Defectives, Freaks and Perverts: When TS/TG People Attack Other TG/TS People

We’ve all encountered them, especially on line and it has been a major part of the “World of Transwarcraft.”

And it is going to have to be something that we put aside if we are going to work together not only as transsexual or transgender people but as progressives and working people working as part of an even bigger coalition.

I don’t care if the insult hurler is part of the HBS Mob insulting transgender people or part of the Transgender Borg insulting the genitals of post-op transsexual people.

It’s bullshit and a way of ignoring the humanity of others.

Further those of us who hope to work together need to start calling out the individuals engaging in this and stop speaking in generalities.  All post-op transsexual, evne thouse who uses such phrases as WBT, post-transsexual or person of transsexual history to describe themselves are not the individuals insulting TG people.

Generalizing and assigning the characteristics of a particularly nasty individual to the entire class of people is how racism is structured.

Likewise most transgender people, particularly activists are pragmatic people willing to change their thinking to adapt to changing situation.  Most are not the Transgender Borg, who are part of this cult who do not converse but rather playback dogmatic nonsense in a hostile and aggressive manner.

Funny thing is I rarely encounter these creatures of the internet in the real world so it may well be that this behavior is a product of the relative anonymity of the on-line world where people feel free to let their id and ego run rampant in a game of my ego is all powerful.

When I came on line sixteen years ago I was near bottom, struggling with alcoholism and nearly suicidal.  I started volunteering at the LA Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center and met people like Jake Hale and Susan Stryker who helped me see my self-worth.  Then I met Tina who helped me get sober.  Along the path to sobriety I took some false paths because I was trying to get rid of a lot of garbage that had helped me to become a drunk.

At first I got rid of a lot of good as well as the bad.  Then I realize that renouncing the hippie ethos was a mistake and what I really needed to tackle was all the abuse that was at the root of so much of my self-destructive behavior.

The hippie stuff probably pulled me through when so many of my friends died.

You see some of that hippie stuff helped me to feel free to come out to the members of my collective in 1969. the very idea of be yourself and do as you must, harm no one, wer magor components of the hippie ethos.

Hell listen to the songs of the Jefferson Airplane before they became the Starship.

The idea of I am you and you are me and we are all in this together.

Or that we are all outlaws in the eyes of Amerika.

There was a time when we proudly wore the label of “Freaks”, because not being part of the gray world of button down collars, shirtwaist dresses and white picket fences was a good thing.

Not sharing in the warlike consciousness of greed was a good thing.

One of the things that surprised some of my friend at the transsexual counseling center I co-ran in the early 1970s, was that I wasn’t embarrassed to take people out on their first public appearance.

That I had the fuck’em attitude towards those who stared at the people I was accompanying.

The secret is we are all freaks of one sort or another.

It isn’t a crime to be different and the rules of conformity are only rules to slaves.

We are people not a bunch of labels.

When you are born transsexual or transgender you are the one who has to figure out how to live with it.  Society dumps a shit load of oppression on TS/TG people, even more than it dumps on gay and lesbian people because we violate their ideas of there being this radical difference between men and women, the total linkage between sex and gender.

Our existence questions  the absoluteness of those classifications.

Thursday night Tina and I watched St Misbehavin: The WavyGravy Story.  Hugh Romney started out a beat poet in Greenwich Village during the late 1950s. He went on to become a hippie and a great humanitarian.  (If you have Showtime on demand they are playing St Misbehavin’ until 6/26.  Its in their documentaries section of the on demand listing)

Once I had been sober for a couple of years and realized that I shouldn’t have trusted the news media, including the New York Times when it came to lying us into the war in Iraq I started sliding back to my left wing hippie roots.

I never liked Stalinists or politically correct people who use dogma to lie.

I don’t use sweet pure expunged and expurgated language, I have a potty mouth.

But I believe in standing up for the bullied and oppressed and I believe in the human rights and dignity of all.

Which is why I get fed up with transsexuals who think they are the only pure transsexual and that most others are degenerate perverts.  Or think that people who may be TG because of economics or personal choice are some how degenerates scum.

If you call TGs degenerates scum it says more about you than it does about the person you are putting down.

When you expect me to agree you dishonor all my TG friends who had an even harder life than I had.  Friends who were so abused that only heroin would take away the pain, friends who died of pill over doses and AIDS.  Friends who lacked social services and places to go for treatment.

I really don’t even share the assumed hostility towards transvestites as a class.  I don’t need to understand it to wonder why they are stigmatized and not Civil War reenactors, or costumed Comic-Con attendees.

Seems the only reason they are picked on is because of a passage in Deuteronomy that is on the level of eating shell fish.

But most of all the horizontal hostility is harming everyone.  At a time when the rich right wing elite is crushing the most vulnerable people around we are being scapegoated in a manner that is truly frightening.

How I’m Seen Differently in a Female Body

This is sort of a universal element of sex/gender transition.  Gender is like a dance, where appearance creates expectations in others who respond accordingly. Then the original person responds to that feed back and takes on the role that is expected.

This is how the resocialization of TS/TG people happens.  Jan Morris wrote about it and Max wolf Valerio wrote about it.  I discuss it in my forthcoming memoir.

From BroadBlogs:

Posted on June 15, 2012
Reposted with permission
No aspect of my existence, no moment of the day, no contact, no arrangement, no response is not different for men and for women. The very tone of voice in which I was now addressed, the very posture of the person next in the line.And if others’ responses shifted, so did my own. The more I was treated as a woman, the more woman I became. I adapted willy-nilly. If I was assumed to be incompetent at reversing cars, or opening bottles, oddly incompetent I found myself becoming. If the case was too heavy for me, inexplicably I found it so myself.

Women treated me with a frankness which was one of the happiest discoveries of my metamorphosis. But I also found men treating me more and more as junior. I discovered that even now men prefer women to be less informed, less able, less talkative, and certainly less self-centered than they are themselves; so I generally obliged.

The above lines were penned by a woman who had transitioned from being, bodily, a man. Certainly there is plenty to learn from our sisters, brothers, and others who live in-between, all of whom have transitioned away from the gender they were assigned at birth. One of the most obvious is the difference in how women and men are perceived and treated. Another is the experience of oppression for daring to cross accepted gender lines.

The passage was written in 1975, early in the movement for gender equality, so I wondered if things had changed. And then I came across artist, Joelle Circé, a woman of transsexual origin, and asked her about it. Here’s what she said:

I’ve always felt that I am a woman in my heart and my brain, but after I transitioned everything about my life changed. I noticed a very marked difference in how I was treated in public. The important parts of it are wonderful and beyond great. But some changes have been troubling.

Men are more likely to talk down to me as if I were a child. I get challenged by young male art supply clerks about the materials I want. I have over 20 years experience as an artist but they seem to think they know better, grrrrr.

And when I lived in a male body I seldom gave thought to my personal safety as I walked around, day or night. Now I do. Some aspects of my life have become dangerous and frightening.

At first I thought it was solely due to the transitioning and how I presented to others, especially men, but it didn’t take long to figure out that it was because I now look female that I’m harassed by some men, who look at me as if I were a piece of meat.

I’ve also gained weight due to hormones and eating when stressed, happy or sad. So now, like many other women I have felt yucky about my body’s size. I began thinking about self-loathing and of saying no to the media’s insistence we all have a certain body type. I had a friend of mine pose in our bathtub that was surrounded on three sides by mirrors with a sledge hammer in her hands and making as if to hit at her reflections in the mirrors. I call the piece ‘Smashing Images.’

And only after surgery did I begin to fully appreciate my body and those of other women. As a female born in the wrong body I speak to female eroticism, the beauty I see in my sisters, the joys and power of being a woman.

Being a woman of transsexual experience has permitted me to better understand oppression and prejudice, even as a woman by other women. I am conscious of myself, my sexual identity, my gender and my orientation. I am aware of communicating my hopes and fears, my joy and my anger as well as my sadness, my chaos.

My paintings maintain this constant in that I celebrate women, those who are empowered, those who are downtrodden, those who are invisible and those who are despised, hated, feared and oppressed, beaten and abused.

If anything, my art, is a reflection of my path and I hope it has some impact, brings some pleasure and happiness but also introspection and much questioning.


Transgender kids get help navigating a difficult path

From The Los Angeles Times:,0,216229.story

Amber is one of an increasing number who are getting specialized care. The 12-year-old takes puberty-blocking drugs and hopes to have gender reassignment surgery at 16.

By Anna Gorman, Los Angeles Times
June 15, 2012
Amber, a soft-spoken, feminine 12-year-old who loves Hello Kitty and fashion design, lives with a secret. It is a secret most sixth-graders can’t fathom, one she hides behind pink skirts and makeup. It is a secret that led to all her baby pictures being tucked away as though her childhood had never happened.Amber was born a boy.

When she was 10, she stopped going by her given name, Aaron, and began dressing as a girl. Last year, she started taking medication to keep her from going through puberty.

“I can be who I am,” Amber said. “I can be a girl.”

An increasing number of children like Amber are realizing they are transgender and seeking care at clinics around the nation. Because of their age, the complex and emotional journey is as much their parents’ as their own. Families are forced to make tough decisions about therapy and medication, and about what to tell friends and relatives. They are trying to give their children a normal upbringing with summer camps and sleepovers while protecting them from harm and embarrassment.

“How do you move through society with a gender-variant child?” said Nancy Quay, a psychotherapist at the University of Michigan gender services program. “What do you tell your neighbors? How do you keep your child safe?”

For Amber’s parents, Michelle and Jamie, the last few years have been a roller coaster of emotions — guilt for not recognizing earlier that their daughter was transgender, grief over losing Aaron and worries about Amber’s future.

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NCTE Release Student’s “Know Your Rights” Guide

From The National Center for Transgender Equality:

June 14, 2012

Following the  Obama Administration’s groundbreaking letterto primary and some secondary schools clarifying who is protected under Title IX, courts and federal agencies have concluded that discrimination or harassment because a person is transgender or gender non-conforming constitute sex discrimination.

To help students understand and assert their rights in schools, the National Center for Transgender Equality is releasing Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Students: Your Rights at School, a new resource that outlines the laws protecting trans people in school and steps for bringing harassment and discrimination complaints to the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights.

In the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, participants who expressed a transgender identity or gender nonconformity while in grades K-12 faced alarming obstacles:

  • Seventy-eight percent reported harassment
  • Thirty-five percent reported physical assault
  • Twelve percent reported sexual violence
  • Fifteen percent reported leaving school
  • Fifty-one percent of participants who were harassed/bullied in school reported attempting suicide, compared to 1.6% of the general population

These shocking numbers show how important it is that all members of a school community work together to fight against discrimination. Anyone, including friends, family, and school staff, can file a complaint. Complaints do not need to be filed by the person(s) experiencing the bullying, harassment or discrimination. More details on filing complaints, as well as other options and resources, are available in our new guide.  

Download the guide here.

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NOM Shill Mark Regnerus’ Long History Of Using Religion To Attack Gays

From The New Civil Rights Movement:

by Scott Rose
on June 14, 2012

Reposted with Permission

In its dirty War Against Gays, the National Organization for Marriage never has hesitated to tell lies, more lies, and even more lies towards perpetuating the absolute evil of sexual orientation apartheid.

So it came as no surprise whatsoever that NOM’s co-founder Robert George – who has a history of publishing anti-gay lies in supposed scholarly journals — went out and found a willing theocratic shill in Mark Regnerus, to pump out, and then to promote heavily a hack propaganda “study” that does not at all measure same-sex-headed households, in order to communicate to the public the anti-gay hate speech message that same-sex parents are dangerous to children.

READ: Why Is Princeton University’s President Shielding NOM’s Founder?

The message is not far from the NOM specialty of inciting people to conflate homosexuality with pedophilia.

One of the oddest things about Regnerus’s anti-gay hate study is that it asked potential study subjects if, between their birth and the time they left home, one of their parents had ever had a same-sex romantic relationship.

Anybody who said yes, qualified to take the rest of the survey.

That is suspicious on its face, as not every parent has had an affair, and not every parent who has, has talked about it with their children.

Do you talk with your parents about their supposed extra-marital affairs? Then too; Regnerus alleges that he had to ask such a question, because through to the 1990s, there were no gay adults raising children. That is false, actually. There were, for example, through to the 1990s, gay uncles and lesbian aunts who took guardianship of children after the children’s heterosexual parents passed away. And, with the $785,000 funding that NOM’s Robert George secured for Regnerus to do a study, Regnerus could have focused on finding such families to evaluate them, instead of carrying out his malicious anti-gay hit job.

Regnerus was raised in a viciously anti-gay ambiance and is himself a theocratic heterosupremacist.

In one strikingly peculiar revelation, Regnerus wrote: ”My father, a minister, told me that he’d rather ‘bury people than marry people.’” We must not ignore that Regnerus’s writings often have been used in the past by anti-gay groups to promote anti-gay ideas. In an article sub-section titled “Changing Ideals,” Regnerus wrote: “Our Creator clearly intended for male and female to be knit together in covenantal relationship.”

READ: Opinion: How Anti-Gay Regnerus ‘Study’ Was Corrupted By NOM From Beginning To End

In that connection, everybody must take note that the “Social Science Research” editor James Wright, who published Regnerus’s study simultaneously with another anti-gay parenting study by the theocrat propagandist Loren Marks, has published books promoting “Covenant Marriage.” Wright furthermore has, in his published academic papers, written about the supposed “threat of gay marriage as a potentially destructive influence on the institution of marriage.”

Regnerus is a 1993 graduate of Trinity Christian College; even today, that school’s diversity statements say nothing about sexual orientation, or gender identity and expression. Regnerus later taught at Calvin College, which is one of the most resolutely and aggressively anti-gay schools in the country.  The Calvin College Board of Trustees only recently issued an edict that “advocacy by faculty and staff, both in and out of the classroom, for homosexual practice and same-sex marriage is unacceptable.”

As part of the gay-bashing promotional blitz of his hack job that Regnerus has been coordinating with his NOM funders, Regnerus has been lying his head off. On the evangelical website Patheos, Regnerus held a Q&A with himself, to promote his study, and his and NOM’s faith-based anti-gay hate, in which he fraudulently alleged that his personal religious viewpoint had nothing to do with his study. Meanwhile on his Trinity Christian College alumnus biography, Regnerus says:  ”After I graduated, I went to seminary.” Regnerus goes on to say: ”As Christians, our lives should reflect our relationship with God and our desire to glorify Him. I’ve noticed that some Christian professors see a disconnect between their faith and their profession. I believe that if your faith matters, it should inform what you teach and what you research.” Regnerus further says: “When I teach . . .  my worldview colors what I do in the classroom.”  He also says: “I want my students to recognize the connection between my faith and my work.”

Which religions does Regnerus follow, incidentally? The University Of Notre-Dame profile of him reports this: “his academic interest in family formation trends and processes had arisen while still an evangelical and his recent entrance into the Catholic Church has shaped his own thinking about fertility and family life.” Pope Benedict, the erstwhile member of the Hitler Jugend, has fraudulently alleged, in an anti-gay hate-mongering outburst, that the entire future of humanity depends on banning same-sex marriage. Arch-bigot Timothy Dolan sent President Obama a letter threatening a church state conflict of unprecedented proportions over gay rights.

Meanwhile, the NOMzi theocrat gay-bashers are pushing, pushing, pushing Regnerus’s faith-based contempt for gay people. NOM ratfink Thomas Peters posted about the Regnerus theocratic poison, on using this title: “5 Reasons the Kids-of-Gay-Parents Study Means Its (sic) Time for Gay Marriage Supporters to Revisit Their Assumption.”

Peters is a Robert George protege in political gay-bashing; in his post, he articulates Robert George’s motives in hiring Regnerus as a NOM shill: “My particular hope in all of this is that individuals who originally changed their views about marriage because of previous misleading research about child outcomes display the intellectual honesty to revisit their support of same-sex marriage now that we have more conclusive evidence to the contrary.”

Got it?  The NOMzi-Regnerus theocrats are using blatant lies about gay people to push their demands that gay people not be given their inalienable rights. And to boot, the NOMzis are using, as anti-gay propaganda, a “study” that did not measure gay parenting, to say that gay rights supporters should now use that same defamatory study to apply “intellectual honesty” to their positions.

That is a typical twisted NOMzi incitement to anti-gay hate.

Regnerus himself is promoting his study to incite to anti-gay hatred and discrimination, though exactly what he says about the study depends on the venue to which he is giving an interview. Consider what he told The National Review’s Kathryn Jean Lopez.

Regnerus told Lopez that his study confirmed that married heterosexual parents provide the “gold standard” for child rearing. Where in Regnerus’s study does one see anything about a supposed “gold standard”? Did peer review perceive any “gold standard” in the data showing that a married heterosexual mother and father produces “Gold Standard Children” and that married gay and lesbian couples produce something else, maybe, for example, a silver or bronze standard? Is that what Regnerus’s research data prove? Regnerus is telling right-wing interviewers that his study proves a “gold standard” in parenting, when it absolutely does not. Regnerus studied adult children of heterosexual — perhaps bi-sexual parents — one of whom allegedly had had a same-sex affair.

Regnerus is telling the right wing media dirty gay-bashing lies about what his study says, when his study does not say those things at all. Further prior evidence of his manifest contempt for gay human beings and their rights can be found in many places on the internet.

NOM very actively is demonizing all gay parents on the basis of the Regnerus study it got funded; Regnerus is doing nothing to demand that NOM stop misrepresenting his work.

In this context, we must not forget that NOM tells its followers that gays are not human, and are “worthy to death.” During an all-day anti-gay hate symposium at Liberty University, NOM’s William C. Duncan led a session titled: “Homosexuals or Homo Sapiens; Who Deserves Protected Class Status?”

That is the level of hatred that the LGBT community is dealing with during the 2012 elections. Here, you can see Mitt Romney’s signature on the NOMzis’ gay-bashing “pledge.”

Mark Regnerus is a despicable, gay-bashing, duplicitous theocrat NOMzi shill. He has knowingly taken $785,000 to produce anti-gay propaganda for NOM’s Robert George, with a premeditated intent to demonize gay human beings in an election year, when their rights hang in the balance of who wins the election.

New York City– based novelist and freelance writer Scott Rose’s LGBT– interest by– line has appeared on Advocate .com, PoliticusUSA .com, The New York Blade, Queerty .com, Girlfriends and in numerous additional venues. Among his other interests are the arts, boating and yachting, wine and food, travel, poker and dogs. His “Mr. David Cooper’s Happy Suicide” is about a New York City advertising executive assigned to a condom account.

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Obama Trade Document leaked…

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In Struggle Over Violence Against Women Act, War on Women Turns Deadly

From Common Dreams:

by Terry O’Neill
Published on Friday, June 15, 2012 by National Organization for Women (NOW)

Rumor in Washington, D.C., has it that House conservatives bent on dismantling the Violence Against Women Act believe they’ve succeeded by setting up a heads-I-win-tails-you-lose endgame. They figure, so it’s said, that they can either force passage of the House version of VAWA — a horrendous bill that fundamentally undermines the act’s key programs — or block passage altogether of a reauthorization of this life-saving legislation, in which case they would proceed to defund its programs in next year’s federal budget.

Who knows if such speculation is true? What I do know is that these conservatives are not just playing politics. They are dead set on a broad-based anti-woman agenda that includes dismantling the Violence Against Women Act — and it’s up to us to stop them.

Here is what has happened thus far in the effort to reauthorize VAWA’s life-saving programs: The Senate passed a VAWA reauthorization bill that is supported by women’s rights and anti-violence advocates. The Senate bill would consolidate some programs to reduce costs, but at the same time expand services for underserved populations on Native American reservations and in immigrant and LGBT communities, as well as for sexual assault victims on college campuses. Senate conservatives like Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) balked at improving services to these inconvenient victims and came up with a substitute authored by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas). Not only did the Hutchison alternative fail, but the Senate went on to pass VAWA reauthorization by a vote of 68-31, with 15 Republicans (including Sen. Hutchison, to her credit) joining all Senate Democrats in support.

Over on the House side, however, conservatives picked up the failed Hutchison substitute and ran with it. The House bill, H.R.4970, fundamentally transforms the Violence Against Women Act. By slashing resources, imposing new and unnecessary costs on service providers, and turning its back on Native American women, immigrant women LGBT victims and college students, H.R.4970 essentially undoes VAWA’s victim-centered response to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. In some cases, the House bill even exposes survivors to known risks of heightened violence at the hands of their abusers.

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Gay rights now US foreign policy priority?

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A Back Door to the Public Option

From Robert Reich:

By Robert Reich
Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Any day now the Supreme Court will issue its opinion on the constitutionality of the Accountable Care Act, which even the White House now calls Obamacare.

Most high-court observers think it will strike down the individual mandate in the Act that requires almost everyone to buy health insurance, as violating the Commerce Clause of the Constitution — but will leave the rest of the new healthcare law intact.

But the individual mandate is so essential to spreading the risk and cost of health care over the whole population, including younger and healthier people, that some analysts believe a Court decision that nixes the mandate will effectively spell the end of the Act anyway.

Yet it could have exactly the opposite effect. If the Court strikes down the individual mandate, health insurance company lobbyists and executives will swarm Capitol Hill seeking to have the Act amended to remove the requirement that they insure people with pre-existing medical conditions.They’ll argue that without the mandate they can’t afford to cover pre-existing conditions.

But the requirement to cover pre-existing conditions has proven to be so popular with the public that Congress will be reluctant to scrap it.

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Britain Unveils Electronic Mass Surveillance Plan

From Huffington Post:

By Raphael Satter

LONDON — British authorities on Thursday unveiled an ambitious plan to log details about every Web visit, email, phone call or text message in the U.K. – and in a sharply-worded editorial the nation’s top law enforcement official accused those worried about the surveillance program of being either criminals or conspiracy theorists.

The government insists it’s not after content. It promises not to read the body of emails or eavesdrop on phone calls without a warrant. But the surveillance proposed in the government’s 118-page draft bill would provide authorities a remarkably rich picture of their citizens’ day-to-day lives, tracking nearly everything they do online, over the phone, or even through the post.

All that data would be kept for up to a year – ready for browsing whenever anyone in authority wanted it. In some cases, the bill envisages monitoring the information in real time.

Home Office Secretary Theresa May said in an editorial published ahead of the bill’s unveiling that only evil-doers should be frightened.

“Our proposals are sensible and limited,” she wrote in The Sun, the country’s top-selling daily. “They will give the police and some other agencies access to data about online communications to tackle crime, exactly as they do now with mobile phone calls and texts. Unless you are a criminal, then you’ve nothing to worry about from this new law.”

Yet plenty of people were worried, including a senior lawmaker from May’s governing Conservative Party.

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Monsanto to be slain by Brazilian farmers?

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Rio+20 Earth summit: scientists call for action on population

From The Guardian UK:

Joint report by 105 institutions urges negotiators to drop political inhibitions and confront rising global population and consumption

in Rio de Janeiro
The Guardian, Wednesday 13 June 2012

The Rio+20 Earth summit must take decisive action on population and consumption regardless of political taboos or it will struggle to tackle the alarming decline of the global environment, the world’s leading scientific academies warned on Thursday.

Rich countries need to reduce or radically transform unsustainable lifestyles, while greater efforts should be made to provide contraception to those who want it in the developing world, the coalition of 105 institutions, including the Royal Society, urged in a joint report.

It’s a wake-up call for negotiators meeting in Rio for the UN conference on sustainable development.

The authors point out that while the Rio summit aims to reduce poverty and reverse the degradation of the environment, it barely mentions the two solutions that could ease pressure on increasingly scarce resources.

Many in the scientific community believe it is time to confront these elephants in the room. “For too long population and consumption have been left off the table due to political and ethical sensitivities. These are issues that affect developed and developing nations alike, and we must take responsibility for them together,” said Charles Godfray, a fellow of the Royal Society and chair of the working group of IAP, the global network of science academies.

In a joint statement, the scientists said they wanted to remind policymakers at Rio+20 that population and consumption determine the rates at which natural resources are exploited and Earth’s ability to meet the demand for food, water, energy and other needs now and in the future. The current patterns of consumption in some parts of the world were unsustainable. A sharp rise in human numbers can have negative social and economic implications, and a combination of the two causes extensive loss of biodiversity.

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10 Things You Should Know About the Rio+20 Earth Summit

From Yes Magazine:

Will we turn environmental protection into a game of profit? What you need to know about the global gathering.

posted Jun 14, 2012

In 1992, the Rio Earth Summit brought world leaders together around the frame of “sustainable development” and launched global agreements on biodiversity, climate change and desertification. Two decades later, the environmental and economic crises they had hoped to stave off—global warming, record extinction rates, depleted fisheries, vast economic inequality—are upon us. And so political leaders and grassroots activists are gathering again in Rio in late June to take up the planet’s most pressing issues. Here are 10 things you should know about the Summit:

  1. What, if anything, will be decided? Rio+20 won’t produce a legally binding agreement, but the outcome document will lay out a so-called “Green Economy” agenda as a new roadmap for sustainable development.
  2. Beware of the slogan “Green Economy.” This might sound nice, but many who are using the slogan in the Rio+20 context are just trying to use the environmental crisis as an opportunity for corporate profits. They say the answer to our environmental woes is to allow corporations to buy and sell our forests, water, and other natural resources, as if they were just another widget.
  3. Value versus price. A big idea being revived for Rio is that if we put a price on natural resources and environmental services (like filtering water), we can manage them more efficiently. But this means the people with the most money get the biggest say in decisions about common resources.

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