Posts Tagged ‘gender’
“I think no question containing ‘either/or’ deserves a serious answer, and that includes the question of gender”*…
In the US, as in much of the world, trans people are often unable to access the healthcare they need. For many people transitioning, finding a doctor willing or able to help, let alone a clinic that offers hormonal treatment, can be costly and difficult.
Ryan Hammond, an artist and tactical biologist based in Baltimore, wants to make the process easier using genetically modified plants. He plans to engineer transgenic tobacco plants to produce gender hormones like estrogen and testosterone, allowing anyone to grow their own supplements at home.
To do this, Hammond is attempting to crowdfund $22,000, which would cover the costs of his training, lab access, and living costs for a year at Pelling Lab in Ottawa, Canada. Hammond has a background in art and has been working in a community biohacking lab in Baltimore called BUGSS, where he been exploring Synthetic Biology and learning new techniques in the field…
[image above: source]
As we think analog, not digital, we might spare a thought for Joshua Abraham Norton, better known as “Norton I, Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico; he was buried on this date in 1880. An immigrant from South Africa, Norton became disgruntled with what he considered the inadequacies of the legal and political structures of his adopted home. On September 17, 1859, he took matters into his own hands and distributed letters to the various newspapers in the city, proclaiming himself “Emperor of these United States”:
At the peremptory request and desire of a large majority of the citizens of these United States, I, Joshua Norton, formerly of Algoa Bay, Cape of Good Hope, and now for the last 9 years and 10 months past of S. F., Cal., declare and proclaim myself Emperor of these U. S.; and in virtue of the authority thereby in me vested, do hereby order and direct the representatives of the different States of the Union to assemble in Musical Hall, of this city, on the 1st day of Feb. next, then and there to make such alterations in the existing laws of the Union as may ameliorate the evils under which the country is laboring, and thereby cause confidence to exist, both at home and abroad, in our stability and integrity.
—NORTON I, Emperor of the United States
Norton issued a number of decrees, some of them visionary (e.g., the establishment of a League of Nations, the construction of a bridge connecting San Francisco and Oakland). Ignored by the local, state, and national governments, he spent his days inspecting San Francisco’s streets in an elaborate blue uniform with gold-plated epaulettes, given to him by officers of the United States Army post at the Presidio of San Francisco.
Norton died in poverty; but a group of San Francisco businessmen, members of the Pacific Club, established a funeral fund and arranged a suitably-dignified farewell. The Emperor’s funeral cortege was two miles long; the procession and ceremony were attended by an estimated 10-30,000 people– at a time when San Francisco had only 230,000 residents.
Color Forecast relies on high-speed digital cameras placed in strategic fashion centers in Paris, Milan, and Antwerp to capture data 24/7 on what the cognescenti are wearing… that data is fed into a piece of color-tracking software written by Pedro Miguel Cruz… then played back in the form depicted above– all to help one avoid appearing in public in a passe pastel. In the end, it’s a shill for a clothing chain called Pimkie… still, it’s all about au courant.
[TotH to Wired]
As we celebrate contemporaneity, we might send beautiful birthday greetings to English fashion model April Ashley; remembered for her spreads in fashion bibles like Vogue (as photographed by the likes of David Bailey)– and for being the first British person publicly outed as a transsexual– she was born (Tony Jamieson) on this date in 1935, and joined the Merchant Marine at 14. By the 50s, she’d moved to Paris and become a successful drag performer; then in 1960, she visited Morocco to have reassignment surgery. On returning to London later that year, Ashley took up modeling, and was an immediate success… which lasted until she was outed by the Sunday People in 1961. During her brief stint in the limelight, April won a part in the Hope-Crosby comedy Road to Hong Kong; her credit was dropped after her history was made public.
In 2005, after the passage of the Gender Recognition Act 2004, Ashley was finally legally recognised as a female and issued with a new birth certificate.
But not this dude (source)
In an interview at the Royal Geographic Society earlier this month, during which Nobel Laureate V.S. Naipaul provoked fury by suggesting that women writers are “sentimental” and “unequal to me,” he also claimed that “I read a piece of writing and within a paragraph or two I know whether it is by a woman or not.” Can you?
Take The Guardian‘s Naipaul Test and see.
As we X ourselves Y he might say such a thing, we might recall that it was o this date in 1868 that Christopher Latham Sholes, Carlos Glidden, and Samuel W. Soule of Milwaukee, Wisconsin received a patent for an invention they called a “Type-Writer” (U.S. No. 79,265). It only had capital letters and fit in a box about 2 feet square and 6″ high. The typists didn’t know if they were making errors because the paper, which was inside the machine, could not be seen as it was being typed.
The Sholes Type Writer (source)
From the BBC, “Sex I.D.: The Brain-Sex Test“– complete a series of exercises, and discover whether your brain functions more like most men’s or most women’s.
As we ponder the mysteries of gender, we might recall that it was on this date in 1776 that South Carolina became the first American colony to declare its independence from Great Britain and set up its own government.
The Palmetto State clearly has an itchy trigger finger: your correspondent’s ancestral seat was also the first state to declare its secession from the Union. On April 12, 1861, Confederate batteries began shelling Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, and the American Civil War began.
Revolutionaries fighting the forces of the Crown, Charleston, 1776
(U.S. Army Center for Military History)