Wednesday, July 18, 2007

"Neither you nor any other parents of a gender-variant child are responsible for a child’s
gender variance or sexual orientation—any more than you or they are responsible for the
child’s being right- or left-handed. Remember that eventual sexual orientation is uncertain and
will remain so until your child becomes fully conscious of his or her sexual attractions, is able to
label that sexual orientation appropriately, and is willing to disclose it to others."

From Contemporary Pediatrics, February 2005:


Raising a gender-variant child

"Hairspray" clip with John Travolta as Edna Turnblad

Stealth Is For Airplanes…

by: transjenn

A little less than a year ago I wrote my ”coming out” post in several online forums that reached literally hundreds of people I’ve known over my life, after living essentially what we in the “gender biz” call a “stealth” existence. I thought I’d share it here. Comments welcome…disagreements encouraged!


Well…it’s been an interesting couple of days since my last post. Several people have sent me emails and asked, “Are you OK?”

The answer is…yes, I’m just fine. Though this is one of those times in life that come along every now and then where you look at that empty bag you’re holding and wonder, in retrospect, where that damn cat went? Still….I know that’s the fear talking.

Sometimes, when you’ve lived with fear so long, it becomes comfortable…I mean people can adapt to anything. I think that is what the current regime in Washington is hoping. That we all will simply adjust to living in a constant state of fear so they can manipulate us to misdirect our energy, resources and national identity towards the fascist and authoritarian goals they want to enact.

Yesterday, there was an announcement from the Taliban spokesman (an American!) that we must all come to Islam now….it is our last chance. Otherwise, all those who don’t will be destroyed very soon.

How is that ANY different than the message being given out in this country to US, the American people, by the neo-conservatives and authoritarian fundamentalist religious right that controls that party?


We can’t live this way. Take it from someone who has lived in fear all her life…you’ve got to let go of it at some point and just get on with things. We’ve all got to face the fear we keep inside, because at some level, that fear keeps us from becoming who we not only really are, but who we are capable of being.

For those of you who aren’t cryptologists and trained to figure out complex, interweaving conundrums, perhaps I can clarify it this way:

“I’ll take Obscure Medical Euphemisms for $1,000, Alex”


And the DOUBLE JEOPARDY answer is: ‘If someone tells you, ‘I’m not from “Greenville, or Louisville, or Brownsville…I’m from Toronto’, what segment of the sexual and gender minority community might they be referring to?”

“Alex, What is transgender?”


Yes, there it is. I hope it’s an anti-climactic revelation because contrary to what it may seem like at this moment, I’m NOT into any more drama than necessary. I’m just trying to deal with this humorously, because,’s a pretty momentous public revelation for me to make. . . .

He Shoots, She Scores

When Mike became Christine, she gave Los Angeles sports fans a courtside view of gender politics

By John Ireland

Michael Daniel Penner returned to work on May 23 as Christine Michelle Daniels.

For all of its trappings of money, fame, and corruption, professional sports has a lot to do with character. Avid sports fans seem to respect those who face up to overwhelming challenge and overcome adversity. So it should not come as a surprise that readers rose in solidarity when a 23-year veteran sports writer announced in the Los Angeles Times that he would return from a short hiatus…as a woman.

On April 26, Mike Penner wrote what he thought would be the toughest article of his career. “I am a transsexual sportswriter. It has taken more than 40 years, a million tears and hundreds of hours of soul-wrenching therapy for me to work up the courage to type those words.” The piece ran in the Sports section, next to his regular column.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Penner’s story was “by mid-evening, one of the most heavily viewed stories on in the last year, with about half a million page views.” Nancy Sullivan, executive director of communications for the newspaper, says “There was a massive response to this story, not only on our website, but across the media spectrum.” The online message board accompanying the article was closed to comments in less than 8 hours, with 800 comments logged in. Hundreds more messages were sent via e-mail. Responses to the revelation came in three distinct flavors: kudos from sports fans, effusive thanks from other transsexuals and rants from bible-thumpers. Readers’ initial shock, however, subsided almost immediately.

Michael Daniel Penner returned to work on May 23 as Christine Michelle Daniels. So far, it appears to be smooth sailing. But Daniels’ very public transition has put a spotlight on a culture that is slow to acknowledge, let alone attempt to rehabilitate its ingrained intolerance and bigotry. . . .

A Culture in Trans-ition


When HBO's "Entourage" made a transgender character the punchline on last week's episode, I cringed.

Now, to be fair, "Entourage" could be described as a equal-opportunity mocker, as it leaves few characters unscathed. Even the privileged lifestyle of the white heterosexual male protagonists in the story comes across at best, as silly and frivolous, and at worst, as woefully out of touch with reality. Christine has discussed its refreshing self-awareness as well as its shortcomings before.

But when the show is clearly not going to present us with a fully developed transgendered character -- let alone a diversity of representations -- there's really little excuse for giving this character such a dismissive role.

The Cliks
Fortunately, if you're paying attention, transgender lives are becoming visible and vibrant parts of popular culture. Our own Mark Blankenship has discussed the work of performance artist Scott Turner Schofield, who in his one-person show rails again a "system that says we can't be all of ourselves."

And both Rebecca Louie of AP and Shauna Swartz of AfterEllen have excellent profiles of Lucas Silveira, the frontman for the rock band The Cliks.

Silveira's transition to a male identity forced the band to abandon their all-girl identity. But, in the spirit of their rollicking rock and roll sound, it hasn't lessened the band's power: "When you give off that kind of energy, and you're open to the world in that way, the world also opens itself up to you," guitarist Nina Martinez. "And fans become more open to being attracted to everything that queer is about."

While performance art and music have long been spaces of openness, the sports world has not.

John Ireland of In These Times, though, has a fascinating portrayal of Christine Michelle Daniels, a sportswriter formerly known as Michael Daniel Penner, who came out as a woman after 23 years of work for the Los Angeles Times. . . .