Monday, June 30, 2008
When David Schroer applied to be a specialist on terrorism at the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress, his stellar resume led to a job offer.
The highly decorated, retired Army colonel had served 16 years in Special Forces with combat experience in Panama and Haiti. Following Sept. 11, Schroer directed a classified 120-person Pentagon group involved in the war on terror.
But after telling his prospective boss over lunch that he was gender transitioning to Diane, Schroer recalls being told, "I was not a good fit for the library."
To transgender Americans, Diane Schroer's story is all too familiar. No federal law prohibits firing or not hiring someone who bravely decides to transition away from their birth gender.But, in an historic first, Congress heard last week from Schroer and other transgender Americans about how honesty often leads to a lost career, homelessness and even suicide. "Hero to zero," Schroer aptly calls her experience. . . .Read More
Hundreds of gay rights supporters have marched in the Indian capital, Delhi, for the first time.
Gays, lesbians and transgender people gathered in the central Connaught Place area in what was the country's largest ever display of gay pride.
Activists also marched in the cities of Calcutta, which has seen similar events in the past, and Bangalore.
The marchers were demanding an end to discrimination in a society where homosexuality is still illegal.
The gay pride marches are a global event held in the last week of June every year.
They commemorate the anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York which broke out after police raided a gay bar. . . .Read More
The United States Congress held its first ever hearings on transgender issues last week.
The two openly gay members of the House of Representatives testified alongside transgender professionals who experienced employment discrimination, representatives of trans groups and business and legal experts.
Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin told the House Education and Labour Committee's Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labour and Pensions:
"Corporate America and the American people are way ahead of the Congress in acknowledging the basic truth we hold to be self-evident.
"That all of us are created equal, and the laws of the land should reflect that equality.
"The importance of non-discrimination laws cannot be overstated.
"Substantively, they provide real remedies and a chance to seek justice.
"Symbolically, they say to America, judge your fellow citizens by their integrity, character, and talents, not their sexual orientation, or gender identity, or their race or religion, for that matter. . . .Read More
The New Paper, June 29, 2008
IN the mid-1980s, she was a model, and then a fashion coordinator, and later, she took the stage as a performer at the Boom Boom Room.
Now, at 42, she says: 'Darling, those days are over.'
Miss Amy Tashiana, a transsexual, looks you in the eye and is perfectly open about discussing her life.
She said: 'We have gone through the extremes to get to who we are, fight to live as who we feel we should be. So it is natural that we grow over the years to become very tough and fiercely independent.
'In order for a man to come along to match that and share companionship, you need someone who is really, really big.'
Does that mean loneliness as they grow older?
Some of the first generation Bugis street transsexuals and transvestites are in their 60s today, like Mr Abdul Khalid Othman, the 61-year-old who was murdered, allegedly by a lover less than half his age.
One transsexual in her mid-50s said: 'When you grow older, sex is no longer important. Like normal people, we seek companionship.'. . .Read More
Friday, June 27, 2008
By ALAN B. GOLDBERG and JONEIL ADRIANO
June 27, 2008
Last year Barbara Walters spoke with the families of three transgender children who agreed to share their story. Now, one year later, "20/20" has reached out to the families again to learn what's happened since the original episode aired. All three families said that the story helped change their world for the better. Advocacy groups also report a significant surge in young transgenders coming out. Read below to find out more about a transgender youth called Jazz.
From the moment we're born, our gender identity is no secret. We're either a boy or a girl. Gender organizes our world into pink or blue. As we grow up, most of us naturally fit into our gender roles. Girls wear dresses and play with dolls. For boys, it's pants and trucks.
But for some children, what's between their legs doesn't match what's between their ears — they insist they were born into the wrong body. They are transgender children, diagnosed with gender identity disorder, and their parents insist this is not a phase.
Watch the story Friday on "20/20" at 10 p.m. ET"A phase is called a phase because it is just that. It ends. And this is not ending. This is just getting stronger," Renee Jennings told ABC News' Barbara Walters. . . .Read More
Jun 27, 2008
| Grainy security camera footage at Memphis police station shows police officers brutally beating Duana Johnson (Source:WMC-TV Memphis, Tennessee)|
It’s "every trans-person’s nightmare come true," says Donna Rose, transgender woman and a leader in several national GLBT organizations.
Johnson was booked on prostitution charges Feb. 12 at the Shelby County Criminal Justice Center in Memphis - charges that have now been dropped because the district attorney’s office found no probable cause for arrest. Video footage shows Johnson being brutally beaten by officer Bridges McRae, while probationary officer James Swain holds her down. Michael Silverman of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund says the outburst was not only unconscionable, but extreme and disproportionate to the case. Silverman says they receive many complaints of mistreatment by police, but none on this scale of brutality. . . .Read More
ORLANDO -- Controversy surrounds a local gym that told a transgender who is undergoing treatment to become a woman she cannot use the women's bathroom.
Stacy Scott, 18, was on a trial membership at the Bally Total Fitness Center on West Colonial Drive.
Scott said last week management told her she could not use the women's bathroom, and had to use the men's room instead.
Scott, who is undergoing transgender therapy hormone treatments, already considers herself a female. . . .Read More
by Paul Parish
It could have been predicted that the transgender community might toss up the most imaginative and intriguing dance artist in the Bay Area. Who has a more complex perspective on life than a person who feels he's in the wrong body? In any case, there may not be a more generous-spirited, imaginative choreographer-storyteller than Sean Dorsey, a 20-something child of two lesbians who's making dance-theater out of his life as a female who sincerely feels like he's a guy, though he doesn't need any surgery to ratify it. His dance-stories reveal great powers of imagination, presence of mind, and compassion for all concerned, including (thank God) the audience.Dorsey has certainly won the allegiance of the dance community and the critics, who've given him two Isadora Duncan Dance Awards and a Goldie (from a rival paper), a large audience outside the gay community, and a big mention in European dance mags. . . .Read More
XXY tells the story of Alex (Inés Efron), a hermaphroditic Argentinian teenager on a quest for her sexual identity. Alex, who physically appears female, is sheltered by her parents: the family moves to a remote portal town in Uruguay so that Alex won’t be treated “like a freak.”
XXY, a film directed by Lucia Puenzo. Showing on June 27 as part of the Queer Takes film series at the Walker Art Center, 1750 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis. For tickets ($8) and information, see walkerart.org.
The beginning of the film is a little hard to follow, but it slowly picks up steam. As the family attempts to lead a “normal life,” Alex faces the prospect of surgery. . . .Read More
Thursday, June 26, 2008
By DAVID BRINN
While overtures recently made by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and President Shimon Peres toward the Lebanese government to enter into direct peace talks have fallen on deaf ears, that doesn't mean the Lebanese are tuning out everything Israeli.
"Say No More," a pulsating trance music track by up-and-coming Israeli female singer Aderet and DJ Dvir Halevi, has been at the top of the playlist this month on the "Beirut Nights" Internet radio station devoted to dance music (www.beirutnights.com).
"We found out they were playing my music by chance," the 32-year-old Aderet said on Wednesday. She grew up in a religious home in Jerusalem and launched her musical career after undergoing a sex change operation following her IDF service over 10 years ago.
"I put out a dance single last year - a cover of Alice DJ's 'Better Off Alone' - which was big in the clubs in Israel, and when our production team did a search on Google, we found the song on lots of playlists around Europe and on Beirut Nights." . . .Read More
Like many such celebrations, the Twin Cities Pride celebration takes place in June, in part to commemorate New York City’s Stonewall Inn uprising, which began in June 1969, and is widely recognized as a galvanizing event in the history of sexual rights organizing.
But as mainstream acceptance grows for gays and lesbians – particularly those who conform to relatively traditional gender roles – what many forget, says Tara Yule, owner of Pi Bar and Restaurant, is that Stonewall and similar struggles were started largely by poor, urban transgender people of color. In fact, she adds, much of the police harassment at the Stonewall Inn that ultimately motivated bar-goers to fight back was justified by an ordinance regulating gender-appropriate clothing.
First popularized in the United States in the 1970s, transgender is an umbrella term used by a wide variety of people who, for various reasons, feel the gender assigned to them at birth is no longer adequate to describe who they are. Some may identify as “female-to-male” or “male-to-female,” transitioning from one gender to “the other,” but many others do not. For many people, gender isn’t an either-or proposition.
“I like the word genderqueer to describe my gender identity for the same reasons I use queer to describe my sexuality – it has a radical progressive edge, and it doesn’t indicate a binary,” says activist Max Gries, who co-chairs the Minnesota Transgender Health Coalition (MTHC) and serves on the University of Minnesota Transgender Commission.
As a genderqueer person, Gries says using public restrooms can be tricky, and even dangerous. In transgender communities, the term “tranny bladder” is used to refer to having to “hold it” for long periods of time when unisex or family restrooms are unavailable. At best, this is uncomfortable; at worst, it can lead to health problems. . . .Read More
June 26, 2008
The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) and the Boston Alliance of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth (BAGLY) will co-host the first annual Massachusetts Transgender Youth Summiton Saturday, June 28 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Democracy Center, 45 Mt. Auburn Street, Cambridge.
The Summit is geared toward youth 24 and under that identity as or fall under the transgender label from across Massachusetts. Objectives of this summit, say organizers, are to empower transgender youth; build a strong youth leadership network; provide information on the political process; transgender youth rights; voter registration; to encourage activism and civic participation. . . .Read More
By Karen Hunley
The Auburn Villager
About four years ago, Thomas decided it was worth the risk to be herself.
"There comes a point in everyone's life, often as you're approaching the end of your life, that you've got to express yourself as yourself," she says.
Thomas is in her mid-50s, and she became a "full-time" transsexual, or transgender, woman last fall. This entails dressing, speaking and expressing herself in every way possible as a woman, even though she
was born male.
"I was already aware by the time I was 3 years old that I was gender variant," Thomas says. "(Transsexuals) are the gender we say we are, we just didn't get the right body."
That may change, however, as the professor is considering gender reassignment surgery. But if this doesn't "come to pass," whether for financial or personal reasons, Thomas says she's content to continue living as a female in every other way.
"This is not about choosing sexual partners," she adds. "I am considering it because I would like to be who I should've been to the best of my ability." . . .Read More
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
KRUJE, Albania: Pashe Keqi recalls the day nearly sixty years ago when she decided to become a man. She chopped off her long black curls, traded in her dress for her father's baggy trousers, armed herself with a hunting rifle and vowed to forsake marriage, children and sex.
Had she been born in Albania today, says the 78-year-old sworn virgin, who made an oath of celibacy in return for the right to live and rule her family as a man, she would choose womanhood.
"Back then, it was better to be a man because, before, a woman and an animal were considered the same thing," says Keqi, who has a bellowing baritone voice, sits with her legs open wide like a man and relishes downing shots of Raki and smoking cigarettes. "Now, Albanian women have equal rights with men and are even more powerful, and I think today it would be fun to be a woman."
Sworn virgins became the patriarchs of their families, with all the trappings of male authority, by swearing to remain virgins for the rest of their lives.
The ritual was a form of self-empowerment for rural women living in a desperately poor and macho country that was cut off from mainstream Europe for decades under a Stalinist dictatorship. But in Albania today, with Internet dating and MTV, the custom is all but disappearing. Girls no longer want to become boys. . . .Read More
David F. Khalili
The film follows a group of young pre-op Male-to-Female transgender women who are going through the preliminary stages and bureaucracy of obtaining the right to have this surgery. We meet Vida, a 26 year-old queen of all "diagnosed transsexuals." . . .Read More
Join him, as well as several women photographed for Divas of San Francisco, at a reception for the opening of the show, this Thursday evening, June 26, from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. Complimentary wine and hors d’oeuvres will be served.
Good Vibrations Polk Street Gallery is located at 1620 Polk Street, between Sacramento and Clay.
Special to Globe and Mail Update
June 25, 2008
Downtown Toronto will shut down Sunday as people gather to celebrate homosexuality and gender-bending. The occasion is Pride Day, one of Canada's largest cultural events.
Some complain that the event's mainstream acceptance has left Pride without soul, a massive corporate-sponsored opium-farm. Where, the radicals ask, is the deep iconoclastic spirit of the very first Pride marches, before it was safe to be gay?
More than ever, the answer is in the second part of what the Pride revellers gather to be proud of: not homosexuality, but gender-bending. Today, in most parts of Canada, almost anyone can be gay. But to be transgender takes a particular courage.
Canadians are steadily approaching the new cultural battleground of transsexual rights mindful of ethical lessons from previous debates about minorities. There is also a more personal connection. Everyone is realizing that their gender identity is complex, and we feel natural empathy where that complexity is most intense. An extraordinary transgender "pride" is still necessary, however.
Canada's youngest MP, Pierre Poilievre, spoke out against covering sex changes under the public health budget a few weeks ago. Inventing a term that conjures images, Mr. Poilievre said Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty favours a "sex-change program" because he wants the funding for his province. Mr. Poilievre also said surgery for diagnosed transsexuals is meantime "medically unnecessary," which is news to medical scientists. . . .Read More
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
- I typed the word Google into Google. Guess what came up? Everything.
- You know what would be fun? To have a set of twins, name them Dumbo and Goofy and then just sit back and see how their personalities develop. I’ll bet they’d really enjoy going to school everyday.
- I’ve never seen a homeless guy with a bottle of Gatorade.
- In this country, alcohol is hardly ever seen as a drug problem. Instead, we think of it as more of a driving problem.
- I don’t own any stocks or bonds. All my money is tied up in debt.
- There are caregivers and there are caretakers, and yet the two words are not opposites. Why is this?
- You know an odd feeling? Sitting on the toilet eating a chocolate candy bar.
- I have an impersonal trainer. We meet at the gym, we don’t talk, he works out alone, and I go home.
- Regarding the Boy Scouts, I'm very suspicious of any organization that has a handbook.
- You know what's fun? Go to a German restaurant and insist on using chopsticks. . . .Read More
Laxmi dispels myths about the transgender community
June 24, 2008
During the recording of the show, Laxmi's quick wit, humour and nakhras had everyone rolling in laughter. Laxmi dispelled some age-old myths about the transgender community. . . .Read More
Brill, Stephanie & Rachel Pepper. The Transgender Child: A Handbook for Families and Professionals. Review by Linda Beck, Indian Valley P.L.
Verdict: Libraries may own books dealing with transgender adults, but this is the only guide about raising transgender children. While the general message to parents is that “you have nothing to apologize for and nothing to be embarrassed about,” the authors make it clear that parents and families will not have it easy. Realistic and empowering. . . .Read More
By DIONNE WALKER – June 24, 2008
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The couple walked into a Norfolk courthouse on a spring day, exchanged a few words, and within 10 minutes, were seemingly husband and wife. It was an unremarkable ceremony — except that several weeks later, officials realized the shapely bride might not have been a woman.
Now authorities in Virginia, where same-sex marriages are illegal, are weighing whether to file misdemeanor charges against the couple, Antonio E. Blount, 31, and Justin L. McCain, 18. An announcement is expected this week.
A prosecutor says the decision to press charges could turn on whether the pair knowingly misled officials when they applied for a license and later, traveled to a courthouse for a ceremony. If the bride was transgender, and identified as a woman, it is unclear whether the marriage would be considered illegal.
The pair went to Newport News Circuit Court on March 24 to obtain a marriage license — McCain appearing as a woman and saying the name "Justine" before a deputy, said Newport News Circuit Court clerk Rex Davis.
McCain produced a Virginia driver's license, but a design quirk — the 'm' or 'f' for male or female appears directly against a darkened state seal — meant nobody noticed McCain's gender, Davis said. . . .Read More
Monday, June 23, 2008
June 22, 2008
MANCHESTER – In the first grade, 6-year-old Nicholas stood up one day and told his teacher he had something important to say.
Not just to her. But to the whole class.
“My name is Nicholas, but I want to be called Nikki because I’m really a girl,” he told his classmates at Parker-Varney School in Manchester.
News of the incident did not come as a surprise to his mother, Diana. By the time Nicholas reached preschool, it had become obvious her foster son was never going to be “one of the boys.”
One early clue came the winter before kindergarten, when Nicholas relayed an unusual Christmas list to Santa Claus at the mall.
“I would like an Easy Bake Oven, some dresses, a wig, and a purple bra for me and my mother,” Diana said, recalling her son’s words. “I wanted to crawl over and die.”
And then there was the issue of the “two hearts” – a pink one and a blue one. A young Nicholas insisted he had both, and then woke up one night and said he dreamed a monster took the blue one away, Diana said. . . .Read More
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — Transgender youth in New York's juvenile detention centers are now allowed to wear whatever uniform they choose, be called by whatever name they want and ask for special housing under a new anti-discrimination policy drawing praise from advocacy groups.
"New York is way ahead of the curve," said Roberta Sklar, a spokeswoman for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. "When you have a system like the New York Office of Children and Family Services putting out a clear nondiscrimination policy, it should be seen as a model for similar kinds of agencies all over the country."
The policy went into effect March 17, the day Gov. David Paterson was sworn into office. Last month, Paterson directed all state agencies to recognize same-sex marriages legally performed elsewhere as valid in New York.
Paterson spokesman Errol Cockfield said the policy reflects the state's intent to be "tolerant, responsive and respectful" of gender identity and gender expression issues. . . .Read More
This article discusses the treatment of transsexual boy-to-girl children. When allowed to, such children are almost always able to rapidly and successfully assimilate themselves in to society as a female, this alone is enough to differentiate them from the experience of most transsexual women who transition when an adult.
It is also perhaps necessary to distinguish between intersexed infants, which in some cases are assigned a gender contrary to their genetic sex, and gender identity dysphoric (GID, aka transsexual) children. While very young intersexed infants have no say in their sex assignment or reassignment, which is usually done before they are 24 months old, transsexual children consciously reject the gender in which they are being brought up at some point between two years old and puberty. . . .Read More
Sunday, June 22, 2008
WHEN Thomas Beatie gives birth in the next few weeks to a baby girl, the blessed event will mark both a personal milestone and a strange and wondrous crossroads in the evolution of American pop culture.Mr. Beatie — as anyone who has turned on a television, linked to a blog or picked up a tabloid in the last few months is aware — is a married 34-year-old man, born a woman, who managed to impregnate himself last year using frozen sperm and who went public this spring as the nation’s first “pregnant father.” . . .Read More
Friday Jun 20, 2008
|Jamy Spradlin Regains her 2nd Class FAA Medical Certificate, allowing her to fly again|
Spradlin is 41 years old now, though she grew up as a biological male. She loves to fly. It’s in her soul and her passion, she says. "I’ve been flying since I was 16. I got bit by the flying bug and have to do it." She says it brings her great peace and great freedom, and she loves to share that with other people.
But her former Dallas-based corporation said no, they did not want a transgender woman flying their executives around the country. Instead of asking how they could help her transition to female, the corporation’s lawyer asked her, "How can we help you transition - away from the company?" Spradlin does not wish to disclose the name of the corporation. . . .Read More
Saturday Jun 21, 2008
Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), said the historic hearing will give Congress its first serious look at discrimination around gender identity and expression. She credited subcommittee chairman Rep. Robert Andrews (D-New Jersey) and Congressman Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts) with pushing for the hearing.
"I think for years [Congress] thought about gender identity as sexual orientation’s little brother, and I think Congressman Andrews and Congressman Frank are right in wanting to focus more on transgender people," said Keisling. . . .Read More