Transgender Lives, Transgender Pride, Transgender Rights

Don’t genderize fashion!

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on August 4, 2014


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Australian, 12, Cleared for Sex Change

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on May 26, 2008

Australian, 12, Cleared for Sex Change 11:53 AM

Australian, 12, Cleared for Sex Change: Report – Yahoo! News Health & Wellness (tags: Transgender, FtM ) Henric C StarsButterfliesGold Notes – 13 seconds ago – The judge said that while the initial treatment was reversible, it needed to be seen as the first step in a process which, if continued, would allow the child to live as a male.

SYDNEY (AFP) – A 12-year-old Australian girl has been allowed to begin the first phase of a sex change after a judge decided it was in the best interests of the child, reports said Sunday.

The unnamed girl has begun hormone treatment to block puberty after the family court judge accepted an application from her mother for her to begin to reassign her gender, the Sunday Herald-Sun reported.

The judge said that while the initial treatment was reversible, it needed to be seen as the first step in a process which, if continued, would allow the child to live as a male.

“In my view, and on all the evidence, the treatment is in his (the child’s) best interests,” the judgement said.

During a hearing in December, the court heard that the 12-year-old had thought of herself as a boy since the age of four.

Several medical experts, including a psychiatrist, backed the sex-change application, as did an independent lawyer for the child and a family counsellor.

However, the child’s father could not accept that the girl had always seen herself as a boy and opposed the sex-change decision in part because of her young age, the court was told.

But the court said it needed to act quickly to prevent the onset of puberty as the girl dreaded the prospect of menstruation and developing breasts, the Sunday Herald-Sun said.

Further court applications must be made at a later stage if the child wants to take the process further and deepen her voice or develop facial hair.

Surgery to remove the womb and ovaries or build a penis cannot be done before the age of 18.

The court ruled that the 12-year-old can now apply for a new birth certificate and passport in a boy’s name.

A huge ethical row has erupted over a judge’s decision to allow a 12- year-old girl to have a sex change that will turn her into a teenage boy.

The child’s father, who is separated from her mother, is outraged at the prospect but despite his objections the taxpayer-funded sex swap has already got under way.

His daughter, who cannot be named because of her age, is already having hormone treatment in Australia in what is one of the first such cases involving a child so young.

The girl has also been given permission to apply for a new birth certificate, passport and medical card in a boy’s name.

Last night, a relative of the child claimed the girl had been ‘vindictively brainwashed’ by her mother into making the decision to have the change.

A cousin who stayed with the girl’s family for two and a half years said yesterday that after a bitter break-up the mother had used the child to ‘get back’ at the father.

‘She’s been brainwashed from an early age,’ said the cousin, who has to remain anonymous to protect the Victorian girl’s identity.

‘The mother drilled into the girl from an early age that she would have preferred a boy.’

Now the father, who considers his daughter is far too young to make a decision on her gender, is appealing to Melbourne’s legal fraternity for help in fighting the case after he ran out of money to afford representation in opposing the sex swap request.

The Victorian Family Court was told that the girl had always considered herself a boy and was at risk of self harm if she continued to develop into a woman. Hormones now being implanted under the 12-year-old’s skin every three months will stop her from developing from a child into a woman, including preventing her hips and breasts from growing.

A further court application must be lodged in coming years for testosterone treatment to deepen the girl’s voice and promote growth of facial hair and muscles. Surgery to remove her womb or ovaries or build an artificial male sex organ must wait until she is at least 18.

The court was told that the hormone therapy was reversible and would give the family ‘breathing time’ with progressive sex change treatments and operations requiring further court orders.

‘I question how reversible the treatment is,’ said the cousin. ‘There will be psychological consequences that are not reversible. ‘I don’t think the side effects have been adequately considered. How people treat her will have an effect. ‘She will never have this time in her life again.’ News of the judge’s decision to grant the sex-change treatment has sparked furious debate.

Medical ethicist Dr Nicholas Tonti-Filippini described the ruling as ‘astounding’. He added: ‘I fail to see how it can be in the interests of a young girl to undergo treatment that will change her for the rest of her life.

This is a great story!

It is good to see that there are people in the world who realize that being transsexual/transgendered is not a choice, a disease or a mental illness, but a matter of IDENTITY and of life and death.

Too many TS/TG kids have killed themselves at the onset of puberty, because they had no other way of coping with their bodies betraying them.

I wish this little brother of mine all the love, acceptance and blessings he can pick up along his journey. And big kudos to his mother for listening and standing by her son.

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Turkey’s transsexuals face increasing violence

Posted by TransMan on April 21, 2008

By Selcuk Gokoluk  |  October 3, 2006

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Belgin still vividly remembers the night, more than a quarter of a century ago, when police herded her and dozens of other transsexuals and transvestites on to a train as part of a campaign to clean up Istanbul.

“We did not know where the train was taking us. The police beat us and locked us up in the wagons. They gave us no water or food,” she said, evoking scenes reminiscent of World War Two.

The roundup took place just before the 1980 military coup in Turkey which led to the suspension of democracy and the jailing of hundreds of thousands of people for their political views. Some were executed. Many people fled abroad.

Since then, Turkey has taken big strides forward in human rights, scrapping the death penalty and clamping down on torture, with an eye on future membership of the European Union. But Belgin says it still fails to protect people like her.

“I first wore this dress in 1970. Not much has changed since then,” said Belgin, a retired prostitute who now works for Lambda Istanbul, a group that campaigns for the rights of transsexuals, transvestites, gay men and lesbians.

Rights groups say transsexuals face increasing violence and this reflects a wider trend in Turkish society — the growing influence of Islam in daily life since the centre-right AK Party, which has Islamist roots, came to power in 2002.

“Now the police raid their bars and take these people into detention more frequently,” said Huseyin Ayyildiz, branch secretary of the Human Rights Association in Istanbul.

He said this reflected the AK Party’s promotion of more Islamist-minded police officers keen to defend conservative family values.


The intolerance is not restricted to transsexuals or homosexuals, the rights groups say.

“Businesses are having difficulty getting licenses to sell alcohol,” Ayyildiz said. Islam prohibits alcoholic beverages.

In the capital Ankara, Deniz, a transvestite who works as a prostitute, complained that many clients were ignoring her calls.

“Most of my clients are pious Muslim men and they are very afraid that the police will publicize their names,” said Deniz, who also declined to give her full name.

Belgin said Turkish men were guilty of hypocrisy.

“Men who secretly come to us at night for sex jeer at us on the streets,” said Belgin, 53. She said she had to work as a prostitute because prejudice prevented her finding another job.

She said many of her friends had been murdered over the years and violence against transsexuals, most of whom work in the sex industry, showed no sign of abating.

“Some people talk about human rights. I have never seen them,” she said. “Here you can kill a dog or a transsexual. There is no difference.

“The murders of my friends have never been resolved. The police turn a blind eye in such cases.”

Like homosexuality, having a sex change operation is legal in Turkey but there are no laws to protect transgender people from discrimination as there are in some Western countries.


A tradition of tolerance for cross-dressing and same-sex liaisons that existed in the old Ottoman Empire has long faded.

In August, efforts by transsexuals to set up an association in the western, conservative-minded town of Bursa were blocked by the authorities on grounds of protecting “public morality.”

Over the years, many transsexuals have moved from the provinces to Istanbul, a sprawling metropolis which at least provides anonymity and a network of support.

Belgin sees little change in police attitudes.

“There was a police chief (in the past) who was known as bone-breaker Cetin because he did not leave transsexuals before breaking their bones,” she said.

Another liked burning the arms of transsexuals with a cigarette lighter.

“He would then ask how they would endure the fires of hell in the after-life if they cannot stand this,” Belgin said.

And now? “They come with hate and feelings of revenge and do not hide their aim of cleansing Beyoglu (hub of Istanbul’s night life) of its transsexuals.”

Turkish police spokesman Ismail Caliskan rejected the accusations that the police breach human rights.

“The police have always been a target of such accusations … (human rights groups and transsexuals) always say ‘the police beat us’. These claims are not true,” he told Reuters.

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A Trans Man’s Transsexuality 101, Part 2

Posted by TransMan on April 10, 2008

Part Two

“transmen, like men as a whole, represent a spectrum of gender expressions. I know transmale drag queens.” – Leslie Feinberg

How did we get here and where do we go from here?

If the definition of Transsexuality is “the experience of being born within the reproductive category that is more or less opposite of what one identifies as”, and as such is pretty simple, then Transsexual experience is far from simple. It is as individual as the people living it. No two people feel the same, live the same or view the world the same. Some experiences connected to the medical part of the experience may be largely similar, but what actually goes on inside is individual. The path we take to achieve wholeness and what wholeness is to us as trans people is also individual.

For some, especially among those who transitioned prior to DSM-IV, when contact with the GLBT community was frowned upon by the medical community, it is a straight line, from the initial contact with the medical community through to a complete surgery package to traditional straight lives in Suburbia with no looking back and no contact with f.i the GLBT community. They are straight guys living straight lives. They may have transitioned while retaining their jobs, or they may have quit their job and transitioned and then gone somewhere else for work. Some have even quit their job to transition and then applied for a job in the same place when the transitioning process was complete. Some times their bosses knew, and re-hired them as is, some times not. They may marry, they may not. Some find that transitioning has changed their sexual orientation, and they find themselves with yet another “coming out” process to go through – that of identifying as Gay, Lesbian or Bisexual.

Others however arrived at their decision to transition after having lived, perhaps many years, within the GLBT community, identifying as Gays, Lesbians or Bisexuals. For many of those, this initial contact with the GLBT community has delayed their decision to transition. For yet others it might have speeded up the process of arriving at a decision to transition, especially during the last 10-15 years, when openness, tolerance and acceptance within the GLB community has increased.

There is no single way to go, nor is there any single destination for the Transsexual in terms of where they “end up” after transitioning successfully.

So, what are the nuts and bolts of transitioning?

While there is a specific “schedule” for the parts and pieces that the Medical community requires or at least see as pertinent to transitioning, the way we go about it and the time it takes for us to get where we are going is also individual.

The simple schematics looks like this:

For the trans man: Legally female -> hormones ->real life test (RLT) ->mastectomy with chest reconstruction -> hysterectomy -> genital correction surgery -> legally male.

Depending on the MD one contacts RLT may precede hormones instead of hormones preceding the RLT. Depending on personal preferences the last stage surgery may be excluded.

For the trans Woman: Legally male -> androgen suppressants and hormones -> real life test (RLT) -> chest surgery (breast augmentation) -> castration -> genital correction surgery ->legally female.

Again RLT may switch places with the hormones.

Many trans men use the initial testosterone boost to build muscle mass and speed along the redistribution of body fat so they appear more masculine faster.

Dependent on how much the hormones will cause the breast tissue to grow, one may opt not to have any breast augmentation. Some trans women may also include electrolytic epilation to remove facial and body hair as well as hair implants to restore a full head of hair. Many trans women also choose to see a voice coach to learn how to speak in a female tone of voice.

Part of the Transsexual experience for many is the fact that we have often been “read”, i.e people around us have been aware that we are Transsexual without necessarily knowing what it is they have “read”. Many Transsexuals give off a distinctly masculine/feminine energy that the environment pick up on and get confused by – they see someone they deem to be female/male, but who gives off masculine/feminine signals. “Being read” is a potentially very dangerous situation, and many Transsexuals have been beaten, raped and killed because of this. This is a major reason many Transsexuals endeavor to either exaggerate the traits “typical” for their reproductive category or  to display the traits typical for their gender to a point where they pass as their gender without any hormones or surgery. With both types fear of detection is the most overshadowing emotion.

If you think you have “read someone as being Transsexual” do not disclose this to them or to others – not to them, because it will only scare them witless even if you are supportive, and not to others, because doing so may place the Transsexual in danger of social, mental and bodily harm.

Besides, you might put yourself in a troublesome situation if you are wrong and the person you point out as Transsexual is not 😀

While transgendered people have always been part of the GLB community, as Drag Queens and Drag Kings, many DRAGS and DRABS were actually Transsexuals who were only tolerated as entertainment on Saturday Nights. That they were only allowed to be themselves as entertainment doesn’t mean that they were not Transsexuals, it only means that the GLB community exploited their need to be themselves much the same way Blacks were only allowed to portray servants and musicians on film for the longest time. This and the insistence from the Lesbian Feminist community that they were either traitors to their gender (FTM) or sexual predators (MTF) is the worst case of discrimination and oppression.

Fortunately the attitudes among the general GLB community has changed in many places, especially in metropolitan areas. Unfortunately there are still die-hard transphobes on the loose that will not accept transgendered people as part of the GLBT community and in some places the rate of violence against trans people is evenly divided between the Straight community and the GLB community.

Creative Commons

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A Trans Man’s Transsexuality 101, Part 1

Posted by TransMan on April 9, 2008

Part One

“No wonder I’m all confused — one of my parents was a woman, the other was a man.” –Ashleigh Brilliant

This essay started out as a reaction to transphobic comments made in an on-line Community. I wanted to confront some of the comments made, and soon realized that in order to make my confrontation comprehensible, I would have to first clarify the issue of “What is Transgender/Transsexuality?” People don’t know what it is, so they base their opinion on misconceptions, misunderstandings and pure ignorance. This in turn leads them to express themselves in offensive, insulting and derogatory ways. I am a big believer in Education. If you educate people, they will be better people for it, and much hurt and pain can be avoided. There will of course always be people who refuse to be educated, but those are the minority.

For the purpose of this essay and to simplify writing it without a whole lot of “disclaimers”, one basic assumption has been made: That what is expressed here is the opinion of the author unless the author is specifically quoting another source than his own brain.

What is Transgender/Transsexuality? To arrive at that question we have to first look at, with an open mind, the question “What is Gender and what is Sex?”

The human creature is by science categorized into two reproductive categories – Male and Female – for our species to reproduce, without various technical assistance, it needs those two very limited physical categories. Those two categories are only meaningful in the context of reproduction. This is what we usually qualify as Sex. Male and Female.

Gender is the personal non-physical identification of each human being along a spectrum we have been taught to call Man <—> Woman. Some identify as men, others as women. Some identify as both, others as neither. Society in general expects us to identify as Man if our reproductive category is Male and Woman if our reproductive category is Female. Society expects Gender to coincide with Sex.

Human Society has also assigned specific traits, roles and behaviors to the categories Male and Female, and made those traits, roles and behaviors normative for Man <—> Woman. I.e if we are born within one of the two Sexes, we are expected to show traits, behaviors and assume the role that Society has determined is normative for that specific Sex.

However, this simplification of human experience and expression is exactly that, a simplification. It excludes any and all experiences and expressions of Gender that are not directly congruent with the reproductive categories.

In defense of this simplification it has to be said that Gender identity usually follows Sex identity so that Man=Male and Woman=Female. However, what is true for the majority is not true for all.

Society, with its narrow definition of Gender as normatively congruent with Sex has great difficulty in dealing with those of us who do not fit the simplification. This difficulty, while it should force Society to work on its problem and adapt to include the minority, creates a multitude of hardships for the minority. One of them is the idea that those who do not fit the simplification have somehow failed to conform with what Society considers normal because they are confused about their Gender identity. Another is that they are delusional and need psychiatric/psychological treatment to be cured from their delusion that they are born Men in Female bodies/Women in Male bodies. Transsexuality is still listed as a psychiatric disorder in the medical literature.

Nature or Nurture?

There has been a lot of debate about what determines our Gender-identity – Nature or Nurture. My own human experience tells me that Gender-identity is hard-wired into us. We are born with a Gender Identity. For most of us this Identity is then confirmed by our family and environment and crystallized further through the normative expectations of Human Society.

Still, this is not the case for all of us, and this is where Transgender comes in.

Some of us identify as Men, despite the fact that our reproductive category is Female, and some of us identify as Women, despite the fact that our reproductive category is Male.

Our identification may qualify anywhere within the spectrum Man <—> Woman and not all Transgendered people identify at the ultimate ends of the spectrum. Still others are born within the reproductive categories of both Sexes, they are Intersexed, and may also identify anywhere within the spectrum of Man <—> Woman or Neither/Both.

We may also feel more or less comfortable with the physical reality of our Sex. Some have no problems with being Men and Female at the same time or Women and Male at the same time. Others cannot live unless they are allowed to surgically correct the birth-defect of their Sex.

How is Gender identity hardwired into us?

What in the human organism is it that determines whether we are born Male/Men, Female/Women or Male/Women, Female/Men?

The simple answer is hormones.

All human fetuses are Female in appearance. Not until 6-7 weeks into pregnancy is the physical manifestation of Sex determined. At that time in human physical development, the fetus is flooded with the hormones that coincide with the chromosomal blue-print – Testosterone for XY and Estrogen for XX. This is the general Scientific expectation.

When, as happens at times, the hormone that is non-congruent with the blue-print is released, instead of one that is congruent with the chromosomal blue-print, the child ends up with variations in its reproductive category, so that it is born with an ambiguous Sex identification. The intensity (amount of hormone released) of the flooding, science suggests, is responsible for how strong the ambiguity is.

Because Science cannot determine exactly where Identity is situated in the human organism, and human experience tells us that we all have some sort of Gender Identity, it is plausible, also scientifically, to assume that this hormonal flooding is responsible also for the formation of Gender-identity, and that the amount of hormones released at the flooding determines where within the spectrum Man <—> Woman the child will identify.

This is what makes some of us Transsexual/Transgendered.

What is Transsexuality and how does it manifest in reality?

DSM-III (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Third Revision) distinguished between Primary or True Transsexuality and Secondary or Pseudo-Transsexuality. What separates those two categories from each other within DSM-III is whether the “Gender identity problem” surfaced prior to puberty or during/after puberty. However those categories were abandoned in DSM-IV because “1) such patients [true Transsexuals] were rarely encountered; 2) those who requested genital reconstructive surgery more commonly had adolescent histories of fetishistic cross-dressing or autogynephilic fantasies without cross-dressing; 3) some of the original true Transsexuals had falsified their histories to make their stories match the earliest theories about the disorder [to make sure they would get the treatment they needed].” I.e, the Medical Community realized that their classifications didn’t fit human experience. DSM-IV also changed the nomenclature and used “Gender Identity Disorder” to designate the diagnosis instead of “Transsexuality”.

The criteria for diagnosis set forth by DSM-IV can be found here.

Theoretically, prior to DSM-IV, one had to display all of those criteria and sub-criteria in order to be eligible for Gender Reassignment. With DSM-IV came a less restrictive and more allowing and individual interpretation of those criteria, as can be seen in the wording in § 2 “Either of the following must be present…”. It also became less important whether one had an early history of cross-identifying or not. The category Secondary/Pseudo Transsexuality disappeared. This category is however still of interest to this essay, so don’t throw it out.

Not all Transsexuals had any direct problems during childhood. For rather many the problems and the subsequent vocalization of Transsexuality or cross-identification didn’t appear until they encountered the physical changes typical for respective Sex. They may have appeared completely content with their Sex, while still displaying what Society would consider cross-identifying behavior, such as being tom-boys, dressing in boys clothes, playing with dolls and being uninterested in activities traditionally assigned to either Gender.

The frequency of occurrence of this “type of Transsexual” who openly claims that they didn’t experience any overt cross-identification seem to have increased over a period of the last 10-15 years. This has made me question why, if Gender-Identity is hardwired into us during our time as fetuses, some Transsexuals end up having no direct cross-identification during childhood and some do. I think the answer lies in how Society have changed its Gender-expectations. Gender-roles and what is expected of each Gender/Sex have changed. It is has become easier for parents to be tolerant of cross-identifying activities in their children, traditional Gender-roles are not forced on children as much as it used to be, thus Transsexual children does not have to confront the expectations. I simply think that what DSM-III categorized as Secondary Transsexuals were born into a more tolerant, allowing and less Gender-obsessed environment, which means that they were not presented with the impact of being a Gender-variant until puberty. This doesn’t in any way make them less Transsexual.

Many non-trans folk seem to think and feel that if one has ever engaged in activity considered typical of one’s genetic Sex, one cannot really be Transsexual. There is for instance the idea that trans men cannot really be trans men if they have had children or are planning to have children using their Female reproductive organs. This is inaccurate. Many, many Transsexuals try and some manage to somewhat conform to the Gender norms of non-trans Society and some are even very successful at it, to a point where not even those closest to them have any idea that they are at war with themselves. Some try to “cure” themselves by getting married, having children and generally exaggerate the normative Gender roles.

Another misconception about trans people is that they always feel unhappy about their genitalia and seek to have them corrected. This too is inaccurate. Especially among trans men. Many trans people accept that the surgical methods and out-come are less than satisfactory both aesthetically and functionally, and never have any surgery to alter their genitalia. Others simply see their reproductive organs as the reproductive organs of their Gender, even if those, from a stand point of science, would be classified as the reproductive organs of their genetic Sex, and never see the need to alter them.

So, what is Transsexuality? Transsexuality is the experience of being born within the reproductive category that is more or less opposite of what one identify as. A Transsexual man typically identifies as Male while having the reproductive organs of Female, and a Transsexual woman typically identifies as Female while having the reproductive organs of Male.

This categorization is important for the non-tans person to remember. Transsexuals are always identified by their Gender, never by their Genetic Sex.

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UK GLBT People Protected By Law – Christians Object

Posted by TransMan on October 15, 2007

The government across the Pond proposed a new law last week to criminalize hate speech directed at … gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender Britons. “ W e are now appalled by hatred and invective directed at people on the basis of their sexuality,” British Justice Secretary Jack Straw said.The Church of England
has denounced the law, suggesting it would permit homosexuals to sue the church if clergy condemned homosexuality as sinful.

“A homophobic hatred law would be used by those with an axe to grind against Christians to silence them,” Colin Hart, director of England’s Christian Institute, tells The Times. He adds it would not be the first time police interfered with free speech and religious liberty vis-à-vis sexual ethics. And police, it was announced, would be the final arbiters of who has “crossed the line” into this “atmosphere or climate” of hatred.

Isn’t i funny how so many Xians demand the right to bash, discriminate and hate GLBT people, but scream to Deep Hell as soon as someone call them on that shit…? Because that is what this is all about – the expression – and let’s be honest, a lot of Xians do bash, discriminate against and hate GLBT People.

Any anti-discrimination Law that proposes to protect GLBT, wouldn’t jail anyone for asserting that GLBT people are sinful – unless of course that assertion is made through abusive means – which is what such a law should be about.

The problem with Xians and their beliefs about GLBT People has never been the belief in itself, but the way this belief has been expressed. I don’t care if Xians hate me for being a transman, but I do care if their hatred come my way in the form of abuse and violence, verbal or physical. THAT is what this law is being made to protect from.

Not someone’s beliefs.

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In the News: Dallas Police Department breaks transgender barrier

Posted by TransMan on October 13, 2007

Nineteen years ago, Mike Smith attended police academy alongside Joe Grabowski.

Today, as a sergeant for the Dallas Police Department, Smith supervises Officer Deborah Grabowski.

But Joe and Deborah aren’t husband and wife, brother and sister, or father and daughter.

Deborah Grabowski, 42, is the department’s first known transgender officer, having undergone sexual reassignment surgery in May.

But Smith said that for him and others who work with Grabowski out of a substation at Love Field, little has changed.

“To me, she’s the same person as she was 19 years ago,” Smith said. “We get along the same way. I treat her just like any other police officer. “

Grabowski said she’s thankful for that.

She’s witnessed horror stories from around the country involving transgender people being fired and the like.

Although Dallas has an ordinance, passed in 2002, prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity, Grabowski says she was fearful when she came out. But with the support of the city, she began living as a woman full time in 2006.

Grabowski, an 18-year veteran of the force, sat down with Dallas Voice recently to talk more about her experience. More…

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How did the T get in GLBT?

Posted by TransMan on October 13, 2007

“In simpler times we were all gay. But then the word “gay” started to mean “gay men” more than women, so we switched to the more inclusive “gay and lesbian.” Bisexuals, who were only part-time gays, insisted that we add them too, so we did (not without some protest), and by the early 1990s we were the lesbian, gay and bisexual, or LGB community. Sometime in the late ’90s, a few gay rights groups and activists started using a new acronym, LGBT — adding T for transgender/transsexual. And that’s when today’s trouble started.”[…]”I have a sense that over the past decade the trans revolution was imposed on the gay community from outside, or at least above, and thus it never stuck with a large number of gays who weren’t running national organizations, weren’t activists, or weren’t living in liberal gay enclaves like San Francisco and New York. Sure, many of the rest of us accepted de facto that transgendered people were members of the community, but only because our leaders kept telling us it was so. A lot of gays have been scratching their heads for 10 years trying to figure out what they have in common with transsexuals, or at the very least why transgendered people qualify as our siblings rather than our cousins. It’s a fair question, but one we know we dare not ask.”[…] “An old activist friend even told me that my words were prejudiced, wrong and embarrassingly uninformed…”

Yes, this guy is embarrassingly uninformed.

The quick answer to his question “How did the T get in GLBT?” is that the T has always been there, always. Mr Aravosis would do himself a great favor by reading up on GLBT history before and after Stonewall. I can recommend “Stone Butch Blues” by Leslie Feinberg, a piece of history, that Mr Aravosis seems to forget ever happened.

Then there’s the actual Stonewall Riots… Mr Aravosis used Wikipedia to have a look at all of this – so let’s return the favor:

“The Stonewall riots were a series of violent conflicts between New York City police officers and groups of gay and transgender people that began during the early morning of June 28, 1969, and lasted several days. Also called the Stonewall Rebellion or simply Stonewall, the clash was a watershed for the worldwide gay rights movement, as gay and transgender people had never before acted together in such large numbers to forcibly resist police.”[…]Details about how the riot started vary from story to story. According to one account, a transgender woman named Sylvia Rivera threw a bottle at a police officer after being prodded by his nightstick (Duberman). Another account states that a lesbian, being brought to a patrol car through the crowd put up a struggle that encouraged the crowd to do the same (D’Emilio 232). Whatever the case may be, mêlée broke out across the crowd—which quickly overtook the police. Stunned, the police retreated into the bar. Heterosexual folk singer Dave van Ronk, who was walking through the area, was grabbed by the police, pulled into the bar, and beaten. The crowd’s attacks were unrelenting. Some tried to light the bar on fire. Others used a parking meter as a battering ram to force the police officers out. Word quickly spread of the riot and many residents, as well as patrons of nearby bars, rushed to the scene.

Throughout the night the police singled out many transgender people and gender nonconformists, including butch women and effeminate men, among others, often beating them. On the first night alone 13 people were arrested and four police officers, as well as an undetermined number of protesters, were injured. It is known, however, that at least two rioters were severely beaten by the police (Duberman 201-202). Bottles and stones were thrown by protesters who chanted “Gay Power!” The crowd, estimated at over 2000, fought with over 400 police officers. From Wikipedia

Mr John Aravosis, by questioning the T in GLBT, is denying a large part of GLBT history, minimizing the pain suffered by transgendered people along side gay people, the courage shown in fighting the police, and the injustice of what was put to them.

When American GLBT Leaders ask that Transgendered people be included in the ENDA, they are honoring the common history and cause of Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals and Transgendered people – that you cannot understand that, agree with that (or at least keep your ignorant mouth shut) is just sad.

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Don’t ask me WHAT I am, ask me WHO I am.

Posted by TransMan on October 13, 2007



“Eddie, she said, “not all people are who they seem to be, and even fewer seem to be who they are, so all we can do, at any given time, is be true to ourselves, whatever the cost, because no-one else is going to do it for us.”
From “A No-Man’s Land”


Trans gender Life, regardless of where on the scale between male and female or out-side the scale we currently reside is a constant struggle for that trueness to ourselves. That is the Ultimate Core of all Trans gendered People – a desire to be exactly who we are at any given moment. For most of us the realization of that desire comes at a high cost, physically, emotionally, spiritually and socially, a cost that either leaves us broke or transformed.

Once the desire has been recognized, acknowledged and embraced, there is no way back – we either go forward or we perish. Most non-transgendered people don’t get this. That is, I think, the main reason so many non-transgendered people allow themselves to question our self-determination – they think they can shame us into “the closet”.

The fact is that there never really was any closet for any of us – with each of us there has always been something that didn’t fit the traditional gender molds. Whether it was our choice in toys and games as children or our mannerisms, vocabulary, or attitudes as teens and adults, something was always slightly “off”, and people around us could always pick up on that “off” and point to it with a question: “WHAT are you?”.

It never seemed to register with them, that a human being can never be a “What”. A “What” is a thing, an inanimate object that doesn’t feel, doesn’t hear, doesn’t see, and thus cannot BE or desire to BE.

By questioning our self-expression and reducing us to a thing, people around us robbed us of our right to an identity independent of their definitions, and demanded that we define ourselves as they defined us. When we give them OUR definitions, they disregard WHO we are and demand that we define WHAT we are.

The fact of the matter is that defining gender is irrelevant to defining a person – it might be relevant if you are breeding dogs or raising orchids. Except for the individual, gender is of no consequence whatsoever.

So, don’t ask me WHAT I am, ask me WHO I am.

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