Misidentification and Transphobia: One Musician’s Experiences Touring America

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/james-nichols/misidentification-and-transphobia-one-musicians-experiences-touring-america_b_3362069.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices


In the year since President Barack Obama voiced his support for same-sex marriage on May 9, 2012, the mainstream “LGBT movement” has gained an immense amount of traction, visibility and support within the realm of public consciousness. However, few of these political and social gains can be said to benefit changing public perception surrounding institutionalized and systematic marginalization of transgender people, as continually evidenced through events such as the media’s coverage of the deaths of Cemia Acoff and Lucy Meadows.

Indeed, our culture does seems to be on the path to recognition that gender is largely socialized from a young age rather than an immutable characteristic of an individual tied to physical anatomy. However, as gay- and lesbian-identifying activists continually cite political and social gains, such as marriage equality and Boy Scout inclusion, as representative of progress for all queer experiences, individuals indentifying as trans are only being further marginalized and ostracized outside the battle for “LGBT rights.”

The reality of what it means to be a trans individual and the violence, not merely physical, that accompanies the lived experience of this identity signifier can be hard to comprehend within the boundaries of mainstream cultural intelligibility. Even within the queer community itself, there are often misconceptions about trans identity, and even blatant transphobia, particularly when activists attempt to claim a sense of ownership over the mainstream “LGBT movement.” Furthermore, attempts to understand trans identity within an exclusive binary structure of “male-to-female” and “female-to-male” serves merely to erase the vast plethora of identities, experiences and ways of being and knowing that we tend to linguistically lump together under the signifier “transgender.” Within this, we must recognize how limited understandings of the ways in which individuals “transcend gender” allows language itself to become regulatory unto our ability to talk about and comprehend human diversity.

In an effort to articulate this reality outside a theoretical lens, I asked my friend and college peer Janke Seltsam to share their recent experiences while traveling the country performing their musical project Romantic Animal in various cities, spaces and regions. With the knowledge that Janke identifies as trans and has experienced violence in multiple forms in response to this identification, I felt that their travels throughout this timeframe would in some way speak to issues for trans individuals during this crucial time for the queer community. In addition, I felt that the looks, words and actions of individuals whom Janke encountered throughout their tour would help illuminate many of the driving forces behind a transphobic mentality, both within the larger social world and the queer community itself.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/james-nichols/misidentification-and-transphobia-one-musicians-experiences-touring-america_b_3362069.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices

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Breaking: Largest Study Of Children Raised By Same-Sex Parents Shows They’re Healthier Than Their Peers

From The New Civil Rights Movement:  http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/breaking-largest-study-of-children-raised-by-same-sex-parents-shows-theyre-healthier-than-their-peers/politics/2013/06/05/68146

by David Badash
on June 5, 2013

The largest study to date of children raised by same-sex couples finds overall they are healthier and fare at least as well if not better than their peers, raised by opposite-sex couples.

“Children of same-sex parents are doing as well or better than the rest of the population on a number of key health indicators,” The Age reports:

That is the initial finding from the world’s largest study on the children of same-sex parents, under way at Melbourne University.

The Australian Study of Child Health in Same-Sex Families collected data on 500 children nationwide, up to the age of 17.

An interim report found there was no statistical difference between children of same-sex couples and the rest of the population on indicators including self-esteem, emotional behaviour and the amount of time spent with parents.

However, children of same-sex couples scored higher than the national average for overall health and family cohesion, measuring how well the family members get along.

The study’s protocol, detailing its intent and methodology may be accessed here.

Unlike the “deeply flawed” and “disgraced,” Regnerus study, The Australian Study of Child Health in Same-Sex Families looks at children of actual same-sex couples.

This is but one of a number of studies on children raised by same-sex parents, which all have similar findings.

See Also

Think Progress: World’s Largest Study Of Same-Sex Parenting Finds That Children Are Thriving

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Christo-Nazi TV ‘prophet’ Cindy Jacobs: Native Americans need to ‘repent for their ancestors’ animism’

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Saxby Chambliss Attributes Military Sexual Assault To ‘The Hormone Level Created By Nature’

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/04/saxby-chambliss-military-sexual-assault_n_3384286.html


WASHINGTON — Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) called on the military to do more to crack down on sexual assault in its ranks on Tuesday, while also worrying that they may be hard to stop because of the natural “hormone level” of the young men serving.

“The young folks who are coming into each of your services are anywhere from 17 to 22 or 23. Gee whiz, the hormone level created by nature sets in place the possibility for these types of things to occur. So we’ve got to be very careful how we address it on our side,” Chambliss told top military officials at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. “But guys, we are not doing our job. You’re not doing yours, and we are not doing ours with the rates we are seeing on sexual assaults.”

Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio), co-chair of the Military Sexual Assault Prevention Caucus, slammed Chambliss’ comments in a statement on Tuesday afternoon.

“It’s simple; criminals are responsible for sexual assaults, not hormones,” said Turner. “Perpetuating this line of thinking does nothing to help change the culture of our military. We must be focused on combating this issue directly. The numbers speak for themselves.”

Although Chambliss decried sexual assault in the military and said he wants to do more to stop it, his comments echo the “boys will be boys” mentality that has been used throughout the years to dismiss sexual harassment and assault and avoid taking action to prevent them.

The problem in the military extends beyond young hormonal recruits being reckless, to leaders who have created a culture where sexual assault and harassment are tolerated.

After all, the officer in charge of the Air Force’s sexual assault prevention program who was arrested for sexual assault is 41 years old. The manager of the sexual harassment and assault response program in Fort Campbell, Ky. who was arrested in a domestic dispute is 42.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/04/saxby-chambliss-military-sexual-assault_n_3384286.html

Christo-Nazi Bryan Fischer: End Sexual Assault in the Military By Banning Women and Gays

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Conservatives Slam Efforts to Address Rampant Sexual Harassment As ‘De-Eroticizing Universities’

From Think Progress:  http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/06/04/2087341/conservatives-misconstrue-harassment-regulations/

By Kumar Ramanathan
Jun 4, 2013

When Kerry Barrett, a student at the University of Montana, reported her attempted rape, she was asked if she had a boyfriend, told “not to expect much,” and told that half of all rape allegations were false. Six Montana football players allegedly committed sexual assault over a three year period, including one incident where three of them allegedly attacked a single woman. A Justice Department investigation found that university officials failed to inform police about two students who both reported being raped in the same night by the same man until a week after the incident, giving the alleged rapist time to flee the country. And this is not just a problem in the University of Montana – the epidemic of sexual assault and rape culture on college campuses has received increased attention in recent years, partially due to growing student protest.

Yet these incidents do not seem to bother many conservative writers. They’re more upset about the Obama Administration’s efforts to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.

An agreement between federal agencies and the University of Montana over the college’s sexual harassment policies unleashed an onslaught of condemnation from conservatives, who argue that a new precedent has been set for speech restrictions across college campuses. Accusations on op-ed pages have ranged from “No Sex Talk Allowed” and “The De-Eroticized University” to “Federal Title IX Enforcers Effectively Define Dating and Sex Education as ‘Sexual Harassment’“.

Hans Bader of the Competitive Enterprise Institute writes that the resolution “has dire implications for dating” and “undermines freedom of intimate association.” Ken Masugi finds that the university has been “de-eroticized” in a “legalistic, centralized crackdown on talk about sex.” George Will at the Washington Post goes so far as to allege that colleges are now required to “adopt speech codes” and “censorship regimes.”

Continue reading at:  http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/06/04/2087341/conservatives-misconstrue-harassment-regulations/

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Revealed: NSA collecting phone records of millions of Americans daily

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/06/nsa-phone-records-verizon-court-order?guni=Network%20front:network-front%20main-2%20Special%20trail:Network%20front%20-%20special%20trail:Position1

Top secret court order requiring Verizon to hand over all call data shows scale of domestic surveillance under Obama

Read the court order in full here

The Guardian, Wednesday 5 June 2013

The National Security Agency is currently collecting the telephone records of millions of US customers of Verizon, one of America’s largest telecoms providers, under a top secret court order issued in April.

The order, a copy of which has been obtained by the Guardian, requires Verizon on an “ongoing, daily basis” to give the NSA information on all telephone calls in its systems, both within the US and between the US and other countries.

The document shows for the first time that under the Obama administration the communication records of millions of US citizens are being collected indiscriminately and in bulk – regardless of whether they are suspected of any wrongdoing.

The secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (Fisa) granted the order to the FBI on April 25, giving the government unlimited authority to obtain the data for a specified three-month period ending on July 19.

Under the terms of the blanket order, the numbers of both parties on a call are handed over, as is location data, call duration, unique identifiers, and the time and duration of all calls. The contents of the conversation itself are not covered.

The disclosure is likely to reignite longstanding debates in the US over the proper extent of the government’s domestic spying powers.

Under the Bush administration, officials in security agencies had disclosed to reporters the large-scale collection of call records data by the NSA, but this is the first time significant and top-secret documents have revealed the continuation of the practice on a massive scale under President Obama.

The unlimited nature of the records being handed over to the NSA is extremely unusual. Fisa court orders typically direct the production of records pertaining to a specific named target who is suspected of being an agent of a terrorist group or foreign state, or a finite set of individually named targets.

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/06/nsa-phone-records-verizon-court-order?guni=Network%20front:network-front%20main-2%20Special%20trail:Network%20front%20-%20special%20trail:Position1

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