Yeah It was Cool that Jenna Talackova Won The right to Compete in the Beauty Pageant. But Beauty Pageants are Sexist and Boring.

Yeah it’s great there are transsexual/transgender models and beauty pageant contestants.

But honestly I don’t give a shit about models or beauty pageants.  The whole hoopla seems so anachronistic, so 1950s or 1960s.

Don’t get me wrong I still get Vogue or Elle along with Vanity Fair even though I think most of the clothes and virtually all of the shoes they peddle are stupid and demeaning.

I actually tend to look at the photo credits more than at the model credits.

I actually modeled for a few months in 1974 and did some movie extra work.  Working as an extra was a hell of a lot more fun because I got to see the mechanics of how they shoot movies and television.

As for my modeling.  I had an agenda.  I wanted to see how fashion photographers did what they did and improve my photography at a time when it was next to impossible for women to get gigs as photographer’s assistants.

I like clothes but I was never all that into high fashion, when I was really into clothes I was more influences by hippie women who were musicians.

As for jewelry I’d rather have a Nikon or a Leica with a fast lens hanging around my neck than expensive jewelry.

As far as I am concerned Jenna Talackov’s winning the right to compete in the beauty pageant was more important than her actually competing.

The same with the current crop of models.  They are fifty years or so past any right o claim being the first but they are more open about it and making a greater splash which is cool.

But there are a lot of sisters and brothers out there doing stuff that I find far more interesting.

Writers, musicians, activists, professors and the like.

Maybe it is because I like those things too.

But maybe all this emphasis on models and beauty pageants seems to reinforces  things I see as negative stereotypes of our being sex objects not only as TS/TG women but simply as women.

Some how I think most of us are more than just sex toys and beauty objects.

I always felt left out from all those surveys that tried to make my being transsexual about either clothes or men.  It was like I was out of step because I felt it was more about feeling at home in my own body.

I was pretty enough to have men (not to mention more than a few women) lust after me but I always felt there was  more to me than my appearance.

All the emphasis on appearance and glamor seems so misogynistic, so reactionary and so anti-feminist.

It is also pretty boring.

Drag pageants at least had the sub-culture thing going for them and a level of Brechtian irony about them.

Straight beauty pageants are too shallow to have irony.

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The real trans scandal is not the failings of one doctor but cruelty by many

From The Guardian UK:

Anger over attacks on Richard Curtis led to the #TransDocFail hashtag on Twitter that has united the trans community, Thursday 10 January 2013

Has your doctor ever laughed in your face during an appointment? Denied that your condition exists? Or simply told you that you’re too ugly to merit treatment?

Outrageous? Yes, but also, pretty much par for the course if you happen to be trans. You must expect a world of abuse and humiliation to attend even the simplest of interactions with the medical profession, whether trans-related or not. As for making a complaint, few will risk it: most are cowed into silence by the tacit threat that rocking the boat could lead to a termination of their desperately needed treatment.

Of course, there’s little new to this. Wherever there is power imbalance between patients and professionals who control access to resource, there is a risk of an unhealthy relationship developing. From benign paternalism to outright bullying and belittlement, the pattern is repeated time and time again – with women, disabled people and those with mental illness frequently on the receiving end.

Now, however, a wholly unexpected explosion of angry tweets – several thousand in the last 48 hours – may have blown the lid off this issue once and for all. The story began, unpromisingly enough, with a Guardian article revealing that Dr Richard Curtis, one of the few medical practitioners providing support for gender re-assignment outside the NHS, was being investigated by the General Medical Council (GMC) in respect of a number of complaints made about his practice. This touched a raw nerve, in all sorts of ways. Since Curtis offers private treatment, his services are not available to all; nor can he offer the full range of support provided by the NHS. However, as the main – perhaps only – alternative in town, his continuing practice offers a different perspective to the NHS pathway, which is widely regarded as slow, controlling and unsympathetic.

With new commissioning structures about to come into being, fears are heightened that the entirety of trans provision is about to be forced into a one-size-fits-all straitjacket. In such circumstances, “patient choice” evokes but hollow laughter.

Trans anger focused on two aspects of the story: the fact that Curtis, an individual who for all his failings is widely seen as something of a hero of the community, should be coming under attack by the medical establishment; and the fact that, with so much medical abuse of trans folk going on, the news agenda should light yet again on an angle that is positively damaging.

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Drunk D.C. Cop Gets Off Easy After Shooting 3 Transgender Women

From Alternet:

A Washington, D.C. police officer who fired multiple shots into a car with three transgender women and their friends is getting off easy, and the transgender community has reacted with outrage.

By Alex Kane
January 11, 2013

A Washington, D.C. police officer who fired multiple shots into a car with three transgender women and their friends is getting off easy. The officer, 48-year-old Kenneth Furr, was sentenced yesterday “to three years of supervised probation, a $150 fine, and 100 hours of community service,” the Washington Blade reports. The transgender community in D.C. has reacted with outrage.

The D.C. Superior Court Judge, Russell Canan, also sentenced Furr “to five years in prison but suspended all but 14 months of the prison term and credited Furr with the 14 months he already served between the time of his arrest and his trial last October,” the publication reported. The officer was released from jail while he awaits sentencing for his conviction on charges of assault and solicitation for prostitution. Furr was acquitted on the more serious charges of assault with intent to kill with a weapon.

The judge also ordered the officer to stay away from D.C.’s well known areas for transgender prostitution.

“This result is the product of a legal system that constantly devalues trans lives, particularly trans people of color,” Jason Terry, an activist with the D.C. Trans Coalition, told the Blade. “Officer Furr’s defense team actively sought to portray the victims as somehow deserving of this violence, and apparently they succeeded. If roles had been reversed and a black trans woman had gotten drunk and shot a gun at a police officer, the results would be drastically different.”

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Vancouver Ca: Belgium’s first transsexual performs at Club PuSh ON STAGE / Vanessa Van Durme one of few queer artists at 2013 festival

From Xtra: Ca:

Erin Flegg
Friday, January 11, 2013

Vanessa Van Durme, Belgian writer and performer, has a knack for picking the right word. After all, she’s had some practice. Van Durme became Belgium’s first transsexual before the vocabulary for the transition existed.

“It wasn’t that simple then,” she says over the phone from Belgium. “It was a big, big struggle because you couldn’t even pronounce the word, because it didn’t exist at that time.”

Now, at the age of 64, she has told her story in three different languages all over the world.

Van Durme will perform her one-woman show, Look Mummy, I’m Dancing, at this year’s PuSh International Performing Arts Festival in Vancouver.

The performance is a 90-minute monologue that tells the story of a young boy who was happiest when dressed in his mother’s clothes, wearing red lipstick and dancing.
The show is simply staged, just Van Durme in a pink slip, a table and two dolls, one male and one female. She transitions between her two parents’ voices and her own child’s voice. In a way, she says, the show is a tribute to her parents.

“They’re lovely people. I had lovely parents, working class people. I thought, what was it for them, having a child like me in the ’60s? It wasn’t a simple thing. They were full of understanding.”

She has performed the show 250 times so far, all over the world, including four times in Canada already. That’s at least 100 times more than she at first anticipated.

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Generation LGBTQIA

From The New York Times:

Published: January 9, 2013

STEPHEN IRA, a junior at Sarah Lawrence College, uploaded a video last March on We Happy Trans, a site that shares “positive perspectives” on being transgender.

In the breakneck six-and-a-half-minute monologue — hair tousled, sitting in a wood-paneled dorm room — Stephen exuberantly declared himself “a queer, a nerd fighter, a writer, an artist and a guy who needs a haircut,” and held forth on everything from his style icons (Truman Capote and “any male-identified person who wears thigh-highs or garters”) to his toy zebra.

Because Stephen, who was born Kathlyn, is the 21-year-old child of Warren Beatty and Annette Bening, the video went viral, garnering nearly half a million views. But that was not the only reason for its appeal. With its adrenalized, freewheeling eloquence, the video seemed like a battle cry for a new generation of post-gay gender activists, for whom Stephen represents a rare public face.

Armed with the millennial generation’s defining traits — Web savvy, boundless confidence and social networks that extend online and off — Stephen and his peers are forging a political identity all their own, often at odds with mainstream gay culture.

If the gay-rights movement today seems to revolve around same-sex marriage, this generation is seeking something more radical: an upending of gender roles beyond the binary of male/female. The core question isn’t whom they love, but who they are — that is, identity as distinct from sexual orientation.

But what to call this movement? Whereas “gay and lesbian” was once used to lump together various sexual minorities — and more recently “L.G.B.T.” to include bisexual and transgender — the new vanguard wants a broader, more inclusive abbreviation. “Youth today do not define themselves on the spectrum of L.G.B.T.,” said Shane Windmeyer, a founder of Campus Pride, a national student advocacy group based in Charlotte, N.C.

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Inaction in the U.S. Government and the Dangers for Women

From Huffington Post:


A new year, a new presidential term, and a new Congress should mean a fresh agenda, but in 2013, that is far from our reality. What started out as “high hopes” for the 113th Congress has transformed into disapproval and disappointment, and we are only into the second week of January. A recent poll shows that Congress is less popular than some of the most detested events and annoyances in American culture.

I couldn’t agree more. The new year started out with the looming fiscal cliff and in the midst of that deal, Congress discussed the impact of the resolution on the economic security of our nation. They argued that averting the fiscal cliff meant securing the long-term economic stability of Americans.

Some important victories for women came out of that agreement but there were some detrimental exclusions such as the lack of any clear next steps for the debt ceiling and additional deficit reduction. The fiscal cliff deal also threatens Head Start programs and protection of the programs that women and families rely on most, including Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act.

While Congress was busy arguing about the fiscal cliff, they also ignored other priorities like the pending expiration of an indispensable bill for women’s economic security: the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). When the House failed to vote and renew VAWA, they sent a clear message to women voters that their safety and security from sexual and domestic violence is not important.

Initially passed in 1994, VAWA has received bipartisan support in every reauthorization until 2012. Problems for VAWA began in April 2012 when the Senate introduced a version of the bill that included three new provisions:

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Will Obama’s ‘war on weed’ really ride roughshod over American voters?

From The Guardian UK:

The White House seems stuck in its failed ‘war on drugs’ policy, even as voters in states approve marijuana legalisation, Friday 11 January 2013

Two states took the plunge: Colorado and Washington State recently voted to decriminalize possession, if you are over 21, of small amounts of marijuana (although you still can’t smoke it in public there). But the White House is warning that these state moves are in violation of federal law – the Controlled Substances Act – which the government gives notice it intends to continue to enforce.

Indeed, Obama is thinking about more than a warning: he might actually sue the states, and any others that follow Colorado‘s and Washington States’ leads. Pot legalization proponents, however, point to the fact that the states’ change in the law has been hailed by local law enforcement, because being able to leave small-scale pot users alone means freed-up resources for police to go after violent crime.

David Sirota reported, in Salon this past week, on a petition he submitted to the White House, in which 46,000 people asked Obama to support proposed legislation that would not legalize marijuana on a federal level but simply change federal law so that states could choose to legalize personal use if they wished to do so. Sirota points out that polls demonstrate that “between 51% and 68% of Americans believe states – and not the feds – should have marijuana enforcement authority.”

The White House ignored the petition – in spite of Obama’s promise to take action on petitions that garner such levels of support. And the New York Times reports that the administration is considering taking legal action against any states that claim the authority to legalize marijuana. One approach being contemplated is for the federal government to sue the states “on the grounds that any effort to regulate marijuana is pre-empted by federal law”.

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Why the FCC Needs a Woman in Charge

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Want Pentagon Cuts? Make Barney Frank a Senator

From The Nation:

John Nichols
on January 9, 2013

Well, of course, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick should pick former Congressman Barney Frank to fill the US Senate vacancy that will be created when John Kerry is confirmed as the nation’s sixty-eighth Secretary of State.

In the absence of the reform that is needed—a requirement that all senators be elected—governors are going to pick interim senators. The Massachusetts system is actually better than in most states; when a seat comes vacant the appointee only serves for three or four months before a new senator is selected in a special election.

The question with regard to the interim senator, then, is whether the state will be represented by a placeholder or someone who can actually make an immediate and significant contribution.

There are several prospects for the Massachusetts seat who would be good senators. Some have even suggested former Massachusetts Governor Mike Dukakis, the 1988 Democratic nominee for president, although Dukakis says he does not want the position.

Frank does want it.

Just days ago having finished serving thirty-two years as one of the most outspoken and engaged members of the US House of Representatives, he’s actively campaigning for appointment to Kerry’s seat. And he’s attracted significant support for the effort, including an “Appoint Barney Frank to the Senate” campaign by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a group that played a pivotal role in getting Elizabeth Warren into the race for the other Senate seat from Massachusetts — and getting her elected.

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The Inconvenient Truth About Jack Lew

From Truth Dig:

By Robert Scheer
Jan 11, 2013

I suppose that he can’t be much worse than Timothy Geithner, but that should be scant cause for cheer over the news that the president has nominated Jack Lew as Treasury secretary. Both championed the financial deregulation craze of the Clinton administration, and both are acolytes of Robert Rubin, the former Clinton Treasury secretary who unfettered Wall Street greed and then took his own considerable cut of the action.

Rubin went to work at Citigroup, the world’s largest financial conglomerate whose legality was enabled by legislation he advanced while in government. He made off with a salary of $15 million a year during his decade at that bank, which specialized in toxic mortgage derivatives and had to be bailed out by taxpayers to avoid bankruptcy.

Lew’s association with Citigroup was a far briefer and less rewarding three-year stint, but then the alternative investments unit of which he was chief operating officer in 2008 didn’t do so well with its hedge fund and private equity investments. As Jia Lynn Yang points out in The Washington Post, “Massive losses in that unit helped drive Citigroup into the arms of the federal government, which bailed out the bank with $45 billion in taxpayer money that year.”

But the taxpayer bailout did not interfere with Lew raking in more than $2 million in salary and bonuses in 2008, despite his unit’s glaring failures. Nor did he seem to learn much from the experience as to the need for restoring the sensible government regulation of the financial industry that President Franklin Roosevelt had instituted to prevent another Great Depression and the Clinton administration had destroyed.

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Why Idle No More has resonated with Canadians

From The Rabble Ca:

ByKen Georgetti Maude Barlow
January 11, 2013

Imagine a country where the national government introduces and passes legislation that detrimentally affects all of its First Nations communities but it doesn’t bother to consult with them. Then a chief of an impoverished northern First Nation community goes on a hunger strike to get a meeting between the First Nations leadership and the government several months after this legislation was passed. Does this have implications for all Canadians? You bet it does. This will not be the last time that individuals or groups will take such extreme measures in response to the federal government’s public policy process or lack thereof.

All Canadians owe a debt of gratitude to Chief Theresa Spence’s and Elder Raymond Robinson’s hunger strikes. These individuals are calling attention to an intolerable situation among First Nations communities. They are also highlighting concerns common to many Canadians about dangers posed by unilateral government actions to the natural environment and the state of our democracy.

The hunger strike has galvanized widespread protests by youthful and energetic supporters of the Idle No More movement. These are all predictable responses to a government that routinely bullies anyone who does not agree with it, refuses to consult, and prefers ideology over evidence when developing and implementing public policy.

Of major concern to First Nations and many other Canadians are two omnibus budget bills (C-38 and C-45) that were imposed upon the country during the past year. These bills each comprised hundreds of pages and contained legislative changes that went far beyond what was contained in the budget.

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Idle No More — Think Occupy, But With Deep Deep Roots

From Huffington Post:–think-occup_b_2448552.html


I don’t claim to know exactly what’s going on with #IdleNoMore, the surging movement of indigenous activists that started late last year in Canada and is now spreading across the continent — much of the action, from hunger strikes to road and rail blockades, is in scattered and remote places, and even as people around the world plan for solidarity actions on Friday, the press has done a poor job of bringing it into focus.

But I sense that it’s every bit as important as the Occupy movement that transfixed the world a year ago; it feels like it wells up from the same kind of long-postponed and deeply-felt passion that powered the Arab spring. And I know firsthand that many of its organizers are among the most committed and skilled activists I’ve ever come across. In fact, if Occupy’s weakness was that it lacked roots (it had to take over public places, after all, which proved hard to hold on to), this new movement’s great strength is that its roots go back farther than history. More than any other people on this continent, they know what exploitation and colonization are all about, and so it’s natural that at a moment of great need they’re leading the resistance to the most profound corporatization we’ve ever seen. I mean, we’ve just come off the hottest year ever in America, the year when we broke the Arctic ice cap; the ocean is 30 percent more acidic than it was when I was born.

Thanks to the same fossil fuel industry that’s ripping apart Aboriginal lands, we’re at the very end of our rope as a species; it’s time, finally, to listen to the people we’ve spent the last five centuries shunting to one side.

Eighteen months ago, when we at the climate campaign started organizing against the Keystone XL Pipeline, the very first allies we came across were from the Indigenous Environmental Network — people like Tom Goldtooth and Clayton Thomas-Muller. They’d been working for years to alert people to the scale of the devastation in Alberta’s tar sands belt, where native lands had been wrecked and poisoned by the immense scale of the push to mine “the dirtiest energy on earth.” And they quickly introduced me to many more — heroes like Melina Laboucan-Massimo, a member of the Cree Nation who was traveling the world explaining exactly what was going on.

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The Pipeline President: Obama’s Keystone XL

From Eco Watch:

Tom Weis

Note to President Obama: You approved it. You own it.

By now, most people following the Keystone XL saga know that last spring, President Obama made a special trip on Air Force One to the “Pipeline Crossroads of the World” to call for fast-track approval of the southern (OK-TX) leg of TransCanada’s Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Standing in a pipe yard in Cushing, Oklahoma, the President declared:

“And today, I’m directing my administration to cut through the red tape, break through the bureaucratic hurdles, and make this project a priority, to go ahead and get it done.”

Since then, TransCanada has constructed roughly one-third of the 485-mile southern leg (if not for fierce push back by a few determined landowners and the courageous efforts of Tar Sands Blockade, it would be more).

With ownership comes responsibility. As the pipeline president, Obama not only owns Keystone XL, he also owns the atrocities being committed in its name in Texas:

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