Saturday, October 27, 2007

Nothing extraordinary for Jo Normal

Dear Mariella

'My sister is a depressed, post-op transsexual. She has no friends, no job, and feels her life has not moved on. I'm very supportive, but have run out of advice'

Mariella Frostrup
Sunday October 28, 2007
The Observer

The dilemma

My sister is a post-operative transsexual who had the op six years ago. She is almost 40 and lives alone. She has never felt happy in her own skin, and this has become more pronounced since the op. In her own words, she is a 'freak' and 'not real' and is very aware of people staring at her when she is out and about. She is on antidepressants, but they don't help. She has a nonexistent social life because she is scared of people and their reaction to her, although she has had a loyal best friend for years. Over the past five years she's got back in contact with Mum and as a family we are supportive, although our brother is still in denial about it. How can she stop feeling like a lesser person, and sort her life out? She wants to move nearer to me, which I fully support, to find a job, a house, etc. However, she is in a dark place, and motivating her to look for a job and to see that life can be exciting is difficult. She has a big birthday coming up and is depressed her life has not moved on, yet she is the one who has not moved it on. I have run out of advice and motivational support. I love her a great deal and only want her to be happy. What should I/she do? . . .

Hearing changes how people perceive gender

October 26, 2007

CHICAGO, Oct. 26 (UPI) -- People can feel unsettled when a person's voice doesn’t fit his or her gender, because the brain may do multi-sensory processing, a U.S. study suggests.

Lead author Eric Smith, a graduate student; Marcia Grabowecky, a research assistant professor of psychology; and Satoru Suzuki, an associate professor of psychology in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern University say researchers have long thought that one part of the brain does vision and another does auditory processing, and that the two don’t communicate with each other.

"But emerging research suggests that rich information from different senses come together quickly and influence each other so that we don’t experience the world one sense at a time," Grabowecky said in a statement.

The researchers used "simple tones with no explicit gender information to get a window into how vision and audition work together to process gender information," Grabowecky said.

The study, published in Current Biology, shows that when an androgynous face was paired with a pure tone that fell within the female fundamental-frequency range -- 160 to 300 Hz -- people were more likely to report that the face was that of a female. . . .

Blanchett enjoys cross-dressing roles

Last Update: 10/26 10:31 am
Cate Blanchett (Getty Images)
Cate Blanchett (Getty Images)

Australian actress Cate Blanchett loved dressing up as a man so much in her new movie - she is to do it again on stage.

The 38-year-old donned men's clothes in Todd Haye's forthcoming movie I'm Not There, as one of several thespians to portray musician Bob Dylan.

Now Blanchett intends on appearing in a stage version of The War Of The Roses for the Sydney Theatre Company Down Under, and will once again take on the role of a man.

She says, "I see nothing strange about it being a cross-dressing production. In Shakepeare's day, men played all the roles and I think we can learn so much about each other if we swap around now and again."

What’s in a Name

Illustration by Leanne Shapto

Shirley Temple didn’t make many enemies, but Alleen Nilsen can think of a few people who loathed America’s sweetheart. Nilsen, a professor of English at Arizona State University and president (with her husband, Don) of the American Names Society, once met a Shirley from a family that used the name for four generations — for its men. As soon as Temple stamped it as indelibly girlish, Shirley IV disgustedly switched to Shirl. There was no Shirley V.

Dozens of longstanding male names — Kim, Beverly, Ashley, etc. — have met the same fate. Linguists know the pattern well: not long after a boy’s name catches on with girls, parents shy away from christening sons with it. “We crowd them out,” Nilsen says. Consider some examples from the Social Security Administration’s baby-name database. Through 1955, “Leslie” consistently appeared among the 150 most popular boys’ names. About a decade earlier, it began to catch on among girls. And the “crowding out” Nilsen mentioned took place. “Leslie” fell out of favor, dropping from a peak of 81 in male popularity rankings in 1895 to 874 a century later, and will most likely never gain traction with men again. Dana, Carol and Shannon met similar ends.

By contrast, Jordan has appeared in the Top 100 most popular names for both sexes since 1989, and other modern unisex names coexist peacefully, too. Angel, overwhelmingly male until the mid-’50s, became popular for girls around 1972. Yet boy Angels surpassed girls in 1986, and the name now sits at No. 31 for men, 160 for women. And the popularity of Logan for boys (it perennially appears in the Top 50) may have eroded its cachet for girls, an unusual reversal.

The best example of a new gender-fluid name is Peyton, which wasn’t popular until the quarterback Peyton Manning emerged. It tested parents’ tolerance of ambiguity, since it lacked strong gender connotations. The name caught on with girls first in 2000. But parents, perhaps hopeful for their sons’ athletic futures, loved it for boys too. Strikingly, its popularity with both sexes surged and dipped in lock step over the past decade — meaning parents responded to the fickle laws that govern name popularity identically, as if sex made no difference. Peytons of both sexes probably gained thousands of peers when Manning’s Colts won the Super Bowl in February.

The loosening of sex roles may have freed parents to choose neutral-sounding names like Riley and Jaden (or Jayden), but other factors bolstered ambiguous names, too. Herbert Barry — co-author of the paper “Feminization of Unisex Names From 1960 to 1990” — found that between 1900 and 1910, 27 boys’ names and 26 girls’ names accounted for half of all names. Between 1990 and 2000 it was 60 and 90 names, respectively. The upshot is that parents are less likely to encounter any child named Devin, say, and are therefore less likely to associate that name with either sex. . . .

Drag queens camp it up for Pride Week

Danielle Lampkin
Jonathan Smith
Staff Writers

Oct. 26, 2007

Founders Auditorium was packed Oct. 23, as students gathered to watch the performance of 4 Drag Queens, including well-know singer/actor Jackie Beat; Also known as Kent Fuher. Beat is the lead singer of Dirty Sanchez and has appeared in numerous films and TV shows. Leah Heagy

Wearing rather high stilettos and more make up than most women, several drag queens graced the stage of Founders Auditorium to be a part of “Confessions of a Drag Queen” on Tuesday.

While many felt the show was entertaining and funny, the main purpose of the show was to educate people about the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and questioning community.

The event was just one of five that was featured for Housing’s Pride Week.

“I heard nothing but positive remarks from people, even though we started late due to technical difficulties,” resident assistant Adam Carranza said. “I thought it would be a low turnout because it was a gay event and (audience members) were still out there.”

“I thought it was a great event,” junior arts and music major Alan Hernandez said. “It was something that needed to be heard.”

About 220 people attended the event, which was sponsored by Housing and Residential Life and Campus Activities Board.

The event lasted a little more than an hour, featuring several acts that perform professionally as drag queens across the region.

Jackie Beat served as master of ceremonies and provided the audiences with a huge array of topics that sent them into a laughing frenzy.

Most of Beat’s laughs came from song parody that featured explicit and risqué topics, ranging from gay men to Catholic priests.

“My favorite part (of Jackie Beat’s performance) was the rap song at the end,” Jacob Delgado, a senior movement and sports science major, said
“The way she mock but at the same time inform was useful,” Hernandez said.

The three featured drag queens participants, Jayla, Susie Q and Serenity that performed at the event lip singing to songs like “Let’s Get Loud” and “Diamond Are a Girl’s Best Friend.” . . .

How to Act Like a Princess ;)

Acting like a princess takes a little getting used to but it can be done. Think: wealth, pageantry, gorgeous clothing, palaces, fantastic communication skills, kindness towards others and an ability to charm, impress and greet people. Behaving the way that a real princess would means being thoughtful, gracious and charitable. Consider Princess Diana or Princess Mary of Denmark. These ladies do not epitomize girls strutting around acting more superior than anybody else. These refined ladies care about their subjects, do not objectify anybody and run massive households with the skill and accuracy of a sharp shooter. If you really want to act like a princess, you need to be smart, kind and elegant. Think you can do this? Well, let's try!

Transgender advocate lauds OSU’s stance on the issue

News Journal

MANSFIELD — Last year “Advocate” magazine named Ohio State University the No. 1 transgender-friendly campus in America.

Last week, Jack Miner, associate registrar and president of the OSU-Columbus Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender SXociety, spoke to OSU-M and North Central State College students about understanding the Transgender community. A large portion of his speech focused on the life of a Transgender on a college campus. A transgender is a person appearing or attempting to be a member of the opposite sex.

“Every month, one to four Ohio State students and alumni become Transgender,” Miner said. “This is something that’s really becoming more common and regardless of your beliefs on the matter, we all need to be educated about the Transgender society.”

Miner said in the past few years, OSU has installed transgender-friendly bathrooms on their main campus.

“If you’re in the process of transitioning from a woman to a man, would you use the women’s or the men’s restrooms?” he said. “It can be confusing, and so to make it easier on the person, we have Transgender restrooms that they can use.”

Miner said housing arrangements are also an issue.

“Should a Transgender live with men or women? It really depends on who you ask,” he said. “I say it depends on which gender the person identifies him or herself with. If you say you’re a woman, than you’ll live with women.”

By having a non-discriminatory clause, Miner said Transgender students know they will be accepted at OSU.

“We’ve pushed other campuses to also adopt this clause,” he said. “OSU did this a few years ago. It’s a great way to say, ‘You’re welcome here.’ ”

Miner added that OSU is also willing to change names on diplomas for graduates who later became Transgender.

Chief student affairs officer Donna Hight asked Miner what plans are in the works to keep the five commuter OSU campuses as progressive as Columbus.

“Well, you’ve got folks like me going out and spreading the word, and that’s what we really need to do,” Miner said. “We need passionate people out there making acceptance happen.” . . .