poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Transgender policy to be tested

MIAMI - Few will know this genetic truth, because the 5-year-old's parents and school administrators have agreed that it's in his best interest to blend in as a female.

Mental health professionals have diagnosed Pat - not his real name - with gender dysphoria, a condition in which a person believes that he or she is the opposite gender. After two years of examination, they have determined that he is not simply effeminate or going through a phase.

"Gender dysphoria can take place during a fetus' development in the womb," said noted gender specialist and sexologist Marilyn Volker, Ph.D., of Miami.

While this tyke is likely the youngest transgendered child admitted to a South Florida school, he is not unique. Both the Broward and Miami-Dade County school systems have policies in place to smooth theway for such students and their families.

Friday, July 14, 2006

First Transgender Association Established in Africa

Gender DynamiX is an organisation that works towards a world in which each person has the freedom to express their own gender - whether it corresponds to their born sex or not. Explains Robert Hamblin, Vice-Chairperson of the Management Committee: "Gender DynamiX is an organisation whose time has come - we are here to support transgendered people, and to change the way society thinks about men and women".

The new NGO, which is in the process of being formally registered with the
Non-Profit Directorate of the Department of Social Development, had its first Management Committee meeting this weekend in Cape Town. "We offer services to transgendered people and we will offer workshops and training to workplaces, communities, the media, NGO's and government. We will also be fighting the discrimination and violence that transgendered people face,” says Liesl Theron, the organisation's founder and director.



The controversy over the disparity between men's and women's performance in the hard sciences continues, this time with the voice of someone who has literally seen the question "from both sides now."

A furor erupted when then-Harvard University president Lawrence Summers dared to suggest that "innate sexual differences" might play some role in the disparity. Now Stanford neurobiologist Ben Barres, writing in the journal Nature, weighs in, from his unique point of view as a transsexual. He was formerly known as Dr. Barbara Barres, a woman who excelled in math and science.

According to Barres, the biggest factor in creating the gender divide in hiring is sexist prejudice, not genetics. He cites personal experiences from his days as a young woman undergraduate at MIT, where in a case of being the only student in a class who could solve the professor's problem, she was accused of "having her boyfriend do it" for her.