Tag Archives: Gender

Gender is a spectrum of identity and expression. Posts in this category typically challenge the Western belief of separate binary options.

Adults bully 10-year-old UK trans girl

James Connell, Worcester News, reports that adults — not children — are the biggest tormentors of a 10-year-old MTF child in the UK. According to her mother:

“She is within her mind a girl but she has a boy’s body. She is the same as everybody else apart from the fact she doesn’t feel right in her own body. It’s not a phase. It’s not a choice. What child would choose to be completely miserable? I don’t expect people to understand. I just don’t want people abusing my child. I don’t want her to be called a freak. I want her to be left alone.”

Sounds like a reasonable request to me. As is common for other trans kids with supportive parents, she will most likely be protected from puberty and the undesired physical changes that accompany it with the use of hormone blockers. Only after she is old enough to understand the implications of gender reassignment will she be permitted to consent to cross hormone therapy.

NCAA guidelines for trans student sports

Neal Broverman, Advocate.com, reports that the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has updated their policy regarding transgender student athletes:

The new policy states that a transgender male athlete “who has a medical exception for testosterone hormone therapy may compete on a men’s team, but is no longer eligible to compete on a women’s team without changing the team status to a mixed team,” according to a press release from the National Center for Lesbian Rights, which worked with the NCAA to develop the new standards. For transgender female athletes, those who have “taken medication to suppress testosterone for a year may compete on a women’s team. Under the new policy, transgender student athletes who are not undergoing hormone therapy remain eligible to play on teams based on the gender of their birth sex and may socially transition by dressing and using the appropriate pronouns that match their gender identity.”

Israel’s 1st publicized pregnant man

Sarit Rosenblum, y net news, reports that doctors were “shocked” when Yedioth Ahronoth, a 24 year-old man, presented to a central Israel emergency department and was found to be 7 months pregnant. Could this be the same “Y” mentioned in my only published “Dear Dr Pate”? If so, congratulations and good luck to you guys! Thanks for coming forward with your delightful news.

Andrej Pejic – The Prettiest Boy in the World

New York Magazine reports that Andrej Pejic, Bosnia-born international supermodel, is the prettiest boy in the world.

“At Storm, the fifth agency he visited, owner Sarah Doukas—known for discovering Kate Moss—decided to take a chance on him. ‘When I first met ­Andrej, I didn’t think, What a beautiful boy or girl,’ Doukas says. ‘I certainly didn’t want to put him in one particular box.’ The agency posted him not just on the men’s board but also on the women’s.

Andrej Pejic explains, “It’s not like, Okay, today I want to look like a man, or today I want to look like a woman, I want to look like me. It just so happens that some of the things I like are feminine… I guess professionally I’ve left my gender open to artistic interpretation.”

Medical misogyny

Girls can wear jeans
And cut their hair short
Wear shirts and boots
‘Cause it’s OK to be a boy
But for a boy to look like a girl is degrading
‘Cause you think that being a girl is degrading
          – Madonna, “What It feels Like For A Girl”

I am a bit of a news junkie and because of my habit I am repeatedly angered by the ongoing abuse of women around the world: rape for “correction” or as a “weapon of war”, mutilation and honor killings are but a few examples. However a couple of topics in recent weeks have actually made my jaw drop, not because the harm sustained by the affected women was any greater but because of the misuse of medicine and surgical skill to further misogynistic schemes. In India, the selective abortion of female fetuses is nothing new but in select locations and for the right price parents can find physicians who will surgically change their little girls into boys. In the US, the rights of the fetus seem to be surpassing women’s rights given that women have become prisoners within hospitals, undergone surgery without their consent and have even been charged with murder over fetal well-being. These cases demonstrate the pervasiveness of misogyny and the degradation of medicine by its collaborators.

Girls to men

Baby boys naturally outnumber baby girls by around 6%; in other words, for every 100 girls born there are 106 boys that accompany them. Perhaps this is a good thing given that nearly everywhere people seem to prefer boys over girls. Clara Kim, Time NewsFeed, reports “Contrary to the stereotypical notion, girl bias or boy obsession isn’t limited just to Asia. A Gallup poll shows that such a mindset is prevalent in the U.S., too and has been for at least 70 years. The poll asked 1,020 American adults, if they could have only one child, which gender they would prefer. Forty percent of the participants said a boy, while 28% answered a girl. This is not much different from the first poll results in 1941, which were 38% and 24%.” But while Americans are for the most part content to raise whichever gender comes their way, other cultures take a more active role in increasing the rate of male births.

S V Subramanian, a Professor at Harvard School of Public Heath, published in 2009 that “according to the most recent census, for every 1000 males, there were only 933 females, and the corresponding ratio for ages 0–6 years was 927 girls for every 1000 boys. The disproportionate distribution of sexes, at least in more recent years, has been surmised to be driven largely through the use of medical technologies by physicians and prospective parents to determine the sex of fetuses followed by selective abortion of female fetuses. This explanation was initially suggested in the 1980s, and has gained considerable acceptance since then. Some 10 million female fetuses are estimated to have been aborted over the last two decades in India.” By these numbers it appears that there are around 8% more boys than girls among the youngest generation of India and that 2 of every 100 pregnant women with female fetuses choose to abort based on fetal sex alone.

And now there is another way to ensure male offspring. Amrita Kadam of Hindustan Times, India reports that “Girls are being ‘converted’ into boys in Indore – by the hundreds every year – at ages where they cannot give their consent for this life-changing operation. This shocking, unprecedented trend, catering to the fetish for a son, is unfolding at conservative Indore’s well-known clinics and hospitals on children who are 1-5 years old. The process being used to ‘produce’ a male child from a female is known as genitoplasty. Each surgery costs Rs 1.5 lakh [~$3400 US dollars]. Moreover, these children are pumped with hormonal treatment as part of the sex change procedure that may be irreversible. The low cost of surgery and the relatively easy and unobtrusive way of getting it done in this city attracts parents from Delhi and Mumbai to get their child surgically ‘corrected’.”

Dean Nelson of The Telegraph, UK reports that “Indian doctors have been accused of conducting sex change operations on young girls whose parents want sons to improve the family’s income prospects.” It’s not just a preference for boys that is driving the femicide, it is also money. “People don’t want to share their property or invest in girls’ education or pay dowries.” Regardless of parental motivation there remains the doctors’ compliance and lives destroyed by it.

Contrary to Dr John Money’s debunked theory that gender identity is flexible to the whims of social upbringing, medical observation as well as experimentation have proven that gender identity is not malleable. David Reimer was one of Dr Money’s greatest success stories until the truth about his life became known. David’s story began with a botched circumcision that destroyed his infant penis followed by his parents decision to follow Dr Money’s advice to surgically reassign his sex and to raise him as a girl. Unfortunately, David never accepted his forced female gender role and began living as a male at the age of 15. He continued to suffer years of severe depression, financial instability, a dissolving marriage and eventually committed suicide in 2005. His tragic story is catalogued in the bestseller biography: “As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl” by John Colapinto.

Similarly in Palestine, teenage girls with an intersex/DSD condition that masculinizes them at puberty may be forced to change their clothes and present themselves as boys but their core identities do not change. “‘Only my appearance, my haircut and clothing, makes me look like a boy,’ Ahmed says, gesturing with his hands across his face. ‘Inside, I am like a female. I am a girl.'”

Modification of body parts by physicians without medical indication and without the consent of the person receiving it is tragic and should be criminalized. This is especially true of the sex organs given that at best, surgery permanently alters cosmetic appearance, sensitivity and sexual function. At worst, surgery can result in horrific disfiguration and/or death. Given these risks I strongly believe that non-medically indicated genital surgeries, including circumcision, should be banned for all minors.

Fetal incubator

As if unemployment, home foreclosures and ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan weren’t enough to keep our legislators occupied, the Republican War on Women continues to escalate. According to the Associated Press as reported by MSNBC:

  • “In 1987, a Washington, D.C., judge ordered a woman who was dying of cancer to have a C-section, which she had refused, to save her fetus. The baby died within two hours of delivery and the mother died two days later. An appeals court later ruled the judge should not have ordered the C-section.
  • “In 2003, prosecutors in Salt Lake City charged an acknowledged cocaine addict who had a history of mental health problems with murder when she refused to have a C-section for two weeks before finally agreeing to the procedure. One of her twins died in the womb during the delay. Through a plea deal, the charge was later reduced to child endangerment.
  • “In 2004, a hospital in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, obtained a court order to force a woman to have a C-section because her seventh baby was oversized, but the order was too late. The mother, whose first six children each weighed nearly 12 pounds (5 1/2 kilograms) at birth, went to another hospital and delivered a nearly 12-pound girl naturally.
  • “Also in 2004, a judge in Rochester, New York, ordered a homeless woman not to get pregnant again without court approval after she lost custody of several neglected children.”

In 2009, Wikipedia records that “Samantha Burton, a mother of two, was twenty-five weeks pregnant in March of 2009 when she experienced a premature rupture of membranes and displayed signs of premature labor. At the urging of her obstetrician, she sought care at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital. She found not to be in labor, but ordered to remain on bed rest. Her obstetrician, Dr. Jana Bures-Forsthoefel, refused to allow her to leave the hospital to garner a second opinion and then obtained a court order from the Circuit Court of Leon County which required Burton to undergo “any and all medical treatments” that her physician, acting in the interests of the fetus, deemed necessary. The Court held the hearing by telephone with Burton being required to argue her case from her hospital bed without the assistance of an attorney or independent medical opinion. Three days into her court-ordered confinement, Burton underwent an emergency C-section, at which time the fetus was found to be dead.”

In 2010, a law was enacted in Utah that criminalizes unacceptable forms of miscarriage. According to David Usborne of The Independent, UK, “While the main thrust of the law is to enable prosecutors in the majority-Mormon state to pursue women who seek illegal, unsupervised forms of abortion, it includes a provision that could trigger murder charges against women found guilty of an “intentional, knowing or reckless act” that leads to a miscarriage. Some say this could include drinking one glass of wine too many, walking on an icy pavement or skiing.” The 17-year-old whose case ignited the discussion that led to the law is currently defending herself before the Utah Supreme Court.

In 2011, NARAL Pro-Choice America reports that “We are tracking 470 anti-choice bills in 2011 — nearly three times as many as last year.”

And finally, according to MoveOn’s Top 10 Shocking Attacks from the GOP’s War on Women:

  1. Republicans not only want to reduce women’s access to abortion care, they’re actually trying to redefine rape. After a major backlash, they promised to stop. But they haven’t yet. Shocker.
  2. A state legislator in Georgia wants to change the legal term for victims of rape, stalking, and domestic violence to “accuser.” But victims of other less gendered crimes, like burglary, would remain “victims.”
  3. In South Dakota, Republicans proposed a bill that could make it legal to murder a doctor who provides abortion care. (Yep, for real.)
  4. Republicans want to cut nearly a billion dollars of food and other aid to low-income pregnant women, mothers, babies, and kids.
  5. In Congress, Republicans have a bill that would let hospitals allow a woman to die rather than perform an abortion necessary to save her life.
  6. Maryland Republicans ended all county money for a low-income kids’ preschool program. Why? No need, they said. Women should really be home with the kids, not out working.
  7. And at the federal level, Republicans want to cut that same program, Head Start, by $1 billion. That means over 200,000 kids could lose their spots in preschool.
  8. Two-thirds of the elderly poor are women, and Republicans are taking aim at them too. A spending bill would cut funding for employment services, meals, and housing for senior citizens.
  9. Congress just voted for a Republican amendment to cut all federal funding from Planned Parenthood health centers, one of the most trusted providers of basic health care and family planning in our country.
  10. And if that wasn’t enough, Republicans are pushing to eliminate all funds for the only federal family planning program. (For humans. But Republican Dan Burton has a bill to provide contraception for wild horses. You can’t make this stuff up).

Summary

The abuse of women is atrocious in any form but utterly unacceptable within the medical community. It is incomprehensible that physicians would tinker with the genitalia and sex of rearing of innocent little girls given the scientific evidence we already have regarding gender identity formation and durability. It is also unacceptable for physicians to debase women to the level of fetal incubators. End genital mutilation and no wire hangers, ever!

Are you a trans or intersex U.S. veteran?

Autumn Sandeen, a U.S. Navy veteran and self-reported "strong, confident transgender woman"

Uncle Sam just got a whole lot more sensitive.

RE: VHA DIRECTIVE 2011-024

POLICY: It is VHA policy that medically necessary care is provided to enrolled or otherwise eligible intersex and transgender Veterans, including hormonal therapy, mental health care, preoperative evaluation, and medically necessary post-operative and long-term care following sex reassignment surgery. Sex reassignment surgery cannot be performed or funded by VHA or VA.

ACTION:

  • Each Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) Director must ensure that necessary and appropriate health care is provided to all enrolled or otherwise eligible Veterans based on the Veteran’s self-identified gender, regardless of sex or sex reassignment status.
  • Each Medical Center Director and Chief of Staff are responsible for ensuring that:
    • Transgender patients and intersex individuals are provided all care included in VA’s medical benefits package, including, but not limited to:
      • Hormonal therapy
      • Mental health care
      • Preoperative evaluation
      • Medically necessary post-operative and long-term care following sex reassignment surgery
    • Patients will be addressed and referred to based on their self-identified gender. Room assignments and access to any facilities for which gender is normally a consideration (e.g., restrooms) will give preference to the self-identified gender, irrespective of appearance and/or surgical history, in a manner that respects the privacy needs of transgender and non-transgender patients alike. Where there are questions or concerns related to room assignments, an ethics consultation may be requested.
    • The documented sex in the Computerized Patient Record System (CPRS) should be consistent with the patient’s self-identified gender. In order to modify administrative data (e.g., name and sex) in CPRS, patients must provide official documentation as per current VHA policies on Identity Authentication for Health Care Services and Data Quality Requirements for Identity Management and Master Patient Index Functions.
    • Sex reassignment surgery will not be provided or funded.
    • Non-surgical, supportive care for complications of sex-reassignment surgery will be provided.
    • While care is delivered to the Veteran based upon that Veteran’s self-identified gender, there may be health issues associated with some transgender patients that necessitate appropriate sex specific screenings and/or treatments. For example, a MTF transsexual patient over the age of 50 may require breast cancer and prostate cancer screening. A FTM transsexual patient may require screening for breast and cervical cancer.
    • A diagnosis of GID, or other gender dysphoria diagnoses, is not a pre-condition for receiving care consistent with the Veteran’s self-identified gender.
  • All other health services are provided to transgender Veterans without discrimination in a manner consistent with care and management of all Veteran patients.
  • All staff, including medical and administrative staff, are required to treat as confidential any information about a patient’s transgender status or any treatment related to a patient’s gender transition, unless the patient has given permission to share this information.
  • Mandated diversity awareness is maintained and a zero-tolerance standard for harassment of any kind.

Trans Support Group at the Shot Clinic


Trans Support Group at the Shot Clinic
Every Wednesday, 6-7:30 PM
3405 Chicago Ave, Suite 103
Minneapolis, MN 55407
mntranspr@gmail.com

The Shot Clinic is a place for Trans identified people who are currently using or will be using injectable hormones (testosterone-estrogen) and for all communities who are in need of clean needles and other harm reduction services.

If you want to get your shot done at the shot clinic you will need to bring in your prescription/hormones and ID. We can give you your shot and teach you or a friend to do it. You can pick up clean needles and/or drop off dirty ones. We also do mobile outreach for syringe exchange and injections.

We are open:

  • Tues 10am-2pm (Syringe Exchange)
  • Wed 5-6 (Syringe Exchange/Shot Clinic)
  • Wed 6-7:30pm (Trans Support Group)
  • Thurs 10am-2pm (Syringe Exchange/Shot Clinic)
  • Fri 4-6 pm (Fridays are Trans specific)

1st Friday of the month free, anonymous rapid HIV testing done by The Family Tree Clinic 4-6pm. You simply need to stop by and be able to stay for at least 20 minutes, depending on how many tests we have to do.

Hepatitis C testing is free and available Thursdays 10-2 and by appointment. They will take at least 25 minutes and your results will be available in two weeks. We offer counseling and referrals for people who test positive and all the information you need to stay Hep C free if you are not. Message us on Facebook or email to find out more about making an appointment.

We focus on HIV and Hepatitis C transmission education but know a lot about other Trans health concerns especially about your hormones. Fridays are the best day to come by to hang out and meet people. You can get info on not just Trans stuff but things like where to get a free meal and clothing or shelters if you need a place to stay.

Soon we’ll be starting our Education/Support Groups again, which will run while you wait for your shot. We’ll discuss numerous topics like; How to do your own shot, Teaching your family and friends how to do your shots, Info around syringe sizes, needle exchange, Hepatitis C, HIV, Safer sex info, Safer Drug Use info, Nutrition, Exercise, SRS surgery info, Name Change/Gender change workshops, etc.

For even more information on HIV/STD Prevention contact:
MAP AIDS Line 612-373-AIDS (metro)
1-800-248-AIDS (statewide)

Valentijn De Hingh, Transgender Model

Valentijn De Hingh of Amsterdam, Netherlands is a model who is not only turning heads in the fashion world but is also gaining attention from the media because of her past.

Huffington Post reports that “the leggy Amsterdam native is returning to the spotlight after spending almost ten years as the subject of a documentary on transgender children. She was filmed from the time she was an eight-year-old boy and after the documentary aired on Dutch television in 2007, Valentijn underwent gender reassignment surgery.”

Vogue reports that while “she was really impressed with the documentary itself, she felt that it was time to move on with her life instead of becoming a person solely linked to the documentary made about her. And so she did. At the age of 17, 1.80 meters tall and with cheekbones most other models would be envious of, it didn’t take long before Valentijn signed up with a model agency in Amsterdam. Soon she was sent to Paris, walking shows for the likes of Martin Margiela and Comme des Garcons. Eventually Valentijn was deemed too tall, at 1.86 meters, for a serious career as a top model… [However, in 2010] the fashion world was buzzing over transgender models such as Lea T. and Andrej Pejic. The timing for a relaunch of Valentijn’s career seemed right. A few months later she flew to New York for the first time in her life, shooting with Patrick Demarchelier and Katie Grand for LOVE magazine. She also shot with Benjamin Alexander Huseby for Luis Venegas’ much talked about Candy magazine. As a result, her modeling career is blossoming once again and Valentijn is currently shooting a lot for various magazines.” A video interview with Valentijn can be viewed at the Vogue link above.