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Setting Things Straight on Transsexuals, Marriage

The author of "Gender-Bender" (News & Features, July 19) has confused sexual orientation (gay, lesbian, bisexual, heterosexual, asexual) with the inherent sexual identity of people born with transsexualism. This is understandable, given the many different messages being put out there by different groups for their own political ends.

It is this confusion that has also led to conflicting judicial and administrative decisions concerning the legal sex of people who have undergone surgical procedures to assign them a sex opposite that predicted by gonads, genitals and/or chromosomes.

Many of these are people born with atypical reproductive organs who are assigned to a particular sex in infancy because of detectable ambiguities in their sexual differentiation. The brain is also sexually dimorphic and about 10 percent of such assignments have now been shown to be contrary to the individual's brain sex; they therefore face the same predicament as others with transsexualism who had no major ambiguity of this type.

In transsexualism, for whatever reason, there is an ambiguity between the sex phenotype (natural or constructed) and the sex of the brain. We know what our inherent sex is no matter what external visible factors we might present.

Thus, Christie Lee Littleton was always female, and her surgery simply rectified some biological errors in the sexual differentiation process that formed her in the womb, and her sexual orientation is heterosexual. There is no issue of same-sex marriage and those in the GL lobbies, like those in the anti-same-sex marriage lobbies that cite her case, are simply using this unfortunate accident of biology for their own ends.

Karen W. Gurney
St Andrews,

"Gender-Bender" gives a good peep into how our leaders choose to frame our thoughts. They are the whipped politicos who believe that legally describing human sexuality is the way to stay on top of the electorate. It is fearful that people will still vote for them.

One man and one woman is not even biblical. Our founder Abraham had two wives of record. The only authority imaginable for such a proposal is a cruel wife so crushing that she would require her broken spouse to promote that amendment, just to hurt him again, or some celibate clergy.

And personally, I have never had sex with a man. I cannot truthfully say it's good or bad. I have had two marriages to women that ended horribly.

It would please me so to see my leadership address real issues like the next fuel, mass transportation, homogenizing American culture, birth control and global warming. Who's in whose bed won't matter if these other areas are not addressed. And who burns the flag surely won't matter.

Sam Forrest

Richmond Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) is strongly opposed to the proposed Marshall/Newman Amendment (the so-called marriage amendment) to the constitution of Virginia, which will be on the Nov. 7 ballot.

This amendment would curtail the rights of our brothers and sisters who are gay and lesbian — as well as all unmarried couples — to receive the same legal status and protections in their persons, their families and their workplaces that are afforded to others.

We believe that we strengthen marriage by affirming loving commitment and supporting loving families, and have found that this also strengthens our spiritual community.

As written, the Marshall/Newman Amendment goes far beyond the characterization of "marriage" and would instead embed injustice and discrimination — and suffering — in our State Constitution.

Dan Shaw, clerk
Richmond Friends Meeting

Readers Wave Back at Randy Fitzgerald

Having enjoyed his columns for years, my husband and I were astonished and distressed at the abrupt announcement that Randy Fitzgerald had written his last column for the Times-Dispatch. Given his style, we certainly would have expected a humorous yet emotional farewell. However, now that we have read your article on the departure of a longtime T-D editor ("Was T-D Exec Forced Out?" Street Talk, Aug. 2), the rationale is starting to become clearer. Apparently the T-D has elected to go the way of WRVA radio and purge itself of any vestige of Richmond — or Southern — regionality. I suppose I will go ahead and cancel my subscription to the T-D, just as I have stopped listening to WRVA. If I want generic national/international news, I can just go to CNN.com or read USA Today. What a shame.

Rebecca Wright

Thank you for publishing Randy's "farewell" article online ("Fitzgerald's Farewell," www.styleweekly.com). The Richmond paper again fails the test. Not only have they released a great and widely read writer, but they did it in such a tactless way! Shame on them for canceling the column and double shame on how they handled it. No wonder they are losing subscribers!

Pamela L. Harding

Corrections and Clarification

In a story on U.S. Route 33 in Hanover County ("Killer 33," News & Features, Aug. 2), we incorrectly reported that one fatal accident has occurred since a shoulder-widening project was completed in 2003. Rather, three traffic-related fatalities have occurred on the 12-mile stretch of road.

In another story ("Saving Grace," News & Features, Aug. 2), we misidentified the Richmond Racers Swim Team as winners of the 2006 Virginia Recreation and Park Society's Lifeguarding Cup. The lifeguards who won the competition are on the swim team, but were representing the city of Richmond.

Lisa Granger is a co-owner of Zed Café with Becky Brault (Side Dish, Food & Drink, Aug. 2). Style regrets the errors. S

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