GLAAD Is Working with Miss Universe Organization on Inclusion for Transgender Women

Breaking Story:   GLAAD Press Release

Monday, April 2, 2012 – 9:10pm by Rich Ferraro, GLAAD’s Director of Communications

GLAAD responded to the Miss Universe Organization’s decision to allow a transgender contestant to compete after she was disqualified from the Miss Universe Canada competition last month.

GLAAD contacted the Miss Universe Organization last week after Jenna Talackova was disqualified and called on the Miss Universe Organization to review Jenna’s situation, as well as open the competition to transgender women.

The Miss Universe Organization said in a statement tonight:

“The Miss Universe Organization will allow Jenna Talackova to compete in the 2012 Miss Universe Canada pageant provided she meets the legal gender recognition requirements of Canada, and the standards established by other international competitions.”

GLAAD will continue working with The Miss Universe Organization to review current policies and update for full inclusion of transgender women.

“The Miss Universe Organization made the right decision and has taken an important first step,” said GLAAD spokesperson Herndon Graddick. “Now, GLAAD urges the Organization to include all women and use this incident to speak out in support of the transgender community.”

“So many women today do not have equal opportunities for employment, housing and safety simply because they are transgender. The Miss Universe Organization should look to state non-discrimination laws and institutions including the Olympics, NCAA and The CW’s America’s Next Top Model, which do not discriminate against transgender women,” said Graddick.

“The Price of Admission”… Isn’t Taking Hormones and Living 24/7 at Least a down Payment? or Maybe Everyone Isn’t Economically Privileged?

Okay now I’m going to catch a bunch of shit from the post-transsexual followers of Ayn Rand and the right wing pull yourself up by your own boot straps crowd.

That’s just fine by me, I’m used to being called names for taking unpopular stands and for standing up for people who are generally being reviled by bigots.

I had someone hiding behind an alias (Which I consider a totally chicken shit move. If you believe what you wrote stick your fucking name on it and own it.) attack Sable, questioning her surgery status.

Get this and hear me loud and fucking clear.  I asked Sable for permission to repost her piece because I thought it was well written and at least one or two of her bullet points touched the lives of every woman who has been described at some point in her life by a trans-prefixed word.

I asked her for permission to repost and I will defend her.

I get lumped in with a mythical group of transsexual separatists because I say things about life being different after SRS and that being transsexual is different from being transgender.

So on some sort of superficial level people label me a separatist.

Which is funny because I’m really not all that fond of a lot of people who have come up with stuff like HBS and “classic transsexual”.  In part because those a–holes tend to exude a contemptuous level of homophobia.  Particularly true when they find out my life partner/wife is also a sister.

I’ve been one step above dirt poor most of my life.  I’ve crashed with friends when I have been evicted because I was unable to pay the rent.

It has only been in the last few years that I’ve attained a tenuous position in the rapidly disintegrating middle class.

In 1972, I scraped together some 3,000 dollars, half of which I borrowed from a Credit Union and got my SRS.  A year later I had to scrape another couple of thousand dollars together to get revisions that made my cunt actually look reasonably like ordinary female sex parts.  I finally paid off all the costs of surgery and the loan in 1978.

This was at a time when I could get a really nice one bedroom apartment for a hundred and fifty dollars a month just off Shattuck Avenue a few blocks north of University in Berkeley.

In the forty years since then there has been a concerted war on the poor.  Things I took for granted like nearly free training from city colleges is no longer there.

I paid nothing for the initial examination that got me on hormones.  The hormones were free and I got welfare that saw me through the first few months of becoming Suzan.

I am Facebook friends with a local activist.  I see her at all sorts of demonstrations, she is earnest, sincere and dedicated to all sorts of progressive causes.  She was totally elated when she landed a job at Walmart last year after months and months of unemployment.

We aren’t all rich fucking elitist scum.  For that matter not everyone who is able to afford SRS and FFS feels compelled to pull this Ayn Rand Philosophy of self-centered selfishness routine.  Many of us still have our bleeding hearts and something called empathy.

Some of us look at our own lives and think how lucky we were to have been able to get our surgery when we did because that window of opportunity got harder to pass through ten years later when Reagan came into office.

Some economically privileged people actually give a shit for those less fortunate rather than taking a shit on them.

Taking a shit on the poor is exactly what the tut-tuting “price of admission” feels like.

People pay a goddamned big down payment on that supposed price of admission when they go 24/7 and take hormone.  They pay it when they get disowned by family and friends.  They pay it when going 24/7 causes society to treat them like the dregs of the lumpen prole class.

They pay it when they do sex work rather than go back.  They pay it when living 24/7 means having to live in some mean ghetto with sketchy chances of legitimate employment.

It is one thing to argue ideology and another thing to dump a pile of bigoted bullshit on a whole class of people.  Transvestites don’t make the level of commitment transgender people do and they generally don’t have to pay the same price.

But what pisses me off more than anything else about folks who are wannabee classic transsexual Maggie Gallaghers is how they basically had the same operation I had and aren’t able to understand, “There but for fortune go you or I.”

In Rich Europe, More Join Ranks of Working Poor

From The New York Times:

Published: April 1, 2012

PARIS — When Melissa Dos Santos leaves her job at the end of each day, she goes home to an unlikely place: a tiny trailer in a campground 30 miles north of Paris, where scores of people who can barely make ends meet are living on a sprawling lot originally designed as a bucolic retreat for vacationers.

“I grew up in a house; living in a campground isn’t the same,” Ms. Dos Santos, 21, said wistfully.

Her dreams of a more normal life in an apartment with her boyfriend evaporated when they both took minimum-wage jobs — she in a supermarket and he as a Paris street sweeper — after months of searching fruitlessly for better-paying work. “People call us marginal,” she said. “Little by little, it’s eating us up.”

Europe’s long-running euro crisis may be cooling. But the economic distress it has left in its wake is pushing a rising tide of workers into precarious straits in France and across the European Union. Today, hundreds of thousands of people are living in campgrounds, vehicles and cheap hotel rooms. Millions more are sharing space with relatives, unable to afford the basic costs of living.

These people are the extreme edge of Europe’s working poor: a growing slice of the population that is slipping through Europe’s long-vaunted social safety net. Many, particularly the young, are trapped in low-paying or temporary jobs that are replacing permanent ones destroyed in Europe’s economic downturn.

Now, economists, European officials and social watchdog groups are warning that the situation is set to worsen. As European governments respond to the crisis by pushing for deep spending cuts to close budget gaps and greater flexibility in their work forces, “the population of working poor will explode,” said Jean-Paul Fitoussi, an economics professor at L’Institut d’Études Politiques in Paris.

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A New Green Agenda for Commuters

From The Nation:

Lisa Margonelli
March 27, 2012
As gasoline prices passed $3.50 a gallon nationally, the politicking predictably kicked into overdrive. “There’s no reason we can’t get gasoline down to $2 and $2.50 a gallon,” said Newt Gingrich, who in February promised he would accomplish this via an agenda he called “Drill here, drill now, pay less.” Two days later three prominent Democrats, including Representative Ed Markey, called for President Obama to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to lower gas prices.The huge difference between the thinking of Republicans and Democrats disappears when it comes to gas prices. Both subscribe to the same dubious premise: we can lower prices by increasing supply. But over the past decade, such policies have had little effect on the global oil market. It’s time to change our approach: rather than trying to increase supply in a vain attempt to cut prices, progressives should be embracing policies that will reduce the amount of gasoline we use, thus reducing the impact of prices on household budgets and the national economy.

High prices this early in 2012 put us on track for a repeat of 2011, when Americans spent nearly $500 billion on gasoline. Last year’s increase in prices in effect wiped out the benefits of the $100 billion payroll tax cut. Now increased gas prices may affect the outcome of the presidential election. More crucial, they are hampering the economic recovery, and the growing costs of cars and fuel are driving middle-class budgets into the ground.

Last September I interviewed Darren Flenoy, a Northern California security guard who had lost his full-time job in 2008 and counted himself lucky to work part time seven days a week. Unfortunately, he has to commute 560 miles a week—so he spends an astounding 51 percent of his income on gas, insurance, car payments and tolls. A complicated set of economic realities trap Flenoy and dozens of other workers I interviewed last year for, a project of the New America Foundation: they hold mortgages on houses far from low-wage jobs and own old and inefficient cars that force them to spend more and more of their income on gasoline—wreaking environmental as well as economic havoc. There is almost no limit to what Flenoy will pay to get to work. “If gasoline goes up to $5, I have to pay it,” he told me.

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A message to Planned Parenthood Supporters from President Obama

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FBI Taught Agents They Could ‘Bend or Suspend the Law’

From Wired:

By March 28, 2012

The FBI taught its agents that they could sometimes “bend or suspend the law” in their hunt for terrorists and criminals. Other FBI instructional material, discovered during a months-long review of FBI counterterrorism training, warned agents against shaking hands with “Asians” and said Arabs were prone to “Jekyll & Hyde temper tantrums.”

These are just some of the disturbing results of the FBI’s six-month review into how the Bureau trained its counterterrorism agents. That review, now complete, did not result in a single disciplinary action for any instructor. Nor did it mandate the retraining of any FBI agent exposed to what the Bureau concedes was inappropriate material. Nor did it look at any intelligence reports that might have been influenced by the training. All that has a powerful senator saying that the review represents a “failure to adequately address” the problem.

“This is not an effective way to protect the United States,” Sen. Richard Durbin, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee overseeing the FBI, tells Danger Room about the inappropriate FBI counterterrorism training. “It’s stunning that these things could be said to members of our FBI in training. It will not make them more effective in their work and won’t make America safer.”

At the least, Durbin adds, “those responsible for some of the worst parts of this should be reassigned. I want FBI agents who were exposed to some of these comments to at least have a chance to be spoken to and given valid, positive information that can help them.”

One FBI PowerPoint — disclosed in a letter Durbin sent to FBI Director Robert Mueller on Tuesday (.PDF) and shared with Danger Room — stated: “Under certain circumstances, the FBI has the ability to bend or suspend the law to impinge on the freedom of others.” An incredulous Durbin told Danger Room, “Time and time again when that is done, it has not made us safer.” Like other excerpts from FBI documents Danger Room reviewed for this story, it was not dated and did not include additional context explaining what those “circumstances” might be.

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Elections in France and the United States:The Same and So Very Different

From Common Dreams:

by Immanuel Wallerstein
Published on Sunday, April 1, 2012 by Common Dreams

In 2012, two very important and highly contested presidential elections are taking place in France (April 22) and the United States (November 6). Virtually the same issues are being debated in each country, and almost in the same manner. And in both countries, the president is the most powerful political figure. But there is one very great difference between the two: not ideology but the rules of the election. Different rules breed strikingly different electoral tactics.

In both countries, there are two major parties which have historically presented themselves as essentially center-right versus center-left. Observers of most political persuasions agree that the actual policies of the two parties, when in power, are not that different. Yet there do exist a few differences that each feels is crucial, and these differences motivate each group to pursue presidential elections ferociously.

In both countries, there exists what might be called an extreme right and a radical left. The extreme right and the radical left denounce the two “centrist” parties as tweedledum andtweedledee, and call for a political platform that is really right and really left. This plays out however in a quite different manner because of the very different electoral systems.

In the United States, the election takes place in 50 separate units – the states – on a winner-take-all basis for a specific number of votes in what is called an “electoral college.” This system makes it extremely difficult for “third parties” to have any real impact on the decision of who gets elected. Still, there are always some who are unmoved by this and run candidates anyway. Sometimes doing this does affect the results in a few states, and thereby affects the final results. For example, in 2000, some analysts argue that the candidacy of Ralph Nader took enough votes away from the Democratic candidate, Al Gore, to deprive him of electoral victory in two states. And therefore, it is sometimes said, Nader’s candidacy resulted in Bush’s election.

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Can Religion Justify Bullying Children? by Sean Faircloth

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New round of mass layoffs in North America

From World Socialist Web Site:

By Barry Grey
31 March 2012

The US electronics retail chain Best Buy on Thursday announced it would close 50 stores this year and lay off 400 corporate and support workers as part of a plan to cut $800 million in costs and restructure its business. The Minnesota-based firm was one of a series of American and Canadian companies that announced major layoffs this week.

Best Buy announced the downsizing and cost-cutting plan on the same day it reported a $1.7 billion loss for its fourth quarter, which ended March 3. The company, which has 1,450 locations nationwide and 2,900 globally, is seeking to avoid the fate of its former rival Circuit City, which went out of business in 2009, wiping out tens of thousands of jobs.

Best Buy’s announcement follows last month’s announcement by the retail giant Sears Holdings of plans to sell off 1,250 of its Sears and K-Mart stores in a bid to raise $770 million, following a $2.4 billion quarterly loss. Sears did not give an estimate of job losses, but the scale of the downsizing suggests the elimination of between 10,000 and 20,000 positions.

The crisis of these retail giants is indicative of the deepening impact of economic slump and mass unemployment three-and-a half years after the Wall Street crash of September 2008. It underscores the fragile and marginal character of the jobs “recovery” of which President Barack Obama has boasted over the past several months. Obama is seeking to boost his reelection chances by presenting himself as a job creator.

While the official jobless rate has declined from 9.1 percent to 8.3 percent since last September and US payrolls have, according to the Labor Department, netted a total increase of 774,000 jobs over the past three months, there are still 5 million fewer private-sector jobs than at the official start of the recession in December 2007.

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