Saturday, 31 March 2007

What ARE they teaching in UK Medical Schools These Days

From the Daily Telegraph :
A survey of more than 1,000 GPs and hospital doctors showed that 70 per cent said that the NHS should not pay for every type of operation but there was no consensus on what the NHS should fund.
...
Eighty per cent did not believe that the NHS should pay for vasectomy reversal and 84 per cent said the NHS should not pay for gender reassignment surgery.
There's disagreement on whether the whole-of-life suicide rates amongst Transsexuals is 30% or 70%, or anywhere in between. Certainly the best, most scientifically credible evidence from the Scottish Office showed 50% of TS people had self-harmed before age 25, though the figures on successful suicide attempts were less precise. People who successfully suicide don't usually reply to surveys, and often don't leave any indication why they suicide.

It's also not in contention that gender reassignment has a greater than 97% rate of making the patient feel better. Very few treatments have that degree of success.

The cost of psychiatric treatment to try to keep these people alive over 10 years greatly exceeds the cost of surgery, so it's not as if any money would be saved.

One can only assume that either the Medical Schools are clueless about Transsexuality, or there is moral condemnation of such a degree that they think we should have treatment deliberately withheld, so we die. Unlike drug addicts, for example: only 44% of doctors thought that their treatment shouldn't be free.

Never attribute to Malice what is adequately explained by Stupidity - or its partner, Ignorance.

Friday, 30 March 2007

A Morale Booster

Here. One which any woman of any age would appreciate.

How come guys just become "ruggedly handsome" as they get older? It's Not Fair!

Thursday, 29 March 2007

Things That Make You Go Hmmmm



The Top 15 Unintentionally Funny Comic Book Panels.

Tuesday, 27 March 2007

If Only It Were So Simple



No wonder I faced such a credibility gap. It seems that there's a whole sub-genre of fiction to do with spontaneous sex-change, and always "men losing their manhood".

It's not so clean, simple, or quick when it happens in Reality. Most cases take years, at normal pubescent rates, I've not been able to track down a single reliably recorded case where it happened as quickly as it did for me, at least, not one where the patient survived.

Monday, 26 March 2007

Victory in Yogyakarta

People like me are Human.

Yes, I know that may sound obvious to many (and a contradiction to a few unlikely to read this blog), but that is what was decided at Yogyakarta, Indonesia this week.

I will quote from the Introduction to the Statement of Principles:
The international system has seen great strides toward gender equality and protections against violence in society, community and in the family. In addition, key human rights mechanisms of the United Nations have affirmed States’ obligation to ensure effective protection of all persons from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. However, the international response to human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity has been fragmented and inconsistent.

To address these deficiencies a consistent understanding of the comprehensive regime of international human rights law and its application to issues of sexual orientation and gender identity is necessary. It is critical to collate and clarify State obligations under existing international human rights law, in order to promote and protect all human rights for all persons on the basis of equality and without discrimination.

The International Commission of Jurists and the International Service for Human Rights, on behalf of a coalition of human rights organisations, have undertaken a project to develop a set of international legal principles on the application of international law to human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity to bring greater clarity and coherence to States’ human rights obligations.

A distinguished group of human rights experts has drafted, developed, discussed and refined these Principles. Following an experts’ meeting held at Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta, Indonesia from 6 to 9 November 2006, 29 distinguished experts from 25 countries with diverse backgrounds and expertise relevant to issues of human rights law unanimously adopted the Yogyakarta Principles on the Application of International Human Rights Law in relation to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.
This is not "new law". It is a clarification by legal jurists of States' existing obligations under Human Rights conventions that have already been signed and are the Law of the Land.

We are Human. Human Rights apply to us even though we are Transsexual or Intersexed. (Or Gay or Lesbian for that matter).
The experts agree that the Yogyakarta Principles reflect the existing state of international human rights law in relation to issues of sexual orientation and gender identity. They also recognise that States may incur additional obligations as human rights law continues to evolve.

The Yogyakarta Principles affirm binding international legal standards with which all States must comply. They promise a different future where all people born free and equal in dignity and rights can fulfil that precious birthright.
At least one Australian legal case currently being heard will be affected by this.

And in view of my passport woes, I'll quote Principle 22:
Everyone lawfully within a State has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of the State, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Sexual orientation and gender identity may never be invoked to limit or impede a person’s entry, egress or return to or from any State, including that person’s own State.

States shall:
a) Take all necessary legislative, administrative and other measures to ensure that the right to freedom of movement and residence is guaranteed regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Later, it explains
Gender identity is understood to refer to each person’s deeply felt internal and individual experience of gender, which may or may not correspond with the sex assigned at birth, including the personal sense of the body (which may involve, if freely chosen, modification of bodily appearance or function by medical, surgical or other means) and other expressions of gender, including dress, speech and mannerisms.
This directly makes the odious section 89 in the Explanatory Notes to the Australian Passports Determination an explicit violation of the Law of the Land, and therefore arguably void and a legal nullity, not being within the powers of the Minister to decide. In any event, Australia is now obligated to take all necessary measures to remove its provisions.

I am now, under International Human Rights Law, officially Human. And yesterday, I wasn't.

Saturday, 24 March 2007

It helps to have a sense of humour

I've said in the past that anyone who transitions had better have a sense of humour. It's a necessary survival skill.

With that in mind, I quote the Largo City Commissioners, who have just confirmed their initial, panicked decision.

From MSNBC:
City commissioners early Saturday finalized the firing of a city manager who is seeking a sex-change operation, despite pleas from dozens of impassioned supporters to save his job.

After a six-hour hearing, the commissioners decided to fire 48-year-old Steve Stanton after his announcement that he planned a new life as a woman. The move came after the commission voted 5-2 last month to suspend him with pay.

Commissioners contended Stanton was being fired because they lost confidence in him, not because he wants to be a woman.

“I think we’re pretty well convinced,” Commissioner Gay Gentry said. “You have to believe us, you have to trust us, it is not about transgenderism.”
I'm sorry, tears are rolling down my cheeks at that one.

Meanwhile, Stanton's plea for reinstatement, transition plan and "how to transition a work" documentation is available as a PDF File. I wish I would have had access to such a document 20 months ago, it's really well thought out, and a model for how to do it.

Too bad someone broke confidentiality to a newspaper, who published the whole thing a day before hey said they would. I'm sure the result was unexpected by them, most journalists have no idea of the persecution TS people usually go through.

I didn't, by the way. The firm I was contracting for could not have been more helpful, they went beyond the duties of a firm to an employee. I've had a Dream Run - and that's why I feel a duty to make it easier for others, if I can.

Thursday, 22 March 2007

The Perfect Adelaide Story

Over at Tim Blair's place, a tragic story, yet one that has provoked scorn and derision.

From the Courier-Mail :
A Former Adelaide choir singer who had a sexual relationship with a teenage transvestite has been jailed for at least nine months.

Matthew Scott Barrowman, 38, was found guilty in the South Australian Supreme Court of four unlawful sexual intercourse charges and two counts of indecent assault.

Barrowman, a former soloist with the South Australian Police Credit Union choir and a St John's Ambulance officer, was today sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison, with a non-parole period of nine months.

Justice Michael David said Barrowman's offences, over a five-month period in 2004, were committed against a boy aged 15 at the time.

"The victim presented at trial as female and although he was, and still is, biologically male, I am told that he intends to have gender reassignment surgery in the near future," Justice David said.

"Your victim was clearly a dysfunctional, disturbed person who had been thrown out of his home because of a number of problems, including his own confusion about his sexuality," Justice David told Barrowman.

"He had been in a relationship with another man and you befriended him after that relationship had ended."

Justice David told Barrowman the victim was a "willing participant in all the sexual behaviour and it is also clear that your victim was not without sexual experience".

"However, the law is clear that irrespective of that, he was of such an age that your behaviour was forbidden," he said.

Here's my comment:
Here’s a similar story. It’s about a girl who was born with a cleft palate. Now she looked terrible, with a hole in her face connecting her mouth to her nostrils. At school she was teased and tormented, bullied, and called a freak.

Home was no better, and just past age 12, she was thrown out on the streets, partly for being so ugly, partly for being so emotionally crippled. She had been made dysfunctional by all the years of torment, with a really poor self-image.

With no other means of income, she peddled her body to try to save for plastic surgery. You see, there’s a lot of Men out there who really get off having sex with freaks. She was lucky, and found a Sugar Daddy - but that relationship went sour.

She got really good with makeup and cosmetic putty, and looked normal, so at age 15, when she found another guy to look after her, she went for it.

But he got caught and sentenced to 6 months for having sex with a minor, and she got called “dysfunctional and vulnerable”. Meanwhile the headlines called her a “monster” rather than a victim of a congenital condition. The article got FARKed, and even was quoted with some scorn and derision on some right-of-centre blogs.

Of course in our society, those born with surgically-correctable congenital defects are given sympathy, not treated as freaks. Or are they?

Harry Benjamin’s Syndrome - a congenital Intersex condition meaning a male-pattern brain in a female body, or a female-pattern brain in a male body, and about 1/4 of the time associated with other congenital Intersex conditions, is about as common as having a cleft palate. Like having a cleft palate, it’s not a mental illness (though the persecution and ostracism, and the constantly having to conceal the symptoms can cause that), it’s a biological condition. Like having a cleft palate, it’s surgically correctable. Unlike having a cleft palate, it’s not so obviously diagnosed, and the treatment sterilises the victim.

Please read the Fark discussion, there are some accurate comments there.

Please also realise that some of us, even RWDBs, were born Transsexual. A very, very few of us are able to live with it. A tiny, vanishingly small percentage have other Intersex conditions meaning we partly transition anyway, without treatment.

And For God’s Sake, have some sympathy for a 15 year old girl who was thrown out of her home for being born the way she was, and driven batshit crazy by the persecution she’d received. You might spare a thought for the guy in prison too: because she was Jailbait, and I bet she was good at appearing legal. People like her end up dead, dead, dead if they aren’t convincing.

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Savage Nation

The Savage Nation reaches more than 8 million listeners each week, according to Talkers Magazine, making it the third-most-listened-to talk radio show in the USA. Run by deliberately controversial "Shock Jock" Michael Savage, it delights in attacking Lefties and Moonbats, a sport I too enjoy.

Sometimes though....

When talking about a murder victim who was a post-op transsexual - like me - thius is what he said.
(quoting an article)it appeared the victim had been in the process of becoming a woman..."Yeah, process of becoming a woman -- psychopath... should have been in a back ward in a straitjacket for years, howling on major medication.
...
"You're never gonna make me respect the freak. I don't want to respect the freak. The freak ought to be glad that they're allowed to walk around without begging for something.
Just listen to him.

Of course the victim in question wasn't allowed to walk around begging in order to live. They were brutally slain.

I still am not used to being a 4th class citizen, and you know what, I've decided I'm not going to get used to it. Although I really don't want to be any form of Activist, this kind of thing must cease - or at least be no longer socially acceptable. As condemned as if the word "freak" had been replaced by the word "nigger".

Tuesday, 20 March 2007

Recent Reading

Anti-Semitism in France - amongst the ruling elite anyway.
Former French Prime Minister Raymon Barre has sparked an uproar within the Jewish community after accusing “the Jewish lobby” of making “a scapegoat” of Maurice Papon, a French senior official who signed deportation orders for hundreds of Jews in the Bordeaux region during WWII.

In an interview last week with France Culture, a state-run radio station, Barre also said that “opposing the deportation of Jews had not been a matter of “major national interest.”


Al Qaeda's increased use if Poison Gas in Iraq.
On February 20, five were killed and 140 sickened after a chlorine attack in Baghdad. On February 21, a chlorine attack in Taji killed 9 and made 150 sick. On January 28, 16 were killed in chlorine bombing attack in Ramadi. "Suicide car bombers have used chlorine against Iraqis in Al Anbar a total of five times since January 28," notes the Multinational Forces Iraq press release. Chlorine gas is readily available in Iraq as it is used for water purification and a wide variety of industrial uses.

Two chlorine bomb factories were discovered in Karma and Fallujah by Coalition forces on February 21.


The Steve Stanton Story, a support site, and an MP3 audio Interview.

Why I had a few problems with my electrolysis just before leaving for Thailand. The scabs were still there a month later, indicating severe damage. Oops.

Great Moments in the Annals of Psychiatry - you see, some Judeo-Christian Family First group is opposing granting human rights in Vermont to TS people on the grounds that we're Nutcases. Stop discrimination against TS people, and soon you'll be doing the same for Axe Murderers... that's their line. And yes, right now, Transsexuality is an intractable psychiatric condition according to the DSM-IV, the Psychiatric Diagnostics Manual. Of course, once you've had "the op" you're cured. But really, the whole thing is a farce. Gender Dysphoria is a symptom of an underlying neurological Interesex condition, not a psychiatric illness. As far as we can tell, anyway. And outlying cases like mine are inexplicable any other way. It's just an excuse now being used to justify our oppression.
According to every respected body of mental health experts such as the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association, and both psychological diagnostic manuals DSM-IV and ICD-10, people with a "strong and persistent cross-gender identification and a persistent discomfort with their sex or a sense of inappropriateness in the gender role of that sex" suffer from gender identity disorder, or gender dysphoria.
So far, so good.
A significant number of sufferers choose to avoid gender norms, using partial surgical alteration and/or hormones to exhibit both male and female physical traits (i.e. "she/males").
Using the word SheMale is like using the word Nigger to describe African-Americans. It is used only in the Porn industry, which is probably where the author got it from.
Treatment includes both gender reassignment, (a very small minority) as well as counseling to enable the individual to stay within gender norms.

No one chooses to suffer a mental disorder. However, we question efforts which, under the pretext of equality, actually favor one mental disorder for protections to the exclusion of all others, such as depression, anorexia, kleptomania, etc.
...
[The Author] Stephen Cable of Rutland is president of Vermont Renewal.
..."a grassroots organization with the primary goal of promoting and defending traditional family and moral values based on the Judeo-Christian worldview that Vermont and the entire United States were founded upon." according to their website. You know, I agree with so much of what they say, it's sad to see them going astray like this. I can't blame them though when the Psychiatric establishment is 20 years behind the times.

I'm still not used to being a 4th class citizen, you see. Expected to hide my shame, my past. Expected to not make a fuss if I'm treated as subhuman.

Other required reading. I'm still playing catch-up in many ways. But I'm achieving good progress in this area. There are just so many, many things that I should have learnt from my Mother, my Sister, my Girlfriends at school, and learning the Theory now at age 49 seems surreal.

One final thing: one person has donated a considerable amount to help my medical expenses, but insists on anonymity. He is a committed and born-again Christian. So many who persecute us do so out of ignorance: and so many of those who help us do so because they try to follow Jesus' example.

Monday, 19 March 2007

Space: Good News, Bad News

Bad News first. From PhysOrg.com :
The chairman of the U.S. House science committee said Thursday that NASA is headed for "a train wreck" if the space agency isn't better funded to finish building the international space station and develop the next-generation spacecraft.
The White House has cut NASA's five-year budget plan by almost $2.26 billion in the three years since President Bush announced the "Vision for Space Exploration" plan to develop new spacecraft to go back to the moon and then to Mars, said U.S. Rep. Bart Gordon, D-Tenn. Gordon, chairman of the Committee on Science and Technology, spoke at a hearing in Washington on NASA's 2008 budget request.
...
Lawmakers on the House committee also said the five-year plan in the 2008 budget proposal shortchanges the space station by $924 million and doesn't fund an upgrade in the Deep Space communications network.

In a separate hearing on the other side of the Capitol, U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., and U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, pledged to try increasing NASA's budget by $1 billion. Mikulski also proposed holding a "space summit" between members of Congress and the White House to set a bipartisan agenda on space.

NASA's proposed budget for 2008 is $17.3 billion, a 3.1 percent increase over what the White House requested for 2007. However, since Congress didn't pass a budget for NASA last year, the 2007 funding level was kept the same as 2006's $16.6 billion, leaving the space agency with an expected $545 million shortfall.
Too many commitments; Too much existing infrastructure that needs upgrading just to maintain existing services; Too little money in the past, and no guarantee of even the requested and arguably insufficient funds in the future.

But this too shall pass. If not the US, China.

Now the good news, in the Long Term : from NASA :
New measurements of Mars' south polar region indicate extensive frozen water. The polar region contains enough frozen water to cover the whole planet in a liquid layer approximately 11 meters (36 feet) deep. A joint NASA-Italian Space Agency instrument on the European Space Agency's Mars Express spacecraft provided these data.

This new estimate comes from mapping the thickness of the ice. The Mars Express orbiter's radar instrument has made more than 300 virtual slices through layered deposits covering the pole to map the ice. The radar sees through icy layers to the lower boundary, which is as deep as 3.7 kilometers (2.3 miles) below the surface

Mars is a fixer-upper, and I doubt whether we will ever be able to live on its surface, unprotected. But under domes, yes, with that amount of water, it's a goer as a long-term colony, even with existing technology. It could be made self-sustaining.

So the talk about millions or billions, or the US or China, that will be trivial detail in a thousand years time. But this news will not. We can live there. We will live there.

Who Says Protests Never Work?



From Mind in the Qatar

Friday, 16 March 2007

31 Today

In hexadecimal, that is. It sounds better that way.

Well, I made it. My goal was to have my body largely corrected before age 50. Now there's still a few problems, in fact I've suffered from a few complications in the last week, stuff that should have happened in the 2nd month is happening in the 4th... but overall, things are going imperfectly, but very well indeed.

The plumbing works. So does the electricity, that's repeatable and, er, multiple too. I'm still learning. Not as much as I'd like to though, things that should have healed months ago haven't, and although I have excellent functionality, things are better left undisturbed for a little while, to heal.

My first, my very first, Birthday with a body that no longer feels strange and perverse.

And birthday gifts of flowers and bath oils. *SIGH*

The way things always should have been.

Well, better late than never!

Thursday, 15 March 2007

Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Arms Manufacturers


We've had the mechanics for good prostheses worked out for some time. The motors, the materials., the control circuitry. What we haven't had is the link from the upstream nerves: we haven't decoded the complex multichannel AM/FM and chemical broadcast that conveys the information down the limb to, say, wiggle the toes. Or just the big toe. (Try wiggling just a middle toe - odds are you can't).

It's still in the labs - but as I blogged in January, less than a decade away.

Anyway, as the above film demonstrates, Drexel University's Engineer of the year Dean Kamen and his team have done it.

The next step is to perfect the feedback - so there is more than just crude feeling too. That's coming.

Monday, 12 March 2007

The Stupidity... It Hurts,,,,,


You see, they put in .002 cents, multiply by 1000, get 2.00 displayed on the calculator, and charge $2.00.... because that's what's on the calculator's display. 2.00

Friday, 9 March 2007

The Observer's Book of Daleks

The one without the Gannet. The Dalek Hierarchy. Though they missed out the Marsh Daleks that appeared in one Dr Who Annual.

Never mind, Dalek History is already convoluted and contradictory emough, thanks very much. Having working Time Machines would be likely to do that.

Thursday, 8 March 2007

Make Your Own Battlestar Galactica Video

From the SciFi Channel, the BSG Videomaker Toolkit. The one thing they don't supply is the time needed to make one...

Wednesday, 7 March 2007

Tuesday, 6 March 2007

Geraldine

No resemblance to reality, of course. For me, it took 100 days, not 1. I don't look remotely as good, alas. The change was... incomplete... requiring surgical touchup and hormonal maintenance. And it was no Nightmare, but a wonderful, impossible Dream come true. Though I had nightmares about the events at the end for some time. What had so inexplicably come could just inexplicably go. Being on HRT helped calm those fears, and surgery finally dispelled them. No going back now, thank Goodness!






But yes, some of the beginning is spot on. I had my first date last week. With a guy. I'm not yet ready to blog about it, some things are too personal. But it looks like the predictions of everybody that I'd be straight are correct.

Monday, 5 March 2007

Tagged for Tunes

Calamity Jane has tagged me, thusly:
Take your iPod, you have to switch it to random and list (truthfully) the first ten songs + artists. If you don't have an iPod (like me) you will probably have to use your iMagination instead.

Answers on your blogs please and then you have to TAG another 5 peeps - let the fun begin. And that's an order.
No, a Vodka, Lime and Tonic, that's an order.

Well, I don't have an iPod as such, but I do have a neat little mp3player/memorystick/fm radio/memo recorder. Close enough.
  1. Stay With Me - Shakespear's Sister
  2. Ommadawn Pt2 - Mike Oldfield
  3. Dr Who Theme Remix - The Prydonian Renegades
  4. Tubular Bells Pt1 - Mike Oldfield
  5. Dr Who Series 2 Theme - BBC Radiophonic Workshop
  6. Tubular Bells Pt2 - Mike Oldfield
  7. Dr Who Series 1 Theme - BBC Radiophonic Workshop
  8. Hergest Ridge Pt2 - Mike Oldfield
  9. Telstar - The Tremelos (1966) Tornados 1962 (thanks to reader J. for the correction)
  10. Hergest Ridge Pt 1 - Mike Oldfield
Ummm - did I mention that I like Mike Oldfield's albums? And being fair, each of those tracks is 20+ minutes long, and contains several movements. The albums are Symphonies in all but name.

Now who to tag... Matt, Morgan, Lloyd, Nilknarf (she lost her Dad recently, so go over there and give her a virtual hug), and Bubblehead.

Saturday, 3 March 2007

PhD Woes

Remember it's supposed to be Summer here. And indeed, temperatures in late February are usually around 25C, 85F.

This was Canberra the day after a Freak Thunderstorm. That's not snow : that's compacted Ice from the hailstones. Many of which were golfball size or large, and which fell in such huge numbers that drauns and gutters were blocked almost instantly.
From a Newsletter of the Australian National University :
Just under 60 buildings across campus received major damage this week during one of the worst storms to hit Canberra in recorded history.

The freak storm cut a swathe from Belconnen to Civic late on Tuesday 27 February, pelting the area in large hailstones and heavy rain.

A thick layer of hail still carpeted the campus on Wednesday morning when University authorities began an extensive damage assessment and clean-up operation.

Water inundation was the most common cause of damage in many buildings, where gutters were blocked by hail and roofs gave way under heavy loads of rain. This resulted in extensive harm to ceilings, walls, carpets, computers, books and documents.

The School of Art, School of Music, Chifley Library, and the Research School of Information Sciences and Engineering, and Computer Science and Information and Technology buildings were among the hardest hit.
...
Given the number of buildings affected, staff were asked to remain away from campus and work at home until their building was cleared by safety inspectors.
...
ANU staff and private contractors began restoring the buildings and grounds the day after the storm. Facilities staff said while most buildings would be open again by next week, it would be weeks before all repairs were carried out.
From a list of damaged buildings :
Most buildings on campus have now been cleared for use from Monday 5 March 2007. NB. The follow lists cover the exceptions - those buildings that are either PARTIALLY OPENED or remain CLOSED.

PARTIALLY OPENED

The following buildings are partially opened – some sections as noted in the comments remain closed – though this may change over the next couple days.
...
CSIT bldg ( Major water damage to upper level and loss of skylights)
That's the Computer Science and Information Technology Building. Where my office was in Room N320 on the upper floor, right next to rooms which used to have skylights.

UPDATE : Latest communication on the subject:
It's clear that all staff and research students on the SW side of level
3 will need to move offices to allow repair and clean up work by the
contractors.
Clem, Eric, Malcom, Chuan, Denny, Derek Wang - rooms have been found and
your computers moved for you:
Clem - to Carol's office N213
Malcolm (& Brian) to N324 (ex Chris J, ex Brian)
Chuan - N214 - will be moved on Monday (thank you John Zigman)
Eric - has moved himself to N226
Denny and Derek - to N211 (still being set up by TSG)
(for phones and compupters - ask TSG)

Postgrads in N320 - minor damage, uncertain, no urgent move yet.
Tom Gedeon - possibly N243, not yet decided (no urgent move).
Paul Thomas - no urgent move.
- if you disagree with this assessment come and talk to me about it -
there are some spaces that you could move into.

Other staff and students on level 3 please wait until *Tuesday* if possible to return to your office - and even then, please await confirmation.

All academic staff: PLEASE do not come in Monday except briefly as needed to move belongings.
DON'T expect to work in your office on Monday!
When you do move belongings - please note any storm damage - there is a limited insurance cover even for personal effects. I do not know the details, but record everything relevant - preferably with photos.
So I'm going to keep my fingers crossed that the two special-purpose computers I've been building, and the copious written notes, are still OK. *SIGH*

The Shape of Things to Come

Not that long ago - 1997 - I gave an in-house training course to staff at EASAMS, and made a few startling to them but obvious (to me) predictions. That the Web was just beginning, that in 5 years time, most of the planet's computers would be connected. I predicted that if you wanted guaranteed emplyment, go into e-commerce, it was still in it's infancy.

Now a short film that makes similar predictions. The one area they have it wrong is the implications of complexity and the human brain. They don't actually say that AIs (Artificial Intelligences) will be cheap. But the implication is there.

That the hardware will exist, I have no doubts. That self-programming, learning software that learns the right things will exist is another matter. I'm very sceptical that we know enough about natural intelligence to grow artificial ones. And "growing" is the right word, not "manufacturing".

Anyway, enough if the introduction, in with the film.

Friday, 2 March 2007

In His Name

From the AP via the Bradenton Herald:
Steve Stanton loved this city he ran for 14 years. This week, he asked the city to love him back - to accept his plans to pursue sex-change operation and let him keep his $140,000 job as city manager.

It didn't.

Almost 500 people packed into City Hall Tuesday night for a special meeting to decide if they would accept Susan instead of Steve as their top official.

And while many spoke eloquently in his defense, more called for his ouster.

"If Jesus was here tonight, I can guarantee you he'd want him terminated," said Pastor Ron Saunders of Largo's Lighthouse Baptist Church. "Make no mistake about it."
Ah me. What to say. The Shakespearean "What Fools These Mortals Be"? Another case of "Father Forgive them, for they know not what they do".
Stanton, who is married, said he struggled with his secret desire to be a woman since childhood and hoped to "outrun it." In 2003, he began counseling to deal with his feelings and ultimately decided to pursue a sex-change operation.

In a memo to city employees last week, Stanton said he intended to "live as a woman for one year" as part of a process to prove he is ready for a sex change. He said he has only gone out in public as a woman a few times in cities far from Largo.
Regular readers will recognise the medical protocol involved here, the SOC - Standards of Care. At least 3 months of psychiatric assesment and monitoring before Hormones are OK'd, then somewhere down the track, at least a year of the Real Life Test. Living in the target gender, and doing so successfully, one of the criteria being able to successfully hold down a job.
For Susan, well, maybe she can be a waitress. Or do volunteer work, that counts too. Or even be a fulltime student, many decide to get academic qualifications at this time, like PhDs.
At Tuesday's meeting, there was nothing womanly about his appearance as he faced the crowd at City Hall in a dark suit and tie.

Stanton has not yet scheduled the surgery, but is undergoing counseling and hormone replacement therapy in preparation for the operation.

"I'm going to be embarrassed if we throw this man out on the trash heap after he's worked so hard for the city," said Mayor Patricia Gerard, one of a few Stanton chose to share his secret with before last week. "We have a choice to make: We can go back to intolerance, or we can be the city of progress."

Commissioner Gay Gentry praised Stanton, but supported his firing.

"I sense that he has lost his standing as a leader among the employees of the city," Gentry said. "We have need of an organizational leader that employees will follow."

Stanton left the room before the votes were cast, head down.

Gerard and Commissioner Rodney J. Woods - the first black commissioner in the city's 102-year history - cast the only votes in his favor.
I know the seven kinds of hell Susan's going through from the initial HRT roller-coaster (it takes 3 months for things to settle down - then they change your dose again, so te first 9 months of ramp-up are difficilt), from the stresses in her family... and then for them to do this to her... It's inhuman.
Now it could be that Susan is unable to handle her job under these conditions, that she'd have to take sick leave or even resign. There's provisions for such things in her contract. But she hasn't even started yet. Her being fired is nothing to do with what she's done, it's for what she is.

Then there's this little tidbit, from the St Peterberg Times :
But, he said, commissioners voted before getting a full understanding of what a transsexual must confront when this kind of secret is disclosed.

During the meeting, Stanton described the dismay of watching his professional reputation disintegrate in just seven days.

Until last week, he had served 14 years as the city manager, generally to good reviews. Last fall, commissioners raised his salary nearly 9 percent to $140,234 a year.

But on Feb. 21, the Times reported that Stanton was undergoing hormone therapy in preparation for gender-reassignment surgery - a plan known only to a small circle of people, including his wife, medical team and a few top officials at City Hall.

Stanton and his friends had written an eight-page plan to help make his decision known in June, when he said his 13-year-old son could be out of town and shielded from the publicity.

Instead, the news came out before he told his son. Outraged residents swarmed commissioners, demanding he be ousted.

"It's just real painful to know that seven days ago I was a good guy and now I have no integrity, I have no trust and most painful, I have no followers," Stanton said.

But he also indicated he does not plan to sue the city.

"In so many ways I am Largo," Stanton told commissioners. "It's like suing my mother."
"Outed". And before she had done more than start her Transition.