UK: Sex change birth certificate legislation approved

Sex change birth certificate legislation approved
May 27 2004
A Birmingham MP has celebrated victory in a ten-year campaign to win new rights for people who have a sex change. Transsexuals will now be able to demand new birth certificates – with their correct gender, thanks to a
change in the law.
Lynne Jones (Lab Selly Oak), a long-time supporter of the change, described the introduction of the legislation as “a wonderful moment”, in a House of Commons debate.
But the measures in the Gender Recognition Bill were condemned by Midland MP Sir Patrick Cormack (ConStaffordshire South). He said it would force registrars, the people responsible for issuing birth certificates, to “lie” by issuing birth certificates with genders which “were not true”.
Sir Patrick said: “It is not just the road to hell that is paved with good intentions; so is the road to bad legislation. This is bad legislation, because legislation that calls upon people to tell lies is fundamentally flawed.” He added: “We are faced with a Bill that obliges people to say things that are not so. “We know that those who are persuaded that they are of the wrong sex or gender do not necessarily have physical differences and do not necessarily have to undergo surgery of any sort, yet they are to be recognised and issued with a birth certificate that
contradicts the natural facts of life.”
The Gender Recognition Bill will enable an estimated 5,000 transsexuals to have secret changes made to their birth certificates. It will also allow them to
marry in their acquired gender. Churches will have the right to refuse to conduct such a marriage. Ministers have already amended the Bill to allow sports governing bodies to make special rules for transsexual competitors.
Continue reading “UK: Sex change birth certificate legislation approved”

Olympics okays TS athletes

IOC clears transsexuals for competition
Associated Press
Posted: 18 hours ago
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) – Transsexuals have been cleared to compete in the Olympics for the first time.
Under a proposal approved Monday by the IOC executive board, athletes who have undergone sex-change surgery will be eligible for the Olympics if their new gender has been legally recognized and they have gone through a minimum two-year period of postoperative hormone therapy.
The decision, which covers both male-to-female and female-to-male cases, goes into affect starting with this summer’s Athens Olympics.
The IOC had put off a decision on so-called transgender athletes in February, saying more time was needed to consider all the medical issues.
Some members had been concerned whether male-to-female transsexuals would have physical advantages competing against women.
Men have higher levels of testosterone and greater muscle-to-fat ratio and heart and lung capacity. However, doctors say, testosterone levels and muscle mass drop after hormone therapy and sex-change surgery.
IOC spokeswoman Giselle Davies said the situation of transsexuals competing in high-level sports was “rare but becoming more common.”
IOC medical director Patrick Schamasch said no specific sports had been singled out by the ruling.
“Any sport may be touched by this problem,” he said. “Until now, we didn’t have any rules or regulations. We needed to establish some sort of policy.”
Until 1999, the IOC conducted gender verification tests at the Olympics but the screenings were dropped before the 2000 Sydney Games.
One of the best known cases of transsexuals in sports involves Renee Richards, formerly Richard Raskind, who played on the women’s tennis tour in the 1970s.
In March, Australia’s Mianne Bagger became the first transsexual to play in a pro golf tournament.
Michelle Dumaresq, formerly Michael, has competed in mountain bike racing for Canada.
Richards, now a New York opthamologist, was surprised by the IOC decision and was against it. She said decisions on transsexuals should be made on an individual basis.
“Basically, I think they’re making a wrong judgment here, although I would have loved to have that judgment made in my case in 1976,” she said.
“They’re probably looking for trouble down the line. There may be a true transsexual – not someone who’s nuts and wants to make money – who will be a very good champion player, and it will be a young person, let’s say a Jimmy Connors or a Tiger Woods, and then they’ll have an unequal playing field.
“In some sports, the physical superiority of men over women is very significant.”
The article can be found at

UCLA Doctor on Sex Identity,1,4766046.story
Gender Blender
Intersexual? Transsexual? Male, female aren’t so easy to define
By Eric Vilain, Eric Vilain is chief of medical genetics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.
This was the moment of truth. The ultimate test before the coronation. A deacon would extend his hand below the robe of the future pope and check for the presence of two testicles. Middle Ages legend has it that this rite was started after Joan, an Englishwoman and a cross-dresser, managed to get elected pope in 855 but was discovered two years later because of an ill-timed childbirth.
Will we soon be witnessing such surreal examinations in our city halls? After all, if the Constitution will allow only marriages between a man and a woman, the county clerks had better make sure that they are issuing licenses legally. Patting down the two male organs would ensure an absolute certainty of sex identification. Or would it?
In reality, sex isn’t so straightforward. Let’s take testicles as a defining characteristic of a man. Are individuals with only one testis “real” men? The “two-testicles rule” would disqualify about 3% of male newborns a year � about 4.5 million Americans total. Does one need to produce active sperm or eggs to be considered a man or woman? Adding a fertility criterion would eliminate millions more from both categories.
If conventional wisdom cannot easily define men and women by just a simple look at the private parts, science should help us distinguish between the sexes. Since 1921, we have known that women have two X chromosomes and men an X and a Y chromosome. This is the fundamental genetic distinction between men and women.
But still, it’s been difficult to find clear-cut answers. Olympic Games officials have struggled with the science of “sexing” individuals for many years � often after high-profile cases of gender confusion. In the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, U.S. runner Helen Stephens beat Polish runner Stella Walsh in the 100-meter sprint, winning a gold medal and breaking Walsh’s 1932 record. The Polish press falsely accused Stephens of being a man. Ironically, after Walsh was killed during a 1980 robbery, her autopsy revealed male genitals. Decades later, Erica Schinegger, who won the women’s downhill skiing world title for Austria in 1966, was two years later found to be chromosomally male and, as such, disqualified for the Olympics. Her case forced the International Olympic Committee to require all athletes to take a test counting the number of X chromosomes.
In 1990, scientists learned that a gene called SRY on the Y chromosome is what makes fetuses become boys and not girls. In 1992, the Olympic test was perfected to detect the presence of the SRY gene.
But even that was insufficient. Any genetics expert knows that there are exceptions to the chromosome rules. There are females with a Y chromosome; there are males with no SRY gene. At the Sydney Olympics in 2000, the IOC decided to “refrain from performing gender tests,” conceding that no single test provided a complete answer.
Identifying the gender of intersex and transsexual individuals poses an even more complex challenge. Intersexuality is defined as the presence of “ambiguous genitalia,” making it impossible to tell easily whether the newborn baby is a boy or a girl. It occurs at a frequency of 1 in 4,000 births. Plastic surgery of the genitals is often performed to conform a typical appearance of one sex or the other, and a male or female legal sex is assigned shortly after birth. Many of these children grow up feeling alienated from their legal sex identity and undergo reconstructive surgery as adults to regain their dominant gender identity. If intersex adults change their legal sex, which sex should be considered when they marry?
Although the validity of marriage of an intersex person has not been tried in court, legal challenges to marriages of transsexuals abound. Transsexuals believe that they have been born in the wrong body and often pursue a difficult and painful process of surgical reassignment. But courts often don’t recognize the change of sex and invalidate spousal rights of transsexuals. In the 1999 landmark case of Littleton vs. Prange, a male-to-female transsexual was denied the right to sue under a wrongful death statute for the death of her husband. The Texas Court of Appeals referred to sex provided by “our creator” as opposed to sex created by physicians and rejected “man-made” sexual organs.
Sex should be easily definable, but it’s not. Our gender identity � our profound sense of being male or female � is independent from our anatomy. A constitutional amendment authorizing marriages only between men and women would not only discriminate against millions of Americans who do not fit easily in the mold of each category, but would simply be flawed and contrary to basic biological realities.

Chris Kahrl, TG sportswriter

From the Washington Blade
Throwing a curveball Chris Kahrl, the transgendered co-author of the annual Baseball Prospectus, is finding life outside the closet rewarding.
Friday, April 09, 2004
FOR MORE THAN A decade, Chris Kahrl has turned a love of baseball into a successful career in sports publishing, working with a long-standing team of
authors to write, edit, and publish the annual Baseball Prospectus. The definitive guide, feverishly updated each winter and published a full month before Major League baseball’s opening day, which was last week, analyzes statistics on each player in the profession. It reaches 60,000 readers annually. Noting that other attempts to chronicle anything can be as ‘dull as paste,’ Kahrl and colleagues pepper the ‘Prospectus’ with intelligent humor and thoughtful
commentary, successfully turning a reference guide into a legitimate coffee table book for even the most casual fan to enjoy.
Reflecting that humor and charm, Kahrl, a lifetime athlete and baseball fanatic, publicly discussed the book and baseball last Thursday for nearly three hours
at Politics and Prose bookstore in Northwest D.C. The Baseball Prospectus may be different because of its hip, fresh approach to one of America’s favorite
pastimes. But it’s also unique for another reason: Its co-author Chris Kahrl has been living openly as a transgendered woman for the past six months.
COMING OUT STORIES have a certain arc to them and can almost write themselves today. But Kahrl, 36, offers a rare perspective about the torturous layers involved in coming out as a transgendered person that few others, including gay men and lesbians, have experienced. “For me, the process of coming out is effectively unzipping your head for everyone’s benefit,” she says.
“I was scared to death when I took my boss out for drinks. But when I told him, he said, ‘Well, Chris, I’m your friend, you’re a great author, and we’re going to make this work.'”
That might seem unbelievably enlightened for a boss, but Kahrl of Virginia has known him and all of her colleagues for more than 10 years. “I’ve had good fortune with all of my friends, even my family,” she says. “I gave being a guy my best shot, and it didn’t work out and that’s OK.”
STILL, MOST OF her work with Major League Baseball is researched over the phone and Internet, not in the locker room. At Politics and Prose, it was standing room only when she appeared last week. Kahrl said it couldn’t have gone better.
“People blinked for a minute, but as I kept rolling along, talking about baseball, gender issues disappeared from everyone’s radar as it became clear everyone was going to get what they came for baseball,” she says. Her relatively painless transition says something about the strength of her character. Her colleagues, further still, attribute it to her comportment and professionalism.
“Sure, there is gossip out there,” says Gary Gillette, co-author of Baseball Encyclopedia, a publication similar to the Baseball Prospectus. “But these days, everyone is either enlightened enough to deal with it or wise enough to keep their mouths shut. Chris is very well-respected, well-liked, in this industry,” he says, “and that will certainly continue.”
Kahrl sees no inherent disconnect between the masculine world of baseball and her identity and, in fact, says that a love of the former eases the awkwardness of the latter. “Baseball is something I could relate to with my great-grandfather – with all people,” she says. “Sports give us all something in common to talk about that is essentially inoffensive.” Still, she expects the stares, the puzzled faces, and the common inquiries, and views them as an easy tradeoff for being able to live openly. Her story should inspire anyone in agony over crossing bridges or taking risks.