This site is the most comprehensive on the web devoted to trans history and biography. Almost a thousand persons worthy of note, both famous and obscure, are discussed in detail, and many more are mentioned in passing - especially in the year-end summaries (see links in right sidebar.)

There is a detailed Index arranged by vocation, doctor, activist group etc. In addition to this most articles have one or more labels at the bottom. Click one to go to similar persons. There is a full list of labels at the bottom of the page. There are also a search boxes at the top left. Enjoy exploring!

31 August 2014

Haa-Lacka Binttii – musician, composer

Daniel Figgis (1961 - ) is a distinguished Irish musician and composer.

Using the pseudonym Haa-Lacka Binttii, he was drummer and keyboardist with the Dublin band Virgin Prunes 1979-1980.

Haa-Lacka Binttii then founded the band Princess Tinymeat (Kenneth Anger's sizist derogatory term originally aimed at actor Montgomery Clift). Princess Tinymeat released several singles, mostly of the 12" format, and in 1986 a retrospective album called Herstory.

Binttii/Tinymeat played with femme/trans imagery and on this basis gets listed amongst trans musicians.

However Figgis reverted to his male name for all subsequent work, and his biography on DanielFiggis.com mentions neither Virgin Prunes nor Princess Tinymeat.

DanielFiggis.com   Last.FM   Discogs   irishrock.org

26 August 2014

The woman who lost her gender

Kim Walmsley of Liverpool is a female cis heterosexual.

Kim Monaghan was born in 1965.  As expected, her parents received a birth certificate for her that said ‘girl’ but somehow she had been entered into the registration book as ‘boy’.

She grew up as a girl, married in a Church of England ceremony in 1991 and became Mrs Walmsley, and she and her husband, Jack, had four sons and a daughter.

In 2003 they decided to emigrate to Australia.   As governments do they were required to send in their original birth certificates.   Wary of losing them they decided to get duplicates.    The registrar insisted on calling her Miss Kim Walmsley, and desired to speak to her alone.  She insisted that it be said in the presence of her husband. "We can't issue you with an identical birth certificate," she said, "because you're registered as a boy".    Kim’s initial response was to attempt common sense: "Obviously I am a girl. I've had five natural births. Just change it for me."   But common sense is not an integral part of how bureaucracies operate. 

Kim left with a new birth certificate marked ‘boy’.  She had already used her original ‘girl’ birth certificate for the emigration process and they received their Australian visas.   They left the registration process with a solicitor, and moved to Queensland. 

The solicitor received a letter from the registrar saying that the “original birth certificate, because it wasn't a true copy of the original registration, was considered an illegal document”.   Kim would not be able to renew her passport, nor would she be able to extend her Australian visa.

Eventually they accepted that they had to return to Liverpool.  Rumours went around, some said that Kim and Jack were two men, and homophobic graffiti was sprayed on their gate and garden wall.
 
They wrote to the Archbishop of Canterbury, and he replied that he could no longer recognize their marriage. Births, deaths and marriages have offered to reregister Kim’s birth, which would allow her to have a passport with "female" on it again, but she would be registered as female only from when the correction was made: the original – and legal – entry would still say "boy".

The Walmesleys estimate that with solicitors’ fees, lost business, and the cost of moving to Australia and back, they are out over £150,000.
__________________________________________________________

This is offered as background for trans persons to consider as they have somewhat different problems in changing gender.   It shows that bureaucracies cane be perverse even when they are not be transphobic or otherwise prejudicial.

At least the Walmsleys’ marriage was not deemed to be annulled.

It is rather pathetic that the Church of England would let its opinion of the marriage be determined by a clerical error, rather than standing on the common-sense ground that Kim is a cis woman and should be recognised as such.    In general a religious marriage and secular marriage may be different, and the church and the state may differ in which marriages they recognise.   It may be that the Church of England, in being established, feels more strongly that it should align its recognition of marriage with that of the state – however it has not taken this attitude with the introduction of gay marriage in England and Wales.

A transgender person is one who changes gender to match gender identity.   The change of gender involves two major aspects: a) presentation and being accepted in the new presentation b) changing the gender designation on identity documents.     Kim never lost her presentation gender.   But she did lose her legal gender.

24 August 2014

Olivia Watts (1961–) police officer, naturopath, Wicca.

For 18 years Watts worked as a male police officer in Casey, a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria.
In 1995 Watts retired from the police, started to transition as Olivia, and set up in business as a naturopath. She was also a practitioner of Wicca.

In 2003 Olivia ran, unsuccessfully, to be a councillor in Casey. After an exchange of opinions, a Christian Labor councillor Rob Wilson denounced Olivia as a witch, and as a Satanist. He called on Casey's church leaders to consider calling a day of prayer to hold back the occult forces. Olivia was physically assaulted, and her house and car vandalized. Her business collapsed.
"On August 16 a gentleman came to my door and asked me if I was the naturopath Cr Wilson was talking about. When I admitted I was, he grabbed me and started hitting me on the forehead saying he was driving the demons out of Casey. He just kept screaming 'Out you demon, out you demon'."
Olivia sued Cr Wilson before the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT). for vilification under the Victoria Racial and Religious Tolerance Act, 2001. At the trial Olivia became the first person anywhere in the world to give a legal Court Oath to the Goddess. In his submission Cr Wilson cited an evangelical Christian website called The Watchman and the Collins paperback dictionary: "Witchcraft: noun, the use of magic especially for evil purposes".

In a separate action, the Pagan Awareness Network, based in Sydney, brought a complaint against Wilson and the mayor. This was settled out of court with an apology and retraction by Wilson.

Olivia's case before the VCAT was heard in August 2004. Cr Wilson initially claimed that the Racial and Religious Tolerance Act was not breached in that, alone in Australia, witchcraft was still illegal in Victoria (this was section 13 of the Vagrancy Act 1966 which was repealed until 2005). However after the first day of hearings he agreed out-of-court to a retraction, and to financial terms which remain confidential.

More recently Olivia has suffered from MS, and became unable to work.
PeaceNext

21 August 2014

Miranda Yardley (1967 - ) accountant, music magazine publisher

++some changes of detail, based on feedback from Miranda.

From Manchester, Yardley completed a degree in Accounting and Finance at Bangor University in 1990.

After moving to London, Yardley qualified as a Chartered Accountant and worked externally for a publishing company. In 2000 Yardley & Co, a small independent accounting business was set up. The publisher considered shedding a couple of titles.
“Early in 2002 the company wanted to remove Terrorizer from their portfolio of titles, and they offered it to me earlier in the year and I politely declined, later on the same year the company’s circumstances changed and when they offered again, I took it with both hands”.
Terrorizer, published every four weeks, specialized in extreme music, and Yardley's takeover was at the time of its first Genre Specials: Punk, Gore and Prog in 2002 and Thrash in 2003. They also arranged live gigs. Yardley incorporated as Dark Arts Ltd.


Terrorizer Online was launched in 2007.  2009 saw the bi-monthly Dominion and the standalone Sick Sounds.
“I made a very difficult decision last year to move from a role as a practising accountant and earning a reasonable amount while part-time managing Terrorizer to taking on these concepts that I had in my head”.
It was also during this period, 2008, that Yardley completed transition as Miranda.
"I am known as being a trans woman who gets along in a world that’s very male dominated, not that I would ever deny the male privilege that got me here."
Miranda is an outspoken woman, and does not automatically accept the new dogmas of the trans movement.
"What are the implications for women of positing the existence of a "female brain" in a society where to be female is to be considered inferior? Should someone be accepted as a woman just because they say they are? Do the rights of a trans woman who has lived as a man for 60 years to not feel intimidated by having to use male facilities trump the rights of women to have a safe space where they do not need to be concerned about voyeurism or sexual violence? "
Others have rushed in to proclaim her to be a TERF, or a 'self-hating trans woman". She labels her own position as 'gender critical' a term proposed by Joan W Scott in 1986, also used by some anti-trans feminists with far less nuance.

On 11 August 2014 BBC's Newsnight attempted to set a discussion re the boxing promoter and UKIP candidate, Kellie Maloney, who had recently come out as trans. They approached some feminists such as Julie Bindel and Sarah Ditum, but based on previous experience none of them would have anything to do with the topic. Therefore Newsnight settled on two trans women and one trans man: Miranda Yardley, Paris Lees and Fred McConnell. Paris took umbrage with the lineup and tweeted that she was “not prepared to enter into a fabricated debate about trans people’s right to exist/express themselves". Fred tweeted that it was a “TERF-filled trap”. Then Newsnight had to inform Miranda that the proposed session was cancelled. The Independent invited both Miranda and Paris to write about the experience. Miranda filed her version, but again Paris pulled out.
LinkedIn     SoundSphere      Terrorizer   blog
_______________________________________________________________________________

The prospect of three transsexuals being able to discuss their differences without the balance of others that the media always seem to feel is obligatory was a delightful opportunity squandered.

Miranda Yardley is an admirable example of a trans woman who has done something useful with her life.

We do need to hear from Paris Lees about why she is so terrified of discussing with another transwoman who has different opinions. 

13 August 2014

Lana Wachowski (1965–) film writer, director.

Larry Wachowski and brother Andy are of Polish descent, and were raised in Chicago. They both dropped out of college and ran a construction business, while creating comic books for Marvel and Epic. In 1993 Larry married his childhood sweetheart.

The Wachowskis' entry into Hollywood was with the script for Assassins, 1995, however their script was 'totally rewritten' by Brian Helgeland and they unsuccessfully attempted to have their name removed from the film.

They wrote, directed and produced Bound, 1996. In the development of the film the male lead was rethought, with the advice of Susie Sexpert, and became a female butch, and the female lead character changes during the film from a femme bimbo to a leather dyke.

In 1999 the Wachowskis took Hollywood by storm with the first Matrix film in 1999. Like the two sequels, The Matrix features several digital gender morphings. With earnings from the film, Larry and his wife bought a $1.9 million house in Venice, California, and the brothers moved their production company into a nearby building.

Larry reportedly went to several dominatrices who catered to transvestites, and in January 2001, Larry was in The Dungeon in West Hollywood which featured celebrity dominatrix Karin Winslow (Ilsa Strix) who had been married since 1998 to a trans man, the future porn star Buck Angel. Larry returned for further sessions. It soon became clear that the convention that there be no sexual or social congress between dominatrix and client outside the sessions was being broken. Ilsa reportedly offered Larry free bondage sessions that lasted overnight. Buck demanded some answers and it was arranged that the three would meet at a trans club on Santa Monica Boulevard. Ilsa and Lana arrived in almost identical outfits of fur jackets and blond wigs. Soon afterwards Buck kicked Ilsa out of their home, and filed for divorce. He then left for New Orleans. Larry's wife also filed.

Ilsa was flown to Australia, first class, where the two subsequent Matrix films were being made, and it was Lana rather than Larry who picked her up at the airport. Larry was struggling with the idea of being transgender, and how to tell their parents. Sometimes he did not sleep for days. After a phone call in which it was apparent that something was wrong, the Wachowskis' mother flew to Australia the next day. The morning after, Larry blurted out: “I’m transgender. I’m a girl". The father arrived a few days later, and accepted their eldest child as Lana, to the extent of going out with her. Shortly afterwards Lana was also on the film set.

However communication with the public on the topic was cut off. It was Larry who appeared with Ilsa at the LA premiere of Matrix Reloaded in 2003, and then again at the Cannes Film Festival. Larry looked different, androgynous, and it was supposed that he was taking female hormones. He and Ilsa moved into a $2.7 million home in San Francisco's Castro area. Later that year the Wachowskis had to attend a Screen Actors Guild arbitration hearing where Marcus Chong, who played Tank in the first Matrix film, claimed that he had been unfairly treated. Again it was noticed that Larry's appearance had changed.

Rumors without confirmation continued as to where Lana was within the transgender options. Sources close to the Wachowskis denied the rumors. One employee on the Speed Racer film pointed out to Fox News that: "on the call sheets, it still says Larry", although it is rumored that she had transgender surgery soon after that film wrapped.

Karin and Lana married in 2009. It was not until 2012 that Lana emerged for a press conference to discuss their new film Cloud Atlas, which featured its major actors in a variety of roles including some cross racial and some cross gendered.

Later that year she was awarded the Human Rights Campaign Visibility Award and gave a well-received acceptance speech in which she discussed being trans.
EN.WIKIPEDIA      IMDB



______________________________________________________________________________

Both IMDB and Wikipedia do not seem to like Ilsa Strix.   IMDB lists her as in only one film (she was in at least 6 or 7)  and lists only her marriage to Buck Angle.  On the Lana Wachowshi page it lists Larry's first marriage, but not that of Lana and Ilsa.

Ilsa had a Wikipedia page but it was taken down in May 2010 for a given reason of  "Non-notable person. Being romantically involved with a notable person does not confer notability".   The text can be read in Wikibin.   She would certainly seem to be at least as notable as the others persons in the Wikipedia category on Dominatrices


10 August 2014

Rüzgar Erkoçlar (1986 - ) actor.

Nil Erkoçlar was named for the Nile river. At 10 years old she was acting in Turkish commercials. At 15 she was the model for sanitary pads. She acted in nine television productions and one film, and acted on stage with some of Turkeys' most famous actors.

In February 2013, a record producer who likes to announce celebrity scandal, tweeted that "she is no longer a woman". Erkoçlar's family immediately denied the rumour, but a few days later Erkoçlar agreed to an interview with pre- and post-photographs with Hürriyet Daily News. Erkoçlar announced that he had changed his name to Rüzgar  (wind), had been on male hormones for two years and had had transgender surgery. He had never been with a man, did not regard himself as a lesbian and never identified as a woman. The public reaction was mainly positive, even amongst the Islamist television personalities. Khomeini's fatwa permitting gender changes in Iran was mentioned.

The Turkish state recognized Rüzgar's gender by summoning him to do the military service that is mandatory for all Turkish males. However the military medical board found him 'not suitable for military service'.
TR.VIKIPEDI   IMDB

07 August 2014

Christina Kahrl (196? - ) sports writer, activist.

Original November 2008; updated July 2014.

Chris Kahrl was raised near Sacramento.  Kahrl did a history AB at the University of Chicago in 1990, married a woman and was divorced, and did an MA at Loyola University in 2000.

Kahrl started on hormones in 2002, transitioned socially 2003, and professionally 2004.

Christina is a sports-writer for many US publications including Sports Illustrated, and Playboy. She is co-writer of the revered Baseball Prospectus website and book series, with its pioneering statistical analyses. She is also an associate editor of The ESPN Pro Football Encyclopedia.

She counseled fellow sports writer Christine Daniels when the latter announced her own transition in 2007.  She is also friends with Bobbie Dittmeier, another trans sports writer.

In 2010 the HBO program Real Sports devoted a program to Christina, Bobbie Dittmeier and . Christine Daniels, following Christine's suicide the previous year. 

In 2010 Ross forman quoted Christina: "I consider myself immensely fortunate because of the women who did have the courage to come out [ before me, ].  They made life so much easier for people such as me who transitioned [ after them. ] Sure, the challenges are still there, but there is so much more knowledge."  

Since 2007 Christina has been active as a speaker for trans persons and against police harassment in the Chicago area.  She is also a board member for Equality Illinois.  In 2013 she was named to the bord of directors of GLAAD.   

In April 2014, Kahrl was a co-signer with 350+ others who protested against Calpernia Addams, Andrea James and many others who had come out in earlier decades.  She has also campaigned to make 'tranny' a slur word. 
 EN.WIKIPEDIA     GLAAD    
______________________________________________________ 
Several articles mention Kahrl, Dittmeier,  Daniels as if they are the set of trans sportswriters.   This is to ignore Pip Wherrett, Patti Dawn Swansson, Juliet Jacques, Brigitte Boreal.  

    04 August 2014

    Vicki Strasberg (193?–?) sex worker

    Vicki took her surname in homage to Susan Strasberg, the daughter of Lee, the famous acting teacher.

    Transvestite at her birthday party, N.Y.C. 1969

    Vicki was 6 feet (1.8 m), on hormones and gorging on food to be plumper and more sexually desirable, when she met photographer Diane Arbus in 1969. She lived full-time as a woman, and none of her sex customers had ever complained. She was ogled wherever she went.

    Arbus commented: She had "the most unbelievable walk. I couldn't see the man in her."

    Vicki knew how to use a knife, tortured her cats and once had stabbed a customer. For that she was sent to the Tombs jail.

    Vicki took to Diane and gave her presents (which she had stolen from department stores). Vicki invited Diane to her birthday party, and Diane found that she was the only guest.  But she took one of her best known photographs.
    • The London Magazine, 24,7-12: 75.
    • Albert Goldbarth. Across the Layers: Poems Old and New. University of Georgia Press, 1993: 214.
    • Patricia Bosworth. Diane Arbus: A Biography. WW Norton, 2006: 226.

    01 August 2014

    Jennifer Diane Reitz (1959 - ) activist, game designer, artist.

    Raised in Oregon, Reitz studied biochemistry, but left without a degree. Jennifer had surgery at age 22. Since then she has lived in a polyamorous family that has grown to four persons, three women and a man.

    She was out about being a lesbian-oriented bisexual, although pretty much asexual, and being part of a successful polyamory, but until she was 38 kept her gender history a deep secret.
    "I have lived my entire life psychologically crippled by the shame of the very thought of anyone discovering my transsexuality. No longer. The best way to destroy embarrassment, is to have nothing one needs to hide. I am finally facing the vile bigot inside my own head that lives to condemn myself."
    Since 1981 Jennifer has worked in the games industry, at first with dice-based fantasy games, and then after 1985 on Amiga and IBM computers. She was co-founder and visual designer of the video games site HappyPuppy.com (which was sold for a considerable sum in 1996) and LinkTown.com, (both are now defunct) and helped in the creation of OtakuWorld.com.  She and her spouses run Accursed Toys. Her recent work, mainly webcomics, is on Jenniverse.com.

    Jennifer is the author of transsexual.org, Going from what is written on Transsexual.org:
    1. Jennifer conflates gender and gender identity, and proclaims that "the difference between sex and gender are at the very core of the issue" but ignores the difference between gender and gender identity.
    2. She proclaims that "it is apparent that some fifty percent of transsexuals die by age 30, usually by their own hand. This morbidity is known as the 50% Rule".
    3. She does recognize the high success rate of hormones and surgery.
    4. She opts for foetal hormonal events as the cause of transsexuality, and unlike many recognizes that the same is posited for homosexuality: "Although transsexuality is not the same thing as homosexuality, the two can sometimes occur in conjunction with each other, and there is evidence that both are created by the similar mechanisms, in utero".
    5. She proclaims that transvestity is something quite different: "primarily a sexual fetish that occurs after puberty … the behavior is apparently not rooted in a biological, pre-natal basis, but is learned".
    6. She rejects "transgenderism" as an "empty word" whose "primary function is social and political, and not clinical, despite the efforts of some to legitimize this essentially meaningless term".
    7. She accepts the 1:30,000 estimate for transsexuals, but argues that because "transsexuality is most commonly caused by stress-related hormonal changes … more transsexuals are born during times during or following war".
    8. She claims that "the transsexual is on average two standard deviations in intellect greater than the base population, and one standard deviation higher than those defined as homosexual". 
    9. "Every society in history has had some name, role or way of relating to the transsexual, from ancient Canaan and Turkey to India, even to the present day."
    10. Her site contains self-administered test to identify m-f transsexuals. She calls it Combined Gender Identity And Transsexuality Inventory (COGIATI).
    Jennifer describes herself as a hetaera (the highly educated Greek courtesans).

    EN.WIKIPEDIA   Transsexual.org   OtakuWorld   Jenniverse

    COGIATI:
    ___________________________________________________________

    Transsexual.org appears not to have been updated since 2009.

    COGIATI has been much criticized for its reliance on gender stereotyping.  In particular maths ability is regarded as masculine, and admissions of such will result in the person not being identified as transsexual.  I would say that Jennifer's conflation of gender and gender identity damages the COGIATI seriously.

    On Transsexual.org Jennifer insists “I care nothing for the politics of gender, nor the politics of sexuality, nor politics at all. Indeed I am reviled by such, gender issues are about survival and identity, and it is despicable to use the agony of anyone as a basis for petty power games.”   Presumably she fails to see the inevitable politics in her attitudes to transvestites and to transgenderism.   In fact we could take her as a pre-cursor of the HBS movement.  At the same time the gender stereotyping of COGIATI makes her position comparable to that of Ray Blanchard and his division of trans women into AGP/HSTS.

    I don't see where late-transition transsexuals fit into her scheme, particularly those who have been husbands and fathers.

    I simply do not understand her claim that “more transsexuals are born during times during or following war”.  In western Europe and north America, there were a few transsexuals in the 1960s (presumably born in the 1940s) but there are a lot lot more today.

    She cites no sources for her claim of 50% dead by age 30.

    Not all traditional societies had reverence for trans persons.   It is an interesting question why some did and others did not.   Some think that societies that have institutional inter-generational sex do  not have trans roles.   Some, such as the Celts, seem to have had neither.

    We should be very wary of theories that flatter us by claiming that we are more intelligent and creative.  Again Jennifer cites no sources.  Many of the persons whom I have featured on this blog do indeed have intelligence and creativity, but that is one reason why I selected them and not others.   I have also featured trans persons, particularly those now in prison, who seemed rather challenged in terms of intelligence.

    29 July 2014

    Frances Harris (1941 - ) fraudster.

    Frederick Harris and his wife had three daughters. His sister Pamela died in the 1960s.

    For a while Harris owned a bar in Spain with William Coutts as a partner, but they separated on bad terms.

    Harris became Frances in the late 1990s with breast augmentation. She used Pamela's passport to illegally claim £27,000 in benefits.

    From 2003, Harris indulged in several acts of deception. Reverting to male, she pretended to be Coutts, and thereby was able to get a £15,000 loan from Halifax Bank, and tried to gain a passport under Coutt's name. In her own gender she obtained a Marks & Spencer credit card pretending to be Coutt's daughter, Vanessa. She spent the money on jewellery, a cruise and health spas, and was travelling in a chauffeur-driven Bentley. Coutts and his daughter inevitably noticed irregularities in their bank accounts, and were contacted re loan applications they had hot taken out, and finally contacted the police. Harris was arrested in September 2004. The police searched her home and found a hidden alcove with a passport, a drivers licence and credit cards in the names of the Coutts.

    Harris was originally due in court in 2006 but absconded to Spain with two of her daughters and only returned to the UK after one of them unexpectedly died in 2011. While in Spain, Harris took up with a younger couple, Graham Lewis and Rosemary Nye, and they set up Rest Assured Property Services selling timeshare apartments by phone. Around 100 people lost considerable savings.

    On return to England, Frances lived in a council flat in Brighton paid for by housing benefit and in receipt of pension credits. Later in 2011 Harris was brought to court re the impersonation of the Coutts and 37 previous convictions were discovered. As the practice at that time was to place a non-operative trans woman in a men's prison, the defence barrister's plea was accepted and Harris was handed a 15-month prison sentence suspended for two years.

    A year later Harris, Lewis and Nye were arrested re the timeshare fraud, tried and found guilty. This time Harris was jailed for five years. Lewis was jailed for four-and-a-half years, and Nye was handed a two-year suspended sentence and ordered to carry out unpaid work.
    ______________________________________________________________________________

    For some reason, The 2013 Daily Mail article does not seem to know about the 2012 Daily Mail article.

    If Harris had been imprisoned in 2011, she would have spent most of the time in a women's prison as the New Prison Guidelines came into effect.   Harris was one of the last trans convicts to escape jail in that there was nowhere safe to put her.

    None of the newspaper accounts explain why Harris was not extradited back from Spain.   The European Arrest Warrant system has been in place since 2004.

    27 July 2014

    Wynd D. Harris (196?–) professor of marketing.

    Harris worked in public administration and telecommunications. With a PhD from the University of Oklahoma, he was a Yale post-doctorate fellow, and professor of marketing and international business at Quinnipiac College, Connecticut and Director of the Masters of Health Administration.

    Harris first requested to be recognized as Jewish, then as an aboriginal, and then in 1997, after taking female hormones and a name change to Wynd, to be recognized as female. The college asked that she should take a physical exam to prove that she was a woman. Harris refused.

    In October the college suspended Dr Harris and started termination proceedings. The next year, by which time Wynd had had genital surgery, a committee of faculty members voted nine-to-one to retain her.

    She transferred to the University of Connecticut where she is the leader of the global marketing and business intelligence marketing initiatives for the MBA program.
    LinkedIn

    24 July 2014

    Anna Grodzka (1954–) publisher, entrepreneur, Member of Parliament

    Krzysztof Bęgowski was born in Otwock, 24 km southeast of Warsaw, and raised by adoptive parents. Krzysztof graduated in Clinical psychology from the University of Warsaw, where he was active in the Student's Union and the Communist Party. He married and became a father.

    In the 1980s he worked in publishing and became an executive at Alma Press. He then ran his own publishing business, and got into radio as an executive. He was active in Socjaldemokracja Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej, SdRP, the successor to the Polska Zjednoczona Partia Robotnicza, PZPR (the Polish Communist Party) and stayed with it in 1999 when it was folded into the Sojusz Lewicy Demokratycznej, SLD (the Democratic Left Alliance).

    By 2007 their son was an adult, and the Bęgowskis divorced. Krzysztof then transitioned as Anna Grodzka with surgery in Bangkok in 2010.   Changing her birth certificate led to her discovering for the first time that she had been adopted, and to a discovery of three younger sisters.
    "I never changed my biological sex, I have only undergone adjustment surgery, because I don't believe you can change your sex. The surgery that trans people go through are adjustment procedures."
    In 2008 she was co-founder and then president of Trans-Fuzja which was an activist group for trans persons. She was also vice-president of the Commission for Social Dialogue Committee for Equal Treatment under the President of the Capital City Warsaw.

    On 10 April 2010, a Polish Air Force plane on route to Smolensk crashed killing the Polish President Lech Kaczyński and 95 others, many members of the Polish elite. In the aftermath Janusz Palikot founded a new political party, Ruch Palikota, initially named after himself. The party was anti-clerical, pro-pot, pro-EU, pro-gay marriage and in favour of flat taxes. It attracted mainly entrepreneurs as candidates, one of whom was Anna Grodzka, and another was the openly gay Robert Biedroń. In the October 2011 elections the new party received 10% of the vote and 40 seats in the Sejm. Grodzka and Biedroń became list MPs. In 2013 Grodzka was nominated for Deputy Speaker, but the MPs voted to keep the incumbent.

    In 2013 she was Grand Marshall at  Dublin Pride, the first non-Irish person to be so. 

    Her wife has broken off contact, but she is incontact with her son.
    PL.WIKIPEDIA    HomoPedia

    21 July 2014

    Mavi Susel (195? - ) housewife

    Susel was abused at school and at home, and father wanted the child out of the family home. After several suicide attempts, Susel became Mavi, was chosen to be Cuba's first surgical transsexual and had the operation in 1988 provided by the state medical service. There was a report on this in Juventud Rebelde which is put out by the Young Communist League. The public reaction was mainly negative, and transgender surgery was suspended for two full decades.

    Mavi met a man who wanted to marry her. It was a hurdle to tell him her gender history, but it took it well: "I met a woman, you're a woman".

    Mavi's dream was to be a nurse, but ended up caring for her husband and her elderly mother. However she became an assistant at a health centre and joined an amateur singing group.

    Film director Marilyn Solaya appeared on television explaining that her new project would be about transsexuals. Susel phoned her the next day, and became herself the focus of the project. The film came out in 2010 financed by DOCTV Latinoamérica, which produces programs for the national broadcasting channels in 14 Latin American countries. However in Cuba it was showed only in cinemas.

    18 July 2014

    Heli Hämäläinen v. Finland

    (In this account, Mrs Hämäläinen refers to Heli's cis spouse).

    Helsinki resident, Hämäläinen (born 1963), did a degree in economics and became a customs officer.  He married as a man in 1996, and he and his wife had a daughter in 2002.

    In 2004 they discussed his dissonant gender identity and he sought professional help. In April 2006 he was diagnosed 'F64', and Mrs Hämäläinen accepted that her spouse is a woman. In June Hämäläinen took that name Heli, but was unable to have her identity number changed to one that indicates female, as she is married to a woman, and Finnish law, which does permit same-sex civil unions, does not permit same-sex marriages. Either divorce or conversion of the marriage to a civil union is required before Hämäläinen can be registered as female.

    In September 2009, Heli had transgender surgery.

    Without success, Hämäläinen appealed through the Finnish court system, and then to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) complaining about breaches of her rights under Article 8 (right to privacy and family life), Article 12 (right to marry) and Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination). In November 2012 the ECHR rejected the complaint on all grounds in that the European Convention on Human Rights does not oblige states to open marriage to same-sex couples.

    Constantin Cojocariu became their lawyer at this point. While agreeing that
    "it would have been preferable to argue the case for same sex marriage more broadly. Indeed, equal marriage legislation also benefits transgender spouses, as it removes the underlying objection to legal gender recognition of the trans spouse",
    it is obvious that the ECHR is not ready to move forward on the issue. He therefore attempted to distance the case from the issue of same-sex marriage. Forced divorce legislation severs existing marriages unlike discriminatory marriage legislation that does not allow same-sex marriage to form in the first place. The law in Germany and Switzerland makes this distinction and allows transgender marriages to continue. In Finland the marriages of transsexuals are, with the consent of the cis spouse, converted automatically to a civil union with almost the same rights and benefits as a marriage. Cojocariu  and the Hämäläinens therefore decided to concentrate on the personal and religious significance of marriage, even though Article 9 (religion) had not been mentioned previously. It was Cojocariu's opinion that
    "forced divorce legislation empties Article 12 of any significance, to the extent that Article 12 is interpreted as allowing the state to interfere with valid marriages to the point of triggering their dissolution".
    Heli and her wife are Evangelical Lutherans and feel that, regardless of the circumstances of sex/gender, they should not be compelled to degrade their marriage sacraments. In October 2013 the Grand Chamber of the ECHR held a hearing, and asked various questions including the motivation of Mrs Hämäläinen. In response she wrote a letter to the court in which she says:
    "I have considered the found transsexuality as an illness. It is like cancer, there is a treatment practice for that illness. I am aware that when I call this phenomenon an illness I may hurt someone. But since in Finland it has a diagnosis and requires an intervention of modern medicine I can call it an illness. There is no spousal consent required in Finland for the treatment of illnesses. … I was never asked a question whether I accept the change of gender of my spouse. I was asked a question whether I consent with the degradation of my religious marriage to something else. And my answer is no. … The question is about the religious marriage. I have entered into a holy matrimony and other arrangement is against my religious conviction and puts me in an unequal position vis-à-vis compared to other wives having a spouse with a treatable disease."
    In July 2014, the Grand Chamber of the ECHR ruled: "The Court found that it was not disproportionate to require the conversion of a marriage into a registered partnership as a precondition to legal recognition of an acquired gender as that was a genuine option which provided legal protection for same-sex couples that was almost identical to that of marriage. The minor differences between these two legal concepts were not capable of rendering the current Finnish system deficient from the point of view of the State’s positive obligation under Article 8. In addition, such a conversion would not have any implications for the applicant’s family life as it would not affect the paternity of the applicant’s daughter or the responsibility for the care, custody, or maintenance of the child."
    ___________________________________________________________

    Observations.   There are aspects that are not addressed in either Constantin Cojocariu's article in ECHRSO or in the ECHR’s rulings.

    1) To become a women is to be treated as one in law.   Hämäläinen is asking to be treated differently from Finnish cis women.   The best resolution is for Finland to introduce equal marriage legislation, but until then, to ask to be a woman married to a woman while cis women are denied this, is to ask for a special right/privilege.   Cojocariu  makes a distinction between breaking an existing marriage and forming a new one. He does not seem to realize that this would increase the discrimination against cis women.   It would be to say that those who have, may have more, but those who have nothing, may not.

    Among the things that we are not told is how Finnish gay and lesbian couples are treated if they have lived and married in say Spain or Belgium.   Are their marriages 'degraded' to a civil uinion on return to Finland?  Does Cojocariualso regard this as emptying Article 12 of any significance?

    2) Religious marriage and civil marriage are not the same thing.  True many persons marry in church, mosque, synagogue or temple and find that they have acquired the rights of civil marriage in taxation, inheritance, the law courts etc.  This is because the priest/imam/rabbi is a registered agent of the state and files the civil marriage papers for the married couple. 

    However it is quite possible to be religiously married and not civilly married:  one partner is too young, or the degree of consanguinity is too close; one man and multiple wives can be married as Muslims or Mormons.  Or if the priest does not file the civil marriage papers.   Contrariwise, same-sex marriages are valid in many countries but not religiously recognized.  Divorced Catholics do marry civilly, but the marriage is not recognized by their church.

    Mrs Hämäläinen said that she does not "consent with the degradation of my religious marriage to something else".  There is no mention in any of the articles that I read of the attitude of the Finnish Lutheran Church.   Nobody has told us whether their religious marriage has been in any way degraded - only that the civil aspect would be converted to a civil union.  If the church still regards the Hämäläinens as married, then as Lutherans that is all that should matter.   The Lutheran Marriage will smoothly co-exist with a civil union.

    ---------

    It is not to the advantage of transsexuals in general to have special marriage rights, nor is it a good idea to confuse religious marriage with civil marriage.   As the Hämäläinens are primarily concerned with their marriage in that they are religious people, neither the Finnish state nor the ECHR should have been involved.  The status of their religious marriage is up to the hierarchy of the Lutheran church. 

    This lack of distinction between religious marriage and civil marriage, whether through ignorance or intention, is creating confusion.

    16 July 2014

    Petra De Sutter (1963 - ) gynaecologist, academic, senator

    De Sutter was raised in Oudenaarde, in East Flanders. De Sutter gained an MD, 1987, and two PhDs, 1991, 1994, from Ghent University, and also studied at the Reproductive Genetics Institute in Chicago, and became a professor and head of the Reproductive Medicine Department at Ghent University.

    She completed transition in 2004.

    She and her team researched on embryonic stem cells, the oocyte activation mechanism and fertility. De Sutter is on the executive of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE), a member of the Royal Belgian Academy of Medicine, and of the French Agence de la Biomedecine. She has published more than 200 journal articles.

    In 2014 Petra was placed second on the Green Party list for the European elections, but they gained only one seat. In July 2014 it was announced that De Sutter was appointed to the Senate as a Green Party nomination, where she will focus on health care and environmental issues.
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