Sunday, February 04, 2007
Justina Williams-The 1979 JET Magazine Article
From the November 1, 1979 Jet Magazine article written by D. Michael Cheers. Deep thanks to Roberta Black for scanning it. Note how OUR media used the correct pronouns several decades before the 2001 AP Style Book mandated it, and treated Justina with respect.
Justina Williams always knew that she was different.
Ms. Williams, 30, was born Johnny Williams, a man with a gender disorder. She said that although she had a man's genitalia, psychologically she was a woman. Further, she had glandular bust tissue, and chromosomally and hormonally she was female.
"From my early childhood years I was more feminine than masculine. I just naturally assumd that I was a girl," she told JET. "I used to fight with my sister to see who would comb the doll's hair. I never played with games or toys associated with boys."
While on sick leave two years ago from her job as an assembly line worker for General Motors' Cadillac Motor Car Division in Detroit, she went to New York and was admitted to Boulevard Hospital for a sex reassignment operation.
"The doctors made an incision down my penis, removed my testicles and formed a vaginal cavity. Part of the penis was kept to form a clitoris," she said.
Two months later she legally changed her name to Justina. Fifteen months later, after 10 years of seniority at General Motors she was terminated.
Ms. Williams filed a lawsuit last month in Wayne County Circuit Court where she claimed her termination was illegal, and that she suffered from unlawful employment practices and other forms of discrimination because of her sex. GM says they plan to answer the suit within a month.
Among the charges listed in the complaint, Ms. Williams alleges that she was "repeatedly harrassed, tormented and humiliated with verbal abuse with the intention of making her workplace conditions so unbearable that she would be forced to terminate her employment for her physical and mental well-being."
"I tried to be a man." said Ms. Williams, who now supports herself on general assistance and food stamps. "From 1970 to 1974 I even grew a mustache, tried to generate an interest in girls, but I could not become interested in them. We could only be friends. I never dated a girl in my life. I never had sex with a woman, nor have I ever engaged in any homosexual activity.
"When I was 13 I read a magazine article about an entertainer who had a sex reassignment operation. I knew then that there was hope for me. My prayers were answered." she continued. "In 1969 I started taking hormone shots to soften my skin and develop bust tissue. I even dressed like a woman, but only when I wasn't at work.
"Now I am totally a woman and content with my body. I have sex, have orgasms and really enjoy macho men," she added. Ms. Williams said that she cannot have children because she does not have any ovaries or a uterus.
As for her future, "What I really want to do is study cosmetology and move to another location so that I can get on with my life. I want to form an organization to help other women who have gender dysphoria and have suffered like I have. But for right now I want to concentrate on being female. I haven't had time to do that yet," she said.
Ms. Williams lawsuit against GM was never settled, but she did fufill her dreams of becoming a cosmetologist. She also went to school and became a legal assistant. The organization she formed, the National Gender Dysphoria Association helped many people in the Detroit area transition and lead happier, healthier lives. NGDS provides gender counseling, electrolysis, legal advice and SRS guidance.
They can be reached at:
National Gender Dysphoria Organization
PO Box 02732
Detroit, MI 48202