Monday, December 08, 2008

Dr. Phil: Gender Confused Kids - Part 4/4 [Request]

"Dr. Phil tackles the sensitive topic of children who identify more with the opposite sex. What do you do if your son wants to wear dresses and play with dolls? Or if your daughter tells you she wants to be a boy?

Mary says she knew her son was not a typical boy when at 3, he loved nail polish, bras and makeup. Mary says she thought she was doing the best thing for her son by allowing him to choose, but now she's not so sure. She wonders if she caused his gender confusion."

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At Ever-Tolerant Harvard, One Student's Cause Engenders Lots of Questions, but Little Controversy

By Paula Span
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, November 23, 1997; Page F01
The Washington Post

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—The plan is to meet at noon, near the pillars at Harkness Commons, after his applied mathematics class. Look for a guy with short dark hair, he says, and wire-rim glasses. And here he comes now, ambling across the Harvard campus, wearing the standard undergraduate uniform -- black jeans, denim shirt, work boots, thin silver ring through the inner curve of one ear.

"Hi, I'm Alex," he says. Firm handshake.

Would anyone know? Probably not.

Alex Myers, Class of '00, speaks in an unexceptional tenor. He is 19 years old. About 5 feet 6, he doesn't stand out from myriad other college men. Yet at another time, or in another place, he might well have ignited a serious scandal.

As a freshman last year, Myers moved into a coed dormitory called Greenough Hall, assigned to a single room on the all-male fourth floor. A bit of a nerd who piled on science and math courses, he objected when a neighbor blared rave music at night, but otherwise kept pretty much to himself. The other guys knew he came from a tiny Maine town via a prestigious prep school, Phillips Exeter Academy; they said hello in passing.

Anonymity was fine, for a while. But by the second month on campus, former Exeter classmates had started to gossip. And Myers himself felt uneasy about concealing an essential fact. "It makes me feel as though I'm ashamed of who I am," he reasoned. And he wasn't.

So he told his dorm mates the truth: For his first 17 years, he'd been Alice Myers, a tomboy who kept her hair short and loathed dresses but was, nonetheless, a girl. Just before her senior year at Exeter, however, Alice figured it out: Despite her female body, she felt like a man, a state known as being "transgendered."

So Alice legally changed her name; Myers's driver's license and Harvard ID now read Alex. But despite having jettisoned his Alice identity, he hadn't opted for hormone treatments or surgery, hadn't even seen a doctor. So technically -- biologically -- the guy in Room 407 still belonged to the female side of the species.

Perhaps the most arresting part of this story is what happened next, which was . . . practically nothing. Mild surprise followed by a collective so-what. Confronted with what might have seemed a masquerade, a falsehood, possibly a psychiatric disorder -- "to most people, transgenderism isn't something you expect to meet, it's something you see on `Oprah,' " notes Mike Hellerstein, one of Myers's dorm mates -- the men of Greenough Hall mostly shrugged. There was more fourth-floor bickering about loud music than about sharing bathrooms with a man who got menstrual cramps.

"There really wasn't any reason for a problem," says T. Timothy Wang, who roomed down the hall. "He didn't make a big production out of it. He was just like anyone else.". . .Read More

Letters to President-elect Obama: Donna Rose

Open letters from 26 gay men and lesbians.
From The Advocate December 16, 2008

Letters to President-elect Obama: Donna Rose

Dear Mr. President:

I want to start by congratulating you on this historic achievement. You have waited a lifetime for this moment in time, but our country has waited generations. I’m still pinching myself to make sure it’s real.

This historic election has meant so many things to so many people. More than simply a contest of ideology or political doctrine, it has tested deeply held ideals and has transformed the very fabric of our country. It has been a contest pitting Hope against Fear, Change against Status Quo, and Future against Past. After all that has happened in recent years it has renewed my confidence in the American People and in the political process in general. More than once, it has moved me to tears.

I believe to my core in your twin campaign mantras of Hope and Change. I have pledged to do what I can to help you make your vision of a country where all are valued, where each of us has opportunity, and where a renewed vision of America that is committed to integrity and credibility become reality. You cannot do that by yourself, and I have dedicated myself to be one of the many faces that represent the diverse depth and breadth of Americans it will take to achieve it. . . .Read More

A Lifestyle Distinct: The Muxe of Mexico


December 6, 2008

Mexico City — Mexico can be intolerant of homosexuality; it can also be quite liberal. Gay-bashing incidents are not uncommon in the countryside, where many Mexicans consider homosexuality a sin. In Mexico City, meanwhile, same-sex domestic partnerships are legally recognized — and often celebrated lavishly in government offices as if they were marriages.

But nowhere are attitudes toward sex and gender quite as elastic as in the far reaches of the southern state of Oaxaca. There, in the indigenous communities around the town of Juchitán, the world is not divided simply into gay and straight. The local Zapotec people have made room for a third category, which they call “muxes” (pronounced MOO-shays) — men who consider themselves women and live in a socially sanctioned netherworld between the two genders.

“Muxe” is a Zapotec word derived from the Spanish “mujer,” or woman; it is reserved for males who, from boyhood, have felt themselves drawn to living as a woman, anticipating roles set out for them by the community. . . .Read More