Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Teenage and Transgendered

Liz and Amber were just friends until Liz became Jay

By Megan Feldman
Published: September 20, 2007

Jacoby James' palms were sweating. It was almost his turn. As a camera flash illuminated the curtains in front of him, he waited to have his senior picture taken at the Academy of Irving. The photographer's assistant beckoned. Wishing he weren't so nervous, James stepped forward.

The woman directed him to a clothes rack with two kinds of outfits made to slip over the head—for the girls, v-necked bodices modeled after dresses, and for the boys, half-shirts made to look like suits. James reached for one of the suit and tie sets.

"What's your name?" the woman asked.

He hesitated. "Missouri Flowers," he said, looking at the ground. He purposely left out Elizabeth, his middle name.

The woman stared at him for a moment, confused, then glanced down at her list.

"I'd like to wear the suit and tie," James told her.

"Um...I'm not sure we can do that," she finally said.

James steeled himself. He was no longer a frightened eighth-grader whose screaming classmates told teachers there was a boy in the girls' bathroom. As far as he was concerned, Elizabeth Flowers was gone. Gone with her longish brown hair and those blouses he'd always hated; gone with her quiet, almost painful inhibitions and the stomach-wrenching anxiety that came as people looked back and forth, confused, between the feminine name and more masculine features. His friends, family and teachers had been calling him Jay James for almost a year now—he had a straight girlfriend, for God's sake. There was no way in hell he would appear in his senior picture wearing that ridiculous, frilly piece of fabric. . . .

Argentine boy sex change approved

By Daniel Schweimler
BBC News, Buenos Aires

A court in the central Argentine province of Cordoba has for the first time agreed that a sex change operation can be carried out on a minor.

The case concerns a 17-year-old male called Nati who wants to be a woman.

The decision ends a long-running legal process for Nati, who suffers from the transsexual disorder known as Harry Benjamin Syndrome.

The judge insisted that Nati receive counselling after the operation, which will take place in the next few days.

Nati knew from an early age that she had been born with the wrong body.

The decision by the court in Cordoba, the first of its kind in Argentina, means that that can now be put right.

Legal fight

After the operation Nati will also be able to officially change her name and apply for new documentation.

I'm very happy, she said, that my real identity has been recognised.

This has become an emblematic case for people who have a gender identity different to their biological one
Cesar Cigliutti

Her parents and friends have supported the 17-year-old during a long and often tortuous legal process that saw some decisions go against her.

The president of the Argentine homosexual community, Cesar Cigliutti, was one of those supporters.

"Not only the operation has been authorised but also the necessary changes to her birth certificate," he said.

"What's important and unusual about this case is that Natalie is a minor - she is not yet 18 years old - and this has become an emblematic case for people who have a gender identity different to their biological one."

What is gender?

. . .exploring the philosophical question.

Androgynous boy with female genitals refuses to become woman

25.09.2007 Source: Pravda.Ru

A Moscow-based hospital performed an operation on an androgynous boy who had a genetic set of chromosomes typical of female organisms. At his very young age the boy was diagnosed as having cryptorchidism. His parents, natives of the Middle East, wanted the son to grow older to have a special operation to solve the problem. The boy faced first problems in connection with the diagnosis at the age of twelve when he discovered that his genitals were bleeding. He told the mother about the problem. After special medical examinations doctors were shocked to discover that the male patient had an uterus and adnexa. The discovery in its turn clarified why the boy had his genitals bleeding. The boy had regular menstruation, head of the Urinology and Andrology Department at the Moscow Pediatrics and Infant Surgery Research Institute, Asaad Matar, told the Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper.

The patient had a genetic test as a result of which it turned out that there were female chromosomes in his organism. Besides, the teenager felt that his breast was growing. Taking the transformations into their consideration, doctors suggested that the parents should have their son converted into a girl with the help of sex-change surgery. The medics explained that such a transformation would include the plastic surgery of the teenager’s vagina and the removal of the organ resembling a male penis. As a result of such changes the patient may have a chance to have children, like any healthy woman, specialists said.

But the young man insisted that he wanted to remain a boy. His parents said they were used to having an elder son, but not daughter.

Afterwards, the boy underwent a different surgery to have his female genitals removed. The boy endured the operation well. Two silicone testicles are going to be implanted into his scrotum soon.

Even though the operation was a success, doctors warn that the patient will never become a natural father. What is more, he will have to take a course of hormone therapy to maintain his male phenotype till the end of his life.

Experts say that hermaphroditism can be diagnosed at the age of puberty only when a child turns ten or twelve years old. As for the above instance, ovule fertilization first gave birth to a girl. But then some abnormalities occurred during the cell fission, and the embryo acquired features of the male sex. It is not ruled out that androgynism could arise from an incestuous union in the family.

Moskovsky Komsomolets

Translated by Maria Gousseva

My Secret Self

My Secret Self

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Physically, it's obvious what gender we are from the moment we're born. But some children insist they were born with the wrong bodies. Little boys, absolutely convinced they should be girls.

Reporter: Barbara Walters

Producers: Alan B. Goldberg, Joneil Adriano

Physically, it's obvious what we are from the moment we're born.

We're either a boy or a girl. And for the vast majority of us, that's the way it stays.

But for some children, toddlers even, it's not so simple. They insist they were born with the wrong bodies. Little boys, absolutely convinced they should be girls.

Little girls, who wouldn't wear a frilly party frock if you paid them.

They've been diagnosed with GID — Gender Identity Disorder — and on Sunday night some of them and their parents tell their touching stories to Barbara Walters.

But you have to ask, how can children so young really know who they are?


BARBARA WALTERS: On the surface, Scott and Renee Jennings and their four children are a typical family. They could be your neighbours. Their youngest, Jazz, is a six-year-old who has been living with a secret until now. Your child was born a boy and now you call him a girl? Yes?


< BARBARA WALTERS: Jazz is transgender and one of the youngest documented cases of an early transmission from male to female. What was the first time that you had any inkling that this little boy, Jazz, was different?

RENEE JENNINGS: The day she came up to me — and I'll never forget it, Barbara — she said, "Mummy, when is the good fairy going to come with her magic wand and change my genitalia?"

BARBARA WALTERS: How old was Jazz then?


BARBARA WALTERS: What did you feel?

RENEE JENNINGS: Just numb, frozen. . . .

Transgender community works to gain protections in South Florida

Policies would seek to protect civil rights

By Patty Pensa

South Florida Sun-Sentinel

September 24, 2007

Transgender is quietly becoming a protected class in South Florida as cities vote to prohibit discrimination against a group that faces tremendous challenges fitting in.

Palm Beach and Broward counties may extend the protection next, which could leave the broadest imprint by affording civil rights to people for their gender identity or expression. The movement accelerated with the March firing of Largo City Manager Susan Stanton, who transitioned from male to female this year.

"It shined a light on what this discrimination is," said Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights and Stanton's attorney. "It really underscored how important it is to have these ordinances."

Lake Worth, West Palm Beach, Palm Beach Gardens, Tequesta and Oakland Park have approved nondiscrimination clauses this year either covering city employees or all residents. Oakland Park was the latest last week and Wilton Manors may consider adding transgender as well.

County ordinances would go further by outlawing discrimination in the workplace and housing in all cities and unincorporated areas. Thirteen states and more than 90 cities and counties already have such laws, with the first passed more than 30 years ago. Advocates hope local ordinances will lead to a statewide law, health insurance coverage for sexual reassignment surgery and greater acceptance.

"I've been dealing with this since I was born," said Heather Wright, who transitioned from male to female almost 10 years ago. "I finally took the steps to take care of it and feel comfortable."

Wright, who runs a gender support group in West Palm Beach for transgender individuals and their family, supports nondiscrimination ordinances so "people have a chance to prove they can do their job."

Too often, transgender individuals are fired once employers learn of their plans to undergo sexual reassignment surgery. Wright said she was lucky to work for a Fortune 500 company with a progressive outlook. . . .