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Transsexual reader: Chaz's gender won’t change. ‘Gender is between the ears: Sex is between the legs’

A letter from Rita Beigh of Portland, Ore.:

Dear Steve Rothaus,

In your recent article regarding Chastity Bono's sex-change you made a very common but still glaringly obvious error. To wit, "Chastity Bono’s very public gender transition" is a term that truly has no meaning. As a post-operative M2F Transsexual I can assure you that neither mine nor Chaz's gender will ever change. Gender is between the ears: Sex is between the legs. Hence, the term "Transsexual". I do know a bit about this: I am both a Transsexual who has spent many years studying the issue and I am a student pursuing her PhD in Psychology. The malady, if it is that, is called "Gender Identity Disorder". People who are Transsexual are born with a gender that fails to conform to their genitalia.

For the past 20 years people have increasingly been using the terms gender and sex interchangeably. This is a sad, sad error. There is no such thing, short of brainwashing or a brain transplant, as Gender Reassignment Surgery. Gender: Between the ears. Sex: Between the legs.

Transsexual is a catch-all term for Drag Queens, Cross Dressers, and Transsexuals. Transsexuals are included in that as a matter of convenience. Of the three categories aforementioned, only the Transsexual has an agenda that includes changing their sex. To lump them in that category is misleading and confusing. It is no wonder that much of society thinks of us as garish freaks.

Other than those two points, it was a nice article.


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actually 'transgender' is the catch-all term. I do agree with your point about the 'gender' re-assignment surgery. I think that is mis-categorized in the GLBT grouping since the first three are orientation related.

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