NY Times: “Advocates Hope Transgender Identity Is Not a Defining One”

The New York Times  has a piece up on transgender identified candidates running for office this year, or ran in primaries earlier this year, entitled Advocates Hope Transgender Identity Is Not a Defining One.

These candidates mentioned in the article include Theresa Sparks, Victoria Kolakowski, Brittany Novotny, Dana Beyer, Donna Milo, Stu Rasmussen, and Kim Coco Iwamoto.

From the article:

“People aren’t sitting around saying, ‘Gee, I wish we had a transgender judge,’ ” said Mara Keisling, the executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality in Washington. “They’re saying, ‘We want a really good judge.’ ” Gay rights activists hope that the visibility of the candidates will help normalize people’s relations with people who are transgender – a broad category that includes heterosexual cross-dressers, homosexual drag queens and kings, and those who believe that they were born in the wrong body.

And while the issues that face gays and transgender people often differ, a recent spate of suicides among young gay men has intensified the need for positive political role models, said Chuck Wolfe, the president and chief executive of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, which backs gay and lesbian political candidates.

“Knowing there’s openly gay people sitting in those positions will definitely have an impact,” he said.

Mr. Wolfe said that recently he had seen more and more “inspired, comfortable and confident” transgender people in his group’s training classes. There are also more gay and lesbian candidates in general now, a surge that Mr. Wolfe ascribes, in part, to newly elected – and openly gay – leaders like Mayor Annise Parker in Houston and Simone Bell, a lesbian who won a seat in the Georgia House of Representatives in December.

The gay subcommunity of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community has done a good job of promoting and getting behind gay identified candidates. The trans subcommunity getting behind trans candidates? Well, not so much as yet.

I linked to all of the candidates mentioned above because trans folk should be able to see who is running out and proud, and consider supporting one or more of the candidates. Even .00 for one candidate will send a message of support by people in the community for trans identified candidates.

As for me, I’ll be donating to Brittany Novotny today. She’s the Democratic candidate running against Republican Sally Kern.

You remember Oklahoma State Representative Sally Kern, don’t you? She’s the one who said this about gay people:

[Sally Kern's recorded and transcripted comments below the fold.]

Some tidbits:    

Studies show, no society that has totally embraced homosexuality has lasted for more than, you know, a few decades. . .

I honestly think it’s the biggest threat our nation has, even more so than terrorism or Islam.

They want to get them into the government schools so they can indoctrinate them.

…They are going after our young children, as young as two years of age, to try to teach them that the homosexual lifestyle is an acceptable lifestyle.

You know, gays are infiltrating city councils…did you know that the city council of Eureka Springs is now controlled by gays — they are winning elections.

One of my colleagues said We don’t have a gay problem in our community…well you know what, that is so dumb. If you have cancer in your little toe, do you just say that I’m going to forget about it since the rest of you is fine? It spreads! This stuff is deadly and it is spreading. It will destroy our young people and it will destroy this nation.

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In Delaware, Chris Coons supports full LGBT equality — unlike Christine ‘identity disorder’ O’Donnell

Last week, CNN released a poll last week showing Chris Coons has a wide lead over anti-gay/anti-masturbation/witchcraft dabbler/teabagger Christine O’Donnell.

That’s good.

Coons got into this race when no on thought he had a chance, since Mike Castle was viewed as the presumptive victor in both the GOP primary and the general election. Now, he’s got a very good chance to be the next Senator from Delaware.

We’ve heard a lot about O’Donnell. Too much. Just four years ago, in 2006, O’Donnell opined that homosexuality was an “identity disorder.”

We should also know some things about Chris Coons, the Democratic nominee and potential U.S. Senator.

Last Tuesday, I got the chance to talk to Chris Coons on Tuesday, shortly before the Senate voted to end filibuster of the Defense Authorization bill.

My focus was on Coon’s LGBT positions, since that’s the issue about which I’m most concerned these days. Also, keep in mind, the winner of this race becomes the Senator upon winning. So, if there’s any chance to pass the DADT language in the lame-duck, we’ll need every possible vote.

The first thing Coons told me was “If I was in the Senate, I’d vote to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” That’s a good start.

From the Coons campaign website:

Chris has always been a supporter of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community here in Delaware. As County Executive, he created an external Diversity Commission that reviews county policies and practices and includes a representative from the LGBT community. Chris has also ensured domestic partnership benefits in New Castle County government and supported LGBT issues debated in the state legislature. If elected to the US Senate, he will continue fighting for LGBT issues such as: marriage equality for all Americans, repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the Defense of Marriage Act, and supporting the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and Uniting American Families Act (UAFA).

Another supporter of marriage equality would be a very good thing.

Coons also told me he would co-sponsor legislation to repeal DOMA. To date, there’s no DOMA repeal bill in that body. Paul Hodes also told us he’s co-sponsor a Senate bill.

And, support for the other legislation is important since none of it passed this year.

Apparently, tonight, we’re going to find out if Mike Castle, who lost to O’Donnell, will enter this race as a write-in candidate.

For voters in Delaware and anyone who cares about LGBT equality, Chris Coons is the candidate.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright

Christine O’Donnell: Homosexuality ‘is an Identity Disorder’

Odonnell

Think Progress reports on more unspooling of Delaware GOP Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell's anti-gay positions:

"O’Donnell has said she “cannot understand” why gay people are offended by homosexuality being called a 'deviant sexual orientation,' and has claimed that gay people are 'attacking the very center of what is America — freedom to have different views.' But in a 2006 quote uncovered by the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent, O’Donnell took an even harsher stance: 'People are created in God’s image. Homosexuality is an identity adopted through societal factors. It’s an identity disorder.'"

O'Donnell spoke over the weekend at the Values Voters Summit.

Watch it, AFTER THE JUMP





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—  John Wright

Does crazy anti-masturbation activist, aka GOP Senate candidate, think homosexuality is an identity disorder?

From Greg Sargent at the Plum Line:

This passage from a 2006 profile of Christine O’Donnell in Delaware’s Wilmington News Journal may not be conclusive, but it certainly cries out for further exploration:
She considers homosexuality an identity disorder and sees pornography and the lust it engenders as selfish gratification.

“Sex is a covenant between a man and a woman and God,” she says. “Your job is to satisfy the other, the giving of oneself to another. Porn turns that around.”

She practices what she preaches, she says. She’s had boyfriends, but they don’t last long when they realize her seriousness concerning chastity before marriage.

Is that what O’Donnell believes? The story reads as if O’Donnell told the reporter in some fashion or other that she views homosexuality as an identity disorder, as part of a broader discussion of sex and religion. The reporter wrote it down as a paraphrase.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright

One’s Gender Identity Isn’t Societal Perception Of It; Marriage Equality Isn’t Just A GLB Issue

Once again, I hear transgender people all over speaking for me. Here is Autumn once again telling me what’s good for me and to add insult to injury…whether I like it or not:
“That’s why trans people’s marriages are part of the concept of marriage equality, whether some transsexuals like that idea or not.”

Now that’s a lot of nerve…an unmarried, admittedly asexual, bisexual GLB and homosexual T activist telling me, a heterosexual, married female…what is best for me…and, to boot…whether I like that idea or not. Autumn has appropriated my place in life and told me absolutely why she knows better than I do…about my life.

And, make absolutely no mistake, Autumn and other GLB type are not – repeat NOT – going to cease telling women of operative history what is right for us whether we like it or not. As far as the GLB and homosexual T activists/rank and file are concerned, heterosexual women of operative history are 1) in same-sex marriages…whether we like it or not…reducing us to something less than-other than simply female, 2) are in the marriage equality movement which is simply another way of telling us we are in the same-sex marriage movement…whether we like it or not, and 3) will continue appropriating our positions…whether we like it or not, telling us that they know better than us what is best in our marriage and association…whether we like it or not.

~SA-ET (EnoughNonSense) in the blog post at Enough Non-Sense entitled Whether We Like it or Not

Sometimes, the misunderstanding regarding the difference between self-identification and external perceptions of identity — well, these find me in me sighing and shaking my head is some frustration. In my own experience I see the religious right, as well as what I would call the online, transsexual separatist community, conflate the connection of self-identity to the external perceptions of others — external perceptions that can result in harassment and discrimination.

So going to specifics, in the paragraphs I quoted above from the Enough Non-Sense piece — where SA-ET quoted my August 4th This & That diary — she drew a conclusion based on hers and her peers’ self-identification as women of operative history being a separate identity from transgender identity. They rightfully contend that their women of operative history identification isn’t very often found to be a transgender self-identity. Certainly I see the difference — a separation — between between the two identities.

SA-ET incorrectly indicated that I was telling her and her peer women of operative history that their self-identification isn’t valid; that I was telling them they are transgender, like it or not; that I was telling them that they must embrace the concept of the transgender umbrella for themselves, like it or not.

Thumbnail Link To Harry Benjamin's 'The Surgical Phenomenon'And too, I was using same-sex marriage to force them to become members of what they call “Homosexual T” . This concept of the “Homosexual T” is from Dr. Harry Benjamin’s The Transsexual Phenomenon (Copyright, 1967) in the segment entitled Relationship To Homosexuality:

There are homosexuals who get an emotional satisfaction from cross-dressing. It would be a matter of semantics to consider them “homosexual transvestites” or “transvestitic homosexuals.” They simply desire, for their sexual gratification, both cross-dressing and a partner of the same sex.

SA-ET apparently perceives me to be a “Homosexual T” . But just as SA-ET doesn’t identify as transgender, I don’t identify as “Homosexual T” .

For the record, I identify as a transsexual. If one uses Harry Benjamin’s Gender Disorientation Scale (related his book The Transsexual Phenomenon), I fairly closely align with Type Five: True Transsexual (Moderate Intensity):

Gender Feeling: Feminine (trapped in male body)

Dressing Habits and Social Life: Lives and works as woman if possible. Insufficient relief from dressing.

Sex Object Choice and Sex Life: Libido low. Asexual auto-erotic, or passive homosexual activity. May have been married and have children.

Kinsey Scale: 4-6

Conversion Operation: Requested and usually indicated.

Estrogen Medication: Needed as substitute for or preliminary to operation.

Psychotherapy: Rejected. Useless as to cure. Permissive psychological guidance.

Remarks: Operation hoped for and worked for. Often attained.

If only I didn’t sociopolitically identify as transgender, transsexual separatists might — per the relevant, historic documentation — consider me a “true transsexual.” But, of course, only after I had genital reconstruction surgery (the kind of surgery Dr. Benjamin referred to as the “conversion operation”).

But I digress.

I was mentioning this conflation on this past Monday when I had lunch with my friend Cecilia Chung. She helped clarify for me something that I already knew intuitively, but hadn’t recently articulated as a cogent thought. And that thought is this: being discriminated against because one is perceived to be a member of a minority group isn’t the same as identifying as a member of that minority group.

So, there are three components I’m discussing here: 1.) how one self-identifies; 2.) what others perceive one’s identity is, as well as those others’ preconceived ideas about how those others perceive one’s identity, and 3.) the perceptions of those who harass and discriminate against those whom they believe emulate or embrace behavior associated with a particular identity.

So let’s use the difference between the concepts of points 1.) and 2.) to show that others on the religious right don’t see genital reconstruction surgery as doing anything for the those who identify with Harry Benjamin Syndrome, or who identify as true transsexuals, classic transsexuals, women of operative history, etc.:

[Below the fold: Comments by second wave feminists and conservative "Christians" regarding genital reconstruction surgery, as well as statements by conservative "Christians" and courts as to why marriage equality even applies to those who have had genital reconstruction surgery.]

“Their regular response was to show me their patients. Thumbnail Link To First Thing's 'Surgical Sex' By Paul McHughMen (and until recently they were all men) with whom I spoke before their surgery would tell me that their bodies and sexual identities were at variance. Those I met after surgery would tell me that the surgery and hormone treatments that had made them “women” had also made them happy and contented. None of these encounters were persuasive, however. The post-surgical subjects struck me as caricatures of women. They wore high heels, copious makeup, and flamboyant clothing; they spoke about how they found themselves able to give vent to their natural inclinations for peace, domesticity, and gentleness – but their large hands, prominent Adam’s apples, and thick facial features were incongruous (and would become more so as they aged). Women psychiatrists whom I sent to talk with them would intuitively see through the disguise and the exaggerated postures. ‘Gals know gals,’ one said to me, ‘and that’s a guy.’

“The subjects before the surgery struck me as even more strange, as they struggled to convince anyone who might influence the decision for their surgery. First, they spent an unusual amount of time thinking and talking about sex and their sexual experiences; their sexual hungers and adventures seemed to preoccupy them. Second, discussion of babies or children provoked little interest from them; indeed, they seemed indifferent to children. But third, and most remarkable, many of these men-who-claimed-to-be-women reported that they found women sexually attractive and that they saw themselves as “lesbians.” When I noted to their champions that their psychological leanings seemed more like those of men than of women, I would get various replies, mostly to the effect that in making such judgments I was drawing on sexual stereotypes.

…”We saw the results as demonstrating that just as these men enjoyed cross-dressing as women before the operation so they enjoyed cross-living after it. But they were no better in their psychological integration or any easier to live with. With these facts in hand I concluded that Hopkins was fundamentally cooperating with a mental illness. We psychiatrists, I thought, would do better to concentrate on trying to fix their minds and not their genitalia.”

~Paul McHugh‘s Surgical Sex

“Sexual “Reassignment” Surgery and various hormonal therapies represent the physical alteration/mutilation of the body to match a perceived — and self-defined — social role.”

~Caleb Price of CitizenLink, an activism arm of Focus On The Family

For someone born with male kit, the decision to ditch it is long, painful and often very expensive. Powerful female hormones will help you sprout pubescent breasts, have a waspish waist, and add a few inches to your hips, but they won’t alter the pitch of your voice or dispense with the need to buy Bics. Only hours of electrolysis will remove your beard and years of speech therapy lessons teach you how to talk like a lady. Massive surgery is essential. The penis is cut off, a cavity is created and, with skin taken from the redundant dick and testicles, a vagina and “natural looking labia” are constructed. Surgeons claim that they can create a fully functioning clitoris, and orgasm is possible – although not at all probable.

It’s important that these details are spelt out. Because gender reassignment is not simply about men in frocks; it’s about removing bits of a fully functioning body to be replaced by parts which, however they may approximate to the real thing, simply do not work. In any other case, this would be considered as nothing other than genital mutilation.

~Dea Birkett for The Guardian, via Press For Change

“Thanks to feminism and gay liberation, that situation has altered radically. What a disgrace, therefore, that our legacy amounts to this: if you are unhappy with the constraints of your gender, don’t challenge them. If you are tired of being stared at for snogging your same-sex partner in the street, have a sex change. Where are those who go berserk about the ethics of genetic engineering yet seem not to worry about major, irreversible surgery on healthy bodies? Also, those who “transition” seem to become stereotypical in their appearance – fuck-me shoes and birds’-nest hair for the boys; beards, muscles and tattoos for the girls. Think about a world inhabited just by transsexuals. It would look like the set of Grease.

…I don’t have a problem with men disposing of their genitals, but it does not make them women, in the same way that shoving a bit of vacuum hose down your 501s does not make you a man.”

~Julie Bindel for The Guardian

“There’s a gulf of difference between what Obama and liberals in Congress, and the American people deem ‘medically appropriate;’ especially when it’s ‘we the people’ footing the bill. To force Americans, against their conscience, to fund abortion on demand and to facilitate gender confusion by subsidizing the elective practice of genital ‘sex-change’ mutilation is unconscionable.”

~Matt Barber of the Liberty Counsel

“Perhaps the state here might consider helping these severely disturbed individuals to get the spiritual and psychological help they need to align their falsely, self-perceived gender identity with their God-given gender reality.”

~Matt Barber of the Liberty Counsel for OneNewsNow

And of course, marriages of people who have had genital reconstruction surgery are already considered same-sex marriages by conservative “Christians.” For example, Matt Barber in American Family Associations “news” arm of OneNewsNow, in the article Irish plan promotes same-sex ‘marriage’:

Ireland’s government is planning to permit transsexuals to marry partners of the same gender.

Ireland’s minister for social protection has confirmed that the government is committed to providing “legal recognition of the acquired gender of transsexuals.” Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel tells OneNewsNow that means a man who has been surgically altered to become a female could marry a man.

“It’s a shame that Ireland, a nation with such a rich [history of] family values…would be engaging in essentially legalizing the oxymoronic notion of same-sex ‘marriage,’ and that’s exactly what this is,” Barber laments.

The Traditional Values Coalition (TVC) wrote in Transgender Marriage Is Coming:

Somers and Gast are suffering from a serious mental problem called a Gender Identity Disorder (GID). However, instead of a counselor helping each of them to overcome their bizarre feelings of being members of the opposite sex, these men found a surgeon who was willing to mutilate their bodies so they can become fake women.

And quoting the Supreme Court Of The State Of Kansas, TVC wrote:

“The words ‘sex,’ ‘marriage,’ ‘male,’ and ‘female’ in everyday understanding do not encompass transsexuals.

…A postoperative male-to-female transsexual does not fit the common definition of a female.”

And, the Supreme Court Of The State Of Kansas added :

“[T]hrough surgery and hormones, a transsexual male can be made to look like a woman, including female genitalia and breasts. Transsexual medical treatment, however, does not create the internal sexual organs of a woman, except for the vaginal canal. There is no womb, cervix or ovaries in the post-operative transsexual female.

“[T]he male chromosomes do not change with either hormonal treatment or sex reassignment surgery. Biologically, a post-operative female transsexual is still a male…

…”There are some things we cannot will into being. They just are.”

The Supreme Court Of The State Of Kansas decision, was heavily rooted in the Judgment of the Texas Appeals Court in the Case of Littleton v. Prange, which stated:

Christie was created and born a male. Her original birth certificate, an official document of Texas, clearly so states. During the pendency of this suit, Christie amended the original birth certificate to change the sex and name. Under section 191.029 of the Texas Health and Safety Code she was entitled to seek such an amendment if the record was “incomplete or proved by satisfactory evidence to be inaccurate.” Tex. Health & Safety Code Ann. 191.029 (Vernon 1992). The trial court that granted the petition to amend the birth certificate necessarily construed the term “inaccurate” to relate to the present, and having been presented with the uncontroverted affidavit of an expert stating that Christie is a female, the trial court deemed this satisfactory to prove an inaccuracy. However, the trial courts role in considering the petition was a ministerial one. It involved no fact-finding or consideration of the deeper public policy concerns presented. No one claims the information contained in Christies original birth certificate was based on fraud or error. We believe the legislature intended the term “inaccurate” in section 191.028 to mean inaccurate as of the time the certificate was recorded; that is, at the time of birth. At the time of birth, Christie was a male, both anatomically and genetically. The facts contained in the original birth certificate were true and accurate, and the words contained in the amended certificate are not binding on this court. There are some things we cannot will into being. They just are.

Conclusion:

We hold, as a matter of law, that Christie Littleton is a male. As a male, Christie cannot be married to another male. Her marriage to Jonathon was invalid, and she cannot bring a cause of action as his surviving spouse.

When I previously wrote that marriage equality is a trans issue, like it or not, I wasn’t saying that those who self-identify as women of operative history are transgender, like it or not. I didn’t say that those who self-identify as women of operative history who see themselves as simply women are in same-sex marriages if their partner is a non-transsexual male – like it or not.

What I’ve said — and clearly meant — is many in society (especially on the religious right) see marriages that include at least one partner that has had genital reconstruction surgery as being same-sex marriages. Like it or not, marriage equality is an issue for transgender people, transsexual people (which include those who identify as classic and true transsexuals), those who identify as both transgender and transsexual, those who identify as women of operative history, and those who identify with Harry Benjamin Syndrome. That’s because some feminists, the religious right, and some courts in some states have declared that people who have had genital reconstruction surgery can’t really change their sex — and that’s especially the case when it comes to determining who a person who has had genital reconstruction surgery has the freedom to marry.

We’re back to my three points I mentioned above:

There are three components I’m discussing here: 1.) how one self-identifies; 2.) what others perceive one’s identity is, as well as those others’ preconceived ideas about how those others perceive one’s identity, and 3.) the perceptions of those who harass and discriminate against those whom they believe emulate or embrace behavior associated with a particular identity.

There are societal and legal consequences for women who’ve had genital reconstruction surgery being perceived by many as being mentally ill, gender confused gay men. Marriage inequalities for those women who have had genital reconstruction surgery is a reason why marriage equality matters — whether one likes or not that marriage equality should matter to, and definitely applies to, those who’ve had genital reconstruction surgery.

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Further Reading:

* TS-SI: Marriage Among the Forbidden Class

* First Things: Surgical Sex

* Harry Benjamin: The Transsexual Phenomenon

* Supreme Court Of The State Of Kansas: In The Matter Of The Estate Of Marshall G. Gardiner, Deceased

* Press For Change: Texas: Case of Littleton v. Prange (1999) (Text Of Appeals Court Decision)

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Related:

* Wednesday This & That: Open Thread

* The “Alleged” Transgender Wife Of A Texas Firefighter And Inheritance

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Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright