Fear of Honesty: Sex and the Transgender Cop-out

In the late 1950s and the 1960s there were a couple of heroes, freedom fighters in an age of sexual repression.

One was Hugh Hefner and the other was Helen Gurley Brown who passed away a couple of days ago.

Both wound up being condemned by both the radical left and the radical right who share a common puritanical streak.

I wasn’t particularly into either Playboy magazine or Cosmopolitan although I read both long past the point where they had become hopelessly square and irrelevant.

Playboy magazine started publishing in the early 1950s, the era of Mad Men. It helped teach men who had served during World War II and the Korean War a modicum of manners and sophistication.  In comparison to the other men’s magazines of the era it targeted the men who had a college education, a demographic swelled by returning vets, who had gone to school on the GI Bill.

Helen Gurley Brown took over Cosmopolitan some ten years later, targeting the next wave of women, who had swelled the ranks of college students in the 1960s and who were looking for a career after college instead of a Mrs degree.  She was writing to the generation liberated by the pill.

People were far more liberated and freer about a lot of things forty years ago.

We weren’t afraid of or own shadow.

Of course in those days Mattachine and other early gay rights groups had to use the word homophile in their little ads that appeared in the Village Voice announcing the time and place of their meetings.  They used homophile because it was thought to be less offensive than the word homosexual, which many publications deeded obscene.

Then in the mid-1960s we had the rise of the underground press, a world wide phenomena that introduced an open conversation about sex, along with drugs and the role of pleasure in life.

There are different tribes among those linked with trans-prefixed words.  There always have been.

I don’t suspect Cristin Williams is forging documents showing early usages of transgender and variations on the term transgender in an attempt to bolster her version of history.

I came from a different history. My tribe was consistent in their usage of transsexual, and our non-op friends were queens who said they were transsexual too.  Maybe they were correct in the same way that today’s “non-op transsexuals” claim the term transsexual.  T to M folks get a pass when they claim top surgery is a sex reassigning procedure so I guess it is only fair to grant the same courtesy to my sisters who describe themselves as non-op.

My first awareness of the existence of a different tribe of people described by a different trans-prefixed word was when I came across a book titled A Year Among the Girls, one of those voyeuristic popular 1960s exposés that revealed the dark secret world of heterosexual transvestites.

Unlike the people of my tribe the people of this tribe were decidedly unsexy.

While my tribe tended to live up to the image of sexual free spirits, even a bit boy crazy, those in the world of the heterosexual cross dressers were adamantly in denial with regards to anything of a sexual nature.

Part of that was to avoid the police harassment  that fell heavily on queens and pre-op transsexuals in the 1960s and part of it was maintaining a veneer of heterosexuality.  There was an absolute horror regarding any possible turn on from wearing certain clothes, even when assigned female at birth women described those clothes as making them feel sexy.

One of the very important publications Cristin seems to ignore is Tapestry.

Tapestry played a big role in pushing transgender to its position as the preferred term.  Tapestry grew out of what I considered the other tribe, the unsexy one.

I’ve always found the idea that transgender was more socially acceptable because it didn’t have the root word sex in it to be a tad dubious. I’ve never understood the search for different terms to describe sex reassignment surgery or even an insistence that people stop calling it a sex change operation.

It sort of like saying call it breast augmentation surgery not a boob job.

It’s the same thing only one is attempting to make the procedure seem upper middle class instead of something done by a woman who works as a pole dancer or a waitress at Twin Peaks.

I have a hard time imagining anything more sterile and lacking in feeling than the term gender confirmation surgery. It sounds like a piece of art one purchased and has on display in a glass case whereas sex change operation has the feel of creating an ability to joyfully fuck in a body one feels comfortable in.

Making everything about gender is very cerebral, which is appropriate because gender is kind of intellectualizing the whole matter. Transsexual is more about one’s body, hence our using the phrase “trapped in the wrong body.”

This puritanical streak isn’t the exclusive property of transgender folks.

Last night I ran a teaser for a piece on RH Reality Check about the pro-choice movement using all these these other reasons for women using oral contraceptives while avoiding talking about the main purpose.

Why are people caving into slut shaming and the anti-sex crap being pushed by the Christo-Fascists, radfems and Radical Right?

Last time I looked around having sex for fun was highly rated by most people.

I am going to go out on a limb and say that the producing of children is probably the motivation for having sex in a tiny minority of the occurrences of people having sex.

So why aren’t we embracing sex as one of those pleasurable things that people do?

Why the cop out/

And if is valid for Andrew Jenkins to write Putting the Sex Back in Birth Control: Why the Dominant Narrative on Contraception Undermines Young People then why isn’t it valid to use transsexual and changing sex for people who change their secondary and often times their primary sex characteristics by taking hormones and having various surgeries?

Why are we supposed to pretend it is all about some cerebral matter like gender than an earthy life affirming thing like sex?

And if it is about both as I suspect it might be why do we treat one as good and proper while treating the other as something we should hide and be ashamed of?

Remaining Pussy Riot members promise more protests

From Raw Story:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/08/14/remaining-pussy-riot-members-promise-more-protests/

By David Ferguson
Tuesday, August 14, 2012

While three members of the notorious Russian punk rock band Pussy Riot sit in Russian prison cells on charges of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred,” remaining members have promised more guerrilla performances and protests. According to Reuters, the all-woman group, which has 10 to 20 members at any given time and no fixed lineup, say that they are aware of the danger, but have vowed to carry on, anyway.

One woman, who goes by the name “Mother,” said, “For me, to put a balaklava on, it is, there is a fitting English word for this, ‘honor.’ ‘Pride’ has an ambiguous meaning in Russia, but it’s an honor.”

The band members currently in prison, Maria Alyokhina, 24, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 29, were arrested earlier this year for a protest which took place February 21, when the women stormed the altar at Russia’s largest cathedral and staged a performance of a “punk prayer” to the Virgin Mary, asking her to rid Russia of Vladimir Putin. Prosecutors are seeking sentences of three years for the women.

A band member named “Terminator” told Reuters, “Nobody can mute us, nobody can forbid us to do what we want… We want Russia to be a better place… We won’t stop, we would do it again.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/08/14/remaining-pussy-riot-members-promise-more-protests/

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Double trouble PRIDE / After years without any dyke march, Montreal’s Pride now has two

From Xtra Ca.:  http://www.xtra.ca/public/National/Double_trouble-12415.aspx

Luna Allison
Tuesday, August 14, 2012

For years Montreal lesbians have been asking the question: why no dyke march?
Nearly every other major urban centre in North America has one, and it seemed a marked absence in a city as large and vibrant as la belle ville.
“There’s one in San Francisco, Toronto, New York — all the major Prides have them,” says Mylène St-Pierre, a special projects manager with Fierté Montréal who was hired to create more diverse and inclusive events for the organization this year. “I knew I would be doing this contract — I think it was confirmed in February. So I started asking around: what would you like to see for Pride and women’s events? Dyke march came up over and over again.”
Interest in holding the event started to reach a tipping point, and, this year, Montreal dykes went from having no dyke march to having two.
Yep, two.
Two separate groups began organizing Montreal dyke marches independently earlier this year — each taking radically different approaches. One group has an anti-capitalist, grassroots, community-organizing focus. The other has a goal of integrating within the structure of Fierté Montréal and taking up space within a sponsorship-oriented, traditionally male-dominated community institution.
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Putting the Sex Back in Birth Control: Why the Dominant Narrative on Contraception Undermines Young People

From RH Reality Check:  http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2012/08/12/putting-sex-back-in-birth-control-why-dominant-narrative-on-contraception-undermi

by Andrew Jenkins, Choice USA
August 14, 2012

While I applaud Elizabeth Banks for her new ad supporting Planned Parenthood, birth control, and President Barack Obama–and wholeheartedly empathize with her personal story–I’m reminded of a sobering fact: the progressive community is deathly afraid of talking about sex and young people.

That’s right. I said it.

Between Banks new web promo aimed at female voters, Sandra Fluke’s testimony before Congress last February, and the reactive messaging around Rush Limbaugh’s vile comments, one thing has remained clear: our movement is far more comfortable elevating stories about birth control when they don’t involve sex. Pure unadulterated sex. Sex without the fear of an unintended pregnancy. You know… the primary reason young Americans use birth control.

And for arguments sake, maybe there’s a good reason for this. Maybe–just maaaayyyybe–we’re trying to appeal to conservatives. Perhaps we’re making our funders happy. Or maybe we’re just trying to sell a message that is palatable; easy to consume.

Nope. Bullshit. Not buying it.

As sweet and good intentioned as these justifications sound, what we’re ultimately doing is playing the game that our opponents want us to play and operating under a set of rules that threaten the long-term success of our movement. By running away from a serious discussion about sex in the birth control debate, we’re appealing to a deep-rooted paranoia and fear in this country. Fear of young people having sex. Fear of young people exercising agency over their own bodies. Instead of using this political moment to challenge that stigma and re-frame the debate with a sex-positive message, I’m afraid we’ve taken the easy way out. We’ve chosen to prioritize a sensationalized and fear-based discourse that completely undermines our ability to alleviate the root causes of sexual and reproductive oppression.

We’ve chosen a strategy that undermines young people.

Let’s make something very clear. Birth control isn’t under attack because the powers that be are frightened by the prospect of Elizabeth Banks using birth control for her migraines and heavy flow. Contraception isn’t under attack because of the heartfelt story Sandra Fluke shared about her friend six months ago. In fact, Rush Limbaugh didn’t have anything to say about that story. He did, on the other hand, have plenty to say about Sandra Fluke’s sexuality.

Continue reading at:  http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2012/08/12/putting-sex-back-in-birth-control-why-dominant-narrative-on-contraception-undermi

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There’s Only One Solution That Might Fix Our Corrupt Financial System

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/economy/theres-only-one-solution-might-fix-our-corrupt-financial-system

The simple truth is our giant banking system is metastasizing throughout our economy. It’s sucking away our wealth. And it’s out of control.

By Les Leopold
August 14, 2012

Americans want their pound of flesh, and rightfully so. We’ve seen our bankers commit every kind of financial crime imaginable.  They trade on insider information. They manipulate markets. They rig bets. They fix prices. They sell securities that are designed to fail so that they can bet against them. They launder money for rogue nations. They create too-big-to-fail banks that gamble with impunity knowing that we will bail them out again and again. And they collectively crashed the economy causing 8 million workers to lose their jobs.

Wouldn’t it be lovely to see these financial felons doing the perp walk?

Sure, that might satisfy our desire for justice or even revenge, but it wouldn’t solve our banking problem. Neither would a return of Glass-Steagall, which would separate investment banking (the gambling part) from commercial banking (where our deposits are federally insured). And neither would a properly enforced Dodd-Frank legislation that was supposedly designed to prevent the next financial crash.

None of this will work because even if vigorously enforced, our too-big-to-fail banking system will still be there, ripping us off each and every day. Worse still, even if you locked up all the CEOs and replaced them with saints selected by Ralph Nader, these giant banks would still be a clear and present danger to our economic system and to each of our jobs, if we’re lucky enough to have one.

The simple truth is our giant banking system is metastasizing throughout our economy. It’s sucking away our wealth, and it’s out of control. No bank CEO can effectively manage the empires they now preside over. No regulator can keep up with the financial games that are played right under their noses. It’s just not possible. Too-big-to-fail also means too-big-to-control.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/economy/theres-only-one-solution-might-fix-our-corrupt-financial-system

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Nobel Peace laureates vs NBC scandalous reality show

Just when I think television has gotten as low as it can possibly go.  Just when I think if I see another action move with a massive body count my head will explode the sick minds programming people with the joy of cruelty,  violence and murder find a way to show us something even more repulsive.

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Arctic Sea Ice Could Vanish in 10 Years: Study

From Common Dreams: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/08/14-1

Common Dreams staff
Published on Tuesday, August 14, 2012 by Common Dreams

Arctic sea ice could completely vanish within 10 years, a rate much faster than previously thought, according to new measurements from the European Space Agency.

900 cubic kilometers of ice have disappeared every year since 2004, according to the study. The scientists used data obtained from NASA planes flying over the Arctic and submarines using sonar measurements from beneath the ice, combined with purpose-built satellite technology — the CryoSat-2 probe — the first of its kind to measure the thickness of Arctic ice.

“Very soon we may experience the iconic moment when, one day in the summer, we look at satellite images and see no sea ice coverage in the Arctic, just open water,” Dr. Seymour Laxon, with London’s Center for Polar Observation and Modelling, told the Guardian.

Not only has the area covered by summer sea ice in the Arctic rapidly shrunk, but the new measurements find that this remaining ice has also been thinning drastically.

The study suggests that Arctic ice is melting up to 50 per cent faster than earlier predictions.

Roughly 7,000 cubic kilometers of ice remained in the Arctic at the end of last summer, almost half the amount in 2004 which maintained 13,000 cubic km of sea ice.

As the arctic ice melts, ocean temperatures rise, melting methane deposits on the ocean floor and releasing large amounts of the greenhouse gas into the atmosphere accelerating the feedback loop process of climate change.

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/08/14-1

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Virgin Galactic’s Space Tourism Venture for the 1% Will Warm the Globe for the Rest of Us

From Truth Out:  http://truth-out.org/news/item/10870-rising-inequality-global-warming-and-virgin-galactic

By Salvatore Babones
Tuesday, 14 August 2012

If two words can capture the extraordinary redistribution of wealth from workers to the wealthy over the past forty years, the flagrant shamelessness of contemporary conspicuous consumption, the privatization of what used to be public privileges and the wanton destruction of our atmosphere that is rapidly leading toward the extinction of nearly all non-human life on earth, all covered in a hypocritical pretense of pious environmental virtue … those two words are Virgin Galactic.

Virgin Galactic, billionaire Richard Branson’s space tourism venture, is charging $200,000 a seat for a few minutes of weightlessness and a view from outer space. The firm has so far taken in $70 million in deposits from 536 passengers, according to an August 1 report from Reuters.

Call me old-fashioned, but I personally find it morally offensive that some people can afford to spend $200,000 on a three-minute experience when others can’t afford food. Food first, luxury yachts second and $200,000 suborbital flights last. That’s my motto.

The explosion in private wealth, however, means that more than a few people can afford those $200,000 flights. A study paid for by the Federal Aviation Administration (that is, by you and me) concluded that more than 1,000 people a year would likely purchase suborbital space tours. The study projects that 80 percent of demand for suborbital flights would come from wealthy individuals interested in space tourism, while business, research and government together would account for just 20 percent.

Across the world there are now 11 million high-net-worth individuals each with over $1 million in liquid assets, according to consulting firm Capgemini. There are also about 2.8 billion people living on less than $2 a day, according to the most recent United Nations Millennium Development Goals report.

Continue reading at:   http://truth-out.org/news/item/10870-rising-inequality-global-warming-and-virgin-galactic

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