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