90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Transgender In America

Chelsea Manning – formerly Bradley Manning – is all over in the news. We talk with transgender Americans about that life.

2013 rally for transgender equality. (Flickr/Ted Eytan)

2013 rally for transgender equality in Washington DC. (Flickr/Ted Eytan)

The story of Private then-Bradley Manning and his massive leak of classified documents to Wikileaks was big enough.  The day after Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison for that leak, it got bigger.  Manning’s attorney announced that the Army private self-identified as a woman.  That her name was now Chelsea.

And with that, millions of Americans were pointed again to the world of transgender fellow citizens.  To the complexity of gender identity and to often complex feelings in response.

This hour, On Point:  we talk with transgender Americans about their lives, their reality.

- Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Deirdre McCloskey, professor of economics, history, english, and communication at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Born Donald McCloskey, she transitioned from male to female in 1995, at the age of 53. Author of “Crossing: A Memoir.” (@deirdremcclosk)

Ryan Sallans, LGBT activist. Born Kimberly Ann Sallans. He transitioned from female to male in 2005, when he was 25. He consults and trains higher education, healthcare agencies and non-profit organizations on LGBTQ issues. Author of “Second Son: Transitioning Toward my Destiny, Love and Life.” (@rsallans)

Andrew Solomon, author and journalist, writing on politics, culture and psychology. He looks at transgender youth, among other issues, in his latest book, “Far from the Tree:  Parents, Children and the Search for Identity.” (@andrew_solomon)

From Tom’s Reading List

CBS News: Bradley Manning identifies as transgender: Transitioning explained – ”Experts stress that transgender is part of a wide continuum of gender identity. As Stephanie Brill and Rachel Pepper wrote in The Transgender Child: A Handbook for Families and Professionals, ‘Today, gender can no longer really be considered a two-option category.’ They emphasize the importance of patients and families understanding that they are not alone and that there are competent professionals who can help.”

CBS News: NYPD Investigating Beating Death Of Transgender Woman In Harlem – ”The NYPD is investigating the death of a transgender woman as a possible hate crime. The victim, 21-year-old Islan Nettles, died Thursday night five days after she was attacked in Harlem, police said.”

NBC News: Manning lawyer gives more details on decision to become ‘Chelsea’ – ”Army Pvt. Chelsea Manning — who was convicted and sentenced to military prison under the name Bradley Manning for leaking classified documents in the Wikileaks case — chose to announce her intention to live life as a woman after the military publicly said it wouldn’t provide hormone treatments for the sex change, according to an interview Monday with Manning’s attorney.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Fiscally_Responsible

    Sick!

  • arydberg

    If anyone ever deserved a pardon from the President it is Bradley Manning.

    As to his sexual orientation I wonder if perhaps the fetal development of homosexuals is influenced by our widespread replacement of food by chemicals as well as the huge variety of toxins in our environment.

    Is there any data anywhere on the susceptibility of a developing fetus to everyday toxins? Why is it that there are countries with one third the infant mortality rate we have?

    • Wahoo_wa

      Wow….just wow! Issues of sexual identity are as old as the ages. And homosexuality has been a part of humanity for ions. To link those issues with chemicals in food seems a bit of a stretch.

  • Wahoo_wa

    I think separating the transgender issue from the Bradley Manning issue would have been a much wiser and more respectful approach to the topic. The transgender community has many, many challenges it faces. By linking the issue to a traitor, it turns the focus to other issues and prevents the topic from being explored in a thoughtful way. I consider it sensationalized and poor journalism. It’s going to be a Jerry Springer Day on On Point today!

    • HonestDebate1

      I agree with you.

      Maybe you will disagree on this but feel the same thing (to a lessor degree) about the link between homosexuality and transgender. We always see the term LGBT but I don’t think they belong together. I think there is a world of difference especially between transgender and bisexual. To be honest, I consider bisexuals to be frisky, adventurous and a little confused. I think transgenders are messed up. It creeps me out. Everybody has to find their way and accept themselves. I understand completely that those born gay have a much harder journey but to take it to the next level seems to me to be a rejection of their sexuality and not a solution. But what do I know?

      I’d appreciate your comment on this. I think I’m a pretty tolerant person but this is my honest opinion.

      • Wahoo_wa

        I do think the “LGBT” community, of which I am a part since I am gay, has set its tent pegs a little too far afield. Having so many different identities under one tent lessens the significance of each groups struggles. Those struggles are very different and each should be respected as such. Now the acronym includes Q and U. It’s all too much. As far as what is “right”, “moral”, etc. I’ll leave that up to others to judge. I have no opinion on that line of inquiry.

        • Expanded_Consciousness

          I disagree that binding together to promote choice and dismantle bigotry lessons the significance of each groups struggle. There is power in numbers. Sexual choice is the common denominator.

          • Wahoo_wa

            As a gay man I can tell you that absolutely nothing in my struggle has anything to do with a transgendered person’s struggle. They are completely different lives with completely different challenges. By combining disparate groups into one confused whole progress is stunted by aggregating prejudice for one group over all the groups under the banner.

          • Expanded_Consciousness

            You really think that those who dislike transgenders used to like gay men until the LGBT term was coined? This is about society. Whether they will grant individuals free choice or feel they have the right to monitor their neighbor’s adult sexuality. Your struggle in society has everything in common with the transgender’s struggle.

          • Wahoo_wa

            Read HonestDebate1′s comments in this thread. Enough said.

          • Expanded_Consciousness

            You really think that society will nonjudgmentally accept gay men, yet reject transgenders? You don’t want a sexual tolerance movement, just a gay movement?

          • Wahoo_wa

            I would like a pragmatic approach to advancing universal rights. Sometimes that’s combining forces, sometimes that’s leading within one’s own group. Gender identity issues have little to do with being homosexual or heterosexual.

          • Expanded_Consciousness

            You think that by distancing yourself from transgenders, you will get more gay rights?

          • Wahoo_wa

            It’s actually not about distracting me as much as it is being aware of society’s attitudes towards my particular group. Everyone remembers the drag queens at the end of gay pride parades. They are fun but they do not represent me as an individual or me in society as a whole.

          • Expanded_Consciousness

            Having a LGBT movement versus only a gay movement brings attention to those differences, it doesn’t confuse them. Your thesis is entirely wrong and backward.

          • Wahoo_wa

            I disagree…strongly…and would venture to guess that a large portion of the U.S. voting against equal rights for gays cannot see the difference in the groups.

          • Expanded_Consciousness

            A hick thinks all the “gays” in your parade are the same. The LGBT movement enlightens the unenlightened on the differences.

          • Wahoo_wa

            I am not sure of you’re background but wonder how much of the United States you have lived in or experienced more than just on vacation or passing through. I also wonder if you have limited experience only in an urban context. It would explain you perspective.

          • Expanded_Consciousness

            Really, you think the opposite? That people all across the country knew the different between LGBTs, until the LGBT movement coined the term? Now everyone is confused. Wrong. More people have been enlightened to the differences.

          • Wahoo_wa

            I would venture to guess that a good portion of the the nation knew what being gay was prior to the LGBT movement. Since I have clearly established that I do not believe the other groups represent my particular group, I really don’t have much concern for whether those groups and their VERY DIFFERENT experiences have been understood in the context of me being gay. It is their journey. Not mine.

          • Expanded_Consciousness

            Prior to the LGBT movement, the masses thought that transgenders were gay. It’s moving that you only care about your journey and not others’ journey. You certainly have the right attitude.

          • Wahoo_wa

            “LGBT” has been in use since around 1996. “Transgender” was introduce around 1969. I don’t think your point is valid.

          • pennyroyal

            the history of homosexuality is very short. Before that the focus was on behaviors not groupings of people.

          • Wahoo_wa

            I also wonder how many of those “hicks” (no judgement there at all!) would actually go to a gay pride parade to get a lesson in the differences. It’s such an impractical cloud-cuckoo land perspective.

          • Expanded_Consciousness

            Really? You think that those voting against gay rights approve of gays, just not transgenders, and all you have to do is distance yourself from transgenders and you will get equal rights for gays? Ha!

          • Wahoo_wa

            Actually I think that certain groups under the LGBT are far more accessible to a broader society. If they worked individually and incrementally I think the gay rights movement would be far more ahead in attaining equal rights than it is now. Some of our “leaders” have set the movement back by a good decade with the decision to put all the separate identities under one roof. Those missed opportunities could have laid the groundwork for other gender/sexual minorities.

          • Wahoo_wa

            I also wonder if you would add such things as pedophilia to the sexual tolerance movement?

          • Expanded_Consciousness

            You are rather sick, aren’t you? You read when I wrote “neighbor’s adult sexuality.” You are a gay man who is against sexual tolerance. Fascinating.

          • Wahoo_wa

            I am only expanding on the logic you yourself established.

          • Expanded_Consciousness

            No, you are expounding the bigot’s “logic” against you (allowing gay rights is a slippery slope to allowing pedophilia). I really don’t think you understand the issues very well.

          • Wahoo_wa

            I think at 39 I understand the issues very well thank you.

          • Wahoo_wa

            …and please refrain from personal attacks. They make you arguments far less believable or convincing.

          • pennyroyal

            no, you are doing an excellent job of that–all by yourself.

          • pennyroyal

            red-herring alert!! Wahoo is trying to sidetrack the discussion and defame LGBT.

          • Wahoo_wa

            Not at all…I was following the logic presented to me.

          • HonestDebate1

            I appreciate your comments.

          • pennyroyal

            that sounds like narrow thinking–I only care about my in group….

          • J__o__h__n

            While bringing people together usually spurs progress, it doesn’t always. There were the votes in Congress to pass the Employment Non Discrimination Act when the Democrats had both houses but not if transgender were included. Rather than taking the partial victory and building on it (as most legislative progress is made), the decision was made to pass the full bill or not at all. So instead of protecting gay employment rights now and working to expand that in the future, there is nothing.

          • Expanded_Consciousness

            Well, it made a statement, and long term perhaps that stand will roll back prejudice faster than pragmatic baby steps (even though it was a short term failure). Sometimes a culture needs seismic shifts and new paradigms, and not baby steps and compromises.

          • J__o__h__n

            I don’t see any progress. I can respect the idealism behind the decision but don’t you think a few years of realizing the sky didn’t fall if gays can’t be fired would have made for less fear of extending the rights to to transgender?

          • Expanded_Consciousness

            Pragmatic politics is depressing, but I can see the practicality.

          • Andy

            If the LGBT community truly came together it would be force to be reckoned with as would all social / economic / and political “minority” groups. If we all allied and voted as a block we could change the world

          • TELew

            It is the common discrimination that “unites” the LGBT “community.” Remove that, and we are a pretty balkanized bunch.

          • pennyroyal

            we need to start counting the LGBT allies who vote their commitment to support equal marriage and beyond. I’m a woman married to the same man for 48 years. It seems that women get more radical with age because I am radically in favor of equality.

          • TELew

            You’re absolutely right.

            Minorities do not win respect for their civil rights if they do not have non-minority allies.

          • J__o__h__n

            Probably not. Gays are about 4% of the population. Subtract the Log Cabin idiots. I don’t see transgender adding much numerically. I don’t see all the other groups uniting to change the world any time soon.

        • andic_epipedon

          I must have missed the memo. What do Q and U stand for?

          • Wahoo_wa

            Queer and Undecided

      • Expanded_Consciousness

        Calling bisexual people “confused” is to engage in demeaning and pejorative language. Thinking transgenders are “messed up” and that it “creeps” you out, shows your bigotry. You got the message that people are born gay, yet you want to decide what should be the “solution” for their life?

        • HonestDebate1

          It’s a big fat middle ground. I don’t think gays or lesbians are confused at all. It’s not a perforative, it’s my opinion.

          • Expanded_Consciousness

            It’s not an informed opinion. Perhaps you should just listen to bisexual and transgender people, instead of pretending you are able to interpret them and hear inside their head.

          • HonestDebate1

            But it is informed. I have gay friends who scoff at the idea of bisexuality. They don’t believe it exists. They are more militant about it than I.

          • Expanded_Consciousness

            Listen to bisexuals and not some of your bigoted gay friends.

          • jefe68

            And my opinion is you post a lot inane crap.

      • nj_v2

        “But what do I know?”

        You could save yourself a lot of typing, and everyone else a lot of reading, and just paste this in every time you had a notion to post something. It fits with about 90% of your ignorance blathering.

        • jefe68

          That could be his new moniker.

      • jefe68

        “To be honest, I consider bisexuals to be frisky, adventurous and a little confused.”

        Are you aware of how ignorant this comment is?

      • andic_epipedon

        As a lesbian with gay, bisexual and transgender friends I chose not to think about it. It’s supposed to feel creepy to you if that is not your inclination. I chose to just be their friends and realize it’s just the way they are built the same way I view my friends who are straight and their disgusting sexual behaviors. To be honest a lot of transgendered problems come from rejection by society.

        • HonestDebate1

          I’m just being honest. I am just saying they’re are not all equivalent. There is a continuum from bisexual to transgender that covers a wide chasm. I have many gay friends and employees who I love dearly. I don’t know any transgenders but I’d treat them fine if I did. I would still be of the opinion they have real issues within their selves separate from societies view.

    • andic_epipedon

      I don’t think Manning is a traitor, but I agree with your sentiment that it’s not cool to link the two different issues.

      • dust truck

        He was convicted. So, yes, he’s a “traitor” even if you may disagree with the court’s decision.

  • Jon

    The ultimate irony of human rights theory – humanity changes its definition to immoral animal desire.

    • Expanded_Consciousness

      Your post shows that the definition of humanity has to include unintelligent humans.

      • Jon

        On the contrary, human rights theory is considered extremely intelligent by virtually every human being.

  • John Cedar

    Why was it so easy for Manning to copy and leak the data?
    A lot more people should be getting punished than just Manning.
    Why did the army trust a woman with all those secrets, anywayz?

    • pennyroyal

      any techie could have done what Manning did.

      • John Cedar

        Umm…that’s what I said.
        That, and “any techie” could have taken measures so that “any techie” couldn’t have done what manning did.

  • Fiscally_Responsible

    Instead of executing Bradley Manning for being the traitor that he is, some left wing ACLU lawyer will probably expect to be paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by the federal government for his fees in order to argue in court that Manning is constitutionally entitled to a sex change operation to be paid by the federal government. And then the federal government will be expected to incur tens of thousands of dollars to pay for the operation. Four questions.

    Will the money that is spent by the federal government for this medical procedure be part of the health care savings that Obamacare is expected to provide? Also, will the federal government’s responsibility to provide Manning with a whole new wardrobe as a result of the operation be part of another Obama economic stimulus package? Will all of those shoes be American manufactured, thus providing Americans with jobs?And when Manning writes his book and makes guest appearances on such left wing leaning shows as “The View” and “Keith Olbermann”, will he be allowed to keep his fees and book royalties?

  • Coastghost

    Lichtenberg (Hollingdale tr.), Waste Book D34: “It is a good thing Heaven has not given us the power to change as much of our body as we would like to or as our theory would assert is necessary . . .”
    (Poor Lichtenberg, what could he have known? He was writing in the 18th century!)
    Science since Lichtenberg’s day has rewarded us with the ability to confer gender reassignment: my, but aren’t we masters of nature now! (The [other] animals must envy us our anthropological prowess.)
    For enlightened creatures as ourselves, what provokes the instant assumption that transgenderism is not itself pathological? For that matter: what provokes the instant assumption that gender reassignment is itself not pathological?

    • Expanded_Consciousness

      Changing your bodies to your liking is the wave of the future, dude. Get on board. The question of cause is irrelevant (nature versus nurture). It is about autonomy and self-determination. Did you forget that you were an American?

      • Coastghost

        Thanks for the invite, but I’ll stay off-board. (The question of cause remains relevant as long as the question of outcome remains relevant.)
        Transgenderism WOULD be about autonomy if practitioners were able to effect the change in their own persons: that they require social intervention and support and recognition helps give the lie to any notion that individual autonomy is at stake: no one is obliged to respect transgender choice, just as we remain free to regard it chiefly in terms of risibility.
        So “Can” is a moral category sufficient to replace “Should” in moral discourse? We may as well drop moral categories altogether and simply insist on ontological categories, then. –which, I dare say, will not deflect much risibility with which most people view transgender attainment and ambition.

        • Expanded_Consciousness

          Your argument that autonomy does not exist because it occurs in a social context is ridiculous. Respecting people’s autonomy over their body and identity is the issue. It is also part of a larger issue over control of one’s body and identity, and the future is going to bring more choices for all sorts of people. Get ready for the 21st century.

          • Coastghost

            Once hermaphroditism becomes normative worldwide, humans will be able to impregnate themselves, ostensibly: now THAT’s autonomy!
            Why wait? Get ready from the 22nd century.

          • Expanded_Consciousness

            Cool!

        • pennyroyal

          ludicrous argument — there have always been people in the middle of the continuum. Native Americans called trans people ‘two spirits’ and they were the shamans. Other cultures accept it, why does the US get so hung up? Fundamentalist religion.

      • fun bobby

        if I get a fluffy tail does that make me a bunny?

  • Coastghost

    (Tom Ashbrook: I posted an opinion about Manning last week which your moderating censors deleted rather unceremoniously: I would repost it now, but why bother? –in which case: why solicit opinions and expressions that are deemed impermissible from the outset?)

  • Mari McAvenia

    Deirdre’s voice sounds like it’s being autotuned. Is this intentional?

    • Paaven

      Actually I just read that she had vocal surgery done in an attempt to make her voice sound more feminine and it didn’t go well at all. I think we’re just hearing the result of that surgery

      • AmyD7

        Yes, most likely. Vocal fold damage can cause diplophonia.

    • AmyD7

      She has diplophonia, and she stutters. Diplophonia is relatively uncommon, and that is what is causing the “autotuned” sound.

  • AC

    we have 2 fully changed transgendered people in my office. both over 50. 1 just went through the full change last month and no one blinked except for some of the older men in their 70s who are known as the office pervs anyway…..

    • skelly74

      Ooh…don’t knock the old 70 year old office perv…they are endangered…young men today mourn the loss of the ability to shelve their inhibitions and ogle and suggest at the beautiful women in tight skirts in their golden years…those days are gone…so what’s the difference between the old perv and the spotted turtle? They both have their natural place in this world.

      • AC

        youre absolutley right.
        its just that theyre so easily ‘titillate-d’ and their giggling is creepy…just creepy….

    • Brad dayag

      Unless you work at Pacifica’s corporate HQ, trust me, there were a lot of people disgusted by it.

  • DeJay79

    Deirdre might be a very good spokes person but she does not have a voice for radio.

    Sorry I want to care about this but it is just distracting

  • AC

    in the future, when you can do-it-yourself plastic surgery in the morning after brushing your teeth, i imagine the world will be full of kens, barbies, marilyn monroes, james deans and then – millions of really cool who knows what works of art people will come up with. you’ll actually have to judge a person by getting to know them. it’ll be a great day, and historians will look at this period in history and think we had weird hang-ups….

  • Yar

    The place to start a discussion of life in prison is the fact that anyone who has been in prison more than 72 hours is no longer allowed to donate blood. This is due to the fact that every prisoner faces the high likelihood of rape. This is not a gender issue, it is a abuse issue. When a prisoner identifies as a different gender than the rest of prison population they are more likely to suffer abuse. How do we prevent abuse while serving a sentence? Talk about sex in prison.

  • J__o__h__n

    Technically it is an initialism not an acronym as the letters are spelled out when pronounced and not pronounced as a word.

  • Laurie Anne

    A beautifully written book on this subject is “Trans-sister Radio” by Chris Bohjalian. It is a fictional story, but really gives the reader an understanding of transgender persons through very human, normal and likeable characters.

    • pennyroyal

      also She’s Not There by Jennie Boylan

  • Coastghost

    KIND OF A MINORITY OF THE POPULATION, Tom? Really and truly? (Is this understatement, hyperbole, or hyperbolic understatement?)

  • 2Gary2

    Here is the bottom line–if you were born with a penis you are a guy regardless of what you may think you are. period. Everyone can tell you were a guy regardless of what surgery you have and you look silly and laughable and pathetic.

    • Expanded_Consciousness

      If you were born with a bigger penis, are you more of a guy?

      Everyone can tell? The surgery will improve in time.

      • 2Gary2

        all the surgery in the world can not make a man into a woman. you can’t polish a turd.

    • fun bobby

      I guess you have never watched the maury povich show

      • 2Gary2

        I do not watch trash TV.

        • fun bobby

          you missed out on some really attractive trannies

    • sam_bone

      Why do you act as if it is some affront to you personally? Why does someone else’s gender even matter to you?

      • 2Gary2

        yes and let me tell you why–There are guys who are on dating sites who say they are women and never say they are really a guy who had his penis removed and a pathetic looking hole made and say it is a vagina. This is called being dishonest. If you were born with a cock you are a guy period the end. You can NEVER be female.

        • fun bobby

          ah so you got burned by a dishonest trannie. it all makes sense now

          • 2Gary2

            yes so if I am somewhat harsh and biased on this issue this is why. I am the stupid one that did not figure out she was really a he until a friend googled and said OMG and told me. When I asked why she/he did not tell me in the first place they said they did not want to scare me away.

            I thought it was weird that his/her vagina was not getting wet etc and it sure looked weird but he she said they were in a water ski accident and that is why.

            So yeah I am the stupid one.

          • fun bobby

            that’s rough.

        • disqus_fw2Bu1dEsd

          Tell that to RuPaul. To his FACE.

          • 2Gary2

            who is ru paul?

          • disqus_fw2Bu1dEsd

            RuPaul. I tried to get a picture of him for you but this format wouldn’t let me. If you want to see a variety of trannies, I suggest you google RuPaul’s Drag Race. I’m sorry if you had a bad experience… Try watching the movie, The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert. It might help you overcome some of your bias, disgust, whatever you want to call it. Happy watching. Now could you move that floor lamp into the other corner? Thank you.

    • andic_epipedon

      It’s one thing to think transgendered people are mistaken or wrong. It’s another, to make fun of them. You don’t deserve to use that Sesame Street character as your icon.

    • pennyroyal

      your utter ignorance and closed mind makes your comment a dismal spectacle

      • 2Gary2

        What did I say that was not 100% true? Its pretty clear–if you were born with a penis you are a guy. period. and yes the vast majority of people can tell you were a guy regardless of how much make up you use.

        • pennyroyal

          you would be very surprised…
          I don’t think you’ve gotten beyond the fixed idea that anyone would want to go from M-to-F. That’s quite a shock to jocks like you.

          • 2Gary2

            I hate sports and am no jock. I am very progressive but have the courage to tell it like it is.

          • pennyroyal

            okay, I’ll take back the jock comment. But I know Trans people and they are as sane as anyone else.

          • disqus_fw2Bu1dEsd

            If you hate sports and am no jock then, by definition, you must be a male interior decorator.

          • 2Gary2

            I think my ex wife would beg to differ…

          • disqus_fw2Bu1dEsd

            You mean she didn’t like your decorating? I don’t understand….

          • 2Gary2

            no sane person would want to change their gender.

        • disqus_fw2Bu1dEsd

          Yeah man,[lady?] who do these friggin’ preverts think they are– wantin’ ta be treated with respeck, dignity and love? Wah, I’d get me a bee bee gun an’ shootem’ in the tuchus to learn them a thang or three. Ah hates promiskitty!

  • skelly74

    The common argument is that gender identity issues are related to mental health; humans are born hard wired either male or female according to their “hardware” and masculine or feminine according to their “software”.

    How do we account for hermaphrodites? The are blessed with both “hardware” designs.

    Is it possible that a gender identity issue “software” – with a specific gender different than the “hardware” is hard-wired like a hermaphrodite?

    excuse the technology metaphors.

  • J__o__h__n

    Who cares what religion has to say on it?

    • Expanded_Consciousness

      I don’t, but unfortunately religion still has political power.

      • J__o__h__n

        But she shouldn’t cite it as a reason. If T is part of LGBT, then advocating that betrays gays as the bible does claim that is wrong.

    • tbphkm33

      I agree, but unfortunately, U.S. christianity has a heavy dose of evangelicalism in it. Not saying all U.S. christians are evangelical, but they do tend to have a strong tenant of propagating their believes upon others… and sticking their heads in the sand and refusing to accept as valid believes that run counter to what their flavor of christianity says.

  • http://www.openeyesvideo.com/ Glenn C. Koenig

    Thank you, Tom, for hosting a program on this topic!

  • fun bobby

    what seems to have been overlooked are the benefits to being a transgender individual. personally as a transgendered individual I love the female pat downs at the airport. perhaps the pat downs would not be so objectionable if everyone was able to choose their assailant

  • Paaven

    it would be inappropriate for the doctor to just pick these days. Common practice now is to attempt to determine biological sex via a chromosome test and then consult with the parents.

    I’d like to know how many of the children born with this have gender identity issues, relative to the overall population.

    • andic_epipedon

      Good question

  • Brad dayag

    Manning still has the same chromosomes, same package and same legal name as the day he was born. No amount of artificial hormones and cosmetic mutilation will change that. He’s a MAN baby!

    • andic_epipedon

      Whatever

    • Kitty Barber

      Indeed. Who would want to spend time in a men’s prison if one could do the time in a facility filled with women? There is no such thing as a ‘female brain.’ All such findings have been–over and over again–disproven. This whole thing–trans-you-name-it–is bullcrap. One can ‘be’ anything one ‘feels like?’ No. It’s crap. A con, a lie, and a case of no one but a few being able to see that the emperor is NAKED.

      • Brad dayag

        I never even thought about the prison aspect of this. Good call.

  • andic_epipedon

    I’m gay. Thank you for your strength.

  • pennyroyal

    Chelsea Manning should be freed and left to live her life as she sees fit.

  • andic_epipedon

    The gender fluid person sounds like a cross-dresser who is in touch with both masculine and feminine sides. I’m a lesbian and have never heard the term gender fluid before. That’s cool. I support that. Do I refer to that person as a he or is there now more than he or she available to use? Or do I refer to he or she depending on the day? I think I read somewhere that some Native American cultures have similar gender identities.

    • Meredith E Sinel

      I am glad you asked this question. I have a friend who was born in a female body but identifies as a male. However, does not want to be referred to as a him/he – prefers them/they. What are your thoughts on this?

      • fun bobby

        I always go for the them/they when going for gender neutrality

      • J__o__h__n

        Them and they should be reserved for co-joined twins. One would be the correct non-gender specific pronoun.

  • Gordon Green

    Great program! I think it’s high time we all recognized how fluid gender can be. It’s all good and wonderful!

  • fun bobby

    actually your genetic gender is always very cut and dry. you either have xx or xy unless you have a chromosomal disorder

  • http://wp.me/nQPn Dee Omally

    yep….life consists of an analog, not digital reality. Temperature, age, height, weight, race, and yes even gender. Even before we get into a transgender discussion, this analog reality is revealed in bipolar (not medical bipolar) extremes—-women that dress/appear masculine and men that dress/appear feminine.

    We who are transgender simply wish the same freedom of (physical) expression—-the primary pushback groups represent religious and patriarchal-worshipping groups. The first conflates gender with sex. The second vehemently defends masculinity and conflates gender with criminal deviancy in the following manner:

    (1) they project a viewpoint that echoes “once a boy, always a boy” & “once a girl always a girl” which posits the fallible credence that everything possible can go wrong (womb development) EXCEPT for sex assignment and (2) they equate the idea of a gender transition from the male perspective—-that is identify (female) prey, conquer and seduce. This perspective is projected onto transgender females, failing to realize that the primary motivator for us is not sexual conquest but sex/gender correction. We are “men” seeking to enter the most private of areas for sexual conquest—-they say—-because isn’t this their perspective? By extension, a transgender person is a sexual crime waiting to happen.

    We have been here before….blacks are no longer 3/5 of a person, females no longer “belong in the kitchen”, Hispanics and women can serve in occupations previously closed to them, being gay and lesbian is a non-issue. We must not give up for the transgender child’s future and safety is at stake.

  • Christine Benvenuto

    Thanks for taking on this topic, Tom. Along with interviewing folks who have transitioned, it would be great to include the voices of family members affected by the issues. Since publishing my story, Sex Changes: A Memoir of Marriage, Gender, and Moving On (St. Martin’s Press) last year, I’ve heard from anguished ex-spouses, siblings, and other trans family members, as well as from brave people who identify as transgender and wished above all to spare their partners and children the kind of grief my children and I experienced. Hearing all these stories could benefit both trans people and everyone around them.

  • Swashbucklr

    I do not understand why people aren’t willing to allow folks to define their own identities. Trans, gay, stright, man, female, giraffe, etc., who cares? Allow people to be what they want, however weird it is, because more than likely, it makes them happy. And in the ‘States, don’t we believe that the “pursuit of happiness” is one of our inalienable rights as human beings?

    • Kim

      Unless you are non-trans. Then you are Cis. Like it or not.

      • Swashbucklr

        Are they? Sure, the definition of such means that trans is trans and cis is cis. But if someone doesn’t wish to call themselves cis, why insist they label themselves such? Especially when there are many folk who consider themselves genderqueer or genderfluid, yet may visually appear to be female-bodied and a woman.

        If it isn’t appropriate for someone to assign a label to a transperson (and I know of some transpeople who would just prefer to be referred to as their chosen gender, without the trans label), why is it appropriate to insist someone be called cisgendered? Because you don’t know what label they want to use until you ask. That’s the whole point between asking about preferred gender pronouns and not making assumptions.

  • Erin Wickering

    The overarching theme I am finding as part of this conversation is that we need to treat people as people. There are so many different labels, because people don’t like to be given a generic label and be thrown into a group in which they feel like the don’t belong. If we stopped focusing so much on names and identity labels, and just started treating people as individuals, recognizing that no one is going to be completely alike to another, then we’d be MILES ahead of where we are now.

  • http://emelyes-kitchen.blogspot.com/ Emelye Waldherr

    When you boil down everything that trans people are asking for you get one demand: to be treated with the same dignity and respect afforded to everyone else.

ONPOINT
TODAY
Apr 16, 2014
A woman walks past a CVS store window in Foxborough, Mass., Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012. The nation’s major drugstore chains are opening more in-store clinics in response to the massive U.S. health care overhaul, which is expected to add about 25 million newly insured people who will need medical care and prescriptions, as well as offering more services as a way to boost revenue in the face of competition from stores like Safeway and Wal-Mart. (AP)

Retailers from Walgreens to Wal-Mart to CVS are looking to turn into health care outlets. It’s convenient. Is it good medicine?

Apr 16, 2014
Harvard Business School is one of the top-ranked MBA programs in the country. Our guest today suggests those kinds of degrees aren't necessary for business success. (HBS / Facebook)

Humorist and longtime Fortune columnist Stanley Bing says, “forget the MBA.” He’s got the low-down on what you really need to master in business.

RECENT
SHOWS
Apr 15, 2014
In this file photo, author and journalist Matt Taibbi speaks to a crowd of Occupy Wall Street protestors after a march on the offices of pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012, in New York. There was a heavy police presence around the 42nd Street area as the demonstration began Wednesday morning outside. (AP)

Muckraking journalist Matt Taibbi sees a huge and growing divide in the US justice system, where big money buys innocence and poverty means guilt. He joins us.

 
Apr 15, 2014
A crowd gathers at the finish line of the Boston Marathon in Boston for a Sports Illustrated photo shoot before the one-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings, Saturday, April 12, 2014. (AP)

One year after the Boston Marathon bombing, we look at national and local security on the terrorism front now, and what we’ve learned.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
How Boston Is Getting Ready For the 2014 Boston Marathon
Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014

Boston Globe metro reporter Maria Cramer explains how the 2014 Boston Marathon will be different than races in the past.

More »
Comment
 
WBUR’s David Boeri: ‘There’s Still Much We Don’t Know’
Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014

WBUR’s senior reporter David Boeri details the ongoing investigation into the alleged Boston Marathon Bombing perpetrators.

More »
Comment
 
Remembering The Boston Marathon Bombing, One Year Later
Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014

One year after the Boston Marathon Bombing, we look back at our own coverage of the attacks and the community’s response from April 2013.

More »
Comment