Tag Archives: Trans*

Trans* is short for “transgender” and “transsexual”, however the terms are not interchangeable and mean different things to different people. Given that trans* has less political baggage I tend to use it in place of the other 2 terms. If you are are mentally the same gender as your birth sex then you are CIS-gender (CIS comes from organic chemistry and refers to the fact that both birth sex and gender identity are on the “same” side). If your gender identity is distinct from your birth sex then you are TRANS-gender (sex and gender are on “opposite” sides). Like sexuality, gender identity does not neatly fit into 2 separate boxes. Some people may feel that they are the opposite gender, between genders, both genders or neither. Posts in this category relate to these individuals.

(Un)heard: Transmasculine People of Color Speak!

Check out the new blog, (Un)heard: Transmasculine People of Color Speak! Per blog description, it “is an audio/visual ethnographic project about the lives and experiences of transmasculine people of color. By utilizing in-depth audio interviews and intimate portraits, (Un)heard seeks to move transmasculine of color identities and community from margin to center, and addresses issues of personal triumph, loss, desire, community, relationships and discrimination.”

Google commercial: It Gets Better!

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Norrie: sex not specified

When a baby is born the first question people usually ask is, “Is it a boy or a girl?” Yet many babies are not so easily classified. Some babies have genitals that have both male and female features. Others may appear to be girls only to discover as teenagers that the reason that they are not menstruating is because the have testicles instead of ovaries. Similarly apparent boys may have ovaries and there are others who have a mixture of both.

Some people’s brains do not match their bodies; there are numerous accounts of children and adults who feel this way. Although the American Psychiatric Association (APA) labels these people with the diagnosis of Gender Identity Disorder (GID), it is the only “mental disorder” that is treated medically (with hormones and surgery) instead of with psychiatric medications. And evidence continues to mount that the brains of these individuals are both structurally and functionally similar to the brains of the gender they claim to be. In Westernized countries we label these people “transsexual” or “transgender”. Other cultures make room for a third sex and use other labels: “Hijra” (India), “Fa’afafine” (Polynesia), “Kathoeys” (Thailand) and “Two-Spirit” (Native American Tribes) are well-known examples.

In the distant past rigid gender roles may have been useful to delineate the expectations and responsibilities of individuals and to maintain order within their collective communities. On the other hand these gendered roles also created power differentials that have been used to disempower, subjugate and abuse women for millenia.

The roles of women in American society have undergone radical changes. During WWII, a shortage of male factory workers gave women an opportunity to leave the home and made Rosie the Riveter a cultural icon. When the men returned from war women were encouraged to return to the home by the promotion of the idealized homemaker exemplified by June Cleaver of the TV show “Leave It to Beaver”. While many women did return home many did not. Given that women continue to make less money than men for similar work and that they remain outnumbered in leadership roles today it is clear that inequality of the sexes is alive and well in modern society.

But what about all the individuals who do not neatly fit into these cultural boxes? A video interview with Norrie of Sidney, Australia by abc NEWS shows that Norrie is one such person who defies definitions and prefers the box “sex not specified”. The interview subtly suggests that if gender is really a continuum then perhaps we should reconsider the purpose that gender identification serves and consider its worth in context of the inequality that it propagates.

Medical insurance for trans surgery

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that more employers are choosing health insurance plans that cover sex reassignment surgeries: “American Express, Kraft Foods, AT&T, Yahoo!, Eastman Kodak, Sears, Morgan Stanley, Price Waterhouse, General Motors and State Farm are among 85 large businesses and law firms that cover the cost of at least one surgery, according to a 2010 survey by the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest gay rights group.”

To find out more about trans-friendly employers check out the HRC Healthcare Equality Index. And don’t forget that SRS is tax-deductible.

Support companies that support us

In today’s economy, it’s vital that we support the companies, products, and brands that have equal workplace practices for the LGBT community. As you look for that perfect pair of shoes or a great gift for a loved one this Valentine’s Day, consider using HRC’s 2011 Buying For Equality Guide to help make your shopping decisions. It is available in either online or print formats.

From clothing to computers to kids’ stuff, from the latest hairstyles to the grocery aisles, they’ve collected data on hundreds of businesses. And some of the differences between companies selling similar products and services might surprise you:

  • Macy’s (100%) vs. Saks (30%*)
  • Staples (100%) vs. Office Depot (45%)
  • Nike (100%) vs. Adidas/Reebok (15%*)
  • UPS (100%) vs. FedEx (80%) vs. DHL (30%*)
  • Whole Foods (85%) vs. Trader Joes (15%*)
  • Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams (100%) vs. Pottery Barn/West Elm (30%*)