poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Sad end to boy/girl life
Subject of gender experiment

A Winnipeg man who was born a boy but raised as a girl in a famous nurture-versus-nature experiment has died at the age of 38. David Reimer, who shared his story in the pages of a book and on the TV show Oprah, took his own life last Tuesday.

His mother, Janet Reimer, said she believes her son would still be here today had it not been for the devastating gender study that led to much emotional hardship.

"He managed to have so much courage," Janet told The Sun yesterday. "I think he felt he had no options. It just kept building up and building up."

After a botched circumcision as a toddler, David became the subject of an experiment dubbed the John/Joan case in the '60s and '70s.


Washington DC

For years now, we've been hearing the same thing from the Human Rights Campaign, Barney Frank, and their political bedfellows over and over: “You're not ready...there aren't enough votes in Congress to support a transgender-inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act or hate crimes protection bill. No one understands you, more education is needed. Just wait, be patient, we'll fight for you when the time is right.”

We always suspected it, and now we know it for a certainty. They've been lying through their teeth, and not just to us.

It all started in the last week of April, when transgender activists of all stripes descended on Washington, DC. I was there, as both a journalist and a participant. The National Transgender Advocacy Coalition's Lobby Days event, where the organization spent two days lobbying Congress for the inclusion of gender identity and gender expression protections in the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and the hate crimes bill, boasted an active and committed group of transgender activists. GenderPAC (GPAC) was there, holding its National Conference on Gender, the Transgender American Veterans Association (TAVA) was gathering for its March to the Wall, and a team of transgender activists drawn mainly from the membership of Out For Democracy – Transgender met with the GLBT Outreach leaders of both the Kerry campaign and the Democratic National Committee, the first time such a meeting has ever taken place.

Literally hundreds of politically-active Transgender Americans had come to our nation's capital to be seen, be heard, and to send a clear message to our country's leaders that we will no longer be invisible, ignored, or silent. The history books will record these days as the moment our community truly came out of the closet, as a valid minority constituency, as a political force, and as a community, with a social, political, and cultural identity all our own.


State Senate hears constitutional amend. against gay marriage

NASHVILLE (AP) -- Supporters of a constitutional amendment to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman pushed the resolution forward in the Senate Monday.

The language of the resolution already is law in Tennessee, but sponsors say they are trying to prevent courts from allowing homosexual marriages in other states from being recognized here.

The matter has already been approved in the House.

Even if the resolution is approved by the Senate before lawmakers wrap up their business in the next two weeks, it would still have to be approved by a two-thirds majority of the next General Assembly.

Then the question would be put to voters on the 2006 gubernatorial ballot.


Gay sexuality shouldn’t become a torture service

Images of Iraqi prisoners being tortured have shocked the world because of their brutality but also because of their overt sexuality. Not only were the men forced to strip naked; they had to engage in real or simulated acts of anal intercourse and masturbation.

The American military’s continuing homophobia is not news, but employing homophobia as a military tactic reaches new levels of perversity. Gay men witnessing the use of homosexuality as the interrogators’ ultimate tool of degradation at Abu Ghraib now have another reason to abhor the Bush administration.

Because “gay” implies an identity and a culture, in addition to describing a sexual act, it is difficult for a gay man in the West to completely understand the level of disgrace endured by the Iraqi prisoners. But in the Arab world, the humiliating techniques are particularly effective because of Islam’s troubled relationship with homosexuality. This is not to say that sex between men does not occur in Islamic society—the shame lies in the gay identity rather than the act itself. As long as a man does not accept the supposedly female (passive) role in sex with another man, there is no shame in the behavior. Reports indicate that the prisoners were not only physically abused but also accused of actually being homosexuals, which is a far greater degradation to them.


Two Indianapolis men sentenced for killing cross-dressing teen, friend
By Tom Spalding
Two Indianapolis men declared their innocence today even as a judge sentenced them to prison for killing a cross-dressing teen and his female friend.

Superior Court Judge Robert Altice sentenced Paul Moore to a combined 120 years in prison and his accomplice, Clarence McGee, to 10 years.

Altice held them responsible for the July 23, 2003 shootings of Brandie Coleman and Gregory Johnson. Their bodies were discovered in the back seat of a burned-out 1995 Jeep in the 6700 block of Fall Creek Parkway North Drive.
Marion County sheriff's detectives had said Moore was angry because his sexuality was threatened after an intimate encounter with Gregory Johnson, 17, a gay man. Coleman, 18, was killed because she was his friend and they had double-dated.


Gay Friendly Companies Told Stay Out Of Oklahoma 
by Newscenter Staff

(Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)  A national ad campaign that began running Monday in USA Today is advising corporations not to relocate in Oklahoma.

 Headlined "Oklahoma Going Out of Business" the featured a map of the state  with a "closed" sign hanging from it.

"Companies thinking of relocating to or doing business in Oklahoma should look hard at Oklahoma's worsening culture of intolerant exclusion and its resulting brain and talent drain," the half page ad said.

"Studies show that a state's level of tolerance for its gay and lesbian citizens directly impacts its success in attracting the talented people and creative atmosphere essential for economic growth in today's competitive marketplace," the $100,000 said ad which appeared in the paper's Money section.


Transsexual's wedding mirrors social changes in China

Chengdu, May 11 (IANS) : When Zhang Lin proudly put on a Western wedding gown, she was no different from the many happy brides who chose to marry their fiances during the weeklong May Day holiday.

Except that until nine months ago, she was a man, Xinhua reports.

Thousands of farmers watched with a mixture of curiosity and disbelief as the 38-year-old bride and her groom Yang Qizheng celebrated their wedding in Fenghuang village, Chongzhou city, which is in the suburbs of Chengdu in southwest China's Sichuan Province.

"No, I don't think she's a weirdo. How can I? She's a woman just like myself," said an old lady who gave her family name as Pan.


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