Kate Bornstein’s New Book

I actually liked Gender Outlaw when I first read it.

I’ve met Kate on a couple of occasions and like her a lot.  In person she is warm and funny.

Sometimes she infuriates the hell out of me with certain pronouncements she makes.

But I would be a very lonely person if I held a grudge against everyone who ever said something that pissed me off.

I also wouldn’t have the energy to go after people who piss me off most of the time

This allows me to be angry when someone, I agree with much of the time, says something that torques me off.  I say some bitchy shit about them and then I get over it.

Kate’s like that.

I like funny iconoclastic people who say things that make me think.  I like them better than dogmatists who never have an original thought in their head.

Kate makes people think instead of telling them what to think.

Others make the mistake of thinking Kate represents all of us when that isn’t something anyone can do.

I also think that when we can we should support our creative sisters and brothers by buying and reading their books, see their plays, buy their recordings etc.

If my budget wasn’t so tight I would have put her book in my Amazon cart along with something else to make the shipping free and read it before suggesting others buy it.

As it is I’m going to give you a couple of links with teasers instead.

Maybe one of my friends will give it to me as a birthday present.

From Mother Jones:  http://www.motherjones.com/media/2012/04/kate-bornstein-gender-outlaw-queer-and-pleasant-danger-interview

A Queer and Pleasant Danger: Kate Bornstein, Trans Scientology Survivor

The iconic “gender outlaw” on escaping the Church of Scientology and talking transgender rights on MSNBC.

—By Nicole Pasulka
Sat May. 5, 2012

“I identify as neither male nor female. . . . I’m neither straight nor gay,” wrote transgender performer and author Kate Bornstein in her seminal 1994 book Gender Outlaw. Born in 1948 on the Jersey Shore to a loving mother and a dad who was “a macho, macho man,” Bornstein left theater school in Massachusetts at the age of 22 on a spiritual journey that culminated in a 12-year stint in the Church of Scientology’s Sea Org, an elite group of members who were based on ships and functioned like a religious order. Bornstein was excommunicated from the Church in 1982 and branded a “subversive person.” In exile she’s found her voice as a liberated, post-op, transsexual lesbian icon—though, of course, Bornstein bucks labels like these every chance she gets.

What the lengthy title of Bornstein’s new memoir, A Queer and Pleasant Danger: The True Story of a Nice Jewish Boy who Joins the Church of Scientology and Leaves Twelve Years Later to Become the Lovely Lady She Is Today (on sale May 1, 2012) doesn’t reveal is how scared she’s been to talk about her time in the Church, until now. Thanks to the TV show “South Park,” which satirized Scientology for mainstream audiences, and the hope that this story might someday reach Bornstein’s daughter, who’s still a member of the Church, she’s overcome her fear of retribution. Today, Bornstein says pretty much whatever she pleases about sex, gender, and Scientology—with fearless humor and a “fuck of a lot of love.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.motherjones.com/media/2012/04/kate-bornstein-gender-outlaw-queer-and-pleasant-danger-interview

See also:

Village Voice: Kate Bornstein’s Amazing Voyage

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BEN – Adair Lion (Texas Rapper Makes “Gay is Okay” Song)

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For Uncle Sam, issues of same-sex bias, transgender equality

From The Washington Post:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/for-uncle-sam-issues-of-same-sex-bias-transgender-equality/2012/05/03/gIQAjUe9zT_story.html

Joe Davidson
May 3, 2012

The Obama administration has told government agencies that a court decision allowing health benefits for the same-sex spouse of a federal employee applies to no one else.

The directive from the Office of Personnel Management is not surprising. After a federal district court ruling in February, OPM told Blue Cross Blue Shield to provide benefits to the wife of Karen Golinski, a court employee in California. But the OPM letter also said the decision “has no effect on enrollments requested by other same-sex spouses.”

Instructions issued by OPM on Wednesday make that policy explicit for federal human resource officials.

“The ruling in the Golinski case does not apply to anyone other than Ms. Golinski. OPM has been directed by the Department of Justice to continue applying the Defense of Marriage Act [DOMA] to all other situations,” said the OPM directive.

“Therefore, if you receive a request to enroll a same-sex spouse, you are still precluded by DOMA from processing the enrollment request or sending it to the FEHB [Federal Employees Health Benefits] plan.”

The administration is in the strange position of enforcing DOMA, a law President Obama would like repealed and a law the Justice Department no longer defends in court. DOMA defines marriage for federal purposes as a union only between a man and a woman.

Continue reading at:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/for-uncle-sam-issues-of-same-sex-bias-transgender-equality/2012/05/03/gIQAjUe9zT_story.html

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Bloomberg Plans to Throw Homeless Youths Out of Their Shelter Beds

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carl-siciliano/bloomberg-homeless-youth-shelter-beds_b_1478028.html

Executive Director, Ali Forney Center

At the Ali Forney Center we are confronted every day with kids who have been thrown out of their homes by homophobic parents. The kids are devastated to have been cast out like trash and terrified of what will happen to them. Because New York City only provides 250 youth shelter beds for a population of 4,000 homeless youths, most of the kids cannot immediately access a shelter bed. We try valiantly to find safe shelter for the kids who walk through our doors, but we often have to deliver the news to these kids that we cannot find a bed for them. Sometimes they cry when we give them this horrible news. We are then forced to explore with them their pathetic options, like trying to sleep in Penn Station or in the subway trains.

So in the great city of New York, homeless children are forced to sleep on subway trains, in parks, and in abandoned buildings. “Sleep” is probably not even the right word; they catch brief snatches of rest but are usually too terrified and uncomfortable to get much sleep.

Yesterday Mayor Bloomberg released a budget that guts a wide array of services to the disadvantaged youths of New York City. But most stunning is his proposal to eliminate 160 of the city’s 250 youth shelter beds. How can he possibly think that an appropriate way to deal with budget challenges is to throw poor children out of their shelter beds and into the streets?

I wonder if the mayor understands what it means to put a kid on the street. Does he know that many will be forced to resort to prostituting themselves in order to survive? Does he know that 20 percent of the LGBT kids will become infected with HIV on the streets? Does he know that 60 percent will consider or attempt suicide? He ought to know these things, as his administration released a report in 2010 that documented the horrific risks LGBT youths face on the streets.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carl-siciliano/bloomberg-homeless-youth-shelter-beds_b_1478028.html

Strauss-Kahn facing fresh charge of gang rape

From Raw Story:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/05/04/strauss-kahn-facing-fresh-charge-of-gang-rape/

By David Ferguson
Friday, May 4, 2012

A 25-year-old Belgian sex worker has accused former French finance minister and head of the IMF Dominique Strauss-Kahn of gang rape, saying that he and three other men forcibly restrained and sodomized her in a room at Washington, DC’s tony W hotel. U.K. news daily The Telegraph reports that the alleged incident took place in December of 2010. It has come to light as part of an ongoing investigation of Strauss-Kahn by French authorities, who have charged him with “aggravated pimping in an organized gang.”

The young woman, who called Strauss-Kahn “a nasty piece of work,” was a prostitute based out of Lille, France and is known to the court as “Marie-Anne S.” The “violent scene” she described to prosecutors, however, took place here in the U.S., where earlier this week, a judge denied DSK’s plea of diplomatic immunity in a civil suit filed against him regarding an alleged assault on a hotel maid in New York City. Criminal charges were dismissed against the diplomat in that investigation last year amid questions about the accuser’s credibility.

French prosecutors are weighing whether to open a separate inquiry into the Washington incident. The crux of prosecutors’ pimping case against Strauss-Kahn revolves around whether or not Strauss-Kahn knew as he participated in various orgies and encounters that the women he was having sex with were prostitutes. The accused man insists that he and the women were just having fun. He told judges on March 26, “There was no brutal relations, no degraded view of women and no violence.”

That statement runs directly counter to that scenario described by “Marie-Anne,” who said that she was not a willing participant as a friend of Strauss-Kahn’s grabbed and held her hands while the former Socialist Party presidential hopeful forcibly sodomized her.

Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/05/04/strauss-kahn-facing-fresh-charge-of-gang-rape/

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Plutocracy, Paralysis, Perplexity

From The New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/04/opinion/krugman-plutocracy-paralysis-perplexity.html

Published: May 3, 2012

Before the Great Recession, I would sometimes give public lectures in which I would talk about rising inequality, making the point that the concentration of income at the top had reached levels not seen since 1929. Often, someone in the audience would ask whether this meant that another depression was imminent.

Well, whaddya know?

Did the rise of the 1 percent (or, better yet, the 0.01 percent) cause the Lesser Depression we’re now living through? It probably contributed. But the more important point is that inequality is a major reason the economy is still so depressed and unemployment so high. For we have responded to crisis with a mix of paralysis and confusion — both of which have a lot to do with the distorting effects of great wealth on our society.

Put it this way: If something like the financial crisis of 2008 had occurred in, say, 1971 — the year Richard Nixon declared that “I am now a Keynesian in economic policy” — Washington would probably have responded fairly effectively. There would have been a broad bipartisan consensus in favor of strong action, and there would also have been wide agreement about what kind of action was needed.

But that was then. Today, Washington is marked by a combination of bitter partisanship and intellectual confusion — and both are, I would argue, largely the result of extreme income inequality.

On partisanship: The Congressional scholars Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein have been making waves with a new book acknowledging a truth that, until now, was unmentionable in polite circles. They say our political dysfunction is largely because of the transformation of the Republican Party into an extremist force that is “dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.” You can’t get cooperation to serve the national interest when one side of the divide sees no distinction between the national interest and its own partisan triumph.

Continue reading at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/04/opinion/krugman-plutocracy-paralysis-perplexity.html

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Coal Train Uprisings

From Common Dreams:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/05/04

Can Historic Actions This Week Stop Coal in Its Tracks?

by Jeff Biggers
Published on Friday, May 4, 2012 by Common Dreams

In a dramatic lockdown on the coal-hauling train tracks leading into the Marshall Steam Station, a half-century-old toxic coal-fired plant owned by Duke Energy on the outskirts of Charlotte, North Carolina, legendary mountaintop removal activist Mickey McCoy and other Appalachian coalfield residents teamed up with Greenpeace and regional groups to launch a new phase in a galvanized anti-Big Coal movement across the country.

On the heels of Rainforest Action Network’s surprise scaling of Charlotte’s Bank of America stadium yesterday, where activists draped a 70-foot “Bank of Coal” banner highlighting the financial world’s shadowy investments in Big Coal operations, and two days before revered climate scientist James Hansen and Canadian activists vowed to stop Warren Buffett’s BNSF’s coal trains on unceded Coast Salish territory in British Columbia, the big question is whether today’s action in North Carolina marks a ramped up commitment in the coal free movement for a historic summer uprising.

“Corporations must understand that the use and demand for coal from bombing mountains in Appalachia is not only destroying one of the oldest most bio-diverse mountain ranges in the United States,” McCoy declared, who was arrested with five others from RAMPS (Radical Action for Mountain People’s Survival), Katuah Earth First! and Keepers of the Mountains Foundation, while protests took place outside Duke offices in Charlotte. “But it is also — by releasing carcinogenic heavy metals into our streams – killing Appalachians, and contributing to the sickness and death of countless others outside the area who depend on these headwaters for their water source.”

The protests this week also validate, in many respects, the recent victory in Chicago, where long-time efforts by grassroots groups in the Little Village and the Pilsen neighborhoods were dramatically assisted by direct actions by Greenpeace and other national organizations. Today, in fact, multinational Edison announced it would close its decrepit Midwest Generation coal-fired plants in Chicago by September — two years earlier than expected.

Two months ago, Greenpeace also carried out a strategic action at Asheville’s Progress Power coal-fired station, shifting non-coal-producing but huge coal-consuming North Carolina to the frontlines in the battle over dirty energy.

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/05/04

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France drops sex harassment law, angers feminists

From Reuters:  http://ca.reuters.com/article/topNews/idCABRE84317V20120504?sp=true

Fri May 4, 2012

PARIS (Reuters) – France repealed a sexual harassment law on Friday on the grounds that the definition of the crime was too vague, sparking renewed debate of an issue put into the spotlight by the arrest of one-time presidential hopeful Dominique Strauss-Kahn last year.

Some women’s groups said the decision, by France’s highest constitutional body, would leave victims without legal protection until a new law is penned, while others argued an improved law could lead to more convictions.

Former International Monetary Fund chief Strauss-Kahn was arrested last May, accused of sexual assault by a hotel maid. The charges were later dropped but the ensuing scandal cast a harsh light on a practice in France of hushing up or shrugging off sexual advances by powerful figures. Feminists demanded a change of attitude.

Strauss-Kahn had already been rapped over a sexual relationship with a subordinate in 2008, who said she felt pressured to sleep with him, and French writer Tristane Banon filed a complaint after the New York case alleging he tried to assault her in 2003.

Junior civil service minister Georges Tron was forced to resign in June after two women who had worked for him filed sexual harassment complaints. One said the debate sparked by the Strauss-Kahn scandal had prompted her to break her silence.

Continue reading at:  http://ca.reuters.com/article/topNews/idCABRE84317V20120504?sp=true

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Romney, Bachmann, McDonnell: Turning Back the Clock on Women’s Health

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Kent State, 40 years on: the shredding of constitutional liberty still goes on

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/may/04/protest-race

To this day, military repression permeates the US. But as history has shown, resistance will always follow

guardian.co.uk, Friday 4 May 2012

Again and again, we learn that war abroad will find a way home.

On 30 April 1970, Richard Nixon announced the US invasion of Cambodia, a sovereign nation the US had been secretly bombing for several months. It was a saturation campaign involving 120 strikes a day by B-52s carrying up to 60,000 pounds of bombs each. But in the common doublespeak of war, the president claimed: “This is not an invasion of Cambodia … once enemy forces are driven out of these sanctuaries and once their military supplies are destroyed, we will withdraw”.

Nixon’s aggression against Cambodia was accompanied by a verbal assault on those inside the US opposing the war: “we live in an age of anarchy, both abroad and at home”, he intoned. The next day, Nixon went to the Pentagon to clarify the point: “you see these bums … blowing up the campuses … burning up the books, I mean storming around about this issue … you name it, get rid of the war, there’ll be another one”.

On the rolling spring lawns of Kent State in the American heartland, students continued to press against an illegal, immoral war of occupation. The first entering classes of black students formed themselves into what was to become a growing wave of black student unions. Returning veterans were throwing their medals back at the war-mongers, and themselves becoming students.

Two days after the official invasion of Cambodia, 900 national guardsmen amassed on the Kent State campus. M-1 rifles were raised, and within 13 seconds, 61 shots were fired on unarmed students – four were dead, nine wounded. It was, the official presidential commission on campus unrest later found, “a nation driven to use the weapons of war upon its youth”.

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/may/04/protest-race

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Obama Endorses Two Anti-Bullying Bills

From What Is Working:  http://www.whatisworking.com/2012/05/obama-endorses-two-anti-bullying-bills.html

by Linda H
May 3, 2012

The White House today announced that President Obama is endorsing the Safe Schools Improvement Act (SSIA) and Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA), two bills pending in Congress to address bullying and discrimination faced by students across the nation.

White House spokesman Shin Inouye tells Metro Weekly, “The President and his Administration have taken many steps to address the issue of bullying. He is proud to support the Student Non-Discrimination Act, introduced by Senator Franken and Congressman Polis, and the Safe Schools Improvement Act, introduced by Senator Casey and Congresswoman Linda Sanchez.  These bills will help ensure that all students are safe and healthy and can learn in environments free from discrimination, bullying and harassment.”

 The SSIA would amend the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act to include bullying- and harassment-prevention programs, including ones based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The SNDA, modeled after Title IX, would add sexual orientation and gender identity to federal education nondiscrimination law.
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Police offering drugs to Occupy Minneapolis?

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Will a Militarized Police Force Facing Occupy Wall Street Lead to Another Kent State Massacre?

From Alternet:   http://www.alternet.org/rights/155270/will_a_militarized_police_force_facing_occupy_wall_street_lead_to_another_kent_state_massacre/

Friday was the 42nd anniversary of an ugly chapter in American history.

By Steven Rosenfeld
May 3, 2012

Today is an ugly anniversary in American history: 42 years ago, National Guardsman opened fire on anti-Vietnam protesters at Ohio’s Kent State University, killing four students. Ten days later, Mississippi police fired on civil rights protesters taking refuge in a women’s dormitory at Jackson State University and killed two more students.

Four decades later, as police across the country deploy paramilitary tactics developed for fighting foreign terrorists on Occupy and some May Day protests, and as campus police ratchet up responses to tuition hike protests, we must ask, is this where things inevitably are headed—toward deadly confrontations between overly armed police and angered protesters, or just as likely, innocent bystanders caught in a crossfire?

Some of us lived through the Kent State shootings, anti-war protests and assassinations of that era. We also cannot forget the student strikes after the Kent and Jackson State killings that shut down universities and colleges. We are uneasy about a paramilitary police force’s escalating tactics as Occupy protests continue into 2012.

What’s similar today, but happening faster in our Internet-driven era, is how both sides, police and a handful of provocateurs—who may not even be associated with protesters—are willing to use violence. That was the case Tuesday as bricks were thrown at police from a San Francisco roof apparently by a disgruntled veteran and black-clad men vandalized downtown storefronts in Seattle, San Francisco and other cities. These exceptions to what have been overwhelmingly peaceful protests get the most media attention, despite condemnation by protest organizers, including some who say police may have moderated their tactics since last fall.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/rights/155270/will_a_militarized_police_force_facing_occupy_wall_street_lead_to_another_kent_state_massacre/

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Threat Of Hunger Skyrockets Among Seniors Over Last Decade: Report

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/03/threat-of-hunger-hunger-risk-food-insecurity_n_1475367.html


One in seven seniors in America — some 8.3 million people — faced the threat of hunger in 2010, a 78 percent spike since 2001, according to a study released today by Meals On Wheels, the nonprofit that delivers meals to the homebound.

The “Senior Hunger Report Card” found while the risk of hunger for the U.S. population as a whole has declined since the end of the recession in 2009, it rose for people age 60 and older, mainly among those earning less than $30,000 –- or one to two times the poverty level. (The federal poverty level in 2010, the period studied, was $10,830 for a single person and $14,570 for a couple.) James P. Ziliak of the University of Kentucky and Craig Gundersen of the University of Illinois authored the report.

“There is no question that we are failing our seniors, some of the nation’s most vulnerable citizens,” said Enid A. Borden, CEO of the Meals On Wheels Research Foundation, in a statement. “The numbers spell out our failure with clarity, and at the same time they call us to action. No one in this, the richest nation on Earth should face the threat of hunger, no one. And seniors, who have little power to change their circumstances, deserve our special attention.” (See Borden’s exclusive Huff/Post50 blog post on the report for more.)

At greatest risk were seniors living in the South and Southwest, minorities, people who were divorced or separated, the disabled, and seniors age 60 to 69 (versus those over age 75). In terms of geography, the threat of hunger for seniors increased in 44 states since 2007, the report found, rising two percentage points in the “Top Ten Hunger States” (see slideshow below). Hunger risk declined or remained the same in just six states: Mississippi, Minnesota, South Carolina, Indiana, Louisiana and Idaho.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/03/threat-of-hunger-hunger-risk-food-insecurity_n_1475367.html

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