Remove Transgender from the DSM-5

From Change.Org:

The DSM is regarded as the medical and social definition of mental disorder throughout North America and strongly influences international psychiatric nomenclature.

On January 10th, 2010, the American Psychiatric Association released proposed draft revisions for the Fifth Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) to be pulished 2013.

Transgender people’s civil rights advancement has been severely limited by our diagnosis in DSM because we are considered mentally ill by the American Psychiatric Association.

Although the propose changes for the DSM-5 has substituted “Incongruent” a less offensive word for “Dysphoria”, the ramifications from this diagnosis still exists as illustrated recently by our exclusion from the DADT repeal.

Anti transgender organizations cornerstone evidence for our dehumanization is the DSM which links our identities with with autogynephilia and pedophilia.

We will never seriously be considered ‘normal’ enough for inclusion in meanngfull human rights legislation untill we are removed from the DSM, a fact the gay community realized and acted on thirty years ago.

Our diverse gender identities are a natural gift, not a psychiatric disorder.

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Transgender Man Responds To Critics After Marriage Proposal Video Goes Viral

From Huffington Post:

Posted: 06/22/2012

WASHINGTON — A week after popping the marriage question to his girlfriend at a White House LGBT reception, a transgender man has released a video response to conservative talk show host Laura Ingraham and others who condemned the proposal, which was caught on tape and posted on YouTube.

“Somehow our proposal unleashed a wave of anti-trans and LGBT backlash,” reads the description of the video response posted by Scout, whose name is legally one word. Scout goes on to say in the video that there are “a few people who seem to have a problem with a trans guy proposing to his girlfriend at the White House. We just wanted to respond to a few of those folks.”

The video shows Scout reading aloud some of the criticisms he has gotten since news of his proposal gained traction on the Internet.

“For the people who titled the post, ‘She-Man Proposes To Girlfriend,’ we just want to note that I am actually not a superhero. I, of course, play one on TV,” he says. “To the blog that was titled, ‘Freak Show,’ we just want to remind you that it’s actually Dr. Freak Show show to you.”

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Pride, Politics, and Liberation: Pride Isn’t Just About Parades

From Huffington Post:


It’s that time of year again. Pride is in the air around the world for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and ally community now that June has arrived. Parades, festivals, music, parties, shirtless boys, dykes on bikes, and more rainbows than you can shake your high heels at will abound in cities all over the country.

As always, it is a time for celebration, community, and visibility. Yet now more than ever, LGBT Pride celebrations need be something more. We need to put the politics back in Pride. We need to be asking people to not only celebrate our community but educate and agitate, as well.

Most Pride parades fall in June to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall riots, a pivotal and defining moment in the modern LGBT-rights movement. The spirit of Stonewall, where a tired and oppressed community finally had enough and took to the streets, inspired the early Pride demonstrations. In fact, the early marches were about “gay liberation” and “gay freedom.”

In fact, my new hometown of Chicago has a long history of taking to the streets for both protest and Pride, with one of the earliest protests marches being organized here in the city by Chicago Gay Liberation on June 27, 1970. That early Liberation March in Chicago was from Washington Square Park (“Bughouse Square”) to the Water Tower at the intersection of Michigan and Chicago Avenues. Marches then continued to the Civic Center (now Richard J. Daley Plaza) so that their message could reach the maximum number of Michigan Avenue shoppers and tourists. The message of these early marches was clear: Visibility and organization can bring attention to the inequality faced daily by the LGBT community.

Over the years, Pride celebrations have shifted from their earlier protest-march forms to more celebratory parties as LGBT people have felt safer, come out of the closet, and been more visible in society and pop culture. Yet even as our parties grew larger, our legal rights and battles for equality have too often stalled, with major hurdles still facing the community every day. A level of cultural acceptance brought a sense of political apathy to the events, even though in most states even the most basic rights (like employment-discrimination protection or housing and public-accommodation rights) are denied to LGBT people.

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What Do Republicans Love about Rape?

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Sandusky Guilty of Sexual Abuse of 10 Young Boys

From The New York Times:

By Joe Drape
Published: June 22, 2012

BELLEFONTE, Pa. — Jerry Sandusky, a former Penn State assistant football coach, was convicted Friday of sexually abusing young boys, completing the downfall of a onetime local hero in a scandal that shook a proud Pennsylvania community, a prominent American university and the world of major college football.

A jury in Centre County Court convicted Sandusky, 68, of sexually assaulting 10 boys, all of them children from disadvantaged homes whom Sandusky, using his access to the university’s vaunted football program, had befriended and then repeatedly violated. The jury, seven women and five men, more than half with ties to Penn State, returned a verdict on the second day of deliberation.

Sandusky stood stoically as the jury foreman read off the verdicts on the 48 counts against him. The foreman said guilty 45 times. Many of the charges, which include rape and sodomy, carry significant prison terms, and it seems likely that Sandusky will spend the rest of his life behind bars. Sandusky was taken into custody after the verdicts were read.

The case against Sandusky, even before his trial, had exacted an enormous toll. Joe Paterno, the university’s famed head coach who had been alerted to at least one of Sandusky’s attacks on a boy, was fired, went into a kind of exile and was dead of cancer within months. The university’s longtime president, Graham B. Spanier, was dismissed as well, and Penn State officials, alumni and students were forced to confront the possibility that the interests of big-time college sports had trumped concern for the welfare of vulnerable children.

Sandusky, who had been Paterno’s longtime defensive coordinator, had also founded a charity, the Second Mile, to work with troubled youths. In a trial that lasted two weeks, prosecutors asserted that Sandusky had used the charity as his private hunting ground, scouting for potential victims. He gave them gifts and money, invited them to his home, took them to Penn State football games, showered with them at the university’s football building and slept with them in hotel rooms on the road.

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Who’s Afraid of Secular Government?

From The Nation:

June 22, 2012  

When forty-three Catholic dioceses, universities and charities simultaneously filed lawsuits against the Department of Health and Human Services last month, charging that the proposed regulation requiring insurance coverage for contraception violated their religious freedom, a simmering conflict between the First Amendment’s protections for religious freedom and against government preference for a particular religion once again took center stage.

The plaintiffs accuse the Obama administration of violating their religious freedom, a right enshrined in the Free Exercise Clause. They elevate the Free Exercise Clause above the equally important Establishment Clause, which prohibits the government from endorsing or favoring a particular religious view.

The Catholic institutions’ prospects for prevailing in these lawsuits are far from certain. Two state supreme courts, in New York and California, have ruled against Catholic groups’ religious freedom claims in challenges to substantially similar state laws. Constitutional experts believe they will fare no better in federal court. Nonetheless, by filing suit in multiple districts, the Catholic groups are aiming to succeed in at least some circuits, and to create a legal conflict that will eventually be resolved by the Supreme Court.

In the meantime, they will litigate their claims in the court of public opinion. The constituency most receptive to these religious freedom arguments, the Christian right, represents an outsize segment of the Republican Party. Savvy political organization has fueled the intensity of activist reaction, giving their arguments disproportionate attention and legitimacy.

Democrats, meanwhile, have failed to articulate a consistent rebuttal to these claims of religious discrimination and to the claim that often follows, that the United States should be governed as a “Christian nation.” Rather than forcefully arguing that the government cannot, constitutionally, be beholden to or impose upon its citizens any particular religious view, Democrats are frequently caught flat-footed reacting to charges they are secularists waging a “war on religion.” They often respond, instead, with self-defenses that they are indeed pious, their policy views guided by their own sincerely held religious beliefs. They rarely utter the words “separation of church and state,” or elevate the Establishment Clause and secular government in the same way their adversaries do the Free Exercise Clause and religious liberty.

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Julian Assange beyond the point of no return?

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Rio+20 draft text is 283 paragraphs of fluff

From The Guardian UK:

World leaders have spent 20 years bracing themselves to express ‘deep concern’ about the world’s environmental crises, but not to do anything about them

Posted by
Friday 22 June 2012

In 1992, world leaders signed up to something called “sustainability”. Few of them were clear about what it meant; I suspect that many of them had no idea. Perhaps as a result, it did not take long for this concept to mutate into something subtly different: “sustainable development“. Then it made a short jump to another term: “sustainable growth”. And now, in the 2012 Rio+20 text that world leaders are about to adopt, it has subtly mutated once more: into “sustained growth”.

This term crops up 16 times in the document, where it is used interchangeably with sustainability and sustainable development. But if sustainability means anything, it is surely the opposite of sustained growth. Sustained growth on a finite planet is the essence of unsustainability.

As political economist Robert Skidelsky, who comes at this issue from a different angle, observes in the Guardian today:

“Aristotle knew of insatiability only as a personal vice; he had no inkling of the collective, politically orchestrated insatiability that we call economic growth. The civilization of “always more” would have struck him as moral and political madness. And, beyond a certain point, it is also economic madness. This is not just or mainly because we will soon enough run up against the natural limits to growth. It is because we cannot go on for much longer economising on labour faster than we can find new uses for it.”

Several of the more outrageous deletions proposed by the United States – such as any mention of rights or equity or of common but differentiated responsibilities – have been rebuffed. In other respects the Obama government’s purge has succeeded, striking out such concepts as “unsustainable consumption and production patterns” and the proposed decoupling of economic growth from the use of natural resources.

At least the states due to sign this document haven’t ripped up the declarations from the last Earth summit, 20 years ago. But in terms of progress since then, that’s as far as it goes. Reaffirming the Rio 1992 commitments is perhaps the most radical principle in the entire declaration.

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What About Some Corporate Patriotism!

From Common Dreams:

by Ralph Nader
Published on Friday, June 22, 2012 by Common Dreams

What would happen if we asked the executives of the giant U.S. corporations, whose products constantly surround us, to show some corporate patriotism?

After all, General Electric, DuPont, Citigroup, Pfizer and others demand that they be treated as “persons” under our Constitution and our laws. And, they expect unfiltered loyalty from American workers even to the point of blocking the organization of unions so workers can band together for collective bargaining.

Moreover, many of these corporations expect to be bailed out by American taxpayers when they are in trouble, and they regularly receive a covey of direct and indirect government subsidies, giveaways and complex handouts.

Some of them pay no federal income taxes year after year, and a few game the tax laws to receive additional money back from the U.S. Treasury. Historically, the U.S. Marines and other U.S. armed forces have risked their lives to protect or protect these corporations’ overseas interests by invading or menacing numerous countries.

So it is reasonable for the American people to expect some reciprocity from these immense corporate entities that were born in the U.S. and rose to their economic prowess on the backs of American workers. The bosses of these companies believe they can have it both ways – getting all the benefits of their native country while shipping whole industries and jobs to communist and fascist regimes abroad that keep their workers in serf-like conditions.

The first test as to whether these U.S. companies have any allegiance to the U.S. and its communities is to demand that CEOs stand up at their annual shareholders meetings and pledge allegiance in the name of their corporation, not their boards of directors, “to the flag of the United States of America,” ending with that ringing phrase, voiced by millions of Americans daily, “with liberty and justice for all.”

More than seventy years ago, a famous Marine general, the double Congressional Medal of Honor awardee Smedly Butler, said his Marines were ordered to make sure the flag followed U.S. companies from Central America to Asia. In the past, the lack of allegiance was shockingly callous. DuPont and General Motors worked openly with fascist Germany and its companies before World War II and did not sever all dealings when hostilities started.

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Chicago NATO protesters charged

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Study predicts more hot spells in Southern California

From The Los Angeles Times:,0,1178174.story

UCLA researchers say the number of days topping 95 degrees each year will jump by as much as five times. The study could help local governments prepare for extreme temperatures and reduce risk to residents, L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa says.

By Louis Sahagun
June 21, 2012

By the middle of the century, the number of days with temperatures above 95 degrees each year will triple in downtown Los Angeles, quadruple in portions of the San Fernando Valley and even jump five-fold in a portion of the High Desert in L.A. County, according to a new UCLA climate change study.

The study, released Thursday, is the first to model the Southland’s complex geography of meandering coastlines, mountain ranges and dense urban centers in high enough resolution to predict temperatures down to the level of micro climate zones, each measuring 2 1/4 square miles. The projections are for 2041 to 2060.

Not only will the number of hot days increase, but the study found that the hottest of those days will break records, said Alex Hall, lead researcher on the study by UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. The record for downtown Los Angeles is 113 degrees, set Sept. 27, 2010, when the Department of Water and Power electricity demand reached a historic peak of 6,177 megawatts.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said the forecasts provide the groundwork for local governments, utilities, hospitals and other institutions to prepare for the hot spells to come. Villaraigosa said the region may have to strengthen building codes to reduce risk to residents. “That could mean replacing incentives with building codes requiring ‘green’ and ‘cool’ roofs, cool pavements, tree canopies and parks,” he said.

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Why America’s Extreme Politics Will Likely Get Even Worse

From Alternet:

A convergence of term limits, redistricting, ideology and inexperience in Congress and state legislatures will result in even more partisan gridlock.

By George Bauer
June 19, 2012

Just when you thought political incivility and partisan gridlock couldn’t get any worse, get ready for more of the same or worse next year.

In state capitals, the triple-impact of term limits, 2010’s political swing to the Tea Party right and the scourge of redistricting are poised to take a devastating toll, leaving state legislatures filled with the largest class of inexperienced ideological lawmakers in years. Nationwide, one-half or more are projected to have less than two years experience.

Moreover, as lawmakers are forced to step away from their severe campaign rhetoric and start governing, many will turn to the people with the longest institutional memories: lobbyists who are aligned with their partisan viewpoints.

Lost in this scenario, which has been discussed in magazines and Web sites catering to state legislators, is the art of compromise to serve the public.
“The biggest thing over the years has been the change in statesmanship,” Colorado legislator-turned-lobbyist Gayle Berry recently told the Denver Post. “Some of the lawmakers who had worked with governors in a different party worked in a more bipartisan manner.”
Berry should know: she’s a former Republican state representative.
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