Thursday, July 13, 2006

I find this really interesting

A transsexual scientist is saying some really interesting things about life as a female scientist and life as a male scientist.

A transsexual friend of mine in a place I used to live said similar, though less extreme things. She found her new status as a women meant increased attention from shop clerks and less respect at work.

Ben Barres, once Barbara Barres, talks about much more serious problems in his career. I've faced a few unpleasant situations as a result of my gender, but I never faced the level of discouragement Barres did.

But then, I wasn't trying to be a scientist.

CC

5 comments:

LinguistFriend said...

Life in academia as a transsexual can be nasty, brutish, and short, in Hobbes' terms. Although I have no personal experience in that respect, I have watched the odyssey of an acquaintance who made the male to female shift in recent history, both surgically and behaviorally. A lesbian friend of mine (and I) simply judged this transsexual to be an attractive lesbian at first meeting, and only later did she reveal her history. The transsexual had been a professor and program head in a private university, but after the surgery she was given the choice of teaching either in a satellite program away from the university, or in a program based in the state prisons. Unemployment folowed, until about a year ago she obtained a literature research position for an attorney. The risks entailed in such a change are appalling; one can hope that there will be legal redress in the long run, but that is unlikely for someone who has been thrown into poverty by such treatment by his/ her university administration. The law has not dealt well with such issues.
LinguistFriend

Chalicechick said...

Barres seems to have been wise to get tenure first.

CC

kim said...

We tried at GA a couple of years ago to get the UUA to include "gender identity" in their non-discrimination clause. We were unsuccessful. Ginny Courtier wouldn't let us even make the proposal. She was only willing to listen to teenagers or lawyers.

Chalicechick said...

Was there a mini-assembly on that proposal? At this GA, we were told you were supposed to propose amendments there.

I can assure you that the lawyer thing was not my experience at this GA. She seemed to take the speakers in the order they came up to the podium. Most of the speakers I heard were not articulate enough to be lawyers.

CC

kim said...

Yeah, there had been a mini-assembly "on it". However, the blurb in the book didn't say what the mini-assembly was covering, so we didn't know there was anything of interest -- it appeared to be just administrative by-laws stuff, non-controversial.
And it shouldn't have been so controversial: they claim to have gotten an "expert" to suggest their wording, but it was not the accepted legal wording. No one seemed to know who the "expert" was or what the qualifications were. We happened to be up on what the current accepted legal wording was -- we even had legal citations -- but Ginny didn't want to hear it, but listened to twenty teens say their opinions -- none of which had any legal underpinnings, but everything was very pro-kid at that meeting so we had to let them speak, which is fine, but shouldn't someone with some expertise also be allowed to speak? (and Ginny did make a remark about having to be a lawyer) The problem, as Joyce sees it, is that Ginny seems to be one of those lesbians who is prejudiced against transexuals. (there are a lot of them). I tend to be less paranoid, but the upshot is we didn't even get ten seconds to say what we thought the by-laws should say. We talked to one of the board members at breakfast the next day and she said she'd follow up on it, but we heard nothing more and don't really know how it stands now. What do the by-laws say about "gender identity" now? Is it included? do you know?