The Crashingly Boring Christine Jorgensen

I’ve never understood the fetishizing of Christine Jorgensen as some supposedly heroic transsexual/transgender icon.

I wasn’t all that aware of her and her big Copenhagen Adventure.

I’m nearly 65 and was five or six years old when the story originally broke, we didn’t have a television yet and they didn’t feature her story in my Weekly Reader.

The first transsexual sisters I heard about were far more glamorous and sexy than Christine.  They were the late 1950s early 1960s crew that worked at Le Carousel in Paris and got their sex change operations from Dr. Burou in Casablanca.

I especially idolized April Ashley.

There was a multi-part serialization of her biography to that point in one of the tabloids in 1962.

She had a sex change operation.  Not gender confirmation surgery or any other weaselly euphemism, but a sex change operation.

I wanted to be just like her. I wanted to have a sex change operation and be a hot babe who enjoyed  sex.

The whole England swings, pop culture, music and fashion scene was just coming into play.

She was hot and sexy and admitted she liked having sex.

In the late 1960s when Christine Jorgensen’s book came out I read it and was appalled at the entire white washing and expurgating of any sexual aspect.

Poor Christine never seemed to have a man in her life or between her legs.

By that time I was out , pickled on pussy pills and horny.

I wasn’t some sort of tight legged virgin saving myself for after SRS and a diamond.

Her movie came out in the spring of 1970 and she was going to be at a theater in San Francisco promoting it.  I was living in East Oakland with queen named Gina at the time.  We went to the opening to meet the famous Christine Jorgensen and were blown away by how square she came off.

This was 1970 and she looked trapped in the 1950s.  then I remembered her book, which should have been subtitled “How I got sort of a sex change, even though a vagina wasn’t part of it and managed to be so square as to not have any fun along the line.”

The movie was one of  the most abysmal pieces of dreck I’ve ever seen thrown up on the screen.  It couldn’t have been any campier if Ed Wood had directed it.

It was painful to watch.

Christine was prehistoric by 1970.

The people of my generation didn’t even have all that much in common with the gang from Le Carousel.

We weren’t dancing in shows, our Carousel Ballroom was on Market Street and run by Bill Graham.

People like Autumn Sandeen and Cristan Williams talk about medicalization and sexualization in the same tone of voice one heard from the heterosexual transvestite set.

Christan Williams transgender Borg 23 of 78 is obsessed with telling people who actually lived through that era and remember that era that they are all wrong because CW manged to dig up some obscure references.

The big problem is we didn’t talk that way in the 1970s when the generic term was “transie” not transgender and the world was divided into transsexuals who got sex change operations to be real women and drag queens who got implants and facial surgeries but kept their dicks because they liked using them.

Why are we supposed to embrace the sterile life of Christine Jorgensen who was experimented on by doctors who didn’t think a vaginoplasty was all that important?  What was done to her was kind of a nightmare that led to a whole set of myths as to why people were better not having SRS.

Dr. Burou and Dr. Barbosa understood  importance of being able to have vaginal sex as part of our motivations for having sex change operations.

This piece by Sandeen needs some comments to balance out the bullshit:

Trans sexualization; Trans medicalization

I swore I wasn’t going to get sucked into this bullshit and I may hate myself in the morning but I hate Transgender Borg fictional history as much as I hate the crap David Barton spews forth.

In fact the two have a good deal in common.

Argentina makes sex-change surgery a legal right

From The Silicon Valley Mercury News:

By MICHAEL WARREN Associated Press
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina—Adults who want sex-change surgery or hormone therapy in Argentina will be able to get it as part of their public or private health care plans under a gender rights law approved Wednesday.The measure also gives people the right to specify how their gender is listed at the civil registry when their physical characteristics don’t match how they see themselves.

Senators approved the Gender Identity law by a vote of 55-0, with one abstention and more than a dozen senators declaring themselves absent—the same margin that approved a “death with dignity” law earlier in the day.

President Cristina Fernandez threw her support behind the law and is expected to sign it. She has often said how proud she is that Argentina became Latin America’s first nation to legalize gay marriage two years ago, enabling thousands of same-sex couples to wed and enjoy the same legal rights as married heterosexual couples.

For many, gender rights were the next step.

Any adult will now be able to officially change his or her gender, image and birth name without having to get approval from doctors or judges—and without having to undergo physical changes beforehand, as many U.S. jurisdictions require.

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Why Transgender Women’s Breast Cancer Risk Is Still A Mystery

From BuzzFeed:

When a trans woman develops breasts, does her cancer risk rise too? Experts say maybe not — but politics keeps them from knowing for sure.

Anna North
May 8, 2012

Last week, Beth Scott won her battle to get her insurance carrier to cover her mammogram, after they refused to because she’s transgender. Scott’s doctor had recommended the screening, but when it comes to figuring out their actual risk of breast cancer, transgender women (and men) face a frustrating lack of information.

According to Dr. Maddie Deutsch, director of the transgender health program at the LA Gay & Lesbian Center the risk of breast cancer for trans women like Scott is relatively low. It’s likely “much lower,” she says, than the risk for cisgender (that is, non-trans) women. And trans men have surgery to remove their breasts, a small amount of breast tissue can remain, but the reduced amount translates to a significant reduction in risk.

However, she also noted that there’s a serious lack of research in this area. It’s not clear, for instance, whether developing breasts as part of gender transition actually raises a person’s cancer risk — that is, whether transgender women are more likely to get breast cancer than men who never grow breasts. Most funding for trans-related health issues has focused on HIV, mental health, or substance abuse — there’s been almost no research into general health concerns like breast cancer.

The reason, according to JoAnne Keatley, director of the Center of Excellence for Transgender Health at UCSF, is that people who control research money still think of transgender health as a political hot potato. So federal grants for trans health research aren’t available, and private donors shy away too. Keatley says, “there’s no private foundation that I’m aware of that is willing to provide money” to study breast cancer in trans women. A 1988 case study looked at one trans woman who developed cancer 10 years after her transition, and mentioned two previous cases, but according to Keatley, no large-scale research whatsoever into the incidence of breast cancer in transgender people has been done.

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Barack Obama speaks out and declares support for same-sex marriage

From The Guardian UK:

President speaks about issue in deeply personal terms, and affirms his unequivocal support for same-sex couples to marry

in Washington and in New York, Wednesday 9 May 2012

Barack Obama has declared his unequivocal support for same-sex marriage, taking a bold political gamble on an issue that divides American voters just months before a presidential election.

Obama’s announcement, in a hastily-arranged ABC interview on Wednesday, came after years of dodging the issue. He was forced to go public partly because vice-president Joe Biden ignited the debate with a remark in support of gay marriage at the weekend.

In the interview, Obama said he had long supported civil unions but his position on same-sex marriages had been evolving because of the powerful traditions and religious beliefs attached to the word marriage.

Obama said he had been swayed in particular by considering the service of gays and lesbians in the US military. “At a certain point I just concluded, for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married,” Obama said.

At this stage, Obama’s commitment is purely symbolic. He made it clear it represented his personal view and that he would respect the decisions of individual states – 30 have enacted constitutional bans on same-sex marriages.

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Hugh Hefner: ‘If we’re not free in our own bedrooms then we’re not free at all’

From Raw Story:

By Andrew Jones
Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Playboy founder Hugh Hefner continued his recent castigation of Republicans Monday evening and defended himself from critics who say he has exploited women throughout the years.

“I’m on the right side of the sexual revolution too,” Hefner told The Young Turks host Cenk Uygur in an interview. “I know what the world was like before Playboy and repression is very hurtful. If we’re not free in or own skins, if we’re not free in our own bedrooms then we’re not free at all.”

Hefner also expressed his delight for voting for President Barack Obama in 2008 but highlighted some areas he was disappointed in with the commander in chief.

“He turned out to be a war president, I wasn’t expecting that,” he said. ” I think we need to get out of the way of a lot of parts of the world that are trying to solve their own problems. And I don’t think we help by injecting ourselves into it.”

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Chemical Agriculture Goes to the Mattresses

From EnviroBlog:

May 8, 2012

The U.S. Department of Agriculture began testing fruits and vegetables for pesticide residues in 1991 after the public became concerned about their potential risks to children. Remember Alar? In 1993, at the request of Congress, several top public health experts released a seminal report, Pesticides in the Diets of Infants and Children. Three years later, Congress responded by passing unanimously the federal Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA), which required the Environmental Protection Agency to implement health-based standards for all pesticides used in food, with special safeguards for infants and babies.

This flurry of activity grew out of one overarching conclusion embraced by scientists, physicians, policy makers, parents and the public interest community: Pesticides used in the cultivation of fruits and vegetables can cause serious and lasting harm to young children.

That didn’t stop conventional agribusiness interests from trying hard to water down or remove provisions of the proposed law designed to protect infants and children. The industry argued that it would cut into their profits if they had to take children’s health into consideration.

They lost that fight, but in the years that followed chemical agriculture has repeatedly enlisted its allies in Congress to try to dismantle the food safety law. And they’re still trying.

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Same-sex marriage amendments: bigotry’s last gasp

From The Guardian UK:

It’s cold comfort to gay couples in North Carolina and Minnesota today, but mainstream America accepts marriage equality, Tuesday 8 May 2012

The constitutional amendment on the ballot in North Carolina Tuesday is so stridently framed you’d think there was a reason for it. “Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state,” goes the proposal.

Here’s the thing: it’s not as though gays can get married in North Carolina to begin with. There’s a similar amendment on the ballot in my adopted home state of Minnesota – where gay marriage is also already unrecognized.

There are no pink processionals crowding the streets of Durham, and while my St Paul neighborhood sees a lot of pairs of women pushing one stroller down the street, I have yet to be invited to the big “WE ARE UNDERMINING THE FOUNDATIONS OF YOUR MORALITY” party, which social conservatives seem to imagine taking place just out of sight. The fact is, both of these initiatives are propelled less by the presence of an in-your-face homosexual “agenda” than by the gradual, inevitable, and growing normalization and acceptance of gays and lesbians as complete equals in our society. From the perspective of anti-equality activists, the flood waters – probably consisting of Evian – have already breached the dam. And these measures are life-rafts.

Tiny, splintered and spiteful life-rafts that will most likely sink once the Republicans in the legislatures in both states lose their majorities. As it is, the North Carolina Republicans are taking advantage of a once-in-a-hundred-year majority, while in Minnesota, Republicans down-ballot face the daunting prospect of a still-popular Obama and the even more popular Senator Amy Klobuchar at the top of the ticket. These politicians are making hate while the sun shines.

No matter what happens in North Carolina and Minnesota (the North Carolina law will likely pass; Minnesota‘s is less certain of a majority), polls show a continuing upswing in voters’ tolerance – and even proactive favor for – gay marriage. Right now, about 50% of Americans favor extending that most intimate of basic rights to all people.

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How Corruption takes $14 from Each Tank of Gas

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German Patience With Greece on the Euro Wears Thin

From The New York Times:

By and
Published: May 8, 2012

BERLIN — Just weeks ago, the idea that Greece would leave the euro zone was almost unthinkable. Now, with Greece’s newly empowered political parties refusing to abide by the terms of the country’s international loan agreement and Europe’s leaders talking tough, that outcome is looking increasingly likely.

Germany’s devotion to the euro and the European Union runs extremely deep and cuts across the political spectrum. But the frustration with Greece here is undeniable. There is a growing conviction that it is up to Greece to follow through on its commitments, that Europe is done negotiating.

“Germans are now predominantly of the opinion that they would be better off if Greece left the euro zone,” said Carsten Hefeker, a professor of economics and an expert on the euro at the University of Siegen. “If the country really is continuing on the path they are taking now, it would be hard to justify keeping them in. How do you deal with a country that says we don’t want to keep any of the commitments we have made?”

Yet, on Tuesday, the leader of the leftist Greek party that won the second-most votes in Sunday’s elections declared the loan agreement “null,” and refused to enter a coalition with the formerly dominant parties that supported it. With the so-called troika of lenders — the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund — demanding budget savings of $15 billion by the end of June, the issue seems likely to come to a head soon.

The tone of debate over Greece is sharper and more antagonistic than it is over Spain or Italy. Discussions of Spain in the German news media tend to focus on the suffering stemming from the extremely high unemployment and particularly the youth unemployment rate, and the government’s efforts to cut deficits in spite of a contracting economy. Reports on Italy emphasize the competitive industries in the north and the progress made by its technocratic prime minister, Mario Monti, to make structural reforms.

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Austerity Can’t Be Just for Regular People

From Rolling Stone:

By Matt Taibbi
May 8, 2012

It didn’t take long to crank up the backlash against European voters. This is inevitable whenever a socialist wins a major election, but particularly now, when new French president François Hollande rode to victory shouting, “Austerity can no longer be inevitable!”

This sounds like the beginning of what will be a very heated debate over who has to pay for the excesses of the financial crisis. It was previously assumed that everybody but the actual financial services sector would have to pay, but voters in Europe now are refusing to go along, sparking a wave of eye-rolling editorials in the financial press. Even David Brooks got into the act today, penning a lugubrious editorial about the errant political instincts of the populist masses here and abroad.

Markets all over the world freaked out over the prospect of having ignorant European voters meddling in the recovery process the geniuses of the high finance world had already painstakingly laid out for them. The model for economic progress in the financial bubble era, after all, is supposed to go something like this:

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A Question of Timing: What America Can Learn from the Revolt in Europe

From  Robert Reich:

By Robert Reich
Monday, May 7, 2012

Who’s an economy for? Voters in France and Greece have made it clear it’s not for the bond traders.

Referring to his own electoral woes, Prime Minister David Cameron wrote Monday in an article in the conservative Daily Telegraph: “When people think about the economy they don’t see it through the dry numbers of the deficit figures, trade balances or inflation forecasts — but instead the things that make the difference between a life that’s worth living and a daily grind that drags them down.”

Cameron, whose own economic policies have worsened the daily grind dragging down most Brits, may be sobered by what happened over the weekend in France and Greece – as well as his own poll numbers. Britain’s conservatives have been taking a beating.

In truth, the choice isn’t simply between budget-cutting austerity, on the one hand, and growth and jobs on the other.

It’s really a question of timing. And it’s the same issue on this side of the pond. If government slices spending too early, when unemployment is high and growth is slowing, it makes the debt situation far worse.

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The Greediness of Brain Drain

From Common Dreams:

by Ralph Nader
Published on Wednesday, May 9, 2012 by Common Dreams

The phrase “brain drain” used to mean, in the 1950s and ‘60s, the flight of professionally-trained people from dictatorships to find opportunity in the U.S. and other Western countries. Now “brain drain” is used in American media to mean an active U.S. government policy to attract foreign entrepreneurs, scientists, physicians, nurses and other skilled laborers in short supply to the U.S.

Behind this push for a “great sucking sound” are companies like Intel, Google, Microsoft, and Pfizer, with their media cheerleaders like Tom Friedman of the New York Times, and members of Congress like Kansas Republican Congressman Jerry Moran and Virginia Democratic Senator Mark Warner.

The arguments for a deliberate “magnet brain drain,” are porcine. Our companies need these skills. The foreigners have these skills and we want them here where they can flourish, and create profits and jobs. Never mind that our country has plenty of people waiting to have the same opportunity. By reducing tuition barriers, overcoming historic discrimination (e.g. lack of women engineers), reducing the 40 percent dropout rate from colleges, and working with youngsters on a one-on-one basis so that they are not left behind or skewered by misguided multiple-choice standardized test regimens, are all great ways to reach out to Americans.

Also, what about having ready and able specialists here who may have to be paid more than their overseas counterparts? These Silicon Valley corporations are making huge profits, pay few taxes, and receive subsidies known as R & D tax credits.

Now we see the grossest of contradictions. We have an agency for International Development (USAID), economists and politicians saying that developing countries desperately need these same skills or what they call “human capital.” They need engineers for their transportation, hydraulic and soil systems, physicists for their universities and modern industries, physicians for their sick and injured, nurses for hospital care, public health specialists for eradicating systemic diseases, and entrepreneurs to jumpstart businesses that deal directly with the necessities of life. Through many columns, the globetrotting Tom Friedman has urged developing countries to retain such native talent to build their economies. Yet he has also written that students from abroad receiving U.S. PhDs in the hard sciences be given immediate permanent U.S. residence en route to citizenship. Well, you can’t have it both ways. There is not a large surplus of such talent that we can drain them from developing countries building their own societies. The U.S. is a major importer of physicians and nurses from places in South Asia, the Middle East and other regions. These are skills far more desperately needed outside the U.S. than here, especially when you consider the undeveloped pool of talent that lies ignored in our country. Is it so much easier to have foreign workers educated in countries like Pakistan, being battered by our overflowing war in Afghanistan, than to rescue Americans from their battered high school and put them on a track toward excellence?

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European People Have Rejected Austerity Madness: Will the U.S. Get the Message?

From Alternet:

The Greek and French elections show that the electorate wants real income growth and jobs — and they are clear that austerity is undermining both.

By Marshall Auerback
May 7, 2012 

So the voters of Europe have spoken, and surprise, surprise: they are not too keen on fiscal austerity. France’s president, Nicolas Sarkozy, became the first incumbent to lose since 1981. In Greece, the mainstream parties that have been happily participating in the country’s national suicide were soundly rejected by the electorate (who finally had a say on the country’s economic course after being the unwilling recipients of a European Union/International Monetary Fund-sponsored financial coup d’etat over the last several months).

Governments in Europe have been caught up in the fiscal austerity narrative that the neo-liberals imposed on failing economies everywhere. They believe that if they demonstrate misguided “fiscal responsibility” through the maniacal pursuit of a budget surplus, the electorate will reward them for being good managers. However, as the Greek and French elections vividly demonstrate, the electorate is more concerned about real income growth and employment opportunities and they are clear that the current strategy is undermining both.

What Europe’s technocratic elites fail to grasp is that it is folly to pursue a budget surplus at a time when the economy is slowing. In a weak economy, what economists call “automatic stabilizers” kick in (payments like unemployment benefits) to keep things from going into freefall. When the government has to make those kinds of emergency expenditures, and people are out of work, tax revenue plunges. So budget deficits are to be expected, and trying to pursue cuts in the face of that reality is very irresponsible fiscal management.

One would think that American politicians would take note. And yet precisely the opposite lessons are being drawn in the US.

In the US, there has been much discussion recently of what’s known as the “fiscal cliff.” That’s what we may be headed over on the first day of 2013, when the Bush-era tax cuts revert back to previous levels, and the more than $1 trillion in arbitrary budget cuts Congress approved last year are scheduled to begin. Some would call the policies that have produced this scenario “responsible fiscal management.” I would argue that it would represent a self-inflicted wound of historic proportions. Even the International Monetary Fund has expressed such grave concerns that lawmakers will drive over the cliff that it ranks the possibility as a threat equal to that posed by the European debt crisis.

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Conservative thinktanks step up attacks against Obama’s clean energy strategy

From The Guardian UK:

Confidential memo seen by Guardian calls for climate change sceptics to turn American public against solar and wind power

US environment correspondent, Tuesday 8 May 2012

A network of ultra-conservative groups is ramping up an offensive on multiple fronts to turn the American public against wind farms and Barack Obama‘s energy agenda.

A number of rightwing organisations, including Americans for Prosperity, which is funded by the billionaire Koch brothers, are attacking Obama for his support for solar and wind power. The American Legislative Exchange Council (Alec), which also has financial links to the Kochs, has drafted bills to overturn state laws promoting wind energy.

Now a confidential strategy memo seen by the Guardian advises using “subversion” to build a national movement of wind farm protesters.

The strategy proposal was prepared by a fellow of the American Tradition Institute (ATI) – although the thinktank has formally disavowed the project.

The proposal was discussed at a meeting of self-styled ‘wind warriors’ from across the country in Washington DC last February.

“These documents show for the first time that local Nimby anti-wind groups are co-ordinating and working with national fossil-fuel funded advocacy groups to wreck the wind industry,” said Gabe Elsner, a co-director of the Checks and Balances, the accountability group which unearthed the proposal and other documents.

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