ACLU Response to Chelsea Manning’s Disclosure of Gender Dysphoria

From The ACLU:


In response to Chelsea Manning’s disclosure that she is female, has been diagnosed with gender dysphoria and will be seeking hormone therapy as a part of her transition during her incarceration, public statements by military officials that the Army does not provide hormone therapy to treat gender dysphoria raise serious constitutional concerns. Gender dysphoria is a serious medical condition in which a person’s gender identity does not correspond to his or her assigned sex at birth, and hormone therapy is part of the accepted standards of care for this condition. Without the necessary treatment, gender dysphoria can cause severe psychological distress, including anxiety and suicide. When the government holds individuals in its custody, it must provide them with medically necessary care.

The official policy of the Federal Bureau of Prisons and most state agencies is to provide medically necessary care for the treatment of gender dysphoria, and courts have consistently found that denying such care to prisoners based on blanket exclusions violates the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution.

The ACLU stands with Chelsea Manning, and will support Ms. Manning’s pursuit of appropriate healthcare and lawful treatment while at Fort Leavenworth.

Read Ms. Manning’s full statement here:

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10 Things Transphobes Say That Make Me *Facepalm*

From Huffington Post:


Reposted with permission

1. You shouldn’t change your body when what you really need is therapy to accept how you were born.

Great idea! It would have saved me $50,000 and a 35 percent pay cut. So, where do I sign up for a cure that’s accredited by the American Psychological Association or the American Psychiatric Association? Because the programs you guys recommend mostly look like a lot of praying away the trans (I’m an atheist), or people screaming and beating the crap out of pillows.

Oh, wait, there isn’t one.


2. This is a choice. “If you chose to be an outsider, you’d better be prepared to be an outsider.”

We’ve been over this already. It’s not much of a choice. That’s why the entire medical community agrees on the medical necessity of transitioning for many people.

Secondly, way to go blaming the victims! Thought that you guys had decided that was a bad idea after Richard Mourdoch and Todd Akin doomed the republican party in the 2012 elections. Apparently the classics never go out of style.

3. Girls have XX chromosomes, boys have XY chromosomes. Period.

Unless you have Complete Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (CAIS). Or an XO karyotype. Or XXY. Or XYY. Or 5-alpha-reductase deficiency. Or Swyer syndrome. Or genetic mosaicism. Or 17-β-Hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase III deficiency. Or Progestin-induced virilisation… etc…

You know, lots of community colleges these days have good intro to biology courses available.

4. God made you this way, and the only way to make God happy is to just endure it.

So let me get this straight. God intentionally made me in a way that causes suffering? In order to make your God happy, I have to forgo treatment that alleviates this suffering?

Your God gets off on my suffering. Think about that for a moment.

Maybe you didn’t pick who you thought you did with this whole good and evil thing.

5. You’re mentally ill/confused/sick/a freak

The American Psychological Association, American Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association, WPATH, and the DoD folks who issue security clearances would beg to differ. The APA flat out says gender non-conformity isn’t a mental illness.

Try again.

6. Psychologists and psychiatrists are just a bunch of Godless liberals who tell people what they want to hear and push diagnoses.

Yes, because finding out for certain I am trans has made my life so much easier. Because therapists get paid to tell people what they want to hear. Because it in no way shape or form violates their professional ethics to tell people things which are highly likely to make them attempt suicide.

Oh, and my therapist? She’s a Catholic republican.

7. Have tried enjoying “guy” stuff?

Besides boxing, wrestling, judo, four years at a military academy, 10 years active duty, getting a master’s in applied mathematics, getting married, designing systems to train fighter pilots, playing fantasy basketball, and flying attack helicopters? No.

I’ll take suggestions, but I’m 38 years old, five foot five, and 138 pounds, so MMA fighting or special forces is sort of a long shot at this point.

8. “I’m saying this with love…”

People who start conversations with this one remind me of that not-so-bright kid in bootcamp who heard from some guy you could say anything you wanted to the Drill Instructor if you started the sentence, “With all due respect…” You can guess how well that goes over.

To illustrate the concept in reverse: for all the transphobes out there I am saying this with love. You and your circular family tree are a blight on humanity. If you weren’t spewing hate, I suspect you would be squatting in a ditch poking berries up your nose.

Offensive? You bet. It’s also every bit as offensive as attacking my identity. If you think you need to start with “I’m saying this with love,” then we’re all probably better off if you didn’t say whatever was going to come afterwards.

9. Calling transgender people “its”

When you resort to calling people non-human, or sub-human, you’re treading on dangerous ground. I don’t care if I am breaking Godwin’s law here because every time I hear about transgender people being called “it,” the hair the back of my neck stands up. Reducing human beings to something with no value is a hallmark of propaganda used in genocide. “Plague carrying rats” for Jews in Germany. “Cockroaches” for Tutsis in Rwanda. Darfurians were systemically referred to as “slaves”.

When transgender people are labeled “it” and as predators upon women and children, it should make your skin crawl too.

10. You’ll never be a “real” woman/man (or other deliberate mis-gendering)

Beyond the philosophical and medical argument of what makes a “real” man or woman, there is the simple level of civility. When you deliberately attack someone’s core identity you have foregone the basic rules of decency.

For instance, when Randy Thomasson deliberately mis-gendered Masen Davis on CNN, he clearly demonstrated to me he is a jerk. Despite my opinion that he is a jerk, I would not refer to him as Mr. Jerk during interviews, or in the media, nor even in one on one conversations.

The moral high ground is a lonely place. If you really disagree with everything I stand for, you probably don’t want to cede it to me by deliberately being rude.

Honorable Mention: Bathrooms!

Despite the insistence of right wing media here, here, here, here, here, here, and everywhere else that letting transgender people use correct facilities will be a catastrophe, trans people in bathrooms hasn’t ended civilization in the thirteen states that have public accommodations protections. What is it with people worrying incessantly about what is in transgender people’s pants though? Good thing most health plans cover obsessive compulsive disorders.

I can recommend a good Catholic, republican therapist too.

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Chelsea Manning: Testing The Military On Transgender Issues

From NPR:

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Who needs gender norms? Not children — that’s for sure

From Waging Non-Violence:

August 23, 2013

My son is a boy: a handsome, strong, demanding, loving little boy whose favorite things are blocks and balls and Cheerios.

We did not know before he was born if we were going to have a boy or a girl. It was the first question everyone asked. “Congrats. What are you having?” When I said that we didn’t know, older people always offered additional congratulations. “We never knew back when I was having my kids.” I thought it was strange that even people who thought not knowing ahead of time was good couldn’t help but ask.

I also got a lot of speculation about the bump’s gender. “What do you feel like you are carrying?” I was asked. “A watermelon, a small sedan, or perhaps a large sofa.” Those were my glib and fairly accurate replies.

“You are having a boy!” That was the informal consensus from women at the grocery store, on the street and in my extended family. Almost no one thought I was going to have a girl, except Rosena — my stepdaughter who is six and wanted a little sister.

While I was pregnant, I learned about the new trend: gender reveal parties. Expectant parents throw a party where they learn if they are having a boy or a girl. They get balloons filled with pink or blue confetti, and cakes with either pink or blue frosting inside. Meanwhile, guests divide into Team Girl and Team Boy to suggest names and guess the baby’s stats like weight and due date.

“How do you know what color to paint the nursery?” asked the woman bagging groceries at Stop & Shop, when I told her I didn’t know if my bump was male or female. “White,” I said. “We have painted it white.” She looked disappointed. In truth, I painted all the walls in our new house white. We moved into it two weeks before Seamus was born and I was not going to waste any time meditating over paint chips and variations of green with names like summer moss and old toad (I hope that both of those are actual paint names, by the way).

I could not see how knowing the sex of our baby ahead of time would help us prepare for being parents. We had gotten most everything one actually needs for a baby — car seat, co-sleeper, high chair and stroller — from friends and family. Or they were left over (and lovingly preserved) from when Rosena was a baby. Friends with two boys moved back to New Zealand and gave us all their baby clothes, shoes, hats, diapers, baby seats and swaddles. It was a boy stuff bonanza. But the clothes were mostly European and Australian, which meant lots of stripes, lots of red and white patterns, and very few overly assertive boy markers that are emblazoned on everything at Target and Babies “R” Us. You know what I’m talking about: T-shirts with a gorilla, mac truck or muscled super hero. Girl clothes have pink polka dots (even nice neutral brown clothes), dogs or cats with long eyelashes and princesses in long gowns. The sex education starts immediately.

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Democracy Now Chelsea Manning

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19 ways climate change is now feeding itself

From Transition Voice:

By Guy McPherson
August 19, 2013

This essay updates my earlier effort to tally and describe self-reinforcing feedback loops with respect to climate change. At that time, seven months ago, we had strong evidence of nine such catastrophic phenomena. The nineteen I currently know about are described below. Only the final one is reversible over a temporal span relevant to humanity.

  1. Methane hydrates are bubbling out the Arctic Ocean (Science, March 2010). According to NASA’s CARVE project, these plumes were up to 150 kilometers across as of mid-July 2013. Whereas Malcolm Light’s 9 February 2012 forecast of extinction of all life on Earth by the middle of this century appears premature because his conclusion of exponential methane release during summer 2011 was based on data subsequently revised and smoothed by U.S. government agencies, subsequent information — most notably from NASA’s CARVE project — indicates the grave potential for catastrophic release of methane. Catastrophically rapid release of methane in the Arctic is further supported by Nafeez Ahmed’s thorough analysis in the 5 August 2013 issue of the Guardian.
  2. Warm Atlantic water is defrosting the Arctic as it shoots through the Fram Strait (Science, January 2011).
  3. Siberian methane vents have increased in size from less than a meter across in the summer of 2010 to about a kilometer across in 2011 (Tellus, February 2011).
  4. Drought in the Amazon triggered the release of more carbon than the United States in 2010 (Science, February 2011).
  5. Peat in the world’s boreal forests is decomposing at an astonishing rate (Nature Communications, November 2011).

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San Francisco’s Green Power Plan Still Stalled by Corporate Interests a Decade Later

From Truth Out:

By Darwin Bond Graham
Friday, 23 August 2013

CleanPowerSF initially called for investing over a billion dollars in energy efficiency upgrades and publicly-owned renewable energy assets at thousands of sites in San Francisco. The plan’s huge public popularity and technical authority have not protected it from attack and subversion.

In 2004, San Francisco committed itself to a revolutionary economic and environmental rejuvenation project centered on complete overhaul of the city’s energy system. Or did it?

Back then, the plan called for investing more than a billion dollars in energy efficiency upgrades and publicly-owned renewable energy assets at thousands of sites within city limits. Voters authorized the issuance of revenue bonds to fund an unprecedented public energy investment program. The money for this gargantuan green energy and local jobs fund was to be sourced from the utility bills of ratepayers, a few pennies a month no longer siphoned off by the investor-owned utility as private profits.

Called CleanPowerSF, the idea was a reinvention of a municipal utility for San Francisco, a perennial sky’s-the-limit goal of the city’s progressives, but reinvented with new legal authority and new technologies that would not require the public to take control of costly and crumbling transmission lines and pipelines. Instead, the public would simply take over energy purchasing, and ratepayer funds, leaving the corporate utility in place to deliver the juice at a strictly regulated rate.

Then nine long years of war between environmentalists, labor, politicians, and the region’s 800-pound gorilla utility corporation, PG&E, ground down the vision of San Francisco as a post-carbon, green jobs mecca into what might be a fatally compromised plan.

Instead of purchasing actual renewably generated electrons, San Francisco’s proposed green power program, through several revisions, became heavily reliant on using opaque market credits that supposedly offset the pollution created by the electricity’s true source: mostly gas-fired power plants. Instead of generating local jobs, the energy would be imported from distant sources, possibly exploiting non-union labor. This has not sat well with environmentalist and unions, two key constituencies in San Francisco’s power structure.

On August 13, the local and truly green potential of CleanPowerSF was dealt its most recent body blow. Three of the city’s five Public Utilities Commission (PUC) members voted down a proposal to set CleanPowerSF’s rates. “Without set rates, the program can’t move forward,” Charles Sheehan, a spokesperson for the PUC, bluntly stated. What was supposed to be a mere regulatory decision based on technical judgment ended up being a political decision, and the balance of political power once again fell against green energy and local jobs.

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As Fukushima Crisis Spirals, Expert Warns ‘It’s Much Worse’ Than Claimed

From Common Dreams:

The trail of disasters continued on Thursday with the discovery of radiation “hotspots”

Andrea Germanos

In the latest setback of the spiraling crisis at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, operator TEPCO announced on Thursday that it had discovered radiation hotspots near contaminated water storage tanks, while a nuclear expert warns that the disaster may even be “much worse” than has been claimed.

Though new leaks were not found, the hotspots detected Thursday were emitting between 70 and 100 millisieverts an hour, the high end of which is the maximum exposure allowed for nuclear plant workers over a five-year period, and the same amount workers detected in pools of leaked water on Tuesday.

TEPCO’s announcement two days ago that 300 metric tons of water had leaked from a storage tank prompted Japanese authorities to up the threat level to “serious,” and marked only the latest in a series of leaks and mishaps in the never-ending emergency at the disaster-stricken nuclear plant.

As bad as the situation seems, Mycle Schneider, lead author for the World Nuclear Industry status reports, told BBC News that the situation “is much worse than we have been led to believe, much worse.”

He warned that they are dealing with “absolutely gigantic” amounts of radioactive water, and that there were leaks “not just from the tanks. It is leaking out from the basements, it is leaking out from the cracks all over the place. Nobody can measure that,” Schneider told BBC.

Apart from the unsustainable contaminated water-storage system and leak after leak allowing radioactivity to pour into the ground and ocean, alarms were raised over plans to remove fuel rods containing radioactive material equivalent to 14,000 times the amount released in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, a plan that “has never been attempted before on this scale.”


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