Think contrived and manufactured News is new? Think again.
A bit of free advice, if you are robbing a bank, do not order pizza or stop for burgers until you get away.
Mature Content Warning
Happy Anniversary! August 22, 1972
I was three years old on this day back in 1972. It just so happens to be my birthday which is why this particular film and supposed historical event always interested me. I also happen to enjoy Al Pacino's performances more so than not. In any case, a while back I went through this story again looking for anomalies and this would seem to be one that stinks of foul canine odor that would reach to high heaven, as they say. Interesting too is that around August 22 or so, depending on Newspaper horoscope, the Zodiac sign Leo transitions to Virgo and Leon becomes a virgin, allegorically at least. In this Dog Day Afternoon story, Leon does indeed seek to have an expensive sex change operation in order to achieve his apparent dream of becoming an artificial virgin of sorts. It's interesting and perhaps telling that this oldie but a goodie is more relevant of a story today than it was some near 50 years ago. This News story follows the same pattern where the News media gives the criminal, in this case an armed bank robber who had taken hostages, free publicity and a free platform to perform a live action show for television camera and home viewing audience. This was more than just a side show circus, this was a snake oil sales show and the audience were the suckers soaking it all up. The News media clearly promotes violent and criminal behavior. The News media clearly provides a very loud, social platform for people who are supposed to be criminals. I think there is clear evidence from the narrative itself that shows that this famous late 20th century supposed "real event" is nothing but another manufactured live action, televised role play. If this was a real event, people are even dumber than I thought, I would hope that what seems to be obviously scripted cartoon behavior actually is. I don't think all news is fake, I just think the stories with absurd details are more than likely scripted. As an aside, I used to be a political left leaning democrat voter who still believes adults are free to do as they like with other adults and with their own bodies. I have nothing against any of my fellow humans beings who choose to live lives in a manner that I would not. I simply do not self identify as any identity at all anymore. I would also recommend not doing things to your own body that you cannot undo. But what you do with your body, as an adult, is up to you.
"Leon is a first name of Greek origin-the Greek λέων (leōn), meaning "lion," has spawned the Latin "leo," French "lion," Irish "leon" and Spanish "león." Perhaps the oldest attested historical figure to bear this name was Leon of Sparta, a 5th-century BCE king of Sparta, while in Greek mythology Leon was a Giant killed by Heracles. During the Christian era Leon was merged with the Latin cognate Leo, with the result that the two forms are used interchangeably. A similar Greek name to Leon is Leonidas, meaning "son of a lion", with Leonidas I, king of Sparta, being perhaps the most famous bearer of that name."
source: Leon (given name) - Wikipedia
What a tough job. Imagine surviving a 1981 event only to die on 9-11.
Governments have to find ways to justify spending money on things like SWAT gear and military style equipment and all the rest of what goes along with all the newly minted laws of the land sold to the public as shields from the childishly promoted "bad guys".
"The Brink's robbery of 1981 was an armed robbery and three related murders committed on October 20, 1981, which were carried out by six Black Liberation Army members: Jeral Wayne Williams (Mutulu Shakur), Donald Weems (Kuwasi Balagoon), Samuel Brown (Solomon Bouines), Samuel Smith, Edward Joseph, and Cecilio "Chui" Ferguson; and four former members of the Weather Underground, now belonging to the May 19th Communist Organization, consisting of David Gilbert, Judith Alice Clark, Kathy Boudin, and Marilyn Buck. They stole $1.6 million in cash from a Brink's armored car at the Nanuet Mall, in Nanuet, New York, killing a Brink's guard, Peter Paige, seriously wounding Brinks guard Joseph Trombino, and subsequently killing two Nyack police officers, Edward O'Grady and Waverly Brown (the first African American member of the Nyack, New York police department). Trombino recovered from the wounds he received in this incident but was killed in 2001 in the September 11 attacks."
Bank Robberies, Pizza Delivery & Transgender Dreams
The 1970's was an age of SWAT Teams, home grown yellow journal heiress kidnapping terrorists, fake Weather Underground CIA assets, and all sorts of high profile bank robberies. These News stories would go on to not only shape public opinion but also would be used as impetus for crafting new laws and new layers of government the hard working tax payer has to foot the bill for. This particular News story narrative includes social themes that today's News media are clearly obsessed with. These stories exist to alter public opinion and to change human behavior. When Hollywood comes along to make a News story into a big budget film, there's good chance that the original story itself is not as real as advertised and that the big screen adaptation is a reimagining of what would seem to be a fictional event. Does this News story really make sense? There are obviously cartoonish elements to this story that would seem to scream that the events of August 22, 1972 were nothing but live action televised theater. The ending is the best and most illogical part of the story. If you were about to get away with your bank robbery plan that went awry, would you really want to stop for burgers along the way? There are other absurdities that I will leave for you to find on your own. Please enjoy this flashback trip.
The 1970's Was A Time For Tales of Transgender Adventure
"Myra Breckinridge is a 1970 American comedy film based on Gore Vidal's 1968 novel of the same name. The film was directed by Michael Sarne, and featured Raquel Welch in the title role. It also starred John Huston as Buck Loner, Mae West as Leticia Van Allen, Farrah Fawcett, Rex Reed, Roger Herren, and Roger C. Carmel. Tom Selleck made his film debut in a small role as one of Leticia's "studs". Theadora Van Runkle was costume designer for the film, though Edith Head designed West's costumes. Like the novel, the picture follows the exploits of Myron Breckinridge, a gay man who has a sex change and becomes Myra Breckinridge. She goes to Hollywood to turn it inside out. The picture was controversial for its sexual explicitness (including acts like pegging), but unlike the novel, Myra Breckinridge received little to no critical praise and has been cited as one of the worst films ever made"
Same Old Media Song & Dance Routine
"In August 1972, John Wojtowicz, 27, a married Brooklyn man and Vietnam vet with a stream of gay lovers on the side, decided to rob a bank to pay for his boyfriend’s sex change. In the aftermath of the crime, a 14-hour hostage ordeal that riveted the nation, a character based on Wojtowicz would be played by Al Pacino in the 1975 film “Dog Day Afternoon,” which earned six Oscar nominations (winning Best Screenplay). While Wojtowicz’s tale on film became the stuff of legend, the man himself remained little heard from until now, with a posthumous documentary, “The Dog,” hitting theaters on Friday. The success of Pacino’s portrayal sprang from the hero/villain dichotomy of the character. As in the real-life robbery, which took place on Aug. 22, 1972, at a Chase Manhattan branch in Gravesend, Brooklyn, Wojtowicz got both his hostages and the many onlookers on his side, positioning himself as the little guy fighting against tyranny.“The Dog,” which shows interviews with Wojtowicz from 2002 until his death four years later, proves his reality was more outlandish than any movie. The night before the robbery, Wojtowicz and his accomplices — 18-year-old Sal Naturale and 20-year-old Bobby Westenberg — stayed in a New Jersey hotel. Wojtowicz had agreed to pay Westenberg $50,000 for his assistance. For that money, Wojtowicz wanted more than just a partner in crime. “I grabbed ahold of Bobby Westenberg and I wanted to f - - k him, ’cause he used to dress up as a girl,” Wojtowicz says in the film. “He goes . . . ‘I don’t want you f - - king me.’ I said, ‘I’m giving you $50,000, and you’re gonna tell me I’m not getting a f - - k out of it?’ . . . So then I f - - ked him.” The self-described “pervert” met his wife, Carmen, at a bank where they both worked in the mid-1960s. Wojtowicz was drafted soon after and had his first homosexual experience during basic training. After Vietnam, Wojtowicz (still married to Carmen) joined the Gay Activists Alliance (GAA), but was driven more by a desire for sex than politics. “I was a member of the entertainment committee, so I would meet and greet new gay people coming into the scene,” Wojtowicz said. “I could have sex with them quicker than anybody else, because they were just coming out.”
Dog Day Afternoon (1975) Official Trailer - Al Pacino Movie source: Movieclips Trailer Vault
"The LIFE article described Wojtowicz as "a dark, thin fellow with the broken-faced good looks of an Al Pacino or Dustin Hoffman".
"Hoffman would later be offered the role when Pacino briefly quit the production."
"The Greenwich Village townhouse explosion occurred on March 6, 1970, in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of the New York City borough of Manhattan. It was caused by the premature detonation of a bomb that was being assembled by members of the Weather Underground, an American radical left group. The bomb was under construction in the basement of 18 West 11th Street, when it accidentally exploded; the blast reduced the four-story townhouse to a burning, rubble-strewn ruin. The two persons preparing the bomb were killed instantly (Diana Oughton and Terry Robbins), as was a third "Weatherman" who happened to be walking into the townhouse (Ted Gold); two others were injured but were helped from the scene and later escaped (Kathy Boudin and Cathy Wilkerson)."
"Actor Dustin Hoffman and his wife Anne Byrne were living in the townhouse next door at the time of the explosion. He can be seen in the documentary The Weather Underground (2002), standing on the street during the aftermath of the explosion After considerable debate by New York City's Landmarks Preservation Commission, the home was rebuilt in 1978 in an angular, modernist style by renowned architect Hugh Hardy. (“It was this whole idea that a new building should express something new,” Hardy has said, adding, “we were deeper into diagonals at that point.”)  The home was sold for $9,250,000 in December 2012. The new owner was revealed in 2014 to be Justin Korsant of Long Light Capital, who plans to renovate the town house using the architecture firm H3, the successor to Hardy's firm."
Dustin Hoffman has a role in another live action event.
The News Media Seem To Love Giving Armed Lawbreakers Free Publicity and A Forum For Their Performances
Real Dog Day Afternoon News Story from ABC News 1972 source: StooGP
Leon Becomes Liz Eden
The Lion Sleeps Tonight In Women's Underwear
"Elizabeth Debbie Eden (August 19, 1946 - September 29, 1987) was an American trans woman made notorious by her boyfriend John Wojtowicz, who attempted a bank robbery to pay for her sex reassignment surgery. The incident was made into the crime drama film Dog Day Afternoon (1975), directed by Sidney Lumet. The character Leon Shermer, played by Chris Sarandon, is loosely based on Eden." "Eden was born on August 19, 1946, in Ozone Park, Queens.
In 1971, she and Wojtowicz met at the Feast of San Gennaro in New York City. The two, Elizabeth in a bridal gown and John in Military attire, wed in a public wedding ceremony that year. Following a series of suicide attempts, which Wojtowicz attributed to Eden's despondency over her inability to afford a sex-change operation, Eden was admitted to a psychiatric institution. The following year, on August 22, 1972, Wojtowicz attempted to rob a Chase Manhattan bank branch in Gravesend, Brooklyn. Eden was not aware of the plans. After the failed heist, Wojtowicz was arrested and sentenced to 20 years, although he was released in April 1978. Wojtowicz did two more stretches in prison for parole violations in 1984 and 1986-87. He said he was released in April 1987, and Eden visited him in New York about once a month.
The film Dog Day Afternoon shows Sonny (the Wojtowicz character) making out a will to give Leon (Eden's character) his life insurance so that even if he were killed, Eden could pay for the operation. The real-life Wojtowicz was paid $7500, plus 1% of the film's net profits for the rights to his story, from which he gave Eden enough money to pay for her sexual reassignment surgery. Eden got the sex-change operation and legally married someone else, then divorced."
source: Elizabeth Eden - Wikipedia
$7500 & 1%
Eden's story makes it seem like all he needed was one magic operation that apparently didn't cost very much. Today, unlike back in 1972, we know all about the complicated process of hormonal therapy and numerous operations that are required to cosmetically switch genders. It's not an easy one operation procedure. This seems to be another sign that this story is fake or at the very least that there are problems with the News narrative which indicate the News is not a source of trustworthy information.
What I Learned From Watching: Dog Day Afternoon (1975) [Interactive]
What I Learned From Watching: Dog Day Afternoon (1975) [Interactive] source: CinemaTyler
Hotdog Days of A Sunny Summer
"Dog Day Afternoon is a 1975 American crime drama film directed by Sidney Lumet, written by Frank Pierson, and produced by Martin Bregman and Martin Elfand. The film stars Al Pacino, John Cazale, Charles Durning, Chris Sarandon, Penelope Allen, James Broderick, Lance Henriksen, and Carol Kane. The title refers to the sultry "dog days" of summer.
The film was inspired by P. F. Kluge's LIFE article "The Boys in the Bank", which tells a story of a similar robbery of a Brooklyn bank by John Wojtowicz and Salvatore Naturale on August 22, 1972.
The film received critical acclaim upon its September 1975 release by Warner Bros., some of which referred to its anti-establishment tone. Dog Day Afternoon was nominated for several Academy Awards and Golden Globe awards, and won one Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. In 2009, the film was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry."
"On August 22, 1972, first-time crook Sonny Wortzik (Al Pacino), his friend Salvatore "Sal" Naturale (John Cazale), and Stevie (Gary Springer) attempt to rob the First Brooklyn Savings Bank. The plan immediately goes awry when Stevie loses his nerve shortly after Sal pulls out his gun, and Sonny is forced to let him flee the scene. In the vault, Sonny discovers that he and Sal have arrived after the daily cash pickup, and only $1,100 in cash remains in the bank.
To compensate, Sonny takes a number of traveler's cheques. He attempts to prevent the cheques from being traced by burning the bank's register in a trash can, but this causes smoke to billow out the side of the building, alerting the business across the street to suspicious activities. Within minutes, the building is surrounded by the police. Unsure of what to do, the two robbers camp out in the bank, holding all the workers hostage.
Police Detective Sergeant Eugene Moretti (Charles Durning) calls the bank to tell Sonny the police have arrived. Sonny warns that he and Sal have hostages and will kill them if anyone tries coming into the bank. Sal tells Sonny that he is ready to kill the hostages if necessary. Detective Moretti acts as hostage negotiator, while FBI Agent Sheldon (James Broderick) monitors his actions.
Howard Calvin (John Marriott), the security guard, has an asthma attack, so Sonny releases him when Moretti asks for a hostage as a sign of good faith. Moretti convinces Sonny to step outside the bank to see how aggressive the police forces are. Using head teller Sylvia "The Mouth" (Penelope Allen) as a shield, Sonny exits the bank and begins a dialogue with Moretti that culminates in his shouting "Attica! Attica!" (invoking the recent Attica Prison riot), and the civilian crowd starts cheering for Sonny.
After realizing they cannot make a simple getaway, Sonny demands that a helicopter be landed on the roof to fly him and Sal out of the country. When they are informed that the asphalt roof of the bank will not support a helicopter, Sonny demands that a vehicle drive him and Sal to an airport so that they can board a jet. He also demands pizzas (which are delivered to the scene) for the hostages and that his wife be brought to the bank. When Sonny's wife, Leon Shermer (Chris Sarandon), a pre-operative transgender woman, arrives, she reveals to the crowd and officials one of Sonny's reasons for robbing the bank is to pay for Leon's sex reassignment surgery, and that Sonny also has an estranged divorced wife, Angie (Susan Peretz), and children.
As night sets in, the lights in the bank all shut off. Sonny goes outside again and discovers that Agent Sheldon has taken command of the scene. He refuses to give Sonny any more favors, but when the bank manager, Mulvaney (Sully Boyar), goes into a diabetic shock, Agent Sheldon lets a doctor (Philip Charles MacKenzie) through. While the doctor is inside the bank, Sheldon convinces Leon to talk to Sonny on the phone.
The two have a lengthy conversation that reveals Leon had attempted suicide to "get away from" Sonny. He had been hospitalized at the psychiatric ward of Bellevue Hospital until the police brought him to the scene. Leon turns down Sonny's offer to join him and Sal wherever they take the plane. Sonny tells police listening to the phone call that Leon had nothing to do with the robbery attempt.
After the phone call, the doctor asks Sonny to let Mulvaney leave, and Sonny agrees. However, Mulvaney refuses to leave, insisting upon remaining with his employees.
The FBI calls Sonny out of the bank again. They have brought his mother to the scene. She unsuccessfully tries persuading him to give himself up, and Agent Sheldon signals that a limousine will arrive in 10 minutes to take them to a waiting jet. Once back inside the bank, Sonny writes out his will, leaving money from his life insurance to Leon for her sex change and to Angie.
When the limousine arrives, Sonny checks it for any hidden weapons or booby traps. When he decides the car is satisfactory, he settles on Agent Murphy (Lance Henriksen) to drive Sonny, Sal, and the remaining hostages to Kennedy Airport. Per Sonny's earlier agreement, an additional hostage, Edna (Estelle Omens) is released, and the remaining hostages get into the limousine with Sonny and Sal. Sonny sits in the front next to Murphy while Sal sits behind them. Murphy repeatedly asks Sal to point his gun at the roof so Sal won't accidentally shoot him.
As they wait on the airport tarmac for the plane to taxi into position, Maria is released and gives Sal her rosary beads to help him through his first plane journey. Murphy again reminds Sal to aim his gun up so he does not fire by accident. Sal does so, and Agent Sheldon forces Sonny's weapon onto the dashboard, creating a distraction which allows Murphy to pull a revolver hidden in his armrest and shoot Sal in the head. Sonny is immediately arrested, and the hostages are all escorted to the terminal. The film ends with Sonny watching Sal's body being taken from the car on a stretcher. Subtitles reveal that Sonny was sentenced to 20 years in prison, Angie and her children subsisted on welfare, and Leon had her sex reassignment surgery.
The LIFE article described Wojtowicz as "a dark, thin fellow with the broken-faced good looks of an Al Pacino or Dustin Hoffman". Hoffman would later be offered the role when Pacino briefly quit the production. An 18-year-old actor was originally to be cast in the role of Sal to match the age of the actual Salvatore. The table below summarizes the main cast of Dog Day Afternoon."
source: Dog Day Afternoon - Wikipedia
Life Magazine One Month Later Profiles This Story
1976 Olympics = Bruce Jenner
Think the Olympics were "fixed'? I think they probably are.
image from page 38, Life Magazine September 22, 1972
"Naturale and Wojtowicz first met at Danny's, a gay bar on Seventh Avenue South in lower Manhattan, where Wojtowicz initially claimed that a bank executive from Chase Manhattan had suggested they rob the bank."
source: Salvatore Naturale - Wikipedia
Life Magazine Presents: Off Off Broadway New York City Street Theater
"They'd have been hilarious - as guests on a Saturday night"
source and full magazine issue: Life Magazine September 22, 1972
"They'd have been hilarious - as guests on a Saturday night"
"Saturday Night Live (abbreviated as SNL) is an American late-night live television sketch comedy and variety show created by Lorne Michaels and developed by Dick Ebersol. The show premiered on NBC on October 11, 1975, under the original title NBC's Saturday Night. The show's comedy sketches, which parody contemporary culture and politics, are performed by a large and varying cast of repertory and newer cast members. Each episode is hosted by a celebrity guest (who usually delivers an opening monologue and performs in sketches with the cast) and features performances by a musical guest. An episode normally begins with a cold open sketch that ends with someone breaking character and proclaiming, "Live from New York, it's Saturday Night!", properly beginning the show."
"In 1974, NBC president Herbert Schlosser approached his vice president of late night programming, Dick Ebersol, and asked him to create a show to fill the Saturday night time slot. At the suggestion of Paramount Pictures executive Barry Diller, Schlosser and Ebersol then approached Lorne Michaels. Over the next three weeks, Ebersol and Michaels developed the latter's idea for a variety show featuring high-concept comedy sketches, political satire, and music performances. By 1975 Michaels had assembled a talented cast, including Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, Chevy Chase, Jane Curtin, Garrett Morris, Laraine Newman, Michael O'Donoghue, Gilda Radner, and George Coe. The show was originally called NBC's Saturday Night, because Saturday Night Live was in use by Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell on the rival network ABC. NBC purchased the rights to the name in 1976 and officially adopted the new title on March 26, 1977."
source: Saturday Night Live - Wikipedia
SNL is so Political
Saturday Night Live alumni Al Fanken and host Donald Trump would move on to taking gigs in the other theatrical capital of the land, Washington D.C.
Does this ending really make sense?
You are about to finally get away with the robbery gone awry and you think it a good idea to stop for a snack? I think this absurd. I have trouble believing this is a true story. It reads like cartoonish scripted nonsense to me. Perhaps you lean in a different direction and think otherwise. Me, I think this narrative stinks to high heaven.
What Are The Odds?
The actor who would play Wojtowicz was in the Godfather. In fact the two Dog Day Afternoon leads were both in that famous film.
"Wojtowicz, a former bank teller, had some knowledge of bank operations, but had apparently based his plan on scenes from the movie The Godfather (1972), which he had seen earlier that day."
Was Chase in on it?
"Naturale and Wojtowicz first met at Danny's, a gay bar on Seventh Avenue South in lower Manhattan, where Wojtowicz initially claimed that a bank executive from Chase Manhattan had suggested they rob the bank."
"On August 22, 1972, Naturale and two accomplices attempted to rob a branch of the Chase Manhattan bank at 450 Avenue P in Gravesend, Brooklyn; the robbery was led by John Wojtowicz and Robert Westenberg. The robbers entered the bank armed with a .38 caliber handgun and carrying a box which contained a shotgun and a rifle; all three weapons were purchased by Wojtowicz.
Westenberg was to provide the demand note to the bank manager but, unnerved by a police car on the street, fled the scene before the robbery was announced. Wojtowicz and Naturale then held seven Chase Manhattan bank employees hostage for 14 hours. Wojtowicz, a former bank teller, had some knowledge of bank operations, but had apparently based his plan on scenes from the movie The Godfather (1972), which he had seen earlier that day. Before the robbery, Naturale had informed Wojtowicz and Westenberg that he would rather die than go back to prison. He was seen by the police on the scene as being nervous, highly strung, and volatile. The police feared that increasing the pressure placed on Naturale and Wojtowicz would cause them to become frightened, unbalanced, and impossible to negotiate with on reasonable terms.
During the robbery, Naturale was dressed in a black business suit and tie, and carried an attaché case. His last meal consisted of takeout pizza and soda pop, which he consumed during the holdout at the bank with the hostages. The robbery was meant to fund the sex reassignment operation of Wojtowicz's trans wife, Elizabeth Eden. Naturale's share was to finance his two sisters' removal from foster care and separation from their mother, who drank and neglected all three of her children."
source: Salvatore Naturale - Wikipedia
Gilbert O'Sullivan - Alone Again (original version) source: valliseasons1
A History of Transgender Operations
"In 1965, the Hopkins Hospital became the first academic institution in the United States to perform sex reassignment surgeries. Now also known by names like genital reconstruction surgery and sex realignment surgery, the procedures were perceived as radical and attracted attention from The New York Times and tabloids alike. But they were conducted for experimental, not political, reasons. Regardless, as the first place in the country where doctors and researchers could go to learn about sex reassignment surgery, Hopkins became the model for other institutions. But in 1979, Hopkins stopped performing the surgeries and never resumed.
In the 1960s, the idea to attempt the procedures came primarily from psychologist John Money and surgeon Claude Migeon, who were already treating intersex children, who, often due to chromosome variations, possess genitalia that is neither typically male nor typically female. Money and Migeon were searching for a way to assign a gender to these children, and concluded that it would be easiest if they could do reconstructive surgery on the patients to make them appear female from the outside. At the time, the children usually didn’t undergo genetic testing, and the doctors wanted to see if they could be brought up female. “[Money] raised the legitimate question: ‘Can gender identity be created essentially socially?’ … Nurture trumping nature,” said Chester Schmidt, who performed psychiatric exams on the surgery candidates in the 60s and 70s. This theory ended up backfiring on Money, most famously in the case of David Reimer, who was raised as a girl under the supervision of Money after a botched circumcision and later committed suicide after years of depression.
However, at the time, this research led Money to develop an interest in how gender identities were formed. He thought that performing surgery to match one’s sex to one’s gender identity could produce better results than just providing these patients with therapy. “Money, in understanding that gender was — at least partially — socially constructed, was open to the fact that [transgender] women’s minds had been molded to become female, and if the mind could be manipulated, then so could the rest of the body,” Dana Beyer, Executive Director of Gender Rights Maryland, who came to Hopkins to consider the surgery in the 70s, wrote in an email to The News-Letter. Surgeon Milton Edgerton, who was the head of the University’s plastic surgery unit, also took an interest in sex reassignment surgery after he encountered patients requesting genital surgery. In 2007, he told Baltimore Style: “I was puzzled by the problem and yet touched by the sincerity of the request.” Edgerton’s curiosity and his plastic surgery experience, along with Money’s interest in psychology and Migeon’s knowledge of plastic surgery, allowed the three to form a surgery unit that incorporated other Hopkins surgeons at different times. With the University’s approval, they started performing sex reassignment surgeries and created the Gender Identity Clinic to investigate whether the surgeries were beneficial.
“This program, including the surgery, is investigational,” plastic surgeon John Hoopes, who was the head of the Gender Identity Clinic, told The New York Times in 1966. “The most important result of our efforts will be to determine precisely what constitutes a transsexual and what makes him remain that way.” To determine if a person was an acceptable candidate for surgery, patients underwent a psychiatric evaluation, took gender hormones and lived and dressed as their preferred gender. The surgery and hospital care cost around $1500 at the time, according to The New York Times. Beyer found the screening process to be invasive when she came to Hopkins to consider the surgery. She first heard that Hopkins was performing sex reassignment surgeries when she was 14 and read about them in Time and Newsweek. “That was the time that I finally was able to put a name on who I was and realized that something could be done,” she said. “That was a very important milestone in my consciousness, in understanding who I was.”
When Beyer arrived at Hopkins, the entrance forms she had to fill out were focused on sexuality instead of sexual identity. She says she felt as if they only wanted to consider hyper-feminine candidates for the surgery, so she decided not to stay. She had her surgery decades later in 2003 in Trinidad, Colo. “It was so highly sexualized, which was not at all my experience, certainly not the reason I was going to Hopkins to consider transition, that I just got up and left, I didn’t want anything to do with it,” she said. “No one said this explicitly, but they certainly implied it, that the whole purpose of this was to get a vagina so you could be penetrated by a penis.” Beyer thinks that it was very important that the transgender community had access to this program at the time. However, she thinks that the experimental nature of the program was detrimental to its longevity. “It had negative consequences because when it was done it was clearly experimental,” she said. “Our opponents were able to use the experimental nature of the surgery in the 60s and the 70s against us.”
By the mid-70s, fewer patients were being operated on, and many changes were made to the surgery and psychiatry departments, according to Schmidt, who was also a founder of the Sexual Behaviors Consultation Unit (SBCU) at the time. The new department members were not as supportive of the surgeries. In 1979, SBCU Chair Jon Meyer conducted a study comparing 29 patients who had the surgery and 21 who didn’t, and concluded that those who had the surgery were not more adjusted to society than those who did not have the surgery. Meyer told The New York Timesin 1979: “My personal feeling is that surgery is not proper treatment for a psychiatric disorder, and it’s clear to me that these patients have severe psychological problems that don’t go away following surgery.” After Meyer’s study was published, Paul McHugh, the Psychiatrist-in-Chief at Hopkins Hospital who never supported the University offering the surgeries according to Schmidt, shut the program down. Meyer’s study came after a study conducted by Money, which concluded that all but one out of 24 patients were sure that they had made the right decision, 12 had improved their occupational status and 10 had married for the first time. Beyer believes that officials at Hopkins just wanted an excuse to end the program, so they cited Meyer’s study.
“The people at Hopkins who are naturally very conservative anyway … decided that they were embarrassed by this program and wanted to shut it down,” she said. A 1979 New York Times article also states that not everyone was convinced by Meyer’s study and that other doctors claimed that it was “seriously flawed in its methods and statistics and draws unwarranted conclusions.” However, McHugh says that it shouldn’t be surprising that Hopkins discontinued the surgeries, and that he still supports this decision today. He points to Meyer’s study as well as a 2011 Swedish study that states that the risk of suicide was higher for people who had the surgery versus the general population.
McHugh says that more research has to be conducted before a surgery with such a high risk should be performed, especially because he does not think the surgery is necessary. “It’s remarkable when a biological male or female requests the ablation of their sexual reproductive organs when they are normal,” he said. “These are perfectly normal tissue. This is not pathology.”
Beyer, however, cites a study from 1992 that shows that 98.5 percent of patients who underwent male-to-female surgery and 99 percent of patients who underwent female-to-male surgery had no regrets. “It was clear to me at the time that [McHugh] was conflating sexual orientation and the actual physical act with gender identity,” Beyer said. However, she thinks that shutting down the surgeries at Hopkins actually helped more people gain access to them, because now the surgeries are privatized. “Paul McHugh did the trans community a very big favor … Privatization [helps] far more people than the alternative of keeping it locked down in an academic institution which forced trans women to jump through many hoops.” Twenty major medical institutions offered sex reassignment surgery at the time that Hopkins shut its program down, according to a 1979 AP article. Though the surgeries at Hopkins ended in 1979, the University continued to study sexual and gender behavior. Today, the SBCU provides consultations for members of the transgender community interested in sex reassignment surgery, provides patients with hormones and refers patients to specialists for surgery.
The Hopkins Student Health and Wellness Center is also working toward providing transgender students necessary services as a plan benefit under the University’s insurance plan once the student health insurance plan switches carriers on Aug. 15. “We are hopefully working towards getting hormones and other surgical options covered by the student health insurance,” Demere Woolway, director of LGBTQ Life at Hopkins, said. “We’ve done a number of trainings for the folks over in the Health Center both on the counseling side and on the medical side. So we’ve done some great work with them and I think they are in a good place to be welcoming and supportive of folks.” Schmidt does ongoing work to provide the Hopkins population with transgender services, and says he would like for Hopkins to start performing sex reassignment surgeries again. But Chris Kraft, the current co-director of the SBCU, says that this is not feasible today, as no academic institution provides these surgeries since not enough people request them.
“It is unfortunate that no medical schools in the country have faculty who are trained or able to provide surgeries,” he wrote in an email to The News-Letter. “All the best surgeons work free-standing, away from medical schools. If we had surgeons who could provide the same quality services as the other surgeons in the country, then it would make sense to provide these services. Sadly, few physicians are willing to make gender surgery a priority in their careers because gender patients who go on to surgery are a very small population.” Beyer, however, does not think that the transgender community needs Hopkins to reinstate its program, and that there are currently enough options available. “We’re way, way past that,” she said. “It’s no longer the kind of procedure that needs an academic institution to perform research and development.” Though she finds the way that Hopkins treated its sex reassignment patients in the 60s and 70s questionable, she thinks that the SBCU has been a great resource for the transgender community. “Today those folks are wonderful people,” Beyer said. “They’re very helpful. They’re the go-to place up in Baltimore. They’ve done a lot of good for a lot of people. They’ve contributed politically as well to passage of gender identity legislation in Maryland and elsewhere.” The Maryland Coalition for Trans Equality’s Donna Cartwright said that the transgender community does not have enough resources available to them. She said offering surgery at a nearby academic institution could provide more support to the community. “Generally, the medical community needs to be better educated on trans health care and there should be greater availability [of sex reassignment surgery],” she said. “I think it would be good if there was an institution in the area that did provide health care, including surgery.”
Coming Soon: How The Path of The Total Solar Eclipse Proves The Earth is A Globe
"Mama Always Told Me Not To Look Into The Eyes of The Sun"
SSHH! Don't tell anyone, but I did look up at the eclipse and I can still see. The eclipse was interesting as the Sun looks like a white flat disc. The Moon was not there to be seen. A flat circular shape of sky overlapped the Sun's circle and the Sun began to look like a waning Moon with crescent shape. The next article will get into detail about what I saw and also how the west to east path of the total solar eclipse is evidence that the the world is best described as globe shaped. I will also get into how the eclipse works in both a heliocentric and geocentric model. I think there are problems with the eclipse shadow umbras that will also be examined. This article will also get into how there is no evidence to support heliocentric based theory.