Late Blooming: The Timeline For Second Acts Isn’t Finite

I Think of this as I devote energy to writing, something I long dreamed of doing.

Something I have found inspirational these last few years have been the stories of TS/TG women and men who have come out in mid-life, after their children have grown.  It takes a lot of courage to come out as trans at anytime in one’s life but it is a serious leap of faith to upend an established adult life and change everything including one’s sex/gender.

For some of us this economic down turn has led to our seeking creative paths to survival.  For others it is a matter of seeking to fulfill their life dreams.

From Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lee-woodruff/second-acts_b_1256726.html


Posted: 02/ 6/2012

I did it. Ta-daa! My first novel, “Those We Love Most” will be out September 11, 2012. It’s my wedding anniversary, among other important milestones.

And as I put the edited manuscript in a big padded envelope and filled out the UPS label (too scary to trust to regular mail) I thought I’d feel a total kick-up-my-heels sense of joy. A kind of Sound of Music, bodice-heaving, running over the hills with glee kind of approach. It wasn’t exactly like that.

Don’t get me wrong. Finishing a book is a big old dealy-bop. Stapling that envelope shut is the culmination of a lot of hours, creation, frustration, editing, re-writes, self-doubt, deleting and eraser-chewing, although frankly few writers I know still use erasers.

I’ve always been a sporadic writer. My huckleberry pie life is cut up into lots of different slices, drawn and quartered on any given day; mom, wife, journalist, writer, advocate for injured service members, public speaker. I’m a daughter as well and right now that involves a measure of caretaking and coordinating as my parents fail and falter in different degrees and disparate ways. And somewhere in there I’m a girl friend too. And I’ve always valued my female friendships, even as we all lamented how much work and family often came between more than a few plans to do lunch or grab a drink. So many of my posse have been just as absorbed in the rat-a-tat-tat of the child rearing years as I was. We are only now, most of us, poking our heads out of the foxhole and blinking in the coming dawn of the empty nest.

Continue reading:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lee-woodruff/second-acts_b_1256726.html

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NOW Applauds Prop 8 Decision, Calls for Equal Marriage Nationwide Statement of NOW President Terry O’Neill

NOW Press Release: http://www.now.org/press/02-12/02-07.html

February 7, 2012

Today the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that Proposition 8, the California ballot initiative that eliminated same-sex couples’ right to marry, violates the U.S. constitution. In a 2-1 ruling, the court said the proposition “serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California.” The National Organization for Women applauds this decision and reaffirms our commitment to ensuring that marriages of loving, committed same-sex couples are legally recognized.

For decades, NOW has been a leader in the fight for full equality for lesbians, including the right to marry. This decision is an important step forward in the long march toward justice. Activists have worked tirelessly through demonstrations, conversations and the political process to make this moment not just possible, but inevitable.

And yet, we still have a long way to go until marriage equality is realized. NOW and its allies are working for passage of the Respect for Marriage Act that would repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriage, depriving lesbian and gay couples of protections that heterosexual couples take for granted. Although our climb remains uphill, the Ninth Circuit’s decision today provides momentum to move this struggle for justice forward.

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9TH CIRCUIT RULES PROP. 8 UNCONSTITUTIONAL

From The Advocate: http://news.advocate.com/post/17216429118/9th-circuit-rules-prop-8-unconstitutional

The judges ruled that a gay judge had the right to issue an earlier ruling in the case and that Proposition 8 had no effect on public policy that justified it being on the ballot.

By ANDREW HARMON
Feb. 7, 2012

A federal appeals court has ruled California’s Proposition 8 unconstitutional, upholding retired U.S. district judge Vaughn Walker’s 2010 decision in the high-profile case and setting up what could be an eventual showdown over the ballot measure at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Nearly three years after two gay couples filed suit when state officials denied them marriage licenses, a three-judge panel with the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled Tuesday that by stripping gay Californians of the right to marry, Prop. 8 violated the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

“Although the Constitution permits communities to enact most laws they believe to be desirable, it requires that there be at least a legitimate reason for the passage of a law that treats different classes of people differently,” Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote in an opinion that social conservatives have already slammed as textbook judicial activism.

“There was no such reason that Proposition 8 could have been enacted,” Reinhardt continued. “Because under California statutory law, same-sex couples had all the rights of opposite-sex couples, regardless of their marital status, all parties agree that Proposition 8 had one effect only. It stripped same-sex couples of the ability they previously possessed from the State, or any other authorized party, an important right — the right to obtain and use the designation of ‘marriage’ to describe their relationships. Nothing more, nothing less.”

Weddings of same-sex couples will not resume immediately in California, however. The court notes that a stay pending appeal remains in effect. Prop. 8 supporters have 14 days decide whether they will seek what’s known as en banc review by the Ninth Circuit; or the legal team could directly appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court within 90 days.

Continue reading at:  http://news.advocate.com/post/17216429118/9th-circuit-rules-prop-8-unconstitutional

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Prop. 8: Same Sex-marriage ban unconstitutional, court rules

What part of Equal Rights do the Bigots for Jesus just not get?

I think the Reich Wing Catholics on the Supreme Court should be required to recuse themselves from ruling on this case since they can’t possibly follow the dictates of the Pope and the Constitution at the same time.

From The LA Times:  http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/02/gay-marriage-prop-8s-ban-ruled-unconstitutional.html

February 7, 2012

A federal appeals court Tuesday struck down California’s ban on same-sex marriage, clearing the way for the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on gay marriage as early as next year.

The 2-1 decision by a panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals found that Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot measure that limited marriage to one man and one woman, violated the U.S. Constitution. The architects of Prop. 8 have vowed to appeal.

The ruling was narrow and likely to be limited to California.

FULL COVERAGE: Prop. 8

“Proposition 8 served no purpose, and had no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California,” the court said.

The ruling upheld a decision by retired Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker, who struck down the ballot measure in 2010 after holding an unprecedented trial on the nature of sexual orientation and the history of marriage.

Continue reading at:  http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/02/gay-marriage-prop-8s-ban-ruled-unconstitutional.html

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The privatization trap

From Salon:   http://www.salon.com/2012/02/05/the_privatization_trap/singleton/

From schools to prisons, outsourcing government’s works typically ends with cronyism, waste and unaccountability

By Mike Konczal
Sunday, Feb 5, 2012

Privatizing the government is one of the most active projects of the early 21st century.

Everything we once expected the government to do — from education to regulatory rule-writing to military operations to healthcare services to prison management — it now does less of, preferring to support markets in which these services are done through independent, profit-maximizing agents. Tools such as contracting out, vouchering and the selling-off of state assets have been used to remake the government during our market-worshipping era.

Privatization is one of the few political projects that enjoys bipartisan support: Conservatives cheer the rollback of the state, and liberals like to claim that the virtues of the free market are being used towards the egalitarian ends of public policy. The fraud and waste that often come with outsourcing these services has been well-documented. The private management in Iraq and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and the lobbying efforts of corporate prisons have all provided horror stories of what happens when cronyism guides decision-making on behalf of the state. But privatization as standard government practice has problems that go far beyond the abuses of any single incident.

Rather than solving problems with government, privatization often amplifies those issues to new extremes. Instead of unleashing market innovation, it often introduces new parasitic partners into the decision-making process. Instead of providing a check on the power of the government, it allows the state to circumvent constitutional and democratic accountability measures by merging with the private sector. And ultimately, the practice replaces the set of choices and constraints found in democracy, with another set found in the marketplace. Today’s political conversation is blind to these problems out of a mistaken faith in the efficiency and fundamental equality of markets, contrasted to the ineffectiveness and corruptibility of the state.

Continue reading at:  http://www.salon.com/2012/02/05/the_privatization_trap/singleton/

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Bradley Manning for Nobel Peace Prize?

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How the Sexual Revolution Changed America Forever

From Alternet:   http://www.alternet.org/story/153969/how_the_sexual_revolution_changed_america_forever/?page=entire

With a little pharmaceutical ingenuity, the double standard relaxed its clawing grip on female humanity.

By Nancy L. Cohen
February 5, 2012

The following is an excerpt from “Delirium: How the Sexual Counterrevolution is Polarizing America” by Nancy L. Cohen.  Click here to buy a copy of the book. 

Perhaps if the pill had not been invented, American politics would be very different today.

Enovid, the first birth control pill, went on the market in 1960. Unlike any other previously available form of contraception, the Pill was both reliable and controlled by a woman herself, requiring neither the consent nor the knowledge of her sexual partner. “I don’t confess that I take the Pill,” said one Catholic mother after the Vatican reaffirmed its doctrine against the use of birth control, “because I don’t believe it is a sin.” Within five years, 6 million American women were on the Pill. With one quick visit to a doctor, a woman immediately gained sole and exclusive power over her fertility, a power that had eluded her sex since . . . well, since forever.

The Pill made possible the sexual revolution of the 1960s. The true warriors in that revolution were young, single women, who, with the help of this new contraception, took their sexuality into their own hands. If not for women’s self-determined sexual liberation, the sexual revolution might have been another unremarkable episode in the long and varied sexual history of humankind. Instead, with the impetus the sexual revolution gave to a new feminism and a movement for gay liberation, it became one of the major catalysts of America’s ongoing political delirium.

Men certainly benefited from the new sexual freedom, but for them, it was hardly an innovation. Although religious doctrine and public mores told them chastity and marital fidelity applied equally to men and women, the practical moral code included an important loophole: the double standard. Single men had always been able to avail themselves of sexual relations outside of marriage, even at the pinnacle of American sexual puritanism in the waning days of the nineteenth century. For men, the sexual revolution changed things by making sex relatively cost-free. Women were now liberated, and the Pill steeply lowered the risks of accidental fatherhood and unwanted marriage.

For women, likewise, the sexual revolution concerned the rules of engagement, rather than the act of sex itself. Premarital virginity had been going out of fashion for decades before the declaration of sexual liberation. It started in the 1920s, as middle-class Americans converted from Victorianism to Freudianism and began to accept that a desirous woman was perhaps not so depraved after all. There- after doctors and psychologists counseled America’s women that a happy marriage was sustained by mutual sexual satisfaction. Experts encouraged women to explore their natural desires, but to start the journey in the marital bed. Women accepted the prescription and ignored the fine print. At the high noon of fifties traditionalism, 40 percent of women had sex before they married—compared to just 10 percent who did in the reputedly Roaring Twenties.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/story/153969/how_the_sexual_revolution_changed_america_forever/?page=entire

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Why Komen Is Small Potatoes

From Huffington Post:   http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peggy-drexler/why-komen-is-small-potato_b_1257728.html?ref=politics&ir=Politics

02/ 6/2012

The Susan G. Komen skirmish gave us a week of high drama — the stunning denial of Planned Parenthood funding, the furious backlash, the capitulation and apology, the scramble to assign blame.

It was an eye-opening example of how expediently women’s health can be held hostage to conservative ideology. But for American women and their well-being, it was a spit of rain from a passing cloud compared to the massive storm front forming in the chambers of the Supreme Court.

The events at Komen appear elegantly cynical. Blame the defunding on a perfunctory and fruitless Federal investigation into whether Federal money is being used for abortions by passing a rule that there can be no funding for any group under investigation — knowing that of the 2,000 recipients of Komen funds, Planned Parenthood would be the only organization affected.

The long knives are now out for Karen Handel, Komen’s VP of Public Policy, whom a suddenly-available unnamed source, with a fist-full of incriminating e-mails, says was behind the whole thing. The emerging bad apple defense begs a question. If you have nothing but love for, in the words of a Komen statement, “such a long-standing partner as Planned Parenthood,”why put public policy in the hands of a woman who despises their existence?

It was just over a year ago that Handel ran for governor of Georgia on a promise to strip Planned Parenthood of all state funding for breast and cervical cancer screenings. I think I might have raised that in the interview.

Continue reading:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peggy-drexler/why-komen-is-small-potato_b_1257728.html?ref=politics&ir=Politics

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DRUG WAR PROFITEERING 101

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A Puritan’s ‘war against religion’

From The Los Angeles Times:  http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-barry-religion-20120205,0,3487349.story

Roger Williams, the Puritan who founded Rhode Island, insisted on the state refraining from intervening in the relationship between humans and God.

By John M. BarryFebruary 5, 2012

In January, while conservative Christians and GOP presidential candidates were charging that “elites” have launched “a war against religion,” a federal court in Rhode Island ordered a public school to remove a prayer mounted on a wall because it imposed a belief on 16-year-old Jessica Ahlquist. The ruling seems particularly fitting because it was consistent not only with the 1st Amendment but with the intent of Roger Williams, who founded Rhode Island expressly to provide religious liberty and who called such forced exposure to prayer “spiritual rape.”

As Williams’ nearly 400-year-old comment demonstrates, the conflict over the proper relationship between church and state is the oldest in American history. The 1st Amendment now defines this relationship, but understanding the full meaning of the amendment requires understanding its history, for the amendment was a specific response to specific historical events and was written with the recognition that freedom of religion was inextricably linked to freedom itself.

The church-state conflict began when Puritans, envisioning a Christian nation, founded what John Winthrop called “a citty upon a hill” in Massachusetts, and Williams rejected that vision for another: freedom. He insisted that the state refrain from intervening in the relationship between humans and God, stating that even people advocating “the most Paganish, Jewish, Turkish, or Antichristian consciences and worships” be allowed to pray — or not pray — freely, and that “forced worship stinks in God’s nostrils.”

Yet Williams was no atheist. He was a devout Puritan minister who, like other Massachusetts Puritans, fled religious persecution in England. Upon his arrival in 1631 he was considered so godly that Boston Puritans had asked him to lead their church. He declined — because he considered their church insufficiently pure.

Reverence for both Scripture and freedom led Williams to his position. His mentor was Edward Coke, the great English jurist who ruled, “The house of every one is as his castle,” extending the liberties of great lords — and an inviolate refuge where one was free — to the lowest English commoners.

Continue reading at:  http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-barry-religion-20120205,0,3487349.story

If You Want to Fight Cancer, Turn Those Pink Ribbons Green

From Common Dreams:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/02/05-3

by Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez
Published on Sunday, February 5, 2012 by Common Dreams

I’m going to make a confession. I never could stand those pink ribbons. I’ve never done a “Walk for the Cure” or bought daffodils for cancer victims or even picked a cancer-cure-themed postage stamp.

I’m glad to hear that the Komen Foundation has bowed to pressure and is restoring funding to Planned Parenthood, a worthwhile organization if there ever was one.

But in general, the idea of putting the energy and effort of well-meaning citizens behind “the search for a cure for cancer” just irritates me, because let’s face it, we know what causes cancer, and therefore we can do better than cure it, we can prevent it! Maybe not 100%, but we can take it back to the modest rates that previous generations of human beings enjoyed.

For my grandparents’ generation, a diagnosis of cancer was frightening because it was so often a death sentence, but it was rare. Not one of my four grandparents came down with cancer, and I don’t believe their parents did either. This isn’t due to some genetic serendipity, it’s just a fact that cancer rates in the first half of the 20th century (and every century before that) were way lower than they are now.

Cancer rates are skyrocketing now thanks to the environmental toxins that humans have introduced into our air, soil and water, and thus our agricultural crops, drinking water and the very air we breathe. Rachel Carson saw the effects of DDT on birds, and gave the warning just before she succumbed to cancer.

We may have removed DDT from the US market, but it’s still being used in other countries, and here it has been replaced by a whole host of alphabet-soup chemicals, each one more potent and carcinogenic than the last.

Complete article at:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/02/05-3

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Stupid GOPer Reveals ALEC Puppet Masters

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Beyond the Bubble Economy

From Yes Magazine:  http://www.yesmagazine.org/blogs/david-korten/beyond-the-bubble-economy

We’ve finally learned that a growing financial sector isn’t the same thing as actual economic improvement. So how can we stimulate the real economy?
posted Feb 02, 2012

Public anger at the 2008 Wall Street bailout, concerns about debt, and a deep and pervasive fear that another financial crash is just a matter of time create an important moment of opportunity for a long overdue public conversation about the purpose of financial services and the necessary steps to assure that the financial sector fulfills that purpose.

Much of the recent discussion of financial reform has centered on limiting Wall Street excesses to curb fraud and reduce the risk of another financial crash. This is vitally important, but it does not address the issue raised by Sheila Bair shortly before she stepped down last year as FDIC chair:

“In policy terms, the success of the financial sector is not an end in itself, but a means to an end—which is to support the vitality of the real economy and the livelihood of the American people. What really matters to the life of our nation is enabling entrepreneurs to build new businesses that create more well-paying jobs, and enabling families to put a roof over their heads and educate their children.”

It is very straightforward. The proper purpose of the financial services sector is to serve the real economy on which everyone depends for their daily needs, their quality of life, and their opportunity to be creative, contributing members of their communities.

By this standard of performance, Wall Street does not serve us well. Indeed, Wall Street’s most lavish rewards go not to those who enable others to create wealth, but rather to those most skilled and ruthless in expropriating the wealth of others—behavior condemned as immoral by every major religion. To justify their actions, Wall Street players and their apologists turn reality and logic on their heads by treating growth in the size and profitability of the financial sector as an end in itself, and a measure of increasing sector efficiency.

Continue reading at:  http://www.yesmagazine.org/blogs/david-korten/beyond-the-bubble-economy

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Madonna acts just like a serious male artist would – and people hate her for it

From The Guardian UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/feb/06/madonna-hating-we-superbowl

As her new film reminds us, Madonna is as unapologetic as ever – and it’s doing wonders for the collective female psyche


guardian.co.uk
, Monday 6 February 2012

If you really want to watch vitriol flow on a monumental scale, be Madonna and dare to make a film.

It’s been instructive to watch the trajectory of Madonna’s recent fantasy-biopic of Wallis Simpson, WE, emerge into the critical light of day. A flawed but daring, visually mesmerizing piece, it takes a look at the journeys of two women – Wallis Simpson, re-envisioned by Andrea Riseborough, and a modern Upper East Side abused Stepford wife, Wally ­– as they emerge from victimization to personal autonomy and self-realization.

Yes, the film is not perfect – it has its historical solecisms, for instance – but it is far from representing the outright crime you would think Madonna had committed, were you a just-landed Martian reading the reviews. The recent Entertainment Weekly notice started: “The movie is a folly, a desultory vanity project for its director and co-writer.”

Others were even more personally brutal. Many of the notices reviewed Madonna herself – with distaste – rather than the film, refusing to engage with it on its merits at all.

Having had the chance to interview her, I get from the start why one’s fallback position can so easily be “hating Madonna”. By 10am, the day of our meeting, my daughter had suggested that I change out of my boring trousers into something trendier; my partner, once I was in a dress, suggested film people were more casual; and my mom, who hadn’t worried about this stuff since I was 14, called to remind me to brush the back of my hair.

Before I had even left the house, I looked hopelessly uncool.

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/feb/06/madonna-hating-we-superbowl

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Who elected ALEC?

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The shocking truth about religious ‘gay cure’ therapy by someone who failed to turn straight

From Pink News: http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2012/02/05/the-shocking-truth-about-religious-gay-cure-therapy-by-someone-who-failed-to-turn-straight/

by
5 February 2012

Last month, a state funded Jewish school in North London, JFS, was accused by the Jewish Chronicle of showing students the logo and central message of JONAH, a so called ‘gay cure’ group and implicitly portrayed it as something they should explore if they thought they might be gay. The chief rabbi of Amsterdam was suspended from his position after he signed a document alleging homosexuality could be “modified and healed”. And Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, backed a Christian ‘gay cure’ therapist struck off by her professional body. But very little has been written about what actually happens at so called reparative therapy. Chaim Levin enrolled on a Jewish scheme to try to turn himself straight. This is his story.

I grew up in a traditional Jewish family in Crown Heights. I love my mother, my father and my family. I had always felt different and was the subject of relentless bullying by other boys for “seeming” gay. When I was 17 I confided to a friend that I was attracted to men and not sexually attracted to women at all. When it came out, I was thrown out of yeshiva (Jewish religious school). For the longest time I felt so alone because I truly believed that I was the only person battling this secret war. My older siblings were getting married and having kids, and all I ever wanted was to be a part of the beautiful world my parents had raised me in. My dream was to marry a woman and live the life my family hoped and dreamed for me. I would never have chosen to be gay; I could not imagine anyone growing up in the Orthodox world who would choose to be someone who doesn’t fit into the values and norms of everyone around them.

So do I think that I was “born gay”? I don’t know and I am not sure how important that is. What is important is that it certainly is not something that I chose or had anything to do with. And I felt immense pressure to somehow change who I was.

After much time and research I found a well-known organisation that “specialised” in reparative therapy. This organisation had endorsements from a wide range of rabbis and I was sure that it was the answer to all my problems. The organisation’s executive director told me that he believes everyone can change if they simply put in the hard work. I would have done anything to change, and this message was just the hope I was looking for. I spent two years attending every group meeting, weekend, and individual life coaching sessions they offered. My parents and I paid thousands of dollars. Every day, every session, I was working and waiting to feel a shift in my desires or experience authentic change. That moment never came. I didn’t change, I never developed any sexual desire for women, and never stopped being attracted to men. Instead, I only felt more and more helpless because I wasn’t changing. The organisation and its staff taught us that change only comes to those who truly want it and are willing to put in the work. So if I wasn’t changing, I was seen as someone who either really didn’t sincerely want it, or would not put in the necessary work. In other words, there was no one to blame but myself.

Continue reading at:   http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2012/02/05/the-shocking-truth-about-religious-gay-cure-therapy-by-someone-who-failed-to-turn-straight/

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