Saturday, September 22, 2007

Transwoman Asked to Leave Church Position

Transgendered Woman Says She Was Asked to Leave Church Positions

Updated at: 09/20/2007 10:50:40 PM
By: Kim Johnson

This spring, Eyewitness News told you about a Duluthian who was born a man and the struggle with becoming a transgendered a woman. Since our story aired, Marla Evans received support form some people while she says she was let go from two roles at her church, St. Mary's Star of the Sea in Duluth.

"I was really stunned, stunned speechless," said Marla.

She says she was told she could no longer volunteer there as a Sunday school teacher. She also played guitar in the church band--a paid position, but she says she was let go from that as well.

Marla says that when the original story aired, people at church were surprised to learn about her transgenderism. Whenever she attended services she always dressed as a man, Mark.

"I would never present at church on Sunday," she said.

Marla says a couple weeks after the story aired, she was called into Deacon Roger Birkland's office.

"To make a long story short I was told that I would not be asked back as a school teacher," said Marla. "I was told I was no longer needed as a musician because of the interview."

She says the Deacon said he had spoken to Bishop Dennis Schnurr and that the Bishop approved the action.

"What I was told was the perception in our society of this type of behavior is unacceptable in the church, that was almost verbatim," said Marla. "I was like whoa! But I didn't want to let on that that hurt as much as it did."

Deacon Birkland declined an interview for this story. Over the phone, he said "Personell matters are personal." He said there was more to the situation than Marla's transgenderism. When asked to elaborate he declined. Marla says she was given no other reason. Eyewitness News also tried contacting Bishop Schnurr to comment on this story. He did not return our phone calls.

Even in Marla was fired because of her transgenderism like she says, legally nothing can be done about it. Although the Minnesota Human RIghts Act prohibits discrimination against the transgendered community, churches are in some cases exempt from that law.

Marla sought legal advice from a Minnesota organization focusing on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues. A lawyer there with Outfront Minnesota says there are no legal options.

"For the same reason you could never sue the catholic church on behalf of a woman who is denied a job as a priest. It just wouldn't happen," said Phil Duran, an attorney with Outfront Minnesota. "Is it sex discrimination? You bet. Is there any law that would ever touch that? No."

Marla says she had no choice but to move on, but it won't be with the church.

"I'm kind of on a hiatus from organized religion right now," she said. . . .

Most patients who have male to female sex-change surgery are happy, despite complications


The majority of patients who undergo male to female sex-change surgery are happy with the results, despite the fact that complications are common, according to a study of over 200 patients in the September issue of the urology journal BJU International.

A research team from the Departments of Urology and Psychiatry at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, UK, explored the initial experiences of 222 patients who had undergone surgery and 70 who took part in detailed follow-ups.

They found that 88 per cent of patients were happy with their surgery at their first post-operative clinic visit, seven per cent were unhappy and five per cent made no comment.

All the patients studied had had their penis surgically removed, their urethra repositioned and female labia constructed. 93 per cent had a clitoris constructed using a section of the glans of their penis and 91 per cent had a skin-lined vagina.

“The outcome of this complex surgery depends on a number of factors” says lead author, urology registrar Jonathan C Goddard.

“These include the technical experience of the surgeon, the amount and quality of tissue that each patient has available for reconstruction and, most importantly, the realistic expectations of the patients themselves.

“One of the biggest problems with research of this nature is that many patients are difficult to contact. Having gone through a two-year real-life test before extensive surgery, which can include breast as well as genital construction, many want to start a new life and compartmentalise their past. This can include moving to a new area.”

Despite this, the research team managed to contact 70 of the patients who had undergone surgery at the hospital between 1994 and 2004.

They ranged from 19 to 76 years of age, with an average age of 43. Most had had surgery about three years before. 91 per cent had had a clitoris created and 89 per cent had had a vagina created.

The researchers found that:

• 23 per cent of the patients had, or were having, regular intercourse and 61 per cent were happy with the depth of their vagina.

• 98 per cent had a sensitive clitoris and 48 per cent were able to achieve orgasm. 14 per cent were hypersensitive but none had elected to have their clitoris removed.

• 29 per cent were troubled by vaginal hair growth, six per cent had had a vaginal prolapse and three per cent had vaginal necrosis (tissue death).

• 27 per cent reported urinary problems and the majority of these needed revision surgery.

“Despite these problems, which were mainly minor and easily corrected by secondary surgery, 76 per cent of the patients who provided detailed feedback were happy with the cosmetic result of their surgery and 80 per cent said the surgery had met their expectations” concludes Jonathan C Goddard.

When Frat House Is Home


. . .Gay fraternities have popped up all over the country, the largest and fastest growing of which is Delta Lambda Phi (DLP), which boasts 26 non-residential chapters across the nation, including one here in New York at NYU. Launched more than two decades ago, DLP is the only national fraternity that has put out a welcome mat not only for gay men, but also bisexual and indeed all progressively-minded college guys. The fraternity now has two straight-identified members. . .

One emerging controversy involves transgendered applicants. At this point, DLP requires any pledge whose gender identity is challenged to produce documentation demonstrating that he is in fact male, a requirement that most trans people would find objectionable, even humiliating.

"A number of transgendered men are currently looking to join, and at least one brother is in the process of transitioning from male to female," Corcoran said. "When this happens he will have to have honorary membership." . . .

Shanda's Aurora Bans Transsexuals

Aurora, Gaming, Internet, King of the World, MMORPG, Online Game, SNDA, Shanda

Posted by: Riki Hsu on Sep 20, 2007 | 17:09

Editorial Summary

Shanda (Nasdaq: SNDA) subsidiary Aurora Technology has frozen game accounts of male players who chose to play female in-game characters in its in-house developed MMORPG King of the World, reports 17173. Aurora stipulates that only female gamers can play female characters in the game, and it requires gamers who chose female characters to prove their biological sex with a webcam, according to the report.

Ireland: 'I was Paul for 51 years - then I became Paula'

Thursday 20, September 2007

When Paula Grieg's first grandchild was christened last year, she could only be there in spirit. Her presence in the little rural parish church would have been too unsettling for many of the other people there. The reason was an unusual one - in her former life, she would have been the little boy's grandfather.

For Paula used to be Paul, who for over 25 years was married to Karen. They had three healthy children, lived in a beautiful house overlooking a lake, and enjoyed many of the material trappings of the early boom years of Celtic Tiger Ireland. To an outsider, it appeared they had the perfect family life.

But the outwardly successful Paul, in secure employment with a big international company, had a secret that even those closest to him never suspected. He believed he was a woman trapped in a man's body. A vague yearning which at first he struggled to comprehend eventually grew into an overpowering desire to become the person he felt he had always really been.

It was a gradual realisation that ultimately gained irresistible momentum, with enormous personal consequences. He was forced to walk away from his family, home, friends, and well-paid job to live an entirely new life alone in another country.

Paul came to Ireland when his family moved here from Germany in the late 1960s. He was just 17. As a youngster, he found himself inexplicably drawn to secretly trying on his mother's underwear. But his teenage hormones pointed him strongly in the direction of girls. While working as a barman, he met Karen. They became engaged when he was almost 20 and she was 17.

His liking for women's clothes became apparent early in their marriage, though the pair never spoke openly about it. He loved his wife, but he had other deep feelings for which he had no rational explanation. He had the normal sexual urges of a man, but secretly desired to be loved like a woman. He deemed it wise not to mention this to anybody.

They had a son and twin daughters. But he felt he was living under false pretences.

Nowadays Paula Grieg lives in Manchester. She has written a book describing the personal confusion and turmoil which would ultimately lead to a sex change operation. Grieg is a nom-de-plume. Likewise, the names of family and friends have been changed and geographical locations have been blurred to protect those dearest to her. But otherwise the story is told in sometimes graphic detail.

Recalling her growing young family, she says: "I can't say if my urges towards my children were more maternal or paternal, but I knew that I loved them with every heartbeat."

Married life too had its contradictions. " Physically, I was perfectly able to function sexually as a man. But the processes going on in my mind, while doing so, were usually anything but male." . . .

POV, Critique, Opinion: Three fundamental problems with Oprah

Filed by: Guest Blogger
September 22, 2007 11:00 AM

[EDITOR'S NOTE:] The following guest post comes to us from Kim Pearson. Kim is a founding board member and the current Executive Director of TransYouth Family Advocates. She is also the proud parent of a teenaged transgender affirmed son. Together they live and do advocacy work for gender variant children and youth in Arizona.

Anyone who knows me is aware that I am a huge fan of Oprah. I constantly express my desire to have families that are involved with TransYouth Family Advocates featured on her show or in O Magazine. I have always been confident that she would tell our stories with respect and would be attentive to providing positive portrayals of gender variant and transgender children and youth. I also hoped it would be an amazing opportunity to share the ground breaking work we are doing at TransYouth Family Advocates on behalf of these children and families. You can imagine how disappointed I was to find myself telling her producers this week that I would not be willing to go on the show and that I was not willing to recommend that other TYFA families participate either.

In my conversations with them I expressed concern over how the show was being framed, how the families would be portrayed and if the safety of the children participating was being adequately considered. After these conversations I was not confident that the producers were looking at the bigger picture of these kids and their families lives.

On there was an appeal to families asking them to appear on this show. I find three fundamental problems with their call for participation. The rest of this post addresses those problems. . . .