January is Cervical Health Awareness Month!

It’s a new year and some of the resolutions we made were related to health.  I doubt many of us were thinking about our cervix at the time.  Many trans men and genderqueer/gender non-conforming folks have a cervix and that cervix needs to be looked after with regular Pap tests.

No one (whether female, trans or gender non-conforming) enjoys having a Pap test.  However, the alternative of living with unchecked cancer is not a reasonable option, in my opinion.

This week the Fenway Clinic in Boston released research findings that indicate FTM patients had over 10 times higher risk of having an inadequate Pap test compared to female patients.  One could read these numbers as showing that trans men as a group have a 10 times increase in their risk for cervical cancer when compared to females.

Part of the explanation for this statistic is that transgender and gender-nonconforming people have been treated with varying degrees of disrespect by medical institutions for more years than anyone can count.  Therefore, we are very wary of medical institutions and often use medical care as a last resort.  However, when people are treated with respect during interactions with medical staff, statistics like those in the Fenway research can be reversed.

The National Center for Transgender Equality has a good article on how we can protect ourselves from cervical cancer.

Buck Angel, trans advocate and porn star, made a great public service video about the importance of regular gynecological exams for trans men who are still living with their cervix.

Best of health to everyone in 2014!

-Leo

Transgender man recognized as father in Japan

The Supreme Court of Japan upheld the petition of a transgender man to be recorded in the official family registry as the father of the child born to his wife by artificial insemination.

The Court ruled that the law on people suffering from sexual identity disorder calls for legally treating female-to-male transgender people as men.

Transgender men not only become husbands under the law, but are also presumed to be the fathers of children born to their wives during marriage.

We do not need science to legitimize our gender identities

According to Dr. Rachel Levin, an associate professor of biology and neuroscience at Pomona College, trans* people do not require the discovery of a trans gene to support our gender identities. Dr. Levin spoke at the Trans Awareness Week event “Rethinking Trans,” held at California State University, Northridge.

In her presentation, Dr. Levin emphasized the inherent biases in past transgender scientific research studies. Dr. Levin’s goal is to help trans* people depend less on science when claiming their gender identity.

 

–Leo

Protect your family rights, right now.

If you are thinking of starting a family, please consider doing some legal homework to try to protect your new family from extended family members who feel that it is their duty to take your children just because you are trans*. The legal rules for trans* parents are still uncertain and evolving. Because of ignorance and bias, courts are free to treat trans* parents unfairly. This is the horror story Daniel and Cindy are living.

Daniel is a transman and Cindy’s parents sued to gain custody of the children because they do not approve of Daniel. Apparently, Daniel’s in-laws approved of him before they knew of Daniel’s trans* experience.

This and similar scenarios have occurred many times in the lives of trans* people. Extended family members behave in unexpected ways and can make trans* family life more difficult because laws and courts openly favor cis-gender people.

Fortunately, there is an increasing number of legal advocates who can help us navigate the legal system and decrease the bias and ignorance in the court system.

-Leo

Transgender Awareness Week Spotlights the Struggles and Victories of Latino Trans People

This article from the Latin Post highlights transwoman Vivian Diego. Diego recently survived a vicious beating on the streets of Los Angeles at the hands of four males. Diego was beaten simply because she lives as female.

Unfortunately, the article also demonstrates confusion about trans* people. The writer refers to Vivian Diego by her male birth name and refers to her as a “transgender man”. A transgender man would not prefer to be called Vivian and work as a waitress. A waitress is called “miss”, “ma’am” and “she” by polite restaurant patrons. So, it is very safe to assume that Vivian Diego prefers female pronouns and the female gender and is a transgender woman.

However, we do not have to assume someone’s gender or pronoun preference because we can always ask the person for their preferred pronoun in order to remove our confusion and embarrasment. Sometimes I get the feeling that for some folks talking gender brings up the same uncomfortable feeling as talking about sex.
Sex and gender are just different sides of the same human.

Be kind to each other.

Leo