Friday, September 14, 2007
This year we are especially looking for papers on the follow themes:
- Issues regarding TG Persons of Color
- Trans youth and youth of Trans parents
- Issues and concerns of Crossdressers
- TGs in Relationships - for SOs, Couples, & TGs with & w/o partners
- TG Health, Medicine, & Legal Concerns
- Issues and concerns of FtMs (There will be a full track for FtMs)
- Creating more unity in the TG Community
- We are also soliciting presentations by Spanish speaking presenters on most any of the topics above.
- New ideas, new topics, and new faces are of particular interest.
If you have questions regarding your proposal contact Alison Laing at email@example.com or P.O. Box 473, Portsmouth, RI 02871-0475.
By ELIZABETH TAI
WHEN Sarika was forced to bow out of She’s My Son because of her second sister’s protests, she was furious.
“I’m really mad (at my sister’s reaction),” said Sarika when I met her in July.
“She’s scared that my relatives will look down on her because of me, that’s the main reason,” she said, her voice tight with anger.
We met at the Akademi Seni Budaya dan Warisan Kebangsaan campus in Kuala Lumpur in July. She was there to film segments for She’s My Son in one of the theatres.
Yes, despite her sister’s objections, Sarika decided to go ahead and be involved with the documentary anyway. However, this time, as its narrator.
“I’m happy that there’s a chance for me to talk about the transgendered in Malaysia. I want to show people that they’re accepted by their families.”
For Sarika, she knew that she was a girl in a boy’s body by the time she was eight.
“I didn’t mix with the boys, I was always with the girls,” she said.
After finishing her studies in human resource management at a local college, Sarika, at the age of 20, had her sex change operation in Thailand in 2004 which cost her about RM10,000.
It was one of the best moments in her life, as it was her greatest desire to have a sex change operation.
“I must thank God that my mother accepts me and shares everything she has with me, such as sarees, jewellery and especially make-up,” she said with a laugh.
Her other siblings (except her second sister) accepted her decision too, but her father was a more difficult case.
“He was a very serious person. We are high caste Indians, he’s Ceylonese, and he didn’t want to be embarrassed in front of the relatives. Also, I’m his only son,” she said ruefully.
But two months before his death, Sarika’s father accepted her for who she is.
However, it is rare for other people to do the same.
“Some people look at me as if I’m an animal. No, worse than an animal. They ask me, ‘Why do you want to be this?’
“I’m lucky that when I was in college, and at my workplace, people accepted me,” she said. But she said that she gets teased almost every day when she walks down the streets.
Most of her transsexual friends are not as lucky. Four years ago, one of Sarika’s good friends, Amu, a transsexual, committed suicide. She was 21. . . .
The Dallas Voice
Friday Sep 14, 2007
Everything considered, I think the lady makes a valid point.
Terri Beth Richeson couldn’t understand why the business administrator of the First Baptist Church in Wichita Falls kept telling her to quit wearing make up on her job as a church custodian.
After all, the church’s pastor, the Rev. Robert Jeffress, wore make up when he preached and appeared on television, said Richeson, who is a male-to-female transgender. What’s the difference between the pastor wearing make up on the job and a custodian doing the same thing, she wondered.
"The pastor wore a lot of make up," Richeson said. "I’ve got pictures of his make up. I got a call one day from another employee who said, ’You’ve got to come down to his office. He’s got his make up all laid out.’"
Richeson, 54, said she was amazed by the pastor’s collection of make up.
"It wasn’t the kind of make up I wear," Richeson said. "It was Clinique. It was real expensive make up. I’m not sure it was just for Sundays and television. But that may have been what it was for."
At least some of the make up observed in the pastor’s office was designed for women, she said.
Nevertheless, Richeson said she wound up getting fired in January, and the pastor continued on without any problems until he recently resigned to accept the position of senior pastor at the First Baptist Church of Dallas.
"They threatened to fire me two different times for transitioning on the job," she said.
Richeson said she first realized she had a female identity when she was about 21. Prior to that, she had secretly worn female clothing as a teenager, but she didn’t realize what it meant until later. . . .
A Lithuanian transsexual has won a case at the European Court of Human Rights over claims that he has been blocked from completing his gender transition.
The seven judges also ruled that Lithuania must implement new legislation on gender reassignment within three months or pay damages.
The 28-year-old has been undergoing gender reassignment since 1998 including hormone treatment and breast removal, but is now being blocked from more treatment because of the laws in Lithuania.
He says he suffers daily embarrassment because he is still described as a woman on official documents. . . .
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
My partner and I were legally married on August 22 in Florida in a beautiful ceremony on the beach at sunset. Same sex marriage in Florida? Well, sort of. It's a long story. Transgender people are in a unique position when it comes to marriage. We were thinking of getting a civil union in New Jersey, but there is some confusion because civil union is only for same-sex partners. Now, you may be thinking that we are a same-sex couple. I think that too. But that doesn't mean the state thinks it...
In several cases, the state courts have refused to recognize a change in gender as legal. In Texas, Mr. and Mrs. Littleton found this out when Mr. Littleton went into the hospital for a simple procedure and died as the result of medical malpractice. In due time, Mrs. Littleton contacted a lawyer and sued for medical malpractice. The opposing lawyer found out that Mrs. Littleton had transitioned years ago and claimed that no malpractice suit could be maintained because her marriage was invalid. Despite the fact that she had sex reassignment surgery and that her gender had been recognized by the state in the form of a new birth certificate, the Texas courts agreed and threw the suit out of court.
Courts in Ohio [In re Ladrach, 32 Ohio Misc.2d. 6, 513 N.E.2d 828 (1987)] and my home state of New York [Anonymous v. Anonymous, 325 N.Y.S.2d 499 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 1971)] have made similar rulings. In short, every court that has considered the matter to this point has said that states do not recognize a change of gender in the context of marriage. If my female partner and I get a civil union, will that be invalidated on the same grounds? No one can say for certain.
So I had our lawyer contact the county clerk in Florida, who contacted his lawyer, and after providing a copy of my birth certificate (with an "M" on it) and my name change order and an affidavit certifying these were all referring to me, we were issued a marriage license, recognized by the State of Florida and the federal government. Nonetheless, I was saddened that this loophole had been created because the state disrespected transgender identity, and those involved suffered such sad consequences.
Of course, when we tell people we were married in Florida, people ask "You mean there's same sex marriage in Florida!?" And we reply "Well, sort of..."
For those who want more scholarly treatment, here is a law review article by Frye and Meiselman, provocatively entitled "Same-Sex Marriages Have Existed Legally in the United States for a Long Time Now"and an article by NCLR attorney Shannon Minter Transgender Persons and Marriage: The Important of Legal Planning
We are very, very happy.
FAITH IN ACTION by Haven Herrin
I call that obfuscation, a specious rhetorical strategy that is neither a valid question nor answer.
We talk about it for good reason. Marriage is important because it is a socially contracted marker of a significant shift in one’s life. Rituals like marriage function as necessary shorthand for the chapters in our lives. Without graduations, weddings, funerals, baby showers, house warming parties, and farewell dinners, we would feel constantly in transition.
Without communal confirmation of having shifted from here to there, we might remain in a restless state of revision and examination. Something I will return to later, however, is that perhaps the communal confirmation is more important than finding a place of rest.
Faith can have its own rituals; sacraments like baptism, confirmation, first communion, or bar and bat mitzvahs, and others including marriage, depending on the religion. Many of these experiences in a faith system occur in a specific chronology, keeping people of the same age on the same path. These shifts are experienced communally because mutual social recognition gives weight to ceremony. Tradition makes ceremony into ritual.
In discussing sacraments within the GLBT community, I am particularly interested in the experience of ritual among transgender people. I have observed some deep experiences of transition on several spectra, including gender identity, sexual orientation, and physical changes. For many, playing along a spectrum without seeking closure or static placement is a joy. For others, it is frustrating to never achieve closure along the way for lack of some ceremony or language to acknowledge these stages within their community.
While constant redefinition and exploration of those axes upon which we define ourselves can be healthy and enjoyable, it is also a long and arduous process. A lot of work goes into crafting who we are as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, and arguably more intensely so among transgender people as more questions are asked and more intersections among elements of identity arise.
Without rituals that recognize and affirm achievement, transgender people run the risk of feeling adrift and misunderstood without the practice of ritual and its by-product, communal understanding.
If transgender people have commonly experienced the feeling of being in transition without clear rituals that mark life stages, it seems they might also need an intentional examination and application of spiritual sacraments to address their specific experience. As spirituality is very personal, so too are the sacraments that come with a faith for such a religious person.
Recently, I spoke to some transgender people who, for various reasons, felt had they had to leave the church in order to become who they are. Then, having reached a state of equilibrium or self-assurance, some wanted to return to a faith community. The question then, is how faith affirms one’s true self. There is a lot of language surrounding the transgender experience like “rebirth,” “new self,” “true self.” This calls for a consideration of renewal of sacraments and sensitivity to gendered language within these sacraments.
Many transgender people adopt new names to either reflect their new gender expression or denote empowerment through conscious action and consent. Baptism and confirmation are two sacraments that are often reconfigured or revisited for trans-identified individuals wherein the new name is recognized and affirmed. . . .
When I sat down to watch the pilots for the slew of new shows set to debut this fall, a unique subpot popped up in some of the biggies:
Men with transsexual girl (boy?) friends.
Yup, seems that the hot secret for male TV characters to have this season is a transvestite lover.
The career of Dylan McDermott’s playboy character on ABC’s “Big Shots,” premiering Sept. 27, is threatened by the fact that he had a rest stop fling with what the men on the show call a “trannie hooker”—while driving through YONKERS! . . .