Friday Night Fun and Culture: Marshall Chapman

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The UNAUTHORIZED Trans* March of Toronto’s Pride Week

From Christin Malloy:

I want to draw some attention to an excellent street march event which is set to take place in Toronto tomorrow, Friday June 29th.

The UNAUTHORIZED Trans* March of Toronto’s Pride Week is billed as an opportunity for Trans* (transgender and transsexual), Genderqueer, and other gender variant people and their allies to get out into the major streets of Toronto, and march in support of their community. I’m proud to be part of organizing this important event.

From the event listing:

We will march through Toronto’s Major Streets on the eve of PRIDE weekend, to bring the message of Respect, Acceptance, and Solidarity for Trans*, Genderqueer, and gender variant people OUT from behind the rainbow curtain, and into the awareness of the greater community.

We are marching AFTER the “Official” Pride Toronto Trans March, on Friday June 29th. We encourage all of our participants to consider marching in BOTH events, and we’ve designed our march specifically to make that possible.

It’s pretty neat. The plan is to start up from the precise point where the “Official” Pride Toronto Trans March will finish off, so anyone doing the official march can just join in to this (bigger) March as well.

Here are the key points:

Please feel free to bring your own message– signs are welcome and encouraged. The event organizers’ main messages will be:
1. STAND in solidarity, with those who have suffered from transphobic violence and oppression, and recognize the ongoing intersecting struggles of all people marginalized by transphobia and gender binaries.
2. CELEBRATE Provincial Victory for Trans Human Rights (“Toby’s Act”)
3. DEMAND Federal Action for Trans Human Rights (“C-279″)
4. DEMONSTRATE for societal change; respect for trans* and gender variant identities and expressions

More information is available on the facebook page. I hope to see you there.

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Toronto Ca.: Transcending Stereotypes

From Now Toronto:

It will take a while for this to sink in, but it’s not only immoral to discriminate against trans people – it’s now illegal
By Susan Gapka
June 28-July 5, 2012

When you unpack it all, human beings have more in common with each other than we have separating us. But sometimes it’s hard to remember that.

Two weeks ago we took another step toward that commonality. Ontario passed Bill 33, an act to amend the Human Rights Code with respect to gender identity and expression. This would protect transsexual and transgender persons. And I’m overjoyed.

Not only is it wrong to discriminate against trans people, but it’s now illegal, a fact that sends a clear message to employers, landlords, restaurant owners and gyms that they can never say, “We don’t serve, hire or rent to people like you.” It tells the trans community that we are included, that we are valued.

Of course, there are still people who don’t get it yet, but we hope to surround them with positive, supportive messages. The issue is, we look different, we sound different. Our body image doesn’t always express who we think we are inside, and sometimes people see us as different.

Imagine me on the telephone, for example. I’ve been refused credit card validation, had trouble activating accounts and dealing with student loans – those at the other end of the line don’t believe I’m Susan because of my deep voice. I have to be more patient, but it wears me down.

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Massachusetts: The Transgender Equal Rights Law Goes Into Effect July 1, 2012

The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition:

Transgender Equal Rights in Massachusetts

Gunner Scott
June 28th, 2012

On July 1, 2012, the Transgender Equal Rights Law goes into effect in Massachusetts. Making Massachusetts the 16th state to add non-discrimination laws for gender identity in the areas of employment, housing, K-12 public education, and credit. Additionally, Massachusetts Hate Crimes laws were also updated to include gender identity. This law is known as An Act Relative to Gender Identity.

This happened because of YOU! All of your hard work in educating legislators, the media, and the public about the experiences that transgender youth, adults, and families face.

Today, MTPC has been working to make sure this law gets implemented, contacting
state agencies, talking with employers, and educating service organizations to make sure their policies reflect the reality that transgender people cannot be discriminated in hiring, buying or renting a home, or attending public schools. Over the next few weeks MTPC will be releasing a series of “Best Practices” guidelines covering different areas of the law.

We know this law is not perfect and there is still work to be done in making sure transgender youth, adults, and families are protected in every facet of their lives, including accessing places that serve the public. If you experience discrimination in any places the law now covers or public accommodations, there is help. Please report your experience to MTPC, considering filing a complaint with MCAD, Fair Housing, or with the State Attorney General or contact GLAD’s legal infoline.

Planning is already underway for filing public accommodations protections in 2013, but we cannot do this without you. Legislators and policy makers need to hear about your experiences in accessing places like restaurants, hotels, emergency rooms, nightclubs, museums, retail stores, hair salons, barber shops, court houses, government offices, city halls, or any place serving the public. If you feel you have been treated unfairly contact MTPC and tell your story. MTPC also needs the resources to make that happen, consider making a donation today.

Thank you for helping MTPC and helping your community in making Massachusetts a better place for all of us to live, work, and/or go to school in. We might all wake up on Sunday morning and not notice anything different, but I know I will feel more empowered to stand up for myself and the transgender community knowing the law is behind me and I hope you will too.


Gunner Scott

Executive Director

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Do People Get Less Religious When Societies Grow More Egalitarian?

From Alternet:

When countries embrace progressive social policy, that tends to create a decline in religious belief. Why?

By Amanda Marcotte
June 25, 2012

Slowly but surely, religion’s historical monopoly on the human mind is breaking apart. On its surface, the reason seems straightforward: the rise of secular democracy and especially of scientific understanding should encourage more people to give up on religion.

In fact, recent research from the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago shows that the picture worldwide is much more complex than that. While atheism is on the rise in many places in the world, others are seeing a rise in religiosity, creating a situation where the levels of belief and non-belief vary wildly depending on culture. A lot of it has to do with history and culture, but one intriguing thread can be pulled from the picture, which is that there seems to be a strong correlation between high rates of atheism and countries that prioritize economic equality and make higher investments in a strong social safety net, such as France and the Netherlands.

Could liberal policies help create non-believers? Previous research indicates that when countries embrace progressive social policy, that tends to create a decline in religious belief. The theory, often called the “secularization thesis” is that the combination of good education of its citizens and the fact that citizens can rely on the government instead of the church for poverty relief means that more people will turn away from religion. But could the reasons go deeper than that? Few people base their choice of whether to believe in God or not on something as simple as whether they can go to the church or the state in times of need. Perhaps it’s more that economic insecurity itself increases the desire to believe in God. And if atheists want to minimize the power religion plays in society, should they start by demanding a more secure and egalitarian society?

There’s a heavy body of research showing that the more stress and uncertainty people face, the more likely they are to engage in what psychologists call “magical thinking”: superstition, prayer, belief in the supernatural. In 2008, Jennifer Whitson and Adam Galinsky published a paper in Science demonstrating that when you remove the amount of control people have over their situation, they tend to engage more in “illusory pattern perception,” which is the psychological process that creates belief in the supernatural. Other research has shown the real-world effects of this psychological tendency, showing, for instance, that people living in war zones tend to engage in more magical thinking, such as carrying lucky charms or believing in the power of prayer, than those who don’t.

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Time for Congress to Impeach Justice Antonin Scalia

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How Medicaid Expansion Affects Gay and Transgender Communities

From Think Progress:

Andrew Cray and Kellan Baker
Jun 28, 2012

The Supreme Court’s decision on health reformconcludes a tense chapter in the life of the Affordable Care Act. The lawsuit decided today challenged the constitutionality of several important provisions of the law, including the expansion of the Medicaid program to cover lower-income people without insurance.

On the issue of Medicaid, the court’s decision was mixed. Overall the court held that while states can receive federal funds to expand Medicaid coverage to all Americans under the age of 65 who make less than $15,000 per year, they cannot lose all Medicaid funding as a penalty for refusing to do so. States that expand eligibility will receive increased federal funding to cover the vast majority of the costs of covering new beneficiaries — a 2010 report projected that the expansion of Medicaid in all fifty states would cost the states $21 billion between 2014 and 2019, while the federal government would spend $443 billion. States that don’t expand eligibility will forfeit this funding and could potentially leave millions of people still without coverage.

By upholding the Medicaid expansion as constitutional, the Court’s decision leaves the door open for states to extend lifesaving access to care for an additional 16 million currently uninsured people, including many gay and transgender people and their families. Despite common stereotypes, poverty and unemployment are higher among LGBT communities, particularly LGBT communities of color, than for the general U.S. population. For example, lesbians and bisexual women are 20 percent more likely to be poor than straight women, and a recent survey indicates that transgender people are twice as likely as the general population to make less than $10,000 a year.

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