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Same-Sex Marriage Defended

OK, so I'm human. When the constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in Massachusetts was defeated yesterday, not only was I overjoyed, but a part of me wanted to shout out at all those who had tried to enshrine this bit of fear-based bigotry in our constitution, "Hey, you bigots, see? You don’t get to vote on my rights!" Fortunately, I had neither the opportunity – nor the inclination – to act on this bit of ill humor. And, I am mindful of the words of Carl Sciortino, state rep and lead sponsor of our transgender civil rights bill, who urges us to be considerate of the feelings of the losers in this, our time of victory.

The good news is, Massachusetts has upheld the legality of same-sex - effectively, gender-blind - marriage. This is a great thing for all people whose gender expression or identity, or sexual orientation, does not fit the narrow, presumed obligatory heterosexual model.

The bad news is, same-sex marriage was preserved over the strenuous objections of some of our citizens. Which means that their fears and self-righteous anger, justified or not, rather than being dissipated, will in many cases only be driven deeper.

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GenderTalk Radio: Gay Marriage & Almost Myself

William N. Eskridge Jr., Professor of Jurisprudence at the Yale Law School, on his new book co-authored with Darren Spendale, "Gay Marriage: For Better or For Worse? What We've learned from the Evidence"

Tom Murray, award-winning filmmaker, on his new documentary about transgender persons entitled "Almost Myself: Reflections on Mending and Transcending Gender"

To listen to this program (original air date June 10, 2006), or view a more detailed description, click here.

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Pakistani Trans Persecution

We received the following note about a trans discrimination situation:
To Whom It May Concern,

Shumail and Shazina are couple, who have been arrested on the grounds of perjury, because they failed to disclose that Shumail is a female to male
trangendered person. Shazina's father wanted to marry her to a man to whom he owed a significant amount of money so that he could clear his debt. Shazia, however, did not agree and married Shumail. Her father filed a case against her, which is still pending. Shumail was also put through a humiliating genital test to check if he was male or female. Shumail is still in transition and has not had genital surgery yet, however, he has had his uterus removed and is taking testosterone.

Unfortunately the human rights groups etc. are not doing much in this country. The only person who is doing something is Nighat Said Khan of ASR (an NGO). WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT! Please help us!

Thank you.
Read more about this case, and how you can help, in a posting by the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission here.

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Pride's Dimensions

The celebration of Pride by GLBT persons takes on a strikingly diverse tone around the world this year. Here in Boston, Governor Deval Patrick became the first sitting governor to join the procession, while in Sao Paolo, Brazil, an estimated 3 million people participated in their Pride celebration. In stark contrast, police had to use tear gas against homophobic protestors who were throwing rocks at Pride participants in Romania, while in Moscow, Pride organizers who defied the city's banning of a Pride parade are being prosecuted in court. Kudos to those brave GLBT organizers who risk their freedom and very lives in working against oppressive cultural norms in the many less-progressive places around the world.

As for me, I missed the festivities here in Boston on account of my neck injury, but I missed my sweetie more, as Gordene is wrapping up her research in New Mexico for a new book on Southwestern ranching women.

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GenderTalk Radio: TS Same Sex Splash & HIV Clinical Trials

Mikayla Howden, on the public splash she made with an AP article about her same-sex marriage, and her newfound occupation

David Mariner, coordinator of clinical trials for the DC Care Consortium, on resources for HIV/AIDS clinical trials, and other work that he is doing on behalf of GLBT folks

To listen to this program, or view a more detailed description, click here.

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GenderTalk Radio: Christine Jorgenson Reveals

Christine Jorgenson Reveals, an interview by Nipsy Russell recorded on November 26, 1957, billed as "An intimate glimpse into the personal life of the worlds most sensational celebrity"

To listen to this program, or view a more detailed description, click here.

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Transsexual Mayor

Congratulations to Jenny Bailey, who this past Thursday become mayor of the Cambridge (England) City Council. Jenny's partner is also an MTF transsexual, surely making Cambridge one of the more TS-friendly places on earth. More here.

Jenny is quoted as saying "...for transgender people, all we want is to disappear and become normal." Believe what you want, Jenny, but don't speak for me.

To me, "normalcy" implies acceptance of a lot of seriously flawed culture, something I have never desired.

Nor do I wish to "disappear". I am pleased to be who I am, which is a richly complex person, not simply a "man" OR "woman". To disappear would be to deny the uniqueness which is my greatest asset. Furthermore - and more importantly - it would be an abdication of public space to the hooligans who demand conformity to simplistic roles and identities, a subordination of our fullest nature to the narrow expectations of others.

I understand that, in order to obtain the trust of society at large, it is necessary to pay homage to popular values, and I am not faulting you for doing so. Just don't speak for the rest of us, please. If there is one thing I would have this transgender movement stand for, it would be the uniqueness of every one of us. Implicit in that is the fallacy of any one of us purporting to speak for all of us.

So, kudos to you, Jenny, but please work on your representations of trans consciousness.

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Inspired by Tracie's Story

I still don't get what's so scary
about a man in a dress,
but I guess that's what you'd expect
from someone like me,

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Airport Insecurity

OK, here's a story worth reading: a man is traveling to and from a crossdressing event in 2002, with suitcases full of women's clothes. Aiport security picks him for a bag check, and asks if the clothes are his. He says yes. He also makes the mistake of volunteering that he is a schoolteacher. Airport security gets weird, word gets back to his school, and now he's blackballed from teaching.

Transgender rights aren't just about people transitioning on the job, they're also about people having the right to crossdress recreationally without fear of persecution.

Too many of our brothers and sisters have been victimized down through the years, and this is why we give up our free time to work to pass anti-discrimination legislation. If you're someone with more money than time to help with this work, please get off your wallet and help out GEM or NGLTF or NCTE or MTPC.

Check out Tracie Steven's account, and maybe even drop her a line to let her know her story's being heard.

go to Tracie's story

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New Column on

I miss doing the weekly radio show, lots. Ever since going on hiatus, I've been wanting to do a written form of the "Question of the Week" segment.
So, with no further ado, I am launching a new column here on, called simply "Ask Nancy". Please check it out.

I owe a thank you to TransFaith's Chris Paige, who inspired this new effort by asking for permission to reprint my answer to a question that was no longer available on the GenderTalk site. I've reprinted that question (updated) as my first column entry. Enjoy!

Ask Nancy

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