NARTH-affiliated doc lobbies against “special right” to be equal for trans people, calls them “deluded, psychotic.”

From Dented Blue Mercedes:

By Mercedes Allen
January 16, 2013

Reposted with permission.

Joseph Berger is a past Chairman of the Toronto district of the Ontario Medical Association, and past President of the Ontario branch of the American Psychiatric Association.  He was also affiliated with NARTH (National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, an organization formed specifically to “cure” people of being gay), although his bios scrub this fact and it’s not certain if he is presently affiliated with the group (He was a Scientific Advisory Committee member in 2006, and a speaker on behalf of NARTH in 2010).  While a scientific advisor, Berger garnered notice when he recommended bullying as a solution to gender diverse youth (original now offline):

“I suggest, indeed, letting children who wish go to school in clothes of the opposite sex – but not counselling other children to not tease them or hurt their feelings.

“On the contrary, don’t interfere, and let the other children ridicule the child who has lost that clear boundary between play-acting at home and the reality needs of the outside world.

“Maybe, in this way, the child will re-establish that necessary boundary.”

At the request of Gwen Landolt of R.E.A.L. Women of Canada, he sent a submission to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights (JUST) to oppose the trans human rights Bill C-279.  ARPA Canada has now forwarded this submission to every sitting MP, in anticipation of Third Reading of the bill.

Berger urges MPs to oppose C-279, because according to him, trans people don’t exist:

Scientifically, there is no such a thing. Therefore anyone who actually truly believes that notion, is by definition deluded, psychotic.

He then goes on to explain that what trans people experience is “just unhappiness,” as if risking losing everything — family, spouses, children, employment, friends, assets — in order to make a whole life change is simply the path of least resistance for unhappy people.

He takes some special pains to assert that he is “speaking now about the scientific perspective – and not any political lobbying position that may be proposed by any group, medical or non-medical.”  So he’s putting aside his role as a champion of ex-gay therapy, as he presents a scientific argument that contains absolutely zero authoritative citations.  Ironically, he concludes:

As a psychiatrist, I see no reason for people who identify themselves in these ways to have any rights or privileges different from everyone else in Canada.

I say ironically, because that is not what the Canada Human Rights Act does.  Despite Berger’s often-repeated reference to C-279 as granting “some special allowances or attitudes or possibly even ‘rights’,” what it would actually do would be to assure that trans people can’t be denied employment, housing and access to services simply because of who they are.  Which would put them on the same level as everyone else in Canada.


It was pointed out that on the submission, contact info was retained.  Be aware that abusing that info will simply feed a neo-conservative’s persecution complex and give them the opportunity to spin the response as proof that we’re “psychotic.” I really do recommend that people keep the response public, professional and responding to the ideology, not the person.  This is important.

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on NARTH-affiliated doc lobbies against “special right” to be equal for trans people, calls them “deluded, psychotic.”

Why I’m trans … and a feminist

From The Guardian UK:

In the light of this week’s row between two prominent feminists and the trans community, we asked four trans writers to reflect on what feminism means to them

, , , and, Friday 18 January 2013

Paris Lees: ‘At college, most people thought feminist meant man-hater’

There were plenty of feminists on TV in the early 90s, and I always sided with these tough ladies, the ones that didn’t see men as their superiors. Raised by my mum, my gran and my aunty and bullied by a father I despised, child-me was certain that women couldn’t be the inferior gender. Teenage me wondered why there even have to be an inferior gender – or, in fact, gender at all. Couldn’t we all just do our own thing and be nice to each other? At college, most people thought feminist meant “man-hater”. This excluded men from feminism, including me, because, at the time, I looked like a boy.

It was a figurative kick in the teeth being born male – but when I was younger, I also got actual kicks in the face for “acting girly”. Feminists have long fought to protect women from violence and I wish more of those with big platforms would discuss the very real abuse trans people suffer, often daily.

Early into my transition, I read Germaine Greer’s The Whole Woman. It contained polemics about trans women in female toilets; suggesting we were men pretending to be women, trying to invade women’s spaces. It’s good to read authors one disagrees with. Greer caused me to question my identity, and form a more complex one. She was right: I am not a woman in the way my mother is; I haven’t experienced female childhood; I don’t menstruate. I won’t give birth. Yes, I have no idea what it feels like to be another woman – but nor do I know what it feels like to be another man. How can anyone know what it feels like to be anyone but themselves? Strangely, thanks to Greer, I now know that I am happiest as me.

I do feel sorry for some of the feminist old guard, though. That fire they had in their bellies, that righteous indignation… it must be a shock to find they’ve joined the ranks of a chattering establishment, complicit in the oppression of others. I’m sure they never planned it.

I’m trans and feminist. Most of my female friends in their 20s are feminist too, though few call it that. We see ourselves as equal to others, even if they don’t. We struggle to earn the same as our male peers, to be heard as much, to see as much of ourselves in public and political life. But we’ve progressed, through feminism and the idea that people should be treated equally despite what fate pops between your legs at birth. Who wouldn’t support that? As Dale Spender so eloquently puts it:

Continue reading at:

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Why I’m trans … and a feminist

Observer’s readers’ editor says ‘it was wrong’ to publish transphobic slurs

From Pink News:

18 January 2013

The Observer’s readers’ editor, Stephen Pritchard, has issued his full response into the paper’s decision to publish a transphobic article by Julie Burchill.

Writing on, the website of the Observer’s sister paper, on Friday afternoon Pritchard said: “Some of the language was gratuitously offensive; to repeat it here would be to add insult to injury.”

Julie Burchill wrote the article in defence of her friend and fellow writer Suzanne Moore – who had also caused offence in the trans community with some of her remarks in an article which was published first in the New Statesman and then in the Guardian.

This, argued Burchill, led to Moore being “monstered” by a lobby.

In the 24 hours after the article was published, Pritchard received over 1,000 emails and 2,952 comments were posted online, most of them highly critical.

Referring to the controversy, Pritchard said: “The ensuing storm was notable both for its vociferous nature and for its individuality. A controversial issue will often bring a blizzard of identikit protest of apparently confected anger but while clearly this lobby was organised most of the emails and letters we received were personal and heartfelt.

“And they were not only from trans people. Concerned readers with no connection to the trans lobby felt hurt that a minority that could expect to be protected by a liberal publication was being attacked in an extremely insulting manner.”

Continue reading at:

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Observer’s readers’ editor says ‘it was wrong’ to publish transphobic slurs

Feminism shouldn’t be about telling trans women they’re not female enough

From The Guardian UK:

At a young age, I briefly had cause to question my gender. For me, it passed. For others, it doesn’t – and feminists should be fighting for their liberation, too

The Guardian, Saturday 19 January 2013

I remember, many years ago, reading about women who’d had mastectomies after breast cancer, and had been sent home with little bags of sand that they’d been told to place in their bras. It devastated them that this was considered an adequate substitute for a breast. Happily, things are different now, and every effort is made to incorporate whatever breast reconstruction is possible as an integral part of breast cancer treatment.

However, delighted as I am that this is the way things are now, it wasn’t what I chose for myself. I opted out of reconstruction after I’d had breast cancer. I’d had enough of hospitals, clinics and surgery. But it wasn’t an easy decision. Perhaps, in the future, I will have it. But it won’t be because it will help me feel more like a complete woman again.

Frankly, if my entire body was removed, and only my head remained, somehow attached to machines that kept me alive, I’d still feel entirely female, just as I felt as a child, before my breasts had developed, before I even knew I had a vagina or a womb.

I have a memory of when I was very young. I remember trying to persuade myself that perhaps little girls grew up to become men, and little boys grew up to become women. Even at that age, I knew it was impossible, that of course it didn’t work that way.

I know, too, exactly what inspired that strange wish. My father had bought my mother a new iron for her birthday, and my mother had been really upset. She had told my dad how insulted she felt, how awful it was that he imagined that this was some sort of treat for her.

My dad was bamboozled. “But you said you needed a new one.” She told him what it was like, being stuck at home, while he went out to work, seeing other people, being in the world. She told him she resented that even though she was at home all week, he still left her at home on a Saturday morning while he went to play golf. I thought that sounded miserable. I didn’t want to grow up and get an iron for my birthday, instead of being able to saunter off to the golf course to swing one.

Continue reading at:

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Feminism shouldn’t be about telling trans women they’re not female enough

A Future Beyond Formal LGBT Equality

From Gay City News:

BY Chuck Colbert
January 16, 2013

If the LGBT movement is, at its core, a progressive struggle for justice and equality, then shouldn’t the gay rights agenda include issues of economics, race, class, and gender? In other words, is there more to gay rights and liberation than simply securing passage of non-discrimination laws and gaining the right to marry?

Longtime activist and LGBT community leader Urvashi Vaid certainly thinks so. For years now, she has been urging mainstream movement leaders to take up a broader economic rights and racial justice program.

In a 1996 book, “Virtual Equality: The Mainstreaming of Gay and Lesbian Liberation,” Vaid argued a larger vision for the movement, with social justice as a window into the future.

And now in a new book, “Irresistible Revolution: Confronting Race, Class, and the Assumptions of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Politics,” Vaid offers pointed criticism of the movement’s shortcomings on that score.

“We need a movement that is conscious of economic realities that real people are facing,” she explained recently during a wide-ranging, hour-long telephone interview. “And our movement must address and change the serious lack of representation of people of color in its leadership and racial justice priorities in its agenda.”

Urvashi Vaid lays out the case for a broader, more ambitious agenda

Vaid was referring to a decade’s worth of economic demographics, data from the Williams Institute and other think thanks, which show many LGBT people are seniors, on Medicaid, and unemployed at the same time others are struggling to support themselves and their families on fixed incomes.

Continue reading at:

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on A Future Beyond Formal LGBT Equality

Sleazy “Sugar-Daddies” Site Boasts That Soaring Tuition Rates Are Making More Women Desperate to Be Sex Workers

From Alternet:

Company gloats at the exploitation potential for women looking for a source of financing something that used to be the government’s responsibility.

By Amanda Marcotte
January 18, 2013

Soaring tuition rates are causing a number of reactions from the public: concern for young people saddled with ever-growing debt, anger at governments for cutting back on education instead of taxing the rich appropriately, calls for system-wide reform to help restore America’s global competitiveness. But some see it as an opportunity to market sexual services to men who find the idea of college women in dire economic straights to be arousing.

The leading company in this market recently sent out a glowing press release — heavy with sexist, outdated terms like “coed” — applauding the explosion of desperate college students and letting its customers know that the pool of available sex workers had grown tremendously. It particularly recommended universities in California as a place where the market is flooded with young women who are willing to pretend to like having sex with you in exchange for the kind of financial relief that used to be the government’s responsibility.

For example, UC Berkley experienced a 67% growth and UC Davis experienced a 220% growth, earning them spots among the “Fastest Growing Sugar Baby Schools of 2012.”

Now, obviously one should take statistics offered by “sugar daddy” businesses with a grain of salt. They are trying to convince potential customers that the market is flooded with young women, alluring them both with a larger array of choices and the opportunity to use the more competitive market to pay each sex worker less for her services.

That said, it’s no big surprise that California would lead the pack. California’s budget cuts have led to an astounding 21 percent rise in tuition at public universities like Berkeley and Davis. Berkeley estimates that it cost the average resident student between $28,000 and $32,000 last year to attend, between tuition, housing and cost-of-living expenses. For this year, UC Davis also puts the cost between $28,000 and $32,000.

Continue reading at:

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Sleazy “Sugar-Daddies” Site Boasts That Soaring Tuition Rates Are Making More Women Desperate to Be Sex Workers

German Priests Carried Out Sexual Abuse for Years

From The New York Times:

Published: January 18, 2013

BERLIN — A report about child sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church in Germany, based on victim accounts and released by the church this week, showed that priests carefully planned their assaults and frequently abused the same children repeatedly for years.

The report, compiled from information collected from victims and other witnesses who called a hot line run by the church from 2010 until the end of last year, includes the ages of the victims, the locations of the assaults and the repercussions they have suffered since. The accounts were provided in 8,500 calls to the hot line; they are not representative of abuse cases over all and cannot be individually verified. The church said the report contained information from 1,824 people, of whom 1,165 described themselves as victims.

Germany’s bishops have vowed a thorough and impartial investigation into the abuse. Bishop Stephan Ackermann of Trier, who is looking into abuse cases for the German Bishops’ Conference, told reporters after the report was released on Thursday that it served as an example of that intention.

“I found particularly devastating the perpetrators’ lies to their under-aged victims that their actions were an expression of a loving bond with God,” he said Thursday. Claudia Adams, who said she was assaulted as a child in a preschool run by the church in a village near Trier, works through her trauma by blogging about the abuse scandal. The priest who abused her “told me that I was now ‘closer to God,’ ” she said in a telephone interview on Friday from her home near Trier.

The church’s credibility regarding its commitment to an impartial investigation suffered a fresh blow last week when the bishops canceled an independent study into the abuse scandal amid allegations by the independent investigator, Christian Pfeiffer, that the church was censoring information.

Continue reading at:

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on German Priests Carried Out Sexual Abuse for Years