Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Cutting Edge- May 2013

The Cutting Edge-May 3013

 Barbara F. Anderson, Ph.D., LCSW

 Ooops!!!  An astute reader and lawyer gently corrected me on a statement in last month’s column.  Regarding an article on the website of the Human Rights Campaign in which I repeated their assertion that there is no federal law protecting against workplace discrimination, the reader states that in fact, Title VII does offer such protection.  The case is Macy v. Holder and was decided in 2011.  Interestingly, the complainant in the case was Mia Macy, a resident of the Bay Area.  Subsequently I returned to the HRC site and reread the article but was unable to find any way to comment on or correct the post.

 Several months ago I featured the Jim Collins Foundation, the only national non-profit organization with a mission to fund gender-confirming surgeries for trans people who cannot afford such services They recently announced the names of their 2013 grantees.  Nicky Roberts and Mac Anderson were selected from hundreds of applicants who demonstrated urgency and financial need.  The President and Co-founder of the organization stated, in making the awards, “Nicky and Mac, like so many of our applicants, have demonstrated a life or death need for surgery.  Without this grant, they would not be able to live productive, healthy lives…. We are thrilled to be able to help them become the people they need to be.”

 The State Department has updated its policy regarding the issuing of passports that reflect a person’s current gender.  While in the past documentation of SRS was required, now “you can obtain a full 10-year passport with an updated gender if you have had CLINICAL TREATMENT determined by your doctor to be appropriate in your case to facilitate gender transition.”  Any licensed physician familiar with your transition-related treatment can provide a letter.  For more details on how to apply for a passport see the US State Department Foreign Affairs Manual, 7 FAM 300 Appendix M: Gender Change @

 In an online article in The Hill, “HHS withdraws plan to reconsider coverage of sex-change operations” by Sam Baker, the Health and Human Services Department has withdrawn its proposal to reverse an earlier ruling (1981) that sex-change procedures are experimental and should not be covered by Medicare and Medicaid.  This ruling was motivated by an assumption that the use of taxpayers’ money to fund such procedures would “attract criticism from Congress.”  Initially HHS invited public comments for the next 30 days on whether to reexamine this decision.  However, I understand this offer has been rescinded. 

 An article, “Dispute on Transgender Rights Unfolds at a Colorado School,” appeared in the NYTimes, 3/18/13.  It recounts the story of Coy Mathis, 6 years old.  Born a boy, Coy identified as a girl and part way through kindergarten her parents requested that she be treated as one.  A few months into 1st grade, Coy’s parents removed her from school because she was not allowed to use the girls’ bathroom.  Instead she was offered a gender-neutral facility.  A legal battle has ensued “that is likely to test Colorado’s anti-discrimination law, which expanded protections for transgender people in 2008.” Stay tuned.

 An April 7 article in the New York Times, “When Criminality Becomes Attached to Wardrobe Choice,” exposed a situation in Queens, N.Y. in which transgender individuals have been targeted by the police with charges of prostitution.  A survey of 300 residents of Jackson Heights found that “while 28% of straight respondents reported having been stopped by the police, 54% of gay, lesbian bisexual and transgender respondents reported this kind of treatment….  Another component of this is the much-denounced use of condoms as evidence.  ‘It can depend on which side of Sixth Avenue you are standing on in the Village…. If you’re a student carrying condoms, you’re practicing good public health; if you’re a transgendered person of color, you’re a prostitute.’”

 In brief:  A new book, “The Transsexual Scientist, “ by Thomas Bevan, Ph.D. (Amazon Kindle) is “an autobiography and scientific story of the author’s search for the causes of transsexualism and transgenderism.”


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