Thursday, June 26, 2008

Question Gender

How many genders are there?

Say no more: Transsexual Israeli tops Lebanese song chart

While overtures recently made by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and President Shimon Peres toward the Lebanese government to enter into direct peace talks have fallen on deaf ears, that doesn't mean the Lebanese are tuning out everything Israeli.


Photo: Courtesy

"Say No More," a pulsating trance music track by up-and-coming Israeli female singer Aderet and DJ Dvir Halevi, has been at the top of the playlist this month on the "Beirut Nights" Internet radio station devoted to dance music (

"We found out they were playing my music by chance," the 32-year-old Aderet said on Wednesday. She grew up in a religious home in Jerusalem and launched her musical career after undergoing a sex change operation following her IDF service over 10 years ago.

"I put out a dance single last year - a cover of Alice DJ's 'Better Off Alone' - which was big in the clubs in Israel, and when our production team did a search on Google, we found the song on lots of playlists around Europe and on Beirut Nights." . . .Read More

On Stonewall anniversary, transgender activists remind LGBT movement of its roots

June 25, 2008

Like many such celebrations, the Twin Cities Pride celebration takes place in June, in part to commemorate New York City’s Stonewall Inn uprising, which began in June 1969, and is widely recognized as a galvanizing event in the history of sexual rights organizing.

But as mainstream acceptance grows for gays and lesbians – particularly those who conform to relatively traditional gender roles – what many forget, says Tara Yule, owner of Pi Bar and Restaurant, is that Stonewall and similar struggles were started largely by poor, urban transgender people of color. In fact, she adds, much of the police harassment at the Stonewall Inn that ultimately motivated bar-goers to fight back was justified by an ordinance regulating gender-appropriate clothing.

First popularized in the United States in the 1970s, transgender is an umbrella term used by a wide variety of people who, for various reasons, feel the gender assigned to them at birth is no longer adequate to describe who they are. Some may identify as “female-to-male” or “male-to-female,” transitioning from one gender to “the other,” but many others do not. For many people, gender isn’t an either-or proposition.

“I like the word genderqueer to describe my gender identity for the same reasons I use queer to describe my sexuality – it has a radical progressive edge, and it doesn’t indicate a binary,” says activist Max Gries, who co-chairs the Minnesota Transgender Health Coalition (MTHC) and serves on the University of Minnesota Transgender Commission.

As a genderqueer person, Gries says using public restrooms can be tricky, and even dangerous. In transgender communities, the term “tranny bladder” is used to refer to having to “hold it” for long periods of time when unisex or family restrooms are unavailable. At best, this is uncomfortable; at worst, it can lead to health problems. . . .Read More

Transgender Youth Conference Takes Place June 28

William Henderson The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) and the Boston Alliance of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth (BAGLY) will co-host the first annual Massachusetts Transgender Youth Summiton Saturday, June 28 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Democracy Center, 45 Mt. Auburn Street, Cambridge.

The Summit is geared toward youth 24 and under that identity as or fall under the transgender label from across Massachusetts. Objectives of this summit, say organizers, are to empower transgender youth; build a strong youth leadership network; provide information on the political process; transgender youth rights; voter registration; to encourage activism and civic participation. . . .Read More

Professor lives as 'full-time' transgender woman

June 26, 2008

By Karen Hunley
The Auburn Villager

Gwynedd Thomas
As a polymer and fiber engineering professor, Dr. Gwynedd Thomas teaches Auburn University students about the correct composition of protective body armor. In a way, she says, this instruction is a metaphor for the protective yet false shield she carried around most of her life. Until recently, she begrudgingly accepted and portrayed her birth gender—male—so she wouldn't have to face the social repercussions.

About four years ago, Thomas decided it was worth the risk to be herself.

"There comes a point in everyone's life, often as you're approaching the end of your life, that you've got to express yourself as yourself," she says.

Thomas is in her mid-50s, and she became a "full-time" transsexual, or transgender, woman last fall. This entails dressing, speaking and expressing herself in every way possible as a woman, even though she

was born male.

"I was already aware by the time I was 3 years old that I was gender variant," Thomas says. "(Transsexuals) are the gender we say we are, we just didn't get the right body."

That may change, however, as the professor is considering gender reassignment surgery. But if this doesn't "come to pass," whether for financial or personal reasons, Thomas says she's content to continue living as a female in every other way.

"This is not about choosing sexual partners," she adds. "I am considering it because I would like to be who I should've been to the best of my ability." . . .Read More