Sluts Don’t Cause Rape, Rapists Do: Why “Slutwalks” Are Sweeping the World

From Alternet:

The idea behind the Slutwalks is simple, yet so often fails to get through: rape is rape, no matter what the victim wears, says or does.

By Sarah Seltzer
May 11, 2011

One Toronto policeman, Michael Sanguinetti, made the mistake of telling women on a college campus “not to dress like sluts” if they didn’t want to get raped.

It was a stupid and wrong thing to say, obviously. But if it had really been one guy’s mistake, hundreds of women wouldn’t be participating in “Slutwalks” that have spread across the continent, and now the globe, and are garnering quite a bit of attention from the media.

According to the Guardian, Slutwalks have already taken place in Australia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Argentina and Sweden and major events are planned in London, LA, and more this summer. It’s a phenomenon that has gone viral, sporting creative homemade signs, costumes and chants that channel the clever and theatrical elements of feminist protest.

The point of these mass marches? Comments like that misguided police officer’s are all too common, reflecting beliefs ingrained in nearly all of us as part of a culture that jumps to blaming the victim, blaming alcohol, blaming loose morals, blaming anyone and anything but the actual rapist. And such a culture isn’t just demeaning, it’s dangerous, because it focuses on the outfits and behavior of victims rather than the criminal behavior of perpetrators.

The idea behind the Slutwalks is simple, yet so often fails to get through: rape is rape, no matter what the victim is wearing. The Slutwalks–after the original one in Toronto was successful and showed up on YouTube and on Internet pictures–have sprung up organically. They tend not to have a vastly unifying principle beyond this: if the law, and society, treat women who are raped as sluts who deserved it, than we are all sluts, because we can all be raped at any time, no matter what we are wearing.

To simplify it even further, a Boston marcher carried a sign reading, “Sluts Don’t Cause Rape. Rapists Do.”

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Mayor: City Should Start Paying for Surgeries and Other Treatments for Transgender Employees

From The Stranger SLOG Seattle:

By Dominic Holden
Mon, May 9, 2011

When most of the city’s approximately 10,000 employees seek mental health care, steroid treatments, or a variety of other services, they don’t need to prove medical necessity to be covered under the city’s employee benefits plan. But once an employee has been classified by the city’s insurance carrier as transgender, those services are “universally denied,” says the Seattle LGBT Commission in a letter to city officials. “First and foremost, transgender medical treatment is not cosmetic. It is necessary medical treatment. Psychological care, hormonal treatments, and surgical procedures are all medically necessary for transgender-identified individuals.”

The discrimination is, in fact, quite explicit for the city’s trans employees: The benefit plan for city workers says insurance won’t cover “Any treatment, drug, service or supply related to changing sex or sexual characteristics, including: Surgical procedures to alter the appearance or function of the body; Hormones and hormone therapy; Prosthetic devices; and Medical or psychological counseling.” The commission, which advices the mayor and city council, says these exclusions should be removed when the city writes the new employee contracts in 2013.

Mayor Mike McGinn agrees.

“This is something we should be working to improve,” says McGinn, who only learned about the exclusions last Thursday. “This is not frivolous issue. It’s a fundamental issue about the effect on a person’s physical and emotional well-being, and this exclusion means that you are denying appropriate health services to people when they are in need.”

In response to the letter, which was first reported by Seattle Gay News, Seattle City Council member Sally Clark tells The Stranger she didn’t know about the exclusion, either, until the letter. Clark says, “I’ll be looking at how we can change what we should cover.”

The commission will be meeting tomorrow with Council Member Bruce Harrell, chair of the council’s civil rights and technology committee.

The commission says officials should modify those contracts by both removing exclusions for transgender employees and explicitly covering care relating to and including transitional surgeries. “This fact of medical necessity is no longer open to debate,” writes the commission, citing opinions of the American Medical Association, American Psychological Association, and other authorities. Employees who are denied coverage can have “debilitating secondary medical conditions, have substantially higher risk for suicide, and experience increased psychological distress.”

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ConocoPhillips CEO Refuses To Apologize For Saying It Is ‘Un-American’ To End Oil Subsidies

From Think Progress:

By Marie Diamond
May 12, 2011

On Wednesday, ConocoPhillips CEO Jim Mulva outraged many on Capitol Hill when he released a statement calling it “un-American” to end subsidies to the Big 5 oil companies — ExxonMobil, BP, Shell, Chevron, and ConocoPhillips. A press release referencing the subsidies posted on the company’s website was headlined: “ConocoPhillips Highlights Solid Results and Raises Concerns Over Un-American Tax Proposals at Annual Meeting of Shareholders.”

This position is a stark reversal from what Mulva said just a few years ago. In 2005, he testified that he agreed with President Bush’s assessment that with “$55 oil, we do not need incentives to oil and gas companies to explore.” Mulva testified, “With respect to oil and gas exploration and production, we do not need incentives.” But with oil prices now hovering around $100 per barrel, Mulva has inexplicably changed his tune.

Yesterday Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) called Mulva’s “un-American” statement “truly outrageous” and said he expected Mulva to apologize. At today’s Senate Finance Committee hearing with the oil CEOs, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) repeatedly pressed Mulva for an apology, but the ConocoPhillips CEO refused to give one, claiming “nothing was intended personally” by his press release. Schumer then pressed the other oil CEOs to state their views:

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Kerry introduces bill to combat LGBT youth homelessness

From The Washington Blade:

By Chris Johnson
May 12, 2011

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) introduced legislation on Thursday aimed at mitigating homelessness among America’s youth — particularly those who may be forced from their homes because they identify as LGBT.

The legislation, known as the Reconnecting Youth to Prevent Homelessness Act, broadly addresses the issue of young people living on the street in addition to having provisions specifically related to the problem of LGBT homelessness.

“As a father, it’s a punch in the gut to imagine children living on the streets, but this year alone, one in fifty American kids will be homeless,” Kerry said. “There are common sense reforms we can implement to help make things better for LGBT youth.”

The LGBT-specific provision of the legislation directs the Department of Health & Human Services to develop programs to improve family relationships for LGBT youth and decrease their rate of homelessness. HHS is directed to conduct the programs for five years.

The programs include “behavioral interventions” designed to decrease rejecting behaviors for families with LGBT youth and assessment tools to identify LGBT youths at risk for ejection. In addition, HHS would also be directed to create family education resources to help families learn about behavior that could place LGBT youth at risk as well as alternative behavior to promote positive development.

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Transgender Employee Files Charges of Discriminaiton Against Hobby Lobby

File this under:  No shit…  What were you expecting from a Taliban Christer owned Corporation?

Hobby Lobby is a Fundie Christer Company that I refuse to shop at.  It is forever on my shit list, right next to Coors, Domino’s Pizza, Carl’s Jr and Monsanto as companies I will boycott forever and there is nothing they could do to change that position.

From Now In Gay Chicago:

Thursday, May 12, 2011

CHICAGO – Meggan Sommerville, a transgender employee who has worked for Hobby Lobby in Aurora for a number of years has filed two charges of discrimination alleging Hobby Lobby discriminated against her when it denied her use of the women’s restroom and then wrote her up for using the men’s restroom.  Betty Tsamis of Tsamis Law Firm PC in Chicago represents Meggan.

Meggan began to transition from male to female in July 2010. That same month, Ms. Sommerville legally changed her name from Mark Thomas Sommerville and additionally had her Illinois Driver’s License gender marker changed from male to female. Hobby Lobby management has prohibited Meggan from using the women’s restroom in the store where she works. Meggan has been forced to use the men’s restroom. However, this is very distressing to Meggan, who presents a female. Additionally, using the men’s restroom is not reasonable. If forced to use the men’s restroom, Meggan waits until there are no men using the facility.  On February 23, 2011, Meggan, who couldn’t wait for the men’s room to be vacant, used the women’s restroom was written up for using it. Meggan has modified her workplace intake of fluids to minimize being forced to use the men’s restroom and she waits for her lunch break to walk to a nearby business to use its women’s restroom.

“Transgender employees in Illinois are protected against discrimination in the terms and conditions of employment. We believe having access to an appropriate restroom facility is a term and condition of employment. Denying someone such access because of their gender identity violates the Illinois Human Rights Act,” said Meggan’s attorney, Betty Tsamis. “Since the restrooms are available to the general public, we believe Hobby Lobby’s actions violate the public accommodations protections of the IHRA,” Tsamis additionally said.

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