odds ‘n ends


The TransLate blog just hit 80,000 page views (see 20,000, 30,000, 40,000, 50,000, 60,000, and 70,000 for historical context). The period of November 26th, 2009 to April 1, 2010 is 17 weeks, which represents a slow pace with a few search engine hits and a few spikes when someone new discovers the blog.  There hasn’t been a lot to write about, at least regarding transsexual transition, and maybe that is a signal that it’s time to move on.  I don’t know. Here are some statistics and lists that graphically show the recent trends.

Lower down, I’ll share with you which pages were most popular and what sort of searches people conduct to find the blog.

Here’s a visual look at the blog since its inception, month-by-month, the initial slow growth coinciding with a slow coming out process, followed by the lofty peaks of April (5076 views that month) as I disclosed my transsexual transition plans to everyone, followed by a lull in May and another set of peaks probably coinciding with my facial feminization surgery in late June 2008. There was a little hump of interest in July – September, after which the blog has seen fairly steady volume of between 2000 and 3000 views per month. There’s an uptick in July and August as I write about my GRS in Trinidad (who doesn’t like to read about surgery, right?), and then there hasn’t been a lot of action since then.

Translate Month-by-Month Page Views

And here’s a graph of the week-by-week look, which WordPress picks up in mid- to late-2009.

Week-by-Week since November 2009

Finally, just for fun, this third chart is a time-series graph covering just the past 30 days’ of stats.

Daily Page Views, most recent 30 days



What do people read? Here are the top posts for the past 30 days (views > 1)

Top Posts for 30 days ending 2010-04-02 (Summarized)

2010-03-03 to Today

Title Views
Home page 1,521
Catalyst 77
Trans 101 73
About 36
The Pilot’s Scarlet Letter 35
Suits Me 25
Marriage 21
Changing the M to F 20
Words of Marriage and Union 14
Trans-spotting 13
Name and Sex at the FAA 12
The Feminine Mistake 11
Parenting 10
Gender Issues “Disqualifying Conditions” 9
Knowing at the Morning After House 8
Gender Discrimination Survey 8
FFS Assessment by Alexandra 7
FAA Bureaucracy and Web Misinformation 7
Letters 6
Public Denial 6
50,000 Pages 6
Just Joyce 6
Trans-gendered: Theology, Ministry, and 6
Kids and Joyce 6
Nothing At All 6
Invisible Party Dress 5
20,000 Pages 5
Narrative Erasures 5
40,000 Pages 5
FAA Issues Resolved 4
Mike and Christine 3
You Look Good in My Skirt 3
This is the Dawning… 3
30,000 Pages 3
Makeover at MAC 3
The Rest of GRS Hospital Stay 3
Praying for General Relief 3
Electrolysis 3
Finishing the Letter 2
Fire 2
A Little Help From My Friends 2
New Year’s Meme 2
Birth 2
Industrial Strength Electrolysis 2
Facing Change, Changing Face 2
What is Laser Like? 2
This is a Photograph of Me 2
Feels Like Grief 2
RadFem Womyn-Only Spaces 2
Facing East (part 1) 2
Gender Identity in Obama Administration 2
Authentic vs. Legitimate 2
70,000 Pages 2
60,000 Pages 2
Incognito 2
EU Says Trans* Discrimination Unacceptab 2

(more…)

The TransLate blog just hit 70,000 page views (see 20,000, 30,000, 40,000, 50,000, and 60,000, for historical context). The period of August 3rd to November 26th is 16 weeks, which is a little slower than the previous blocks of 10,000 views, but which probably reflects the fact I haven’t had a lot to write about (until recently, at least). Here are some statistics and lists that graphically show the recent trends.

Lower down, I’ll share with you which pages were most popular and what sort of searches people conduct to find the blog.

Here’s a visual look at the blog since its inception, month-by-month, the initial slow growth coinciding with a slow coming out process, followed by the lofty peaks of April (5076 views that month) as I disclosed my transsexual transition plans to everyone, followed by a lull in May and another set of peaks probably coinciding with my facial feminization surgery in late June 2008. There was a little hump of interest in July – September, after which the blog has seen fairly steady volume of between 2000 and 3000 views per month. There’s an uptick in July and August as I write about my GRS in Trinidad (who doesn’t like to read about surgery, right?), and then there hasn’t been a lot of action as I’ve been swamped with lots of non-trans* stuff like teaching and administration.

Translate Month-by-Month Page Views

Translate Month-by-Month Page Views

And here’s a graph of the week-by-week look, which WordPress picks up in the 19th week of 2009, illustrating a more-or-less steady pace that varies from 500 to 1000 views per week, with quite a bit more interest during my visit to Trinidad in July.

Week-by-Week since May 2009

Week-by-Week since May 2009

Finally, just for fun, this third chart is a time-series graph covering just the past 30 days’ of stats, which show a slow November (I don’t know where the first spike point comes from).

Daily Page Views, most recent 30 days

Daily Page Views, most recent 30 days



What do people read? Here are the top posts for the past 30 days (views > 1)

Top Posts for 30 days ending 2009-11-25 (Summarized)
Title Views
Trans 101 67
About 40
The Pilot’s Scarlet Letter 38
FAA Issues Resolved 25
Trans-spotting 22
Marriage 20 (more…)

Straight from the aerospace medical division of the FAA came my official airman’s medical notification a couple of days ago, and while it’s a very good thing that ends a long chapter of frustration, the document is not without thorns.

The good news is that I do have a medical certificate (below), but it carries more restrictions than my previous certificates — I have to carry a letter of authorization with me whenever I fly, for example. Here’s what the medical looks like:

medical certificate

medical certificate

But more interesting is the letter of authorization, which invokes the regulations, parts 67.113, 67.213, and 67.313, which are simply identical and parallel subparts covering first-, second-, and third-class medicals, and deal with general medical conditions that aren’t generally specified in the rest of the part:

(b) No other organic, functional, or structural disease, defect, or limitation that the Federal Air Surgeon, based on the case history and appropriate, qualified medical judgment relating to the condition involved, finds—

(1) Makes the person unable to safely perform the duties or exercise the privileges of the airman certificate applied for or held; or
(2) May reasonably be expected, for the maximum duration of the airman medical certificate applied for or held, to make the person unable to perform those duties or exercise those privileges.

(c) No medication or other treatment that the Federal Air Surgeon, based on the case history and appropriate, qualified medical judgment relating to the medication or other treatment involved, finds—

(1) Makes the person unable to safely perform the duties or exercise the privileges of the airman certificate applied for or held; or
(2) May reasonably be expected, for the maximum duration of the airman medical certificate applied for or held, to make the person unable to perform those duties or exercise those privileges.

I don’t know where the FAA gets the idea that gender issues (or the medications, if any, related to gender issues) would “make a person unable to safely perform the duties of the airman certificate,” and I find the suggestion pretty insulting.

The letter (below) also mentions 67.401, which deals with the letter of authorization. The rationale given in this section is largely public safety with language like this: “…capable of performing airman duties without endangering public safety.” This stands in contrast to the aforementioned sections, which appeal to the airman’s ability to perform duties. To its credit, this section recognizes that holders of 3rd class medical certificates are private pilots:

[The FAA needs to] consider the freedom of an airman, exercising the privileges of a private pilot certificate, to accept reasonable risks to his or her person and property that are not acceptable in the exercise of commercial or airline transport pilot privileges, and, at the same time, considers the need to protect the safety of persons and property in other aircraft and on the ground.

Despite this “freedom” paragraph, my letter makes no mention of the fact I’ve sought a 3rd class medical (for private pilots versus commercial ones), and I’m curious why a private trans*pilot can’t just be left alone, using this paragraph as FAA rationale.

So anyway, we have these twin rationales, a) that people with gender issues may not be able to perform their duties as pilots and b) that people with gender issues may pose a threat to public safety. These two dubious claims lie at the core of the “conclusion” stated in my letter, namely that gender identity disorder is inherently a disqualifying condition that causes trans* pilots to have to go through this nonsense in order to keep flying.

I would certainly agree that people who can’t perform their pilot duties and/or who pose a public threat probably should be automatically disqualified, but what I’d like to know is just where those two assertions about trans*people come from. They cannot be based in empirical facts — I’ve looked through the NTSB accident reports and can find no mention of transgendered pilots as the cause of any incidents or accidents. Where is the hearing or the memo or the commentary that glued these twin falsehoods onto trans* people? I would love to read that rationale.

Notice on page two that an olive branch is held out: next year, if I have no changes in my current medical condition, they’ll consider removing the requirement for a letter of authorization. Fair enough, but my question is Just what is my current medical condition? I’m healthy, productive, and capable. I’m already bound to ground myself if I develop a medical condition that hampers my ability to fly, and I would think that such a rule would already apply to trans*pilots (as well as all other pilots). Does the letter mean to say “my current psychological condition,” or does it mean to include everything? The second paragraph says, “Because of your history of GID and GRS, operation of an aircraft is prohibited at any time new symptoms or adverse changes occur.” The word “history” is instructive here — maybe the FAA means that my history makes me suspect, and not necessarily my current state as a fairly normal pilot. If that’s the case, then how long does that “history” stick with me and compel me to carry around this letter when I fly and when I go for my next aviation medical exam?

I feel as if I’ve been branded as someone we need to watch, someone who might “get sick” again. I’m not sure what that would look like, but the GRS is a done deal, and the GID has gone away. What if I take up cabaret singing? Or take a turn towards butch-dom? Just what are these relapses that the FAA imagines might happen to me? These recurring conditions constitute a third area that I’d like to understand better — did the FAA approve trans*people for flying some time in the past, but their behavior or demeanor led them into an accident, and thus triggered this rule that they have to be watched in case gender issues return? If so, where are those records, those stories that would provide grounding for the current rule? If they don’t exist, then does the FAA just make up random nonsense to justify argumentative nonsense arrived at via non-existent data about public safety and pilot abilities? I’m starting to think this is precisely how it works.

medical authorization, p. 1

medical authorization, p. 1

medical authorization, p. 2

medical authorization, p. 2

I received my new pilot’s license a couple of days ago, and it correctly lists my ratings and my sex as “F.” I also just received the following email from Dr. Salazar, as well, saying that my medical certificate nightmare is over:

Ms. Bailey – Oklahoma City finished the administrative processing and we picked up your case today. I have directed my staff to issue a medical certificate under special issuance. All that implies is we would follow your case for at least a year primarily to ensure no post-op problems have occurred.

The context for this entire episode can be found at the following posts:

New Aviation Medical visit
Gender Issues “Disqualifying Conditions” for FAA
FAA Bureaucracy and Web Misinformation
Name and Sex at the FAA
Just Following Regs
Surgeonocracy

While I’m happy that I’m thought of as female and am legal to fly again by the FAA, I am nevertheless baffled about why the FAA needs this level of scrutiny about my genitalia (at least the passport office has some sort of need to identify its citizens, even though I think their fetish about what’s between its citizens’ legs is also uncalled-for).

In the case of the FAA, there are two distinct issues. First is their refusal to change the gender marker (the “M” or the “F”) until the pilot produces a surgeon’s letter. The FAA regulations never mention sex, nor does the Airman’s Information Manual (AIM) — it’s telling that the bureau’s “rules” about the surgeon’s letter come from an unpublished circular that field inspectors are supposed to follow. It’s just like my passport experience, where there are no written rules about changing gender markers, and thus it just falls to lore or to secret documents.

The second issue is this vexing assertion that gender identity disorder, or “gender issues” in general, are disqualifying conditions for holding a valid aviator’s medical exam. “Gender Issues” is so broad as to include drag queens, occasional crossdressers, and deeply closeted transsexuals, among others, and if these conditions are disqualifying, then thousands or tens of thousands of pilots are technically violating the law when they do not disclose these feelings to their AME (Aviation Medical Examiner), and I simply don’t think that’s right.

First, I don’t see why any gender issues should be disqualifying. It is certainly true that GID is characterized by depression, especially as the transgender person grapples with their fate and struggles to accept him/herself. But depression is already a condition that must be reported in an aviation medical exam, and I would think that this type of disclosure would be sufficient (assuming you think it’s any business of the FAA’s if a pilot is depressed). Whether a woman feels like a man and is thinking of changing sex automatically disqualifies him from flying is another matter (and an irrelevant matter, I’d argue).

In any case, I have my new medical certificate, albeit one that requires I be monitored for a year, just in case I flip out. Dr. Salazar’s note mentions monitoring surgery, but I’m unaware of any other surgeries that require a year’s worth of monitoring — I would imagine that this is a veiled language to allow the FAA to monitor trannies in the sky.

I received my new passport today, having followed the guidelines written up at the National Committee for Transgender Equality (NCTE) website. It’s worth noting that these procedures cannot be found at the passport office’s website, http://travel.state.gov/passport/, so if you’re not using trans-friendly resources, I don’t know how trans* folk are supposed to submit the proper paperwork.

So I sent a cover letter in case the clerk working on my application didn’t understand:

Following the guidelines published by the NCTE (National Committee for Transgender Equality), which detail the somewhat unwritten rules of your office regarding passports for transgender people, I’m sending your office my paperwork to get a new passport with my new name and sex. I enclose the following:

  • Form DS-82
  • re-issued state birth certificate
  • driver’s license
  • notarized letter from my surgeon
  • certified copy of the court order granting name and gender change
  • current passport
  • 2 passport photographs
  • check for $75

Please reissue my passport using my new image, new name, and new sex. If I am missing any documentation, I trust you’ll contact me.

I felt it was utterly critical to have a new passport — even though I could get a new name and a new photo, but there is no way to change the gender marker without a surgeon’s letter. And I cannot fathom traveling around the world looking the way I do with an “M” on my passport. I know the government wants good, positive identification, and I don’t have any problems with that general philosophy, but no one knows what’s in any traveler’s pants, and in this respect, the requirement to show a surgeon’s letter is a little like the crazy bathroom rules that propose some sort of genital police.

New Passport Photo

New Photo

The best thing about the passport incident was that I got a really good photograph for the new passport, and that is something that simply doesn’t happen to me very often. :)

The TransLate blog just hit 60,000 page views (see 20,000, 30,000, 40,000, and 50,000 for historical context). The period of April 13th to August 2nd is 14 weeks, which is a little slower than the previous blocks of 10,000 views, but which probably reflects the fact I haven’t had a lot to write about (until recently, at least). Here are some statistics and lists that graphically show the recent trends.

Lower down, I’ll share with you which pages were most popular and what sort of searches people conduct to find the blog.

Here’s a visual look at the blog since its inception, month-by-month, the initial slow growth coinciding with a slow coming out process, followed by the lofty peaks of April (5076 views that month) as I disclosed my transsexual transition plans to everyone, followed by a lull in May and another set of peaks probably coinciding with my facial feminization surgery in late June 2008. There was a little hump of interest in July – September, after which the blog has seen fairly steady volume of between 2000 and 3000 views per month. The final month sees an uptick as I write about my GRS in Trinidad (who doesn’t like to read about surgery, right?)

Translate Month-by-Month Page Views

Translate Month-by-Month Page Views

And here’s a graph of the week-by-week look, which WordPress picks up in February 2009, illustrating a more-or-less steady pace that varies from 500 to 1000 views per week.

Week-by-Week since Feb 2009

Week-by-Week since Feb 2009

Finally, just for fun, this third chart is a time-series graph covering just the past 30 days’ of stats, which show a slow July, then a real spike as I blog about my GRS experience in Trinidad. The big spike at the end of July probably comes from a blog entry I did on Carol Cometto’s Morning After House.

Daily Page Views, most recent 30 days

Daily Page Views, most recent 30 days



What do people read? Here are the top posts for the past 30 days (views > 1)

Trans 101 81
Driving to Trinidad 58
About 56
Gender Issues “Disqualifying Conditions” 53
Knowing at the Morning After House 38
This is the Dawning… 37 (more…)

Visited Dr. Reynolds today for a new aviation medical, armed with a sheaf of papers from surgeons and psychologists saying I was a reasonable transsexual (as reasonable as can be expected, I guess). I passed the office tests easily: the color blindness, the vision (near and far) test, moving my limbs easily, the urine test, the hearing test, and the full disclosure of all conditions, doctor visits, and hospitalizations over the course of my life.

The nurses were quite chatty and helpful, while the doc seemed a bit gruff. He said at one point that maybe I’d get my medical and I could learn to fly, to which I responded I have over 700 hours, my multi- and single-engine private pilot’s license with an instrument rating and complex aircraft endorsements. Furthermore, my last flight was a few weeks ago, just about the time Dr. Salazar opined that my current medical had been handled completely improperly.

“Oh,” he said. “Well, maybe things will go well in Oklahoma City, then.”

It was nothing, and my paperwork now goes to the regional medical examiner, who will determine if I’m mentally OK to fly. I understand how the FAA works, but I find the whole “Gender Dysphoria is disqualifying until documents are submitted” argument feels as if a certain group of people is being picked on unreasonably.

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