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back to article French judiciary makes transgender boob

A peculiar obsession with breast size as the test of true womanhood popped up in a French court last week, as the Chief Prosecutor in Nancy ruled that a transgendered woman couldn’t possibly be a woman unless her breasts measured up to size. Argument is raging over the case of Delphine Ravisé-Giard, who first transitioned back …

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Penis

Does it have a winkie? Then it's a bloke. I'm leaning towards the official French line here.

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obligraty red dwarf joke

"if you got nothing to swing you can not be with jim"

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Paris Hilton

equality

So are the courts in Nancy also going to lay down a minimum endowment before someone can qualify as a "real man"?

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I for one salute them

for their sterling efforts in ensuring king size jubbly fun for all.

Of course they could be trying to make a mountain out of a molehill.

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Anonymous Coward

Have they gone mad?

Who knows? If you want to get REAL up tight and legal about it, ask for the count of the number of X chromosomes. That usually works around birth. Later on in life it seems up to the person involved.

Another test: To what do you count to when naked? 21: Male, others Female.

This is silly (and I'm probably being more so!).

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Alert

You think this is mad ?

IANACT (i am not a chemistry teacher) but, trans-isomers and cis-isomers are now officially referred to as 'Z' and 'E' isomers, because the Latin prefixes have now been 'claimed' by various LGBT/feminist organisations. (Presumably 2000-year old texts will now have to be modified to remove reference to 'Cisalpine' and 'Transalpine' Gaul.) It's not just political correctness gone mad, it's gone totally freakin' batsh!t !!

(Which makes me think - if people who *want* to (or, do) change their gender are known as trannies, does that make everyone else cissies ? And is there any significance that the local French court was in Nancy ???)

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Boffin

@You think this is mad?

I did do chemistry to A-level so I know all about cis and trans isomers by these names. Calling trans the Z form (I preseume it's that way round) sorta makes sence, but E for the cis doesn't seem to go - the shape would actually be more like (as a book I read long ago put it) the letter E with the middle stroke missing.

Why not maleoids and fumaroids, after maleic and fumaric acids, presented in organic chemistry textbooks as the classic example of this form of isomerism? No good, the PC brigade wouldn't like the look of maleoids despite the word being ultimately derived from the Latin for 'apple'. (No, even worse, a different sort of PC brigade would then be campaigning against the name.)

Certainly there is a precedent for the abolition of cis and trans as prefixes - didn't South Africa abolish Ciskei and Transkei at some point in the recent past?

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Boffin

I did a bit more chemistry

and Z stands for "zusammen" (together) and "entgegen" separate in German. And that's an old convention, late 19th century if I recall correctly.

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IR

Re: I did a bit more chemistry

True, and use of it has nothing to do with "trans" or "cis" being used by LGBT groups. PC gone made, you couldn't make it up? Well someone just did.

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The good judge doesn't go far enough

I don't think the judge has gone far enough.

If breasts are required for transgenderd women, perhaps the time has come in France to mandate a minimal breast size for all women below age sixty. I would suggest a C-cup at least. I am sure French universities could, in a few years, develop out a pharmaceutical which when given to adolescent girls would promote "development", to everyone's delight, no doubt.

BTW,where's the IT angle?

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Joke

@Smith 10:39

Surely a database would be required to store such essential data on the nations assets.

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IT Angle?

There doesn't need to be an IT angle, this is about boobs!

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Coat

Need to be northern

it's 't'IT angle of course

yep, I'm off

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The IT angle?

Strangely enough...well, there probably isn't much of one to THIS story...but i would be interested in more general feedback since a) i am currently writing a fairly serious paper on the implications of identity change (name, title, gender) and b) i have a fairly strong suspicion that many current systems are not built to withstand this sort of messing around with.

Two reasons, really: first, that some fields/variables tend to be regarded as either fairly invariant - or almost always precursors of other fields. Specifically, the link between gender and title: but there are other links in there too. Also, few systems have audit trail capacity for issues of identity.

I was told recently by one public organisation that, in order to prevent fraud, they required documentation prior to changing some details on their system. OK. that's not actually logical, but we'll give them that.

However, it turns out they are then NOT storing any copy of the original physical documentation, over-writing old details with new and - if they're lucky - some data entry person will note the change in the comments field. Secure? I think not.

This piece was about gender identity...the above paper looks both at gender and the issue post-marriage/divorce.

I think these issues are going to be much more important to systems designers over the next few years for a number of reasons. First, the marriage/divorce issue will always be there. Second, the number identified as transgender in the UK has been multiplied by ten over the last decade. Two Home Office reports, approx. ten years apart, have dramatically uprated the numbers likely to be involved.

A couple of other straws in the wind: a number of jurisdictions - including the EU and Australia, not to mention many US State legislatures - are now well on the way to recognising gender as a matter of self-identity rather than biological fact. You may like or dislike that policy. What cannot be argued against is that over the last few years, almost every major western legislature has started to implement it.

Last but by no means least, and here my antennae could be twitching in error: from covering the various alternative scenes in the UK and to a lesser extent in Europe and elsewhere i am encountering an increasing tendency to reject conventional labels. Non-gender as political statement seems to be on the rise... even on the part of those who are firmly wedded to their male or female tackle.

So...not...there wasn't much of an IT angle in the article: but i suspect it is coming...and will require a rethinking of how some systems get linked together.

jane

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@The good judge doesn't go far enough → #

I've got a bit of gyno so I'm a C-cup myself. Not that they actually need support of course.

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Boffin

@ Jane Fae

I'm not sure how this fits with you forthconing paper, but when I did a MA a few years ago, one seminar was about this subject. I'm not sure whether we (as a group) came up with something new, but we decided that there are actually two separate issues - sex and gender. A person's sex is what her/his chromosomes say; i.e it is purely physical at the genetic level. This deals with most people, and though there are some rare conditions where it may be a little more difficult, a little bit of common sense would deal with it. Sex cannot be changed (at least, not yet!), and regardless of what you do, those chromosomes are going to be there.

Gender, on the other hand, is the what the person actually expresses in their behaviour etc, and to that end it is a matter of choice as to what the person states. It includes male & female heterosexuals, male and female homosexuals, transvestites, asexuals ... and so on. It does make it difficult to come up with a word for people changing their physical appearance (as said above, you can't change sex, so transsexual is meaningless, and transgender makes no sense when it is a matter of choice what one defines as ones gender), but whatever the word (I suppose transmorphic would be correct, but sounds awful!) it is clearly covered by the self-identity issue. At the bottom of this, since it is a matter of personal identity, there are no tests that should be applied unless it is being done to perpetrate a fraud in some way - a person is what s/he says s/he is, and the French court is totally wrong here, and showing a disgraceful prejudice.

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You couldn't make this shit up

What is it with the authoritarians, they just love to mess us all about telling us who we're allowed to be, what we're allowed to look at and most importantly who we're allowed to vote for.

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simple solution...

If I have under surgically attached, tell everyone I'm now to be known as Daisy and walk around saying "moo", does that make me a cow? Does it mean a butcher is now allowed to sell my meat? No? So, why not maintain the definition of gender as being that with which you are born, regardless of chromosome disorders or sex change ops? If it makes you happy, have the op. But human sexuality is too complex to pigeonhole 'trans' people into one box. Save the confusion, it's only a tick box on a passport and a passport won't convince people you are a woman.

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Simple test

Because this is what she wants, and who are we to deny her it?

There's a simple test for this. Everyone should have the right to do exactly as they wish, in complete freedom, until the moment that freedom impinges on someone else's rights.

By giving her this freedom, what right are we denying from another person?

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Adam 10

Because "gender" is not "sex". How about we let people be what they want to be? If it irks you that people could go around being male one day, female the next or somewhere in between on the third friday of each month then let's say that the first change of official documentation is free, but you pay for the admin on second and subsequent changes of gender identity. And as to that with which you are born, are you referring to primary sexual characteristics? Secondary? Genetic? I agree with you about human sexuality being too complex to pigeonhole, but again, sexuality is not the same as gender-identity; which is equally complex, but different.

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Confusion..

Because of course, it's much less confusing to be taken for female all the time, but have to present a passport marked male..

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Stop

Bullocks!

I think your analogy is a little off here - we're talking transGENDER, not transSPECIES.

Unfortunately, the debate will run and run and not be anywhere near as entertaining as someone walking around with udders* grafted onto them!!

*I'm assuming by 'unders' you meant 'udders'

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Boffin

@Jerome 0

I really, really, _really_ want to be a multi-millionaire. Can I ask a judge to make it so?

Alternatively, ask yourself what it _actually_ means when a passport indicates your gender - it is not up to the French courts to start saying that particular people can now be referred to as a different gender - that is a decision for the country that they have just entered.

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It doesn't irk me

Red hal: Someone's life choice doesn't irk me. It is not my place to say what someone can or can't have sliced off or implanted. I couldn't care less. However, legal documentation does not exist to flatter someone's psyche nor to make them feel happy or good about themselves. It exists (in theory, at least), to reflect real, verifiable facts.

Looking at my passport, there is a piece of information "Place of birth". Should I be allowed to change this to somewhere I feel better reflects my lifestyle now?

On documentation that requires my eye colour, should I put in my genetically pre-determined eye colour or the colour of my contact lenses?

I am shorter and heavier than I would like to be. Should I start telling people I'm 6'6" and built like The Rock? I am a tall buff guy in a less tall fat guy's body.

Human rights violations being attributed to the accurate recording of key information appears to be a common confusion nowadays!

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Nickname already in use

> On documentation that requires my eye colour, should I put in my

> genetically pre-determined eye colour or the colour of my contact

> lenses?

Happy as I am there thanks. Once I had changed my handle to "pink-with-purple-spots eyed boy" I would find my original one listed as already in use whenever I wanted to return to my natural self again.

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Anonymous Coward

@Adam 10

"So, why not maintain the definition of gender as being that with which you are born, regardless of chromosome disorders or sex change ops?"

What if "that with which you are born" just happens to be a chromosome disorder? They do tend to happen in utero.

To date, attempts to perform gender assignment on a child of indeterminate gender have a success rate of 50% -- pure random chance. Doctors are starting to get better at spotting the intersex disorders early, but there currently is no way of knowing how best to treat the child. Any surgical intervention makes it more difficult to treat the individual post-puberty when the hormonal gender starts to become apparent, but not intervening leaves the child open to taunts and bullying for looking different in the changing rooms or in a swimming costume.

Any rational, compassionate person has to accept the existence of intersex disorders and appreciate the difficulty in treating them.

Only then can you start to ask whether someone with no physical symptoms of hormonal or chromosomal disorders should receive the same (irreversible treatment) as someone with a diagnosed disorder. That is a *very* different question, and one that is increasingly being ignored. All too often, the existence of the diagnosable disorders is used as justification for intervention in an undiagnosed case. It is considered un-PC to question the relevance of one to the other. Why?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Simple test

@Jerome 0

"There's a simple test for this. Everyone should have the right to do exactly as they wish, in complete freedom, until the moment that freedom impinges on someone else's rights."

Maybe not as simple as you first think.

Men have the right to use men's toilets -- where there won't be women watching. Men do not have the right to use women's toilets, because that impinges on women's rights not to be seen by men when they go to the loo.

If someone's self-gender-identity does not match another person's external understanding of the other person's gender, then one or both will have their right to single-gender toilets impinged upon. The same argument applies for single-sex dorms, saunas and health clubs.

In particular, we have the question of Islam to take into account. The privacy of the woman's form is very important to people from Islamic countries. Whether this is for religious or cultural reasons isn't relevant -- most western society has accepted this as a reasonable preference and we have acted to accommodate it.

Would Muslims accept an individual's right to self-identification of gender? Would they be happy with a fully male->female transgendered person sharing the swimming pool on women-only evening? Probably not. Would they be happy with someone who still had the original male genitalia attached? Definitely not.

So while theoretically self-identification of gender is a matter for the individual, in reality the infrastructure of human society makes gender a public, collective issue.

No simple tests, and no easy answers, I'm afraid.

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Anonymous Coward

Most excellent

So, the court in Nancy is to define whether the person is officially a Nancy Boy or not?

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Most excellent

Not really, if you think about it.

Thanks to the other 27 commentards who've probably submitted this joke for rejection already.

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Coat

Although...

He could just move to Brest...

I'll get me coat.

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Coffee/keyboard

Thank God for the EU!

"This brought France into line with the views of the European Commission on Human Rights for the recognition and treatment of transgendered individuals."

Your taxes at work.

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Exactly

"Thank God for the EU!"

Indeed, without them various governments, including ours, would be able to tell people that they had to look or act a certain way ... worth every penny for that alone IMO.

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Stop

@AC 14th June 2010 12:00

You do, of course, realise that the ECHR have absolutely nothing to do with the EU, don't you? The ECHR is a body of the Council of Europe, which predates by several years the first tentative steps towards the EU. This is a common misconception, and you are not the first one to confuse the two (trying to teach it to law students, who have rarely had any decent history taught to them in their lives, is fascinating, and always good for a downmark in the exams!)

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Joke

They think he's a Nancy Boy then?

I'm surprised to be 1st for that one.

I'll go back to the 70's now.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: They think he's a Nancy Boy then?

Commentard in moment of self-awareness shock!

Really, no more of these now.

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daft

A quick check around my office here in France shows that such a ruling would neuter half the ladies, and all but one of the sexiest ones, in the office.

Besides, this is an Air Force member they're discussing? Remember what happened to the augmented Russion in a plane last week...

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Happy

I take it

this story is here because you know where your readers' interests lie. It must have something to do with spending all day inserting male connectors into female connectors, I suppose.

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I'm with the courts on this one.

Without some kind of permanent (only reversible by surgery) change taking place then I don't see that a person has changed sex. According to what this male seems to want people should just be able to change the sex recorded on their identification any time they feel -- taking this to its logical conclusion that would mean many people should be able to change their ID from one sex to another just for the weekend, or the night, depending on their lifestyle. Or, for example, leave one country as a man and enter another as a woman.

Be whomever you want to be -- but I'm afraid you are not a man unless you have male sexual organs and you are not a woman without female ones or, at least, a close enough approximation that someone seeing you naked would take you for that sex.

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Coat

Car insurance

Think of the advantages though... I'll become a woman to get my cheap car insurance, then change back to a man before attempting a parallel park manoeuvre.

I'll then become a woman prior to any divorce proceedings my partner brings against me for unreasonable behaviour the first time Aunt Irma comes to visit me. That way I'll get a fair trial.

"I thought you said you were born in Iran!!!"

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Coat

The Chief Prosecutor in Nancy.....

.......must therefore be a woman.

What with being completely dickless 'n all......

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IT Angle

moobs

and does the counter apply once this threshold is applied?

if a man develop moobs over a certain size is he automatically a woman?

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Breathe, Sarah.

And/or disable comments ;-)

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Breathe, Sarah.

Hey, compared to the 'man marries cow' thread this is like a pleasant afternoon reading an edifying work of literature.

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Breathe anyway ...

Being a moderator isn't exactly a normal occupation.

Or fun.

Carry on :-)

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Over stepping

Listen what you do in you back or front garden is your buisness and not the guber-ments.

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@ Adam 10

How very Daily Mail of you.

If it's too complicated to pigeonhole, why do you want to fix that by pigeonholing people into one of two boxes at birth?

Roll your argument back 50 years and you'd be arguing "save the confusion henry, I don't care if you fancy blokes, you were born a man so just marry a woman and be done with it". I don't that would fly these days, do you?

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But you pigeonhole

If you say that someone is either male or female, and that's that, then you are pigeonholing.

My point is that if you feel the lines of gender are indefinable, then you don't feel that being slotted into male or female is workable, or you don't feel it is important.

Legal gender does not serve to flatter, it serves to define you in a legal sense.

What someone does is up to them, however changing a legal definition of a key biological attribute to satisfy the desires of a very very very small portion of society is ridiculous.

It's nothing like your "save the confusion" idea. Do you understand the difference between gender and sexual orientation? Does your birth certificate or passport have a box for "sexual orientation"? I find your remarks are confusing. Please save the confusion, henry.

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g e
Silver badge

Ummm it's all about X & Y

XY for male

XX for female

... chromosomes, that is. The simplest damned definition in the world provided by mother nature *who presumably would have XX

I vote for labelling gender-assigned toilet facilities with an X or a Y too, so the sexually confused have a simpler reference than 'man or woman'. After all, how many XX women want some XY person wandering into the ladies' loo regardless of if they look like a female ?

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Stop

How about thinking before you type...

'regardless of if they look like a female ?'

Really, if someone is presenting as female, and is lucky enough that she looks female who is going to tell?

What about XXY (or should those individuals get their own lavatory?)

Whilst I appriciate that most of you here can't seem to get your male brains past the 'going into a womens loo, hehehehe' schoolboy threashold (and as nerds are happy to have someone lower on the pecking order than yourselves when it comes to someone to pick on) think about this logically. A woman would like the right to be treated as a woman. Not to switch on a daily basis, not to skip country, and not for something kinky (there is a difference between sex and gender you know), but to be who she is.

In doing this she is hurting who exactly? And if she is hurting no-one then why get so riled by it?

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FAIL

X & Y

Actually, it's nowhere near that simple, as with so many things in life:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Y_chromosome#More_common

GJC

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