Archive for the '"Isms"' Category

02
Mar
13

Fighting the good fight

The following speech was presented on the steps of the capital building in Frankfort, KY during a rally for reproductive rights and civil equality.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

The history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations on the part of man toward woman, having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over her.

He has usurped the prerogative of Jehovah himself, claiming it as his right to assign for her a sphere of action, when that belongs to her conscience and to her God.”

These words were spoken by Elisabeth Catie Stanton July, 19th 1848. Women and men gathered in Seneca Falls, NY where the “Declaration of Sentiments” (a document demanding equal treatment and citizenship for women) was drafted and put forth to the government of these United States. We stand here now, almost 165 year later, still fighting for many of those rights.

Kentucky Senate bill 4 requires that a physician (or a licensed designee thereof) be physically present with a patient at the time of consent. This holds ramifications for women who require distant travel for medical procedures that are already financially crushing.

Kentucky Senate bill 5 requires that all women seeking to have “any part of an abortion performed” must first be subject to an invasive, transuterine ultrasound. In simple language, a woman who is attempting to responsibly deal with an unwanted pregnancy must also be subjected to having a large, uncomfortable instrument forced into her vaginal opening, then lay quietly while a doctor explains in detail about the fetus.

The consequence for doctors refusing this unethical requirement of an unneeded medical procedure is a Class D felony. A penalty that includes, among others, violent offenses and sex crimes. How very ironic, that to avoid these charges, a doctor must force a woman to engage in penetration by an artificial phallus. Nothing less than MANDATED RAPE!

Additionally, I feel it important to note that, of the eight senators cosponsoring this bill, only ONE is a woman. Seven, SEVEN men have put their names and weight behind a bill that does not affect THEM or THEIR bodies, but could affect thousands of women.

This is the reality, so many people (mostly legislators it would appear) think that abortion is easy. That it is a decision that women come to lightly and without reflection. This is NOT TRUE! Women come to this decision because they KNOW that, for whatever reason, they CAN NOT accept the financial responsibilities that pregnancy, birth, and upbringing carry. These women KNOW that they, for whatever reason, CAN NOT provide for the health and well being of a fetus, a baby, or a child. These women KNOW that, for whatever reason, it is in the best interest of ALL parties involved, to terminate a pregnancy.

Kentucky Senate bills 4 and 5 serve to prevent a woman from exercising the right to do what SHE KNOWS is best.

We stand here today, not only to speak for the rights of women to be free from the mandates of rape, but also to speak for the rights of our brothers, our sisters, our sons and our daughters, our friends and ourselves. For too long we have been expected to fight for the equality of our LGBTI family by going city to city, begging for equal treatment one commission or council at a time.

While I salute the leadership of Louisville, Lexington, Covington, and Vicco for trying to secure the equal rights of all of their citizens, it is time to bring equality to all Kentuckians. It is time that we no longer have to wonder if we have crossed the city boundaries and are now fair game to those who would see us left homeless, jobless, and afraid.

KY Senate Bill 28 extends the hands of equality across the Commonwealth. While it does not prevent prejudice, it does prevent discrimination. It lets ALL Kentuckians see that our Commonwealth and its legislators recognize all of us as people FIRST and demands that others do the same. KY Senate Bill 28 shows our YOUTH that, even though we sometimes have to fight for is, it does, in fact GET BETTER!

We stand here today at OUR Capital in common cause. That our rights as individuals not be denied by the majority or by the privileged. We are all here today to stand up and to BE COUNTED!

Advertisements
05
Feb
12

Assailed by the Christian Right (or should I say ‘rite’?)

I’m not sure exactly when the attack on women’s reproductive rights took such a dramatic turn. I think, perhaps it was with the sudden rise in the popularity of the Tea Party and the realization that the Church was beginning to lose some of its political hold. Well, they managed to nip that in the bud and now they push on to reverse the freedoms women have achieved to decide what can and can’t go on inside their own bodies. Alas, those in high religious and monetary places feel the need to tell women that they are not able to choose parenthood, whether that be through abortion, the morning after pill, or even affordable birth control of any sort provided b Planned Parenthood. Ah, but there are condoms! Well, men control that, now don’t they. I prefer to take responsibility for myself and not expect someone else to do it for me. That all being said, I am offering a much shared breakdown of the services provided by Planned Parenthood. Educate, learn, and fight for those who need it.

03
Oct
11

In Honor of LGBT History (or herstory as the case may be)

1920 – “Gay” first used to refer to homosexuals in the publication

Underground

1921 – U.S. Naval report on entrapment of “perverts” within its ranks

1924 – First commercially produced play with a lesbian theme, “God of

Vengeance,” opens on Broadway; theatre owner and 12 cast members found

guilty of obscenity (later overturned)

1924 – Illinois charters the Society for Human Rights

1925 – After a year of police raids, New York City’s roster of 20 gay and

lesbian restaurants and “personality clubs” is reduced to 3

1926 – The Hamilton Lodge Ball of Harlem attracts thousands of crossdressing

men and women

1927 – New York state legislature tries to ban gay-themed plays

1927 – “Well of Loneliness” by Radclyffe Hall published, all British copies

destroyed as “obscene”

1930 – Encyclopedia of Sexual Knowledge illustrates first “sex-change”

procedures

1932 – Man Into Woman, the Story of Lili Elbe’s Life, published

1933 – Hitler bans gay and lesbian groups, burns the Institute of Sexual

Science library

1934 – Lillian Hellman’s The Children’s Hour opens on Broadway to rave

reviews

1935 – “Successful” electric shock therapy treatment of homosexuality

reported at American Psychological Association meeting

1937 – Morris Kight organizes the Oscar Wilde Study Circle at Texas

Christian University

1939 – New York City “cleans up” in preparation for the World’s Fair, closing

most of the city’s best-known gay bars

1940s – Revealed that Holocaust victims include LGTs

1940 – Courts rule New York State Liquor Authority can legally close down

bars that serve “sex variants”

1941 – “Transsexuality” first used…in reference to homosexuality and

bisexuality

1942 – Switzerland decriminalizes adult homosexuality (men only; lesbianism

wasn’t outlawed to begin with)

1943 – U.S. military bars gays and lesbians from serving in the Armed Forces

1945 – The Quaker Emergency Committee of New York City opens the first

social welfare agency for gay people, serving young people arrested on

same-sex charges

1945 – First known female-to-male sex change surgery, on Michael Dillon in

Britain

1947 – “Lisa Ben” publishes the first Vice Versa

1948 – New York Times refuses advertisements for Gore Vidal’s The City and

the Pillar

1948 – The Kinsey Report says homosexual behavior among men is

widespread

1948 – Hollywood Ten and the Blacklist

1950 – A Senate hearing reveals the majority of State Department dismissals

are based on accusations of homosexuality; Senate approves wide-ranging

investigation of homosexuals “and other moral perverts” in national

government

1951 – The Mattachine Society founded

1951 – “Donald Webster Cory” publishes The Homosexual in America

1952 – Christine Jorgensen comes to public attention

1952 – British mathematician and computer pioneer Alan Turing sentenced to

a year of hormonal treatments causing impotence and breast development

for “gross indecency with males.” He commits suicide in 1954.

1952 – American Psychiatric Association includes homosexuality under

“sociopathic personality disturbance” in its first official list of mental disorders

1952 – Immigrants banned from U.S. if they have “psychopathic personality,”

including homosexuality

1953 – Twenty-nine out of 30 men arrested during an 8 day period, charged

with engaging in homosexual acts in the Atlanta public library restroom, lost

their jobs after newspapers printed their names and addresses at least 6

times

1953 – President Dwight D. Eisenhower orders dismissal of all federal

employees guilty of “sexual perversion”

1953 – Kinsey report on women’s sexuality, including lesbian behavior,

released

1954 – Dr. Evelyn Hooker presents a study showing gay men are as welladjusted

as straight men, at an American Psychological Association meeting

1955 – Howl! published; Allen Ginsberg unsuccessfully prosecuted for

obscenity

1955 – Daughters of Bilitis formed; publication “The Ladder” launched the

next year

1955 – In the wake of the murder of a boy, 29 Sioux City, Iowa men

suspected of homosexuality are committed to mental asylums as a

preventive measure

1956 – James Baldwin publishes Giovanni’s Room

1957 – “Transsexual” coined by Harry Benjamin

1957 – Ann Bannon publishes Odd Girls Out

1957 – American Civil Liberties Union approves a policy statement saying

laws against sodomy and federal restrictions on employment of lesbians and

gay men are constitutional

1958 – U.S. Supreme Court rules ONE magazine is not obscene and can be

sent through the postal system

1960 – First U.S. public gathering of lesbians, at San Francisco’s Daughters

of Bilitis national convention

1961 – First openly gay person runs for U.S. public office (drag queen Jose

Sarria, running for San Francisco city supervisor)

1961 – First use of the term “homosexual” in a feature film shown in the US

(British movie Victim); motion picture code seal of approval is denied

1962 – Illinois becomes first state to make consensual same-sex acts legal

1962 – First known positive radio program about homosexuality (Randy

Wicker and 7 gay people, on WBAI in New York City)

1963 – American Civil Liberties Union opposes government interference in

the private sex lives of consenting adults

1964 – Life magazine runs positive cover story on “Homosexuality in

America”

1964 – The first openly gay person appears on national television (Randy

Wicker, on The Les Crane Show)

1964 – Series of public demonstrations held in Washington, D.C. by the East

Coast Homophile Organizations to protest U.S. government discrimination

against lesbians and gay men

1966 – “Lesbian” heard for the first time in a Hollywood movie (The Group)

1966 – First U.S. gay community center opens, in San Francisco, led by The

Society for Individual Rights

1966 – Harry Benjamin publishes The Transsexual Phenomenon

1966 – First transgender public uprising at San Francisco’s Compton’s

Cafeteria

1967 – England and Wales legalize male homosexuality

1967 – Bisexual rap group held in San Francisco

1967 – New York and New Jersey decide that state liquor commissions can

no longer forbid bars from serving gay men and lesbians

1967 – First gay bookstore in the U.S. opens: Oscar Wilde Memorial

Bookshop

1967 – “John” turned into “Joan” at John Hopkins Hospital after a

circumcision accident; published case widely impacts gender theory

1968 – Metropolitan Community Church formed

1968 – The American Psychiatric Association moves homosexuality from

“sociopathic” category to “sexual deviation”

1968 – Bi Alliance begins at the University of Minnesota

1969 – Betty Friedan warns feminist movement of the “lavender menace”

within its ranks

1969 – Stonewall Riots

1969 – National Institute of Mental Health study chaired by Dr. Evelyn Hooker

urges decriminalization of private sex acts between consenting adults

1970 – Boys in the Band, first major Hollywood movie on gay life, premieres

1970 – Gay “zaps” begin; first against New York City Mayor John Lindsay

1970 – Unitarian Universalist Association becomes first U.S. mainstream religious group

to recognize LGB clergy and laity within its ranks and to demand an end to anti-gay

discrimination

1970 – The Vatican issues a statement reiterating that homosexuality is a moral

aberration

1972 – “Ithaca Statement on Bisexuality,” by the Quaker Committee of Friends on

Bisexuality, is published in The Advocate; National Bisexual Liberation Group forms in

New York

1972 – East Lansing, Michigan, becomes first city to ban anti-gay bias in city hiring

1972 – First openly gay man ordained, by the United Church of Christ (William Johnson)

1972 – First time a U.S. national political convention (the Democrats) addressed by gay

leaders

1973 – American Psychiatric Association removes homosexuality from its list of mental

illnesses

1973 – U.S. Supreme Court refuses to hear case on the firing of an Oregon teacher for

lesbianism

1973 – Lesbian Herstory Archives founded

1974 – First state-level openly gay person elected: Elaine Noble of Massachusetts

1974 – Ohio Supreme Court rules that even though homosex is legal, the state can

refuse to incorporate a gay organization because “the promotion of homosexuality as a

valid life style is contrary to the public policy of the state.”

1974 – AT&T becomes first major American corporation to agree to an equal opportunity

policy for lesbians and gay men

1974 – Time and Newsweek run “bisexual chic” articles

1975 – U.S. Civil Service Commission stops banning gay men and lesbians from federal

jobs

1975 – Footballer David Kopay is first major sports start to come out (voluntarily) publicly

1976 – First openly gay police officer hired (by San Francisco)

1976 – “Tales of the City” published by the San Francisco Chronicle, includes LGB and T

characters

1976 – Doonesbury is the first mainstream comic strip to feature a gay male character

1976 – Lynn Ransom of California is one of the first openly lesbian mothers to win

custody of her children in court

1976 – Renee Richards outed as MTF and barred from a women’s tennis tournament

1976 – San Francisco Bisexual Center opens

1977 – Anita Bryant and Save Our Children succeed in repealing Miami law against

discrimination based on sexual orientation

1977 – 80% of surveyed Oregon doctors say they would refuse to treat a known

homosexual

1977 – Arkansas recriminalizes gay sex after two years without such a law

1977 – Florida forbids adoption by gays and lesbians

1977 – White House sponsors first-ever meeting with gay activists

1978 – Openly gay San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk murdered by colleague

1978 – National Coalition of Black (later Lesbians and) Gays formed in New York City

1978 – Rainbow flag debuts in San Francisco

1979 – First National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights; 100,000 attend

1979 – Moral Majority founded

1979 – First openly gay judge appointed (Los Angeles, CA)

1980 – First Harry Benjamin Standards produced for therapists working with

transgender persons

1980 – BBC broadcasts “A Change of Sex” about an MTF

1980 – Aaron Fricke takes Paul Guilbert to his high school prom after winning

a lawsuit against the school

1980 – Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence debuts

1981 – First reported cases of what came to be called AIDS

1981 – The Celluloid Closet: Homosexuality in the Movies published

1982 – Wisconsin enacts first statewide gay civil rights legislation

1982 – Parents & Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) founded

1982 – Gay Men’s Health Crisis formed

1983 – Congressman Gerry Studds comes out; first federal official to come

out as gay while in office

1984 – FBI releases 7,500 pages of information gathered over 30 years of

watching gay groups

1984 – Martina Navratilova’s female lover publicly sits in her “box” at

Wimbledon and the French Open

1984 – Berkeley (CA) becomes first U.S. city to extend domestic partnership

benefits to lesbian and gay employees

1984 – San Francisco Department of Public Health closes the city’s

bathhouses

1985 – NAMES Project memorial quilt for AIDS victims launched

1985 – First school for openly lesbian and gay teenagers opens in New York

City (Harvey Milk School)

1985 – Rock Hudson comes out, admits he has AIDS

1986 – U.S. Supreme Court rejects challenge to state sodomy laws

1987 – Second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights;

Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt shown

1987 – What becomes BiNet USA formed

1987 – ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) is formed

1988 – National Coming Out Day launched

1989 – Jazz musician Billy Tipton dies and is revealed to be FTM

1989 – BiPAC New York successfully challenges Hetrick-Martin Gay and

Lesbian Health Clinic to remove a “Bisexual men: Fact or fiction?” workshop

from curriculum.

1989 – First Lambda Literary Awards given

1990 – First National Bisexual Conference held in San Francisco

1990 – Federal Hate Crimes Statistics Act passed; first law extending federal

recognition of gay men and lesbians

1990 – U.S. restrictions against gay immigrants lifted

1991 – First Black Lesbian and Gay Pride celebration held in Washington,

D.C.

1991 – Amnesty International decides to work on behalf of those imprisoned

for consensual same-sex acts

1991 – Karen Thompson named Sharon Kowalski’s legal guardian after an

eight-year fight

1992 – World Health Organization removes homosexuality from its

classification of illnesses

1992 – Press for Change founded in Britain to work for trans people’s equal

rights

1992 – Colorado voters ban state and municipal rights laws for lesbians and

gay men

1993 – Intersex Society of North America founded

1993 – “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” U.S. military policy adopted

1993 – Brandon Teena and two SOFFAs murdered in Nebraska

1993 – March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal Rights and

Liberation held

1994 – Olympic gold winner swimmer Greg Louganis comes out

1994 – At U.S. insistence, United Nations suspends observer status of the

International Lesbian and Gay Association

1995 – First U.S. conference for FTMs

1995 – President Clinton names the first-ever White House liaison to the gay

and lesbian communities

1995 – Million Man March has no openly gay speakers

1996 – Congress passes Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), forbidding

federal recognition of (and benefits for) married same-sex couples

1997 – South Africa becomes the first country to enact a constitutional ban

outlawing sexual orientation discrimination

1997 – Rolling Stones article details failure of John Money’s John/Joan case

from the 1960s

1998 – Matthew Shepard murdered in Wyoming

1998 – First open lesbian elected to federal legislative office (Tammy

Baldwin)

1999 – Britain bans discrimination against trans people

1999 – Texas post-op MTF Christine Littleton ruled legally male and not the

legal widow of her husband

2000 – British ban against lesbians and gay men serving in the military is

lifted

2000 – Britain outlaws discrimination against lesbians and gay men

2000 – Vermont offers civil unions to same-sex couples

2002 – MTF teenager Gwen Araujo murdered by sex partners, in California

2003 – Massachusetts Supreme Court rules it is unconstitutional to deny

marriage to gay and lesbian couples

2003 – U.S. Supreme Court strikes down remaining state sodomy laws

2004 – United Kingdom: trans people allowed to change the gender on their

birth certificates

2005 – New Zealand first country to outlaw employment discrimination and

hate crimes on the basis of gender identity

2006 – South Africa begins recognizing gay marriages

http://www.forge-forward.org/handouts/LGBT_elder_timeline.pdf

22
Jan
11

Racism, classism, and sexism: Wrapped up with a stark white bow

I am writing about this here for two reasons.

1) I feel the need to rant about this properly.

2) While I do not care in the least if I offend anyone who reads this with any regularity, I do care if I offend family, simply because I must live and interact with them on a regular basis and don’t want to hear about it. I feel pretty safe here as no one I know actually reads this thing anyway.

Anyway, back to the point…Cotillions. Yes, cotillions. I discovered today that this antiquated process still takes place. From the limited research into these events I have established that this occurs predominately in the South and most often in places that seem to readily embrace Southern traditions gone by the way side in every other area of the world. Much like Ale81 and Moonpies.

This is what I have managed to glean from the “National League of Junior Cotillions” website (yes, there really is such a thing), this seems to be a sort of schooling in etiquette. While no longer touted as the mating ground it once was, cotillion culture does appear to maintain many of its roots. When I say this, it is (despite the fact you can not actually hear it as this is in print) with dripping sarcasm.

Racism

This “ism” is quite clear by simply beholding the photos on the afore-mentioned website. While examining each and every photo provided I took note of a glaring omission. Namely, color. Among the photos I noted only two with persons of color. One was a very young African-American child amongst a parade of small caucasian ones. I also will point out that I use the word caucasian with some measure of drippy tone as well. The reason is that, if my guess is correct, they are less caucasian and more Anglophile. Rather creepy, really. The second picture was one of a mayor who was signing some sort of proclamation. He and some of his staff were African-American. None of the children, mind you. Only those who worked for the city in question.

Classism

In addition to the issues of race, are those of class. Again, while I can not readily prove this, the impression of the website is that these are predominately upper middle class people who feel the need to display their wealth (or at least their illusion there of). I sincerely do not get this. As if the cars they drive, clothing they wear, neighborhoods in which they reside, and general attitudes do not display this enough, they must also join an elite group (outside of the country club) which accentuates this even further. How often do we see this anywhere else? I know that I do love walking around, proudly wearing my Goodwill labels and often brag about my lack of funds and need to “rob Peter to pay Paul” as the saying goes. As an aside, I must add, Peter is getting pretty pissed off at this whole arrangement.

Sexism

As is true to the style of the upper middle class old South, the young women in these photos looked starved but adequately glimmering in their virgin white attire. The women/girls only, that is. Not to say that there are no young men in these photos, only that they are attired in fabulous black suits and tuxes, so as to set off their Manly state of wealth (women, you see are sex objects, while men are success objects). So, I point out that this sexism is not one-sided. Girls must be “meek” (it actually says that on the website) and boys must present their wealth adequately through their attire and manners.

All this can be yours! Well, as long as you happen to be an upper class White Anglo-Saxon Protestant, that is.

14
Oct
10

New report reveals rampant discrimination against transgender people by health providers, high HIV rates and widespread lack of access to necessary care

New report reveals rampant discrimination against transgender people by health providers, high HIV rates and widespread lack of access to necessary care

October 13, 2010
by taskforceblog
.Health data released from the largest-ever study of transgender and gender non-conforming people in the United States

“My experiences in dealing with police and hospital personnel after my rape was not pleasant and lacked a lot of sensitivity to trans issues.” — Survey Respondent

“Finding doctors who will treat, will prescribe, and will even look at you like a human being rather than a thing has been problematic. Have been denied care by doctors and major hospitals so much that I now use only urgent care physician assistants, and I never reveal my gender history.” — Survey Respondent

“I have also had several bouts with depression and anxiety disorders and once ended up in the emergency room for depression. I still bounce in and out of depression due to not being able to get the appropriate surgical procedures.” — Survey Respondent

Download the health report here.

Transgender and gender non-conforming people face rampant discrimination in health care settings, are regularly denied needed care, and experience a range of health risks because they are transgender or gender non-conforming, according to a report of more than 6,450 transgender and gender non-conforming people. The National Transgender Discrimination Survey: Report on Health and Health Care was released nationally today by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality.

Key findings include:

*Nearly 1 in 5 (19 percent) reported being refused care outright because they were transgender or gender non-conforming.

*Survey participants reported very high levels of postponing medical care when sick or injured due to discrimination and disrespect (28 percent).

*Harassment: 28 percent of respondents were subjected to harassment in medical settings.

*Significant lack of provider knowledge: 50 percent of the sample reported having to teach their medical providers about transgender care.

*Despite barriers, the majority has accessed some form of transition-related medical care, but only a minority has had any surgery, despite the fact that a strong majority stated wanting to have it someday.

*Respondents reported more than four times the national average of HIV infection, 2.64 percent in our sample compared to 0.6 percent in the general population, with rates for transgender women at 3.76 percent, and with those who are unemployed (4.67 percent) or who have engaged in sex work (15.32 percent) even higher.

*Over a quarter of the respondents reported misusing drugs or alcohol specifically to cope with the discrimination they faced due to their gender identity or expression.

*A staggering 41 percent of respondents reported attempting suicide compared to 1.6 percent of the general population.

The report also includes critical public policy recommendations, such as the urgent need to train medical professionals about how to effectively and respectfully treat transgender and gender non-conforming patients; an end to the discriminatory practice of transgender exclusion from health care coverage; the development transgender-specific programs to address suicide; the spread of HIV, and other health risks; and increased research that focuses specifically on health needs of the transgender population.

Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey said:

It is outrageous that basic health care is being denied to transgender and gender non-conforming people and that so much additional trauma is being caused by doctors instead of being resolved by doctors. The medical profession must take these data seriously and ensure that everyone in the medical care system knows how to provide transgender-sensitive medical care.

NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling said:

Health care is a fundamental human right. This study clearly documents that it is regularly being denied to transgender and gender non-conforming people. The study also provides information about the serious health impact of the discrimination that transgender people face. The health risks are many times higher for people of color, for those who have lost a job due to bias, and those who were bullied in school.

The National Transgender Discrimination Survey, a joint partnership of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and National Center for Transgender Equality, is the most extensive survey of transgender discrimination ever undertaken. The survey included 6,450 respondents from all 50 states and several territories, with a geographic and racial distribution approximating that of the general U.S. population.

Download the health report here.

Preliminary findings on employment and economic insecurity, which provide an overview of statistics from the National Transgender Discrimination Survey on the pervasive employment discrimination transgender and gender non-conforming people face, unemployment rates, poverty levels, and housing instability, are available here. Statistics related to suicide, and the relationship to bullying and harassment in school, were released last week, and are available here.

30
May
10

Rise of Patriarchy?

I’m asking for your input here. Please only reply to the question at hand and not to the replies. I’m looking for reasonable responses with actual support. No hate speech please. Anyway, to the question….

Functionality of egalitarianism in small societies is not up for debate. Historically, it existed in societies worldwide, but as societies grew and humanity began to globalize, egalitarian structures failed. Through this gradual process, patriarchy slowly rose to become a dominant societal structure.

My point here is not to argue the positives and or negatives of patriarchy, but to examine WHY patriarchy arose. Why did patriarchy become the dominant structure and not matriarchy? There have been very few matriarchal societies. Predominately the one’s that have existed did so under a matriarch, but still under the patriarchal structure, in other words, the place of men was still above that of women as a whole. Again, I am not arguing the consequences of patriarchy (positive or negative) only stating historical fact.

But why? Why has larger society, regardless of geographical region, tended toward patriarchy?

12
May
10

Transexuality: What Practitioners Should Know

Unlike most of the disorders listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), transexualism or “gender identity disorder” is the lone disorder treated, not with medications or psychological counseling but with cosmetic surgery. Because of this anomaly, one could suggest that transexualism is not a psychological disorder, only the wish to make one’s body look as one feels it should, as is the case with any cosmetic surgery.
While the rest of the sexual disorders listed in the DSM-IV-TR range from sexual dysfunction (such as hypoactive sexual desire disorder) to paraphilias (including pedophilia and sexual sadism) that lie outside of the socially constructed norms, transexuality continues to grow in acceptance and is gaining a wider social support network.. This indicates that social norms are once again changing, setting transexualism outside of the realm of dysfunction.
Part of the problem, however when addressing transsexualism is that the very mental health professionals who diagnose Gender Identity Disorder (GID) are also relatively unaware of the long term ramifications of treatments. Hormone injections and surgeries can be dangerous to both immediate and long term health of transsexuals, in addition to the psychological distress associated with the delay in treatment (Israel and Tarver 1997).
Defining Transexualism
A recent article published by the American Psychological Association (APA) regarding the ethical treatment of those diagnosed with gender identity disorder defines transsexuals as transgendered people who desire to live full time as members of the gender opposite of that to which they were biologically born (APA, 2006). The authors go on to describe females who wish to transition to males as “FTM” and males who wish to transition to females as “MTF”. This article, published by the APA describes the treatment for these individuals as “making their bodies as congruent as possible to their preferred gender”.
The unfortunate reality surrounding this definition includes the problem of defining not only transexualism, but gender. When the leading authorities on psychological treatment offer such an explanation, it serves to further cloud the problem due to the failure to define the most important diagnostic term (gender). Gender is not simply a matter of black and white, but rather of a spectrum of minute differences subject to interpretation (Kessler & McKenna, 1985). How then can one be the opposite of a single degree in such a wide spectrum? At exactly what point does gender identity cross from the norm for one’s biological sex to the opposite of it? These questions are left, as of yet, unanswered.
Diagnostic Criteria
As listed in the DSM-IV-TR, the diagnostic criteria for gender identity disorder include, but are not limited to the persistent desire to live as the opposite gender, the stated desire to be the other sex, dressing or “passing” as the other sex (American Psychiatric Association [APA], 2007). Also included are feelings of the other sex, discomfort in the gender role of one’s assigned sex, the need to get rid of sex characteristics, or the belief that one is born the wrong sex. These criteria require that there is no intersexual (previously labeled hermaphrodism) condition present, and that there must be a significant distress to one’s social, or occupational well being. The DSM-IV-TR also requires that the medical diagnostic codes for sexually mature adults include sexual preference despite the difficulty of transsexuals’ self-interpretation of identity.

Treatment of Transexualism
The first step in the treatment of transexualism is to diagnose (Hausman, 2006). A transexed individual must go through psychological counseling and a long battery of psychological testing to receive the diagnosis of gender identity disorder that is required to continue further treatments. Ironically, this is not required for any other form of cosmetic surgery.
The second step in transexed treatment is that the individual must live for at least one year as the “opposite gender” (Hausman, 2006). This practice is to assure that the transexed individual is completely sure of his or her choice before continuing with further steps. Hormones given during this stage assist in the development of secondary sex characteristics, such as breast development in the case of MTF. There are multiple plastic surgeries carried out during this stage, including shaving of the larynx and vocal cords, and breast augmentation (MTF) or breast reduction (FTM) (Israel and Tarver, 1997; Hausman, 2006).
The third, and most expensive, step is sex reassignment surgery. For many transexed individuals this step is unattainable because of the extreme cost, as it is rarely covered under insurance (Israel and Tarver, 1997; Hausman, 2006). Simplified, in MTF cases doctors first make an incision down the length of the penis to just above the anus. This tissue is inverted to construct the vagina. The remaining sensitive tissues are used to construct labial and clitoral structures. Recovery is long and painful. After surgery, individuals must take care to assure that the vaginal cavity remains open and does not close due to collapse or scar tissue (Richards, 1992). In FTM surgeries, surgeons remove female sex organs, and then create a phallus with existing tissues, but little care is taken to insure sensation. Full erection is often not possible without mechanical assistance (Israel and Tarver, 1997). With both the MTF and the FTM procedures, further surgeries are often required to maintain results.
Cost restraints are a major factor in seeking sex reassignment surgeries. For a MTF transition, costs can run upwards of $33,000, not including labiaplasty (creation of the labial structures) or revisions of initial work (Israel and Tarver, 1997). For FTM procedures, costs range widely and can total more than $150,000. As previously mentioned, these costs are not usually covered by any medical plan and must be paid out of pocket by the transexed individual.
Ethics of Treatments
The negative ethical implications of treatment are extreme and far-reaching. While sufferers of most psychological disorders can begin treatment after relatively few medical visits, transsexuals must endure a long course of psychological counseling and testing before any physical treatments can begin. In addition to this problem, there is the choice made by the medical and insurance communities that places these individuals’ desires to correct what they feel is wrong outside of their reach due to cost. The vast majority of other diagnoses in the DSM have treatments covered by either medical insurance or state managed medical assistance. By refusing to cover the costs of sex reassignment surgeries, the medical institution is disallowing care for what they consider a diagnosable illness. This practice is highly contradictory.
In addition to the problems of treatment coverage, further ethical problems exist with denial of services until 18 years of age (Hausman, 2006). Again, the medical community singles out transexualism, this time by refusing to allow treatment prior to legal adulthood. Other DSM diagnosable disorders not only have treatment options for adolescents, but also are encouraged to be addressed early if possible to prevent further problems.
One of the most pressing ethical dilemmas is the problem of informed consent (Israel and Tarver, 1997). Doctors mislead transexed individuals with false statements regarding the possibilities to postpone treatments should patients choose to put off surgery for one reason or another. Doctors also discourage patients from seeking second opinions from other physicians or seeking the advice of transsexuals who are considering or have had surgeries.
Social Impact
Because of the nature of the treatments for transexuality, it is natural that the families or loved ones of a transexed individual are also impacted (Richards, 1992; Boylan, 2004; Hausman, 2006; Davies, 2009). Often there is resentment from parental figures and or siblings that the family member has lied about who they are. In the case of those who marry prior to diagnosis and/or treatment, there is marital strain, usually ending in divorce, if the state of residence does not require it. Children of transexed individuals have reported feelings of abandonment and perception of the loss of a parent (losing a father in cases of MTF).
Impact on the individual from the community is a larger problem. As mentioned previously, the acceptance of transexed individuals is growing, however the period of living as the opposite gender still causes a great deal of unrest (Hausman, 2006; Israel and Tarver, 1997). Employers have difficulty handling public restroom appointment, laws often block record changes such as licenses and passports, and there have been numerous murders and attacks on individuals in transition.
Policy Changes Needed
Many of the problems mentioned above can be addressed with policy changes in diagnosis, treatment, and government. Should the medical and psychiatric communities decide to maintain the stance that transexuality is in fact a diagnosable disorder, a code of ethics and laws should be imposed. As with other disorders listed in the current DSM, insurances and medical plans should be required to cover treatment expenses. These same institutions should also reduce the amount of time and effort required for the transexed individual to receive treatment. Prolonging pretreatment procedures and expenditures only delays the resolution of gender identity disorder. It is the duty of the medical profession to minimize suffering if no further harm occurs.
Many laws need addressing to acknowledge the rights of transexed individuals who receive treatment. In many states, there are laws that would dissolve marriages after sex reassignment surgery. Many states and even local laws provide no protection for individuals based on their diagnosis. Many could lose employment or housing based solely on their diagnosis and/or process of treatment. Most often, crimes against transsexuals because of prejudice is not a hate crime, thus lowering the charges and sentences of those committing crimes against transsexuals.
Areas for Further Research
Most disorders evoke the need for researching causality, but in the case of transexualism, this also is problematic. With the finding of causality comes the searching for a cure. Because most parents would not likely choose a transexed child, the implications here are obvious. Assuming a biologic cause, both genetic engineering and termination of pregnancy are possibilities.
Having argued for either the equal treatment of transsexuals or the removal of
Gender Identity Disorder from the DSM entirely, the suggestions for further research are many. Looking into the long-term ramifications on the individual including physical, emotional, and psychological well-being would give a greater picture of the effectiveness of current treatments. Finding alternative treatments that require fewer psychological tests and shorter wait times before surgery would assist in the treatment of transexed individuals. Lastly, comparing the lasting effects of treatments based on the age at which treatments first began has the potential to set the stage for treatments earlier in life. If an individual has greater results based on earlier treatment, it would follow that treatment can be started before adulthood (in extreme cases) to maximize the positive affect of treatment.
Conclusion
Admittedly, the arguments mentioned above could apply to the vast majority of DSM diagnoses, however the difference between those and transexualism lies in the treatment. Not until the psychiatrists and physicians charged with reviewing and updating the DSM acknowledge that there is a major treatment differential in dealing with transexualism can the ethical and social stigmas of transexualism truly be changed. Transsexuals are treated differently in every aspect of the social spectrum and medical establishments and this is an inequity that must be addressed for the good of both the individual and the credibility of the psychological field.

References
.
American Psychiatric Association. (1990). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (3rd ed.). Washington, DC: Author.
American Psychiatric Association. (2007). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed. TR). Arlington: Author.
American Psychological Association. (2006). Answers to Your Questions About Transgender Individuals and Gender Identity. [Brochure]. Washington D. C.
Boylan, J. F. (2004). She’s Not There. New York: Broadway.
Davies, E. (2009). Third Wave Feminism. Finding Ourselves: Postmodern Identities and the Transgender Movement. Whales: Palgrave Macmillan.
Fausto-Sterling, A. (2000). Sexing the Body: Gender Politics and the Construction of Sexuality. New York: Basic Books.
Hausman, B. L. (2006). Changing Sex: Transexualism, Technology, and the Idea of Gender. Durham: Duke University Press.
Israel, G. E. and Tarver, D. E. (1997). Transgender Care: Recommended Guidelines, Practical Information and Personal Accounts. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
Kessler, S. J. (1998). Lessons from the Intersexed. Camden: Rutgers University Press.
Kessler, S. J. & McKenna, W. (1985). Gender: An Ethnomethodological Approach. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Richards, R. (1992) Second Serve¬. Lanham: Stein and Day Publishers.