Hate-based violence is so common for transgender people that each year we set aside a day of remembrance for those who have been victimized. Transgender Day of Remembrance is Nov. 20, and UMKC will hold two events to raise awareness and support for the transgender community.

The first event is open only to those who identify as transgender and/or their partners. This event, called “Trans-sex for the Trans-and-Sexy,” will be from 8 to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13, at UMKC Student Union’s Room 301. The second event, which is open to the general public, is titled “Bear Bergman Presents: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Gender” from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 14, at UMKC Student Union’s Room 401BC. To learn more about Transgender Day of Remembrance, visit www.transgenderdor.org.
Other big events in the news lately include California’s passing of a bill that outlaws the use of “reparative therapy” for minors. Reparative therapy is also known as Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (SOCE) or “ex-gay therapy.” It is considered unethical because it is based on the premise that homosexuality is a disease, a mythology that has been eradicated from medical literature for nearly 40 years. After extensive reviews of the use of such treatment, the American Psychological Association, along with the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Counseling Association, the National Association of Social Workers and others have found that such therapy is not only ineffective, but highly likely to cause significant long-term harm. This is because reparative therapy is based on changing sexual behavior, but is not able to change sexual orientation (the deeper affectional attraction toward a particular individual).

Similar bills are being proposed throughout the country, encouraging legislators to ban the use of reparative therapy for minors because of the potential for increasing teen suicide, which is already considered to be a significant public health concern in the United States. According to a 2011 article in the Journal of Adolescent Health, suicide is the third most common cause of adolescent death in the United States and gay teens are at almost three times the risk of attempting suicide as straight teens. Articles published by reputable sources such as the American Academy of Pediatrics (2011) found that supportive environments (families who do not reject their LGBT youth) reduce the risk of suicide by over 20 percent. Here is an interview with N.J. Assemblyman Timothy Eustace, who supports a ban on reparative therapy for minors:
Advocate magazine reported that this past summer, Springfield, Mo., proposed an ordinance that would have protected LGBT residents from discrimination due to their sexual identity. A Missouri pastor by the name of Phil Snider used a paradoxical strategy to point out that only a few decades ago, religious fanatics were using the exact same arguments and rhetoric to support anti-black racial segregation. Watch his powerful speech: www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/22/rev-phil-snider-gay-rights-speech-video-missouri-_n_2001007.html
A study published in the October issue of American Journal of Orthopsychiatry (that’s the study of mental health, social justice and human development) found that gay adoptive parents are great parents. The study compared children in foster care who were adopted by lesbian/gay parents and heterosexual parents. Their findings supported the fact that although LGBT people face significant barriers to adopting children, those who are able to overcome those barriers end up doing just fine. Read the Atlantic article about the study at: www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/10/study-gay-adoptive-parents-make-great-adoptive-parents/263893/
Last but not least, one father comes to terms with his lesbian daughter and celebrates her life like we wish all parents could. Check out this touching video about non-judgmental love and respect for one’s children titled “Dear Dads Everywhere: Please Be More Like this Guy” at www.upworthy.com/dear-dads-everywhere-please-be-more-like-this-guy?g=2&c=ufb1

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