Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Donna Rose: My Trans-America - Part 3

Over Nov. 1-4, 2007 I traveled across country from Rochester NY to Washington DC to Phoenix AZ. This is Day 3 (1200 mile drive starting in Little Rock AR and ending in Douglas AZ) and Day 4 (240 mile drive to Chandler, AZ). It covers Arkansas, Oklahoma, northern Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona - a diverse landscape changing from hills, to flatlands, to desert, to mountains.

Status of Transgender Life in Canada

In response to some comments from curious folk regarding my article, “Transbigotry?” I thought I’d chronicle a bit about the current situation in Canada.

Hate Crimes Protection and Human Rights

Hate crimes protection exists somewhat unofficially in places, but combined with crimes against GLB folk, resulting in a situation in which there are often no statistics that can be sifted through specific to us. “Sexual orientation” was added to the Criminal Code in 2004, but at that time, the NDP motion (tabled by Svend Robinson) left transgender folks behind.

“Gender Identity” and “Gender Expression,” however, are not included in any Human Rights Charter in Canada, except in the Northwest Territories (NWT – and this inclusion was more fluke than anything, and has not been tested to my knowledge). In practice, however, human rights of transpeople vary based on different court rulings, in which inclusion is sometimes made based on alternate bases of “gender / sex” or “disability” (from the classification in the DSM-IV).


Protection in employment is governed by court rulings (which is also the same process by which Canadians acquired the right to same-sex marriage). In Alberta, there was a victory based on a read-in protection under “sex,” and this ruling has influenced some cases in other Provinces. I may be wrong, but I believe that Saskatchewan and Ontario have protective rulings, and likely other provinces as well. In B.C. however, in the case of Kimberly Nixon vs. Rape Relief, the provincial Supreme Court ruled that Rape Relief had the ability to discriminate with regard to Nixon volunteering, and noted among other things that transgender people are not specifically protected in the Human Rights Charter. This note may have been meant to draw attention to this fact and call for it to be addressed in a subsequent appeal, but when the case went to the Supreme Court of Canada, the court refused to hear it. Consequently, that the B.C. court ruling stands. . . .

~ by dentedbluemercedes on January 20, 2008.

‘Cross-dressing alien to Kuwaiti society’

January 2008

KUWAIT : A leading Islamist member of parliament hit back on Sunday at human rights group
“The law criminalising people who imitate the appearance of the opposite sex must be implemented and respected,” said Faisal al-Muslim, who heads a parliamentary committee monitoring “practices alien to Kuwaiti society.”

“Kuwait should ignore any international criticism in this respect. We call on Human Rights Watch to adopt the Kuwaiti law in dealing with such cases,” in the United States, Muslim told reporters.

The New York-based watchdog urged Kuwaiti authorities on Friday to release from prison 14 men jailed in recent months for having dressed as women in public, describing a law passed by parliament as “repressive.”

It quoted friends of the prisoners as saying the men were being subjected to “physical and psychological abuse”, including beatings, and that none had access to legal representation. . . .

Transsexual trucker 'forced from job'

A transsexual truck driver was humiliated and forced out of a job when he started to dress as a woman, a tribunal heard yesterday.

Vikki-Marie Gaynor – who changed her name from Mike – said colleagues branded her a 'queer' and taunted her after she began to live as a woman full-time. . . .

Baptist seminary refuses to change diploma for grad who changed gender

17 January 2008

Bruce Tomaso

The Rev. Ronnie Elrod graduated from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1998.

Now he's a she, and she wants her name changed on her diploma.

The school, not surprisingly, refused.

It will, however, re-issue the diploma with just her middle initial, which is "E," instead of her full name, which used to be Ronnie Eugene Elrod. Elrod now goes by her new middle name, which is "Elise." . . .

Taking a look at the transgender community in N.H.

January 20, 2008

By ASHLEY SMITH, Telegraph Staff

In the months ahead, The Telegraph will introduce its readers to people who say they’ve shared the same life-defining urge to live as the opposite sex – eventually revealing the secret to the shock of those around them: parents, friends and family, co-workers.

This was a community rarely mentioned in New Hampshire – at least publicly – before last year, when Dr. Jennifer Madden, of Nashua, decided to use her medical expertise to take on the Statehouse, fighting for the rights of all transsexuals in the state.

Until this week, New Hampshire was considering legislation that would have made it the first state to require insurance companies to cover the cost of hormones for people transitioning from one gender to another. Not even Madden thought the bill would make it past subcommittee. . . .

Transgender youth: Advocates say students need more safeguards


January 20, 2008

Transgender youth need more protections in schools, advocates and parents say.

Children who express a gender identity opposite of their outward appearance often are bullied. But those who repress their identities because they don't feel safe are at a high risk of suicide, according to advocates.

One Seacoast parent whose child came out as transgender in high school said he and his wife struggled over how to keep their daughter from harm.

"We want our child to be alive," he said, "not suicidal or a hate crime victim."

The parent asked not be named to protect his daughter's identity.

Transgender is an umbrella term used to describe people who don't fully identify with their apparent birth gender or who were born with intersexed conditions. It can include people ranging from transsexuals who live as the opposite sex or have been surgically reassigned, to someone who cross-dresses occasionally.

The student, now 19, was teased about what other students perceived as effeminate characteristics and for trying out for female parts in plays before transitioning. After she learned how to formally describe her situation in ninth grade and came out, the teasing escalated into harassment and physical threatening, her father said. . . .

Terms to know

January 20, 2008

CROSS-DRESSER: A person who dresses in clothing culturally associated with the other sex.

DRAG QUEEN/DRAG KING: Biological males and females who present occasionally as members of the opposite sex, generally for

FTM: An acronym that stands for female-to-male, or, the direction in which a person is transitioning. MTF stands for male-to-female transition.

GENDER: Generally defined as a set of sociologically and culturally constructed roles, behaviors, practices and attributes that a society considers appropriate for men and women. There are many definitions of gender.

SEX: Classification of people as male or female based on biological characteristics, such as chromosomes, hormones, reproductive organs and genitals.

GENDER EXPRESSION: The external display of a person’s gender identity, usually expressed through masculine or feminine behavior.

GENDER IDENTITY: A person’s internal, personal sense of being a man, woman, transgender or other.

GENDER IDENTITY DISORDER: A controversial psychological diagnosis that can be given to transgender people, which identifies the incongruence between the person’s biological sex and their gender identity. Some contend the diagnosis inappropriately characterizes the condition as abnormal. Others say they country’s health-care system needs such a label to justify medical or psychological treatment. . . .

Turkey: transsexuals take to the stage to defend their rights

January 20, 2008

ANKARA (AFP) — A unique play in an Ankara theatre ended with a standing ovation this week as the little-known actors -- transsexuals and gays raising their voice against discrimination -- fought back their tears on stage.

Their play, "Pink And Grey," put the spotlight on the plight of transsexuals in mainly Muslim Turkey, in the latest initiative of a fledgling but increasingly vocal movement for rights by a community long ostracized and often harassed.

Beaming with pride and excitement, the amateur stars, male-to-female transsexuals Derya Tunc and Sera Can, received congratulations in the boisterous backstage, taking a welcome respite from their actual jobs as sex workers.

"Despite all the discrimination we face, I have no regrets for what I am," Can cheerfully told AFP. "My only regret is having ended up in the prostitution sector."

Almost all transsexuals and transvestites in Turkey make their living as prostitutes. They say they have no other option in a society where homophobia is strong and often accompanied by violence.

Three quarters of Turks say they are "disturbed" by homosexuals, a recent opinion survey showed, although many gays today are recognized as being among the country's most prominent singers and fashion designers.

Notoriously harsh against transsexual prostitutes, police have been accused of arbitrary round-ups, mistreatment, torture and rough "clean-up" operations in several Istanbul neighbourhoods popular with transsexuals. . . .