Transgender

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA


It’s a fact of life that when you’re born, you don’t get to choose your name. But Claire Bloom, 24, decided about six years ago that she had to change her name.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA


Alex and Jess Welker sat on a plush tan couch in their McCandless home and recounted their first date. The two tell the story together, going back and forth with details of their earliest interaction.

Ted S. Warren / AP

Some LGBT advocates are discouraging Amazon from building its second headquarters in states that don’t have full discrimination protection laws– including Pennsylvania.

Matt Rourke / AP

Recent allegations suggest sexual harassment is part of the "culture of silence" in Harrisburg, LNP Media reports.

Kevin McCorry / WHYY

Republican-penned legislation in Pennsylvania to prohibit coverage for gender or sex reassignment surgery and services under taxpayer-paid insurance programs is on ice after lawmakers realized their own health insurance covers it.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Jesse Topper, said Wednesday he decided to pull the bill from the House's debate calendar a day earlier so he could find out more about the coverage.

Tyler James Titus / Tyler Titus for Erie School Board Facebook

A western Pennsylvania school board has a new, openly transgender member.

The Erie Times-News reports Tyler Titus won one of four open seats on the Erie School Board on Tuesday.

The Victory Fund, a political action committee dedicated to electing openly LGBT people, says 33-year-old Titus is the first openly transgender person ever elected in the state of Pennsylvania.

Titus is a clinical therapist and Democrat who won a write-in Democratic nomination in May.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

A lawsuit filed Monday against the Allegheny County Jail and its administration claims the jail allowed a transgender inmate to be repeatedly sexually abused while she was incarcerated with male inmates.

The suit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania and The Law Offices of Timothy O’Brien on behalf of Jules Williams is seeking damages.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh received a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s annual assessment of LGBTQ-friendly laws.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Four members of the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church protested at Carnegie Mellon University Thursday afternoon. They were met by hundreds counter-protesters who tried to drown out the church’s singing with their own chants, bagpipes, noisemakers, and drums.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

Transgender people face many challenges, from housing discrimination to fatal violence. 

Elaine Thompson / AP, file

The attorney representing three former students who sued the Pine-Richland School District says the parties are expected to sign a settlement in the next few days.

Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, with New York-based Lambda Legal which advocates for LGBTQIA rights, declined to comment on the terms of the settlement until then.

Gerry Broome / AP Photo

Updated: 1:53 p.m. Monday, Feb. 27, 2017.

The Pittsburgh Public Schools District says it is committed to supporting transgender students and has not changed its nondiscrimination policy following the Trump administration’s move to rescind protections.

David Bachman / Pittsburgh Opera

There is no fancy set, no elaborate costumes. Just a small three-level stage, a string quartet and two opera singers — who both happen to be playing the same person.

“My character is Hannah Before; Hannah before she transitions to female,” said Brian Vu, a resident artist with the Pittsburgh Opera.

Fellow resident artist Taylor Raven is Hannah After.

Miles Karson for Mercer County DA / Facebook

A western Pennsylvania prosecutor plans to release details about the police shooting of a transgender suspect whose mother called police saying she was being threatened.

Mercer County District Attorney Miles Karson Jr. says his staff was briefed last week by state troopers who investigated the shooting of Sean Marie Hake by Sharon police on Jan. 6. The DA plans to announce their findings at a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

The 23-year-old suspect was born female but identified as male and used the name Sean Ryan Hake at the time of the shooting.

Leslie Chatfield / flickr

Pittsburgh could become the first municipality in the state to ban conversion therapy for minors who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. City Council introduced legislation Tuesday that would prevent parents and guardians from forcing youth to undergo the practice.   

Elaine Thomson / AP

Three transgender seniors at Pine-Richland high school have sued the district for changing its rules about which restrooms they must use. They are being represented by Lambda Legal, a civil rights organization that focuses on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Landon DePaulo’s manniversary is Dec. 27, 2012.

That’s when he injected his first $100 shot of testosterone. It's a steep cost to look like himself, he said.

Michael Righl / Flickr

 

Faculty and staff members at the University of Pittsburgh now receive transgender benefits, including behavioral health support, medications and surgery.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports officials say the change, which was sent to employees last week, is meant to bring the university into compliance with federal rules on sex discrimination in employment.

Months after the Obama administration advised school districts that transgender students should be given access to bathrooms based on their gender identity, a federal judge in Texas has blocked the guidance from going into effect — for now.

U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor has granted a preliminary, nationwide injunction in response to a lawsuit filed by Texas and a number of other states.

Torkbak Hopper / flickr

In April, Governor Tom Wolf signed two executive orders that expanded non-discrimination protections to all state workers and state contractors based on their sexual identity, gender identity and gender expression. While this marks a progressive step forward for employees of the state, transgender Pennsylvanians still face challenges when it comes to health care access, legal assistance and workplace discrimination. Representative Dan Frankel (D-23) has introduced legislation to combat these problems, and Dr. Rachel Levine, Pennsylvania Physician General is a major advocate.

The Obama administration issued guidance to schools Friday, saying they must allow transgender students to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity.

The administration acknowledges this is "new terrain" for some people and says it wants to help school districts avoid running afoul of civil rights laws.

Ted Eytan / flickr

Several western Pennsylvania schools are considering or actively creating bathroom policies for transgender students.  While many districts have been receptive to the policies, some parents have expressed concerns. We’ll examine the issue and what a policy could look like in schools.

xMizLitx / Flickr

For attorney Aimee Zundel, Pittsburgh Public Schools' student policies need to serve the needs of all students.

"Particularly our at-risk populations and students that are more susceptible to not feeling safe within the school for example,” Zundel said. 

Zundel is working with the district, and its policy committee, to craft a plan to outline specific rights for transgender students. 

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Members and allies of the transgender community are gathering in Pittsburgh on Thursday to raise awareness about transgender issues.

Events celebrating Transgender Day of Visibility are taking place across the state, including the Steel City at 6 p.m. at the Persad Center in Lawrenceville.

Members of the local transgender community are planning to share their personal stories and how they’ve been affected by discrimination.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Saturday brought to Pittsburgh some of the most unpleasant weather yet this season, but a few dozen people braved the cold and rain to hold vigil for someone they had never met.

Andi Woodhouse, 24, jumped from the 10th Street Bridge to his death on December 13th. Organizers of Saturday’s vigil say he was mis-gendered in reports from the medical examiner’s office and various media outlets, which had referred to Woodhouse as a woman named Amber.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Council took preliminary steps Wednesday to add gender identity and expression as an explicitly protected class with regard to housing, employment and public accommodation.

Council President Bruce Kraus sponsored the legislation and said the issue was brought to his attention by Jason Goodman, executive director of the Pennsylvania Student Equality Coalition, or PSEC.

Sharing The Stories Of Pittsburgh's Transgender Community

Jun 2, 2014
"2 Political Junkies" / Blogger

This year’s Pittsburgh Pride Week will have the most extensive spotlight on transgender communities so far.

Jessica McGuiness is a former EMT who transitioned from male to female over the last 10 years, and she shared her story about living in Pittsburgh and how growing up was difficult for her.

While working as an EMT, McGuiness started to undergo the process of becoming a female. McGuiness says she was a quiet person and kept to herself, even as her coworkers would degrade transgender patients coming through the hospital, right in front of her. She said it took her some time to become comfortable coming out to them, or anyone.