poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Health club harasses transwoman

Natasha Lee West, a transgender woman, was a member of the Bally Total Fitness club in Worcester for one year in what she calls “male mode” before deciding to take the step to present herself as female at the gym last June. For the past three years she has lived as female everywhere except for on the job and at the gym, but after finalizing her name change, getting breast implants and getting a new driver’s license with her female name and photo, she decided the time was right to live as female full time. West said when she first told the management at the gym in June that she was going to be living full time as female, manager Dale Stoddard seemed supportive. She showed Stoddard the document approving her name change from her birth name to Natasha as well as her new license.

“I presented this information to them and they didn’t seem to have a problem with it,” said West.

One week later she says things had changed. She said a female staff member, who she was unable to identify, asked her what her gender designation was on her driver’s license. West said that the gender marker on the license was male. The Registry of Motor Vehicles, according to Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, requires that individuals have completed sex reassignment surgery to change their gender marker, and while West has had breast implants, she has not had sex reassignment surgery.

West said the staff member told her she could not use the women’s changing facilities or restroom. West told her she was willing to forgo using the changing room, but she needed access to a restroom. She said the staff member led her to the gym’s daycare center and told her she could use the children’s bathroom. West said the bathroom consisted of a small plastic toilet with the seat raised only about a foot off the ground, but she agreed to use it.


Man gets 206 years for transgender, transvestite assaults

SAN DIEGO – A man who sexually assaulted three people at gunpoint last summer, including one dressed as a transvestite and two transgender individuals, was sentenced Friday to 206 years to life in state prison.

Joel Kuechmann, 40, was convicted April 17 of three counts of oral copulation by force, rape by a foreign object, robbery, three counts of possession of a firearm by a felon and dissuading a witness from reporting a crime.

Superior Court Judge William Kennedy also found true allegations of multiple victims and that Kuechmann personally used a firearm in the August 2005 attacks.


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