Debunking “unfair advantage” myths about trans athletes

From Salon:

Why attack arguments like “higher testosterone levels” and “greater bone density” are simply wrong

I had the immense honor of being invited to participate in the Nike LGBT Sports Summit earlier this June. Seeing how this conference has grown from about thirty people last year to over one hundred people this year gave me a feeling that you only get after winning a race-I thought “Wow, we are doing it, we are actually changing the institution of athletics across the country.”

This feeling was quickly knocked out of me after I had heard Fallon Fox’s moving speech which kicked off the conference on Friday morning. She reminded us that although the sports world has become safe for many lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) athletes, the trans community has been left behind.

I know all too well that sickening feeling of isolation and alienation, and how that pain can be unbearable to the point that makes people want to leave the sport they love. The fact that I am reaping the benefits today of dedicated LGBT individuals over the years, I felt that it is my duty to continue that advocacy for every L-G-B-and especially T.

After researching more about Fallon Fox’s career I had no idea how rough she had it; I had no idea how cruel and unapologetic her competitors, fans and sportscasters could be. Whether they are smearing her character by claiming that she “is a man beating up other females” or saying that she only won “because she has an unfair advantage” it is largely negative attention on a talented female fighter because of her identity.

I decided to take action and do more research on these myths that fueled these horrible comments and to prove why Fallon, or any other transsexual woman, should be allowed to compete as a female.

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Being Married to a Lesbian Doesn’t Make Me Less of a Man

From The Advocate:

A person’s gender may change, but his love can still last.

BY Jacob Anderson-Minshall
July 01 2013

Recently trans guy Brayden Taylor stirred up a flurry of comments on Facebook by stating unequivocally that a lesbian cannot be a lesbian and date a trans man. Soon afterward he deleted his post, replacing it with the following statement:

“I’m deleting my last status do [sic] to the fact that its blowing up my phone … I personally would NEVER be with someone who said they were a lesbian. Sorry if I offended anyone. I personally just don’t understand how that works when in today’s society, [a] ‘lesbian’ is a woman who dates women. I feel like when she does that and keeps the label she is telling society that she sees her partner as a woman. I do not know ANY women in my life that would be okay marrying a man or dating a man that tells everyone he is gay.”

Just as the Supreme Court’s decisions that a key section of the Defense of Marriage Act  is unconstitutional and Proposition 8 should be struck down are celebrated by thousands with the widely repeated phrase “Love Is Love;” Taylor’s post is a stark reminder that even within the LGBT community, many people do not truly believe that all love is equal.

Taylor isn’t the first person to express this idea, nor is he the only trans person to believe it.  In fact, for many trans men, the love of a lesbian is suspect compared to the love of a straight woman or a gay man. Likewise for many trans women, the love of a straight woman is suspect compared to the love of a straight man or a lesbian. And for many trans people of any gender or sexual orientation, the love of a bisexual (man or woman) is also suspect.

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Overshadowed by gay and lesbian compatriots, the transgender community is fighting for acceptance

From The Las Vegas Sun:

By Lornet Turnbull, The Seattle Times
Monday, July 1, 2013


They are the “T” in LGBT and arguably the most maligned segment of that community.


Many transgender men and women face hardships in routine areas of daily life. They are twice as likely as the general population to be unemployed or homeless and four times as likely to live in poverty.


Some 90 percent said in a 2011 national survey that they had encountered discrimination at work, and more than one in three attempt suicide at some point in their lives.


Such dire statistics are part of what inspired Danielle Askini, a 30-year-old transgender activist, and a group of volunteers, to organize Trans Pride in Seattle during the week set aside at the end of June each year to mark the historical launch of the nation’s gay rights movement.


Executive director of a Seattle organization called the Gender Justice League, Askini said the goal is to help promote visibility of a population often in the shadows of its higher-profile gay and lesbian brothers and sisters.


“For us there are some very distinct political and sociological justice struggles that the LGBT community has not always been the best in addressing,” said Askini, program manager for QLaw, the state’s LGBT bar association.


“Some of us are calling this our coming-out party.”

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Dispatch from Austin

From Huffington Post:


The Texas Legislature is back at the Capitol today, trying to pass a bill that would wipe out access to safe and legal abortion for millions of women in the state.

These are some of the most extreme abortion restrictions in the country. They could shut down 36 of the state’s 42 health centers that provide abortion and, in some cases, also provide lifesaving cancer screenings and birth control.

If this all sounds familiar, it’s because we’ve seen this bill before.

Governor Perry and his allies couldn’t pass these dangerous restrictions during the regular session. And even after they bent every rule, silenced the very constituents whose lives would be affected by the bill, and voted in the middle of the night when they hoped no one was watching — they couldn’t do it on take two. The entire country saw how that ended: with Texas Senator Wendy Davis on her feet, hundreds of thousands of people on the edge of their seats, and the rest of us cheering like crazy in the Capitol rotunda.

So Governor Perry decided that if at first you don’t succeed — and if on the second try, you still don’t succeed — just cross your fingers and hope no one will notice that you’re going for a hat trick.

Unfortunately for Governor Perry — we noticed.

Once again, he’ll have to answer to the vast majority of Texans who oppose this bill, and the thousands of folks who show up at the Capitol to deliver that message in person. And once again, he’ll have to answer to hundreds of thousands of people watching the situation unfold from all over the country — all over the world, in fact — through YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.

As Mom once said: The lord’s eye may be on the sparrow — but everyone else is looking at Texas.

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Wendy Davis is ready for next round of abortion fight

From Daily Kos:

Joan McCarter
Mon Jul 01, 2013

The Texas legislature is back for a second special session dedicated just to lady parts, making it really special. Gov. Rick Perry and Texas Republicans hope to ram through the severe abortion restrictions that Sen. Wendy Davis, her fellow Democrats and a dedicated crowd of Texans, shut down last week.

Davis is ready to take on the fight again.

Davis, who gained national attention after she filibustered for more than 10 hours to block the measure, said Sunday that she and other opponents are prepared to fight the bill again.”I just refuse to say I believe it will happen,” she said on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday. “I’m an eternal optimist. I believe in people; I believe in the power of democracy. And I’m going to fight with every fiber I have to keep it from passing.”

Senate Republicans are going to pull out every trick in the book to try to stop Davis this time.

Sen Patrick says he’ll “Immediately call the question” if anyone tries to filibuster abortion legislation in special session. #hb2 #txlege

There’s democracy in action for you. Davis isn’t going to back down and as she told Bob Schieffer on “Face the Nation,” the stakes are higher because this has become a much larger fight.

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Statement from Edward Snowden in Moscow

From Wikileaks:

One week ago I left Hong Kong after it became clear that my freedom and safety were under threat for revealing the truth. My continued liberty has been owed to the efforts of friends new and old, family, and others who I have never met and probably never will. I trusted them with my life and they returned that trust with a faith in me for which I will always be thankful.

On Thursday, President Obama declared before the world that he would not permit any diplomatic “wheeling and dealing” over my case. Yet now it is being reported that after promising not to do so, the President ordered his Vice President to pressure the leaders of nations from which I have requested protection to deny my asylum petitions.

This kind of deception from a world leader is not justice, and neither is the extralegal penalty of exile. These are the old, bad tools of political aggression. Their purpose is to frighten, not me, but those who would come after me.

For decades the United States of America have been one of the strongest defenders of the human right to seek asylum. Sadly, this right, laid out and voted for by the U.S. in Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is now being rejected by the current government of my country. The Obama administration has now adopted the strategy of using citizenship as a weapon. Although I am convicted of nothing, it has unilaterally revoked my passport, leaving me a stateless person. Without any judicial order, the administration now seeks to stop me exercising a basic right. A right that belongs to everybody. The right to seek asylum.

In the end the Obama administration is not afraid of whistleblowers like me, Bradley Manning or Thomas Drake. We are stateless, imprisoned, or powerless. No, the Obama administration is afraid of you. It is afraid of an informed, angry public demanding the constitutional government it was promised — and it should be.

I am unbowed in my convictions and impressed at the efforts taken by so many.

Edward Joseph Snowden

Monday 1st July 2013

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George W. Bush Defends PRISM: ‘I Put That Program In Place To Protect The Country’

From Huffington Post:

By Posted: 07/01/2013

Former President George W. Bush defended PRISM, the Internet spying program that began under his administration but remained secret until The Washington Post and The Guardian revealed its existence last month.

“I put that program in place to protect the country. One of the certainties was that civil liberties were guaranteed,” Bush told CNN in an interview airing Monday. “I think there needs to be a balance, and as the president explained, there is a proper balance.”

PRISM began under Bush in 2007 and has continued under the Obama administration. The program allows the National Security Administration to collect internet and email data from the nation’s biggest technology companies.

Bush spoke with CNN from Zambia, where he and his wife, Laura, are renovating a health clinic. The comments were his first since news about PRISM was made public, and his reflexive, nonspecific defense of the program will likely add to critics’ case that it was approved with little oversight or debate.

Bush also said that Edward Snowden, who leaked the existence of the program to the newspapers and is currently believed to be in the transit zone of the Moscow airport, had harmed national security.

When asked if he is a traitor, Bush said, “I know he damaged the country.”

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