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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