Sadly Not From The Onion – Texas GOP Against Thinking & Voting Rights

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Respect for Others and Words Meant to Belittle or Degrade: “Effeminate”

Effeminate is a word from the vocabulary of bigots, both homophobic bigots and transphobic bigots.

It has seriously misogynistic overtones and there isn’t an equivalent term for masculine women.

Just as tomboy girls are given all sorts of positive feedback for being gutsy, athletic etc, at least until puberty.

Sissy boys are reviled and abused from the cradle. In some ways, at least for per-pubescent children the rigid gender binary is much stricter for those assigned male at birth than it is for those assigned female.

Stories of young transkids being allowed by their parents to be themselves are a rarity.  Many more transkids and feminine young gay kids are physically and emotionally abused for their failure to to conform to those rigid standards of masculinity.

If anything awareness of LGBT has made things worse for obviously gay or trans kids than they were when I was a kid.

Effeminate is one of those bigot words that are used by people who think they are sounding polite, yet it is misogynistic as well as homophobic and transphobic as the implication is there is something wrong with femininity.

When in reality both masculinity and femininity are artificial social constructs that impose rules that say these behaviors are masculine and these are feminine then go about enforcing those rules through the mumbo-jumbo of organized superstition as well as custom and laws.

Effeminacy (From Wikipedia)

Effeminacy describes traits in a human male, that are more often associated with traditional feminine nature, behavior, mannerisms, style or gender roles rather than masculine nature, behavior, mannerisms, style or roles.

It is a term frequently applied to womanly behavior, demeanor, style and appearance displayed by a male, typically used implying criticism or ridicule of this behavior (as opposed to, for example, merely describing a male as feminine, which is non-judgmental). The term effeminate is most often used by people who subscribe to the conventional view that males should conform to traditional masculine traits and behaviors. Generally, the description is applied to individuals, but may be used to describe entire societies as an inflammatory allegation. Although in the Western tradition, as described below, effeminacy has often been considered a vice, indicative of other negative character traits and often involving a pejorative insinuation of homosexual tendencies, in other societies, feminine males may be considered a distinct human gender (third gender), and may have a special social function, as is the case of Two-Spirits in some Native American groups. Furthermore, in contemporary culture, effeminacy has come to be seen by some to be simply one characteristic or trait which might be a part of a particular person’s “gender role”, and in this sense would not be considered a vice or indicative of any other characteristics. An effeminate male is similar to a fop or a dandy, though these tend to be archaic identities that are taken on by the individual rather than insulting labels.

In most cultures, effeminacy was traditionally considered, if not a vice, at least a weakness, indicative of other negative character traits and more recently often involving a negative insinuation of homosexual tendencies or sexual passivity, even though the individual possibly could be heterosexual or bisexual.

The definition of what constitutes effeminate behavior varies greatly depending on the social and cultural context, as well as on the time period.

This word has a negative connotation when applied to any person male or female.  It is one of those reptilian words much beloved by fascists and Stalinists alike for it has greater implications than just condemning homosexuality or transsexualism/transgenderism. That word and its derivatives have a misogynistic implication that feminine traits are negative and inferior to masculine traits.

The term is sometimes used for women, always with negative connotations.It is a male supremacist term from a masculinity worshiping culture.

Yesterday I was asked what the appropriate and non-pejorative term would be.

That is an easy one to answer.  Feminine or femininity.

Which brings us to gay men.

One of the major road blocks to the formation of an LGBT Community in the aftermath of Stonewall was the flight of gay men from the stigma of being labeled feminine.  Another aspect was the lesbian, “rejection of butch/femme” roles.

Queens and transsexuals were kind of on our own which is why it too another 25 or so years for any sort of acknowledgement, much less the addition of a “T” to the queer alphabet soup.

Conservatives, who are the spiritual love children of fascism and Nazism have hyped a harsh masculinist culture.  They believe the role of women to be Kinder, Küche, Kirche hence the pushing of abstenence until marriage, no birth control or abortions and no pay check fairness.

One of their slurs against gay men is that they are effeminate and therefore not real men.  All based the horror of the idea of a male being used like a woman and penetrated by a penis during sex.

Masculinist think is that the most horrible, most degrading thing that can happen is to have a man stick his penis in you and ejaculate into your body.

It is unimaginably vile for a person assigned male at birth to display feminine traits that signal that person’s willingness to have a male enter them in sexual intercourse.

This is part of what is behind the rage that results in so many transphobic murders.

For people such as these it is inconceivable that a person assigned male at birth would willingly be come female or live in what is considered the female gender role unless such person were a horribly perverted freak.

The assumption being that the transsexual, transgender woman or even the feminine gay man is faking their femininity to seduce and contaminate the masculine man.

The label “effeminate” is a way of denying the  authenticity to the T to F person or the gay man.

To make a long story short I generally consider “effeminate” a pejorative word.  Don’t use it in comments unless you want to severely piss me off.  Use feminine instead.

Also don’t fucking come here expecting to be allowed to engage in the “she is a gay man or blahblahblah because she isn’t exactly like me and I am the only real transsexual” argument.

It’s a bullshit game and not a valid point.

If it makes anyone come off as sketchy it is the person presenting that argument.

Penny Arcade: “Someone is always queer”

From New Statesman:

The performance artist talks bisexuality, feminism and being an outsider.

By Juliet Jacques
Published 27 June 2012

Performance artist Penny Arcade loves talking to her audiences, and wants to be friends with everyone. Her signature show, called Bitch! Dyke! Faghag! Whore! (BDFW) after the insults most often thrown at her, was written in response to Senator Jesse Helms’ amendment banning the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) from funding ‘obscene or indecent art’ in 1990. A subjective exploration of identity, feminism and censorship that combines dance, theatre and activism, it remains the closest Penny has come to a mainstream hit, being performed over 1,500 times worldwide and opening for an extended run at Dalston’s Arcola Tent on 27 June.

Its simple message – that “when we feel accepted and included, there’s more room for others to be who they are” – was forged in a life on the margins, amongst people with “hard-won values”. Born Susana Ventura to Italian immigrants in New Britain, a small Connecticut town, Penny went to borstal aged 12 and, on release, fled to New York. There, she negotiated its queer and street culture, closely linked before the Stonewall riots of 1969 (where she joined the fight against the police), and then gay/lesbian and feminist politics in the decade between the rising and the onset of AIDS, always seeking refuge in the city’s artistic and sexual subcultures.

This personal history is crucial to her work, Penny tells me over an hour-long engagement. Delivered backstage at the Soho Theatre, this is less an interview, more an improvised monologue for a one-person crowd, its flow almost unbroken as she answers my questions before I ask them. (It’s not until she stops that I realise I’d left them in the foyer.) “In BDFW, I talk about being mentored by gay men who saw something in me,” she says, discussing her path to John Vaccaro’s avant-garde Theatre of the Ridiculous (so named because “the situation had gone beyond the absurd”) and Andy Warhol’s Factory, and then to her forty-year stage career. “I was raised by queens: there was a real sense of community. We needed that to survive.”

She didn’t become an outsider by choice, though: she came to revel in this position because, like her friend Quentin Crisp, who told the Sunday Telegraph in 1991 that Penny was the person with whom he most identified, she was systematically excluded from an early age. She came to understand process years later, when she ran a show for 26 people from her hometown, including her teacher, Miss McCarthy.

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Unafraid of Aging

From The New York Times:

Published: June 25, 2012

The signal public health achievement of the 20th century was the increase of the average human life span. Now, as that achievement helps raise the proportion of the aged around the world, what once seemed an unalloyed blessing is too often regarded as a burden — a financial burden, a health care burden, even a social burden.

“It’s nuts,” said Dr. Linda P. Fried, an epidemiologist and geriatrician who is dean of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University. “To assume defeat from what every one of us as individuals wants suggests we’re not asking the right questions.”

Findings from the science of aging, Dr. Fried said, should “reframe our understanding of the benefits and costs of aging.”

From her perch at Mailman, a position she has held for four years, Dr. Fried is pushing students, professors and a wider audience to ask the right questions and ponder the right policies for coping with an aging world population.

Dr. Fried’s mandate is to lead a school that will give a new generation the tools to deal with global challenges to public health, including environmental degradation, climbing health care costs and the pressure of rapid urbanization. But she believes that research on aging and health changes “across the life course” are central to designing solutions to public health problems in the 21st century.

The Mailman School is newly energized, with enrollment in the master’s and doctoral programs up 26 percent over the last four years, and grants from the National Institutes of Health up 12 percent in 2011 — a year in which the overall N.I.H. budget declined slightly. Mailman’s curriculum has undergone a major redesign to reflect a new emphasis on health preservation and prevention for every stage of life. Interdisciplinary study will be required of all students. The curriculum, Dr. Fried boasts, is “absolutely unique” among schools of public health, and has generated a great deal of interest. Applications for 2012 admission to the master’s program were up more than 20 percent from the year before.

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Obamacare…are we “all” in this together or not?

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The Deadly Addiction to Cheap Meat

From In These Times:

BY Terry J. Allen
June 27, 2012

America’s cheap meat habit is costing more than we bargained for. The factory farming of cows, pigs, poultry and fish sucks up 29 million pounds—80 percent—of antibiotics sold in the United States.

Many illness-causing bacteria are now resistant to most or all of the antibiotics that once killed them. While the overuse of antibiotics on humans has contributed to this public health crisis, the most egregious factor in creating antibiotic resistance is the routine, widespread, greed-driven dosing of livestock. About a quarter of U.S. meat and poultry samples contain antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

The FDA, after more than three decades of dithering, has finally acknowledged a “mounting public health problem of global significance.” But, when even industry acknowledges a serious problem, an April FDA report containing “non-binding recommendations” politely asks the food industry to use antibiotics “judiciously”—and gives industry three years to figure out how to circumvent the reforms.

In 1946, producers discovered that adding antibiotics to feed increased animal growth—and industry profits. This subtherapeutic dosing also allowed livestock to survive filthy, overcrowded conditions that would otherwise generate high and unprofitable rates of disease and death.

Antibiotics work by targeting specific bacteria, but they can leave the field open for resistant strains. CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations) are nearly ideal for generating resistant bacteria, and then spreading them through workers, flies, soil, air, water and, of course, food. Strains of strep; MRSA; tuberculosis; malaria; pneumonia; gonorrhea; various food poisons, including salmonella; along with other dangerous pathogens are increasingly impervious to common, inexpensive antibiotics.

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America criminalizing HIV?

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Climate Change to Make Los Angeles 4-5°F Hotter Over Next 30 Years

From Tree Hugger:

Mat McDermott
June 27, 2012

Mother Jones points out a new study trying to determine how much the greater Los Angeles area will warm because of climate change. The results are pretty dramatic.

Under business-as-usual climate scenarios the region warms on average 4.6°F by 2041. There are some notable differences however, based on geography.

Along the ocean temperatures will increase 3.5-4°F, mountains and deserts warm 4.5-5.5°F, and dense urban areas warm 4-4.5°F. More warming is expected to occur in summer and fall than in spring and winter.

What that means for days above 95°F also varies by locality.

Coastal areas like Santa Monica, Venice and San Pedro, which now rarely top 95°F because of the cooling influence of the ocean may see one day a year topping that. In Downtown LA, perhaps 4.6 days above 95°F, an increase of about four days each year. In Pasadena, hot days go from 3 days to 9.5 days. The greatest increase (and this goes beyond Los Angeles really) is in Lancaster, where days topping 95°F increase from 20 days today to about 55 days. Palm Springs (even further afield), which now sees 75 days above 95°F, increases to 119 days each year—a third of the year with days topping 95°F.

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As Labor Struggles, Have the Big Rights and Liberties Groups Like the ACLU Deserted Unions?

From Alternet:

While labor is under powerful battering from conservatives, a strong case can be made that they aren’t being supported by some of our most prominent human rights groups.

By Mark Ames
June 25, 2012

Progressive intellectuals have been acting very bipolar towards labor lately, characterized by wild mood swings ranging from the “We’re sorry we abandoned labor, how could we!” sentiment during last year’s Wisconsin uprising against Koch waterboy Scott Walker, to the recent “labor is dead/it’s all labor’s fault” snarling after the recall vote against Gov. Walker failed.

It must be confusing and a bit daunting for those deep inside the labor movement, all these progressive mood swings. At the beginning of this month, New York Times’ columnist Joe Nocera wrote a column about having a “V-8 Moment” over the abandonment of labor unions, an abandonment that was so thorough and so complete that establishment liberals like Nocera forgot they’d ever abandoned labor in the first place!

The intellectual-left’s wild mood swings between unrequited love towards labor unions, and unrequited contempt, got me wondering how this abandonment of labor has manifested itself. While progressives and labor are arguing, sometimes viciously, over labor’s current sorry state, one thing progressives haven’t done is serious self-examination on how and where this abandonment of labor manifests itself, how it affects the very genetic makeup of liberal assumptions and major premises.

So I did a simple check: I went to the websites of three of the biggest names in liberal activist politics: Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the ACLU. Checking their websites, I was surprised to find that not one of those three organizations lists labor as a major topic or issue that it covers.

Go to Amnesty International’s home page at On the right side, under “Human Rights Information” you’ll see a pull-down menu: “by topic.” Does labor count as a “Human Rights topic” in Amnesty’s world? I counted 27 “topics” listed by Amnesty International, including “Abolish the death penalty”, “Indigenous Peoples”, “ “Children and Human Rights” and so on. Nowhere do they have “labor unions” despite the brutal, violent experience of labor unions both here and around the world. It’s not that Amnesty’s range isn’t broad: For example, among the 27 topics there are “Women’s rights”, “Stop Violence Against Women” and “Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity”. There’s even a topic for “Business and Human Rights”—but nothing for labor.

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Monsanto’s seedy legacy

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Class War at the Supreme Court

From The Washington Post:

Harold Meyerson
June 26, 2012

On the eve of the Supreme Court’s much anticipated ruling on Obamacare, here is a simple test for detecting the politics behind a decision: When reading the rulings, look for the double standards and answers to questions not posed by the cases themselves. By those measures, the Supreme Court’s record in the past week fairly reeks of the justices’ politics.

Exhibit A is Justice Samuel Alito’s majority opinion in Knox v. Service Employees International Union, Local 1000, in which nonunion California state employees whose wages and benefits were nonetheless set through the collective bargaining process of SEIU — the state’s largest union — sued the local to get back a special dues assessment it levied in 2005 to fight two ballot measures. The union’s normal practice was to allow nonmembers to opt out of paying the roughly 44 percent of dues that went to matters not directly related to collective bargaining, such as election campaigns. In this instance, however, no such opt-out was allowed.

The issue before the court was whether mandating the collection of the special assessment from nonmembers violated their constitutional rights to free speech. Alito and the four other conservative justices ruled that it did, and liberal Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg agreed in a concurring opinion. But Alito’s opinion didn’t stop there. It also changed the long-standing practice of allowing nonmembers to opt out of paying dues toward union functions outside collective bargaining, mandating instead that the unions “may not exact any funds from nonmembers without their affirmative consent.” In other words, unions would have to ask for nonmembers’ permission to collect political assessments and, possibly, any dues at all. “Individuals should not be compelled to subsidize private groups or private speech,” Alito wrote.

Alito’s ruling struck at the heart of American unionism. By laying the groundwork for creating a right for nonmembers to avoid dues payments, he came close to nationalizing the right-to-work laws that 23 states have adopted (though 27 have not). As Sotomayor noted in a somewhat astonished dissent (Ginsburg and Justices Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan dissented on this point as well), this wasn’t the question before the court. Neither side had argued that issue in their briefs or oral presentations. “The majority announces its novel rule,” Sotomayor wrote, “without any analysis of potential countervailing arguments.” And it did so in defiance of the court’s own Rule 14, which states that “only the questions set out in the petition or fairly included therein will be considered by the Court.”

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