The Zeitgeist and I

I’m afraid to say that the zeitgeist and I have irreconcilable differences. This, of course, is a sure sign of my getting old.

This is not a problem. I’m quite happy to look on what is known as “popular culture” with a mixture of amusement and disdain. Although I must admit that the large number of TV shows which glorify bullying and greed is disturbing. The good thing is I do not need to watch such shows.

We will be going to the polls sometime in the next 3 months. What looked like being a rout of the government is now a much closer contest following the replacement of Julia Gillard with Kevin Rudd as leader of the Labor Party. The Labor Party has accepted what the so-called Liberal Party has known for years – appealing to Australians’ inherent sexism and racism will gain you votes. I vote for the Greens because they are the only party which is serious about addressing the problem of Climate Change. At heart I believe I am a liberal and although I support the welfare state and access for all to quality education and health care, I have strong libertarian leanings. I detest the Nanny State and I am strong believer in personal responsibility and choice. I don’t know why anyone would start a small business with so much government red-tape to be addressed throughout the life of a business. But enough of this “sound and fury”.

I am enjoying our winter. I have been reading some poetry, watching baseball (MLB), catching up with family and friends and being quite content with my life.

Things have been happening on the Law Reform front. The ACT government has responded (largely positively) to the Law Reform Advisory Council’s report “Beyond the Binary – legal Recognition of Sex and Gender diversity in the ACT”.  The federal government has also issued Guidelines on the Recognition of Sex and Gender.   The federal government has also included sexuality and gender identity to its anti discrimination legislation.  Small steps but in the right direction.  In 1995, Democrats Senator Sid Spindler introduced anti discrimination legislation to protect the LGBTI community.  It is a pity that he died before seeing his vision finally implemented.

The moving finger writes, and having writ, moves on….til next time.


Goodbye to a wonderful man

I have only just heard the news of the death of Professor Alfred Steinbeck.

I first met my dear professor (as I came to call him) in February 1997 when I attended his consulting rooms in Bondi Junction following a referral from my doctor.

The Professor was a first-rate endocrinologist and probably treated thousands of trans folk over the years.  We had a long chat and to my surprise, he prescribed estrogen injections and anti-androgens on that first visit.

I saw him every three months after that until late in 2002 when he decided that I no longer needed to see him.  He was there when I transitioned in 1998 and was there for me when I had SRS in February 2002.

We often hear tales of  “gate keepers” and about the hoops we have to jump through in order to access treatment for gender dysphoria.  I never felt that.  I felt I was always in control of my journey from presenting as male to presenting as female.  And it was because of the kindness and respect shown to me by professionals such as Professor Steinbeck that I felt this way.

The professor has been such an important person in my life.  I am deeply grieved at his passing.

An obituary appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Good-bye dear friend.

Law Reform Report Released

It’s been a long process but the report of the ACT Law Reform Advisory Council to the ACT Attorney-General concerning the legal recognition of members of the sex and gender diverse community has finally been released.

Beyond the Binary: legal recognition of sex and gender diversity in the ACT

Yours truly gets a mention in the acknowledgements.

It’s time now to start lobbying the polititians to implement the recommendations.

The year that was

Birthday Cake

2011 saw its fair share of natural disasters, political unrest and economic uncertainty but, for me, it was a pretty good year  (as years go).

I worked closely with the ACT Law Reform Advisory Council which was tasked with recommending to the government how to implement changes identified by the Australian Human Rights Commission.  In early December I saw a confidential draft of the Council’s report to government and can say that I am pleased with the recommendations.  The ball will be in the government’s court now to legislate to protect the human rights of trans people.

At the national level (and quite out of the blue) the Federal Government announced a new policy for the issuing of passports to members of the sex and gender diverse communities.  Apart from no longer requiring a person to undergo surgery in order for their gender to be recognised officially, much of the red tape was done away with.  And I am now the proud possessor of an Australian Passport.

It was the year I decided to finally retire from paid employment.  My last working day was 20 December and at my farewell, our Director has some very nice words to say about me and made it clear that if I should ever change my mind, a job would be available to me at the University.

It was the year I turned 60.  I arranged a big party for family and friends and it was a splendid affair if I do say so myself.  A week before the party, M & I took me to Material Pleasures, an op shop that stocks and sells some pretty classy labels.  I bought a couple of dresses, some linen pants, a top and a long skirt.  On the day of the party I went over to BFF’s house where her daughter did my makeup and she did my hair and nails.  I think I brushed up pretty well.

And it was the year I lost over 14kg.  In August my doctor read me the riot act concerning my weight and lack of exercise.  I have taken to walking like a duck to water and am happy to say I have dropped a couple of dress sizes.  I can wear clothes I thought I would never wear again.  My BMI has gone from “overweight” (approaching “obesity”) to “healthy”.

At the start of the year I saw “Black Swan” at the movies and finished the year by seeing “The Skin I Live In”.  I could watch Antonio Banderas and Elena Anaya all day!  Gina over at Skip the Makeup has an excellent review.

I expect 2012 to have more natural disasters, more political unrest and more economic upheaval.

But I’m planning to have a great year and am looking forward to the birth of my 7th grandchild.

Birthday Wishes

TDOR Canberra

I went with some friends to Canberra’s TDOR ceremony yesterday evening.  It was held at The Gods Cafe at the ANU’s Arts Centre.  Quite a few people were there and once again it was pleasing to see a large number of our allies turn up to show their support.

G gave a wonderful talk (which should be up on Youtube in a few days) and the Gay and Lesbian Qwire sang beautifully.

As was the case last year, small plants were handed out to be planted in public spaces in honour of the trans men and trans women who lost their lives during the last 12 months because of transphobia.  (There’s one such plant thriving outside the ACT’s Legislative Assembly Building.)

In other news, I have now lost 12 kg and am happy to say I can  now wear clothes that I thought I would never wear again.  A couple more kilos and I’ll stop with the weight loss and concentrate on weight maintenance.

Lots of socialising coming up.The Denouement Dinner with the College of Law, the Legal Workshop’s Xmas party, my work farewell (retiring at age 60 to pursue a life of leisure) and my 60th Birthday Party in 4 weeks time!  Not to mention Xmas Eve dinner here in Canberra and the annual family get-together in Sydney on Xmas day followed by a few days down at Jervis Bay with my sister.

And come next May, grandchild number 7 should make his/her entrance into the world.


Canberra’s TDOR Video now available on Youtube

The video appears in four parts:
Part 1 and 2 – Gab’s speech
Part 3 – Tim’s speech
Part 4 – the Qwire’s closing two songs.

Victory for Common Sense

Today the High Court of Australia delivered its judgement in the case of two transmen who appealed against a decision of the Western Australian Supreme Court which had denied them their gender identity as male.

The High Court found in favour of the transmen.



Passport within reach

I’ve never had a passport.  When I visited Fiji, Tonga, Noumea, Western Samoa and American Samoa with my ex and our children back in the early 80’s it wasn’t necessary.  And I don’t really have a travel-bug.  But it would be nice to have a passport now just in case  I suddenly get the urge to visit NZ or Hawaii.

Until this week, to get a passport with my correct gender on it, I had to get statutory declarations from TWO doctors certifying that I have had gender reassignment surgery. I could then have my birth certificate changed to show I was Female and only then would the Department of Foreign Affairs issue me with a passport showing my gender correctly.

This was an overly bureaucratic process and clearly favoured those like me privileged enough to have the finances and good health to undergo the surgery.  It was bad law which was identified as such by the Australian Human Rights Commission.

Well, this week all that changed.  No more is there a need to change a birth certificate.  No more is there a need for statutory declarations from two doctors.

At my next visit to my doctor, I will ask for a letter from her certifying that I have undertaken treatment to change from living as male to living as female.

And then I’ll get my first passport, just in time for my 60th birthday.

Meanwhile, I’m now averaging over 10,000 step per day and the kilos are starting to drop away.  All good.

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