Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Jamie's Update

See Jamie's YouTube vlog including her excellent result with FFS.

'Transsexuality gene' boosts male hormones

Linda Geddes

29 July 2008

A gene variant has been identified that appears to be associated with female-to-male transsexuality – the feeling some women have that they belong to the opposite sex.

While such complex behaviour is likely the result of multiple genes, environmental and cultural factors, the researchers say the discovery suggests that transsexuality does have a genetic component.

The variation is in the gene for an enzyme called cytochrome P17, which is involved in the metabolism of sex hormones. Its presence leads to higher than average tissue concentrations of male and female sex hormones, which may in turn influence early brain development.

Clemens Tempfer and his colleagues at the Medical University of Vienna in Austria discovered the variant after analysing DNA samples from 49 female-to-male (FtM) and 102 male-to-female (MtF) transsexuals, as well as 1669 non-transsexual controls.

The variant was more common in men than women, although it doesn’t seem to be implicated in MtF transsexuality as the proportion of MtF transsexuals with it was similar to that in non-transsexual men. In women, however, there were some differences: 44% of FtM transsexuals carried it, compared with 31% of non-transsexual women. . . .Read More

Thai school offers transsexual toilet

By Jonathan Head

29 July 2008

The sign to the transsexual toilet in Kampang Secondary School, north-east Thailand
A new toilet sign has been created at this Thai school
With its spacious, tree-lined grounds and slightly threadbare classrooms, there is nothing obviously unusual about the Kampang Secondary School.

It is situated in Thailand's impoverished north-east, and most of the pupils are the children of farmers.

Every morning at 0800 they all gather outside to sing the national anthem and watch the flag being raised.

Then they have a chance to use the toilets, before heading off the first classes of the day.

Kampang is proud of its toilets. Spotless, and surrounded by flowering tropical plants, they have won national awards for cleanliness.

But there is something else about them too. Between the girls' toilet and the boys', there is one signposted with a half-man, half-woman figure in blue and red. . . .Read More

Meet the gay man and transgender woman who "Want to Work for Diddy"

Rob Smith and Laverne Cox want to work for Diddy

If I were to tell you that when one of the biggest hip-hop stars in the world conducted an exhaustive search to find 13 candidates to be his next assistant, the final candidates included a gay man and a transgender woman, what would you say?

On one hand, you may be surprised that the somewhat homophobic hip-hop world was so inclusive of LGBT contenders for the position, but if you were the gay in question, you’d probably start jumping up and down and screaming!

That is exactly what I did when I found out I was one of 13 finalists picked to compete in the new reality show I Want to Work for Diddy, premiering on Monday, August 4 at 9PM on VH1. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it), the show leads into the mess that is New York Goes to Hollywood, so my Mondays will be pretty full from now on.

My name is Rob Smith, and I’m a freelance writer, blogger, and media industry professional based in New York City. The experience on the show was one of the most challenging and amazing experiences I’ve ever had, and I’m thrilled to be giving AfterElton.com readers an exclusive weekly recap and lowdown on my experience with the show and everything that went on behind the scenes during taping. . . .Read More

Neighbors Help Troubled Transgender Woman

Joyce Peterson

July 29, 2008

Memphis, TN - To say that 43 year-old Duanna Johnson leads a difficult life would be an understatement. At her small, rundown, North Memphis house you'll find condom wrappers on the ground outside her door.

Her power meter is missing. Not that it matters because her electricity was turned off months ago after she stopped paying her utility bill.

She has one extension cord running from her bedroom window to the neighbor's house. They charge her $20 a month to plug into their electricity. It powers the single fan Duanna uses to cool her house.

And because Johnson has no running water in her home, neighbors often let her use their bathrooms to wash up and take care of her personal hygiene.

"Well, she would come over and talk," says 82 year-old Hattie Mae Benson. "And I mean, it was a good while before I knew what was happening."

Benson has been Johnson's guardian angel for the past three or four months, providing Memphis' most famous transgender woman with food, a clean bed to sleep in and a bathroom. . . .Read More