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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

What kind of queen are you?

Wealth
You are a Earth Queen. You will have a calm
kingdom. Wisdom, Respect and Pureness are very
important.


What kind of Queen are you? ( With BEAUTIFULL pictures)
brought to you by Quizilla


Thanks shyanne for finding this.

Transgender, intersex leaders meet in Argentina, issue declaration

The Empty Closet

New York City and Buenos Aires) The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), responding to the needs of Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) transgender and intersex individuals, convened the first-ever Transgender and Intersex Training Institute to help plan for the future of the trans and intersex movements in LAC.

The two-week Training Institute took place in Cordoba, Argentina in October where a seven-member coordinating team and 19 activists and advocates from 14 countries trained together in the areas of human rights, transgender and intersex politics and activism, and organizational development. The participants shared experiences, successes, failures, and strategies to ensure full and equal social and political rights for trans and intersex individuals.

At the end of the Institute, participants issued an eight-point statement—La Falda Declaration— to serve as guiding principles for working on trans and intersex issues throughout LAC. With all participants signing La Falda Declaration, they stated, among other items, that together they all:

• Affirm and defend the right of all trans and intersex people to fully enjoy their fundamental human rights;

• Affirm the need to collectively build positive cultural representations of trans and intersex communities and individuals;

• Demand…protection for trans and intersex activists as human rights defenders;

• Commit to fight together against all forms of state and non-state violence.

“This meeting was a historic step for the trans and intersex communities in Latin American and the Caribbean,” stated Alejandra Sarda, program coordinator for IGLHRC’s Buenos Aires office for LAC. “The Institute can help form an intra-regional network for building the capacity of trans and intersex activists and the organizations for which they work. Even though these activists have worked individually on trans and intersex issues for years, many had never come face-to-face with other LAC activists working on the same issues. They were able to take the time to learn, reflect and challenge themselves and others to develop a fuller and more effective vision that will empower them to move forward.”

“This Institute was a key to open doors, to free ourselves from censorship, from the invisibility in which many times our bodies and identities have been placed by society,” said Dalia Daniela Romero, a participant from Colombia at the Training Institute. Andres Rivera from Chile attended the Cordoba meeting and commented, “To acknowledge each other’s existences, to learn how trans people live in other countries… those have been the first building rocks for creating a trans movement with its own agenda that is also able to discuss and exchange with other movements.”

Trans and intersex individuals are particularly vulnerable to abuse, violence, discrimination, harassment, torture, economic discrimination, arbitrary arrest and detention, and other human rights violations, which are over-looked and often perpetrated by the police and other government officials. The 7th Annual Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20, 2005 served to memorialize those killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. In 2004, IGLHRC documented 71 murders of LGBT people, including murders that were specifically targeted at trans people in Chile, Brazil, Honduras, Argentina, Mexico, El Salvador, and Guatemala.

• In La Plata, Buenos Aries, Argentina, Giselle, a trans sex worker, was brutally beaten to death by unidentified men while she was working. Her sister and a friend tried to launch an investigation, but abandoned the effort after receiving death threats from the police.

• In Lima, Peru, in November, police discovered the body of a young transvestite who had been tortured to death. Her body was then burnt. She has not yet been identified.

• In Santiago, Chile, in May, two skinheads beat a transgender woman, Cecilia Canto (45), in the street, near a police station. Police officers refused to even call an ambulance.

In Latin America and throughout the Caribbean, there are few laws that provide protection from discrimination for trans and intersex people. Laws in a number of countries prohibit or restrict access to sex reassignment surgery, and a wide array of countries have public laws that prohibit cross-dressing. To make matters worse, trans and intersex organizations, such as ALITT, one of the main trans organizations in Argentina, are denied official legal recognition and thereby, suffer from an increased lack of funding.

“IGLHRC is committed to working with LAC trans activists and organizations – to face head-on the injustices trans people face – and to advance broad social change and tolerance for all trans and intersex individuals, ” stated Paula Ettelbrick, executive director of IGLHRC.

Since the late 1990s, IGLHRC has had staff working directly in Latin America, but in the last year, the size of the staff in its Buenos Aires, Argentina office has doubled. The LAC Program is involved throughout the region working in collaboration with other human rights and LGBT organizations in documenting human rights abuses, playing a role in emergency response, and as a convener of meetings and human rights training.

For more information and a copy of La Falda Declaration, contact Geoffrey Knox at 212-229-0540 or gknox@geoffreyknox.com

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) is the only human rights organization solely devoted to improving the rights of people around the world who are targeted for imprisonment, abuse or murder because of their sexuality, gender identity or HIV status. IGLHRC addresses human rights violations by partnering with and supporting activists on the ground in countries around the world, by monitoring and documenting abuses, by engaging offending governments, and by educating international human rights officials. A US-based non-profit, non-governmental organization, IGLHRC is based in New York, with offices in San Francisco and Buenos Aires.
www.iglhrc.org

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

TRANSSEXUAL WRITER PROTESTS OFFENSIVE REMARKS IN SUNDAY TIMES (SINGAPORE) INTERVIEW WITH ROCKER

Transgender ASIA

28 November 2005, Singapore. Ms Leona Lo, a transsexual writer based in Singapore wrote a scathing letter today to The Sunday Times, Singapore, to protest offensive remarks published in its interview with rocker John Molina. In "The Email Interview: Rocker John Molina" (The Sunday Times, Nov 27), the interviewer made reference to Ms Jessie Chung from Kuching who had undergone sexual reassignment surgery to "become" (writer's quotation) a woman, and said the general opinion is that "a normal man can never fall in love with a man-made woman". He asked for Mr Molina's personal thoughts on this.

In her letter to The Sunday Times, Ms Lo said the writer's remarks contain at least two popular misconceptions about post-operative transsexuals, namely, "that straight men cannot fall in love with us and that we are man-made." She wrote, "Let me set the record straight. Transsexual women throughout the world have had loving and enduring relationships with straight men. Lynn Conway, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Emertia, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, United States of America, and Jessie Chung are two excellent examples. For a complete list of transsexual women successes, please log on to www.lynnconway.com. Heterosexual men who are sexually secure have no problems falling in love with and remaining committed to transsexual women. However, based on past experiences, I have to concede that Singapore men may have a problem in this area because they are generally not very secure about their sexuality, which may explain the inherent skepticism in the interviewer's question."

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Use the link to read the whole article. Transgender Asia is a wonderful site for information, why not take the time to explore it.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

OPINION: Resolving the plight of those born ‘different’

NEW STRAITS TIMES
CHOW KUM HOR

Transsexuals’ plea for legal recognition has met fierce opposition from religious groups. They stand a better chance if the appeal is made on medical grounds, writes CHOW KUM HOR.

Resolving the plight of those born ‘different’

Transsexuals’ plea for legal recognition has met fierce opposition from religious groups. They stand a better chance if the appeal is made on medical grounds, writes CHOW KUM HOR.

IT was one wedding the ulama were not ready to proclaim as holy matrimony. Just about everyone who’s ever led a prayer in a mosque, conducted a sermon in church or run a Buddhist or Hindu temple has opposed Jessie Chung and Joshua Beh’s widely-publicised wedding reception in Kuching on Oct 12.

Jessie was born a male and used to be known as Jeffery before going for a sex change in three operations over the last three years.

For the authorities, the Chung-Beh marriage is seen as a same-sex wedding — a union that breaches fundamental religious tenets and is not recognised under the country’s laws. The ensuing moral and legal controversies surrounding the wedding have given the impression that the fate of transsexuals in the country only revolves around sex change and marriage — which, as any transsexual will tell you, is not the case.

"This whole controversy about transsexuals has gone off-tangent. It is like rojak," says former sex worker-turned-activist Sulastri Ariffin.

"The public and the media focused on Jessie’s wedding but in fact, there are bigger issues affecting this group of people like equal treatment, social ills, job opportunities and educating the public. Marriage is only one small part."

Sulastri, himself a transsexual, says the biggest problem is the legal recognition of individuals he insists are simply biologically different. Transsexuals are people who perpetually identify with the gender opposite to the one assigned to them at birth.

Scientists have yet to conclusively ascertain what causes transsexuality although some say it might be due to upbringing by parents who wanted a child of a different gender.

Locally, transsexuals are estimated to number around 15,000, mostly in the Klang Valley, and they go by different names, many of which are derogatory, such mak nyah, pondan and bapuk.

The reality is that transsexuals here are deeply-marginalised, no thanks to society’s deep-rooted notions of what constitutes male and female.

The aspersions cast on this community, says Universiti Utara Malaysia associate professor Dr Teh Yik Khoon, eventually breeds discrimination.

Taunted and humiliated all their lives and, in many cases, turned down by prospective employers for being "different", the isolation eventually pushes many into vice. A sizeable number end up as prostitutes in places like Chow Kit in Kuala Lumpur, although there are also many transsexuals, or T.S. as they are known, who have decent jobs.

Sulastri, the programme co-ordinator for P.T. Foundation (formerly known as Pink Triangle), a transsexuals advocacy group, says the holy grail in resolving the plight of these people is to accord them the right to be recognised in the gender they identify with. They want to be allowed to change the details in their identification papers to reflect their new gender.

Without legal recognition, he says transsexuals are pushed to the fringes of the society. "Our identity cards say we are males but our physical attributes and mannerisms say otherwise. We face problems when getting our passports, when applying for a loan and discrimination at the workplace."

A few years ago, transsexual Wong Chiou Yoong applied for a court order to change his gender in his identity card because a bank turned down his application to open an account with them.

Last month, another transsexual, Mumtaz, was allegedly forced to strip by three policemen to prove his claim that he had undergone sex change operations in Thailand.

While advocates feel legal recognition of transsexuals may alleviate many of their problems, the proposal is fraught with religious sensitivities. In 1983, the Conference of Rulers issued a fatwa (edict) prohibiting Muslims from undergoing sex-change procedures, with the exception of khunsa or hermaphrodites.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has said that the Government does not condone same sex marriages but added that transsexuals should be treated humanely and with respect.

Perak mufti Datuk Seri Harussani Zakaria does not buy the "woman trapped in man’s body" idea, while Christian, Buddhist and Hindu groups have also condemned any attempts to desecrate the sanctity of our God-given bodies by means of a sex change. Lobby groups and religious organisations have also kept up the pressure on the Government not to recognise same sex marriages.

Teh, however, says that religion is something one practices in his or her own way. "When you persecute and push them to the fringe, isn't that worse? Can the police officers who allegedly mistreated Mumtaz say for sure that they have secured a place in heaven? They have no right to make fun of her like that."

Prof Datuk Hamdan Adnan, a member of the Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam), says that when dealing with transsexuals, the authorities should err on the side of kindness.

"Let’s not play God. It’s a medical issue, more than a religious or political one. It’s ridiculous if a person has female private parts and possesses female characteristics but the IC still says he is male."

He says the best way to clear the air over whether one is transsexual, and whether sex change surgery is necessary, is to get a medical opinion.

The Malaysia Medical Association supports the proposal. "Transsexualism must be treated as a disease," says its president Datuk Dr Teoh Siang Chin. He proposes that a multi-disciplinary team comprising psychiatrists, surgeons, obstetricians and gynaecologists, urologists and endocrinologists examine transsexuals before they go for sex change procedures.

History has shown that when medical opinion is given adequate consideration, hardliners may soften their religious stance, especially when a person’s physical and emotional well-being is at stake.

Cases in point include Muslim fundamentalists’ earlier rejection of in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) and organ transplants — procedures subsequently ruled permissible by religious authorities.

As it is, transsexuals already have a sympathiser in Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of law, Datuk M. Kayveas. He is the most senior government official thus far who has called for laws to be amended to allow transsexuals to change their particulars in their MyKad.

His counterpart in the Home Ministry, Datuk Tan Chai Ho, while conceding that transsexuals appear to have grounds for their case, says that more "consultation" needs to take place.

The Government, he adds, needs to consider feedback from religious groups — the very quarter who are most staunchly opposed to allowing sex change.

So, until and unless transsexualism is treated as a medical issue rather than a religious or political one, this group of people will continue to be victimised simply for being born "different".

And this is enough reason for the Government to take an objective look at the issue.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Sex Change Dilemma: Kayveas: Allow gender update in MyKad

The Malay Mail
SUSHMA VEERA
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 24:

There is a need for provisions to update a person’s gender details in their MyKad when a sex change has been done legally and properly.

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Datuk M. Kayveas, said that since a person is able to make amendments to their names or religion on their MyKad, there should not be a problem for them to amend their gender.

“Once an individual is medically acknowledged as a transsexual, the necessary legalities have to be put in place,” said Kayveas yesterday.

He said that it is also time for society to accept transsexuals and not isolate them.

“When we can accept the changes taking place in the world, environment, and the weather, I don’t understand why it is so difficult for us to accept changes in the human body,” said Kayveas.

“Look and see what the international community is doing in such situations. Learn from them,” he said.

He cited the case of a transsexual who claimed to have been forced to strip naked at the Ipoh police headquarters to prove she is a woman after police rejected her request to have a policewoman present.

In the Oct 16 incident, Mumtaz, born Abdul Malik Theen Mohamed, was remanded and was allegedly forced to strip to prove her claim that she had undergone a sex change operation in Thailand.

Kayveas said that everyone has the right to update their personal details from birth to death.

“We should not be too rigid on this matter, ” he said.

Kayveas also said that transsexuals must be respected as human beings and Malaysian citizens.

“They are neither foreigners nor criminals. It is not their choice to be in-between. They were born that way. For those who believe in God, it is God’s creation, so respect it,” he said.

Kayveas also said that society should try to help transsexuals to lead a normal life.

On Nov 15, the New Straits Times reported that the Government has no plans to amend the law to allow change of sex status in the MyKad.

However, exceptions could be made if an applicant has been given the green light by the court.

The report quoted Home Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid who had said that existing laws also prohibit Muslims (except for medically-certified khunsa or hermaphrodites) from changing their sex status or name in the MyKad after undergoing a sex-change operation.

To date, Azmi had said, there has only been one case where a sex and name change was allowed in the MyKad, after a court ruling.

He said that it was up to Parliament to amend the law but there has been no such move towards this.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Getting down to business

Bay Area Reporter
by Gwendolyn Ann Smith

Many years ago, at the beginning of my transition from mail to female, I started to distribute copies of my resume, looking for a job to replace the one I lost shortly after I began to live publicly as a woman. I had a pretty good list of skills behind me, and was targeting workplaces similar to that which I'd just left. Typically, I was – if you'll allow me a slight moment of bragging – a little more qualified than some of the positions for which I was applying.

I soon discovered that my skills would have very little to do with my average interview. Sure, the prospective employer and I would do the dance, but we both knew that my chances were next to nil as soon as I walked in the door. There was usually a slight change in expression, and a slight "tightening up" in the room. When they saw me, they did not see a woman across from them: they saw a man in a dress.

They were always polite, though, letting me know that they would interview many others, that my resume was fine, and that they'd be calling me back in a week. They rarely bothered with that call, however. I couldn't even land a temporary position through the local employment agencies.

It took nearly a year for me to finally land a position, in a rundown business in a neighborhood so rough that I had to hide against a filing cabinet one day, so as to have some protection from the guns-drawn police standoff happening in the parking lot.

I don't offer this story in an effort to play off your sympathies for what I went though, but rather I offer it as an illustration of what is a common occurrence for most transgender people who choose to enter the public arena. It's not a pleasant experience. What's worse, my experience – while not uncommon – is better than what many out there have faced. I've known more than my share of transgender people who have somehow ended up almost totally unemployable.

With this in mind, I was pleased to see a particular bit of inaction from the United States Supreme Court, as the justices decided not to hear an appeal from the city of Cincinnati on behalf of its police department.

It was in the Queen City that a veteran of the city's finest was demoted. This officer had been living as a woman, Philecia Barnes, in her off-duty time, but was still serving on the force as a male.

The story gets complicated in her 17th year with the force, where she was initially promoted to sergeant – or was going to be promoted – when superiors decided that Barnes did not have "command presence." She was then put into the equivalent of "double-secret probation," and finally demoted.

She sued the department, using Title VII under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. A jury found for her. The ruling was appealed, and the appeal was rejected – and now the U.S. has sided with those decisions by declining to hear the case. This goes against an established precedent that claims Title VII to not apply to transgender people, but falls in line with similar rulings over the last few years that Title VII may indeed cover transgender employment rights. It all seems to hinge on how one defines sex under Title VII.

In 1994, a similar case – this time a transgender firefighter – also used Title VII to protect the rights of a Jimmie Smith, who began to face trouble in the workplace after disclosing in confidence to her supervisor plans to transition. This led to a battery of psychological tests she was required to take. She sued, and was subsequently suspended from duty. The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals found in Smith's favor.

Of course, this is by no means a 100 percent effective stance for transgender people seeking redress against workplace discrimination.

In 2000, an employee of the Winn-Dixie grocery chain, Peter Oiler, was fired. Winn-Dixie made no bones about the reason: Oiler, while not presenting as anything other than male in the workplace, cross-dressed in his off hours. A Louisiana federal district judge found for Winn-Dixie, citing that Title VII did not apply.

Title VII has plenty of legal history excluding transgender people from coverage, and it likely only takes the right legal argument – and the right judges – to make the Title VII argument moot.

This is why it's still important that transgender protections become explicit, such as in the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. I'm actually able to say something positive about the Human Rights Campaign – a rare occurrence – as it embarks on a campaign to educate members of Congress about the need for a transgender-inclusive ENDA. Of course, I can balance that with HRC's lackluster stance on hate crimes legislation and other protections for trangender people, but I digress.

I'm a pragmatist. To me this isn't an issue of pie-in-the-sky wishes. No, to me this is an issue of basic fairness.

All those years ago, all I wanted to do was clock in, do my best, and get compensated for same, but my transgender status – a status that was largely irrelevant for the jobs I was applying for – kept me from employment.

Jimmie Smith and Philecia Barnes, likewise, had proven their ability to do their jobs – but it was the simple fact that they were transgender that kept them from being treated fairly by their superiors.

Through their victories – and maybe even an eventual ENDA victory – perhaps there's a chance, after all.

Gwen Smith will work for food. You can find her online at http://www.gwensmith.com.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Transgender Day of Remembrance - LA, USA

Close to 100 people marched through the streets of West Hollywood this Sunday in a series of weekend events part of the Transgender Day of Remembrance. The Day was set aside to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. The day started as a San Francisco candlelight vigil in 1999 to honor Rita Hester, a victim of a anti-transgender murder, her case has yet to be solved

Short video of the march and speakers of the Transgender Day of Remembrance event held today in West Hollywoodhttp://la.indymedia.org/news/2005/11/139697.php

Also 3 gallerys by Susan Forrest .

1
http://la.indymedia.org/news/2005/11/139698.php

2
http://la.indymedia.org/news/2005/11/139718.php

3
http://la.indymedia.org/news/2005/11/139738.php

Monday, November 21, 2005

Day of Rememberance or Night of embarrassment

Indybay.org
by Producer of Tranny Talk

As a trans person and a someone who produces media I have to say that generally the TG/TS community does not know how to treat the media. My experience with the TGDOR.

First of all Tranny Talk was the only broadcast media to show up, and as the producer of this show I felt I was treated like shit by those people. Gwen Smith the creator of the TGDOR is always bad mouthing the so-called mainstream media, BUT when trans only media shows up she treats them like shit.

My point; if the trans community wants respect from the media then they need to earn it. The trans community and its leaders need to learn how to treat the media or the media will not give them respect.

Secondly: The turnout was small. Actually the turnout was an embarrassment. It was so small that I could not get one snap shot of the march.

Thirdly: I would like to say that the group the Pink Pistols were there, and their presence was appreciated and will never be forgotten.

And the fourth and final rant: If the trans community wants the violence to stop then get right with the status quo, and quit alienating the community from the rest of the world.

The display by Gwen Smith was a disappointment and as a trans person I do not feel like I am a part of that community. Peace and Good Luck (and will the people from TGDOR please go to school, they need the education.)

homepage.mac.com/trannytalk/Menu1.html

State sex-change status in ICs: MP

Sun2Surf
Regina William

BUKIT MERTAJAM: A person who undergoes a sex change should be allowed to have this stated in the identity card so that the current sexual identity is not disputed.

Bukit Mertajam MP and DAP deputy secretary general Chong Eng said in a statement, a person who has undergone a sex-change operation cannot be classified as male and neither is she a natural female.

"The identity card should accurately state the person as a male or female who has undergone a sex-change operation.

"For instance, take the case of Mumtaz, a transsexual who had undergone a sex-change operation. She alleged that three policemen ordered her to strip naked for them to see if she was physically a woman and not male as stated on her identity card.

"To allow a transsexual person like Mumtaz to state her sex-change status does not mean the government supports sex-change, but is merely taking the necessary steps to categorise persons who have undergone sex-change procedures.

"This would then enable the police and other public and private agencies to recognise their gender status.

"If Mumtaz was allowed to state her gender status in her identity card then the three policemen would not have the excuse to order her to strip for them to see with their own eyes that she is physically a woman. Such a step will, at least, prevent police from abusing their power to order transsexuals to strip naked," she stressed.

She stressed that the current policy of not allowing persons like Mumtaz and Jessie Chung, another transsexual who had also undergone a sex-change operation, and the first transsexual to have openly married recently, had caused difficulties in their daily interactions in the private and public sectors.

Chong claimed they are not allowed to purchase health insurance or take housing loans from banks and they face difficulties in securing employment, and on top of this, they face discrimination and humiliation.

"Article 8(2) of the Federal Constitution among other things, prohibits discrimination based on gender.

"Transsexuals and those who have undergone sex-change operations have a gender of their own and have similar rights as any other male or female human being.

"As a minority group their life is already difficult. The government, which claims to be caring and ever ready to serve the people, must not make their lives more difficult by banning change of gender status in their ICs. They are people too," she stressed.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Transsexual: I was humiliated and forced to strip

The Star
BY NG SI HOOI

KUALA LUMPUR: A transsexual has alleged that she was humiliated and forced to strip naked before three policemen after she was detained for suspected vice.

Mumtaz, who was born Abdul Malik Theen Mohamad, claimed that the incident occurred at the Ipoh central police station on Oct 16.

The 24-year-old cook, who underwent two sex-change operations in Thailand, said she had to strip in front of three policemen although she told them she was now a woman.

“I asked for a policewoman to examine me but they refused, saying my MyKad stated that I am a male,” she told a press conference held by Seputeh MP Teresa Kok.

Mumtaz was accompanied by her husband A. Ravichandran, 28, and six transsexual friends.

She was arrested during a raid at the Luck Inn Hotel in Ipoh at about 3.30pm that day.

Mumtaz was in Ipoh with Ravichandran to look up a friend and they were staying at the hotel. During the raid, she was alone in the room as Ravichandran had gone out.

“The police accused me of being involved in vice when they found two condom wrappers in the room,” she said.

Mumtaz, who said she had a traditional wedding ceremony with Ravichandran in India in July, claimed that the police humiliated her by making remarks about her body and even joked about buying four-digit lottery.

“When I related my experience to another policeman who recorded my statement, he told me not to cause trouble,” she said, adding that she was remanded for four days in a lock-up for women.

Mumtaz said she sent a complaint letter to the Police Disciplinary Unit on Nov 7 and lodged a report at the Brickfields police station yesterday.

“I hope the Government will take action against the policemen as they have humiliated me. I also appeal to the Government to allow me and others like me to change our gender in MyKad.

“We face difficulty in getting jobs as we are identified as males in our MyKad,” she said.

Meanwhile, Kok urged the Government to allow transsexuals to change their gender in MyKad so that similar incidents would not recur.

Brickfields OCPD Asst Comm Mohd Dzuraidi Ibrahim confirmed that a police report had been lodged and the case would be referred to the Ipoh police.

Friday, November 18, 2005

One of my Pic's - Handy Man

Handy Man
Copyright D-notice Designs 2005.

Portrait of a violent father.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Transsexual Forced To Resign From Gay Post

Rainbow Network

A Brighton transsexual has claimed he was forced to resign from his job as co-ordinator of a gay safety forum because of sexual discrimination.

During an employment tribunal Andy Baldwin accused members of Brighton and Hove City Council, and prominent members of the city's gay community, of transphobia.

According to The Argus, the tribunal was told that the council was steeped in a culture of bigotry and discrimination against transsexuals.

Baldwin told the tribunal that he had become the subject of a whispering campaign by his line manager Linda Beanlands, the council's community safety manager, and Anthea Ballam, who chaired the safety forum.

"Anthea Ballam had been calling me objectionable and incompetent. I was told she said she would rather be dead than let me carry on as co-ordinator," Baldwin said.

The tribunal heard that Baldwin had recorded a conversation between a friend and David Miller, who had taken over as chairman of the now-defunct safety forum, in which Miller allegedly said, "I do not think that being treated as a transsexual can be regarded as normal."

Baldwin’s friend told him that, "In his eyes, I was nothing more than a man dressed up as a woman."

Baldwin claims he was forced to resign in January 2003 after "resistance, disinterest, inaction and bigotry."

Jessie: Give our marriage a chance

The Star
BY LOONG MENG YEE

KLANG: Transsexual drama queen, sinful couple – these were among the taunts that Jessie Chung and her husband have had to put up with following their much publicised wedding.

Chung and her husband Joshua Beh spent nearly RM1mil on their wedding last Saturday, but since then have been holed up in their house in Kuching, biding their time until the unwanted attention caused by their union abates.

“I want nothing more than peace and quiet. I did not wish for this kind of attention. Who would?

“My marriage was supposed to be a happy occasion. It was, and I am thankful for it, but some post-marriage comments about us in the press were hurtful.

“We are especially worried about the effect these words may have on my parents, Joshua’s, and our loved ones,” said Chung yesterday.

Chung, who was born male more than 30 years ago, underwent three major operations to become a woman, having known from young that she was a woman trapped in a man’s body.

The media stories about her being “man enough to be a woman” sparked off comments and opinions about the legality of the marriage.

Chung said it was never her intention to challenge the laws of the land with her union, believed to be the first involving a man who had had a sex change.

She added that she understood the sensitivities of living in a Muslim country, and would not seek legal recourse to gain recognition for her marriage.

“My marriage is recognised by our parents. I am a woman married to a man. I have a healthy marriage. If there is any issue with God, it is the cross for Joshua and me to bear,” said Chung.

On allegations that she had courted attention by publicising her wedding, Chung said it was a Catch-22 situation.

If she had not invited the press to the wedding, the press would still have turned up to cover the event because of its unusual elements, she said.

More than anything, Chung wants a peaceful life after a turbulent journey and wishes for nothing more than some understanding from the media and society.

“Give my marriage a chance. Give me a chance,” she said.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

November 20th - Transgender Day of Remembrance

Indybay.org

The Transgender Day of Remembrance was set aside to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. The event is held in November to honor Rita Hester, whose murder on November 28th, 1998 kicked off the “Remembering Our Dead” web project and a San Francisco candlelight vigil in 1999. Rita Hester’s murder — like most anti-transgender murder cases — has yet to be solved.

Although not every person represented during the Day of Remembrance self-identified as transgendered — that is, as a transsexual, crossdresser, or otherwise gender-variant — each was a victim of violence based on bias against transgendered people.

We live in times more sensitive than ever to hatred based violence, especially since the events of September 11th. Yet even now, the deaths of those based on anti-transgender hatred or prejudice are largely ignored. Over the last decade, more than one person per month has died due to transgender-based hate or prejudice, regardless of any other factors in their lives. This trend shows no sign of abating.

The Transgender Day of Remembrance serves several purposes. It raises public awareness of hate crimes against transgendered people, an action that current media doesn’t perform. Day of Remembrance publicly mourns and honors the lives of our brothers and sisters who might otherwise be forgotten. Through the vigil, we express love and respect for our people in the face of national indifference and hatred. Day of Remembrance reminds non-transgendered people that we are their sons, daughters, parents, friends and lovers. Day of Remembrance gives our allies a chance to step forward with us and stand in vigil, memorializing those of us who’ve died by anti-transgender violence.

www.gender.org/remember/day/what.html

Where

The following locations have let us know they are hosting an event for 2005. Please drop us a note if you know of an additional location, or if you are interested in hosting an event. Several additional events and locations will be forthcoming.

All events are on Sunday, November 20th, unless otherwise indicated.

Adelaide, Australia A day’s worth of events will be held, including a ceremony devised especially for the Feast Festival to celebrate and mourn those transfolk who have lost their lives. All events will be held at Feast at Fowler’s Live, Lion Arts Centre, Corner North Terrace and Morphett Street. Disability Access. For additional details, see http://www.feast.org.au/

Melbourne, Australia Metropolitan Community Church of Melbourne, Australia will hold a service of rememberance honouring our TG brothers and sisters at 7:00 p.m. at 217 Burnley Street, Burnley. Our service will include a candle lighting ceremony within a service. Our guest speaker is a young FTM man who is a member of our youth group and the congregation have journeyed with him both spiritualy and through transition for a number of years.

Perth, Australia Details Pending.

Calgary, Alberta, Canada Calgary’s First Transgender Day of Remebrance will be held on Monday, November 21, 2005 from 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Hosted by Positive Space at Mount Royal College In the Meditation room at Mount Royal Lincoln Park campus. A Rabbi, and several christian church leaders will be saying prayers. For additional information, see http://www.mtroyal.ca/positivespace/events.shtml

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada TTIQ Alliance and Lambda Christian Community Church will host the following on Sunday, November 20, 2005 at Garneau United Church 11148 - 84 Avenue: - 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Information Fair: Trans men and women will be on site to share information and resources, answer questions, book speaking engagements and talk about services that are available in the Greater Edmonton region. Alberta’s Transgender Warrior Display will be included. - 3:45 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Film: Soldiers Girl, The true story of a young soldier beaten to death for falling in love with a transgendered nightclub performer. - 7:00 p.m. Annual Transgender Day of Remembrance Memorial Service with the Remembering our Dead Memorial Quilt & Display.

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada March starts at 3:30pm sharp in front of the Carnegie Centre, 401 Main St. They will be marching to SFU Harbour Centre 515 W. Hastings St., Terasen Room #1800. Speakers include Libby Davies and Bill Siksay, MPs (members of parliament). There will also be a screening of the documentary In the Flesh. Tami Starlight, Canadian national trans activist/advocate, will hold a reading of our fallen trans community members. There will also be a memorial Open microphone for community members to speak, and Much more. Sponsored by SFU — Out On Campus, Egale Canada, Trans Action Canada, and Xtra West.

Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. An event will be held at the Metropolitan Community Church, 2786 Agricola St., Bloomfield Centre, suite # 108 at 7:00 p.m. on the Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada Several events will be taking place in Ottawa. These include:

Tuesday, November 15, 2005: A Film Night: NFB Doc: In the Flesh At Pink Triangle Services, 177 Nepean St., 5th Floor at 7:00 p.m. The film will be the National Film Board Documentary, In the Flesh, about two Male to Female and two Female to Male transsexual people, including the Montreal and Toronto activist and film-maker, Mirha-Ross Soleil. An open discussion will follow facilitated by Jessica Freedman.

Thursday, November 17, 2005: A Panel Discussion on Transsexuality & Transgenderism at Sandy Hill C.C. 250 Somerset St. East at 7:00 p.m. The Panel for the Discussion will be Helma Seidl, MSW, RSW, CCC, RN, Dr. Norman Barwin, Bill Siksay, M.P., Jessica Freedman and Alex Adams. The panel will be chaired by Jessica Freedman.

Friday, November 18, 2005: A Divergence Dance at Shanghai Restaurant, 651 Somerset Street West at 10:30 p.m. 19+ $5 cover.

Sunday, November, 20, 2005: Transgender Day of Remembrance Observance at Jack Purcell C. C., Elgin St. at 2 pm. Ceremony at 3:00 p.m.

St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada (Brock University) A Transgender Day Of Remembrance event will be held from 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. at Brock University, Pond inlet, on Monday November 21st. The event will include Hershel T. Russell’s slide presentation “The Joy of Gender” and interviews of local Trans Youth. A candle light vigil will follow the presentation. Politicians, media, unions, GLBTQ allies and the general public have been invited to the event. This event is funded by the Unitarian Congregation of Niagara, PFLAG St. Catharines, The Imperial Sovereign Court of St. Catharines and the Greater Niagara Region, The New Vouz, and Has been organized by PFLAG St. Catharines, OPIRG-Brock, Niagara Pride, OUTNiagara, Aids Niagara, CAW Local 199 LGBT Committee, Brock Pride and Transgendered of Niagara.

Toronto, Ontario, Canada Their ceremony will be held at 519 Church Street Community Centre on Saturday, November 19th, from 5:00 til 7:00 p.m.

Strasbourg, France Support Transgenre Strasbourg (http://www.sts67.org/) will hold a Transgender Day of Remembrance commemoration on Saturday, November 19th, 7:00 p.m. at Pc Center, 80 rue du faubourg Nationale, just before our monthly meeting. All T* people, SOFFAs and supporters are welcome.

Tel Aviv, Israel The Transgender Day of Remembrance ceremony, sponsored by the Human Rights Commission of Tel Aviv Municipality, will take place at Tel Aviv City Hall.

Bologna, Italy Candle Light and torchlight procession at Piazza Ravegnana at 6:30 p.m. During the event they will be read victim names and will distribute material about transfobia. Organized by M.I.T. (Movimento Identità Transessuale)

Catania, Italy An event will be held at Open Mind, Via Gargano 33 Organized by Circolo GLBT "Open Mind" Catania.

Firenze, Italy A Candle light memorial will be held at Via Lombardia 2 at 6:00 p.m. Organized by A.I.T. Firenze.

Genova, Italy To be held at Comunità San Benedetto al Porto, Via San Benedetto 12, at 7:30 p.m. Additional detals pending.

Milano, Italy At C.I.G. Arcigay Milano, Via Bezzecca 3. A candle light event with live harp accompaniment. 8:00 p.m. Hosted by Crisalide AzioneTrans - Milano and C.I.G. Arcigay Milano.

Pescara, Italy To be held on Piazza Salotto at 6:00 p.m. Hosted by Jonathan - Diritti in Movimento / Crisalide AzioneTrans Pescara.

Piacenza, Italy Their event will be held at L’A.T.OMO Strada Malchioda, 39. At 8:00 p.m. there will be a Candle Light event, at 9:00 p.m. wil be a showing of Ma vie en Rose, and at 10:30 p.m. there will be a debate. Organized by Arcigay Piacenza L’A.T.Omo.

Torino, Italy A candle light vigil will be held at 9:00 p.m. at Circolo glbt Maurice, Via Basilica 3. Organized by Gruppo Luna Transessuali, Torino.

Auckland, New Zealand Their vigil will be held on Monday, November 21 at Family Nightclub and Bar, 270 Karangahape Road, starting at 7:00 p.m. There will be an open mic.

Wellington, New Zealand Agender New Zealand in association with TransMana will be hosting an event in the nation’s capital city. To be hosted on the Transgender Day of Remembrance at 2:00 p.m. in Civic Square behind the Main Library. This will be the 2nd annual event in New Zealand. All transgendered people and our supporters are welcome to attend. An open mic will be available to all.

Quezon City, Philippines On November 19, the Society of Transsexual Women of the Philippines (STRAP), in cooperation with the Order of St. Aelred, will be hosting the first Transgender Day of Remembrance in the Philippines at the Friendship Hall of The Order of St. Aelred at 5 PM. The theme of the Manila Event is “A Day of Remembrance, The Start of Acceptance”. An ecumenical mass of remembrance and candle lighting will be held in honor of those who died since the last Transgender Day of Remembrance in 2004. Refreshments shall be served for the guests. Additional details are available at http://www.m2fstrap.org/.

Edinburgh, Scotland An act of remembrance on Saturday, November 19, from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m., open to all, will be lead by the Metropolitan Community Church, Edinburgh, followed by refreshments and the opportunity to socialise. MCC Edinburgh will be jointly hosting the event with the LGBT Centre for Healthy Living in Edinburgh, Transmen Scotland, and LGBT Youth Scotland.

Seoul, South Korea Details pending.

Amsterdam, The Netherlands The Noodles, an Amsterdam (NL) based queer and/or transgender group, will hold a memorial at their monthly cafe at Saarein II, Elandsstraat 119. Open from 5:00 p.m., At 6:00 p.m. there will be a walk from Saarein to the Leidseplein. There they will hold a vigil. Afterwards, they will walk back to Saarein.

Derby, United Kingdom Details Pending.

London, United Kingdom We will be meeting at 5:30 p.m. outside the NFT café/bar on the South Bank in London. There is a map and directions at http://www.bfi.org.uk/incinemas/nft/about/location.html. Bring family, friends, candles and anything you’d like to share (words, homemade brownies, a hip flask..), and let us know if there is something special you’d like to do — a reading or perhaps playing some music, for instance. For additional information, see http://www.transfabulous.co.uk.

America, For a full list of american locations please see the main post (Link at top of this page),
as it's a little long to put the list here. Sorry.

or click here: www.gender.org/remember/day/where.html

If it rains, it pours

Well what a week...
My granpa is in hospital dying of cancer and he's not expected to last the week.
The internet cafe I work for is closing down due to a lack of customers, because my two bosses are too fricking stubborn and messed up to work together. I'm feeling down about uni and not being able to move forward with my transition because of a lack of funds. And I've been offered the business by one of my bosses, which would mean dropping uni, putting myself in debt and working every hour on earth in an attempt to save this hole. As well as making it problematic income wise when I take off at least 6 months once I do have the op... AhhhhhH!!!!!!!!!!
Some body let me off this crazy fucked up bus of a life. I feel like I'm being driven around the same roundabout and not going anywhere but in circles, because if it goes down the wrong road then I'm fucked.

Life.. you got to love it.

I'm all woman, says sex-change Denise

Belfast Telegraph
By Ashleigh Wallace
15 November 2005

A transsexual from Larne is in the process of changing her birth certificate to prove to the courts in Northern Ireland that she is a "fully fledged woman".

Denise Martin was fined £30 at Larne Magistrate's Court in September on a charge of breaching the peace.

The 44-year-old, who started life as Douglas but who has been living as a woman for 27 years, said she feels she has been treated unfairly by the judicial system.

The charge relates to an incident with a transvestite which took place in Larne earlier this year.

Denise admits the pair became involved in a verbal spat but denied lifting the transvestite's skirt - a charge for which she was fined £30 but which she vows she will not pay.

She appealed the outcome of the case but failed to appear at an appeal hearing which was held in Ballymena last week.

She is currently filling out a form sent from England which will allow her to change her birth certificate from male to female.

Denise says she wants this document before the next appeal hearing so she can prove to the judge that she is a woman.

Denise, who had her sex change operation in London 22 years ago, said: "I only knew I was being taken to court about five months after it happened. "A policeman called to my door and asked me if Douglas Martin lived here."I said no but a few minutes later I heard a clunk and there was a summons lying under the letterbox.

"When my name was read out in court, they referred to me as Douglas but I've been living as Denise for 27 years.

Neither Denise nor the injured party attended the court hearing.

She said: "I never touched him and for him to say I tried to touch his genitals is wrong.

"I didn't go to court because I felt it was so unjust I had to go to court for something so trivial.

"I am not going to pay this fine but if they send me to jail, are they going to recognise me as a woman, because that is what I am - a fully-fledged woman."

awallace@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Time up for cross-dressing cop?

BBC NEWS
By Ram Dutt Tripathi
BBC News, Lucknow

The authorities in India's Uttar Pradesh state are trying to work out what to do with a senior police officer who likes dressing up in drag.

Things came to a head last week when inspector general Devendra Kumar Panda turned up in court in a yellow dress and dark red lipstick.

TV news channels flocked to his home to film him worshipping Hindu deity Lord Krishna in the form of a tree.

Mr Panda says he is the reincarnation of Goddess Radha, Lord Krishna's beloved.

His wife takes a different view - she has filed for separation because he is not behaving like a husband.

The court in Lucknow ordered Mr Panda to pay 7,000 rupees ($150) a month in maintenance allowance.

Wife's fears

Mr Panda's wife, Veena, fears he may lose his job - and she her maintenance allowance.

"Please keep my future in mind," she told reporters. "I am a 51-year-old lady and a graduate. I should not suffer due to any action against him."

The couple have been married for 33 years and have two sons, but Mr Panda now pays his family no attention.

He has been spending his time embracing a peepal, or holy fig, tree in his garden, chanting mantras to his beloved Lord Krishna.

One room in his house is kept sacred and secret.

"That is my private bed room. Only Krishna can enter there," he says.

'Strange behaviour'

There is nothing unusual in a Hindu ascetic getting up early and quoting from scriptures, as Mr Panda does.

Nor is it uncommon for Hindu sects to worship deities as lovers, or for men to live like women devotees.

But Mr Panda's position is a tricky one, seeing as he is a senior police officer.

Colleagues kept his penchant for ladies' clothes a secret for years, but must now decide what to do with a man who has become a figure of ridicule.

"The appearance and behaviour of Mr Panda is strange," admits director general of police, Yashpal Singh.

"But maybe he is suffering from some mental problem and any disciplinary action may precipitate things."

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Malaysian transsexual says she won't challenge government to recognize her marriage

Mainichi News

KUALA LUMPUR -- A Malaysian transsexual woman said Tuesday she won't fight a decision by the government to declare her marriage to a man as illegal, because she wants "no trouble" over what is believed to be the first such union in this mostly Muslim country.

Jessie Chung, a Christian businesswoman who was born male and underwent sex change surgery in China in 2003, said she was "satisfied and very much in love" after marrying Joshua Beh in a ceremony conducted by independent church pastors in Malaysia's eastern Sarawak state Saturday.

"I respect the laws in this country," Chung said in a telephone interview. "I want to cause no trouble for the Malaysian government. My husband and I want a peaceful life. We will be content as long as no one tries to interfere with our marriage."

Home Minister Azmi Khalid said Monday their marriage was invalid, because it was considered a same-sex union. Chung's identification papers state she is still a man, since Malaysian transsexuals cannot legally update their gender status even after changing their sex.

The National Evangelical Christian Fellowship comprising 2,000 churches said it also won't recognize the marriage.

Malaysian newspapers said it was the first marriage involving a transsexual in this Southeast Asian nation.

A U.S.-trained ethnic Chinese nutritionist in her 30s who runs a health therapy business, Chung, whose original name is Jeffrey, expressed hopes that the publicity might encourage further public awareness about the struggles of transsexuals.

"I cannot force people to change their minds, but I hope they will learn to accept us," Chung said.

Many transsexuals in Malaysia face discrimination and cannot find employment, forcing them into illegal sex work, activists say. (AP)

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Iran's transexual revolution

The Independent

An unlikely religious ruling has made Tehran the sex-change capital of the world. Caroline Mangez went to meet the brave souls who have swapped gender in this rigidly conservative city, where women wear the chador and homosexuality is punishable by death.

I know because I've experienced both worlds: as a man in Iran I have more freedom and choice than as a woman," muses 30 year-old estate agent Milad Kajouhinejad, 30, loosening his tie and unbuttoning his shirt to reveal a hirsute chest. It gives him pleasure, this manly gesture, just as it gives him pleasure to carry an attaché case and sport the full beard of a practising Muslim. Until three years ago, he could do none of these things. "I never used to go to the mosque, either," he adds. "I did not want to have to wear a chador. Now I can pray in boxer shorts if I feel like it, and I never miss prayers," he says.

Milad gives thanks to Allah five times a day and, while doing so, always offers a special prayer to the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, "without whom," he says, "every transexual would have had to leave Iran. He was the first to issue a fatwa authorising a man or woman to change their sex."

More than 15 years after Khomeini's death, the cleric's unlikely religious judgement means that Iran now has one of the world's largest populations of transexuals, and the fatwa itself has become the stuff of legend. "A theology student told me that he delivered his verdict after he was contacted by a couple who no longer experienced any physical pleasure. He advised them to change sex and, once the woman had become a man and the man a woman, then to remarry," says Mahnaz Javaheri, 42, the mother of Athena, a 20-year-old who, as she puts it, "needed to be freed of her man's body". A devout Muslim, Mahnaz says that if the three imams she consulted hadn't given their permission, she would never have let her son Hadi become Athena, "even if it meant him committing suicide. These three great ayatollahs all said that he should have the operation as soon as possible."

The real story behind Khomeini's fatwa is scarcely less dramatic than the apocryphal version. He issued it in 1983, after a man named Fereydoon, who had made several unsuccessful attempts to gain an audience with the Iranian leader, eventually forced his way into Khomeini's private rooms. Fereydoon persuaded the cleric that he was a woman trapped in as man's body by revealing the breasts he had grown thanks to a course of hormone treatment.

Before this extraordinary moment, Khomeini's administration had routinely harassed and arrested transexuals, lumping them together with Iran's gay community. According to Iranian law, homosexuality is punished by lashings, prison and even, in the case of persistent offenders, the death penalty.

"Before Khomeini delivered his verdict, there was a lot of corruption. Hundreds of gays and lesbians used to meet in Laleh Park, right in the heart of Tehran. By authorising transexuals to change sex, the imam separated the wheat from the chaff," Milad says pragmatically, delighted to be the man he always felt he was back in the days when he was a she called Mahboubeh, "the beloved". The only traces of this other life are two minuscule pinkish piercings in his ears, where his mother Fatima used to try and get him to wear earrings, and the black-and-white photograph in their family album which shows Mahboubeh, aged three, crying because her hair has been put in bunches.

"All the restrictions that women in Iran are subject to applied to me," says Milad. "I wasn't allowed to go out, let alone consult a doctor about my problems, and of course I had to wear the veil in public. I used to hide boy's clothes in my satchel to play with the kids in the street after school."

He sees the past as a procession of bad memories - with one or two compensations. "I was a big hit with the girls in my class. They came from strict families, so it was a chance for them to have a boyfriend without seeming to be up to anything."

"Yes, they knew we couldn't take what was most precious to them, their virginity," concurs Amin, 28, formerly Milad's best friend at school, who has also undergone a sex-change operation. "So they were very relaxed. No one ever made fun of us. In Iran, a man who behaves like a woman is despised, looked down on. But a girl who behaves and dresses like a man is respected for her strong character."

Mahboubeh was nine when her father, a long-distance lorry driver, caught her in a clinch with one of her girlfriends. He didn't say anything but was convinced that his daughter was turning into a homosexual. In 1986, to "awaken" Mahboubeh's femininity, her parents forcibly married her to a 30-year-old cousin. She was only 12 but, on the eve of her wedding, a state doctor confirmed that she was an "adult woman" by establishing that she had breasts and was menstruating. After being raped, she ran away.

"After the police took me back to my father, he agreed to let me get a divorce when I told him that otherwise I would commit suicide," he says.

Some years later, at university, Mahboubeh discovered a book on transexuals in the library - and with it the existence of Milad within her. Since Iran's clergy prides itself on its ability to pronounce on every aspect of the faithful's lives, it was to them that she turned. "First I saw a state doctor and then, for a year and a half, I was passed between experts and psychiatrists. I was given hundreds of tests, a brain scan. In the end, a clerical judge gave permission for my operation."

"On grounds of sexual identity disorder," the accompanying medical certificate reads.

At this point, the young woman, who was by then 26, was rejected by her parents. "We needed someone to prepare us," her father says now, "to explain that afterwards we wouldn't be able to see any difference between him and other men."

"We didn't like it at first," explains Fatima, the mother who Milad still helps in her kitchen - unlike the other three sons in her now-reconciled family. "My family threw me out," recalls Milad. "I had to find money... I drove a taxi from six in the morning to midnight. The rest of the time I slept in my car."

The procedure took years and cost thousands of pounds, between two and three times as much as the £2,000 an Iranian surgeon charges for turning a man into a woman. "I applied to the committee of imam Khomeini's charity for financial assistance which they give to people, well, to people like me. They give us interest-free loans up to £700."

Milad had read on the internet that four operations would be enough. Skin grafts, nerve grafts, muscle grafts - he has had 23 operations in three years and will have the last one before the end of the year. "My surgeon, Dr Khatir, has done such a good job that soon a woman won't notice a thing," he says. "He is a pioneer. He was doing this before the revolution. I am the only person in Iran, and perhaps in the world, to have gone as far, medically speaking. The last operation was the hardest..." Two bouts of four hours at a time on the operating table; his friends crying in the corridor, him thinking he was dying, saying his final prayers, a scarf clamped between his teeth to stop him screaming, and which he only took out to tell Dr Khatir, "Go on, I'd rather die than stay a woman."

Milad still saves all his money to spend on removing his unwanted femininity. "My birth certificate, my identity card and my driving licence were changed when I stopped being a woman, in 2001. For the deep voice, the build, the beard, there are the hormones... I'll be taking them all my life." Milad, who claims to have as much success with women now as before, wears a wedding ring "so they don't hassle me. When I've finished all the operations and I have enough money, I'll think about marriage."

Amin, who is still Milad's best friend, is already engaged. He is a respected member of the Guardians of the Revolution, a very strict military organisation; no one there knows about his operation. "No one in my wife-to-be's family knows my former identity either," he says. "All trace of it has been erased. I would be too afraid that they would object to our marriage. Everyone in my family was fine about it until my father died. But since my two sisters learnt that, under sharia law, as the only male heir of the family I was entitled to twice their share of the inheritance, they have refused to see me."

In male-dominated Iran, girls who have the misfortune to be born in a boy's body are a laughing stock. Setareh, now a 24-year-old woman, has first-hand experience of this from the two years' military service she had to do when still called Saeed. "Life in barracks was agony. While I felt more and more like a woman, I was being ordered to speak in a deeper voice, to be more masculine. To stop people making fun of me, I ended up wanting to look like a Hizbollah fighter, growing my beard long and trying twice as hard in training. It was in the army that I fell in love with Ali, the day he fought with three soldiers who were trying to rape me at knifepoint. I was 19, he was nearly 21. It was Ali who encouraged me to set about changing sex so that I could marry him."

They have persuaded Ali's parents that Setareh is the sister of the Saeed they used to know. "Every time my parents-in-law ask me about Saaed, I blush and say he has gone on a long trip," says Setareh, who never takes off her chador. "Ali insists I wear one, just as he likes me to devote myself to housework." Giving pleasure without being able to feel it - "I was warned" - Setareh is perfectly reconciled to her lot.

With one eye glued to a religious chat show, Magnaz, the mother of 20-year-old transexual Athena Javaheri recalls: "At first we thought this odd idea of dressing as a woman came from his grandmother who loved dressing him up as a girl and getting him to dance."

Now, she says her main concern is whether her former son will be able to give her any grandchildren.

Athena has torn all the pictures of her as a little boy out of the family album. In the photographs from the 1960s, her father Hussein, who is 52 now, looks like Jim Morrison. Twenty five years of revolution, however, have made him a conventional man who doesn't let Athena go out without a chador.

"I couldn't accept it," he says, "my only son! I beat him until he tried to commit suicide. Then the doctors had to explain to me that he wasn't homosexual before I would agree to the operation."

According to some transexuals, their legal status in Iranian society has prompted hundreds of gay Iranians to apply for permission for sex-changes, which, if granted, would allow them to continue their relationship without fear of arrest. "The best psychiatrists don't make any distinction between a transexual and a homosexual," claims Amin. "So, if you're a woman, you just have to go the chemist and inject yourself with testosterone to obtain a permit to be operated on. Many women then have a bit of breast reduction to be able to indulge their deviancy. When they get arrested, the permit is a big help."

But legal recognition is not the same as social acceptance. Transexuals in Iran continue to suffer not just ostracism, but physical attacks. For every happily assimilated Milad and Athena, there are newly made men and women on the streets of Tehran who can never reveal the truth that lies behind their chador or business suit.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Getting away with murder

The Bay Area Reporter

Ten years ago, a man by the name of William Palmer walked into the Playland Cafe in Boston, Massachusetts. When he left the bar that night, he was with a 23-year-old transsexual by the name of Chanelle Pickett. The following day, Pickett's body was found by police in Palmer's bedroom. She had been beaten, and then strangled to death.

In a jury trial two years later, Palmer was acquitted of murder charges, and only sentenced to two and a half years in jail on assault and battery charges.

The Chanelle Pickett murder is one of the cases that led to the Remembering Our Dead project, which tracks antitransgender violent murders. The Remembering Our Dead project also coordinates the Transgender Day of Remembrance, held annually on November 20 – the anniversary of the day that Pickett's body was discovered.

I wish I could say that things are getting better, and that antitransgender violence is well on its way to being a thing of the past. Maybe it is, but if so, it's got a long way to go. The numbers simply don't bear that out.

Since the last Transgender Day of Remembrance, there have been 24 murders. There are even a couple others for which the evidence is yet too scarce to be sure, and of course, there are plenty of examples of individuals who were assaulted and survived their attacks.

That's an average of two murders every month, with half of those cases being within the United States. It's four more murders than last year. It's also in line with the last decade, plus or minus five cases over the last 10 years, save for an abnormally high number of cases in 2003.

Indeed, since Pickett's death on November 20, 1995, there have been exactly 200 reported antitransgender violent murders. Roughly 20 a year, and just about one every two weeks. Half of those – approximately 100 people – were residing in the United States at the time of their death.

Think about that for a moment. Picture if you can 200 people. It's no small number, particularly when one is talking about people.

Can you, right now, think of 200 people with whom you regularly associate? If so, imagine a world where each of them left your life, one every two weeks, for a decade. Imagine what it would be like to see your friends, your family, your co-workers, and even your most causal acquaintances slowly stripped away.

Each of these 200 people who have been murdered have been lost to their family and friends. For each of these people, there are hundreds more who mourn the loss.

I've had the honor of meeting many friends and family members of some of those lost in the last decade or so. I've also lost friends of mine to this sort of violence. I can tell you with every shred of my being that I would not wish such a loss on my bitterest enemy.

Let me further put all this in perspective: 60 people have died, worldwide, from the bird flu, and we hear about it on the news nearly every night. Yet stories of antitransgender violence remain largely hidden and untold.

I'm not trying to diminish the importance of preparedness when it comes to a possible pandemic, but I do want to keep things in perspective. The government is pushing hard for a response to a disease that has killed 60 people, and is not currently being passed human to human – yet more than triple the number of deaths barely gets covered within the media, let alone in the world of politics.

This is one of the things that baffles me. I know how often someone is killed due to antitransgender violence, and I know what it feels like to lose someone to this. Yet so little seems to be done about these murders.

In Congress, a transgender-inclusive hate crimes bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives, yet the Senate remains, at best, reluctant to do the same. In fact, the leaders behind this bill – most notably Senator Edward Kennedy, who represents Massachusetts, where Chanelle Pickett lived – want the transgender-inclusive language struck from both the Senate and House versions of this bill.

Likewise, the Human Rights Campaign is standing with the senators on this, even refusing to sign onto a letter supported by representatives of over 40 top national organizations. It would seem that getting a win is more important to HRC than doing the right thing.

When people like William Palmer kill people like Chanelle Pickett, one often notices a pattern of what's termed "overkill." The assumed reason for this is that the killers want to do more than kill: they wish to erase the very existence of their victim.

It would seem to me that the lack of attention that is often paid to these murders, coupled with more than light resistance by the people we entrust to ensure our rights to want to include transgender people under the most basic of legal protections, simply further the goals of these killers. It allows for more erasure than they may have been capable when they committed murder.

In a civilized society, this is unacceptable. We should not be aiding killers, we should be helping victims. When one considers how many victims there have been, I cannot help but wonder why more isn't being done: if not for them, then for the two hundred that we might be able to expect over the next decade.

After all, the next victim could be someone you know.

Gwen Smith, who started the Remembering Our Dead project and the Transgender Day of Remembrance, hopes all her readers participate in events on November 20. You can find her online at www.gwensmith.com.


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

http://www.rememberingourdead.org/

Canadian Province Ordered To Pay For Sex-Change Surgeries

365gay.com
by Fidel Ortega,
365Gay.com Miami Bureau

(Toronto, Ontario) The Ontario government has been ordered to cover the costs of sexual reassignment surgery for three transsexuals left stranded when the previous Tory government delisted the service from the government paid health care system in 1998.

In an interim ruling, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario found the province discriminated against them based on a disability when it cut funding for the surgery on Oct. 1, 1998.

Ontario had paid for the procedure since 1969. It's now the only province that doesn't.

Diagnosed with "gender identity disorder," an internationally recognized medical condition, Martine Stonehouse, Michelle Hogan and a third complainant known only as A.B. were patients at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health's Gender Identity Clinic in Toronto on the day the funding ended.

They were part of its transition program so they could receive the clinic's recommendation for sex-change surgery. It was the only clinic in Ontario that had an arrangement with the Ontario Health Insurance Plan for sex-reassignment surgery and the supporting services.

The tribunal found that delisting the surgery had a disproportionate adverse impact on the complainants, as they had already spent years in the transition process.

There was a "grandfathering" clause, but it covered only those individuals who'd already been recommended for surgery. Given how far along each of the complainants were, the tribunal said they should have been grandfathered as well.

Hogan is encouraged by the ruling, but has no idea what the final decision will contain.

It's also unclear when it will come, which is why this was released in the interim.

Hogan was already taking hormone replacement therapy when the government cut its funding, and like A.B. has already had the surgery.

The tribunal said that given the nature of the complaints, it would be unfair, especially to those waiting for funding to complete the surgery, to continue their treatment only after the full decision and reasons were released.

A health ministry spokesman said the government plans to comply with the interim order while awaiting the final decision.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Airline must pay £25,000 to bullied transsexual worker

timesonline.co.uk
By Nicola Woolcock

A TRANSSEXUAL airline worker who was forced from her job by managers unhappy with her appearance won her claim of sexual discrimination yesterday. Marlene Davidson, 51, who was formerly called Malcolm, had an unblemished four-year career with the budget airline, Flybe.

But after beginning a sex-change procedure she was mocked, bullied and told to use disabled lavatories. Ms Davidson won her case at an employment tribunal in Exeter and has been awarded an undisclosed amount of damages, thought to be about £25,000.

She started her sex change in 1997, initially living as a woman at home and as a man while at work. But managers complained when she grew her hair and had her ears pierced.

Ms Davidson, from Feniton, Devon, was overlooked for promotion five times. She resigned in 2003, complaining that she had been forced out by discrimination. John Hollow, the tribunal chairman, criticised Flybe for failing to give her enough support. Don Darby, Flybe’s personnel manager, said that he had been “dumbfounded” to learn that Ms Davidson was undergoing a sex change.

Indianapolis Mayor Issues Order Protecting Transgender City Workers

365gay.com

(Indianapolis, Indiana) Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson has moved to protect the rights of transgendered municipal workers.

Peterson has amended an executive order he signed in 2004 that protects gay and lesbian city workers to include the transgendered.

The order prohibits discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. In signing the document Peterson said it brings the city in line with a state policy adopted by Gov. Joe Kernan and kept in place by Gov. Mitch Daniels.

The mayor's action drew praise from LGBT advocacy groups including Indiana Equality and Stonewall Democrats.

“Changes such as this have been needed for a very long time and will make a real difference in the lives of so many people who are simply trying to make a living, support their families, and contribute to the community,” said Leigh Anne Richards, President of the Indiana Transgender Rights Advocacy Alliance.

The Bloomington Human Rights Commission has recommended that the Bloomington City Council add gender identity to the city's human-rights ordinance, which already includes sexual orientation. The recommendation has not yet come up for a vote.

The Indianapolis City-County Council is currently considering an amendment to its Human Rights Ordinance that would protect all Indianapolis citizens and workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in the areas of employment, education, public accommodations, and housing.

A similar proposal was defeated in April. (story)

Nationwide, more than 100 communities and at least 16 states and Washington, D.C. have some form of LGBT anti-discrimination statute in place for private employment.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Spot - One of my Pic's

The Spot
Copyright D-notice Designs 2005

This one goes out to shyanne. As we all know girls, x marks the spot ;)

Famous British Transsexual Divorce Trial Focus of Lawrence University Address

Lawrence University
Contact: Rick Peterson, Manager of News Services,
920-832-6590/richard.peterson@lawrence.edu
For Immediate ReleaseNovember 8, 2005

APPLETON, WIS. — April Ashley was a British supermodel and fashion icon in the 1950s and ‘60s. And when she announced her marriage to Arthur Corbett, the heir of Lord Rowallen, she also became Great Britain’s most famous transsexual.

Dan O’Connor, a lecturer in the University of Wisconsin’s department of medical history and bioethics, explores the gaps between the medical and legal definitions of sex and the popular cultural signs of gender in the Lawrence University address “‘Wife a Man’: The April Ashley Divorce Trial and the Definition of Sex in Postwar Britain.”

O’Connor’s presentation, Wednesday, Nov. 16 at 4:15 p.m. in Lawrence’s Science Hall, Room 102, is free and open to the public.

A one-time member of the British merchant navy, Ashley spent two years as a showgirl at the Carousel, Paris’ famous female impersonator nightclub before undergoing sex reassignment surgery in 1960. Three years later in Gibraltar, she married Corbett, a transvestite and likely a homosexual, who was well aware of the facts of Ashley’s gender. Their marriage was never consummated, leading to a landmark court battle.

In a 1969 trial — the first case in which an English court has been called upon to decide the sex of an individual — the judge rules ‘wife a man’ on the grounds that although Ashley had a sex change operation, she was, by three biological criteria, a male “at birth” and the marriage was annulled.

The ruling was subsequently applied beyond the scope of marriage to deny transsexual British citizens basic civil rights and left them unable to legally change their sex in the UK until 2003 when it was repealed.

O’Connor is teaching at UW as a visiting research fellow from the Centre for the History of Medicine at the University of Warwick in England. He is currently completing his Ph.D. dissertation “Sex Signs: Transsexuality, Writing and the Languages of Male and Female in Britain and the U.S., 1950-2000.”

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

NZ - Transpeople ‘expendable’ to Labour?

gaynz.com

Labour believes the transgender community is expendable – that’s the reaction of advocacy group Agender NZ to the news that MP Georgina Beyer is withdrawing her private members bill that aimed to make discrimination on the grounds of “gender identity” illegal.

Beyer told GayNZ.com last week that she withdrew her Human Rights (Gender Identity) Amendment Bill because of a desire shown by New Zealanders at the election for more conservative government, and because she feels the bill is not necessary. She believes as it stands, transgendered people are adequately protected against discrimination under existing Human Rights Act provisions.

Agender NZ, an advocacy group which aims to eliminate the social stigma attached to transgendered people, strongly disagrees with Beyer’s reasons for withdrawing the bill. “We regularly see the need for this legislation in our work,” says President Claudia McKay. “Agender believes the proposed legislation sends a message to the community that it is not okay to discriminate against Trans people. To not have it in place sends a clear message to New Zealand that it is still open season on Trans people.”

McKay says the Human Rights Commission’s own research shows it is unclear whether all transpeople would be covered under the existing Human Rights Act. At best, she says, the existing category of ‘sex’ would apply only to post-op transsexuals, who make up a small percentage of the community.

Beyer’s bill would not have created a special category for transpeople, but would simply put them on a level playing field with other New Zealanders, McKay says. She suggests the decision to shelve the bill was more likely politically motivated. “It seems that to Labour, the title of the old John Wayne movie ‘They were expendable’ is an apt description for the transgendered community,” she says.

Court Passes on Transsexual Discrimination

www.ksl.com
By GINA HOLLAND
Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court refused Monday to consider shielding employers from discrimination lawsuits by transsexuals, dodging a workplace rights fight.

The court's refusal to intervene leaves in place a victory for Cincinnati Officer Philecia Barnes, who was born Phillip Barnes.

A federal appeals court upheld a jury's finding that Barnes was a victim of discrimination, under a federal civil rights law. The city had been ordered to pay the officer $320,000, and pay another $550,000 in attorney fees.

Barnes, a 24-year veteran of the Cincinnati police force, dressed as a man at work but a woman during off-hours in 1999 when the officer was demoted. Barnes sometimes wore makeup to work and had manicured nails.

Richard Ganulin, one of the city attorneys, told justices that employers should be protected from discrimination lawsuits based on "transsexual and homosexual characteristics." The city maintains the demotion was for professional reasons.

Had the court agreed to hear the case, arguments would have been scheduled in the spring, in time for two justices named by President Bush to weigh in. At issue was the scope of the 1964 Civil Rights Acts, which protects people from sex or race discrimination.

Sexual orientation is not covered in the law, but justices were asked to deal with a related issue: sex stereotyping of transsexual workers.

A transsexual is a person who has undergone a sex change operation or whose sexual identification is with the opposite sex.

The case would have been a follow-up to a 1989 Supreme Court decision which made it more difficult for employers to win lawsuits accusing them of sexual stereotyping and other bias. That case involved a woman who argued she was denied promotion because her supervisors thought she did not act feminine enough.

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor played a key role in that case. She sided with the woman and wrote a separate opinion that gave guidelines for lower courts to follow. Victims, she wrote, must show that "an illegitimate criterion (such as sexual stereotyping) was a substantial factor" in the employer's personnel decision.

Bush has named appeals court Judge Samuel Alito to replace the retiring O'Connor, and some civil rights groups oppose the nomination. Another Bush nominee, Chief Justice John Roberts, was confirmed in time for the start of the Supreme Court's term last month. Roberts replaced Rehnquist, who had voted against the female worker in the 1989 case.

There are no good estimates about the number of transgender workers in the United States because of their fears of going public, said Lamda Legal attorney Cole Thaler.

"Trans employees are particularly vulnerable to harassment and discrimination because they deviate from employers' ideas of what men and women are supposed to look and act like," said Thaler, a lawyer with the gay-rights group that is not involved in the Barnes case.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati said that Barnes was subjected to an unusual daily evaluation by other sergeants and required to wear a microphone at all times

The case is Cincinnati v. Barnes, 5-292.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

One of my pic's - Freek


Copyright D-notice Designs 2005

A sort of self portrait of how I felt about my self before I made the decision to transition.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Guy Fawkes night - YEAH!

"Remember, remember,
the fifth of November,
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
We see no reason why
Gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!"


- Guy Fawkes

Surviving transgender abuse

VermontGuardian.com

By Hannah Mason
posted October 14, 2005

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The following article is part two of a series on the dynamics of intimate partner violence.

Many of us don’t think much about our gender, although it affects us constantly. Imperceptible guidelines dictate what our bodies look like, what we wear, and how we walk. Along with those come judgments; we know what a “real man” is, and we can tell exactly what a “real woman” is.

Transgender people break away from one or more of society’s expectations around gender — expectations that insist that everyone is either male or female, that one’s gender is fixed, that gender is rooted in our biological sex, and that our behaviors are linked to our gender. What about those whose gender identity does not fit neatly into traditionally and narrowly defined gender roles?

Society has a concrete way of dealing with people who deviate from these expectations. It attempts to force them back into place, to keep them in the “man” box or the “woman” box. Many transgender people deal with shame and self-doubt in confronting the pressures to conform. In addition, stories of brutal violence against transgender people are common. The fear that a transgendered person feels upon being “outed” to the wider community is directly linked to the stories of those who have had the experience with devastating results.

Imagine, then, that through this continuing atmosphere of violence, a transgendered person finds someone they truly love. Or maybe they already have a relationship with someone when they begin discovering that they feel that their prescribed gender may not be fully representative of who they really are. How do you attempt to leave your partner if society is constantly telling you that they may be the last person who will love you?

Many survivors of intimate partner violence experience self-doubt, a wish to help their batterer and protect children, a belief that the abuse they currently experience might be better than potential future abuse, lack of financial resources, and a sense that there is no where to turn. For people who do not conform to traditional gender roles, these feelings are often magnified by the experiences they have had with society forcing them to conform.

Because of society’s lack of knowledge about transgender people, and a general “don’t ask, don’t tell” attitude, batterers use tactics that play off of this cultural discrimination. The threat of “outing” someone can carry with it the risk of losing a job, alienating family, or being denied medical access.

Transgender people who attempt to leave a relationship and stay in a hotel may be denied public accommodation, or be asked to leave a restaurant where they try to get something to eat. The batterer is often knowledgeable of all of these facts and is quick to remind the survivor of them.

In our efforts to support them, we need to take steps that do not create additional hazards for trans survivors and revictimize them as they are able to finally leave. Education, understanding, and speaking up against both relationship and discrimination violence opens options for us all. Since society already plays a role in supporting the batterer, every step that we as a community can take to help survivors is critical.

There are things we can all do to help transgendered survivors of domestic violence:

Check out the Survivor Project (www.survivorproject.org/) or GenderCrash (www.gendercrash.com/101.shtml). Find out more about the specific differences between transsexual, transgender, cross-dresser, and other gender-variant people.

Call legislators to support H.478, which proposes that “gender identity and expression” be added to the current discrimination law, making it illegal to discriminate against transgender people in the workplace and in public accommodations.

Attend the Transgender Day of Remembrance Speakout on Nov. 19. Contact Hannah@SafeSpaceVT.org for more information.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic or sexual violence, contact SafeSpace Vermont at 866-869-7341 or the Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence at 800-ABUSE-95.

Hannah Mason Houser is program coordinator for SafeSpace Vermont.

Beyer withdrew gender bill herself

gaynz.com

MP Georgina Beyer’s Gender Identity Bill has not been dumped, says the MP, and the office of the Deputy Prime Minister says its future is entirely up to her.

Reports of the bill’s demise at the hands of the Labour Party hierarchy last weekend in the Sunday Star-Times appear to have been premature. Beyer says she’s written to the newspaper to clarify the situation. “At no time did Helen Clark or Michael Cullen ask me to withdraw the bill,” Beyer told GayNZ.com.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael Cullen’s office confirmed that Beyer’s bill forms part of a reinstatement motion that will carry over all pending bills from the last Parliament into the current one.

However, Beyer herself has decided to withdraw it on the basis that she doesn’t think it is necessary. She says the drawing of her bill from the private members ballot earlier this year preceded the release of the Human Rights Commission’s National Plan of Action, which addresses quite strongly issues around discrimination against transgendered people.

“Every time a trasngender issue has come before the Human Rights Commission in the past it has been resolved before it has ever reached a court,” says Beyer. “So as yet there is no court ruling to suggest that we are discriminated against. I will assume until I see otherwise that we are included in the Human Rights Act protections.”

Ironically, Beyer’s reasons for withdrawing the bill coincide with the reasons why Wayne Mapp, the National Party’s “PC eradicator”, didn’t support it in the first place. He told GayNZ.com he didn’t think it was necessary, as no evidence existed to suggest that “serious discrimination” against transgender people was occurring.

“Precisely, which is why I’ve done what I have done,” Beyer agrees. “For the same reason, Larry Baldock’s Marriage Amendment Bill was not necessary. It is already understood that marriage is between a man and a woman, just as from what we know to date, transgender people are protected under the Human Rights Act.”

In addition, Beyer says support in the new Parliament for socially progressive legislation has been reduced, and she feels no need to drag the glbt community through an acrimonious public debate. “The mandate from the voters was quite clear. They wanted a more conservative government, and I would have no support whatsoever to get this bill through even a first reading.”

At any rate, she says, it was never her intention to create a special new category for transgendered and intersexed people under the Human Rights Act. “That would be an extreme move, we should just be included under sexual orientation. But I am now assured that we are protected – so I suggest everyone go and check it out.”

Ref: GayNZ.com (c)

Friday, November 04, 2005

Landmark Transgender Equality Education Campaign Launched

Indybay.org

WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign launched the first-ever advertising and landmark education campaign on transgender issues today with an ad in Roll Call, the leading publication for Congressional news and a new handbook designed to educate Americans about transgender equality. Produced in partnership with the National Center for Transgender Equality, the ad in Thursday's Roll Call is first in a series focusing on the stories of hard-working Americans who have been discriminated against in the workplace because of who they are.

"The more Americans know and understand each other, the more united we are as a nation," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "Our new education campaign underscores that employees, many of whom provide vital national security positions, are being denied opportunity to do their job purely because of who they are. Most Americans want a federal law to end discrimination. But no law exists. We're working on Capitol Hill and across the country to build support for that law, a law we unequivocally support."

"These moving ads put this issue in front of Congress in a big way," said Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE). "Coupled with the education that many of us have been doing for years, these ads will go a long way toward building the support we need to pass a transgender-inclusive non-discrimination law. This isn't the beginning and it won't be the end, but it's a big chapter toward getting this done."

The Human Rights Campaign's new publication "Transgender Americans: A Handbook for Understanding" will be distributed to every member of Congress this week. The handbook addresses many of the challenges facing transgender Americans without legal protections, including employment discrimination, health care issues, identity document obstacles and
school issues, and was produced in collaboration with supporting partners NCTE and the Transgender Law & Policy Institute.

"I'm so proud to be a part of this campaign," said Diane Schroer, a 25-year Army Special Forces Officer who was offered but then denied a counter-terrorism job when she told her future employers she was transgender. Diane's story is featured in the Nov. 3 Roll Call ad. "I had the same skills in counter-terrorism the day they denied me the job that I did the day they offered it. When it comes to keeping Americans safe, discrimination can't be a part of the equation."

A new area of the Human Rights Campaign's website, http://www.hrc.org/transgender, features the ads, the handbook and more information. Another Roll Call ad will run Nov. 10.

NCTE today also released a new publication entitled "Make Your Voice Heard: A Transgender Guide to Educating Congress. This publication is available for free download at http://www.NCTEquality.org.

Today from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., the Human Rights Campaign is also hosting a briefing on Capitol Hill (Longworth House Office Building 1539) to highlight workplace challenges for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans.

The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that LGBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.