House Escalates Savage Attack on Women’s Health Statement of NOW President Terry O’Neill

NOW Press Release:  http://now.org/press/05-11/05-04.html

May 4, 2011

Today the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3, a sweeping anti-abortion rights bill sponsored by long-time reproductive justice opponent Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) and championed by Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) as more important than jobs or economic recovery. The bill would enshrine into law extreme funding restrictions on abortion care, putting women’s health and lives at risk. The National Organization for Women vows to work aggressively to block passage in the Senate and applauds the White House for threatening to veto this bill.

The so-called No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act goes much further than its deceptive title suggests. It would codify and dramatically expand a collection of federal abortion funding restrictions referred to as the Hyde Amendment. As acknowledged by the late Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.), the goal of instituting and broadening these restrictions has always been to effectively overturn Roe v. Wade; targeting low-income women was Hyde’s opportunistic start. Now conservative lawmakers’ goal is to deny women at all income levels access to insurance coverage for abortion care.

Rep. Smith and Speaker Boehner take this ideological crusade to new lows by attempting to specifically define and limit what constitutes a health exception while narrowing incest and rape exceptions — a long-sought effort of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (who, let it be recalled, continue to be notorious for systematically protecting child rapists) and their ultra-conservative allies. H.R. 3 would also impose tax penalties on employers and individuals whose private insurance policies happen to cover abortion care, potentially leading to IRS “abortion audits.”

If you think this savage attack on women’s health will stop with abortion, think again. Less than a month has passed since these same men nearly shut down the government to define contraception, pap smears and HIV screenings as equivalent to abortion care. Women will continue fighting back because our lives depend on it. These irresponsible men must not get away with acting as if voters sent them to Congress to make judgments endangering women’s health and lives.
###

For Immediate Release
Contact: Lisa Bennett w. 202-628-8669, ext. 123, c. 301-537-7429

Nancy Keenan the House Vote on H.R.3

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Longing for Ordinary

One of the big problems I have with the Transgender Borg Collective is how they expect us to stay in their ghetto of transgender forever.  It is sort of like being in a gang, death is the only way out.

For example I am supposed to embrace the label of “transwoman” after 40 plus years of being a woman without any sort of qualifying prefix.

This really negates the real reason I had sex change surgery, which was to be an ordinary woman, not a queen/transgender.

All the fictional history about how the Doctors wouldn’t do surgery on us if we were friends with other sisters is kind of bullshit given how many of us have been life long friends with other post-transsexual women and men.

Many of us looked at the queen/transgender demimonde/ghetto and saw one thing… No Future…

Too much insanity, too much sex work, to much drug addiction, too many kamikaze life choices.

Now ordinary can mean many things.  For some it means having husband or wife as the case may be but your basic heterosexual marriage nonetheless.  For others acceptance in the gay or lesbian communities and either an embrace or rejection of the struggle for marriage equality.

For some it means complete stealth and for others openness without “transsexual” being the first and foremost thing about them.  When I say openness I am describing those folks who write memoirs, blog, may even be activists yet reject the idea of running around in a “Transsexual Menace” t-shirt being first and foremost “transsexual”.

While being “TRANSGENDER” first, and foremost seems to be what the Transgender Borg Collective is all about.

Transsexual  has always been different from transgender, no matter how much they look alike , especial during the active “transsexual” phase of people with transsexualism’s lives.This isn’t a matter of transsexual being a Ph.D. in transgenderism or transsexual being the professional level in sports vs transgender being the amateur level.

At this point the Transgender Borg Collective will no doubt pull out “The Benjamin Scale”.  Which was actually published in the mid 1950s in Sexology Magazine nearly ten years before it was published in The Transsexual Phenomena.  I knew Dr. Benjamin.  I was one of his patients.  I also knew him through the Reed Erickson Foundation and had a chance to ask him about that scale.  You see we were seeing people who looked pretty much identical to ourselves but who were not getting SRS, even when they had the money.  Several backed out of SRS while being prepped for surgery.

Being transsexual or transgender isn’t being in a competition. The two things are different but with blurry ill defined edges.

For one thing transgender is static while transsexual is moving and becoming some thing else. Transsexual is about changing sex. Transgender is about transgressing gender “norms”, which is  pretty murky concept in a world of G/L Liberation and Feminism since they are also about breaking down and expanding those norms.*

This brings up another bone of contention…

I am not into attacking actual transgender individuals. I may voice criticism of an individual doing something wrong the way I criticized Autumn Sandeen’s four part attack on Ashley Love over on PHB but I have also praised Autumn’s courage of conviction for actually going to jail for justices as she did when she was involved in the actions to end DADT.

This generally speaking isn’t about the activists either.  I’ve watched too many activists work too hard trying to pass righteous laws that protect people from hate crimes and discrimination for me to dump on them.  Even though I might well disagree with different individuals over various strategies or even goals at times.

I often think this loose all encompassing Transgender Borg Collective concept makes passing things like an inclusive ENDA next to impossible.

Yet any criticism of the Borg ideology gets me lumped in with folks whose entire blogs seem to be about little else besides trumpeting their superiority and hate for “The Transgenders”.

According to the Collective thought/wisdom/lore of the Transgender Borg Collective I am a separatist, a renegade, an Elitist simply for saying, “Leave me the fuck alone… I don’t want to join your cult…”

No thought is given to the concept that I might have had my sex change operation 20+ years before the founding of the Transgender Borg Collective.

Nor is any given to the idea that as a feminist I might find much of the TBC, especially the language surrounding “gender” to be oppressive to women.  Especially given how feminist  women in the 1960s and 70s spent so much time and energy fighting against women being defined by sex/gender roles.

For some of us the whole Transgender Borg Collective is as alien as the Borg collective of Star Trek fame.

At times it feels as though we are dealing with a cult spawned by an unholy alliance of Judith Butler and Virginia Prince.  A cult that speaks a language of gender studies and queer studies and is so smugly caught up in the brilliance of their own words as to be oblivious to the damage they do the real lives of working and middle class men and women who don’t see themselves as gender variants or transgressing gender by deconstructing and rewriting textual commentary on the gender binary.

When I hear that sort of bullshit I want  to smack the person saying it and tell them to get a freaking clue.  If anything is an artificial social construct it is the idea that there is an actual rigid gender binary in modern western society.  Haven’t the people talking this bullshit ever met a woman cop or soldier, or a feminine gay man.  Gender isn’t sex.  And being masculine or feminine in your gender presentation has little to do with actually being a man or a woman.

Today on Facebook I was in a discussion regarding the baggage the gender variant/genderqueer/etc gang is loading down the whole idea of Transgender as Umbrella with.

Kris Smith

And by the way the standards, such as they are, are very minimal. Change your name, get your ID, and live as the person you say you are. How difficult is that? Isn’t that what the TG originally said was their model, their goal?

And now what do we find? The goal has shifted, and now people don’t even have to change anything at all, you just show up on the internet, or on a weekend get away “en femme”, and ouila! You’re a woman or man just like all those silly TS people who actually get their legalities and medical issues handled. I guess people should have taken the movement seriously when they said they wanted to destroy all “gender”, whatever they mean by that.

But its hypocritical too, isn’t it? These same people go back to their normal lives of being men and women, and leave the political and legal fallout for those poor TS saps to clean up. We are the ones who bear the brunt of their part-time fun and deconstructing whatsis, even though the people who claim to be fucking gender actually live quite comfortable in whatever gender or sex society sees them as.

WE are the ones with real needs. WE are the people who have made the commitment. People who want to party can do it on someone else’s dime, their days of using us are over.

The Internet has proven problematic on a number of levels.  All the aliases for one thing.  Why should I believe anything anyone hiding behind an alias says?

Then there are the sock puppets.  Does anyone wonder why I automatically consider people who whip out tales of horrible injustice and all due to their being “intersex” to almost certainly be either liars or mentally disturbed, perhaps both?  If so do the names Kiira Tirea and Cheryl Chase ring a bell?

The internet is filled with transsexual and transgender avatars giving strong opinions and powerful compelling reasons why they can’t transition.  Or telling how perfectly they transitioned.  some of them will flat out tell lies that I can cross reference as a bold faced lie in the 30 seconds it takes me to Google something that sounds sketchy.

Andrea James has page after page of information on various internet TS/TG fantasy role players.

If you regularly follow my blog you know I am into a whole wide variety of topics.  Many like Medicare and Social Security have a direct impact on my life.  So I wind up wondering about people who seem to have nothing else going on in their lives beside being part of the Transgender Borg Collective.

I also wind up feeling both reviled and objectified when ever I deal people who are taped into the collective Bible of the cult.

I’m used to denigration coming from certain segments of the gender studies “Radical Feminists”, I’m used to it coming from the religious right.  But I will not put up with it coming from the Transgender Borg.

Their ideology and the way they feel about people who have had sex change operations with the idea of being ordinary women and men is appalling.  It is as nasty as anything I’ve ever heard from either the radical feminists or the religious right.

I was abused as a child.  I’ve been in abusive relationships as an adult.  I stopped being in those relationships, I stopped drinking ad drugging.  Why should I be part of a cult where I am abused?

I called this piece “Longing for Ordinary”…  Not longing fro “Mainstream” or longing for some sort of princess fantasy.

Ordinary means different things to different people.  My ordinary might not be yours but there are a lot of people mostly old hippies, old artist and old lesbians who share my sort of ordinary where a little bit of wonderful might be tickets to see some one I saw 45 years ago at a Folk Festival or in the Village.  For me it might be a conference on press reform.  For someone else it might be an Alaska cruise.

Ordinary means just being a part of the class and demographic you would be a part of post all the transsexual stuff if your life hadn’t been impacted by a trans-prefixed word.

I actually feel sorry for people who are totally caught up in the Transgender Borg collective.  I especially feel sorry for the activists who have to deal with the ill defined category of transgender when trying to pass laws.

As for me… the really important things are finishing getting the garden in and having a friend coming for a visit in a couple of weeks.

My life is so mundane and ordinary compared to the trauma and drama within the Transgender Borg Collective and I kind of like it that way.

* Except for those people who actually live 24/7/365 while taking hormone and getting various surgeries other than SRS.  They don’t seem to transgress gender very much either…  Unless you are a writing a thesis in gender studies using post-modern terminology in hopes of snagging a worthless Ph.D. with a brilliant future as a barista or some other McJob.

Gay Marriage Equality, or Just Marriage Equality?

- By Emma Bailey from Tform.
Wednesday, May 4, 2011 at 3:07pm
Gay Marriage Equality, or Just Marriage Equality?

I have been reading about marriage equality for some time.

I have watched many people get involved in the debate on all levels. Same sex couples actively pursuing equality, Peter Tatchell recently advocating that not only should same sex couples be allowed to marry, but that opposite sex couples should be allowed to have a civil partnership too. Organisations like Stonewall actively (until recently) shying away from the subject, if not actively holding it back and many more in between.

What I have noticed amongst all this is what seems like a huge lack of support from the trans community for marriage equality. As a transsexual woman myself, I read a lot of related news and I never seem to be able to find active support for this issue from the trans community, which is a huge shame. It may be there, but it’s not really overwhelming.

The subject of marriage equality for people in same sex relationships is hardly a new one. It has been debated for many years and is still in full swing even though in the UK, the Civil Partnership Act 2004 now allows same sex couples to unite legally.

Civil partnerships are equal with marriage under the law in the United Kingdom, but the debate has long been that they are not really equal. Kind of a special rule for same sex couples who although may now have the same legal rights as a heterosexual married couple, are not really allowed to get married.

So, as is right, this is being challenged. My personal view is that we should either have a single system which all can access, or two systems, one civil and one religious, which again, absolutely everyone can access depending on their own views, not someone else’s.

From a TS point of view though, I am puzzled as to why we have not waded in on this subject much more heavily as a community. Being transsexual in its self is not related to sexuality and so on that particular level, there is no reason to be even considering where we stand on the debate. Despite this label though, we do all have a separate sexuality too.

Transsexual individuals can be straight, gay or bi, both before and after they transition and any combination in between. It therefore stands to reason that we will also be caught out in this whole marriage equality palaver in one way or another.

In addition, in the United Kingdom, for a transsexual person to be recognised legally as the gender they identify as, they must obtain a GRC (Gender Recognition Certificate). There are many hurdles we have to jump through before getting one of these elusive accolades, but one of the most significant hurdles relates directly to marriage.

Although we may change our name and gender marker on many documents to help us live full time, we are not legally recognised by the state as the opposite gender until we have been granted our GRC.

If an individual who is transitioning has been lucky enough to have the support of their partner through the whole process and has managed to keep their marriage intact, then they are presented with a unique situation. As we are not legally recognised by the state until after we receive our certificate, our marriage is legal right up to that point.

If we were to receive a certificate though, we would essentially be a same sex, married couple! This as we know is not allowed by law and so we are forced to have our marriages dissolved before being granted the only form of legal recognition we can. Of course, we can proceed on the very same day our marriage is dissolved and have a civil partnership, but for many this is heartbreaking and feels very much like double standards.

Many couples will either not apply for a GRC because they want to stay married and therefore do not have the rights they should have as their identified gender, or will simply opt for a civil partnership so they can get things in order legally.

To stand up for marriage equality as a community and along side our LGB brothers and sisters, would mean we could help to ensure that not only this red tape rubbish is abolished (as married couples would be able to then remain married on application for a GRC), but we would be standing up for ourselves and telling these politicians and government officials that this inequality needs to stop…. Now!

I for one support complete marriage equality, for anyone who wants it, be it a heterosexual couple, a homosexual couple or a couple with a member going through transition (whatever their sexuality)! No one should be allowed to dictate this to us……

…….. I just wish we’d all stand up, make some noise and say so!

Emma

http://www.tform.co.uk/ < Click here to see Emma’s website Tform.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, please feel free to pass it on and share it with anyone you think it may help.

The Failed Drug War Has Created a Human Rights Nightmare — How Can This Happen in Our Country and Go Virtually Undiscussed?

From Alternet: http://www.alternet.org/rights/150785/the_failed_drug_war_has_created_a_human_rights_nightmare_–_how_can_this_happen_in_our_country_and_go_virtually_undiscussed/

If we fail to commit ourselves to ending mass incarceration, future generations will judge us harshly.

Sojourners / By Michelle Alexander
April 28, 2011

So much about our racial reality today is little more than a mirage. The promised land of racial equality wavers, quivers just out of our reach in the barren desert of our new, “colorblind” political landscape. It looks so good from a distance: Barack Obama, our nation’s first black president, standing in the Rose Garden behind a podium looking handsome, dignified, and in charge. Flip the channel and there’s Michelle Obama, a brown-skinned woman, digging a garden in the backyard of the White House — not as a servant or a maid — but as the first lady, schooling the nation on better health and the need to be good stewards of our planet. Flip the channel again and there’s the whole Obama family exiting Air Force One, waving to the crowd, descending the flight of stairs — a gorgeous black family living in the White House, ruling America, cheered by the world.

Drive a few blocks from the White House and you find the Other America. You find you’re still in the desert, dying of thirst, wondering what wrong turn was made, and how you managed to miss the promised land, though you reached for it with all your might.

A vast new racial undercaste now exists in America, though their plight is rarely mentioned on the evening news. Obama won’t mention it; the Tea Party won’t mention it; media pundits would rather talk about anything else. The members of the undercaste are largely invisible to those of us who have jobs, live in decent neighborhoods, and zoom around on freeways, passing by the virtual and literal prisons in which they live.

But here are the facts. There are more African American adults under correctional control today — in prison or jail, on probation or parole — than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began. In major urban areas, like Chicago — Obama’s hometown — the majority of working-age African American men have criminal records are thus subject to legalized discrimination for the rest of their lives. Millions of people in the United States, primarily poor people of color, are denied the very rights supposedly won in the Civil Rights Movement: the right to vote, the right to serve on juries, and the right to be free from discrimination in employment, housing, access to education, and public benefits. They have been branded “criminals” and “felons” and now find themselves relegated to a permanent, second-class status for the rest of their lives. They live in a parallel social universe, the Other America.

We, as a nation, are in deep denial about how this came to pass. On the rare occasions when the existence of “them” — the others, the ghetto dwellers, those locked up and locked out — is publicly acknowledged, standard excuses are trotted out for their condition. We’re told black culture, bad schools, poverty, and broken homes are to blame. Almost no one admits: We declared war. We declared a war on them. We declared a war on the most vulnerable people in our society and then blamed them for the wreckage.

And yet that is precisely what we did. We declared a war known as the War on Drugs. The war has driven the quintupling of our prison population in a few short decades. The vast majority of the startling increase in incarceration in America is traceable to the arrest and imprisonment of poor people of color for non-violent, drug-related offenses. Families have been torn apart, young lives shattered, as parents grieve the loss of loved ones to the system, often hiding their grief under a cloak of shame. Politicians claim that the enemy in this war in is a thing — “drugs” — not a group of people, but the facts prove otherwise.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/rights/150785/the_failed_drug_war_has_created_a_human_rights_nightmare_–_how_can_this_happen_in_our_country_and_go_virtually_undiscussed/

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