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Friday, November 19, 2004

6th Transgender Day of Remembrance, 20th Nov.

Transgender Day of Remembrance

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 in 1998 kicked off the “Remembering Our Dead” web project and a San Francisco candlelight vigil in 1999. Since then, the event has grown to encompass memorials in dozens of cities across the world.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I'll be lighting a candle tomorrow.

Transgender struggles for respect
Published in the Home News Tribune

At first blush there is no reason not to believe Barbra Casbar of Edison is who she says she is, a 61-year-old politically savvy businesswoman with two sons, a daughter and two grandchildren.

However, Casbar, recently at a Metuchen diner drinking late-afternoon tea with lemon, was something else earlier in the day. Then she was, she explained, "My male self."Casbar had been a businessman in the morning, working for a national franchise that knows Casbar only as a man, using a name other than Barbra.

In midday Casbar changed, getting dressed in a pants suit, putting on a wig, lipstick and earrings for a evening dinner engagement.

As a woman, Casbar was one of five members of the transgender caucus at the Democratic National Convention in Boston, whose presence there illustrated their quest for political power.

"Politically, we're where gays and lesbians were about 10 years ago," said Casbar.

When most of your school is gay

By Paul Henley Presenter,
Radio 4

Are pupils at the world's first "gay" state school victims of segregation or symbols of progressive thinking?
The majority of pupils at Harvey Milk High School in New York are gay and were bullied at their previous school for their sexuality.

Harvey Milk refuses to be classified as a "gay school" even though that is the general perception of it from opponents and supporters alike. But it says its unique brand of segregated education fully deserves its public funding.

Taxpayers pay for prisoner's sex change
20 November 2004

Taxpayers paid for the first phase of Joanne Martin's sex change operation and yesterday her luck continued when the burglar with more than 100 convictions escaped another prison term.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Kuwaiti Transsexual Petitions for Hope

La Times
By Diana Elias, Associated Press Writer

KUWAIT CITY — Her father and brothers beat her. The government suspended her from her job. A group of Muslim fundamentalists screamed abuse at her outside a courtroom.
Her crime: She was born a boy named Ahmed and is now a tall, 29-year-old woman who calls herself Amal — Hope. An overseas sex-change operation has done little to help Amal's struggle for official recognition as a woman in conservative Kuwait. One court ruled for her, another overturned that ruling and now she is going to the Court of Cassation, her last avenue of appeal. "People see me as a comic case," Amal said. "I wish they could look at me as a human being, someone who was born with a disease." Many Middle East countries refuse to recognize sex changes. Jordan, Lebanon and Syria do, but it takes complicated and lengthy court proceedings.
Only Iran and Egypt allow people to officially change their gender with relative ease. Amal says she has always felt and acted like a female. When she was little, she said, she loved to wear her mother's dresses and shoes. Her family humored her in childhood and even called her by a girl's name: Athari. On the first day of kindergarten, she said, the teacher called her Ahmed and she didn't respond. " 'My name is Athari,' I told her," she said. As she grew up, however, her family realized that it wasn't just a phase. Classmates noticed, and a neighbor sent his mother to ask for her hand in marriage.
Her father and two brothers, one of them her twin, beat her, locked her in the bathroom and forced her to spend many nights in the yard without dinner. "I couldn't be a man by force. It was out of my hands," she said. "It felt like living in a detention center."
Amal's father refused to be interviewed. His lawyer, Adel Abdul-Hadi, said it was "logically and religiously unacceptable for Ahmed to enter women's toilets and beauty shops," even after the operation. "I pity the young man now." During her interview, Amal wore a red skirt and matching tight-fitting blouse, and was fasting from dawn to dusk in observation of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month.
She refused to be identified by her surname or to be photographed, saying her life was in danger. She said she had attempted suicide three times. At 14, she swallowed all the pills in her family's medicine cabinet. Another time, she ended up in intensive care and her family didn't visit her, she said. At 17, she was kicked out of the house. On her own, now calling herself Amal, she found a secretarial job at the Ministry of Education. She wore jeans and hid her long hair under a baseball cap, but co-workers would open her office door "just to take a peek at me without saying anything," she said.
She couldn't go to the toilet because she didn't know whether to use the men's or women's room. Amal made extra money by designing women's and children's clothes, and selling paintings and home decorations. In 2001, at age 26, she had saved enough for an operation in Thailand.
Amal declined to discuss it, but claimed that her body was already "80% female" at birth. "I found out that my case is not unknown to medicine," Amal said. "My real problem is with the lack of understanding by society and my family." Last year, the Ministry of Education suspended Amal from her job until she works out her legal status. Kuwaiti women work, and unlike those in neighboring Saudi Arabia, they drive cars and can travel abroad without a male relative's permission.
The mixing of the sexes is largely frowned upon, however. Coeducation stops at kindergarten, and the idea of a sex-change operation is too much for many. In the newspaper Al-Rai Al-Amm, columnist Ali al-Fadhel wrote that just thinking about sex changes embarrasses him. But Amal is pressing her fight.
In April, a court upheld her right to register as female because the sex-change operation was a health matter that merited an exception to Sharia, or Islamic law. Gender is not "just … genitalia; it is also psychological feelings," the judges ruled. Last month, an appeals court overturned the ruling, saying God decides gender and humans have no right to change it. "Ahmed is still a man, and the operation he had does not change the way he was created, even if it changed the way he looks to others," said Mohammed al-Tabtabai, dean of Kuwait's Sharia College. The last time she went to court, she wore a veil and black cloak.
Outside the courtroom, fundamentalists tried to attack her, one of them screaming, "We will not let you be, you infidel," according to her lawyer, Adel al-Yehya. "I feel I am sitting in a cardboard box with one hole bringing me light," Amal said. "Either I get out of the box, or they close this hole."

Scots gays to get the right to adopt

Guardian Online
Lorna Martin,
Scotland editorSunday,
November 14, 2004.

The ban preventing same-sex and unmarried couples in Scotland from jointly adopting or fostering children is set to be lifted by the Scottish Executive.

Yeah ! strike one up for the good gays :)

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Transsexual drives off to score a first on the golf course

Guardian Unlimited
Paul Kelso, sports correspondent
Wednesday November 3, 2004

Golf is not a sport renowned for being at ease with gender issues. Many of the game's great clubs refuse to admit women, and the occasional inclusion of women in men's professional tournaments has caused consternation from Arran to Augusta.

It comes as something of a surprise then to discover that this most conservative of sports is about to embrace its first full-time transsexual professional. Barring disasters, Mianne Bagger, 39, raised in Australia but based in Denmark, will today become the first transsexual woman to qualify to play full-time on the Ladies' European Tour.

Reggae star Sizzla gigs cancelled

By Tom Bishop BBC News entertainment reporter

Three UK concerts by reggae star Sizzla have been cancelled after police launched an investigation into "anti-gay" reggae lyrics.

Good ! Strike one up for the good guys.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004


Bangkok, Thailand, 8-10 July 2005
COORDINATED BYThe Office of Human Rights Studies and Social Development,Mahidol University, BangkokandThe AsiaPacifiQueer Network

An international interdisciplinary conference on studies of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, bisexual, and queer (LGBTQ) cultures and communities in Asia will be held in Bangkok, Thailand, from Thursday 8th to Saturday 10th July, 2005. The main aim of the conference is to develop linkages between research about Asian LGBTQ cultures and communities and promoting recognition and respect for sexual and gender diversity in the region. A parallel goal of the conference is to support and defend the academic legitimacy of research and teaching about LGBTQ peoples in Asia.