The GOP War on Women

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Maybe It’s Sexism Not Transphobia

I came out more than a half dozen years before “Transgender” was a word and a quarter century before the Transgender Borg created the idea that it was supposed to be some sort of shared collective identity.

This means I went through some 25 years before I ever heard of the term “transphobia”.

Coming out in Berkeley during the Cultural Revolution (1969) it never dawned on me that I should define the sudden change in the way I was treated specifically to my having come out as transsexual and to my having started living as a woman.

What I am trying to say is this:  The first few times I went to San Francisco to get information regarding a clinic to go to and my first visits to that clinic were a preview. I thought it was really neat to have the construction workers whooping and whistling at me.  Considering the abuse I had to put up with on occasion it was.  But then a friend pointed out that women had to put up with that shit everyday, everywhere they went and that I would get tired of the attention rather quickly.

They were right.

It cracks me up when I hear transsexual and transgender people say they never had male privilege.

I was an obvious transkid and I had it even when it seemed like the world around me automatically assumed I was a queen, a feminine gay boy if not a drag queen.

Much of male privilege is based on gender and gender is the team uniform you are handed based on what is between your legs.

It isn’t a binary black/white sort of thing.

Just the freedom I felt I had to leave home and travel across the country to live in the Haight Ashbury and later Berkeley where I came out is a sort of male privilege.

I know and acknowledge things like this just from the way the act of coming out restricted my sense of freedom.

I was fortunate enough to have women friends (natal female) who advised me and gave me support point out danger and tell me I shouldn’t go places by myself.

Just the idea that one can go places without being concerned about being attacked by strange men is a form of male privilege.

Not understanding the rules that women have to live by and acting accordingly means a lot of transsexual/transgender sisters get hurt.  The same as natal women who ignore those rules do.

There is a TDOR but there have also been mass murderers who prey on a certain class of women engaged in sex work and there is no DOR for them.

As a woman I have learned over the years that it is pointless for me to apply for many jobs.  Even professions.  All one has to do is look at those professions.  When one to five percent or so of the people in that field are women, the chance  of a woman finding working in that field is problematic.

So when someone who has worked in that field comes out as transsexual or transgender and can no longer find employment in that field, it might be sexism and not transphobia.  Even if they give the impression that it is transphobia.

Becoming female means that all the sexist bullshit that is laid upon women is now laid upon you. Even gender presentation leads to the assumption of a female body and the sexism that is the burden of all women becomes your burden too.

One of the things that accompanies transition is the loss of male privilege no matter how damaged by obviousness that male privilege was.

Julia Serano calls it misogyny, and misogyny it is. What I call sexism is less obvious than a form of hatred like misogyny.  It is the gendered set of expectations of ability.

The dismissal as light weight of creative and or intellectual endeavors.  The idea of “the right man for the job” that cause women to wonder what role the penis plays in performing that job.

That is the constant drone of sexism.

I was one of those rude Second Wave Feminists twenty years before the idea of “transgender as umbrella” or the word “transphobia” existed but sexism was sure alive and well..

New Israeli Law Bans Underweight Models In Ads, Undisclosed Airbrushing

From Huffington Post:

By Diaa Hadid and Daniella Cheslow

JERUSALEM — Told she was too fat to be a model, Danielle Segal shed a quarter of her weight and was hospitalized twice for malnutrition. Now that a new Israeli law prohibits the employment of underweight models, the 19-year-old must gain some of it back if she wants to work again.

Not that she was ever overweight. At 1.7 meters (5-feet-7), she weighed 53 kilograms (116 pounds) to begin with. Feeling pressure to become ever thinner, she dropped another 13 kilograms (29 pounds). The unnaturally skeletal girl weighed 40 kilograms (88 pounds) by then, or about as much as a robust pre-teen, and her health suffered.

The legislation passed Monday aims to put a stop to the extremes, and by extension ease the pressure on youngsters to emulate the skin-and-bones models, often resulting in dangerous eating disorders.

The new law poses a groundbreaking challenge to a fashion industry widely castigated for promoting anorexia and bulimia. Its sponsors say it could become an example for other countries grappling with the spread of the life-threatening disorders.

It’s especially important in Israel, which, like other countries, is obsessed by models, whose every utterance and dalliance is fodder for large pictures and racy stories in the nation’s newspapers. Supermodel Bar Refaeli is considered a national hero by many. She is not unnaturally thin.

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Komen in trouble, ‘employee morale is in the toilet’

From Daily Kos:

Kaili Joy GrayFollow
Wed Mar 21, 2012

How do you take a powerful brand and completely destroy it in one fell swoop? Ask the people at Susan G. Komen for the Cure; they’ll tell you.

According to Laura Basset at Huffington Post, things are not going well for Komen, even since it decided to shoot itself in the foot by siding with anti-choice extremists—including the Catholic Church—who had been demanding that Komen stop funding breast cancer screening at Planned Parenthood.

And Komen has been paying the price for its disastrous mistake ever since:

Two top executives at Susan G. Komen for the Cure have announced their resignation, amid reports that the breast cancer charity is struggling to raise money and repair its reputation after its decision to defund Planned Parenthood and subsequent reversal. [...]A Komen insider told HuffPost that “employee morale is in the toilet” since Komen leadership made the controversial decision to defund Planned Parenthood, one of the nation’s most prominent women’s health and family planning organizations. The move was led by anti-abortion executive Karen Handel, then Komen’s senior vice president for public policy, who has since resigned.

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Factbox: Catholic sex abuse scandals in Europe

From Yahoo News:

Reuters –
Tue, Mar 20, 2012

(Reuters) – A new Vatican report on the sexual abuse of Irish children by Catholic clergy accused Ireland’s religious leaders of negligence and called for more reforms there to avoid a similarly “shameful” scandal in the future.

Here are some details of some major developments in the Roman Catholic Church abuse scandals in Europe in the last two years:


– November 30, 2011 – Cardinal Sean Brady, head of the Catholic Church in Ireland, agreed to a legal settlement over his role in administering an oath of secrecy to a teenage victim of clerical sexual abuse in 1975, the victim’s lawyer said.

– July 13, 2011 – The Catholic Church in Ireland concealed the sexual abuse of children by priests as recently as 2009, a decade after it introduced rules to protect minors, and the Vatican was complicit in the cover-up, a government report into the handling of sex abuse claims in the diocese of Cloyne, in County Cork, showed.

– May 31, 2010 – The Vatican named two cardinals and three archbishops from England, the United States and Canada to lead its inquiry into sexual abuse by clergy in Ireland.

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Chuck Winder, Idaho Lawmaker, Suggests Women Use Rape As Excuse For Abortions

From Huffington Post:


The sponsor of an Idaho mandatory ultrasound bill, state Sen. Chuck Winder, made some highly controversial comments Monday during his closing arguments, suggesting women might falsely use rape as an excuse to obtain an abortion.

Just before the Idaho’s Senate passed the bill, which requires woman to have an ultrasound prior to obtaining an abortion, opponents of the bill pointed out that it makes no exception for rape victims, incest victims or women in medical emergencies.

Winder, a Republican from Boise, responded to those concerns by raising the question of whether women understand when they have been raped.

“Rape and incest was used as a reason to oppose this,” Winder said on the Senate floor. “I would hope that when a woman goes in to a physician with a rape issue, that physician will indeed ask her about perhaps her marriage, was this pregnancy caused by normal relations in a marriage or was it truly caused by a rape. I assume that’s part of the counseling that goes on.”

Women reported 84,767 “forcible rapes” in the United States in 2010, according to the FBI’s most recent Uniform Crime Report; the figure does not include statutory rape, incest or any other kind of rape that falls outside the FBI’s narrow definition of the crime.

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B*tches in Bookshops (based on Jay Z and Kanye West’s “N*ggas in Paris”)

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Conservative Bullying Has Made America Into a Broken, Dysfunctional Family: But There Are Ways to Regain Our Well-Being

From Alternet:

An abusive, out-of-control, rageaholic GOP broke our country by shattering our trust in democracy and in ourselves.

By Sara Robinson
March 20, 2012

A marriage counselor friend once told me that he almost always knows by the end of the very first session whether he’s being hired to guide a damaged couple back to health, or to help them work toward a divorce — even when the couple doesn’t know the answer to this question themselves.

It’s easy to see, he explained. The relationship’s future success or failure all hinges on one simple thing: How much goodwill and trust they have left. Even if they’ve hurt each other badly, the couples who make it are the ones that still retain a few shreds of faith in each other’s basic good intentions. She didn’t mean to hurt me. He’s not always a bastard. Deep down, she still loves me. Deep down, he really wants things to be better.

These couples are still seeing same future together, and still cling to the tattered memories of why they first fell in love. Just a few frayed threads of trust are all that’s needed — if they’ve got that, the odds are high that with time and work, they can re-weave the fabric of the marriage into something that’s once again strong and good.

On the other hand, the tell-tale sign of a zombie marriage — one that’s already dead, even if the parties involved haven’t yet confronted that fact — is that one or both partners have already given up and checked out. The trust is broken, the dream shattered, the damage just too much to ever repair. Things have been said and done that can’t ever be unsaid or undone. There’s so much bad history that there’s no way a mere human heart can ever forgive it all. It’s so far gone that pain and rage are all that remain — and the longer they stay together, the more brutal it’s likely to get.

If, as George Lakoff says, we tend to think of the nation as a family, then my friend’s approach for identifying salvageable marriages may apply just as well to salvaging our democracy. Because, like all marriages, all democratic governments are founded — first and foremost, above all else — on an essential bedrock of trust and shared vision. We need to trust that our fellow citizens are decent people with good intentions. If we don’t have even that much basic confidence in each other, there’s no way that we can work together to build a society that works. In fact, there’s not really even a reason to try.

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“Social Security is Broke”—and Other Corporate Scare Tactics

From Yes Magazine:

For years, corporations have been peddling myths to rally us behind their interests. Here are three things everyone “knows,” and why they’re wrong.

by Lisa Graves
posted Mar 19, 2012

Winston Churchill reportedly said, “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to put its pants on.” That was before corporations had perfected the art of public relations, investing millions of dollars in PR campaigns to advance their commercial and political interests.

The fact is, there are a number of things most people know are true—except they’re not. That’s the result of well-planned, well-funded, long-term propaganda campaigns designed to make people believe things that are against their own best interests.

One relatively new example is the climate denial industry, which is funded by some of the richest corporations and CEOs on the planet to protect their profits from regulations that would address climate change. Although it’s one of the biggest threats we have ever faced, an increasing number of Americans believe there is widespread disagreement in the scientific community about climate change.

But that’s not true—there is actually widespread scientific agreement on climate, and a few dissenters, most paid in some way by the oil industry. Millions of dollars have been spent to create the appearance of disagreement, including deployment of so-called experts and even TV meteorologists to repeat talking points favored by big oil.

In the past year, the Internet and social media have brought together social movements across the globe, and there are signs that, in this new information age, people are breaking through the fog of corporate disinformation. But some of the “facts” have been repeated for so many years that a lot of people still think they are true.

“Social Security is Broke”

The Cass City Chronicle (Jan. 22, 1976)

For more than 30 years, opponents of Social Security have peddled this lie.

The roots of the efforts to attack Social Security run deep in the far right. They include CEOs such as Fred Koch, who promoted the John Birch Society’s red-scare-era smears that such New Deal reforms were “socialist” or “communist.” In the 1970s, Fred’s sons, Charles and David, inherited his billions—and his ideas. Charles began funding think tanks to develop arguments for dismantling Social Security.

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‘Too Much’ Religion In Political Talk, Pew Survey Finds

From Huffington Post:


WASHINGTON — Politicians should keep their religion to themselves and quit publicly praying and talking so much about their faith, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

The number of people saying “there has been too much religious talk by political leaders stands at an all-time high” since Pew’s Forum on Religion & Public Life began asking the question more than a decade ago. Most Americans continue to say that churches and other houses of worship should keep out of politics. Nearly 4 in 10 Americans, or 38 percent, say they have heard “too much expression of religious faith and prayer from political leaders.” Members of both parties say there is too much discussion of religion but that view is more common among Democrats than Republicans.

Not everyone is tired of the religion talk; 30 percent of those interviewed said there has been too little discussion of candidates and their faith. White evangelicals are the least likely to say there is too much God talk on the campaign trail. College graduates (49 percent) and those unaffiliated with any religious group (64 percent) are most likely to have heard enough.

The findings come as Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney edges closer to becoming the first Mormon to win a presidential nomination even though the former Massachusetts governor has been more reluctant than many of his competitors to talk about his religion.

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Greece’s austerity doesn’t extend to its arms budget

Not one fucking Right Wing advocate of austerity in any country has suggested cutting the military budgets as part of the austerity program they wish to impose on the poor.

It is time for the people to stop buying the guns that are pointed at our heads, to stop financing the militarists that exist only to defend the interests of the rich.

From The Guardian UK:

Greece continues to spend the most on arms in the EU as a percentage of GDP, while its people suffer economic hardship, Wednesday 21 March 2012

In the wake of the private sector debt swap agreed last week, European leaders have continued to call for major structural reforms to Greece’s economy and society. The current EU-IMF bailout remains conditional on further austerity measures, including reducing pensions, the minimum-wage and civil service jobs. However, one area of the Greek budget doesn’t seem to have received much scrutiny: its huge military spending.

The fact that Greece, a relatively small and democratic country with not much in the way of global ambitions, should spend as much on its military as it does is perplexing. In 2006, as the financial crisis was looming, Greece was the third biggest arms importer after China and India. And over the past 10 years its military budget has stood at an average of 4% of GDP, more than £900 per person. If Greece is in need of structural reform, then its oversized military would seem the most logical place to start. In fact, if it had only spent the EU average of 1.7% over the last 20 years, it would have saved a total of 52% of its GDP – meaning instead of being completely bankrupt it would be among the more typical countries struggling with the recession.

The supposed threat from Turkey is often cited as the major reason for such a high military budget. However, this argument just doesn’t hold up for several reasons. First, both countries are part of Nato and share a number of mutual allies, not least the US, and so all-out war between the two is highly unlikely to occur. Second, Turkey has on several occasions proposed a mutual reduction in arms spending, something Greece has repeatedly refused to agree to. Finally, relations between the two countries have markedly improved in recent years, making such a massive military build-up seem even more unnecessary. All Greece’s military spending seems to achieve is to polarise the situation and goad Turkey into an arms race.

The second justification given by the Greek government, that its forces are responsible for defending its porous borders from illegal immigration, is only marginally more convincing. While this might account for some increases in spending, it is unclear what role the latest fighter jets, submarines and tanks could play in stemming the tide of migrants arriving by foot or in small boats. So why has Greece continued to spend such huge amounts on its army?

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Silent Spring Dawns Hot, Dry and Merciless

From Common Dreams:

by Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez
Published on Wednesday, March 21, 2012 by Common Dreams

This week, turning the corner into the astronomical Spring, we have gone abruptly from warm winter to hot summer.  And I mean hot: it was 84 degrees Farenheit in western Massachusetts today, brightly sunny, with puffy white cumulus clouds against a brilliant blue sky, unobstructed by any leaves.  No shade.

Today reminded me of a wax model: beautiful but blank.  The façade of beauty, with the crucial vital spark missing.

When I went for a walk up the mountain early this morning, the woods were eerily silent.  I remembered mournfully the spring mornings of my childhood, where I would be awakened by the joyful singing of the dawn chorus of thousands of birds each happily greeting each other and the new day.

Reaching the top of the mountain having heard only the distant cry of a single phoebe, I stopped to sit on a rock and listen for a few minutes.  All I heard was the dim rushing of the traffic on the road far below me, and the drone of an airplane churning its way across the sky.

Coming down again, a few chipmunks hurried out of sight along the path, and I was keenly aware that there were no acorns underfoot, despite the oak trees towering overhead. Last fall was a terrible year for acorns, so all the animals that depend on them for overwintering must be very hungry now.  I know the bears are on the move, as one came and pulled down my bird feeder yesterday. I am thinking of bringing some sunflower seeds along on my walk tomorrow, to spread by the path as an offering of atonement.

While no one of us can shoulder personal responsibility for this tragedy of the commons, all of us who have benefited from the heedless extraction of oil and relentless destruction of the forests and the oceans must be aware of the extent to which we have brought this on ourselves, and taken the rest of the natural world along with us.

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A Florida Law Gets Scrutiny After a Teenager’s Killing

From The New York Times:

Published: March 20, 2012

MIAMI — Seven years after Florida adopted its sweeping self-defense law, the shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager, has put that law at the center of an increasingly angry debate over how he was killed and whether law enforcement has the authority to charge the man who killed him.

The law, called Stand Your Ground, is one of 21 such laws around the country, many of them passed within the last few years. In Florida, it was pushed heavily by the National Rifle Association but opposed vigorously by law enforcement.

It gives the benefit of the doubt to a person who claims self-defense, regardless of whether the killing takes place on a street, in a car or in a bar — not just in one’s home, the standard cited in more restrictive laws. In Florida, if people feel they are in imminent danger from being killed or badly injured, they do not have to retreat, even if it would seem reasonable to do so. They have the right to “stand their ground” and protect themselves.

That is precisely the question in the case: Was the gunman, George Zimmerman, 28, a white Hispanic crime watch volunteer in Sanford, Fla., in imminent danger and acting in self-defense during his encounter with Trayvon Martin, as he asserts?

In the three weeks since Trayvon, 17, a well-liked high school student from Miami with no criminal record, was killed, public protests have grown larger and louder, and so have calls for Mr. Zimmerman’s arrest. The Police Department in Sanford, near Orlando, said that under the law, it had no call to bring charges.

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Catholic bishops criticize Obama’s stand on same-sex marriage ban

From The Charlotte Observer:

Obama and same sex marriage and North Carolina and referendum

By Michael Gordon
Wednesday, Mar. 21, 2012

Charlotte Bishop Peter Jugis and his Raleigh counterpart have criticized President Barack Obama’s opposition to the upcoming N.C. marriage amendment, calling his comments last week “a grave disappointment.”

Voters in North Carolina will decide May 8 whether to add Amendment 1 to the state Constitution. The state already has a law that withholds recognition of same-sex unions.

Supporters say the amendment would provide another layer of support for traditional marriage between a man and woman.

Opponents say it discriminates against same-sex unions, and poses a threat to common-law marriages, nonmarried couples and other relationships.

Obama, who picked Charlotte to host his renominating convention, joined the critics last week.

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Catholic Church Castrated Homosexual Boys And Those Who Accused Priests Of Abuse

From The New Civil Rights Movement:

by David Badash
March 20, 2012

The Catholic Church in the Netherlands castrated at least 10 boys in the 1950s to cure them of their homosexuality, or to punish them for accusing clergy members of sexual abuse. A report states that “surgical removal of testicles was regarded as a treatment for homosexuality and also as a punishment for those who accused clergy of sexual abuse.” No records were kept of which reason the boys were castrated. Dutch authorities, including the Dutch Parliament, are investigating.

A Google translation from the Dutch news site Omroep Brabant reads:

Rogge: “We once asked Henk [Heithuis] to his pants to drop when the women were gone. He did that. He was totally maimed. That was a huge shock for us of course.” Heit House has to Rogge told how he was beaten was in Veghel, “He was strapped to a bed. In one stroke, his scrotum cut out. Then he was taken to an infirmary put to rest. Then, when other boys did the same. That he could hear screaming.”

“At least 10 teenage boys or young men under the age of 21 were surgically castrated ‘to get rid of homosexuality’ while in the care of the Dutch Roman Catholic Church in the 1950s,” according to a report today in The Telegraph:

Evidence of the castrations has emerged amid controversy that it was not included in the findings of an official investigation into sexual abuse within the church last year.

The NRC Handelsblad newspaper identified Henk Heithuis who was castrated in 1956, while a minor, after reporting priests to the police for abusing him in a Catholic boarding home.

Joep Dohmen, the investigative journalist who uncovered the Heithuis case, also found evidence of at least nine other castrations. “These cases are anonymous and can no longer be traced,” he said. “There will be many more. But the question is whether those boys, now old men, will want to tell their story.”

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