This Week's Action – 4/26/04

Lobby Days: NTAC & GPAC
This week, two groups representing transgendered people are lobbying DC about our issues.
NTAC (National Transgender Advocacy Coalition) describes its mission as follows:
NTAC’s 2004 lobbying event will take place from April 28th through April 30th in Washington, DC. Wednesday the 28th will be used for training and final preparations. The day’s events will include a press conference at which families of hate crimes victims and surviors of hate crimes can tell their stories. Thursday and Friday, the 29th and 30th, will include visits to YOUR members of Congress to educate them and their staffs on the need for transgender-inclusive Employee Nondiscrimination and Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act (Hate Crimes) legislation.
This year’s effort will also press Congress to drop the sudden fixation on denial of equal marriage rights in order to take action on the serious, longtime employment and hate violence issues that have yet face the transgender community.
GPAC (Gender Public Advocacy Coalition) explain their efforts:
Parents, activists, and youth from all over the country come to the nation’s capital for a 3-day conference to work together to end discrimination and violence caused by gender stereotypes.
The conference beings with the 9th annual Gender Lobby Day, when activists from across the country descend on Capitol Hill to educate their Congress Members. Last year 1500 activists convened over 3 days! Following lobby day, attendees will return to the hotel for two intense and exciting days of workshops, plenaries, and Kimberle Crenshaw’s keynote address.
PLEASE donate to one or both of these groups to support their efforts!
Donate to NTAC
Donate to GPAC

Transgender Veterans March

Transgendered people have served proudly in the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard during war and peace time.
It is time to show how proud you are to have served in the US Armed Forces and how proud you are to be transgendered.
Come join the Transgendered Veterans March to the Wall.
Find out more at the TG Veterans website

"The Opposite Sex" – Showtime documentary

From The Advocate, May 11, 2004
The Opposite Sex, a two-part Showtime documentary, begins with the gripping journey of trans man Rene Pena, a God-fearing, married truck driver
By Christopher Lisotta
The Opposite Sex: Rene’s Story opens with documentary subject Rene Pena jogging through the countryside. Handsome, muscled, and driven, he’s a prime example of masculinity. That only grows more obvious when the traditional, God-fearing Pena, a truck driver, interacts with his pretty wife of 11 years, Wona, and their two young sons. But appearances can be deceptive – although everything about Pena’s mind and heart shows he is a man, his body still forces him to face the fact that, at least biologically, he is a woman.
Films and documentaries exploring the transgender experience have become all the rage thanks to the success of Boys Don’t Cry, Southern Comfort, and Soldier’s Girl. But Bruce Hensel, MD, a heterosexual practicing physician and emergency room director who has been a medical reporter on Los Angeles’s KNBC-TV for more than 15 years, wanted to make a powerful film that presents the process of transition from start to finish.
The result is The Opposite Sex, a documentary in two parts, with each part telling the story of a different individual. The first part, Rene’s Story, airs May 3 at 9 p.m. Eastern and Pacific on Showtime. Jamie’s Story, which follows a male-to-female transition, will debut in June. After each segment, Hensel moderates a panel in which trans men and women talk about their own experiences.
“I was so fascinated that so many people are so prejudiced about what they don’t understand,” Hensel explains. “I also knew that I could show the medical side. No movie has ever shown the full journey.” Pena wasn’t Hensel’s ideal choice for the female-to-male segment. Since the now-33-year-old was so masculine, Hensel feared that the audience wouldn’t believe Pena was a biological woman, and he felt the medical journey he was hoping to capture on film would be too short. But after a meeting with the couple – and with prodding from his business partner, out reality TV producer Stuart Krasnow – Hensel changed his mind.
“When we interviewed Rene and Wona, [the decision] was a no-brainer,” he explains. What was initially a liability became an asset once Hensel heard Pena’s personal story. Pena tells The Advocate, “I told my mom when I was 3 years old that God was going to make me a boy, and I never turned back from that statement, not one day of my life.” He refused to wear dresses and fought attempts by his family to make him act or appear feminine. At 11, Pena decided to live his life as a boy. “I just happened to have the strength to be what I wanted to be,” he says, noting that other transgendered people often wait decades before taking that step. “I may be different, but I’m not special.”
Pena’s reason for doing the project was clear: He wanted to get his lower surgery paid for and performed by a world-class doctor. In his early 20s Pena had a double mastectomy, but he’d never had a medical procedure to alter his vagina. Although the film’s producers refused to pay for any surgery, Pete Raphael, MD, a Texas surgeon who performs an innovative procedure that transforms a clitoris into a penis, did the work for free. One of the distinctive elements of the film is its graphic medical footage, which shows exactly what Pena went through to become a man.
Aside from Pena’s unswerving determination, Hensel was fascinated by his relationship with Wona (the couple are in the process of adopting the two boys who live with them). Intensely loyal to one another, the former high school sweethearts were reeling from being shunned by their church after Pena’s transgender status was revealed. “They have so many layers,” Hensel says. “They really love each other in the deepest way possible.” The Penas gave Hensel complete access to their lives, which play out with intense emotion on the screen as one revelation after another comes out into the open.
Both Pena and Hensel insist that the film does not exaggerate. “The pain you see is the pain that’s really there,” Hensel explains. “And triumph, the triumph is really there.”

En Femme Getaway

Betty & I will be at the En Femme Getaway for the next six days. I’ll be back with more news and a report on our trip after 4/27!
In case you don’t know about it, here’s a link to info about the Getaway. This will be our 2nd trip there, & we are really looking forward to it.
Helen & Betty
Me, giving the Banquet Speech:
Getaway Banquet Speech
Betty, being Betty (photo by Becca):
Betty at the Getaway

TG Kickboxer – "Beautiful Boxer"

Film Tells of Kickboxer Who Had Sex Change
Fri Apr 16, 7:54 AM
SINGAPORE – A film about a real-life champion Thai kickboxer who hung up his gloves to undergo a sex change operation has meant more than box-office receipts to its subject – it’s given her peace of mind.
The recent Thai release of “Beautiful Boxer,” a dramatic film about her life as a transvestite and transsexual, has helped people understand the tough choices she’s made in her life, former prizefighter Parinya Charoenphol said at a news conference Wednesday.
“After the movie came out, it seemed like people could now understand the reasons why I made certain decisions,” Parinya said through a Thai translator, referring to the sex change operation she underwent in 1999.
“They have given me a lot of encouragement,” said Parinya, decked out in a white satin blouse, floral skirt and sharp-toed boots.
Parinya has been offered several acting roles and has accepted parts in four Thai television soap operas and an action movie.
“Beautiful Boxer” opens in Singapore on April 29.

13-year-old Australian FTM

A series of 5 articles related to a recent Australian court decision permitting a 13-year old ftm transsexual to take medication to slow the effects of puberty, and to take testosterone when he is older. The third article is of more general interest, since it discusses some ongoing research into possible genetic causes of transsexualism. The last article, though purportedly neutral, actually comes from the “anti-trans” perspective (it’s a mental illness, etc.); the source is a news service that supplies articles to the right-wing and fundamentalist press. It gives prominent place to the views of one person who went from male to female and then back again — and apparently believes that because he was mistaken, so is everyone else who thinks they’re transsexual.
From the Courier-Mail, an Australian paper.
From, an online UK gay magazine.
From the Sydney Morning Herald (this is the third article as reference above)
Another from the Courier Mail
And the last from, a conservative online magazine.
(and again, thanks to Donna for finding all this great TG news online!)