Change of Heart

After living 57 years as a macho man, veteran Philadelphia police officer Maria Gonzalez will retire as a middle-aged woman.

By Steve Volk
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 2 | Posted Mar. 15, 2006

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Steve Volk ( last wrote about police understaffing.

What's in a Name?

The language surrounding transsexuality remains a minefield.

Transgender people prefer to be referred to by the pronouns appropriate to their chosen gender, even when discussing the period of time before they transitioned. Post-operative transsexuals receive new birth certificates, declaring that their new sex was their gender from birth.

Just the same, Maria Gonzalez says she doesn't mind PW referring to her as "he" and "him" during the period she was still living as Heladio Gonzalez.

"A lot of this is very individually driven," says Gloria Casarez, the executive director of the Gay and Lesbian Latino Aids Education Initiative. "The language issues are very difficult for people to define. Often it comes down to how people choose to identify themselves."

Language isn't the only hurdle to media coverage.

Solid information remains hard to come by. The frequency of transsexuality in this country is probably grossly underreported. And while male-to-female transsexuals are said to be more plentiful than the reverse, such figures probably don't reflect reality.

Trans-men blend into society or "pass" as small males more easily than trans-women, who are given away by their oversized hands or feet. As testosterone treatments deepen a trans-man's voice and grows his facial hair, few would think to question his gender. The result is that female-to-male transsexuals seek surgery less often and are therefore less visible on the streets or in a statistical analysis. (S.V.)

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1. shemalevicki said... on Feb 22, 2009 at 01:09AM

“I am so proud of her, I hope she does well for herself. Power to the transsexuals. I am a transsexual and maybe I should become a cop. Its hard being a Philadelphia tgirl, shemale, transsexual, in Philadelphia. ”

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2. momoftransgirl said... on Aug 13, 2013 at 05:49PM

I love this story. I am the mother of a transgender daughter and I am always wanting to know of other families like ours. Take care everyone. :)”


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