Gender Grading

Transsexual and transgender people are labeled as “conforming to gender stereotypes.

If we conform to the idea of some sort of perfectly feminine ideal then we are condemned for reifying those stereotypes.

If we don’t then we get told we are men, or are mimicking women.

This is one of those damned if you do and damned if you don’t situations.

One of the things feminism took a stand against was grading women on their perfect adherence to some sort of stereotypical feminine ideal.

So it is kind of strange when feminists or at least self proclaimed feminists play the same game on transsexual and transgender women.

Trans in the Media: The New York Times’ Warped Portrait of Trans Women

From Janet Mock: http://janetmock.com/2012/07/25/new-york-times-dehumanizes-trans-women/

by Janet Mock
July 25, 2012

I was sitting at a coffee shop yesterday with my friend Darnell L. Moore discussing why we write and how revolutionary it is to call ourselves “writers.” He then mentioned the concept of living history, and the importance of disenfranchised communities (who are often not actively heard by the masses) to archive their lives and create their living history.

Darnell’s comments made me think about the blogs that I read daily and the Tweets and the essays and videos that actively are creating images and words about ourselves, our lives, our work and our struggles. I thought about how revolutionary it is that we’re creating our own reflections, a record of our lives right now.

It’s this agency of building this living history that enamors me about digital journalism and the way we live online and off, and I left our coffee date inspired to continue Tweeting, Tumbling and writing.

As I was preparing for bed, though, I read the New York Times‘ piece “For Money or Just to Strut, Living Out Loud on a Transgender Stage” by Sarah Maslin Nir on trans women who spend their evenings on New York’s fabled Christopher Street in the West Village. The piece, featuring trans women of color, was “the fifth in a series of articles exploring how people in the New York City area spend their summers after dark,” according to the Times.

Continue reading at:   http://janetmock.com/2012/07/25/new-york-times-dehumanizes-trans-women/

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The New York Times to meet with GLAAD, trans community to address coverage of trans lives

From GLAAD:  http://www.glaad.org/blog/new-york-times-meet-glaad-trans-community-address-coverage-trans-lives

by Aaron McQuade, Director of News and Field Media at GLAAD
Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The New York Times has invited GLAAD and trans community members to meet in order to speak about story ideas, and ways to improve the paper’s coverage of the transgender community.

The move follows a sensationalized and exploitative piece on the death of Lorena Escalera who had been the victim of a fire. Yesterday, another article ran focusing on trans youth culture of Christopher Street but did not include some of the deeper issues facing many trans women of color.

In recent months, it has seemed like the paper’s lack of sensitivity towards the trans community has hampered its ability to see beyond appearance and clothing to get at the human stories underneath.

On any given day in this city, there are hundreds of important stories to tell about transgender people. And many of those stories could touch on some of the elements of both of these stories – like how beloved Lorena Escalera was, or why this community needs a place like Christopher Street which for some may provide an  escape from the intolerance, mistreatment, discrimination and even violence they face in their day-to-day lives.

But why not point out that a number of the women who frequent New York’s West Village are homeless, oftentimes cast out by unaccepting families, victims of housing discrimination, or both? Why not focus on the fact that just this year, the city reportedly slashed $7 million in funds to Runaway and Homeless Youth Services, eliminating approximately 160 youth beds from LGBT shelters like The Ali Forney Center? Why not inform its audience that LGBT youth in New York are up to eight times more likely than straight youth to experience homelessness and approximately 40-50% of the estimated 4000 homeless youth subjected to the streets each night identify as LGBT?

Those stories don’t get clicks the way stories about provocatively dressed trans women of color do. But what they do is raise the base level of understanding about what it means to be young and transgender in this city today. They educate.

Janet Mock said about the Christopher Street piece, “My problem with this piece is that trans women, specifically those of color in this gentrified environment of New York City, are under layers and layers of oppression – none of which are examined and or mentioned in this paper of record.”

Our meeting with the Times will explore those layers, and encourage the paper to consider telling these stories – as well as explain exactly how these stories could cause harm to trans people, youth in particular.

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Billionaires can make a stuffed pig look like a strong politician

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What happens if GOP’s voter suppression works?

From The Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/harold-meyerson-gops-voter-id-tactics-could-undermine-a-romney-win/2012/07/24/gJQAKQcZ7W_story.html

Harold Meyerson
July 24, 2012

Suppose Mitt Romney ekes out a victory in November by a margin smaller than the number of young and minority voters who couldn’t cast ballots because the photo-identification laws enacted by Republican governors and legislators kept them from the polls. What should Democrats do then? What would Republicans do? And how would other nations respond?

As suppositions go, this one isn’t actually far-fetched. No one in the Romney camp expects a blowout; if he does prevail, every poll suggests it will be by the skin of his teeth. Numerous states under Republican control have passed strict voter identification laws. Pennsylvania, Texas, Indiana, Kansas, Tennessee and Georgia require specific kinds of ID; the laws in Michigan, Florida, South Dakota, Idaho and Louisiana are only slightly more flexible. Wisconsin’s law was struck down by a state court.

Instances of voter fraud are almost nonexistent, but the right-wing media’s harping on the issue has given Republican politicians cover to push these laws through statehouse after statehouse. The laws’ intent, however, is entirely political: By creating restrictions that disproportionately impact minorities, they’re supposed to bolster Republican prospects. Ticking off Republican achievements in Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives, their legislative leader, Mike Turzai, extolled in a talk last month that “voter ID . . . is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania.”

How could Turzai be so sure? The Pennsylvania Department of State acknowledges that as many as 759,000 residents lack the proper ID. That’s 9.2 percent of registered voters, but the figure rises to 18 percent in heavily black Philadelphia. The law also requires that the photo IDs have expiration dates, which many student IDs do not.

Continue reading at:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/harold-meyerson-gops-voter-id-tactics-could-undermine-a-romney-win/2012/07/24/gJQAKQcZ7W_story.html

See also: Voter ID law could bar 43 percent of Philly voters

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Despite Overwhelming Evidence, Federal Appeals Court Upholds Law Requiring Doctors to Lie to Women

From RH Reality Check:  http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2012/07/25/federal-appeals-court-upholds-law-requiring-doctors-to-lie-to-women

by Jodi Jacobson, Editor in Chief, RH Reality Check
July 25, 2012

If you are like me, you like to think, or at least grew up thinking, that judges were smart, impartial people who saw through ideology to seek truth and justice for the greater good.

That assumption has been shattered numerous times in recent years, and the shards of respect for courts as a bastion of human rights and sanity were, for me at least, further crushed with a ruling yesterday by a federal appeals court that upholds a South Dakota law requiring, among other things, that doctors lie to women seeking an abortion.

As reported in the StarTribune Nation, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals found yesterday by a vote of 7 to 4 that South Dakota can require doctors to warn women that they face an increased risk of suicide if they have an abortion.

The state, in supporting the law passed seven years ago, [submitted] several studies published in peer-reviewed medical journals to demonstrate a “statistically significant correlation between abortion and suicide.” Planned Parenthood relied on another study to argue its belief that certain underlying factors, such as mental health issues, predispose women to have both unwanted pregnancies and suicidal tendencies.

As the StarTribune notes: “The four dissenting judges said multiple studies cited failed to take into account factors such as pre-existing mental health issues, domestic violence and a young age at the time of pregnancy.

“The most reliable evidence in the record shows that abortion does not have a causal relationship to the risk of suicide and that South Dakota’s mandated advisory is not truthful, but actually misleading,” Circuit Judge Diana Murphy wrote for the dissenting side.

But the majority opinion states:

“On its face, the suicide advisory presents neither an undue burden on abortion rights nor a violation of physicians’ free speech rights,” the court wrote in its majority opinion.

Continue reading at:  http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2012/07/25/federal-appeals-court-upholds-law-requiring-doctors-to-lie-to-women

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Bacteria outbreak in Northern Europe due to ocean warming, study says

From MSNBC:  http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/48278511/ns/us_news-environment/#.UBDIIaPa_A4

Paper provides evidence that warming patterns of Baltic Sea have coincided with emergence of Vibrio infections

By Nina Chestney
7/22/2012

LONDON — Manmade climate change is the main driver behind the unexpected emergence of a group of bacteria in northern Europe which can cause gastroenteritis, new research by a group of international experts shows.

The paper, published in the journal Nature Climate Change on Sunday, provided some of the first firm evidence that the warming patterns of the Baltic Sea have coincided with the emergence of Vibrio infections in northern Europe.

Vibrios is a group of bacteria which usually grow in warm and tropical marine environments. The bacteria can cause various infections in humans, ranging from cholera to gastroenteritis-like symptoms from eating raw or undercooked shellfish or from exposure to seawater.

A team of scientists from institutions in Britain, Finland, Spain and the United States examined sea surface temperature records and satellite data, as well as statistics on Vibrio cases in the Baltic.

Continue reading at:  http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/48278511/ns/us_news-environment/#.UBDIIaPa_A4

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