Archive for the ‘Articles’ Category

Notes from The Underground Vol.3 No.1

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Ottawa,Canada        January/February 1990        Vol.3       No.1

 

A Salute To Craig Russell

 On Tuesday, October 30, Craig Russell died in a Toronto hospital from a stroke resulting from AIDS. Russel’s impersonations of great lady stars like Mae West, Judy Garland and Barbara Streisand in the semi-autobiographical 1977 movie “Outrageous” catapulted him from Toronto’s gay club circuit to such prestigious venues as the city’s Imperial Room and New York’s Carnegie Hall.

“Craig was a warm and generous person who was Just unable to cope with the question: who is Craig Russell a man or a woman?” said Gino Empry, his publicist and manager. “He had no discipline. If he had harnessed his talent, he would have been a world star. It was his lack of discipline defeated him.”

Craig Russell had a voice that ranged from Louis Armstrong to Barbara Streisand and, unlike, most female impersonators, he used it. He also had the ability to convey his affection for the ladies he was playing.

“Once, when I was doing all my Jokes, a friend said: “You’re not big enough to put down these people who are the reason for your professional existence. At that point, I stopped doing put downs and started doing send ups. The important thing is that the ladies know that I really dig them.”

Apparently he always really dug them. Of his school days, he said: “I preferred hanging out with the girls. They dressed better and smelled nicer. I was only 13 but, somehow, I knew that’s where my future was.”

It’s sad that the person who, in his own words, was, “too cute to be a boy, but not cute enough to be a gir,l” never did find his peace of mind. Writing in Toronto Life, critic Martin Nelman observed, “Russell’s act is a kind of tribute – a fond, witty commentary. He doesn’t merely mime, and what he does goes way beyond female impersonation. Its inspired and original … when Russell is at his best, it’s clear that what we are witnessing is some weird and wonderful show business form of possession. He orchestrates his own pandemonium, and he gives the audience a good time.”

 

On The Subject Of Magazines

Reading “Mulling over the Magazines” (NFTU Nov/December, 1990) left me with an uneasy feeling. Although I had no difficulty accepting the final conclusion, I did find myself disconcerted over the reasoning used to reach it. It directly opposed the manner in which the new group name was arrived at, etc., and described in such glowing terms on the previous page. It fails to recognize the diversity of the world of cross dressing, and implies a hidden belief that problems can be solved by enforcing some standard of uniformity. Since we’ve all experienced this phenomenon from society’s attitude towards cross dressing in general, it is disappointing to find that the same thing may be happening “in house”. The magazines referred tarticles which contained depictions of sympathetic aunts, heavenly orgasms and TV’s male sexual organs are pornography. Please note that, as I write the dreaded word PORNOGRAPHY, the ground is not shaking, lightning bolts are not striking me down, nor is there a smell of sulphur in the air. Pornography has only one aim, and that is to stimulate sexual arousal. Period.

It was not created to educate, nor to display opinions of integrity, nor to prove to TVs that they are men. At its root, pornography is about sex and sexual fantasy; nothing less, nothing more. It is a fact that pornography has been misused, and has been relied upon to be the primary sexual educator of puritan western society. It is also fact that the cause for this is ironically linked to the hysterical reaction to anything sexual from ostensibly well-intentioned people. Then again, kitchen utensils have also often been misused. I have no intentions of eating with my hands.

Sex, of course, is one of the long-standing taboos of is society. No matter how one tries to intellectualize sex, it is, for most, a highly personalized affair. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that people react in an emotional, not necessarily rational, manner when confronted with sexual subject matter – especially if it depicts activities which run counter to one’s own inclinations. Unless one was bi or homosexual (and there are a few cross dressers who are so inclined), then the sight of a male in lingerie and see through panties is strongly distasteful, if not downright nauseating. Then again, there are lots of people who are not too impressed with what makes me tick, either. This reaction is dangerous if not understood properly. Too often this sensation of disgust toward someone else’s sexual tastes carries over to a judgment of that individual’s moral standing. It is this reaction that causes people to quite guiltlessly beat up gays in the park and ridicule their attempts to build relationships. Contempt for those that are different can come into play and, in my mind, contempt is nothing more than a self-defeating method of justifying oneself.

I disagree completely with the author’s comment, “Cross dressing is not about sex at all.” Please. Our sexualities do not necessarily pack up and leave the instant we put on women’s clothes. The simple truth is that a significant number of TVs have incorporated cross dressing into their sexualities, diverse as they are, or at least, have fantasized about it.

Cross dressing is about emulating the female gender. I think its safe to say that sexuality is a component of gender. It should come as no surprise that many cross dressers would enjoy being treated as a lady by a man; taken out to dinner or a night of dancing. It should come as no surprise that some would take it further. The nuances and variations possible are almost infinite. I feel a more accurate sentence would have said: “Cross dressing is not all about sex.” There are so many facets to what we do, it is almost impossible to fully develop one’s potential through only ones own perspective, which is so heavily influenced by one’s experiences through puberty. The very name of our club acknowledges this diversity. Can you imagine how absolutely boring the club would be if everyone dressed the same way, and had identical approaches to emulating their femme selves? Can you imagine how boring the world would be if everyone was the same? Society would stagnate. Nearly every destructive period in history has been accompanied by some latent desire for uniformity. Hitler and the Ku Klux Klan are extreme examples of this phenomenon but it does not take a genius to see it working at every level of human interaction. Living is all about learning and learning means being aware of other people’s perspectives. This is not always easy. In fact it can be downright scary. It’s not pleasant to realize that you may have been missing out on something or that your own personal hang-ups are really groundless in the eyes of others.

This is a fear, however, which must be overcome. This is the fear which exaggerates surface differences, and sets people against each other. This is the fear with which society’s institutions (and some individual’s) regard cross dressers. This is a fear which caused our club some of its own growing pains and, if we are not careful, it can still separate us into cliques. It can also act as a barrier between us and some of the other clubs with which we have just forged some links. Despite all that we have in common, every one has a different approach to things. That is what makes us individuals. It is one thing for a cross dresser to expect negative reaction from a misinformed public. It is quite another when they have to wonder if other cross dressers will judge them to be the right “type”. Coming out of the closet, to me, means gaining one’s freedom. In particular, it means freedom to make choices about all the facets of cross dressing which had previously been unknown to me and deciding which ones I wish to incorporate in my experience. A club which limits, or enforces by peer pressure, the choices which can be made by its members, is nothing more than a roomier closet. Keeping ourselves blissfully ignorant of any aspect of cross dressing for the sake of image is, to me, the most efficient method of ensuring that we continue to victimize and alienate ourselves. Let’s not let a little squeamishness foul things up.

 Belinda Doree

 

The Value of Women

A California doctor has patented an ultrasound technique that he says can determine the sex of a fetus at 12 to 14 weeks. Dr. John Stephens has promoted his service recently among Vancouver’s large East Indian community where, according to Dr. Stephens, there is still a belief that male babies are more desirable.

“We know that, if the sex (of the fetus) is not the one they wish, they will go off and have an abortion,” he said in an interview from his ultrasound clinic in Palo Alto, CA.

Dr. Stephens operates three clinics inCalifornia and another just across the Canadian border, in Blaine,Washington, about 50 kilometers southeast of Vancouver. He said he would have preferred to have a clinic right in Vancouver, but was unable to obtain a license to practice in Canada. Establishment of the clinic and Dr. Stephens’ marketing of it caused a furor in Vancouver.

“He is trying to make money in a way that is despicable and unethical,” said Reminder Dosanjh, a director with the India Mahila Association. “He’s doing his best to cash in on some of the values that unfortunately still exist in our society. It’s a total abuse of technology.”

Dr. Stephens is seeking a New York medical license in order to open a clinic in Niagara Falls, NY, “that would attract business from Toronto. I’m told there are enough East Indians there to make it commercially viable.”

Diane Marshall, a therapist with the Institute of Family Living in Toronto, said the current Royal Commission on New Reproductive Technologies should call for a ban on practices such as Dr. Stephens’. He has a marketing campaign aimed directly at groups in society which value a male child more than a female child,” she said. “And he administers a technology which can lead to abortion of a female fetus. I think that’s disgusting. People’s morality should be based on more than what sells in the marketplace.”

D.r Stephens said he doesn’t condone the attitude that a family must have a male child, but, “if I don’t make money, I don’t survive. As a businessman, I need a competitive edge.”

Priests and Sex

A psychiatrist, family therapist and former Benedictine priest has written a book on priests and sex called “A Secret world: Sexuality and the Search for Celibacy”. A. W. Richard Sipe based his book on psychiatric counseling sessions and less formal talks that he held from 1960 through 1985 with 1,000 priests and 500 lay people who were lovers of priests or were victims or “otherwise direct 0bservers” of sexual behavior of priests. Some of his conclusions: About 50% of priests practice celibacy; 20% are or have been involved in heterosexual relationships; 10% to 13% are actively homosexual; 6% are sexually involved with children or minors and 1% practice transvestism. A spokesman for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, DC, has criticized the study because it relies not on a random sampling of priests but rather on clergy who went to Sipe for counseling.

 

 Washroom Problems

A Houston  police officer who arrested a woman charged with using a men’s restroom during a concert said he was unfazed by her presence in the bathroom. Steven Andrews, a Vice officer for almost two decades, offered his testimony for the state, which then rested its case against Denise Wells. The 33 year old legal assistant is accused of entering a men’s room without permission in a manner calculated to cause a disturbance. She admits to using the men’s room at the Summit Arena during a July 7 concert by country music star George Strait because the line at the women’s room was too long. She was arrested and removed from the concert, for which she paid $125 to attend. Two police officers have testified Wells left the stall in the men’s room and announced: “There – I left the lid up Just like y’all like it.”

Crossdressing and High I.Q.s

Noted in a recent issue of the Mensa International Journal:

“Cross dresser would like to correspond with other Ms who have similar feelings or any females who are understanding /interested. Statistics show TVs, TSs, etc., to be generally above average in intelligence. There must be more of us. Please write. Privacy and discretion assured. Denise, P.O. Box 116635, Carollton, Texas 750115535 USA.”

Items compiled by Alison T.

 

Gender Mosaic’s Official Makeup Artist

TVO Responds

Arts & Entertainment

Colin Campbell at the National Gallery: Video artist Colin Campbell’s exhibition is currently on view at the Winnipeg Art Gallery and will begin a touring schedule which will include a stop at the National Gallery. Trained in painting and drawing, Campbell began working in video as early as 1972. ln his gender oriented videos, Campbell explores the nuances of male and female stereotypes by having artists play their opposite genders. Its both an examination of gender and a reference to the history of cross dressing in vaudeville, which came to television in the guise of Milton Berle, and others, and is still a staple of “Saturday Night Live’s” Church Lady. Dates for the Colin Campbell exhibition at the National Gallery are February 14 to April 14, 1991.

 

TV Peaks

Further to cross dressing and television, “Twin Peaks” watchers witnessed the arrival of a new character in the last show of 1990. Denis Bryson, the special investigator sent by the FBI to investigate the conduct of Agent Dale Cooper, with whom he once worked, strolled confidently into the sheriff’s office wearing a smart Jacket and skirt and looking very much the professional woman investigator. Please, call me Denise, he said. although there was considerable humor in the presentation, I thought it was pulled off sympathetically. It will be interesting to see how long the character lasts.

The opportunity for character development is endless but I find most television shows write out a cross dressing character from the story line when he ceases to be titillating or ceases to provide amusing situations. Television is not yet ready to let him exist as himself.

More Rocky Horror: The careful marketing of the “Rocky Horror Picture Show” video cassettes has proven immensely successful. Only a certain number of cassettes were released and the run is all but sold out. I have heard so many talking heads expounding on why Rocky Horror is so popular, but I have never once heard anyone suggest that maybe, just maybe, the cross dressing might have something to do with it. It amuses me how people can convince themselves that they’re not at all fascinated by cross dressing.

 

 

THE BACK PAGE

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A Final Word

This month was to have witnessed the grand unveiling of the new-look “Notes from the Underground”. As our regular readers can plainly see, it didn’t happen.

The reason for this, besides the mundane one of Christmas rush, was my inability to make my computer software do what I wanted it to do in the short time available before my deadline came due. After working at it feverishly for some time, the thought came to me in a flash, “What the heck am I killing myself for?” So, you’ll have to wait a few more months.

Anyway, it’s always nice to have something to look forward to, ’ isn’t it?

Aside from my difficulties with my computer, the work we at Gender Mosaic have been doing in the background the last few months has finally manifested itself in some physical evidence. We now have a telephone line! We hope to introduce the phone number officially to the city in a few weeks by way of an advertisement in the paper. The new Gender Mosaic number is (613) 749 5203. Call us!

In anticipation of requests for information, Sharon has put together a pamphlet which dispels the common myths surrounding transvestism and transsexualism. It’s a good, factual starting point for anyone who wishes to learn more about our culture and we hope it will get wide distribution.

There has also been some basic discussion about membership. We hope to have all the details worked out and ready to be voted upon by the February 2 meeting. Please be there or phone me before if you’d like to ‘ participate.

It’s never easy for a cross dressing group to be completely open but, with the improvements we’ve made, we hope to reach more people and be more successful in 1991.

Greetings and best wishes for the New Year from everyone at Gender Mosaic.

 

Girl Guides Tackle Transgender Membership

Friday, January 27th, 2012

Scouts Canada dealt with the issue of women and girls participating in the traditionally-male organization years ago. Since 1998, women and girls have been allowed to join and participate in Scouts Canada since 1998.

However, amid the many changes that Guiding has experienced over the past couple of decades, the issue of admitting men or boys to the Girl Guides of Canada has remained firmly and uniformly suppressed as unthinkable. Now, there is a new dimension to the ‘male membership’ question: how to deal with transgender people of all ages seeking membership, as Guides and Guide Leaders.

A thoughtful article on the is currently online (published January 26, 2012) at Yahoo’s Daily Brew national affairs blog (posted at least temporarily at: http://ca.news.yahoo.com/blogs/dailybrew/girl-guides-canada-tackles-transgender-membership-wake-u-204454200.html).

Against the day that Yahoo! inevitably delists the article from its system, I offer the text below with all due credit and respect to Yahoo! and the Author, so that visitors to this Web site will be able to read it in perpetuity.

***

Girl Guides Canada tackles transgender member- ship in wake of U.S. controversy

By Steve Merl Daily Brew

It’s safe to say Lord Baden-Powell, his sister Agnes and wife Olave didn’t envision having to deal with an issue like transgenderism when they founded the Scouting and Guiding movements a century ago.

It’s not an issue for Scouts Canada, which has admitted male and female youth since 1998. But Girl Guides of Canada now finds itself wrestling with whether to allow children who identify themselves as girls but are anatomically boys into the organization.

“Our board is seeking advice from medical and law professionals, and will deal with requests on a case-by-case basis,” Deborah Del Duca, chief executive of Girl Guides of Canada, told the Toronto Sun.

“Girl Guides of Canada strives to ensure environments where girls and women from all walks of life, identities and lived experiences feel a sense of belonging and can fully participate.”

The Guides, a volunteer organization whose stated mission is to enable “girls to be confident, resourceful and courageous, and to make a difference in the world,” said it was asked recently to consider allowing transgender kids to join.

It’s not clear whether that means a transgender child has applied to become a Girl Guide, but the issue has certainly been on the group’s radar since a controversy erupted in the United States over the admission of a seven-year-old Colorado child.

Bobby Montoya, whose mother said he has identified as a girl for some time, was initially rejected by the local troop leader of the Girl Scouts, as the organization is called in the U.S., because he had “boy parts,” according to the New York Daily News.

But the Girl Scouts’ Colorado chapter reviewed the troop leader’s decision and admitted Montoya under its policy to include transgendered children.

“If a child identifies as a girl and the child’s family presents her as a girl, Girl Scouts of Colorado welcomes her as a Girl Scout,” the chapter said in a statement.

Bobby Montoya never did enroll in the troop but the Colorado Girl Scouts’ decision created a backlash elsewhere.

Leaders of three troops, all affiliated with a Louisiana Christian school, quit the organization and disbanded their troops in protest, according to the Christian Post.

Guiding began in 1909 when a large number of girls showed up to a scouting rally hosted by the movement’s founder, Lord Baden-Powell, a Boer War hero. His sister Agnes, and later his wife Olave, Lady Baden-Powell, fostered the new organization, which reached Canada in 1910.

***

The foregoing Daily Brew column reflects the opinions of the author, Steve Merkl, but not necessarily those of Ottawa’s Gender Freedom.

When Support Groups go Bad #3

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

Well… After scoring this major victory, Kelly Anna felt on top of the world. However, nature was about to deal Kelly a major blow.

I dont know if it was Karma, Fate, or overwork and worry, but she soon found her self in hospital with a heart attack.

I care about all of us and I tried to go see Kelly. After an hour and a half on the buses, I reached the hospital and found Kelly’s room, but she was not there. She was out on a day pass. Fate, perhaps? As it turned out, I suspect that she probably would not have enjoyed seeing me.

Kelly recovered. To what extent, I do not know, as she will no longer even accept my e-mails.

Then, as her last-gasp effort – to help her feel better about what she had done before being tossed out of the presidency? – she revoked my Life Membership. This is a clear violation of the Gender Mosaic bylaws, as spelled out in Bylaw Article 19, proudly posted on the GM Web site.

Now… If all this was not enough damage done, there was a falling out between the new Executive and the departing one.

Kelly felt hurt, and in a further act of retribution, she denied the group the use of the domain name ‘gendermosiac.ca’. However, the new regime had already registered .com, .net, and .org. This fit the needs and mandate of the new Amanda Ryan/Sophia Cassivi executive, as they do not want only a support group, but also a captive audience and power base for their profit-making Gal’s Spring Fling company.

This sort of illegal activity is not new to Amanda/Sophia they have been doing it for years!

“Spring Fling” is the Registered Trade Mark of Rogers Stadium Limited Partnership, You may remember them as the Toronto Sky Dome (Blue Jays) .

I have, as a good Corporate citizen notified there trade mark lawyer and have been informed, it will brought to the attention of the board of directors for action.

With Rogers Good Luck you will need it, have you ever been late on your cable bill ?

It is my understanding the Amanda/Sophia regime is now planning to incorporate Gender Mosaic as the group gradually moves further and further from friends, help, and support for all involved toward being a commercial enterprise for the benefit of a select few.

I wonder how the GM membership feels about this apparently inevitable evolution?

Fortunately, there is still, and always will be, Gender Freedom as a preserve of sisterhood and support for trans people in the National Capital region.

(((Hugs)))

~ Judy Kearns

Webmistress
Genderfreedom.me

Founder
Gendermosaic
Genderfreedom

When Support Groups go Bad #2

Monday, December 12th, 2011

There has been a lot in the press recently about bulling and I will start this post by stealing a bit of background from a former post on this topic.

Although there is still a scientific debate on the nature and definition of bullying, most researchers understand this behavior as aggression characterized by:

  1. causing intentional harm,
  2. repetition, and
  3. an imbalance of power between the bully and the victim.

Bullies appear to derive satisfaction from inflicting injury and suffering on others, seem to have little empathy for their victims, and often defend their actions by saying that their victims provoked them in some way.

Bullies often come from homes in which physical punishment is used, where striking out physically is seen as a way to handle problems and where friendships and warmth are frequently lacking. Sociologists agree that children who have been bullied tend to become bullies themselves. Researchers also agree that all bullies share two key personality characteristics: Low self esteem and profound insecurity.

Boys and girls bully differently but it is still about power and control.

Boys will beat you up and feel they have won because youre the one with the black eye and bleeding nose. But they have won nothing. The victory is shallow and exists only in their minds.

Girls, on the other hand, tend to choose rumors, criticism and ostracism as methods of bulling. In its own way, this kind of ‘psychological warfare’ can be more damaging and harder to combat than the simple physical abuse traditionally preferred by boys.

Bystanders also play a role in bullying:

  • The enforcers join in and assist the bully.
  • The re-enforcers encourage the bully by observing and laughing.
  • The outsiders avoid the bullying by staying away and not getting involved for fear of losing social status or being bullied as well.

Perhaps the greatest tragedy of bullying is that it doesn’t end with childhood. Childhood bullies often become adult bullies. Their methods become more subtle but their basic behavior patterns remain the same.

We have recently been hearing a lot about adult bullying in newspaper and magazine articles addressing office bullying and, in particular, ‘the bully boss’. The bully boss’s leadership style is usually described as ‘my way or the highway’ and he or she almost always surrounds him/herself with multiple enforcers and re-enforcers.

The bully boss is also characterized by a top-down management style. She/he consults the employees under her/his authority only to inform them of decisions already made at the executive level; never to seek their guidance or opinions. If the employees choose to remain ‘outsiders’ and simply ‘go with the flow’, the bully boss is successful in maintaining his/her position of power and control. If, however, any employee dares to question the bully boss’s policies or actions, the employee can expect to face the boss’s retribution. Retribution may come in the form of reprimands, threats and (in extreme cases) material punishments such as demotions or suspensions.

The bully boss can also – and all too often does – appear in the leadership of service clubs, volunteer-based groups and other non-commercial organizations. Almost invariably, the bully boss, as President of the club, surrounds him/herself with enforcers and re-enforcers and alienates any non-outsiders – anyone who disagrees with their top-down policies and poses a threat to their power and control.

So it was with Gender Mosaic.

After getting rid of the Secretary and Media Relations Officer, who threatened her power and control, Kelly Ann felt invincible and set her sights higher – on removing the Webmistress and Founder.

I wonder there the idea come from to phony a mail breach, and release it to the private e-mail list and implicate the Founder in this event.

No proof was ever forthcoming that there had been any mail system breach in the Gender Mosaic online system, as alleged by Kelly Ann and her regime – the pretext on which the Webmistress/Founder was fired.

This brings us to the 1st vice president, Rachael. She holds a very special place in my life as she is only the fourth person that I have ever disliked on sight in my life – even before I had talked to her.

My assessment of the previous three proved to be right on the money, and my Spidey sense on the fourth one quickly proved accurate, as well.

She was, I believe the instigator of the insidious plot to remove the groups Founder and shares the discommodation of the former executive.

More to come.

(((Hugs)))

~ Judy Kearns

Webmistress
Genderfreedom.me

Founder
Gendermosaic
Genderfreedom

When Support Groups go Bad #1

Monday, November 28th, 2011

To fully understand whats going on here, we are going to have to go back to where the rot started in the oldest trans support group in Canada. So, we will turn the clock back a bit, to 2008.

At that time, I was approached by the then 2nd Vice President, Kelly Ann. She came to my home and asked me if I would be the 1st Key Note Speaker at Gender Mosaics 20th anniversary.

After some discussion I agreed and a short time later I found my self on stage in front of 100 members and friends at the Ottawa City Hall.

There on stage with the 2nd Key Note Speaker the then retired Deputy Chief of Police Larry Hill and, finally, Dr. Norman Barwin, I was pleased to have returned to the group I started so long ago, and in such good company.

A short time latter, 2nd Vice President Kelly Ann came to see me again. This time, she had a rather unusual request. She wanted me to help her overthrow the current Executive and help her take over the group.

Kelly told me she didnt like transsexuals and the fact that the current executive was a mostly transsexual she wanted to crush it.

She had with her a 4-page letter, berating and badgering the current executive signed only: “Anonymous”.

She asked if I would publish it to the group’s private e-mail list as any other member would be severely sanctioned for such an open post, and there was little they could do to me,  as the founder. (Note this for further reference).

I struggled with this for a number of days. What had the group mutated into?

It was, when I started it a support group of friends. But now, it seemed to be more like the gangsters of the 1950 making “hits”.

After a few days, pushing back from Kelly Ann and engaging in some deep thought, I agreed, and published it.

The results where immediate

The members all raised their voices, and the then-president Beth had her hands full with questions.

She even took a verbal swat at me on the Christmas party issue.

The results where as predicted: The President, 1st Vice President , 2nd and Webmisstress stepped down.

This propelled Kelly Ann to President with carte blanche to put in her own 1st and 2nd Vice Presidents, and Secretary.

She made me Webmistress and things ran well for a while. But but that soon changed.

Kelly Ann begin badgering her hand-picked secretary, and pressed her to step down. She left the group.

Next she went after the group’s Media Relations Officer, and, with the help of her enforcers and re-enforcers, drove her off as well, despite my protests.

By this time, it had become clear that the position had gone to Kelly Ann’s head, and no one could dare question the executive.

This is getting long for a single post, so I will end it here, for now, but there will be more, as all the dark truths about the GM Executive become apparent.

~ Judy Kearns

Webmistress
Genderfreedom.me

Founder
Gendermosaic
Genderfreedom