Rebecca Juro is Wrong on the Marriage Equality Struggle

I have been extremely bothered by the position taken by Rebecca Juro and several other Trans-activists regarding the Marriage Equality Struggle.

Rebecca has what I consider a particularly ill-timed piece on Huffington Post: Reality Check: Why Marriage Needs to Take a Backseat to Workplace Rights

This piece is particularly ill timed as it is running on the same page as: ‘Pregnant Man’ Thomas Beatie’s Divorce Proceedings Delayed As Judge Questions Union’s Legality

Obviously marriage equality is an issue that is of the same level of importance for TS/TG people as it is for straight, gay and lesbian people.

There really isn’t a single TS/TG person in this country who doesn’t have to be afraid of their marriage being considered invalid unless they live in and were married in a state which recognizes marriage equality.

Look at the string of cases sisters and brothers have lost when their marriages have been publicly scrutinized by the courts.

Gay and lesbian people have been working towards marriage equality since the days of Stonewall.  I know because in 1970 Jerry and I went to a same-sex marriage equality rally at the State Capitol building in Sacramento.

People who have been activists since those days are getting old now.  Many of us have had life partners of ten, twenty, thirty years and longer.  We have built lives together and without marriage we face forced separations should we require assisted living.  When one partner dies before the other then the surviving partner can be rendered homeless and destitute due to tax laws that privilege heterosexual marriage while punishing the  relationships of LGBT people.

But on another level this smacks of sour grapes, irritation, that those of us working for marriage equality managed to get marriage equality added to the Democratic party platform.

We consider the TS/TG movement to be a civil rights movement that is part of a larger alphabet soup, a veritable rainbow of initials LGBT etc.  That means we shouldn’t act like spoiled children and throw temper tantrums if one part of the movement wins gains another hasn’t.

I didn’t see negative reactions on the part of mainstream L/G activists when we have won court victories that said we were included under Title IX or when individuals like Amanda Simpson won her case.  I didn’t hear those same groups decrying TS/TG people being included in the health care reform package.

When we compare our civil rights movement to the Black Civil Rights Movement we will not see Martin Luther King telling inter-racial couples that their efforts to legalize inter-racial marriage were divisive.

Same sex marriage is far bigger in our civil rights struggle than inter-racial marriage was in the Black Civil Rights Struggle.  Imagine for a second if all African-Americans were forbidden the right to marry or have onerous conditions placed upon that marriage that said they could not marry someone of the same race.

I’ve been around for a long time and I have seen way too many smug TS/TG people who have dismissed L/G marriage concerns while enjoying heterosexually privileged marriage.

At this point marriage equality and inclusive employment non-discrimination are at about the same stage.  Couples are having their relationships recognized by many corporations and those same corporations are adopting inclusive non-discrimination clauses.

We are getting local and state victories.

But as long as we have a Tea Bagger controlled House neither the repeal of DOMA nor the introduction of an inclusive ENDA is going to happen

On top of that the radfem lesbian separatists are back and in many ways gay men might be more inclined to be inclusive of TG/TS women than the radical segment of the lesbian community.

If I thought this was going to get us an inclusive ENDA I’d say go for it, but I see it as more being an act of  diva like peevishness sort of a way of saying “Look at me I’m more radical than thou.”

In reality everyone below upper middle class is either economically hurting or threatened.

People in protected categories such as older workers are regularly discriminated against and religious discrimination as well as racial discrimination is running rampant.

People are protesting Chick Fil-A because of the CEO’s anti-marriage equality statements and no one is protesting the rampant religious discrimination on the part of that company and several others who will pretty much only hire born again Christers.

In some ways these employment non-discrimination measures are labor issues but workers in this country have allowed the oligarchs to kill the labor movement.

Mostly though picking fights and pissing off allies in order to get them to drop what they are working on to come work on your specific issue isn’t likely to succeed and is highly likely to produce a negative reaction and get you a former ally.

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What do Floridians think about the Romney-Ryan plan to end Medicare as we know it?

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Do women who have had sex always tell lies?

From The Guardian UK:

The credibility of a woman’s voice is often undermined by sexual slurs – as rape victims, Madonna and Pussy Riot well know, Monday 13 August 2012

Every now and again the rhetoric of patriarchal power reveals itself in a way that – were it not so pernicious – one would almost call poetic.

Last week in Moscow, Madonna lent her voice to the growing international condemnation of the trial of members of the feminist performance art group, Pussy Riot. During a concert she stripped off her shirt to reveal the group’s name emblazoned on her back, before donning a version of their trademark balaclava for a slow rendition of Like A Virgin.

How, we wondered, would the Russian authorities respond to this brazen act of feminist solidarity? For the deputy prime minister, Dmitry Rogozin, the answer was obvious. On Wednesday night on Twitter, he as good as called the queen of pop a whore. Madonna’s benediction – as it were – of Pussy Riot was beautifully apt. The charge of “hooliganism” against three members of the group relates to the performance last February of a “punk prayer” in which they exhorted the Virgin Mary to “put Putin away“.

In a recent Guardian interview, a member of the group still in hiding explained that “the main concept was to appeal to the Virgin”, to ask her to “protect the political system” because “the Virgin is the protector of Russia”. While superficially an act of naive superstition, one suspects the women were not really banking on their leader being summarily swept away by divine intercession. Just like Madonna before them, the insolent political power of their gesture came from self-consciously reclaiming that great emblem of patriarchal oppression. They wanted the Virgin to abandon the patriarchs, switch sides, and “become a feminist”. They wanted her pussy to riot.

Against this background Rogozin’s dismissal of Madonna-as-whore almost reads as inadvertent irony. The subtext is nothing if not glaring. In the patriarchal playbook, a woman’s moral virtue is synonymous with … well, her virtue. Good women are chaste and pure. And the others – those who express their sexuality in ways not sanctioned by church and state, those who are sexual at all – are quite simply not to be trusted. They seduce and entrap. They’re dirty and diseased. And, above all, they are deceitful and duplicitous. If they want to moralise, they should, as Rogozin told us in his second tweet, put their pants back on. And if they refuse, nothing they say is to be taken seriously or believed by anyone. A simple sexual slur, and, as if by magic, a woman’s word is instantly devalued, divested of authority and discredited.

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Helen Gurley Brown, longtime Cosmopolitan editor, dies at 90

In the 1960s Helen Gurley Brown sexually liberated a generation of young women.

But she did more than that, she taught us that it was okay to have a career and even choose to remain single.

She gave us permission to be sexy and enjoy sex and if anything she was the Holly Golightly side of the growing feminist movement.

I think feminism might have had more success if they had embraced a little bit of the advice Helen Gurley Brown offered up along with the serious side.

I remember reading Sex and the Single Girl when it came out.  Hell I still have a copy of it in my bookcase of women writers who shaped feminism, to me she was and always will be far more important than say Mary Daly and more missed.

From the LA Times:,0,7950663.story
Helen Gurley Brown’s 1962 book, ‘Sex and the Single Girl,’ broke ground by discussing the sex life of single women and casting them as ‘the newest glamour girl of our times.’ The book led to her longtime role at Cosmopolitan magazine.

By Claudia Luther
August 13, 2012

Helen Gurley Brown, the self-described “mouseburger” who in the 1960s inspired women she said were like herself — average looks, brains and talent — to go out and get what they wanted out of life, including good sex whether they were married or not, has died. She was 90.

Brown, who went on to become the longtime editor of Cosmopolitan magazine, died Monday at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia, according to an announcement fromHearst Corp.The cause was not given.

In 1962, Brown, a copywriter for a Los Angeles ad agency, wrote a book about the single life that she had recently left behind at what was then considered the over-the-hill age of 37.

Her “Sex and the Single Girl,” a frank and exuberant mix of advice, exhortation and naughty girl talk, was a publishing phenomenon that broke ground by suggesting that the single woman not only had a sex life but was “the newest glamour girl of our times.”

She added: “Nice girls do have affairs, and they do not necessarily die of them!”

Virtually no one had dared to utter such things in a time when marriage and motherhood were the goals for women and sex was viewed as immoral unless within the confines of marriage.

Many serious feminists have viewed Brown as a lightweight whose gushy writing style covered over a dual message that women were at once independent and yet should do everything they could to get a man.

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“An Extreme Choice”: Touting Ayn Rand, GOP Pick Paul Ryan Backs Dismantling New Deal

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Paul Ryan on Gay Rights: ‘I Don’t Know Why We Are Talking About This’

From The Huffington Post:


Mitt Romney’s running mate is a man who, like Romney himself, once supported gay rights — and I do mean just one time — only to run far away when he needed to genuflect before cultural conservatives.

In an example of Romneyesque flip-floppery and just plain wimpiness, Rep. Paul Ryan actually tried to kill a gay rights bill just minutes before he voted “aye.” Or, as Paul Schindler at Gay City News puts it, “he voted against [the Employment Non-Discrimination Act] before he voted for it.”

In 2007, Ryan was one of 35 Republicans to vote for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which at that time only proposed to protect against job bias based on sexual orientation, not gender identity or expression. Ryan’s advocacy that day was not unambiguous. When Republicans unsuccessfully tried a parliamentary maneuver to shelve the bill prior to its passage — with what is known as a motion to recommit — he joined 26 other GOP ENDA supporters in the unsuccessful effort to kill the bill they would vote for just moments later.

So, the Wisconsin Republican’s half-hearted support for ENDA puts him somewhat to the right of Earlier Mitt Romney (who unequivocally supported ENDA while running for the Senate in 1994, actually vowing to co-sponsor it and expand it to include housing and credit), but definitely to the left of Current Mitt Romney, who doesn’t support ENDA at all, now callously claiming it would harm businesses. It’s not clear whether Ryan still supports ENDA or not, and that’s a question reporters need to ask him, particularly since he may or may not be on the same page as Current Mitt Romney.

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Paul Ryan’s Got a Great Big Problem With Progressivism

From The Nation:

John Nichols
August 13, 2012

Paul Ryan’s return to Wisconsin on the day after his selection as Mitt Romney’s choice for the Republican vice presidential nomination was billed as a “homecoming.”

But Ryan did not actually go home to Janesville, the blue-collar town where he was born and raised. Janesville is a Democratic city that backed the ticket of Barack Obama and Joe Biden in 2008, and that might well do so again in 2012. Indeed, the headline on a news story from Janesville published Sunday read: “Residents and Officials Say Ryan Brings Welcome Attention Even if He Won’t Get Their Vote.”

Instead, Ryan and Romney appeared in Waukesha County, the state’s Republican stronghold.

In Waukesha, Ryan announced that:  ”I am a Wisconsinite through and through.”

“My veins run with cheese, bratwurst and a little Spotted Cow, Leines and Miller,” he declared, mentioning three of the state’s many beers. “I was raised on the Packers, Badgers, Bucks and Brewers. I like to hunt here, fish here, snowmobile here, and I even think ice fishing is interesting.”

What Ryan did not mention was the political philosophy that underpins what is universally recognized as “the Wisconsin Idea.” The vice presidential candidates’s thinking was shaped by Atlas Shrugged author Ayn Rand and Austrian economists, not by the progressive political ideals of the first Wisconsinite to lead a national political ticket into serious competition for the White House: governor, senator and 1924 presidential candidate Robert M. La Follette.

In fact, the House Budget Committee chairman is expressly at odds with his home-state’s progressive tradition.

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The Paul Ryan Vision: Ban Abortion, Defund Contraception, Outlaw In Vitro Fertilization

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Paul Ryan’s faith in Ayn Rand is a political problem for Romney

From The Guardian UK:

Mitt Romney’s running mate may be Catholic but his admiration for an author hostile to Jesus’s teachings risks losing him votes, Monday 13 August 2012

When I was a teenager, my American girlfriend at the time gave me Ayn Rand’s cult novel Atlas Shrugged to read. It changed her life, she said. It changed mine, too. She was not my girlfriend by the morning. It was the most unpleasant thing I’d ever had the misfortune to read.

As a work of literature, Atlas Shrugged is drivel, and not simply because it is so up itself with its own perceived radicalism; fundamentally, all propaganda is drivel, even if it is propaganda in a good cause. Rand’s cause was to celebrate what she called “the virtue of selfishness“, to denigrate the poor as scroungers and to celebrate the muscular individualism of the creative heroes of capitalism. Altruism, she contends, is “complete evil”. The question she poses: what would happen if all the bankers and captains of industry went on strike? What would happen if these Atlas-like gods, who hold up the world, decided one day to shrug and refuse to support everyone else? Then the world would be buggered, she contends. Atlas Shrugged is cheap pornography for the nastiest side of capitalism.

“The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand,” said Mitt Romney’s now running mate Paul Ryan four years ago. He also admitted he made all his interns read Atlas Shrugged, dishing them out as Christmas presents.

But here’s the political problem for Ryan. Many were queasy when George Bush cheesily described Jesus as his favourite philosopher, but at least he knew his market. In contrast, few books can be as hostile to the Christian faith as Atlas Shrugged. For Rand, the good Samaritan was not simply a chump: he was in fact doing something wicked. We are saved only by selfishness. So how can an American politician, who has described himself as a “staunch Catholic” and in what is supposed to be an electorate dominated by Christian values, side with one who so thoroughly rejected all the teachings of Jesus?

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Why Atheism is Consistent with Feminism and Pro-Choice Positions

From RH Reality:

by Amanda Marcotte, RH Reality Check
August 13, 2012

Regular listeners to my podcast will know that last week I interviewed an atheist activist, Amy Davis Roth, who has been working as part of a larger effort to fight a particularly nasty and virulent form of sexism in the community of activist atheists. The ugliness Amy discussed has continued, and this week, it’s unfortunately meant that an excellent blogger has decided to quit rather than continue risking outing by a man who has a remarkably aggressive commitment to making conferences safe for sexual harassers. This blogger, who goes by the name Natalie Reed, has written a moving piece about her disillusionment that I highly recommend you read.

I share Natalie’s distress at the recent discovery that the atheist/skeptic movement has a not-small and certainly loud subset of participants whose sexism is so strong that they’d rather run women out of the movement altogether rather than endure the indignity of treating women like people. For me, being an outspoken atheist has always been firmly intertwined with my feminism, and in fact, really it’s the result of my feminism. I never really believed in a god of any sort, but the notion that atheism is important and should be talked about openly is one I only really developed because it serves the larger goal of creating a world that has true gender equality. Atheist activism for me has always been about the long game, because I believe that undermining religion’s death grip on power is what needs to be done for women to be truly equal.

Feminism and atheism are intertwined for me both on a philosophical and pragmatic level. Philosophically, I’ve always thought that making the question “are women people” a matter of theological debate is silly. One side quotes one Bible verse and another quotes one back, and really, the people who believe women are vessels aren’t wrong to think the Bible has their back. From the very first book of the Bible, women are cast as creatures that exist to serve men and not as full human beings in their own right. Various other religious traditions have the same problem of casting men as people and women as appendages. That runs so contrary to what seems obvious to me, that women are people just as much as men.

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Paul Ryan heckled at Iowa State Fair

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“Adapting” to the Climate Crisis: That Was Easy

From Common Dreams:

by Brian Moench
Published on Monday, August 13, 2012 by Common Dreams

Rex Tillerson, CEO of ExxonMobil, admitted recently that global warming is not a hoax, but that we needn’t worry: “We have spent our entire existence adapting, OK? So we will adapt to this. Changes to weather patterns that move crop production areas around — we’ll adapt to that. It’s an engineering problem, and it has engineering solutions.”  Tillerson’s buddies at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce added, “Populations can acclimatize to warmer climates via a range of behavioral, physiological and technological adaptations.”

Worldwide, a billion people are already dangerously malnourished, with the climate crisis playing a major role.  But apparently those facing starvation should stop whining and look forward to “adapting” by “engineering” their bodies to not need food.

And here’s how that “adaptation” thing is going in America. The average July temperature in the US this summer was 5.5 degrees hotter than in 1896.  Record-breaking heat and drought are torching two thirds of the country. Natural disasters have been declared in 32 states, the most in our history. Much of the Midwest grain crop has “physiologically adapted” to this new climate, by dying. You and I will soon “financially adapt” by paying a lot more for food.

The wells supplying water to some MidWestern families are “adapting” by drying up.  Mississippi River flow is at a 40 year low allowing, among other things, salt water from the Gulf of Mexico to creep north, threatening larger community water supplies.

Forty million acres of Western forests have “acclimatized” to the stress of heat and drought by expiring from pine beetle infestation — a direct result of climate warming. Since 2010, unprecedented wildfires have overwhelmed Western and Southern states. Oklahoma is currently enjoying its turn “adapting” to the new climate — 113-degree temperatures and explosive wildfires roaring across the state.

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