‘Gender bending’ chemical in food tins may cut male fertility

Wonderfully stupid Benny Hill phrasing aside (gender bending) I found this interesting article in The Daily Mail


By David Derbyshire
Last updated at 10:34 AM on 5th August 2010

A ‘gender bending’ chemical in food and drinks containers could be behind rising male infertility, scientists say.

Men with high levels of Bisphenol A (BPA) in their bodies are more likely to have low sperm counts, according to a study.

BPA is widely used to harden plastics and is found in baby bottles, CD cases, plastic knives and forks and the lining of food and drink cans.

The chemical mimics the female sex hormone oestrogen and interferes with the way hormones are processed by the body.

Although some animal studies have shown it is safe, others have linked it to breast cancer, liver damage, obesity, diabetes and fertility problems.

Experts estimate BPA is detectable in more than 90 per cent of people.

Posted in Chemical Pollution, Ecology, Food, Intersex, Science/Biology. Comments Off on ‘Gender bending’ chemical in food tins may cut male fertility

Transgender Inc

The other day I used the phrase Transgender Inc in a Facebook exchange, and Ashley Love asked what I meant when I used that phrase after she had used the phrase Gay Inc.

I had to think about it a bit and decide what I meant to attack and who I didn’t want to attack.  And that is what it boils down to…  There are many well meaning activists out there who have become trapped in some really oppressive dogma, who have embraced some very contradictory ideas that have some poorly thought out implications and, dare I say it some subtexts that could have extremely negative impact on not only post-SRS women with transsexual histories but upon all women.

Part of the problem has been the move from DIY activism to the structured corporate forms of activism that are dependent on fund raising and often time non-profit status.  DIY activism can be performed by anyone with the wherewithal to put up a web site or blog.  For that matter by anyone willing to scrape together a few dollars to put out a ‘Zine they print at Kinkos or some other cheap print shop and collate/staple by themselves.

Activism occurs when two people decide over coffee or____ that something must be protested. Or at least that is how it used to happen but now it seems to require these huge organizations with fund raising campaigns, official spokes people, lawyers and lobbyists.

With this professionalizing/corporatizing of activism we have lost the right to our individual opinion.  Now those same individuals who have thoughts of their own on the issues are given the choice of going along with the party line or with being shut out.

Yet when we vent our anger at being shut out too often we vent it at particular individuals rather than the structure and the ideology.

Autumn Sandeen, is often a target but there are others such as Jillian Weiss, and Mara Keisling. They shouldn’t be the target even if they have sometimes turned deaf ears to the complaints voiced by post-SRS women of a transsexual history.  If we could get them to listen and get them to hear what we are saying perhaps we could reach an understanding that would allow us to work on common goals.

Women Born Transsexual was co-opted for a while by people who now consider us too transgender friendly, and who have moved on to describe themselves as either “classic transsexuals” or as having HBS… because they are too good to have plain ordinary transsexualism as part of their medical history.  Yet, when people who should know better like Denise LaClair of IFGE use Women Born Transsexual as a smear and attempt to exclude people from inclusion in a major conferences based on Denise LaClair’s personal prejudices then we have to ask just what Transgender Inc. represents.  What are its long term goals?

Transgender has a seriously troubled history rooted in Virginia Prince, IFGE, Tri-Ess and other heterosexual cross dresser organizations.

Lately I have noticed a serious streak of revisionist history with regard to the role of “transgender as umbrella” in the history of the Gay and Lesbian Liberation Struggle. Now, I have been out since 1969 when I transitioned.  Indeed I worked for one of the earliest Transsexual Peer Support organizations.  We were funded by Reed Erickson.

Over the years I have met and on occasion worked with people who were the founders of the modern Gay and Lesbian Movement.  I was on several occasions  the sole transsexual at the early post-Stonewall West Coast Conferences and the only person associated with any sort of trans-prefixed word.

Transgender folks were not there. Transgender did not exist yet.  People who took part in the things like Stonewall and the Compton’s Cafeteria Riot were drag queens and transsexuals.  The people who would become the ideological well spring of transgender were active in a different arena.

Virginia Prince was fighting charges based on using the postal system for immoral purpose, something parallel to what was going on with the gay and lesbian pre-Stonewall activists, but separate and apart from that struggle.  Other things within that transvestite/transgender community involved rural retreats and the formation of Tri-Ess.  Virgina Prince’s extensive conversations with Dr. Robert Stoller at UCLA became the basis for much of the transgender constructing of “GENDER” as an all purpose social construct that defines the proper role for both men and women.

Prince was also in directly responsible for AP/AGP as she defined the two motivations:  That of those attracted to men as being sexual based, and that of heterosexual cross dressers as being due to their over attraction to, and subsequent identification with the female sex role (gender role).

Whenever I hear speech emanating from those in the transgender movement who are non-op or pre-op disparaging the vaginas of post-SRS women it is as though I am listening to someone utter the words first written by Virginia Prince, a person who hated transsexuals and surgery in a way that reflected both homophobia and misogyny that was so deep seated as to discredit not only Prince but those who continue putting forth Prince’s words, in spirit if not verbatim.

Transgender Inc. has always felt like it was grafted on to the Gay and Lesbian Movements.  Perhaps because even in those heady days of Stonewall and Gay Liberation those of us who were in the process of changing our sex didn’t feel like we were a part of that movement.  And those of us who did were there because we discovered we were lesbians as we went through the process of changing sex.

I was a radical feminist with a deserter boy friend and had SRS prior to coming out as bisexual/lesbian.  Part of my lesbian identification in spite of having a bisexual history is rooted in the radical feminist position of putting women first.  When one does that, feminism becomes the theory and lesbianism becomes the practice.

Coming from this sort of space and having been part of the Lesbian Movement years before any sort of Transgender Movement appeared and demanded the grafting on of a T for transgender, is it any wonder that I take the position of, “I don’t need a “T” stuck on there.  I’m perfectly happy with the L.”?

I have listened to some pretty strange reasons why Transgender Inc insists on the inclusion of post-SRS women with a transsexual history under that “T”, but excludes those drag queens who are far more oppressed than most post-op women and who actually fit the original definition of “transgender”.

Too often Transgender Inc seems to reflect its heterosexist roots.  Not so much with those actually doing the activist work but in those who do the expounding on the mailing lists where some of the voices sound almost as if they are coming from people engaging in fantasy role play.

The kicker is how rare it is for me to encounter so many of those at demonstrations and the like where it is so often a matter of my running into the same few dedicated activists over and over again.

So often these individuals are either sisters in process of getting SRS or post-SRS women, that I sometimes think we would be better off scraping the Prince originated baggage and starting afresh under the “Transsexual as Umbrella” banner.

We could start by building on some of the works of Julia Serano and Viviene Namaste as well as things that reflect feminist roots and L/G Liberation traditions rather than a foundation reflecting the heterosexual CD world of Prince and Tri-Ess/IFGE.

NOW Celebrates Senate Confirmation of Elena Kagan to U.S. Supreme Court

August 5, 2010

Today the Senate voted 63-37 to confirm Solicitor General Elena Kagan as the next Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. For the first time in history the court will have three sitting female justices — a critical mass that will undoubtedly make a significant difference in the struggle for women’s equality. NOW officially endorsed Kagan at the close of her confirmation hearings.

Kagan is the second woman appointed to the high court by President Barack Obama, who also appointed Justice Sonia Sotomayor in 2009. Kagan will join Sotomayor and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the bench when the Supreme Court begins a new term this October.

“NOW eagerly anticipates three brilliant women justices individually and collectively making their mark on a Supreme Court long dominated by men, while making decisions that greatly impact the lives of everyday people,” said NOW President Terry O’Neill. “This is more than a symbolic, inspiring achievement for women — it will be a genuine victory for every woman and girl who benefits from Elena Kagan’s years of service on the high court.”

Once sworn in, Justice Elena Kagan will fill the seat vacated by retiring Justice John Paul Stevens. Justice Stevens’ tenure on the court was marked by a strong commitment to protecting women’s rights under the law. Said O’Neill: “NOW looks forward to Kagan following in Justice Stevens’ footsteps and serving as a champion for the rights of women, people of color, and all other disadvantaged individuals.”

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on NOW Celebrates Senate Confirmation of Elena Kagan to U.S. Supreme Court

Senate Votes to Confirm Elena Kagan for U.S. Supreme Court

From The New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/06/us/politics/06kagan.html?_r=1&hp


Published: August 5, 2010

WASHINGTON — The Senate confirmed Elena Kagan to a seat on the Supreme Court on Thursday, giving President Obama his second appointment to the high court in a year, and a political victory as the Senate neared the end of its business for the summer.

Ms. Kagan, a former dean of the Harvard Law School and a legal adviser in both the Clinton and Obama administrations, was approved by a vote of 63 to 37 after hearings and floor debate that showcased competing views of Democrats and Republicans about the court, but exposed no significant stumbling blocks to her confirmation.

She becomes the fourth woman ever named to the court, and will join two other woman currently serving, including Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Obama administration nominee, who was confirmed almost exactly one year ago.

“Her qualifications, intelligence, temperament and judgment will make her a worthy successor to Justice John Paul Stevens,” Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont and chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said of Ms. Kagan.

Continue reading at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/06/us/politics/06kagan.html?_r=1&hp

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Senate Votes to Confirm Elena Kagan for U.S. Supreme Court

Religious Right Reacts With Fury to Prop 8 Knockdown

Posted in Anti-Gay by Mark Potok
August 5, 2010

In the hours since a federal judge struck down California’s ban on same-sex marriage yesterday, religious-right organizations have sent up an angry howl of protest, accusing the judge of doing everything from overruling the Constitution to laying the groundwork for a contemporary version of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Tim Wildmon, leader of the American Family Association, called the decision “tyrannical, abusive and utterly unconstitutional” and said it “cavalierly trashed” the votes of some 7 million Californians who voted to approve Proposition 8 in 2008. “It’s also extremely problematic that Judge [Vaughn] Walker is a practicing homosexual himself. … His situation is no different than a judge who owns a porn studio being asked to rule on an anti-pornography statute.” Wildmon went on to demand that the U.S. House of Representatives impeach Walker.

Randy Thomasson, president of SaveCalifornia.com, which worked to support the proposition during the 2008 campaign, sounded a similar theme, saying that the ruling dealt a “terrible blow” to the country and that the “biased, homosexual judge” had “imposed his own homosexual agenda.” Bishop Harry Jackson, leader of Stand4MarriageDC, called the judge’s ruling a “slur” against those who had voted for Prop 8. And former GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich said the judge’s “notorious decision” showed “outrageous disrespect for the Constitution.”

In fact, Walker found that Proposition 8 merely asserted “the notion that opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples” without any rational basis. “The Constitution cannot control private biases, but neither can it tolerate them.”

But that’s not the way most religious-right organizations and activists saw the decision. On the contrary, they seemed to believe that it was them who were being discriminated against. Maggie Gallagher, the president of the National Organization for Marriage, for example, said that the decision would lead the government, “almost Soviet-style,” to reeducate American children. Andy Pugno, general counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund that represented supporters of the proposition, said the judge had “literally accused the majority of California voters of having ill and discriminatory intent” in voting for it. Robert George of the American Principles Project said his decision was a “usurpation of democratic authority” and described same-sex marriage supporters as having a “revolutionary sexual ideology.” Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council blamed “the far Left” for pushing judges to such decisions, and said that “this dangerous decision” had to be appealed. And David E. Smith, executive director of the Illinois Family Institute, said that “radical forces” and “tyrants who threaten to destroy this country” were to blame.

Richard Land, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, put it even more starkly. “This is a grievously serious crisis in how the American people will choose to be governed,” he said. “If and when the Supreme Court agrees with the lower court, then the American people will have to decide whether they will insist on continuing to have a government of the people, by the people and for the people, or whether they’re going to live under the serfdom of government by the judges, of the judges and for the judges.”

In fact, the decision supported the very American idea that people have “rights” that cannot be legislated away via the “tyranny of the majority.” There was a time in this country when a majority of eligible Americans would most certainly have voted to keep from giving the vote to black men and women. But the courts, as is their assigned role according to the Constitution, finally ruled that African Americans had basic rights that could not be legislated away. Similarly, many civil rights attorneys believe that in the end, the Supreme Court will rule, as Walker did yesterday, that society has no right to discriminate against homosexuals in marriage.

James Edwards is no official of a religious right organization — far from it. But the racist and anti-Semitic host of the Memphis-based radio show “The Political Cesspool” seemed to understand that last point better than most of the ruling’s more “mainstream” opponents. “You can thank Martin Luther King and his crusade to make it illegal to recognize important distinctions between human beings for this,” Edwards wrote on his blog yesterday. “Had the courts never thrown out laws against interracial marriage, we wouldn’t even be having this discussion.”

Larry Keller, Leah Nelson and Evelyn Schlatter contributed to this post.

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Religious Right Reacts With Fury to Prop 8 Knockdown