Parkland Memorial Hospital expands equal employment opportunities to transgender employees

From The Dallas Morning News:

22 January 2013

Parkland Memorial Hospital joined other public employers Tuesday in expanding equal employment opportunities to transgender employees or job applicants.

The hospital’s board of managers also approved a policy that prohibited harassment or retaliation against workers who may be affected by “gender identity” and “gender expression.”

Other governmental entities offering the same employee protections include the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth, Dallas County, Dallas Area Rapid Transit and the North Texas Tollway Authority.

According to the American Psychological Association, “transgender is an umbrella term for persons whose gender identity, gender expression or behavior does not conform to what typically is associated with the sex they were assigned at birth.”

Gender identity refers to a person’s “internal sense of being male, female or something else,” the psychologist group said, “while gender expression refers to the way a person communicates gender identity to others through behavior, clothing, hairstyles, voice or body characteristics.”

Rafael McDonnell, advocacy manager for Resource Center Dallas, praised the Parkland board for extending job protections to these workers. His group has lobbied local governmental agencies to protect such employees, since there are no statewide laws to protect them.

“If you work for a smaller business in this state, you can still be fired for being gay,” he said. “It’s perfectly legal.”

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See also:  Dallas Voice:  Parkland adds trans protections

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I Was Attacked for Being Gay

From Huffington Post:


I don’t have a car, so I was walking to the store to get some groceries for my mother, whom I help take care of. She has a bad heart condition and is in hospice care. I had to walk by a gas station on my way. When I was walking by, a man yelled something at me; I believe he didn’t realize at first that I was a guy. When I turned and spoke back to him, he apparently realized I was a guy and said something like, “Oh, my God, you’re a faggot!”

I usually ignore people when they say things like that to me, but he caught me in an uncharacteristically bad mood that day, so I decided to defend myself. I said, “Damn right I’m a fag. What of it?” and kept going. I never stopped or even made eye contact. It’s my habit to ignore the fact that the offending person even exists when I’m in a situation like that. I feel that if you make eye contact with a person bullying you, acknowledging that you are being receptive to their taunts, it can make things worse. So I kept on moving and didn’t look back.

When I had left the parking lot and was about to turn the corner, I heard him yell from right behind me, “Hey, faggot!” Not really even thinking about it, I turned around, and he punched me in the stomach and knocked the wind out of me. When I doubled over, all of a sudden my vision went black, and I was seeing stars. He had punched me directly in the nose. I fell to the ground and felt him kick me before I passed out. I don’t think I was unconscious for very long; I think I just fainted. But it was long enough for him to take the $20 from my pocket and get back to the parking lot to leave. It all happened very fast; it was over in just a couple of minutes.

I was gushing blood, and I sat there for a good couple of minutes before I realized what had happened: A man had punched me in the face, and that’s why I was bleeding. I’d never been hit before. It was very scary and startling. At that point I put my scarf up to my nose and went back home, where I cleaned the blood off. My mom told me that I needed stitches and probably had a broken nose. I knew I needed to report it, but I felt that getting to the ER took precedence at the time. I called the hospital, and they said they’d call a police officer to file a report when I arrived at the ER.

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If Right-Wing Violence is Up 400%, Why is the FBI Targeting Environmentalists?

From Truth Out:

By Will Potter, Green Is the New Red
Monday, 21 January 2013

Violent attacks by right-wing groups and individuals have increased by 400% since 1990, and dramatically in the last five years, according to a new report by West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center.

When examined side-by-side with FBI reports on domestic terrorism, the data from this study shows that the FBI has been either grossly miscalculating, or intentionally downplaying, murders and violent attacks by right-wing extremists while exaggerating the threat posed by animal rights activists and environmentalists, who have only destroyed property.


Between 2007 and 2011, there was a sharp increase in the number of victims of right wing violence, according to the study, to the highest levels documented so far. On a broader timeline, the increase is even more dramatic.

There was a spike in both from injuries and fatalities in 2007, and those levels have remained constant through 2012. That’s approximately 190 injuries a year, and 30 deaths, due to right-wing violence.

The victims of this violence are not surprising. Approximately 65% of the attacks were directed against ethnic and religious minorities. And 14% of violent attacks were against people because of their sexual orientation.

As the author notes, this only includes crimes that were reported and could be directly tied to right-wing politics.

It’s possible that these numbers are actually much higher.


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Ted Nugent claims his ‘buddies’ are willing to start an armed revolt

From Raw Story:

By Stephen C. Webster
Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Detroit-born southern rockabilly Ted Nugent isn’t known for moderation, but from the sound of his latest comments, the re-election of President Barack Obama (D) has made him ever more extreme.

Speaking to fans during an NBC-sponsored gun show, Nugent said that Obama “is attempting to re-implement the tyranny of King George that we escaped from in 1776,” adding: “If you want another Concord bridge, I’ve got some buddies.”

The comment was a reference to the Battle of Concord, in which a British soldier broke a standoff and fired upon assembled American militiamen, in what later became known as “the shot heard around the world” that helped launch the Revolutionary War.

He added that Obama “hires, appoints and associates with communists,” and that he’s “an evil, dangerous man who hates America and hates freedom. And we need to fix this as soon as possible.”

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Right-wing terrorism is real

From Salon:

Backlash to a new West Point study on domestic extremism exposes the depths of conservatives’ denial

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013

There are four revealing stories to be gleaned from the Aggrieved Conservative Backlash™ to an exhaustive and sober new West Point Combating Terrorism Center report on “Understanding America’s Violent Far-Right.” (For a more grass roots-y look at how hysterical and viral that backlash is, see some choice tweets here.)

First, there is the obvious lesson about double standards. When the government accuses a Muslim group of being a national security threat, conservatives are quick to applaud and demand immediate (often violent) action, without regard for the whole “innocent until proven guilty” stuff. By contrast, when the government accuses an ideologically right-wing group of being a similarly dangerous threat, many of the same conservatives suddenly play the victim card, insisting that the Big Bad Government is wrongly demonizing them.

Second, the backlash tells the story of how priorities abruptly change when the context shifts. Again, when the government accuses a Muslim group of posing a threat, the substance of the accusations (how much of a threat? what is the operational capacity of the threat? etc.) are typically received by conservatives as serious national security issues. But when far right groups are labeled a threat, many conservatives’ first reflex is to defend the accused and wholly ignore the substance of the accusations no matter how well documented those accusations are (and say what you will about the West Point report’s conclusions, its supporting evidence is most certainly well-documented).

This spotlights the third story line: that of the double standard that governs what is, and is not, considered an acceptable rhetorical response to a purported national security threat. In the reaction to the West Point report, many conservatives seem to be arguing that the government is unduly targeting the anti-government/allegedly pro-freedom agenda that they share with far-right extremist groups. This move to first and foremost defend the common ideology is apparently seen as A-OK. But ask yourself: How would liberals be received if, upon publication of a report about Islamic terrorism, their reaction was first and foremost to publicly defend, say, the anti-imperialist sentiment of the accused terrorists? Such a reaction probably would get those liberals accused of “giving aid and comfort” to said terrorists and therefore being traitors to country.

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VAWA Reintroduced Yesterday- Take Action Today by Contacting Your Senators!

From National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women:
Wed, Jan 23, 2013

Yesterday, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Senator Michael Crapo (R-ID) introduced S. 47, a strong, bipartisan bill that would reauthorize the landmark Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)! This bill closely mirrors the bipartisan legislation introduced by Senators Leahy and Crapo last Congress and would improve VAWA programs and strengthen protections for all victims of violence (see description of legislation below).

In order to continue our incredible momentum from last Congress, we need you to take action TODAY by contacting your Senators to co-sponsor S. 47.

Our goal is to get 60 co-sponsors by January 31st  so that VAWA can get to the Senate floor for a bipartisan victory. We need to keep the phones ringing starting right now!

So far, the bill has the following co-sponsors in addition to its chief sponsor, Senator Leahy (D-VT): Senators Ayotte (R-NH),  Bennet (D-CO), Cantwell (D-WA), Casey (D-PA), Collins (R-ME), Coons (D-DE), Crapo (R-ID), Durbin (D-IL), Hagan (D-NC), Kirk (R-IL), Klobuchar (D-MN), McCaskill (D-MO), Mikulski (D-MD), Murkowski (R-AK), Murray (D-WA), Shaheen (D-NH), Tester (D-MT), Udall (D-CO), and Whitehouse (D-RI).

Also yesterday, Representatives Gwen Moore (D-WI) and John Conyers (D-MI) introduced H.R. 11, a House companion identical to the bipartisan Senate bill. The National Task Force calls on the House of Representatives to work together in a bipartisan effort to build on the momentum from the last Congress in order to reauthorize VAWA as a matter of priority.

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The Message and the Meaning: Is ‘Pro-choice’ Passé?

From The Nation:

Katha Pollitt
January 16, 2013
Forty years after Roe v. Wade, do you have a problem calling yourself pro-choice? Apparently a lot of people do. In 2009, abortion opponents broke out the champagne and the media went wild when for the first time since polling began on this issue, more people told Gallup they were pro-life than said they were pro-choice. Despite annual fluctuations since, 50 percent of those polled last year described themselves as pro-life, and 41 percent as pro-choice—a record low. Less noted were Quinnipiac findings that nearly two-thirds of registered voters agree with the Roe v. Wade decision, a number that has actually increased a bit in recent years. Surprisingly, other research has found that support for Roe includes 35 percent of those who call themselves pro-life.Planned Parenthood is betting there are a lot of people out there who support abortion rights but are turned off by the word “pro-choice.” “The labels have become irrelevant,” PP president Cecile Richards said in a press briefing. People don’t want to see Roe overturned, but they feel “abortion is a complex, deeply personal issue.” Executive vice president Dawn Laguens suggested that when Roe was decided, women had far fewer choices, but today we are so bombarded with choices the word sounds “frivolous”—“like choosing your cellphone plan.”PP is not completely abandoning “pro-choice”—the word has a history, and Richards acknowledged with a smile that the new message won’t exactly fit on a bumper sticker. But expect to hear more often that “we’re not in her shoes” when it comes to a woman’s “personal decision.” Indeed, a National Women’s Law Center Tumblr, Not In Her Shoes, invites women to “Submit a picture of your own shoes—tell us why no one can walk in them but you, and why no one knows your personal situation.”

In PP focus groups, people in the “middle ground” called for a more nuanced conversation. Typical quotes: “It’s not just black or white, there’s gray.” “We define it so many times by the extreme of the viewpoints rather than the moderation.” “Labels don’t matter.” In a follow-up e-mail, Laguens told me, “It was clear from the research that, for most of them, their struggle was with what their own decision would be and under what circumstances.”

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