Just out. (Portland, OR) 1983-2013, December 19, 2003, Page 4, Image 4

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    4 ju s t out * decembet 19. 2003
out
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very once in a while, some story or other com­
pels me to read Just Out. 1 should know better.
“ Breaking the Binary Barrier” broke no new
ground (Dec. 5]. It’s a missed opportunity to
write something truly new and meaningful, hut
it’s no worse than what we’ve come to expect.
Another story boldly proclaims you’ve found
someone actually thinking in new ways— in this
case about trans identity (“Start the Ball
Rolling"). Ho-hum. While new to nontrans peo­
ple, the thinking itself is not new. What’s news­
worthy? Why, it’s a nontrans person that’s doing
the thinking. Am 1 being unfair when I wish Just
Out would have recognized trans people for
doing the true groundbreaking work years ago?
So, by the time I’d read all this, l was feeling
this issue was a waste of paper. Because I’d
turned right to the articles, I hadn’t realized that
you’d gone out of your way to he vicious. Your
“Just Asking” question was what ? If you’re gay or
lesbian, would you date a bisexual person?
What, not interested in knowing whether hi
people would he willing to date prejudiced gays
and lesbians?
Please. After a halfhearted attempt to throw
the hi community a hone, you invite nonbi people
to stereotype us while locking us out of the con­
versation. Well, at least we can enjoy the holi­
days—as long as we obey "gay and lesbian bound­
aries, of course," as your editorial insists [“Happier
Holidays’’]. Does that include a limit on who 1 date
for the next three weeks? Oops, and probably no
one should date me, since I’m a tranny and thus
might fall outside your gay and lesbian boundaries.
If you think that community forums are only
for “gays and lesbians” and that you should set
the boundaries for everyone reading your maga­
zine, why don’t you just state on your cover: Just
Out, the IN publication for the CAY &.
LESBIAN population.
It’s easier on our emotions if we know from
the beginning that we’re not welcome.
D ia n a C o u r v a n t
Portland
M aking am ends
To t h e E d ito r :
I
n the article “Take Cover" in the Dec. 5 Just
Out, I read yet another misunderstanding of
what the Constitution actually is: It is a not a set
of laws, hut rather a framework within which
laws must conform.
When Andrew Sullivan says the Federal
Marriage Amendment, “should it pass, raises a
very real legal question (if whether churches
that perform same-sex marriages would he vio­
lating the Constitution,” he’s completely off
base. The only ones who can violate the C on ­
stitution are governmental lawmaking entities.
If the proposed amendment passed, the only
constitutional question would he if someone tried
to create a law banning churches from perfonn-
ing and/or recognizing same-sex marriages, which
would conflict with the First Amendment’s sepa­
ration of church and state. Aside from that, it
Bob Ross,
1 9 3 4 -2 0 0 3
Garland Horner
Owner
CCB# 19095
To t h e E d ito r :
would only invalidate legal recognition of same-
sex unions, which is the status quo in many areas
anyhow (though hopefully not for much longer).
Likewise, Dave Ressler is slightly off when he
says, “ In a church, you get the sacred marriage
with the civil marriage thrown in” ("Just Ask­
ing”!. In fact, they are separate things as I under­
stand it: The civil marriage isn’t done until the
parties have signed the legal documents (though
I think some of the verbiage in the ceremony is
required by the civil marriage as well).
A la n B a t ie
Portland
Study b a se le ss
To t h e E d it o r :
n the article titled “Sexual Identity Hard-
Wired by Genetics,” Reuters reported Oct. 20
that one’s sexual or gender identity is “wired
into the genes,” citing the new research by
U CLA geneticist Eric Vilain and colleagues.
According to Vilain, the findings would sug­
gest that “sexual identity is rooted in every person’s
biology before birth” and that this knowledge may
he used to ensure that intersex babies are assigned
the correct gender. “If physicians could predict the
gender of newborns with ambiguous genitalia at
birth, we would make less mistakes in gender
assignment," Vilain said. However, none of this is
actually established or discussed in the actual
research paper this news report is based on.
The actual research published in Molecular
Brain Research is titled “Sexually Dimorphic
Gene Expression in Mouse Brain Precedes
Gonadal Differentiation,” and this title summa­
rizes the entire paper accurately: This study
shows that female and male mice develop differ­
ent brain structure even before their gonads are
formed. The significance of this study is that sex
differences in the brain have been traditionally
said to he caused by the different levels of hor­
mones produced by the gonads— testes for
males, ovaries for females. Vilain et al. observed
sex differences in the brain prior to the forma­
tion of sexually specific gonads, which suggests
that there are other mechanisms that cause
brain sex differences than honnones.
Interesting discovery, hut how does that
show that gender identity is “hard-wired” ? The
paper does not address this question at all, hut it
would he ridiculous to claim to have discovered
the nature of gender identity in a study using
mice, because mice do not report their gender
identity to researchers like human subjects do.
And besides, is research from the mice sexuality
really generalizable to the human population?
Vilain’s application of his “findings” to the
intersex controversy is also ethically questionable.
If there were really a way to predict a child’s gen­
der accurately, would that justify surgically muti­
lating the child to fit into her or his “true gender"?
Intersex activists are seeking to end shame, secre­
cy and traumatic medical treatments that are not
necessary, safe nor effective— not an end to "mis­
takes” of assigning the "wrong" gender.
Besides, the methodology Vilain used for
studying the brain structure of a mice involves
cracking its head and grinding brain— not an
I
tr a n s itio n s
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Unw elcom e mat
B
oh Ross, publisher of the weekly Bay Area
Refxnter in San Francisco, died of complica­
tions from diabetes Dec. 10. He was 69.
Ross was horn April 2, 1934, in New York
City. He moved to San Francisco in 1956 after
being discharged from the Navy.
A pioneering gay journalist as well as an
influential activist, Ross’ support for accurately
and powerfully covering the San Francisco sex­
ual minorities community was often reflected in
the paper. O f particular note was the Aug. 13,
1998, issue in which the B A R. had no AIDS-
rclatcd obituaries to print for the first time since
the start of the epidemic. The banner front-page
headline that week read simply: “No obits.”
Ross is survived by many friends and family
members. A memorial service will he held in
January at Herbst Theatre.