, but have remained
largely sidelined from the mainstream LGBTQ movement. CeCe McDonald is a
black transgender woman from Minneapolis who faces life in prison for
defending herself against a racist transphobic hate crime. Activists built
an international solidarity campaign to free her, and although they did not
win her release from prison, they managed to get her sentence reduced to
two years. Pvt. Chelsea Manning is a name most Americans are probably more
familiar with, as her case has become international news in recent years.
Pvt. Manning leaked thousands of “classified” military documents to
Wikileaks, and as a result helped expose hundreds of war crimes and
violations of international law the U.S. had committed.
While grassroots movements have emerged in recent years to free these brave
women, shamefully, both have been largely ignored by mainstream LGBTQ
organizations, often times referred to as Gay Inc. But why do they ignore
these causes and what should we do about it? To answer that, we need to
address why these cases should even concern the LGBTQ community, let’s
start with CeCe McDonald. On the most basic level, this is a case regarding
the rights of oppressed people, including queer folks, to defend
themselves, by any means necessary, against hateful and bigoted violence.
No one should be punished for defending themselves against a hate crime–it
is that plain and simple. But it’s more than just that. CeCe McDonald’s
case is just one example of an all too frequent reality of discrimination
and violence experienced by trans women, disproportionally trans women of
color. According to a 2010 National Center for Transgender Equality Study,
trans women make up 40 percent of hate crimes victims every year. For many
trans women, simply walking out the door and stepping into the public world
puts them at a tremendous risk of violence, harassment, and sexual assault.
But the problems don’t stop there. CeCe McDonald’s case illustrates how
racism and transphobia permeate every level of America’s criminal injustice
system. While George Zimmerman was set free and eventually found “not
guilty” for racially profiling, stalking, and then murdering Trayvon
Martin, an unarmed black teenager, CeCe McDonald was immediately arrested
and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law for defending herself
against a racially motivated transphobic hate crime. George Zimmerman was
considered within his right to stand his ground and kill an unarmed black
teenager, but CeCe McDonald who defended herself against a hate crime was
not. The message is clear: in the eyes of the criminal injustice system
people of color, queer folks, and trans people have no right to defend
themselves against racist, homophobic, or transphobic violence because our
lives are of little value. There is no excuse for the neglect by Gay Inc.
that has been shown toward CeCe’s case, and the important issues of racism,
transphobia, and discrimination inside the criminal justice system that it
involves. These issues, and therefore CeCe’s case, should be considered
central to any LGBTQ organization, which seeks to address the multiplicity
of problems that effect a broad and diverse LGBTQ community.
At first glance, Pvt. Chelsea Manning’s case seems less directly connected
to LGBTQ politics. But, that is only possible if we operate on a narrow
framework of what defines queer struggles. Pvt. Manning’s case is about
protecting the right of ordinary people to speak out against institutions
of political power without fear of repression and retaliation. Transparency
and accountability in government are necessary for the healthy functioning
of any democratic society. We should be holding accountable politicians and
military figures who were responsible for these injustices in the first
place, not punishing those who exposed them. If those in power can silence
Pvt. Manning, then that only gives them more power to marginalize us when
we speak out for sexual and gender justice. Defending civil liberties and
the right to dissent need to be cornerstones for every progressive
movement, including those for sexual and gender minorities.
Pvt. Manning’s decision to leak these documents was rooted in a profound
empathy she held for people both inside and out of American borders. This
kind of international solidarity represent a politics that the LGBTQ
movement should strive toward as well. We are not free in the U.S. until
LGBTQ people are free and equal everywhere, that includes freedom for
queers in the Middle East from the violence and destruction of American war
and occupation, something Pvt. Manning was aware of. Gay Inc.’s failure to
recognize this, and their continued support for U.S. militarism at home and
abroad, hampers our ability to build truly international solidarity between
movements for sexual and gender justice.
Pvt. Manning’s treatment as a prisoner at the hands of the military justice
system and the corporate media, first as a gay man, and then as a trans
woman, have been deplorable and obscene. Pvt. Manning has been subjected to
physical and physiological torture, solitary confinement, ongoing
homophobic and transphobic violence and harassment while being locked
inside military prison. Since coming out as trans, Pvt. Manning has
continually been ridiculed and denigrated by the corporate media. The
unwillingness of media outlets like Fox News and CNN to respect Pvt.
Manning’s chosen gender identity and use proper pronouns contributes to
fostering an overall transphobic culture where the very existence and
legitimacy of trans people’s identities are not taken seriously or
respected. In a society already plagued with high levels of anti-trans hate
crimes and trans suicides, this only makes matters much worse. While the
Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and the Gay and Lesbian Advocates Against
Defamation (GLAAD) have released public statements condemning the media’s
miss-gendering of Pvt. Manning and the overall transphobic response, this
is not nearly enough in comparison to the resources they have and what is
actually needed to win Chelsea’s freedom. We should be demanding and
expecting much more from organizations that fundraise millions of dollars
from the LGBTQ community and claim to represent us.
Why do mainstream LGBTQ organizations continue to remain silent in the face
of these injustices? Answering this question requires taking a critical
look at Gay Inc’s politics. Mainstream LGBT organization’ s, like the Human
Rights Campaign, have pursued a narrow marriage centered agenda that views
social progress and change coming from politicians, judges, and lobbyists
inside the halls of power for over two decades. As a result, they long ago
abandoned any commitment to building grassroots protest movements that
could challenge the political power structure and pressure them from below.
Protests, civil disobedience, and speak outs have been replaced by
expensive black-tie fundraisers, professional lobbyists, and corporate
sponsors. Instead of holding politicians accountable to our goals as a
movement and demanding more of them, particularly the Democratic Party, Gay
Inc. has continued to employ a “don’t rock the boat” strategy whose goal is
to assimilate into the neo-liberal status quo, not dismantle and transform
it. Unsurprisingly, this has meant that most mainstream LGBTQ
organizations have completely abandoned any real efforts at addressing the
range of political issues that effect LGBTQ people, such as racism, labor
rights, economic justice, the criminal justice system, transphobia, queer
youth issues, and more. While marriage equality is an important civil
rights issue and deserves to be defended and fought for, social justice and
equality for LGBTQ people also includes many other struggles, something Gay
Inc. seems to have forgotten a long time ago.
Like the fight for same-sex marriage equality, CeCe McDonald and Chelsea
Manning deserve to be important causes championed by the LGBTQ movement. It
is shameful that they are not. Pvt. Manning and CeCe McDonald are examples
of ordinary people’s capacity to challenge oppression and to stand up for
justice in the face of extraordinary odds, and in the process inspire the
world. From the Gay Liberation Front to the AIDS activism of ACT UP, these
brave trans women’s willingness to challenge the power structure and remain
firm in their convictions for justice, stands in the best traditions of our
Gay Inc’s decision to stand on the sidelines of these important campaigns
only contributes to further marginalizing them. At best, Gay Inc’s silence
lends legitimacy to the idea that their struggles are unimportant, and at
worst it reinforces the argument that these women, not the system, have
done something wrong. This is unacceptable. Gay Inc. holds onto millions of
our community’s dollars and has access to a mainstream audience radicals
dream of; it is our responsibility to pressure them in whatever ways we can
to focus on these issues and continue to build these women’s campaigns.
CeCe and Pvt. Manning are queer freedom fighters who deserve the support of
their own community. Their neglect at the hands of Gay Inc. is a betrayal
to the values and principles that we as a movement should stand for. We owe
it to everything Pvt. Chelsea Manning and CeCe McDonald have sacrificed, to
LGBTQ people everywhere who continue to face oppression, discrimination,
and violence, to our right to dissent and fight back against institutions
of power and systems of injustice without fear of retaliation, and the
future of our movement and the principles it will stand for, to stand by
their side and demand their immediate release.
*Keegan O’Brien is a long time LGBTQ youth activist in Boston, anti-war
organizer, a student at UMass Boston, a former board member of BAGLY, and
member of the International Socialist Organization in Boston. He also has
written extensively on LGBTQ social justice websites.
© Copyright The Rainbow Times | Boston LGBT Newspaper Serving New England |
Gay News 2013 • All rights reserved.
http://www.therainb owtimesmass. com/2013/ 10/22/op- ed-why-is- gay-inc-ignoring -chelsea- manning-cece- mcdonald/
October 20, 2013
Family of Colorado trans kid targeted by harassment hoax speaks up
by Cristan Williams
I’d like to introduce you to a 16 year old high school student who I’m
going to refer to as “Jane Doe.” I’m calling her “Jane” because, after an
ex-gay organization orchestrated an international smear campaign against
her, numerous individuals have stated that she should be beaten and killed <
http://www.cristanw illiams.com/ b/2013/10/ 16/fox-news- readers-agree- based-on- lie-trans- kid-should- die/>
Jane recently moved to a small Colorado town with her two moms. Jane
transitioned from male to female two years ago with the blessing of her
therapist. In October 2011, Jane came out to her parents. “I think it was
difficult for her. She had known for a long time, but she didn’t know how
to come out with it,” said her mother. “When she came out, it was hard. You
go for all these years calling her your son and then it changes; you have
to get to know the new person she is.”
[Photo: <http://bit.ly/ 1a2VBjl> Jane Doe, July 13, 2012]
After Jane came out to her parents, she then began the process of
transition. “It’s not like one day you’re a boy and then the next you’re a
girl, my daughter went through a process to become who she is. Over that
summer, she fully transitioned and returned to school as my daughter
instead of having to hide who she is.”
When she went to her old school as herself, Jane flourished. When asked if
she had experienced any bullying at the time she said, “Just some name
calling.” Jane’s mother elaborated, “Before she transitioned, we would go
to shopping and when she would try to use the male restroom, they would
make rude comments.” I asked her if she meant that men in the restrooms
would verbally abuse her daughter before she ever transitioned because she
was perceived to be female even when trying to present as male. “She was
scared to use the restroom. They made rude comments, language that she
didn’t need to hear just because she was trying to go to the bathroom that
she thought she had to be in.”
“Since she changed, she’s comfortable with life. She’s really feminine, but
doesn’t do tons of makeup each day. She’s just a normal girl. If people see
her on the streets, people don’t… didn’t know, you know? Before all of this
stuff happened, none of this bothered anyone.”
[Photo: <http://bit.ly/ 16020MH> Jane Doe]
When Jane’s mother refers to the “stuff that happened,” what she means is
that one of the nation’s most influential ex-gay organizations suggested to
the international press that her daughter was predator. The Pacific
Justice Institute (PJI), an ex-gay organization, needed someone to be their
cautionary tale if they hoped to fight an effective battle to end
protections for trans children in California and apparently decided that
Jane fit the bill.
In fact, PJI tipped their hand to their true purpose in the last paragraph
of their initial press release targeting Jane:
[Image: <http://bit.ly/ 16dr58Y> Press Release]
I thought I understood the sequence of events that lead to PJI issuing
their initial press release. From what I understood, an adult filed a
complaint with the school about Jane. The school investigated the
allegations and found no evidence to support the claim that Jane was
harassing people in the restrooms. I thought that when the adult learned
that there was no evidence to support their claim, they then went to the
PJI and the media but I was wrong.
I asked Jane’s mother how she learned about the allegations concerning her
daughter. What you are about to learn gives a context to the campaign
against Jane that has, until now, been totally missing. As you read the
following account, I want you to put yourself in this family’s place.
Imagine how this would have affected you and your family:
«“My wife and I were visiting my sister who was in the hospital while my
daughter was in school. The principal called to inform me that a newscaster
was at the school and wanted to interview me about my daughter’s ‘bathroom
rights’ – this was the first I’d heard about any of this. From what I
understand, the school didn’t even know. From what I was told, some adults
tried to hold a rally protesting my daughter in a town close to ours, but
only a couple of people showed up, so the news crew went to the school and
the school called me to say that the news crew was showing up to talk about
I didn’t want our daughter to be left there alone, so we headed to the
school. I wasn’t sure what was going on, but I knew they were coming for my
daughter. I had no idea who started this, but we had we had to be there.
I know my daughter. She’s a shy and timid person. It was upsetting. As a
matter of fact, before we moved to this town, she was afraid that she would
be bullied at school. She had a fear that if she went to this new school,
something would happen and she wouldn’t be safe.
I reassured her. I told her that everything was going to be fine and to not
worry… We’re going through a lot.”»
A media ambush is how the school, Jane and Jane’s family learned about the
“harassment” charges. Let’s be clear about what this was: it’s a classic
media gotcha moment. Prior to this hostile media encounter, apparently no
allegations had been made about Jane.
Days later, the Pacific Justice Institute issued a press release claiming
that they represented the individuals who made the harassment complaint.
The PJI statement asserted:
«“This is a nightmare scenario for the teenage girls—some of them
freshmen—and their parents at this school,” noted PJI staff attorney
Matthew McReynolds, who sent the letter to Principal Brian Schipper and
Superintendent Rhonda Vendetti. “This is exactly the kind of horror story
we have been warning would accompany the push for radical transgender
rights in schools, and it is the type of situation that LGBT activist have
been insisting would not happen.”»
PJI warned the school that they should not act to control the “free speech
rights” of those who claimed that Jane was a predator:
«“We’re not going to stand by and let 99.7% of our students lose their
privacy and free speech rights just because .3% of the population are
gender-confused,” stated Brad Dacus, the president of Pacific Justice
Institute. “LGBT activists are sacrificing the safety and sanity of our
schools to push an extreme political agenda. This battle is no longer
confined to California or Colorado; it is spreading to every part of the
nation. It is crucial that we act now to prevent a crippling blow to our
The PJI press release extolled their leadership role in the fight against
equality for California trans school children as well as their leading role
in the campaign targeting Jane. Jane was the one who was the first in her
family to read PJI’s venomous words. Sadly, Jane learned firsthand the
violent intent PJI’s campaign had incited:
«My daughter was the one who learned about the Pacific Justice Institute.
She saw it online. She was upset. It made her panic. She saw where their
story had become international news and she saw what people were saying. It
gave her anxiety attacks. She was upset about the whole thing. She kept
asking me how people could do that to her. She saw all this negative stuff
about her and she can’t understand how they could say those things when
they don’t even know who she is as a person. They don’t know what this does
to a kid.»
The level of hate levied at Jane and her family is taking its toll. But,
don’t take my word for it; listen to what Jane’s mom has to say about it:
[Audio: <https://soundcloud. com/cristan- williams/ jane-does- mother/s- 9NSAa> Jane
For the record, the entire family is quite clear. Jane isn’t harming,
attacking or harassing anyone.
«“Jane is private about everything. She’s timid and shy and tends to be
afraid to talk to people. That they’re saying that she’s going around
harassing people… it’s just not true. The people who are doing these
stories need to realize that the kid behind these stories has feelings and
When the story about Jane broke, I couldn’t help but notice that
conspicuously absent from the reports were any quotes by the school
district, the high school, Jane or Jane’s parents. The reports only
repeated PJI’s assertions. It seemed that no news outlet had bothered to
fact check the claims made against this trans kid. So, I called the
school’s Superintendent Rhonda Vendetti. I learned that the school did
conduct an investigation and they discovered that the claims of harassment
[Audio: <https://soundcloud. com/cristan- williams/ fact-checking- trans-student>
Fact Checking: Trans Student Attacking Girls in Florence High School in
«“We do have a transgender student at the high school, and she has been
using the women’s restrooms. There has not been a situation. All the
students of these parents who say they feel uncomfortable just about the
fact that the student is allowed to go into the restrooms at the high
school, into the stalls – they don’t believe that that’s appropriate, so
that’s where it stems from. There has not been an incident of harassment,
or anything that would cause any additional concern.”»
Shortly after Vendetti’s statements came to light, several media sources
took down <
http://www.transadv ocate.com/ uks-daily- mail-removes- false-trans- school-harassmen t-story.htm>
their stories and/or recanted and apologized <
http://www.transadv ocate.com/ daily-news- pulls-story- examiner- prints-retractio n-fox-news- keeps-the- lie-going. htm>
to Jane. After the results of the investigation proved PJI’s claims to be
false, PJI changed their story. Instead of claiming that Jane was doing
something to harass people, they asserted that Jane’s existence constituted
harassment. The statement asserted that the mere presence of a transgender
person is both “harassing” and “intimidating” to non-transgender
In light of this, Jane’s mother wished to make a statement directly to the
«“What you’re doing isn’t right. You say that you’re a God-loving people
but you’ve targeted my daughter – a kid – like this. You shouldn’t do this
to any kid. You should be ashamed. You’re wrong for what you’ve done to my
She went on to say that when all of this is over, she just hopes that her
daughter might be able to reclaim some of the life PJI and their supporters
took from her daughter. “I hope that she’ll be able to go back to having a
normal life, being a normal kid, to be the person she’s trying to be. I
just want her to feel like she’s not different than everyone else and that
she’s a beautiful person inside and out. She deserves to be happy and lead
a normal life. She doesn’t deserve to be treated this way.”
Pacific Justice Institute & Trans Children
Having lost the Prop 8 battle, equality foes have found a new, easier
target: transgender children.
The law protecting transgender children, which California Gov. Jerry Brown
signed in August, says schools must treat transgender students as equal to
cisgender students. A coalition of anti-LGBT groups calling itself
“Privacy for All Students” has circulated 200,000 anti-trans petitions
throughout California. Their goal is to collect 505,000 valid signatures by
November 12, 2013. If they collect those signatures, it will stop the trans
equality law from taking effect in January and put the civil rights of
trans kids up for popular vote in November 2014.
The old Prop 8 cast of characters has organized as the coalition for the
“Privacy for All Students.” Care to take a guess who’s one of the largest
supporters of the coalition? Yup, you guessed it! It’s the Pacific Justice
The obdurate behavior displayed by PJI and media outlets like Fox News who
continue to report false information about Jane should remind us all that
there’s a reason California-Style trans protections for school children
have existed – throughout the nation – for around a decade. Even in
America’s most conservative areas, these California-style protections are
viewed as reasonable. For example, Houston, San Antonio, El Paso, Dallas
and Ft. Worth Texas public school districts all have California-style
policies protecting trans kids. Moreover, these policies have been in
effect for years without incident.
However, organizations like PJI won’t talk about that. What PJI will do is
claim that if trans-equality policies for children go into effect, they
will lead to government-sponsore d X-rated scenes in all the public schools:
[Audio: <https://soundcloud. com/rightwingwat ch/dacus- transgender- protections>
Dacus: Transgender protections are hideous, hurt children]
In a fundraising letter <
http://www.transadv ocate.com/ your-help- requested- hrc-condemns- fake-trans- harassment- charges-ex- gay-group- dodges-my- fact-checking- family-friends- open-up.htm>
PJI issued last week, they claim that their actions targeting Jane have
sent the LGBT community scrambling in a “near-panic.” Recently, PJI gave
$10,000 to boost to the effort to collect signatures in California for
repealing the law protecting trans school children. This signature
collection effort was recently exposed for lying to people <
http://www.transadv ocate.com/ california- signature- gatherer- caught-lying- to-trick- people-into- discriminating- against-trans- children. htm>
in order to trick them into supporting their war on trans children.
While PJI’s actions against Jane are widely condemned by everyone from
http://www.transadv ocate.com/ glaad-condemns- fake-report- of-harassment- by-transgender- student.htm>
to HRC <
http://www.transadv ocate.com/ your-help- requested- hrc-condemns- fake-trans- harassment- charges-ex- gay-group- dodges-my- fact-checking- family-friends- open-up.htm>
, it’s seems clear that PJI’s motive is to do whatever it takes to make it
legal to discriminate against trans kids in California. If that means
destroying the life that Jane and her family built in order to score some
political points back in California, then they – and their supporters <
http://www.transadv ocate.com/ terf-supports- anti-gay- activist- group.htm> –
seem eager to do it.
Over the weekend, Matthew McReynolds, staff attorney for PJI, asserted that
Jane’s mere presence is harassing saying, “[It is] our position that a
teenage boy’s presence into the bathroom for teenage girls is inherently
harassing. We’ve heard some reports that he’s commented on what girls are
wearing or their figure while in the bathroom. If you can imagine that
scenario from the reference and framework of a teenage girl, I think that’s
I want you to reread what PJI believes to be their most damning allegation
yet. Think about that. It appears that Mr. McReynolds would be shocked to
learn that women talk to each other in the restroom about how we look. Or,
perhaps the reality is that Mr. McReynolds already knows this and is hoping
to inspire you to stop seeing Jane for who she is and instead view her as a
sexual predator. Which talking point would best serve their goal of
repealing the California law protecting trans kids from discrimination?
Even after inciting violent intent in the conservative community, PJI is
apparently unwavering in their goal of fanning the flames of hate directed
The fiction that the town of Florence supports PJI’s actions is just that:
fiction. PJI wants you to believe that the the town of Florence, Colorado
wants PJI to treat Jane in the way they have. PJI claims, “We’re not going
to stand by and let 99.7% of our students lose their privacy and free
speech rights just because .3% of the population are gender-confused.”
However, the reality is that hateful people who stand with PJI are in the
minority. The people of Florence don’t want PJI or their hate in their town.
“I’m horrified over how they’ve treated one of our own. We want them to
stop disrupting the school with their bullying. We want them to take their
hate and go back home,” said Sally Moondancer, mother of a daughter who
attends Florence High School. In fact, Sally had several pointed things to
say about this entire campaign against Jane:
https://soundcloud. com/cristan- williams/ the-town- of-florence- colorado/ s-C9Fyq>
The Town of Florence Colorado Speaks Up]
Local business 3rd Dimension Signs wanted to express a very strong opinion
about PJI’s behavior:
«“I really find it very sad that any group that says it supposed to be
‘Defending Religious Freedom, Parental Rights, and other Civil Liberties’
is out preaching such hate and bigotry, in the name of equality. Before
they start casting judgment on others they should really take a long hard
look in the mirror and see who the real monster is here… Keep your hate and
bigotry out of our community it’s not welcome here. ‘There is neither Jew
nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female,
for you are all one in Christ Jesus.’ – Galatians 3:28”»
Florence High School student Kayli Conway told news reporters, “They’re
kind of making it a bigger deal than it should be. I know that they’re
trying to tell her that she can’t use the female restroom and I think
that’s kind of wrong because she’s trying to be a girl. [This is] a big
time bully problem.”
And, of course, Florence High School Huskies support Jane:
[Photo: <http://bit.ly/ HcDAqB> Supportive school parents from the Florence,
A female student from Florence High School who wished to remain anonymous
said “[PJI is] so pathetic. My mom asked me about this whole thing when she
saw it on the news, and I told her. She even said they were being dramatic.”
[Photo: <http://bit.ly/ 18G6RUc> Another female Florence High School student]
In a printed letter to the editor in the town’s local paper, the Canon City
Daily Record, a woman named Dara Hoffman-Fox wrote to say, “This is a local
teenager whose life has been turned upside down by just a few people who
fear what they do not know.” The letter went on to say that PJI’s story
“has since been proven false and media outlets around the world are
providing apologies for having printed [false accusations] without having
the facts confirmed. Sadly, the damage is done.”
Additionally, the students of Florence High School have organized their own
group to support Jane.
The level of hate the PJI has managed to inspire towards one trans kid and
her family is both enormous and devastating. It is beyond reprehensible
that the PJI has sacrificed the life this youth has known in the hope of
scoring a few political points in their fight to overturn trans protections
for California school children.
For her part, Jane said, “The lies being spread through the ‘news’ are just
horrible. I want to be able to let people know I haven’t done anything to
harm any being and I am a human with feelings too. I just really hope from
all of this comes good and allows more minds to become accepting and open.”
A 2011 study of 6,450 trans people <
http://endtransdisc rimination. org/PDFs/ NTDS_Report. pdf> found that:
“A staggering 41% of respondents reported attempting suicide compared to
1.6% of the general population, with rates rising for those who were
harassed/bullied in school (51%)… It is part of social and legal convention
in the United States to discriminate against, ridicule, and abuse
transgender and gender nonconforming people within foundational
institutions such as the family, schools, the workplace and health care
settings, every day. Instead of recognizing that the moral failure lies in
society’s unwillingness to embrace different gender identities and
expressions, society blames transgender and gender non-conforming people
for bringing discrimination and violence on themselves.”
The The American Psychiatric Association <
http://www.psychiat ry.org/File% 20Library/ Advocacy% 20and%20Newsroom /Press%20Release s/2012%20Release s/12-36-APA- Position- Statements- on-Transgender. pdf>
The APA joins other organizations, including the American Medical
Association and the American Psychological Association, in endorsing strong
policy statements deploring the discrimination experienced by gender
variant and transgender individuals and calling for laws to protect their
The American Psychiatric Association:
1.) Supports laws that protect the civil rights of transgender and gender
2.) Urges the repeal of laws and policies that discriminate against
transgender and gender variant people.
3.) Opposes all public and private discrimination against transgender and
gender variant individuals in such areas as health care, employment,
housing, public accommodation, education, and licensing.
4.) Declares that no burden of proof of such judgment, capacity, or
reliability shall be placed upon these individuals greater than that
imposed on any other persons.
http://www.transadv ocate.com/ family-of- colorado- trans-kid- targeted- by-harassment- hoax-speaks- up.htm