Sunday, March 01, 2015

Rehashing “The Man Who Would Be Queen”

There is an article that is about Professor J. Michael Bailey book and I think what can be said about Professor Bailey is summed up by,
Bailey might have become an untouchable among transgender activists, but it was clear that evening that he remains on knowledgeable and even friendly terms with the real-life Chicago transgender community, at least in its drag manifestation.
And that is just the point; his entire research is based on the drag community. Dr. Beyer write in an article in the Huffington Post that,
There is little science in the book, and less humanity. The book is an expression of Bailey's salacious interest in the sexuality of trans women, not their humanity. In a remarkable exploration of his personal desires, which he substitutes for data, he fits right in with the Freudians and fetish systematizers who have been marginalized and limited to ever smaller circles in the scientific community. And, remarkably, the author of this review jumps right back into that sensationalistic approach, starting her article with this objectifying comment in the second paragraph: "I stared at her [Sara Andrews] mesmerized, looking for signs that she had once been male." There are images of her "scanty costume" and her "smooth and hairless skin," and she is described as "shy and demure." Language focused on physicality and sexuality, the natural vs. unnatural -- this is the focus of the author and her patron, Professor Bailey. Apparently one needn't have a penis for membership in his crowd.
Bailey’s book right in the beginning says that it is not a scientific study but it is being quote used as if it was a scientific study. His study never went before an Institute Review Board (IRB) which is required for all studies on humans. He didn’t use scientific method, there were no control groups, he didn’t use validated research tools, and he selected only cases that proved his point. In a paper by Alice D. Dreger she says,
Along with accessible, abbreviated accounts of key scientific studies, the book would also feature the author’s hunches, speculations, and personal opinions […]  Thus, TMWWBQ was never envisioned as a work of science in any traditional sense; instead, Bailey viewed the book as his chance to expose to the masses what he saw as the often politically incorrect truth about “feminine males”: boys diagnosable with “gender identity disorder” (GID); surgically feminized, genetic male children; male homosexuals; drag queens; heterosexual male crossdressers; and MTF transsexuals. Bailey also saw the book as an opportunity to make some money; when he was ready to sell the book, he engaged an agent…
However, the book is being used as a scientific study. That is how it is being sold and that is how it is being used by the conservatives.

Dr. Beyer goes on to say,
Allen says the Bailey thesis was controversial in 2003 and is even more controversial now. Now, not really, because while it was controversial then, it is laughable today, held only by this cast of characters increasingly ignored by their colleagues. The two APAs -- the American Psychological and Psychiatric Associations -- and the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and growing numbers of therapists of all schools recognize the biological innateness of gender identity and its manifestations, contrary to her belief that "[t]he medical evidence for a mismatch between brains and bodies is ambiguous." The most recent review was published just last week in Boston. The classic paper on the biological roots of transsexualism, entitled, "Atypical Gender Development," was published nine years ago.
It is time we let Bailey’s book die, but those who oppose us will continue to dredge it up again and continue to defend it despite all the scientific evidence to refute the it.

Another Right Wing Talk Show Host Speaks,

Yet another right wing speaks on a topic that he knows nothing about…
Michael Savage: Transgender Rights Will Destroy Society, Outlaw Reassignment Surgery
Right Wing Watch
By Brian Tashman

On Friday, Michael Savage was infuriated by a Hollywood Reporter interview in which director Michael Cimino denied rumors that he is transgender, which led Savage on a rant about “tranny grannies” and why sex reassignment surgery should be outlawed.

“What is this, upstaging the other guy who is simply gay?” Savaged wondered. “This is how crazy this is becoming. It’s not cool enough now just to be gay and have a husband as a gay man, now you have to be a transsexual who cuts your schmendrick off and becomes a woman. I really don’t following this, it’s insanity. It’s the meltdown of an entire society, it’s insane.” 
I will tell you why, it is because of people like you who belittle transgender people and call them derogatory names that have forced us into the closet for most of our lives, it is people like you that has caused the trans community to have one of the highest suicide rates of any marginalized community.

It is only now that we are getting the courage to transition, it is only now that society is realizing that society has been wrong to persecute the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Stop! In the Name of Love

Saturday 9: Stop! In the Name of Love (1965)

Every Saturday I take time off from written on serious topics to have some fun…

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) When this song was popular, the Supremes were known for their long gloves and full-length gowns. When was the last time you got dressed up?
Last November for a fundraiser for a health clinic where I volunteer.

2) With a record 12 #1 hits, the Supremes remain America's best-selling vocal group. This must have been hard for Betty McGlown, the fourth Supreme, who left the group before they recorded their first song. Can you think of an opportunity you missed?
Yes, back in college, I had a chance to party with Peter Gabriel. Long story, short… it was Genesis was first starting out and after the concert they invited everyone to come and party with them but I had a test the next day so I had to study for it.

3) When "the girls" (Diana Ross, Mary Wilson and Flo Ballard) first started hanging around Motown, founder Berry Gordy was reluctant to let them record. After all, they were still in high school. They refused to give up and eventually convinced him to let them add hand claps and finally back up vocals to recordings by other Motown artists. Tell us about a time when your persistence paid off.
Graduating from grad school.

4) 50 years after its release, "Stop! In the Name of Love" is one of the most popular karaoke songs. Do you know the lyrics?
Kind of…

5) There's a children's playground named in Diana Ross' honor within New York's Central Park. It includes swings, slides, rope bridges and a fountain. When you played in the park, what did you run to first?
Are you kidding? That was over sixty years ago!

6) Diana stumbled in her high heels and broke her ankle as she left the stage after a November 2012 concert. What do you have on your feet right now?

7) Ever the trooper, she honored her commitment to perform at a White House-sponsored Christmas concert just weeks later, even though her leg was still in a cast. Tell us about a time when you "played hurt."
I don’t understand the question. Do you mean that when I was sick I still attended an appointment? I do that occasionally for an important meeting.

8) Young Diana Ross was a good student and a tough competitor who made her school's swim team. Are you a good swimmer?
Nope, I can stay afloat but that’s about all. I tire too easily.

9) Diana's older sister, Dr. Barbara Ross-Lee, was the first African American woman to be appointed dean of an American medical school. Decades ago, Barbara juggled post-graduate studies and raising small children. Are you good at multi-tasking?
No not really, I lose track of one task or another.

Friday, February 27, 2015

My Ride With Fame

They said everyone has a moment of fame. I was down in Washington DC for an Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) lobby day I think was in 2007 and I shared a taxi with a trans woman to a reception at the National Press Club.
When my friend John became Jennifer
New York Post
By Andrea Peyser
February 22, 2015

I picked up the phone and heard a vaguely familiar voice on the line.

“It’s Jennifer,” said the caller.

“Jennifer who?” I asked.

Pause. The high-pitched voice dropped several octaves. “You used to know me as John.”
To say I was thunderstruck is to underestimate the power of nature. For I remembered my old friend John Leitham as a smart, talented and handsome, if somewhat effeminate, musician who was decidedly male and presumably straight. John played the upright bass left-handed with the jazz singer Mel Torme and with ex-“Tonight Show” trumpeter Doc Severinsen, among others, and married and divorced a woman.
We made small talk on the way over to the press club and then we parted our ways and I didn’t see her again until after the lobbying day and we were all at the hotel having breakfast. Mara Keisling was debriefing us on how the lobby day went for us, what we liked about it, what we didn’t, how our visit to our legislators went, etc. and Jennifer mentioned that she was invited by the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to the Democratic breakfast. She then said something that clicked in the back of my mind, after breakfast I went up to my room and Googled her. So that was my brush with fame.
Jennifer is now 61, lives in Pasadena, Calif., with two rescued cats, and still performs and records jazz. She underwent sex-reassignment surgery in 2001 at age 48 and received hormone treatments but not breast augmentation. This was hard for me to accept because I believed in the old adage: “God doesn’t make mistakes.”

Trans Actresses/Actors

Those who read my blog regularly will know that I am a firm supporter of trans people play parts of trans people, that at the very least we should be asked to audition for the parts.
Is 'Transface' a Problem in Hollywood?
Hilary Swank, Andrea James, Natasha Lyonne, Armistead Maupin, and more weigh in on casting discrimination in the entertainment industry.
By Daniel Reynolds
February 25, 2015

On the eve of his Oscar win for portraying a transgender woman in 2013's Dallas Buyers Club, Jared Leto found himself the target of criticism from an audience member at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

"Transmisogyny does not deserve an award," shouted an unidentified woman from the audience to the actor onstage. When asked for clarification, she responded: "You don't deserve an award for portraying a trans woman, because you're a man."

The accusation is rooted in what some in the LGBT community refer to as "transface" — a term that conjures the culturally taboo practice of "blackface" — in which a cisgender actor will "take" a role from a transgender actor.

The assumption tied to transface is that Hollywood is a discriminatory industry, which would rather cast a cisgender (nontrans) movie star who can be transformed to look like a transgender person through diet and cosmetics, than consider a minority actor with an authentic life experience for that role.
I’m not saying that non-trans actresses/actors cannot give a great performance but we need the chance to audition,
"Everyone should have an opportunity to audition and have the chance to act and to be a part of a film," Swank [Hilary Swank in Boys Don’t Cry] concluded. "But in the end, I don't think they should get it because they actually live that day in and day out."
But as it stands now we do not even have our foot in the door. Those directors that see the value of having a trans person play the part of a trans person realize that trans actors can add more depth to the part. In the movie Boy Meets Girl the director understood that Michelle Hendley who played Ricky in the movie had a lot personal insight to offer him.

Boy Meets Girl will be released on Netflix this spring.