The lessons of history demonstrate again and again that the first people to challenge particular social roles and customs have always been vilified and shunned.
- Theories of Gender
- Transgenderism has been pathologised and problematised and has been largely perceived as an individual rather than a social issue. In this article, Louise Glanfield takes a look at queer theory, biological determinism, the binary system, social facts and natural law.
- Transsexuals in Italy
- 14th April 1982 was a triumphant day transsexuals in Italy. On this day, law number 164 for which they had fought hard, was passed, giving Italy's transsexuals the right to officially change their sex.
- Watching Out for Discrimination
- Recently, the Inner City Legal Centre acted for a person who was refused a rebate on the cost of hormone therapy because his birth certificate said female and the hormones in question were male hormones and the rebate was not available for females.
- Pesticides Cause Gender Change
- There is evidence that a range of pesticides, industrial compounds, and at least one food additive are causing sex hormone changes in a range of animals from fish to turtles. Some scientists have argued that the effects of these chemicals threaten the future of the planet.
- Transsexualism in Society
- Linda Darling reports that Frank Lewins has written a very good publicity brochure for the Monash Medical Centre in Melbourne which does Gender Reassignment Surgery: which is a pity because he set out to write a book called Transsexualism in Society.
- Dispelling Some Popular Myths and Misconceptions
- The Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (T.G.A.) has granted market approval for Roche's Amplicor H.I.V.-1 Monitor Test, the first commercial test to accurately measure the quantity of H.I.V. (H.I.V.-1 R.N.A.) in a person's blood (viral load).
- Experiences as a Transgender Woman
- Carolyn has been very fortunate in the fact that she works in a reasonably open-minded industry, the Fitness Industry. She changed all of her certificates over to her female name and then waited for her body to feminize enough before approaching a fitness centre to work at.
by Jasper Laybutt, Polare Editor
Welcome to issue fourteen of Polare. The months certainly fly by. As usual, we have been fortunate enough to receive much quality material to present to you.
Firstly, there is an overview of gender theory which provides an accessible insight into theories that have helped shape current thought on gender, and all it can imply. Needless to say, such theories are as ever-changing as the shifting sands of time. "Pesticides Cause a Gender Change" is a quirky little piece that gives food for thought, while "The Trouble with Frank" provides an insightful critique of a recent Australian book release which is already proving controversial.
This month, we also see the Gender Centre's annual general meeting, where we bid farewell to our trusty management committee - a hearty thanks to our current line-up for the good work they have done. If you are a member, don't forget to make sure you've got the relevant details to ensure you can cast your vote.
Some new and exciting projects will also be launched in the coming weeks, including a support group for partners, families and friends, a new F.T.M. group called "Jocks", an F.T.M. partner's support group, and a twelve-step program for people with gender issues. It's good to see more and more community groups coming to the fore. Look for information on these groups inside.
... and don't forget to peruse the "Community Noticeboard" for new entries.
by the Bill Robertson, Gender Centre Manager
A joint project has been initiated between the Multicultural H.I.V./AIDS Education and Support Service and the Gender Centre. This hopefully will be the beginning of a formalised process whereby people with gender issues from Non-English Speaking Backgrounds (N.E.S.B.) can have greater access to the information and services that the Gender Centre has to offer.
The Multicultural H.I.V./AIDS Education and Support Service specifically targets fifteen different language groups across the Sydney Metropolitan, Hunter and Illawarra health areas. An understanding of culture as well as language is vital if people are to receive services that are accessible and equitable. Co-workers from target language groups co-work with other health professionals in a support and educative role.
News in Brief
from the pages of Polare Number Fourteen
European Court Ruling
Luxembourg: A college administrator who was sacked for undergoing a sex-change is to claim a six figure sum in compensation from Cornwall County Council after the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg ruled yesterday that her dismissal was unlawful. The male-to-female transsexual named only as "P", was sacked in 1992, part way through sex-change surgery. P took her case to a Truro industrial tribunal which decided she had been dismissed for changing sex but that transsexuals were not covered by the Sex Discrimination Act. The tribunal asked the Luxembourg Court for a ruling on [if] the 1976 European Community directive on equal treatment for men and women at work made it unlawful to sack an employee for changing sex. The court held that the directive did cover transsexuals because the discrimination was based on their sex. The case will go back to the industrial tribunal to determine compensation. P's solicitor Madeleine Rees, said she would be claiming hundreds of thousands of pounds because she had lost not only a well paid job but opportunities for advancement. P said "I'm delighted, both on behalf of myself and everyone in Europe that has this difficult medical condition" After losing a package worth £70,000, she said she had to take a job paying £23,000, but was now earning £30,000 as an academic outside the west country. The ruling paves the way for compensation for Bobbi Elmer, a 49 year-old male-to-female transsexual whose case, at Exeter Industrial Tribunal was adjourned pending the Luxembourg judgement. the tribunal ruled last October that her "gender-identity disorder" was the reason behind decisions by the Home Office to withdraw her right to counsel prisoners at Exeter, and by her employer, Insight Alcohol Services, not to offer her another job. The government is likely to extend the Act to cover transsexuals. In the meantime, Ms Rees said, it would be open to courts and tribunals to re-interpret the Act without legislation. The point will be tested next month when a transsexual ride engineer, sacked by a theme park, takes her former employers to the London South industrial tribunal.
Transsexual's Fatherhood Fight Backed
Strasbourg, France:A refusal of the British authorities to register a female-to-male transsexual as the father of his partner's child conceived through artificial insemination of donated sperm, has been found to be a breach of the European Human Rights Convention. The European Human Rights Commission in Strasbourg voted by thirteen to five that the Registrar-General's decision was a violation of the convention protecting family life. The case has now been referred by the commission to the European Human Rights Court for a ruling on whether the convention has been breached by the government because of the stance taken by the Registrar-General. He decided that only a biological man could be regarded as the father for the purpose of registering a birth. When the couple tried to register the child in their joint names as mother and father nearly three years ago, the name of the father in the register was left blank, but the child was allowed to be given the surname of the female-to-male transsexual.
United States: Available from America is an audio cassette called Go Lite on the Dressin'. This is a compilation of songs about cross-dressing, composed by Amanda Lynn Richards. It's professionally recorded and packaged and supposedly sung in a "passable female voice", with clever lyrics as well.
Thailand High Ratio
Thailand: Did you know that in Thailand the ratio of F.T.M. transsexuals is higher than reported in other parts of the world.
When taking male hormones (generally some form of testosterone), you are changing your hormonal morphology to that of a physiological male, so you adopt all the possible health risks that ordinary males have, i.e. an earlier risk of heart attack, high blood pressure etc. However you do cut your risks of developing women's diseases such as breast cancer, and thrombosis etc. So, just when you thought life was getting better, healthy living is back in fashion. So, cut down on butter and eggs, stop or reduce your smoking, reduce your alcohol intake and take up some exercise.
The Gender Centre advise that this edition of Polare is not current and as such certain content, including but not limited to persons, contact details and dates may not apply. Where legal authority or medical related matters are cited, responsibility lies with the reader to obtain the most current relevant legal authority and/or medical publication.
Polare Magazine is published quarterly in Australia by The Gender Centre Inc. which is funded by the Department of Family & Community Services under the S.A.A.P. program and supported by the N.S.W. Health Department through the AIDS and Infectious Diseases Branch. Polare provides a forum for discussion and debate on gender issues. Unsolicited contributions are welcome, the editor reserves the right to edit such contributions without notification. Any submission which appears in Polare may be published on our internet site. Opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect those of the Editor, The Gender Centre Inc., the Department of Family & Community Services or the N.S.W. Department of Health.
The Gender Centre is committed to developing and providing services and activities, which enhance the ability of people with gender issues to make informed choices. We offer a wide range of services to people with gender issues, their partners, family members and friends in New South Wales. We are an accommodation service and also act as an education, support, training and referral resource centre to other organisations and service providers. The Gender Centre is committed to educating the public and service providers about the needs of people with gender issues. We specifically aim to provide a high quality service, which acknowledges human rights and ensures respect and confidentiality.