Friday Night Fun and Culture

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Ugandan lesbian awaiting deportation fears for her safety

From The Guardian UK:

After the murder of gay activist David Kato, Brenda Namigadde, currently in Yarl’s Wood, says she fears her life is over

Karen McVeigh, Thursday 27 January 2011

Inside Yarl’s Wood detention centre, awaiting deportation to Uganda in less than 24 hours, Brenda Namigadde is desperate.

Namigadde fled her home country eight years ago after being persecuted for her relationship with another woman. She says she has always intended to return home when “things were better”. But things, she says, have just got worse.

After the murder of the gay Ugandan activist David Kato and with a chilling warning from Ugandan MP David Bahati ringing in her ears, she says she fears her life is over. Bahati, the author of a bill which would impose the death penalty on homosexuals, intervened in Namigadde’s case to warn her she should “repent” or be arrested on her return.

Speaking from Yarl’s Wood, Namigadde, 29, says: “My life is in danger. I don’t know what will happen to me. I’m very scared. I haven’t eaten, I haven’t slept.”

She knows from experience what returning to her country will mean for her, she says. “I’ll be tortured, or killed, if I’m sent back. They’ve put people like me to death there.”

Growing up as a devout Christian in a country where homosexuality is a crime, Namigadde says she was used to keeping her sexuality a secret from her family and her church and the wider community.

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There are various petitions to sign appealing sending this woman back to a place where she faces being murdered.

Never mind the role theocratic Christo-Nazis like Scott Lively have played in the instigation of the murder of gay and lesbian people.  It is immoral to deport people to a place where they faced being murdered for who they are.

There is little doubt that she will be put in mortal danger by these actions.

Ugandan Gay Rights Activist Beaten to Death

Posted on Jan 27, 2011

David Kato, a 43-year-old gay rights activist in Uganda, was murdered in his home near Kampala on Wednesday, less than four months after his picture was published in a Ugandan tabloid under the words “Hang Them” in a story about gays “recruiting” local schoolchildren.  —KA

The BBC’s Joshua Mmali, in Kampala, says it is unclear whether the death is linked to the Rolling Stone campaign but police have said there is no connection between Mr Kato’s activism and his death.

The police say that though they have arrested one suspect, the main suspect – who they say lived with Mr Kato – remains on the run.

Homosexual acts are illegal in Uganda, with punishments of 14 years in prison. An MP recently tried to increase the penalties to include the death sentence in some cases.

There has been a recent spate of “iron-bar killings” in Mukono, where Mr Kato lived, in which people have been assaulted with pieces of metal.

Witnesses have told the BBC that a man entered Mr Kato’s home near Kampala and beat him to death before leaving.

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Koch Brothers Feel the Heat In DC, as Broad Coalition Readies Creative Action to Quarantine the Billionaires Gathering in California Desert

From Alternet:

The news that justices Scalia and Thomas have attended Koch strategy sessions is adding to the growing buzz over a planned demonstration against the billionaires.

By Don Hazen

January 27, 2011 |

As the right-wing Koch brothers get ready for their billionaires’ strategy session in Rancho Mirage, Calif. on Sunday, Jan. 30, big questions are being raised in Washington about the Kochs’ relationship with radical conservative justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.

Charges of conflict-of-interest — particularly in the infamous Citizens United decision that opens the floodgates to anonymous corporate money in elections — have been raised by Common Cause. Both Scalia and Thomas have admitted, according to a newspaper in Palm Springs, to speaking at private dinners hosted by Kansas oil tycoon Charles Koch, who, along with his brother David, has funded a wide array of right-wing causes and spent many millions on behalf of right-wing candidates.

Common Cause, led by former congressional member Bob Edgar, with the irrepressible Robert Reich as chair of the board, has taken a leadership role in a broad, unprecedented coalition organizing the gathering and rally in the desert on Sunday. (Click here for information about the protest.) In addition to Common Cause, groups working the event range from the California Courage Campaign and California Nurses Association to the more rambunctious CodePink and the Ruckus Society. The broad coalition is testament to the fact that the Koch brothers, via dozens of fake groups and money funnels, have poured millions into efforts to undermine and block many issues important to a wide array of constituencies, including aging people, union members, environmentalists, and those fighting against corruption and for good government principles that enhance democratic processes. Especially infuriating to many were efforts to undermine campaign finance laws and unleash unlimited corporate money in elections via the Citizens United decision.

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Conversations Between Long-Time Post-Transsexual Friends

Living as a woman isn’t being a woman.

Becoming a woman after Sex Reassignment Surgery also takes time.

Being a woman in this world is dealing with the reality of having a cunt between your legs.  It isn’t an “identity” or a word game.

Pre-ops carry on about how it won’t make a difference, transgender people babble about how what’s between your legs doesn’t matter because “no one sees it” except for lovers.  What sort of level of self-deception is that?

Last night we had a conversation with a friend who is long time post-transsexual.  This morning I exchanged e-mails with another friend who is long time many years post-transsexual.

What do we talk about?

We spend some time conversing about how the whole transgender trip is undermining our lives by lumping us in with those pushing the ideology of Virginia Prince.

But that is only a small portion of what we talk about.

Just like issues regarding transsexualism and the semi-hostile relationship with the oppressive transgender paradigm are really only part of this blog.

Like this blog we spent more time discussing the chaos of the economy and the threat posed by the ultra-right wing crazies running the world.

But we also talk about getting older, our health problems.

But we also talk about the music and art we enjoy.  The authors we like and how the corporatizing of everything affects the arts.

Mostly though our conversations are about dozens of things besides the matter of sharing a common experience of having had sex reassignment surgery many years ago.

Our lives, lived long after the operation that differentiates us from transgender people with their obsession with identity and word games aimed at convincing other they are really women, though male.

The funny thing is how we are never given credit by those who claim it is just the same, yet haven’t had the experience for having actually experienced both.

Wisdom can come from experience and physical reality trumps identity in the reality based world.

Abortion Doesn’t Increase Mental Health Risk, But Having A Baby Does

From The Huffington Post:

January 26. 2011

LOS ANGELES — Having an abortion does not increase the risk of mental health problems, but having a baby does, one of the largest studies to compare the aftermath of both decisions suggests.

The research by Danish scientists further debunks the notion that terminating a pregnancy can trigger mental illness and shows postpartum depression to be much more of a factor.

Abortion in Denmark has been legal since 1973 – the same year the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Roe v. Wade, which established a right to abortion.

The Danish study included 365,550 teenagers and women who had an abortion or first-time delivery between 1995 and 2007. None had a history of psychiatric problems that required hospitalization. Through various national registries, researchers were able to track mental health counseling at a hospital or outpatient facility before and after an abortion or delivery.

During the study period, 84,620 had an abortion while 280,930 gave birth.

Researchers compared the rate of mental health treatment among women before and after a first abortion. Within the first year after an abortion, 15 per 1,000 women needed psychiatric counseling – similar to the rate seeking help nine months before an abortion.

Researchers say women who seek abortions come from a demographic group more likely to have emotional problems to begin with. Statistics show that a large percentage struggle economically and they have above-average rates of unintended pregnancies.

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Egypt’s Internet Shut Down, According To Reports

Ireland, France, Spain, Great Britain, Greece Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon and so many other places have had massive demonstrations, riots and revolutions the last two months that it sort of feels like the Masters of the Universe might be whistling on the gallows when they stand there and tell us things will be alright.  That we aren’t really in a depression and in fact the “recession” is over.

Maybe it is for them but a world where a tiny minority controls most of the wealth is an inherently unstable world and as the Kris Kristofferson song says, “Freedom’s just another word for nothing else to lose.”

Taking away people’s jobs, homes and leaving them struggling to survive puts their backs against the wall and no amount of Super Bowls, Glen Beck or fussy pictures of Brittany Spears will be enough spectacle to distract them from their misery.

What I can’t understand is the right wing’s desire to keep ramping up the misery.

From Huffington Post:

January 27, 2011

Reports are emerging that Internet has gone down in Cairo and throughout Egypt, only hours before the largest planned protests yet.

According to a report from The Arabist, “Egypt has shut off the internet.”

Multiple Internet Service Providers are affected according to the report, which states:

I just received a call from a friend in Cairo (I won’t say who it is now because he’s a prominent activist) telling me neither his DSL nor his USB internet service is working. I’ve just checked with two other friends in different parts of Cairo and their internet is not working either.

The news of the Internet outage came minutes after the Associated Press published a video of an Egyptian protestor being shot.

CNN reporter Ben Wedeman confirmed Internet is down in Cairo and writes, “No internet, no SMS, what is next? Mobile phones and land lines? So much for stability. #Jan25 #Egypt”

The Los Angeles Times is also reporting that BlackBerry Internet has been taken offline in Egypt.

UPDATE (7:05 p.m. ET) Reuters confirms “major network disruptions” for Egypt Internet users at this time, with reports in Cairo that there is no Internet altogether. A top state official declined to comment.

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Don’t call me Transgender

From The Scavenger:

By Dr. Tracie O’Keefe

Republished with permission from The Scavenger

Academics and equal rights campaigners are stealing many people’s identities by using ‘transgender’ as an umbrella term for sex and gender diverse people, says Tracie O’Keefe.

Sex and/or gender diverse people come in many forms: intersex, transexed, transsexual, transgendered, crossdressers, androgynous and people who abdicate all forms of sex and/or gender identification (sinandrogen).

Each of these identities are genuine, have their own validity, physical, psychological, social and legal dynamics, and are quite different from each other.

It’s amazing however how many people confuse sex with gender – even doctors, academics, professors and equal rights campaigners, but the two are quite different.

Sex, gender and GOD

Your physical sex is made up of your primary and secondary physical characteristics such as ovaries, testicles, penis vagina, mammary glands and a plethora of physical attributes. Some people are largely male and some largely female but no one is absolutely either, just as no one is absolutely black or absolutely white, nature likes to give itself options.

The clown fish can change its sex from male to female and mate with its brother if they are low on females. Genetic Optional Diversity (GOD) ensures the development, evolution and proliferation of species and always wants options, not necessarily binary or prison like the concept of absolute male or female. GOD also produces the lesbian lizards that are self-fertilizing, have no males in the species, but requires the dance of the beast with two backs by two females to create offspring. Isn’t GOD clever?

Gender is the game of interpretation of the sexes or for some the absence of stereotypical sex characteristic behaviors. You can change your gender performance without changing any of your physical characteristics, it just a pantomime. These are basic sexological definitions that have been set down for many years. If you were a sexologist you would not be able to miss this even if you had your thumbs in your ears and fingers over your eyes.

‘Experts’ adopt ‘transgender’ in health association’s name change

This is why it was confusing and embarrassing to me and many others as a members of the Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association (HBIGDA – which proclaimed to be experts on transsexualism) when it changed its name to the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH). Didn’t the board members take sexology 101?

The association asked for suggestions for a new name that did not have pathology in its title and it received many suggestions. Strangely enough though, the board decided to give only three options on the ballot papers, none of which as a member I voted for.

The intention may have been good but the execution was wholly undemocratic and left many members deeply unhappy with the board’s attempt to rule from the top down.  It begs the question: How many board members authored books or wrote papers with the word ‘transgender’ in the title when they decided to make the vote Hobson’s choice?

Needless to say I did not change from being intersex, transexed or transsexual to become transgendered overnight. Nothing happened except the violation of my identity.

You may think I’m paranoid but in 2009 there was a discussion about this very issue on the WPATH discussion board and the moderator censored members’ points of view. Some members’ views, who did not tow the party line, were sanctioned from publishing.

I accused the board of pushing its own agenda without taking on members’ concerns and of censorship. I was informed that the notice board was only for posting events and then received further emails of discussion only about topics of which the moderator approved. The board did not put the full range of suggestions up for voting and one has to question why.

I know the board did not make this decision in ignorance because I gave a paper on this very matter to the then president so ignorance is no defence. It seems the transsexual mafia of HBIGDA has turned into the transgender fascista of WPATH, and some transgendered members are among them.

Many of us are not transgendered

From now on I shall use the phrase transexed instead of transsexual because many people assumed that being transsexual was about sexuality but for many it was about being a form of intersex, namely transexed.

I never changed my gender identity it was always female. I had my body altered at 15 to reflect my correct sex characteristics and my gender has never been ‘transed’. If you look at picture of me at 12, I’m practically wearing the same thing then that I am now. I don’t do fashion – I’m too busy.

I don’t wish to be described as transgendered because I am not. To try and describe me as transgendered is inaccurate, uneducated and steals my identity. I have no objection to people describing themselves as transgendered if that reflects their experience but mine is not the same.

In the 1990s I wrote books advocating hormones and civil rights for transgender people but I was never one of them. Since then I have published books and wrote papers advocating for the rights of all sex and gender diverse people. My sex is female and I have lived as female for 40 years, even though I was registered as male at birth.  I don’t have a third sex or gender like transgendered.

Many of my transexed patients and friends have not become transgendered since the HBIGDA board members demonstrated their lack of respect. Nor did they become a third sex or gender that is other than male or female. They go about their business enjoying their identities as males or females for which they have often fought very hard to establish.

Not everyone is out and waving flags like me and those people are entitled to pass and enjoy their privacy no matter how unfashionable some campaigners may find that.

For many trans people who do not pass as their desired sex and gender the transgender label has allowed them to be accepted as this special category that takes them out of the binary male or female system. Instead of being failed as males or females they now get respect as being transgendered, but it is ‘other’, no mistaking.

For the many the transgendered label has allowed them to have a mixed identity in a place where sex and gender is a game of fluency. I get it. I support it. I understand it. I think it is a great thing for them, but not for me or some of my patients who have a strong identification of being male or female.

Who are the people gaining from transgendering us all?

There are academics that make a cushy living by constructing transgender theory out of groups of people who are really very different and need to be identified as separate groups with separate needs. It is nothing less than profiteering from social construction theory that has little basis in crosscultural realities. It is not science but branding, merchandising and profiteering.

There is also a group of clinician/academics who are still trying to indentify many trans people as having a mental illness. They are blind to the natural occurrence of sex, gender and sexuality diversity. For them transgenderism is often just as pathological as transsexualism was and a chance to improve their kudos by extending their pathological range.

Coincidentally the American Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM V) has had its launch cancelled for a year because of arguments between psychiatrists about over-pathologising human behaviour.

Sadly there are also transgender civil rights campaigners who show profound lack of respect for sex and gender diverse people who do not identify as transgendered and insist on calling us all transgendered. If you resist, you are labeled a dissident, betrayer of the cause, maladjusted or not being intelligent enough to see the big picture.

Then there are clinicians with little knowledge in sex and gender diversity who wish to make their money from transgender clients without really understanding the different sex and gender diverse groups. By confusing transgender people with transexed people the clinicians are setting up many of those patients for suicide later in life when the patient fails to get the outcome they needed.

The violation of identity continues with the gay rights movement tagging T onto the end of its GLBT acronymn to bump up the numbers and get more funding. But if you ask them what the T is for and what the issues are that pertain to each particular T group, they go blank. ‘Transgender’ they say as if it’s a password, not really knowing what transgender actually means or how mislabelling people steals their civil rights and their rights to privacy.

When Pakistan declared a third category to include transgender people in 2009 it was a disaster for many transexed people who identified as solely male or female. They could now be denied their right to be soley identified as male or female after transition.

It is fantastic for those who identify a third gender but not for sex and/or gender diverse people who only indentify as male or female. Transexed people could misindentified as transgender people and forced into a third gender with which they have never identified.

Sex and gender diversity: The new black

Salvation is, however, on the horizon for both the transexed (transsexuals) and for sex and/or gender diverse people in general.

The Australian Human Rights Commission adopted a new approach in its 2009 review of the legal rights of people who are sex and/or gender diverse. Its then Commissioner was blind so he was a gifted listener when people spoke to him.

The Commission was very sensible and used the phrase Sex and Gender Diverse People as an umbrella term to include all the people who may not be the average John or Josephine including intersexed people.

It is what is linguistically called open language and allows each group of people to consider their own identity as they so wish both by group and by individualism. Transgender is closed language and when used as an umbrella description it suffers from linguistic generalisation, distortion and deletion. It does not work. It’s like calling all non-Caucasians black. It steals experience and it misdescribes.

The Organization Internationale des Intersexes (Oii) also now accepts transexed (transsexual) people as members and sees them as part of the sex diversity spectrum, not necessarily asking them to categorically state a pathologised classification. It sees transexed people as intersexed. This means their treatment should be funded under sexual health programs and not under psychiatry.

We are not all the same. Many of us who are sex and gender diverse are not transgendered. I’ve signed on for one more year with WPATH as a clinician. It has no legal standing in any country, it’s just a trade organisation for those involved in a specialist section of the field of sex and/or gender identity.

WPATH does not encourage criticism, but as I once heard physicist Stephen Hawking say: ‘There is no science without criticism.’ One more year to be censored? I don’t think so.

Maybe one day the transgender fascista will be ousted just as the transsexual mafia were and all sex and/or gender diverse people’s identities will be respected equally.

Dr Tracie O’Keefe DCH, ND is a naturopath, psychotherapist and sexologist, originally from London, UK, who has been based in Sydney, Australia since 2001, where she is the director of the Australian Health & Education Centre. Tracie is the author of the books Trans-X-U-All: The Naked Difference and Sex, Gender & Sexuality: 21st Century Transformations and the co-editor of Finding the Real Me: True Tales of Sex & Gender Diversity and Trans People in Love.