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Thursday, December 30, 2004

The Second First Time

Scarlet letters
By Caitlin Hopkins

Not yet having surgery, there was not much personal experience I could use to disagree with her. Yes, many people said they were orgasmic after SRS. But there was not much more to go on. For some reason, post-op transsexuals seemed hesitant in sharing specifics. Post-op orgasms took on a mythic status, like some great white elephant.




On Monday, November 29, 2004, Jiffy Javanella and wife Donita Ganzon, a Filipino couple from Los Angeles, filed a law suit against the US government after the wife was denied permanent US residency due to a sex change operation. Jiffy Javanella, who now faces deportation, is challenging the US government in court over the immigration status of married transsexuals. The 1996 Defense of Marriage Act was used by US officials to refuse their marital status. "This is an infringement on a couple's right to be together and on non-straight relationships," says Annie Sayo, a member of EMPAQ.
Donita Ganzon was granted citizenship in 1987, six years after her sex change operation. The Department of Homeland Security wrote Javanella a letter that stated, "currently no federal statute or regulation addresses specifically the question whether someone born a man or a woman can surgically change his or her sex." Homeland Security added that BCIS will not allow the recognition of change of sex in order for a marriage between two persons born of the same sex to be considered legitimate.
Unfortunately, this is not the only case. There were two other cases nationwide that filed before the Board of Appeals and both immigrant cases were denied because of a transsexual marriage.

"I am outraged because it is not even stated that sexual orientation is even part of the green card process. It should not matter," states Eloise Baraan, co-chair of EMPAQ. Whether or not a couple is a U.S. citizen, the U.S. immigration policy does not allow gays, lesbians, transsexuals or transgenders to sponsor each other for immigration.
EMPAQ (Embracing the Movement of Pinays And Queers) calls for all sectors in our communities to support all Filipino families facing deportation, stop the racist and heterosexist Homeland Security from disrupting the lives of innocent people and secure our civil liberties that mean most to us at a time of international insecurity.

EMPAQ (Embracing the Movement of Pinays And Queers)525 W. Alma Ave.San Jose, CA 95125408-297-1977

Camp turns Vinegar Hill pink
30 December 2004

There are homosexuals of every hue at Vinegar Hill, but together they are turning the Rangitikei campsite a distinct shade of pink.

The annual Camp Camp - the gathering has no official name, despite being in its 28th year - sees homosexuals from across the country converge for a week of fun in the sun.

Drag queen and cabaret chanteuse Mika, from Auckland, is at the festival for the first time, and says it provides an opportunity to enjoy "the solitude of a day in the country", away from the giddy whirl of his Auckland life.

The Manawatu Standard found Mika soaking up the sun and sharing a cup of coffee with his friend Franzi, a German tourist who learned about the camp from the internet.

As far as Franzi knows, there is nothing like Camp Camp in his homeland, and definitely not in "conservative" Bavaria.

The pair spent Tuesday with fellow revellers, watching the movie Hadwig and the Angry Inch - the tale of a rock-star transsexual whose lover steals all her songs.

Camp festivities are presided over by the Camp Queen, appointed on a year-to-year basis.

This year's appointee is Auckland electronics technician Colin Waterhouse.

Mr Waterhouse, who is visiting Vinegar Hill for the fifth year, says he was chosen by a committee of former queens, who get together to decide who has done the most good works for the festival.

His official duties include "collecting camp fees" and "keeping everyone in line".

The event will reach its climax with a New Year's Eve party tomorrow night. Word around the campfire is that the concert will boost numbers at the camp - currently about 250 - to 700 or 800.

Camp Camp will be finished for another year by Monday.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Lesbians and Transgenders Struggle for Shelter

Women's eNews
Run Date: 12/26/04
By Justine Nicholas
WeNews correspondent

Life is never easy in a homeless shelter. But advocates say it's particularly harsh for lesbians and transgender women because the shelter system fails to provide gender-appropriate treatment. City officials say they're doing what they can.

During her six years of homelessness, Jay Toole, a woman with a masculine appearance who now works for a homeless advocacy group, learned to fear homeless shelters.

Beatings and rapes of lesbians by guards and other workers in the shelters in which she occasionally lived were frequent, says Toole. Fights among residents could flare up when straight women didn't want to share showers and other facilities with women they perceived as lesbians.

"The shelter system is certainly not exempt from the biases that exist in society in general said James Anderson, a policy director for New York City's Department of Homeless Services. "Our goal is to ensure safe shelter to everyone, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity."

To achieve this, he says the department has "implemented standards of client responsibility to ensure that clients are respectful to one another and provide training to staff to be sensitive and alert to the unique needs of this and other populations."

But Toole--a shelter inspector with the Coalition for the Homeless, an advocacy group in New York, and the community organizer for the Queers for Economic Justice network--says that individual shelters don't embody the principles Anderson articulated.

Toole, a "butch," says she and other masculine-looking lesbians have been beaten by male security guards and challenged to fights and otherwise harassed by female guards and residents. Such things didn't happen on the street, she said, and her appearance shielded her from the sexual abuse homeless women and girls often experience.

Transgenders Sent to Men's Shelters

But no one has it harder, says Toole, than transgender women. They're sent to men's shelters because birth certificates and other documents identify them as male, even if they've had gender-reassignment surgery. Many transgender women--particularly the young ones whose families have disowned them--haven't had the opportunity to legally change their names and identifying documents.

"I know transgender women who were beaten, raped or robbed in the shelters," she says. Guards often think they are just "girly men" who simply need to be roughed up

Holly Humphrey, an assistant to Department of Homeless Services Commissioner Linda Gibbs, says all prospective clients are screened at intake centers throughout the city. Those evaluations determine whether clients are sent to men's, women's or family shelters. Caseworkers make their determinations based on interviews with the applicants, as well as through such documents as birth certificates, marriage licenses and domestic partnership agreements.

Humphrey allowed that the intake system "isn't perfect" and stated that the system's "practices and procedures are under review." She added that the Department of Homeless Services is committed to "ensuring that all clients are housed in appropriate arrangements and receive necessary and appropriate services."

Toole, however, says she has met transgender women in men's shelters, where administrators subject them to the rules and regulations pertaining to men, meaning they can be forced to dress and comport themselves as men and get no access to gender-appropriate counseling and medical treatment.

Toole acknowledges the concern many female shelter residents--who may have become homeless as a result of domestic violence--voice about having a man in their midst. But she points out that the Marian Residence, a women's shelter in San Francisco, has been housing transgender women since 1995 and has not reported an incident of violence or harassment committed by a transgender resident.

Judith Pomeroy, the shelter's manager, says she includes residents, transgender or not, in conversations, events and staff trainings to show residents and staff that "transgenders are indeed women." Furthermore, Pomeroy says, residents' fears are not insurmountable, for "a homeless woman is more likely than others to have experience with transgender people."

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Snowflakes & Cheer

Happy Christmas every one. Huggy Love, Rachel xxx

Friday, December 24, 2004

YMCA Chief Fired for Transgender Ball Flap

The Guardian
Friday December 24, 2004
3:16 PM

CHICAGO (AP) - A YMCA director has been fired and overnight facility rentals banned after the parents of young children arriving for a morning swim meet clashed with participants in an overnight transgender fashion show and ball.

Greg Weider, who had been acting director of the New City YMCA for two years, was fired Wednesday. Programming manager Michael Horton, who oversaw scheduling at the center, resigned two days earlier.

``We've taken very swift, decisive action, and we will do everything we can in order to restore the integrity of our organization for those that we serve,'' said Steven Dahlin, executive vice president and chief operating officer of the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago.

Authorities said a YMCA member had reserved the entire facility from 11 p.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Sunday for the fashion show and ball. The YMCA rented out the rooms, although families were scheduled to arrive at 7 a.m to use some of the same rooms for a swim meet.

Police and private security guards were called after some parents used sexual slurs, and scuffling broke out, authorities said. No arrests were made.

``They have no idea what transgender is, and I wouldn't want that exposure forced on them,'' said Yeun Pearrelli, who has children ages 5 and 9 attending programs at New City. ``I wouldn't think that should be something I have to worry about.''

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Saudi Court rules in favor of transsexual

The following story can fill in a few chapters of a juicy and dramatic soap opera; but, unbelievably so, it is a true story of a young man (woman?) who wanted to fulfill a long-awaited dream to achieve true happiness.

In the oil-rich Saudi Kingdom, a story of a young man, who had turned into a woman, has created uproar, not only due to the fact that he had changed his sex, but also because as a man, he inherited a huge amount of money from his millionaire father.

He transformed his sex only after inheriting. According to Islamic law, as a woman, he would inherit half of what a man inherits. His relatives have filed a lawsuit, accusing him of deception and asking the court to re-divide the inheritance.

A judge has provoked controversy by ruling in favor of the transsexual, whose family tried to strip him of half his inheritance after he turned into a woman, as aforesaid.

In a case that has stirred wide interest in the Saudi Kingdom, the son of the Saudi millionaire was sued by his relatives after they found out that he had secretly spent part of his father's estate on the operation to transform his sex...

Angered by the perceived disgrace he had brought upon the family, his sisters indicated that according to the country's inheritance laws he was entitled to only half as much money as when he was a man!

Now, however, the action has been dropped after a judge in Jeddah ruled that since he was male when he received the inheritance, he was entitled to keep it in full. In the future, however, he will be treated under inheritance law as a woman.

Although the ruling does not challenge Saudi men's superior status in law, the spectacle of the ”conservative judiciary” dealing with legal issues of trans-sexuality has caused a stir in the sandy kingdom.

A Republican hero, but was Abe Lincoln gay?

Guardian Online
Paul Harris in New York
Sunday December 19,

It is news guaranteed to make many Republicans squirm. Was Abraham Lincoln, founder of the party now seeking a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in America, actually gay himself?

A new book, published next month, certainly thinks so. The Intimate World of Abraham Lincoln by C.A. Tripp produces evidence that one of America's greatest Presidents had a long-term relationship with a youthful friend, Joshua Speed, and shared his bed with David Derickson, captain of his bodyguards

Tripp, a former researcher for sex scientist Alfred Kinsey and an influential gay writer, includes asides by many of Lincoln's close friends. 'He was not very fond of girls, as he seemed to me,' his stepmother, Sarah Bush Lincoln, once told a friend.

It also includes a diary excerpt by one upper-class Washington woman who wrote of Derickson: 'There is a Bucktail soldier here devoted to the President, drives with him, and when Mrs L is not home, sleeps with him. What stuff!'

Scholars have long debated Lincoln's sexuality, and as early as the 1920s were making veiled references to his relationship with Speed. However, critics say that in the pioneer days men sleeping together in rough circumstances was not uncommon.

Now Tripp has discovered letters between Lincoln and Speed which supposedly betray a deep intimacy.

But Tripp's book really breaks new ground in its exhaustive portrayal of many of Lincoln's possible gay lovers, including one man who said Lincoln's thighs 'were as perfect as a human being could be'.

'Make no mistake - Abe Lincoln was gay,' said Professor Scott Thompson, from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Safe haven in city for transsexuals

Worcester Standard

A WORCESTER transsexual who has suffered verbal and physical abuse from city teenagers has spoken of her plans to open a new safe haven for the transgender community.

Stephanie Nickles has lived in Worcester as a transsexual for the past six years but now plans to open a specialised boutique in the city centre where transsexuals and transvestites can meet and dress up in a safe environment.

The 33-year old businesswoman believes the centre, which will be called Vista Rose Transformations, will offer overdue support for many like-minded men and women who have suffered hostility in the community.

"In the past I have been treated very badly, particularly by teenagers in the city who don't seem to like anything which appears not to be normal," she said.

"Most of the time the abuse has been verbal but I have also been violently attacked by groups of youths. On a couple of occasions the attacks have left me in hospital."

Miss Nickles has already set up a group called TransWorcester offering informal one-to-one support to transgender men and women and believes many have experienced worse treatment than herself.

"The transgender community come from all walks of life. Some may have families and if they were to be found out it could destroy their marriage," she said.

She said that Worcester remained a very conservative city and that at present the gay, lesbian and transgender community had to travel to Birmingham to find any night life or meeting places.

"If the city can keep opening new clubs and bars for straight men and women they should be nothing wrong with this venture," she said.

Miss Nickles said the centre would allow visitors the chance to browse and try on a vast range of garments including blouses and revealing underwear and experienced therapists would be on hand to offer a makeover.

She said that she hoped the venture would be up and running by March next year and is currently looking at potential sites in Lowesmoor and Foregate Street.

Ok, having lived in worcester all my life. I can safely say this is a GOOD idea. Worcester is rough, rural and more than a little backward.
There is very little in the way of gun and knife crimes here, which sounds like a good thing. Intill that is, you realise it's because the locals consider it 'gay' to use guns and knifes. There are at least two no-go areas in this city if your not 'local'.
I really hope she pulls this off, because she's about to make herself one hell of a target.

Mayor apologises to gay community
18 December 2004

Auckland City Mayor Dick Hubbard has apologised to the gay community for urging Parliament not to allow civil unions, but wants to read up on additional information before considering a full retraction.

Following a "please explain" letter from the Gay Auckland Business Association for signing a letter urging MPs to oppose the bill - on the basis that the children of gay couples were more likely to be victims of abuse and murder - the mayor met three members of the Gaba executive on Thursday.

The letter was also signed by Mr Hubbard's wife, Diana, Air New Zealand chief executive Ralph Norris and his wife, Pam, and other high profile people such as Alan Duff, of the Books in Homes programme, and former principal Youth Court judge Mick Brown.

Mr Hubbard told the Gaba members that he "deeply regretted" offending members of the gay community and any other community. He told them he was inclusive of the rich diversity of communities in Auckland City, including the gay community.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Transsexual back in men's prison after new charges
03 December 2004

Transsexual burglar Joanne Martin is back behind bars – in a men's prison – after being arrested by police in central Wellington and charged with two new burglaries.

Martin was picked up by police early yesterday and interviewed by detectives before being taken to Wellington District Court. Her court appearance lasted barely a minute, as she stood in the dock wearing pale lipstick, a black leather jacket, white jersey and black pants.

Martin's lawyer Val Nisbet did not seek bail and Martin was remanded in custody at Rimutaka Prison till Monday.

Lost in a world of man and woman

Melisa Gao
Princetonian Senior Writer

Lost in a world of man and woman: Wang '08, an aspiring artist, is a biological woman who identifies as a man. At universities across the country, students are increasingly questioning traditional gender categories. Wang '08 looked at the staircases to her left and right. They both led to the fitness center in Dillon Gym — one through the men's locker room, the other through the women's. During her first week in college, on her first trip to the gym, neither staircase was right for her.

It was a reminder of the constant division she faces: though biologically a woman, she thinks of herself, in her heart, as a man.

Wang is transgender, casting aside the traditional labels of man and woman to view gender as a spectrum, on which she places herself closer to a man. On that first trip to the gym, she sought to avoid the question by bypassing the stairs to find an alternative route.

Methodist Jury Convicts Lesbian Minister

The Guardian
Thursday December 2, 2004 8:01 PM
AP Photo PABB105
AP Religion Writer

PUGHTOWN, Pa. (AP) - A jury made up of United Methodist Church clergy convicted a lesbian minister Thursday of violating church law by openly living with her partner in a committed relationship.

The Rev. Irene Elizabeth Stroud could be defrocked as a result of the ruling, which came on the second day of her church trial. The same 13-member jury was set to meet Thursday afternoon to decide her penalty.

Methodist law bars ``self-avowed, practicing homosexuals'' from ministry. Nine votes were necessary for a conviction and the jury voted 12-1 to find Stroud guilty.

The last time the 8.3 million-member denomination convicted an openly gay cleric was in 1987, when a New Hampshire church court defrocked the Rev. Rose Mary Denman.

Last March, a Methodist court in Washington state acquitted the Rev. Karen Dammann, who lives with a same-sex partner, citing an ambiguity in church law that the Methodist supreme court has since eliminated.