|About the Contributor: Maria M:|
Maria M. is a political writer in all forms of activism—and has marched in Washington DC for equal rights and landing bisexual interviews in politics and literary news. Maria came out as bi in early 2008.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Friday, September 10, 2010
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Sunday, September 5, 2010
is the broad term for numerous conditions in which an individual is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit that average definition of male or female. Not all Intersex conditions are evident at birth; it is not unusual for an individual’s intersexed anatomy to develop much later in life.
There are a variety of types of conditions related to Intersexuality.
Here are some of the most common ones:
occurs in “males” who inherit an extra X chromosome from either their mother or father. These individuals appear to look like boys but after puberty undergo changes, such as lack of body hair, breast development and producing ejaculate without sperm.
includes individuals with a karyotype of XO. In this condition, female sex characteristics are presented but undeveloped compared to that of a typical female
a collection of traits caused by the possession, in a male, of an extra Y chromosome
a collection of traits caused by the possession, in a female, of three X chromosomes rather than two.
the possession of both testicular and ovarian tissue in the same individual
Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (AIS):
the congenital absence of a functional androgen receptor, making the body unable to respond to androgens; female-looking genitals on a male-appeared body.
Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH):
a congenital defect of hormonal metabolism in the adrenal gland, causing the gland to secrete excessive levels of androgen; male-looking genitals on a female-appeared body.
Some birth Statistics of various Intersex types
Klinefelter 1 in every 500 - 1,000 births
Turner 1 in every 2,500 births
Triple-X 1 in every 1,000 births
AIS 1 in every 13,000 births
CAH 1 in every 13,000 births
[These statistics are approximations]
One would note the term 'defect' only applies when referencing a medically diagnosed notion of 'normal' functioning and is not the central theme of the intersex person.
Since more often than not, Intersex individuals have their sex “assigned” to them, questions of morality become increasingly popular. In a society obsessed with normalization, most Intersex individuals struggle to fit into an appointed identity, rather than create their own.
Whether discovered at birth or later in life, intersex conditions can pose a number of challenges for the affected person as well as their families. Often people with intersex conditions feel ashamed, isolated, upset or even depressed. Intersex individuals struggle to coexist in a society that leaves very little room for people outside of what is considered normal. Typically people with intersex conditions spend most of their lives coming to terms with their identities and learning to embrace their differences.
(Photo: Example of Ambiguous Genitalia)
Majority of parents with Intersex children believe that “fixing” the condition earlier in their child’s life is the ultimate solution. Since more often than not Intersex individuals have their sex “assigned” to them, questions of morality become increasingly popular. In a society obsessed with normalization, most Intersex individuals struggle to fit into an appointed identity, rather than create their own.
To surgically configure the genitals of an Intersex baby possesses challenges that may interrupt any biological processes humans needs to live and strive. Even though the surgery may be successful appearance-wise, the functions or sensitivity of their genitals may be absent.
As Intersex babies grow up into childhood and adolescence, their bodies will change just like their peers’. It is the job of the parents to educate their child about their body and teach them that they shouldn’t be shame of their bodies. Communication and acceptance is key!
Surgery on intersex children is generally irreversible and may have a severe impact on the child's emotional & social development, development of healthy body image and their personal rights with regards to having control over their own bodies.
Most surgery suggested in infancy is done so out of 'normalisation' rather than any pending medical emergency. Like other medical 'risks' such as testicular/breast cancer, a preferred methodology may be that of monitoring 'risk' factors and delaying invasive surgery until the individual is at an age where they can direct their own course of medical 'treatment'.
The most popular person to date who has been described as such is track and African field athlete Caster Semenya whose gender was and still is being questioned following her victory at the several track meets and finally the 2009 World Championships, her subsequent ordeals with the Track authorities, International Association of Athletes Federation and her re-entry into the sport in June 2010 much to the discomfort of some of her competitors who say she has an advantage due to her masculine physique and supposed high levels of testorone in her system. She won her first race since her temporary absence from the track.
More to come
Here are some posts from the archives on gender, intersexuality and related matters from this blog.
Peace and tolerance.
Laboratory of Neuro Imaging, Department of Neurology, UCLA School of Medicine
Gender identity-one’s sense of being a man or a woman-is a fundamental perception experienced by all individuals that extends beyond biological sex. Yet, what contributes to our sense of gender remains uncertain.
Since individuals who identify as transsexual report strong feelings of being the opposite sex and a belief that their sexual characteristics do not reflect their true gender, they constitute an invaluable model to understand the biological underpinnings of gender identity.
We analyzed MRI data of 24 male-to-female (MTF) transsexuals not yet treated with cross-sex hormones in order to determine whether gray matter volumes in MTF transsexuals more closely resemble people who share their biological sex (30 control men), or people who share their gender identity (30 control women). Results revealed that regional gray matter variation in MTF transsexuals is more similar to the pattern found in men than in women.
However, MTF transsexuals show a significantly larger volume of regional gray matter in the right putamen compared to men. These findings provide new evidence that transsexualism is associated with distinct cerebral pattern, which supports the assumption that brain anatomy plays a role in gender identity.
Graduate School Neurosciences Amsterdam, The Netherlands Institute for Brain Research. F.Kruijver@nih.knaw.nl
Transsexuals experience themselves as being of the opposite sex, despite having the biological characteristics of one sex. A crucial question resulting from a previous brain study in male-to-female transsexuals was whether the reported difference according to gender identity in the central part of the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BSTc) was based on a neuronal difference in the BSTc itself or just a reflection of a difference in vasoactive intestinal polypeptide innervation from the amygdala, which was used as a marker.
Therefore, we determined in 42 subjects the number of somatostatin-expressing neurons in the BSTc in relation to sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and past or present hormonal status. Regardless of sexual orientation, men had almost twice as many somatostatin neurons as women (P <>
The number of neurons in the BSTc of male-to-female transsexuals was similar to that of the females (P = 0.83). In contrast, the neuron number of a female-to-male transsexual was found to be in the male range. Hormone treatment or sex hormone level variations in adulthood did not seem to have influenced BSTc neuron numbers.
The present findings of somatostatin neuronal sex differences in the BSTc and its sex reversal in the transsexual brain clearly support the paradigm that in transsexuals sexual differentiation of the brain and genitals may go into opposite directions and point to a neurobiological basis of gender identity disorder.
Sexual differentiation of the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis in humans may extend into adulthood.
Netherlands Institute for Brain Research, 1105 AZ Amsterdam, The Netherlands. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gonadal steroids have remarkable developmental effects on sex-dependent brain organization and behavior in animals. Presumably, fetal or neonatal gonadal steroids are also responsible for sexual differentiation of the human brain. A limbic structure of special interest in this regard is the sexually dimorphic central subdivision of the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BSTc), because its size has been related to the gender identity disorder transsexuality. To determine at what age the BSTc becomes sexually dimorphic, the BSTc volume in males and females was studied from midgestation into adulthood. Using vasoactive intestinal polypeptide and somatostatin immunocytochemical staining as markers, we found that the BSTc was larger and contains more neurons in men than in women. However, this difference became significant only in adulthood, showing that sexual differentiation of the human brain may extend into the adulthood. The unexpectedly late sexual differentiation of the BSTc is discussed in relation to sex differences in developmental, adolescent, and adult gonadal steroid levels.
Garcia-Falgueras A, Swaab DF.
Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Transsexuality is an individual’s unshakable conviction of belonging to the opposite sex, resulting in a request for sex-reassignment surgery. We have shown previously that the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BSTc) is female in size and neuron number in male-to-female transsexual people. In the present study we investigated the hypothalamic uncinate nucleus, which is composed of two subnuclei, namely interstitial nucleus of the anterior hypothalamus (INAH) 3 and 4. Post-mortem brain material was used from 42 subjects: 14 control males, 11 control females, 11 male-to-female transsexual people, 1 female-to-male transsexual subject and 5 non-transsexual subjects who were castrated because of prostate cancer.
To identify and delineate the nuclei and determine their volume and shape we used three different stainings throughout the nuclei in every 15th section, i.e. thionin, neuropeptide Y and synaptophysin, using an image analysis system.
The most pronounced differences were found in the INAH3 subnucleus. Its volume in thionin sections was 1.9 times larger in control males than in females (P <>
The castrated men had an INAH3 volume and neuron number that was intermediate between males (volume and number of neurons P > 0.117) and females (volume P > 0.245 and number of neurons P > 0.341). There was no difference in INAH3 between pre-and post-menopausal women, either in the volume (P > 0.84) or in the number of neurons (P <>
We propose that the sex reversal of the INAH3 in transsexual people is at least partly a marker of an early atypical sexual differentiation of the brain and that the changes in INAH3 and the BSTc may belong to a complex network that may structurally and functionally be related to gender identity.
France has become the first country in the world to remove transsexualism from its list of recognised mental illnesses.
The decision was announced by France’s Minister of Health, Roselyne Bachelot, on the eve of last year’s International Day Against Homophobia, but did not come into effect until last month March 2010.
Bachelot made the announcement parallel to the launch of a campaign petitioning the World Health Organisation to do the same. The campaign was endorsed by some of the country’s leading minds who put their names to a letter published in French newspapers.
In France, hormone treatments and gender reassignment surgery are funded by the state.
However, transsexuals must complete their surgery, effectively sterilising them, before the state will recognise their new gender.
The announcement comes as the American Psychiatric Association (APA) considers proposed changes for the fifth edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), scheduled to be published in 2013.
The DSM is the primary manual used for diagnosing mental illnesses in the English-speaking world. In it, transgenderism is currently referred to as ‘gender identity disorder’.
The working group assigned to revising sections covering gender identity disorder have published their proposals for change on the APA website.
They have suggested dropping the word ‘disorder’ and changing the official name for the condition to ‘gender incongruence’ for the entries for “Gender Identity Disorder in Adolescents or Adults” and “Gender Identity Disorder in Children”.
Members of the working group wrote that the proposed name was more appropriate because “[it] is a descriptive term that better reflects the core of the problem: an incongruence between, on the one hand, what identity one experiences and/or expresses and, on the other hand, how one is expected to live based on one’s assigned gender (usually at birth)”.
They also noted that a survey of organisations representing transgendered people carried out by the APA found widespread rejection of the term “because, in their view, it contributes to the stigmatisation of their condition”.
Proposals for a related entry, “Gender Identity Disorder Not Otherwise Specified”, are yet to be published.
Another entry, “Transvestic Fetishism”, also has a name change proposal — to ‘transvestic disorder’ — in order to better distinguish between people with a cross-dressing fetish and those for whom it presents “clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning”
Urgent Need to discuss sex & sexuality II
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Thanks for your Donations
thank you for your donations via Paypal in helping to keep this blog going, my limited frontline community work, temporary shelter assistance at my home and related costs. Please continue to support me and my allies in this venture that has now become a full time activity. When I first started blogging in late 2007 it was just as a pass time to highlight GLBTQ issues in Jamaica under then JFLAG's blogspot page but now clearly there is a need for more forumatic activity which I want to continue to play my part while raising more real life issues pertinent to us.
Activities & Plans: ongoing and future
- To continue this venture towards website development with an E-zine focus
- Work with other Non Governmental organizations old and new towards similar focus and objectives
- To find common ground on issues affecting GLBTQ and straight friendly persons in Jamaica towards tolerance and harmony
- Exposing homophobic activities and suggesting corrective solutions
- To formalise GLBTQ Jamaica's activities in the long term
- Continuing discussion on issues affecting GLBTQ people in Jamaica and elsewhere
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- Present issues on HIV/AIDS related matters in a timely and accurate manner
- Assist where possible victims of homophobic violence and abuse financially, temporary shelter(my home) and otherwise
- Track human rights issues in general with a view to support for ALL
Information & Disclaimer
Individuals who are mentioned or whose photographs appear on this site are not necessarily Homosexual, HIV positive or have AIDS.
This blog contains pictures that may be disturbing. We have taken the liberty to present these images as evidence of the numerous accounts of homophobic violence meted out to alledged gays in Jamaica.
Faces and names witheld for the victims' protection.
This blog not only watches and covers LGBTQ issues in Jamaica and elsewhere but also general human rights and current affairs where applicable.
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Recent Homophobic Incidents
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What to do if you are attacked (News You Can Use)
Try to reason with the attacker: Establish communication with the person. This takes a lot of courage. However, a conversation may change the intention of an attacker.
Do not try anything foolish: If you know outmanoeuvring the attacker is impossible, do not try it.
Do not appear to be afraid: Look the attacker in the eye and demonstrate that you are not fearful.
This may have a psychological effect on the individual.
The police 119
Crime Stop 311
Steps to Take When Contronted or Arrested by Police
b) Only give name and address and no other information until a lawyer is present to assist
c) Try to be polite even if the scenario is tensed) Don’t do anything to aggravate the situation
e) Every complaint lodged at a police station should be filed and a receipt produced, this is not a legal requirement but an administrative one for the police to track reports
f) Never sign to a statement other than the one produced by you in the presence of the officer(s)
g) Try to capture a recording of the exchange or incident or call someone so they can hear what occurs, place on speed dial important numbers or text someone as soon as possible
h) File a civil suit if you feel your rights have been violatedi) When making a statement to the police have all or most of the facts and details together for e.g. "a car" vs. "the car" represents two different descriptions
j) Avoid having the police writing the statement on your behalf except incases of injuries, make sure what you want to say is recorded carefully, ask for a copy if it means that you have to return for it