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Monday, October 31, 2005

Have a great SAMHAIN every one :)

Tonight is Samhain (Pronounced 'Sowen'), named after the Aryan lord of death 'Samana'.
This is the summers end and the beginning of the celtic new year. It is a time to honour death and to celebrate rebirth and the cycle of life.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

B.C. race a steamy drama

National Post
Brian Hutchinson
National Post
Saturday, October 29, 2005

'Queen of Hearts' spices up politics in Vancouver

VANCOUVER - Larry? Larry couldn't stand it anymore. He was airlifted to Ottawa, where he's now Senator Campbell. Trying to win his old job as Vancouver mayor is Jim, a draft-dodging, opera-loving descendant of Oklahoma sharecroppers.

Jim Green's chief opponent is Sam. That's Sam Sullivan, a Cantonese-speaking quadriplegic and conservative-minded city councillor who has helped junkies score crack and heroin, sometimes driving them around the needle-infested Downtown Eastside and letting them fix inside his van. Sam wants to be mayor, too.

Then there is Jamie Lee Hamilton, a former Miss Gay Vancouver. She's a towering aboriginal transsexual and part-time prostitute. She's running for a seat on city council. She calls herself the Queen of Hearts.

The synopsis for some prime- time TV soaper? Hardly. This is real-life municipal politics, Vancouver style. It's far too gritty --and sticky -- for the small screen.

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The Whole articule is about two pages long so I'm not going to post the whole thing, It is worth a read.... And people say politics is dull :)

PM gives Beyer's bill the chop

Stuff.co.nz
30 October 2005
By HELEN BAIN

Prime Minister Helen Clark has told transsexual MP Georgina Beyer that her bill to protect transgender people from discrimination is "history", and Beyer blames a "climate of intolerance" for its demise.

Beyer's bill, the Human Rights (Gender Identity) Amendment Bill, was drawn late last year in the ballot that decides which private members' bills will be considered.

But its journey through the parliamentary process was delayed until after the election because the government got campaign jitters about its subject.

Now, Beyer says, Clark and Deputy Prime Minister Michael Cullen have said her bill won't be revived.

The bill, like all legislation left on the table when the last parliament was dissolved, has lapsed, and would need to be included in a carry-over motion to be debated in the new parliament.

Beyer said her bill was the victim of a growing climate of intolerance in parliament and society.

"I feel quite disappointed that I have had to capitulate. The political landscape has changed... They want to appease the more conservative elements that have come to the fore in recent years. It is quite alarming when you see this growing tide."

Progressive legislation in previous terms, such as the Civil Union Act and legalisation of prostitution, had fanned discontent among conservative voters, and the current social climate would not accept her bill, Beyer said.

"I want to see this issue dealt with sensibly, without the accumulated backlash - it is not a safe environment for the transgender community if we have this debate now."

Beyer said the appointment of National MP Wayne Mapp as spokesman for eradication of political correctness showed that it would now be "open slather" in attacking minority rights.

National would have "jumped on (the bill) with very emotive and divisive tactics," Beyer said. Even if Labour had supported the bill, it is unlikely that the parties supporting the government, NZ First and United Future, would back it.

NZ First leader Winston Peters said before the election that the bill would result in cross-dressing teachers in New Zealand classrooms.

"We realise that as a party we are going to have to knuckle down and maintain stability, rather than get caught in their venom," Beyer said.

Beyer said the bill would have protected a minority which was vulnerable to discrimination and had no protection in the law.

"Who would have thought that to protect such a basic human right would be such a contentious issue?"

Beyer was determined to continue to fight for rights of transgender people. "It will probably appear that I have lost this battle but the war is not over yet."

She hoped the issue would be addressed through a Human Rights Commission proposal currently before the government.

Beyer has spoken to transgender Auckland fashion designer and performer Linda Le Pou, also known as Lindah E, who was prevented from presenting an award at the Pasifika Music Awards, and was encouraged that Le Pou might take a "test case" in the fight against discrimination.

Le Pou is in mediation with the Human Rights Commission over the matter.

Mapp said the gender identity bill was a classic case of political correctness and he was pleased it would not proceed.

"It is taking things to a ridiculous extent. I'm not suggesting open slather on discrimination, but why do we need a special law for transgender people?

"It's a choice issue - that's a choice she made."

New Zealand did not need law for "that sort of thing" because laws should uphold the rights of mainstream society, not be "captured by a minority".

Inside The Church Of Hate

Watch the Skynews Report Here

Fred Phelps peddles his hate from a church in Kansas. His followers picket the funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq - because he says they died defending a "fag country". Should he be free to preach his poison? A 12-minute video report - some of it secretly filmed - from UK's Sky News channel.

--------------------------
Okay, These people have some serious issues. Scary, scary people.

Beyer’s Gender Identity Bill Dumped

GayNZ.com

MP Georgina Beyer’s Human Rights (Gender Identity) Bill has been dumped from parliamentary consideration, and Prime Minister Helen Clark has said it will not be revived. Beyer blames the Bill’s demise on “a growing climate of intolerance in parliament and society.”

Beyer says the Bill would have protected a minority which is vulnerable to discrimination and currently has no protection under law.

Progress on the Bill through parliament was initially delayed until after the elction because of the sensitive subject matter and right-wing criticism. NZ First leader Winston Peters cited it during the campaign, saying it would result in cross-dressing teachers in New Zealand classrooms. Newly appointed National Party spokesman for the eradication of political correctness Wayne Mapp says the Gender Identity Bill was a classic case of political correctness and he is pleased it will not proceed, as New Zealand does not need a law for “that sort of thing”.

Beyer says she is determined to continue to fight for the rights of transgender people, saying “it will appear that I have lost this battle but the war is not over yet.”

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Slap Down :)

While looking at a Indy Forum about a fight between the Respect Coalition and OutRage I spotted this:

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The Bible condemns homosexuality

03.10.2005 09:38

I would like to remind people that the Bible totally condemns homosexuality. Not only does it call it an abomination in Leviticus, but God also destroyed two cities for having widespread practice of homosexuality too. The religon of Islam also strongly condemns it too. Where does homosexuality come from? It comes from the Devil! See the link below.

http://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/5003/5003_01.asp

Religous expert

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Hmmm.. I thought. Here we go, flame wars and trolls. So much for the power of discussion, it's muck slinging time.
And then a shining light appeared in the thread, a post so brilliant I had to pass it on. There is nothing more wonderful than watching the bigots being beaten at there own game with out the aid of muck slinging or name calling. I give you ladies and gentlemen, the wonder that is Zoe. Enjoy :)

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religious expert - lost in translation...?

03.10.2005 11:29

quick quote from john s dixon:

Sodom and Gomorrah, which is a classically held Scripture used most frequently to "prove" how God hates homosexuality. It is a passage that I contend is most often misunderstood. But I will let the Bible interpret itself. It is written in Ezekiel 16:49,50:

"Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good."

The question I know you will ask is, "What is this about abomination?" Indeed, what is it? Let's look at the account of Sodom again:

The word rendered here as "abomination" comes from "tow'ebah" (in Strong's, it's # 8441), and is said in Strong's to mean "idolatry" or "idolaters". In the Hebrew it is very clear that it does not mean "homosexuality".

In Luke 10:3-12, Jesus talks to his disciples about what to do if they are not greeted with hospitality, and tells what the consequence will be for such towns. In verse 12, Christ says, "But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable [merciful] in that day for Sodom, than for that city." He said this after a full missive on inhospitality, so we must take verse 12 in that context.

You may also look particularly at Genesis 19:4-5, which reads:

But before they [the men in the house and the angels] lay down [to sleep], the men [Strong's #582, Hebrew word 'enowsh] of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both young and old, all the people from every quarter:

"And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? Bring them out unto us, that we may know [Strong's # 3045, Hebrew yada] them."

The Hebrew word "'enowsh" is most accurately translated as mortals, and includes all genders and all ages. Even in the context provided in the story, it is clear in the Hebrew that it is the majority of the town population, male and female, that is represented here.

The Hebrew word "yada" has no sexual context, and means to become acquainted with socially. By no means is yada translated elsewhere with a sexual context, either. If sexual interaction were intended, the word "shakab" (Strong's # 7901) would be used instead, which means to know sexually. It is fascinating to note on the side that the NIV mistranslates yada here as "we want to have sex with them".

That said, the notion that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed for homosexuality does not hold up. The Hebrew is clear, and nowhere is homosexuality made an issue.

Of very interesting note is that historically it is the Roman Catholic Church that is guilty of the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah. In the Middle Ages, and even after, the Church was always full of riches, with gold and rich foods, and yet allowed thousands upon thousands of its own subjects to starve and be subjected to slavery as paupers in the papal reign. To escape being exposed for the hypocrite it was, the Roman Catholic Church very likely chose to mistranslate and misconstrue the truth of the story of Sodom and Gomorrah to escape the wrath of the people. What better scapegoats than its own abundance of homosexual priests? By pinning Sodom and Gomorrah on this population, the Roman Catholic Church blackmailed its own priesthood into silence, threatening excommunication if anyone spoke against her.

oh, and re: leviticus, here's a few questions..

When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God's Laws and how to follow them.

1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighbouring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness - Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offence.

4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odour for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is, my neighbours. They claim the odour is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

5. I have a neighbour who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination - Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Are there 'degrees' of abomination?

7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?

8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev 19:27. How should they die?

9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? (Lev.24:10-16). Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev.20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I am confident you can help.

Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.
x
zoe
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In the words of 'Marco Polo':
"BOOMSHANKA! INTERCEPTION"

GLBT DISCRIMINATION REPORT - MAINE

CPHV : Center for the Prevention of Hate Violence

In 2005, CPHV began an investigation of the extent and impact of anti-GLBT discrimination. By conducting confidential interviews across the state, CPHV was able to collect disturbing evidence that Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender individuals experience discrimination in employment, public accommodation, education, housing and credit.

Download a copy of
Discrimination against Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender individuals in Maine

----------------------------------------
You need Acrobat to read this. I warn you now, some people will find this to be an upsetting read.

And now for something completely different..

The first trailer is out for Transamerica. You need Quick Time 7 to view it.

And lastly The Rocky Horror Picture Show in 30 seconds, re-enacted by bunnies!

Friday, October 28, 2005

Ain't I a woman?

BayAreaReporter
by Gwendolyn Ann Smith

While issues of discrimination, hatred, and prejudice tend to be universal, there are some things that a transgender person deals with on a regular basis that few non-transgender people are ever likely to face. One example that often frustrates yours truly is some of the questions I've been asked:

"Have you had 'the surgery?"

"What was your name ... before?"

"Are those your real breasts?"

"Which bathroom do you use?"

"What do your genitals look like?"

It's not so much the questions themselves that annoy, it's that someone felt these were appropriate questions to ask – and that they have a right to an answer. I believe I know why they might think this, too: it's part of them trying to figure out – by their own definitions – just what gender I am.

You see, these questions all boil down to one simple question, and one that many transgender people have heard, perhaps more than any of the above:

"Are you a man or a woman?"

In return, I might ask a simple question in response, particularly if I feel the person asking the question might be open to learning a thing or two. It's rare, but it happens.

"What is your definition of 'man' and 'woman'?"

For myself, I find it a deceptively difficult question. I can't so easily quantify it into a set of raw components, I cannot just say, "the doctor just removes your puppy dog tail, and you take sugar and spice on a daily basis."

I'll gladly admit that I did not grow up like many other women. I have a history that some would regard as incongruent with the gender I inhabit today. As such, I have an adjective – transgender – that sits in front of the word woman. It's a modifier for the modified, I suppose, but it does not diminish the value or the importance of the word "woman" in my life. Perhaps it even makes it stronger, given that I've had to work a lot harder at it than many other women out there in the world.

I should add that it's not something I dreamed up one slow weekend over tea, of course. This is something I knew of myself since I was 3 years old. It's something I spent a lot of energy in my teen years trying to deny – but I digress.

You see, when I try to think of those elements that everyone labels as feminine or whatnot, I find that there are also plenty of women who bend, even outright break, these notions. I've also known many men who also do a damned fine job of breaking all the usual descriptions of "man."

I know it's not biology alone. The number of folks I've known with chromosomes that don't fit what my high school textbooks said seems to toss that right out the window. Never minding, of course, that these sex chromosomes are what most will try to tell me defines my gender.

It's also not one's body, at least not in a specific sense. I've known too many women with penises and men with vaginas to settle for that definition. Likewise, this assumes that if, say, a man loses his genitals in an accident of some nature, he does not become a woman simply because he lacks his meat and two veggies.

It's certainly not based on the ability to procreate. I mean, people aren't considered non-gendered before puberty, nor is gender removed at menopause. Infertility has never determined gender for a non-transgender person, so why would it define me?

Hormones? These are too slippery, as it's common for human beings to have both testosterone (the hormone usually attributed to men) and estrogen (strong enough for a man, but made for a woman). Some just have more of one than the other – and all of those can be manipulated.

I sure hope it isn't merely one's social role, because even though we're years removed from the era of Donna Reed and Ozzie Nelson, these remain so much a part of the cultural landscape. I'm neither of them, nor would I want to be.

I know what society has told me about being a woman: it says I should be as neurotic about my appearance as Cathy Guisewite's eponymous character in a swimsuit. Ack!

In the workplace, I'm told that – as a woman – my contributions are worth less than that of a man, and that no amount of schooling or experience will keep me from being second-guessed.

Indeed, both in and out of the workplace, my desire should be secondary to the wishes of others, and I should not expect my needs to be fulfilled unless my needs involve meeting another's' desires: I should be servile, a servant.

I reject these antiquated views of what a woman is – and not simply because I'm a transgender woman. I would hope that many others would regardless of gender.

So how does one define those two genders? It's all nearly impossible to define, without heading into words like "spirit." It seems an innate sense of self, an essence. It's something that one can only feel for themselves, and no amount of questions about bathrooms, genital configuration, or "old names" can change that.

I can only tell you I am a woman, because that is how I see myself – it is what I am. Besides, I've asked myself far more question than anyone else, over many years – I know my truth, and that, ultimately, is all that matters.

Gwen Smith is no Sojourner Truth, Carole King, or Peggy Lee, but she is a woman, W-O-M-A-N. You can find her online at http://www.gwensmith.com.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Get it Out

ASU Web Devil

Groups like Exodus International say they can 'save' people from homosexuality, but at what mental cost? SPM talks with Valley residents who have undergone reparative therapy.
by Grayson Steinberg published on Thursday, October 27, 2005

Jacie* lounges comfortably on a cream-colored leather chair just weeks before she will have the sexual reassignment surgery necessary for her to become a woman.

The political science and history sophomore pushes back her dark, red-highlighted hair as she recalls how a fundamentalist Christian counselor caused her a painful bout of depression and self-doubt over her status as a male-to-female transsexual.

"Doctors aren't supposed to fuck with your head and play games," Jacie says. "That's nowhere in the Hippocratic oath."

Her feminine voice rises in volume as she describes the mental scars the therapy left behind.

Jacie was sent to the counselor after several secular therapists diagnosed her as a transsexual. Biologically, Jacie was born as a man, but psychologically considers herself a straight woman. She has endured a long process to become female, including: taking estrogen, regularly consulting psychologists on her mental state and ultimately, going under the knife for surgery that includes a trachea shave, the reduction of the Adam's apple, and an orchiectomy, or removal of the testicles.

But her parents refused to accept her chosen gender identity. Jacie says the Christian counselor quoted Bible passages to convince her she was gay because she dated and slept with other men. Jacie explained her identity was female, but the counselor argued as long as she was biologically male, she was a homosexual who was going to hell.

Jacie says the counselor twisted her words to suit his own agenda, accusing her of being a transvestite when she said was sexually aroused after hugging an attractive guy while dressed as a woman.

"It [was] really like being cross-examined by a lawyer," she says.

The therapist also tried to blame her parents for her gender orientation, Jacie adds, saying her father neglected her by not being home enough and her mother pampered her by not allowing her to play football or ride roller coasters. Eventually, the man told her parents Jacie refused to accept the possibility of becoming heterosexual and could not be cured until she admitted she was gay."
He also made it a lot harder for my parents to accept me, because he didn't tell them I was transsexual," Jacie says.

Psychological damage

Jacie's counselor employed a form of treatment known as reparative therapy, which seeks to change one's sexual orientation.

Dr. Jack Drescher, the chair of the American Psychiatric Association's Committee on Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Issues, says reparative therapy sets the stage for "patient blaming" when treatment fails, especially when subjects hail from deeply religious backgrounds. Therapists using this treatment tell patients their ability to change their sexual orientation depends greatly on the power of faith. Those who don't become heterosexual, which Drescher says represents the majority, often end up questioning whether their conviction was compelling enough.

Patients can become depressed, anxious, even suicidal, he adds. They find their ability to form relationships with other gay people is seriously restricted. Patients refuse to accept their own homosexuality and are paralyzed by a barrage of homosexual stereotypes and ingrained feelings of prejudice against gay people.

While some positive consequences of therapy are reported anecdotally for certain young gay men and women who see reparative therapy as an escape from the gay bar scene, Drescher says, there is little concrete research on the subject.

One report, "Can Sexual Orientation Change?" conducted in 2003 by Dr. Robert L. Spitzer, who led the campaign to remove homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 1973, found 200 individuals who participated in forms of reparative therapy reported substantial shifts toward heterosexuality in 10 different measures, including attraction to members of the opposite sex and pleasure from heterosexual sex.

Spitzer says he sought to determine whether people changed their sexual orientation at all, not how often this occurred. But since it was so difficult just to find 200 people who had changed for the study, the likelihood of altering sexual orientation is probably rare, he says.

"It's hard to change anything that's basic to a person's personality," Spitzer adds.

100 percent different

The last decade has shown Joe Schneider, a 35-year-old elementary school teacher in Goodyear, that change is possible. For many years, he says he was gay, but is now happily married and heterosexual.

"I'm a 100 percent different person today," he says.

After having casual gay sex, using cocaine and methamphetamines, and regularly hanging out in gay bars all through college, he says he could no longer reconcile his behavior with his Christian beliefs, which told him homosexuality was wrong.

Schneider broke all connections to the gay scene but still found himself depressed, inadequate and unable to befriend any straight men.

Schneider, a born-again Christian, found solace in the form of a local support group run by Exodus International, a non-profit Christian organization offering "freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus Christ," according to its Web site.

Exodus taught him that all men are created heterosexual, but certain experiences, such as sexual abuse, or as it was in his case, a neglectful father, make it difficult for men to form healthy relationships with other males, he says. Exodus teaches that gay men view sex as a way of finding the love and acceptance they craved from their fathers but never received as young children.

In his support group, Schneider says he discussed his low self-esteem and desire for affirmation with about 20 other men. They talked about their own personal struggles to eliminate homosexual thoughts and feelings, interrupted by incidents like watching gay pornography or cruising at a gay bar. They bowled together and went to the movies together, and Schneider was also encouraged to form friendships with men in Bible study groups at other churches.

Comparing his struggle to dealing with an addictive disorder like alcoholism, Schneider says it took about three or four years to transform his identity. At one point, he relapsed, he says, having sex and moving in with another member of the group.

"I could no longer be part of the group because I was making no effort to change," he says.

But Schneider says he felt guilty about becoming sexually intimate with another man and eventually returned to the group. He says he eradicated all sexual attraction to other males and later began dating women, one of whom became his wife.

He has also begun operating a non-profit ministry based on what he learned from Exodus, offering advice to those battling the contradiction between homosexual feelings and religious beliefs.

"I don't want anyone to have to go through the pain I went through," he says.

Scott Davis, director of Exodus Youth, says his organization provides support for anyone yearning to escape from the gay lifestyle. Exodus tries to empower young people through faith, but they don't always succeed. They may lack sufficiently strong faith, lack support from friends and family or be poorly motivated, Davis says.

But he adds, "We don't believe there's anyone who inherently can't change."

Davis says some people report continued depression and anxiety after therapy, but the numbers aren't any worse than those any other psychological organization might report. He does not provide any statistics to support this assertion.

But Drescher says he feels that since there's no guarantee of successful treatment, therapists must distinguish those who have the best chance of altering their sexual orientations from those who don't.

"Would you offer the treatment to all [patients] knowing not everyone would improve?" he asks.

Jacie stopped seeing the Christian counselor after four or five sessions, but says the damage was done. She says she would read her Bible at three in the morning just to find verses that could refute what the therapist had told her.

She says it was devastating to hear a Biblical scholar with a psychology degree condemning her to hell.

"It makes you feel horrible," Jacie says. "You've been going to church all your life and God loves everybody except you."

'Don't play God'

Reparative therapy's power to inflict feelings of guilt and depression on those who seek it makes it unscientific and unnecessarily harmful, says Amy Kobeta, director of public affairs at the Arizona Human Rights Fund, a gay rights organization

Reparative therapy organizations function under the belief homosexuality is a mental disorder, which major psychological organizations, like the American Psychological Association, have shown is false, she says.

Rather than trying to conform to preconceived notions of others, gay men and women unhappy with their sexuality should seek licensed psychological therapy that helps them discover their true identities, she says.

Jacie says the first therapist she ever visited to combat her struggle with her gender orientation was a Southern Baptist counselor in his seventies who diagnosed her as a transsexual after only three meetings. She adds he represents a faction of religious therapists genuinely interested in counseling people like herself.

"There's a whole lot of [reparative therapists] out there that are just advancing their own agenda," Jacie says.

Mike Haley, the director of the gender issues department at Focus on the Family, an organization aimed at upholding traditional family values, says it is unfair for gay-rights organizations citing reparative therapy's harmful effects to restrict its availability when it has helped thousands of people, like himself, "[walk] away from homosexuality." People should have the option to seek therapy that will help them understand and, if necessary, eliminate homosexual feelings, especially for Christians who realize their behavior violates God's will, Haley says.

He cites a verse from 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 in the New International Version of the Bible, which was also referenced by Schneider, to highlight how homosexuals can and have changed their sexual orientation. It states, "Do you know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral ...nor homosexual offenders...will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you just justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the power of our God."

Though the Bible states explicitly that homosexuality is wrong, he says, some churches too often condemn homosexuals and refuse to offer counseling or even allow gays and lesbians to participate in prayer services

Instead, churches should reserve judgment, he adds.

"Introduce them to Jesus rather than push them away from him," Haley says.

When Jacie attended her old church after her final meeting with the fundamentalist counselor, she received only judgmental stares from attendees who had been informed by her parents what had occurred, she says.

Jacie now attends the United Church of Christ, which has helped her examine scientific evidence within parts of the brain indicating a genetic basis for homosexuality and transsexuality, and realize she has no choice in being who she is, Jacie says.

"They know that, basically, most people would love to be normal," she says.

The Rev. Phil Reller, of Tempe's First Congregational Church, goes further by saying it is very arrogant of the reparative therapy movement to presume they can repair a genetic condition because people living with it are somehow flawed. The First Congregational Church is a member of the United Church of Christ, which openly accepts gay and lesbian followers, according to the church's national Web site.

"To be a person that further lays oppression and judgment on someone based on their own belief system or their own interpretation of the scripture seems just brutal to me," Reller says.

Instead of further enhancing guilty feelings over one's homosexuality, Reller says it is his Christian responsibility to provide counseling that helps lead one to healing and self-acceptance.

"Don't play God," he adds. "If [a] person has a genetic predisposition to gayness...are we to say that God's grace is somehow not full, that they have to change?"

Moving past the shame

Jacie says that she no longer feels nearly as guilty she did initially after her sessions with the Christian counselor.

But recently, after scheduling her trachea shave and orchiectomy, Jacie says she wondered again whether she would burn in hell for her actions.

"It's [the counselor's] farewell gift to me," she says. "The question of whether I'm going to hell."

She adds that she was so angry her parents forced her to see the counselor that she would not speak with them for about four months afterward, refusing to answer their phone calls. Now, though, they are on good terms and have largely accepted her transsexuality.

Jacie says she has no qualms about being honest with her experiences and is hoping her story will stop other parents from traumatizing their own children.

"If I don't do it, I'm as bad as the people putting them through it," she says. "If you know someone's gonna start a fire and you don't tell anyone about it, you're as responsible as the one starting the fire."

Reach the reporter at grayson.steinberg@asu.edu.

*Editor's note: Name has been changed in order to protect the privacy of the source. Jacie is the name she will adopt after her gender reassignment surgery is complete.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Transsexual Fights For Women’s Prison

Rainbownetwork.com

A transsexual who had a sex-change operation 22 years ago is fighting for the right to go to a women's prison.

Denise Martin could be sent to prison after refusing to pay a fine over a breach of the peace offence and might be sent to the all-male top-security Maghaberry jail outside Belfast, according to the Guardian.

“It's a matter of principle,” she told the paper.

“At my first hearing in Larne last month the court referred to me as ‘Mr Martin’ or ‘he’, because on my birth certificate I'm still Douglas Martin. But as you can see by looking at me, I haven't been Douglas for over 20 years.

“On my British passport it states that I'm Denise, and that's who I have been for all these years. But if the next court appearance in Ballymena treats me like a man, then I'm in danger of going to an all-male prison.

“I have instructed my solicitor to fight this all the way to the European Court of Human Rights. I didn't go through years of psychiatric counselling, a painful operation and the entire trauma through my life to let the courts deny who I am today.

“I don't care if they fine me £30 or £3,000, I won't pay and I won't rest until they recognise me as Denise.”

Martin said that she was also fighting her case for her partner, as the pair want to get married next year.

“The law, or at least the courts, still sees me as a man and I don't want my partner being branded as someone who has married a man,” she told the Guardian.

“He met me as a fully functioning woman, not as Douglas but as Denise. This fight is as important for him as it is for me.”

Monday, October 24, 2005

Transsexuals Call for Equal Treatment

The Korea Times
By Chung Ah-young
Staff Reporter

A 54-year-old who underwent a transsexual operation in 1992 looks no different than any other middle-aged man.

However, he has had difficulties at work and in his marriage because he is still a woman on the family register.

His application to change his registered gender from female to male was turned down by the court in 2003.

Lower courts dismissed the suit, saying that a masculine appearance does not determine a persons gender.

Recently, three transsexuals have brought their cases to the Supreme Court in their desperate bid to change their officially registered genders.

The court said that earlier next year, it will make a ruling, which will be a precedent for the top courts decision on transsexuals.

In 2002, a court permitted Harisu, a celebrity transsexual, to change her officially registered gender from male to female after having a sex-change operation.

A total of 81 transsexuals applied for changes to their gender registration between 2000 and 2004.

Among them, 41 transsexuals have been permitted to change their recorded gender.

Currently, there are an estimated 4,000 to 10,000 people in Korea with gender identity disorder, who believe they were born the wrong sex.

However, Han Chae-yoon, head of the Korean Sexual Minority Culture and Rights Center (KSCRC), said that in Korea, their official genders, even after surgery, depend on judges decisions because of the lack of legal ground.

"Being determined a man or a woman in society can determine an individuals happiness over her or his entire life," Han told The Korea Times.

"It is nonsense for judges to decide ones gender at their own mercy in accordance with their tastes and values because of the absence of a relevant law," she added.

Lee Moo-sang, professor at the college of medicine at Yonsei University, said at a forum on transsexuals that people have been able to change their registered genders in Germany since 1980.

About 30 judges and medical experts on transsexual surgery took part in the forum held on Sept. 13.

In Korea, some lawmakers proposed a bill for transsexuals to have the right to change their registered gender in 2002.

However, a move to improve the rights of sexual minorities has hit a snag since the bill could not be passed in a regular session.

Han said that many transsexuals have continued to appeal to the authorities to get legal permission to change their official gender long before Harisu was allowed to change hers.

"For many years, transsexuals have struggled to change their registered sex in the courts. But the courts have not listened. The case of Harisu is just the tip of the iceberg among many transsexuals deprived of their right to happiness," she said.

Lee estimates that hundreds of people undergo sex change operations every year.

"Many transsexuals don't want to come out publicly and helplessly accept the courts decision without appealing to a higher court when they apply to change their registered gender," Lee said.

For that reason, there is no precedent in the Supreme Court since so many are reluctant to appeal, he added.

In 1996, a man who sexually assaulted a transsexual woman was not charged with rape because the victim was deemed by the court not to be a woman.

The court first allowed a transsexual to change the registered gender in Korea in July 2002.
Sweden was the first country to set up a law concerning transsexuals in 1972.

chungay@koreatimes.co.kr

The Transsexual Bond Girl

MI6.co.uk

Riding on the popularity of Star Wars, James Bond journeyed to outer space in 1979’s Moonraker, but for his next adventure, producer Cubby Broccoli decided it was time to bring Bond “down to earth”. There was talk, even, of Roger Moore’s retirement, but he was lured back for “one last film” (Moore ended up staying on for three more films). This in mind, For Your Eyes Only was much grittier than several of the previous outings: fewer gadgets, and only a brief appearance from the official Bond car.

For all their efforts to make this film “down to earth”, though, producers could never have predicted the out-of-this-world rumours that would go flying shortly after For Your Eyes Only wrapped shooting.

The Sunday tabloid, “The News of the World” came out with a story claiming that one of the Bond girls was actually born as a man. The rumour grew and grew. One version even went so far as to claim that Roger Moore had performed a love scene with this transgendered Bond girl, and that Moore was quite miffed upon finding out what had happened.

Q. Did a transsexual appear on screen in For Your Eyes Only?

A. Yes. Model-turned-actress Caroline Cossey (whose professional name is Tula) was born with male sex organs on August 31, 1954 in Brooke, Norfolk, England, UK as Barry Kenneth Cossey. However, suffering from Klinefelter's syndrome (XXY chromosomes instead of the normal XY), Cossey was technically more female than male.

Growing up, Cossey claims to have even been mistaken for a girl more than once before making the decision to make the transition. Barry changed her name to Caroline in 1972, began taking female hormones, and had breast augmentation surgery. Throughout the early 1970s, she worked as a chorus girl and a topless dancer to raise money for her sex-reassignment surgery, which she finally underwent at Charing Cross Hospital in London in 1974.

Caroline Cossey’s modeling career took off even before having her sex-reassignment surgery because there was high demand for tall models (she stood at 6 feet tall). Post-op, she became a well-known fashion model, did various advertisements, and appeared on several magazines covers before being cast in 1980 for a role in For Your Eyes Only.

Q. Did Roger Moore perform a love scene with Caroline Cossey?

A. No. Caroline Cossey can only be called a “Bond girl” in the loosest sense. While she does appear on screen, it is only for a few brief seconds, and she has no lines in the film. As a matter of fact, she is not even listed in the film’s credits. Her appearance is during the scene in which Bond goes to Gonzoles’ villa in Madrid. She is one of the many unnamed girls at poolside.

Q. What happened to Caroline Cossey after For Your Eyes Only finished shooting?

A. After “The News of the World” revealed that Cossey was a transsexual, it severely disrupted her acting career; however, Cossey continued as a successful model for several years. She appeared in the music videos for Duran Duran’s “Rio” and for Power Station’s “Some Like It Hot”, and she has even made multiple appearances in Playboy magazine (the first openly “out” transsexual ever to do so).

Cossey was engaged to Count Glauco, an Italian national, in 1983, but under English law, she was still considered a male, and was therefore unable to marry. After fighting for equal rights for transsexuals, she married Elias Fattal in London on May 21, 1989. Unfortunately, Fallat left her shortly after the honeymoon ended, and he had the marriage annulled on June 11, 1989 on the grounds that the marriage was not legal since – again – the bride and groom had not been female and male, respectively. Finally, Cossey married Canadian comic book artist David Finch in 1992, and as of 2003, they were still married and living in Atlanta, GA, USA.

Caroline Cossey has written two autobiographies - “Tula: I am a Woman” (1982) and “My Story” (1991) – and as MI6 reported back in April, Cossey’s memoirs have been published as part of a new book entitled “Sexual Metamorphosis: An Anthology of Transsexual Memoirs” (2005).

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Ok, now I've seen it all.. a transsexual article. On the MI6! website. I suppose it takes all sorts to be a spy.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Transsexual insists on going to women's jail

The Guardian - Observer
Henry McDonald, Ireland editor
Sunday October 23, 2005
The Observer

Denise Martin is fighting for the right to go to jail - as long as it's a women's prison. Martin, one of Ireland's first transsexuals who had a full sex-change operation 22 years ago, faces a prison sentence next month after refusing to pay a fine over a breach of the peace offence in her home town of Larne.

The slender, 45-year-old bleached blonde could find herself in the all-male top-security Maghaberry jail outside Belfast.

'It's a matter of principle,' she said in between sips of latte inside a hotel overlooking a windswept North Antrim coast on Friday.

'At my first hearing in Larne last month the court referred to me as "Mr Martin" or "he", because on my birth certificate I'm still Douglas Martin. But as you can see by looking at me, I haven't been Douglas for over 20 years.

'On my British passport it states that I'm Denise, and that's who I have been for all these years. But if the next court appearance in Ballymena treats me like a man, then I'm in danger of going to an all-male prison.'

What began as a 'cat fight' between Denise and a middle-aged transvestite in Larne last April may end up in the European Court of Human Rights. If Martin refuses to pay the fine at her next court appearance on 7 November, she risks a custodial sentence.

'My solicitor told me I would have 28 days to appeal, and in that period I would go to a higher court to see if they can change my status to that of a woman. I don't believe I did anything wrong, but I won't pay and am prepared to go to jail, as long as it's a woman's jail.

'If they refuse, I have instructed my solicitor to fight this all the way to the European Court of Human Rights. I didn't go through years of psychiatric counselling, a painful operation and the entire trauma through my life to let the courts deny who I am today.

'I don't care if they fine me £30 or £3,000, I won't pay and I won't rest until they recognise me as Denise.'

The transsexual who says she is a normal heterosexual woman has other reasons to challenge the court's definition of her sexuality.

'My partner, who prefers to maintain his privacy, and I want to get married next year. I'm fighting this case partly for him as well. The law, or at least the courts, still sees me as a man and I don't want my partner being branded as someone who has married a man. He met me as a fully functioning woman, not as Douglas but as Denise. This fight is as important for him as it is for me.'

After the court cases and the marriage, the couple are planning to move to London. Asked how her family felt about her going public, Martin said: 'Obviously back in the early days there was a lot of hurt and confusion. But they have finally accepted me as Denise, and they know because I am a very cocksure person that I speak my mind and don't let people walk all over me.'

Aside from challenging the legal system, Martin will soon pose a dilemma for her local Anglican church where she wants to marry. 'I'm a very religious person,' she says, fiddling with a holy medal on a chain around her neck, 'It's extremely important for me to have my marriage blessed in the church as well as recognised in law.'

Martin claims that she was born as a woman trapped inside a man's body: 'I didn't have a sex change, I had a sex realignment. All the surgeons did was to correct my anatomy.

'I have been on a long, painful journey to arrive at the woman I am today. It's for that reason mainly that I will not allow the law to ignore who I now am.'

A spokesman for the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission said it would be monitoring Martin's case and would be happy to speak with her if and when her challenge reaches the European court.

Sexual minorities in socially conservative Northern Ireland have used the European courts before to challenge domestic law. In the early 1980s gay rights activist Jeff Dudgeon won his case in Europe against the British government over the criminalisation of homosexuality in the north of Ireland.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Gwen Araujo - Misrepresentation and deception or MURDER?

Indybay.org
by Producer of Tranny Talk Saturday, Oct. 15,

Did Gwen Araujo misrepresent herself or was she murdered because four men couldn't deal with their own sexuality? No one knows. One thing people do know is the fact that the men who killed her should go to jail. The three links below will take to the reaction by the local community.

http://homepage.mac.com/trannytalk/iMovieTheater82.html

http://homepage.mac.com/trannytalk/iMovieTheater83.html

http://homepage.mac.com/trannytalk/iMovieTheater84.html

Tranny Talk has been on cable channel 29 since 1999, BUT still does not get recognized by the TG/TS community as trans media. This show is creating change. It gets aired every first and third Sunday of the month at 11:30 am on CH 29.
Next air dates: October 16, 2005 at 11:30 a.m. and November 6 2005 at 11:30 a.m. and November 20, 2005 at 11:30 a.m. Watch change taking place!!!

homepage.mac.com/tarantulas/Menu1.html

----------------------------------------------

Personally I think they should have been charged for hate crime.... They PLANNED her murder and then preformed it in a brutal manner that was just sickening in it's viciousness. They didn't just kill her, they butchered her.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Transgender rocker jailed

LA Indymedia
by Heather Strommer Tuesday, Oct. 18

Pretext: Myla Poole is a jazz singer, a second place nominee to the 2003 LA music awards, who lost first place to her producer and pianist, Grammy Nominee Rob Mullins, and apparent 2 time Emmy award winning Jazz player, in a addition to a sax player for the Leno show. Bralalalala is a transgender rock star (http://www.bralalalala.biz), winner of the 2005 LA Music Awards, has appeared on ABC, E!, UCLA'S LGBT Newspaper, etc...

Not much more than 2 weeks ago Myla wrote a letter from Bralalalala's inbox to Curve magazine stating that "Bralalalala has helped me come out as a lesbian despite what Rob Mullins told me. Bralalalala is the most unique & determined soul I know, and my best friend." Nude photos of Myla Poole attemting to remove Bralalalala's clothing and french kissing her, are available to the press should they want them. I was given permission to use them for whatever purpose I deemed fit. But something changed in the mind of Myla Poole in a very short time. Myla Poole, who is also an Easy Rider magazine centerfold, who has a variety of drug issues, went on a tirade against Bralalalala suddenly and sharply. At 6am she marched in the door of her bedroom and home demanding Bralalalala, who had been sleeping with her for 2 months, to leave immediately (as in 10 minnutes), or the police would take her away. While Myla was trying to have Bra arrested in front of police, saying such things as, "I didn't realize she was transgender. She tricked me. Please remove this "it" this "thing" from my home. I fear for my safety."

The whole shift in tone appears to result from Bralalalalala not kissing Myla's ass regarding their shared financial endeavors. However, the lack of submissiveness in the Bralala at any time appeared to be impermissible to Myla. She further went on to tell police I assaulted her, which I said she did to me, and well, ultimately, I had to threaten a citizen's arrest of her to stop her from getting me arrested, depite no visual signs of any harm done to either of us. I had to leave essentially because I had no written agreement with her, despite contibuting to rent expenses. However, I did take her car, which I had been the sole driver of for month's to the benefit of the both of us, a car which she was not allowed to drive, by law, due to a suspended license, a criminal record, a dui or some other such reason, which I needed to move out and start up elsewhere. Myla maintained a variety of my belongings. This situation provided the pretext for Myla's next series of chaotic moves:

Bralalalala imprisoned by Myla Poole for free speech.

Myla Poole and Bralalalala were supposedly attempting to recover each others things, and lives, after an abrupt departing 10 days earlier wherein Myla, without notice, called police on Bralalalala, who she was sharing her bedroom and apartment with for 2 months. We had arranged a set up meeting with one another only to exchange our belongings...No prior effort had been made by the two parties to separate items, except 10 days before when Myla had decided at 6am when barging in the door, that it was time Bralalalala immediately leave, and then bringing police into the place., at which time Bralalala took the car to put her things in storage.

The parties had not been in direct contact since that time at Myla's bidding. Myla, in an e mail dated October 13, demanded her car in exchange for Bralalalala's cell phone, $ and other belongings. At that time Myla stated she had placed a restraining order on Bralalalala because she felt her and her son's lives were endangered by this "psycho" named Bralalalala. However, she also stated she would release bioth of these orders in writing, with the recovery of her car.

Hmmm.. Bralalalala met with Myla anyways, not wanting anything further with this person, and not having been served with papers or committed any crime. Myla never returned Bralalalala's things when asked for them at the cafe, but Bra took her to her lousy 1991 Mazda anyways. Myla had undercover police hiding in the bushes for what "they" felt was the right moment to arrest Bralalalala for using her car. Once I turned the keys over to her, officers came out of the bushes with a gun to my head. Myla makes absurd allegations about her car, which Bralalalala had been using to both of their benefit for months(her driver's license is suspended for drunk driving apparently-though she claims now she can get it back-who knows)being stolen and fearing for her life..

Unfortunately, given the angst of the male arresting officer, who felt that the car was "parked too far from the cafe," and that "I might not have given it to her," decided he had grounds to arrest me for what turned out to be a $20,000 bond and a felony charge. This time she manages to have Bralalalala, the transgender lesbian rock star, imprisoned on these false charges for almost an entire day, but Bralalalala, who is no stranger to filing civil lawsuits successfully on her own behalf, is released without bail after making a counter statement that resonates the realities of what really went on, not to mention the obvious, which are that this person willingly put herself in my presence under an alleged restraining order and before the time of arrest the car was freely given to her..what makes her hate this tranny girl so much? Hmmm..

Myla's assault and battery trial is Tuesday for assaulting her ex girlfriend, etc charges. Bralalalala, having spoken with her witnesses, will testify what she has heard from them off the stand, and state Myla has hit Bralala in a drunken stupor numerous times for no reason.

The cops, by the way, thought Myla was transgender also. What an insult she must be feeling.

I don't know what the moral of this story really is. It seems like a genuine waste of time on the surface. I can say that this being the first in line business is a bit stressful..and that even lesbians have proven not too open minded toward me at times. In any event, I am glad to be free again, and obviously will not be speaking to Myla on any level other than our now various court dates. It is unfortunate when anyone thrives on negative attention. I would much rather party. In any case, we deal the hands we are dealt in pursuit of what we really seek in this world, taking with it the good the bad and the ugly- for better or for worse.

Backing Blair VI 'Not Over By A Long Shot'

http://www.backingblair.co.uk/long_shot/

A big thanks to poons for pointing this one out. Tim Ireland strikes again!

Tim also has an unfunny side, if your pro-war, a child or of a sensitive disposition then DON'T watch this.

http://www.backingblair.co.uk/the_line/

Cop indicted in transsexual's assault

mysanantonio.com
Guillermo Contreras and
Vianna DavilaExpress-News Staff Writers

A San Antonio police officer with 16 years on the force is looking at the possibility of life in prison after he was arrested Thursday on a federal charge of sexually assaulting a transsexual.

The arrest of Dean Gutierrez, 45, came two days after a federal grand jury handed down an indictment charging him with deprivation of civil rights by committing aggravated sexual abuse while on duty.

The indictment capped a probe by the SAPD, the FBI, the U.S. attorney's office and the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division. If convicted, Gutierrez faces up to life in prison, a $250,000 fine, and up to five years of supervised release.

The indictment was unsealed Thursday afternoon when Gutierrez made his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Pamela Mathy. Prosecutors did not seek his detention, so Gutierrez was released on a $100,000 unsecured bond and several restrictions, including orders not to have firearms.

Gutierrez, wearing a white T-shirt and blue jeans, declined comment as he left the courthouse, walking past television cameras and escorted by one of his attorneys.

The alleged victim in the case, Gabriel Bernal, 22, and several SAPD officers testified before a federal grand jury in August, and the indictment is a result of that testimony.

Gutierrez had been facing charges in state court, but he had not been indicted there, according to his lawyers, Ed Garcia and Ben M. Sifuentes Jr. Gutierrez will enter a not-guilty plea at his arraignment Oct. 28, Garcia said.

"We understood charges were ultimately going to be presented to a federal grand jury, and we were given the indictment today," Garcia said. "We intend to review it very carefully. There are a number of inconsistencies we believe will lead to him being exonerated once the trial is over with."

Gutierrez is accused of forcing Bernal, who prefers to be called Starlight and a woman, to perform sex acts the night of June 10 on the near West Side.

Police reports and court documents allege the attack occurred after Gutierrez forced Starlight into his police car after picking her up near Zarzamora and South Laredo Street. The documents allege some of Gutierrez's bodily fluid was found in his patrol car and on Starlight's clothes and body.

In an interview with the Express-News on Thursday, Starlight welcomed the indictment, saying she hopes it will send a message to police officers, but noted not all law enforcement officers are bad.

"I thank God justice is being served," Starlight said.

Since the incident, she taped a list of Bible verses to the front door of a relative's home, where she lives.

Among them is John 8:32 "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

She said she prays daily to a collection of figurines of angels and the Virgin Mary crowded together on a dresser in her room, though flashbacks clutter her mind. She said she hopes for peace for herself and her family.

"I want to be me," she said. "I want to be where I was and who I am before this incident happened."

Gutierrez had been on administrative duty since his arrest in July on the state charges, but the SAPD placed him on indefinite suspension Thursday, said Sgt. Gabe Trevino, a department spokesman. Indefinite suspension is tantamount to being fired.

Prosecutors recommended bond because Gutierrez does not have a criminal record, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Bill Baumann. He said Gutierrez is presumed innocent and is not believed to be a flight risk.

The case has drawn interest in San Antonio's gay, lesbian and transgender community, which alleges it is profiled and abused, but is reluctant to come forward for fear of persecution. The community has praised Starlight for filing the complaint against Gutierrez.

Baumann commended the police department, which has drawn fire in some cases for handling the investigations of its own officers, for a quick turnaround in the probe. Much of it was done within 24 hours of the incident, he said.

"The police department did a very aggressive and thorough investigation, very quickly," Baumann said. "After that, the FBI working with the police department conducted a very thorough grand jury investigation."

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Hijra (India)

Absoluteastronomy.com

[Categories: Hindu law, Islam, LGBT, Bangladeshi culture, Indian culture, Pakistani culture, Transgender in non-western cultures]

In the culture of the Indian subcontinent a hijra is a physically male or intersex person identifying as "the third sex" or gender of India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. Hijras describe themselves as "neither man nor woman", though they usually refer to themselves with female pronouns and grammatical gender, and wish to be referred to as female. Hijras trace their historical roots to Hinduism, mirroring androgynous deities, and were present in the royal courts of Islamic rulers as well.

The group consists of people born with a male body, but with a non-male or female gender identity; people who in the West would be called transgender, transsexual or androgynous; and also people born with ambiguous genitalia. By some reports, occasionally there have also been people who belong to none of these categories who are forced to become hijras, by performing the crude castration / genital reassignment surgery ritual on them without their consent.

In Hindu contexts, hijras belong to a special caste and are special devotees of the mother goddess Bahuchara Mata. Within Muslim contexts, including Pakistan and Bangladesh, hijras believe their third gender is the result of God's will. All hijras, whether Hindu or Muslim, have been affected by Islamic practices. They bury their dead like Muslims instead of the normal Hindu cremation and are said to have guarded the gravesite of Muhammad, the founder of Islam.

Becoming a hijra is a process of socialization into the group through a relationship characterised as chela "student" to guru "teacher" and the gradual assumption of androgynous gender role. Each guru lives with at least five chelas; her chelas assume her surname and are considered part of her lineage. Chelas are expected to give their income to their guru, who manages the household. The culmination of this process is a religious ritual that includes castration. It is expected that a hijra's penis and testes will be removed but not all hijras do so. It is unknown what percentage of hijras are true eunuchs. In modern times, rarely hijras may also have recourse to sex reassignment surgery.

Hijras usually earn a living through prostitution; in premodern times, often this was as Hindu temple prostitutes. They also perform traditional religious ceremonies at marriages and the birth of male babies. In Islamic societies, they were associated with the ruling class and hired as court eunuchs.

In modern times, hijras now face discrimination and have primarily resorted to prostitution. Other possibilities of earning a living are rarely open to them.

Hijra attendance at birth and wedding ceremonies are usually uninvited. The ceremonies are comprised of music, singing, and sexually suggestive dancing. These are intended to bring good luck and fertility. The host pays the hijras a fee for their efforts, which is an established feature in the culture of the Indian subcontinent. In recent times, foreign negative attitudes have affected the Hijra's cultural status. Some now view them with contempt and bribe hijras to perform their ceremonies hastily as most believe they have supernatural powers attributed to their castration that, if offended, bring bad luck.

The ancient Kama Sutra mentions them performing oral sex on male parishioners at Hindu temples, although due to their identification as a third gender, they and the men they have sex with are not accurately described as gay in the Western sense. Some Hijras find husbands. Commonly the Hijra-rights groups support gay rights issues in the Indian subcontinent, but this is an emergent situation.

During British colonialism negative attitudes towards hijras were imported from Europe. The British passed laws outlawing their practices. Many Hindu temples with homosexual depictions were effaced of them. After independence, anti-hijra laws were repealed, but a law outlawing castration, a central part of the hijra community, was left intact, though rarely enforced.

Many modern Hijras, faced with health concerns and discrimination, have become politically active. For example, they have formed HIV /AIDS awareness groups to combat health problems within their communities. Other Hijras have been elected to high political positions.

In November of 2000, Asha Devi - a hijra - was elected mayor of Gorakhpur. The city had a population of approximately 500,000 as of 1991.

The term "hijra" in this context is to be distinguished from an Arabic word of the same transliteration. The last consonant in the South Asian term is not pronounced like the English "r" or the Arabic ra or Ray. The Arabic word means "migration". See Hijra (Islam).

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Okay...I was a little surprised to find this on an astronomy site of all places. The web is truly a strange place.

PAKISTAN: Hijra community seeks HIV awareness

IRINnews.org

LAHORE, 20 Apr 2005 (IRIN/PLUSNEWS) - For members of Pakistan's eunuch-transvestite, or Hijra community, open discussion about HIV/AIDS prevention remains a closed book. Cultural descendents of the court of eunuchs of the Mughal Empire (1526-1858), most Hijra today earn their living as prostitutes, beggars or dancers.

"Our customers aren't interested in such things. They're interested in sex!" Sheila, a 30-something Hijra working the back streets of Lahore's red light Hira Mundi district, told IRIN laughingly.

Sheila's friends nodded in agreement. "We have to satisfy our customers. Wearing a condom is simply not part of the deal," another Hijra giggled, shaking her hair for attention.

But for health experts in the South Asian nation, such candor is concerning, with reportedly just 25 percent of men who buy sex from Hijras actually using a condom. Moreover, with the number of reported cases of HIV/AIDS through sexual transmission increasing, it is clear more work is needed in raising levels of awareness among this group, which reportedly numbers tens of thousands throughout the subcontinent.

However, open discussion about sexuality and HIV, not to mention the Hijra community itself, remains largely taboo in conservative Pakistan. Officially, there are close to 2,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in the country. However, given the nature of the subject, few infected people disclose their status. Some experts estimate the true number of HIV-positive people to be closer to 80,000.

In Islamic Pakistan, the Hijra community is looked down upon and remains socially ostracised. Often mocked or ridiculed, their plight is not easily understood, marginalising the group further in terms of HIV awareness.

Moreover, access to health services is poor, despite high-risk behaviour with regard to prostitution.

One NGO working to address that is the Lahore-based AIDS Prevention Association of Pakistan (APAP). Established in 1996, the group has spearheaded efforts on preventive health, HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) awareness and reproductive health among the group in and around the city.

"No one speaks openly about the Hijra. Talking about HIV/AIDS with regard to this group simply does not take place," Dr Muhammad Hanif, APAP's general secretary, told IRIN candidly. Working with a team of volunteer educators, many of them members of the Hijra community itself, Hanif hopes to change that. Through local media and an extensive outreach programme, APAP provides literature about HIV/AIDS, STDs and condom usage both to prostitutes and their clients, as well as the benefits of safe sex.

"Most people do not know the risks they are taking. They believe wearing a condom will inhibit their pleasure," Gori Shermi, a peer counsellor and Hijra herself, told IRIN. "I tell them what the truth is."

But getting the message out hasn't been easy. While APAP had succeeded in making inroads where other NGOs dared not venture, financial constraints on the self-funding group have hampered further expansion. In addition to extending its condom distribution effort, APAP would like to establish a resource centre in Lahore, as well as extend its Hijra peer counselling capacity.

"This all requires money," Hanif said. "Frankly, something we do not have a great deal of at the moment."

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

“Sex-Change” Lunacy and Judicial Activism Cripple Canadian Correction Facilities

LifeSiteNews.com

EDMONTON, October 17, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Last week, Synthia Kavanagh, a 43 year-old man previously known as Richard Chaperon and who is officially considered a woman, in a fit of rage trashed the medium/minimum security women’s prison in Edmonton in which he was housed. He fought off guards and threatened the lives of others. He is being transferred to a maximum security facility in Kitchener, Ontario but the policies that put him in a position to be a danger to women prisoners and guards is being questioned only by a Conservative MP.

It all started in 1999 when Kavanagh convinced corrections officials with the help of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, “gender-identity experts” and a Canadian Transsexual support organization, that he was really a woman who needed “gender reassignment treatment” and to be housed in a women’s prison. The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, the Canadian custodians of the politically correct doctrine that a person’s sex is a matter of personal preference not of genetics, ordered the Canadian Correctional Service (CSC) to provide the “treatment” and a transfer Kavanagh to a women’s prison.

Kavanagh was sentenced to the maximum possible sentence under Canadian law, life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years, for the 1987 killing of a male “transsexual” prostitute, Leo James Black. Now he is being transferred, not back to a men’s facility but to the maximum security Grand Valley Institution for Women in Kitchener.

Previous to Kavanagh’s case, Corrections Canada had a policy of housing “transsexuals,” those men who believe they ought to be women, in men’s facilities and did not acknowledge the purported “medical necessity” of sex-change treatments or provide them at taxpayer’s expense.

“I see our government bending over backwards to accommodate the interests of prisoners and forgetting the entire role of prisons is to protect society and to reform some prisoners,” said Conservative justice critic Vic Toews.
The Conservative MP for Provencher, Manitoba, said, “What it appears to me is the government is trying to accommodate the interests of the prisoner and, quite frankly, forgetting the interests of taxpayers.”

The new guidelines, apparently also consider “sex toys” for personal sexual gratification to be a necessary part of a prisoner’s medical treatment. An unnamed prison guard confirmed that Kavanagh had been provided with the sex object “for medical purposes,” as a form of “after care” for Kavanagh’s condition. Gender-reassignment treatment includes surgery to remove the primary male sex organs and hormones to create female-like secondary characteristics.

The existence of “gender dysphoria” is contentious even in the mainstream medical community. Dr. Paul McHugh, a professor of psychiatry and Director of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and a member of the President’s Council on Bioethics, contends that the gender dysphoria does not exist but that the disorder is psychological in nature.

In the 1970s, McHugh halted sex-change operations at Johns Hopkins, calling them “perhaps with the exception of frontal lobotomy, the most radical therapy ever encouraged by 20th-century psychiatrists.”
For voicing an opinion at variance with the strict dictates of the homosexual propaganda, McHugh has been labeled, “transphobic” and a “conservative Catholic ideologue.”

Read previous
LifeSiteNews.com coverage:Male Murderer to be Sent to Women's Prison after Complainthttp://www.lifesite.net/ldn/ 1999/nov/99111902.html

Canadian Court Orders Prisons to Pay for Sex Change Operations http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/ 2003/feb/03020707.html

Read LifeSiteNews.com Special Report on the acceptance of “Gender Assignment.”http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/ 2004/mar/040323a.html

hw

Monday, October 17, 2005

She's a jolly poor fellow

The Times Online
By Carol Sarler

LAST MONTH it was a vicar who joined the first police officer and the first bank manager; last week, with another slash of the scalpel, we were introduced to “Britain’s first transsexual GP” as Dr Vanda Zadorozny, with womb removed, breasts lopped off, a hefty dose of testosterone and a short back-and-sides, reappeared in her surgery as Dr Richard Curtis.

The doctor’s patients, we are predictably told, have been “supportive”. But then, people usually are. As the procedure becomes increasingly commonplace, so there is a widening liberal acceptance that she is indeed he (or, more usually, otherwise) simply because she or he elects to be — an acceptance that is as kind and well-meaning as it is contrary.

It is, for a start, at odds with another strand of liberal thought: that we shall not be defined by our reproductive parts. Not by bulk of penis or breast, we insist, shall we be judged. Quite right, too. One of the achievements of the women’s movement is that what was so widely admired in, say, Jayne Mansfield, is now ridiculed by all save Daily Star “readers” in, say, Jordan. But for a society that trips over itself to reassure a mastectomy patient that she is no less of a woman then blithely to accept that, thanks to similar surgery, “Dr Richard” is no longer a woman at all, is absurd.

The making of a complete man or woman is a long process, involving roles in child play, the angst of puberty, the struggles of adolescence; it is the inner and the outer and the body and the soul and the history of a person, it cannot be substituted by surgery or drugs and it is insulting to those of us who served the full tour of duty to suggest that it can.

So what, you say? Can we not stand the insult, if “Dr Richard” was sad and now is not? And it is true that no harm is done — although it is also true that there is a recognised condition of body dysmorphia where patients plead that they are amputees trapped inside an able body; very rarely do they find a surgeon therefore willing to remove an offending limb. Far too extreme a cure for misery.

However compassionate one might care to be, transsexualism is also an extreme measure of cosmetic surgery. And while I wish the good doctor no personal ill, I am still glad that this is not my GP: anyone so capriciously destructive of the healthy body that Nature gave them would not be welcome near the one she gave me.

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Urge... to... bitch... slap.... rising, Rage ...building!... Must.... nooot.... giivve.... iinn !

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Transsexual Killer's Prison Rampage

365gay.com
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

(Edmonton, Alberta) A transsexual woman who won the right to have reassignment surgery while in prison has been transferred from a medium security facility in Alberta to a high security women's penitentiary in Ontario following a series of violent incidents.

Synthia Kavanagh is in the midst of a 25 year sentence, the maximum under Canadian law, for the 1987 hammer slaying of a transsexual prostitute in Toronto.

Kavanagh allegedly trashed the Edmonton's women's prison, fought off guards and threatened the lives of others. She has been moved to the Grand Valley Institution for Women in Kitchener, Ontario.

Prison officials refused to say if she will be charged for the fracas that led to her transfer.

The Edmonton Sun reports that Kavanagh had been given a sex toy by prison officials for "therapeutic purposes".

Kavanagh won a landmark ruling in 2001 when the Federal Court of Canada ordered Corrections Canada to remove her from a men's prison, house her in a women's facility and pay for her sex reassignment surgery.

"If the medical opinion is that sex reassignment surgery is an essential service for a particular inmate, it follows that it should be paid for by Correctional Services Canada, as would any other essential medical service," wrote Madam Justice Carolyn Layden-Stevenson in her ruling.

The decision forced the government to pay for sex reassignment surgery for any transsexual behind bars who wanted it.

©365Gay.com 2005

NZ’s first transsexual police officer

GayNZ.com

New Zealand’s first transsexual police officer has faced mixed reactions from her colleagues, but support from the police hierarchy.

The senior constable, who does not wish to be named, is based in Christchurch and has been on the force as a man for 21 years. She stunned colleagues last year with her decision to remain on the force while changing her gender. She has recently returned to road policing duties.

Police Association regional director Craig Prior says the officer has the support of her unit, and it shows the make-up of the police was a reasonable representation of the population. “There is obviously a suprrise factor in it, but that will go with time,” he says.

Some officers have privately voiced concerns that the constable’s presence is damaging to the reputation of the police. However the district commander, Superintendent Sandra Manderson, says the constable’s record is very good. “We are dealing with a police officer who has been an effective, efficient and dedicated member.”

Labour MP Georgina Beyer has expressed her support for the constable. “It can be a lonely path to walk and it may be for this person, but at least they know they someone like me to call on,” she said.

Ref: Christchurch Press (c)

Friday, October 14, 2005

SEX OP DOC MAKES HISTORY

SKY NEWS

Dr Richard Curtis has become Britain's first transexual doctor, after switching from a female GP to become a male one.

But some of his patients have not even noticed the swap from Dr Vanda Zadoronzny two months ago.

"Some people have given me a look up and down, and not actually said anything, but one guy asked me if I'd just had a haircut!" he says.

Dr Curtis has made medical history by becoming the first transsexual to be registered as a male doctor by the General Medical Council.

This was only possible after the Gender Recognition Act came into force in April.

As part of his transformation, Dr Curtis is taking testosterone to lower his voice and start growing facial hair.

He also had a hysterectomy in January, followed by a double mastectomy.

But he says this was easy compared to telling his father, an 80-year-old Polish immigrant.

"He initially took it quite well but then the penny dropped and he got a little bit upset, but he's fine with it now," he said.

Dr Curtis' colleagues have been very supportive while he was undergoing his sex change, but some of his patients may not be so accepting.

"There will undoubtedly be a number of patients for whom their relationship with him will alter and perheps they will decide to end that relationship," said Dr Ceri Parsons.

The girl with two mums - who used to be men

Banburytoday

A GIRL being brought up by two mums who used to be men in the 'wierdest family in Britain' went on national television this week to say they are just normal and happy.

Louise Jarvis, 12, was the star of Real Families, an hour-long ITV documentary in which she said she's happy living with her two transsexual parents and wouldn't change a thing.

Louise lives in Claydon with her natural father Brian (now Sarah) and her former partner Kate West, who until 2002 was a lorry driver called Lee.

"I see us as just a normal family," said Louise, a pupil at Kineton School. "I knew that myfather was having the operation but I always knew Daddy would be in my heart. He would be with me but in a different form,"

"Since then I have called him mum and Kate is Kate. The national newspapers said we were the wierdest family in Britain and I wanted to tell people that it wasn't true. That's why I did the documentary.

"We're the same as anyone else. I have my friends round for sleepovers like anyone else. They don't treat me any different to other girls. We live a normal life. We have six cats, I'm doing well at school and I'm learning to play the flute.

"My mates are all OK about it now. The only time things were not so good and my school work suffered was when the papers wrote horrible stories about us.

"The film crew spent about three months following the family and even went with Sarah and Louise to have their hair done by Banbury hairdresser Paul Joseph.

Sarah and Kate met on a gay blind date five years ago and became partners. They had both been cross-dressing for years and after 12-months together decided to have sex change operations. Louise, who had lived with her dad since he and ex-wife Hayley split up when she was three, accompanied Brian and Lee to pre-op counselling sessions.

"I told her when she was eight," said Sarah, 34."It didn't really confuse her. Children are not naturally prejudiced. They just want their parents to love them.

"Kate, 44, said: "We wanted to set the record straight."The documentary was from Louise's point of view. She wanted to make her mum feel good and change the way people thought about us as a family."

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

FOXeh Fairy - One of my pic's

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usCopyright D-notice Designs 2005

A pic I did for 'Take No Prisoners' DoD clan member FOXeh.

Transsexual gets into scrape in Butte bar

HelenalR.com
By Thad Kelling
The Montana Standard
10/12/05

BUTTE (LEE)—Wearing women’s clothes and a brunette wig, transsexual Kyle “Tawnie” Riekena used the women’s bathroom like she usually does Monday night at the Party Palace, 1 W. Park.

Only this time, the event led to an altercation that left Riekena, 43, with a sprained neck, bruises on her head and without her wig and purse. Riekena moved to Butte two months ago from Missoula and is in the midst of a sex change.

She believes prejudice fueled the altercation, and she continues to defend her right to use the women’s bathroom.“It’s not like I’m in there for a tourist effect,” Riekena said Tuesday, still shaken. “If I want to see female body parts, all I have to do is take my own damn shirt off. I have them myself.”

Riekena has been taking testosterone inhibitors and estrogen supplements for a year and a half, and she has developed natural breasts, a slim waist and other female body traits.Party Palace owner Ted Deshner disputes parts of Riekena’s story, but they agree on a few points.

Riekena entered the bar with a male friend Monday night. They had a drink. Riekena made a request to sing a karaoke song, “Killing Me Softly” by Roberta Flack. Then she went to the bathroom.After Riekena entered the bathroom, she allegedly startled a female who promptly told Deshner a man was in the women’s bathroom, Deshner said.

Deshner then used a microphone to tell all men to stay out of the women’s room.“If you have a penis, you should not go into the women’s bathroom,” Deshner said Tuesday. “I don’t care if you have a doctor’s excuse.”Riekena always carries notes from her doctor and counselor. They explain her transsexual condition and give her the right to use the women’s bathroom, she said.

After Deshner made his announcement, Riekena and Deshner exchanged words. The next thing Riekena knew, numerous people pushed her out the door and onto the sidewalk. Then they hit and kicked her, she said.“Imagine being pushed out a door and to your car by a tidal wave of human beings,” Riekena said.

She quickly got into her friend’s car, and he drove her home. There, she took a bath, collected her thoughts and called numerous people - including her counselor and parents. After sunrise, she went to the hospital.

Deshner said he had no knowledge of a physical altercation because he did not go outside; he only knew that someone took Riekena’s wig. Deshner also said his actions were not motivated by prejudice.

“I don’t want to chase anybody out,” Deshner said. “I want to make money.”

Police were still investigating the case Tuesday, and Butte prosecutors could not say what charges might be sought. But Butte Sheriff John Walsh offered a warning.“Be careful. Don’t go to places that can be problematic for you. That goes for anybody,” Walsh said.

Meanwhile, Riekena plans to continue living in Butte, where she is seeking work. Only a few people in Butte have been rude; most people accept her lifestyle, she said“I’m treated great. I’m told I look good. I’m compared to Victoria’s Secret models a lot,” Riekena said.

Also unphased are her plans to complete her sex change, which is costing her thousands of dollars. Since she was in high school, she has cross-dressed, and she wants to become the person she has always felt like inside. “It will happen short of death,” Riekena said.

Reporter Thad Kelling may be reached at 496-5511 or thad.kelling@lee.net.

'Will I be a boy or a girl today?'

The Edmonton Sun
By AP

CHICAGO -- When it comes to gender, Alex Polanco is not easily pegged. Some days, he wakes up in the morning and feels male, pulling on jeans and a T-shirt and leaving it at that. Other times, he wears makeup and one of the wigs he keeps in tidily packed boxes in his bedroom closet.

"I don't want to call it a split personality - but sometimes, I feel like a girl. So I put on the costume, what feels comfortable," says the 18-year-old Chicagoan, who refers to himself as "tranny boy." He often switches back and forth around friends he trusts or in urban neighbourhoods where he feels free to express himself.

Gender-bending is, of course, not a new phenomenon. Nineteenth century author George Sand was famous for her cigar-smoking and pants-wearing.

More recently, against a backdrop of increasing equality in the workplace, youth and pop icons have been slowly pushing the limits on gender roles - from long-haired rock bands to David Bowie's androgynous look and Madonna's celebration of drag in the 1980s and '90s.

Now, macho men get makeovers on mainstream TV and a popular TV talk show host is a lesbian comic who feels most comfortable in slacks and sneakers. Academics who specialize in gender and pop culture say today's youth are continuing to test the boundaries of gender - and challenging societal standards in the process.

"I think the fluidity of gender is the next big wave in terms of adolescent development," says Caitlin Ryan, a clinical social worker at San Francisco State University who's conducting a long-term sexual orientation and gender survey of youth and their families. "Gender has become part of the defining way that youth organize themselves and rebel against adults."

While researchers have yet to quantify the trend, Ryan says that, in the last five years, she's seen more young people coming out as transsexual - those who believe they are one gender trapped in the body of the other. She and others in her field also are seeing a noticeable number of young people who are taking it further by purposely evading gender definition.

They are "gender fluid," expressing androgyny with wardrobe, hairstyle or makeup - sometimes going as far as calling themselves a "boi" or a "grrl."

To some youth, playing with gender identity and roles is as much about fun and self-expression as anything. "There's a kind of tongue-in-cheek aspect to it," Ryan says, "as well as a celebration of oneself."

Elayne Rapping, a professor of American studies at the University of Buffalo, is among those who've seen more students playing with gender roles - something she says her own peers in the '60s and '70s did with sexual orientation.

"A lot of people went back to straight lives. But that doesn't mean that it didn't open doors for a lot of people to come out and stay out," says Rapping, author of Media-tion: Forays into the Culture and Gender Wars.