Wednesday Night Interlude: Yes We Can Can

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Doctor testing drug to ‘prevent’ lesbianism, interest in ‘male careers’

Misogyny drives not only the sexist oppression of women but the demand that women and men occupy strictly binary socially constructed gender roles.

What seems like a hundred years ago but was actually closer to 40-50 years ago people like Dr. Benjamin and the now often despised Dr. Money were postulating that a strict binary did not exist.  That in reality maleness/masculinity and femaleness/femininity were more based on the weighing of a multitude of factors.  They were actually proposing things that are not too out of line with that put forth by Anne Fausto-Sterling.

Of course that era (1960s & 1970) was an era that cared about human rights and freedom.  It was an era when LGBT/T liberation, feminism, anti-racism and workers rights were taken seriously.  An era before the ascendancy of Islamo-fascism/Christo-fascism and the Ayn Rand inspired economic policies of corporate fascism.

We were a better world when “Free to be You, Free to be Me” was a popular idea.  We were on the right track when feminism pushed the idea that it was okay for little boys to play with dolls even if they did grow up to be gay and for little girls to play with trucks even if they did grow up to be lesbians.

I place the doctors in the following article in the same category as those who perform female genital mutilation and perform non-consensual sex assigning surgery on intersex infants.

Their religious back grounds as well as political backgrounds should be fair game as what they are proposing is straight out of the Nazism of Dr Mengele.

See:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazi_human_experimentation

From Raw Story:  http://rawstory.com/rs/2010/0630/doctor-testing-drug-prevent-lesbianism-interest-motherhood/

Doctor testing drug to ‘prevent’ lesbianism, interest in ‘male careers’

By John Byrne
Wednesday, June 30th, 2010 — 8:58 am

Dr. Maria New has a new strategy for treating unborn fetuses: the use of a potentially dangerous steroid aimed at preventing a rare congenital disorder that affects the adrenal gland, potentially consigning the future child to a lifetime regime of drugs.

It also prevents “some of the symptoms of [this disorder] in girls, namely ambiguous genitalia. Because the condition causes overproduction of male hormones in the womb, girls who are affected tend to have genitals that look more male than female, though internal sex organs are normal.”

Dr. New offers pregnant women dexamethasone, a risky steroid aimed at female fetuses that may have this disorder. Many exposed to dexamethasone through this off-label use are not being enrolled in controlled clinical trials.

And yes, it gets worse. As columnist Dan Savage points out, Dr. New is also exploring the use of dexmethasone’s effects on future fetuses’ desires to explore “male careers” or have disinterest in becoming mothers.

The majority of researchers and clinicians interested in the use of prenatal “dex” focus on preventing development of ambiguous genitalia in girls with CAH. CAH results in an excess of androgens prenatally, and this can lead to a “masculinizing” of a female fetus’s genitals. One group of researchers, however, seems to be suggesting that prenatal dex also might prevent affected girls from turning out to be homosexual or bisexual.

Pediatric endocrinologist Maria New, of Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Florida International University, and her long-time collaborator, psychologist Heino F. L. Meyer-Bahlburg, of Columbia University, have been tracing evidence for the influence of prenatal androgens in sexual orientation…. They specifically point to reasons to believe that it is prenatal androgens that have an impact on the development of sexual orientation. The authors write, “Most women were heterosexual, but the rates of bisexual and homosexual orientation were increased above controls . . . and correlated with the degree of prenatal androgenization.” They go on to suggest that the work might offer some insight into the influence of prenatal hormones on the development of sexual orientation in general. “That this may apply also to sexual orientation in at least a subgroup of women is suggested by the fact that earlier research has repeatedly shown that about one-third of homosexual women have (modestly) increased levels of androgens.” They “conclude that the findings support a sexual-differentiation perspective involving prenatal androgens on the development of sexual orientation.”

And it isn’t just that many women with CAH have a lower interest, compared to other women, in having sex with men. In another paper entitled “What Causes Low Rates of Child-Bearing in Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia?” Meyer-Bahlburg writes that “CAH women as a group have a lower interest than controls in getting married and performing the traditional child-care/housewife role. As children, they show an unusually low interest in engaging in maternal play with baby dolls, and their interest in caring for infants, the frequency of daydreams or fantasies of pregnancy and motherhood, or the expressed wish of experiencing pregnancy and having children of their own appear to be relatively low in all age groups.”

In the same article, Meyer-Bahlburg suggests that treatments with prenatal dexamethasone might cause these girls’ behavior to be closer to the expectation of heterosexual norms: “Long term follow-up studies of the behavioral outcome will show whether dexamethasone treatment also prevents the effects of prenatal androgens on brain and behavior.”

In a paper published just this year in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, New and her colleague, pediatric endocrinologist Saroj Nimkarn of Weill Cornell Medical College, go further, constructing low interest in babies and men—and even interest in what they consider to be men’s occupations and games—as “abnormal,” and potentially preventable with prenatal dex:

“Gender-related behaviors, namely childhood play, peer association, career and leisure time preferences in adolescence and adulthood, maternalism, aggression, and sexual orientation become masculinized in 46,XX girls and women with 21OHD deficiency [CAH]. These abnormalities have been attributed to the effects of excessive prenatal androgen levels on the sexual differentiation of the brain and later on behavior.” Nimkarn and New continue: “We anticipate that prenatal dexamethasone therapy will reduce the well-documented behavioral masculinization…”

It seems more than a little ironic to have New, one of the first women pediatric endocrinologists and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, constructing women who go into “men’s” fields as “abnormal.” And yet it appears that New is suggesting that the “prevention” of “behavioral masculinization” is a benefit of treatment to parents with whom she speaks about prenatal dex. In a 2001 presentation to the CARES Foundation (a videotape of which we have), New seemed to suggest to parents that one of the goals of treatment of girls with CAH is to turn them into wives and mothers. Showing a slide of the ambiguous genitals of a girl with CAH, New told the assembled parents:

“The challenge here is… to see what could be done to restore this baby to the normal female appearance which would be compatible with her parents presenting her as a girl, with her eventually becoming somebody’s wife, and having normal sexual development, and becoming a mother. And she has all the machinery for motherhood, and therefore nothing should stop that, if we can repair her surgically and help her psychologically to continue to grow and develop as a girl.”

In the Q&A period, during a discussion of prenatal dex treatments, an audience member asked New, “Isn’t there a benefit to the female babies in terms of reducing the androgen effects on the brain?” New answered, “You know, when the babies who have been treated with dex prenatally get to an age in which they are sexually active, I’ll be able to answer that question.” At that point, she’ll know if they are interested in taking men and making babies.

In a previous Bioethics Forum post, Alice Dreger noted an instance of a prospective father using knowledge of the fraternal birth order effect to try to avoid having a gay son by a surrogate pregnancy. There may be other individualized instances of parents trying to ensure heterosexual children before birth. But the use of prenatal dexamethasone treatments for CAH represents, to our knowledge, the first systematic medical effort attached to a “paradigm” of attempting in utero to reduce rates of homosexuality, bisexuality, and “low maternal interest.”

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Stop Trans Pathologicalization 2012

Every where I look I see signs that the movement to end GID and the pathologizing of transsexualism/transgenderism is reaching the point of Critical Mass.  Like the parable regarding the hundredth monkey, once enough people start thinking that the whole idea that transsexualism or transgenderism as mental illness is a lie, a fiction created to oppress us then that idea becomes the new paradigm.

I saw this very interesting manifesto over on Stop Trans Pathologicalization 2012

MANIFESTO

International Network for Trans Despathologization

The advocates and groups who sign this document, and are part of the International Network for Trans’ Identities’ Despathologization, publicly denounce once again the psychiatrization of our identities and the serious consequences of the so called “Gender or Sex Identity Disorder” (GID). In the same way, we want to make visible the violence done to intersex people throughout the current medical procedures.

With “psychiatrization” we name the practice of defining and treating transexuality under a mentally disordered label. We are also speaking about the mistaking of non normative bodies and identities (those out of the cultural dominant order) for pathological bodies and identities. Psychiatrization gives the medical-psychiatric institutions the control over gender identities. The official practice of these institutions, motivated through state, religious, economical and political interests, reflects and reproduces the male/female binomial on people’s bodies. Making believe this exclusive position is a “true” and natural one. This binomial, supposes the solely existence of two bodies (male or female), and associates a determined behavior to each one of them (male or female). At the same time it has traditionally taken into consideration heterosexuality as the only possible relationship between them. Today, as we denounce this paradigm, which has justified the current social order with nature and biological arguments, we evidence its social effects so as to put and end to its political pretentions.

Those bodies which do not anatomically correspond to the current western medical classifications are classified under the label of intersexuality, a condition that by itself is considered pathological, whereas the medical classification is nowadays not yet questioned about it. Transexuality is also conceived as a problematical reality by itself. However, the gender ideology which psychiatry develops, is still not questioned

The legitimization of social norms that are part of our life experience and our feelings, implies the invisibilization and pathologization of all the other existing options, setting one single path that doesn’t question the political dogma around which our society is built: the solely and exclusive existence of only two ways of being and feeling. If invisiblizing means performing violent and normalizating surgeries on intersex newborns (those with ambiguous functional genitalia) it will be done. Especially when its’ goal is to eliminate the possibility of these bodies and to veto the existence of those differences.

The paradigm, in which the actual treatment procedures for transexuality and intersexuality are inspired, makes them become medical procedures of binary normalization. It is “normalization” because these procedures reduce the diversity to only two ways of living and inhabiting the world: those considered statistically and politically as “normal.” With our critique to these procedures we also resist to having to adapt ourselves to the psychiatric definitions of man and woman for being able to live our identities, so that our life’s value is recognized without giving up the diversity in which we constitute ourselves. We obey no kind of label or definition imposed on us by the medical institution. We demand our right to name us by ourselves.

Nowadays transexuality is considered a “Sexual Identity Disorder” mental pathology classified in the ICD-10 (International Classification of Diseases from the World Health Organization) and the DSM-IV-R (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders from the American Psychiatrist Association). These classifications are the ones that guide psychiatrist all around the world when establishing diagnosis. In them, we find a less tan casual error: the mistaking of the transphobia effects for those of transexuality. Social violence against those that don’t follow the gender standards is invisiblized. This way, it is actively ignored that the problem isn’t gender identity but transphobia.

The DSM-IV-R revision is a process that started two years ago, which aims to determine the changes in the list of disorders. Few months ago the names of the psychiatrist who will determine the future of de Gender Identity Disorder (GID) were published.

In charge of the GID work-group are Dr.Zucker (the group’s director) and Dr.Blanchard , within others. These psychiatrists are well known for using reparative therapies on homosexuals and transexuals, and are linked also to clinics where operations on intersexual people are done. What they propose, is not only not withdrawing the disorder, but expanding its treatment to children who present gender-variant behaviors, and applying them reparative therapies for them to accept their original role. Because of this, the North-American trans movement has started to demand their expulsion from the group in charge of revising the DSM. The International Network for Trans’ Identities’ Despathologization supports wholeheartedly this demand.

Transexuality’s pathologization under the “Gender Identity Disorder” is an extreme exercise of control and normalization. This disorder’s treatment is carried away in different centers around the world. In some cases, like the Spanish State, it is compulsory to go through a psychiatric monitoring in the Gender Identity Centers. In some cases it is linked to a weekly control of our gender identity through group therapies, family, and all sorts of derogative procedures which infringe our rights. While referring to the Spanish State’s case, it is important to highlight that anyone who wishes to change their name in their official documents, or who wishes to modify their body with hormonal treatment or with some operations, has to go through a psychiatric monitoring.

Finally, we are directly speaking to all politicians. Our demands are clear:

  • We demand the retirement of transexuality from the mental disorders’ manuals (DSM-IV-R and ICD-10). To bring the treatments on intersex babies to an end.
  • We demand our right to change our name and sex in the official documents without having to go through any medical or psychological monitoring. We also think that the State should have no jurisdiction over our names, bodies and our identities.
  • We take here the words from the feminist movement in their fight for the right to abortion, and the right to your own body: we demand our right to freely decide whether if we want or not to modify our bodies. Our rights to be able to carry on with our decision, with no bureaucratic, political or economical impediments, nor any other type of medical coercion. We want the sanitary systems to take positions regarding the Gender Identity Disorder, for them to recognise the transphobia that this classification implies, and for them to rethink their healthcare programs regarding transexuality, making the psychiatric monitoring an unnecessary step, and the psychotherapeutic monitoring a voluntary option. We demand too that the surgeries on intersex newborns stop.
  • We denounce the extreme vulnerability and the difficulties, when accessing the labor market, of the trans community. We demand granted access to the labor market and that specific politics are engaged to end marginalization and discrimination of our community. We also demand health and security conditions for sex workers and the end of the police’s besieging to these persons, as well as sexual traffic.
  • Vulnerability situations are stressed in cases of immigrant trans persons, who reach our country fleeing from extreme violence situations. We demand the immediate concession of political asylum in these cases, and at the same time we claim that the rights of migrant people are brought to the same level. We denounce the effects of the actual politics on foreign nationals over the most vulnerable social sectors
  • While we shout that we are no victims but active beings and with the capacity of deciding over our own identities, we want to remember too all the aggressions, murders, and suicides of trans people due to transphobia. We signal the system guilty of this violence. Silence is complicity.

We finish showing the extreme rigidity with which the male/female binomial is imposed as the solely and exclusive option. Binomial that is built and therefore can be questioned. Our solely existence proves its falseness and points to a plural and diverse reality. Diversity that we dignify today.

When medicine and State define us as disordered, they are proving that our identities, our lifes, deeply disturb their system. That’s why we say that the illness is not in us but within gender binarism.

We make public that the International Network for Trans’ Identities’ Despathologization is born to consolidate a worldwide coordination of our first goal: the retirement of transexuality from the DSM-TR the year 2012. A first step for diversity, a first knock to transphobia.

For the diversity of our bodies and identities!

Transphobia makes us ill!

INTERNATIONAL NETWORK

FOR

TRANS’

DESPATHOLOGIZATION

Poverty is a queer issue

From LGBT POV

http://www.lgbtpov.com/2010/06/gloria-nieto-poverty-is-a-queer-issue/

By Gloria Nieto

Over the weekend, Pride weekend in many parts of the world, I visited with old friends.  What was completely astonishing to me was the state of poverty that we find ourselves in right now.

All of us are well over 50.  We are the only ones to lose our home at this point.  The other friends are barely holding on.  Of the four of us out the other night at the Egyptian museum, only one of us has a job.  The other three hobos, I mean homos, have all been gainfully employed all our adult lives.  One has owned and operated several businesses over time.  Her unemployment just ran out on Friday.  She is one of the 1.3 million who were dropped that day.

My unemployment ran out back in April.  No income since then so my spouse is trying to keep both of us afloat.

The other friend is on disability and her partner is her paid caregiver.  The Governator is about to drop that program so that poor disabled will continue to bear the burden of this Depression.  They live a half hour drive out of town and cannot afford to move in closer to town so they are facing down foreclosure also.

I have to give a shout out to fellow blogger Patricia Nell Warren  for also talking about the financial crisis many lgbt folks find themselves in, including herself.  We are losing our houses, our savings, our dignity in this disaster.

In all the latest rumblings about LGBT rights, I wonder how we get more of our own folks realizing the recession is a queer issue?  ENDA is a jobs bill, so is DADT.  But ultimately my life and ability to be a participating member is tied up in the Senate and their lack of understanding of our realities, straight and LGBT.

It was finally explained to me during my last visit to DC.  It is an obvious answer, really.  None of the legislature, Senate and House alike, ever see needy people every day.  There is always money in DC so since they don’t go outside of the comfort zone of the Hill and their homes, why would they see the other realities.

There is no urgency on the economy.  There is no urgency on anything.  When I heard the President tell the folks on the Gulf Coast that they were not going to be forgotten, I thought well what about the rest of us?  You have forgotten about us and left us.  We have no help and there is no help on the horizon.

Abandoned.

Let me ask this – how many unemployed people were invited to the White House cocktail party last week?  All the glowing reports of words from the President are irrelevant without action.  There is no action because we have been forgotten and left behind.  Again.

This continued depression has a strong effect on our community.  How many lgbt centers are struggling?  The AIDS prevention money was stripped from the California budget so who will be the next wave of infected gay men in California?  How many activists are sidelined because they have no resources and cannot devote time to planning or activism because we are crippled by poverty.  Getting turned down repeatedly for jobs doesn’t do a lot for a person’s self esteem, trust me.

There is a price to pay for this disaster.

Unfortunately, those who should be paying for it are summering in the Hamptons.  The rest of us are stuck with the bill, both financial and emotional.

So during this month of Pride, while we celebrate all our victories over the years, try to remember those on the sidelines, struggling to keep our heads above water.  Equality should mean an equal chance to contribute to our communities, live  a good life, and hold our heads high.

Mr. Fierce Advocate, this is your chance to make a difference for all of us.

Posted in Politics, Poverty, Social Justice, Unequal Treatment. Comments Off

US Supreme Court Deals Blow to Vatican Immunity Regarding Pedophilia Criminal Charges

From Raw Story:

http://rawstory.com/rs/2010/0628/supreme-court-deals-pedophilia-blow-vatican/
By Agence France-Presse
Monday, June 28th, 2010 — 11:21 am

The US Supreme Court declined Monday to hear an appeal by the Vatican in a landmark case that opens the way for priests in the United States to stand trial for pedophilia.

Allowing a federal appeals court ruling to stand, the decision means Vatican officials including theoretically Pope Benedict XVI could face questioning under oath related to a litany of child sex abuse cases.

The Supreme Court effectively confirmed the decision of an appellate court to lift the Vatican’s immunity in the case of an alleged pedophile priest in the northwestern state of Oregon.

The Oregon case, which was filed in 2002, does not directly address questions raised in a separate lawsuit in Kentucky alleging that US bishops are employees of the Holy See.

In recent months, large-scale pedophilia scandals have rocked the Roman Catholic Church in a number of countries, including Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Pope Benedict XVI’s native Germany and the United States.

Senior clerics have been accused of protecting the priests involved by moving them to other parishes — where they sometimes offended again — instead of handing them over to civil authorities for prosecution.

The pope, who has himself faced allegations he covered up the scandal, has repeatedly said priests and religious workers guilty of child abuse should answer for their crimes in courts of law.

White matter microstructure in female to male transsexuals before cross-sex hormonal treatment. A diffusion tensor imaging study.

J Psychiatr Res. 2010 Jun 8. [Epub ahead of print]

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20562024

Rametti G, Carrillo B, Gómez-Gil E, Junque C, Segovia S, Gomez A, Guillamon A.

Clinical Institute of Neuroscience, Hospital Clinic i Provincial, Barcelona, Spain; Institute of Biomedical Research August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS), Barcelona, Spain.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Some gray and white matter regions of the brain are sexually dimorphic. The best MRI technique for identifying subtle differences in white matter is diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether white matter patterns in female to male (FtM) transsexuals before commencing cross-sex hormone treatment are more similar to that of their biological sex or to that of their gender identity. METHOD: DTI was performed in 18 FtM transsexuals and 24 male and 19 female heterosexual controls scanned with a 3 T Trio Tim Magneton. Fractional anisotropy (FA) was performed on white matter fibers of the whole brain, which was spatially analyzed using Tract-Based Spatial Statistics. RESULTS: In controls, males have significantly higher FA values than females in the medial and posterior parts of the right superior longitudinal fasciculus (SLF), the forceps minor, and the corticospinal tract. Compared to control females, FtM showed higher FA values in posterior part of the right SLF, the forceps minor and corticospinal tract. Compared to control males, FtM showed only lower FA values in the corticospinal tract. CONCLUSIONS: Our results show that the white matter microstructure pattern in untreated FtM transsexuals is closer to the pattern of subjects who share their gender identity (males) than those who share their biological sex (females). Our results provide evidence for an inherent difference in the brain structure of FtM transsexuals. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

PMID: 20562024 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

Political Prisoners Arrested at G20 Demonstrations Segregated by Sexual Orientation

G20 security state madness

From Xtra

http://www.xtra.ca/blog/national/post/2010/06/28/G20-madness.aspx

I don’t even know where to begin on the events of this past weekend.

How about here? An account by this dude of appalling treatment by police. It’s a tale of unwarranted search and detention, segregation by sexual orientation and suspension of fundamental rights as Canadians. Welcome to Toronto, Dan. This piece brought to you by the good people at rabble.ca

I was at College and University, the southern boundary of Queen’s Park, at about 5pm on Saturday as police began to clear the so-called free-speech zone. It was appalling. I watched as a few were arrested and saw mounted police carve a group of people out of the crowd in the park and arrest them all.

Y’all Might Just Want to Scarf Some Vegetables with all that Meat and Sugar

In the interests of full disclosure I have had food issues over the course of my life including a bout with anorexia and bulimia when I was in my 20s.  I abused speed and other diet pills for over a decade.

But I also have gone through periods of working on my physical fitness through exercise and diet including sporadic periods of vegetarianism of the lacto-ova variety.

When I turned 50 I started turning into my Polish grandmother.  Or one of those substantial older dykes.  I eat, I can lift 50-60 pounds over my head and I am on my feet moving during much of my work day.

While I lived in the city of Los Angeles I was much fitter than I became after moving to suburbia.  In the city I walked a lot.  In suburbia sidewalks lead only to the end of the development, whereas in LA my 2 mile morning walk had a bran muffin or croissant/bagel and coffee as reward when I reached my favorite coffee shop with the cute gay waiters half of whom were brothers.

I walked a lot because I didn’t own a car and while I put on weight after quitting smoking it was no where near as bad as after I started driving every where.

When I first got together with Tina we lived on Long Island.  Not a walker’s paradise yet I went into Manhattan about once a week and walked a lot.

We ate like piglets.  But we were eating a more balanced diet and I was no longer drinking.

When we moved to Dallas we discovered something.

The diet in the American South sucks on just about every single possible level.

When we went to one of our first BBQ places we discovered the “Three Meat Combo”…  My first reaction was, “Meat is not a side dish for more meat.  Haven’t you folks heard of vegetables?”  Well they had but they fry everything here and not stir fry but coat with batter and then fry it.

At the State Fair they have deep fried cheese cake…  Absolutely delicious and almost worth the calories.  At the last fair they had deep fried butter…  Don’t ask because you really don’t want to know.

Therefore a column in today’s Dallas Morning News came as little surprise to me:

Texas has 13th highest rate of obesity in U.S., study says

10:55 AM CDT on Tuesday, June 29, 2010

By JASON ROBERSON / The Dallas Morning News
jroberson@dallasnews.com

We’re still fat, but we’re moving in the right direction, according to an obesity report to be released today that ranks Texas 13th in the nation.

Also Online

New laws aimed at keeping kids from becoming obese adults and pound-shedding programs of local companies give reasons for hope.

Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, two nonprofit health research groups, said the state’s adult obesity rate is 29 percent.

Their report, “F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future 2010,” shows regional and income disparities in the obesity epidemic. It says 10 out of the 11 states with the highest rates of obesity were in the South, with Mississippi’s 33.8 percent obesity rate leading the way. Colorado, at 19 percent, had the lowest obesity rate.

Continue reading at: http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/bus/stories/DN-Obesity_29bus.State.Edition1.3ffbf14.html

Now part of the problem is portion control.  In an era of shrinking expectations we are rewarded by corporations super sizing the amount of food they serve.

In the selling of gender we are told manly men do not eat vegetables but only lots of hormone/corn bloated meat.  What men eat since almost all marketing as well as media treats heterosexual violent masculine men as the default becomes what women eat.

The other thing is the hyper sweetening and salting of food.  Fat, sugar (HFCS), and salt may make food taste good but they lead to diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

I’m not a vegetarian but as hard as it is to buck the marketing I try to watch the portions and occasionally eat something other than meat or sugar.

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Sticking the public with the bill for the bankers’ crisis

Sticking the public with the bill for the bankers’ crisis

By Naomi Klein

My city feels like a crime scene and the criminals are all melting into the night, fleeing the scene. No, I’m not talking about the kids in black who smashed windows and burned cop cars on Saturday.

I’m talking about the heads of state who, on Sunday night, smashed social safety nets and burned good jobs in the middle of a recession. Faced with the effects of a crisis created by the world’s wealthiest and most privileged strata, they decided to stick the poorest and most vulnerable people in their countries with the bill.

How else can we interpret the G20’s final communiqué, which includes not even a measly tax on banks or financial transactions, yet instructs governments to slash their deficits in half by 2013. This is a huge and shocking cut, and we should be very clear who will pay the price: students who will see their public educations further deteriorate as their fees go up; pensioners who will lose hard-earned benefits; public-sector workers whose jobs will be eliminated. And the list goes on. These types of cuts have already begun in many G20 countries including Canada, and they are about to get a lot worse.

They are happening for a simple reason. When the G20 met in London in 2009, at the height of the financial crisis, the leaders failed to band together to regulate the financial sector so that this type of crisis would never happen again. All we got was empty rhetoric, and an agreement to put trillions of dollars in public monies on the table to shore up the banks around the world. Meanwhile the U.S. government did little to keep people in their homes and jobs, so in addition to hemorrhaging public money to save the banks, the tax base collapsed, creating an entirely predictable debt and deficit crisis.

Continue Reading at: http://www.opednews.com/articles/Sticking-the-public-with-t-by-Naomi-Klein-100628-367.html

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Toronto police violently suppress G20 protests, arrest over 600

From World Socialist Web Site

By Paul Franklin
28 June 2010
CopsRiot police mobilized in downtown Toronto. Police would use tear gas, plastic bullets, and pepper spray

More than seven thousand riot police, plain clothes officers and mounted patrols have been deployed in downtown Toronto in a naked violation of the democratic rights of not only the thousands of youth, trade unionists and social and environmental activists protesting the G20 summit, but of the entire Canadian population.

Over the past 48 hours, as leaders of the G20 governments moved to coordinate a massive global austerity program directed at the international working class, police—for the first time in Toronto’s history—deployed snatch squads, tear gas and rubber and plastic bullets to disperse groups of peaceful protesters attempting to march to the fenced in perimeter of the G20 venue.

Continue reading at:  http://www.wsws.org/articles/2010/jun2010/poli-j28.shtml

Austerity Measures

When you hear the G20 speak of austerity measures you should be well aware that they are not speaking of taxing the upper 20% or upper 5% who control the vast amount of the world’s wealth.

Oh no…  They are talking about bleeding and removing the organs of those on the bottom, that other 80% of people who are only a few steps from homelessness.

Austerity is always the province of the poor and never the province of the wealthy elite.

Those who are focus of multiple oppressions including race, class, sex, gender, sexuality etc are often more dependent upon the social support systems cut to the bone by “austerity measures”.

I hope that you have noticed how the ranks of police, prisons and military are never subjected to the same harsh austerity measures as are the programs that help the working people.

One would think the bloated budgets of police and military could be trimmed instead of the safety net.

Of course there are other things that could be done.  Corporations should be taxed far more, religions should be taxed and the wealthy could be taxed at an 80% rate and still be far more wealth than the working people of the world.

Surplus value, the gap between cost of product and profit could be subjected to harsh austerity measure taxation while fixing the final price.

In the end though I find myself pondering a 1960s jestful slogan,  “Eat the Rich”…  Not literally but they got us into this mess with their free market lies and Ayn Rand influenced economics.  Let them pay to get us out.

Perhaps it is time for the working poor to return fire in the class war that has been waged against us for the last 30 years.

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Toronto G20 Summit

“Yeah, I support my troops, They wave Black Flags, They wear Black Masks”… Tom Morollo

When the Battle of Seattle happened in 1999 I didn’t get it.

Back then I mistook “globalization” for internationalism and failed to realize how “free trade” pitted the workers of the world against each other in a race to the bottom.  Free trade means the rich elites are free to look for the lowest paid labor any place in the world and in doing that maximize the surplus value created between the cost of labor to produce and the price of the end product.

Suddenly Marx’s master piece “Capital” starts looking like the most important difficult book one might ever read.

Particularly when the middle class is being destroyed by this new economic world order where the few at the top control the vast bulk of the wealth while leaving those in the ever growing bottom 80% with an ever shrinking fraction of that wealth.

The new “service economy” is an awful lot like a servant economy where well paying technical and manufacturing jobs are being replaced by retail jobs.

In a free trade economy those who were subject to discrimination based on class, race, ethnicity, sex, sexuality, gender/gender identity/presentation find their grasp on economic survival reduced from tenuous to increasingly marginal.  All the while the police state grows insuring that the rich elite will never face a 1917.

“Land and Freedom”…

“Bread and Roses”…

Social Justice and Human Rights.  Housing, access to medical care, access to education and decent meaningful employment where ones livelihood is not subject to the constant threat of layoffs, where ones living space is not subject to daily threats of foreclosure and eviction.

It took a while for me to see through all the bullshit that the politicians of both parties were peddling and that the MSM was shoving down our throats.

But I’m fairly bright and I was both SDS and Weather Nation so I still don’t need a Weatherman to know which way the wind blows.  All I needed was the information and being left alone to study it and evaluate the situation.

I came around and now I too can say…

Yeah… I support my troops… They wave Black Flags…  They wear Black Masks

“Secondary” Lesbians

I am reading “From Wedded Wife to Lesbian Life: Stories of Transformation“, a book about women who were married to men prior to coming out in later life as lesbians.

If people recall I have in the past used a phrase I learned from a writing instructor at the Women’s Building, “All coming out stories are the same only the details are different.”

Hence I can pick up the memoir of a gay man or lesbian who came out young and find the same elements of struggle against the social oppression of being that I find in my own journey to coming out or the written journeys of  other people with transsexualism who come out young.

When I first came on line some 15 years ago I asked some of the same questions of sisters who come out in middle age as people ask now.  And I asked those questions with the same hostility and skepticism that many today continue to employ.

On some level I probably, at least at first, wanted to pathologize people.  After all how could they be like me and go off on such a different tangent?

It’s way too easy to condemn people whose lives took different paths as somehow not being the same as me.

Then I encountered a sister named Robyn on a list called Trans-Theory.  Robyn was my demographic twin.  We were born the same year.  We grew up in small towns far from the big city and any sort of LGBT/T folks.  We lived around the corner from each other in the Haight, may have even met each other.  Yet I came out in 1969 while she married and raised children.

Now a rather vicious cabal of people pushing Bailey, Blanchard, Raymond and Greer attacked the Trans-Theory list pathogizing mainly people who came out in middle age with “autogynephilia”.  I looked at the quiz given to determine the two categories and smelled the stench of bullshit bigotry.

You see I had come to the conclusion that many who came out young were the most obvious, either had supportive families or had been thrown out of their homes.  They had little to lose.

Whereas those who didn’t come out until later in life, knew or suspected and yet went along with the expectations of family and society.  Maybe even thinking that doing these things would be a cure.

So when I am reading this book that tells the stories of formerly married women who come out later as lesbians what leaps out most at me is how virtually identical the stories are.

I didn’t know.  I thought if I did what was expected of me these feelings would go away.  I was afraid I would lose custody (visitation) rights with my children.

The stories are often not only the same but so too are the details and words used.

How can that be when being lesbian is not a psychiatric illness but being transsexual is?

Politics and money.  Politics were behind the removal of L/G from the DSM.  Politics and money were behind the invention of GID and its inclusion in the DSM.

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Hillary Clinton Says Gay Rights Are Human Rights

On Top Magazine, USA

By On Top Magazine Staff

Published: June 22, 2010

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday that gay rights are human rights and pledged to defend those rights at home and abroad.

“Just as I was very proud to say the obvious more than 15 years ago in Beijing that human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights, well, let me say today that human rights are gay rights
and gay rights are human rights, once and for all.”

The standing-room-only event was co-hosted by the State Department’s Office of Civil Rights and Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies (GLIFAA), a group that represents the agency’s LGBT members.

Clinton reminded the crowd that discrimination and prejudice against gay men, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people persists.

“Think about what’s happening to people as we speak today. Men and women are harassed, beaten, subjected to sexual violence, even killed, because of who they are and whom they love.”

“In some places, violence against the LGBT community is permitted by law and inflamed by public calls to violence; in others, it persists insidiously behind closed doors.”

“These dangers are not ‘gay’ issues. This is a human rights issue,” she said to loud cheers.

She also took the opportunity to highlight some of the gay rights initiatives advanced in the Obama administration, the State Department in particular, and announced that for the first time gender identity will join sexual orientation in the agency’s equal opportunity statement.

“Our work is demanding and we need every person to give 100 percent,” she said. “And that means creating an environment in which everyone knows they are valued and feels free to make their contribution.”

President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden also will host a gay pride celebration Tuesday evening at the White House

©2006-2010 On Top Media

http://www.ontopmag.com/article.aspx?id=5910&MediaType=1&Category=25

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Friday Night Rock a Billy Fun and Culture Getting to the Roots

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DART board approves trans protections

From The Dallas Voice

Advocates pledge to keep working with board to improve wording in non-discrimination policy

John Wright  |  Online Editor wright@dallasvoice.com

After removing a one-word amendment that would have gutted the proposal, Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s Board of Directors voted unanimously Tuesday, June 22, to add transgender protections to the agency’s employment nondiscrimination policy.

The vote came after about 10 LGBT leaders addressed the DART board, with dozens more looking on from the audience in the local community’s largest turnout for a public meeting since Fort Worth City Council meetings held in the wake of the Rainbow Lounge raid last year.

LGBT speakers demanded that the DART board approve the new policy after removing the amendment, which consisted of the word “except” and was added a week earlier in an apparent attempt by some DART officials to dilute the proposed trans protections.

“A word is standing between us, and the word is ‘except,’” Stonewall Democrats of Dallas President Erin Moore told the DART board, adding that everyone has a sexual orientation and a gender identity. “All of these things also include you. Why not include us?”

Continue reading at: http://www.dallasvoice.com/news/dart%E2%80%88board-approves-trans-protections/

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We Do Not Live in a Trans-Envelope

Many Blogs by WBTs, transsexual people, transgender people and people that fall in categories that place us in sexual or gender minority categories focus only on trans or LGBT/T issues.

I don’t…

I try to look at the other things that oppress me and by extension many other people as well.  Often times those people are in the alphabet world abbreviated to LGBT/T.  But often times we are united equally by our status of working people.

I am working class.  I know that those who do the marketing would prefer I use the term lower middle class or some such bullshit to disguise the reality of being working class, separated from the poor or poverty class only by reason of currently being employed.

I rarely see people like myself and my fellow workers reflected in the media unless they are putting us on display in documentaries showing our plight to the real middle class.

Thanks to economic measures taken after the great Depression and WW II the lives of working class people took on many of the trappings of a “middle class”.

Thirty years of  Free Market Reagan/Thatcherism have left that “middle class” tattered and battered.  I tell people to read Naomi Klein’s “Shock Doctrine” for an understanding of what happened.

I write a lot about being atheist and the oppressive nature of religion.  No gods, No masters… I try to not let my life or writings be ruled by superstition.

We also live in a world where it is possible to enjoy the arts and culture.  One of the reasons for my putting up “Friday Night Fun and Culture” is to share music that I have enjoyed over the many years.

The past couple of months I have been Blogging on the fly.  I was working extremely long hours filling in for a manager one step above me who had been terminated.  I was hoping to get promoted to be her replacement.

I was working so hard I ran head first into the “glass ceiling”.  They never posted the job internally.  Even though I insisted upon applying I probably never had a chance.

If nothing else they saw me as too close to my fellow workers to promote from the ranks.  A carrot was dangled in front of me when I was told last week that I didn’t get the position.  The carrot was one of, “If you learn the position from this person hired from outside we will consider promoting you but in a different store.

Then last night one of my people was injured on the job.  My friend, the closing lead called me asking what to do because the new manager had not left her phone number.  I was the one who had to make the decision and take responsibility.  I tried to contact regional and got voice mail.  I called my lead and said,  “Get her to the emergency room.  I’ll take responsibility for you getting her the medical attention she requires.”

So much of our lives are outside the realm of trans this or trans that.  What often impacts us the most are those same things that impact the lives of non-trans people.  Our jobs, the things we do for recreation, the movies we watch, the music we listen to and books we read.

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From Card Fees to Mortgages, a New Day for Consumers

From the New York Times

By RON LIEBER and TARA SIEGEL BERNARD

At last, it’s settled.

After months of haggling, the terms of financial reform are set, so long as both houses of Congress vote to accept them in the coming days.

While elected officials spent much of their time working out the details of regulating complex derivatives and grappling with whether banks ought to make big bets with their own money, they also set a number of new rules that will directly affect consumers.

Investors and those who advocate on their behalf did not get everything they wanted. Stockbrokers and annuity peddlers are still not required to act in their customers’ best interest, for instance. But mortgage shoppers stand to gain under the new rules and millions of people will now have access to a free credit score.

Continue reading at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/26/your-money/26money.html?hp=&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1277471178-3VRN8T6pSpFcoZOtfcEzVA

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Remembering Stonewall By Reclaiming Gay (LGBT/T) Liberation Front Thinking

Stonewall Time

Another reason why I am always aware of my SRS anniversary is because it coincides with Stonewall celebrations.

One way I can generally tell people were around at the time of Stonewall is how they isolate it in ahistorical space.

Instead it was an important point, the reaching of critical mass, by a movement that had been building for 20 years.

It could have been like the dozens of incidents that had occurred in the decade before had it not been for the reaching of that critical mass.

In the six months leading up to Stonewall gay organizations were already in the streets demonstrating regarding many of the same issues LGBT/T organizations are still fighting to achieve.  Such as employment non-discrimination and recognition of same sex marriage.

There was a difference though.

In the late 1960s same sex sexually relationships were criminalized.  Often time wearing the clothing of the other sex was too.

Of course there were still obvious people.

Those too butch or too femme to hide it.

Mostly though the infra-structure for the Gay Liberation Front type movement that sprung forth during the summer of 1969 was already germinating.

In these days of Page One Q, The Advocate as well as thousands upon thousands of LGBT/T Blogs like this one it is hard to remember how slow news traveled in 1969.

The gay and lesbian press was just emerging.  The MSM went out of its way to ignore gay and lesbian people unless they were providing a scandal that would sell news papers.

Many of us got our news  from the alternative media of under ground newspapers. We had things like Liberation News Service.

I think the first real stories that went deeper than a paragraph on page 32 next to the obituaries took nearly two weeks to reach the Bay Area.  Mostly due to the week after Stonewall being the Forth of July and the underground newspapers deadlines.

I remember that summer in part because of how I benefited from it.  People who had known me before, movement people were extraordinarily nice to me and supportive.

When we saw same sex couples openly displaying affection towards one another we thought “How cool is that?”

It was the 1960s but that ability to think people who were different were neat for having the courage to be different continued on through the 70s until the Reagan/Thatcher regimes.

Granted being individualistic took dings from the assimilationists in both the gay and lesbian movements in the form of attacks on “roles”.

But generally we were a better people back before Reagan/Thatcher.

It is way too easy to give in to authoritarianism, to point the self-righteous finger of scorn at those who are different.  Too easy to be just like those who filled the ranks of “conservative” pushers of mandatory conformity and servitude on the part of working people.

I didn’t let a post through tonight from some one condemning the Clinic making access to hormones easy.  I think this person is an asshole who wantts to be special and thinks calling names makes her special.  She also believes in GID.

My feelings about this clinic are: “About fucking time.”  You see I never had to jump through any hoops to get on hormones.  I put on a dress, went to a Berkeley Public Health Clinic and met a nurse/social worker there who told me to go talk to a couple of people at San Francisco’s SIR and Mattachine Society who knew the ins and outs of the Public Health Clinic system in SF.  They gave me the Center For Special Problems.  I had a half hour chat with a psychiatric social worker who spent most of the time telling what I was facing and the resources available to help me face those hurdles.  I was then given an appointment for a week later when the physician gave me a brief physical, told me what to expect and a month’s prescription with an appointment to come back in a month.

No GID.  I was a self diagnosed person with transsexualism, the screening was the doing.  Take the hormones, go to the appointments, on time, go to the places they suggested would help and take the steps to do the progress.

Not one doctor gave me shit about being a hippie radical.  Not one doctor told me I couldn’t be transsexual and feminist.

I ran with gay and lesbian people along with hippies and radicals, visual artists and musicians.

I never much cared about being accepted by Republi-Nazis or for that matter church going straights.

The liberation mind set is about freedom as well as integrity and respect for others.  It is about following your own muse and yet not dictating to others that they must follow your muse when they might have a different muse.

I’m an atheist when it comes to the Wicca just as I am with monotheism but they have a pretty good saying that articulates a hippie ethos that I embrace: “Do as you will but harm no one.”

The Wiccan Rede is the rule governing Wiccan behavior. It permits Wiccans to engage in any carefully considered action, as long as it harms nobody, including themselves. The Rede is reinforced by the Threefold Law. This is the belief that any harm or good that a Wiccan does to someone else comes back to hurt or benefit them — magnified three times over. Both are mentioned in the Wiccan Credo, a poem about Wicca whose origin is unclear.

horizontal rule

The Wiccan Credo:

The Wiccan Credo is a Wiccan poem. Some Wiccans believe that it was written circa 1910 CE by Adriana Porter. Others suggest that it was created during the very early years of Gardnerian Witchcraft, during the 1940s and 1950s. 1 It includes the text of the main Wiccan rule of behavior, the Wiccan Rede, and a reference to the Threefold Law.

The third last stanza refers to the Threefold Law. It states, in part:

Mind the Threefold Law you should,
Three times bad and three times good
.”

The end of the Credo contains one version of the Wiccan Rede. It reads:

Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill:
An’ it harm none,
Do what ye will.
Blessed Be to thee
.”


http://www.religioustolerance.org/wicrede.htm

US – THInC (Trans Hormones — Informed Consent) program puts transgender process on an easier path…

Offered by Andrea

From the Chicago Tribune

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chicago/ct-x-c-transgender-health-20100623,0,1405089.story

Program puts transgender process on an easier path
New system avoids months or years of barriers

By Jenni Prokopy
Special to the Tribune

June 23, 2010

Ten years ago, when Candice Hart began her transition from male to female, she faced the possibility of losing everything, including her relationships and career. That, in addition to the process she had to undergo in preparation for the transition, was agonizing, she said.

“I lived in fear that I would be denied access to hormones or other services that I believed were necessary for me to live my life,” said Hart. She said the therapist who would approve her hormone therapy was a virtual stranger who held the keys to her new life.

Hart’s experience is common for those following the traditional path for transgender treatment: months or years of costly, time-consuming counseling that are barriers for many. It also can be so overwhelming that many people abandon the idea or suffer severe emotional and psychological damage, said Hart, vice chair of the Illinois Gender Advocates.

In April, the Howard Brown Health Center Iaunched a new program designed to minimize some of the emotional suffering and reduce barriers to care for those seeking access to hormones. Officials hope the program, in which patient and health care provider work as a team, will set a new standard in the Chicago area for consistent treatment that will empower patients and create healthier outcomes for members of the transgender community, whether or not they subsequently move forward with sex-change surgery.

“We have chosen this as the model that works best for the population we serve,” said Kelly Ducheny, director of behavioral services at the center who helped develop THInC (Trans Hormones — Informed Consent). She said other health care providers with the necessary interdisciplinary team could adopt similar approaches.

“If an organization has the dedication to do that … (and) people are competent at providing the service, absolutely we would love to see that,” Ducheny said.

The THInC protocol is a three-step process, now a requirement for hormone treatment at the center, one of the largest LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) organizations in the country. Howard Brown’s main location is located in the Lakeview neighborhood popularly known as Boystown and is convenient to Andersonville, two North Side neighborhoods that are home to large LGBT communities.

THInC patients start by providing a full medical history and receiving a physical exam, including blood tests to examine liver function (which can be affected by hormones). A second appointment with a hormone advocate ensures the patient can demonstrate “informed consent.” If the patient has all the information necessary, plus the cognitive ability to decide to move forward — having considered both the short-term and life-long consequences of hormones — informed consent is granted.

The advocate then helps develop a transition plan, including ways to address workplace and relationship issues.

At a third appointment, the patient and health care provider discuss test results, review the transition plan and decide which hormones, if any, are appropriate and begin treatment. An optional fourth step is participation in a support group.

Earlier this month, about 60 LGBT-focused mental health professionals and community members gathered at Center on Halsted to discuss the program.

Braden Berkey, director of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Institute at Center on Halsted, said the collaborative aspect of THInC is “powerful.” Transgender individuals exploring hormone therapy are not mentally ill and shouldn’t be “pathologized,” he said.

Throughout the health care system, patients consent to all kinds of medical treatments every day, and using hormones to align a person’s physical body with gender identity should be no different, Berkey said. The key is informed consent, ensuring each patient understands the risks of hormones and is not impaired from making a fully informed decision.

Liam Lair, a patient who participated during the pilot phase, said he felt “a great sense of relief of being able to be transparent with myself” throughout the process. “I really did feel like they were advocating for me.”

Lair said the program allowed him to follow the life narrative he experienced, instead of trying to fit into a narrow gender definition.

Those in the LGBT health community say THInC is a radical change from the traditional treatment model for transgender individuals. Many physicians follow standards of care developed by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health Inc., which recommend a minimum of three months of psychotherapy and a letter from a therapist documenting an individual’s “real-life” experience living in their chosen gender.

The traditional approach contains barriers to access, according to many in the LGBT health community. While the THInC program can take as little as four to five weeks to start hormone treatment, the traditional process can take many months or years. Some people without health insurance can’t afford extensive psychotherapy, and even those with insurance may not be covered.

The therapy process can be frustrating and demoralizing, especially for someone who has already planned their transition for years and feels like the resulting letter is more like a permission slip. The process often leaves patients feeling ashamed and angry, say Berkey and Ducheny.

“We think those letters are unnecessary and pathological,” said Ducheny. The THInC program is designed to empower patients to make choices about their bodies and their transition, she said, not make them feel like they are unhealthy individuals.

Hart has thought the same thing: “Why does someone who has these strong convictions have to jump through flaming hoops?” She said people spend years wanting to be authentic and genuine, but they can still be denied access to what for them is necessary treatment.

Another unhealthy side effect of the traditional model is illegal purchase and use of hormones, said Pamela McCann, public health administrator with the city’s Office of LGBT Health. Some people simply can’t get treatment under the traditional model, or abandon the system out of frustration with a variety of barriers to access.

“Hormones are a necessary intervention for so many members of the transgender community. If they’re not able to access hormones within the routine prescription process, then many members look outside for medications, and that means street drugs,” she said. Any program that prescribes and administers hormones in a safe and healthy environment is “a very positive thing,” McCann said.

To make the THInC program as accessible as possible, Howard Brown provides care on a sliding scale to those not covered by insurance, Medicare or Medicaid. While program participants must complete all three steps of the protocol, they may also coordinate with a health care provider outside of Howard Brown.

Currently, the center treats six or seven new patients each week in the THInC program, said Ducheny: “We have seen a significant increase in the number of people accessing hormones since we put the new protocol in place.”

© 2010, Chicago Tribune

Death By Hamburger: How Much Meat Is Too Much?

From Alternet

By Kiera Butler, Mother Jones
Posted on June 23, 2010, Printed on June 24, 2010

http://www.alternet.org/story/147301/

Whether you’re a burger lover or a strict vegetarian (I’m somewhere in the middle—more on this in the July/August 2010 issue of Mother Jones), you’ve probably heard that too much meat is definitely not a good thing. Most recently, researchers have linked over-consumption of red meat with early puberty in girls: A University of Brighton study found this month that about half of UK girls who ate 12 or more servings of meat each week at age seven had started their periods by age twelve and a half, compared to about a third of those who ate fewer than four servings. Worrisome, since some research suggests that girls who go through puberty early are at greater risk for breast cancer.

Meat-heavy diets aren’t great for adults, either: In 2009, a landmark National Cancer Institute study of 500,000 Americans between the ages of 50 and 71 found that people who eat a quarter-pound of red meat or processed meat every day were 30 percent more likely to die in the 10 years of the study than those who ate 5 ounces of red meat or less per week. Compare that to research about vegetarian Seventh-Day Adventists, many of whom live significantly longer than the average American.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/food/147301/death_by_hamburger%3A_how_much_meat_is_too_much/

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