Letters to the editor

Gender is located between the ears, not the legs Plus: I'll be Trey Parker's Oscar date! "Al Gore-leone" is tasteless.

Published February 28, 2000 5:00PM (EST)

Forced crossing

Thanks to Pam Rosenthal for her insightful review of John Colapinto's "As Nature Made Him." The outcome of this case indeed has no clinical value in the specious nature/nurture turf war over sex identity.

As one of John Money's former intersexed "non-human" experimentees I speak from personal experience to assert that the outcomes of highly anomalistic cases of children who are deemed available for experimentation, for whatever reason, actually provide no useful data. Unless of course there are still some holdouts who require more evidence of the strength of the human spirit.

-- Kiira Triea

Coalition for Intersex Support Activism & Education

I read with more than casual interest "Forced Crossing," by Pam Rosenthal. I was born in 1952, a hermaphrodite with ambiguous genitalia. I know several people who were born intersexed and assigned a sex they later changed. I think it is obvious that gender is innate and influenced somewhat by socialization.

The etiology of gender is extremely complex and impossible to predict. Only we know what gender we are. I predict though, that some die-hard gender theorists will seek to reestablish Dr. Money's false theory.

I am glad that Rosenthal is so forgiving of Dr. Money. I, however, and the thousands of other intersexuals who have had their lives so adversely affected by him are not so forgiving.

-- Tasha L. Thompson

The only difference between me and Brenda/David is that there is no reassuring gender fuckup in my life to explain my homing-pigeon fascination for all things mechanical and monetary and all manner of firearms, as well as kittens, quilts and handspinning my own yarn. No one had to teach me to take everything in my house apart because it was "feminist." My parents just learned to hide the Allen wrenches if they didn't want the phone in pieces.

Gender behavior and gender identity are unrelated. This is the core message of feminism -- and I don't see how David's experience as a child challenges this. My basic gender identity as a woman isn't undone by my dislike of ruffles and bows any more than David's identity as a man was undone by his dislike of them.

-- Janis Cortese

Pick me! I'm a real multimillionaire!

I would marry Trey Parker if he lived in a box and his living consisted of cleaning windshields with spit and toilet paper. He is a brilliant, hysterical and damn sexy man.

-- Christine K.

Boulder, Colo.

Just writing to let Trey Parker know I'm available. I'm not a forensic scientist, but I do watch the "New Detectives" on Discovery and "Autopsy" on HBO. Nor am I a marine biologist, however, I have seen "Jaws" and I've been known to sit in front of the Animal Planet network (I'm also a big fan of "When Animals Attack.") If Trey's still at a loss about who to take to that big silly award show, tell him I look pretty hot in skimpy designer dresses. And by the way, the Union (the North) won the Civil War after crushing the separatist Confederacy of the South. I've even seen that Ken Burns documentary. I even liked it.

-- Kaarin Von

Just because Trey Parker got rich and famous by some random cartoon animation with patchwork drawings and overuse of juvenile profanity doesn't exactly mean he's the prize husband material for some "marine biologist." So you're worth 15 million and think answering "Who won the Civil War" is the smartest test for your future bride?
Answer this Mr. Smarty-Pants:
What is the value of your soul once you realize those millions mean absolutely nothing?

-- Erica Wiechers

When bad shows become truly abominable

Okay, so now that it's clear that she's unwilling to perform her duties, the crown goes to the runner-up, right?

Good Lord ... "I didn't know what I was doing." Did she happen to notice the title of the damn show?

-- Sean Medlock

I'm all for reality-based TV, and I think that the audience deserves the satisfaction of seeing these two publicity-hungry souls forced to live with the consequences of their short-sighted actions: make 'em live together -- if not for their happiness, for ours!

-- Bryan Gailey

Be fruitful and multiply

If a woman becomes pregnant, a fundamentalist will assert that her situation is God's will and adamantly insist the pregnancy be carried to term. Yet these same fundamentalists are often willing to spend thousands of dollars and endure years of invasive medical techniques, some of which require the "sinful" behavior of masturbation in their quest for a child.

Since I am not a fundamentalist, I view infertility as nature's way of telling a couple they are not biologically fit for reproduction. When a couple seeks technological solutions to override this judgement, they set themselves against nature. Wouldn't a fundamentalist couple who makes the same decision be setting themselves against divine judgement and will of their own God?

-- SuZett Estell

I wish every infertile couple would give a lot of thought to their reasons for wanting children before going to extraordinary lengths to conceive. How much of this is genetic vanity? That child who needs to be adopted can be your kid just as much as one you give birth to.

I remember the mother of the septuplets in Iowa saying she'd never have considered abortion because her multiple pregnancies were "God's will." But the infertility that led her to take drugs to conceive WASN'T God's will?! Talk about having your cake and eating it too!

-- Pat Bryant

Al Gore-leone

I am a fan of Mr. Tapper's writings, but comparing Gore to the Godfather is about as ludicrous as believing that John McCain is some kind of plastic saint. Gore is no more unscrupulous thnt any of the other candidates, and I believe that the public is beginning to view Gore's relentlessly unfavorable coverage as just another in a long series of press attempts to damage all who have participated in the Clinton administration. It is painfully clear if Gore wins the presidency, he will do it despite the best efforts of the press corps to paint him as ruthless, corrupt and wooden.

-- Dan Van Neste

What on earth possessed Jake Tapper to construct the parallel lives of Al Gore and Michael Corleone?

I think Mr. Tapper must be mentally and morally exhausted from his travels through Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Michigan.

How about sending him off a couple of months on a beach in Sicily or Corsica?

-- Al Magary

San Francisco

Brando's performance was captivating, but goodfella Al Gore-leon is so boring he doesn't merely send his enemies to sleep with the fishes, he puts the fish to sleep!

-- Richard D. Henkus

Breaking the silence

Rahna Reiko Rizzuto tells a story that needs telling. It would have sounded so familiar to my mother. Was my mother also a Japanese-American victim of internment? No, my mother was a British citizen, interned for three years in a Japanese camp simply because she was British. Mom's family would return to England every several years to retain their citizenship, but like many Japanese-Americans, her family had three generations of history in the country of her birth, which was China. Her father had, in fact, been hired by the Chinese government to help modernize the Chinese postal service. And my mother was always vehement in her condemnation of the behavior of some English, for example, in foisting the opium trade on China. In her internment camp, in Santo Tomas in the Philippines, she almost starved to death, and was as skeletal a figure as many in the German concentration camps.

I know that Mom would never have approved of what happened to Rizzuto's family. She always said that her enemy was not the Japanese people, she would always blame the war itself. All these stories need to be told.

-- Andrew John

Laughing gas

On the one hand, the anonymous Onion editor quoted in Sean Elder's column about humor on the Web has a point -- 99.999 percent of all online humor sucks. I can even understand his claim "It's not that (the Onion) is the best humor thing on the Web -- we're the only humor thing on the Web." On the other hand, I'd like to respectfully suggest he go fuck himself. The truth is not that the Onion is the only humor thing on the Web, it's just the first. For the rest of us, it's a matter of cutting through the crap to get noticed.

I don't wish to sound arrogant -- "secure humorist" is an oxymoron. Just trying to cut through said crap and tempt people to judge for themselves if our little dog and pony show, AbsolutelyTrue.com, belongs in that .000l percentile.

-- John Corcoran

Editor, co-founder, conceptualizer, researcher, writer, pseudonymous writer, copy chief, towel boy, columnist, critic, headline writer and caterer


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