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In graduate school I was warned not to touch anything to do with homosexuality or transgenderism. By that time I had learned that graduate school and high end science was not the open-minded inquiry I had expected. I was, however, convinced then that most transexuals were in part biologically female.

Some years after grad school, I wrote a paper about how it can be that an apparent man could have a woman’s brain, and vice versa.

In a nutshell, somewhere around 10%-15% of the population are probably natural chimeras. What that means is that two separate embryos merge into one, and are born as a single person. It’s the opposite of fraternal twins. If you think about it, you realize that half the time, those two embryos should have opposite sex. So, if one embryo forms the brain, then probably the other one will form the gonads. In animals, transplanting the brain bud of the notochord into an opposite sexed embryo causes sex behavior traits of the brain to manifest. There are other ideas about transgender people, and many of them hold water, but I think mine is the strongest.

How confusing and difficult that must be. A transgender person did not choose to be born this way any more than you chose to have feet or hair. I am certain that homosexuality and transgender identity are not a choice. The only thing that is a choice is reconciling with it or not.

Living in a body that feels wrong, growing up feeling different, facing prejudice, bullying, death threats and mockery isn’t easy. Even if a person is quiet and in the closet, it has profound effects to see all that happening. Then, gender reassignments are often late in life and the best years are felt to be past. In addition, gender reassignment surgery is more than a little wanting.

Those who undergo gender reassignment surgery and hormone treatments do not get a sex change. A male to female surgery today will not produce a full biological woman when it is done. A person will likewise not be a full biological man if changing from female to male. This can be very disappointing in a life filled with broken dreams, and people who get surgery can find that their field of potential partners has not expanded, it has narrowed. Transgender people face murder at the hands of both men and women with and without surgery.  Some adjust well enough, it is true, but the surgery is far from ideal.

Poor outcomes from gender surgery do not have to remain so. I spoke with Dr. Anthony Atala recently at a conference, advocating for more work on stem cell production of gonads and sex organs. This is no minor matter, don’t misunderstand me. Growing ovaries, follapian tubes, a uterus, vagina, and external genitalia, is an extreme challenge. We are not there yet. We are closer to growing a penis, or at least something penis-like, out of stem cells. For the rest of the male equipment, we are also not there yet.

My wish is that growing complete reproductive systems become a goal and that serious efforts be expended to fund the research. It won’t just help gender reassignment. There are women who have had hysterectomies because of cancer, endometriosis, or accidents who would want to be made whole. Similarly, there are men who have such needs as well. There is no reason why we should not try, regardless of the great difficulty involved.

I hope for a time in the not so far distant future when a person who gets gender surgery comes out of it as the sex that fits their mind. In theory, we can probably do it. In theory, it is possible to make those organs and make that person able to marry, have children, and be what they should have been born as in a more perfect world.

Brian Hanley is the founder of Butterfly Sciences, a company developing gene therapies for aging. He has a range of papers in biosciences, economics, policy and terrorism, in addition to a recent text on radiation treatment. He obtained his PhD in microbiology with honors from UC Davis, has a bachelors degree in computer science, is a multiple entrepreneur and guest lectured for years to the MBA program at Santa Clara University.


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A staff member may be temporarily reassigned by a manager to perform the duties of a higher classification or skill level. A staff member assigned to the higher classification must possess the minimum educational/experience qualifications for the classification as described in the Classification and Qualification Standards. Generally, a staff member must be performing the full range of duties of another position classification or skill level to be eligible for a temporary reassignment.


See the applicable collective bargaining unit agreement for information regarding the maximum length of the temporary assignment, the number of day’s notice that a staff member must be provided before the reassignment can be made effective, and any requirement for a minimum percentage salary increase for a temporary assignment into a classification that has a higher salary range. In some cases, an increase of greater than the minimum may be required in order to place the salary at the minimum salary rate (this information does not apply to positions within Unit 8; please see Article 15 “Out-Of- Class Work” for these positions).


If a staff member has been temporarily assigned additional responsibilities, but the overall duties and responsibilities of the position remain the same, then another compensation option may be considered such as a Stipend.


A Temporary Reassignment would ordinarily be appropriate when either:

  1. An employee in a lower classification performs the full range of duties of a higher classification while the employee who occupies the position in the higher classification is on a temporary leave of absence and is expected to return to the position.
  2. An employee in a lower classification performs the duties of the higher classification while recruitment is conducted for the position in the higher classification.

A Temporary Reassignment would not ordinarily be appropriate when:

  1. The additional duties will not necessitate movement to a higher classification.
  2. The assigned duties will be permanent.
  3. A classification review has been initiated or will be initiated.
  4. A salary stipend would be appropriate (Refer to Stipends).

Process for Initiating a Temporary Reassignment

  1. A manager may initiate a temporary reassignment by completing a Reassignment Request/Supervisor Update form, and an updated position description, if applicable, through the required divisional channels, and send these to HRDI, Classification and Compensation.
  2. HRDI, Classification and Compensation will evaluate the request. If the request meets appropriate guidelines, HRDI, Classification and Compensation will obtain the employee’s signature on the Reassignment Request/Supervisor Update form, provide copies to the appropriate management, and place a copy in the personnel file. HRDI, Classification and Compensation will also prepare a Personnel Action Notice (PAN) to be forwarded to Payroll and notify “CMS Pos Mgmt” of any updates to CMS.

Lateral Reassignment

Employees may be reassigned to another position in the same classification and skill level as the employee’s existing classification and skill level. This is referred to as a Lateral Reassignment.