Protest or Support?

It occurred to me that around this time last year, emails and T newsgroups and mailing lists and blogs were inundated with protests about the nomination of Michael Bailey’s The Man Who Would Be Queen for a Lambda Literary Award. I was against the nomination as were so many of us, and the driving force behind the protest was pretty remarkable, if not always polite.
However, not one trans website I’ve found has actually posted anything about this year’s nominees. I noticed, of course, because I’m one of the people whose book has been nominated, in the transgender category, along with the likes of Morty Diamond, Mariette Pathy Allen, Jamison Green and Julie Anne Peters. There are some other trans writers up for awards in other categories, and yet I haven’t really read anything about it.
Did the Bailey controversy end up nullifying the awards for the trans community? Or are we just way better at protesting than supporting the writers and educators who are doing good work?
So here, without further ado, are a few of the book award nominees for the Lambda Lit Award:
In the Nonfiction Anthology category:
That’s Revolting!: Queer Strategies for Resisting Assimilation edited by Mattilda, a.k.a Matt Bernstein Sycamore, Soft Skull Press
In the Children’s/Young Adult category:
Luna by Julie Anne Peters, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (which was also a finalist for the National Book Award this year)
In the Drama/Theatre category:
I am My Own Wife by Doug Wright, Farrar, Straus & Giroux (which has won so many other awards, like the Pulitzer and the Tony, you’ll have to check the website for the entire list)
In the Transgender/GenderQueer category:
Becoming a Visible Man by Jamison Green, Vanderbilt University Press (which also won CLAGS’ Sylvia Rivera award)
From The Inside Out: Radical Gender Transformation, FTM and Beyond edited by Morty Diamond, Manic D Press
Luna by Julie Anne Peters, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
My Husband Betty: Love, Sex and Life with a Crossdresser by Helen Boyd, Thunder’s Mouth Press
The Gender Frontier by Mariette Pathy Allen, Kehrer Verlag

Thanks, Josey

Betty & I filmed a short clip for a Canadian television show called Richler Ink which showed on Book Television, which is an entire channel dedicated to books & authors (so you know it’s not American). They themed their shows “Naughty Librarian Month” for January and so focused on sexual topics. (Whether or not we all think crossdressing is a sexual topic is beside the point, since 1) the point is outreach and education, as long as it’s done respectfully, and 2) the rest of the world still thinks it is, and they’re not going to understand otherwise until they hear about and maybe read a book like mine).
I hadn’t seen the show ever before, but it was explained to me that there would be in-studio guests, and Betty & I would be a segment. What I didn’t realize at the time was that the two books used as segments (My Husband Betty and another on women’s orgasm called She Comes First) would be commented on by the in-studio guest. It was as if Daniel Richler (the host) and the in-studio guest – who was in our case Josey Vogels – were watching the video clip of us with the audience, and when it finished, they chatted about it.
I was pretty upset when Daniel Richler couldn’t seem to keep a smirk off his face, and started muttering things about “kinky” & the like. But Josey Vogels, I’m happy to say, is not only well-informed but a pro. She’s apparently talked to straight, nervous, vanilla guys about sex before! And she talked a little bit about the transgender movement, and otherwise made sure Daniel Richler didn’t get to go anywhere with his nudge, nudge, wink, wink crap.
I’ve already thanked Josey Vogels, of course, for being a first-class act, and for not allowing the show to sink into Springer-esque insinuations, and she’ll hopefully be writing one of her columns about My Husband Betty as a result of our correspondence.
And though I certainly don’t mind spending time praising Josey Vogels (who was on promoting her current book Bedside Manners), that’s not why I sat down to write this: I write this because I was suddenly reminded that the world still thinks crossdressers are funny, or kinky, or both. In more than a year of going to trans-conferences and the like, you start to believe that everyone is tuned into the finer debates about passing, or other standard fare that’s dicussed within the trans community, until you realize – maybe because of a nervous talk show host or because of something someone shouts from the street – that we’ve got a long way to go.
Going that long way is going to take working with the media where and when we can. Betty and I have had to turn down other television shows on advice from friends here in NYC who have been burned themselves or seen firsthand how disrespectful most of the talk shows are of their guests: from “surprise guests” to telling people the shows are themed other than they are, they actually trick people into coming on. Of course all the invitations seem respectful; none of them write to ask me if I’d be willing to portray a wife who’s been victimized by her crazy tranny husband.
And while I don’t even have cable TV because of the schlock that is American television, I’m well aware that most of America is informed via TV – depressing but true. Doing innumerable events like Trans-Week at Yale or speaking to a class at UVM are wonderful: talking to people who are intelligent and willing to learn and listen means a new generation aren’t going to become adults with the same uninformed notions in their heads as their parents.
The question is: what about the rest? How do we get to the rest of the people out there?
Doing publicity with a mainstream book helps. Knowing my book is in libraries where it can be found (not only by T-people and their partners but by any average, interested, curious reader) is something. People ask me all the time why we haven’t been on Oprah. After I ask them if they know anyone who works on the show who might get us on (no takers yet), I ask: why aren’t there more shows like Oprah?
Maybe those of us in the GLBT community can start pressuring networks not necessarily for more shows about us – but just for more intelligent shows, in general. We need to write to our local and cable stations and tell them we’re tired of schlock. The Jerry Springer-type shows wouldn’t hurt half so much if we had something to offset it. I was pretty amazed to find that when we did PBS’ In the Life, none of my friends in the red states could see it. Why? Their local PBS affiliate simply didn’t carry it.
But I’m sure that had nothing to do with why eleven states voted for banning gay marriage, or why we’re teaching Creationism in schools as if it’s science, or why no one seemed to notice that we’ve hung the whole of the guilt for the Abu Ghraib horror on guys who were following orders.
I’m sure it doesn’t have anything to do with it. It doesn’t, does it?

Remembering We're Living

On the eve of TG Day of Remembrance, it’s bothering me that the only international recognition of transness is in the all-too-brutal murders of transpeople. What Gwen Smith has created in the Remembering Our Dead project is vital work: vital because these transpeople are murdered out of hate, often brutally, and way too frequently, their killers are not found, or not prosecuted. Historically and politically, Remembering Our Dead is a project that is both emotionally powerful and sympathetic; it reminds me, most often, of the AIDS Memorial Quilt.
That said, I meet with all sorts of living, struggling transpeople every day. And while you could say that the other 364 days are theirs, we all know that’s not quite true. What we all need – other than to mourn our dead and keep vigils for justice – is a way of simultaneously recognizing the great progress in the trans community among the living, so I propose a supplement to Gwen Smith’s brilliant work: The Remember We’re Living Celebration.
What I foresee is that transgroups stand up and honor their own members by having a kind of New Year’s: by asking each of us to stand up and cite one piece of progress, or a victory, we experienced in the past year. The closeted CD could cite his recent decision to come out to his wife. The out CD might celebrate her involvement with a GLBT charity group. The transitioning sister could tell us how close to the end of her Real Life test she is. And the transitioned woman might share in what ways she’s helped her sisters coming up. Transmen might point to their months on T, coming out (usually for the 2nd time) to their friends and families, or rallying with their transwoman sisters at Camp Trans.
We all struggle within this community; some of us within relationships, some of us with loneliness. But my feeling is that I would put my last dollar on a bet that says we have all accomplished something, whether private or public or both, which could use a round of applause.
I would love to see the vigils for Remembering Our Dead morph into living transpeople testifying to their own successes, their own beauty, their own victories. I would like to see the GLBT papers cover these events and have something other than gruesome deaths to report.
If you think this is a good idea, pass this message on.
For now, we’re asking every transperson who receives this message to send us a note, via the MHB message boards, or leave a comment here, noting one victory, success, or piece of happiness they’ve achieved in the last year concerning their transness.
Helen Boyd

Transmale Nation

(I thought perhaps many of us on the MTF side of things don’t know much about the FTM side of things, & I thought this article did a decent job of it.)
25th Annual Queer Issue
By Elizabeth Cline

Transmale Nation: Remaking manhood in the genderqueer generation

June 22nd, 2004 10:00 AM
A digital call to action spread on last month, and a crowd of tranny boys descended on the East Village gay dive the Boiler Room. It was the very first Manhunt, a party for transmen and their admirers.
When several dozen genderqueers crashed the place, a few of the bar’s gay patrons threw a tantrum. They tried desperately to sort out who was a dyke and who was a dude by rating the tranny boys – with their flat chests, short hair, and male posturing – according to who still “looked like girls.” But eventually, these hecklers were outnumbered by some of New York’s au courant
gender outlaws, a mix of young masculine-identified dykes, bois, and trans guys clamoring for a space of their own. By the end of the night, the trans folks and the gay guys had made peace, and Riley MacLeod, a 22-year-old, gay-identified tranny boy, even stole a kiss from the bartender.
Just a few years ago, the transmale community was still underground, connecting with each other in group therapy and chat rooms. How things have changed. Some of the city’s hottest queer parties are fundraisers for chest-reconstruction surgery, tagged with names like “Take My Breasts Away.” Ethan Carter’s Trans*Am party has gotten so popular it has outgrown its digs
at the lesbian watering hole Meow Mix, and Manhunt plans to carry on through the summer.
By now, there are hundreds of personal Web pages, chat groups, and surgery-comparison sites by and for transmen. (Check out , ,
, or the more than 200 Yahoo groups that pop up under a search for FTM, meaning female-to-male transgender.) Brown University, Sarah Lawrence, and Wesleyan have gender-neutral dorms, bathrooms, and sports teams. New York’s LGBT Community Center has expanded its Gender Identity Project to include eight groups for the gender questioning.
Five years ago, if you were a transmale, you were FTM (or female-to-male) and you would probably change your name, go on testosterone, move to a new city, and perhaps consider sex reassignment surgery. Most of those FTMs wanted the world to know them and see them as real men. But there’s a new trans generation. They’re college-educated, raised on gender deconstruction, and not so interested in realness.
Today, most transmales don’t plan to have “bottom surgery,” which constructs male genitalia out of the labia and clitoris. For some, it’s a matter of cost (ranging from $10,000 to $100,000, which still doesn’t buy you a fully functioning, realistic penis). But a lot of trans guys say they’re doing just fine without one.
“I do not want a cock,” says K.J. Pallegedara, an 18-year-old tranny boy who hides his breasts by binding them with Ace bandages. “I know a couple of transmen who see their masculinity in their dick. But my masculinity is in my head.” K.J. does plan to take testosterone, and he’s saving up the outrageous $8,000 for “top surgery,” which removes the breasts and constructs a male-appearing chest. Dr. James Reardon, one of the nation’s best-known chest reconstruction surgeons, says he performs at least one such procedure a week – up from one a year in 1974, when Reardon saw his first patient.

Photo of: Rowan Foley, Stephen Alexander, Evan Schwartz, Tom Leger, Riley MacLeod, Patric Peter, Ian Lundy, K.J. Pallegedara, Eli Greene, and Ethan Mase
As visibility grows, more transmales are changing their pronouns and hormones to fit their masculine gender identity, and many are starting the transition at a very early age. (A recent Oprah episode featured transmale guests as young as 11.) Along with this emergence has come an extensive lexicon. In addition to FTMs, there are female-bodied masculine-identified people who don’t consider themselves men. They include tranny boys (who feel and look, well, boyish), transfags (who act effeminate), bois (dykes who “play” with masculinity), genderqueers (an umbrella term for folks who challenge their gender) and the list is still growing.
In this brave new world, you can be a transmale who goes “no-ho” (meaning no hormones) or “low-ho,” and “no-op” (no surgery) – or you can be a genderqueer who has top surgery, identifies as a woman, and goes by the pronoun he. The possibilities are endless.
America has always been the land of self-invention, but lately that concept has been applied to the body in unprecedented ways. Thanks to technology, transmales can now invent the body they feel comfortable with. In the new thinking, gender and orientation are a highly personal creation, and while some transmales still strive for “realness,” the new generation is heading far beyond the appurtenances of masculinity. This isn’t about having a beard or chest hair. These guys look boyish, yet butch.
But in the end, the transmale identity can’t be described within the binaries of man/boy, butch/femme, or gay/straight. Says transman and performance artist Imani Henry, “It’s all about self-identity.”
As Manhunt and Trans*Am (meaning amorous) imply, transmales are on the prowl for folks who are willing to break the mold of gender and sexual orientation – or at least go out with someone who does. Along with this evolution has come a new breed of queer women who like dating trannies and who gag on the word lesbian. “I don’t give a shit if people read me as lesbian or straight,” says Alana Chazan, 24, a femme queer woman who has dated both dykes and transmen. “For me, it’s about respecting my partner’s gender identity.”
It remains to be seen whether gay men can respect a tranny boy in the morning. But there are same-sex couples who weren’t born that way. Some transmales call themselves transfags because they express femininity in a very gay-male way. And some of them are open to dating women. “I don’t define fagginess by who I fuck, because I’ve dated all over the place,” says Bran Fenner, 22. “I define it by how I demonstrate femininity.”
Bran has a crew of transfags of color that he met through a Yahoo group he started with a friend. Most of its members, like Bran, would call themselves pansexual. Riley, on the other hand, wants to date biological men (called bioguys), a hopeless prospect, he says, because of “male ignorance” about transmen. But those walls are coming down. The Center has started a new group for LGB trans people, and there’s now trannyfag porn featuring trans and bioguys, surprise, getting it on.
Whatever their sexual orientation, most transmales remain in queer women’s spaces because they feel safe there. Acceptance is growing in this community, but there still are dykes who gripe that all butch women are turning into boys, and feminists who label transmen misogynists out to gain male privilege. It’s true that some transmen ridicule women, but no more than “real” men do – and there are feminists and lesbians who ridicule femininity. So what’s the difference?
We live in a time when the attributes of manhood reign supreme, and not just for men. Women are appropriating the power and aesthetic of masculinity to redefine themselves, to the point where even our heroines – Uma Thurman comes to mind- kick ass harder than your average dude. Masculinity is no longer an exclusively male endowment, but it’s still a very desirable one. This explains why the stakes are higher for transwomen (MTFs) in the world at large than they are for transmen. It also explains why the new generation of genderqueers accords more status to the male-identified. And perhaps why there are so many queer women, as opposed to queer men, ridding themselves of their female identity.
Yes, the status of transmen is enjoying a boost thanks to our macho obsession. But the way this scene understands itself and the world challenges that hierarchy. Feminism and gay liberation made it OK to feel comfortable with yourself as the world labeled you. But the genderqueer
generation proposes a new reality in which the world doesn’t label our identities and our bodies; we do. If you spot these transmales at the Pride parade, or in your local bar, you have seen the future – and it’s very queer indeed.

Third Gender (Muxe) in Mexico
The Third Gender
Photo by Julie Pecheur
In the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, on the Pacific coast of Oaxaca, some children are born neither boys nor girls.They are muxe.
Under the still fiery rays of the late afternoon sun, two dozen ox-carts decorated with flowers, palms, and multicolored banners parade down the center of Juchit�n. The convite, the traditional procession announcing a special mass, brings together the whole neighborhood. In one cart, sit erect dignified old men
in white shirts and straw hats; in another, motionless boys in blue shiny costumes with their palms joined in prayer; and in a third one, little made-up girls in regional embroidered dresses throw plastic cups and plates as gifts to the enthusiastic crowd.
As the procession moves forward, standing on the upper part of another cart, two children energetically ward off the branches of the surrounding trees to protect the cart�s adornments. They are about 12 years old, with narrow bodies and loose hair down to their round naked shoulders. One wears a pair of blue jeans and a short white top that reveals a flat belly and no waist. They both look like boys, but they could be mistaken for girls. Here in Juchit�n, on the pacific
coast of the Tehuantepec Isthmus, Mexico�s narrowest land near Guatemala, they are neither girls nor boys. They are muxe (pronounced Mooshey).
In striking opposition to Mexico�s dominant mestizo culture, which is racially mixed and where machismo prevails, the population of Juchit�n is predominantly
Zapotec and does not condemn or reject effeminate male homosexuals. On the contrary. Here muxe (the word comes from the Zapotec adaptation of the Spanish word for woman, mujer) are generally regarded as part and parcel of society, a third element or gender, combining the assets of both the female and male, and sometimes equipped with special intellectual and artistic gifts.
No one knows how many muxe live in this city of 80,000. Around the shaded plaza at the center of town near the market, one often spots them: slightly
effeminate older men, young transvestites (vestidas), and men dressed in shirt and trousers but wearing make-up (pintadas). The majority of the muxe live in
the two popular neighborhoods where most fishermen and peasants reside. Those in the upper classes however, still tend to stay en closet, in the closet.
�In Juchit�n, nearly all families have a great-uncle, a son, or a bother who is a muxe,� says Adolfina Pineda Esteva, a 47 year-old primary school teacher
whose younger brother, now known as Am�rica, is a muxe. �Not all parents accept them, but they are not rejected,� she explains while her husband Andr�s nods in agreement. �They have their space in the society. They teach dance, sew, head beauty salons, make adornments� Muxe are very active and creative.�
�Here one is born a muxe. One does not become one,� says Ulises Toledo Santiago, a thirty-year-old muxe, echoing the general opinion. Ulises, who dresses as a man but whose face expressions and voice are somewhat
effeminate, has a license in law and works for the city family planning agency. In an article published in 1995, anthropologist Beverly Chi�as confirms that: �The idea of choosing gender or of sexual orientation�the two of which are not distinguished by the Isthmus Zapotecs�is as ludicrous as suggesting that one can choose one�s skin color.�
Much to the annoyance of the 16th century Spanish conquerors, male homosexuality was widespread and tolerated in many North American indigenous societies, such as the Isthmus Zapotecs and the Yucatan Mayas. The Spaniards highly valued �manliness� and �assertive� behavior and placed a stigma on
�submissive� attitudes. Their chronicles never failed to mention the Indians� �corrupt� behavior, which they labeled as �sodomy� after the biblical town of Sodom, destroyed by God because of the sinful mores of its inhabitants. While systematically destroying all statues and frescoes representing male-male sexual
encounters, the Spaniards found in the natives� different approach to sexuality yet another theological justification to annihilate their culture and convert them to Catholicism.
The people of the Isthmus however have always fiercely defended their identity against conquering powers, whether Aztec, Spanish, or later French. Nowadays in
the region, contrary to the national mestizo pattern where men prevail in every strata of the society, women have more outlets for social participation and
enjoy the resulting powers. Typically, Juchitecan men work the fields and go fishing, participate in politics, and shape intellectual and artistic life. Women, on the other hand, do the housework, but also organize the fiestas and take part in various important commercial activities. In Juchit�n for instance, they control the vital daily market, reigning over piles of mangos and dried fish, their full-size bodies wrapped in long black skirts and huipiles, the short dark traditional blouses embroidered with large bright flowers.
Juchitecan women thus enjoy unusual financial autonomy and prestige, which has led many observers, chiefly foreigners, to mistakenly define Juchit�n as a
matriarchal society, a designation which overlooks the male equally crucial, and sometimes domineering, roles. Nevertheless, women and female activities are
not considered secondary, which may partly explain why muxe, who assume effeminate manners and participate in both female and male economic activities, are usually not discriminated against.
When a son prefers dolls to pistols, female cousins to male ones, and dresses to trousers, many mothers rejoice, even if the majority of fathers merely resign
themselves. For women, raising a muxe implies that strong arms will take care of their house while they go out to work and that someone will look after them
as they grow older. (Men have a tendency to prefer younger women and leave the household, even in Juchit�n.) �Parents with a muxe know that he will
always take care of them because he will never get married and leave the house,� says Ulises, who lives with his mother. �Our society is very tolerant because the muxe work hard and support their families.�
Traditionally, muxe are expected to cook, clean, look after the children, take care of the elders, and bring home an additional income. In recent years, muxe, like women, have started to gain access to higher education and careers such as lawyers and doctors.
Moreover, they play a key role in preparing the countless fiestas, essential to the identity of the community. This is not a light task: Juchit�n celebrates at least 20 in-town velas, the round of parties in honor of patron saints or particular events. During virtually the entire month of May, for instance, the streets are filled with parades, music, and flowers. Then, there are 20 or so obligatory national holidays, about 30 unmissable velas in neighborhood communities, plus the frequent weddings, birthdays, graduations. For all these celebrations, muxe design, embroider and sew traditional female outfits, make garlands and paper chains, fix hairstyles and make-up, and set family and church altars.
Less visible however, is the sexual role the muxe play in the Juchitecan society. Although classical heterosexual rigid classifications hardly hold when it comes to homosexual preferences, it is generally true that muxe don�t have sexual relations with other muxe. They see themselves as women and want men. And the men they sleep with, called mayate, are not considered homosexuals because they play the �active� part. �Because a woman�s virginity before marriage is still very important in our society, many young boys are initiated by the muxe,� says Yudith L�pez Saynes, the director of Gunaxhii Guendanabani, an association dedicated to AIDS prevention. �It is widely accepted, but with AIDS now, people are more cautious.� Andr�s L�pez, a thirty-year old pintada nurse who heads a medical service, explains laughing, �You go in the street and the boys play tough with their friends, but then they flirt with you.� His friend Felina
Santiago Vadivieso, a 36-year-old fake blond muxe who heads a beauty salon, confirms that younger boys keep on asking her advice on how to please their
girlfriends. She prefers older men however, although she can�t kiss them or hold their hands in the street. �A lot of Juchitecan men marry women from other towns like Puebla. They are very conservative and more homophobic,� she explains, before adding in a laugh: �But their sons get caught in the local movement, and their husbands never leave it!�
For almost thirty years, muxe have had their own velas in Juchit�n. Ulises for instance, organizes his club�s December 28th vela, baile con migo, or Dance With Me. The first muxe vela, the vela de las aut�nticas intrepidas buscadoras del peligro, or the vela of the Authentic Intrepids in Search of Danger, took place in
1976. The organizer, Oscar Cazorla Pineda, a fifty-four-year old muxe, is the owner of a famous dance hall in the center of Juchit�n and the leader of the Intrepidas club. With large features and figure but feminine movements, he is also a successful and respected businessmuxe, who sells the traditional and
ubiquitous gold jewelry, which he himself puts on to party.
Each year in November, after a special catholic mass held in its honor, the Intrepids� vela gathers all the city�s muxe along with fifteen hundred men,
women�grandparents and young adults�and children. The blast, which now gets national attention, requires a full year of preparation and costs around $10,000
dollars. Oscar and the Intrepidas cover some of the expenses, but most are now paid by others, including the town�s elected officials. In fact, the Intrepidas are partisans of the PRI, the political party in power in Juchit�n, and they regularly participate in political meetings and demonstrations. Conversely, during the vela, it is the city officeholder who crowns the Intrepid beauty queen.
Nowadays during fiestas, many muxe wear traditional women�s dresses or drag queen outfits. An increasing number, and virtually the entire new generation, also dress like women in every day life. To Filiberto Cruz, who, at 89 is the oldest Intrepid, this new tendency is rather shocking. In his time, nobody would do it,
although he confesses with a shy smile that he himself would sometimes wear gold buttons and discreet bracelets.
This new transvestite tendency has created dilemma and friction in the society as well. In schools, for instance, some teachers, often from other parts of the
country, do not tolerate the new trend and children, as mischievous as anywhere else, make fun of it. Many Juchitecan women also twitch at the sight of their
traditional dresses on muxe.
�This transvestite process is rather new,� says Amaranta G�mez Regalado, a 26 year-old beautiful muxe who wears traditional huipiles and became famous last
year when she ran for congressional in the Oaxaca state elections. �It started about twenty years ago and I think it has to do with the advent of marketing
and television.� In her low caressing voice, she says she understands the debate about traditional clothing, but states, �It is part of our culture, and I consider
myself a vehicle of that culture too.�
Vicki Santiago Lu�s, a twenty-year-old muxe who was born Jorge and came to Oaxaca because she found Juchit�n intolerant towards gays, decided to wear
women�s clothing when she was 13, against the advise of a muxe her age who thought it could be dangerous. She received the support of her mom, grandfather, and a couple of girlfriends who helped her define her style�western and sexy. But to these days, her grandmother has refused to accept it. Next December nonetheless, Vicki will wear to the vela club baile con migo the regional dress her uncle bought for her to receive the 2004 beauty queen crown. �I am so happy to be the queen,� she confesses with a soft, but rasping voice, her ecstatic eyes twinkling. �I have admired the transvestite muxe since I was a very little boy.�
�The new generation is only interested in dressing up like women and looking beautiful. They don�t think at all about their future,� argues Felina who herself
wears a knee-long blue jeans skirt. �We follow the examples of the older muxe: we work and take care of our parents. My motivation is my parents. I live alone
and it is my duty to help them.�
The new generation’s attitude is not limited to clothing. A few muxe have also started considering using hormones, breast implants or aesthetic surgery to narrow their noses. Only one so far is said to be thinking about getting an operation to remove his genitals.
For Amaranta, who was able to travel around the world as an anti-AIDS activist and is considering furthering her education in social studies, muxe ought to create different roles for themselves within the Juchitecan society. �When I was 13 or 14, it was impossible for a muxe to enter politics, to write articles, to be an
activist, an opinion maker. We had to embroider and create adornments,� she says. �Now the muxe who wants to should be able to open up intellectual spaces for herself.� With her charming ironic smile she adds: �It has not been easy for me. My mom wanted me to learn a traditional muxe job. Between two conferences she would tell me, �at least bake a cake or something.�� When asked if marriage is part of the agenda, the vast majority of muxe seem perplexed, as if they had never thought of it. �People get married, and then they
divorce,� says Felina. �I don�t want that. I want my relationships to last the time they should last and that�s it. And I want to enjoy all the men I want.�
�In Juchit�n marriage is not a necessity,� says Ulises. �It is an issue that you find in other societies, where homosexuals are discriminated against. Here we don�t need a political movement or the creation of special space in society. We already
have it.�

NY TG Bathroom case
Uphold New York Gender Identity Protections Court Urged
by Newscenter Staff
Posted: May 19, 2004 8:02 pm. ET
(New York City) In the first transgender discrimination case to reach a New York state appeals court, the American Civil Liberties Union today urged the court not to deny transgender New Yorkers protections against discrimination.
“The laws of New York State clearly protect transgender people from discrimination, yet our opponents are trying to take those protections away,”
said ACLU attorney Edward Hernstadt.
“We asked the court to make it clear once and for all that gender identity discrimination is not somethingNew York will tolerate.”
Hispanic AIDS Forum, an AIDS service organization represented by the ACLU, brought suit against its former landlord after it was evicted because other
tenants complained that HAF’s transgender clients were using the “wrong” bathrooms.
The landlord banished all transgender people from the common areas of the building, including all restrooms.
Although the landlord’s lawsuit centers on the claim that transgender people are not protected by the state’s civil rights laws, the ACLU points out in its brief that trial courts in four previous cases have all held that discrimination against transgender people is illegal in New York.
“The landlord argues that transgender people are completely without civil rights protection in New York State,” said James Esseks, Litigation Director of the ACLU’s Lesbian & Gay Rights and AIDS Projects. “This could place transgender New Yorkers in jeopardy of losing their jobs, their housing, and even their
lives, if they are unable to receive public health services – all because someone wants to keep them out of the so-called ‘wrong’ bathroom.”
The ACLU brought the lawsuit on behalf of HAF in June 2001 after the agency was forced out of its home of 10 years in Jackson Heights, Queens – an epicenter of the AIDS epidemic in U.S. Latino communities. HAF repeatedly tried to negotiate with the landlord to reach an agreement over the use of the restrooms that
would be acceptable to all parties, but the landlord refused to renew the lease, saying he didn’t even want the transgender clients in any of the common areas of the building.
“This case shows all too clearly the far-reaching effects of prejudice and discrimination,” said Heriberto Sanchez Soto, Executive Director of HAF.
“Kicking us out of our home didn’t just hurt our transgender client but made it much more difficult for many Latinos and Latinas living with HIV and AIDS to
receive treatment.”
Transgender people living in New York City are protected from discrimination under the city’s human rights law, which was amended in 2002 to clarify that
it covers gender identity. The state human rights law does not explicitly address gender identity, but previous trial court rulings have held that transgender individuals are covered under the law’s sex and disability provisions.

Good Article on Intersex

Gender blending
by By Will Evans — Sacramento Bee on 28 April 2004
David Cameron feels neither completely male nor female. Born with male genitalia, Cameron began growing breasts during puberty and didn’t sprout chest hair until testosterone treatment kicked in. Instead of the typical male XY chromosomes or the female XX set, Cameron has XXY.
“I feel sort of like a blend,” says Cameron, 56, of San Francisco.
Some researchers say that’s a reasonable conclusion. Humans don’t always clearly divide into male and female categories. Some are born with abnormalities that challenge the very definition of sex. The term for them is intersex. Julia, a schoolteacher from a small town in central California, didn’t want to be identified to protect her daughter. Now 4, the girl has a condition that caused an enlarged clitoris.
Doctors couldn’t tell Julia her baby’s sex until after several days of testing. They first came to her with a box of tissues, announcing, “We have a problem.”
Julia felt hot from head to toe from the shock. She remembers the hospital bracelet that said only “baby” instead of “boy” or “girl.” She cried at the thought of her child’s future challenges. “Oh, what a hard life,” she told her husband.
The concept of intersex that links Cameron and the little girl is too blurry to yield a definition with which everyone agrees. Many people with XXY chromosomes, for example, consider themselves absolutely male and distance themselves from the intersex world.
But prominent academics and activists define intersex as anyone whose sex chromosomes, external genitalia or internal reproductive system is not considered standard for male or female.
Peter Trinkl, a computer specialist in Berkeley, doesn’t really know how he looked at birth. All he has to work with are his genital scars, evidence of surgery. His parents didn’t tell him much. In school, he was beaten up and called an alien.
Trinkl, 51, considers himself a heterosexual male, but dating brings up difficult issues, and he hasn’t tried for 20 years.
“If I’m a man or a woman, I don’t want to get too much into that,” he says.
Only recently did Trinkl summon the courage, he says, to research the intersex community and hunt for his medical records.
Some infants are born with ambiguous genitalia while others clearly look male or female and may not find out they are different until they reach puberty. Still others bear a visible difference in anatomy – an enlarged clitoris or a tiny penis – but otherwise can be determined male or female. And some have the standard chromosomes of one sex and the external appearance of the other.
Intersex activists decry the shame and secrecy caging their condition. They urge doctors to avoid cosmetic genital surgery on intersex infants until the children themselves can decide if they want it. Cameron is helping to organize a public hearing on intersex issues to be held by San Francisco’s Human Rights Commission next month.
Children frequently are born with wide-ranging genetic and physical abnormalities. Intersex conditions just happen to manifest in an area that gets at the very definition of who we are.
What defines a person’s sex – their chromosomes, their appearance or their psyche? What if they don’t match?
How can you assign a sex to a child when you don’t really know? How can you not?
What if you surgically reconstruct a baby to look like one sex and the child grows up to identify as the other? What does gay or straight mean, then?
And when everything from color-coded baby presents on out is sexually segregated, is it possible to grow up as an alternative to male or female?
The mind-boggling, gender-bending conundrum plays out in people’s lives.
Intersex people might make up as much as 2 percent of live births, with between 0.1 percent and 0.2 percent of all infants receiving genital surgery, according to a scientific journal article co-written by Anne Fausto-Sterling, a professor of biology and gender studies at Brown University.
“If you look at this from the bigger philosophical view of, ‘Are there really only two kinds of people in the world – either men or women?’ – then the answer to that clearly is no,” she says.
Human sexuality, instead, can be seen as a spectrum or continuum, she says.
The medical profession has traditionally viewed an intersex birth as a “social emergency,” pushing to assign a child’s sex immediately and perform corrective surgery as soon as possible, says Celia Kaye, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Doctors want to avoid traumatizing parents and help the child grow up normally, without confusion or ridicule, she says.
Kaye helped create the American Academy of Pediatrics’ policy statement on intersex newborns along these lines in 2000. But the academy might revise its guidelines because of a growing number in the field who question whether surgery and sex assignment should take place so early in life.
A baby with an enlarged clitoris or minuscule penis, depending on one’s perspective, conventionally has been more likely to be determined a female because it’s surgically easier to make that happen, Kaye says. But it’s not clear, she says, whether that child will grow to be a happy, functioning woman. Some activists call it “genital mutilation.”
Sonoma County resident Cheryl Chase, 47, had surgery on her enlarged clitoris, leaving a “big, flat scar.” But she says the biggest harm doctors caused was “the idea that this was shameful,” telling her parents to keep it a secret.
In the early 1990s, Chase, who identifies herself as an intersex lesbian female, confronted doctors, called the press and founded the Intersex Society of North America, creating today’s intersex movement.
Because of pressure from advocates, doctors are now more open with patients and more likely to present parents with options rather than telling them what to do, says Amy Wisniewski, who does intersex research at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Hospital.
Julia, mother of the 4-year-old girl, says one of her daughter’s doctors “bullied” her into making a surgery appointment. Some surgery is necessary when the toddler hits puberty, but decreasing her clitoris is optional and cosmetic.
Because doctors can’t guarantee a post-surgery clitoris will retain the same sexual sensation, Julia worried her consent may deprive her daughter of a vital part of life. Julia cried every day until she finally canceled the surgery.
“We’re going to leave the decision up to her and talk to her and support her when she’s old enough to make that decision,” Julia says over the phone.
How old is that? If you can delay surgery, can you also put off assigning a sex?
The questions build quickly, but most people are stuck at the first one: “What is intersex?” The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Resource Center at the University of California, Davis, held a talk on exactly that as part of its first Intersex Awareness Week earlier this month.
It’s not clear, Wisniewski says, whether rates of homosexuality are higher among intersex people. But because it shares a battle against the closet, the gay community has embraced the intersex populace, with some organizations adding “I” to the alphabet soup of LGBT.
Still, some with sex chromosome variations keep as far away from both communities as possible.
Those with Klinefelter’s syndrome, or XXY, struggle in a world that glorifies a man’s-man masculinity and sexual prowess, mocking androgynous qualities in men as signs of homosexuality. They’re already marked by that extra “female” chromosome and, for some, breast development and smaller genitalia. The last thing many want is to be aligned with the gay community.
Melissa Aylstock of Loomis is clear: Her XXY son is unambiguously male, and most men with Klinefelter’s syndrome don’t consider themselves intersex. Her son’s doctor, Ronald Swerdloff, chief of endocrinology at Harbor UCLA Medical Center, doesn’t consider Klinefelter’s syndrome intersex, either, because it doesn’t produce ambiguous genitalia.
When her son was diagnosed at age 8, Aylstock was “scared to death.” She wrote to Ann Landers, asking that a post-office box address be published for other parents to get in contact. After the letter ran in 1989, Aylstock received 1,000 letters and hundreds of dollars to start an organization. She founded Klinefelter Syndrome and Associates in Roseville.
Testosterone treatment is the norm for Aylstock’s son, now 23. In the school gym, students asked about his patch. He told them it was for nicotine addiction. “Mind you, we’re Mormon,” says his mother. “That just cracks me up. So he handled it.”
The son declined to talk about his condition in the context of the intersex community.
“So many guys are trying to be just normal,” says Robert Grace of Sonora, who found out at 39 he has XXY chromosomes. When he told people, they thought, “Oh, you’re gay,” he says.
When Grace should have been going through puberty, he watched the other boys whistling at girls and thought, “What jerks.” But he wasn’t gay.
His diagnosis popped up during his premarital physical. “I looked at my (fianc�e) and I said, ‘You don’t have to marry me.’ ”
They did marry and have adopted four children, two of whom also have Klinefelter’s syndrome.
“As a general population, we really would like to be accepted,” says Grace, a “stay-at-home Mr. Mom.” “If I sat next to you, you would have no clue that I was XXY, so why do we need another label?”
Cameron, on the other hand, embraces the other label.
Cameron’s birth certificate and driver’s license declare that “he” is male. With a 6-foot-10 build, a balding head, a deep voice and a beard, Cameron could hardly pass for female yet feels more female than male.
When faced with those annoying little boxes designating “M” or “F” on forms and applications, Cameron might check both or write “intersex.” It somehow seems appropriate that Cameron sometimes goes by the nickname “Iris,” after a favorite flower, the bearded iris.
Cameron got the Klinefelter’s diagnosis at 29 and began testosterone therapy. Where before Cameron had a “really nice smooth body,” now everywhere is hair. “I hate it,” Cameron says. “Quite frankly, I would really like the body I had 27 years ago back.”
Cameron has been with the same male partner for 26 years, though before that Cameron had a girlfriend. Earlier this month, the partner dropped to his knees and presented Cameron a diamond ring.
Cameron wants to wed but first is inquiring with civil rights lawyers because of the radical questions the act could provoke.
After all, would it be a standard marriage, a same-sex marriage or something else entirely?
Misused terms add confusion
The term “intersex,” according to advocates and academics, means anyone with sex chromosomes, external genitalia or an internal reproductive system not considered standard for male or female. Here’s what intersex is not.
Hermaphrodite: The medical definition of a true hermaphrodite is someone with both ovarian and testicular tissue. This is rare and only one of various intersex conditions. Many intersex people consider this term offensive.
Homosexual: Some intersex people are gay, some are not. One doesn’t imply the other.
Transgender: This refers to people who are born one sex but identify as the other. Some choose a sex-change operation.
Eunuch: This refers to a castrated male.
Genetic roots of intersex conditions
Intersex conditions vary in their genetic roots and physical manifestations. Here are details of a few conditions.
Androgen insensitivity syndrome: Patients have male chromosomes (XY) but don’t respond to androgens (male sex hormones, including testosterone). They have undescended testes, normal female external genitalia and breast development. Those with partial androgen insensitivity syndrome have ambiguous genitalia.
Gonadal dysgenesis: Patients have XY chromosomes, but their gonads don’t produce androgens. They have female external genitalia. Those with partial gonadal dysgenesis have ambiguous genitalia.
5-alpha-reductase deficiency: Patients have XY chromosomes but can’t produce the sex hormone dihydrotestosterone. They have testes, a penis resembling a clitoris and a scrotum resembling outer labia. They undergo some masculinizing changes during puberty.
Congenital adrenal hyperplasia: Patients have female chromosomes (XX) but produce excess androgens. They have ovaries, an enlarged clitoris and fused labia resembling a scrotum.
Klinefelter’s syndrome: Patients have the sex chromosome variation XXY and are sterile. They have male genitalia, sometimes with smaller sex organs, and sometimes develop breasts at puberty.
Turner syndrome: Patients have the chromosome variation of only one X. They have normal female external genitalia but can have other physical abnormalities. Because they don’t have functioning ovaries, puberty doesn’t cause breast development or menstruation.
Source: The Johns Hopkins Children’s Center
* Bodies Like Ours support group with online forums:, (610) 258-7466.
* Intersex Society of North America:
* Klinefelter Syndrome and Associates:, (888) 999-9428.
* The Johns Hopkins Children’s Center guide for patients and parents:

The Gwen Araujo Memorial Fund for Transgender Education

Murder of Gwen Araujo Spurs Philanthropic Fund
Contact: Julie Dorf
Director of Philanthropic Services
415-398-2333 ext. 103 Date: March 8, 2004
For Immediate Release
SAN FRANCISCO – With the Gwen Araujo murder trial set to begin on March 15, Gwen’s family, community activists, and Horizons Foundation have joined forces to create the Gwen Araujo Memorial Fund for Transgender Education. This fund will make small grants to school programs that promote understanding of transgender people and issues among youth.
Gwen’s mother, Sylvia Guerrero, said, “I am so committed to ensuring that what happened to my daughter does not happen to anyone else. The hatred of others because they are different must stop, and this fund will help break the cycle of ignorance and violence – with kids in their schools and with their parents.”
Horizons Foundation is a philanthropic social justice organization that has been serving the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community throughout the Bay Area for more than 20 years. “As a community foundation, Horizons has a special responsibility to pull together all LGBT people in the Bay Area, through a vehicle such as this fund, to help end the kind of violence and hatred that led to Gwen’s death,” said Roger Doughty, Executive Director of Horizons Foundation. “We are proud to be the home of the fund and to work closely with Gwen’s family and other members of our community to have a real impact on youth.”
The Gwen Araujo Memorial Fund for Transgender Education will be advised by a group of transgender and education experts, and will accept donations from the community on-line via the Horizons Foundation website and through the mail. Horizons encourages other community organizations, youth advocates, and communities of faith to consider supporting this fund.
For more information and press photos, see
Horizons Foundation; 870 Market, Suite 728; San Francisco, CA 94102
Telephone 415.398.2333; Fax 415.398.4783;
Horizons Foundation is a social justice philanthropic organization serving the entire spectrum of LGBT communities. To fulfill this mission, Horizons creates strong organizations meeting the needs, advancing the rights, and celebrating the lives of LGBT people and communities; generates a diverse group of informed, generous supporters giving time, energy, and resources to the LGBT community; and educates the public about the nature and impacts of homophobia.


Four articles:
1) An article about an 11-year old English girl who lectured at a conference in Geneva about her non-traditional family,” including her father, an ftm transsexual:
Manchester Online
2) An article entitled “Gender blending: Facing difficult decisions, intersex people and theirfamilies push for understanding”:
Sacramento Bee
3) An article about that renegade school board in California, which unfortunately seems to have gotten away with their refusal to adopt the anti-discrimination policy that would protect tg students, by relying on some sort of technicality:
School’s No-Bias Wording Gets OK State’s acceptance of Westminster board’s
antidiscrimination rule defuses funding crisis.
By Joel Rubin, Times Staff Writer
California’s schools chief on Monday reluctantly accepted Westminster School District’s novel approach to an antidiscrimination law – a decision that grants a dramatic victory to three beleaguered trustees and removes, for now, the threat of lost funding.

The three, who form a majority on the Westminster board, have cited their Christian beliefs in insisting that the district not adopt word-for-word a statepolicy that allows students and staff members to define their own gender.
Westminster is the only one of California’s 1,056 school districts that has refused to adopt the language, and faced the loss of $8 million in annual state and federal funding. The stance, which angered many parents and teachers, led to a recall campaign and proposed legislation that would allow the state to take over the district.
California Supt. of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell announced Monday that the modified policy the board adopted last week technically complies with state law that protects gays, as well as transsexuals and others who do not conform to traditional gender roles.
But in a stern letter to the district’s five trustees, O’Connell said he did not trust that the board’s majority intended to adhere to the law and promised to scrutinize the district for possible violations.
“I want to again express my disappointment that those who took an oath to educate children would abuse their elected positions and attempt to flout the law,” O’Connell wrote. “This sets a destructive example for our children and is contrary to the democratic values of our society. Our children deserve better.”
But trustee Judy Ahrens, who led the board’s resistance to the state law, said students were the winners.
“This is a victory for the kids. Anything else would have been dangerous for them,” Ahrens said. “I’ve been through so much, so much. Finally, something right has been done in Sacramento.”
For months, she and fellow trustees Helena Rutkowski and Blossie Marquez-Woodcock rejected the wording of the state law that allows students and teachers to define their own gender when making a discrimination complaint. The three said the law was immoral and would allow transsexuals to promote alternative lifestyles in the classroom.
Last week, as a state deadline expired, the divided board voted to revise the district’s policy for handling discrimination complaints as O’Connell’s office had demanded. But in rewriting the policy, they rejected the idea that someone can define their own gender when making a complaint.
Instead, the trustees approved a policy that defines a person’s gender as their biological sex or, in the case of discrimination, what it was perceived to be by an alleged discriminator.
The three trustees’ stance has pitted them against other board members, teachers and parents who have accused them of jeopardizing district funding, while following personal beliefs instead of state law.
Louise MacIntyre, president for the district PTA, said O’Connell’s decision would not alter plans to recall Ahrens and Marquez-Woodcock. Rutkowski, whose term expires in November, is not targeted.
“I’m relieved that there will not be any financial impact, but these women have gotten by on a technicality,” she said. “For the past two months they have held our 10,000 kids hostage. Their agenda is obviously not in the best interest of the children.”
Similarly, state Sen. Joseph Dunn (D-Santa Ana) said he would continue to pursue a bill that would allow the state to take control of any school district that failed to comply with state law.
“In no way am I going to terminate my plans for legislation,” Dunn said. “If there is ever a future claim of discrimination, this board will never act in compliance with the law.”
In an interview Monday, O’Connell also was skeptical that the Westminster board majority would follow the law: “They are on my permanent watch list. I have many friends in the district and will keep an ear close to the ground.
“They are complying with the law; however, their prior rhetoric and action is unacceptable. I will never condone any discrimination against anyone.”
In his letter, O’Connell also ordered the district to inform its parents, employees and students of the changes to the gender policy. Trish Montgomery, a spokeswoman for the district, said administrators were discussing how best to notify the community.
Mark Bucher, the lawyer hastily hired by the board this month to represent the district, dismissed O’Connell’s promise to keep close watch on Westminster. Bucher said Monday’s decision not only vindicates the three trustees, but calls into question the state’s gender definitions.
“Mr. O’Connell’s decision proves that the three trustees were right from the beginning,” Bucher said. “He can dance around it all he wants – but our definition follows the letter of the law. He is inviting someone to challenge the state law, and I think someone will.”
But education officials and antidiscrimination activists contend the law is solid.
The only question, they said, is whether Westminster will follow it.
“The bottom line is that the test will come when we see how the district handles a real-life case,” said Jennifer Pizer, senior attorney for Lambda Legal, a national nonprofit legal advocacy group for gays, lesbians and transsexuals.
“What we’ve seen is a quibble about technical drafting – but their intention is clear. They plan to deny protection from discrimination to a class of students.”
Ahrens said the district would follow the law – though she declined to say how the district would respond to a complaint by a transsexual or anyone else who believed they were discriminated against because they do not fulfill traditional gender roles.
“We’re going to treat everyone decently,” Ahrens said. “People are allowed to do whatever they want on their own time, but on the job, if you fall out of line, then that’s a problem.”
4) Finally, an article on transsexual marriage:
Transsexuals a new test of marriage
By Yomi S. Wronge

Depending on how you see things, Fran Bennett and Erika Taylor are a heterosexual or lesbian couple. Either way, under California law, they’re married.
That’s because the couple tied the knot before Bennett, once a popular Bay Area disc jockey known as “Weird Old Uncle Frank,” had what is commonly called a sex change.
Their marriage — and possibly thousands like it involving transsexual women and men across the Bay Area and country — is already testing the boundaries of marriage as the nation wrangles over the rights of same-sex couples to wed.

Many transsexual couples have until now fallen under the mainstream radar as they’ve continued to marry, or remain married despite having changed genders. And now they’re worried the contentious debate over same-sex marriage will cast an unwelcome spotlight on their largely quiet existence.
`If the Orwellian religious right has their way, they could pull the plug on all of us,” said Bennett, 50, a San Jose resident who made national headlines in 2002 when she announced her transition from male to female.
Threats from religious conservatives, as well as President Bush’s push for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages, make couples like Bennett and Taylor uneasy.
“I am concerned that if there’s a federal change defining marriage only between a man and woman, and I no longer qualify as a man, then could they try to dissolve my marriage?” said Fairfax resident Dani-Marie Kleist, 54, a transsexual woman who married as a man 12 years ago. Transsexuals — people who have an innate sense they were born the wrong sex — have a legal right in California to change their gender on various forms of identification. Those who elect to have sex-reassignment surgery can also apply for a new birth certificate that reflects their corrected sex. There are an estimated 35,000 to 60,000 transsexuals living in California.

Transsexuals have long been able to marry in California and many other states under a variety of circumstances, including marriages entered into before a person makes the transition to the opposite gender, and those that would be considered heterosexual after a person changes gender. “It’s a precious right that we already have,” said Shannon Minter, a transsexual man and legal director at the National Center for Lesbian Rights, one of three organizations that filed a lawsuit in March for six same-sex couples arguing that denying them the right to marry violates California’s constitution. While Minter believes marriages like Bennett and Taylor’s can’t be undone, she said they underscore the arbitrariness of using gender as a basis to restrict marriage. If these marriages are called into question, some wonder whether the larger gay and lesbian community will fight equally as hard for the rights of transsexuals to marry.
`I’m scared this will divide the LGBT community as opposed to bring it together,” Taylor, 36, said of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
The major groups advocating for same-sex marriages, meanwhile, say it’s all one battle.
“When we look at transgenders, we see that denying same-sex couples the right to marry has all kinds of unintended consequences,” said Jim De La Hunt, policy director for Marriage Equality California, a non-profit, grass-roots group advocating for the freedom of all people to marry. Transgender is an umbrella term for people whose gender identity differs from their anatomical sex. The term includes cross-dressers, people whose sexual organs are ambiguous at birth and transsexuals. Some political analysts believe it benefits gay and lesbian groups to avoid talking about this little-known community in the context of same-sex marriage.

`Middle America is having a hard enough time with just plain old vanilla gay marriage,” said Larry J. Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics.
Opponents striving to ban gay marriage are already quietly planning ways to head off transgender people before they reach the altar.

`Transgender marriage isn’t marriage. It’s an invention, a violation of a universal social principal law of a male and a female,” said the Rev. Lou Sheldon, leader of the Traditional Values Coalition. Sheldon calls transgender marriage “the next wave” in the battle to protect traditional marriage ideals.
hat sentiment doesn’t surprise Gwendolyn and Bonnie Smith of Antioch, a legally married lesbian couple who have lived in peaceful domesticity for more than a decade, but now fear backlash given the current political climate.
`I’m scared that, somehow, they’ll come up with a way to reverse 12 years of my life,” said Bonnie Smith, 35, who married Gwen Smith before Gwen made the transition from a man to a woman. She cited recent family court decisions regarding transgender marriages, including one involving attorney Mathew Staver, whose Liberty Counsel is representing the conservative Campaign for California Families in suits filed to outlaw gay unions. Staver is appealing a Florida court decision to grant child custody to a transsexual man in a divorce case. Similar divorce issues have been argued in U.S. courts only six times. Those in New Jersey and Florida have upheld the validity of such marriages; Kansas, Texas, New York and Ohio courts have declared them invalid, Staver said.
`I think the whole gay marriage debate, although it may not always be phrased this way, is a debate about gender,” he said.

Amnesty International Request for Testimony

Campaign Against Discrimination > Request for Testimony from LGBT People
Request for Testimony
In the United States, Amnesty International’s (AI) work includes research and organizing around human rights violations by police, correctional officers, and the criminal justice system, as well as human rights abuses based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression, sex, race, national origin and immigration status.
AI is now researching how the police interact with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and communities. For example, we are trying to find out:
* How the police answer calls for help by LGBT people;
* Whether the police fully investigate crimes against LGBT people;
* Whether police officers treat LGBT individuals with respect;
* How police officers deal with same-sex domestic violence or sexual assault;
* Whether LGBT people have experienced verbal harassment from police officers;
* Whether LGBT people have been physically or sexually assaulted by police officers;
* How LGBT people�s experiences with police might differ based on race, sex, age, income, immigration status and gender identity.
The goal of the project is to make real changes, especially for communities who are most at risk of being treated badly by police. At the end of the project, AI will be publishing a report that will describe police interactions with LGBT people across the country, and talk about specific examples. The report will let the public know how police treat LGBT people and communities, and will include recommendations based on our findings. AI will be organizing based on the report�s recommendations.
Gathering people�s accounts of their personal experiences with police is an important part of this project. That is why AI is asking LGBT people to tell us about their experiences with the police. We fully understand that you may want to keep your experience private The information that you provide will be treated in the strictest confidence. We will not include names or identifying information in any public documents unless you tell us that it is OK to do so.
For more information