Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Where transgender women (transsexuals in the old parlance) have occupied the media spotlight for decades, less has been written about trans men. The trannie party scene from the film Transamerica (2005) comes to mind. “We walk among you …” says a robust gent, explaining how transgender guys blend into society.
Blending in or ‘passing’ eventually surfaces in discussions around transitioning. No problems there for Jeremy Wiggins (he prefers to be called Jez). As the pictures in the Transmen Translated exhibition reveal and certainly over the phone, there is little indication of Jez’s female past. Just your average guy, albeit queer identified.
But the road to realising your true gender identity is not without obstacles. For starters there are binders, effectively a corset to flatten the chest.
Jez says they are a ‘hassle’ and can be quite painful.
”Many guys want to go to the gym and increase their muscle mass to make the physique more masculine,” he says. “So any sort of physical exercise combined with trying to also hide that you don’t have a flat chest is really difficult and alienating.”
Jez’s symbolic binder burning episode is documented on video in the Transmen Translated exhibition. . . .
Bereavement: A guide for Transsexual, Transgender people and their loved ones, 2007, Department of Health
This booklet has been produced to assist bereaved trans people or friends, or the family of a trans person who has died. There have been recent legal changes regarding gender recognition for legal purposes as well as obligations to protect the privacy of trans people. These impact on the obtaining and
security of details of trans people in the circumstances where either they have died, or when dealing with the death of a family member. . . .
Zainab Abdulhafed Rabie is now hoping to clear the final hurdle through the courts, where she is battling for the right to be recognised as a male and her name changed to Hussain.
Her lawyer Fouzia Janahi presented a medical report to Bahrain's High Civil Court last month and the case has been adjourned until February 14 for the legal medical officer to give his judgement.
Zainab, 34, underwent an eight-hour sex change operation at Yanhee Hospital, Bangkok, in December last year.
The procedure was paid for by the Bahrain government, which gave BD5,000 to cover her operation, accommodation, plane ticket and food.
She was also provided with a court order explaining her condition, which she can produce if she was stopped by immigration officers on her way home.
Zainab had already undergone a mastectomy and her lawyer said the medical report certifies that Zainab is a man. . . .
By Blair Anthony Robertson
January 22, 2008
David Nylund spent the better part of four years researching his book on the phenomenon of sports talk radio, tuning in so much it became part of his life. He woke to it. He drove around with it. It was on when he went to sleep.
Needless to say, Nylund's marriage ended before his field work.
One of the main points in the 190-page book, "Beer, Babes, and Balls," is that sports radio is the one place where men can still be men. If some men are confused about the appropriate way to express their masculinity, radio is the so-called "third place" besides work and home.
"There is this real community where men get together. Talking about sports is really intimate for men and some women. It is very connecting, but it can be very exclusionary if you're not into sports," Nylund said.
Research included eating his share of hot wings and guzzling beer. He went to sports bars often enough that everybody knew his name. He even dated one of the bartenders.
To those he interviewed, such as Isaac Clark III, Nylund seemed like "just a regular guy. I remember him saying he was writing a book and I said, 'Yeah right, whatever.' "
But Nylund, 47, is anything but regular – and would seem to be unlikely to author a sports book.
For one, he is a feminist scholar with a doctorate in cultural studies. For another, one facet of his profession sees him counseling those considering a sex change operation.
"I traffic in these very contradictory sites," said Nylund, a professor of social work at California State University, Sacramento. He is also clinical supervisor for the Sacramento Gay and Lesbian Center.
Growing up, Nylund did not play the traditional team sports. He excelled at tennis and was a scratch golfer or, as he calls them, feminized sports. . . .
While some women find their beauty fading as they approach 40, award-winning comedienne Margaret Cho has only just begun to feel beautiful -- at 39.
Raised in San Francisco by Korean parents (her father is a joke-writer) and neighboring drag queens, Margaret Cho was never the "All-American Girl," according to her 1999 one-woman show-turned record-breaking concert film and best-selling book "I'm The One That I Want." In fact, on this and subsequent tours: "Notorious C.H.O." (2001), "Revolution" (2003) "Assassin" (2005) and "The Sensuous Woman" (2006), Cho's personal struggles with racial identity, queerness and distorted body image are gravely evident in her humorous routines.
Set to formally announce the spring launch of "Beautiful," her new one-woman show, on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" on Jan. 23, a newly confident Cho has graciously given Gay.com a sneak peak of the tour in an exclusive interview, where she discusses the secret to and importance of feeling beautiful inside and out -- especially if you're queer. . . .
Jan 24, 2008
Diego Sanchez, the director of public relations and external affairs at AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts, will have a hand in shaping the Democratic Party platform that will be adopted at the Democratic National Convention in Denver in August. Sanchez’s appointment to the Platform Committee marks the first time a transgender person has been nominated to a convention committee by a Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairman, a post currently held by Howard Dean.
Sanchez said he is "truly humbled" by the appointment. He is among seven members of the LGBT community -- a record number -- who were nominated by Dean to serve on the 2008 Democratic National Convention Standing Committees, which include the Platform Committee, the Credentials Committee and the Rules Committee. . . .
Jan 24, 2008
Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), came out swinging against the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) during her Jan. 17 speech at the First Event transgender conference at the Boston Marriott Peabody. Speaking to a small audience of about 12 people during a town-hall-style meeting, Keisling accused HRC of undermining the coalition of organizations working to pass a trans-inclusive version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) last fall. HRC has come under fire from some LGBT activists for supporting an ENDA bill in the House of Representatives that only offers protections based on sexual orientation. First Event, organized by the Tiffany Club of New England, is the region’s largest transgender conference.
Keisling told attendees that while HRC joined other LGBT organizations last October in publicly opposing the sexual orientation-only version of ENDA, its lobbyists were working behind the scenes to ramp up support for the bill. Congressman Barney Frank (D-Mass) stripped out gender identity language from ENDA in September after House leadership warned that there were not enough votes to prevent Republicans from sinking a trans-inclusive bill through a procedural motion. On Oct. 2 HRC announced that it would not support the sexual orientation-only version of ENDA, yet it was one of the only national LGBT organizations not to sign onto United ENDA, a coalition that went a step further and urged Congress to vote against any ENDA bill that did not protect transgender people. . . .
Day to Day, January 22, 2008 - There have been many wild and wooly characters in the history of rock and pop music, but none wilder or woollier than a transsexual artist named Baby Dee. Her unusual life and career have led to her latest record — Safe Inside the Day.
Dee launched her musical career as a harpist in New York's Central Park in a bear costume. She says, "I just had this fuzzy picture in my mind of something sort of festive playing a harp. I don't know, it just sort of came to me."
She was a street performer, but Dee also studied music seriously and was so obsessed with Gregorian chant and the Renaissance that her conducting teacher suggested that she learn to play the organ and get a job in a church. Dee thought that was sensible advice. She'd been playing religious music for years, but the idea of working in a church had never occurred to her. "Within weeks of him saying that, I had a big job up in the South Bronx that became what I thought would be my life's work," she says.
What eventually changed Dee's mind about her life's work at the church was her sexuality. Dee is a transsexual, and after years of living what she says was a life of pretense as a man, she finally made the decision to become a woman. . . .
21 January 2008
There is a place between reality and make-believe where strangers dwell. They are unable to fully integrate into a world of clear definitions but equally unwilling to pretend that they are something they are not. It's in that gray and lonely place that Meredith lives.
She's a transsexual, and although she says she is comfortable with who she is, the loneliness can become unbearable, because she exists on the fringes of a culture that still considers humans trapped in the wrong bodies as freaks.
Meredith isn't her real name, but I will respect her desire for anonymity. She was born a boy, but sensed from an early age that the true person within her, the one she wanted to be, was a girl. She identified with the Sallys around her, not the Michaels.
She has e-mailed me for years, urging me to publicize the plight of those often arrested by the police and beaten by thugs for very little reason, other than the clothes they wear, the manners they assume and the gender lines they cross. She became more persistent in her demand for attention when Times sportswriter Mike Penner courageously announced in print that he was transsexual and would reemerge as Christine Daniels. . . .