Friday, July 20, 2007

When one twin gets a sex change

Portugal's cross-dressing 'general' dies after 20 years as a man

Giles Tremlett
Friday July 20, 2007
The Guardian

Maria Teresinha Gomes, or ‘la generala’, who lived as a man for nearly 20 years until discovered as an impostor in 1992

The protagonist of one of Portugal's most gripping courtroom dramas has died after almost 20 years in which she fooled everyone, including her live-in companion, that she was actually a male army general.

With her general's uniform complete with medals, Maria Teresinha Gomes cut a dashing figure as the respectable and charming General Tito Anibal da Paixao Gomes. What started out as a costume for the 1974 carnival, knocked up by a tailor in Lisbon, soon became the defining aspect of an invented personality. The general was only occasionally seen in uniform, but even in his civilian clothes he had a distinguished martial air about him that was enough to convince almost everyone.

It was, apparently, good enough for a nurse called Joaquina Costa, who became the general's companion, sharing a house, and a life, with the general for 15 years.

The general's polite and cultured attitude garnered him the respect and admiration of neighbours. He eventually used his position of authority, however, to persuade them to hand over part of their savings for investment. High returns were promised, but never forthcoming. It was not until 1992 that "la generala" was unmasked and put on trial.

"There were people who dealt with him every day and never doubted that he was a man," one witness told the court. . . .

Discrimination surprised bar patron

Nightclub owner had singled out her transgender friends, she says

Richard Ruelas
The Arizona Republic
Jul. 20, 2007 12:00 AM

Michele de LaFreniere, the transgender woman who filed a complaint against a Scottsdale nightclub that refused her admittance, said she is used to being stared at but is not used to discrimination.

"Growing up as a White male, I never knew discrimination," de LaFreniere said Thursday at a news conference.

The 52-year-old, who started outwardly identifying as a female in June 2004, filed a civil rights complaint with the state Attorney General's Office against Anderson's Fifth Estate.

The owner of the nightclub, Tom Anderson, said he is scheduled to meet with state investigators Aug. 7.

De LaFreniere, a tall blonde with a square jaw, wore a bright top with a plunging neckline to meet with reporters at the headquarters of Equality Arizona, a Phoenix organization that fights for gay rights.

De LaFreniere said she routinely danced the night away to '80s music at Anderson's Fifth Estate, both as a man and as a woman, with no incident. Trouble started in September, when she started bringing five or six friends "in different parts of transition."

One evening, she said, one of her friends asked the bouncer which bathroom to use and he said to use whichever one made the friend comfortable.

The friend chose the women's room, but found the toilet too gross.

"So, she stood up," de LaFreniere said, "and there was a complaint."

Other friends used the men's room, but a male patron took a picture using a cellphone camera, she said.

Weeks later, Anderson met de LaFreniere at the door and told her he didn't want the business of "her and her kind.". . .

Emerging force

spacer Daniel Beaty's Obie winning one-man show 'Emergence-SEE!' returns to Atlanta next week.
Emerging force
Multi-talented performer says his work necessarily includes gay, transgender characters

JUL. 20, 2007

. . .Beaty performed “Emergence-SEE!” last year at New York’s off-Broadway Public Theater to great commercial and critical acclaim — including winning two Obie Awards for theater excellence. He's touring the world now, but it has not been a quick process.

Beaty first performed the show at the Shakespeare Company in Berkshire, Mass., six years ago and made numerous changes since then.

one of the central figures is freddie, A gay man who is in pursuit of love.

“He is in conversations with others about finding a lover," Beaty says. "He secretly has a crush on another guy.”

In the play, Freddie’s best friend Ashes is transgender.

“That character is a big, bold personality," Beaty says. "One of the other characters in the piece is attracted to her, not knowing she is transgendered.”

To Beaty, it is imperative to include gay characters, especially since he says being gay is still very much a taboo issue among African Americans.

“Particularly in the African-American community, we want to slip homosexuality under the rug," he says. "But it is just as present in our community as anywhere. We are all connected, in spite of age, class, sexuality. You see Freddie’s heart in this show as he looks for love, and Ashes is so free, and so determined, you feel empowered by her boldness." . . .