by Eric Gould / tvworthwatching.com
One of the most hard-won achievements in life is finding out and knowing who we really are. For three young people in an upcoming National Geographic documentary, discovering their true selves was just the beginning…
American Transgender is a new work from writer and director Leslie Schwerin that unfolds in verite format, with the subjects speaking for themselves without narration. They recount becoming aware of their differences as children, and then discuss their courageous decisions as young adults to transition through surgery to the opposite sex. American Transgender premieres Tuesday, May 1 at 8 p.m. ET on the National Geographic Channel.
The documentary uses evocative montages of childhood pictures to introduce us to the show’s subjects. Sarah and Jennifer go on to have hormone treatments and surgeries to become Eli and Jim. Alex, a young man, does the same to transition to Clair.
All three talk extensively about growing up having to “act” the role of girl or boy – all while being mocked and feeling trapped and tortured in the wrong body.
One of the most uplifting parts of American Transgender is seeing the support and acceptance the three received from their families before and after the transition process. Coming out as gay – as Alex did as a teenager – is difficult enough, but revealing a desire to change one’s sex presumably doubles the weight.
It’s reassuring to see parents so committed to their children’s happiness. Jim’s mother, Diane, says, “we adjusted our thoughts from “tomboy” to “gay” and we moved on. We were getting used to that, and all of the sudden, (Jennifer) said my name is going to be Jim’.” She laughs, “I was just getting used to gay.” (Jim at right, after transition.)
Making the personal decision is to transform gender is just the first step. The physical difficulties of the process and the challenge of passing for the opposite sex are openly discussed.
Eli talks openly about his frustration during transition, and how after months of treatments, he still was being called “ma’am” by grocery store clerks. And Clair’s story, beginning as it does with her shopping for a wedding dress, takes a surprising, charming turn on which the entire documentary pivots.
In the case of the documentary’s three subjects transition was a success, and each have gone on to new relationships in their new identities. They all experience happy endings, for the most part, whereas some previous documentaries on transgenderism have profiled transitions that haven’t progressed as well.
To its credit, American Transgender is about healthy well-adjustment and not a gratuitous look at alternative lifestyles. These are brave journeys of self-acceptance for people who not only went inward to get to know who they are, but were then able to summon the courage to go forward into a process that included surgery and chemical treatments, knowing there was no guarantee of success.
As Eli (right) says, “I wanted my body to look on the outside how I felt on the inside.”
His close friend, Antonio, another female-to-male transgender, adds, “there’s a choice of happiness and misery. And there’s a choice of being true to yourself, or living a lie.”
It’s worth noting that regardless of gender identity, that’s good overall advice. And in that way, there is something for all of us in American Transgender.
The Canadian Press
TORONTO — Dr. Rajendra Kale calls it the most severe and repugnant form of discrimination against females — and he wants to see it stopped.
The practice of aborting a female fetus after the parents learn the sex of their developing child through ultrasound is not as widespread in Canada as in such countries as India and China, where a cultural and often religious preference for boys has led to the estimated destruction of millions of females in the womb.
But Kale says smaller numbers in Canada, estimated in the thousands, are no reason to ignore such gender-based violence.
“Female feticide devalues women completely,” said Kale, interim editor-in-chief of the Canadian Medical Association Journal. He wants to see doctors withhold information about the sex of a child in the womb until 30 weeks’ gestation to prevent “an unquestioned abortion” because parents prefer a boy.
Kale said research in Canada has found the strongest evidence of fetal sex selection among some Canadians of Asian descent, including people from India, China, Korea, Vietnam and the Philippines.
“What this means is that many couples who have two daughters and no son selectively get rid of female fetuses until they can ensure that their third-born child is a boy,” he writes, while stressing that not all Asian-Canadians condone nor engage in the practice.
In an editorial in Monday’s issue of the CMAJ, entitled “It’s a girl — could be a death sentence,” Kale puts the onus squarely on the medical community to try to halt sex-based abortion.
He calls on the provincial colleges that regulate physicians to rule that health-care professionals should not reveal a baby’s sex to any woman before 30 weeks of pregnancy.
“I’m arguing that the sex of the fetus is medically irrelevant information because it does not affect care in any way whatsoever, except in the very rare instance where you have sex-linked genetic diseases,” Kale said in an interview.
“Doing so should be deemed contrary to good medical practice. Such clear direction from regulatory bodies would be the most important step toward curbing female feticide in Canada.”
Kale said waiting to divulge the sex of the fetus until after the start of the third trimester would still give parents who want to know whether they are having a boy or a girl enough time to prepare their nursery or purchase appropriate clothing.
“So you’re just postponing the point at which you deliver that information,” he said.
While the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, for instance, does not have a specific policy on sex-selected abortion, the regulatory body does advise its members that it is “contrary to good medical practice to use ultrasound only to view the fetus to obtain a picture or video of the fetus or to determine the gender of the fetus,” spokeswoman Kathryn Clarke said by email.
The B.C. regulatory body likewise states that testing to identify fetal sex should not be used to accommodate societal preferences, that terminating a pregnancy for an undesired sex is repugnant and it is unethical for a doctor to facilitate such a course of action.
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada said Kale’s proposal runs counter to the medical group’s policy that a patient’s request for disclosure should be respected.
“Examination of the fetal genitalia is a recognized part of the routine second-trimester obstetric ultrasound,” the SOGC said in an emailed statement. “Providing patients with results of diagnostic imaging procedures is part of the Canadian standard of care, and fetal sex determination and disclosure should not be exempt.
“Therefore, the SOGC believes it is the right of the patient to be informed of the gender of their fetus, and that this information should not be withheld.”
The professional organization also said Kale fails to acknowledge cultural values that lead some people to seek pregnancy termination based on the sex of the fetus and does not take into account biochemical testing products that can give expectant parents a highly accurate fetal sex determination as early as eight weeks into pregnancy.
“The SOGC in no way condones pregnancy termination based on non-medical reasons, such as the gender of the fetus. The SOGC feels strongly that it is the cultural values and norms in specific segments of the Canadian population that must change to ensure that females are not confronted with procedures and intolerant environments before or after they are born.”
Though reasonably intentioned, Kale’s call for policy changes is likely a moot one in any case, said Bernard Dickens, professor emeritus of health law and policy at the University of Toronto.
During deliberations of the Royal Commission on New Reproductive Technologies, it was suggested that withholding the gender of a fetus could be a way to reduce the possibility of sex-based abortion, but the control device wasn’t built into the subsequent legislation, the 2004 Assisted Human Reproduction Act.
Dickens suggested that was likely because the Supreme Court of Canada, in the case of McInerney v. MacDonald, had ruled in 1992 that patients’ medical information is not owned by their physicians and must be surrendered at a patient’s request.
“If the patient persists and wants to know the sex … the doctor cannot lawfully deny the patient the information,” he said.
For Kale’s goal to be fulfilled, new legislation would be needed that contradicts the Supreme Court decision, but introduction of such a law would no doubt trigger a challenge based on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Dickens said.
A challenge could be based on contravention of a number of enshrined rights, including discrimination on the grounds of the right to security of the person, that women have the right to continue only wanted pregnancies.
There are also pockets among some of Canada’s immigrant Asian communities that hold strong religious beliefs that a male heir is necessary to carry on the family name and to perform certain rites to ensure deceased parents have a proper afterlife.
“And, of course, this could trigger a Charter claim of denying religious convictions or violating the anti-discrimination provision of the Charter,” Dickens said. “So any legislation could trigger a Charter argument on that sort of ground.”
Video Of Little Girl Getting Pissed Off At Gender-Specific Toy Colors Will Make Your Heart Swell [jezebel.com]
by Lane Moore / jezebel.com
I kind of knew I would love this video when I clicked on it and I was right. I just didn’t know how much I would love it.
In the video, awesome little kid Riley paces around the doll aisle while trying to figure out why companies are trying to “trick girls into buying the pink stuff instead of stuff that boys want to buy”.
What really wrecked me (in the best way) was Riley’s completely reasonable and insightful observation that, “Some girls like superheroes, some girls like princesses! Some boys like superheroes, some boys like princesses! So why do all the girls have to buy pink stuff and all the boys have to buy different color stuff?” mainly because I remember being a little kid in the Hot Wheels aisle wondering why I never received those for Christmas, even though I secretly wanted them.
I was into action figures and superheroes at a young age but I remember that confused/nearly angry feeling I had upon realizing that no one had even considered that I might want anything other than pink toys or “girl toys” and I began to wonder if there was something wrong with mebecause I wanted something else.
But perhaps the moment that caused my heart to swell the most was Riley’s father answering her with, “That’s a good question Riley” in a tone that sounded both exasperated at the unfortunate truths she was speaking so clearly about, and proud as hell that his young daughter would likely grow up to be a force to be reckoned with.
Last week an ad was emailed to J. Crew customers featuring a photo of the company’s president and creative director Jenna Lyons and her son in which she was painting his toenails pink. A caption below the picture read: “Lucky for me I ended up with a boy whose favorite color is pink. Toenail painting is way more fun in neon.” Oh, fun. Good for her. Good for him. Right? Wrong. This is an outrage!
Increasingly, girls show none of the reticence they once did to engage in early sexual relationships with boys. That may be a good thing from the standpoint of gender equality, but it could be a bad thing since there is no longer the same typically “feminine” brake on such behavior. Girls beat up other girls on YouTube. Young men primp and preen until their abdomens are washboards and their hair is perfect. And while that may seem like no big deal, it will be a very big deal if it turns out that neither gender is very comfortable anymore nurturing children above all else, and neither gender is motivated to rank creating a family above having great sex forever and neither gender is motivated to protect the nation by marching into combat against other men and risking their lives.
motherfucker thinks a young child putting pink nail polish on his toes means that the Army is going to become a parade of siss-fags who are all promptly shot to Swiss cheese by the real men, the Al Qaedas. Boys should not be wearing nail polish, nor should they have washboard abs or gelled hair! Boys, men, should be pot-bellied and wild-haired, farting and raping and shooting guns in the air, while girls are pink and smell like cake batter and never wear trousers. Hahaha. What a stupid fuck Dr. Keith Ablow is. Sorry, but he just is! He ends his article thusly:
I wonder what Jenna would think if her son wanted to celebrate his masculinity with a little playacting as a cowboy, with a gun? Would that bring the same smile of joy and pure love that we see on her face in the J. Crew advertisement? Or would that be where she might draw the line?
Guns are better than nail polish, if you’re a boy. Thanks, Dr. Keith.
Some other moron is upset about this too, so that’s good. I mean just look at that picture! Look at that smiling little faggot! Just terrible. Just so worth writing angry columns about. Thanks, everyone. Thanks and great job. Thank you for protecting the sanctity of humanity, of which you are such a good example, Dr. Keith Ablow.
And this response from Gawker commenter skoc211:
A friend gave me a poster about a year ago about gender norms that I wish would hang in every classroom in the country:
“For every girl who is tired of acting weak when she is strong, there is a boy tired of appearing strong when he feels vulnerable. For every boy who is burdened with the constant expectation of knowing everything, there is a girl tired of people not trusting her intelligence. For every girl who is tired of being called over-sensitive, there is a boy who fears to be gentle, to weep. For every boy for whom competition is the only way to prove his masculinity, there is a girl who is called unfeminine when she competes. For every girl who throws out her E-Z-Bake oven, there is a boy who wishes to find one. For every boy struggling not to let advertising dictate his desires, there is a girl facing the ad industry’s attacks on her self-esteem. For every girl who takes a step toward her liberation, there is a boy who finds the way to freedom a little easier.”
Gender norms, in all forms, are destructive. Even when it’s something seemingly as insignificant as a little boy wearing pink nail polish and an asshole conservative freaking out about it.