Gender Expansion Project

Expanding the Spectrum of Gender

Trans Survivors Find Refuge From Violence, Poverty

For transgender people, accessing social services, such as shelter spaces, can be perilous. The threat of facing discrimination, battery, or even sexual assault in these facilities can deter trans folks from seeking them out, even if doing so means remaining in violent relationships.

One year ago, Portland, OR’s YWCA launched the Yolanda Project to serve as ‘safe haven’ for individuals of gender diversity. 

The Yolanda Project employs an innovative “shelter diversion” model, which teams survivors of domestic abuse with advocates who work with them to assure that they remain safely and stably housed.

Because those of gender diversity are more likely to refuse employment and housing discrimination than the cisgender population, it isn’t surprising that one-fifth of the trans people surveyed in a study by FORGE, a trans* advocacy group, had experienced homelessness due to their gender. Their experiences at shelters were horrifying. Over half were harassed by shelter staff or residents due to their gender identitiy, while almost a third were turned away altogether. Forty-two percent were forced to stay in a shelter for a population that did not match their gender, and, shockingly, 22 percent were sexually assaulted by shelter staff or residents.

Programs like the Yolanda Project are the future of reduction of homelessness amongst individuals of gender diversity.

Boys Wear Skirts to Class in Protest After School Fines Trans Girl for Wearing Skirt

Nine days after transgender student Maria Muniz was fined by school officials for wearing a skirt, a group of her Colégio Pedro II classmates decided to stage a protest: both male and female students would all wear skirts on the same day. Soon after their demonstration an ecstatic Muniz learned that the school’s decision was overturned, reports the UK’sOrange News.

Pedro II’s principal told Brazil’s Globo that the school will consider relaxing their dress code. After the protest, school officials posted a picture of their male and female students wearing wearing skirts to social media, where it became widely shared. 

"For me, wearing a skirt was about expressing my freedom over who I am inside and not how society sees me," Muniz told Orange News.

"I am really happy about the way my classmates supported me and hope it serves as an example to others to feel encouraged to do the right thing," she added. "I was always taught at school to accept who you are. I am only trying to live that."

In response to Brynn Tannehill’s recent speech at the 2014 TransPride Pittsburgh National Conference, one individual commented

Personally, I have never felt the need for the level of activism and visibility that Ms. Tannehill advocates for. Maybe it’s because I pass quite well and have never had to deal with much discrimination in my post-transition life, but I simply don’t understand the need for it. I prefer invisibility; I prefer the normality I feel in simply being seen as a woman, rather than a transwoman.”

There is nothing wrong with those that wish to pass, those that do pass, and those that choose to live invisible lives, but in society, we should not be forced to have to live invisible lives, we should not be forced to pass under what society deems we should be. We are women, we are men, we are trans, we are not, we are all individuals and should all be accepted equally as individuals. 

For some, being trans is much more than just transition, it is a life experience, an identity, a sense of self to which we as individuals should not be forced by binaries, by fear or for our own security and personal safety, to conform into what society deems is necessary for us to ‘pass’ as what they see our gender as. 

With silence and invisibility, we will only continue down a path which supports shame, self-hatred, inequality, physical and psychological harm and intolerance. 

We as individuals should not be ashamed of our identities and should live as who we are, as the real people we are. 

Trans Women + Sex = Awesome

When it comes to popular culture and human sexuality, few bodies are  lower in the sexual spectrum than trans women. Up until recently, trans women were often poorly depicted and overtly sexualized by media: exploitative and problematic “she-male” porn; sitcoms and movies joking about discovering the woman a character was dating was “really” a man; Craigslist personal encounters demanding “passable” trans women, conflating trans people and cross-dressers; the list goes on and on.

Trans Women + Sex = Awesome is written in the hopes of combating all that cultural bullshit, at least a little bit. Specifically, the author hopes to address two major topics:

  • Physical intimacy with trans women
  • Physical intimacy as trans women, both solo and with partners

Janesville School Board bans discrimination against transgender students

School Lockers

The Janesville School District has adopted a policy allowing transgender students to use the bathroom and locker room of the gender with which they identify if it’s OK with their parents and principals.

The policy said the school will provide reasonable accommodations for transgender students after receiving written requests from their parents or guardians. School principals must approve the requests.

For many trans and gender diverse youth, school can be a very intimidating, and at times, scary environment to express their authentic gender identity. Supportive and inclusive policies are a step in the right direction for EVERYONE and will improve the lives of EVERYONE. 

Subcutaneous Testosterone: An Effective Delivery Mechanism for Masculinizing Young Transgender Men

The days of using an 1.5” long needle to inject your T are gone. For those out there that use testosterone, there is an alternative to intramuscular injections. 

In a recent study by Dr. Jo Olson of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, it wasfound that subcutaneous testosterone injection is an effective delivery mechanism for testosterone delivery among trans* men.

Want to learn more? Read the study athttp://online.liebertpub.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1089/lgbt.2014.0018

For Transgender College Students, A New Year Means Educating Professors — Again

Its that time of year again. School is back in session. For most, it means cracking open the textbooks, working hard and trying try to make a good grade. 

For many gender diverse individuals, it means having to come out to a wave of professors all over again and educating professors and peers about what it means to be gender diverse. 

For some this may be an empowering experience, while for others, it may be overwhelming and overpowering. 

The Gender Expansion Project is here to help. Whether your need help with getting your legal documents in order, help with getting the correct housing at your university or just need some advice on how to talk to your professors, we can help. 

Contact us at info@genderexpansionproject.org or by calling 406-848-1220. 

Commission charts path for open transgender military service

The U.S. military could bring an immediate end to the ban on transgender service members, according to a new report.

In the study, released this week, a nine-member commission determined that allowing open service by transgender people would be “neither excessively complex nor burdensome.” This new report comes five months after a similar study debunked the outdated medical rationale for the ban.

All-female college adopts new policy to admit transgender students

Mills College

Mills College, an all-female college in Oakland, California, becomes the first sex college in the nation to adopt trans inclusive enrollment policies. 

The policy allows for anyone who self-identifies as a woman to apply to the school, including transgender women, and those who “do not fit into the gender binary” but who were assigned the female sex at birth.

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