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!

19 September 2014

Trans women in the New York Correctional System

Daniel Genis recently finished a 10-year prison sentence.   He has written about his experience for The Concourse: "A Gentleman's Guide To Sex In Prison".    There are two references to trans women:

"There are many transsexuals (still called "shemales" in the system), especially in the maxes, for some reason. Some truly look like women, and as a consequence they are well taken care of by their admirers. Others just look like men with breast implants. There was one called Grandma who was quite a fright, but apparently had customers anyway, because his dentures came out. The old-timers call these guys 'lizards' and have nothing to do with them, but the younger guys who grew up with Will and Grace and so forth are more easygoing about it.

It was my understanding that if you declared yourself to be out upon arrival at the clearinghouse called Downstate, they'd send you somewhere safe (unless you yourself were not actually very safe, according to your record). I spent two years in a place like that, called Groveland Correctional Facility. It was a beautiful campus of a prison with a huge gay population. They had to cut the bushes down to discourage some of the activities taking place around them. There were even competing gay gangs. The most established one was led by Becky, who had been in for 35 years and who, it was said, had cut out his lover's heart back when he, Becky, was a teenage girl in a boy's body. "


17 September 2014

Owain mab Urien (50? - 595) prince.

It seems that Urien, king of Rheged (later known as Strathclyde), a 6th century kingdom on the border of what is now England and Scotland, arranged for his son, Owain to go to Glasgow to court Teneu, daughter of Lot/Loth/Lleuddun, king of Gododdin (later known as Lothian) in order to bring about a dynastic alliance.

While Gododdin was a traditional Celtic kingdom under the spiritual guidance of druids, Teneu was tempted by the alternate reality of the Christian missionaries. Possibly Teneu became devoted to the Virgin Mary and hoped to emulate her by having a virgin birth. Teneu became pregnant, but Owain and Teneu declined to marry.

The three mediaeval accounts differ in the details, but both the Fragmentary Life and the Breviarium aberdonense claim that Owain transvested in order to gain access to Teneu. Ardrey points out that this makes no sense in that Teneu was not in a convent or in purdah. He argues that Teneu found that Owain was trans, but the retellings introduced a pragmatic reason for his cross-dressing. On his side he was not interested in marriage to a woman.

Teneu was sent away to Culross where she was sheltered by Serf, who also helped to raise the child who was named Mungo (dear one) but later became known as Kentigern (head chief).

Serf, Teneu and Kentigern all became saints in the Christian Church. Teneu and Mungo are the patron saints of Glasgow.

A legendary version of Owain appears in Chrétien de Troyes's Yvain, the Knight of the Lion and the Welsh Romance Owain, or the Lady of the Fountain.
  • Anon. Fragmentary Life of St Kentigern. MS Cotton Titus, xix.f.76-80. Before 1164.
  • Jocelin of Furness. Vita Kentigern. 1185
  • Anon. Breviarium aberdonense. 1507
  • Adam Ardrey,. Finding Merlin: The Truth Behind the Legend of the Great Arthurian Mage. Woodstock, NY: Overlook Press, 2008: Chp 4 – Signs and Portents.
EN.WIKIPEDIA (Owain, Mungo, Teneu, Serf)
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Mungo and Serf are in Wikipedia as Saint Mungo and Saint Serf, but St Teneu is there simply as Teneu.

12 September 2014

A re-reading of Leslie Feinberg's Transgender Warriors.

I have already written about Leslie Feinberg’s life.

There are two editions of this book, both Beacon Press, 1996: Transgender Warriors: Making History from Joan of Arc to RuPaul (hardback) and Transgender Warriors: Making History from Joan of Arc to Dennis Rodman (paperback). It is the former that I have in front of me, which makes no mention of Rodman, now best known for his bromance with Kim Jong-un, so neither will I.

The book was published by Beacon Press, Boston, owned by the Unitarian Universalist Association, which had been out of favour with trans people after publishing both Janice Raymond and Mary Daly.

The book title uses 'transgender' and in the preface, Feinberg proclaims: "The word I prefer to use to describe myself is transgender". Transgender, not transgendered. In more recent years this distinction has become heated, and as I re-started the book I hoped that ze was anticipating the then future resolution, however as the book proceeds, transgendered is used more. Ze also uses transgender as a noun as well as an adjective – a practice that is nowadays disputed. Ze does the same with intersexual.

Feinberg frequently uses the term bigender (bi-gender) which is popular with the FPE/Tri-Ess people but does not mention the joke form also popular with them: big-ender.

Two paragraphs below we find the mission statement of the book: "I asked many self-identified transgender activists who are named or pictured in this book who they believed were included under the umbrella term. Those polled named: transsexuals, transgenders, transvestites, transgenderists, bigenders, drag queens, drag kings, cross-dressers, masculine women, feminine men, intersexuals, androgynes, cross-genders, shape-shifters, passing women, passing men, gender-benders, gender blenders, bearded women and women bodybuilders who have crossed the line of what is considered socially acceptable for a female body." If a similar list were put together today, it would of course include gender queer and non-binary. The list sort of fits with the last chapter which is a portrait gallery, where there is a woman bodybuilder and a bearded woman performer. But I cannot but think that the vast majority of bearded women and female bodybuilders would object to being located under transgender. However the real issue here is inclusiveness: the dabblers and the part-timers along with the committed.

The tone changes dramatically in the next paragraph. "But the word transgender is increasingly being used in a more specific way as well. The term transgenderist was first introduced into the English language by trans warrior Virginia Prince. Virginia told me, ‘I coined the noun transgenderist in 1987 or ’88. There had to be some name for people like myself who trans the gender barrier’ “. This claim is factually incorrect. I have already written extensively on this, and so I will not repeat the detail here, other than to mention that this endorsement by Feinberg strengthened the myth that Prince had coined the term, and led to very heated refusals of the term transgender, and thus undermined Feinberg's mission. This is my most negative comment about Feinberg's book.

There is no further mention of Prince except for a photograph in the end portrait gallery of her, Ariadne Kane and Maxine Miller attending church at Fantasia Fair. (For some reason the photograph has been flipped left-to-right – see the original in Mariette Pathy Allen's Transformations.)

On the next page, Feinberg comments: "the word trans is being used increasingly by the gender community as a term uniting the entire coalition". Memory of course always deceives, and in retrospect I was surprised to find this in 1996. There is no mention at all of the older forms of trans: tranny or transy.

Twice, pages 7 and 123, there are photographs of arrests being made at the National Variety Artists Ball, Halloween 1962. This was the night before the gathering at Susanna Valenti's Chevalier D’Eon Resort that became a major event in Prince's organizing. Neither the irony of this nor the Chevalier D’Eon Resort gathering are mentioned.

Feinberg has a chapter on the North American Two-Spirit tradition, but without the criticism of the gay male writers such as Walter Williams who regarded Two-spirit as gay rather than trans that we find for example in Pat Califia's Sex Changes. Ze has a whole chapter on Joan of Arc arguing for Joan as transgender. Personally I do not buy that argument, but Feinberg's chapter is one of the best arguments for Joan being so. Ze adds other female-born warriors (in the conventional sense) and monarchs to the chapter: Catalina de Erauso, Angélique Brûlon (Liberté), Nzinga Mbandi, Qiu Jin, Franklin Thompson. However ze also adds the Albanian sworn virgin of Rapsha who was a farmer.

Some of the persons featured are more thought of as gay or feminists. While Feinberg argues for Joan of Arc being transgender, ze merely presents Luisa Capetillo, Assotta Saint, Quentin Crisp, Craig Hickman as being so. Charles Stuart, the young pretender to the British throne is also included despite being a thorough reactionary with no sympathy at all for anything queer.

Page 86 is a full page photograph of a man in an expensive suit working on a 1920s car. The person is Violet Morris and Feinberg comments: "Morris sued the French Federation of Feminine Sports for 100,000 francs for withdrawing her license to wear trousers". Morris is someone that I intend to write about, but to do so properly takes time. Feinberg does not mention that Morris, an all-round athlete, used the excuse of fitting into a racing car to have her breasts removed. Licences to wear trousers were issued by the  Préfecture de Police, but Morris never bothered to apply for one. Morris was rejected for the 1928 and 1936 Olympics on grounds of being too masculine, but was a special guest at the Berlin Olympics. She was accused of being a collaborator and assassinated by the French Resistance in 1944. Several books, none of them translated into English, argue whether or not she was a Gestapiste.




RuPaul, Joan of Arc's partner in the book title, appears very briefly on pages 96-7, but there is only a photograph and the best known quotes from RuPaul's book, such as "You're born naked and the rest is drag". There is nothing about RuPaul's life or career, and no anticipation to the recent brouhaha (but see below on drag queens in general).

On the next page is a call for gay-trans solidarity: "I understand that many heterosexual transsexual and transgender people have been justly angered by a lifetime of accusations that their sex-change and or gender expression is merely a result of being ashamed to admit that they are gay. No one wants the identity they are willing to live for – or to die for – to be invalidated or misunderstood. But while not all lesbian, gay, and bi people face trans oppression, all trans people experience anti-gay bigotry. To the bigots and bashers, all trans expression is 'queer'. Distancing ourselves from the lesbian, gay, and bi movement will not make us safer."

On page 115, ze writes about drag performance: "I've heard women criticize drag queens for 'mocking women's oppression' by imitating femininity to an extreme, just as I've been told that I am imitating men. Feminists are justifiably angry at women's oppression – so am I! I believe, however, that those who denounce drag queens aim their criticism at the wrong people. This misunderstanding doesn't take gender oppression into account. … There is a difference between the drag population and masculine men doing cruel female impersonations. The Bohemian Grove, for example, is an elite United States club for wealthy powerful men that features comedy cross-dressing performances. Many times the burlesque comedy of cross-dressed masculine men is as anti-drag as it is anti-woman. In fact it's really only drag performance when it's transgender people who are facing the footlights. Many times drag performance calls for skilled impersonations of a famous individual like Diana Ross or Judy Garland, but the essence of drag performance is not impersonation of the opposite sex. It is the cultural presentation of an oppressed gender expression."

Like most books, Transgender Warriors, was a product of its time, the mid-1990s. However it was a book needed at that time, and many of the issues within are still being argued over. A re-reading is certainly fruitful.

09 September 2014

Bet Power (1950 - ) archivist, activist

Of Polish descent, Power was born and raised in Chicago. Power's father, a sailor taught the child, who already thought of himself as a boy, carpentry, baseball, bowling, billiards and poker. He played sports with his elder brother's friends without being outed as a girl.

At age 6 he witnessed a women pedestrian killed in a car accident. His mother started abusing him, attacking her husband and mutilating herself. At 13 Power was obliged to wear a dress for confirmation, and after that for church and the Catholic all-girls school.

Power became a street kid who did alcohol and other drugs. By 16 he passed well enough to get into leather bars and drag-show clubs. He marched for civil rights and ran from the police riot at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. He was part of the Workers World Party.

He went to a therapist and fell in love with her, but she was homophobic, and rejected him with prescriptions of antidepressants and antipsychotics. She urged Power's mother to have him committed. He was diagnosed as having a "narcissistic personality disturbance with anxiety and recurring panic attacks". He managed to avoid taking the compulsory pills, and started talking about a boyfriend. Six weeks after this he was released. He became an activist in the anti-psychiatry movement.

In 1972 he found a butch lesbian psychologist who told him that he was a butch, that he did not need therapy and should get involved at the Lesbian Feminist Center. There he found support to get off drugs, lose the 50 pounds he had gained from the prescription drugs, and to eat vegetarian. He was grateful but did not really think that he fitted in. The Chicago Lesbian Feminist Center housed the New Alexandria Lesbian Library (NALL) and Power became a volunteer there. He also had his first lovers and completed an MA in comparative literature and sociocultural processes, and got a job as a proof reader with a magazine publisher.

In 1977 the Chicago Lesbian Feminist Center closed and Power rescued the books and magazines from the NALL. He broke with his bio-family in 1979. They denied all the abuse, and Power had not only made it up, he was also queer. He, his lover, and the NALL collection moved to Huntington, and later Northampton, Massachusetts. He got a job in an ad agency in Hartford. Connecticut.

Lovers came and went. Bet drank heavily in "dyke, gay and trannie bars". In 1982 he tried to stop drinking. In 1983 he kicked in the bedroom window of an ex-lover, and was briefly in jail. He went to an alcoholism counselor, and also did a past-life regression with a psychic counselor. He was told that he had always, in every past life been a man, and in his previous life had been a Japanese scientist who was executed for treason after helping the US develop the atom bomb. He admitted his alcoholism and started going to Alcoholics Anonymous. He also came out both as trans and as into Sado-Masochism.

In 1986 the NALL received a letter from Louis Sullivan containing his pioneering Information for the Female-to-Male Crossdresser and Transsexual. Bet finished reading it in two hours. It gave him a vocabulary to describe himself, and now he knew that he was not the only FTM transsexual. He contacted Louis, and a few weeks later flew to San Francisco to meet him. They wrote and phoned each other frequently until Lou's early death in 1991. By then Bet had met his wife and his job was going well, and he did not feel that he could move to San Francisco to continue Lou's work.

He was no longer involved in the lesbian community. They were uncomfortable with his maleness, and also with the fact that he directed a monthly support group for lesbian, bi and trans into S/M. He decided that the NALL collection was not just a lesbian collection, and renamed it as the Sexual Minorities Archives.

He visited a gender counselor to decide if he wanted to medically transition, as his wife was encouraging him to do. Despite knowing only one FTM crossdresser in all of New England, in 1992 he founded, on his forty-second birthday, the East Coast Female-to-Male Group (ECFTMG). It grew slowly but eventually was able to split into separate groups in the major New England cities.

He settled as being non-hormonal and non-operative. Despite some employment discrimination, he has managed to achieve creative director—vice president positions in advertising and marketing. His wife left him for a cis man in 1995.

In 2007 Power was diagnosed with granulomatosis polyangiitis, and now needs surgery every six months to keep breathing. He has not worked since. He is living on disability.

The house that contains the Sexual Minorities Archives is rented, and the owner wishes to sell. Power does not have the money to buy it, but has organized a fundraising campaign.

He is also contemplating a legal name change to Ben.
Facebook     GoFundMe

05 September 2014

Brigitte Boréale (1963–) broadcaster, sports journalist.

Brigitte is a presenter, journalist and television actress on Pink TV, the French gay channel, where she does sports programs.

She has had a few small parts in films. In July 2011, her daughter Morgane appeared on the reality television program Secret Story, where her secret was that "Mon père s'appelle Brigitte".
IMDB   FR.WIKIPEDIA

02 September 2014

Synthia China-Blast (1974 - ) convicted of murder

Luis Morales grew up in the South Bronx where she always felt that she was a girl. Her sister helped her with underwear and makeup.

She was selling crack at age 13. At 16 a squatter-house burned down with six deaths, and Morales was accused of starting the fire. On remand Morales was sent to Riker's Island jail. After she had been raped a couple of times, a member of the Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation gang offered her protection in exchange for regular sex. After two years on remand, a witness recanted, and Morales was released.

However the Latin Kings now regarded her as a neophyte member. She was ordered to report to a gang member in the Bronx:
“He knew I was a gender bender, and he was putting me through it. Then he forced me to be involved with him sexually. Nobody knew. But any time he wanted me to do something, I’d have to do it. I hated him.”
In her own time she dressed more and more as female, and spent time at Escuelita, a gay club in Manhattan.

1993 was a dramatic period of internal power struggle and murders within the Latin Kings that would lead to mass arrests.

A 13-year-old girl from Harlem, Ebony Williams, ran away from home again, but was found at her sister's in Coney Island, close to where Carlos Franco, also of the Latin Kings, lived. Ebony returned home, but then ran away again the same day, August 21. The night of the next day a slashed, battered and burning body of a teenage girl was found beneath a highway overpass in the Bronx. It would be two weeks before the body was identified as Ebony Williams. A police informer who was involved in the crime, named Luis Morales and Carlos Franco as the perpetrators.

There are two accounts of what happened. The first is by journalist Esther Haynes, whose account is the only detailed account available:
[Morales] "says someone from the gang paged her and told her to report immediately: 'I had to take off my makeup, pick up my van, and go clean up an apartment in the Bronx'. In her haste, she left her skirt on. 'When I got there, there was blood all over the floor. I don’t know if I was just stupid or I’d seen a lot of The A-Team, but I just started cutting off the bloody carpet and put it in plastic bags. The body was already in a box,' Synthia says. She claims that she and a few other jittery gang members then dropped the box off in a Bronx underpass and later set it on fire." Morales hid in the "trannie-friendly" Skyway motel in Jersey City for a few days, until her mother persuaded her to turn herself in.
The other account is the New York Daily News reporting on the trial:
"Morales, 22, and Franco, 24, appeared unmoved as Bronx Supreme Court Justice Martin Marcus sentenced them to 25 years to life for the 1993 slaying. Bronx Prosecutor William Hrabsky said the two held the girl captive in a Hunts Point apartment, Morales raping her and repeatedly slashing her body. Franco was charged with killing the girl after breaking her neck. 'The suffering that this poor child went through is beyond belief and puts this crime in the category of monstrous and barbarous,' Hrabsky said. Investigators said the men shoved Ebony's body into a box and dumped it on the Sheridan Expressway at E. 165th St., where it was set on fire. They later bragged about the crime to friends, many of whom testified against them."
However Morales was convicted of murder and manslaughter, but not of rape. She commented:
"They had to switch their story in the trial because how do you tell the jury that he had on a dress and then he was raping a girl? I’ve never had sex with a female in my life.”
She was sentenced to 25 years to life, and returned to Riker's Island, where she legally changed her name to Synthia China-Blast. As a female Synthia had sex with some of the most notorious murderers and rapists in the New York prison system. In 1999 she was put on low-level female hormones, which have given her small breasts. However she was refused the higher level dosage that some other prisoners are on in that she did not have an official prescription before incarceration. She is suing for medical treatment up to and including genital surgery.

In 2002 Synthia was transferred to Attica Correctional Facility in upstate New York. The next year she attempted but failed to castrate herself, and then took up with the 35-year-old then virgin copycat serial killer Eddie Seda, and in effect became his wife. In 2004, after she was transferred to Wende Correctional Facility, she sent a letter to the New York Daily News as by the Zodiac Killer’s Wife, in which she said:
“If I was a real woman I could bring about little future serial killers to terrorize NYC like my husband did. How [New Yorkers] would of loathed the Zodiac Children”.
In 2014 the Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP) focused on Synthia China-Blast as part of its project of ending the practice of isolating trans prisoners in solitary. The SRLP asked Laverne Cox to read a letter from Synthia China-Blast on video, but did not share details with her about the murder of Ebony Williams. When apprised of the details, Laverne Cox, asked for the video to be removed.
tumblr   SRLP   MetaFilter
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The murder of Ebony Williams is of course monstrous and barbarous.   However there is a possibility that a wrong person is being punished for it, which makes the crime even worse.

As with several accounts of inmates, we do not have all the facts.   The account in New York Magazine by Esther Haynes is the only one to go into details.

Gallus Mag, Laverne Cox and Parker Molloy all say that Synthia China-Blast was convicted of rape.   This is not correct.   She was convicted of murder and manslaughter, but not rape.   Her prison sex life has been in the female role, and she claims (plausibly) that she has never had sex with a woman.   I am inclined to accept this.

Synthia’s 2004 Zodiac Killer’s Wife letter was of course a stupid thing to do.

There was a third person at the murder, the police informer.   We really need to know about this person who would seem to be escaping his own guilt by blaming another.   We are told nothing about him except the simple fact of his existence.   Nor are we told anything about Carlos Franco, except his guilt.

The Wikipedia article on the Latin Kings tells us that from June 1993 to February 1994 there was an internal power struggle within the Latin Kings in New York.  7 Latin Kings were murdered, and afterwards the police were able to charge 20 major members with murder and racketeering.   Ebony Williams’ murder in August 1993 falls right within this period.    No journalist has bothered to explain if there is a connection.

If we go with the account by Esther Haynes, Morales was a bottom level functionary in the Latin Kings who did not dare to refuse an order.   Cleaning up after the murder makes Morales an accessory, and disposing of the body is also a crime.   However no motive was cited as to why Morales wanted to murder Ebony Williams, and the silence about just what the police informer actually did makes the conviction of Morales a very unsafe conviction.

Gallus Mag, Laverne Cox and Parker Molloy all have such faith in the patriarchal justice system that they do not consider that Synthia China-Blast may be a victim also.  Even the SRLP seems to consider her conviction a safe conviction, and are only concerned about the extra punishment of being 23 hours a day in solitary.

If Synthia China-Blast’s guilt is only that of being an accessory, and an accessory under duress at that, then her sentence is certainly excessive.

If Synthia China-Blast were in the UK, she would be in a women’s prison under the 2011 New Prison Guidelines.   If she is guilty only of being an accessory, then she is no danger in a women’s prison.   Even if she were guilty of the murder, there are equally violent women in women’s prisons, and the system is able to manage them.

Gallus Mag seems to be obsessed that a male-bodied person convicted of rape must not be allowed to have his/her penis and testosterone removed (=genital surgery).  See also Sandy-Jo Battista.   This is a very strange position.

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
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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



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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    
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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 Boréale.  

    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:
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    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.