Class Privilege and Sex Reassignment Surgery

When I got my SRS in 1972 America enjoyed far greater prosperity and economic equality than it does now. Today inequality and poverty are the result of some 40 years of Ayn Randian neo-lib/neo-con corporate fascism aimed at putting all the wealth in the hands of 0ne percent and screw everyone else.

We were a bunch of poor kids and the mix was far more multi-racial than it is now.  Unlike today, we weren’t for the most part salaried people with high status jobs granted to us as a result of male privilege.

My friends and I were gender trash.  Many of us were throwaway kids, disowned and on our own.  Too “other” to do anything besides pass as female.  If we had legitimate jobs they paid working class women’s pay of $2.00-3.50 per hour.  A lucky few got jobs with the phone companies as operators, others learned data entry.

It was possible to live cheap in those days, a studio apartment for 75 dollars or so in one of the ghettos.  Shared apartments of maybe two or three bedrooms for around 200-300 dollars.

Thrift store clothes and hippie home cooking.

We somehow managed to save the money or get student loans.  I got a loan from the Berkeley Co-op, a local market chain with a credit union and left wing politics.  It wasn’t much but it was enough to pay for my SRS even though I was still paying off the loan some five years later.

Fast forward to a point not to many years ago when I was being really snarky and pointed out how one could get SRS in Thailand for about the cost of a used VW Golf.

I had gotten too used to middle class comfort even though only a few years prior when I had been drinking I wold have been either homeless or down on the Nickel (LA’s Skid Row located at 5th and Main) with my sister friends who had tried to self medicate away the pain.  I had forgotten how hard it was simply to survive without the support structures cis-sexual/normborns take for granted.

I deceived myself into thinking that because luck had saved me along with falling in love with some one who gave me the support I needed to rise above the desperate poverty I had been living in, that everyone could do the same.

I knew in my heart that I was lucky and that most are not, but privilege plays strange mind tricks on people.  They suddenly cope with having privilege while so many others do not by convincing themselves that they deserve it and that others deserve the misfortune that falls upon them.

The greatest lie of all is “Social Darwinism”, the idea that the privileged are more deserving or that they work harder.

Over five years or so I worked very hard, read, studied and engaged in self-criticism to get back to the humanity and caring I had before the ultra right wing forces of Reagan and crew destroyed America.

A few years back I read Barbara Ehrenreich‘s book, Nickel and Dimed, about not getting by on the poverty level jobs so many American’s hold.  I was reading Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky too along with Naomi Klein. I was getting back to my left wing anarchist working class roots.

I could see the working class getting fucked harder and harder by the rich.  Part time hell with uncertain hours making it hard to hold two jobs.  People with two and three jobs, no health insurance with pay day loans ripping off the poor and credit card companies ripping off those one step up.  Usurious interest rates.  No more government student loans, those low interest loans replaced by “private” banks raping the poor even more.

I work with people doing retail sales who have degrees and yet work for poverty wages as those are the only positions open.

Then several years back we let a sister stay at our house while she went to E2000.  She was an executive with a major US company.  She complained about the cost of her divorce and yet she went to the finest of surgeons.  20,000 here, 50,000 on her face with Dr. O.  I found her to be oh so entitled, oh so privileged and oh so blissfully unaware of her privilege.

When I went on line a dozen plus years back I wondered where all the young sisters were.  Of course it had taken me a year of scrimping and saving, buying components at computer swap meets as well as knowing how to build a computer for me to get on-line in the first place.

Everyone seemed so middle aged and white.  So much higher up the socio-economic scale than I was.

Yet I was a volunteer at Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center as well as involved with the local chapter of the Transsexual Menace and so I knew that Transkids hadn’t suddenly all vanished.  Hell the sex ads in the free papers were full of young people with transsexualism hustling to get by in an age of AIDS, addiction and violence.

Because I am old with a somewhat iffy grasp on middle class most sisters in my circle of friends came out after 40 and after establishing careers based on male privilege.  While they lose male privilege they often retain class privilege.  Many Fortune 500 companies have non-discrimination clauses and even changing jobs after SRS isn’t necessarily an elevator ride on the downwardly mobile express.

But privilege hardens one to the suffering of those who do not enjoy that privilege.  Transsexual to Male people have been given a pass on the bottom surgery based on cost.  I’ve been called a transgender sympathizer because I look at poverty class sisters who are 24/7/365 with electrolysis, hormones, breast implants and perhaps even some facial surgery (although perhaps not from the famous Dr. O.) and I am willing to cut them some slack.

On some level the surgery that was supposed to make us whole is treated like owning a Birkin, a status symbol to be held as validation of a realness not readily accessible to those lacking the same class privilege.

It is too bad so many with class privilege have so little class as to feel it is okay to flaunt their good fortune, to feel it is alright to rub it in that they have their pussies when those at the bottom are lucky to be able to afford a place to live and see SRS as but a dream.

‘Intersex’ fish found in Colorado Study: Pollutants causing male bass to develop female sex organs

From Havasu News
‘Intersex’ fish found in Colorado
Study: Pollutants causing male bass to develop female sex organs
By DICK KAMP / Wick Communications Environmental Liaison
Sunday, September 20, 2009 8:02 PM MST

Early studies indicate various pollutants, drugs, cosmetics and household products in the Colorado River can cause some male bass to have partially developed female organs inside.

This phenomenon of occasional female organ growth in males, is called “intersex.”

A nationwide study of sexual fish aberrations by the U.S. Geological Survey found that 40 percent of smallmouth bass and one-third of largemouth bass sampled in the Colorado River were intersex. The Colorado River data were from 2003, and nationwide it covered the period 1995-2004.

The pollutants and various chemicals affect hormone activity in animals and humans are collectively called endocrine disruptors or endocrine active compounds.

The Colorado River Regional Sewage Coalition has been concerned with the presence of the endocrine disruptors, particularly because Colorado River water is consumed by millions in Arizona, Nevada and California.

One member of CRRSCO, Southern Nevada Water Authority, has been testing for chemicals in Lake Mead and Las Vegas drinking water.  Monitoring has shown that levels of a number of endocrine disruptors exist in drinking water for Las Vegas at substantial percentages of levels that are detected in Lake Mead near the sewage outfall.

For example, the popular insect repellant DEET and the herbicide atrazine have been detected (at low unregulated levels in parts per trillion) when sampled in both the lake and potable Las Vegas drinking water.

SNWA also is assisting Lake Havasu City Water Resources Coordinator Doyle Wilson to sample for endocrine disruptors in Lake Havasu as well as in water supply wells and a huge sewage storage repository two miles from the lake constructed within the last two years. Doyle said that his principal concern with the USGS study is that the fish data are already dated.

Wilson added that CRRSCO is pinning some of its hopes for future monitoring of endocrine disruptors and many pollutants on the Lower Colorado River Protection Act, which was introduced July 31 by Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz. The bill would create and implement an EPA-overseen, long-term plan to protect water quality in the lower Colorado to prevent and eliminate pollution with continuous ecosystem monitoring.

Some of the highest intersex percentages were found in the southeastern U.S. At 111 sites nationwide, 3,080 fish were examined and all had contaminants in their bodies.

Forty percent of largemouth bass examined at Imperial Dam and at the Gila River in Hayden were intersex, and 70 percent of smallmouth bass in the upper Colorado in the Yampa River were intersex.

Among other species examined, the only intersex carp found nationwide was at Willow Beach, below Lake Mead. One intersex channel catfish was found in the lower Colorado basin in the Gila River at Phoenix, and one at each of three sites in the upper Colorado.

Lead author of the report, JoEllen Hincke, of the USGS Columbia Missouri Environmental Research Lab, said that the report “is the first synthesis of USGS efforts to measure contamination in water, fish and intersex occurrence.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control — and governments worldwide — have gathered substantial evidence that human health is affected by exposure to hormone-disrupting chemicals.  Pregnant women and babies, particularly boys, are considered at highest potential risk but serious conditions affecting women such as infertility, ovarian damage and adult male hormonal disruption are considered to be likely impacts of the chemicals.

Wastewater discharges into sources of drinking water are one major pathway of contamination that may include bodily discharges of concentrations of chemicals or from pollutants themselves being discharged into surface and groundwater.

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Intersex Deer

[I didn’t write the article, it is quoted from Outdoor Life hence the language is theirs.]

Outdoor Life

Biology: HeShe Bucks

October 2009 pg 21

Shoot a velvet buck with spindly limber antlers?  Chances are, he’s missing some important equipment.

By Ben Swenson

Aubrey Williams, of Chesapeake, Virginia, wasn’t sure what to make of the 8-point buck he shot last December.

“His antlers were soft and he was bleeding from one of the rines in his rack.” he says, “When I turned him over to gut him, he didn’t have any testicles.”

William’s kill had what appears to be a growing number of odd antlers reported by deer hunters each year.  Kansas hunter Mike Smith made headlines around the country last year when he bagged a 27 point whitetail, only to discover it was a doe.

Missing or malformed testicles, as with William’s buck, can interupt testosterone production necessary for the annual cycle of antler growth, hardening and shedding.

Doe deer sometimes grow antlers because of hormone imbalances or diseased or injured sex organs.  A few antlered deer are hermaphrodites, meaning they produce both male and female genitalia.

Dr. Chris DePerno, a wildlife biologist at North Carolina State University, explains that getting a handle on the percentage of these deer in the overall population is challenging.  They get a lot of attention, and anecdototally it appears more are being reported every year. But they remain a very small subset of the population.

“Biologists have a hard enough time estimating the number of normal individuals,” DePerno observes, “But the percentage of these altered deer certainly is very small,” though they occur throughout the species range.

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