Thursday, January 10, 2008
"Jennifer Finney Boylan, bestselling author of SHE'S NOT THERE, reads from her new book about growing up in a haunted house. In this video, she encounters her father, with whom she has a conversation about men and women, father and sons, and spirits."
Jan 10, 2008
Long Island activist Juli Owens, keynote speaker for the 28th annual First Event conference, said she plans to talk about the choices that transgender people are forced to make to balance their transgender identity and the need to survive in an often hostile world. Owens speaks from experience; she is openly transgender, but in some parts of her life she presents herself as male, her biological gender, and in other parts she presents herself as female. First Event, organized by the Tiffany Club, is one of the largest transgender conferences in the country, and it runs from Jan. 16-20 at the Boston Marriott Peabody.
"From a definition standpoint I’m called bi-gendered, which means I have two separate lives running at the same time," said Owens, who has been a First Event regular since 2003. "There’s a work and family life I carry on in male mode if you will, and there’s the work I carry out as an activist and an advocate that I carry out in my Juli life. ... One of my choices was I’ll continue to live this double life until I don’t have to anymore."
Owens, who has worked as a manufacturing manager for 30 years, said that presenting herself as male at work has allowed her to maintain a rewarding career and to put her daughter through college. But when she is off the clock she has a second life as a transgender activist, working as co-chair of Gay and Lesbian Democrats of Suffolk County and working with a number of transgender support and advocacy groups in the Long Island area.
As part of her activist life Owens has worked to increase awareness about transgender issues within Long Island’s gay and lesbian community. She said she began that work by going to LGBT meetings and events, and before long she found herself the go-to trans person within the local activist community. By being active in politics she said she has raised the profile of transgender people in Suffolk County, a relatively conservative part of the state. Earlier this week she attended a swearing-in ceremony for an out lesbian judge for whom Gay and Lesbian Democrats of Suffolk County had actively campaigned. . . .
I was watching Transgender Teens on Discovery Health, and the subject of the show was a male to female transgender who was beginning the sex change process.
She was very upset that because she had a small frame, she couldn't have the size breasts she wanted. She mentioned not feeling "complete" without the size breasts she had in mind.
At this point, to me, it seemed to become more than an issue of not being the correct sex.
I'm having a hard time understanding exactly why that bothered me, but it did. . . .
Jan 10, 2008
Jennifer Finney Boylan’s new memoir, I’m Looking Through You, is a bit of a departure from her 2003 memoir She’s Not There. While the latter book catapulted her to the top of the best sellers list and onto the Oprah show with her comic, intimate account of her transition from male to female, the new book takes a turn for the supernatural, recounting her experience growing up in a suburban house in Philadelphia that, according to local legend, was haunted. As part of her research for the book Boylan brought a team of paranormal investigators with her to go ghost hunting in her childhood home and had them moderate a conversation between herself and the ghost of her father. But Boylan, a skeptic about things that go bump in the night, spends much more time in the book writing about ghosts in a psychological sense, as pieces of her past that continue to haunt her. She said that while the new memoir is not as focused on transgender identity as She’s Not There, the idea of being haunted is one that has special resonance for the transgender community.
"I’ll say that I’m less interested in the Scooby Doo variety of ghosts than I am in the other kind, the psychological kind. ... If you’re a trans person you really do feel like sometimes it’s very hard to make sense of your life and really feel like there was a before and an after. Many trans people I know are kind of haunted by the ghosts of their younger selves, or, if you’re a young person, by the ghost of the person you might become but can’t quite figure out how to undergo that transformation," said Boylan. "So how do we find peace with the ghosts of our younger selves or the ghosts of our future selves? It’s a memoir not only of growing up in a haunted house but a memoir of someone who lived in a haunted body. Issues of gender are right there at the heart of the book as well."
Boylan will read from I’m Looking Through You, which will be in stores Jan. 15, at a special Jan. 19 luncheon during the Tiffany Club’s annual First Event conference, one of the largest and oldest transgender events in the country, which runs Jan. 16-20 at the Boston Marriott Peabody. Boylan will also present a workshop at the conference that afternoon on how to tell one’s personal story through memoir writing.
For readers of She’s Not There, the new book fills in some holes in Boylan’s history, focusing on her relationships with two people who were largely absent from the first memoir. One of those people is her father, who died long before she transitioned.
"If you’re a transgender woman the figure of your father does kind of loom above you," said Boylan. "And my father never got to see me as an adult and so never really knew me, and certainly never knew me as a woman. And so there’s a sense of sorrow and of guilt, like, ’Oh my God, did I disappoint him? Did I let him down?’"
While Boylan went into the research for I’m Looking Through You feeling more than a bit dubious about the paranormal, she said one of the most surprising moments was when she had what she believes may have been a conversation with her father’s ghost, courtesy of the paranormal investigators she invited to scope out her childhood home. . . .
There have been stories and editorials supporting or condemning Miss Oklahoma’s appearance at the Okay High School assembly in October. Part of her engagement included a skit in which male students cross-dressed.
According to the Phoenix Oct. 15 story, students “loved the skit.” The paper was right that “our society always has found cross-dressing amusing, despite its disapproval from the general public.” One reason underlying public disapproval is that such action reflects an attempt to make gender differences disappear.
God did not think such disappearance was appropriate as his word tells us he made “them male and female.” There is an admonition not to wear attire which is opposite to one’s gender. . .
January 7, 2008 -- Barack Obama's win in Iowa was the latest upset in the long, discredited history of gender assumptions. A large and apparently decisive bloc of voters widely thought to be Hillary Clinton's - young to middle-aged women - preferred Obama.
This may prove critical. Women are more likely than men to turn out to vote - and more likely to vote for a Democrat. In Iowa, that Democrat was more likely to be Obama, giving him a victory and momentum going into other states. In a Lifetime/Zogby poll last month, a quarter of New Hampshire female voters said they'd base their choice on the Iowa results.Yet it's not only Obama's policies and strategies that appeal to women. He is like a woman: slim, good looking, with long elegant fingers, appealingly dressed - all terms more typically ascribed to female candidates. . . .
Sex-swap woman Sandra Leslie is taking a further education college to an employment tribunal claiming she was passed over for a job because she is a transsexual.
Ms Leslie, 59, claims City College Plymouth is guilty of sexual discrimination in turning down her application for a post.
She is due to tell a tribunal in the city on Thursday that she was qualified for the job of student union assistant but college managers decided to re-advertise the post rather than give it to her.
Ms Leslie said it was not the first time she had been turned down for a job because of her sex-change status.
She is unemployed but has an honours degree in social policy and administration and more than 30 years' experience of community work.
Ms Leslie, who lives on the Barbican, said that she was well qualified for the 'subordinate' role promoting events among the students on a pro-rata salary of £13,500 a year.
But she claimed that of the four people who applied for the post in July one was appointed, one withdrew and the other was offered the job but turned it down. . . .