An Injury to One Is an Injury to All

Republished with Ron Jacobs permission

["An injury to one is an injury to all" was a slogan of the anarchist labor union the IWW, commonly referred to as the Wobblies.]

Dissident Voice – USA
http://dissidentvoice.org/2009/09/an-injury-to-one-is-an-injury-to-all/

An Interview With Sherry Wolf

by Ron Jacobs / September 29th, 2009

On October 11th, 2009, a march billed as the National March for Equality will take place in Washington, DC. The organizers of the march are organizing under a single demand: “Equal protection in all matters governed by civil law in all 50 states.” Their website states their philosophy in an equally succinct manner: “As members of every race, class, faith, and community, we see the struggle for LGBT equality as part of a larger movement for peace and social justice.” One of the speakers at the march will be author and organizer Sherry
Wolf. As I wrote in a review of her recently released book Sexuality and Socialism: “No other work that comes to my mind explains the history of sexuality and sexual repression in the United States as comprehensively and compellingly.” Wolf is currently touring the United States talking about her book and organizing for the October 11th march. I was able to get in touch with her while she was in Boston and we had the following email exchange.

Ron Jacobs: Hi Sherry. To begin, can you tell the readers about the March for Equality? What is the impetus behind it? Who put out the original call?

Sherry Wolf: David Mixner, who worked as an Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LBGT) liaison in the Clinton administration and Cleve Jones, Harvey Milk’s collaborator and who launched the Names Project AIDS Quilt, put out the call for this march back in June. It was met with horror and opposition from many of the more established, corporate financed national LGBT groups. However, with momentum building at the grassroots, organizations such as Human Rights Campaign and NGLTF thankfully came on board, though they do not run the organizing efforts nor are they shaping the program. This march will not be brought to you by Miller Beer or Citibank!

The (mostly) younger activists at the forefront of mobilizing this march online and on campuses and in communities are sick of the gradualist approach that has dominated our movement for years. The single demand for full equality for all LGBT people in all matters governed by civil law really strikes a chord with activists such as myself and this new generation who find the incrementalist—state-by-state, issue-by-issue—strategy of the LGBT establishment to be a failed one.

RJ: I know that in your book Sexuality and Socialism you talk about the corporatization of the Gay Pride movement and its concurrent moving away from an identification with other disenfranchised and oppressed groups in the US. What would you say is the political identity this march hopes to put forth to the people of the United States?

SW: In a sense, the initiative for this march only underscores the ramifications of my arguments in Sexuality and Socialism. No more crumbs. Enough going hat in hand to Congress and waiting for some tweak in the laws. We want it all!

I got involved in helping to organize this march because I simply find it unendurable that gay politicians like Barney Frank are among the first to argue that demanding equality for LGBT people is the third rail of American politics. This march is about seeking, essentially, to be added to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and have all of our rights respected once and for all.

We will have the NAACP’s Julian Bond, UNITE Here’s John Wilhelm, young, multiracial new activists like Aiyi’nah Ford, transgender militants and myself, an unabashed socialist, speaking at this march. Though Lady Gaga and Cyndi Lauper will be playing and speaking, this is not a Hollywood choreographed affair—it has a shoestring budget and will give expression to this new combative mood and anti-corporate sentiment

RJ: To me, the transformation of much of the Left of the 1960s and ’70s from universal movements into a collection of smaller groups fighting their own particular oppression and for their own piece of the American pie is a big part of why the US Left is where it’s at now — where Democrats are considered socialists. Is this phenomenon (which I consider to ultimately be the result of identity politics gone wild) present in the movement for equality? How should leftists counteract this when it appears?

SW: [The first part of your question is answered above, I believe]

I travel a great deal and speak to small and large audiences from Bellingham, WA to Gainesville, FL and I think that those old school ideas are on the wane—in particular among working-class people and those not attending elite universities. The language of Identity politics persists, in a sense, because a new culture and outlook are still embryonic. But when striking Teamsters (Latino and white, all straight) attended an event in Chicago two weeks ago where Cleve Jones spoke to 250+ people about going to the march, everyone was
electrified. The workers gave solidarity to our struggle and the LGBT activists are lending solidarity to their pickets. The May Day protests in many cities this year had LGBT activists carrying rainbow flags—the contingent in Los Angeles where I was that day was very well received by immigrant families.

It’s becoming clearer to more people that the old labor slogan is true: An Injury to One is an Injury to All!

RJ: As you know, I live in North Carolina. Outside of Asheville and a few of the larger cities, there exists a quite obvious homophobia. One sees it on church message boards and bumperstickers and one hears it on the radio and so-called Christian television. This intolerance is quite obvious and, as Beth Sherouse wrote quite articulately in an article that appeared in Counterpunch on August 31, 2009, the fact of this obvious hatred and fear is one reason why LBGT equality must be recognized on a national scale. In her article, she reminds the readers of the federal role in helping end desegregation. Yet, there is another side to that story. The federal government also allowed and encouraged not only segregation, but also fought attempts to roll it back for a long time. I guess my question is — while it is important that federal legislation forbidding discrimination against persons
based on their sexuality be passed, how does the equality movement see any such legislation being enforced?

SW: Beth is right and after reading her piece I made it a priority to add more Southern stops on my current speaking tour. If you look at polls one year after the Virginia v. Loving case ended laws preventing Blacks and whites from marrying in 1967, only 20 percent of whites in the U.S. supported biracial marriages. We obviously can’t wait for bigots to come around before passing equal protections for LGBT people. However, it was the ongoing organizing, teach-ins, marches, rallies and even just the posture of Blacks in this country that altered the political climate.

Today, around 80 percent of all Americans—and more than 95 percent of young people—approve of interracial marriages, according to Gallup. A climate of intolerance to anti-gay and anti-trans bigotry can be advanced by students and workers—regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. All progressives must bring these issues into organizing efforts beyond the LGBT movement—inject them into union contracts, workplace organizing, budget fightbacks, campus mobilizations and immigrant defense campaigns. After all, most LGBT people ARE workers, immigrants, Black, Brown and all these other identities as well. In other words, lesbians have to pay the rent too.

RJ: In your book you insist on the need for the LBGT rights movement to link up with other oppressed groups in the US and fight for all of these groups’ freedom. I was wondering if in your organizing work for the October 11-12 March on Washington, do you see any attempts by other organizers to expand the call to all oppressed groups? Or is there a tendency to limit the organizing to LBGT people? If so, can you explain why you think this is so?

SW: We made a conscious decision not to create a laundry list of demands, but to have one single demand for equality in all matters covered by civil law in all 50 states. The veteran activists involved, myself included, want to strike while the iron’s hot. There is a spirit of struggle among young LGBT people who came of age thinking AIDS isn’t the mass killer that it is and who are waking up after Prop 8 to the fact that our rights are completely dispensable, where they even exist. We can still be legally fired, or not hired, in most states for our sexual orientation and/or gender identities.

Arizona’s governor, for example, just ditched domestic partner benefits. Ohio’s Representative, Lynn R. Wachtmann, some neanderthal from the 75th District wrote to LGBT activists, “If sexual orientation and gender identity and expression are added as protected classes, all those who do not identify themselves in accordance with this lifestyle choice will be discriminated against.” I have never been a single-issue activist in my life — I’m a socialist after all — but at some point we must unequivocally demand an end to this crap once and
for all.

I’m 44, I came of age AFTER Stonewall and before Generation Twitter, I’m from the generation nobody ever bothered to name. I’ve participated in, and in some cases helped lead or initiate divestment campaigns, antiwar, anti-police brutality, pro-abortion, pro-single-payer health care, anti-budget cuts, pro-labor fights, etc. for 26 years. There’s finally a broad fight for LGBT equality and I’d be insane not to leap in with full-force and try to help make it a success.

My greatest hope out of this march is not simply that we win our demand, but that in a poetic reversal of history other struggles take a page from our initiative and mobilize to make demands of the Obama administration. The Stonewall generation had fought for Black civil rights, women’s liberation, against the Vietnam War and, for many, alongside Cesar Chavez for farm laborers for many years before they ever mobilized for their own rights. This time around, it may be possible that through a quirk of history the LGBT struggle could lead
the way for others to ratchet up a fight for genuine universal health care, jobs and an end to the wars and occupations abroad.

RJ: I love it — “the generation nobody bothered to name.” Anyhow, any insights on how the organizing is going? How can people get on board and organize in their community?

SW: The Web site for the march www.nationalequalitymarch.com has a dizzying array of downloadable materials. Go to the site, get the facts, post flyers, send out tweets, post it to Facebook, and by all means everyone should get themselves to the march if they can. Obama has shown that without mass pressure he won’t deliver what we need and want. This march punctuates a turning point of sorts for the LGBT struggle—people who miss out on this protest for civil rights will kick themselves afterwards. Don’t kick yourselves, just come.

RJ: Thanks, Sherry.


Ron Jacobs is the author of The Way The Wind Blew: A History of the Weather Underground. His most recent novel Short Order Frame Up is published by Mainstay Press. He can be reached at:  rjacobs3625@charter.net.
Sherry Wolf is the author of– Sexuality and Socialism: History, Politics, and Theory of LGBT Liberation

© 2009 Dissident Voice and respective authors

Pope Says Priests are Chickenhawks not Pedophiles

In what has to be considered one of the most perversely pathetic excuses ever for priests behaving badly, the red Prada pump wearing former Hitler Youth, CEO of the misogynistic pandering to the powerful Catholic Church, made the astounding claim that it is improper to call the priests who have sex with underage boys perverts and pedophiles.

In an exercise in post modern word games where words mean what I say they mean and if you accept my definitions then it follows that these priests are chickenhawks and not peodophiles….

Oh well..

You can read the whole story here:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/sep/28/sex-abuse-religion-vatican

Sex abuse rife in other religions, says Vatican

The Vatican has lashed out at criticism over its handling of its paedophilia crisis by saying the Catholic church was “busy cleaning its own house” and that the problems with clerical sex abuse in other churches were as big, if not bigger.

In a defiant and provocative statement, issued following a meeting of the UN human rights council in Geneva, the Holy See said the majority of Catholic clergy who committed such acts were not paedophiles but homosexuals attracted to sex with adolescent males.

The statement, read out by Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican’s permanent observer to the UN, defended its record by claiming that “available research” showed that only 1.5%-5% of Catholic clergy were involved in child sex abuse.

He also quoted statistics from the Christian Scientist Monitor newspaper to show that most US churches being hit by child sex abuse allegations were Protestant and that sexual abuse within Jewish communities was common.

He added that sexual abuse was far more likely to be committed by family members, babysitters, friends, relatives or neighbours, and male children were quite often guilty of sexual molestation of other children.

The statement said that rather than paedophilia, it would “be more correct” to speak of ephebophilia, a homosexual attraction to adolescent males.

“Of all priests involved in the abuses, 80 to 90% belong to this sexual orientation minority which is sexually engaged with adolescent boys between the ages of 11 and 17.”

The statement concluded: “As the Catholic church has been busy cleaning its own house, it would be good if other institutions and authorities, where the major part of abuses are reported, could do the same and inform the media about it.”

The Holy See launched its counter–attack after an international representative of the International Humanist and Ethical Union, Keith Porteous Wood, accused it of covering up child abuse and being in breach of several articles under the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Porteous Wood said the Holy See had not contradicted any of his accusations. “The many thousands of victims of abuse deserve the international community to hold the Vatican to account, something it has been unwilling to do, so far. Both states and children’s organisations must unite to pressurise the Vatican to open its files, change its procedures worldwide, and report suspected abusers to civil authorities.”

Representatives from other religions were dismayed by the Holy See’s attempts to distance itself from controversy by pointing the finger at other faiths.

Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, head of the New York Board of Rabbis, said: “Comparative tragedy is a dangerous path on which to travel. All of us need to look within our own communities. Child abuse is sinful and shameful and we must expel them immediately from our midst.”

A spokesman for the US Episcopal Church said measures for the prevention of sexual misconduct and the safeguarding of children had been in place for years.

Of all the world religions, Roman Catholicism has been hardest hit by sex abuse scandals. In the US, churches have paid more than $2bn (£1.25bn) in compensation to victims. In Ireland, reports into clerical sexual abuse have rocked both the Catholic hierarchy and the state.

The Ryan Report, published last May, revealed that beatings and humiliation by nuns and priests were common at institutions that held up to 30,000 children. A nine-year investigation found that Catholic priests and nuns for decades terrorised thousands of boys and girls, while government inspectors failed to stop the abuse.

Bad Health Care Bill Penalizes Women: More Amendments Limiting Reproductive Health Care and Excessive Premium Rates for Older Women

NOW Call to Action on Health Care Reform

http://www.now.org/lists/now-action-list/msg00401.html

Tell your senators — health care reform can’t restrict women’s rights!
take action

After taking action, please support our work!

Action Needed:

Consideration of Senate Finance Committee Chair Sen. Max Baucus’ (D-Mont.) proposed legislation to reform our broken health care system continues this week. Please send a message to your senators today urging them to oppose all restrictive amendments that would limit women’s access to reproductive health care and to withdraw discriminatory provisions that would charge women (and men), aged 40 to 64, five times (!) the average premium amount charged to younger persons. Also, stress the need for the legislation to offer a strong public health insurance plan; Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.) is set to soon offer an amendment that would establish a public health insurance plan.

Take action now!

Background:

The Senate Finance Committee is considering amendments this week to a bill that is the health insurance industry’s dream legislation. NOW opposes this bill, primarily because it does not offer a public health insurance option and because there are many onerous and costly provisions. More than 500 amendments have been offered, including a number that would further restrict access to reproductive health services. Other parts of the bill would require unaffordable insurance plans, mandate coverage with penalties for persons without insurance, write age discrimination into law, require taxpayers to pay billions in subsidies to private health insurers and fail to include a public health insurance option — something a majority of the public has said they want.

The amendments offered by opponents of women’s reproductive health care include: restoration of abstinence-only education, adopting a conscience clause, no pre-emption of state laws regarding abortion, no federal funds for abortion and others. Abortion services is the one of the most common medical procedures provided in the U.S., yet these amendments attempt to further stigmatize and marginalize this component of basic women’s health care. There may well be an effort to prohibit coverage of abortion services in all private health insurance plans.

Protect women’s reproductive health care — take action now!

Chairman Baucus and the insurance companies want persons aged 40 to 64 to pay an exorbitant amount for coverage — arguing that it is this age group that needs more care and should pay more. Middle-age women might see themselves paying four or five times the amount a younger person is paying for coverage. The reason that insurers would like this enormous hike in premium amount is that they say they must recoup income to pay for their losses due to new prohibitions against dropping people for pre-existing conditions and for stopping higher charges for women because of maternity care. This 5:1 (other plans have 2:1) charge will result in unaffordable premiums for millions of boomers and billions of dollars that will have to be covered by taxpayers in the form of subsidies.

Add this gigantic subsidy to insurers along with the hundreds of billions in income from the 50 million formerly-uninsured new customers now mandated to buy private insurance and you’re talking real money. It’s clear that the insurance industry is calling the shots.

Send a message to your senators to oppose any further restrictions on women’s reproductive health care, to withdraw a provision that would impose dramatically higher premium costs for middle-age women and men and to support a public health insurance plan.

take action and then donate
Posted in Feminist, Health Care. Comments Off

Hanging citizen journalists out to dry: shield-law amendment excludes unpaid bloggers

Reposted from Pam’s House Blend with permission

Original post may be seen at
http://www.pamshouseblend.com/diary/13237/hanging-citizen-journalists-out-to-dry-shieldlaw-amendment-excludes-unpaid-bloggers

And Pandagon

http://pandagon.net/index.php/site/comments/hanging_citizen_journalists_out_to_dry_shield_law_amendment_excludes_unpaid/

Hanging citizen journalists out to dry: shield-law amendment excludes unpaid bloggers

by: Pam Spaulding

Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 08:00:00 AM EDT

This may seem like a little inside baseball, but bear with me, because it will directly affect some of your favorite blogs.Here at the Blend we have inboxes overflowing with emails asking us to cover this story or that event — from advocacy organizations, tips from readers, PR firms, and the news media. It’s pretty clear that the equality rights movement is highly dependent on blogs and citizen journalism to analyze, report and advocate in the unique way that we do.

Many of these LGBT-based blogs are done as a labor of love because there’s certainly not enough money out there to quit our day jobs. Bloggers like myself, who subsidize the site with an unrelated day job are about to get a big F-You from Chuck Schumer if the roof isn’t raised. Ad revenue is irrelevant here, btw; you have to be employed by an entity to be covered.

A recent amendment to the federal shield bill being considered in the Senate will exclude non-”salaried” journalists and bloggers from the proposed law’s protections.

The law, called the Free Flow of Information Act, is intended to prevent journalists from being forced to divulge confidential sources, except in cases such as witnessing crimes or acts of terrorism.

Well, read the fine print to see how citizen journalists are left legally hanging out to dry. Schumer’s amendment draws a distinct line between bloggers and “real journalists” that:

limits the definition of a journalist to one who “obtains the information sought while working as a salaried employee of, or independent contractor for, an entity-

a. that disseminates information by print, broadcast, cable, satellite, mechanical, photographic, electronic, or other means; and

b. that-
1. publishes a newspaper, book, magazine, or other periodical;
2. operates a radio or television broadcast station, network, cable system, or satellite carrier, or a channel or programming service for any such station, network, system, or carrier;
3. operates a programming service; or
4. operates a news agency or wire service.”

So there’s no doubt that independent bloggers are the target here. At once we’re considered irrelevant and so dangerous they have to legislatively set up a slippery slope that can land us in the clink or left penniless just for trying to participate in citizen journalism. Wow.  The real issue here, however, is less the shield law than placing a definition of what is a journalist on the books. That will alllow pols, news outlets, state governments, etc. to deny citizen journalists press access because they are not “journalists” as defined by federal law.

It’s a huge slippery slope and a loss for independent reporting by bloggers if this definition clears.

Marcy Wheeler of Firedoglake confirms that we’re screwed:

To to be a journalist in Chuck Schumer’s eyes, you have to both have a boss (at this point, you generous readers and Jane would count as my boss, but Jane doesn’t have a boss, for example) and that boss’ company must disseminate news on some other medium, in addition to the Toobz. Even free-lance writers or people like IF Stone (in the period when he ran his own newsletter) would be excluded from this definition of journalist.

Now, I’m on the record as a skeptic that this new law is going to work out the way the media thinks. I fear that the national security exemption will mean the law will protect people like Judy Miller mobilizing smears or the Rent-a-Generals spreading propaganda, but not protect Dana Priest or James Risen and their sources.

Still, this move pisses me off because it’s a transparent bid to grant a powerful industry special privileges.

This is about ensuring that there is a wall between real journalists and the perceived unwashed masses of ignorant, unqualified bloggers who are mucking up the system. This is a serious issue, because I believe that reliable citizen journalists do have the respect of traditional media in some circles, but this legislative bid to create a firm wall is declaring war on us.

Nieman Journalism Lab’s Zachary M. Seward, who previously noted the House’s different definition of journalist, also expressed concern. “The shield law obviously needs a definition that limits its scope, but the professional definition, which now seems inevitable, would exclude student journalists as well as bloggers with a day job,” he wrote.

Pam Spaulding :: Hanging citizen journalists out to dry: shield-law amendment excludes unpaid bloggers

It’s ironic that this development surfaces right after I discussed the fairly accurate perception that blogging/advocacy journalism sits in a position that is ill-defined. (Huffington Post, “A Tech-Powered Gay Rights Movement“):

It’s a headless monster in many ways — digital activists in this world are frequently not Big Gay insiders. They are often part-time activists — people who feel strongly about issues and use the Internet daily. They never intended to lead or even follow movement leaders; they are just handy with the Internet tools of the trade, and have something to say about equality that resonates with readers.

Feeling the same financial pain the traditional print publications are experiencing with the economic downturn and drop in ad revenue, there is no pleasure in seeing LGBT publications shutter. Bloggers and activists are highly dependent on the strength of news media with an LGBT focus that has a budget to send reporters to do stories the online activists simply don’t have the funds to do. It’s a symbiotic relationship as well — many LGBT reporters want their stories linked on high-traffic or influential gay blogs because it expands their reader reach, and builds support to continue doing the work critical for both journalism and the equality movement overall.

Honestly, I have problems with this shield law for other reasons — why is the federal government getting into the business of regulating journalism to begin with? Surely there are constitutional issues at play here. But that’s a different topic worthy of debate…So simultaneously as traditional news media is under financial fire, citizen journalists are about to take a hit of epic proportions with the aid of a Democratic Congress. Imagine that. Thanks, Chuck. You can give him a ring at (202) 224-3027.

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off

In A Word: The True History of “Misogyny”

From Onthe Issues Magazine

http://www.ontheissuesmagazine.com/cafe2/article/63

by Christine E. Hutchins


There is very little new under the sun. Misogyny in art, literature and other records dates as far back in Western culture as documentation itself.

Misogyny comes from Greekmisogunia from misos (‘hatred’) and gyn? (‘woman’), explains Answers.com

But misogyny as a practice — the enforcement and celebration of the subordination of women — flourished unnamed in English until the seventeenth century.

Only when men and women began to write against rather than with culturally entrenched misogynist practices did misogyny get a name in England and Ireland. “Misogyny” as a concept requires people who are prepared to name it for what it is: hatred of women, an unnatural and unjust subordination of one part of the population by another.

In the early seventeenth-century men and women began writing poems, pamphlets, and plays against people who mistreat and malign women.

The tract that precipitated the introduction of “misogyny” to the language was Joseph Swetnam’s 1615 attack on women, colorfully titled The Arraignment of Lewde, idle, froward, and unconstant women: Or, the vanitie of them, choose you whether.

Swetnam minces no words in his tirade against women. Chapter 1, “Moses describeth a woman thus: ‘At the first beginning,’ saith he, ‘a woman was made to be a helper unto man.’  And so they are indeed, for she helpeth to spend and consume that which man painfully getteth.  He also saith that they were made of the rib of a man, and that their froward [difficult] nature showeth; for a rib is a crooked thing good for nothing else, and women are crooked by nature, for small occasion will cause them to be angry.”

Swetnam forges on with book-length alliterating abuse and jest, all at the expense of women. “[S]he was no sooner made but straightaway her mind was set upon mischief.”

The Oxford English dictionary cites 1656 as the first use of “misogyny” in English, an error then repeated by William Safire in his New York Times column. In fact, the first use in English was during the Swetnam controversy four decades earlier when opponents nicknamed Swetnam and his followers “Misogynos.”

Writers’ responses to Swetnam were swift, fierce and landmark. Previously in European letters, women had written the occasional defense. Christine de Pizan’s fifteenth-century French Book of the City of Ladies championed women in opposition to Guillaume de Lorris and Jean de Meun’s reduction of women in The Romance of the Rose to voiceless roses and disembodied “notches” through which men aim their “spears.”

Following Swetnam’s attack, men and women writers undertook the first concerted and collective attack on misogyny in European letters, as Katherine Usher Henderson and Barbara F. McManus point out in their edited selection of seventeenth-century English defenses of women, Half Humankind: Contexts and Texts of the Controversy over Women in England 1540-1640.

In 1617 Rachel Speght published Mouzell for Melastomus [A Muzzle for the Evil-mouthed] Cynicall Baiter of, and Foul-Mouthed Barker against Evah’s Sex. Speght’s defense gave rise in swift succession to other defenses of women and attacks on detractors. Esther Sowernam’s Esther hath Hanged Haman and Constantia Munda’s The Worming of a Mad Dog followed in 1617.

Then around 1618, Queen Anne’s players produced an anonymous play, Swetnam the Woman-Hater, at the Red Bull Theater, later printed for reading and home-acting by non-theater-going audiences.

The play comically highlights Swetnam’s swishy antics as a fencing-instructor who falls in love with and pens flowery sonnets to a man who has dressed in drag as a woman and in no way returns his affections. In the end, Swetnam’s would-be Amazonian lover roundly rejects him, leaving Swetnam in the unfriendly hands of a rampaging court of women who declare him, “Guiltie, guiltie, guiltie.  Guiltie of Woman-slander, and defamation.”

Misogyny acquires a name only insofar as it receives more than the occasional push-back. Without the active awareness and engagement of men and women who both recognize and criticize the subordination of women, misogyny appears in English language literature and arts as proverbial truth, cultural inheritance and natural fact.

These seventeenth-century books, with their first usage of “misogyny” as a word in English, enabled English speakers to move from widespread unselfconsciously misogynist assumptions to Mary Wollstonecraft’s selfconsciously feminist declaration in her 1792 A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. She writes that “argument to justify the depriving of men (or women) of their natural rights, is one of the absurd sophisms [twisted and illogical unreason] which daily insult common sense.”

By returning to Greek for the word “misogyny,” the anti-Swetnam writers found a linguistic symbol that enabled them to name, and thus challenge, the subordination of women for what it is — a social arrangement that is not based on any natural fact – and hence, changeable.

Posted in Culture, Feminist, History, Uncategorized. Comments Off

Death of the West: Our Sexual Identity Crisis

[Note:  This is reposted for discussion and not necessarily because I agree with the author's conclusions.  I tend to think we give all too much credit to "identity" without requiring at least an equal commitment to action at least reinforcing that "identity".  We are currently in a state of flux as we are coming out of a thirty year backlash against progressive thinking and an era ruled by virtual church state fascism.  I believe much of current "gender theory" is craven appeasement of conservative thought and all too much weight has been given to the ideas of nurture over nature.]

By Selwyn Duke
Reposted with permission
Original article may be found at:

http://selwynduke.typepad.com/selwyndukecom/2009/09/death-of-the-west-our-sexual-identity-crisis.html

Perhaps you’ve heard the tragic story of David Reimer.  Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada in 1966, David was the victim of a botched circumcision that left his penis charred beyond surgical repair.  His parents Ron and Janet, no doubt beside themselves, were confused about the best way to proceed.  Then, one day, they saw a man named Dr. John Money on television.

Money was talking about his theory of “gender neutrality,” which states that “gender identity” is learned rather than innate.  The idea was that the sexes were the same except for the superficial physical differences; this implies that if a child were altered so as to superficially resemble the opposite sex and was raised as one of its members, he would be happy with that sexual identity.  Hearing this, the Reimers hoped they had found their salvation.

They took their boy to Money, who told them that their son’s penis could not be restored and that he stood a much better chance of living a happy life if “sex-reassignment surgery” (in reality, reassigning sex is about as possible as reassigning species) were performed and he was raised as a girl.  The Reimers agreed, and the surgery was performed when the boy, who would be named “Brenda,” was 22 months old.

In reality, the kindest way to describe Money’s theory is fanciful.  His idea of “gender neutrality” was still in vogue when I was a youth, and “vogue,” in the most frivolous sense, is the correct term.  It was always more style than science; it was something that I, even as a teen, knew was bunk.  Yet who would listen to people such as me?  We were old-fashioned, behind the times.  And it didn’t matter that Money was Alfred Kinsey redux and believed pedophilia was lovely if it was for “love.” It didn’t matter that David and his twin brother, Brian, said that Money sexually abused them during photo shoots.  He was a “doctor,” a Ph.D. on the cutting edge of a brave new world.

Only, David (“Brenda” at the time) wanted nothing to do with that world.  Although he was never told he was a boy, had been surgically altered, was dressed and raised as a girl and was regularly seeing Money for therapy, he resisted his “gender assignment” from the outset.  He acted like a boy, played with boys’ toys and objected to seeing Money from the age of seven.  It wasn’t going well — and it wouldn’t end well.

At the age of 14, in a rare commendable act of teen rebellion, David threatened suicide if he were forced to continue with Money’s prescriptions.  This prompted his parents to finally tell him the truth about his condition.  With his eyes opened, he then replaced his estrogen treatments with male hormone therapy, took the name “David,” started living as a boy, underwent reconstructive genital surgery and later married a woman who already had children.  Yet the damage had been done.  His tormented life which began in such a tragic way came to a tragic end: he did commit suicide, at the age of 38.

Dr. Money, too, is now dead.  Yet he died with his ideological boots on; not only did he fail to repent, he fraudulently portrayed David’s case — the one for which he was most famous — as a success for years after its failure was obvious.  This, and his refusal to ever own up to the failure, only increased the chances that other children would be thus scarred.

As a testimonial to how quickly fashions pass away, Money’s theory has joined him in the grave.  The stake through its heart came in the 1990s, with brain research and an improved understanding of intrauterine development proving conclusively that the sexes are different even within the womb and the skull.  These new findings expressing old wisdom were related as revelation, reflecting the idea that nothing is truly valid until vindicated by “science.”  So there was no collective mea culpa from the psychological establishment for clouding reality and misleading generations of naïve parents.  They just continued without missing a beat, as if it were a matter no more significant than recommending the wrong size shoes for the kids.  Worse still, they have now moved on to their next mistake.

We have heard about the curious case of Caster Semenya, the 18-year-old South African runner who has been competing as a woman.  Semenya has become the focus of suspicion (I’ll use masculine pronouns, as I’m convinced this individual is a boy who experienced abnormal intrauterine development) because of his masculine physique, deep voice, development of facial hair, male mannerisms and the fact that he has been winning races by wide margins.  As a result, a battery of medical exams to determine his true sex has been conducted, although the results have not been officially released.  Yet the real story here is not what investigation may tell us about Semenya.  It is what our reaction to Semenya tells us about ourselves.

This is reflected in comments found throughout the Internet.  For instance, consider “JimBob” posting under this Daily Mail piece, who said,

“Why is everyone talking about genetics? What about Caster’s own mind – if she believes within herself that she’s female, then she is.”

Echoing this sentiment here, “Green Is Good” wrote,

“SHE identifies HERself as a female. Done.”

Then, back to the Mail, “Livio” opined,

“This is a clear case of gender identity discrimination. What if she is a man who identifies himself as a woman?”

That’s interesting.  What if you’re a lunkhead who identifies himself as intelligent?

Yet it isn’t sufficient to just dismiss this with sarcasm, as this isn’t the rambling of only a few twisted minds.

What these posters are expressing is the handiwork of today’s Dr. Moneys, “transgender” theory.  This is the idea that your “gender” can be whatever you want it to be — male, female, both male and female or neither, etc. — that it isn’t limited by biology.  If you have a problem with this, bravo, but then you should have a problem with the word “gender” itself.  Why?  Because its current usage (it used to apply only to words) was originated by people such as Money for the purposes of facilitating the relation of their theories.  Understand that while many people use “gender” as a synonym for “sex,” that is not its social sciences definition, which dictates that it refers to social rather than biological differences.  Yet people love to use this and other elements of the lexicon of the left.  It’s a fascinating phenomenon.  If you replace a simple, one-syllable word such as “poor” or “sex” with impressive sounding terms such as “underprivileged” or “gender” for ideological reasons, people, oblivious to the underlying agenda and wishing to sound sophisticated, will glom onto them.  You see, simpletons, who are relatively rare, prefer simple words.  And the only other group that does is rarer still: true intellectuals.  But I digress.

So, returning to Semenya, many people express the shocking idea that his actual sex should have no bearing on whether he should be allowed to compete with women.  It’s that modern phenomenon — image is everything, reality is negotiable.

This notion has so taken hold that we’ve recently heard of two stories out of Britain wherein young boys, ages 12 and 9, showed up in school earlier this month as “girls,” sporting girls’ clothing and ponytails and bearing feminine names.  And the schools are kowtowing to them, telling other pupils that they’ll be punished if they don’t handle the “sex change” “sensitively.”  Yet sensitivity is not for the other children, who are upset and confused.  In just the way that David Reimer’s body was mutilated in deference to yesterday’s latest theory, their minds must be mutilated in deference to today’s.

Now, even if someone subscribes to “transgender” theory, it is striking that he would allow a child who is too young to decide to have sex decide what sex he should be.  How did we get to this point?

These parents, like Ron and Janet Reimer before them, are listening to the respected social scientists of their day.  These “experts” tell them that there is something called “gender dysphoria,” which is the persistent feeling that one is a member of one sex trapped in the body of the other.  It’s enough to convince many parents, such as those of German Tim Petras, who received female hormone “treatments” at age 12 and now goes by the name of Kim.  Yet on what basis is this diagnosis really made?

Feelings.

It is truly reflective of this age, where relativism has obviated reason.  That is to say, if there are no absolutes, no Truth to use as a yardstick for judging among feelings, the feelings themselves become the ultimate arbiter.  Then, of course, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a Fig Newton if it feels like one.

But one of the problems with emotion is that it is by its very nature irrational.  And if anyone would defend an emotion-based diagnosis such as “gender dysphoria,” note that it’s brought to us by the same psycho-babblers who have given us something dubbed “body dysmorphia.”  This is this persistent feeling that a certain body part, such as an arm or leg (or multiple body parts), doesn’t belong on one’s body.  And if you think it isn’t taken seriously, know that doctors have amputated healthy limbs on this basis.

Be shocked — that is, unless you accept “gender dysphoria” as legitimate.  Then you’d better be introspective.  For what is the difference?  Why would you accept the emotion-based diagnosis of gender dysphoria but not the emotion-based one of body dysmorphia?  Why are the feelings of those who suffer from the latter invalid but the feelings of those who suffer from the former a credible arbiter?  Both groups have persistent feelings that their bodies aren’t as they should be.  Both groups cannot bear to live in their bodies as they are.  Both groups want to have their bodies altered.  And both groups have found “experts” willing to put them under the knife.  Sure, it strikes us as the most horrid malpractice when a doctor amputates healthy body parts, such as a pair of legs.  But, then, should we view it any less dimly simply because those healthy body parts are between the legs?

Lamentably, today the answer is often yes, and this speaks volumes about our society.  That is, we’ve all heard that old stereotype of a lunatic, the guy in an asylum who thinks he is Napoleon.  Now the asylums have largely been emptied, and I think I know why: we’ve turned the outside world into an asylum.  What was once only acceptable to a small group within the scariest of walls — detachment from reality — has now been mainstreamed.  You can be a man who thinks he is a woman, yet no straitjacket is slapped on you.  It is slapped on the mouths of those who dare say self-image isn’t reality.

And that is the point: there is something called reality.  When feelings tell one he is, or should be, something he is not or shouldn’t be — a girl, a legless man or Napoleon — the sane conclusion is that you’re confronted with a psychological problem, not a physical one.  It may be intractable, and it is certainly easier to mutilate the body than cure the mind.  But you cannot mutilate reality, only obscure it.  If a man loses his genitalia in an accident, does he cease to be male?  Or, if “gender” is a continuum as today’s Moneys say, is he less male?  Did David Reimer cease to be a boy because he was mutilated and given estrogen against his will?  Of course, the “experts” would say the answer is no, since he never saw himself as a girl.  Again, though, feelings cannot be the arbiters of reality.  After all, I may have hypertrichosis like Jo-Jo the Dog-Faced Boy, undergo operations to create a snout, paws and a tail, howl under the moonlight and change my name to Spot.  Yet am I sane if I call myself a different species?

So what are we to conclude about “gender” science?  Decades ago its “experts” said society could turn your boy into a girl if it felt like it; now they say he can turn himself into a girl if he feels like it.  Is it just a coincidence that Dr. Money’s “gender neutrality” theory accorded with his day’s feminist claim that sex roles should be discarded because the sexes are essentially the same?  Is it just a coincidence that the current “transgender” theory accords with our day’s homosexual claim that sex roles should be discarded because everyone and his values are essentially different?  It is at all possible that these theories have less to do with sound science than the spirit of the age?

We have gone from the proposition that “gender” can be whatever society says it is to the proposition that it can be whatever the individual says it is without ever stopping to wonder if the second idea is just a crank like the first.  But most won’t wonder because today we place more faith in doctors than doctrine, and today’s doctors say that eternal common sense and yesterday’s doctors’ nonsense are wrong.  Yet the most significant thing that distinguishes them from Dr. John Money is that they are still alive — and their theory is not yet dead.

© 2009 Selwyn Duke — All Rights Reserved

Demonization of groups, an example,

By Andrea B.
I have watched the various waves of demonization of various groups, over the years.

Here is one group that is not usually covered.

The demonization of Punk and the demonization of Metal was just the same as the demonization of other groups. The difference is the demonization of Heavy Metal, exposed a lot of the naked prejudice’s amongst the haters, as people like Dee Snider of Twisted Sister took the battle to the haters, which scared the crap out of them.

In this quick note, I will cover for sake of convenience, new wave of British metal, heavy metal, hard rock, Goth metal and all other genre’s of metal and rock, under the term ‘METAL’.

Recently I was watching some documentaries about Heavy Metal and reading about the attacks on hard rock and metal by the religious right, republicans and democrats in the USA. Tipper Gore trying to accuse everyone in Metal of being into BDSM, when none of the rockers had a clue what BDSM even was. That was very funny. At the time the only people into BDSM were politicians, religious campaigners against heavy metal, social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists.

The Megadeath song ‘Hook in the Mouth’ lays that entire episode bare. Then again Megadeath songs hit every issue it tackles like an express train. As Megadeath has said, Peace sells, but who’s buying?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megadeath_(band)

http://www.megadeth.com/

It was obvious from watching Al Gore and Tipper Gore in the congressional hearings that their accusation was not about the people into Metal. Tipper Gore made the allegation that the song ‘under the blade’ which was about an operation a band member had on his throat, was really about BDSM, which confused the band and a lot of rockers as no one knew what she was talking about, except possibly her.

What was really funny, was watching the shock on the faces of the senators, when they realised the lead singer of Twisted Sister Dee Snider, could actually speak fluent english, with a good command of grammar and language usage. They read the cover of a book and imposed their own prejudices. They got egg on their faces for there bigotry.

Some people did take note at the time, although most political commentators did not notice as they were also blinded by prejudice.

They actually believed that young rockers would grow up to be drug addicts, perverts dropouts and useless, just like the psychiatrists, politicians and religious people, who were all campaigning against them.

Some of the rockers from back then, are still in Metal bands. A lot of young rockers from then, have grown up to be bank managers, beauticians, contractors, mothers, fathers, back bones of communities, doctors, managers, stock brokers, commodity brokers, etc. All are still have the metal.

Those who knew nothing about or rejected Metal, assumed that metal was just a noise with no direction or purpose, THEY WERE THEN AND STILL ARE VERY WRONG ABOUT METAL.

Iron Maiden, another metal band who are demonized by commentators, is a band that have constantly critisized pointless war and need less sacrifice of soldiers, yet that is never mentioned. The song ‘number of the beast’ was actually written about a nightmare of being trapped in hell, but the religious right deliberately took a different meaning so they could have an excuse to protest at metal events. Iron Maiden cover lots of social issues in their songs, particularly in the album ‘A matter of life and death’ which covers religion and war.

Megadeath have covered issues which most people wish would never be heard. Recently Dave Mustaine has become a born again Christian, which has taken the edge of Megadeath. It is interesting to note the change in covering social issues from Megadeath, due to religious conversion.

In metal songs for example by Black Sabbath and Dio, there are songs that raise the issue of disposable children and those who let themselves be led by the nose without thinking to disaster.

Ronnie James Dio released a song called ‘Rock and Roll Children’ on a seven-inch vinyl years ago. That song laid out exactly what happens to children when their parents dump them on the street for whatever reason they are inconvenient to have at home.

Most interest groups think it is only there group that is thrown out on the street, it is not. Their blinkers don’t allow them to see the wood for the forest. A lot of interest groups have the same problem of parents dumping there children onto the street, due to them being inconvenient.

The Kids that get kicked out of their homes are

Children who are goth,

Children who have different political opinions,

Children who don’t follow there parents right wing ideology,

Children who are metal heads,

Children who aren’t blindly nationalistic,

Children who are punk,

Children who question religion,

Children who are kids who are abused,

Children who are transsexual,

Children who are intersex,

Children who are mentally ill,

Children who don’t follow there parents left wing ideology,

Children who don’t fit the narrow-minded ideas of what a child should be,

They are some of the various other ways of categorizing those children who are trying to grow, for bigots who like to put everyone in a box, called ‘not like us’. That box is for dehumanizing people and discarding them as not even worth a thought.  The bigots don’t want to face the fact that these kids are just as valid as them, but the ‘Animal Farm’ mentality of being ‘more equal than others still prevails.

As long as the ‘Animal Farm’ idea of ‘some being more equal than others’ prevails, society as a whole will suffer and lose some of its potentially greatest thinkers.

I remember at one point in the 80′s that the people who liked Metal in the USA alone was in the tens of millions, let alone worldwide. That is just one demonized group.

Black Sabbath did a song, called  ‘Mob Rules’, which had a nice little line, ‘if you listen to fools, the mob rules’. That might give you an idea why not only the religious right, but also other political groupings don’t like Black Sabbath and Ronnie James Dio songs.

Def Leopard a group not normally associated with politics or social comment, wrote a song called ‘Gods of War’ which had the lines ‘We’re fighting for the gods of war, but what the hell we fighting for. We’re fighting for the gods of war, but I ain’t going to fight no more’. Might give you an idea why they are not liked in political circles.

For those of you who think that Metal is mindless, here is a little lesson.

On average, there is more political content in an album by Megadeath, Dio, InFlames, Pantera, Iron Maiden, Rainbow, Rammstein, Phenomena, Gary Moore and a whole host of Metal bands, than in some of the more entire mundane music genre’s that exist today in the charts.

Anyway,

This is a selection of what has been mostly played on my CD player over the last few weeks. Yes I still have a CD player and a vinyl turntable.

Nightwish: End of all Hope, Wish I had an angel, Bye bye beautiful, Amarath, Nemo,

Black Sabbath: The sign of the Southern Cross, Falling of the edge of the world, Children of the Sea, The mob rules.

Rammstein Du Hast, Moskau, Links 2 3 4, Ich will, Benzin,

Q5: Steel the light, when the mirror cracks, missing in action,

Yngwie Malmsteen: Dream on.

Blue Oyster Cult: Veteran of the psychic wars, (A song that could have been written for battles with shrinks, or any other eternal war)

Aerosmith (sometimes the Joe Perry Project): Rag doll, Walk this way, What it takes, Let the music do the talking,

Dio: The last in line, Rainbow in the dark, Rock and Roll Children (a good description of what happens to transsexual children or any child for that matter, who are thrown away by there parents, because they are hypocrites who care more about what the neighbours think, than there children)

MSG: Armed and ready,

Thin Lizzy: Cold Sweat, Holy wars,

Lynard Skynard: Freebird,

Def Lepard: Gods of War, Pour some sugar on me, Women.

Motorhead: Orgasmatron, Bomber, Eat the Rich, Overkill, Ace of Spades,  (Lemmy was brilliant in Eat the Rich)

Ozzy Osbourne: Crazy train, Mr. Crawley, Shot in the dark, Bark at the moon,

Him: Killing Loneliness, Wicked game,

AC/DC: Back in Black, Thunderstuck, Who made Who, Razors Edge,

Ted Nugent: Homebound,

Ian Gillan: New Orleans,

Therion: Birth of venus,

Skid Row: 18 and life,

W.A.S.P: The idol, Blind in Texas,

John Norum: Aphasia (of the Europe, wings of tomorrow CD), Total Control CD,

Hammerfall: Bloodbound,

Cinderella: Somebody save me, Gypsy Road, Nobodies fool,

Molly Hatchet: Boogie no more, (i have to buy another CD of flirting with disaster, as my idiot friend scratched it)

Scorpions: Alien Nation, Women, Humanity, Winds of change,

Within Temptation: Our solemn hour,

Joe Satriani: Surfing with the alien,

Helloween: A tale that wasn’t right, Heavy metal hamsters, Dr. Stein, I want out, Future world, Save us, Hell was made in Heaven, Just a little sign, I’m alive,

Lordi: Would you love a Monster man, Hard rock halleluja, Blood red sandman,

Phenomena: No retreat no surrender, Double 6 55 44, Hell on Wings, Killing for the thrill, Dance with the Devil, Chemical high, What about love,

Iron Maiden: Run to the hills, Number of the beast,

Theatres Des Vampires: La Danse Macabria, Angel of Lust, The golden sin,

Accept: Balls to the wall,

Judas Priest: Breaking the law

Metallica: Nothing else matters,

Slayer: Raining blood,

Phil Linott & Gary Moore: Out in the fields,

Inkubus Sukkubus: Church of madness, Burning times,

Hear n Aid: We’re stars,

Gary Moore: After the war,

Megadeath: Motopsycho, Peace sells,

Alice Cooper: Poison, Teenage Frankenstein, The man behind the mask,

All best played through an old Marshall 200 watt valve amp and 200 watt speaker cabinet. Then you can start to hear it properly. A battery of 500 watt amps and matching speaker cabinets is what is really recommended for an appropriate listening environment.

All of the above I now have on CD. Once I had it mostly on Vinyl. I have a rather large collection. I still occasionally put on ‘Homebound’ by Ted Nugent, which I have on the B side of a 7inch single. I disagree with his politics, but love his music. Scream Dream was definitely a milestone.

Further reading

Twisted Sister

http://www.twistedsister.com/

Dee Snider

http://www.deesnider.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heavy:_The_Story_of_Metal

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metal:_A_Headbanger%27s_Journey (a documentary I recommend, the guy met all his metal heroes by making a documentary. I wish I had thought off that one)

http://www.metalhistory.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_Metal

BANG THAT HEAD THAT DOESN’T BANG

Once Upon a Time, The Music Really Mattered

I last night watched a show on the Smithsonian Channel about John Cohen, one of the New Lost City Ramblers.  It featured Pete Seeger and photographs of a young Bob Dylan.

When I was young and very alone the music of Pete Seeger and Joan Baez filled my life.

I joke and say Pete Seeger made me a commie although my left wing roots are more in the labor movement and the anarchists of the IWW.

But the rebel music be it rock and roll or folk was always there and I was always an outsider more attuned to fighting for the oppressed than living the glamorous life.

I was drawn to Greenwich Village because of the music of Washington Square and MacDougal Street.  Gerde’s and the Gaslight. Ban the bomb buttons, long hair, poetry and art.

When my parents busted me at 13 they told me I should go live with the queers in Greenwich Village.  Years later I would discover Ann Bannon’s Beebo Brinker books and know where my mother got that idea.

The music was intertwined with the politics.  Woody Guthrie’s guitar had “This Machine Kills Fascists” written on it.  They called Pete Seeger a red and blacklisted him.

I was a teenage commie queer according to some folks so the Village seemed the place to go.

Rambling around New York town,

The buildings go up and the subway down.

Fresh off the bus the first stop on the train for me was Sheridan Square, at the corner of Christopher Street.  Right near Bleeker Street.

I found Izzy Young’s Folklore Center and Fretted Instrument too.

I saw Dave van Ronk play the Gaslight.  The Fugs, Laura Nyro and the Mothers of Invention too across MacDougal Street at the Cafe Wha.

When I went to the coast it was because San Francisco was easier on kids like me or so I had heard from another transkid finding herself in the Village.

By now the Vietnam War was raging and I was part of a tide moving from protest to resistance.  I danced at the Avalon, the Filmore, the Straight Theater.  The music was the Dead and the Airplane.  Phil Ochs and Country Joe provided the politics.  The MC 5 gave us music to riot to.

Tonight I watched Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young on a recent tour.  From “Four Dead in Ohio” to “Let’s Impeach the President”.

Women’s music from Joan Baez and Laura Nyro to the 1970s Meg Christian and Cris Williamson and Alix Dobkin fueled my feminism and gave music to my lesbianism.

When I came back to my roots after getting seduced by the right it was Rage Against the Machine, Green Day and John Fogerty and yeah Neil Young too along with the Dixie Chicks who returned me to my senses.

Maybe the music always mattered and maybe like Grace Slick used to sing it was the way to “Feed your head!”

Spanish government approves controversial abortion reforms

[Controversial if you are a Christo-Fascist misogynist who believes the sole purpose of women is to have babies.  Not if you believe in women's equality.]

AFP, France

Excerpt: He [Prime Minister Zapatero] has pushed through legislation legalising gay marriage, allowing for fast-track divorces and giving increased rights to transsexuals, among other changes.

[9/26/09]

Spanish government approves controversial abortion reforms

(AFP)

MADRID — Spain’s Socialist government Saturday approved controversial reforms to the country’s abortion law which would allow women as young as 16 to undergo the procedure without parental consent.

The proposal was passed at a cabinet meeting despite strong opposition from the Roman Catholic Church, the conservative opposition Popular Party and even many supporters of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero’s Socialist Party.

The measure now will to go to parliament for approval, Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega told a news conference.

Under the proposed reforms, abortions would be allowed for women of 16 and over on demand up to the 14th week of pregnancy, and up to 22 weeks if there is a risk to the mother’s health or if the foetus is deformed.

Women can also undergo the procedure after 22 weeks if the foetus has a serious or incurable illness.

“We want to offer minors as much protection as possible and the most respect for their basic rights,” said de la Vega.

The existing law introduced in 1985, a decade after the death of right-wing dictator Francisco Franco, only allows abortion in cases of rape, fetal malformation and when a pregnant woman’s mental or physical health is deemed to be at risk if the pregnancy goes to term.

The Popular Party has said it will challenge the reforms in the Constitutional Court, and the Spanish Family Forum, a coalition of Catholic groups, said it would stage a demonstration against abortion on October 17 in Madrid.

Popular Party spokeswoman Soraya Saenz de Santamaria condemned the reforms which she said “go against to the feelings of the vast majority of women and of parents.”

An opinion poll carried out last June said 64 percent of people oppose the measure allowing 16-year-olds to have abortions without parental consent.

Among Socialist supporters, 56 percent said they opposed the move, according to the Metroscopia poll of 1,000 people carried out for the left-wing newspaper El Pais.

Zapatero has defended the changes, saying the state should not “intervene in the free and private decision of a woman, who is the one who has to take on the responsibility of a pregnancy during her entire life.”

The prime minister has passed a series of sweeping social reforms since coming to power in 2004 that have angered the Roman Catholic Church.

He has pushed through legislation legalising gay marriage, allowing for fast-track divorces and giving increased rights to transsexuals, among other changes.

Copyright © 2009 AFP. All rights reserved.

©2009 Google

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jpfLm3J0OBSUPlQJYvyLUuPmkNaQ

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Class Privilege and Sex Reassignment Surgery

When I got my SRS in 1972 America enjoyed far greater prosperity and economic equality than it does now. Today inequality and poverty are the result of some 40 years of Ayn Randian neo-lib/neo-con corporate fascism aimed at putting all the wealth in the hands of 0ne percent and screw everyone else.

We were a bunch of poor kids and the mix was far more multi-racial than it is now.  Unlike today, we weren’t for the most part salaried people with high status jobs granted to us as a result of male privilege.

My friends and I were gender trash.  Many of us were throwaway kids, disowned and on our own.  Too “other” to do anything besides pass as female.  If we had legitimate jobs they paid working class women’s pay of $2.00-3.50 per hour.  A lucky few got jobs with the phone companies as operators, others learned data entry.

It was possible to live cheap in those days, a studio apartment for 75 dollars or so in one of the ghettos.  Shared apartments of maybe two or three bedrooms for around 200-300 dollars.

Thrift store clothes and hippie home cooking.

We somehow managed to save the money or get student loans.  I got a loan from the Berkeley Co-op, a local market chain with a credit union and left wing politics.  It wasn’t much but it was enough to pay for my SRS even though I was still paying off the loan some five years later.

Fast forward to a point not to many years ago when I was being really snarky and pointed out how one could get SRS in Thailand for about the cost of a used VW Golf.

I had gotten too used to middle class comfort even though only a few years prior when I had been drinking I wold have been either homeless or down on the Nickel (LA’s Skid Row located at 5th and Main) with my sister friends who had tried to self medicate away the pain.  I had forgotten how hard it was simply to survive without the support structures cis-sexual/normborns take for granted.

I deceived myself into thinking that because luck had saved me along with falling in love with some one who gave me the support I needed to rise above the desperate poverty I had been living in, that everyone could do the same.

I knew in my heart that I was lucky and that most are not, but privilege plays strange mind tricks on people.  They suddenly cope with having privilege while so many others do not by convincing themselves that they deserve it and that others deserve the misfortune that falls upon them.

The greatest lie of all is “Social Darwinism”, the idea that the privileged are more deserving or that they work harder.

Over five years or so I worked very hard, read, studied and engaged in self-criticism to get back to the humanity and caring I had before the ultra right wing forces of Reagan and crew destroyed America.

A few years back I read Barbara Ehrenreich‘s book, Nickel and Dimed, about not getting by on the poverty level jobs so many American’s hold.  I was reading Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky too along with Naomi Klein. I was getting back to my left wing anarchist working class roots.

I could see the working class getting fucked harder and harder by the rich.  Part time hell with uncertain hours making it hard to hold two jobs.  People with two and three jobs, no health insurance with pay day loans ripping off the poor and credit card companies ripping off those one step up.  Usurious interest rates.  No more government student loans, those low interest loans replaced by “private” banks raping the poor even more.

I work with people doing retail sales who have degrees and yet work for poverty wages as those are the only positions open.

Then several years back we let a sister stay at our house while she went to E2000.  She was an executive with a major US company.  She complained about the cost of her divorce and yet she went to the finest of surgeons.  20,000 here, 50,000 on her face with Dr. O.  I found her to be oh so entitled, oh so privileged and oh so blissfully unaware of her privilege.

When I went on line a dozen plus years back I wondered where all the young sisters were.  Of course it had taken me a year of scrimping and saving, buying components at computer swap meets as well as knowing how to build a computer for me to get on-line in the first place.

Everyone seemed so middle aged and white.  So much higher up the socio-economic scale than I was.

Yet I was a volunteer at Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center as well as involved with the local chapter of the Transsexual Menace and so I knew that Transkids hadn’t suddenly all vanished.  Hell the sex ads in the free papers were full of young people with transsexualism hustling to get by in an age of AIDS, addiction and violence.

Because I am old with a somewhat iffy grasp on middle class most sisters in my circle of friends came out after 40 and after establishing careers based on male privilege.  While they lose male privilege they often retain class privilege.  Many Fortune 500 companies have non-discrimination clauses and even changing jobs after SRS isn’t necessarily an elevator ride on the downwardly mobile express.

But privilege hardens one to the suffering of those who do not enjoy that privilege.  Transsexual to Male people have been given a pass on the bottom surgery based on cost.  I’ve been called a transgender sympathizer because I look at poverty class sisters who are 24/7/365 with electrolysis, hormones, breast implants and perhaps even some facial surgery (although perhaps not from the famous Dr. O.) and I am willing to cut them some slack.

On some level the surgery that was supposed to make us whole is treated like owning a Birkin, a status symbol to be held as validation of a realness not readily accessible to those lacking the same class privilege.

It is too bad so many with class privilege have so little class as to feel it is okay to flaunt their good fortune, to feel it is alright to rub it in that they have their pussies when those at the bottom are lucky to be able to afford a place to live and see SRS as but a dream.

‘Intersex’ fish found in Colorado Study: Pollutants causing male bass to develop female sex organs

From Havasu News
‘Intersex’ fish found in Colorado
Study: Pollutants causing male bass to develop female sex organs

http://www.havasunews.com/articles/2009/09/21/news/doc4ab6eb414a281213625495.txt
By DICK KAMP / Wick Communications Environmental Liaison
Sunday, September 20, 2009 8:02 PM MST

Early studies indicate various pollutants, drugs, cosmetics and household products in the Colorado River can cause some male bass to have partially developed female organs inside.

This phenomenon of occasional female organ growth in males, is called “intersex.”

A nationwide study of sexual fish aberrations by the U.S. Geological Survey found that 40 percent of smallmouth bass and one-third of largemouth bass sampled in the Colorado River were intersex. The Colorado River data were from 2003, and nationwide it covered the period 1995-2004.

The pollutants and various chemicals affect hormone activity in animals and humans are collectively called endocrine disruptors or endocrine active compounds.

The Colorado River Regional Sewage Coalition has been concerned with the presence of the endocrine disruptors, particularly because Colorado River water is consumed by millions in Arizona, Nevada and California.

One member of CRRSCO, Southern Nevada Water Authority, has been testing for chemicals in Lake Mead and Las Vegas drinking water.  Monitoring has shown that levels of a number of endocrine disruptors exist in drinking water for Las Vegas at substantial percentages of levels that are detected in Lake Mead near the sewage outfall.

For example, the popular insect repellant DEET and the herbicide atrazine have been detected (at low unregulated levels in parts per trillion) when sampled in both the lake and potable Las Vegas drinking water.

SNWA also is assisting Lake Havasu City Water Resources Coordinator Doyle Wilson to sample for endocrine disruptors in Lake Havasu as well as in water supply wells and a huge sewage storage repository two miles from the lake constructed within the last two years. Doyle said that his principal concern with the USGS study is that the fish data are already dated.

Wilson added that CRRSCO is pinning some of its hopes for future monitoring of endocrine disruptors and many pollutants on the Lower Colorado River Protection Act, which was introduced July 31 by Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz. The bill would create and implement an EPA-overseen, long-term plan to protect water quality in the lower Colorado to prevent and eliminate pollution with continuous ecosystem monitoring.

Some of the highest intersex percentages were found in the southeastern U.S. At 111 sites nationwide, 3,080 fish were examined and all had contaminants in their bodies.

Forty percent of largemouth bass examined at Imperial Dam and at the Gila River in Hayden were intersex, and 70 percent of smallmouth bass in the upper Colorado in the Yampa River were intersex.

Among other species examined, the only intersex carp found nationwide was at Willow Beach, below Lake Mead. One intersex channel catfish was found in the lower Colorado basin in the Gila River at Phoenix, and one at each of three sites in the upper Colorado.

Lead author of the report, JoEllen Hincke, of the USGS Columbia Missouri Environmental Research Lab, said that the report “is the first synthesis of USGS efforts to measure contamination in water, fish and intersex occurrence.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control — and governments worldwide — have gathered substantial evidence that human health is affected by exposure to hormone-disrupting chemicals.  Pregnant women and babies, particularly boys, are considered at highest potential risk but serious conditions affecting women such as infertility, ovarian damage and adult male hormonal disruption are considered to be likely impacts of the chemicals.

Wastewater discharges into sources of drinking water are one major pathway of contamination that may include bodily discharges of concentrations of chemicals or from pollutants themselves being discharged into surface and groundwater.

Posted in Intersex, Science/Biology. Comments Off

Intersex Deer

[I didn't write the article, it is quoted from Outdoor Life hence the language is theirs.]

Outdoor Life

Biology: HeShe Bucks

October 2009 pg 21

Shoot a velvet buck with spindly limber antlers?  Chances are, he’s missing some important equipment.

By Ben Swenson

Aubrey Williams, of Chesapeake, Virginia, wasn’t sure what to make of the 8-point buck he shot last December.

“His antlers were soft and he was bleeding from one of the rines in his rack.” he says, “When I turned him over to gut him, he didn’t have any testicles.”

William’s kill had what appears to be a growing number of odd antlers reported by deer hunters each year.  Kansas hunter Mike Smith made headlines around the country last year when he bagged a 27 point whitetail, only to discover it was a doe.

Missing or malformed testicles, as with William’s buck, can interupt testosterone production necessary for the annual cycle of antler growth, hardening and shedding.

Doe deer sometimes grow antlers because of hormone imbalances or diseased or injured sex organs.  A few antlered deer are hermaphrodites, meaning they produce both male and female genitalia.

Dr. Chris DePerno, a wildlife biologist at North Carolina State University, explains that getting a handle on the percentage of these deer in the overall population is challenging.  They get a lot of attention, and anecdototally it appears more are being reported every year. But they remain a very small subset of the population.

“Biologists have a hard enough time estimating the number of normal individuals,” DePerno observes, “But the percentage of these altered deer certainly is very small,” though they occur throughout the species range.

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Study Finds High-Fructose Corn Syrup Contains Mercury

From the Washington Post

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/26/AR2009012601831_pf.html

Wednesday, January 28, 2009; 12:00 AM

MONDAY, Jan. 26 (HealthDay News) — Almost half of tested samples of commercial high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) contained mercury, which was also found in nearly a third of 55 popular brand-name food and beverage products where HFCS is the first- or second-highest labeled ingredient, according to two new U.S. studies.

HFCS has replaced sugar as the sweetener in many beverages and foods such as breads, cereals, breakfast bars, lunch meats, yogurts, soups and condiments. On average, Americans consume about 12 teaspoons per day of HFCS, but teens and other high consumers can take in 80 percent more HFCS than average.

“Mercury is toxic in all its forms. Given how much high-fructose corn syrup is consumed by children, it could be a significant additional source of mercury never before considered. We are calling for immediate changes by industry and the [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] to help stop this avoidable mercury contamination of the food supply,” the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy’s Dr. David Wallinga, a co-author of both studies, said in a prepared statement.

In the first study, published in current issue of Environmental Health, researchers found detectable levels of mercury in nine of 20 samples of commercial HFCS.

And in the second study, the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), a non-profit watchdog group, found that nearly one in three of 55 brand-name foods contained mercury. The chemical was found most commonly in HFCS-containing dairy products, dressings and condiments.

But an organization representing the refiners is disputing the results published in Environmental Health.

“This study appears to be based on outdated information of dubious significance,” said Audrae Erickson, president of the Corn Refiners Association, in a statement. “Our industry has used mercury-free versions of the two re-agents mentioned in the study, hydrochloric acid and caustic soda, for several years. These mercury-free re-agents perform important functions, including adjusting pH balances.”

However, the IATP told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that four plants in Georgia, Tennessee, Ohio and West Virginia still use “mercury-cell” technology that can lead to contamination.

IATP’s Ben Lilliston also told HealthDay that the Environmental Health findings were based on information gathered by the FDA in 2005.

And the group’s own study, while not peer-reviewed, was based on products “bought off the shelf in the autumn of 2008,” Lilliston added.

The use of mercury-contaminated caustic soda in the production of HFCS is common. The contamination occurs when mercury cells are used to produce caustic soda.

“The bad news is that nobody knows whether or not their soda or snack food contains HFCS made from ingredients like caustic soda contaminated with mercury. The good news is that mercury-free HFCS ingredients exist. Food companies just need a good push to only use those ingredients,” Wallinga said in his prepared statement.

More information

The U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry has more about mercury and health.

SOURCE: Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, news release, Jan. 26, 2009

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Two From Bilerico Filed by Dr. Jillian Weiss Regarding the Fight to Pass ENDA

Thank You, Senator Michael Bennet: Senate Movement on ENDA

Filed by: Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

September 25, 2009 10:30 AM

The office of Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado has confirmed that he has signed on as a co-sponsor of S1584, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2009. 

Senator Bennet is the first Senator to co-sponsor since the Senate bill was introduced back at the beginning of August. This movement, which I hope is a signal of more Senators co-sponsoring soon, is very, very welcome indeed.

Senator Bennet is the 40th co-sponsor. There are, however, 9 more Senators who have privately confirmed their support for ENDA, and another 9 beyond that whose prior track records indicating a likelihood of support in the future. 60 are needed to overcome the expected filibuster.

It is important to thank our friends and supporters. I ask that you call or email Senator Bennet’s office and say “THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING ENDA.”

Here’s his number: 202-224-5852 (click here for email)

So how many votes do we have in the Senate, and how many more do we need and who will they come from? My calculations after the jump.

How Many Votes in the Senate?

Senator Bennet is the 40th co-sponsor.

Nine Senators have privately indicated that they will support ENDA, but have not signed on as co-sponsors. That makes 49 votes. These are:

1. Mark Begich (D-AK)
2. Claire McCaskill (D-MO)
3. Max Baucus (D-MT)
4. Jon Tester (D-MT)
5. Byron Dorgan (D-ND)
6. Ben Nelson (D-NE),/i
7. Harry Reid (D-NV) [Why isn't the "majority leader" a co-sponsor??]
8. Jim Webb (D-VA)
9. Mark Warner (D-VA)


You can find the sources of my information here.

Another nine have not made any indications, but are likely to support ENDA based on their track records, having co-sponsored other legislation that includes the language of sexual orientation and gender identity (except where noted). I am also including the newly-appointed Senator from Massachusetts, Paul G. Kirk, according to Bloomberg News, set to be announced this morning at 11 am by Governor Deval Patrick. That makes 58 votes.

These are:
1. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR)
2. Tom Carper (D-DE)
3. Ted Kaufman (D-DE)
4. Evan Bayh (D-IN)
5. Mary Landrieu (D-LA)
6. Paul G. Kirk (D-MA)
7. Kay Hagan (D-NC)
8. Tim Johnson (D-SD)
9. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV)

Where Will We Find Votes Number 59 and 60?

Here are the possibilities, some of which are longer shots than others.

1. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) voted for the hate crimes bill
2. Mark Pryor (D-AR) – voted for the hate crimes bill
3. Bill Nelson (D-FL) – he generally is favorable to LGBT issues, but privately indicated in July that he was undecided
4 – George Lemieux (D-FL) – recently appointed, and the South Florida Blade openly wondered whether he might support the bill
5. Richard Lugar (D-IN) – reported to be in favor, but privately indicated in July that he has concerns
6. Kent Conrad (D-ND) – voted for the hate crimes bill
7. George Voinovich (R-OH) – previously co-sponsored a bill with sexual orientation and gender identity language, and has been reported to be in favor, but his office indicated he was undecided in July
8. Robert Byrd (D-WV) -voted for but did not co-sponsor the hate crimes bill in 2002; has recently been precluded from voting due to health issues

(Technical Note: These Senators voted for the hate crimes bill in the sense that they voted for cloture on the Republican filibuster to allow it to be added as an amendment to the as-yet unpassed Defense Authorization Act.)

We have months to go before we come up against a vote in the Senate, and the numbers will probably change a lot between now and then. To my mind, the key thing is to work on the swing Senators now. It’s very hard to reach and persuade a US Senator, if only because of the sheer volume of stuff that they get every day. That takes time, and can’t be done in the week before the vote. Now is the time. Click here for contact info.


Yesterday’s ENDA Hearing: Use It To Pass ENDA

http://www.bilerico.com/2009/09/yesterdays_enda_hearing_use_it_to_pass_enda.php
Filed by: Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

September 24, 2009 11:30 AM

Yesterday morning, the House Committee on Education and Labor held a hearing on ENDA. It was very good for the bill, raising awareness in many different ways and among many different constituencies. (See Austen’s summary <http://www.bilerico.com/2009/09/congressional_hearing_on_enda_great_success.php> and our liveblog
<http://www.bilerico.com/2009/09/liveblogging_the_enda_hearing.php> , as well as the archived webcast and the witness testimony on the Committee’s website
<http://edlabor.house.gov/hearings/2009/09/hr-3017-employment-non-discrim.shtml> .)

In and of itself, however, the hearing is not going to get the bill passed. Hearings have been held on previous versions of ENDA since 1994, and we still don’t have a law.

What will get the law passed are votes in Congress, and that is the only thing that will get them passed. You can use the hearing to help get those votes. Here’s how.

Keep in mind that the real fight is in the Senate. Yesterday’s hearing was held in the House. In the deluge of information overload that is DC, Senators don’t know about the hearing or what was said there. A lot was said there, and even those of us who watched it probably don’t remember a good deal of what happened.

We must get the Senate up to speed on what happened in yesterday’s hearing.

That is important not only for those Senators who are wavering, but also for those who strongly support ENDA. The most effective way to inform people in a body like the Senate is by their peers. Telling Senator Schumer about the hearing will mean that when it comes time for Senator Schumer to support ENDA, he’ll be able to point to a recent hearing in Congress for specific guidance. That’s very persuasive; a lot more than “it’s the right thing to do.”

What makes it the right thing to do? That’s the question that must be answered by our Senatorial allies.

So how do you educate a Senator about yesterday’s hearing? It’s no good sending them the webpage or the Youtube links and telling them to look at it. They won’t.

Instead, contact them and tell them that the hearing occurred and something specific about it.

Here’s some ideas — choose one:

1. Call your Senator’s office, and tell them about a specific witness who testified at the hearing. (Find your Senator here and call at 202-224-3121.)

Examples: At the hearing, Yale Law Professor William Eskridge testified about the state of the law and how it has failed to protect workers even where they are well-qualified for their jobs, including the professor himself.

At the hearing, Vandy Beth Glenn testified how, despite her many qualifications for her job in the Georgia statehouse, she was escorted from the building and fired when she told her boss that she was preparing for gender transition.

2. Send your Senator an email mentioning a specific fact brought out at the hearing. (Find your Senator’s email here  <http://votesmart.org/> .)

Examples: At the hearing, Acting EEOC Director Stuart Ishimaru noted that many of the nation’s top businesses recognize that discrimination is bad for business, and 87% of Fortune 500 companies had implemented non-discrimination policies.

UCLA Williams Institute Director Brad Sears presented a study showing that one in five LGB public sector employees in the 2008 General Social Survey reported being discriminated against on the basis of their sexual orientation.

3. Write a letter to your Senator in the mail and talk about what a specific Member of the Committee said or asked.

Examples: At the hearing, Committee Chair Rep. George Miller said that ENDA is needed to cover 172 million Americans who are subject to legal employment discrimination, including those who work for state governments.

(Find your Senator’s mailing address here <http://votesmart.org/> and call at 202-224-3121.)

I would resist the temptation to try to cram too many facts into one communication. You can always call them tomorrow or next week. The important thing is to keep up a steady rain, rather than a flood at the end. After all, the Senate vote is probably going to come up months from now, and there’s plenty of time. But, like studying for a big exam, you can’t do it all the night before. A little bit every day is the key to success.

If you want to see where we are in the Senate, look here <http://bit.ly/14TDll> .

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No gods, No masters!

Some people have fans.

I have people who get so exercised over my refusal to march in lock step with their sort of creepy right wing hypocrisy that it some times seems as though attacking me is their primary source of content for their “blogs”.

I returned to my left wing hippie roots and a philosophy of believing in equality and the attacking of real enemies instead of bullying and beating up scape goats whose rank on the social scale regarding access to semi decent and humane treatment is some what below my own.

How un-Republi-Nazi is that on my part?  Why any day now they will be calling me a liberal and a socialist even though I tend to find those terms some what insulting as I tend to be several degrees more radical than that.

Which brings me to “No gods, No masters”, an anarchist slogan, the title of a collection of anarchist essays and the mast head motto of Margaret Sanger’s news paper.

One recent strange attack upon me declared I was angry with god and that I “hated god”.  Indifference, perhaps, more accurately skepticism and disbelief.

Hating god… Absurd…  That would be like hating Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy.  A waste of energy since I do not believe in the existence of god.  I am an Atheist, I do not believe in magic invisible misogynistic father figures in the sky who give you presents when you are good and send you to eternal pools of fire if you mess up and claim they do this because they love you.

I find the whole idea of religion absurd and oppressive not to mention something engaged in by mostly either weak minded people or people out to garner power or wealth by using the imaginary sky fairy as a weapon of extortion.

I haven’t believed since I was a kid and I’ve also scoped out Buddhism and the Wicca too and find them just as absurd.

Not one of them seems to pass the scratch and sniff test posed by the Epicurean Dilemma:

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?

Why, indeed? Especially since people with transsexualism are born with a stigma that automatically makes us either abominations or requires us to live a life of total denial.

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Transsexualism and the Tyranny of Experts

Because others know what is best for us.

The priests, who function as experts in the rules of the imaginary being in the sky tell us, “God does not make mistakes.”  Even though all sorts of obvious birth defects sort of refute that one.  Of course if one holds to that particular belief then there is always the possibility of god as malevolent being.

But let’s take a look at the claims of expertise on the part of the god interfacers.  With them there tends to be reliance on books of mythology dating back 1500 or more years that have scientific mistakes and impossibilities like earth centric solar systems etc.  Not exactly confidence providing in the scientific arena these “holy” books tend to also be rampantly misogynistic and homophobic.

Mostly the god interface folks seem to be experts at enriching themselves by extortion and begging.  They tend to use people born with transsexualism as modern witches, scapegoats for the short comings of their “flocks”.  According to these enlightened fools, transsexualism is caused by either Satan, failure to pray enough (give enough money to the god interface people), Obama, or feminism.  Because god doesn’t make mistakes it can not possibly be caused by natural genetic variation or environmentally induced genetic mutation.

Then you have the psychiatric establishment with their sciency sounding jargon.  Stoller and others attributed the same sorts of psychiatric “cause” for transsexualism that they had previously used for homosexuality. Nice try but as they say about the expertise of people with transsexualism anecdotal evidence is not science.

Then you have the doctors who operate on intersex infants, because perish the though an intersex person should wait until they can verbalize a desire for surgery that would move their bodies in one direction rather than the other or for that matter to remain with the body they have.  So the experts roll the dice and make the decisoion for them based on their status as experts.  The result is that there are a fair number of pissed off people born intersex who wish the doctors had waited until they had input on what was done to their body.

Now transsexualism started out as a home grown product of people with transsexualism piecing together information.  a snippet of  Magnus Hirschfeld here and a story there, an article regarding sex hormones and a doctor or two willing to help desperate people.

By the late 1960s people with transsexualism were the experts, we had perhaps a half dozen or so books that told us what we had to know about hormone dosages and the nature of the operation.  We knew our own narratives , which were the sanest and most reasonable that I have seen.  We described ourselves as feeling trapped in the wrong bodies.  Not a whole lot of babble about gender.  A lot of us looked like teenage girls except for lack of secondary sex characteristics and having boyparts between our legs.  A lot of us show signs of not being all that receptive to male hormones or as the case may be to have too much male hormones.  In short when we presented ourselves to the doctors we already seemed to be on the road to becoming.

But natural or environmentally induced variations of intersex would have been too simple for experts who all too often overlook the obvious that both men and women are from Earth and neither are from Mars or Venus. Besides the experts were having to deal with uppity women rebelling against oppressive sex roles that reduce them to lesser people of a lesser and oppressed class.  From Lucy Parsons to John and Yoko the truth that women were the slaves of slaves and nigger of the world was being openly stated.

The experts responded by developing “gender” because simply being male or female with a wide range of traits and interests that can be shared by members of both sexes was unacceptable in that it undermined the idea of both opposite sexes and the idea that both were mutually exclusive and immutable.

Because transsexuals, transgenders and other intersex people fell somewhere between or saw the potential in achieving greater oneness of self by moving from an assigned and ascribed as immutable status to a different defined as immutable status the experts viewed us as mind fucks, the fly in the ointment.  We ruin wonderful Ph.D. theses and deeply thought out theories as well as works of literature and art based on “never the twain shall meet.”

The very idea that one might decide based on one’s own thoughts, one’s own core of inner being to actively seize the agency to determine for oneself which ascribed class one belonged to was and is anathema to those who set themselves as “experts”.  And when it comes to intersex, transsexual or transgender people exercising their freedom to control concerns which determine their own destinies there is an abundant range of “objective” experts.

We have the “religious authorities” who cite ancient texts of mythology to determine the proper course of action for those who are born in-between.  Not surprisingly these experts tend to mutter platitudes regarding the infallibility of the sky being and how it is either “his” will (god is always a male in the misogynistic panoply of religions and the invisible man is invariably a male supremacist) or how one must accept the unchangeable.  Unchangeable  even though surgery is available which does change the primary insignia of sex assignment.  Experts of this nature are often the generators of fine points of minutia as to why sex reassignment surgery doesn’t really change one’s sex.

All too often we cave to these experts and cravenly put forth other names for what the surgery does, names like gender reassignment surgery.

Then there are the conservative experts whose thinking runs along the lines of:  If men and women are so similar as to share common traits and interest that people can actually be born who are in-between and capable of self-determination as to which class they belong then the constraints that hold civilized society together will be destroyed.   Women will think they are the equals of men and the very patriarchy upon which the different sex classes of society depends will come unhinged.

We have the legal experts.  Their swords cut both ways and yet for thousands of years men have written the laws that defined women as lesser.  Driven by the Taliban Christers they now write defense of heteronormative marriage that can be construed to deny people with a history of transsexualism or intersex people the right to marry at all.  Their microscopic examination and tight parsing to define who is man and who is woman leaves little space for people who are in-between even when it comes to matters such as rape and laws that define it as a crime only against “females” with the rape of male or people in-between seen as sexual assault instead.

We have the academic experts with their queer studies and gender studies.  Some of the worst of the worst oppressors generate something called “queer theory” which defines us as gender transgressive, what ever that means.  Especially when women born transsexual often show the same mix of culturally defined as feminine or masculine behaviors as assigned at birth females.  Again the “experts” further their careers in their field by oppressing the ‘non-experts” by othering us and denying us the validity of our life experiences.

WBTs and MBTs as well as other intersex people have our narratives discounted as non-objective since they serve to promote our legitimacy over that of religious, academic, psychiatric and legalistic dogma.  Yet we are the only ones capable of speaking with authority regarding our own lives, telling our own stories.

We raise the question of the legitimacy of the experts who pathologize us not because we are pathological but rather due to the misogyny and agenda driven thinking of those experts promoting their own careers and causes based on our oppression.

No more waiting for crumbs

From Socialist Worker

http://socialistworker.org/2009/09/18/no-more-waiting-for-crumbsSherry Wolf, author of Sexuality and Socialism: History, Politics and Theory of LGBT Liberation [1], makes the case for demonstrating in Washington at the National Equality March on October 11. Sherry is currently on a speaking tour of the East Coast [2].

September 18, 2009

THE NEWS this week that New York Rep. Jerry Nadler has proposed legislation to repeal the Clinton-era Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) would have been sufficient to quell the demands of LGBT activists one year ago.

Today, Nadler’s bill is a welcome step. But the fact that it comes seven months into the presidency of a man who promised to repeal DOMA–and amid comments from Democratic leaders like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that getting rid of the federal anti-marriage equality law isn’t a “priority”–highlights the molasses pace of LGBT rights legislation and the bankruptcy of the incrementalist strategy that has guided the LGBT movement for decades.

Like the moribund Equal Rights Amendment campaign for women’s constitutional equality–initiated in 1923, reintroduced in 1972 and never passed by the required 38 states–LGBT gradualists have argued for a state-by-state legislative approach to winning change.

Enough begging for crumbs. If we want equal rights for LGBT people in all matters governed by civil law in all 50 states, we have to demand it from the federal government–and that means getting out and marching on October 11 in Washington, D.C.

That’s what Generation Twitter and thousands of others–via Facebook, street heat and word of mouth–have been expressing in protests across the country since the passage last November of California’s anti-equal marriage referendum Proposition 8.

President Barack Obama’s own equivocation these last months shows the limitations of an electoral strategy–and the importance of struggle.

He is the first president to publicly utter the word transgender and to honor the anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall riots last June. Yet his Justice Department first insultingly upheld and then opposed DOMA. And Obama continues to drag his feet on repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell”–a policy that its own author, Gen. Colin Powell, calls for ending.

The relationship between LGBT activists and the Democratic Party has been a dysfunctional one. The Democrats court LGBT votes and money, but offer few gains and a fair share of abuse in exchange.

Notably, openly gay Rep. Barney Frank has refused to sign on to Nadler’s DOMA repeal bill, saying, “It’s not anything that’s achievable in the near term.” Frank, quite busy these days shoveling bailout money to the Wall Street bankers, was also instrumental in tossing transgender people out of proposed employment non-discrimination legislation in 2007.

For LGBT activists wooed by the Democrats, ditching the more militant strategy that won a hearing in the first place for a “don’t rock the boat” approach is the price to play.

Thirty-five years have passed since gay civil rights legislation was first proposed in Congress, yet LGBT people remain an unprotected class of citizens. Whereas the denial of the rights of gays to work for the federal government, for example, was enacted with the stroke of a president’s pen in Executive Order 10450 in 1953, no such swift action has been taken to overturn decades of institutional discrimination.

When Bill Clinton was in the White House, it wasn’t until nearly six years into his presidency that he Executive Order 11478, providing partial relief for lesbian and gay federal employees–not including 3 million military personnel.

But the fact that his action left intact sodomy laws (finally overturned by the Supreme Court in 2003), anti-same-sex marriage legislation (which he signed), the military’s unequal status for LGBT people (which he introduced!), and never mentions the rights of those who are transgender, exposes the failure of the electoral route for winning civil rights for sexual minorities.

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - -

WE’VE GOT to strike while the iron’s hot. Today, political tectonic plates are shifting rapidly, and groups and individuals need to get on board or step aside to let a new generation push ahead for full equality.

When Harvey Milk’s protégé Cleve Jones put out the call for the National Equality March on Washington in October, almost every major LGBT group balked, arguing that there wasn’t enough time, and a march wasn’t the right strategy.

But the force of events and popular sentiment compelled organizations such as the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) to endorse this march. It’s a positive sign that HRC feels the pressure to endorse–while grassroots activists shaping the march haven’t watered down its demand for full equality now.

Unlike marches of the recent past, this one will not be brought to you by Miller Beer, Citibank or any other corporate entity. Its bare-bones budget is posted on its Web site [3], and celebrities like Cyndi Lauper and Lady Gaga are volunteering their services and paying their own way. It’s grassroots all the way.

New activists are showing the way forward. When Black lesbians Aiyi’nah Ford and Torian Brown were kicked out of a Silver Springs, Md., diner for embracing, they called a protest in late August–and then got involved in building the march on Washington. A police raid on the Rainbow Lounge bar in Forth Worth, Texas–carried out on the night of the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall rebellion–sent patron Chad Gibson to the emergency room. Outraged LGBT folks called a protest–and now they’re also building for the October 11 march. So are the local LGBT people in Atlanta, who responded with protests after an early September raid at the Eagle bar.

All of these actions have made international news and are forcing authorities to apologize and change policies.

Many transgender people, accustomed to being pushed into the shadows, have thrown themselves into building this march–from veteran Florida activist Donna Lee, who serves on the steering committee, to newer radicals like Dove Paige Anthony in Chicago’s Join the Impact. Trans voices will be heard from the stage as well.

Whether the National Equality March draws tens of thousands or many more is hard to tell since so many established media outlets are ignoring it–though CNN, MSNBC and the LGBT cable network LOGO have agreed to give it exposure.

No matter how many turn out to march on October 11–or attend the vast array of workshops the day before–it will help punctuate a turning point for LGBT civil rights.

And a new network of activist groups will emerge from this march: Equality Across America. As Massachusetts activist Gary Lapon puts it, “We are not simply organizing to protest, but protesting to organize.”

The new mood for LGBT equality is a reflection of a generation that grew up with unprecedented cultural exposure to sexual and gender variance, yet lives with draconian laws and organizational strategies that asphyxiate dynamism and shut down debate. No more crafting our demands to suit the tepid conservatism of a bygone era. We want it all!

President Obama, this is our Rosa Parks moment. When will you allow LGBT people sit at the front of the bus?

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  1. [1] http://www.haymarketbooks.org/product_info.php?products_id=1774
  2. [2] http://www.haymarketbooks.org/event.php?id=23
  3. [3] http://equalityacrossamerica.org/blog/?page_id=2501
  4. [4] http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0

House ENDA Committee Hearings Start Wednesday: Salted With ENDA Opponents

From Bilrico Report

http://www.bilerico.com/2009/09/house_enda_committee_starting_hearings_wednesday_s.php

Filed by: Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

September 21, 2009 10:30 AM

There will be an extremely important Congressional hearing on ENDA this Wednesday, September 23, at 10:00 am ET. It is before the Committee on Education and Labor. It will have a lot to do with whether ENDA succeeds or not. But of the 49 committee members, 15 have voted against, or are undecided on ENDA. Another 4 are thought to be supportive, but have failed and refused to co-sponsor.

What do you think we should do about that?

Like all Congressional hearings, it will have the charm of a lead balloon. There’s no sound track, no quick cutaway to the well-acted reactions of various witnesses and congressmembers, and it doesn’t wrap up in 30 minutes. But if you listen carefully, very carefully, the music in the background begins to rise. It will either be a triumphal anthem, swelling the heart and leading to victory, or a funeral march, foreshadowing the doom of a noble cause.

This is where your part in the drama comes in. You will either call these Congressmembers offices in droves, demanding equal rights, or you will not. You will either harangue your friends and relatives to call and email, or you will not. You will either become a demand for justice, or you will attend to other business. What say you?

The hearing by the full Committee on Education and Labor will be available to watch online live by going to http://bit.ly/bxyfr.On the top right-hand side of the page, an inch down, click on “Live Webcast.”

The hearing is designed to focus attention on this bill, amid all the other hullabaloo in DC and the nation, and to see if Congressmembers will stand up and take notice.

It is unclear whether there are enough votes to pass ENDA in the House if it were to be voted on today. The leadership will not let it proceed to a vote until that is clear. That is going to be up to you.

I suggest you watch the hearing carefully.

The House Numbers

There are currently 159 co-sponsors of ENDA, HR 3017, in the House.   Co-sponsorship is important because it means that Congressmember is solidly behind the bill and can be counted upon to vote in support.

Another 20 Congressmembers have indicated privately they will vote in support, but are not co-sponsors. 30 more are seen as probable yes votes, either because they co-sponsored ENDA in the past or supported other LGBT causes.

That brings us to 209, which is 9 short of what we need at a bare minimum.

Committee Members Not In Favor of ENDA

There are some members of the Committee on Education and Labor, who will be voting on your rights, who are not in favor of ENDA. You must call them, whether they are from your district or not, though I suggest you look for ones in or nearest your state. They are voting on your civil rights, and you have every right and duty to ask them for support.

The following members of the Committee are not co-sponsors of ENDA:
Jason Altmire <https://forms.house.gov/altmire/webforms/issue_subscribe.htm>(D-PA-04),
Paul Tonko <https://forms.house.gov/tonko/contact-form.shtml> (D-NY-21)
Dina Titus <https://forms.house.gov/titus/contact-form.shtml> (D-NV-3)

The following members of the Committee voted against ENDA in 2007
John Kline <http://kline.house.gov/?sectionid=7&sectiontree=4,7> (R-MN-02)
Thomas E. Petri <https://forms.house.gov/petri/zip_authen.shtml> (R-WI-06)
Howard “Buck” McKeon
<http://mckeon.house.gov/contact.shtml> (R-CA-25)
Peter Hoekstra <http://hoekstra.house.gov/Contact/ContactForm.htm> (R-MI-02)
Mark E. Souder<http://souder.house.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=Contact.ContactForm>(R-IN-03)
Vernon J. Ehlers <http://www.house.gov/ehlers/contact_vern.shtml> (R-MI-03)
Joe Wilson <http://www.house.gov/formwilson/IMA/issue.htm> (R-SC-02)
Cathy McMorris Rodgers<http://mcmorris.house.gov/?sectionid=82&sectiontree=4,82>(R-WA-05)
Tom Price <http://tom.house.gov/html/contact_form_email.cfm> (R-GA-06)
Rob Bishop <http://robbishop.house.gov/ZipAuth.aspx> (R-UT-01)

The following members of the Committee appear to be undecided about ENDA:
Brett Guthrie <https://forms.house.gov/guthrie/contact-form.shtml> (R-KY-2)
Bill Cassidy <https://forms.house.gov/cassidy/contact-form.shtml> (R-LA-6)
Tom McClintock <https://forms.house.gov/mcclintock/contact-form.shtml>(R-CA-4)
Duncan D. Hunter<https://forms.house.gov/hunter/webforms/zipauthen_contact.shtml>(R-CA-52)
Phil Roe <https://forms.house.gov/roe/contact-form.shtml> (R-TN-1)
Glenn “GT” Thompson
<https://forms.house.gov/thompson/contact-form.shtml>(PA-05)

Call and ask for them at (202) 224-3121. Click on their names for their web pages and email contact info.

More Strategy Tips

It would also be good strategy to get the 50 who are likely to vote in support – but who have not yet agreed to co-sponsor — to agree to co-sponsorship.

More co-sponsorships will help notify the leadership that this bill is ready for a vote. If your Congressmember is not yet a co-sponsor, please call him or her and ask them to co-sponsor the bill. Here’s how:

Find your Representative here:
http://www.votesmart.org/.<http://www.pointoflaw.com/archives/2009/09/proposing-an-ex.php>

Find your Representative’s ENDA status here: http://bit.ly/Q5YMJ

The telephone number is (202) 224-3121. Put that on speed dial.

Please let us know what you’ve done in the comment space below, so we can encourage each other. Are we willing to fight for our rights?

http://www.bilerico.com/2009/09/house_enda_committee_starting_hearings_wednesday_s.php

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The Transtealth Bombers.

My friend Sophie has a great post over on her blog:September 22, 2009 by sophiaofthescythes

It is the debate around some kid going back to school after having started treatment to become female physically that has set me thinking. It seems the tear away, lie away Scum newspaper in the UK have been at it again. This time we are getting the “Political correctness gone mad” approach with headlines like “Sex swap kid goes back to school as a Girl!!!” Well guess what, 50 percent of the population of the school went back to school as girls so what’s the big deal?

Well I know that the answer to that would be “But they left school before the summer holidays as a BOY!!!” So what? I spent a large chunk of my childhood going to school being called “Boy” and “Girl” and “Cat” and “Dog” (By everyone else I add) so I would hardly see some kid changing their outward sex going back to school as being any big deal.

Continue reading at:

http://sophiaofthescythes.wordpress.com/2009/09/22/the-transtealth-bombers/

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Oppose Senate Finance Committee Health Care Bill

NOW Action Bulletin

Baucus Bill is Profit-Driven Insurance Industry Dream

Your voice is urgently required!

The long-awaited Senate Finance Committee health care reform bill unveiled this week has many deficient and undesirable provisions and it must be opposed. First and most important, the legislation does NOT contain a public option — and, as a result, there is no effective mechanism to stimulate competition and control escalating health care costs. There is no mandate for employers to provide health insurance. Everyone will be required to get their own costly insurance and, failing that, they will be assessed a stiff penalty. Essentially, the same factors that have caused health care costs to rise at four times the rate of wages are left in place. This is not reform!

Tell your senators to oppose Baucus Bill!
take action

After taking action, please support our work!

Action Needed:

For those reasons and many other burdensome and costly features (detailed in the Background section), as well as ideology-driven restrictions on women’s reproductive health care, the Senate Finance Committee bill must be stopped. Send a message to your senators right away to oppose this legislation.

Background:

In an attempt to write a bipartisan health care reform bill, Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), chair of the Senate Finance Committee, has produced a bill that fails to effectively solve problems in our dysfunctional health care system and is unlikely to overcome strident right-wing opposition, anyway. The Baucus bill would require everyone to buy insurance, thus handing over 30 million new customers to profit-driven insurance companies. It would fail to bring health care costs under control, allow insurers to increase costs as we age, and tax high-cost insurance plans (over $8,000 for individuals and $21,000 for families — this would include plans that are higher cost because of chronic or severe illness, as older persons often have). Instead of authorizing a public option, the bill advances the flawed approach of health care co-operatives — which have shown little success in controlling rising costs.

In brief, the bill fails to make insurance truly affordable for low- and moderate-income families; it fails to assure broad access to a full range of reproductive health services for women (that’s discrimination, clear and outrageous); it fails to provide equal access to insurance coverage for “legal” immigrants; it allows insurance companies to charge older persons five times as much as younger persons; and it imposes a mandate that everyone buy health insurance and imposes stiff penalties if they don’t, while requiring premium payments higher than either the Senate HELP Committee bill or the House bill (H.R. 3200).

In every respect, it looks as though insurance companies wrote the bill themselves, as there is no employer mandate to provide health insurance, and it can be reasonably speculated that many companies may be dropping their group plans and leaving everything up to their unfortunate employees. Under this bill, a costly burden would be placed on individuals and families. For instance, a family of three with an annual income of $55,000 would be expected to pay $7,100 a year for insurance premiums — more than either of the other major reform bills would allow. And that doesn’t even cover out-of-pocket expenses for co-pays and deductibles.

Tax subsidies would be available for low-income and modest-income persons, but eligibility is more restrictive than in other reform bills, and the subsidies are less generous. Businesses with more than 50 employees would have to reimburse the government for some or all of the cost of the subsidies provided to employees who buy insurance on their own. This approach provides an incentive to businesses not to hire poor or disadvantaged workers, and the tax on higher-cost plans will discourage the hiring and retention of older or less healthy employees. There are many other intended and unintended bad outcomes that can be expected if this legislation is adopted.

The legislation would expand Medicaid to cover millions more uninsured low-income persons, with an additional cost of $287 billion over 10 years. Whether financially-challenged state budgets can pay the required match for the Medicaid expansion is a serious question. The subsidies to low- and moderate-income individuals and families amount to $463 billion over 10 years, and tax credits for small businesses to help them buy insurance would total $24 billion.

Keep in mind that your tax dollars would pay for all the subsidies flowing to those same profit-driven insurance companies that have denied as many as one in five doctor-prescribed services, excluded cancer and other critically-ill patients when they most needed help, and paid huge executive salaries. The 20 to 30 percent private insurance administrative costs, which are a significant part of our country’s comparably higher health care expenditures, would continue.

The Baucus bill will not result in universal coverage: the Congressional Budget office estimates that as many as 25 million persons will be left out. Of that number, about a third will be immigrants. Excluding undocumented immigrants and making legal immigrants wait and show documentation for health care services is bad public health policy.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates the price tag for the Baucus plan at $774 billion over 10 years. The lower cost is achieved because projected income from the unfortunate tax on the higher cost plans is used to offset costs. Additionally, Medicare costs will be squeezed to wring out more revenue to pay for this insurance industry subsidy plan. There are other sleights-of-hand in the legislation that make unrealistic assumptions about how these costs will be covered. We cannot let Democrats be pressured into supporting the Baucus bill because it supposedly has a lighter fiscal impact.

Take action by writing to your senators NOW!

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