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GAIN Digest, March 27th, 2002 (5 items)

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  • Claire Ashton
    GAIN Digest, March 27th, 2002 (5 items) 1) Tories fielding first transsexual election candidate 2) Transsexual in court fight to be legally recognised as woman
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 1, 2002
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      GAIN Digest, March 27th, 2002 (5 items)

      1) Tories fielding first transsexual election candidate
      2) Transsexual in court fight to be legally recognised as woman
      3) Nightmare in Miami [Christina Madrazo]
      4) Presumed Murder in Venezuela
      5) Call for Submissions
      Trans Forming Families:
      Real Stories About Transgendered Loved Ones, (2nd Ed.)

      >>>--------------------------->>> ITEM <<<---------------------------<<<
      >>> Source: Ananova
      >>> URL: http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_544987.html
      >>> Date: 15th March 2002
      >>> Subject: Tories fielding first transsexual election candidate

      The Conservative Party is putting up its first transsexual election

      Rebecca Batty, 38, had a sex change operation 10 years ago, six years after
      joining the party.

      She is a candidate in May's local elections for Haringey council.

      She told the Daily Mail she accepts some of the electorate will vote
      against her
      because of her background.

      She said: "People who are naturally prejudiced will vote against me for
      reason. I'm sure there will be people who take issue with it, but there
      are people
      who will take issue with anything."

      She runs her own freelance management consultancy.

      A Conservative Party spokesman said: "We have no problem with her being in
      the election and we wish her all the best."

      >>>--------------------------->>> ITEM <<<---------------------------<<<
      >>> Source: Ananova
      >>> URL: http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_548712.html
      >>> Date: 20th March 2002
      >>> Subject: Transsexual in court fight to be legally recognised as woman

      A transsexual who was told she was legally a man despite a sex change
      operation is taking her fight against the Government to the European
      Court of
      Human Rights.

      Christine Goodwin, 64, claims her human rights have been broken because she
      is unable to draw a pension until she is 65, when legally women qualify
      for a
      pension aged 60.

      The former bus driver, who had a full sex change operation in 1990, says
      law does not recognise the right of an individual to legally change sex.

      At the court in Strasbourg she will say she was not given a new National
      Insurance number after the operation which allowed her employers to
      her former sex.

      Without fully changing her identity she was sexually harassed and
      at work, she said.

      The hearing will also hear evidence from another transsexual, who has
      not been
      named, who claims she could not sign up to a nursing course because she
      refused to present her birth certificate.

      The UK is one of four countries in the Council of Europe which does not
      recognise a sex change as legally valid. The others are Ireland, Andorra

      >>>--------------------------->>> ITEM <<<---------------------------<<<
      >>> Source: The Village Voice
      >>> Author: Alisa Solomon
      >>> Date: Week of March 20 - 26, 2002
      >>> URL: http://www.villagevoice.com/issues/0212/solomon.php
      >>> Via: Jessica Xavier
      >>> Subject: Nightmare in Miami [Christina Madrazo]

      Transsexual Christina Madrazo Says She Was Raped by a Guard in an INS
      Detention Center. Now She's Suing the U.S. for $15 Million.

      Christina Madrazo was waiting for the spin cycle to finish in a Miami
      laundromat when she noticed something that might put an end to her
      troubles: a
      law firm's ad in a Spanish-language newspaper that said there were ways
      undocumented immigrants could become legal. Seven years had passed since
      Madrazo first snuck across the Rio Grande, fleeing the violence and
      she had endured as a transsexual in Mexico, and she was tired of hiding.
      Without legal status, she couldn't seek legitimate work, much less
      pursue her
      dream of becoming a fashion designer, so she'd been trying to piece
      together a
      living with a series of under-the-table odd jobs. Often she went to bed

      Worse, the fear of being deported to Mexico throbbed constantly at the
      back of
      her mind. And if she ever forgot it, every time she looked in the mirror
      a scar
      next to her dainty right eyebrow reminded her of the beatings she'd
      taken from
      assailants who called her maricón ("faggot") and insisted, with fists
      and heavy
      shoes, that she "act like a man." At the attorney's office, she was
      heartened to
      learn that sexual orientation was a category recognized in U.S. asylum
      law. She
      applied right away.

      But instead of granting her the freedom "just to live my life and be
      myself," the
      Immigration and Naturalization Service rejected her plea, and on May 4,
      took her straight from a hearing to the notorious Krome detention center
      on the
      swampy outskirts of Miami. Confined there for about three weeks, Madrazo
      alleges she was raped by an INS guard. Twice. On April 1, she will file
      a $15
      million lawsuit against the U.S. government, charging the country from
      she sought refuge with subjecting her to brutal attack. Her asylum
      appeal is still

      The lawsuit comes amid a string of high-profile embarrassments for the
      beleaguered immigration agency. Last week, four top officials in the INS
      replaced in the wake of revelations that a Florida flight school received
      notification that visas had been approved for hijackers Mohamed Atta and
      Marwan al-Shehhi six months to the day after they crashed jets into the
      Trade Center.

      In addition to the relentless charges of ineptitude and inefficiency--from
      government inspection agencies as well as from members of Congress on both
      sides of the aisle--the INS is under a constant barrage of accusations of
      misconduct. Last year, the Justice Department fielded 4200 allegations
      that INS
      personnel had committed, among other infractions, sexual assault, drug
      smuggling, theft, and even murder.

      Many of those complaints involve INS detention centers, where more than
      20,000 people are locked up on any given day. The charges--which range from
      denial of toiletries to threats, beatings, and sexual abuse--are not so
      from the sort of grievances filed by inmates in prisons. But INS
      are not serving criminal sentences, but are held pending the outcome of
      deportation proceedings--are not guaranteed attorneys and, as they have not
      been sentenced, have no idea how long they might remain shut up in
      (According to the INS, the average stay is 40 days, but thousands,
      asylum seekers, languish for months, even years.) Many don't understand
      English. It's easy, then, for INS personnel to abuse detainees--to
      coerce favors
      with promises of release, warnings of transfer to harsher facilities, or
      threats of
      deportation, even when the officials don't really have the power to make

      Not surprisingly, many detainees are too petrified to protest--which
      means the
      accusations on record may be only a small fraction of the actual abuses,
      advocates say. Madrazo was the exception. She confided in several officials
      after the first rape and within days filed a formal complaint. She also
      directly to officials immediately after the second.

      Madrazo's allegations emboldened about a dozen of the roughly 100 women at
      the 500-bed, low-security facility to come forward with myriad tales of
      misconduct, ranging from adolescent-style flirtations to downright assault.
      Women told advocates that guards rubbed up against them or fondled them
      during searches. They said guards and deportation officers propositioned
      often promising gifts of cosmetics or other contraband in exchange for
      favors. The women described barely concealed encounters between INS
      personnel and detainees, from a guard masturbating while a detainee
      danced for
      him to ongoing affairs. Many who weren't involved in such liaisons said
      were threatened with deportation if they snitched. Two women got
      pregnant at
      Krome that year--one after sex with a guard, another after sex with a male
      detainee. All told, some 15 officers were named. Nine were transferred from
      Krome to desk jobs after the allegations surfaced. Krome's reform-minded
      director abruptly resigned.

      The complaints launched a federal investigation by the several agencies
      of the
      Justice Department--the FBI, the Office of Public Integrity, the Office
      of the
      Inspector General, and the U.S. Attorney's Office. So far, it has
      resulted in two
      convictions. In the most recent, in October, former INS guard Clarence
      pleaded guilty to engaging in a sexual act, which he said was
      consensual. When
      he was sentenced to three years' probation in December, it was revealed
      after Parker lost his job at Krome in the wake of the allegation, he was
      hired at a
      Florida facility for juvenile sex offenders. The Miami Herald reported
      that a
      Krome supervisor had given him a rating of "very good" on a job
      reference. The
      judge at his sentencing ordered him to resign his new post immediately,
      "It's like putting an arsonist in the fire department."

      The other man convicted was Lemar Smith, the guard Madrazo says raped her.
      Charged by federal prosecutors with two counts of felony rape and two
      misdemeanor counts of "sex with a ward," and facing up to 42 years in
      Smith pleaded guilty to the lesser charges. He was sentenced on July 24,
      to eight months in prison and a year's probation.

      The Justice Department refuses to comment on the ongoing investigation, but
      advocates for detainees fear that the government has stopped far short of
      uncovering--and rooting out--widespread corruption and abuse. For Cheryl
      Little of the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center, which provides pro bono
      assistance to Krome detainees, "It's déjà vu all over again." In 1990,
      the FBI
      was called in after detainees swore complaints that guards at Krome
      coerced sexual favors from them. Its findings were never disclosed and,
      as far as
      advocates know, no disciplinary actions were taken. Some names of INS
      employees cited by detainees a decade ago come up again and again in the
      recent complaints, yet these officers remain on duty.

      In the meantime, Krome has stopped housing women altogether. As the
      investigation intensified, most of the women who gave testimony were
      for their own safety, and in December 2000, all of Krome's remaining female
      detainees were transferred to a local high-security prison called the
      Guilford Knight Correctional Center, where some were put into solitary
      confinement. Amnesty International summed up the move in the title of a
      statement on the scandal: "Women Asylum Seekers Punished for State's
      to Protect Them." Some witnesses to the alleged misconduct have been

      After she reported the second rape, Madrazo, too, was removed from Krome--
      to a psychiatric hospital where she was detained for two months in a
      ward for
      severely psychotic people. "Were they trying to say I was crazy?" she
      asks, her
      voice trembling. Madrazo prefers not to talk about the suffering of the
      patients, but does allow how disturbing it is "when you are clear in
      your mind to
      be in a place where nobody is clear in theirs." Even at the hospital,
      she'd be put
      in leg irons and handcuffs any time she wanted to go outside for some
      air. At
      least she was able to get her hormones and the psychiatrist there was
      "considerate," she says. On July 24, 2000, in one of the INS's famously
      mystifying moves, she was abruptly released. But to this day she has
      about "that monster" who assaulted her. She expects they'll go away only
      she feels she has done everything possible to defend her rights. "I need
      she says. "That's all. I need to be respected as a woman."

      Madrazo, 36, was born to a middle-class family in Coatzacoalcos, a small
      coastal city in the Mexican state of Veracruz. The youngest of eight
      she remembers a "happy and beautiful" childhood--until she was about seven
      and "they realized I was kind of different." But Madrazo had sensed
      since even
      earlier that "mentally I am a woman, though physically I was born a
      man." She
      was constantly bullied by kids at school, and Madrazo's own brothers
      tried to
      pound some machismo into her. Even her mother berated her: "Why do you
      want to wear those girlish clothes? Why do you have to move like that?"

      Madrazo found some support from a local transgender hairdresser. "After
      school I would run away for a little while to see her," she recalls. "I
      wanted to
      be like her." But Madrazo could also see the men driving by, shouting
      and throwing things at the salon. "I don't know how she had the strength,"
      Madrazo says. By the time she hit adolescence, Madrazo was plotting an
      from her town; she was also taking female hormones, which she could buy
      without a prescription at a pharmacy. At 15, she left Coatzacoalcos for
      Until she arrived in South Beach a decade later, Madrazo did not have a

      Mexico's larger cities were a little easier to get lost in, but Madrazo was
      dismissed from job after job when bosses decided that the slender, 5-7
      with long hair and tapered fingernails was just too unsettling, too
      wrong, too
      queer for what Madrazo calls "my very very macho country." Still, she
      to save up the $500 she needed to get breast implants in Mexico City in
      the mid

      Soon after, Madrazo joined a traveling transvestite show, and
      lip-synched her
      way across Mexico, performing at town fairs and hotels. But even this
      was expected to dress "normally" after the curtain came down. It wasn't
      really a
      career, says Madrazo. "It was a place for us to hide and cry together, a
      place for
      us to have some kind of community." And the harassment never ceased. In
      1991, Madrazo crossed the border from Juárez to El Paso and immediately
      boarded a bus bound for Miami. "I had heard there was an open gay community
      there," she says.

      But Miami's gay community is one of the most conservative in the country.
      Sure, some white, moneyed gay men hit the clubs in South Beach and hit
      on the
      Latino boys who hang out in them. But politically, there is little
      contact, much
      less common cause, between Miami's gay Latinos and Anglos, and even less
      when it comes to the trans community. "Transgender Latinos face a lot of
      rejection from white gay men," says activist Luisa Rondón of the nascent
      Miami Acción Positiva.

      Madrazo found that scraping by in South Beach was as tough as anywhere
      In the early '90s, she was busted twice for soliciting--one charge she
      routine harassment that trans women often face, the other a measure of "how
      desperate I was." Destitute and homesick, she decided in 1995 to return to
      Mexico to make one last attempt to "see if I could get a normal life in my
      country." The answer was a swift and certain no. One friend from the
      troupe had
      died; another was wasting away with AIDS. Getting hired in a straight
      job had
      only gotten harder. She worked in stores for as long as they'd let her.
      In 1998,
      the beating that left the scar on her face propelled her across the
      border again.
      This time, she would try to become legal.

      She had reason to hope. Immigration law had changed since she had first
      north. On June 16, 1994, then attorney general Janet Reno issued an
      order that
      directed immigration officials to recognize gay men and lesbians as a
      group"--a designation required for eligibility in political asylum
      cases. (The
      order responded to a 1989 case of a gay Cuban man, the first to be granted
      asylum by an immigration judge on the basis of sexual-orientation

      Though transgender people were not explicitly named as part of that "social
      group"--nor as a "social group" of their own--in immigration courts
      around the
      country, transgender applicants were beginning to win asylum on the
      basis of
      sexual orientation or gender persecution. For instance, in 1997, a male-to-
      female transsexual from Peru was granted asylum because she was "taunted,
      humiliated, and physically attacked by her family, classmates, teachers,
      strangers on the street," and "arrested and detained [by the Peruvian
      police] for
      being a gay man." And in a groundbreaking decision in 2000--albeit one that
      technically applies only locally--California's Ninth Circuit granted
      asylum to
      Mexican Geovanni Hernández-Montiel, asserting that "gay men with female
      sexual identities in Mexico constitute a protected 'particular social
      group' under
      the asylum statute." (The Ninth Circuit thus overturned a Board of
      Appeals decision that had suggested that Hernández-Montiel merely needed to
      alter his appearance--essentially, butch up--if he didn't want to be

      Indeed, after her first hearing, Madrazo received a letter from the INS
      her that she had conditionally been granted asylum. She merely had to be
      fingerprinted and go through some other checks. At a second hearing, she
      told that the agency was having some doubts: Authorities were concerned
      she had left the U.S. and come back, and they had also dug up the old
      misdemeanor. ("I am ashamed of it," says Madrazo, "but do I deserve to be
      deported or raped because of it?")

      The INS told her she would have to attend a third hearing before a final
      would be made. Madrazo arrived at the hearing on May 4, 2000, carrying
      just a
      small purse. When the judge gave her the heartbreaking news that her
      for asylum was denied, she left the courtroom to find two guards
      expecting her.
      "Come with us," one said. For Madrazo, "It was the beginning of a big scary
      movie. What? Why? Me? What is my crime? They put handcuffs on me and I
      was crying all the way down the elevator and into the car." According to
      Madrazo's attorney, Robert Sheldon, detentions in cases like hers are
      rare, even bizarre. "It was a total shock to us," he says.

      At Krome, authorities didn't know whether to put Madrazo in the men's
      dorm or
      the women's. So they put her in solitary confinement. Isolated and
      she struggled to find "the light in my spirit" to keep from crumbling in
      her dank
      little cell. Ten days into her detention, Lemar Smith was put on duty near
      Madrazo's cell. At 138 pounds, Madrazo felt intimated by the guard, who
      weighs, she figures, 300 pounds.

      On Saturday night, May 13, she has detailed in the lawsuit claim, Smith
      into her cell and closed the door: "He ordered me to take off my blouse
      and my
      brassiere. I asked, 'Why?' He responded firmly and in a commanding way,
      telling me to shut up and be obedient. Lost in terror, I decided to do
      what he
      said. He immediately ordered me to come closer and he forced me down on a
      chair that was stuck to a table next to the wall. He pulled down his
      zipper and
      took out his penis, already erect. He took me by my back, he tightly
      held my
      neck and pulled my hair and he ordered me to perform oral sex. I
      couldn't. He
      told me not to vomit, took me by the neck, and shoved me against the wall,
      threatening me, saying that I knew what would happen if I said anything.
      Immediately afterwards, he turned me over, pulled down my pants, and
      painfully sodomized me for about 15 minutes until he heard keys and put his
      penis in his pants." (Smith was not available for comment and his
      attorney did
      not answer calls. Though Smith never testified during hearings on the
      allegations, his attorney maintained that the sexual relations were

      "My fear was incredible," Madrazo recalls, "I didn't know if anybody would
      help me or protect me--nobody had given me simple human treatment since
      they took me there. But I decided I had to fight. I had been punished my
      life since I was little and that made me emotionally strong."

      After a few days, Madrazo confided about the rape to a Krome
      psychiatrist and
      to a representative from the Mexican consulate, who made a visit to Krome.
      And with their support, she made an official complaint to a Krome
      captain on
      May 20. But the next night, Smith brought her dinner tray to her cell.
      Later, he
      returned. Says Madrazo, "He did it again."

      "I wanted to scream, but I couldn't," Madrazo recalls. "He told me if I say
      anything, I'm gonna pay. I felt so angry, so impotent. He called me a
      bitch and
      said I deserved it, like he was glad."

      This time, Madrazo went to the doctor first thing in the morning, and
      told what
      had happened. A Krome official asked her, "How are you going to prove it?"
      And she gave a ready answer: "I have his sperm." She had kept her soiled
      underwear as evidence.

      Sheldon demanded Madrazo's immediate release, but she was taken to the
      psychiatric hospital. Weeks later, an immigration judge granted her
      a bond of $15,000, a sum far beyond Madrazo's means. She remained in the
      institution while the investigation lumbered on. The FBI had to order
      Smith to
      comply with a blood test, but the DNA matched. "That," says attorney
      "is the only reason they haven't deported Christina."

      On August 31, 2000, a month after Madrazo's July release, investigators
      up with the indictment. Last May, Sheldon was shocked again when
      let Smith cop a plea. Sheldon suspects that the government didn't want the
      embarrassment of having to explain why they'd allow a guard to keep watch
      over a woman he'd raped a week before--better to agree that the sex was
      consensual. U.S. Attorney Scott Ray, who prosecuted the case, discounts the
      theory. "I just didn't have proof beyond a reasonable doubt," he says.

      What raised the doubt? Some of Madrazo's semen was found on a towel in the
      bathroom of her cell. While involuntary ejaculations are certainly
      possible even
      during a rape, Ray says that Madrazo had no answer for why her sperm would
      be there, and that raised questions about her credibility. Sheldon
      scoffs at this
      reasoning. Madrazo wishes she could laugh at it: "What does it have to
      do with

      Ray agrees that "there's no such thing as consensual sex" between a
      and a guard. "That's why it's a crime." And he also figures that Madrazo
      has a
      good chance of winning a settlement under the tort claims act for the
      she suffered--the burden of proof is far lower in such civil claims than
      "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard required in criminal cases. Madrazo
      Sheldon filed such a claim in May 2000, demanding $1 million, but the
      government's only reply was to ask, in a letter of September 14, 2001, for
      further explanation of the damages they were seeking--and whether she would
      settle for less. When such a claim is not dealt with, aggrieved parties
      may sue,
      as long as they file within two years of the alleged crime. So that is what
      Madrazo and Sheldon are ready to do.

      Sheldon knows that they are about to go up against "the biggest and most
      powerful law firm in the world." But both are determined. Says Madrazo, "I
      can't forget about it. I can't move on with my life unless I know we
      tried to get
      justice." Now working part-time doing alterations for a clothing shop,
      knows, too, that the fight will not only be hard. It will be ugly.
      have the worst reputation," she says. "They will try to find everything
      bad about
      me and use it against me. They will try to destroy me."

      Sheldon acknowledges the point, but sees the case a little differently.
      True, none
      of this would have happened to Madrazo if she weren't transsexual. But, he
      says, "I see it more as an immigration issue than as transsexual issue.
      comes to the U.S. and asks for asylum, and we put that person in detention?
      That innocent person seeking asylum? Where she gets raped? Immigrants just
      can't be treated that way."

      >>>--------------------------->>> ITEM <<<---------------------------<<<
      >>> Via: Kim Perez
      >>> Date: March 27, 2002
      >>> Subject: Presumed Murder in Venezuela

      The decomposed corpse of a person was found in the hills of Sector Manongo,
      in Valencia, Carabobo, Republic of Venezuela.

      Firemen, Civil Protection and police officers inform this person was
      probably a
      transgendered person, about 28 years old. The death was some days ago
      and it
      will be needing an autopsy.

      Maury Oviedo, President of "Respeto a la Personalidad", has published a
      communiqué about this fact:

      "Maury Oviedo, President of "Respeto a la Personalidad", informs to the
      Community the tragic disappearance of our sister ANGIE MILANO, whose
      legal name was Andy Rafael Milano, who has been found murdered in Sector
      Manongo, Valencia, Carabobo State.

      "Respeto a la Personalidad" notifies that it will not have a rest, until
      systematic crimes against our sisters are eradicate and we regret these
      which maintain us in permanent anxiety, being threatened and hounded.

      We have no doubt that the Carabobo State's Police, which daily pursues
      us, has
      their hands bloodstained from this fact and we say to the world that,
      even not
      having the means to state our voices, in Heaven there is a God which all
      and all knows and He will judge implacably the murder of our dear Angie, a
      human rights defensor and a upright and honest person.

      Angie sister, your death has been a hard blow for our organization,
      because you
      were one of its pillars and we swear today, in memory of all that you
      gave us,
      when you encouraged us in the good and bad moments, that there will be no
      tears that return you to us, but spiritually you will live always in our

      Angie sister! Our grief do not will be in vain... Rest in peace."

      >>>--------------------------->>> ITEM <<<---------------------------<<<
      >>> Source: Mary Boenke
      >>> Via: Jessica Xavier
      >>> Date: March 24, 2002
      >>> Subject: Call for Submissions
      Trans Forming Families:
      Real Stories About Transgendered Loved Ones, (2nd Ed.)

      My little orange paperback, Trans Forming Families..., with stories by
      parents, families and others has almost sold out. I'm told it has been a
      useful book for many families and that it should be republished. I am,
      therefore, planning to do a second edition, possibly keeping some of the
      original stories, adding new material and updating the back matter. Sorry
      if you get more than one copy of this.

      I am looking for true stories (plus some commentary by helpers),
      approximately 600 - 1600 words, suitable for family consumption,
      submitted by
      May 15 IN THE BODY OF AN EMAIL in the following categories:

      --- By parents of young gender variant children, describing the early
      variant words or behaviors, ongoing struggles and joys, ways of handling
      reactions by immediate and extended family, playmates, school, and/or
      Very little has been published about these exceptional children and we want
      our stories to be helpful to other such families.

      --- By parents of adult transgendered folks - Intersex, crossdressers, MTF,
      FTM, bigendered and especially other trans who live more in the middle. We
      will possibly also include a couple stories by trans persons themselves. In
      addition to the ideas above, consider including any transition process,
      of discrimination (employment, medical, family and friends or other)
      experienced and how these were handled, any humorous or especially happy
      incidents. What helped, didn't help, and what have you learned? (No entry
      need cover all of the above.)

      --- By spouses and partners of ALL kinds of trans, and how the trans
      condition has affected your relationship, positively and/or negatively.
      While this is a family oriented book, some hints about how your sex life is
      affected would be helpful to many.

      --- By siblings, children of trans, grandparents, friends and others - with
      any of the above considerations.

      --- A "new" category (for my book) - by trans persons (or their extended
      family members) raising children, how you came out to them, how they have
      responded, how much burden this has or has not been for them, did they need
      therapy, what helped them and you through this experience.

      --- By psychotherapists and other helping professionals about your
      experiences working with any one of the above groups of people, i.e.
      emotional process, main issues, is therapy helpful or necessary? (Your
      piece, if selected, will be grouped with one of the above categories.)

      --- Also need brief humorous anecdotes, relevant witty sayings or short
      poems as fillers at end of chapters. (Think Readers Digest... ;-)
      Finally - whether or not you are submitting material - which of the
      stories in the present volume should be carried over into the 2nd edition?
      Do you have a favorite or two; have any been especially helpful to you or
      your family? Any other comments are also welcome.

      Let's hope some submissions will be by fathers and other men in the
      family. (Why let the women do all the writing?)

      Publication target date - January 2003. Again self-publishing though
      this time we expect to get it into some national booksellers. While we
      cannot pay you, if your submission is accepted, you will get a free copy
      - of

      Please email me at MaryBoenke@... (NO ATTACHMENTS.)

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