March 16-22, 2006
Slant : FeedbackLetters to the Editor
Thank you for your story on the transgender children [News, "Trans Mission," Doron Taussig, March 9, 2006]. I am also the parent of a trans child. It was such a positive and truthful story and you were very nonjudgmental.
My child is now 37 years old, but he always felt like a boy in the wrong body. He said he knew he was meant to grow into a man, but his body kept betraying him. When "his" breasts began to develop, he became very depressed and angry. He "came out" at age 23 and has been so much happier ever since. He is now in a legal "gay" marriage to a man as his birth certificate still says female.
Kitten (Karen Gross)
I, like any human being, desire and demand the dignity of being treated as a human being, the respect of being listened to as an equal participant in this adventure of life, the opportunity to express oneself openly and freely, and to have our unique experiences relayed to the reading public in responsible, unbiased journalistic fashion, not exploitative sensationalism to put forth a certain viewpoint or to advance advertising revenue.
Your staff members who attended the trans-health conference showed great sensitivity, respect and a willingness to open their minds to learn and expand their understanding of people who are "not like me." It is acutely refreshing and engendering of hope to find those who are open and courageous enough to put aside society's bigotry, prejudice and rejection of those who do not fit into the strict binary code of their culture: those who are gender variant.
It is this kind of education that all people need in order to understand basic gender issues that can and do occur in some children and adults.
North Hollywood, CA
Your article was generally superb, but as a physician I would like to point out a few misconceptions. Hormonal treatments are not irreversible, nor are most surgical treatments other than castration and penectomy. On the contrary, forcing a trans girl to suffer male puberty leads to a permanent thickening of her vocal cords, which is irreversible, as well as facial hair growth that will require 250 hours of painful and expensive electrolysis to reverse. You also say that hormone "blockers can cause a host of medical problems." But they don't have any more unwanted side effects and complications than any medication.
The only people who still believe transsexualism is not an intersex condition (but is instead a psychiatric problem) are those with no knowledge of human sexual development, in particular old-guard psychoanalysts, and they're a dying breed.
Dana Beyer, M.D.
Chevy Chase, Md.
There are a number of ad hoc groups with the common interest of stopping the [University City District's proposed] Neighborhood Improvement District [News, "Tax Burdened," Jenna Portnoy, Feb. 9, 2006]. Area legislators are struggling with ideas to relieve the escalating tax burdens ... [but] the nonprofits [backing the NID] represent a very large portion of University City and yet are removed from the tax rolls because of their nonprofit status. The creation of the NID as an arm of UCD will leave nonprofits at a voluntary level, but grant them assessment rights on businesses and residential units of four or more. This leaves an uneven burden on the residents. The UCD is an unelected entity that does not represent or promote the wishes of the community and does not have wide participation or support. We are opposed to any additional mandated taxes, especially by an unelected group that is not representative of all stakeholders in the University City boundaries.
All neighborhoods need to re-examine the power these entities are trying to impose under the banner of improvement on behalf of the community.
In [Arts Agenda, "Avant Garde Exposed," Christian Polidoro, March 9, 2006], Liberty Bears was incorrectly identified as the city's oldest leathermen group. The Philadelphians are.