For the first fifty years of his life, New Yorker Jay Kallio had no problem getting the health care he needed. A volunteer EMT since age 15, he knew the medical community inside and out. When he came out as transgender and transitioned at age 50, though, his experience with doctors and nurses changed wildly—and almost cost him his life.
“I have this very stark before and after experience,” says Kallio. “It’s totally different being a transgender person trying to access care.”
At age 53, Kallio found a lump in his chest. After a biopsy, his doctor diagnosed him with aggressive, necrotic breast cancer. But no one contacted Kallio to tell him this diagnosis. Kallio found out “virtually by accident,” when his radiologist called to ask him how he was coping. “I said ‘What diagnosis?’”
Stunned, the radiologist scheduled Kallio for a mastectomy consultation—but the surgeon delayed his appointment for weeks. When he informed the cancer center that he would be seeking care elsewhere, his surgeon told him he had a “real problem” with Kallio’s “transgender status.” “When you’re removing a cancer that is so aggressive it would kill me, you want that done right,” said Kallio, “not by somebody who thinks you’re a freak or your life isn’t worthwhile.” (Kallio later learned that the surgeon was a major donor to anti-gay political candidates.)
Kallio found another surgeon for a successful mastectomy, but faced hostility from his oncologists once they found out he was transgender. He again found treatment elsewhere, but the delays compromised his care and demoralized him. To make matters worse, he was turned away from several breast cancer support groups because of his transgender identity. “It made going through chemo a very isolating, lonely experience,” he says.
By NATALIYA VASILYEVA
MOSCOW — The global campaign to free Pussy Riot is gaining speed: Supporters of the punk provocateur band are mobilizing this week in at least two dozen cities worldwide to hold simultaneous demonstrations an hour before a Russian court rules on whether its members will be sent to prison.
Friday’s rallies will ride a wave of support for the three women who have been in jail for more than five months because of an anti-Putin prank in Moscow’s main cathedral. Calls for them to be freed have come from a long list of celebrities such as Madonna and Bjork. Protests have been held in a number of Western capitals, including Berlin, where last week about 400 people joined Canadian electro-pop performance artist Peaches to support the band.
In one of the most extravagant displays, Reykjavik Mayor Jon Gnarr rode through the streets of the Icelandic capital in a Gay Pride parade this weekend dressed like a band member – wearing a bright pink dress and matching balaclava – while lip-synching to one of Pussy Riot’s songs.
Although the band members and their lawyers are convinced that the verdict depends entirely on the will of President Vladimir Putin, and prosecutors have asked for a three-year sentence, activists hope their pressure will ease punishment or even free the women.
Putin has said the women should not be judged too harshly, but he risks appearing weak if they walk free.
I do not want kids. I never wanted kids. Even as a kid.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m really happy for my gay and lesbian friends who’ve always wanted kids and who now have them. I like children; often find them fascinating, cute, and cuddly; and have nieces and nephews I adore. I just wouldn’t want to spend a lot of my time raising them, and though each of us could master things we might think we couldn’t, I don’t think I’m particularly well-suited to it. Why do something just because you might be able to do it?
There have always been blessings and curses to being queer in America. As far as I’m concerned, one of the blessings is that having kids is not only not expected but, for gay men especially, difficult to do. As a result, you can focus much of your life on work you love, and on other creative, intellectual, and political endeavors, and not get caught up in these “having it all” debates. When I first came to realize I was gay in my early teens, one of the things that went through my mind, amid the self-loathing and the fear, was, “Whew! I do not have to have kids.”
I know there are many straight people like me, and, sadly, a lot of them have kids anyway. They’re loath to admit that they didn’t want to have kids, except when you’re sitting around with them late at night, having a few drinks. Their kids don’t necessarily turn out bad; some turn out to be highly successful and productive people. But what of the parents and their lives? Even as they now love their children and speak of “rewarding” aspects, they really didn’t want to spend their lives raising children — they’ve told me so — but they did it just because they felt that they had to do it. It was what was expected.
by Kyle Mantyla
Yesterday Kenneth Miller was convicted of aiding an international parental kidnapping for the role he played in helping Lisa Miller (no relation) flee the country with her daughter rather than abide by a court order transferring custody to her former partner, Janet Jenkins.
But that was not the only interesting development in the case, as Jenkins has now filed a civil RICO lawsuit [PDF] against Kenneth Miller and several others who allegedly played a role in helping Lisa Miller kidnap her daughter and leave the country, including Liberty University Law School and Thomas Road Baptist Church:
41. Unbeknownst to Plaintiff Janet Jenkins, in 2009 Victoria Zodhiates (now Hyden) was an employee of Response Unlimited, Inc., and also a “student worker” at Liberty University School of Law. On information and belief, Victoria Zodhiates sent an email during this time period to her co-workers at the law school requesting donations for supplies to send to Lisa Miller to enable her to remain outside the country. Lisa Miller’s attorney, Matthew Staver was the Dean of the Law School and Ms. Zodhiates’s boss. Matthew Staver and Philip Zodhiates were also personal
acquaintances at this time. On September 20, 2009, both Philip Zodhiates and Victoria Hyden called Lisa Miller’s father, Terry Miller in Tennessee to assist in arranging her and Isabella’s transportation from a Walmart parking lot in Lynchburg, Virginia, to Waynesboro, Virginia, from whence they would depart for Canada and Nicaragua the next day.
42. In early November, 2009, elders of the Thomas Road Baptist Church packed up the personal belongings of Lisa Miller in two bags. These bags were picked up from Lynchburg, Virginia by Philip Zodhiates who arranged to have the bags transported to Nicaragua by sending them with his son’s school teacher who was taking some children on a mission trip to Managua. Philip Zodhiates arranged for the teacher, John Collmus, to deliver the bags at the airport to Timothy Miller. The bags also contained some supplies for Lisa Miller, such as peanut butter.
By Katrina Vanden Heuvel
August 14, 2012
A word of advice: If you’re announcing the most radical and reactionary Republican ticket in half a century, don’t do it on a ship named for the birthplace of progressivism, to Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man.”
But that is precisely the kind of audacity congressman-turned-vice presidential-nominee Paul Ryan brings to the flailing Romney campaign. Courage! Vision! And that hair! (Within minutes of the announcement, @VPRyansCowlick boasted dozens of follicle-fixated followers.)
Ryan is the rare Washington pseudo-wonk described by serious people of both parties in the adulatory terms typically reserved for battlefield heroics. “Courageous.” “Politically gutsy.” Author of “the most comprehensive and most courageous budget reform proposal” — wait for it — “in our lifetimes.” He is Jimmy Stewart, if Mr. Smith had spent less time establishing a boys’ camp and more time pretending to pay down the debt, one food stamp at a time.
Therein lies the rub. Ryan’s budget isn’t courageous — it’s just cruel. Three-fifths of the cuts he wants would hit those with low incomes, while those who have the most would continue getting more. It’s no wonder the former altar boy has had his knuckles rapped by a group of nuns for peddling a budget that “rejects church teaching about solidarity, inequality, the choice for the poor, and the common good.”