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The first American to go public about a gender reassignment was Christine Jorgensen, a glamorous twenty-six-year-old who, in 1952, had been obliged to travel to Copenhagen for the procedure. (When Jorgensen returned home to New York, the headline in the Daily News said, “EX-G.I. BECOMES BLONDE BEAUTY.”) In the sixties, American medical centers, beginning with Johns Hopkins, started to perform gender reassignments. From the outset, clinicians sought acceptance for the surgery by downplaying sexuality and emphasizing the “born in the wrong body” narrative. The patients most likely to be accepted for surgery were men who, like Jorgensen, seemed as if they could successfully live as straight women and not upset traditional roles all that much once they made it to the other side.
Elsewhere, the author has suggested that un- and underemployment exist in all families who do not satisfy their basic needs (Hopkins, 1980). Hence, even individuals who appear, according to conventional definitions, to be openly unemployed (e.g. educated workers waiting for jobs, frictional employment, etc.), but belong to families whose basic needs have been satisfied are excluded from the ranks of the un- and underemployed with this definition. A major problem, of course, is what to define as basic needs, what indicators to use and at what level they should be set. This I have discussed also elsewhere (Hopkins, 1983). Given that basic needs can be defined - I have defined them in terms of adequate nutrition, housing, education and health - the method has an advantage in terms of its analytical tractability. This is because a household income that would enable purchase of the physical goods in the basic needs basket can be calculated. Given reliable consumption expenditure information, an estimate of un- and underemployment can be constructed. Policies can then be examined as to how they could satisfy basic needs. Such an approach means concentration on the genuinely underprivileged rather than, perhaps, generating employment in areas where, according to my definition, it is not needed. This brings us into the controversy of whether increasing productive employment opportunities is equivalent to satisfying basic needs. If, under conventional definitions, those who are un- or underemployed have not satisfied their basic needs then the set of policies would be equivalent. If, however, those who are not considered un- or underemployed have also not satisfied their basic needs and if those who are un- or underemployed have satisfied their basic needs , then the two sets of policies are not equivalent. Often poverty and unemployment go hand in hand (for India see Pravin Visaria, 1981).