By Aaron Morrison
Jun 11th, 2012
If George W. Bush didn’t “care about black people,” then people generally don’t care about the lives of transgender women of color.
That’s not exactly the way writer and activist Janet Mock put it. She and others believe a rash of murders, as well as uneven media coverage, suggest a gross lack of empathy for gender non-conforming individuals.
Mock, a 29-year-old Hawaii native, was her parents’ firstborn son. She transitioned when she was a teenager and is aware of her privilege of not having her gender identity questioned by society.
It’s a privilege that isn’t a reality for many women like her, Mock acknowledges.
That premature death for transgender women may lurk around the corner, at the bus stop or in the presence of an intimate partner is an existence that hasn’t quite caught fire in the mainstream.
“Being trans should not equate to a death sentence,” Mock said in an interview with Loop 21.
But it’s hardly that simple. Mock knows that better than most, as an outspoken advocate for transgender women. She says fighting for the rights and safety of transgender women of color requires a level of inclusiveness that many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocates don’t yet have down to a science.
Continue reading at: http://www.loop21.com/life/black-transgender-women-murder-rate
By Keith Gerein
June 8, 2012
EDMONTON — Two days after Danielle Smith promised to begin healing wounds with Alberta’s gay community, the Wildrose leader slammed the province’s promise to reinstate funding for gender-reassignment surgery.
Smith said while individuals should be free to pay for the “elective” surgery, public health dollars should go to more pressing needs such as dentistry for low-income children, insulin pumps and hearing aids for seniors.
She further accused the Tories of playing politics with the issue, saying their decision to fund the procedure was based more on currying favour than common sense.
“I think it’s clearly elective surgery,” Smith said. “I sympathize with those who want to have the surgery, and I absolutely support their right to pay for it, but when we are talking about medically necessary treatment, I think for most people this is not something that would fall into that category.
“I think that when people look at the kind of procedures that aren’t covered by the system, they sort of scratch their heads and say why would this be a higher priority than some of those other things?”
She said the government should focus on bringing down wait times down for things that are already covered, such as seniors’ care, knee-and hip replacements, cataract surgeries, and MRIs.
June 11, 2012
CONTROVERSIAL full body scanners due to be introduced in airports next month will identify prosthesis wearers, including breast cancer survivors and transgender passengers.
Earlier this year the federal government announced that the new scanners to be installed in eight international terminals would be set to show only a generic stick figure image to protect passengers’ privacy.
But documents released under freedom of information show that in meetings with stakeholders, Office of Transport Security representatives confirmed the machines would detect passengers wearing a prosthesis.
This week Breast Cancer Network Australia said it had alerted its 70,000 members that prosthesis wearers should carry a letter from their doctor and speak to security staff before passing through the body scanner to ensure discreet treatment. While breast implants would not be detected, prosthetic breasts used by those who have had a mastectomy will be.
During the meetings, OTS officials confirmed the situation would also apply to transgender passengers.
Last week a spokesman for the Infrastructure Department said there were ”procedures currently in place for the appropriate clearing of medical devices and aids and these will continue largely unchanged”.
By Curtis Tate
Monday, 11 June 2012
WASHINGTON — Gay rights activists have made significant strides in recent years on marriage and military service, but one longstanding policy goal remains elusive: a federal law to ban discrimination against gay workers.
Gays now can serve openly in the military. Gay couples now have some form of legal recognition in 19 states and the District of Columbia. But in 29 states, gay workers can still be fired or denied promotions simply because they’re gay.
To be sure, 21 states ban job discrimination based on sexual orientation, and all but five of those prohibit bias based on gender identity. Hundreds of cities and counties across the country have enacted nondiscrimination laws. Federal government employees are protected by a policy that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. And nearly 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies have their own nondiscrimination policies.
But some legal experts say workers and their employers need the kind of legal clarity that only a federal law can provide.
Just because municipalities and companies have nondiscrimination policies, it doesn’t mean discrimination doesn’t happen, or that an employee who experiences discrimination has any legal recourse.”It’s very important for the law to be clear and for both employers and employees to have clear rules in place,” said Jennifer Pizer, the legal director for the Williams Institute, a research group that advances sexual orientation law and public policy at the University of California, Los Angeles.
A federal law to ban workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation has languished for years. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act was first introduced in 1994. The House of Representatives approved it in 2007 on a bipartisan vote, but the Senate never took it up.
From Solutions: http://www.thesolutionsjournal.com/node/1099
By Anders Hayden
Since the Industrial Revolution, two main motivations have driven the movement for work-time reduction. Free time away from the job improves individual well-being, while reducing work hours can cut unemployment by better distributing the available work. These historical motivations for work-time reduction have been joined by a new rationale: the need to reduce the impact of human societies on the environment.
The urgency of reducing humanity’s impacts on the earth is well documented. Estimates of our ecological footprint suggest that we need 1.5 planets to sustain current consumption practices, while studies of humanity’s “safe operating space” have concluded that we have already crossed some critical planetary boundaries, including safe levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Two dominant responses to this threat have emerged. One has been to carry on with business as usual, pursuing endless economic expansion while downplaying or denying the severity of environmental problems. But in some countries, business as usual has given way to a second paradigm: the idea of green growth through eco-efficiency and low-impact technologies. While laudable, evidence to date suggests that such efforts do not go far enough, as steady production and consumption growth frequently outpaces eco-efficiency improvements, resulting in continued increases in environmental impacts. Sustainable outcomes also require ideas of sufficiency, which see a need to limit the relentless expansion of output. Work-time reduction would be one way to do this that could also improve well-being.
Noticeable differences already exist among wealthy nations in terms of average hours worked per employee, which, in combination with hourly labor productivity and the percentage of the population that is employed, determine a nation’s level of production. Since the 1970s, a gap has emerged between long-hours nations, such as the United States, and several shorter-hours nations in Europe, including the Netherlands, France, Germany, and the Scandinavian countries. This gap in work hours had become, by the mid-1990s, the main factor behind the United States’ greater output per capita than Europe.1
Continue reading at: http://www.thesolutionsjournal.com/node/1099
Marjorie Kelly’s new book explains how we can create a “generative economy” that is focused on sustaining life rather than extracting profit.
By Tara Lohan
June 10, 2012
The economy was bound to tank. Not just because greedy corporations rigged the system or because government helped grease the wheels for them. But because the dominate way that we’ve come to do business — profit at the expense of all else — is simply incompatible with the planet we’re living on. It’s an economy that Marjorie Kelly would call “extractive.”
Kelly, a fellow at the Tellus Institute and co-founder of Business Ethics magazine, wrote the just-released book, Owning Our Future: The Emerging Ownership Revolution (Berrett-Koehler, 2012) that helps provide an antidote to the extractive, money-at-all-costs economy. She calls it the “generative economy,” and her book is proving to be a great contribution to the growing New Economy movement.
“Our minds have been so colonized by the paradigm of industrial-age capitalism that we’ve lost the ability to imagine other ways of organizing an economy,” she writes.
“My sense is that there is an alternative, and that the reality of it is farther along than we suppose. When we can’t see this, it’s because we’ve left no room for it in our imagination. If it’s hard to talk about, it’s because it doesn’t yet have a name. I suggest we call it the generative economy. It’s a corner of the economy (hopefully someday much more) that’s not designed for the extraction of maximum financial wealth. Its purpose is to create the conditions for life. It does this through its normal functioning, because of the way it’s designed, the way it’s owned — like an employee-owned solar company.”
Kelly’s book takes readers across the U.S. and across the world to examine communities and businesses that have flipped the traditional corporate model on its head, providing us with working examples of the transformation we are headed toward if we want a sustainable economy. “Emerging ownership models are new members of an older family of designs that include cooperatives, employee-owned firms, and government-sponsored enterprises,” she writes. “In the UK, these include the John Lewis Partnership–the largest department store chain in the country–which is 100 percent owned by its employees and has an employee house of representatives in addition to a traditional board of directors.”
By Joanna Zelman
Despite the onslaught of politicians attempting to project an air of question around man-made climate change, studies continue to emerge proving the connection between human actions and our changing environment. The most recent study, published in Nature Climate Change, finds an “anthropogenic fingerprint” (human influence) on our warming oceans.
The study, “Human-Induced Global Ocean Warming On Multidecadal Timescales,” was conducted by researchers in the U.S., Australia, Japan and India. Based on observations of rising upper-ocean temperatures, the researchers used improved estimates of ocean temperatures to examine the causes of our warming ocean.
According to a Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory press release, the study shows that over the past 50 years, observed ocean warming is explained only when greenhouse gas increases are included in the models.
Lead author and LLNL climate scientist Peter Gleckler said in the press release, “The bottom line is that this study substantially strengthens the conclusion that most of the observed global ocean warming over the past 50 years is attributable to human activities.”
Gleckler added, “Although we performed a series of tests to account for the impact of various uncertainties, we found no evidence that simultaneous warming of the upper layers of all seven seas can be explained by natural climate variability alone. Humans have played a dominant role.”
Report co-author Dr. John Church explained to Australia’s ABC News AM that “Natural variability could only explain 10 percent, or thereabouts, of the observed change.”
From Common Dreams: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/06/11-
When Charles Dickens wrote “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” to begin “A Tale of Two Cities,” he compared the years of the French Revolution to his own “present period.” Both were wracked with inequality. But he couldn’t have known that 75 years later inequality would cause the Great Depression. Or that 75 years after that, in our own present period, extreme inequality would return for a fourth time, to impact a much greater number of people. He probably didn’t know that the cycles of history seem to drag the developed world into desperate times about every 75 years, and then seek relief through war or revolution.
It’s that time again.
Three cycles (225 years) ago, in the years before the French Revolution, inequality was at one of its highest points ever. While it’s estimated that the top 10% of the population took almost half the income, as they do today, the Gini Coefficient was between .52 and .59, higher than the current U.S. figure of .47. The French Revolution began a surge toward equality that lasted well into the 19th century.
Two cycles ago, in Dickens’ day of the 1860s, European inequality was again at a nearly intolerable level. It took the second industrial revolution and the U.S. Civil War to start correcting the economic injustices.
One cycle ago was the Great Depression. The New Deal, World War 2, and the laborious process of war recovery put an end to this third period of extreme inequality.
Now, nearly 75 years after we started World War 2 production, we again feel the agony of a wealth gap expanding, like grotesquely stretched muscle, to intolerable limits. If history repeats itself, we will be part of another revolution of long-subjugated people. Indeed, it has already begun, in Europe and Canada and with the Occupy Movement.
The face of plutocracy has changed, but not the consequences. Just before the French Revolution, Paris and London were dismal places for the masses, with islands of unimaginable splendor for aristocrats, who, like the multi-millionaires of today, found it hard to relate to the commoners. Dickens portrayed it well. Exclaimed the Marquis St. Evremonde to a gathering crowd: “It is extraordinary to me that you people cannot take care of yourselves and your children. One or the other of you is for ever in the way. How do I know what injury you have done to my horses?” This he said after his carriage had struck and killed a young child.
Continue reading at: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/06/11-
From RH Reality Check: http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2012/06/09/happily-abused
by Vyckie Garrison, No Longer Quivering
June 11, 2012
Can you say, “Stockholm Syndrome’?
After stumbling across yet another piece of alarmingly dangerous advice for abused women of faith titled, Surviving Emotional Abuse Six Steps by Christian author, Darcy Ingraham, I am wishing I had more middle fingers with which to express my extreme irritation. Ack!
I will to try to calm down long enough to use my words rather than profane gestures to talk about spiritual abuse.
To begin with the author assumes that only those husbands who abandon their faith become angry, bitter, and abusive – and she offers no help for women whose abusive husbands are fully committed Christians acting in accordance with patriarchal teachings derived from the bible; she quotes random bible verses out of context to convince abused women that they are safe from actual violent abuse so long as they remain close to God; she appears to believe a woman’s display of piety (praying out loud for her abuser and telling him that she is giving him over to the Lord, for example) is the way to truly intimidate her abusive husband and get him to back off; she advises victims not to “make the abuse worse” by reacting to their abusers’ anger (followed by the whiplash-inducing about-face when she admonishes victims to never allow anyone to convince you that the abuse is your fault); and to top it all off, the author encourages abuse victims to take charge of their lives by finding a hobby.
When we write about “surviving” abuse at No Longer Quivering, we mean living through it, getting help, getting away, processing, healing, and moving on with our lives.
To the “Six Steps” writer, “Surviving Emotional Abuse” means living with the abuser and “finding contentment” in a situation which, in fact, should not be tolerated.
Continue reading at: http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2012/06/09/happily-abused