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Invisible: Accountability without compassion is an act of violence.


Image from https://www.outandaboutnashville.com/
Image from https://www.outandaboutnashville.com/

I was having an interesting conversation with some folks the other day, and it was suggested that those of us in the trans community should always remind people that we want a seat at the table when it comes to discussions with community leaders, or speaking at events. I’m not so sure i’m on the same page as them, so I thought i’d write this blog to discuss it, and possibly help me think the process through.

I’ve been an activist for over ten years, having dealt with nationwide leaders, local political officials, and other movers and shakers in the lgbt and non lgbt community. I’ve always made my voice perfectly clear, and at times had to demand people listen to how certain things affect or don’t affect the trans and gnc communities.

So, here’s where I’m kind of stuck. I’m not sure that having to remind  people that Trans and Gender nonconforming  people exist and want their voices heard should have to be a constant thing.  There are decisions made everyday that affect the lives of those under the trans umbrella, and our opinions are never asked.

When we stand up and talk about what effects us, we’re told to quit victimizing ourselves…to do something about it…to affect change if we don’t like something.  My question is this:  do gay men and lesbians have to remind people they want their voices heard?  Are we as a trans community ever going to have to stop being loud and crystal clear as to what our needs are?

There was an event recently where there was no trans representation from my local community, and when it was asked why there was no one trans to speak at this event, the answer was, “We didn’t think about it. No one from the trans community called and said they wanted to speak.”  Why should we have to?

It says to me, very poignantly, that we always have to remind people to ask us to share our voices and our opinions.  LBG organizations have often taken money and donations from non trans friendly organizations, and when this is pointed out, the answer is “Oh, I didn’t know.”

So now on top of having to constantly remind people to have trans and gnc folks actively participate in community discussions, we now have to remind them to ask places and people they take money from whether or not they’re trans friendly? I say no.

I say they have the responsibility to automatically ask how the business or person they’re taking money from affects change and actively supports the trans and gnc communities. I’m not talking about simply hanging the “T” at the end of the acronym and calling themselves inclusive.

According to a February 2015 publication called TransInformational Impact done by the Funders For LGBTQ Issues, the trans community receives .015 percent of foundation funding, which equals about a penny for every hundred dollars awarded.

We need more pennies obviously, but we also need for them to include us without having to constantly remind them that we even exist. We need to have a seat at the table when decisions are made for and about the trans and gnc communities.  When we do ask to speak up  for ourselves, we don’t need to be told that not everything is about the trans community, or that we’re being aggressive and demanding too much.

The opportunity to have our voices heard loud and clear is not too demanding; it is being equal. It is our equal right not to be “forgotten about” when LGB(T) organizations receive funds from sources that don’t include the diverse trans community. This type of trans exclusion is not ok, and it needs to be called out.

Accountability without compassion is an act of violence. And so is forgetting about or excluding the trans community.  We shouldn’t have to be constantly begging to be included and actively involved in processes and discussions that impact our lives.  We can and will always speak for ourselves, whether or not our voices are wanted or heard. That’s one thing that will never change.


Blogger Blue Montana via https://www.facebook.com/transman
Blogger Blue Montana via https://www.facebook.com/transman
Blue Montana on sabfacebook
Blue Montana
Blue Montana is the Transgender Programs Manager at The Gay & Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada and a former Board Member at San Diego Pride. He studied LGBT Studies at San Diego State University. Now he lives in Las Vegas with his husband.

Am I Trans Enough?

Blogger and cover model Tygh at our table at the 2016 Philadelphia Trans Health Conference!
Blogger and cover model Tygh at our table at the 2016 Philadelphia Trans Health Conference!

Am I trans enough?

That’s a loaded question, so let me start by defining Transgender.

Transgender is an umbrella term that includes all people whose authentic identity does not conform to typical stereotypes of male or female genders. However, some parts of the trans community define transgender as having transitioned in some way. Unfortunately the language that is often used by the community is exclusionary. Some people feel it is acceptable to question the authenticity of trans people, and imply that you are only transgender if you present a certain way, take hormones, and get certain surgeries. As if there is only one way to be transgender!

Photo via huffingtonpost.com
Photo via huffingtonpost.com

Transgender is simply a label, but emphasizing labels is divisive rather than inclusive. Labels, I hate them. Not everyone feels the need to transition completely or partially, and some do not chose to transition at all.There should not be specific criteria associated with identifying as transgender.

I have to think about labels regarding my gender. I don’t know what box to check because I’m a little bit of this and I’m a little bit of that. Labels are pointless. I hate them. Many of us don’t fit into neat boxes. We aren’t one particular gender and we don’t neatly fit under the familiar umbrella.
There are so many labels, but still none seem to really fit. Labels work really well for inanimate objects that don’t have the ability to adapt and change. But, when it comes to me and my life, labels fall short. Labels are wrong. I hate them. I’m not a woman, I’m not a man, I’m not a this or a that. I’m not a who, a which or a what. I am me and I am trans enough.

Transgender should be a label of self-identification, and there is no right or wrong way to be trans. Therefore we are all trans enough.

Super Tuesday: Which Candidates Love Trans Voters?

Photo via https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CTFAOJ8UcAA2e8n.png
Photo via pbs.org

Before Barack Obama had a Mitt Romney, or George W. Bush had an Al Gore, or even a Bill Clinton had a Bob Dole, presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle had to win their party’s nomination in a series of state-by-state primaries and caucuses.

The presidential primary season is a time when the media shamelessly speculates about what will happen in states that no one usually cares about–like Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada–because they hold their contests first.  My home state of South Carolina has even steadily crept forward into the action, now holding their Republican primary 4th and their Democratic primary 6th in the country.  And despite being a solid Republican state, in 2008, South Carolina’s Democratic primary was incredibly crucial for Obama’s grabbing the party nomination that year.

But remember 2007?  We were all buzzing about how Hillary Clinton was a shoe in for President.  The subtext of every political Saturday Night Live sketch that fall was, why even have a primary?  But then on February 2, 2008, just as the primaries began, Will.IAM released the “Yes, We Can” Obama song on Youtube.  And we all went from feeling warm and fuzzy about voting for the first female president, to feeling even warmer and even fuzzier about voting for the first African American president.

Point being, primaries are huge, even if you live in a state that might not seem important in the grand scheme of things.  It was in South Carolina that Obama finally toppled Hillary, who had been beating him up to that point, and his campaign went on to dominate the rest of the primaries, and clenched the nomination.

What’s especially exciting about this year’s race is that the candidates are actually taking a stand on transgender issues!  So even if you already feel comatose from all the presidential primary coverage, that’s reason enough to wake up!  Now that you’re up, please dive into this “Transgentlemen’s Guide to Voting:  Part II.”

1.  Hillary “Loves Us So Much” Clinton

Photo from commons.wikipedia.org
Photo from commons.wikipedia.org


Last summer transgender rights activist Jennicet Gutierrez ‘interrupted’ President Obama at the White House, drawing attention to the transgender women being detained in men’s jails. Before that, in May 2015, Hillary Clinton, while in Nevada, said she would review the policies that put transgender women at risk for assault.  She went on to say, “I think we have to do more to provide safe environments for vulnerable populations.  I don’t think we should, you know, put children and vulnerable people into big detention facilities because I think they are at risk.  I think their physical and mental health are at risk.”

Gender Markers

And as Secretary of State, Clinton made it possible for transgender Americans to update their passport gender markers.  As she told Terry Gross on Fresh Air in June of 2014, “It was part of the overall efforts to try to treat people with dignity and equality.  And certainly the Obama Administration made some of its own moves at the same time with respect to the larger federal employee pool.  And when I had the responsibility for the well-being of the 70,000 people or so employees around the world who worked for the State Department and USAID, I had the opportunity through executive action to recognize that there were barriers and vestiges to discrimination that had no place in a modern American workplace, and so I acted.”


Not only does Hillary share the same initials of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), she and Joe Biden both have recently pandered to the group at their annual gala dinner.  Funny enough, this pandering now involves supporting transgender rights to serve openly in the military.  She explained, “Meanwhile, you know, transgender people are still barred from serving. That is an outdated rule, especially since you and I know that there are transgender people in uniform, right now, they’re just keeping this core part of their identities under wraps, because they are so committed to defending our nation. They shouldn’t have to do that. T hat’s why I support the policy review that Defense Secretary Carter recently announced at the Pentagon.  And it’s why I hope the United States joins many other countries that let transgender people serve openly.  Now, we pride ourselves on having the world’s best military, but being the best doesn’t just mean having the best-trained forces or the biggest arsenal.  It also means being on a leader on issues like this; on who we respect enough to let serve with dignity as themselves.”


At the same HRC event, Clinton also spoke out about the violence against transgender people, particularly trans women of color.  She said, “We’ve got to address the crisis of transphobic violence. 2015 has seen the murder of at least 19 transgender women, primarily women of color.  And nobody knows how much violence goes unreported or ignored.  And we need to say, with one voice, that transgender people are valued, they are loved, they are us, they desire to be treated fairly and equally.”


Not to be out down by Bernie Sanders when it comes to social media, Clinton also took to Twitter to support an LGBT non-discrimination ordinance in Houston, “the bathroom bill,” writing, “No one should face discrimination for who they are or who they love–I support efforts for equality in Houston & beyond. #HERO #YesOnProp1 -H” on Ocboter 29, 2015. So, if you’re not already, follow Clinton on twitter so you can at least tweet “H” that you voted for her in your state’s primary.

2.  Bernie “Equal Rights” Sanders

Photo via wikipedia.org
Photo via wikipedia.org

Same-Sex Marriage 

Bernie Sanders is a candidate who has openly supported LGBT rights for the long haul. Sanders voted against the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act as a member of the U.S. House. His home state of Vermont was the first to legalize same-sex unions (2000) and gay marriage (2009) through legislative action.  In 2011, he endorsed same-sex marriage ahead of the 2012 election, becoming the highest official at the time to support the issue, and even encouraged Obama to do the same.  He’s also cosponsoring a bill that repeal what’s left of the Defense of Marriage Act.


In 2013, Sanders supported the Employment Non-Discrimination Act when it passed the Senate. Currently, he’s cosponsoring the federal LGBT-inclusive Student Non-Discrimination Act.  According to Sanders, “All I can say is I think I have one of the strongest, if not the strongest record, in the United States Congress on LGBT issues,” in a May 2015, interview with the Washington Blade. He went on to say, “My record speaks for itself, and I will compare it to any candidate who is out there.  I spent 25 years fighting for equal rights. What makes it a good idea that black people can drink water at a fountain?  We are trying to create a non-discriminatory society where we judge people based on their character, on their abilities, not on the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, their gender.  Clearly, as a nation we’ve made good progress; we have a lot further to go.”


Bernie has also openly supports transgender rights. Dawn Ennis from the Advocate reported on October 1, 2015, “A single tweet from the senator’s campaign reflects the biggest effort by any candidate to appeal to transgender voters and allies.” And that tweet, sent out on September 28, 2015, stated, “In many states, it is legal to deny someone housing fro being transgender. That is wrong and must end.”  Therefore, the Senator supports amending the Civil Rights Act and Fair Housing Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity.


Finally, Bernie has spoken out about the ongoing crisis of violence against trans women.  He suggested in the Washington Blade one of best ways to address the high rates of violence against transgender women, especially transgender women of color, is by re-educating police officers.  He compared the way police treated cases of domestic violence in the 1980s to how police treat cases of violence against transgender people now.  He explained, “The point is we need to make sure that police departments are sensitive to the fact that every person in this country–man, woman, transgender, whatever you may be–is entitled to equal protection under the law, and abusing people is not acceptable.”

3.  Donald “The Douche” Trump

Photo via wikipedia.org
Photo via wikipedia.org

Donald Trump has avoided making any political statements about transgender rights, and he has even asked Caitlyn Jenner to judge his Miss USA pageant!  However, in 2012, Jenna Talackova was banned from competing in Miss Universe Canada Pageant when the organization found out she was transgender.  But they reversed their decision after Gloria Allred took her on as a client.  In his 20/20 interview with Barbara Walters, Trump recalled, “I looked at her name, and somebody brought this up to me: ‘Jennatal.’  Those are the first letters of her name.  And it’s ‘genital.’  And I’m saying to myself, ‘Hmm, that’s strange, could there be an ulterior motive?’”

4.  John “Let Them Eat Cake” Kasich

Photo via wikepedia.org
Photo via wikepedia.org


In 2011, as Governor of Ohio, John Kasich let his predecessor’s executive order protecting employees from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, only to sign a new executive order adding sexual orientation back to a list of protected classes for state employees, but leaving out private LGB employees, as well as transgender workers altogether.  According to his campaign, “We extended those protections in the way we thought most appropriate,” and they didn’t feel a need to protect all LGBT Ohioans from being fired, evicted, or denied service because of their gender identity and/or sexual orientation.  Kasich told the Columbus Dispatch in April 2015, “I think we’re doing fine in Ohio.  Everybody’s opinion has to be respected  in all of this and we have to strike a balance.  I think we have a good balance in Ohio and I don’t see a reason to do any more.’

5.  Ted Cruz”-ing for a Bruising”

Photo via wikipedia.org
Photo via wikipedia.org


In October 2015, at a campaign stop in Sac City, Iowa, Ted Cruz said, “I think military policy should follow what is necessary for good order and discipline, that we shouldn’t view the military as a cauldron for social experiments.”  He suggested the Obama administration is “trying to pursue sexual identity politics” by lifting the transgender ban in the military.  Then, he asked, “How about having a military focusing on hunting down and killing bad guys.  I think that should be the focus of the military instead of treating it as this, like, crucible for social justice innovations.  We’ve lost sight of what their job is, and that’s what we need to get back to.”

Marco “Bathroom Pass” Rubio

Photo via wikipedia.org
Photo via wikipedia.org


In a December 2015 interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, Marco Rubio promised to reverse Obama’s executive actions protecting LGBT people “on things like gender equality in restrooms.”  He was speaking about the action Obama signed in July of that year, prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT people, forcing them to allow transgender people to use the bathrooms matching their gender identity.


7.  Ben “Prison Makes You Gay” Carson 

Photo via wikipedia.org
Photo via wikipedia.org


During town hall hosted by Concerned Veterans for America in Waterloo, Iowa, in December 2015, he said he would prefer to bar transgender people from serving openly. In fact, he liked the idea of the “don’t ask don’t tell” policy that barred gays and lesbians from serving openly. He explained, “I do not appreciate using our military as a laboratory for social experimentation. We have too many important things to do when our men and women are out there fighting the enemy. The last thing that we need to be doing is saying what would it be like if we introduced several transgender people into the platoon. Give me a break. Deal with the transgender thing somewhere else. I liked the old ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ philosophy. Why do you have to go around flaunting your sexuality? It’s not necessary. You don’t need to talk about that. We need to talk about how we eliminate the enemy.”


In November 2015, when Jorge Ramos from Fusion asked Carson about transgender accommodations, he suggested that trans people have their own restrooms. He argued, “It’s not fair for them to make everyone else uncomfortable. It’s one of the things that I don’t particularly like about the movement. I think everybody has equal rights, but I’m not sure that anybody should have extra rights–extra rights when it comes to redefining everything for everybody else and imposing your view on everybody else. The way that this country was designed, it was ‘live and let live,’ and that’s the way I feel.”


5 Transgender Couples Who Will Warm Your Heart

Since it is Valentine’s Day, we wanted to feature a few couples for you to enjoy on this special day.  We have compiled our five favorite couples (featuring at least one trans partner). We are working on our June issue called Trans Love that will feature all trans couples (ftm/mtf and ftm/ftm), but in the meantime enjoy our five couples on this fun and wonderful holiday to show love.

1. D’Jamel and Leiomy

Leiomy and D'Jamel from Instagram @@boss_man_transl8tion
Photo via Instagram.

“The purpose of partnership is to fill your heart with love, learn from love and its experiences, and to build off that promising foundation.  Loving u more everyday.”  -D’Jamel 

Leiomy Maldonado and D’Jamel Young, aka Bonnie and Clyde, aka Wonder Woman and Batman (according to D’Jamel’s Instagram), take our breath away with this hot, almost-but-just-not, lip lock.  D’Jamel is featured in our “11 Rising Black Trans Male Stars” list for his work as an actor, producer, and entrepreneur.  Leiomy is an international vogue teacher and choreographer.  To keep up with the latest on this #powercouple, follow them on Instagram, @boss_man_transl8tion and @wond3rwoman1.

2.  Giovanni and Jenna

Giovanni and Jenna from Instagram @giovannimichaelcarlo13
Photo via Instagram.

“You are my best friend, my shoulder to lean on, the one person I know I can count on, you’re the love of my life, you’re my one and only, you’re my everything.”  -Giovanni

Giovanni and Jenna are the proud parents of two daughters, who Jenna calls her princesses.  I’m pretty sure Giovanni does too.  The love these two parents have for each other and their children radiates off the screen.  We hope to meet this #powercouple at this year’s Trans-Health Conference in Philly!  For now, we’ll just like all their photos on Instagram.  You can too!  Follow them @jennacarlo and @giovannimichaelcarlo13!

3.  Blue and Owen

Blue and Owen, Facebook
Photo via Facebook.

“Marriage license filed!                                      It’s official…mr&mr!”  -Blue

Blue Montana and Owen Miller just tied the knot last November, and we wish them all the best!  Married life seems to suit them well, as evidenced by lots of adorable photos of first holidays together, as well as their incredibly cute pug.  Blue is also a board member for Trans Lifeline, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of transgender people.  You can follow this #powercouple on Facebook, Blue Montana and Owen Miller.

4.  Miracle and Christopher

Christopher & Miracle from Instagram s4tansloth_
Photo via Instagram.

“He’s my other half, he’s my what you would call a “soulmate”, he’s my best friend and he’s the man that drives me so insane I just wanna smash my head into a revolving door.  But most of all, this fucker is mine. ❤️” -Miracle

Miracle and Christopher have been together since 2014, and they describe themselves as a “self made family with our little spawn.”  With their gages and dyed hair, how could you not fall in love with this hot, alternative #powercouple and their shared Instagram account, @s4tansloth?

5.  Michelle Austin and Dicky Johnson

photo by Andi at Hotmovies.com
Photo by Andi at Hotmovies.com

“I met the man who changed my life.  We may not have the ideal relationship that people think is perfect, but it works for us.  We met working on a porn set, so we are far from what society thinks is perfect.  What matters is we love each other!”  -Michelle

Michelle Austin and Dicky Johnson are revolutionizing the trans male porn world with their site FTM.XXX. Their full-length documentary style porn “50 Shades of a Tranny” is the first film of its kind, in that it looks into the love, sexuality, and kink between two real life FTM-MTF lovers.  You never know what this #powercouple might be up to next, but you can try to keep up by following Michelle on Twitter, Tumblr or Instagram and Dicky on Twitter,  or Tumblr.

Make sure you subscribe to our magazine, in digital format.  Six issues come out a year.



A Trans Conversation

Our creative editor Michelle Austin one of the biggest forces behind the FTM Porn movement has created a new web-series of videos where she sits down and talks to trans people about things.

In this part 1 of 3 video Michelle sits down with Johnny Deep and discusses sex with a trans man, trans body, issues, and so much more. Check it out.