Tuesday 28 February 2012

Religious Dogma based on Scientific Ignorance

"The Earth is Flat, therefore it's OK to be cruel"

That's what the article Restricting Activities of Transgender Church Member | Ask Our Experts | Church Safety says, in effect.

Chromosomes are the structures on which the genes are carried, which, in turn, are the mechanism by which hereditary characteristics are transmitted from parents to off-spring. An individual normally has 23 pairs of chromosomes in his or her body cells; one of each pair being derived from each parent. One pair of chromosomes is known to determine an individual's sex. The biological sexual constitution of an individual is fixed at birth (at the latest), and cannot be changed, either by the natural development of organs of the opposite sex, or by medical or surgical means. As a result, a sex change operation cannot affect a person's true sex.

Taking things one at a time:
One pair of chromosomes is known to determine an individual's sex.
Counterexample: J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2008 Jan;93(1):182-9
A 46,XY mother who developed as a normal woman underwent spontaneous puberty, reached menarche, menstruated regularly, experienced two unassisted pregnancies, and gave birth to a 46,XY daughter with complete gonadal dysgenesis.

The biological sexual constitution of an individual is fixed at birth (at the latest)
Counterexamples : Bone marrow-derived cells from male donors can compose endometrial glands in female transplant recipients by Ikoma et al in Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2009 Dec;201(6):608.e1-8 & Transplanted human bone marrow cells generate new brain cells by Crain BJ, Tran SD, Mezey E. in J Neurol Sci. 2005 Jun 15;233(1-2):121-3 :
These show that a bone-marrow transplant recipient's entire bodies gradually become genetically identical to that of the donor due to cell turnover. Even the brain. Even the reproductive glands.

The biological sexual constitution of an individual... cannot be changed... by the natural development of organs of the opposite sex
Counterexample : Imperato-McGinley J, Guerrero L, Gautier T, Peterson RE. Steroid 5alpha-reductase deficiency in man: an inherited form of male pseudohermaphroditism. Science 1974 Dec 27; 186 (4170): 1213-5
In an isolated village of the southwestern Dominican Republic, 2% of the live births were in the 1970's, guevedoces (actually male pseudohermaphrodites). These children appeared to be girls at birth, but at puberty these 'girls' sprout muscles, testes, and a penis. For the rest of their lives they are men in nearly all respects. Their underlying pathology was found to be a deficiency of the enzyme, 5-alpha Reductase.

The original question:
A man who has surgically changed his gender to a woman is active in our women's ministry activities. Church leaders are increasingly uncomfortable with this arrangement because most of the women in the church are not aware of this person's true gender. Could we be exposed to legal risk by restricting—or even excluding—this person from women's ministry activities?

"This person makes us feel uncomfortable - can we safely shun and exclude them"? The "Church Leaders", not the congregation, are looking for an excuse. A perfect example of Lack of Charity.

1 Corinthians 13:2
2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

Friday 24 February 2012

Children and Adolescents With Gender Identity Disorder Referred to a Pediatric Medical Center

Children and Adolescents With Gender Identity Disorder Referred to a Pediatric Medical Center, Spack et al, Pediatrics. 2012 Feb 20
After establishment of a multidisciplinary gender clinic, the gender identity disorder population increased fourfold. Complex clinical presentations required additional mental health support as the patient population grew. Mean age and Tanner Stage were too advanced for pubertal suppressive therapy to be an affordable option for most patients. Two-thirds of patients were started on cross-sex hormone therapy. Greater awareness of the benefit of early medical intervention is needed. Psychological and physical effects of pubertal suppression and/or cross-sex hormones in our patients require further investigation.

This is the first study of a US cohort of children and adolescents with gender identity disorder.
And that is significant. Think about it. Until now, this was too "controversial" to do research on. There was no funding for it. All of the research until now has been in Europe, Australia, Canada, in fact everywhere except the USA.

Wednesday 22 February 2012



Dear Committee Secretary,

I'm already in a legal same-sex marriage. We celebrated our 31st anniversary yesterday.

We married in 1981. In 1985 I was diagnosed at a Fertility Clinic as Intersex - thought to be male. My birth certificate says "boy", and I was legally male when married.

In 2005, after my body changed, I was re-diagnosed more accurately with "severe androgenisation of a non-pregnant woman". I am now legally female.

I have a letter from the former Attorney General, the Hon. Peter Ruddock, confirming that as our marriage was valid when contracted, subsequent changes of circumstances do not affect its validity.

While such natural changes are rare - less than 100 in Australia - they happen. More common are Transsexual transitions, which require medical intervention.

Some of us are married. A few of the stronger marriages survive, despite the enormous societal, social and personal pressures to end them.

Same-sex marriages exist, and have existed for decades. Society has not collapsed. Children of those marriages continue to grow up, indistinguishable from other children their age.

Marriage equality will be made available to all, sooner or later. So please, in the name of sheer human decency and common humanity, let it be sooner.

To make your own submission - for or against - please fill in the http://www.australianmarriageequality.com/senate-inquiry-submission-form/.

Monday 20 February 2012

In case you're wondering....

Just gave my first lecture of the year today. And got reminded of just how much I enjoy teaching!

Friday 17 February 2012

Pubertal blockade safe for pediatric patients with gender identity disorder

Pubertal blockade safe for pediatric patients with gender identity disorder

Pubertal blockade can safely be initiated in pediatric patients who experience gender identity disorder, according to researchers at the Canadian Pediatric Endocrine Group 2012 Meeting. With exposure to hormones such as estrogen or testosterone later in their adolescence, these patients will experience normal metabolic processes.

“If kids are persisting at puberty (My emphasis - ZEB) [about the need to be the other gender], they will almost always persist,” said Daniel Metzger, MD, FRCPC, a pediatric endocrinologist at BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and a clinical professor, division of endocrinology in the department of pediatrics, University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

Metzger spoke about the endocrine management of transgender youth and said pediatric patients who experience gender identity disorder require watchful management to reduce the risks for suicidality, depression, drug use and eating disorders, which are often secondary to gender identity disorder.

“These issues are frequently dealt with if patients can get on the road to transition,” Metzger said, noting that parental support is key in making the transition smooth.

Patients will undergo counseling and therapy if they express a desire to transition from male to female or female to male to ensure they are serious about their desire, he said.

“The effect of the puberty-blocking drugs is reversible,” Metzger said. “If they change their mind, they would come off the (puberty-blocking) drugs and enter puberty.”

Although pubertal blockade, such as gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists, puts bone and mineral status on hold, youths can resume the process of building bone once they are exposed to estrogen or testosterone, Metzger said.

In response to Metzger’s presentation, Norman Spack, MD, an associate in endocrinology and co-director of the Gender Management Service Clinic at Children’s Hospital Boston, said not treating youths with gender identity disorder is beginning to be thought of as disregard for the Hippocratic Oath. Spack co-wrote guidelines on treating gender identity disorder published by the Endocrine Society in 2009.

“[These patients] often harm themselves if they are not treated because they are clearly in the wrong body,” Spack said. “The younger generation (of endocrinologists) who have grown up with gender-variant people is seeing this as a disregard for a human right.”

In addition, pediatric patients are continually being psychologically tested to affirm their choice because the administration of sex steroids will not produce effects that can be reversed, Spack said.

“It is not reversible when you do a hormonal flip and give boys estrogen and girls testosterone,” he said. “The Dutch experience has demonstrated that pubertal blockade does not preclude the ability of youths to have normal bone density.”

Reference : Metzger D. The endocrine management of transgender youth. Presented at: the Canadian Pediatric Endocrine Group 2012 Scientific Meeting; Feb. 9-11, 2012; Winnipeg, MB, Canada. (Link to article will be included when I can get it)

Finally, endocrinologists have plucked up the courage to state in public what until now they've only said in private. I (and they themselves) expect them to be pilloried for it of course, but lives are at stake.

Thursday 16 February 2012

Two Similar Cases

Letter to White House health conference organizers | THE INTERSEX NETWORK
Why did I want to attend this conference? I have never self-identified as a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transsexual, so what is my interest in this White House LGBT Conference on Health? It is because during my life as a late-virilizing intersex person, I have been misunderstood as, and persecuted as, at various times a lesbian, gay man, bisexual and transsexual.
I have had to fight to get a legal presence and a birth certificate that is congruent with my adult naturally-virilized masculine gender. My entire life has been one great battle just to be myself because there is no legal recognition for the millions of intersex people like me in this great country of ours! There is no recognition of the existence of intersex people even in the email sent to me about this LGBT conference!

See the 1982 Royal Nepalese Press Photo of me at the top of this letter. I am the taller bearded man near the center of the picture. Do I look like a normal woman to you? I was born looking like a normal baby girl but by the time I was a young adult my body had self-virilized, becoming hirsute and phallic. This natural late-virilizing intersex change was welcomed by me, because I always thought of myself as male and started calling myself David at the age of nine.
He went the other way. I still haven't been able to get my UK Birth Certificate corrected. But I've had fewer problems overall.

He chose the name "David" at age 9. I chose the name "Zoe" at age 10.

Like him, I've been called at various times a lesbian, gay man, and transsexual, often all three at the same time by the same person. The only one I identify with is the last, as it seems to me there's no essential difference between a natural or therapeutically-induced transition. He doesn't identify as Trans, I do, sorta, almost, even though it's not technically true. No matter.

What matters to me more is a court case a little less than two years before I was married.

In the marriage of C and D (falsely called C). (1979) 35 FLR 340 (1979) 5 FamLR 636 (1979) 28 ALR 524.

The circumstances here are more similar to my own, or at least, similar to my own in 1979. The Husband's condition was CAH (Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia) , presumably due to 21-hydroxylase deficiency. My own is CAH, due to 3β-Hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase deficiency (we think). Symptoms differ in detail, but are similar. I looked more male in some respects, he looked more male in others.

Now on to the judgement about this person's marriage.

The wife was contemplating immediately prior to marriage and did in fact believe that she was marrying a male. She did not in fact marry a male but a combination of both male and female, notwithstanding the fact that the husband exhibited as a male;
... marriage, according to law in Australia, is "the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life."
I am satisfied on the evidence that the husband was neither man nor woman but was a combination of both, and a marriage in the true sense of the word as within the definition referred to above could not have taken place and does not exist.
The circumstances of this marriage and ours are sufficiently similar that they are legally indistinguishable. I knew a bit less about my situation than he did, my severe abdominal pains happened at 22 as well though, and I still have the scar from bikini-line to breastbone from the surgery that cured it. But I wasn't told anything other than that my gallbladder and "anomalous tissue" had been removed for biopsy.

There is one crucial, and fundamental difference though. That marriage lasted 11 years, but was essentially dead before certified as non-existent by the court.

We've been married 31 years less a few days, and are still as much in love as we ever were. To legally nullify our marriage, we, and no-one else, would have to petition the Family Court, no-one can do that to us.

I still bawled my eves out when I read this case. Because the Judge was correct in his decision. I wasn't male, not in 1979, nor 1981, I just looked like it. Mostly. For most purposes I can be considered Trans, but not here, not for this one.

Whether the Law recognises our partnership is in the most important ways, irrelevant. We are married.

Sunday 12 February 2012

Coming Up For Air

Things are starting to stabilise, and next week I resume teaching. My Mother In Law has made a very good cognitive recovery, but there's still months of physiotherapy ahead so she can walk again unaided.

I've had time to de-stress a little, and unless another crisis appears, will be back to blogging regularly again soon. I hope. Remembering what happened the last time I said that.

As a change of pace, a tidbit from history I've been using to keep my mind refreshed and relaxed, ready for whatever Joker I get in Life's next hand. And now for something completely different. The markings on Austra-Hungarian aircraft in 1918.

This represents preprinted fabric from J. Backhausen & Söhne (sons) for the Oeffag factory and applied to the wings and horizontal tail unit of four late production 153. & about 1/3 of all the 253. series Albatros D type machines.
Further research shows that it was silk-screened, not printed (the rollers of the time weren't up to it); that there were two layers, one brown, one green, on a base fabric that could be any colour from light beige (undyed) to mustard-yellow; and that the registration was deliberately coarse, to give the effect of dark areas around the edges.

This was the effect, as near as we can determine from the black-and-white photos and a sample of the fabric that has survived:

This aircraft, "Number Six", Oeffag Albatros D.III 253-64, is shown in the picture below.

The fuselage is varnished plywood, a strip of "sworl" cloth glued on the top and covered with dope/varnish, and all wing and tail surfaces composed of this cloth.

The aircraft was usually piloted by Friedrich Hefty of the Flik 42J fighter squadron.
253.64 Albatros D.III (Oef) Flik 42J Friedrich Hefty

Hefty was wounded in the right foot by Italian anti-aircraft fire on 7 October 1915. He transferred to Flik 42J in the Isonzo sector of the Italian front in October 1917, scoring his second victory during the Battle of Caporetto. During 1918, Hefty formed a strong friendship with fellow pilots Johann Risztics and Ferdinand Udvardy. Amongst the airmen of Flik 42J, the trio became known as the Arany Triumviratus (Golden Triumvirate).

Hefty began marking the sides of his Albatros D.III with the number "6."
This particular aircraft was flown by Friedrich Hefty of Flik 42J, and it was forced down August 28th 1918 when being flown by Geza Keisz.

Doing this research on such an obscure topic hones my skills in wading through legal and medical databases, in search for clues in the Science of Sex and Gender.

But I also need to do some meditation, giving my motor skills some exercise, while the higher brain-functions relax and just exist. "Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits". Sometimes it helps not to be self-aware of what one is doing, to let the unconscious mind take over for a while. The result? A model in 1/144 scale, 5.01cm (just under 2 inches) long.