On Gender Identity
by Janine Roberts - a person who spent the first part of her life 'in drag',
and who tells her story in "The Seven Days of my Creation: Tales of Magic, Sex and Gender" - see below.
You will find here a wealth of information on what makes us male or female, including a summary of the latest scientific discoveries that have confirmed experiential knowledge held by many indigenous and ancient cultures who believed that the gender of a few children could not be told at birth - and thus provided ways of such children being assigned a gender later on in life. This new research found that 'transexuality' was not a psychological condition but had a physical cause, that 'transexuality' was thus a form of 'intesex' or 'hermaphroditism'. Its cause lay in pre-birth determined gender-specific structures in the brain. When transsexual people said they were in the wrong gender, they were accurate. These brain structures go with a female self-identity. This was determined by research involving autopsies of 'male to female' transexuals as well as homosexual males. The brains of the former were typical female shaped brains - those of the later typically male. It is now presumed that 'female to male' transexuals' likewise have male brains.These structures are determined pre-birth - and are thus not related to social pressures or the taking of hormones.
In 2004, after scientific evidence was presented to Parliament, the UK changed the law to allow such people to have the gender on their birth certificates corrected. The UK was one of the last European countries to so enact.
A short Resume
Born 1942 - on the wartime southern coast of England. Labelled male.
1945 Her mother tells her that this year she said she wanted to be in the priesthood - an ambition or destiny that never left her.
1946. Start school - teased fairly mercilessly for her female body language by the boys among whom she is put. They say she is a 'girl' - she denies it and becomes highly asthmatic with stress. From now on she is haunted by the thought that she has been placed among boys by mistake. Throughout the rest of her childhood this thought will not go away. She is told when she is about 15 by her parents that if anyone else learns of this 'obsession' then she will never make it into the priesthood and her life will be wrecked.But however much she tries, the thought will not go away.
1959 Joins a male Religious Order and commencies training for the Roman Catholic missionary priesthood.
1967 After 8 years of training (including acquiring a Master's Degree in Theology and a Summa Cum Laude First in Philosophy ), she is ordained a Catholic Priest in her home parish. Starts studies at London School of Economics.
1968 Elected student representative onto staff committee at University. Involved in LSE Lock-Out, front page headline in Catholic press (Universe) for her opposition to the Vietnam War. Helps organise soup line for homeless. Socialist candidate in 1989 for President of College (loses by about 8 votes)
1970 Acquires B Sc Hons in Sociology from London University - and resigns from the authority of the Catholic Church. Marries. Travels overland to Australia - becomes a co-editor of Retrieval, an anti-Vietnam war magazine. Work with YCW agaisnt war.
1972 Appointed National Cordinator of International Development Action. Appointed to Council of ACFOA - the Australian Council of Overseas Aid Agenices.
1973 Commence work with Australian Aborigines. Focusses on issues of social justice and responsibility.
1975 Following two years of medical assessment, it is decided that she should stop living as male and live as a woman. Her psychiatrist writes that she is 'hermaphrodite' -a reference to to her likely brain structures. She also learns of the ancient tradition in many indigenous nations, that such people as her are looked on as having a gift that makes them good material for training as a shaman or for spiritual leadership. She with delight realises for the first time that there is no necessary contradiction between her childhood ambitions - one to live as a girl, the other to be in the priesthood.
1976 Her first book is published - (editor and co-author of ) The Mapoon books. A three-volumne case study of Aboriginal culture and institutional racism - looking at the work of missionaries, government and private companies. Brilliant reviews. She travels to the UK this year to spend three years settng up a chain of Aboriginal support centres around Europe.
1978 Helps to persuade SHELL to abandon a 600 square mile mining lease over a tropical forest still hunt-gathered by Aborigines.War on Want publish in the UK her book 'From Massacres to Mining; the Colonisation of Aboriginal Australia".
1980 Appointed Mining Consultant to the National Federation of Aborignal Land Councils. Her job is to help communities research the record of mining companies wanting to prospect or mine their land - and to train Aborigines in this work. Helps set up Aboriginal Mining Information Centre. Initiates and researches Granada TV "World in Action" on RTZ and Aborginal land rights - "Strangers in their own Land".
1981 Commence work as freelance journalist with a 3 page article in major Australian broadsheet newspapers (Age, Sydney Morning Herald etc) on the Argyle Diamond mine. Also sets up and researches BBC Everyman film, "A Plain and Sacred Rite" on Aboriginal spirituality.
1984-5 Co-Produce with Aboriginal elder Robert Bropho a film on gold mining and Aborigines "Munda Nyuringu". Film wins AFI Unanimous Nomination as Best Documentary - and becomes film of the week when it is shown on the ABC.
1988 Begin work as producer on 'The Diamond Empire', a three-part series for Australian, American and British (BBC) television.
1989 Hired by the BBC's Panorama program as a producer to work on her project showing how the KGB, CIA and MI6 are setting up joint training projects under Gorbachov. Interviews KGB generals and others in Moscow. The Sun newspaper then attacks her credibility, exposing her gender background. She wonders if they were given this information to try to stop her diamond film which is then also moving into production.
1990 Exposes how Ronald Reagan and George Bush Srn. did deal with Iranians to discredit President Carter and to make it easier to defeat him - story runds as "Armsgate" in the papers.
1992 During the production of 'The Diamond Empire', when it is two-thirds shot, she is physically assaulted. This leads to medical complications. She is in hospital two months, two weeks of which on the critical list. While critical, agrees to BBC demand that she gives her film to them to finish and get out. She also now decides that in future she will not be so nervous and reluctant to talk about her spiritual path and her gender history. She decides is about time to find the courate to be proud and out - and sets out to write the book that will become "The Seven Days of My Creation"
Her film "The Diamond Empire" is shown in UK and US in 1994 - despite heavy threats from De Beers, the film has no judgement made against it. The ABC in Australia cancel it within days of it being scheduled, under pressure from De Beers. This pressure also results in the BBC agreeing not to sell the film to other countries - and it is thus denied apparently to South African TV. De Beers solicitors write angry letter to the BBC asking why her name still appeared on the film when the BBC had 'agreed' to remove her
1994 She is invited to show her film in Yellowknive, in the middle of the Canadian diamond rush. Backed audience, brilliant press. Doubleday sign her up to do her book "Glitter and Greed". Uses advance to go to research the diamond industry in South Africa - and to road-show her film inside De Beers mine leases.
1995 Onwards - begin to work spiritually with British nature-centred spiritual groups.... by 2000 they call her their High Priestess (though she tends to call herself a "Low Priestess") She organises workshops and teaches a nature-centred spirituality and the western mystical tradition.
1995 Go to South Africa and Namibia - guest speaker at first post-apartheid conference of Diamond Mineworkers. Research working conditions inside De Beers diamond mines - to which she gains entry despite being banned by USD
1996- Writes on medical issues for the Independent.
1998 Co-produces a Dispatches film for Channel 4 on cancer-causing contaminants in the polio vaccine. This is the first discovery of such contaminants in UK cancers.
2000 Testifies at US Congress on diamonds and human rights.
2002 The first edition of her book "The Seven Days of My Creation: tales of magic, sex and gender' privately published and distributed - not then publicly promoted as she has no time - she is unexpectedly contracted at the same time to do her next book 'Glitter and Greed' ---- The Seven Days tells the more personal story behind her work - and in this book she also turns her investigative skills on unravelling how the status of women declined at the beginning of the Christian era. She traces the history of the gnostic Christians of the first centuries who had priestesses as well as of the pagan shamanistic traditions. This is the first time she has been public in print on transexuality - and she believes ths book is her best writing.
2003 Her book "Glitter and Greed" published in the United States. During her launch-tour she is interviewed on CNN, Fox and Friends, etc... in all over 45 radio and TV stations. In the UK the Ecologist publishes her article about De Beers and the Bushmen, an article written in close association with Survival International,- and their editor promptly comes under pressure from De Beers with a massive long letter claiming that diamonds are really expensive simply because they are rare. The Ecologist stands behind the article - and this results in no legal action or apology. In the US - De Beers makes no protest against the far more outspoken book.
2004. Her book "Glitter and Greed" is published in the UK - and is reviewed as truly "brilliant" and "enthralling" in the Independent. No negative press.
2004 Her study on the causes of polio and the polio vaccine is published in The Ecologist. This finds WHO and national health bodies have seriously misled the public by relabelling the disease to make it much less common then claiming this decline in numbers for the vaccine. Using the old defination of polio, the disease is still epidemic - including in the US. She also looks at the rold of toxins in causing polio.
and some articles of hers ...
Gender - a personal reflection
Gender - a more scientific reflection.
Both of the above lead to links to futher information . including to the medical information given to the UK parliament.
And On Spirit
On her book 'Seven Days of my Creation: Tales of Magic, Sex and Gender"
Spirit and Gender - where being born between the worlds took me!
The Reluctant Lioness - a parable for the cowardly
On Green Magic
On the Western Mystical Tradition