Wednesday, June 13, 2007
A. Sociolegal Status, Behaviors, and Treatment
There are no specific laws in the country regarding transgenderism or transsexualism, only a few court decisions that serve as references about the latter, and these are sometimes contradictory (ILGA–Portugal 1999). According to one of these court decisions, someone that goes through the process of sex change cannot truly become someone of the other gender. The explanations are, in the case of a male-to-female transformation, that the individual cannot get pregnant or maintain sexual intercourse in the same conditions as a woman. Sex change is seen as an error and transsexuals are considered mentally unhealthy people. These ideas are a step back regarding a previous sentence (in 1984), according to which the moral personality of the individual should be respected, the sex change recognized, and the name change accepted by the civil registration.
In fact, name change is possible for any citizen who wishes it and is a relatively accessible procedure, but only when the new name belongs to the same gender category as the previous one or to a gender-neutral name. This last alternative is the one chosen by some transsexuals in order to avoid the complicated procedure to have gender identity recognized. For this, the person has to go through a complicated legal process, and it can only occur with the decision of a court of law.
It is only since 1996 that sex-change operations are possible and occur in Portugal, because the Portuguese Medical Order allowed it to happen. However, no information is available regarding the real number of operations performed in the national territory. The Santa Maria Hospital in Lisbon is the institution that has the major experience with these kinds of operations. Nevertheless, the process to have a sex-change operation is long and implies a severe psychological and psychiatric evaluation to verify whether the candidate is eligible for the process. This difficult process usually takes about two years. Before 1996 and still today, many Portuguese transsexuals went to other countries, like Morocco, or more recently to England, to have their operations done, sometimes under unsafe conditions.
In a study conducted with a sample of approximately 50 transsexual individuals, some of whom were sex workers and others working in various professional areas, the great majority came from rural parts of the country (72%), and many had changed from their birthplace because of their sexual orientation (28%) (Bernardo et al. 1998). This gives us important information regarding the problems that these individuals have to face related to their social adjustment. Besides, most of them do not benefit from social security. . . .
La Voz Weekly writer Jay Donde tackles the celebration from both sides
By: Jay Donde
Gay Pride Month: Pro
For nearly 4 decades, June has been recognized around the world - and especially in the US - as Gay Pride Month. In fact, on June 2, 2000, President Clinton even made it semi-official, by proclaiming Gay Pride Month to be one of the US's handful of National Heritage Months, along with Black History Month and Irish American Heritage Month.
When the former of these was first instituted in 1976, many critics questioned it's value, and some wondered, "Why, then, shouldn't we have a White History Month?" The answer to that question was, and still remains, a lucid insight on American cultural politics: we already have a White History Month - it's every month other than February.
Without the special emphasis and recognition they receive on their respective holidays, weeks, and months, the marginalized groups in American society would likely get no emphasis or recognition at all.
Understandably, some would then be prompted to ask why a lack of recognition for these groups is a problem in the first place. But such a question displays an ignorance of history. It is not happenstance that Gay Pride Month falls in June. June was the month, in 1969, of the Stonewall riots in New York City, when gay and lesbian patrons of Greenwich village bars finally fought back against NYPD harassment that included warrantless raids, police brutality, and unlawful arrests. The police even recorded the names of those present during the raids, but not arrested, specifically in order to send them to newspapers for publication.
Despite a great deal of progress, the prejudices and homophobic sentiments that gave rise to such behaviors on the part of the New York City police are still very much present in our country today. In fact, nearly 16 percent of hate crimes in the US are based on sexual orientation, well beyond the demographic proportion of gays and lesbians in America. Gay Pride Month, and other Heritage Months like it, are not only important to the communities they celebrate, but to American society as a whole. This must have been on President Clinton's mind when he stated, in his 2000 proclamation, that "America's greatest strength is it's diversity." . . .
By: Kate Bigam
Posted: 6/13/07Kent State practices tolerance and advocates privacy.
What terrible things, I know.
Just how terrible? Ask Akron Beacon Journal columnist Bob Dyer, and he'll tell you how disgusted he is by the school's decision to convert faculty restrooms into gender-neutral facilities.
The restrooms, available in the Student Center, may soon be located in other buildings on campus, too. Although they came into play as part of a request from the Queer Liberation Front as a means to make transgender students more comfortable, university architect Tom Euclide said in an April Stater article that the facilities are also open to the rest of the public, anatomy and gender preference aside. They can even be used as family facilities for parents whose young children need assistance in taking care of their bladder woes.
But on the online version of Dyer's May 17 column about gender-neutral bathrooms, more than 600 reader comments provide an array of opinions on the issue. Although Dyer admits the majority of students he polled weren't offended by the new restrooms, plenty of his readers, most of whom are unaffiliated with the university, were outraged. . . .