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