Yulianus Rettoblaut, 51 and the first transgender person to earn a law degree from an Islamic university, has opened her home to other aging Indonesian “waria,” according to an article and video available at http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/02/20/worlds-first-home-for-transgender-elderly/
Waria combines the Indoensian word for woman (wanita) and the word for man (pria). Between 3 and 12 waria live at the home (the video and article contradict each other), with as many as 800 on a waiting list. Government funds will provide some food subsidies, while 70 churches are said to provide some support (mostly shelter during floods).
The 7-minute video interviews Rettoblaut and several of her residents and includes stories about her brother’s rejection and ultimate reconciliation. The article also address opposition from the Islamic Defenders Front.
A promising new academic journal focused on health issues affecting LGBT people of all ages, LGBT Health, is due to launch later this year.
The editorial board line-up bodes well for coverage of aging issues and, especially, transgender issues. Brian de Vries, Ph.D., longtime LGBT aging researcher at San Francisco State University, is one such member. Many familiar transgender researchers have been recruited, as well, including A. Evan Eyler, M.D., Louis Gooren, Ph.D., and Sam Winter, Ph.D.
Sign up for email notices of the publication of LGBT Health editions by emailing journalmarketing3 [at] liebertpub [dot] com. For a news release on the journal, surf to http://www.sciencecodex.com/new_lgbt_health_journal_launching_in_2013-105787
FORGE has made available two free, on-demand webinars that may be of interest to those interested in LGBT aging issues.
“Transgender 101 for LGBT Aging Professionals” introduces transgender concepts and helps professionals identify how these concepts may impact service provision. It’s available at
“How Obama is Changing Growing Old LGBT” is now a little dated — it amazes this 55-year-old LGBT aging advocate just how quickly federal policy is changing — as it was prepared in November 2011. Nevertheless, this is a good introduction to some of the major changes that are affecting LGBT older adults and the profesionals who serve them. It’s available at
A new blog post, “How well does bereavement counselling in the UK provide for the particular needs of trans people?” (at http://www.counselling-directory.org.uk/counsellor-articles/how-well-does-bereavement-counselling-in-the-uk-provide-for-the-particular-need) gives us the opportunity to point out two other relevant resources.
One is an older FORGE Transgender Aging Network first-person article, “FTM Post-Mortem,” that has been recently reformatted and illustrated with photographs and uploaded to the FORGE website at http://forge-forward.org/wp-content/docs/FTM-post-mortem.pdf
The other is a very useful resource that we had previously missed and the blog post alerted us to. It’s entitled “Bereavement: A guide for transsexual, tansgender people and loved ones.” Although it was written for the UK and discusses specific UK laws, it includes advice for loved ones and coroners, etc. that would be good even if you live elsewhere. It’s available at
The place of transgender and gender variant people in American society is rapidly changing. Another marker of this change was issued this summer by the American Psychiatric Association (APA). The APA formed a task force on the treatment of gender identity disorder (GID) – the psychiatric label the APA assigned to transgender people in 1980 – to “perform a critical review of the literature on the treatment of GID at different ages, to assess the quality of evidence pertaining to treatment, and to prepare a report that included an opinion as to whether or not sufficient credible literature exists for development of treatment recommendations by the APA.” Continue reading
A Chinese calligrapher who came out at age 80 is profiled (and inaccurately pronouned) in a short profile at http://www.china.org.cn/wap/2012-06/14/content_25646014.htm
The story notes that Qian Yiling “deceived [her] parents, wife and son all these years,” but “After revealing [her] secret, [her] relatives, friends, and the [Foshan Cultural, Radio, TV, Film, Press and Publication] bureau have shown understanding.” It ends by noting that her wife “is willing to go out with her female-dressed husband.”
As noted in this blog on June 1, Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) and the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) recently released a groundbreaking report, “Improving the Lives of Transgender Older Adults: Recommendations for Policy and Practice.”
Two weeks later the Daily Kos ran a long article on the report, still available with a long list of reader comments. The article is available at http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/06/16/1100577/-Aging-Transgenders-Quality-of-Life . The publication itself is at http://transequality.org/Resources/TransAgingPolicyReportFull.pdf
For many aging service providers, transgender elders exist in some mysterious place located between lurid television talk shows and an (otherwise) massive cultural silence. Told they are going to be serving or caring for a transgender elder, some service providers wonder — aloud or not — just what they’re going to face, and what they’re supposed to do.
A new publication from the FORGE Transgender Aging Network and the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging seeks to fill this gap. Written in a fairly simple, question-and-answer style, “I Have a Transgender Client…Now What?” answers the following common questions and concerns:
- What does transgender mean?
- What will he or she look like?
- What name do I call her or him?
- Do I refer to this person as he, she, or what?
- I have to help this person bathe, dress, or toilet. What should I expect?
- What am I supposed to do about grooming?
- What do I say to other staff or clients?
- I work in a facility with separate male and female bathrooms and/or bedrooms. Where does my client belong?
- My religion is opposed to transgender people; what can I do?
- What else should I know?
- How do I find out more?
- What’s the most important thing I need to remember?
The 3-page document is available at http://www.lgbtagingcenter.org/resources/resource.cfm?r=510
…Recommendations for Policy and Practice” is the title of an important new document from SAGE (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders) and the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), released today at the Philadelphia Transgender Health Conference.
The 54-page document is a compilation of several important documents, including:
- A literature review;
- A very readable, 1-page discussion of intersex conditions;
- Profiles of several transgender older adults;
- Detailed policy recommendations; and
- “Practical Guidance for Aging Providers”
A downloadable version of the report is available at http://sageusa.org/specialevents/home.cfm?ID=106
What happens when you’re transgender and living in the middle of rural America and need specialized medical care?
The patient at the center of this story is only 20 years old, but his story, written up in The Daily Iowan on April 4, 2012, is instructive. Like many transgender people — one study says the figure is 50% — he had to educate his health care providers about transgender health care. Luckily, it worked. Not only did he eventually get the health care he needed, but activism by him and his colleagues is beginning to change the climate in Iowa City. For a more recent story that indicates there are still problems — but also that even more efforts are underway to correct them — see the Iowa City Patch article here.