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Published on December 26th, 2011 | by Wild Gender


Gender Bending Year In Review: 30 Events That Rocked Our World

In 2011, Google started to cover our healthcare. We wore a Jean Paul Gaultier wedding gown, we excelled in sports, painted our nails, grieved, laughed, and wished the coverage of Chaz Bono would stop.

In other words, here is the much anticipated month-to-month Wild Gender year-in-review: 30 events from start to finish.

JANUARY: Sour SNL, Hot Pejic

1. “Saturday Night Live” airs a sketch that inflames the transgender community. The skit was a filmed commercial spoof for a “Estro-Maxx,” a drug for transgender women. “You deserve to be in the body you want,” cast member Bill Hader says in the bit. “But most hormone-replacement therapies require you to take five estrogen supplements a day. Five — who has time for that?”

2. Andrej Pejic closes Jean Paul Gaultier’s Spring/Summer 2011 haute couture show in Paris in drag as the traditional bride. The collection was inspired by British punks and French showgirls, with the models sporting mohawks and Pejic trailed by a highkicking cancan girl.


3. February of 2011 is victory for a transgender Michigan high school teen who was stripped of his prom king crown in 2010. This month, Oakleigh Marshall Reed celebrated his school’s decision to hold a gender-neutral prom court. “I’m so glad that the rules have been changed,” Reed said in a statement released by the ACLU. “All I wanted was a chance for all students to participate and be heard. Now my classmates and I can just focus on having a great time at our school dance.”

APRIL: Hot Pink

4. A photo of J.Crew president and creative director, Jenna Lyons painting her son’s toe nails hot pink is published in a J. Crew ad. Uproar ensues. “This is a dramatic example of the way that our culture is being encouraged to abandon all trappings of gender identity,” psychiatrist Dr. Keith Ablow wrote in a Fox News Health column.

MAY: Sports

5. Gender-variance sees success in the world of sports: Lana Lawless, the transgender woman who sued the L.P.G.A. and the Long Drivers of America challenging their rule that competitors be “female at birth,” settled her case after both bodies she was suing lifted their bans. Lawless was ruled ineligible when the Long Drivers of America banned transgender competitors. She was prevented from competing in the L.P.G.A. because of a similar rule.

6. Also in May, celebrated trans-male athlete, Kye Allums retires from the George Washington women’s basketball team after two concussions.

JUNE: Adventures in Parenting

7. Both the New York Times and National Public Radio pick up on the idea of gender-neutral parenting. NYT encourages us to read My Princess Boy, a gender-variant children’s book by Cheryl Kilodavis. In turn, NPR introduces us to Arwyn Daemyir, writer of a blog called Raising My Boychick. Daemyir blogs about raising a “male-assigned at birth” that is “so far apparently comfortable with that assignment, white, currently able-bodied, congenitally hypothyroid, cosleeper, former breastfed toddler, elimination communication graduate, sling baby and early walker, trial and terror, cliched light of our life, and impetus for the blog. Odds are, he will be the most privileged of persons: a middle class, able bodied, cisgender, straight, white male.

8. NPR also proclaims a looming “End of Gender”  see the rebuttal from Wild Gender’s Editor-In-Chief.

JULY: Harmony

9. Trans superstar, Harmony Santana makes her big-screen debut in Rashaad Ernesto Green’s coming-out drama “Gun Hill Road,” which had its premiere January 2011 at the Sundance Film Festival. The movie opened commercially in New York on Aug. 5.



AUGUST: SoCo is bad theatre, triathlon 

10. Trans triathlete, Chris Mosier finishes 233 out of 3,140 in the New York triathlon. Out of 2088 men entered in the competition, he finished 277.

11. In a disturbing twist of fate, a musical based on “Southern Comfort,” Kate Davis’s award-winning documentary about transgender friends in rural Georgia debuted, infamously, as a musical comedy at CAP21 Theater Company in Manhattan.

SEPTEMBER: Tango, Chaz

12. The joy of seeing Justin Vivian Bond’s new book “Tango” reviewed in the New York Times is marred by writer, Benoit Denizet-Lewis’s lack of respect for V’s chosen pronouns. Denizet-Lewis noted that Bond prefers the pronoun “V,” but consistently referred to V as “he.” See Bond’s letter to the editor here.

13. Chaz Bono, Cher and Sonny’s trans son, puts his toe into the water of “Dancing with the Stars” for the first time last September, feels just like yesterday don’ it?

OCTOBER: Chaz Kaput, Tammy Reigns

14. Tammy Lobel, an 11-year-old transgender girl is featured in a CNN article titled “Transgender kids: Painful quest to be who they are.” The article detailed the use of hormone blockers as part of “gender identity disorder” treatment for some underage kids

15. Chaz is ousted from “Dancing With the Stars.”

NOVEMBER: XY, Girl Scout

16. The XY Movement starts on the streets of Dallas, Texas behind artist DPhil Spanglishman, a 19-year-old who wants gender identity and expression to be more fluid for all folks.

17. Jonny Saelua becomes the first female-identified transgender player to compete on a World Cup stage. The 23-year-old Saelua played a key role in American Samoa’s 2-1 victory against Tonga in a 2014 World Cup qualifier. It was American Samoa’s first victory in international soccer.

18. 7-year-old Bobby Montoya identifies as “she” and wants desperately to be part of the Girl Scouts. In response, the Girls Scouts releases a statement welcoming gender-variant kids.

19. A Tennessee-based transgender woman goes topless in the parking lot of a local DMV in an effort to convey her proper gender identity to DMV officials. She was arrested for indecent exposure after taking her shirt off after the Morristown Driver’s License Office refused to change her gender from male to female on her driver’s license.

20. The Pakistani transgender community celebrates the Supreme Court ruling ordering the federal government to register them as voters. “We’re all happy that the Supreme Court has taken some notice of us,” one of the country’s 80,000 transgender citizens told the BBC. “Now the government should implement it immediately.”

21. Family, friends and community members are mourning the loss of Shelley Hilliard, a 19-year-old transgender woman who was reported missing several weeks ago. Police were able to identify a burned torso found on Detroit’s east side as belonging to Shelley, who was also known as Treasure. “She was loved by a lot of people, a lot of friends, a lot of family,” Shelley’s mother Lyniece Nelson (pictured right holding a photo of Shelley) told The Detroit News. “She just brought joy to everyone that she came in contact with. She was always there for her family.”

DECEMBER: News, News, News

22. California Governor Jerry Brown signs two transgender rights bills into law. The first is Assembly Bill 433, the Vital Statistics Modernization Act, makes the process for Californians to obtain and update birth certificates easier. The other bill, Assembly Bill 887, also known as the Gender Nondiscrimination Act, bulks up employment, housing and other civil rights protections for trans people.

23. “This report is a critical call to action,” said Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey (NTDS) that named Latino and Latina transgender and gender non-conforming people at the highest levels of discrimination of all transgender people.

24. Piyah Martell — aka Honey B Diva — does a Q&A with the Huffinton Post after has becoming an internet sensation with her YouTube cover videos of songs by artists like Lady Gaga and Mariah Carey.

25. Anna Grodzka becomes Poland’s first openly transgender parliamentarian.

26. The transgender half of an identical set of twins, Nicole, is profiled on the front page of the Boston Globe. Her case with the Orono Maine School Department was made famous within the state when Nicole and her family plead for the right use her bathroom of choice. She won.

27. Time Magazine publishes an article by writer Adam Cohen called: “Transgender People: the next frontier in civil rights.”Cohen cites the federal court decision that ruled in favor of a Georgia trans woman who was fired for being a Georgia transgender woman. The federal court system determined that her firing was a violation of the U.S. Constitution. In the article, Cohen also references the increase in U.S. companies that went public recently for including gender reassignment surgery in their insurance packages, nearly one third of companies now cover surgery, including businesses like: Apple, Google, American Airlines, and Chevron. Besides this, Cohen makes the point that: “If two of the nation’s most powerful institutions, federal courts and major corporations, are increasingly lining up behind transgender people, then change is undoubtedly on the way.” Wild Gender’s biggest gripe with this article is that it is included in the Time’s “New Ideas” section. We find the idea that human rights for gender variant folks is a “new idea” as laughable.

28. The internet exploded when the U.K. Department for Education announced a proposal to include transgender anti-discrimination lessons in the curriculum of Personal, Social and Health Education for students as young as elementary school.

29. A Massachusetts newspaper’s parody version of a holiday carol pokes fun at Chaz Bono’s gender reassignment surgery and the state’s new transgender protections law.

30. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and two other activist groups took out a full-page ad in Variety calling on ABC to kill a midseason sitcom, “Work It,” about straight guys who dress in drag to land jobs. Under the headline, “Work It Doesn’t Work,” the advocacy groups say the show “invites the audience to laugh at images of men trying to adopt a feminine appearance,” making it “easier to mock” transgender people in the real world. As of Tuesday, ABC executives had no comment on the flap. The network plans to launch the series Jan. 3 as part of its midseason lineup, with another episode scheduled for Jan. 10


This is by far not a complete list. Do you have another notable person, place, or thing of 2011 to add?

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About the Author

Wild Gender

is an online magazine and creative hub born out of gratitude for the gift of full expression. We are dedicated to creative practices that celebrate gender fluidity, identity and expression. Wild Gender prioritizes visual art, creative writing, and journalistic work by trans/gender-variant individuals who have never before been published in a public venue. Run entirely by volunteers,we are always in search of writers, thinkers, and creators hoping to participate in our growing community.

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