Crossing is particularly shrewd ... and offers a sound critique on how society uses psychiatric judgement to mask normative prejudices.
- Deidre McCloskey began cross-dressing aged 11, and continued through her 20 year marriage gradually crystallising her wish for a complete role and body change. Her memoir, Crossing, illustrates just how much of a feminine role is socially prescribed in western cultures.
- My Dad's A Woman
- When Gareth was six years-old, he realised that his father wore women's clothing. He says that it's a wonder he hadn't twigged before that his father would come home from work dressed as a man and suddenly mum would announce "Auntie Diane's coming for tea"
- The Shape of Acceptance
- To the general public and some in academia, what we have between our legs signifies our totality as being male or female. To try to explain that the self-concept of male or female is dependant to a very large extent on gender is not something that accords their self-knowledge.
- Being M.T.F. Transsexual Then and Now!
- In earlier years, Sharon thought that she had reached a lasting accommodation with being transsexual. In her middle years, she seems to have unfinished business. These are her reflections of transsexual services in Australia then and now.
- An Open Letter to a Bigoted Wimp
- Katherine Cummings responds to an article by Stephen Gunther entitled "My Transsexual Father", in which he aired his self-centred, ignorant and bigoted views concerning his father who had transitioned as a male-to-female transsexual late in life.
- Guide to Healthful Living for People with H.I.V.
- Human Immunodeficiency Virus affects your nutritional status. Studies have shown that people with H.I.V. tend to eat less than people who are H.I.V. negative. The process appears to begin early in the infection. Often it is subtle and may go unnoticed.
- Jay Sennett has been in the trans community since 1994, and his recent film Phallocy is an autobiography using spoken word, music and experimental techniques to explore the struggles of a female-to-male transsexual. Phallocy questions how a 32 year-old lesbian becomes a man.
by Katherine Cummings, Polare Editor
My thanks to those who contacted me to tell me what they thought of issue 41 of Polare. Most of the comments were favourable but even the negative ones were useful and may have their effect on future issues.
There were, however, far fewer responses than I had expected and hoped, and almost no comments on new features such as the book review. I will include a book review in this issue but without feedback from you, the readers, I can't tell whether you find the new features to your liking or not ... or whether you couldn't care less one way or the other.
I was disappointed that few readers responded to my call for contributions. I can write a certain amount of new material and I can pull stories off the Internet and look for bits and pieces in other publications but it would be better if there were more points of view than mine being reflected in Polare.
Many of you who responded to the questionnaire said you would like to write or illustrate for the magazine. You can, and I hope you will. All I ask is that, if possible, you send your contribution on a computer disk (P.C., not Mac) or email it to me, as I prefer not to have to re-keyboard material unnecessarily. If you do not have access to a computer or the Internet, then, of course, I will accept type written or even handwritten material.
The book review in this issue is by Beatrice Faust, a leading Australian feminist. It deals with Deidre McCloskey's autobiographical piece, Crossing, which was published in 1999 and was praised by many reviewers. The New Your Times called it an "outstanding book of the year". I came across Ms Faust's review in the Economic Record for March, 2001 when I was searching electronic journals for other reasons than transgender. I thought the review was worth reprinting in Polare and obtained permission from Ms Faust. You will find the text on page 18. You may not agree with all the points made by Ms Faust, but it is salutary sometimes to see ourselves as others see us. I have certainly been made to think about the relationship between physical appearance and femininity.
Deidre is a distinguished American scholar in the field of economic history and, to my mind, provides more thoughtful analysis of her (and our) situation than do most transgender autobiographies (including my own).
by Elizabeth Riley, Gender Centre Manager
This year has again seen a number of significant developments and events for the transgender community in N.S.W. Some are detailed below.
The Gender Centre has undergone significant change, particularly in relation to staffing. Sean Taylor resigned as the Social & Support Worker in August 2000 after working at the centre for four years. Sean touched many people's lives during this time here and his efforts were greatly appreciated. He has moved on to new endeavours and we wish him the best for the future.
Craig George Andrews, the Resource Development Worker, also resigned on 21st May 2001, again after having been at the Centre for about four years. During his time here Craig took Polare to a new standard of quality and presentation and developed our website, also to a very good standard.
While it is always sad to see workers move on, we were delighted to welcome Jack Powell as the Social & Support Worker in place of Sean, and Katherine Cummings as the Resource Development Worker in place of Craig. Jack, along with all the usual social and support activities, has added an employment emphasis to his role and Katherine, in a short space of time, is already stamping her individual qualities on Polare. We look forward to new and exciting enhancements to our service delivery with the blossoming of these roles.
In February and March of this year the Stills Gallery in Paddington held a photographic exhibition. The work of three photographers was featured and two of these dealt with aspects of transgender lives. One, photographer Tiet Ho, followed the lives of a group of transgender sex workers in Malaysia and carried clear messages of the discrimination that they encounter daily. The second, Transman by photographer Ella Dreyfus, illustrated the surgical and spiritual journey of an F.T.M., our very own Gender Centre President, Col Eglington. The Gender Centre General Manager, Elizabeth Riley was honoured to be the guest speaker at the exhibition launch.
The opening night saw some four hundred people in attendance and hundreds more would have seen the exhibition during the following weeks. The reception for the works on show was extremely positive and an opportunity was provided to draw the attention of the wider community to the lives and lifestyles of transgender people.
The Fifth International Conference on Sex and Gender
A reminder that the fifth international conference on sex and gender will be held in 2002 in Perth W.A.. The conference is being organised by the International Foundation for Androgynous Studies and will draw many speakers and participants from around the world. This is a great opportunity for transgender people from all over the world to meet, share ideas and learn about the issues as they exist around the world for our community. Stay tuned for details on the conference in the coming months.
The Transgender Working Party
The Transgender Working Party under the auspices of the N.S.W. Department of Women had it's final meeting in February this year, having successfully completed it's review of the Employer's Handbook aimed at achieving access to employment in the N.S.W. public sector for transgender people. As reported last year the working party comprised permanent representatives from the Anti-Discrimination Board (A.D.B.), the Office of the Director of Equal Opportunity in Public Employment (O.D.E.O.P.E.), the Health Care Complaints Commission (H.C.C.C.), N.S.W. Department of Education and Training (D.E.T.), the Department For Women (D.F.W.), the Gender Centre, N.S.W. Health, N.S.W. Department of Corrective Services, N.S.W. Police Service, N.S.W. Department of Community Services and the N.S.W. Public Sector Management Office.
On behalf of our community I would like to thank all the representatives on the working party for their efforts and commitment to social justice, access and equity for the transgender community. Their efforts are much appreciated. The working party remains on call should there be future issues needing to be addressed over which it may have some jurisdiction.
In the meantime, if you are transgender and wish to apply for a position with a N.S.W. public sector agency, policy is now in place to ensure that you will not meet with discrimination in the process.
Employment Equity Specialists' Association (E.E.S.A.)
The Gender Centre is now maintaining an active involvement with E.E.S.A. to keep transgender on the agenda for E.E.O. practitioners. Due to time constraints, the Gender Centre no longer has a representative on the executive of E.E.S.A. but we continue to be ordinary members and will continue to attend meetings where issues being addressed are of relevance to us or where there are issues that we may wish to draw to their attention.
Through our work with E.E.S.A. we seek to achieve strong support from the E.E.O. practitioners in the public sector in advancing work opportunities for transgenders.
More on Employment
Part of the work being undertaken by the new Social & Support Worker is to further the employment prospects for members of the transgender community. To this end we have begun networking with employment agencies and are keen to work with transgender people interested in finding work. We have initiated some programs at the Centre to help facilitate this project including programs designed to identify the types of work to which our people might be suited. We are also looking at running workshops with a "getting a job" focus that would look at such issues as resume preparation, interview techniques and interview presentation skills. Interested people are invited to contact the Social & Support Worker at the Centre.
N.S.W. Police Service
The N.S.W. Police Service is close to completing its policy in relation to transgender people. I reported on this in last years annual report which is an indication of how time consuming and complex policy development can be. We expect the policy to be implemented soon and will publish details in full in Polare as soon as possible. We expect this policy and it's implementation will go a long way to improving the relationship between the transgender community and the police in N.S.W.
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.