The Transsexual Counseling Service and National Transsexual Counseling Unit’s Purpose

We weren’t  political advocacy organizations.

We couldn’t legally take political positions.

The Transsexual Counseling Service ran under the aegis of and was funded with War on Poverty funds from the EEOC.

The National Transsexual Counseling Unit which Jan and I ran was an extension of Reed Erickson’s non-profit Erickson Educational Foundation.

We were service organizations, smaller in scope than what be came the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center, but a service center nonetheless.

I had been a radical, for a period of time I described myself as a revolutionary. I was following the dictum issued by Huey P. Newton, when he told us we needed to serve the people of our communities and affect non-violent change through the political process.

Jan was a Sociology major at San Francisco State, who viewed the office as both a place to do field research and to help other sisters.

The roots of our organization were in COG, which had grown out of the Compton’s Cafeteria Riots.  Some said COG stood for “Conversion, Our Goal”, others said it meant “Change, Our Goal.”

Either way the main mission of our organization was to help ourselves and our peers get through the process of changing sex. We served young T to F people almost exclusively, due to that being the demographic that originally developed from the Compton’s riots.  While the people we were seeing  were still mainly young and of a similar age demographic they tended to be more middle class and better educated than the people who had rioted in 1966.

We were well aware our organization wasn’t representative of the spectrum of people who were getting SRS from the Stanford Program.  We went to the group sessions and met the older sisters who had established careers and were often married to women and parents.

Some us envied those sisters because they had careers and stable lives in suburbia, whereas many of us had our educations abruptly terminated and wound up struggling for survival after being told to get out by our parents.

In many ways Jan and I took our cues from organizations that had helped runaways in the Haight Ashbury during 1967’s “Summer of Love.”

When people wrote to us telling us of their plans to come to SF we told them what they needed to bring.

We taught them how to get ID, who to see to get hormones.  We told them where to get their applications for the Stanford Program, when to call and who to ask for.

We acted as a mail drop for a few.

We found people, someone who would let them crash at their place until they could get a place of their own.

We told people how to dress and act when they saw a Doctor.

Some people were very ready to be angrily confrontational with Doctors who were as progressive as they came and who were eager to help.

We didn’t give people a script.  We told them to tell the truth to the doctors.  That the doctors were willing to help.

We encountered a few seriously mentally ill people.  One was very threatening and seemed on the edge of losing it, others were suicidal or had serious psychiatric problems.  We tried to talk those people into going to see actual professionals.

We helped people connect with sensitive people in both the welfare and employment offices.

We had lawyers and friendly bail bonds offices we could refer people to.

Mostly though we listened and offered our own experiences.  Shared what we knew and learned from what others had to offer.

And after our time of doing it was up we passed it on to the most competent of our friends who was crazy enough to take over the responsibility.

By the time the office closed in 1974 Dr. Brown and a bunch of vultures had come to town.  Reed Erickson had moved on and grants were drying up.  I was living in Los Angeles by then and my successor Leslie had her SRS.

Times had changed and so had the sisters coming to San Francisco, our office with its particular services had become some what of an anachronism.

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The Newsroom – Tea Party is the American Taliban

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GOP Platform: Abortion Ban Approved By Republicans In Tampa

From Huffington Post:

By Philip Elliot and Alan Fram

TAMPA, Fla. — Republicans emphatically approved a toughly worded party platform at their national convention Tuesday that would ban all abortions and gay marriages, reshape Medicare into a voucher-like program and cut taxes to energize the economy and create jobs.

The document opens by warning that while the American Dream has long been of equal opportunity for everyone, “Today that American Dream is at risk.” It pledges that the GOP will “begin anew, with profound changes in the way government operates; the way it budgets, taxes and regulates.”

Both parties routinely approve platforms at their conventions every four years, meant to encapsulate their principles and goals. Much of their details are customarily ignored when it comes to actually governing.

Even so, a poll by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center found more people interested in the GOP platform than in the upcoming acceptance speeches by presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan. The survey found that 52 percent said they were interested in learning about the Republican platform, compared to 44 percent interested in Romney’s speech and 46 percent interested in Ryan’s.

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The 99% Take on the Republican National Convention

From Alternet:

Despite mixed feelings about Obama, protesters fight Mitt Romney, the ‘King of the 1%’

By Arun Gupta
August 28, 2012

Politics is an elaborate chess match, and in St, Petersburg one small strike was staged against the Republican National convention on Aug. 26 that revealed the thrust of President Obama’s 2012 re-election strategy.

As panicky Republicans cancelled the first day of the convention on Monday because of Tropical Storm Isaac, the focus on Sunday was the “RNC Welcome Event” at Tropicana Field. These days no major convention event is complete without a counter-protest, and in downtown St. Petersburg nearly 500 people gathered Sunday to march to the sports stadium and voice their displeasure at what they derided as “the world’s largest  cocktail party .”

Given the spitting rain and gusts, the turnout was better than expected. And given the months of  police and press hype that a mob of mayhem-wreaking anarchists would crash the RNC, the protest rally around Mirror Lake seemed more like a festive Sunday in the park.

A couple of hundred people milled about as Dave Rovics belted out crowd pleasers like “ I’m a Better Anarchist than You .” A handful of buses pulled up and disgorged more protesters who came from far away as Miami, New York city and Wisconsin. The rally and protest was organized by the  Florida Consumer Action Network , a local grassroots organization focused on public policy issues.

Few anarchists were in evidence, apart from a scrum of fidgety black-clad youth who melted into the rally after drawing stares. It felt like an Occupy-related event with a giant puppet of Romney tagged with a “King of the 1%,” and chants of “We are the 99%.”

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Your Boss Can Tell You To Campaign for Todd Akin – or You’re Fired!

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Newt Gingrich at the RNC: The wealthy are more ‘noble’

“Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.” Denis Diderot

From Raw Story:

By Megan Carpentier
Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) might not have the role he initially wanted at the Republican National Convention — that of nominee — but he’s nonetheless using his time wisely. With the help of the RNC, he’s launching Newt U, an apparently ongoing effort in partnership with the Washington Post Company’s for-profit education arm, Kaplan. At the end of the second session of Newt U on August 28, 2012, he explained more about the thinking behind the his and Kaplan’s efforts.

“There are three key intellectual arguments that we have to get much better at making, and this is part of the reason that we are creating the whole concept of a Newt University and developing our site at, because we think these kind of arguments our own activists, our own volunteers, and next generation need, because the schools are so far to the left we have to create online capability to sort of counter the false information, the false ideologies,” he told the crowd.

Among the “false information” and “false ideologies” Newt U intends to arm its students to counter is the supposed idea that public service is noble and the personal acquisition of money is not.

“We need to reassert,” he said, “the nobility of creating jobs and wealth.” Though it was Gingrich whose supporters, during the primary campaign, released a long-form ad attacking current nominee Mitt Romney’s (R-MA) method of wealth creation later defended by Gingrich, he told today’s crowd: “If you listen to people like Obama, there’s this contempt that sort of says you know, ‘If you go into public service and you end up as a good bureaucrat, that’s really noble,’ but if you’re to take the same skill level and go out here and just create wealth, it’s ‘That’s really not noble, that’s somehow beneath us.’”

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The Natural Use of a Woman? Making Babies for God’s Army No Matter the Risk

From RH Reality Check:

by Vyckie Garrison, No Longer Qivering
August 28, 2012

During a recent interview on the Today Show, Jim Bob Duggar blurted out, “It’s fun trying!” when asked if he and Michelle were actively seeking to have another baby.  Today’s host, Savannah Guthrie responded to the mega-dad’s salacious remark with, “Jim Bob – you sly dog!”

Viewers may have come away with the impression that TLC’s “19 & Counting” celebrity parents, Jim Bob & Michelle Duggar hold very casual, perhaps even avant-garde attitudes regarding sex and sexuality.

But a quick look beneath the surface reveals that America’s most celebrated Quiverfull couple believe and espouse decidedly unhealthy ideas when it comes to sex and babymaking.

Although Jim Bob makes frequent displays of romantic affection toward his prolific wife, Michelle, which would suggest that the couple might enjoy sex for non-procreative purposes, the “biblical family values” advocates– whose “literal” interpretations of scripture inspire the Duggars to receive each and every pregnancy as an unmitigated blessing from God–also teach that the primary purpose of woman is to conceive and bear sons, i.e., “arrows” for God’s army.

Consider Romans 1:27: “And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.”

Quiverfull movement leader, Mary Pride, in her seminal book, The Way Home: Beyond Feminism and Back to Reality, offers the following interpretation of “the natural use of the woman” …

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Paul Ryan’s Social Extremism

From The New York Times:

August 26, 2012

Mitt Romney, who will be officially nominated this week as the Republican nominee for president, appears to trim his social convictions to the party’s prevailing winds. There is no doubt, however, about where the party’s vice-presidential candidate stands. A long history of social extremism makes Paul Ryan an emblem of the Republican tack to the far right.

 Mr. Romney’s choice of Mr. Ryan carried some risks, considering Mr. Ryan’s advocacy of overhauling Medicare, but it has sent the strongest signal of solidarity to those who have made the party unrecognizable to moderates. Strident conservatives had been uneasy with Mr. Romney, but it is the rest of the country that should be nervous about conservatives’ now-enthusiastic acceptance of the Republican ticket.

 Mr. Ryan is best known as the face of Republican budget-cutting, though his ideology runs much deeper. For years, he has been a reliable vote against workplace equity for women, opposing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which makes it easier for women to file wage-discrimination lawsuits, and two similar measures.

The full outpouring of hard-right enthusiasm is based, to a large degree, on Mr. Ryan’s sweeping opposition to abortion rights. He has long wanted to ban access to abortion even in the case of rape, the ideology espoused in this year’s Republican platform. (Mr. Romney favors a rape exception.) Mr. Ryan also co-sponsored, along with Representative Todd Akin of Missouri, a bill that would have narrowed the definition of rape to reduce the number of poor women who can get an abortion through Medicaid.

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To Republicans, women are simply the sum of their parts

From The Guardian UK:

The GOP’s adoption of an anti-abortion platform is further indication of a party that has no clue about reproductive life, Thursday 23 August 2012

There’s no doubt that Todd Akin’s stunningly misguided understanding of female anatomy, as seen in his claim that raped women can’t get pregnant, represented yet another instance of the Republican party’s estrangement from science. But the GOP’s refusal to grapple with facts goes beyond biology: there’s some very basic mathematics that they appear ignorant of as well.

The polling showing just how unpopular the party’s official anti-abortion position (adopted by the platform committee this week and identical to the policy that Akin tried to use junk science to support) is as follows: just 20% of Americans believe abortion should be “illegal in all circumstances”, compared to 25% who say that it should “always be legal” and the vast majority – 52% – who say that it should be “legal only under certain circumstances”.

You can make the party’s official position compatible with the more moderate view of the actual Republican candidates only with a kind of magical thinking. This was well put by the party chairman Reince Priebus earlier this week: “This is the platform of the Republican party. It’s not the platform of Mitt Romney.” Ta da! Pay no attention to the men behind the curtain. Hey, look: there’s Ann!

Ann Romney and 14 other women will speak at the Republican national convention (where the platform will be officially adopted) – almost half of the full list of those invited to address the gathering. But those women dress a campaign stage on which actual female elected officials are outnumbered by men about 10 to one, a gender gap that probably doesn’t alarm Republican political operatives so much as the equally stark gap that exists in the polls.

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Why won’t God make hurricanes disappear?

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More Maine parents skipping their kids’ vaccinations as whooping cough spreads

From The Bangor Daily News:

By Jackie Farwell, BDN Staff
Posted Aug. 24, 2012

New federal data show more Maine parents are choosing not to vaccinate their children, a trend that worries health providers as an outbreak of whooping cough continues to worsen and students prepare to go back to school.

Vaccines are crucial to sparing both children and adults from whooping cough and other dangerous and preventable diseases, said Dr. Michael Ross of Husson Pediatrics in Bangor.

“Lack of their use leads to outbreaks like this,” he said.

Maine has recorded 411 cases of whooping cough this year, nearly five times the number of cases reported at this time in 2011. Most cases of the highly contagious disease have struck children ages 7-19. Within that group, two out of every 1,000 children ages 7-10 have been diagnosed with whooping cough in Maine this year.

The outbreak ranks Maine among the top 10 states in the nation for the incidence of whooping cough, or pertussis, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Whooping cough, which can spread through the coughing and sneezing of an infected person, has touched every county in the state. Cumberland, Somerset, Penobscot and Androscoggin counties have been hit the hardest.

The rise in Maine mirrors a nationwide trend. Washington state has declared an epidemic of whooping cough with more than 3,500 cases this year. The disease has been blamed for 13 deaths in the United States in 2012, mostly among infants under 3 months old.

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Along with the Arctic Ice, The Rich World’s Smugness Will Melt

From The Guardian UK:

The belief that Europe and America will be hit least by climate change is in ruins. Yet all we do is try to profit from disaster, Monday 27 August 2012

There are no comparisons to be made. This is not like war or plague or a stockmarket crash. We are ill-equipped, historically and psychologically, to understand it, which is one of the reasons why so many refuse to accept that it is happening.

What we are seeing, here and now, is the transformation of the atmospheric physics of this planet. Three weeks before the likely minimum, the melting of Arctic sea ice has already broken the record set in 2007. The daily rate of loss is now 50% higher than it was that year. The daily sense of loss – of the world we loved and knew – cannot be quantified so easily.

The Arctic has been warming roughly twice as quickly as the rest of the northern hemisphere. This is partly because climate breakdown there is self-perpetuating. As the ice melts, for example, exposing the darker sea beneath, heat that would previously have been reflected back into space is absorbed.

This great dissolution, of ice and certainties, is happening so much faster than most climate scientists predicted that one of them reports: “It feels as if everything I’ve learned has become obsolete.” In its last assessment, published in 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change noted that “in some projections, Arctic late-summer sea ice disappears almost entirely by the latter part of the 21st century”. These were the most extreme forecasts in the panel’s range. Some scientists now forecast that the disappearance of Arctic sea-ice in late summer could occur in this decade or the next.

As I’ve warned repeatedly, but to little effect, the IPCC’s assessments tend to be conservative. This is unsurprising when you see how many people have to approve them before they are published. There have been a few occasions – such as its estimate of the speed at which glaciers would be lost in the Himalayas – on which the panel has overstated the case. But it looks as if these will be greatly outnumbered by the occasions on which the panel has understated it.

The melting disperses another belief: that the temperate parts of the world – where most of the rich nations are located – will be hit last and least, while the poorer nations will be hit first and worst. New knowledge of the way in which the destruction of the Arctic sea ice affects northern Europe and North America suggests that this is no longer true. A paper published earlier this year in Geophysical Research Letters shows that Arctic warming is likely to be responsible for the extremes now hammering the once-temperate nations.

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