Transsexual is not an Honorific

I am not a transsexual writer.  I am not a transsexual blogger. I am not transsexual photographer.

I am a writer because I write. I am a blogger because I blog. I am a photographer because I do photography although I do that less these days I nonetheless have a body of work.

Transsexualism is something I had an operation to treat.  I have a hard time describing myself and those other people who also had sex reassignment saurgery as a class or even our need for that surgery making us into a class.

So many different personalities, social classes, ethnicities, interests.  I’m friends with quite a few sisters and more than a few brothers.

We are all so different.

I’m labeled a “transsexual separatist” for refusing to go along with the cult like beliefs of the Transgender Borg, as though being part of the Borg was mandatory or again as though transsexual were an honorific, part of a title like transsexual writer.

Instead I simply look at the transgender community and think their ideology fails to make any sense.  I don’t like their bullying of people, I don’t like their tactics and I don’t feel much in common with those who express that ideology.

But calling me and other artists who are many years post-op “transsexual artist” instead of just artists, writers, musicians etc is like continuing to describe some one who left say Catholicism fifty years ago as a Catholic based on the Catholic ideology of once a Catholic always a Catholic unless they decide to excommunicate you.

I remember when Ms. was introduced as an honorific for women who rejected being defined as being owned by a man or open to claiming by a man.

I remember the resistance that met women who didn’t wish to be identified according to their being in a legally recognized relationship with a man.

I didn’t have SRS with the intention of spending my life in the world behind the pink door inhabited by gender queers, transvestites, fetishists, full time transgender warriors etc.  I had a sex change operation with the intent of being an ordinary left wing hippie woman more interested in the world of art than Transworld, or for that matter the gay and lesbian world, even though I eventually came out as lesbian.

To this day I’d rather go to a mixed event than a lesbian event.  Hell I’d rather go to Willie’s Picnic than a Womyn’s Music Festival, SXSW than MWMF.

Last year I started using “post-transsexual” to describe what happens for many of us a few years after surgery.  Burn-out is another way of putting it.  Hanging out in Transworld is like being beset by a horde of hungry ghosts all grabbing and pulling at you demanding something you don’t have to give them, mostly because what they want is found within themselves.

I hate the label transsexual or transgender because I’ve resolved those issues, made my peace with them and moved on.

If someone reads what I have to offer and gets something that helps them then it’s great.  Hopefully  someone gets something from what I write.

But I also get to live my life on my own terms and one of those is not being defined by an operation I had some forty years ago.

I Love Abortion: Implying Otherwise Accomplishes Nothing for Women’s Rights

From RH Reality Check:

by Jessica DelBalzo
March 14, 2012

I love abortion. I don’t accept it. I don’t view it as a necessary evil. I embrace it. I donate to abortion funds. I write about how important it is to make sure that every woman has access to safe, legal abortion services. I have bumper stickers and buttons and t-shirts proclaiming my support for reproductive freedom. I love abortion.

And I bristle every time a fellow activist uses a trendy catch-phrase or rallying cry meant to placate pro-lifers. The first of these, “Make abortion safe, legal, and rare!” has been used for decades as a call for abortion rights.

Safe and legal are concepts I fully support, but rare is something I cannot abide. I understand the theoretical mindset: it is better for a woman to prevent an unwanted pregnancy than to bear the physical and financial burden of an abortion. While my own abortion involved very little pain and a minimal financial expense, one which my ex-boyfriend was willing to share with me, even I can admit that using condoms or the pill is preferable to eight weeks of nausea and weight gain. Contraception is a valuable tool.

However, there is no need to suggest that abortion be rare. To say so implies a value judgement, promoting the idea that abortion is somehow distasteful or immoral and should be avoided. Even with affordable, accessible birth control, there will be user errors, condoms that break, moments of spontaneity. The best contraceptive access in the world won’t change the fact that we are merely human and imperfect in our routines. The best access in the world also won’t change the fact that some women are raped, while others find that even wanted pregnancies sometimes need to be terminated for the woman’s well-being or to avoid birthing a child with painful or unmanageable disabilities. Women who find themselves facing any of these situations shouldn’t feel guilty for failing to keep the numbers low.

It stands to reason that if we ensure contraception is both readily available and easily affordable for sexually active women of all ages, the need for abortion may decrease as a result. That would be a laudable accomplishment and an indication of social progress for an America otherwise plagued by anti-feminist, religious conservatism known for shaming women’s sexuality.

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We Have to Choose What Kind of a People We Are

From Huffington Post:


Even while we see jobs coming back, the tsunami created by the Great Recession is hitting cities and counties with full force. Suffolk County, one of the largest New York counties, has declared a financial emergency. Stockton, Calif., a city of 300,000, is on the verge of bankruptcy.

As the cities go belly up, the 1 percent are back. A new report by Emmanuel Saez, the nation’s leading academic expert on income inequality, shows that the top 1 percent captured a staggering 93 percent of all the real income growth in 2010. The bottom 99 percent captured only 0.2 percent after losing nearly 12 percent from 2007-09. For the 99 percent, the loses in the Great Recession erased all income gains since the last recession in 2002.

In cities, the crisis is forcing harsh cuts in services. As New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg put it, “Towns and counties across the state are starting to have to make the real choices — fewer cops, fewer firefighters, slower ambulance response, less teachers.”

Cities and counties could muffle the effect for a couple of years, but now, the day of reckoning is hitting — and hitting hard.

Lower property values, the result of the housing bubble crash, are now being registered in tax valuations. Millions were lost as the banks trampled the law while dodging recording and transfer fees on mortgages. Unemployment and poverty put greater pressure on budgets, particularly on health care through Medicaid. The losses suffered by pension funds force higher payments by public employers. The high unemployment economy generates lower sales and income tax revenues.

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Bank of America: Too Crooked to Fail

From Rolling Stone:

The bank has defrauded everyone from investors and insurers to homeowners and the unemployed. So why does the government keep bailing it out?

By Matt Taibbi
March 14, 2012

At least Bank of America got its name right. The ultimate Too Big to Fail bank really is America, a hypergluttonous ward of the state whose limitless fraud and criminal conspiracies we’ll all be paying for until the end of time. Did you hear about the plot to rig global interest rates? The $137 million fine for bilking needy schools and cities? The ingenious plan to suck multiple fees out of the unemployment checks of jobless workers? Take your eyes off them for 10 seconds and guaranteed, they’ll be into some shit again: This bank is like the world’s worst-behaved teenager, taking your car and running over kittens and fire hydrants on the way to Vegas for the weekend, maxing out your credit cards in the three days you spend at your aunt’s funeral. They’re out of control, yet they’ll never do time or go out of business, because the government remains creepily committed to their survival, like overindulgent parents who refuse to believe their 40-year-old live-at-home son could possibly be responsible for those dead hookers in the backyard.

It’s been four years since the government, in the name of preventing a depression, saved this megabank from ruin by pumping $45 billion of taxpayer money into its arm. Since then, the Obama administration has looked the other way as the bank committed an astonishing variety of crimes – some elaborate and brilliant in their conception, some so crude that they’d be beneath your average street thug. Bank of America has systematically ripped off almost everyone with whom it has a significant business relationship, cheating investors, insurers, depositors, homeowners, shareholders, pensioners and taxpayers. It brought tens of thousands of Americans to foreclosure court using bogus, “robo-signed” evidence – a type of mass perjury that it helped pioneer. It hawked worthless mortgages to dozens of unions and state pension funds, draining them of hundreds of millions in value. And when it wasn’t ripping off workers and pensioners, it was helping to push insurance giants like AMBAC into bankruptcy by fraudulently inducing them to spend hundreds of millions insuring those same worthless mortgages.

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#F29 Matt Taibbi on Bank of America | Occupy Wall Street Video

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Hire-and-fire labour law changes won’t ease Spain’s employment crisis

From The Guardian UK:

A 23% jobless total, with nearly 50% youth unemployment, is the result of historical, systemic problems in the wider economy, Wednesday 14 March 2012

On Tuesday Spanish politicians claimed a political victory after winning concessions in their tussle over the country’s deficit reduction plans. But on the streets of Spain, all is not well. Tens of thousands of union supporters marched against changes to the country’s labour laws on Sunday, and they plan a general strike for 29 March if the ruling right-of-centre People’s party (PP) doesn’t negotiate with them.

Some PP members have suggested that striking would be unpatriotic, damaging Spain’s international reputation. At the weekend general secretary María Dolores de Cospedal said protesters were being egged on by the Socialist opposition and said the strikers should think about the country’s unemployed, who would be given a chance through the latest reform. The head of the CCOO union, Ignacio Fernández Toxo, said the unemployed were being used as “blackmail” to justify scrapping workers’ rights.

We’ve been here before. The last socialist government also changed labour laws in 2010 and forced through public sector wage cuts, alienating their traditional allies and resulting in a general strike.

Overhauling the country’s hiring and firing laws is partly seen as a firewall to prevent Spain from being sucked the way of Greece, Ireland and Portugal.

Like former prime minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, Mariano Rajoy is likely stick to his guns to show Spain is serious about structural reform. He says it’s necessary to avoid future crises resulting in the mass job losses of this one, which has left the country with the highest unemployment in the EU, at about 23%.

But the latest change to the law – already in force after being introduced by decree last month – won’t be a solution on its own. In good times and bad, Spain has higher than average unemployment, and youth unemployment (now at almost 50%) is a particular problem.

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Don’t Tread on Us

From The New York Times:

Published: March 13, 2012

Hillary Clinton has fought for women’s rights around the world. But who would have dreamed that she would have to fight for them at home?

“Why extremists always focus on women remains a mystery to me,” she told an adoring crowd at the Women in the World Summit at Lincoln Center on Saturday. “But they all seem to. It doesn’t matter what country they’re in or what religion they claim. They want to control women. They want to control how we dress. They want to control how we act. They even want to control the decisions we make about our own health and bodies.

“Yes,” she continued to applause, “it is hard to believe that even here at home, we have to stand up for women’s rights and reject efforts to marginalize any one of us, because America needs to set an example for the entire world.”

As secretary of state, Clinton is supposed to stay out of domestic politics. But this was a moment pregnant with possibility, a titanic clash of the Inevitable (Hillary) and the Indefensible (Republican cavemen).

The attempt by Republican men to wrestle American women back into chastity belts has not only breathed life into President Obama, it has roused and riled Hillary. And that could turn out to be the most dangerous thing the wildly self-destructive G.O.P. leaders have done.

In some kind of insane bout of mass misogyny, Republicans are hounding out the women voters — including Republicans and independents — who helped them gain control of the House in 2010.

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Why Some Women Are Sexists

From Huffington Post:

Posted: 03/13/2012

Why is it that so often, when legislative bodies or the Church publicly address issues concerning women’s health, they chose women to speak on their behalf? Women make up only a small percentage of either of those bodies’ leadership, so their perpetual public appearances and the proportion of editorial photograph are far out of proportion to their actual representational power.

It can’t be as simple as Richard Cohen explained this morning, after watching HBO’s “Game Change” about Sarah Palin, that these women are simply “pro-choice with a pulse.” There are thoughtful, exceptionally smart women with moral conviction choosing for themselves whether or not they are pro or anti-choice. Their disproportionate representation as spokesman (chose that word specifically) for anti-woman policies being pursued by hierarchies, unquestionably dominated by conservative men, smacks of the McCain teams’ dangerously paternalistic and condescending choice of Sarah Palin to secure the “women’s vote.”

Every day people, like me, are banging their heads on their desks, asking “What is wrong with that woman?” “Why is she doing that?” “Doesn’t she realize she’s being used by a system that denigrates her?” Women in these positions clearly don’t see it that way. Complementarianism, a biblically-based idea of separate but equal roles for men and women, is often how “equality” is defined for them — even though in practically every instance women’s place ends up being in the home, bearing and caring for children with a correlating exclusion from any direct authority over much of anything. As one commenter put it to me “I give life. What could be more important than that?” They feel empowered, validated and autonomous in their choices to participate on behalf of organizations that I feel are sexist, oppressive and misogynistic.

How is that possible? Have you looked up what “misogyny” actually means and how it works lately?

Misogyny, the basis for oppression of females in male-dominated societies, is described by Samantha Morgan-Curtis in this way:

Misogyny functions as an ideology or belief system that has accompanied patriarchal, or male-dominated societies for thousands of years and continues to place women in subordinate positions with limited access to power and decision making.

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Goodbye, Texas Women’s Health Program

From RH Reality Check:

by Andrea Grimes
March 13, 2012

On March 14th, 2012, at least 300,000 low-income and uninsured Texas women will have no or greatly-reduced access to basic preventive and reproductive health care due to the loss of federal funding for the Medicaid Women’s Health Program in the state. The program has been under threat for months as lawmakers fight over whether it’s legal to exclude Planned Parenthood from the program.

On Friday, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told reporters in Houston that the federal government would not extend its waiver, which provided about 90 percent of the cost of the program. It is against federal law to exclude “qualified providers” from providing Medicaid care, and while the federal government considers Planned Parenthood “qualified,” the state of Texas does not. Since 2005, legislators in Texas have sought specifically to block Planned Parenthood from participating in the Women’s Health Program in Texas, when they voted into place a state law, only just now enforced, that bars “affiliates” of abortion providers from receiving funds. Planned Parenthood uses no taxpayer dollars to provide abortions and keeps its abortion services wholly financially separate from its non-abortion services.

In a statement released Friday, Governor Rick Perry’s office stuck the Obama administration with the blame for not renewing the Women’s Health Program, neglecting to mention that there would be no reason to defund the program had Perry and his conservative allies in Texas not sought to defy federal law in the first place. Perry has said that Texas will continue to fund what would very likely amount to a significantly stripped-down version of the program with state funds–despite the fact that state legislators already devastated the state family planning budget last year.

“We’re questioning the governor saying he’s going to continue the funding with state money,” Planned Parenthood of North Texas representative Kelly Hart told RH Reality Check, “and why the state would want to go forward to spend more money to provide care to fewer women.” Hart says Planned Parenthood expects to be able to provide WHP care until they’re phased out in late April so that “more women can have that last chance to get their annual exam.”

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How NPR Got It Wrong on Monsanto’s Superweeds

From Mother Jones:

By Tom Philpott
Wed Mar. 14, 2012

Last week, NPR food and agriculture correspondent Dan Charles delivered an interesting report on a topic I’ve been following for a while: “superweeds.” As farmers planted millions of acres with crops engineered to withstand Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, Roundup-resistant weeds have cropped up—prompting farmers to apply toxic herbicide cocktails in a desperate, and losing, battle to keep up with weed evolution.

And Sunday, Charles followed up with a blog item asking just what Monsanto scientists were thinking when they proposed Roundup Ready technology as a blanket solution to industrial agriculture’s weed problem.

In its 1993 petition to the USDA to deregulate Roundup Ready soybeans, Charles reports, Monsanto insisted that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, is “considered to be a herbicide with low risk for weed resistance.” Citing agreement from university scientists, the company declared it “highly unlikely” that widespread use of Roundup Ready technology would lead to resistant weeds.

Well, the company won the regulatory battle. Starting in 1996, farmers began to plant Roundup Ready corn, soy, and cotton across millions of acres of farmland without restriction. And the USDA continues to deregulate new Roundup Ready crops, unleashing alfalfa and Kentucky bluegrass into the mix last year. Meanwhile, Roundup-resistant weeds have been galloping through the south’s cotton fields and Midwest’s corn and soy fields. No fewer than 20 different weed species, Charles reports, now thrive despite dousings of the poison.

For his blog post, Charles asked scientists who worked for Monsanto in the ’90s how they got it so wrong. “They all told a similar story,” Charles reports. Here it is:

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The Human Cost of Animal Suffering

From The New York Times:

March 13, 2012

Until a couple of years ago I believed that the primary reasons to eat less meat were environment- and health-related, and there’s no question that those are valid reasons. But animal welfare has since become a large part of my thinking as well. And I say this as someone not known to his friends as an animal-lover.

If we want a not-too-damaged planet to live on, and we want to live here in a way that’s also not too damaged, we’re better off eating less meat. But if we also want a not-too-damaged psyche, we have to look at how we treat animals and begin to change it.

We can start by owning up to the fact that our system is industrialized. And as horrible as that word — “industrialized” — seems when applied to what was once called animal husbandry, it is precisely the correct term. Those who haven’t seen this, or believe it to be a myth perpetrated by PETA, might consider reading “Every Twelve Seconds: Industrialized Slaughter and the Politics of Sight,” recently published by Timothy Pachirat. (This isn’t a review, but the book is superbly written, especially given the grimness of the subject.)

You might think that “every 12 seconds” refers to the frequency with which we kill animals, but in a moment you’ll realize that that’s impossible: we process more than nine billion animals each year — hundreds per second. No, 12 seconds is the frequency with which the Omaha slaughterhouse where Pachirat worked for five months killed cattle, a total of around 2,500 per day.

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Reclaiming The Commons: Human Lessons in the Era of Corporatism and Perpetual War

From Common Dreams:

by Phil Rockstroh
Published on Wednesday, March 14, 2012 by Common Dreams

With increasing velocity, since the advent of the post-Second World War national security state, then gaining speed with the incessant search and destroy mission waged on the U.S. Constitution known as the War on Drugs, and kicking into a runaway trajectory in the post Sept. 11, 2001 era — the increase in totalitarian impulses, among both the general population and corporate and governmental elite of the nation, has proceeded at an alarming rate. Yet, baffling as the fact remains to those possessing a modicum of political awareness, large numbers of U.S. citizens persist in believing they dwell in a representative republic, governed by the principles of individual rights and civil liberties.

While Republicans desire to set clocks back to the Bronze Age — Democrats now run on Republican Standard Time, as collectively, the nation’s citizenry continues to roll over and hit the snooze button.

On an individual basis, if a sizable number of the nation’s citizenry’s concept of freedom of expression translates into little more than the act of casting a vote by iPhone involving a choice between a gaggle of cloying, longing-to-be-commodified crooners on American Idol — it follows that the egregious assault on civil liberties posed by H.R. 347 (the so-call Anti Occupy Wall Street Bill…that has now made many acts of free speech and freedom of assembly a federal crime) will mean little within such a dim cosmology of diminished perception and even more dismal musical sensibility.

Reflecting how dire the assault on civil liberties has become: The aforementioned bill passed The House of Representatives by a 388 to 3 margin (and was signed, shortly thereafter, by President Obama, on Friday March 9, 2012).

Just what portion of the following admonitions contained within The Bill of Rights remains ambiguous to these legislators: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Notice: The opening sentence: “Congress shall make no law…” Notice as well: The right to “peaceably assemble” is guaranteed as prominently as any other right on the list.

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Rush Limbaugh Is Bad For Business

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Why We Have to Go Back to a 40-Hour Work Week to Keep Our Sanity

From Alternet:

One hundred fifty years of research proves that shorter work hours actually raise productivity and profits — and overtime destroys them. So why do we still do this?

By Sara Robinson
March 13, 2012

If you’re lucky enough to have a job right now, you’re probably doing everything possible to hold onto it. If the boss asks you to work 50 hours, you work 55. If she asks for 60, you give up weeknights and Saturdays, and work 65.

Odds are that you’ve been doing this for months, if not years, probably at the expense of your family life, your exercise routine, your diet, your stress levels, and your sanity. You’re burned out, tired, achy, and utterly forgotten by your spouse, kids and dog. But you push on anyway, because everybody knows that working crazy hours is what it takes to prove that you’re “passionate” and “productive” and “a team player” — the kind of person who might just have a chance to survive the next round of layoffs.

This is what work looks like now. It’s been this way for so long that most American workers don’t realize that for most of the 20th century, the broad consensus among American business leaders was that working people more than 40 hours a week was stupid, wasteful, dangerous, and expensive — and the most telling sign of dangerously incompetent management to boot.

It’s a heresy now (good luck convincing your boss of what I’m about to say), but every hour you work over 40 hours a week is making you less effective and productive over both the short and the long haul. And it may sound weird, but it’s true: the single easiest, fastest thing your company can do to boost its output and profits — starting right now, today — is to get everybody off the 55-hour-a-week treadmill, and back onto a 40-hour footing.

Yes, this flies in the face of everything modern management thinks it knows about work. So we need to understand more. How did we get to the 40-hour week in the first place? How did we lose it? And are there compelling bottom-line business reasons that we should bring it back?

The Making of the 40-Hour Week

The most essential thing to know about the 40-hour work-week is that, while it was the unions that pushed it, business leaders ultimately went along with it because their own data convinced them this was a solid, hard-nosed business decision.

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