Canada: ‘Rainbow’ ruckus hits Catholic high school

From Parent Central Ca.:

By Kristin Rushowy and Louise Brown
June 7, 2011

Is it the end of the rainbow in Catholic schools?

Rainbows — both in images and words — are being discouraged in some Catholic schools because they are seen as too politically charged for the anti-homophobia clubs that want to use them.

One Mississauga school told students not to put up a rainbow flag at a recent anti-homophobia event, so the students at St. Joseph’s Catholic Secondary School baked rainbows into their cupcakes instead.

“I thought it was unfair,” said student organizer Leanne Iskander of not being allowed to display the rainbow flag or other such signs.

“Rainbows can represent anything — you can’t just ban rainbows.”

Rainbows — first billed as an Old Testament sign of God’s promise to Noah, then a tag for a 1980s American political coalition and also used by Nelson Mandela to describe the South African nation — are now used often to signify a gay-friendly stance.

The Dufferin-Peel Catholic board says the rainbow flag wasn’t banned outright, but that a bookmark designed in the school was preferred, with coloured stripes that referred to events for the entire social justice week, not just the Friday anti-homophobia day.

The rainbow ruckus is the latest example of the tension facing Catholic schools directed by Queen’s Park to help schools fight homophobia while seeking to uphold the Vatican’s stand against gay sex.

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The Labor Movement’s Classic, Forgottten Tactic—and Why It Must Be Revived

From In These Times:

By Carl Finamore
Jun 8, 2011

Reviving the Strike is a primer for every trade unionist tired of being the victim

A new book by labor attorney and veteran union negotiator Joe Burns, Reviving the Strike: How Working People Can Regain Power And Transform America, is a valuable contribution to resurrecting fundamental lessons from the neglected history of American labor.

As the title suggests and as Burns emphasized to me, “the only way we can revive the labor movement is to revive a strike based on the traditional tactics of the labor movement.” But he doesn’t stop there. Burns—whose book is excerpted on Working In These Times here—reviews for the reader the full range of tactics and strategy during the exciting, turbulent and often violent history of American labor.

Refreshingly, he also provides critical assessments normally avoided by labor analysts of a whole series of union tactics that have grown enormously popular over the last several decades. For example, he examines and reviews the mixed results of boycotts, very  short temporary strikes and corporate campaigns. Even organizing the unorganized membership drives come under his scrutiny for a bit of criticism, especially when they are mistakenly cast as the main formula for reversing labor’s rapid descent.

Membership will only increase, Burns believes, once labor adopts a more militant strategy, outlined in the book, which successfully leads to substantial economic gains for workers.

He details the experience of the 1930s when millions flocked to fledgling unions only because they were seen as immediately capable of improving the everyday lives of working people. It will be similar victories, Burns strongly emphasizes, and not any secret-weapon ingenious organizing techniques that will boost union membership.

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US South still celebrating Confederacy

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Civil War Still not Civil

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“Bradley Manning: Way OUT for Justice” in the Honolulu Pride Parade

From World Can’t Wait:

Tuesday, 07 June 2011

Our contingent to support Bradley Manning in the Honolulu Pride Parade on June 4 was a great success! Our brilliant banner, glittered photos of Bradley Manning, Bradley Manning masks, chants and drumming made us impossible to miss and we had tremendous support along the route.

As our truck rolled out of Ala Moana Park and into the Pride celebration we wondered whether people would know who Bradley Manning is, and whether there would be support, opposition, or merely puzzled faces. As we reached the first crowds of people the questions disappeared. A group of soldiers along the route pumped their fists in the air. Japanese tourists read the signs and clapped in approval. People turned to each other asking: “Who’s Bradley Manning” and others in the group would explain. All along the route hundreds of cameras and cell phones snapped pictures, flashed us their shakas, and gave us the thumbs-up. We’re sure more than a few headed to google to find out more. World Can’t Wait-Hawai`i has organized numerous small events to support Bradley Manning, but this was by far the best. Until now we’ve been disappointed by how few people know about his case so we were surprised to see how many people showed quick recognition and support. It was especially heartening to see the response of many Japanese tourists who lined the parade route. We suspect that even if they didn’t immediately recognize Bradley Manning’s name, they supported Wikileaks and are aware of the case.

In addition to having a big presence in the parade itself, our contingent was also seen on TV coverage of the celebration that evening.

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Cops arrest journalists in Wisconsin

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Women in Advertising Presentation

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What causes rape?

From Socialist Worker UK:

Tue 7 Jun 2011

Women’s oppression and violence against women are features of our society. But can we get rid of them? Sadie Robinson looks at the roots of sexism and offers some answers

The world can be a bad place to be a woman. Women make up a staggering 70 percent of the world’s poor. Being female shapes every aspect of women’s lives—from things like work, housing, health and education to our most intimate relationships.

In Britain, the most obvious evidence of women’s oppression is the 17 percent pay gap between men and women. But the most sickening signs are acts of rape and violence—and the widespread tendency to blame the victims.

The shocking nature of sexual violence can make many people think that humans are inherently brutal. They despair of ever creating a world without sexual violence and systematic oppression.

The level of violence against women is appalling. It’s estimated that at least 47,000 women are raped in Britain every year—while the conviction rate for reported rapes is just 6.5 percent.

But the vast majority of men do not rape women. And most men are not violent towards women.

Rape doesn’t happen because of men’s “natural” instincts. It results from the way that class society distorts sexuality and alienates people from each other and themselves.

Women’s oppression benefits capitalism—it plays an ideological and an economic function.

People create the environments and the societies we live in—but because we feel we have no control over it, the world appears as an alien entity.


We become alienated from ourselves and from each other. Rape and sexual violence are some of the most extreme forms that this alienation takes.

This combines with a view of sexuality that sees sex as a commodity like any other, which can be bought and sold—or taken.

Nearly a third of people in Britain think that a woman was at least partly to blame if she was raped while she was drunk.

Dominant ideas about sexuality blame women for “encouraging” rape and treat men as little more than animals unable to control themselves.

So justice secretary Kenneth Clarke’s recent comments, which seemed to dismiss some rapes, such as date rape, as barely rapes at all, unfortunately came as no surprise.

Clarke’s comments did cause an enormous outcry, and his views are heavily contested.

But those at the top of society—politicians, judges, those who own the media, and so on—promote sexist ideas. Those who own newspapers and TV stations fill them with images depicting women as sex objects, not people in their own right.

And it’s normal for rape trials to raise what a victim was wearing, if she was out late, if she had been drinking and if she’d had sex with the rapist before.

Of course, lots of women, and men, do challenge sexist ideas and fight for reforms to improve women’s lives.

But sexist ideas are widespread because of women’s position in society and how our society distorts sexuality.

The revolutionary Karl Marx described how the dominant ideas in any society are the ideas of the ruling class. This doesn’t mean they are the only ideas—but it means they are the strongest.

But why would the ruling class want to encourage this view of women? What do they get out of it?

Women’s oppression hasn’t always existed. It emerged when human societies began to form into classes.

Marx and his collaborator Frederick Engels identified the family under class society as the key to women’s oppression. Engels described the emergence of the family as “the world historical defeat of the female sex”.

They saw that how people secure their basic existence shapes human behaviour and ideas.

The family emerged alongside private property and the state. Before that, women and men lived in hunter-gatherer societies where they did different but equal work and had an equal say in decision-making. Marx and Engels called this “primitive communism”.

As societies developed, they began to produce a surplus in excess of what they needed to meet their basic needs—something that could be stored and controlled.

And the production techniques that created it tended to prioritise men’s labour over women’s for the first time.

Once a ruling class developed the men who came to dominate wanted “legitimate” heirs to pass the surplus on to. Control of women and sexual relationships became key to owning it.

The family unit developed with an ideology that treats women as second-class citizens and as a form of property to be controlled by men.

These ideas help legitimate and encourage violence against women.

That doesn’t mean that nothing ever changes in class societies. A woman’s position in a family under capitalism is very different from how it was under feudalism.

And even under capitalism women have fought to transform their lives over the past century.

Most women in Britain today work outside the home. People have more sexual freedom than they did in the past.

And changes in women’s lives and ideas have had an impact on men too. So it’s much more common for men to do jobs that would have previously been seen as women’s work such as nursing.


Men spend more time caring for their children today than they did in the past. Housework is no longer the sole responsibility of women in many homes.

Huge changes have occurred within capitalism, partly due to the changing needs of the system and partly because of mass pressure and struggle from ordinary people.

These changes show that the idea that men and women have fixed, unchanging roles is wrong.

But important as the changes are, women’s oppression remains. And our rulers are constantly trying to roll back the gains we have made.

So being a wife and mother is still seen as key to a women’s identity.

Society overemphasises sexual relationships—and tells women that unless they nab themselves a man they’re a failure.

And women who don’t want children are still often seen as inexplicably strange.

Women’s oppression, like other oppressions, serves to divide the working class. Instead of ordinary people seeing themselves as having a common interest against the rich, women and men can be sucked into seeing each other as the main enemy. This is highly useful for our rulers—and they know it.

The family also plays a key economic function for capitalism. Women are expected to maintain the current workforce and nurture the future one—while often being part of that workforce at the same time.


They raise children, care for sick or elderly relatives, and maintain a household. They save capitalism a fortune by providing all of these services for free.

This isn’t to say that every home and every relationship is simply a weight around women’s necks.

Often people value their personal relationships and home life above all else, because they seem to offer a haven from the stresses of the outside world.

But that doesn’t change the role the family plays under capitalism. And for a lot of the time, people looking for comfort and sanctuary in the family are disappointed.

The haven they hoped to find ends up being a pressure cooker where built-up tensions are unleashed—and women often bear the brunt of them.

The key role that the family plays explains why our rulers hate criticism of it and attack anyone who falls outside it. That’s why there is homophobia, panic over single parents and pressure on single people to get married.

This also shapes the way people think about rape. Most women who are raped know their attacker, and violence is more likely to happen within families—yet the most common view of rape is of a shadowy stranger leaping out of a bush late at night.

Sexist ideas are so ingrained because women’s oppression has existed for thousands of years, since the rise of class societies. This is why it seems so natural and permanent.

But some of those who argue that we can’t challenge oppression do so because they have an interest in maintaining it. And it helps them to focus on individual acts of violence, because that distracts from the systemic oppression at the heart of capitalism.

We can end women’s oppression—but to do it we need to get rid of the system that props it up.

Oppression affects all women, but the impact is vastly different depending on class.

It is key to a system that ruling class women do very well out of—which is why we can’t rely on alliances with rich women to win change.

Ordinary people have a common interest in getting rid of capitalism. It wrecks the lives of working class women and men.

It relies on oppression to divide and weaken the working class. And it atomises us and distorts even our most intimate relationships.

In the process of creating a new world, people transform themselves. They throw off what Marx called the “muck of ages” and ideas that have survived for centuries start to fall away.

And in every revolutionary movement, women come to the forefront to lead the struggle.

Revolution isn’t a fairytale. Already this year we’ve seen revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia that have thrown out dictators and raised the prospect of workers’ control of society.

Collectively, we have the power to smash the system and create real equality and freedom for everybody.

© Socialist Worker (unless otherwise stated). You may republish if you include an active link to the original.


Louisiana House may consider bill to ban abortion

From Reuters:

By Kathy Finn
NEW ORLEANS | Tue Jun 7, 2011

(Reuters) – The Louisiana state House of Representatives could soon consider a bill that would ban abortions and launch a battle to overturn the historic Roe v. Wade decision by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The bill by Republican state Rep. John LaBruzzo defines human life as beginning at the moment of conception and makes it a crime to terminate a pregnancy except when the birth would endanger the mother’s life.

“Our first intent is to save unborn babies’ lives,” LaBruzzo told Reuters. “Our second intent is to have an opportunity to mount a challenge that makes it to the Supreme Court.”

The bill was scheduled for House debate on Tuesday, but LaBruzzo asked to postpone the measure because of concerns by state budget officials about whether the proposal could jeopardize the state’s Medicaid funds.

The bill could be taken up by the House as early as Wednesday.

The measure would repeal previous state exceptions that allowed abortion when a pregnancy results from rape or incest.

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Decline and fall of the American empire

From The Guardian UK:

The economic powerhouse of the 20th century emerged stronger from the Depression. But faced with cultural decay, structural weaknesses and reliance on finance, can the US do it again?

Larry Elliott, Economics editor
The Guardian, Monday 6 June 2011

America clocked up a record last week. The latest drop in house prices meant that the cost of real estate has fallen by 33% since the peak – even bigger than the 31% slide seen when John Steinbeck was writing The Grapes of Wrath.

Unemployment has not returned to Great Depression levels but at 9.1% of the workforce it is still at levels that will have nerves jangling in the White House. The last president to be re-elected with unemployment above 7.2% was Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

The US is a country with serious problems. Getting on for one in six depend on government food stamps to ensure they have enough to eat. The budget, which was in surplus little more than a decade ago, now has a deficit of Greek-style proportions. There is policy paralysis in Washington.

The assumption is that the problems can be easily solved because the US is the biggest economy on the planet, the only country with global military reach, the lucky possessor of the world’s reserve currency, and a nation with a proud record of re-inventing itself once in every generation or so.

All this is true and more. US universities are superb, attracting the best brains from around the world. It is a country that pushes the frontiers of technology. So, it may be that the US is about to emerge stronger than ever from the long nightmare of the sub-prime mortgage crisis. The strong financial position of American companies could unleash a wave of new investment over the next couple of years.

Let me put an alternative hypothesis. America in 2011 is Rome in 200AD or Britain on the eve of the first world war: an empire at the zenith of its power but with cracks beginning to show.

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Food Sovereignty Responds to Corporate Takeover of Food Production

From Truth Out:

by: Yve le Grand , Truthout
Wednesday 8 June 2011


Although the credit crunch has pushed the issue of the global food crisis to the background, it is still going on today. In fact, the number of chronically hungry people worldwide has risen and is estimated to amount to 967 million people according to the new Declaration of Human Rights, launched by the Cordoba process[1] at the end of 2008, on the occasion of the Declaration’s 60th anniversary.

In 1948, the of the United Nations declared “… everyone has a right to be free from hunger and to adequate food including drinking water, as set out in Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”[2]

The world famine in the 1970s led the Declaration to introduce the concept of food security: “… the availability at all times of adequate world food supplies of basic foodstuffs to sustain a steady expansion of food consumption and to offset fluctuations in production and prices.”[3]

This definition of food security, which is basically a technical matter of providing adequate human nutrition, led to the assumption that more food production would solve the problem of mass starvation. The Green Revolution led to a spectacular increase in the amount of food produced, but the numbers of the chronically hunger did not diminish accordingly.[4]

In his landmark book on poverty and famines,[5] Amartya Sen, concluded that enough food was being produced (i.e. enough calories per capita), but that the access to food, the entitlement to it, was the core of the problem. The poor simply lacked the financial and political means to claim their share of world food production. Sen made it clear that the world food problem was, thus, not so much a matter of food production, as it was one of social inequality and injustice. To see how a perfect storm has been in the making since the first Declaration of Human Rights, it is necessary to go back to the root of all food: seeds.

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Scientology’s Narconon Rehab Clinics: Are They a Racket Trying to Make New Converts?

From Alternet:

Narconon promises desperate addicts that they can sweat out their demons (and gobs of poisonous green ooze) by spending hours in sweltering saunas. But is it a real rehab?

The Fix / By Mark Ebner and Walter Armstrong
June 1, 2011

Want to get the latest on America’s drug & rehab culture? Sign up for The Fix’s newsletter here.

L. Ron Hubbard, the prolific science fiction author and founder of the Church of Scientology, may have been judged “a mental case” (according to the F.B.I.) and “a pathological liar” (according to a Los Angeles Supreme Court judge), but to tens of thousands of his eager followers worldwide, the man discovered an approach to recovery that outclasses everything on offer from mainstream addiction science. Narconon is the spawn of Hubbard’s pseudos-cientific notions, a detox-and-rehab enterprise that has, over more than four decades, grown into a multimillion-dollar empire that currently comprises an estimated several dozen clinics encircling the globe. Its claims of unrivaled success rates with its “100 percent natural,” “drug free” approach have kept it profitable and respectable, even as the church’s reputation has tanked. Celebrity endorsements—from the likes of “former graduate” Kirstie Alley—and a savvy internet marketing campaign haven’t hurt.

Yet according to the organization’s many critics, including friends and family of dead, damaged, or disappeared Narconon clients, the chain of rehabs is little more than a front group for the Church of Scientology. They allege that unsuspecting clients pay as much as $30,000 for “treatment” consisting of a bizarre detox process that poses serious health hazards, followed by indoctrination in Scientology masked as drug rehabilitation. By preying on people who are desperate and vulnerable—and prime candidates for conversion—Narconon serves as one of the church’s main sources of revenue and recruitment. As the Scientology brand turns increasingly toxic—in a recent New Yorker, Lawrence Wright reported that the F.B.I. is investigating its leadership for allegedly violating human trafficking laws—the church’s survival depends more than ever on Narconon’s hold on the addiction and recovery market. (Efforts by The Fix to contact a Narconon spokesperson for comment by phone and email were not successful.)

L. Ron Hubbard was a strange candidate to emerge as the self-proclaimed scientific leader of one of the world’s largest anti-addiction enterprises. His fondness for illicit substances was well known. Yet aside from his own ingestion of a wide variety of illegal drugs including mescaline, barbiturates, and coke—described in letters written by Hubbard and his son—the exact nature of Hubbard’s “research” into addiction remains obscure. Hubbard claimed to have discovered in 1977 that the residue of L.S.D. and other “toxic” substances lingers in the body’s tissues for months and even years after use; like tiny ticking time bombs, these remnants can explode at any moment, triggering a dangerous craving or disorienting flashback that, in turn, can lead to more drug use.

The Narconon (not to be confused with Narcotics Anonymous, or N.A.) pamphlet “Ten Things Your Friends May Not Know About Drugs” offers a basic account of the science fiction master’s theories of drug addiction. “Most drugs or their by-products get stored in fat within the body and can stay there for years,” it reads. “Even occasional use has long-term effects. This is a problem because later, when the person is working or exercising or has stress, the fat burns up and a tiny amount of the drug seeps back into the blood. This triggers cravings so the person may still want drugs even years after he stopped taking them.”

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The Proposed Gender Dysphoria Diagnosis in the DSM-5

From GID Reform Blog:

Reposted with Permission

Kelley Winters, Ph.D.
GID Reform Advocates

June 7, 2011

Last month, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) released a second round of proposed diagnostic criteria for the 5th Edition of The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). These include two diagnostic categories that impact the trans communities, Gender Dysphoria (formerly Gender Identity Disorder, or GID) and Transvestic Disorder (Formerly Transvestic Fetishism). For decades, the GID diagnosis has drawn protest from trans and transsexual communities, their allies and supportive medical and mental health professionals for its depiction of gender diversity, gender transition and medical transition care as mental illness and sexual deviance. The current diagnostic criteria for GID in the DSM-IV-TR cast difference from stereotypes of birth-assigned gender roles as pathological and are biased to favor harmful gender-reparative psychotherapies that enforce birth-role conformity. However, many community advocates and supportive medical professionals agree that some kind of diagnostic coding is necessary to facilitate access to medical and/or surgical transition care for those trans and transsexual people who need it. There is a need to replace the GID category with diagnostic nomenclature that is consistent with transition care, for those who need it, rather than contradicting transition care. There is a need for diagnostic nomenclature that does not harm those it is intended to help.

I urge trans community members, friends, care providers and allies to call upon the APA to clarify in the DSM-5 that nonconformity to birth-assigned roles and being victims of societal prejudice are not, in themselves, mental pathology. The current period for public comment to the APA ends June 15.

The APA Proposal Falls Short

The Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders Workgroup of the DSM-5 Task Force has partially responded to concerns about the GID diagnosis. For example, the derogatory title of Gender Identity Disorder (intended to imply, “disordered” gender identity) has been replaced with Gender Dysphoria, from a Greek root for distress. DSM-5 authors have expressed an willingness to focus on distress with incongruent physical characteristics and assigned gender roles, rather than on diagnosing difference (Ophelian 2010).

Moreover, the workgroup has articulated a historic shift in diagnostic focus away from the stereotype of “disordered” gender identity:

We have proposed a change in conceptualization of the defining features by emphasizing the phenomenon of “gender incongruence” in contrast to cross-gender identification per se (APA 2011A)

However, the workgroup has not reflected these principles in the diagnostic criteria for Gender Dysphoria. They retain much of the flawed language from the DSM-IV, casting difference from birth-assigned roles and a desire for medical transition treatment, in themselves, as symptomatic of mental disorder. Worse yet, post-transition people who are happy with their bodies and affirmed roles remain entrapped by the diagnostic criteria and specifiers, permanently labeled as mentally and sexually disordered. The proposed diagnostic criteria and categorical placement in the DSM continue to contradict transition and describe transition itself as pathological.

Social Stigma.

The proposed Gender Dysphoria diagnosis describe identities and expressions that differ from assigned birth sex as mental illness and sexual deviance. Behaviors and emotions considered ordinary or even exemplary for other (cisgender) people are mis-characterized as madness for gender variant people and especially children. For example,

in boys, a strong preference for cross-dressing or simulating female attire; in girls, a strong preference for wearing only typical masculine clothing and a strong resistance to the wearing of typical feminine clothing (APA 2011B)

In fact, five of the proposed subcriteria for children are strictly based on gender role nonconformity, with no relevance to the definition of mental disorder. As a consequence of similar criteria in the current DSM-IV-TR, children are punished and shamed for nonconformity to assigned birth roles.

Additionally, the Gender Dysphoria diagnosis is categorized with sexual disorders in the DSM. Although the work group noted that, “gender diagnoses will be separated from the sexual dysfunctions and paraphilias,” (APA 2011B). this decision falls short of addressing concerns about harmful stigma raised by clinicians, community advocates, and the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (2010A). Transwomen (those who identify as women and were birth-assigned male) are often maligned as crazy and sexually suspect “men” by the stigma of mental illness and sexual deviance that is perpetuated by these criteria and placement with sexual disorders, and vice versa for transmen. Gender variant and especially transsexual people lose jobs, homes, families, access to public facilities, and even custody and visitation of children as consequences of these false stereotypes.

Medical Transition Care Access.

The proposed Gender Dysphoria criteria continue to pose barriers for access to medically necessary hormonal and surgical transition treatment for those who need them. They contradict social and medical transition and mis-characterize transition itself as symptomatic of mental disorder. For example, four of six adult subcriteria describe a “strong desire” for social or medical transition as symptomatic of mental disorder (APA 2011A), without describing underlying distress or deprivation of life function that might underlie a desire for corrective treatment. This would be akin to classifying a desire for cancer treatment as pathological, rather than the cancer itself.

Transitioned individuals who are highly functional and happy with their lives are forever diagnosable as mentally disordered, according to the proposed criteria. For example, a post-transition person who wants to continue living in her or his affirmed role, wants to be treated like others of her/his affirmed gender, has typical feelings of those in her/his affirmed gender, and is distressed or unemployed because of societal prejudice will forever meet criteria A (subcriteria 4, 5 and 6) and B and remain diagnosable as mentally ill, regardless of how successfully her or his gender dysphoria has been ameliorated.

A new Post-transition specifier has been added to the proposed Gender Dysphoria criteria, which describes all individuals who have transitioned their gender roles full-time and have received hormonal and/or surgical transition care (APA 2011A). While this specifier is intended to aid continued access to hormonal care for post-transition people whose medical records do not yet reflect their affirmed gender, it is so broadly worded that it once again blocks exit from the diagnosis for everyone who has completed a social and medical transition. As written, this specifier contradicts transition treatment and describes social and medical transition in themselves as perpetually symptomatic of mental illness.

Like a roach motel, the proposed criteria and specifiers leave no way for a well adjusted transitioned person to exit diagnosis. As a consequence of diagnostic criteria that contradict proven treatments, the medical necessity of hormonal and surgical transition treatment is commonly denied by care providers, insurers and government agencies. In the US, access to surgical transition care is most often limited to the most financially privileged.

Punitive Gender-Reparative Therapies.

The American Psychiatric Association has often repeated that the DSM is a diagnostic manual and not a treatment guide (APA 2008). In truth, however, treatment and diagnostic nomenclature are inevitably intertwined. The efficacy of all medical and psychological treatments are judged by how well they ameliorate symptoms defined by diagnostic criteria (Winters 2008). Therefore, the wording of diagnostic criteria can have an enormous impact on treatments chosen by clinicians.

The proposed diagnostic criteria for Gender Dysphoria, like those of their GID predecessors, clench post-transition individuals who are happy and well adjusted with their bodies and affirmed roles even more tightly than they apply to pre-transition individuals suffering distress. Exit from diagnosis only exists for those transpeople who have beenshamed back into the closets of their birth-assigned roles. Thus, the current GID and proposed GD criteria implicitly promote punitive gender-reparative “treatments” intended to enforce conformity to assigned birth sex and suppress gender variant identities and expressions.

Criterion, B, which clarifies that distress or impairment should meet a clinical threshold for diagnosis, was recently reinstated by the APA in response to clinician concerns that distress should be emphasized over difference. However, the proposed language fails to exclude consequences of societal prejudice as a basis for diagnosis of mental disorder. As written, criterion B may be misinterpreted to imply that youth and adults who are victims of prejudice and exclusion are impaired and therefore mentally ill, simply because they are victims. Dr. Kenneth Zucker, co-author of the current GID diagnosis and Chairman of the DSM-5 Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders Workgroup, has used this interpretation of victimhood-as-pathology to promote gender-reparative psychotherapies for gender variant youth:

the standard of impairment in children with GID has been their poor same-sex peer relations, with attendant social ostracism.(Zucker 1999)

Zucker’s approach to gender-reparative “treatment” of a youth he diagnosed with GID was described in a chilling National Public Radio Interview in 2008:

Bradley would no longer be allowed to spend time with girls. He would no longer be allowed to play with girlish toys or pretend that he was a female character. Zucker said that all of these activities were dangerous to a kid with gender identity disorder. (Speigel 2008)

Why Not Remove All Gender Diagnosis?

Since the 1990s, some community advocates have called for the elimination of all gender-related diagnostic nomenclature in the DSM, in response to issues of stigma of mental disorder and sexual deviance. (Wilchins 1996; Park 2011) However, there is broad recognition among many community advocates and supportive medical professionals that some kind of diagnostic coding is necessary to facilitate access to medical and/or surgical transition care for those trans and transsexual people who need it. The World Professional Association for Transgender Health has stated that,

The use of a formal diagnosis is often important in offering relief, providing health insurance coverage, and guiding research to provide more effective future treatments (WPATH 2001)

Others have suggested that physical, medical, diagnostic nomenclature in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) is more appropriate than diagnosis of mental disorder (NGLTF 1996; Lev 2004; Allison 2009).  However, such consensus within pediatric and endocrine medical specialties will not happen before publication of the DSM-5 in 2013. Because major revisions of the DSM are very infrequent, the DSM-5 will likely impact the lives, civil liberties and medical care of gender variant people through the 2020s. There is a fleeting opportunity to advocate reform, or harm reduction, of the GID category and removal of the defamatory Transvestic Fetishism category in the DSM-5 now. The objective of GID reform is to advance forward progress on both issues of social stigma and better access to medical transition care, for those who need it, and not one at the expense of the other, or to the benefit part of the transcommunity by harming another.

A New Distress-based Diagnostic Paradigm.

An international group of mental health and medical clinicians, researchers and scholars, Professionals Concerned With Gender Diagnoses in the DSM, has proposed alternative diagnostic nomenclature based on distress rather than nonconformity (Lev, et al., 2010; Winters and Ehrbar 2010; Ehrbar, Winters and Gorton 2009). These include anatomic dysphoria (painful distress with current physical sex characteristics) as well as social role dysphoria (distress with ascribed or enforced social gender roles that are incongruent with one’s inner experienced gender identity) For children and adolescents, these alternative criteria include distress with anticipated physical sex characteristics that would result if the youth were forced to endure pubertal development associated with natal sex. For those who require a post-transition diagnostic coding for continued access to hormonal therapy, the criteria include sex hormone status. Based on prior work by psychologist Anne Vitale (2010), this distress may also be described as deprivation of physical characteristics or social gender expression that are congruent with inner experienced gender identity. The resulting four-cornered definition of gender dysphoria, encompassing direct distress and deprivation distress around anatomic sex and ascribed/assigned gender, provides a cogent definition of the problem to be treated with medical transition care. It addresses prior false-positive and false-negative diagnostic concerns and does not contradict the treatment.

These alternative criteria acknowledge that experienced gender identity may include elements of masculinity, femininity, both or neither and are not limited to binary Western stereotypes. They also define clinically significant distress and impairment to include barriers to functioning in one’s experienced congruent gender role and exclude victimization by social prejudice and discrimination.

Suggested Diagnostic Criteria for Gender Dysphoria in the DSM-5

I would like to suggest that the APA adopt new diagnostic criteria for the Gender Dysphoria categories for children and adults/adolescents that are based on the following summary of work from the Concerned Professionals group–

A. A distressing sense of incongruence between persistent experienced or expressed gender and current physical sex characteristics or ascribed gender role in adults, adolescents (who have reached the earlier of age 13 or Tanner Stage II of pubertal development), or assigned gender role in children, manifested by at least one of the following indicators for a duration of at least 3 months. Incongruence, for this purpose, does not mean gender expression that is nonconforming to social stereotypes of assigned gender role or natal sex.

1. A distress or discomfort with living in the present gender or being perceived by others as the present gender, which is distinct from the experiences of discrimination or the societal expectations associated with that gender.

2. A distress or discomfort caused by deprivation of gender expression congruent with persistent experienced gender (or, for children, insistence that one has a gender that differs from the present gender). Experienced gender may include alternative gender identities beyond binary stereotypes.

3. A distress or discomfort with one’s current primary or secondary sex characteristics, including sex hormone status, that are incongruent with persistent experienced gender, or with anticipated pubertal development associated with natal sex.

4. A distress or discomfort caused by deprivation of primary or secondary sex characteristics, including sex hormone status, that are congruent with persistent experienced gender (including post-pubertal characteristics congruent with experienced gender, in the case of children and pre-adolescents).

B. Distress or discomfort is clinically significant or represents impairment in major life functions in a role congruent with experienced gender identity. Distress or impairment due to external prejudice or discrimination is not a basis for diagnosis.

Regardless of the wording chosen for the DSM-5, these alternative criteria for Gender Dysphoria may be used in clinical practice today to inform treatment by clarifying the problem that is being treated. These alternative criteria may serve to facilitate clearer communication between primary care, medical specialty and mental health providers, and they can enable patients and families of transitioning youth to make more informed decisions on treatment options.

What You Can Do Now

  1. Ask the APA to reject diagnostic criteria and categorical placement for the Gender Dysphoria diagnosis that contradict transition or depict transition as symptomatic of mental disorder. Ask them to clarify that nonconformity to birth-assigned roles and being victims of societal prejudice are not, in themselves, mental pathology. Go to the APA DSM-5 web site (APA 2011), click on “register now,” create a user account and enter your statement in the box. The deadline for this second period of public comment is June 15.
  2. Ask your local, national and international GLBTQ nonprofit organizations to issue public statements to clarify that nonconformity to birth-assigned roles and being victims of societal prejudice are not, in themselves, mental pathology.
  3. Ask mental health and medical professionals who work with the transcommunity to voice their concerns to the APA.
  4. Spread the word to your network of friends and allies.

For more information, see GID Reform Advocates (Winters, 2010)

APA: Proposed Diagnostic Criteria for Gender Dysphoria (in Adolescents or Adults)

(APA 2011A)

A. A marked incongruence between one’s experienced/expressed gender and assigned gender, of at least 6 months duration, as manifested by 2 or more of the following indicators: [2, 3, 4]

1. a marked incongruence between one’s experienced/expressed gender and primary and/or secondary sex characteristics (or, in young adolescents, the anticipated secondary sex characteristics) [13, 16]

2. a strong desire to be rid of one’s primary and/or secondary sex characteristics because of a marked incongruence with one’s experienced/expressed gender (or, in young adolescents, a desire to prevent the development of the anticipated secondary sex characteristics) [17]

3. a strong desire for the primary and/or secondary sex characteristics of the other gender

4. a strong desire to be of the other gender (or some alternative gender different from one’s assigned gender)

5. a strong desire to be treated as the other gender (or some alternative gender different from one’s assigned gender)

6. a strong conviction that one has the typical feelings and reactions of the other gender (or some alternative gender different from one’s assigned gender)

B. The condition is associated with clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning, or with a significantly increased risk of suffering, such as distress or disability


With a disorder of sex development [14]

Without a disorder of sex development

See also: [15, 16, 19]


Post-transition, i.e., the individual has transitioned to full-time living in the desired gender (with or without legalization of gender change) and has undergone (or is undergoing) at least one cross-sex medical procedure or treatment regimen, namely, regular cross-sex hormone treatment or gender reassignment surgery confirming the desired gender (e.g., penectomy, vaginoplasty in a natal male, mastectomy, phalloplasty in a natal female).

Note: Three changes have been made since the initial website launch in February 2010: the name of the diagnosis, the addition of the B criterion, and the addition of a specifier. Definitions and criterion under A remain unchanged.

APA: Proposed Diagnostic Criteria for Gender Dysphoria in Children

(APA 2011B)

A. A marked incongruence between one’s experienced/expressed gender and assigned gender, of at least 6 months duration, as manifested by at least 6* of the following indicators (including A1): [2, 3, 4]

1. a strong desire to be of the other gender or an insistence that he or she is the other gender (or some alternative gender different from one’s assigned gender) [5]

2. in boys, a strong preference for cross-dressing or simulating female attire; in girls, a strong

preference for wearing only typical masculine clothing and a strong resistance to the wearing of typical feminine clothing [6]

3. a strong preference for cross-gender roles in make-believe or fantasy play [7]

4. a strong preference for the toys, games, or activities typical of the other gender [8]

5. a strong preference for playmates of the other gender [9]

6. in boys, a strong rejection of typically masculine toys, games, and activities and a strong avoidance of rough-and-tumble play; in girls, a strong rejection of typically feminine toys, games, and activities [10]

7. a strong dislike of one’s sexual anatomy [11]

  1. a strong desire for the primary and/or secondary sex characteristics that match one’s experienced gender [12]

B. The condition is associated with clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning, or with a significantly increased risk of suffering, such as distress or disability.


With a disorder of sex development [14]

Without a disorder of sex development]

See also [13, 15, 19]

Note: Two changes have been made since the initial website launch in February 2010: the name of the diagnosis and the addition of the B criterion. Definitions and criteria under A remain unchanged.


Allison, R. (2009) “Aligning Bodies with Minds: The Case for Medical and Surgical Treatment of Gender Dysphoria,” Annual Meeting of the American Psychiatric Association San Francisco, May 18,

American Psychiatric Association (2011) “DSM-5 Development; Proposed Revisions, 302.3 Transvestic Fetishism,”

American Psychiatric Association (2011A) “DSM-5 Development; Proposed Revisions, P 01 Gender Dysphoria in Adolescents or Adults,”

American Psychiatric Association (2011B) “DSM-5 Development; Proposed Revisions, P 00 Gender Dysphoria in Children,”

American Psychiatric Association (2008), “APA STATEMENT ON GID AND THE DSM-V,” APAStatements/APAStatementonGIDandTheDSMV.aspx , May 23

Ehrbar, R., Winters, K., Gorton, N. (2009) “Revision Suggestions for Gender Related Diagnoses in the DSM and ICD,” The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) 2009 XXI Biennial Symposium, Oslo, Norway,

Gigs, L. and Carroll, R. (2010) “Should Transvestic Fetishism Be Classified in DSM 5? Recommendations from the WPATH Consensus Process for Revision of the Diagnosis of Transvestic Fetishism,” International Journal of Transgenderism, 12:189-197.

Lev, A.I. (2004). Transgender emergence: Therapeutic guidelines for working with gender-variant people and their families. NY: Routledge, p. 180.

Lev, A.I., Winters, K., Alie, L., Ansara, Y., Deutsch, M., Dickey, L., Ehrbar, R., Ehrensaft, D., Green, J., Meier, S., Richmond, K., Samons, S., Susset, F., (2010). “Response to Proposed DSM-5 Diagnostic Criteria. Professionals Concerned With Gender Diagnoses in the DSM.” Retrieved December 4, 2010 from:

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (1996), “Statement on Gender Identify Disorder and transgender people by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF),”

TransYouth Family Allies (2010) “Comments on the Proposed Revision to 302.6 Gender Identity Disorder in Children, Submitted to the American Psychiatric Association,” April 20,

Vitale, A. (2010) The Gendered Self: Further Commentary on the Transsexual Phenomenon, Lulu, http://

Winters, K. (2008). Gender Madness in American Psychiatry: Essays from the struggle for Dignity, GID Reform Advocates,

Winters, K. (2010) “Ten Reasons Why the Transvestic Disorder Diagnosis in the DSM-5 Has Got to Go,” GID Reform Advocates, Oct. 15,

Winters, K. and Ehrbar, R. (2010) “Beyond Conundrum: Strategies for Diagnostic Harm Reduction,” Journal of Gay & Lesbian Mental Health, 14:2, 130-139, April

Ophelian, A (2010) Diagnosing Difference, documentary film,

Park. P. (2011) “Transgender Health, Pathology & Human Rights,” Harvard University School of Public Health, April,

Speigel, A. (2008) “Two Families Grapple with Sons’ Gender Preferences,” National Public Radio, All Things Considered,”

Wilchins, R. (1996). “TG Activisits Protest APA, Call for End to Gender Identity Disorder,” Transgender Forum, May,

World Professional Association for Transgender Health (2001)“Standards of Care for Gender Identity Disorders,” Sixth Version,

World Professional Association for Transgender Health (2010). “Statement Urging the De-psychopathologisation of Gender Variance,” May 26,

World Professional Association for Transgender Health (2010A). “WPATH Reaction to DSM-V Criteria for Gender Incongruence,” May 25 ,

Zucker, K. (1999) “Commentary on Richardson’s (1996) ‘Setting Limits on Gender Health,’” Harvard Rev Psychiatry, vol 7, p. 41.

Obama ignores worsening jobs crisis

From World Socialist Web Site:

By Jerry White
8 June 2011

President Obama dismissed concerns over last week’s disastrous jobs report and warnings of a possible double-dip recession during a joint White House press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel Tuesday.

The president suggested the figures―which showed an increase in the national jobless rate rising 9.0 to 9.1 percent in May and the average length of unemployment reaching a record high of nearly 40 weeks―were an anomaly. “Economic data which in better times would go without comment now makes people wonder are we going to go back to a terrible crisis,” he complained.

“We are going to have some days when things aren’t going as well as we like,” he said, but claimed the country nonetheless was in a “recovery,” pointing to the creation of two million jobs by the private sector and the rebound of the US auto industry.

Looking at Merkel―whose government is currently demanding brutal austerity from Greek workers in return for a EU bailout―the president acknowledged, “People on both sides of the Atlantic are understandably frustrated with the ups and downs of the world economy. But we try not to look at the day-to-day markets and headlines. Our task is not to panic. Not to overreact.”

By “overreacting” the president means taking emergency measures to deal with the jobs crisis. The administration has rejected any further stimulus packages, let alone, direct government hiring of the unemployed, and has insisted that the private sector is the only genuine “job creator.” Far from hiring large numbers of workers, however, US corporations―which have a cash hoard of $2 trillion―are chiefly sitting on the sidelines until wages fall to a sufficiently low level.

During his comments Obama blamed the 2008 crash not on the rampant criminality of the Wall Street and the collusion of capitalist governments and credit rating agencies, but on a “whole set of challenges that had been left unaddressed over the previous decade.” He made it clear he was determined to resolve these challenges, by making American corporations “more competitive with the emerging economies” and “getting a handle on our debt and deficit.”

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Health Care Rally

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Taxpayer funded Catholic Charities is suing Illinois to avoid compliance with civil unions law

Have to say this for the faith based bigots of the Church of Pedophilia… They’ve got balls of steel to expect government funding and support for their bigotry.

From America Blog:

Posted by Joe Sudbay (DC)
6/07/2011 07:13:00 PM

Because the Catholic leaders can never do enough to bash the gays:

Lawyers for Catholic Charities in the dioceses of Springfield, Peoria and Joliet are seeking an emergency injunction that would protect religious agencies who turn away unmarried couples who want to become foster parents — including couples in civil unions.

In a petition filed today in Sangamon County Circuit Court, the three Catholic Charities agencies sued the Illinois Attorney General and Department of Children and Family Services for threatening to enforce new policies that accommodate civil unions, which went into effect last week. The Attorney General’s office declined to comment until it could review the complaint.

Catholic Charities takes millions and millions from the state of Illinois but doesn’t want to follow the laws of the state. Avoiding the laws. What else would we expect from an institution that protected and enabled child rapists for decades?

Keep in mind, under the new civil unions laws, there is a religious exemption. The Catholic Church and other religious institutions don’t have to perform civil unions. But, if they want state money, they shouldn’t be able to discriminate.

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Kerry Kennedy to Join Youth in Rally to Demand That Hershey ‘Raise the Bar’

From The Fair Trade Blog:

Posted by Tex Dworkin
6th June, 2011

With World Day Against Child Labor right around the corner, students,  social justice leaders including Kerry Kennedy, and groups will rally in front of the Hershey Store in Times Square on June 8, 2011 to call on Hershey to eliminate forced, trafficked and child labor from its cocoa supply chain.

Despite almost ten years of commitments from Hershey and other major chocolate companies to take responsibility for their cocoa supply chains and eliminate child labor, significant problems persist. Abusive child labor, trafficking, and forced labor continue to plague the West African cocoa industry. The farmers in this region, which supplies the majority of the world’s cocoa, live in poverty, while major chocolate corporations continue to amass large profits.

Hershey lags behind its competitors when it comes to taking responsibility for the communities from which it sources cocoa. Hershey has no policies in place to purchase cocoa that has been produced without the use of labor exploitation, and the company has consistently refused to provide public information about its cocoa sources.

Will you join us in calling on Hershey to do more to stop child labor, forced labor, and trafficking in its cocoa supply chain and to start sourcing Fair Trade Certified cocoa?

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The Founders Did Not Intend For America to Be Run By Big Banks and Wall Street

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