Monday, September 17, 2007

Fuera del Closet

Gay and Transgender Hispanic Immigrants in Dallas

New America Media, Video, Sergio Chapa, Posted: Sep 17, 2007

Dallas-based journalist Sergio Chapa and photojournalist Ben Torres Jr.’s independent documentary "Fuera del Closet: Gay Hispanic Immigrants in Dallas" explores the way Hispanic immigration is changing the face of LGBT life in Texas.

DALLAS, Tex. – Although Dallas is often referred to as the "buckle of the Bible Belt," many gay Hispanic immigrants say they have found tolerance, acceptance and the ability to have their own clubs and bars without problems or harassment.

Hispanics are now the majority in Dallas neighborhoods that were predominately African American or Anglo as little as 10 years ago. The LGBT community is no exception.

Hispanic immigration has transformed Cedar Springs, the city's principal gay district. The once-segregated neighborhood now has a gay Latino club and other spots that appeal to Hispanics. Immigrants have also created a separate gay district of their own in another area of Dallas known as "Little Mexico."

At the same time, transvestite and transexual entertainers are bravely breaking barriers by performing at taquerías and Mexican restaurants for straight audiences across the metroplex.

These entertainers, who have performed in Mexico and California, say they have never performed for so large an audience as they have in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Dallas-based journalist Sergio Chapa and photojournalist Ben Torres Jr.’s independent documentary "Fuera del Closet: Gay Hispanic Immigrants in Dallas" debuted over Labor Day weekend at the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists’ Association’s annual convention in San Diego.

Gene determines whether male body odor smells pleasant

To many, urine smells like urine and vanilla smells like vanilla. But androstenone, a derivative of testosterone that is a potent ingredient in male body odor, can smell like either � depending on your genes. While many people ascribe a foul odor to androstenone, usually that of stale urine or strong sweat, others find the scent sweet and pleasant. Still others cannot smell it at all.

New research from Rockefeller University, performed in collaboration with scientists at Duke University in North Carolina, reveals for the first time that this extreme variability in people�s perception of androstenone is due in large part to genetic variations in a single odorant receptor called OR7D4. The research is reported September 16 as an advance online publication of the journal Nature.

Androstenone, found in higher concentrations in the urine and sweat of men than of women, is used by some mammals to convey social and sexual information, and the ability to perceive androstenone�s scent may have far-reaching behavioral implications for humans.

In the largest study ever conducted of its kind, researchers at Rockefeller University presented nearly 400 participants with 66 odors at two different concentrations and asked them to rate the pleasantness and intensity of each odor. When scientists at Duke University identified OR7D4 as a receptor that androstenone selectively activates, Leslie Vosshall, Chemers Family Associate Professor and head of the Laboratory of Neurogenetics and Behavior at Rockefeller University and Andreas Keller, a postdoc in her lab, formed a collaboration with them, and began collecting blood samples from each participant and isolated their DNA. The Duke team, led by Hiroaki Matsunami, used DNA from each participant to sequence the gene that encodes the OR7D4 receptor.

�With this large dataset, we are able to say that people who express different variants of this receptor perceive this odor differently,� says Vosshall.

Although it has long been suspected that the ability to perceive the odor of androstenone is genetically determined, this study was the first to identify variations in a single gene that account for a large part of why people perceive androstenone�s scent so differently. . . .

Korea: Gender Bending Shopping Goes Mainstream

By Jane Han
Staff Reporter

Tie-wearing women and lip-glossed men are no longer social taboos, but exemplify the up and coming metrosexual trend that makes marketers wonder if the local consumption swap is just a fad, or here to last.

A recent report by online retailer Interpark showed that, over the past three years, men buying cosmetics jumped 13 percent, while women purchasing athletics equipment went up 9 percent.

The data also indicated that men's jewelry sales hiked 40 percent over the past two years.
All of this, retailers say, opens a new ``in-the-middle'' market for them.

``Before, we had cosmetics for different female skin types, but makers are now putting out completely new lines made just for men,'' said Interpark spokeswoman Kim Sun-ae.

She said men in their 20s-30s are the biggest buyers of ``for men'' color lotion, powder set, mascara and lip gloss, however, now more men in their 40s are also showing interest.

``Before, color lotion was the top seller, but nowadays, they want more than that because society seems to call for clean cut, prettier guys,'' Kim said, adding that facial masks and foam cleansers are also popular.

Ted Kim, spokesman of GS e-Shop, agreed that the country's largest Internet shopping mall is also seeing similar consumer patterns.

``Television dramas and the competitive job markets are some factors that drive this `pretty boy' fad,'' he said. ``And this triggers more male groomers to shop online because they feel embarrassed buying traditional feminine items in regular stores.''

He explained that overall male shopping increased, in which the men to women ratio buying ratio went from 3:7 in 2002 to 5:5 this year.

The shift is also evident in the ladies' department, as Kim of Interpark says more men's wear-type outfits are taking center stage.

``Boxier styles, vests and baggy pants are selling better among women, while guys prefer tighter fitting shirts and pants with fancier designs,'' she said. . . .


Kevin O'Sullivan 16/09/2007

Here's a very normal situation we can all identify with. Former fella Hayley Cropper spoke for the nation when she sighed: "I thought I'd changed after my gender realignment. But I haven't."

I'm not sure you're right about that, Hayley. Check between your legs and I think you might notice a rather fundamental change. But forget the physical details.

It's the mental turmoil of Coronation Street's Hayley we're supposed to give a damn about.

The poor thing has discovered that when she used to be Harold her single attempt at hetero-sex produced a son called Christian.

And now she's trying to forge a relationship with a guy who is about to find out his dad is a girl.

Hayley's everyday predicament has enraged her sexually-ambivalent husband Roy. Almost as much as it must infuriate millions of soap fans.

What the hell is happening on the Street? Old Elsie Tanner must be spinning in her grave!

"We can go on this journey together Roy," pleaded Weatherfield's resident gender bender. "Come with me."

"Please don't spout cliches at me," replied Roy. "There is nothing cliched about this."

He had a point. But, while avoiding the mundane is normally a good thing, is this farfetched nonsense really a plausible plotline for a venerable old ITV drama that prides itself on being in touch with its viewers?

Is it hell! It's absolutely ridiculous.

Even anything-goes Hollyoaks would think twice about this brand of garish garbage.

Loitering nervously outside the record store where Richard Hammond look-alike Christian works, Hayley fretted over making contact with her long-lost lad.

Until her bosom buddy Becky sensibly assured her: "He's hardly going to come up to you and say, 'Are you me dad?' is he?"

Another good point!

I'm all for transsexuals living their lives as they see fit. Whatever makes them happy. . . .

Transitioning into new jobs and genders

At the first transgender career expo, men and women meet companies that accept them for who they are becoming.

By Jenny Jarvie, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
September 16, 2007

ATLANTA -- -- The woman pulled her resume from a pink file folder and handed it to a recruiter.

Across the top of the page, in bold type, she had printed her name twice: first as "Mark," then as "(Meghan)." She was not quite sure if this was appropriate.

At the nation's first transgender Career Expo, job seekers were encouraged to use their new gender names on resumes.

But Meghan, 42, a transsexual who declined to give her last name because her current employer knows her as Mark, wanted to make sure prospective employers could find her -- or him -- if they ran a background check.

The etiquette of transgender resumes was just one of the myriad challenges facing job seekers who packed the Atlanta convention hall. For transgender people -- at Friday's expo, they ranged from cross-dressers to those who had changed their gender through hormone therapy or surgery -- the workplace can be a minefield.

Many cannot find jobs. Even those who come out after they have settled in with a company risk losing their job. No federal civil rights protection exists for transgender employees, but 12 states have passed legislation ensuring employment protection. The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote this month on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would prohibit discrimination against employees on the basis of gender identity.

The Career Expo -- organized by the Southern Comfort Conference, the country's largest annual gathering of transgender people -- drew recruiters from more than 20 major corporations including Microsoft Corp., Deloitte & Touche LLP, Ernst & Young, American Airlines, Hewlett-Packard Co. and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.

A number of national and international corporations are developing transgender policies and protections. According to a report by the Human Rights Campaign, 152 of Fortune 500 companies prohibit job discrimination against transgender employees.

In some ways, the Career Expo was like any other job fair: Men and women walked from booth to booth, stopping to exchange business cards and promote their experience and skill.

Some scenes were more colorful: A woman with hooped earrings carrying a glossy platinum wig chatted with recruiters from Ernst & Young.

At the other side of the room, a woman in pearls wiggled her hips playfully as she walked up to a Hewlett-Packard booth. "Am I accepted?" she asked, coyly.

"Totally," the recruiter said, reaching over the booth to shake her hand. Hewlett-Packard, the recruiter said earnestly, earned a 100% diversity rating on the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index. . . .