Monday, January 14, 2008

Sex Change Surgery Regret

YouTube Video: Alan Finch speaks of his regret now after having undergone gender transition and sex change surgery when he was 21.

Testosterone's role in the body

January 08, 2008

Testosterone is produced by the Leydig cells of the testicles. The starting point is cholesterol, notorious for its effects on the heart but critical for its role as the building block of all sex hormones, both male and female. After several intermediate steps, cholesterol is converted into androstenedione, the hormone made infamous by Mark McGwire as the unregulated "dietary supplement" andro. Whether androstenedione comes from the body or a bottle, it is rapidly converted into testosterone.

Testosterone has many direct effects on the male anatomy and metabolism. It is responsible for the deep voice, increased muscle mass, and strong bones that characterize the gender. It stimulates the production of red blood cells by the bone marrow. The hormone also has crucial, if incompletely understood, effects on male behavior: It contributes to aggressiveness, and it is essential for the libido (sex drive), as well as for normal erections and sexual performance. Testosterone stimulates the growth of the genitals at puberty, and it is responsible for sperm production throughout adult life. Finally, it influences cholesterol metabolism, but scientists are still not sure how that affects health. . . .

"Teenage boy" in Norway was adult woman on the run

Jan 10, 2008

OSLO (Reuters) - A student in Norway who posed as a 13-year-old boy turned out to be a 33-year-old woman on the run from police investigating a child abuse case in the Czech Republic, Norwegian media reported on Thursday.

Barbora Skrlova duped Norwegian police, classmates, child care workers and teachers for four months into believing she was a teenage boy named "Adam", daily Dagbladet reported.

"Looking back, we can say that we wondered about "Adam's" behaviour. But this is not easy to know. Children at this age are very different, and can be masculine or feminine," Ingjerd Eriksen, principal at Marienlyst school in Oslo where the woman was a student, told Dagbladet.

The case, involving a sect suspected of abusing children, came to light in the Czech Republic last year and has been front-page material for the country's media for eight months.

Skrlova, alias "Adam", is a key figure in the case and has been on the run since, though Czech police have said it is not clear whether she is an accomplice, a witness or a victim. . . .

(Reporting by Aasa Christine Stoltz; Editing by Dominic Evans)

Eat, drink, and think about gender

10 January 2008

1. Whisk together two gender-conscious chefs. 2. Gradually fold in Kate Bornstein. 3. Add a pinch of inspiration, and ambition to taste. 4. Insert mixture into an academic environment, and let bake for a couple of years.

That’s the recipe for My Gender Cookbook, a work-in-progress co-edited by McGill undergrad Chiara Klaiman and University of Victoria student Nisa Malli. Each recipe in the cookbook will appear alongside a corresponding essay, which will discuss the contributor’s personal gender identity. In this unconventional format, the cookbook will explore the relatively uncharted territory where gender issues and cooking intersect. The Daily met with Klaiman, a U3 Anthropology and Sexual Diversity Studies student, to discuss the project.

The McGill Daily: What is the basic premise of My Gender Cookbook?
Chiara Klaiman: The construction of gender identity is a process, like cooking. Many things come together to affect the way someone will represent or perceive their gender. These things include external factors like a person’s cultural background, their family situation, or even their location. It also includes internal factors, like how a person feels about their gender. I think of all of these factors as ingredients, like in a recipe: you bring together a bunch of ingredients, and through the process of cooking you end up with a dish. I like to think of the two processes as parallel.
This book is about representing one’s gender through food. It hopefully will encourage people to think about how gender and expectations affect what we cook, whether we’ve been taught to cook by our parents or we’ve learned to cook on our own. Cooking is different for everyone, and it’s personal, and I really want the book to represent a whole breadth of experience.

MD: How did you arrive at this idea? Were there any particular theorists that inspired you?
CK: In first year, I went to a lecture and a workshop by Kate Bornstein organized by Queer McGill. Kate made me realize the possibility of existing outside the binary male-female conception of gender. The [gender-neutral] word “ze” [rather than “he” or “she”] is a good pronoun to use for her: Kate was born male, had sex reassignment surgery to be female, decided that that didn’t really work either, and now lives somewhere in between. Although Kate encounters obstacles, she still refuses to identify either way. Kate has written a book, My Gender Workbook, which offers a way to think about these issues that is not threatening, and that’s fun and interactive. . . .

Klaiman and Malli are currently accepting submissions for My Gender Cookbook. Here is your opportunity to unite a passion for cooking and an interest in gender issues. Do not hesitate! All interested individuals should contact Klaiman and Malli at

– complied by Rosie Aiello

Japan: Man sacked over gender disorder settles lawsuit

Jan. 11, 2008

OSAKA (Kyodo) A man with gender identity disorder whose work contract was not renewed has settled his lawsuit against the employer for ¥1.8 million, his lawyer said Thursday.

In the settlement at the Osaka District Court, the social welfare institution also expressed regret for causing the man hardship on the job and said it will work to deepen its understanding of the disorder, the lawyer said. . . .

Girl watcher

by Brian Jewell

arts writer

Jan 9, 2008

Some photographers accumulate fuzzy photos of sunsets. But when you’re a professional photographer who covers the music and queer scenes in and around Boston, you tend to accumulate photos of drag queens. So when the gallery at The Paradise Lounge approached Kelly Davidson about an exhibit of her rock and roll photography, Davidson had a better idea.

The result is Drag Me In, Drag Me Out, a selection of some of Davidson’s best shots of drag artists. Shot on assignment for a number of local publications, including Bay Windows and The Boston Phoenix, the photos capture the backstage preparations that Davidson has been documenting over the years, from the drag ensemble in the American Repertory Theater’s 2006 production of Island of Slaves, to many productions of the drag theater troupe The Gold Dust Orphans.

Although the out photographer hasn’t always been interested in makeup personally, she’s long been interested in the process of putting on a face and constructing an identity.
"My mother could put on her makeup while driving," recalls Davidson. "I was fascinated and always watched her." She adds with a giggle, "Of course, I also kept an eye on the road." . . .

Opinion: Mario's trans-positive ending

Imprint (Univ. of Waterloo), Canada

January 4, 2008

Volume 30, Issue 21

I'm going to be frank when I say that Super Mario Bros. 2 was a weird
game that nobody really liked all that much. I mean, how can I be
expected to like something that's different?

None of the usual Super Mario bad guys were there, and the game play
consisted of picking things up and throwing them — so weird. But, the
reason the game was so abnormal was because it wasn't always a Mario
game. See, I heard that back when it was in Japan the game was known
as "Doki Doki Panic," and instead of having Mario parts, well they
were different if you know what I mean. These elements were changed,
however, before the game came overseas, sporting a new name and some
flashy new Mario characters too.

Not too surprising then, is it? Super Mario 2 never really felt too
much like a Mario game to begin with. For instance, since when is it
Mario's style to have a character explore a social issue? Don't
follow? Well, you remember Birdo, don't you? At the end of the first
level, that pink dinosaur thing with the big pink bow that shoots eggs
at you? That was Birdo. Her first appearance at the end of that first
level was unforgettable for a couple of reasons: it brought you one
step closer to finishing that god-awful game, and it was the first
time gender identity disorder went 8-bit.

Birdo's summary in the manual reads that "he thinks he's a girl and he
spits eggs from his mouth. He'd rather be called Birdetta." This
wasn't a translation typo from the Japanese version either: this was
the real deal. In fact, Birdo has since appeared in over 15 Mario
games and every manual seems to have something different to say in
terms of gender specific pronouns. . . .

Trans Musician Rolls Across Country

by Jacob Anderson-Minshall

January 10, 2008

Over the last seven years, country singer Rae Spoon has toured relentlessly, crisscrossing his native Canada, and traveling by Greyhound bus for 17 months straight. He’s parlayed those endless road shows into dozens of music festival performances, appearances with stars like Natalie Merchant, Emmylou Harris and Ani Difranco and accolades including the Galaxie Rising Star Award for Best New Artist and Penguin Eggs magazine’s “Favorite New Discovery” of 2003.

Spoon ( released his debut album Throw Some Dirt On Me in 2003, following it two years later with Your Trailer Door. In 2006 he released a solo album, White Hearse Comes Rolling, and a duo with Rodney Decroo, The Trucker’s Memorial. The latter was named one of the year’s top ten albums by Left Hip magazine and the Calgary Herald.

Last year, Spoon collaborated with gender-bending storyteller Ivan Coyote and visual artist Valerie Salez in a multi-media project, You Are Here, based on Coyote’s tales about his family’s immigration to the Yukon. “I do get tired sometimes,” Spoon says of his constant touring. “But I like playing shows enough that that it doesn’t seem to get in my way. I’ve discovered that energy drinks can be helpful…and that I can sleep pretty much anywhere.”

Spoon is currently living in Germany, utilizing the country as a base for an ongoing European tour. “Things are a lot closer together here, so I can go out for a weekend—to another country to play a few shows—and then be home for the weekdays. I’ve built up a following by playing a lot of shows. There are a lot of amazing queer collectives in Europe that have brought me to their towns and made me feel very welcome.”

Although Spoon’s music is an amalgamation of styles, he finds his contemporaries in country—a genre he is simultaneously helping to change. “I decided that, because I grew up on country, it belonged to me as much as anyone… [but] I wanted to make country music that wasn’t right wing and normative. I took old themes and tried to reclaim them. I took the hate out of it.” . . .

28th First Event to take place Jan. 16-20

by Ethan Jacobs

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. . . .

Stopping gender bias at school

January 10, 2008

Some social conservatives are campaigning to "save our kids" from a new California law prohibiting discrimination against gay, lesbian and transgendered students in public schools. But their rescue operation -- which involves both a ballot initiative that has stalled implementation of the law and a suit in federal court -- is at best premature and at worst an exercise in fear-mongering.

The target of the campaign is Senate Bill 777, signed last year by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, which amends the state education code to provide protection for students from harassment on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Proponents see SB 777 as a mostly technical clarification of existing laws against bias in the classroom, including the 2000 California Student Safety and Violence Prevention Act. For opponents, the legislation is a Trojan horse for the "homosexual agenda."

Critics have focused on language in the law recognizing that a student's gender identity might not be "stereotypically associated with the person's assigned sex at birth." They offer dark scenarios in which teenagers will whimsically assume and discard gender identities, and in which a 250-pound linebacker will feign transgenderism to enter the cheerleaders' locker room. Critics also say that, by prohibiting "bias" against gay, lesbian or transgendered students, the law might make it dangerous for teachers to refer to "Mom and Dad." The real purpose of the law, according to one opponent, is "to disregard the traditional family, and its beliefs, and respect for a mom and dad raising the kids." Then, presumably, heterosexual students will be ripe for "recruitment." . . .

An advocate for gender equality

Professor Christa Orth's activism helped alter PSU's discrimination statement

by Carly Nairn


Six years ago, Portland State Women's Studies Professor Christa Orth was performing around Portland as a drag king with Come Out Against the War, a queer group with a political edge.

Today, she is co-chair of the Sexual Gender Equality Task Force at PSU, the group that recently helped add protections for the transgender community in the office and classroom. Orth has not gone far from her days as an activist.

"I have been involved in queer activism my whole adult life," Orth said.

On Jan. 1, the Oregon Office of Affirmative Action and Equality Opportunity added the terms "gender identity" and "gender expression" to the list of factors protected by PSU's anti-discrimination and affirmative action statements, in response to state anti-discrimination legislation that also took effect Jan. 1.

The Sexual Gender Equality Task Force (SAGE) met with the office of affirmative action last year to discuss the addition of language that would protect transgender individuals at PSU, Orth said. Both SAGE and the Office of Affirmative Action agreed the language needed to be added to the university's anti-discriminatory policy. . . .

Cross-dressing groom turns up at his own wedding in a bride's dress and tells guests 'I'm a transvestite'

10 January 2008

A cross-dressing factory worker's family only found out he had a secret double life as a transvestite when he arrived at his own wedding - wearing a bride's DRESS.

Dean Dudley, 35, has been dressing up in women's clothes and make-up since the age of six but never even told his mother.

And he kept his alter-ego 'Deanne' a secret from his macho workmates at an engineering factory for fear of being teased. . . .