arvan's picture

Stephen Hammond: Helping Transgender and Gender Variant Youth

One of the most difficult things to accept, even today, is the idea of transgender.  Add the notion of children and youth to it and it raises all kinds of questions for each of us.

I happened to be in Seattle Washtington at the same time as the Gender Spectrum Family Conference was going on.  I read about a transgender youth from Vancouver in an article in the Globe and Mail by Adriana Barton and tracked down this conference.

I didn't want to interfere, but in the middle of the conference I was able to get a few minutes of time of the founder, Stephanie Brill.  With no prep or warning at all, this articulate woman was able to sum up more wisdom for parents (and all of us wanting to learn more) in a couple minutes, than I thought was possible (one take). 

I can't wait to read her book, The Transgender Child (which I bought there) and find out more.  If you want to know more, go to

There's so much to learn and so many ways we can make the lives of people better - especially those who are often marginalized. - (Stephen Hammond)

arvan's picture

Between invisible friends

By: Delwar Hussain

Bangladeshis thrive in and work against the ‘grey area’ of subtle acceptance of un-discussed alternative sexualities. From a very young age, Suleman (not his real name) has known that he was attracted to men. He would wear his mother’s saris when she was out of the house, and put on his sister’s makeup in the belief that this is what men found appealing. Suleman also knew that he wanted to be an imam. He sought to understand the creation of the world, to find answers to questions about life after death. At 13 he joined a madrassa, where he began the required rigorous training, which included memorising the entire Quran and learning Arabic and Persian. Small in stature but with an imposing black beard, he is today dressed in a white kurta-pyjama with a matching skull cap. “Imams have a lot of responsibility,” he says. “The Malik has chosen me, even with all my flaws, to follow him. If I can fulfil even the slightest of his wishes, then Allah is pleased.”

Now 32, Suleman believes his education is still not over, although he is a teacher at the same madrassa at which he studied, leading the five daily prayers and also the Friday jumma at one of the largest mosques in Dhaka. His dry, husky voice, a result of the fiery sermons about how to lead an Islamic life, has a cheerful tinkle buried within it. Suleman made the decision to become a religious leader partly in the hope that it would bring an end to the desire he had for men, something he thought at the time to be outside the bounds of religious acceptability. As with the other Abrahamic religions, the story of Lot and the destruction of Sodom, used by some Muslims to condemn homosexuality, was a narrative with which he was intimately familiar. In earlier years, Suleman tried controlling his feelings by praying and fasting obsessively, in the process excelling in the eyes of the scholars at the madrassa.

arvan's picture

Flexible ID status suggested for Swedish trans teens by Dr. Rydelius

By David Landes
The Local

Young Swedes who suspect they are transsexuals ought to be issued special ID cards allowing them to hide their undesired gender during their trial phase as the opposite sex, according to one of the country’s most respected child psychiatrists.

“This has to do with the practical aspects of living life as the opposite gender,” Per-Anders Rydelius, chair of the maternal and child health department at Karolinska Institutet’s Astrid Lindgren's Children Hospital, told The Local.

“They must be able to show their ID card without people thinking they are being deceived.”

Since 2001, Rydelius has led a team of doctors, including an endocrinologist, a reconstructive plastic surgeon, and a gynaecologist, which is overseeing a two-year long “real-life test” or “real-life experience” for young Swedes who think they may fit the clinical definition of a transsexual.

arvan's picture

Original Plumbing TV: Episode 1 - The Bedroom Interview

Amos Mac and Rocco Kayiatos introduce themselves to you via Original Plumbing TV. In honor of Original Plumbing magazines's first issue titled "The Bedroom Issue", they talk to you from the bedroom and show off their top surgery scars, and tell you a little bit about themselves.

arvan's picture

Homophobia Heightens in Swaziland


On the 29th of December 2009 a lesbian woman and human rights activist, Thuli Rudd, also known as Thulani, was arrested on her way back home in Swaziland at the border from South Africa. She was charged with the murder of her partner, the late Pitseng Vilakati whose body had been found on Tuesday the 22nd of December 2009. Since August 2009 when Rudd went public with her engagement to the late Pitseng Vilakati, they have been in the spotlight with many people in Swaziland condemning their relationship. They have been under extraordinary pressure and both women demonstrated incredible courage in the face of this pressure.

Whilst in South Africa, Thulani had met with activists and discussed the endless violations of her and her partner’s human right to dignity, freedom and equality throughout 2009. There had been major media coverage of their relationship with numerous distortions and misrepresentations as well as a massive public reaction which was largely hostile, insulting and deeply disrespectful.

Monica Mbaru of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission in Africa expressed concern that Thulani is being tried and convicted by the media and the public before the investigation has been completed and that a strong possibility of this being a hate crime by homophobic persons may be ignored in the haste to prove Thulani guilty and further feed into the already high levels of homophobia.

arvan's picture

Islam and Trans / gender / sexual / vestite...persons

By Mohammad Hashim Kamali


ISLAMIC jurisprudence provides only some detail on the treatment of persons who combine the characteristics of both sexes: transgenders and hermaphrodites (khuntha), and men with innate effeminate tendencies (mukhannath). Issues of concern over their inheritance rights, qualification as witnesses, and rules of female privacy (satr) are discussed.
I shall review some of these, but then also pose the larger question of fairness over the stigma and prejudice that such persons face in our midst. Some of these were highlighted in a New Straits Times editorial (Dec 20), and several interviews and responses given by religious leaders and others on the subject.

Both khuntha and mukhannath are qualified to be witnesses if they are upright (‘adl) and do not actively exhibit or exaggerate their masculine or feminine tendencies, but not so if they do, as that would undermine their rectitude.

Yet the leading schools of Islamic law have differed due to a renowned hadith proclaiming that “Muslims are upright in relationship to one another”, which means that people are presumed to be upright unless proven otherwise.

arvan's picture

New Film About Gender Identity: Diagnosing Difference

How does it feel to have your gender identity included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders?  Diagnosing Difference is a full-length length documentary featuring interviews with 13 diverse scholars, activists, and artists who identify on the trans spectrum (transgender, transsexual, genderqueer, and gender variant) about the impact and implications of the Gender Identity Disorder (GID) on their lives and communities.

Historically, non-trans medical and mental health care professionals have positioned themselves as the “experts” on transgender experience, creating standards, guidelines, and diagnoses that inform legal policies and mediate every aspect of life.  Diagnosing Difference shifts the focus to explore the many complexities of the diagnosis from the perspectives of those it affects most directly and personally, including access to medical care, legal ramifications, social stigma, implications for psychotherapeutic care, treatment trauma, and differences in experience based on factors like race, class, gender orientation, and generation.

Jack Molay's picture

On transsexuals and transvestites and Ray Blanchard's urge to classify everything as a perversion

The DSM manual is up for revision, and the psychiatric urge to label so-called "paraphilias" is very strong.

arvan's picture

[Bi Women]: Call For Submission - Spring 2010 issue will be BI YOUTH

ATTENTION Bisexual/Pansexual + Queer-identified Youth: Robyn Ochs says "I am writing to invite you to write for the next issue of Bi Women":

The theme for the spring 2010 issue of Bi Women will be "BI YOUTH".

"If you are a young bi person, 25 or under, tell us your story. What is it like to be you? How did you come to identify as bisexual?  Or, if you have a non-binary identity but use a different word than bisexual to describe yourself — tell us what, and why."

"Where did you learn about bisexuality?  Is/was there a Gay/Straight Alliance in your high school?  Are your friends accepting of your bisexuality?  What about your family?  Do you have any bi role models?  Where do you get support?  What advice would you give to other young people who think they might be bi?"

Deadline: February 5, 2010 -- Let them know right away if you're planning on writing.

Send your submissions to

quixoticblazes's picture

Dismantling the Closet

Academics have debated the merits of the “closet” for LGBT individuals for quite some time. Many have espoused coming out as act of self-liberation.

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