Mercedes Allen

Scattered Newsings

Filed By Mercedes Allen | July 05, 2008 4:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Weekly Reader
Tags: BisexualDatingNow.com, DSM V, gay marriage, Intersex Society of North America, pregnant man, same-sex marriage, Toronto Pride week, transgender

Sorry for putting a bunch of tiny posts into one mid-size post, but there's a few events that needed musing on, but I can't keep up enough to issue my usual diatribes. :)

Included:

  • Bil was curious about same-sex marriage in Canada, and Toronto's Pride Week provides a glimpse;
  • The pregnant man has given birth;
  • Three more people have been added to the controversial DSM workgroup
  • The controversial Intersex Society of North America has closed its doors but given birth to another project; and
  • BisexualDatingNow.com has drawn attention for exclusion of a transsexual.

It's Pride Week in Toronto, and with it comes a jump in same-sex weddings. Despite the legalization in California and Massachusetts, many Americans still come to T.O. to get hitched. Says CTV:

"The chapel at city hall has also seen a spike in the number of people coming from across Canada throughout the year, and their figures show the number of same-sex ceremonies couples is now almost equal to heterosexual weddings."

(Keep in mind that this is a chapel specifically popular for such marriages. It is nice, however, to think that we're now equal in more ways than one)

There is currently a video next to the article. I've never been to Pride in T.O. (actually, never been further east than Nipawin, Sask.), but would love to. They've been notably inclusive (while nearby Ottawa has drawn controversy for exclusion), and put on Canada's premiere Pride event. Credit should go where it's deserved.

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Thomas Beatie has given birth. I don't think I need to explain that he is transgender and retained working female organs (and suspended hormone therapy) to do this. I do seem to have to remind some who feel that if he wished to have a child then he "must not be trans" that wanting to have a child is a human impulse, not exclusively a female one (and it is not yet possible for any post-process transsexual to bear or father a child short of artificial insemination with frozen sperm / ova carried by someone else). Either way, the couple has had a healthy baby girl.

Kudos to the CBC for getting the pronouns right. A bunch of middle fingers to the majority of commenters, who show that Canadians aren't always as open-minded as their legal system sometimes gives the impression. Among the comments:

"IT may call themselves a giraffe for all I care,
I will still call IT a woman."

(no, they just called him an "it." Twice.) and:

"You may change your name to Napolean, dress like Napolean, BELIEVE that you are Napolean and maybe someday get the law to assert that you are Napolean, but the fact will remain that you are NOT Napolean. Twenty years ago you would have been called insane...and they would have been right."

There is currently assumed ("read-in") inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity in Canadian law (and assumed inclusion in hate crimes legislation -- sexual orientation was explicitly added a few years ago), but assumed protections are always subject to interpretation. These kinds of attitudes from Canadians show that more still needs to be done here, as well.

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The Intersex Society of North America has closed its doors. In doing so, they've turned over their agenda to the Accord Alliance, a group of ISNA activists along with a number of health care personnel. Founder Cheryl Chase (a.k.a. Bo Laurent), a controversial figure whose biography and statements have been questioned as some of the data conflicts, now works with Accord. For those unfamiliar with ISNA, Chase, former board member Alice Dreger and ISNA had much to do with the redefinition of intersex as "Disorders of Sex Development" (DSD), a controverial term that further stigmatizes the intersex community. They've also been supportive members of (although only Dreger is directly connected to) the Clarke-Northwestern clique that includes author J. Michael Bailey and two clinicians at the heart of the DSM controversy, Drs. Kenneth Zucker and Ray Blanchard.

To be fair, ISNA's legacy has been mixed. Despite the DSD debacle, they've lobbied mostly for the cessation of the "normalization" of infants, and had a noticeable positive effect. On the heels of this, the Accord Alliance has declared its intention to support the Consensus Statement from The Lawson Wilkins Pediatric Endocrine Society. Some have been looking at this and alarmed that Chase and ISNA have done an about face and are now supporting gender assignment to intersex infants at birth, based on a 2002 document. In fact, LWPES has released a more recent (2006) statement that opposes such procedures.

Time will show what the direction and legacy of Accord Alliance will be.

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At Pam's House Blend, Autumn Sandeen takes on BisexualDatingNow.com's recent expulsion of an FTM transsexual because "as a transgender, our site would not meet your needs." Apparently, it is too complicated or impossible to set up checkboxes for "transmale" and "transfemale" or trans options similar to what Alt.com managed to institute several years ago. Either that, or admin don't get that transgender is about identity, not orientation, and that it is possible to be both transsexual and bisexual.

CEO Joseph Lee and chief technical officer Brian Brown of parent company TangoWire, a network of dating sites that prides itself on being inclusive of race, sexual orientation and the like, see nothing wrong. Says Brown, "... in our registration, transgender is not one of the options we provide, and we don't provide that as such." In the original article by Bay Windows, they've also asserted that the fellow in question was trying to get into a lesbian dating site through the networked database:

"Prior to transitioning Teich had joined one of TangoWire's lesbian sites, but he said he hadn't been an active user. When he registered with BiDatingNow.com he assumed he was signing onto a completely new site, but in fact the profiles for each site are linked to one massive database, meaning that someone on one of the bisexual sites could view the profile of a member of one of the lesbian sites. One of Dupuis's e-mails to Teich accused him of trying to force his way onto the lesbian site.

"We do not have a site appropriate for transgenders. You joined our lesbian site, which is not your sexual preference. You then listed yourself as a bisexual man. This is absolutely a violation of our community rules because we do not allow any man on a lesbian site," wrote Dupuis. "You are NOT a lesbian therefore you cannot and will not be a part of our lesbian community."

Which is, of course, more smoke and mirrors, because most people don't realize that TangoWire shares its database across all its contact sites. You would think that a subcommunity that is regularily forgotten, regularily having their orientation questioned ("is he 'really' straight, or 'really' gay?") and regularily told to live quietly (i.e. go back in the closet) because no one's "ready" for them yet... you'd think they might have a little more empathy for other communities in the same boat. My thought is that this has to be reflective of admin only, and not all bisexuals.

As a bisexual transsexual living in a lesbian relationship and often accused of "really" being a gay male, I just don't get the divisiveness. Maybe it's just me.

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Sorry, I don't have a verifiable link for this yet, but it comes from a good source. Three more members have been named to the American Psychiatric Association's DSM-V Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders work group: Friedemann Pfäfflin (Gender Identity Disorder subgroup), Lori Brotto (Sexual Dysfunctions subgroup), and Martin Kafka (Paraphilias subgroup). Kafka advocates the use of Celexa and Prozac to cure crossdressing. I remain convinced that the greater danger in the DSM controversy lies in the likely transformation of "Transvestitic Fetish" (TF) into something overencompassing which will then become the diagnosis for many who better fall under GID, the current diagnosis and medical model for transsexuals.

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Oh, and Diebold has apologized for accidentally leaking the results of the upcoming election.


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Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | July 5, 2008 10:25 PM

I was going to mention this in my upcoming post on dating as an Ftm (which I'm STILL working on) but I, too, was rejected by TangoWire. I signed onto the bi site and was allowed to see male profiles only. When I asked for help on how to access bi-women's profiles, identifying myself as bisexual man who was not interested in cruising but looking for a long-term relationship (I didn't identify myself as FtM in my email, although I did in my profile), I was told "I am afraid Brynn our site will not meet your needs."

So, they're not interested in trans nor genuinely bi-folks, but rather "bi-curious men," a category I do not even remotely identify with.

Re: ISNA, I should also add that Organisation Intersex International (OII at http://www.intersexualite.org/) remains a valuable resource and advocate for intersex people. Whether you consider them radical or passionate, they are definitely committed and forthright.

Brynn: That's interesting about BisexualDatingNow.com -- in most cases, being businessmen, I'd think that if it was relatively easy to do (and it should have been from a programming perspective), they'd string you along for the revenue (membership, ad clicks, page hits). But if they checked your profile before responding, that would explain the similar reply.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | July 6, 2008 4:20 PM

I think you may be right, Mercedes.

I'm relieved I hadn't yet paid anything to join the site.