'All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances and one man in his time plays many parts…' William Shakespeare (1564–1616). Pictured is ex Les Girls cabaret performer Trixie Laumonte. Photo by L.J. May.
EXCERPTS FROM THE
Transgenders And Intersexuals: Everything you ever wanted to know but couldn’t think of the question
DETECTIVE INSPECTOR MICHAEL E. SPARKE: 'Despite law reform, there appeared to be a homophobic attitude and lack of understanding within the Queensland
Police Service as well as some sections of the community.'
POLICE STORY (Continued...)
‘My biggest concern in taking on such a huge project was a perceived lack of intimate knowledge on my part regarding the multitude of complex issues affecting such a large cross-section
of the general community. Despite law reform, there appeared to be a homophobic attitude and lack of understanding within the Queensland Police Service as well as some sections of the community.
‘I don't believe that police in general intentionally discriminate or display homophobic attitudes towards people from the LGBTI community. I think
that the major problem with most police is a lack of understanding and awareness of the kind of problems that exist among people struggling with their personal sexuality and gender identity. This lack of understanding may be interpreted on some occasions
as bias or homophobia, whereas it may be simply ignorance of the facts.
‘I can relate to that – I have also suffered from a lack of understanding regarding
matters that impact on the LGBTI community. From the time I was appointed State Coordinator I found myself on a huge learning curve. It was time for me to expand my knowledge of LGBTI issues.
‘I am the father of four daughters, three of whom are nurses. We often hold interesting and complex discussions regarding diverse issues arising out of our respective professions. Throughout our working lives all of us have observed,
at first hand, considerable trauma, sadness, and tragedy. It was during these discussions that I learned about the many surgical procedures taking place daily relating to people affected in some way by birth defects, genetic inheritance, tragic circumstances,
or differences in sexual orientation and gender identity.
‘It was during this learning phase that I first met Gina Mather, a counsellor with the Australian Transgender
Support Association of Queensland (ATSAQ). John Reilly first introduced me to Gina at the 'Cops & Queers' forum at Police Headquarters in June 2001 and I have since met and spoken to her on a number of occasions.
‘At times, when I am with Gina, I don't know whether to call her mate, madam, Mr, Mrs or Ms. What I do know is that Gina represents a community in need of much support and understanding. She is dedicated
and passionate in her approach and committed to providing support to others.
‘Gina is a very likeable person. Sometimes she appears dressed as a woman and at other
times she dresses more like a man. There is no doubt in my mind, however, that Gina is an intelligent and well-respected human being and has personally adjusted to the issues confronting her mind and personality.
‘I don't really care if Gina is called Ms Mather or Mr Mather. What I do care about is that people in similar situations to Gina need, and should receive, equitable and fair access to policing and other government services, recognition
within the community, and immunity from bias or hatred.
‘The question is, will the average police officer who may confront Gina at some time in the future in the performance
of his or her duty have a similar understanding of Gina as she does of herself?
‘My experience in criminal investigation has exposed me to just about every conceivable
situation. I have socialised and formed friendships with many gay men and women, and I respect and enjoy their company irrespective of their sexual persuasion because of the friendship they offer or the uniqueness of their personality.
‘Transgenders, like everyone else in the community, are entitled to be protected by the law and have access to all the services currently provided. They are entitled to receive non-discriminatory
treatment from others, especially from those in authority.
‘The Queensland Police Service has now openly acknowledged that it intends to provide a professional,
accessible, non-discriminatory policing service to all members of the community and, with the help of the LGBTI community, create a much safer environment for everyone.’
THE BOOK TRANSGENDERS AND INTERSEXUALS: EVERYTHING
YOU EVER WANTED TO KNOW BUT COULDN’T THINK OF THE QUESTION
Click here THE
WORKS L.J. MAY for an account of the appalling David Reimer case, which determined how intersexed children were treated, and click here About Me for more about the book and the
EXCERPT FROM A BOOK REVIEW IN CSIRO PUBLISHING & MINNIS COMMUNICATIONS:
‘May’s dedication of an entire part to legal aspects is unique. While highlighting the important aspects of the ongoing legal struggles of transgenders, May also recognises
that legal rights are just one aspect of life: although it offers some protection against public discrimination, the private lives of transgendered people are largely at the whim of the attitudes of those around them. Accounts from two officers from the
Queensland Police Service are a surprising inclusion, and make interesting reading.’
Stuart Aitken, Senior Medical Officer, Gold Coast Sexual Health Clinic in
CSIRO PUBLISHING & MINNISCOMMUNICATIONS: Sexual Health, 2006, 3, 203–206.
INTERVIEW WITH KRISTINE JOHNSON,
SECRETARY OF THE AUSTRALIAN TRANSGENDER SUPPORT ASSOCIATION OF QUEENSLAND INC (ATSAQ).
Kristine Johnson is well known
to the transgender community in Brisbane. She has been a receptionist for the Brisbane Gender Clinic and is currently Secretary of the Australian Transgender Support Association of Queensland Inc (ATSAQ).
Krissy's transgender friend, Danielle, died of a drug overdose in Sydney, which she found devastating. After hearing about the suicide of a former lesbian neighbour, Krissy joined ATSAQ in 1991 in an effort to
help provide the support, education, social guidance and referrals that were not available to her when she needed them.
CLICK on the AUDIO AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE to go to Krissy’s interview with the ABC in February 2012 – used with kind permission of ABC 891 'Afternoons', Adelaide, SA.
SUPPORT GROUP FOR TRANSGENDER AND INTERSEX PEOPLE
The Australian Transgender Support Association of Qld Inc. (ATSAQ)
PO Box 212, NEW FARM QLD AUSTRALIA 4005. Tel: +61 7 3843 5024; E-mail:
email@example.com. Web site: http://www.atsaq.com
This organisation is dedicated to the welfare of people in the community diagnosed with Gender Dysphoria, and to the education of their families, friends, and the general public. ATSAQ also offers support and socialisation for
intersexed people as well as for those with Gender Dysphoria. Contact Krissy Johnson and Gina Mather.
- BBC2, The Boy Who Was Turned Into a Girl. Went to air in the UK: 7 December 2000. The story of David Reimer, a
typical male infant born in Canada whose penis was accidentally burned off during a routine circumcision, and who was subsequently reassigned as a female – also known in the medical literature as the 'John/Joan' case.
- ABC Television, 'Quantum' – Joella's Journey. Went to air in Australia: 24 August 2000. The journey of a child with cloacal extrophy – assigned female sex.
- Nine Network, '60 Minutes' – Boys will be Boys: Nature Vs Nurture. Went to air in Australia: 7 May 2000. Australian coverage of the David Reimer Story.
- Nine Network, '60 Minutes' – A Crime Against Nature: Sexual Reassignment. Went to air in Australia: 25 June 2000. The story of Anthony/Antoinette Briffa who was born intersexed – Androgen Insensitivity
Syndrome (partial AIS = pAIS) – and reassigned as a female during infancy.
POLICE LGBTI PROJECT