From Gay Star News: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/thai-trans-group-complain-ikea-about-ad220113
Thai Transgender Alliance demand response from IKEA Global on ‘negative and stereotypical’ advert
By Anna Leach
22 January 2013
Thai Transgender Alliance have sent an open letter to IKEA to complain about a ‘negative and stereotypical’ advert.
The offending advert, called Luem Aeb (meaning ‘forget to deceive’), was broadcast on Bangkok’s sky train system from 28 December 2012 to 13 January 2013 and on YouTube.
‘The MTF transgender/transwomen character is openly mocked as being “deceitful”,’ read the open letter to IKEA from Thai Transgender Alliance.
‘The transgender content of the advertisement is negative and stereotypical in nature, perpetuating misunderstanding transgenderism as human sexuality for “deceitful and deviant lifestyle”.’
The advert shows a woman who is so surprised by a sale item that she speaks with a male voice. The man she is with looks shocked and horrified. The last scene of the advert shows the man running away as the woman carries a box of flat-packed furniture by herself.
The letter from Thai Transgender Alliance demands that IKEA Global issue an official public statement about the advert.
Watch the advert here:
See also Huffington Post: IKEA Ad Offends Transgender Group In Thailand
Domestic violence is a crime in which one person asserts physical power over another individual for the purpose of controlling or dominating that person. As I engage in the legal system to fight for the rights of transgender individuals, I find that many transgender prisoners, especially transgender prisoners of color, are in personal relationships that are violent and abusive. In the pursuit of trying to find love and happiness, many transgender people accept physical abuse as love. The main reason I wrote my memoir, I Rise, was to educate and enlighten others about the transgender journey and the many obstacles that we have to overcome just to survive.
The transformation process requires great courage and determination against objections from family, friends and associates. Once the transformation process begins, there is a rebuilding of self-esteem that requires transgender people to relearn to accept themselves in their new body. If the transgender individual opts to go on a hormone regimen, that begins to change the body and its outward physical appearance, causing the individual to have to change their perception of self and rebuild their self-esteem in their new body. While rebuilding their self-esteem, they become vulnerable to individuals who give them attention or admiration, which an in turn lead them into relationships with people who are abusive, controlling and dominating.
Leigh Goodmark, a law professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law and an expert in family law and domestic violence, wrote a riveting paper in February 2012 called “Transgender People, Intimate Partner Abuse, and the Legal System,” which detailed the abuse that many transgender people suffer at the hands of their lovers, often ending in their deaths. In many instances the LGBT community forgets the “T” when fighting for legal and civil rights, because the transgender population is small in comparison to the lesbian, gay and bisexual population.
Goodmark writes in her paper:
Whether characterized as hate crimes or as assaults or other crimes … violence against trans people is disturbingly common. Surveys of trans people document the disproportionately high rates of violence they experience. A 2001 survey found that over their lifetimes, almost 60% of trans people experienced either violence or harassment: over half of trans people experienced verbal abuse, 23% were stalked, almost 20% were assaulted without a weapon, 10% were assaulted with a weapon, and almost 14% experienced rape or sexual abuse. Other surveys have found similarly high rates of violence against trans people. In its most recent survey of hate violence in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and HIV-affected communities in the United States, the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) found that trans people were twice as likely to be assaulted or discriminated against and 1.5 times more likely to experience intimidation than cisgender white people.
From Sketchy Thoughts Canada: http://sketchythoughts.blogspot.com/2013/01/transsexual-and-transgender-women.html
The following press release from ASTT(e)Q (Action Santé Travesti(e)s et Transsexuel(le)s du Québec):
Transsexual and transgender women denied access to shelters as temperatures drop in Montréal
ASTT(e)Q urges Québec shelters to change discriminatory practices
25 January, 2013 – As temperatures drop to extreme lows, transsexual and transgender women in Montréal continue to be turned away from many homeless women’s shelters. Over the past week of bitter cold, ASTT(e)Q, a local trans health project of CACTUS Montréal, has witnessed several of our members be denied shelter on the grounds of being trans. While such refusals are frequently justified by administrative regulations, members of ASTT(e)Q believe that these exclusive practices are rooted in discriminatory attitudes towards trans people.
A majority of women’s shelters throughout Québec require trans people to have undergone sex reassignment surgery, and/or to have changed their legal sex. “Such requirements are unattainable for most homeless trans people, due to prohibitive costs, and extensive administrative requirements,” says Mirha-Soleil Ross, staff of ASTT(e)Q. “Trans women are left with no alternatives, as men’s shelters are clearly not an option. With no place to turn, homeless trans women find themselves on the streets, which in -30 below temperatures is nothing short of deadly.”
“Just this week, a trans woman who had her surgery months ago was refused access to a woman’s shelter because she didn’t have an ‘F’ on her identity documents! While we believe trans people should have access to shelter and housing regardless of surgical status, this is a clear case of discrimination disguised as administrative regulations,” continues Ross.
“We are currently seeing many important legal and social advances for trans people, including in neighbouring Ontario where one can change their legal sex regardless of surgical status,” says Nora Butler Burke, coordinator of ASTT(e)Q. “In Québec, trans people have been relentlessly educating intervention workers and calling for shelters to address the exclusion of homeless trans people for decades. Yet shelters continue to refuse trans people based on the outdated policies of the Québec Department of Civil Status.”
In the context of life threatening temperatures, ASTT(e)Q urges all shelters to immediately remove barriers to admission for trans people based on the legal documentation in their possession and/or their surgical status. More broadly, we advocate for access to shelters, as well as other gender specific services, to be available according to one’s social identity rather than according to their legal or surgical status. We encourage organizations across Québec to work in collaboration with trans community groups to ensure that trans people are no longer denied access.
About ASTT(e)Q (Action Santé Travesti(e)s et Transsexuel(le)s du Québec)
ASTT(e)Q aims to promote the health and well-being of trans people through peer support and advocacy, education and outreach, and community empowerment and mobilization. We understand the health of trans people and our communities to be interrelated to economic and social inequalities, which have resulted in trans people experiencing disproportionate rates of poverty, un(der)employment, precarious housing, criminalization and violence. We believe in the right to self-determine our gender identity and gender expression free from coercion, violence and discrimination. We advocate for access to health care that will meet the many needs of our diverse communities, while working collectively to build supportive, healthy and resilient communities.
For interviews: Nora Butler Burke at 514-347-9462
For terms, definitions and additional information about trans people: http://www.santetranshealth.org
The Roman Catholic Church launched a last ditch attack against the UK government’s plans for gay marriage
By Dan Littauer
28 January 2013
The Roman Catholic Church has launched a last minute attack against the UK government’s plans to legalize gay marriage, 10 days before the vote.
In a letter on behalf of The Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop of Southwark, the Most Rev Peter Smith, the second most senior active Catholic cleric in England and Wales, told priests: ‘The time to act is now’ against gay marriage.
In the letter quoted by the The Telegraph, the Archbishop Smith urged Catholic priests to mobilize against marriage equality and put pressure on the government.
Archbishop Smith wrote: ‘It is therefore particularly important at this time for all MPs to be made aware of the strength of feeling on this issue among their own constituents, and the Bishops have received requests from a number of laity about mobilising further action.
‘The first key vote is likely to take place in early February so the time to act is now.
‘We need to encourage as many people as possible to get involved. Please do all you can’.
Over the weekend, Catholic priests across England and Wales have distributed a million postcards to churchgoers, asking them to complete and post them to their MP demanding that they vote against gay marriage.
Archbishop Smith has also recently stated about gay marriage that ‘the fundamental problem with the bill is that it will radically alter the meaning of marriage for everyone and therefore undermine the common good.
From Pink News UK: http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2013/01/23/comment-the-boundaries-of-tolerance/
by Adrian Tippetts
23 January 2013
Don’t be fooled by the victim narrative of religious lobby groups, writes Adrian Tippetts for PinkNews. In a society of competing ideas, cultures and aspirations, individual liberty is sacrosanct.
The verdict from the European Court of Human Rights, in deciding against the Lilian Ladele, the Islington marriage registrar and Gary McFarlane the relationship therapist, who both refused to offer services to same-sex couples, is a landmark in the history of LGBT equality. The highest legal authority has finally ruled that withholding services against anyone on basis of sexual orientation is unlawful.
As predicted, not all are happy about this. The Telegraph claims in its leader comment that the verdict marginalises Christians: ‘gay rights trump religious rights’. Its leader article says that the verdict reflects a secular society that is intolerant because it misses toleration – tolerating those beliefs of which we do not approve.
But tolerance cannot be a free for all, and the Christians in question do have certain liberties guaranteed. We have to determine the boundaries of tolerance, and for the consequences that acting on those beliefs has for others. As philosopher AC Grayling noted in his treatise on the defence of Enlightenment values, Liberty in the Age of Terror, toleration only works if is reciprocated. A tolerant society must not tolerate intolerance if it is to protect itself. That does not make tolerance in breach of itself: at its heart is an ethical demand that everyone should respect everyone else’s rights and liberties. The Strasbourg ruling works for both a devout Christian’s right of conscience and the gay couple’s right to equal treatment under the law: in performing their duties, the Christian employees are not forced to change their beliefs, about either homosexuality or the morality of their gay customers.
They have the freedom and full protection of the law to express and promote that belief, as many street preachers do on high-streets at weekends to bewildered passers-by. They have freedom to associate with others with similar beliefs in any mega-church of their choosing. Ms Ladele, a civil marriage registrar has the additional satisfaction of knowing the couple is not married in the eyes of god, let alone her God – a deliverance for the couple in question too, no doubt. Ladele and McFarlane choose their professions and were under contractual obligations to offer their services to the general public. They have the liberty, like anyone else, to say ‘no’ to the job if the terms and conditions do not meet their liking.
Continue reading at: http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2013/01/23/comment-the-boundaries-of-tolerance/
Friday Jan 25, 2013
The British government published a bill to legalize same-sex marriage Friday, and said lawmakers will get their first vote on it in Parliament next month.
The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill extends marriage to gay couples but excludes clergy in the Church of England – the country’s official faith – from having to carry out the ceremonies.
That is intended to placate religious opponents of same-sex unions – though it has not stopped criticism of the bill from religious leaders.
“We feel that marriage is a good thing and we should be supporting more couples to marry and that is exactly what the proposals being brought forward today do,” Equalities Minister Maria Miller told BBC radio.
But she said the bill offered “protections … for churches who feel that this isn’t appropriate for their particular beliefs.”
The bill is likely to become law because it is supported by Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron, many members of his Cabinet and most Liberal Democrat and Labour lawmakers.
But some reactionary Conservative lawmakers say they will vote against it. The first debate and vote are scheduled for Feb 5.
From Gay Star News UK: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/religious-groups-defend-their-right-discriminate260113
Lobby groups and academics tell Senate hearing that freedom of religion should not mean freedom to discriminate
By Anna Leach
26 January 2013
Religious leaders spoke to a Senate hearing on Thursday to defend their exemptions in Australia’s new Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill.
The Bill controversially includes exceptions for religious organizations, effectively allowing them to discriminate against sexual orientation and gender identity minorities.
‘We believe that these exemptions, as they are called, are necessary to give expression to other fundamental human rights such as freedom of religion, association and cultural minorities,’ said Bishop Robert Forsyth from religious freedom advocates Freedom 4 Faith.
‘I am not defending the bigotry,’ Forsyth insisted.
‘I am not here to defend any particular view on any behaviours, but if a religious community holds certain deeply-held views about what is right and wrong, and you want them to maintain their integrity, you cannot force them to hire people who disagree – whether rightly or wrongly – with that community’s views.’
Forsyth added that it was necessary to provide ‘oases’ where ‘you can do things which could not be done otherwise’.
What the overly privileged feminist do-gooders fail to realize that when they shut down sex ads sew workers are forced to work the streets where they are far more likely to become the victims of abuse, violence or murder.
Melissa Gira Grant
On August 30, a 19-year-old woman in Ann Arbor, Michigan, was arrested after a prospective client called 911 on her. He claimed she raised her fee for services after their initial online contact. The cops took her away in handcuffs.
There’s nothing particularly unusual about this story, which initially appeared on AnnArbor.com. It’s one of dozens you can find every day in police blotters and local newspapers around the country, often accompanied by mug shots. No women’s rights organization compiles comprehensive data on how many people are arrested, tried, convicted, and incarcerated for prostitution-related charges. But their names and photos are lodged in search engines in perpetuity, no matter the outcome of their cases.
The consequences of such arrests can be life shattering. In Louisiana some women arrested for prostitution have been charged under a 200-year-old statute prohibiting “crimes against nature.” Those charged—disproportionately black women and transgender women—end up on the state sex-offender registry. In Texas a third prostitution arrest counts as an automatic felony. Women’s prisons are so overloaded that the state is rethinking the law to cut costs. In Chicago police post mug shots of all those arrested for solicitation online, a shaming campaign intended to target men who buy sex. But researchers at DePaul University found that 10 percent of the photos are of trans women who were wrongly gendered as men by cops and arrested as “johns.” A prostitution charge will haunt these women throughout the interlocking bureaucracies of their lives: filling out job applications, signing kids up for day care, renting apartments, qualifying for loans, requesting passports or visas.
Not all people who do sex work are women, but women disproportionately suffer the stigma, discrimination, and violence against sex workers. The result is a war on women that is nearly imperceptible, unless you are involved in the sex trade yourself. This war is spearheaded and defended largely by other women: a coalition of feminists, conservatives, and even some human rights activists who subject sex workers to poverty, violence, and imprisonment—all in the name of defending women’s rights.
Off Craigslist and Onto the Streets
A woman dressed from head to toe in khaki was trying to corral the few dozen people who showed up to picket in front of the New York offices of The Village Voice. Her eyes shaded from the blazing June sun by a safari-style brimmed hat, Norma Ramos pointed toward the entrance of the venerable alternative weekly with one hand, gripping a hand-printed placard in the other. It read, in deliberately uneven letters: “The TRUTH behind backpage.com: $2 MILLION PER MONTH by hosting sex trafficking ads.”
Continue reading at: http://reason.com/archives/2013/01/21/the-war-on-sex-workers
By Amanda Marcotte
Friday, January 25, 2013
If you’re looking for evidence that the differences between men and women are greatly exaggerated, the fact that women are equally capable as men of mind-blowing misogyny should erase all doubt. New Mexico state Rep. Cathrynn Brown proved that this week by introducing a bill aimed at throwing rape victims in jail if they refuse to honor their rapist’s right to control their body by carrying his child. This sort of insult to rapists will not stand, so Brown, standing up bravely for rapists who want the suffering they’ve inflicted to carry on and on for their victims, has proposed banning abortion for rape victims on the phony grounds that it’s “tampering with evidence”.
Of course, the entire idea that having a rapist’s baby would somehow be treated as proof of a rape is beyond silly. After all, the defense against the charge of rape is rarely to claim that the penis didn’t go into the vagina, but to accuse the victim of consenting and then, due to the unique viciousness of women, claiming it was rape for the lulz. Or to conceal her epic sluttiness by having the police grill her about her sex life, the defense attorney question her about it for the public record, and the entire community gossip about what a big slut she must be to press rape charges. I suspect Brown knows this, coming from the same anti-choice circles as Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin, where the belief is that women are deceitful creatures who will lie and kill to conceal how much fun sex they’re having.
To understand what’s going on here, you have to understand that anti-choicers primarily understand abortion as an attempt by women to hide how naughty they are. Never mind that most women getting abortions are in their 20s and are mothers already; the myth that abortion patients are young girls having all this sexy fun they’re not supposed to have and then hiding the “evidence” with abortion is so erotic and enticing for anti-choicers that they’re not letting it go. That’s why hanging out in front of abortion clinics and yelling at patients is so crucial to the movement: They believe you’re trying to hide your shameful non-virgin status, and by gum, they’re going to be there to make sure they get a chance to see your face and cast judgment. You will not get to hide your non-virginity from them! They are entitled to pass judgment, and if they don’t get to do it by shaming you for being a single mother, they’ll show up and yell at you at the abortion clinic. And probably masturbate about it later. You laugh, but when you see behavior like this enough, you begin to realize that this anti-choice obsession with abortion is so profound that “sexual fetish, no matter how sublimated” is the likeliest explanation.
By Sam Knight
Sunday, 27 January 2013
When the global financial system crumbled over four years ago, Iceland played host to one of the most dramatic economic collapses in modern history. Its three largest banks were unable to refinance debt roughly ten times the size of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), causing one of the world’s wealthiest nations to limp with hat in hand to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The island became a symbol for capitalism’s systemic failure.
Now, Iceland is making headlines for more positive reasons: activists there are in the process of advancing some of the strongest freedom of information laws and journalist protections in the world, and the Icelandic economy, while still beset by problems, is significantly outperforming other crisis-stricken countries.
Most recently, on October 20, a remarkable constitution – written by an elected council with help from the public – took a step closer toward ratification after it was approved in a referendum by a 2-1 margin.
Before the changes are signed into law, the draft must be approved by the Althingi, Iceland’s Parliament, approved again by referendum and finalized once more by the legislature after a fresh parliamentary election in April.
Uncertainty is swirling around the status of the constitution, however. Those opposed to it – primarily right-wingers – claim that the 48.9 percent turnout for October’s vote doesn’t lend the document legitimacy. There is also fear among the constitution’s supporters in Parliament that some of their colleagues are trying to abrogate the public’s influence by altering the document’s content instead of offering the technical revisions they were given the mandate to make.
“I truly believe that our democracies have been hijacked by bureaucrats,” said Parliamentarian Birgitta Jónsdóttir, a self-described “realist-anarchist” elected after the Kitchenware Revolution protests which ensued following the 2008 financial crisis forced the long-ruling conservative government to resign in 2009.
“I don’t want the new constitution to be plagued with their language, but the language of the people,” she insisted in a Skype conversation with Truthout. “Their time is over. They just can’t get over it.”
From Climate News Network: http://www.climatenewsnetwork.net/2013/01/fossil-fuels-too-valuable-to-burn/
By Paul Brown
January 26, 2013
Burning fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas adds significantly to global warming and will in time exhaust finite reserves. It also wastes resources which the world urgently needs to conserve for other purposes, according to a study released exclusively to the Climate News Network.
LONDON, 26 January – Burning fossil fuels for energy is a disastrous waste of natural resources preventing their use for the manufacture of fertilizer, medicines, clothing and other vital goods, according to a German think tank.
A study by the World Future Council, based in Hamburg, has attempted for the first time to put an economic price on the consumption of oil, gas and hard coal to produce energy when they could be used instead for making useful things.
While it is well known that fossil fuels are used to make all sorts of everyday objects like plastics, carbon fibre, soap, aspirins, solvents and dyes, it is a new idea to consider how this might affect future generations when the fuels run out.
A report – The Monetary Cost of the Non-Use of Renewable Energies – by Dr. Matthias Kroll, released today to the Climate News Network, claims the cost of these important natural resources runs into trillions of dollars a year, but does not appear in economic calculations of the costs of generating energy.
It should, he argues, be factored into cost comparisons between renewables and fossil fuels, otherwise people will have a false impression of their relative appeal.
He argues that, because the use of renewable energy to replace fossil fuels saves natural resources for future generations, this gain should be added to the reckoning in assessing the benefits of switching to wind energy and solar technologies.
Continue reading at: http://www.climatenewsnetwork.net/2013/01/fossil-fuels-too-valuable-to-burn/
By David Ferguson
Saturday, January 26, 2013
Saturday morning on MSNBC’s “Up with Chris Hayes,” host Chris Hayes introduced the topic of climate change to the panel. He discussed how the issue has been hijacked by the right wing and made into a culture war video, while Republican elected officials, such as those elected to the U.S. House of Representatives are demonstrating “the most depraved kind of denialism” of the issue.
Hayes opened the show by saying that he was surprised to hear such a clear commitment to tackling the problem of climate change in President Barack Obama’s inaugural speech this week.
“We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations,” Obama said. “Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms. The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition; we must lead it.”
Hayes said that these were strong words given that the topic of climate change almost never came up during the campaign, and wasn’t mentioned at all in any of the presidential and vice presidential debates. The main obstacles to action on climate change, however, are not in the president’s inaction.
“If you were to start listing the obstacles to climate progress in order,” he said, “You’d start with the major fossil fuel companies themselves, then you go to the conservative noise machine that has converted climate change into a culture war issue, another example of ‘out-of-touch elites trying to tell you what to do. And then the House Republican caucus, which almost unanimously committed to the most depraved kind of denialism. Then, Senate Republicans, who managed to kill the last big climate bill, and then Democrats from coal country and other regions that depend on fossil fuel extraction, and then Democrats who say they care about climate change, bout wouldn’t go along with the kind of filibuster reform that would the Senate Climate Bill a reality, and only after that, you would get to President Barack Obama.”
A new report exposes the Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics as a pay-for-play scheme that provides junk food manufacturers endless opportunities to influence registered dietitians.
By Jill Richardson
January 25, 2013
“I quit the Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics after they gave my contact information to McDonalds,” said Heather Weightman, a registered dietitian. She, like so many dietitians, is committed to promoting nutrition and health, and she doesn’t see membership in an organization that assists with fast-food marketing as part of that goal.
Her sentiments are in line with a new report by Michele Simon of Eat Drink Politics that exposes the Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), formerly known as the American Dietetics Association, as a major pay-for-play scheme that provides junk food manufacturers endless opportunities to influence registered dietitians. (Or attempt to influence them anyway; dietitians aren’t all sheep.)
Simon, a lawyer with a masters in public health, is the author of the book Appetite for Profit: How the Food Industry Undermines Our Health and How to Fight Back. She’s no stranger to the endless ways food companies try to influence consumers and government. For years, she heard from registered dietitians about the food industry presence at the annual AND conference. “I’ve seen pictures that people come back with of the RDs [registered dietitians] lined up at the Coke machine,” said Simon. So she decided to go check it out herself.
After attending AND conferences in 2011 and 2012 (the latter one was held in Pennsylvania with – get this – a field trip to Hershey to learn about the health benefits of chocolate), she decided to take action by compiling and publishing a report detailing the food industry’s relationship with AND. Although the dietitians within AND were often frustrated and even hoped to change their organization from within, “it seemed to me that things weren’t changing fast so shining a brighter light on it could help,” said Simon.