Taking Real Steps To Protect Transgender Kids: A Bridge Too Far For The LGB Community?

From The New Civil Rights Movement:  http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/taking-real-steps-to-protect-transgender-kids-a-bridge-to-far-for-the-lgb-community/politics/2013/08/25/73766

Brynn Tannehill
August 25, 2013

Earlier this month, the transgender community achieved a seemingly improbable win. Governor Jerry Brown of California signed AB 1266 (The School Success and Opportunity Act) into law. The fact that this was a bill directly aimed at the transgender community only was remarkable in itself. Bills for transgender people, much less a subset of the transgender population, usually are DOA (see GENDA in NY for details). Facilitating its success was the fact that many different organizations actively worked to see its passage. Sponsors of the bill included the ACLU, NCLR, Equality California, Gender Spectrum, GSA Network, and the Transgender Law Center.

You would think that an improbable win by a grand coalition of progressives on behalf of transgender children against the collective might of the religious right in the most populous state in America would have been something to shout from the rooftops. This was the political equivalent of blowing up the Death Star with a snub fighter.

The news was met mostly with crickets by progressives.

However, if getting the bill passed and signed into law was like taking out the Death Star, the aftermath was “The Empire Strikes Back.” Fox News and CNN both trained their guns on the transgender community. Their satellite networks became platforms for an orbital bombardment of anti-transgender misinformation and animus. Adam Housely on Fox News. Bill O’Reilly of Fox News. Sean Hannity of Fox News. CNN legal analyst Paul Callan.  Fox host Martha MacCallum hosting Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council. Mike Huckabee on Fox. Fox and Friends piling on and opining that being transgender is so crazy it is unfathomable. Greg Gutfeld filling in on Bill O’Reily’s show. CNN host Brooke Baldwin invited on certified hate group leader Randy Thomasson, and allowed him to openly insult her other guest, Masen Davis, the executive director of the Transgender Law Center. Steve Doocy on Fox promoted the baseless allegation that the law will lead to more sexual assaults. (h/t to Media Matters.)

It’s almost as if the right wingers decided they can’t beat up on lesbians and gays anymore (and get away with it), and they decided they needed a new straw man to vilify and blame for everything that they see as wrong with America. They need a group they can abuse all they want in perfect safety because they know no one would ever feel sympathetic towards them. If only the right wingers would let slip that this really is their plan.

Oh, wait. They did. Last week. Twice.

Continue reading at:  http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/taking-real-steps-to-protect-transgender-kids-a-bridge-to-far-for-the-lgb-community/politics/2013/08/25/73766

Of course the Christo-Nazis and rabid right wing nuts think transkids should be subjected to abuse and torment, denied a normal life.

See:

Life Site News: 6-year-old girl living as ‘transgender’ boy

American Spectator: No Restroom for the Virtuous

World Net Daily: Bathroom wars transgenders get Flushed

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We’re Not Safe Until All LGBT People Are Safe

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nathan-m-schaefer/new-york-genda_b_3786108.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices

08/29/2013

Paola moved to New York from Puerto Rico to further her education and make a better life for herself. What she wasn’t expecting was the discrimination she encountered.

As a student with part-time work, Paola was not able to afford rent on her own and found a shared apartment with roommates in the Albany region. When her housemates found out she was transgender she was met with verbal harassment and threats to her physical well-being. Frightened for her safety, she reached out to her landlord, who rather than protect her, told her she had 30 days to leave and find a new home.

What happened to Paola is still perfectly legal in New York today. She could lose her job for being transgender and in many parts of the State that would be within the legal rights of her employer to do. This discrimination persists and many in our community are victim to it because there is no statewide law in existence in New York to protect our transgender and gender non-conforming friends and family.

Stories like Paola’s are unfortunately not uncommon. In a state that is a leader on the civil rights front on many issues, New York still fails to provide the most basic protections to its transgender residents. There are currently 17 other states that have statewide laws protecting on the basis of gender identity and expression, including places like Illinois, Iowa and Nevada. New York has not been a leader when it comes to fighting transgender discrimination.

The Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) is a bill that was introduced more than a decade ago in New York State with the Pride Agenda leading the campaign for passage. When passed, GENDA will prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and expression and include offenses regarding gender identity or expression under the hate crimes statute. Essentially, the law will protect transgender New Yorkers from being kicked out of their homes or fired from their jobs simply for being themselves. The bill will also hold accountable those who commit crimes against others based on their gender expression.

The State Assembly passed GENDA six years in a row, including in 2013, though tragically, did not get signed into law in New York State because the Senate failed to bring the bill to the floor for a vote. Despite the failure to sign GENDA into law, support for the bill made historic progress in 2013.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nathan-m-schaefer/new-york-genda_b_3786108.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices

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Dangers of traveling while female

From Salon:  http://www.salon.com/2013/08/27/dangers_of_traveling_while_female/

I wanted to be a fearless adventurer like my male heroes, but a voice kept warning me: Don’t get yourself raped

By
Tuesday, Aug 27, 2013

When I was younger, I wanted to travel like Patrick Leigh Fermor, who famously spent 1934 walking from the Hook of Holland to Istanbul. I envisioned myself sporting leather satchels and lace-up boots, doffing Panama hats, spouting demotic Greek. I fantasized about riding horses through the Caucasus and letting falcons loose upon the Black Sea, about “living up in the mountains, dressed as a shepherd,” as Fermor had done. It was a fantasy cobbled together from all the books of all the travel writers I loved — the great writer-scholars of a certain generation, who saw the whole world as raw material: shifting, uncertain geography for them to shape and create anew in their words.

Then I turned 15, and traveled alone for the first time to Paris, a city I had once lived in, and which I knew well. I laid out maps. I made plans. I would bolt down every alleyway. I would say yes to every invitation. I would lay lilies at Oscar Wilde’s grave. I would sit at cafes in Montmartre until some itinerant, velvet-trousered poets came to scoop me up out of my innocence; they would take me with them to secret courtyards, up the stairs to hidden salons, and there we would drink absinthe and I would scribble down my experiences and then, at last, I would know what it meant to have an adventure.

I never had an adventure.

I was skittish, awkward, hardly capable of forming words to boys my own age, let alone 40-something men well-practiced in the art of knocking gawkish girls out of their comfort zone. I spent my week in Paris squirming out of conversations, stuttering out fake phone numbers, learning all too quickly to avoid those places where I might be considered a target. Cafe terraces, park benches, crosswalks of city streets. My desire for experience, for openness, for adventure, had been overpowered by a stronger imperative, one I had internalized without realizing it: Don’t get yourself raped.

* * *

Even today, my male friends look at me with confusion when I try to explain how powerful, how completely prevalent is don’t-get-yourself-raped in my everyday life. It’s the reason I get my keys out a good 10 minutes before I reach my apartment, keeping them between my fingers in case I need to use them as a weapon against an assailant. It’s the reason I take taxis instead of walking home alone late at night. It’s the reason I always walk in the middle of the road, steering well clear of alleyways or obscured corners.

But it’s the reason, too, for more subtle variations in behavior. I’m no longer 15, and I am far more capable of turning away aggressive strangers than I was that ill-fated summer, but as a travel writer, I am painfully conscious of how easy it is for a moment’s lapse to turn me from an observer – an all-seeing eye, freely taking in a Tbilisi hilltop or a Turkish terrace – into a target.

Continue reading at:  http://www.salon.com/2013/08/27/dangers_of_traveling_while_female/

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The Who – Won’t Get Fooled Again

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Austerity Is for the Little People: Syria Edition

From The Nation:  http://www.thenation.com/blog/175997/austerity-little-people-syria-edition#

Allison Kilkenny
on September 3, 2013

Schools, libraries, post offices and other public services are closing across the country in the wake of budget cuts, and Congress may have just voted to cut $1.5 trillion from programs like Head Start over the next decade, but many officials still feel confident the US is positioned to fund yet another expensive military operation in Syria.

Obviously, current and former officials aren’t debating the moral implications of killing human beings in order to “save” other human beings as part of a murky plan that essentially boils down to underwear gnome logic (cruise mussels + something = Assad is gone and democracy!), but these same officials brazenly claim that the cost of a military operation in Syria will be “relatively easily absorbed.”

This rhetoric is familiar. A report from the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction called the Iraq reconstruction effort back in 2008 “a $100 billion failure,” and alleged that the Pentagon “simply put out inflated measures of progress to cover up” failures. The report details how Jay Garner, then-head of the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance, warned then–Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld that the military operation in Iraq would be costly.

“What do you think that’ll cost?” Mr. Rumsfeld asked of the most expansive plan.

“I think it’s going to cost billions of dollars,” Mr. Garner said.

“My friend,” Mr. Rumsfeld replied, “if you think we’re going to spend a billion dollars of our money over there, you are sadly mistaken.”

According to a recent study, the Iraq was cost more than $2 trillion, and with benefits owed to war veterans added in, could ultimately cost more than $6 trillion over the next four decades.

Of course, there are arguments to be made that Iraq and Syria vastly differ both in scale and scope, but the point is that officials have a track record of underestimating the time, commitment and cost such lofty military procedures require, especially when the goal of said operation remains unclear.

Continue reading at:  http://www.thenation.com/blog/175997/austerity-little-people-syria-edition#

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How Intelligence Was Twisted to Support an Attack on Syria

From Truth Out:  http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/18559-how-intelligence-was-twisted-to-support-an-attack-on-syria

By Gareth Porter
Tuesday, 03 September 2013

Secretary of State John Kerry assured the public that the Obama administration’s summary of the intelligence on which it is basing the case for military action to punish the Assad regime for an alleged use of chemical weapons was put together with an acute awareness of the fiasco of the 2002 Iraq WMD intelligence estimate.

Nevertheless, the unclassified summary of the intelligence assessment made public August 30, 2013, utilizes misleading language evocative of the infamous Iraq estimate’s deceptive phrasing. The summary cites signals, geospatial and human source intelligence that purportedly show that the Syrian government prepared, carried out and “confirmed” a chemical weapons attack on August 21. And it claims visual evidence “consistent with” a nerve gas attack.

But a careful examination of those claims reveals a series of convolutedly worded characterizations of the intelligence that don’t really mean what they appear to say at first glance.

The document displays multiple indications that the integrity of the assessment process was seriously compromised by using language that distorted the intelligence in ways that would justify an attack on Syria.

Spinning the Secret Intelligence

That pattern was particularly clear in the case of the intelligence gathered by covert means. The summary claims, “We intercepted communications involving a senior official intimately familiar with the offensive who confirmed that chemical weapons were used by the regime on August 21 and was concerned with the U.N. inspectors obtaining evidence.”

That seems to indicate that U.S. intelligence intercepted such communiations. But former British Ambassador Craig Murray has pointed out on his blog August 31 that the Mount Troodos listening post in Cyprus is used by British and U.S. intelligence to monitor “all radio, satellite and microwave traffic across the Middle East … ” and that “almost all landline telephone communications in this region is routed through microwave links at some stage [and] picked up on Troodos.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/18559-how-intelligence-was-twisted-to-support-an-attack-on-syria

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Noam Chomsky: Bombing Syria Would Be a ‘War Crime’

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/world/noam-chomsky-syria-attack

The nation’s leading left-wing thinker had harsh words on the plans to bomb Syria.

By Alex Kane
September 3, 2013

A U.S. strike on Syria without a United Nations mandate would be a war crime, Noam Chomsky told the Huffington Post. The nation’s leading left-wing thinker made the comments after President Barack Obama announced that he would go to Congress to ask for authorization for an attack on Syria in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack.

As international support for Obama’s decision to attack Syria has collapsed, along with the credibility of government claims, the administration has fallen back on a standard pretext for war crimes when all else fails: the credibility of the threats of the self-designated policeman of the world,” said Chomsky. “[T]hat aggression without UN authorization would be a war crime, a very serious one, is quite clear, despite tortured efforts to invoke other crimes as precedents.”

Before he decided on a Syria strike, President Barack Obama weighed in on the UN mandate issue in an interview with CNN.Obama said that “ if the U.S. goes in and attacks another country without a U.N. mandate and without clear evidence that can be presented, then there are questions in terms of whether international law supports it.” While the president has presented evidence that he says shows the Assad regime carried out a chemical weapons attack, there’s no chance of a UN resolution authorizing force. Russia and China are adamantly opposed to striking Syria.

Chomsky’s comments come as Congress is debating whether to approve Obama’s resolution that would authorize a Syria strike. The legality of the strike under the laws of war, though, is not something that has been a key point of debate.

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