A protest in support of immigration reform during the Hispanic Congressional Caucus gala this October. Photo by Ep_jhu.
Last month when President Obama finally announced his executive action to provide deportation relief to millions of undocumented people living in the United States, you could practically hear the collective intake of breath taken across the country.
Television, historically, has not been a welcoming place for transgender people. "Trans representation" has previously consisted mainly of male sitcom characters relating stories about dating women who turned out to be transgender, and then saying "Eww!"
Things are changing now, though, with the breakthrough success of Laverne Cox on Orange is the New Black and now director Jill Solloway's new half-hour dramedy Transparent. All eleven episodes of Transparent arrive for binge-watching on Amazon today.
• Lupita Nyong has optioned the rights to Americanah, one of the 10 Best Books of the year last year, according to the New York Times Book Review. The love story centers on a young man and woman from Nigeria “who face difficult choices and challenges in the countries they come to call home.” We’re looking forward to seeing how the project develops. [The Root]
I set out to watch Kate Bornstein Is a Queer and Pleasant Danger with enthusiasm. After all, how could I not be excited to watch the story of “a self-described trans-dyke, reluctant-polyamorist, sadomasochist, and recovering Scientologist” who has been instrumental in raising the visibility of transgender folks?
• This week Mississippi joined Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Oklahoma and Texas in passing 20 week abortion bans. Governor Phil Bryant said about the ban, which takes effect in July, “Today is an important day for protecting the unborn and the health and safety of women in Mississippi." Ugh. [Reuters]
• In more collegiate news, a group of graduate student workers in the University of California system have made a huge advance in their fight for gender neutral restrooms and lactation stations on campus. The group has reached a tentative contract agreement that calls access to such facilities a “right.” If the contract is completed it would mean that students, faculty members, and employees on all UC campuses would be required access to these facilities. [Slate]
Monica Jones is a sex workers' right advocate in Phoenix, Arizona, a trans woman of color, and a social work student. On Friday, March 14th, she’ll go on trial for “manifestation of prostitution.”
Jones's arrest and prosecution is a collision of two dicey issues: the history of "rescuing" sex workers by locking them up and the pervasive police profiling of trans women—particularly trans women of color—as assumed prostitutes.
The literary world gained a valuable new addition last week with the launch of new literary journal THEM, which focuses on the work of transgender writers.
Debuting on December 13, THEM proclaims itself to be the nation's first literary journal to specifically focus on trans* voices. While there arenumerous literary journals that highlight LGBT issues and writers, and a couple trans*-focusedanthologies, THEM is the first American journal that publishes only the work of people who identify as "within the trans* umbrella" (using the term "trans*" with the asterisk to include who have non-binary transgender identities). The volunteer-run biannual journal features writers from around the country, seeking to create a space that amplifies trans* voices.