Why Trans Lives Matter to This Lesbian

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/allison-hope/why-trans-lives-matter-to_b_6731502.html

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Sex redefined

From Nature:  http://www.nature.com/news/sex-redefined-1.16943

The idea of two sexes is simplistic. Biologists now think there is a wider spectrum than that.

Claire Ainsworth
18 February 2015

As a clinical geneticist, Paul James is accustomed to discussing some of the most delicate issues with his patients. But in early 2010, he found himself having a particularly awkward conversation about sex.

A 46-year-old pregnant woman had visited his clinic at the Royal Melbourne Hospital in Australia to hear the results of an amniocentesis test to screen her baby’s chromosomes for abnormalities. The baby was fine — but follow-up tests had revealed something astonishing about the mother. Her body was built of cells from two individuals, probably from twin embryos that had merged in her own mother’s womb. And there was more. One set of cells carried two X chromosomes, the complement that typically makes a person female; the other had an X and a Y. Halfway through her fifth decade and pregnant with her third child, the woman learned for the first time that a large part of her body was chromosomally male1. “That’s kind of science-fiction material for someone who just came in for an amniocentesis,” says James.

Sex can be much more complicated than it at first seems. According to the simple scenario, the presence or absence of a Y chromosome is what counts: with it, you are male, and without it, you are female. But doctors have long known that some people straddle the boundary — their sex chromosomes say one thing, but their gonads (ovaries or testes) or sexual anatomy say another. Parents of children with these kinds of conditions — known as intersex conditions, or differences or disorders of sex development (DSDs) — often face difficult decisions about whether to bring up their child as a boy or a girl. Some researchers now say that as many as 1 person in 100 has some form of DSD2.

When genetics is taken into consideration, the boundary between the sexes becomes even blurrier. Scientists have identified many of the genes involved in the main forms of DSD, and have uncovered variations in these genes that have subtle effects on a person’s anatomical or physiological sex. What’s more, new technologies in DNA sequencing and cell biology are revealing that almost everyone is, to varying degrees, a patchwork of genetically distinct cells, some with a sex that might not match that of the rest of their body. Some studies even suggest that the sex of each cell drives its behaviour, through a complicated network of molecular interactions. “I think there’s much greater diversity within male or female, and there is certainly an area of overlap where some people can’t easily define themselves within the binary structure,” says John Achermann, who studies sex development and endocrinology at University College London’s Institute of Child Health.

These discoveries do not sit well in a world in which sex is still defined in binary terms. Few legal systems allow for any ambiguity in biological sex, and a person’s legal rights and social status can be heavily influenced by whether their birth certificate says male or female.

“The main problem with a strong dichotomy is that there are intermediate cases that push the limits and ask us to figure out exactly where the dividing line is between males and females,” says Arthur Arnold at the University of California, Los Angeles, who studies biological sex differences. “And that’s often a very difficult problem, because sex can be defined a number of ways.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.nature.com/news/sex-redefined-1.16943

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New Transgender Hospital Program Introduced To Dallas

From CBS Dallas:  http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2015/02/12/new-transgender-hospital-program-introduced-to-dallas/

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Children’s Medical Center in Dallas has unveiled the first pediatric transgender program in the Southwest.

15 year old Kammie is the first person to publicly speak about the program and she is not releasing her last name.

“I’ve dealt with ridicule. I’ve dealt with my whole family just kind of disowning me because they didn’t under it” says Kammie.

Kammie’s mother says it has been a difficult transition that she first noticed when her son, Cameron, was about 18 months old and preferred playing with girls’ toys. “I grew up a very devout member of the church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints” says Christina Pippin, Kammie’s mother. “I was excommunicated when I made the decision to embrace my child. But I was going to embrace my child before I was ever going to lose her” Pippin says.

Children’s Medical Center call is the GENECIS program – the Gender Education and Care, Interdisciplinary Support Program. According to the hospital it focuses on helping children and teens with issues surrounding gender dysphoria, when a person does not identify with the gender they were assigned at birth. Doctors say Gender dysphoria is frequently associated with mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts.

“They feel like they don’t belong to either gender, so when they’re very young, it’s hard” says Dr. Ximena Lopez, Endocrinology for Children’s Medical Center. “They’ve gone through very stressful puberty and at that time they have attempted to kill themselves, a lot of times, and so I think parental support is key.”

“There was no point in living an unhappy life and so then I started contemplating suicide” says Kammie. “You know that’s a big thing with transgender children because it’s not openly talked about around schools and places like that” she adds.

Continue reading at:  http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2015/02/12/new-transgender-hospital-program-introduced-to-dallas/

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The Labiaplasty Boom: Why Are Women Desperate for the Perfect Vagina?

More oppression based on the social constructing of gender.  In the social construct of gender, women’s humanity is traded for an idealized image.

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/labiaplasty-boom-why-are-women-desperate-perfect-vagina

One of the U.S., U.K., and Australia’s fastest growing plastic surgeries is propagating the notion that not all vaginas are equal.

By Kali Holloway
February 13, 2015

Throughout the Western world, for much of human history, women’s vaginas have been uber-reliable life partners: timeless companions that, as with all things in nature, wrinkled and drooped with age, but otherwise remained largely unchanged. While cosmetic solutions – from facelifts to liposuction – were used to tauten and tighten various other body parts, vaginas faithfully hung in there, often bravely weathering pubescence, childbirth and menopause. Labiaplasty, the surgery that cuts off “excess” parts of the labia minora, or inner vaginal lips, appeared in medical literature as early as 1971, but solely as a corrective measure for congential abnormalities. Otherwise, vaginas came in all shapes, colors and sizes, and there was no singular mainstream vulvar ideal. If you were into vagina, you were just happy when someone invited you to be near theirs. And if you possessed one, you simply played with the vagina you were dealt.

That began to change in 1984, when the first description of a purely aesthetic form of labiaplasty appeared in a scientific journal. The surgery didn’t immediately become an overnight sensation, but the cultural shifts that likely contributed to its ascent were beginning to fall into place. By the mid-1990s, the Internet had helped take pornography – and its generous close-ups of (overwhelmingly female) genitalia – from shrink-wrapped dirty secret to free and discreet ubiquity. Porn stars of both sexes were increasingly removing their pubic hair, providing fully unobstructed views of the goods, and celebrities like Victoria Beckham, Eva Longoria, and Sex and the City’s fictional Carrie Bradshaw championed the Brazilian wax. Laser hair removal got both better and cheaper. Women’s streetwear expanded to include clothes formerly reserved for the gym, including snug, crotch-contouring items like leggings and yoga pants. Photoshop became an often used, and often overused, tool, literally erasing the line between real and fake “beauty.” Our cultural obsession with youth prompted unprecedented spending on every newly developed, youth-preserving cosmetic surgery. As Dr. Norman Lowe, a Manhattan board certified plastic surgeon told me when I spoke with him, “People have gotten to the point where they’re not just happy with their face being lifted…They want their eyes done, brows done, face done. They want their breasts lifted. They want their arms rejuvenated. They want their labia lifted. They want everything lifted. Everything.”

In 2013, the most recent year for which statistics are available, more than 5,000 labiaplasties were performed in the United States. That may not seem like a huge number, but it’s an astounding 44% increase over just one year prior, making labiaplasty the second fastest growing plastic surgery that year. (The top gainer, by the way, was butt augmentation.) In the United Kingdom in 2014, the National Health Service reported a fivefold increase in the number of labiaplasties performed over the decade prior – which doesn’t include private practice surgeries, the most common kind. Australia’s national health care system noted in 2012 that claims for labiaplasty in the country had doubled since 2002. Sharon Osbourne discussed her “excruciating” labiaplasty on a talk show, and porn star Houston auctioned off the bits from her labiaplasty for $50,000. (Sydney Leathers, Anthony Weiner’s sexting partner, attempted the same but had trouble attracting buyers.) When I asked Dr. Lowe if he thought the surgery would continue to skyrocket, he suggested it had more recently become “the fastest growing procedure out there.” He added: “I don’t see any stopping it.” Vaginal rejuvenation – which can also include vaginal tightening, perineoplasty (focused on the skin between the vagina and the anus), reduction of the clitoral hood, laser vaginal bleaching, and injections to increase the size and sensitivity of the g-spot – is, officially, a booming business.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/labiaplasty-boom-why-are-women-desperate-perfect-vagina

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Am I Transgender Anymore?

Answer:  Transgender is a political identity.  You are only transgender if you continue to identify as transgender.  I use post-transsexual to describe life after SRS and transition.

From Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/zoe-dolan/am-i-transgender-anymore_b_6614056.html

Not a Very P.C. Thing to Say

From New York Magazine:  http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/01/not-a-very-pc-thing-to-say.html

How the language police are perverting liberalism.

By Jonathan Chait
January 27, 2015

But it would be a mistake to categorize today’s p.c. culture as only an academic phenomenon. Political correctness is a style of politics in which the more radical members of the left attempt to regulate political discourse by defining opposing views as bigoted and illegitimate. Two decades ago, the only communities where the left could exert such hegemonic control lay within academia, which gave it an influence on intellectual life far out of proportion to its numeric size. Today’s political correctness flourishes most consequentially on social media, where it enjoys a frisson of cool and vast new cultural reach. And since social media is also now the milieu that hosts most political debate, the new p.c. has attained an influence over mainstream journalism and commentary beyond that of the old.

Liberals believe (or ought to believe) that social progress can continue while we maintain our traditional ideal of a free political marketplace where we can reason together as individuals. Political correctness challenges that bedrock liberal ideal. While politically less threatening than conservatism (the far right still commands far more power in American life), the p.c. left is actually more philosophically threatening. It is an undemocratic creed.

That the new political correctness has bludgeoned even many of its own supporters into despondent silence is a triumph, but one of limited use. Politics in a democracy is still based on getting people to agree with you, not making them afraid to disagree. The historical record of political movements that sought to expand freedom for the oppressed by eliminating it for their enemies is dismal. The historical record of American liberalism, which has extended social freedoms to blacks, Jews, gays, and women, is glorious. And that glory rests in its confidence in the ultimate power of reason, not coercion, to triumph.

The quotes above are from this very important article.

Around 2 a.m. on December 12, four students approached the apartment of Omar Mahmood, a Muslim student at the University of Michigan, who had recently published a column in a school newspaper about his perspective as a minority on campus. The students, who were recorded on a building surveillance camera wearing baggy hooded sweatshirts to hide their identity, littered Mahmood’s doorway with copies of his column, scrawled with messages like “You scum embarrass us,” “Shut the fuck up,” and “DO YOU EVEN GO HERE?! LEAVE!!” They posted a picture of a demon and splattered eggs.

This might appear to be the sort of episode that would stoke the moral conscience of students on a progressive campus like Ann Arbor, and it was quickly agreed that an act of biased intimidation had taken place. But Mahmood was widely seen as the perpetrator rather than the victim. His column, published in the school’s conservative newspaper, had spoofed the culture of taking offense that pervades the campus. Mahmood satirically pretended to denounce “a white cis-gendered hetero upper-class man” who offered to help him up when he slipped, leading him to denounce “our barbaric attitude toward people of left-handydnyss.” The gentle tone of his mockery was closer to Charlie Brown than to Charlie Hebdo.

The Michigan Daily, where Mahmood also worked as a columnist and film critic, objected to the placement of his column in the conservative paper but hardly wanted his satirical column in its own pages. Mahmood later said that he was told by the editor that his column had created a “hostile environment,” in which at least one Daily staffer felt threatened, and that he must write a letter of apology to the staff. When he refused, the Daily fired him, and the subsequent vandalism of his apartment served to confirm his status as thought-criminal.

The episode would not have shocked anybody familiar with the campus scene from two decades earlier. In 1992, an episode along somewhat analogous lines took place, also in Ann Arbor. In this case, the offending party was the feminist videographer Carol Jacobsen, who had produced an exhibition documenting the lives of sex workers. The exhibition’s subjects presented their profession as a form of self-empowerment, a position that ran headlong against the theories of Catharine MacKinnon, a law professor at the university who had gained national renown for her radical feminist critique of the First Amendment as a tool of male privilege. MacKinnon’s beliefs nestled closely with an academic movement that was then being described, by its advocates as well as its critics, as “political correctness.” Michigan had already responded to the demands of pro-p.c. activists by imposing a campuswide speech code purporting to restrict all manner of discriminatory speech, only for it to be struck down as a First Amendment violation in federal court.

In Ann Arbor, MacKinnon had attracted a loyal following of students, many of whom copied her method of argument. The pro-MacKinnon students, upset over the display of pornographic video clips, descended upon Jacobsen’s exhibit and confiscated a videotape. There were speakers visiting campus for a conference on prostitution, and the video posed “a threat to their safety,” the students insisted.

Continue reading at: http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/01/not-a-very-pc-thing-to-say.html


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Transgender Kids Identify With Their Gender As Completely As Non-Transgender Kids

New Years resolution I will wean myself away from the Transgender Borg Speak term “cis-gender”, a term that is multilevel stupid as it assumes  gender is something other than a culturally and time based concept of how people are supposed to behave based on the shape of their genitals.

“Core gender” is a more appropriate descriptor for the sense of self as male or female.

From Think Progress:  http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2015/01/30/3617395/transgender-children-study/

January 30, 2015

A new study finds that transgender children, young people who assert a gender different from what was assigned at birth, identity as consistently and innately with that gender identity as other kids their age who are not trans.

Kristina Olson, a psychology professor at the University of Washington, conducted an in-depth study of 32 transgender children and compared the way they relate to their gender with their siblings as well as with other similarly aged cisgender (not transgender) peers. The kids were all living full-time as the gender they identify with and living in supportive home environments, and none of them had reached puberty yet.

The study used an Implicit Association Test to measure the speed with which participants associated aspects of gender with their own identity. People commonly respond faster during such a test to items associated with their own memory, allowing it to measure their implicit attitudes, which may be more automatic and subconscious. It found no significant difference among any of the kids; transgender and cisgender children identified with their gender identity at exactly the same rates. Transgender girls and cisgender girls identified with being a girl at the same rates; transgender boys and cisgender boys identified was being a boy at the same rates.

 The consistency continued for explicit measures; for example, transgender girls liked to have girls as friends and liked the same toys and foods that other girls liked — just like cisgender girls.

In an interview with KUOW in Seattle, Olson clarified that this study was about kids who assert their gender at quite an early age. “Sometimes we hear from parents that the parent says, ‘Well, you could just be a boy who likes to wear dresses,’ and the kid says, ‘No, it’s not the dress. I am a girl,’” she explained. “That seems to be the crucial difference between a boy who likes a girly things and a boy who is saying, ‘I am a girl.’” In other words, not every kid who explores or experiments with gender is necessarily transgender, but when they do assert a gender identity, it’s a very authentic experience.

Olson urged parents to support their children’s gender identity and pointed out that many of the parents in her study started out with negative reactions when their kids asserted that they were a different gender. This led to some serious mental health consequences for their kids, including becoming withdrawn and even self-harm. The parents told her that they had other medical professionals indicate to them, “You’re either going to have a child who’s living and not the gender you thought they were, or you’re not going to have a living child.”

A study released last year found that there are no permanent consequences or side effects to children using hormones to delay — or ultimately block — the onset of puberty associated with the gender with which they do not identify. This process allows the young person to continue to explore and make sense of their identity before committing to a full transition and life as a transgender adult.

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