Pope Francis Holds Private Audience With Transgender Man

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This weekend at the Vatican, Pope Francis met with a Spanish transgender man, Diego Neria Lejárraga, after he wrote a letter to the Pope complaining that his church discriminated against him following his gender-reassignment surgery. The Washington Blade says Lejárraga complained about the rejection he felt from his fellow congregants, who even went so far as to abuse him with verbal attacks, calling him names like “the devil’s daughter.”

“After hearing him on many occasions, I felt that he would listen to me,” Neria told a newspaper publisher in Spain.

Human rights groups are applauding the Pope’s move, calling it a historic, forward-thinking move for the papacy. Marianne Duddy-Burke, executive director of LGBT Catholics group Dignity USA told the Blade that the meeting is a “very significant event.”

“For the Pope to meet with a transgender man about to be married, and for that meeting to result in this man feeling more hopeful about his place in the Church, shows a concern for those at the very margins of our church,” she said. “I hope the Pope listened carefully to this man’s experience, and will speak about what he heard.”

Tom Wolf Names Transgender Woman Physician General

Image courtesy of Penn State

Image courtesy of Penn State

On Saturday, Governor-Elect Tom Wolf released the names of four more members of his cabinet, one of which is a transgender woman, Dr. Rachel Levine, who will serve as his physician general.

Dr. Levine, a resident of Middletown, Pennsylvania, is currently a professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry at the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, where she also serves as chief of the Division of Adolescent Medicine and Eating Disorders, a program she created on her own. She has also worked actively with the school’s Office of Diversity, mentoring LGBT students, faculty and staff, and she sits on the board of Equality PA.

In her role as physician general, Levine will advise the governor and secretary of the Department of Health on medical and public health-related issues. In a press release sent out this weekend, Wolf explains why he chose her for this position:

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Stop Talking About Bruce Jenner’s Body

Via Shutterstock.

Via Shutterstock.

Sunday’s Golden Globes was historic: Transparent, the groundbreaking Amazon show, won Best TV Show (Musical or Comedy), the first time that a program that depicted trans lives in a realistic and profound way ever won such an award. This was a huge turning point for Hollywood…at least for a couple of days. Read more »

Leelah Alcorn’s Memory Lives On at Golden Globes and Beyond

leelah alcorn

The death of Leelah Alcorn has shaken the LGBT community to its core. Many have responded saying that her suicide was “the transgender tipping point.” What made her passing such an ongoing topic of conversation was the suicide note she left on her blog. The letter detailed the rejection she experienced as a trans teen, striking a familiar chord in youth across the nation.

But, as we’ve seen in the past, with everything bad comes something positive. What makes Alcorn’s situation rather inspiring is the amount of people who are coming forward to do good for others in her memory.

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University of Delaware to Offer All-Gender Housing Option

Shutterstock.com

Shutterstock.com

The University of Delaware (UD) is kicking off a pretty cool new policy starting in the fall semester of 2015: all-gender housing. The plan, according to a press release, is being put in place to “support those students who may identify as transgender, are questioning their gender identity, do not wish to prescribe to gender classifications or are uncomfortable with a same-sex roommate.”

More from Kathleen Kerr, executive director of Residence Life and Housing at UD: “We believe this option will provide a more comfortable living environment and on-campus home for some of our students. … The goal is to create an environment that acknowledges and respects the diverse nature and needs of our student body.”

Interested students will get suite-style double and single rooms with a shared bath in a yet-to-be-determined facility on Laird Campus. For now, the option is only available to sophomores, juniors and seniors aged 18 years and up, though the Residence Life and Housing says incoming freshmen with an interest should inquire about other options.

For more information, go here.

 

Rep. Mark Cohen to Introduce Transgender Rights Bills in New Session

Cohen at a recent Capitol news conference.

Last spring, Philly Representative Mark Cohen announced that he would introduce Pennsylvania’s first transgender rights bill in the House. That, unfortunately, never came to be, because, as Philly trans activist Jordan Gwendolyn Davis tells me, of changes during the drafting process. But don’t fret, a new and more-specific series of bills are on their way.

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Jersey Froyo Mogul Says Offensive Messages Result of Hack

This morning, while we were all snoozing, FanSince09, the same Twitter sleuth who tracked down this summer’s gay-bashing suspects, was in the midst of a Twitter war of sorts with Gino D’Ottavio, owner of Egg Harbor, New Jersey’s Yogo Factory. It all started when FanSince09 noticed an unseemly status update O’ttavio left on Facebook that referenced Leelah Alcorn, the transgender teen who recently committed suicide because her parents refused to allow her to transition from male to female. Those updates have been taken down, but FanSince09 sent me some screen captures.

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