March 22, 2007

Is Terry "still man enough to marry a woman"?

If the state prohibits same sex marriage, does a person who's undergone sex-reassignment surgery get to chose which sex he or she wants to be when it comes time to fill out the marriage license? If not, which sex would you impose on the person?
Because the state prohibits same-sex marriages, Terry and Winstanley's bid for a quick Milwaukee County Courthouse wedding last week was derailed until a hearing could be convened to investigate, even though County Clerk Mark Ryan accepted their marriage-license application as valid.

"They came in and applied just like anyone else would," said Ryan, who accepted the application after the couple paid the regular $100 fee and swore they were eligible to marry under state law.

Ryan said that Terry was able to produce a birth certificate listing the name Ronald and the gender as male. However, staff in his office thought the couple appeared to be two women - and noticed that Terry had to start over in filling out the form.

On the first try, Terry had written "Barbara Lynn Terry" where the form says "Bride."
If you read the article at the link you may be influenced by the fact that Terry served a prison sentence for raping a woman and was denied a request to transfer to a woman's prison. You may also want to take into account that various courts have decided that it's the sex recorded on the birth certificate that counts. And according to lawprof Arthur S. Leonard the "transsexual legal movement" would celebrate if the court decided that Terry couldn't marry, because they want legal recognition for the reassigned sex.

UPDATE: The judge decides Terry is a man and can therefore marry a woman.

22 comments:

Fitz said...

The problem with the transsexual “movement” does not start when a person surgically altered applies for a marriage license. It is not commonly known, but mainstream medical establishments have discontinued this practice.

“Quite clearly, then, we psychiatrists should work to discourage those adults who seek surgical sex reassignment. When Hopkins announced that it would stop doing these procedures in adults with sexual dysphoria, many other hospitals followed suit, but some medical centers still carry out this surgery.” 1

(1) Paul McHugh is University Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University.

The entire article can be found at http://www.firstthings.com/article.php3?id_article=398&var_recherche=gender+surgery

It strikes me as common sense that we as a society should help and encourage those who feel they require such surgery to learn to live with the sex they are born to. Rather than offer a permanent and unsatisfactory mutilation.

PatCA said...

"The transsexual legal movement would hail that result," he said.

Sad, but he may be right, given today's absolutist rights climate.

Kirby Olson said...

In The World According to Garp a former Philadelphia Eagle named Roberta Muldoon has this surgery done and it's entirely approved of within the narrative -- Garp's son eventually "marries" a trans-sexual, and this too is considered a positive, especially because Garp's son Duncan never wanted children. Somehow I still think "ability to have children" should be considered as it's the greatest blessing.

Cedarford said...

The Milwaukee article notes that Ronald, or "Terry" as IT prefers to be called, has an active litigation history inc. a US Supreme Court case about being ID'd in his record as a "sexual degenerate" when IT was in prison for raping a women. Also suing a restaurant for not letting IT be a hostess.

On top of that, IT's fiancee, is apparantly some Aussie who has been in the States less than 30 days.

Just another case in a can of worms the senile Sandra Day O'Connor and the Gal from the ACLU and the asexual Souter opened when they sanctioned gay anal sex as a Constitutional Right.

Because we all now that the Founders dreamed and hoped for the day when changing social mores and emenations of the penumbra of what was actually written would finally give an ex-rapist transvestite the right to marry an illegal alien.

Marti said...

"Paul McHugh is University Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University."

Using Paul McHugh as the voice of the "mainstream medical establishment" on transsexual surgery is the equivalent of saying Jonathan Alder (Competitive Enterprise Institute) is the voice of the "mainstream environmental movement.". McHugh is a darling of the religious right, and is on par with groups like NARTH.

It is an outright LIE to say that "mainstream medical establishments have discontinued this practice." The Harry Benjamin Standards of Care is the accepted standard of treatment by most of the "mainstream medical establishment".

It states that:

"Sex Reassignment is Effective and Medically Indicated in Severe GID. In persons diagnosed with transsexualism or profound GID, sex reassignment surgery, along with hormone therapy and real life experience, is a treatment that has proven to be effective. Such a therapeutic regimen, when prescribed or recommended by qualified practitioners, is medically indicated and medically necessary. Sex reassignment is not "experimental," "investigational," "elective," "cosmetic," or optional in any meaningful sense. It constitutes very effective and appropriate treatment for transsexualism or profound GID."

Offering up that sex reassignment surgery is an "unsatisfactory mutilation" flies in the face of a hundred years of research and 50 years of genital reassignment surgery. The fact is that the majority of people that have SRS have a positive result (less than 2% have "serious regret"). What other mental illness treatment has a success rate of 98%?

"In The World According to Garp..."

In case you haven't heard, that book is found under FICTION.

"If not, which sex would you impose on the person?"

I think the question is, why do you need to impose a sex on anyone? The argument that marriage is for the production and continued stability of children is ludicrous to the point of being laughable. One only need to point to the divorce statistics to see what an utter failure heterosexual marriage has become.

Of course the "transsexual legal movement" would celebrate a legal recognition for their reassigned sex. If someone is willing to give up their reproductive ability (never mind the pain and expense of surgery) to have inner peace, don't you think that's a high enough price to pay for "recognition"?

The truth is that there is little solid ground on the "science" of transsexuality. Rush Limbaugh has said you should always "follow the money" when looking at the bottom line of a liberal cause. I'd ask that you "follow the outcomes" of patients treated under McHugh verses the those that follow the HBSOC, when looking at the bottom line of sexual reassignment surgery.

I'm not claiming to be biased on this belief. I'm a pre-operative M2F transsexual. I started hormones in September of 2001. Six years out, I am the happiest I've been in my life. I am focused, centered, and in control of my life. Legal recognition won't validate my decision, but it will allow me to integrate back into society in a productive manner.

Revenant said...

"Terry" as IT prefers to be called

If it wouldn't be too much of a strain, Cedarford, try for five minutes not to be a complete moron. Human beings are never referred to as "it" in the English language. Human beings are referred to as "she" (if female) or "he" (if male or if gender is unknown or unspecified). More recently "they" has come into vogue as a gender-neutral singular pronoun, but "it" is still completely out of bounds.

So either (a) you didn't know this simple fact of English, in which case you're subliterate, or (b) you're not following it because you don't think this person deserves to be treated as a human, in which case you're a sick little fucker. In either case, do us all a favor and shut the hell up.

Because we all now that the Founders dreamed and hoped for the day when changing social mores and emenations of the penumbra of what was actually written would finally give an ex-rapist transvestite the right to marry an illegal alien.

Ben Franklin shacked up with another man's wife so he'd have someone to raise the bastard child he'd had with a hooker. Many of the slave-owning Founders, including Jefferson, had sex with their slaves -- something that could quite reasonably be called rape, as the women had no choice in the matter, but was in any case considered highly deviant and immoral by the society of the time.

So the notion that our Founders were upstanding figures who would be shocked, SHOCKED by people who flaunt conventional sexual mores is just stupid. So again, please -- stop talking. You're making everyone to the right of Reality Check look bad.

(PS: Since when does "from Australia" mean "illegal immigrant"? What'd she do, swim here?)

Beth said...

Cedarford is owned! Well done, Rev.

Just a sidenote: the singular "they" is returning, not emerging. That usage can be found in texts going back to the 13th century. If our linguist is reading, tell me, was it Aristotelian logic that pushed it out of use? Or am I thinking of the double negative as emphasis?

Also, in most style books, not even an animal is referred to as "it," if said animal has a name that is mentioned in the story.

Ann Althouse said...

""If not, which sex would you impose on the person?" I think the question is, why do you need to impose a sex on anyone? "

Well, that's why there was my question before the "if not." I really don't get why you are acting like you're introducing a question I haven't thought of!

Revenant said...

Just a sidenote: the singular "they" is returning, not emerging. That usage can be found in texts going back to the 13th century.

Hm, neat. Although the 13th century was still Middle English, and not really the same language we speak today.

blake said...

Beth,

I'm not the official linguist but I believe "they" as a singular pronoun was banished in the 18th century when pedants decided to impose Latin rules on English. We get other gems like "don't end a sentence with a proposition" from that movement, too, if I'm not mistaken.

I'm also not an expert on TS but I've known some would be TSes. What they described to me was sheer physical agony. On the other hand, there's this warning from Dan Bunten/Dani Berry.

And as long as I'm waxing on subjects I know little about, wouldn't this just be a matter of whether the state respect SRS? If SRS means your sex changes in the eyes of the law, then you're out of luck if you want to marry someone of the same sex and the law doesn't like that. Yes?

Cedarford said...

Revenent - stick your self-congratulatory moral outrage right up your ass.

We have a guy who is a rapist, who then crossdressed, who then gets sex changed, who then aparantly falls in some state where marriage is sought because he is either a man trapped in a transgendered woman's body or she is a woman who was once a man who is in touch with her new inner lesbian and seeks a gay relationship with a fellow female.

Yeah, right.

The only fitting words to describe such a person is as an "IT".

No way would the People, if allowed to vote, ever sanction IT&the illegal getting a marriage license.
And that is a far way off from Franklin fooling around or various slaveowners trading favors for a little behind the barn sex. Nor is it clear at all T Jefferson ever had a dalliance with Hemmings. But his brother was well-known afficionado of dusky meat and traded baubles and clothing for nooky.
Founder's view of a transexual having gay marriage with an illegal?

Probaby....ugh!

Elizabeth said...

Rev, you're right; it's found in the Canturbury Tales, which isn't our English. But it's also found, as Blake notes, up through the 18th century. The English of the 1500s and 1600s is familiar to us, particularly once the printing press comes around and makes it appealing to standardize spelling.

Elizabeth said...

Rev, do you see a theme in Cedarford? So far we have "gay anal sex" and an instruction for you do place something "right up your ass." When will Fen pop in with his wound fetish?

Elizabeth said...

"...dusky meat"? Sweet Jesus. He's decompensating. Everyone stand clear.

And cover your ass.

Fitz said...

"Using Paul McHugh as the voice of the "mainstream medical establishment" on transsexual surgery is the equivalent of saying Jonathan Alder (Competitive Enterprise Institute) is the voice of the "mainstream environmental movement.". McHugh is a darling of the religious right, and is on par with groups like NARTH."

I don’t know about this need to demonize professionals and their opinions. I have no reason to discount this or any other medical professional’s opinion. I don’t know what constitutes being a "darling of the religious right" or why you think that disqualifies someone? The mainstream medical establishment cannot adopt a “standard of care” for a procedure it no longer accepts as medically sound.

Also- NARTH is a professional organization with multiple well qualified and respected members.

Happywoman1005 said...

Hi All,
These sorts of issues always stir deep emotions, about the same way that owning fellow human beings used to; or the way that marriage between people of two different races did.

Let me first state that I was born with the birth defect know as transsexualism. I knew something was wrong as a small child. It became more apparent as I grew older. Society didn't understand it. The Medical Community didn't understand it. If they did and treatment was available, as it is now, I would have pursued it. Unfortunately back then the answer for all like me was sometimes shock therapy and being institutionalized. Imagine being born with a more obvious birth defect, say a malformed head, and finding at the age of 13 or 14 that the only "treatment" for it was a frontal lobotomy or being put in an institution for life. It wouldn't do much for your hopes and dreams for the future would it? That's why so many born with this commit suicide. They see no hope for a normal life. I am one of the lucky ones. I finally found and completed treatment. I live a wonderfully full and peaceful life. I am Ordained in my church and am looked at as a leader. I am extremely active in mainstream politics. I am married with a family; I am a wife, mother and grandmother. I am at peace with myself and my God.

Most of you who write about this condition don't really have a clue as to what it is and what effect it has on any human being afflicted with it. I'm not saying that as a put-down, it's just fact. Paul McHugh is a man who has a personal disdain for the whole subject of Transsexualism. He operates from this deep hatred using very slimy "scientific research" to substantiate his beliefs. It's like a statistician; we all know they can massage numbers to show about anything they want. The same is true with research. If one has a pre-conceived agenda as to the results of research it is very easy to select your sample universes and frame the questions to bias the findings to prove your hypothesis. What McHugh uses to support his claim is an already discredited research poll where they interviewed "women" who had surgery to change their sexual anatomy. These people were not random. These were people who, for the most part, had already exhibited depression and a level of dissatisfaction with their "change" to the "opposite sex". Of course, when asked, they would respond that they were not happy. Most women born with transsexualism within a period of time integrate completely within society and live very happy, fulfilled lives. To find these women to participate in this sort of research is very difficult. To not include them in honest scientific research is reprehensible.

To say that offering hormones and a surgical solution for being born with transsexualism has been dropped from "mainstream medicine" is ignorant and just plain wrong. I guarantee you that each day in this country, and in every country in the developed world, surgery is being performed to provide relief from this horrible condition.

All of that said, I will also say that there ARE people who seek SRS for reasons other than having been born with transsexualism, usually to their own detriment. Some of these are fetishists, such as transvestites who find a need to take their "dressing" to a new "level" in order to be "fulfilled". Sometimes gay men (drag queens) do for similar reasons. Most of these people are not happy long-term for one simple reason. THEY ARE MEN. Period. End of story. People born with transsexualism (I speak only of male to female here) are born WOMEN, unfortunately with some variation of male anatomy. From the reports I have read "Terry" was probably not born with transsexualism. If Terry WAS born with this condition and is simply trying to get around existing same-sex marriage laws, then SHAME ON HER. If this case would set precedent, she would be hurting tens of thousands of heterosexual women who have had their birth defect corrected and want no more than to find a nice man, get married and live happily ever after. As a matter of fact I have a dear friend who had her surgery over 30 years ago. She was married for 22 years until she lost her husband this past December.

Fitz said...

"Paul McHugh is a man who has a personal disdain for the whole subject of Transsexualism. He operates from this deep hatred using very slimy "scientific research" to substantiate his beliefs."

I find this to be ill-liberal and anti-intellectual. It is par for the coarse however.

Obviously people who have undergone such treatments have a very high emotional stake in the efficacy of such procedures. Dr. McHugh has no such attachment either way. No one has discredited him with anything but ad homonym. When at John Hopkins he presided over the discontinuation of such surgery. Needless to say, this is a prestigious institution in medicine.

I am aware of no medical evidence that one can be born into the wrong body and that ones genitalia can be described as a “birth defect”. Human sexuality exists on the level of chromosomes and transcends amputation.

Revenant said...

I find this to be ill-liberal and anti-intellectual. It is par for the coarse however.

Fitz, it is a fact that Paul McHugh's opinions are unrepresentative of mainstream medical and psychiatric beliefs. It is also true that he has a lot of personal issues with homosexuality and transsexuality that are unrelated to his job as a scientist. Finally, it is true that he tends to use emotionally overwrought language when discussing gender reassignment surgery (e.g. referring to it as "mutilation") that real scientists refrain from using.

You are welcome to your personal belief that McHugh's beliefs represent true science and his opponents are the anti-intellectuals. But there's no supporting evidence for that claim.

reader_iam said...

"It"?

"Dusky meat"?

In three words, where the Althouse comments threads seem to be converging.

What a shame.

reader_iam said...

What a loss.

Fitz said...

First Reverent claims…

“it is a fact that Paul McHugh's opinions are unrepresentative of mainstream medical and psychiatric beliefs. It is also true that he has a lot of personal issues(???) with homosexuality and transsexuality that are unrelated to his job as a scientist. Finally, it is true that he tends to use emotionally overwrought language when discussing gender reassignment surgery (e.g. referring to it as "mutilation") that real scientistsrefrain from using.”


Then Reverent asks me.

“But there's no supporting evidence for that claim.”

Were is the “supporting evidence” for your claims (above) concerning Dr. McHugh?

TMink said...

Fitz wrote: "Human sexuality exists on the level of chromosomes and transcends amputation."

And that is precisely where the problem lies! The birth defect is typically chromosonal rather than emotional. Think of it as a genital cleft palate.

Trey