New York State: Ruling Eases Transgender Name-Change Process

As an anarchist I believe that people should have the existential freedom to choose to change their name if they wish and that all people should have the right to have this legal change of name handled in an identical manner.  This goes for the African American or Native American whi wishes to adopt a name they believe more culturally appropriate, to couples who wish to retain or change their last name upon marriage.

People who are transsexual or transgender should not have to meet some form or other of special requirements as that is not only anti-freedom but is a violation of a right guaranteed them by the Constitution in that it treated them in a way that is patently unequal in that it subjects them to meeting requirements other petitioners do not have to meet.

From The New York Times

October 21, 2009, 5:52 pm

By Sewell Chan

Should a transgender person seeking judicial permission to change her or his name be required to furnish medical documentation justifying the change?

A panel of justices in State Supreme Court in Manhattan ruled on Wednesday that the answer is no. The ruling was a victory for the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, a nonprofit advocacy organization.

The fund had brought the case on behalf of a transgender man, Olin Yuri Winn-Ritzenberg, who had petitioned the New York City Civil Court seeking to legally change his name from Leah Uri Winn-Ritzenberg.

In February, a Civil Court judge in Manhattan, Manuel J. Mendez, denied the petition, ruling that Mr. Winn-Ritzenberg first had to provide a letter from a physician, psychologist or social worker documenting the “need” for the name change.

Michael D. Silverman, the executive director of the transgender advocacy group, argued that the state’s common law generally allows an adult “to change his or her name at will, for any reason,” and that transgender petitioners like Mr. Winn-Ritzenberg were being held to a higher standard. About 10 other people, all in Manhattan, have approached the fund with similar reports of having their name-changing petitions denied for the same reason Judge Mendez gave.

Advocates like Mr. Silverman note that not all transgender people take steps like hormone-replacement therapy or sex-reassignment surgery; many take the view that gender is socially constructed, or not even a stable or meaningful category altogether. The fund’s Name Change Project connects transgender people seeking to change their names with lawyers who work for free or for low cost.

Three justices — Douglas E. McKeon, Martin Schoenfeld and Martin Shulman — on Wednesday reversed Judge Mendez’s ruling, voting unanimously to grant Mr. Winn-Ritzenberg’s petition. They found that he had “satisfied the requirements for a name change” under state law, and wrote, “In the absence of fraud, misrepresentation, or interference with the rights of others, the name change petition should have been granted.”

They added, “There is no sound basis in law or policy to engraft upon the statutory provisions an additional requirement that a transgendered-petition present medical substantial for the desired name change.”

“This ruling confirms that each one of us has the right to be known by a name we choose,” Mr. Silverman said. “That choice can’t be second-guessed by doctors, therapists or anyone else just because someone is transgender.”

Mr. Winn-Ritzenberg, who is 26 and pursuing a master’s degree in social work at Hunter College, said in a statement after the ruling was issued: “This ruling means that I can finally change my name and move forward with my life. My gender transition has been a very personal journey, and no one is in a better position to decide that I need to change my name than I am.”

Sweden – Sex-based prenatal brain differences found… [2009-10-23 PhysOrg]

Submitted by Andrea B.

Psychology & Psychiatry

Sex-based prenatal brain differences found

October 23rd, 2009

Prenatal sex-based biological differences extend to genetic expression in cerebral cortices. The differences in question are probably associated with later divergences in how our brains develop. This is shown by a new study by Uppsala University researchers Elena Jazin and Björn Reinius, which has been published in the latest issue of the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

Professor Elena Jazin and doctoral student Björn Reinius at the Department of Physiology and Developmental Biology previously demonstrated that genetic expression in the cerebral cortices of human beings and other primates exhibits certain sex-based differences. It is presumed that these differences are very old and have survived the evolutionary process. The purpose of the new study was to determine whether they appear during the process of brain development or first upon the conclusion of that process. Identifying the initial genetic
mechanisms that prompt the brain to develop in a female or male direction is a long-range research objective.

The Uppsala University researchers analysed data, on the basis of sex, from another extensive study of the prenatal human brain.

“The results show that many of the genes situated on the Y chromosome are expressed in various parts of the brain prior to birth and probably provide a developmental basis for the sex-based differences exhibited by adult brains,” according to Elena Jazin.

More than a third of Y-chromosomal genes appear to be involved in sex-based human brain differentiation. Some of the genetic activity in question is evident in the adult brain, while other of it only appears at earlier stages of brain development It is yet unknown whether the differences in genetic expression among female and male brains have any functional significance.

“The findings are consistent with other factors, such as environment, also playing a role in how we develop,” emphasizes Elena Jazin.

Knowledge of the development of sex-based brain differences is of potential significance for the treatment of brain disturbances and diseases. A large number of psychiatric illnesses, including depression and autism, affect men and women differentially.

“Taking account of sex-based differences is crucial to the study of normal and abnormal brain activity,” according to Elena Jazin.

Source: Uppsala University (news : web )

© 2003-2009

Friday Night Fun and Culture

The Dresden Dolls:  Girl Anachronism

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Portugal – Campaign launched to end classification of transsexualism as ‘illness…

Portugal – Campaign launched to end classification of transsexualism
as ‘illness…’ [2009-10-23 Portugal News]

24th October 2009

Edition: 1033

Campaign launched to end classification of transsexualism as ‘illness’

A campaign that aims to end the classification of transsexuals as individuals who suffer an ‘illness’ as well as educating the general population that sexual diversity not limited to the male and female genre was launched in Lisbon this week.

Identical events were held simultaneously in 38 cities in Europe, Latin America, the USA and Asia, to promote the Stop Trans Pathologisation 2012 movement that has been organized by more than 180 international associations.

Transsexualism is a condition in which an individual identifies with a physical sex different from the one they were born with. A medical diagnosis can be made if a person experiences discomfort as a result of a desire to be a member of the opposite sex, or if a person experiences impaired functioning or distress as a result of that gender identification.

“The aim is to demand an end to the classification of non-conforming gender identities, like transsexual and intersexual [hermaphrodites] individuals, as mentally ill on reference documents belonging to the World Health Organisation’s American Association of Psychiatry (AAP), which will be reviewed in 2012 and 2014”, said Sérgio Vitorino of Portugal’s Pink Panther Association, which is promoting the event in this country.

Sérgio Vitorino believes the long process that individuals wanting a sex-change are subjected to leaves them open and vulnerable to social marginalization.

“Contrary to what happens in Spain, sex change procedure in Portugal drag on for many years and people cannot live their lives to the full, because until they have completed the medical and processes they cannot alter their name or their genders on their identity documents”, he explained.

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