At Michigan State University, Rapists Get Off, While Anti-Rape Students Get Arrested and Fined

From Change.Org: http://news.change.org/stories/at-msu-rapists-get-off-while-anti-rape-students-get-arrested-and-fined

by Alex DiBranco
April 29, 2011

Megan Spencer and three fellow students now all have criminal records, thanks to Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon. What did they do? Stay past 6 p.m. at a peaceful teach-in about sexual violence at Michigan State University in response to the Administration’s failure to address rape allegations against two star basketball players. At MSU, the rapists get off scot-free, while students peacefully protesting campus rape culture get arrested, charged, and fined.

“This is a really unfair standard to punish students who were protesting rape and not students who commit rape,” said Spencer, a leader of the MSU Coalition Against Sexual Violence, a group of students formed last fall in response to a shocking incident in which two students athletes were accused of rape, with one corroborating the victim’s testimony to police — yet never faced any consequences. The Coalition of concerned students came together with nine demands to improve sexual violence on campus, demands over 1000 Change.org members have signed their petition in support of.

After rallies and protests, the Coalition succeeded in securing a couple of meetings with MSU’s Vice President and Title IX coordinator. But never the president. President Simon apparently doesn’t consider campus sexual violence an issue worthy of her time, although there have been dozens of reported rapes in the past two years and not a single perpetrator suspended or expelled. While some improvements have come out of these meetings, the Coalition continues to fight for the implementation of all their demands, especially disciplinary proceedings against the alleged rapists and a public statement from President Simon denouncing sexual violence.

“We were claiming space on campus because women have such limited action to space,” Spencer explained to Change.org regarding the March sit-in. “We also were sitting there and we were talking about rape myths, and we were talking about consent, and student were sharing poetry and they were talking about their experiences, and it was a very positive and productive atmosphere.” But the Administration building they had occupied was closing at 6 p.m. and police told them that they would be arrested — unless President Simon gave them permission to remain.

She didn’t. “Basically the police admitted to it, that she gave the go-ahead on the phone, and the Vice President basically admitted to it.” Spencer and the other students tried to negotiate a reasonable solution, to continue their productive discussion and symbolic act without undue disruption, promising to be out of the building in the morning before anyone arrived at work. But within about 15 minutes, she and the three students who remained were arrested and charged with trespassing.

Continue reading at:  http://news.change.org/stories/at-msu-rapists-get-off-while-anti-rape-students-get-arrested-and-fined

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White House to host first ever trans meeting

From The Washington Blade:  http://www.washingtonblade.com/2011/04/27/white-house-to-host-first-ever-trans-meeting/

By Chris Johnson
April 27, 2011

Transgender activists intend to discuss federal policy issues at an upcoming White House meeting that will be the first ever held by the Office of Public Engagement to focus solely on trans issues.

Shin Inouye, a White House spokesperson, said the meeting, which is set to take place Friday at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, will include transgender leaders who work on federal policy.

“OPE routinely holds meetings with various stakeholders to discuss various policy issues,” Inouye said. “Friday’s meeting, like most OPE meetings, will be closed press and off the record.”

Additionally, Inouye said the meeting will be the first ever for the Office of Public Engagement where transgender issues are the sole focus of discussion.

“While transgender issues have been covered in previous OPE meetings, and transgender leaders have been included in other OPE meetings, this would be the first time OPE has held a meeting solely focused on transgender issues,” Inouye said.

Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said she plans to attend the meeting.

“This is the first president who has allowed trans people — really allowed LGBT people — to bring forward problems and then advocate for them,” Keisling said. “In the Bush administration, we couldn’t even do that. They wouldn’t even listen to us. They didn’t care what our problems were. In fact, they were making most of our problems.”

Michael Silverman, executive director for the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, said his organization wasn’t invited to the meeting, but added having the first Office of Public Engagement meeting to focus on transgender issues is “tremendously significant.”

“There was concern at the start that this was a quote-unquote secret meeting and [the fact] that the White House is speaking about it publicly demonstrates there is a commitment to meeting with transgender people and to addressing their needs,” Silverman said.

Inouye deferred to the White House visitor’s access records release process for information on which transgender activists will be in attendance. Informed sources said the National Center for Transgender Equality will form the basis of attendees at the meeting.

Continue reading at:   http://www.washingtonblade.com/2011/04/27/white-house-to-host-first-ever-trans-meeting/

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Canadian Elections

I so often look at Canada as a much kinder and gentler version of the US.

I forget that they too have right wingers and are engaged in senseless wars at great economic cost to their nation.

I was kind of stoked when they issued a no confidence vote on their conservatives, even though having to go through elections messed with some trans-friendly measures that were in the legislative works.

Here’s a couple of recent stories related to the elections.

Canada’s massive military budget is off the table in federal election

From Rabble.Ca: http://rabble.ca/news/2011/04/canadas-massive-military-budget-table-federal-election

By Matthew Behrens
April 26, 2011

Among many substantive issues not discussed during campaign 2011 is the $23 billion Canada now spends on war, a massive investment that all three major federal parties will maintain if elected.

Add in the ongoing costs of the Afghanistan war plus undisclosed funding for Canada’s bombardment of Libya (well over 200 aerial bombing runs and aerial “sorties” to date), and the $23 billion figure may run higher.

To put this in perspective, slightly more than $63 million a day is spent on Canada’s war machine. That’s the daily equivalent of 420 affordable housing units or 3,000 four-year full-tuition grants for university students. Over the course of a month, that’s 13,000 affordable housing units and 90,000 students going to university without massive debt load.

It is in this context that politicians preaching fiscal restraint and support for burdened families continue proffering blind allegiance to a well-funded institution whose leadership, past and present, has always been clear: in the words of former General Rick Hillier, their role is to kill people.

While many young people join the military because they believe they’re contributing to society (in addition to those who simply need the income or an education), there are other ways for them to live out those aspirations without having to pick up a gun and face the choice of killing or being killed.

But those other choices are not part of the dominant parties’ platforms. (By contrast, the Green Party would reduce war spending to the then historically high 2005 levels, the Bloc has criticized high war spending but is not specific in its plans, and the Communist Party would reduce military spending by 75 per cent).

In the case of the NDP, it’s likely that many supporters are unaware of their party’s willingness to choose guns over butter. After all, the NDP is traditionally seen as the place where anti-war activists park their vote, and the strongest anti-war statements usually come from its MPs, who often speak at peace rallies. But most NDP MPs have long accepted the framework of ever increasing amounts of war funding.

Continue reading at: http://rabble.ca/news/2011/04/canadas-massive-military-budget-table-federal-election

Canada vote dominated by left-leaning third-party surge

From Raw Story: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/04/29/canada-vote-dominated-by-left-leaning-third-party-surge/

By Agence France-Presse
Friday, April 29th, 2011

OTTAWA — A third-party surge has unsettled the status quo as Canada prepares to go to the polls on Monday, with Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper seeking an ever-elusive majority government.

The run-up to Canada’s fourth election in seven years has been dominated by speculation over how the surging support in opinion polls for the left-leaning New Democratic Party (NDP) will play out.

Harper and the Tories failed to earn an overall majority in both the 2006 and 2008 elections, leaving themselves prey to opposition parties bringing the government down, as on this occasion, with a vote of no confidence.

The Conservatives lead all three main opposition parties in pre-election surveys but remain shy of the support needed to win a majority of seats in parliament.

“The most reasonable assumption at the moment is that the Conservatives will win another minority government,” Jon Pammett, a politics professor at Carleton University in Ottawa, told AFP.

“But it’s not clear how long another Harper (minority) government will last because he seems to have ruled out working with the other parties.”

Harper himself has warned that a second-place NDP could form a coalition with the Liberals to seize power if the Conservatives fail to win a majority of the 308 seats in parliament.

But analysts are skeptical that the NDP’s stunning rise in the polls will translate into a projected tripling of seats from 36 prior to the dissolution of parliament, to leapfrog the Liberals and the separatist Bloc Quebecois.
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Ultra Right Wing Republican Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels To Sign Bill Defunding Planned Parenthood Into Law

From Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/29/mitch-daniels-planned-parenthood_n_855731.html?fbwall

By DEANNA MARTIN
04/29/11

NDIANAPOLIS — Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels plans to sign a bill that will restrict abortions and make Indiana the first state to cut off all government funding for Planned Parenthood.

The move is likely to beef up his credentials among social conservatives as he considers a 2012 presidential run.

Daniels said Friday that he’s supported the abortion restrictions from the outset and the provision added to defund Planned Parenthood didn’t change his mind. Daniels says women’s health, family planning and other services will remain available.

The move puts at risk $4 million a year in federal family planning grants likely to be cut off because of the bill. The legislation also would ban would abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy unless there’s a substantial threat to the woman’s life or health.

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Cal Beisner: Tornadoes Are A Taste Of God’s Judgment

You just knew you could count on some shit for brains Christo-Nazi to start babbling about how the tornadoes were God’s Punishment for not abusing LGBT/T people enough.

How come none of them ever link “God’s Punishment” to the catastrophe having just wiped out the homes of a bunch of misogynistic, LGBT/T hating, racist bigots and come to a different conclusion? That is to say that maybe magic invisible Sky Daddy is a liberal who hates racist, misogynistic bigots.

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Anti-Transsexual Marriage Bill In Texas

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Louisiana Lawmaker Proposes “the Country’s Most Extreme Anti-Abortion Measure”

From The National Women’s Law Center: http://www.nwlc.org/our-blog/louisiana-lawmaker-proposes-countrys-most-extreme-anti-abortion-measure

Posted by: Danielle Jackson, Online Outreach Assistant
April 29, 2011

There’s been a lot of news this week about various attacks on reproductive health and women who seek abortions at the state level, and we’ve got some news from Louisiana that is among the worst.

Louisiana Republican State Rep. John LaBruzzo – a man who calls himself “unapologetically pro-life” – recently introduced what is being called “the country’s most extreme anti-abortion measure”: a complete ban on all abortions in Louisiana with no exceptions for cases of rape or incest or when the life of the woman is threatened. He claims to be pro-life, but I guess women’s lives don’t count. It would charge all women who seek abortions as well as the doctors who provide them with “feticide,” which could lead to a 15-year maximum jail sentence with hard labor. LaBruzzo has since claimed that the feticide language in the current draft of the bill wasn’t mean to apply to the women who obtain abortions, just the doctors who provide them, and went on to elaborate further, saying:

“That will be amended out before it is heard in committee. That is a mis-draft; that is not acceptable to me. That would make it too difficult to pass, otherwise.”

Can I just note that it wasn’t a “mis-draft” for being a ridiculous and over-reaching provision on abortion services that would endanger women’s lives and health, but because it would make his bill too difficult to pass? You might wonder exactly how LaBruzzo expects this bill to pass – after all, even after he addresses the “mis-draft,” his bill would still call for jail time for doctors who provide a constitutionally protected medical service.

Continue reading at: http://www.nwlc.org/our-blog/louisiana-lawmaker-proposes-countrys-most-extreme-anti-abortion-measure

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Donald Trump Was a Horrific Spoiled Schoolyard Bully

From Politicus USA: http://www.politicususa.com/en/donald-trump-bully

By Scott Rose
April 29, 2011

After I reported on the ex-Trump employee Julian Long’s account of extensive on-the-job harassment suffered under the extraordinarily abusive Donald Trump, the editor-in-chief of one of the world’s premiere yachting magazines read my article and said “I saw an extreme example of this in person at one of our events.  He wasn’t even trying to be discreet.  This is likely just the tip of the iceberg.”

What are the origins of Donald Trump’s sociopathic behavior?  Cursory internet research reveals that Trump as an early teen had “troubles” at the private Kew Forest School in Queens, New York.  Trump publicity materials would have you believe the young Donald got switched to the New York Military Academy merely because his parents wanted to give good direction to his “energy and assertiveness.”

Yet the truth apparently is that young Donald Trump was a bullying menace.  The attitude and behavior that feed his adult bullying and harassment of employees and others were already visible when Trump was 13.

Trump does not want the public to know the specifics of his bullying at the Kew Forest School.  One can imagine that school officials would fear retaliation from him, were they ever to put a reporter in contact with people who witnessed Trump’s despicable behavior when he was there.  After all, when the New York Times’s Gail Collins published things about Trump that Trump did not want published, he sent her the newspaper with her picture and wrote “The Face of a Dog!“on it.  I e-mailed Trump’s longtime secretary and PR contact Rhona Graff-Riccio, telling her I was on deadline for this article and wanted to know specifics of how Donald Trump as a Kew Forest School student had given the school community such nightmares.  It would be interesting to know, additionally, whether Trump feels any remorse over what he inflicted on his victims.  Graff did not give me the courtesy of a reply.

Continue reading at:  http://www.politicususa.com/en/donald-trump-bully

Maybe Bad-comb-over Donald the  Douche Nozzle should be required to turn over both his tax statements and school record before we let him run for anything.

Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence RI urges Assembly to reject civil unions

So much for the ultra right wing Christo-Fascist lie about how LGBT/T folks can have civil unions just so long as they don’t have equal rights or call it marriage…

From The Providence Journal: http://www.projo.com/news/politics/content/diocese_civil_unions_04-30-11_NINQUEG_v9.18665d9.html

By Katherine Gregg
Journal State House Bureau
April 30, 2011

PROVIDENCE — After playing a major role in the defeat of same-sex marriage, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence is now urging state lawmakers to reject the compromise that House Speaker Gordon D. Fox is backing: civil unions.

In an unsigned editorial in this week’s Rhode Island Catholic, the Diocese says:

“We hope that those members of the Rhode Island General Assembly who have consistently supported traditional marriage will stay steadfast in their opposition to the legal recognition of same-sex relationships as either marriage or civil unions.

“Government sanctioned civil unions cannot be supported by those who truly understand the unique nature and status afforded a man and a woman in marriage. We call upon the members of the Rhode Island House and Senate to cast aside such compromises and rather work to strengthen marriage in our state by passing a Defense of Marriage Bill that clearly defines marriage as between one man and one woman.

“Only then will the attempts by radical activists to redefine marriage and undermine family life in Rhode Island finally be stopped. Civil Unions are not the answer,” the editorial says.

And “far from settling the issue, the passage of civil union legislation only advances the drive to same-sex marriage by framing the perception of same-sex relationships as ‘separate but equal.’ Such a course of events have taken place in recent years in Maine, Vermont, Connecticut and New Hampshire with civil unions ultimately becoming the stepping stone to the legal recognition of same-sex relationships as marriage,” the editorial says.

Continue reading at: http://www.projo.com/news/politics/content/diocese_civil_unions_04-30-11_NINQUEG_v9.18665d9.html

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A Taste of the Dead

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A Saturday Zinnia Fix

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Dotting the “i”, Crossing the “t” and Not Trying To Run a Number

As a post-transsexual lesbian I assume that my relationship with any woman either WBT or assigned female at birth is on shaky ground legally.

I know that I can be legally married in a handful of states and not have that marriage recognized beyond the boundaries of those states.

Hence I work for marriage equality for all.

Heterosexual transsexuals have been rubbing my nose in their ability to marry their partners ever since I came out as lesbian in 1975.  That is heterosexual privilege.

The problem is heterosexual post-transsexuals are used to using that heterosexual privilege and aren’t as careful when examining the laws governing the marriage of post-op men and women.

As far as I know one major requirement which seems pretty universal in states that do not have marriage equality is completion of SRS and completion of change of birth certificate prior to getting married.

I’ve also suggested a notarized statement acknowledging the post-transsexual person’s status with a date of completion of SRS dated prior to any marriage license application.

I know everyone is so deep stealth it might actually require the 50 dollar personal background check to reveal your entire past instead of a simple Google search.

But this isn’t about the popular internet game that started on Usenet called “I’m real and you are just a disgusting pervert.”

Not playing by the rules and checking with a lawyer has real consequences.

Not paying attention to details and trying to fudge things has real repercussion.

I’m in Texas, the state where Christie Lee had her marriage voided.  Where one of her relatives, Leticia Van de Putte pushed through a bill to permit post-op transsexuals to marry after completion of sex reassignment surgery.

I sympathize with Nikki Araguz.  I really do, in spite of thinking her claim of “intersex” has no more validity than most I encounter in transworld.

What is happening to her is totally fucked and wouldn’t be happening if we had marriage equality, which covers everyone’s right to marry not just gay men or lesbians.  It makes sure that SRS doesn’t void either a marriage from before or a marriage after.

One thing people with transsexualism pre-op or long time post-transsexual as well as transgender people have to remember is that we never ever have the luxury of assuming we are just ordinary people and can operate without extra caution when dealing with matters where the bigots may try to fuck us over.

Because one thing is absolutely certain, not one of us is an exception.  I don’t care how loudly you proclaim you are not transsexual but rather intersex.  I don’t care about how straight you are, what church you go to or about your being a right wing conservative Republican.

If you change the sex you were assigned at birth, you are a transsexual.

So, you have to follow the rules to the letter.  Maybe even going to a state where it is officially law that people who are post-SRS can marry.

Yesterday I came across the following:

From Boston Bay Windows: http://www.baywindows.com/index.php?ch=news&sc=glbt&sc2=news&sc3&id=119111

Kolkhorst, who authored the 2009 law that allowed the sex change documentation to be used in getting marriage licenses, did not respond to messages left at her office seeking comment on why she now wants to take it out.

The 2009 law originally was filed without the sex change document provision, but House records show Kolkhorst put it in as part of a lengthy amendment in the last month of the session. The changed legislation passed the House and Senate and Perry signed it into law a month later.

“It would be terrible for Texas, now that it finally caught up with the rest of the country, to take a step back,” said Shannon Minter, an attorney for the national Transgender Law and Policy Institute. He said most states allow marriages for people who have undergone sex reassignment surgery.

Nikki Araguz was at the Capitol last week to lobby against the legislation. Her husband, a volunteer firefighter, was killed in the line of duty in July and she is being sued by her dead husband’s family over control of his $600,000 estate.

Araguz had a final sex change operation in October 2008, two months after they were married, and says her husband knew and supported her. His family argues the marriage should be voided because Araguz was born a man and same-sex marriage is not legal in Texas. A hearing is scheduled for May 13.

“This is crazy. I feel like this is a personal attack on me,” Araguz told The Associated Press. “If this bill is passed, it essentially means women like myself who have had reconstructive surgery will not be allowed to marry their heterosexual partner.”

So my heart goes out to Nikki and the warning to others as well.

  1. Don’t try to play games.
  2. Check with an attorney.
  3. Follow the rules to the exact letter of the law.

Ninety-nine times out of a hundred this will never be an issue.  But divorces happen.  So do deaths of a partner. Have an incontestable will.  Have beneficiary papers made out for insurance policies.

No it isn’t fair nor just.

But fighting it is an absolute horror show that will ruin your life for a long time.

Further you will be condemned to be held up as “the example” by every TS/TG activist trying to get apathetic sisters and brothers to march for and publicly fight for their rights.

Twenty years from now they will be using you as an example.  This applies only to sisters, brothers are forgotten about as soon as their case drops from the papers.

Marijuana Prohibition Turns 100 Today. What Is There to Celebrate?

From SF Weekly: http://blogs.sfweekly.com/thesnitch/2011/04/marijuana_prohibition_100_years.php

By Chris Roberts,
Fri., Apr. 29 2011

Alcohol prohibition did little to stop Americans from guzzling booze, though it helped make gangsters rich, cops and courts busy, and encouraged foreign imports of “medicinal whiskey” (sound familiar?)

That experiment was short-lived — ratified in 1920, the 18th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution was repealed in 1933 — and particularly short-lived in comparison to the country’s experiment with outlawing marijuana — which turns 100 years old today.

In stark contrast to fermented grapes and grain, the intoxicating qualities of the cannabis sativa plant were unknown to Americans outside of a few Southwest border towns in 1911, according to Dale Gieringer of California NORML. Gieringer spent the better part of 10 years trying to find evidence of marijuana use among 19th-century American writers (local boy Jack London experimented with hash, but he is an exception).

“There is no record of any public concern over marijuana at this time,” Gieringer told SF Weekly. “Only after cannabis was prohibited did it come into widespread popularity.” Pot got plenty of attention in 1911 — and thereafter when Massachusetts passed a law to ban “hypnotic drugs” such as opiates. “Marihuana” or “Indian hemp” was added to that list, despite its widespread anonymity as well as a clause in the Massachusetts ban that allowed drug stores to sell medicinal pot. That included the widely available tinctures used to alleviate migraines and menstrual cramps, according to Gieringer. Ironically, these anti-marijuana laws fostered a new mystique around the drug, which began seeping into the mainstream in the 1920s; it was popularized by jazz musicians and other hip folk.
Since then, the record has been established: An international compact in 1961 supported the banning of cannabis, which the federal government did outright with the Controlled Substances Act in 1970. Pot use and arrests have increased steadily since; marijuana arrests in the United States have nearly tripled since 1990.

Continue reading at: http://blogs.sfweekly.com/thesnitch/2011/04/marijuana_prohibition_100_years.php

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Culhane: Transgender panel at Equality Forum

From 365 Gay:  http://www.365gay.com/opinion/culhane-transgender-panel-at-equality-forum/

By John Culhane, Professor of Law, Widener University
04.27.2011

Tuesday’s National Transgender Panel at Equality Forum was predictably excellent. This is my third year blogging the event, and the first two panels were just as information-packed, thought-provoking, and moving. (Here are my accounts of the panels from 2010 (second part here) and 2009.)

Moderator Heath Fogg Davis, a Temple University Associate Professor of Political Science, presided over the proceedings lightly, giving each panelist just a few minutes to speak before offering a follow-up question and then turning most of the session over to questions and answers – and the 50-plus person audience indeed had questions and comments in abundance, drawing the panelists into some interesting and mostly open-ended discussions.

The panelists, in order, were:

Qui Alexander, a community health educator at the Mazzoni Center in Philadelphia; Gabriel Arkes, Acting Assistant Professor of Lawyering at NYU Law School (and a staff attorney with the Sylvia Rivera Law Project); and Lorenzo Triburgo, a photographer who lives in Portland.

Each speaker was given just a few minutes to offer a few remarks (hardly as formal, it turned out, as the “opening statements” description suggested they might be).

Continue reading at:  http://www.365gay.com/opinion/culhane-transgender-panel-at-equality-forum/

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Could you walk me to my car tonight, You see I have a feeling.

So many times when I hear the story of yet another transsexual or transgender woman assaulted or murdered I remember how naive I was when I first came out and I had feminist women friends advising me.  But they were independent and hippies and they were not always the best judge of the level of risk they put themselves in either.

When I was a teenager my mother warned me about the danger I would put myself in with men if I were not careful, yet the awareness of the amount of danger and risk is something we have to learn from experience as we were not , to use a much misused term “socialized” in such a manner as to have internalized the skills to assess the risk level we put ourselves in.

When I saw the following on Facebook by Zoe Nicholson I asked her permission to repost it here.

By Zoe Nicholson

http://www.onlinewithzoe.com/2011/04/walk-me-to-the-car-tonight.html

Could you walk me to my car tonight,
You see I have a feeling.

I am a woman and I have a feeling.
I am a woman and I have funny feeling.
I am a woman and if I find the courage to ask you.
Will you walk me to my car tonight?

I am afraid to ask you because you might laugh.
I am afraid to ask you because you might ask me why.
I am afraid I cannot tell you why.
I cannot tell anyone why.

Will you walk me to the car tonight?
If you walk me to the car tonight,
Something bad will be averted.
It isn’t every night, just this night.

Will you think I am weak if I ask?
Will you tell me no if I ask?
Will I be sorry that I asked?

You see I am a woman and I have a feeling.
I have an inkling.
I have a sense of dread,
That will vaporize,
If you walk me to my car tonight.

Did you ask me to walk you to your car?
I think it is parked by mine.
I am happy to walk you to your car tonight.
I will share a light with you tonight.
Take my hand if you like.

I don’t need to ask why.
I don’t need to know why.
You are a woman and you have a feeling.
I am a woman and I have a feeling.
We have a feeling that we will be safe tonight.

(Poem written for and delivered at Take Back the Night at Cal State Fullerton )

Friday Night Fun and Culture Joan Baez

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What Does the Religious Right Stand For?

From Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/wayne-besen/religious-right-values_b_854551.html

By Wayne Besen
4/28/2011

When I first started fighting for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality in 1989, the mission seemed quite clear. We were working to educate and change the minds of traditionalists who had virtually no experience with LGBT people or issues. These individuals had grown up with stereotypes and misconceptions that could be proven false by the coming out of friends, co-workers, neighbors, or family members.

Today, defining our opponents is not so easy, and sometimes vexing, because their values are so vacant and vacuous. Back in the day, a true conservative was defined by how one lived — not necessarily how one voted. But today’s soulless, corporate conservatism has nothing to do with the way one lives and everything to do with lazy political labels and one-size-fits-all prefab positions.

Conservatism has now become a country club that offers membership to those who support a handful of policy issues. To join, one has to repudiate (or refudiate) abortion, marriage equality for same-sex couples, and the idea that global warming is man made. One also has to irrationally hate Barack Obama and favor tax cuts for millionaires.

If you deviate from the “conservatively correct” prefab platform — you are out. However, if you pass the standard “issue test” you are in — no matter how libertine your actual lifestyle is. This creed of “it’s about what you say, not how you live” is becoming rather evident as the GOP presidential nomination process heats up.

Continue reading at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/wayne-besen/religious-right-values_b_854551.html

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The APA and the transgender community ~ A diary of links ~

From Daily Kos:   http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/04/28/971126/-The-APA-and-the-transgender-community-~-A-diary-of-links-

By CA Treehugger
April 28, 2011

In 2010, at the insistence of the transgender community, the World Professional Association for Transgender Heath released the following statement regarding proposed changes to the American Psychiatric Association’s infamous bible of “mental disorders”, DSM-V.

The WPATH Board of Directors strongly urges the de-psychopathologisation of gender variance worldwide. The expression of gender characteristics, including identities, that are not stereotypically associated with one’s assigned sex at birth is a common and culturally-diverse human phenomenon which should not be judged as inherently pathological or negative. The psychopathologlisation of gender characteristics and identities reinforces or can prompt stigma, making prejudice and discrimination more likely, rendering transgender and transsexual people more vulnerable to social and legal marginalisation and exclusion, and increasing risks to mental and physical well-being. WPATH urges governmental and medical professional organizations to review their policies and practices to eliminate stigma toward gender-variant people.

WPATH did not have the courage to point to the shameful records of certain members of the relevant committees on DSM-V, but they are well aware of the outrage in the transgender community over selection of Drs. Kenneth Zucker and Raymond Blanchard as chairmen. These are men whom the TG community regards as reparatist reactionaries, who practice “therapies” that force trans children to accept their socially assigned gender roles. They also have a long history of pathologizing adult transgender people and subjecting both them and children to humilating and pseudoscientific procedures such as penile plethysmography — which has been banned as evidence in US courts but is still used on sex offenders.

This is the sort of “treatment” these quacks provide to the trans community, who are frequently “captives” of their clinics in order to get needed medical services, or are children involuntarily subjected to their brutality.

Their selection by the APA is an affront to the entire LGBT community, and reveals the low intellectual and ethical standards prevailing at the APA.

Here are a few starting points for more information.

Ray Blanchard

Michael Bailey

Blanchard-Bailey-Laurence Clearinghouse

J. Michael Bailey Investigation

Paul McHugh

The webpage Zucker attempted to suppress

Zucker’s role in the pathologization of gender variance (Scroll down to see article.)

The GID reform movement

Petition to remove crossdressing from the DSM

More Important things for Me Than Royal Weddings

Not that I gave a rat’s ass about them to start with.  Hell I never gave a damned about Diana or any of the others who are part of the Royal Spectacle.  I did find Prince Harry revealing the true color of royalty by wearing the Nazi uniform amusing along with his regularly appearing racist tendencies.  Refreshingly honest, I must say….

In one of my comments I mentioned the series of storms the east coast of the US is experiencing.  Hundreds of tornadoes, massive rainstorms, over three hundred people dead…

I grew up in the mountain country of upstate New York.  The town I was born in is in Essex County as is the last town I lived in prior to leaving home.  It has the distinction of being the poorest county in New York state.  There is a book about the county where I spent most of my childhood, except for five years (more on that community shortly).  The book is titled “The Sticks: A Profile of Essex County, New York“. It was published in 1972, some five years after I left Essex County.

When I first went to college I discovered I was a hillbilly.  I mean, we didn’t think of ourselves that way.  I listened to the same music as the kids from New York City and other more prosperous places.  I read the same books. But people from Essex County, who were blue collar working class, who worked in the mines and mills were the northern version of rednecks.

This is part of the reason why I bonded so quickly with the working class red diaper kids from the city.  Class ties…

In the television series “Generation Kill” one of the characters, Ray is of the same redneck/working class background.  People sort of make fun of him and tell him to shut-up.  My favorite line from the whole series is when he shoots back, “You’re just jealous because your mama never took you to NASCAR.”  My equivalent might be, “You’re just jealous because your mama never took you to see Joey Chitwood’s Auto Thrill Show”.

When the people who talk of identity and roots ask, “Where are you from?” I answer upstate New York.  They say, “No we mean your cultural heritage.”  My cultural heritage is mining and mill town working class.  It included BBQ picnics, fishing from flat bottom row boats, going to tractor pulls, barrel races and events where people do insane things with drag racers and strange dirt track race cars.

While watching the Weather Channel and the storm tracking I noticed there was a lot of seriously harsh weather occurring over the area where I grew up.

This morning I learned the area was wiped out by massive flooding.  Roads washed out, bridges wiped out.  People who are well below the poverty level have had their infrastructure destroyed in a state where they have instituted austerity measures rather than tax the shit out of the rich and Wall Street.

Now along with poverty Essex county is in the Adirondack Mountains.  It is filled with beautiful lakes and scenery, much of which is preserved in the form of State Parks and Forests.  This means much of the people’s income is from people who visit. It has become a year around tourist destination, with ski resorts, fishing, boating and historic sites.

The problem is the tourists do not pay the local taxes that maintain the infrastructure.  Without roads and bridges tourism dies.  Without money from tourists how will the people who live in poverty repair the school which was apparently damaged?

So as you can see I might be less than enchanted by the wedding of a pair of useless royals that cost some 100 million pounds.

Fuck spectacles.

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Florida House passes anti-abortion legislation

From The Los Angeles Times: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-abortion-restrictions-20110429,0,5071659.story

By Kathleen Haughney, Orlando SentinelApril 29, 2011

Reporting from Tallahassee—
After hours of emotionally fraught debate, the Florida House overwhelmingly approved a range of new abortionmeasures that would restrict health-insurance coverage of the procedure, ban most abortions after a fetus is “viable,” and require women seeking an abortion to first review an ultrasound in hopes that they would reverse their decision after seeing the images.The focus of the debate was the “ultrasound” bill, passed last year but vetoed by then-Gov. Charlie Crist. Rep. James Grant revealed that his parents were told that he was going to be born severely disabled, and he said they decided to go through with the pregnancy because “they believed in life.” There was no reason, he said, for women not to understand the status of the fetus when they seek an abortion.

The measure requires that women who seek to end a pregnancy first receive an ultrasound, though they could decline in writing to view it. Women who are victims of sexual abuse or have a medical reason can opt out of the exam, but they must provide a copy of a restraining order, police report, medical record or other court documentation.

The House also passed five other abortion bills Wednesday. Most are pending in the Senate; they are expected to pass, and then be signed by Gov. Rick Scott.

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