The Pentagon Recognizes Transgender Service Member

From GLAAD:  http://www.glaad.org/blog/pentagon-recognizes-transgender-service-member

by Mari Haywood
Monday, May 27, 2013

Blogger and LGBT advocate Autumn Sandeen has become the first transgender service member to publicly have her gender marker changed on all military documents.

For the first time, the Pentagon has recognized a transgender service member by updating its records to reflect her gender identity.. There are transgender people currently serving in the military, although they are rare. Sandeen feels that the Pentagon’s actions show there are officials in the Department of Defense who do recognize the needs of transgender service members. Sitting down for an interview with GLAAD, Sandeen expressed that although the military at its current state today is far from transgender inclusion due to “bathroom bill stuff” and other issues, there are transgender servicemembers who are actively and successfully serving today.

Although appreciative of the Pentagon’s progressive steps, Sandeen says she will now push for gender markers to be changed on “Historical documents including the DD-Form-214- the certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty.”

“I would say that it is a very early and very small step in a long process to achieve our goals here,” OutServe-SLDN executive director Allyson Robinson told Buzzfeed, “but, it is significant, as the earliest steps always are, because it reflects a shift, even if it is a small one, in the way that transgender people are viewed within the institution of the United States military.”

In 2010 the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” gave LGB military service members the right to serve their country openly, but did not grant the same right to transgender military members. According to guidelines set forth by the military, transgender persons cannot be admitted or discharged due to medical regulations and conduct regulations.

-Even if the candidate has not had surgery but openly identifies as transgender, the military considers this to be a disqualifying psychiatric condition, labeling “transsexualism” and “transvestism” as “psychosexual conditions.”

-The military medical system does not recognize the World Professional Association for Transgender Health’s Standards of Care for Gender Identity Disorders and will not provide transition-related medical care. 

– Wearing clothing the military does not consider gender-appropriate is considered “cross-dressing” by the military and is generally addressed in regulations governing conduct.

-Transgender persons in the inactive reserve who are in the process of transitioning may be confronted with the need to halt this process if they are recalled. Recall to active duty places them directly under the regulatory requirements discussed above. Therefore, these service members may need to consider ceasing or interrupting their transition while they complete their active service requirement. Alternatively, transitioning or post-transitioning reservists may be medically disqualified for continued service once they are called back to active duty and medically examined.

Transgender people based on the above guidelines set forth by the military are systemically discriminated against. Sandeen says the Pentagon’s actions are a symbolic event that will encourage thousands of other transgender servicemembers and veterans to seek to update their military documents and identification cards. Although open transgender service by military law is forbidden, many feel that inclusion in the military is inevitable, and would only benefit our nation’s security, as it would allow the best and brightest to serve, regardless of gender identity.

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The Dallas Principles, Four Years On

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dana-beyer/the-dallas-principles_b_3368622.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices

05/31/2013

Four years ago 24 activists met in Dallas to promulgate The Dallas Principles, a manifesto to guide and encourage the LGBT community in what had the potential to be a new era in American progressive politics. From May 15 to 17, in a nondescript airport hotel basement near the center of the country, we challenged one another to distill the passions that had taken us to Dallas, passions reified by the election of a Democratic president to join a Democratic Congress with a filibuster-proof Senate majority.

Those were heady days, days when the clouds had parted, anything was possible and we were thrilled to sit and debate with one another into the early-morning hours the values we hoped would channel our national organizations, create more inclusion within them and set a standard for our call to the American people that the time had come for full equality. It was in no way a criticism of the nascent administration but a clarion call to people who had waited far too long for crumbs of progress.

We accomplished our goal that weekend in Dallas. Today the eight principles stand on their own, supported by many advocates and leaders. Though there have been some criticisms, most persons active in the movement found little to disdain or dismiss.

Here are those principles:

In order to achieve full civil rights now, we avow

1. Full civil rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals must be enacted now. Delay and excuses are no longer acceptable.

2. We will not leave any part of our community behind.

3. Separate is never equal.

4. Religious beliefs are not a basis upon which to affirm or deny civil rights.

5. The establishment and guardianship of full civil rights is a non-partisan issue.

6. Individual involvement and grassroots action are paramount to success and must be encouraged.

7. Success is measured by the civil rights we all achieve, not by words, access or money raised.

8. Those who seek our support are expected to commit to these principles.

At the time, I said, “There’s a tipping point out there somewhere and we’re a lot closer to it today than we were eight months ago. We want to inspire people to mobilize themselves. This isn’t the inspiration to get them to do it, but maybe it’s just the extra push.” So, four years later, how have the Dallas Principles held up? More importantly, how have we held up? While we were very hopeful, our hope was also tempered by the reality through which most of us had lived. We had been trained to live with The Struggle, to expect failure, repeated failures, to see victory as the Promised Land, personally unattainable though fervently desired.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dana-beyer/the-dallas-principles_b_3368622.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices

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The Istanbul Convention excludes transsexuals

From West:  http://www.west-info.eu/the-istanbul-convention-excludes-transsexuals/

by Ilaria Lonigro
05.31.2013

The Istanbul Convention will help prevent gender violence against women and domestic violence against women and children, but not gender and domestic violence against transsexuals. Yet, these people are those who most suffer gender discrimination in Italy, starting with the impossibility of finding a job.

The heart of the controversy lies in Art. 3 – focused on definitions – and particularly in a word: “gender”. “The term “gender” – as you can read in the Convention text – is referred to as socially-built roles, behaviour, activities and attributes that a specific society judges appropriate for women and men.” If the separating line is in the roles that our society considers as “appropriate”, transsexuals are obviously excluded by the treaty introduced by the European Council in Istanbul in 2011 and today ratified by 4 countries: Albania, Montenegro, Portugal and Turkey. Italy will join them soon, as soon as the convention will be voted by the upper-chamber of parliament, or senate.

Some people, like MP Paola Binetti, of the Civil Choice party (Scelta Civica), set an agenda against the introduction of the term “gender”: “In a positive climate, my agenda was approved (…) Actually, we didn’t feel the need to introduce the notion of gender in a treaty which draws attention on women, as individuals clearly opposed to men: the first as victims, the latter as attackers.”

Is the Istanbul convention a half-completed conquest then? We interviewed Porpora Marcasciano, National President of M.I.T. (Transsexual Identity Movement).

What’s your view on the controversy over the notion of “gender”?

Unfortunately, Italy suffers a little secular culture that jeopardizes the country’s life. And it ranks first in Europe for violence against transsexuals. The question is: why? There are no genetic reasons behind it, but a rooted cultural bias.

How ranks gender in our legal system?

Gender is either male or female, that’s it. Gender definition in Italy has remained unchanged.

Continue reading at:  http://www.west-info.eu/the-istanbul-convention-excludes-transsexuals/

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Validity Question Looms for Some Trans People Who Marry

Marriage equality is important for the protection of TS/TG people’s marriages.

From The Advocate:  http://www.advocate.com/print-issue/current-issue/2013/05/31/validity-question-looms-some-trans-people-who-marry

One divorce demonstrates the precarious legal state for many transgender people who marry.

BY Trudy Ring
May 31 2013

A judge’s denial of a divorce for Thomas Beatie is a stark reminder for transgender people to make sure their marriages are recognized as legally valid. Beatie is a transgender man who the media once heralded as the first pregnant man, though he was merely the first trans man to widely publicize the pregnancy.

In late March a judge in Arizona ruled that Beatie and his wife, Nancy Roberts Beatie, could not be granted a divorce because they could not be considered legally married. Maricopa County Family Court judge Douglas Gerlach said there was insufficient evidence that Beatie was male when the couple married in Hawaii in 2003, although Hawaii considered them a legally married, opposite-sex couple; they moved to Arizona in 2010. Beatie is appealing the ruling, saying it fails to recognize his gender identity, that he wants his children to know their parents were legally married, and that he fears complications if he wants to marry again.

Before his marriage, Beatie had undergone top surgery, that is, a double mastectomy, and he had taken testosterone since 1997. He changed all his legal paperwork to reflect his transition from female to male, but he retained his female reproductive organs and bore three children during his marriage to Nancy; he had stopped taking testosterone around 2006 in order become pregnant, as Nancy had had a hysterectomy. Gerlach cited the cessation of the hormone treatment in his ruling and also said Beatie had not provided documentation of other nonsurgical efforts he had undertaken to effect his gender transition.

The ruling is a limited one “because the facts in the case are so specific,” says Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights. Minter, who is not involved in the case but has expertise in such matters, says that while this ruling is particular to the Beaties and does not set a precedent, it does drive home the need for additional legal precautions for married couples in which at least one partner is transgender.

Continue reading at:  http://www.advocate.com/print-issue/current-issue/2013/05/31/validity-question-looms-some-trans-people-who-marry

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As FBI Seeks Capture of Assata Shakur, NAACP Head Calls For U.S. Truth & Reconciliation Commission

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The Occupy Spirit Lives on in New Economy Initiatives

From Mediapart:   http://blogs.mediapart.fr/en/blog/mark-white/280513/occupy-spirit-lives-new-economy-initiatives

Par Mark White
28 mai 2013

The crisis of 2008 was one of those rare moments that revealed the corruption of our economic systems in the starkest way. We watched the near total collapse of the international banking system and the  no-holds-barred rescue by the elites that followed. A ‘rescue’ that left  the  vast majority of people with less of everything.

In the U.S. the Occupy movement sprang up, seemingly out of nowhere and to the total surprise and befuddlement of many – particularly those in the main stream media.  For a brief moment it seemed that the bread and circuses that had previously diverted us so effectively would lose their hold. An amazing possibility, particularly here in the U.S. where we don’t have much of a tradition of taking to the streets. Occupy was promptly repressed in no uncertain way. But if it had one clear success it was that it confirmed for many of us that we were not alone – the wave of emotion that spread spontaneously at the Occupy news was a reassuring sign that many shared the same views.

This deeply frustrated sentiment is beginning to find a positive outlet in a growing wave of creative new economic initiatives that are springing up in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere. They run the gamut from various ‘buy local’ ideas, local investing, alternative currencies, donation based crowd funding, equity crowdfunding, sharing, collaborative consumption, worker controlled enterprises, coops and other ideas that are not yet being widely discussed.

People are incubating their initiatives often in isolation from each other.  But a so called ‘new economy’ that depends on smart people endlessly reinventing the wheel can never match the existing corporatist system unless ‘local’ can find a way to become ‘global’.

Continue reading at:  http://blogs.mediapart.fr/en/blog/mark-white/280513/occupy-spirit-lives-new-economy-initiatives

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Noam Chomsky in conversation with Jonathan Freedland

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