Pride Day

Today in Dallas it came very close to hitting a hundred degrees for the first time this year.

Because of the brutal heat Pride Day in Dallas fall in late September.

I spent the day doing a serious rewrite of one of the chapters in my book.  the part I was rewriting deals with Jan Maxwell and I attending our first group session at Stanford and realizing that the grant proposal we had written to try and obtain funding from the Erickson Foundation targeted a very limited demographic.

We were a pair of young activist trying to cobble together an under funded support center and while our intentions were noble our scope was limited due to the way the various elements of different trans-communities were structured.

This chapter documents my participation in a pioneer trans-organization and how we helped provide some of the ideas involved in trans-support organizations in the pre-internet days.

Rewrite is part of the process.

Looking at how the earlier drafts were constructed and ordered chopping parts that break up the narrative, even if they are funny anecdotes that would be great in a different piece about the same period.

Our center started in a building on Third and Mission and moved to a store front on Turk Street.

I haven’t been in San Francisco since 1987.

Most of the Pride Day Parades I participated in were in Los Angeles.  The first was in 1974, along Hollywood Blvd.  Troy Perry and Morris Kight saw me and recognized me from some conferences.  They asked me to say something to show the TS/TG sisters that they were welcome and part of the community.

Over the years the marches became less political and more like a party with all the usual Corporate Suspects trading a banner, a float and a few bucks in order to sell a lot of their products to LGBT/T people.

Now they have Trans-Marches and  as one of those elders who was a pioneer I might actually be asked sometime to take part in one.

Oddly the idea upsets me less now than it would have a few years back.

Perhaps it is my writing and realizing what I did.

Perhaps the journey of researching, ordering ideas and events have reminded me of how much better people so many of us were back in the idealistic days of the 1960s and the 1970s too, back before the rise of the right wing and all the reactionary hateful bullshit.

I want to thank any and all of my readers who marched today, even if it was more party than political.

And if you took part in a Trans-Pride March, good for you.  I hope you got a bunch of sisters and brothers to march with you.

To those who took it upon themselves to get together a bunch of people, enough to have you own march I extend my congratulations.

I was so discouraged back in the 1990s when it was the same dozen or so activists who showed up every year.

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Scientists warn US east coast over accelerated sea level rise

From The Guardian UK:

Study says sea level is rising far faster than elsewhere, which could increase incidence of New York flooding, Sunday 24 June 2012

Sea level rise is accelerating three to four times faster along the densely populated east coast of the US than other US coasts, scientists have discovered. The zone, dubbed a “hotspot” by the researchers, means the ocean from Boston to New York to North Carolina is set to experience a rise up a third greater than that seen globally.

Asbury Sallenger, at the US geological survey at St Petersburg, Florida, who led the new study, said: “That makes storm surges that much higher and the reach of the waves that crash onto the coast that much higher. In terms of people and communities preparing for these things, there are extreme regional variations and we need to keep that in mind. We can’t view sea level rise as uniform, like filling up a bath tub. Some places will rise quicker than others and the whole urban corridor of north-east US is one of these places.”

The hotspot had been predicted by computer modelling, but Sallenger said: “Our paper is the first to focus on using real data to show [the acceleration] is happening now and that we can detect it now.”

The rapid acceleration, not seen before on the Pacific of Gulf coasts of the US, may be the result of the slowing of the vast currents flowing in the Altantic, said Sallenger. These currents are driven by cold dense water sinking in the Arctic, but the warming of the oceans and the flood of less dense freshwater into the Arctic from Greenland’s melting glaciers means the water sinks less quickly. That means a “slope” from the fastest-moving water in the mid-Atlantic down to the US east coast relaxes, pushing up sea level on the coast.

“Coastal communities have less time to adapt if sea levels rise faster,” said Stefan Rahmstorf, at the Potsdam Institute Germany, who published a separate study in the same journal, Nature Climate Change, on Sunday. Rahmstorf’s team showed that even relatively mild climate change, limited to 2C, would cause global sea level to rise between 1.5 and 4 metres by the year 2300. If nations acted to cutting carbon emissions so the temperature rise was only 1.5C, the sea level rise would be halved, the researchers found.

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Rio+20: Vengeance Too Long Delayed

From Common Dreams:

by Gwynne Dyer
Published on Sunday, June 24, 2012 by Common Dreams

There was no law against genocide in the early 1940s; it only became an internationally recognized crime after the worst genocide of modern history had actually happened. Similarly, there is no law against “ecocide” now. That will only come to pass when the damage to the environment has become so extreme that large numbers of people are dying from it even in rich and powerful countries.

They are already dying from the effects of environmental destruction in some poor countries, but that makes no difference because they are powerless. By the time it starts to hurt large numbers of people in powerful countries, twenty or thirty years from now, most of the politicians who conspired to smother any substantial progress at the Rio+20 Earth Summit will be safely beyond the reach of any law. But eventually there will be a law.

Rio+20, which ended last Friday, was advertised as a “once-in-a-generation” opportunity to build on the achievements of the original Earth Summit, held in the same city twenty years ago. That extraordinary event produced a legally binding treaty on biodiversity, an agreement on combating climate change that led to the Kyoto accord, the first initiative for protecting the world’s remaining forests, and much more besides.

This time, few leaders of the major powers even bothered to attend. They would have come only to sign a summit statement, “The Future We Want”, that had already been nibbled to death by special interests, national and corporate. “(The) final document… contributes almost nothing to our struggle to survive as a species,” said Nicaraguan representative Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann. “We now face a future of increasing natural disasters.”

A plan to stop the destruction of the world’s oceans was blocked by the US, Canada and Russia. The final text simply says that countries should do more to prevent over-fishing and ocean acidification, without specifying what. A call to end subsidies for fossil fuels was removed from the final text, as was language emphasizing the reproductive rights of women. And of course there were no new commitments on fighting climate change.

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Genetically modified grass blamed for mass cattle deaths in Texas

From Raw Story:

By Jonathan Terbush
Saturday, June 23, 2012

A form of genetically modified grass is being cited as the likely culprit in the sudden death of a herd of cattle in Central Texas, according to CBS News.

Preliminary tests revealed that the grass, an altered form of Bermuda grass known as Tifton 85, had mysteriously begun producing cyanide gas. Scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture are conducting further tests to determine if some sort of mutation caused the grass to suddenly begin giving off the deadly gas.

The cattle died roughly three weeks ago while grazing on a ranch in Elgin, Texas, about 20 miles east of Austin. According to the ranch’s owner, Jerry Abel, the cattle began howling shortly after being let out to graze one day. Fifteen of his eighteen cattle died, all of them in a matter of hours.

Abel told CBS that he’d been using the modified grass for about fifteen years with no problems, until now. And he’s not the only one with a suddenly toxic pasture. Other farmers in the area who use the same modified grass have also found cyanide on their properties, though as yet no other cattle have died.

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Domestic Violence Survivors Battle Within the Courts: Confronting Retaliatory Litigation

From Truth Out:

By Antoinette Bonsignore
Friday, 22 June 2012

Among the many abuses Jane suffered at the hands of her former husband Thomas, her most vivid memory was when Thomas poured hot water on her and told her she deserved it. The seemingly calculated, almost premeditated nature of that abuse would be a harbinger of what was to come after she escaped the relationship. Jane Davis(1)married her husband Thomas in December 1994. Thomas was physically and verbally abusive during their marriage. Jane finally decided to obtain a domestic violence protection order against her husband in Kitsap County, Washington State. Jane’s ex parte protection order was granted in January 2007; but three days after the court granted the order, Thomas was arrested when Jane called the police to report that he was violating that order. Those charges were eventually dropped by the prosecutor. In February 2007, the court granted Jane a one-year protection order. Later that month, Jane filed for divorce and in June 2008 the court granted the divorce, ordering primary custody of their son with Jane because Thomas had engaged in abusive use of conflict.

Thomas appealed that decision and then separately filed a lawsuit against Jane, against Jane’s former employer  and against Jane’s boyfriend. He also filed lawsuits against judges, law enforcement officials and court officials who had been involved with the case. In total, Thomas ended up pursuing eight separate lawsuits. Not only were these lawsuits meritless, but this pattern of retaliatory litigation had a devastating impact on Jane’s life. Thomas based some of his abusive litigation claims on the very fact that Jane filed for a protection order and that she then reported violations of that protection order to the police. This type of abusive litigation based on reports of domestic violence deters vulnerable, low-income women from seeking out police and legal protection. Women fear that regardless of the merit of their complaints, they may at the very least be forced to make repeated court appearances to defend against such lawsuits.

A recent case that is being reviewed before the California Court of Appeals, Ms. H v. Mr. H, presents a similar pattern of a domestic violence survivor seeking out the aid of law enforcement and being forced to defend against abusive litigation. In Ms. H v. Mr. H, the victim is being forced to defend herself against a malicious prosecution lawsuit brought by her abuser and former husband for the simple fact that she called the police when she needed protection. The calculated nature of retaliatory litigation speaks volumes about the need to exert control and power over a victim once that victim chooses to separate herself physically from her abuser. And ironically, the very legal system that a victim once believed would protect her from that abuser essentially becomes another weapon that can cause emotional and financial devastation.

Abusers may utilize a vast array of weapons to retaliate against victims in the legal arena. Common examples of litigation and the abuse of the legal process pursued by abusers against domestic violence survivors include:

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Do You Look Like a Prostitute? (Whatever That Means): It Might Mean No Taxi Cabs

From Alternet:

Throughout history, laws that are supposed to “protect” women have pushed prostitutes to the margins of cities and the social order itself.

By Melissa Gira Grant
June 22, 2012

We’re told that being a prostitute will mark a woman for life. Yet after several millennia of practice, lawmakers and social reformers still struggle to identify what a sex worker looks like.

You know,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said (in a June 15 appearance on WOR’s perfectly named “The John Gambling Show”) when asked what might go wrong with a bill that could penalize taxi drivers who knowingly transport people in the sex trade, “if I were a young lady and I dressed in a ‘sporty way’ — or however you want to phrase it, and there’s nothing wrong with that — I would not want somebody thinking that I’m a prostitute.”

Has Mayor Stop-and-Frisk given pause on an issue of criminal profiling? Even the reliably hooker-baiting New York Post came out swinging against the bill, citing a protest held by women bartenders, who “aren’t hookers – they just look like they can be!” concerned that cab drivers would leave them stranded for fear of getting stung.

The intention of this bill, according to proponents like New York City Council Speaker (and mayoral hopeful) Christine Quinn, is to make it undesirable for taxi and livery drivers in the city to risk any involvement in what they call “sex trafficking.” But the bill doesn’t actually say that: it hits taxi and livery drivers with a $10,000 fine and the revocation of their license if they “knowingly allow” their vehicle to be “used for the purpose of promoting prostitution.”

Attorneys at the Sex Workers Project (SWP) have argued that language like “promoting prostitution” is too vague. “It could include anyone who knowingly aids another person to commit prostitution and anyone who receives money from someone else, knowing it came from prostitution,” SWP co-director Sienna Baskin said in testimony to the city council. No matter what the bill’s intentions, cab drivers could end up passing up fares from sex workers – or people they think might be sex workers.

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