A Trans Guy’s Thoughts on Fallon Fox

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/justin-adkins/a-trans-guys-thoughts-on-fallon-fox_b_3065955.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices


I have been getting a lot of emails and Facebook posts from friends asking me to “weigh in on” mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter Fallon Fox. It is an interesting request, because Fallon Fox is a woman who happens to fight. To me, this is not really anything one should “weigh in on,” but, hey, she also happens to be someone who was assigned “male” at birth, and that seems to be a controversial thing. And I’m a trans guy who writes about trans issues and loves MMA, so here I go!

I’m not totally sure why it is controversial. It’s not like there are not guidelines for many athletic organizations, and it’s not like she is the first trans-identified person to participate in organized sports; there is precedent. What seems to actually be at issue is that there are people who believe that trans women are not women, and additionally believe that men should not fight women. The line of thought seems to go like this: “Fox is a man, and men should not fight women, so Fox should not fight in women’s MMA.” Interesting.

In this discussion we have individuals weighing in who have no medical training, especially on trans health care. Having training on transgender health care is important; my own general practitioner seems to care less about treating my trans body and would not be able to weigh in on this issue, either! Of course, the leading doctors researching and serving transgender people have weighed in. Dr. Marci Bowers, arguably one of the most knowledgeable doctors when it comes to male-to-female health care, told Steph Daniels from Bloody Elbow:

[With hormone therapy, most] measures of physical strength minimize, muscle mass decreases, bone density decreases, and [transgender women] become fairly comparable to [cisgender] women in their musculature. After as much time as has passed in her case, if tested, she would probably end up in the same muscle mass category as her biologically born female counterpart.

Dr. Sherman Leis agreed with Dr. Bowers and went on to debunk many of the myths about Fox’s “super strength” by saying:

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/justin-adkins/a-trans-guys-thoughts-on-fallon-fox_b_3065955.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices

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Idaho: Transgender shopper served trespassing papers for bathroom use

From KBOI2:   http://www.kboi2.com/news/local/Ally-Alberto-Robledo-Idaho-202775861.html

By KLEW News
Apr 12, 2013

LEWISTON, Idaho – A 25-year-old transgender Lewiston resident who identifies as a woman said she’s been served with trespassing papers after customers at a local grocery store complained when she used the women’s bathroom.

“When I did use the males (restroom) there would be people that would harass me in school,” Ally Robledo said. “I would feel really embarrassed and there were times when I found myself in a lot of dangerous situations.”

Robledo, who prefers to go by Ally and identifies as a woman, was given a no trespass order Monday night shortly after leaving the Rosauer’s grocery store location in Lewiston.

“A male subject who was using the female restroom, and that made some women customers uncomfortable because of the appearance that a male was using their restroom,” said Lewiston Police Captain Roger Lanier.

Robledo doesn’t understand the controversy.

“I really doubt that would be more socially acceptable than someone using the men’s restroom,” Ally said.

Lewiston Police say the store owners did nothing wrong in asking Robledo to never come back to the store.

“The store employees didn’t want any further problems, and they chose to exercise their right to trespass this individual from the business,” Lanier said. “Anyone who owns or controls their property can make that decision.”

Robledo says she has gone through one phase of reconstructive surgery.

Continue reading at:  http://www.kboi2.com/news/local/Ally-Alberto-Robledo-Idaho-202775861.html

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Trans community vs. the world

From The Washington Blade:  http://www.washingtonblade.com/2013/04/11/trans-community-vs-the-world/

on April 11, 2013

Imagine being 13 years old, lying in bed staring at the ceiling and wondering what is wrong with you because you have an unexplainable, almost uncontrollable attraction to those of the same sex. Now imagine that you are staring at the ceiling feeling you were born the wrong sex. I won’t even pretend to think I know how that feels.

Trans women and trans men are well aware that discussions around transgender make many people feel uncomfortable. Hell, most of the time they feel uncomfortable, too. They’ve spent most of their lives wishing they lived on another planet, one populated with people who would accept them for who they are.

Here are some facts surrounding transgender health: In a 2010 survey of 7,000 members of the trans community by the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force more than 40 percent of transgender people in the United States have tried to commit suicide. About 20 percent have been refused medical care, and one in 50 have been violently assaulted in a doctor’s office. Yes, you heard correctly, in a doctor’s office!

Because of the risks and fears associated with coming out as trans, it is difficult to target critical mental health, HIV and STD prevention messages to the trans community, and it’s even more difficult to reach those who don’t identify as a particular gender or sex.

During a White House symposium I attended last year, a couple of trans females said they know lots of trans people who intentionally become infected with HIV in order to obtain healthcare. Those remarks were met with a standing ovation because they spoke out publicly.   That confirmed to me that much work needs to be done to assure the trans community feels supported and included in the AIDS and LGBTQ communities.

A couple of months ago I was at a large and busy healthcare center in Las Vegas where I noticed a woman standing between the men’s and the women’s restrooms. At first I thought perhaps she was waiting for her young son or daughter. But as I got closer, I realized the woman was a male-to-female trans person. I didn’t ask, but clearly she was debating which restroom to use. And she looked scared.

Trans people understand the issue is complicated for those who are cis gender. I’ll give you an example. My partner’s mother told him she was distraught to learn her nephew is transgender. I listened to him explain that a trans person believes and feels he or she was born the wrong sex. Some seek a sex change; others don’t. It’s a difficult decision. It’s also difficult to explain to someone who lives in a small town in the mountains of Nevada.

Continue reading at:  http://www.washingtonblade.com/2013/04/11/trans-community-vs-the-world/

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Barbara King: “How Animals Grieve”

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Canada: Our borders, ourselves: Thoughts on double standards and slut-shaming in the media

From Rabble Canada:  http://rabble.ca/news/2013/04/our-borders-ourselves-thoughts-on-double-standards-and-slut-shaming-media

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Inquest Confirms Savita Halappanavar’s Life Was Subordinated to Non-Viable Fetus

From RH Reality Check:  http://rhrealitycheck.org/article/2013/04/12/inquest-confirms-savita-halappanavars-life-was-subordinated-to-non-viable-fetus/

by Jodi Jacobson
April 12, 2013

Last year, RH Reality Check reported on the tragic and wholly preventable death of Savita Halappanavar at Galway University Hospital. Halappanavar, a dentist who was pregnant with her first child, was admitted to the hospital with severe back pain. She was in the midst of miscarrying a non-viable fetus in a much-wanted pregnancy.

Over the course of three days, Halappanavar experienced an incomplete miscarriage that resulted in a life-threatening infection and unbearable pain. Halappanavar and her husband begged doctors to terminate the pregnancy. The doctors refused because, as she was told by the hospital’s midwife manager, Anna Maria Burke, “Ireland is a Catholic country.”

And in that Catholic country, where a woman’s life is secondary to a non-viable fetus, the woman died.

Now, a report by the Health Service Executive has concluded, according to the Irish Times, that there was “an overemphasis by hospital staff on the welfare of Ms Halappanavar’s unviable foetus and an underemphasis on her deteriorating health.”

As reported by the Times, the report says, “The investigating team considers there was an apparent overemphasis on the need not to intervene until the foetal heart stopped, together with an underemphasis on the need to focus an appropriate attention on monitoring for and managing the risk of infection and sepsis in the mother.”

Continue reading at:  http://rhrealitycheck.org/article/2013/04/12/inquest-confirms-savita-halappanavars-life-was-subordinated-to-non-viable-fetus/

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Internet Activists Seek Justice For Alleged Teen Gang-Rape Victim Rehtaeh Parsons

From Think Progress:  http://thinkprogress.org/health/2013/04/11/1851191/anonymous-rehtaeh-parsons-2/

By Andrea Peterson
on Apr 11, 2013

Internet activists are demanding action on the tragic case of alleged teen gang-rape victim Rehtaeh Parsons, with hactivist collective Anonymous organizing around the hashtag #OpJustice4Rehtaeh. The news of Parsons’ suicide following a battle with depression her mother alleges stemmed from a gang-rape by four boys, seventeen months of victim-blaming bullying, pictures of the assault being shared widely in her community, and legal inaction broke earlier this week.

The original investigation into the alleged assault was dropped after authorities decided there was not enough evidence to convict, although Rehtaeh’s mother believes many aspects of the investigation were mishandled. Tuesday, in a stark reversal of his earlier decision to stand by the investigators’ decision to close the case, the Nova Scotia Justice Minister Ross Landy announced he was asking for a review of the handling of the case. But no further action has been taken.

Here’s what you need to know:

Anonymous was encouraged to get involved. A prominent Canadian Liberal strategist, Warren Kinsella, posted an open letter asking the group for help putting pressure on those who stood by while Parsons’ tragedy unfolded.

One group of Anons claim to have identified the assailants. Yesterday, a press release posted to Pastebin claimed to know two of the four alleged assailants, with a third being confirmed. By this morning  a newer release claimed the group is “confident” they know the identities of the people involved in Rehtaeh’s rape, but are still looking for those who turned a blind eye in the investigation or assisted in sharing the photo evidence of her assault.

Anonymous doesn’t want vigilante justice. Instead, it’s calling for a thorough investigation into the original allegations and into the behavior of the investigators who led the initial inquiry. Prominent Twitter accounts self-identifying with Anonymous have requested the identities of the assailants not be exposed out of respect for Parsons’ mother’s wishes.

Anonymous claims it took “only a few hours to identify the boys that assaulted Rehtaeh.” In the Pastebin post this morning they claim it was not a high tech investigation and that within hours they had emails from dozens of personal acquaintances that “recalled confessions made by these boys blatantly in public where they detailed the rape of an inebriated 15-year-old girl.”

They believe school administrators enabled the rape culture that allowed Parsons’ alleged assault to go unpunished. When asking why the boys were so blatant in their public discussion of the incident, Anonymous has an answer: “They believed no one was ever going to do anything to stop them and they were right. For this we point our fingers at the Cole Harbour school system.”

This isn’t the first time Anonymous has gotten involve to combat rape culture. The collective also engaged in activism around the Steubenville rape, which bore many striking similarities to the Parsons tragedy.

Continue reading at:  http://thinkprogress.org/health/2013/04/11/1851191/anonymous-rehtaeh-parsons-2/

See Also:

Salon: Anonymous: Rehtaeh Parsons’ rapists will be held accountable

Syndicated News Services: Police reopen probe over dead Canadian teen girl who was allegedly gang-raped

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Whatever Happened to Left-Wing Domestic Terrorism?

One wouldn’t know this from listening to the right wing media but the vast majority of terrorism in the US has always been perpetrated against minorities and has been largely performed by right wing conservatives like the KKK.

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/tea-party-and-right/whatever-happened-left-wing-domestic-terrorism

Since 1981, right-wing extremists are the only ones who have run up a body count.

By Jake Blumgart
April 12, 2013

Sixties radicals may grow old, but they never seem to go out of style. In a trailer for Robert Redford’s recently released film, The Company You Keep, we are informed: “In 1969, a group of radical anti-war protesors began a campaign of bombings on American soil.” Redford plays a former terrorist, still in hiding “30 years after the notorious bank robbery that claimed the life of a guard.”

Never mind that the actual Weathermen didn’t go in much for bank robberies and avoided killing anyone during their bombing campaign. Several ex-Weathermen were involved in the horrifically bungled Brink’s armored car robbery at Rockland County, NY’s Nanuet Mall. Carried out by the remnants of the Black Liberation Army (a hyper-violent fragment of the Black Panther Party) and a few ex-members of the Weather Underground, the crime left two police officers and a security guard dead. The attempted robbery, which ended in the arrest or death of all involved, took place on Oct. 20, 1981.There have been no deaths linked to American left-wing extremism since.

But the specter of left-wing terrorism continues to hold a powerful sway over the American imagination. A policeman in George V. Higgin’s novel  Outlaws describes a cadre of lefty terrorists as “Longhairs that got bored with protesting the war and branched out,” a description that sums up the general feeling about everyone from the Weather Underground to the Symbionese Liberation Army. The closest modern-day equivalent is the Earth Liberation Front, whose periodic fire bombings target property and have caused no deaths. (ELF is getting a hip cinematic touchup in the form of the new indie thriller The East: “We will counterattack three corporations for their worldwide terrorism in the next six months,” Ellen Page murmurs, as a swirling montage of images implies that her radical environmentalist clique’s tactics will quickly, violently and stylishly spin out of control.)

But today there is no equivalent threat from left-wing extremists. Small bands of masked protestors periodically indulge in a bout of window smashing or throw rocks at the police, but bombings, bank robberies and gunfights with law enforcement are the province of fringe right-wing extremist groups. “Unlike the 1960s and 1970s, there are few, true left-wing extremist organizations operating in the United States,” Daryl Johnson notes in  Right-Wing Resurgence: How A Domestic Terrorism Threat Is Being Ignored. Johnson is an expert on domestic non-Islamic extremism and a former senior analyst with the Department of Homeland Security, although his unit was  dismantled in the wake of conservative outrage over its  report on right-wing extremism in the United States. In January 2009, Johnson’s team warned of increased cyber attacks, which “are attractive options to leftwing extremists who view attacks on economic targets as aligning with their nonviolent, ‘no-harm’ doctrine.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/tea-party-and-right/whatever-happened-left-wing-domestic-terrorism

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The Question of Socialism (and Beyond!) Is About to Open Up in These United States

From Truth Out:  http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/15680-the-question-of-socialism-and-beyond-is-about-to-open-up-in-these-united-states

By Gar Alperovitz
Friday, 12 April 2013

With Americans’ interest in socialism rising, we need to seriously consider alternative designs to the current system, argues Alperovitz, in this practical critique of some known models.

Little noticed by most Americans, Merriam Webster, one of the world’s most important dictionaries, announced a few months ago that the two most looked-up words in 2012 were “socialism” and “capitalism.”

Traffic for the pair on the company’s website roughly doubled from the year before. The choice was a “kind of no-brainer,” observed editor at large, Peter Sokolowski. “They’re words that sort of encapsulate the zeitgeist.”

Leading polling organizations have found converging results among younger Americans. Two recent Rasmussen surveys, for instance, discovered that Americans younger than 30 are almost equally divided as to whether capitalism or socialism is preferable. Another Pew survey found those aged 18 to 29 have a more favorable reaction to the term “socialism” by a margin of 49 to 43 percent.

Note carefully: These are the people who will inevitably be creating the next American politics and the next American system.

As economic failure continues to create massive social and economic pain and a stalemated Washington dickers, search for some alternative to the current “system” is likely to continue to grow. It is clearly time to get serious about a different vision for the future. Critically, we need to be far more sophisticated about what a meaningful “systemic design” that might undergird a new direction (whether called “socialism” or whatever) would entail.

Classically, the central idea undergirding various forms of “socialism” (and there have been many, many forms, some of which use the terminology, some not) is democratic ownership of “the means of production,” or “capital,” or more simply, “productive wealth.” Quite apart from questions of exploitation, systemic dynamics (and “contradictions”), the core idea is simple and straightforward: Those who own wealth – and the corporations that operate it – have far more power to control any system than those who don’t.

In a nation in which a mere 400 people own more wealth than the bottom 180 million together, the point should be obvious. What is new in our time in history is that the traditional compromise position – namely progressive, or social democratic or liberal politics – has lost is capacity to offset such power even in the modest (compared, for instance, to many European states) ways the American welfare state once represented. Indeed, the emerging direction is to cut back previous gains in many areas – not to sustain or enlarge them. Even Social Security is now on the table for cuts.

Continue reading at:  http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/15680-the-question-of-socialism-and-beyond-is-about-to-open-up-in-these-united-states

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Coming out as an activist

From Waging Non-Violence:  http://wagingnonviolence.org/feature/coming-out-as-an-activist/

April 7, 2013

I trudged down the side of the road carrying a small sign: “I am waiting for YOU to shut down Guantanamo.” We were marching toward the Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Conn., on Good Friday. I was grateful for the orange jumpsuit that added a layer of warmth and the black hood that blurred my sight. Not because I like not seeing, but because it was nice to not be seen. Not just yet.

This is not my normal M.O. at demonstrations. I like to be out and about; I like the give and take with passers-by. In New York City, where I was an activist with the War Resisters League and Witness Against Torture for 12 years, I often opted to pass out leaflets or hold a lead sign. I even honed an outgoing, chatty, aw-shucks persona that helped me greet everyone with enthusiasm and openness.

But New York City is not southeastern Connecticut. When the response was hostile and barbed, it was brief. Even the biggest haters in the Big Apple are in a big rush. They are also largely anonymous. In a city of 8 million people, the person who tells you to “get a job” or “move to Russia” or wants to “behead all the Muslims” is probably not going to be pulling you over for speeding on Route 32 or taking your gas money at the local Pump ‘N Munch.

Is that what I was worried about as I walked down the road on my way to the U.S. Navy’s submarine base? Not really. What I was really worried about was the people I already know and like who work at the base or at General Electric — the big military contractor in the area. I was not quite ready to “come out” as a peace activist.

Until moving to New London two and a half years ago, I had never been friends or even acquaintances with people in the military, or people who worked at military contractors. For years, I have casually and professionally referred to them as “merchants of death” (not that I coined the term), but I didn’t know them.

Continue reading at:  http://wagingnonviolence.org/feature/coming-out-as-an-activist/

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Bill Moyers: We Are Living in the United States of Inequality

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/bill-moyers-we-are-living-united-states-inequality

“A petty, narcissistic, pridefully ignorant politics has come to dominate and paralyze our government.”

By Bill Moyers
April 12, 2013

The unprecedented level of economic inequality in America is undeniable. In an extended essay, Bill Moyers shares examples of the striking extremes of wealth and poverty across the country, including a video report on California’s Silicon Valley. There, Facebook, Google, and Apple are minting millionaires, while the area’s homeless — who’ve grown 20 percent in the last two years — are living in tent cities at their virtual doorsteps.

“A petty, narcissistic, pridefully ignorant politics has come to dominate and paralyze our government,” says Moyers, “while millions of people keep falling through the gaping hole that has turned us into the United States of Inequality.”

Inequality matters. You will hear people say it doesn’t, but they are usually so high up the ladder they can’t even see those at the bottom. The distance between the first and the least in America is vast and growing.

The Washington Post recently took a look at two counties in Florida and found that people who live in the more affluent St. Johns County live longer than those who live next door in less rich Putnam County. The Post concluded: “The widening gap in life expectancy between these two adjacent Florida counties reflects perhaps the starkest outcome of the nation’s growing economic inequality: Even as the nation’s life expectancy has marched steadily upward…a growing body of research shows that those gains are going mostly to those at the upper end of the income ladder.”

That’s true across America. In California’s Silicon Valley, Apple, Facebook and Google, among others, have reinvented the Gold Rush. But down the road in San Jose it’s not so pretty a picture. Do the math: in an area where one fourth of the population earn an average of about $19,000 dollars a year, rent alone can average more than $20,000 dollars a year, and that difference adds up to homelessness. We talked to Associated Press reporter Martha Mendoza, who brought this story to our attention.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/bill-moyers-we-are-living-united-states-inequality

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Anonymous: Message to PETA

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Kansas may mandate unsustainable development

From Grist:  http://grist.org/news/kansas-may-mandate-unsustainable-development/

By John Upton
12 Apr 2013

Legislation introduced in Kansas would ban the promotion or practice by state agencies of sustainable development.

Don’t they know that when sustainable development is outlawed, only outlaws develop sustainably?

House Bill 2366, introduced into the House Energy and Environment Committee, would prevent any state funds from being “used, either directly or indirectly, to promote, support, mandate, require, order, incentivize, advocate, plan for, participate in or implement sustainable development.”

Weird. Maybe the numskulls behind the bill don’t grasp the actual meaning of “sustainable development.” Perhaps they think the term refers specifically to Agenda 21, which Glenn Beck and other right-wingers claim is a diabolical United Nations plot to force Americans to live in cities and ride public transit. The horror!

Checking the bill … nope … no misinterpretation here. The legislation’s definition of sustainable development is surprisingly clear and positive sounding: “[A] mode of human development in which resource use aims to meet human needs while preserving the environment so that these needs can be met not only in the present, but also for generations to come.”

The legislation was introduced in February and hasn’t yet had a committee hearing. But if it does somehow become law, the government of Kansas will be legislatively required to pursue unsustainable development — that is, development that, by its legal definition, degrades the environment so that needs cannot be met for generations to come.

Continue reading at:  http://grist.org/news/kansas-may-mandate-unsustainable-development/

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Koch Comes Clean On Dirty Opposition To Cape Wind

What a spoiled rich prick.  He needs to pay a hell of a lot more in taxes and be denied the opportunity to buy our government.

From Think Progress:  http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/04/12/1857391/koch-comes-clean-on-dirty-opposition-to-cape-wind/

By Michael Conathon
Apr 12, 2013

Is there a literary trope that draws more universal ire than the spoiled brat? There can’t be a single person on the face of the planet who empathizes with the likes of Eric Cartman, Wonka golden ticket holder Veruca Salt, or any of the charming young heroines of MTV’s twisted reality show, “My Super Sweet 16.” So it is with the wealthiest and most outspoken opponent of the nation’s first proposed offshore wind farm.

In a lengthy interview in the spring issue of Massachusetts-based CommonWealth magazine, petroleum coke magnate Bill Koch went full on climate-denier and finally came clean about his long-standing opposition to the Cape Wind project. The reason he has spent millions of dollars to block the project comes down to one simple point: he doesn’t want to ruin the view from his Cape Cod waterfront estate.

In the interview, Koch called the project “visual pollution” and explained that he “was buying more property on the Cape for a family compound and the windmills would interfere with the aesthetics.”

Would this be a good point to mention that the symbol of Oyster Harbors, the gated community in which Koch’s Osterville compound is located, is actually a windmill?

While Cape Wind proponents have long assumed NIMBY-ism was at the root of Koch’s position, this is the first time he’s come out and admitted it so publicly, even actually saying the words, “I didn’t want it in my backyard.”

Unfortunately for Koch, he doesn’t have final say over the project, because the wind farm won’t actually be built in the backyard of his compound, though it will be (barely) visible from his veranda. This visual simulation shows what the turbines would look like from Cotuit, the town next to Koch’s.

Continue reading at:  http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/04/12/1857391/koch-comes-clean-on-dirty-opposition-to-cape-wind/

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