Sunday, January 27, 2008

Jahna Steele Remembrance

"This video is a memorial to the beautiful and talented transsexual woman Jahna Steele, who passed suddenly on January 24th, 2008. Hers will be a keenly felt loss in the transgender community. This clip was taken from a 1993 talk show where I'd been a guest in another broadcast, and it ends with her singing a song that ironically fits this sad occasion."

See Jahna Steele's website:

First comes the needle, then comes the pain

Serious physical, emotional problems await athletes after quitting steroids

by Mark Zeigler

January 26, 2008

A few months ago, two head shots of Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman were posted on a Web site called Pro Football Talk. One was from 2005, the other from this season. Merriman has improbably broad shoulders in the 2005 photo and noticeably smaller ones in 2007.

The implication and subsequent Internet chatter was that Merriman, who served a four-game NFL suspension in 2006 for a positive steroid test, was off the juice.

Turns out the 2005 photo, which appears in the Chargers media guide, was doctored by the team. Merriman missed the spring minicamp when player photos were taken, and his college head shot was superimposed on the shoulders of a beefy Chargers lineman – standard procedure in the NFL with unsigned rookies or recent acquisitions. All the body parts in the 2007 shot, presumably, belong to him.

Merriman may or may not have pumped his 6-foot-4, 272-pound frame full of anabolic steroids; he insists his positive test was from a tainted nutritional supplement. But the notion that a star athlete can suddenly shrink before our eyes without the help of Adobe Photoshop is a very real and potentially fatal eventuality. . . .

Gender Fundamentalists

Monica Helms

January 25, 2008

Many of us in the LGBT community are painfully aware of the religious fundamentalists who have such a wonderful time coming up with lies and fear tactics to throw out to the uneducated masses. They know full well that a great deal of those Americans will believe anything they are told, if you follow it up with “Praise the Lord.” Of course, their true God is the Almighty Dollar, which they get in abundance from those people who don’t know any better.

We hear a lot about the Islamic fundamentalists and how they are such a threat to America. In many ways, they are ranked amateurs compared to the Christian fundamentalists here in the US. Oh yes, we hear of gays being executed in the country that has no gays, Iran. I’m sure that every time that happens, Beverly LaHaye, ChairMAN of the Concerned “June Cleavers” for America, salivates, hoping we get a Republican President who will support that as well. I’m sure she would like it if President Eddie Haskell “gave us the business.” (The “June Cleaver” comment is not to put down the beloved character in “Leave it to Beaver,” but to emphasize the time period their mindset is in.)

Not to make light of it, but the Christian fundamentalists are a dangerous group of people, even if there weren’t any gay people for them to hate. Mike Huckabee’s comments on wanting to change the Constitution to reflects God’s laws instead of the Founding Fathers’ wonderful ideas is a prime example of the danger this group of Americans can be.

But, I didn’t title this article “Christian Fundamentalists.” There are plenty of others who can talk intelligently on that subject. My article is on a growing number of transsexual women who use their post-operative status as a symbol of their superiority over any other gender-different people. I can guarantee that as soon as this article sees the light of day, they will rise up out of their holes and swoop down on me like the creatures in the movie, “Pitch Black,” with Vin Diesel. I’m not afraid of the dark. . . .

Trans-Feminism (Transgender Feminism)

by Gale Brooker

25 January 2008

Tran feminism is a form of feminism that includes transgender and transsexual rights and issues, especially those of transwomen. Trans feminism has also been described as a social force working for the rights and goals of transsexual and transgender individuals.

This particular group has many struggles of their own, starting with having the heart and soul of one gender while having the genitalia of another. They also have huge economic struggles if they wish to have any medical procedures.

This type of feminism has created quite a stir among other groups. Some feminists feel they do not belong. One of the major reasons is because of how some Trans gender or transwoman behave or exaggerate their femininity. Another reason is some feel that trans genders could not possibly understand all the struggles and what it is to be a “true gender.”. . . .

Trans-Feminism Is Changing The Way Women View Themselves


The ever changing world in which we live seems to regularly identify new scenarios that challenge the way in which society behaves. No more so than with transfeminism which is now creating a reaction that might not initially have been perceived. The reaction is from women who believe that trans-feminism is in fact a third gender assignment - a hybrid male-female that should not be included in any scheme involving original females.

How an individual born female sees herself is a reflection of the society in which she exists. It is acknowledged that women today have changed their social position dramatically over the past twenty years by competing with men on every level. Female equality is now no longer a concept but rather a way of life.

However where trans-feminism fits into the female psyche is proving difficult for many women born women to accept. It seems that if you were born male but feel that you should really have been born female and make physical efforts to right what you see as wrong, then you are not only distancing yourself from the male community but you are also not really a part of the true female alternative community. Gender issues have reached new controversial heights with the introduction of liberalism and a growing acceptance within society that some people prefer to wear the bodies of their opposite gender. This does not make it easy on those of us who walk the middle road because the extremists in both camps are full of woe about allowing what was ostensibly an opposite gender individual to join their ranks simply because it is the way they feel, even if they have also taken the significant step of having surgery performed so that their body is more in keeping with the bodies they prefer.

If one considers that the human body is simply a host vehicle, a receptacle in which our spirits are contained, it is possible to better appreciate how people can feel that they are not born of the sexual gender they should have been. If you take this a step further and suggest that the reincarnation of the soul is partly to blame and that as a result the individuals in question may have lived a previous life as a woman rather than a man it can been seen that the issue can really bring some fairly complex concepts to the fore. . . .

Male hormone has a Jekyll and Hyde effect


January 26, 2008

Roosters probably considered Professor Arnold Berthold public enemy No. 1. But to scientists, he was a pioneer. And to athletes who abuse steroids, he's probably a hero. Providing that they have heard of him. If they haven't, they should have. Because it was Berthold's classic experiments carried out at the University of Gottingen in Germany in 1849 that laid the foundations for research leading to the eventual isolation of testosterone, the main male sex hormone.

Berthold was certainly familiar with the idea that removal of the testes caused profound changes in a male's behaviour. Eunuchs, for example, had long been known to have less aggressive personalities. Indeed, that's why Roman emperors like Constantine, fearing assassinations, surrounded themselves with servants who had been rendered mild-mannered by removal of their manhood. (One suspects, though, that they weren't exactly mild-mannered during the procedure.) In any case, not only did castration affect behaviour, it also affected physiology. Eunuchs were less likely to go bald, and if castration took place before puberty, their childish voice was retained.

The effect of castration on animals had also long been known. By 2000 BC, castration of farm animals to make them easier to handle was widespread. Bulls, rams and stallions were made more docile with a few well-targeted snips, making them less likely to protest when asked to haul loads or pull ploughs. But nobody really took much interest in just how castration brought about these dramatic changes until Berthold began his investigations. . . .

Yo is giving you a lesson on singular pronouns

By Wallraff, Barbara


The latest news from the language front is that teenagers in Baltimore have invented a gender-neutral singular pronoun: "yo." When I learned of this, I was fascinated - for about 10 minutes. Then I started to get upset.

I was fascinated at first because English needs such a pronoun, or a set of them - words to fill in the blanks in sentences like "These days, an English teacher sure has ... work cut out for ..." Thank goodness, an unspecified teacher isn't automatically /him/his" anymore. "She/her/hers" is no more equitable as an alternative, though. Another possibility is "they/them/their" - but any English teacher who's satisfied with this option is in the wrong line of work.

English-speaking people have been searching for and inventing gender-neutral singular pronouns for at least 150 years. Among the many that have been proposed are "ne," "thon," "hesh," "he'er," "shey," "e," "hisorher" and the unpronounceable "s/he." Unfortunately, none of these coinages has caught on outside subcultures. So people keep inventing new ones.

Why does it upset me if kids in Baltimore came up with their own solution to the pronoun problem? Well, for one thing, that isn't what they did. Their teachers, having discovered their students' use of "yo," went on to document how the kids used it. Two of the examples the teachers collected were "Yo is tuckin' in his shirt" and "Peep yo." In the first example, note the word "his," which makes it clear that "yo" here isn't an unspecified person - it's a particular male. The second example means "Look at him (or her)." Out of context, we can't tell the sex of the person being referred to, but obviously, whoever was speaking was referring to someone he or she could see - another particular person of known gender. In neither case do we have an unspecified person, and therefore "yo" isn't that holy grail of pronouns our entire culture has been seeking. . . .

Rose, India's first transgender television show host

Host of Southern India's "Yours, Rose" will seek to challenge stereotypes, social taboos.