To The Editor #105

Originally appeared in Transgender Tapestry #105, Spring 2004.

My partner is a transgendered person (FTM) and we are both readers of Transgender Tapestry. We have noticed that there are not many articles on or about FTMs. There is really no specific magazine and very few books on this topic. We have been to drag king conferences, which are helpful and supportive, but to my partner this is part of his identity and not just entertainment.
The support groups available in our area are primarily for MTFs and even though they say they welcome FTMs, there are none in attendance. My partner could attend one of their meetings but doesn?t feel they can fully identify with his issues.

Could you please make a connection with someone in the FTM community who would be willing to write one or two articles for each edition of Tapestry? Knowing there would always be something on this topic would help to validate that FTMs really do exist.

?Joanne L and my partner SP

Tapestry is committed to equity in content by and about FTMs and their significant others. Since I became editor in 1990, we?ve published every FTM-themed article we?ve received?and I expect the previous editors did also.
Ten years ago, Jason Cromwell was kind enough to edit a special FTM issue of Chrysalis, a magazine I edited at the time. It took him a full year to beg, bribe, wheedle, and cajole enough FTM-specific content to fill 60 pages. It?s not that there?s a lack of FTMs, but there certainly is a scarcity of FTMs who write. Those we know who do write tend to be overcommitted and unavailable and we wouldn?t presume to further burden them?although we would be joyous to hear from them. Yes, this is a hint, Jamison Green!
Perhaps someone who reads this will be inspired to write for Tapestry. Perhaps you will?Ed.

----------------------Now being in my sixties, I have vivid memories of my younger days, when blatant discrimination, especially by race, sex, and religion (to name just three) were condoned in our nation. Happily, the Civil Rights Movement and related causes resulted in such overt discrimination being outlawed; although discrimination has not been completely eradicated, it is certainly not acceptable to the great majority of us.
Perhaps as a result, and perhaps as a parallel, other less egregious forms of social ostracism have become generally acceptable. Although here, too, there?s still
a long way to go, it?s become politically incorrect to tell Polish jokes and make other such derogatory stereotypical references to people on account of their
ethnic origins, religious beliefs, or other such characteristics.

Certainly IFGE has been a strong advocate of legislative action and political correctness, primarily focused on gender-related issues, but extending to all forms of derogation on account of individual differences. Consequently, I found it disturbing to read Carla Fong?s ?The Twins? in the Summer 2002 issue. Although I generally enjoyed the piece, I was bothered by her words referring to the anesthetic and IV given her: that it ?makes you pretty much indifferent to what?s going on around you. Sort of like being a Republican, I guess.?

Although I may be in a minority among the transgender community,
I do consider myself a Republican. I don?t always support, and in some cases I actively oppose, some of the leaders and positions taken
by the party. I subscribe to the general principles of the party, but vote for Democrats and Independents almost as often as I do Republicans?but I am not, nor are most other Republicans I know, indifferent to what?s going on around us. Quite the contrary, we are very much aware and frequently quite concerned. We and Ms. Fong may disagree in our political beliefs, but disagreement and indifference are different things.
Had Ms. Fong been addressing a position taken by the Republican Party or by some of its leaders, and in so doing expressed an opinion contrary to mine, that would have been fine. That?s what we?re all about in this country. But for no apparent reason other than to be funny or cute, to apply a deroga-tory stereotype to the millions of us who regard ourselves to be Republicans is something else altogether. And despite the disclaimer in the front of the magazine that the editorial content of the magazine might or might not reflect
the opinion of IFGE, I am surprised that you, as editor, didn?t excise Ms. Fong?s remark. It had absolutely nothing to do with the story, and appears to be nothing more than a gratuitous slur intended to negatively stereotype those of us whose political affiliations differ from those of Ms. Fong and perhaps yourself.
Perhaps the best-known and most admired Republican in our history was Abraham Lincoln. Do you regard him as having been indifferent to what was going on around him? How about Secretary of State Colin Powell, who is said to be frequently at odds with President Bush? Is he indifferent to what?s going on around him in the executive offices of our country? I hardly think so. And how about former New York Mayor Rudy Giuilani? In my opinion, his public appearances in those trying times following the terrorist attacks reflected anything but indifference to what was going
on. Quite the contrary, even his political opponents expressed
appreciation for the concern and sensitivity he demonstrated to what was happening.
My intent in writing this letter wasn?t to disprove Ms. Fong?s
characterization of Republicans.

I neither need nor want to do that. I think our actions adequately accomplish that. However, considering your magazine?s previously consistent (I think) opposition to such derogatory stereotypes, it ill befits you to apparently endorse one with which you happen to agree. I?m disappointed in you.

?Name withheld by request

Constant reader, please skip the following paragraphs if you are humor-impaired.
Tapestry is and should be non-partisan. We don?t and won?t champion or condemn either Democrats or Republicans, and we would not want the magazine to take on a partisan tone in favor of either party. It would be fantasy, however, not to acknowledge that those who object the loudest to equal protection of transgendered and transsexual persons under the Constitution pull the R lever in the voting booth in disproportionate numbers.

We see no need to censor the political opinions of our authors, especially when they?re joking. We find it remarkable that you take such umbrage at Ms. Fong?s remark. In the immortal words of Foghorn Leghorn, ?It?s a?I say, it?s a joke, son.? Did you know Foghorn votes the straight? look at me when I?m talking to you, boy? Republican ticket? Omigosh! We?ve done it again!
Let us also say that yours is the first attempt of which we are aware to posit Republicans as eligible for protected status. It?s a novel idea, positively Nixonian. Oops! I meant to say Draconian. We can?t wait to see the studies by Dean Hamer on the XReP gene. Just kidding.

It?s curious that you invoke Abraham Lincoln; we doubt he would recognize or approve of the Republican Party in its
current form, hijacked as it has been by
religious zealots who have pushed through an anti-gay, anti-choice, anti-trans platform. We suspect that Mr. Lincoln, like you, would vote his conscience. By the way, we applaud you for that. Here?s hoping you can take your party back from the fanatics and make Mr. Lincoln proud.

And lest you Democrats find yourselves laughing?don?t think you don?t need to clean up your act, too.

Special Note on Your Editor?s

Political Affiliations

We?re surprised you make assumptions about our political affiliations. The only overt partisan act of which our editor is guilty was voting in a Republican primary in 1974 so she could vote, at the request
of a friend, for Lamar Alexander for Governor. That got her blacklisted for some years by Tennessee?s yellow-dog Democrats. She, like this magazine, is neither a Democrat nor a Republican?nor would she care to be. She would certainly have allowed Ms. Fong to joke about Democrats, if Ms. Fong had chosen to do so.

To show you your editor isn?t a Democrat, here?s a Democrat joke:

Q: What is a Republican?

A: A Democrat who got mugged.

And, since we?re not Republicans, here?s a Republican joke:

Q: What is a Democrat?

A: A Republican who got arrested.

Uh-oh, we?re going to hell now, for sure. Think there will be more Republicans there, or Democrats??Ed.


Dear Miqqi,I wanted to
let you know how much I appreciate your columns in Transgender Tapestry. Almost always they elicit in me, ?Why yes, that?s exactly how it is!??but far more eloquently stated than I could have mustered. In the hope your writings may be of further value, I pass them on to my wife, who has a
hard time reconciling that I have breasts and that we are addressed as ladies when we are out.



On City of Refuge

I read, with distaste, the article, ?A City of Refuge? in issue #103. The author doesn?t seem to grasp that a lot
of Tapestry readers are Christian, and are offended by her ridicule
of our beliefs. I?m not saying Christianity doesn?t have its share of ultra-conservative Pharisees,
but Christianity is not a political belief; it?s a relational one. A true Christian is one who obeys the teachings of Jesus, the Christ,
not one who just labels themself
as Christian.

The author?s references to ?Christians Obey!!!,? roadside
conversions and ?unruly masses,?
an ignored mother and child, and equating a fundamentalist with hate and bigotry are NOT appropriate
for your publication. Deborah Greenway?s references add nothing to the supposed point of the
article, her experience at being accepted in the town of Eureka Springs. I must congratulate her for her efficiency?she is both wasting paper and offending readers, all in one page! And what
do two photos of a statue have to do with an accepting town? Did she use all of her film on the statue, and have none left to remember the good times in town?

There?s already too much hate in this world. PLEASE, Deborah, before you go off venting your religious views and blasting others, stop and consider the point you are making, and whether or not it will actually benefit someone.

?Lee A W (A Transgendered Christian )

Ms. Greenway submitted a number of photos with her article. Our former art director chose the two that made it into print. Space prevented us from using
the others, which included shots of Ms. Greenway and other attendees of the En Femme Getaway, the town of Hot Springs, and the amazing Bible Bar, the wrapper of which claims it includes the seven foods
of Deuteronomy.

Ms. Greenway?s comments on Christianity are reflections of what she
saw as she drove through conservative, rural Arkansas on her way to the Getaway: billboards threatening her with hell, mock cemeteries of aborted fetuses, and a 70-foot concrete Jesus. It seems to your editor that she was making light of the undeniably bizarre character
of the brand of Christianity practiced in the Arkansas countryside, and not Christians or Christianity
in general?Ed.


Thank you for your magazine. While we don?t agree with all of your articles we still wish Transgender Tapestry had been around when we were younger.

?Name withheld by request

We don?t agree with everything in the magazine either. That?s the point?to publish a tapestry of voices and viewpoints. That means, of course, that occasionally someone will be offended. When that happens, we figure we?re doing something right.

This magazine has been around twentysomething years, in one form or another. We wish it had been easier to find.


On Mollenkott and Gillespie

I have to say I was quite
disappointed in David Gillespie?s review of Virginia Mollenkott?s Omnigender (Tapestry #102). Gillespie identifies what he considers a flaw in Professor Mollenkott?s effort. Specifically, he asks this question about the point that troubled him: ?Is it necessary or even helpful
to tie the discussions of sexual desire to those concerning gender expression??

The answer is yes! While Mr. Gillespie does concede the point that the author?s analysis of Judeo-Christian teachings might
shed some light on the question, this concession falls way short. Actually, a careful study of the history of Christian theology reveals that most religions had their origin through the efforts
of the church fathers cited by Professor Mollenkott in her book, and that these men were instrumental in forming the binary construct we have today.

Mr. Gillespie?s inference that these church fathers considered
sex a gift from God is not entirely correct; their actual position was that sex was at best something to be tolerated and more preferably something to be avoided if at all possible. I suggest that these early church fathers were terrified by the power of sexual desire, no matter how or for whom it was expressed, because, as men, they saw not only that they couldn?t control it, but that they were also susceptible to it. Also, it was suggested by some at the time that sexual desire was a consequence of original sin, which made it all that much more frightening.
The only solution these early church fathers saw to their dilemma about what to do with this extraordinary power was to condemn the idea that sexual intercourse, or even sexual need was good, and
further, that in no way could it
be positive and wholesome, even
in marriage. They then established a theological standard to that effect, effectively ignoring what the Apostle Paul said. To support their position, ideas were incorporated from several philosophical disciplines of the time, specifically that while men by their very nature were strong, virile, dominant and sexually aggressive, women were expected to be weak, humble and submissive.
The result is that today we are all forced to live in one of two genders, because almost everyone
in society has been taught this binary construct from birth. The challenge to all of us, gay, straight and transgendered, is to show that while there is a distinction between sex and gender, it is not threatening, disruptive or offensive?nor should it take away from the fact that all people are human beings, entitled to the same respect, courtesy, and they deserve to be treated with the same dignity, regardless of how they present or express themselves. As such, there should be no need for categories like men and women or male and female.

A better answer to Mr. Gillespie?s question might be that it?s unavoid-able in today?s society, due to society?s myopic view of sex and gender, a view that must be changed through education. Should it be necessary? Of course not.

There are few who are willing to take up this challenge, Professor Mollenkott is one of them. While it is true God gave us two ears but only one mouth, God also gave us one heart. Because our heart is bigger than all three, it should be all the better to speak from?and all the better to listen with.

?Rev. Sarah A C

Reverend Carpenter buttresses her arguments with discussion and quotation from scripture, which we have not included due to considerations of space. Readers who would like the unedited version can obtain it from Rev. Carpenter by sending her
e-mail at

When I asked the question to which Rev. Carpenter referred in her response to my review, I was not attempting to argue the historicity of joining the discussions of gender expression and sexual desire. My point was simply that it seems to me both issues would be done greater service, at this time and at this stage of our national-cultural development, to separate them. In other words, does who I want to have sex with ?more specifically, the moral and legal standings of those desires and acts?really have anything to do with how I express
my inward notions of gender? I think not.

To keep the issues joined seems to me to buy into cultural-social constructs of the past which defined maleness and femaleness in sexual terms?to wit, active and passive, penetrator and penetrated. Such confusion could, and indeed I would argue does, account for the rampant ?sissyphobia? of the gay male community. Or, as
one young transgendered individual recently writing in The Advocate put it:
?I am frustrated with how terribly misunderstood we are, often confused with either homosexuals or transvestites.?

For the sake of clarity, let?s keep the
discussions apart... at least for now.

?David R. Gillespie, M.Div.


Trankila Redux

Like Brianna Corbett, I
seldom write to editors to express my opinion?but her comments about Trankila need to
be addressed. I also attended the 2001 Southern Comfort Conference. Trankila?s appearance was as Brianna described?psychedelic outfits, full beard?the whole thing. Frankly, I was a bit frightened.

I was waiting in line to enter the dining area for dinner, talking with a friend, when she introduced me to Trankila, who was standing a few feet in front of us. I swallowed my fears and had a conversation with Trankila. I found her to be a thoroughly delightful and nice person. She totally dispelled my fears. In the couple of years since, I have often thought of
that encounter.

The first lesson I learned when
I was a rank newbie, attending my first SCC, frightened out of my high heels, was that our community is about diversity, if nothing else. When I saw Christine Hochberg that first morning at SCC, I was even more frightened, but a few kind words from her put me at ease, and I knew she really has a heart of gold. I realized that we, of
all people, need to accept others? diverse expressions. None of us
fit society?s norms, yet we demand acceptance of that society.

Brianna doesn?t have to become Trankila?s friend; if she wishes to remain at a distance, that is her right?but I would hope the umbrella of the trangender community is big enough for people like Trankila. And I would hope more of us feel that way, rather than how Brianna does. Not knowing Trankila is, unfortunately, Brianna?s loss.

?Jennifer Shaw

Indeed it is?Ed.


Apparently Brianna Corbett has self-doubts about her own present position in life, and as a consequence is prone to shy away from even the most inconsequential of associations,
in some vain hope she will have a better go at being accepted as the genetic female I am assuming she is not. How tragic. How intolerant.

What else is Ms. Corbett eschewing or otherwise not doing because of her self-doubt? Does she not understand that you get only this one second chance to live life to the fullest, having somehow not done it right the first time? And does she not also understand that when the smell of intolerance is loose on the land, it is precisely those like Trankila who are the first
to be snuffed out?

That said, I wonder if Ms. Corbett would have written her letter to the editor if she had looked beyond Trankila?s fuck-me pumps and beard and engaged her in conversation?
If she had, she would have heard that Trankila, like any other sane gender-variant person on this
planet, picks the time and place to don her gay apparel. And that she, like Ms. Corbett, has a sense of propriety (albeit not so rigid),
as well as a strong sense of self-preservation and, as a consequence, is not likely to bring undue shame on herself or those she is with.

Because, if Trankila cannot
attend an IFGE convention, then what? Should those of us who are too tall, too wide, too hair-
challenged, or too deep in the voice present ourselves for approval by the Ms. Corbetts of this community before attending an IFGE affair?

So, get over it, Brianna Corbett! It is my understanding that Trankila is bearded because her significant other prefers him that way and, as for the rest of her kit, well, you might take some lessons. Get wild, Brianna. Give yourself permission to buy those fuck-me pumps, and don?t forget the long gloves. Live a little more, honey. Life is too short to be lived so blandly.

?Georgette F

Georgette F is a 56-year-old transwoman living in San Francisco and
a federal regulator in the financial sector who also has a penchant for high heels
and short skirts.


It Becomes True When You Believe It

I was busy writing a book based on the topic of personal power and I was planning my high-powered public speaking career. Having worked for many years in a consulting position as training practitioner for a Fortune-500
company, and being told repeatedly that I had a gift for public speaking, I was cock-sure of succeeding. No doubts, no hesitation.
On the surface, it all looked
too perfect: I was a well-educated, clean-cut, married white male with a great book and super speaking skills. Everywhere I consulted,
I had the Midas touch. The world?s largest organizer of conferences had headhunted me to speak at a conference before I had even launched my speaking career.

I had one small problem though?
at least part of the time, behind bolted doors and drawn curtains?
I preferred being a girl. I had a fear second to none. It?s one thing sneaking out after dark as a crossdresser when you?re Mr. (or is that Miss?) Nobody, but another thing altogether when you?re a known author and public speaker. The fact that the speaker?s circuit is conservative didn?t help either. I had a fear of being caught. I was so deep in the closet that I couldn?t see daylight.
One day, while attending a
conference as a delegate, the speaker said something I had heard a hundred times before?and I had even said it in my own book. She said that what you expect is what you get.
What was I expecting? I was expecting problems, rejection and ridicule. I was expecting certain failure if I was exposed. I had to restrain myself during the conference from jumping up and screaming, ?Stop!? to my negative expectation and myself. How could I have been so blind and stupid? Why was I expecting problems when what I actually wanted was solutions?

In an instant, I realized I could succeed in a skirt, I could be a winner because of the content of my character rather than because of my clothes. I realized I could succeed if I backed myself. In an instant, I realized I really could get what I expect. All things were indeed possible. I just needed to believe it before I expected others to.
When I changed my expectation, I changed my world and my future. I told my friends, I told my family, I told my work colleagues about my other side. I went to my publishers as Jill Devine rather than as Julian Quinton. I expected positive reaction, and that?s what I got. I felt like the world was finally off my shoulders.

Today, because of a changed expectation and a changed belief, I?m on a new road to my dreams. It?s not true that you cannot have your cake and eat it too. And the cake tastes great!
Life might not be perfect, but it?s much more than just palatable. Reality is but a perception?change your perception and you change your world.

?Jill Devine


From Dr. Lawrence

In Issue #104 of Transgender Tapestry, an uncredited article (pp. 53-54), presumably written by editor Dallas Denny, referred to the 1997 allegation of medical misconduct made against me and publicized on Andrea James? web site. In the best traditions of yellow journalism, Denny neglected to include the response she sought and obtained from me in August 2003: that I had been cleared of any wrongdoing in the investigation conducted by the Washington State Medical Quality Assurance Commission. Denny also neglected to include my denial of another allegation made by James, even though she again sought and obtained a denial statement from me in August 2003.

Perhaps Denny feared that if she honored her past representations to me?and the canons of responsible journalism?she would have been less effective in smearing me. Denny?s conduct raises serious issues of editorial fairness. Perhaps it is time for the IFGE Board to investigate Denny?s behavior as editor of their magazine.

What appears to rankle Denny and her allies, Andrea James and Lynn Conway, is that Ray Blanchard?s theory of autogynephilia and his resulting taxonomy of transsexualism are demonstrably valid, in the only way that scientific theories and taxonomies are ever valid: They convincingly explain empirical observations, and they generate useful predictions. Since Denny and her allies cannot refute the validity of Blanchard?s theory, they resort to the tricks of desperate debaters everywhere: They attack the character of those who disagree with them. The resulting ad hominem smears of Dr. Blanchard, Dr. J. Michael Bailey, and me have been staples on the web sites of Conway and James for months. Now Denny is engaging in smear tactics of her own.

Denny, James, and Conway will
no doubt continue their desperate campaign of character assassination. Ray Blanchard, Michael Bailey,
and I will continue to conduct
scientific research about autogynephilia and transsexualism, and
to publish our results in refereed scientific journals and in books and articles intended for more
general audiences.

?Anne A. L

Dallas? Reply

Dr. Lawrence is referring to a bullet list of the more important events in the drama surrounding J. Michael Bailey?s The Man Who Would Be Queen. We mentioned Andrea James? essay about Lawrence because it fit into that timeline. We did not editorialize; we were merely reporting what had happened. We did not include in the timeline an official response by Lawrence; that?s because she chose not to make one.
In August 2003, we spoke to Lawrence
via telephone to question her about James? allegations and about the earlier incident at Swedish Hospital in Seattle. This transpired not because Lawrence?s name appeared in the bullet list, but because we had been sitting for more than a year on a claim similar to the one made by James. We were moving cautiously forward with an editorial about Lawrence (it appears in this issue on p. 13), and wanted to give her a chance to respond to the various allegations that had been made about her, and to address questions we had about her level of training and credentialing in regard to her therapy practice.
The editorial includes Lawrence?s denial of the incident at Swedish Hospital, which in fact skirts the issue of her actual behavior. It also includes Lawrence?s denials of the allegations made by Donna Cartwright and Andrea James regarding her behavior in vaginal photography sessions.
If this is yellow journalism, we plead guilty.

Afterword: While we share the negative opinion of J. Michael Bailey?s book with Lynn Conway and Andrea James, and while we have worked cooperatively with each other (as we have worked cooperatively with Dr. Lawrence), our methods differ. We do not condone the personal attacks made by Conway and James? via their
websites. Nor have Tapestry or your editor engaged in such personal attacks?or will we.
And finally: Your editor agrees with Lawrence that empiricism is the crucible
by which scientific theories stand or fall. I have made no particular effort to publicly refute Blanchard?s or Lawrence?s theories, although I may well publish on the subject someday. I part company with Lawrence? and Bailey?however, in their less than facile attempts to use Blanchard?s theory
of autogynephilia as a bludgeon. How can they expect discourse to remain civil when they dismiss those of us who interpret our experiences differently as in denial and in need of therapy??Ed.