MSNBC just did a really good job talking about the gender binary, chomosomal variations, and the athlete Caster Semenya. Props to them!

NCTE: Flying Now Requires Gender

From NCTE:

Washington, DC, August 17, 2009-The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) rolled out a new phase of their Secure Flight program over the weekend. Passengers will now be required to provide their birth date and gender when they book an airline ticket as part of a move to help distinguish passengers from those on the government’s “watch list” (often called the “no-fly” list).

NCTE has issued a new (.pdf) FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) about the Secure Flight program and its impact on transgender people. The resource includes information about how to navigate the new process, particularly if you have identification that does not match your gender presentation. NCTE firmly supports the right of transgender people to maintain our privacy and to travel freely.

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Matt Barber’s Lobotomy Was Covered, Apparently

Matt Barber, the former policy director of Concerned Women for America, is raising the bogeyman of funding for trans genital surgeries being covered by the health care proposed by the Obama administration.

As a commenter at Pam’s House Blend has pointed out, however, there is no such plan.

An article at Oregon magazine quotes some of the language Barber is interpreting as being about transgender people/diagnoses:

“Page 972 of the House version of the bill (H.R. 3200) provides for “standards, as appropriate, for the collection of accurate data on health and health care” based on “sex, sexual orientation [and] gender identity.” The Senate draft indicates that the government will “detect and monitor trends in health disparities,” requiring the Department of Health and Human Services to “develop standards for the measurement of gender.” (i.e., officially recognize subjectively self-determined “transgender” or “transsexual” gender identities). It further mandates ‘‘participation in the institutions’ programs of individuals and groups from…different genders and sexual orientations.”

which comes straight from Barber’s article/press release which also appeared in Canada’s Free Press (which bills itself as a “conservative free press”). The bolded bits are Barber’s interpretation of what the House & Senate versions actually say.

You can email Matt Barber directly at

Big Blinking Caveats

Has everyone seen this article about girls & superheros from Thursday’s NYT? Interesting stuff.

Little girls don’t embrace superheroes as often or avidly as boys. That may in part be developmental. With the big blinking caveats that there are vast variations within — as opposed to between — the sexes and that nature is heavily influenced by nurture, research on sex and play indicates that little boys are more readily drawn to competitive, rough-and-tumble activities, while little girls (again, big blinking caveat, see above) strive for group harmony over individual dominance. Beyond that, let’s face it, the choices for girls have not exactly been compelling: who can even remember Batgirl’s secret identity? (She was Commissioner Gordon’s daughter, Barbara.)

I like her big blinking caveats myself, but I’m going to bold them, anyway.

(h/t to Sarah for sending it)

How It’s Done

In this ESPN article about Hedo Turkoglu – the “Michael Jordan of Turkey” – Mert Uyar explains the player’s early years in the section captioned “Hidayet Turkoglu” and happens to mention that he had a female coach. It’s the kind of thing that still stands out – not just that she’s female, but that she was a female basketball coach in Turkey. Your average reader might have a question about that.

But what’s interesting is that they don’t mention that the coach transitioned until they’re talking about how the player himself responded to her transition – that is, when they mention it only as evidence of his commitment to his own playing and the game, because he didn’t let it get in the way the way others did. it’s in the second to last paragraph of the article, to boot.

A good example, in my opinion, of when & where mentioning a transition is relevant, or isn’t.