Friday, June 08, 2007
by Marc Lacey
"I know, I know," she said, putting her hand on one of her own legs to show she could relate.
Then the conversation took an interesting turn. The transvestites, who are receiving training as AIDS counselors at the National Center for Sexual Education, which Castro directs, brought up sexual liaisons some of them had had with soldiers. Maybe counseling in the barracks was needed, they said.
Castro smiled and raised her eyebrows but did not dismiss the suggestion out of hand. Homosexuality is illegal in Cuba's military. In fact, some Cubans have avoided military service altogether by claiming to be gay.
Making the proposal even more sensitive, everyone in the circle understood, is the fact that Castro, 44, is the daughter of Raúl Castro - the commander of Cuba's armed forces and, with the recent health problems of his brother, Fidel Castro, the temporary leader of the government. . . .
You’ve probably heard of the ex-gay movement. You may have even heard of the ex-ex-gay movement. Odds are slim that you know anyone that is ex-transgender. But have you ever known anyone that is ex-ex-transgender?
You have if you’ve read this blog.In 1997 I confessed to my wife that I’d cross-dressed most of my life. After her initial shock wore off, she began to accept and integrate this part of me into our marriage. This was an activity that I’d never told anyone about, much less participate in with another person in. In late 1997 I began to realize that I might not be a crossdresser, but that something deeper was hidden underneath all the shame. My wife, the love of my life, had told me in no uncertain terms that if I was a bisexual or transsexual, our marriage would be over. Those two facts were playing a tug of war in my mind for months that caused me to go into a cycle of depression. In January of 1999 things finally came to a head, this looming thing was something I knew that I couldn’t hide from myself any longer. Crying curled up in a ball in the middle of my bed, I realized I couldn’t rid myself of this. . . .
Formerly a man, she will speak at a conference this weekend at the Church of Reconciliation in Chapel Hill
At 60, Erin Swenson talks to churchgoers, college students and others about life as a transgender person.
This weekend, Swenson, the first known mainstream Protestant minister to go from male to female while ordained, will speak at the Church of Reconciliation as part of a weekend conference, "Transgender Experience: Deconstructing Stereotypes, Constructing Identities and Communities."
"I grew up 'closeted' as a transgender person," Swenson said. "I know what it's like to live in that closet and having to struggle with those feelings of shame and fear."
Transgender people are becoming more visible. Rebecca Romijn plays one in the hit TV show "Ugly Betty." Felicity Huffman starred as one in the 2005 movie "Transamerica." Newsweek ran a cover story last month.
The National Center for Transgender Equality estimates that 750,000 to 3 million Americans are transgender.
Mo Morelli, 24, of Carrboro has been taking testosterone injections once a week for two years. They have made his former feminine features more masculine: His jaw is more square, his body is hairier, and his arms are more muscular. He had his breasts removed in January.
He remembers a defining moment four years ago. He wore an all-white tuxedo to accompany his friend to a nice dinner.
"I was still a 'girl' then with a shaved head," Morelli said. "At first, I felt like I was [dressing] in drag. And very quickly it felt like it wasn't drag -- it felt like it was right."
Amanda Ashley, also of Carrboro, started dressing in women's clothing and taking female hormones eight years ago. She identifies herself as a "translesbian" because she is attracted to women.
"I always knew I was different, yet I couldn't quite put my finger on it," Ashley said. "It was unusual because I was never attracted to men as a male. And since our society tends to identify our genders by our sexual orientation, it was very confusing.
"It took a while for me, but since it was so persistent and it was so ringingly clear, it couldn't be denied." . . .
Families with gender variant and transgender children will find a wealth of information and support at Gender Odyssey's first national conference focused specifically on them. The ground-breaking conference will be held Aug. 31 -- Sept. 2, 2007 at the Washington State Trade and Convention Center in Seattle. At this event, families with kids who do not conform to society's traditional gender expectations can connect with each other, while having access to national experts in the field of gender variance. . . .
Focus on gender politics: Is changing gender as simple as changing clothes?
Newsweek recently painted a sympathetic portrait of women imprisoned in men's bodies. Such people need a psychiatrist, not a surgeon.
Political correctness is not only contrary to the spirit of the First Amendment of the American Constitution but also makes for soporific discourse. Newsweek’s recent cover story on transgenders certainly proves that the priests of tolerance and diversity have successfully exorcised the ghost of satirist H.L. Menken from the mainstream media. Newsweek’s coverage was so saccharine that I needed wet wipes after each page.
An issue involving sex and castration should generate a lot of hotly disputed questions. Unhappily, Newsweek relegated any dispute to the usual evangelical bogeyman, with mild scepticism replacing controversy. After all, it averred, we can’t really know the difference between men and women, or male and female. Even the experts at the International Olympic Committee plead ignorance, it was claimed, when it comes to "scientifically" differentiating between a man and a woman. (If East Germany still existed I guess that its athletes could get their medals back!) . . .