DC votes unanimously on a birth certificate amendment

From Dot 429:  http://dot429.com/articles/2603-dc-votes-unanimously-on-a-birth-certificate-amendment

Jane Eisner
Thu, Jul 11, 2013
In a unanimous second vote, the D.C. Council passed a bill July 10 which will allow transgender and intersex individuals to amend their birth certificate to reflect their gender expression with significantly less hassle than in the past. The JaParker Deoni Jones Birth Certificate Equality Amendment Act of 2013 was named after a transgender woman, Deoni Jones, who was murdered at a bus stop in Northeast D.C. in 2012.The bill will now go to Mayor Vincent Gray (D) who will presumably sign it into law. Once it becomes official, the legislation will undergo a 30-day review by Congress. Assuming there are no roadblocks, the bill will go into effect in the fall of 2013.

The new regulations will require the person requesting a new birth certificate to obtain a written document from a doctor who can speak on the behalf of the individual, confirming their gender identity and that they have undergone appropriate treatment. The past prerequisite required the person to have undergone gender reassignment surgery before the amendment could be made; this will no longer be necessary.

Additionally, the individual will no longer be required to inform the local newspaper of their gender transition, nor will they need to go to D.C. for a required court hearing. Instead, individuals requesting an amended birth certificate may obtain a court order asking that the court issue a new birth certificate.

This change in process “is vital because the current birth certificate name [and gender] change process creates multiple barriers for transgender people,” D.C. Trans Coalition (DCTC) Social Policy Organizer Andy Bowen said in an interview with 429Magazine in June. “[It will] increase opportunity and a sense of well being for trans people.”

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Out in the Rain

From Baltimore Out Loud:  http://www.baltimoreoutloud.com/thinking-outloud/rational-t-hought/item/2030-out-in-the-rain

by  Sharon Brackett
Friday, 12 July 2013

Pride events tend to be a mixed bag for trans folk. I dare say that even though we generally are welcome “it is not our party.” Even though many of us may self-identify as LGB many in the LGB crowd have us pre-labeled with the “T”. Sometimes that “T” fits comfortably and others not so much.

For me the reality is over the last few years I find I occasionally want to be at arm’s length from some events and people. There are aspects of Pride that have always made me uncomfortable. I’ve never attended or participated in a Pride parade despite having probably been in nearly 100 parades in my youth (I was a self-identified marching “band fag”). And you would likely not find me within a tactical nuke of a high-heel race. And I do not participate in or watch drag, period. Never have, never will.

Recently there was a dust-up online about the folks that run the BET awards asking their host B. Scott not to wear heels and makeup during the awards. I would have thought they should have known about Scott in advance. Scott, who identifies as a gay male, regularly appears in public “en femme”. What surprised and irked some was the headline on the matter which read “Trans Media Maven B. Scott…” (Tinyurl.com/ms5m9n3).

In recent years the term transgender has been morphed to trans or trans* as a way of pleasing those who do not identify as transgender. I know that just sounded oxymoronic to some of you but many who identify as “transsexual” are not comfortable being lumped under the transgender “umbrella”. So asking B. Scott to “represent” for persons like me is problematic. Is he transgender? Indeed, by the accepted definition he is. Do I want him, or Ru Paul, as a role model and person whom others equate with me and who I am? No. No more than I want any other gay man to do so.

My dear friend Diego Sanchez, fellow trans person and former staffer for Rep. Barney Frank, shared the following wisdom with me: “While transgender is an umbrella term used to describe an extensive variety of people, I believe you will find that many transsexuals prefer to be out in the rain rather than under the umbrella.”

You see that umbrella covers drag queens / kings, crossdressers, transsexual, and many other gender-variant people. Not all are happy living under that framework. transsexuals in particular have issues with such things. Let’s presume the following: You are a male-assigned person who identifies as female. You may have gone to some effort to effect that change be it medication, hair removal, and/or possibly various surgeries. You have likely changed your name, your documentation, and your general appearance to get to a place of comfort. You may have a partner or spouse who also sees you as a woman, regardless of your orientation. You live life as a woman. So, are you still transgender, or just a woman? I would say arguably you might not be trans anymore. Congratulations you are “cured”.

Complete article at:  http://www.baltimoreoutloud.com/thinking-outloud/rational-t-hought/item/2030-out-in-the-rain


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Conservatives Want To Fire Transgender People, And Not For Religious Reasons

From Think Progress:  http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2013/07/11/2286041/conservatives-want-to-fire-transgender-people-but-not-for-religious-reasons/

By Zack Ford
on Jul 11, 2013

ony Perkins at the Family Research Council is not happy that the Employment Non-Discrimination Act advanced out of committee in the Senate yesterday with bipartisan support. In his daily email, he railed against the idea that it might become illegal to fire people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, but cited an example that compromises his own arguments:

If the bill passes, employers everywhere would face a very familiar dilemma: violate your conscience or pay the price. For those not concerned with religious freedom, there are the practical implications to consider like dress codes and lost profits. Just a few years ago, a completely secular clothing company, American Eagle, fired a man [sic] who dressed like a woman because his [sic] appearance was driving away business in its store. But according to the state’s anti-discrimination law, the company’s bottom line didn’t matter nearly as much as this man’s [sic] hurt feelings.

As part of a private settlement, American Eagle was forced to hire cross-dressers no matter how uncomfortable it makes customers or employees! Some New Yorkers were surprised. After all, shouldn’t companies be free to enforce a dress code? Not under this law. “The ENDA bill is going to mean a lot to me,” said transgender and ex-Navy SEAL “Kristen” [sic] Beck, “Just for the pure fact that I can show up for work in a dress…” If not, homosexual and transgender activists will be able to use ENDA to sue employers into submission on an agenda that could cost them millions of dollars in lost business and costly litigation.

As Perkins notes, American Eagle is not a religious company. Thus, any discrimination that was taking place against transgender people wasn’t an exercise of “religious liberty”; it was just transphobia. By acknowledging this, he admits that his motivations for discriminating against LGBT people are not substantiated by religious beliefs. His claim that a trans employee was “driving away business” is unfounded; in fact, when American Eagle settled, the company eagerly agreed that “transgender individuals should be treated equally,” promising to train employees how to be more respectful of their trans colleagues and customers.

Complete article at:  http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2013/07/11/2286041/conservatives-want-to-fire-transgender-people-but-not-for-religious-reasons/

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From Last of the Clean Bohemians:  http://lastofthecleanbohemians.wordpress.com/2013/07/02/trans-people-just-are-get-over-it/

Paris Lees
July 2, 2013

This post is taken from a speech I made at a conference in Leeds last month, Recognising Diversity? Gender and Sexual Equalities In Principle and Practice.

• We live in a society where we needn’t sit here like open-mouthed chicks waiting for entertainment to be regurgitated down our throats, helpless, squawking recipients.

• Increasingly we have choice in what we consume and it’s just as well – because the media has traditionally offered very little on the menu for people like me.

• When I was little I recall my dad was always saying, “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”.

• I was called a lot of names as a child, you see, so he had plenty of occasions to repeat it.

• It’s ironic, isn’t it, how people use words to try and make you feel better about other people’s words while simultaneously arguing that words don’t matter.

• I think they do. And I think images matter too.

• But I do know, through my activism and engaging with people online, that I’m not alone in feeling wholly misrepresented by mainstream media.

• I could list statistics that show how unhappy trans people are with the way they are portrayed in the media, but that doesn’t quite capture the depressing feeling of disappointment described, rather eloquently, by American writer and news editor Janet Mock.

• Last year she wrote:

Continue reading at:  http://lastofthecleanbohemians.wordpress.com/2013/07/02/trans-people-just-are-get-over-it/

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Koch brothers waging war against the poor

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And Now It’s Time to Rebrand ENDA: The Freedom to Work Act

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michelangelo-signorile/enda-freedom-to-work-act_b_3534606.html


The marriage equality movement has been a success for a lot of reasons. One of them, no doubt, is branding and framing. And it’s time to learn from that and apply it to other battles, like the battle against employment discrimination, which has been a dismal failure. For almost two decades we’ve tried but failed to get federal workplace protections. If we truly believe that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people should be free from fear of being fired at any moment or turned away from a job simply because of who they are, then we’ve got to, right now, get rid of the 20-year-old, dull and wretched terminology for the federal law we’re trying to pass and replace it with something vibrant and real, something that captivates and connects with the lives of every American.

It’s time for a rebranding. The president of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Chad Griffin, following on the success of the “freedom to marry” movement that he helped advance rapidly, should get to work right away and change the name of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which will be voted on in the Senate in coming days, to the “Freedom to Work Act.”

The group Freedom to Work, launched by its current president Tico Almeida in 2011 to end workplace discrimination against LGBT people, clearly understood, by the choice of its name, the importance of messaging today. The term “Employment Non-Discrimination Act” has been around since the early ’90s, signed on to by HRC and congressional leaders who surely thought it was the hottest thing since Nintendo at the time, but like a lot of other things from 20 years ago, it is now outdated and, more importantly, out of sync with the American people. And the acronym “ENDA” just seems to make people’s eyes glaze over. While ENDA proponents have towed the same line year after year, marriage equality activists completely reimagined their entire movement. And they’re winning big. That’s not a coincidence.

“ENDA is not as new, as sexy, and frankly, I think the branding around ENDA is just terribly bad,” said Michael Crawford, director of online programs at Freedom to Marry and a man who’s mastered the messaging on marriage, speaking on a panel I moderated at the annual progressive activist conference Netroots Nation, which aired on my radio program two weeks ago. Crawford, speaking for himself as an activist and not as a rep of Freedom to Marry, pointed out that marriage is something that most Americans are raised to believe they want to do, and so marriage equality activists tapped into the public’s imagination. He said the same needs to be done on workplace protections.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michelangelo-signorile/enda-freedom-to-work-act_b_3534606.html

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TAFTA & TPP…Corporate Power Tools of the 1%

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Snowden Seeks Russian Asylum

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Who is a journalist? Manning trial poses question of vital public interest

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/global/2013/jul/11/who-is-journalist-bradley-manning-trial

In this age of radically open networks, journalism is no longer a profession. It is a service to inform society anyone can provide

guardian.co.uk, Thursday 11 July 2013

When Bradley Manning‘s defense attorneys wanted someone to explain journalism (pdf) to the court (pdf) trying him, they did not call on a journalist, they called on a legal scholar and expert in networks: Yochai Benkler, co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard and author of The Wealth of Networks.

For as Benkler explained to the court, journalism is now a network – a “network ‘fourth estate'”.

In this network, there are many roles that can be linked together: witnessing, gathering, selecting, authenticating, explaining, distributing. Each can be an act of journalism. Each can be done by someone else, not necessarily working in a single institution. “Journalism,” said Benkler, “is made up of many things.”

Those actors can now include not just the reporters and editors in newspapers, and not just bloggers working alone, but also other, new players: witnesses who share what they see on the streets of Cairo, Rio, or Istanbul; witnesses or whistleblowers who share what they discover in their work (see: Manning or Edward Snowden) and organizations that aid one function or another (see: WikiLeaks). As Benkler went on to testify Wednesday:

One of the things that’s happened is people realize that you can’t have all the smartest people and all the resources working in the same organization. So we have seen a much greater distribution in networks that even though they use the internet, what’s important about the network structure is actually permissions, who’s allowed to work on what resource or assignments of work assignments.

Permission is precisely what is at stake in Manning’s trial and will be if Snowden is brought to court: both men had permission to see what they saw. They did not have permission to share it. Or if they are deemed whistleblowers, do they? Well, that may depend on whom they shared their information with: a journalistic organization, perhaps. But is WikiLeaks such an organization? Or is it a source for “the enemy”?

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/global/2013/jul/11/who-is-journalist-bradley-manning-trial

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Secrets Exposed: How the NSA Rubber-Stamps Warrentless Spying

From Common Dreamshttp://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/07/14-4

by Christopher Brauchli

If we are to regard ourselves as a grown-up nation—and anything else will henceforth be mortally dangerous—then we must, as the Biblical phrase goes, put away childish things; and among these… the first to go, in my opinion, should be… the search for absolute security…

—George Kennan, The Sources of Soviet Conduct, in Foreign Affairs (1947.)

Now we know what they so badly wanted to tell us but couldn’t and what a revelation it is. I refer to the exciting and long-awaited news reported in the Wall Street Journal as to what it was that Senators Mark Udall and Tom Wyden have been dying to tell the American public about the operations of the NSA but were unable to disclose because the information was of such a top-secret nature.

According to the WSJ, the secret information that the senators had that was so confidential they could only hint at it was an interpretation of one word in the Patriot Act by the FISA Court. The super super secret word was “relevant.” To the non-lawyer this may seem like a secret that was hardly worth keeping and, indeed, it may even seem so to the legal mind. To understand the true importance of this revelation, a bit of history is called for. The word “relevant” has become important because of two other words, “special needs.”

In legal parlance “special needs” has referred to two different things. In one context it refers to individuals who, because of abilities and related issues, are described as having “special needs.” In another context, and the one that concerns us today, it refers to situations that—because of their great importance—are used to justify the government obtaining court orders permitting it to conduct searches without first obtaining a warrant as would normally be required by the 4th amendment to the Constitution.

“Special needs” finds its genesis in a 1989 case in which a court ruled that an individual’s Fourth Amendment protection from unreasonable search was not violated when random drug tests were conducted on railway workers. The court reasoned that running a railroad was a sufficiently dangerous operation that it was reasonable for the government to conduct random drug tests of employees without first obtaining a court order permitting the tests. Following this line of reasoning, the FISA court greatly expanded the use of “special needs” to include warrantless collection of vast amounts of communication information that it claims pertain to “special needs”—i.e. “terrorist” activities. Once the court adopted the broad interpretation of “special needs,” the jump to “relevant” was an easy one. Relevant, too, comes with a bit of history, however.

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/07/14-4

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Private paramilitaries guard Wisconsin mining site from protesters

From Raw Story:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/07/09/private-paramilitaries-guard-wisconsin-mining-site-from-protesters/

By Stephen C. Webster
Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Heavily-armed, masked paramilitary forces descended upon the Gogebic Taconite mining site in Wisconsin over the weekend, much to the chagrin of local residents and elected officials.

“I’m appalled,” state Sen. Bob Jauch (D) told The Wisconsin State Journal on Monday. “There is no evidence to justify their presence.”

Jaunch sent a letter to Gogebic President Bill Williams on Monday demanding the company remove the guards, which he called “common in third world countries,” but stressed that “they don’t belong in Northern Wisconsin.”

The company brought in the paramilitary forces after being confronted by a group of about 15 protesters in June. At least one of the demonstrators, a young woman, was hit with misdemeanor charges for trying to take a camera away from one of the company’s geologists. Gogebic claims they’ve since caught several people illegally camping on their property and did not want to take any chances.

The company hired by Gogebic is Arizona-based Bulletproof Securities, which boasts that many of their employees are ex-military and many of their clients are celebrities and government officials. They certainly look the part, too: photos of Bulletproof guards at the Gegebic site published by the Wisconsin progressive blog Blue Cheddar show men who look very much like special forces soldiers, complete with assault rifles and black masks.

Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/07/09/private-paramilitaries-guard-wisconsin-mining-site-from-protesters/

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