Monday, October 01, 2007

Rupert Raj - Trans Humanist

View video here.

Barney Frank Bails on the Transgender Community

Sara Whitman

October 1, 2007

Dear Congressman Frank:

I am your constituent. I vote for you. I have voted for you since I moved to Newton in 1985. That's a lot of elections. I cannot believe you are supporting a gutted version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), removing transgender from the language of the Act.

I could not really believe it until I read your post on

And there it was, clear as day, you thought it was the right thing to do. Good strategy. Politically a savvy move.

As a lesbian who does not fit the traditional feminine image, much to my oldest son's ire, I can say you are cutting out the one group of people most in need of the protection. I don't have to explain to you that most of the Fortune 500 has sexual orientation as part of their own employment policies. They do not have gender expression or transgender.

Of course, you can be assured a victory in the House of Representatives if you remove the transgender folks from the bill. There is not, of course, a chance in hell it'll get through the Senate to the President's desk, even with the trannies removed, but you'll have a victory.

A hollow one. One with no soul. No pride.

You know what I find interesting, Congressman Frank? Even through the whole Steven Gobie nonsense, I stood by you. I would argue your strengths. I would take on anyone who said anything negative about you, or told snickering jokes. Why? Because you were a gay man, and I was a lesbian, and there is something to be said about sticking with your family.

I consider transgender people part of the same family. Removing them from the bill is like telling me I can bring two of my children along, but not the third.

You see, on the eve of this historic vote, because it will be remembered in history, I look at my three children and can honestly say one might be struggling with gender identity issues. Not sure. Can't be positive, but maybe. How will I look him in the eye when he's old enough to understand transgender rights were not considered important enough to take a stand on, that it was simply politically more expedient to pass a bill for Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual people?

They look so much nicer in photo ops? Is that what I'm suppose to say? People get too uncomfortable with his "kind?" What kind of message is that? Because I know you know that people who go through the pain and struggle to change their gender are not folks that will show up to work on Friday as Joe and walk in on Monday as Joanne.

You know better.

In all the years I have voted for you, I never once questioned my allegiance. I do now. You're selling out one of my sons in order to achieve a technical victory. Maybe you've been in office too long. Maybe you're too jaded to remember how people stood by you when it wasn't necessarily a popular thing to do.

Please, Congressman Frank, do not push forward ENDA without full inclusion. The acronym is LGBT rights. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender rights. If we start picking and choosing amongst ourselves, we are no better than the people who would fire us for being different.

LGB is not enough. I'm not going to leave anyone behind. If you continue to push the proposed substitute bill, you are making a choice to leave one of my kids behind.

Shame on you.

Trans discrimination sparks fight

October 01, 2007

By Amber Peckham

One of the first waves of protest over the move in Congress to remove transgender people from an anti-discrimination bill came from the labor movement. Members of Pride at Work, an LGBT-focused labor coalition and the newest member of the AFL-CIO, held a press conference Sept 28 to announce they are withdrawing their support from the ENDA bill, and encouraging other LGBT advocacy groups to do the same.

The advocacy is having an impact – already, more than 20 LGBT organizations have come out against the move, and it’s entirely possible that the one-time landmark workplace-discrimination bill will lose almost all of queer community support.

“The need for gender provisions in this bill doesn’t apply only to those who are transgender, but also to, say, effeminate gay men, or lesbians who are ‘too butch’” said Robert Haaland, a representative of Pride at Work. “By picking and choosing who to include in their non-discrimination bill, these legislators are discriminating. It’s self-contradicting.”

“With the transgender community as arguably the most marginalized part of the LGBT community, they are really the ones who need the support of this bill the most,” added Masen Davis, a board member of the Transgender Law Center board. “Over 60% of transgenders in San Francisco are unemployed.”
Davis also expressed gratitude for the support of the labor community.
“If anyone is familiar with the ‘divide and conquer’ tactics being used on the LGBT community right now, it’s the labor movement.” he said. “It really heartens me to hear this voice of support from the labor community, because it means that maybe the bill won’t have to be divided, it can stay one, unified proposition.”

Pride at Work is calling on Pelosi to withdraw her support for the bill if transgender provisions are removed before ENDA is voted on, and is holding a vigil outside her office. If she were to do so, it is likely the bill would not pack the punch required to make it through a Congressional vote, and none of the LGBT community would benefit.

“That’s how the labor movement works; if you injure one, you injure all.” said Haaland. “And it looks like that’s how this bill is going to end up working as well.”

Sacramento: Lambda Letters Project Looks to Enhance Board

Lambda Letters
Press Release

Serving the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, HIV/AIDS,
Women's and People of Color Communities
Contact Release

Boyce Hinman, Chief Lobbyist For Immediate Release
The Lambda Letters Project September 19, 2007
717 K Street, Suite 224
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 728-1261

Lambda Letters Project Looks to Enhance Board
For immediate release

California Non-Profit, The Lambda Letters Project, Seeks Dedicated Board Members To Help Grow Its' Statewide Advocacy.

Founded in 1988, the Lambda Letters Project is an independent and non-partisan organization, promoting the social, economic, and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex individuals, couples, and families; people affected by HIV/AIDS; people of color; women; and people of low economic status. We urge elected officials to enact and support legislation that accomplishes this goal.

Lambda Letters is now seeking qualified board members with experience in: Finance, Fund Raising, Legal, Marketing, Public Relations, Technology, Human Resources, Community Involvement, Outreach, Education and Legislative Advocacy. Our goals are to increase our membership, strengthen our advocacy, provide education on key issues, and become a sounding board for our legislative associates. Our board plays a vital role in effecting these goals.

Working as a team with our statewide membership the Lambda Letters Project delivers over 300,000 letters and E-mails per year, to California state legislators. The Project has delivered over 2 million letters and E-mails just since the year 2000. We have been a major factor in passing hundreds of Assembly and Senate bills dealing with our core interests. Senator Sheila Kuehl, D-Los Angeles, has stated that often the work done by Lambda Letters makes the difference between a bill passing and failing.

The system of distribution is simple, but the result is powerful. E-mail alerts on Assembly and Senate Bills are created and widely distributed by email to the Lambda Letters Project membership. Members are able to review and automatically generate E-mails to the appropriate legislators to demonstrate support. The Project also sends its members a monthly newsletter and sample letters via the Post Office. People are invited to sign the letters and return them for delivery to their legislators.

Newly recruited board members will participate in an educational seminar this fall followed by committee assignments and leading to board appointment at the January, 2008 Annual Meeting. Appointed board members will be asked to sign an agreement outlining a commitment of fundraising, committee involvement and regular board attendance.

For additional information please contact:
Boyce Hinman

Final op for sex change woman


A WOMAN fighting for the right to be legally recognised as a man will travel to Thailand in December for her final sex change operation.

She now expects to win her legal battle after a medical report concluded that she is neither male nor female.

The report, compiled by a Public Prosecution doctor, found she was suffering from a gender identity problem and had no female reproductive organs.

She also has a higher percentage of male chromosomes in her body than female chromosomes, as well as "obscure external genitals".

Her lawyer described the medical report as a major breakthrough in her case.

"This is a great step forward in this case," lawyer Fouzia Janahi told the GDN.

Her client is seeking to officially change her sex from female to male, as well as change her name from Zainab to Hussain.

If she wins the case in the High Civil Court, she will qualify for a new CPR card, driving licence and passport with her new male identity.

The woman, who has already had a mastectomy, previously submitted 11 medical reports from Al Khalidi Medical Centre, Jordan, and one each from the Ibn Al Nafees Hospital and Shifa Al Jazeera Medical Centre, Bahrain, at two court hearings last year.

She is suffering from a condition known as gender dysphoria, where people identify with the opposite sex to the one they were born with.

The woman was previously engaged to be married, but the relationship ended when her partner noticed she was more like a man.

Her lawyer said she had suffered considerably as a result and had not been accepted by either men or women.

"Now, only one last cosmetic operation remains to convert her completely into a male with male reproductive organs," Ms Janahi said.

"She will travel to Thailand in December to undergo this final second cosmetic operation to complete the remaining requirements to turn her into a male. "The medical report that we will get from Thailand after this second operation will be submitted to the court and it will then issue an order to change the gender of Zainab from female to male in all her official documents. "The Medical-Legal Department doctor will receive the medical report from Thailand and after inspecting her will forward his final report to the Third High Civil Court, which will issue its judgment and (hopefully) order the change in the official documents and in all her identification papers.”


Alice crazy for builder who had £25k NHS sex swap

By Matthew Acton

TEENAGER Alice Tattersall was stunned to discover her hunky builder boyfriend had a secret past —as a golden-haired girl.

But yesterday, as she hugged handsome Danny Richardson— one of the NHS's youngest-ever sex swap recipients—she declared: "He's all man or I wouldn't be with him. I love him to pieces.

"He's a fantastic bloke—funny and sexy. It was a shock when I found out he used to be a girl called Katie—it certainly explained why he'd wanted to take the physical side so slowly.

"But once Danny explained all the traumas he'd been through I knew I wanted to be with him.

"As far as I'm concerned he IS a man. We have a lovely and fulfilled sex life. I couldn't ask for any more."

No, but 22-year-old Danny could. And after hormone treatment and painful surgery he is almost there.

He has completed two years of the £25,000 five-year course of gender realignment, paid for by the state, and now has body and facial hair, deep voice and a prominent Adam's apple.

He faces six more operations to finish the gender swap and give him the manhood he craves.

But Danny isn't letting a little thing like that spoil the fun for him and 19-year-old Alice! "It hasn't caused us a problem," he revealed with a cheeky grin. "We still make love like man and woman, thanks to sex toys.

"Last month I had my breasts removed, which was very painful. But I feel so much happier now, like a real boyfriend."

And he's actually looking forward to undergoing more surgery.

"It'll be worth it," he said. "I just want to make Alice as happy as she makes me."

Danny endured years of torment growing up in Sittingbourne, Kent, as Katie, a beautiful girl with tumbling golden ringlets.

"I've been unhappy since I was a little girl," he admitted. "From three years old I hated having to wear dresses and skirts.

"My sister Sarah's four years older than me and while she was playing with dolls I'd be climbing trees, getting covered in dirt, mucking about with Action Man and toy guns.

"But when I got older and went to high school I had my first crush—and it was on a girl, not a boy. I felt very confused.

"While the other girls were swooning over Take That, I was more into the Spice Girls! But it also made me upset and angry. I felt cheated that I was in the wrong body. I'd go to bed and cry myself to sleep every night.

"I despised the body I had and wanted a boy's. I hated my 34C breasts.

"I wasn't happy at school because of the torment and at 14 I just stopped going. I began working for my mum as a carer for the elderly.

"I loved that. I never told them my secret. I dressed as a boy and the older people just loved me for who I was."

But deep down, Danny was still in turmoil and turned to booze to escape his inner nightmare. "I'd down cheap alcopops or bottles of Malibu until I passed out," he said.

"At least then I didn't have to think about the body I hated."

At 16 Danny began dating another girl, had his first sexual experience and announced he was a lesbian.

His mum Joy, now a counsellor, dad Kevin and sister Sarah were shocked but glad he had at least found some happiness.

But at 18 the troubled teenager dropped the real bombshell—asking his mum to find out about organising a sex change.

Danny revealed: "Her jaw dropped and she said, ‘Over my dead body!' I just don't think she knew how to handle it. But since then she's been amazing. . . .

To be a transsexual in Iran, an interview with director of "Birthday", Negin Kianfar

Shohreh Jandaghian

In 1976, Ayatollah Khomeini, imposed a fatwa to allow people with hormonal disorders to change sex if they wished, because the Koran doesn't say anything on the subject. Transsexuals don't have to fear prosecution and they even can change their birth certificates. But the challenge is the traditional, religious Iranian society in which the transsexuality is still concerned as a disease.

The Birthday follows a young man who decides to become a woman. His conservative parents try to come to terms with their son’s decision and after a lot of discussions they accept the new sexual identity of their son, who already had a boyfriend before the operation.

“The Birthday” is a film which offers a window into a world we rarely see from an Islamic society.

Shohreh Jandaghian –To begin, Please tell about you and your path towards filmmaking.
Negin Kianfar – I was born on1969 in Tehran and have studied cinema in Art university of Tehran, majoring in film direction. I work as a dubbing actress for feature and documentary projects for IRIB (Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting) and private section since 1367. I am also painter and had 2 years course under supervision of master Aidin Aghdashlou and participated in many exhibitions at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art. Also one of my paintings is purchased by the same museum.

Shohreh – Is “The Birthday” your first documentary?
Negin – I made some short films and some more like experimental stuff but The Birthday is my first long documentary.

Shohreh – What was your motivation for making a documentary about Transsexuality?
Negin – I was working with Daisy Mohr, my partner in the film, who is a print journalist, on many different subjects and we crossed this topic and I thought not just the transexuality but the gender crises and identity crises is an issue in the whole world. And I was amazed by my first character to change his life to be able to experience the feminine side of the life in the society which is not the best for women. The other reason was that I found doing sex-change is allowed by the law but it’s not socially accepted and in general talking about sex issues is a big taboo in the society in which I live and I decided to break this taboo.

Shohreh – You mean it is legal to carry out gender reassignment surgery in Iran?
Negin – It is legal but the procedure is quiet difficult and takes long time, because the judge has to be sure that the case is not homosexual because authorities consider homosexuality as a disease and they are not accepted by the law or even the society. And that was another thing which amazed me and inspired me to work on this subject.

Shohreh – For a traditional male-dominant society like Iranians’, which case is less acceptable: male-to-female transsexual or vice versa?
Negin – Male to female is less accepted because we’ve heard a lot through the history like Mard-e-zan nama ( man with female appearance) or female like behaviour, and it’s shame and funny remark, but the other way around is more accepted because they considered as shir-zan (brave as a lion) and it’s a compliment. I think I explained this reason very explicit in the film when Afshin’s brother talks about his sister’s childhood.

Shohreh – What major problems do Transsexuals face in Iran?
Negin – They are not accepted by society, neighbores, family, relatives and etc. And they cannot get a job. Even police officers or moral police forces are not informed of their situation and rights.

Shohreh – Then it shouldn’t be so easy to get in contact with them.
Negin – we did few weeks research and found big group of them and ended up in the clinic and finally found our film characters up there.
It was difficult to persuade them to be present in front of the camera at the beginning but during the research we built up the trust and they got convinced that this film inform the society to break this taboo and send the message.

Shohreh – What were some of the biggest challenges you faced in developing the project?
Negin – Convincing the family to be in front of the camera the first day (just the first day), bringing out Saye and Afshin (two of the transsexuals) together because they preferred to not to come outside. And the most difficult part was getting in to the clinic and waiting room and the surgery room and all the permitions.

Shohreh – You’ve directed the film with Daisy More. Could you tell a bit about your co-directing and how it went?
Negin – It was a very good experience but more difficult for me because she couldn’t speak Farsi and I had to translate everything for her to be able to follow the lines and it was heavy job for me because I had to talk to my characters and build the friendship at the same time and sometimes it was complicated situation and no time for translation. But we agreed on everything and never had a problem during the work. . . .

ENDA: The Sin of Omission

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Dr. Jillian Todd Weiss, Associate Professor of Law and Society at Ramapo College

According to the Washington Blade, House Democratic leaders are strongly considering omitting anti-discrimination protections for transgender persons from the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, legislation that would ban employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The paper said this occurred after an internal Democratic head count last Wednesday indicated that, if the bill continued to include “gender identity,” it would not receive the votes necessary for passage. The Blade implied that a “sexual orientation” standalone bill would receive the necessary votes for passage.

The idea of deleting gender identity from ENDA, and creating a stand-alone gender identity bill, is an idea that completely undermines the fairness message of ENDA. There is a wonderful post by Nadine Smith at Bilerico on this issue. She gives historical examples of legislators that sought to exclude a controversial minority at the last moment, and how those bills went on to victory without exclusion. This is very instructive about the nature and function of remedial civil rights legislation, like ENDA.

A classic debate among legal scholars is the question of when law in a democracy should follow public sentiment, and when it should lead. In most cases, legislators enact laws because, using their political instincts, they believe the majority of their constituency wants it. If the majority don’t want it, they don’t vote for the law. It’s a simple calculus, and it’s the backbone of democracy. The most good for the most people. There are times, however, when this utilitarian creed serves a society poorly. Sometimes the majority is ignorant about a subject, and in need of an education. Sometimes a society is prejudiced, and needs to know it. Sometimes there is a small group of people who are suffering quietly, stifiling under the arrogant judgment of an intolerant majority, and in need of a higher authority to set it right. There are times when legislators must support a proposed law because it is the right thing to do, even though the majority is against it because of prejudice or ignorance or intolerance. The very act of taking this courageous stand propels the issue into national debate, and the legislation becomes the very instrument of the education needed to enact it. . . .