Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Cutting Edge-January 20, 2013

The Cutting Edge

By Barbara F. Anderson Ph.D., LCSW

 “LGBTQIA” is the name of a lead article by Michael Schulman in the STYLES Section of the New York Times, Jan. 10, 2013.  Surprisingly, it focuses on the T of the title.  It features several young people who experience atypical gender identification, the most notable of whom is Stephen Ira Beatty, 21, born Kathlyn, the trans son of Warren Beatty and Annette Bening.  The article goes on to describe several universities’ manner of accommodating trans students.  The Advocate magazine ranked the University of Pennsylvania among the top 10 transfriendly schools.  It offers gender-neutral housing and its medical insurance program covers SRS. According to a survey by Campus Pride, “at least 203
campuses allow trans students to room with their preferred gender; 49 have a process to change one’s name and gender in university records; and 57 cover hormone therapy.  In December, the University of Iowa became the first to add a ‘transgender’ checkbox to its college application.” The times they are achangin'
An article in the BBC News, Liverpool, Dec.13, 2012 notes that April Ashley, one of the first Britons to undergo SRS has received an MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) for her work contributing to transgender equality.  The actress and campaigner was born George Jamieson in Liverpool in 1935. She underwent experimental SRS in Morocco in 1960 at which time she was told she had only a 50% chance of surviving the operation.  Following surgery she had a successful modeling career.  She applied for a divorce from her husband 10 years later, but was denied because the judge ruled she was still a biological man and her marriage was invalid. She was granted an annulment instead.  (Can you explain that!!!)  This ruling ended the hopes of transpeople marrying until 2004 when the Gender Recognition Act allowed people to legally change gender.  Upon receiving the honor at Buckingham Palace, she modestly declared, “it was the normal thing to do,” referring to her half-century of work on behalf of the LGBT community.

Along the lines of “we could learn something from Britain,” (see above article), a story in The Pink News, Europe’s largest gay news service, Jan. 2, 2013, is entitled “US: TG man faces difficulty in getting a divorce from wife.”  It features Thomas Beatie whom the Guinness World Record recognized as the “1st Married Man to Give Birth.”  Mr. Beatie, a female-to-male father of 3 is trying to get a divorce from his wife of 9 years.  He gained attention after giving birth to his 1st child in 2008.  He went on to have 2 more children on ’09 and ’10.

Before marrying, Mr. Beatie had transitioned from female to male in 2002.  However, he didn’t have his female reproductive organs removed.  After transitioning, he registered legally as a man and married.  Now getting a divorce in Arizona is proving difficult.  A judge has questioned first, whether the state’s same-sex marriage ban prevents him from ending the union and if, in fact, the marriage is valid, even though the individuals are of opposite genders.  Stay tuned.

“Contemporary Sexuality,” the Nov. /Dec. 2012 newsletter of the professional sexuality organization, American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) did a review of the updated Standards of Care.  The SOC is a manual of clinical guidance to healthcare professionals working with the TG community.  This document dates back to 1979 when the organization was known as the Harry Benjamin International Gender Association (HBIGDA).  The current version is the 7th in a series of modifications aiming to guide professionals in the state of the art medical and psychological care.


I will devote next month’s blog to a discussion of specific updated changes and their rationale.