How Trans And Nonbinary People Are Coping Right Now

Evi

“There is a great deal of frustration,” said Evi, a 42-year-old trans woman in Nevada, echoing a sentiment growing in the wider trans and nonbinary community during the coronavirus pandemic. She had finally lined everything up to undergo four gender-affirming surgeries: saved enough money, found a job with the right health insurance, and organized her schedule to make time for the procedures and recovery. “And now that’s all been blown to pieces.”

As the effects of the pandemic ripple through every social sector and the already complicated and dysfunctional US healthcare system, communities have been impacted in different ways. Even without a public health crisis, trans and nonbinary individuals face particular challenges when it comes to having their basic needs met.

In our current society, where the cis experience is considered the norm, the enforced gender binary can impact all aspects of trans, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming people’s lives — including employment, mental health, insurance, and physical safety — and this crisis has thrown everything into further disarray. “There are a lot of concerns on the table,” Randall S. Leonard, a black nonbinary clinician in Baltimore, said in a recent phone interview, “and because of how rapid onset has happened, there aren’t a lot of really good answers.”

When BuzzFeed News asked trans folks how they’re coping during this crisis, we got hundreds of responses from people across the country, sharing their experiences, fears, and coping strategies. As more states have adopted stay-at-home rules, many LGBTQ centers with trans support groups have closed and moved online, creating accessibility issues for those without smartphones or computer access. This includes community elders, who are at a higher risk of mortality from the virus. (This week, in New York, the legendary Latinx trans activist Lorena Borjas died from complications of coronavirus at age 60.)

“The biggest hold up for me currently is my legal name change process,” wrote Nicolas, a 26-year-old trans man in Niagara Falls, New York, expressing a concern shared by many others. “Being unable to meet … and attend the proper meetings sets the process back. And given that my transition is in full swing, showing ID becomes more and more questionable and puts my identity and privacy at risk.” Ed, 21, from Austin is struggling with the same issue. “The fact that the courts are closed (understandably) rewinds my plans for the year and outs me at my new job despite having planned everything and timing as best I could so that there would not be overlap,” he wrote. “And now I will have to do the social adjusting at my new job and everyone will know I’m trans instead of just my boss and HR as I had originally planned.”

People whose voices have changed due to hormones fear having to out themselves at work to avoid being perceived as being sick with the virus; others fear getting sick and being misgendered or discriminated against if they are hospitalized. (Those discrimination concerns are already taking ominous shape; a Christian-run makeshift hospital in New York City’s Central Park was seeking volunteers who would adhere to a statement of faith defining marriage as “exclusively the union of one genetic male and one genetic female.”)

Some others have found that their basic day-to-day needs, such as chest binding, are harder if not impossible to perform right now, because they could exacerbate some of the respiratory issues characteristic of COVID-19. “I finally, for the first time ever, got a binder that actually fits me. I was so excited when it finally arrived. So excited to look like me, and feel like me,” wrote KC Lylark, a 22-year-old based in London. “I was very self-conscious about my breathing because I didn’t want anyone to think I had symptoms … even though my binder makes me feel more euphoric than ever before, I know I shouldn’t have it on much at all until this blows over.”

“Not being able to even be considered for top surgery is devastating for me,” wrote Emerson, 21. “I was so close and just had my referral sent to the surgeon and now? I don’t know when the opportunity will come again. Combine that with being in isolation makes it pretty difficult to battle dysphoria on a daily basis.”

The pandemic has been anxiety-producing for everyone, but for trans and nonbinary people, that anxiety can be intermixed with increased levels of dysphoria — which is especially troubling at a time when social distancing for the good of public health means less physical access to care, support, and community.

“Access and safety, particularly for trans/nonbinary people is a major issue,” Rachel Smith, a nonbinary clinician who practices in Baltimore, explained. They don’t necessarily feel safe coming to the clinic or even having a phone conversation right now, said Smith, “not for concerns about the phone line, but because in the place where they live there is no privacy, they can’t go outside, there is no private space for them. Their housing is in jeopardy if they say something that could out them or anger the people whom they’re dependent upon for housing.”

“I was evicted from my university housing in response to the crisis and did not have the money to get my own apartment,” wrote Ben, a 21-year-old who usually lives in Atlanta, but moved to Kentucky to live with parents “who aren’t supportive,” adding, “While it is a safer situation that I’m sure a lot of trans folks are facing, it’s by no means a comfortable one … They’ve made it clear that they will not use my preferred name/pronouns, which adds to the stress of the crisis.”


Even though the country is currently in crisis mode, many trans people have already been living in dire circumstances. There was widespread concern after Trump’s election that, among many other things, hormones would become unavailable. Some trans folx began sharing prescriptions, which is technically illegal and not sanctioned by medical professionals. “I know a lot of other trans women who have gone years and years without seeing a medical provider but have been taking hormones,” Dee Wollstonecraft Michel, a transgender services coordinator at St. James Infirmary in San Francisco, told Vice in 2017, already pointing to the way individuals can’t always turn to institutions for support.

Trans folx who aren’t able to access conventional health care channels have often turned to queer community resources and grassroots organizations, like Trans Healthcare Maryland, to meet some of their needs instead. But those other channels aren’t necessarily available during a national health crisis. Parker, a 17-year-old in New Mexico, mentioned that a nonprofit organization for the LGBTQ community in the local area has been forced to close its doors. “I’m terrified for my friends,” they said. “That was our safe place, that was our home. Now none of us know when we can go back there.”

Kela, a nonbinary 31-year old living in Florida, explained how the pandemic has exposed some of the preexisting and ruthless ways society overlooks some individuals. “It’s ironic because I’ve been experiencing prejudice due to my gender and cognitive disabilities for years, but this is the first time I’m actually going to get government assistance,” they said. “It’s amazing to me how much help has been available that the government has withheld from people like me because we weren’t valuable enough until everyone else also experienced hardship. So where everyone I know is freaking out I’m kind of feeling more like, ‘Welcome to the party.’”

Leonard the clinician also spoke about the already existing challenges some folx face. “Especially as a black nonbinary individual, I have seen people who have dealt with so much marginalization as it is, that there’s that resilience factor of ‘I’ve already gone through so much, I’m gonna continue to push my way through this.’” Though they caution, “I’m really careful with that word, ‘resilience,’ because it almost puts the spin out there that if you don’t make it then you weren’t resilient, and I’m really careful about that because there have been people who have tried their damndest and didn’t make it.”

The people who wrote in said they’re coping in specific ways — like painting their bedrooms in more gender-affirming colors — and by video chatting with friends and support groups, relying on the support of partners and friends, exercising and making art projects, and playing a lot of Animal Crossing, like a lot of other people.

Sam Brinton, who uses they/them pronouns and identifies as genderfluid, noted that crisis intervention organizations like the Trevor Project, which moved its services online and has been getting thousands of calls, texts, and chats every week, are “bright spot[s] in a dark world.”

But ultimately, trans people can’t — and shouldn’t — have to carry this burden alone. “Knowing the most direct path to trans-affirming resources in mental health, physical health, and economic health is the responsibility of all our allies,” wrote Brinton. “Don’t just tell me it will get better — connect me with the professional who can help me get better.”

Of course, accessing those resources is still complicated by the lack of universal health care. As Kela wrote, “I hope now that more people will care about access, human dignity, and affordable health care, but I doubt it. Capitalism is still king…so far, and people are still running ignorant and scared.” ●

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  • Pier Dominguez is a culture writer for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

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People are sharing photos of their cats hidden in genius places – so how many can YOU spot?

CATS are the undisputed kings of the internet and have now become our colleagues as most of the nation works from home. 

So if you were bored and looking to kill some time in isolation which isn’t scrolling through Netflix, why not test yourself on these tricky brainteasers involving the nation's favourite animal.


People have been sharing fairly ordinary scenes on social media, showing fields, laundry rooms, the seaside and even a rubbish tip. 

But a cat is hidden somewhere in each photo. 

Known for being mischievous, sneaky and always landing on their feet, cats get themselves into hilarious situations – and positions.

Which makes them near-impossible to find in these pictures, but if you’re stuck for the answer fear not as we’ve included the reveal below it. Happy hunting.

Diner-drama


Flower power


Kitchen aid


On the fence


Couch potato


Curtain call


Rugged look


Boxing clever


Fields of gold


House proud


Scrub up


Room with a view


Shelf life


Water sight


Now you sea me


Plastic fantastic


Beach please


And we asked if people could recognise the 27 films hidden in this iconic scene.

Plus we challenged people to identify all 24 movies from this tricky emoji quiz.

In other news, we challenged you to spot the bee among the flowers.

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Teen Mom OG's Amber Portwood Reveals She Called Ex Gary Shirley While Struggling with Suicidal Thoughts: 'He Saved Me'



“I just have to keep fighting. My lawyers will keep fighting,” she said.

On July 5, 2019, Portwood was arrested after allegedly attacking ex-boyfriend Glennon while he was holding James. The day after the incident, she was charged with domestic battery, criminal recklessness committed with a deadly weapon and domestic battery committed in the presence of a child less than 16 years old.

Shirley was also seen speaking about Portwood’s mental health on Tuesday’s episode with his wife, Kristina.

“I think this whole entire thing has taken a toll on her. The phone call was reaching out to help. She came out and mentioned she’d had some suicidal thoughts,” Shirley said. “I told her, ‘Look no matter what, Leah needs you. Imagine what she would go through if something happened. Let’s say you did something to yourself, what’s Leah going to do if you’re gone? It’s going to mess her up.’ ”

He continued, “Obviously, I care about Amber. I would hate for something to happen to Amber and it could have been prevented.”

Kristina grew emotional, wiping her eyes as she said, “My heart breaks for the kids. Leah loves her mom and she wants her to be happy and people make mistakes. You can’t turn your back on somebody that needs help. It’s tough.”

In October, Portwood reportedly signed a plea deal and was sentenced to 2.5 years of probation, as well as court-ordered parenting classes.

While Portwood has yet to discuss the incident in detail, she denied the allegations during the Teen Mom OG reunion in September.

“I literally opted out of drug court a long time ago to put myself in prison to help myself,” she said. “Why would I jeopardize … you haven’t heard s— from me since then, haven’t gotten in trouble one time. But all of a sudden I’m running after him with a machete? You’re insane.”

Teen Mom OG airs Tuesdays (8 p.m. ET) on MTV.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “STRENGTH” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

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People who cough at police or NHS staff could face a year in jail, cops warn


PEOPLE who cough at police or NHS staff could face a year in jail, cops have warned.

The Crown Prosecution Service today announced they would prosecute anyone who coughs on or at emergency service staff during the coronavirus crisis.

⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates

Doing so against emergency workers would be punishable by up to a year in prison, while coughs directed as a threat towards other key workers or members of the public could be charged as common assault.

Max Hill QC, Director of Public Prosecutions, said: “Emergency workers are more essential than ever as society comes together to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

“I am therefore appalled by reports of police officers and other frontline workers being deliberately coughed at by people claiming to have Covid-19.

“Let me be very clear: this is a crime and needs to stop. The CPS stands behind emergency and essential workers and will not hesitate to prosecute anybody who threatens them as they go about their vital duties.”

The warning comes after Darren Rafferty, 45, admitted on Wednesday to deliberately coughing at Metropolitan Police officers before claiming he was suffering from coronavirus.

He also admitted causing grievous bodily harm to his former partner and three counts of assault on an emergency worker and now faces sentencing next month.



It comes as police began have using checkpoints to stop vehicles and ask drivers if their journey is essential during the coronavirus lockdown.

Cops across the UK have been asking drivers today where they are going and why they are going there.

Road blocks have been set up today in Plymouth, Devon and in Cornwall, with 150 cars checked in Penzance, Hayle and St Ives.

Other areas have come up with their own approach to stopping crowds, with police in Manchester reportedly using sirens and a loud hailer while officers in Derbyshire have been using drones.

Meanwhile police were today handed new powers to fine Brits up to £1000 for breaking rules for being outside their homes.

Officers will aim to slow the spread of by asking people to go indoors and will be authorised to use force if they refuse.

The base rate for the fine is £60, which is then reduced to £30 if paid within 14 days.

Several of the same offences will see the charges soar, with Brits hit with a £960 fine for not doing their bit.

Those who keep disobeying can be arrested and locked up.

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More than 4,000 people have now died in Spain from coronavirus

More than 4,000 people have now died in Spain from coronavirus as new footage from inside one struggling hospital shows patients lined along corridors

  • Spain confirmed 655 deaths from coronavirus Thursday, bringing total to 4,089
  • Country also registered 8,578 new infections, bringing total cases to 56,188 
  • Spain is now the world’s second-worst affected country, behind only Italy 
  • Meanwhile footage showed patients packed into corridors of badly-hit hospital 
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

Spain’s death-toll from coronavirus has risen to more than 4,000 people while new infections have also increased by almost a fifth.

The country announced that 655 people died from the virus between Wednesday and Thursday, taking the total number from 3,434 to 4,089.

The number of new infections also rose from 47,610 on Wednesday to 56,188 – an increase of 8,578, or around 20 per cent.

Meanwhile harrowing images from a hospital in Albacete, 85 miles west of Valencia, showed patients lining the corridors of a hospital waiting to be treated.

Spain’s death toll from coronavirus has topped 4,000 – with 655 new fatalities registered overnight bringing the total to 4,089


 Video taken at Albacete hospital, 85 miles west of Valencia, showed patients lining corridors after they ran out of beds and people laying on the floor from exhaustion

Spain is now the second worst-affected country with coronavirus, having surpassed China’s death toll Wednesday and now lags only behind Italy.  

Thursday’s death figure is dramatic but significantly better than this time yesterday, when the country posted a record-breaking 738 deaths in 24 hours – on par with Italy’s worst days.

Spain confirmed 7,937 new cases of coronavirus Wednesday – an increase of 20 per cent – meaning Thursday’s figures are roughly in line with expectations.

The clip was recorded in the Hospital of Albacete in the central Spanish region of Castilla La Mancha where 88 patients were hospitalised on Tuesday.

In the video, patients in gurneys can be seen lining the corridors of the hospital, with others sitting on chairs. 

The woman recording can be heard saying ‘people are lying on the ground because they said they were exhausted’.

She says that she was sharing the images as a call for the authorities to react to the situation as the patients cannot make their voice heard. 


 The video was taken by a medic who can be heard urging the government to provide more beds and protective equipment for staff

Ambulance workers in full protective gear arrive with a patient at the Severo Ochoa Hospital during Spain’s coronavirus outbreak

She says the hospital is a bottleneck for the local health centres, adding that more beds are needed for the huge number of patients being admitted.

The health worker complains that there is not enough protective equipment ‘so we keep putting our health and our loved ones at risk’.

The Integrate Attention Management of Albacete, which belongs to the Health Service of the regional government of Castilla La Mancha said the increase in the number of patients in the hospital had put a lot of pressure on the emergency services.

Reports state new measures were implemented on Tuesday after the video was shared with one floor of the hospital previously dedicated to other patients now being used for those coming from the emergency room.

Another ward from the nearby Perpetuo Socorro Hospital is also available for use.

Local media report that health centres in Albacete are changing and adapting their facilities in order to attend to coronavirus patients.

Despite a national lockdown imposed on March 14, which parliament on Thursday agreed to extend until April 11, both deaths and infections have continued to mount, with officials warning this week would be particularly bad.

Spain also confirmed 8,578 new infections between Wednesday and Thursday, bringing the total from 47,610 to 56,188 (pictured, a policeman is tested for the virus in Madrid)

Spain is now the second-worst affected country in the world with coronavirus behind only Italy, after overtaking China’s death toll on Wednesday

A health worker carries a body on a stretcher outside Gregorio Maranon hospital in Madrid

But the rise in the number of new deaths was smaller than that recorded on Wednesday when the figure rose by 738 or 27 percent.

Health authorities are hoping it will soon become clear whether the lockdown is having the desired effect.

The Madrid region has suffered the brunt of the epidemic with 17,166 infections – just under a third of the total – and 2,090 deaths, or 51 percent of the national figure.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, whose wife is infected with the virus, has said this is the country’s most difficult moment since its 1936-39 civil war.

‘Only the oldest, who knew the hardships of the civil war and its aftermath, can remember collective situations that were harsher than the current one. 

‘The other generations in Spain have never, ever had to face as a collective something so hard,’ he said when he imposed the state of emergency on March 14.

Spain’s demographics partly explain why it has been one of the worst-affected nations.

The country has one of the longest life expectancies in Europe and the pandemic has taken a high toll on its large elderly population, who are especially vulnerable to the disease.

Pensioners on coronavirus evacuation buses are pelted with ROCKS in Spain after locals ambush them to stop them arriving from area affected by the virus

Elderly coronavirus patients came under attack from angry youths who threw stones at a fleet of ambulances moving them to a new home in Spain.  

The Civil Guard convoy was ambushed when it arrived in the town of La Linea de la Concepcion near Gibraltar, bringing 28 patients to a new care home. 

Angry locals obstructed the convoy and stoned the vehicles before throwing Molotov cocktails at police who were guarding the home.  


A gang of people, many of them wearing masks and hoods, assembled in the town of La Linea de la Concepcion to confront an ambulance convoy bringing elderly residents to their town

The hostile reception was in stark contrast to the cheers and applause which had greeted the convoy when it evacuated the sick patients from the town of Alcala del Valle, after a virus outbreak at their previous care home.  

Two men were arrested in La Linea de la Concepcion after parking a car across the road in a bid to stop the pensioners moving in, the Spanish government said. 

Around 50 youths then surrounded their new residence, which is called Tiempo Libre or Free Time. 

The locals also appeared to be breaching coronavirus lockdown rules which ban people from leaving their homes unnecessarily. 

The Civil Guard convoy was ambushed when it arrived in the town of La Linea de la Concepcion near Gibraltar, bringing 28 patients to a new care home

Local reports said the men involved had been sharing WhatsApp messages before the attacks in which they had threatened to set up barricades with burning tyres.   

A National Police spokesman said: ‘Several youths gathered at the entrance to the town and threw stones at the ambulances as well as leaving a vehicle across the road to try to prevent it reaching its destination.

‘Officers arrested the two occupants of the vehicle, two men aged 32 and 35.

‘Once the elderly people were taken into the home, police had to establish a security cordon around the residence as around 50 people outside threatened to cause problems.

 

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