Thursday, December 20, 2007

"Johnson Manly"

A shelter in search of a home

Three girls crowd around the huge mirror in the dining room of Carmen's Place to touch up their make-up and perfect each other's wigs, preparing for a Thursday night out while Father Louis Braxton sits down in the chair next to them and challenges them to a fight over bangs once again.

"You want to know what the bang fight was about. I think they wear them to hide behind their bangs. To hide yourself. I think that women come with different hair lengths, but they all want long hair. They all want to look like Beyonce," says Braxton, who has been running the Astoria homeless shelter that primarily supports transgender and gay youth for about five years.

"Father, of course we want to look like Beyonce. We're young," says Michelle as she brushes Nicole's wig.

On this day the shelter houses only male-to-female transgender young adults and men who are mainly gay, but there have been female-to-male transgender residents in the past.

In the next room Carolina stirs the dinner and more kids pour inside. It is difficult to imagine that many of these young residents have only known each other for a few weeks or even a few days. But what's more difficult is the familiar feeling that they all might be put back out in the cold when the shelter's lease expires Jan. 1 since Braxton still has no housing prospects in sight. . . .

Ann Coulter. . .girl or boy?

December 20, 2007

Humankind has long questioned conservative pundit Ann Coulter’s gender identity and Cape Cod blogger Aaron Maloy is no exception:
Nobody knows for sure the exact gender of Ann Coulter. People have asked her on several occasions and each time she went into drag mode shaking her head, rolling her eyes and deliver a verbal smackdown.

One thing is for sure though, straight women don’t behave or talk as she does. And so she is my favorite Republican Gender Bender. . . .

See readers responses.

Case Against Cross-Dressing Principal Dropped

December 20, 2007

The former principal of Bethlehem High School in Bardstown has been cleared of loitering for the purpose of prostitution.The charge was dismissed Thursday in court.Dr. Paul Schum was cited on Halloween Eve (Oct. 30) after police stopped him in a west Louisville alley.

Schum was not in court, but since this charge was a misdemeanor, he wasn’t required to be there. A hearing on the case was scheduled, but the Jefferson County attorney's office decided to dismiss the case. . . .

Transgender people on the move to find neutral bathrooms

Julia Gronnevet

Columbia News Service
Winston-Salem Journal
Thursday, December 20, 2007

For transgender people, the choice between the men’s room and the women’s room often leaves them stuck in the middle with crossed legs and nowhere to go. They are faced with harassment from security guards, police officers and other restroom users for appearing to use the “wrong bathroom.”

“There isn’t a person who hasn’t had an awkward experience in a bathroom,” said Bailey Stevens, a member of the Bathroom Liberation Front.

But transgender people experience a much more severe problem than just occasional awkwardness, Stevens said. Every time transgender people use the restroom, someone who feels that a sexually ambiguous person doesn’t belong in the restroom may confront him or her.

“This is definitely a problem,” said J. Riley, who lives in Washington. “I used to have to use the women’s bathroom at work while I was transitioning, and even though I had facial hair I had to use the ladies’ room.”

Activists have been mobilizing to create gender-neutral restrooms for about 10 years, with much of their activity based on college campuses.

Recently, the issue moved further into public consciousness because of such new organizations as the Bathroom Liberation Front, a Web-based activist group that recently created, a Web site that maps unisex restrooms throughout the United States and Canada. The rallying cry? “I just need a place to pee!”

Some transgender people, born and raised as female, become male, and some males become females. For some, but not all, transitioning means having surgery and hormone treatment to become more aligned with their chosen gender. Those who have hormone treatments develop features, like beards and breasts, of the sex they are transitioning into. Women who have become men, and men who have become women are often indistinguishable from the rest of the population.

But for people in the process of changing genders, their features may mark them as not quite male, and not quite female. There are also people who refuse to conform to either male or female gender roles and maintain characteristics of both men and women. For these people, being and looking androgynous is not a passing phase but their chosen gender identity. . . .


Transsexual job applicant can pursue Title VII sex bias claim

A federal district court in the District of Columbia concluded that a male-to-female- transsexual job applicant could proceed with her Title VII sex bias claim against the Library of Congress, which allegedly withdrew its job offer for a terrorism research analyst position with the Congressional Research Service after the applicant disclosed that she was under a doctor's treatment for gender dysphoria and would be transitioning to a female before beginning work with the agency. (Schroer v Billington, DDC, 90 EPD ¶43,028)

When the applicant met with the decisionmaker to discuss the details of her start date, she disclosed that, consistent with her treatment, she would present herself at work as a woman, change her name and begin dressing in traditionally female clothing. In part to allay any concerns the decisionmaker might have about whether she would be dressing in a workplace-appropriate manner, she brought photographs of herself dressed as a women. The next day, the decisionmaker withdrew the offer, deciding that "'for the good of the service,'" the applicant would not be a "'good fit'" given the "'circumstances that [they] spoke of yesterday.'" After exhausting her administrative remedies, the applicant filed suit under Title VII. Her amended complaint alleged that the decisionmaker's refusal to hire her was motivated by her failure to conform to sex stereotypes. She also alleged discrimination against transsexuals "because they are transsexuals" might "'literally'" be discrimination "'because of…sex.'" . . .

‘We Are Neither Men Nor Women, but Muslims Like Anyone Else’

Siraj Wahab, Arab News

December 20, 2007

Haji Saleem (Salma)

MINA, 20 December 2007 — They are neither men nor women. In their devotion to God, however, they are second to none. There are no precise figures as to how many of them are performing Haj this year but according to those who are familiar with them, they have been coming here for years. Since they list themselves as men when applying for Haj visas, there is no definite way of ascertaining their exact number. They are like a drop in the ocean here and would have gone unnoticed but for their mannerisms and the singsong way of talking.

This correspondent bumped into four eunuchs (“Aghawaat” in Arabic) here yesterday. All of them were from Bhopal in India. They were a bit shy initially but were later more than eager to narrate their story of the pilgrimage. One of them, Haji Saleem, identified himself as the group’s leader and he did most of the talking. The others nodded their heads, affirming their leader’s statements.

“You are right, we are neither men nor women. ‘Hamara dono me shumar nahi hota.’ We are born this way,” he said. “This is my second Haj. I was here in 1998. That is why I have added the title ‘Haji’ to my name. I am revered in my community and they look up to me with awe and whatever I say is taken as a command.” . . .

Beauty from the rubble

No matter how hard you try to erase the past, there is always something left - a stone, a song, an idea

When the groom is an atheist French Jew born in Paris and the bride an Anglican born in Halifax, what better place to celebrate the wedding than the Unitarian Church of Montreal?

Joan and I married 30 years ago in October, 1977. After living in sin for a few years we had decided it was time to formalize our relationship.

Having chosen the church, we had to plan the rest of the wedding. We were from vastly different backgrounds but had a few things in common, both being musicians. Joan played classical piano and I had played jazz clarinet in my Saint-Germain-des-Prés days. So, in a Canadian way, we settled for a compromise - to have the church organist play baroque music.

We first met the organist one evening about 10 days before the wedding. It was an ominous encounter. The church was quite dark and he was upstairs playing alone. Guided by his music, we struggled up the narrow staircase. . . .

LGBT Holiday Stress Reduction, Part 2

[This is an interview with TransActive's Executive Director, Jenn Burleton]

Family, Friends & Allies,

Please check out the following link to an interview I did regarding
how families of transgender children, youth and adults can deal
positively with their loved one's gender identity expression during
the holiday season.

Also featured on the show is my good friend and President of the
Portland PFLAG Chapter, Dawn Holt and her husband and son, Shawn and

The audio from the program is available for download.

Thank you for supporting our work, particularly at this time of year.

Peace & Unity,

Jenn Burleton,
Executive Director
TransActive Education & Advocacy


Recipient 2007 Ingersoll Center Service Award

Man Made

My short life as a drag king.

This is not Tom Jones.  Click image to expand.

I asked my drag king buddy, Herbie Hind, if he would apply my beard makeup before I made my stage debut as a man. Herbie offered to advise me, but said I must take responsibility for my own facial hair: "It's your beard, so you should own it." What sweet irony, considering how much I've spent on electrolysis over the years to get rid of my beard.

For Human Guinea Pig, a column in which I do things that readers are too well-adjusted to try themselves, I have subjected myself, and innocent audience members, to many excruciating performances. I have been a street musician, a beauty pageant contestant, a song recitalist, and, most appallingly, a children's party entertainer. But none of these brought as much psychological stress—and revelation—to my family or me as cross-dressing as my alter ego, Johnson Manly, and performing in a drag show. . . .

Trasgendered Artist in Miami Youth Residency & Performance at Carnival Center Jan. 21-26, 2008

December 2007

News release:

Scott_turnerTigertail Productions continues their SpeakOut project for the GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender) community with a weeklong residency from January 21 through 26 with nationally recognized FTM (female-to-male) transgendered theater artist Scott Turner Schofield. Workshops and other programs for gay youth will take place in high schools and community venues throughout Miami-Dade County. The week culminates with the East Coast premiere of Schofield’s new show, Becoming a Man in 127 EASY Steps, co-presented by Carnival Center for the Performing Arts and Tigertail Productions, at the Carnival Center’s Studio Theater, Friday and Saturday, January 25 and 26. The show contains some nudity and mature themes. Friday night’s performance will be followed by a meet-the-artist wine and cheese reception open to all ticket-holders, sponsored by the Miami-Dade Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and other community groups. On Saturday there will be a post-show discussion with Schofield.

Scott Turner Schofield brings a sharp wit and unfailing warmth to his work, drawing on his personal experience while illuminating issues of gender, sex and identity for everyone. His new show, Becoming a Man in 127 EASY Steps, mixes comedy, contradictions, aerial acrobatics and multimedia storytelling, inviting the audience to come along on a surprising journey of finding oneself. Schofield was named a Young Trans Hero of 2006 by The Advocate magazine and has been recently honored with a prestigious Princess Grace Foundation Fellowship for acting. He has toured to colleges, festivals, and theaters nationwide since 2001. He is widely recognized for his educational and informative leadership on transgender issues. . . .