Bullying and the “Radical Feminist” Faction

I’ve watched this minority group within the Feminist Movement pull this shit for some forty-three years.

In the 1970s before there was the social construct of Transgender they ran this number on post-transsexual women.

One of my friends has been stalked for years by one of these people.

The irony was so many of the sisters I knew who got SRS in the Seventies were feminists to one degree or another.  Even if they were Cosmo feminists embracing the idea they had the power to use their appearance and sexuality to have control over their own lives.

I watched my heterosexual sisters stop letting boyfriends and lovers abuse them either physically  or verbally.

As a group we understood what it meant for women to have control over their own medical decisions whether that control involved birth control/abortion or sex reassignment surgery.

I listened to the transphobic “Radical Feminists” and their vile bullying attacks. I could try to shrug it off and say to myself they were wrong, ignorant or could be educated out of their bigotry.

I taught myself photography and tried to figure out how to make a living from my work.  I ran into the same problems many women in the arts run into.  Women artists are rarely taken seriously.  Something that is true in painting, photography music and all the rest of the arts.  I was drawn to the Women’s Building on Spring Street in the warehouse district of LA.  I went for classes and stayed for the camaraderie.

I was young and cute, my femaleness never questioned.

The Lesbian Tide asked if I would consider working for them as a photographer. I leaped  at the opportunity to see my work in print. But I was aware of the controversy surrounding people like me participating in either the feminist or lesbian community.

My portfolio was filled with photographs of not only lesbian women but gay men, obvious TG folks, punk rockers.

I was asked if I was transsexual and I said yes. My girlfriend at the time defended me and I spoke regarding myself.  The women of the Tide Collective were hesitant, some did not want to take the chance others would find out and The Tide would wind up being trashed the same way Olivia Records was being trashed.

I understood their concerns. This so called “Radical Feminist” faction didn’t give a shit about how they were damaging a Women’s Music Collective that was offering women, who didn’t fit the music industry’s idea of what a female artist should be, a company that would record and release their music.

I worked for the Tide with the agreement I would leave if there was ever any question raised about my history.

But think about this, a small faction of bullies showed a complete disregard for the health and well being of woman owned and run collectives.  A level of disregard that would allow them to destroy those collectives if those collectives had the audacity to allow a woman with a transsexual history work for them.

Even more ironic is the aspect regarding compensation.  The photography I did for the Lesbian Tide always cost me more to do than I received for the prints that were used. Just the cost of film, the chemicals for me to process the film or have it process and the prints cost me five times what they paid me to use the shots.

Before Raymond’s book was a book it was a thesis and an excerpt was published by a feminist journal called Chrysalis that was put out by the Women’s Building on Spring Street. Along with the excerpt was a photo essay of pictures taken at a transsexual/transgender rap group called Renaissance. The woman taking the pictures at the rap group said they were for personal usage yet used them in that essay without a signed release.  One of the other sisters and myself took classes at the Women’s Building and attended events there.

Fortunately for me, I was never called on my picture being in that journal.

But there was a climate of fear.

There was something else that always bothered me more.

That was hearing supposed feminist, radical feminists at that, claim  Anita Bryant and Phyllis Schlafly were their sisters but no woman with a transsexual history, no matter how dedicated or hard working for feminism could ever be their sister.

I watched the destruction of second wave feminism.  The purity checks, the trashings.  I watched women’s groups be torn apart by those claiming to be more radical than anyone else.

Heterosexual women were trashed.  Women were told not to bring male infants into “woman space.”

We didn’t manage to get the Equal Rights Amendment passed, we ran out of energy…

Many women were tired of the bullshit.

NOW still thrives, Emily’s List, a host of other women’s organizations.

Nearly twenty years ago NOW formally accepted TS/TG people.

We are at a time when women’s rights are under attack from all sides.  From the Christo-Fascists and ultra right wing Tea Baggers alike.

Yet the most important thing on the agenda of the so called Radical Feminists is attacking Transsexual and Transgender people.

Funny how the shit one hears from “radical feminists” is the same shit one hears from the Reich Wingers and the Christo-Fascists that want to end women’s reproductive rights.

One could be forgiven for mistaking the Radical Feminists as being part of the American Family Association.

Both are Bullies and I don’t like bullies.  I take the side of the people bullies target.

How Republicans Are Trying to Force You to Pay for Others’ Religious Beliefs

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/news/154431/how_republicans_are_trying_to_force_you_to_pay_for_others%27_religious_beliefs/

We shouldn’t have to subsidize the antiquated religious beliefs of a small minority.

By Joshua Holland
March 6, 2012

Last week, the Blunt-Rubio Amendment, which would have allowed any employer to refuse to cover any medical goods or services he or she found “morally objectionable,” went down to a narrow defeat, but Republicans aren’t giving up on the issue. They appear to be intent on using the power of government to force the vast majority of Americans who have no problem with birth control to pay for a small minority’s personal beliefs through higher insurance premiums.

I should make one thing clear: religious liberty is bedrock principle, and people whose faith leads them to oppose the use of birth control have that right. But that’s not the issue – nobody is being forced to use contraception contrary to their beliefs, and the “accommodation” the Obama administration came to with the Catholic bishops means that religious institutions don’t need to get involved.

In fact, many states have long mandated that prescription drug plans cover contraceptives, and the issue of “religious liberty” was never even raised until it became a partisan talking-point. Mitt Romney didn’t carve out an exception for employers that are affiliated with a church in Massachussetts, nor did Mike Huckabee when he was the governor of Arkansas.

In New Hampshire, Republican lawmakers are trying to do away with just such a requirement. The law has been in effect for 12 years, since it was passed by a Republican legislature. As NPR noted, “nobody at the time, it seems, saw the policy as a blow against religious liberty.” State Rep. Terie Norelli, who co-sponsored the law in 2000, told NPR, “There was no discussion whatsoever — I even went back and looked at the history from the bill. There was not one comment about religious freedoms.” According to the report, “It wasn’t just lawmakers who were silent; religious leaders were, too.”

No, this is about health insurance. And the simple fact is that it costs insurers a lot more to cover a population without offering that population birth control than it does to pick up the cost of contraceptives. What will insurers do if they have to pay extra not to cover birth control? They will, of course, pass the extra costs onto the rest of us through higher premiums.

And this is fundamentally unfair. The vast majority of Americans don’t have a moral objection to using birth-control (99 percent of women who are at risk of becoming pregnant have done so), and as long as the devout’s right to practice their religion as they choose – to only engage in “procreative sex” if they so choose — is not in danger, then we shouldn’t have to pay for their superstitions through higher premiums.

Religious conservatives are desperately trying to turn this argument on its head, claiming it is they who would have to pay higher premiums to cover others’ birth control. “It’s not really about whether contraception would be included in insurance coverage,” Tim LeFever, head of the Capitol Resource Institute, a religious-right group, told Salon. “It’s that with our country’s tradition of religious liberty, Obama would step in like he did. Very few people consider the compromise anything more than a wink and a nod. Most of us say, ‘Of course we’re still paying for it. You’re still going to war against our conscience.’”

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/news/154431/how_republicans_are_trying_to_force_you_to_pay_for_others%27_religious_beliefs/

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The Great American NO BULL Challenge – WeStopHate

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Penn expands health coverage for trans employees

From Philadelphia Gay News:  http://www.epgn.com/view/full_story/17794600/article-Penn-expands-health-coverage-for-trans-employees?instance=home_news

by Jen Colletta
Thur. March 8, 2012

Beginning this summer, University of Pennsylvania’s employee healthcare plan will cover gender-reassignment surgery for transgender individuals.

The new coverage, offered under the Aetna Point of Service II plan, was announced last week and will go into effect July 1.

Penn joins just a handful of other American universities that offer this option to employees.

The university currently has more than 16,000 faculty and staff members.

Penn has offered similar coverage to students who take advantage of its student healthcare plan for two years. Efforts were underway last year to extend the benefits to employees, but the university at the time said the change would be too costly.

The university did not respond by presstime to a request for comment.

Jason Landau Goodman, executive director of the Pennsylvania Student Equality Coalition and a Penn student, noted the policy change “says a great deal about our community that we were able to push forward and extend this essential coverage.”

Landau Goodman, the former vice chair for political affairs at Lambda Alliance, previously testified before the University Council in favor of extending the benefit to faculty and staff.

“It took a long time to process this within the university but I’m very proud that finally, after several years of advocating for this, they came through to add this to the plan,” he said. “This is an important step for our community, and I hope that other schools and institutions will follow.”

Dawn Munro, a transgender scientist employed by the university for more than 20 years, was involved in the advocacy process for the change for a number of years.

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Why a sex change is not extraordinary

From Indy Week:  http://www.indyweek.com/indyweek/why-a-sex-change-is-not-extraordinary/Content?oid=2884589

by Eva Hayward
March 07, 2012

Reposted with permission

Clacking away at my laptop, chunky Dior glasses sliding to the end of my nose and lips pursed in concentration, with a lifted finger I momentarily held off the doctor while I crafted a last sentence.

Surely a well-rendered sentence matters as much as a steady heart rate. I was writing my February opinion column for the Indy on love, desire and the Roman holiday Lupercalia, while receiving blood transfusions in a Cincinnati hospital bed. Landing there was my own bloody valentine—ironic comeuppance for downplaying the holiday’s savagery.

My gesture was not simply a power play, Ph.D. versus M.D., but an insistence on being respected. Because without exception, every doctor who came into my room was fascinated to distraction to learn that I am transsexual. One doctor asked me if I were born female or male, and when I told him, he seemed perplexed and asked if I had had sex reassignment surgery, and then asked about cosmetic surgeries and then still seemed confused. But the most troubling issue was that I had wound up in the hospital for reasons unrelated to my sex. I needed care for pain and blood loss, but with an IV in my arm and secured hospital floors, he had me positioned to satisfy his curiosity.

Over the last two years, I have been in three hospitals: University of New Mexico Hospital, Duke University Hospital and University of Cincinnati Hospital. At each institution, to different degrees of unpleasantness, doctors and nurses have demanded that I discuss my transsexuality whether I am in for pneumonia or stomach disease. When I was admitted to UNM Hospital, unable to breathe, an intake nurse, after trying to flatter me with “I had no idea you were transgender,” talked to me about accepting his gay son and the challenges that came with that decision in rural New Mexico, while I gasped and shook my head empathetically. While at Duke University Hospital, a senior doctor brought 10 interns into my room to not just discuss my sex change but to eyeball my very sex. My patience curdling into frustration, I asked how this information mattered and why it required an audience. Seemingly imperious, he said, “It does matter.” Perhaps it does, but I could never get a good explanation as to exactly how, nor why these sorts of encounters happened so often during my stays.

My exasperation hardly ends with the medical establishment. When people know about my transition, there is an instant feeling of intimacy, as if I have surrendered my privacy to them and become a trusting friend. Acquaintances will confide their dreams to me or make unwarranted advances, and otherwise feel overfamiliar with me. And even folks I generally adore have a tendency to suppose something special or transgressive about my identity. As it happens, a dear friend and I have been engaged in an ongoing debate about “queerness.” For her, to be queer is the highest of accomplishments, an exalted mode of existence. When I tell her that I am not so queer, that my identity is rather commonplace, she looks askance at me. But it is true: I don’t have remarkable insight into the numen of sex systems. I am not liberated from the conventions of gender, sex or sexuality. Nor do I represent the body’s triumph over nature or godliness.

At one time in my life, not wanting to be ensnared in my past, I celebrated an unhindered present. I disowned who I had been for who I had become. I withdrew from family and old friendships and met new people without discussing my transition. Later it dawned on me that rather than dismissing my history I was denying it, which felt isolating and self-effacing. Maybe we all have the feeling that we haven’t quite lived our life until we have narrated it.

While I do not see sex change as extraordinary, I understand that my experience gives me a particular sensibility. And since I do not live in “stealth”—a word used by some to describe a life in which no one knows you are transgender—I have had to expect questions about my transition, even if I don’t really want, nor know how, to answer.

Grateful as I am by nature, reluctant to tell it all, and surprisingly lucky in other respects, I find it difficult to dig through old miseries and doubts. I do my best, though, to be honest in discussions about transsexuality. I have written about sex change for academic and journalistic venues, but always my effort is to place transsexuality within an unsurprising sphere of experience. In this I share the sentiments of a young man who wrote to the Governor of Washington state, explaining how marriage equality matters to him: “No one should have to be extraordinary to be ordinary.”

Several years ago I attended a show at the Exit Theatre in San Francisco. Veronica Klaus was performing her one-woman show Family Jewels. Veronica sums up frustrations and sentiments when she ponders, “People ask me if I feel like a woman. Do I feel like a woman? The truth is, I have no idea whether I feel like any other woman. I have no idea whether I ever felt like any other man. All I know is that I feel like me, Veronica, a person whose existence is partly innate, partly instinct, partly art, the art of creating.”

As I tend to repeat, transsexuality is life loving itself, loving its capacity for invention, change and possibility. All that seems arcane about transsexuality—hormone replacement therapy, surgeries, name changes—can be understood as marks of healing and of the desire to live well. For me, and perhaps because it is my experience, there is something simple if undefinable about transsexuality, resisting blunt definitions and analyses. It just is. I accepted it as it happened, and am sure I did the right thing.

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Right involves transgender community in new Sandra Fluke attack

From Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters:  http://holybulliesandheadlessmonsters.blogspot.com/2012/03/right-involves-transgender-community-in.html

By Alvin McEwen
Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Reposted with permission

By now, EVERYONE has heard and commented on the Rush Limbaugh/Sandra Fluke controversy.

Personally I think that Limbaugh, who was never a nice person anyway, got a bit egotistical and thought he could say anything about anyone, even a college student whose only “offense” was to testify at a Congressional hearing.

His comments sends a chilling message to those private citizens who may testify in the future that if their view does not jive with his or those on the right, they will be investigated and vilified.

We have seen how Limbaugh handles the vilifying part. Now, according to Equality Matters, in an attempt to defend Limbaugh’s indefensible comments about Ms. Fluke, the right has targeted her via a 2011 paper she wrote which did nothing more than describe discrimination in employer coverage of transgender medical care.

The conservative Media Research Center’s Stephen Gutowski “discovered” the essay on March 5 and claimed it demonstrated that Fluke “is being sold by the left as something she’s not. Namely a random co-ed from Georgetown law who found herself mixed up in the latest front of the culture war who was simply looking to make sure needy women had access to birth control.” Gutowski claimed Fluke is “pushing some rather radical ideas. Keep that in mind as the left holds her up in the spotlight”

. . . The MRC post was quickly promoted by right-wing media outlets, including the Drudge Report and Fox Nation:

And then as if by coincidence:

And Fox News contributor Laura Ingraham brought the attack to Fox during this morning’s Fox & Friends:

INGRAHAM: Now we find out there was a law journal article written by this particular woman that seems to indicate that she believes that if you don’t pay for sex change operations, gender reassignment, it’s called – operations — you also could be described as a discriminatory employer. So today the pill. Tomorrow sex reassignment surgery, perhaps. And then down the road, what other things should be covered for free?

Equality Matters quickly points out that:

Fluke’s essay is a fairly comprehensive study of various types of employment discrimination against LGBT individuals but, ironically, the one charge that Gutowski chose to highlight as an example of the “radical ideas” that Fluke is “pushing” is not controversial at all.

Check out Equality Matters to read the full post if my condensed one wasn’t sufficient enough. But the gist is this – these people are sad. They aren’t journalist. They are highly paid wolves who seem to enjoy destroying someone’s reputation as if its a high-stakes game of Monopoly.

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Are GOPers Being Driven Into Another Limbaugh Trap In A Chevy Volt?

From Talking Points Memo:  http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/03/are-gopers-being-driven-into-another-limbaugh-trap-in-a-chevy-volt.php?ref=fpb

Evan McMorris-Santoro
March 7, 2012

Rush Limbaugh may be steering the GOP into another Democratic-friendly trap with his consistent bashing of the Chevy Volt.

America’s attempt to to one-up the Prius — with a car that was touted as the saviour of GM for years before Obama was sworn in — became an important symbol for the administration, and thus an immediate whipping boy for Limbaugh. Right-wing pundits and Republicans have followed suit, putting them in the bewildering position of rooting against a product of American engineering and manufacturing.

This could be a problem.

“As for the Volt, it is emblematic of a larger problem the GOP has: the sense that they are rooting for America to fail,” Paul Begala, Democratic strategist and adviser to President Obama’s super PAC told TPM. “When a good jobs report comes out, Mitt Romney looks sad. When Clint Eastwood makes an unapologetic, patriotic Super Bowl ad for Chrysler, Karl Rove says it makes him sick. They booed a gay soldier at a GOP debate, and didn’t even want to give the President his due for ordering the mission that killed bin Laden. One wonders if they will be rooting for communist China during the summer Olympics.”

That’s the larger narrative to Democrats. But what about the Volt specifically? The car is an international award-winner and a rolling embodiment of the resurgence of the American auto industry. That’s the good news. It’s also a poster child for the problem environmental activists have pushing green vehicles into the mainstream. Sales of the car have been slower than expected, so GM shut down the line temporarily. As IdeaLab’s Carl Franzen noted, the news of the temporary shutdown was greeted with gloating from parts of the right.

Continue reading at: http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/03/are-gopers-being-driven-into-another-limbaugh-trap-in-a-chevy-volt.php?ref=fpb

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Bad Romance: Women’s Suffrage

How Republicans completely misjudged this

From Pandagon: http://pandagon.net/index.php/site/comments/how-republicans-completely-misjudged-this

by Amanda Marcotte
Mar. 7, 2012

After the Blunt amendment went down, I figured that, policy-wise, Republicans were out of options in their desperate bid to separate middle and working class women from simple access to contraception. It was their single best shot, after all, and it frankly wasn’t a very good one. Unfortunately, the war on low income women who don’t have access to health care benefits through work continues at a rapid pace; with the pretense about “abortion” or “religious freedom” falling away during the Slutstraganza, Texas is cheerfully cutting 130,000 women off their access to contraception and cancer screening cuz SLUTS.

Republicans should have let the story die over the weekend, but in part because of the right wing media, that wasn’t going to happen. So even though the right is actually out of realistic options, the debate over whether or not 99% of American women are worthless sluts has continued on, and every day it continues is a bad day for Republicans. So it looks like Senate Republicans are taking action to speed up the demise of this debate:

Continue reading at:  http://pandagon.net/index.php/site/comments/how-republicans-completely-misjudged-thisby Amanda Marcotte

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Pat Robertson Weighs in on Sandra Fluke’s ‘Fornication’

From Right Wing Watch:  http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/pat-robertson-weighs-sandra-flukes-fornication

by Brian Tashman
Wed, 03/07/2012

Televangelist Pat Robertson on the 700 Club today attacked Sandra Fluke’s testimony at a Democratic hearing, after she was barred from speaking at a GOP-led committee, in support of making religiously-based institutions like universities cover contraception in their insurance plans. Robertson falsely claimed Fluke was asking for “$3,000 a year” for contraceptives, as Fluke actually said that without insurance “contraception can cost a woman over $3,000” over the course of law school, and noted that contraceptives are important not only to prevent unintended pregnancies but also matters such as ovarian cysts, hormonal disorders and early menopause. His guest Jerry Bell of the American Principles Project said that Fluke’s testimony was part of a larger left-wing plot from the 1790s, not the 1970s, of “imposing the values of the sexual revolution on everybody else” and trying to “attack organized religion and the traditional family.” Bell later told Robertson, a former presidential candidate and founder of the Christian Coalition who talks about social issues almost every day of his show, that social issues “keep coming up” in political debates “because it’s in the DNA of the left.”

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Subject for Debate: Are Women People?

From Time Magazine:  http://ideas.time.com/2012/03/07/subject-for-debate-are-women-people/

I’ve always assumed that women are fully autonomous human citizens—who vote, even!—but now I’m not so certain

By Jessica Winter
March 7, 2012

All my adult life, I’ve been pretty sure I’m a sentient, even semi-competent human being. I have a job and an apartment; I know how to read and vote; I make regular, mostly autonomous decisions about what to eat for lunch and which cat videos I will watch whilst eating my lunch. But in the past couple of months, certain powerful figures in media and politics have cracked open that certitude.

You see, like most women, I was born with the chromosome abnormality known as “XX,” a deviation of the normative “XY” pattern. Symptoms of XX, which affects slightly more than half of the American population, include breasts, ovaries, a uterus, a menstrual cycle, and the potential to bear and nurse children. Now, many would argue even today that the lack of a Y chromosome should not affect my ability to make informed choices about what health care options and lunchtime cat videos are right for me. But others have posited, with increasing volume and intensity, that XX is a disability, even a roadblock on the evolutionary highway. This debate has reached critical mass, and leaves me uncertain of my legal and moral status. Am I a person? An object? A ward of the state? A “prostitute”? (And if I’m the last of these, where do I drop off my W-2?)

In the hopes of clarifying these and other issues, below I’ve recapped recent instances of powerful men from the fields of law, politics and literature tackling the question that has captured America’s imagination: Are Women People?

Case No. 1: U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes
The Recap: Following a 10-week maternity leave, a three-year employee of a Houston debt collection agency filed a sex discrimination suit, alleging she was fired for asking permission to bring a breast pump to work. Hughes sided with the company, but added that the truth of the plaintiff’s claim was irrelevant. “Lactation is not pregnancy, childbirth or a related medical condition,” he ruled in February, paraphrasing Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. “She gave birth on Dec. 11, 2009. After that day, she was no longer pregnant and her pregnancy-related conditions ended. Firing someone because of lactation or breast-pumping is not sex discrimination.”

What We Learned: Possession of naturally functioning secondary sex characteristics is a fireable offense; a woman with a fetus has more rights than a woman with a baby.

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As feminists, united we fall apart – divided we may yet succeed

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/mar/07/feminists-international-womens-day?INTCMP=SRCH

My International Women’s Day thought? We should act more like a football team and less like synchronised swimmers


guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 7 March 2012

I’m not that fussed about pornography. I never have been. I accept the practical point that a lot of porn degrades women intentionally so can’t be made without the humiliation of women involved in it; and I accept the theoretical point that it is made for the male gaze, so women aren’t agents of their own pleasure, they’re just accessories to male pleasure. But I can’t make the leap from there to any serious belief that the act of filming two people having sex is necessarily demeaning to women. I don’t accept that women who like porn have somehow been enslaved by a male cultural coding – or if they have, what is anybody’s sexuality but a series of triggers and preferences they’ve picked up on the way to maturity?

Nor am I incensed about what we’d call “raunch” culture, in which a porn aesthetic has seeped into “normal” life, and young women on primetime television might casually wear outfits that 30 years ago you’d only have been able to buy in a specialist shop. Sure, I think there’s a solid Marxist critique to be made of it, about market forces and how they flatten everything into one acceptable, sellable shape, and in so doing taint physical intimacy, which is idiosyncratic in its nature. But at the same time I think it’s in the nature of young, beautiful people to flaunt themselves to one another. The idea that you can banish the objectification of the body, in either direction, from the business of being human I find neither realistic nor especially desirable.

At the opposite end of this male cultural coding, you have the burqa, and I no longer feel strongly about that. I used to think that it was a tragedy that a woman’s dress and, by extension, her public identity, should have to be mediated through male paranoia. But that was before all the attempts I’ve seen at intervention – from the French law against the veil, which has the effect of ejecting girls from school, to any given liberal argument that takes as its necessary starting point the laughable idea that western women are somehow immune to the exigencies of male paranoia.

And just while we’re doing feminist heresies, I don’t think that thin models make young girls anorexic. I think that’s actually an insult to women, to suggest that the cause and effect of a mental illness should be so bleeding obvious.

It sounds like I’ve mellowed, but in fact, on other things, I’ve become more hardline. I no longer think it’s possible to be a rightwing feminist. It makes no logical sense to seek equality just for your own gender then step away from egalitarianism more generally. Pragmatically, what kind of equality are you talking about if it only applies among women? Are you just fighting for some kind of tiered parity, where middle-class women have the same rights and prospects as middle-class men, and working-class women have the rights and prospects of working-class men?

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/mar/07/feminists-international-womens-day?INTCMP=SRCH

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Mary Louise Parker on International Women’s Day

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International Women’s Day: We need a women’s rights reawakening

From Toronto Star:  http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorialopinion/article/1142060–international-women-s-day-we-need-a-women-s-rights-reawakening

By Heather Mallick
Star Columnist
Tue Mar 06 2012

Thursday is International Women’s Day. Women in Canada and the U.S. have not been in this much danger for a generation.

Women have few public defenders right now and it’s our fault. As the years passed, we grew overconfident. We took our hard-won rights for granted, we assumed our enemies accepted our triumphs — abortion rights, equal pay, work equality, contraception — as a done deal. We underestimated how much we were hated, and look at us now.

American women are fighting a rearguard action for something as basic as birth control to be included in health-care plans. They are called “sluts” for doing so.

They are also fighting state government-mandated pre-abortion ultrasounds to shame them into cancelling the procedure. “I cannot believe I still have to protest this,” one woman demonstrator’s sign read in Virginia. The women were hauled away by police on Monday, the same way pregnant women who attempt suicide are arrested for child murder in the southern states.

A U.S. law student named Sandra Fluke recently testified before a federal committee about birth control not being included in university health plans, and was taunted by hate-radio host Rush Limbaugh as a “slut” and a “prostitute.”

Limbaugh, the man who once mocked Michael J. Fox’s limbs twitching from Parkinson’s and ridiculed Bill Clinton’s “ugly” daughter, said of Fluke: “She wants to be paid to have sex. She’s having so much sex she can’t afford the contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex. What does that make us? We’re the pimps.” He then told her he wanted to see tapes of the “paid” sex she was having on his dime.

His attack on Fluke was so violent that President Barack Obama telephoned her to thank her for her bravery and told her that her parents should be proud. What a kind, decent thing for Obama, father of two girls, to do.

Continue reading at:  http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorialopinion/article/1142060–international-women-s-day-we-need-a-women-s-rights-reawakening

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‘ACTA not over, people await Internet revolution’

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In historic session, UN rights body tackles abuses, violence based on sexual orientation

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What America Lost When Dennis Kucinich Lost

From The Nation:  http://www.thenation.com/blog/166641/what-america-lost-when-dennis-kucinich-lost

John Nichols
March 7, 2012

Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich, a two-time presidential candidate who for the past decade has been the most consistent critic of war and militarism in the US House of Representatives, was defeated Tuesday in a Democratic primary that pitted him against fellow progressive Marcy Kaptur.

Kucinich was the first electoral victim of the current round of redistricting, which saw congressional districts redrawn in states across the country after the 2010 Census. A Republican governor and legislature carved up northern Ohio districts with an eye toward eliminating at least one Democratic seat, and they achieved their goal by forcing Kucinich and Kaptur into the same district.

That district favored Kaptur and, after a hard-fought race she prevailed by a fifty-six to thirty-nine margin, with the remainder going to a third candidate.

Though the race in Ohio’s 9th District received scant attention compared with the Republican presidential contest in the state, the result will have national consequences.

A Congress without Dennis Kucinich will be a lesser branch. It’s not just that the loss of the former leader of the Congressional Progressive Caucus will rob the House of its most consistent critic of wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, and one its steadiest critics of corporate power.

Since he arrived on the Hill in 1997, Kucinich has been one of a handful of absolutely engaged members. When issues have arisen, be it domestic or international, low profile or high, Kucinich has been at the ready—often with the first statement, the strongest demand and the boldest plan.

Continue reading at:  http://www.thenation.com/blog/166641/what-america-lost-when-dennis-kucinich-lost

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Vermonters Vote to Undo Citizens United

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The Religious Right’s Plot To Take Control Of Our Public Schools

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/visions/154435/the_religious_right%27s_plot_to_take_control_of_our_public_schools/

The people who brought you “Jesus Camp” are moving into your neighborhood school. And there’s not a damn thing you can do about it.

By Rachel Tabachnick
March 6, 2012

The Good News Club: The Stealth Assault on America’s Children by Katherine Stewart uncovers a right-wing conspiracy to infiltrate and destroy the nation’s public school system, using recent Supreme Court decisions as a lever. It’s a must-read for anyone who’s seen public school kids, perhaps their own, targeted for proselytizing by peers, teachers and adult volunteers. And for those who haven’t, it’s a wake-up call.

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas once wrote, “Religion is certainly a source of positive values, and we need as many positive values in the school as we can get.” It sounds benign. But what if the particular brand of religion is coercive, and in conflict with the teachings and values of the family of the students being targeted? It doesn’t matter. Because under the law as it stands now, evangelical churches have the right to gather, teach and proselytize in your neighborhood school.

Spiritual Warfare in Your Neighborhood

How did it come to this? If you haven’t personally observed today’s aggressive “spiritual warfare,” it may be difficult to imagine that young children are being taught that their school is a battlefield and they are the warriors who must save their classmates from themselves. With a remarkable amount of grace and restraint, Stewart describes the havoc in communities around the nation as initiatives to evangelize public school students have increased. The effect is always the same: the polarization that results when the Good News Club shows up inevitably disrupts the ability of parents and teachers to work cooperatively as a school community. And the resulting dissension and loss of trust in the schools, says Stewart, is exactly the result the right wing has in mind.

The religious right’s big break was a 2001 Supreme Court case, The Good News Club v. Milford Central School, which unleashed a new wave of school evangelization. This decision essentially told schools they could not say no to church groups that wanted to use their facilities for after-school gatherings. Stewart describes “the new legal juggernaut of the Christian Right” —an army of legal advocacy groups, including the Alliance Defense Fund, the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), Liberty Counsel, and others — that raise hundred of millions of dollars each year for the common goal of injecting stealth evangelism into public schools. They’ve spent the last 10 years figuring out how to use this decision as a wedge to maximize church control over school curricula, personnel and even the physical campus.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/visions/154435/the_religious_right%27s_plot_to_take_control_of_our_public_schools/

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