Bipartisan Lawmakers Attempt To Write Trans Military Service Into Law

A bipartisan group of lawmakers in the House of Representatives is looking to protect transgender military service members with a proposed amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

The amendment, if adopted, would codify the Obama-era open-service policies into law, thus blocking Donald Trump’s proposed ban of trans service members.

The proposed amendment to the NDAA was drafted by Democratic Reps. Jackie Speier (Calif.), A. Donald McEachin (Va.) and Susan Davis (Calif.) and moderate Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Fla.), whose son is transgender.

The House Rules Committee, which will determine which amendments will actually get a vote on the floor of the House, is set to meet Monday and Tuesday this week. Votes on the NDAA are scheduled for later this week.

As you may recall, Donald Trump surprised folks when he tweeted from out of nowhere that he wished to place a ban on transgender service members in the U.S. military.

In August of last year, Trump told reporters that he was "doing the military a great favor" by attempting to ban trans service members.

In October, a federal judge effectively blocked Donald Trump's proposed ban on transgender service members in the military saying the ban was "driven by a desire to express disapproval of transgender people generally."

Last month, top military leaders of the Navy and Marine Corps said they have seen no evidence of morale, discipline or unit readiness problems with transgender troops now serving openly in the military.

Trump's ban is currently in legal limbo as four different federal courts have placed a hold on the executive order.

U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman of the Western District of Washington observed while Trump says he consulted “generals and military experts” about the trans military ban last year, his lawyers couldn’t name one general or military expert that he actually talked to. 

In her injunction against the ban, Judge Perchman wrote that the proposed ban was “devised by the President, and the President alone.”

(image via Flickr/photographer Ted Eytan)

Singing Group Miss Tres Drops "Sex Bomb" On Britain's Got Talent

Philippines’ singing group Miss Tres (Mariko Ledesma, Mavy Cleofas, and Crissy Marie Rendon) recently appeared on Britain’s Got Talent and wowed the judges with their take on Tom Jones’ “Sex Bomb.”

"We would like to be like Destiny's Child or Spice Girls," said the group.

Not only did the girls deliver “sparkle” and “girl power,” the performance offered a bomb of sorts as well. It wasn’t until they began to sing that it was revealed they were transgender.

The group impressed Simon Cowell and the rest of the judges.

"Were you hiding a little secret from us at the beginning?" Simon Cowell coyly inquired.

Amanda Holden added: “Your voices were fantastic, you look amazing, you’re just so hot! It’s unfair!”

In the end, the trio got four “Yes” votes from the judges which means Miss Tres will advance to the semi-finals of the reality competition.

The group has previously performed on Philippines Got Talent in 2013 and Asia’s Got Talent in 2015.

Back then they were a quartet, but sadly one of the group’s members, Mia Narciso (also known as Romeo) died of lung cancer, at 40, in September 2016.

Speaking to The Sun, the group shared, “To be honest, we did BGT not because of exposure, but to continue giving entertainment and to inspire most especially our LGBT community and above all to continue the legacy we started with our beloved brother Mia Narciso."

At the end of the competition one act comes out on top winning a £250,000 cash prize and a spot on the Royal Variety Performance.

For those in the UK, Britain’s Got Talent airs on Saturday evenings on ITV.

Watch Miss Tres in action below.



After Changing Its Policy On Trans Students, Spelman College Is Celebrating Its First Trans Graduate

Spelman College just had its first trans male graduate and people on the campus, and the internet, are celebrating.

Spelman College is an HBCU (a historically black college/university) for women. That said, the university made the call to allow an openly trans male student to enroll.

Spelman made the announcement back in September of 2017 that it was going to revise its admissions and enrollment policy. This update to the policy allowed for trans people to register at the school.

College President Mary S. Campell wrote on the policy change and said, “If a woman is admitted and transitions to male while a student at Spelman, the College will permit that student to continue to matriculate at and graduate from Spelman.”

21-year-old Keo O’Neal’s story slightly fits that policy, though it’s a little more complicated than that.

O’Neal first enrolled at Spelman in 2014, but then transferred to a predominately white institution in his sophomore year. After that, he then returned to Spelman to finish out his Bachelor’s Degree.

“I came back to Spelman my junior year because although I could flourish in my queerness [at the PWI], I felt like I was denying my blackness, and I was nothing more than a body to those folks,” O’Neal told HuffPost.

Now, O’Neal is walking off campus with a degree in his hands and a smile on his face. In fact, that very smile has gone viral after O’Neal posted a picture of himself celebrating his graudation.

That said, not everything after Spelman’s policy change has been good. Where there is progress, there are those willing to fight it.

Several students reported having anti-LGBTQ messages slipped under their dorm room door as recently as earlier this month.

NewNowNext reported that students were receiving messages like “Keep Spelman safe. No Queers,” or, “Keep your tran[s] out of our bathrooms!” or even worse, “#DIE… We don’t want you here.”

O’Neal spoke on these issues and said that despite the great change Spelman is doing, the college has inadequately prepared itself and its students for the shift.

“I love that Spelman is progressing and opening its doors to trans women, but to me, it’s a bit reactionary,” O’Neal told Blavity. “Spelman doesn’t know how to handle the issues we are currently having with queer students; I’m not sure what will, if anything, change when trans women start attending.”

That said, there still good coming to the school as the first of hopefully many more transgender students has graduated from the institution. This is history in the making.

h/t:: NewNowNext, HuffPost, Blavity

Trump Supporter Records Her Own Harassment Of Trans Woman

A transgender woman using the restroom at a Los Angeles Denny’s restaurant found herself being harassed by a wanna-be Republican Congressional candidate who broadcast the encounter on Facebook Live.

Jazmina Saavedra, a Republican running to represent California’s 44th Congressional district, clearly thought she was going to make some kind of a name for herself in Trump Land by attacking transgender people. 

Armed with a selfie stick to make sure her face was clearly seen and proudly sporting her Trump sweatshirt, Saavedra barged into the bathroom attacking the unidentified woman. As she enters the restroom, the restaurant manager is already inside the ladies’ restroom, outside the stall where the trans woman is trying to do her business in peace.

"Why are you using the ladies' room?" Saavedra demands to know. The trans woman in the stall shouts back, “You guys are harassing me…you’re invading my privacy,”

"You're invading my privacy because I'm a woman!" Saavedra responds. 

As the manager attempted to remove Saavedra from the restroom, the would-be politician candidate yells, "You violated my rights! You're sick. Stupid, sick!”

"This is so stupid in California. You let people say, 'I'm a lady.' He's a man," Saavedra ranted as she made her way back into the restaurant, still broadcasting on Facebook. "This is so stupid in California. This is what the politicians, the sick politicians, approve. They put us in danger, a woman like me."

The great irony here is, obviously, it is the trans woman who is in danger; it is the trans woman’s privacy being invaded; and it’s the trans woman who merely wants to answer nature’s call and go about her life.

As the transgender woman was exiting the restaurant she addressed Saavedra asking, “Excuse me, I was using the toilet, how was I invading your privacy? Why are you singling me out, lady? And I’ve seen you yesterday following me.”

“Next time use the men’s room,” Saavedra hissed back. “Or nobody’s room. A transgender room.”

The Democratic congresswoman Saavedra is attempting to unseat is Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragan, who denounced Saavedra’s actions in a statement: “I was appalled by the treatment that this woman received for simply trying to use the restroom. Everyone has the right to their own identity, and the right not to be discriminated against for who they are.”

Behavior like this from a Trump supporter isn’t news to those who have watched the Trump/Pence administration attack and dismantle rights and protections for transgender individuals. This includes:


• Rolling back guidance that directed schools to recognize a student’s gender identity

• Proposing a ban on transgender military service members

• Revoking regulations that protect trans people from health care discrimination 

• Making changes to prison guidelines on where to house trans prisoners 


The Advocate contacted Saavedra who held tight to her declaration that she felt she was in danger.

"I was feeling afraid of being inside the bathroom with a man," she told The Advocate. "I didn’t know he was gay, I just heard the voice was a man. Another customer approached me and said that they were scared to go into the restroom because there was a voice of a man inside, and so I told the manager."

Watching the video below, Saavedra doesn’t look very “scared.”

As has been widely covered by the press, there has never been a reported incident of a transgender person attacking or harassing anyone in a bathroom anywhere in the country. Ever.

Even in this recorded video, it is Saavedra who is stalking the trans woman.

Watch the Facebook Live video below:


(h/t The Advocate)

This was created by one of our Contributing Writers and does not reflect the political opinion of Instinct Magazine or the other Contributing Writers when it comes to this subject. 

New York State Senate Republicans Kill Trans Protections Bill For 11th Year

For 11 years in a row, the New York state Assembly has approved legislation prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity.

And for the 11th year in a row, the Republican-controlled NY state Senate has killed that bill in committee. The legislation failed today on a party line 5-4 vote.

The Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, or GENDA, was defeated today in the New York Senate Investigations & Government Operations Committee.

GENDA would add “gender identity or expression” to the language of the existing NYS Human Rights Law that prohibits discrimination in the areas of employment, health care, housing, public transportation, public accommodations, and credit.

Sen. Brad Hoylman, the only openly LGBT member of the New York state Senate and the ranking Democrat on the committee, was disgusted.

“In 21st century New York State, it’s appalling that Senate Republicans would vote along party lines against GENDA,” said a statement from Hoylman’s office. “Human rights shouldn’t be a partisan issue – and they aren’t in other states.”

Hoylman lost no time pointing out that New Hampshire’s GOP-controlled legislature passed protections for LGBT folks this month. It’s now possible that New York will be the only state in the northeast without statewide protections for trans people.

"As the Trump Administration continues to roll back protections for LGBT Americans, New York has the obligation to protect its transgender citizens from discrimination and hate crimes,” Hoylman added. "Unfortunately, the State Senate failed miserably in its duties. Moving forward, I’ll continue to fight for passage of GENDA in a new State Senate after the midterms.”

Nine Trans People Have Been Killed in the U.S. This Year

The strangling death of 26-year-old Carla Patricia Flores-Pavón last week is the ninth known murder of a transgender person in the U.S. this year. The Human Rights Campaign has tracked violence against trans people and non-binary people since 2013. Last year, at least 28 transgender people were killed, a record since tracking began.

These are the nine transgender victims of fatal violence in 2018:

Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien, 42, was known throughout her North Adams, Massachusetts community as an activist. She founded and organized the Miss Trans New England pageant. She was found stabbed and beaten to death in her home on January 5. Her husband, Mark Steele-Knudslien, 47, was charged with the crime.

Viccky Gutierriez, 33, from Honduras, was a member of TransLatin@ Coalition’s Los Angeles organization. She was stabbed to death before her home was set on fire on January 10. Kevyn Ramirez, 29, faces the possibility of life in prison for the crime.

Tonya Harvey, 35, was shot to death in Buffalo, New York on February 6. Police initially identified Harvey as male before releasing an updated report. They are now investigating the murder as a possible hate crime.

Celine Walker, 36, was found dead from a gunshot wound in a Jacksonville, Florida hotel on February 4. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office misgendered Walker at first, claiming they do not identify victims as transgender. Authorities are still looking for a suspect.

Zakaria Fry, 28, and roommate Eugene Ray, 70, went missing from their New Mexico home in mid-January. Their bodies were discovered 40 miles outside of Albuquerque on February 19. Charles Spiess, 32, was arrested and charged with two counts of murder.

Phylicia Mitchell, 45, was shot to death outside her home in Cleveland, Ohio on February 23. On April 10, Cleveland.com reported that Gary Sanders, 36, was charged with aggravated murder in Mitchell’s death. The slaying is believed to be drug-related. "She was a good person,” her longtime partner Shane Mitchell told the Cleveland press. “Even though she had a drug problem, she's a good person. She got mixed up with the wrong people.”

Amia Tyrae Berryman, 28, was fatally shot in a Baton Rouge, Louisiana hotel March 26. Police have no suspects at this time. Local TV station WBRZ-TV 2 misgendered Berryman when first reporting the crime.

Sasha Wall, 29, was found dead from multiple bullet wounds in her still-running car on Easter Sunday in the sandhills of South Carolina. No arrests have been made in the ongoing investigation, but local media  have reported a lead. Local station WSOC-TV misidentified Wall as male.

Carla Patricia Flores-Pavón, 26, was fatally strangled in her Dallas apartment on May 9. A man was seen leaving her apartment shortly before she was found. A source told local station CBS 11 the victim had recently connected with a man in a chat room.  An investigation is underway. Dallas police say there is no evidence of a hate crime.


Seven of these women were women of color. Violence disproportionately impacts trans people of color, who are uniquely vulnerable due to a struggle for basic living needs like employment, housing and healthcare in the crosshairs of racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia.

TV Show Creator Ryan Murphy To Donate 100% Of His Profits From "Pose" To LGBTQ Charities

Tv Show creator Ryan Murphy is gearing up for possibly his most important show yet.

Pose is Murhpy’s latest projects and takes place in New York City during the 1980s. The story follows the queer ballroom scene that became most famous from documentary film Paris is Burning.

Not only is this new series exciting from the historic and cultural perspective, but its also exciting in terms of representation. Pose will become the tv show with the most transgender actors of any shows in history, and it has a diverse behind-the-camera crew as well.

But it doesn’t even end there, because show creator Ryan Murphy has announced recently that he’ll be donating all of his profits from the show to trans and LGBTQ charities.

As Murphy posted on twitter, he’ll now share the name and mission of each charity that he’ll be donating to for the next two weeks.

And what are the first two charities that he’s talked about since that announcement?

First, the Sylvia Rivera Law Project will be a recipient of Ryan Murphy’s donations. This legal organization fights for the rights of LGBTQ, and specifically transgender, citizens. They offer legal help with name changes, IDs, immigration, and more.

Second, Murphy will be donating his proceeds to the Peter Cicchino Youth Project. This organization offers help and legal assistance to LGBTQ youth (mostly youth of color) in poverty or who are homeless.

These are just two of the fourteen organizations that will be bettered by these donations from Murphy. That said, it doesn’t have to end right there.

Consider donating yourselves to these wonderful organizations and causes. You can donate to the Peter Cicchino Youth Project here or donate as little as $5 to the Sylvia Rivera Law Project here.

Then, of course, make sure to check on Murphy’s twitter page regularly to see what other organizations he will be donating to and that you could be donating to.

This Nation's Registered Transgender Voter Population Just Doubled, But Still So Small In Relation To The Real Numbers.

When an entire demographic category of voters doubles in size, the first thought leads to corruption and scandal.  But in this case, the thought is that there should be even more.

The nation is India and the demographic in question is the transgender voting population.

According to data available with the office of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), transgender voter registration has doubled from the previous Assembly elections and 4,552 have registered this year in the State. But is this a good representation of the community?  India's transgender community numbers 4.8 million, according to data from the latest round of the census.

Among the first-time voters is a senior citizen from the community, Jagadamba, 65. She was disowned by her family at the age of 14 and she went to Mumbai where she was forced to beg and engage in sex work to eke out a living.

“I didn’t want to do it anymore. I came back home but my family refused to accept me. I have been living with my community members in Bengaluru. Last month, I was told about voter registration and I finally got my card. I had no idea about the process of voting, before this,” she said. - thehindu.com

How many of us register to vote and don't follow through?  A great amount of us for one reason or another.  But if you are transgender, showing up on voting day may involve more than our simple excuses.  These could range from ridicule and discrimination, name calling, and physical threats.

But then as we know, not everyone that is transgender will register as a transgender voter.  Some have most likely registered as male or female, not wanting to draw attention to being different or becoming a statistic or being discriminated against.

There is also the fact that before you register as a transgender voter, you will have to have the correct paperwork stating that you are transgender and that may be just too many steps out into the spotlight for some people to take.

But it is important for the Indian transgender community to have voters take part in the process.  Stand and be counted!  If you are not counted, then no one will know you are there.

Bravo for India and its doubling the number of transgender voters.  But with a population of 1.3 billion, a transgender population of possibly 4.8 million and now just over 4,500 registered transgender voters, there is still a long way to go.  But we in the West may be looking for pointers soon.

Next time you look at any forms, consider looking to see the variety of options.

We still live in a very binary world. 

Many forms and policies still only deal with (cis) male or (cis) female.

Have you filled out any forms recently or even in your lifetime that have the word transgender on it?  or even "other"? 

Or more than the male or female options for gender identification?

h/t:  thehindu.com

Are Dating Preferences Discriminatory?

Does Society Affect Our Attractions?

In February 2018, Vice released an article specifically addressing the subject of a Transgender dating demographic. One quote from the transgender woman and writer, Abigail Curlew, is:

“[she isn’t suggesting it’s] imperative to be attracted to trans women…[but] your attraction is shaped by preconceived notions and stereotypes.”

Curlew begs us, although seemingly only cisgendered heterosexual men, to “critically reflect on the factors that might shape your attractions.”

In the conclusion, Curlew understands that dating preferences are simply, well, preferences, and discourages people to view videos such as Riley J. Denniscontroversial vlog which stating everyone should essentially be…bisexual(?)…are harmful to the transgender community- which is true. Curlew’s article has been circulating across my social media for the last two months and continues to get a variety of comments, especially from the heterosexual community. Some of the heinous comments make me wonder if people are actually buying the Straight Pride pin off Amazon…but I digress.

I’ve definitely questioned myself after reading Curlew’s article. Is society truly affecting our attraction to other people? Within the media, I see countless interracial couples, various age gaps, and even dating within the transgender community, as seen recently with Laverne Cox showcasing her new boyfriend. Society has been progressing over the last decade and it still continues to move forward today. Just look at current commercials: What once was fully of busty blondes – essentially becoming the term All American – we now see more ethnically ambiguous persons advertising love and a happy home. We’re moving ahead as a society, and while we aren’t where we all want to be yet. Progression doesn’t happen overnight. With more positive influences in the media and society, I fully expect to witness an abundance of complete opposites dating. However, to say society is the reason we have dating preferences is a bit fickle.  

Personally speaking, I find myself arguably attracted to a wide variety of personalities and bodies. Typically, I have a type, and that is Older, but I’m known to be a little flexible. In the same breath, I know there is a huge dating scene – although much more closeted – for heterosexual men and the transgender women community. Everyone has a niche and will seek out what turns them on the most. There’s nothing wrong with that, but rejection takes the most control over an ego, which leads to ridiculous vlogs and blogs of people whining they are being discriminated against for dating preferences. Some people truly are cruel and rude, yes, but I’m failing to see the big issue with dating preferences.

I frequently joke through various articles about my desperation while being single, but I act almost as if I can’t get a man to turn his neck as I walk pass. That’s not true. I get hit on, plenty, yet I remain single by choice – as I want to genuinely be attracted to someone and not force feed myself some bogus relationship for the sake of comfort, loneliness, or sharing memories together on social media. I’ve been attracted to an endless amount of men who aren’t attracted to me. People merely have a type and don’t tend to sway far from it.

We could sit here all day and argue the hypocrisy in the dating game. I’ve encountered plenty of jocks­ – for the lack of a better term – who have turned me away for being too feminine. Yet, I see them in a crop top and booty shorts in the club while they’re on GHB with their arms around a local Drag Queen screaming “YAS!” I’ve ghosted on an older man once (or twice) and gave him a cold shoulder when he requested a reason. I never gave one, which he without reason alleged it was age difference– only to spot me on a date with a man his age a few weeks later.

I would also absolutely laugh in your face if you told me I had to be attracted to an 18-year-old College Student who had a crush on me. That’s never going to happen. Why is age the only justified reason for not being attracted to someone? I wouldn’t have anything in common with a teenager – especially be attracted to one – but if he is attracted to me, does that mean I must automatically give him a chance? NO!

In my opinion, we’ve got to stop putting pressure on someone for having a preference in dating and stop labeling it transphobic, femmephobic, racist, or the like. Are we all so narcissistic and vein that we must blame others for not finding us attractive? What ever happened to “there’s plenty of other fish in the sea?" Is that phrase long dead since we live in too politically correct society? It’s time to stop with the excuses. Wherever your from, whomever did you wrong, didn’t be who you wanted them to be- anything. It cannot be about other people anymore and how they’ve affected our mentality. It’s up to us to find love and consensual relationships. It’s time to stop trying to force them.

This post is the opinion of this contributing writer to Instinct Magazine. Opinion pieces do not always reflect the stance of the magazine or the other contributing writers.  

Pentagon Details Trump's Infuriating New Trans Military Ban


In July of 2017 Donald Trump fired off a series of his notoriously well thought out, researched tweets that feel as though they're generated by a Megalomaniac Magic 8 Ball (available at a White House near you!) that declared a ban on all transgender people serving in the military.

The tweets caused an uproar in the LGBTQ community, as well as in all communities comprised of people who aren't horrible, but even after Trump attempted to take things further in August of 2017 - working diligently to overturn the Obama Administration's 2016 policy allowing transgender people to serve our country - the original plan was stalled until this year. According to Time, the White House administration declared in 2017 that the Pentagon had "until March 23, 2018" to enact a new trans military bad.



Well guess what yesterday was. In a not-so-surprising move for this current White House administration, in the 11th hour we now have details about the new policy recently signed by Trump, and while an outright ban on all trans people was rescinded, the new one lets transphobia ring true with enough concessions to potentially make the policy stick. A memo from the White House states that under the new policy:

...transgender persons with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria -- individuals who the policies state may require substantial medical treatment, including medications and surgery -- are disqualified from military service except under certain limited circumstances.

[military personnel must be] stable for 36 consecutive months in their biological sex prior to accession [or] not require a change of gender [in order to serve]. 

Those who served under the Obama administration are also exempt from the new policy. The White House memo continues:

This new policy will enable the military to apply well-established mental and physical health standards -- including those regarding the use of medical drugs -- equally to all individuals who want to join and fight for the best military force the world has ever seen.

Trump's new transgender ban will still have to go through the federal courts, so nothing is final as of yet. The fact that we are attempting to turn away people willing to fight for our country is unfathomable, unconscionable, and unpatriotic, and just shows how desperate Trump is to rally his far right supporters.