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A heated trans action


A heated trans action

There’s been a storm of controversy regarding the public posting of a trans woman’s birth name on Xtra editor Danny Glenwright’s personal Facebook page. People were upset. As a queer trans woman, I was upset.

To clarify: a trans person’s birth name is not something to be shared lightly. It is not their “real” name and it is not their “correct” name. To share such a name without consent is tantamount to saying “Well, they go by ****, but their real name is ****.” It de-legitimizes their transition and repudiates their chosen gender. To be shackled to a mistake of birth for the rest of our lives is heartbreaking — that all our work, all our fight could be so easily and unceremoniously undone with the simple phrase “Born: ****.”

This mistake raised the ire of a cross section of the queer community, inducing calls for a boycott of Xtra. The furor continued as Glenwright initially failed to remove the offensive post and with his post of a rejoinder on the xtra.ca blog. While the blog detailed a complicated history with the trans woman in question, its defensiveness was seen by many as a justification for posting her birth name. While that may not have been his intent, it was the effect.

Though Glenwright’s Facebook sin was great, for many it was just the latest in a series of errors and blatant transphobia by Xtra staff. Whether it was the refusal to refer to Elisha Lim in their chosen pronoun (the gender non-specific “they”) or a series of 2008 editorials ridiculing inclusive policies at other organizations and bemoaning past and future financial burdens on gays and lesbians in securing trans rights, there are far bigger fish to fry here than one man’s indiscretion on his personal Facebook page.

Rather than politics of division and calls for boycotts, let’s admit what even Xtra has thus far failed to do. We are, all of us, a community. We have fought together, suffered together and overcome together. At our best, we have worked together because gay and trans rights, and the fights for those rights, are inextricably linked. We’ve done this together because gender and sexuality are linked. And while they are not the same, they are allied by nature. Any separation imposed upon them or the communities that have arisen between them is artificial and false.

That’s why when the cops raided Compton’s, we were there together. When they raided Stonewall Inn, we were there together. When they raided the Pussy Palace, we were there together (hell, I was working security). We were there, together, because our interests were aligned: our mutual desire for the rights denied us brought us together.

To that end, let’s recognize what so many deny: gender rights and protections are rights and protections for gays as well. Though sexual orientation is protected, it is only one facet of the discrimination faced by gays and lesbians everywhere. All too often that discrimination is rooted not in who you fuck, but in your gender presentation: whether it’s the butch lesbian, the effeminate gay man, the drag queen or the drag king. From there it’s only a short trip to trans woman or trans man. They’ll use the same epithets and hurl the same hate, but in the end it’s the visible among us who are attacked — gay, lesbian, bi or trans.

I’ve been working with Pink Triangle Press for 12 years because I believe in the activism that formed it. Yet in all the time I’ve been here, out loud and proud, I’ve never had an experience as positive as the one set in motion by Glenwright’s post. People here are genuinely eager to understand more about trans issues, etiquette and experiences.

Let’s capitalize on that enthusiasm, embrace our shared history and recognize our mutual goals. Let’s push aside our differences and recognize that trans and bisexual people are essential contributing members of our community. Let’s urge Xtra to join the 21st century and call for trans and bi people to be included in the Xtra page header. It’s time we recognized that Xtra is a paper for the entire community and for its cover, content and policies to reflect that.

Xtra: Toronto’s gay, lesbian, bi and trans news.

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Critique of the Brain-Sex Theory of Transsexualism
Hey Julie-Anne, The “medical fact” you refer to did NOT imply that the whole brain of Male-to-Female-Trans were identical to females. The study you refer to from May 2000 measured only a small part of the brain, the Stria Terminalis (BSTc). They also used a small and unrepresentative sample, not enough for statistical analysis.

Most importantly, sexual dimorphism of the BSTc is not present before adulthood (approx age 22). So no one really knows if these neurons grew in greater numbers in males and half the amount in females, as a result of genetics or environmental influence or behaviour or hormones, or fantasy. The data showing the BSTc in MFT being half that of males and similar to females, may imply a diminishment of neurons due to administration of female hormones in adulthood. So what you call a “fact” is just a hypothesis or a guess. There are no facts only theories...

A Critique of the Brain-Sex Theory of Transsexualism By Anne A. Lawrence, M.D., Ph.D. (2007) states: “The simplest and most plausible explanation of the Zhou/Kruijver findings is that they are attributable, completely or predominantly, to the effects of cross-sex hormone therapy administered during adulthood. There is no longer any reason to postulate anything more complicated.”

Lexi Tronic has used her birth name professionally. Referred to her former birth name in articles. She used her birth name professionally in films. She worked on a national TV show.

You cannot out someone who is already so far out she wears coat hangers for earrings.

This fake controversy and using Lexi as a martyr is ridiculous and is creating more tension between LGB and Ts. You are throwing her back into the closet to make a point. Stop the nonsense already!
There never has been a gay community
I can settle this pretty fast...as someone who came out at 15, what I learned then is still relevant: GLBT people have never cared about each other, trusted each other, had intentions of anything long term with each other, and probably would prefer to remain an anonymous, don't-call-me-again community. We have corporate fools who court us during Pride for one reason - to get their hands on our money, while the actual gay people insult each other, compare notes on who has more, tear each other apart...bullying? How about starting with the way gay people treat one another? 'It Gets Better?' Bullshit! We 'are there' for each other for the first ten minutes of meeting or until the next better looking, more affluent guy comes along. We have the social skills of a 13 year old girl and with the 'net, there is no incentive to even come out - so many guys look at what they'll be coming out to and no longer bother, because they see what's waiting for them - shallow, rude, emasculated men who don't have any confidence or kindness. We've spent all this time and money trying to educate non-gay people on how to be sensitive to us, all the while forgetting that GLBT people need to learn these simple things when it comes to how we treat each other. Unfortunately, most of us don't care, or after trying to become part of the community, have given up and moved back to the towns they came from. We know better than to act like this especially towards each other. This 'rich bitch' attitude has got to go.
Too many Rulers
The difference, Rich, is that Xtra and its parent are private companies that do not employ Susan Gapka in any way. Her posting of the rules, her tone and "announcements" about her changes to Xtra are arrogant, obnoxious and evoke a sigh of dread in many G and L Torontonians at yet another Great Leader complex "leader".
In case you didn't notice...
Natasha you should try scrolling to the bottom of one of these comment pages sometimes. That "big threatening boulder in the road" you accuse Susan of placing is printed prominently on each and every such page directly below the Submit button.
the “Iron (Trans)Lady” of Toronto?
Susan Gapka can sure end discussions (allegedly). Xtra survives on readers and commenters. A good controversy with lots of heated discussions brings more readers and commenters. Susan Gapka put a big threatening boulder in the road of this column and there haven't been any comments since. She very obsessive-compulsively planted the same threat into several long buried columns to try to lure allies for her cause (Allegedly). A shrewd political beast she is (allegedly). Is she going to do the same thing at Pride? Threaten people into submission? Is she going to take over XTRA? Is she the “Iron (Trans)Lady” of Toronto? Maybe her testosterone level is too high? Just asking... I hear that someone is making a movie about her (allegedly) -- a Bizzarro-Lois version of her as the Iron (Trans)Lady, Susan (Trans)Thatcher. As a public figure she should be glad for the attention. There is no such thing as bad attention... She's no Angelina Jolie. There are no Paparazzi chasing her. You are welcome Susan :-)
Guidelines for reader comments
Guidelines for reader comments

Submissions go directly online, without being seen by editors. So, it’s important that you follow the laws against defamation. Do that by keeping your comments focussed on issues, and on your ideas and opinions. Do not get personal and do not defame others. If you see defamatory comments made in other people’s postings, report them to our moderator, who will investigate within two business days.

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Avoid confusing statements; express your thoughts clearly and succinctly so readers will understand your opinion. Do not post superficial comments, such as a short phrase or just a few words.

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Right On!
Susan, you are RIGHT ON! Thank-you. Peace out!
What is success rate of surgery and transition
Thankyou Matt for your honest statement. One issue refused by the Trans Lobby is to examine the success rate of surgery and transition process and who should and should not go through this process. They promote only the success stories: There is now a Trangrendered supermodel --WOW!; A New Zeland MPP --WOW!; Trans has become glamourous with the likes of Chaz Bono's media machine. Trans Lobbyist want more surgeries to increase their numbers. However, any surgeries are still risky and can go wrong. So, how many botched Trans surgeries have there been? How many have had hormonal complications from pumping female hormones into a male body where it doesn't belong? How many have had blood clots, heart attacks, as a result of their transitioning process, then developed breast and prostate cancer? How many have had depressions and suicide from the hormones and side effects? Well the people who had complications are not the ones we see out in the bars or promoting Trans issues in the media --they hide out at home. How many have regretted their whole transitioning process and wished they could reverse it all? They should start talking so that the more naive ones are not lured into surgeries that cannot be reversed. Just because some part of a Trans person's brain is more similar to a female than a male (Theory) doesn't mean they should have surgery. Underneath it all they are still living in a male body but now complicated with artificial breasts and artificial vagina and pumped full artificial hormones, which only rarely can make-up and a dress camouflage. For some life gets better and for some it becomes worse. Let's hear some reality along with the fantasy.
Xtra is in for a lulu of a year
Matt Mills. Thank you for your intelligent and respectful response. The right of all groups to full human rights is never at question. All other issues are. I think the issue of Xtra being a gay and lesbian entity that covers trans events as opposed to being a trans entity will come to a head this year (just as it is doing at Pride). And you may then see the type of extreme behaviour that compels anonymity. All questioning of this "coalition" is read as 100% phobic hate like the right wing. We shall see what develops. Good luck.


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