From Selma to Tunis: When Will We March Against the Segregation of Our Own Time?

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ayaan-hirsi-ali/from-selma-to-tunis-when-will-we-march-against-the-segregation-of-our-own-time_b_6915660.html

Planet Confusion

From The Dallas Voice:  http://m.dallasvoice.com/planet-confusion-10192130.html

Leslie McMurray

I’m pissed off; I’m perplexed, and I’m scared. I’ll try and sort out what’s swirling in my pretty little head.

On Feb. 28, a female member of the Planet Fitness in Midland, Mich., complained to management about someone who “looked like a man” being in the women’s locker room. The woman who made the complaint ultimately had her membership revoked, with Planet Fitness officials citing as their reason the woman’s disruptive activities in warning other female members that the gym might let “men” into the women’s locker room facilities.

Planet Fitness has a policy of “No Judgment” and permits members to use whatever facilities match their “sincere, self-reported gender.”

Fine. But honestly, I’m conflicted.

I have held off on addressing this. My fear was that the person in the locker room was a cross-dresser, and that’s what she appears to be: no hormones, no transition.

To me, that is abuse of the privilege and is exactly what the opposition wanted in order to illustrate their point that “men” who “feel like a woman today” can waltz into women-only spaces with impunity.

That makes me sick.

Where do you draw the line? I have been on hormones for years now. I’ve had years of therapy, gender reassignment surgery, breast augmentation and electrolysis. I’m a broke — but happy — woman.

I work out at a gym and use the ladies locker room, but I also have a vagina. I’m not sure if that should be a requirement, but discretion sure should be if you have the original equipment.

Should we require hormones? OK, for how long? Who checks?

The best I can come up with is that if you are irrevocably committed to living your life as a woman, then come on in. If you are trying it on? Do us all a favor and stay out.

This whole thing really pisses me off.

Living in Texas, where too many people would like to see us all dead, I sure as hell don’t need anyone making my life more difficult than it already is. I am so careful and so respectful; I don’t think that it’s too much to ask for others to be the same way.

Right now, one bad apple really can screw it up for all of us.

Continue reading at:  http://m.dallasvoice.com/planet-confusion-10192130.html

Disappearing women

Reposted from Paisley Currah:  http://paisleycurrah.com/2015/03/13/disappearing-women/

By
March 13, 2015

In her most recent column, “Who Has Abortions?,” Katha Pollitt  says, “We can, and should, support trans men and other gender-non-conforming people without erasing women from the fight for reproductive rights.”  I agree.  I’ve got a draft of quite a few fragments and links for a long blog post on feminism and trans politics–on reproductive rights, on women’s colleges, on how TERFS have derailed real conversations about feminism in trans communities, and on the outsized role those on the trans-masculine side of the gender spectrum play in setting out the official gender line for trans politics. I’ve not had the time to pull it all together, so instead, I’m just posting bits and pieces.  Pollitt’s column today prodded me into posting the first bit.

But yes, I think Pollitt is right on this one.  Here’s part of her explanation:

The real damage of abolishing “women” in abortion contexts, though, is to our political analysis. What happens to Dr. Tiller’s motto, “Trust Women”? There was a whole feminist philosophy expressed in those two words: women are competent moral actors and they, not men, clergy or the state, are the experts on their own lives, and should be the ones to decide how to shape them. It is because abortion gives power specifically to women that it was criminalized. How did Selina Meyer put it on Veep? If men got pregnant, you could get an abortion at an ATM. Restricting abortion is all about keeping women under the male thumb: controlling women’s sexual and reproductive capacities is what patriarchy is all about. Indeed, that women should decide for themselves is controversial even now. Although the Supreme Court ruled decades ago that men were not entitled to be notified if their wife was planning to end a pregnancy, some polls show large majorities of Americans believe husbands have a right to know. Once you start talking about “people,” not “women,” you lose what abortion means historically, symbolically and socially.

I think it’s entirely possible to point out that it’s not just women who become pregnant and still keep in focus the bare political fact that abortion rights and access are gender issues, that it’s almost only women who get pregnant and who need abortions, and that abortion rights and access are under assault all over the US precisely because it’s primarily a “women’s issue.” Obviously abortion access shouldn’t be restricted by gender identity and providers should clearly communicate this in the messaging. Trans men need to know they can access to these services.

That said, taking “women” out of abortion rights rhetoric,  putting “vagina” on the list of unacceptable words, has the faint reek of misogyny.  Pollitt doesn’t call it by that name, but she writes:

But a feminism that can’t say “women”—or “vagina” or “sisterhood” or even the cutesy “ladyparts”— is cutting the ground from under itself. It’s not just about slogans like “the War on Women“ or “Stand with Texas Women, “ important as they are and challenging as it would be to replace them with gender-neutral language that carried the same emotional charge. How do you even talk about women’s being underrepresented politically, or earning less than men, or being victims of rape and domestic violence? In an era where politics is all about identity, as a tool for organizing and claiming public space, are women about to lose theirs?

It’s not just reproductive rights language that is fast being “de-gendered.” Women’s colleges are also being asked to get rid of that exclusionary category.  Many of us have long argued that women’s colleges need to admit trans women, regardless of the gender listed on their identity documents. And students who were admitted to women’s colleges as women and whose gender identity shifts during their college years need to be allowed to stay, and supported in their transition. But some of the discussions about changing who counts as a woman for college admission have morphed into an argument that everyone but cisgender men should be eligible to apply. Monica Potts, at the New Republic, says this is simply misogyny.

Feminist blogger and prison abolitionist Emma Caterine sees it differently. As she argues in a piece bluntly titled, “Trans Women are Not Agents of the Patriarchy”:

One of Potts’ main concerns is the push on women’s campuses to eradicate words like “sisterhood” from use. But this isn’t an example of trans activism, as Potts puts it, being “indistinguishable from old-school misogyny”; that’s just old-school misogyny disguised as trans activism. Trans activism fights to make a world that is better for trans people, and while trans men are an important part of that, the fight to make a place for themselves at women’s colleges has nothing to do with them being trans and everything to do with them being entitled men.

Trans women are on the precipice of being recognized as women at women’s-only institutions.  I don’t think it’s a coincidence that now is also the moment when those institutions are being asked to retreat from their historic mission of educating women.   It’s certainly not the intention of the activists calling for the all-but cis men rule, but the effect is to suggest that once trans women gain entrance, all bets are off, everything is up for grabs. The unstated but inescapable implication of all this–that trans women aren’t women.  That’s trans-misogyny.

California proposal to legalize killing gays hard to stop

Sure makes me glad I no longer live in Cali.  If I were an LGBT person there I’d be sure to have a gun even if I had to do so illegally.  Remember the Taliban Christers passed Prop 8.  Don’t be the unarmed Jew in Germany or Poland circa 1939.

Time for LGBT People to take a page from the Israeli book of self-defense.

Be prepared to fight or leave.

Never Again!

From The Sacramento Bee:  http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article15394181.html

Nature Is Speaking – Julia Roberts is Mother Nature

The Rise Of LGBT Rights Is An Existential Threat To Conservative Religious Groups

From Think Progress:  http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2015/03/17/3634382/can-religious-conservatives-survive-rise-lgbt-rights/

by Jack Jenkins
March 17, 2015

On Monday, Rabbi Denise Eger was installed as the first openly gay president of Reform Judaism’s Central Conference of American Rabbis, which claims around 2,000 rabbis and 862 congregations in the United States.

“It really shows an arc of L.G.B.T. civil rights,” Eger told the New York Times. “I smile a lot — with a smile of incredulousness.”

Eger’s new position is, unquestionably, a historic moment for Reform Judaism. But when placed alongside the greater American religious landscape, her achievement is remarkable in part because of how common such stories have become. It’s hardly the first time a mainstream American faith community has proclaimed spiritual support for LGBT rights — the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association chose a lesbian Rabbi to be their president in 2007, Unitarian Universalists have been passing resolutions affirming everyone regardless of their sexuality since 1970, and several of the largest mainline Christian denominations have moved to embrace various versions of LGBT rights. Since the early 2000s, the United Church of Christ, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the Presbyterian Church (USA) have all voted in favor of supporting gay ordination and same-sex marriage, and the Episcopal Church famously elected Gene Robinson, an openly gay man, to the position of bishop in 2003. And while the United Methodist Church, the largest mainline Christian denomination, officially opposes marriage equality and the ordination of LGBT ministers, Methodist bishops and priests across the country are now refusing to enforce church discipline on clergy who officiate same-sex weddings. Meanwhile, nearly half of religious Americans see no conflict between their faith and LGBT rights.

 Yet even as equality advocates toast these victories, more conservative-leaning faith traditions are doubling down on their opposition to homosexuality, bisexuality, and transgender identity. This trend isn’t necessarily astonishing, of course, but as more and more religious Americans move to endorse equality, right-wing faithful are struggling to confront an uncomfortable question: can anti-gay religious groups survive in a country that embraces LGBT rights?

The issue has become omnipresent at the national gatherings of evangelical Christian institutions such as the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), whose leaders disavowed destructive “ex-gay” therapy in 2014 but continue to enforce a no-tolerance policy toward theologies that promote acceptance of same-sex relationships. When a SBC pastor in California told his congregation last year that he had adopted a conciliatory view of homosexuality, for example, national-level officials promptly responded by kicking the church out of the denomination. The larger evangelical community has also adopted a strategy of silencing or rejecting believers who publicly endorse pro-LGBT views: when World Vision, an evangelical charity, announced last March that it would start hiring gay employees, funders began pulling money from the organization, resulting in the group reversing its decision within 48 hours; Brandan Robertson, a young evangelical and author of the popular blog Revangelical, lost a book deal in January after he refused to sign a pledge asking him not to “condone, encourage or accept the homosexual lifestyle”; and in February, the Evangelical Covenant Church denomination “terminated” its partnership with Christ Church: Portland after the pastor preached passionate support for LGBT acceptance.

Continue reading at:  http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2015/03/17/3634382/can-religious-conservatives-survive-rise-lgbt-rights/

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Municipal Violations

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