Trans Inclusion: Trust, Verify, Eduate

From Huffington Post:


Earlier this month the punditsphere erupted in vicious back-and-forths over the (lack of) space for trans women in mainstream feminism and how to talk about transgender people to begin with.

The comment that led to the storm has since been described by its author, Suzanne Moore, as a throwaway line, and, though certainly thoughtless, it was indeed a minor and nonessential component of the essay in which it appeared. In short, in a Jan. 8 piece about the current state of women’s rights activism, Moore described the perfect body that women are expected to have as “that of a Brazilian transsexual.”

A Twitterstorm of criticism ensued, making the point that trans people are victimized and excluded by mainstream feminism. (I am paraphrasing the hostile tone of this debate, which went both ways.) The controversy peaked on Jan. 13, when the Observer published a retort by another writer, Julie Burchill, that included such offensive language about transgender people that the Observer ultimately took it down.

It is obvious that not all women face the same challenges. Every disadvantaged group of humanity has a different history of exclusion and suffers in different ways. How we see ourselves, how others see us and how we believe they see us all have an impact on our experience of discrimination and abuse.

As a result, the two main substantive points in this debate were not mutually exclusive, though they were presented as opposites. On the one hand, it is true that girls are treated differently (in most cases less advantageously) than boys practically everywhere, and that this suffering has an impact on adult women’s self-worth, identity and ability to exercise our rights. It is also true that many transgender individuals suffer a different — and often both violent and invisibilized — type of exclusion throughout their lives, an experience that would color anyone’s understanding of what is safe and what is not. This is so whether we are talking about trans women or trans men.

Continue reading at:

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Trans Inclusion: Trust, Verify, Eduate

Maryland lawmakers introduce transgender rights bill

From The Washington Blade:

on January 29, 2013

Maryland lawmakers on Tuesday introduced a bill that would ban anti-transgender discrimination in the workplace, housing and public accommodations.

The Fairness for All Marylanders Act of 2013 that gay state Sen. Rich Madaleno (D-Montgomery County) and state Sen. Jamie Raskin (D-Montgomery County) introduced has more than 20 co-sponsors. These include state Sen. Allan Kittleman (R-Howard County.)

The proposal died in committee last April because Senate President Thomas V. “Mike” Miller (D-Prince George’s and Calvert Counties) reportedly blocked a vote on it. Miller has since backed the proposal.

“Put simply, the process of passing a bill requires that you line up the votes you need to make it through a chamber,” Dana Beyer, executive director of Gender Rights Maryland, told the Washington Blade. “That process is eased considerably when those legislators are willing to sign on as co-sponsors. I am very pleased we can show this degree of support in the Senate, which I attribute to the diligent work of Senators Madaleno and Raskin and their staffs. The trans community should be very hopeful that this is the year.”

Complete article at:

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Maryland lawmakers introduce transgender rights bill

Remembering Dr. Leah Schaefer, the Sweet Singer-Turned-Psychiatrist Who Healed a Generation of Trans Women

From Huffington Post:


Dr. Leah Cahan Schaefer died this past week at 92. A giant in the fields of transsexualism and female sexuality, she represented the best of the medical profession. During her professional life, as the custodian of the voluminous professional files of Dr. Harry Benjamin, the dean of transsexual medicine in the United States, himself a student of the renowned German scientist Magnus Hirschfeld, she persisted in recognizing transsexualism as a normal human developmental variant, a vision that she lived long enough to see come to fruition in the latest edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s diagnostic manual, the DSM-5, this past December.

I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to collaborate with her in the late ’90s, when I was researching the link between fetal DES (diethylstilbestrol) exposure and transsexualism. The possibility intrigued her, and she supported my work on endocrine disruption before others in the profession were even willing to consider the possibility. She was professional and gracious, which fit with the description others had shared with me.

One of my earliest post-transition relationships was with a woman who knew Dr. Schaefer professionally, and it was clear from her stories that the trans community of New York felt blessed to have her as a counselor and general resource. At a time when most trans women had been excluded from society, receiving just a modicum of kindness would have seemed like a lucky thing. But Dr. Schaefer not only cared deeply for her patients; she offered them hope.

It’s not easy today, even for those of us who lived through those decades, to remember the depth and brutality of the ostracism. For me it was even more intense because my professional colleagues were among the worst. I spent years combing the stacks of my university library and the libraries of the other Ivies whenever I got the chance, to learn about who I was. And everything I discovered in the psychiatric literature during the ’70s and ’80s was uniformly vile and hateful, until I happened across Drs. Harry Benjamin and Leah Schaefer.

It’s hard to believe that physicians, including psychiatrists, could so totally lack compassion and understanding. In one respect, reading the work of Drs. Benjamin and Schaefer highlighted the contrast even more. How could these two be right and everyone else wrong? I won’t comment on the humanity of the majority, but Dr. Schaefer certainly was a woman of compassion and loving kindness. She and her mentor were also scientists, however, and they refused to be overwhelmed by religious sensibilities and the pseudoscience known as Freudianism, which was the cultural consensus among psychiatrists during those years.

Continue reading at:

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Remembering Dr. Leah Schaefer, the Sweet Singer-Turned-Psychiatrist Who Healed a Generation of Trans Women

Brazillian model Lea T. features in Benetton ad campaign

From Pink News:

28 January 2013

A global advertising campaign by United Colors of Benetton has launched, and features a Brazillian trans woman model.

Aiming to “fight against hate and discrimination in all its forms,” the Unhate campaign features Lea T, who has also modeled for Givenchy.

She underwent gender reassignment surgery ten months before the campaign, and was discovered as a model by Givenchy two years ago, reports the Huffington Post. 

Trans Media Watch welcomed the decision to feature Lea T in the campaign, but said that it didn’t think it was meant to shock audiences.

“Although Benetton has run shock campaigns in the past, we don’t see this as part of that tradition. Lea is presented alongside other beautiful people and is simply being herself,” it said.

Continue reading at:

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Brazillian model Lea T. features in Benetton ad campaign

Plastic surgery on the rise – with Botox and breast implants most popular

From The Guardian UK:

Research finds almost 15m procedures were performed last year, with more than 21% of those taking place in the US

Posted by in New York
Wednesday 30 January 2013

Almost 15 million plastic surgery procedures were performed around the world in 2011, according to a study by the International Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons.

The trade body took into account surgical and non-surgical procedures such as filler injections and hair removal for its study, which has just been published. The total number of procedures, 14.7 million, is up 4% from 2010.

The US accounted for the most cosmetic enhancements for the second year in a row, with over 3m procedures performed, or 21.1% of the global total. This may be because the US has the largest body of licensed plastic surgeons, 5,950 at last count. Brazil came in second, with approximately 1.5m total procedures, with China trailing in third place with 1m. The UK remained at No 16 for the second year in a row, with 211,406 procedures performed.

Botox came out on top as the most popular procedure, with over 3m injections of botulinum toxin (type A) having been administered worldwide.

Lipoplasty, or fat removal surgery, was the leading invasive procedure. Approximately 1.3m lipoplasties were performed, 223,066 of them in the US, where 35.7% of adults are obese.

Breast augmentation procedures were the second most in-demand surgery, followed by eyelid lifts and tummy tucks.

Brazil performed the most gynecomastias (male breast reductions), buttock augmentations and vaginal rejuvenations – perhaps not unsurprising, considering its famous beach culture. Asia, on the other hand, is big on noses, with China, Japan and South Korea coming in the top five for rhinoplasty.

Continue reading at:

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Plastic surgery on the rise – with Botox and breast implants most popular

Catholic bishops: Gays make good parents but still must not marry

From Gay Star News:

Bishops from the Roman Catholic Church of England and Wales have outlined their reasons why gay couples should not get married

By Joe Morgan
30 January 2013

The Catholic Church in England and Wales has said gay people may make good parents but must still be banned from marriage.

Bishops have outlined their reasons why they believe same-sex couples should not be allowed to get married.

In the document published in the Catholic Herald, it states: ‘We recognize that many same-sex couples raise children in loving and caring homes.

‘Nevertheless, marriage has an identity that at its core is distinct from any other legally recognised relationship, no matter how much love or commitment may be involved in these other relationships.

‘Marriage has, over the centuries, been the enduring public recognition of this commitment to provide a stable institution for the care and protection of children, and it has rightly been recognised as unique and worthy of legal protection for this reason.

‘Marriage furthers the common good of society because it promotes a unique relationship within which children are conceived, born and reared, an institution that we believe benefits children.’

The bishops also say refusing marriage to same-sex couples is not discriminatory, as gay couples already have civil partnerships.

Despite the differences between civil partnerships and marriages, they say ‘it is not unequal or unfair to treat those in different circumstances differently.’

Complete article at:

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Catholic bishops: Gays make good parents but still must not marry

Inside Ex-Gay Therapy: Homosexual Behavior Is A Fantasy Addiction To A Wounded Gender Identity

From Think Progress:

By Zack Ford
on Jan 29, 2013

Joseph Nicolosi, founder of ex-gay group NARTH and trainer of many other ex-gay therapists, is back with another brief article attempting to explain his perspective on the nature of homosexuality. Earlier this month, he explained that his patients can get over their supposed “addiction” to gay porn by simply making friends with more men. This week, he offers a convoluted description of homosexual behavior as an addiction to acting out a fantasy that compensates for a wounded gender identity:

Joyce McDougall has investigated the central role of “theatre and role-playing” in non-typical forms of sexual activity, including homosexuality. She is among the few contemporary psychoanalysts willing to study such forms of sexuality. McDougall understands “sexual theatre” as an acting-out of intrapsychic sexual forces in a symbolic attempt to resolve an identity conflict. In this regard she confirms the classic psychoanalytic understanding of “perverse” (as the term was used in previous years) sexual activity as being rooted in identity confusion. Noting the repetitive-compulsive nature of these role enactments, McDougall found that while her patients complain about the constrained structure of these “erotic theatre pieces,” they could not abstain from their enactments: “…and have to do it again and again and again” (McDougall, 2000, p.182).

What Nicolosi is trying to suggest is that gay people (and “the extreme case of transsexuals”) were somehow sent the wrong messages by their parents about how they are supposed to understand their own gender. This leads to a sense of inner conflict that they then address through compulsively trying to fulfill that “false” identity. Essentially, he thinks that gay people are just actors cast in the wrong role who don’t know how escape the performance because they believe they are trying to fix some kind of “past trauma” by acting it out.

Continue reading at:

See also Think Progress:  Ex-Gay Leader Explains Bizarre Interpretation Of Gay Porn

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Inside Ex-Gay Therapy: Homosexual Behavior Is A Fantasy Addiction To A Wounded Gender Identity