Point of Clarification on TS/TG Studies and Responding to Requests for Participation

There are some studies I am more open to participating in.  Those studies are from organizations that provide legal support and social services.

If an organization such as GLAAD or Lambda Legal is putting up a lot of time and money to pursue anti-discrimination cases and anti-violence measures that help protect LGBT/T people and I want to make sure they are meeting the needs of TS/TG people then I answer their questionnaires and studies.

At forty years post-transsexual and over 65 most studies regarding TS/TG health issues might as well be written in ancient Greek because I’m so far past those issues as to not have a clue as to what they are talking about.

As for transgender and aging?  No thanks I’d rather be around aging hippies and lefties because that too was a part of my life experience and in many ways had more impact on my life.

People tend to forget how diverse TS/TG people are.  Last night I ran a teaser for article from the New York Times about an organization in Israel that helped sex workers including TS/TG sex workers find employment in the fashion industry.  While I like clothes working in the fashion industry, other than perhaps doing photography holds about as much interest for me as having dental work with out anesthesia.

Too many studies treat us as though we have a common shared culture when what we often have are other TS/TG friends and a shared interest in ending the anti-TS/TG discrimination, bigotry and violence.

This is a short coming of identity politics, an assumed sameness vs. a real diversity among those who are thought to share a common identity.  It breaks down even further when the people of trans prefixed words are asked to describe themselves.  Various people of trans-prefixed words us dozens if not hundreds of different terms to describe themselves.

Mostly the studies which I am most likely to find anathema are those presented to us by academics, especially in fields like gender studies or queer studies.  Even worse are those studies presented to us by grad students hoping to become part of either academe or the Psychiatric Industrial Complex.

Over the years I have developed a rather low opinion of the Psychiatric Industrial Complex, I tend to view it as an instrument of control, something that peddles conformity and non-rebellion against loathsome conditions over all else.  Too often the Psychiatric Industrial Complex has chosen to align itself with bigotry and and misogyny in a manner which makes it an adjunct to religion rather than fighting faith based bigotry and ignorance.

Too many people trained in the field have shown themselves open to prostituting themselves to the opinion building fields of advertising and propaganda.  Psychiatrists have also prostituted themselves to the Military Industrial Complex creating Psy-ops and developing means of torture (see Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine).

Outside of our helping political organization discover shared needs why should we participate?

Particularly when our participating tends to demean and other us as some sort of gender transgressive deviant subculture.

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Oregon Insurance Division: Law Requires Transgender Equality in Medical Care

From PQ Monthly:  http://www.pqmonthly.com/oregon-insurance-division-law-requires-transgender-equality-in-medical-care/

by
Friday, January 4th, 2013

Transgender individuals are routinely denied medically necessary health care based solely on their gender identity, but that’s about to change — in a big way — in Oregon.

In the week  before Christmas, the Oregon Insurance Division of the Department of Consumer and Business Services quietly issued a bulletin clarifying that Senate Bill 2 — the law passed in 2007 prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation (defined to include gender identity) — requires equal treatment for transgender Oregonians in medical treatment.

“This is, I think,  a huge victory for the transgender community in Oregon. This is really making clear what trans folks know – that we deserve equal healthcare access,” says Basic Rights Oregon‘s Trans Justice Manager  tash shatz. “It’s such an incredible thing that it’s kind of hard to describe how big a deal it is.”

The clarification comes more than 5 years after the passage of the non-discrimination law, following pressure from BRO’s Trans Working Group and complaints from transgender Oregonians denied coverage of medical treatments on the basis of their gender identity. While it’s not clear how the bulletin (officially released Dec. 19) will affect federally managed insurance programs such as Medicare and Medicaid (Oregon Health Plan), it does apply to all private insurers transacting in Oregon.

The list of actions that, when based on actual or perceived gender identity, would constitute prohibited discrimination include:

Continue reading at:  http://www.pqmonthly.com/oregon-insurance-division-law-requires-transgender-equality-in-medical-care/

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Prostitutes in Israel Are Finding New Lives in Training for the Fashion World

From The New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/04/world/middleeast/israel-prostitutes-find-new-lives-in-fashion-courses.html

By ISABEL KERSHNER
Published: January 3, 2013

TEL AVIV — For 20 years Aviva, 48, flamboyant and transgendered, worked the streets of the business district of this Mediterranean city, as well as the seedy square mile around the central bus station and the Tel Baruch beach, once a notorious hub of Israeli prostitution that has become a spruced up stretch of sandy coast.

Alona, 40, immigrated to Israel with her parents from Ukraine in the early 1990s. Her circumstances quickly degenerated from working in a casino to a life derailed by debts, drugs and prostitution. When she was not in prison, the squalid streets around the bus station became her home.

“In the streets there was no toilet, no toilet paper,” Alona said. “I forgot a lot of things, like how to look after myself, to love myself. I learned to survive.”

Now, in an endeavor as far removed from their former lives as the gleaming banks and trendy boutiques of Tel Aviv are from the city’s sleazy subculture, the two, who asked to be identified only by their first names, recently completed a free course in styling and the retail clothing business. Along with other former prostitutes who have received similar training in dress design and sewing, they are now aiming to find a place in the world of fashion. There is always demand for sales staff in Tel Aviv’s bustling stores, and one talented graduate even went on to a professional design school on a scholarship.

“The course gave me a lot of self-confidence and knowledge,” Aviva said. “Maybe one day I’ll be able to start something of my own. When they gave me the certificate — the first in my life — I was proud of myself. I’d done something positive.”

The idea for the program grew up from the underside of Tel Aviv.

The program’s initiator, Lilach Tzur Ben-Moshe, was working as a fashion writer and editor at a leading Hebrew news Web site and volunteering at the city’s rape crisis center when, four years ago, she moved to the dilapidated Shapira Quarter near the bus station. Her squalid new neighborhood exposed her to the full misery of the sex trade, and she determined to help women to leave it.

“I didn’t want just to answer the phone in the help center,” she said. “I wanted to offer something more optimistic, more beautiful, the opposite of that awful world of prostitution.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/04/world/middleeast/israel-prostitutes-find-new-lives-in-fashion-courses.html

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Who’s Afraid of Homophobia?

From In These Times:  http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/14286/whos_afraid_of_homophobia

The Associated Press’s decision to favor ‘anti-gay’ over ‘homophobic’ isn’t as bad as some say.

BY Achy Obejas
December 26, 2012

Over at the Associated Press, they’ve eliminated “homophobia.” David Minthorn, co-editor of the AP Stylebook, the vade mecum of the journalism world, says that the word—and others like it such as “Islamophobia”—ascribes “a mental disability to someone, and suggests a knowledge that we don’t have.”

The AP says “homophobia” is inaccurate and instead suggests “anti-gay,” a term both more neutral and more pointed: it labels people and policies as being against gays, for whatever reason, and implies a prompt to explain those reasons.

“Homophobia” was first coined by psychologist George Weinberg in the 1960s and popularized in his 1972 book, Society and the Healthy Homosexual. Weinberg—who isn’t gay—wanted to push back on the centuries-old idea that homosexuality was a disorder by putting the problem not on queers but on those who opposed us. The year after his book was published, homosexuality was removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

There is, to be sure, something
 a little ridiculous about the AP’s
 logic. In common usage, “homophobia” no longer holds the
 clinical connotations it once had.
Surely the AP doesn’t really believe
 that readers assume a psychiatric diagnosis is being made when they read that someone
or something is homophobic. These days, “homophobia” is rarely read that narrowly, in the same way that “xenophobia,” for example, might enter into an article about foreign policy without any clinical connotations. Instead, “homophobia” has become a catch-all term for anti-gay sentiment, heterosexism, or hate (fear-based or otherwise) directed at LGBTQ people.

Eliminating the idea of fear from the discussion of people and policies that deny equal status to LGBTQ people has
 a number of potential effects. On the one hand, it eliminates the possibility of linguistically legitimizing anti-gay behaviors and structures through the notion of a phobia. It also removes an easy out for people who don’t experience or recognize their bias as being rooted in fear. On the other, it has the potential to erase the fact that fear, or at least anxiety, does play a part in many aspects of bigotry of any kind. Placing “anti-gay” alongside its frequent comparatives, “racist,” “sexist” and “ableist,” it is hard to argue that they don’t all have some relationship to fear—anxiety about embodied difference, about violence, about economic standing, about gender roles, about the dismantling of centuries-old hierarchies and power relations.

Continue reading at:  http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/14286/whos_afraid_of_homophobia

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Are Middle-Aged Women Done With Men?

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/vicki-larson/are-middleaged-women-done_b_2297847.html


01/05/2013

Not too long ago, I asked a friend how she’s doing. After a long pause, she said, “I keep wondering if this is all there is.”

A lot of us have that feeling.

She and I are both 50-something and like many 50-somethings, we are empty-nesters or about to be empty-nesters; we’re either 20-something years into a marriage or any number of years divorced. We’re in midlife, crisis or not; a time when we question what we’ve done — and, more likely, haven’t done — and where to we want to be.

Our conversation was oddly timed, coming just days after Monique Honaman’s provocative post, “I Just Wish He Would Have an Affair”, in which she detailed how many wives have confided in her that they just don’t want to be married anymore:

These women are done. They say they aren’t happy. They say they aren’t in love with their husbands (or any other man — they aren’t having affairs). They say they simply wish they were no longer married to him. They aren’t fulfilled. They wonder if this is how they are doomed to live the rest of their lives (and God-willing, most of them have another 40+ years ahead of them). … The common factor amongst all of these women is that they say that their husbands are really solid, good, nice men … they just don’t want to be married to them anymore because they have fallen out of love.

Honaman doesn’t say how old these women are or how long they’ve been married, but since she indicates they have another 40-plus years ahead of them, it seems that they are middle-aged, too.

Why is midlife so wrought with angst for women? One study found that age 48 is the pivotal year for women’s unhappiness, and women tend to be more prone to depression anyway. But at midlife, we’re dealing with menopause, the loss of our role as nurturer, the loss of our youth and beauty, etc.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/vicki-larson/are-middleaged-women-done_b_2297847.html

Can For-Profit Corporations have a Religion?

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‘Flaming Homosexuals Wearing Stilettos’ Will Apply For Jobs In Christian Bookstores If ENDA Passes Says Fischer

Maybe the bigots are the ones who need to be studied and not LGBT people.  Studying us to figure out why we are oppressed is like studying rape victims to figure out why they were raped.

From The New Civil Rights Movement:  http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/flaming-homosexuals-wearing-stilettos-will-apply-for-jobs-in-christian-bookstores-if-enda-passes-says-fischer/politics/2013/01/05/57742

by David Badash
on January 5, 2013

Bryan Fischer yesterday on his radio program threatened that “flaming homosexuals… wearing stilettos, a dress and dangly earrings” would apply for jobs in Christian bookstores if ENDA passes into law. Fischer, the public face of the certified anti-gay hate group, American Family Association, claimed “the homosexual lobby” would purposely target religious businesses, including “Christian bookstores,” if the Employment Non-Discrimination Act were passed by Congress and signed into law.

 Claiming “ENDA would represent the return of Jim Crow laws” in a blog post accompanying his radio rant, Fischer ludicrously rips former GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan:

Ryan today reiterated his support for ENDA, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

This is a horrible bill for a social conservative to support since it would mean the absolute end of religious liberty and freedom of association in the marketplace. It would, in other words, gut the First Amendment. It’s shameful for Ryan, who also voted for this Constitution-shredding bill in 2007, to be so blissfully and blindly unaware of the consequences of this legislation.

Continue reading at:  http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/flaming-homosexuals-wearing-stilettos-will-apply-for-jobs-in-christian-bookstores-if-enda-passes-says-fischer/politics/2013/01/05/57742

Think Media Consolidation Is Good for Journalism? Think Again

From Free Press:  http://www.freepress.net/blog/2013/01/03/think-media-consolidation-good-journalism-think-again

January 3, 2013

The Federal Communications Commission is pushing a plan to gut its 30-year-old newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership ban. This proposal would allow one company to own a local paper, two TV stations and up to eight radio stations in a single market. Advocates of more media consolidation argue that allowing TV stations and newspapers to merge is critical to cutting costs and saving local journalism.

This is the same argument the Bush FCC used to try to push through the same bad rules in 2007. Back then, the Senate voted the rules down and the courts later threw them out. It’s time to put this argument to bed for good: More media consolidation won’t save journalism.

Banks have toxic assets. Journalism has media consolidation.

When we think about the state of journalism today, let’s not forget that media consolidation is largely what got us into this mess in the first place. Newspapers and TV stations have long been hugely profitable enterprises — and many still are.

Rick Edmonds at Poynter recently highlighted the fact that 2012 was a good year for newspaper stocks. Indeed, the top publicly traded newspaper companies remain quite profitable. In 2011, the McClatchy Company enjoyed 27 percent profit margins, Lee Enterprises had 24 percent profit margins and the Gannett Company’s profits were at 22 percent.

This sounds good, but not that long ago many media companies reported 30 or 40 percent profits. But instead of investing in their product during those flush times — hiring more journalists, diving head-first into the Web — most companies went on a buying spree. The biggest news organizations in the country got over-leveraged with debt as they gobbled up competitors.

Ad revenue eroded as a result of the economic downturn and the media companies’ failure to invest resources online. These companies could have weathered all of this if they weren’t also drowning in debt.

Continue reading at:   http://www.freepress.net/blog/2013/01/03/think-media-consolidation-good-journalism-

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The four business gangs that run the US

From The Sydney Morning Herald Au:    http://www.smh.com.au/business/the-four-business-gangs-that-run-the-us-20121230-2c1e2.html

Ross Gittins
December 31, 2012

IF YOU’VE ever suspected politics is increasingly being run in the interests of big business, I have news: Jeffrey Sachs, a highly respected economist from Columbia University, agrees with you – at least in respect of the United States.

In his book, The Price of Civilisation, he says the US economy is caught in a feedback loop. ”Corporate wealth translates into political power through campaign financing, corporate lobbying and the revolving door of jobs between government and industry; and political power translates into further wealth through tax cuts, deregulation and sweetheart contracts between government and industry. Wealth begets power, and power begets wealth,” he says.

Sachs says four key sectors of US business exemplify this feedback loop and the takeover of political power in America by the ”corporatocracy”.

First is the well-known military-industrial complex. ”As [President] Eisenhower famously warned in his farewell address in January 1961, the linkage of the military and private industry created a political power so pervasive that America has been condemned to militarisation, useless wars and fiscal waste on a scale of many tens of trillions of dollars since then,” he says.

Second is the Wall Street-Washington complex, which has steered the financial system towards control by a few politically powerful Wall Street firms, notably Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and a handful of other financial firms.

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Late Stage Capitalism And The Shame Haunted Life: You Can’t Kill Trauma With A Gun

From Common Dreams:   http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/01/04-4

by Phil Rockstroh
Published on Friday, January 4, 2013 by Common Dreams

“Memory believes before knowing remembers.” — William Faulkner

In an era of corporate-state colonization of both landscape and mental real estate, when the face of one’s true oppressors is, more often than not, hidden from view, thus inflicting feelings of anxiety borne of powerlessness over the criteria of one’s life and the course of one’s fate, often, to retain a sense of control, people will tend to displace their anger and shame. Firearms provide the illusion of being able to locate and bead down on a given target. (How often does a person without wealth, power, and influence have any contact with — or even a glimpse of — the financial and political elite whose decisions dictate the, day by day, criteria of one’s existence?)

Beginning in childhood, carrying the noxious notions of the adult world, the viral seeds of mental enslavement to shame and the concomitant attempt to protect ego-integrity through psychological displacement are spread child to child.

All too often, internalized shame robs a child of his innate identity before it has a chance to gel. This is one, among multiple social factors, by which the collective mindset of capitalist/consumer state forcefully usurps an individual’s mind and holds it in torment.

Therefore, it is imperative for an individual, marooned in the shame-haunted miasma of the capitalist/consumer paradigm, to reclaim his/her own name. Even if the process entails (as it has played out in my own story) a descent into the underworld of memory and a confrontation with the ghosts therein.

A personal encounter with the raging ghosts of memory: Late autumn. 1965. Atlanta, Georgia.

At my back, as I stepped from the yellow school bus, and hurried in the direction of the small, two story apartment building, a seething cacophony of taunts and insults seemed to buffet me forward. Marc Leftcoff had sneered that the apartment complex where my family dwelled was, “The Projects” that he proclaimed to be “a roach nest for losers, unemployed rednecks and divorced hussies—only a place white niggers would live.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/01/04-4

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War Addiction Default: America’s Political Dysfunction at Root is an Unwillingness to Cut War Spending

From This Can’t Be Happening:  http://www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/1502

by: Dave Lindorff
Thu, 01/03/2013

I was asked earlier this week by an reporter for PressTV, the state television network in Iran, if I could explain why the US political system seemed to be so dysfunctional, with Congress and the President having created an artificial budget crisis 17 months ago, not “solving” it until the last hour before a Congressional deadline would have created financial chaos, and even then not solving the problem and instead just pushing it off for two months until the next crisis moment.

I thought for a moment, trying to come up with a simple way to explain the peculiar politics of a fake democracy where two equally pro-capitalist, pro-imperialist parties vie with genuine bitterness for patronage spoils and legal bribes, all the while ignoring the real wishes and needs of the public, and then it hit me: it is really all about US militarism and the unwillingness of the either of the two political parties to admit honestly to to American people how much they are being gouged to allow the US government and its corporate owners to continue in their attempt to control the world.

It really is that simple.

The US currently spends almost as much on its military and on paying for current and past wars in terms of interest on war debt and care for wounded and aging soldiers as the entire rest of the world spends on arms and war. Approximately $1.3 trillion gets spent each year in taxpayer’s dollars and in more borrowed funds (50 cents of every federal tax dollar goes to pay for the US military, the intelligence apparatus, veterans’ benefits and other related military costs). It is simply ludicrous, given this situation, to imagine that the US can significantly reduce its budget deficit either by raising taxes or by cutting social spending.

Think of it this way. The US is currently running a $1.3 trillion deficit (that is federal spending less tax revenue). That deficit, significantly one must note, almost exactly matches the amount that is being spent annually on the US military, and on military/intelligence-related activities.

Continue reading at:  http://www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/1502

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The Natural Gas Bubble

From Truth Dig:  http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_natural_gas_bubble_20130104/

By Thomas Hedges
Jan 4, 2013

The natural gas industry is waging an aggressive public relations campaign to bolster investor confidence, despite evidence showing that shale gas is an unreliable resource and that the production process releases large amounts of methane into the atmosphere. Although hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) is in the media’s hot seat, the prospect of a drilling bubble coupled with the underreported problem of methane leakage may be the most destructive qualities of natural gas in the United States.

From commissioning false field reports to flooding television with commercials, natural gas companies are convincing Americans that gas will save the U.S. market; it will not.

The public relations push is an effort to revive a campaign that started in 2006 and was subsequently killed when the economic crisis hit two years later. Natural gas companies tripled the number of existing wells in those two years, hoping that a glut would attract a large consumer base before raising the prices back up again. Financial companies pumped billions of dollars into the industry, only to see it crumble.

As time passes, data on natural gas production, which goes back only a few years, indicate that shale gas is an unreliable energy source. Reserves are declining up to 70 percent per year. Where corporate reports show that decline leveling off through the use of theoretical models, figures point to an unrelenting decline that predicts the reserves will dry up in a few years.

Financial backers such as Goldman Sachs and AIG are hurriedly funding the development of the natural gas sector to attract other investors before reality sets in. If they fail, the billions of dollars spent from 2006 to 2008 will have been wasted.

These firms are financing energy companies to buy up cheap land, quickly drill wells, label the fields as profitable, and then bundle up those leases and sell them for up to $30,000 per acre to clueless investors. The average acre, according to the founder of Energy Policy Forum and former investment banker Deborah Rogers, is sold to developers for no more than $1,200, and sometimes as low as $100.

Continue reading at:   http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_natural_gas_bubble_20130104/

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