Friday Night Fun and Culture: Townes Van Zandt

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Cosmetic surgery tourism on rise as satisfied customers spread the word

From The Guardian UK:

Drawing on advice of former patients, Britons are travelling to Poland, Czech Republic and Tunisia for operations to enhance their looks or to help them feel ‘normal’

, health editor
The Guardian, Friday 21 June 2013

Laura had no ambition to be a supermodel. She wanted cosmetic surgery to make her feel normal. She had been 22 stone and morbidly obese, and lost about half her bodyweight after stomach stapling, dropping from a dress size 28 to 14. But it was no longer just her clothes that did not fit, it was also her skin.

“It was like wearing a sumo wrestler suit,” she said. “I felt like an old woman. It doesn’t do your confidence any good at all.”

Laura (not her real name) did not think it was appropriate to approach the NHS, so she turned to the internet, looking for clinics that would offer her a tummy tuck. She browsed websites and started to chat to people on Facebook. When she finally made her decision, it was to go to Wroclaw in Poland for the operation.

Laura is one of the growing band of cosmetic surgery tourists who fly to cities served by cheap airlines such as easyJet and Ryanair for operations at hospitals and clinics. They go to the Czech Republic and Tunisia, as well as Poland, paying about half the price they would have paid for private surgery in the UK, with flights and accommodation included.

Research from Leeds University, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and due to be released next week, offers new insights into cosmetic surgery tourism. Professor Ruth Holliday and her team expected to find disaster stories and admit they were surprised.

Most of the patients they spoke to were satisfied with their surgery because they had changed something about their appearance that had troubled them for years. And they were administrators, nurses, hotel porters, hairdressers, students, police officers and teachers on modest incomes.

“I’m not trying to be some kind of supermodel. I’m just trying to feel normal, able to wear swimming costumes without people staring at my legs,” said Laura, 37, who has five children and works in the care industry. She has since had further surgery: a breast uplift and liposuction on her thighs.

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Hormonal Therapy For Transsexual Patients is Safe, Study

From Counsel and Heal:

Christine Hsu
Jun 18, 2013

A new study reveals that hormonal therapy for transsexual patients is safe and effective.

Some transsexual individuals feel they were born the wrong gender, so they undergo surgical and hormonal therapies to change their external characteristics to match their internal image of themselves. However, because hormonal therapy involves patients receiving large doses of male or female sex hormones, many people are concerned about its health effects.

The latest study presented at The Endocrine Society’s 95th Annual Meeting in San Francisco revealed that short-term hormonal therapy for transsexual individuals is effective and safe, with few side effects.

“Although transsexualism remains a rare diagnosis, the number of trans persons seeking hormonal or surgical treatment has drastically increased in recent years, making a detailed multicenter description on the effects of cross-sex hormonal treatment timely,” said study lead author Dr. Katrien Wierckx, an endocrinologist at Ghent University Hospital in Belgium.

“Our study gives valuable information about the effects of drastic changes in sex steroids on glucose and lipid metabolism, cardiovascular and bone health, so that we can inform our future clients, their families and other caregivers more accurately on the desired effects, side effects and adverse events of cross-sex hormonal treatment,” she added.

The study included 45 transsexual men and 42 transsexual women at four European centers in Ghent, Oslo, Amsterdam and Florence that specialize in transgender treatment.

All participants received treatment for 12 months. Male-to-female transsexuals received anti-androgen treatment in combination with a form of estrogen, which is the principal female sex hormone. Female-to-male transsexuals received a form of the male sex hormone testosterone.

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Op-ed: Flying While Trans

From The Advocate:

Getting through airport security isn’t easy, but it can be especially difficult when you’re transgender.

BY Brad Glemser
June 18 2013

Airport security can be nerve-racking and at times a downright nightmare for transgender travelers — as well as for many other people. Though the Transportation Security Administration is currently reviewing its screening methods, lots of transgender people like me have had our privacy taken away from us only to subsequently face harassment and discrimination from airport security staff.

My most horrific experience ironically took place on National Coming Out Day last year. I was flying through Miami, and after I went through a body scanner, the TSA officer wanted to pat down my chest. While doing so he felt my chest binder, which I wore every day and which the scanner had consistently detected under my clothes and flagged as an “anomaly.” I told him it was a back brace. Calling it a “binder” — something used specifically by transgender men — had often prompted extra thorough pat-downs by airport security. Calling it a back brace meant that I didn’t have to disclose my transgender identity to TSA officers and to other travelers standing nearby.

This time, though, calling it a back brace failed.

The security officer instructed me to disrobe and remove my binder so they could swab it for explosive traces and put it through the scanner. Knowing this would mean exposing myself in a humiliating and inappropriate way, I refused. After a heated discussion, the transportation security manager from the Department of Homeland Security was brought in to continue pressuring me. While waiting for him to arrive, I was surrounded by TSA officers who guarded my bags and watched over me.

When the manager arrived, he persisted in asking me to remove my binder and even threatened to arrest me if I did not acquiesce. The two men took me to a windowless screening room and closed the door behind them. For a moment I feared what they might do to me.

Thankfully, instead of completely disrobing, they agreed to lett me unbutton my shirt so they could swab underneath the binder to do an explosives test. This in itself was invasive enough. Afterward, I was forced to undergo another full, prison-style pat-down.

Many nontransgender people may not understand how deeply nerve-racking this is. It’s akin to being asked to get naked in public — a wholly invasive and unnecessary process in the name of airport “security.”

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Gender Justice League’s Trans* Pride Seattle Campaign Video!

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Violence Against Women Is A ‘Global Health Problem Of Epidemic Proportions,’ Says WHO

From Huffington Post:

By Posted: 06/20/2013

About one in three women worldwide experience sexual or physical violence at least once in their lives, according to a World Health Organization report released Thursday.

Put together by the WHO in partnership with the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and the South African Medical Research Council, the report says 35 percent of women around the world are victims of sexual or physical violence, and that assault at the hands of an intimate partner is by far the most common form of such violence. In fact, a whopping 30 percent of women globally were found to be domestic violence victims.

“These findings send a powerful message that violence against women is a global health problem of epidemic proportions,” said Dr. Margaret Chan, director-general of WHO, in a statement. “We also see that the world’s health systems can and must do more for women who experience violence.”

The study found that 38 percent of all women who were murdered were killed by their intimate partners, and more than 40 percent of domestic violence victims were found to have suffered injuries from those incidents.

In addition, the study showed that women who experience violence at the hands of their intimate partners are more likely to suffer from depression, have alcohol use problems, unwanted pregnancies and abortions, as well as sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.

Citing the recent assault of celebrity chef Nigella Lawson by her husband, one of the report’s authors told Reuters that violence against women is truly a concern for everyone on the planet.

“This is an everyday reality for many, many women,” said the author, Charlotte Watts, a health policy expert at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. “[I]t’s not just poor women, or women in a certain country. This really is a global issue.”

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Why didn’t anyone help?

From Salon:

When Nigella Lawson’s husband had his hand around her throat, how come no one stepped in?

If ever there were a woman who represented the ideal of homey perfection, it’d be Nigella Lawson. This, after all, is the woman who jokingly titled one of her cookbooks “How to Be a Domestic Goddess,” a woman whose television show “Nigella Bites” frequently ended with her triumphantly feeding an eager crowd (or just her two children).

So it came as stunning news Sunday when the Mirror’s People page published a series of photographs showing the British food writer and television personality apparently being choked by her husband, Charles Saatchi, during a recent lunch at Scott’s restaurant in London. In the series of photographs, the man’s hand is seen extended across a table and around Lawson’s throat. As the Mirror sensationally describes it, “At first he used only his left hand, then both. At one stage he tweaked her nose then pushed both hands in her face. Twice Nigella jerked her head backwards as if in fear.” Strangely, soon after, she reportedly kissed him on the cheek. Another photo shows her apparently crying and visibly upset, leaving the restaurant. Police are now investigating the incident but have not launched a formal investigation.

Saatchi, a renowned advertising executive and art dealer, has insisted the photographs don’t tell the true story. In a conversation with the Evening Standard, he says, “About a week ago, we were sitting outside a restaurant having an intense debate about the children, and I held Nigella’s neck repeatedly while attempting to emphasize my point. There was no grip, it was a playful tiff. The pictures are horrific but give a far more drastic and violent impression of what took place. Nigella’s tears were because we both hate arguing, not because she had been hurt. We had made up by the time we were home. The paparazzi were congregated outside our house after the story broke yesterday morning, so I told Nigella to take the kids off till the dust settled.” Hint: If you can acknowledge that you were having an “intense” argument and that during it you put your hands around a woman’s throat “to make a point,” there’s going to be a whole lot of serious question as to how “playful” your actions were, sir. Next time you’re looking for “emphasis,” try it a little further away from an artery. The 53-year-old Lawson, meanwhile, has only confirmed via a spokesman that she and her two children by her late first husband John Diamond have moved out of their London home, with no further comment. Her rep told Us this week, “We will not be commenting on the images.”

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See Also:

The Guardian UK: Nigella Lawson: from domestic goddess to the face of domestic violence

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