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Letter to the Editor, San Francisco Bay Times (1995)

Letter to the Editor, San Francisco Bay Times (1995)

©1995, 2013 by Dallas Denny

Source: Denny, Dallas. (1995). Letter to the editor in response to 29 December, 1994 article by Margaret O’Hartigan. San Francisco Bay Times.





Margaret O’Hartigan was known for (and may still be doing it) attacking people in often-obscure publications and not letting them know. I consider it cowardice. I just happened to learn about the article to which this is a response. I’m not sure if the letter was printed.


6 January, 1995

ATTN: Editor, Letters Column
San Francisco Bay Times
228 7th St., San Francisco, CA 94103



Dear Editor:


In her article, “The Invisible Women,” (Bay Times, 29 December), author Margaret Dierdre O’Hartigan gives as an example of the rending invisible of transsexual persons my editorial comments in issue #8 of Chrysalis Quarterly. (“The greatest tragedy is that transsexuals have become so inured to the politics of their own invisibility”).

Ms. O’Hartigan is a talented writer, but her conspiracy theories frequently get out of hand. No, I did not mention by name the transsexual people who had brought complaints against the Program in Human Sexuality in Minneapolis, but there was no reason to, as I was primarily commenting on the nature of the client/caregiver (i.e. transsexual/doctor) relationship at gender clinics. In essence, I suggested that those who were dissatisfied with PHS could vote with their feet by going elsewhere for treatment. Programs like PHS are by nature very conservative about recommending hormones and surgery, and those who do not want those safeguards can obtain treatment more readily from other sources. For the record, a prominent transsexual individual who made complaints was Mira LaCous. I am not afraid to speak or write her name.

Ironically, the entire issue of Chrysalis in which my imagined infraction occurred was devoted to the history of repression of transsexual persons. One of the points the issue made was that we often suffer at our own hands because of guilt and fear. Unfortunately, we didn’t address the issue of needless attacks on transsexual persons by other transsexual persons. Ms. O’Hartigan is becoming famous for that.

While it is true that until recently transgendered persons have been silenced (and to a great extent still are), I’m convinced that most of Ms. O’Hartigan’s conspiracy was “perpetrated” by writers who did not mention Beth Elliott by name because they did not know it, or, if they knew it, because they did not know she was “out,” or because they wished to spare her further pain. In fact, members of Transgender Nation sympathetic to Ms. Elliott wrote in her defense in the Bay Times two years ago, when Bev Jo’s preposterous allegations about her began to surface—and did not mention her by name.

Having been out for so long, perhaps Ms. O’Hartigan has forgotten that most post-process transsexuals become woodworkers and assimilate into mainstream society. While stealth transsexuals are fueled by shame, it is arrogant and harmful to not respect their decisions to leave anonymous lives. For this reason, it is incumbent upon others to be damn sure that someone is out before putting their names in print.


Dallas Denny
American Educational Gender Information Service, Inc.
Atlanta, GA