Destroying the Myths of Gender

From TS-SI:  http://www.ts-si.org/guest-columns/30812-destroying-the-myths-of-gender

By Maggie Fox
Tuesday, 26 July 2011
Reposted with author’s permission

Manchester, UK. It was far harder for me to come out as a lesbian feminist than it was to seek and achieve sex reconstructive surgery because of the transgender myths: you can keep external genitalia, penetrate a woman (or another man), and call it lesbian sex.

I blogged my reconstructive journey once I made the irrevocable decision to seek surgery as I knew that the medical establishment was going to be a problem and they quickly proved me correct on that one.

The fact that they pursued me beyond legal and medical completion does show a quite incredible level of vindictiveness, but then in England I have an incurable political illness — or rather that is what the medical establishment demands I accept. They are learning that, at whatever cost to me, I never will bow to the whims of the psychiatric medical charlatans and the corrupt civil service and politicians that support them.

WHEN OPPONENTS HOVER ABOVE THE LAW

They think they are all powerful and above the law and do this in the belief that they gain more lesbian, gay and bisexual votes than they lose from women who object to men (defined as those with external genitalia) demanding unrestricted access to women only spaces.

The mathematics of that is (of course) wrong but they assume that as women have “accepted inequality in wages” and are according to Abrahamic religions the possessions of men unlikely to vote them out. (In England we vote political parties out rather than in.)

So, politicians advised by their civil servants, support “transgender” as the correct meaningful status especially as it satisfies the heterosexual male fear of inadvertently being gay by failing to distinguish a woman classified male at birth from one with the correct classification at birth. In England you can never have your original birth certificate ripped up you have to go on a “nudge, nudge, wink wink” list before you get a new one.

Transgender also appeases Abrahamic religions who will not readily accept sex reconstruction and it satisfies the fundamental right of doctors to determine your sex and once determined never ever allow it to be corrected. Doctors are much more used to being above the law than politicians and even better at defending themselves with layers of meaningless bureaucracy.

I recently had three doctors in England deliberately and maliciously deny basic medical science they were taught in medical school to maintain the political illness rules of the charlatan psychiatrists of a gender identity clinic. I am legally advised not to name and shame them as I know the National Health Service would immediately allocate considerable resources to silence and bankrupt me. What I can say is that in my humble opinion you would be very foolish to transition in Manchester!

But I digress. This article is meant to be an action plan on how to …

DESTROY THE MYTHS OF TRANSGENDER

Let me start the section by saying I have no problem with cross dressing men gay or straight, transvestites, drag queens or whatever label those men chose but they are what they are men not women. They are entitled to equality under the law in whatever sex they choose. They must however remember that there are only two legal sexes male or female so they really must pick one and get on with life on the basis of the one they choose.

So here are some simple practical ways to have maximum impact.

1 Tell everyone that the words sex and gender are interchangeable and mean the same thing, and that the general public knows it.

This annoys the hell out of queer / gender political activists who will jump up and down spouting their theories and definitions that simply make them look ridiculous.

2 Use the word transvestite not transgender when describing non operatives.

The general public understand transvestite as a man who wears a skirt. It is not prejudice to use that word merely descriptive.

3 Make it clear that transgender or transsexual is a transitory state between male and female and should be no longer than two years and two months — that is the time it takes to get a UK Gender Recognition Certificate.

USA citizens will need to adapt when I use this termininology as I’m using English Law here. However, the principle of a transitory status — hence transgender or transsexual — is easy for the public and even politicians to understand.

4 Make it clear that drag acts are as offensive to all women in the same way as the Black and White Minstrel Shows were to non Caucasians.

Easy win.

5 State that it is discriminatory to all women to allow male bodied (external genitalia) people unrestricted access to women-only places.

Disabled facilities are an acceptable compromise for those in transition.

6 Remind people that there is no list of illnesses that prohibits anesthesia for life threatening conditions — just recommendations on what types of anesthesia to use and how to apply it.

SRS by local anesthetic may not be ideal but it can be done and failure to undergo SRS is most certainly life threatening!

7 Keep all discussions simple and understandable: use male and female, man and woman, boy and girl.

Trying to change binary social order is what queer / trans politics is all about make them see that and support based on perverse interpretations of equality will dwindle.

8 If you are lesbian or gay then use your membership of lesbian and gay groups to constantly question the addition of T (trans).

There is no logic in the queer / trans agenda being grouped with sexual orientation. I will be lobbying the great and the good at Manchester Pride on this subject. What they don’t realise — or chose to ignore — is the damage to health imposed by policies that mandate one hormone tablet a day and you can have a Viagra tablet if it affects your sex drive whist refusing to prescribe anti-androgens for those waiting for surgery.

9 If you are religiously inclined go back after surgery and support the binary sex philosophy.

It is much easier for Christians and Muslims to accept sex reconstruction than fetishistic behaviour (see Practical Step No. 2, above).

10 Most importantly of all, be there in the real world and do not hide away.

The biggest mistake we can make is fear. I’m not saying be reckless as the same caution should be used against predatory males as any other woman does.

THE PERFECT PROOF

Remember though that the ultimate “passing” proof is nudity — something a transvestite can’t do — and remind other women of that simple fact.

Other women constitute our guarantee of destruction of the myths of gender and the proof that you are one of them. Women are generally polite and tolerant to transvestites when believing them to be gay men, whilst naturally suspicious of lesbian type arguments of transgender. Women rightly fear forced penetrative sex and women with history are no different so again remind them.

Women are fundamentally different to men in the way they think and speak to each other and that is innate as a woman’s brain dictates that she does things differently to a man and you cannot fake it or learn it you either have it or you don’t.

Women will understand that men will have to disagree. lol

Don’t be afraid to be one or the other.

Peace, Love and Light

Maggie Fox

Postscript (PS)If the UK National Health Service (NHS) leaves me alone to enjoy my retirement and do battle with my severe ankylosing spondylitis, then it’s forgive and forget time. Have another go at me and it will cost you dear.
Post Postscript (PPS)Threats of physical violence from some Manchester transgender have been made against me since I returned from New York. I take this as showing we are winning the argument that women are women and men are men.

Rioting for ‘justice’ in London

From Al Jazeera: http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/features/2011/08/2011891555226219.html

Broken windows and looted stores across London after a police killing became a tipping point for disenfranchised youth.
Jesse Strauss
09 Aug 2011

On Saturday, hundreds of people gathered outside the Tottenham police station, peacefully calling for “justice” for Mark Duggan, a man killed by officers three days prior.

Police stood in formation, separating the community members from the station they were guarding, until a 16-year-old woman reportedly approached an officer to find out what was going on.

According to a witness account, some officers pushed the young woman and drew their batons.

“And that’s when the people started to retaliate. Now I think in all circumstances, having seen that, most people retaliate,” said the witness.

The “retaliation”, from peaceful chants of “justice” in front of the police station, have since turned into massive groups of Londoners in numerous parts of the city who seem unafraid of breaking windows, looting stores, and burning buildings, doubtless causing millions of pounds’ worth of damage.

Scores of businesses have been looted and international media continue to play images of smoldering buildings, in areas where firefighters were reportedly too afraid to enter – for their own safety.

According to witnesses and overhead helicopter footage, police have not been able to control much of the situation, and have repeatedly been forced into retreat by angry rioters.

“The kids realise the police can’t keep control of it,” said Bristly Pioneer, a Hackney resident and activist with the Space Hijackers, an anarchist collective focused on reclaiming public space. “And the kids don’t give a f*** because no one gives a f*** about them.”

“These kids have basically been abandoned – not even just the kids, whole communities have been abandoned by the rest of society,” he added. “I can’t say I’m surprised this is happening. It’s been building for years.”

Klara, an activist with Occupied London, a group focused on responding to the European austerity crisis, and another resident of Hackney, asked that her last name not be used. She told Al Jazeera: “It’s a bubble of anger and anxiety and oppression that has to be burst.”

“When you talk to people in the streets, they’re extremely politically articulate. They know the problems in their community,” she said.

Continue reading at:  http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/features/2011/08/2011891555226219.html

Anarchy In The U.K

North London Solfed’s response to the London riots

From:  http://www.solfed.org.uk/?q=north-london-solfeds-response-to-the-london-riots

Tue, 09/08/2011 – 14:02

With media sources blaming “anarchy” for the unfolding violence in London and across England,

the North London Solidarity Federation felt a response from an anarchist organisation active in the capital would be appropriate.

Over the last few days, riots have caused significant damage to parts of London, to shop-fronts, homes and cars. On the left, we hear the ever-present cry that poverty has caused this. On the right, that gangsters and anti-social elements are taking advantage of tragedy. Both are true. The looting and riots seen over the past number of days are a complex phenomenon and contain many currents.

It is no accident that the riots are happening now, as the support nets for Britain’s disenfranchised are dragged away and people are left to fall into the abyss, beaten as they fall by the batons of the Metropolitan Police. But there should be no excuses for the burning of homes, the terrorising of working people. Whoever did such things has no cause for support.

The fury of the estates is what it is, ugly and uncontrolled. But not unpredictable. Britain has hidden away its social problems for decades, corralled them with a brutal picket of armed men. Growing up in the estates often means never leaving them, unless it’s in the back of a police van. In the 1980s, these same problems led to Toxteth. In the ’90s, contributed to the Poll Tax riots. And now we have them again – because the problems are not only still there, they’re getting worse.

Police harassment and brutality are part of everyday life in estates all around the UK. Barely-liveable benefits systems have decayed and been withdrawn. In Hackney, the street-level support workers who came from the estates and knew the kids, could work with them in their troubles have been told they will no longer be paid. Rent is rising and state-sponsored jobs which used to bring money into the area are being cut back in the name of a shift to unpaid “big society” roles. People who always had very little now have nothing. Nothing to lose.

And the media’s own role in all of this should not be discounted. For all the talk of the “peaceful protest” that preceded events in Tottenham, the media wouldn’t have touched the story if all that happened was a vigil outside a police station. Police violence and protests against it happen all the time. It’s only when the other side responds with violence (on legitimate targets or not) that the media feels the need to give it any sort of coverage.

So there should be no shock that people living lives of poverty and violence have at last gone to war. It should be no shock that people are looting plasma screen TVs that will pay for a couple of months’ rent and leaving books they can’t sell on the shelves. For many, this is the only form of economic redistribution they will see in the coming years as they continue a fruitless search for jobs.

Much has been made of the fact that the rioters were attacking “their own communities.” But riots don’t occur within a social vacuum. Riots in the eighties tended to be directed in a more targeted way; avoiding innocents and focusing on targets more representative of class and race oppression: police, police stations, and shops. What’s happened since the eighties? Consecutive governments have gone to great lengths to destroy any sort of notion of working class solidarity and identity. Is it any surprise, then, that these rioters turn on other members of our class?

The Solidarity Federation is based in resistance through workplace struggle. We are not involved in the looting and unlike the knee-jerk right or even the sympathetic-but-condemnatory commentators from the left, we will not condemn or condone those we don’t know for taking back some of the wealth they have been denied all their lives.

But as revolutionaries, we cannot condone attacks on working people, on the innocent. Burning out shops with homes above them, people’s transport to work, muggings and the like are an attack on our own and should be resisted as strongly as any other measure from government “austerity” politics, to price-gouging landlords, to bosses intent on stealing our labour. Tonight and for as long as it takes, people should band together to defend themselves when such violence threatens homes and communities.

We believe that the legitimate anger of the rioters can be far more powerful if it is directed in a collective, democratic way and seeks not to victimise other workers, but to create a world free of the exploitation and inequality inherent to capitalism.

North London Solidarity Federation

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Anarchy In The U.K

What Happened to Obama?

From The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/07/opinion/sunday/what-happened-to-obamas-passion.html?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

By DREW WESTEN
Published: August 6, 2011

Drew Westen is a professor of psychology at Emory University and the author of “The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation.”

Atlanta

IT was a blustery day in Washington on Jan. 20, 2009, as it often seems to be on the day of a presidential inauguration. As I stood with my 8-year-old daughter, watching the president deliver his inaugural address, I had a feeling of unease. It wasn’t just that the man who could be so eloquent had seemingly chosen not to be on this auspicious occasion, although that turned out to be a troubling harbinger of things to come. It was that there was a story the American people were waiting to hear — and needed to hear — but he didn’t tell it. And in the ensuing months he continued not to tell it, no matter how outrageous the slings and arrows his opponents threw at him.

The stories our leaders tell us matter, probably almost as much as the stories our parents tell us as children, because they orient us to what is, what could be, and what should be; to the worldviews they hold and to the values they hold sacred. Our brains evolved to “expect” stories with a particular structure, with protagonists and villains, a hill to be climbed or a battle to be fought. Our species existed for more than 100,000 years before the earliest signs of literacy, and another 5,000 years would pass before the majority of humans would know how to read and write.

Stories were the primary way our ancestors transmitted knowledge and values. Today we seek movies, novels and “news stories” that put the events of the day in a form that our brains evolved to find compelling and memorable. Children crave bedtime stories; the holy books of the three great monotheistic religions are written in parables; and as research in cognitive science has shown, lawyers whose closing arguments tell a story win jury trials against their legal adversaries who just lay out “the facts of the case.”

When Barack Obama rose to the lectern on Inauguration Day, the nation was in tatters. Americans were scared and angry. The economy was spinning in reverse. Three-quarters of a million people lost their jobs that month. Many had lost their homes, and with them the only nest eggs they had. Even the usually impervious upper middle class had seen a decade of stagnant or declining investment, with the stock market dropping in value with no end in sight. Hope was as scarce as credit.

In that context, Americans needed their president to tell them a story that made sense of what they had just been through, what caused it, and how it was going to end. They needed to hear that he understood what they were feeling, that he would track down those responsible for their pain and suffering, and that he would restore order and safety. What they were waiting for, in broad strokes, was a story something like this:

Continue reading at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/07/opinion/sunday/what-happened-to-obamas-passion.html?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on What Happened to Obama?

Panic on the streets of London.

From Penny Red:  http://pennyred.blogspot.com/2011/08/panic-on-streets-of-london.html

By Laura Penny
August 9, 2011

I’m huddled in the front room with some shell-shocked friends, watching my city burn. The BBC is interchanging footage of blazing cars and running street battles in Hackney, of police horses lining up in Lewisham, of roiling infernos that were once shops and houses in Croydon and in Peckham. Last night, Enfield, Walthamstow, Brixton and Wood Green were looted; there have been hundreds of arrests and dozens of serious injuries, and it will be a miracle if nobody dies tonight. This is the third consecutive night of rioting in London, and the disorder has now spread to Leeds, Liverpool, Bristol and Birmingham. Politicians and police officers who only hours ago were making stony-faced statements about criminality are now simply begging the young people of Britain’s inner cities to go home. Britain is a tinderbox, and on Friday, somebody lit a match. How the hell did this happen? And what are we going to do now?

In the scramble to comprehend the riots, every single commentator has opened with a ritual condemnation of the violence, as if it were in any doubt that arson, muggings and lootings are ugly occurrences. That much should be obvious to anyone who is watching Croydon burn down on the BBC right now. David Lammy, MP for Tottenham, called the disorder ‘mindless, mindless’. Nick Clegg denounced it as ‘needless, opportunistic theft and violence’. Speaking from his Tuscan holiday villa, Prime Minister David Cameron – who has finally decided to return home to take charge – declared simply that the social unrest searing through the poorest boroughs in the country was “utterly unacceptable.” The violence on the streets is being dismissed as ‘pure criminality,’ as the work of a ‘violent minority’, as ‘opportunism.’ This is madly insufficient. It is no way to talk about viral civil unrest. Angry young people with nothing to do and little to lose are turning on their own communities, and they cannot be stopped, and they know it. Tonight, in one of the greatest cities in the world, society is ripping itself apart.

Violence is rarely mindless. The politics of a burning building, a smashed-in shop or a young man shot by police may be obscured even to those who lit the rags or fired the gun, but the politics are there. Unquestionably there is far, far more to these riots than the death of Mark Duggan, whose shooting sparked off the unrest on Saturday, when two police cars were set alight after a five-hour vigil at Tottenham police station. A peaceful protest over the death of a man at police hands, in a community where locals have been given every reason to mistrust the forces of law and order, is one sort of political statement. Raiding shops for technology and trainers that cost ten times as much as the benefits you’re no longer entitled to is another. A co-ordinated, viral wave of civil unrest across the poorest boroughs of Britain, with young people coming from across the capital and the country to battle the police, is another.

Months of conjecture will follow these riots. Already, the internet is teeming with racist vitriol and wild speculation. The truth is that very few people know why this is happening. They don’t know, because they were not watching these communities. Nobody has been watching Tottenham since the television cameras drifted away after the Broadwater Farm riots of 1985. Most of the people who will be writing, speaking and pontificating about the disorder this weekend have absolutely no idea what it is like to grow up in a community where there are no jobs, no space to live or move, and the police are on the streets stopping-and-searching you as you come home from school. The people who do will be waking up this week in the sure and certain knowledge that after decades of being ignored and marginalised and harassed by the police, after months of seeing any conceivable hope of a better future confiscated, they are finally on the news. In one NBC report, a young man in Tottenham was asked if rioting really achieved anything:

“Yes,” said the young man. “You wouldn’t be talking to me now if we didn’t riot, would you?”

“Two months ago we marched to Scotland Yard, more than 2,000 of us, all blacks, and it was peaceful and calm and you know what? Not a word in the press. Last night a bit of rioting and looting and look around you.”

Eavesdropping from among the onlookers, I looked around. A dozen TV crews and newspaper reporters interviewing the young men everywhere ‘’’

There are communities all over the country that nobody paid attention to unless there had recently been a riot or a murdered child. Well, they’re paying attention now.

Tonight in London, social order and the rule of law have broken down entirely. The city has been brought to a standstill; it is not safe to go out onto the streets, and where I am in Holloway, the violence is coming closer. As I write, the looting and arson attacks have spread to at least fifty different areas across the UK, including dozens in London, and communities are now turning on each other, with the Guardian reporting on rival gangs forming battle lines. It has become clear to the disenfranchised young people of Britain, who feel that they have no stake in society and nothing to lose, that they can do what they like tonight, and the police are utterly unable to stop them. That is what riots are all about.

Riots are about power, and they are about catharsis. They are not about poor parenting, or youth services being cut, or any of the other snap explanations that media pundits have been trotting out: structural inequalities, as a friend of mine remarked today, are not solved by a few pool tables. People riot because it makes them feel powerful, even if only for a night. People riot because they have spent their whole lives being told that they are good for nothing, and they realise that together they can do anything – literally, anything at all. People to whom respect has never been shown riot because they feel they have little reason to show respect themselves, and it spreads like fire on a warm summer night. And now people have lost their homes, and the country is tearing itself apart.

Noone expected this. The so-called leaders who have taken three solid days to return from their foreign holidays to a country in flames did not anticipate this. The people running Britain had absolutely no clue how desperate things had become. They thought that after thirty years of soaring inequality, in the middle of a recession, they could take away the last little things that gave people hope, the benefits, the jobs, the possibility of higher education, the support structures, and nothing would happen. They were wrong. And now my city is burning, and it will continue to burn until we stop the blanket condemnations and blind conjecture and try to understand just what has brought viral civil unrest to Britain. Let me give you a hint: it ain’t Twitter.

I’m stuck in the house, now, with rioting going on just down the road in Chalk Farm. Ealing and Clapham and Dalston are being trashed. Journalists are being mugged and beaten in the streets, and the riot cops are in retreat where they have appeared at all. Police stations are being set alight all over the country. This morning, as the smoke begins to clear, those of us who can sleep will wake up to a country in chaos. We will wake up to fear, and to racism, and to condemnation on left and right, none of which will stop this happening again, as the prospect of a second stock market clash teeters terrifyingly at the bottom of the news reports. Now is the time when we make our choices. Now is the time when we decide whether to descend into hate, or to put prejudice aside and work together. Now is the time when we decide what sort of country it is that we want to live in. Follow the #riotcleanup hashtag on Twitter. And take care of one another.

Creative Commons License

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Panic on the streets of London.

Barbara Ehrenreich, On Americans (Not) Getting By (Again)

From Tom’s Dispatch: http://www.tomdispatch.com/archive/175428/

Posted by Barbara Ehrenreich
August 9, 2011.

It was at lunch with the editor of Harper’s Magazine that the subject came up: How does anyone actually live “on the wages available to the unskilled”?  And then Barbara Ehrenreich said something that altered her life and resulted, improbably enough, in a bestselling book with almost two million copies in print.  “Someone,” she commented, “ought to do the old-fashioned kind of journalism — you know go out there and try it for themselves.”  She meant, she hastened to point out on that book’s first page, “someone much younger than myself, some hungry neophyte journalist with time on her hands.”

That was 1998 and, somewhat to her surprise, Ehrenreich soon found herself beginning the first of a whirl of unskilled “careers” as a waitress at a “family restaurant” attached to a big discount chain hotel in Key West, Florida, at $2.43 an hour plus tips.  And the rest, of course, is history.  The now famous book that resulted, Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, is just out in its tenth anniversary edition with a new afterword by Ehrenreich — perfectly timed for an American era in which the book’s subtitle might have to be changed to “On (Not) Getting a Job in America.”  TomDispatch takes special pride in offering Ehrenreich’s new afterword, adapted and shortened, for a book that, in its latest edition, deserves to sell another million copies.  Tom

Nickel and Dimed (2011 Version)
On Turning Poverty into an American Crime

By Barbara Ehrenreich

I completed the manuscript for Nickel and Dimed in a time of seemingly boundless prosperity. Technology innovators and venture capitalists were acquiring sudden fortunes, buying up McMansions like the ones I had cleaned in Maine and much larger. Even secretaries in some hi-tech firms were striking it rich with their stock options. There was loose talk about a permanent conquest of the business cycle, and a sassy new spirit infecting American capitalism. In San Francisco, a billboard for an e-trading firm proclaimed, “Make love not war,” and then — down at the bottom — “Screw it, just make money.”

When Nickel and Dimed was published in May 2001, cracks were appearing in the dot-com bubble and the stock market had begun to falter, but the book still evidently came as a surprise, even a revelation, to many. Again and again, in that first year or two after publication, people came up to me and opened with the words, “I never thought…” or “I hadn’t realized…”

Continue reading at:  http://www.tomdispatch.com/archive/175428/

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Barbara Ehrenreich, On Americans (Not) Getting By (Again)

Upper-class people less empathetic than lower-class people: study

From Raw Story: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/08/09/upper-class-people-less-empathetic-than-lower-class-people-study/

By Eric W. Dolan
Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

People from different economic classes have fundamentally different ways of thinking about the world, according to research recently published in Current Directions in Psychological Science.

The authors of the study said the findings have important, but overlooked, implications for public policy.

“Americans, although this is shifting a bit, kind of think class is irrelevant,” said Dacher Keltner of the University of California-Berkeley, who cowrote the article with Michael W. Kraus of UC-San Francisco and Paul K. Piff of UC-Berkeley.

“I think our studies are saying the opposite: This is a profound part of who we are.”

A study published in Psychological Science in November, for instance, found that people of upper-class status have trouble recognizing the emotions other people are feeling. People of lower-class status do a much better job.

“What I think is really interesting about that is, it kind of shows there’s all this strength to the lower class identity: greater empathy, more altruism, and finer attunement to other people,” Keltner said

Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/08/09/upper-class-people-less-empathetic-than-lower-class-people-study/

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Upper-class people less empathetic than lower-class people: study