17 April 2014

Simone Heradien (1967?–) secretary, activist.

Simone dressed and lived as female from age 18. She was contingently accepted for surgery but told that she must work for a year as a woman first. She managed to obtain work as a secretary/personal assistant in the Department of Health of the House of Representatives, the Parliament for coloured South Africans in the Apartheid system, while being open about her past.

However, a year later, the surgery program had been suspended. Simone ended up waiting ten further years. Then using her contacts she heard that the program at Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town (where Christiaan Barnard had performed the first heart transplant in 1967) had been revived and they were doing operations again. Transgender operations had been done, on and off, at Groote Schuur since 1970 but ironically were discontinued after the end of Apartheid, as was state funding for the operation. Simone, one of the last to have the operation there, was approved in 1994 for state funding but her insurance company stepped in once assured that the operation was medical and not cosmetic. She told her then boss that she was having gender surgery and he thought that that meant that she would become a man.

Simone's elder sister Tammy was also trans but died of AIDS before she could have surgery – 23 days before Simone had her second-stage surgery.
Even after surgery, the embedded gender number range in her National ID number kept outing her to banks and government bureaucracies. Working with the Gender Research Unit at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, and with the nerve to make an appointment with the Attorney General himself, Simone was able to threaten to go to the Constitutional Court. The Department of of Justice and the Department of Home Affairs agreed to change her ID book and even her ID number as a one-off.

Simone found a boyfriend who was quite accepting of her past, and they were engaged. However he had a history of depression, and hanged himself in March 2003.

Simone had been working with the Triangle Project, a trans support group in the Western Cape at that time. On the Internet she discovered that the National Assembly was discussing an Alteration of Sex Description Bill. With Estian Smit and Sally Gross (an intersex person), also of the Triangle Project, they prepared a submission to the Assembly committee – even though they had only three weeks to do so. Simone was given three weeks off work to attend portfolio committee after committee. Against opposition from established gay and lesbian organizations, they formed the independent Cape Town Transsexual/Transgender Support Group to lobby that surgery not be a requirement and that provision be made for intersex persons.
"Refusing to legally recognize a transsexual person’s reassigned sex serves no purpose. It impedes their ability to live and work in their new gender, in accordance with their medically prescribed treatment. Being able to obtain correct identity documentation is the key to equal participation in employment and educational opportunities for a transsexual person. Rather than erecting additional barriers in the path of transsexual people, the law should encourage and support their successful adjustment by providing them with the legal recognition necessary to be productive members of society."
The resulting Alteration of Sex Description and Sex Status Act 2003 was voted for by the ruling African National Congress and most opposition parties with the conspicuous exception of the Christian Democratic Party.

Simone later became involved with Gender DynamiX.

14 April 2014

Broden Giambrone (1982 - ) activist.

Giambrone grew up in the West End of Toronto.  The family are of Italian descent and moved to Canada from the US to avoid the Vietnam War.

Broden transitioned before doing a BA in Sociology, 2006, at McGill University, Montréal.  In 2007 he was part of G/B/Q Trans men HIV Prevention Working Group (now QueerTransmen.org) which wrote the health guide Getting Primed: The Back Pocket Guide for Transmen and the Men Who Dig Them. From 2006-8 he was a volunteer with the social justice organization OPIRG at York University, Toronto. He then worked with Trans Pulse on HIV health issues, and in 2010 completed a Master of Public Health at the University of Toronto.

Broden did an advanced course in International Health at Brighton, UK, and settled in Dublin, where he is now the Chief Executive at Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI).

He has expressed concern about the lack of provisions for trans persons in Ireland, but gave a cautious welcome to the government's proposed gender recognition legislation in 2013, despite concerns that the draft had been put together without any consultation with trans or LGBT groups, or medical specialists.

TENI    LINKEDIN     WorldCat

Yes, Toronto politician Adam Giambrone is Broden’s elder brother.  He dropped out of the 2010 Toronto Mayoral election because of revelations about his private life.   But it was old-fashioned philandering, and Broden was not even mentioned.   He was running second in the polls at the time.   So it is a shame that he did not stay in and defeat the much more scandal-plagued Rob Ford.

11 April 2014

Elliot Blackstone (1924 – 2006) police office, trans ally.

From Chinook, Montana, Elliott Blackstone served in the US Navy during the Second World War. In 1949 he joined the San Francisco Police Department.

In 1961-2 there was a 'gayola' scandal about police taking payoffs from gay bars. One reaction to this was that José Sarria set a precedent by running for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Another was that Blackstone was assigned as the police department's first liaison officer with the homophile community. He worked with the Mattachine Society and the Daughters of Bilitis, he helped to end entrapment in public toilets, he trained police recruits by bringing in gays, lesbians and trans people to talk about themselves.

In 1965 the Society for Individual Rights (SIR) had negotiated with Blackstone so that they could hold a gay New Year's ball; however others in the police force had different ideas and it was raided anyway. Even Mrs Blackstone was taken to be a drag queen and shoved about.

In August 1966 there was a riot at Compton's Cafeteria, and Blackstone attempted to moderate between the queens and the security people. Later Blackstone met Louise Ergestrasse (Durkin), the first transsexual to use that term to him. She got him a copy of Harry Benjamin's The Transsexual Phenomenon, and he began to arrange help. He persuaded the Center for Special Problems, part of the city Department of Public Health, and they began to offer hormones, counseling and referrals. Benjamin came and trained the staff, and worked with Blackstone. Blackstone gave lectures to fellow police officers.

He encouraged transsexuals to organize as Change: Our Goal (COG) and attended their meetings. With Blackstone's support COG dissuaded the police from arresting people for using the 'wrong' toilets or being cross-dressed. He helped to establish an anti-poverty office that employed transsexuals. He collected donations at his church to pay for hormones for transsexuals who could not afford them. The office provided ID cards that enabled trans persons to open bank accounts and obtain employment. After Reed Erickson's EEF funded the National Transsexual Counseling Unit (NTCU) in San Francisco, Blackstone managed its office as part of his police liaison role. EEF provided funds so that he could attend professional development and criminal justice conventions across the US and in Europe to give his views on police mistreatment of transsexual minorities. In the office he worked with individuals who were having problems with the law or their employers. He gave a presentation to every San Francisco Police Academy Class.

However in 1973 a police agent persuaded an NTCU employee to bring cocaine on to the premises, which were then raided. Drugs were also planted in Blackstone's desk. He was then assigned to another job. Within two years Blackstone had retired and NTCU was no more.

Blackstone had been 26 years with the force. He was presented with a plaque: "Many thanks, The Transsexual Community of San Francisco". At age 81 he became the first retired officer to receive a commendation from the Police Commission, and was a grand marshal at the 2006 San Francisco Pride parade. He died a few months later of a stroke.

* Not the mountaineer.

Joanne Meyerowitz says (p257) that the two trans women arrested in 1973 were Suzan Cooke and Janice Maxwell who were there running NTCU. However Suzan's own account does not say that. Cooke: "Elliott Blackstone remained a constant, a supporter who was too often paternalistic and too often clueless but nonetheless stood by us."

08 April 2014

Jacquie Sarduy (1937–) sex-worker, performer.

Sarduy grew up in Amiens. He used Christmas 1955 money from an uncle to buy a train ticket to Paris, and found work in a restaurant, and then selling soap for the blind door-to-door. Sarduy knew about hormones, having read an article about Christine Jorgensen. She got her first pill from Gina who became a friend.

Later she ventured to Place Blanche where the experienced trans women worked. However she was arrested for soliciting and spent three months in the male prison La Sante. Afterwards Jacquie returned to living in the hotel Fairyland.

Sarduy was called up for national service during the Algerian troubles. She went as a woman and flirted with the officers, which resulted in being exempted for life.

Jacquie was done for soliciting a second time during the 1957 Paris visit of the British Queen. This sentence was six months in the high-security prison at Poissy with dangerous criminals. She was raped; there was a rebellion by the Arab prisoners and she had to be hidden. Her hair was cut two days before release.

She found work at the Heure Bleue club and developed a friendship with Liane, a cis woman. They visited Jacquie's mother and Jacquie announced that that was the last time that they would see her as a boy. Her mother came to visit her and Liane and gave Jacquie stockings and a necklace: "Je ne vais pas t'offrir une cravate maintenant". She sometimes forgot and addressed Jacquie by her boy name.

Jacquie sometimes worked at Madame Arthur. From April to September 1959 she worked in Cannes, where she refused to be taken on by pimps. Later that year she met the Swedish photographer Christer Strömholm. By Christmas that year Jacquie was a woman. After that her mother always got her name right.

Jacquie's boyfriend, Jacques, was with the army in Algeria, but during his leave she found that he was two-timing her.

A friend who worked at Paris Jour and Paris Match referred to Jacquie as 'Manon' in his column, and introduced her to famous people, some of whom became lovers. She alternated soliciting with cabaret work, for example at Drap d'Or, and toured across Europe, but had a bad reputation at Le Carrousel, until 1969 when she met Marcel Oudjman, the owner. She then performed there until it closed.

She had parts in two underground films by the Spanish filmmaker, Adolfo Arrieta: Les intrigues de Sylvia Couski, 1975 and Tam Tam, 1976. One of the people she had come to know was the Argentinian playwright Copi (Raúl Damonte Botana) who proposed to put Jacquie in a play, and they both performed it at the Festival Europalia in Brussels. However when the play was performed in Paris, Jacquie was no longer in it.

After Le Carrousel closed in 1985, Jacquie and a friend who was a second-hand dealer had a stall in the flea market.
  • Hélène Hazera interviews Jacky. "Aujord'hui Jacky Se Raconts". In Christer Strömholm. Les Amies De Place Blanche. Stockport: Dewi Lewis, 2011: 60-6.

05 April 2014

Joan Roughgarden (1946 - ) evolutionary biologist.

Jonathan Roughgarden was raised in New Jersey. He did a BSC at the University of Rochester, and a PhD at Harvard, both in Biology. He taught at Stanford university from 1972, and did field work studying Caribbean lizards.

The last book as Jonathan was Primer of Ecological Theory, 1997. In 1998, at the age of 52, Jonathan came out as transsexual.
"It became clear to me that I wasn't ever going to figure out how to do the guy thing. Imagine as a woman if you'd set out to be a man, to learn how to live as a man. Could you do it? I couldn't. It's like asking a fish to fly."
She took a sabbatical and returned as Joan. She soon noticed how she was now much more frequently interrupted, ignored and condescended to by men.   At a meeting of the Ecological Society of America in Minneapolis a prominent expert jumped up on the stage after her talk and started shouting at her. Once every month or two, she said, ''I will have some man shout at me, try to physically coerce me into stopping …When I was doing the marine ecology work, they did not try to physically intimidate me and say, 'You have not read all the literature.' “

Undeterred by this, she ran for San Francisco's District 6 Supervisor in 2000.

In 2003 gay neurobiologist Simon LeVay had a temporary position at Stanford, and invited both Roughgarden and North American Man Boy Love Association to address the same class under the title 'minority sexualities'. She declined in that "being transgendered was not an expression of sexuality". He rescheduled her but spoke for 45 minutes giving what she could only regard as "an appallingly incorrect account of presumed biological bases to gender differences".

Roughgarden was one of many trans academics who was appalled by Michael Bailey's The Man who Would be Queen, 2003, and wrote a critique of it:
"From a transgender perspective, Bailey's claim that all transgendered women match one of these two profiles is clearly counterfactual. Many transgendered women come out late in life and yet are sexually oriented to men, many come out early in life and yet are oriented to women, many who are oriented to women are attractive nonetheless, many have changed direction of sexual orientation when they transitioned, many are bisexual, and many are not sexually active. Transgendered women also encompass heterogeneity in occupation, presentation, temperament, sexual history, and ethnicity. Furthermore, transgendered people are not as fixated on sex as Bailey evidently is. The need to locate in the social and occupational space of one's gender identity, to live as a woman, is a stronger motivation for many transgendered women than is attaining sexual pleasure. … Bailey has no data, none at all. He offers no surveys, no data tables, no statistics, nothing. He doesn't give the sample size for the 'study' he refers to occasionally. No references are offered to primary literature either. Six transgendered people are mentioned by name (pseudonym). Bailey did not take detailed and rigorous notes when interviewing these subjects, and relies on his recollection of their meetings. This sample is highly non-representative because the women he interviewed he met while 'cruising' (p. 141) in 'the Baton, Chicago's premier female impersonator club,' (p. 186) leading to an occupational and socio-economic bias."
Roughgarden's next book was to be published by Princeton University Press, but she found that they were using LeVay as a reviewer and that he wanted the critical material about the search for a gay gene removed and in fact that he wanted "to reduce my book into a David-Attenborough-like nature book about gay animals, related by a transgendered woman". She moved her book to the University of California Press where it came out in 2004 as Evolution’s Rainbow. It argues for a correction to Darwin’s theory of sexual selection taking into account the varieties of gay and trans behavior found in most species. It also puts transgender behavior in the context of traditional alternate gender roles in traditional societies, and evaluates the estimated statistics. It argues for social selection rather than the Darwinian sexual selection oriented on the selfish gene, competition and deception. She further developed this approach in The Genial Gene, 2009.

Roughgarden is also a Christian and has written on the relationship between Christianity and evolution.

She retired Emerita in 2011, and moved to Hawai'i where she became an adjunct professor at the Hawai'i Institute of Marine Biology.
  • Carol Kaesuk Yoon. “A Theorist With Personal Experience of the Divide Between the Sexes” The New York Times, October 17, 2000. www.nytimes.com/2000/10/17/science/17ROUG.html.
  • Joan Roughgarden. "Making connections re psychologist Simon LeVay". Email to Lynn Conway, 11 Jul 2003. http://ai.eecs.umich.edu/people/conway/TS/Bailey/Joan-re-LeVay.html.
  • Joan Roughgarden. The Bailey Affair: Psychology Perverted. February 11, 2004. Online at: http://ai.eecs.umich.edu/people/conway/TS/Reviews/Psychology%20Perverted%20-%20by%20Joan%20Roughgarden.htm.
  • Joan Roughgarden, Evolution's Rainbow: Diversity, Gender, and Sexuality in Nature and People. University of California Press, 2004. Awarded 2005 Stonewall Prize for nonfiction from American Library Association. Chapter 1 online at www.ucpress.edu/books/pages/10139/10139.ch07.html
  • Steven Kotler. “Oh So Natural: Sexual selection, the Good Book and why gay is good”. LA Weekly: Art + Books. April 15. 2004.
  • Antony Thomas (dir & scr). Middle Sexes: Redefining He and She. With Louis Gooren, Anne Fausto-Sterling, Milton Diamond, Alice Dreger, Joan Roughgarden, Calpernia Addams, Andrea James. USA/UK 74 mins 2005.
  • Joan Roughgarden, Evolution and Christian Faith: Reflections of an Evolutionary Biologist. Island Press. 2006.
  • Joan Roughgarden. The Genial Gene: Deconstructing Darwinian Selfishness. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009.
  • Shankar Vedantam.  “How the sex bias prevails”.  The Age, May 15, 2010. 


Joan's website used to be http://joandistrict6.com.  However that is now a site in Japanese.

The history/anthropology chapters of Evolution's Rainbow are perhaps not as good as the biology chapters.   For example the section on ancient Greek/Roman sexuality is based on Kenneth Dover alone.   This is a very large topic and Dover's major virtue is merely his early date.

For some reason LeVay is not mentioned in Evolution’s Rainbow.

In WorldCat Jonathan's books are listed as by Joan, but in Amazon they are treated as two different people.

Ben Barres, a physicist, also at Stanford, transitioned in the other direction at around the same time.  He commented on how he was interrupted, ignored and condescended to by men less often.   The contrast was explored in several newspaper articles.

02 April 2014

Shan Ratnam (1928 – 2001) gynaecologist, sex change doctor

Shan Ratnam was of Ceylonese Tamil descent, and was born in Jaffna where his mother came from, although his father's family had lived in Malaysia for three generations. From the age of six months he lived in Kuala Lumpur.

Ratnam's father was ordered to be beheaded by the occupying Japanese in 1942, but was saved by a Japanese woman married to an Indian man. His mother died at age 38 during the Occupation from rectum cancer, as did his youngest sibling from tuberculosis meningitis. This inspired him to become a doctor.

He trained at the Singapore General Hospital from 1959, and began teaching at the University of Singapore in 1963. He studied at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School in London where he earned MRCOG and FRCS in 1964. He then became Professor and Head of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Singapore in the new Singapore independent of the UK and then in secession from Malaysia.

In 1969 Ratnam was pestered by Shonna who was desirous to have sex change surgery. He became intrigued by the possibility, read the literature and finally practised the operation on two cadavers in the mortuary. He had Shonna evaluated by a team of psychiatrists who confirmed that she was indeed transsexual. Legal clearance was sought from the ministry of health and granted. Surgery was performed 30 July 1971 at the Kandang Kerbau Hospital 竹脚妇幼医院. This was the first such operation in east Asia.

A Gender Identity Clinic was set up headed by Prof Ratnam, who ran it until his retirement in 1995, when it was passed to his nephew, Dr. Anandakumar. In 30 years more than 300 sex change operations were performed.

In 1972 Ratnam's gynaecology department was recognized by the World Health Organization as one of 13 outstanding research centres in human reproduction. In 1983 Ratnam did the first Asian In-vitro fertilization. In 1987 the first Asian live birth from a frozen embryo. In 1989 the world's first live birth after microinjection, and in 1991 the world's first infant born via human ampullary coculture. He published 596 research papers in internationally refereed journals, 396 in local and regional refereed journals, 138 chapters in books and 795 presentations at conferences. In 1996, Ratnam was appointed as Emeritus Professor. In 2000, the Shan S. Ratnam Professorship endowment was set up to award internationally recognised O& G specialists annually.

He developed heart complications and died of pneumonia at the age of 73.

After his death the Gender identity Clinic was quietly closed on the excuse that the gynaecologist in charge had left for private practice. The Ministry of Health had been pushing for closure for some years. However petitions from the trans community supported by local media resulted in the Clinic re-opening in 2003.

Other patients include: Wu Mingen(Li Jiang)
  • S. S. Ratnam, Victor H. H. Goh & Wing Foo Tsoi. Cries from Within: Transsexualism, Gender Confusion and Sex Change. Singapore: Longman, 1991.
EN.WIKIPEDIA    EN.WIKIPEDIA(Transgender people in Singapore)  SgWiki     SingaporeInfopedia

30 March 2014

Christina Jwar (1901 - 1986 ) nurse

For 65 years Christina Jwar was a nurse to the black community in Ficksburg, Orange Free State (now Free State) on the border of Lesotho. She was affectionately known as Me Jwar (Mother Jwar).

At the age of 85 she became seriously ill with her legs and feet badly swollen. She was rushed to hospital, where she was undressed and revealed to be male-bodied. The shock of being revealed brought on a heart attack and she died.
  • Ivor Crews & Samkelo Kumalo. "After 65 Years the Secret of Christina the Nurse is Out … She's a Man!".. The Sunday Times, 27 July 1986. Reprinted in Ruth Morgan,, Charl Marais, Joy Rosemary Wellbeloved, and Robert Hamblin. Trans: Transgender Life Stories from South Africa. Johannesburg: Jacana, 2010: plate 5.

27 March 2014

Riki Anne Wilchins (1952 - ) computing, activist.

(S/he and hir are Riki's preferred pronouns.)

Wilchins grew up in Cincinnati, his father a surgeon, and transitioned to Riki Anne in the late 1970s. S/he did a bachelors degree in Psychology & Communication at Cleveland State University in 1980 where s/he also attended the gender clinic. Hir transition resulted in a breakup with hir girlfriend of seven years. Wilchins later did a masters in Clinical Psychology at the New School for Social Research 1981-94.

In 1981 s/he moved to New York where s/he found work on Wall Street doing computer consulting in banking and brokerage despite being openly transsexual.

S/he approached lesbian archivist, Joan Nestle, asking to be included in the archive, but fearing rejection, and they became friends.

Wilchins was an early supporter of Nancy Burkholder after she was ejected from the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival (MWMF) in 1991. Wilchins was one of the founders of Camp Trans across the road from MWMF from 1994. Wilchins argued strongly that pre-op and non-op should be included in MWMF as much as post-op women. Also in 1994 Wilchins and Denise Norris co-founded Transexual Menace to follow on from Transgender Nation. Later that year, after the murder of Brandon Teena, Wilchins organized a demonstration against New York's Village Voice which had printed an article by Donna Minkowitz on the murder which used only female pronouns for Teena. Later still Wilchins confronted Janice Raymond at the New York bookstore Judith's Room:
"You say we want to 'pass' as women. Well, I don't pass. I wear this Transexual Menace logo every place that I go. Between the two of us, only you pass as a woman. If, as de Beauvoir held, 'One is not born a woman, but becomes one,' if femininity is an invention of men foisted on women, if feminine behavior is a learned cultural performance of hair, clothing, voice, gesture, and stance so one is perceived as a female, then by presenting yourself as a woman it is you who have been co-opted into traditional sex roles, you who serve their institutions, and you who are performing here."
In 1995 Wilchins worked with Phyllis Frye and Karen Kerin on a largely successful National Gender Lobby Day, a largely successful attempt to lobby every member of the US Government. Riding the excitement from the lobbying effort, Riki gave a rousing speech at that year's Be-all convention in Chicago on the need for a transgender organization to press for political change. In 1996 representatives from most US transgender organizations (but not Phyllis Frye after Wilchins took over the leadership of Lobby Day) met to charter the new organization GenderPAC. The paperwork was signed and Wilchins was named Executive Director.

A split quickly developed between those who wanted to keep the organization transgender specific and those who followed Wilchin's lead in addressing the gender expression of everybody. Policy Advisor JoAnn Roberts and President Angela Gardner resigned over this issue. That same year Riki wrote an article for TGForum with the ironic title '…Only a Crossdresser', in which s/he wrote:
"Once crossdressers ever *really* come out, and begin to enunciate the politics of the direct, head-on challenge their very existence poses to gender regimes, I think we have a truly revolutionary force on our hands, a potent force. The only question is, how long will they think of themselves, and allow so many of us to think of them, as '…only crossdressers?' "
Also that year, when Sean O'Neill in Colorado was sentenced to 90 days for statutory rape after consensual sex but without revealing his gender history, Wilchins commented:
"If you look androgynous and someone wants to claim that you're passing yourself off as the other gender, you've just committed a felony".
Riki also campaigned with Hermaphrodites With Attitude and Lesbian Avengers.

In 1997 hir book Read My Lips: Sexual Subversion and the End of Gender came out, and became one the iconic books of 'transgender' as it was then conceived, and along with Kate Bornstein and Leslie Feinberg, Wilchins was one of the 1990s iconic transgender persons. It was also a kickstart to the burgeoning Gender Queer movement. The book is a mixture of gender theory a la Judith Butler and Michel Foucault mixed with Riki's personal experiences. It also includes photographs by Mariette Pathy Allen. Amongst other things s/he says:
"I have no interest in being part of a transgender or transexual movement whose sole purpose is to belly up to the Big Table and help ourselves to yet another serving of identity Pie, leaving in our wake some other, more marginalized group to carry on its own struggle alone. What I am interested in is the original cultural gesture to regulate and contain what your body and mine can mean, or say, or do. The point of a gender liberation movement for me … is also about the seventeen-year-old Midwestern cheerleader whose health is destroyed by anorexia because 'real women' are supposed to be preternaturally thin. It's about the forty-six-year-old Joe Six-pack who wraps his car around a crowded school bus on the way home from the bar because 'real men' are supposed to be heavy drinkers. It's about the unathletic and fat little boy who's physically attacked by his classmates everyday after school. It's about the two lesbian lovers stalked and killed on the Appalachian trail in Virginia. It's about the aging body succumbing to an unnecessary hysterectomy because certain kinds of gendered bodies simply don't matter as much. And it's about the sensitive, straight young man who is repeatedly raped his first year in prison because, within that environment, he's received as genderqueer, genderdifferent, or simply gendervulnerable".
"Academics, shrinks, and feminist theorists have traveled through our lives and problems like tourists on a junket. Picnicking on our identities like flies at a free lunch, they have selected the tastiest tidbits with which to illustrate a theory or push a book. The fact that we are a community under fire, is irrelevant to them. They pursue Science and Theory, and what they produce by mining our lives is neither addressed to us nor recycled within our community … Our performance of gender is invariably a site of contest, a problem which – if we could but bring enough hi-octane academic power to bear – might be solved".
The same year GenderPAC produced The First National Study on Transviolence, with 402 respondents the most extensive study on violence against gender variant persons. Later in 1997 Wilchins and GenderPAC made a tactical agreement with the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) that 'gender identity' and 'gender expression' be dropped from that year's version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) to improve its chance of passing. In exchange both groups would lobby for gender variance to be added to the Hate Crimes Statistics Act. This of course infuriated the various trans activists groups – the more so as both acts failed to pass.

Wilchins was on the cover of the Summer 1999 Transgender Tapestry. By that time Wilchins had managed to push out of GenderPAC most representatives of the founding transgender organizations with the exception of Tony Barreto-Neto from TOPS and Carrie David from IFGE, and converted the supposedly political campaigning organization into a non-profit educational charity. GenderPAC started recruiting state and campus co-ordinators. In December 2000, Gina Reiss, GenderPAC Managing Director was quoted:
“I’m tired of the fact that 85% of the people calling the office are transgender people seeking help”.
In a speech that year Wilchin said:
"A transgender struggle is an important thing, but it is not my fight. In fact I personally have no interest in being transexual or transgender… What I am interested in is the original cultural gesture to regulate what your body and mine can mean, or say, or do".
In 2001 Tony Barreto-Neto was forced out. Later that year, Time Magazine selected Wilchins as one of "100 Civic Innovators for the 21st Century." Wilchins was a featured columnist on gender issues for The Advocate.

In 2002, Riki with Joan Nestle and Clare Howell edited GenderQueer: Voices from Beyond the Sexual Binary which included essays by Sylvia Rivera, JT Leroy, Cheryl Chase, Gina Reiss, Rusty Mae Moore and many others. It includes four essays by Wilchins: A Certain Kind of Freedom: Power and the Truth of Bodies. In the fourth, "Deconstructing Trans", s/he wrote:
"It's fair to say that 'transgender' was created by the gay and feminist movements. Its emergence became practically inevitable from the day those movements began moving away from gender. … Genderqueerness would seem to be a natural avenue for feminism to contest Woman's equation with nurturance, femininity, and reproduction: in short to trouble the project of Man. Yet feminists have been loath to take that avenue, in no small part because queering Woman threatens the very category on which feminism depends."
In 2004 Riki published hir primer of theoretical concerns, Queer Theory, Gender Theory: An Instant Primer. However at $63 it was priced not to sell. S/he worked with anthropologist David Valentine. He helped hir edit Read My Lips, they wrote a paper together on violence against gender variant people, and s/he is frequently mentioned in his Imagining Transgender. They both critique the obligatory identity requirement for being transgender.

In 2006 Riki and hir wife adopted a baby girl.

In 2009 s/he closed GenderPac, and founded TrueChild which promotes "'gender transformative' approaches to philanthropy and policy that challenge rigid gender norms and inequities in order to improve life outcomes for at-risk youth".
EN.WIKIPEDIA    AnneLawrence.com    BCHolmes    LinkedIn


In earlier days Riki prefered to spell 'transexual' with one 's' to avoid the medical implications.   However more recently she has been spelling it 'transsexual'.

This site is called 'gender variance who's who' and so of course we welcome those who speak up for other forms of gender variance in addition to transgender and transsexual.

However Wilchins did upset many trans activists by downplaying the trans aspect of GenderPAC.  S/he should have made it clear from the start what GenderPAC would be doing, and relied much less on donations from trans groups.

24 March 2014

Louise Hannon (1962–) business development manager, photographer.

Hannon was raised in Dublin. In the five years up to 2006, Hannon, self-employed, had worked as a business development manager at First Direct Logistics Ltd, and broke up with wife and children.

In October Hannon disclosed to management that she was transsexual and would be leaving because she did not think that a transport firm "would be comfortable with it". However she was encouraged to stay, but was asked to wait a few months to accommodate a new staff member.

She changed her name by deed poll in March and arrived at the office, but was told to work from home and to maintain her male identity on the phones, and when meeting clients. She was also told not to use the women's toilet at work (despite the fact that the manager often did so if the men's was occupied). Later she was told that a new employee had been hired, and there was no desk for her at the office. In July Hannon was told that the company director was not happy with her work. She left feeling that she had been constructively dismissed.

She appealed to the Equality Tribunal as she was entitled to do under the Employment Equality Act 1998. The Tribunal awarded her €35,422.71, and commented: "requesting Ms Hannon to switch between a male/female identity whenever the respondent felt the need for it constituted direct discrimination on the gender and disability grounds".

Louise has been Co-Chair of Labour LGBT Elected to the Labour Equality Co-ordinating Council, sat on the steering group of the Equality and Rights Alliance, been Vice Chair of Transgengender Equality Network Ireland (TENI).

She currently works as a photographer in Dublin.

22 March 2014

Jessica Diana Bussert (1965 - ) network specialist, photographer.

Joshua Bussert grew up in the US Mid-west. He married his girlfriend at 18 when she became pregnant. In 1985 he studied data processing at Vincennes University, Indiana. He was also seeing a counselor to overcome his desire to be a woman. He had three children with his first wife before they divorced.

Bussert converted to Catholicism, and then met Sharon, a born Catholic, who became his second wife in 1990, after being told of his cross-dressing. They raised the three children from his first marriage and adopted two sisters from Haiti. Bussert worked in business consulting and systems analysis for networks, went to the Kinsey Institute for counseling, and they found Gender Identity Dysphoria.
In 2001 Bussert started working for Hitachi Data Systems, and in 2003 started laser hair removal, and looked for a transsexual community, but being in the middle of Indiana found none. In addition a 19-year old transsexual was murdered locally with her body set on fire.

Bussert applied for a transfer to the UK branch of Hitachi. He was to be an IT techie and business manager at £88,000 a year. The supervisor was open-minded, but moved on soon after. In London Bussert started taking female hormones, and going out as female more often. She socially transitioned 2005 with Facial Feminization Surgery and breast augmentation with Dr Douglas Ousterhout in San Francisco. Her new supervisor had responded to the mention of a sex change: “Don’t do that to me, Josh. I had to work in an office with someone who did that once and it was weird”.

Hitachi effectively demoted her and she was given a negative appraisal. She took sick leave for stress, returned and again went on sick leave. Hitachi stopped paying her salary and she resigned. Jessica sued for £500,000 in the UK and $3.6m in the US, but without success.

Since the Sex Discrimination (Gender Reassignment) Regulations 1999 it is clear that not only is it illegal to discriminate against transsexuals, but that this covers employees intending to undergo gender reassignment. However the Employment Tribunal in Reading dismissed Bussert's claims ruling that she had left the company of her own free will. Furthermore it found no fault with the way that Hitachi had handled the situation, and even commended Hitachi managers for displaying good management practice and embracing diversity.

As Bussert was no longer employed, the Home Office ruled that her permit to live in the UK was no longer valid, and Jessica and Sharon returned to Indiana.

They have since become award-winning photographers.

18 March 2014

L.S. (1889 - ?) model

L.S. was an attractive woman who worked as a fashion model in Paris. In 1909, aged 20, she was engaged to be married. She was bothered by apparent tumours in her labia majora and attended the Hôpital Beaujon.

However a biopsy of the tumours resulted in them being identified as testicles. The doctors then decided that she was a 'true male', that is a masculine pseudo hermaphrodite. She was informed that her feminine 'genital aspiration', that is her engagement to her fiancé, was an act of homosexuality.
  • T. Tuffier & A. Lapoint. "L'Hermaphrodisme: Ses variétés et ses conséquences pour la pratique médicales (d'après un cas personnel)". Revue de gynécologie et de chirurgie addominale, 17,1911: 209-268.
  • Alice Domurat Dreger. Hermaphrodites and the Medical Invention of Sex. Cambridge, Ma, Harvard University Press. 2000: 130-2.

L.S. had the misfortune to live during the period when gonads were taken to define a person’s ‘true’ sex.

While Drs Tuffier & Lapoint conceal the patient’s name behind the initials LS, they published 4 photographs of her, one dressed and three nude, all where her face is clearly identifiable.

15 March 2014

Leslie Phillips (194?–) lawyer.

Ralph Plotkin was a law student in Philadelphia when in 1969 he met and married Tamara. He graduated and became a lawyer, while Tamara pursued a career in urban planning. They purchased a house together.

In 1974 Tamara came home to find her husband in female attire. He said that he was a transvestite, it was not normal and he was trying to overcome it. Such did nor recur, until July 1977 when on a weekend trip to New York, Ralph announced that he was transsexual and had been on female hormones since the previous December. For a few months Tamara accompanied her husband, dressed as female, to various social events, but by October it was obvious that they could no longer co-habit.

In December Tamara filed for divorce, Leslie Phillips (as Ralph had become) moved into an apartment, and made substantial withdrawals from a joint bank deposit (that had been a gift from Tamara's mother). Further Phillips made harassing telephone calls with threats demanding that Tamara pay Phillips' bills.

In September 1979, Phillips petitioned the Common Pleas Court of Philadelphia County for support in that a spouse is obliged to care for a partner suffering from a mental disorder. The judge ruled a) that the petitioner's behavior "constituted conduct on petitioner's part within the standard enunciated above sufficient to obviate petitioner's right to support", b) "the prevailing viewpoint seems to be that transsexuals are psychologically healthy individuals" c) "petitioner's conduct was violative of the marital contract between the parties; that the specific acts described herein and attributed to petitioner were 'humiliating and degrading, inconsistent with the [respondent's] position as a wife,' that these acts together with petitioner's consummation of the alteration of petitioner's sexual characteristics constituted a course of conduct 'of such character as to render the condition of any woman of ordinary sensibility and delicacy of feeling intolerable and her life burdensome'; that petitioner's conduct manifested a spirit of malevolence, settled hate and estrangement toward respondent, and that respondent had adequate legal cause to quit the marital domicile".

*Not the actor.

I think that the important point here is the judge's point B:  transsexuals are psychologically healthy individuals.   Transsexuality is not a pathology.

12 March 2014

Anne-Daphné Henry (1950-2000) army captain.

Jean Michel Henry served as a captain in the Swiss Army.

Jean transitioned to Anne in 1992 and in 1994 won a landmark court case in which the Federal Court ordered her insurance company to reimburse the costs of the surgical operation. She was Switzerland's best known transsexual campaigner.

She died of cancer aged 50.

09 March 2014

Carl-Philip Öfverström (1960 - ) musician.

Öfverström was born in Stockholm. At age 17 using the name Cris Owen, Öfverström had a breakthrough album, Here I Am, and went on to a career – largely in Finland – as songwriter, arranger, producer, and performer. Owen was the manager and producer for major Finnish artists such as Miisa and Janina Fry.

In 1989 Cris came second in in the competition to represent Finland in the Eurovision Song Contest, and wrote the Finnish Eurovision entries in 1992 and 1993.

In 2002 Owen's autobiography Valheellinen elämäni.(My Life, A Lie) created quite a stir in the Finnish media. He completed transition with surgery in Sweden in 2005. In 2008, Cris expressed some regrets such as starting transition so late in life, and it was twisted in the press that he regretted transition.

Cris' EN.WIKIPEDIA page was deleted in 2008.
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