Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Little Of This And A Little Of That

Here are some news articles that I can across that I thought were interesting.

The first is an article in the LA Times about the Autry National Center, a museum co-founded by Gene Autry exhibit,
'Out West' at the Autry examines the history of homosexuals and transgender people in the Old West

…But as a new series at the Autry National Center shows, the presence of homosexuals and transgender individuals in the American West is much older than the movie [Brokeback Mountain] might lead you to think. It is, in fact, almost as old as the West itself.

Take for instance the tale of One-Eyed Charlie.

A stagecoach driver known for his hard drinking and itchy trigger finger, Charlie worked for the California Stage Co., where he earned his reputation as one of the best drivers in the wild West. He traveled between Oregon and California and, the story goes, got his nickname when he lost an eye while attempting to shoe a horse.

But Charlie kept a secret that was revealed only after his death in 1879. When his body was being prepared, a coroner discovered that One-Eyed Charlie was actually a woman.

It turns out that Charlie, nee Charlotte Darkey Parkhurst, had passed much of her adult life as a man. The discovery of her true gender became a local sensation. And her story still fascinates U.S. historians, some of whom believe that she was the first woman to have voted in a presidential election, long before the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920.

Stories like One-Eyed Charlie's will be part of the Autry series titled "Out West," looking at the roles of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in frontier history.
The other article in the news is about NASCAR driver J.T Hayes who came out as Intersex a few years back now has written book about her experience. The Orlando Sentinel has a review of her book…
Racecar driver turns life of hell into sweet dreams and ‘Dangerous Curves’

J.T Hayes was an awesome racecar driver and in the early 90’s after years of racing Sprints, Midgets, Karts and Stock, he walked away from it all. Now, J.T. wants to re-enter the racing world once again – but not as J.T. – but rather as Terri O’Connell, a female.

Terri has written her memoir, “Dangerous Curves: The Terri O’Connell Story” where she tells-all from her past that will shock just about anyone. At one point in her life, the rumors were so wild and out of sorts, that she feared for her life and even contemplated suicide, twice.

Back on July 29, 1964, she was born a Hermaphrodite, which is an individual in which reproductive organs of both sexes are present, parents unknowing, but was raised as a male. This was not a disease, a cancer or anything contagious.
When transgender individuals are convicted of a crime most often they are put in solitary confinement because the prisons do not have any policies for transgedner prisons. This article by ABC News 7 in Arlington, VA
Transgender Woman in Solitary in Virginia Jail
WASHINGTON - A transgender woman convicted of drug trafficking has spent six months in solitary confinement in a Virginia jail because officials believe she would be raped by male prisoners.

Thirty-five-year-old Maria Benita Santamaria was born a man but lives as a woman. In August she pleaded guilty to trafficking 10 pounds of methamphetamine. For the past two years she has been undergoing hormone treatment in preparation for a sex change operation.

Santamaria was willing to risk being in general population but jail officials kept her out. Now, however, she'll be moved. Earlier in December Santamaria was sentenced to nearly six years in prison. A judge ordered her sent to a federal prison that can provide transgendered treatment and counseling.
Lastly, this The Times Online article caught my attention this week, it is about finding a gene that controls gender,
Scientists find single ‘on-off’ gene that can change gender traits

Scientists have identified the gene that keeps females female. An international team found that the action of a single gene is all that stops females from developing male physical traits, including testes and facial hair.

When this gene was artificially “switched off” in adult female mice their ovaries began to turn into testes and they started to produce a level of testosterone found in healthy male mice.

The discovery could eventually revolutionise gender reassignment therapy and improve treatments for babies who are born with a mixed gender.

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