Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Lauren Harries . . . on This Morning September 21st 2009

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Gender Blender

New law aside, straddling the sexes can be a bitch

24 September 2009

by Anthony Lane

Despite three metal studs protruding from his lower lip, Nico Valenzuela casts an unimposing figure. Standing 4-foot-10, the 18-year-old has a wispy frame, gentle brown eyes and rounded features that he admits give him a "baby face."

"I look like a 12-year-old," he says blandly.

Another obstacle to projecting a tough, or even masculine, image is Nico's voice. He speaks softly, almost like whispering, and his voice registers in the tonal range of a middle-school girl.

"I feel like I've always been a boy," he says, "but my body isn't like that."

Born Erika Valenzuela, Nico tried last year, as a senior at Ellicott High School in eastern El Paso County, to set matters right. Buoyed by a new state law barring discrimination in public places based on sexual orientation or transgender status, Nico asked to be called by his chosen name and referred to with masculine pronouns. As a member of the cheerleading squad, he asked that he be allowed to perform in pants rather than the skirt that made him feel like an impostor. . . .Read More

Intersex God/dess

30 September 2009

Carnal San Francisco

News flash: The world's newest celebrity is – yes! - a hermaphrodite! It was announced that world-class South African athlete Caster Semenya has ambiguous gender characteristics.

OK, technically, she doesn't have genitalia for “both” sexes, which is the most accurate definition of the word that applies. And true, it's not a scientific term nor a politically correct term, nor is it preferred by those with DSD (disorders of sex development) or an intersex condition. Some prefer to be called Intersex and don't want to be called DSD. And others prefer DSD and don't like Intersex. And of course, some are proud to be hermaphrodites and have plastered their pictures all over the Internet.

It reminds one of the days of reclaiming queer versus gay, and wimmin—or was it womyn?—choosing dyke over lesbian. And yes, it's confusing. For all of us. While they're sorting it out, let me tell you how truly divine sexual ambiguity has been for lo, these many millennia.

Starting with Hermaphroditus himself, of course, we find the source of the questionable terminology. The son of Hermes and Aphrodite, the Greek pantheon's archetypal male and female, he was quite the handsome youth, as you might expect. Wandering in the forest, he found the pond of Salmaci, a water nymph. She tried to seduce him, and as is so often the case in Greek mythology when the female is doing the seducing, he refused her. When he thought she had left, he took off his clothes and went for a swim in the pond. . . .Read More

CIGNA Cardiologist Rebecca Allison, M.D., Becomes President of Gay and Lesbian Medical Association

30 September 2009

CIGNA is Diamond Sponsor of GLMA’s 27th Annual Conference

BLOOMFIELD, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--When the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA) meets this week in Washington, D.C., for its 27th annual conference, CIGNA cardiologist Rebecca (Becky) Allison will become the organization’s president after serving as president-elect for the past year. CIGNA (NYSE: CI) is the top-level Diamond sponsor of this year’s conference, which the GLMA calls the world's largest scientific meeting focusing on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender health.

Dr. Allison holds a bachelor’s of science degree from the University of Mississippi in Oxford, and she earned her medical degree magna cum laude from the University of Mississippi School of Medicine in Jackson. She completed postgraduate training at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, and also at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Dr. Allison is board certified in internal medicine and cardiovascular diseases and she’s a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and the American College of Cardiology.

“CIGNA's mission is to improve the health and well-being of the people we serve, and that means all of the people we serve, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Dr. Jeff Kang, CIGNA's chief medical officer. “Becky Allison is not only an outstanding physician, she’s also completely dedicated to improving the health of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, and I congratulate her on becoming GLMA president.”. . .Read More

Monday, September 21, 2009

24/7 Crossdressing: Being Accepted by Other Women

I talk about my time as a woman, and discuss being accepted by straight women.

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"I'm Britain's oldest transsexual," says ex-coal miner, 75

14 September 2009

by Daily Mail Reporter

A former coal miner who spent half a century secretly dressing as a woman has 'come out' as Britain's oldest transsexual.

By day, Roy Colton, 75, worked alongside his burly colleagues down the pit - but at night he donned his sister's dresses and dreamed about changing sex.

He began taking female hormones 10 years ago, but it was only in 2004 that Roy - whose three wives had divorced him because of his cross-dressing - felt safe enough to change his name to Rachel and start living as a woman in public. . . .Read More

Parents' anger over trans girl

September 18, 2009

by Adam Lake

A 12-year-old pupil is set to become one of the youngest people to transition in the world after her parents decided to allow her to return to school as a girl.

She was born male but if her parents and doctors agree then the 12-year-old may be the youngest person in the UK to undergo gender reassignment.

German Kim Petras – born Tim – became youngest person in the world to transition at 16 earlier this year.

The pupil, who has not returned to school since the story broke, was well-known among pupils and staff for her desire to live as a girl.

According to the Sun, pupils were ushered into an 'emergency assembly' and informed: "You may notice one pupil is not present in this assembly – that is because the pupil is now a girl.". . .Read More

Treating transsexual kids: wait for, then delay puberty to treat

September 17, 2009

by Melissa Healy

The nation's oldest and largest organization of endocrinologists has recommended that physicians treating children with gender identity disorder intervene to delay puberty at its first signs and wait until a child is at least 16 before offering hormonal therapy that would begin his or her gender transition.

In a new clinical practice guideline unveiled today, the Endocrine Society tackled some of the most ethically sensitive decisions endocrinologists face in the treatment of those who are born of one gender, but identify themselves strongly with the opposite gender. Indeed, the society urges that its physicians rely on a mental health professional to render a diagnosis of transsexualism, which is termed gender identity disorder in the psychiatric profession's current diagnostic manual. . . .Read More

Friday, September 11, 2009

In The Life: Transgender Musicians

In late 1998 Kate Bornsteain called to ask if I'd like to be one of the featured transgendered musicians in a segment for a PBS show, In The Life, sort of an LGBT "60 Minutes." Their stringer met us in Hollywood for our first Los Angeles show in late 1998 before we'd moved there. They later came by our San Francisco rehearsal studio to tape the interview. I sort of regret this was in the days when I made no effort with my voice at all (and smoking all the time didn't help either). Still I'm glad I did the show because so many people have the impression that transwomen are musically all about Donna Summer et. al.

In 1993 I met Shredmistress Rynata and a year later we began actually planning the band and recording our demo and the next year performed for the first time at Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco (02/09/1995). We recorded one CD and were recording another when I finally got tired after nearly seven years of lousy spots, little or no pay and 3AM bedtimes that clashed with my successful day job. And, with my 44th birthday approaching (along with the Sex Reassignment Surgery) I finally realized I'd never support myself as a musician and it just wasn't fun any longer. So the Shredmistress and I went our separate ways and I turned most of my creative energies to writing.

There are several chapters that cover the Glamazon years in my upcoming autobiography. See my website at for more on the band, my archived version of the band website, lots of photos and other details. Also visit the In The Life official website at

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The persecution of Caster Semenya

September 10, 2009

by Matt Kailey

The whole debacle surrounding Caster Semenya is getting worse by the minute.

The woman who became an instant threat to the sports world because of her amazing athletic ability first had her sex questioned because of her strong, healthy, muscular build.

Next, she got a magazine “makeover” designed to demonstrate that she is, in fact, “all woman,” whatever that means. (I personally have no problem with Semenya getting a “makeover” if she requested it and happily participated. I have a problem with it if she was in any way coerced or told that she “needed” one. I also have a problem with the idea that she somehow needed to “show” that she was “all woman,” and that to do so, she needed makeup and a new hairstyle.)

And now, results of testing have been leaked that show that Semenya apparently has an intersex condition that results in a higher level of testosterone than is average for a female (the word used was "normal," but that's a whole other issue). Sydney, Australia's Daily Telegraph reports that Semenya has “no womb or ovaries.” . . .Read More

Transgender activist runs for mayor of Idaho town

By JESSIE L. BONNER (AP) – 6 days ago

NAMPA, Idaho — About a block from a street concert in downtown Nampa, Melissa Sue Robinson strolls with purpose into a trendy coffee shop — the unofficial liberal embassy of this sprawling Republican stronghold in southwest Idaho.

Dressed in a cream-colored pantsuit, a political flier clutched in one hand, a soft brown leather purse in the other, she orders a mocha and takes a seat as a group of teenagers stare at her from near the door.

The 58-year-old was born male and still carries the slightly larger-than-an-average-woman build of Charles Staelens Jr., who legally changed his name and underwent surgery in 1998 to become a woman.

She also kept his voice.

He was married for 17 years, owned a construction company, and was a Republican when he ran for city council in Lansing, Mich., where he was raised with his identical twin brother until their parents divorced in the 1960s. . . .Read More

Iran set to allow first transsexual marriage

Woman wins court battle for father's approval to marry schoolfriend who has undergone sex-change operation

September 11, 2009

by Robert Tait

Iran is set to allow what is believed to be its first transsexual marriage after the would-be bride asked a court to override her father's opposition to the match.

The woman, named only as Shaghayegh, told Tehran's family court that she wanted to wed her best friend from school, who had recently undergone a sex-change operation to become a man, but was unable to obtain her father's blessing, as legally required.

Now her father has agreed to permit the union on condition that the male partner, Ardashir, who was previously a woman called Negar, undergoes a medical examination intended to prove it would be a proper male-female relationship.

The case comes against the backdrop of Iran's notoriously repressive policies on homosexuality, which is illegal under the country's strict theocratic code. Gay rights groups have accused the authorities of executing homosexuals, although officials deny the charge. . . .Read More

Transgender & Transsexual Issues 101: Five appropriate questions to ask a transsexual person

September 10, 2009

by Matt Kailey

Me and me
Me and me

"The Top Five Silliest Questions to Ask a Transsexual Person" was almost all in fun (with a layer of truth hiding just under the surface), but for non-trans people who are now more worried than ever, relax. There are some questions that are appropriate when a transsexual person comes out to you or tells you that he or she is going through or has gone through a transition.

So what do you do? If a person comes out to you and then says, “Ask me anything,” that’s pretty much an open invitation. You might not know what to ask at first, and it’s fine to say, “I’m not sure what I might want to know. Can I digest this news and then come back to you with questions?” Or ask away — you have been given a green light. . . .Read More

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Transgender Time Capsule

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Transgender Vt. teen wants genderless bathrooms


August 2009

MONTPELIER, Vt. — A transgender teenager is lending his voice to a movement in Vermont to require the state's middle and high schools to offer genderless bathrooms.

Kyle Giard-Chase, 16, asked the Vermont Human Rights Commission on Thursday to endorse the effort. He said that before he came out last year as transgendered, he was a three-sport athlete and the co-captain of the field hockey team, a girls' sport, at South Burlington High School.

At an away game, he said he was verbally harassed and threatened by the members of the host school's football team for using the girls' restroom. . . .Read More

Now, a Miss India beauty pageant for transgenders in city

2 September 2009


CHENNAI: About 150 beauties with a difference will congregate in the city when it hosts the first Miss India contest for transgenders on December

19, 2009.

Chennai-based Indian Community Welfare Organisation (ICWO) is in talks with NGOs and AIDS control societies across the country to organise the pageant which it hopes would help strengthen the community's network and fight social stigma. Besides the top title, there would be contests for Miss Beatiful Hair, Miss Beautiful Eyes and Miss Beautiful Skin. People from different walks of life would occupy the chairs of judges.

Participants can enrol themselves individually or through organisations. The only qualification for participation is that the person should say she is a transgender. . . .Read More

Transsexuals in the Middle East Await the Wave of Change

2 September 2009

by Suad Hamada
- Bahrain -

Hell is what most Arabs think of when the word “transsexual” comes into any conversation since many mistake it with homosexuality, which is a sin in Islam. Most transsexuals prefer to remain anonymous since in some Arab countries they could face jail sentences for dressing or acting like the opposite sex. Many, especially men who feel trapped in the body of a woman, keep their problems hidden to avoid being punished or killed by their families. It is far easier for a woman to have a sex change to become a man than visa-versa. A man who becomes a woman is seen to have dishonored the family.

For 34 years, Bahraini Hussain Rabai felt trapped in a female body. In 2008, the courts officially declared him a man by approving his name change in official documents, from Zainab to Hussain, following sex correction surgery in 2007. . . .Read More

The Rev. David Weekley: Methodist minister comes out as transsexual man

31 August 2009

by Matt Kailey

In the early 1970s, David Weekley began his transition from female to male. And in 1982, he began the process of becoming a Methodist minister.

For 27 years, Weekley, now 58, married, and the father of five adult children, did not reveal his trans status to the church or to his congregations. But on August 30, he finally told his congregation at Epworth United Methodist Church in Oregon that he had been born female with a male gender identity and had transitioned decades ago.

Weekley is only the second clergyman in the United Methodist Church to come out as trans. Drew Phoenix, 50, had his ordination challenged by members of the church after coming out publicly in 2007 to his congregation in St. John’s of Baltimore United Methodist Church in Maryland. He was able to retain his ordination, but is no longer at that church. . . .Read More