WATCH: CW33′s ‘Gay Agenda’

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This week’s “Gay Agenda” focuses on the high rate of new HIV infections in the black community. The CW33’s Doug Magditch also points out the hundreds of out politicians across the nation, including the possibility of Dallas getting an out City Council member this year. And finally, as the image above shows, a new lingerie line is coming this spring for transgender women.

Watch it below.

—  Anna Waugh

Comprehensive transgender healthcare for Dallas employees is ‘off the table’

Nell Gaither

Despite efforts by local activists, the city of Dallas likely won’t add comprehensive healthcare for its transgender employees this year.

Trans Pride Initiative President Nell Gaither met with City Manager Mary Suhm, as well as representatives from the Human Resources department and UnitedHealthcare, last week to discuss what the city’s plans actually cover due to confusion in January.

Gaither said the city covers everything related to trans healthcare except gender reassignment surgery, including hormones, counseling and wellness checkups regardless of gender.

She said the possibility of covering the surgery next year wasn’t discussed, as the conversation focused on ways to communicate the coverage to city benefit workers and all the city’s employees, who are encouraged to contact Human Resources if they have questions or if something is not covered that should be.

“The city’s position is they’re covered these [benefits] for several years, so that’s what we’re going with,” Gaither said, adding that surgery won’t be added. “It’s off the table.”

—  Anna Waugh

Trans woman says she was singled out, detained at Dallas Love Field

Tegan Marie Smith

An Atlanta transgender woman is alleging discrimination after Dallas police detained her Monday at Love Field, causing her to miss her flight.

Tegan Marie Smith said she was headed home after visiting family in Dallas. After her 3 p.m. flight was canceled, she and a few passengers waiting for the 6 p.m. flight to Atlanta went to the bar inside the terminal. She said she had two beers and a shot during the three hours, but some passengers were drinking more than she was.

Shortly after she boarded the plane, Smith said a flight attendant walked her off the plane to a group of Dallas police officers, who handcuffed her and detained her for public drunkenness for two hours.

“I couldn’t understand,” she said. “I’d had a little bit to drink over three hours.”

Smith said she wasn’t given a breathalyzer or any other test for drunkenness, but said officers handcuffed her after she confirmed that she’d been drinking.

She thinks she was chosen from the people who were drinking because she’s trans.

“I did believe I was being singled out,” she said.

While being detained, she said officers searched her belongings and discovered her legal name change documents, which she said she carries with her just in case someone questions her identity.

—  Anna Waugh

Officials from Resource Center, Green Oaks discuss hospital’s LGBT policy

Officials from Resource Center Dallas met with Green Oaks Hospital administrators this week about an LGBT policy the hospital told a transgender woman it was implementing.

The policy change was explained in a letter to the woman after she sent a complaint about her recent experience at the hospital. The hospital responded with a letter stating they were adding a trans policy, but wouldn’t discuss it with Instant Tea.

RCD then sent Green Oaks a letter requesting a meeting about its LGBT policies. In the letter, RCD mentions the Joint Commission, which accredits Green Oaks, and how the commission “recently added LGBT benchmarks to its future accreditations as of this past July.”

Rafael McDonnell, RCD’s communications and advocacy manager, said hospital officials called them last week to schedule a meeting for this past Monday. He said the hospital is working on a transgender policy and RCD officials suggested a change in the language for intersex individuals in the draft they reviewed. He also said they encouraged the hospital to include trans protections in its employment nondiscrimination policy, which currently covers only sexual orientation.

McDonnell said the policy has to be reviewed by a few committees and would most likely be implemented in a few weeks.

“They’re carrying out in policy what they have been doing in practice,” he said.

Cox, RCD’s CEO,  said the policy and language were complete and comprehensive and she looked forward to working with the hospital in the future.

“We will play a role with connecting some of our people in the trans community with them to work on health issues,” she said.

Alexis Johnson, executive director of risk management for Green Oaks, refused to comment on any LGBT policy previously. After the meeting, she emailed a statement confirming the hospital is working on policies.

“We had a good meeting with the Resource Center and they were impressed with our policy,” she wrote. “We feel good about our policies and the patient care we provide and have no further comment.”

Read RCD’s letter below.

—  Anna Waugh

UPDATE: Dallas man arrested for murder of transgender partner

Jonathan Stuart Kenney

Dallas police arrested a man yesterday for the murder of his life partner, but Dallas Voice has learned that his partner was transgender.

Police documents listed Jonathan Stuart Kenney as the main suspect in the murder of Jesus Tovar, who was listed as male and referred to as Kenney’s life partner.

Emails to Dallas Voice this morning revealed that Tovar was transgender and had been known to family and friends as Janette for a least a decade and a half.

Detective Laura Martin, LGBT liaison for Dallas police, said police had no way to know Tovar was transgender because police issue legal documents based on the person’s legal name, such as the arrest affidavit for Kenney that listed Tovar’s legal instead of preferred name.

Martin also said the death was ruled a homicide and treated as one so mentioning Tovar was transgender was not necessarily relevant to the crime, but would have been helpful to inform people who knew her of her passing.

In an email sent to Dallas Voice, Tovar was described as “truly an amazing person, and her passing has left a giant hole in many hearts.”

Kenney posted about Janette on his Facebook page on Wednesday:

“I love you my baby Janette, your my love my everything and I will miss you so much. Your the best thing that ever happened to me girl kisses!!!!!! I hope you can see me down here even though I can’t see you I feel your spirit still living in me. Rest in peace mi amor mi vida.”

Police confirmed Kenney was in custody Thursday morning.

—  Anna Waugh

UT Southwestern to hold chest wellness day for trans community next week

A Chest & Breast Wellness Day next Saturday at UT Southwestern will provide transgender men and women and masculine women an opportunity to have a comfortable environment for breast cancer screenings.

Nell Gaither, president of Trans Pride Initiative, said she planned the event so gender non-conforming individuals could have good access to healthcare without feeling uncomfortable or facing discrimination at a doctor’s office.

The event is from 7:30 a.m. to noon Oct. 20 at UT Southwestern Medical Center, 2201 Inwood Road on the third floor.  Screenings will remain open until 5 p.m. if there are enough appointments or people waiting.

Appointments can be made by calling 214-645-2526, but walk-ins will also be accepted. Gaither said people can even call the morning of the event to schedule an appointment.

Screening costs are covered for Dallas and Tarrant County residents if someone’s insurance won’t cover the cost or if someone doesn’t have insurance. Residents of other counties should call first.

We’ll have more information about Trans Pride Initiative and upcoming healthcare plans in next week’s Dallas Voice, but we wanted to get the information about the appointments out early.

—  Anna Waugh

Fort Worth now has not one but two transgender support groups

After we featured the new group Fort Worth Transgender Support on the cover of Dallas Voice, leaders with another Cowtown trans group, Trans-cendence, informed us it has started up again.

Chris Christian, the group’s co-leader, said the group was inactive for some time due to busy schedules and leadership changes. Christian first heard about the group last year after it was started by two members in June. He started becoming more involved in March and recently created a new website.

Christian said he didn’t know about Fort Worth Transgender Support, but he wants to collaborate with them on events and socials.

“The bigger the trans community is, the more support you have,” Christian said.

Christian said he found the group helpful because some groups reacted negatively to him not starting his transition yet. And while GEAR at Resource Center Dallas welcomed him with open arms, he wanted a group closer to home. He said Trans-cendence accepts everyone under the gender umbrella from cross-dressers to trans and gender-queer people.

“We welcome everyone, even people who are questioning and don’t know,” he said.

—  Anna Waugh

Trans singer Laura Jane Grace will front Against Me! Wednesday night at HOB

Last month, Rolling Stone Magazine broke the news of Against Me!’s lead singer Tom “Tommy” Gabel as beginning his transition from male to female. As described in the article, the punk rock singer had been privately dealing with gender dysphoria since childhood. Eventually becoming Laura Jane Grace, pictured, she describes her decision as necessary and a relief to the unhappiness she has felt for a long time.

The news was a bit of a shock coming from a rough and tumble punk rock world where aggressive banter and overbearing masculinity is celebrated. However, there have been many subtle, and some obvious, hints throughout Against Me!’s music. In the band’s 2007 album New Wave, the track “The Ocean” reads: If I could have chosen I would have been born a woman / My mother once told me she would have named me Laura / I would grow up to be strong and beautiful like her / One day I’d find an honest man to make my husband.

—  admin

Well that takes the cake: “Drag Race’s” Carmen Carrera receives apology from TLC’s “Cake Boss”

Carmen Carrera, the self-identified trans woman who appeared on Season 3 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, got a bit of a shock on Monday night. She made a guest appearance on the TLC show Cake Boss, where she apparently thought she would be portrayed as a role model for trans youth. Instead, it turned out to be a prank between the eponymous cake boss, Buddy Valastro, and his cousin Anthony. Anthony hit on Carmen in a bar, only to be told later — incorrectly, of course — that “that was a man!”

Carrera was outraged and complained — not the least of her complaints was that Anthony referred to her as “it.”

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Transgender woman ticketed for using women’s restroom at Parkland hospital has criminal record

Paula Witherspoon

A transgender woman who was ticketed for using a women’s restroom at Parkland hospital last week has a criminal background and is a registered sex offender, Instant Tea has learned.

On Tuesday, we reported that 56-year-old Paula Witherspoon, of Dallas, was cited for disorderly conduct on April 25 after using a women’s restroom at Parkland, Dallas County’s public hospital.

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, Witherspoon was convicted of sexual assault of a child involving a 14-year-old girl in 1990 and sentenced to 16 years in prison. That same year, Witherspoon was also convicted of indecency with a child by sexual contact, involving a 15-year-old girl, and sentenced to six years in prison. According to DPS, Witherspoon remains on parole for the indecency conviction.

“Yes, I have a criminal record,” Witherspoon said Wednesday. “I can’t hide that. It’s public record. I made a mistake 22 years ago that has nothing to do with this.”

Ken Upton, supervising senior staff attorney in Lambda Legal’s Dallas office, agreed.

“That may be relevant in other settings,” Upton said, “and it paints a bad picture.”

But he said there’s no evidence that in this instance, Witherspoon did anything other than use a bathroom.

“Transgender people have a right to use a bathroom,” he said.

—  David Taffet