Tuesday, November 12, 2013

622 Gay campaign against Putin upsets Russian Jews; Germany allows 'third gender' birth certificates

Gay campaign against Putin upsets Russian Jews; Germany allows 'third
gender' birth certificates

Newsletter published on 18 November 2013

(1) Putin: Europeans are dying out. If Berlusconi were gay he would not
be on trial
(2) Entertainment world leads outcry against Russia's anti-gay law
(3) Putin treats gays like Hilter did Jews, actor Stephen Fry says
(4) Guardian writers support boycott of winter Olympics
(5) David Cameron rejects Stephen Fry call for boycott
(6) Russian Jews outraged after Stephen Fry compared gay propaganda ban
to Nazi Germany
(7) Germany officially introduces indeterminate sex
(8) Germany allows 'third gender' birth certificates
(9) Transgender lawsuit leads to Unisex toilets, change rooms and sports
teams
(10) Australian passports to have third gender option (2011)
(11) Australia's capital introduces same sex marriage - (Trotskyist)
John Passant
(12) California law protects rights of transgender students
(13) Miss Universe to allow transgender women to compete in its pageants
(14) Transgender Americans seek birth certificate rule change
(15) New LGBTI anti-discrimination laws finally passed - Socialist
Alternative (Trots)
(16) Australia: LGBT and intersex anti-discrimination laws come into effect
(17) & (18) Wives of gay men could get annulment (China)
(19) Genetic (chromosomal) Sex (XX or XY) - cf Continuum "masculinity
and femininity are cultural conceits"
(20) 'Maleness' enzyme Switches on the sex-determining gene SRY

(1) Putin: Europeans are dying out. If Berlusconi were gay he would not
be on trial


http://rt.com/news/berlusconi-gay-rights-putin-123/

If Berlusconi were gay he would never be on trial - Putin

Published time: September 20, 2013 07:36 Edited time: September 21, 2013
20:11

Vladimir Putin, traditionally sharp-tongued and prickly, spoke about
Syria, gay rights, and democracy at the Valdai Club political forum.
During the two hour discussion, the leader said he has "not ruled out"
running for a fourth presidential term.

Putin addressed a wide range of topics at the Valdai International
Discussion Club on Thursday, where over 200 leading politicians,
experts, and journalists gathered for a global dialogue about Russia.

Russia's traditionalist heart

Putin highlighted traditionalism as the center for Russia's national
identity.

"Without the values at the core of Christianity and other world
religions, without moral norms that have been shaped over millennia,
people will inevitably lose their human dignity," he stated.

The president criticized "Euro-Atlantic countries" where "any
traditional identity, including sexual identity, is rejected"? There is
a policy equating families with many children with same-sex families,
belief in God with belief in Satan," he said.

"Any minority's right to be different must be respected, but the right
of the majority must not be questioned," Putin added.

Commenting on the law banning gay propaganda, Putin said that Russia and
Europe have demographic problems.

"Europeans are dying out. Don't you understand that? And same-sex
marriages don't produce children. Do you want to survive by drawing
migrants? But society cannot adapt so many migrants. Your choice in many
countries is the way it is: recognition of same-sex marriage, adoption,
etc. But let us make our own choice the way we see it for our country,"
Putin said.

The president added that some American states still have criminal
liability for homosexuality.

"Why does everyone like to focus on Russia? You shouldn't fuel tensions
here; there is nothing terrible here," he said.

President Putin also joked that his old friend Silvio Berlusconi, former
Italian Prime Minister would not have faced trial if he was gay.

"Berlusconi faces trial for bedding women. If he was gay, no one would
ever lay a finger on him," he said with a smile. ...

(2) Entertainment world leads outcry against Russia's anti-gay law

http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/356209

Entertainment world leads outcry against Russia's anti-gay law

By Layne Weiss

Aug 10, 2013

Sochi - The entertainment industry is using its power and muscle to
start a protest against the anti-gay legislation that has been passed in
Russia.

Actor-playwright Harvey Fierstein, British writer-actor Stephen Fry, and
Star Trek's George Takei are just a few of the people who have publicly
condemned the law, which was passed in June, The Associated Press
reports. The anti-gay legislation has fueled an uproar, which is
overshadowing preparations for the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Last month, Harvey Fierstein wrote an op-Ed piece for The New York Times
saying that Putin had "declared war on homosexuals." He called on world
leaders and the International Olympic Committee (the IOC) to demand that
Russia repudiate the laws under the threat of an Olympic games boycott.

Earlier this week, Star Trek's George Takei posted a blog denouncing
Russia's "cynical and deplorable actions" against the gay, lesbian,
bisexual and transgender community.

With stars and activists bringing global attention to the issue, Russia
has blasted into a major controversy, which is challenging Olympic
leaders the way in a way similar to the protests over Tibet and human
rights before the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron, and former
Olympic athletes such as Greg Louganis have also voiced their opposition
of the law, which "prohibits the spread of propaganda of nontraditional
sexual relations" among minors.

Violators of the law will face fines and up to 15 days in prison.
"Hefty" fines will be given to anyone who holds a gay right rally and
foreigners can face deportation.

Gay rights campaigners have likened the legislation to the horrors to
Nazi Germany's persecution of the Jewish people to the apartheid in
South Africa, CNN reports.

Protests have ranged from not serving Russian vodka in bars to calls for
a boycott of the Olympic games.

British Prime Minister David Cameron has said Britain will not boycott
the Olympics, Reuters reports.

In response to an open letter from comedian Stephen Fry, in which he
called a boycott of the games "simply essential," Cameron wrote: "I
share your deep concern about the abuse of gay people in Russia.
However, I believe we can better handle prejudice as we attend, rather
than boycotting the Winter Olympics."

President Obama has also ruled out a boycott. Both he and Cameron feel
that it would only hurt the athletes who have trained so hard to
compete, The Associated Press reports.

In 1980, the United States boycotted the Moscow Olympics and in 1984,
the Soviet Union boycott the Olympics in Los Angeles. Both of these
moves have been widely regarded as failures.

"One of the things I'm really looking forward to is maybe some gay and
lesbian athletes bringing home the gold or silver or bronze, which I
think would go a long way in rejecting the kinds of attitudes that we're
seeing here," President Obama said Friday. "If Russia doesn't have gay
or lesbian athletes, then that would probably make their team weaker."

Meanwhile, the IOC is under pressure to take a stronger stance and
demand Russia's respect for the Olympic Charter's rules on discrimination.

One IOC member has even suggested taking the games away from Russia if
this issue can't be resolved.

"They have accepted the words of the Olympic Charter and the host city
contract, so either they respect it or we have to goodbye to them,"
Norway's Gerhard Heiberg told The Associated Press in an interview.
Heiberg, who organized the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer and chairs the
marketing commission, said the IOC needs to stay out of domestic Russian
politics, but must remain firm on what happens during the Olympic games
in Sochi.

"This is a very important principle and we have to stick to that,"
Heiberg said. "We cannot start giving in. Let's wait and see. Either
they accept or maybe we go somewhere else if worse comes to worse. I
don't think it will come to that."

Despite Putin's refusal to backdown and retract the law, the IOC has
been engaged in what has been described as "quite diplomacy" with
Russian leaders to ensure the law will not affect the games. Russia is
also set to host the 2018 World Cup.

"Russia must understand that the stronger we are, the more other people
aren't going to like it," Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said. "We
have a unique country."

(3) Putin treats gays like Hilter did Jews, actor Stephen Fry says

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/world-at-play/putin-gays-hitler-jews-olympic-ban-stephen-fry

by David Trifunov

August 7, 2013 14:24

British actor Stephen Fry has called on the International Olympics
Committee to pull the plug on the 2014 Sochi Games over Russia's
treatment of gay people.

Actor, author and gay rights activist Stephen Fry is comparing Russian
President Vladimir Putin to Adolph Hitler in a campaign to have Russia
lose the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi over the country’s stance on
homosexuality.

Fry published his thoughts on his website in a letter addressed to the
International Olympic Committee and British Prime Minister David Cameron
in hopes of upping the political pressure on Russia.

He urged the IOC to avoid repeating past mistakes when it “paid
precisely no attention” to Hitler’s laws against Jews before the
“notorious” 1936 Berlin Games.

“Putin is eerily repeating this insane crime, only this time against
LGBT Russians,” Fry wrote. “Beatings, murders and humiliations are
ignored by the police. Any defence or sane discussion of homosexuality
is against the law.”

Russia has enacted laws limiting “homosexual propaganda,” meaning fines
for anyone convicted of glorifying or portraying a same-sex lifestyle to
children.

The laws worry most human rights campaigners because they’re regressive
and worded so loosely they could subject gays to punitive treatment for
almost anything.

Fry, known for popular roles in “Blackadder,” “V is for Vendetta” and
the most recent Sherlock Holmes film, said the Olympics could be staged
where there’s “real winter” without much fuss.

“An absolute ban on the Russian Winter Olympics of 2014 in Sochi is
simply essential,” Fry writes. “Stage them elsewhere in Utah,
Lillehammer, anywhere you like. At all costs, Putin cannot be seen to
have the approval of the civilized world.”

(4) Guardian writers support boycott of winter Olympics

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/aug/10/boycott-winter-olympics-gay-rights

Should we boycott the winter Olympics?

Stephen Fry has written to the prime minister and the International
Olympic Committee calling for a ban on the Sochi 2014 winter Olympics
because of concerns over Russia's new anti-gay laws

Paul Burston and Veronica Lee

The Observer, Sunday 11 August 2013 03.01 AEST

Just over two weeks ago, I was invited to a reception at Downing Street
to celebrate the passing of the equal marriage act. What should have
been a thoroughly happy occasion was somewhat dampened by the news from
Russia. The prime minister made no direct reference to this in his
speech, but many of us present talked of little else.

As I'm sure you know, the news from Russia isn't good – certainly not if
you're lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. The catalogue of human
rights abuses committed against LGBT people in Russia is truly horrific.
It's not just the outlawing of Pride marches or Putin's legislative
attempts to ban public discussion of homosexuality. Homosexual acts are
now punishable by imprisonment. There is even talk of removing children
from parents thought to be lesbian or gay.

In this climate of state-sanctioned homophobia, LGBT people are being
brutalised. Attacks, torture and even murder are being ignored by the
Russian police. This is why I support the boycott of the winter
Olympics. As Stephen Fry wrote in his open letter to David Cameron and
the Olympic committee, sport "does not exist in a bubble outside society
or politics".

Sending LGBT athletes and supporters to the winter Olympics not only
puts their personal safety at risk – it also says that Putin's
persecution of LGBT Russians is seen as acceptable.

Veronica Lee, sports writer

Any decent human being will be appalled by Putin's hateful legislation,
so let's agree that we start from the same stance on LGBT rights.

My objection to a boycott stems from the belief that it would not be
effective, that it would unfairly ask athletes who have trained for
years for this event to take the brunt of this action and that, in going
to Sochi, LGBT and pro-LGBT athletes, coaches and the media (which I
plan to be part of) will be a visible sign of hateless humanity. ...

(5) David Cameron rejects Stephen Fry call for boycott

http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2013/aug/10/cameron-rejects-stephen-fry-russia-winter-games-boycott

Cameron rejects Stephen Fry's call for Russian Winter Olympics boycott

PM says campaign against new Russian anti-gay laws best served by
participation at Sochi 2014 Games

theguardian.com, Saturday 10 August 2013 20.28 AEST

The prime minister has ruled out a boycott of the Sochi Winter Olympics,
claiming that anti-gay prejudice will be better tackled by participation
rather than absence.

In response to an intervention from broadcaster Stephen Fry calling for
the games to be moved from Russia, David Cameron said he had shared the
"deep concern" about the abuse of gay people in Russia.

(6) Russian Jews outraged after Stephen Fry compared gay propaganda ban
to Nazi Germany


http://rt.com/news/russia-jews-fry-comment-396/

Published time: August 12, 2013 20:06

Russia’s Jewish community has lashed out at British actor Stephen Fry
after he compared the country’s “gay propaganda” ban to Hitler’s
persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany.

Fry, an openly gay Jewish-British writer, actor, and television host,
urged UK Prime Minister David Cameron and the International Olympic
Committee (IOC) to boycott the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. The move was
in response to a recently adopted Russian law which prohibits the
propaganda of homosexuality among minors.

In an open letter to Cameron and the IOC, he accused Russia of “making
scapegoats of gay people, just as Hitler did Jews.”

The actor also stated that President Putin “is eerily repeating the
insane crime” of Hitler, “only this time against LGBT Russians.”

Russia’s Jewish community said it is outraged by Fry’s rhetoric, calling
it a provocation.

“Unfortunately, yet again we see people attempting to use sacred memory
about the genocide against the Jews and the Holocaust for their own
purposes,” Russia’s Chief Rabbi, Ben Lazar, told ITAR-TASS on Monday. He
believes that such cynicism insults the memory of millions of people who
were murdered during World War II “because of their nationality and faith.”

The Chief Rabbi emphasized that the gay propaganda ban is in no way
aimed at violating the rights of LGBT individuals, but rather serves to
protect children “who are open to any kind of influence” from issues
surrounding homosexuality.

RIA Novosti / Alexey Filippov

Famous singer and Russian MP Iosif (Joseph) Kobzon agrees that it is
“appalling” when the genocide of a nation is compared to a ban on the
propaganda of homosexual relations.

“There is absolutely no normal logic in what Fry calls for,” he told
journalists on Monday. Kobzon believes that “we should all together”
fight drug addiction, pedophilia, alcoholism, “and the spread of
pornography, including the propaganda of homosexuality among minors.” He
added that such principles are what Russian laws are all about, stating
that they “are not harsh at all.” [...]

Russia’s Interior Ministry said on Monday that it will make sure
children are protected from harmful information during the Sochi
Olympics, but assured that there will be no discrimination against
homosexual Olympic athletes.

All speculations regarding the possibility of such discrimination are
“absolutely groundless” and are “solely an attempt aimed at undermining
trust in the upcoming Olympics in Sochi,” the ministry said in a statement.

In a debate broadcasted by RT on the issue of calls among the
international LBGT community to boycott the Olympic Games in Sochi next
year, Julie Bindel, a gay rights campaigner and co-founder of Justice
for Women, defended Stephen Fry’s comments.

(7) Germany officially introduces indeterminate sex

http://english.pravda.ru/news/society/01-11-2013/126053-ndeterminate_sex-0/

01.11.2013 | Source: Pravda.Ru

Germany - the first country in the EU - allowed to record the sex of
newborns as "indeterminate."

The change will affect only hermaphrodite children, who are born with
characteristics of both sexes. The move aims to ensure that parents do
not rush with a surgery to "clarify" their child's sex, giving
specialists more time to carefully observe the tendency of the newborn
child to one or other sex.

Prior to adoption of the current amendment, such surgeries would be
carried out immediately after birth. This often led to psychological
disorders in these children into adulthood.

According to statistics, one out of two thousand babies worldwide are
born hermaphrodite.

(8) Germany allows 'third gender' birth certificates

http://rt.com/news/third-gender-birth-germany-592/

Germany to become first European state to allow ‘third gender’ birth
certificates

Published time: August 17, 2013 00:46

German parents will no longer be legally obliged to register their
newborn child as male or female, and will instead be officially allowed
to assign the baby a “third gender” if the sex cannot be clearly
identified at birth.

The new law will come into force on November 1, on the back of a
constitutional court decision which states that as long as a person
“deeply feels” that they belong to a certain gender, they have a
personal right to choose how they legally identify themselves.

Parents of newborn infants will be allowed to leave the gender form on
the child’s birth certificate completely blank if it is born with
unusual physical characteristics making it impossible to determine the
gender.

The new law will apply to intersexuals, also known as hermaphrodites,
rather than transsexuals. Hermaphrodites are people in possession of
both female and male physical characteristics.

Justice Minister Sabine Leuthheusser-Schnarrenberger said the decision
will have deep repercussions and will require “comprehensive reform” of
all documents issued by the state. Adult passports currently require
people to state their gender, partly to avoid potential problems when
traveling abroad.

The ‘third gender’ designation will also have an effect on marriage
laws. As of now, only men and women are allowed to legally marry in the
country. Homosexual couples can enter into a civil partnership, and no
provisions are made for unions between other genders.

Germany is the first European country to implement such legislation,
although Australians have allowed citizens to mark their gender on a
passport as X since 2011. New Zealand followed suit last year. Activists
in both countries say the legislation has helped curb discrimination
against transsexuals and those of indeterminate gender, whether they
have had gender reassignment surgery or not.

Silvan Agius, policy director at human rights organisation ILGA Europe -
the European branch of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans
and Intersex Association - told Spiegel newspaper that the decision will
push the rest of the EU to do the same.

"Germany's move will put more pressure on Brussels," Agius said. "That
can only be a good thing."

(9) Transgender lawsuit leads to Unisex toilets, change rooms and sports
teams


http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/special-needs-will-be-taken-into-account/story-fnbsqsjn-1226721285147

Transgender toilet suit sparks school review

MICHAEL MCKENNA THE AUSTRALIAN SEPTEMBER 18, 2013 12:00AM

A THREATENED anti-discrimination lawsuit by a parent of a transgender
child has opened the door to Queensland schools introducing unisex
toilets, change rooms and sports teams.

State Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek confirmed yesterday that a
departmental review would likely lead to new guidelines for school
principals to accommodate the "special needs" of gay and transgender
children.

The review follows the decision of a state school this year to order a
nine-year-old pupil to only use a disabled toilet after the child, who
was born male, won the right to be recognised as a girl.

Parents of the child, known as "Emma", threatened to launch civil action
and forced a backflip from the school.

Mr Langbroek ordered the review after the case but stressed yesterday
that the new guidelines would apply on a "school-by-school" case and
would not lead to mixed facilities being introduced across the school
system.

"To supplement these policies, the department is developing guidelines
to provide principals and school staff with practical information to
help ensure the respectful treatment of all students, including same
sex-attracted, transgender or inter-sex students," Mr Langbroek said.

"Despite media reports, no widespread changes to uniforms or facilities
are being made in schools across Queensland, nor are they being considered."

Mr Langbroek said principals would introduce changes in consultation
with the parents, but he could not rule out the possibility that, in
smaller schools, a mixed toilet or changing room would be the only
facility available to students.

He said schools would have to ensure safety for all students with any
change in facilities.

"I would be confident with the principals making sure they were making
decision that had children's safety as paramount," he said. "It's about
giving school principals the advice they need to deal with individual
circumstances if, or as, they arise."

The Queensland Teachers Union and P&Cs Queensland have backed the review.

Mr Langbroek confirmed the review after announcing that the Newman
government would next year close six public schools: Fortitude Valley
State School, Old Yarranlea State School, Toowoomba South State School,
Stuart State School, Nyanda State High School and Charlton State School.

More than 500 students and 100 teachers will be affected and all
students will receive an allowance of between $500 and $750 to help them
move to a new school.

The QTU called on Mr Langbroek to explain the criteria he used to make
the decision.

"He talks about viability, then he says it's not related to (National
Assessment Program -- Literacy and Numeracy) results," QTU deputy
secretary Kate Ruttiman said.

'We want a very clear understanding of why these schools are closing."

Additional reporting: AAP

(10) Australian passports to have third gender option (2011)

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/sep/15/australian-passports-third-gender-option

Australian passports to have third gender option

X category aims to counter discrimination against intersex people, while
transgender people can pick male or female

Staff and agencies

The Guardian, Thursday 15 September 2011 22.07 AEST

Australian passports will now have three gender options male, female and
indeterminate under new guidelines to remove discrimination against
transgender and intersex people, the government said Thursday.

Intersex people, those born with reproductive or sexual anatomy that
does not fit the typical definitions of female or male, will be able to
list their gender on passports as X.

Transgender people, whose perception of their own sex is at odds with
their birth gender, will be able to pick whether they are male or female
if their choice is supported by a doctor's statement.

Previously, gender was a choice of only male or female, and people were
not allowed to change their gender on their passport without having had
a sex-change operation. The US dropped the surgery prerequisite for
transgender people's passports last year.

Australian senator Louise Pratt, whose partner was born female and is
now identified as a man, said the reform was a major improvement for
travellers who face questioning and detention at airports because their
appearance does not match their gender status.

"X is really quite important because there are people who are indeed
genetically ambiguous and were probably arbitrarily assigned as one sex
or the other at birth," Pratt said. "It's a really important recognition
of people's human rights that if they choose to have their sex as
'indeterminate', that they can."

Australia's foreign minister, Kevin Rudd, said the new guidelines
removed discrimination on the grounds of gender identity and sexual
orientation.

"This amendment makes life easier and significantly reduces the
administrative burden for sex and gender diverse people who want a
passport that reflects their gender and physical appearance," he said in
a statement.

The attorney-general, Robert McClelland, said while the change would
affect few Australians, it was important because it would allow them to
travel free of discrimination.

Peter Hyndal, who negotiated with the government on the reforms on
behalf of the human rights advocacy group A Gender Agenda, said the new
guidelines were in line with more flexible approaches to gender issues
in passports issued by the US and Britain.

"It's amazingly positive," Hyndal said. "It's the biggest single piece
of law reform related to transgender and intersex issues at a
commonwealth level ever in this country mind-blowing."

As many as 4% of people have an intersex condition, but most never
become aware of their minor chromosome abnormalities.

Earlier this year, the transgender and eunuch Hijra community in
Bangladesh won a fight for third gender category when authorities
printed passport application forms with 'other' as an option.

Hijras in neighbouring India have been able to list their gender as E
for eunuch on passports since 2005.

Last week Thai campaigners successfully petitioned courts to allow
transgender people to serve in the military after previously being
turned away of the grounds that they were suffering from "permanent
psychosis".

(11) Australia's capital introduces same sex marriage - (Trotskyist)
John Passant


Posted by John, September 16th, 2013 - under Equal love, Same-sex marriage.

A.C.T. to introduce same sex marriage

http://enpassant.com.au/2013/09/16/a-c-t-to-introduce-same-sex-marriage/

On Thursday the minority Labor government in the Australian Capital
Territory will introduce legislation to legalise same sex marriage.

It will pass, probably in October, with the vote of Greens minister
Shane Rattenbury giving the Bill majority support of 9 in the 17 seat
Assembly. It is likely all 8 Liberals will oppose it.

In 2006 the ACT Legislative Assembly passed civil union laws, only to
see the Howard Federal Government overturn them. The difference is,
thanks to Bob Brown, that now to overturn any Territory law the Federal
government has to win the support of both the House of Representatives
and the Senate.

Previously all that was needed was for the Howard government to advise
the Governor-General to disallow a Territory law. That old law was used
to overturn the civil unions law, but it will be much harder for an
Abbott government to get the support of both the House and the Senate
(including some in its own ranks) to overturn any Territory same sex law.

There will be no residence requirement meaning that couples from other
States and Territories, indeed from other countries, can marry in the ACT.

Of course, while these marriage ceremonies will be a moving and loving
experience, the reality is that no other State or Territory, or the
Commonwealth, currently recognises them. Further, without Commonwealth
recognition it means that these marriages will remain second class
because the normal Commonwealth legal benefits flowing from marriage
will still be denied to same sex couples.

Nevertheless this is a first, great step forward for the Equal Love
campaign. It shows that the concept - equal love irrespective of sexual
orientation - can be won. But because there is much more to be won, it
also shows that the fight for equal love must continue. The finish line
is in sight; some distance away for sure but in sight.

The Liberal government in New South Wales for example will introduce
similar equal love legislation later this year and its passage in the
ACT will influence supporters there. Other States might then join the
push for equality, leaving the last bastion of reaction the Commonwealth
under Abbott. Even that outpost could fall to the forces of equality if
we put enough pressure on.

Equal love is only on the agenda, and the ACT government is only
introducing this legislation because for the last decade activists have
been campaigning and demonstrating for it and drawing in more and more
people to support the struggle. They have turned around community
support from a large minority to a large majority for equal love.

They didn't do that by being too polite and playing the respectability
game. They did it by shouting out loud and clear for equal love.

The ACT legislation will be an important victory. It should spur us on
to fight for full equality, for equal love, across Australia.

That might mean for example mobilisations across Australia if the Abbott
government moves to disallow the legislation. And it will certainly mean
building big demonstrations when the bigots challenge the laws in the
High Court.

Come along to the next rally for Marriage Equality in Canberra at 1 pm
on Saturday 5 October in Petrie Plaza.

(12) California law protects rights of transgender students

  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-23677492

13 August 2013 Last updated at 04:01 GMT

The new law gives students the right "to participate in sex-segregated
programs, activities and facilities"

California has become the first US state to enshrine rights for
transgender schoolchildren.

A new law requires public schools to allow pupils from kindergarten to
the 12th grade to access male or female toilets according to their
preference.

The legislation also allows transgender schoolchildren to choose whether
to play boys' or girls' sports.

State Assembly Speaker John Perez said it put "California at the
forefront of leadership on transgender rights".

Massachusetts and Connecticut have state-wide policies granting the same
protections, but California is the first to put them into law.

Privacy concerns

Supporters of bill AB1266, which gives transgender schoolchildren the
right to "participate in sex-segregated programs, activities and
facilities", argued that it would help reduce bullying and discrimination.

School districts in Los Angeles and San Francisco already had similar
polices and had reported no problems, they noted.

Opponents of the legislation said allowing pupils of one gender to use
facilities intended for the other could invade the others students'
privacy or violate their rights.

"Will transgender students make some other children uncomfortable?
Perhaps," said the bill's author, Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano.

"I don't want to minimise that, but new experiences are often
uncomfortable. That can't be an excuse for prejudice."

Families of transgender children have been fighting battles with school
districts across the US over access to toilets and changing rooms.

In June, a civil rights panel in Colorado ruled that a school had
discriminated against a six-year-old transgender girl by barring her
from using the girls' toilets.

(13) Miss Universe to allow transgender women to compete in its pageants

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-17668895

10 April 2012 Last updated at 15:43 GMT

Miss Universe to allow transgender women in pageants

Miss Universe says it will allow transgender women to compete in its
pageants starting in 2013, a week after a current contestant was reinstated.

Twenty-three-year-old Jenna Talackova, a Vancouver resident who was born
male, will be able to compete in the Miss Universe Canada pageant this year.

The organisation previously barred her under the rule that contestants
be "naturally-born" female.

Miss Universe said it was still working on the language of the rule change.

The policy revision follows consultations with the Gay and Lesbian
Alliance Against Defamation (Glaad), that organisation and Miss Universe
said in a joint statement.

Miss Universe president Paula Shugart said she "wants to give credit
where credit is due".

"The decision to include transgender women in our beauty competitions is
a result of our ongoing discussions with Glaad and not Jenna's legal
representation, which if anything, delayed the process," Ms Shugart said.

Miss Universe Canada reversed its decision last week as Ms Talackova,
who underwent a sex change four years ago, prepared to call a news
conference.

"I have never asked for any special consideration," Ms Talackova said
last week. "I only wanted to compete."

Donald Trump, who runs the Miss Universe contest, has wished her the
best of luck.

(14) Transgender Americans seek birth certificate rule change

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-16420819

5 January 2012 Last updated at 04:05 GMT Help

A group of transgender men and women want New York City to make it
easier to change the "M" or "F" on their birth certificates.

Currently the city will amend a person's birth certificate to reflect a
sex change, but only if the person has undergone "convertive surgery" on
their genitals.

Last year New Yorker Joann Prinzivalli sued the city of New York to
force it to relax its birth certificate change requirements. The suit is
part of a quiet movement across the US and beyond to bring the rules
governing identity documents into line with what transgender advocates
describe as advances in the understanding of sex classification.

Ms Prinzivalli, who says she knew was female from the age of four, told
the BBC she believes a person's sexual identity is determined by their
mind rather than their genitals.

Produced by Anna Bressanin, Camera by Ilya Shnitser

(15) New LGBTI anti-discrimination laws finally passed - Socialist
Alternative (Trots)


http://www.sa.org.au/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=7840:new-lgbti-anti-discrimination-laws-finally-passed&Itemid=544

31 July 2013

New LGBTI anti-discrimination laws finally passed

In a major legal milestone, new protections against discrimination for
lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people are to
be introduced. The new law broadens the basis for protection against
discrimination to include “sexual orientation”, “gender identity”,
“intersex status” and “marital or relationship status”.

This is the first federal legal protection in Australia for LGBTI
people. It is also represents the first legal recognition and protection
for intersex people, as a specific group, anywhere in the world. For
transgender people, the changes set out a new definition of “gender
identity” that addresses the gaps in state legislation. Where states or
territories do currently have general anti-discrimination protections,
it is transgender and intersex people who are the most likely to be left
out of the law.

Morgan Carpenter, secretary of Organisation Intersex International
(OII), welcomed the bill while reminding people of some of the reasons
more work is needed. Morgan said, “Intersex people face discrimination
because we have queer bodies. We face discrimination in access to
healthcare, employment and schooling.”

A Gender Agenda executive director Peter Hyndal added, “Ninety percent
of transgender and intersex people experience discrimination, with
almost 40 percent experiencing discrimination on at least a weekly
basis… These experiences have a profoundly negative effect on the mental
health outcomes for transgender and intersex people. This legislation
will make a very real difference to the lives of so many transgender and
intersex people within our community.”

The changes have been the product of more than 17 years of parliamentary
debate and community lobbying, including at least five different
inquiries. And while the new law is undoubtedly a step forward,
significant areas of discrimination remain untouched. Most notably, the
law allows faith-based organisations to continue to discriminate in a
number of areas.

In a concession to bigotry, religious organisations and schools have the
right to deny employment and services to LGBTI people in all areas
except aged care. It remains entirely legal for a faith-based school,
even if funded by the state, to expel students on the basis of their
gender identity or to refuse to hire a gay teacher.

Hospitals connected to religious bodies can openly make employment
decisions on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation. A
faith-based homeless shelter can evict or refuse to house a transgender
resident.

The laws also fail to establish full equality in marriage, which is
specifically exempted from anti-discrimination provisions. This
enormously symbolic affront to LGBTI people, which enshrines the idea
that only heterosexual relationships are legitimate or worthy of
recognition, must also be scrapped for full legal equality to become a
reality.

These changes are a welcome and overdue step. That the law no longer
wholly legitimises bigoted attitudes is very important. But legal
changes alone cannot change well-established attitudes, practices and
cultural norms that in myriad subtle ways contribute to the oppression
and marginalisation of LGBTI people.

We need ongoing action and struggle in workplaces, schools, universities
in the streets to win real and meaningful social equality. These laws
are welcome encouragement and a major milestone in that fight.

Amber’s Story

As a young trans person living in Perth, my experience attempting to
find housing illustrates the discrimination that transgender people face
on a daily basis. I’ve been rejected from share-houses on the basis that
the advert specified they were looking for a female and I don’t “fit
that criterion”. Several times I was rejected on the basis that the
house was looking for “real girls”.

When I sought their assistance, Youth Futures, Western Australia’s
TINOCA (Teens In Need Of Crisis Accommodation) service, informed me that
it is their policy to house young people with people of the same
physical sex, regardless of gender identity. I was refused access to the
service because I objected to this policy. A different service hung up
on me after telling me that they only had spaces for females (evidently
I didn’t sound female enough).

Perth Inner City Youth Services is currently the only youth crisis
accommodation service in Western Australia that has a specific LGBTI
program. It currently has a waiting list of well over six months. This
is little comfort to any young trans person with nowhere to go.

Until very recently in WA, there was only one psychiatrist who dealt
specifically with transgender patients. There are now two in the entire
state who accept referrals. Before beginning hormone therapy, it’s a
legal requirement that you have a referral from a psychiatrist. The dire
lack of qualified professionals means that obtaining this referral can
take many months or even years.

While initially attempting to access services to help me transition, I
came across a “youth specialist” who after three sessions informed me
that he had only ever met one other person my age who identified as
transgender. He then went on to explain that he had convinced this
person that it was not in their best interests to transition and that
consequently he neither could nor would help me.

In addition to this, my experiences with doctors from whom I’ve sought
assistance for other issues made clear the serious lack of suitable
health care for trans people. I was admitted to hospital in December
last year with an admission document that, I later found out, described
me as a “transitioning transvestite”.

I was also told by another doctor that though the staff were aware of my
status as a trans person and aware that I identified as female, I would
have to constantly remind people and correct them if they misgendered
me. This same doctor also asked me whether I planned to have genital
surgery, regardless of the fact that this had no relevance to the issue
I was hospitalised for.

Life as a transgender or gender diverse person is often characterised by
difficulty and discrimination. Family rejection, homelessness,
depression, attempted suicide – these are a regular part of our existence.

There are, however, rays of hope. The campaign for equal marriage rights
provides both a source of inspiration and a platform from which other
issues faced by LGBTI people can be addressed.

Let’s use that platform and fight against the oppression that we face.
The history of the LGBTI struggle has taught us that things change only
when we stand up and make it happen. Let’s organise and fight right now.

http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2013/08/02/australia-lgbt-and-intersex-anti-discrimination-laws-come-into-effect/

(16) Australia: LGBT and intersex anti-discrimination laws come into effect

by Aaron Day

2 August 2013, 12:58pm

Organisation Intersex International: 'We have not previously been
recognised in law, and our inclusion is of huge practical benefit.'

New Australian laws protecting LGBT and intersex people from religious
discrimination by aged-care providers have come into effect, commencing
August 1.

The Sex Discrimination Amendment (Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity
and Intersex Status) Bill 2013 passed its third reading in back June,
showing overwhelming support in Parliament.

Australian Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus announced yesterday that the
new laws have now come into effect.

For the first time, aged-care providers who are owned by religious
groups will no longer be able to exclude people from aged-care services
based on their LGBT or same-sex relationship status.

However, Religious groups will still be able to discriminate against
people based on their LGBT status when it comes to healthcare, education
and employment, although there has been no exemption for people of
intersex status.

Mr Dreyfus said: “This Labor Government has a proud record of advancing
the rights of all Australians.

“These laws will ensure greater protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual,
transgender and intersex Australians, particularly through barring
discrimination in the provision of Commonwealth funded aged-care services.

“While the vast majority of aged care service providers are accepting
and welcoming of all Australians, this new law will make sure such
discrimination cannot occur”.

The regulations will temporarily exempt actions taken in order to comply
with Commonwealth, State and Territory law.

The general exemption is set to end on 31 July 2014 and will be replaced
by exemptions for specific laws thereafter.

Mr Dreyfus said: “The one year initial exemption period allows State and
Territory governments time to review their laws”.

He added: “The Government will carefully consider any requests for
ongoing exemptions. The Government will also be working with the States
and Territories towards a nationally consistent approach to recognising
sex and gender, including birth certificates.”

The new laws mean that Australians who have been discriminated against
on the basis of their identity or relationship status may take their
complaint to the Australian Human Rights Commission and after that the
Federal Courts.

Executive Director of the transgender, intersex, and genderqueer charity
‘A Gender Agenda’ Peter Hyndal said: “This Commonwealth discrimination
protection will make a significant and positive impact on the daily
experiences of many people.

“A Gender Agenda particularly welcomes the inclusive definition of
gender identity and protection on the basis of intersex status”.

Organisation Intersex International (OII) Australia President Gina
Wilson said: “We welcome the full, authentic inclusion of ‘intersex
status,’ a biological attribute, in anti-discrimination law for the
first time”.

She added: “We have not previously been recognised in law, and our
inclusion is of huge practical benefit.

“We welcome the recognition that people born with intersex are not
subject to religious exemptions, and we urge states and territories to
add ‘intersex status’ to their legislation”.

Transgender Victoria spokesperson Sally Goldner said: “The new law will
greatly assist systemic change to improve lives and make processes
easier for trans and gender diverse individuals in the case of a complaint.

“We also urge state and territory governments to amend their definitions
of gender identity in line with the new federal definition to ensure
simplicity and effectiveness for all parties”.

The gay and lesbian rights lobbies representing the Australian states of
New South Wales and Victoria also welcomed the new protections.

“These laws will have an immediate, practical benefit for gay, lesbian,
bisexual, transgender and intersex people, including protection from
discrimination for the first time for federal employees and ensuring
access to services such as (welfare payments) and Medicare on an equal
footing with all other Australians,” Victorian Gay & Lesbian Rights
Lobby convener Anna Brown said.

She added: “It is important to ensure that these laws provide a new
national standard to protect LGBTI people from unfair treatment and
harm, including using this 12 month period as an opportunity to audit
outdated state and territory laws and remove the last remnants of
unjustifiable discrimination from our statute books”.

New South Wales Gay & Lesbian Rights Lobby co-convener Justin Koonin
said: “These laws represent the culmination of over 25 years of
advocacy, and will provide much-needed protection at a federal level to
LGBTI people.

“Particularly significant are the reforms around aged-care service
provision, which will make discrimination unlawful in any
Commonwealth-funded service in the country”.

In February, it was revealed that religious organisations which run
schools and health care services would be given protection under the
legislation, although an inquiry said that no group should be given
“blanket exception” from anti-discrimination law.

Australian Catholics Bishop Conference general secretary, Brian Lucas,
also said the recommendations could “undermine religious freedom”.

He said: “Anti-discrimination law has to strike a balance between
competing values, and the exemptions as they are currently expressed by
the commonwealth express that balance.”

“The fundamental value here of freedom of religion has to be recognised,
not just as an exemption but as a significant part of the way we live in
a pluralist society. I don’t think the Senate committee report has done
justice to that.”

In July, the Australian parliamentary committee ruled that the country’s
federal government does not have sole responsibility for marriage
equality laws, paving the way for the state of New South Wales to
introduce its own same-sex marriage bill.

(17) Wives of gay men could get annulment (China)
http://china.org.cn/bjzt/2013-01/18/content_27727320.htm

Wives of gay men could get annulment

Shanghai Daily

January 18, 2013

A court proposal is bringing new hope to women who unwittingly marry gay
men.

In a report, the First Intermediate People's Court of Beijing is calling
for legislation to allow those who discover that their spouses are
homosexual to file for annulment instead of divorce.

Current marriage law does not provide an "out" for such marriages and
many wives view divorce unfavorably.

China has at least 10 million "gay wives," according to leading
sexologist Zhang Beichuan, adding that nearly 90 percent of gay men are
already married to or will eventually marry heterosexual women.

After annulling their marriages, the legal marital status of the women
in question would be restored to "single" instead of "divorced."

The proposal will be advantageous for gay wives who do not wish to be
labeled as divorcees, said "Tabitha," a volunteer with the Tongqi
Association, an online support group for wives of gay men.

"A divorced man in his 40s can still be sought after and find a
20-something woman to marry. But when it comes to a divorced woman of
the same age, that is absolutely not the case," said the 24-year-old
Chinese woman, who has counseled scores of wives on the issue.

"Zheyi," who was married to a gay man, ended her seven-year marriage a
month ago.

"I've lost faith in love and marriage," she said, adding that it is very
difficult for a divorced 35-year-old woman to find a husband, especially
in smaller cities where people are more conservative.

The different circumstances of divorced men and women reflect the
oppression imposed on females by society, said Liu Bohong, a professor
of gender studies. "Men traditionally intend to choose a first-time
bride, a virgin. Such preferences have led to a preference for being
'single' among women themselves," Liu said.

Although the proposed legislation is good news for the wives of gay men,
it has caused a backlash from the gay community.

"I think allowing the wives of gay men to annul their marriages without
providing support to their same-sex partners accordingly will squeeze us
out," said "Xiao Xiao," a 24-year-old gay man.

More than 10 years after realizing his sexuality, the postgraduate
student in Shanghai has not come out to his family. "The time is not
ripe," he said.

Chen Wei, a professor at the Southwest University of Political Science
and Law, said that the court's suggestion deprives homosexuals of right
to marry, adding that homosexuals' desire to have families and children
should be protected by law.

However, Liang Wenyong, a researcher at the China University of
Political Science and Law, said: "In my opinion, homosexuals are obliged
to tell their would-be spouses about their sexual orientation or the
marriage will inevitably inflict pain on the heterosexual partner." He
added that he was in favor of legislation to help the unwitting
heterosexual spouses.

"Getting married is like signing a contract. Both sides have the right
to know," Liang said. At the same time, the law should not interfere if
gay people reveal their sexual orientation before marriage.

In China, gay men choose to marry and have children mainly due to
pressure from parents and social traditions. Many Chinese believe
continuing a family's bloodline is an obligation for men.

Despite this pressure, gay men have no right to harm those who are also
vulnerable, Liu said. "It's unfair to save oneself by putting others at
a disadvantage."

http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/755133.shtml

(18) Wives of gay men appeal to annul

Global Times | 2013-1-11 0:03:01

By Xie Wenting

A court-issued report Thursday claimed there has been a rise in the
numbers of married women who later discovered their partner is gay
asking for an annulment rather than a divorce to avoid social stigma.

Beijing First Intermediate Court said in the report that in some
short-term marriages, women who married men who later admitted they were
homosexual would accuse their husbands of infidelity to have their
marriage annulled. The report did not reveal any figures relating to
this trend.

Those women believe that if the marriage is annulled, then their status
would revert to "single," rather than divorced, which can better protect
their rights. Some wives claimed that they did not have an intimate
relationship with their husbands and remained a virgin, according to the
court.

This reflects an age-old societal bias against women, said LGBT activists.

Hu Zhijun, the executive director of PFLAG China, an organization for
gay people and their relatives, said "behind the appeal to annul the
marriage is discrimination against divorced people. If you are labeled
as divorced, especially for women, you will suffer from societal pressure."

But, said Hu, it is inappropriate for a homosexual person to
intentionally conceal their gay status.

"In such cases, the gay man should take more responsibility and offer
more to his spouse when the property is divided," Hu said.

Xu Bin, director of Common Language, a Beijing-based organization for
lesbians, agreed that women filing for an annulment will reinforce
negative stereotypes against divorced women.

"The women's appeal [to annul] shows that they think that divorced women
are less valuable and are secondhand," she said.

According to Xu, the motives for getting married are diverse.

"Love is just one element. There are people getting married for money,
property or a Beijing hukou [household registration] or a green card.
It's hard to know why these women get married to a gay man," said Xu.

"Besides, if those marriages should be annuled, how about other
occasions when people don't marry for love, like a political marriage?"
she said.

One woman, who asked only to be known as Grace, said that she learnt
from the wife of her husband's boyfriend that he was gay, after only 23
days of marriage.

She feels that being labeled as "divorced" will be an obstacle to her
pursuing happiness and getting remarried.

"In a traditional sense, most people would rather marry an ugly single
woman than a good-looking divorced one. Besides, after the harm and
betrayal I suffered, it's hard to devote all my heart to marriage and
love," she said.

"The process of getting divorced was complicated. My husband didn't want
to get divorced and wanted me to cover for him. He didn't want to pay
compensation so as to remain married for longer," said Grace, adding
that it took more than six months to get divorced.

Grace said that she hopes the law will be improved, so that this type of
marriage can be annulled, and husbands forced to pay compensation.

However, the court pointed out because of the sensitivity to LGBT issues
and lack of law and theory in this field, it would be impossible to
approve the annulment of the marriage.

It is also difficult to gather concrete evidence to back up the
plaintiff's allegations. The usual evidence provided is photographs
showing the husband with his lover, the court said.

According to China's marital laws, one partner in the marriage being gay
is not necessarily enough to file for divorce, unless there is a
complete breakdown in the relationship. A divorce can be granted in
situations of serious genetic disease or psychological problems. When a
person has been forced to marry or personal security has been
restricted, the marriage can be annulled or declared invalid.

Beijing lawyer Lü Fenggang, who specializes in divorce cases, said that
there is no basis in law which would grant an annulment to a woman
because her husband is homosexual.

According to Lü, it is unnecessary to draft a specific law for such
marriages in the short term.

"The law should be of benefit to the majority. If we change the law to
benefit a small group of people, it is against the majority's moral
standards," he said.

(19) Genetic (chromosomal) Sex (XX or XY) - cf Continuum "masculinity
and femininity are cultural conceits"


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intersex

Intersex

Intersex, in humans and other animals, is a variation in sex
characteristics including chromosomes, gonads, and/or genitals that do
not allow an individual to be distinctly identified as male or female.
Such variation may involve genital ambiguity, and combinations of
chromosomal genotype and sexual phenotype other than XY-male and
XX-female.[1][2]

Intersex infants with ambiguous outer genitalia may be surgically
'corrected' to more easily fit into a socially accepted sex category.
Others may opt, in adulthood, for surgical procedures in order to align
their physical sex characteristics with their gender identity or the sex
category to which they were assigned at birth. Others will not become
aware that they are intersex—unless they receive genetic testing—because
it does not manifest in their phenotype. Some individuals may be raised
as a certain sex (male or female) but then identify with another later
in life, while others may not identify themselves as either exclusively
female or exclusively male.[1][2][3]

Research has shown gender identity of intersex individuals to be
independent of sexual orientation, though some intersex conditions also
affect an individual's sexual orientation.[4] Intersexuality as a term
was adopted by medicine during the 20th century.[1][2]

Intersex conditions received attention from intersex activists, who
criticized traditional medical approaches in sex assignment and sought
to be heard in the construction of new approaches.[5]

The passports and identification documents of some nationalities have
adopted "X" as a valid third category besides "M" (male) and "F"
(female).[6] Research in the late 20th century has led to a growing
medical consensus that diverse intersex bodies are normal—if relatively
rare—forms of human biology. Milton Diamond, one of the most outspoken
experts on matters affecting intersex people, stresses the importance of
care in the selection of language related to such people.

Definition[edit source]

In humans, biological sex is determined by five factors present at
birth:[7] the number and type of sex chromosomes; the type of
gonads—ovaries or testicles; the sex hormones, the internal reproductive
anatomy (such as the uterus in females), and the external genitalia.

People whose five characteristics are not either all typically male or
all typically female are intersexed. [...]

The prevalence of intersex depends on which definition is used.
According to the ISNA definition above, 1 percent of live births exhibit
some degree of sexual ambiguity.[9] Between 0.1% and 0.2% of live births
are ambiguous enough to become the subject of specialist medical
attention, including surgery to assign them to a given sex category
(i.e. male or female).

According to Fausto-Sterling's definition of intersex,[10] on the other
hand, 1.7 percent of human births are intersex.[10] She writes,

“While male and female stand on the extreme ends of a biological
continuum, there are many bodies [...] that evidently mix together
anatomical components conventionally attributed to both males and
females. The implications of my argument for a sexual continuum are
profound. If nature really offers us more than two sexes, then it
follows that our current notions of masculinity and femininity are
cultural conceits.

[...] Modern surgical techniques help maintain the two-sex system. Today
children who are born "either/or-neither/both" — a fairly common
phenomenon — usually disappear from view because doctors "correct" them
right away with surgery.[10] ” [...]

"True hermaphroditism"[edit source] A "true hermaphrodite" is defined as
someone with both testicular and ovarian tissue.

In 2003, researchers at UCLA published their studies of a lateral
gynandromorphic hermaphroditic zebra finch, which had a testicle on the
right and an ovary on the left. Its entire body was split down the
middle between female and male, with hormones from both gonads running
through the blood.[18] This is an example of mosaicism or chimerism.
This extreme example of hermaphroditism is quite rare. [...]

This page was last modified on 10 August 2013 at 15:31.

(20) 'Maleness' enzyme Switches on the sex-determining gene SRY

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/australian-researchers-help-find-maleness-enzyme/story-e6frgcjx-1226711774224

Australian researchers help find 'maleness' enzyme

BY:JOHN ROSS From: The Australian September 06, 2013 4:00AM

AUSTRALIAN and Japanese geneticists have discovered the root of maleness
- an enzyme that triggers the development of male sex organs.

Scientists have long known that maleness is determined by the Y
chromosome. In 1990 they found that a specific gene on the Y chromosome,
known as the SRY, initiates the development of male tissues in most mammals.

Peter Koopman, part of the 1990 study team, has now helped identify the
process that flicks this genetic master switch on.

“We’ve found what causes SRY to become active in the right cells at the
right time to make a male embryo,” said Professor Koopman, head of
molecular genetics at the University of Queensland.

The answer, revealed today in the journal Science, is an enzyme called
JMJD1A – one of a family of proteins dubbed “Jumonji” (meaning
“cross-shaped”) by their Japanese discoverers. Jumonjis are “histone
demethylases” – enzymes which unpack strings of DNA so that crucial
genes can be activated.

The breakthrough came after Kyoto University infectious disease
researchers engineered mice without functional JMJD1A enzymes. “To their
surprise they found mice with Y chromosomes seemed to end up being
female,” said Professor Koopman. “They sought our help in understanding
what was going wrong with these mice.”

He said the discovery provided new insights into “intersex” conditions
thought to affect 1 per cent of the human population. They range from
relatively common hypospadias, where the urethra is not at the tip of
the penis, to rare hermaphroditism.

“If you understand how these conditions arise, it helps people
understand how their sex development is going to unfold. It helps with
counselling and medical management, if they require it,” Professor
Koopman said.

More broadly, the discovery could aid in developing stem cell therapies
for people with serious diseases such as neurological or kidney
disorders. “It helps us at a very basic level to understand more about
how genes program cells,” he said.

“The more we can understand about that, the better shape we’ll be in to
apply targeted forms of stem cell therapy.”

He said the discovery illustrated the value of basic research. “You
often find very important things without looking for them.

“Without research to provide basic knowledge, we can’t hope to suddenly
invent cures or vaccines. All of those more practical discoveries are
built on a foundation of basic biological research.”

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