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Proud intersex person Tony Briffa Print E-mail
News - World News
Written by News.Com   
Wednesday, 17 September 2014 06:22

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Tony Briffa. Picture: Nathan Dyer. Source: Supplied

Proud intersex person Tony Briffa tells story of self discovery

BEING born both female and male has led Tony Briffa, 44, to campaign for the law to treat every person as unique. This is Tony's story:

"It's been nearly a year since I married my partner, Manja, in a beautiful ceremony in New Zealand. In my wedding vows, I promised to be the "best husband and wife possible". Sadly, we couldn't marry here in Australia because the law requires marriage to be 'between a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others'.  

I can't fit such a narrow definition because I was born biologically both female and male - I'm an intersex person.

I was born with Partial Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (PAIS). Doctors weren't sure what my sex was because I was born with biological features of both sexes. Doctors decided that my testes should be removed and I should be raised as a girl because I didn't have a penis and appeared more female than male. I was named Antoinette and I went to the local Catholic all-girls school.

Despite doctors not wanting me to know, there were constant reminders I was different. I spent a lot of time in hospitals being examined and having tests. I was told not to talk about it because it was a secret. Over time, I learned I couldn't have children and I'd never get periods. I was confused; I felt like a freak and very alone.

THE SECRET WAS OUT

By 18, I'd seen my medical records and things made more sense. I got married to an understanding man, but we divorced soon after. At 26, I started having relationships with women. This was a very exciting time in my life, but I still felt it best to hide the "real" me and my "shameful" secret.

At 29, I found a website for intersex women. I discovered there was much more to PAIS than I'd been told. I then asked my doctors to give me the testosterone my testes would have produced if they hadn't been removed. They refused so I went public, coming out as an intersex person on the Nine Network program 60 Minutes.

I THEN GOT MY TESTOSTERONE
 
Changes came within months - my voice deepened and I grew hair in places that I'd never had hair before. Read the full interview at: http://www.news.com.au

 

 

 

 

 
Facebook to Meet With LGBT Community Print E-mail
News - World News
Written by mashable.com   
Wednesday, 17 September 2014 05:17

Facebook has agreed to meet with San Francisco city officials and activists following criticism that its naming policy discriminates against the LGBT community.

The social network's policy, which requires users use their legal name on profiles, is not new — but has recently come under new scrutiny after a number of transgender people and drag performers reported being locked out of their Facebook accounts.

Sister Roma, member of a drag group and venerable San Francisco institution known as the The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, was among the first to raise the alarm when she was locked out of her Facebook account.

Roma had to change the name on her account to Michael Williams, a name she said she has not used for nearly 30 years.

"I am overwhelmed and moved to tears by the literally hundreds of emails I have received from people who are sharing their compelling stories explaining why they don't use their 'real' name on Facebook," she wrote in one of many Facebook posts on the subject. "I want you all to know that you are not alone, there are many people who were abused, shunned, discriminated against, fought custody battles, survived addiction, and maintain profiles that are very real and very separate from your legal identity."

As word of the policy and Facebook's apparent crackdown on affected accounts spread, upset users took to Twitter to voice concerns over the police using the #mynameis hashtag.

facebook-name-notice

My account has been suspended. After my article about the right to self-identify was shared a bunch.

 

 
Facebook Is Forcing Drag Queens To Use Their Legal Names Print E-mail
News - World News
Friday, 12 September 2014 10:42

Sister-Roma

Sister Roma (left) has been forced to use her legal name on Facebook

Facebook Is Forcing Drag Queens And Other Performers To Use Their Legal Names

Facebook has started cracking down on the names people are using on the site in an effort to “keep our community safe.” 

But among those affected by this policy shift are performers, including drag queens, who don’t go by their legal names and are more well-known by their stage names or nicknames. 

And they are outraged and have even started a petition to change the policy. “Although our names might not be our ‘legal’ birth names, they are still an integral part of our identities, both personally and to our communities,” the petition reads.

Michael Williams, better known as Sister Roma, is one of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, an LGBT organisation focused on community service and drag performances. The group has been around since the late 1970s. 

Roma says that she was suspended from using the site until she adjusted it to contain her legal name. She’s been using the name Sister Roma on Facebook since 2008, according to the Daily Dot.

“I was automatically logged out and told my account was suspended because it appears that I’m not using my real name,” Roma told the Daily Dot. “I was instructed to log in and forced to change the name on my profile to my ‘legal name, like the one that appears on your drivers’ licence or credit card.’”

Post by Michael Williams .

Roma has been using the hashtag #MyNameIsRoma on Facebook and Twitter to bring attention to the issue and to fight against the policy. 

In February, Facebook announced that it was rolling out a customisation option with about 50 different words people can use to identify their preferred gender. So it’s unclear why the company would force people to use a name that’s on their driver’s licence, but not necessarily the gender that’s listed there. 

“If people want to use an alternative name on Facebook, they have several different options available to them, including providing an alias under their name on their profile, or creating a Page specifically for that alternative persona,” a Facebook spokesperson told Business Insider. “As part of our overall standards, we ask that people who use Facebook provide their real name on their profile.”

 

 
Lesbian Mom, Megan Smith Named CTO of U.S. Print E-mail
News - World News
Monday, 08 September 2014 07:42

smith meganIt’s official. As rumored last week, President Obama has named Megan Smith, a Google executive and lesbian mom, to the post of Chief Technology Officer of the U.S.

I consider it a good thing if I remember to backup my computer regularly. Now here’s a lesbian mom heading technology efforts for our whole country. I’m trying not to feel like a slacker.

The White House Blog says that the CTO will “lead Administration-wide efforts to unleash the power of technology, data, and innovation to help meet our nation’s goals and the needs of our citizens.” Specifically, Smith will “guide the Administration’s information-technology policy and initiatives, continuing the work of her predecessors to accelerate attainment of the benefits of advanced information and communications technologies across every sector of the economy and aspect of human well-being.”

President Obama said of her: Megan has spent her career leading talented teams and taking cutting-edge technology and innovation initiatives from concept to design to deployment. I am confident that in her new role as America’s Chief Technology Officer, she will put her long record of leadership and exceptional skills to work on behalf of the American people. I am grateful for her commitment to serve, and I look forward to working with her and with our new Deputy U.S. CTO, Alexander Macgillivray, in the weeks and months ahead.

Smith was most recently a vice president at the secretive Google X lab,. She has also led LGBT media company Planet Out, brought together innovators to tackle “some of the world’s greatest problems,” championed technical women in industry, spearheaded efforts to support women’s leadership around the world, and driven a solar car across the Australian desert. She has two sons with leading technology journalist Kara Swisher, from whom she is separated. (For more details, see my previous post.)

She will be the first woman to hold the post; the previous two officeholders were men. At a time when girls need to see more role models of successful women in STEM fields — and, let’s face it, boys also need to see successful women in STEM fields — she seems an especially apt choice for guiding all Americans into our techological future.

 

 
Gareth Thomas reveals pain of coming out gay Print E-mail
News - World News
Written by Alexander Thatcher | FUSE Editor   
Monday, 01 September 2014 04:26

gareth-thomas-shirtless

Gareth Thomas, the former rugby international, has spoken for the first time of the agonising pain of his wife leaving him after he came out as gay. The ex-Wales captain told how he made several suicide attempts after confessing to his wife Jemma in 2006 that he had been secretly homosexual throughout their five-year marriage. In a new book Thomas says that the night his wife left him, he dressed in his best grey suit issued by the Welsh Rugby Union and headed to the swimming pool of his home set upon drowning himself.

He explained in an interview on Saturday how he had fought to become one of the toughest players on the pitch in an attempt to hide his sexuality, which had been clear to him from the age of 16.

"It was like, 'I'm going to make it hard for you to ever imagine, because I'm going to be a beast of a man and I am going to be — good at rugby, which is everything that society is telling me I shouldn't be.'?" He finally opened up to his wife eight years ago when he realised his attraction to other men was not going to disappear in the way he had hoped, despite being "so in love with her".

Thomas, who retired from rugby in October 2011 and now works for a teaching company, has written a memoir, Proud, detailing his journey towards being openly gay.

 

 
Britain pardons veteran castrated for homosexuality Print E-mail
News - World News
Tuesday, 26 August 2014 07:32

code-breaker-castrated-for-homosexualityBritain pardons World War II code-breaker castrated for homosexuality. British World War II code-breaker Alan Turing, who was convicted in 1952 for homosexual activities, was officially pardoned on Tuesday by Queen Elizabeth.

LONDON, Aug. 19 (UPI) -- Queen Elizabeth has officially pardoned Alan Turing, the renowned World War II British code-breaker who was castrated in 1952 for his homosexuality and later committed suicide at the age of 41.

Turing was a brilliant logician who developed an electromechanical device called the Bombe, a code-breaking machine to decipher Nazi Enigma codes during WWII. Although his war time work contributed greatly to Allied success, he was convicted of homosexuality in 1952. He chose to be chemically castrated in lieu of prison, and killed himself two years later at the age of 41 by eating an apple laced with cyanide.

"A pardon from the Queen is a fitting tribute to an exceptional man," British Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said in a statement Tuesday.

"Dr. Turing deserves to be remembered and recognized for his fantastic contribution to the war effort and his legacy to science."


Turing wrote a 1937 paper about a hypothetical device to compute problems. The device became known as the Turing machine, and Turing has been called the "father of modern computing." The A.M. Turing Award, posthumously named after Turing, is sometimes referred to as the "Nobel Prize of Computing."

British Prime Minister David Cameron hailed Turing as "a remarkable man who played a key role in saving this country in World War II by cracking the German enigma code."

The pardon went into effect Tuesday.

 
Westboro Baptist Church's Plan To Protest Robin Williams' Funeral Thwarted By Love Print E-mail
News - World News
Written by Huffington Post   
Saturday, 16 August 2014 01:15

robin-williams1

The Westboro Baptist Church is trying to spread its vile message of intolerance with a disgraceful protest of Robin Williams' funeral, but Planting Peace is not letting the hate take root.

Williams was found dead in his Tiburon, California, home on Monday. His funeral is set to be a "very private" ceremony in San Francisco near his home. In spite of the actor's family's request for privacy and respect, WBC announced plans to picket Williams' funeral on Aug. 11 after labeling him a "Fag Pimp."

Planting Peace, a nonprofit organization founded in 2004 with a mission to spread love and equality around the globe, is set on challenging WBC's planned protest with a fundraiser. (The group also owns the Equality House, which is situated directly adjacent to the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas.)

"Robin Williams played many different roles in so many people’s lives, and giving back to others was at the top of that list," Aaron Jackson, co-founder of Planting Peace told The Huffington Post in an email Friday. "His appeal crossed generational boundaries. I was personally impacted when I heard of his passing. This is a small gesture to honor his legacy and the difference he made to so many."

"When the WBC announced they were protesting Robin’s funeral, we felt like launching a fundraiser for a charity Robin loved would be the perfect way to honor him and counteract the message of hate and intolerance that the WBC continues to convey," Jackson said.

The proceeds from the fundraiser will go to St. Jude Children's Hospital, an organization close to the late actor's heart. So far, Planting Peace has raised more than $1,000 of a $30,000 goal via a Crowd Rise initiative.

Click here if you'd like to donate to Planting Peace's "Remember Robin: A Fundraiser for St. Jude."

 

 

 

 
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