Monday, July 23, 2007
Saturday 21 July 2007 | Published in the Edición impresa
Translated from the Spanish by Curtis E. Hinkle
RIO DE JANEIRO.- Edinanci Silva was continually mocked and made fun of at school back in Campiña Grande. With all the cruelty that children sometimes become involved in, she was mocked because of her unsolved problem: she was a hermaphrodite. She had a male sexual organ, but felt like a woman; in fact, her internal reproductive organs were female. She suffered throughout her adolescence because of her situation. And after the Brazilian stepped up to the podium, she still to this day has somewhat painful memories about this after having taken first prize in women's judo (in the division up to 78 kg).
Edinanci's story is not new, but it remains touching. And it generates controversy, in spite of the fact she has been competing as a woman for more than a decade now. Which is how she feels about herself. Yesterday she returned to center stage for the gold medal, the same medal she won four years ago in Santo Domingo. Once again, just as the last time, there was one contestant remaining, the Argentine, Lorena Briceño, who lost in the semifinals, taking the bronze medal in the same division.
Daughter of a father who was a bricklayer and a mother who was a housewife, Edinanci was brought up in poverty. In fact, up to the age of 15 she worked cutting sugar cane. But at 15, she suffered from labyrinthitis (inflammation of the inner ear), a painful illness that from time to time can be caused from stress. They recommended that she start doing sports: she went to the club and the only openings were for judo. This was how her career began. And she began to like what she was doing. She wanted to be coached so that she could perfect her skills even further, but her mother would not let her leave home. Up until she was 17 and then she told her that they offered coaching in Sao Paulo that she could not miss. In reality, she had already made all the necessary arrangements to leave and go there.
But the key moment was in 1996. In April of that year, she underwent a double operation: removal of her male sex organ with clitoral reconstruction surgery. According to the IOC, this was what was necessary for her to qualify as female and to participate in the Olympic Games. She was a participant in Atlanta 96, Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004. And in spite of being the favorite for winning the title in all these competitions, she was never able to take home the Olympic medal. However, at almost 31, she has never given up. "As long as I have two arms, two legs and can walk, I will keep on fighting to make my dreams come true", she says now, with the same courage and determination she has always had.
She is different. And she knows it. "To this day, many judokas do not want to compete with me. I know that I am different, but my mind thinks and acts like that of a woman." Up until a few years ago, she dreamed of adopting children; but now, after more thinking about this as a more mature woman, she feels that she will not be able to make this dream come true. She is content with spoiling her nieces and nephews and her parents whom she gives all the medals she wins.
The Argentine Briceño confirms just how difficult it is to compete with her. "I could never have beaten her. She is different from all the other judokas I have competed against. She has a lot more strength", she explains after being beaten by the Brazilian in the semifinals. "But I do not believe that it is impossible to beat her. One of these days I am going to," she says with certainty. . . .
By LIZ HULL - Last updated at 08:46am on 23rd July 2007
Woman's world: Mr Gaynor as Vikki-Marie
Vikki-Marie Gaynor, 37, who was born a man, claims bosses started cancelling his shifts when he dropped his old name, Mike, and started wearing women's clothes, earrings and make-up to work.
The former soldier, who has been married twice and has a teenage daughter, was taunted by other drivers who made rude gestures towards him, it is alleged.
Now Mr Gaynor has launched a sexual discrimination claim against the haulage firm and the recruitment agency which employed him. He could receive a five-figure sum if the employment tribunal finds in his favour.
'I have been treated in an horrendous manner by my employers,' Mr Gaynor said last night.
'When I first started I was a respected driver, I turned up for work on time and did my job very professionally. My bosses knew me as Mike and had no idea I was a transsexual.
'But almost as soon as I told them I was changing my name to Vikki-Marie and entering the transition stage of my gender reassignment things changed. I started getting hurtful comments and my shifts started being cancelled without warning.
'In the end I realised I could no longer go into work, it was too painful.
'It is not right that I should be forced out of my job simply because I want to live as a woman and wear the clothes I was born to wear.' . . .
Can small communities be cool? Well, yes. But first, a story.
Can small communities be cool? Well, yes. But first, a story.
We Boomers have been around for awhile, so it takes some heavy artillery to stop us in our tracks. Recently, this happened to us (Sandy and husband Jim). And we weren't running laps. I was, however, turning 60, and two of our four Next Gen sons had planned a birthday dinner at Nacional 27, a trendy downtown Chicago restaurant featuring a ceviche bar, salsa dancing and an exotic menu. Nothing like it in the Fox Cities. And so, what else was there to do but get wild and order just about everything on the menu? In minutes, our table was swimming in Ahi tuna and Tasmanian salmon ceviches. Soon the hot tapas and truffle-crusted filet mignon arrived, followed by our Latin server recommending Cuban creme brulee and coconut baba au rhum cake for dessert. Nothing like it in the Fox Cities. Then the check came, and it stopped us in our tracks. Nothing like that in the Fox Cities, either. And then there was our trip to San Francisco to visit our son Chad and his wife, Debbie. They took us to Asia SF, one of many downtown hotspots. OK, good. We love Asian food. During dinner, the transgender fashion show started. . . .