Victory for Transgender Woman at University of Arkansas

I know there are no doubt some Transsexual Sisters of Purity out there who will mouth the radical right/radical feminist party line about how wrong it is for “men” to use the lady’s room.  Conveniently failing to mention what restroom they used as pre-ops.

I won’t do that.  I started using the women’s room when I had to pee as soon as I started going out in public during the process of getting on hormones.

I didn’t make a scene of it.  didn’t hang around primping.  I just went in, peed, washed my hands and left.

From The Advocate:

Jennifer Braly scores a win.

BY Neal Broverman
May 25 2012

After the Department of Justice applied pressure, the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith will now allow a transgender woman to use women’s restrooms.

Jennifer Braly has been fighting for the right to use women’s facilities at UA. Braly, 38, was a guest lecturer at the university as well as a student; she says she was banned from lecturing because she challenged UA’s bathroom policy.

The school is now allowing Braly to use the facilities, but only after the Department of Justice sent a letter to the school. Read more here, but be warned that the article continuously refers to Braly’s anatomy.

From Inside Higher Ed:

Restroom Choice

Mitch Smith
May 25, 2012

The University of Arkansas at Fort Smith is changing its policy regarding restroom use by transgender people after a student complained to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Jennifer Braly, a 38-year-old UAFS junior who is a transgender woman, was upset after being instructed to use only gender-neutral restrooms on campus. Braly had used women’s restrooms and gender-neutral restrooms until another student complained.

Braly is again allowed to use women’s restrooms, said R. Mark Horn, a vice chancellor. He said that the decision was made this spring after the Justice Department sent a letter to the university system’s lawyers. The university wouldn’t make that letter available, citing federal privacy laws. Justice Department spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa confirmed that a letter had been sent informing the university of the complaint, but Hinojosa said the letter did not direct the university to take any specific action. Hinojosa wouldn’t say whether an investigation is ongoing. A conservative blog, the first national outlet to report on the issue, accused the Obama administration of forcing the issue.

Read more:

For the Radical Right/Radical feminist take on this one can go to the Right Wing Extremist Blog Townhall

The Bully Administration

Kevin McCullough
May 27, 2012

What was the great injustice that the University of Arkansas Fort Smith was committing?

They had refused to allow a 38-year-old male student to use any and all female facilities on campus. So per the communication from the administration, Eric Holder, Barack Obama and company, and acting on the hopes the DOJ would play nice, they caved.

And now the 38-year-old anatomically male student, who goes by the name Jennifer Braly, and refers to himself as a “transgender” (instead of transvestite) has been given campus wide permission to enter any and all female facilities.

Since the university had initially denied the access, I’m sure you’re pondering how the DOJ got mixed up in this to begin with. According to Mark Horn, the Vice President of university relations it was pretty simple.

Complete article at:

The Guild : Do You Wanna Date My Avatar

Radical feminists are acting like a cult

From The Guardian UK:

The banning of trans people from RadFem2012 is just one of the disturbing aspects of this monolithic conference, Friday 25 May 2012

Twitter has been flooded with controversy for the last week about the RadFem2012 conference, currently booked into the Conway Hall, which announced its membership as restricted to “women born women and living as women” (it originally said “biological women”, but that got changed after much mockery). This disturbed the trans community, which it is meant to exclude, but also those feminists who regard trans-exclusion as something other than radical.

To be clear, I know no trans women, still less trans men, who want to spend time in a space organized by people who slander us. However, one of the main speakers at the conference is Sheila Jeffreys, who has a forthcoming book critiquing trans medical care. In much of her earlier writing (see, for example, page 71 of this journal), she calls for “transsexualism” to be declared a human rights violation and then surgery banned by international law, so it’s fairly clear that we have an interest in the debate. What Jeffreys proposes has, of course, other implications for all women – the Vatican would love to make similar declarations about reproductive freedom.

There is also, more importantly, the question of whether what Jeffreys and her supporters say about trans people constitutes hate speech. As of two days ago, the Conway Hall expressed their concerns about the legality of trans exclusion, and about hate speech, to the conference organisers.

One of the problems with the Internet is that it is possible for people to lock themselves further and further into a restricted mind set where they hear no other voices. On the other hand, it makes it possible for those with a strong stomach to overturn every stone and find out just what people are saying and thinking. It’s clear that Jeffreys and her supporters are very hurt and disappointed that so many younger women don’t agree with her – Jeffreys blames the corrupting influence of post-modernism and queer theory; “trans-critical” lawyer Cath Brennan – who uses Twitter to deride trans people’s experiences and mock non-trans feminists who are their allies – is also a RadFem2012 attendee.

Complete article with comments at:

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A Little Saturday Night Pop Music

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Tales of the Waria: Inside Indonesia’s Third-Gender Community

From The Huffington Post:


This past March the Associated Press broke an unexpected story concerning Barack Obama’s childhood in Indonesia. Apparently, as a young boy growing up in Jakarta, Obama’s care had been entrusted to a transgender woman named Evie. American readers were shocked. What were the chances of the president having a transgender nanny — and in Indonesia, of all places? Having worked closely with the transgender community in Indonesia for the past several years, I can say: actually, not that bad.

In Indonesia biological men who believe that they are born with the souls of women are known as “warias.” The term is a melding of two Indonesian words: “wanita” (“woman”) and “pria” (“man”). As a group, warias are diverse, encompassing what we in America might call cross-dressers, transsexuals, drag queens, and effeminate gay men. What unites them is an irrepressible feminine spirit.

I first learned about warias in 2005, when I saw a newspaper photograph of a gorgeous waria who had won a beauty contest in Jakarta. I knew about the “ladyboys” of Thailand, but I had no idea that transgender people could live so openly in Indonesia, a country with the world’s largest Muslim population. Like many Americans I had this notion of Islam as being oppressive and particularly unforgiving toward sexual minorities. How could a community of warias possibly exist?

Three years later my curiosity as a filmmaker got the better of me. I took some Indonesian language classes and traveled to Indonesia to experience the lives of warias firsthand. Under the counsel of Dr. Tom Boellstorff, an anthropologist with 20 years of field experience working with the queer community in Indonesia, I landed in Makassar, a coastal city in eastern Indonesia known for both its strong Muslim faith and historic openness toward transgender individuals.

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Baby Gender Trouble

From The Nation:

Salamishah Tillet
on May 24, 2012

“Do you know what the gender is?” is the question people most frequently ask expecting parents, including me. Usually, I give the conventional response: “No, we are waiting to be surprised.” But occasionally I offer up one of my two real answers, “We don’t know the sex or the gender” or “I don’t really believe in gender anyway.”

Eyebrows are raised. And then a series of explanations follow.

Sometimes I go into a long monologue, à la feminist philosopher Judith Butler, about gender being a fiction, consisting of two opposite categories and a series of staged acts that we tacitly agree to “perform, produce, and sustain.” On the most basic level, why is blue is the agreed upon costume color for boys, while pink is the color for girls?

Butler’s groundbreaking 1990 book, Gender Trouble, goes on to argue that we preserve the performance in order to maintain a fantasy of order, rules and normalcy. To break away from these two categories, to actually understand gender, as it really is—unstable, complicated, and multiple—risks harsh social punishments.

It is hard for most people to separate sex from gender. Sex refers to the biological differences, the presence of XX-female or XY-male chromosomes. (Even this is not a hard-set rule, as the Intersex Society of North America reminds us, about one in 1,500 to one in 2,000 babies is born each year with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit the typical definition of female or male.)

Gender, on the other hand, is neither biological or chromosomal but social and cultural. The traits we associate with “being a boy” or “acting like a girl” have no grounding in science, but we assume they are natural and normal. For example, in the emotional spectrum, an excessive emotionality from girl children means dolls and princess clothing and hyper-aggression from boy children translates into trucks and knights.

Complete article at:

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Gender Dysphoria

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This Is Your Ocean on Acid

From The Environmental Magazine:

As Emissions Continue to Rise, the World’s Oceans Are Becoming Corrosive, Threatening Shellfish, Corals and the Entire Ocean Food Web

Brita Belli
May 1, 2012

On most days, Bill Dewey can be found wearing waist-high waders and inspecting Manila clams—the West Coast version of the littleneck—at his Washington clam farm, Chuckanut Shellfish. Under an arrangement that’s unique to the state, Dewey owns 32 acres of tidelands. Unlike land-based farms, he can only harvest when the tide recedes, leaving over a mile of mudflats, and shellfish, exposed.  He gathers the clams with the help of a former tulip-bulb harvesting machine that’s carried out aboard his boat, the Clamdango!

Working on the mudflats, often with his son and dog in tow, is the fulfillment of a dream for Dewey, a shellfish farmer for more than 30 years who is also the public policy and communications director for Taylor Shellfish Company. Taylor’s operations—which include growing oysters, clams, mussels and geoduck (giant clams whose necks can reach more than three feet long)—span some 1,900 acres of the same tidelands. All told, there are about 47,000 acres of oceanic land that have that special designation in the state, and, he says, “It’s fundamental as to why Washington leads the country in farmed shellfish production. In other parts of country, you typically have to lease the land from the state. Banks are less apt to loan money to businesses that have to lease.”

Commercial shellfishing makes up the lion’s share—two-thirds—of the nation’s aquaculture industry. So reports the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) Fisheries Service which makes a case for boosting domestic seafood production, noting that Americans eat a lot of seafood, and import 86% of it, creating a U.S. seafood trade deficit that now exceeds $10.4 billion annually, second only to oil when it comes to natural resources. In the Pacific Northwest, the shellfish industry contributes $270 million per year to the regional economy and employs more than 3,200 people. And when oyster cultivation fails at the top Northwest hatcheries and farms, the effects on the industry are devastating.

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Bonn Climate Talks Close in Disappointment; World Leaders Whistle Towards Disaster

From Common Dreams:

Greenpeace: Climate crisis caused by lack of political action

– Common Dreams staff
Published on Friday, May 25, 2012 by Common Dreams

International climate talks ended in Bonn, Germany today with little progress made on key issues and stark divisions remaining between rich and poor nations. The disappointing outcome saw delegates unable to reach agreement on how best to move forward for higher level talks in November and less than one month ahead of the Rio+20 Earth Summit in Brazil.

Celine Charveriat, advocacy and campaigns director at Oxfam International, told Reuters that discord in Bonn was evidence of “some pretty substantive areas of disagreement.” Further quoted in The Guardian, she said: “No progress was made to deliver the financial support that the world’s poorest and most vulnerable need to deal with the growing impacts of climate change.”

“At a time when ambitious emission reductions are more urgent than ever,” Charveriat continued, “developed countries in Bonn made no progress to close the gap between current climate targets and what is required to avoid the worst of climate change. Developed countries must improve on their current low level of ambition and accept higher reduction targets no later than at the Qatar summit [in November].”

Tove Maria Ryding, coordinator for climate policy at Greenpeace International, also expressed exasperation with the process, saying: “Here in Bonn we’ve clearly seen that the climate crisis is not caused by lack of options and solutions, but lack of political action. It’s absurd to watch governments sit and point fingers and fight like little kids while the scientists explain about the terrifying impacts of climate change and the fact that we have all the technology we need to solve the problem while creating new green jobs.”

Meanwhile, ex-diplomat of Argentina and original architect of the Kyoto Protocol, Raul Estrada, told Agence France-Presse he was frustrated by the poor quality of current climate negotiations and disappointed with how nations faltered on their commitments to Kyoto, the only binding international treaty on climate change ever enacted.

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Joanna Haberman on the crimes of Monsanto, eating well and robot bees

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Police urge Greeks to keep money in bank

From The Guardian UK:

Scale of withdrawals from Greek banks has led to speculation that eurozone-wide guarantee is need to maintain confidence, Thursday 24 May 2012

Police are urging Greeks to keep their money in bank accounts rather than putting it at risk of theft, amid further uncertainty about whether the austerity-struck country will remain in the eurozone.

Greece‘s banks are likely to be shored up on Friday or Monday with €18bn (£14bn) of bailout funds they have been due to receive for weeks but which were held up by political uncertainty caused by inconclusive elections. Greece goes to the polls again on June 17, further stoking fears about its future within the euro.

The scale of withdrawals from Greek banks – almost 25% of deposits have been taken out in the past two years – and fears that other countries may suffer mass withdrawals has led to speculation that a eurozone-wide guarantee is needed to maintain confidence in the banking system.

Greece’s national police spokesman, Thanassis Kokkalakis, told Reuters: “Many people have withdrawn their money from the banks fearing a financial crash, and they either carry it on them, find a hideout at home or in storage rooms.

“We urge people to trust the banking system, leave their money there, or at least in a safe place, not hide it at home, where they must anyway take the basic security measures.”

The injection of fresh funds into the Greek banks is expected to allow the European Central Bank to start dealing with those unnamed institutions to which it stopped providing direct funding because they did not have enough capital.

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How to start a revolution: Learn from Iceland!

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Sure, the Christian Right Champions Religious Freedom – For Themselves

From PoliticusUSA:

By: Hrafnkell Haraldsson
May 26, 2012

It is interesting (I’m trying to watch my language here)  to see so-called “religious freedom” proponents cite the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause while opposing the Obama administration’s Health and Human Services contraceptive mandate. They complain their religious freedoms are being violated but without batting an eye and without a trace of embarrassment continue to press their agenda – a 100% religiously-based agenda– on the rest of America.

No, you can’t have contraceptives because they violate our beliefs; no, you can’t have an abortion, no, not even if you were raped, because it violates our beliefs; no, you can’t even learn about contraception because it violates our beliefs – our beliefs only allow you to learn about abstinence; no, you can’t marry someone of the same sex because it violates our beliefs.

An example of this outrageous rhetoric is an opinion piece at CNN by Mary Matalin, “Religious liberty at stake in battle over contraception rule,” Ms. Matalin’s bio in short: “a founding member of the board of Conscience Cause, a coalition opposing the Department of Health and Human Services’ mandate, has worked for Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush and was counselor to Vice President Dick Cheney.” Her credentials pretty much tell the entire story, because there ain’t no surprises here.

Ms. Matalin’s opening salvo is the aforementioned Establishment Clause, which took me back just a bit, knowing what I know about the religious right’s agenda and more importantly still, their track record. I am the guy here, after all, who compiles and tracks their legislation in our Dirty Thirty. My initial reaction was “Oh no, you did not just go there.” Yes, she did go there. She complains…

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student protest montreal canada 24 mai 2012 villeray rosemont plateau casseroles

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Egos and Immorality

From The New York Times:

Published: May 24, 2012

In the wake of a devastating financial crisis, President Obama has enacted some modest and obviously needed regulation; he has proposed closing a few outrageous tax loopholes; and he has suggested that Mitt Romney’s history of buying and selling companies, often firing workers and gutting their pensions along the way, doesn’t make him the right man to run America’s economy.

Wall Street has responded — predictably, I suppose — by whining and throwing temper tantrums. And it has, in a way, been funny to see how childish and thin-skinned the Masters of the Universe turn out to be. Remember when Stephen Schwarzman of the Blackstone Group compared a proposal to limit his tax breaks to Hitler’s invasion of Poland? Remember when Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase characterized any discussion of income inequality as an attack on the very notion of success?

But here’s the thing: If Wall Streeters are spoiled brats, they are spoiled brats with immense power and wealth at their disposal. And what they’re trying to do with that power and wealth right now is buy themselves not just policies that serve their interests, but immunity from criticism.

Actually, before I get to that, let me take a moment to debunk a fairy tale that we’ve been hearing a lot from Wall Street and its reliable defenders — a tale in which the incredible damage runaway finance inflicted on the U.S. economy gets flushed down the memory hole, and financiers instead become the heroes who saved America.

Once upon a time, this fairy tale tells us, America was a land of lazy managers and slacker workers. Productivity languished, and American industry was fading away in the face of foreign competition.

Then square-jawed, tough-minded buyout kings like Mitt Romney and the fictional Gordon Gekko came to the rescue, imposing financial and work discipline. Sure, some people didn’t like it, and, sure, they made a lot of money for themselves along the way. But the result was a great economic revival, whose benefits trickled down to everyone.

You can see why Wall Street likes this story. But none of it — except the bit about the Gekkos and the Romneys making lots of money — is true.

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