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How to be a woman: Take hormones, remove facial hair and complain about the “glass ceiling”

February 21, 2015

My latest for the Weekly Standard:

Transwomen are women, period

The most interesting aspect of what might be called the transgender triumph is the extent to which transwomen have managed to invade and occupy the niche called “women”​—​without many noticeable complaints from the occupants of that slot since time immemorial. For example, Martine Rothblatt, founder and CEO of the biotech manufacturer United Therapeutics (and also founder of Sirius XM), is celebrated as the highest-paid female executive in the United States (north of $38 million a year). But Rothblatt, now in her early 60s, was known as Martin Rothblatt for the first 40-odd years of her life, until she came out as a woman in 1994. Her pre-coming out years were marked by joint law and business degrees from UCLA, a stint at a top Washington, D.C., law firm, and high-level consulting in satellite communications. Rothblatt has been married to a woman since 1982 (two children, plus an adopted daughter), and before that had fathered a child by another woman. “I love when the good women get ahead!” was the online comment of one female reader of a glowing December 2014 article about Rothblatt in the Washington Post’s Sunday magazine.

The board co-chairman of GLAAD, a leading U.S. advocacy organization for LGBT rights, has been since 2013 the bestselling novelist/memoirist Jennifer Finney Boylan. Boylan, 56, had for most of her life been James Boylan, married to a woman since 1988 and the father of two sons. In 2000 she began taking Premarin, a form of estrogen typically marketed to post-menopausal women, and she completed genital surgery in 2003. Then known as the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, GLAAD was founded in 1985 to combat what its members perceived as inflammatory press coverage of the AIDS epidemic, but the organization turned the acronym into its official name in 2013, the same year it named Boylan to head its board. Last year Boylan, who had taught English for 25 years at Colby College, joined the faculty of Barnard College as the Anna Quindlen Writer-in-Residence, a position named for the onetime New York Times and Newsweek columnist, who has a reputation as a quintessential “women’s” writer.

Working Mother magazine in 2014 named for the first time a transwoman​—​Meghan Stabler, a marketing and communications executive for CA Technologies​—​its Working Mother of the Year. Stabler would seem an odd choice. Another late-in-life transitioner, Stabler has an adult daughter by a long-divorced wife, and in 2011 she wed another woman. That union has produced a second daughter, now age 2. An October 15, 2014, article by Stabler in the Huffington Post spoke of the “glass ceiling” and of Stabler’s desire to serve as a “mentor” for harried mothers trying to balance job and family demands. Stabler, however, has an advantage possessed by few other working moms: her very own stay-at-home wife.

Posted by Charlotte Allen

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