I Had 4 Boys — Until One of Them Told Me She Was Really a Girl

From Good Housekeeping:  http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/life/parenting/a43702/transgender-child-kimberly-shappley/

As early as 18 months old, Kimberly Shappley’s son started showing signs he identified as female. Now, the Christian mom shares how she learned to embrace Kai’s transition — for her child’s happiness and safety.

By Kimberly Shappley, as told to Breanne Randall
Apr 13, 2017

I remember one night when Kai was very young, and I was tucking her into bed. Her legs were cold and, concerned, I lifted the sheets, discovering she had taken a pair of panties off a baby doll and put them on herself. It was constricting her blood circulation and if she’d slept that way overnight, it could have become very dangerous. After that experience, I realized I could no longer ignore something very real about my child: My son, born Joseph Paul Shappley, is a girl.

I was raised as a devout, conservative Christian with strong Republican values in the South. It’s a place where being different can not only be unforgiving, but unsafe. I was, and am, an active member of our local church. I used to lead a small ministry teaching Bible study, and I didn’t support or condone those living the LGBTQ lifestyle. That was just part of the Christian makeup I’d been brought up to believe. I knew I’d instill those same principles in my children.

But all of my beliefs and convictions were brought into question when, at 18 months old, Kai began exhibiting very strong female characteristics. From the moment my child was born, everything about Kai was geared toward femininity. She would pull T-shirts down around her waist to make them into skirts. She would tie long-sleeved shirts around her head and pretend like it was long hair. I tried so hard to force her into wearing clothes with camouflage and superhero patterns, and I even gave her severe, flat-top haircuts. Kai has three other siblings who are boys, so it was also a very testosterone-filled family environment, which I thought might help. Everything was fishing and spitting and boy stuff. But Kai just continued to be Kai.

As a Christian mother raising a Christian family, it was a very difficult time for me. I wasn’t ready to give in and allow Kai to transition socially — especially at such a young age. My internal struggle beat me up daily. I felt like I couldn’t go against everything I’d been taught to believe, and yet I also couldn’t let Kai live in such obvious agony. I wasn’t ready to face the fact that my one-and-a-half-year-old child was a girl. That battle lasted for a couple years.

Shortly after Kai turned 2, friends and family were starting to notice her behavior. Living in Pearland, Texas, that meant we were getting a lot of sidelong glances and questions. Kai would only play with other girls and girls’ toys. She said boys were “gross.” Family members were flat-out asking me if this kid was gay. It made me nervous, and I was constantly worried about what people would think of me, of us and of my parenting. While family was questioning whether Kai was gay, a Christian friend of mine, who is also a child psychologist, asked me: “Have you noticed Kai’s feminine behavior?” It was such a gentle question, as opposed to the harsh accusations of others. I said, “I’ve noticed, but I figure she’ll just grow out of it.” I can laugh at that now. It’s so clear, in retrospect, that this was not a passing phase. But when my friend asked me that, I still wasn’t ready to accept it. As I continued to watch my child developing, my friend started pointing out red flags that there was something very real going on. She told me that Kai being transgender may be something I needed to consider.

Continue reading at:  http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/life/parenting/a43702/transgender-child-kimberly-shappley/

Army Secretary Nom: Trans People Are “Evil” and Must Be “Crushed”

From The Advocate:  http://www.advocate.com/military/2017/4/20/army-secretary-nom-trans-people-are-evil-who-must-be-crushed

Trump’s nominee for Army secretary — who will succeed Obama’s out secretary, Eric Fanning — compared trans people to ISIS and has worked to dismantle LGBT rights as a Tennessee senator.

By Neal Broverman
April 20 2017

Mark Green, the Tennessee state senator nominated for Army secretary by President Trump, is a rabid homophobe and transphobe who publicly called trans people an “evil” who should be “crushed.”

Green is a proud opponent of LGBT rights, sponsoring bills in Tennesse that would allow businesses to turn away gay people and demand trans people use bathrooms that conflict with their gender identity. But the true level of his animus became clearer after it was revealed he said being “transender is a disease.” The politician, though, went even further than that during a July radio interview.

Green said the following on the Hotwash With CJ and Alex Program, according to GLAAD:

“The government exists to honor those people who live honorable who do good things – to reward people who behave well and to crush evil. So that means as a state senator, my responsibility very clearly in Romans 13 is to create an environment where people who do right are rewards and the people who do wrong are crushed. Evil is crushed. So I’m going to protect women in their bathrooms, and I’m going to protect our state against potential infiltration from the Syrian ISIS people in the refugee program. And whoever wants to stand up and take me on that, I’m ready to fight.”

GLAAD also points out that Green sponsored a bill allowing teachers to refuse to address issues that conflict with their beliefs — legislation widely understood as homophobic — as well as backing a successful bill that allowed Tennessee therapists to reject LGBT clients.

If approved by the Senate as Army secretary, Green will replace Eric Fanning, the first openly gay man to serve in that position. Fanning guided the military through the end of its trans ban.

Nuclear war has become thinkable again – we need a reminder of what it means

From The Guardian UK:  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/apr/17/nuclear-war-has-become-thinkable-again-we-need-a-reminder-of-what-it-means

As Trump faces down North Korea, it’s alarming to think that most of the world’s nuclear warheads are now in the hands of men who are prepared to use them


Monday 17 April 2017

Last week, Donald Trump deployed his superweapon Moab, the “mother of all bombs” – 10 tonnes of high explosive detonated in mid-air in such a way as to kill, it is claimed, 94 Isis militants. The Russian media immediately reminded us that their own thermobaric bomb – the “father of all bombs” – was four times as powerful: “Kids, meet Daddy,” was how the Kremlin mouthpiece Russia Today put it. But these are child’s play compared with nuclear weapons. The generation waking up to today’s Daily Mail strapline – “World holds its breath” – may need reminding what a nuclear weapon does.

The one dropped on Hiroshima measured 15 kilotons; it destroyed everything within 200 yards and burned everybody within 2km. The warhead carried by a Trident missile delivers a reported 455 kilotons of explosive power. Drop one on Bristol and the fireball is 1km wide; third-degree burns affect everybody from Portishead to Keynsham, and everything in a line from the Bristol Channel to the Wash is contaminated with radiation. In this scenario, 169,000 people die immediately and 180,000 need emergency treatment. Given that there are only 101,000 beds in the entire English NHS, you can begin to imagine the apocalyptic scenes for those who survive. (You can model your own scenario here.)

But a Trident missile carries up to eight of these warheads, and military planners might drop them in a pattern around one target, creating a firestorm along the lines that conventional Allied bombing created in Hamburg and Tokyo during the second world war.

I don’t wish to alarm you, but right now the majority of the world’s nuclear warheads are in the hands of men for whom the idea of using them is becoming thinkable.

For Kim Jong-un, it’s thinkable; for Vladimir Putin, it’s so thinkable that every major Russian wargame ends with a “nuclear de-escalation” phase: that is, drop one and offer peace. On 22 December last year, Trump and Putin announced, almost simultaneously, that they were going to expand their nuclear arsenals and update the technology.

Continue reading at:  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/apr/17/nuclear-war-has-become-thinkable-again-we-need-a-reminder-of-what-it-means

Why I Might Not Tell You I’m Transsexual | Transgender Living

Empathy And Spectacle In The Transgender Killing Fields: On Media Coverage Of Anti-Trans Violence

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/empathy-and-spectacle-in-the-transgender-killing-kields_us_58f2884de4b0156697224ff3?section=us_queer-voices

To focus on us in exclusively extreme circumstances reinforces our marginal status.

Anastasia Walker, Contributor
04/15/2017

o assert that our nation is in crisis seems simultaneously banal and something of an understatement. From the blitzkrieg of deplorable EOs and inhumane legislative and budget proposals coming out of DC to the new POTUS’s itchy Twitter finger, the executive branch has come to seem, in the eyes of many Americans, like an existential threat to the nation – and to more than a few, even to life on the planet. One of the potential casualties of this situation is our capacity for empathy. When there are so many battles raging at once, how many can we reasonably follow, let alone join? How to stave off rage fatigue? How to avoid slumping into cynicism, or mere indifference?

For those of us who find ourselves on the front lines of the new régime’s assaults by virtue of our membership in one or more vulnerable minorities, both fatigue and cynicism are real dangers. We don’t have the luxury of indifference, however, or of allowing others to be indifferent to us. If we’re to combat the far-right push to further marginalize or even extinguish us as groups, we must remain a pressing concern to our allies (existing and potential) amidst the chaos.

The plight of trans Americans, the minority I belong to, is particularly difficult in the current climate. As a group, we’re relatively small, though not as small as was long thought. We’re also relative newcomers to mainstream public discourse, and our very existence is contested by many. In trying to get people to keep, let alone start caring about us, then, we have additional hurdles to overcome that are less of (or not) an issue for many other minority groups.

I’ve been arguing pretty much since I started blogging for HuffPost a year ago that our widespread acceptance by the cis majority is ultimately contingent on our being recognized as fully human. Though it may seem like a perfectly obvious point to make, it’s only when we’re seen first and foremost as friends and neighbors, and not victims (or deviants), that our plight ceases to be a sideshow and becomes for them what mainstream media organs like Time and The New York Times have declared it to be, a full blown civil rights issue.

In part because of lingering perceptions (and prejudices), though, and in part because of the prominent role that sensationalism and spectacle play in the media, the dominant narrative about us is still the sideshow one. In terms of airtime, the two main storylines about trans folks in the U.S. at present remain: (1) Our role as political scapegoats of the far right, most notably in the ongoing efforts by red-state lawmakers to pass discriminatory “bathroom bills,” and (2) Our status as victims of myriad forms of violence, in particular murder. I’ve written a lot about the first of these; I’d now like to consider the latter.

It comes as no surprise that outside academia, the lion’s share of discussion about violence against trans folks appears in the liberal media and blogosphere – the right evidently having little interest in (or stomach for) delving into the challenges facing a group that their loudest members are intent on demonizing. And it’s not all that surprising that while the violence plaguing the trans community assumes a wide range of forms – from snide looks and other microaggressions to verbal harassment to physical assaults – murders feature prominently, even disproportionately, in this discussion. Indeed, murder is often talked about as if it’s the only form of anti-trans violence that matters, even by those who should know better.

That’s not to say that there aren’t any upsides to this coverage. For trans advocates and allies, stories about murders serve a couple of purposes. In the first place, they’re effective shorthand for the high incidence of violence visited on us as a community, and in particular on trans women of color (who represent all eight reported victims so far this year). Second, and more basically, murder is an easy way to keep trans folks on people’s radar. Headlines like “At least 7 transgender women have been killed in 2017” and “Four Transgender Murders in a Week ‘Alarming Trend’” are good journalistic eye candy. These stories also confer on the victims a couple of things historically denied to trans folks: visibility and dignity. By moving beyond bare-bones, Dragnet-style summaries of the climactic event to include pictures and brief bios, they present the victims as more than mere crime statistics, in a real sense serving as obituaries for them. Additionally, they often correct other reporting on the incidents, since local news outlets frequently ignore the victims’ declared, lived identities, and deadname and/or misgender them (more than occasionally, following the lead of law enforcement and other state agencies in doing so).

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/empathy-and-spectacle-in-the-transgender-killing-kields_us_58f2884de4b0156697224ff3?section=us_queer-voices

Friday Night Fun and Culture: James McMurtry’s “Complicated Game”

Here’s Why A Nonprofit Named For Anne Frank Keeps Attacking Trump

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/anne-frank-center-donald-trump_us_58f14c9ae4b0b9e9848c23a3

How the previously obscure Anne Frank Center became one of the most scathing critics of the new administration.

By Jessica Schulberg
04/16/2017

WASHINGTON ― Before this year, the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect rarely made headlines. On the rare occasions the group, named for the young Jewish diarist who died in the Holocaust, appeared in the news, it was never tied to controversy. “Diary of Anne Frank brought to life through music,” one story that mentioned center reported last year.

But in the months since President Donald Trump took office, the New York-based nonprofit has catapulted to national prominence with a series of aggressive attacks on the new chief executive and his policies. Unlike other advocacy organizations, which take hours to craft carefully worded statements that usually land in reporters’ inboxes after their stories are already published, the Anne Frank Center’s executive director, Steven Goldstein, posts his unfiltered responses directly to Facebook.

Under Goldstein’s watch, the center has become one of the most outspoken critics of the Trump administration. His sharp-tongued approach has earned his group citations in The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, NBC, The Huffington Post and others.

The group, which was founded by Anne’s father, Otto Frank, has also been the subject of several stories in Breitbart, the far-right news outlet closely aligned with the Trump administration. Goldstein “has no qualms about exploiting the name and memory of Anne Frank for his purely partisan purposes,” Breitbart’s Joel Pollak wrote. “It is Holocaust desecration, if not outright denial.”

Goldstein, who took over as the center’s executive director last year, dismisses this type of criticism. He knows his style is provocative, but he says that’s intentional ― and that, in some ways, it’s similar to how Trump reaches his own audience. The president’s way of communicating “clearly touches a chord with the people of this country,” said Goldstein, who disagrees with Trump on nearly every issue.

Goldstein’s goal “is to speak with equal directness, but add compassion and justice and morality to it,” he said.

The Anne Frank Center was founded in 1959 with the goal of creating a “world based on equal rights and mutual respect.” In the decades before Goldstein took over the organization, it existed primarily as an educational exhibition, teaching visitors about Frank’s life and the dangers of discrimination.

Goldstein had never even heard of the group when its board of directors asked him last year if he was interested in taking over as executive director. That wasn’t a good sign, he thought. “I’m a social justice activist, I’m a Jewish activist, I’m a native New Yorker, so for me to not to have heard of an Anne Frank organization means the organization must have had an extraordinarily low profile,” he said.

Keeping a low profile is not Goldstein’s style. When he was 6 years old, he skipped school to stuff envelopes at the local Democratic headquarters for then-presidential nominee Hubert Humphrey, according to a bio he provided. He has worked on Capitol Hill for Democratic lawmakers Frank Lautenberg and Chuck Schumer. In 2004, he founded Garden State Equality, the New Jersey-based marriage-equality group that went on to successfully sue for expanded rights for same-sex couples. His character was featured in a movie about a terminally ill police officer’s fight to secure death benefits for her same-sex partner.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/anne-frank-center-donald-trump_us_58f14c9ae4b0b9e9848c23a3