From Raw Story: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/06/11/hundreds-of-thousands-march-for-pride-in-rome-await-lady-gaga/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TheRawStory+%28The+Raw+Story%29&utm_content=Twitter
By Agence France-Presse
Saturday, June 11th, 2011
ROME (AFP) – Hundreds of thousands of people paraded through central Rome in a gay pride parade on Saturday, with many criticising Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s government for failing to grant same-sex rights.
“I want to tell the world, Europe and above all Italy, which is a bit closed, that we have the right to be treated like human beings,” said 22-year-old Nikita, who wore a silver dress with high heels and feathers.
Slogans at the parade read “Different People, Same Rights” and “Equality and Human Rights for All!” as people waved rainbow flags in a festive atmosphere.
There were also more provocative displays including a man dressed as a bishop who had the words “paedophilia” and “sex abuse” scrawled on his costume.
“Italy is the only country that does not recognise LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual) rights,” said Franco Grillini, a member of the opposition Italy of Values party and historic gay rights activist.
“Italy should adapt to the rest of the Western world,” he said.
Continue reading at: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/06/11/hundreds-of-thousands-march-for-pride-in-rome-await-lady-gaga/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TheRawStory+%28The+Raw+Story%29&utm_content=Twitter
GLAAD, the NAACP and others have taken big money from AT&T. Is it OK for them to endorse the AT&T-T-Mobile merger?
By Natasha Lennard
Friday, Jun 10, 2011
Politico reported Friday morning that a number of liberal advocacy groups lending support to AT&T’s acquisition of T-Mobile have “no obvious interest in telecom deals — except that they’ve received big piles of AT&T’s cash.”
“In recent weeks, the NAACP, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation [GLAAD] and the National Education Association have each issued public statements in support of the deal,” Politico’s Eliza Krigman wrote, noting that all these groups had received considerable sums from AT&T (the NAACP, for example received $1 million from the telecom giant in 2009).
A few questions certainly need addressing here: First, why would the opinions of advocacy groups matter in a large corporate merger? And second, do these advocacy groups have any credibility when the merger involves a company that has provided them with financial support?
In terms of the first question, Politico suggests that AT&T wants the groups involved because the merger approval process is inherently political:
Continue reading at: http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2011/06/10/at_t_merger_advocacy_groups/
From the Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joanne-herman/when-parents-reject-their_b_872191.html
Reposted with Permission
By Joanne Herman
In my last post, I highlighted an amazing dad who supports his transgender teen daughter. Sadly, parental support is not common. Few parents have heard about transgender issues, and some react so strongly to their child’s gender nonconformity that they force their child to leave home.
I’ve wanted to know more about what life is like for these rejected children, and so I finally cracked open my copy of Cris Beam’s Transparent: Love, Family, and Living the T with Transgender Teenagers. It’s an eye-opening peek at an experience quite different from my own.
Beam met over 50 transsexual kids during the five years she worked at a small high school for gay and transgender teenagers in Los Angeles. The kids “came from as far away as Alabama…and even Hawaii.” She says, “many had been kicked out when their parents caught (their sons) trying on a dress in the bathroom or stashing stilettos in a schoolbag.” Beam describes how one of the transsexual women she connected with, Christina, was treated by her mother:
Gloria was starting to notice her son’s femmy touches…and she wasn’t having it. She thought her son was probably gay, which, for her, was a black mark upon the family, an indictment of her already-questionable parenting. She told Christina she wished she (Christina) would just die of AIDS if she was going to act this way; she called her “whore,” “puta,” “slut,” and, in their nastier fights, would throw her out, once even changing the locks. Later I would learn that Christina attended five junior high schools in the span of two years as she shuttled between foster care and homelessness and her mother’s house.
Gender identity has nothing to do with sexual orientation, but parents often conflate the two. Beam tells another story — the one of Nina:
Nina’s mother cried and cried and said wasn’t there something they could work out? Maybe Nina could just dress up on weekends and leave late at night, when the neighbors wouldn’t see? Maybe they could work together to hide Nina’s girl things from the mother’s new live-in boyfriend, who wouldn’t tolerate girlie dress-up? This new boyfriend had a decent heart, her mother said, and he paid half the rent so, Dios mio, the boyfriend had to stay. The boyfriend helped Nina’s mother afford her youngest son’s good Catholic school. Everybody has to sacrifice something in this life, and wasn’t there a compromise, wasn’t there a way?Nina told her mother no and gently hung up the phone. For Nina, then 16, prostitution was easier.
Of course, not everyone Beam met had been thrown out by parents. Dominque’s mom had been a crack addict since her birth, leaving Dominque to forage for her siblings with little support. Lenora was abandoned by her mother at birth and raised by her loving grandparents in Mexico, but when they felt she could have a better life in the United States, they let her go into the foster care system in the U.S.
But regardless of background, these students were all experiencing the same life. Beam says all knew where to:
… find girls trading secrets about how to shoot-up black-market hormones purchased from the swap meets in East L.A.,…find out about ‘pumping parties’ where a former veterinarian or a “surgeon’s wife” from Florida will shoot free-floating industrial grade silicone into hips, butts, breast, knees — even cheeks and foreheads … and learn which dance clubs let in underage kids and have go-go boxes for dancing.
Beam’s insight into these lives helps explain one of the key findings of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey Report on Health and Health Care:
Respondents reported over four times the national average of HIV infection, 2.64 percent in our sample compared to 0.6 percent in the general population, with rates for transgender women at 3.76 percent, and with those who are unemployed (4.67 percent) or who have engaged in sex work (15.32 percent) even higher.
Unfortunately, resources remain scarce for loving parents who have chosen to take a new course and support their transgender child. One of my favorites is The Transgender Child: A Handbook for Families and Professionals by Stephanie Brill and Rachel Pepper.
But at 200 pages, it can be a lot for a newly understanding parent to digest. Fortunately there is a new option — Helping Your Transgender Teen — A Guide for Parents by Irwin Krieger, a clinical social worker with years of experience. Krieger’s style is gentle and accessible, yet it covers all of the basics. The best part is that, at 86 pages, it’s the perfect intro for parents wanting to go where few parents have gone before — support their transgender child.
Seems like a lot of people are saying that GLAAD doesn’t represent them…
Just like a lot are saying HRC doesn’t represent them.
Could it be that the black tie elites that make up organizations like GLAAD and HRC have become careerists more interested their fund raising and rubbing elbows with the A-List people, straight and gay that make up the elites in Washington DC, LA, SF, NYC etc…
Seems like the rarefied atmosphere of the hot house world of the elites has caused them to lose touch.
It isn’t just things like them cramming the liturgy of the Transgender Borg Collective down the throats of post-transsexual people.
It is more with pretending that all LGBT/T people are of the rich and privileged class/ desirable marketing demographic that organizations like HRC and GLAAD seem intent on selling us as being.
When some of us are homeless, under privileged, throw away kids doing survival sex.
When even some of the best of the legislative actions will do absolutely nothing for that lumpen LGBT/T class that the A-List gays like to pretend doesn’t exist.
All I can say is “Get Equal!” at least they haven’t gotten so big they have sold themselves out to the highest bidder… Yet…
From The Center For Media Justice: http://centerformediajustice.org/2011/06/11/why-glaad-doesnt-represent-me/
In the bizarre story of GLAAD’s forced support of AT&T’s takeover of Tmobile, GLAAD failed the queer community. There are three big reasons this makes me hopping mad.
As a black lesbian director of a national media strategy and organizing center, I consider it my fight to ensure that the civil rights groups of the DC beltway represent the needs and dreams of local under-represented communities when it comes to telecom issues. When the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) took it upon themselves to advocate for the AT&T takeover of tmobile, they advocated for the company, not the people they are sworn to represent. I had to ask myself why.
Big Media = Big Money. According to an article published in Politico last week, AT&T gave money to all the civil rights groups that currently back the merger. While AT&T claims their donations and grants to be the result of socially responsible partnership with non-profits, it seems pretty obvious that the ONLY groups that support the merger are ones that have received money from AT&T.
GLAAD isn’t the only group to suffer under the thumb of the expectations that come with receiving corporate money. Just last month, Comcast pulled a grant from Reel Grrls -a small video production organization serving young women- after they tweeted a critique of Comcast’s hire of FCC Commissioner Meredith Baker. These young women raised concerns about reports that FCC Commissioner Meredith Baker had gone from overseeing the approved merger of Comcast and NBC to working as a top official at Comcast. Instead of begging for their grant back, Reel Grrls raised a ruckus and alerted both their allies and the media. Under national scrutiny, Comcast apologized and offered to restore the grant, but Reel Grrls had raised enough money through donations. They set a precedent by saying no to the corporate money and the strings that come with it.
Accepting significant financial contributions from big industry to non-profits links the fate and survival of these organizations with the profit-bearing motives of these companies and the deregulation of corporate America.
Continue reading at: http://centerformediajustice.org/2011/06/11/why-glaad-doesnt-represent-me/
From Common Dreams: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/06/11-1
If you want to transform the economy, you have to cut Wall Street down to its proper size. One way to do that is to tax the short-term speculative activities that dominate and distort financial markets.
For ordinary investors, the costs would be negligible, like a tiny insurance fee to protect against crashes caused by speculation. But for the highfliers who are most responsible for the financial crisis, the tax could raise the cost of highly leveraged derivatives trading and stock-flipping enough to discourage the most dangerous behavior.
Remember the “flash crash” of May 6, 2010, when the Dow plummeted nearly 1,000 points? If a tax of only 0.25 percent on each transaction had been in place for just the twenty most frenzied minutes of that day, traders would’ve faced $142 million in fees.
And remember AIG’s credit default swaps? A financial speculation tax might not have stopped those greed-crazed fools, but at least Uncle Sam would’ve taken in about $1.1 bil-â€¨lion on the deals.
The Center for Economic and Policy Research predicts that a tax on trades of stocks, derivatives and other financial instruments would curb excessive speculation while generating around $150 billion a year. That would be enough, for example, to fill projected Social Security shortfalls, with dough left over for other domestic and international needs.
So US politicians must be jumping on this as a solution to the country’s deficit problems, right? Not exactly. For more than a year, a diverse array of labor, consumer, environmental, global health and other progressive organizations have been hammering away on them, as part of a broader international campaign. But while legislators have introduced eleven bills to create various forms of speculation taxes, none have gained serious momentum.
Continue reading at: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/06/11-1
The Fair Wages for New Yorkers Act has garnered strong support among the city’s labor and religious communities, but has run up against big-moneyed, powerful interests.
By Lauren Kelley
June 10, 2011
“Mayor Bloomberg, enough is enough!” Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. said at a lively May 12 rally organized by grassroots group Living Wage NYC. “If your friends don’t want to pay us a living wage, then don’t take our tax dollars!”
Diaz, a reliable supporter of New York City workers’ rights, introduced the Fair Wages for New Yorkers Act in the spring of 2010. It was this legislation that brought hundreds of living wage supporters together on May 12, when the bill finally, after more than a year of delays and false starts, received its first City Council hearing.
Although the bill is far from sweeping (it would merely guarantee a $10-$11.50 hourly wage for the estimated 3 percent of New York City workers who are employed by companies in city-subsidized developments), it has garnered strong support among the city’s labor activists, religious community and local leaders — support that has been met, with equal measure, by propaganda-pushing from the Bloomberg administration and resistance from powerful businesses. All the while, living wage activists around the country are watching with great interest as the knock-down, drag-out fight plays out, as it could set the stage for the success or failure of living-wage battles elsewhere.
How did a relatively toothless piece of legislation become such a hotly debated, nationally watched issue? It happened in part because the outer boroughs of New York City have seen income disparities grow wildly in recent years — something residents of many other urban areas can relate to. Ruben Diaz, Jr. wrote about the issue in an op-ed adapted from his May 12 City Council testimony:
[W]e have tremendous income inequality in this city, which is not just a local problem but a national cause of concern. The middle class, both locally and nationally, are working harder and earning less. As important, the working poor in our city are being forced to work multiple jobs for an ever-lower standard of living if not being forced to get food stamps, emergency housing and other government assistance. Our economic policies should facilitate upward mobility. Instead, they are accelerating a downward spiral, in which our middle- and working-class families have less and less and where our tax dollars and other city resources are instead being used to facilitate low-wage job creation.
From The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/11/business/11sprouts.html?ref=business
By WILLIAM NEUMAN
Published: June 10, 2011
Sprouts are a fixture of salad bars and the epitome of health food to many people. But the reality can be very different.
As a horrified Europe learned over the past month, sprouts are a high-risk food for carrying harmful bacteria like salmonella or the toxic forms of E. coli, according to public health experts.
This year, at least two American growers have recalled sprouts contaminated with salmonella, and outbreaks of illness from tainted sprouts have occurred so often in the United States that health investigators have a special name for them: sproutbreaks.
Many sprout growers try to kill pathogens by soaking their seeds before germination in a concentrated chlorine solution, similar to but much stronger than the disinfectant used in swimming pools. While the Food and Drug Administration recommends a sanitizing step like the chlorine treatment, it does not require it and some growers skip it or use less stringent methods.
German authorities said on Friday that they had conclusively identified sprouts as the cause of the E. coli infections that have swept Europe since early May, killing at least 31 people and sickening about 3,000, including more than 700 with a severe kidney complications.
Continue reading at: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/11/business/11sprouts.html?ref=business
From Business Insider: http://www.businessinsider.com/europe-farmers-drought-fires-e-coli-2011-6
Jun. 10, 2011
The greatest drought in over 100 years is currently hitting most of Europe.
Even Britain, long resistant to extended dry periods because of its location under the Jet Stream, is suffering.
The Sun reports, two English counties have officially been declared drought zones today. More are expected to follow.
In France the damage is already done, bringing emergency water-conservation measures and aid to farmers that will total $1.4 billion.
Rather than go broke trying to feed them, farmers are selling off entire herds of livestock to the slaughterhouses. To help relive some of the burden, French officials waived farmers loan repayments for a year and exempted land taxes for the same period.
Last week, BBC broke the story of what has been dubbed a “baby farm” in southern Nigeria. Now that we know this, what are we going to do about it?
By Jessica Mack
June 10, 2011
Last week, BBC broke the story of what has been dubbed a “baby farm” in southern Nigeria. Nigerian police raided the grounds, “rescuing” more than 30 poor teenagers who had reportedly been locked up and forced to bring their unwanted pregnancies to term, only to relinquish their babies to human traffickers or purveyors of body parts for witchcraft. It’s the stuff of a horror film, and, oddly enough, it is.
Except this is really happening, to real women, in real time. BBC first reported a “baby farm” raid in a nearby Nigerian city back in 2008. Clearly, there is something very wrong here – both in what’s happening to these women in Nigeria, but also in the way that these issues are being conveyed in the global media.
Human trafficking remains an outstanding problem in Nigeria, despite earning the US State Department’s “stamp of approval” on its anti-trafficking efforts. Since 2009, the annual Trafficking in Persons Report has ranked Nigeria as a Tier 1 country, signifying the government’s full compliance with the US’s Trafficking Victims Protection Act. Though “compliance” doesn’t necessarily mean effective prevention of or protection from trafficking. With this “baby farm” situation, we see the tenuous value that such rankings have for reality on the ground. While the Nigerian government has stepped up its anti-trafficking efforts in recent years, increasing prison sentences and fines still won’t address precipitating factors.
To start, women in Nigeria, and especially young women, are undervalued. There is a dearth of ready access to affordable and high quality reproductive health care services, and moreover social and cultural taboos about accessing such services. Early marriage and early pregnancy remain common, and you can guess that maternal mortality is also quite high. Abortion is restricted almost entirely, and highly stigmatized beyond that.
BBC writes, “Desperate teenagers with unplanned pregnancies are sometimes lured to clinics and then forced to turn over their babies.” Horrible, and it gets worse. Desperate teenagers with unwanted pregnancies also seek fatal care from quack abortion providers. Women regularly play Russian roulette with concoctions (bleach and ground glass) and gruesome instruments (knitting needles) just to preserve some semblance of reproductive choice.
From The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/11/health/11cancer.html?hp
By GARDINER HARRIS
Published: June 10, 2011
WASHINGTON — The government issued warnings on Friday about two materials used daily by millions of Americans, saying that one causes cancer and the other might.
Government scientists listed formaldehyde as a carcinogen, and said it is found in worrisome quantities in plywood, particle board, mortuaries and hair salons. They also said that styrene, which is used in boats, bathtubs and in disposable foam plastic cups and plates, may cause cancer but is generally found in such low levels in consumer products that risks are low.
Frequent and intense exposures in manufacturing plants are far more worrisome than the intermittent contact that most consumers have, but government scientists said that consumers should still avoid contact with formaldehyde and styrene along with six other chemicals that were added Friday to the government’s official Report on Carcinogens. Its release was delayed for years because of intense lobbying from the chemical industry, which disputed its findings.
John Bucher, associate director of the National Toxicology Program, which produced the report, said evidence of formaldehyde’s carcinogenicity was far stronger than for styrene and that consumers were more likely to be exposed to potentially dangerous quantities of formaldehyde.
The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration warned in April that a hair-care product, Brazilian Blowout Acai Professional Smoothing Solution, contained unacceptable levels of formaldehyde, and salon workers have reported headaches, nosebleeds, burning eyes, vomiting and asthma attacks after using the product and other hair-straighteners.
Continue reading at: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/11/health/11cancer.html?hp
By Lee Fang
Jun 10, 2011
Billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch have been dominant financiers for conservative front groups and nonprofits for nearly three decades. Their money has flowed to organizations dedicated to lobbying for corporate and upper income tax cuts, as well as to groups responsible for mobilizing Tea Party rallies against President Obama. But the Koch family’s association with fringe right-wing groups began a generation earlier with Fred Koch, the patriarch of the clan.
Fred not only founded the company now known as Koch Industries, he also was a founding member of the John Birch Society. As a founding board member, Fred helped engineer a hysterical wave of attacks on labor, intellectuals, public education, liberal clergy members, and other pillars of society he viewed as a threat. Birchers decried everyone from former President Eisenhower to water utility administrators as pawns in a global communist conspiracy. In the last two years, as the Koch name has become synonymous with right-wing plutocracy in the United States, the Koch family has played down its relation to the Birchers.
However, the New American, the official mouthpiece of the John Birch Society, published a piece this morning celebrating Fred and the Koch family’s pivotal role in developing the group:
Koch warned that American institutions were honeycombed with communist subversives, from labor unions and tax-free foundations to universities and churches. Art and newsprint, radio and television — all these media had been transmuted into vehicles of communist propaganda. [...] Fred Koch was no fly-by-night pamphleteer. He spent a generous portion of his later years using his wealth and influence to fight the communism he abhorred. He was an early member of the The John Birch Society’s National Council, an advisory group to JBS founder Robert Welch. Koch supported a variety of freedom-related causes, all the while continuing to build the company today known as Koch Industries.
The Bircher ode to Koch glosses over Fred’s record of bigotry. In a booklet he authored, Fred railed against civil rights leaders, and claimed the movement against racial segregation was a communist plot to use African Americans to destabilize the country. The Koch-funded Birchers held numerous rallies during the ’60s claiming integration would lead to a “mongrelization” of the races.
I remember a time some 40 years ago before gender replaced “sex” when little boys playing with dolls, (if they wished) and little girls playing with trucks and/or sports (if they wished) was seen as a good thing.
All the gender variant and transgender BS has turned something that was seen as a good thing because it broke down rigid sex roles in to a post-modern pathology.
Why can’t we accept some kids are born gay or lesbian just as most kids are born straight? Or that some kids are born transsexual or transgender? That this shouldn’t be a big deal and what is normal for you might be extremely abnormal for me and vice versa.
From The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/12/fashion/new-challenge-for-parents-childrens-gender-roles.html?_r=1
By JAN HOFFMAN
Published: June 10, 2011
A 3 ½-year-old named Harry was playing at home in Los Angeles recently when his father walked in with a Target shopping bag. Inside was a special gift for the little boy: a sparkly princess Barbie doll.
“You could hear the gasp of excitement,” recounted Harry’s mother, Lee. “It just made his whole world.”
A year ago, Harry found Barbies abandoned by his two older sisters. He makes sure they are properly outfitted and worshipped regularly. The girls’ cast-off dress-up clothes have become his go-to outfits. And when he arrives at preschool each morning, he selects a dress from the costume box and wears it through recess, even as he scrambles on the jungle gym.
At first, Harry’s father had a hard time watching his son twirl around in princess wear. But his gift of the Barbie symbolized acceptance; Harry’s joyous gasp indicated that the little boy intuitively understood. “We are following his lead and supporting him for who he wants to be,” said Lee, who, like other parents interviewed for this article, did not want to be fully identified in order to protect their children.
For generations, parents who saw their toddler boys put on tutus or play with dolls would either ignore the behavior as a phase, or reflexively repress it. But in recent years, more parents have chosen the approach taken by Harry’s mother and father. Rather than looking away, they are trying to understand their toddler’s unconventional gender behavior, in order to support it and prepare for what they fear could be a life of challenges.
“Is my 4-year-old gay?” read postings on parenting Web sites that offer strings of advice that can, by turns, be acidly dismissive or thoughtfully engaging.
The dialogue represents a new direction. “Ten years ago, the gender and sexual meaning of young children’s behavior was only discussed by a small handful of developmental psychologists,” said Arlene Istar Lev, a family therapist in Albany. “Children who expressed that were silenced and their parents were ashamed of them: ‘You will not walk out of the house that way.’ ”
Now, Ms. Lev said, “parents want to be supportive and that’s what is new. A generation of parents is developing a philosophy of encouraging their children: ‘Sweetie, let’s talk about this.’ ”