Buck naked

From The Irish Times:  http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/theticket/2012/0803/1224321338483.html

Friday, August 3, 2012

A new documentary explores the pain of living with the wrong gender felt by female-to-male transsexual Buck Angel. But as the trans community role model tells DONALD CLARKE , he has also been fortunate enough to live as the person he wanted to be

AT FIRST I just hear the voice. Through the wonders of Skype, I have made audio contact with Buck Angel, transsexual role model, but the pictures have yet to appear. A friendly, mildly camp voice fusses at the other end. “Just getting it ready. Here we are.” And suddenly it seems as if, from the neck up, anyway, I am looking at a version of myself. A balding gentleman with spectacles and reddish stubble, Angel has a very Irish head on his mighty shoulders. If it weren’t for the tendons swelling beneath his trunk of a neck, I could just about imagine I was looking into a mirror.

“Yes, people think that all white guys of an age look alike. Don’t they?” he acknowledges.

He does himself a disservice. The archipelago of muscles dotted neatly about his wedge of a body sets him apart from the average, weedy Irish journalist.

It is, however, what happens (or doesn’t happen) below the torso that defines the cult of Buck Angel. A star of adult cinema and an engaging public speaker, Angel is happy to describe himself as a “man with a pussy”.

Born as a girl, raised in blue-collar southern California, he made the transition some 20 years ago and has spent the interim enjoying hitherto unimaginable peace of mind.

The transman community has relatively few high-profile role models. But Angel is a big enough personality to take up the slack all on his own. This weekend he flies to Ireland for the Gaze Dublin International LGBT Film Festival. After a screening of Sexing the Transman, a documentary on female-to-male gender reassignment, he will talk with the audience about his eventful life.

Continue reading at:  http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/theticket/2012/0803/1224321338483.html


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Transgender Warrior: The story of Birmingham’s Jody Suzanne Ford

Being Transsexual or transgender has always been dangerous.  The police and courts have always had a tendency to treat us with extreme prejudice when we are brought before them as criminal defendants.  conversely they have bent over backwards to assure no one who assaults or murders us goes to prison.

It has only been through the efforts of TS/TG activists over the last 20 years that things have started to change and protections are starting to be extended to TS/TG people.

Nonetheless every year there are too many names appearing on the Day of Remembrance Lists and far too often the victims are also  people of color.  Further most but not all are TS/TG women who are misgendered by the press even in death.

From WELD Birmingham, Alabama:  http://weldbham.com/local/2012/08/02/transgender-warrior-the-story-of-birminghams-jody-suzanne-ford/

Aug. 02, 2012

Lou Reed made it seem easy. His 1972 “Walk on the Wild Side” pulled gender conversion out of the closet, on to the open road:

Holly came from Miami, Fla.,

Hitchhiked her way across the U.S.A.,

Plucked her eyebrows on the way,

Shaved her legs and then he was a she.

Because Holly was a glam-rock myth, Reed didn’t cover the reality of sex change. Holly went from Miami to New York. In places like Birmingham, going from a he to a she meant more than shaving legs.

Not long after Reed’s song hit Number 16 on the Billboard charts, the Birmingham Post-Herald profiled Sidney McFerrin Ford’s transition to Jody Suzanne Ford. In 1977, local papers covered Ford’s death from a close-range bullet to the chest.

Details about Ford’s life are sketchy. My own memory is like that of many Birmingham residents. I got my first “big girl” haircut at Ford’s popular Five Points South salon, Ms. Sid’s Coiffures. I remember her as media sensation, not as actual person.

Mostly, I remember my mother’s nine words on the subject: “Don’t stare, it’s not polite” and “Ms. Sid looked good.” Indeed she did, as existing photographs of her show.

Salon patrons describe Ford as kind – and as a character. At 6’4” and well over 200 pounds, she commanded the rooms she walked into.

Continue reading at:  http://weldbham.com/local/2012/08/02/transgender-warrior-the-story-of-birminghams-jody-suzanne-ford/

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“Abstinence Only” Exposed as Subversive of Actual Evangelical Values

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/frank-schaeffer/abstinence-only-exposed-a_b_1737130.html


“Chastity is getting a makeover. Surrounded by a sex-saturated society, millions of young people are pledging to remain virgins until their wedding night. But how, exactly, are evangelical Christians convincing young people to say no when society says yes?” So writes Christine J. Gardner in her brilliant book Making Chastity Sexy: The Rhetoric of Evangelical Abstinence Campaigns (University of California Press).

Making Chastity Sexy is important and perceptive in a profound way that casts light on a large subject — religion in general and evangelicalism in particular when it comes to attitudes toward sex, life and religion. Gardner (an evangelical herself teaching at an evangelical school) takes her readers far past merely investigating the sex education/abstinence campaigns to make the point that individualistic society and the autonomous self has become the means of the “wait until marriage” virginity — sanctifying movement. In other words the evangelicals are using pop culture techniques to make abstinence only “sexy.”

Implicit in the abstinence sex “education” programs being promoted around the country, on which billions of dollars have been spent by the government especially during the Bush era, is the belief that committing to delay sex until marriage makes sense only if one has a personal commitment to follow Jesus Christ. At the heart of the campaigns that are supposedly about sex education is a belief that without a “new life in Christ” the life of abstinence is almost impossible to follow. Thus abstinence only programs like True Love Waits, Silver Ring Thing, and the Pure Freedom are selling virginity as a sexy choice of personal affirmation using consumerist techniques that are promising “better sex,” in fact “great sex” and perfect marriages ifvirginity is maintained as a “gift” for the prince or princess, God will lead you to as a reward for putting on that ring, signing a pledge and delaying sex.

Studies have shown that those who pledge to maintain their virginity and who do not keep the pledge are less likely to use contraception when they break their pledge and have sex. A 2009 study published in the magazine Pediatrics uses the data to compare pledgers and non-pledgers who share similar characteristics and found that after five years the pledgers were just as likely to have had sex as the non-pledgers. Other studies find that the sexual behavior of virginity pledgers does not differ from that of closely matched nonpledgers, and pledgers are less likely to protect themselves from pregnancy.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/frank-schaeffer/abstinence-only-exposed-a_b_1737130.html

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Voter-ID trial puts trans, elderly constituents on stand

From The Philadelphia Gay News:   http://www.epgn.com/view/full_story/19661961/article-Voter-ID-trial-puts-trans–elderly-constituents-on-stand

by Jen Colletta
Aug. 2, 2012

The showdown over Pennsylvania’s new voter-identification law made it to court last week.

A Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court trial began July 25 in the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania suit against the state over the new measure, which will require voters to present state-issued ID at the polls starting this November. The trial is expected to last through the end of this week.

Ten plaintiffs are involved in the case, including a transgender man, who testified last Friday.

Asher Schor told the court that he fears his PennDOT-issued license will not be accepted at the polls this fall.

The 23-year-old Pittsburgh resident presents as a male but his license bears his female name, a female gender marker and a photo that depicts him before he began his transition.

Schor testified that the testosterone regimen he began last November has made a marked difference in his appearance — with the growth of facial hair and redistribution of body fat.

He also told the court that, earlier this year, a U.S. marshal questioned the card when Schor, a legal assistant for a prisoners’ advocacy agency, presented it for a work visit at a courthouse.

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Pennsylvania Voter ID Case Could Upend GOP War On Voters In Swing State

From Alternet:   http://www.alternet.org/pennsylvania-voter-id-case-could-upend-gop-war-voters-swing-state

Compared to 2008, voting rights lawyers appear to have the edge in court.

By Steven Rosenfeld
August 2, 2012

When the dust settles after the November election and all sides in 2012’s voting wars look back, a lawsuit now before a Pennsylvania court over that state’s harsh new voter ID law may be a key turning point in a season where civil rights advocates and the Justice Department turned back the GOP’s latest voter suppression efforts.

The case brought by a coalition of voting rights groups—led by the American Civil Liberties Association’s Pennsylvania chapter—is doing several things in court that were not done four years ago, when liberal civil rights groups failed to stop Indiana’s new voter ID law before the U.S. Supreme Court.

First, the ACLU-PA put into evidence testimony from real people about real-life circumstances attesting to the hardship of meeting the new ID law—which wasn’t done before the Supreme Court in Indiana, where that court found no-one had been harmed because that law had not yet taken effect. In the Harrisburg court, the judge heard a handful of elderly people, newly eligible voters who are disabled and registered voters without drivers’ licenses, say why they could not obtain the newly required IDs. They lacked a mix of original documents, transportation to get it, time to get reissued birth certificates, and funds to get paperwork that is a precursor to a state  photo ID card.

Moreover, the testimony by Pennsylvania state officials defending their new voter ID law has been like a scene from an existential novel about kangaroo courts under Communism. Before the trial started, the state’s attorneys agreed in a stipulation that nobody had been found in the state to be impersonating other voters—the GOP’s political ‘justification’ when adopting the new ID law. They also said in that stipulation that they did not have any “direct personal knowledge” of voter fraud elsewhere. (That was followed by video-taped statements by Pennsylvania’s Senate Republican leader bragging the law would help Romney win).

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/pennsylvania-voter-id-case-could-upend-gop-war-voters-swing-state

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BREAKING: Chick-Fil-A Gets Multiple Human Rights Act Complaints Filed Against Them

From The New Civil Rights Movement:  http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/breaking-chick-fil-a-gets-multiple-human-rights-act-complaints-filed-against-them/discrimination/2012/08/02/45487

by David Badash
on August 2, 2012

Today, multiple complaints against Chick-fil-A were filed with The Illinois Department of Human Rights by The Civil Rights Agenda (TCRA) on behalf of unnamed claimants. The complaints, according to a press release, quoted below, and official documents released to The New Civil Rights Movement, “allege that Chick-fil-A’s ‘intolerant corporate culture’ violates Illinois law, specifically Section 5-102(B) of the Human Rights Act, which prohibits a ‘public accommodation’ from making protected classes ‘unwelcome, objectionable or unacceptable’.”

Chick-Fil-A President and COO Dan Cathy has repeatedly made disparaging remarks about same-sex marriage. Chick-Fil-A CEO S. Truett Cathy is quoted in a 2007 Forbes profile stating he would probably fire someone who has been sinning.

In response to calls from ordained Baptist Minister Mike Huckabee, yesterday was deemed “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.”

The allegations come from a man who is Christian, unmarried, and in a relationship with a male partner. Together they are raising a daughter in a “non-traditional” family unit, documents from The Civil Rights Agenda state.

“I do not believe that it is possible for me to eat at Chick-fil-A without being discriminated against simply because I am an unmarried homosexual in a ‘non-traditional’ family unit,” the claimant states, adding, “as a result of Chick-fil-A’s corporate policies which have been both directly and indirectly published by the company’s executive officers, I am being denied a public accommodation free from discrimination against me.”

Continue reading at:   http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/breaking-chick-fil-a-gets-multiple-human-rights-act-complaints-filed-against-them/discrimination/2012/08/02/45487

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How Class Works – Richard Wolff Examines Class

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Maddow takes a hard look at Romney’s dressage dodge

From Raw Story:    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/08/03/maddow-takes-a-hard-look-at-romneys-dressage-dodge/

By David Ferguson
Friday, August 3, 2012

Thursday night on “The Rachel Maddow Show,” host Rachel Maddow asked some probing questions about Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA)’s relationship with his wife Ann’s Olympic dressage horse, Rafalca. The Republican presidential candidate has played an interesting shell game with his knowledge of the event that the horse is competing in, and even what dressage is.

Though many have attacked the dressage angle as a sign that Romney is out of touch with the average voter, Maddow points out that Romney has taken some hefty tax breaks for the horse, even if he tries to pretend it’s Ann’s business. But, as Maddow reminds us, if Romney is taking a $77,000 tax break in 2010 for Rafalca, it is quite literally his personal business.

In an interview with NBC news, the former governor claimed ignorance of the horse that won him and Ann a $77,000 tax break in 2010, saying, “It’s a big, exciting experience for my wife. I have to tell you, this is Ann’s sport. I’m not even sure which day the sport goes on. She will get the chance to see it, I will not be watching the event. I hope her horse does well.”

In other interviews, he has sought to put as much distance between himself and a sport that many consider snooty and elitist as possible. A Fox News reporter even played up the connection between dressage and the U.S. cavalry in an effort to create some breathing room for Romney, but the candidate, once again, insisted it was his wife’s hobby and that when he rides a horse, it’s in a proper manly way, “It’s western,” he said, “and I’m on the trail.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/08/03/maddow-takes-a-hard-look-at-romneys-dressage-dodge/

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Congressional Carnivores Rage Over ‘Meatless Monday’

From Truth Dig: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/congressional_carnivores_rage_over_meatless_monday_20120803/

By David Sirota
Posted on Aug 3, 2012

To understand how utterly broken our society is, how hostile to sacrifice we are and how willfully ignorant we have become, you need only look at the historic drought hammering the heartland—and how our elected officials are responding to that cataclysm.

As you likely know from this arid summer, America is suffering through the worst drought since 1950. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, half of all counties in the nation are officially disaster areas—a situation that has devastated the country’s supply of agriculture commodities. Consequently, food prices are expected to skyrocket, and eventually, water-dependent power plants may be forced to shut down.

This is a full-on emergency, and USDA, a key agency involved in the national security issues surrounding our food and water supply, last week responded with a minor non-binding recommendation. In its inter-office newsletter to agency employees, it suggested that those who want to conserve water could simply refrain from eating meat on Mondays.

The idea is part of the worldwide “Meatless Monday” campaign, which The New York Times notes is backed by “thousands of corporate cafeterias, restaurants and schools.” In the face of a drought, it’s a pragmatic notion. Cornell University researchers estimate that “producing a pound of animal protein requires, on average, about 100 times more water than producing a pound of vegetable protein.” According to the U.S. Geological Survey, that means a typical hamburger requires a whopping 4,000 to 18,000 gallons of water to make.

Considering these numbers in juxtaposition to the drought, taking one day a week off from meat-eating seems like the absolute least we should be willing to do in a nation whose average citizen annually consumes an unfathomable 194 pounds of meat. And yet, in Washington, the USDA recommendation was a cause for outrage.

Continue reading at:  http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/congressional_carnivores_rage_over_meatless_monday_20120803/

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Drought dries up stretch of Platte River, slows barges on lower Mississippi

From NBC News:  http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/08/03/13090325-drought-dries-up-stretch-of-platte-river-slows-barges-on-lower-mississippi?lite

By Miguel Llanos, NBC News

It’s not just on land where drought is taking a toll: a 100-mile stretch of the Platte River has dried up, while barges along the lower Mississippi are having to carry less cargo in order to navigate shallower water.

The Mississippi impact is one that goes far beyond the immediate area: About 60 percent of the nation’s grain, 22 percent of its oil and gas, and 20 percent of the nation’s coal goes down the river. Lighter barges mean longer waits for those products.

The Army Corps of Engineers is tasked with dredging parts of the river where barges ground, and business is booming.

“We’re dredging around the clock,” Bob Anderson, a spokesman for the Corps’ Mississippi Valley District, told NBC News.

Continue reading at:  http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/08/03/13090325-drought-dries-up-stretch-of-platte-river-slows-barges-on-lower-mississippi?lite

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Stop this culture of paying politicians for denying climate change

From The Guardian UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/georgemonbiot/2012/aug/02/climate-change-political-funding-us

Protecting the environment requires a sweeping reform of political funding, only then corporations will stop throwing big money at senators

Posted by
Thursday 2 August 2012

“The best lack all conviction, while the worst/Are full of passionate intensity.” These words, from WB Yeats’s poem The Second Coming, came to mind as I read the testimony from Wednesday’s Senate hearings on climate change.

They’re not a precise description of what took place, as the two most eminent climate scientists who testified before the environment and public works committee, Christopher Field and James McCarthy, were not lacking in conviction. But they were, as scientists should be, careful and meticulous, laying out their evidence calmly and sequentially, saying nothing that was not supported by the data.

By contrast, the Senate committee’s ranking member (its most senior Republican), James Inhofe, spoke with the demagogic passion of a revivalist preacher. “The global warming movement has completely collapsed … the science of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was finally exposed … The time has come to put these tired, failed policies to rest and embrace the US energy boom so that we can put Americans back to work, turn this economy around, become totally energy independent from the Middle East, and ensure energy security for years to come.”

In other words, Inhofe argued, we should take no action on climate change, which he has described as “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people”.

Never mind the overwhelming evidence that has accumulated since the last Senate hearings in 2009; never mind the crazy temperatures the US has been experiencing recently, which have alerted many Americans to what climate change is likely to deliver in the decades to come; never mind the prominent sceptic Richard Muller’s assessment of the evidence, which led to his change of heart. (It told us nothing we didn’t know already, but it should at least have caused the deniers to stop and think).

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/georgemonbiot/2012/aug/02/climate-change-political-funding-us

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Oakland, the Last Refuge of Radical America

From The New York Times:   http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/05/magazine/oakland-occupy-movement.html

By Jonathan Mahler
Published: August 1, 2012

The Anti-Capitalist Brigade started gathering early on May Day at Oakland’s Snow Park. There was free coffee, oatmeal, doughnuts, fliers with the day’s agenda and plenty of pot. A “street medic” — “I just finished a wilderness first-aid course,” he told me when I asked about his training — tended to his first case of the day, a man in his 20s whose leg had been beaten to a purple hue with a metal rod in an overnight fight in the park. Nearby, an organizer reminded protesters to take down the toll-free number for the National Lawyers Guild: “This is important. Do not put it in your cellphones, because if you get arrested, the cops will take those away. Write it on your bodies. In indelible ink.There are Sharpies on the table.”

No central action was planned. A coalition of labor unions had asked Occupy Oakland, with its proven ability to turn out large numbers of militant activists, to blockade the Golden Gate Bridge, but then withdrew the request at the last minute. Instead, thousands of Occupy protesters met at various “strike stations” and fanned out into the streets with shields and gas masks (or the homemade alternative: bandannas soaked in vinegar), transforming downtown Oakland into a roving carnival of keyed-up militants of every shape and size: graduate students, tenured professors, professional revolutionaries, members of the Black Bloc, dressed like ninjas, their faces obscured.

Joints were passed, but this was not a mellow crowd. A barefoot man known as Running Wolf grabbed an American flag from outside a popular cop bar and dragged it behind him. Packs of protesters charged into businesses, overturning tables, shattering windows and smashing A.T.M.’s. An activist spray-painted vulgarities on the window of a Bank of America branch. The Menace was loose again, as Hunter S. Thompson wrote about a different group of rabble-rousers, the Hell’s Angels. This riot had a soundtrack, too, a cacophony of chants — “Strike! Take Over!” and “Take Back Oakland! Kick Out the Yuppies!” — overlaid with beating snare drums and the rhythmic thump-thumping of the police and news helicopters hovering overhead.

Many businesses were closed, less in solidarity with May Day than out of fear of reprisal from protesters. The rumored targets weren’t just the big corporations, but smaller shops that were the quarry of the so-called antigentrification brigade. In an Occupy Oakland twist on the “Soul Brother” signs that shopkeepers used during the race riots of the 1960s, Awaken, an upscale cafe and art gallery, had plastered its windows with signs reading: “We are Oakland. We are the 99%.”

As the swarm made its way down Broadway, shouting, pounding on windows and throwing bottles at stores, two Asian immigrants hastily boarded up their small, sad-looking beauty-supply store. When I tried to talk to one of them, he shooed me away — “Too busy” — and reached for another board.

A few blocks away, I spotted Phil Tagami, a real estate developer who has taken to standing guard in the lobby of his downtown office building with a shotgun during protests. Dressed in black fatigue pants and combat boots, he was scuffling with a group of activists who were trying to force their way into another upscale cafe called Rudy’s Can’t Fail.

Continue reading at:   http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/05/magazine/oakland-occupy-movement.html

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