Friday Night Fun and Culture: Marie France

When I read the interview of her and Chrissy Hynde earlier this week,  I thought cool…  there’s my Friday Night Fun and Culture.

Unlike some of my sisters who seem to think liking to see other sisters and brothers perform is something to be ashamed of I go out of my way to read memoirs, buy CDs, watch documentaries and got to restaurants run by other folks described by trans-prefixed words.

Yeah I know it really sometimes suck to have the world treat transsexual or transgender like it is a title when they never do that for straights.

But the alternative is not performing, writing or doing anything in life that might attract attention and that sucks even more.

There is a reward though that comes sometimes.

Occasionally some one will write me and say how something I wrote or did really meant something to them…

Every Namoli Brennet, every Jayne County, every Marie France, every Laura Jane Grace  out there might just make it easier for some transkid, who is being bullied in school and thinking of suicide to see that it can get better.

Doing something positive for these kids doesn’t require devoting one’s entire life to social work.

Hell when I was 15 I was contemplating suicide.  I had the feeling that I would never find a way to have a life worth living.  What saved me was the tabloid biography of April Ashley.

Marie France

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Ian Harvie Performs On Margaret Cho’s Beautiful Tour in Calgary

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Alberta Reinstates Healthcare Funding for Sex Reassignment Surgery

From Bilerico:

Also posted at:  Dented Blue Mercedes and

By Mercedes Allen
June 07, 2012

Reposted with permission

The Alberta Government has announced that it will be reinstating health care fundingfor sex reassignment surgery (often called gender reassignment surgery, and abbreviated as GRS by the province and its clinicians), effective June 15th.

In the recent provincial election, Premier Alison Redford was returned to power by an electorate that appears to have been hoping her government would track back toward progressive politics. Albertans have been watching to see if her government would indeed follow through, and in what manner. An Angus Reid poll placed Ms. Redford as the second most popular Premier currently in power.

The province had cut funding in 2009 as a “cost savings measure” – however, the $700,000 savings (provided for approximately 16 people per year) wasn’t even a sliver of the provincial health budget. Since then, the Province has been on shaky legal ground with the funding cut, since human rights tribunals have typically recognized the procedure as being medically necessary. It was for this reason that the Province of Ontario ultimately reinstated funding, and B.C. abandoned an attempt to defund the surgery. Judicial court rulings (eg.) in Canadian case law also indicated a likelihood that the medical necessity of GRS would be upheld.

The Trans Equality Society of Alberta responded to the announcement with a media release:

We are pleased that the current administration sees value in caring for all Albertan’s needs, enabling them to live happy, fulfilled lives. The return of this coverage, whose removal only saved Albertan’s $0.18 each annually, will give hope to those for whom GRS was previously out of reach. While there are many other issues facing Trans-identified Albertans, this is a huge step in the direction of respect and dignity for the Trans Community by the Alberta Government. Thank you for taking this important first step.

The American Psychiatric Association and American Medical Association both stress that sex reassignment surgery is a medical necessity, and a 2008 resolution by the AMA emphasized that insurance companies should cover the procedure.

Most Canadian provinces have some form of coverage for GRS, although some have problematic quirks of process or costs that can create barriers to obtaining the procedure, and some still do not fund sex reassignment procedures for trans men. In 2008, Nova Scotia’s Liberal Party added working toward GRS funding inclusion to their political platform, although it has not yet been accomplished in that province.

Internationally, several nations have also added coverage to their public health insurance programs over the past couple of years, including Cuba, Brazil, and Chile. Argentina recently passed the most comprehensive policies on trans enfranchisement, which included GRS funding, new name change guidelines, anti-discrimination inclusion in their human rights code, and legal protections from hate crimes. A number of Australian provinces are under renewed pressure to provide funding after an incident of attempted self-performed surgery in an act of desperation. There have been (trigger warning) at least three other major self-mutilation incidents reported in international media in the past year, including one person in China who self-castrated and then jumped to their death because they couldn’t deal with the pain. Although not all trans people decide that they require surgery, for those who do, it can be an absolute necessity.

Corporations have also been rapidly adding health plan coverage to their benefits programs, including Apple, Chevron, General Mills, Dow Chemical, Chubb, American Airlines, Kellogg, Sprint, Levi Strauss, Eli Lilly, Best Buy, Nordstrom, Volkswagen’s U.S. division, the University of Pennsylvania, Whirlpool, Xerox, Raytheon and Office Depot (note: some of these may not apply in Canada). According to the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index (CEI), over 200 major U.S. businesses now include trans-inclusive health care coverage featuring surgical transition-related care, including 50% of Fortune 500 companies – an increase of over 1500% in that group since 2002.

Alberta’s 2009 announcement was followed by a mass filing of human rights complaints. Due to changes in grandfather-through decisions, some of those complaints were negated when funding was given, and others are still in process. Due to the backlash at the time of the announcement, the province had eventually conceded to provide funding for people already in transition prior to the cut, to a maximum of 20 per year. A number of others who had not qualified for the “Phase Out” program (usually because of the timing of their first medical appointment after starting transition) had been typically offered GRS funding as part of a settlement during negotiation stages of their human rights complaints, but have not spoken to media due to confidentiality requirements.

Although this victory is huge, some concerns about medical access remain. It can be difficult or near impossible to find trans-friendly (let alone trans-aware) medical practitioners in several regions of the province. This can make it hard to even find general practitioners willing to treat people for medical issues that are not trans-related.

For transition care, there is one clinic in Edmonton (therapy only, currently with an 18+ month waiting list) – in Calgary, there is also a once-a-month trans health clinic operated by a psychologist and a family doctor who’ve teamed up to try to help, but the need is one that is difficult to fill with a once-a-month model. The previous Stelmach government had shut out attempts by the trans community to speak about these matters, and advocates are hopeful that this can now change.

On Wednesday, the Federal government voted to allow a human rights bill proposing protections for transsexual and transgender Canadians to committee for review and possible changes, toward a final vote. The bill had passed in the previous Parliament, but died in the Senate upon the election call.

(Here is a full backgrounder on why GRS is medically necessary. It is also available as a trifold brochure)

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Tracking the Pastors (Four and Counting) Calling for the Death of LGBT People

From Huffington Post:

Also posted at:

Transgender actress, advocate, and writer; star, ‘Lexie Cannes’

Reposted with Permission

I’ve been tracking these recent calls by pastors for the death of LGBT people on my blog, and a few readers are saying my headlines are misleading, but in doing so they seemingly excuse these pastors’ behavior by stating, among other things, that they were “just quoting Scripture” or “thinking out loud.” I disagree. Pastors are held in high regard by many in our society who look for guidance in their lives; therefore, a higher level of accountability is necessary. These “I wish they were dead… just kidding!” tactics ought to come with consequences that discourage further use.

Here’s where we are:

Pastor Curtis Knapp of New Hope Baptist Church in Seneca, Kan. said that God said that LGBT people should be put to death and that the government should be the one doing it:

“If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death.” Oh, so you’re saying we should go out and start killing them? No, I’m saying the government should. They won’t, but they should.

Pastor Knapp continued:

Is it His word or not? If it’s His word, he commanded it. It’s His idea, not mine. And I’m not ashamed of it. He said put them to death. Shall the church drag them in? No, I’m not say that. The church has not been given the power of the sort; the government has. But the government ought to [kill them]. You got a better idea? A better idea than God?

Charles L. Worley, Pastor of Providence Road Baptist Church in Maiden, N.C., says an electrified pen will do the trick:

Build a great, big, large fence, 150 or 100 mile long. Put all the lesbians in there. Fly over and drop some food. Do the same thing with the queers and the homosexuals, and have that fence electrified till they can’t get out. Feed ’em. And you know what? In a few years they’ll die out. You know why? They can’t reproduce.

But he wasn’t done yet: “It makes me pukin’ sick to think about — I don’t even know whether you ought to say this in the pulpit or not — could you imagine kissing some man?”

Fortunately, in this case, more than 1,000 people showed up in this small town to protest Pastor Worley’s hate-filled sermon.

Mississippi state Rep. Andy Gipson, who is reportedly a minister at an undisclosed Baptist church, made a recent post on Facebook invoking Leviticus 20:13, a passage from the Bible that allegedly requires the death of LGBT people: “If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.” In the ensuing uproar Gipson refused to apologize, saying he has overwhelming support: “To be clear, I want the world to know that I do not, cannot, and will not apologize for the inspired truth of God’s Word.”

Pastor Dennis Leatherman at Mountain Lake Baptist Church in Oakland, Md., is intrigued by the idea of killing effeminate and LGBT people:

To … have a tendency to be effeminate or homosexual is just as wicked as to have a tendency to be a womanizer. Sinful nature does not justify sinful behavior. Now what is our take? What is our response? I appreciate your bearing with me tonight. First of all, there is a danger of reacting in the flesh, of responding not in a scriptural, spiritual way, but in a fleshly way. Kill them all. Right? I will be very honest with you. My flesh kind of likes that idea. But it grieves the Holy Spirit. It violates Scripture. It is wrong.

Leatherman would like to kill us but won’t, because the Bible says it’s wrong. What a nice, reassuring thought from a man of God.

I am hoping for a quiet Sunday this time around.

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Western banks ‘reaping billions from Colombian cocaine trade’

From The Guardian UK:

While cocaine production ravages countries in Central America, consumers in the US and Europe are helping developed economies grow rich from the profits, a study claims, Saturday 2 June 2012

The vast profits made from drug production and trafficking are overwhelmingly reaped in rich “consuming” countries – principally across Europe and in the US – rather than war-torn “producing” nations such as Colombia and Mexico, new research has revealed. And its authors claim that financial regulators in the west are reluctant to go after western banks in pursuit of the massive amount of drug money being laundered through their systems.

The most far-reaching and detailed analysis to date of the drug economy in any country – in this case, Colombia – shows that 2.6% of the total street value of cocaine produced remains within the country, while a staggering 97.4% of profits are reaped by criminal syndicates, and laundered by banks, in first-world consuming countries.

“The story of who makes the money from Colombian cocaine is a metaphor for the disproportionate burden placed in every way on ‘producing’ nations like Colombia as a result of the prohibition of drugs,” said one of the authors of the study, Alejandro Gaviria, launching its English edition last week.

“Colombian society has suffered to almost no economic advantage from the drugs trade, while huge profits are made by criminal distribution networks in consuming countries, and recycled by banks which operate with nothing like the restrictions that Colombia’s own banking system is subject to.”

His co-author, Daniel Mejía, added: “The whole system operated by authorities in the consuming nations is based around going after the small guy, the weakest link in the chain, and never the big business or financial systems where the big money is.”

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OWS: rebuilding America’s political foundation

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Science Debunks Morning-After Pill’s Abortion Myth

From Ms Blog:

June 7, 2012

New York Times analysis has found that the morning-after pill—drugs including Plan B One-Step and Ella, which are taken to prevent pregnancy after sex—do so not by keeping fertilized eggs from implanting in the womb, but by delaying ovulation. Some pills also thicken cervical mucus so that sperm have difficulty swimming. However, labels on the inside of boxes for the pills say they may work by blocking fertilized eggs from implanting in a woman’s uterus—descriptions that have led to some religious groups, conservative politicians and others to claim that the pills cause abortion.

Dr. Donna Harrison, director of research for the American Association of Pro-life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, told the Times that using the pills is the “moral equivalent of homicide.”

Mitt Romney has been more straightforward, dubbing morning-after pills as “abortive pills.”

Although the websites of medical authorities, including the National Institutes of Health and the Mayo Clinic, have said that emergency contraceptives may prevent implantation of a fertilized egg, the New York Times has discovered that such a result is not borne out in scientific studies:

It turns out that the politically charged debate over morning-after pills and abortion, a divisive issue in this election year, is  probably rooted in outdated or incorrect scientific guesses about how the pills work.” [my emphasis]

These findings about how emergency contraceptives work would mean that drugs like Plan B One-Step and Ella “would not meet abortion opponents’ definition of abortion-inducing drugs.” In contrast, RU-486 can be called an abortion pill “because it destroys implanted embryos, terminating pregnancies.”

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