Growing up, I remember making a pact with myself. As an adopted child I promised to find my family in Korea, but how exactly that would occur remained a mystery to me. I luckily had the unconditional support of my American family, even if they were stumped by my vague plan.
I later came out as a trans woman in 2003. I was also fortunate enough to receive an outpouring of love, acceptance and support from family and friends.
But there was always one barrier to my life of intersecting identities that I struggled to overcome. I could never find the will to move forward with my transition — taking hormones or surgery — despite the opportunity to do so. And my hesitation was largely due to my unknown family living far away in Korea.
Like me, more than 200,000 Korean babies and children have been sent overseas. But less than 3 percent of us are able to find our families. The odds were clearly not in my favor. But what if I did find my family after all these years? And how would they handle meeting a young woman instead of a baby boy who should have grown into manhood? I was left with few ideas to reconcile my concerns.
In 2010 I had the opportunity to return to Korea for the first time. I was thrilled, nervous and reminded of my childhood pact. My time spent in Korea was life-changing, but the prospects of finding my family were less than promising. I visited my adoption agency seeking information. I was instead greeted with prickly resistance.
I had been warned of this institutional reluctance in advance. But I was still angry at their lack of understanding and support. So I took a defiant but calculated risk: I secretly copied down information from my file when the agency representative left the room to retrieve a business card.
From Dallas Voice: http://www.dallasvoice.com/trans-woman-fights-son-10132089.html
16 Nov 2012
PLANO — Jessica Lynn hasn’t seen her youngest son in three years.
The separation was helpful while Lynn, who lives in California, transitioned after her ex-wife moved to Plano to be near family in 2009.
But now Lynn has completed her transition, having had gender reassignment surgery in 2010, and she thinks enough time has passed to tell her
13-year-old that his father is now a woman.
“I’m happy. I’m content,” Lynn said. “I would like to see my son.”
But Lynn’s decision to tell her son the truth prompted her ex-wife to file paperwork about a month ago seeking to terminate Lynn’s parental rights on grounds of emotional abuse and abandonment.
In an affidavit filed by Lynn’s ex-wife for a temporary restraining order in Collin County family court, she writes that the child “is not aware of the sex change of his father” and that Lynn’s threat to come to Texas to “exercise visitation” would have an “irreparable” emotional impact and be “dangerous to the mental health and emotional well-being” of their son.
J. Ryan Nordhaus, the attorney representing Lynn’s ex, did not return calls seeking comment. The name of Lynn’s ex is being withheld to protect the privacy of their children, who have the same surname as their mother.
Continue reading at: http://www.dallasvoice.com/trans-woman-fights-son-10132089.html
Sunday 18 November 2012
An unprecedented surge of public anger in the wake of the death of Savita Halappanavar, an Indian dentist living in Galway, now seems to have made it inevitable that politicians in Dublin will be forced to ease restrictions on abortion in the Irish Republic. Ten thousand protesters marched through the capital yesterday, chanting “never again”, before holding a minute’s silence and a candle-lit vigil outside Prime Minister Enda Kenny’s offices.
Outrage has swept the country after Mrs Halappanavar’s death in a Galway hospital from blood poisoning following a miscarriage at 17 weeks. Her husband, Praveen, said she deteriorated after being repeatedly refused a termination of her pregnancy, even though her baby was not viable.
Official inquiries are under way into the incident, which has received much international publicity and caused political uproar. The most vexing issue is whether the death was attributable purely to the law – which prohibits abortion except in cases such as Mrs Halappanavar’s – or its interpretation by hospital staff.
It is already clear that the Irish government will have to bow to public opinion. One minister admitted “action in some shape or form” will be taken. Dublin has also been under pressure from the European Court of Human Rights which has handed down a judgment criticising the Republic’s current law on abortion.
India’s ambassador to Ireland, Debashish Chakravarti, met government officials in Dublin on Friday to press for an “independent and transparent” investigation.
The anger was palpable on streets near Galway University hospital. An elderly woman, Fran Hosty, became agitated when asked about the incident. She said: “I think it’s despicable, the Lord between us and all harm, that in 2012 something like that could happen. To let a young, beautiful woman suffer like that, I can’t bear to think about it.”
From The Guardian UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/nov/17/march-dublin-abortion-death
As more than 10,000 protesters demonstrated in Dublin in solidarity with the family of an Indian woman who died after being denied an abortion in Ireland, her father called on the taoiseach, Enda Kenny, to change the Republic’s strict anti-abortion laws.
In an interview with the Observer, Andanappa Yalagi issued a personal challenge to Ireland’s premier to legislate on abortion.
“Sir, please change your law and take consideration of humanity. Please change the law on abortion, which will help save the lives of so many women in the future,” he said.
The grieving father also confirmed his family is taking legal action to prevent future acts of “inhumanity” in Irish hospitals.
His threat of legal action comes as the Royal College of Midwives said the husband and family of Savita Halappanavar could sue the hospital where she was treated for “gross negligence”.
On the streets of Dublin there was palpable anger over how the 31-year-old dentist died at University Hospital Galway last month. More than 10,000 people marched from the city’s Garden of Remembrance to the Irish parliament chanting “never again”, while a leftwing Dáil deputy Claire Daly said the Indian woman died due to “political cowardice” among Ireland’s establishment.
The death in of Savita Halappanavar from blood poisoning due to a miscarriage has refocussed global attention on the near total ban on abortion in Ireland.
Continue reading at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/nov/17/march-dublin-abortion-death
From Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/14/abortion-poverty-study_n_2130890.html
By Aaron Sankin
Women who attempted to get abortions but were denied are three times as likely to fall into poverty than those whose efforts were not blocked, a recent study conducted by researchers at University of California San Francisco found.
UCSF’s Bixby Center on Global Reproductive Health examined 3,000 interviews conducted with over 1,000 women from across the United States who had either received abortions or were turned away because their pregnancies had already passed the clinic’s gestational limit. The study aimed to determine the effects carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term had on women’s mental, physical and socio-economic health.
Researchers found that a year after seeking an abortion, more than three-quarters of the women turned away were on public assistance and 67 percent were below the poverty line. Fewer than half of those turned away held a full-time job.
Figures dropped significantly for the women who received abortions.
“When a woman is denied the abortion she wants, she is statistically more likely to wind up unemployed, on public assistance, and below the poverty line,” lead researcher Dr. Diana Greene Foster explained to io9. “Another conclusion we could draw is that denying women abortions places more burden on the state because of these new mothers’ increased reliance on public assistance programs.”
Research also revealed that one of the main reasons women sought abortions in the first place was monetary: 45 percent were on some form of public assistance and two-thirds had incomes below the federal poverty line.
Continue reading at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/14/abortion-poverty-study_n_2130890.html
From The Guardian UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/nov/17/recovery-jobless-black-americans
When pressed about whether or not he feels an obligation to address the crisis of black unemployment, President Obama has supplied a reliably consistent answer over the past four years: a rising tide lifts all boats. That is to say, he is of the belief that as the economy gets better overall, it would certainly get better for black people, as well.
And the economy has done better. Recovery has been slow and growth modest, but the answer to “are we better-off than we were four years ago?” is definitely “yes”. That is, if you’re talking overall. For black people, the answer may be, “eh, not really”.
The national unemployment rate has gone down to 7.9%, but for black people, it remains stuck in the teens – having gone up in the last jobs report before the election from 13.4% to 14.3%. This is because black job-seekers have to contend with something that does not come up in the Bureau of Labor Statistics monthly jobs report: racism.
Take, for example, the story of Yolanda Spivey. Writing for Techyville, Spivey tells of job-searching online with the popular Monster.com – with zero luck. Identifying as a black woman, Spivey says she did not receive a single response to her resume. Later, she posted a resume identical to her own, but under the name Bianca White – this time, identifying as a white woman.
She received a phone call the very same day, and watched offers for interviews come in abundance via email and telephone the next day.
Spivey’s experiment is not unlike the studies that show it is easier for a white man with a criminal record to be called back for a job interview than it is for a black man without one. The biggest difference, of course, is gender: we have a tendency to focus on the experiences of black men, while little is made of the racism black women face, in the economy or otherwise. Although Spivey’s is only one story, it points to the struggles black women have faced during both the great recession and the recovery.
Continue reading at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/nov/17/recovery-jobless-black-americans
By Susan F. Feiner
Saturday, 17 November 2012
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt gave his fourth and final State of the Union Address in 1944. Because the defeat of fascism in Europe was in sight, FDR could frame a peacetime vision for the nation. He saw that the full realization of political freedom depended upon the elimination of material deprivation. FDR realized that the nation’s future well being would be undermined if some fraction of our people – whether it be one-third or one-fifth or one-tenth – is ill-fed, ill-clothed, ill-housed, and insecure.
Roosevelt understood that true individual freedom can not exist without economic security and independence. ‘Necessitous men are not free men.’ People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made. He saw these economic truths … as self-evident and called for an Economic Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all — regardless of station, race, or creed.
Back then the nation’s emerging safety net was blatantly discriminatory. The progressive New Deal legislation did not cover the occupations open to Americans of color. Agriculture workers and domestic servants were exempted from social security, fair labor standards, minimum wages and the prohibition on child labor. Because some of these programs only covered full time workers, women (who were then and are now concentrated in part time work) were functionally excluded. Our inclusion in full-time paid employment was only tolerated while the war machine was marching along 24/7. Such overt discrimination is no longer tolerated. But we’ve made far less progress — if we’ve made any at all –on women’s fundamental economic rights.
Let’s examine the eight economic rights enumerated by FDR in 1944 in light of women’s contemporary economic situation.
1. The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation.
Since the beginning of the so-called economic recovery (June 2009), women’s share of new jobs has been just 20.7 percent. Of jobs lost during the Second Great Depression (that is, now, with 20 million people still without full-time work), women have regained only 26.7 percent while men have regained 40.6 percent of the jobs they lost in the same period. The excruciatingly slow growth of women’s jobs is due entirely to the ongoing attack on the public sector, where far more women than men are employed. Of the 3.4 million private sector jobs created since 2009, only 970,000 (28.7 percent) have gone to women. In short, women’s public sector job losses outweigh their private sector gains by more than 40 percent.
2. The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation.
Jobs in which women are concentrated — secretaries and administrative assistants; elementary and middle-school teachers; retail salespeople; nurses; maids and housekeepers — pay less than male-dominated jobs and the Department of Labor projects these jobs will grow faster than other occupations. Consequently women’s earnings will continue to lag behind men’s. The consequences of this occupational segregation are worse for single women and mothers. Single women’s earnings are 78.8 percent of married women’s earnings (and 57 percent of men’s) while mothers earn about seven percent less than childless women.
Nov 17, 2012
At a mid-November meeting of the Defending Social Security Caucus, the Vermont independent issued a fiery warning against cutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid to President Obama, congressional Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats.
Here’s an edited version of the transcript. Italics have been added.
We are here today on a very serious piece of business, and that is we’re gonna send a loud message to the leadership in the House, the Senate and President Obama: Do not cut Social Security, do not cut Medicare, do not cut Medicaid, do not cut. … Deficit reduction is a serious issue but it must be done in a way that is fair. We must not balance the budget on the backs of the elderly, the sick, the children or the poor.
Now in terms of Social Security … Social Security has nothing to do with deficit reduction, because Social Security has not contributed a nickel to the deficit because as we all know, and the American people know, it is independently funded by the payroll tax.
Furthermore, despite what you may see on TV, Social Security today has a $2.7 trillion surplus and can pay out 100 percent of benefits for the next 21 years. So our job is to make Social Security strong for 75 years without cutting benefits. There are ways to do that by, among other ways, lifting the cap on taxable incomes.
And on the issue of Social Security and the deficit, I am very delighted to tell you that Majority Leader Harry Reid the other day made it very clear: Don’t mess with Social Security, says Reid. It has nothing to do with the deficit. Furthermore … I do not often quote Ronald Reagan. That’s true. But this is what Ronald Reagan said on October 7, 1984. Ronald Reagan: ‘Social Security has nothing to do with the deficit. Social Security is totally funded by the payroll tax, levied on employer and employee. If you reduce the outflow of Social Security, that money would not go into the general fund to reduce the deficit.’End of quote by Ronald Reagan, which goes to show you that anybody could be right at least once in their lifetime.
Furthermore, and this is an important point to note, especially if you spend a lot of time here on Capitol Hill, where we’re surrounded by big money interests and lobbyists and all these other guys. The point of view that we have, that Social Security must be protected, that we do deficit reduction in a way that is fair, is overwhelmingly supported by the American people. Give you one example: There was a poll, just came out yesterday, by Peter Hart Research Associates, and organized by the AFL-CIO. And it showed, this poll published yesterday, that by 64 to 17 percent, voters want to protect Social Security and Medicare benefits and address the deficit by increasing taxes on the wealthy rather than cutting entitlements. Sixty-four to 17.
Activists are pressing Obama to deliver early on his promise – renewed at his first White House press conference – to make climate change a personal priority of his second term, by blocking the Keystone XL.
“We wanted to make a first statement right out of the gate after the election that the environmental community isn’t going away, and that we want to hold the president accountable,” said Daniel Kessler, a spokesman for 350.org. “It’s important for Obama to know that denial of a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline is priority number one.”
But supporters of the pipeline are matching their efforts, and have renewed their call for Obama to approve the scheme. “As the president looks for opportunities to provide a quick boost to the economy and strengthen our energy security, we urged him to approve the full Keystone pipelines as soon as possible,” the American Petroleum Institute told a reporters’ conference call on Thursday.
Opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline say it will vastly expand production from the Alberta tar sands – locking the US and Canada into a high-carbon future and swamping efforts to reduce the emissions that cause climate change.
Protesters, including author Bill McKibben, plan to encircle the White House with a giant inflatable pipeline.
The climate champion, Al Gore, also spoke out against the pipeline this week. “The tar sands are just the dirtiest source of liquid fuel you can imagine,” he told the Guardian. “At a time when we are desperately trying to bend the emissions curve downwards it is quite literally insane to open up a whole new source that is much more carbon intensive and that makes the problem worse.”
From Common Dreams: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/11/17-5
As America faces the so-called “fiscal cliff,” let’s turn our attention to our country’s systemic tax problem. To paint a picture, imagine our country as a mine car with its brake lines severed, barreling toward an uncertain fate. In this metaphor, the brake lines are represented by the U.S. tax code — all 7,500 pages of it — long the victim of severe tampering and perforating by corporate lobbyists and tax attorneys and unattended to by inadequate IRS enforcement. What is troubling is that these metaphorical brakes have been damaged for years, and only now, with an economy fitfully recovering from recession and the livelihoods of millions of Americans at stake, are the dangers ahead becoming headlines.
President Obama, as of now at least, supports letting the Bush tax cuts on the wealthy expire. But even if President Obama stands firm on this position in negotiations with Congressional Republicans, there’s more work to be done to achieve more fundamental tax reform. As the president and Congress debate raising the income tax rate from 35 percent back up to where it was under President Clinton — 39.5 percent — keep in mind that under President Eisenhower, the largest earners paid roughly 90 percent after deductions. It was 70 percent at the start of Ronald Reagan’s first term (which he then lowered drastically to 28 percent). In 2012, the line in the sand has been drawn on a relatively meager 4.9 percent difference.
To many Americans, the very word “tax” strikes a sense of resentment — few like to give up a percentage of their hard-earned wages. But let’s recall the words of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, “taxes are what we pay for civilization.” The basic purpose of taxation is to raise revenue needed for the public services we presumably all benefit from, and a purpose of government is to ensure that everyone is paying their fair share. Rarely is the fairness yardstick applied to the biggest culprits of tax avoidance and/or tax evasion — the corporations. And, given grossly inadequate government tax enforcement budgets on global corporations, “tax evasion” is the proper term to add to the words “tax avoidance” (as the corporate attorneys would prefer, likely adding that it’s “perfectly legal”.)
Did you know that many large U.S. chartered corporations — Bank of America, Verizon, GE, to name a few — did not pay a single dollar in taxes to the United States government in 2010? These are companies that report massive, billion dollar annual profits, but don’t contribute a dime of federal income tax to the country that provides them with resources, public services and infrastructure to conduct business. Some of these giant corporations even receive a hefty tax benefit from the federal government. In the years 2008-2010, for example, GE made over $7 billion in U.S. profit, paid zero federal tax, and reaped nearly $5 billion extra from the United States treasury. All they say is “perfectly legal” because of the bloated tax code, with its numerous loopholes, which have allowed crafty tax accountants and attorneys to devise an entire playbook of tactics to avoid paying their way.
Continue reading at: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/11/17-5