Talk:Barbra Amesbury

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Page changes[edit]

Bearcat and others, please stop changing my page. I have corrected some entries and added new sections. They are all true and verifiable. I don't need you to edit my verbage. Barbra Amesbury —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:49, 13 October 2007 (UTC)

It's not your page. It's Wikipedia's page, subject to Wikipedia's rules around writing style, text formatting, article structure, neutral point of view and sources. Wikipedia, in fact, strongly discourages people from editing articles about themselves, except to correct factual inaccuracies. Please keep this in mind. Bearcat 03:35, 13 October 2007 (UTC)

To Bearcat, If I had not edited my site it would not have the content that it does and my name would still be misspelled. There is also a factual error that I assume came from you and if I can figure out how to contact wikipedia I will have it removed. I try to do it myself but you keep replacing it. Amesbury

  • Can you make new comments at the bottom of the page/section so that the page/section runs sequentially/chronologically (unless responding to a specific comment, in which case indent your reply with a : as the first character on the line). Thanks. Also if there is a factual error please tell us what it is so it can be reviewed/edited etc. Please also read WP:COI so that you are aware of the risks involved in trying to 'run' an article about yourself. ---- WebHamster 14:02, 13 October 2007 (UTC)
To WebHamster.. I don't know what 'run' means. All the entries I made were factual and verifiable. Bearcat had made mistakes on the site that I corrected. Also he made an assumption on the site that was not true or verifiable. I removed it and he keeps replacing it. At the moment, it is still removed..I wait. I need to know who to contact to have it removed if Bearcat replaces the statement. B Amesbury
I've refactored your comments to "run" in sequence. Even if you didn't know what "runs" meant, I'm pretty sure you know what "at the bottom of the page/section" means. Please do not be deliberately obtuse. As regards your deletion of material then please feel free to delete material, but understand that if you do it with no verifiable explanation then there's a good chance it will be reverted. Also you could do your credibility a lot of good by registering a username rather than having a bare IP. It is very common for anonymous IPs to delete material arbitrarily out of sheer vandalism. The other thing to be aware of is that you may not be taken seriously as to who you really are. We only have your word for it. Anyone could say they were you and similarly delete arbitrarily. As regards the article you being who you say you are is immaterial. You actually have less 'right' to edit the text due to the conflict of interest than any other editor. In fact the COI article recommends specifically that you don't edit an article about you (as opposed to "your article"). I'd recommend that if you wish to have a meaningful effect on this article then you should read up on some of the core policies of Wikipedia. The rest of the editors have to abide by them, so should you. The fact that your name is on the article is absolutely inconsequential from an editing standpoint so please don't make demands. If you wish to have the article removed then there is a procedure you can follow which involves making a request to the Wikipedia Foundation. You will need to have a good reason to achieve it though and given that this article doesn't breach WP:BLP I'd hazard a guess that you would have a tough time convincing them. ---- WebHamster 16:44, 13 October 2007 (UTC)
I haven't, for the record, replaced a single statement that you removed — all I did was stylistic touchups. If there's a factual error in the article, kindly tell us what it is so that we can resolve it. Bearcat 00:37, 14 October 2007 (UTC)

To Bearcat, You wrote that 'followinging her surgery, amesbury left the music biz to become a patron and philanthropist'. This statement is not true. Surgery was more than a decade before and I never left the music biz. Also patron etc.. came much later. That is why I removed that sections. If it's all about the truth then let's stick to the facts. B Amesbury —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:59, 14 October 2007 (UTC)

Fair enough. Please understand that nobody's trying to misrepresent you here — my intention was always to be as accurate as possible, but most of the sources that are available out there about you (and there aren't many) are either vague or inaccurate. (For instance, most of them do call you Barbara rather than Barbra. We didn't spell your name wrong on purpose, trust me!) Generally, all we can do on Wikipedia under our verifiability requirement is to repeat what other sources (newspaper articles, etc.) have already said about a person — so if they get something wrong, we're invariably going to get it wrong too. We may have gotten off on the wrong foot here, but please don't think anybody was purposely trying to lie about you. We're just doing the best we can with imperfect sources.
For what it's worth, though, under our WP:AUTO and WP:COI policies, generally the best thing for you to do if something in the article is inaccurate would be to inform us here on the talk page and allow somebody else to make the correction for you, rather than directly editing the article yourself. We have had problems in the past with other people editing their own articles inappropriately (several members of the United States Congress, etc.), so some editors take a very overcautious, zero-tolerance approach to that kind of thing on principle. I'd be more than happy to work with you to make sure that this article is accurate. Bearcat 18:48, 14 October 2007 (UTC)

Requests for comment[edit]

To Bearcat, Peace. Let me repeat, the only part that is not correct is where you say that following surgery I left the music biz and became a philanthropist. This is just not so. As I said, the philanthropy came many years later. And I did not stop writing music and I did not give up the biz. I write music for film and tv,as well, I produced and wrote all the songs for a new cd that will be out next year that features vocals by Billy Newton Davis. In the future,

I will keep you up to date so you can make the entries as you see fit.  B Amesbury  —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:14, 15 October 2007 (UTC) 

What is the appropriate way for Wikipedia to write about a transgender person who was already notable before transitioning?

This article was recently edited by an anonymous editor (possibly, but not verifiably, Amesbury herself) who removed all references to transgender and rewrote it to leave the impression that she was always known as Barbara. I fully understand why a transperson might want that, but there's a problem: when she was still publicly known as Bill, she had a Top 40 hit called "Virginia (Touch Me Like You Do)", which is still frequently played on Canadian oldies radio stations (and which is the primary reason she even warrants an article in the first place.)

Anyone who's ever heard the song on the radio heard a male singing voice and a DJ saying the artist's name was Bill. Anyone who ever bought the single, or has it on a K-Tel "hits of the 1970s" compilation, sees the song being credited to an artist named Bill. Anyone who wants to Google the song for more information on it has to search for Bill. Anyone searching for it in the CHUM Chart archives has to search for Bill.

Bottom line, we have to acknowledge that "Virginia" was credited to a performer named Bill. We cannot imply that she was known as Barbara at the time, because it's far too easily verifiable that she wasn't.

So there are really only three possible approaches:

  1. The article acknowledges Barbara's transgender status, whether it's what Barbara wants or not.
  2. The article is rewritten to be strictly about "Bill", and makes no mention of her gender transition or her current name.
  3. The article is deleted, because if we eradicate "Bill" from the article, then "Virginia" has to go with it — and without "Virginia", unfortunately, she doesn't merit an article.

Any comments? Bearcat 22:01, 6 January 2006 (UTC)


Assuming there's some reliable source regarding her being transgender, I think the current version [1] handles it fine. It isn't outing her if there's already public information about her being transgender. And since she's notable for things before she transitioned, and the songs are still attributed to her birth name, it'd be misleading/confusing to not mention that and the fact that she transitioned. --Mairi 23:39, 6 January 2006 (UTC)

I would say that option 1 is the only conceivable policy for a reputable encyclopaedia. Subjects do not get to censor their own biographies in other respects. Barbara Amesbury was formerly Bill, and while we can say that transgender people were born into what they feel was the wrong physical gender, the fact remains that that was how they used to live. You can change your future but not your past. Incidentally there are other famous transgender people who changed gender after becoming notable: travel writer Jan Morris and bandleader Angela Morley are two British examples. Am about to see if those links are blue or red ... just hold on now ... David | Talk 23:53, 6 January 2006 (UTC) (Oh look! Both are blue, so you can compare and contrast. David | Talk 23:54, 6 January 2006 (UTC))
The Jan Morris article has its own problems, I think. "She served in World War II in British Intelligence" but she was a he at the time! I'm tempted to rewrite it, but as this is a sensitive issue I think I'll leave be for now. --kingboyk 21:17, 13 January 2006 (UTC)
It's normally proper to refer to a transgendered person by the pronouns of their chosen gender identity, even when discussing periods that precede their transition. The issue in this case has more to do with the presence or absence of Amesbury's old name, and whether the article identifies her as transgendered at all; nobody has suggested at any point that the article should actually refer to Amesbury as "he" or "him". I'd revert or rebuke them if they did. Bearcat 23:56, 13 January 2006 (UTC)

RfC Response: I agree that the current article [2] handles it just fine. It bolds the male name, so someone can easily find it if that's what they're looking for, and the redirect from Bill Amesbury is very efficient in getting someone here. Also, the reference to "Bill" cannot be allowed to be deleted; as is argued above, if you take away this part of the person's past, you eliminate their notability. EWS23 | (Leave me a message!) 01:07, 7 January 2006 (UTC)

RfC response: If the article's subject wants an official change then she can write to Wikipedia admin and make it their call. Until and unless that happens, my inclination is to treat this as unjustified deletion of verifiable encyclopedic material, possibly POV pushing by some other transgendered person. It's a leap of faith to assume the identity of an unregistered editor. Durova 01:58, 7 January 2006 (UTC)

The IP number in question resolves to Toronto...which is admittedly still not definitive, but it significantly increases the likelihood that my initial assumption was correct. Bearcat 01:44, 13 January 2006 (UTC)

RfC response: Check out the very good article on Wendy Carlos. An elegant Wendy Carlos (born Walter Carlos), and then it carries on from there without much of a fuss. MattShepherd 13:34, 9 January 2006 (UTC)

Another example is Donald McCloskey, the economist, who became Dierdre. In some articles she is referrred to as Dierde (nee Donald) which I think is pretty witty.

I'm sure I'm alone on this, but I feel the simple approach, especially given the current lack of *cited* sources, is to simply treat this as a woman named "Barbara Amesbury (formerly Bill Amesbury); with no statement "she was a he" whatsoever (though the name would give something away). Unless there are published accounts of her changes, in reputable sources, then we shouldn't delve into that at all. I think for sensitive matters like this the source citation must come with the content, and not be asked for after (I'm getting tired of asking for sources, why don't they appear in the first draft of the article, why must they be asked for?). Also, I really see no great relevance. As an analogy, suppose somebody changes their last name to re-acknowledge their ethnic background. If there's nothing published about the reasoning of the name change, we merely state the name change. I suspect there are hundreds or thousands of such cases, with no delving into the meaning of the name change. If the name change was a notable event, in enough of itself (Cat Stevens=> Yusuf Islam), then it's well worth mentioning. However, sex changes are no longer automatically big news in the world anymore. If no notable source cares, we shouldn't care. If notable sources care, then we should care. The key here is it important to the public (probably not), not is it important to the individual and those close to them (probably so). --Rob 08:13, 13 January 2006 (UTC)

The appropriate way for Wikipedia to write about anyone is accurately. the current article is not accurate, the spelling and references about this person are not accurate. Bearcat, self-proclaimed writer is inaccurate in much of his information. The editing to the previous version can in whole be attributed to me, not Ms. Amesbury. What I wrote (although not accurate) was about as accurate as what Bearcat purports to be fact. Because Wikipedia relies solely on the kindness of contributors, this leaves it open to misinformation by self-aggrandizing pompous purveyors of 'truth'. I know of at least 3 factual errors in the online listing of Ms. Amesbury.

The discussion of who and when to 'out' a transperson is also fairly limited by the limitations of the contributors. Binary interpretations of gender are based in an old patriarchal system of thinking. Additionally, basing gender solely on the physical is a limited system of thinking.

Transphobia is everywhere. It is the homophobia of the 1950's. The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk • contribs) .

If the article contains inaccuracies, kindly be specific about what they are. As for interpretations of gender, we somehow have to acknowledge the distinction that the songs are credited to a performer named Bill Amesbury. So how, then, would you propose that we address that fact without simultaneously "outing" her? And can the unsupported assumptions about my "intellectual limitations". Bearcat 23:57, 23 January 2006 (UTC)

RfC Response: Although regrettable that Ms. Amersbury objects to the contents of the article cencorship is not within Wikipedia policy. It is custom to mention the most important parts of a persons life in their biography - such as marriage, children, career - and in this case philanthropy and sex change. The article deals with the subject in a neutral and professional manner without focusing unnecesarily on the disputed matter and I see no reason to ... um... reduce or change anything. WanderingWiki 21:30, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

Weird blanking[edit]

Does anyone know who removed the reference to the fact that Amesbury is Joan Chalmers' partner and why? Carolynparrishfan 21:28, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

What particularly worries me is that it seems to be have been an admin decision, as any record of the sentence ever being put in has been removed from the history. Carolynparrishfan 21:31, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
And I am definitely not hallucinating because my user contributions show that I personally edited that sentence on 2 September, 2005 at 20:50 from an earlier version that called Amesbury Chalmers' "friend and colleague". Carolynparrishfan 21:35, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
I found your edit in the history, and it can be seen here. It was taken out in this edit by User:Bearcat on January 6th. You'll have to send him a message to find out why it was changed. EWS23 | (Leave me a message!) 23:45, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
I removed the sentence because the anon blanker was disputing it, so I reviewed the matter and noted that I couldn't find any verifiable evidence in a Google search as to whether they were still partners, or had broken up, or what. So I felt it better to remove it for the time being, and trust that if somebody was able to confirm whether they were still a couple, they'd eventually come along and reinsert it. (Admins don't have the power, incidentally, to entirely strike material from the edit history...if you can't find the original edit, you're just not looking in the right place.) Bearcat 06:59, 5 February 2006 (UTC)